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Song For A Warrior
Maxim couldn't help it, not with that response. Despite his best efforts to suppress his amusement, a single snort escaped him. He had expected something, well, more dramatic, really. Some lamenting words, something about bleak prospects or heavy with gloom. Not a response like that - so casual, almost innocent. Maybe all of those stories he used to read had warped his own expectations. Probably that.

He cleared his throat, yawning a little right after. The lack of sleep would come back to haunt him sooner or later, that much was certain. But he had to keep it together for now. "Well, I mean, yes, but that's not really what I meant."

His right eye had gotten a little watery. As if his body was trying to really rub it into his face, show him how stupid he had been to not use every opportunity to get some shut-eye. Irritated, Maxim wiped the corner of his eye with one finger. A little better."Let's jump forward in time and assume we've already eaten our breakfast. What then?" He chewed his lip for short moment, frowning, then immediately shook his head. "Wait, let me try and phrase this differently."

He walked over to the other boy, passing him and exiting the room. Maxim hoped it looked to Ben like there was some purpose behind that. He didn't need the awkwardness of having to admit that he had just done so as a sort of transition, in order to not have the two of them stare at each other silently while Maxim was pondering his words. Maybe he was going overboard in his attempt to appear absolutely confident, but he could just as well go through with it now.

After looking down the hallway towards the main exit for a moment, he eventually turned back towards Ben. "Basically, I'm asking: What do you propose we do to, you know; stay alive?"

Thursday's Child
Aiden didn't like feelin' all gross like this - not because of all that fuckin' muck on him, not just because of that. He felt gross like, grouchy and huffy and shit; itchy and sickly and all kinds of fucked. Even before Mel opened the goddamn door. But now, now that thing was wide fuckin' open and everything was a hundred motherfuckin' times worse.

Had only been one day. Felt like fuckin' years now, that time he'd last seen Barry. That thing there, that was him now, all twisted and weird and just goddamn wrong -

He turned away, covering the lower half of his face with his hand. Taste in his mouth was all too familiar now, like it was gonna come out any fuckin' moment. Fuckin' hell, they had to be fuckin' kiddin', this couldn't be for fuckin' real, fuckin' bodies fuckin' everywhere, fuck.

Even now though, even now he was lookin' straight at another dead fuckin' body, goddamn Harold still lyin' there. He was sick of it. So fuckin' sick of it all. They had to get out of there, no goddamn way he could take any more of it.

"Fuck's sake!"

Aiden's hand was clutching his other arm now, tryin' to keep it from jittering around like that. He felt like one big sack of fuckin' jello, so he did. He was starin' at the ground now, with his back turned towards the others.

"I've fuckin' had it, this place is just sick." His voice went so high it broke halfway through. He didn't care. Had to get out of there, all that fuckin' mattered.

"Please, let's just leave, yeah? Go somewhere where there's no dead people around. I can't fuckin'..." Aiden breathed in. Even speaking was makin' him feel all hurt now. Could just keep his mouth shut. At least till they found somewhere else to - do whatever, really. As long as it wasn't here. He breathed out, gently cupping his forehead.

"Jesus."

He started walking. They'd follow him, sure they would. Those two were good people. Like Barry had been, like Harold and Scarls. Only the three of them were dead, and him and Mel and Rena, they'd fuckin' make it. They'd make it, they only had to get somewhere else.

((Aiden Slattery continued elsewhere))

Song For A Warrior
Maxim looked at Ben as he delivered the news, his expression remaining unchanged throughout it. So that was it, the reason for the other boy to seemingly panic yet again. At least it wasn't over nothing. Hell, even he himself wouldn't have expected that Lili to just bail, didn't take her for the type. However, just because it surprised him that didn't mean he had to care about it - or her.

He chewed his lip for a fleeting moment, then nodded. "Alright."

Maybe there was more he to say. There probably was. But that wasn't his problem. If anyone owed that girl any amount of words, it wasn't him. She had made her choice, plain and simple. Though admittedly, to say he wasn't at least a tad happy about it would have been a lie. At least now, he didn't have to worry about Lili potentially endangering them.

He didn't answer to Ben's last statement. His first instinct was to tell him that yes, it was indeed wrong - foolish - of him to even consider the possibility of Maxim running off. There was nothing to gain from it, voluntarily abandon shelter only to leap into the unknown. Ben knew that, he had better known that. Thus, the mere thought of Maxim being willing to do so was beyond ridiculous - he wouldn't tell Ben that, of course. Insulting a person's intelligence was not exactly the ideal way to get them to calm down.

He got up from the bed, feeling at the stubble on his chin. It was starting to get a little more scraggly than he was comfortable with. But shaving was his absolute last concern right now. He gazed at Ben, a somewhat curious look on his features, then snuffled, twice.

"What now?" It was clearly a question yet his tone made it sound like an observation.

Thursday's Child
Aiden impulsively raised his hand, holding it up in front of Mel's face. Damn, had kinda forgotten how close to her he was, almost hit her square in the face there. He retracted his hand a bit, shaking his head.

"No, like - thanks, really, appreciate it and stuff, but you just keep it, alright? Don't wanna have you freezin' your ass off because of me. Not that big of a deal anyway."

Yeah, no way he was gonna go and wear her jacket. Woulda just felt all wrong too, like he was defiling it, some shit like that. Thing was hers, so it was gonna stay on her, fuckin' simple. Maybe not the smart move, prolly even a pretty fuckin' dumb one, but 'least he had experience with those. Could stay consistent if nothing else.

He gave Mel a nod, tryin' to look all reassuring, then turned to Rena again. "Seriously, it's okay. You guys don't need to try and change my mind or something, won't work. You can bet a monkey's dick on that."

Aiden grabbed his forehead, rubbing both his temples. "No idea where that one came from, sorry. Not the time to be jerkin' around, I know." He sighed. Shit sucked. Fuckin' everything was fucked up enough on its own already, but this goddamn headache just made it ten times worse; fuckin' shittiest of all shit-tiers.

"Can we three just like, move on? Go check out the tower or something? That's what we're all here for anyway, right? Or were before that dude showed up and went Speedy Gonzales on us.“

Song For A Warrior
There was yelling coming from outside of the room. Not quite enough to startle Maxim, but sufficient to make him wonder for a couple of seconds. That was Ben, right? Had to be him. Yes, yes, that was his voice, no doubt.

Even so, he was shouting, apparently looking for him, asking if he was there. Unless that was the guy's attempt at performing a wake-up call or some sort of bizarre morning ritual, there had to be a reason for it. Maybe Ben was simply worried? He had to have just heard the announcement as well, maybe that was it. Maybe he was panicking; again.

He heard a squeaking. A quick glance in the sound's direction and he knew it came from the handle of the door that was about to be opened. Not even a single concern for his privacy. Something had to be the matter, this was completely unlike Ben. Unless he had never truly known him and was starting to witness the true colors of his so-called friend. Well, he'd know soon enough.

Maxim considered answering, yelling out in order to confirm to Ben that he was indeed inside the room. But seeing as the other boy was about to enter anyway, he decided against it. No need to waste his breath.

Thursday's Child
"Huh?"

Took him a sec to see what Rena was getting at. More than a sec, really. He was all ready to ask her about it, until he noticed what her eyes were lookin' at.

Aiden lowered his own gaze, looked himself down and was promptly reminded of the state he was in. Hadn't changed his shirt since - fuck. This had to look bad, like he was some sort of slasher freak or some shit like that. Hell, if he'd have spotted a dude lookin' like that, he'd have stayed absolutely fuckin' clear of him, no doubt about it. Rena really had to have some balls or - something.

He looked back at the girl that was now not too far in front of him. "Nah, I'm fine, I'm all fine." He casually tugged at the fabric of his shirt. "This ain't mine here, it's..." Her name popped up in his head again and he immediately stopped tugging.
Fuckin' shit, what was his deal, being all casual like that? Tryin' to keep a clear head, not think about it too much, sure, but this was just makin' him feel all fucked up. 'Fine.' Yeah, like hell he was. Would have felt better if it was his own fuckin' blood, probably. Would have hurt less too. Maybe.

He awkwardly ruffled his hair, his mouth hanging open and producing quiet stammering sounds as he was looking for something to follow that up with, some sort of transition, something to break the obnoxious fuckin' silence with. He slightly turned his head, glancing at Mel like he was asking her to cover his ass. Which he was, really.

Song For A Warrior
He had to force himself to continue to listen. The overwhelming sensation hadn't left his mind, of course, it was all too reasonable for him to be distracted. Maybe he even wanted to be distracted. But even now, even as fate or life or whatever goddamn higher force was responsible for this mess had decided to deliver yet another kick to his gut, he knew he couldn't afford to get sloppy. He had to know who to look out for; know which of his so called peers had succumbed to temptation and thus proven themselves to be an enemy. So he listened.

Not all of the names meant something to him, of course. He had talked to some, heard of some and for some, he didn't even have a face to associate with their name. Though he had to commend Ben here, it seemed, for deciding to stay clear of that Kimiko girl. Strange how they had talked about her just yesterday and she of all people had turned out to become Cristo's killer. He supposed there was some sort of irony in that. Not that it was in any way amusing to him.

Either way, that was it, the man had ceased to talk. He was left with silence once more. Weirdly enough, Maxim kind of found himself wishing for that speech to continue. It gave him something to focus on, at least, a distraction. He had plenty of things to think about now, of course. In fact, he felt that there were so many thoughts coursing through his head that the latter was starting to ache. Great, just what he needed now.

Maxim cupped his chin with one hand but remained unmoving apart from that. Cristo was gone. That thought in particular was throbbing in his temple, like a large unsightly vein. He couldn't remember if he had ever thought of the possibility of his friend dying before. Maybe just in passing, casual enough to be filtered out from his memory. Well, it was reality now.

And yet, he couldn't help but feel that despite his own expectations, Maxim didn't feel sad as much as he just felt - odd.

Thursday's Child
"Whoa, whoa!"

Door came flyin' towards him out of the fucking blue and Aiden jumped backwards to avoid getting his face smashed in. Close fucking encounter, he could even feel the gush of air on his skin as it barely missed him. He had no time to even recover or try and catch on to whatever the fuck had just happened, as some dude rushed past him less than a second later.

"Fuckin' -"

That was all his brain could produce in that moment, things went way too flippin' fast. First instinct was to assume he was under attack or something and he threw his hands up to shield himself or something, like that was going to help. Huh, wasn't chargin' for him though, nope. Just makin' a run for it, so he did, classic bailing.

Aiden lowered his hands again, tried to catch his breath. Coulda yelled after that guy, told him to stop and calm his tits or some shit. Thought didn't even cross his mind in that moment though. Just watching after him as he took off, Aiden could tell that it wasn't one of his crew, no one he immediately recognized or something. Not worth chasing after. Fuck, that sounded way too fuckin' shitty, but that was how he fuckin' felt.

He almost jumped when Mel started speaking again. Jesus, his fuckin' nerves, bouncin' all over the place. Had to get a grip, yup. "Huh, what are you sayin?' There's nobody else, that guy just left and-"

Oh wait, she meant behind him, right. He turned around and yup, there she was. Whoever she [/i] was[/i]. Took him a bit to really take in her face, way too many faces to go through in his head. Fuck like, every small thing was kind of overwhelming his brain, like it was startin' go get a bit fuzzy and all.

"Hey uh...oh right, that's Rena! Rena, Serena or - something. Whatever, she looks harmless, you with me?"

He turned his head away from Mel and back to the new arrival. Stared at her for another moment, then slowly raised his arm and starting waving back - sort of.

Song For A Warrior
((Maxim Kehlenbrink, continued from Prince of Nothing))


Finally, there it was. It had kept him up for hours; a sting in his side each time he had been about to nod off. He knew it would come eventually, one could almost say he had anticipated it. Whether it was out of morbid curiosity or just in order to have absolute confirmation that everything was ending around him, even Maxim didn't know. Nor did he care to know. Nothing could change his situation either way.

He sat on the edge of his bed, if one could even call it that. One room next to that of Ben, for privacy's sake and all. Now that he thought about it, staying awake in order to not miss it hadn't been worth it, not really. Given the volume of the announcement, he'd have woken up as soon as it started anyway. As per usual, those regrets came too late. All he wanted to do now was listen.

He had to admit, the voice and manner of speech of that man did have some sort of captivating quality to them. Not enough to quell Maxim's hatred of him, of course, but still, at least their tormentor knew how to properly sell what he was doing.

Name after name, some he knew, some he didn't. Maxim noticed that his jaw was trembling with what he suspected had to be excitement. He shifted his position on the mattress, grunting in frustration. That brief moment of self-awareness had been enough to send a shiver of shame and disgust down his spine, directed towards himself, in more ways than one.

He hated himself for it, of course he did, but he just couldn't help it. The mere thought alone was horrible enough, his peers dying like that. But now that it had become reality and he was there to quasi witness it, there simply wasn't another way of putting it; it had something exciting. It was different and overwhelming and maybe that was what why he felt like he did. Maybe just his way of coping with the initial shock. As much as he didn't like it.

Cristo. His name, his name had just been mentioned. Danya, he was talking about him, about his - corpse.

For a few seconds, Maxim's expression didn't change. He sat there, hands firmly placed on his resting place, digging into the fabric below. Then he exhaled, just as the full realization washed over him.

Of course. Of course it had to be him of all people. Not like Maxim had ever been lucky once in his life.