Alec brushes by the guards with a nod and a flash of papers, courtesy of Diane, that they don't stop to read but which are more than sufficient to guarantee his exit. Not that he's concerned about his exit, at this point.
He's greeted, as expected, with the sneers of those he considered his friends and his comrades. Once upon a time they were going to change the world together. He can't really blame them for hating him, when he's outside the bars and they're inside. They were the hopes of their families and he was just amusing himself. Explaining that he wanted to change the world too won't mean anything to them.
"So good of you to join us," Peter says, nodding to the bars that separate them.
Alec shrugs. "Seemed the least I could do."
"Yes," Peter replies. He's apparently been designated the spokesman for this, which isn't the best of signs. He never really liked Alec anyway, and is now even less disposed to like him. "Come to gloat or to appease your conscience? Did your bargain with the city include taking us alive?"
Alec shakes his head weakly, burrowing his hands deeper into the folds of his black robe. "I didn't have a bargain with the city."
"No? Then you're outside the bars when we're inside why, precisely?"
Alec has an answer to that, but it's not one he's willing to give, so he just nods eventually, when Peter continues to stare at him. "I am sorry, that I'm out here. I belong in there, with you."
"You do," Peter says. "Alternatively, none of us would be behind bars if it weren't for you."
"That's not true," Alec protests. He knows he doesn't sound convincing, but it's hard for him to be too self-righteous about it. "I didn't report you." He did do something differently from them, something wrong, even if they're not aware of it.
"Someone did, and you're the only one out there."
"You may as well admit it at this point," Graham adds. "Not like it does you any good to keep protesting, or that we can do you any harm as we are."
"I wish you would," Alec mutters, but he can't face them any longer. Not with Graham turning on him, when his expression of disgust is mirrored by everyone else in that cell. Instead he's running out of the holding cells. He keeps running, even when he's long free of that awful place, running anywhere as long as it's not Tremontaine's residence. He only has a couple of books with him, that he'd planned to sneak in for them, something so that his friends would not be so bored while they waited for a trial that was never supposed to happen. Alec couldn't keep them from being arrested, but he could probably make an arrangement with Diane so they won't be charged. He knows that's pointless, now, he can't make up for the fact that they feel he's betrayed them, can't redeem them in their family's eyes and therefore can't redeem himself in theirs.
His feet take him to Riverside, and that shouldn't be a surprise. He's always heard it described as a place people go to die. He feels ready for that now. The City Guard might be afraid to come here, but Alec isn't. He's tired of failing people, tired of never being enough for them.
"Can I help you, love?" a matronly woman asks him. "You seem a little lost."
Alec blinks at her for a second, wondering how even she knows, before he's opened his mouth, before he realizes that she thinks he's lost from the University, not from the Hill.
"I am," he admits.
"You'll want to be going back over the bridge," she says. "It's not particularly safe for your type here."
He smiles back at her suddenly, and she shies away from what she must think she sees in his grin. "It's not particularly safe for my type anywhere, just here I'm more likely to die than anything else."
She nods carefully, clearly waiting for him to turn tail and go.
"I think I'll stay." Alec does turn then, but it's to head deeper into Riverside. He can feel the paranoid itch in his back that means someone's watching him. Probably trying to decide if a University student is worth robbing. Alec has money, and he makes sure anyone close would be able to hear the coins clicking against each other in his pocket. After half an hour of wandering without being attacked, Alec shrugs and starts looking for somewhere that looks like it might serve half-decent beer. He's not picky, but he can't think of anywhere that has lower standards than Riverside.
The second place he stops, he doesn't see rats on the table, and decides that it will have to be good enough. Hopefully if the beer kills him it'll do it quickly, and with a minimum of pain.
He takes a table by himself, but he doesn't keep it for long. The man who sits opposite him is clearly sizing him up, and Alec relaxes under the man's measuring gaze.
"Get bored at University?" the man asks.
"Something like that," Alec adds. "I heard Riverside was the place to be."
"It is, if you like 50-50 odds that you'll die before the end of the night. And that's just from the food. A nice boy like you might well just be stabbed in the street."
Alec's smile grows flirtatious. "Tell me more."
The man scoffs, looking a little nervous now. "You're mad."
"Quite possibly," Alec replies. "But I thought being mad would be more fun. It always sounded like it would be."
The man's eyes widen a little more, and he scoots his chair back a little further, making to leave.
Alec frowns, disappointed, though he's certain that there will be no shortage of people willing to take out a university student with more money than common sense. Most of them won't stop to see if he's entirely stable first, or will decide that it doesn't matter if he isn't. He won't have to wait long.