10 March 2003

Regarding the revisions of "Neutral Territory":

After being away from the world of "Weiss Kreuz" for three long months, I am very happy to be getting back to work on this story and wanted to offer a quick explanation of what was going on and what to look forward to in the near future. Basically, I've been tied up recently finishing my angst epic for "Saiyuki" entitled "Fateful Encounters" as well as one of its lemon-angst-romance sequels, "Best Wishes, Gojyo" which was a giftfic for a dear friend.

Now that those are taking care of, however, it's time to get Omi and Nagi's relationship on track again in this unfinished epic. To reacquaint myself with this tale and make sure that I stay true to the continuity as well as the characters, I plan to re-read and revise each and every chapter, and will upload the revised portions as soon as they are available. Once all eighteen of the preexisting chapters have been given necessary touch-ups, something that will be indicated on each chapter title by the abbreviation "rev" being added to it, I will resume work on the rest of the fic at my usual rate.

For roughly daily updates on my progress, feel free to check out my page at LiveJournal.com where I am username "e_sama". Words of encouragement as I begin this fairly arduous task will be most appreciated and can be left here in the review section, sent directly to me via email at SFSDincher@aol.com, or in my LJ.

Thanks for being patient and I hope that someone out there will enjoy this story for the first time in its new and improved presentation and that kind souls already familiar with it who wish to refresh their memories will find it entertaining as well.

All the Best!

~~~Enigma~~~

(who will limit further notes about the revisions to very brief links to his LJ or other relevant locations so as not to clutter up the story itself)

~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~

[original intro-note from 23 October 2002]

Greetings!

Welcome, dear friends, to the halls of the Angst Theatre for an all-new epic tale featuring the eight glorious bishounen of "Weiss Kreuz"!

{waves happily at everyone here at fanfiction.net knowing this is a surprise that requires some major explanation to avoid future confusion}

This story is a gift for my brother's 40th birthday and oddly enough, it's as if he got this twice since I'd planned to give it to him last year when I started writing it, but "Cold November Rain" hit like a hurricane and put this one under wraps until now. In fact, I wasn't sure about resurrecting this in the first place, so I asked a few MLs and some friends about it recently. When the vote came back an overwhelming 8 to 2 in favor of releasing this despite its unfinished state, I felt that I had my answer and am glad to be here now to tell you more. By the way, a list of those kind souls who let me know their thoughts is in tonight's newest feature here at the Angst Theatre, a "Posting Run Dedication" notation at the end of the last set of author's notes.

Now, the details on this new piece so everyone starts on the same page, so to speak.

The most important thing to mention is that this piece is *not* connected to any of the other "Weiss Kreuz" pieces I've ever published before. This is an entirely separate continuity unto itself and is not at any particular spot in the series timeline in case you were wondering.

Next up, please note that this tale sadly remains unfinished as of now yet takes up over 250kb of storage space on my zip drive with ~45,000 words occupying 18 chapters and has a lengthy, highly detailed outline for most of what remains to be written. Whether those other chapters--how many more it might take to finish this I haven't a clue--are ever written will remain to be seen based on reader reaction and my muses.

{hopes this is enough of the key info for everyone, then smirks, grabs a monocle as well as a green shirt from a certain human-turned-youkai who celebrated a birthday recently and lights the marquee before reading you the playbill like usual}

Tonight's debut performance of "Neutral Territory" opens with a bang as Omi's first visit to the main branch of the Tokyo public library takes a disastrous turn and if it wasn't for the presence of a theoretically enemy assassin, he would have died that very day. What will happen after he and Nagi recognize each other? Will open warfare erupt in a hallowed hall of knowledge or will something else entirely occur?

{beams a little more and then bids you his usual wish for a story like this one}

Enjoy the Angst!

~~~Enigma~~~

(who hopes against hope that all the CNR fans will enjoy this one, too, and leave plenty of feedback since Melpomene and Erato whose latest efforts can be found at: tend to be easily distracted by handsome bishounen from other series)~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Title: Neutral Territory [part 1/?]

Author: Enigma

Written: begun October, 2001

Rating: R

Pairings: (Omi + Nagi) (Yohji + Ken) (Brad + Schu)

Category: Shonen ai/Yaoi Angst Friendship Romance Action Violence. AU-OOC. Giftfic.

Archive: fanfiction.net & mediaminer.org [author: "E-sama the Llama"] plus Wuffie.net [author: "Enigma"]

Warnings: shonen ai/yaoi, angst, masculine friendship in many forms, various levels of romance, action, coarse language, whiffs of citrus but nothing detailed, possibly graphic violence, bloodshed, tiny bits of humor, fluff, and sap; more warnings will be added as necessary. AU-OOC. Giftfic for Rubious.

Spoilers: Aya's sister's condition and a few other small things, nothing major.

Disclaimer: "Weiss Kreuz" is the property of Koyasu Takehito and Project Weiss. All original characters featured herein (including but not limited to: Glocksten, Charon, etc.) are © Enigma, 2003, and are not to be used without permission. This unauthorized work of fanfiction is intended for entertainment only; kindly do not sue me.

Notes: Omi's first trip to the public library results in an unexpected meeting when Nagi saves his life without being aware of the Weiss archer's identity. Can two lonely teens overcome the limits of their dark purpose in life to find friendship and possibly love in the midst of "neutral territory"?

//thoughts//

{{mental speech}}

*****

Monday afternoon. The library.

*****

Trudging up the steps to the main branch of the Tokyo public library, a normally happy high school student wore an expression of distinct annoyance as he grumbled angrily to himself, "I wonder how on *earth* I got stuck with a damned technophobe for my geography instructor?"

Tsukiyono Omi was obviously less than pleased that he had been required by his instructor to actually use old-fashioned, bound atlases for a research project. [1]

The youngest member of the assassin group code-named "Weiss" had never even been in the public library before, preferring the comfort and speed of the Internet for doing his schoolwork as well as his casual reading. However, when he'd turned in the original version of his report about the construction of the Aswan High Dam and how so many structures of historic significance had to be relocated because of it, the aged teacher had become rather incensed. The man had grumbled about the fact that kids like Omi took the easy way out and let the search engines do all the work for them before he flatly insisted that the boy start over.

Why the man thought that grainy, poor resolution photocopies of old maps were necessary illustrations for a project that was worth a full third of his grade was beyond Omi, but it didn't matter and he had to do it just the same.

Even though it was only Monday, for the typically light-hearted, young Kritiker agent, it was already a bad week. Pessimism didn't suit the attractive blond youth, though, and it was quickly replaced with curiosity about the huge library and what else might happen that day. [2]

Pushing the heavy glass doors open, Omi stepped inside, past what looked like metal detectors, and was pleasantly surprised by the fact that the building seemed much more modern from the inside than its marbled exterior façade had implied. There was a directory by the service counter and he discovered that the reference section was on the first floor, so he headed straight for it, not paying much attention to what was going on around him.

When classes had ended an hour earlier, Omi had called the Koneko no Sumu Ie to let his teammates know that he wasn't going to be coming straight home. Luckily, he'd talked to Yohji who agreed that the assignment seemed ridiculous, but told Omi to just get it over with the best he could and that he'd track down Ken to help cover the shop for the afternoon. If he'd gotten Aya instead, Omi would probably have been told to hurry up and stop complaining, something that wouldn't have helped matters in the least.

Omi had been grateful for his friends' support, and now that he was actually inside the large facility, he realized that perhaps his instructor wasn't as crazy as he thought.

//This place is kind of interesting after all. I'm really surprised. There's so much more here than just musty old books.//

Bright cerulean eyes took in the bank of state-of-the-art computer terminals provided for public access to one side of the large reference area. A friendly staff member was pushing a heavily loaded cart of miscellaneous encyclopedias slowly around the room, placing each back into its correct location and answering questions from some of the patrons as she went.

Wandering over to stand between some tall oaken shelves that were loaded down with more atlases and books than Omi thought he'd ever make sense of on his own, he paused to peer at a chart that explained the library's classification system. Lost in thought, Omi failed to hear the slight squeaking noise of a cart's wheel bending then breaking under the weight of far too much leather-bound paper.

"Look out!" Someone shouted a warning and before he could even react, Omi felt himself being gently pushed down even as he heard the groan of hundreds if not thousands of pounds of breaking wooden shelving and books beginning to cascade towards him. Strangely, though, nothing hit him and he lay beneath what seemed to be an invisible dome that shielded him from the debris.

Laying on the carpeted floor and staring in amazement as the books and wood began to shift away from him, the astounded assassin felt his heart racing and knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that without the bizarre protection, he most assuredly would have died right then and there. As the last few books lifted off of him, though, the reason why he was still alive came into view.

Standing nearby was another high school student, this one wearing the dove gray uniform of one of the city's most prestigious private academies, a look of intense concentration on his delicate features and eyes tightly closed with his hands slightly extended towards the fallen youth. Sweat had broken out across the boy's pale forehead and it was clearly a difficult task to keep the shield in place as well as to remove the debris that had been covering whoever it was that had been unfortunate enough to have been endangered, yet he kept doing it.

As midnight blue eyes finally opened to take their first look at the person that had just been saved, the boy on the floor exclaimed in confusion, "Schwarz?!"

Naoe Nagi looked pained yet said nothing as he reached out to offer a hand to Omi, helping the confused boy back to his feet. The silent boy knew he needed to hurry away before the librarians that were approaching arrived to ask the anticipated onslaught of questions such a spectacular accident usually causes, but he was held in place.

Omi kept Nagi's hand trapped in his own and asked in utter confusion, "Why did you help me?" He instinctually realized that Nagi had rescued him from disaster and hadn't caused it, but the entire situation seemed surreal.

In a voice barely above a whisper, Nagi responded, "I had no idea who was in trouble, Weiss. I would have done that for anyone. This library is a place of safety. A place that should never be tainted with blood."

Sensing the other boy's disquiet, Omi released the pale hand he had held onto and nodded despite the fact that he still didn't understand. As he heard the noise of several library employees approaching at a dead run he asked, "If I take care of their questions and keep you out of it, will you talk with me?"

"Why?" Nagi asked, wondering what the two of them could possibly need to say to one another and curious why the other boy was so willing to help him conceal his true nature.

"So I can understand this better," Omi offered with a small smile and a shrug, "and to say 'thank you' more appropriately than I can right now."

Emotionless blue eyes shifted ever so slightly towards a look of surprise as Nagi realized that no one usually showed him any gratitude for anything but before he could argue much more the librarians arrived and he quickly agreed, "Very well. Meet me on the front steps as soon as you are done here. We will talk as you have requested."

Without waiting for an answer, the mysterious boy then vanished into the crowd that was beginning to gather. Omi was forced to make good on his offer to cover for the telekinetic, making up some fairly outrageous explanation for his lack of injuries claiming that a shelf had protected him from the books and shattered wood.

Time crept by as he filled out a report for the library security staff and Omi started to wonder if he'd even get a chance to talk to the Schwarz member or not.

The two boys didn't even know each others' given names, but they had fought against each other in the past. Omi recognized Nagi as being present at only a few of the run-ins that had occurred between the two rival assassin groups, yet he knew very little about the telekinetic's powers or his position within the other organization. If he'd realized that they shared a great deal in common, both gifted computer hackers, both wise beyond their years, and both terribly lonely, he might have been even more curious as to why Nagi had done what he did, but he didn't.

As he told the agitated woman who had been pushing the cart that broke and caused the accident in the first place that he was okay for what seemed like the hundredth time, Omi desperately wanted to leave and find the answers only Nagi could give him.

Glancing at his watch, Omi cursed silently that it had been over an hour since the accident and he was certain that he'd lost whatever chance he'd had to talk to the boy who had saved his life. After the final form was filled out, one that stated that Omi wouldn't sue the library later for "emotional duress", something that made the young killer laugh since falling books were next to nothing compared to the hellish nights he often faced, he was told that he could leave.

Gathering up the jacket he'd taken off during the lengthy questioning, Omi's hand brushed his hidden cache of darts and was reminded of the more serious issues he might have had to face if the Schwarz psychic hadn't been alone. He sighed and slipped the jacket on, walking back out through the heavy glass doors, fully expecting to not see Nagi there any longer and assuming he'd never get the answers that he needed.

He was wrong.

Partially hidden behind a large marble column, a pair of deep blue eyes peered at the people exiting the library. Nagi had begun to wonder if he'd failed to protect the young Weiss member after all and had pondered whether or not Omi might have been injured in some fashion that manifested after he'd made good his own escape.

Nibbling on his lower lip nervously, the youngest Schwarz psychic was about to take the risk of going back inside when he spotted a now familiar face as Omi paused at the top of the stairs to look around, apparently searching for him as well.

"Over here," Nagi offered quietly, stepping out into plain view and receiving an unexpectedly bright smile in return.

"I was afraid you might've left already," Omi exclaimed as quietly as he could before walking towards the shy youth as if they were old friends and not enemies at all.

"No," the other boy shook his head, face blanked to its usual expressionless appearance, "I said that I would stay and answer your questions, didn't I?" He bit back an additional comment that he was getting worried about Omi since it was clear that he wasn't injured as Nagi had feared.

Omi nodded and then held a hand out in greeting and introduced himself. "I'm Tsukiyono Omi. It's nice to meet you."

Nagi considered refusing the hand that he was being offered since he detested being touched, then accepted it while replying simply, "Naoe Nagi."

The lack of pleasantries from the quiet boy didn't bother the slightly taller teen at all and Omi was about to ask where they might go to talk when a small sound caught his attention. Fighting the overwhelming desire to giggle slightly at the fact that he was facing a deadly potential opponent who was obviously hungry judging by the noise of Nagi's stomach growling, the blond youth offered, "Why don't we go get a snack? I could use something to eat and I spotted a sushi stand by the parking deck."

Unaware that Omi had noticed his empty stomach's complaint, Nagi shrugged to indicate his indifference to the suggestion. The overly slender boy had never been one to eat properly, the use of his powers drained him and he had other deeper emotional issues which interfered with his dietary needs, yet when Omi offered to eat with him it seemed appealing. Granted, after the exertion of his telekinetic ability to restrain and then move the falling shelving and books, Nagi was even more in need of sustenance than normal but he had ignored it when he realized that Omi had been delayed. Concern for the slightly older assassin outweighed not only the need for food but had somehow prevented the headache he often suffered after such an event.

Confused by his own contradictory behavior, Nagi finally said, "As you wish. I would assume that we can cover whatever issues you wanted to talk to me about while we're there. However, I don't really need anything to eat."

Omi cast an odd glance at the other boy and took note of the way his school uniform hung loosely on him despite that fact that it was cut extremely narrowly to begin with. A mild frown crossed his usually happy face which was then banished as he offered his best genki smile and said, "Well, I hate to eat alone and unless you can't stand sushi, at least let me buy us some to share while we talk? After all that excitement, I'm hungry! What do you say? Shall we give it a try? Please?"

Again the careless shrug of a too-slender shoulder and Nagi agreed, "If you insist. Let's go." He waited for Omi to lead the way, falling into step silently behind him as they walked away from the place they would later acknowledge was where they began to realize that neither of them needed to be all alone any longer.

*****

To be continued.

Author's Notes:

[1] Please note that in an effort to honor the creators of this marvelous distraction, Japanese naming conventions are used here with certain logical exceptions such as Brad Crawford who is American.

[2] Even though some of the new "Weiss Kreuz: Glühen" character designs are incredibly beautiful in their own right, they are *not* the Weiss and Schwarz boys that I know and love, so please keep in mind the physical descriptions throughout this story are based solely on the original anime. Further, this means they have only their original weaponry, duties, and are costumed in their more familiar style.

Please be advised: Parts 1 & 2 will be posted together.

Posted: 23 October 2002 ~2:15am EDT

Revised chapter posted: 10 March 2003 ~12:35am EST