WK-TBD-02.v01 Completed:  11/10/2001
Last revised: 11/11/2001

[fic][AU] Der Schwarze Traum (The Black Dream) [2/?] (very rough draft)

SUMMARY:  What if Weiss were the bad guys and Schwarz were the... errr, the 'not-so-bad' guys?  Welcome to a world where Abyssinian is a near-perfect killing machine, Balinese is a charming sadist who tortures with both pleasure and pain, Siberian is a sex-crazed homocidal lunatic, and Bombay is a ruthless fanatic.  But now the members of Weiss are no longer the vicious assassins they once were.  Is this transformation permanent or only temporary?  Have Aya, Yohji, Ken, and Omi really changed?

This is one seriously twisted AU fic, so be prepared to have everything you know about the series and the characters to be ruthlessly bent, spindled, mangled, or otherwise turned upside down and inside out.

I'm still trying to get familiar with the WK fandom so any C&C greatly appreciated!   It's still just a rough draft, so please excuse the typos or other stupid mistakes.  sweatdrop

Title: Der Schwarze Traum (The Black Dream)
Author: Madamhydra
Email: madamhydra@aol.com
Status:  WIP (work-in-progress)
Archive:  www.madamhydra.net/WK.html, fanfiction.net
Type: Alternate Universe, TWT (timeline, what timeline)
Rating: R (for now)
Spoilers:  episodes 1-24
Pairings:  Schwarz x Weiss, Schuldig x Aya, Brad x Yohji, Farfarello x Ken, Nagi + Omi

********** WARNINGS ********* WARNINGS ********* WARNINGS **********

   Obscene language
   Mature themes (references to torture and rape, etc.)
   YAOI (male/male relationships)
  LIME (implied sexual content)

********** WARNINGS ********* WARNINGS ********* WARNINGS **********

Disclaimer: (Full Disclaimers at the end) Weiß Kreuz is the copyright and property of its creators and legally associated parties.  Used without permission.  Not for profit.

Credit 1:  Much of the inspiration and ideas for this fic comes from Jean D's terrific AU Weiss Kreuz fic "Dysfunctional", which gave me a definite taste for Schwarz x Weiss fics.  ^_^  

Credit 2: Thanks to my friends Amy-chan and Sakka-chan, who keep egging me on, no matter how crazy, demented, and perverted my fic ideas get.  snigger

   (...) represents internal dialogue
   {...} represents telepathic dialogue

   Der Schwarze Traum (The Black Dream)
       A Weiß Kreuz ALTERNATE-REALITY fic by Madamhydra
   Part 2

   I got no means to show identification
   I got no papers show you what I am
   You'll have to take me just the way that you find me
   What's gone is gone and I do not give a damn
       *  *  *

   I don't remember, I don't recall
   I've got no memory of anything at all
   I don't remember, I don't recall
   I've got no memory of anything
   Anything at all

       -- "I Don't Remember" -- by Peter Gabriel


   Crawford despised feeling helpless, but he could only sit back and watch as Yohji tossed and turned on the bed, muttering incoherently.  He glanced at his watch in a rare display of impatience and hoped that Masafumi Takatori would contact him soon with the lab results.  More importantly, he hoped the doctor could up with something to blunt the savage edge of Yohji's physical suffering.  As Yohji curled around a pillow and shivered in misery, Crawford reached out and gently stroked the other man's sweat-dampened hair.

   "So much for our game, hm?  But it was never a game to me.  It was a matter of survival."

   ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

   [ eight months ago ]

   "A game?" Crawford said with a raised eyebrow.  "What sort of game?"

   "A game, just between you and me, to find out who needs whom the most," replied Balinese with a little smirk.  "Please don't act surprised.  I'm sure you already had *some* idea what I was going to say."

   "I'd like a few more specifics about this 'game'.  Need, as in what way?"

   "Emotionally, physically... any way you can think of."

   "And the stakes?"

   "The loser, of course.  Mind, body, and soul."

   "You still think you have a soul?" Crawford said coolly.

   "Or equivalent thereof.  And I could ask you the same question."

   "I see.  And are there any limits in this game, or is it 'anything goes'?"

   Balinese's lips curled upward in a dangerous, cryptic smile and said, "Why don't we agree to do our best to avoid killing each other?  It's no fun if one of us dies prematurely and ends the game too quickly."

   Crawford thought of Balinese's victims -- the personal ones, the ones he had killed for his own amusement and gratification.  They had all died slowly, painfully.  But all he said aloud was, "So you want each of us to give the other a sporting chance, so to speak?"

   "Basically," Balinese said with a languid shrug.

   "Any other rules I should know about?"

   "Not really.  We can make them up as we go along."

   "I'm not sure I like that."

   Balinese took a long pull on his cigarette and drawled, "That's the problem with you precogs.  You don't like surprises.  You really should learn to be more flexible, Crawford.  Adaptable.  Impulsive."

   "I can 'go with the flow' when it's necessary.  But with these sort of stakes, I prefer a little more concreteness in the rules."

   "Well then, I'll consider it part of the game to loosen you up a bit."

   "You can certainly try."  

   "So you agree to the terms?"

   "Yes."  Such a simple, yet irrevocable word.

   Balinese turned to leave, then almost as an afterthought, he said, "And by the way, how is Schuldig doing these days?"

   Crawford suppressed the momentary urge to smack the cruel smile off Balinese's face and replied coolly, "Being difficult, as usual," as if he knew nothing about the way the telepath flinched when someone caught the him off guard, or the persistent nightmares that haunted the redhead.

   Balinese's smile widened.  "Stubborn and contrary to the core, isn't he?  But that's part of what I find so fascinating about him."

   Crawford said quietly, "You said this game involves just the two of us, correct?"

   "That's right.  No other players.  So don't worry about Schuldig.  I'll keep my hands off your associates... as long as the game stays interesting."

   Crawford understood Balinese perfectly.

   ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

   [ the present ]

   Yes, he had agreed to the game.  There had been no choice, and not because of Balinese's threats.  At some point in the future, the only thing that was going to save himself, Schwarz, and perhaps even the world would be an alliance between mortal enemies.

   (Schwarz and Weiss must stand together.  Or die.)

   But no ordinary alliance would suffice.  A common goal would not be enough.  Mere tolerance would not enough.  Survival in the days ahead demanded much more.  There would have to be trust, loyalty, friendship,... and yes, even love.

   The idea that his life would depend on something so unpredictable and irrational as love seemed ludicrous.  Crawford had deliberately forsaken idealism and sentiment long ago.  Instead, he had chosen to pursue survival and independence.  But deep inside, Crawford *knew* with unshakable certainty that if that particular vision did not come true -- if Schwarz and Weiss did not join forces -- disaster awaited.

   If only he could just shake that damnable sense of certainty.  When dealing with events seconds or minutes in the future, his precognitive abilities were highly accurate.  But the further ahead in time he attempted to 'see;, the vaguer his premonitions became as the number of possible outcomes expanded exponentially.   A combination of experience, intuition, and plain hard work allowed him to pick out the most likely possibilities and act accordingly, but the future often remained fluid and maddeningly ambiguous.

   But there were a few rare occasions where the future reached out and slapped him in the face.  These were the visions that refused to be ignored, the ones that haunted both his waking and sleeping hours.  Perhaps the most aggravating thing about those special visions were their incompleteness.  They contained few, if any hints about the surrounding circumstances or their cause.  All he had was a crystal clear snapshot of a single, pivotal moment in time, and the vague knowledge of the associated consequences.

   And now, after so many years trying to remain aloof, detached, and in control of his own life, Crawford found it both profoundly annoying and supremely ironic that the only foreseeable path to survival required him to give up his hard won autonomy for dependence.  He was used to confronting physical dangers, but the risks associated with emotional commitment were entirely different.  More than once, Crawford had seriously asked himself whether survival was worth the sacrifices he would have to make.

   But in the end, regardless of the cost to himself or others, he had taken the irrevocable plunge, because the alternative was intolerable.  He had succeeded in gradually forging an emotional connection with Kudou -- something that went beyond mere dominance games or lust -- but he was also painful aware that time was running out.  The status quo had to be broken.  Allowing Kritiker to tamper with Weiss' memories had been a huge risk, but one that could be turned to Schwarz's advantage.  In this, like in so many things, timing was everything.  

   Now it was too late for second thoughts or regrets.  He had made the decision and everyone would have to live -- or die -- with the consequences.  Crawford couldn't help but feel a growing sense of tension as he gazed down at the blond-haired man who was both lethal opponent and beguiling lover.

   (So who are you now, Yohji?  And where do we go from here?)


   In spite his hurry to leave, Nagi had been careful to lock the door behind him, leaving Omi trapped inside a windowless room which was comfortably, if sparsely decorated in a style that reminded the teenager of an expensive nursing home.  However in this room, practically every bit of furniture, from the bed to the seating arrangement at the other end of the room, was securely bolted to the floor.  As for the door, Omi noted that it looked depressingly sturdy and secure.  

   The fact that he was stark naked beneath the sheets only made him feel more trapped and vulnerable.  Then again, depriving a prisoner of clothing was an easy and fairly effective way to put a crimp into any escape attempts.

   (It's pretty hard to be inconspicuous when you're running around dressed in nothing more than a flapping bedsheet!)

   But his most troublesome problem was the discrete surveillance camera mounted in a corner of the ceiling.  Someone was probably monitoring him at this very moment.  The thought of Farfarello or Schuldig staring at him made him slightly ill.

   "I wish they would've had the decency to at least give me a hospital gown!" he muttered under his breath as he made sure he was fully covered by the bedsheets.  

   But perhaps his physical discomfort had less to do with anxiety and more to do with his capture by Schwarz.  He had experienced the same sort of queasiness and headache before, while recovering from heavy sedation.
   (Who knows how long I've been unconscious?  That might explain why I can't remember how I ended up in this room.  But I definitely can't stay here.  I don't know what Schwarz plans to do with me and I really don't want to find out.  Whatever it is, I'm willing to bet that it's going to be something really bad.)

   Fully absorbed with thinking up an escape plan, Omi flinched in surprise when a large, heavyset man in a rumpled three piece suit stalked into the room, then slammed the door shut behind him.  Omi didn't recognize his unexpected visitor, who raked a hand through his disheveled gray hair and rocked back and forth on his feet in obvious agitation.  They stared at each other wordlessly for several seconds before the man spoke jerkily.

   "So you're Bombay."

   Omi blinked and said cautiously, "Excuse me?"

   "How can you sit there and look so damn innocent!?"

   "What... do you mean?" he countered uneasily, not liking the direction of the conversation or the wild gleam in the other man's eyes.

   "You killed my family, you murderous little bastard!  My wife and my beautiful daughters.  They're all gone because of you!  You and the rest of those monsters!  How dare you call yourselves 'Weiss'!?  Better that you should name yourselves 'Rot' for all the innocent blood you've spilled!" the man raved at him, gesturing wildly.

   (Monsters?  And isn't 'Rot' the German word for 'red'?  What the hell is he talking about!?)  
   "I'll make you pay for what you did to them!  I'll send you Kritiker bastards to hell where you belong!  DIE!!!" the man screamed as he yanked a pistol from a pocket and started firing.  

   But even before the man reached for his gun, Omi had already guessed what his visitor had in mind and sought cover.  He tore the blanket off the bed, flinging it in the man's direction even as he rolled off the far side of the bed.  As the would-be killer frantically tried to claw his way free of the heavy fabric, Omi scrambled around the bed and pounced, grabbing hold of the flailing pistol.  He jerked the man's arm down while driving his knee upward into the other's stomach.  As his attacker crumpled forward, he turned and lashed out with the edge of his hand, knocking the other man out cold.

   Panting slightly, Omi stared down at his unconscious opponent.  He didn't have a clue who this nutcase was, but it was clear that the poor man was no professional.  Pushing aside his confusion, he grabbed the doorknob and uttered a quick sigh of relief as the door easily swung open.  A cautious peek outside revealed an empty corridor.  Apparently no one had heard the gunshots, but that was hardly surprising given the thickness of the door and the high likelihood of soundproofing in the room.  

   (I need to get out of this place before Nagi or the other members of Schwarz decided to check up on me.)

   Taking a few seconds to catch his breath, Omi turned back to his unconscious attacker and started to wrestle off the man's jacket and shirt.  Unfortunately, the difference in their sizes made it impossible to borrow the pants as well.

   (Well, I suppose an oversized shirt and jacket is better than a bedsheet,) he thought ruefully as he tugged the shirt as far down as it would go.  Thankfully it almost reached to his knees, but the lack of underwear still made him feel embarrassingly exposed.

   A quick search of his attacker turned up a security card with an unfamiliar logo, a wallet, and some keys.  Omi stuffed the items into a jacket packet, grabbed the gun off the floor, and exited the room.  After locking the door behind him, he silently made his way down the deserted hallway.  He soon came across an intersection and realized that escaping was going to be harder than he thought.

   (This place is *huge*!  And these corridors seem to go on forever!  Damn, now where do I go?)

   The only signs he saw contained cryptic combinations of numbers and letters.

   (I could really use an 'Exit' sign right now!)
   Omi know he had to hurry up and make a choice.  He couldn't stand here all day.  He tentatively took a few steps forward when he suddenly stopped.  For some strange reason, Omi had a sudden urge to head to the right.  He hesitated briefly, then followed the impulse.

   He had only gone a hundred yards or so when he heard a door open, then the sounds of several men headed his way.  Swearing under his breath, Omi hastily backed up and began to look for a hiding place as the footsteps grew steadily louder.  Unfortunately, every door he tried was securely locked.  Just as the men were about to round the corner and see him, he found a side hallway that he could duck into.

   Omi couldn't make out their entire conversation as the people walked by, but the one word that came up repeatedly told him that he was trapped in the middle of a Takatori-owned facility.  The discovery only made him more eager to escape.

   As the sound of voices faded into the distance, Omi heaved a sigh of relief.  But his relief abruptly ended as a soft chime went off immediately behind him.  Whirling around, he realized that he had backed into a small lobby area and that the chime signalled the arrival of an elevator.   Even as he finished his turn, the doors began to open.

   (Oh shit!)

   There was no time to hide and considering what he was, or rather was not wearing, there was no plausible way to explain his presence.  He lifted the gun and took aim.

   As the doors slid open, Omi caught a fleeting glimpse of a scruffy young man with longish hair and a neat black-haired man with glasses, along with another person that he couldn't quite see.  However, Omi's attention was mainly focused on the tall blond in the white trenchcoat and scarf who stood at the very front of the car.  The blond man was talking rather irritably over his shoulder to the unseen individual behind him.

   "You have no business even being on your feet...."  He abruptly froze when he caught sight of Omi and the gun pointed in his direction.


   The barely suppressed anger in the other man's voice made the word sound like a curse.  He gave Omi the same sort of hostile look that one might bestow on a poisonous spider that needed squashing.  Omi cautiously retreated a few more steps, the gun held unwaveringly in both hands.  

   The scruffy-looking man peered over his companion's shoulder and muttered, "Shit, Bombay's loose!"

   (I've seen the blond guy before.  But where?) Omi wondered.

   They all stared at each other, then the standoff came to an end when the elevator doors unexpectedly made a loud complaining bleep.  Omi flinched, and in that brief instant of distraction, the blond dropped his hand reached inside his trenchcoat and pulled out a long, whiplike blade.  The weapon slashed through the air, tearing the pistol from Omi's grasp.

   As Omi nursed his stinging and bloodied fingers, the man in the white trenchcoat stalked forward.  As he approached, Omi got a better look at the man's clothes and particularly the design embroidered on the man's scarf.  

   (Chess pieces!  That's the symbol of the Crashers!)  

   Now he knew why the man looked familiar -- the blond, who went by the codename Knight, had worked with Aya a year or so before the redhead had joined Weiss.

   Like Weiss, the Crashers also worked for Kritiker, but from Knight's hostile reaction, Omi seriously doubted that they were here to rescue him.  And in that case, what on earth were they doing on Takatori property?  

   But as the blond Crasher advanced, his path was suddenly blocked by an outstretched arm.

   "No, Yuushi!"

   "Hiro, get out of the way!" Knight hissed furiously at the man clutching his arm, but made no attempt to pull free of the obviously injured person's grasp.

   Omi froze as he stared at 'Hiro'.  The glasses and the recent healed scars on the man's pale, pain-lined face did nothing to obscure his identity.  In a strangled voice, he whispered, "Hiro... fumi...."

   Hirofumi Takatori adjusted his grip on his cane, and said quietly, "Mamoru."

   "You're... dead."

   The older man's lips quirked upward.  "As you can see, I'm not."

   "Although you certainly gave it a damn good try," Knight interjected bitterly.

   Omi stumbled back a step and nearly fell as the shock of brother's reappearance left him confused and shaken.  He had killed Hirofumi with his own hands... hadn't he?  He remembered staring down the arrow as his brother's car hurtled directly toward him.  He remembered releasing the bowstring and watching as if in slow motion as the arrow pierced the windshield and sank into Hirofumi's right eye.  He remembered the sight of blood and brains splattered over the car's interior as the vehicle missed him by inches.  

   But if that was true, how could his brother be standing in front of him, alive?  

   Some of his confusion must have been evident on his face, because Hirofumi frowned and took a limping step forward.  He started to lift a hand toward Omi, then slowly, almost regretfully, dropped it.  In the same quiet voice he had used before, he asked, "Mamoru?  Are you all right?"

   The aborted gesture and the unmistakable look of concern on Hirofumi's face triggered a sudden rush of memories for Omi... memories of a mostly forgotten childhood and an indulgently smiling older brother kneeling down to brush the dirt off his face....

   He grabbed at his head as his memories of the past clashed with the painful knowledge of the present.  Yes, his older brother had been kind all those years ago, but Hirofumi had changed.  He had become corrupt and ruthless, a heartless murderer who hunted innocent people for sport.  He had become a man who had shamelessly exploited Omi's confused feelings about his family in order to gain information about Weiss.  And when that trick hadn't worked, Hirofumi had resorted to torture without hesitation, trying to beat the answer out of him.  

   And because of all the evil Hirofumi had committed, Omi had been forced to kill -- or try to kill -- his brother.  Because that was the mission of Weiss, to destroy the criminals and monsters who dared to prey on the innocent.  He had deeply regretted the necessity, and yet... he could also remember feeling relieved... no, *glad* to do it.  

   (No, that's not right!  I never *wanted* to kill members of my own family.  They didn't leave me any choice!  It was the only way to stop them from hurting anyone else!)

   "Drop the innocent act, Bombay.  I'm not buying it."

   Hirofumi glanced over at Knight and murmured, "Yuushi, please...."

   "I'm sorry, Hiro, but don't expect me to cut Bombay any slack.  He's already tried his best to kill you and now that sly Weiss bastard is directly responsible for getting Aya captured!"

   The last words partially jolted Omi from his befuddled daze.  Clenching his fists, he shouted, "That's a damn lie!  I never would've betrayed Aya!  Never!  If you're working for the Takatori, then *you* are the traitor, not me!"

   And with those words, Omi turned and ran, as if he was trying to leave both his confusion and the painful sting of Knight's accusation behind him.

   "Well?" Nagi prompted Schuldig.

   "Don't rush me," the telepath said absently.  

   "Get. This. Damn. Thing. Off. Me. NOW!!!" Siberian shouted, punctuating his words with angry jerks against the straitjacket's straps.  But no matter how hard he tried, his efforts got him nowhere.  After all, that straitjacket had been designed with Farfarello in mind.

   Schuldig smirked.  "Oh, I don't know.  I think it looks rather charming on you, especially against all that bare skin."

   Farfarello cackled appreciatively in the background.

   The telepath sauntered over to the bed and gave Siberian a long, humiliatingly thorough visual examination as he continued to skim through the other's thoughts.  When he picked up an image of what Siberian now considered his normal working outfit -- blue jeans, baggy brown leather jacket, and a garish orange sweater that made Schuldig's own hair look dull by comparison -- the telepath started to snicker.

   "What's so funny?" Siberian growled.

   "Love the goggles." the telepath murmured as he continued to chuckle.  Siberian's look of angry confusion only made Schuldig laugh harder. He passed the mental image to the other members of Schwarz, startling a muffled choke of laughter from the usually stoic Nagi.  

   As for Farfarello, he rolled his eye in disgust and muttered in obvious disapproval, "He looks like a wanking idiot dressed like that."
   Schuldig locked stares with the glowering Siberian and sent back a picture of how the telepath usually saw the White Hunter dressed -- sleek, body-hugging bondage wear which left precious little to the imagination, straps and buckles galore, the viciously studded collar, and especially the 'fuck-me' black leather pants that Farfarello took such pleasure getting the Weiss assassin out of.

   "That's... that's disgusting!" Siberian yelled, blushing furiously.

   "Oooh, not only sane, but now he has a sense of modesty as well.  This is going to be *so* interesting."

   "Schuldig...," Nagi said with a sigh.  {If his personality is now 'normal', whatever that means, why are you teasing him like that?}

   {Because he expects it.  There's not much point in me trying to play nice with him.  It would only make him more suspicious.  How would you react if Siberian or Balinese started to act all nice and worried about you?}  

   {I see your point, but I also think you're doing it because you enjoy it.}

   "That, too.  All right, no need to be such a partypooper.  Back to business.  Listen up, Siberian.  I'll get you out of that straitjacket if you stop the temper tantrum and behave yourself."

   "Behave myself!?  Are you nuts!?  How can you possible expect me to cooperate with the likes of you!?"

   The telepath shrugged.  "Fine.  If you want to be that way about it, I'll just leave you alone and let Farf have his fun."

   Nagi simply shook his head as almost on cue, Farfarello pulled out a razor blade and began carving a hair-thin tracery of bloody lines on the back of his hand.

   "You wouldn't!" Siberian blurted.  One didn't need to be a telepath to know how the other man felt about that suggestion.

   Schuldig's only response was a slow, taunting grin that clearly said, 'You wanna bet?'

   Siberian fumed for a moment, then gritted his teeth and growled, "All right.  You win... for now.  What do you want from me?"

   "The rules are simple.  Behave yourself, or I'll strip you naked and lock you in a padded cell with Farf."

   {Siberian, behave himself?  Is he capable of doing that?} Nagi wondered.

   {Oh, I think so.  He can be hot-tempered, impulsive, and reckless, but at the moment he's pretty rational.  He knows we've got the upper hand and that his only chance for escape is to act at least semi-cooperative.}
   {If you say so,} Nagi replied, sounding rather dubious.  {He looks like he's in much better physical condition than Aya.  Why isn't he suffering the same sort of withdrawal symptoms?}

   {Probably because he wasn't as heavily drugged as Aya.  I doubt that Siberian and Bombay would've put up nearly as much resistance to Kritiker's brainwashing as Aya.  Siberian's got a nasty headache and he's feeling a bit queasy, but compared to what Aya's going through, he got off easy.}

   {And how is Aya doing?}

   {Still totally out of it.  Damn, I wish Masafumi would hurry....}  Schuldig's attention abruptly shifted. {Nagi, Bombay's headed this way.  Grab him.}

   {What?} came the teenager's startled response.

   {Ask questions later.  Just grab him!}

   Responding to Schuldig's urgency, Nagi ran to the door and flung it open just in time to see Bombay dash by.  As he used his telekinesis to pick the other teenager off the ground, Knight skidded to a halt beside him.

   "Good, you caught him," the blond said, giving Bombay a sour look.

   Nagi glanced at the Crasher and said, "How did he get loose?"

   "I haven't got a clue.  I didn't even know he was a prisoner here."

   After a brief, futile struggle, Bombay subsided into a tense, watchful stillness.

   Knight continued, "I stepped out of an elevator and there he was, pointing a gun at us."

   Nagi lowered Bombay to the floor, but continued to maintain his telekinetic grip.  Frowning, he remembered how agitated the other teenager had looked when he had gone running by Nagi.  It wasn't like Bombay to panic like that.

   "Then what happened?"

   "Hirofumi was in the elevator with us.  I would've expected Bombay to be angry when he learned that his brother was alive, but he just seemed stunned.  And when Hiro asked him if he was all right, Bombay got a very disturbed look on his face."

   "Was that it?"

   Knight grimaced slightly, then shrugged.  "I was trying to remind Hiro of what Bombay has done, both to him and to Aya.  That really set him off.  He acted like he didn't have a clue what I was talking about, then he took off down the hallway like a rabbit."

   "It's no wonder he's confused," Schuldig commented as he joined them in the corridor, closing the door behind him.  "The world as he knows it has just turned upside down and inside out."

   "Schuldig," Knight said coolly.  "What are you doing here?  And why the hell aren't you taking care of Aya?"

   Without taking his eyes off the Crasher, the redhead said, "Nagi, why don't you make sure that Farf is keeping his hands and his knives to himself?  And take our stray kitten with you."

   "What about the straitjacket?"

   "Take it off or leave him in it, your choice," Schuldig said with a negligent shrug.

   Nagi nodded, opened the door, and politely gestured for Bombay to proceed him into the room.  The other teenager hesitated, very much aware that there was something that Schuldig didn't want him to know and that it involved Aya.  Nagi made no attempt to rush him.  Finally, Bombay complied with obvious reluctance and started walking.  As he passed by Schuldig, the telepath reached out and with one hand, deftly relieved him of the stolen jacket.

   "Love the shirt," Schuldig drawled.  Bombay flushed, glared at the telepath, then stalked off into Siberian's cell with Nagi close behind him.


   Now that the two of them now alone, Knight said, "What's going on?  We got the news that you guys managed to rescue Aya, but that's about it.  What happened?  Is he all right?"

   "He's safe, but Aya's not quite himself at the moment."

   "Will you stop playing games with me and just tell me what's wrong with him?"

   "They fucked around with his memory.  Now Aya thinks that he's still working for Kritiker and that we're still his enemy.  Is that simple enough for you?" the telepath said.

   "Damn those bastards!"  Knight exhaled slowly, then said, "Now what?"

   "Now we try to undo the damage.  What else?" Schuldig said, sounding almost bored.

   The Crasher glared at the telepath and said, "How can you act so blase about it!?  Aren't you worried about him?  Don't you *care*?"

   "What, you were expecting me to throw some sort of hysterical fit?  That's not going to help me, nor is it going to help Aya, so why waste the energy?"

   "You're a telepath, but you really do not feel a damn thing, do you, Schuldig?" the blond snapped.

   "My feelings, or lack thereof, are really none of your business."

   Knight stalked forward and said angrily, "Anything to do with Aya's welfare *is* my business, and don't you forget it.  I've made no secret that I don't approve of your relationship with Aya...."

   "It's hardly your place to approve or disapprove.  You're not his keeper."

   "No, I'm his *friend*, but I don't think you grasp the concept.  All you care about is screwing around with other people's heads.  Just like Balinese!"

   "Should I take that as a compliment?" the telepath replied, a dangerous gleam in his green eyes.

   "You would!"

   The telepath shrugged and said, "Aya's not a child.  Defecting from Kritiker has given him the chance to figure out what Aya wants, instead of what Kritiker and Persia want."

   "And you're trying to tell me that he wants *you*?" Knight said with blatant skepticism.

   "And you find that so hard to believe that Aya would pick me, of his own free will."  Schuldig smirked at the Crasher.  "Instead of... you, perhaps?"

   Knight said coldly, "We've never been anything more than friends."

   Schuldig's lips curled upward in a malicious little smile.  "But you've dreamt about being more to him.  It's quite understandable.  How can anyone look at Aya and *not* dream of touching him... kissing him... making him burn...."

   "Stay out of my head, Schuldig!"

   "You were the one who brought up the subject, not me."

   Knight flushed and retorted, "If Aya was involved with anyone else, I wouldn't have such problems with it.  Yes, he certainly has the right to choose whoever he wants to be with.  As long as it makes him happy.  But with you involved, I question whether this relationship has anything to with Aya's choice or his happiness."

   "Ah, so we've gotten the core of the problem.  You think that I'm screwing with Aya's mind as well as his body, is that it?"

   "Are you denying it?"

   "Why should I?  We both know that you wouldn't believe me even if I did."

   "That's because I know what you're like, Schuldig."

   "So righteous and confident in your judgments, aren't you?  It's no wonder that you fell for Kritiker's line about protecting the innocent and the pursuit of justice."

   "Shut up!  You're cold-blooded, manipulative, capricious, and you don't care who you hurt, as long as you amuse yourself.  I don't know what Aya sees in you, but...."

   "Have you considered the possibility that he simply likes the way I fuck him?" Schuldig purred.

   "Bastard!" Knight growled, grabbing hold of Schuldig's jacket with one hand.  The telepath made no attempt to evade the Crasher's grasp, although it would have been easy to do so.  

   "He's not that sort of person!"

   "And how would you know?" the telepath retorted with a vicious smile.  "You've got no idea how he truly feels, or what he truly wants.  But I do."
   Knight glared at the telepath, his fingers slowly loosening their grip, then abruptly turned away.

   "No, I don't."

   Straightening his jacket, Schuldig said in an unusually serious voice, "You want to believe that I'm the vile seducer and Aya is the poor, helpless victim.  And why?  Because it gives you the excuse to play the knight in shining armor.  But the problem with that scenario is that you're not giving Aya the credit or the respect he deserves."
   The blond Crasher looked both surprised and thoughtful.  Finally, he shook his head and abruptly switched to a more comfortable and safer topic.

   "So tell me, what is Bombay doing here, anyway?"

   "When we went to rescue Aya, we also managed to capture all the other members of Weiss," Schuldig replied.

   "All of them?  Balinese?  Siberian?"

   "That's right."

   Knight said, "Well, that explains why Hiro was so set on rushing down here.  He wanted to see his brother.  So how did Bombay escape?"

   Schuldig reached into the jacket he confiscated from the teenager and pulled out the security card.

   "The good Dr. Hitokawa snuck into Bombay's room to kill him, but he screwed up.  Bombay knocked him out and used the opportunity to escape."

   "Why did Hitokawa want to kill him?" Knight asked curiously.

   "The doctor used to work for Kritiker's weapon division.  When he tried to defect, they sent Weiss after him and his family.  Bombay killed the wife.  The daughters weren't so lucky.  Siberian got them and took his time playing with them."

   "You're going to check on them personally!?  Masafumi, it's too dangerous!"

   He turned to look at Hell, still holding the test results in his hand.

   "Yes.  I want to see them myself."  (I need to see my brother with my own eyes.)

   "But surely you can just send Tot or someone else with the medication...."

   "Schwarz will be there.  I'm certain they have the situation well in hand for now."  He held up his hand to forestall Hell's outburst.  "I'll take any reasonable precautions, but I *am* going."

   Seeing the stubborn look in his eyes, Hell clamped her mouth shut, then took a deep, slow breath.  

   "All right.  But only if we go with you!"

   He nodded absently as he continue to stare down at the papers in his hand, but Hell had the distinct impression that he wasn't seeing the words on the page.

   "What's wrong?"

   "There's... something else you need to know before we go.  I told you there were complications regarding Weiss."


   "Crawford only had preliminary details, but it appears that Kritiker has somehow altered or tampered with Fujimiya's and possibly the other Weiss members' memories."  

   "Altering their memories?  How?  And why?" asked Schoen.

   "I'm not sure about the others, but Crawford said that Fujimiya doesn't remember anything about leaving Weiss.  According to Schuldig, Fujimiya thinks he's still working for Kritiker and that Schwarz and my family are his enemies."  

   "The bloody bastards!" Hell hissed.  "So Abyssinian's now free and working for Persia again?"  She dropped her hands to her weapons as she quickly scanned the room, as if expecting the assassin to appear out of thin air at any second.

   He held out his hand.  "Calm down.  For some unknown reason, when Kritiker modified Fujimiya's memory, they also blocked his ability to teleport.  Or more precisely, his awareness of being able to teleport."

   "What!?  But that's crazy!  Teleportation is the principal thing that makes him so dangerous and lethal.  Why would Kritiker prevent him from using that ability?  It doesn't make sense!" Schoen protested.

   "It makes perfect sense if they're not sure of him," Neu replied in her usual cold monotone.

   Masafumi nodded sharply.  "She's right.  Kritiker probably did it to protect themselves as well as to prevent Fujimiya from escaping before they finished their work on him."

   Tot clutched her rabbit and said sadly, "So Aya now hates all of us?  Poor Schu-Schu!"
   As Hell and Schoen smothered their chuckles at the idea of a 'poor Schuldig', Masafumi patted Tot on the head and said, "Yes, this will be very hard on him, but don't worry.  Schuldig's a very strong and stubborn person.  I'm sure he'll do his best to help Aya."

   "Okay, Papa."

   "But until Aya recovers, we'll have to take special care of his sister."

   Tot's eyes widened in alarm.  "Aya... he wouldn't hurt her!  *They* couldn't make him do that!  Not Aya-chan!"  She bit her lip and whispered, "....could they?"

   Schoen quickly put her arm around Tot's shoulders.  "No no, not deliberately.  But if he's not thinking clearly, he might do something that could accidentally harm her."

   Hell added, "Remember that Masafumi promised Aya that he would do whatever was necessary to take care of Aya-chan while she's sick, even if it meant protecting her from her own brother."
   "Oh, I see," Tot said with a sigh of relief.

   "What about the other members of Weiss?" Neu asked.

   Masafumi replied, "They weren't conscious when Crawford called me, but he seems quite certain that they've all had their memories altered to some degree.  We don't know how they'll be affected.  All Crawford would say is that they are still Weiss, just not the Weiss we know."

   Schoen tossed her long hair in annoyance and muttered, "How typically cryptic of Oracle!  I swear it's impossible to get a clear, simple answer out of that man!"

   "Schoen, Hell and Neu will be accompanying me, but I want you to stay behind."

   "But Masafumi...!" the blond protested.

   "It's not that I doubt you, Schoen, or your nerve, but I think it would be better if one of you stayed behind to keep an eye on Aya-chan.  Just in case."

   ".... All right," she said reluctantly.

   The doctor slipped the sheaf of papers into a medical bag, then handed the bag to Tot.

   "Let's go."

   As Schoen watched as he and the other members of Schreient left for the detention area, her expression suddenly shifted from disgruntled to thoughtful.  She abruptly turned and headed for the medical lab.  Once inside, she headed straight for the rack of blood-filled vials sitting on the counter.  Schoen stared down at them for a moment, then pulled out the test tube containing Siberian's blood, turning the crimson-filled vial over in her hand.  

   (With this in my possession, I could kill you, Siberian.  I could make you die a slow, agonizing death, the same way you wanted me to die.)

   The urge to take revenge against the murderous lunatic was almost overpowering, but she regretfully resisted the temptation.  

   (Luckily for you, Masafumi wants you alive, Siberian.  But if you hurt him or anyone else I care about, I'll make you sorry that you were ever born.  I swear it!)

   Slipping a spare vial of Siberian's blood into her pocket, she left the lab to check on Aya's sister.  Staring down at the comatose girl, Schoen said softly, "Masafumi promised your brother to keep you safe.  And I'll do anything necessary to help him keep that promise.  I will protect you from Kritiker, Persia, Weiss... and if necessary, your own brother."


(end Part 2)
Keeper of Duo's Dark Side ~~~ Duo no Seishi
Co-Keeper of Duo's Scythe & Bat Wings (w/ Death)
Co-Keeper of Little Grim Reaper Duo (w/ Kitsune)
Saitoh no Koibito ~~~ Corruptor Extraordinaire
madamhydra@aol.com              ////////:E

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