No substantive changes to the story, instead, an explanation.
I wrote Broken Cross after seeing the first ten episodes of the Weiss Kreuz tv series and the two OVAs. I knew, from a spoiler I stumbled across on a web site, that Omi was in fact a Takatori, by the 'real' name of Mamoru. Other than that all I knew was Aya's intense hatred for Mr. Takatori (and to me at least, by extension, the whole Takatori family) from the 2nd tv episode (still one of my favorite episodes).
This weekend I finally saw episodes 11 - 15 and discovered how the 'confrontation' between Aya and Omi over Omi's heritage officially played out.
So now I'm chagrined and elated. Chagrined, one of the very cool (to me at least) scenes in my fiction is now irrelevant. Elated that WK has a life of its own. That I ended up unknowingly writing a scene that is so close to the original one shows that WK is not merely a static story, it has truths and realities inherit to it. It has become more that what it was written to be.
I think that is very cool.
Omi hung in Yohji's wire, trapped like a fly in a spider's web. It was a dangerous play they performed for desperate stakes to please a shadow audience. Nothing else would ever induce Weiss to turn against itself.
Omi had felt real distress, until the four members of Weiss had met in the emergency location known to them alone. Persia didn't know of their ultimate secret. Even Manx had been kept ignorant of it. It had been Omi's idea to have a secret place known only to himself, Aya, Ken, and Yohji. It was a place they could go if they ever needed to discuss something apart from Weiss. If Weiss brought them together in red bonds of blood and death, Omi's hide-out brought them together in the white hope that there would be light and peace in their lives someday.
Until that meeting, it seemed as if Weiss were indeed falling apart. The Hunters had been given a mission they would have balked at. If not for Aya's directive, that no one was to question anything if ever Manx mentioned flower allergies, Omi and Ken would have protested more strenuously when Hibana Akira had been named Weiss' target.
Akira was someone that Weiss would normally have helped. Omi and Ken has split from Aya and Yohji, and the mission, to save Akira and his sister, Kaori. When the 'Rats', an American military group functioning illegally in Japan, had come to kill them at the hospital, Ken had even stayed behind to delay Yohji so that Omi could get Akira and Kaori away. Omi had been shocked when Ken had met up with them bearing a hand dripping with blood. Omi knew how deeply Yohji's wire had cut Ken as he was the one who dressed the thin but deep wounds. Ken had tried to make light of his pain, but Omi saw the anguish in his eyes. He thought that Ken was hurting in his spirit, that Yohji would cut him, more than from the wounds on his hand.
Omi and Ken had spent the night in the abandoned carnival, guarding Akira and Kaori. Spending the night away without warning was the signal for Weiss to meet at Omi's hide-out as soon as possible. Omi and Ken had returned to the van, to see if Yohji and Aya thought it safe enough to talk there, and discovered to their utmost shock that they themselves had become mission targets of Weiss. After Yohji had warned them that when next they met, they would be enemies and then urged them to go, Omi and Ken had made their way as fast as possible to the hide-out.
"It can't be!" Omi cried out in his distress once they were in the location they knew to be secure from prying eyes and eavesdropping bugs.
"You saw the tape," Ken replied.
"Just wait, Omi-kun. Yohji let us go after all. He an' Aya know the hide-out signal. Once they get here, we can discuss it," Ken reassured.
"But, what if... they come to kill us?" Omi had to ask.
"We can wait here, by the back door. Even if they try to trap us between them, you and I can take out either one of them," Ken finally decided grimly.
"So you think...?" Omi wasn't sure he could actually turn his darts against his friends, even to save his own life.
"No, but let's not take any chances."
"Sorry, Ken," Yohji greeted as he opened the door and entered the hide-out. "You kept your muscles flexed when I had to attack you, yes?"
"Yeah -- still hurt," Ken replied in an almost surly tone. As soon as Omi saw Yohji, he knew his fears were not grounded in reality. Yohji was all too much at ease to be thinking of attacking them. Even Ken relaxed a little.
Yohji grinned. "Yeah, I'm sure it did, but no permanent damage was done!" He reached for Ken's bandaged hand.
"Don't touch me!" Ken flared before stalking away. Yohji stared after him for a moment before meeting Omi's eyes and shrugging his shoulders.
Aya appeared then, almost like a ghost, wrapped in the silent but intense aura that was his. Omi had often wondered how Aya could move so swiftly, but silently. Aya's face was the most impassive mask he could wear, showing that he was all business. He was not as relaxed as Yohji, but again, Omi thought that he would be different somehow if his purpose was to kill them.
"So, it has come to this. We cannot trust our orders," Aya began without preamble.
"Manx's allergies..." Yohji agreed. Aya nodded sharply once.
"Once we set this in motion, we must play it out to the end. And there must not be one word, look, or hint that there is anything but division in the ranks of Weiss."
"Aya!" Ken protested.
"Weiss is not a dark beast's tool! We will not be used this way!" Aya hissed.
There was nothing but silent assent to Aya's statement.
"So, what do we do?" Ken finally asked.
"I think it's pretty obvious where this is leading..." Yohji ventured.
"If he just wanted us to do his dirty work, it's been done," Aya agreed, referring to the 'mission' he had completed, slaying the founder of the 'Rats', Nichol.
"Why break Weiss?" Ken asked.
"Maybe just to see if he can," Yohji reflected.
"Some of the American military... Doesn't it seem like they want to control everything?" Omi asked.
Ken and Yohji nodded.
"We must plan this out. It seems as though they want Weiss to self-destruct," Aya noted.
"So, death match?" Ken asked.
"Me and Aya against you and Omi," Yohji stated. "Who survives to be point?"
"Me," Ken stated firmly.
"Fine. Omi's the only one light enough to not be injured in my wire," Yohji claimed.
"So you take Omi out?" Ken asked.
"No," Aya declared. Omi turned to him in surprise.
"I will take out Takatori Mamorou," Aya continued in a flat tone.
"Aya!" Omi protested.
"Yohji can tie him up so he is a still target for my katana." Aya's voice was a dispassionate death knell.
"While you do that, I can take Yohji out for helping you," Ken decided.
"Fine," Yohji said again. "I'd rather be first anyway. I don't like any of this business. It just seems wrong!"
"You think you can take me, Siberian?" Aya turned and asked Ken directly.
Ken flexed his hand, baring the blades of his bugnuk.
"Bring it on, Abyssinian," Ken challenged. "I'll be paying you back for Omi after all!" Ken stressed Omi's name.
"Ken... Aya..." Omi hugged his shoulders against the tension in his friends.
"Come here, Omi." Yohji reached out his arm and laid it across Omi's shoulders comfortingly, leading him away from Ken and Aya's confrontational conversation. "We need to figure out where my wire is going to 'cut' you and how our battle is going to play out..."
"You know it's not real." Yohji reminded Omi in the other room of the hide-out. "But it must look real. We know we are being watched and our actions directed by someone other than Persia. We think we know who it is, but we must go through with this and see it out to the end."
"Yohji?" Omi asked in anguish.
Omi couldn't articulate his worry. Surely Aya wouldn't really hurt him! But the look in his eyes... and calling him by his abandoned real name... Omi knew Aya hated the name 'Takatori' above all others. Why would Aya call him that now?
"Don't worry so much! I've coat my wire so it doesn't really cut you," Yohji said reassuringly.
How could Omi tell him he wasn't worried Yohji's wire would cut him, but Aya's sword might instead?
"After I have you strung up off the ground, fire one of your 'stubby' darts at me here," Yohji pointed to the back of his left forearm. "It'll stick in the board and pierce the blood pack." Yohji then flipped up a piece of wood Omi hadn't even realized was there. It looked like the front half of one of his darts.
"And not go through to hurt you, though it will look like it did," Omi agreed.
"You got it! Damn this thing is uncomfortable!" Yohji flexed his shoulders against the weight of the huge blood pack he'd secured against his chest. He was going to bleed out dramatically against the snow.
"You're actually enjoying planning this, aren't you?" Omi asked.
"Yeah, a little. It's like a big, strange play, one only we can put on. No one else would know how to choreograph such a thing! We know best how our weapons work after all," Yohji explained.
"And we can fake the damage better than anyone," Omi agreed. He now wore a few blood packs himself under his clothes, but most of the 'wounds' he would bear would come from the dye Yohji had mixed with the wax he'd coated his wire with.
"Don't struggle too much," Yohji warned. "I coated my wire well, but if you thrash about too strongly, you will cut yourself!"
"I'll keep still," Omi agreed, and shivered. He was certain that Yohji would try not to hurt him with his weapon, but he still wondered about Aya. Once he was trapped in Yohji's wire, he'd be truly helpless.
Yohji's wire would be blunted, Ken would wear unsharpened bugnuks and he himself would shoot only 'stubby' darts, that is short darts that would only look like they had sunk into their target, directly at specified target areas on his friends. Aya would be the only one carrying living steel. Omi trusted in Aya's skill that even though his blade could cut, it wouldn't, if Aya didn't want it to. He knew that Ken would be safe in his 'duel' with Aya. He just wondered if he would be as safe as Ken from the lethal edge of Aya's sword. Aya could kill him, if he wanted to, and claim it was an accident later. In this dangerous ruse they were forced to play, who would think it was other than an accident?
The tension between Ken and Aya was seething through the room like a dark cloud when Omi and Yohji returned to the main room. Ken had the blades of his bugnuk resting lightly on Aya's face as he traced along the edges with red makeup. Ken wore a slight, teasing smile as he drew the gory red lines on Aya's face. Aya glared into Ken's eyes, but remained still. Once Ken had finished, Aya shoved the bugnukked hand away and reached for the mirror. After glancing at Ken's handiwork, he proceeded to conceal it under a layer of flesh-toned makeup.
Omi could see the traces of the same concealing makeup already on Ken's face.
"Now," Aya began after he'd finished. He walked over and seemed to frisk Ken all over. "All of these are secured? They won't slip?"
"They're tight," Ken told him. "Just don't miss!"
"I never miss," Aya told him calmly. He turned to Omi and felt for the edges of the blood pack on Omi's chest and side.
"You will give me a good death, Takatori?" Aya demanded in a low hiss for Omi's ears alone. "So that I am finally satisfied?"
"Aya!" Omi anguished. Aya turned from him. Omi worried that Aya hadn't asked him if the blood pack was secured. Surely he wouldn't... No, Aya wouldn't actually hurt him -- would he?
"Where's your blood pack, Aya?" Ken asked. "For when I kill you?" Ken's voice held a nastily teasing note, as he flexed his clawed hand.
"Here," Aya showed Ken his abdomen. "I figured you would prefer a gut shot!"
"Oh, Aya, you know me so well!" Ken retorted.
"Just wait until I throw off the coat. If you damage it...!" Aya warned. "And, you will retract most of that claw of yours, won't you? You just need to nick the bag."
"Don't worry!" Ken told him.
"Okay. You and Omi should go. Try to get Akira and his sister away. The further they are from the fight, the more realistic it will seem to them," Aya directed. "Yohji and I will follow."
Omi looked up into Aya's eyes. They were flat and met his with a cold hatred. Omi cringed. Surely -- Aya didn't really think of him as a Takatori! He wouldn't use this as an excuse to really kill him. Yohji's eyes were filled with the veiled compassion and rueful amusement that reassured Omi. He knew he had nothing to fear from Yohji's wire. But Aya's sword...
"Cold bastard!" Ken cursed, walking next to him as they returned to the carnival. "He doesn't think I could take him out? Who does he think he is?!"
"Ken?" Omi asked, startled.
"Eh, nothing, Omi. Let's get Akira and Kaori to the merry-go-round. That should be far enough away. Then we'll get through this and confirm whose behind our false orders."
"And deal with him!" Omi finished firmly.
"And deal with him," Ken agreed, narrowing his eyes and smiling ferally.
They had found Akira dead, his body riddled with scores of bullets. Kaori was missing, her recorded plea to Omi playing in a loop on her computer. Omi dashed out to tell Ken and saw that Yohji and Aya were already here. There was no time to tell them and change the plan, to see if they could somehow rescue Kaori first. Of course, Aya and Yohji could see Akira's body stretched out on the ground, so they could figure it out.
Even Yohji seemed serious and cold as his wire snaked out and snared Omi around the neck. If not for the fact that its cutting edge was still softened by wax, Omi would have thought this fight was for real. He parted the wire as planned with his dart, sending other full-length darts on paths that 'missed' to add realism to his part of the fight. A 'stubby' dart did land and stick satisfactorily in the board under Yohji's sleeve, breaking the bag and looking rather gruesome, once Yohji flipped up the other half, as if the dart were actually sticking through Yohji's arm.
Ken and Aya were giving it their all, dramatically squaring off against each other until Aya's planned strike through the blood pack on Ken's shoulder sprayed red all over the snow. Ken went down.
As planned, Yohji captured Omi in his web, suspending Omi completely off the ground, forcing him into a vulnerable spread eagle position and making him a perfect target for Aya's katana.
Aya turned his baleful gaze Omi's way, as Yohji kept him suspended. Omi could just feel the cutting edge of Yohji's wire and knew that if he struggled, he would be hurt. He wished he could find the tiniest spark of warmth, of humanity in Aya's gaze as Aya advanced on him with bared steel.
"I'm Tsukiyono Omi, not Takatori Mamorou!" Omi screamed deep in his mind. "And, we are friends! What does a name mean?! You've taught me so many names, of flowers and what they mean. We've completed so many missions together! You've saved me, I've had your back a few times. I know the horror that was visited upon you by a Takatori, but you know how hurt I've been by that name too! Surely, surely, you won't let the name I don't want to bear come between us! Surely you don't mean to kill... me..."
Aya glared at him with more hatred than Omi had ever seen. Aya set his feet precisely and with one deadly-swift, beautifully fluid move, struck. He pulled his sword back along its strike path, spraying blood into the air.
Omi cried out and despite Yohji's warning arched his back as red sprayed from his side and mouth. He then hung limply in Yohji's web.
...and tried to look discreetly through his hair as he hung in 'agony' so he could watch Ken avenge his 'death'. Yohji hammed it up a little with an ironic death speech as he fell down face first and stained the snow dramatically with red.
Aya and Ken now squared off against each other again and their fight seemed to be very much in deadly earnest. Omi realized as he watched them, that if Weiss were ever to be in a fight against itself to the death for real, he wouldn't stand a chance if either Ken or Aya got close to him. They fought each other with a frightening intensity. If not for the fact that Omi recognized hits on blood packs as planned hits from their choreography, he would have worried they were actually trying to kill each other.
Ken trapped Aya's sword between both his bugnuks. Aya twisted his blade, breaking all but one of the claws. Omi could only be amazed at Aya's complete control over his weapon. Focusing energy and rage, both Ken and Aya yelled as they charged each other. As planned, Ken ducked under Aya's attack and struck Aya in the gut.
Omi had to lift his head and watch as Aya went down, blood spraying dramatically in the air as he slid off of Ken's blade. Aya had his own ironic death speech before he coughed out blood and went still.
Caught up in the moment Omi could only shout, "Why?! We are friends!" before remembering he was supposed to be dead, sagging against his bonds again and letting his crossbow fall limply to his side. Ken screamed like a wounded animal up into the sky. As Omi wondered how long he'd have to hang there, Ken's cry faded strangely.
Tension and relief warring within him, Omi came to and found himself hanging all but senseless still suspended off the ground. It was over. He was alive. Aya had struck true, through the blood pack and not through Omi.
Omi felt a touch on his arm and then he was lifted so his body wasn't sagging painfully against Yohji's wire. He lifted his head and looked up into Aya's eyes. Now they were filled with the warmth that would have reassured him before.
"Takatori Mamorou is dead," Aya told him. "I slew him. Let's get you down from this cat's cradle, Tsukiyono Omi!"
"Aya!" Omi cried out, in his relief at finally understanding what Aya had done and why he had to, as Aya began to gently clear the wire from him. Once his arms were free enough, he reached out and hugged Aya tight. Aya stiffened under his embrace, but smiled.
"Omi... you are choking me," he commented mildly.
"We never need to speak of it again -- although I must admit, the urge to score you lightly with my blade, as I struck the blood pack, was almost overwhelming," Aya told him.
Omi gasped. Aya would have scarred him?
"But you are Omi, you do not need to wear any marks of my katana. To me, you are a hated Takatori no longer." Aya finished clearing the rest of Yohji's wire, freed Omi and set him finally on the ground. He clutched one hand against his stomach.
"The blood pack must have shifted. I think," He winced. "Ken cut me. But it's shallow. We can still finish this mission. The true Weiss mission!"
"We should hurry," Ken urged as he and Yohji approached. "We didn't save Akira. The least we can do is save Kaori!"
Aya nodded. "And Manx. Lead the way. Give us the signal."
Yohji had just gone to do a silent perimeter check while they waited for Ken's signal. Omi just barely caught Aya's subtle move when he pulled a red stained hand away from his gut. The slight smell of iron told Omi this wasn't the red fluid of the blood packs, but actual blood.
"Aya?" he asked. Aya's face was his mission mask, but the slightest worry hovered in his eyes. It was enough for Omi to boldly pull at Aya's shirt until he could see for himself. Omi's eyes widened.
"How bad?" Aya asked.
"Not too deep, but it's still seeping. Didn't Ken know to pull his strike?!" Omi reached for a gauze pad prepared for quick, emergency field use and taped it over the wound in Aya's abdomen.
"If he didn't pull it, I would be lying cold in the snow," Aya commented.
"Do you think he did this on purpose?!" Omi asked, horrified.
"I don't know. We should focus on the mission... but, you understand if I don't help with the General," Aya stated.
"We can take care of the General. I think we can count on Ken for that! He really liked Akira," Omi said sadly.
"As did I," Aya replied.
Omi watched Aya as best he could. He hadn't lost a lot of blood, but Omi was afraid Aya might tear the wound open further and not even realize it if he had to fight too much. Aya stayed back, letting Ken vent his grief and rage over Akira's death on the Rats sent to kill him. Yohji, Omi and Aya found they only had to protect Ken's back as he waded into battle and almost single-handedly slaughtered the room full of Rats.
Omi noticed Aya was a bit pale in the final showdown with General Powell. After Persia had shown somehow on the General's screen, making the General an official Weiss mission by declaring him a dark beast, Aya stepped between the General and where Manx and Kaori were standing. He'd said it was to protect them from witnessing the death of a dark beast, but Omi suspected it was more to protect the helpless women from the General's gun. Thinking of Akira, Omi shot every dart he had left into the General's right arm as Yohji wounded his left with blade-sharp wire. As the man screamed in agony and mortal terror, Ken advanced, pulled Akira's shotgun and ended the General's miserable life.
Aya, Yohji and Omi shared a concerned look amongst themselves at the expression Ken turned toward them. Omi wasn't sure, but it seemed as though Ken were revelling in the death of the General. Not the fierce, guilty joy killing a dark beast brings, knowing that innocents are protected, not a wholesome feeling that Akira and his parents had been avenged, but almost a blood-lust, a delight in the act of killing itself.
Omi recalled that Ken had wounded Aya also, and wondered again if that had been intentional. If it were...Weiss had a very serious problem growing.
But, Omi reminded himself, a few potentially serious problems had been solved. Persia's identity was still a secret, Manx had been rescued and Aya...Aya no longer hated him for being a Takatori. Weiss had faced the most serious threat yet and emerged intact.
Omi knew that if Ken faced a new problem now, Weiss, whole and unbroken, would somehow help him to figure it out.
- end -