Part Five: Antenna

    Meirth gazed down at Einsam. The boy was sprawled out on Meirth's desk, an arm draped across his eyes. His velvety brown braid trailed off the side of the desk and pooled on the ground, stretching five feet. Meirth sat down at his desk, reaching out to run his fingers through Einsam's hair. "Einsam," he cooed quietly. "I need your help."

    "Leave me alone, Meirth. I'm about to go clubbing." The other boy's voice was soft and a husky alto, a stunningly pretty voice. "I'm off duty for the night."

    "I know we can somehow get hold of Schuldig tonight. I need you to tell me how."

    "I said go away. I've had enough."

    "Shh, it's all right," Meirth soothed, massaging Einsam's temples gently. "Don't worry. This is the last thing you need to do for me, and then you can stay out of the rest of this."

    "No!" Einsam rolled over onto his side, presenting Meirth with his back. He reached behind himself to tug up his braid, playing with the end in his fingers. "Please, Meirth. I can't take any more tonight. Please." He was trembling. "I've thought enough today."

    Meirth sighed quietly, feeling himself crumble. "All right, then."

    "Thank you..." It was barely a whisper. "I need to go get drunk..."

    "As long as you want something to take away your need to think," Meirth said with a grin, rolling the younger and smaller man over, "I know a much more pleasant way to do that." Einsam slowly smiled, releasing his braid and reaching up to touch Meirth's face. Meirth winced inwardly when he saw the boy's eyes. They were clouded with a manic gleam that always came when Einsam had been sequencing too much. He knew he'd pushed the boy almost too far today.

    "Yes," Einsam whispered, drawing Meirth's head down towards his. Their lips touched, soft at first, then harder. Meirth was almost surprised by the urgency which Einsam pressed into the kiss.

    ~I will help you forget, koi,~ he whispered mentally.

    Their love-making was not interrupted by the screaming from downstairs.


    Nagi woke slowly, groaning. His head felt like it was going to split open, and there was something distinctly wrong with him. A searing emptiness enveloped him. He shivered, opening his eyes slowly. Where was he? He pressed his fingers to his temples as he took in the room. The walls were all white. Something thudded heavily to the floor behind him and he whirled around, eyes widening. Omi had landed just two feet behind him. The boy's clothes were torn and blood was covering both him and the floor. His breaths were ragged and pained.


    "You decided to wake up, I see." Nagi jerked his head to the side. Nuboshi was standing there, holding a whip lazily. Nagi tried to lash out at him with his powers. He screamed as fiery pain raked up his spine, grabbing his head. Nuboshi laughed as the pain faded. "By the way, you're wearing a guard. It would be near impossible to break you while you can still fling us around like rag dolls, so we were forced to implant it in you."

    "Implant?" An icy finger traced Nagi's heart.

    Nuboshi just grinned, tapping the end of the whip against the ground. "Your friend has been keeping me occupied."

    Nagi scrambled over to Omi, pulling the boy gently into his lap. Omi's head dropped limply against his shoulder. "G-gomen, Nagi," Omi managed to get out. His words were hoarse, as if he'd been screaming. Nagi smoothed the boy's bangs out of his face.

    "For what?" Nagi asked quietly. Omi's face had been left untouched. It was the rest of him that was lined with gashes and welts from the whip. He didn't look good at all.

    "I said I wouldn't let them get you..." the words trailed off as Omi began to gag on blood.

    "Shh...Don't worry." Nagi tilted him so it could dribble out. He wanted to stroke Omi's back, but that would just cause the older boy more agony. He felt all of his anger and hatred being tucked back into into a small, icy cold ball within him. His face was calm, his eyes expressionless, when he looked back up at Nuboshi. "I will kill you."

    The man laughed. "Is that so, Nagi-chan?"

    "Yes." The word was chilling. Nuboshi blinked at the intensity, then shrugged.

    "Anyway, it's time for you to go."

    Nagi mentally pushed his ice ball back. He would need it later, when he had a clean chance to kill this man. "What makes you think I'm going anywhere?"

    "Because if you come without a fight, I'll have some medics look after your buddy. I personally don't care whether he lives or dies. If it means I don't have to tote you around again I'll let him live." He stroked his cheek tenderly, and Nagi realized there was a welt there the shape of a hand. "It's your choice. Pick."

    "Nagi, don't..." Omi whispered.

    Nagi slowly lowered Omi off his lap and stood. ~Omi has suffered so much because of me.~ "I want him to live."

    "So be it." Nuboshi calmly pressed an intercom button. "Medic, room 317. This way." He grabbed Nagi's wrist and led him from the room. Nagi followed his hated enemy, looking over his shoulder when two men and a nurse entered the abandoned room. His worry over Omi turned into fear. He knew Omi was going to live at least a little longer.

    The question was, how much longer was _he_?

    ~I don't want this.~ Fear flooded through him and his pace slowed. Nuboshi yanked him faster when he felt the telekinetic's hesitation. ~Please. I don't want this. I'm scared. I'm scared. Somebody help me.~

    A sharp presence burrowed itself into his mind so suddenly Nagi stumbled. "Clumsy idiot," Nuboshi snapped, pulling him back up.

    /Where the HELL are you??/

    Nagi could have wept at the familiar nasal voice. As it was he felt his eyes water. /Schuldig!/

    /Why haven't I been able to reach you?/

    ~He sounds frantic...~ /I was under some kind of anesthetic. Schuldig, please help me./

    /Where are you?/

    /I don't know./

    /Nagi, I have to know./

    His head throbbed and there was a stinging pain as two other minds were brought onto the mental length. /Nagi?/ Crawford.


    They turned onto another hall. Nuboshi paused, and for one heart-stopping moment Nagi thought the man had sensed the psychic bond between him and the rest of Schwarz humming. Instead, Nagi's ears picked up the sound of moans and cries. Nuboshi made a sound of disgust. "There they go again," he muttered.

    /What's wrong?/ Schuldig asked, alerted by Nagi's sudden panicked thoughts. Nagi flashed him the mental image of what was going on. /Keep him talking and distracted./

    "Who?" Nagi asked.

    "Meirth and Einsam." Nuboshi continued on, pulling Nagi with him. Nagi dug his shoes into the floor.

    /Please help me./


    "Is Omi alive or not?" Ken demanded. Schuldig swat at him, irritated, still gazing into space. The three Schwarz members were seated in the middle of the basement on the floor, gazing at the ground as they communicated with Nagi. Aya was pacing back and forth.

    "Yes, he's alive," Schuldig answered after prodding Nagi's thoughts. He was more concerned with Nagi than the flower boy. Above, the door burst open and Yohji came bounding downstairs, summoned home by a phone call from Ken.

    "What the hell is going on?" the playboy demanded. Ken hurried to explain, and Schuldig blanked them out. Nagi was scared to death. His thoughts were frantic and jumbled. He pressed his fingers to his temples, scanning the area around Nagi. It was more strainful to do a mental scan at such a distance than it was to do one when the other person was in the same building, and he could feel his head starting to pound. He knew he wasn't going to be able to find Meirth, and the thought sent a shiver up his spine.

    Meirth. The man who had raped him so many years ago. A man whose mind was complete silence to Schuldig. He gritted his teeth, fighting the thoughts off. He had to find Nagi. He hit another mind. Einsam. He hated Einsam's mind. It was constantly on the move, just like Schuldig's, and reading it always made Schuldig nauseous and off-balanced. He wouldn't find anything useful there, only sequences. He skimmed to Nuboshi, carefully sliding in. Nuboshi would notice that there was someone in there if he wasn't cautious.

    ~Where are you, Nuboshi? Where have you taken Nagi?~ He wove his way through the jumbled thoughts, seeing flashes of memory and thoughts about the near future. He dug deeper.

    He almost missed it.

    /Got it!/ It was just a picture, a view of the house from the front, but something about it was oddly familiar.

    /Taketori went to a party there last week./ Crawford sounded thoughtful, not noticing the way Schuldig winced at the man's name. /That must have been when he arranged things with the Group./

    /Enough about Taketori,/ Schuldig bit out.

    /We're here./ Nagi words were quiet.

    /Damn it, Nagi, hold on!/ Schuldig snapped, nerves frayed. Crawford and Farfarello drew out of the bond.

    "They're going to break him," Crawford said, standing. "We know the place. We have to go, _now_."

    The three Weiß held up their weapons in acknowledgement. Farfarello licked his knife. They rushed towards the stairs, but Yohji paused at the top, looking down. Before Aya could snap at him to move, Yohji spoke. "Schuldig?"

    All heads turned back. Schuldig looked up. "What do you want?"

    "Come on, Schuldig. We can't waste time," Crawford told him firmly.

    "I'm not coming." Schuldig shook his head.

    "Just because Meirth-" Crawford started angrily.

    "This isn't about Meirth!" Schuldig snapped back, green eyes flashing. "This is about Nagi! They can't break him if I'm in his mind. I can't stay in his mind if I'm with you. Don't you get it?"

    Crawford's eyes widened slightly as he stared at Schuldig in faint surprise. "You do know the consequences of your actions, don't you?"

    Schuldig smirked, his devil-may-care expression back in place. "Why don't you worry about people that need the attention? Get out of here before both Nagi and Omi are killed." He waved a hand in airy dismissal.

    Crawford hesitated for only the barest of instances before turning away. "Lets go."

    They rushed out of the basement and away. Schuldig sighed, getting up and going to rest on the couch. He curled up into a ball, seeking Nagi's mind again. /I am here, Nagi./

    /Schuldig, I'm scared./

    /They're coming to get you, Nagi. Just hold tight to me./

    As the group neared the door Crawford was struck with another vision and grabbed Yohji's arm. The others continued past them. Crawford let the vision play out, then looked up at Yohji. "You must stay with Schuldig."

    "What? Why me?"

    "It isn't safe to leave him alone, and he's going to need you." Yohji looked like he was going to argue. Crawford loosened his grip on the playboy. "We will get Nagi and Omi back. You have to stay. While Schuldig is connected to Nagi he will not be able to defend himself if anything happens."

    Yohji gazed at him in silence a moment, then nodded and stepped aside. Crawford moved past him and out into the night. Yohji watched him go, then shut the door and locked it. ~You'd better get them back, or I'll kill you.~ He turned and hurried back downstairs. Schuldig had moved to the couch. ~I don't understand how Schuldig is supposed to help Nagi like this...~

    Schuldig made a muffled sound of pain. Yohji stepped towards him, sitting on the couch before the German. "Schuldig?" he asked quietly, putting his hands on the telepath's shoulders. The redhead's teeth were clenched and his face was drawn and pale. Suddenly his jade eyes shot open, clouded with pain, and his mouth dropped in a soundless cry. His hands clenched spasmadically and he dropped his head. Yohji hesitated for only an instant before moving closer and wrapping his arms around the other man, pulling Schuldig up against him. He had no clue what was going on but the sheer agony in those wide jade eyes was on a level much higher than when Taketori had raped him. "It's all right," he whispered, feeling the man start to tremble.

    Schuldig started to thrash, beating at him and trying to get free. Yohji just yanked him closer, closing his eyes so he wouldn't see the man in such a state. But he couldn't close his ears when Schuldig screamed.

    By far, Yohji thought it was the most chilling sound he'd ever heard.


    Nuboshi stepped back from Nagi, frowning. He'd set the machine on high. Nagi should be unconscious by now. But though the boy had cried out, he had not seemed affected by the machine as greatly as he should have been. It was almost as if the rays were passing straight through him. Nuboshi scowled and flipped the lever to off, moving away to press the intercom that would connect him with Meirth's office.

    "Meirth, you done yet?"

    "What do you want, Nuboshi?" a weary voice spoke up in reply.

    "The machine's not working. The rays have no effect. He hasn't even screamed yet." Nuboshi eyed the limp boy, who was staring at the ceiling with wide blue eyes.

    "Give me a sec." Silence, then a curse. "Someone's acting as an antenna for Nagi. It has to be-" Merith's voice cut off abruptly as the lights went out. Nuboshi cursed, flitting towards Nagi. All electricity had been cut off. Someone had taken out the circuits. With his hands he felt the boy, finding the clamps that held his head and wrists. He pried at them.

    "Open, damn it!" he hissed, tugging viciously at one lock. One snapped and he started on the other, his breathing sounding rapid and ragged in his ears. "We can't lose you. I won't let them take you back."

    A foot embedded itself in his stomach. "Get away from me," Nagi snapped.

    "You stupid-"

    "Game's up, Nuboshi." Metal pressed against the back of his head- a gun. The voice was Crawford's. He snarled, phasing to the right.

    Something impaled him straight through the middle. He froze, gurgling in surprise. "Die, scum," a young voice said, and the claws buried in him raked upwards. Nuboshi sagged to the ground, eyes wide as he breathed his last.

    ~Beaten....I was beaten by a Weiß...~ He died.

    Crawford reached out in the darkness, encountering soft skin. "Nagi?"

    "Crawford," the boy replied. His voice was now back to its usual calm self, showing no traces of the fear he'd felt earlier. "What about Omi?"

    "Aya and Farfarello went after him," Ken answered, coming to help Crawford disengage the remaining locks.

    "Ah." Nagi, freed of his restraints, moved forward to touch Crawford's sleeve. Now his eyes had adjusted to the darkness, and he gazed up at his leader. "They put an implant in me. I can not use my gift."

    "We'll get it out as soon as we get back. Come on. Meirth and Einsam might still be here, though the chances of that are slim." The three took off in a silent run.

    /Do you remember where they are?/

    /When I was brought to the room they were in an office further down the hall./ Nagi felt Schuldig slide out of his mind and a flood of gratitude swept through him, so warm and intense his skin tingled. ~Schuldig, you took the pain for me. I thought you didn't care about anyone, but you cared enough to help me.~ He spotted the ornate door from earlier and pointed. Ken burst through first, the other two on his heels. The office was empty.

    /I ran a scan on the building./ Schuldig's voice was quiet and tired. /Einsam's not there, so they're both gone./

    /Rest, Schuldig,/ Crawford said gently, and again the telepath slipped from the bond.

    There were footsteps and the other three arrived. Aya was carrying Omi. Nagi hurried towards him. "Is he all right?" he asked, finding Omi's pulse. It was slow but steady. He gave a quiet sigh of relief. Aya looked around the room, ignoring him.

    "They're gone," Crawford said calmly. "Lets return to the shop."

    "God weeps," Farfarello rasped, sounding smug. He displayed a bloody knife.

    "Good work," Nagi complimented him, reaching up and squeezing the man's unbandaged shoulder. "You have made God cry greatly." The Irishman nodded proudly.

    "Chat later. We're leaving." Aya turned and left. The rest fell in line behind him, running through the hall to the night outside.


    For several moments the only sound in the room was Schuldig's loud, ragged breathing. Yohji slowly loosened his death grip on the man, helping Schuldig lean back against the couch. The man's eyes were closed and his face pale, but Yohji knew he was awake still. "Wait here," he said gently, sliding off the couch. there was a small fridge along the wall in the basement for when Omi had to spend long nights hacking, full of drinks and snackes. Yohji selected a juice, coming back to the German.

    He popped the lid off and lifted it to Schuldig's lips. The man's throat had to be hurting. "Drink," he ordered, and Schuldig obeyed for a few gulps before reaching up and brushing Yohji's hand. Yohji took the drink away, setting it on the small lamp table. He pulled off Schuldig's headband- made from a bandanna earlier- and held the man's bangs out of his face while he dabbed the sweat off his forehead. "Feeling better?" he asked.

    "Yohji the nursemaid," Schuldig murmured quietly, chuckling breathlessly. His voice was almost painful to hear, hoarse and scratchy from the explosive scream torn from him.

    "Just don't tell anyone," Yohji drawled, "or my reputation will be ruined."

    "Who cares?" Schuldig opened one eye to peer at him. "It's a false reputation, anyway."

    Yohji frowned lightly. "I don't understand."

    Schuldig grinned, his other eye opening. "Come closer and I'll explain." Yohji's frown deepened. "Well, _I'm_ not going to move. If you want to know..." He gave a shrug.

    Yohji leaned forward. "Yes?" he asked, a tad bit impatiently. Schuldig reached up and grabbed the back of Yohji's neck in a careful yet firm grip, pulling his face closer. "Wha-" His eyes shot wide open when he felt Schuldig's mouth cover his. "Mmf!" He reached up to shove Schuldig away. Schuldig caught his wrist in his free hand, tightening his grip on Yohji's neck.

    Yohji had never been kissed so aggressively or skillfully before. Hell, he never been kissed by a _guy_ before. But he found himself responding to Schuldig, and allowed Schuldig's tongue to enter his mouth.

    Schuldig finally broke it off so they could breathe. Yohji's brain was muddled from the action and he stared, dazed, at the redhead. Schuldig smirked, looking very much like his normal self. "Consider that my thank you for staying." Saying so, he leaned back and fell asleep within seconds, leaving Yohji alone.

    "What the _hell_," Yohji asked himself, voice hoarse, "just happened??"

Part 6