Ch. 38: "Lucifer's Angels"
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. Any songs from different sources will have a disclaimer at the bottom. Don't sue. =pp
Wish I was too dead to cry,
the self-affliction fades,
stones to throw at my creator,
Masochist to which I cater.
Talon looked around the dark, empty flowershop, musing silently to himself.
Gone. All of them were missing. He had checked the rooms upstairs, and the general mess suggested a hasty departure. Where had they gone? And why? He had been suspicious when, upon approaching the little shop from the rear, he'd seen the shattered back door window.
Someone had beat him there.
There was a musty, unpleasant scent hanging in the air that the Hunter knew only too well. Casting his emotionless eyes on the pots shattered on the floor, their contents spilled helplessly on the floor, his suspicions worsened. The Vampires had been here- but they hadn't found what they'd been looking for. Which meant...
Weiß had been sincere in their offer of a truce. Schwarz and Weiß had formed a strange alliance- against the Vampires.
Stepping over a dozen broken roses with their petals scattered like drops of blood, he looked about for some sort of clue as to where the assassins had fled. Where would they go? And were they still there? He wasn't too optimistic on tracking them down; they were trained assassins trying to hide. It would be next to impossible to find them when they didn't want to be found.
He heard the unmistakable crunch of a foot in soil, and whirled, gun snapping up.
The man across the shop came to an immediate halt, holding up his hands in surrender. "Don't shoot," he said quickly.
Talon hesitated. It was a Vampire. A nicely dressed one, at that. And he hadn't attacked outright. It was one of those who lived among mankind and hid what they were. Talon knew of them; he'd killed some, and made uneasy truces with others. He lowered his gun a fraction, narrowing his eyes dangerously.
"Where have they gone?" he demanded.
The Vampire remained where he was, watching the gun warily. "They ran, but Agammedo found them. They're his, now."
Talon cursed under his breath. That meant there was very little chance of getting them out of this mess, given they were still alive. He looked closely at the Vampire. "Why are you telling me this? Aren't you with that Lord of yours?"
The man who was not a Man shifted, his dark slanted eyes flicking from the gun to the Hunter who held it. He seemed on edge, and impatient. Because Talon was really making him that nervous? Or because he wasn't supposed to be here in the first place? "I've already told this to your friends," he said in a quiet, intense voice. "Agammedo's foolhardy plan to rule the world and wipe out the human race doesn't sit well with those of us who coexist with your kind."
Talon noticed a small scar on the Vampire's left eyebrow. Purebloods had no scars. "And why is that?" he demanded bluntly. "Still have lingering sympathies?"
The Vampire's lip curled slightly. "I was Man once, yes. So were a lot of us others that coexist with you arrogant cattle. But don't think that's why I'm here, Hunter." He said the title as if it was a filthy word he couldn't bear to speak. Talon inclined his head in sarcastic acknowledgement. "Agammedo is a fool. He thinks that he can wipe out resistance in Japan and move on from there. If he somehow succeeds in this foolish plan of his, do you really think this country's allies will stand back and watch- and wait for it to happen to them?" The Vampire made an irritated noise. "First we will lose our food. Then the Americans will wipe us out."
Talon gave a small but fierce grin. "That's right, buddy. Good old USA. We'll light this place up like Christmas just to get rid of you roaches."
"But you can't do that, either," his uninvited guest said angrily. He reached up to push his wayward hair back from his eyes, glaring at the taller man from across the shop. "You think you're at the top of the food chain? You're not. WE are. Who do you think keeps your disgusting population under control? Like it or not, you need us. Murder among you is illegal. But unless some of you die, even your precious States is going to wind up like China. Overpopulated by your own stinking people."
Talon straightened and glared back. "Humans control DEER population," he growled. "Bloodsuckers don't control ours."
"That's what you'd like to tell yourself," the Vampire said with a little smirk, "because you're ignorant." He swiped the air with his arm to cut Talon off when the American opened his mouth to retort. "I didn't come here to argue with you, Hunter," he snapped. "I came here- at personal risk, I hope you know -to tell you you'd better find a way to stop that lunatic, and you'd better find it quick."
"Oh?" Talon shot back, his lip lifting in disgust. "Why haven't one of you killed him yet if he's so dangerous?"
"We cannot defeat Agammedo. He is too strong. Your friends have Gifts that can defeat him. So I suggest you make sure they aren't killed."
"And what about you and the others like you who 'coexist'? You're just going to hide in the shadows like worms and wait for a handful of people to stop this? What are you going to do about all this?"
"We're going to go with you," the Vampire said simply, "and make sure you don't fuck this up."
The reaction to Hidaka Ken's sacrifice was immediate and chaotic.
Omi gave a strange high-pitched howl. Yohji made as if to lunge forward, but was held back by a scowling Iragadachi. Aya's face turned ashen, and many uncertain expressions flashed in his violet eyes. The Vampires in their turn howled their enjoyment and derision, unaware just yet what had really transpired between Vampire and Feeder. Aya-chan was screaming in horror at what her "brother" had just done.
As for Agammedo, his mouth was tight with anger, his eyes flashing with fury and something akin to fear. He seized Aya-chan's chain and hauled her to her feet, placing her beside him as if in preparation to use her as a living shield.
But all these occurences meant nothing to the Berserker of Schwarz.
The Vampires who had dragged him from Ken's cold body managed to move him almost eight feet before the numbness of shock wore off. Giving a terrifying shriek of rage, he twisted away from his captors and began to fight back.
The onlooking crowd only roared for more, encouraging their companions to bring the Traitor down, but enjoying the fight all the same. Farfarello seemed deaf to them; all he could see was Agammedo. He forced his way past the Vampires trying to restrain him and strode furiously towards the dias. Then they were on him again, and he was fighting with fangs and fists, like a cornered wildcat. They fell back, he resumed his advance on Tokyo's Lord, and so the cycle went on frenzidly until finally the Vampires had had enough. Farfarello broke the neck of the strongest one, hurled his twitching body against two of his companions, and wheeled to face the silent Vampire Lord gazing down at him.
Crawford reached out suddenly to seize Aya's leg from where he was sitting on the ground in a wash of dizzying pain. Aya jumped, and looked down at him quickly.
Crawford was watching the scene with fevered eyes, his breathing harsh as he fought to stay conscious. Secretly Aya was impressed that the older man was handling his wound so well. "Farfarello's going to attack," Crawford said, almost too quietly for Aya to hear over the crowd. "The Vampires are going to try to stop him, and when they do, Rosenkreuz is going to be thrown off balance temporarily." He took a shuddering breath, blinking sweat from his eyes. "When that happens, you have to take out Thomas."
"Thomas?" Aya glanced quickly towards the silent American, who was watching Farfarello with narrowed eyes. "You want me to kill your-"
"Just do it, Aya." Crawford finally looked up at him, eyes hooded, lips stern. The famliliar expression was marred by the pain on his face. "You have to take him out quickly. If he cuts himself, one of Schwarz will fall." His fingers tightened on Aya's leg, and he put emphasis on every word. "Do not let him cut his throat."
Aya balked. "He'd cut his own--"
"Quiet," Urumi snarled, turning to glare fiercely at them. "What do you two think you're muttering about?"
Aya glanced quickly towards Souma to see if the man had caught the plan in his mind, but the telepath was speaking heatedly to Birman.
"Schuldich," Crawford muttered, and Aya turned his head to gaze across the floor into suspicious jade eyes. The German's memory was gone. He was no longer even 'Schuldich'. But years and years of subconsciously keeping a tab on his teammates had ingrained itself so deeply into him that it was he who caught wind of the plan-- not the stronger telepath a few feet away. Crawford's shields that he was so proud of had dissintegrated with the pain, and the German had caught every word, every thought.
Schuldich took a step forward- whether to warn Thomas or question them, Aya never found out. Because suddenly the Berserker's harsh voice cried out, rebounding from the stone walls.
"Kisama!" Farfarello's arm snapped up as he pointed accusingly at the enthroned Vampire above him. Blood from his victims dripped from his hands, and his angel's blood leaked from his mouth. "I'll decorate this hellhole with your blood!"
Agammedo positioned Aya-chan before him, and sneered. "Big words, little man, big words. You dare talk to me of death? It is you who will die, you little Halfling brat! You killed your precious Feeder-- and now you will kill this stupid girl."
"NO!" Aya screamed furiously.
Farfarello's eye narrowed dangerously, and he bared his reddened fangs. Aya-chan whimpered with fear. "Oniisan.."
"Let go of her," Farfarello growled. "She has nothing to do with your sick games."
"MY sick games?" Agammedo laughed cruelly, even as his followers began to shift and move in preparation for an attack if their master so commanded it. "My my, that little incident from all those years ago really did turn your brain to mush." He gazed piercingly at the Irishman with his cold blue eyes. "That night your whore of a mother tried to make you into something you could never be." He scoffed. "YOU, a Halfling- made into a Vampire Lord??" His lip curled in hate. "I think not."
"What do you care?" Farfarello snarled quietly. "What does it matter to a worm in Tokyo what goes on in the grasslands of Ireland? What are you so afraid of, bleideir?"
"He is afraid of you."
Elizabeth stepped forward from the shadows behind the dias, her eyes focused for the first time, trained not on her brother, but on the pale Vampire Lord before her. Farfarello reeled back as if he had been physically hit, his eye flaring wide and his breath catching. His sister didn't seem to notice as she contined to gaze intently at the sneering Lord. "He is afraid of what you are- and of what you can be. He is afraid of you."
"Be quiet, you bloodless little child," Agammedo growled warningly, glaring at the young woman fiercely. "Get back where you belong."
Elizabeth's mouth quirked in a strange, eerie half-smile that didn't reach her haunted eyes. "I belong in the shadows- is that what you're saying? Yes. They are all I know, now. But I do.. remember..." and her green eyes drifted at last towards Farfarello. Her brother gazed back in mingled horror, grief, and shock. "I remember what was done to me by my own kin. I remember his scream... when he realized what he had done. And I remember the men who came to meet him- and the tall dark haired one in front who had come with the sole intention of killing the boy he was to meet. The man who took me as compensation to use in future games he knew he would play against his enemy."
"I don't understand." Farfarello's voice was hoarse and quiet and sounded totally unlike him. He sounded too young, too confused. Watching him, Aya suddenly found himself wishing Ken was there-- not for his own sake, or the sake of his friends, but for Farfarello.
"Your mother knew what you could become; that is partly why she changed you when she did. And Tokyo's new Vampire Lord knew as well what you could become; that is why he came to kill you. But you escaped- and then were captured again in your drugs. And so Agammedo didn't fear you anymore." Her eyes drifted almost lazily to regard her master. "Until now. Until.. that boy."
"Silence," Agammedo hissed furiously.
Elizabeth laughed, a quiet hollow sound that sounded inhuman. "You are afraid." She looked back towards her brother. "He is afraid because of the boy. He broke you free of the drugs that kept you from becoming what Agammedo feared. His blood, charged with Power and with the feelings he had for you, makes this enthroned dog afraid of you like never before."
"I said SILENCE, you stupid girl!" Agammedo lashed out in fury, and cracked the skinny girl across the mouth. She fell without a sound in a pitiful little heap, as if all the strength had gone out of her already abused body.
Farfarello gave a roar of fury and lunged.
The crowd of Vampires immediately surged forward, howling, to seize the Berserker. They shoved past Rosenkreuz and their captives with the blind rage of a mob. Crawford's hand on Aya's leg held him steady, and out of the corner of his eye the redhead saw Thomas stumble as a pair of Vampires pushed him violently aside to get to the dias.
"End it, Thomas," Urumi shouted angrily. "The fool's no use to anyone anymore!" And drawing a dagger from somewhere in her crisp business suit, she tossed it to the First.
"Now!" Crawford shouted, releasing Aya's leg. "Don't let him cut himself!"
Aya turned and struggled to get past the mob to the older American, fighting fiercely. Omi saw him struggling and looked over. He saw Thomas holding the dagger and paled. "Stop him, Schuldich!" he shouted unthinkingly.
But Salem- for he was no longer Schuldich -was trying to shout a warning to Thomas, trying to get him to notice the fact that Aya was free and coming for him. Nagi took a quick breath, and the knife flew from Thomas's hand.
Thomas spat a curse. "Urumi!" he barked. The woman whirled to face Nagi, waving her hand, and Nagi fell over with a cry of emotional pain as her illusions crashed down on him. Omi cried his name, but couldn't get to him, his small body buffeted by the rushing Vampires. Yohji was between Schuldich and Aya, and he headbutted the German hard. Schuldich doubled over with a grunt, but Souma was turning quickly, catching the flickering, frantic thoughts of Aya.
"Grab him, Ryo," he shouted above the noise.
Birman was trying to get to the knife, but Manx was blocking her. Quickly, Abysinnian!
Aya was nearly bowled over as Ryo came at him like a quaterback, all muscle and killing intent. Arms almost as thick as his waist clamped around him like a vise from behind, and he could only writhe helplessly in the iron grip.
Iragadachi found the knife and snatched it off the ground. He turned, looking through the crowd for Thomas.
Frustration, hatred, and desperation washed over Aya, and he channeled all his emotions through himself like a jolt of energy, directly into the churning pool of heat somewhere inside him. "SHI-NE!!"
Ryo's body erupted in flames.
Manx screamed and leapt clear. Ryo was giving an unearthly howl of horror and agony as the furious flames licked at his body, melting skin and cloth. His grip on Aya, instead of loosening, locked even tighter as his body went rigid. The flames that had enveloped Ryo began to dance on Aya's dark clothes as well, and he gasped in sudden fear.
And then suddenly Crawford was standing beside him, shattered knee and all. His fingers were clamped together in a double fist, and he swung them at Ryo's skull with all his strength in one wide, sweeping blow that would have killed a lesser man.
Ryo staggered and his grip went lax. Aya wriggled free and frantically shed his burning trenchcoat, hurling it away from him. Manx snatched it out of midair and threw it over Birman as the other woman tried to dart past. Birman's panicked screams rose to counter Ryo's howls, but Aya was already turning to Thomas.
Thomas had the knife. But he wasn't trying to cut his throat. He was pressing the dagger to his right palm and glaring at his son.
Aya remembered suddenly how Thomas had held up that hand when warning Aya not to do anything foolish. He remembered Nagi's sudden alarm.
And there, where before there had been smooth flesh, the name Bradley Crawford was burning in the older American's palm as if lit from within.
Aya lunged forward desperately, his mind and his Gift already leaping ahead of him. The knife in Thomas's hand turned suddenly from silver to cherry red, from blade to hilt. The American yelled in pain and dropped it quickly, lifting his trembling hand to see how badly he'd been burned. As he did so, he saw Aya coming for him and reached up hastily with the hand with his son's name on it, plucking the small brooch from his tie. Farfarello's name, jagged and uneven as a child's handwriting, flared on the American's neck.
"He can join his slut," he growled, and slid the pin across that burning name without wincing. Blood welled. "Farfarello," he said in a strange voice, and the Irishman's name faded.
Then suddenly his world was nothing but heat and horrible, hungry flames.
Author's Notes: Yes, this is a really short chapter. ^^; Why? One: because if I keep going now, the chapter will be really long, and I'd rather that stuff be in the next one. Two: I'm such a sucker for cliffhangers. XD Sorry it took so long to get it up. ^.^; It's been mostly done for about a week, but I kept picking at it until finally I realized I wasn't going to do much else with it so I might as well put it up. Hopefully Ch. 39 doesn't take as long, ne? ^.^;; Almost done~ Only a few more chapters left. whee~ X_X Yeesh, what a long fic...
Disclaimer: Lyrics are from "Bother" by Corey Taylor; it's from the Spiderman soundtrack
Translations: "bleideir"- Irish word for "coward"
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