The Weekend Meme

Part Three

Sunday Morning

    Farfarello had only been asleep two hours before Schuldig showed up at his door. A single golden eye peeked open to see the numbers on his clock and he blinked twice to make sure he was reading them right. If he was, it was half past four in the morning and they'd only gotten back from their meeting two and a half hours ago. He listened to his bedroom door click shut and shifted his arm just enough to peer past his shoulder at his unwelcome guest.

    "It's four," he said, as if Schuldig hadn't notice. "Get out."

    "Don't be an ass," Schuldig said, as if Farfarello was the one being unreasonable. He shuffled across the room towards the bed, already working a hand through his hair. The yawn said he wasn't here for sex, but it didn't explain much else. If Schuldig didn't want sex, he didn't have a reason to be here, especially at this hour of the night. Luckily for Schuldig he could read a death glare even in this darkness, because he offered up an excuse. "Just let me sleep in here and borrow your head."

    Farfarello remembered the queasy look on his teammate's face when Schuldig had met up with them at the Sanada building. The telepath had kept his distance from all of them throughout the job as if the physical space would help his mind a little. Farfarello lifted a finger where his arms were folded across his pillow and pointed. "Weak," he said.

    "Shut the fuck up. Just let me sleep here."

    Farfarello didn't answer him, but Schuldig took the silence to be permission and climbed on. It took a little shifting to make both of them fit and Farfarello let his eye fall closed again. Schuldig wasn't good for much this early in the morning but he was body heat, and that was enough, so Farfarello supposed he could stay.

    It was enough until the smell reached him.

    Farfarello was awake in an instant, staring off into the shadows of the room. "Why do you smell?"

    "Fuck, Farf," Schuldig said, sounding slurred in his exhaustion. "I'll shower in the morning."

    The Irishman shifted, rolling from his stomach to his side, and stared through the darkness at his teammate. "Why do you smell like perfume?"

    If Farfarello wasn't mistaken, Schuldig stopped breathing for a minute. At length the German gave a wave of his hand, barely visible in the dark room. "I said I'd wash it off in the morning," he said. "Just let me sleep tonight. I'm exhausted."

    "Whose is it?"

    "Farfarello-" Farfarello reached out and turned on the lamp. Schuldig let loose a string of jumbled curses as he tried to shield his eyes, but when the curses ran out, he was quiet. Farfarello was patient. He pushed himself up to sit cross-legged on the mattress and at last Schuldig sighed and peered past his fingers at Farfarello. "You're going to kick me out, aren't you?"

    Farfarello didn't answer, and Schuldig gave a tired sigh. "I was helping Nagi out," he said.

    "You smell like a woman."

    "I sort of slept with one."


    "Nagi needed a replacement fuck. He picked Fujimiya, so I gave him Fujimiya, but Kritiker was still a problem. I had to give that red-haired chic a quick job or it would fall apart too quickly."

    Farfarello just stared at him for a long minute. "You slept with a woman."

    "I didn't like it," Schuldig said, as if that was enough. The edge to his voice said he knew it wasn't.

    "Get out."

    "Farf-" Farfarello planted his foot against the telepath's side and shoved. Schuldig hit the ground hard and swore again. "You rotten bastard," the telepath said, glaring over the side of the bed at him. "I was just trying to help Nagi out."

    "You only do what helps you," Farfarello reminded him, not falling for the martyr trick. "Get out."

    "So, what?" Schuldig asked, not budging him. "I fuck around, you fuck around, I fuck Nagi and we fuck Kudou, and suddenly you can't even stand to look at me just because I fucked a cat? How the hell do you justify that sort of attitude?"

    "She's a she," Farfarello said flatly. "You could have gotten her pregnant."

    "Don't give me nightmares."

    "You could have," Farfarello insisted.

    "And I'd have taken care of it if I did."

    Schuldig knew as soon as he said it that he'd said the wrong thing. He took one look at Farfarello's face and was out the door before his teammate could even reach for the knife attached to his headboard. Farfarello heard his door slam, followed by a string of muffled curses and crashes as Schuldig raved in his room. Farfarello tuned the noise out as he thought about what Schuldig had done.

    In the end, it wasn't a hard decision to make.

    He was halfway out the front door when Schuldig caught up with him, grabbing at his arm to stop him. "What are you doing?" Schuldig demanded, but Schuldig knew or he wouldn't be here. Farfarello didn't answer but he didn't have to. "Just leave it alone!"

    "I won't," Farfarello said, ripping his arm free of Schuldig's grasp. "I've seen you work. I know how to break it. Come hell or high trauma? I can do either one."

    "You're going to waste all of my hard work," Schuldig snapped at him. "Nagi picked Fujimiya. I only slept with that damn cat so she would stay out of their way. You're going to mess everything up if you step in now."

    "What does it matter?" Farfarello demanded.

    "What does it matter to you?" Schuldig sent back. "Nagi picked!"

    "Weiss," Farfarello said. "He picked Weiss because you told him to."

    "If it isn't Weiss, it'll be Tot," Schuldig told him, annoyed. "Those are his only choices. Crawford doesn't want him back and I'm not interested in that mess."

    "Fallen angels belong with devils."

    "But you belong with me!" Dead silence followed that furious retort. The two stared each other down in silence, Farfarello not really sure what to make of that and Schuldig looking like he'd just swallowed a rock. "Fuck," Schuldig said at last. "Fuck it. Forget it."

    "If you had better shields," Farfarello started.

    "I said forget it. Go fuck whoever you want." Schuldig turned sharply on his heel and stormed back inside.

    Farfarello stared after him, wondering what had just happened, and then started for the subway.


    He left Fujimiya Ran a bleeding mess in the bed of his apartment and didn't look back as he pulled his clothes back on. The redhead was unconscious from the pain and lay slack in the restraints Farfarello had made out of shreds of bed sheets. It would be a while longer before he managed to wake up again but it would take his teammates to cut him loose. Farfarello didn't feel like doing him any favors. He found his bloody knife on the corner of the bed and licked it clean on his way to the door, feeling more annoyed than anything else over what had just happened. He shouldn't have to clean up Schuldig's messes, but it was a little surprising that Schuldig had gone so far with this game of his.

    Even still… At least Fujimiya was taken care of now, and as long as Farfarello could undo Schuldig's tinkering, then nothing else mattered.

    He thought about that as he melted into the morning traffic, wondering what Schuldig had said about Masafumi's wenches. He remembered Tot well enough and the shiny looks she'd bestowed upon Nagi every time the two teams were within a half-mile radius of each other. He wondered if Schuldig was serious that Tot was Nagi's second choice and he came to a stop in the middle of the sidewalk to think that over.

    Had Schuldig already put the first pieces in place?

    His mouth twisted into a frown and he pressed the edge of his knife against his lips, thinking. He only wanted to see Schereint if he was going to get a chance to kill them, but Crawford had declared both groups off-limits to killing. Still, the girls had a master, and Farfarello knew where his office was. He dug the knife in harder to taste blood, imagining that the coppery taste was somehow different from Fujimiya's. Fujimiya was an avenger; Farfarello was a martyr against God.

    And if Nagi was a fallen angel…?

    He snarled something against his knife and turned his feet towards Masafumi's workplace. If Nagi was what Schuldig said he was, then he was worth the trouble. There was no way to tell until it was all over and done with, but it was worth looking into. Schuldig had been in Nagi's mind. He knew. That was all that mattered right now.

    There was a woman at the front desk when he walked in. Asians were so odd with their yellow tinted skin, but her face went almost as white as his when she saw him. "Masafumi," he said, and she pointed at the elevator.

    "Seventh floor," she told him. "I'll call ahead."

    It was the first time he'd been here without any of Schwarz, but this would be easier without them around. He didn't trust Schuldig's intentions anymore, not when Schuldig seemed so disinclined to help him with Nagi, and Crawford wasn't interested in anything besides what was good for him. Yes, it was better that he'd come alone.

    Masafumi was drinking when Farfarello walked in, and the Irishman looked at the clock on the wall to confirm that it was six in the morning. Maybe Masafumi had started drinking when he'd been told that Schwarz had come to see him, not that Masafumi was smart enough to fear the four. Instead he greeted Farfarello with his usual crooked smile and went back to his reports, and Farfarello crossed the room to stand in front of his desk.

    "What brings your lot here so early?" Masafumi wanted to know. "I know my father isn't up this time of day."

    "I came," Farfarello said as an answer.

    "That's interesting." Masafumi emptied his glass and set it to one side to look up at Farfarello. "It's early."

    "I've been awake."

    "And fucking," Masafumi noted. "You smell like sex."

    Farfarello ignored that. "Schereint will not be sleeping with Nagi."

    Masafumi blinked at that, then blinked again and refilled his glass. "Of course not," he said, sounding vaguely annoyed. "My girls love only me. They have no interest in your prepubescent telekinetic."

    "You are to tell Tot to stay away from him."

    "Something Crawford saw?" Masafumi asked. "That sounds a little territorial. Were you fucking him?"

    "Not yet."

    Masafumi just laughed, not expecting that honest of an answer, and lifted his glass to Farfarello in a toast. "You're more of a whore than I thought you were."

    "Every living creature is a whore, selling itself out in any way it can to stay alive and get ahead."

    Masafumi's smile faded as he considered him. "Indeed," he said, and he took a long swallow. "I've never heard you talk before."

    "I've never had anything to say to you."

    "You're actually more intelligent than I pegged you for."

    Farfarello ignored that. "They'll stay away."

    "What's in it for me?" Masafumi wanted to know.

    "Your life."

    "My father already told me that I'm alive and protected until he has no need for me," Masafumi told him. "My father believes that honesty is the best policy when it comes to his sons, whether it's telling us that we're worth keeping around another day or that he has signed the paperwork to see us dead. Since I haven't received the second, I call your bluff."

    Farfarello considered that. "Money," he suggested.

    "Sex," Masafumi answered.

    Farfarello blinked at him. "With who?"

    "You, with me," Masafumi said, emptying his glass again and setting it to one side. "You already said it: every living creature is a whore. You want Schereint to stay away from Tot, then I'll tell them to. If you fuck me. You've already fucked someone else once today."

    Idly Farfarello hoped Nagi was worth all of this.

    "Fine," he said, and Masafumi pushed himself to his feet to come around his desk. One finger buzzed the downstairs desk and he leaned over to tell the clerk that he wouldn't be receiving anymore visitors for a while. Farfarello was already shrugging out of his vest when Masafumi let go, and he pulled the scientist forward by a fist in his hair.

Sunday Afternoon

    Farfarello knew there was something wrong when he got back to the house at the same time as Kudou Yohji. For starters, Kudou shouldn't even know where their place was, and secondly, because standing at Kudou's side was Schuldig. Farfarello reached the porch first and just stood there to watch the other two climb out of the car, and Schuldig answered his cool look with a detached one of his own. Farfarello pointed his knife at the Balinese.

    "He doesn't live here."

    "It doesn't matter," Schuldig said, lifting one shoulder in a shrug. "Crawford knows he's coming, right? I'm so damnably easy to track, and all."

    Farfarello decided Schuldig was still angry about this morning, not that he thought Schuldig had any reason to be. He slid the flat of his blade along his lips as he watched the two join him on the porch and eyed the glazed look in Kudou's eyes. Schuldig still had a hold on his mind to keep him from figuring out where he was, but he couldn't hold it for long. "Why?"

    "Why do any of us do what we do?" Schuldig asked. "Because we're all so fucking human and we make retarded mistakes when it comes to sex."

    Farfarello flicked him an annoyed look. "She's a she."

    "And I told you why I fucked her."

    "You could have done it another way."

    "Who said I was talking about me, anyway? Maybe I was talking about you."

    "And Masafumi?" Farfarello asked, just to see the look on Schuldig's face.

    It was worth it. Farfarello wondered where Schuldig had been cut that the blood could leave his face so quickly. It took a minute for the telepath to come up with an answer, and sixty seconds was all Farfarello gave him before he turned and reached for the knob. Schuldig was in front of him in a heartbeat, smashed up against the wood to fit.

    "You didn't," Schuldig said.

    "You said Tot was his second choice," Farfarello told him.

    "You didn't," Schuldig said again. "Not with him."

    "I will do what it takes," Farfarello said simply, and he lifted his knife to press the tip of it into the underside of Schuldig's throat. "If you understand that now, then you will stay out of my way. Now tell me if there's anything else of yours I have to fix." Schuldig looked positively sick. Farfarello hadn't expected him to react any other way, but he didn't have a lot of patience for it right now. He pressed harder with his knife. "Tell me."

    "No," Schuldig said at last. "No."

    "Then leave him alone." Farfarello pointed his knife over his shoulder. "And get rid of him. Crawford said he doesn't like your sloppy seconds."

    "I think he was just saying that as an excuse not to take Nagi back."

    "Get rid of him anyway."

    "No," Schuldig said, looking a little more like himself, except that glazed look was still in his eyes. "He's a trade. I need him here now more than ever. I have to know."

    "Know what?"

    Schuldig offered him a smirk that wasn't all there and twisted the knob to back into the house. "It doesn't matter," he said simply. "Go find your fucking angel and I hope your dick breaks off inside him."

    "Fallen," Farfarello emphasized. "Fallen angel."

    "What the fuck ever. Kudou, let's move it."

    Balinese slipped past Farfarello without seeing him and followed Schuldig down the hall. Farfarello turned a disapproving look on Schuldig, but the telepath was already wrapping his fingers around the back of Kudou's neck and pulling him down the hall towards Crawford's room. Farfarello yanked the door shut behind him and followed after them. Schuldig stopped in the doorway of the precognitive's bedroom but sent Kudou ahead of him, and Farfarello stopped behind Schuldig to watch as Crawford put his notebook away and stood.

    "So?" Schuldig asked. "Will it?"

    "No," Crawford answered. "It won't."

    "As if you can be positive when Nagi's involved," Schuldig muttered, folding his arms over his chest.

    "I don't have to be able to watch Nagi," Crawford said. "Now go away."

    Schuldig backed into the hall and pulled the door shut. Farfarello pointed a knife at the wood. "What was that?" he wanted to know.

    "A trade," Schuldig said again. "Crawford thought Kudou was worth a second try, so I undid what we did yesterday." He glanced over at Farfarello and the anger had disappeared from his gaze, replaced by something searching. At length his mouth curved into a wide smirk and he looked away, maybe to hide the flicker of relief. Farfarello sent him a suspicious look that the telepath ignored and Schuldig waved a hand in dismissal as he started back down the hall. "Your brat's in his room," he said lazily. "Have fun explaining to him what you just did today. Maybe he'll think it's utterly romantic and fall head over heels in love with you."

    Farfarello eyed him, wondering if some of his mental tinkering on Kudou had backfired. "Now you're not making any sense," he said, knowing better than to take Schuldig's sudden breezy attitude at face value. "Love is worthless and Schwarz doesn't understand it."

    "Ahhh, but what are angels but love?" Schuldig drawled, smirking over his shoulder at the annoyed Irishman.

    "Fallen angel," Farfarello reminded him.

    "Still an angel," Schuldig said. "I'm going out. I don't want to listen to the four of you."

    Farfarello decided to just ignore him, because really, that was the best way to handle Schuldig when he was in a weird mood like this. Schuldig wasn't waiting on a response but stepped back out the front door, and Farfarello listened until he heard the engine start. He thought he heard Kudou's voice raise in startled indignation when Schuldig snapped the trap he'd woven around his mind and that was as much as he cared to hear out of the Oracle's room. He turned his feet towards Nagi's bedroom and invited himself in without knocking.

    Nagi's pencil stopped in his hand when he saw who stepped through his doorway, and Farfarello tried to remember if he'd ever been in here. At length he decided he hadn't, because the room looked completely foreign to him. The boy was a bit of a slob, but not as bad as Schuldig was, and Farfarello wondered how someone with telekinesis could be so lazy about cleaning up behind himself.

    "Is Crawford dead?" Nagi wanted to know.

    Farfarello blinked at him and shut the door. "No."

    Nagi thought about that. "Is Schuldig dead?"

    "…No. Schuldig left to be annoying elsewhere. Crawford is in his room with Kudou."

    The pencil broke and fell to the desk, and Nagi brushed the pieces aside. "With Kudou," he echoed. "I'm going out, then."

    "To Fujimiya?"

    Nagi scowled at him. "Schuldig told you?"

    "I broke Fujimiya this morning."

    Nagi just stared at him. Farfarello stared back. At length Nagi tilted his head to one side, a blank look on his face. "…What?"

    "I broke Fujimiya. I don't approve of him."


    "Yes," Farfarello said, because it was easier than repeating himself yet again.

    Nagi's face twisted, and the closest emotion Farfarello could guess was irritation. "Why?" he demanded. "Sure, he was Weiss, but Crawford's got Kudou. Schuldig gave Fujimiya to me. Why'd you take him away?"

    "I'm replacing him."

    Nagi gawked at that simple answer. "You're what?" he asked, and then he waved his hands at Farfarello when the Irishman opened his mouth to repeat himself. "Actually, don't say that again. What does Schuldig expect to get out of all of this?"

    "Schuldig?" Farfarello asked.

    "He sent you here, didn't he?"

    "He didn't think I should come," Farfarello said, giving a shrug. "I ignored him."

    Nagi eyed him. "This isn't one of his games?"

    "No. I did this."

    Nagi thought about that and turned his desk chair to face his older teammate. "Why?"

    Farfarello remembered he was still holding his knife and put it away. "He said you're a fallen angel."


    "Are you?"

    "Am I?" They eyed each other for a moment and at length Nagi lifted both hands in a shrug and got to his feet. "What the hell," he said. "It could be interesting, in that life-destroying sort of way. You broke Ran to get to me, hm?"

    "And Masafumi. Schuldig said Tot was your second choice."

    Nagi's eyebrows disappeared somewhere under his ragged bangs. "Tot?" he echoed, and the disgust in that word said that Farfarello was going to have a very, very long talk with Schuldig later about misleading conversations. Nagi saw his teammate's expression change and considered him for a moment, worrying on his lower lip as he rethought the situation. "You went through all that trouble just because of something Schuldig said?"

    "I had to know."

    "Huh." Nagi thought about that for a while longer. "Huh," he said again, and he smiled. "All right."

Sunday Evening

    The evening was rapidly going downhill, which was rather surprising considering Schuldig was nowhere in sight. The telepath had been missing ever since Crawford had told him he didn't think Farfarello and Nagi would last long together. It was a mistake on Schuldig's part to be gone because he was watching the hard-earned relationship fall apart right from the start, and whether or not it would make Schuldig's stomach turn to watch Nagi fawning over Farfarello, seeing anyone fawn over Farfarello was still amusing enough to suffer through. The teenager hadn't left Farfarello's side since they'd left the bedroom and Crawford wasn't entirely sure he'd shut up once, either. Nagi and Farfarello hardly ever interacted, which made them a bit of a mystery to each other, and Nagi was intent on closing that gap to seal the deal with them. Crawford was giving Farfarello another half hour before he started twitching.


    But then, teenagers had their advantages. Crawford considered the pair over the top of his newspaper, ignoring the words Nagi was saying in favor of watching the way he moved. Even the antisocial Nagi had a unique energy meant for the young, and the older Crawford grew, the more he appreciate that vitality. Kudou was good in bed, but he was aging, and he probably would have been a better lay if he was three or four years younger. Plus, he smoked. That was a little aggravating. One could only kiss an ash tray so many times. Crawford had thought switching it out some and letting Kudou be on top would have made it more interesting, but it only served to wear the younger man out.

    Teenagers. Worthwhile investment, really, if he could only find the right one. He ticked through the list in his head, considering every teenager he knew. Nagi was out, considering he'd gone through both Farfarello and Schuldig. Tot was unthinkable. Sanada did have that niece, and his partner had a younger brother that was about seventeen… What was his name? Ken?

    The name just brought Weiss back to mind and Crawford turned his eyes back on his paper as he considered the younger half of the white team. They were certainly accessible, and less dangerous to mess around with than clients. Weiss didn't pose any sort of threat to their dark counterparts, so the problem was simply in getting them to understand that it was for the best. Kudou was a whore and Fujimiya had been broken- twice- but there had to be ways to get to the younger half of the team.

    "Farfarello, can we go have sex again?" Nagi asked, realizing at last that Farfarello was tired of playing 'Let's catch up on each other's lives'.

    "Yes," Farfarello said, and he set his knives aside.

    Crawford watched them leave and decided to take his own absence. He had no interest in staying in the house when those two were going to be doing anything. Schuldig had taken his car but Crawford still had his, and he found his keys on a hook by the door where he always left them. He went on a casual drive through the city and finally pulled up across the street from the back of the Koneko no Sumu Ie to consider the windows. He could see lights on in three of the rooms and silhouettes against one window, and as he studied them, he deduced that at least two people were upstairs and drinking together.

    The tall form had to be Kudou, simply because Crawford couldn't imagine Fujimiya being up to company or drinks after whatever had transpired between him and Farfarello this morning, and the little shape could be no one but Tsukiyono. Tsukiyono Omi. Bombay. 17. Crawford thought about that and weighed the chances of the drinks being alcohol, and decided he was lucky. A glance at his gift confirmed it, and Crawford walked half a block to a convenience store to buy a newspaper and wait. He gave himself an hour before walking back to the Koneko, and he walked up the backstairs like he owned the place to knock on one of the doors.

    Tsukiyono opened it with a slurred "Yohji?" that died halfway out of his mouth. He blinked stupidly up at Crawford, mouth hanging open as he tried to find something to say. Crawford didn't expect him to come up with anything. Kudou had been more than a little shaken when he'd left Schwarz's apartment and Crawford hadn't bothered to explain how he'd ended up there and why he'd come without any alcohol to squish his survival instincts. He was guessing Kudou had come straight home to start drinking, and there was no telling when he'd dragged his youngest teammate upstairs for company. Judging by the teen's flushed face, it had been long enough.

    "Good evening," Crawford said, and he reached out to hold the door open. "Let's talk."

    "Schwarz?" Tsukiyono asked, sounding a little uncertain. He started patting his pockets, looking for darts, and Crawford pushed him inside and followed him in. Bombay sent a look over his shoulder towards his dresser, but Crawford was already looking past him towards his bed as he locked the door behind him. "What are you doing here?"

    "An experiment," Crawford answered, because there was really no point in lying.

    "You shouldn't be in here," Tsukiyono warned him as he retreated back towards his dresser and his darts. "Yohji said that you-" His face twisted and Crawford noted that it wasn't disgust. That was important. It was something more along the lines of concerned outrage on his friend's behalf, except it was hard for a sloshed seventeen year old to hold onto outrage. Crawford wondered if he'd ever been drunk before. He saw that the child had brought some alcohol back with him and moved past him to pluck the bottle off the dresser.

    Tsukiyono came after him, probably thinking he was going to take away his darts, but Crawford pushed the half-empty bottle into Tsukiyono's hands. The teenager stared at for a moment before shoving it back onto the dresser and making a grab at his drawers. "You shouldn't-" he started again. "I'm going to have to kill you, no matter what Yohji said."

    "Kudou has little to do with this and I'm not interested in anyone dying today." Crawford snagged him neatly by his wrists and bent his knee to block the kick Tsukiyono sent his way. "I'm here to see whether your or Hidaka is better in bed."

    "You're-" Tsukiyono gaped. "You're what?"

    "It shouldn't take long. Are you a virgin, by any chance?"

    Tsukiyono just stared at him, unable to follow the conversation. Crawford plucked him by his wrists and toted him over to the bed. The boy started struggling as soon as the backs of his legs hit the sheets, but Crawford was patient. He knew what he was doing and the alcohol could do the rest. It took a while before Tsukiyono stopped fighting but it was almost worth the trouble.

    It was a little annoying, however, that Tsukiyono fell asleep right afterwards.


    It took three hours before Hidaka showed up. The man's light was on, but he was out. Crawford invited himself in and wondered at the idiocy of leaving one's door unlocked. When Hidaka still didn't show, he made himself dinner and helped himself to the magazines on the man's younger bookshelf, and still he waited. The apartment next door was silent, which made him wonder if anyone had checked on Fujimiya yet, but since he hadn't foreseen the redhead dying, he decided not to inconvenience himself in doing so.

    He was starting to consider coming back another night- except that would be admitting defeat, which he would never do- when he finally heard the metal steps banging outside. He didn't bother to look up from his magazine as Hidaka came bouncing through the front doors, though the older man almost stumbled on the step at the entrance when he saw who was sitting on his loveseat.

    "What the fuck?!"

    "Come in," Crawford invited him, flipping a page. "I think we're overdue for a talk."

    Hidaka thought that over and then pushed the door closed behind him with a foot. Crawford set his magazine aside and turned his head to consider the younger man. At nineteen years old, Hidaka Ken was Weiss's most fit assassin, tied with Schwarz's Farfarello for the effort poured into keeping his body top of the line. Crawford had almost forgotten that, except that Hidaka had come through the door with his shirt already over his head and tangled in his arms where he'd been in the act of pulling it off in the doorway. He looked good, the way most Japanese people couldn't- or didn't. Their bodies could be stronger and more flexible than a westerner's, but their skin fought of ruining its perfection with the lines of muscles. Hidaka had pushed his body past that, and Crawford decided he liked what he saw, even considering the burn scars across his abdomen.

    "Does this mean I'm going to die tonight?" Hidaka wanted to know as he toed out of his shoes.

    "It doesn't have to," Crawford assured him. "I simply came here to satisfy my curiosity."

    "You're here to fuck me?" Hidaka guessed, and he pulled his shirt off the rest of the way. "I figured it was coming."

    There was a small pause as Crawford digested that. "Have your teammates been talking to you?"

    "Hm? Oh, no." The athlete balled up his shirt and chucked it at his laundry basket, and pumped a fist when it made it neatly in. "You just never fight me, you know? You've taken on everyone else in Weiss and half the underground but you always leave me alone. But I'm sure I've seen you watching me, so I figured it had to be sexual."

    Crawford wondered if Schuldig had done something to Hidaka's mind, but Schuldig was too predictable. He'd have seen this coming. It couldn't be Nagi, either, because Nagi was still mad that Crawford was sleeping with Weiss. He certainly wouldn't have picked Weiss's half-cracked Siberian as the center of a prank.

    "You don't sound disgusted," Crawford said, because he wasn't entirely sure what else to say.

    "Eh." Hidaka shrugged and stepped further into his apartment to peel his socks off. One hand raked through his dark hair, scattering little drops of moisture everywhere. Crawford's first thought was sweat, and then he decided it was from showering at the gym after a long workout. No one could drip like that without smelling, and the only scent Crawford could catch from halfway across the room was soap. "It happens to everyone, right? Hatred turns to rivalry turns to lust, whatever. I've had some time to think about it. Me and Kase, you know? And me and Aya used to have this arrangement, but we spent almost as much time fighting as we did fucking, so it was just easier to look elsewhere. That's when I decided you might do. It's just sex, right? Nothing big about it."

    Finally, a man with some common sense.

    "Indeed." Crawford pushed himself to his feet as Hidaka came padding over towards him.

    Hidaka stopped in front of him and propped his hands on his hips to quirk an eyebrow up at Crawford. "So," he said. "Is this the sex thing?"

    "Yes," Crawford said simply.

    "Good. You're top. Lube's in the bedside table. I'mma go spit out my gum first." With that he went padding away to the trash can in the kitchen, and Crawford stood there for a moment and wondered- just for a fleeting second- which one of them was really setting the other up. In the end it didn't really matter, so he met Ken at the side of the bed and they let their bodies do the rest of the talking.

Sunday Night

    Four faces sat around Schwarz's dinner table that night. Crawford had, for reasons none of the others could figure out, brought home a carton of ice cream, and they were all picking at their own bowls of it. Farfarello and Nagi were sitting across from each other on their first spat of the relationship and Crawford and Schuldig were sitting across from each other and staring through each other.

    "Long weekend," Schuldig said at last as he poked at his ice cream. "Didn't really feel like a weekend."

    "Don't we ever get time off?" Nagi grumbled as he gave himself a second serving. "We're Schwarz, but we can't work under this sort of stress. We're not perfect."

    "We're close enough," Crawford said, but it sounded more like an absent correction than anything else.

    "Can we call in sick tomorrow?" Schuldig wanted to know. "I've got some sleep to catch up on."

    "Yes," Farfarello agreed.

    "I think we all do," Crawford said.

    Nagi sent him an anxious look that may or may not have been feigned just to get what he wanted. "Can you call in?" he asked.

    Crawford thought about that. "Yes," he said at last. "Yes, I will."

    They finished up their ice cream and drifted down the hall at different times, but the four men of Schwarz turned into their own bedrooms. One fell asleep wondering if he should invest in a pet instead; another, just biding his time. The third wondered what was supposed to have come out of such a long weekend, and the last fell asleep wondering if he'd been had but not entirely sure it would be a bad thing. The night held no answers, but maybe that was all right. The week was just beginning, after all.

The End
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