Part Six: Resentful Aid

    Yohji's fingers tightened around his wire when he heard the gunshot ring out. He could see Schuldich's entire body go rigid, could see those jade eyes widen in what might have been disbelief. A second shot followed and Schuldich dropped the pose he'd frozen in. As the telepath bastard turned, Yohji was given a brief glimpse at his pale throat. He moved then, letting loose the wire with savage intent. Schuldich's fingers were brushing the doorknob as the wire laced around his neck. The German uttered a single sound of surprise and pain as Yohji jerked, trying to pull the wire into the telepath's throat as deep as it would go.

    Schuldich reacted well- as soon as he realized what was wrapped around him, he jerked back, anticipating the pull as Yohji did it. The wire bit in, but only enough to light up a trickle of blood. Yohji twisted the loose wire around his wrist, preparing for another jerk. Schuldich would not be able to dodge this one, and he couldn't pull the wire free without cutting his fingers badly.


    Silver flashed and the wire went slack immediately. Schuldich stumbled, coughing and prying with desperate urgency at the broken wire. Aya stood in between them, sword out and pointed at Yohji. The redhead's eyes were glinting dangerously, and the look on his face was a warning. Schuldich didn't look back but disappeared into the room his insane partner had vanished into.



    "What the fuck was that for?" Yohji demanded, anger coloring his words thickly. "It's near impossible to get a good grip on Schwarz. You just ruined the best chance we had to kill him!"

    "Schwarz isn't the target!" Aya answered, voice calm despite the fury dancing in the backs of his eyes. Damn...He almost hadn't been fast enough. If he'd been any slower, if his blade hadn't been sharp enough to cut the wire instead of push it...

    "God damn it, Aya!" Yohji yelled. "You're mind washed! Schwarz ruined you!"

    That hurt, though Aya didn't like to admit it. He paused, gazing at Yohji in silence for several moments. Perhaps something flickered in his gaze, for Yohji went still as well. ~I'm ruined, Yohji?~ Aya thought. ~Do you truly think that? Looking at me here and now, do you see someone who was broken and put together wrong? Don't you realize that this is the best I've ever been, the best I've ever felt? You consider that ruined? Do you prefer I was the way before?~

    "Aya..." Yohji tried again, softer.

    He didn't get a chance to finish the sentence before they were both struck. It was like a bomb went off in their heads, evaporating all thoughts and sending pain throughout their entire bodies. They both crashed to the ground under the onslaught, cries torn from them unconsciously and unheard in their own pain. The wave passed through them and was gone, leaving a sharp throbbing behind.

    "Schuldich..." Aya managed to gasp out. Who else could it be? He pulled himself to his feet, though it was hard to do when the world was swimming before his eyes and he had the worst headache of his life. Yohji was still on the ground and reached for his ankle as Aya stumbled past him. He missed and Aya staggered into Svenska's suites. The front room was empty of people, but there was an open door in the back and he could see orange hair through it.

    He closed his eyes briefly, trying to will the headache away, then forced himself onward. The open door led to a large bathroom. Schuldich was sitting on the floor, leaning against one wall, his skin almost deathly pale. Exhaustion was written on his face. The blow had taken all of his strength from him. Svenska was face down in the middle of the floor, blood leaking from his ears from where Schuldich's concentrated blast had ruptured the man's brain. Perhaps what he and Yohji had felt was backwash from the blow. Next his eyes landed on Farfarello, who was a few feet away from Schuldich. The Irishman was wounded in thigh and abdomen from bullet wounds.

    Schuldich was tugging at his lover, trying to pull the man towards him. Farfarello was struggling a little, trying to get up. He didn't feel pain, but the bullets had locked the muscles enough that he was having trouble moving. Aya knelt in front of Schuldich and helped ease Farfarello over. Schuldich took in the two wounds with a careful eye. Yohji entered the doorway, leaning against the frame unsteadily, and was ignored. Aya brushed Schuldich's bangs out of his face, and pat his jacket, searching for signs of wounds. "Were you hit anywhere?"

    /Nein. Prick never saw me coming./ Schuldich's tone was dismissing and smug, but his eyes still traced his lover's injuries. Aya's gaze dropped to the line of blood across Schuldich's throat. /It's not deep,/ he said in response to Aya's thoughts.

    "Now is the perfect time to kill them both," Yohji spoke up quietly.

    Aya lifted his sword and half turned on his knees, pointing it at Yohji. "If you make one antagonistic move towards them, I'll be forced to stop you," he told his teammate calmly. He hated having to threaten his friend. He wished things were simpler; he wished there was some way he could make Yohji understand.

    Yohji's eyes were bitter. "They've meddled with your mind."

    "These are my own actions," Aya told him flatly. "Is that so hard to believe?"

    "I won't believe it, because that makes you a traitor."

    "I'm not a traitor because Schwarz isn't the target." He sheathed his sword and turned back to the other two men. Aya cast a careful glance towards Farfarello as he reached for the man's vest. He knew the Irishman didn't like being touched. The gaze that watched him was calm, though. Aya undid the buttons and opened the front to examine the abdomen wound. He lightly touched the flesh near it, trying to brush away some of the blood that leaked from it. Farfarello hissed and Aya's eyes jumped to his face. Farfarello was glaring elsewhere- at Svenska?

    Schuldich laughed softly, a tired sound. "He's just annoyed because he didn't get to make the kill." The man leaned down and lightly bit Farfarello's nose. "God hurts just the same, Farfarello. It's not my fault you're not quick enough," he taunted his lover.

    "I can still kill the Weiß," Farfarello said, eye straying towards Yohji. The younger man's fingers curled around an imaginary knife and he tried to twist towards Yohji. "It's still one pretty angel that will fall and be ruined."

    "Farfarello." Aya spoke firmly. The man slowly looked back at him. "No." The single word was a flat command. Farfarello bared his teeth at Aya but didn't persist. "We're going to leave now. Come on." He reached out and tucked his hands under Farfarello's arms. The younger man tensed, conflicting emotions warring in his amber eye, clearly resenting the contact. Schuldich bit Farfarello's ear, perhaps saying something to him mentally. Farfarello relaxed slightly, and Aya helped hoist him to his feet. The man couldn't stand well as of yet, so Aya used himself as a support beam.

    Aya looked down at Schuldich, then over to Yohji. "Get Schuldich."

    Yohji threw him a dark look. "I'd rather drink year old milk."

    Schuldich snorted softly. "I don't need help."

    "If you didn't need help you wouldn't be sitting down there still," Aya returned coolly.

    Schuldich tilted his head to one side, smirking, amusement dancing in his eyes. "Maybe I'm just sitting here because I feel like it and it annoys you."

    "You can stay here if you want," Aya replied calmly. "We'll just take Farfarello out with us and you can hang out until morning."

    The German sighed and glanced sideways towards Yohji, who was silently refusing aid. He reached up, grabbed hold of a sink counter, and began the difficult task of pulling his exhausted body to an upright position. He had to stop several times along the way and there were a few times that it seemed he would not make it, but he finally ended up on both feet. As he released the sink he swayed backwards, and Aya reached out to steady him before he toppled over. Another hand reached out and stopped Schuldich first, and all three turned to look at Yohji.

    Bitter resentment was etched in Yohji's expression, but the man offered himself as a support to Schuldich. The German knew better than to press his luck by making a comment and remained silent, though he did let a condescending smirk curl his lips. The four made their way out of the building slowly.

    "Bombay," Aya spoke into his headset. "Svenska is dead. Mission complete. Pull out and return to the car."

    "Hai." The answer was hesitant. Omi had heard the talk between the four through the headsets, and Aya wondered briefly what the boy thought of it. He didn't ask, and Omi didn't say anything. He heard a soft click as Omi shut off the line between them. They exited the estate. Aya led Yohji towards the car and gently eased both members of Schwarz into it.

    "What are you doing?" Yohji's voice was low.

    "Shut up and get in. You're driving. Take us home." Aya handed over the keys and climbed in back beside Schuldich. He shut the door and waited. Yohji paused for a long moment, unsure as to what to do. Aya knew he was making Yohji do something the man didn't want to do. Yohji hated Schwarz almost as much as Aya had hated Taketori because he thought they'd hurt Aya. Now Aya was making him help them. Finally he slipped into the driver's seat. Omi soon appeared out of the darkness to join them. The boy didn't notice Schwarz until he was climbing into the passenger seat. He took them in silently, glanced towards Aya, then looked at Yohji.

    "Don't say anything," Yohji said, calmly, coldly. "No one says a fucking word."

    Omi closed his door and faced front. The trip back was quiet. No one spoke until Yohji stopped in front of the curb and got out. Omi and Aya followed. Yohji turned towards Aya. "They're not coming in," he told Aya firmly.

    "They're not," Aya agreed, and took his keys back. Yohji seemed a bit surprised by Aya's agreement and frowned slightly. "Go inside." He climbed back in the car and shut the door. Yohji leaned down, looking through the open window and closing his hands on it.

    "What are you doing?" he demanded.

    Aya knew that before his amnesia he would never have done what he did next, but now he realized it was what Yohji needed. He lightly squeezed one of Yohji's hands, meeting his friend's gaze. "I'll be back in a little bit," he promised quietly. "This won't take that long."

    The contact seemed to surprise Yohji, for the man released the door and backed off. Aya turned the keys in the ignition and pulled the car away from the curb.


    Schuldich's gaze drifted lazily over the emergency room crowd. Farfarello had been admitted with the explanation that he'd been caught in a gang fight. He himself had also been taken in, but that was just to get a bandage around his throat. The painkillers were kicking in so it didn't hurt, but his headache was still a nasty one. His thoughts were splintered, and even those coming in from everyone around him were muffled by the sharp pain. He sighed. He knew he shouldn't have used his gift like that, not when he was still having the afteraffects from the building exploding, but still...The man had deserved it.

    /Crawford,/ he sent out, seeking a reply.

    Crawford allowed the connection. ~I'm here.~

    /Svenska's dead. Farfarello was shot so Aya dumped us at a hospital./

    ~I know. I saw this was going to happen.~

    Schuldich rolled his eyes. /How kind of you to share the news./

    ~I have a reason for it. Farfarello will recover quickly. Where is Aya now?~

    Schuldich allowed himself some small amusement that Crawford called Aya "Aya" when he was speaking to other people and "Ran" when talking directly to the redhead. /He's on the upper floors looking for something./ Schuldich reached out, ignoring the pain, and pulled Aya onto the bond. /See anything you like, kätzchen?/ he asked.

    ~I was looking at the flowers by Nagi's bed. They're Omi's style.~ Aya sounded thoughtful.

    ~We still haven't figured out the connection between those two,~ Crawford replied.

    There was a small flash of surprise on Aya's end as he heard Crawford's voice. Schuldich smirked to himself when he felt it, glad he'd surprised the redhead. /I can't probe Nagi's mind when he's in this condition,/ Schuldich told them. /I can access the other's mind, though./

    ~Iie,~ Aya returned. ~I don't trust you to stick to what you're after. You'd probably rummage around for more than you need. I'll talk to him when I get home.~

    /So distrustful,/ Schuldich clucked.

    ~I have reason to be,~ Aya returned, but his voice was distracted. Schuldich felt him pulling slightly away from the connection. Crawford obviously felt it as well, for he spoke.

    ~What's wrong?~

    There was a long moment of hesitation, followed by faint pain and guilt. ~I almost forgot her.~ An image slipped across the link by accident, of Aya-chan. Aya was in her room now, gazing down at her. The picture had been what he was seeing. The two Schwarz assassins knew that it was better to stay quiet and didn't respond. After a moment there was a soft mental sigh from the younger man as he collected himself. ~Where will Schwarz be next?~

    ~We are returning to our apartments. Schuldich can give you the information.~ There was a pause, as if Crawford wanted to add something else but was refraining himself. The two remained quiet, basking in the comfort of mental contact after the day's separation. Schuldich let them sit there for several moments before speaking up again.

    /You guys are going to have to say your farewells,/ he warned them. His head was throbbing painfully from concentrating on holding the link together. He shouldn't be using his power so quickly after that blast. The bond flickered and he reached up to press his fingers to his forehead.

    ~How out of it are you?~ Crawford asked.

    /I'm going to have the nastiest headache of my life for the next few days,/ Schuldich answered blandly. /You had better hope you packed my medicine when you backed out of the hotel./

    ~If you take it, I win the race tonight,~ Aya pointed out.

    Schuldich laughed. True enough. Medicine or sex? In this case, medicine. /Ja, I guess so. We'll be home soon./ He disconnected the bond and stood. It was time to see if Farfarello was done.

Part 7