Ken lightly touched his headset, brown eyes sweeping the empty hallway ahead of him. He cast another glance back, satisfied to see that there was no one behind him. "No one," he answered. He drew even with a door and tested the knob. Unlocked. His blades slid out and he pushed the door open slowly, senses alert for any signs of trouble. There were no men hiding in the shadows, and he touched his headset again. "It's almost as if this mission's easy because there are only two of us," he commented to Bombay, moving to close the door again. Aya was out with a nastily sprained ankle and Yohji had a date. Manx had assured them that just two should be capable, but that hadn't stopped either of them from imagining worst case scenarios.
Something glinted inside the room and Ken froze. It didn't happen again and Ken frowned. He missed Omi's response as he slid a hand into the room, gloved fingers searching for the lightswitch. The overhead light flicked on and Ken's eyes fell first on a large mirror against the wall. It was reflecting another glow...He stepped into the room, turning to look at the wall it was facing. "Hey, Bombay," he spoke up. "There's some kind of system here, built into the wall. Care to check it out?"
"Yeah...Where are you?"
"Second floor, about nine rooms on the left."
Ken padded towards the mirror, shoes making quiet sounds on the metal floor. The mirror stood at least twelve feet tall and was rectangular. The frame around it was painted a swirling mix of colors: glittering silver stirred into navy blue. His blades retracted and he ran a gloved finger down the frame in appreciation of its beauty. How strange, to have a mirror here- and such a big one. Having nothing better to do, he eyed his reflection critically, sweeping the image of himself from his feet to his head with a brown gaze. His hair was messy from the goggles that had been shoved up his forehead upon their arrival here. His jacket had a smudge on it. How had that gotten there? He rubbed at it half-heartedly for a few seconds before giving up. His sweater was tied snugly around his waist, its sleeves dangling down around his legs.
"I'm here," Omi announced a moment before slipping in the room. "Eh? What's that?"
Ken grinned at Omi's reflection, waggling his fingers in greeting. "I guess whoever runs this place is vain, ne?" he suggested.
Omi grinned back and shrugged, spotting the computer's reflection on the mirror's surface and turning to face it. The only visible part of it was a large screen protruding from the wall. He stood before it, searching for a keyboard or mouse. There was nothing. He gave the monitor a squinted look before tentatively reaching out to brush his fingers along the screen. The white glow faded to a prompt box, asking for a command. Omi frowned faintly. "How to type...?" he mused. He tried tracing the outline of a letter on the screen, but that didn't work. He ran a hand through his hair, thinking.
Ken was silent, letting Omi puzzle over this new complication. He made a face at his reflection, amusing himself to pass the time. As he was grinning at his own childish antics, he noticed a smudge on the glass. What a shame, for a smear to ruin the beauty of the mirror. He rubbed at it with his finger, but that only seemed to make it worse. He tugged his glove off, touching a bare fingertip to the smudge.
A shiver ran down his spine and he inhaled deeply, raising wide brown eyes from his hand to meet the gaze in the mirror. The mirror was warm to the touch. No, not warm. Fiery hot, but not a painful heat- a heat that swirled through him, eating its way into his veins and making his blood hum. Images flickered rapidly in front of his eyes: he was teetering between the here-and-now, before this mirror, and seeing someone with blue eyes leaning in towards him. He struggled to focus, giving a small shake of his head.
"A-ah..." The sound escaped his lips before he could stop it. He felt so dizzy, suddenly.
"Siberian...?" Omi asked. Ken saw the boy's reflection turn, saw the boy's eyes meet his in the mirror. They were the wrong blue, and Ken experienced a stab of pain and annoyance that they weren't the right eyes. Mind reeling in confusion, he gave his head another shake. He lifted both hands to press his fingertips to his eyelids. He felt sick, suddenly, sick to his stomach. Laughter, low and husky, echoed in his ears.
"Siberian!" Omi said again, worried now. Ken forced his eyes open. In the mirror, the monitor behind Omi had gone red. He opened his mouth to speak, but Omi had noticed it as well. The boy spun around to face the screen just as the computer self-destructed with a huge blast. Ken saw Omi go flying just before the explosion hit him as well, sending him crashing into the mirror's surface. He went unconscious to the sound of shattering glass.
A thick wave of dizziness rolled over him. Ken groaned softly, pressing a hand to his face as he waited for it to fade. He expected to feel blood on his face, but his palm came in contact with nothing warm or sticky- just smooth skin. How lucky was he, to have gotten away without any facial injuries. He winced, willing his headache to go away. A drum corp was having a blast with the inside of his head and his entire body was sore. That damn computer...He slowly began taking mental stock of his damages by twitching various body parts. Nothing felt broken...All ten fingers and toes registered, and his limbs moved. It would be a miracle if he'd gotten away without any broken limbs. Then again, he hadn't gone flying very far- just the foot or so into that mirror. The one who'd be most hurt would be...
Alarm replaced dizziness and his eyes popped open. Omi!
Light flooded his vision and he shut his eyes tightly, uttering a curse and tightening his hand's hold on his face. Concern for his teammate overrode the pain and he lowered his hand after a few moments, forcing his eyes open. They adjusted to the bright light slowly, and he stared in surprise at what met his gaze.
He was in a bedroom, on his side on a bed. The wall opposite him had a huge window, with its curtains drawn back to let sunlight pour directly in on him. There was a potted plant on the windowsill, thriving in the sunlight, and some other plants rested along the wall. A few paintings were hung, tasteful and expensive looking. Ken's mouth twitched into a frown. Where was he? Had Kritiker already picked them up from the corporation? If they had, what _was_ this place? He tried to sit up, determined to find Omi.
His attempt to rise was stopped by something wound tightly around his waist. He looked down, absently noting that he wasn't wearing a shirt and he had no signs of injuries. Brown eyes fell on an arm that wasn't his, an arm that was keeping him in place. Startled, he turned in the grasp to see who he had woken up beside.
His heart leapt into his throat and his stomach gave a violent twist. The man stretched out behind him had long orange hair that fanned over his own bare shoulders and chest. His face was relaxed in sleep, giving him the calmest and most peaceful look Ken had ever seen on him. He swallowed hard, heart beating at a panicked pace. Schwarz...He held his breath, trying to keep silent, and set about gingerly removing the other man's arm from his waist. His eyes were frozen on the German's face as his mind babbled frantic prayers to anyone listening that Schuldich would not wake up.
Blue eyes slowly opened and Ken went rigid. Schuldich blinked sleepily, yawning and retracting his arm. He offered a satisfied smirk to Ken, who was two steps short of hyperventilating. "They throw a hell of a party, eh?" Schuldich asked.
"St-stay away!" Ken threw himself backwards, away from the German. He had time to see the startled look on the older man's face before he toppled off the side of the bed, landing on the ground with a painful thud. He would have gotten up immediately if the dizziness hadn't chosen to return right that moment. Nausea rolled in his stomach and he pressed the back of his hand to his mouth, willing himself not to throw up.
Schuldich appeared at the edge of the bed, folding his arms on the mattress and resting his chin on them as he gazed down at Ken. "You're not going to hurl, are you?"
"Where am I?" Ken mumbled, unable to speak louder through his hand. He tried to glare at the telepath, but he was too sick to manage a threatening expression. Jesus Christ...He wasn't wearing anything on his lower half, either. His eyes slid closed as the nausea doubled.
"We're at Yohji's place," Schuldich answered readily.
Yohji's place? Yohji had a small apartment. This was a huge bedroom. Most of Yohji's home could fit in here. "Don't lie to me," he spit out, anger, confusion, and hate for the German overriding his sickness briefly. He cracked open his eyes, mustering up the strength to glare.
"Lie?" Schuldich repeated, surprise flickering across his face and mingling with confusion. He tilted his head to one side. "The party," he offered. "Remember? The team won last night..." He trailed off when Ken's glare hardened. Ken wasn't going to fall for his tricks. He refused to. "I guess I let you drink too much last night." He shrugged, sitting up and sighing. One hand pushed at one of the sheets, shoving it away. There was a stain on it, but Ken only got a brief glimpse before it was covered up.
"Where's Omi?" Ken demanded.
Schuldich leered. "Where else would the little bishounen be?"
That answer didn't help. Ken pushed himself up into a sitting position, bending his legs and tucking them against his chest to conceal himself. The first thing he wanted was his clothes. Then he could set about finding Omi and escaping. Schwarz...Of course. They had rigged the explosion on the mission, and now he and Omi were caught by them. Damn. This was bad. He was lucky Schuldich didn't seem inclined to hurt him at the moment. "Where are my clothes?"
"Somewhere between the bed and the door." Schuldich gave another satisfied smirk. It faded after a few moments and he leaned towards the edge of the bed. Ken felt his stomach twist again as he was reminded of the fact that Schuldich wasn't dressed either. There had to be a reason both of them were unclothed. Of course. He was naked because he'd had wounds that needed to be treated, and Schuldich was naked to unnerve him.
~But you don't have any wounds...~ part of Ken's mind offered up tentatively, and his eyes drifted to the knot of sheets and he remembered the stain he'd seen there. Oh God, he didn't want to think about the implications of that. He wasn't injured at all, but he was incredibly sore- the kind of sore after a long workout. He bit his lip when his stomach threatened to empty its contents everywhere.
"Why am I naked?" he asked. Schuldich stared at him in incomprehension. Ken repeated himself. "Why am I naked?"
"What the hell kind of question is that?" Schuldich demanded, sounding indignant and puzzled. Ken just stared at him, afraid of the answer. "Why else would you be naked?" Schuldich asked, rolling his eyes in huffy annoyance. "You are never touching another drop of alcohol for the rest of your life, Ken."
Ken did not like the familiar way Schuldich spoke his name. This was a sick game the German was playing. What the hell had happened while he was unconscious?! Surely he would have woken up if the telepath had violated him! "Ohhhhh God." Now he was really nauseous. The world was spinning wildly before him. His stomach tipped then and he twisted, choking and coughing as he emptied its meager contents onto the plush carpet.
He didn't realize the German had crouched beside him until fingers brushed his forehead, raking through his bangs. There was a gentleness to his touch that made Ken's skin crawl. It was a sympathetic gesture on the telepath's part, a mockery to the cruelness that the older man exhibited on their other encounters. "Yohji's not going to be happy with you," Schuldich informed Ken dryly when Ken was finished.
Ken shoved him, hard. Schuldich wasn't expecting it and went crashing backwards into the bedframe. "Hey!" the German sputtered.
Ken scrambled to his feet, retreating and scrubbing at his mouth. "Stay away from me, Schwarz!" he spat.
"What the hell is wrong with you?" Schuldich snapped, anger flickering on his face as he picked himself to his feet.
"You're the telepath! You tell me!" Ken shot back.
"How can I tell you if you've got your shields up?" Schuldich demanded. He started towards Ken and Ken retreated once more, lifting a hand in warning.
"Don't come near me!"
Confusion danced on Schuldich's features and the German faltered midstep before obeying Ken's harsh command. He remained where he was, blue eyes fixed on Ken's face. Ken continued to back away, trying to get his thoughts together. Schuldich had...he had...If Ken had anything left to throw up, he had a feeling he'd be violently hacking right now. He felt violated and dirty. He had known Schuldich was a bastard, but to stoop so low...He shuddered, disgusted and nauseous. He needed to get out of here. He needed to get far away. Where was Omi? He had to find him.
There was a trail of clothes, but Ken didn't recognize any of it to be his. He shot a quick look towards Schuldich as he retreated towards them to find the other man watching him with a tight face. In his distraction, he snagged his foot on a shirt and stumbled.
Schuldich was beside him in an instant, steadying him. Ken beat at him, panic flaring bright in his veins. "Ha-hanase!" he gasped. Schuldich was stronger than him and refused to let go. His hands were closed firmly- if not painfully- on Ken's upper arms. "Don't touch me!"
"What has gotten into you?" Schuldich demanded, shoving Ken backwards. The white assassin's back connected with a wall and he struggled as Schuldich pinned him against it. "Damn it, Ken, what is your _problem_?"
"Don't touch me, you sick fuck! Get away from me! Get away!"
To his surprise, Schuldich released him instantly and retreated several feet. Silence fell between them as Ken's wild brown eyes met Schuldich's icy blue ones. Schuldich's mouth opened, then shut again and thinned to a hard line. Finally he moved. Ken retreated to one side, eyes narrowing in warning, but Schuldich was only digging through the discarded clothes. He threw some at Ken. Ken caught the flying material instinctively, dressing hurriedly in the strange clothes.
He felt slightly braver when he was clothed. Keeping a wary eye on Schuldich, he edged towards the door. Schuldich gazed back, immobile. Ken yanked the door open and fled down the hall. After just a few steps he heard it slam with enough force to make a picture on the wall fall from its spot. For a moment, Ken thought Schuldich was following him. A quick glance over his shoulder showed that the German had remained in the room, however.
Schuldich was acting strangely, and Ken hoped ferverently that the behavior meant this was just some sort of sick nightmare. ~Please, let me wake up!~ Ah, but the soreness in his body was achingly realistic. His muscles were crying in protest as his feet flew over the hall's carpet. There was a stairwell at the end of the hall and he took the steps three at a time, one hand on the rail to keep himself from falling.
He reached the end of the stairs and rounded a corner to slam into someone else. He stumbled backwards, grabbing at the wall for balance, as brown eyes focused on the one in front of him. Relief flooded through his veins. "Yohji!" he choked out, staggering forward with his hands out.
Yohji was staring at him in surprise. He reached out, pressing his hand to Ken's forehead. Ken allowed the contact, mind reeling. Yohji was here. Did that mean Yohji was caught as well? "You don't look so hot, Ken. Maybe you should still be asleep. We had a bet going that you would be out until noon."
"Omi," Ken managed to get out. "Where's Omi?"
Yohji blinked as if the question confused him. "He's in the kitchen," he answered, making a vague guesture over his shoulder. Ken looked past him to see another large hall. He could hear laughter- easily identified as the youngest Weiß's- and relief flooded through him. "He's all right," he breathed. "Yokatta..."
"Ken?" Yohji questioned.
"Yohji, what's going on?" Ken asked sharply.
"Eh?" Yohji gave him a blank look.
"Where are we?" Ken waved a hand around wildly. "What happened? The last thing I remember is that stupid computer blowing up, and then I woke up and-" He choked on the words. He wasn't sure he wanted to voice them. Just thinking about it made him sick. "Schwarz," he finished. "Schuldich is...he's here!"
Yohji blinked several times in rapid succession, then squinted at Ken. "Ken," he said slowly, "I think you should go back to bed."
Ken couldn't hide a shudder. "I-iya!"
Concern filled Yohji's emerald eyes and he squeezed Ken's shoulder. "Ken...Come to the kitchen. Come drink some coffee. It'll help calm you down. I think you took last night harder than we thought you would."
"Omi took it worse," Ken said, allowing Yohji to pull him down the hall. This place reeked of a wealthy owner. Antique paintings, flowers, and small statues littered stands along the walls. Answers. He needed answers. "He was closer to the computer. I was across the room, next to a mirror. I didn't have as far to fly."
"You have strange dreams, Ken," Yohji told him. "No more alcohol for you. Next time your team wins, you're going to stick to ice cream and water."
"Alcohol?" Ken repeated numbly. For a moment, he'd thought Yohji understood. For a moment, he'd thought Yohji could help him. But Yohji was saying the same things Schuldich had said. What team? Him and Omi? But they hadn't won. They'd lost. That computer had terminated the mission. "Yohji, what is going on?" he demanded frantically.
"Shhh," Yohji soothed him, guiding him into a room.
They had turned into a large- occupied- dining room. The first person Ken saw was Aya, as Aya was the easiest to pick out with that bright hair of his. He was finishing off breakfast. Omi was in the chair beside him, leaning against the redhead. He was talking with a boy across the table from him but paused on Ken's entrance. "Ken-kun! Good morning!" he greeted cheerily. All heads turned to face him. "How are you feeling?"
Ken had gone numb.
Across from Omi was Nagi, and beside the Schwarz brat was Farfarello. Crawford was a few seats down. "You're pale," Nagi commented, as if it wasn't very strange for Schwarz to be seated in a room with all of Weiß- with everyone in jeans and tees. His arm was threaded through one of Farfarello's. The Irishman eyed Ken for a moment before looking away to return to his meal. Yohji guided Ken towards the table, though Ken dug in his heels to offer some resistance. Yohji released him when he realized Ken didn't want to be dragged. One end of the dining room opened into a large kitchen and he padded towards it. As he passed Crawford, one hand reached out to trail along the American's shoulders.
Ken took a step backwards.
"Where's Schuldich?" Omi asked, lifting his head from its comfortable spot on Aya's shoulder. "Is he still sleeping?"
Ken's mouth moved, but no sound came out. Crawford looked up from his coffee. "Catch him," he said simply. Those words were the last things Ken heard as his mind gave up trying to process everything and mercifully let him slip into unconsciousness.