D.C. al Coda

A/N: Bandie much? I know. The title is a musical term. It means that, at the given mark, you are to return to the copa (head) of the song and play until another mark (sometimes referred to as the sign), and then move to the tail end, or coda. Basically? Scene one was placed last, to confuse and torment your wee little souls. Ha ha.

Disclaimer: Not mine. Duh.

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D.C. al Coda

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"Damn you."

The scowl was firmly implanted upon his face, and if anyone could have noticed the rough way he continued to wipe at his mouth with the back of his hand? None would have dared ask why, not the way he was glowering. He seemed more rushed and on edge than usual---no louder, though he wasn't any more quiet, either. There was a change in his eyes---a change that no one would've spoken of, but that was almost always on the tips of their tongues.

Again he repeated, "Damn you," as though the words could cause the killing blow. When they did not, he wiped at his mouth again. His lips were dry, cracked, and now bleeding; he did not seem to care. What mattered to him was different than anything a tube of chapstick could rememdy.

The only other person there sighed and brought the Laramie to his lips. The click of his lighter opening was heard, followed by the snap of flame exploding upwards.

"You can't smoke that here." The first man, still so angry, looked to the second, who smiled.

"Why not, Ran? Afraid of the smoke?" Botan, as though to prove this theory correct, exhaled. A thin trail of greyish-white smoke swirled in the brisk air, finally blowing into Ran's face. His violet eyes narrowed further, and he stopped rubbing his mouth to fan the smoke away.

"This is a no-smoking zone," he argued. "It's a hospital."

Botan exhaled once again, into Ran's face, before dropping the cigarette butt to the pavement. Under his heel, it made a small squashing sounds as he ground the remains into nothing on the concrete.

"Well. You're no fun."

It was a statement; not a question.

"I don't care," Ran snapped. He shoved his hands into his pockets to deter some of his frustration. His show, somewhat dirty, he scraped against the brick wall of the flowerbed nearby. "Your opinion doesn't matter to me."

Botan shook his head and looked away, over the rows of empty, darkened cars in the parking lot. At this hour, they resembled a graveyard of glass and steel. "Are you almost ready now?"

Ran cast him a cold eye. "Ready for what?"

"To go back to Weiß."

Still looking away, the older of the two missed the glint in the red-head's eyes. "I told you---I'm not going back."

He was surprised when Botan didn't fight it. "Fine then. Let's go for a drive."

Slowly, he followed behind the man in the dark suit over to his own pearl white porsche. It wasn't the nicest model out on the roads, but his was the name on the title, and the engine still ran just fine. Maybe in another year or so---or another sixteen thousand kilometers, give or take---he'd start looking into replacing it, or at least repair the main body. If it got too old, parts would be more difficult to get ahole of, and a classic car would be memorable in a pedestrian's eye---a definite problem one faced when one killed for a living.

Botan flashed Ran a grin from his spot in the passenger's seat, snapping the younger out of his idle thoughts. The young man grit his teeth and inside his mind, counted to ten. Nothing he said would keep Botan from that look---or that exaggerated wink.

"Come on, get in," he called as Ran began to step ad the car's front daintily. This made the younger scowl again, and Botan let out a hearty laugh. At least he hadn't gone for the horn. Yet.

"Well, well," Botan cooed as Ran dropped into the driver's seat. He must have missed the chilling glare he'd been cast. "Where to, lover?"

Ran hissed at the sound of that word, one hand moving to wipe his cracked lips. "Shut up," was all he growled. "I'm not your lover!"

Botan never stopped smiling. "We can fix that, you know... "

His hand gripped Ran's shoulder. In retaliation, Ran forced the key into the ignition and punched the gas, the sudden jerk forward sending Botan against the back of the seat with a snap. The odor of burnt rubber together with the soreness of his neck now made the agent wince.

"Fine, be that way. No, I'm, sorry," he interrupted his own joke, "you are that way, aren't you?"

The red-head kept his eyes on the road, silently fuming at the older nuisance. In time, Botan fixed his seat belt and settled for another goofy grin.

"Ran, your buckle is undone." Upon inspection, the violet-eyed male could see that this was true. I his haste to get the other man's hand off him, he'd forgotten to strap himself in safely.

It hadn't bothered him before. Now the flesh on Ran's neck was crawling. It didn't help that Botan had his arm over his chest now, and that there was no room to back away.

"Let me get it---"

"Leave me alone!" Ran shouted. The car veered to the left as his right hand smacked that belonging to Botan. He righted the car first, scowling not at the honking drivers but at the male beside him. "I can manage myself."

He did, too, after wiping his lips again. He didn't appreciate the way Botan was still smiling at him, or the way he held onto th lower half of the buckle, forcing their hands to touch. Something about that rubbed Ran the wrong way, and he was glad for the bucket seating all of a sudden.

Silence fell. It was not a pleasant sound, for Ran discovered then that it put him on edge. Botan didn't seem to mind at all---which only heightened the feeling of nervousness inside the red-haired assassin's gullet.

"Hey," the dark-haired man spoke, and Ran had to keep himself from jerking the wheel again as Botan pulled his face close to his own. Ran was vaguely aware of the fact that the older agent had managed to open his glovebox in one go. The latch on it was particularly trickly and usually took some work, but Botan hadn't been bothered by it.

"What now?" Ran barked. He was still sore at the other man, who only pointed innocently to the laptop kept inside the compartment---that and its blinking green light.

"Check your messages lately?" Without waiting for an answer, Botan moved to work on the computer while Ran drifted the car to the side of the road and put the vehicle into park.

A familiar voice rang out, questioning and soft, from the machine. The man's violet eyes widened---yes---it was another memnber of Weiß, Omi, who had left not only the message but a map as well.

Ran's eyes drifted away from the screen and began to move toward the nearby streetsigns. They weren't too far way now, Weiß.

Botan had noticed it, too. "It's not too far."

More in thought than before, Aya hadn't heard him. Even then, his mind was thinking back to his old teammates, all of whom still called him by that name---Aya. It had been ingrained in his self to respond to such a title; even now, it called to him, tempting him back into the role he'd played so well. He had been with them---

No. He shook his head once; no. If he allowed himself to think on that, he wouldn't be able to break himself free of Kritiker's hold on the foursome.

"Hey," Botan repeated now for a second time. "At least check it out."

Ran cast him a blank look, but said nothing over the lull of the engine He would not dignify that remark with an answer---not an audible one, anyway. His hand on the clutch spoke for itself, and he could feel the smugness radiating off Botan without having to look.

At this point, Ran considered that a sixth sense, and his last clear memory of the night.

He remembered pulling into the parking lot---that much at least was clear. Now that the red-haired man stood alone by the old tree in the one park, the memories of the previous night were beginning to meld into a blur of event. Some details, however, refused to diminish---and the sickening smell of smoke and charred flesh seemed to have taken up permanent residence in his clothing to prove this correct.

Yes... Botan was dead. There was no denying that. He had left the world in a blaze of crimson and gold (perhaps he would have liked the kind, poetic words as opposed to 'blaze of hellfire,' though either fit). There had been something of a smile on his lips, too---that or the heat waves had given off that illusion.

Aya stood still; in his hands he held a simple sheet of paper. In his best calligraphy, he'd written a short epitaph. It wasn't much, but it would do.

Folding in half lengthwise and then folding the corners back, Aya's hand slowed in its movement. Through the craze, he could still so clearly see the older man's snickering laugh and lopsided grin.

"I understand now, Botan," he said to the wind. He released the airplane and watched its paper wings soar.

He was almost able to smile then. His team was waiting for him---and as strange as that thought might have seemed, Aya was fine with it.

Things might work out, if even a fraction of that older man's faith had rubbed off on him. Aya, at that, caressed his lower lip with his thumb. If such was a possibility, he'd have to be lucky---and he already was.

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The initial thought in his mind was only a question. He'd gone from bewing pummeled to leaning against the outside wall of the hospital, and then---

Botan's hands, and the scent of tobacco, strong on his breath.

Aya's eyes had widened. Without his consent, his hands had fidgeted, clenching and unclenching in fists.

And then they stopped.

It was only Botan crushing his shoulder blades into the brick, and the scratch of his stubble against Aya's skin. His violet eyed closed, and he took a grip on Botan's lapels.

His only conscious thought after the kiss ended was simple and cold.

"Damn you."

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fin

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A/N: Dedicated to Courtney, who loves allllll the boyses. I lent her all my Weiß dscs, and this was the one pairing she found. D ANIMENEXT WILL ROCK, COURTNEY!

And if this confused you... I've been reading Salem's 'Lot again, and it got really King-y. Oops.

Gangsta Videl