God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
Disclaimer: Weiss Kreuz, it's characters, indices etcetera belong to Takehito Koyasu, Kyoko Tsuchiya and Project Weiss. This fanfic was written for fun rather than profit and any resemblances to persons living or dead are purely coincidental.
Author's Note: This is my attempt at a Weiss Kreuz Christmas fic, written mainly because I've always found the Christmas carol from which I took the title to be incredibly sinister. Thanks to quietladybirman for encouraging me and helping me iron out the plot. I should also note that the religious opinions expressed are those of the characters alone, they do not represent those of myself or any Christian denomination.
Chapter One: Let Nothing You Dismay
The day of Ken's birthday, a week before New Year, the Koneko was in chaos. Ken had barely been given time to look at his presents before being plunged into an entire day in the shop's back room organising decorative arrangements for the New Year's celebrations. They seemed to be particularly popular as decorations and presents this year, and the shop had been inundated for the past two days as the rush started and everyone seemed to want to decorate their houses in preparation for the holiday.
"If this keeps up," he said, looking up from the latest arrangement, "we're going to run out of flowers. Can't we just stop taking orders?"
Youji looked up from the table on the other side of the room and flicked his wrist. "No argument from me, Kenken. I'm getting repetitive strain injury doing all this calligraphy."
It was a statement of Youji's exhaustion that he couldn't be bothered to finish the statement with the obvious innuendo. He barely had the strength to lift his head as Omi pushed open the door from the shop. It seemed a shame that the boy had to spend his winter holiday fielding dozens of orders above and beyond the girls who now had even more time to spend in the shop. Youji had seen Omi endure a lot and stay cheerful, but several days of this, and the prospect of another week of the same, was starting to have a visible effect on his normally cheerful outlook.
"Ken-kun, Youji-kun, we closed the shop."
Ken slumped back in his chair. "Thank God."
Youji put what felt like the last of his energy into finishing the New Year greeting and slipping it into the arrangement next to him, then he slumped too. "I'm going for a cigarette," he muttered. "As soon as I can stand up."
"No smoking in the shop," Ken said.
The trio stayed slumped, listening to the sounds in the shop outside. They were so exhausted, none of them noticed when the noise from the outside stopped, or the silence afterwards. They didn't even pay much attention when the door opened, but it wasn't Aya's voice that jolted them out of their reveries.
"Long day, boys?"
Ken nearly fell backwards out of his chair. Youji blinked sharply behind his glasses. Omi sprang to his feet.
The scarlet-haired secretary stood in the doorway, clashing horribly with Aya and his orange sweater. Youji gave her his usual bold smile as he rose to his feet and followed her down to the basement, along with the others. Aya was the only one who wasn't showing the strain of the day, although, Youji reflected, that was probably because he'd done even less work than the others.
The static on the video cleared to show an image so different from the joy and excitement upstairs. A young woman lying in an alleyway, surrounded by blood. And a moment of shock as they all realised her body was swollen, but that bulge had a wound driven clean through the centre. She was the latest of five young women murdered in this fashion on the streets of Tokyo in the past several months, all of them pregnant. The killer was an American missionary priest called Timothy Jackson, who could not be arrested without the Americans claiming one of their citizens was being unfairly persecuted.
Watching the video, Youji found himself thinking about the old western traditions of Christmas and Santa Claus. Listening to the words of the tape, he wondered how many times Persia checked his list of who was nice and who was naughty.
At the end of the briefing, Youji wished Manx a happy new year, but she left the briefing file with Omi and left the shop without replying. Youji wondered who she'd be spending the holiday with, then had to think of other things as Aya ordered him upstairs along with Ken to finish clearing up the shop. When that was finally done he collapsed beside Ken on the basement sofa and waited for Omi to finish reviewing mission information and finding out all he could about the target.
"You haven't given me a birthday present yet," Ken said a while later.
"Sorry." Youji sat up. "I didn't have time earlier."
"What did you get me?"
"I can get you laid."
Youji grinned. "That's what I thought you'd say. I booked you a slot with a friend of the guy who services my Seven. He'll go over your bike and make sure none of those improvements you made are going to damage it or you. He can probably make some suggestions about other things you can do to it, but I made him promise not to change anything unless you said he could."
"Thanks, Youji." Ken smiled.
"But if you change your mind about the girl..."
"Please," Aya said.
The silence resumed for a few minutes, until Omi looked up from the computer. "I've collated all the information," he announced. "I'm still not sure whether there's a pattern in the girls. They were all pregnant and none of them were married. I don't know if that's a pattern, though."
"Does it matter why he's doing it?" Aya asked.
"It might do, Aya-kun."
"He's got to be nuts!" Ken exclaimed. "Why would anyone want to kill pregnant girls? Unless... they're all his kids or something and he's doing this to cover it up."
"If he's American, he can just use a condom like the rest of us." Youji shook his head. "He won't have someone telling him he can't. I think that's just your lot, Ken."
"Then why the hell would he do it?" Ken demanded. "Why the hell would you kill a girl and a kid before it's even been born? And he was! He was making sure the babies were dead!"
Youji picked up the file. "None of these girls were over twenty-five and none of them were married. In fact, the first one, Maria, he killed nearly a year ago and she wasn't even pregnant. She was a Japanese convert and the only one Kritiker can say he actually knew. These would all have been their first kids too. The second one was killed seven months ago and was two months gone; the third was at four months and he murdered her at the beginning of August; the fourth was seven months along and died in October and Jackson killed the last one a few weeks ago, and she was nearly due."
"Youji-kun..." Omi began.
Youji blinked. "Yeah, I see it too."
"I can do sums in my head too, you know," Ken muttered.
"They would all have given birth at the same time," Aya said.
"At the end of December," Omi said. "Now. Why?"
"I can find out," Youji told him. "You and Aya can stay here and plan the mission, I'll go and talk to some more of these missionaries and find out about Jackson. Then I'll go and break into his apartment and take a look around. Ken can come too, I don't understand any of this Christianity stuff and he does."
"You knew about the condoms," Ken said.
Omi sighed. "Ken-kun, could you go with Youji tomorrow? We might need to understand Jackson-san's religion."
"Then why ask me?" Ken responded. "It's not my religion."
"Aya-kun and I can stay here and do research and help Momoe with the shop," Omi continued. "It might look odd if none of us are there tomorrow, since it's a holiday. Do you have any questions?"
"Not really," Ken said. "But do we really have to kill someone at Christmas?"