Title: Fade to Black
Note: So like, five days before I wanted to put this chapter out I got a Trojan and had to completely waste my computer. T-T It was the saddest day of my life… well… no, but still. That's why it's late. And because I'm working on something else, which is a surprise… (and because I'm a lazy ass! There, I admit it!)

Moving on to shout outs! Because I love you all. MWA!

Babymar-mar – Your reviews always make me laugh. I love them so, I really do. XD

Luna Kaira – Hi! Thanks. Will do. XD (Sorry, I lack motivation.)

Rebound – Isn't it wonderful how I can make you love and yet hate one of the main characters all at the same time? Yeah… I can't wait for the rest of this fic either… oh wait that's right, I'm writing it. Opps, my bad. (Just teasing.)

Myka – Gasp! Forgetting to review my wonderful works! LOL. Of course you want more. Just like everyone wants more Zelos (yes, I'm going to nag you until you finish it, or just drag this out until you do…).

James – Gotta love Brad/Schu chemicals too ya know.

Chapter 11: Replacement

"What the hell do you mean a warrant for his arrest?" Schuldich quickly shoved his way out of the living room towards the door entrance, stopping by Crawford's elbow. "And for what?"
"We have a warrant for Mr. Crawford's arrest under suspicion of attempted assassination of a high political figure, Benjiro Michio." One of the cops carefully read off the warrant in hand, while another approached Crawford with handcuffs.
"This is insane-" Schuldich started to object to the sudden situation, but Crawford merely placed his hand on Schuldich's shoulder and the younger man fell silent. There was a weight in Crawford's gaze that Schuldich quickly picked up on.
'You knew this was going to happen and didn't stop it? Why not?' Schuldich quickly sent the telepathic thought to Crawford, who shook his head.
'Don't use your powers right now, just stay out of the way and let it all work itself out.' Crawford's tone was soft as it brushed against Schuldich's mind, and Schuldich obligingly took a step away from the group of cops, who led Crawford outside before a few went back inside to search the house.
Yet now that Crawford had mentioned not to use his powers, Schuldich had a certain itch in his mind. Why would Crawford tell him such a thing? What would he find out if he did use his telepathy? Or what would happen for that matter? Schuldich didn't want to risk making matters worse but…

Curiosity killed the cat, and frankly, he wasn't one of Weiss.

Reaching out, Schuldich carefully brushed his mind against one of the cops' minds. Yet there was nothing there. It was empty space, black voids, black holes, nothing. And suddenly it hit Schuldich. These people weren't cops; they were members of whatever had become of Esset and Kritiker. They had no true minds, no real shields for him to work his way around. They were just there, like Schreient had been.
Pushing his way past a cop standing inside the doorway, Schuldich quickly followed the ones who had taken Crawford outside. The sun was shining brightly as he crossed the driveway to where Crawford was leaning against a police car, waiting to be questioned. Why they hadn't handcuffed him yet was beyond Schuldich's mind. Without wasting a breath, Schuldich grabbed Crawford by the arms and shook him slightly.
"They aren't cops; you know that, don't you?" Schuldich hissed the words at Crawford so no one else would hear him. "What the fuck do you think you're doing?"
"I know what's going to happen, and you're going to be fine." Brushing Schuldich's hands off his arms, Crawford frowned. "That is, if you don't make a scene." Scowling at the younger man, Crawford gently pushed him away as an officer approached the two. Schuldich obligingly took two steps back to give the officer room yet again. He listened carefully as the officer instructed Crawford to face the car, and then proceeded to check him for weapons.
Suddenly, nothing seemed to make sense to Schuldich. Why was Crawford letting them do this? They could easily wipe them all out in a single blow if they really wanted to, there was nothing to them. Was Crawford really going to let them arrest him? Why would he do that? Nothing made sense, and a strange panic seized Schuldich. He was vaguely aware of the fact that Yohji had come up behind him, but right now, he didn't care. What the hell was Crawford thinking?
Taking a step towards Crawford, Schuldich felt Yohji reach out for him. Slapping the hand away, Schuldich quickly pushed the cop of the way and turned Crawford around. "You- what the hell are you thinking?"
Crawford's eyes softened and he glanced back at Yohji. "Kudoh; take care of him for me." With that said, Crawford quickly laid his hand on the side of Schuldich's head, and the orange haired assassin fell lifelessly against Crawford, who quickly handed him over to Yohji.
"What did you do?" Yohji snapped as he scooped up Schuldich's unconscious body.
"I used the bond linking our minds together to knock him out. He should be out cold for at least two hours." Crawford explained quietly, the officer not looking happy at being shoved away, but a bit more pleased once Schuldich was out of the picture. "Now get him inside, if you witness me being arrested he'll take the images from your mind and dwell on them forever." With that, Crawford turned to the officer, and Yohji obediently turned his back.
Yet it felt so wrong to just walk back inside and let them take Crawford away. He wanted to turn around and just attack the cops. Somehow though, he managed to haul Schuldich inside and down to the room Schuldich and Brad had shared up until this point. Yohji carefully dumped the assassin on the bed and then wandered back to the living room, where everyone else was waiting. An officer was standing guard over them, making sure no one did anything stupid. Yohji sighed and sat down on the floor, his back against the side of the couch.
This wasn't going to end well.

No more than thirty minutes later and the police were gone, taking Crawford with them, and Nagi reappeared again with Clandestine. No one bothered asking where he had managed to hide; they just sat in silence in the living room. No one really knew what to say about the situation at hand. Crawford was the one who knew the future, none of them did.
Finally Nagi broke the silence, "Someone fill me in on what just happened."
"Crawford was arrested and taken away by the police." This came from Aya, who sat watching everyone else, a guarded expression on his face as usual. "He seemed to know what he was doing, so none of us raised a hand to fight them off."
If Nagi was shocked, he didn't show it. "What were the charges, or did anyone ask?"
"Schuldich asked. He was charged with attempted assassination of…" Aya trailed off, trying to think of the name.
"Benjiro Michio." Schuldich's voice rang out loud and clear from the hallway, and everyone turned to him. Yohji spared a thought that Crawford had said he'd be out for two hours and it hadn't even been one. Glancing at Yohji, Schuldich shrugged. "So I'm stronger than Brad remembers."
"Benjiro Michio?" Nagi looked perplexed suddenly, and a similar look crossed Omi's face as if the two had just thought of something no one else had.
"Does it ring a bell?" Aya looked from one to the other, but neither spoke up. It was if they had made the realization of the century and were going to simply keep it to themselves.
Just when Schuldich thought he was going to burst waiting for answers, Nagi walked over and handed Clandestine to him. He turned to Omi, who nodded. Turning back to face Schuldich, Nagi's eyes were dull and cold. "We have some research to do." And with that said, he and Omi quickly stalked out of the room and headed towards their room.
Schuldich cradled the baby girl for a few minutes as she slept peacefully against his chest. She was so pure and innocent.
And suddenly, Schuldich couldn't take it. He quickly handed the baby off to the nearest person, who just happened to be Aya. Aya took the girl gently into his own arms as if understanding Schuldich's sudden dilemma.
With his hands free, Schuldich quickly turned and stormed out of the living room back to his room. Throwing himself on the bed, Schuldich let out a muffled cry. He was really irritated. How could Brad let this happen? He reached out with his mind, but couldn't locate the precog. He couldn't even bump into his shields.
Schuldich jumped slightly at the feel of a hand on his shoulder. He had been so absorbed in his own thoughts that he hadn't even noticed Yohji come in. Rolling over, Schuldich glared up at Yohji. "Why didn't you stop him?"
"Schuldich… Brad has everything under control, okay? Have a little faith in your own teammate." Yohji truly looked perplexed, but Schuldich was too irritated to care.
"Oh yeah, because he can control everything from a fuckin' jail cell, Kudoh." Schuldich snapped as he sat up suddenly, his mind reaching out yet again and finding nothing. "And don't you dare sit there and tell me to trust my own teammate. He's the one who just sprung this on us all!"
"Schuldich, you just have to calm down a bit." Yohji reached out, placing his hand lightly on Schuldich's shoulder again. Schuldich turned to glare at him, but didn't brush him away. The weight of Yohji's hand was slightly reassuring, and for a moment that realization startled Schuldich.

Yohji was warmth. Yohji was …comfort, warmth, anything but innocence and everything that Crawford had been…

Schuldich reached out, startling Yohji by gripping the back of his head and pulling them together. Their lips met in a startled battle, Schuldich imploring his dominant skills against Yohji, who more or less seemed to merely melt into the kiss. Releasing his grip from the back of Yohji's head, Schuldich broke the kiss long enough to shove Yohji back onto the bed before he leaned over and resumed his exploration.
The feel of Yohji's hand sliding down his chest sent chills down Schuldich's spine, until the hand shoved forcefully against him. Yohji broke the kiss, shoving Schuldich back as hard as he could. "Knock it off!" Growling lowly, Yohji wiped the back of his hand across his mouth.
"What the hell was that for?" Schuldich snapped incredulously.
"I'm not Brad, Schuldich. I'm not here for you to screw whenever he isn't here. It was his own choice!" Yohji snarled, perturbed that Schuldich would think so lowly of him. "If you want into my pants, fine. But you won't get into them because I pity you and because your true lover is gone. Because the first moment you get you'll go running back to him and leave me!" Narrowing his eyes, Yohji challenged Schuldich to argue.
Schuldich opened his mouth to respond, to muster up some sort of response to the accusation, when the phone rang.

And it rang again.

Schuldich turned to Yohji, who turned to Schuldich so that they both sat staring at each other. Brad was always the one to answer the phone. He was the one who always handled any phone calls in case something important came he would foresee it.
But Brad wasn't here.

And the phone rang again.

Schuldich all but dived for the phone, picking it up without a second thought. Obviously no one else was interested in answering it. Bringing the phone to his ear, he muttered a mere, "Hello?"
"Mastermind?" His heart skipped a beat until he registered it was a female voice. And not one he knew.
"I'm sorry you must have the wron-"
"I know where Oracle is."

And Schuldich's heart did skip a beat.