Disclaimer; All rights go to Quinrose when due.
A Good Night's Sleep
Alice x Jericho
Jericho Bermuda wasn't sure when was the last time he had a good sleep. Perhaps he could chalk it up as it being his own fault, but Jericho never felt he could allow himself a decent slumber.
It may surprise people to hear that even this strong graveyard master had his own inner demon's to contend with, becoming more prominent when he decided he wanted some rest. It was a natural concern, one that comes with the unusual circumstances of his role. It always came in the form of a question.
What if this was it? What if this was his last day? What if when he goes to sleep that night, he doesn't wake up?
Unlike the people around him who care nothing about their lives, willing to throw them away and be replaced, he was truly concerned about disappearing completely. He did not want to disappear. He did not want someone else to overtake his role and replace him.
Dying in his sleep. That was one of his greatest fears. That was why he feared closing his eyes. They might stay closed forever.
At the sudden thought, he jolted awake and sat upright on the couch. His breath was ragged, his chest heaving as he took in his surroundings and pinched his skin. He was still alive. He did not disappear after all.
A small part of himself relaxed in relief.
Lately he was even more terrified to go to sleep. He just did not know what he would do. He could not disappear, not now, not when...
"Jericho? You're already awake?"
He perked up at the sound of the voice. He looked to see a young woman standing in front of him, tea cup held in her delicate fingers.
Alice sat beside him on the couch, brows knitting together in concern. "Hey, are you alright? You seem a bit frazzled. Did you have a bad dream?"
He shook his head and only smiled in relief to see her. He really was still alive.
"I didn't disappear after all... You're still here."
She blinked once, understanding dawning over her. Her expression softened into a smile. "Of course I'm still here. I noticed you were kinda restless so I brought you some tea."
Jericho scoffed. "Ha. Like I'd want that Hatter's favorite brew..."
Still despite his complaints, he still took the tea out of her hands and began to drink. The bitterness stung his senses, burning as it travel down his throat. It acted as a sort of proof that he truly was alive.
He then glanced over to Alice. For a moment he still doubted that he was awake. Maybe this was all a dream, his mind conjuring up her presence to taunt him before taking her away from him forever.
"You really are awake," she said as if reading his mind. "I'm really here with you."
Jericho felt his body relax at the assurance. That was what he always liked about Alice. She was the first person to truly care for him, be there for him. She always knew exactly what to say to make him feel better.
When she was there, he felt he could just relax.
As well as other things.
"Alice..." He placed the cup on the table and drew closer, holding her face in his hands.
He wasn't sure what came over him. He had never felt so strongly for one person, desiring for that person to remain by his sides. He took in her bright eyes and fair hair, finding himself increasingly engrossed on the subtle movements of her butterfly lips...
"U... Uh, Jericho...?"
He snapped out of his lewd daze to really look at her. Her face was warm under his hands, brightening into a deep red. Her eyes were wide, glowing with a sort of confused apprehension.
"A... Are you still sleepy?"
He gave her a quick once over and released a tired sigh. He removed his hands from her face and allowed his head to drop to her lap.
"Huh? Are you alright?"
"I'm still tired. Please wake me up at the next time period."
"But using my lap as a pillow? You can't be serious."
And by the lack of response, she supposed he was. She sighed, amazed he was already fast asleep.
Or so she thought.
At the moment Jericho was too busy kicking himself to fall asleep. What the hell was he thinking? What was he trying to do? He was much better at controlling his feelings and urges than the other hormonal driven role holders. Still, there was just something about Alice that made him feel differently, dulling his senses and making him do or think such irrational things.
Ever since he met Alice, he feared disappearing even more. He could not die now. Not when he had finally met her, not when she had made a place in his clock heart.
He then felt his body relax when he felt her run her fingers through his hair. It was a gentle gesture, soft and almost tentative. Still her touch seemed to brush all those anxieties and fears from out of his mind. All he could think about was her presence, her comforting fingers. All that mattered was that Alice was with him.
He felt a smile curl his lips. Maybe, just maybe he could have a goodnight's sleep after all.
"What are you doing in Jericho's room?"
Alice jumped at the sight of child Ace. He was leaning casually against the door, brows knitted in slight confusion. He further examined the situation and frowned.
"Hey, and why is that old man lying on your lap?"
Her cheeks flushed and for a moment she was too embarrassed to speak. Swallowing a lump, she managed to say, "A... Ace, please keep your voice down. Jericho is sleeping."
"I don't care. The old man can wake up for all that matters." He pouted at the sight, crossing his arms childishly over his chest. "That's not fair. Why is he keeping you all to himself? Julius is being a boring, old grouch so I want to have an adventure with you!"
"Well, maybe later. You see, I'm a bit—"
"No, we should go now! I want to lie on your lap too." Ace grin widened. "So come on, Alice! Let's go..."
Ace reacted quickly, narrowly dodging the tea cup that was flung at his head.
"Get lost, brat. She has better things to do then hang at with you at the moment," Jericho growled.
Ace pouted and sulked out the door, grumbling about something concerning an annoying old man. Alice only stared, first at the retreating Ace then towards the graveyard master.
"Hmph. Noisy brat. He should know better than to try to take you away from me like that."
Jericho huffed at the thought, resettled himself comfortably on her lap, and slowly went back to sleep.
A/N Notes: As i said in my other fic, I have not played Diamond no Kuni no Alice (though I really want to). All representations of those characters are based on tidbits I've read and my own interpretations. Apologies to those who have played the games and find the characters are OoC.
One thing got me thinking though while i tried delving in this guy's head. idk why Jericho is so hyped up about living in DnKnA? Considering the way the people in the other countries were before, I would I have thought he'd be more fatalistic. Yet I read he truly does fear going to sleep because he's afraid he won't wake up and die. It's the first time hearing about someone from this world who actually cares about his life and role rather than caring because they don't want to make their precious Alice sad.
That's what I simply got and idk I may be interpreting wrong. Anyone who played the game who would like to offer insight or correct me, go for it.
Thanks for reading!