This was done for Lunarennui for WeissDay.

I have instructed you to follow me
What way I go;
The road is hard, and stony,--as I know;
Uphill it climbs, and from the crushing heat
No shelter will be found
Save in my shadow; wherefore follow me; the footprints of my
Will be distinct and clear;
However trodden on, they will not disappear.

And see ye not at last
How tall I am?--Even at noon I cast
A shadow like a forest far behind me on the ground.

"Jesus to His Disciples"
by Edna St. Vincent Millay

    "I fucking hate clowns."
    Farfarello barely looked up from what he was doing. "Mm."
    "That was a hint, by the way." Schuldich tapped his gun restlessly against the side of his thigh. "Go find one and kill it in front of me, will you? It'd make this day a hell of a lot less boring."
    "Don't tempt him," Nagi sighed, glancing over from where he was stationed at the window. "Anyway, what's wrong with clowns?"
    "No one likes clowns," Schuldich insisted. "They're creepy. They wear those demented fake smiles, they laugh all the goddamn time, and they won't leave you the hell alone."
    "Somebody watched 'IT' one too many times as a kid," Nagi observed, a vague smile playing at his lips.
    Schuldich made a face. "Bite me," he suggested rudely.
    "Clowns are supposed to be funny."
    Schuldich stared down at his companion with a lifted brow. "I'm sure you find them hysterical," he drawled.
    Farfarello propped his hands on his knees and rose to his feet. "They smile no matter what you do to them," he mused.
    "And that doesn't creep you out?"
    "When you find something that creeps Farfarello out, let me know," Nagi murmured.
    Schuldich sighed loudly and aimed his gun in Nagi's general direction. "Let's play target practice."
    Nagi turned his head slowly and offered the older man a frozen look. "I'll reverse the bullet before it's a foot from the gun and make sure it ends up in your stomach," he promised.
    "I didn't mean you," Schuldich snapped. "C'mon, can't you throw shit around for me to shoot at?"
    Nagi turned away dismissively. "Don't waste bullets, Schuldich. You may need them."
    "Oh, please." Schuldich moved in a slow circle, looking for a target. "Crawford's the only one who really needs a gun. You just explained in fascinating detail what you can do, Farf doesn't need a weapon to tear a man apart, and I--"
    "You'll what?" Nagi snorted derisively. "Run around the room dodging bullets?"
    "Har har." Schuldich tapped the barrel of his gun against his temple. "Speed ain't all I got, in case you're forgetting."
    "You're useless," Farfarello proclaimed in a deadpan.
    Schuldich finished his circle and ended up with Farfarello in his sights. He lifted his chin in challenge. "Care to test that theory, scarface?" he demanded coolly.
    Farfarello didn't look in the least concerned with the fact that there was a gun aimed at his heart.
    "He's got a point," Nagi admitted. "You can't hear anything in anyone's mind unless you actively go looking for it. And even then, that's all you do: listen. You can't manipulate anyone's mind or hurt them with your 'talents'." He offered Schuldich a small smirk. "You're not even a very good shot. At least Crawford can handle himself in hand-to-hand. And he's a crack shot."
    "Fuck you," Schuldich growled. "I can take care of myself."
    "No you can't," Farfarello said.
    Schuldich glared at the younger man. "Let's see how well you take care of yourself with a bullet in the throat," he offered.
    Farfarello hadn't even been looking at him; he'd been studying the mutilated corpse of the secretary at his feet. Slowly he lifted his single eye to pin Schuldich to the spot with a savage stare. "You won't shoot me."
    Schuldich tilted his head thoughtfully to the side. "I dunno, the idea seems more and more appealing by the minute."
    Nagi sighed irritably and turned his back on the both of them. "Grow up," he grumbled. "We don't have time for another pissing contest between the two of you. We're supposed to be ready to move when Crawford gives the signal."
    "Button your lip, small fry," Schuldich retorted, still glaring at his opponent. "What makes you think I won't shoot you, you pasty-faced little leprechaun?"
    Farfarello's lips stretched in a ghastly smile. "You need me."
    "The fuck I do," Schuldich snarled, taking two quick steps forward. "I may not be a marksman like the Oracle, but I'm pretty sure I can blow your twisted little brains out from point-blank range."
    Farfarello's grin only grew wider.
    "Knock it off," Nagi snapped, turning to glare at them. "I'm tired of you two fighting all the time. Farfarello, stop baiting him. Schuldich, put your gun away. We're supposed to be a team."
    Schuldich sniggered. "Crack team, chief. A psychopath, a smartass, a little brat, and a guy who thinks he's God."
    "I am a god," Farfarello interrupted mildly.
    Even Nagi shut up to stare at the Irishman in disbelief.
    "Um, I was referring to a certain stick-up-the-ass American, you twat," Schuldich drawled. "You're the psychopath."
    Farfarello cocked his head. "No. You have them mixed up."
    "You are not a god, Farfarello," Nagi said slowly. "If you want to be biblical, I would go with 'Lucifer'."
    Schuldich laughed out loud. "Oh, this is too rich." He made a lazy sign of the cross over his heart. "Hail Farfie, full of bad intentions," he intoned. "Blasphemed be thy name..."
    "It isn't a good idea to anger your god," Farfarello insisted quietly.
    "You're not my god, you demented little freak!" Schuldich exclaimed.
    Farfarello looked down at the corpse at his feet and nudged it with a toe. "I decide who dies. I decide when." He glanced back at Schuldich, eye hooded. "I decide who lives. You're only alive because I wish it."
    "I think someone forgot to give the resident sociopath his meds this morning," Schuldich suggested, offering Nagi a significant look.
    Farfarello stepped over the body and approached Schuldich slowly, amber eye burning. "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil," he murmured. "For thou art with me."
    Schuldich pulled back the hammer of his gun and took the last step forward to press the barrel firmly against Farfarello's forehead. "Nice to know you feel all safe and shit in my presence," he sneered.
    Farfarello stared back at him calmly. "You're useless without your god."
    Schuldich lifted his gun and lashed out with his foot, kicking Farfarello hard in the stomach. Farfarello stumbled back, but didn't fall. "Shut the FUCK up!" Schuldich shouted. "You're no one's god, you sick little monkey! Stay the fuck away from--"
    Farfarello recovered his breath quickly. The next instant he was closing the distance between them in frightening speed. He snatched the gun out of Schuldich's hand and flung it across the room. Seizing Schuldich's throat in his other hand, he slammed him back against the nearest wall.
    Schuldich gasped for breath and tried to claw the vice-like grip away, staring into Farfarello's narrowed eye.
    "Turning your back on your god, Teufel?" Farfarello murmured. "Will you walk without His protection?"
    "Get this lunatic off me," Schuldich managed to wheeze.
    Nagi gestured impatiently, and Farfarello's hand was ripped from Schuldich's throat. Another flick of fingers, and Farfarello sailed backwards, crashing into the desk.
    "Cut it out," Nagi commanded. "Farfarello, stay by the door. Play lookout."
    Farfarello offered Schuldich one last unnerving stare, then obediently padded across the room to the office doors.
    Coughing roughly, Schuldich went to retrieve his gun, but stopped when it soared in the air and landed in Nagi's waiting palm. "You can have this back when I'm sure you're not going to spray Farfarello's brains all over the wallpaper," Nagi said firmly.
    Schuldich glowered at him, rubbing tenderly at his sore neck. What the fuck is his deal? he demanded angrily, sending the thought to Nagi alone. Where did all this 'god' crap come from? He's finally lost whatever was left of his warped little mind.
    Nagi shrugged one shoulder, returning his attention to the streets outside. Well, he's always watched your back, he admitted. You were the one to get him out of that institution, after all. Maybe he feels like you need him, like he's your protector or something. He has saved your life a couple of times. Not to mention the fact that he does deal out death for a living. Maybe in his unstable state, that makes him feel like a god.
    If you ask me, we need to take care of him before he takes care of us, if you catch my drift, Schuldich suggested darkly.
    You used to get along.
    "Feh." Schuldich crouched down to search the dead secretary's pockets for anything interesting. That was before he started following me everywhere and saying shit to piss me off. Now he's just an annoying little punk with definite mental issues who needs to be put down like a rabid dog.
    Somehow, I don't think Crawford would condone that, Nagi said, his mental voice dry. He went through a lot of trouble and paperwork to get Farfarello on this team.
    I can make it look like an accident, Schuldich insisted. A violent, painful accident.
    Farfarello doesn't feel pain.
    Another 'holy' attribute, I'm sure, Schuldich jeered, inspecting a pack of smokes he'd found in the woman's jacket pocket. Still...
    No, Schuldich, Nagi sighed. Just ignore him. Don't let him keep getting to you like this. Eventually he'll lose interest.
    "Jackpot," Schuldich murmured triumphantly, tossing the pack of cigarettes in the air and catching them again. He found a lighter in the same jacket pocket and retreated to the far side of the room with his prize.
    "Don't smoke in here," Nagi protested. "I hate the smell."
    "Then shut up and open the window," Schuldich muttered absently. Stuffed between the cigarettes was something a little too thin and short to be a Newport. Making sure Nagi wasn't looking his way, he slid the joint in between his lips and lit it. He took a drag and held it in his lungs, settling his back against the wall. Not the best shit money could buy, maybe, but it would calm him down after his little argument with the cyclops, and keep him occupied until it was time to finish the job they had come here to do. He waited another few moments, then slowly expelled the smoke, watching it wave lazily up towards the ceiling and then scatter as it encountered the fan. Grinning as the first hints of a buzz hummed in his veins, he took another long pull.
    He watched the way the fan dispersed the smoke he exhaled for the next few minutes, a silly grin on his face, until an explosion made him jump wildly. He burned his finger on the butt of the joint and dropped it on the carpet with a curse.
    "That's the signal." Nagi's voice was warped and sounded far away. Schuldich blinked rapidly, looking around with his heart thundering in his ears.
    "Did the building just blow up?" he demanded.
    Nagi turned to stare at him. "What? Were you asleep? That was the signal, idiot. The bomb in the company car just went off. It's time to move."
    "Yeah. Move." Schuldich stared at his outstretched hand-- hands? --then lowered his gaze to the ember slowly burning a black hole in the carpet.
    "That's gotta hurt," the secretary noted, watching it burn with her empty sockets.
    Schuldich tilted his head, trying to see it as she must see it from her position lying down. "Your hair's going to catch on fire if you stay down there," he noted.
    "No, that won't hurt too much," the woman assured him brightly. "Just be careful it doesn't talk to you, too. It's sticky."
    Schuldich looked up at Nagi's impatient shout. He was at the door with Farfarello. "Who are you talking to? Come on, we need to go."
    Schuldich nodded quickly. "Oh, right. The job."
    "Watch your step," the secretary offered helpfully.
    "Yeah." Schuldich stretched out his leg as far as it would go to cross the canyon the ember was boring into the floor, and hurried to catch up with his teammates.
    "I guess the boss is ready to see us now," Schuldich noted, a giggle bubbling in his throat. "She just let us right in."
    Nagi shot a quick look over his shoulder as they walked swiftly down the hallway. "What?"
    "The secretary," Schuldich answered absently, looking around at all the doors they passed. The walls lurched away from him at his gaze, receding until the hall was wide enough for ten people to walk abreast. He looked to the front again, and the walls resumed their normal position. He kept turning his head, trying to catch them, to startle them back into their normal shape, but they were tricky. If he looked, they backed away.
    He hit something hard and fell down.
    "Schuldich! Watch where you're going!" Nagi stopped and turned to glare at him impatiently.
    Schuldich shook his head briskly and stared at the wall he'd collided with. "That's not fair," he complained. "It was big a minute a--"
    "We need to go. NOW." Nagi jerked a thumb up, and Schuldich's stomach lurched in protest as he found himself hauled to his feet. "Get your act together, Schuldich."
    Farfarello was studying Schuldich silently. He let Schuldich go first, and took up the rear.
    "Farfarello, you need to be up front with me," Nagi called over his shoulder. "We're bound to run into resistance."
    "The shepherd has lost his flock," Farfarello noted, watching Schuldich weave to and fro in front of him. "He needs his god's guidance."
    "Farfarello, we don't have time for this! Do as I say!"
    Schuldich winced as the walls began screeching at him in defiance. "Holy shit," he swore, covering his ears. "Shut UP!" He stared firmly at his feet, watching as they carried him forward. A hand snagged the back of his shirt, steering him away from a corner.
    "It's the fire alarm," Nagi said. "They're going to evacuate. We need to reach--"
    A door banged open, and Schuldich jumped violently.
    The screaming things that poured out of the room came at him, then seemed to change their minds. Nagi moved his hand, and they politely obeyed the silent gesture, throwing themselves to the side and slamming against the far-away walls.
    "Here." Nagi passed Schuldich's gun back to him as they walked.
    Schuldich studied the instrument for a second; again a hand at his back pushed him in the right direction, but he ignored it. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see the wall receding again. He whipped his gun up and and fired a shot.
    "SHIT!" Nagi whirled around. "Schuldich! What the hell are you firing at?!"
    "Hah." Schuldich grinned triumphantly at the unmoving wall and the smoking hole in its skin. "That stopped it."
    Nagi stared at him blankly. "Are you... HIGH?" he demanded incredulously.
    "Higher than a kite!" Schuldich assured him cheerfully. "That shit was better than I thought."
    "Oh, this is not happening," Nagi muttered, burying his face in his hands. "I can't believe you, Schuldich. We have a job to do, and you're doped up! Crawford's going to kill you with his bare hands! If you don't accidently shoot one of us in the back before we reach him, that is. You idiot!"
    Farfarello reached out and took Schuldich's gun from him calmly. "Move," he ordered flatly.
    Schuldich turned to glare at him. "Don't tell me what to do, you dribbling piece of horse-shit."
    "You're the dribbling pile of shit right now, Schuldich," Nagi said angrily. "Farfarello, you're going to have to keep an eye on him. We still have a job to do. Move it, Schuldich!" An invisible force seized Schuldich and spun him around when he headed for one of the doors. "This way, moron!"
    "Damn, when did you turn into such a foul-mouthed little brat?" Schuldich snickered, trotting to keep up.
    "Obviously, I hang around degenerates like YOU too much," Nagi shot back. "Farfarello! Make sure he keeps up, and don't let the fool get shot. Crawford will want to kill him himself after this is over."
    "Don't be stupid," Schuldich laughed, waving a hand carelessly. "Crawford loves me~"
    A hard hand seized his shoulder and wrenched him around. The room spun and blurred, and he would have fallen down out of dizziness if the painful grip so close to his neck hadn't held him up by pure force.
    Farfarello's narrowed eye seemed to blaze like the sun, and Schuldich leaned away from the heat emanating from it like a furnace. "Thou shalt not worship false idols," he ordered. His voice echoed a bit from so close up, and it hurt to listen to. Behind him, the walls were slowly beginning to melt.
    Schuldich tried to shake free of the hold and failed. "Worship? Who's worshipping? Jealous that I like that stuffy holier-than-thou jerk more than I like you?" Schuldich smirked. "Cuz I do. I'd rather be stuck with him than left with a demented little freakazoid like you for five minu--"
    Something banged loudly, and Schuldich studied the hole in the wall by his head curiously.
    Farfarello yanked him around, slamming Schuldich behind him and narrowly missing another shot.
    Nagi turned and swept his arm in furious impatience; the goblin who'd appeared from one of the doors flew towards the ceiling. Then suddenly he was two goblins. One of them landed at Schuldich's feet and lay there drooling red.
    Farfarello still looked angry, but he released Schuldich after a moment. "Stay behind me," he growled irritably, and stepped over the little goblin, striding after Nagi. Schuldich didn't bother to avoid the prone thing, and stumbled walking across its sleeping form.
    "Get thee behind me, Satan!" Schuldich called, laughing.
    Farfarello flicked him a hooded look, but Schuldich was sure he saw the beginnings of a smirk there.
    He'd killed the walls with that shot back there; they weren't flexing anymore. But they were still screaming. Then they started crying. In moments Schuldich's hair was soaked and heavy. "I don't swim very well," he muttered. "Is he gonna get us to land soon or what?"
    Farfarello ignored that. Nagi didn't seem to hear. He was busy making big goblins into little goblins or lots of goblins. Some of the tears from the ceiling were red. Some of it got in Schuldich's eye and made things hazy and rose colored. It was pretty.
    But it hurt his eye quite a bit.
    Schuldich kept his eyes on Farfarello's heels before him and followed close.
    "I need my gun," he insisted loudly.
    "You're in no condition to fire it," Nagi snapped. "Just shut up and stay with Farfarello."
    Schuldich nodded absently, barely paying attention. He looked around in wonder as the rain began singing his name aloud. Or was it the walls? "How do you know my name?" he murmured curiously.
    "Schuldich. Schuldich."
    "They know my name," Schuldich spoke up.
    Nagi was ignoring him completely, but Farfarello sent him a tolerant look over his right shoulder. "Who?"
    "The walls." He reached out hesitantly and let his fingers brush against the damp wallpaper as he passed. "Did you tell them my name? I sure as hell didn't."
    "Oh. Maybe it was the secretary."
    "Schuldich. Answer me."
    "Don't you hear them?" Schuldich peered in suspicion first at the walls, then at Farfarello, a hazy white blob in front of him. "I don't believe you. You told them my name, didn't you?"
    Farfarello arched a brow at him thoughtfully. After a moment he seemed to understand. "Crawford."
    "What? He told them?"
    "Is Crawford trying to talk to you?" Nagi demanded. "Answer him, Schuldich!"
    "Oh yeah." Schuldich snickered. What's up?
    Crawford's annoyance made everything prickle and darken. I've been calling you. What the hell is going on? Have you reached the target or not?
    Schuldich repeated the question out loud verbatim.
    "Tell him we're nearly there," Nagi called back. "Is he finished with his end?"
    Yeah, we're almost there, I guess, Schuldich drawled, stumbling as he stared up at the rain sprinkling down on him. The screaming of the walls was starting to make his head throb in agony. Wait, what else was he supposed to ask? What about you?
    It's done. Meet in the back lot when you're finished with your part.
    Schuldich parroted the command, mimicking the older man's short, clipped words, throat humming in protest when he attempted to reach the lower tone of Crawford's voice.
    "Stop fooling around, Schuldich, or I'll break both your legs and you can drag yourself out of here," Nagi promised irritably.
    "Ohhh fuck you," Schuldich slurred, flattening his hand against the wall and letting it slide along as he walked. "I haven't been high in way too fucking long. It keeps me loose."
    "Loose? Understatement of the year," Nagi muttered.
    "Biiiiite meeeee."
    "Shut up," Farfarello commanded.
    "Listen to your 'god', Schuldich," Nagi advised.
    "He's not my GOD, damn it!" Schuldich sputtered. "Gods are all powerful glowy things! He's just a white smeary streak."
    Nagi was saying something, but Schuldich's ranting covered it up. But suddenly the closest door burst open and lots of goblins with guns sprang out. Schuldich automatically lifted a gun he no longer had. Pointing his finger at the first goblin, he hesitated.
    "Schuldich! Look out, idiot!" Nagi shouted from where he was gesturing for a group of goblins to go flying down the hallway.
    Schuldich pulled an imaginary trigger, not quite sure what was expected of him.
    "Bang," came Farfarello's voice right in his ear.
    The goblin's head exploded.
    Schuldich scrambled back. "Jesus H. Christ!"
    "Don't take the Lord's name in vain," Farfarello murmured, already dodging past him. He slammed into the next three goblins, knives growing from his wrists, and proceeded to slash them into bloody scraps. I told you you were useless without me.
    That brought on anger, sharp enough to take the very edge of the high off; enough for him to distinguish the goblins-- no wait, guards --from furniture as he followed his teammates into the office.
    "Fuck you and the horse you rode in on," Schuldich snarled, taking his temper out on the nearest man. He hit him in the face as hard as he could, splitting his knuckles open. He barely registered the pain. The man fell, clutching his nose and babbling. Schuldich stomped down on his neck with all his weight and stopped the incoherent noises, then moved on to the next target. There weren't many left. Farfarello was taking out the rest, and the smallest blur-- Nagi --was heading for someone in the corner.
    The man in the corner was shouting words Schuldich couldn't understand. He seized the nearest weapon to hand, which happened to be a priceless vase, and smashed it across the face of the next guard to come at him. It shattered on impact, the shards cutting into his hands. He kept a grip on the biggest piece and shoved it up under the screaming guard's chin, through his throat and up into his mouth. Farfarello was there an instant later, his knife glittering red and silver, slashing open the guard's neck. More crimson rain sprayed out and hit Schuldich full in the face. It tasted salty and made him gag.
    The adrenaline from the fight, the continous water from above, and the copper taste were quickly bringing clarity to the situation. Damn. Maybe he should've taken a few more drags.
    "Who's useless?" he demanded triumphantly, grinning at Farfarello.
    Farfarello took a step to the left so that he was in front of him. He didn't flinch at the noise of the gunshot that came an instant later, and he didn't even grunt when the bullet slammed home in his shoulder. "You are," he said firmly. "Pay attention."
    "Shit!" Schuldich reached out clumsily, pressing a hand to the wound, but Farfarello pushed him away and turned to watch.
    Nagi swept his arm upwards. The fat man with the gun, surrounded by the bodies of his guards, shrieked like a banshee as he flew up and smashed against the ceiling. His gun clattered uselessly to the floor.
    "You have five seconds to tell us where the disks are," Nagi informed him quite calmly. "Then I'm going to let you down and let him deal with you." He jerked his chin in Farfarello's direction.
    Farfarello stepped closer, grinning in anticipation, and then abruptly burst into white light.
    Schuldich covered his eyes and stumbled away, gaping. Many hours later he would kick himself in the head for letting the trick of light fool him. Farfarello had merely stepped out of the shadows and into the bright sunlight blasting in from one of the windows. With Schuldich's vision already fuzzy, the effect was quite a bit more spectacular.
    Later he would realize this, and blame it on his high.
    But it wouldn't ever quite erase the memory of the sudden awe he felt, even if it was only for a moment.
    He threw back his head and started laughing hysterically. "I would listen to him if I were you," he advised. He was speaking in German, and there was no way the gibbering man could have understood him, but he didn't care. "Do you know who this is? This is the god of death, you pathetic fat fuck."
    Farfarello turned his head slightly to study him, golden eye blazing. The smile that pulled his lips across his teeth was more demonic than holy, but Schuldich didn't notice. He grinned back, riding out the last of his seductive high.

    Nagi ended up having to break nearly every bone in the man's body, but they got the disks they'd come for. Farfarello finished the man off, and by the time they met up with Crawford in the lot out back, Schuldich's high was nearly gone. Things were still a bit too loud, and everything was too bright or a bit too blurry, but he was at least able to concentrate better and realize whether he was seeing something imaginary or not.
    "He's high," Nagi explained in a disgruntled voice when Crawford asked why the hell Schuldich's eyes were unfocused.
    Crawford didn't curse or rant or even change expression. But the blow he cracked against Schuldich's jaw banished the last of his balance, and he fell in an undignified heap on the asphalt.
    "SHIT! What the hell's your problem??" Schuldich demanded, reaching up to touch his throbbing face carefully. "You almost broke my goddamn jaw!"
    Crawford's voice was cold. "You should know better than to jeopardize--" he cut himself off and took two quick steps back. As he was moving, Farfarello was darting forward. His knife missed Crawford by a hair. The next instant, Nagi had immobilized him.
    "That was stupid," Crawford pointed out, straightening his tie and gazing at Farfarello coolly. He flicked a glance towards Nagi. "Leftover bloodlust?"
    "More like leftover Schuldich-lust," Nagi muttered sourly. "They've been snapping at each other again."
    Crawford's lip curled slightly in impatience. "That again. I've had it with these games. They put this team at risk time and time again."
    "I talked to Farfarello," Nagi insisted. "I tried to tell him Schuldich would never..." he broke off, throwing Schuldich a wary look.
    "Never what?" Schuldich scrambled to his feet. "Is the bastard hoping I'll kill him and put him out of his misery? Is that why he's been such a superior asshole lately?"
    Nagi winced. "I rest my case. Farfarello." He gazed sternly into the madman's hooded amber eye. "Schuldich will never touch you. Ever. So just leave him alone before you end up killing each other. I'm not going to tell you again."
    "Touch--" Schuldich looked at each of them in turn, his mind stumbling to make sense of Nagi's words. "Won't ever-- Wha-- HUH??"
    "We're leaving," Crawford interrupted, voice flat. Without waiting for an answer, he turned and strode towards their car.
    Schuldich wasn't sure he understood what the hell was going on, but he was damned sure he wouldn't like it when he was sober enough to figure it all out. He jabbed a finger in Farfarello's chest and glared at Nagi. "Keep this freak away from me," he snarled. Ignoring Farfarello's calm stare, he stomped after Crawford.


    Schuldich barely stayed awake long enough for Nagi to clean and bandage his hands in the car; he fell asleep immediately after they got back from the mission, and slept like the dead until late that night.
    He awoke to a bottle of water hovering by his face.
    Unwilling to lift his face from the pillow, he strained his eyes upwards to the hand holding the water, following the path up the strong scarred arm until he was staring up into Farfarello's one remaining eye.
    "What the fuck do you want?" he muttered. The pillow muffled his voice so that it sounded like an alien language, and he had to repeat himself louder to be understood.
    Farfarello was sitting on the edge of Schuldich's bed as if he belonged there, and gave an unconcerned shrug at the hostile greeting. "Nagi said to check and see if you still had a pulse."
    "Feh." Schuldich glared at the water for a moment before snatching it away. His throat felt painfully dry, and the promise of relief overrode his inherent laziness. He slowly rolled onto his back and propped his head up against the wall, gulping water greedily.
    Farfarello remained where he was and waited silently.
    Swallowing the last drop, Schuldich tossed the empty bottle aside carelessly, wiping his hand across his mouth and glaring at his teammate in open distrust. "Obviously, I'm alive. Now get lost, cyclops."
    Farfarello tilted his head to one side and studied Schuldich with detached puzzlement. "You're not talking to walls anymore," he observed.
    Schuldich winced, throwing his arm over his eyes. "I was high, you retard. I was seeing shit."
    "Seeing." Farfarello thought about that for a moment. "You understood while you were... 'seeing'."
    "You're not a god, Farfarello," Schuldich growled wearily.
    "I am." He leaned over, propping himself up with a hand against Schuldich's pillow as he hovered over the older man. "You need me."
    "No I don't." Schuldich shoved him hard. Farfarello was caught off balance, and barely caught himself on the edge of the bed in time, preventing a painful encounter with the floor. Schuldich pushed himself into a sitting position and glared at the scarred man. "And what was that shit Nagi was going on about? Is there some demented reason behind your pain-in-the-ass syndrome?"
    "You slept with Crawford."
    Schuldich opened and closed his mouth a few times, gaping at him in shock. "What the-- Where did you hear that??"
    Farfarello arched a brow. "Nagi heard you. A fact he doesn't appreciate."
    "Oh, give me a break," Schuldich groaned, rubbing his face with his hand roughly. "That was almost three years ago! And it was only once! Before he turned all rat-bastard on me. Besides, he's way too vanilla in the sack for my tas--" He stopped and peered at Farfarello suspiciously. "No," he said flatly. "Forget it."
    "Forget what?"
    "Nagi said something about 'touching'," Schuldich snapped. "Is that what this is all about?" He laughed unpleasantly. "No go, Dracula. I wouldn't touch you with a ten foot pole."
    Farfarello's eye narrowed. Schuldich only needed to take a quick mental peek to understand the madman's bubbling suspicions. "Your questionable looks don't have anything to do with it, dipshit," he drawled. "You're not exactly easy on the eyes, but I've seen worse." He jabbed a finger against the man's hard chest. "I don't trust you. Simple as that."
    "Crawford would be displeased if I killed you," Farfarello pointed out.
    Schuldich rolled his eyes. "That's very comforting. Dream on, you creepy little albino. I don't make a habit of banging headcases that would most likely kill me in my sleep."
    Farfarello seized the finger and pulled on it steadily until Schuldich was forced to lean forward or risk losing the digit. Farfarello put his face right in Schuldich's, his expression unreadable. "You wouldn't be the one doing the 'banging'," he informed the German solemnly.
    Schuldich stared back blankly, unsure how to handle the quiet statement. It amused him to hear those words from the Berserker, but it also creeped him out beyond belief. Unfortunately, his libido also had its own two cents to add. Underneath the inner shudder, there was a spark of interest.
    What would a Berserker be like in bed?
    Ugh. Schuldich tilted his chin up so he gained a few inches of personal space, his mouth pulling into a frown. That was a terrifying thought. "Let go of me and get the hell out of my room," he ordered coolly.
    Farfarello studied his face for a few moments before slowly loosening his grip enough for Schuldich to tug his hand free. He slid off the bed and headed unhurriedly for the door. "You need me," he repeated.
    Schuldich snorted and lay back down again. "Yeah. Like a bullet to the head." He remembered suddenly the two men he had taken out in the office during the mission, without his gun. "Hey!" he called just as Farfarello reached the door. "I told you I could take care of myself."
    Farfarello turned to offer a Look, then disappeared without a sound.
    It wasn't until he was rolling over to go back to sleep that Schuldich remembered the man taking a bullet to the shoulder.
    To cover him.
    "I don't need his fucking help," he muttered.
    The walls didn't care.


    Nagi was the only one eating a proper breakfast the next morning. He sat at the table silently going through a plate of eggs and ham while Crawford stood waiting on the coffee to brew, already skimming the newspaper. Farfarello was squatting on the edge of his chair, balanced precariously, as he dusted pepper liberally all over his side of the table, a look of intense concentration on his face. He hadn't bothered to pull on a shirt yet, and the bandage slanted across his chest and shoulder was in plain view. Schuldich halted in the doorway, staring, checking for signs of bloodspots. The bandages were clean, so he pasted on an indifferent look and wandered over to the fridge to find something quick and edible.
    "You're on Watch today," Crawford informed him without looking up from his paper.
    "What??" Schuldich glared around the refrigerator door at the older man. "What the fuck for?"
    "For yesterday's stunt." Crawford's words were short and inflectionless. Schuldich read the danger signs and forced himself to keep his complaints to himself.
    Usually Nagi kept an eye on Farfarello during their down days, unless he was studying or on a mission. Then the duty fell to the other two. Usually it depended on who was busy, or they occasionally pulled straws. But whenever Schuldich fucked up, he could look forward to a day keeping a certain psychotic Berserker out of trouble. Schuldich hadn't minded when Farfarello had first been brought to the team; they'd gotten along then. But for the past few months the Irishman had been a constant thorn in his side. The arguments, violence, and flares of temper were getting old. And now with this whole "touching" thing Nagi had mentioned...
    Schuldich sent a dirty look Farfarello's way that went completely unnoticed. Snagging a package of hot dogs from the drawer, he slammed the fridge door and headed for the microwave. "What the hell's he doing, anyway?" he grumbled. "I'm sure as hell not cleaning that up."
    "Yes you are," Nagi contradicted, taking a pinch of pepper from the growing pile across half the tabletop and sprinkling it over his eggs. Farfarello watched him with a narrowed, suspicious eye. "You're on Watch. You get to clean up his messes. Bloody or otherwise. You deserve worse."
    "I can't believe you twats are gonna keep busting my balls about yesterday," Schuldich snorted, tossing a couple dogs in the microwave and punching in a random number. "It's not like anything went wrong. We're all still alive, we got the disks, and we took out anyone that got in our way."
    "The only reason you're alive is because Farfarello watched your back," Nagi informed him coldly. "You put the mission and your life at risk."
    "Don't you mean our lives?"
    "Your life," Nagi said firmly, a small mocking smile twitching at his mouth. "Farfarello and I can take care of ourselves."
    Schuldich wanted to emphasize his bad mood with a dramatic gesture, so he opened the microwave door and slammed it. Then he did it a second time because the first BANG! made Farfarello flinch in surprise at the sudden noise.
    "Hey," Schuldich snapped. "I think I proved my point yesterday. I was high as a fucking kite, and I still--"
    "Took out two men. Good for you." Nagi glared at him. "You kept both Farfarello and me distracted with your inane ramblings about voices and walls; you slowed us down because you couldn't walk five feet without running into something; you had to have your gun taken away because you nearly shot me in the back shooting at shadows; and Farfarello ended up concentrating more on keeping your ass out of trouble than he did on finishing the mission. I had to take care of the CEO and get those disks because that idiot was taking a bullet for you!"
    Schuldich covered up his displeasure with sarcasm. "You didn't used to be such an angry little person," he noted, stretching his mouth into a taunting smirk.
    Farfarello looked up suddenly; an instant later a blow the the back of the head sent Schuldich slamming into the counter with a grunt.
    "FUCK!" He turned slightly to glare daggers at his attacker, one hand to his skull, the other gripping the edge of the counter for balance. He'd seen stars for an instant. He was lucky he was still standing. "What the fuck's your problem, you old fart??" he shouted furiously.
    Crawford's eyes were like chips of ice. He lowered his fist and shoved it in his pocket, propping himself against the counter to stare his subordinate down. "I don't have the patience for your flippant remarks," he snapped. "You fucked up. And I don't have room on this team for fuck-ups. Pull something like that again, and you're off this team or six feet under. Whichever is more convenient at the time. You're on Watch for the rest of the week, and if I think you've gone so much as within a two block radius of any bar or drug dealer, I'll let Nagi turn you inside out. And I mean that literally. Are we clear?"
    Schuldich stared back, warring with his anger and caution. "...Fine," he muttered at last, because not answering would probably be a Very Bad Idea.
    "Good." Crawford folded his newspaper with a few practiced moves, retrieved his coffee mug, and headed for the den. "Get him out of the house. I have work to do, and I need it quiet."
    Schuldich forced common sense to rule over pride and turned his scowl on Farfarello, still busily dusting the tabletop with pepper. "Get dressed," he ordered through his teeth. "Time for a walk."
    Farfarello ignored him until Schuldich leaned over and blew as hard as he could, spraying the pepper from the table right into the Berserker's one good eye. He lurched backwards, upset his precarious balance, and crashed to the floor, chair and all. Schuldich burst out laughing, his mood better already as Farfarello slowly climbed to his feet, blinking quickly in an attempt to clear his sight.
    "Schuldich," Nagi sighed.
    "Tears from a madman. Never thought I'd see that," Schuldich snickered as Farfarello's clouded eye began watering in an attempt to clean itself.
    Farfarello reached up and wiped absently at his face, sending the older man a hard look. It was a You'll Pay For That Later look, but Schuldich couldn't keep back a big grin. Sneezing, Farfarello headed for his room to change.


    It turned out Farfarello had no clean shirts. He didn't even have a vest; they were all torn, bloody, or waiting to be washed. Crawford was the only one broad enough in build, so after much badgering, Schuldich finally convinced the older man to loan Farfarello one of his old sweaters. It hung down to his thighs, but at least he wasn't popping out of the seams in the chest and shoulders.
    "Guess that answers the age-old question 'What to do with a homicidal psychopath on a Saturday'," Schuldich noted as he led the silent Berserker to the car. "I can't believe you only own five sets of clothes. You know how much money Rosenkreuz puts in that bank account of yours, you half-wit?"
    Farfarello seemed to be tuning him out. Schuldich snapped his fingers a few times in front of the man's face until he had his attention. "Hey. Listen up. You remember the rules, right?"
    In the past year, Schwarz had slowly been letting Farfarello go outside in the city during daylight hours with civilians around, as long as he had an escort. The first two times had been a disaster, but the consequences had been severe enough to garner at least some amount of cooperation.
    And yet, as always, Farfarello merely stared silently as if he'd forgotten.
    Rolling his eyes, Schuldich walked around to the driver's side. "No threatening, chasing, maiming, attacking, or killing anyone. Especially me. No stealing-- cuz you suck at it --no standing in the middle of the street during rush hour like you tried last time, no staring at kids just to make them cry, and don't talk to anyone unless they speak directly to you. And if that happens, attempt to be civil. If you don't think you can pass off as an ordinary human being, just keep your damn mouth shut." He glanced across at his passenger as they pulled out onto the main street. "It's hard enough walkin' around with someone who looks like they belong in a horror movie. Schwarz doesn't have time to go bailing your ass out of jail for stupid shit." He winced, relaxing his grip on the wheel. The cuts from the vase he'd broken yesterday stung like a bitch.
    Farfarello noticed the wince, and dropped his gaze to Schuldich's bandaged hands, but at least he kept his mouth shut. After a moment he turned his head to watch the scenery go by, and Schuldich was blessed with a peaceful, silent ten minute drive.

    The few times Farfarello had needed clothes in the past, Schwarz had simply brought him to a cheap outlet store. After all, the man didn't really care about the quality of the clothes he wore, and at least they didn't have to worry about offending the high-class.
    "You have money, even if you never bother to spend it," Schuldich declared as he parked across the street from one of the better clothing shops. "I'm not going to be caught dead in one of those rinky-dink stores Nagi brings you to. Just keep your mouth shut and stay close to me and we'll be done before lunch."
    Farfarello arched a brow, but made no comment as he got out of the car and trailed after his teammate.
    There were foreign tourists in this particular store, so Farfarello got stared at quite a bit. At least the Japanese were non-confrontational enough for the most part to look quickly away. For the rest, a steady stare from the Berserker sent them scuttling to hide behind a rack of clothes or a mannequin. Schuldich made a bee-line for the men's section, ignored the racks of suits, and began rifling through the more casual clothes. This, he realized, could be a good chance to fuck with the younger man.
    Grinning, he unfolded a bright orange t-shirt with random English words on it and held it up for inspection. "Here you go, Farf," he said cheerfully. "I think this'll fit."
    "..." Farfarello's expression remained unreadable, but his eye flicked from the shirt to Schuldich pointedly. "It's orange."
    "Yes it is." Schuldich held it against Farfarello's torso to measure it better. "Yep, it'll fit. Look, there's even a little picture of a..." he squinted at the abstract design. "I think it's supposed to be a duck."
    Farfarello took a small step back.
    Pretending not to notice, Schuldich slung the shirt over his left shoulder and went for the next brightly colored shirt on the shelf. "How about green? Irish guys like green, right? This one has a big cat on it."
    Schuldich spent the next half hour amusing himself with the game. Farfarello never spoke up against any of the "suggestions", but his expression did shift into something barely tolerant.
    Surprised Farfarello had actually let him get away with it-- maybe the twit didn't care what he wore after all --Schuldich dumped the entire load of clothes into Farfarello's arms and steered him in the direction of the front register, grinning to himself. There were two women at the register, one of them obviously new and being trained. Apparently they'd been watching the whole thing. The younger woman kept covering her mouth to hide a smile, but her trainer looked nervous as Farfarello approached.
    Schuldich looked on smugly as their purchases were stuffed into bags. This would definitely annoy Crawford; and hopefully make him think twice next time before assigning Schuldich to Watch duty.
    By the time Farfarello reluctantly handed over his credit card, Schuldich was unable to resist the idea of returning home with a brightly-clad Farfarello in tow. The look on Crawford's face would be worth it.
    "Where are the changing rooms?" he demanded the instant Farfarello had his card back.
    "Um..." The trainee pointed. "It's back there, but you'll have to leave your bags here."
    "Ja, ja." Schuldich dug through the bag until he found the perfect shirt, and poked and prodded his companion until the other man slowly headed in the right direction. He still hadn't shown any signs of resistance, and Schuldich had every intention of taking full advantage of this rare cooperation.
    He found an empty changing cubicle and tugged the door shut behind them. "Right." He held up the shirt like a flag, waving it for effect and grinning sadistically. "Today's color is: purple."
    Farfarello stared at the shirt as if Schuldich was presenting him with a tray full of dead roaches, but still he said nothing.
    "All right, off with the sweater," Schuldich snickered, stepping back and waiting.
    Farfarello merely gazed at him with a hooded eye.
    Schuldich frowned irritably at the silent resistance. So Farfarello wouldn't argue or throw a shitfit, but that didn't mean he would cater to every twisted whim of Schuldich's.
    "Off," he repeated more firmly.
    Farfarello shifted his attention elsewhere as if Schuldich's voice bored him.
    Schuldich wasn't about to have his fun ruined. He hung the shirt on a peg and reached out, seizing the bottom of Farfarello's sweater and starting to tug it upwards. He acted quickly, trying to get it done before Farfarello could react, but he only got it as far as the other man's belly button.
    Farfarello flinched at first, startled, his eye snapping back to Schuldich incredulously. He'd killed men for less. He seemed to change his mind an instant later and moved forward aggressively.
    Schuldich stumbled back and suddenly found himself in a compromising position-- his back against the door and his hands up the younger man's shirt. Farfarello was so close they were almost chest-to-chest, and his intense stare made Schuldich's skin crawl.
    "Back the fuck off, Farfarello," he growled.
    Farfarello tilted his head to the side. "You called me a god yesterday."
    Schuldich blinked. "The hell I did."
    "You did," Farfarello said calmly. "The... 'god of death'." His mouth stretched in an unholy little smile.
    "I was high." Schuldich tried to slip his hands free, but Farfarello pressed closer, trapping his arms. "Get OFF."
    Irritation flickered across the Berserker's face. "Why?"
    "What do you mean 'why'?? Because I don't like psychopaths touching me!"
    Farfarello's eye narrowed. "You're afraid of me." His voice was flat and cold, and he tensed up like a coiled spring as his temper mounted. "You never used to be."
    "Who said I was afraid?" Schuldich demanded, annoyed. "I just don't want you coming on to me. That is what you're trying to do, isn't it?"
    Farfarello's mouth turned down in mild confusion.
    "Trying to get me in bed with you," Schuldich translated.
    Farfarello's face cleared. "It doesn't have to be on a bed."
    Schuldich cursed in German. "You really are insane. What the hell makes you think I'd sleep with you?"
    "You slept with Craw--"
    "That was different," Schuldich interrupted loudly. "I was younger and not too bright, and at least I didn't have to worry about him killing me during or after the act."
    Farfarello slammed his palms into the door either side of Schuldich's head, making the older man jump. He leaned in a bit more and glared into Schuldich's wary eyes. "That's fear," he clarified.
    "It's survival instinct," Schuldich corrected through his teeth. "And common-fucking-sense."
    "Why would I kill you after that?" Farfarello asked calmly. "That would mean no more sex."
    Schuldich gaped at him. "...I can't believe we're even having this conversation," he said at last. "Sorry, Farf, but you and 'sex' just don't fit well together in my head."
    "Neither do purple shirts," Farfarello noted, throwing the hanging shirt a withering look. "Besides, you haven't given me any reason to kill you.....yet."
    "You could have left that 'yet' off," Schuldich grumbled. "By the way, for future reference, you kill me and Crawford will have you put down like a rabid dog. He may act like a superior asshole, but he would never let you get away with killing someone on his team."
    "There is that," Farfarello noted, though he seemed less than disturbed at the idea of Crawford's retribution. "And I think you're running out of reasons."
    Farfarello gave him a Look. "Reasons not to sleep with me."
    Schuldich did a hasty mental check on his partner. The lunatic was serious. Farfarello had every intention of getting in his pants. Had been playing with the idea with growing interest since hearing of his triste with Crawford, actually.
    "Why the fuck do you think we should sleep together?" Schuldich finally demanded wearily.
    "You should make sacrifices for your god," Farfarello said simply.
    Schuldich rolled his eyes. "The real reason."
    Good grief. "...Fine. Another reason."
    Farfarello shrugged one shoulder. "Curiosity."
    "Curiosity killed the cat," Schuldich retorted automatically.
    "I'm a god, not a cat," Farfarello reminded him patiently.
    Schuldich stared back at him for a long moment in silence.
    Oh my fucking god, I can't believe I'm even contemplating this, he thought in mixed irritation and panic.
    Schuldich jerked his hands free from the sweater, catching Farfarello off guard, and threw up an arm, pressing his forearm to the man's throat hard enough to push him back a few inches. Farfarello strained a bit against the hold, testing his strength, but continued to stare at him silently. Waiting.
    "You may regret ever asking me to do this," Schuldich pointed out in quiet warning.
    Farfarello laughed suddenly; quietly and shortly, but it still creeped Schuldich out a bit. "You're confused," he noted, sounding darkly amused.
    "I told you already." He reached up and seized Schuldich's arm, removing it forcefully from his throat. "You won't be the one doing the 'banging'."
    Schuldich stared at him in disbelief, his throat going dry. "WHOA. Hold up." He fumbled blindly for the doorknob. "No way am I letting you--"
    "When did what you want come into this discussion?" Farfarello asked sharply.
    Schuldich snorted. "If my opinion had nothing to do with this, you would have tried to take what you wanted by force," he pointed out. "And you wouldn't have gotten so upset a minute ago when you thought I was 'afraid' of you."
    Farfarello snarled and jerked away suddenly, but Schuldich reached out and snagged a fistful of sweater. "Wait."
    Jesus, I've completely lost my mind, he thought in resignation.
    Farfarello held still, watching him closely, while Schuldich's eyes flicked back and forth, studying the scarred face intently. "...Do you even know what you're doing?"
    Farfarello didn't answer at first. He thought about that for a moment, then moved forward again more slowly, until Schuldich was held tight between an unyielding door and a compact body. Watching Schuldich's face the entire time, he hooked his fingers in the German's belt loops and tugged his hips forward to knock against his own. Schuldich swallowed hard as his libido began impatiently shouldering common sense aside.
    "I know enough," Farfarello said simply.
    I'm probably going to regret this later.
    "....Fine." Schuldich reached past Farfarello's shoulder and tugged the purple shirt from the wall, offering a fleeting grin. "But we aren't going anywhere until you change."
    Farfarello pulled the shirt from his grasp and dropped it on the floor carelessly.
    A hard, savage mouth on his cut off any further protests.
    "Hmmph!" He tried to pull his head away, but the door blocked his retreat. Shoving against broad shoulders got him no results, either. After a moment he gave up the struggle and concentrated on trying to keep up. The kisses were rough and demanding and close to desperate, but that tongue sliding into his mouth was... well, a lot more talented than one would expect.
    "Hnnf..." He twisted his head enough to gulp in precious oxygen, then reached up and seized a handful of white hair, pulling hard to give him at least some control as Farfarello's mouth devoured his again.
    A moment later impatient hands began pulling at clothing. In an alarmingly short time Schuldich's shirt was shoved up almost to his armpits, his belt was undone, and calloused hands were shoving his pants down.
    "Fuck fuck-- WAIT," Schuldich gasped, reaching down with one hand to nab his pants and slapping the other over Farfarello's mouth. "Have you lost it??" he hissed. "Not here! Besides, we don't have any--"
    Farfarello arched a brow and pulled a small travel-sized tube of lotion out of his pocket.
    Schuldich gaped at him. "Wha-- How-- You planned this! You goddamn basta--"
    "Crawford gave it to me," Farfarello interrupted calmly. "Before we left this morning. He said I'd need it, but that I'd better not use it back at the apartment because he had things to do today." He studied the lotion thoughtfully. "I didn't ask why."
    Schuldich couldn't get his voice to work. Crawford had had a fucking vision of this?? Then why not stop it? Or at least warn a guy, Jesus!
    "What?" Farfarello demanded. "Afraid someone will hear?"
    "There's that word again," Schuldich muttered, stalling. Sex. In a changing room. With Farfarello.
    The hand on his pants gave another insistent tug. The other hand slipped up his bared stomach and made its way roughly up towards his chest. Farfarello pressed up against him once more, staring at him intently, waiting.
    Schuldich stared back, nonplussed. "You're really not," he blurted.
    Farfarello frowned. "...Not what?"
    "Going to force this." Schuldich's eyes narrowed. "Why? You're the idiot who thinks he's some kind of 'god'."
    Farfarello's frown deepened. "You want me to force it?" It was just this side of a threat.
    "That's not what I--" As he spoke, he took another curious mental poke.
    "You were--"
    Farfarello released his pants and slammed Schuldich into the door hard, his eye a narrow slit of rage. All complacency and calm was gone, replaced with an all-too-familiar savagery. "Shut up," he suggested coldly.
    "Hey, hey, chill out," Schuldich protested, holding up his hands defensively. He forced himself to relax a bit. "I'm not gonna talk about it. Forget it."
    Farfarello was withdrawing back into himself; a moment later his body followed. He released Schuldich and backed off like a cornered animal.
    "Hey--" Schuldich grabbed at him and managed to snag his sleeve. "Wait a min--" Farfarello shook him off impatiently. "I said wait, dammit," Schuldich growled. He seized a fistful of hair instead, but was careful not to yank. Aggressiveness on his part-- especially now that he knew what he did --would only make things ten times worse. Instead he just kept Farfarello's head still and stole a quick, sloppy kiss.
    He pulled back after a moment to find Farfarello eyeing him almost warily. "..What are you doing?"
    "Hey, you started this, buddy," Schuldich drawled. "That's kinda fucked up, to get a guy worked up, to go through all the trouble of talking him into it and then just trying to stop--"
    That was all the encouragement needed. Farfarello was on him in the next instant, tugging at clothes and forcing his tongue past Schuldich's teeth.
    "Mmph!" Schuldich wriggled to get a bit of space and fumbled with the other man's zipper. He managed to get the pants past Farfarello's hips, then a strong hand on his shoulder was twisting him around to face the door.
    It was fast and not at all gentle, but it was... enough.
    Flattened against the door, he struggled for breath as he was taken, hard and fast and--
    "Fuuuck," he hissed, arching back, nails dragging helplessly down the door's surface.
    Farfarello's breath fell hot on his neck, fingers digging into his hips. It hurt, but it hurt good, and-- he wasn't going to be able to handle much more--
    He reached down and pulled frantically at his own erection, and then with a shout he climaxed. A few moments later Farfarello tensed up behind him and gave a breathy gasp in Schuldich's ear. He could feel wet heat inside himself as his partner reached his own finish.
    Schuldich sagged against the door, with Farfarello's weight along his back as they both panted for breath, bodies humming in the afterglow.
    After a minute or two, Schuldich gave a breathy laugh. "Not bad for a pasty-faced leprechaun," he muttered.
    Farfarello snorted and pulled out.
    "Though I hope next time it lasts a little longer," Schuldich admitted, smirking as he bent over to pull his pants up.
    Out of the corner of his eye he saw Farfarello hesitate in the act of zipping his own pants. "...Next time," he repeated.
    Schuldich hitched his pants up and turned to face the other man as he buckled his belt. He arched a brow. "Only the once, then? Fine, if your itch has been scratched--"
    "No." Farfarello's face was carefully expressionless, but his eye flickered over Schuldich's body with a hint of animalistic possessiveness.
    Schuldich smirked. "Fine. Now put on the purple shirt."


    When they got back to the flat, Crawford took one look at Farfarello in his new outfit and spat coffee all over the carpet. After regaining his composure, he asked with a very pointed look if all issues were resolved.
    Schuldich flipped him off and went to take a shower.
    "No one's ever going to take Farfarello seriously in clothes like that," Nagi complained. "He's supposed to strike fear in people's hearts, not make them want to laugh at him!"
    Then maybe next time someone else would take Farfarello clothes shopping, Schuldich pointed out.
    Farfarello watched him warily for the next two days, as if waiting for him to lash out because of what had occurred.
    Or as if he expected Schuldich to mention what he'd seen in Farfarello's head.
    The memory of a young boy held down by two older boys with ill intentions and lecherous eyes. Of rough hands and invasion.
    But Schuldich kept that particular secret to himself.
    And slowly Schwarz became the cohesive team it had once been.

    Schuldich was a man who rarely looked back. He preferred to live life with as few regrets as possible, because in his profession, there was no telling when his last day might be.
    Once he'd made his decision in that dressing room, there had been no more questions, and he had not bothered to think back on it later and wonder if he'd made the right choice. After all, it wasn't as if it had been a particularly horrible encounter.
    And it lasted considerably longer the second time, even if Nagi did complain the next morning about all the noise he'd heard through the bedroom walls.


    "Chaos, terror, dead bodies..." Schuldich looked around with satisfaction. "Our work here is done."
    "Not yet it isn't," Crawford corrected, taking one last look around the board room and its carpet of mutilated corpses before heading for the door. He was already reloading his gun. "Ashikawa is headed for the roof. He's the last man on the list. We need to head him off before his helicopter gets here. Nagi, keep the bird grounded."
    They headed out of the office at a fast walk. Nagi took point, sweeping aside anyone that tried to stop them, Crawford just a step or two behind while Schuldich and Farfarello watched the rear and aborted any sneak attacks. Farfarello was wearing one of the shirts Schuldich had made him buy. It was red, so the blood covering its front was barely noticeable.
    Yelling, two foolishly brave guards dove from an office and ran at them. Schuldich fired without hesitation, taking the first one in the gut.
    "Now that is a painful way to die," he noted, pausing to watch the man writhe on the ground. He looked up and watched as Farfarello tore into the second man with his knife. "But maybe not quite as painful as that."
    Farfarello dropped the body contemptuously and turned to face him, face calm even after so much slaughter.
    Schuldich grinned, pointing with his gun. "You've got a little gore on your chee--"
    Farfarello's arm whipped forward. Schuldich actually felt the wind of the knife flashing past his face. He jerked around in time to see the weapon slam into the forehead of a guard sneaking up behind him. The man fell without so much as a whimper.
    "Fuck me," Schuldich hissed, heart pounding at the close call.
    Farfarello walked over and bent to yank his knife free. "Maybe later," he promised dryly.
    Schuldich threw back his head and laughed. "I've created a pervert."
    "I'm the god here," Farfarello reminded him as they went to catch up with their teammates. "I'm the only one allowed to create."
    "Right, right." Schuldich side-stepped neatly as another guard came howling out of nowhere, only to be cut down by an already bloodied blade. Schuldich buried his fingers in pale hair as they walked, raising his voice in a macabre litany. "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil."
    "For this is my valley," Farfarello murmured, eye hot with the urge to kill as he ran his tongue along his blade.
    Schuldich's grin widened unpleasantly. "And thou art with me."

Author's Notes: I'm probably one of the few people who never experimented with drugs in high school, so if Schuldich's high seemed a little off, that's why. I just kind of tried to make things as bizarre as possible.....and I was tipsy while writing some of it XD;;
This is probably one of the weirdest fics I've ever written. I have no idea where it came from o_o;

Back to fics