Notes: Struggled not to write this, but my muses will NOT leavemethefuckalone about it. >__< Like I don't have enough fics on my plate. *buries face in hands* Though this song didn't inspire the fic, it does make me think of the fic whenever I hear it-- "Whispers in the Dark" by Skillet. Lyrics are here.
Warnings: As always-- YAOI!! Don't like, don't read. Very simple, ja? Also, this happens right after the WK series, (Gluhen does not exist) but with a few tweaks to the ending of WK. You'll see as it goes along. Enjoy ^^;;
2: Threats of Violence
Ran sat in the armchair, which he had dragged until it was facing the couch, and stared unblinkingly at their unwilling guest, fingers drumming tensely on the hilt of his katana. The brat was ignoring him, sitting stiffly cross-legged with the blanket in his lap, taking occasional sips of water. Omi sat at his desk, fingers flying over the keyboard, face wrinkled in concentration. The tapping of the keys was the only sound filling in the oppressive silence of the room. The nurse that had claimed to be from Kritiker was checking the boy's blood pressure; he was being cooperative if mute for the time being.
Heavy footsteps caused Ran's gaze to shift temporarily. Manx, thick heels clunking on the old steps, appeared, smiling dryly. Yohji followed, whistling under his breath. "Hello, Abyssinian. Bombay." She received a distracted murmur from Omi and a hostile stare from Ran in answer. "As bright and cheery as ever, I see," she sent Ran's way, striding over to the couch. "So, what do we have here? It's Naoe-kun, right? Naoe Nagi."
The boy only stared up at her in silence, face still a perfectly composed mask of disinterest.
The woman began packing her bag, lips pursed. "He's in no immediate danger," she declared. "Rest and fluids will do him good. And I suspect his blood sugar is low, so a candy bar wouldn't hurt. Though any natural sugars will be better later; fruits and such." She rose to her feet. "I was unable to do a thorough check-up without quite a bit of hostility," here she glared sternly at her uncooperative patient, "but I did find a few scrapes and bruises which I patched up. He claimed they were from the fall of some 'tower', but Abyssinian has informed me that occurred over a month ago. In my personal opinion, they look more like physical abuse of some kind. Perhaps a fist fight or struggle at some point. Nothing too major. Most of the bruises are already healing. Some of the injuries are a day or two old, but the others happened at least a week or so ago."
"Well, without his powers, it's not like he could stop anyone who wanted his wallet," Manx said drolly.
Nagi glared at them both in silence.
"Were you able to draw any blood?"
Doctor Akutsu's face was lined with stiff disapproval. "Only at swordpoint." Her eyes flicked Ran's way. "He is a very uncooperative child. I will have the results back within a week."
"Thank you, Doctor. I'll be expecting your call."
The woman nodded curtly and minced off.
Nagi slanted his unfriendly gaze upwards, unwilling to offer Manx the courtesy of lifting his head. "If you're here to question me like these idiots, you'll only get the same response. I'm getting tired of repeating myself. I don't remember anything after the tower."
"Uh huh." Manx snapped her fingers impatiently, and Ran reluctantly rose and went to stand a little behind the couch. She took his vacated seat, crossing her long legs and settling back to offer Nagi a hooded stare. "So I see we're past the denial part. I'm assuming the doctor's inspection of your bruises proved that the incident at the tower did in fact happen almost forty days ago?"
"The girl was walking-- that was my first clue." He ignored Ran, as if he wasn't in the slightest bit intimidated by a man at his back with his hand resting on the hilt of a sword. "That doesn't change anything. I remember falling into the ocean. Then I was waking up here. And your overconfidence is misplaced. My powers will come back eventually."
"And then we'll regret all this, right?" Manx interrupted, unimpressed. "Well, we'll see about that, won't we? For all we know, your little tricks are gone for good. In any case, they're gone for now, and I intend to personally exploit it." She interlaced her fingers atop her knee. "Now. Your friends--"
"Teammates," Nagi corrected with a note of steel to his voice.
Manx arched a brow. Omi's eyes flickered their way. "Fine. Teammates," she corrected slowly. "Whatever. Did they survive the fall as well?"
"I don't know."
"I doubt that."
Nagi's eyebrow twitched, the only sign of his impatience. "I was a little more concerned with the rubble and the waves," he pointed out in a hard voice. "I lost consciousness when I hit the water. I saw them falling, but after that, I can't be sure. And even if I was, what makes you think I'd tell you? Did you honestly expect to get their location from me if I knew it?"
"I didn't think loyalty would be high on the list of priorities for people like you," Manx pointed out coolly.
Nagi's eyes narrowed slightly. "Considering the fact that your 'team' is only alive because Schwarz allowed them to walk away on several missions, intelligence doesn't seem to rank high on yours," he shot back. He could feel Ran's eyes burning into him furiously.
Manx, however, remained unfazed. "Unfortunately, I am not here to bandy insults with a child," she said loftily, earning a displeased frown. "I'm only interested in getting as much information out of you as possible." She reached down and retrieved her purse from by her feet and rifled through it. "Now..." she tugged out a folder and opened it, turning it around to show the first file to Nagi. "This man here," she tapped a nail against the blurry photo at the top of the page. "Crawford, American. Presumably leader of Schwarz, rumored to be a clairvoyant. 'The Oracle', I believe he's called in some circles. That is all the personal information we have on him."
Nagi stared back blankly.
Manx flipped the page to display the next file. "Farfarello, code-named the Berserker. Other than the rumor that he was once under the name of Jei and that whole fiasco with Sister Ruth, we have no other information on him at this time." She turned the page again. "Sudurik--"
Manx glanced up at the correction, but didn't stop. "AKA the Mastermind. Supposedly German. He claimed to be a telepath, and Weiß seems to believe this is possible. Again, no other information." She closed the folder and laid it on her lap. "Then there's you. Naoe Nagi, the Prodigy. Confirmed telekinetic. As with the rest of your team, age unknown. The only personal information we have is that you were associated with a 'Tot'; the youngest member of the all-female team Schreient. We find this strange, since you seem to be Japanese citizen. Yet it is as if you never existed as far as Japan is concerned." She gazed at him steadily. "A very mysterious team indeed."
Nagi stared back with hooded eyes. "Are you expecting me to fill in the blanks?"
"Something like that." She pat the folder with her palm. "We are unsure if Schwarz still lives. If they do, we would like to have some real information on them. Codenames, countries of origin, and unconfirmed talents aren't enough."
"And then what?" Nagi's eyes narrowed. "You'll get what you need out of me and let me go peacefully? Do you think I'm that ignorant?"
"We certainly don't want you hanging around here," Omi pointed out dryly.
"This is the way it's going to work--" Manx started.
"Shut up." Nagi's grip on his cup tightened until the plastic squeaked in protest. "Don't make me laugh. None of these idiots on your stupid little team knows how the world really works. But I'm pretty sure you have a good idea. So don't try to scare me into submission or fool me with promises of release. You think you'll get information out of me and then hand me over to your men? Well forget it. I'm nobody's lab rat."
Manx gazed at him in contemplative silence for a moment, tapping the edge of the folder against her thigh. Abruptly she got to her feet, patting out the wrinkles in her skirt as she addressed Ran. "I want him kept here at the shop for the time being. You can lock him down here all day for all I care, as long as you check on him periodically. There aren't any alternate exits down here, so this is probably the best place. I'll contact you when other arrangements can be made."
Ran's eyes snapped her way. "What?" His voice was dangerous. "I'm not keeping this murdering little monster in the same building as Aya-cha--"
"Well unless one of you is willing to keep him under house arrest in your apartment, this is the only other choice," Manx cut him off sharply. "It will only be for a few days. If his power really is gone, it should be an easy task. It's like babysitting." She ignored Nagi's glare. "If his powers do resurface, we'll have to move him to headquarters anyway. But we need time to prepare a specialized room for him."
"You mean prison," Nagi corrected coolly.
"Hidoi," Omi protested almost without thinking.
Manx glanced at him, lifting her brows. "Don't forget who this 'child' is, Bombay. Don't forget what he's done."
Omi nodded slowly, eyes downcast.
"Get whatever information out of him that you can," Manx ordered, already heading for the stairs. "Try not to kill him, Abyssinian. I mean it."
Ran growled something under his breath. Nagi jumped to his feet, the water spilling across the floor. "You can't keep me here!" he shouted at Manx's retreating back. "You're going to regret this when I get my gift back!"
Manx waved over her shoulder, unimpressed, and kept going.
"Sit down, pipsqueak," Yohji ordered, pointing at the couch firmly. "Or are we gonna have to start tying you up?"
"I don't want him here," Ran snarled quietly.
"Then you shouldn't have brought him home with you, Ran-kun," Omi pointed out a trifle sharply. He blew out a heavy sigh, raking his hair out of his dubious eyes as he studied their unwilling guest. "Well, you heard Manx," he said quietly. "He's our responsibility until Kritiker takes over. How about this." He stepped closer to the other boy, trying a smile on for size. "You act civilized, and we'll return the favor. How does that sound?"
Nagi offered him a glare that could have rivaled one of Ran's dirtiest looks. Omi quailed slightly.
"And stay away from my sister," Ran added, promises of pain and dismemberment in his voice.
Nagi sat down slowly and rigidly, chin held high.
"I'll get a blanket," Omi murmured, turning to go.
"He's sleeping down here?" Yohji rummaged through his pockets for a much-needed cigarette, studying the psychic with a mix of wariness and odd humor. "Well, no way out, I suppose," he admitted, glancing around at the windowless walls. "Just make sure you lock the little monster up at night."
"At night?" Ran repeated, lip curling slightly. "He's not leaving this room unless he has to use the bathroom." He paused. "Wait. Omi, get an old vase while you're up there."
"We are NOT giving him a chamber pot, Ran-kun!" Omi called over his shoulder in exasperation.
"Why not?" Ran demanded.
Yohji chuckled, slipping a cigarette in between his lips and clapping the shorter man on the shoulder as he walked past. "He's still just a kid, Abs. Try not to kill him. Manx might be a bit upset with you if he had some kind of 'accident'."
"Where are you going?"
"To feed the giraffe in the backyard. Where do you think, Ayan?" He pursed his lips to show off his cigarette and headed upstairs unhurriedly.
"Don't call me that," Ran snapped automatically, but Yohji was already gone.
Left alone together, the two young men eyed each other distrustfully.
Ran's eyes were snapping, but Nagi's were cold and aloof.
"You can't keep me here," Nagi finally said, low but intense.
"Watch us," Ran retorted. "You had better start answering Manx's questions. Eventually she'll lose her patience and decide to stop being nice." His hand fell to rest on the hilt of his katana once more. "Then she'll use whatever methods are available."
Nagi laughed at him.
Ran was too startled at first to react. He couldn't remember ever hearing the young boy laugh before. From what little he'd seen of Schwarz's Prodigy, he'd seemed barely human, seeming to have little to no feelings to anything around him. He was more like a walking talking doll than a human being.
He felt a bit more grounded a moment later. This laugh was not the laughter of a boy of roughly sixteen. It was short and hard, with no humor in it. A cruel mocking laugh, just like the other psychos on his team.
"What are you laughing at?" Ran growled.
Nagi's laugh was over as quickly as it started. He relaxed slightly into the couch, folding his arms over his thin chest and gazing at the older man from under hooded lids. "Please," he snorted scornfully. "You're Weiß. Stop trying to act so tough. It's pathetic."
"Are you trying to threaten me with torture?" Nagi's lip curved in the barest hint of a mocking little smile. "You're the people who save children and help little old ladies across the street. Go rescue a kitten out of a tree or something. You're embarrassing yourself."
Ran's sword made a metallic sharp sound as he snapped his thumb, jolting the blade free of its sheath by a few inches. He took a stiff step forward, body tense with tightly-leashed violence. "Keep talking," he suggested coldly. "I'll show you how 'nice' Weiß is."
Omi's sharp rebuke cut him off. "Ran-kun!" The blonde hurried down the stairs, arms loaded with blankets and pillows. He shot his teammate a disapproving look as he unloaded his burden onto the couch. "That's enough. Both of you," he added, flicking Nagi a sharp glance.
Nagi ignored him, looking at the blankets with a faint look of distaste, as if he had just been offered dead cockroaches on a platter.
Omi gave up and turned to Ran, arching a brow until the blade was reluctantly sheathed once more. "Ken-kun's still working on dinner," he said quietly. "Aya-chan's helping him. Why don't you go lend a hand before they manage to burn down the kitchen between the two of them? I can keep an eye on Naoe." He nodded towards his desk. "I still have some research to do anyhow."
"Ran-kun, I can handle it," Omi assured him, eyes lingering on his crossbow, right next to the keyboard. "He's just another boy without his powers."
Nagi was ignoring them, arms still crossed over his chest, eyes closed as he either napped or wracked his brain for an escape plan. Ran eyed him with animosity for a few more moments before turning away. "He's Schwarz," he reminded his teammate in an undertone. "Don't take your eyes off of him. You know what they're capable of-- with or without their abilities."
Omi nodded solemnly, and Ran ascended the steps after one last narrow glance in the couch's direction.
Forced normality seemed to be the theme of the evening.
No mention was made of the boy locked in the basement throughout dinner, which was only a little bit burnt thanks to Ran's intervention.
It wasn't until Aya began casually loading leftovers onto an extra plate that Nagi's unwelcome presence was dragged kicking and screaming into the conversation.
"What are you doing?" Ran demanded in a tone of voice that clearly said he knew exactly what her intentions were.
Aya offered him an innocent look, collecting the plate in one hand and a glass of milk in the other. "What do you mean?"
Ran rose from his chair slowly, palms pressed against the tabletop as he offered his sister an almost menacing look. "Leftovers go in the fridge."
"Yes, I know, I'll do that in a moment."
"He has to eat, 'niisan!" Aya protested. "Did you really plan on letting him starve all night?"
"He won't starve," Ran snapped. "That will take a few more days."
Ken and Yohji sat silently watching, heads moving from one sibling to the other like they were watching a tennis match.
"He's not a guest, Aya! Now put that in the fridge."
"Don't order me around!" Aya flared up.
"I'm not-- Aya, you don't know what that little monster is capable of. I don't want you near him, do you hear me?"
"He's just a boy!"
"He's killed people!"
"So have you!"
Ran rocked back as if her words were a physical blow, but recovered an instant later, face hardening once more. "That's different."
"Ano..." Omi spoke up a bit timidly, hand held between them in a placating gesture. "Aya-chan, I don't even know if he can keep solids down. The doctor wants him to keep to a pretty simple diet until he's doing a bit better. Why don't you see if there's any soup and crackers in the cupboards?" He turned an exasperated look on Ran as she went to dig through the cabinets. "Ran-kun, you're being unreasonable."
"Look at it this way," Yohji drawled, getting up and retrieving the plate. "We need him alive and kicking-- preferably somewhat healthy --if we expect to get anything out of him." He used his chopsticks to push the food back into the platters. "Even prisoners get food in jail."
"But not OUR food," Ran retorted, glaring at the leftovers as if the very thought of giving the boy something he had prepared was tantamount to skinning alive the neighbor's cat and serving it to his sister.
"A man can live off of bread and water for a long time," Ken put in with a little grin.
"You two are so mean," Aya huffed, peeling the paper top off a cup of instant noodles. "Can we save the sadistic tendencies until he actually does something?" She added water and popped the cup in the microwave huffily.
"He's done things, Aya-chan," Ken assured her grimly. "Your brother isn't exaggerating. Hell, he nearly killed O--" he cut himself off when Omi sent him a sharp look. Luckily the sound of the microwave door slamming shut covered Ken's verbal stumble.
"What was that, Ken-kun?"
"Uh... nothing." Ken got up from the table, snagging his plate and carrying it to the sink. "I was just saying you should listen to your brother. Nagi isn't as helpless and innocent as he looks."
"I'll be careful," Aya said, rolling her eyes.
"I don't want you anywhere near him," Ran repeated stubbornly.
Aya turned on her heel to offer him a Look.
"Unless you're with one of us," Yohji cut in smoothly. Ran glared at him.
"Hey, who knows?" Yohji shrugged, pushing away from the table and rising to his feet with languid grace. "Maybe our little charmer here can lull him into a calmer state and get some answers out of him." He pinched her cheek playfully as he walked by, and she giggled helplessly.
Ran scowled darkly, but didn't bother to voice his heavy doubts out loud. There was no point; one look at his teammates' faces told him they were sharing the same thoughts.
Nothing short of bodily harm was going to get answers out of the young psychic in their basement.
Author's Notes: lolol ogod *SHOT* forgive me x_______x;; This has sat on my computer half-done for ummm a long time. Felt the odd urge to work on it, so managed to finish this chapter. No idea if I'll keep it up >>;;; Hopefully I will, though. Uhh.. yeah. *slinks off*
Back to Amiko's fics