Author: Eternity's End

Editor: Felicity Honenburg

Disclaimer: I do not claim ownership of any of the copyrighted materials used in this work of fiction. See previous chapters for details/warnings.

A/N: Thank you reviewers! I love you! *Is considering starting a "thank you" section just for reviews.but I blab too much as is.

I got no fan art. * sigh * But if anyone feels kind enough to donate, let me know! At! I was sitting at my computer, drinking my kiwi-strawberry Snapple and going through a few recent chapters to reorient myself with where we are in the story when I noticed something. There's an awful lot of subtle sexual tension between Omi and Ken. I didn't even mean to put it. Tell me if I should put some Omi/Ken or Ken/Omi in here.

Also, finals are around the corner. I'm putting off studying to write this (so I expect lots of reviews!). After this chapter, it will be at least a week before I can write again. I'm sorry! And finally, I'm also writing a Schuldig x Farfarello fic titled Habituals. Despite the fact that Felicity is advising me to finish Stimulus before posting Habituals, I'd like your input. If I get enough requests (if anyone besides me likes that pairing) I'll post it every other with Stimulus. * Shrug * I've talked for TOO long.

Chapter Nine:

Monitors clattered, the loosely treaded wheels squealing noisily as a nurse pushed them out of the room. Aya paid silent vigil to the procedure, a harsh scowl marring his brow, as if offended by the sound.

Although he no longer needed the careful watch of machinery, Youji slept on. The doctors were saying it was only a matter of time before he awoke. He was healing nicely; the rest was good for him.

And Aya simply sat there, seemingly oblivious, the scowl implanted on his features. To put it plainly, he was at a loss. No matter how hard he thought, he could not remember the "missing" episode Omi had told him about. And he didn't know why.

'He was gone.' His thoughts went around in circles. 'For two days. We closed shop early. A week ago?' He had gone over the records several times, but things didn't add up. 'A mission. He just disappears. That would be when he was hurt.' Logic pointed one way, but his memory pointed another. And not just him, both Omi and Ken had no recollection. 'We were cautious around him. For a reason we should know.' Something was wrong. Had their memories been tampered with? 'We knew, but forgot?' Solutions circled in his head. 'He disappeared, was beaten and raped, and we didn't notice?' Things were just out of his reach. 'Kritiker can wipe a past, but why would they?' Despite his distrust of his employers, he doubted they would. 'Can they wipe such a small time period?' He had no way of knowing. Extensive thought brought about the fuzzy image of a small red ribbon, but further attention to the matter gave him a painful headache.

"Mr. Fujimiya?" The doctor walked in to the room without knocking.

"Hn?" Aya narrowed his eyes. Although he'd gained some respect for the man after decking him, Aya was far from trusting the physician.

"I was about to check on my patient, visiting hours are over." The doctor, too, had gained an amount of respect for the redhead. That is, after a grueling investigation as to whether he, or one of his fellow florists, was the rapist.

"Fine." The redhead exited the room with a swift stride. He was late for his shift anyway. Ken was going to be mad.

"Where were y." Ken's rant was cut short as he was slapped in the face with a bouquet of flowers.

"Were you visiting Youji? Is there any news? Did you change the flowers on his sill? I want them to be there in case no one's there when he wakes up. Can't have him thinking we abandoned him, now can we? Oh, maybe we should write a note to leave on his pillow? But then those nosy nurses would read it and get the wrong idea. Not that they don't already. I swear, Aya, they think you and Youji are an item. They obviously don't know Youji very well. Those are nice shoes. Did you change your shoelaces?" Aya scowled, speechless, as Omi bounced around the flower shop, spewing anything and everything that came into his head.

"Never. Let. Him. Have. Coffee." After throwing a death glare at Ken, he growled out the five words and escaped to the back of the shop.

Ken pouted guiltily, reminding himself to hide the bag of grounds before Omi went upstairs.

"And God said unto him." Schuldig snickered as Farfarello clutched his ears, rocking back and forth, whimpering disjointedly.

"Schuldig!" Nagi stepped up to the open cell door. "You shouldn't tease him like that!" Schuldig disentangled himself from his comfortable sprawl on the padded floor, setting the Bible down just out of disturbed Irishman's reach.

"I'm not teasing him! I'm enlightening him." He smiled innocently, standing up before toeing the richly bound book closer to the madman straining against his bonds.

"It's not good for him." Nagi took pity on the older boy, mentally shoving the book within reach. "He's bad enough without your help." Farfarello snatched up the book, shredding it within seconds, using both nails and teeth. "Go see Crawford. He's in the office." Schuldig gave a disgruntled sigh, having been enjoying the show.

"Fine, fine. I'm going. You're such a pushover! I have to do this to him, to make up for you being such a pussy!" The German disappeared from the room, leaving Nagi being scrutinized by one golden eye.

"Pussy is vulgar." Farfarello announced after an awkward silence. "Vulgarity hurts God."

Nagi left, locking the door behind him.

Schuldig approached the dark office with growing trepidation. Brad had been upset about the kitten's condition. 'But,' the German defended himself, 'if the kitten had been taking better care of himself, none of this would have happened. It's Crawford's job to plan these things out. Not mine.' Nodding to himself, satisfied with his argument, the redhead entered the room.

"It wasn't my fault! I already told you," he whined immediately upon laying eyes on the American, sprawled across his desk chair.

"I understand that," Crawford admitted, not bothering to sit properly, loosely gesturing to the chair opposite him. "I wanted to talk to you." The German took his seat, carefully positioning himself to mimic the elder man.

The pair sat in silence for a moment, one trying to read the other, the other waiting for the one to speak.

"What did you want?" Schuldig admonished, wasting his meager patience.

"You didn't complete your assignment." Crawford started steepling his fingers awkwardly with his slumped posture. Schuldig shifted, suddenly uncomfortable with the direction of the conversation.

"I wiped the cats of Weiss," he muttered.

"Everything?" The American raised an eyebrow, disbelieving.

"Yes, everything!" Schuldig hissed, steepling his fingers in mockery of Brad.

"Then tell me," Crawford was drawing this out, searching for the hint of guilt or unease that signaled a lie. "Why do the so called 'Cats of Weiss' come seeking vengeance?"

Schuldig snorted loudly. "You're the oracle, don't ask me." A typical response, but Brad wasn't satisfied.

"Wipe your 'Kitten', too." He ordered. "Further play with the assassin would be detrimental to the team. You are dismissed."

Schuldig opened his mouth to protest, but noting the American's glance to the semi-automatic handgun on the desk, wisely kept silent.

"You are dismissed." Acknowledging the order the second time, Schuldig stood, leaving the room to complain to Nagi.

"Feel.shit.ton of bricks.bitch of.headache.somebody.cold drink." Callused fingers rubbed at throbbing temples. "What did I do last nigh." Cat green eyes opened to stare wonderingly at the unfamiliar surroundings before them. "What did I do last night?"

A/N: I wanted to get this out tonight. * Sigh * I didn't get as much done this chapter as I'd have liked, but then, that's nothing new. I promised Youji'd wake up this chapter, and well, I kept my promise. Even if its only a small paragraph. * shrug * Finals suck. I wish I could turn this in for my English piece. * giggle * My middle-aged, male, ass-of-a-teacher would love it. I'm sure.