Chapter 2: May the Schwarz Be With You
A/N: I tend to use Crawford's first name (Brad), because I like it better. Also, I think that characters named "Brad" are funnier.
A lot of this chapter is me getting the NagiTot out of my system so that it doesn't poison me. It's the kind of pairing that could do that, if you don't get it treated.
Um, spoilerz... but since Weiss has been out since, like, 1996 or something, I'm not too worried about it.
This is also a story about another family. And like the Takatoris, this family was not the most traditional of arrangements.
But Nagi really liked living with Schwarz, anyway. He liked that Schul always noticed when and why he was in a bad mood, even if he only picked on him for it. He liked that Crawford always made sure that he was dressed for any upcoming weather changes before he left the apartment. He liked that Farfy had a tendency to hug him if their paths crossed during the day, and then walk off without saying anything (Farf was a little weird). He liked movie nights and taco nights and the much more common "draw straws to see who has to run down to McDonalds and buy dinner for everyone because we don't feel like cooking" nights. He even liked the arguments.
They usually started with Schul and Farfy yelling at each other. For instance, Schul would be looking for something in the cupboard above the microwave, and Farf would walk up behind him and clear his throat.
"You want me to move, don't you," Schul wouldn't ask.
"I want to heat up my coffee."
"Well, wait a minute. I'm looking for the Pringles."
"Just let me put this in the microwave. It'll only take a second."
"Drink it cold, you pansy. It's not like you feel it."
"I can feel hot and cold!"
"Good for you."
"No. Wait your turn!"
Nagi and Brad would be watching from the sidelines. Nagi would usually be on the computer.
"Watch your head," Brad would remark about a second before Farf slapped the back of Schul's head, knocking it into the cupboard.
"You bastard!" Schul would spin around.
"Don't get coffee on the walls," Brad would wince, but it would be too late, because Farf would have already tossed his coffee mug behind him. Nagi would suspend it in the air as well as he could, if he was paying attention and if Brad said it on time.
"Don't mess with my caffeine fix!"
"Don't mess with my Pringles fix!"
"All you had to do was move aside for five seconds!"
They would start wrestling, rolling into the living room.
"The lamp," Brad would say before they crashed into the side table. Nagi would secure the lamp as it wobbled.
"Look what you almost did, you freak!"
"Leggo my hair!"
"Yeah, 'cause you spend so much time on it."
"OW OW OW!"
"Don't bleed on the rug," Brad would sigh, rubbing the bridge of his nose. But they wouldn't hear him, and Nagi couldn't stop blood from flowing. "Watch the computer,"
"Hey!" Nagi would cry at this point, standing protectively between the fighting dust cloud that was Farf and Schul and his precious link to the outside world. "Watch the computer!"
"Nagi, move," Brad would say. "They can't hear you, and,"
Nagi would be unconscious for the next part. He would wake up on the couch, usually with Brad bending over him, and Schul and Farf off to the side a little, looking concerned.
"He's coming round."
"Nagi-kun, we're sorry."
"Does it hurt?"
"Why don't you listen to me?"
"I–," Nagi would sigh, glancing out of the corner of his eye at his precious unharmed monitor. "I can't let them hurt my computer."
"Forgive the Japanese, but, " American Brad Crawford usually lapsed into English when he was exasperated, and when he was really exasperated, he lapsed back into Japanese,"baka."
Then he would tap Nagi on the forehead like he had only just stopped himself from hitting the boy, and walk away.
"Sorry, Nag," Schul would shrug. "You ok? You were out for a while there."
"Yeah, I'm fine..."
"Well, good." Then he would ruffle his hair and walk off as well. "Oh, by the way, I'm sure that your computer's fine."
"Obnoxious little twerp, isn't he?" Farf would mutter after him. "Don't get in our way so often, Nagi, you should know better."
"It's always my fault, isn't it?"
Farf would tap him on the nose before walking off. "And no angsting, either. Angst makes God happy. That's why it's so common."
Nagi would be alone, so he would ignore whatever injury he had sustained in the previous battle and get back on his computer.
He loved it more than his own life for a reason. His best friend lived on the computer.
Ok, he didn't live on the computer, but he had met him online. Playing Halo, to be specific. His name was FreesiasOfDarkness. But Nagi was still fairly certain that he was a boy. And even if he wasn't, that would be fine. Nagi's other best friend was a girl. The real one.
Er, that is to say, the one that he talked to in real life. And she wasn't really his best friend. She was, well...
The most important thing to understand about Nagi is that he went through puberty with only the help of Brad, Schuldig, and Farfarello, and they didn't have a clue. Brad had been born grown up (and, so far as anyone could tell, asexual), Schul's advice tended to lean on the child-molester/rapist side, and whether Farf had ever actually hit puberty was debatable. His voice was awfully high for a grown man.
Not to mention that The Talk from a Schwarz perspective was a little... customized. Crawford had given it to him, in a very round-about way. Nagi couldn't say for sure, but he thought that, just possibly, Schwarz's stoic leader was uncomfortable.
"Nagi, we need to discuss something," he said, cornering Nagi in his bedroom, where he was recovering from a Schul-Farf fight gone very wrong. This was before FreesiasOfDarkness. Actually, it was before Brad had sprung for high-speed. Nagi was about ten or eleven at the time.
"Um... It's about Farfarello. Do you know why he threw that stapler at your head?"
"Because he was trying to hit Schul, but Schul dodged him."
Brad fidgeted. "Well, yes, but do you know why he was trying to hit Schul?"
"Um..." Nagi tried to think back. This hurt a little bit. The stapler had been going pretty fast, and they thought he might have a concussion. "Didn't Schul make a yo' mama joke?"
"Yes, but... what I'm trying to get at here is, do you know why Schuldig and Farfarello fight so often?"
"They don't get along?"
Brad actually smiled. This scared Nagi. He hunched back against his pillows defensively.
"No, Nagi, it's not that they don't get along. It's that... Schul and Farf are in love with each other."
Nagi blinked. "But... they fight..."
"Well, neither of them realize it. That creates what we call sexual tension. And if you tell either of them that, they will hit you. And if you tell them that I told you, then I will hit you. We will never mention this again."
"...so, then, why are you telling me?"
"Well, you see Nagi, when two men are attracted to each other, something... happens, and..."
That was how Nagi learned about the Bees and... the Bees. Or maybe it was the Birds and the Birds. He was never given the Birds and the Bees. That was unnecessary.
Frankly, Schwarz didn't expect him to be straight. The only one of them that came even close was Brad, and this was because he was so inhuman that they figured they might as well give him the benefit of the doubt. And Nagi was young and boyish and effeminate. The boy had "Uke" written on his forehead, as far as Schwarz could see.
So Nagi's first encounters with his crush were hopelessly embarrassing. He had never met a couple, straight or otherwise, in a functional relationship. All his sexual knowledge came from awkward conversations with Schwarz members. And that he was an awkward kid to begin with did not help him.
"Um... Tot-sa– cha– sa–," he mumbled, trying to break the ice the first time. San or Chan? He didn't know her well enough for a "chan", but he didn't want her to think he was being too formal with "san", and which was ruder, being too informal or—,
"I think if you stutter once on "san", it counts as cute and awkward and lets her know what's going down," Schuldig said, pushing open the bathroom door where Nagi was practicing in front of the mirror. Nagi winced. "Like "Tot-sa-san, do you want to, um, go for... um... sex?"
"I'm practicing so that I can be—,"
"Less awkward, not more. Your funeral, kid," he shrugged. Nagi hoped that he would go away, but instead he sat down on the counter, leaning against the mirror. "So, you've got a crush on a girl, huh?"
"Heh... so paranoid. I won't tell the others."
"I wish you wouldn't listen in on my thoughts. It's very violating."
"Stop thinking so damn loud. You think I want to know about your fetish for blue haired lolitas? I could hear you all the way from the hall."
"I can't help–,"
Schul cut him off by punching him lightly on the arm and wandering off. "Good luck flirting. You of all people will need it."
It was with these comforting words of wisdom from one of his parental figures that Nagi went tracking down his female counterpart.
Nagi blushed. Why couldn't she be not-happy to see him? Not disappointed, but just... not happy. Like "oh, hey, it's Nagi. What's up?" and then he could say, "oh, nothing, just looking for you," and then she would say... Nagi sighed. Schul was right; he was a social train wreck.
"Hi, Tot-sa-san," he managed to choke out, not needing to fake the stutter. She giggled. "I was, um, wondering, um... if you would possibly be interested in maybe, sometime, doing something with me?"
Nagi smiled weakly. It worked! She said "ok!" She wanted to go out with him! He was going to go on a date with Tot! Beautiful, gorgeous, perfect, cute, lovely Tot!
His thoughts continued like this for a few minutes before he noticed that she was watching him expectantly.
"... What do you want to do? And when?"
"So, did she say no?" Farfarello asked him when he got back to the apartment.
"Schul told you, didn't he?" Nagi practically burst into tears. "Why do you guys have to ruin my life?!"
"Schul didn't tell me anything. I'm crazy, not stupid. She turned you down?"
"No... but... I just asked if she wanted to go out sometime, and... she said yes... and then she wanted to know where and when."
Farf nodded. "Good for you."
"No, not good," Nagi wailed, flopping down on the couch. "I froze up and said "oh, it was just a hypothetical question." and then I walked off! Farf, I hate my life!"
Farfarello patted his head and handed him a knife. "Good. Here, if you want to cut yourself."
Nagi stared at the blade for a second, then rammed it into Farf's arm. Farf smiled. "Or that."
"Oh, hello, Nagi-kun!"
"Um, do you want to go... get some ice cream? With me? I mean, I'll pay, and, er,"
Tot just smiled and grabbed his hand. "Sure!"
"Crawford!" Nagi got home and collapsed face first on the floor. "I fail at life."
"Did Tot turn you down again?"
"Farf told you!? What, does screwing with my social life hurt God or something?"
"Nobody told me anything. I'm not blind, you know. What happened?"
"We were eating ice cream. And I couldn't think up anything to talk about."
"So I said, "Did you know minds taste like honey?"
"It's not funny!" Nagi shrieked from the floor. A picture fell off the wall.
"I can't believe you said that to her."
"It was the first thing that popped into my head."
"We've got you trained. So, you've pretty much shot your chance with her, I take it?"
"I don't know. She just laughed and changed the subject."
"Wow," Brad said quietly. "She must really like you."
Nagi lifted his head of the ground hopefully. "She... likes me?"
"You've screwed up enough to give her ample reason to file a restraining order, and yet she still tries to talk to you. Sounds like she likes you to me."
"Of course, what would you know about women, anyway, Crawford?" This last was added by Schul, who was on a dead-end quest to determine his teammate's sexuality, occasionally aided by Farf and Nagi, when there was nothing on TV.
"Enough to know that Nagi would be screwed if he was trying to get anyone else interested."
"Personal experience? Were you an awkward teen, Brad-boy?"
"Or did you just have stalker-boys like Nagi after you a lot?"
Brad looked at him coldly, which only made Schul smile in a manner that the telepath apparently thought was cute. "Or where you the one stalking boys?"
"Schuldig, sometimes you say things to me that I don't understand," Brad said simply, walking off. "Oh, and, Nagi?"
"Why don't you call Tot up tomorrow and ask her if she wants to go to a movie?"
"...Or the park or something," Nagi said. "She's not really an indoor person."
"I think that she'll be an indoor person tomorrow at 3:00."
The next day at three o'clock, Nagi and Tot were caught off-guard in the park by a horrible sudden thunderstorm. That was how they ended up making out in a pavilion. Brad meant well when he gave Nagi advice, of course, but that didn't mean that he knew what he was doing.