Title: Obligation

Author: Sybil Rowan

Pairing(s)/Characters: No pairings, just an Aya and Ken friendship story

Rating: PG

Summary: Ken's accustom to Aya's abrupt personality while Aya realizes he has got a new obligation when he joined Weiss.

Warnings: None.

Author's Notes: Just a small inspiration for a character sketch from 'Assassin and White Shaman' manga. I know there are a lot of Aya joining Weiss stories out there, but I think they're fun. This one was submitted to a contest. Thanks to the WK_Squee livejournal community.

Disclaimer: Weiss Kreuz, its names and characters belong to Koyasu Takehito, Project Weiss, Marine Entertainment and Animate Film.

Beta Reader: My totally awesome husband!

December 31, 2008/ Word Count= 2,222

"Abyssinian?" Ken asked as he moved into the darkened parking lot. He saw a slight gleam off of Aya's katana. It swiped up, then down, and then darkness. The newest member of Weiss had run off after an escaping target. Omi had ordered Ken to follow Aya because he was still too new; this was only his third mission.

Ken approached slowly and walked around the car where Aya stood with his katana drawn. Ken looked down at the target, but his body lay crumpled in a murky shadow.

"Good. That's all of them," Ken said. Aya's head jerked around as if he had been in a trance. "Let's get back. Bombay will worry."

All Aya did was nod and follow Ken back to the building. They walked around back and waited under the tree they had agreed to rendezvous at.

"You should try to be more careful," Ken said.

"You don't think I can handle myself?" Aya asked in a low, threatening voice. Ken sighed; he was totally exasperated with the redhead. This was going to be yet another argument between them if he didn't bring some clarity to his words.

"No, it's just you have other things to think about besides this. You have someone," Ken said, unsuccessful at keeping his annoyance hidden.

"I don't recall asking for your opinion," Aya snapped. Ken took a deep breath to keep his mouth shut. It was one thing for Aya and he to fight at the flower shop, but Ken knew Omi would have a fit if they started again during a mission.

Ken crossed his arms and leaned against the tree, recalling each of the five fist fights he and Aya had been in over the last two and a half weeks since the cool redhead's arrival. Ken had asked Omi two mornings ago why he didn't stop them from fighting. All Omi had told him was that they would each get bored of egging each other on and start cooperating. Ken snorted; there was no hint of that coming true anytime soon. No one had ever irritated Ken so much.

"They should have been here by now," Aya said, interrupting Ken's thoughts. Ken nodded.

"Balinese takes his sweet time, but not Bombay," Ken agreed. "I'll go find them."

To Ken's vexation, Aya followed him. He thought he made himself clear. He shot Aya a dirty look, but didn't say anything as they entered the building. They moved cautiously.

They found Youji and Omi in a closet with the door propped open. Omi quickly waved his hand for them to get down. Ken and Aya fell to their stomachs two seconds before five gunshots echoed through the dim hallway. Ken and Aya scrambled back out of the door to the stairway. They shut the door, but remained laying stomach-down on the landing.

"Great! A sniper. And Bombay pinned down. This is not good," Ken said.

"One of us will have sneak behind him and take him out. There's another stairwell on the other side," Aya said.

"That's crazy, because he'll hear us coming. The echo will give us away. That and he has a gun," Ken whispered.

"I'll stay here and distract him. You go get rid of him," Aya said.

"You are crazy. You'll get shot. It's way too dangerous," Ken said.

"Do you have another idea?" Aya snarled. Ken clamped his jaw shut and shook his head. "Then quit arguing and get to it."

"Wait a minute," Ken said. "You go kill him. I'll draw his fire."

"What? Why? You don't trust me?" Aya asked.

"No, it's like I said, you have a reason to keep yourself safe. You need to stop being so stubborn. Just go!" Ken said, narrowing his eyes. He got into a crouch and peeked through a crack between the door jamb and door. "You have till the count of one-hundred, then I'll go. Fine?"

Aya didn't say anything. He just disappeared. Ken silently counted to himself. Doubt began to gnaw at Ken's mind. Ken was putting a lot of faith in someone he had only known two and half weeks, especially someone he fought with constantly. The count of one hundred came, Ken launched himself out of the door and flattened himself against a wall. The sniper got off one shot beside Ken's shoulder. A second shot went wild towards the ceiling.

"All clear," Aya called out. Ken's knees wobbled as he let out a deep breath from his achy chest. He shook his head and gave Aya a lopsided smirk as he came walking down the hallway from the other direction.

"Thanks," Ken mumbled.

"You guys are nuts! That sniper could have shot you, Siberian," Omi said, coming out of his and Youji's hiding space.

"Yeah, that was not a great plan," Youji agreed, joining them in the hallway.

"It was my plan, not his," Aya said. Omi gave the cool redhead a shocked looked while Youji gave him a nasty, disapproving look.

"We had to get you guys out some how," Ken said, not wanting Aya to catch too much grief. After all, Aya's recklessness had paid off.

"Come on. Let's go," Aya said. They all left the building quickly and quietly. Ken and Aya waited on the sidewalk for Omi and Youji to bring around the car.

"Thanks for trusting me," Aya said.

"Thanks for not letting me get shot," Ken said, smirking. Aya nodded. "I'm sorry about prying. It's your own business what you do. I just thought you may want to take it easy since you have a sister to take care of and all."

"My obligation to my sister is none of your business. My obligation to Weiss is all you need to concern yourself with. When I let you down, then you can criticize me," Aya said.

Ken turned away from Aya in frustration. He didn't understand how Aya expected to stay isolated in such a tightknit group like Weiss. The car pulled up. Instead of getting in, Ken turned to Aya and said, "On one hand you ask us to trust you, but you then you show us nothing but mistrust. You're going to have to demonstrate some more trust in us."

Ken saw a surprised expression on Aya's face that melted into hostility. He said, "You forget, I was the first one who volunteered to draw the fire from that sniper."

Ken flinched back as Aya got into the back seat of the car. Anger flared and then quelled into shame. Ken slipped into the back seat beside Aya, but wouldn't look at the cool redhead. Ken figured the best he could hope for with Aya was mutual tolerance. Once again, frustration with Aya set in as Youji drove them down the dark street.

[three months later]

"All clear," Ken whispered over to Aya. The two Weiss teammates crept through the darkened warehouse. They were looking for a crate of illegal firearms that were to be delivered to a gang of drug dealers. They had already done away with the three smugglers, but they also needed to get rid of the guns.

Youji and Omi had both bowed out of this assignment for their own reasons. No damsels in distress, Youji's excuse. A sprained ankle, Omi's excuse. Ken was more amenable to Omi's reason than Youji's, but at least he wasn't doing this mission alone.

"Over there. Marked televisions," Aya whispered. Ken nodded. They walked over to the large, wooden crate.

"This is going to be heavy. We should open it and take the guns with us," Ken suggested. Aya nodded; suddenly, Aya's face grew shocked. He shoved Ken down to the concert floor. A loud bang made Ken's ears ring as he watched Aya fall backwards to the ground.

Ken rolled over and saw the burley thug that had snuck up behind him. The man took aim at Ken's head, but there was no bang. Ken realized the gun had jammed. He lunged at the man and swiped his claws across the man's stomach. He fell back with a strangled cry.

Ken quickly slid beside Aya who struggled to sit up. "Damn it! Why did you do that?"

"Because I have an responsibility," Aya said. Ken's brow furrowed.

"What do you mean?" Ken asked. "Putting yourself in harms way is not the way to take care of your sister."

"I meant to you," Aya said. Ken froze for a moment and then looked at Aya's wound. Ken was relived to see it had only grazed Aya's left shoulder.

"I don't have anyone depending on me like..."

"Shut up already. I told you once, when I let you down you can criticize how I handle my job," Aya snapped. Ken shook his head and helped Aya stand up.

"You're still aggravating," Ken said.

"Well... at least we've stopped tearing up the flowers shop with our disagreements," Aya pointed out. "Let's just blow up the crate. It'll be quicker."

"I don't care what Youji and Omi say, you always come up with some great plans," Ken said before retrieving the explosives from the car. They put the explosives on the crate, ignited it, and took cover.

After they were sure everything was destroyed and there were no more hidden thugs, they left by way of a rented car. Aya drove in spite of his shoulder.

"You know, I haven't always been honest about everything," Aya said suddenly. Ken gave him a baffled look.

"What haven't you been honest about?" Ken asked.

"When I was first recruited for Weiss, Kritiker asked me to keep tabs on the three of you," Aya said.

"What? Why?" Ken asked to stunned to say anything else.

"Because they weren't sure that you three were still obligated to them. They wanted to know where your loyalties lay," Aya said.

"They thought we were helping out criminals or something?" Ken asked.

"No, they thought that you three were more loyal to each other than Kritiker. They were afraid that you've became so tightknit that you couldn't handle missions together without getting overly concerned with each other's safety. They see that as a liability," Aya explained. Ken felt an incredible anger swell up in his stomach.

"So you're a Kritiker snitch! We should have known! So what did you tell them?" Ken shouted, glaring at Aya.

"Nothing," Aya said. "I told them you all functioned well together and were able to make the hard decisions. I don't think they believed me."

"Why are you telling me this? I won't trust you ever again," Ken said.

"I told you for two reasons. The first is that I think they'll put you, Omi, and Youji through a test pretty soon. I don't think you'll pass it at all. Omi and Youji may, but you wear everything on your sleeve," Aya said.

"Now you're insulting me? You don't think I'm smart enough to figure Kritiker out?" Ken asked.

"It's not being smart enough, it's being devious enough. No, I think you're too honest and too moral. Actually, I payed you a compliment by saying you're that too ethical to see through them," Aya said. Ken felt a cold wave wash though him, mollifying his sense of betrayal.

"What is the other reason you're telling me?" Ken asked.

"My own obligation to Kritiker has shifted to you, Omi, and Youji," Aya said.

"Why?" Ken asked.

"Because you all depend on me and I'm no hypocrite," Aya said.

"I see," Ken answered numbly. He turned away from Aya and took a deep breath.

"Just watch for any offers from Kritiker that looks too good to be true. I don't know what they have over you, but make sure they can't use it to leverage you into a bad position," Aya said.

"Gambling," Ken said. Aya's eyebrow quirked up in query. "They've made some noise about getting my gambling conviction overturned."

"Just watch out for what they ask you in return," Aya said. Ken nodded.

"Thanks, Aya," Ken said. He felt a smile come to his lips. "I guess I'm obligated to you now."

"Obligation is another word for indebtedness. It implies loyalty and a commitment," Aya said.

"I know. Let's just get home," Ken answered. Aya nodded. "I'll keep my eyes open."

"Good. We all depend on it," Aya said.