then, it finds more than it bargained for
It rained heavy that night. Crawford could feel
the raindrops tapping on the car, easing the silence that was louder than usual.
He was a man who knew how to appreciate peace and quiet when it came by, but
this was not the same, because the person who was supposed to initiate words was
unconscious and bleeding in the backseat. Crawford had never counted on the
other two for excessive speech, but he could not remember any recent times when
the cessation of voices had been this awkward.
The rain pattered on. It was something new for
Schwarz, who was used to and comfortable with silence.
Crawford's lips thinned. Or maybe it was
because he was practically radiating anger, he thought. It did not show on his
face. It never showed on his face, but his teammates knew, like how they always
So they drove on, accompanied by the squeaking of
the windscreen wiper and the pattering rain. The roads were not crowded even
though it was the commercial area. It was, after all, two hours past midnight.
"Where are we going?" Nagi asked when
they stopped at a traffic junction.
"A hotel," Crawford replied flatly.
"I'll make arrangements to go back to the headquarters later." He
congratulated himself for not snapping, because he felt the unexplainable urge
to do so. It was strange, not to be able to hear random thoughts of his
teammates constantly whispering softly into his mind; that had almost become
something he had taken for granted and he rarely blocked them out.
"Another hotel…" There was a tired
note to Nagi's voice even though his face and eyes betrayed no inner emotions.
Crawford could tell the boy wanted to go back to their apartment, the small
house they professionally addressed as their headquarters. The place was special
to them somehow, and each of them knew it. It had been empty since they last
left it, which was about three months ago when they joined in Estet's
preparations for the almighty ritual.
Crawford glanced at Nagi through the rearview
mirror, and his eyes inadvertently caught the unconscious Schuldich. The German
was propped in a sitting position between Nagi and Farfarello, so that he had a
cushion on both sides if he fell.
Nagi fingered the makeshift bandage he did for
Schuldich using the German's sleeves. He frowned. The blood had already seeped
through the thick material. "What are we going to do about Schuldich?"
"For the physical injuries, we are going to
get the bullet out of him first," came the unwavering reply.
"I don't mean that," Nagi murmured,
pushing Schuldich's wild hair away from his face. He looked deathly pale
compared to his locks of ridiculously bright hair.
"We'll see what we can do when we get to
Nagi nodded. He had never been very friendly with
the German, but perhaps was the closest with him out of the rest of Schwarz. He
was the only one Nagi could talk to when there was really nothing else better to
do, which was scarce. He rarely talked with Crawford, unless the topic involved
the future and development of Schwarz – Nagi seemed to be the only one
intelligent enough for this subject. But conversation with Crawford lacked the
emotions that always surfaced involuntarily when the partner was Schuldich.
Farfarello did not oblige to speak often. He was generally quieter than Nagi,
which was saying a lot, unless he had someone to torture. The Irishman conversed
more easily with Schuldich. But then, so did everyone, even Crawford.
Nagi grimaced in his head. The German's lack of
presence was starting to stand out already, especially with the possibility that
he may never come back to them. Nagi wondered if he would miss Schuldich if he
died. Probably not, he thought cynically. Peace never went where the redhead
chose to go.
He took another look at his unconscious teammate,
glad no one could hear his thoughts now. He hesitated a little before ripping
off his right sleeve. With as much care as he could muster in a moving car, he
removed Schuldich's damp crude bandage and redid it again. Schuldich did not
even twitch. Nagi frowned lightly and fingered his pulse. "Crawford…"
he said softly. "I think we need to go faster."
Farfarello looked up from his blade. The telepath
was leaning slightly against him. The one golden eye focused intensely on
Schuldich's face, so serene one would have thought he was only sleeping.
"He won't die that easily," he said, even as a slow knowing smile
made its way across his face.
But Crawford increased his speed as he drove on.
The sleek black Porsche pulled up in front of the
hotel. Nagi stepped out as the bellboy opened the door. He glanced back at
Crawford who was undoing his seatbelt. The American calmly tipped the bellboy
for his service and motioned for Farfarello to carry Schuldich out, like carting
unconscious and bleeding men was natural and generally accepted into everyday
If the security guards posted at the grand
entrance of the hotel were about to say something, they quickly bit back their
words at Crawford's cool gaze. He turned back to Farfarello, who had an arm
under the German's knees and another one supporting his back. A commanding nod
from Crawford, and Schwarz entered the cool air of the hotel lobby.
Heads turned at their entrance. Curious eyes
assessed the four but did not linger to stare. It was, after all, healthy to
mind one's own business. People whispered and stole glances at the blood on
the unconscious man that seemed to compliment his hair; people felt chills go
down their spines at the numerous glaring scars and the white hair that screamed
betrayal; but no one, as it was throughout the whole history of Schwarz, did
anything to attract unwanted attention. Such was the core of humanity.
Crawford made straight for the elevator with
Farfarello while Nagi wordlessly detoured to the receptionist to confirm their
The red number decreased slowly from ten, to
nine, to eight… Crawford gave Schuldich a quick glance. The German looked
practically ashen under the pale light of the lobby. He was not distressed over
the physical injuries, even though the newly replaced bandage was already
showing signs of redness. The ominous fact was that Schuldich mind was not
sending out any signs of life at all.
"If he is to die…" Farfarello rasped
out softly, as the elevator doors slid open quietly and they stepped in,
"Will he see Him…?" He laughed in response to his own question.
"Black, black sheep… will he see the Lord…?"
"He won't die," Crawford replied
simply, even as his teeth clenched. It would be another deep gash in his pride
and reputation if he allowed his own teammate to die from his mistake. A gash
over the recent gash that was the mistake.
The elevator doors slid open and they stepped
out, Farfarello carelessly banging Schuldich's legs against the metal
doorframe. Their suite was at the end of the corridor, and the door opened just
as Crawford reached it. Nagi caught up with them.
They wasted no time admiring their lodgings like
how the previous inhabitants had. Farfarello dumped his load on the couch as
soon as he got in, then stood at the head, watching Crawford kneel down beside
Schuldich and put him in a more comfortable position. The door closed softly as
Nagi joined them beside Schuldich. Crawford put Schuldich's injured arm out.
"Nagi, boil some water, get me a clean
It was a grim trio that sat down at the table to
have their breakfast. Crawford had managed to dislodge the bullet from Schuldich's
shoulders more or less successfully, since the bullet had not been embedded
deep. He had training in the medical field somewhere along his path in becoming
the leader of Schwarz, but the knowledge had been rarely put into use -- it was
Nagi who usually treated their wounds, not that there were many. This time, the
tools he employed were basic – he managed with the hotel first aid kit and a
crude set of knives Farfarello always carried about with him. Sterilized
beforehand, of course.
Crawford was the only one touching the food,
eating as impassively as always. It was nearly dawn, around 4 am. Schuldich's
minor operation had taken him two hours to complete. There was a kitchen in the
suite but Nagi was not up to cooking, from the looks of it. They had nothing for
him to start cooking with anyway. Crawford was not hungry, but breakfast was
part of routine, and Crawford rarely broke routine. They called for room
Nagi sat beside him at the round table, staring
into space. His oyako-don getting cold in front of him. Farfarello sat across
from him, playing with his rice, slicing them one by one into halves with a fine
blade. The silence was perfectly intact. Broken time to time by the soft
clattering of cutlery.
Schuldich was resting, having yet to move a
finger from his initial position. Crawford was not expecting him to recover that
fast, but he had not thought that Nagi would be so deeply affected by it.
Usually the boy left the rest alone and did not worry about them unless they
worried him first. Which only applied to Schuldich. Farfarello did not seem any
more perturbed than the normal.
"Nagi," Crawford said with a hard edge
to his voice, as he finished and set his plate aside.
The boy looked up at him questioningly, breaking
away from his thoughts.
"Your breakfast," Crawford stated,
pointing vaguely to the untouched rice. It was not exactly breakfast, but it was
after all, morning (albeit the 4am kind).
Nagi nodded quietly, then picked up his
chopsticks and started eating without another word. Crawford sat watching him,
not for the first time asking himself if diligence at following orders was good
for the boy. Nagi rarely defied him, never mind if it concerned such a minor
thing as his own diet and table manners. His obedience had been one of the
reasons why Crawford was incensed when the telekinetic disregarded his orders
and went after Tot, the silly Schrient doll.
Nagi finished his meal in a few minutes and
pushed his bowl away. He leaned back to resume his original position.
Farfarello stood up suddenly, pushing his chair
back so that it scraped loudly against the marble floor. Then he stalked away
towards one of the rooms and the door closed. Crawford raised an eyebrow. So…
it even got to him…
"Crawford…" Nagi spoke up
Crawford turned his eyes towards him.
"What can you See?" Nagi asked softly,
looking down at the edge of the table.
"Schuldich will wake up," Crawford
replied shortly, studying the boy's rare display of uncertainty in mild
interest. "Nothing else."
Nagi nodded slowly, then let out a small sigh.
"Goodnight, Crawford," he whispered before getting up and retreating
to the room he had silently agreed to share with Farfarello. Crawford nodded in
Nagi paused and turned. "Yes?"
"Don't think about it."
Nagi nodded. The lights flicked on as he closed
the door. A light frame leaned against it, feeling drained. Things had gone
wrong. Schuldich was not supposed to be beaten… Schuldich was ruled by no one
but Crawford… Schuldich was never supposed to go down like one of the crawling
masses of expendables that made up the society…
Nagi chuckled softly, mocking his own ridiculous
"…Do you think… after this… we'll
still be together?"
Farfarello sat on one of the two beds staring at
him. "Think some more and you'll go insane like me." He chuckled
softly. "He won't die."
Nagi smiled bitterly. "Crawford already told
Only three people in the gods be damned universe
gave a shit about him… There was nothing he owned in the world besides Schwarz
and his power. One small part of his mind told him that he did not want to lose
~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?~
Guess my hunch's right after all, Schuldich.
You've only got to wake up to prove me wrong… Nagi undressed and fell
onto his bed immediately, the softness of it welcomed. He flicked off the lights
and curled up on the sheets. The door shut softly by itself, as Nagi did his
best to drift off to sleep.
Crawford moved Schuldich into their room just as
dawn broke. The redhead laid on the bed on his back, the white sheets drawn up
to his chest. His torn jacket and top had been taken off. He looked like he was
merely sleeping… he looked so much like he was sleeping…
Crawford sat himself down in an armchair beside
the king-sized bed, massaging his temples tiredly, something he would never do
in front of others.
Schuldich will laugh at you when he wakes up…
he told himself dryly. Imagine the great leader, his powers failing him…
His eyes locked on the pale face of the telepath.
Crawford had slammed his mental barriers up, for reasons unknown to himself. He
was wary; the vision he got did not reflect the normalcy he had hoped for. He
had Seen himself arguing with Schuldich, him angry, and Schuldich… different.
Familiar, yet different.
He had meant to stay up until morning, when he
could order one of the others to take over his watch, but slowly, his
consciousness began to fade, and soon, he was asleep.
Jade eyes slowly opened. The owner winced at once
at the sunlight streaming in and squeezed his eyes shut. His head hurt,
dammit. Biting back a low moan, he rolled over and tried to bury his head under
his pillow. Weird, it felt softer than usual. It was a welcomed change, though.
He hid in the darkness his pillow provided for a
few minutes, swaying between awareness and sleep, before it became too stuffy to
breathe. His brain throbbed painfully in the small cavity of his skull that felt
all too small at that moment. It was like his head was expanding and contracting
in rhythm… Schuldich groaned again. Talk about hangovers…
Slowly, he peeled away the pillow covering his
head, and his lungs took in fresh cool air. He remained in that position for a
few moments, savoring his very comfortable position. Weird… his bed smelt
different – fresher than it should. Schuldich frowned, his left hand going to
pat the space beside him. It was empty and cold.
Surprised, his eyes flew opened. The light was
piercingly bright, and he regretted his action even as his mouth let loose a
string of swearing. His right arm burned, one searing spot on fire… painful…
Jaws clenched, and he opened his eyes a small slit, just enough to see the snow
white bandage. What the hell!! Schuldich squeezed his eyes shut again
and tried to sit, propping his slender frame up with his other arm. He hissed.
The movement aggravated his seemingly injured arm. Pain flared again. Fuck, make
that seriously injured.
The redhead abandoned his discomfort for the
moment, and looked around, the light still stinging to his eyes. He tensed, when
he found the surroundings not even vaguely familiar. Where… am I? His
eyes took in the clean sheets and the expensive looking furniture, as well as
the much larger size of the bedroom.
His eyes closed, frowning in concentration as he
tried to remember where he was before this…
The door opened.
Schuldich sat straight up, grinding his teeth as
the hammer pounded on his head an extra loud beat. Someone in dress shirt and
long pants stepped in, closing the door behind him. He stopped in his tracks
when he saw the German.
Schuldich froze, for one moment the fear seizing
his heart. Then he saw who it was and relaxed visibly.
"Schuldich," Crawford addressed,
holding the redhead in a sharp gaze. He did not show his caution, but the
barrier in his mind was up, to block his thoughts from going to the redhead. It
was something he had not done for quite a few years. "How bad do you
Schuldich lifted a hand to his forehead to
repress the headache, and bit back a groan. Confusion replaced the previous
panic. He steadied his voice and asked softly, "Where am I…?"
It was not cold, but he wanted warmth. He wanted
to know where he was and what had happened to him. Schuldich slowly disentangled
his legs from the sheets and stood up unsteadily, half stumbling. When he was
sure he would not fall, he approached Crawford slowly, his hands rubbing his
Crawford watched his teammate's progress,
feeling a weight go off his shoulders when he saw that Schuldich was not hurt
badly enough to be unable to walk. Wordlessly, he held out a hand for Schuldich
But what come next surprised him.
Maybe the clairvoyant was not used to being
surprised, because he went rigid.
Schuldich snaked his arms around his neck, and
pulled him into a light kiss on the lips, mumbling groggily through his
headache, "Where have you been, love? Where are we?"
For a moment, everything froze, as the warm lips
touched his own. Then senses snapped, and Crawford shoved roughly at Schuldich.
The German gasped, one hand going to clutch at his injured arm, even as he
stumbled back a few steps. The American glowered at him, disgust and distaste
evident in his eyes as he wiped at his mouth with the back of his hand.
"What do you think you're doing, Schuldich?"
he demanded, arms tensing up. He controlled the urge to brandish his gun and
blast the German's brains out.
The redhead gaped at him. After a moment, he
choked out, "I should be asking you that."
The anger and humiliation in Crawford's
thoughts dulled for a moment as he digested Schuldich's words. Schuldich had
spoken in English. Schuldich never spoke English willingly.
Schuldich's arms started to tremble
involuntarily and he hoped it was interpreted as anger rather than hurt.
Everything felt wrong. Everything was wrong. Schuldich masked the inner
turmoil with rage. Oh damn right he was angry. His lover for over a year
had forgotten him, his lover had shoved him away when he tried to hug
him, and his lover had to wipe his mouth after they brushed lips.
Schuldich repressed the sick feeling rising in him and searched his own mind,
trying to remember what had happened before he woke up in this shit hole.
A flash of something fuzzy… a short flash…
The hand went flying. A slap so painful, the
feeling was numbed.
"So go! If I'm such a lousy fuck, go find
a new one!"
"You know what? I think I will."
The memory was blurred, foggy, but the words
stung. Schuldich's eyes lit up in realization. "You're still mad at me,
"What?" A light frown.
He had never prided his temper for being cool,
even when dealing with his lover. Schuldich scowled. Then almost immediately,
his features softened, and he cast his eyes down. Crawford tensed again, not
knowing what to make of things for once. What he was sure of was that this
person in front of him was not Schuldich. Schuldich did not look pensive.
Schuldich did not show his emotions so openly. Schuldich did not dare to kiss
him. Schuldich did not kiss him.
"I didn't mean to scream at you yesterday,
okay?" the redhead muttered, looking at the ground and raking a hand
through his messy hair. This proved to be harder than he thought it would be.
"But you slapped me."
"I slapped you," Crawford repeated.
"Fuck you, asshole, I'm trying to
apologize here," Schuldich snapped, looking like he was ready to hit the
leader of Schwarz. "Don't even give me the clueless crap."
Crawford wondered in one small part of his mind
whether he had given his teammate too many painkillers. There was a warning
label that said not to consume more than three a day, so Crawford had shoved
exactly three into the German's mouth all at once. He adjusted his glasses and
reigned in a growl. "Schuldich… what's the last thing you
"Now you're trying to question me,"
the telepath spat. "First you tell me what's this fucking place you've
brought me to." He was almost starting to get scared. Everything was wrong.
Crawford's nerves twitched, and his eyes
narrowed. One just did not talk to him in this way and get away with it. His arm
shot out and caught the telepath's hair, yanking the smooth face close to his.
Schuldich let out a crude scream.
"Don't speak to me like this, Schuldich,
because I won't care whether you're injured or not." He paused, voice
dropping deliberately to barely a whisper. "I asked you what's the last
thing you remember, and you will answer."
Schuldich stared at him, one hand clutching at
his abused scalp. Brad…? Shock slowly turned to panic, and he touched
his lover's mind gently. There was a void, and totally no response. Just one
His blood ran cold.
"If you're trying my patience, you'll
regret it," Crawford said softly, in a dead and deadly tone.
"Brad?" Wait… you're not him,"
Schuldich murmured as he took a step back, away from Crawford, wrenching his
hair from the rough hands. "Who are you?"
Nagi woke to the noise in the next room. He
slowly padded out into the lounge then across it to one of the two closed doors
– Schuldich's room – where the noise was coming from. His ears caught the
loud voice that could belong only to the German, before everything quieted down,
leaving behind a welcomed but uneasy silence. ~Schuldich?~ Nagi called out
mentally while keeping up as much of a mental barrier as he could. Crawford had
told him to. There was no reply. The boy frowned, and tapped on the door as he
approached. He would not normally have done Schuldich that courtesy, but it
seemed that Crawford was with him too.
There was no response… Nagi slowly pushed open
the door with his hand.
Schuldich almost looked frightened.
Nagi's sleepy mind snapped awake. He halted
where he was. All he could see was Crawford's back and Schuldich. Schuldich,
the confident smirking telepath, pressing against the far wall, almost, almost
looking like a trapped animal. His palms were pressed flat against the white
wall, eyes fixed on Crawford's face. Trapped and betrayed, his position said,
his eyes emphasized.
Nagi paused, then backed out of the room, closing
the door again and leaving the two alone. He was disinclined to interrupt.
Crawford let the vision pass fully before
attempting to speak again.
But when it did, all he could find was a lack of
words. His eyes tore themselves away from Schuldich's position. No, not
Schuldich. I shouldn't have made this mistake.
His vision cleared all his questions for him, and
his anger slowly dissipated, leaving behind not normalcy but a strange
hollowness. Crawford almost could tell himself he felt defeated. But as it was,
his lips thinned into a firm line and he sat himself down on the chair beside
the single bed, legs crossed.
Schuldich's eyes followed his movements warily.
Brad… this person looks so much like you. Where are you? Where am I? Where
have you gone? Who is this bastard? Why is his head so empty? Where are you?
"Sit." It was not an invitation. It was
a command. It was a command that left no room for questions.
But… Schuldich's eyes narrowed, trying to
override confusion with other emotions. "Why should I?"
A gun barrel was leveled at his face. The
stranger's familiar dark brown eyes bore into his own jade green ones, cold.
His position was relaxed, sitting comfortably in the cushioned chair. It was
like he was challenging, only that knew he would be nothing but the winner.
Schuldich clenched his teeth and moved to sit on
the bed he had woken up in. He glared at the American, hating him for resembling
Brad. Resembling, but not the same; no, it was not the same. Brad was not as
tall, nor were his eyes as cold. Brad wouldn't point a gun at him, much less
point and gun at him and look like he could shoot at wimp.
The man stared at him for few minutes, running
his eyes over his body. Schuldich then realized he was not wearing a top. It
would probably have felt less intimidating if there was any hints of sexual
interest in the gaze, but the man for all the world looked like he was observing
and memorizing parts of machinery. Schuldich held his silent anger, seething at
being scrutinized, but could do nothing about it. The gun had gone down the
moment he sat, but was still in the stranger's lap. He knows my name… he
seems to know me as well… fuck this crap, what's happening?
Schuldich did not give the stranger the
satisfaction of feeling him fidgeting, although he was itching to squirm. The
guy must be carrying a disease. If only there was something besides
impassiveness that he could find in those dead brown eyes… something that he
could use to turn the tables. Schuldich did not appreciate his body being looked
upon as if it was nothing more than stonework, but that was how this man was
staring at him.
A few more minutes passed, and Schuldich was
"Nagi," the Brad-lookalike said.
"What?" Schuldich frowned.
The door opened, but it was only after a few
seconds that the boy walked in from the couch he was sitting on outside.
Schuldich had caught sight of him from the corner of his eye when he first
barged into the room a few minutes ago. In a small part of his mind, the German
wondered how the door had opened if the boy had been so far away.
He wore something that looked like school
uniform, but had one sleeve torn off. The face was closed off and detached.
Schuldich flicked the boy a sharp glance, not feeling up to friendliness.
The boy reminded Schuldich of himself before Brad
entered his life. The telepath warily probed at the newcomer's mind, but found
a similar blank, as he had with the stranger's. He drew back quickly, like he
had touched slime.
The boy turned straight to Crawford without so
much as a glance at him. "You called, Crawford."
Crawford… Schuldich's eyes narrowed.
Such a stick-in-the-ass name.
"Yes," the person called Crawford said
flatly. A hand vaguely gestured towards him. "Our plans need to change. He's
currently in the fourteen-year-old state of mind."
Confusing? I know. Most of it will be cleared up in the next chapter.
Meanwhile, thanks to Majokai Yukiko who pointed out to me that the ending of the
last part was vague and confusing, so I've added a few lines to make it better
(it's already updated). I read back, and found that it was totally disgusting,
too rushed, and not deep enough, as my Gumi says. If I have the time, I'll
rewrite the whole beginning again. I took three days to write this chapter, and
around one week to edit *grunts in disgust* Schwarz is hard to write.
Thanks to all who have given me feedback of any kind.
Thanks to Truth for the enlightening talk. I'm striving to characterize
Schwarz the way you have.
Dedicated to Ray-chan, always. Welcome back ^^
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.
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.