Part Four: Capture

    Nagi's head jerked up when he heard Farfarello's warcry, followed by crashing. Masaka! He and the others raced to the back room, but somehow he made it there first. He yanked open the door. A table lay in splinters on the ground. Omi was on his back on the ground among the wood, struggling to get back up. A slice went across his cheek, bleeding badly. Farfarello was standing calmly, pulling a pair of shears out of his shoulder. He tossed them aside. "Farfarello, stop!" Nagi ordered. Farfarello didn't even look at him, brandishing his knife to jump again.

    Nagi took a deep breath and fired. His power lashed out like a huge fist, slamming into Farfarello. The Irishman howled in surprise and anger as he flew across the room, crashing against the wall hard enough to get knocked out. Nagi blinked for a moment, startled. ~Did I really strike him that hard?~ He hadn't meant to. Brushing it aside he hurried forward to where Omi was.

    "Itai," the boy murmured, wincing and raising a hand to his face. "Arigato, Nagi."

    Nagi crouched beside him, smacking his hand away sharply. "Don't touch it. You'll make it worse." Omi raised surprised eyes to him. Nagi ignored the gaze, taking Omi's face in his hand and turning it so he could see the wound. He leaned closer, peering at it. He couldn't tell how deep it was. "Don't you know how to dodge?" he berated, collecting the edge of his shirt in his free hand. He was used to dealing with the others' wounds, so he knew what he was doing.

    "I tried," Omi replied, sounding almost sullen. Nagi shook his head, sighing inwardly. Non-telekinetics. He pressed his shirt against Omi's cheek, letting it soak up the blood that was already there. Omi hissed quietly. "That hurts."

    "Stop whining." He applied a little more pressure, pushing upward as he did so and removing the cloth. For a few seconds the wound didn't bleed, and that was enough to see that although it was deep it wouldn't need stitches. He felt tinges of relief. "It's not as bad as it looked," he told the older boy, giving a slight nod. He leaned back on his heels. "Though I'm sure putting antiseptic on it will hurt quite a bit."

    "Why was he unshackled?" Aya demanded.

    Nagi didn't bother to look at him. "How should I know? He was chained earlier."

    The bell jingled. "Irasshai~!" Omi called.

    "I'll get them," Ken offered, leaving.

    A hand clamped down on Omi's shoulder. Both boys looked up, surprised. Aya gazed at Nagi, his violet eyes assessing. "You take care of Farfarello. I can take care of Omi."

    Nagi gazed back at him, ignoring the twinge he felt in his chest. ~But _I_ wanted to...~ he thought, then berated himself. He gave a nod and stood, moving away. ~Nagi no baka, what was that supposed to mean? What does it matter who gets to patch the dart boy up?~ He waved a hand at Farfarello's crumpled form, and it floated over to him. He fastened the shackles on the man's wrists, gazing at the closed eye. ~How did you get free?~

    He stood before the man for a few moments more, noticing the bruise that was starting on the side of his head, then taking in the wound on his chest. He sighed quietly, heading inside to gather the materials he would need. Aya was deftly covering up the wound on Omi's cheek, and didn't glance up when Nagi came to collect some of the extra bandages. The telekinetic ignored him as well, returning to the back room to take care of Farfarello. The man's head was lowered against his chest. Nagi reached out to move his head out of the blood.

    "God cries," the man said calmly.

    Nagi yipped, jumping backwards and dropping the bandages all over the floor. "Shit, Farf!" he hissed, shooting a glance towards the door to see if anyone else had heard him lose his cool. "Don't startle me like that!" Farfarello lifted his head, meeting Nagi's gaze. Nagi glared at him, ruffled. "Aren't you supposed to be unconscious?" He received a blink in reply. Nagi ran a hand through his bangs irritably, crouching to gather the gauze. He _hated_ it when Farfarello did that!

    He began to work on the wound, trying to ignore his teammate, who was staring at him. Finally he shot the man a Look. "What?" he snapped out. Farfarello's mouth was moving.

    "Hail Mary, full of grace..."

    "Ah, jeez." Now he was going to be ranting for hours. Nagi wrapped the bandage around Farfarello's chest. How many times had he done this before? He slowed in his work as he felt the man's heartbeat, until he'd stopped altogether and was just standing there, his hand pressed over Farfarello's heart and feeling the chest move up and down. The only sound besides their quiet breathing was Farfarello's murmuring. Nagi slowly looked up, meeting Farfarello's eye briefly before letting his eyes trace over each of the numerous scars that lined the white haired boy.

    He allowed his mind to drift over the events that had occured thus far, sifting through it piece by piece. He realized Farfarello had stopped reciting prayers when he spoke. "You're trembling," the man whispered.

    "Am I?" Nagi whispered back, lowering his gaze to his hand. Indeed, it was shaking.


    "I don't know." But Nagi did. "I'm scared." His lips tightened into a line and he looked back up at Farfarello. The insane gleam had dulled, faded. Nagi found himself unable to look away from the yellow eye. ~Why does this have to happen to us?~

    "Fear hurts God," Farfarello said, almost as an afterthought. He lifted his shackled hands, pressing the back of his palm against Nagi's cheek. Nagi was surprised by the contact. Farfarello was not one for touching, just for stabbing and killing. These rare moods of sanity in the Irishman always managed to unbalance Nagi. "Don't let them see fear. Die before capture." For some reason Nagi felt pinpricks in his eyes.

    "It must get boring back here," Nagi told him quietly, finally able to look away. "I'll find you something to play with, all right?"

    "Something that hurts God?"

    Nagi smiled up at him, one that didn't match the sadness in his eyes. "Something that will make him weep," he affirmed.

    That gleam was back. Farfarello rattled his shackles demandingly. "Give!"

    Nagi tied off the bandage and brought the supplies back into the kitchen. His eyes landed on a blender. It didn't look like it'd been used much. Aya was cleaning up the table. Nagi floated the blender over to him. Aya looked up at the movement. "I wish to give this to Farfarello."

    "Why?" Aya's eyes narrowed slightly.

    "To keep him occupied." Nagi raised his eyes to Aya's. They studied each other for a few moments, then Aya waved a hand in dismissal.

    "If it keeps him out of trouble, I don't care."

    ~It must not be yours, then.~ Nagi glanced around for anything the Irishman might like to shred up. A bruising orange was on the counter. He picked that up in his other hand and returned to the back room. Farfarello was sitting down, watching him impatiently. Nagi plugged the blender in and handed Farfarello the orange. The man held out a hand demandingly towards the appliance. Nagi held up a finger warningly until he was sure he had his partner's attention.

    "Don't stick your finger in here," he warned, "or you won't see any of your knives again for a year, and that will make God happy." Farfarello snarled at him, offended that Nagi even _suggest_ he might make God happy. Nagi set the blender down in front of his team mate, stepping back watch as Farfarello shoved the orange in and pureed it. The man began cackling in fascinated delight much like a small child would, hitting the button over and over. Despite himself, Nagi smiled slightly at the scene and left.

    Crawford was the one in the kitchen when he left. He raised an eyebrow at Nagi. "Something wrong?" he asked, noticing the sadness that still lurked in his clear blue eyes.

    "He's a person," Nagi muttered softly, leaning against the counter. "I keep forgetting that."

    "Times like this are good reminders."

    "Aa." ~Does Farfarello even understand what's going on?~ Nagi wondered. ~How much actually sinks into his mind?~

    /Getting sentimental?/ an amused nasal voice asked. /That's so sweet./

    /What do you want, Schuldig?/ Nagi demanded, all nostalgia replaced by irritation at the way the German mocked him.

    /Of course the Farf is a person,/ Schuldig said airily. /And he understands this better than both you and I do. Mr. High and Mighty over there told him what he'd seen, while Farfarello was in a sane mood. Besides, you know him./ Nagi could almost picture Schuldig giving a slight shrug. /Farfarello picks up on things like this./

    /Aa. You must be feeling better if you're pestering me./ Nagi muttered.

    Mocking laughter. /I'm honored you would notice./

    /You're so annoying./

    /Thank you. I try./ Schuldig's mind slipped out.

    "Aya-kun!" Omi called. Nagi turned his head towards the source of the sound. He almost went to see where Omi was before he realized Crawford was watching him. "Aitsetsi-sensei says tonight's fine for the tutoring session! I'll leave his card on the fridge in case you need me!"

    Nagi blinked. ~I'd forgotten he was going tonight...~

    Omi bounced into the room, energetic and cheerful once more, as if he'd not just been attacked by Farfarello. Nagi eyed the bandage intently, trying to see if Aya had done it to his satisfaction. Omi beamed at him. "I'm lucky he lives close enough by to walk. To get the motorcycle means I'd have to go through the back room. If you get bored, you can use the computer in my room," he offered, jerking his thumb towards the ceiling. "It has a lot of good games on it."


    Omi glanced at Crawford, giving him a slight nod. Nagi knew Omi was still uneasy around the pre-cog, but it was hard to tell by the way he acted. Then Omi was gone, calling a cheerful "Ja!" over his shoulder to everyone in the house as he left. Crawford turned when the toaster popped, taking out the single slice that was there and carrying it to the table.

    "Where did they go?" Nagi asked, noticing that the house was quiet.

    "Kudou is out. Hidaka is watching soccer in the den. Fujimiya is upstairs." Crawford began buttering his toast with neat, clean strokes and tidily finished it off while reading a newspaper.

    It was late, and Nagi was getting hungry watching Crawford eat. "Is dinner being made?" he asked.

    Crawford didn't look up. "I believe you just volunteered for the job." Nagi frowned. "Make yourself useful."

    "I _am_ useful. I took care of Farfarello."

    Crawford gave him a Look. Nagi stuck his tongue out impulsively and turned to dig through the cabinets. There wasn't much. ~Even our kitchen had more than this. They need to go shopping.~ "Have any money on you? There's nothing up here, and takeout sounds good." He turned back to Crawford. The man studied the cabinet's contents for a moment before handing over his wallet and returned to reading.

    Nagi placed an order and headed upstairs. Dinner would arrive in half an hour. He made his way to Omi's room, pushing open the door and flicking on the light. He hadn't been in here since he'd woken up this morning. His eyes fell on the desk. Paper was scattered on top of it. He slid into the desk chair, moving the paper aside so he could access the computer. He skimmed through the games. Quake, Ethereal, NeverDark...He smiled slightly. He had ND on his own computer.

    He scowled. He didn't have it anymore. And he'd gotten so far, too.

    Well, he supposed Omi wouldn't mind if he played his game.

    He was jarred from an intense battle when bugnuks boy yelled, "Who ordered takeout?"

    Nagi paused the game, sliding from his chair and padding downstairs. Schuldig was at the base of the stairs, leaning against the wall. Nagi blinked, glad to see the man up and about but also in surprise at the clothes he was wearing- a pair of darker-than-khaki slacks and a shimmering black shirt that looked like something Kudou would wear. Then again, it probably was the playboy's.

    /Some playboy,/ Schuldig snickered. /He's off at a movie by himself to kill time./

    /Date stood him up?/

    /No date to begin with./

    Ken entered the room, holding up two bags of food. "Who's paying for these?" he asked them.

    "Crawford." Nagi moved past him to where the delivery girl was waiting impatiently, handing over the money. She took it, looked him up and down, and left. Nagi closed the door and turned back around. Ken was eyeing him.

    "He ordered takeout?"

    "I did. There's nothing to eat here." Nagi plucked the bags away and carried them to the kitchen.

    "Well, you're lucky there was a commercial on, or she would have been left standing there for a while." Ken trailed after him, Schuldig following them both lazily. Nagi returned Crawford's wallet and fished his own food out.

    "AYA!" Ken called, in what Nagi thought was an unnecessarily loud yell, "time to eat!"

    In a few minutes the redhead entered. "If you made it, I'm not touching it."

    Ken beamed, pointing at Nagi. "He ordered it. Don't worry." The soccer-loving boy took his own portion and left. Nagi was reaching for one of the bags to get his own meal when Crawford grabbed his wrist. Startled, Nagi looked up.

    The man was staring into the distance, eyes unfocused as he had a vision. Nagi winced when the grip tightened, trying to pry Crawford's fingers off with his other hand. "You're stopping the circulation..."

    "They have him," Crawford said, eyes returning to the here-and-now.


    Aya had stopped to listen. Crawford looked from him to Nagi. "They're after Omi."

    Nagi inhaled sharply. "They?" Aya demanded. "The Group?"

    "Where?" Nagi demanded.

    "Go after him. They're going to get him before he reaches his teacher's house. Get there first."

    Nagi darted to the fridge, snatching the card off it. Aya had vanished. As Nagi reached the front door the redhead returned, katana sheathed and in hand. Nagi shot him a glance before opening the door. They raced off into the night. It was strange, running beside a member of Weiß, Nagi noted absently before shoving such foolish thoughts away. All that mattered right now was Omi.

    ~Wouldn't he be better off dead? After all this is over and we split up again, he's just another enemy.~

    ~No!~ Nagi thought fiercely. ~I don't care about the future. Omi's right. All that matters is right now. He said Weiß would protect me from the Group. I doubt the others would, but somehow...Somehow I believe Omi would. And so I will protect him, too!~

    "Which way?" Aya demanded tersely as they neared another street.

    Nagi held up the card, letting streetlights fall on it. It was hard to read as he ran. "Straight one more block."


    Omi turned onto the street where his teacher lived, humming to himself. Ah! He smiled as he spotted the house. ~Makino-kun is so nice to do this for me,~ he thought as he started towards it. There was a slight scuffle to the left that he ignored until something rammed into him. He didn't have time to register the blow before he ran into a phone pole. His eyes had shut automatically at the impact and he clenched his teeth, hissing through them in pain.

    "Like that??" a voice asked behind him. He gingerly turned around, leaning against the pole. His chest ached and he had a feeling his cheek would had reopened. A man was standing there, dressed in ragged clothes. He made a fist at Omi. "Hand over your money or else."

    ~I'm being attacked by a thug.~ The thought would have been amusing if Omi wasn't hurting. "I don't have any money," he said calmly. ~I don't have time for this.~

    The man leered at him. "Of course you do. Now be a good little boy and hand it over." He reached for Omi. Omi steeled himself to fight back in self-defense- he was sure it would be easy to knock the man out- when a hand clapped down on the man's shoulder.

    A blond-haired man was standing there, a lit cigarette dangling from his lips. He was half-turned away and his face was in shadow. "Oi," he said quietly. "The boy said he doesn't have any money."

    "You stay out of this." The thug tried to jerk his shoulder away but failed. "Let go!"

    The newcomer whirled towards him. Something flashed, and Omi found himself staring at a gaping hole in the thug's chest. Warmth- blood- splattered on his face. Omi gasped in disbelief, raising wide eyes to the newcomer as the thug collapsed. "You-" he started, but anything else he was going to say froze in his throat so that only a gurgle escaped.

    The blond was now facing him, and Omi recognized his face from the files on the Group. It was the one with the lightning-quick moves. Omi retreated a step, hand instinctively going for darts that weren't there. "So surprised to see someone die? You kill all the time, Weiß." The man flicked his cigarette away.

    "You!" Omi choked out.

    Suddenly the man's face was just inches from his. The man was holding his face in both hands, gazing deep into hi eyes. Omi's eyes widened. "Hm...You are kind of pretty. I can see why Meirth said Nagi likes you." Omi had no time to think about what the man could possibly mean by that. "Now, come along like a good little boy." Omi brought his leg up to kick the man, but a palm on his knee stopped the blow before it could hit its target. "Tch', play nice."

    "Let go of me!" Omi jerked backwards, out of the man's grip. He had no weapons. His only choice was to run. But how did one run away from someone who could move faster than a blink?

    /Just stall,/ a nasal voice bit into his mind. It was Schuldig's. /Nagi and Aya are almost there./


    The man- named Nuboshi Hitsu- was calmly coming towards him. "Be a nice kid. You really don't want me to have to fight you."

    "Stay away from me!" Omi retreated for every step Nuboshi came forward. He whirled around and fled, knowing that he wasn't going to get anywhere.

    He ran smack into Nuboshi's chest after only a few feet and stumbled backwards. A hand closed on his upper arm. Nuboshi smiled down at him. "Don't worry, little kitten. I know your friends are coming for you. Einsam told me they would." Einsam- the Sequencer. Omi digested this knowledge. "It's not really you we're after. You have no powers."

    "Nagi!" Omi whispered, eyes going wide.

    Nuboshi grinned wickedly. "Good guess."

    Omi didn't quite remember attacking, but suddenly he found himself several feet away from the man, who had a hand to his face and was looking stunned. Omi's hand hurt. "You stay away from him!" Omi yelled. "I won't let you hurt him."

    "You little snot!" Nuboshi snarled, lowering his hand. His cheek was red from where Omi had slapped him. "I'll kill you for that!" He grabbed Omi's shirt.

    "You don't have time for that," a calm voice said nearby. "He's coming." Omi's head jerked towards the sound. Someone was sitting on the sidewalk, head buried between the knees. He was far enough out of the direct light of the streetlamp that Omi couldn't see who it was.

    Nuboshi flung Omi towards the ground. "Keep an eye on him. I want him for later." The teenager could barely bring his arms up in time to shield his face. All the air was knocked out of his body at the landing and he clenched his teeth to keep from crying out while his nerves were screaming. A hand closed on his hair and jerked him across the ground by it. Omi cried out, reaching up to yank the hand free of his hair, when two fingers closed on the back of his neck, pressing down. Everything swirled and blanked out.


    Nagi and Aya came to a halt as they turned onto the street. Someone was huddled on the ground a good distance away, a body sprawled out on the ground beside it. They approached slowly, warily, until they were close enough to see the unconscious person was Omi. "Omi!" Nagi cried, raising his hand to blast the person beside the fallen koneko.

    "I wouldn't do that," the crouched form spoke up. "If you were to knock me away, it would tear your precious kitten's throat open. Come closer. See." Nagi inched forward, Aya right beside him. It was hard to see how the stranger and Omi were connected because of the night's darkness, but gradually his eyes focused. A hand was lightly closed over Omi's neck, and the hand was covered in a metal glove with small claws. "Ah, see?"

    "Let him go," Aya ordered.

    "I do hope you don't get motion sickness easily, Nagi," a new voice spoke up behind them. Arms closed around Nagi's waist and he was jerked back several feet. Nagi clawed at the hands, looking up to see who had grabbed him. A familiar face smirked down. Nagi's throat went dry. Nuboshi!

    "Nagi!" Aya's katana was drawn as he faced the newcomer.

    "You are of no concern to us, Weiß. Be gone," the blond told him calmly.

    "Let go of me!" Nagi struggled fiercely. "Leave Omi alone!"

    "Oh, but your pretty little kitten must be taught a lesson. He struck me." Hate tinged the man's voice.

    "Let them go," Aya warned them, brandishing his katana.

    "You know that you have no chance to defeat us now, Weiß. One wrong move and your little friend dies."

    Aya glanced over his shoulder, and to his surprise, both Omi and the other man were gone. "Omi? Omi!"

    "Say good bye to your new friend, Nagi-chan."


    Fingers pressed against his neck. He struggled to stay awake. The world streaked past him as he was yanked along with Nuboshi at a light-quick pace.

    ~They've got me...~

    And it went black.

Part 5