Disclaimer- I do not own any of the characters from Weiss and i also make no money from this story. All rights and whatnots belong solely to the original author.

A/N- i know i haven't finished my other story and i do intend to finish it but i just wanted to get this story out of my head because it would not leave.

Of Demons and Assassins

Chapter 1

It was late in the afternoon as Bradley Crawford wandered aimlessly along the crowded sidewalk of Tokyo thinking about what the former Essett doctor had informed him what was to happen to him and what will happen to his team in the near future. He shoved his hands into the pockets of his coat and shivered. Although the end of winter was only about a week away, he could still feel its icy bite sting his face. He let his mind continue to wander back to what the doctor told him.

*flashback*

"Are you sure your diagnosis is correct?" Crawford asked removing his glasses to rub his eyes tiredly.

"I am positive. Let me explain, before the fall of the towers and of the Elders, we doctors informed the Elders that the psychic abilities of its agents will reach a point where they cannot go any further in their development," said the graying hair doctor.

"I still don't understand why this is happening?"

"Well, we in the medical division have a theory that psychic abilities are the next evolutionary step for humans. We theorize that this change should have taken place thousands of years in the future. You that are born with these abilities today are an evolutionary anomaly. Evolution is something that should not be rushed or tampered with."

"What do you mean tampered with?" asked Crawford.

The doctor sighed as he stared his fellow American in the eyes. "This project was marked as Confidential: Top Secret. Anyway, as you know every human is born with the potential to becoming a Psi user but these abilities are latent in 99.8% of the human race. Although a large majority of the population can't feel the effects of the dormant strands, those that can, the 1% that does feel something, refer to it as a sixth sense and thinks nothing more about it."

"Yes. I do know that already." Crawford stroked the bridge of his nose. "What about the other 1%?"

"Ah, that remaining 1% consists of you and those like you," said the doctor. "Anyway, in a secret lab somewhere in Germany, the Elders ordered their most loyal scientists and doctors to stimulate the psychic strand in their non-psychic subjects."

Upon hearing this, the sable hair assassin amber orbs widened in shock and horror. "They were doing what?"

"It's all true. I was horrified when I read that report. The majority of their test subjects came from all walks of life from all over the world. They were literally kidnapping people off the streets to become their guinea pigs. In fact, they have been doing this since World War One. Many of these people died from the enhancement and only a handful was able to adapt to the mental change. You and all the others are the children of those people that were able to adapt."

If it weren't for the fact that he was already sitting down, Crawford would have fallen to the floor in shock. It was inconceivable. His parents were test subjects of Essett. 'No wonder they weren't surprised when my precog ability began to manifest. They were psychics also. All those years and I never suspected a thing.' Then he thought of something the doctor said about Essett starting their tampering during World War One. It was staggering to the mind. Crawford knew that Essett has been around for a long time but he never guessed that it was this long. "Are you sure about the beginnings of Essett and about my parents?"

"I'm afraid so. As one of the Elders top doctor dealing with the fundamental development of its psychics, I saw those reports of the people that survived with my own eyes," said the doctor leaning back into his leather chair. "Didn't you ever wonder why you never saw any psychics over the age of forty?"

Crawford nodded his head. 'I did use to wonder why all our instructors were so young.' "I did use to wonder at first. Like some of the others, I thought that the older ones were out in the field and didn't have the time to train a group of newbies."

"Once a psychic reached the age of 40, they are locked away and used as experiments."

"For what reason?"

"Those poor middle-aged souls are used as experiments." The doctor snorted. "The Elders has known about this fatal condition to its agents for decades. I read many reports where the doctors did all sorts of horrible experiments on those psychics that turned 40 to try and come up with a cure to help but there was nothing they could do. Evolutionary change is being force to happen in a time where mankind is not ready for such things."

"So, what you are saying is that we, with psychic abilities, were born too early." Crawford rubbed his forehead. He could feel a headache coming on. How he hated this. For the past month, the pressure behind his eyes was becoming painful with each passing day. And now, his precognitive ability was going haywire. He keeps seeing monsters, dragons, and other beasts that exist only in stories. He also had several false visions, which irritated him to no ends. Then the strangest thing of all happened to him about four days ago. He had a vision of Abyssinia of Weiss turning into some sort of cat creature. Although the red head did look nice with the sharp claws and those beautiful piercing violet eyes. Crawford shook his head to clear the vision out of his mind and listen to the doctor.

". . . but I'm sorry to say that my results were accurate." The doctor stared at the precog in pity. "You are dying."

"Shit!" snarled Crawford tossing his glasses on the desk and leaned forward as he placed his hands over his face. If it wasn't for the fact that the Elders were already dead. He would kill them in a most horrendous way. Fuck! His plans were shot straight to hell. He hated this. What makes it so worse is that the other members of his team will be going through the same thing. At least it will be a good long while before they began to feel the effects of their powers trying to tear them apart. Sighing, he looked at the doctor. "Well, I guess for me the future is unchangeable. What will I be expecting from this condition? And how long will it be before the others start going through this?"

"Well, according to the records done by our predecessors, and the tests we did with those psychics whose abilities were not on the level of Schwartz. The deterioration began when said psychic reached the age of 40. It would start with headaches. As the psychic gets older, the headache becomes frequent until they are so painful you cannot stand it. Then blood would start running from the nose. The veins in your eyes began to burst. You won't be able to stand the bright sunlight. Then your shields will begin to fail and your psychic abilities will begin bombarding you until finally the brain literally implodes."

"In my case, I will be seeing false visions." 'So, my time will be up once I reach the age of 40.' Crawford sighed as he had to fight the urge to strike something out of spite. 'Now isn't that just fucking great.'

"Correct."

"Do you have an accurate time for expiration?"

"I would say from early to late 40's." The doctor shook his head sadly. "The last psychic to die was three years ago when she turned 42. I'm sure you remember her. Ms. Emma D' Leon."

Crawford stared at the doctor in shock. "I do remember her. She had just celebrated her birthday when she just fell out and died that very night."

"Yes. Her powers had been failing her since she turned 40 before she finally passed away."

He groaned as he remembered that his father died at the age of 42 and then his mother followed two years later. She was the same age. "So, there is no hope for none of us?"

"I'm afraid not. Out of your group, the only one who is not affected is Beserker since he isn't a psychic." The doctor put his report on Crawford back in its folder and closed it. "We have been trying for years to come up with a cure but it seems that nature is eradicating all psychics from existence. There is nothing I can do for any of you." The doctor stared at the precog with sad, sorrowful eyes. "I can prescribe some medicine for your headaches but in time not even that will help you."

Crawford sighed in defeat and picked up his glasses. Slipping them back over his eyes, he got to his feet and started walking toward the door. "Well, at least it will be a long while before the others began to fall apart."

"I'm not so sure about that," said the doctor. "In all actuality, you shouldn't be going through this now. But I guess it is to be expected."

"Explain."

"Well, in all of Essett's history, there have never been any psychics as strong as your team." The doctor leaned forward in his chair to rest his clasped hands on his desk. "Your powers even surpass that of the Elders and since you are that powerful, I believe your team will be going through this sooner than you think."

"Wait, you said their powers will fail around 40 years of age," said Crawford narrowing his dark amber colored eyes.

"No, I said normal psychics powers would fail when they reach 40. You and your team members are anything but normal. Because you are so powerful, I give your team no more than two years before their abilities began to break down."

"But what about the Elders? Shouldn't this have happened to them?"

"I guess I can tell you since the Elders are all gone," said the doctor. "The Elders were psychic vampires."

"What?!" Crawford walked away from the door and sat back down. "Vampires?!"

"Yes. As you know, not all psychics can survive the training at Rosencruz. Those that could not make it became food for the Elders." The doctor shuddered in disgust. "I witnessed one of their feeding. Believe me when I say it is something you do not want to ever see in this lifetime or the next."

"So, by draining the power of one of these failed psychics . . ."

"The Elders used this power not only to strengthen their own abilities but the new power rejuvenated them, making them young," said the doctor. "I believe that is why they had never suffered the deterioration of their powers."

*end of flashback*

Crawford silently cursed the Elders as he shoved his way through the crowd not caring where he was or where he was going. 'Damn those old buzzards to hell. They knew none of us would live long.' He clenched his hands into fist so tight until he could feel his fingernails bite into his palms. 'It's not fair. All the pain and suffering we had to go through while in the hands of Essett. Now that we are free, we are not going to live long to enjoy our freedom. This is so fucking wrong. I'm beginning to agree with Farf.' "I hate God." He mumbled.

Suddenly he pressed the heel of his palms against his forehead as another painful headache ripped through his head. The pain was so bad until it knocked the precog to his knees. The crowd made no effort to help him as they whispered to each other and kept walking as though they did not see a man on his knees in severe pain. Slowly, he got to his feet and stumbled down an alley. He raised a trembling hand to wipe the blood from his nose. Then another vision hit him. The pain from the vision was like nothing he had ever felt before. It ripped through his already battered psyche as he fell to his knees once again. He saw strange creatures with red eyes and white hair. Other creatures that were tall lithe with long black hair and sharp claws. Then an image of Abyssinian appeared. He watched in awe as sharp fangs protruded from his mouth. Long deadly claws eject from his fingers and those beautiful violet orbs became cat like slits. Then the vision jumped to his teammates. Schuldig clutched the side of his head screaming in horrible pain until his head literally exploded. Nagi too was in pain as his telekinesis turned in upon himself and his thin, frail body was crushed. The boy looked like a soda can that was crushed. Although Farfarello was not a psychic, the Irishman went mad as he had to watch his fellow teammates die a horrible painful death. Afterward, the white hair assassin ran through the streets of Tokyo killing everything in his path until he was finally gunned down by the local authorities.

He awakened from his vision gasping for breath. He slowly got up onto his shaky legs and leaned against the dirty wall as for the first time in his life tears fell from his eyes. He was crying. Bradley Eugene Crawford was crying and it wasn't entirely due to the pain throbbing in his head. He was crying for himself and the rest of his team. All he ever wanted was for them to live a normal life free from the clutches of Essett. Now that they have gotten their wish. It seems they won't live long enough to enjoy it. Out of them all, he felt the sorriest for Nagi. The child had always wanted to be normal and live a normal life where he didn't have to kill. Now, he won't even have the chance to fall in love, get married or start a family. 'I'm sorry Nagi. It seems you won't have that normal life after all.'

Crawford pushed himself away from the wall and continued down the alley. He staggered and stumbled until he could walk no further. He collided into some garbage cans and fell to the ground. He laid there on the ground amidst the trash and hard ground letting his tears continue to fall. He struck the ground in rage at the situation he and his team was put in because of their former masters. Crawford would have remained there crying out his sorrow if he had not caught the sight of someone from the corner of his eyes. He wanted to stop crying but he could not help it. He was dying and so are/will his team. Fate was not only a bitch but a whore as well. He groaned as he felt a hand on his shoulder. He knew he should have been worried that a stranger had their hand on him but at that moment, the precog could not muster up the gall to care anymore. Finally, Crawford was able to pull himself together and cease his blubbering. Even through his coat, he could feel that the hand on his shoulder was strong as he was turned over. His eyes widened slightly as he wanted to break out into hysterical laughter at the young red head staring down at him with worried violet eyes. Well, at least he knows he isn't dead yet. He hardly thinks the self-righteous leader of Weiss would be waiting in hell to greet him. Or maybe he would, after all killing is a sin.

The younger assassin raised one hand and wiped the tears from his eye.

Staring into those beautiful amethyst eyes that glowed like cat's eyes, Crawford raised a hand and brushed it against Ran's cheek. "So beautiful." Then everything went black.

xxxxx

Ran was out back taking a break away from the throng of schoolgirls that seemed to swoop down on them everyday. No matter how many times he snapped at them, the girls just kept hanging around them like flies drawn to rotten meat. He wished they would take the hint and leave them alone. What in the world makes them think grown men would want them. Granted there are perverts out there that prey on unsuspecting girls but really, you would think their parents would teach them not to talk to strangers. Hell, now a days you really can't trust the people you know. He sighed again and cringed as he could hear the loud squeals of the girls all the way out there. The only thing he was thankful for was that his beloved little sister, Aya, was not among the squealing harpies. He smiled as he thought about his sister. After finally waking up, the girl was terrified that he had died when the towers fell. But he and the others dragged their battered bodies out of the sea to a waiting Manx, Sakura and Aya. Once they were all well and out of the hospital. Ran was happy to be around to witness his sister reclaim her name again. And he knew that it was past time for him to reclaim his own name, Ran Fujimiya.

He sighed as he stared up into the blue sky. It's been six months since both Kritiker and Essett went the way of the dinosaurs. Well, at least Kritiker is still hanging on barely. Manx wants Omi to take over but the boy has refused. Omi said he wanted to continue his schooling and live a normal life as a normal teenage boy. Omi was the first to retire from active duty and the others followed a few days after him. They all had grown tired of 'denying the dark beasts their tommorrows.' They could have gone their separate ways but for convenience sake, it was better to stay in the apartments above the flower shop. At least that's the excuse they tell themselves. Ran was about to go inside when he heard a loud crash. Looking further up the alley, he could see someone falling into the garbage cans. He frowned as he smelt salt in the air.

"Now what?" Ran made his way toward the figure. 'Whoever this is, is crying.' Then he knelt down beside him. "Can't be a drunk. I don't smell any alcohol." Then he placed a hand on the man's shoulder and turned him over. He gasped as he stared into the face of the leader of Schwartz, the Oracle, Bradley Crawford. "Crawford." It has been six months since the towers collapsed and at that time, they thought that the rival group of assassins died beneath the cold water in the lake. But Ran had found out that they were alive two weeks later. They were keeping a low profile not causing any trouble so Ran chose not to tell his team mates or Kritiker that men of Schwartz was still among the living.

Ran was brought out of his thoughts when he heard Crawford's slightly hysterical laughter. He took a good look at the Schwartz leader. As he thought, Crawford had been crying which was a shock in and of itself. He didn't think the precog knew how to cry. Then he noticed that the older man seemed to be in terrible pain but Ran saw no wounds. There was blood trickling down his nose and when Crawford opened his eyes again, they were bloodshot.

Suddenly Crawford raised a hand to brush it against Ran's cheek gently and then he said something that totally shocked the violet-eyed assassin to the core.

"So beautiful." Then the hand fell away as Crawford succumbed to the darkness.

A smirk appeared on the face of the red hair assassin as he stared down at the unconscious man. "So, you think I'm beautiful. Well, that's a nice thing to say." Then he sighed as he easily lifted the psychic assassin into his arms. "What am I going to do with you. I can't keep you in my room. The others might try to kill you. I guess there's only one thing to do." He carried Crawford to his car and buckled him in the front seat.

Since it was almost time for him to go on lunch break, he went inside to get his keys and to let the others know that he was going to be gone for a while. After walking out the back door, he jumped into the driver's side of his car and started the ignition. Ran looked over to the sable colored hair assassin and took the handkerchief out of Crawford's pocket and wiped the blood from the American's nose. The unconscious man groaned as his head fell limply to the side.

". . . want . . .you . . ." The precog slurred.

Ran smirked as he raked his fingers gently through the man's soft hair. "You are such a troublemaker, Crawford. It seems that I am going to have to keep an eye on you." He backed the car up and drove away with his unconscious load.