Part Seven: Angels and Confrontations
The shackles clattered to the ground. Farfarello gazed at them calmly for a moment before flexing his fingers. In a slow but deliberate movements he picked up the blender and set it aside, then gracefully stood. He moved across the room, running a hand slowly over a table, searching for a weapon. His fingers encountered something cold and cylinder in shape in the darkness and he paused. An image came to him: Crawford setting an empty medicine bottle on the table. A bottle that had used to hold the pills Crawford promised would help him to think clearer and make him more efficient. Crawford had told the others they were sedatives.
Foolish flower boys.
His fingers resumed their quest as his eyes fully adjusted to the dim room. Finally he found a pair of shears, thoughtfully left out by someone. Eagerly he scooped them up, running a tongue along the sharp metallic blades. He closed his eyes, shivering as he imagined blood on the blades. Blood of innocents that would make God cry. Innocents...like that blond boy earlier in the day. Farfarello paused, tilting a head to the side in thought as he allowed a blade to enter his mouth. He sucked thoughtfully at the metal, tasting his own blood as he did so. An image of the blond after they had rescued him, bandaged and pale, smelling of blood and fear, entered his mind. He shivered, eyes snapping open and narrowing.
Schuldig had told him all about those people that had captured the Weiß boy...The "warriors of God". Spreaders of lies, the German had said. Two were dead already. Crawford and spike-knuckled boy had gotten one tonight. The blonde boy had killed the other. Hm. The boy was useful, then, if he knew to take down God's angels. But that didn't mean his blood was any less pretty.
He paused, turning towards the back door as a memory wriggled to the front. Someone ruffling his hair as he dozed. Schuldig? The German had gone out. Crawford had said not to let Schuldig leave alone, or the angels would get him. They would make him one of God's fighters. Make the guilty one an angel. Farfarello removed the shears from his mouth, bloodied lips curling into a snarl. He would not let God have that victory. They would not take away his guilty one. He stalked across the floor, footsteps almost silent, and let himself out into the night.
Farfarello hesitated upon leaving the shop, his lone eye gazing around. Where would the deceptor go? Where did he usually go? Casual comments...a meaningful look...whip of orange hair...and then gone. Schuldig spoke to Farfarello frequently. The Irishman didn't always pay attention, but some remarks had always seeped through. Once or twice Schuldig had taken his knife away- and Farfarello scowled in remembrance- to make him listen. Most of what Farfarello had learned, though, was from when Schuldig was announcing his intentions to go out to Crawford or Nagi. There were three places Schuldig went: slutting- as Nagi called it-, on missions, or clubbing.
Farfarello turned towards the brighter part of the town. He didn't care how long it took. He would free the guilty one from God's angels. He would bring him home where he was safe, where the liars could not reach him. He drifted down the abandoned sidewalk, shears held carefully in one hand, eye darting around to make sure there were no angels around. His walk brought him to a crowded street, and he paused a moment to lick his lips. The urge to grab the people, to tear them open and make God cry, was almost overpowering. The hand holding the shears clenched, and he bit down on a lip fiercely. This was a test, he was sure it was! If he stayed to kill, the angels would get Schuldig.
Damn the lying God who had dared turn his back on Farfarello!
He kept his eye riveted on the signs he passed and turned into a nearby club. Schuldig had taken him clubbing once, but they had left before Farfarello could finish killing a girl. Her death would have been so sweet. He drifted through the crowd, inhaling the scent of sweat, excitement, sultry promises, and alcohol. He couldn't understand why Schuldig liked places like these. He sifted throguh the crowd, keeping a sharp eye out for a mane of orange hair.
Hands brushed against him and he turned to see who had touched him. _No one_ touched him, except to bandage or shackle him, and that was only Schwarz! He turned his lone eye on the man before him, thoughtful curiosity in his gaze. This man wasn't Schwarz. The man moved closer, bared chest glistening with sweat in the strobe lights. Farfarello allowed the man to near, waiting to see what the stranger had in mind. Then, maybe, Farfarello would kill him. Slice him up nicely. An image came to him, of putting the orange in the blender and watching it get hacked to slivers and juice, and he ran a scrutinizing gaze over the man. Too big to fit in a blender. Maybe the eyes?
~If your right eye causes you to sin...~ A slow smile crossed his face. An eye or two would do nicely. The orange was no fun to play with now that it was all juice. You couldn't slice and dice _juice_.
He was brought back to the present when he felt breath on his face, and he blinked, raising his gaze back to the man's. A hand was cupping his face, not unlike how Schuldig had touched him in the past. The man's face was close to his own, lips just an inch away. What was he doing? Outside men didn't touch Farfarello. Intrigued at the boldness of the foolish stranger, he remained still.
"You have a name, angel?"
A rush of hot anger. Angel? Him?! One gloved hand shot up, grabbing the man's throat. Two blue eyes widened in surprise and a gurgle escaped the lips. Farfarello glared dangerously up at the stranger, hissing through his teeth, "My name is Farfarello, and I am no angel! I hurt God! Those who die by my blade make him cry!"
"Now now, calm down!" the man tried, raising his hands in the air. "I think we just got off on the wrong foot here, all right? So you're not an angel, hm? What would you like me to call you?" He licked his lips, nervous.
Farfarello studied him in long silence. He was starting to feel dizzy and tired. Whatever Crawford had given him was running out, and it was hard to cling to his thoughts. "I gave you my name."
~Why am I here?~
"So, Farfarello, huh?" A bright smile. "I hurt God too, y'know."
Farfarello released the man instantly, his head tilting to the side in interest. "You do?"
~Why did I come here?~
"Oh yes, all the time." The man slung his arm around Farfarello's waist, yanking the Irishman against him. Farfarello looked at him impatiently. He didn't understand why the man was touching him instead of just talking. What was the point of it all? And why was the stranger looking at him like Schuldig would look when he went out slutting? "How about we grab something to drink and exchange our God-hurting stories, eh? Maybe I can give you some pointers."
That would be nice. Farfarello gave a sharp nod of his head, raising his shears to suck on them. This man was a good find. Another God-hurter. Someone else existed that made God weep. A flash of warmth rose in his chest. Not everyone was useless and blind to the lies being taught. There was hope, and it existed in this man. Although the man was still touching him...
~Who am I looking for?~
They sat down at the bar and the man ordered some drinks, then turned to him with a wide smile. His eyes gleamed. "So tell me all about your God hurting adventures," he invited, drinking.
Farfarello lowered his drink. It tasted bitter and felt funny all the way down. A smile curved his lips as he let his mind run over all of the innocents he'd killed. Their blood had tasted so good. He moved his shears from his mouth to his cheek, dragging the blade lightly across the skin, too light to cut. "I kill the innocents. Their deaths make God cry. Men, because they spread the lies. Women, because they breed the lies. Children, because their deaths hurt God the most. Youthful innocence, minds corrupted by the lies shoved into them." His gaze softened. "Their blood is beautiful," he murmured. "Fluid of life..." He trailed the shears across his wrist, then up his arm, "pooling over cut, pale flesh..." He shivered.
The man watched and listened silently. Farfarello didn't notice, lost in his own private world as he remembered the pleasure of tasting blood, of knowing God cried, teaching God that he would not reign forever. God would pay for turning his back on Farfarello, for turning his back on Nagi and Schuldig. Farfarello would kill those that spread the lies, to take away God's power.
"Do you like to sin?" the man asked, stirring Farfarello from his thoughts.
"Sin hurts God," was the simple reply. Farfarello sipped experimentally at his drink.
"Do you know what my favorite sin is?" The stranger leaned closer. Farfarello waited patiently. "Sodomy."
"Sod-o-my." Farfarello tried the word out. How odd it tasted on his tongue, but sweet as sin could be. An eager eye bored into the stranger's. "What is it?"
"Come away from this place. Let me teach you." The man slid off his stool, offering his hand.
Farfarello didn't take the hand, but he did move to stand beside the stranger. This stranger could teach him to hurt God. That was good. Very very good. He looked around. There was a smear of orange to the right, where someone slept on a barstool. Several men were gazing at the figure. Something about it tugged at his memory. He raised a hand to his stomach. He felt warm and off-balance from the drink, on top of being dizzy and worn down from his medicine wearing off. A frown twisted his face. He didn't know if he could hurt God in this state. He felt very, very weird.
The man wrapped an arm around his shoulders. "You all right?"
"I don't feel pain." A vague response. Farfarello licked at the shears, turning back to the stranger.
"Ah, my poor black angel of death," the man clucked.
Farfarello froze. _Angel_.
Farfarello whirled back around to study the orange person. It was Schuldig, sound asleep. Alarm rose within him. The angels could be anywhere! He forgot about the stranger, scrambling away to Schuldig's side. He grabbed a fistful of the orange mane, lifting the German's head. Schuldig's face was slack and pale as he slept. "What's wrong?" the stranger asked, coming over.
"I came here to save him from the two angels."
"He your buddy?"
Farfarello gave the man an odd look. "My team mate." How was he going to get Schuldig home? He could always drag him, but he had a feeling he wouldn't make it very far. He felt like he'd taken a sedative, all floaty and tired. He didn't realize he'd swayed on his feet until the man steadied him.
"Farfarello?" Farfarello had to get Schuldig home. He tried tugging Schuldig off the stool. Schuldig came, but in Farfarello's condition he could not hold the German's weight. He almost collapsed, Schuldig on top of him, but the stranger steadied him. "My car's outside," the man offered. "I'll take you two home. Where do you live?"
"With the kittens."
It was definitely hard to stay standing. How come? He wasn't bleeding, and he hadn't been sedated. He didn't understand. "Flower shop," he managed to get out, but it was slurred. "With the blender." There could be angels anywhere, and he couldn't even stand straight.
The stranger lifted Schuldig easily. "Loop your arm through mine so you don't fall behind." Farfarello wouldn't have if he thought he could make it to the car on his own. He obeyed, and the three picked their way outside the club and to a car. Schuldig was put in the backseat and Farfarello in the passenger. The man climbed into the driver's seat, gazing over at Farfarello. "I have a feeling you've never had alcohol before, at least not as strong as what I ordered for you tonight."
Farfarello didn't reply, gazing through the windshield absently. The drive was much shorter than the walk had been. He stayed in the car while the man went to the door to knock. After a few minutes a light turned on and the Weiß redhead appeared at the door. The man pointed to the car, and the kitten followed him back. Farfarello's eyes closed.
Schuldig was home, safe from the angels.
Take that, God.
Aya followed the man to the car. He recognized him. It was a doctor from the hospital where Aya-chan was. "They were at the Lizard Night Club," Dr. Havi explained with a rueful grin. "I was intending on picking Farfarello up, but he remembered his buddy and insisted on bringing him home to protect him from the 'two angels'. He kept ranting about hurting God."
Aya opened the back door to get to Schuldig. "He does that," he answered crisply.
"Yes, I'd say he has slight mental instability."
~Slight?~ Aya snorted softly, sliding the German closer to him to get him out of the car. Dr. Havi easily lifted Farfarello and closed the door with his foot. Aya slung an arm around the German's waist and pulled him out, closing the door with his other hand. Schuldig was a little heavier than he looked, Aya noted, walking beside the doctor back to the house.
"He's very pretty, though."
Aya gave the doctor a skeptical look. "How much did you have to drink tonight, doctor?"
Dr. Havi laughed. "Oh, come on, Aya-san."
"Thank you for bringing them home."
"Sure, no problem." The doctor followed Aya inside and through the shop to the den, depositing Farfarello gently on the couch beside Ken. Aya let Schuldig slide to the ground and escorted the doctor back to the door. "Aya-chan's looking good," the doctor offered on his way out.
"I'm glad. Thank you." Aya waited until Dr. Havi was in his car before shutting the door and bolting it.
A voice spoke up. "Who was it?" Aya jumped and hated himself for it, turning to glare. Crawford was at the base of the stairs, barefoot and in just his pants. The pre-cog was undisturbed by the scathing glare being sent in his direction by Aya.
"Schuldig went clubbing," Aya answered in icy tones, "and Farfarello followed." Crawford digested this. Aya moved towards the stairs, intent on returning to bed. "That Irishman is your team mate. You should have made sure his shackles were secure so he couldn't get loose."
"I left them like that on purpose." Crawford put out an arm, effectively stopping Aya in his tracks. "I can not keep an eye on Schuldig at all times, so I enlisted Farfarello's aid to do so."
"A deranged psychopath is supposed to help keep a manipulative German on task?" Aya asked dryly.
"Farfarello will protect Schuldig, yes."
"All four of you are screwed up." Aya reached out to shove Crawford's arm out of his way. Crawford calmly plucked his hand away by the wrist, having foreseen the move. Aya glared daggers at him. "Don't touch me," he bit out.
"You're not very polite to someone who helped you get your young team mate back."
Aya tried to wrench his hand away. It didn't come. "I'm warning you..."
"What will you do to me, Aya?" Crawford asked, sounding amused. Then his grip tightened on Aya's wrist. "You call our team screwed up. Look at yours." He pulled Aya closer, violent purple eyes meeting calm brown ones. "One, a young boy raised to be an assassin by his own father, who hides his thoughts and worries only about others' happinesses. The second, who killed the woman he loved and now runs a false reputation of being a playboy, a mask he doesn't even know he wears. A third, who is clumsy and happily naive, too afraid to fall in love because of his blood-stained hands. And the last-" Crawford ignored how Aya tried to jerk away, "-who lost his sister when young but still clings to the hope that she will awaken one day, who took her name and will not smile until she wakes again, a man who is too stubborn and blind to see the life that is before him."
Crawford let go of Aya right as the Weiß jerked backwards. Aya stumbled, off-balance, and hit the wall. Dull pain flared in his elbow from where it made contact with a doorframe. He raised his other hand to the injured joint, glaring hatred at Crawford. "Don't you dare make assumptions on us."
"Then tell me," Crawford said, adjusting his glasses, "that I'm wrong." Aya opened his mouth to retort and faltered. Crawford gave a slight, smug smirk. "Now for my team's evaluation. A boy who was abandoned by the world and seen as a horrendous monster, who was abused and mistreated by those supposed to care for him. A man driven to the brink of insanity by a gift that is his strength and weakness, who will never be granted silence or have a thought of his own. A man who is unbalanced and was looked down upon for that, who received treatment but never the right kind, who was never allowed to grow and reach his full potential. And myself. I can only guess as to how to characterize myself. A man who can see the future, who has no past and is blind to the present, who was shunned while he was growing up because of his need to be serious and responsible."
"You are mindless killers." Aya ground out the words angrily.
"What's wrong, Aya?" Crawford asked, moving towards him.
"Don't call me by my name," Aya interjected, eyes snapping.
Crawford ignored the interruption. "Did you not realize that other people exist outside your small circle? My team has every right to life that yours does."
"Do not compare us."
"Are you afraid that you will see yourselves when you look at us?" Crawford paused directly in front of Aya.
There was a long, tense moment of silence. Then Aya shoved rudely past Crawford, heading into the den. "You're sleeping in the den with them," he snapped over his shoulder. He wasn't going to trust having three Schwarz in the same room as Ken when the soccer player was asleep. He lifted Ken easily off the couch and headed back out the way he'd come. Screw Schwarz. As soon as the Group was destroyed they were out of here, and the next time Aya saw Crawford's face it'd be when he stabbed the man in his sleep. The pre-cog was in the kitchen, rummaging around. Aya stalked upstairs. Ken shifted in his arms.
"What's going on?" the boy asked sleepily.
Mocha colored eyes snapped into awareness when Ken heard the anger in his tone. "The Group?" he asked. Aya let him to his feet since he was awake.
"No. Don't worry about it. Sleep in your own room."
"Is sleeping in the den." Aya headed to his own room. Ken hesitated, trying to figure out what was going on, then retreated to his room. Aya closed his door, leaning against it and gazing at his bed. He had almost fallen asleep when that doctor had shown up. Now he knew he was too tense to sleep.
How dare Crawford say such things to him, comparing Weiß and Schwarz. Black and white, different as night and day, on either side of a thick wall. Weiß was good and Schwarz was bad. Simple as that.
So why was he still thinking about it?
Omi turned away from the stove to where the others were sitting. Nagi had moved two tables together so all eight of them would be able to sit down to breakfast before the shop opened. He paused, blinking, as he eyed the seven. Nagi was looking as serene as ever, Farfarello was dozing with his head down on the table, Schuldig was muttering darkly about hangovers and chugging down way too much aspirin, Yohji was looking ruffled about having to wake up so early, Crawford was eyeing Aya, Aya was glaring at Crawford and looking like he hadn't had a wink of sleep, and Ken was tossing his soccer ball up and down and talking cheerfully about the upcoming afternoon's practice.
"Did everyone sleep well last night?" he tried.
Aya gave him a cold glare.
Omi hurried forward to serve them. "I made omlets," he told them cheerfully. "I hope you like them."
"I'm sure they're good," Nagi replied, offering him a small smile. Omi beamed, heart speeding up slightly.
"Omi's a good cook," Ken put forth. "Not like Yohji."
"Now, Ken-kun, Yohji-kun isn't _that_ bad."
"It takes like eating rubber."
"Oi," the playboy protested. "At least I don't burn everything I try."
Ken wrinkled his nose. "If it wasn't burned it'd be edible, though."
"That comment made absolutely no sense."
"It did to me," Ken muttered. Omi gave him an omlet and the older boy brightened. "Thanks, Omi! I'm starved!"
Omi put the pan back on the stove, taking his place at the table beside Nagi. It had been odd, but nice, waking up with someone beside him. Especially since that someone had been Nagi. At first he'd been confused and embarrassed since he didn't remember anything of last night past Nagi being led away by Nuboshi, but Nagi had assured him that nothing had happened, that Omi had invited him and there had been no other place to sleep. Omi was a little surprised by his own boldness, but Nagi didn't seem to mind. This morning they were going to try and remove the implant the Group had given him yesterday, to free his power. Omi watched as the telekinetic tried his food, waiting for any signs of approval or disgust.
"It's great," the brown-haired boy told him in his quiet voice, eyes shining.
Omi flushed faintly at the compliment, turning to his own breakfast. "Thank you."
Schuldig prodded Farfarello lightly. "Farf, wake up."
"Is it time to hurt God yet?" the Irishman asked without raising his head.
"If eating omlets hurts God, then yes." Farfarello lifted his head, amber gaze fixed on the food before him as he thought about it. His hair was disheveled more than usual from sleep, and there was a faint blood stain leading from his lower lip to his chin. Finally he reached forward and began to eat. Schuldig eyed him in half-amusement, half-exasperation. "To think that he'll never suffer from a hangover is really disgusting," the German declared huffily.
"Why would he have a hangover?" Omi asked blankly.
"Those idiots went clubbing in the middle of the night," Aya said flatly from his seat. "They had to be brought home."
"No harm done," Schuldig replied breezily, patting Farfarello's head. "So what were you doing out, hm?"
Farfarello looked over at his team mate. "God tried to distract me with innocents so the angels could take you. God can not have the guilty one."
Schuldig blinked. Nagi frowned. "Angels?"
"I told him the Group were God's angels," Schuldig replied distractedly, still giving Farfarello an odd look, as if he was trying to figure something out.
"That _is_ something you would do," Nagi muttered. "You could have gotten him all riled up telling him things like that." Schuldig merely smirked.
There was a knock from the front door. "Who could that be?" Ken asked, looking up. "Shop doesn't open for another two hours."
"I'll get it!" Omi bounced from his chair, hurrying out of the kitchen and through the shop.
Yohji returned to eating his breakfast. It was unnatural to be that cheerful this early. There should be a law against it. If he had his way, he would have stayed in his room, wallowing in bed to his heart's content. He wouldn't have come down until noon. He smirked into his food. Of course, Aya would have come to drag him down to work. His ears picked up on the sound of the door being unbolted.
"Morning, Makino-kun!" Omi chirped. "Come on in!" Schuldig went stiff, standing up quickly, cup in hand. The others in the room looked over at him in surprise. His expression was one of disbelief. Omi entered the room. "Guys, I'd like you to meet my teacher, Aitsetsi-sensei."
A man stepped into the doorway behind Omi. His shoulder length raven hair was pulled back into a small ponytail and sunglasses perched on his head. Amber eyes were cold as they took in the people at the table. Schuldig's cup dropped from lifeless fingers, shattering on the ground. Nagi went pale. Crawford stiffened. The teacher reached out, a wicked smile slowly curving his lips, and snagged Omi. The boy was caught off guard, his attention having been on the others. The blond assassin was yanked back against him and a gun was pressed calmly to his throat.
"Sensei?!" Omi cried, eyes widening in disbelief.
"Allow me to reintroduce myself. My name is Meirth."