A little ficlet. Set in my most recent 'Series of Events' I suppose; but, later, I should think, at least a few months later. Schuldig/Nagi. R&R.

Chocolate, Jan. 23

The day is crisp and cool and their breath on the air is warm, pleasantly so. The wind tosses it back in their faces and they breathe it in. Schuldig wears a jacket too big for him, gray, over a red sweater. Winter has come. Winter is upon them. Winter is in the heavy clouds, about to snow. Winter wraps their scarves about their necks and runs fingers through the tassels. Winter rubs its muzzle against their noses. Winter speckles the pavement beneath their feet. Winter propels them out of their too-hot, too-dry rooms and shoves them onto the streets. Winter makes them want to drive cars too fast and spend more money than they should and get that antsy winter feeling out of their blood and bones. Winter fills shop windows, sale after post-Christmas sale. It looks wilted and lonely. Nobody wants that winter shit anymore. And I mean nobody wants it. Homeless, winter offers out a cup that barely jangles with the sound of coin against coin, and people pass right by. Not that Schuldig gives a damn, man. Winter never did any good shit for him. He's passing winter by too. The skies are too gray and spring is too far off.

First of all, you can't eat ice cream in the winter. You can eat cookies and cocoa but you can burn your tongue on the cocoa and you just miss ice cream after a while. You move through the streets like the Eskimo in the winter, feeling too big for the air. You feel weighted down. Winter is a real bitch sometimes, with all the snow. It's a bitch driving a car through the snow. It's a bitch doing anything in the snow. Kids think the snow is pretty but that's 'cause they don't have to shovel it or drive in it or work in it. They just watch it with different eyes. They think it means shit when all it is, really, is rain, only it pretends to be more clean.

Schuldig just doesn't like white. White just isn't his color of choice. He doesn't get why everyone in the whole damn world is so hung up on white.

They stop in a café and order cocoa and they let it cool, gloves sitting on the tabletop in front of them. Nagi's are wool and Schuldig's are leather. Schuldig likes the idea of killing things to make himself more comfortable. He's no son of a bitch lame-ass hypocrite vegetarian. That's bullshit, that whole crusade is bullshit. Schuldig lights a cigarette, and then takes down the No Smoking sign on the wall next to him. He folds it up and puts it in his pocket. Maybe he'll hang it on the wall in his room. Yeah, he'll be amused by that.

"You want cake or something?" Schuldig asks. Nagi shrugs. The kid warms his fingers by wrapping them tight around the cup of cocoa, which is still too hot to drink. Schuldig eats a lot of sweet stuff, but not much else. He's never had a mature palate, if you can call it that. Nagi thinks it's just that he needs to really taste his food, really know that it's on his tongue. Schuldig flicks ash onto the floor, notices Nagi's uncomfortable around so many people. "Don't worry. You're not gonna blow the place up," Schuldig says. "Have some cake. They've got this double chocolate death stuff that's really good shit. I mean, as far as double chocolate death stuff goes." Schuldig winks at the waitress and waves her over, brushing red hair behind one ear as he does so. She comes right over. Damn, but Schuldig knows how to get everything he wants. Well, mostly everything he wants. At least he knows how to get a distracted waitress over. The waitress blushes behind her pad, pencil poised. "We'll have the cake," Schuldig says lazily, pointing to the one on display on the counter. "That one. Two slices. Big slices. You know. Don't give us any thin shit, really thick slices." His eyes dart to Nagi, then fix back on the waitress's face. "You know," he repeats, "something you can really sink your teeth into." The waitress doesn't have to write anything down. She'll remember the order. Hell, she'll probably remember the order for as long as she lives. And she'll bring it to them really quick, too.

"Why do you do that," Nagi wonders aloud, after the waitress has hurried off. Schuldig twists his hair in his hands, toying with it absently. Schuldig never sits still.

"I don't know. We'll get our fucking cake, anyway. Hell, I probably made her day. I don't know." Schuldig blows on his cocoa. He takes a sip, a slow, slight sip. "Good. Not too fucking hot. I'd fucking kill someone if I burned my fucking tongue again." The waitress comes back and puts their cake down and Schuldig winks at her. Schuldig, Nagi notices, looks really good when he winks. Really alive. Schuldig, Nagi notices also, is not a good-looking guy, really. His features are incongruent, seem pieced together by a child. His chin and nose are too long, his hair color is too fake, his eyes are too strangely shaped, his cheekbones are too high, and his eyebrows are too thin. But he looks good. He's always looked good. He catches your attention and you can't help but stare at him, whether you know him or not, whether you hate him or like him or love him or think you love him or whatever. Not pretty, certainly. Beautiful, certainly. And really attractive.

Well, the waitress seems to think so, anyway. The waitress really seems to think so. Nagi gives her a petulant look but she doesn't notice, she's too busy staring at Schuldig from across the room.

"I don't like her," Nagi says.

"So you want to make her spill a coffee or something?" Schuldig grins. "Go on. Go ahead. But eat your cake. It's good cake."

Nagi picks up his fork and watches Schuldig eat before Nagi eats, himself. The cake is good, really good chocolate, and there's a lot of it. Schuldig runs his thumb over the corner of his mouth - and that's another thing, Schuldig's lips are too wide, too, but Schuldig grins like a cat and it's wonderful to look at. Schuldig is smoking while eating his cake and maybe it's a good thing Schuldig was flirting with the waitress. No one tries to stop him from smoking in the no-smoking section.

"I don't really want to make her spill something," Nagi says, because it's good cake and he feels a little better about himself, about things. Schuldig makes a face.

"Oh, come on," he says, pushing the subject. "She's a real cunt, anyway. You should. She deserves it. A real cunt." Schuldig takes another bite of his cake, stabbing it with his fork. Only Schuldig can use a fork like a weapon. Only Schuldig can eat cake with a vengeance but shoot someone's brains out their ears like he doesn't even care.

"Maybe before we leave," Nagi says. His eyes glitter. Sometimes Nagi looks so fucking much like Crawford that it starts to hurt Schuldig, in his lungs, his throat. But when Schuldig plants ideas in Nagi's head and Nagi's eyes flash that way, Schuldig is reassured that maybe the kid will be okay after all. Schuldig lights another cigarette and holds it in the same hand he holds the mug in. Nagi wonders if it ruins the taste of the chocolate at all. He keeps eating his cake. Halfway done, though it looks like Schuldig's only just begun to eat. Schuldig won't finish his cake, anyway. He asked for a big piece of cake and he'll take three bites and that'll be it.

"There's some fucking hope for you yet," Schuldig says.

"Crawford wouldn't think so," Nagi says, wryly.

"Fuck Crawford," Schuldig snaps over the warmth of the cocoa. "Don't talk about him here. It's just fucking us here." Nagi shrugs.

"Why do you talk about him that way?" Schuldig runs his forefinger over the bridge of his nose.

"Why is that the only fucking question you ever ask me, for fuck's sake? Jesus Christ." Schuldig's eyes are very green. Schuldig goes from complacent to pissed off in two flat seconds. "Get a new fucking question."

"Okay," Nagi says. "Why do you hate him?" Shit, but Nagi really wants to know.

"Fuck," Schuldig says into the cocoa. "Fuck your topics of conversation. I hate him because he lets me put my hand down his pants but he won't let me put my mouth on his dick like my hand's clean and my mouth isn't. So fuck him and let's talk about some other fucking thing else now."

"Okay," Nagi acquiesces. "Sure. Do you want me to make her spill the coffee now or something?"

"Sure, go ahead," Schuldig says. Something needs to happen to salvage the fucking mood. Schuldig leans back in his chair and listens, waits, for her mood to change. Nagi concentrates. The cup of coffee shifts on the tray and the waitress yelps and then there's coffee on the front of her shirt and apron and there's broken porcelain on the floor around her feet. She's wearing really ugly white sneakers.

"There," Nagi says. He watches Schuldig grin and smoke and grin around the cigarette. Nagi can't help but grin, too. Schuldig has infectious facial expressions, infectious moods. Nagi touches Schuldig's hand as it is, resting palm down on the tabletop. It's a swift touch, fleeting. Schuldig knocks ash onto his plate.

"So," Schuldig asks, "you done, or what?" Nagi takes the last bite of cake, chews a couple of times, and swallows.

"Sure," Nagi says, watching Schuldig watch the waitress try to clean up the mess. Her face is very red; she is very embarrassed, afraid of losing her job. "Where do you want to go next?" Crawford, blissfully, has given them a day off, probably just to get Schuldig out of the house and out of his hair. Schuldig, always one to take advantage of a situation, is obviously determined to make full use of the free time. Nagi knows Schuldig isn't going back to the apartment until he's gotten all the winter restlessness out of his bones.

"I don't know," Schuldig says, "let's drive around."

"Crawford didn't let us take the car," Nagi points out. Crawford knows that however much damage Schuldig can cause while on foot, he can cause twice as much behind the wheel. Schuldig tugs money out of his pocket, tossing yen messily down onto the table to pay for the cake.

"So let's hotwire one," Schuldig says, sounding perfectly logical. Nagi wants to say that Crawford won't like that but Schuldig's already grabbed on to Nagi's hand, and they're out the door, into the cold air. "Remember," Schuldig says, "the fancier the car the easier the steal. But, the shittier the drive." Nagi shakes his head, wary of the whole idea. Once you let Schuldig follow through on an idea he's gotten into his head, you're in for quite a ride, Nagi knows that, and not always a good one. Sometimes that ride can lead to the best time of your life. Sometimes that ride can land you smack in the hospital for days. Unless you're Crawford, really, you never know which. "Come on," Schuldig says, "Crawford wouldn't have let us go out if he knew we'd get into real trouble. You can choose the car. Come on."

"Well," Nagi pauses, then, "okay. How about that one?" He points to a sleek silver thing, smooth, expensive, perfect. Schuldig throws his head back and laughs, a good laugh, like being alive. It sounds good on the air.

"We'll be fucking Thelma and Louise," Schuldig says, "only we won't go flying off a cliff. Come on," he says again. He shoves his hands in his pockets and crosses the street, right in front of cars, but of course they stop for him. Nagi sticks close to his side. Watching Schuldig in action gives you little thrills. Schuldig stops by the side of the car, scans the street, and then gets to work. He picks the front door lock with a paperclip and a nail file and then he slips inside, unlocks the opposite door. Nagi gets in, closes it. They lock their respective doors. Schuldig puts the nail file and the paper clip away. Then, he pulls the knife out of it's sheath, on his left boot, and slams it as hard as he can into that little line running along the dashboard. "Everything beautiful has a weakness," Schuldig says. Nagi folds his hands over his lap. The dashboard is pried off easily and Schuldig tugs impatiently at the wires, cutting two, and then sticking them to their opposites. "Hold that," Schuldig says. Nagi does so. Schuldig pulls some tape out of his pocket - Schuldig carries everything in his pockets - and wraps it around the wires, holding them together. The engine is making a laboring sound, the sort really expensive cars make in the cold. Schuldig puts his knife away as the engine warms up. "There," he says, "too fucking easy. We should crash it. Too fucking easy."

They pull out of the parking space. Nagi moves closer against Schuldig's side and Schuldig lets out a whooping sound, rolling down his window. He steps on the gas, real hard, so they speed through a yellow light.

"We are off," Schuldig says, grinning that devastating, wonderful grin. "Let's fucking go."

It isn't important where they go. They race down the streets, barely making certain lights, running others, when Schuldig knows they'll get away with it. They almost hit a blonde girl, a young business man, and two boys smoking a joint on a street corner. Schuldig slams on the breaks for the two boys, and leans his head out the window.

"Give me the fucking joint," he says, "or I'll run you over." The boys, witless and confused and a little stoned, comply without thinking. Schuldig drives away, steering with one hand. "You ever?" he asks Nagi, lifting the joint.

"No," Nagi says.

"Of course not," Schuldig says. "Go on. Try it. Here, no, I'll try it first, then you try it." Schuldig puts it between his lips, drags in his breath, coughs. "Shit," he says, "it has been one fucking long time." He takes another drag. "Not bad, though," he says. "It's fucking good shit. Go on. Try it." He hands it to Nagi and Nagi's smaller hand takes it. Nagi puts it to his lips, drags once, twice. Nagi coughs a whole lot more than Schuldig does, but he takes a third drag.

"It's not bad," Nagi says. "Well, once you get used to it," he amends.

"Fuck yeah," Schuldig says. Nagi puts the joint back between Schuldig's parted lips, and Schuldig speeds through a red light. It feels really great to be a teenager again, like he was, reckless and out of control. It feels great because it feels like freedom, a sort of confined interpretation of freedom, but freedom nonetheless. Even if it is only a concept, an imaginary creation.

"Are we going anywhere?" Nagi asks.

"Are we going anywhere?" Schuldig mimics. He slings one arm around Nagi's shoulders. They've finished the joint. Shit, Schuldig thinks, we are both fucking stoned. "No, we're not fucking going anywhere. We're going backwards. We're going to hell. I don't know. Shit," he says, "shit. We're going to hell in a handbag. Handbasket. Fuck, I don't know, we're going somewhere, but I'm fucking turned on by the possibilities. You know?" Nagi looks at Schuldig's profile, strong and intent. Nagi slips a hand between his legs and Schuldig swerves, one hand clutching the wheel. His eyes flicker to Nagi's face. "What, you want to?" Shit, that's right, that's what a joint does to people, especially if they don't expect it. Shit, of course. Crawford is going to kill him. Schuldig grins wider, and then, he laughs. "Well fuck me," Schuldig says, "I haven't had sex in a car in a long fucking time, okay." Nagi throws his head back and for the first time in Schuldig's life, Schuldig hears Nagi laugh.

Schuldig steers them into a drive-through car wash and pays the gawking attendance kid and says, "Just fucking put us through, okay?" Then, they're in the dark, and there's this feeling of surreal wetness. Schuldig puts his hand down Nagi's jeans.

"I'll do for you what I do for Crawford," he says.

"No," Nagi says, suddenly, "don't."

"Shit," Schuldig says, "it's fastest, and I'm fucking good at it."

"Don't," Nagi insists. "Not what you do for Crawford." Schuldig kisses him and Nagi shifts and tries to get into Schuldig's lap. Schuldig rubs his tongue against Nagi's teeth, grabs at his ass with one hand, steers with the other.

"This is gonna be real damn hard to fucking swing," Schuldig says. Nagi rubs up against him. "Oh, Christ," Schuldig says. Nagi kisses him again. Nagi runs his fingers through Schuldig's hair and licks Schuldig's lips a little. Their tongues touch and press against each other and they kiss loudly, hungrily, carelessly. Nagi runs his fingers over Schuldig's scalp. This is really only the second instance they've kissed. From the way Nagi's kissing him Schuldig knows Nagi's been thinking about it a lot. So he takes his hand off Nagi's ass and touches Nagi's face, instead. Soap moves over the hood of the car that isn't even theirs. Schuldig pulls his mouth away from Nagi's and kisses over his cheek and jaw and sucks on his ear and moves down his neck, stopped by the turtleneck sweater too soon. He moves up to Nagi's chin, kisses it, kisses it, clutches him closer, an arm around his shoulders. Nagi grabs at his face, urges their mouths together again, making a choked noise.

When the car pulls out of the drive through Schuldig's at the wheel and Nagi, only a little disheveled, is sitting next to him again. He's still sitting really close. Hey, maybe, a little closer.

Schuldig drives them near enough to the apartment building so that it's not a bitch to walk home, and then he drives the car into a store window. The glass shatters and Nagi shivers and clutches tight to the sleeve of Schuldig's jacket. In the following chaos, they get the hell out without being seen, Schuldig with only a cut on his cheek, Nagi without a scratch.

"Let's get the fuck home," Schuldig says. He watches the mess from across the street and up the block with a satisfied, sated expression. Nagi hunches his shoulders a little, fixing the weight of his winter coat. He looks at Schuldig out of the corner of his eye and loves the way he looks, cheeks a little flushed, with exhilaration or cold or unnamed madness or whatever, you never can fucking tell, with Schuldig. You never can fucking tell.

"It is cold," Nagi says.

"Crawford is going to fucking kill me," Schuldig says.

"Don't worry," Nagi says, "I won't let him."

"You gonna protect me?" Schuldig asks.

"Sure," Nagi answers.

"Good," Schuldig says, "because I fucking need it." Nagi smiles and Schuldig laughs and the sound of fire snapping in the engine of that fine fucking car sizzles on the air. It's been a good day, Schuldig can honestly say that. Not for the store owner, or for whatever dumb bastard owned that fucking car, or for the waitress in the café, but it's been one hell of a day. Really, in his own way, Schuldig's really pleased.

Nagi, secretive and dark, will hold this day with him for as long as time permits. We're not fucking going anywhere, he thinks. Fuck, I don't know, we're going somewhere, but I'm fucking turned on by the possibilities. You know?