||Chapter 37||
"Thy Will Be Done"

Schuldich hurried upstairs to the bedrooms, sending out the order to evacuate over the mental web, telling them all to get their asses out of the shop. One mind he couldn't reach, and he muttered to himself as he strode down the hallway to the last room. He booted it open and shouted, "Get the hell up, lazy ass!"
Aya, startled out of her nap, tumbled out of bed and landed with a crash. She pushed herself up on her elbows, glowering at the man in the doorway who was doing nothing to hide the slightly superior smirk on his face. "Schuldich, so help me God, one day I'm going to-"
"Get up," Schuldich interrupted rudely. "Put your bunny slippers on, princess. It's a fire drill."
She stared at him blankly, still a little out of it from her nap. "What?"
Schuldich strode across the room and grabbed her arm, dragging her up and towards the door. "Move it or lose it, Sleeping Beauty. Jackrabbit thinks there's a bomb in the shop-"
"-and we're getting out. So don't-- hey!"
Aya twisted away and rushed to her desk. She scooped up her bookbag and began throwing things in it, including her buknut and a figurine of a dragon.
"God damn it, you stupid little brat," Schuldich growled in exasperation, snatching the little crystal dragon from her fingers and tossing it onto the bed. "Are you deaf? I said we're getting out! You don't have time to pack." He got a firm grip on her elbow and steered her towards the door once more.
"No! Please, at least let me take that," Aya begged, making grabbing motions towards the figurine. "Just that, at least. Schuldich!"
"Oh, for crissakes," the German snarled impatiently, shoving her out of the room. "Go. I'll get your stupid glass lizard." Aya hesitated, then turned and dashed down the hall.
Schuldich mumbled something unflattering about women and plucked up the dragon, stuffing it in his pocket. He strode from the room and almost ran into Kiki.
"I called the bomb squad," she said breathlessly as she hurried downstairs right behind the telepath. "I just told them I got an anonymous tip. They should be here in about fifteen minutes. I need everyone to get out of the blast radius-- though I hope you guys are wrong about this. Not just because you might lose the shop, but the cops are going to be asking a lot of awkward questions if they find Kudou's body. Crawford hid him in the cellar for now."
Schuldich tried to pretend he hadn't heard that last part. "Since it was the Jackalope's idea, I wouldn't put too much weight on the threat," he said flippantly, but he was right beside the Hunter as they hurried out of the kitchen door and met the others in a conbeni parking lot across the street.
"Here's your stupid lizard," Schuldich said before Aya could ask, dropping it into her outstretched hand. "You know, normal women would be saving their jewelry, not some children's figurine," he pointed out caustically.
Aya clasped the little dragon to her chest and shook her head. "No, this is worth more to me than that," she insisted. Her voice softened. "Yohji gave it to me on my birthday."
Schuldich's mocking smirk froze in place.
Aya smiled faintly at the memory. "When he gave it to me, he told me he'd seen it in the mall and immediately thought of me. He said, 'It looks pretty and fragile, but it can't be that delicate-- it's a dragon, after all.' He said it reminded him of me." She gave a little laugh and hastily rubbed the sting out of her eye. "Silly, I guess... but sweet."
Ran, who had been listening nearby, glanced away and said nothing. They all stood around in tense silence for the next half hour until the bomb squad arrived at last.
Kiki went over to fill them in while the assassins huddled together around a cigarette vending machine, watching the scene warily.
Aya looked around anxiously. "Where are Farfarello and Tomás?"
Schuldich smiled unpleasantly. "They're hunting a different dragon."


Farfarello had left only half a dozen of his people behind to guard the caves during the fight. He had counted on catching Malachi and his army somewhat unawares, and didn't expect any uninvited guests to drop by while he was gone.
The six he left behind had been on edge all night, knowing that if their Lord failed, Malachi would be back for revenge.
They'd been expecting him to come. They'd known about Rosenkreuz and Park.
But they didn't know about Curtis Roy Riddle.

Riddle had followed Farfarello's army to the subway, where he had gotten a glimpse of the battle to come. Horrified and in over his head, he'd switched to plan B.
He had been scoping out the local Vampires long enough to discern where their hideout was. Abandoning the war, he'd crept back through the city until he reached one of the many entrances to Farfarello's underground village. Fortunately for him, the six guards were making their rounds, and had just passed the entrance he was considering.
It was an old abandoned warehouse, its cellar leading down to the tunnels. The Purebloods had used it to come out during the day and avoid the sun before Malachi had taken over. Riddle crept down the stairs, muttering prayers fervently and clutching his bag against his chest. His heart was thundering in his ears, and his eyes were wide with fear and the struggle to adjust his sight to the sudden dimness.
But he realized that somehow in this hell, God was with him, because he managed to set up his equipment in several places without getting caught.
He set up a few tripwires to activate his gifts and then snuck out without having been caught. Heart pounding with adrenaline, he gave himself a pat on the back. Mission accomplished. God would be pleased.
By the time the Jackal and Farfarello arrived at the scene, Riddle was long gone.


The bomb squad found no explosives in the shop.
Relieved and worn out, Ken helped Aya to shoo off the curious school girls clustered around the front door, wondering what all the fuss was about.
Ran found him shutting the door firmly in one wide-eyed girl's face and handed over the phone wordlessly. Frowning, Ken took it from his friend. "Moshi moshi."
Farfarello's voice over the line was crisp and deep. He was not in a happy mood. "Come to the tunnels," he said, and hung up.
Ken stared at the phone for a moment, then sighed and handed it back to Ran. "I'm heading over to the tunnels. Aya, can you run and get Schuldich? I'd like him to come, too. Maybe he can scan for this Riddle wacko."
"I thought he couldn't hear Riddle," Aya pointed out.
"Better safe than sorry. Besides, maybe the twit had an accomplice. Just go get him, please. Farfarello doesn't sound happy."

When the two of them arrived, Farfarello was squatting outside one of the openings to the tunnels- a cellar door in the back of a tool shed in a decrepit graveyard. His expression was cold and set. Ken wisely stayed a couple feet out of arm's reach. Farfarello didn't have the best control over his temper.
Schuldich glanced around, hands stuffed in his pockets. "Where's the Jackass?"
"Tracking," Farfarello grunted, peering up at Ken with a scowl on his face. He beckoned with a finger, his tone ominous. "Look."
Ken edged around him and peeped inside the open cellar door. Six Vampires were huddled on the dark stairs, paler than usual and watching Farfarello's back with wild eyes. Ken was startled to see they were being guarded by Himeno and Hikaru.
"I thought you two went home," he said without thinking.
Hikaru merely stared at him, but Himeno gave a little shrug. "We haven't been paid yet, so we can perform this last service. The guy sounds like a loon, anyhow."
Ken looked over his shoulder at his glowering lover and cleared his throat. "And these guys..?"
"The ones I left behind," Farfarello said shortly, not turning around. Schuldich stood before him, looking down at him with vague amusement at his sour mood. "To watch the tunnels. They've failed. Go look."
Ken sighed and crouched beside the Irishman, still keeping a good few paces between them. "I don't have to look to know. Your face tells me enough. I'm sorry, Farfarello. There's nothing we can do about it."
"I can kill them," Farfarello corrected, flicking a red-eyed glare over his shoulder at his cowering people.
Ken sighed again, rubbing his forehead. "This is not the time to kill them and make an example out of them, Farf," he pointed out wearily. "Morale's low."
"What is this, the fucking military?" Schuldich demanded incredulously. "'Morale is low'?? Toast the fuckers!"
Ken glared at him. "Stay out of this, Schuldich. Can you sense Riddle anywhere nearby?"
"Nope." The German tossed his hair over his shoulder. "Already told you the guy's a blank wall. I still say he's brainwashed. Would explain a lot, wouldn't it?"
Ken rolled his eyes. Farfarello muttered something in Gaelic to himself and rose to his feet in a fluid movement. The six behind him cringed in fear. Farfarello ignored them, his eye roving over the graveyard. He gave a little sniff, frowning. An instant before he spoke, Ken felt the twinge of his Gift. "I smell death."
Ken scrambled to his feet and looked around quickly. "It feels like... my zombies," he said in surprise. "But I thought I sent them all back into the ground when we were done."
"Some were trapped down there," Schuldich reminded him, making a face. "Maybe they got out."
Ken looked around again in confusion. "But.. I don't see them anywhere. Where- Gaahhh!" He stumbled and fell back against Farfarello as the ground beneath him shuddered, then ruptured, a bony hand thrusting out of the dirt.
"Jesus fucking Christ," Schuldich swore, leaping back like a startled cat, his eyes wide.
Farfarello steadied his lover, glaring at the thing pulling itself from the ground. Behind him, the Vampires gasped as the zombie dragged itself laborously from the dirt.
"It dug through," Ken said weakly. "It dug all the way here... I don't believe it."
"So why isn't it going back to its fucking grave?" Schuldich demanded, his voice a little strained with revulsion and fear. "Get rid of it!" Then, "Oh-"
Ken drew in a sharp breath of surprise as he, too, recognized at last the horror before them. "Shit-" he choked, pressing back against the safety of Farfarello's side instinctively. Farfarello had gone stiff and was staring at the zombie with a wide amber eye.
She was recognizable more because of the fact that she had to be the only black woman buried in the place than because of anything resembling a human face. She looked more atrocious than any of the other zombies.
Probably because she had once been in little chunks before Ken's outrush of power last night had forced her back together like a sloppy jigsaw puzzle and roused her from the grave.
It was the Hunter, Tatiana.
Ken made a low moan in the back of his throat, suddenly sure he was going to be sick as she looked right at him with one glittering eye. The other was dangling out of its socket like a ping pong ball on a red string.
"You have got to be shitting me," Schuldich whispered, his voice more strained than ever.
Tatiana continued to stare at Ken for a few seconds, then turned and crouched slowly and clumsily, reaching into the tunnel she'd dug herself. She dragged out another body, and for a second Ken thought it was another zombie, despite its small size.
It wasn't a zombie. It was a body.
"Omi!!" Ken forgot about his revulsion of the creature that had once been Tatiana and dropped to his knees beside her, helping to drag the small body from the hole. "Oh god..." he gasped, clutching his small friend to his chest. "They got him out," he whimpered, closing his eyes tight. "They got him out..."
Tatiana turned away and reached in once more and dragged out another small, battered body. This time Schuldich came forward quickly. He bent over and snatched the pitiful little form away from the zombie, retreating in two quick strides and cradling it against his chest almost protectively.
"Nagi," Farfarello murmured, staring at the dirty little boy in Schuldich's arms.
Schuldich didn't seem to hear him, but continued to stand there holding the boy's body like a doll, staring down at his bruised, pale face in silence.
Again Tatiana reached inside, and this time Farfarello gave a snarl of rage, making everyone but the zombie jump. The Irishman lunged forward and seized a fistful of the tangled hair emerging from the tunnel, hauling the body out like a sack of potatos.
"This is why they're dead," Farfarello spat, glaring fiercely at Jenell's charred body. "This stupid little bitch."
Ken had rarely heard his lover curse, but knew better than to point it out now. Schuldich was muttering something venomous in German.
Farfarello glanced up, staring at Nagi in Schuldich's arms, then gave a sudden powerful wrench of his arms, his face livid. He tore Jenell in two ragged halves with a sound that made Ken want to throw up. The Vampire Lord hurled the ruined body away and turned to the cringing Vampires being guarded by Himeno and Hikaru. "Burn the body," he snapped. "Bring me back the skull."
The six of them nodded and hastened to do his bidding, giving him a wide berth. Hikaru leaned on her spear, looking at the two little bodies with an expressionless face. "Would you like us to bury these two?"
"No," Ken said firmly, wiping a dirty hand roughly across his face to get rid of the tears. "We'll do it later."
Himeno nodded. Hikaru was looking in the direction the Vampires had gone, where they were picking up Jenell's remains. "This has been a terrible war for us all," she said quietly, her face still impassive. "We have lost friends on both sides. I am glad it is over." She looked over her shoulder at the tunnel behind her, then looked back towards Ken, who seemed more reasonable than his lover at the moment. "We will help you find this Riddle person and end this. No fee for that one's death."
Ken nodded his thanks, not trusting himself to speak. He looked down at Omi's relaxed face, touching his cheek. He glanced up at Nagi in Schuldich's arms. The cast on the boy's arm was charred badly, but he could just make out the words scribbled on them by a playful lover: "Property of Tsukiyono Omi".
He closed his eyes and swallowed past the lump in his throat. In that instant he felt as if nothing would ever be all right again.


Despite his initial distaste of his choice to let Farfarello Turn him, the Jackal was reveling in his newfound powers as he raced through the alleyways of Tokyo, hand on the hilt of his sword.
He felt stronger than ever. As if he could take on a pack of Vampires and take them all out just with his hands and his teeth. He was faster, too. And his senses had been heightened so that he found his way more by scent and enhanced hearing than anything else. Riddle's trail was surprisingly easy to follow, once he'd gone off in the right direction; the man's unwashed body gave off a distinct scent he could follow like a bloodhound.
He'd paused at a corner to cast about, searching out the scent in the midst of the morning rush, when Himeno appeared out of nowhere beside him. He jumped, staring at her wildly. "How'd you sneak up on me?" he demanded.
"I'm a lot older than you, rookie," Himeno reminded him, looking amused. "Enjoying yourself?"
The Jackal scowled at her. "What are you doing here?"
"We're here to assist," Himeno said, looking around and sniffing the air delicately. "Don't kill him if you find him; your friends would like to question him first."
Himeno gestured over her shoulder vaguely. "Up there.." The Jackal's improved eyes quickly caught a minute movement, and he spotted Hikaru perched on a nearby rooftop, scanning the crowd below. "Farfarello would have come, but he is checking on his people. The ones who survived, anyhow."
Tomás nodded distractedly, looking around again. "I had him," he said in frustration. "I was getting close. But I've lost his scent in this damned crowd."
"That way," Himeno said without hesitation, pointing in a direction. "Come on, rookie."
"Stop calling me that," Tomás snapped, but he was speaking to empty air. The half-blood had already slipped into the crowd. Muttering a curse, the Jackal hurried after her, pushing rudely through people that didn't get out of his way in time.


Crawford looked up from where he was rooting through the kitchen cabinets at the sound of a light step in the doorway.
Ran hesitated at the threshold, watching him almost warily. They gazed at each other for a few moments in uncomfortable silence. "What are you looking for?" he asked finally.
Crawford looked away, still digging through the clutter of utensils. "A sharp knife."
Ran walked past him and opened the correct drawer, pulling out one of Aya's cutting knives. He handed it over silently and retreated to sit at the table.
Crawford rolled up his sleeve, revealing a rougly-done bandage he had done sometime last night. It was soaked in blood. He cut the wrapping open, revealing an ugly wound. With a slight wince, he used the knife to dig at the wound. With a little grunt, he popped out a bullet, and it landed with a clatter on the floor. Setting the bloody knife down on the counter with fingers that trembled slightly with pain, he bent over carefully and picked up the small metal ball. He tossed it in the wastebin and seized a fistful of paper towels, ripping them from the roll and dabbing at the bleeding wound. "Iragadachi," he said when he caught Ran staring. "I ducked. He didn't."
Ran nodded, picking at a stain on the table and avoiding eye contact. Crawford continued to clean his wound while the silence stretched. When the American began a clumsy attempt at bandaging his arm with one hand, however, Ran got to his feet without a word and walked over. He took the gauze wrapping from his partner and began wrapping the wound, eyes on his work. Distantly, he made a mental note to have the ragged hole stitched later. He could feel Crawford's eyes boring into the top of his head, but didn't quite have the courage to look up at him.
"Why is everyone so afraid of Rosenkreuz?" he blurted.
He didn't have to see the older man's face to know he was arching a brow, curious at the sudden topic of conversation.
"I mean, even though all they had left was a Telepath and an Eraser," Ran continued in a mutter, unsure if he should be asking, "Nebel never thought of going against them. Why? They had more power between them than those two. They could have easily taken them out and went their own way."
Crawford didn't answer at first, waiting until Ran had finished the bandage and stepped back. He turned to face the redhead, rolling down his sleeve carefully. "I would rather discuss this when everyone is present," he said.
Ran's eyes narrowed suspiciously. "Why? What's the big secret? Rosenkreuz is dead, it's not like we have to hide in the basement and talk about it."
Crawford hesitated, looking down at him solemnly. When Ran continued to glare stubbornly, he heaved a silent sigh and said quietly, "Those four members of Rosenkreuz are dead, yes."
"Those four?" Ran repeated, eyes widening in sudden comprehension. "Are you telling me there are more of them??"
"My father and the others were the primary four," Crawford clarified. "But four Gifted can not run the.. 'school' all by themselves. They have their higher-ups too."
"I thought that was Estet," Ran snapped.
Ran stared at him incredulously. "So, what, you're saying that now that we've killed off those four, some big cheese is going to be after our heads?"
Crawford cocked his head slightly. "Either you've been around Hidaka too much, or your Ash persona is still somewhere inside you," he observed. At Ran's heated glare, he held up his hands defensively. "There's no need to panic. We'll just have to make some changes, that's all."
"Changes? Like what?"
Crawford lowered his arms, his face dead serious. "Well, for one... you will have to close the flower shop."
"What??" Ran took a step back. "Are you trying to tell me we need to go underground or something? I'm not going to hide for the rest of my life!"
"I'm not saying that," Crawford soothed. "We'll all merely have to make some changes, as I said. Make it a little more difficult for us to be found. I doubt they'll look too much into it, it's just a precaution. But you can't just continue to sit here in this shop that everyone knows about. If it's that easy to track you, they'll do it." He shook his head once. "You'll have to shut the shop and move. If you don't, they'll find you and they'll kill you. Also, since Manx is gone, I suggest you take this chance to separate yourself from Kritiker. Especially since you are the only true member of Weiß left. Schwarz will do the same."
Ran opened his mouth, shut it again, then exclaimed, "You expect me to shut down the shop and drag Aya all over the country looking for a new life??"
"Speaking of Aya," Crawford interrupted in a hard tone, "don't you think you should be considering the risk to her? Perhaps you don't care if you sit here and let them find you, but where they find you, they find your sister."
Ran fell silent, glancing away as he wracked his mind. "What if they still find me?" he demanded. "I can't just keep dragging her around the country..."
"I told you," Crawford said patiently, "they shouldn't bother to go to the trouble of tracking you down. The Four can be replaced. Nebel can be replaced even easier. What else would you do with her, Ran? Send her to Ireland with Hannigan? That option is out, now. He's a Vampire. You don't even trust Farfarello with Hidaka; you actually think you would sleep well at night with your sister living at the side of another Vampire Lord across the ocean?"
Ran winced, closing his eyes. Crawford watched him for a moment, then reached out to lay a hand lightly on his shoulder, half expecting to be shaken off. The redhead opened his eyes, looking up at him with an expression of frustration and helplessness. "You're right," he sighed, his shoulders slumping in defeat. "I just wish it didn't have to be this way."
"Look at it this way," Crawford offered. "You'll be able to wipe the slate clean. Start over. No more Weiß, no more missions, no more living a double life. Settle down somewhere with your sister and pick up where you left off."
Ran looked at the American out of the corner of his eye. "And you? What will Schwarz do?"
Crawford took his hand from the slender man's shoulder, giving a slight shrug. "What Schuldich does is his own business... though I doubt he'll be too interested in becoming a law-abiding citizen so soon."
"And you?"
Crawford gave a faint smile. "With my talents, I'm sure it won't be too difficult to find an occupation."
Ran couldn't meet the honey-eyed gaze. "Are you going back to America?"
Crawford was quiet for a moment, as if considering the idea. Ran didn't realize he was holding his breath until the older man shook his head decisively. "I see no point. I haven't been there since I was a boy. There's nothing for me there. I will most likely stay here, in the city."
"OK," Ran said, trying to sound casual. The slight grin tugging at the corner of Crawford's mouth said he wasn't fooling anybody. Flustered, the redhead dodged around the bigger man and retrieved a pad and pen from the counter. "I'm going to call the realtor," he said quickly. "She'll start the paperwork to get this place sold."
"Might I suggest you talk to Aya before you jump into this?" Crawford interjected tactfully. "She's going to feel left out and angry if you do this without even bringing it up with her."
Ran winced, imagining his sister's enraged reaction if she were to come home from school one day to see a "For Sale" sign in front of the shop without prior warning. "Right." He set the pad and pen down and started to leave.
Crawford stepped forward and snagged his arm in a firm but gentle grip. "Ran."
The pyro froze, but didn't look over his shoulder. Crawford released him, sighing internally. Back to the old cat and mouse game, apparently. He reminded himself sternly that Ran still had to get over the loss of "Silk".
Ran's shoulders heaved in a deep breath, as if he was steeling himself. He turned to look up at the expressionless American, eyes flicking over the man's face as if searching for something. "Did you really react like that?" he asked, his voice very quiet. "When.. 'Silk' captured me?"
Crawford's expression didn't so much as twitch, though he swayed backwards slightly, as if he dearly wished he could retreat. Ran didn't give him a chance to respond.
"So much goes through your head," Ran murmured, his brow furrowing slightly in mingled confusion and something like regret. "Why doesn't it ever show?"
"Says the man who hid behind a mask of ice for the past few years," Crawford retorted, just as quietly.
Ran started to frown, then nodded once. "I think... we should work on that," he said hesitantly, suddenly looking unsure of himself and unable to look right at the older man. "Before.. well, before we do anything about..." he flapped his hand helplessly back and forth, indicating the two of them. "About this."
"About us, you mean?"
Ran nodded, then seemed to lose his nerve and turned, fleeing from the kitchen with his cheeks flushed.
Crawford, watching him go, couldn't quite hide the small smile of relief that crept across his face.


Curtis Riddle's self-proclaimed "Gift from God" was nothing more elaborate than a vague psychic ability-- a mingling of uncontrolled telepathy and Psychometery. These Gifts had at first been a hindrance to him, until he'd discovered he could use them to help root out the evil in the world. His control of it was meager at best, however, working only at random, and almost never when he wanted it to.
Luckily for him, the very instabilty of his Gift was what clouded his mind, hiding him from Schuldich's probing. If the Telepath had had a better idea of what it was that kept him out, he might have been able to worm his way through the man's mind, but none of the assassins even knew the fanatic was Gifted.
So it was that as Riddle hustled through the streets, keeping an eye open for a taxi, that the only thing he had to fear was a small pack of Vampires following his scent.
Getting into the taxi cut off his trail, and by the time Himeno, Hikaru, and Tomás arrived at the street where he had gotten his ride, he was nowhere to be seen.
The Jackal hissed a curse in his native tongue, slamming the side of his fist against a lamp post in frustration. "We lost him!"
Hikaru was looking around, nose in the air like a bloodhound, her mouth curved in a frown. "How could he just disappear like that?"
"He must have gotten into a car," Himeno sighed, rummaging in her purse for her lip balm. She nodded sideways at the cars racing past. "So unless you feel like peeking through the windows of every car in Tokyo..."
"Ch'." Hikaru rubbed her nose and scowled a little. "What will we tell Farfarello-sama?"
"The truth," Himeno said with a little shrug, popping the cap off her lip balm. "Unless either of you has any idea where the little grease rat would be headed."
"Maybe the airport?" Tomás ventured. "If he thinks his job's done, maybe he'll head back for America."
"It's worth a shot," Himeno admitted, running the chapstick over her lips before dropping it back in her purse.
"I'll send Jun and Seiji to the airport to keep an eye open," Hikaru said, tapping the butt of her spear on the pavement with irritation and ignoring the stares of pedestrians. "You two get back to Farfarello-sama and fill him in. Maybe his lover has some kind of idea where this 'Riddle' might be."
Himeno and the Jackal bade the half-blood farewell and headed back towards the destroyed Vampire tunnels.
"What do you think he's going to do?" the Jackal asked after several minutes of silent walking. "Farfarello, I mean."
"You mean now that his tunnels have been caved in?" Himeno arched a brow. "Who knows the way a madman thinks? Not me. He'd better think of something fast, though, unless he wants a mob of highly irate Turned on his hands."
The Jackal nodded absently, looking at his hands as he walked. "So.. this whole Vampire deal," he started hesitantly, "is it going to make me evil?"
Himeno sounded amused. "What do you mean?"
"It's just that I've seen a lot of royally fucked up Vampires," the Jackal muttered defensively. "I don't want to be like that. I hated those Vampires."
"Was your sister evil?"
Tomás looked apalled. "No! Of course not. I'm not saying she was a saint or anything... I mean, sometimes she had to kill Vampires. And people. But she was more human than most Vampires I've known."
"It's a personal choice, really," Himeno said, glancing sideways to admire a well-built man window shopping. "I guess you could say it just goes to some peoples' heads. The sudden strength, speed, and power of it all. They get to thinking they're invinsible. Many consider themselves the top of the food chain-- the 'superior species'."
"And you?" The Jackal looked over at her a little warily. "You don't really seem evil to me."
"You forget, I'm half human," Himeno tsked. "And my mother was a kind woman."
"She was human?"
"Yes." She shot him a look that clearly stated the conversation was over. Wisely, he decided to drop it.

Both Vampires were well aware of Farfarello's unpredictable temper. They delivered their news truthfully but cautiously, eyeing the Irishman warily and waiting for an explosion. The Berserker, however, seemed much calmer than he'd been earlier.
Farfarello had gathered his people in one of the few chambers underground that had not collapsed in the explosion. He was squatting on a large rock, his face impassive. Ken- probably the main cause of his calm state -stood just behind him, running his fingers soothingly through the short spiky hair. He shot his lover a quick, anxious look at the news, knowing the scarred Vampire could leap from one mood to another in the blink of an eye.
Surprisingly, the Irishman kept his cool. He didn't answer Himeno's report for several moments, merely staring at her unnervingly with his single amber eye. When he shifted slightly to indicate the caves with a sweep of his arm, almost everyone flinched unconsciously.
"It's better this way," Farfarello said abruptly. Himeno's eyebrows shot up, and the Jackal shot a startled look towards Ken. "We aren't allergic to the sun like the Purebloods," their master continued in near-monotone. "We shouldn't have to hide here."
"What are you suggesting?" Himeno asked carefully.
Farfarello's eye flickered sideways towards some of his people. "Some of them try to live like normal humans. They can get away with it because the sun doesn't affect them." He returned his piercing gaze to the two before him.
"Riddle did Farfarello a favor in a way," Ken spoke up quietly. "Now we have an excuse to leave these tunnels and move aboveground. But the fact still remains that this lunatic Riddle killed almost a score of Vampires with this cave-in."
"Find him," Farfarello said shortly, the hint of a growl behind the words. "Bring him to me-- Alive."


"Something's up with soccer punk."
Crawford glanced up from where he was seated at Omi's computer in the basement, fingers pausing over the keys. "What do you mean?"
His German partner leaned over to peer at the monitor distractedly, his tone and voice unusually serious. "His brainwaves are all jacked up. This shit hit him hard."
Crawford frowned. "Post traumatic stress syndrome?" he guessed.
Schuldich shrugged a shoulder. "Could be. Though Hidaka has always had a more violent streak than the rest of his little punk friends."
"He'll get over it," Crawford said confidently. "We all will."
"Oh?" Schuldich turned his head to look right at the American. "Fujimiya won't lose his marbles-- he has Princess Purity. And you as well, I assume. Me-" he smirked mirthlessly. "I've been through worse. But guess who Hidaka has for moral support and all that junk?"
Crawford's eyes narrowed slightly. "Farfarello won't let him go mad, if that's what you're thinking," he said firmly. "He has feelings for Hidaka."
"I'm not saying scar-face is going to go loopy on us," Schuldich interrupted. "But in case you hadn't noticed, being with Farfie and his happy little bloodsucking gang hasn't exactly done wonders for his morals or his attitude. Now he has a chip on his shoulder and he's right in the fucking middle of a pack of zero-conscience leeches. Tell me, Crawdad, what do you think his mental state will be like in, say, six months?"
Crawford removed his glasses and polished them carefully on the front of his shirt. "First of all," he said slowly, "I thought we just agreed Hidaka wasn't in danger of becoming another Farfarello."
"He isn't going to turn into a Berserker, and I doubt he's gonna sit in a corner and talk to a sock puppet," Schuldich said drolly. "But madness comes in all shapes and sizes, my beady-eyed friend."
Crawford chose to ignore the jibe. "Perhaps," he admitted, settling the glasses on his face again. "You're a prime example of that. But my second point is: since when does Hidaka's state of mind concern you?"
Schuldich straightened and threw his arms up, eyes widening innocently. "Hey, don't go thinking I've gone all sentimental on you, Crawfish," he exclaimed. "If soccer punk were to choke on Farf's tongue tomorrow and die, you wouldn't find me at the fuckin' funeral. Just consider this a friendly warning." He turned to leave.
Crawford turned in his chair to stare at the man's retreating back. "You think it's serious," he guessed bluntly. "You wouldn't bring it up otherwise."
The telepath glanced over his shoulder, his eyes hooded. "It might be nothing," he admitted casually. "He hasn't even noticed it himself-- the change in him. Maybe he'll be over it in a month or two."
"And if he isn't?" Crawford asked quietly, face grim.
Schuldich looked away and didn't answer for several moments. Abruptly he shrugged and started up the stairs. "Then I feel sorry for anyone that pisses that kid off."

Author's Notes: Now there's only an epilogue left XD; ...thank god @_@
Psychometery- the ability to learn information by merely touching an object


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