Ch. 11: "The Message"
Notes: Yes, I know the series ended differently. But you know me, I always gotta tweak the story line... =pp so I guess this is kinda AU. I mess a lot with the concept of the story. ^.^; Those with weak stomachs, don't proceed. *Sweatdrop*
Disclaimer: WK does not belong to me. Neither do the lyrics that proceed each chapter- they're taken from various songs from the "Queen of the Damned" soundtrack. Don't sue. =pp
Drowning deep in my sea of loathing,
Broken, your servant, I kneel
(will you give in to me?)
Ken's jaw dropped.
For a long moment he could do nothing but simply stand there, gaping at the pale man as if he'd just been told Aya had gotten a sex change. "M..Manx?" he finally squeaked.
Farfarello's teeth flashed in a cruel smile. "That's right."
"Bullshit," Ken snapped, taking a step back and bringing the broom in front of him, ready to use it as a weapon. "Why would Manx have anything to do with Schwarz?"
Farfarello shrugged slightly. "Many reasons," he said mysteriously.
"I don't believe you," Ken said flatly.
"Believe what you want." Farfarello seemed unconcerned. He took a step forward, and Ken tensed in reflex. "But I have a message for you, angel. From your bitch."
"Stop calling me angel," Ken growled from behind gritted teeth.
Farfarello advanced slowly, still staring at him intently, and Ken found himself instinctively retreating. "Things are not always what they seem, angel," the Irishman said softly, looking very much like a nightmare come to life, the soft moonlight emphasizing his scars and his rippling muscles. "As that cat's message describes." He tilted his head slightly, running the edge of his dagger lightly along his chin, studying Ken thoughtfully. "What will you do for me to get that message?" he taunted.
Ken glared at the other man, forcing himself to swallow the bile that rose in the back of his throat. He brandished the broom like a staff. "Don't come any closer," he warned. "I don't care about any stupid 'message'. It's probably all just some trick that bastard Crawford thought up to throw Weiß for a loop. I'm not falling for it, one-eye, so you can just take your tattered ass back home."
Farfarello was fast.
Ken discovered this when he found himself weaponless and pinned against his closet door five seconds later. He gasped, fingers wrapping around the arm pressed against his throat, bulging eyes locked with the madman's single golden orb. He felt a blade tickle his bare abdomen and took in a shuddering breath. "St-stop," he gasped, going completely still, afraid the man would stick him with his knife if he so much as blinked. "Hanase! What are you doing??"
"I told you," Farfarello breathed, his face mere inches from Ken's. "You're fun to play with."
"Find another fucking chewtoy!" Ken shouted.
The dagger pressed harder against his stomach. Ken got the message quickly. He shut his mouth with an audible click of teeth.
"Good kitty," Farfarello murmured, eyes drifting down to the twin scars on his captive's neck. "Chewtoy, ne...?"
Ken swallowed hard and glared at the other man silently.
Farfarello's gaze flickered back up to meet his. He waited.
Finally Ken spoke through clenched teeth. "So what's the god damn message?" Oops.
Farfarello slipped his dagger calmly along the flat of Ken's belly, and he gave a hoarse cry, flinching violently. Farfarello tapped the dagger against his cheek almost playfully. "Warning, kitten," he muttered.
There was no blood on the knife. Ken took in a shuddering breath of relief. He made a mental note never to use "the G word" in front of the madman again. "All right, all right," he said quickly. "I get it. Now what's the message??"
Farfarello grinned wickedly. "What will you give me for it?" he demanded, lazily tracing a circle on the other boy's cheek with the tip of his knife, not quite pressing hard enough to break the skin.
Ken winced slightly, hiding his expression of bemusement. He had never taken Farfarello to be the teasing or playful type. Of course, this kind of 'playing' was damn deadly, but hey... "I don't know," he said carefully. "That depends."
Ken glared at him. "You're not getting my life for the stupid information, I'm not going to hold still and let you carve me up, and I'm not going to tell you anything that will put my team in danger. THAT kind of 'depends', you freak." God, he must be out of his mind... snapping at this crazed man.
Damn his short temper anyway.
But Farfarello looked vaguely amused. "You get to be my pet, angel."
Ken stared at him blankly. "Come again?"
Farfarello leaned in closer, tapping his forehead against Ken's and looking him right in the eye. "My pet."
"Ken-kun?" Omi sat up in his bed, rubbing at his eyes and peering at the man standing in his bedroom doorway. "What's wrong?"
Ken had a strange look on his face. "Um... I need to talk to you and Aya. Is Yohji home by now?"
"He should be..." Omi slid out of bed, tugging at his pajama bottoms and yawning. "Why? Is everything all right?"
"I'll tell you in a minute. C'mon."
Omi padded after the other man down the hall to Aya's door. Ken knocked briefly, then entered.
Aya sat up immediately, the sheets pooling into his lap as he reached for the katana on his knightstand.
"Chill out, Aya," Ken said wearily. "It's just us. I have something I need to tell you."
Aya moved his hand up, switching on the lamp by his bed. He scowled at the two men. "This better be good," he warned.
"Farfarello was in my bedroom," Ken said calmly.
"What??" Omi exclaimed, coming wide awake.
Aya cursed and sprang from his bed, snatching up his sword.
"He's gone, Aya," Ken said firmly, walking over to sit on the edge of his partner's bed. He rubbed at his temples. "He just left. He came to deliver a message."
Aya glanced from him to the doorway, obviously aching to track the madman down.
"What message?" Omi asked, coming closer.
Ken looked up at them dully. "He said Manx sent him."
Aya's eyes narrowed, and Omi's widened in surprise. "Nani?"
"He said to tell you this." Ken cleared his throat, rubbing absently at his belly as if he had been cut, though only a white mark was there-- as though someone had slid something across it without breaking the skin. "Somehow or other the vampires know about us. Maybe from that time when they jumped me in the slums, maybe from someone else. Maybe from Manx for all I know."
"Wait a minute," Omi interrupted nervously. "Why would Manx be dealing with Schwarz? She's... she's not..."
"A traitor?" Aya finished coldly. Omi looked at him helplessly.
Ken shook his head. "I don't know," he sighed. "But look. He said the vampires know about us, and know that we have these Gifts. And you remember what Birman said: it was people with Gifts that helped beat the vampires two hundred years ago."
"So we're a threat to them now," Aya said calmly.
Ken nodded. "Looks like it. Anyway, apparently now that they know about us, we're going to have to be watching our backs. They'll kill us if they get the chance. Or... Turn us."
"Turn us? You mean... make us into one of them?" Omi's eyes widened in horror.
"Ken," Aya was looking steadily at the younger man, eyes flinty. "Are you telling me Farfarello- from Schwarz -came into your room and warned you that the vampires are going to be trying to kill us? And you believed him?"
"He's right- why should we trust Schwarz?" Omi said with a frown.
Ken ran a hand through his hair nervously. "I don't know," he admitted. "I don't know why we should trust them. Maybe because Schwarz hasn't killed us yet- even when they could. Maybe because Manx is the one who sent him. I don't know. But isn't it better to be safe than sorry? Whether he's pulling our chains or not, it wouldn't be a bad idea to keep our eyes peeled, right?"
Aya scowled darkly and looked like he wanted to argue.
"Maybe," Omi said quickly before the older man could go on a rant. "But we should keep an eye open for Schwarz- and Manx -while we're at it. Who knows what they could be up to?" He shook his head regretfully. "But I don't understand... Why would Manx be communicating with Schwarz?"
"She's been doing it for awhile," Aya growled, "if she could get Farfarello to do what she told him to do."
"Do you think we should call Birman?" Ken ventured.
"No." Aya shook his head decisively, still glowering. His tone was unfriendly. "Now we don't know who to trust."
The three of them stared at each other for a moment as that sank in, then Omi took a deep breath. "I'm going to call Yohji-kun," he said. "I'll fill him in. You'd better get some sleep, Ken-kun. You don't look too good."
Ken managed to crack a wry grin. "You try walking into your bedroom to find a lunatic waiting for you. With a knife."
Omi laughed nervously and left. Ken turned to leave as well.
Ken paused, glancing over his shoulder at the slender man on the bed.
Aya looked up at him. "Do you want to sleep in here tonight?"
Ken stared at him, nonplussed. He could have sworn his heart skipped a beat. "Wha?" he asked intelligently.
Aya's expression grew impatient. "Do you want to sleep in here? In case Farfarello comes back?"
Ken flushed, hesitating.
God, would he ever get another chance like this? He couldn't pass this up!
And yet... his pride was pricked at Aya's suggestion that Ken might be afraid to sleep in his own room, afraid the bogeyman might come to scare him. He swallowed his regret and shook his head, forcing himself to smile. "I-iya. I'll be fine. I think he went back to his place. Thanks, though." He turned to go.
Ken halted once more, refusing to turn around. His heart was pounding in his ears. "H-hai?"
Aya was silent for a long moment. Finally he asked quietly, "Why didn't he hurt you?"
Ken turned to stare at him. Aya stared back steadily, his jaw clenched.
"Aya..." Ken felt a stirring of unease in his gut, a suspicion. But he couldn't tell him. His pride wouldn't allow him to tell the other man that Farfarello had claimed him as his... "pet". He shrugged helplessly. "I guess he was in a hurry. I don't know. He's a madman, how would I know?"
Aya seemed to relax minutely, shaking his head. "Hn. Never mind. Oyasumi."
"Oyasumi," Ken muttered, hurrying out of the room.
He bit his lip as he stalked back to his room. That strange tone to Aya's voice... Was Aya wondering...
If Ken was in league with Manx and Schwarz?
"Relax, Crawford." Manx stretched herself comfortably out on the couch. waving a slender hand lazily in Farfarello's direction as the madman stood in the middle of the den, gaze locked with that of the stone-faced American. "I told him to go."
Crawford turned his stern look on her. "There are reasons we keep him confined. Why wasn't I informed of this?"
"Because you wouldn't have wanted him to go," Manx said cheerfully, offering him a benign smile. "Just like now. Calm yourself, Oracle- it's done with, so deal with it."
"So just what was this big important mission you sent 007 over there on, ojousan?" Schuldich asked dryly, draping himself over the back of the couch and looking down at her.
She smiled lazily up at him, clasping her hands on her belly. Nagi was standing on the other side of the den, studying her with barely concealed distrust. "He was warning Weiß that the vampires will be targeting them, now." She looked over at Farfarello. "You told Abysinnian, right? I would have paid to see the expression on his face."
Manx's smile disappeared. She sat up, giving the Irishman a hard look. "What?"
Crawford gave her a slightly lofty look, as if to say "I told you so". Schuldich smirked.
Farfarello levelled the woman with a deadpan look. "Iya."
"You didn't tell Weiß?" Manx demanded, teeth clenched as she glared at the pale man.
Manx's jaw twitched, and she transferred her glare to Crawford. "Can't the man be a bit more specific?" she snapped.
"Why are you asking me?" Crawford asked, seemingly undisturbed. "Be more specific in your questions."
"Yeah," Schuldich said, his grin widening. "Talk to Farfie like you would to a slow person. Pretend he's a little retarded kid, ojousan. Verrry specific questions."
Farfarello gave him a long look.
Manx glared at them all before taking a deep breath to contain her temper. "Farfarello," she said firmly, "did you tell Weiß what I told you to tell them?"
"But you didn't tell Abysinnian?"
Schuldich looked smugly towards Nagi at the Irishman's use of a German word. Nagi rolled his eyes.
"Who did you tell, then?" Manx demanded impatiently.
"I'll bet it was soccer punk," Schuldich muttered at the same time Farfarello intoned,
"The Fallen One."
"Who?" Manx snapped.
"Siberian," Nagi translated quietly.
"Siberian?" Manx stared at Farfarello, nonplussed. "Why the hell would you tell him? Farfarello, he's..." she stopped herself from saying whatever she'd been about to say, closing her lips tightly and looking like she wanted to scream.
Schuldich looked amused, obviously having plucked the thought from her mind. "Hidoi, ojousan," he drawled. "You think so lowly of your own man?"
"Stay out of my head, Schuldich," she snapped without looking at him.
Schuldich gave Nagi a wounded look and held up three fingers. The faint hint of an amused smile danced on Crawford's features for a fleeting instant. Manx, who was too busy fuming, missed the exchange.
"Why would he tell Siberian?" she demanded.
"Farfie here has a little obsession with the neighborhood klutz," Schuldich said with a shrug, eyes slightly unfocused as he dug almost lazily through his partner's mind. "He-" he winced suddenly, and jerked upright as if retreating from a physical blow. Farfarello glanced at him from under a hooded lid.
Manx also flinched, glaring at the Irishman. "When did he learn how to shield his thoughts?" she asked sharply.
Schuldich gave Farfarello a dirty look. "That hurt, you ass." He looked back down at Manx. "He's always been able to. He just doesn't choose to do it as often as, say..." he offered his other two team mates a pointed look, "a couple tightasses I know."
"Never mind," Manx said impatiently, getting to her feet. "As long as Siberian passes on the information." She paused, glancing towards the front door, and after a moment Ryo appeared, answering her silent call. "We're going now," she said crisply, looking at Crawford. "Remember what we agreed."
"Aa," Crawford said mildly.
"Good." She glanced around at them all. "Keep in touch." She followed Ryo outside. Nagi shut the door behind her with a glance.
"Ouch," Schuldich teased. "Someone doesn't like her furry bitchiness." Nagi ignored him.
"Nagi." Crawford looked towards the Irishman. "Remind me to call someone to fix Farfarello's window tomorrow. Tonight, he sleeps in his jacket."
"Aa," Nagi said quietly, beckoning to Farfarello. "Come on, Farf. Time for bed."
Farfarello padded after him without comment.
When they were gone, Schuldich turned a grin on his American partner. "Saa... I wonder how Weiß is going to react when they find out."
Crawford smirked, reaching up to push his glasses further up the bridge of his nose. "Unfavorably, I think," he mused.
Schuldich laughed mockingly.
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