Title: Round and Round
Author: Sybil Rowan
Pairing(s)/Characters: Ken x Crawford
Summary: Crawford is lead to take the subway and ends up encountering Ken right before a botched robbery.
Author's Notes: This is written for the 'FicTicTacToe' community on Live Journal. My competitor is my hubby, WingedPanther73. We're posting these to our Live Journal blogs. My prompt is #9. "I wondered home, saying your name."
Disclaimer: Weiss Kreuz, its names and characters belong to Koyasu Takehito, Project Weiss, Marine Entertainment and Animate Film. Named after a New Order song by the same name.
Beta Reader/ Opponent: My wonderful hubby, WingedPanther73.
Word Count = 1,874
July 25, 2010 8:58 pm
"Ken Hidaka. And to think. I wandered home, saying your name," Crawford addressed his cell phone. He smiled slyly, knowing it would be mere minutes before the young man would call him for the first time. Before the ring, he recalled his crazy morning where he learned Siberian's real name.
Crawford hated crowds, and he hated being in a rush. He clenched the New York Times under his arm and pushed his way onto the tightly packed subway car. If it wasn't for a vague vision the night before, he would have taken his beloved car. The premonition urging him to public transportation came as he sipped a glass of dark, red wine; the vision wasn't complete, but he knew better than to disobey it.
There was only standing room so he grabbed a handhold dangling from the roof and fought the drowning sensation as people crowded around him. Even after two years in Japan, he still couldn't get used to reduced personal space. Fortunately, Takatori's office wouldn't be too far down the line.
He was jolted forward into a high school girl who glared at him. He turned around just as the train lurched. He was trapped against a young man by a sudden press of bodies. He'd seen this young man several times before, but not in this situation.
The young man's expression was nothing but wide-jawed shock; for a few seconds Crawford didn't recognize those eyes. They were so large, pure, and kindly in this blood-free environment.
"What the hell are you doing here?" the Siberian growled, trying in vain to pull back from Crawford's chest.
"It's public transportation. I'm perfectly entitled to its use," Crawford said, forcing aplomb over his irritation. Siberian shook off his slack-jawed expression and adopted a hostile posture.
"My friends know where I'm at, and you'll never get away with whatever you have planned," Siberian said soft enough for only Crawford to hear over the clattering noise of the subway car.
"What makes you think my plans for the day have anything to do with you and your cohorts? You may find it hard to believe, but I have other, more pressing issues at the moment," Crawford said, unable keep from a sardonic tone.
Crawford was truthful. He had worked steadily to embezzle millions of dollars from an electronics firm to prepare for the moment Schwarz could move against Takatori and Essett. He wasn't about to waste his energy by pointlessly engaging Weiss before it was time.
"You've been too quiet, lately. I think you're up to something," Siberian insisted with a harsh glare. "We'll find you out and stop you."
"One of us, I hope, will get off soon. Until then, if you keep your mouth closed, I promise to do my utmost to ignore you," Crawford said with a harsh-edged to his voice. Siberian's lips drew to a thin line, his nose crinkled slightly. Now those eyes were harsh, passionate, stubborn; they were the eyes Crawford knew from the Siberian.
He hoped, in spite of himself, to glimpse that soft, unguarded expression once more. He gave a derisive shake of his head, thinking that Schuldig was right; he needed a hobby. Maybe a new toy to distract him while waiting for the time to destroy Essett. After all, Siberian could be a useful toy.
The train slowed. The young man lurched into Crawford's chest. The Weiss assassin slipped to the side, but Crawford caught the flustered Siberian. His palms pushed against Crawford's chest, but it was futile. They were shoved against each other again as people exited and entered.
"Let go!" Siberian snarled, struggling against Crawford.
"Hush! Be still!" Crawford ordered, gripping the young man tighter. Something caught the younger assassin's attention. Crawford felt the Siberian's body melt against his. The Weiss assassin's breath slowed; Crawford felt it tingle against his check.
A premonition hit Crawford hard before he had a chance to look into his eyes. He was on top of the young man, and they were locked in a passionate kiss while Crawford struggled to hold him down. The vision suddenly broke.
He pulled away now that the subway car was sparsely occupied, but the door swished shut on the Siberian before he could slip through. The car lurched forward, so Crawford took a now empty seat before he was tossed to the floor.
He looked over to the Siberian who clung to the handhold above his head with both hands. He leaned forward slightly, exposing his trim midriff. Crawford mentally chided himself over the thought of taking this youngster as a toy; he would only end up annoyed at the ridiculous, puerile word games this Weiss assassin would offer.
He noticed the young man was dressed in a dark, faded tee shirt, baggy jeans, and worn sneakers. To Crawford's consternation, the Weiss assassin, with his mussed brunette hair and pouty lips, looked like he belonged on some glossy magazine pushing teenagers grungy, over-priced clothing from a shopping mall. The expression the Weiss assassin wore was riddled with confusion and something Crawford perceived as frustration.
Crawford straightened his navy, suit jacket and unfurled his New York Times. He pointedly ignored those burning eyes. It was no use. He found himself reading the same paragraph four times before trying to read the editorials.
Another premonition hit him. The three raggedly dressed men in the corner were going to wave guns around in a clumsy robbery attempt. He saw Siberian turn in time to be shot through the chest. He would lay dead, instantly, at Crawford's feet. Then they would slaughterer the other five passengers, toss Crawford down on the floor, and start to beat him mercilessly because they would be under the impression he was rich.
The vision faded. He had no time to think. He had to upset the chessboard, now, and draw a new, random situation.
"Siberian!" Crawford shouted and jumped on top of the young man seconds before the bullet hit. They lay in a tangle on the floor. Crawford glanced over and watched Siberian roll to his feet again. He was pleased to see Siberian's training kick into high gear. The Weiss assassin was now in a crouch with his narrow eyes trained on the three goons in front of them.
"What the hell?" one of the men shouted in surprise. The other passengers all screamed hysterically and ran to the back of the subway car. Crawford gave himself over to his clairvoyance ; it was now driven by adrenalin. His body felt as thought it was on fire as a white haze filled his peripheral vision; he was now seeing everything a minute before it was happening. Two of the men were about to fire at the other passengers.
Siberian took his lead; he and Crawford launched themselves at two of the gunmen before they had a chance to fire. The third gunman, that stood in the middle, shouted and jumped to the left.
A piercing scream cut Crawford's concentration; his mind slammed back into real time with a painful jolt. The third gunman shouted, "Let them go or I'll kill her!"
Crawford turned to see the man held a struggling girl, not yet five years old, in his arms. The child's bloodied grandmother sobbed and pleaded at the man's feet. Crawford knew if he and Siberian pressed it, they would all end up dead from police snipers at the end of the subway line. Surrender was the next choice his clairvoyance goaded him towards.
"Wait! Don't you dare hurt that kid!" Siberian shouted, tossing aside the man he had subdued. "Just let her go and stop scaring her!"
"Fine! You too, fancy businessman," the gunman said, addressing Crawford. He let go his hold on the gunman he had tackled. The three men kept guns trained on Crawford and Siberian.
"No more playing hero! Hands up! Hitoshi, go frisk them."
The gunman who Crawford tackled went over to the Weiss assassin first and patted him down. He got a wallet from the baggy jeans and looked through it.
"This guy's name is Ken Hidaka. Nothing important. Just a bunch nonsense and about three hundred yen," the gunman announced. Crawford's head snapped around to see Siberian, Ken Hidaka, looking over at him as if were totally vulnerable now.
"Are you kidding? Don't you remember? Take a good look at that face. I remember him now that you said the name. He's that ex-J-Leaguer that used to throw soccer games because of a bad gambling habit. I lost a lot of money on that last game he threw. He's all washed up now," the gunman with the child hostage said with a nasty glower at Ken. "Check the other one! He's some rich foreigner, I bet."
The man named Hitoshi frisked Crawford, who remained still as he removed his wallet and some documents from his inner suit pocket. "This one is Bradley Crawford. He's listed as a financial liaison for several companies. He's an American!" the man shouted, waving Crawford's passport.
"Good. He looks like he's worth a lot of money. I have a change in plans," the gunman with the child hostage said.
"What are you saying, Suka?" Hitoshi asked.
"We take the American hostage and ransom him. For some good news publicity, and a little revenge, we take the gambling addict. We'll slip out the back door and leave up the stairs at the next stop," Suka said, losing his grip on the sobbing child. "Okay! Hitoshi, tie up the American. Ako, tie up the gambler."
"With what?" Hitoshi asked.
Suka pointed at Crawford. "Use his necktie and belt, you dolts!"
His two men came at Crawford and removed his tie and belt. Hitoshi twisted Crawford's hands behind his back. His own silk tie choked his wrists, while Hitoshi chuckled in his ear.
Crawford looked over to Ken, who's wrists were being tied behind his back with the belt. The younger assassin kept his eyes downcast as he passively allowed Ako to bind him and shove him down to the floor.
Crawford pressed the receive call button and said, "You ended up with my wallet. I'd recommend you return it."
Long silence reigned before Ken's voice said, "Yeah... I didn't take it on purpose."
"I wasn't accusing you."
"I'll put it in the mail," Ken blurted out. Crawford heard the embarrassed rush.
"No, you'll meet me. I do owe you an apology over Schuldig's rude behavior while he was rescuing us." There was silence on the other end; Crawford deduced Siberian must be really bored, or have a death wish to indulge this call. Crawford pushed the intrigue. "I'll even buy you dinner."
"Bella Notra. In two hours. Be there or I'll show up... Mr. Hidaka."
Crawford chuckled at the sudden click and dead air over the cell phone. He put his own phone away and called for Schuldig. The redheaded German poked his head in Crawford's office at their high-rise apartment.
"I'm about to put your games to shame."