SYN: When You Gonna Learn?

Part Five

      "You look like shit."

      "Shut up."

      It came out hoarser than he meant it to as he pushed through the last clump of people to reach where Farfarello was waiting at the counter. The Irishman had two empty stools to both sides despite the crowd; no one was drunk enough to brave sitting anywhere near him. Schuldich raked his hair out of his face with hands that were still too unsteady to be his and reached out for the counter.

      "I wouldn't sit if I were you," Farfarello said, turning back to his pint. Schuldich had already started to move to sit when he spoke, and he gritted his teeth at the pain. "I warned you."

      "What the fuck would you know?" Schuldich demanded acidly as he decided standing was better. "You can't feel pain."

      Farfarello offered him a lazy smile. "I can't," he agreed.

      Schuldich decided he didn't need any more details about the man's relationship with Crawford. Instead he beckoned sharply to the bartender. Farfarello's gaze was heavy and intrusive as Schuldich placed his order, but the German refused to look over at him. At length the younger man sighed and curled his fingers over his own glass. "I warned you," he said again.

      "Shut up."

      Farfarello said nothing else and Schuldich focused on ignoring him. His drink was brought to him, the first of many, and Farfarello simply waited next to him as the German rapidly got trashed. By the time he had finished up the sixth drink, he'd already started mentally trashing all of his teammates.

      ~That stupid pot-sucking Farfarello. He could have been a little less vague. He could have just said 'by the way, this is exactly what you're going to do and this is why it's not a good idea'. I don't know who he thinks he is that the mysterious little 'Don't do it' should work. Didn't he ever stick his hand on the stovetop as a kid just because his parents told him not to do it? Oh, right. The 'rents are dead. But still. Stupid mick thinks he can sit here and be like 'I warned you' and like that's going to make me like him any after tonight. Fucker.~

      The man in question was idly stacking Schuldich's empty cups, sending the bartender away with a cold look when the man approached to ask for them back. The bartender paled at the warning in those eyes and retreated to the far end of the counter to talk to some patrons there, and Farfarello went back to making a pyramid. Schuldich blinked, tilted his head to one side, and blinked again as he tried to count cups. When Farfarello took his empty glass from him, it made either eight or twenty-something; it was hard to tell when they were moving around so much.

      Farfarello lifted one hand to snap his fingers, and the bartender started mixing a drink to bring over. Schuldich took it from him and decided that he could forgive Farfarello for now, since the Irishman was getting him his drinks and all.

      ~Okay then, it's all Crawford's fault, at least. He knew it was coming and he didn't even give a damn enough to say something. Farfarello had to come say it, and Crawford should know by now that no one listens to Farfarello. Like hell. Farf said Crawford didn't give a damn what I do. So suddenly not only is it kosher for Schwarz and Weiss to be bed buddies, but it doesn't matter that-~ He tried not to finish that thought, but he didn't need focused thoughts to remember it. He could still feel the desk digging into him, could still see green eyes too close to his. Possessive hands were tight around him and he could even remember the feel of his fingers knotting in the other man's shirt.

      ~He pushed me up against the desk, fucked me with his clothes on, and left just like that,~ Schuldich thought sourly, and he dug through his pockets. They were empty. He dug harder and in his frustration he couldn't remember what he was searching for- it became less of a search and more a physical way of venting as hands crammed into pockets and fingers jerked roughly at the material.

      Farfarello reached over and set something down on the counter. Schuldich stilled to look at it, recognized it after a moment to be his monthly pack of cigarettes, bought and kept just for nights at Pandora. He remembered that that was what he was looking for and he practically pounced on them, dumping a few out onto the counter before putting one between his lips. Farfarello had his lighter and he turned his face towards the Irishman as Farfarello flicked it on and held it his way. The tiny flame glowed between them for a moment, turning his white cigarette orange and making Farfarello's fingers look less like they'd been drained of all of the man's blood.

      Farfarello set the lighter down and Schuldich turned back towards his glass, taking as long of a drag off of the cigarette as he could.

      "You never think," Farfarello said, deciding that nicotine and so many cups of alcohol were enough to make conversation a safe attempt.

      "I did think," Schuldich answered tightly. "It made sense."

      "At the time, maybe," his teammate answered. "But you only think about the immediate future; you never stop to think about the consequences. You justify your actions without seeing what will come of them."

      "I'm glad to hear that sucking Crawford's dick has done wonders for your sight." Farfarello didn't bother to answer that and Schuldich stabbed the cigarette at him. "Tell me that Crawford didn't know about Kudou and Nagi," he insisted, though he wasn't entirely sure which answer he wanted. Did he want to think that Crawford had seriously allowed such a travesty or was he hoping to sell the boy out and share the misery?

      "Of course he knew," Farfarello said, sounding bored.

      Schuldich decided he would definitely be happier blaming Crawford than Farfarello. "Then why?" he demanded. "That's disgusting, letting something like that go on."

      "Ask Crawford."

      "I'm asking you."

      Farfarello lifted one shoulder in a shrug. "I didn't care enough to ask. He found out and mentioned it to me, and I offered to kill Weiss and get him out of the picture. He told me no and said it could continue, and I didn't bother to ask why."

      "Your apathy is astounding," Schuldich sent him through gritted teeth. "Why the fuck did everyone know about it but me?"

      "You're the telepath," Farfarello pointed out, flicking his fingers at him before taking his newest empty cup.

      Schuldich's hand shot out, slamming into the bottom base of the carefully constructed pyramid. The cups collapsed, bouncing off the counter and rolling back to the area where the bartender stood. Schuldich could hear glass shattering and Farfarello was left to stare at the spot where his masterpiece had just been. All heads in the bar turned their way to stare at the mess, but Farfarello was the first to look from it to him, and he flicked Schuldich a hard look.


      "Fuck you, Farfarello. Just fuck you."

      Farfarello slapped money down on the counter and stood, pushing back from the bar and starting towards the door. Schuldich scowled heavily at the stack of bills and the one cup that didn't roll quite off the edge. The bartender was starting back their way and Schuldich dealt the last glass a hard swat before following after Farfarello.

      "Wait up," he said, but Farfarello didn't wait.

      He was just a moment behind the Irishman in getting out the door, but Farfarello was waiting for him. A fist tangled in his shirt and he was slammed up against the wall hard enough that it knocked the breath from him. A glittering yellow eye stared up at him out of the darkness and Farfarello's lips were curled back enough to show his teeth.

      "You decided to do it," Farfarello pointed out. "You're the one that let it bother you."

      "Let go of me, you stupid faggot-"

      Farfarello let go of him, but his other fist came up in the same moment to crash into his face. The back of Schuldich's head banged against the wall and he lost his balance, crumpling to the ground. Farfarello stood in front of him, staring down at him where he was half-sprawled onto his side, and Schuldich ignored him in favor of remembering how to breathe. A hand slid across the sidewalk to test both his face and the back of his head, and he wasn't sure whether he was surprised or relieved at the lack of blood.

      Farfarello dug the toe of his shoe into Schuldich's stomach. "Let's go," he said.

      "Why do you do it?" Schuldich wondered aloud. Farfarello didn't acknowledge the question, not even to ask for a clarification. Schuldich gave him just a few moments to supply the answer before trying again. "Why do you let him? You don't bow your head to anyone."

      "We're not having this conversation."

      "Why not?" Schuldich demanded, glancing up through orange bangs. Farfarello's face was smooth and closed off, leaving nothing there for Schuldich to grab. He couldn't even get anything from the other's mind past the stray disgusted thoughts at the way Schuldich was just sprawled there. The disgusted tone made Schuldich want to laugh. Disgust? Yeah, that was a good emotion. That was appropriate. He'd just let one of Weiss push him down and fuck him. He could remember the reasons but he couldn't believe he'd missed something so vital. He was Mastermind; he was Schuldich of Schwarz. He gave ground to no man- except Farfarello when the man had a knife in his hands. What had he honestly thought he would achieve by letting Kudou go home tonight with the satisfaction of having fucked half of Schwarz?

      ~Yeah, I dare you to try that shit with Farfarello, Kudou,~ Schuldich thought sourly. ~I wonder which one of them would kill you first for such arrogance.~

      "Get up," Farfarello ordered him.

      He let Kudou fuck him and now he was letting it get to him enough that he couldn't even get to his own feet, he was so drunk. Schuldich bared his teeth at the sidewalk and planted his hands against it. He didn't wait for the world to stop rocking before pushing himself up into a sitting position, and he tried to remember how many cups he'd had. None of them had drowned out the hungry satisfaction that had filled Kudou's mind as he pushed into Schwarz's telepath.

      ~I'm not a fucking conquest,~ he thought. Was that alcohol or bile that he tasted? It burned his tongue.

      It took three tries to get to his feet when the alcohol had stolen away his sense of balance, but somehow he managed. Staying up once he was on his feet was something else entirely and Farfarello gave him a push to send him stumbling back against the wall. His mouth was open to complain before he realized the wall gave him something good to lean against before he fell, and he waited there against the cool brick until things slowed down from the dizzying whirl.

      White fingers closed around his chin, and Farfarello's gaze was cool as he stared into Schuldich's face. "If I am a faggot, then so be it," he said. "You are the whore for selling your body just to one-up your pint-sized teammate. You can't take it back, you know. Crawford ordered that Kudou be left alive and your gift isn't enough to erase it from his memory. He'll always know that you went asking him to fuck you, and so will Crawford and I."

      "Fuck you."

      "Let's go."

      There was nothing to do but follow Farfarello back to their place. He wasn't happy with the shorter man, but he didn't want to just wander aimlessly all around the city, either. He didn't have the focus to stay mad at Farfarello for long, however: just the simple acts of staying upright and walking took all of his concentration, and he weaved back and forth down the sidewalk. Farfarello didn't offer to help, not that Schuldich would want it anyway, but he did walk slow enough that Schuldich could keep up.

      It was late when they got back. Someone had thought to leave a light on; it was all that got Schuldich down the hall to his room without tripping over anything. He went ahead of Farfarello, leaving the Irishman to close and lock the door, and he sealed himself into the shadows of his bedroom. Clothes were peeled off with half-hearted effort and left all over the place, and he sprawled out on his stomach in bed.

      The alcohol was enough to drag him under, stealing him away from unpleasant thoughts and dragging him to where he didn't have to think about anything at all.


      Schuldich wasn't really sure how long Nagi had been there. The German was leaning over the toilet, one hand on the wall to keep himself balanced, the other keeping his hair out of the way, and somehow Nagi was there with him. The youth was sitting on the edge of the tub, balancing there with what had to be his telekinesis. Schuldich didn't know when he'd come in; he certainly hadn't been in here when the telepath had stumbled in here to get sick.

      /Make yourself comfortable,/ Schuldich sent at him.

      ~I brought water,~ Nagi said, giving a shrug.

      Schuldich eyed him and the telekinetic nodded his head towards the sink counter. The older Talent looked that way, only to grimace as moving upset his stomach. There was a tall glass of water near the sink and Schuldich idly wondered if it was a peace offering or an attempt to soften Schuldich up for the interrogation that was sure to follow. /Is it poisoned?/

      ~Crawford saw that coming and made me stop,~ Nagi answered.

      Schuldich squinted at him, wondering if he had just seriously gotten a glimpse at humor from the younger man. Nagi's expression gave nothing away but something about the words and dry tone made him wonder. ~I'm still drunk,~ he decided.

      /What time is it?/ he wanted to know.

      ~Half past noon or so. Crawford and Farfarello are out. Crawford told me to file your report because you're not in a state to do it yourself.~

      /Why don't you save the briefing for when I'm not choking up my insides?/

      ~Telepathy won't interfere with your ability to throw up. It was your decision to go drinking after the job last night.~

      /Farfarello offered,/ Schuldich pointed out. /I just took him up on it./

      ~Still your choice. Where's the disk?~

      /Probably still in my jacket pocket, wiseass. Why don't you go check for me?/

      Nagi ignored that. ~Balinese was there last night.~

      /Glad you're keeping up with current events. Why don't you just go ahead and call him Kudou since you're letting him fuck you, anyway? Better yet, why don't you call him Yoooooohji./

      ~Maybe I do,~ came the tart response.

      Schuldich felt his stomach clench. He could feel the desk digging into his back, could feel Kudou moving in him, could feel hands and teeth and a hot mouth. And those lips curved around Nagi's name, and he could hear Nagi's voice answering back, twisted with heat: "Yohji…"

      ~I'm going to seriously be sick,~ he thought.

      ~Who bruised you?~ Nagi demanded quietly. Schuldich ignored him and the youth pushed up from his spot, moving around to his side to stare at him. Schuldich flicked him a scowl, annoyed by the other's proximity, annoyed by the heavy gaze. Nagi's expression was hard and his eyes guarded. ~Who bruised you?~ he asked again. ~You always said that Weiss was too slow to lay a hand on you.~

      /That ugly putz couldn't touch me if he tried,/ Schuldich sent back. ~Unless I let him,~ his mind added unhelpfully. /Farfarello does not appreciate drunken revelry as much as he should. Stop staring at me and get me that water./

      ~You have two hands,~ Nagi pointed out, but the glass floated over just the same. ~I'll try again later when you're being less of an asshole. Keep yourself entertained for a few hours,~ he said, turning away.

      /Hiding in your room again?/ Schuldich sent after him, sneering at his back as he started for the door. /Going to lie in bed and daydream about him? Use a few hands, some lotion?/

      Nagi's back was stiff as he stopped in the doorway, but he refused to look back at his teammate. ~I'm going out.~

      It was Schuldich's turn to tense, but he wasn't entirely sure why. /To him?/

      ~What does it matter?~ Nagi demanded flatly.

      ~What will do you do, Kudou? Fuck me last night and fuck him today? Will you still smell like me when you push him down?~ Schuldich felt his lips curling back over his teeth and he could almost taste blood.

      "Crawford knows," he said. He wasn't quite sure he trusted himself to speak out loud through the twisting in his stomach, but he wanted the words in the air between them. They seemed much louder, much more of a threat than taunts against the other's mind could be.

      Nagi didn't answer, but Schuldich saw him flinch. "He's always known," Schuldich continued. "Farfarello knows, too. Now all of Schwarz knows you're a whore. Do you suppose Weiss knows, too? Maybe Kudou talks about you over flower pots and fertilizer, just another cheap score to help him forget who he is."

      Nagi turned to face him slowly, and the youth's eyes were darker than Schuldich had ever seen them. Maybe it was because his face was so white. "Fuck you," the telekinetic whispered.

      "Someone beat you to it," Schuldich answered, forcing his lips to curve into a lazy smirk around the nausea. "Why don't you go ask Balinese how his mission went?"

      Nagi didn't- couldn't- answer. The younger man just stared at him blankly as Schuldich's words refused to process in his mind. Then he shook his head- just once, until Schuldich's smirk widened, and Nagi actually retreated a step. "You're lying," he said, and Schuldich wondered about the hoarse edge to his voice. "You-"

      Schuldich laughed when Nagi couldn't even get the accusation out. "He," he corrected.

      "You're lying," Nagi said again.

      "Am I?"

      Nagi just stared at him, and the silence stretched between them. Every second pulled it tighter until the tension was almost a physical weight, and then Nagi turned sharply away. Schuldich listened to his footsteps pick up speed and the front door slammed behind him as he left.

      /You weren't in his thoughts,/ he sent after the youth. /You were nowhere in there./

      Nagi didn't answer with words, but the glass of water shattered where Schuldich had set it down on the back of the toilet.

Part 6
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