Patterns of Blood ~ Mami's fanfics

"Let's play a game."
We're kind of in the middle of something here and you want to play cards?
"A game of morality."
Seems kind of moot when you consider who's in the room with you, but what the hell. You first.
"Two men fall into a well, one a young college student and the other a senior citizen. Which one do you help?"
Which one do I what?
"Which one do you help?"
Is that a rhetorical question?

With the curtains tied up out of the way, moonlight was free to stream into the hotel room. Its silver glow had never looked so cheap before, but there was no helping it when the neon lights of Shibuya were shining through it. Lights pulsed against tangled sheets and his bare skin. He held a hand out and turned it this way and that, studying the way it looked as greens and reds flashed over him. He flexed his fingers a few times before letting his hand fall to his side. He slid it over the short carpet in search of his glass of wine and kept his gaze on the window as fingers trailed up over the glass. He dipped a finger inside to see how much he had left and found it empty.

The mattress behind him creaked as someone rolled over. Breath ghosted down his throat just a second before hair followed in its way. Ran shivered at the feel of it sliding against his shoulders. A smile pressed against his ear, more a taunt than a kiss, and fingers walked their way down over his chest.

"I'm out," Ran said.

A fingernail dug into his nipple hard enough to hurt. Ran scowled ineffectually at the window but didn't bother trying to brush the other man off. He didn't have to; a second later the finger was tracing circles against his skin. He leaned back against the bed a little harder and let go of his glass before he tightened his grip enough to break it. "He'll bring more back soon."

"Maybe he should have seen that we were going to run out."

That earned him a quiet snort. "Maybe he did. Maybe he just wanted to make sure we used your money for the second round. You did realize he took your wallet with him this time."

"I'll run him through," Ran decided.

"You realize I'd have to stop you."

"I'd probably run you through, too."

"'Probably'." Schuldig sounded amused by that. "Oh, you could try, Red. I'd allow you that, at least."

"Generous of you."

"I know, right?"

You see a child standing stranded by the highway. What do you do?
"That depends on who her father is and what I have to gain by stopping."

"I think you two are missing the point of the game."
I think I warned you not to play this game with us.

The rubbing was getting a bit distracting. Ran did his best to ignore it, but touching won out over city lights. He shifted away from the bed enough that he could turn around. It was hard moving when they'd had so much to drink and he felt dizzy as he turned. He reached out to catch onto the bed for balance, but he hit bare shoulders first. He ended up getting his fingers tangled in orange hair and Schuldig scowled at him for the tug. Ran didn't even try to look repentant, but he did look his fill.

The lights that flickered bright and sharp against Schuldig's hair and skin looked surreal, but Ran supposed that was appropriate. A night like this could only happen in an alternate reality. He still wasn't quite sure how it had broken the lines to slide from something impossible to something that was simply improbable. Two and a half years ago, it never could have happened. Two years ago, the tower had fallen. Two years, Aya had woken up and Kritiker had swept her out of his life in a heartbeat.

Schuldig never should have fallen into the space she'd left behind.

Weiß had never been a solid unit, but they'd done their best to ignore the splinters. That undercover mission where they'd had to try to kill each other had made the fractures only a little too noticeable, and it had all gone downhill from there. Something about it had felt a little too real, had felt a little too satisfying.

Trust Schwarz to hone in on that. Weiß had written the psychic team off as dead after the months of silence, but then Schuldig had shown up on Ran's doorstep. Ran should have been upset by the abrupt return of their rivals. He'd actually been a little relieved, as it gave his broken reality a bit of normalcy, and that had changed the entire flavor of Schuldig's game. Once Schwarz had been their archenemies. Eventually Weiß had realized that label was mistaken; the people they had to fear and hate the most were themselves.

Kyoto had almost killed Weiß. They'd all died to some degree or another, eaten alive by demons and one too many losses. Schuldig had kept Ran alive. Ran still wasn't sure why. Schuldig had Crawford, after all, and he'd made that clear really early in this relationship. Ran had slowly seen more and more of Crawford through Schuldig, but their interactions had always seemed strained when they were attempting to share Schuldig. Neither of them were big on the sharing thing.

It had lasted just a few months, and then Schwarz had left. They'd had to when Rosenkreuz had finally tracked them down.

Now, a year and a half later, they were back. Ran had walked out of a 7-11 this afternoon to find Schuldig waiting on the sidewalk for him. He hadn't had a single explanation to give Ran, but Ran wouldn't have asked him for one. He'd just climbed into the cab Schuldig had flagged down and turned off his phone when Sena kept calling him to find out where he was. It was probably a cruel thing to do; Sena had been pretty fragile ever since Kyo had gotten killed. Ran couldn't really care.

"You shouldn't have come back to Japan," Ran said.

The telepath offered him a crooked smirk, amused by that thought, or maybe by the thoughts behind it, if there were any. Ran wasn't sure he was thinking straight. He didn't think it possible after they'd shared three bottles of wine. He could still taste it on his tongue, thick and almost sour. He wasn't sure if that was from his drinks or from their kisses, an aftertaste of lips and tongue and nicotine. Crawford had never really struck him as a smoker. Smokers were lazy and laidback like Yohji was, not pristine and clean and controlling. He pressed his tongue against the backs of his teeth, looking for salt and finding none.

"I can fix that."

"I'm sure you could," Ran agreed.

Schuldig slid his hand into Ran's hair and clenched it tight around the roots. Ran let himself be pulled in, but Schuldig stopped just a breath shy of kissing him. "Then get to it."

"A house is on fire with six people trapped inside: two babies, two children, and their parents. You only have time to save one. Which one do you go after?"
"Why can't I save all of them?"
Why am I not surprised that you'd have a stupid answer like that?
"The rule is that you can only save one."

"If we were following the rules and answering the question exactly as it was asked, Schuldig should have given us a better answer for the well question."
That was a good answer. There's no way in hell I'd jump into a well to save some retarded ass person. That's what people like you are for.
"I would start with the children, then, but I would still try for all of them."
You're giving me indigestion, Red.
"That might just be the alcohol."


Ran used Schuldig's shoulders as a prop to push himself up. The German grunted a little at the weight. Ran ignored the noise and climbed past him onto the bed. He had to sit still for a few moments and did his best to blink away the dizziness.

"I think Fujimiya-sensei is going to have a hangover tomorrow," Schuldig said as he sat up. "Won't take long for your students to notice. Tsk, what a degenerate."

"No one can look like a degenerate if you're around for comparison," Ran pointed out.

"Keep saying shit like that and we really will leave again."

"Why did you come back?"

"Unfinished business with some old friends of ours," Schuldig answered. "They're next on our hit list and then we'll be moving on again. Back to Europe, it seems. There'll be unfinished business waiting for us there, too, if we wait long enough."

"I've never been."

Schuldig smiled, that shit-eating grin he wore when he knew something Ran didn't. Ran had gotten used to seeing it, but it was still as aggravating now as it was every time before. Alcohol didn't make it any more tolerable. "What?" Ran asked.

"You'll find out eventually." Schuldig gave his head a condescending pat. Ran shoved at him in response, and Schuldig pushed back. Ran lost his balance and just barely missed clipping his head on the headboard. Schuldig was over him in a heartbeat, knee sliding along Ran's thigh and hands catching at Ran's chest to either hold the swordsman down or hold himself up. Judging by the way he swayed, Ran thought it was the latter.

"You're drunk," he observed.

"No, really?" Schuldig returned.

There was a beep at the door as a keycard undid the lock. Schuldig sat back onto his heels to watch as Crawford entered the room with a brown paper bag in one arm. The precognitive locked the door behind him and tossed the card down on the dresser on his way to the bed. Schuldig took the bag from him to rummage through it. Crawford had bought two bottles this time. Schuldig showed his appreciation by kissing the labels.

"We can't drink all of that," Ran said. "We've already had too much."

"No such thing," Schuldig assured him, handing the bottles off to Ran. It freed his hands so he could start working on the buttons on Crawford's shirt. It looked like a serious chore and Ran decided Schuldig had had too much to drink. "Mind your own business."

"My wallet," Ran said.

Crawford set it neatly on the bedside table, only to get an annoyed grumble from Schuldig as moving tugged his shirt out of Schuldig's reach. Crawford ignored him and took the bottles away next. Schuldig gave him just long enough to put the bottles down beside Ran's stolen wallet before grabbing his pants leg and pulling as hard as he could. He was too drunk to have a strong grip, but Crawford wasn't exactly sober, either, and he couldn't dig his feet in. He ended up sitting heavily on the bed and Schuldig offered him a triumphant smirk before divesting him of his shirt. Ran wasn't quite drunk enough to help out, since Crawford was still a new thing in all of this. Alcohol made it easier, but it didn't blur all the edges of uncertainty.

"You find Fujimiya Ran standing on a pier in the middle of the night. What do you do?"
Push him in, I guess, and then fish him out when he's all pissed and undignified.
"We'd have to bring a towel."
Yeah, wouldn't want to get salt water all over your upholstery.
"I was more concerned about the bed."


The laws of physics said three bodies couldn't fit on a bed this narrow, but somehow they managed just the same. Ran had to sit up to accommodate the other men and he was warm already from their body heat. Or maybe that was from watching Schuldig mark a hungry line down Crawford's throat with his teeth. Ran considered them for a long moment before reaching out and boldly plucking Crawford's glasses from his face. He peered through the lenses at them, only to get a headache, and finally set them aside.

"Well?" Schuldig asked.

"I'll pour the wine," Ran answered, starting to turn to collect his cup.

Schuldig caught his elbow and pulled him back. "Don't be a wuss. You're not going to remember this in the morning, anyway."

"Won't I?"

"One more bottle of wine and you won't even remember your name."

Ran thought about that, or at least he tried. Thinking was tiresome. It was easier to just feel, but he wasn't sure if he was disappointed or relieved by Schuldig's prediction. Surely he was relieved. Schwarz was only going to be in town for a few more days, anyway, and then they'd be gone. Europe, Schuldig had said. They traveled so much. Ran would likely never step foot in any country but Japan.

Schuldig was grinning again. "Well?" he challenged Ran.

Ran looked from him to Crawford, then finally leaned forward. He had to plant one hand on the mattress to steady himself and put the other against Crawford's chest to help his ailing depth perception. Crawford's mouth was firm beneath his and tasted like cigarette smoke. Ran grimaced a little at the taste, but he wasn't going to fuss, not when Crawford's fingers were curling around the back of his neck.

"Yeah," Schuldig mused as he watched them. "I'm full of good ideas."

"You're arrogant, is what," Crawford murmured against Ran's mouth.

"And that," Schuldig agreed.

"Hypocrite," Ran accused Crawford.


Ran supposed it didn't matter. Few things really did when he was tucked away with these two. The hotel room shielded them from the rules of the outside world. Neon lights and wine and sheets and skin; if Ran wasn't going to remember it tomorrow, then he would at least make sure he enjoyed it now. Kritiker would execute him if they found out he was doing this, so he was obligated to make this worth that death. He doubted they'd ever find out. He was straight-edged Fujimiya, as unapproachable as stone and as emotionless as ice. They weren't going to suspect him.

The thought almost made him laugh, and he decided he might have had too much to drink. 'Degenerate', Schuldig had called him. Maybe he was. That was okay. Schuldig and Crawford were teaching him to be fine with that.

"Let's play a game," he said.

You're walking around England when Schwarz shows up on your doorstep. What do you do?
England, I said. Alcohol give you a hearing problem?
"Just seems like a strange question, but I suppose it'd be my turn to buy the wine."
Guess we'll see you soon, then.


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