Title: Spring Fever
Author: Sybil Rowan
Pairing(s)/Characters: No pairings, just Ken
Summary: Ken goes on an assassination mission; his target's wife walks in during the assassination. He makes a rash decision and then worries about it.
Warnings: Some violence.
Author's Notes: I may start working on a larger, action-drama squeal to this one where Ken's hasty choice come back to haunt him and puts him and the other Weiss guys in danger. It depends on the popularity. This was submitted as a contest piece. That's why I over killed the whole 'pale blue sky' theme, but I did take the advice given and toned it down. 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, and totally picky, husband WingedPanther73!
December 17, 2008/ Word Count= 1,925
"Look at that pale blue sky. It's definitely Spring," Ken said, peeking out of the front door of the flower shop. He gave a heavy sigh and turned back around where Aya prepared the till. Aya didn't even look up as the flash of green, gray, and red yen went from his left hand to his right. Ken scowled and picked up a broom by the front door.
He swept off the front steps and the sidewalk in front of the store. He usually would hurry, but it was the first pleasant day after several bitter cold weeks. Days like this created restlessness within Ken.
"Bye, Ken! See you later," Omi yelled from the street, jarring Ken from his daydreams. Ken waved at Omi. He leaned on his broom and thought about how lucky Omi was to still have school. He started to wish he could start everything all over again.
"Are you finished out there?" Aya asked pointedly, hanging his head out the door.
"Yeah, sure," Ken said. He looked up at the Spring's pale blue sky and grew wistful before going into the chilly flower shop.
"We have to get that back room cleaned up," Aya said. Aya ignored Ken's sour look. Ken went to consolidate the florists' tools into one plastic container instead of five.
"What a bad time to be inside. Just as it's getting nice outside," Ken mused. He started to gather stray, colorful bits of ribbon. The last bit was the same color as the sky; it only made Ken antsy all over again. He looked over when Aya didn't answer him. It was typical Aya to find a pressing task just when Ken craved some conversation.
Customers started to filter in; Aya and Ken took turns fielding them. Youji showed up around noon with a yawn and an irritable expression. Ken volunteered to water the plants out front. He'd do anything to get out of the flower shop just to enjoy the out doors.
Fortunately, the front windows all needed a thorough washing after a Winter's long neglect. He was almost finished with the windows just as Omi came into work from school. Unfortunately, Manx followed close behind.
Ken looked up at the sky that was now tinged with light orange and a vibrant pink. He frowned, seeing the taint in the sky. The end of the purity of the first Spring day. He knew it would soon be a flaming red and then fade into a deep black.
"Ken," Youji called from inside the shop. He turned and followed the playboy into the shop. "Come on, Manx is here. Didn't you see her?"
"I guess it couldn't last forever," Ken said before he followed Youji downstairs to the planning room.
"What's wrong, Ken?" Omi whispered. Ken looked over to Omi, who laid beside him the tall grass several yards away from the home of Hondo Kitagawa: the new target.
"I just want to get this over with and get home," Ken said, turning his eyes back to the lavish country home.
"Aya and Youji will handle the guesthouse with those kidnappers. I've got the two bodyguards in the car parked out front. Just worry about Kitagawa. He should be working alone in his study," Omi said.
"Fine," Ken said. He jumped up to his feet and ran across the lawn towards the mostly darkened house. He pressed himself against the wall of the house and ducked down. He crept along the length of the wall towards the back of the house where the French doors to the study were located.
A soft, dim glow seeped out from the glass, doing little to push back the dark night. Ken crept to the French door and glanced in. There was no one in the room, but the door that lead to the rest of the house was half-way opened.
Ken took off his left glove and got a lock picking tool of Youji's from his jacket pocket. He hoped Youji's lessons would pay off tonight. He didn't want to smash the window and tip off Kitagawa. Ken smirked when the French door swung inward; he quickly crammed the tool in his pocket and put his gloves back on. He took a deep breath and crept into Kitagawa's study.
The room smelled of pine, whisky, and tobacco in a heady, overwhelming odor. It was furnished in masculine dark wood and leather. Several thick leather-bound books littered the room. Ken shook off the intense aroma and stilled the acid welling up in his stomach. He darted behind the half opened door that lead to the rest of the house; his mouth got dry when he heard footsteps come his way.
He clenched his right fist; hardened steel claws slowly, silently tracked out. His target came sauntering in with a stack of papers in one hand and a scotch glass in the other. Ken's right fist went up and came down across the man's back, carving deep gouges. The man's cry was strangled; he dropped to the floor. Ken's attention was caught by the sight of the dark, amber liquid staining the man's paper. Dark crimson started chasing the amber liquid across the crisp white paper.
"Hondo!" a rich alto called out. Ken swirled around in shock. A woman stood in the doorway. Ken's breath passed his tongue in cold, sharp burst as her eyes grew wide in horror.
She was tall with long, dark hair cascading over her shoulders. He could tell she was in her early forties, but there was a glamour about her he couldn't miss. Ken's discomfort increased when he noticed she only wore a thin strapped, pale blue nightgown that flowed to her bare feet; it added to her appearance of bewitching vulnerability.
He cursed Omi in his mind. The teenager had been responsible for the reconnaissance on this mission. There wasn't supposed to be anyone in this house, just Hondo Kitagawa.
The woman's right hand slid up to her slender throat. Her eyes glanced down towards Kitagawa's body and then back to Ken. Her face grew angry and dark.
"You murdered my husband. Why?" she demanded, her voice barely above whisper. Still, each word felt like a punch to Ken's stomach.
Ken mutely shook his head and clenched his teeth together. She gracefully moved towards her husband with her stormy eyes locked on Ken. He didn't dare move a muscle. She sank down to her knees beside her husband; her silk nightgown pooled around her. It was that same sky color that caused restlessness within Ken with its promise of Spring and rebirth.
Her hands went to her husband's mutilated back. Crimson stained her nightgown as she checked the fresh corpse. Her clothing was now tainted with thick rusty splotches top to bottom.
"Why?" she asked, looking up at Ken.
"Because he was selling young girls to foreigners. He was running a white slavery ring from his office and blackmailing some government officials to look the other way," Ken answered automatically in a numb tone. He had always had an acute aversion to lies.
Her head bowed down; her raven hair blocked her face from Ken. Ken swallowed, getting moisture to his mouth, and said, "I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to do this when you were here. I thought you were gone."
"I see," she said. Ken wanted to run back out into the dark night, but it was too late. She had seen his face and now he wasn't sure what to do. He knew what he was supposed to do, kill her to protect Kritiker. Instead he felt compelled to comfort her, but that compulsion felt so obscene to him. He scoffed at himself and shoved it off as something Youji would do.
He watched her stand. Her face tilted upwards; her expression was too placid. It chilled Ken unlike anything in his life. She jerked her chin up high and said, "So now what are you going to do?"
Light footsteps in the hallways spurred Ken's quick reflexes before he could think. He grabbed the woman's bare, upper arm and dragged her over to a cordovan sofa. Ken shoved her behind it and went back over to the corpses.
"Bombay said you didn't meet him out front like you were supposed to," Youji said, sliding into the study. "Everything okay?"
"Yeah. It's done. Let's get out of here," Ken said, not glancing at Hondo Kitagawa's corpse as he lead Youji into the darkened hallway.
Ken toweled off his damp hair and sat on his bed. He slid to the other side of the mattress so he could look out of his darkened window. He sighed, leaning his forehead against the cool glass.
Once they had gotten back to the apartment, Omi debriefed them for his report to Persia. That's when Ken was backed into a corner; he lied to Omi and told him that it went smoothly. Youji unwittingly confirmed Ken's story. By ten till three in the morning, Omi had his notes down and went to go transcribe the details for Persia.
Ken had felt restless and uneasy. Part of him expected Omi to burst in on him and demand the truth. He tried to get some sleep for about an hour and then he gave up and got a shower. He grew more at ease as the minutes slipped by.
The part that still made him uneasy was that he had put the others in jeopardy by saving Kitagawa's wife. A jarring thought came to him. He wondered if he had just betrayed his teammates the same way Kase had betrayed him through a lie of omission.
His unease increased again while many dire scenarios played out in his head. What if she went to the police or the newspapers? What if she saw Youji as well? What if she decided to find him and accuse him of murder? What if that lead to the others being found out?
He knew he should tell Omi, but he was afraid that Kritiker would send someone to go assassinate her to tie up Ken's loose end. He shook his head. Her death wouldn't be fair; after all, it wasn't her fault she was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Ken took a deep breath and hoped that she would be wise and keep what she knew to herself.
He glanced at his clock; it read 4:53. A bright flash from outside caught his eye. A loud crack of thunder banished all hopes of another pale blue sky from Ken's mind.