The next day Sara and her friend, Ruri ostensibly came to pick up a small bouquet, but really wanted a chance to talk to the four strange florists. It was lunchtime and it wasn't quite so busy. "Mudou-san." Aya said with a small smile, "did your mother like the flowers?" Both Ken and Yohji stood open mouthed as Aya actually started a conversation with a customer, and more than that, with a fan girl. This led them to think that he had a plan. Aya did nothing without a plan.
"Yes, thank you, Aya-san." She beamed, "I was looking for Tsukiyono-san actually, he's in the same class as my brother and I was wondering." She was moving one foot behind her quite embarrassed, "if-he-wanted-to-join-Ruri-and-me-on-a-double-date-with-my-brother." It took a couple of moments for the long tirade, which was managed without pauses to register.
"You're going out with your brother?" Yohji asked.
Sara glowed bright red, "No," she said, "I'm going out with Ruri who's going out with my brother, and Tsukiyono-san is so sweet that I didn't think he'd mind escorting me."
Ken smiled, "bless him, our little Omittchi's got a girlfriend." He said holding a rose to his face.
"Who's asking him out." Yohji finished.
"Omi won't be back till five today, at the earliest, if he doesn't go to the arcade after school, so if you call back around dinner time you can ask him then." Aya said giving the other two a factor three death glare. He wrote down the number on a piece of paper. "Here."
"Thank you, Aya-san." She beamed, "it's not true what those girls said at all, I think you're really nice." She bustled out of the shop before he could ask her what those girls had said.
"Omi's going to kill you," Yohji said picking up the broom.
"He will tell her no politely." Aya said, "won't he Manx?" He didn't turn around and the other two hadn't noticed her so technically he shouldn't have known she was there. One day, she thought, I will sneak up on him.
"I'm afraid you will be busy for the next couple of nights. Do you want to close the shop, Balinese?"
"Manx, honey," he said giving her a dazzling smile, "I thought you'd never ask."
Sitting in the dark grotto that was their mission room the three Weiss assassins looked at Manx warily. This was never good.
"Lately," she began. They cut her off.
"Terrorists?" Ken asked.
"Hijackers?" Yohji asked.
"Kids with exploding heads." Aya said clearly.
Manx looked at them and then shook their heads. "This isn't a sweepstakes," she said, "It's a mission, and the prize goes to Abyssinian for the correct guess."
"Hn," he said quite distinctly.
"so what does he win?" Yohji asked with a lascivious grin.
"The dubious honour of serving me your head on a plate." Manx replied with a sweet smile.
"You love me really." Yohji answered.
"Really." She answered. "Now to return to the mission, there have been five..."
"Six." Abyssinian corrected.
"Our information suggests five."
"Six." Aya corrected.
"Okay six," she said with a sigh, muttering under her breath that she'd be grey before her time and that Schwartz wouldn't give her so much trouble. "There have been six," she looked at Aya, "children found in front of their computers with their head's exploded."
"Like in Scanners?" Ken asked.
"Yes, like in Scanners." Manx added, "Baka."
"There is nothing to link these children that the police can see, only this." She pulled out a small computer disk, "each of the victims were found to have only this in common. It's called Digital Angels: Angel Sanctuary." The name rang a bell to Aya but he couldn't have said how. "We've run it through every program we can think of for nothing, the disk appears to be blank. However it turning up in five cases."
"Six." Abyssinian corrected sharply.
"Five out of six cases can't be coincidental. We want to enrol Omi at this school."
"We already did." Ken said looking at the name of the school, "for about five months now."
"Six." Aya corrected.
"That's just not funny anymore." Yohji added.
"Look, I'll leave the information here and then go and just..." She was clenching her fists.
"Go drinking with Birman?" Ken asked.
"Have hot illicit sex with Rex?" Yohji asked.
"Visit Queen and throw darts at pictures of me." Aya asked.
"Again, you get the prize." She said snidely, looking at Aya. "I trust you're all in."
They all nodded. "Fine then. I'm going." She was still clenching her fists and muttering under her breath. "One nerve," she said clearly, "Just one nerve."
"I think she's fast on her way to a nervous breakdown," Ken said.
"Or five." Yohji added.
"Six," Aya said wringing the last bit of life from that particular joke.
When Omi came home he had Nagi in tow. The two were sitting at the kitchen table with their books in front of them. Ken came in and poured himself a glass of water from the fridge before he turned. Then he dropped the glass with an almighty crash pointing. "Schwarz!" He gasped, "here."
"It's all right." Omi answered lifting his eraser. "It's been cleared with Aya and Crawford. We go to the same school."
"I am always the last to know anything, here." Ken said on his way to get his broom. He passed Yohji in the hallway. "Did you know Schwarz is in our kitchen?"
"What's he doing?" Yohji asked.
"His homework by the look of it." Ken answered.
"That's all right then." Yohji replied.
"And nobody thought to tell me."
"We thought you knew."
"I never know, nobody tells me anything." Ken argued, he was going a little blue in the face.
"Well Manx knew."
"That's it." Ken said storming back into the kitchen to clear up the broken glass. "I am officially the last to know anything in this house."
"Hey, chibi," Yohji said ruffling Omi's hair and being careful to avoid the puddle of water on the kitchen floor. "Hello," he thought about it, "chibi-ni."
Nagi burst out laughing. "Beats Naggles." He said with a smile.
"He's so pretty," Yohji said basking in Nagi's wide smile, "can we keep him, we can trade him in for Hidaka. What do you know about flowers?" He sat down at the table. "I'm being serious if you couldn't tell, I also think you wouldn't leave your soccer ball on the stairs."
"I am right here." Ken protested, "and it was only once."
"You were lucky." Omi said, "that it was Yohji that tripped over it and not Aya."
"Did someone say my name?" Aya said from the doorway.
"Just the florist I wanted to see." Omi said with a smile, "can you make a big bunch of flowers for Saiki Ruri for me?"
Aya raised an eyebrow, for Aya it said volumes, it asked why should I, why can't you, and what for?
"There was an accident at her school. Apparently the auditorium blew up and she's in hospital, I thought it would be nice if we could send her some flowers, and Ken makes lousy bouquets," everyone nodded at that, even Ken, "Yohji will never deliver them because he'll spend all day chatting up the nurses." There was another round of plaintive nodding. "And I have enough homework to see me through to a week next Wednesday, so please, Ayan, for me."
"Thank you, and can you put Nagi's name on the card too please."
"I know we take terrible advantage of your kindness." Omi said shaking his head, "and I won't do it again."
"How do you do that, chibi?" Yohji asked, "it sounds like a grunt to me but you can understand everything he almost says."
"I listen." Omi replied.
"I saw that foreigner again." Nagi said as he was chewing on his pen, "he was hanging around Saiki-san's school when it blew up, because Mudou-san came running out, and she had Setsuna-kun was with her when it all went up. Everyone saw it; he was on the roof of the next-door building. If some girl hadn't knocked the pair of us flying I wouldn't have seen him."
"Knocked on your back by a girl, chibi-ni? Now you have to share."
"Chibi-ni?" Aya asked.
"It beats Snaggletooth." Nagi replied, "but not by much."
"Does Crawford know you're here?" Aya pressed.
Nagi nodded. "He said with that lunatic blowing up kid's heads I'd be safer in our enemy's kitchen than at the library doing my homework."
Aya shrugged. "As long as he knows."
"So Schwarz has heard about the Scanner Kids?" Ken asked.
Nagi narrowed his eyes thinking. "I get it, exploding heads. It's been on all the news, and Crawford said that it would be okay to tell you that Esset is not behind it, and we know they're genuinely not this time, rather than saying they're not, because they want us to look into it. Is it Kritiker?"
"No." Yohji answered, "They want us to look into it."
"Do you always talk this much?" Ken asked, "you always struck me as being sullen and quiet."
"You try and get a word in at home." Nagi answered, "between Farfarello talking about God, Crawford screaming at Schuldig and Schuldig doing things that makes Crawford scream." He went bright red. "That's not what I meant. Oh, god, they'll think I outed them and they're not."
"It's okay, chibi-ni," Yohji said, "we've known for years anyway."
"But they're not." Nagi protested.
"Maybe we should send them flowers to celebrate the occasion," Ken said, "like a nice geranium."
"A lemon geranium maybe." Yohji added.
"But they're not." Nagi protested.
"Enough," Aya said with a slight smirk, "You're upsetting Nagi, he's young, they hide it from him."
"Ayan!" Omi protested, "I expect that from those two, but from you..."
"I'm going to go make up those flowers." He said with a slight smirk. "I'll deliver them too, and the geranium." Yohji and Ken burst out laughing.
Omi and Nagi were cutting through the park when they heard the crying. Both of them had been assassins too long to miss the opportunity to snoop. Mudou Sara was sat on one of the benches crying, they were about to intervene when they saw her brother. She turned around and threw her arms bout him. "Oniichan, I just went to see Ruri at her house... but..."
Setsuna's voice was soft when he answered her, "She really misunderstood..."
Sara wiped at her face angrily "Hn... I can understand that," She said, "because of what happened to her, she was... I.... I will go see her again, until the day she will accept me..."
Setsuna stretched her out in front of him so he could look into her eyes. "Sara, that was an accident! It's not your fault! All I thought about was protecting you..."
Sara looked baffled for a moment ,"Huh?"
Setsuna sweat dropped. "K'so! Uh... that's not what I meant!!! I mean... if you get hurt, Mom would get all pissed again! So..."
Sara laughed, "Oniichan... this is not going to work... you always say what's on your mind, you don't think about others, so sometimes you say things that hurt other girls..." Setsuna looked stunned for a moment. "But that's also the reason why they like you. Maybe Ruri was right, I was jealous of her. Therefore I feel even guiltier... I like my brother more than I thought..." She squeezed his cheeks. "But that's enough, I have to get over this..."
Setsuna winced as she pulled at his cheek, hard. She let go and then kissed him on the cheek, "bai bai."
"Now I feel like a voyeur." Omi said going to walk away. Suddenly one of the balls on the modern art statue in the park flew off and landed between Setsuna's feet. It only just missed squishing him completely, when Omi turned to look Nagi was obviously concentrating. He had moved the ball at the last minute.
A young boy with dark skin
and long white hair stamped his foot as he came out from between the
trees. "It missed you!"
Setsuna looked at him. There was a woman with the boy. Omi looked at the two of them in case it meant something later. "You two again!"
The dark skinned child balled his fists. "That's weird, if you really are Alexiel, you can break that thing with the touch of a finger!"
Setsuna looked sceptical. "Why? She's superman? How many times do I have to tell you? Moron! I'm not the person, whoever it is, you're looking for."
The child looked offended. "Her name's Alexiel."
Setsuna went to walk away.
"Yeah, that's it, whatever she is..."
The child clearly swore and stamped his foot again. "Alexiel... She was once the highest and most beautiful angel in heaven! She owns a sword, which can control all the elements: earth, water, fire and wind. Even when she was covered with blood, the light she emitted would not diminish. She was the greatest warrior..."
Setsuna turned with another glare. "Angel? Oh... uh... yeah, she's really great... Bye, I'm going home. Oh and... I think you need to get some medical help!"
A dark cloud hovered over the child in his rage "Wait, don't leave yet! If you don't be careful, something worse is gonna happen! We are savage demons from the Gehenna kingdom, from a royal bloodline; we are different from other demons..."
The woman with the child looked down "Damn it! My stockings got torn by the fence wires!" Her voice was deep and raspy.
The boy kicked her from behind "Arakune! Did you forget the whole purpose of why we are here?" She lost her balance and fell down hard, on top of Setsuna.
She took the opportunity to hug Setsuna before he pushed him away, "Oh, I'm sorry," she said, "ha, you look pretty cute from this close."
Setsuna sweat dropped "Go away! Lady boy."
Arakune was horrified. "What... what did you call me?" He asked.
Setsuna rolled his eyes, "I'm very sensitive to these things." He said, "And besides, your breasts are crooked."
Arakune's horror swiftly changed to rage. "Pervert! How dare you touch me?"
Setsuna seemed more bored than horrified by what was going on. "Look who's talking! You're the one who jumped on me!"
Arakune had lost her temper completely. "Okay, this is it! This guy is definitely not Alexiel!"
"Really..." Setsuna said extending his middle finger, "I think I've been trying to tell you that from the start. Look, if you come near me again, I'll sell you to one of those hermaphrodite bars!" He left, slinging his book bag over his shoulder.
"WHAT!?" She shook the boy violently, "Kurai, wake up! Does he in any way look like a beautiful angel? He only resembles her in looks, please! Hello...?"
"What the hell was that about?" Omi asked.
"If I knew, I'd share." Nagi answered, "but I know someone who will."
"No," Omi answered, "I am not asking Farfarello until he stops sniffing me."
Farfarello was chained up in the garden of the safe house where Schuldig had left him. He had a large doghouse and was gnawing rather happily on a rawhide bone. "Farfarello," Nagi called, leaning over the fence. The insane Irishman's eye looked up.
"Hello," he said quietly, looking at both Omi and Nagi and then sniffed the air quite carefully. Omi shivered. "You don't smell of angels today." He said rather matter of factly. "Did you have meat loaf for dinner?"
Nagi nodded. "He's lucid, we can go in." He went to open the gate.
"Don't mind me, I'll just wait here." Omi said, clutching the fence.
"We have some questions for you," Nagi said, "And we brought you some chocolate if you answer them."
"Do you have to talk down to him?" Omi asked, "he's insane, not an idiot."
"You'll see." Nagi answered, holding out the bar of imported Swiss chocolate. "We need to find out about an angel called Alexiel."
"Betrayed God she did," Farfarello answered, "She was the organic angel, and she went to war against God, but her twin brother, Rociel, struck her down and she was sealed away. Her soul was to be reincarnated as a cursed person destined to die, but her body was locked away in the highest realms of heaven."
"She went to war against god." Farfarello answered as if talking to an idiot. "Angels rebelling hurt god." He reached out for the chocolate, Nagi threw it at him.
"You didn't get that from me." He said.
"Of course not." Farfarello said ripping off the wrapper. "She used the cursed sword," he said, daintily biting the chocolate in small bites with pointed teeth, "Nanatsusaya, the seven bladed sword of the holy spirit. The devils are coming for her, they want Alexiel to start their war against God again. Help them, little Nagi, defying hurts God." He smiled again, the frightening nature of it spoiled somewhat by the chocolate smeared between his teeth.
"Is he always like that?" Omi asked, shuddering.
"Little Bombay," Farfarello called. "Sleep tight." And then he laughed.
"That's all I needed," Omi said, "now I'm going to have nightmares."
"That's why he said it." Nagi answered with a smile.
"Crawford," Nagi said looking at his where his leader lurked behind the Financial Times, "can I take Farfarello out for a walk?"
"No," Crawford answered, "you're not old enough."
"That's not fair!" Nagi whined, "you don't understand, you always say I'm too young, and I only want to take him for walk, just to the park and back, not past any churches or anything, but he's awfully lucid and he helps me with my poetry when he's lucid and he looks after me, and I would like to take him to the park."
"Take Bombay." Crawford answered, "he doesn't have to be on a leash." Crawford flicked the paper intending from now on to ignore Nagi, but he had other ideas.
"Please, Schuldig gave him chocolate and wouldn't it be better if he had the sugar high in the park where I can control him than in the house."
Crawford lowered the paper to the table, "fine, seeing you're so determined, take Bombay with you, he's expendable, and I want you back after dark, so you can't see what I'm going to do for Schuldig for the double crime of telling Weiss I was gay," he flicked his eyes to a medium pink flowering lemon geranium that sat on the kitchen windowsill - it had come with a card saying "for coming out - Weiss"- "and feeding Farfarello chocolate knowing full well that it makes him hyper." He reached into his pocket and pulled out his wallet, "and feed him whilst he's out, and eat vegetables."
Nagi smiled to himself as he pocketed the money. It was all going exactly to plan, he had both Crawford and Schuldig out of his hair for at least the afternoon, because Crawford couldn't bear to be near a whiny teenager and a hyper maniac. And Schuldig was an unfortunate casualty of war.