Author: NagiLite

Rating: Will be R, at least

Disclaimer: Wish I owned them, but I don't. I just like playing with them. *evil grin*

Author Notes: This is sort of a death fic...It alternates between the past and the present, and in the present, Crawford is dead. Major Nagi angst. The song "Hands Clean", which will appear in the first chapter (this is the prologue), belongs to Alanis Morissette.

Also, I've corrected a few spelling errors I found..._

Hands Clean Prologue

The radio was turned up so loud it made Schuldich's ears ring when he entered the apartment. Not his apartment--his apartment was located in Great Britian, somewhere outside of Little Whinging. This apartment was in the slums of New York; he'd already come across six drugdealers and more prostitutes than he could count on both hands.

The radio was small. It rested on a delapidated table in the center of the apartment, which smelled of mold and alcohol. Next to the radio, head in his arms, was Naoe Nagi.

Schuldich stopped and took a long, hard look. Nagi was older, of course (nineteen or twenty or something like that) and it was expected that he would look different than he had when he'd been the youngest member of Schwarz. But he not only looked different; he looked awful. His hair was long and shaggy and his eyes (what Schuldich could see of them) were no longer a bright violet-blue--instead, they were a dull grayish color, as if he'd lost what little soul he'd had to begin with. The bones of his wrists stood out and though he wore a bulky sweatshirt, Schuldich was sure his ribs would stand out in much the same way.

/The idiot's not even got the heater on...if he has a heater, that is. Shit. It's winter. He'll freeze to death./

Schuldich almost casually slung his own coat over Nagi's shoulders before flicking a lightswitch and waiting for the overhead light to come on. It didn't. "Haven't been paying your electricity bill?" he asked wryly. Nagi didn't answer. If it wasn't for the occassional blinking of his eyelids or the soft rumble of his mind, Schuldich might have thought him dead.

It turned out there was a heater, albeit a very old one, but the payment on it, apparently, had been ignored by its owner.

Schuldich found a few stubby candles in a drawer by the broken refrigerator and lit these with his pocket lighter. He placed them on the table before turning off the radio. The song had been in English anyway, and he didn't like English. Mainly because Brad Crawford had once used the language as a sign that he was severely pissed with the telepath for something or other. As if Schuldich had ever cared.

"You're fucked up, Nagi," he said finally, shivering slightly. Damn, it was cold. He considered taking his coat back, but decided against it when Nagi's hands (the ones so frozen they were blue) clenched into tight little balls. "And you know it," Schuldich went on. "If you're trying to commit suicide, this is a great way to go about it. I'm almost surprised you're not dead already."

This earned him a sad smile. "How can you be so sure? That I'm not dead, I mean."

Schuldich snorted. "That melodramatic bullshit will get you nowhere. If you'd just tell someone--anyone--what happened--"

"Nothing happened."

Resisting the urge to roll his eyes, Schuldich took out a cigarette and lit it. "Fuck. I'm not blind. All those years ago...before Brad went and got himself shot..." A soft inhalation of breath from Nagi. "...back when you were barely more than a baby. You couldn't've been any older than sixteen. I always thought it was just typical teenage angst...but recent events have proved that assumption wrong."

"What recent events?" Nagi muttered.

"Brad's death. More specifically, his will."

"He has a will?"

"You know Brad; prepared for anything and everything." "...Yeah."

"He left everything to you. All of his family's property. Shit, I didn't even know he had a family. But there's a nice piece of real estate down in New Orleans with your name on it, my friend."

When Nagi answered with silence, Schuldich took a long drag of his cigarette and leaned back in his chair, a habit he'd never been able to break. "I can wait as long as you, kid. When you're ready to talk, you just go right ahead."

"Why don't you just dig it out of me? You're good enough at that."

Schuldich grimaced. The truth was, Nagi's mental walls were too strong for him to break through. He'd come all the way here by order of the court, searching for the boy, and had orginally planned on extracting some sort of explanation from the telekinetic. Some answer as to why Brad had willed his last earthly possessions to a selfish, jaded, ungrateful, beautiful boy like Naoe Nagi.

"I'd rather you tell me."

"Now who's bullshitting who?"

"Don't be an asshole." Schuldich had a feeling it was going to be a long time before he got through to Nagi. The feeling was wrong, however. Almost immediately, Nagi sat up straight, empty eyes focused intently on the German.

"You're right. Something did happen."

"What?" "Though," Nagi continued, as if Schuldich hadn't said anything, "I've never told anyone. He didn't want me to. I think he was ashamed."

"Of what?" Schuldich pressed.

Nagi shifted his stare to the flame of the nearest candle, concentrating on it as if it could somehow tell him how to best put his confession. Because it was a confession of sorts. At last, he began, "It started right after that last confrontation with WeiƟ..."