Part Five: Bleeding Sacrifices

    Crawford stepped into the living room. Schuldich was sprawled across the couch. The television was on but he was ignoring it in favor of the Irishman whose head was resting in his lap. Farfarello was holding a knife and running his fingers along its blade reverently. He was whispering something that Crawford could not hear, either words spoken to himself or to the man watching him. Whichever it was, it held Schuldich's attention captured. The American crossed the room to turn off the television set. His partners looked up at the sudden lack of a newscaster's voice to gaze at him. Farfarello's eye did not remain on him for long before turning to study his lover's face. Crawford lightly touched his cast and spoke.

    "Are you two ready to go?"

    Schuldich smirked. "Ja. Weiß is moving out in a little bit. Aya will let me know when they do and then we'll leave." Crawford nodded and Schuldich trailed his hand thoughtfully down Farfarello's chest. "Sure you won't be bored without us?" he taunted, smirk widening.

    "I have plenty to do and it'll go quicker without you two around to bother me." Crawford moved towards the glass door to the small private balcony and looked out, letting his eyes trace the skyline. The sun was low towards the horizon. In a few hours they would be out of this hotel and secure in the rooms of their apartment floor- in familiar suites, with personal files, and able to access their bank accounts. Until Svenska was dead they would continue to hide as if the attack at Yokama had indeed been successful. While Schuldch and Farfarello made sure the assassination was carried out he would pack up here and catch a ride home.

    No...The apartments no longer registered as home in his mind. This hotel where he and Ran had spent those few precious days...This was home. Looking out this window and realizing he would never again have this same view or share this balcony with Ran made his heart twitch with a sense of loss. He sighed internally and turned away. Farfarello was trailing the tip of his knife along Schuldich's throat, not hard enough to cut the skin but enough to scratch. Schuldich's eyes were half lidded and seemed to glow as he allowed his lover to have his fun.

    "You should have heard what was going through the minds of Weiß and Kritiker today," Schuldich said to Crawford, pausing when Farfarello dug in with his knife and let a small amount of blood well up on the underside of the German's throat. The Irishman trialed a finger through the small droplets, making a smear. "They found bruises on him, bruises the two of you made." Schuldich smirked faintly, keeping his eyes locked on Farfarello. "I'm getting credit for them."

    It was to be expected, that Weiß would think Ran abused. Crawford thought about how the bruises had been made- from his fingers- and imagined Schuldich in his place. The mental image was disturbing and unwelcome. Schuldich wove his fingers through Farfarello's short hair as the man leaned up to lick the blood away. The telepath's eyes finally met Crawford's again, though his gaze was murky with lust and desire. Farfarello fastened his lips to the small wound, sucking it for all it was worth, then bit down lightly. Schuldich shuddered with a ripple of pleasure. Crawford's thoughts strayed to Ran and he looked away, unable to watch the display any longer.

    Schuldich gave a soft sigh that could have passed as being regretful. "Time to go..." Slowly Farfarello released his grip on Schuldich's throat and lowered himself back to the older man's lap. Schuldich dipped down to give the teenage assassin a hungry kiss before they both slid from the couch. Schuldich took in the way Crawford was pointedly looking away and smirked. "Anything you want us to tell Aya as long as we're there?" he asked.

    Crawford thought this over for several moments, then turned to meet his partner's eyes. "Give him the address for the suites," he told the younger man. "The phone numbers, too."

    Schuldich gave an amused snort. "And here I thought you were going to say something I hadn't thought of already. No love love message?" he taunted, laughing when Crawford gave him a cool look. "It was an innocent question. Come along, Farf." Schuldich ruffled Farfarello's hair and moved towards the door. Farfarello followed. Crawford watched them go.

    As the door clicked shut behind them, he allowed himself to sigh aloud.

    He didn't want to pack up. He didn't want to leave the hotel.

    Ah, but that was nonsense. He would do what he knew he had to do. He turned and began the task of cleaning up. As he did, images of a vision washed over him. He paused in his work to let them pass. When they disappeared he considering contacting Schuldich, then changed his mind. Perhaps it was for selfish reasons, but sacrifices would be made.


    "Move in," Omi whispered through the headsets. Aya glanced to his left, towards Yohji. The man met his gaze and nodded, and the two started towrds the building. "The security is down. Good luck, you two. I'll watch your backs."

    "Arigato, Bombay," Yohji answered. The door opened soundlessly under his push. He went in first and Aya followed. Their shoes hit the ground with quiet thuds as they made their way across the large loading area. There were three grated doors to get into the main building. Yohji brought them both to the one they needed. The keycode lock was off, and the door gave way beneath them as easily as the first had.

    /Welcome aboard,/ Schuldich drawled, his voice suddenly breaking into Aya's mind.

    That small hole that had been in Aya's thoughts since earlier filled, his mind forming easily around the presence of another person. ~You two are both here, then?~ he asked, splitting his attention between the path and Schuldich's words.

    /Ja. Here and ready for a race./ That smirk was still in his tone. /Weiß vs Schwarz. The goal is to get to Svenska first. If you win, you get the address and numbers for our place. If we get there first, well, you'll have to try again another day. Game?/

    The corner of Aya's lips twitched in amusement and he wondered briefly about it. Why was it that he seemed more inclined to smile or relax when dealing with Schwarz? ~No telepathy, no speeding. That counts as cheating.~

    There was a surprised bark of laughter from the older man as Schuldich realized he'd accepted the game. /Ja, kätzchen, whatever you wish./

    Aya drew his sword. Yohji looked back at him, pausing, when he heard the soft hiss of metal. His eyes turned wary when Aya moved towards him. Aya stepped close enough that their chests brushed, tilting his head slightly back to gaze into Yohji's waiting green eyes. "Time is ticking," the redhead informed his partner. "Let's go." With that he turned and ran. He heard Yohji's confused exclamation but ignored it.

    He turned the first corner and encountered a group of guards who he guessed had just been relieved from their duty at one of the wings. He did not slow nor allow them to slow him. His blade sang a bloody song of death as he made short work of the six men. The last one fell to the ground as Yohji rounded the corner. Aya didn't look back but ran on. "Jesus," Yohji whispered, his words picked up by the headset. He was clearly shocked by Aya's brutal efficiency. "Abyssinian, slow down! We're supposed to stick together!"

    "Then keep up," Aya answered simply. The next corner was blocked by more guards. They saw him coming and drew their weapons. His first vicious stroke was in a sideways arc, cutting away their guns and whatever parts of their hands that were in the way. They yelled in pain. Aya silenced them. As his blade went through the third, Yohji appeared and grabbed his shoulder.

    "You don't have to go so quickly," Yohji told him. "That's a foolhardy pace."

    Aya shrugged him off. "Come _on_." Yohji had no chance but to follow behind him.

    /I take it you do want this address, then?/ Schuldich teased him. /You must want it pretty badly. The question is...Do you want to win more than I do? As soon as Farf and I get there we're killing Svenska and going back home to bed./ A wave of raw lust colored his words, flooding straight through to Aya's senses in an overload. He gasped in response and stumbled at the sudden invasion of alien emotion. /Damn Irishman has no idea how hot he looks./

    ~I'm sure you tell him quite frequently,~ Aya managed to answer, eyes closed tightly as he tried to push away the throbbing heat that had filled his veins. He thought he heard Schuldich laugh at his reaction, but it was covered by Yohji's voice. He couldn't hear what the other man was saying, but he knew that he was being steadied by his partner. He finally was able to focus on Yohji's face. Emerald eyes were concerned. The man gave him a slight shake.


    "Aa..." Aya straightened himself. His fingertips were tingling from the sudden rush of blood through his body, and he rubbed them to dispel the sensation. "Just pulled one of the bruises," he said, speaking the first excuse that came to mind. It could pass as an acceptable truth, considering where his bruises were. Yohji's eyes darkened at the reference.

    "You don't have to run so fast."

    /Why don't you tell him the truth?/ Schuldich clucked. /Tell him you're talking with Weiß's most hated enemy at the moment who wants to go home and fuck his partner. While you're at it, tell him how the bruises got there./

    ~That would not be a good idea.~

    "Yes," Aya answered Yohji, "I do."

    /The funny thing is that it doesn't really matter if I win or lose...I'm going to have my fun with Farfarello no matter what./

    ~I'm sure you will.~

    He pulled away from Yohji's grasp and started away again. Yohji followed, though his eyes were disapproving. They only encountered one more set of guards before appearing in the hallway of Svenska's private quarters. As they stepped forward towards the double doors, Schuldich and Farfarello materialized out of the shadows to the sides. Yohji froze in his tracks. Aya took one more step forward and sheathed his blade.

    Schuldich smirked. "About time. Schwarz has won."

    "You haven't won anything, you overconfident bastards," Yohji snarled back, oblivious to the game he'd been left out of. Aya held out a hand to tell him to stay back.

    "You've probably been standing there since you first contacted me," Aya said dryly, and saw Yohji recoil slightly at the revelation that he'd spoken to Schuldich recently. "You've just been waiting here the entire time for us to make it."

    Schuldich laughed. "You can't prove that." His jade eyes flicked to Yohji, glinting with condescending mockery. "Your teammate is going to lose it," he commented off-handedly.

    Aya turned to look towards Yohji. Before he'd even finished moving, the other assassin jerked him by his arm, shoving his backwards so Yohji was in front. Surprised by the push, Aya stumbled before he was able to get his balance back. "Balinese," he started to say, but was cut off by Yohji's angry voice.

    "Who do you think you are, Schwarz? I don't know what kind of sick game you're trying to play but this time it's not going to succeed."

    When Aya made a move to stop the honey-haired man, Schuldich stopped him. /Don't spoil my fun./

    Aya considered separating them anyway, then decided it was probably best for Yohji to blow off some steam. He'd been very tense for several days. Perhaps a confrontation was the best thing for him. Aya took a step back in acknowledgement of the German's request. Schuldich smirked and turned back to Yohji.

    "Ahh, Weiß...Poor little Weiß. Your kind is amusing to me. You're like a bunch of little cockroaches scurrying around." Schuldich wiggled the fingers of one hand. "You spend your days running around looking for a purpose, looking for some sort of meaning. Eat, sleep, run run run. That's all you ever do. Haven't you figured out by now that there is no meaning to life?"

    Yohji's eyes narrowed. "We protect innocents against the darkness your kind tries to spread." Schuldich laughed, knowing the mocking sound was irritating Yohji further. "What do you find so amusing, Schwarz?" Yohji demanded, voice icy.

    "My apologies." Schuldich's smirk was wide. "It's easy to be amused by mindless people like you. You parade about speaking of justice and innocents...How can someone with such a tarnished soul protect anyone? You are just like us, Weiß."

    "We are nothing like you," Yohji returned savagely.

    Schuldich reached up and ran his fingers through his bangs. Aya noticed then that the man was still missing his headband. Behind the German, Farfarello slipped into the doors to Svenska's suites- either on mental command or because he'd bored of the conversation. "You want to kill me," Schuldich informed Yohji. "I can hear the deep need to wet your wire with my blood. Why? Because of the bruises that stain your partner's flesh?"

    "I'll kill you a million times over for each one of those marks," Yohji said, voice low and cold. He jerked a length of wire out of his watch, wrapping it around one hand, waiting for the moment to strike.

    Schuldich held his hands in front of him and flexed his fingers as if digging into an imaginary person's flesh. "Oh?" the orange haired foreigner breathed. "But I'm sure the one who made the bruises..." he twisted his fingers and tilted his head back, letting his hair spill silkily behind him, "and the one who received them did not mind at all..."

    ~Schuldich...~ Aya warned him.

    Yohji's face was a deep red with anger. "You-" he started, but whatever else he might have said was cut off when a gunshot rang out. Aya's vision narrowed to just Schuldich's face. The jade eyes grew wide and the older man went rigid. His lips moved, mouthing Farfarello's name silently. When a second shot followed the first, Schuldich spun around to face the doors.

    Aya realized then that the shots had hit home in Farfarello's pale skin. Before he could react and before Schuldich's hand could even close over the knob, a string of wire shot out, looping around the German's exposed throat. Blood lit up across Schuldich's pale neck as the wire bit down into its target.

Part 6