Faded Obsidian

Faded Obsidian

By saturn de wicked

Chapter One

More often than not, peace goes looking for trouble

The building overlooked the streets of Tokyo. Tall, like the rest, but taller than most. The glass wall spanning from the ceiling to the floor provided an unobstructed view of the streets. He rested his palm on the cold glass, the chill tingling his fingers. He looked upon the 'normal' with something that was envy and yet not quite. So many times had he stood above the world that lived a life he had given up, and so many times more would he continue to do the same, watching what he would never have.

He ran his fingers down the smooth glass. Caged, but soon to be free.

The blinds snapped shut.

Schuldich closed his eyes, clearing his thoughts. It was not Schuldich who looked through the glass, it was not Schuldich who wanted to be part of normal. Schuldich did not do that. So he pushed the familiar yet alien longing out of his mind and turned smoothly, the trademark smile turned on full power.

The door opened.

"Schuldich," Nagi greeted quietly.

"Unavailable at the moment."

"Schuldich," he repeated, adding mild edge to his voice.

"You could have knocked and asked politely whether you could enter," Schuldich informed him, snubbing his cigarette out on an ashtray. "You've not been paying attention to your etiquette classes."

Nagi gave a soft sigh of exasperation. "It's not like you ever did."

"Ahh… but I'm not the one who's going to take after our," he made a rude gesture to his left, "great leader."

Nagi narrowed his eyes. "And what gave you the idea that I was going to?"

Schuldich's smirk widened. "You mean who."

Nagi glared at Schuldich, who met his gaze with a full smile and amused eyes. Then he let his eyes close and his shoulders relaxed slightly. "You have to get a brain, Schuldich."

"You have to get a will, pretty boy," Schuldich countered, boredom catching up on him.

He could practically see the young man's jaws tightened. But Nagi was Nagi. His face closed up into the usual expressionless front he put up. Schuldich sniggered to himself privately.

"Crawford is ready."

Schuldich tossed the crushed filter away and dropped his smirk. A thoughtful look slowly passed over his face. "How long since the Century was destroyed?" he asked.

"Thirty-six days," was the unhesitating response.

Schuldich nodded absently. ~Thirty-six days on a leash. This will be the end.~

~We believed 'the end' to be exactly thirty-six days ago too... We underestimated Estet… didn't we?~

Schuldich snorted. ~Those old fools… how capable can their dogs be? We waited so long so that we could do a clean job of wiping them out, and only for that reason.~

Nagi was silent.

~These nitwits are stupid enough to think that they can monitor our every movement with cameras, and trust our intelligence to be so low that we won't notice,~ Schuldich scoffed. ~You're better off worrying for your stunted growth.~

"Get some rest," Nagi cut the topic off, speaking out loud. "You will be doing most of the work today. We'll set off at 2330 sharp." ~Tonight the last of Estet will die.~

The door closed, and Schuldich was left to himself. He fell into the soft white leather couch, sighing in exasperation. He wanted more freedom than the space within four walls. Sick, so sick of being Estet's lapdog. So sick of having to pretend in front of them, even though he was taking amusement in doing so. The fun had dried up long ago.

Their last few days in the hotel room had been a trial of their acting skills. No one seemed to having any problems with that besides Schuldich. He was soooo fighting the urge to scramble the brains of the guards watching them. Twitching, even. The mission Nagi was speaking to him about just the moment ago had been the first assignment to Schwarz since the fall of the original leaders. Or the guards probably thought so anyway.

His eyes lazily moved to the clock. There was still a boring half an hour to go. He badly wanted out, but was under Crawford's orders not to leave at all. And of course, the all-knowing clairvoyant was not to be disobeyed.

Since when have you started giving a shit to Crawford's wishes anyway? Schuldich smirked to himself, feeling stupid. Following Crawford's orders had become something he accepted as his duty lately. He remembered when Schwarz had started out with only them two, he had given Crawford practically hell. There was so much to do, and so much Schuldich would not oblige to doing. He had been fifteen when he first joined Schwarz, the same age as Nagi now, but much more painful to manage. Oh no, he was not a good computer nerd.

He would have the clairvoyant placing men at all exits when it neared a mission, in case he missed a vision of Schuldich trying to escape out. Schuldich smiled a little at the memory. The etiquette teacher he had was sent to the hospital on the third day of his job, and a few more followed because Crawford had been insistent on 'proper behavior' on formal gatherings. But in the end, it was Crawford himself who took time to train him into who he was.

He had been by the clairvoyant's side for eight years already… eight long years…

Schuldich closed his eyes.

---

Crawford sat quietly at his desk, looking hard at the ticking clock on the wall of the suite's study. They, meaning Schwarz, were currently residing in the suite at the top level of the detached headquarters of Estet, the special rooms that were exclusively reserved for their use. The whole suite took the space of the entire level of the office building, furnished as expensively as Schwarz was worth. There was even a special built in for Farfarello, since Estet's impression of the madman from the first meeting had never once changed.

One bloody teenager with blood running down his body like perspiration, offal of a dead guard in the mouth that smiled and whispered silent prayers. One rabid animal that dug out its eye with bare hands, and laughed as he crushed it.

Crawford remembered, all right. It had been barely three years. Nagi had not been with them when they caught the madman on the streets, so the young boy had not the picture of blood engraved in his mind. Even Schuldich had moved on with no smart comment.

Schuldich…

Over the years, the redhead had become almost his friend. He had not expected the partnership to last when Estet first shoved the smirking rebel to him. Schuldich had nearly gotten them killed not only once, that was for sure. Only Crawford's pre-cog abilities had saved them time and time again from death, where they belonged.

The path had not been smooth, but his patience and hard work on the German paid off beautifully. The end result proved to be much more than satisfactory – Crawford would never consider himself as dependant, but he harbored the fear at the back of mind that he had long taken Schuldich's presence and telepathy for granted. It's going to be my demise one day…

More often than not, Crawford himself felt like finishing off the German. Estet's determination to bring in Nagi had almost killed the said redhead – Crawford had been left to his own devices with an unbalanced telekinetic child when Schuldich sneaked off without his knowing, having left with the utmost confidence that Crawford would manage fine without him. That night, a bleeding clairvoyant had him at gunpoint, and nearly fired out of rage.

~Maybe I should do that again? It had been fun to see you losing your cool,~ Schuldich taunted suddenly, following Crawford's thoughts.

Crawford shifted his position to get more comfortable. ~You can always try. You liked the circuit, didn't you?~

It was the redhead's punishment. Crawford had run electricity through him until he screamed. It was one day that the telepath tried so hard to forget.

~Talk about sadistic…~ Schuldich sighed again, drawing out.

Crawford could feel the subtle impatience in his voice. Schuldich was anticipating, and so was he. They had waited long enough for this day to come. Their leader's eyes hardened.

The black was going to break away from the shadows soon, and unlike the shadows, the black could survive in light.

A knock sounded on the heavy oak doors. It opened quietly, and Nagi stepped in, closing the door the way only he could. "I have delivered the message. He's smoking in the lounge," Nagi said flatly. Crawford already knew; it was a small service for the guards watching them through the cameras.

"Farfarello?" Crawford asked calmly, still watching the clock past Nagi's head, eyes having not once left throughout his conversation with Schuldich.

"I gave him his weapon before I went to Schuldich. He should be playing with it." ~Are we going to destroy the cameras or kill the guards watching?~

Crawford nodded in acknowledgement. ~The guards. Schuldich's work.~ "And you, Nagi?"

"I follow you," Nagi replied evenly. "I always have, Crawford."

---

Schuldich smirked again, listening in to the conversation. He wondered when Schwarz the unfeeling assassination group had started to actually share bonds with one another. Just a few years ago they could stab each other in the night and spit on the corpse.

But sometime, sometime in days they had been together and fought for themselves, a mutual objective had been formed, and it was perhaps that that made the team of psychopaths called Schwarz, enough for loyalty and perhaps friendship to develop.

Nagi saw Crawford as a leader and someone to respect. It was Crawford who picked him from the dumps and colely raised him when no one even gave a damn. Schuldich smirked cynically to himself. He wondered if Crawford resembled anything like a father to the boy. Maybe that had been why Nagi returned to them even though Crawford abandoned him to his own devices with the bunny girl when the building crashed down on them. Maybe Crawford knew he would return, who could tell?

Crawford the unfeeling bastard had gained trust and authority among the four. He was ruthlessness that no longer extended to his own team members. Like a guardian who led but did not dominate.

Schuldich paused in his thoughts. Cut that out. That guardian has two horns.

Farfarello was the latest to join them. The madman had gained semblance of sanity from the time when they first met to now. At least he recognized his own teammates. Farfarello followed orders, and killed with rapture, no questions asked. He had more tolerance with the German than the other two.

~He's only pretending to bear with you.~ Crawford's voice spoke to him.

~You know, I never keep this link up for you to eavesdrop,~ the redhead replied lazily, even though he did not mind the intrusion at all. Schwarz had shared little privacy ever since the link went up. Thoughts leaked out more often than not, unless the owner of the mind chose to guard. Crawford did, most of the time.

~I heard my name, and the natural instinct is to reply,~ Crawford reasoned, all serious.

~You must really be bored, huh? To lower yourself to speak with me,~ Schuldich mocked in amusement.

~I'm waiting, but I'm not bored.~

~And so am I, Crawford, so am I…~

The door was flung open, and hit the wall with a loud crash. Schuldich muttered something rude then rolled over onto his front to glare the intruder full in the face. "Someone is trying to get rest here, Farfarello love."

The one golden eye scanned the room slowly, passing over Schuldich's annoyed look easily. Then he padded in slowly, still looking around. Schuldich rolled back to his original position, grunting in discontentment. Farfarello ignored him, possibly not having even heard the reprimand.

It was only after a few minutes of shuffling about that Farfarello stopped in front of Schuldich. The redhead glared up. Farfarello gazed down.

It continued for a few minutes.

"What do you want?" Schuldich finally asked, knowing his eyes would long tire out before Farfarello's. And knowing from experiences, the madman would not know he was supposed to talk unless prompted to.

"Give me a knife."

"Nagi said he already gave you one. The nice long retractable one, so shoo," Schuldich gave him a dismissive wave.

"The Angels touched it."

There was a pause, after which Schuldich sat up with a sigh. "Give it to me." He held out his hand, demanding the faulty weapon. He had long learned to decode his teammate's words. Whatever was spoilt, the Angels were always at fault. "Well?" Schuldich asked when the Irishman did not move.

Farfarello appeared to give his words some thought before replying slowly, "What the Angels rest their filthy fingers on, I will not."

Schuldich took back his hand, and buried his face in it, muttering something incoherent.

"I think you were asking for this," a soft voice said.

Something cold tapped Schuldich's arm, and the redhead reached out with his free hand without looking. He let out a breath into his palm, then set about opening up the handle of the blade/spike that Farfarello favored but was willing to give up because there had been Godly influence on it.

Nagi approached the two from where he had been leaning on the doorframe. He sat down on the couch beside Schuldich, hands between his knees and looking upon the ground, not saying a word. Farfarello watched Schuldich work with an intense gaze, and made no move to sit down himself.

"What's wrong?" Schuldich asked, not really caring one way or another.

Nagi kept silent, thoughtful. "Schuldich…"

"Hm?" the redhead replied distractedly, pushing at the button that was supposed to release the spike from the handle.

"Where do you think we'll be after this?"

Schuldich paused for a moment. "That's for our almighty leader to answer, don't ask the ignorant telepath."

"You know he won't tell me."

"He probably hasn't seen that far yet," Schuldich answered dryly, experimentally pulling the spike out.

"Can you look?" Nagi asked, still not looking up.

"Nope," Schuldich replied lightly. "His head is fucked, that guy."

There was silence next as Schuldich put the blade back together, and threw it at the watching Farfarello. "There, no more Angels or whatnot. I killed them."

Farfarello picked up his weapon from where it had dropped onto the carpeted floor, having been reluctant to catch it before. He cocked his head, looking at it in consideration, before padding away to the opposite couch with the handle gripped tightly in his scarred hands.

"Ch', no words of thanks?" Schuldich leaned back into the soft white leather.

"…Do you think… after this… we'll still be together?" Nagi's voice sounded, the lack of its usual confidence obvious and loud.

Schuldich closed his eyes. ~Who else in the world do we have?~ He opened his eyes a crack, and glanced over at Nagi, who was looking carefully at him. ~We are together now because we can go to no one else, and we'll be together tomorrow for the same reason. What the hell are you worrying for?~

Nagi did not speak until a few minutes later, when Schuldich had gone into a sleepy haze. ~I don't know… I have a bad feeling about tonight… then I realize that I don't want to be alone anymore.~

---

Crawford stepped into the lounge. Schuldich was asleep, and Farfarello was driving his blade into a cushion. Only Nagi looked up when he sat down on the far end of Farfarello's couch. He gestured to the sleeping German.

Nagi nodded, then shook Schuldich by the shoulder, getting a muffled grumble in return. It took a few more tries before he could be forced into opening his eyes, and when he did, the first person he fixed his glare on was Crawford, then Nagi. "If I get dark rings, the first minds I scramble will be yours." One big scowl to go with it.

Nagi resumed his original position, gazing straight forward expressionlessly at Crawford. Farfarello pushed his cushion away. The spike went through the wooden table between the four men.

The clock ticked away.

Crawford nodded. "Schuldich."

The German smirked.

---

Four pairs of feet made no sound as they walked down the carpeted floor. They stopped in front of two heavy wooden doors, the silence that fell punctuating their arrival. No one tried to stop them. The guards that were posted lay dead on the floor, necks twisted without any signs of weapons used. Crawford stepped over them calmly, and opened the doors in a smooth motion.

Heads turned towards them.

Fear. So much of it.

Schuldich closed his eyes, soaking every bit of emotion that he could catch. They were so strong, rippling through his mind in waves. amid the noise of their silent screams were traces of confusion, apprehension, dread, fear, fear and more fear. There were no questions to why they appeared at one of highest meetings unbidden. Schuldich snorted quietly. They should have realized before they tried forcing them back to a leash again.

"Craw… Crawford!" the man sitting at the head of the table stuttered, the one word seeming to have taken everything out of him.

"At your service." The clairvoyant drew a gun out of his jacket.

No one moved. No one dared to move. Schuldich heard the screams inside their heads, smirked as they trembled, trying to swallow and not choke on terror. Beside him, Farfarello's blade shot out with a crisp sound of metal, stretched to its longest. He brought the sharp spike to his mouth, and ran his tongue over it lovingly. Nagi ran his eyes over them in disinterest, like how one would spare a bug a look before stepping on it. The sheep for slaughter sat paralyzed in their seats around the long table.

"You should never try to tame the wild. Learn from the mistakes of others, because your predecessors have tried and failed in their death," Crawford said, his voice cutting through the think tension, so final it seemed to echo. He cocked his gun.

~I thought you dogs would at least tried to hide when the old fools died,~ Schuldich laughed into their minds. ~But no, of course you didn't know we did it. You just had to get us under your control, don't you? Greedy, ignorant humans…~

The silence resumed totally after his words, then the leader let loose a repressed scream, and whipped out a gun, leveling it at Crawford.

A shot fired.

The man crumpled into his chairman's seat before the echoes died off.

Panic broke. Upon the first scream, Crawford smiled, and stepped back. "I haven't even collected my paycheck yet."

Schuldich stepped forth replacing his leader, even as a man trying to charge him slammed into an invisible wall. "Tsk tsk… why so impatient…?"

He mock-winced, as a wail sounded from his left. "And we haven't even moved yet."

A window was thrown open, and a man in tie scrambled to get on the windowsills, yelling out into the night air for help. Schuldich frowned, his ears and mind throbbing. "Countdown to firing," he sang, as the thoughts started collecting in his head, swirling and overlapping each other. He needed enough to kill every one of the pigs in the slaughterhouse – the fools did not even know that they were feeding their own death.

"Ten."

Farfarello charged, his battle cry ringing over the cacophony. The old man he pounced on collapsed onto the ground and trembled at the feral fire of insanity in the single golden eye, throat rasping but unable to produce any other sounds.

"Nine."

Nagi stepped forward. The noise was already overwhelming, too painful for the ears to bear. Nagi frowned delicately, then lifted his hand.

"Eight."

Crawford's evil smile widened in victory, even as an untimely vision flooded his head and the reality faded out. In that one second, the future twisted itself, and changed.

"Schuldich, look out!" Crawford called sharply to the telepath, even as he reached out for the redhead. Schuldich could not hear him.

"Zero," Schuldich whispered. "Bang."

Red hot blinding pain flared. Schuldich's scream tore into the night, even as the howls of others died instantly, as if to accommodate his solitary voice. A gun fell onto the ground, the owner collapsed, blood running from his eyes and down his face. The remnants of the gunshot reverberated in the wake of the telepath's cry.

~Schuldich!~ Nagi fell on his knees beside his teammate. His eyes went to the wound on his arm, careful not to touch the mess of blood and flesh. The green cloth of his jacket was soaked in red, contrasting painfully. He tapped the redhead's face, but got no response.

Crawford joined Nagi by Schuldich's side, and knelt down. Farfarello stood watching.

"It's not enough to knock him out," was Crawford's plain statement, as he examined the hole in Schuldich's upper arm. The rage in his voice was barely concealed. Anger at himself, anger for his miscalculation. It hurt his pride to make such a foolish mistake.

"What happened?" Nagi asked, flipping the German carefully so he laid on his back.

"The shot must have distracted him. It hit him when he was firing the whole load of thoughts," Crawford's lips thinned. And they backfired to hit him twice as hard.

"Bring him along. We're leaving," he bit out, then turned and strode out of the bloodied room.

Author's notes:

My first Weiss Kreuz fic, but not my first try. I started another one first, but decided to make this my debut, because the other one will be long, and I will only post the first chapter when I'm ready to continue. I'm very happy writing this, and glad, because fic writing has become more of a chore for me lately. Pardon the twisted characterization, but the fics have too much of an influence on me, sorry. This chapter focuses more on showing the relationship between the members of Schwarz than anything, so it's rather boring… I promise everything will get better. Schuldich still has his memory to lose.

Dedicated to Ray-chan. If you're reading this, then I hope you'll come back, please.

The original title, Faded Waters, is provided by Shizuyu of the Hentai Gumi, modified by saturn.

This fic is inspired by the great work of Mami-sama, Temporary Peace. Thanks a lot to her for writing it, and for letting me use the idea *sighs happily*.i promise I will not follow her plot, I'm just using the idea of amnesia.

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Original plot and characters are properties of the creator and distributors of Weiss Kreuz and are copyrighted to their respective owners. Author of this work claims no ownership, part or whole, of the original plot and characters. No copyright infringement is intended. This fan fiction and all other relevant chapters and work, both text and non-text, are created for sole purpose of entertainment. Work is absolutely a non-commercial creation and no profits are made from the production, maintenance or display.

Faded Obsidian is an original piece of fan work copyrighted to saturn de wicked. No part of this work is to be reproduced or adapted in any way without the author's permission.