Part Eight: Learning a Sin

    "Irasshai~!" Omi greeted as a tall man stepped into the shop. "What kind of flowers would you like today?"

    "Oh, I'm not here for flowers." The man offered a faint smile. Omi blinked, confused, and looked towards Crawford and Nagi. "This is where Farfarello lives, isn't it? This is where I dropped him off a few days ago, anyway..."

    "Farfarello?" Omi hesitated.

    "Yes, he's here," Crawford answered calmly, as if it wasn't unusual for someone to come calling on the Irishman. "Nagi?" He didn't even glance at the boy as he turned back to the paper he was reading. Nagi shot Omi a quick glance before sliding away from the counter, vanishing into the back room. Farfarello still seemed to be in a black mood- the twist to his mouth promised violence and the look he turned on Nagi was baleful.

    "Farfarello...Don't vent your anger on me." Nagi paused before Farfarello for a moment to make sure the Irishman registered his words fully. One could never tell which way the older man would bounce, and he would not hesitate to use his gift to defend himself from the man. "I'm going to unchain you. There is a man here who wishes to speak to you."

    He had just finished unlocking the cuffs when the man entered. Farfarello glanced at him- first careless, then hesitating. Nagi looked from one man to the other. There was recognition in Farfarello's gaze and the hostility was fading. When had Farfarello ever been delivered back to the shop? He had never gone out...

    Dimly, he remembered Aya announcing acidly that Farfarello and Schuldich had both vanished to a club in the middle of the night several days ago.

    "Will you excuse us?" the man asked Nagi politely, inclining his head to the boy.

    ~It's your own life,~ Nagi thought as he turned away. ~Dig your own grave.~

    With that, he left the room. Farfarello gazed up at the man in silence before slowly rising to his feet. He could feel his muscles stretching and could hear his joints popping as they were released from the crouch he had been in for so long. The man spoke before he could. "How have you been doing lately?" he asked conversationally.

    How had he been _doing_? Farfarello's lips thinned. There was the sensation of choking, of something pressing into his throat sharply. All he could see was Schuldich and Kudou, Schuldich kissing Kudou here in this room two days ago- the last time he had seen either of them. He could not explain why the sight and had infuriated him so much, could not explain why the memory of it had been all that had been on his mind since then. All he knew was that Kudou did not belong with Schuldich.

    "Are you all right?" There was concern in the man's voice, and Farfarello almost allowed himself a sneer of utter scorn and disdain for such worthless emotions.

    He could feel himself slipping between haziness and lucidity and could feel the faint struggle between stages. Since Crawford had been able to get hold of that medication that had always been refused to him by Estet he was aware of the battle between halves, of the battle to stay where he could have a better chance at analyzing everything around him. There wasn't much of a point, anymore. Being lucid these days was only more irritating and confusing, as he fought with things he didn't understand while Schuldich set out to claim Yohji as his.

    "I want to make him scream." The words were barely a whisper and he did not remember deciding to speak them. Reflecting back upon them, he did not know which him he was referring to- Kudou or Schuldich. It did not matter, but if they did not get away from each other...His chains would not hold him back forever.

    The man sighed, but not in exasperation or boredom. It was a heavier sort of sigh, and the man stepped forward. Hands touched him like they had touched him that night in the club, fingers brushing against his skin lightly, and Farfarello felt himself tensing in response. He took a half-step backwards, eye narrowing faintly at the invasion of space.

    "If you want, I can make you scream," the man offered, voice thick as he followed Farfarello, closing more distance between them- the same way Schuldich had closed distances between himself and Yohji.

    Make _him_ scream? He couldn't put himself and the action together in his mind.

    "You are so..." The man searched for words, momentarily frustrated. "...beautiful. Erotic. Irresistible."

    The man wasn't making sense anymore. Had he been making sense in the first place? Farfarello understood the words, but they did not match him either. Did this man not have his wits together?

    "Let me take you home," the man pleaded, rubbing his hands up and down Farfarello's arms. He brushed cheeks with Farfarello, breath cool against the Irishman's face. "Let me teach you sin. Sodomy- I offered it to you."

    Sodomy...He had yet to find out what that was.

    Something. He needed _something_ in his mind or he was going to lose it.


    The man stepped back and Farfarello reached for his knife. He had requested one from Nagi last night and had received it when he showed no desire to use it on that boy's precious kitten. The man stopped him with a hand on his arm. "What is that for?"

    "It isn't needed?" The man shook his head. Farfarello considered that. That placed sodomy under the category with lies, then- a sin that needed no outside weapon to aid it. He considered bringing it anyway. At length he decided against it and lowered his arm to his side. The man wrapped an arm around Farfarello's waist as if supporting him as he was guided out. Farfarello twisted out of the grip. He was steady on his feet. He did not need help.

    Three pairs of eyes followed them across the shop, but Farfarello did not acknowledge the looks. He heard Nagi's hesitant voice, questioning his departure: "Crawford...?"

    "He won't kill him," Crawford said as response, and Farfarello glanced that direction, meeting Crawford's gaze briefly. Kill him? No. Not yet, anyway. Crawford seemed to take the eye contact as an affirmative to his words and turned to his coffee and paper.

    Then they were out in the morning air. The man let him into the passenger side of the car and went around to the other. His temporary companion's breathing seemed a bit rushed as he fumbled with the engine. The car came to life and they were away, weaving through traffic. Neither spoke during the drive. Farfarello gazed out the window as they went. It wasn't long before they stopped in the parking lot of what appeared to be apartments. The man turned the engine off and slid from the car. Farfarello followed.

    They went up seven flights of stairs before entering one of the apartments. Farfarello was just barely inside when the man pushed the door shut and pressed him up against it. Before Farfarello could register what was happening- or debate whether or not to struggle when being taught a sin- a mouth was on his.


    Schuldich watched Aya and Crawford as he moved from the stairwell to the kitchen. Yohji had stopped and retreated with Ken back upstairs when the argument had broken out, but Schuldich was too interested and amused to retreat. He doubted they even noticed him. He hadn't realized Aya's usually controlled face could make such an expression as the dirty look he was giving Crawford now. The German lounged in the kitchen doorway. Omi and Nagi were inside, pretending not to notice that their respective leaders were spatting in the next room. Their minds were completely empty as they absorbed every word. Schuldich wondered if it was as obvious to them as it was to him who was winning. Crawford had a better control of his temper.

    "Where does that leave us?" Crawford demanded.

    "It leaves _you_ without anything to do with your free time except aggravate me!" Aya spat, focusing his glare on his work. He was scrubbing at the counter near him violently, but his jerks were cut short when Crawford's hand snapped out, grabbing Aya's wrist and turning the man to face him.

    Schuldich had to bite his lip to keep from laughing out loud at the startled look that crossed Aya's face. Crawford had touched the redhead multiple times since the Group incident, but the younger man never seemed to recover from it. Each time was a new shock to the man's system- both at the contact and who dared to touch him.

    "What is needed to make you understand that we are not enemy assassins anymore?" Crawford asked quietly, searching Aya's face.

    "More than you can ever do," was Aya's icy response.

    "I might consider that a challenge."

    "Consider it whatever you want, but if you don't let go of me I'll kill you right now and here. Fuck the truce."

    There was a long pause and the only sound in the shop was Aya's faint, harsh breathing. Finally Crawford shrugged faintly and released Aya. Apparently he thought he'd said enough. As soon as he was released, Aya stormed across the shop, throwing garbage and the rag into a trashcan on his way out. His footsteps were loud and angry on the stairs.

    Schuldich's mouth curled into a wide smirk. "That was entertaining."

    Crawford turned to him, just noticing his presence. "What do you want, Schuldich? Did you get bored of playing with your kitten?"

    "Ch'. Jealous?"

    Crawford eyed him. "Of?"

    "You don't seem to be having much luck getting any."

    "Perhaps because I'm not interested." Crawford pushed his glasses further up on the bridge of his nose.

    Schuldich blinked in surprise, studying Crawford's face. Was he serious? How blind could the man be? It seemed his faultless gift wasn't so faultless after all...Schuldich lightly reached out to touch Crawford's mind. Was he the only one that noticed Crawford's growing interest in Aya? He couldn't help but snicker. "Ah, he doesn't even know. Well then, this should be fun to see." He had figured Crawford knew what was going on. The man's blindness would make this even more entertaining as it played out.

    Crawford placed a hand on his hip, impatience showing in his eyes. "What are you babbling about _now_, Schuldich? Spit out your business or be quiet."

    Schuldich waved a hand in dismissal. "Just keep in mind that if you're ever lonely, my bed is always open." He winked.

    "But never empty," Crawford replied dryly.

    "You make that sound like a bad thing." Schuldich paused. Speaking of beds...He reached towards the storage with his mind, only to realize Farfarello wasn't in there. "Where's the Farf?"

    "Some doctor came for him just a few moments ago. Farfarello promised not to kill him and then left. I am not worried about him. He seemed rather fascinated by the man's company."

    Some doctor...? Schuldich touched the minds around him, but neither Nagi or Omi knew much. He reached for Farfarello's mind. The teenager was in a car, going somewhere. What doctor? It took only a moment to find where the recognition in the Irishman's thoughts were. Apparently he met the man at the club when he'd gone there in search of Schuldich.

    Meirth's words haunted him.

    "Einsam told me he went to a bar and saw Farfarello there as he was leaving. Someone was trying to pick him up. That poor madman of yours doesn't even know what sodomy is."

    Schuldich digested this in silence. He had not decided yes or no on the topic of sleeping with Farfarello, but one thing was clear enough...No one else was going to touch Farfarello. He'd offered the Irishman to Yohji as a joke. He hadn't warned Meirth off of Farfarello as a joke- he had been dead serious.

    He lifted a hand in a vague farewell, moving towards the door. "Well then, I'm going out."

    It was no hard task to follow Farfarello's thoughts across town. He was halfway there when his mind picked up an explosion of startled thoughts that, in a normal mind, would have amounted to a "What the fuck?!".


    Farfarello squelched the initial surprise easily and fought the urge to strike back, standing passively where he'd been pushed as he debated this turn of events. Allow contact or no? This was obviously a follow-the-leader lesson, but he couldn't decide whether or not to press for a different way of learning it. This was physical contact, and he wasn't sure he approved of it from this man.

    The man pulled back slightly, moving his lips along Farfarello's cheekbone. "You're acting as if you've never been kissed before," he said. He sounded out of breath. There was no reason for him to be winded. "Kiss me back. It's easy to learn. Just go with it and let it happen."

    Just go with _what_? All it was was that man's mouth moving on his. The man locked lips again and this time Farfarello could feel fingers running along his arms, tracing the muscles. Farfarello could feel them twitching, could feel the urge to swat away the unwelcome touch. He did move, but only to plant his hands against the other man's chest, pushing him back far enough to break the kiss and allow him to speak.

    "This is not sodomy."

    "Oh," the man groaned, pulling Farfarello's hands away to touch lips to the Irishman's throat. "We're getting there, baby, we're getting there."

    Farfarello didn't have much patience left to wait for the man to get around to showing him- his patience had been dried up with Schuldich. He told the man this and the hands moved to his abdomen, teasing at his vest.

    "I was taking it slow. This is obviously your first time."

    "First time," Farfarello repeated. Of course it was his first time- they'd decided at the club that he didn't know what this was. If it wasn't his first time, he wouldn't be here.

    "I mean, you're so obviously a virgin." The man chuckled and began to kiss him again.


    Everything fell into place with a startling clarity and Farfarello felt a sharp stab of some unknown feeling that was somewhere between anger...and panic, a feeling he had not experienced since he was a young child. It came out of nowhere, surprising him, and brought with it a name:


Part 9