Disclaimer; All rights go to Quinrose when due.

Black Liliana

Alice x Joker

The circus portion of their domain was always abuzz with activity. Whether it was practice or an actual performance, underneath the tent was a world full of color and noise.

And Joker swore if he had to stay in such an asylum for an extended period of time, he would go insane.

He would choose the prison over that noisy death trap any day. There he did not have to put forth any effort to be nice or show any patience. There he didn't have to worry about dealing with anyone. The Afterimages were silent officers that the Jokers' will. The prisoners followed their orders blindly and rendered mute by fear. The only real disturbance Joker experienced was from the idiot Heart Knight, but those visits were always far and few.

That silence was music to the warden's ears. He contented himself the dank solitude of his prison, preferring it over the company of the role holding idiots. There at the prison, he felt true peace.

Those quiet, peaceful days came to an abrupt end when she arrived.

Joker cringed when he heard a loud clatter. It echoed throughout his silent penitentiary and sent a stabbing ache through his head. He cursed, tapped his riding crop against his arm, and turned around to face his noisy intruder.

"What are you doing here?"

"Well, it's nice to see you too, Black," Alice Liddell said, her voice carrying undertones of sarcasm. She pushed the toy she kicked to the side and recollected her poise. "And I can see you are as pleasant as ever."

"Hmph. I was in a decent mood until you came stomping all over my prison." She pouted in response. Joker only scoffed. "Now just answer the damn question. What are you doing here?"

He gritted his teeth and was barely able look at her. Her whole presence made him feel like his eyes were going to bleed. Against their monochrome surroundings, her blue dress was like bright light that shined directly into his eyes. It took him a long moment before he felt his eyes adjust, hiding his discomfort with a customary scowl.

"I just came for a visit," she replied innocently.

"And you decided you wanted to visit the prison? You stupid or what?"

"Well is it stupid if I came to talk to you?" she said in defense, in a tone that was a louder than he found comfortable. He resisted the reflex to flinch and kept his composure.

"Why didn't you visit the circus? You could have talked to me there."

Then he would have been saved from this annoying predicament.

The circus clown was always better at talking to people, like the foreigner. Joker felt he could not be bothered and had little patience to spare anyway. It was more convenient to let the other Joker deal with Alice while he piped up to offer a snide remark now and again.

The fact he was forced to deal with her now was slowly burning what little patience Joker already had.

"Well I asked White, and he sent me over here to see you without a complaint."

"Hmph. That stupid clown is just doing even stupider things to annoy me," he grumbled. He narrowed his eyes and wondered what the hell was he thinking. Was it part of his many schemes? He brushed the thought aside and returned his attention to the girl before him. "Well like I give a damn. Now out with it. What was so important that you actually had to come here to speak with me?"

She suddenly tensed. She began to shift nervously in he place, finding herself interested with a plastic toy lying on the ground. The longer she dawdled without saying a word, the more annoyed he felt. He restrained himself and gripped his riding crop tighter, feeling an angry nerve pulse menacingly against his temple. His eyes were beginning to sting and feel damp, her bright attire beginning to get to him.

Finally she spoke. "Well as you know… the April Season is going to end soon, which means the Jokers are going to leave."

"Thank god for that…" The sooner he got away from these annoying role holders the better. He blinked, noticing Alice frown at his response, the light fading slightly from her eyes. "But what of it?" he added, almost as if to rectify his previous, thoughtless comment.

It was not because he cared how she felt or anything. That there would be completely stupid of him, and he assured himself he was no such idiot.

"Since you guys are leaving soon, I just wanted to give you something." She reached in her satchel – where the hell did that come from, Joker thought in momentary bewilderment– and pulled out a single item, wrapped in warm, summery cloth.

At the sight, Joker blinked once. Twice.

He spat out, "What the hell is that?"

"It's some mochi I made. Whenever we talked about autumn season, you always mentioned how good the food was so I thought I would give you some."

The warden still could not shake this sense of disbelief. "Why didn't you just give it to Joker in the circus? It's the same thing anyway."

"No, it's actually not the same." For once Joker was at a complete loss at what to say. Despite the embarrassed warmth spreading over her cheeks, she still looked at him, her eyes shining even brighter. "That's why I came here in person. I wanted to give each of you your presents to show my appreciation. Even if you always spoke badly, you did treat me well and helped me have fun."

After those words, at the look in her eyes, he felt the greatest need to utter some snide remark, to say something rude and mean like he always did to defuse this sickening situation. For some reason, his mind was drawing a blank. He could not think of anything as he stared into her doe eyes and gentle smile that lit up her entire face.

'It's just too damn bright.'

"So… here you go." He snapped out of his daze and gawked at the gift still in her hand. "Are you going to accept it?"

He quickly recollected his composure with a low grunt and snatched the package of her hands.

"Hmph. Well since you offered I guess I can accept it. I can't waste food after all."

"Oh, will it kill you to just say thank you, Black?"

'Actually, it would '

He scoffed at the suggestion. Like hell would he ever submit to something as silly as that. He would rather take his chances in that crazy circus tent than actually thank anyone, let alone Alice. He grumbled crossly under his breath, turning his gaze towards the wall. For some reason he could not look at her face. Looking at her made him feel strange, a kind of strange that felt as if face might combust at any given moment.

He scowled, knowing without even seeing that she was still looking at him with that smile, that warm, stupid smile that threatened to melt his face.

"Well if that's all, you can go now. I'm very busy," he said curtly, not trusting himself to look her in the face.

"Alright, Black. I'll leave now." She still lingered a moment, slowly stepping closer to him instead. "Really, thank you for everything. I really will miss you, Joker."

Then he felt her do the unthinkable. She gently touched his arm and leaned forward to press her lips against his cheek. His muscles stiffened. His mind fell completely blank. When she pulled away from him, all he could do was stare at her.

"Bye, Joker!"

Alice smiled broadly once more and waved, making her way down the hall and disappearing from sight. Her blue dress seemed like a beacon, shining brightly before being consumed by the shadows.

He blinked, looked down at the present, and scoffed.

'What a stupid girl.'

He still was shocked over what happened. Honestly, he would never allow anyone to step into his personal bubble or touch him without his verbal consent. If one of his prisoners were to so much as brush him the wrong way, they would be beaten senseless and executed on the spot.

But this was no ordinary prisoner. This was Alice.

She did not fit in with his prison. her bright presence served as a stark contrast to the dark, macabre scene surrounding them. Still he could not help but wonder in his degrading mentality — since insanity was the only proper explanation for his current state — if that truly was a bad thing.

He leaned back against the cold stone walls and took a moment to observe his surroundings. He suddenly was aware of how the prison was so silent, so dark and gloomy, so completely empty. At the thought, a chill raced down his spine.

Once he thought he was content with this silence, this perpetual solitude. Once he thought he was content with his job as the heartless prison warden, staunch protector of the rules, the feared ruler of this dark underworld.

If he truly was content, why was it that all he could think about was Alice's stupid blue dress, her stupid bright eyes, and even stupider wide smile?

"What the freaking hell is wrong with me?"

He retrieved a mochi from its bindings and took a vicious bite, trying hard to imagine a blue light twinkling in the deep shadows, of the warmth that lingered on his cold arm, cheek, and chest.

Even the cold darkness craves the warmth of light.

A/N Notes: So from the ashes of non-activity, I bring forth this two part story. Huzzah?

Also I wanted to try differentiating the Jokers without resorting to Black and White. If it wasn't obvious, this was more Black Joker centered. Considering it probably is obvious, I won't state who the next chapter is centered on (if I decide to get to it).

Anyways thanks for reading~