The walk to Aladdin's Palace was quiet, as Alice tried to figure out how to break the silence between her and the blood donor. Hiding her cutlass behind her back, the recon decided to speak up. "So-"
She was interupted when Jezebel's announcement about a coalition came on the intercom. "The hell was that about?"
A deep crease formed in between Ice's eyebrows, "That two-faced lily-livered Ruella must have something up her sleeves that's hard to stomach. I know Zach trusts her and all- But she's going to get us all killed. If we create factions, nothing good will come out of it, especially with the trials..." He shuddered slightly, the Blood Donor's mind going back to wished away memories of battlefields. "This all started with Krista's rescue mission. right? Didn't they hear how the whole thing was voluntary? Geez..." The were getting closer to the Cave, but not quickly enough for Ice's taste, "Do you remember what she said at the end of the fight? About Faith?"
"That she was happy to be rid of Tinker Bell? Yeah, every word." Alice nodded, thinking back to the last night of carnage. "She was right about one thing though. I'm not strong." She mumbled, crossing her arms in thought. "But this? What would making an alliance do? Besides making it easier to antagonize and backstab others."
"There's no way I'm going to trust her after a backstab like that. She's good at finding people's insecurites and prodding them, but that doesn't mean everything she says is right." He gripped at his neck tie, wanting to smash his fist into something, preferably the Trickster's face, "We have survived this far, that means we have the strength. I'm assuming the Ruella thinks she can't take control of our group with normal circumstances, so she's making a faction of her own. She wants control and will do anything to get it, all the more reason to be cautious." He glanced down at Alice, "You've seen her in past trials, she's all bark with little to no bite. If she can't even take her own heat, don't let it burn you."
The recon silently looked back up at Ice, before nodding in reply, a genuine smile on her face. "Yeah, you're right. If she dares to harass Henry however, I might have to have a bit of a word with her..." her grip on her cutlass tightened. "I just hope I won't have to fight anyone besides the tincans though." Alice sighed.
The Blood Donor gave a small chuckle, "Neither do I, although... I am a lot more practiced when it comes to fighting someone with a heartbeat."
"Yeah, me too."
As the two came closer to the entrance of the cave, there was no sight of Max, only darkness reached out of the grave of an old monk. Though there was definitely a presence deep within, as the slow methodical beat of cold iron against iron echoed throughout the cavern; Max was waiting.
Alice tensed up when she heard the pulse-like banging of metal emitting from the dark cave. Taking a deep breath, she walked forward, keeping her grip on her weapon. "Hello? Max??" The recon called out. "You wanted to see us for something?"
Ice knew he was in there, and he also knew Max wasn't the most sane right now. With one hand at pressed against his arm, he took another step forward. Pressed against the sleeve was his chain, nice and comfortingly cold. "We came." He had to be calm about this, trying to think back to when the Blood Donor had first woken up. Blood needed to be shed, but there was no one around that Ice would let Max have at it with. "Look, we want to help you, but there has to be a plan. No one wants another Infinite dead." While she may not have liked it, he stood slightly in front of the recon.
"So you did." A voice came within, soon to be supported by the silhouette of Max who stepped forward, finally taking in the light of the outside. "Before we...get to the real stuff-" Max took another step forward, getting ever closer to Ice. "I'd like you to know something." Although Ice was very tall himself, Max loomed over him with the intention of teaching this kid a different world.
"You remember your little outburst in the trial, I hope. Well I don't think I ever answered your question." He said, his eyes darting behind Ice's shoulder to Alice before returning his gaze to Ice's. "But you see, for someone like, aninfinite thug, the police might look a bit underhanded and corrupt. And here's the thing, you're right. I took all the credit when townfoolery happened in your back alley. I took all the credit when people like you saved innocents and I let the pedophiles run wild because they helped my agenda. and to be frank, I would take all the credit for taking out the big bad wolves had I ever gotten the chance." While Max wasn't exaclty shouting these claims, there was certainly a force behind it; one almost melancholic.
"And you know where it brought me? chief officer, top of the mountain; in charge. And the first thing I did after reaching that position...was arresting, and removing every single corrupt police officer i could find. But the only way I could have done so, was by getting to the top and making sure that nobody could stop me; and the only way to get to the top..." Suddenly Max took a step back and seemed to lose his fierceness, only to regain it in an instant. "Is by working along side them, committing the same crimes. There is only one way to fight injustice...You have to be injust."
Max pointed his finger at Ice's chest, pushing into it with reasonable force. "So you can scoff at the force all you want, but if you ever throw me in with them again...Well-" He took a step back once more, finally exchanging his posture for something more approachable. "I think you get the point."
Ice knew he was being treated like a child, why else would Max try to loom over him? If it wasn't to make some kind of threat, it was to teach some kind of lesson. And while the man wanted to ignore whatever came out of his mouth because he wasn't ready to be treated like some teenager, he knew this was Max's answer to his outburst and the Blood Donor had to listen. But... Ice didn't want to be right. He had wanted- he had hoped that his experiences hadn't been the norm. That there was some kind of good in the world... And Max had smashed that hope to pieces. It was sick, it was twisted, and just the thing that had to be done to purge the evil from within. Ice understood and that's what clawed into his chest.
Ice remembered the people he had killed to get information. He remembered the lives he had destroyed whether that meant drugs, whether that meant ripping men away from their families. He had turned into the men who had taken his kids away from him, just so he could sever their heads and hang them on the fence outside. Ice just thought... he had thought... T-That was the underworld! That's what it took to be top dog! Why was it the same in a place where justice was supposed to be their motto, their motive?
He wanted to slip back into an old shell, go back in time, run away and far. Then he wanted to scream and swear and demand that Max take it back, just bloody take it back! But... He couldn't do either. So instead he stumbled to the side of the cave and slipped to the ground, memories echoing around him. Times where he had been drunk enough to find himself invincible and start fights he couldn't win. Times his gang would do low level raids to get one up and find childrens bodies littered around. They didn't want to get to a safe place, she was too afraid to go home. She just wanted more. More drugs, more anything. She had looked too much like Mary. And when Ice had turned his back-
His gun was missing and a loud bang! rang out.
Ice's vision slipped back to the present and he gripped his chain to reassure himself, "Fuck! ..."
She didn't know what to do. Alot of emotions were stiring inside of the recon, as she tried to figure out what to do then. But there was one feeling that seemed to drive her forward more than the rest. Hate. Something she hadn't really felt in a long time. "Hypocrite..." Alice turned to face Max. "You really are a hypocrite, you know that, right?" She said, walking forward to the cop. "Officers of Law Enforcement are supposed to be all about order, about peace and justice, and this is how you strive for it? Working for the enemy!?" The recon raised her voice to where she was yelling at Max. "You let the corrupt and the manevolent roam free, just cause it helps you gain some bullshit renown and title?! To think I wanted to apologize for laughing at your grief, you half-witted bastard!!" She spat at the infinite police officer, before appearing to calm down some. "Are you all like this? Just manipulating the roots of order and chaos like a puppet show?" Alice tiredly chuckled. "Just make this meeting quick, Visser. I don't wanna stay here longer than what's needed."
Max took a seat next to Ice, albeit with a bit of distance between them, and faced Alice. "To uphold order and justice, there's simply no way but to manipulate it from within. If you truly think being a police officer is really all about order, peace, and justice? You're in for a world of hurt. But don't mistake my intentions, those corrupt and manevolent will not harm anyone ever again."
His shuddering was stopping as he leaned his head back against the wall of the cave. This was where the first murder has happened, yet Ice couldn't seem to care. "The damage is done, we can't bring back the dead." He stared up at Alice for a second, two emotions playing through his head. One was that she had a certain innocence to her that he wanted to protect and the other was her strength to be able to stand up to Max even after all of his intimidation. To not soften her blows, even though she knew he was going through something. While she hadn't said it very nicely, they couldn't beat around the bush. "Look, we don't have time for this. I'm a repugnant murderer, he's a deplorable wolf in sheep's clothing, what matters is what we can do with our experiences. I don't want to start something because, god, it brings up too many bad memories. So what's the plan so we don't start trying to off each other?"
"Well, this group is unexperienced and upbeat. They don't know about the hardships and they shouldn't have to. But when I saw how much you two despised mister perfection, how you wanted to rip his heart out, you aren't afraid of getting your hands dirty. I thought you would help me take him down...but-" Max glared at Alice, clearly upset, but also glad. "Turns out you two were already planning something."
The recon glared back at Max. Yet it was more of confusion than anger. "What the hell are you talking abo-" Alice asked, then it hit her. "You were spying on us?!" There just had to be a second reason for her to punch the cop in the face. Or at the very least, throw him in the fountain. She didn't really care.
Ice brought a hand up to his temple, "Quiet down... We'd do the same thing in his position, Alice, or at least I would. We should've waited until we were somewhere more private. Again, he's not prince charming." He glanced between the two of them, exasperated, "It might be better if you took a seat."
"Look I know relations have been shaky these past days, and spying isn't very nice...But talking with that robot behind everyone's back? And keeping all that intel for yourself? We're all commiting crimes here girl." As if in disbelief of what he was about to say, Max scratched the back of his head. "But just like back then, I don't think we're gonna beat Davis without dirtying our hands once more. I'm willing to walk that road, but will you two?"
The Blood Donor pivoted his body so that he was facing the Police man, his legs crossed and his hands resting on each knee, "If you so much as lay a finger on the heads of the people I care about, I will end you. I know what's it's like to lose someone that you were meant to protect, that's why I'm choosing to take a leap of faith with you Max. After taking those considerations, do your worst. And as long as I see Davis crying like a new born babe, I'm all for it."
After a moment of silence, Alice sighed. "Do I have time to think about it?" She asked the cop, her expression softening a bit.
"The night of carnage is coming soon; you have till then." Max said as he placed a hand on the floor, intent on getting up. "And Ice, if it comes down to it, I may have no choice but to hurt your cared ones, but it won't ever kill them, and will always be for their own safety." Max extended a hand towards Ice, hoping he would take it.
Ice stared down at the hand being held out to him. It really was too early for Max to be making such a commitment. If they weren't in this killing game, Ice would have bought him a trip to somewhere across the world so that he'd have time to collect his thoughts and calm down, but this place didn't disappear when you closed your eyes. "And I'll be here to kick your arse if you try," He took the officer's hand and squeezed.
"Okay, cool, can we get back to the diner now? Henry's probably waiting for me." Alice asked, walking out of the cave.
Ice let his hand fall slack and stood up, stretching out his back. His chain clanked loudly on his belt, and he winced, "It's better than going to that trickster ruella's meeting at least."
The recon nodded, walking on ahead and leaving Max in the cave. Silently staring into the blade of her cutlass, she furrowed her brows before speaking up again. "Hey, if one of my eyes got gouged out, which one do you think it would be?"
Ice, who had been following behind, stopped. His eyes widened, "Alice, don't talk like that! Is this about Zach? Are you worried the tincans will hurt you?" He took a step forward and grabbed onto one of her shoulders.
"Look, I just feel like I deserve it, okay?! Nothing excuses being a hitman for most of your li-" as quickly as she said it, Alice immediately covered her mouth before she could finish her sentence.
He went still for a second, before his hold on her shoulder became firm again. The Blood Donor turned her around and brushed the cutlass to the side before bending down to look her in the eye. "Alice?" He said gently, as nonjudgemental and supportively as he could. It wasn't like Ice hadn't imagined the kind of work Alice must have done, hitman was just one of the possibilities, especially with her abilities. If she was going to tell him, she would, he didn't want to press her.
Fear was present on her face. The recon didn't want to tell him, and yet she blurted out the one fact about herself she wanted to forget. Shaking in place, Alice decided to just tell Ice the truth. "That's right. I'm not a good person. Before I became a recon, I worked as a hitman."
"Hey, hey, hey..." Ice smoothed out the jacket over her shoulders over and over again, "There's only one thing going through my mind right now- Well, actually too things. One: Oh god, I might've made her cry. And two..."He gave a small smile, "So?"
"Wait what?" Alice's eyes widened in suprise. "What do you mean 'so'?"
He glanced away for a second. "How do I word this... " He sighed, "You know my past, what I've been through. You saw how I reacted to Maxipad back there, I can't have some kind of moral high ground either way. I'd never hold your past against you Alice, no matter what it was. So we both have a body count, it's not like we're the same people we were before."
The recon couldn't help but giggle at the nickname Ice gave Max. "So, you're fine with me being a murderer too?" Alice asked him.
"You don't wear it like a badge of honor right? If you feel guilty enough and do what you can to make up for it, I don't see why I wouldn't be fine with it. You get to take care of Henry, you went on to get an Infinite title. Me... It's strange to say, but... This killing game is my saving grace. Yes I hate being here, but outside I was only going through the motions, acting like a zombie. I just couldn't bring myself to pull the plug. There's no way you're worse than me."He slipped his hand off Alice's shoulder and pulled her in for a hug.
Returning the hug, the recon burried her head into his chest. "...Heh, I don't wanna let go."
Happy that she couldn't see his blush, Ice tightened his arms around her, "Then don't, silly."