Part Six: Falling
And I don't know if I've ever been really loved
By a hand that's touched me, well I feel like something's
Gonna give
And I'm a little bit angry, well

    Morning came sooner than Omi wanted it to, as it had every morning for the past several months of his life. He was woken up by the sound of voices and blue eyes cracked open to consider his surroundings. He was disoriented at first; a blanket shielded him from everything. He could see light patches through the cotton that meant someone had turned the bedroom light on, and it took him just a moment more to process that the voices belonged to Schuldich and Farfarello. That realization was quickly followed by a memory of the previous night, of waking up and finding himself trapped in between the two, and he reached out to tug at the blankets. When he'd gone to sleep down here, the hem hadn't hung low enough to cover him, but it seemed the other two had knocked it down further on the bed when they got up. He found an edge and lifted it, blue gaze considering the far wall and the open door. The sounds of a television were quiet but there, and then he heard the creak of the bed shifting and a hand moved into his line of view.

    Fingers wiggled in a greeting, accompanied by an amused, "Good morning, cat. Is the floor comfortable?"

    Omi pushed his hand away. "Try it and see," was his answer, and he closed his eyes against the room.

    Schuldich just laughed, and the bed moved again. "Did you hear that, Farfarello?" he asked. "He wants me to try sleeping on the floor. Can you imagine what that would do to my back?"

    "I wouldn't help you back up," was the Irishman's easy answer, and Schuldich snorted.

    "Fine teammate you are," he muttered, and there was a quiet laugh from the other man.

    The bed shifted and kept shifting as the two made themselves comfortable, and Omi opened his eyes again as he considered this. He thought that he should react somehow to the fact that they'd both been in the same bed last night and were here again, but he couldn't dredge up any sort of reaction. There was no surprise, no disgust, no amazement, nothing. All he had was the analytical part of his mind ticking off the what-ifs and filing them all into neat categories in his brain. His first thought was that they had both been in the same bed to keep an eye on him, but above him Schuldich was laughing again at something Farfarello said, a quieter sound than his normal brash laughter, and it was broken up by the sounds of rustling.

    Omi pushed himself up, moving the covers out of the rest of the way, and twisted to peer across the bed at them. It might have been rude to stare but the thought didn't occur to him. It wasn't curiosity that drove him, just a simple lack of anything better to do and the decision for closure. The two were sprawled against each other; Schuldich had pushed the Irish assassin onto his back on the bed and he was half on top of him. One leg was tangled with two and hands were just a breath apart on the sheets as they kissed. Omi watched them, considering this. Neither struck him as being gay; they certainly didn't act how his classmates had always said queer people did. Daichi claimed they were all effeminate, pretty-faced boys who gushed over flowers and cried a lot. Omi hadn't been able to confirm any of this before, as he'd never seen gay men, and this was definitely the first time he'd seen two men kissing.

    "You're so bizarre, Weiss," Schuldich declared, tilting his head enough that he could look down the length of the bed towards Omi.

    "Faggot," was Omi's easy answer, though there was no heat behind the words. He wished for a moment that he had the energy to be disgusted by this, but nothing was registering. "That's gross."

    "You sound like you mean it, too," Schuldich noted, lifting a hand from the sheet to press it to Farfarello's chest. He kept his blue eyes on Omi as he meaningfully slid his hand down his teammate's white shirt and over the hem of his pants, and fingers squeezed between his legs. Farfarello's hands lifted from the sheets to Schuldich's hair; Omi saw him tilt his head back slightly against the mattress. Schuldich laughed quietly, lettings his fingers slide down over a jeaned thigh, and he looked away from Omi. "Tell me, brat, does it ever get boring to be so apathetic?"

    "It hasn't yet," Omi said.

    "Hmmm," was the telepath's distracted answer. "By the way, we'd appreciate it if you didn't clutter our counter with your spare change."

    "I paid for the food I ate," Omi said. "I don't have anything better to do with the money."

    Schuldich gave a quiet snort. "What will you do when your money runs out, then? Starve? We certainly don't need your money around here, and you can eat in exchange for the amusement of having a new pet around the place."

    "Is that why I'm here?" Omi wanted to know. "Amusement?"

    "How should I know?" Schuldich returned easily. "You're the one who got in the car. I told you to follow but you didn't have to. It's not like I would have chased you down and stuffed you in the trunk. You got in the car of your own free will, so you tell me: why are you here?" Omi was silent for a long moment as he thought that over. "Let me know when you figure it out," the German said, sounding amused. "By the way, you're wearing the same clothes you were wearing when you first showed up here, yet you think this is gross?"

    "I didn't have time to pack before I left," Omi said. It was, in his eyes, a sensible answer.

    Schuldich just sighed and then raised his voice to call down the hallway. "Nagi?"

    It took a few moments for Schwarz's youngest to respond; Omi heard the sounds of the television disappear but he couldn't hear the light scuffing of Nagi's bare feet against the hallway floor until right before he appeared in the doorway. The youth's eyes went immediately to Omi where he was kneeling at the base of the bed and his expression was unfriendly. He didn't seem to really notice the two sprawled in bed together, either because it was commonplace enough that he didn't care or because his intense dislike of Omi's presence overrode anything he might have said or felt about the two. Omi wondered how long the two had been together in such a way; they certainly hadn't made any signs of it on the job.

    "Nagi, this kid doesn't have anything to wear, and my clothes are too big. Take him to your room and loan him something until I can find something better."

    "Are you kidding me?" Nagi asked, lifting his gaze at last to fix a glare on Schuldich. The German rolled off of Farfarello to lie on his back, propping himself up on his arms. "He's not touching anything of mine."

    "Oh come on, you can bleach it afterwards."

    "How long do you plan on keeping him here?" Nagi demanded. "Send him back where he belongs or kill him."

    "I'll kill him," Farfarello offered, ever helpful.

    "It's decided, then," Nagi said, and turned around to leave. He went still in the doorway, though, one hand on the doorframe, and Omi wondered what stopped him. He looked from the boy's back over to the bed, to Schuldich's half-lidded blue eyes. The telepath's attention was on his younger teammate's back and Omi decided they'd taken the argument to mental grounds. The silence stretched on and Farfarello pushed himself upright after a few minutes, reaching out to tug the blankets up onto the bed. A single yellow eye met Omi's stare calmly. Despite his offer of murder, there was no blood-thirsty gleam to his gaze, and he didn't seem like he would bound down the bed towards the runaway Weiss.

    At last Nagi's shoulders relaxed; Omi looked back his way in time to see them sag slightly. "Let's go, Weiss," he said, sounding subdued. "On your feet, but don't get used to borrowing my things."

    "I didn't ask to borrow them," Omi pointed out as he pushed himself up, and Nagi sent him a Look over his shoulder as he approached.

    "Play nice," Schuldich sent after them cheerfully.

    Nagi brought Omi down the hall to his room. It was unlocked this time and Omi stood in the doorway when Nagi told him to stay there. Omi watched him move to the closet before turning his attention on the gerbil cage. He couldn't see it anywhere inside and it brought a small frown to his lips. It had been there just a few days ago; could it have vanished in such a short time? The screech of hangers distracted him again and he turned his attention back on Nagi. The animal was probably just buried beneath the shavings, fast asleep after a long night of running. He decided not to ask and instead watched as Nagi pulled a shirt from its hanger. The other youth tossed it his direction and he caught it easily.

    The rest of the clothes were found in his dresser and turned over, and Omi padded down the hall in the direction of the bathroom to change. They were plain clothes, just a pair of jeans that were snug on him and a simple black tee that was just slightly loose. Checking his reflection was a habit. Once upon a time he'd done it to make sure he looked all right, but in the past few months it had been done to make sure his scars weren't showing. Most of his arm scars were above the elbow, so he figured the shirt would do.

    He gathered up his dirty clothes and left the room, toting the bundle back to Schuldich's bedroom because he didn't know where else to go. Farfarello was up and by the window now and Schuldich had found a newspaper from somewhere and was reading it on his bed. He didn't look up at Omi's entrance but pointed, and blue eyes followed the gesture to where a laundry basket sat in the corner. He didn't bother to question it but dropped his clothes off there before moving to stand at the base of the bed once more. Schuldich finished his article before looking up.

    "What are you looking at me for?" Schuldich asked. "I'd think you knew how to get yourself through the day on your own."

    Omi considered that and shrugged, taking the words as a dismissal and leaving the room again. He wandered down the hall towards the kitchen, and, finding it empty, pocketed his pile of money and set about finding breakfast. A bowl of cereal was more than enough. He was full before he was halfway through but he made himself finish it off since he'd poured it. His bowl was rinsed out and set in the dishwasher, and Omi retreated to sit at the counter once more. The television was on again; Nagi must have returned to the den.

    He heard a door shut down the hall as he sat there, and the sound of muffled laughter. Silence followed, and then just a minute later, an indignant noise that might have been a yelp. The television set turned up a little louder in the living room and Omi sat with his head tilted to one side, wondering.

    Months ago, he would have been embarrassed at just wondering what they were doing. Months ago, he would have stayed where he was.

    Omi pushed himself up from the stool and went back down the hall to Schuldich's bedroom. The hall was at an angle to the living room doorway that Nagi couldn't see him, so he stood close to the door and pressed his ear against it, listening. They were talking, but he couldn't understand them, as the door muffled their quiet voices. The conversation didn't last long before it was replaced. Omi stood there at the door as the two- these fearsome Schwarz assassins, these wild psychopaths- had sex. He heard the faint sounds of clothing and zippers, but the sounds were lost in the occasional groans and moans and the sound of the bed creaking beneath them.

    Omi was a stranger to sex only when there was another person involved. He'd learned years ago the simple release of masturbation, but he'd never been interested enough to look for a partner. Despite Yohji's frequent trips out and Ken's short fling with Yuriko, Omi had told himself long ago to never look for such a thing. Considering the work they did- both with Weiss and with the Koneko- he had always been too busy to really notice the girls around him. His teammates had always given such a large chunk of the work to him that he'd been run ragged. He'd only noticed Ouka because she had forced him to notice her, and now look where she was…

    "Fuck!" came Schuldich's strangled voice, twisted with pleasure and pain, a tone Omi hadn't heard before. "Farfarello, don't-"

    Whatever he was protesting, he never got to voice it, either because he couldn't or because Farfarello shushed him. It turned out that wasn't so bad, because just a moment later there was a throaty groan.

    Omi propped himself against the wall by the door, arms folded over his chest. The harsh pants were barely audible through the door; the creaking of the bed as they moved was just a little louder. Omi only paid it half a mind, turning everything over in his head. This was Schuldich's room. Those were his postcards, his ticket stubs, his evidence of a well-traveled life.

    Schwarz were the bad guys, so why was it that they apparently had so much more than Omi ever had?

    The traveling, the memories, a pet, a *home*… Hell, Schuldich even had a mental gift and a lover. It didn't matter so much that it was another man- Schuldich had a lover. Why did Schuldich have everything when Omi had nothing? What was so different about them? Omi had tried so hard for years to do the right thing, to save the innocent and put away the criminal. He'd worked himself to the bone for that purpose, and he had nothing to show for it. Looking back, where were his memories? Far too often he found himself sitting in front of his computer in his bedroom or downstairs in their mission room. Where were *his* postcards? Where was *his* life?

    The room was quiet behind him. Omi pushed himself away from the wall before he could kick at the door and demand to know why Schuldich had everything that Omi deserved. It wasn't fair. It just wasn't fair.


    Crawford got home in the early afternoon and all five dined together. Omi had spent the remainder of the morning in Schuldich's room as soon as the two abandoned it, though he had chosen not to sit on the bed again. Schuldich came and fetched him for lunch and Omi sat on a kitchen stepstool as they ate noodles and chicken. It was a quiet meal and Omi was the last finished. He watched as they left; they all went straight into the living room. Just a minute later Crawford started talking, saying something about the Fong Lei corporation. Omi dimly recognized its name from the newspapers, and it took him a minute more to realize that Schwarz was conducting business in the next room with him right here.

    He supposed that meant they weren't going to let him leave, but he didn't mind. He was in no rush at all to go back.

    He rinsed his bowl out in the sink and put it in the dishwasher next to his breakfast one, and retreated down the hall to claim the bedroom again. It was almost an hour before Schuldich returned. Omi had been dozing off until the telepath made his entrance, and he considered Schuldich through one half-lidded eye. The German pushed his door shut behind him and moved to flop on his back on his bed.

    "We're going to have to find you a hobby," the German declared as he considered the ceiling. "You're a rather boring investment of a pet if you just wander soundlessly from room to room and sleep."

    Omi said nothing, staring past the German to the postcards on the wall. Schuldich stretched his arms above his head until something popped- a shoulder, maybe- and then folded them beneath his head to make a pillow. "You have to have some redeeming quality," the German went on. "Won't you even slice and dice yourself up for our entertainment?"

    Blue eyes were sharp when they turned on Schuldich. In his mind he could see fresh blood against pale skin. His fingertips remembered the feel of it, the feel of broken skin and the feel of scars. They twitched against the bed at the memory of it and he felt his stomach twist in some sort of need despite his anger for Schuldich's words. "It's not for your amusement," he said, voice cold.

    "No? For your own, then?"

    "Fuck you," Omi said, and suddenly he remembered everything he wanted to say to the German, ever since the man had *looked* at him like that in the dark streets. The words were fierce and hot in his mind and they tripped over themselves as he rushed to get them out, and his voice was shaking as he spoke. "You have no right to judge me. You go out and kill other people for your amusement; at least I keep it to myself. You spread corruption and hatred and I swallow it. I didn't ask for this life- I didn't ask for any of this. You don't have the right to judge me for what I do!"

    Schuldich laughed and rolled over, and Omi couldn't move back in time before the German was on top of him. He was pushed onto his back and Schuldich's arms kept his down, and the German was draped across him to pin him down. Orange hair tumbled over his shoulders onto Omi's borrowed black shirt as the telepath hovered above him, and Schuldich's smirk was wide. "You didn't ask for your life?" he asked. "Pray tell, little Weiss cat, who would ask for a life like this? Do you suppose the children in the school yard boast of nights like ours when they're ask what they want to be when they grow up?" Omi said nothing, content to glare up at the mocking face above him. "Here's a statistic for you. Eight out of ten people in this world are fucked over by fate in some shape or form. The chances of you being one of the lucky two are pretty slim."

    "You have a gift," Omi said. "You can read minds and control people."

    "Ahhh, that's right," Schuldich mused. "I distinctly remembering asking my parents for it as a birthday present."

    Omi had nothing to say to that, and he looked away. Blue eyes found the postcards again. "How can you be such a monster and still have everything I couldn't?" he wanted to know. He expected Schuldich to laugh at him but there was just silence as the foreign assassin waited to hear what he had to say. "All of these pictures of far off places, ticket stubs for operas and plays and movies, a house of your own, a psychic gift… You even have Farfarello."

    Schuldich laughed. "I can loan him to you if it'd make you feel better."

    "That's gross." Omi gave him a Look. "Get off of me."

    Schuldich just considered him for a long moment, head tilted to one side. "What I want to know," he mused, "is how some people can make it when life throws rotten fruit their way, and how some people give up. Why do some people eat the rotting apples to keep from starving, and others feel they're too good to? What is it in your brain that is so different from my own, that you would want to die?"

    "I don't want to die," Omi argued.

    "You don't want to live, either," Schuldich pointed out, and Omi couldn't refute that.

    Silence fell between them as they each considered the other's words and finally Schuldich relaxed his arms, lowering himself to rest fully against the youth. Omi pushed up against his arms and Schuldich pushed back down, tilting his head down to find Omi's mouth. Omi went still a moment in surprise as two pairs of blue eyes hovered just inches apart. Orange hair was a halo around their faces, almost glowing as the overhead light filtered through the locks. Omi pushed again and he could hear Schuldich's laughter in his mind. The German shifted and Omi took advantage of the sliding weight to try and wriggle free or get one bare foot rammed into Schuldich's stomach, but he couldn't move fast enough.

    Schuldich laughed against his throat, catching Omi's hands. Long fingers twined through his and pushed his hands up the sheets to stretch his arms above his head.

    "Let me go," Omi ordered flatly, wriggling to get free.

    "I don't want to," Schuldich answered. "You're the one that got in the car; you gave yourself to us. You didn't ask what we would want of you but you knew coming here meant you could never leave again. Or will you go home crying as the victim? You could, you know. They'd see at the hospital that it was true, that evil Schuldich of Schwarz had raped you, and they'd assume these past several months were all because of me. The cutting, the new clothes, the attitude- they'd say it was my fault, and they would welcome you home with eager happy arms. How does it feel to know that you have a way out?"

    "Shut up." His voice was hoarse and he didn't know why.

    "How does it feel to know you have a way out?" Schuldich demanded again, and there was an icy edge to his words. "This self-imposed misery and exile; you could leave at any time and you know how to turn them back on your side. Why do you have a plan b when no one else does?"

    "Shut *UP*," Omi yelled at him, and Schuldich swallowed it in a bruising kiss. Omi bit him and tasted blood, until fingers crushing his forced him to let go. He struggled harder, but Schuldich was a heavy weight on him. It was a panicking bit of realization that the other man was that much stronger than him, that he could do nothing against him. He fought all he could but it meant nothing; he couldn't jar the telepath off. It had been months since he had really felt fear but it was there now, icy cold in his stomach.

    And then Schuldich suddenly pushed himself up. Omi scrambled backwards up the bed, panting from the struggle, tasting Schuldich's blood on his tongue. A shaking hand wiped at his mouth to try and clear the taste, and Schuldich regarded him in silence for a long moment.

    At last the older man just smirked and slid off the bed, and Omi watched as he left the room.


    Omi found out what happened to Nagi's gerbil later that day. He'd taken to camping out under the blankets at the foot of the bed again, for lack of anything better to do, when he heard a strange whirring noise. Fingers poked under the hem of the comforter and lifted it to peek out, looking around for the source of the sound. It didn't take long for it to move into view, and a translucent plastic ball came rolling into the room with an energetic gerbil inside. Omi stared in some small consternation as the ball rolled this way and that, now and then bumping against a dresser or the wall. The gerbil would stop to examine the obstacle, then turn around and careen off in the other direction.

    At one point it rolled straight over towards the bed and stopped just a short distance from Omi's face. He reached out to poke experimentally at the ball, and the gerbil teetered this way and that.

    Long legs and boots appeared in the doorway and started in, moving unerringly for the bed. Omi had his knives with him and he had one out, ready to strike out at whoever tried to bother him, but when a hand appeared in his view, it wasn't reaching for him. Instead pale fingers caught the top of the ball and gave it a vicious twist, spinning it like a top. Omi's mouth was open to say something, though he didn't know what, but he didn't get anything out before a boot slammed into the side of the ball. It went shooting across the room like a soccer ball to crash loudly against the far wall, with the stunned gerbil still inside.

    "FARFARELLO!" came Nagi's threatening yell. "If that was what I think it was-!!"

    There was a quiet, amused snort from the new arrival, but the man said nothing. Omi leaned out from under the bed to stare in the direction of the ball, wondering if the rodent had survived its hit. Leaning out was a mistake, because the boot that had kicked the ball came down on his shoulder blades to smash him against the floor. Omi swung out with the knife but Farfarello had already leaned over to catch his wrist, and the weapon was yanked painfully out of his grasp. Omi swore, but it came out breathless with that shoe squeezing the air out of his lungs.

    Farfarello got off of him then and Omi rolled onto his side to look up, watching as the Irishman examined his blade critically. "No good," the man declared at last, and he tossed the weapon carelessly onto the mattress before heading after the gerbil's ball.

    "Leave it alone," Omi said, reaching up to pull his knife off the bed. "It didn't do anything to you."

    "I don't care," was the easy answer.

    Nagi appeared in the doorway then, dark eyes narrowed. Farfarello nudged the gerbil away from the wall and stood on the other side of it, considering Nagi across the room. The ball shot up from the floor away from his teammate, sailing through the air to land in Nagi's waiting hands. "You've got your own damn pet to kick around," Nagi said. "Leave mine alone."

    "He's not mine," Farfarello answered easily. "He's Schuldich's."

    "Schuldich will have to learn to share, then."

    "He bites," was the Irishman's mild answer.

    "Break his jaw," Nagi said, and he turned to leave.

    "What's its name?" Omi wanted to know, speaking up before Farfarello could say anything else. Nagi went still and looked back over his shoulder at Omi. There was a closed off look on his face and Omi realized he wasn't going to get an answer. He tried again. "We've never had pets," he said. "I just want to know its name."

    Nagi just turned around and walked out. Farfarello laughed quietly in his wake and moved back over to the bed. He didn't come into Omi's reach again, though, and Omi looked up at him.

    "Better luck next time," was the Irishman's mocking farewell, and then he too left the room.

    Omi buried himself under his blankets again, knife held tight in his hand, and closed his eyes against the world.

Part 7
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