||Chapter 28||
"Into Hell Again"

Ken was relieved- and admittedly a little surprised -to find Schuldich still there when they reached the hospital and entered Aya's room almost an hour after Farfarello's rescue.
The German was slouched against the window, scowling at the traffic below while Crawford was seated in a chair beside the bed, calmly flipping through a business magazine.
Aya didn't notice their entrance until Schuldich replied in a rebellious mutter to something silent the Berserker sent his way. "Mach es dir selber."
Aya turned quickly and spotted her two newest visitors. She gave a happy little cry at seeing Farfarello safe and sound, reaching out to him. He came to her bed obediently and took her wrists in a firm but gentle grip, forestalling the hug she'd almost bestowed on him. Whether it was because he didn't particuarly want a hug or because of her cracked rib, Aya didn't seem to care. She tugged her hands free and clasped one of his own strong, calloused ones in both her own, smiling happily up at him. "Yokatta," she said with great relief. "I was sure..." she cut herself off, turning her attention on Ken and offering him a warm smile. She felt she should thank him, but seeing how Farfarello was his lover, it seemed redundant, so she didn't speak. Then she looked straight up into Farfarello's calm face, her expression hopeful. "Did you kill them?" she asked bluntly.
Crawford gave a little sigh. Schuldich blinked, then started snickering. Ken shook his head and gave a small, hopeless smile. "We've corrupted her," he mourned.
Aya stuck out her tongue at him.
"Iie," Farfarello answered with the beginnings of a scowl that showed he was not pleased about it.
"There's nothing we can do against a telekinetic that strong," Ken pointed out, rolling his eyes at his lover's stubbornness. "Omi said even Nagi had a hard time against him when he came to the shop. And lord knows what that girl can do..."
"Electrokinesis," (1) Crawford intervened, turning a page in his magazine. "She's called a Spark."
"Sou!" Aya's eyes were wide, her fists clenched on the blanket. "She shot something- like lightening or something -from her fingers. It was horrible!" She turned an anxious gaze on Farfarello. "Did she hurt you?"
Farfarello gave her a long look.
"Farfie doesn't feel pain, remember?" Schuldich reminded her in a dry tone.
"That doesn't make it any less dangerous," Ken pointed out with a frown. "Electricity can damage a person's nervous sytem, and can freeze them up. He might not feel it, but he would be unable to breathe, and it could still kill him."
"Let's not forget everyone's favorite Alchemist," Schuldich sneered with a sidelong glance towards Farfarello. The Irishman bared his fangs in a soundless snarl.
"Alchemist?" Aya repeated.
"Felix Jackson. He changes metal however he damn pleases," Schuldich explained with a slightly exaggerated yawn. "He wiped the floor with Farf the last time we fought."
Farfarello muttered a response in Gaelic that made Schuldich snort in amusement.
Aya's look of anxiety turned to desperation. "What can we do against people like that??"
Crawford turned the page of his magazine and spoke matter of factly. "We kill them."
"But how?" Aya demanded.
"Never thought I'd say this," Schuldich grumbled, running a hand through his bangs in a nervous habit Aya recognized, "but we need Fujimiya."
"It would make things easier," Crawford agreed, still reading calmly. "Pyrokinesis is a match for most Gifts out there. We'll just have to try and get Tsukiyono to him as soon as possible once the fighting's started."
"Which will be... when?" Schuldich drawled, arching a brow at his partner and crossing his arms over his chest. Aya glanced nervously from one man to the other, wondering if they'd go at each other's throats again.
"I'm not just going to let them take us by surprise like Agammedo did," Ken put in, eyes narrowing slightly. "This," he touched Farfarello, indicating the earlier attack and kidnapping, "is the last straw. We need to act soon. Have you had any helpful visions lately?"
Crawford finally looked up from his magazine, surprising them all with his answer. "Yes."
"Ohh, so the Crawdad proves useful," Schuldich said with a look of exagerrated shock. "So tell us, oh great and powerful one, just what did you see in that thick head of yours?"
"Schuldich," Aya pleaded. The German sneered and fell silent.
Crawford gave his partner a long, cool look, then looked away dismissively, reaching up to adjust his glasses. "A few things, actually.."
"And you're just telling us now?" Ken interrupted incredulously.
Crawford looked up at the Necromancer with an arched brow. "Some of the things I can't discuss with you yet because knowing about them in advance could make any one of you do something stupid that could ruin it." Ken looked mollified. "One of them," here he glanced towards Schuldich, "is simply no one's business but my own."
The telepath's mouth widened in a leer. "That one wouldn't be about your little pyro, would it?"
Crawford ignored him. "But there is one thing I can tell you." He lifted his hand and pointed at Ken, his expression stern. "You're going to have a difficult choice sometime soon. You'll have to choose between life and death. I didn't really understand it, but.." he shook his head slightly. "If you choose life, Farfarello is going to die."
Ken's eyes widened slightly. Farfarello's own golden eye narrowed as he glanced from the American to his lover. He was quick to jump on the most important question. "Whose life?" he demanded.
Crawford hesitated, glancing towards Ken. A small frown creased his face, and his gaze flickered towards Schuldich before he abruptly returned his attention to his magazine. "If I tell you that, it could just make things worse," he said quietly. "Besides, there might be other ways for it to be prevented."
Schuldich arched a brow, looking towards Ken. He hadn't missed his leader's quick glances. Whoever's life was to be at stake, it would bother both sides- Weiß and Schwarz. His mouth tugged downwards in a frown before he could hide it behind a bored expression. It had to be Kudou. Or maybe Fujimiya's nosy sister. Ken seemed to be coming to the same conclusion, and looked a little sick.
Aya was looking around at them all. She didn't quite understand what was going on, but she was used to picking up the tension between her 'brothers'. She dimpled at Ken, changing the subject smoothly.
"Ne, Ken-kun, arigato!" When he looked at her blankly, she lifted her hand, curving her fingers like claws. "For the bugnuk," she clarified.
Schuldich snorted in amusement. "The world would be a scary place if it was full of Fujimiya's."
"I'll take that as a compliment," she sniffed.
Farfarello's eye landed on her, fierce as always, but with an edge of approval to the slight twist of his lips. "Kittens fight back when cornered," he said with only a hint of mockery.
Ken looked clueless, so Aya happily filled him in. "Oh, when Hwang and that awful girl came to get Farfarello, I used the bugnuk on him."
"After being slammed around," Schuldich added drolly. "Fujimiya's are also known for their bullheadedness, yes? Or is that stupidity?"
Aya scowled at him.
"You what??" Ken gaped at her. "Aya-chan, are you insane?! He could have killed you!"
She flapped her hands helplessly. "But- they were going to take Farfarello! What else was I supposed to do?"
Ken buried his face in his hands. "Aya," he groaned, his voice muffled, "you aren't a part of this fight. How many times do we have to tell you that? You're going to get killed if you don't just stay out of the way where it's safe."
Aya looked ready to protest, but Schuldich interrupted with a careless flick of his fingers. "Her Royal Pain in the Ass-ness isn't going anywhere. Not with a cracked rib."
A moment later Aya began to sputter in indignant fury at something the sarcastic German sent her way mentally.
Ken rolled his eyes. Farfarello gave a small snort of either impatience or amusement and turned away. He hooked a finger in the leather collar he'd given his lover, tugging the other boy towards the door. "We're leaving," he intoned.
Aya turned her attention from her silent war with Schuldich to watch the two leave in surprise. "So soon? But they'll be looking for you!"
"Let them," Farfarello shot back with a manic gleam to his eye that suggested a part of him wished they would.
"I have some 'practice' to do, anyway," Ken admitted, reaching up to tug the Irishman's hand from his collar. When Farfarello tried to reach for his neck again, he wrapped his fingers around the other man's and pushed the hand down firmly. "Do you want the nurses to stare at us?" he demanded in amused exasperation.
"Everyone stares at Farf anyway," Schuldich pointed out with a grin.
"True," Ken sighed, giving up. Farf immediately snagged his belt in a possessive hold and pulled him towards the door.
"Practice?" Aya tried to lean forward to see them as they disappeared out the door, wincing at the pain in her ribs. "Practice what?"
"A new position in the Kama Sutra," Schuldich said, waggling his eyebrows. Aya blushed and gave him a Look. "His Necromancy, you twit," he sighed, rolling his eyes. "Take your meds and go to sleep, will you? You're annoying, you spoiled little princess."
"And you're insufferable, you cocky cat-eyed German," she retaliated.
Crawford bit back a sigh and turned the page of his magazine, doing his best to tune out their verbal sparring.


Omi glanced in the direction of the kitchen, where the Adir'avar were having a meeting. "They've been pretty quiet for awhile. Do you think they're all right?"
Nagi didn't look up from the pot of gardenias. "Leave them alone for awhile. They're probably a little upset. That's two of their people killed."
"Would they care, though?" Omi frowned slightly. "I mean... from what I've seen, Vampires don't really seem to give much of a shit about each other."
Nagi gave a one-shouldered shrug. "Well, they're half human, remember?"
"Sou.." Omi gave a little sigh.
Nagi stopped what he was doing and looked towards his lover with a small frown. "Daijabou ka?"
Omi ran his fingers fretfully through his blond hair, closing his eyes as if warding off a headache. "Sure I'm OK," he said sarcasatically. "There's a group of half-bloods in the kitchen, Rosenkreuz has hired two armies of Purebloods to wipe us out, Ran-kun and Yohji-kun are brainwashed, Schuldich and Crawford keep fighting--"
Nagi dusted his hands off on his pants and went to stand before the other boy, reaching up to clasp his face in both palms. "Omi," he said in a firm voice. He flexed his fingers until Omi finally opened his eyes and looked at him with something close to desperation. Nagi's tone and face softened a little. "Calm down," he said. "Panicking won't help anyone. We won't let them catch us off guard this time. We won't let them do what Agammedo did to us last time. This time we'll be ready."
"But how can we expect to do this when no one trusts anyone anymore?" Omi whispered. When Nagi frowned in inquiry, he elaborated. "Schuldich and Crawford have bad blood between them. Because of that, Ran-kun isn't sure he can trust either one of them any more. I don't know how Aya-chan feels about them, either. Crawford especially. Ran-kun has never liked Farfarello, and that means things are a little tense between him and Ken-kun. And Aya-chan is the only one that seems to trust the Jackal- and he doesn't really trust anyone but her. And maybe Ken-kun and Farfarello. It's like we're being torn apart internally before Rosenkreuz can even get a swing at us."
Nagi wanted to reassure his partner, but he knew what Omi was saying was true.
At the other boy's silence, Omi closed his eyes in defeat. "What are we going to do?" he whispered.
"Just remember they all have a common enemy, no matter how tense things get between them," Nagi said after a moment. "Even Schuldich can put his grudge against Crawford aside for a little while. He'll do it and stand beside him- and us -if it means taking down Nebel and Rosenkreuz once and for all. This is hard for Schuldich because he didn't have time to accept what happened- his bad memories were Erased. And now he suddenly has them back, and he realizes Crawford had something to do with it. You can't really blame him for being so prickly. The others..." his lips quirked in the hint of a rare smile. "Well, they'll get their heads straight when the fighting starts."
Omi nodded reluctantly, reaching up to wrap his arms around the slender waist of his lover. "I just can't wait until it's all over with."
"Join the club."
The kitchen door opened, and they drew apart, looking in that direction expectantly as Himeno appeared in the doorway, face grim.
"Well?" Nagi asked quietly. "Have you decided if you're still going to work for Farfarello?"
Himeno studied him in silence for a moment before giving a tight-lipped, mirthless smile. "We are not a group known for our cowardice," she said drolly. "And he warned us what we were getting into." She leaned against the door, putting a hand on her hip. Her fangs flashed in a sudden, vicious smile. Her eyes were very cold. "Besides, now it's personal."


Ken had always found it easier to use his Necromancy at night, and nearly impossible to use at noon when the sun was high in the sky. So he and his scarred partner took a detour on their way home, cutting through his favorite park.
The park was a source of both pain and comfort for the former Weiß assassin. It reminded him of more carefree days- though the fact that his time in Weiß had been easier than it was now was a little frightening.
He liked to watch the soccer players, occassionally joining the insistant children when they caught him watching. He preferred to avoid them when he could, afraid of making them targets for anyone holding a grudge against him, and usually contented himself with finding an out-of-the-way place to watch them in their play. He also liked the peacefulness and normalcy of the park. He led Farfarello towards his favorite place, a large ornate fountain near the middle of the park where he could just see the soccer field through the trees.
He stood by the fountain, his lover silent beside him, and stared at his wavering reflection in the water. Farfarello glanced around distractedly, watching the couples cuddling on benches, the families in the grass enjoying a picnic lunch, and the occassional dog walker. No one came near the fountain; the sight of the Berserker frightened them, though some adventerous children huddled a few yards away, staring and whispering. Farfarello bared his teeth at them and they fled, squealing.
Ken barely noticed. He continued to stare at the water, and after a moment reached into his pocket and pulled out a five yen piece. He held it in his fist for a moment, eyes unfocused, before tossing it into the bubbling pool. Farfarello watched him, turning a blank eye on the other man. Ken's mouth pulled in a forced smile as he gazed down at the coin under the water. "Just making a wish," he said quietly.
Farfarello's brow arched. "Others pray, you throw money in water."
Ken mock-scowled at him at the tone. "Are you making fun of me?" After a moment of silence, he sighed. "You know I don't pray." His eyes drifted, unseeing, towards the soccer field. "I think Ran-kun is the only one who really ever prayed... when his sister was in her coma. I don't know if he does anymore. I think Omi does. And Yohji.. well, if he does, he doesn't do it where anyone can hear or see him. I think after he lost Asuka again, he stopped believing."
They stood in silence for a few minutes before Ken squinted up at his lover. "Why do they call you Lucifer?" he asked suddenly. "The Vampires."
"Crawford calls Schuldich Tuefel," Farfarello pointed out with a slight smirk.
"That doesn't answer the question."
Farfarello's lips parted in the shadow of an eerie smile. "Lucifer was an angel once," he said. "He lived in heaven until he brought an army of angels against God." He had produced a small knife from somewhere, and Ken watched as the pale man ran the edge along his fingertips. "God banished him from Heaven, and he was forced to remain in Hell, where he plots to escape and wreck havoc over the humans He loves so much. So that one day he may strike down God once again. He is pure evil." He hissed, drawing the knife edge along his bottom lip, his one golden eye lit with a fierce light. "Or so those who follow their beloved God say."
Ken gazed up at him for a moment. "You're not evil," he said quietly. "Lucifer... wasn't he angry because God loved Man so much? Because he told the angels to be their servants?"
Farfarello's laugh was low and creepy. "I thought you didn't believe in God."
Ken frowned slightly, looking away once more. "I don't," he said shortly. "That doesn't mean I don't know the stories." He rubbed his fingers absently against the scars on his throat, his eyes wandering once more towards the empty soccer field. "Anyhow," he sighed, changing the subject, "I think we should have a guard staying with Aya-chan. She might be a target. Or the little nut might try to sneak out and help us." He couldn't keep away the affectionate little smile. "She's more like her brother than she knows. She can be so hard-headed sometimes." Farfarello grunted in agreement, his eye hooded. "When do you think we should make our move?" Ken asked quietly, meeting his lover's intense gaze. "We can't wait too much longer. Things are only going to get worse before they get better."
Farfarello nodded slightly, spinning his blade idly in his fingers as he glanced over Ken's head, deep in thought. Finally he said grudgingly, "We need a plan."
Ken nodded. He had waited for his lover to come to that decision himself; Farfarello was one to rush into a fight, not plan for it. He'd always left that to Crawford. "We'll all get together and talk," he decided. "Tonight at the flower shop."
Farfarello's lips curved slightly as he looked at his partner with a fierce glint of battle lust to his single eye. "Are you ready to fight, Angel?"
Ken thought of Rosenkreuz and Nebel. He thought of Ran and Yohji, brainwashed, and how his friends had been hurt. He thought of Malachi's open defiance, of Aya in a hospital bed, and the Jackal's anguish over the death of his sister. He remembered the look of helpless fury on his lover's face as they'd fled from Nebel just a few hours ago; in his mind's eye he saw Schuldich's still, bloody body from where Hwang had thrown him through the shop window. Everything was going to hell, and their chances of success were slim to none.
He reached up and buried his fingers in Farfarello's short spikey hair, leaning forward to lean his forehead against the other man's. He met the fierce stare with his own cold assassin's gaze, feeling his blood stir hotly with anger and determination. "The world is on fire," he whispered. "I'll douse these flames with the blood of our enemies."
Farfarello's lips twisted in an unholy grin. "Good pet."

Translations: Mach es dir selber= basically, "go fuck yourself"
Tuefel= the Devil
(1) lol I didn't take the time to ever think of an official name for Jenell's Gift, even though I knew what it was. o_o; Ami no baka. Thanks to Shadow for suggesting that name. XD;;
Author's Notes: w00t, I'm in Germany, safe and sound. Managed to kick my muses into wakefulness and wrap up this chapter, even if it is a little short.. *wince* Oh well... now the fun stuff can start soon. XD;
Oh, yeah, Mami didn't beta this, so.. @_@; I apologize for any typos. Mami, any big ones you see, feel free to go in and fix on angelfire @_@;

Back to Amiko's Fics
Back to Vermilion
Ch. 1
Ch. 2
Ch. 3
Ch. 4
Ch. 5
Ch. 6
Ch. 7
Ch. 8
Ch. 9
Ch. 10
Ch. 11
Ch. 12
Ch. 13
Ch. 14
Ch. 15
Ch. 16
Ch. 17
Ch. 18
Ch. 19
Ch. 20
Ch. 21
Ch. 22
Ch. 23
Ch. 24
Ch. 25
Ch. 26
Ch. 27
Ch. 29