The Weekend Meme
Two people sat side by side on the bench, just a breath of space between their bodies. Farfarello was leaning forward, arms folded across his knees, as he watched the daylight crowd give way to the brighter colors of night. Schuldig was sprawled against the back as he made short work of some take-out, looking to the world as if he was completely absorbed in his food. Schuldig knew better, and Farfarello at his side knew better. His chopsticks were moving in quick, agitated little jerks as the crowd fluxed around them because he was more aware of the city than any of the passer-bys could be.
Farfarello said nothing until Schuldig was done and the telepath set his container off to one side for someone else to worry about. He was scrubbing his hand across his mouth when he felt the Irishman's gaze on him and he glanced over at his teammate.
"Why are we doing this?" Farfarello wanted to know.
"Because it'll be fun," Schuldig answered. "It's going to piss Crawford off." The two went hand in hand, really. After finally scoring one over the damn precognitive's visions this morning, Schuldig was hungry for another try. He didn't stop his mouth from curving in a wicked smirk and tried not to let Farfarello's apparent disinterest ruin his fun. He did think to point out, "You said it would be okay."
"Mm," Farfarello answered, and he turned his attention back on the crowd.
Schuldig eyed him. "You mad about last night?" he asked, wincing a little as he put the question between them. It sounded so stupid out loud. Last night had been an act of brilliance. As soon as it had clicked he'd gone running to Farfarello's room to tell him, wanting his younger teammate to double-check the plan for any flaws. The biggest flaw, of course, had been the same thing that made Nagi hard for Crawford to see: whether Nagi would actually bite was pure chance and it didn't really matter what Schuldig said or offered. Farfarello hadn't even batted an eye- er, his eye, Schuldig supposed, since he only had one- at the prospect of Schuldig sleeping with Nagi. Schuldig hadn't taken it as approval, but…
"Mad?" Farfarello asked.
Schuldig scowled out at the crowd. "Nothing," he said. "It doesn't matter."
They let it drop between them and Schuldig mentally brushed it off the bench and into the people around them. He wasn't going to bother dwelling on it or it meant Crawford was winning. He still wasn't sure whether Crawford's words last night had been a taunt or a prediction. It wouldn't be the first time Crawford had said something just to make Schuldig uneasy.
"All the more reason to do this tonight," he concluded out loud.
"Why?" Farfarello asked.
Schuldig tapped his temple. "I told you. It'll piss Crawford off."
"If he hasn't seen it already."
"You're involved," Farfarello pointed out.
Schuldig offered his younger teammate a sneer at the unwelcome reminder that Crawford could follow him so easily. "It's necessary," he informed Farfarello pompously. "Crawford won't touch him again after we've been through, and it'll make sure Kudou doesn't look our way anymore. Come on, Farfarello. The guy just slept with Crawford. You know what that means to his mental image of who Schwarz is. Crawford turned us from monsters to humans last night when he let his prick do the reasoning. How is Kudou supposed to be intimidated by us when he's slept with our local bat?"
Farfarello frowned a little as he considered that reasoning and Schuldig shook a finger at him. "You know this is the best way to get my gift to work," he pressed. "I just want to make sure the guy's got his priorities in order."
"I know," Farfarello agreed.
Schuldig read it to be the "Okay" he knew it was and pushed himself to his feet. "All right, then," he said. "Let's go."
Schuldig was a little too keenly aware that his gift had more pros and cons than anyone else's on the team. He was positive that his was the most useful power, but that bit of arrogance was dampened by the fact that his was the most likely to drive him insane. His gift let him into people's most private thoughts and gave him the power to twist and change what he could read, but the sheer weight of Tokyo in his head meant it took most of his concentration to keep himself together. Focusing on just one other mind to the point that he could change anything about it meant he needed to have that other mind focused just as strongly on him. He'd learned long ago that one of the better ways to accomplish such a thing was to have sex while doing it.
Sex and a mind job together always made the sex a little less fun, but losing some fun was worth it when it helped his gift work better. Sex was such a primal, instinctive thing that there wasn't much thought to doing it, but it definitely made sure he was the sole focus of someone else's attention. There wasn't much of a point to sex with anyone when it came to Schuldig; whether he first intended to or not, he always ended up doing a job while he was there. It was instinctive, and somewhat defensive, when he had another mind that close to his.
Farfarello was the only one that took the work out of it, because Farfarello's mind was too much of a mess to let Schuldig in. A burst of inspiration had brought the German to Farfarello's door that first time, torn between wanting to try things out and not wanting to get his dick cut off for the proposition he brought with him. It had taken four tries before Farfarello hadn't thrown a knife at him for darkening his doorway with such an invitation but it had been worth it when he'd realized that his sanity wasn't in danger even that close to the Irishman.
'You're going to lose him.'
Rot in hell, Schuldig thought back at the memory, but it was enough to make him look back over at Farfarello. "You don't have to do this," he offered.
Farfarello eyed him for a long minute as if trying to figure out why his teammate was hesitating. "I said I would," he pointed out.
"I know," Schuldig answered, and Farfarello eyed him a moment longer. When Schuldig had shown up with his latest great scheme to get under Crawford's skin, it hadn't taken much to get Farfarello to agree. Schuldig wasn't really doing a job tonight, just digging, and that meant he wanted an anchor. Schwarz's clashes with Weiss were frequent enough that the four had familiar minds and Schuldig wasn't sure he trusted his gift that close to a familiar mind. He'd wanted Farfarello to be his anchor tonight, of a sorts, and Farfarello had agreed. Whatever he honestly thought of the two of them leaving the apartment to find and fuck Kudou Yohji, Schuldig didn't know. He told himself that Farfarello would have objected if he thought the idea really distasteful and it helped a little.
"Then it doesn't matter," Farfarello told him, almost on cue with Schuldig's thoughts.
Schuldig hated it when he did that. "Of course not," he muttered, and he started off through the crowd. Crawford's words flickered through his thoughts again and he allowed himself a moment to imagine sticking a knife through Crawford's face. "It's not like there's anything to lose."
If Farfarello somehow heard him over the rest of the evening noise, he didn't comment, and the two made their way down the street to where Schuldig could hear Kudou's mind. The fact that he could pick the man's mind out without even trying and with this distance between them just confirmed that he was going to need a focus for this.
They caught up with Kudou in an alley with his prospect for the night. This one was a blonde with more boobs than brain cells and Schuldig wondered if she was supposed to be Kudou's way of compensating for the fact that he'd drunkenly accepted Crawford's invitation last night. One push of Schuldig's gift as he came into the alley had her crumpling unconscious to the ground. Kudou just gaped down at her form for a moment, trying to figure out what had happened, but movement in his peripheral vision had him looking up and into Schuldig's lazy smirk.
"It's a little early for you to be that trashed, isn't it, Kudou?" Schuldig asked him. A push of his foot moved the girl's legs out of the way and he took her spot in front of the Weiss assassin.
"Schwarz," Kudou said warily, looking from Schuldig to Farfarello. The Irishman came to a stop behind Schuldig and Schuldig's smirk widened at the weight of his teammate's hands on his hips. "What are you doing here?"
"Word on the street is that you're easy," Schuldig said.
"Either that or your boss is," Kudou sent back.
"I would love to hear you say that to his face." Kudou was reaching for his watch with an unsteady hand and Schuldig tsk-ed, catching at his fingers and pushing his hand up against the brick. "Now, now. Don't be unfriendly. We just came for a little experiment."
"If it involves blood and death, count me out."
"Oh, no. Maybe tomorrow night." Schuldig grinned at Kudou's frown and stepped closer, watching the tension in the Balinese's shoulders change. He let himself relax forward, one hand still tangled with Kudou's and the other propped against the wall above the other man's head. Kudou looked from his smile to his eyes and down at the way their chests melted together somewhere between their black shirts. The man was hard already, but that was probably blondie's fault. Schuldig didn't care. 'Reap what you sow', they said, but if Schuldig stumbled into someone else's field, he'd still take the harvest for himself.
"How easy are you, exactly?" Schuldig asked.
Kudou just blinked at him, then blinked again. "Excuse me?"
"How easy are you?" Schuldig asked again.
Huh. Maybe it wasn't all blondie. Whore. Schuldig's smile widened at the look on Kudou's face.
"You think I'm suicidal?" Kudou asked, looking from one to the other. "Crawford was one thing, but you're something else entirely. You're a freaking psycho and I'm not even going to get started on that walking disaster over there."
"Don't look at him," Schuldig said, catching Kudou's chin and turning his head back. "You're not going to fuck him, so don't worry so much. He's going to fuck me, and I'm going to fuck you." Kudou had to go through the whole blinking routine again as his mind tried to catch up with what was going on. There was still a confused look in his eyes, though, so Schuldig simplified it by leaning in and kissing him, hard. Kudou offered up a surprised protest that Schuldig ignored, and Farfarello pressed himself up against Schuldig's back. Schuldig followed the weight and shifted against Kudou, grinding up against him. Surprise gave way to a moan and Schuldig offered him a toothy smirk.
"No," Kudou gasped out, reaching out with his free hand to snag orange hair. "None."
"Well," Schuldig said as he climbed back into the car less than an hour after they'd left it. "That was interesting, I think." He tugged the door shut and leaned forward to prop his head against the steering wheel. The car shifted as Farfarello climbed in and he heard the slam of the other man's door. A moment later fingers were poking through his bangs to prod his temple. "Mmf," Schuldig sent back in response, and Farfarello's hand fell away. The telepath stayed as he was for a minute longer before straightening and raking a hand through his hair.
"At least that's taken care of," he said, looking over at Farfarello.
Farfarello just eyed him. "You look tired," he noted.
"After last night, today's job, and this? I think I earned the right to be tired."
"Last night was your choice," Farfarello reminded him.
Schuldig scowled down at the ignition as he twisted the key in it. "Crawford pissed me off," he said. "I needed to one-up him somehow and Nagi was the only way to do it. But jeez, that kid's a mind job of his own." He waggled his finger near his head. "Remind me not to try that shit again."
"It was bad," Farfarello guessed, examining one of his knives.
"On a mental level it was quite the adventure," Schuldig answered, poking his gift ahead to clear traffic for their car. "That kid has some serious issues and I really hope it's because of his age. I always figured he had it together more, though I guess the way he's been trying to treat Crawford says something. He's got more ups and downs than I expected and I'm not really sure what to think about a lot of what I found there. Talk about your regular fallen angel wannabe."
His hand was on his mouth as soon as he'd said it. The car was moving but its passengers were perfectly still. Schuldig could feel Farfarello's eye on him, could feel the weight of his teammate's sudden interest, and his stomach ached with his own sheer stupidity.
"Angel," Farfarello echoed.
'You're going to lose him.'
"Not literally," he said through his hand, but he knew it didn't matter. He chanced a look over at his teammate to see the teenager had turned a searching look on his knife. Schuldig forced his hand back to the steering wheel and gave Farfarello his best warning look. "Nagi is Crawford's."
Farfarello didn't seem to hear him, but a moment later, it was clear he'd come to some sort of decision. He offered Schuldig a lazy shrug and relaxed back against his chair, letting his knife hand fall limply to his lap. "Maybe," was all he said, and Schuldig turned his glare out the windshield.
The rest of the ride back was in silence and Farfarello went straight to his room. Schuldig caught up with Crawford in the den and propped himself against the doorframe, waiting for the American to start in on his "I know everything" attitude. It took a minute, but at last the precognitive favored Schuldig with a thin smirk above the pages of his book.
"You're an asshole," Schuldig informed him.
"So I've heard," was the answer.
"Just tell him that the kid is yours."
"Why would I lie to him?" Crawford wanted to know. Schuldig just stared back at him, waiting for the punch line, and Crawford flicked his fingers in dismissal before looking back at the book. Schuldig gave him another minute.
"Lie?" he asked at last.
"When you said Nagi was mine, you were speaking about our sleeping arrangement, which was cancelled as of this afternoon," Crawford explained. "It was your decision to sleep with him. Did you honestly expect me to be interested in your sloppy seconds?"
Schuldig struggled to come up with a retort, but Crawford was already continuing. "Besides, our confrontation last night made it clear that Nagi had a different view of our arrangement than I intended. I am not interested in being a part of his version of things. He will have to find someone else." Crawford glanced up at him. "As will you, I suppose."
Schuldig blurred across the room in an instant to snatch the book from Crawford's hands. The urge to brain Crawford with it was almost overwhelming but he managed to stop his hand somewhere over his head. Crawford didn't look all intimidated and that just infuriated the German more. Crawford knew he wouldn't do it, and that should have been enough encouragement for Schuldig to go through with it, but Crawford was Crawford and the backbone of Schwarz. Schuldig had no interest in being replaced by Estet because he smashed Crawford's skull open.
"You could have been more specific," he said flatly.
"Perhaps," Crawford answered, holding his hand out for his book. "Except that you were the catalyst when you proposed such a thing to Nagi, and, if you recall the very reason you thought of such a thing, you already know that Nagi is a bit of an anomaly when it comes to my gift. I knew you would lose him. I didn't know why. Don't worry. I'm sure you will both get over it. After all, you need him more than he needs you."
Schuldig heard a knuckle pop as his grip on the book tightened, but when he threw it, it was across the room and not through Crawford's face. He was out of the room just a moment later and ground to a halt in the hallway, staring at the closed doors. His gaze went first to Farfarello's and then to Nagi's, and he pushed his way into the telekinetic's room just a minute later.
"Hey," he said, and Nagi glanced up from where he was making a telekinetically-assisted pyramid out of his CDs. "Let's go for a drive."
"I'm busy," Nagi told him.
"Let's go for a drive, Nagi."
"Go away, Schuldig, before I make you go away."
Schuldig closed the door behind himself and went to crouch in front of his teammate, offering the teenager a smirk. "Sulking because he dumped you?"
"Your stupid plan backfired," Nagi snapped at him. "You said that if you slept with me, he'd regret not sticking around last night." Nagi's face twisted into an ugly grimace and every CD in his pyramid snapped. "You were wrong," he reminded Schuldig heatedly, and the telepath considered the broken CDs and the fragility of his own bones. "He picked Weiss over me, Schuldig."
Schuldig held up his hands in self-defense. "Hey, hey. The hotel he uses is out of my range. He chose it that way on purpose. I didn't know, or else I'd have driven you there myself just to see the fight. It would have been fantastically bloody." He didn't bother to try an innocent look with Nagi because it would just deepen the boy's suspicions, but he offered his explanation without the usual amused tone. It was enough that Nagi finally lowered his gaze back to his CDs.
"So that's that, then," Nagi murmured.
"You going to take that lying down?" Schuldig asked.
"Are you asking to fuck me again?"
Schuldig pinched the bridge of his nose. "No, you twink. I'm saying… If Crawford's moved on to greener pastures, then you should go, too. Find someone new. Better yet, find someone to sleep with that will really get Crawford's nuts in a knot."
He had Nagi's undivided attention. "Like who?" he asked.
Schuldig tugged on his hair, thinking. There weren't a lot of options besides strangers, but strangers wouldn't bother Crawford. They didn't have a lot of constants in their lives, but they did have eight tagalongs they could never shake. Schuldig's smile was slow. "Weiss, of course," he said. "Let's start with Weiss."
"Urgh," Nagi said to show his opinion of that.
"What's wrong with Weiss?" Schuldig wanted to know.
"I can't believe you just said that."
"Hey, this is a what-if, right? Don't you think it would annoy Crawford to think you were sleeping with the goodie-goodies?"
"He just slept with Kudou," Nagi pointed out.
"Yes, but that's different. Crawford justifies everything he does because he's Crawford and he can make no mistakes. But if you started sleeping with Weiss… He'd start twitching, you know? He can't track you and everyone knows you're susceptible to fluffy things. He'd start wondering if they were going to brainwash you and he knows I wouldn't do him any favors to check your mind out, so then he'd have to take it up with you and you could tell him where to shove it."
Nagi was starting to look convinced. "Okay," he said at length. "So. Weiss. But who?"
"Pick your poison," Schuldig said.
"Not Kudou," Nagi said. "Crawford already slept with him." He held up three fingers as he thought. "The little one's a crybaby. Hidaka is boring. Fujimiya is untouchable."
"Kid, you're looking at a telepath." Nagi looked up at him and Schuldig leaned forward, offering Nagi a wicked smirk. "You pick whichever little kitty rubs your tummy right and I'll make sure you get him. You trust my gift, don't you?"
"I don't trust your intentions," Nagi said honestly. "Why are you so interested, anyway?"
"Let's just say that Crawford and I aren't the best of friends right now." He ignored the small smirk on Nagi's face that said he knew those words had to be an understatement and gave an impatient wave of his hand. "You in on this, or not?" he wanted to know.
Nagi thought it over. At last he offered Schuldig a small smile. "Let's go for a drive."
"Discrete" was an unfamiliar word to Schuldig. He knew the meaning and he'd heard it used before- usually out of Crawford's mouth in a warning- but it had been years since he'd even pretended to understand the concept. He waited in the next room while Fujimiya and Nagi went at it, listening in on their thoughts to check his work. It had taken two solid hours of mind work to break through Fujimiya's mind enough for him to do this. It would have been quicker if he'd just fucked the redhead somewhere and gotten deep into his head that way, but he had no interest in plugging his dick into another one of Weiss. Nagi was patient enough to wait, so Schuldig had taken his time, and now his work was being appreciated. He had to be here to make sure it worked. Nagi was going to pick Weiss and stay with Weiss and he was going to stay away from Farfarello.
-You're quieter with Crawford,- he flicked at his youngest teammate.
-Shut up, Schuldig,- Nagi snapped back at him. The bed thumped against the wall in time and Schuldig wondered if it was from the sex or from Nagi's gift.
He'd already thought of a couple witty comebacks but he stifled them uncharacteristically, deciding that annoying Nagi right now wasn't a good idea. He sat in silence for the rest of their ride and it was several minutes after things had gone quiet before Nagi got dressed and joined him.
"Well?" Schuldig asked.
"He'll do," Nagi answered.
"He'll do?" Schuldig echoed. "That's mighty generous of you."
Nagi just shrugged. "Crawford's American," he pointed out. "You wouldn't understand."
"Nagi? That's way more mental image than I ever wanted." Schuldig pushed himself to his feet and led the way out of there, leaving Fujimiya behind to try and figure out what had just happened and what he was supposed to do about it. The car was in the basement parking lot and Nagi hesitated with his hand on the door. Schuldig looked over at him as he was about to climb in, noticing the look on his teammate's face. "What?"
"Fujimiya is Weiss," Nagi said.
"I hadn't noticed."
Nagi scowled at him. "If Weiss finds out, they'll kill him and I won't have anyone left to sleep with," he said. "They're bound to find out. Crawford and I were fucking just about every day. If I'm going to have Fujimiya then I want him consistently."
"If he gets killed, you can move on to Schreient. I don't think they'll mind if you start banging that dull-eyed whatserface. Estet would probably smile at the idea of it." Nagi looked faintly disgusted and Schuldig drummed his fingers on the car. Nagi had a point. His job would work on Fujimiya through hell or high trauma, but Weiss and Kritiker would make things messy. They needed something- or someone- on the inside to make sure it was kosher. Schuldig didn't have the patience to wipe all of Weiss and it would screw things up for them if the entire team was altered, but…
"Fine," he said, thinking fast. "Take the train home."
"The train?" Nagi frowned at him.
"Do you want me to fix your problem or not?" Schuldig demanded. "I'll be back in a couple hours."
Nagi looked at his watch. "We have a meeting with the Sanadas in half an hour," he pointed out.
"Fuck." Schuldig gave his hair a harsh jerk and looked at his own watch. "Fine," he said impatiently. "I'll be back in half an hour. Take the goddamned train home."
Nagi looked offended, but he started away just the same. Schuldig was about to climb in the car when he hesitated, and he looked over the roof towards his retreating teammate. "Nagi," he called, and the teenager looked back at him. "Look…" Fingernails tapped out an agitated rhythm on the car. "Here's the thing. I'm doing you this big favor, right?"
"I knew there was an ulterior motive," Nagi said with a sigh.
Schuldig scowled at him. "Just… Don't talk to Farfarello until I get back, okay?"
"Farfarello?" Nagi looked lost.
"I'm arranging this for you," Schuldig told him. "That's what you're going to give me."
"You want me to ignore Farfarello for half an hour in exchange for all of this?" Nagi asked dubiously. "Why?"
"That's none of your business," Schuldig sent back at him, and he climbed in the car. Nagi watched the car as it pulled away and Schuldig ground the heel of his palm into one temple. His gift was already making its way across the city to find who he needed but his thoughts were going in annoyed little circles, berating him for both the strain on his gift and the lengths he was going to just to keep Nagi busy. But a busy Nagi didn't have time for any of Farfarello's foolish, charred ideals, and that was all that mattered.
"One stable mind in all of Tokyo," he muttered, grinding harder. "What were the fucking odds of that?"
It was a fifth floor apartment in the middle of the city that probably cost as much as their house did for one tenth the room. Manx opened on the second buzz and didn't look at all pleased to see him. Schuldig stuck his foot in the door before she could slam it shut and offered her his best grin.
"Mind if I come in?"
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