Understanding

by myka

Warnings! Yaoi, angst

Pairing: Schuldig/Yohji

A/N: This was the kiriban MiniMorr requested for the 1111th hit on my site. The song 'Understanding is performed by Evanescence and naaha mentioned the fic made more sense after hearing the song. I agree. Thanks to her for betaing ^-^

~~~

//You hold the answer deep within your own mind. Consciously you've forgotten it. That's the way the human mind words. Whenever something is too unpleasant, too shameful for us to entertain we reject it, we erase it from our memory, but the imprint is always there.//

Kudou Yohji felt the calm of death calling to him. The depth of the ocean trying to swallow him. The floor had crumbled beneath his feet and in the middle of a battle at that. The water surrounded him and he choked as it invaded his lungs and took his air away.

He tried to reach for the surface, but something kept pulling him down by his wrist. He forced his eyes to see into the dark waters and spotted his enemy not far away. Yohji cursed as he remembered he had been trying to squeeze the life out of the telepath from Schwarz when the floor had collapsed. He peered through the darkness of the water and pinpointed the unconscious German just a few feet away from him, the wire still wrapped around the telepath's neck

The blond assassin tried to unhook the watch from his wrist, but the thing was damaged; he couldn't take it off. Schuldig kept falling deeper down into the water, as a few bubbles escaped from his mouth. Yohji had to make a decision. Either bring his unconscious enemy with him to the surface or drown with him.

And Kudou Yohji wasn't about to die without a fight. He took the remaining air that was in his lungs and swam towards the German; he grabbed his right arm and placed it over his neck as he started swimming upwards. The surface broke and Yohji took a much needed breath of air.

The swim to shore wasn't easy and Yohji found himself swallowing unwanted water on more than one occasion. The sand felt cold to the touch, but it was a very comforting sensation. It meant his struggle was over. He released his enemy onto the ground as he collapsed to his knees. His lungs burned, demanding sharp intakes of air. Yohji took a better look at his watch and severed the link between him and the telepath, releasing the stress on the wire and letting it uncoil from the redhead's neck. Yohji glanced around for his teammates only to find the rest of the beach deserted. He pressed his palms against the soft sand and thought for a bit.

Ok. Recap. The floor had collapsed in the middle of their fight with Schwarz, apparently taking everyone with it. Now he was on the shore with the enemy he had been forced to save. But there was nobody else. Where were Aya, Ken and Omi? Surely they had made it out just like he had, right? Then why couldn't he see them? Was he all alone? No, not alone.

"Oi! Wake up!"

Schuldig remained motionless, his lips holding a tinge of blue. Yohji stretched his hand and felt for a pulse, finding nothing. He cursed under his breath and immediately forced the telepath's mouth open. He was not about to let him die just like that. For all Yohji knew, they could be the only ones left. The redhead's lips were cold as Yohji breathed into them.

Schuldig coughed suddenly, spitting some of the water that had accumulated to his lungs. His eyes snapped open and the despair in them settled on Yohji as he took gasps of air. Yohji slumped his body onto the ground beside his enemy again, forcing away his body's demand to shut down. He wasn't worried that the telepath might attack him; maybe he just hadn't the strength to care.

"You saved me."

Yohji took a deep breath as he stared towards the night sky, and was about to reply with a semi-rude comment when his thoughts were interrupted.

"Who are you?"

The Weiss assassin instantly turned his head to look at Schuldig, who in turn was looking at him with a sort of confusion in his eyes.

"Is this a trick?" Yohji thought, as he tried to clear his head enough to think. The German couldn't possibly have amnesia. It had to be a trick.

Yohji kept staring as he tried to sit up, and watched as the redhead placed his hands on his head and sat up in one quick motion. "What was that?"

//Can't wash it all away
Can't wish it all away
Can't hope it all away
Can't cry it all away//

Schuldig stared blatantly at the man sitting beside him. Confusion poured over him, the blond looked familiar, but he just couldn't remember why. He couldn't remember much at all. His entire mind was full of blurry images and faces.

{"Maybe he lost control of his gift."}

Schuldig's eyes widened; why was there a voice in his head? He pressed his hands against his forehead. "Stop that! Why can I hear you inside my head?!"

Yohji grasped one of the redhead's shoulders, forcing those emerald eyes upon himself. Schuldig looked lost, confused, could he be telling the truth? "You're a telepath. You can read people's minds," he stated, positive that the German was just playing with him.

Schuldig swallowed. "… A telepath? …Why?"

Yohji remained speechless at the question. He couldn't answer it. But one thing he was sure of, he didn't want to deal with this right now; he just wanted out of the wet clothes and off of that beach.

His legs screamed in protest as he stood up; it wouldn't solve anything to get pneumonia. He looked down at Schuldig, who still sat on the sand with a dazed look on his eyes. It looked like the German really had lost his memory, something that could be temporary; but as long as the redhead didn't know who he was he was defenseless. Yohji offered his hand to his enemy. "C'mon, let's get some shelter." Schuldig hesitated a second before taking the offered hand, allowing his eyes to meet Yohji's. The blond blinked at what he saw in them; he stepped forward, helping the telepath to his feet, all his hesitation gone with one look into those eyes.

~~~

Yohji was on his way up to his new apartment after paying a visit to Kritiker's headquarters. It was good to know that things were still calm after that night, and that Aya, Ken and Omi had come out of the mission with only minor injuries. He took the keys from his pocket as he walked up the stairs, inserted them into the keyhole and swung the door open. He locked the door behind him and immediately headed to the bedroom; he opened the door and instantly frowned.

"Hey! I thought I told you not to leave the bed!"

"But I'm cold," Schuldig protested, still trying to search for blankets somewhere inside the closet; he had no clue where they were.

Yohji huffed and walked towards Schuldig, grabbing his wrist once he reached him and dragging him back to the bed. "Stay," he ordered. "I'll get your blanket." Schuldig went back to the bed as Yohji went to the closet and pulled the blankets from a semi-hidden corner.

"You didn't have to hide them from me, it's not like I have anywhere to go." Schuldig frowned.

Yohji sighed. "I didn't hide them, you just didn't look well enough, Schuldig." The redhead just blinked his emerald eyes once, getting more comfortable in the sleeping robes Yohji had provided for him, and sat on the edge of the bed he'd been occupying for the better part of the past two weeks. "Is that really my name?" he asked softly.

Yohji turned towards him, blanket in hand "It is," he replied, handing him the blanket.

The German grunted in disbelief. "You seem to know a lot about me, but for some reason you refuse to tell me what those things are," he said in an annoyed tone.

"Trust me. I think you're better off not knowing," the blond replied.

Schuldig settled on the bed and pulled the covers up over him, adding the new blanket. "Are you sure?"

The Weiss assassin paused for a while as he closed the closet again. "No. I can't be sure."

"What do you have to lose?" the redhead couldn't help but ask.

Yohji just looked at him. What did he have to loose? For some reason he hadn't yet turned his enemy over to his bosses. He especially did not want to do it while Schuldig was sick. They would probably kill him; they would see him as useless with no memory, and they would kill him. So what did he have to lose?

"Your trust."

//The pain that grips you
The fear that binds you
Releases life in me
In our mutual shame we hide our eyes
To blind them from the truth that finds a way to who we are//

Schuldig huffed quite loudly, finding comfort in a bed he grown accustomed to, and always felt too lonely in. "I would be dead if it wasn't for you. So I don't think you have to worry about that."

Yohji blinked, walking around the bed and sitting on the opposite corner. "That sounds so weird coming from you," he said mildly. Schuldig gave him a strange look and Yohji instantly repented the words. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean that," the blond assassin apologized. Schuldig didn't pay much attention to it, trying to beat away the cold that seemed to come from inside his body. "Are you still cold?" Yohji suddenly asked.

"Just a little," Schuldig lied, still shivering.

Yohji leaned closer to him and placed his palm on Schuldig's forehead without even a second thought to his actions. "You still have a fever." He said as Schuldig got more comfortable under the covers. Yohji noticed when the redhead shivered slightly and got under the covers too, swiftly molding his body to his enemy's.

"Yohji?" Schuldig asked, slightly confused.

"Is this better?" the blond asked.

Schuldig felt the warmth coming from Yohji's body and melted against it. "Yes," he replied softly as he closed his eyes and just let the warmth roll over him.

Yohji got as close as he dared too. "Do you mind if I'm this close?"

The redhead breathed out, opening his eyes once more, letting his gaze fall to concerned jade eyes. "No…"

Yohji smiled. "Then don't protest."


//Please don't be afraid
When the darkness fades away
The dawn will break the silence screaming at our hearts//

Schuldig eventually got over his flu, and soon Yohji started returning home to a friendly and up-beat face. He never imagined things would turn out like this. Sharing his living space with his enemy, learning to care for him. All behind his teammates' backs.

"Hey Schu, what did you do today?" Yohji asked when he saw the redhead sitting on the couch, watching some movie on T.V.

"Went to the corner store," he answered.

"You went out?" the blond asked, quite surprised, as he took off his coat and placed it on the hanger.

"Yes. I'm never doing it again."

"Why?"

"I've been able to control 'my gift,' as you say, around you. I can't hear your thoughts unless I want to. So I figured it would be alright to go see if I could remember a food I liked, or if I remembered anything at all."

"So what did you buy?"

"Fruit. And I also discovered that currently I cannot shield more than one person at the same time." Yohji laughed a bit, making Schuldig pout. "It's not funny, I have a major headache."

Yohji couldn't help it as a smile formed on his face. "I'm pretty sure you'll get the hang of it eventually."

"Really?" Schuldig asked, detaching his view from the T.V and glancing at Yohji.

Yohji blinked slowly, his heart doing a small somersault. He sat down beside the redhead on the small couch, his eyes reflecting the warmth he felt.  "Are you reading my mind now?"

Schuldig smirked as he leaned closer to Yohji. "Yes."

Yohji closed his eyes due to his own troubled thoughts. "Then you know what I want to do right now."

"I do," Schuldig purred, touching Yohji's cheek with the tip of his fingers.

The blond snapped his eyes open; this wasn't how he thought things would play out. But somewhere deep inside him there was a spot of bliss, because Schuldig felt the same way he did.  "You don't mind?" he asked, still uncertain.

"I've been waiting for you to get your guts up for a week now."

Yohji frowned. "That's mean."

Schuldig leaned even closer to Yohji. "I don't care. If you want to kiss me, do it already."

Yohji frowned again, but wasted no time in grabbing Schuldig's neck and letting his lips caress the redhead's. He pressed the other body to him, forgetting why he wanted to do this, forgetting everything. Somewhere along the way during the month and a half that the telepath had lived with him it had happened. This was what he wanted: Schuldig against him, their bodies wanting to be one.

Yohji stopped. He couldn't do it. He couldn't do this to someone who didn't even remember his own name.

Yohji pulled away from the kiss and stumbled backwards. Schuldig's pain-stricken eyes immediately fell on him.

"I can't do this," Yohji admitted. "I'm sorry." Then he stood up from the couch and made to leave. A hand held his wrist and he froze.

"It's because I don't remember isn't it? Something to do with who I am?" Schuldig questioned softly, squeezing Yohji's wrist in a silent plea for the blond to return to him. "Don't leave…"

Yohji swallowed hard and shut his eyes, because if he looked at Schuldig he knew he would give in. He twisted his wrist until he was free of the German's hold and locked himself in his room without saying another word.

//My love for you still grows
This I do for you
Before I try to fight the truth my final time//

The light on the room had long been turned off but Yohji could not find sleep. Every time he closed his eyes he would see Schuldig's pleading gaze staring back at him.

He tried to deny it, to repress it, to forget it. But in the end he just had to accept it. He had fallen hard for his enemy; an enemy that lived only on what Yohji told him was the truth. He had fallen in love.

At first Yohji felt bad about the redhead losing his memory, then Schuldig got sick and Yohji found that taking care of his enemy brought a little meaning to an empty point in his life. By the time he was ready to reveal he had a member of Schwarz staying at his place, he was already smitten and couldn't even force himself to do it. Discovering every new aspect of the telepath's personality had been truly delightful. Sometimes Schuldig would smirk or laugh in a certain way that would remind Yohji that this was his enemy he was falling in love with; but for the better part Yohji didn't care. 

Which meant now he had a problem. A big one.

Yohji groaned in desperation; the white ceiling had long lost its ability to make him fall asleep out of boredom. He heard a noise coming from the door; someone was picking the lock. His door opened and Yohji jumped, immediately startled.

Schuldig stood by the door, his frame the only thing that could be seen due to the contrast of the darkness in Yohji's room and the light coming from outside. "Is something wrong Schuldig? Why aren't you in your room…" Yohji hushed. For a second he thought he saw Schuldig's emerald eyes, but that was impossible. The room was just too dark. Yohji felt a tremor run through his entire body nonetheless.

"I thought you wanted me," the redhead stated, as he leaned by the doorway.

"I never said that," Yohji replied, trying to keep his breathing calm.

Schuldig left the doorframe and stepped towards the bed slowly. "But it's all you think about."

Yohji shut his eyes and lowered his head. "I can't… I just can't…"

Schuldig reached the bed and kneeled on the mattress. The sudden change in weight on the bed forced Yohji to open his eyes and stare at Schuldig. Yohji made an effort to disappear somewhere under the sheets as Schuldig loomed over him. Warm hands touched his face and lips immediately enveloped his.

He surrendered.

//We're supposed to try to be real. We feel alone when we're not together, and that is real.//

Yohji stared at Schuldig's sleeping form. He had crossed the final boundary in the situation he had knowingly put himself into. He had slept with the enemy. Made love with him… and he had no regrets.

But what would happen know? He couldn't just couldn't waltz back into his usual routine and forget like Schuldig had.

There was no guarantee his now lover wouldn't regain his memory at some point. And as much as Yohji dreaded it, he knew it was probably inevitable. I was just a matter of when. And what would happen when he did?


//Can't wash it all away
Can't wish it all away
Can't cry it all away
Can't scratch it all away//

The guilt didn't show itself until later on. But one day it was there every second and Yohji could barely take it.

It started one night after Schuldig had decided to permanently move into Yohji's room. The Weiss assassin woke to Schuldig's tossing and turning, and he didn't know what to do. The redhead frowned in his sleep and murmured under his breath. "Please don't…please…"

Yohji leaned forward and placed his palm on Schuldig's forehead. The redhead seemed to react to the touch as he let out a soft gasp. "Yohji… help me…"

"Shhh… I'm here, I'm here," Yohji whispered, making an effort not to wake his lover. "I'm here."


//Lying beside you
Listening to you breathe
The light that flows inside of you burns inside of me//

Things worsened as more days passed; the nightmares were now accompanied by day long headaches that only got worst with each passing day. Sometimes Yohji would discover Schuldig mumbling to himself, seemingly lost in his own memories. Schuldig's memory was trying to rise to the surface and for some reason the telepath was repelling those memories. Yohji couldn't help but believe that reason was him. And this hurt him more than anything.

One night the nightmares got really ugly and Schuldig started screaming and thrashing. Yohji tried to wake him, but no matter what he did, he was unable to stir his beloved from whatever was haunting his sleep.

Schuldig was suffering, and Yohji knew it. There was a decision to be made; Yohji could not allow his lover to suffer anymore. Even if the price meant losing him, it was time to reveal everything to him.

"Sit down, Schuldig. We need to talk," Yohji said as he dragged Schuldig from the living room to the bedroom.

"I'm tired Yohji, I have a headache," the redhead protested, but upon seeing the bed he immediately sat on it.

Yohji kneeled on the floor and took Schuldig's hands within his. "That's why we have to talk. I'm going to help you."

Schuldig blinked. "How?"

The blond gazed into his lover's emerald eyes and took a deep breath. "I'm going to tell you. I'm going to tell you the truth."

Schuldig shifted slightly at the statement, never letting go of Yohji's gaze. "Why now?"

"Your headaches, your nightmares. You're seeing glimpses aren't you? While you sleep…"

Schuldig's eyes widened, then he stared at the floor. Yohji could practically sense the uneasiness flowing from him. Then he spoke. "People scream in my dreams, I don't recognize anyone. There is blood on my hands, and I know it's not mine. I fire a gun…" He untangled his hands from Yohji's grasp and clasped them together. He raised his head slowly and gave Yohji a confused look. "What did I do to create these images?" he asked in a voice just above a whisper.

Yohji rose and sat beside him, taking his hand again. "Schuldig…." He paused. "That is your real name… As far as I know. You work for a team called Schwarz, you're… You're an assassin… And you're my enemy."

Schuldig took his hand back from Yohji's hold in a flash as the words broke something inside him. "What?"

Yohji took his hand again and opened his mind to his lover. He recalled everything that had happened. As it all played back in his head he knew Schuldig could see it as well. "I'm an assassin too; my team's name is Weiss. That night on the beach we were fighting and the building collapsed. You got tangled in my wire and I got you out because I would have drowned otherwise. I had no intention of saving you that night."

Schuldig covered one of his ears as more images flashed through his mind. A tall man with dark hair and glasses giving him an order. Yohji tightening a wire around his neck. The floor disappearing beneath his feet. And water… tons and tons of deep black water. "Stop it! I don't want to see anymore!"

But Yohji didn't stop, he had to do it, he couldn't live a lie, no more lies. He wrapped his arms around Schuldig and held him tight.  "I was just going to help you recover then hand you over to my bosses. But I couldn't do it…Schu…" Schuldig struggled but Yohji just held on tighter. "I fell in love with you."

//Hold and speak to me
Of love without a sound
Tell me you will live through this and I will die for you//

"No!" Schuldig screamed as he pushed Yohji away from him. Yohji stumbled backwards and almost fell off the bed. Schuldig stood up, holding his head between his hands. He dropped to his knees and screamed. Yohji was instantly there, putting his arms around Schuldig's shoulders. The telepath seemed to shudder under Yohji's touch and then he suddenly calmed.

Without looking at Yohji, Schuldig squirmed free of the arms around him and rose from the floor. "Balinese… how could you?" he spoke softly and Yohji stood beside him, wanting to reach out to him. Schuldig turned his head towards Yohji and his eyes narrowed as he shook his head over and over. "How could you?"

Yohji raised a hand tentatively toward the redhead's face, but it was quickly slapped away. Schuldig stepped back, freeing himself from Yohji's touch. "Don't touch me! Don't…"

And Yohji knew. "You remember."

"How could you do this to me?"

"I'm sorry. But it doesn't matter now. No Weiss, no Schwarz, just you and me, Schu. I love you, I need you." Yohji snatched both sides of Schuldig's head as gently as he could and pulled the redhead into a kiss. Schuldig responded immediately, letting his arms fall on Yohji's waist and opening his mouth willingly. Yohji parted their lips and the kiss ended as he stared deep into the emerald orbs before him. But what he saw there wasn't what he expected, what he wanted… No love, no lust, just… Disappointment.

"You fell in love with a person that doesn't exist, Yohji."

The blond shook his head. "That's not true, that person was you. I love you."

Schuldig broke the embrace and stepped back. He spoke very slowly. "I hate you… I hate you for doing this to me. You had no right to do this to me!" he screamed viciously. "For making me…"

"No…" Yohji stepped forward and reached out just to have Schuldig move farther away from him and give him a hateful gaze. He shut his eyes for a moment, trying not to feel the hurt. "Don't leave! Please!" he begged.

"What did you expect?! That I wouldn't care? That I would just hold you and that I wouldn't mind?!" Schuldig snapped.

"Please…"

"I can't!" the telepath yelled in a grave tone. He stood firmly and stared straight into Yohji's eyes. "For all that it's worth, thank you. But whatever happened between us is over."

Yohji wrapped his arms around himself. He couldn't force Schuldig to stay, even though he would have given anything for Schuldig to just stay

The redhead walked around Yohji and stopped at the door. "Goodbye now."

The door slammed shut with a thunderous sound. Yohji slumped on the bed. He grabbed a pillow and held it tightly as his heart shattered.


//Cast me not away
Say you'll be with me
For I know I cannot bear it all alone//

Schuldig moped, something he despised and seemed to be doing a lot of lately. Three weeks had passed since his memory had come back, and the first thing he had done after leaving Yohji's apartment was return to his old home base.

Brad had been there, along with Nagi and Farfarello; they were all there. At first it seemed that Brad, or any of them for that matter, didn't care about where he had been since the accident. Well… maybe Nagi a little. At first the telekinetic would ask questions, like where had he been staying, or how had Schuldig been able afford his living expenses without a source of income. Schuldig would just avoid the subject entirely, and one day Nagi just stopped asking.

But the one person Schuldig was really worried about was Brad. Schwarz's leader had been acting weird lately and Schuldig didn't like it one bit. He had a bad feeling.

One night, Schuldig was getting ready to go to bed when someone knocked on his door. He blinked and stood from his bed, opening the door to a pair of dark blue eyes. "What do you want, chibi?" Schuldig asked Nagi, sounding very bored.

Nagi just kept a calm look on his face. "Crawford wants to see you now."

Schuldig rolled his eyes. He was tired and just wanted to sleep; he wasn't interested in what Brad had to say to him. But if he didn't go it would just make things worse; better to go and get it over with. He went out, past Nagi and right towards Brad's room.     

"He's on the roof." Nagi cut in.

"What the hell is he doing on the roof?"

Nagi just shrugged. "I'm just supposed to call you. They wouldn't tell me anything." Schuldig made a face, not caring that it showed how much he wasn't up to Brad's callings. He went up the stairs diligently; he wanted to get this over with as soon as possible. He pushed the heavy door open and was greeted by the cold night air.

Something was wrong.

Schuldig felt the tinge of three minds on the rooftop; two were clearly Brad and Farfarello, but the other…

"What's going on here?" Schuldig asked, as he approached his teammates. He froze just a few steps from them. Brad sat by the building's ledge as Farfarello stood beside him. A lean body, with his hands tied behind his back, lay on its side by Crawford's feet, and for a second Schuldig thought his heart might stop.

Crawford smirked as he rose to his feet, leaning dangerously close to the edge of the building. Farfarello remained where he was, twirling one of his knives with his left hand. Brad rolled the body on the floor with his foot, allowing Schuldig to take a better look.

Yohji's breaths were sharp, his chest moving slowly up and down with each intake of air. His eyes were closed and there were bruises along his arms and face. Schuldig knew that Yohji had not ended on that roof on his own free will.

"What the hell's going on here Brad?!" Schuldig asked again, unable to conceal his fury.

Crawford just raised his eyebrows at the emotional outburst. "Is he the reason Schuldig?" he asked calmly, bending down to snatch a mass of Yohji's hair and pull the Weiss assassin to his knees. Yohji grunted in pain as his hair was yanked, and he finally opened his eyes to look at Schuldig. "Is this member of Weiss the reason you've been so uncooperative lately?" Crawford spat, letting the anger roll out of his voice. Schuldig didn't answer, which only made Crawford angrier. He yanked Yohji's hair again, provoking another cry from the blond's lips. Yohji turned his head upwards, giving the American a hateful gaze. "And what about you Weiss? Do you love our little resident telepath over there?"

Yohji blinked, gazing at Schuldig briefly; but he already knew his answer. "Yes…"

"Why does it matter?" Schuldig interrupted suddenly in his mildest voice possible, he didn't like where the conversation was going. He walked forward until Brad's intense gaze made him stop a mere four feet from the small group. "It's over now."

"You don't even deny being with him do you?" Crawford asked, finally releasing Yohji's blond locks.

"Why should I?" Schuldig replied with a shrug, sounding indifferent. Yohji's eyes bore down on him, the jade orbs telling him everything that couldn't be voiced. Schuldig saw an apology in those eyes, and also the truth that Yohji still loved him. Schuldig sighed to himself. "It's not like it meant anything. It's not love…"

Crawford released a small laugh. "That's not what I saw," he said.

Schuldig stomped his foot on the floor, glaring at the American. "I don't care Brad! I don't care what you saw!" he yelled angrily. "I didn't remember who I was and he was nice to me! So what?! The second I regained my memory I left. What else do you want?!" he finished, his gaze never leaving his leader's eyes.

Crawford returned the hateful gaze back to its owner and kicked Yohji in the side just to anger the telepath. "To prove that his mere presence breaks you!" he snapped. "Which means that you're out!"

Schuldig was fuming. Wasn't it enough that he had returned to Schwarz? That he had done what was right by their terms?

"Then I quit!" Schuldig yelled. "You bloodless bastard! Let him go! You'll never have to see us again."

Yohji stirred at the sudden change of events, maybe he could actually get out of this alive.

"It's not that simple, Schuldig." Crawford added, his voice neutral again. "You're a liability; he's a liability. There's only one way to deal with you," he finished and pulled Yohji's hair again, this time forcing the Weiss assassin to his feet. Yohji cursed, but Crawford just grinned at him. Yohji knew he was in trouble as he looked at those dark eyes. He struggled against the bonds holding his hands as he tried to glance towards where Schuldig was standing.

"What the hell do you gain from this, Brad?" Schuldig asked suddenly, giving another step forward but not daring to go any further for fear that Crawford might do something rash.

Crawford just remained silent then he extended his free hand towards Farfarello who without blinking handed the American the sharp knife he'd been playing with. Crawford gazed briefly at Schuldig. "Guess we will never know, will we Schu?" he said, just before gripping the knife hard in his hand and swinging it forward, driving it deep into Yohji's side.

Yohji's shock and pain reflected on his jade eyes instantly. The blade was removed and his feet buckled, but Crawford grabbed his shoulder and held him up. Yohji felt the sharpness of the blade near his wrist and his bonds were released. A hand snatched his chin, forcing his sight forward and he had a second to glance into Crawford's emotionless eyes before the American drove the knife deep into him again and pushed him off the ledge of the building.

Far away someone screamed his name.

//You're not alone, honey, Never. Never.//

The darkness of the moonless night surrounded Yohji as he fell. He cried. The wind crashed against his face and he knew it was death come calling. Any moment now his fall would end. His only comfort was that Schuldig knew how he felt. At least he knew.

There was an instant when Yohji fell a presence beside him, then he felt arms around him accompanied by the warmth of another body. His mind raced and before he could collect a coherent though there was a crash and everything went black.

//Can't fight it all away
Can't hope it all away
Can't scream it all away
It just won't fade away//

Consciousness pressed itself into Yohji's mind, and he slowly opened his eyes. There was a light somewhere; a lonely light bulb dangling by the end of its cord. He could hear water dripping nearby. An alley.

Yohji's entire body seemed to scream in agony, especially his midsection. He remembered getting stabbed and being pushed off building. He should be dead. Yohji pressed his face against what lay below him and discovered that it wasn't the cold concrete as he had expected but something softer, warmer… Another body.

The moon added more light to the alley as it appeared from behind the clouds. Yohji saw Schuldig. His lover was the one beneath him. A warm smile formed on Yohji's face instantly. He passed his slender fingers through Schuldig's hair, but it was matted, soaked. Yohji flinched at the feeling, pulling his fingers back, and stared at them. His hands started to shake at the sight of blood; the fingers he had just passed through Schuldig's hair were soaked with blood.

The warmth he'd felt when he had been falling.

"Schuldig!" Yohji yelled, and when he did something came over him. It rolled over him like a brush fire. A strong feeling directed at him. Love…

Thinking about his lover had triggered something. Dozens of images flashed before his eyes. All the moments he and Schuldig had spent together.

He gasped. "What did you do, Schuldig?" He looked at his motionless lover. His voice calmed. "Schu?"

Yohji changed his position despite the pain at his side and pressed two of his digits against his beloved's neck. There was nothing there.

"No…" A tear streamed down Yohji's cheek, and an intense pain tightened around his chest. He pressed his face against Schuldig's chest and cried.

//Can't wash it all away
Can't wish it all away
Can't throw it all away
Can't scratch it all away//

An endless amount of time seemed to pass, but Yohji knew that it could not have been more than a few minutes.

Yohji stared at his lover, took notice of Schuldig's beautiful face: his closed eyes and his full lips, how serene he looked, still beautiful. He clutched at his heart and took a deep breath, wiping some tears aside and rising from the floor. His body protested, but he ignored it. Yohji bent down and placed one arm behind Schuldig's knees and the other behind his back, picking him up from the damp floor. He managed to give one solid step forward before his body betrayed him and his legs gave away. His knees crashed against the floor and Yohji cursed. He cursed at himself, cursed the alley, cursed destiny. He ran his fingers gently across Schuldig's face. "Look at me, a hole in my gut and I can't even get you out of this forsaken place."

No response. Anger appeared to fill the void Yohji's heart felt. He laid Schuldig gently on the floor again, his eyes burning. "How dare you… Open your eyes dammit! I'm talking to you!" But Schuldig wouldn't open his eyes. "After all I went through… Schu…" His fists clenched and he slammed them against the hard concrete. "How could you do this to me?! I already lost someone I loved once! I can't go through this again!"

Another deep breath. "Schuldig…" There it was again; the feeling. It was strong and Yohji let it overwhelm him. He closed his eyes as he let his fingers push a red lock away from Schuldig's face. "And then you leave me with this feeling. I feel warm, loved, just by thinking about you."

//But the imprint is always there, nothing is ever really forgotten//

"You wanted to die for me?! Fine! I'm alive and miserable and everything hurts!" Yohji screamed. His chest tightened again and he felt he would stop breathing any second. He felt dead, his body just a lifeless shell void of all feeling. In the end Schuldig had decided to die for Yohji. And that knowledge was the only thing that kept Yohji going.

Yohji swallowed hard letting a hand rest on Schuldig's forehead again. "I won't leave you here, I'll come back for you, I promise." He spoke softly, then leaned forward and planted a soft kiss on Schuldig's temple. Yohji rearranged his feet and started to stand. His body shook immediately at the effort and he collapsed forward on top of his lover, every inch of his being screaming, drowsiness pouring over him. He touched where he had been stabbed twice and flinched in pain.

Yohji pressed his face against Schuldig's unmoving chest. "Hey Schu… I think neither of us was meant to survive this night." He raised his head passing his fingertips against the redhead's lips. "You hear me Schu? I can't… I can't stay awake anymore."

//Because I'm dying too//

"Schu…"

//Because I'm dying too//

Fingers against unmoving lips. "Did you know? Are you waiting for me already? Will you meet me?"

//Because I'm dying too//

Warm hands around cold ones. Foreheads pressed together. "Meet me there my love…"

//Because I'm dying too//

One last kiss. "I will be looking for you anyway."

//Because I'm dying too//

~xxx~