There are aspects about Jude that sometimes make Alvin forget he is a child. He’ll go from calculated logic to idealistic, childish nonsense so quick it makes the mercenary’s head spin. It’s frustrating really; he can’t understand how someone can be so intelligent, yet so blindly optimistic.
Well, more accurately, he was certain Milla’s influence on Jude’s natural inclination to simply want to help played a part. He was always saying that and without thinking, sticking his neck out for any old villager or little girl they came across that was suffering. The mercenary envied it honestly. He’d consider himself a realist, but considering his luck, it’s worked out better for him to carry an outlook like that. Milla isn’t even completely to blame though. With the way Jude follows and looks at her it’s no wonder he’d adopt her kind of way of living even if it does spark an entirely different kind of envy.
It’s the sort of trust he’s never been given and with his track record likely never would. Oddly, he for whatever stupid reason found himself almost believing in Milla too. He did his best to ensure that whatever happened, he’d come out positive or at least able to cut and run. So it grew even more frustrating when he found himself wanting to believe in both of them, but stop them from their reckless—and probably pointless—suicide mission. All the while, plotting and figuring just how he was supposed to kill a god.
Milla was an adult, but more than that, she was Maxwell. She had a strength and conviction that current mortal body or not, people like Alvin and especially someone like Jude would likely never have. He was a still a child. A stupid, do-gooder of a kid.
It makes him angry for him and at him. The way he’ll follow Milla and accept the unfair blame of his situation as if it was all his own doing. He’s putting himself in the kid’s shoes and he knows it, but still it makes him want to make sure he ends up all right at the end of it all. It makes him want to attempt the hit he’s been assigned right in front of Jude so he can see how much of a poor idea it is to trust every stranger you meet so readily. It’s all petty and selfish of him, like everything he’s ever done, but he tries to pretty it up regardless.
“I want to trust you.”
Jude says it not even realizing how much of a double-edged sword it is. Alvin finds himself wanting nothing more than to give him a reason to, so even he, himself can come to trust Jude too. He’s stuck though. Stuck in a web of lies and jobs that crisscross in backstabbing to the point where it’s even hard for him to follow sometimes. Typically, it was easier to go with whoever wasn’t on the losing side and whoever would be able to provide him with whatever he needed or wanted. It never had anything to do with morals until now. Suddenly, he was put with people hell bent on saving the world from terrible people like him.
In a different situation he may have even laughed. Instead, he did worse. He used Jude in the worst possible way.
He knew his actions were starting to look suspicious, but those incessant cravings and idle thoughts of the person Jude made him think maybe he could be kept popping their stupid heads up. It made him kiss him. It made him do more than lingering touches and not so subtle hints.
When the truth came out, after all of this he wouldn’t be forgiven. Couldn’t be; and if he was actually honest with himself, he didn’t want to be or even momentarily believe he deserves to be.
He knows out of everyone Jude is actually leaning towards trusting him the most. He’s always the one sticking up for him or giving him chance after chance. Forgiving him for things he shouldn’t be forgiven for in the slightest. They don’t know the things he’s done or what he’s doing. At first being a part of Exodus was easy because what other choice did he have? He was just a kid and too attached to the only family he had left; not that he even wanted to call Gilland his uncle. No, everything he did was to keep his mother alive. Once upon a time, he may have believed that with their actions, they could go home, but he knew those to be lies now. It just sucked when he found himself liking this bunch more than the usual people he found himself having to swindle.
It surprises him when Jude doesn’t even resist. Hell, if anything he was mentally hesitant—that big brain of his surely going over every bad implication Alvin’s actions could mean—while a different more eager gleam flickered in his eyes. He wanted Alvin; but of course, was just the little bit afraid of trusting him fully. Maybe, Jude just wanted someone and Alvin was a good enough substitute, but he’d leave those thoughts for when his front of fake confidence fell through. The fact he didn’t push him away to sleep on his own side of the inn was a wonder in itself.
So it became a slow work in progress until his next fuck up.
By the time they reached Xian Du, it had become a bit easier. For a number of complicated overlapping reasons, he had introduced them, as best as he really could, to his mother. It was a little despicable of him. The one time he’s for the most part honest, it’s all to use his poor, sick mother as an alibi for his shady actions. He had been genuinely worried for her and had needed to explain his actions, but the whole thing was pitiful because he wasn’t even lying for once.
Most of his horrible actions had all been for his mother. Not all, but certainly he did what he could in order to keep her alive and manage a way to maybe get her back home. It was nerve wrecking to let these people who would undoubtedly grow to hate him meet one of the few people he valued in life. Half of him believed he only did so because he knew they wouldn’t use her against him. The other half oddly enough, simply wanted them to know.
It didn’t stop him from feeling any less terrible as Jude kissed him so sweetly without prompting once they were behind closed doors at the inn.
What’s worse is he felt like he just used that too. Aside from the other stranded Elympions, no one knows of his mother; even now he struggled to keep her hidden and safe. So why did he let his guard and trust down around these people? Jude’s seemingly boundless trust in him that he was sure would run out any day just seemed so easy to place these built up feelings on. How even if he continued to betray them, somehow this tiny factor of his motivation behind it would help him get the forgiveness he most certainly didn’t deserve.
From the stray tears he was trying to hold back—don’t be a crybaby screaming in the back of his mind—as Jude comforted him, treating him better than he deserved, maybe he really just did want them to know.
Something in Alvin decided that even if he came to double-cross them again, he was breaking free from Exodus as soon as he could. He wanted out. He wanted to believe and enjoy Jude’s comfort without feeling so guilty. So without intending to it all had to become twisted again when he sold them out. There are things he needs that don’t line up with them. There are things that he needs that he can make line up with their needs too.
No one understands that, and no one can really believe that when he tries to explain it. He doesn’t blame them. He doesn’t even blame the subtle way he can tell Jude wants to push him away when he joins with them again.
Hell, it’s why he gives them as much information as he can. He tells them about himself. He tells them about Presa.
Presa, Presa, Presa, that was another can of worms that’ll end up being pulled apart when he’s alone with Jude. Because he knows as he’s explaining it’s on the tip of the kid’s tongue.
“Did you love her?”
“Do you even love me?”
He doesn’t have an answer.
He doesn’t think Jude’d believe him even if did.