Black Liliana

Joker x Alice

Joker liked to consider himself as a collector of sorts. He only gathered the finest of objects, the rarest and most extraordinary things the human eye has ever seen. One of his most prized collections was his very own circus. He put his very best toys in display – the most daring trapeze artists, his most unusual creatures, his greatest entertainers. He was the master puppeteer of the entire affair, coordinating only the best performance he could muster for his audience.

And he found it boring.

There was much more to do in the circus than the prison, most definitely. But even the bright red top could be as dull and monotonous as the gray stone walls. He only had a limited amount of toys to play with in the circus, only so many to manipulate as he pleased. It would only have been a matter of time before he succumbed to this inevitable sense of boredom.

Unlike his counterpart who habitually ranted and raved about his hatred towards everything, including the circus – such an dramatic man he was – Joker knew he was just bored too. Like the other role holders, they performed their roles in perfect clockwork, forced to follow this tedious routine. How they craved for something, anything, to bring some excitement to their tedious lives.

Then she appeared.

"Ah, Alice! You finally returned." The outsider nodded her head and continued towards him, her blue gown almost glowing against the crimson backdrop. He felt his lips curve into a smile. "How did it go with Joker? Smoothly, I hope."

"Well as smoothly as it ever gets with that grump," she grumbled. "I just hope he liked it enough to not throw it out right away.

"I wouldn't fret about that, milady. I'm sure he liked his present. Isn't that right, Joker?"

He paused a moment, glancing down to the mask as he waited for a response. Joker did not reply with a normal, contemptuous remark or a scathing comment. In fact, he said absolutely nothing at all. Joker blinked in surprise, but quickly recovered.

'After all, whenever we deal with Alice, things are always so much more interesting.'

She was an unpredictable force of nature, having an effect on others that was almost baffling. There was no one else like her, an oddity no one had ever seen before. She was a unique chess piece that graced their country's game, one withholding a light that even shone in their dark, lonely world.

While his counterpart attempted to deny his feelings – claiming he desired only to capture the insolent rule breaker and nothing more – Joker was much more honest about things.

He wanted her.

"Oh, White-san! I should give you your present now too!" Joker roused himself from his musings and watched her shuffle through her bag for a single item. "Found it! Here it is."

It was a blue cloth, decorated heavily with a pattern of snowflakes.

"The Winter season," he mumbled, amused by the sight. He accepted the gift with a gracious smile and carefully unraveled the bindings. He blinked in surprise and stared at the colorful arrangement that lay within.

"Those are candy from Heart Castle and the cloth was from Clover Tower," said Alice.

"Winter and Spring… how very thoughtful of you," he replied, his eye fixated on a single flower. It was a lily flower, its white petals seeming to open wide and resurrect back to life the moment he opened it from its bindings.

"Even after the death that comes winter's harsh embrace, spring opens the earth back to life."

"Well, I never thought of it like that, but I just wanted to show how grateful I am for you both for changing the seasons." She edged closer to look at the lily flower. "I just thought that the flower was pretty and fit into your theme so I put it in there. Don't you think so too?"

"Indeed it is." Joker picked up the lily and released a breath of surprise. The moment it touched his fingers, a darkness spread over the pure, white petals, causing it to change color, into a deep black.

"Huh, that's strange, but at least it's still really pretty. I haven't seen anything like that happen before."

"It's a rarity, miss."

But he found his gaze drifting to a different kind of flower. Her eyes were alight with a simple light, her lips curved into a wistful smile. Standing there so close to him, she seemed so innocent, so pure… so very unsuspecting.

"This talk about winter and spring reminds me about this one myth I heard, one about Hades and Persephone."

"Oh! Yes, I did hear about that. That's the story of when the God of the Underworld, Hades, kidnapped Persephone, daughter of the Harvest Goddess Demeter."

"But can you really blame Hades? For desiring her, the young goddess of spring, wanting that light and warmth that was so absent from his domain?" Alice fell completely still when Joker took a step closer to her. "And do you think that Persephone left unwillingly with such a force of darkness? Maybe she joined his side so she could have her chance of freedom from the life that bound her." Her mouth opened slightly, but failed to offer any response. A dust of pink appeared over her cheeks when he placed the flower into her hands. "So, Miss Alice, would you like to stay with us, join our Underworld and be our Persephone?"

Alice could not speak. With Joker's close proximity, his cold fingers lightly touching her cheek, all she could do was stammer incoherently. Her pink cheeks deepened into a bright red.

At the sight, Joker could not help but laugh. "My, miss, you take things so seriously!"

Alice blinked in confusion before realization. As Joker continued chuckling, she pouted and took a firm step back. "So cruel for teasing me like that White-san! I don't appreciate it at all!"

Despite how upset she seemed, Joker did not miss that brightness of her red cheeks, her inability to look at him directly in the eye.

He ceased his chuckles and smiled gently. "Please don't be upset. Our circus is a place for fun and amusement after all. In fact, we plan on having one more show for only select audiences before we leave. It would please us if you came so we could see you again."

Alice scoffed. "Really? Would you guys seriously give me a private performance?"

"But of course. Consider the invitation a token of our gratitude."

He leaned forward and kissed her on the cheek. Alice gasped and took a step back, cheeks burning even redder. "W… What was th…that for?"

"It was just another way of saying thanks." He innocently tilted his head to the side, appearing genuinely befuddled by her behavior. "Did it displease you, milady? My apologies."

He took another step towards her, causing her to yelp and stumble back. "Joker, stop teasing me. This isn't funny!"

"I don't have the slightest idea what you're talking about, milady." He grinned, watching her eyes widened, her posture stiffening as he gently toyed with a strand of her hair.

She sharply pulled away and scowled. "I think I should get going now. Nightmare and the others are probably worried about me."

"Of course. After all, the beloved outsider, the light of this very country, must return to the surface," he mumbled to himself. Alice blinked, but Joker only smiled, lowering into a gentlemanly bow. "Farewell, Alice. I do hope to see you once more before we leave."

Alice nodded her head and quickly made her way out of the circus, her face and cheeks still a bright red

"And such a light she is…"

Joker exhaled an amused breath. Even though he was standing underneath these bright stage lights, underneath this glaring red big top, everything seemed so much duller after Alice left, as if the very light in the room followed her out of the tent.

"Oi, Joker! What the heck were you trying to do?"

Joker jumped a little at the sound and glanced down at his waist with a smile. "Oh, wonderful! So you're conscious after all! I was getting concerned that you fainted after receiving the young outsider's present."

"Hmph! It's not like I cared for it! It didn't matter to me one bit!" he grumbled, earning a chuckle from the ringmaster.

"Really, you must learn tobe more honest with your feelings! Always being in denial is exhausting."

"Shut the hell up, you stupid clown." The ringmaster smiled and laughed again, hearing his counterpart grumble and curse in annoyance. "So why didn't you capture the prisoner while you have a chance?"

"It's probably the same reasons as to why you never tried to capture her yourself when she was in the prison." Joker appeared thoughtful for a moment, tapping a finger lightly on his chin. "Unless you truly did pass out due to shock…"

"Shut your trap now, or I'll beat you the next time you come to the prison."

Joker smiled down at the mask before returning his gaze up to look at where she exited. He blinked, noticing a fallen black lily petal, and picked it gently off the ground.

He smiled. She was their pure lily flower, their innocent Persephone. How they craved to taint that innocence and make her theirs.

The Jokers were much smarter than Hades. Unlike the lord of the dead, they were capable of exercising patience when it came to the capture of this prisoner. They will have her choose to stay on their side, come into their realm by her own accord.

'After all, we do have one ace up our sleeves.' Joker dug into his pocket and pulled out a glass bottle, watching its heart shape stopper glint underneath the circus lights. 'We hope to see you soon, Alice.'

A/N Notes: This is probably just me being a Greek myth junkie, but I always thought that the Jokers reminded me of a little of Hades. Yes, no, maybe? Eh, Maybe I'm just crazy.

And as for how they would know any kinds of myth and folklore from our world... I simply request you roll with it? I'm sure there's a chance of it being possible.

Anyways thanks for reading~