Very short chapter, just some set up for the next one. Enjoy.
Alice in Jails - Prison Episode
Color Pages & Epilogue I
Chapter 1 Front
Chapter 1 Back
Chapter 2 Front
Chapter 2 Back
Chapter 3 Front
Chapter 3 Back
Chapter 4 Front
Chapter 4 Back
Chapter 5 Front & Back, Connecting Chapter, Remaining Chapter
Alice in Jails - Streets Episode
Peter Pan in Chains
Madison Square Park
"You really went and made Chane cry, huh."
The young woman in the black dress and her redheaded companion stood completely surrounded by dangerous looking men in black coats.
In any story this situation would have spelled grave danger, but the goons might as well have not been there at all for all the reaction the young man showed.
"I'll just have to punch you all in the eyes until you cry just as much as she did. Consider yourselves warned."
"What the hell are you talking about? Who's crying?" Spike blurted.
The young man merely shook his head sadly.
"Listen. Can't you hear that? That's Chane's voice crying out, filled with sadness. She's asking for help. Still can't? Here, let me give you a hint: only I can hear it."
"Are you ever gonna say anything that makes sense? How much opium did you smoke today, pal?"
"What are you, stupid? Why would I need drugs for this? All I need to do is believe to sharpen my senses, and then I can hear Chane's voice loud and clear."
Spike scoffed. "Hey, Felix. Not you, the one on our side. You really sold your name to this wacko?! Wait, wait, hold on a sec. Does that mean he's an assassin too?"
But instead of replying, the former Felix Walken only sighed deeply and looked away, refusing to answer.
As for the young redhead, also Felix Walken--though he sometimes went by Claire Stanfield--stared curiously at the blind man.
"Oh, hey. Now I remember you."
Spike's brow furrowed and focused his keen sense of hearing in the direction of Claire's voice. The young man had been bothering him for some reason from the moment he opened his mouth, making warning bells ring loudly in his head for a reason he couldn't fathom. But the next words from Claire's mouth definitely helped him remember.
"You're that sniper from the train."
The klaxons in his head rose to a fever pitch as Spike froze, the confidence he'd gained from his numerical advantage crumbling in an instant, folding like a house of cards.
"Huh. Gotta say, even in my business it's not every day you see someone make it after they get dropped face first off a train."
Somewhere in New York
Division of Investigation Temporary Office
Even as the men in black coats shuffled awkwardly with confusion over in Madison Square Park, there was a place in New York where yet greater chaos reigned.
Thankfully, the explosion in Victor's office hadn't started a fire, but thick black smoke still filled the small room, and the coughing man who gingerly rose to his feet could only be made out as a hazy silhouette. Victor had been sent flying by the force of the explosion, but somehow he managed to keep his wits about him.
"Dammit... Is everyone alright?" he called, looking around. He noted absently that the papers on the desks had been sent flying, and the wood was blackened and smoldering, but that the sturdy desks themselves had barely budged.
"Ah... Well, physically, I think I'm unharmed, sir."
"Christ, what the hell just happened?"
Victor heaved a quiet sigh of relief as his two subordinates peeked out from behind their desks, looking shaken but otherwise uninjured.
"Whew. Thank God the two of you are fine."
"Huh? What is it?" Victor asked, looking askance at his two subordinates.
"Well, uhh, sir. I think this is the first time you've ever worried for us like a normal human being."
"Hmm. I have to agree with Edward. I've worked for you for a long time, sir, but this is something quite new. Permission to shed tears of joy, sir?"
"...You smartass bastards..."
Victor grit his teeth, flushing with chagrin. Much as he would've liked to chew out the two of them, he instead walked to the soot on the floor that marked where the small bomb had exploded, looking down at it.
"Hmph. You think a bomb'd be enough to keep us down, Huey? You thought this'd be able to control us? Hah. Haha. Fat chance." He paused, looked around. "Huh. What happened to the messenger? Ran way, I guess?"
There was nothing left where the stranger had been standing before. He'd probably made a break for it just before the bomb went off.
"Erm... sir," Bill said, sighing. "Actually, I think Laforet's messenger succeeded quite admirably."
"What? What's that supposed to mean?"
Victor turned around to see Bill at the window, looking outside. The room was located on the first floor, and the window opened directly out onto the street.
Following his subordinate's gaze, Victor looked out and saw that the messenger was lying in a bloody mess on the sidewalk, probably blown out the window by the force of the blast.
The man's arms and legs were bent at unnatural angles, and his neck had been twisted in a direction that no normal neck would ever move. He lay completely still, and from the amount of blood splattered on the pavement, it was a safe bet that he'd stay that way.
Even worse for Victor, nearby pedestrians had come running at the sound of the explosion, and now dozens of them stood gathered in a crowd, staring right back at Victor as he peered out the window.
From far away he could hear the clip-clops of mounted policeman drawing near, and he clenched his teeth even harder. A blood vessel in his brain gave way and burst, but it healed in an instant before he could suffer a stroke.
"So this is how it's gonna be, huh, Huey?!"
He glared heatedly at the silent mass of meat lying on the pavement and snarled.
"I knew it... I knew I should've just eaten the goddamn bastard the moment I got my fucking hands on him...!"
The Genoard Manor
"Aaaaaah! Nooooo! Mr. Graham! Noooooo!"
"Come on, Jacuzzi, calm down. No more tears, okay? I'm sure he's just fine."
Jacuzzi had heard the emergency broadcast on the radio and immediately fallen into hysterics.
The rest of his gang had actually turned it on in an effort to find something soothing--Jacuzzi had been in the middle of another, completely unrelated crying fit--but the news from Chicago had put a stop to that in an instant, and now even they stood silent and tense, almost as uneasy about the news as Jacuzzi himself. Only Nice smiled comfortingly, continuing to comfort the tattooed youth.
"B-but Nice! You heard the radio! They blew up three hundred buildings! Three hundred! Who even has that many bombs?! It's insane! Chicago's gonna disappear off the face of the earth any minute now!"
"It's fine, Jacuzzi. Lighten up. I mean, three hundred isn't so bad," Nice said soothingly, and Jacuzzi looked up at her with wide eyes.
Nice's smile took on a distinctly dreamy quality as her single eye lost focus. "Nope, it's not. I've got two hundred more than that stashed away just in my room alone..."
"Aaaah! No no no don't say anything more that's enough I'm sorry that's terrifying please don't say any more!" Jacuzzi shrieked, clapping both hands over his ears and shaking his head from side to side.
In other words, business as usual at the Genoard mansion, but the atmosphere took a distinct turn for the worse as the doorbell rang suddenly.
The youths stared uneasily at one another as the chime faded, unsure of what to do.
They almost never got any mail, and most of the people Jacuzzi knew didn't actually bother to knock or ring the bell when they visited.
"Who d'you think it is?"
"Ever notice how nobody who visits when Jacuzzi's crying is ever good news?"
"Dammit, Jacuzzi! Now look what you did!"
"That's enough crying, you dumbass!"
"Ain't you ever considered that your tears might cause even more sadness for other people?!"
"Think a little before you go wasting your tears, you idiot!"
The doorbell momentarily forgotten, the youths crowded around their leader, heaping insults on him, prompting him to actually stop crying and look up.
"What?!" Jacuzzi yelped, looking quite offended for once. "Why's this my fault all of a sudden?!"
He got to his feet and trudged over to the door, still grumbling half-heartedly under his breath as he wiped away his tears.
"Where are your manners, you guys? Geez, you'll annoy our guests yelling like that."
Fixing a bright smile on his face that looked quite at odds with his red-rimmed eyes, Jacuzzi swung open the door to greet his visitors.
"Hey. Long time no see."
A young man with tattoos over his shaved head stood in the doorway with one hand raised in greeting.
"You don't know how relieved I am that you're alright!"
It turned out that Jacuzzi's gang would only have to entertain two guests that day.
One was a bespectacled man wearing a bandanna over his shaved head--Tim.
The other was a timid looking woman with something that looked like a staff strapped to her back--Adelle.
Jacuzzi knew them both, and truth be told they hadn't exactly met or parted on the best terms. They'd been the reason that Jacuzzi and his gang had been swept up in the Mist Wall incident a year ago, after all. But Jacuzzi himself seemed to have forgotten all about it. At least, that was how he acted, showing not a hint of animosity toward them but instead nothing but pure relief at their good health, as though they were good friends he'd known all his life.
"And Mi-Miss Adelle! You're all healed up now! What a relief..."
Adelle, who'd been doing her best to hide herself in Tim's shadow, paused awkwardly in the face of Jacuzzi's smile.
"Umm. I... I... Err... Well, I..."
"Oh? Is something wrong? Was it something I said?" Jacuzzi blurted, looking toward Tim. The other man just sighed and shook his head, equal parts resignation and surprise stamped on his features.
"You're really something, you know that," he said. "How can you care so much about someone who almost killed you?"
Jacuzzi paled slightly, as though he'd just remembered the events of the past year, but he swallowed hard and kept the smile fixed firmly on his face.
"S-still! I, I mean, everything was such a mess back then, and you were both hurt, so of course I was worried! And... and, we've killed people too, so it's not exactly fair of us to hold a grudge for something like that..."
Jacuzzi trailed off into a whisper as he went, finally falling silent, but shook himself as though snapping himself out of a funk and looked to his guests again.
"S-so. Umm, what brings the two of you here today?"
That was more like what Tim had been expecting, and he calmly began with the reply he'd prepared beforehand.
"You guys know Graham Specter, right?"
"Know" would be putting it lightly; Jacuzzi had been crying with concern for the man just a few minutes ago. Before he could even begin to worry about why the name had come up, Tim pushed onward.
"And of course you know about our organization."
"Oh, umm, you work for Chane's father, right?"
Tim nodded, though he didn't look altogether happy about it.
"Yeah. There's a group working on his orders over in Chicago, and I think they've gotten into a little... argument... with your friend Specter."
"With Mr. Graham?!"
Jacuzzi couldn't stop the surprised yelp from passing his lips, and even the rest of his gang, listening in from the hallway, exchanged uneasy glances.
"B-but why! An argument?! What kind?! D'you mean an argument argument? What're they gonna do to him?!"
"What's he going to do to them, you mean. From what I hear, they've got their hands full just trying to break even against him. They sounded like they were being run ragged, to be honest."
"So the Lamia used their heads for once. They came up with a plan, you see, to take someone he knew hostage and force him to back down..."
A sudden chill fell over the manor.
Jacuzzi felt cold sweat trickling down his back as he looked hesitantly toward Tim.
"Erm... I... I have to advance the opinion very very strongly that taking people hostage is a terrible terrible thing to do and you shouldn't do it if you can help it at all and with that firmly in mind I have to ask... umm... wh-who are you planning on kidnapping?"
"We hear you're on pretty good terms with him."
"Aaaaaaaaaah! Noooo! I knew it!"
Jacuzzi took a few steps backward, wailing. Behind him, his friends tensed and readied themselves to fight, reacting to their leader's agitation.
Immediately Tim raised his hands in a placating gesture, smirking as he said, "Whoa, relax. I can't speak for anyone else, but I'm not planning on dragging you into this, at least."
The smile returned cautiously to Jacuzzi's features, but the next thing Tim said wiped it right off his face again.
"The bad thing is that I'm not in charge this time, so I can't say for certain that the Lamia won't set their sights on you."
"Well, no. You guys seem to have a lot of powerful friends, and Liza did say something about having found someone easier to kidnap, so... you can probably rest easy."
Honestly it came off like he'd just come to make them worry rather than warn them, but either way, his business was done, and Tim turned to leave.
"I have to warn you, though," he said over his shoulder. "Even I can't say for certain what's going to happen, but whatever the case, don't get involved. The Twins are always watching. Even on the off chance they aren't, you don't want to risk it. Act like they're there all the time.
"Whatever one of the Twins sees makes its way to Huey. They might even be on your side, and stay on your side, but that information will still leak out. That's just the way Sham and Hilton work."
And with those last cryptic words, Tim walked out of the Genoard Manor.
"Umm... Mr. Jacuzzi, I'm, umm, really sorry... about what I did back then..."
Jacuzzi had been standing with his mouth hanging open, watching Tim leave, but he snapped to with a start.
"Huh? Oh. Oh! No no no, it's fine! I'm totally alright," he cried to Adelle, waving his hands about energetically to show just how fine he was. Adelle managed a small smile and turned to follow Tim, leaving her own puzzling words behind as though in apology for the things she'd done.
"The Twins are... they're very strange. One name commands a thousand faces, and one face controls a thousand names."
"The Twins aren't strong... and they aren't weak. They don't work like that. Not I... or even that monster you call Felix... could kill them, even if they could."
Chapter 4 Back End
Chapter 5 Front & Back