Balance

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Chapter 4

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Ran sat upon the picnic blanket, amid a field of wildflowers, watching his sister and lover play. Aya-chan had made a crown of pink larkspur and was trying to place it on Yohji’s head. The blond was mock frantically trying to avoid the girl’s attempts claiming that it would muss up his hair, and that his beauty would put the lovely flowers to shame. Aya-chan laughed merrily at the smoking man’s assertions, and even Ran felt a smile tugging at the corners of his mouth. Yohji, feigning desperation, suddenly sprang to his feet and jogged away. The girl was quick to follow him, calling out the man’s name amid laughs. Ran just sat there, watching the two people he loved most in the world slowly fade from view.

After a few minutes he realized that he couldn’t hear the sound of Aya’s laughter or Yohji’s protest anymore. Standing up, he headed in the direction he’d seen them vanish.

About thirty meters away from the blanket the redhead noticed a crumpled pile of cloth lying in the near distance. Racing over to it, he found his imouto on the ground, unconscious. Ran choked out the girl’s name and shook her, but she wouldn’t wake up. Looking about desperately, he spotted his lover standing several meters away. When he cried out to the man, the blond seemed not to hear him. As Ran watched, Neu of Schreient appeared out of the woods surrounding the field and motioned to Yohji. The tall man slowly walked toward the visored woman, moving as if in a trance. Ran kept calling out his boyfriend’s name, only to have the man ignore him. Clutching the still body of his sister in his arms, the redhead felt tears stream down his face.

Suddenly, everything shifted into blurriness and the young man found himself alone and surrounded by darkness. He wore his Abyssinian outfit and was covered in blood. In place of his sister he found himself holding onto his katana. "Aya-chan? Yohji?" The two were nowhere to be found. "Don’t leave me. Why did you have to go?"

There was a chuckle of amusement, and then green covered arms wrapped themselves around the kneeling man. "Everyone always seems to leave you, eh Kätzchen? Everybody but me, that is. You even dream of me when I’m not here, whispering all those ugly truths you don’t want to listen to."

"Schuldig," Aya gasped out.

"Correct, Süßer. Such a clever kitty, but I already told you that earlier, hmm? I warned you that you’d be left all alone, didn’t I? Seems your subconscious agrees with me."

"Get the fuck out of my head." Aya tried to free himself from the German’s hold, but found his body unable to move. "This is all your doing, you bastard."

Schuldig just snickered some more as he nuzzled at the crimson red hair. "No no no, meine weiße Kamelie, not before this. As I said, that was all you. I was just paying you an early morning visit and found you like this. Mmm, such delicious torment you put yourself through. Better than coffee, sex or nicotine in the morning." The telepath trailed a hand up the assassin’s neck and cupped his chin, tilting it upward. "You are so much more addictive than all those things. So sweet to taste, mind and body." Smiling lips pressed themselves against Aya’s exposed neck, tongue flicking out between them to savor pale skin.

Aya wanted to cry from the anger and frustration locked inside his immobile body. "Why do you keep doing this to me?"

The hungry mouth paused for a minute, then moved up to his ear. When he started to speak, it was in a tone that the swordsman had never heard in that nasal, accented voice before. So serious and rough. "Because you’re mine, Abyssinian. I helped make you what you are today. I’m the only one who appreciates the sacrifices you’ve made, the murderer you’ve become. No one else would want to be near you if they knew the darkness that’s inside you, if they could see all the blood covering your hands." Aya began shaking, minutely at first, but steadily increasing as the voice droned on. "You believe that Kudoh understands what you are, don’t you? That since he is a murderer too it is safe to love him, eh? You’re wrong. He just sees a pretty package and a challenge, feels a thrill at possessing something that no one else has ever touched. He could care less about your nightmares and fears, and he refuses to see what’s really inside you. Because your lover knows it would revolt even him, Kudoh the murdering man-whore. And when he realizes this, he’ll go back to those sluts he always fucks around with. Maybe then you’ll realize how much you need someone who truly understands you." That mouth, finally quiet once again, now traced the outline of his ear with a wet tongue before nibbling on an earlobe.

Trembling violently, Aya felt his hands twitch against the hilt of his katana. He could move somewhat now. A steel grip was still about his upper arms, so he moved his limbs the only way they were allowed. He brought the hilt up across his body and smashed it into the face so near to his own. There was a yelp of pain and a lessoning of the hold around his body, of the darkness surrounding him. Still feeling a phantom caress against his neck and ear, the redhead woke up.

Body shaking, Aya opened his eyes. He was lying on his side, with Yohji curled up behind him and a golden arm flung over his hips. Fighting to regain control of his body, the swordsman just lay there for a minute or two. Gods, another nightmare starring that German bastard. It wasn’t bad enough he had to invade the redhead’s life again last night, now Schuldig was back full force with the mind games.

Shivering mostly suppressed, he gently grasped and lifted his lover’s arm off of him and slid out of bed. For a minute it looked as if the older man would wake up, but Yohji just grabbed onto redhead’s pillow and squirmed deeper under the covers. The man was exhausted. It had been a late night discussing what Schwarz might be up to before the couple had gone to bed. Not long after falling asleep, Aya had woken up from a nightmare featuring Schuldig torturing and killing the blond. Yohji had awoken as well from the disturbed man’s loud gasp and trembling form, and tried to soothe him back to sleep. Needing to dispel the awful images in his head, the redhead had turned to his lover in a passionate frenzy, and all thoughts of sleep had fled from the two men’s minds for a while. Aya’s side still ached from that bout of activity.

Quiet as his codename, the pale men randomly picked out some clothes and left the room. Once in the bathroom he took an almost blistering hot shower, desperate to scrub away those vestigial feelings left over from the dream. Of Schuldig’s mouth on his body. What he wouldn’t give for a clear shot at the fucking telepath. Looking into the mirror as he brushed his teeth, fury blazed in violet eyes at the bite mark on his neck. That man was /so/ dead.

Aya made his way to the kitchen, where he boiled some water for tea. He didn’t think his stomach could handle coffee this morning, but he brewed some anyways for Yohji and Omi. Steaming mug in hand, he headed to the flower shop. If the Koneko’s patrons knew what was good for them, none of them would ask for any white camellias that day.

*******

"Shit."

Yohji jumped out of bed and searched for something clean to wear. Since Aya had all but moved into his bedroom, it was a much easier task than it had been. Jeans, top and underwear in hand, the blond rushed into the bathroom. He was supposed to have opened the shop with Aya this morning. Apparently, the quiet man had woken up earlier and forgotten about setting the alarm before leaving the room. So Yohji was now running late. Hopefully Weiß’s resident grouch wouldn’t hold that against him. It really wasn’t his fault this time.

At least there was a pot of coffee this morning. Pouring a cup as he set two frozen waffles in the toaster, Yohji gulped it down while waiting for his breakfast. Searching through the cupboards for something to put on the pastries, he shrugged his shoulders and grabbed the peanut butter. Smearing some on the waffles, he poured another cup of coffee and then went downstairs to the flower shop.

Once there, he quickly spotted his lover by the coolers and made a beeline for the man. Cautiously evaluating the redhead’s mood as he neared him, Yohji noted the shadowed eyes and tightly pressed lips. No way to know if the anger was directed at him or someone else, but might as well chance it. Wolfing down the last of his breakfast, he quickly glanced around the shop to make sure it was customer-free, and wished the smaller man a ‘proper’ good morning. Since Aya didn’t protest the kiss in any way, it was safe to assume it wasn’t a certain blond assassin he was furious with.

Stepping back, Aya ran a slender finger across his lips. "Peanut butter?"

"Yeah, didn’t exactly have time for a fancy breakfast. Why didn’t you wake me up before you left?" Aya looked over at some orchids, prompting Yohji to believe it must have been a pretty early hour. "Did you get any sleep last night?"

It sounded as if the man mumbled ‘a little’, but his head was tilted down and scarlet bangs obscured his face. Making a tsking sound, Yohji lifted Aya’s face up so he could see it. Something about that move made the smaller man shy away, ever so slightly. The blond’s other hand moved to brush back ragged bangs. That familiar gesture seemed to reassure his lover somewhat. "You didn’t, did you? Dreaming about Schuldig again, huh Kitten?" Violet eyes blinked in surprise at him, then were downcast as Aya minutely nodded his head. "What did the prick want with you last night? You never did say."

The redhead tried to step back, but Yohji didn’t let him. He quickly wrapped his long arms around the frowning man’s shoulders. "Answer me, Aya. I think I need to know. Don’t forget he was in my head as well, and most likely Ken’s too. You said he didn’t talk about the mission, but just tried to get a rise out of you. That might have been enough of an explanation last night, but it won’t do now. Not if he has you waking up from nightmares in the middle of the night."

Once again the smaller man mumbled under his breath, this time Yohji would swear it was ‘you weren’t complaining.’ He just stood there, arms still about the man, until Aya eventually spoke out loud. "He found out about the two of us, and wasn’t happy." The redhead wasn’t stupid enough to mention the German’s possessive claim. Not to Yohji at least. "Made some disparaging comments about you and needled me about my sister." Nor was he going to discuss Schuldig’s comments about him being not human. "Overall, he left the impression he just wanted to fuck with my mind while the opportunity was present." Aya remained quiet about the second nightmare. "I think you need to be very careful, Yohji."

While it was touching that his lover was worried over his well being, Yohji was still irritated over the quiet man’s lack of self-concern. All the telepath had done to him was give him a headache; it was Aya who’d dealt with the brunt of the asshole’s attention. "That sounds like some advice you need to follow as well, love."

Aya looked as if he was about to say something else when a customer walked into the shop. Shaking his head at the interruption, he turned back to the coolers and the flowers within, leaving Yohji to deal with their client.

*******

It was just before noon when Ken arrived at the flowershop for his shift. He was scheduled to work the afternoon, along with Omi when the boy got out of school, but it was likely the youth would need another day off to let his arm heal. He’d been cradling the wounded limb last night as Aya dropped his bombshell on the team. Spending the night at the computer hadn’t seemed to have done him any good.

Which meant that Yohji or Aya would have to stay and cover the chibi’s shift. Ken sincerely hoped it was the redhead, he didn’t think he could put up with working along side Kudoh for several hours. He’d barely controlled himself the past few days when it was the two of them in the shop. For some reason his anger, instead of ebbing away, had only intensified. The thought that he’d just left the club last night, not warning his partners that they were losing some back up, didn’t help the situation. And the blond idiot claimed it was all Schuldig’s fault. Yeah, right.

Of course it was Yohji who greeted him when he walked into the shop. "It’s about damn time you showed up. Shop’s been too busy for one of us to leave for lunch, and I’m starving." The older man ignored the glare Ken was giving him. "Hey, Aya, what do you want to eat? I was going to stop by the sandwich place, unless you want something else."

The redhead frowned at his shouting boyfriend, interrupted in the middle of assisting a young businessman. Directing the man towards some dahlias, he stalked over to the register. "How many times do I have to tell you don’t shout like that? I’m not hungry, so get whatever you want."

"Right. Tell me what you had for breakfast." Aya just glared at the blond, as Ken took in the dark circles surrounding eyes sparkling like amethyst. He’d be willing to go out on a limb and say the swordsman hadn’t gotten much sleep.

Yohji didn’t seem fazed in the least by the anger in those unusual eyes. "Thought so. I’ll pick you up an egg salad and ham, you need the protein. And some soup as well. One of these days you’ll realize you need to eat. Unless you’ve been holding out on us that you’re not human."

The blond was too busy lighting a cigarette to see his lover react to that last comment. Ken was amazed to see the normally stoic man flinch as his face paled even more. The brunet’s hands clenched into fists and he growled softly. Yohji just ignored him as he exited the premises, but Aya tossed him an odd look. Ken tried to smile back in a reassuring manner, but felt too angry to make it a very successful attempt. The redhead returned to his customer.

The anger was still there when Yohji returned with the take-out. He promptly tracked down the swordsman and handed over a bag of food. "Here. Eat eat, you get any thinner and I’ll think I’m sleeping with a sack of bones." Aya hissed at the smiling man as he glanced around, trying to see if any of their clientele had overheard that comment.

Ken couldn’t hold it in any longer. "I think you’re forgetting that Aya’s an adult, Kudoh, and doesn’t need you bullying him. Why don’t you try to do something more productive and actually work for once. The floor could use a sweeping." Both men turned to look at the brunet, Aya with a raised eyebrow and Yohji with a scowl darkening his features.

"What the hell business is it of yours, Hidaka?"

"Yohji, Ken, stop it. You want to fight, do it later." Turning to his boyfriend, he gestured to front of the store. "There are a couple of customers that need to be rung up." Once the blond muttered something under his breath and left, Aya directed his attention back to Ken. "I can take care of myself. Don’t use me as an excuse to start a fight with Yohji. ‘We’ really don’t need the two of you acting like this right now."

The athlete let out a long breath, trying to control the anger inside of him. Why was he treating Yohji like this? Any other time he’d join the blond in teasing their leader. But he just couldn’t let go of the negative emotions. He gazed back at Aya, who was regarding him with a stern look, detracted from in no way by the crimson lock of hair falling over his left eye. As if his hand was moving of its own volition, it reached out and brushed the hair back. Oh, wow. He never knew the redhead’s hair was so silky. No wonder Yohji was always touching it. It was then that he noticed the startled look in violet orbs, made all the striking by thick black lashes. ‘He’s so beautiful.’ Spinning around as he choked out an apology, Ken notice that Yohji was glaring daggers at him over the head of a customer. Without him realizing it, the brunet’s lips stretched into a mocking grin that his quiet teammate would instantly recognize as belonging to a certain telepath.

Ken decided it would be best to keep himself occupied for the rest of his shift. He concentrated on cleaning the store, busy sweeping and wiping things down. It worked for a couple of hours, until the pre-afternoon rush lull. The three men found themselves at loose ends, and congregated at the register.

"So, Aya got to leave work early yesterday, I guess that means you’ll be taking off soon, huh Yohji?" Maybe he could calm down if he got the blond out of his sight for a while. And it wouldn’t be bad to be alone with Aya for a while, either. Yohji looked first at him, and then at his boyfriend.

"What do you say, Kitten? I wouldn’t mind sticking around til closing if you wanted to try and get some more sleep." Since the shop was empty, the blond felt it safe enough to pull the smaller man towards him and wrap him in a loose hug. Ken felt something in his chest twinge at the sight.

Frowning slightly, Aya shook his head. "I really don’t feel like sleeping right now. But I’d like to run an errand before dinner." One didn’t need to be a telepath to figure out where the redhead wanted to go.

Yohji tightened his hold around the swordsman. "I don’t think it’s a good idea for you to be heading out on your own. Especially to the hospital. Schuldig has to know you’ll be going there."

"All the more reason for me to leave and make sure my imouto is safe. " Aya glared up at his lover. "I thought we didn’t need to have any more discussions on me being able to take care of myself." Yohji quickly shook his head, trying to explain it wasn’t that. The redhead first shot a glance at the door, then wrapped his arms around the playboy’s neck. He stood on his toes, brushing his mouth against the blond’s ear. "You know I’ll be careful, especially after last night. I need to make sure Aya-chan’s fine right now."

Ken watched the expressions crossing the older man’s face before he buried it into Aya’s hair. Lust and fear and something which he refused to acknowledge that looked a lot like love. After a minute Yohji leaned back and twined an eartail about a finger. "Okay, I’ll stay and cover the shop. You’ll owe me one though. I really do hate to work." The brunet was shocked to see a tiny but definite smile curve the swordsman’s lips as he whispered something in Yohji’s ear as he released his arms and trailed pale hands down the man’s chest. He arched a crimson eyebrow at the tall man, who laughed and used his hold on that long piece of hair to tug Aya in for a quick kiss. "I’ll hold you to that. Now go, before my innate laziness gets the better of me and changes my mind."

Smile now gone, Aya nodded to Ken as he walked towards the back of the shop. Keeping his eyes on the pale man until he was gone, the brunet turned to find Yohji treating him to an assessing glance. There was a small frown on the man’s face. Ken felt the unexplainable resentment return, so he headed over to fuss with the display stand, just so he didn’t have to look at the blond.

Once business picked up again, he was distracted enough to forget about his irritation. At least until Sakura Tomoe appeared, inquiring on Aya’s whereabouts. Yohji all but snarled at the girl, telling her that the redhead wasn’t here. Something petty sparking inside of him at the blond’s display of jealousy and annoyance, Ken couldn’t resist walking over to the pretty schoolgirl.

"Aya’s working the mid-shift tomorrow, and won’t be back on afternoons until next Wednesday." Why the hell was he giving out the shift coverage like that? The swordsman would kill him if he found out about this, especially since it was Sakura Ken was talking too. Just because he knew it would piss Yohji off, to see the girl fawning all over his boyfriend? Why was he acting so petty?

"Oh thank you, Ken-san. I should have time after cram school to stop by tomorrow, maybe I can make him another meal. He’s been so thin lately." With that, the short haired girl bowed and left the store.

A strong hand gripped his arm. "What the hell was that about, Kenken?" Yohji was so furious the question was hissed out.

Shaking free his arm, Ken smiled back sweetly. "Just being nice to a customer. Why don’t you go flirt with some more underage girls, Yotan?" The blond snarled briefly and did just that. Ken turned back to his own fan club, rubbing his temples in an attempt to rid himself of a headache.

*******

Omi glanced up from his dinner and at his quiet teammates. Aya appeared more withdrawn than usual, and Ken and Yohji were careful to avoid looking at each other. Great, so those two were still at it. He was ready to take the redhead’s sword to both of them and whack some sense into their thick skulls. At least it was understandable why their leader was acting the way he was. Nobody felt much in a jolly mood after having a psychotic telepath muck about in your head.

"So, was dinner that bad and you’re all afraid to say something?" The genki youth had cooked tonight, since he felt bad about missing another day of work. Usually everyone liked his seafood linguine.

"No no chibi, another culinary masterpiece. It was so good I think I’ll let you take over my turns for dinner the next few weeks. It’ll be way too depressing to eat my stuff after feasting on this."

Omi giggled. "Only you, Yohji-kun, could come up with such a flattering way to dump your chores on a person." Even Aya looked a little amused with the comment. "I think I’ll pass, you always end up ordering takeout anyways. And since you don’t spend most of your money at bars anymore, it’s been something other than cheap pizza all the time."

The older blond glanced over to his lover and growled. "It’s all your fault." Aya just raised an elegant eyebrow, but managed to seem more lifelike for a few minutes. Until the topic of the assignment was brought up.

"So, you guys heading back down to Tardus later tonight?" That was the name of the club they’d investigated the night before.

Ken and Aya both said yes, as Yohji responded no. Omi internally groaned.

Yohji was the first to speak. "There is no way in hell we’re going back there. Schuldig will probably be waiting for us, and maybe this time he’ll bring the rest of Schwarz with him."

"We have to go back, it’s the most promising lead we have. I came across several people who talked about using the drug last night. Another night or two and we can most likely track down the dealers," Ken argued back.

Yohji looked over at his silent lover, waiting for his response. "Kritiker wanted us to check the place out, we will keep going back until it proves to be a dead end or the mission is finished. I refuse to let Schuldig frighten us away. That may be why he was there last night."

Omi decided to throw in his two cents. "Aya is right. It’s imperative for us to /not/ abandon the club right now. Not to mention that Kritiker will be rather upset. Manx was very careful to impress the importance of this mission on us during the initial debriefing. You guys know what to expect now, and will be more careful."

"Are all of you nuts? We are /so/ not stepping foot in that place again."

Ken didn’t know if he was the only one to catch that ‘we’, but felt something inside of his head needle him to tease the blond about it. "What’s the matter Yotan? Afraid you won’t be able to protect your ‘kitten’ tonight. Pretty hard to fight a telepath, huh." All three of his friends glared at the brunet, as he tried to figure out what had just come out of his mouth. That tiny part of him was satisfied though, to see Aya turn that shi-ne glare on his lover.

"Tell me that is not what you are worried about." His voice was a dangerous whisper, and the younger members of Weiß felt as if they weren’t in the same room anymore. As far as the swordsman was concerned, it was just him and Yohji.

It seemed the blond felt the same. He reached across the table to grasp a pale hand, refusing to let go when it tried to jerk away. "This isn’t a repeat of Tuesday night. Yes I’m worried about you dealing with Schuldig. It’s a terrifying thought. How the hell do you fight someone like him? I just have a really bad feeling about tonight, and would be much happier if /all/ of us stayed out of the place. Can’t we try the club in another couple of days, maybe the bastard will have gotten bored and moved on."

Aya kept his gaze focused on his lover’s emerald eyes, but the glare softened. "What if he doesn’t get bored though? And what if there is a very important reason for him to be there, other than messing with us? Kritiker will be asking those questions if we try to go someplace else, and they won’t accept that we ran scared from Schwarz. You want to tell them the other reason why we abandoned the place?"

Yohji sighed in defeat. Trust Abyssinian to see all the angles of a problem. It was more than just the telepath’s presence. Weiß had to turn in a successfully completed mission, or things would go very badly for the couple. "Okay, you guys are right and I’m wrong. Just promise me you’ll be careful, I don’t trust the situation with that German about."

*******

Crawford looked up from his computer terminal and caught a face full of smoke. Schuldig was once more sitting on top of his desk, blowing smoke rings his way. Didn’t the man understand the concept of chairs? "Shouldn’t you be getting ready to go out?"

"Just wanted to see if you were satisfied with the information I brought back last night. I take it our eminent leaders want more of the same?"

"Yes. You’re to keep observing subjects under the influence of the new drug, and see how amicable they are to mental suggestions. Why don’t you go start now."

Schuldig laughed as he flicked ash all over the spotless desk, earning yet again the American’s fury. Uptight bastard. "Why Crawford, you’re not trying to get rid of me, are you? And I so enjoy our private chats together. Speaking of which, I have a question for you. Why didn’t you tell me what the two kittens were up to?"

If he allowed himself to show humble emotions, Crawford would have sighed. One didn’t need to be psychic to figure out who the German was referring to, or why he was so upset. "Because there was nothing you could have done to prevent it, short of killing Balinese, which is unacceptable at this time. One could say those two were destined for each other."

"And what about my claim to the lovely Abyssinian?" It was disturbing to see the telepath so still and serious, his joking manner completely set aside.

Crawford knew he had to be very careful here. The wrong phrasing and Schuldig could ruin all of his painstakingly constructed plans. Kudoh could /not/ be killed anytime soon. "The possibility is still there, just as it’s always been. If anything, it is even stronger, now that you can use Balinese and the emotions he’s broken free against Abyssinian. However, your best chance lies in the future, not the present. And not at all if you push him too far too soon. So just stick to the game plan for right now, have a /little/ fun, and wait. Anticipation should make you savor the eventual conclusion all the more. Shake Weiß up, and obtain the information that Esset seeks."

Pale green eyes focused on him, still deathly serious. "You /will/ let me know when Kudoh is no longer necessary, won’t you." It wasn’t a question, and that fact alone angered the clairvoyant, but not enough to risk pushing the German over the edge. "Yes, I will. And another thing, leave Bombay out of your games for right now. There’s something important he’s working on, and it will go bad for both Weiß and us if he’s distracted."

"Good. Just gives me more time to focus on the Kätzchen. " Schuldig jumped off the desk, once more his usual annoying personality. "Well, I’m off to prepare myself. Have to let the dear boy get a good look at what he’s missing out on." The American did let out a tiny breath, not quite a sigh, at the man’s departure. A sudden vision came to him of what the telepath had in store for the kittens tonight. He almost felt sorry for the couple.

*******

Yohji glanced over at his lover. Aya was trying to take as few chances as possible, and had seated himself at the far corner of the bar. He kept his back to the wall, sitting sideways on the bar stool. It was obvious that he didn’t want the telepath to sneak up behind him again. However, it also left him open to a lot more advances from the crowd surrounding him. Gods, the man was so fucking gorgeous when he was furious. He should know, he inspired that state in the redhead often enough.

With a mental shake he returned his attention back to the woman standing beside him. If possible, Mika was wearing even less of an outfit tonight. He must have made quite an impression on her yesterday. The woman was all but throwing herself at him, and he was trying to play it a little cool. There was no way in hell he was going home with her, so he didn’t want to lead her on too much. Besides, he was trying to string out the conversation until she mentioned ‘Sybil’.

He wasn’t paying her a full mind though. Part of him was constantly scanning the club, looking for a gaijin with long, reddish orange hair and a flashy dress sense. So far no luck. Which was why he kept glancing over at Aya. Something told him that the German wouldn’t be too far from the man. And that the redhead had left something out about his run-in with the telepath. He would have to make an effort to get it out of the taciturn man later.

For her part, Mika was getting very frustrated. At first she’d been very happy to see Senjurō walk into the club, and it had been pretty obvious that he was looking for her. But for the past couple of hours he’d ignored her rather blatant come-ons, more interested in discussing a wide range of topics. And in something over by the bar. He kept gazing over in that direction, so distracted that he missed hearing her completely several times. What was he looking at? She placed her hand on his arm and asked "Senji dear, want a fresh drink?"

That brought Yohji’s attention back to his companion for the night, and he smiled down at the woman. "I’m up for another round. Here, let me get them." Before Mika could say anything, he headed over to the bar, to the side Aya was sitting at. There was some young woman standing next to the redhead, trying her best to get the quiet man to talk to her. Yohji walked right up behind her, and ‘accidentally’ bumped into her. "Sorry, it’s so crowded in here." His apology was drowned out by the girl’s shriek at having her drink spilled all over her. Rushing off to the bathroom, the woman failed to notice the smile on the blond man’s face. Turning around, he flashed a quick wink at his lover, and then waved over the bartender. The entire time it took for the man to take his order and mix the drinks, Yohji used as an excuse to lean ever so slightly against the smaller man. As long as he was here, no one could try to hit on Aya. "Find out anything yet?" he inquired, sotto voiced.

The redhead picked up one of the drinks in front of him, swirling it around between his hands. "The name Kenchō Uehara has been mentioned, seems he deals the stuff. Hoping for a bit more evidence.”

"Huh, any sign of you-know-who?"

"No." Aya put down the drink and rubbed his right hand on his sore side. Yohji felt a quick stab of guilt, he hadn’t been very gentle with the injured man last night, not with the thought of Schuldig messing with his lover in his mind and Aya needing him so desperately after the nightmare. He prayed that the mission would be over soon, so the man had a chance to recuperate. Just as he was about to ask his kitten about the wound, the bartender returned with his order. The blond paid the man, hand brushing over Aya’s knees as he put his wallet back, and left with the drinks.

Mika watched the whole scene, trying to figure out what the tall blond was up to. Was he attempting to pick up the gorgeous redheaded man sitting at the bar? Senji didn’t strike her as gay, but then again he’d been resisting her pretty much all night. Which didn’t make her very happy. Here she was on Friday night, looking for someone to pick up and have a good time with. She hadn’t minded the good-looking man leaving her yesterday, she’d needed to work in the morning, but now she was in a mood to party. Maybe the man was looking for someone a bit more fun. Mika hadn’t wanted to do any drugs tonight, but she had to admit that when she took the new drug, she always had a great time. Well, at least the little she could remember of it. Oh, but what she could recall was pure bliss. Deciding that she wanted to feel that way again, with or without Senji, she started to search the club for the two men she knew who dealt the drug.

Yohji came back with the drinks right before she spotted one of the dealers, Roy, over by the ladies room. Noticing that he had a couple of customers already, she spent some time flirting with her date for the night. Oh, but the man could tease and flirt. If only he had some intention of following through with some of those innuendos he tossed back at her, emerald eyes sparkling with amusement. As soon as the dealer was alone though, she made an excuse and headed towards the restrooms.

Eyes following the woman until the crowd of people blocked his view, Yohji then resumed his search for Schuldig. Who was standing on the other side of the room, watching him in return. The German knew that the blond assassin would expect him to be around his lover, and so was staying away. With Abyssinian on one side of the bar, Balinese not far away and Siberian trying to keep an eye on both of them, it left a portion of the club that they weren’t covering. That was where Schuldig had settled for the night, telepathically keeping track of Weiß the whole time. And of those they were interacting with. If Abyssinian had actually managed to pay attention to any of his many suitors that night, he’d have noticed the unfortunate events that happened to them. The telepath was enjoying causing the people intense migraines, unexplainable clumsiness, inappropriate physical and verbal responses, and so forth. Many had already left in either pain or embarrassment, and a few had been tossed out of the place.

Of course he had also been keeping track of Yohji’s little piece of ass all night. So, the tramp was a ‘Sybil’ user, huh? Time to kill two birds with one stone then. And treat the Schwanzlutscher to a night he wouldn’t soon forget. Carefully sliding through the crowd until he approached the bathrooms, he spotted the woman busy purchasing the drug. Entering her mind with ridiculous ease, he mentally whispered a suggestion to her. Considering her frustration at the lack of interest from her paramour, it was no problem at all to convince the slut to buy two tablets instead of one. And before leaving the rest room pause to purchase a condom from the vending machine. Or to have her stop by the bar and order two shots and place a pill in each. Esset would be pleased to know that repeat use of the drug apparently rendered the taker very susceptible to mental commands. He couldn’t recall the last time he’d influenced someone so effortlessly.

Nerves on edge from waiting for Schwarz to show up and start fucking things up, Yohji didn’t give much thought to the drink Mika handed him, smiling as she offered up the shot ‘for a bit of luck’. A little thought hinted that maybe it would help him relax a little bit. Years of hard drinking had left him with a strong tolerance, so it shouldn’t affect him at all. A tiny bit of paranoia did kick in though, making him take the glass she held back, just in case. Toasting the beauty of his companion, he quickly downed the shot and forgot about it. Time for some more small talk. "Club seems a bit rowdy tonight."

"Yeah, I heard in the ladies’ room that they’ve already kicked a few people out. That usually doesn’t happen this early." Mika smiled up at the man, feeling the tingling effects of the drug start to take effect. She knew she wouldn’t remember much past this point tomorrow.

"Oh really? What happens later in the night?" Yohji smiled down at the scantily clad woman, eyes roving over the displayed flesh. She was a rather provocative picture, all but promising a guaranteed fun time with the way she dressed and posed her body. He forgot about his train of thought, of questioning her about the drug, as Mika pressed up against him. His muscles were no longer so tense, and the blond couldn’t recall the last time he’d felt this at ease. As if there were no worries in the world at all. Everything but the warm, willing body standing so close faded away.

Recognizing lust appearing at last in those gorgeous eyes that she just adored, Mika let a seductive pout settle on her lips as her hands roved all over the blond’s chest. "I’m not so worried about later tonight as I am with right now. Aren’t you getting a bit tired with this place?"

Yohji laughed as he pulled the young woman against him. "Where do you suggest we go?" He let Mika feel his hardened arousal.

"Oh not far, not far at all. Depends on how bored you are." This was turning out even better than she had imagined.

" I’m very, very bored. So what are we still doing here?"

Schuldig couldn’t help but chuckle at the sight of the two Penner heading towards the door. How they deserved each other. And with the Warmduscher occupied with his whore, the telepath could go play with the man’s ‘kitten’. It was so easy to reach into a drugged mind and give Siberian something to keep the brunet busy. Now it was time to deal with /his/ Abyssinian.

*******

Aya continued his vigil at the bar, eyeing a young man with spiked blond hair and wearing a leather Yankees baseball jacket. So this was Uehara. The man had received a lot of attention in the past hour or so, with various club patrons coming over to talk to him and find some reason to shake his hand. The redhead personally thought that the pusher had watched too much American crime shows, what with the way he was acting. So here was one lead back to the source of the drug, he’d have Siberian or Balinese follow the man home and pay him a visit. He really wanted this mission completed as soon as possible. Schuldig’s presence, and possibly Schwarz’s as well, did not bode well for a successful assignment. Even if the telepath hadn’t indicated any involvement with the new drug, the swordsman didn’t believe in that strong of a coincidence. Weiß would just have to focus on finding the source of the drugs and take it out while keeping an eye out for their enemies. Which he had been doing all night long, while Balinese flirted with some barely clothed tart and Siberian proved his skill at pool. Aya rubbed his temples. Lack of sleep and being forced by injuries he wasn’t giving his body a chance to heal to sit still all night was making him very cranky. Which Yohji would say was a very, very bad thing.

Once again he surveyed the bar, taking in all the activity. The bouncers had been very busy so far tonight, and it looked as if the drug was taking effect on about a fourth of the crowd. Morals were… definitely loosening as people paired off and several fights broke out. One of which was right near Siberian’s post. Aya craned his neck, trying to get a better view of the brawl, only to be blocked by a curly haired man whom he’d just witnessed buy some drugs about fifteen minutes ago. The man shoved his way up to the bar right next to Aya, and with no thought or warning at all slammed his elbow down on the assassin’s wounded thigh. Choking back a yelp of pain, the assassin was too distracted from the burning agony in his leg and resisting the urge to break the man’s neck when strong arms wrapped around him and pulled him back into his seat.

"Really, Knuddelhäschen, we have to stop meeting like this." <What’s the matter, your boo-boo hurting you? Want me to kiss it and make it all better?>

"You bastard." Aya strained against the hold, only to have the German’s hand wander down to his cracked ribs and press against them threateningly.

<Behave, or I’ll have to hurt you some more. And the threat from last night still stands. Do you have any idea how easy it would be for me to have these drugged fools slaughter everyone in this place?>

"So Schwarz /is/ involved with the drug."

Schuldig mentally cursed himself. Trust Abyssinian to notice that little slip. Even enraged and in pain the man was still focused on what was happening around him. The German had been too distracted by the feel of his favorite toy’s body against his and the knowledge of what was happening out back to remember that little fact. "Who says I’m just not taking advantage of the situation?" One hand still pressed against the younger man’s side, the telepath threaded the fingers of his other hand through silky ruby locks. He quickly grabbed a handful and viciously jerked Aya’s head back. "Have I mentioned yet how upset I’m with you for interrupting our little chit chat earlier? That wasn’t very nice at all, Kätzchen. I had a headache for hours afterwards."

"Too fucking ba-ah." The smaller redhead bit into his lip, Schuldig had smacked a fist into his side.

"Such a pretty mouth shouldn’t spout filth." The telepath waited for a response from the enraged man, but was only rewarded with a truly ferocious glower. Thoughts of what the assassin would do to him if the man had his sword in hand bombarded him, along with the feeling of fury, disgust and pain. Mmm, delicious. He used his hold in that brilliant hair to tilt the pale man’s face up and licked at the blood gathering on the bitten lip.

Increasing the pressure on Aya’s ribs made the man open his mouth in a gasp, which the German took promptly took advantage of. <Try to bite me and I’ll have our friend over there kill the bartender.> Thrusting his tongue in deep, he leisurely explored the trembling man’s mouth. <So sweet for such a bitter young man, did you know that? I like very much.>

‘/Shi. Ne./ Now.’

The German burst out laughing, finally ending the kiss. "Oh, you are just too fun for words. Maybe I should call you my little tuberose, neh?" He really couldn’t help but chuckle at the swordsman, body shaking in anger as those violet eyes glowed with fury. "You make me forget what I came here for, you know." No response, what a surprise. <Kitties are supposed to be curious by nature, Abyssinian.>

"If I ask you why you’re here, will you leave me alone?"

Bending down so his lips brushed against Aya’s, Schuldig sighed. And then smiled as the man shivered in reaction to the warm breath of air on his face. "For a little bit, just long enough for you to enjoy your present. You’re way too delicious for me to leave alone for long. <Interrupt one of our dreams again, and I’ll lower your teammates’ IQ’s by a good hundred points each. You’ll be able to watch them drool away the rest of their lives.>

Struggling with the rage that wanted him to shout ‘fuck off’ and then try to gut the man with a broken beer bottle, Aya retained enough control to growl out the question. "Why are you bothering me now?"

<Tut tut, didn’t your mother ever tell you manners will get you everywhere? Or was she blown up first?> "I’m giving you a little gift, meine weiße Kamelie." Oh how the Japanese man /hated/ it when he called him a term of endearment. Hee hee. "A taste of the future, of what Balinese has in store for you." Aya went still at his lover’s name.

"You know, Kritiker has it all wrong. ‘Sybil’ doesn’t create a whole new personality, it merely strips the Super-ego away and lets the Id run free. It just seems like a another personality, when it’s the same one with no annoying conscious telling you ‘that’s wrong, don’t do it’. The drug turns its users into socio-paths, and when the Super-ego returns it makes them forget all about them slipping their mental leashes. All they remember is the pleasure ‘Sybil’ rewarded them with for giving into all those suppressed desires, turning guilt into bliss. Sounds like fun, doesn’t it? I wonder how you’d react to the drug, hmm? After all, the only thing separating the two of us is that nasty little voice in your head telling you how guilty and filthy your soul is. A monster with a half a conscious, that’s all you are anymore Fujimiya. One that feels the guilt /after/ blood is spilled. Never stops you before, does it?" His Kätzchen was so close to the edge, threatening to drag the telepath over with him, the emotions were that strong. Wunderbar. Just a little further, and he could lead the man to his gift. "You know what tiny, insignificant thing that is holding you back, don’t you? Dear little Aya-chan. Just think, if you took that shiny blade of yours to the little bitch’s body, how free you would be afterwards. She’s only a corpse that refuses to rot, time for you to realize that." Wow. He could live off the buzz from contact with Abyssinian’s mind for days. Who needed conventional drugs when one could savor this. While the man was shocked still by the intensity of his rage, Schuldig leaned forward for another kiss, then let Aya go.

It took the swordsman’s overloaded senses a moment to figure out he was free. Then it was just a matter of getting to his feet and chasing after the laughing German, who was always at least two steps in front of him. Out of the bar and into a darkened parking lot. There was the bastard, standing next to a hatchback with steamed up windows. Aya charged towards the man, only to have a car door flung open before him. <Look inside, Schatzilein, and see what your lover is truly like.> As if compelled, the redhead’s eyes shifted downward, and he felt his legs threaten to collapse. He didn’t even notice when the telepath came up behind him, arms around his chest and mouth nibbling on his neck. There was Yohji, half undressed, thrusting into the young woman he’d been talking to all night. The blond finally realized that the car door had opened, and looked up at the two spectators. "Hey there, Aya." The woman was too lost in the sex, her eyes closed.

A flare of pain at the nape of his neck brought him back somewhat. <A little reminder. Don’t forget what I told you tonight, any of it. We’ll be seeing each other very soon.> It suddenly became too much, Aya knew he had to get away from there or he’d lose the precious little bit of sanity he still had left. Running to his car, it took him several tries to key the lock and get in. Shock starting to fade, the pain from his wounds crept back into his consciousness, joining the pain in his head and chest.

That fucking German bastard. He had to be behind what was happening in that car. There was no way Yohji would have willingly betrayed him like that, was there? A little voice whispered that the man was a hedonist, always looking for a new thrill. Maybe he finally got bored with screwing a man. No, it had to be the drug, somehow Schuldig had slipped Yohji the drug. The fucking idiot. He wasn’t sure who he was swearing at, the telepath or the blond. Damn both of them for doing this to him. Part of him went on about how he needed to get back to the bar and complete the mission, but Aya didn’t know how much more he could take before he actually snapped. He had to get home and try to calm down, to figure out why Schuldig had done this. To get the sight of his lover fucking another person out of his head before he turned around and went back to the couple, katana unsheathed. Aya kept driving towards the Koneko, oblivious to all the speed limits and red lights and the traffic mayhem he left in his wake.

*******

<Thanks Balinese, such a good boy. Now why don’t you finish up there and go comfort the poor kitten. And don’t feel the need to be too gentle.>

Yohji heard the amused voice inside his head moments before an orgasm overtook him. He collapsed on the squirming body beneath him, taking a moment to come to his dazed senses before pushing off from the woman.

Feeling the man pull up and out of her, Mika opened her eyes. "Where you going, lover?"

"Home, gotta check up on somebody." Yohji removed the used condom and dropped it to the floorboards before straightening out his attire.

"But we’re not done here. What about me?" Indignation was taking place of the pleasure she’d been feeling moments before. How dare the prick leave right now, after getting /his/ release.

"Sorry, sweetie, but just don’t care right now. There’s a much better piece of ass waiting for me at home, you were just the appetizer." Yohji lit a cigarette as he opened the car door, got out, and shut it on the obscenities being shouted at him. He headed for his own car, humming softly at the thoughts of what he was going to his lover when he got back home.

Mika continued screaming at the departing man. The fucking bastard! She bet it /was/ the redhead from the bar he was driving off to find. She’d fucking kill them both if she ever saw them again. The blond faggot and his prissy, pretty little fuck toy.

<Now now, can’t have you slander my little Knuddelhäschen like that. I think you should do something for me to apologize, yes? Start the car.>

Without understanding why, Mike climbed into the front seat, found her keys and started the car.

<Good. Now drive down the road, no towards the left, yes that’s it.> She did as the voice told her. <Now go faster, keep giving it the gas, hmm. You see that building over there, the nice big brick one? Push the gas down all the way and drive right into it. That’s a good girl.> Tears streaming down her face, Mika did exactly what the nasal voice told her. The last few seconds of her life were filled with an amused chuckle. <This is /way/ too easy. Crawford should be so pleased.>

*******

Yohji pulled his car into the garage and got out to feel the hood of the Porsche he’d parked next to. It was starting to cool. Aya must have really outdone himself to get home so quickly. Shrugging his shoulders, the blond started up the steps toward his room. Upon reaching his destination, he found the room empty. Humming to himself, he went down the hall towards the redhead’s room. Empty too. ‘Now if I was a hurt little kitten, where would I hide?’

The answer coming to him, Yohji took a moment to stop back by his room, strip off his jacket and shirt, and pick up his gloves and tube of lubricant. One benefited from being prepared. Heading up the stairs to the exercise room, he put on the gloves and pulled out several feet of wire from his watch. It was safe to assume that his kitten would be practicing with his sword, and an armed, pissed off Aya was not a good thing. He’d always know it was worth his life to cheat on the redhead, but hadn’t seemed to care about the consequences tonight. His lover would probably take that damn sword to him if given the chance, so he better get him under control pretty quick. Besides, he’d been fantasizing for weeks about having the smaller man bound and naked, helpless to fight him as he took his pleasure from that delicious body. Time to make the dream a reality. Stopping in front of the room’s door, the blond paused to listen. There was the sound of feet shifting across mats, and short hisses of breath. Yohji waited until the footsteps moved towards the far end of the gym and burst into the room.

Startled by the door being flung open, Aya whirled around, blade raised high. Wires flew over to him, covered him and jerked him to the ground. His arms were trapped, forearms against his chest, the thin metal biting into his flesh. Similar lines were wrapped around his legs. He rolled over and looked up at a smirking blond. "What the fuck are you doing, Kudoh? Let me /go/."

Shaking his head, Yohji knelt besides the trapped man. In his hands was Aya’s shirt, which the swordsman had removed before starting his katas. As soon as the man opened his mouth to yell again, Yohji shoved the cloth in, muffling the shout. "Hush, can’t have you disturbing the others and spoiling our game, can we?" His lover graced him with a look that should have reduced him to a smoky pile of ash. "Don’t worry, sweetie, I just want to have a bit fun with you. As long as you behave, everything will be just fine." He reached into his left boot and pulled out the switchblade he carried there during missions. Aya watched him as he flicked the blade open, and then started to struggle against his bonds.

Yohji moved back from the thrashing figure. The redhead was ripping open several cuts along his arms, chest and back with his struggles. "Aya, stop it. Do you hear me? You’re only hurting yourself, so quit." No reaction. Cursing the smaller man’s obdurate nature, the playboy reached out a hand and grabbed Aya’s wounded thigh, fingers digging deep into the half healed bullet wound.

Cry muffled by the fabric in his mouth, the swordsman blinked back tears as he felt the injury re-open. He stopped struggling as blood poured down his thigh. "There now, that’s calmed you down a bit. Stay that way if you know what’s good for you." The redhead kept telling himself that this really wasn’t his Yohji who was hurting him, who was busy cutting off his pants. \‘Sybil’ doesn’t create a whole new personality, it merely strips the Super-ego away and lets the Id run free. It just seems like a another personality, when it’s the same one with no annoying conscious telling you ‘that’s wrong, don’t do it’.\ Schuldig’s voice droned on in his head as Yohji yanked down his own pants. He started to fight again as the older man pulled him onto his lap. A gloved hand smacked his face before falling down onto his torn thigh. Aya stilled once more.

"I told you to stop that. I don’t want to hurt you, sweetie, I said I just want to have some fun. If you stopped fighting me all the time, like you always do, you could enjoy the situation. Here I spent the whole night imagining what I would do to you when I got you alone, and you don’t want anything to do with me." One arm was around his waist, pinning him back against the taller man, while the other roamed over his body, trying to provoke a response. It was all Aya could do to stop himself from shuddering at the touch. There was no telling what this Yohji would do in response.

The blond growled in frustration. Sure the smaller man was hurting, but did he have to be so stubborn about this? "Why do you keep fighting me? All I want is for you to give yourself to me, but you always hold something back. Making me work for everything I get. Well I don’t feel like working right now. I left someone who was very willing to be here with you, the least you could do is express some happiness to see me." Yohji’s grip made his cracked ribs grind together, threatening to black him out. Lips moved against the back of his neck, an eerie echo of this morning’s nightmare. Aya concentrated on what he would do to the damned German the next time he got his hands on him, desperate to blank out what his lover was doing to him.

Feeling the bite of wire against his chest, the blond kept a careful arm around the still man as he unwound some of the strands. He left the man’s legs and arms bound. Yohji used his teeth to pull off one of his gloves, and fetched the lube out of his pant’s pocket. Quickly slicking two fingers, he reached down and entered the smaller man’s clenched body. Working the fingers about for a bit, he stretched the tight opening as much as he could. "Things would be so much fucking better if you’d just relax, but fine, be that way." Opening the tube again, he smeared some of the cool lotion on his leaking erection and shoved his way into Aya.

Biting down on his shirt, the redhead struggled to breath through the pain. It radiated throughout his body. He could swear he heard the German’s chuckle in his mind as his boyfriend raped him. Yohji kept thrusting into him, moaning and calling out his name. "Oh gods, Aya, so good, so good. Love you ohhh yes, never felt this tight before." It was easier to focus on that evil laugh than listen to the blond tell him how much he loved and wanted him as he pounded into his resisting body, the pain unbearable.

Nearing the end, Yohji bit into Aya’s shoulders, trying to stifle the yell building in his throat. Gods, he never felt anything this intense before. Between the tightness surrounding his cock and the feeling of euphoria that just increased as the pleasure grew, he couldn’t handle himself anymore. The orgasm almost shattered him, the gratification being too much to bear. He collapsed forward, pushing Aya down onto the mat face first.

Several minutes later he rolled off of the redhead, who was lying very still. Frowning down at the bloody form, he pushed Aya over til he was resting on his side. The smaller man used the opportunity to swing his bound forearms against a blond head. Stunned by the blow, Yohji was knocked over and didn’t move as Aya wrestled to his knees and brought his fists down again on the older man’s temples. That hit managed to knock the man unconscious. Body shaking, Aya used his hands to pull the shirt out of his mouth, and then searched for the switchblade. He cut himself several times as he freed himself from his bonds, due to the sharpness of the blade in his trembling hands and from producing more tension on the wire. But he didn’t care. Once he was completely free he removed the watch from Yohji and bound the man much as he himself had been tied. It took him several tries to stand on his feet, due to pain, blood loss and shock, and he had to clutch at the wall as he struggled downstairs to the bathroom.

*******

"There better be a very good explanation for this," Ken thought as he found the vehicles of the two older Weiß parked in the garage. One minute he’d been talking to some fellows about a man pushing this new drug, only to have a fight break out with him smack dab in the middle. As soon as that mess had been settled, he’d searched the club for any sign of his teammates, only to find none. Deciding to return home, he’d been delayed yet again by an accident on the way. Some idiot decided to see which was more immovable, their car or a building. And now to find his suspicions confirmed, that his backup had abandoned him at the club by himself.

Realizing that Aya at least wouldn’t have left without a very good reason, the brunet headed to the mission room in case he was there researching something. All he found was Omi typing away at the computer, headphones blasting out some J-Pop. He was careful to approach the youth from the side, so the other assassin wouldn’t be too startled. As soon as the young blond realized he wasn’t alone, he stopped the music. "Ken, how did tonight go?"

"There were a few problems. Have you talked to Aya or Yohji yet?"

"No, why, are they home?"

The brunet frowned. "Their cars are here, they left the club early tonight. Didn’t Aya check in with you to tell you what he found?"

"No." Now Omi was frowning, it wasn’t like their strict leader to just come home and not report in. Taking in the grim expression on his friend’s face, he added worriedly. "You think something’s wrong?"

"I didn’t see any sign of Schuldig, but things were crazy down there tonight. And now Aya is acting weird." Without saying anything else he ran up the steps, intent on the redhead’s room. If he was in there screwing around with Yohji, Ken was going to gut both of them. Coming to the top of the stairs he noticed that both the bedroom doors were open, and that there was a trail of something on the floor. Bending down and touching the substance, his fingers came up red. "Shit." He followed the blood to the bathroom and found the door locked. "Aya, Yohji, it’s me. Open the door." No response, Ken stepped back as far as the opposite wall would allow, about ready to rush the door. Only Omi grabbing his arm prevented the action.

"Wait a moment, let me get my set of keys." The youth dashed into his room, only to return a few seconds later. It took longer to open the door, what with the way his hands shook. Shoving the door open the two teenagers found Aya sitting on the floor, naked and covered in blood, trying to staunch the wound in his thigh. "Aya!"

Omi knelt on the floor next to the redhead, helping him press a bandage into the wound. "What happened? Where’s Yohji, is he alright?" Aya just shook his head.

Ken left the room, only to walk back in a couple minutes later with a grim expression on his face. Omi was busy wiping off the blood so he could find the wounds that needed doctoring. "Wanna tell us why Kudoh is half naked, tied up in wire and lying unconscious in a pool of blood that isn’t his up in the exercise room?" Aya remained silent. "Okay, fine, I’ll go wake him up, maybe he’ll tell us something."

"No," the redhead choked out, wincing as Omi dabbed at a deep cut. "Leave him alone."

"Why Aya?"

"Schuldig…." The man’s eyes unfocused, taking on a cloudy, grayish tint. "Schuldig slipped him the drug tonight. He’s not in his right mind. There’s no telling… what he’ll do if you wake him up. Just let him sleep it off."

Omi and Ken exchanged a worried glance, and then looked back down at their injured leader. "What did he do to you Aya? Was he the one to hurt you?" Ken wanted to smack the blond over that question. Of course Yohji had hurt him, what, did he think Schwarz had snuck in the house, beat Aya up and left Yohji to take the fall? As for what he had done, it didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what went on between two mostly naked men, one beaten and by the marks tied up and the other drugged out of his mind. He’d kill the blond. Very slowly. He was just waiting for him to wake up so as to get the full effect. No sense torturing the prick if he didn’t feel it.

Aya avoided the questions, his mind refusing to think about what had just happened, and tried to inform his teammates of what he’d discovered. "Schuldig… let something slip. Something about being able to… to control the addicts minds very easily. I saw him do it in the bar, and I think that’s… what happened to Kudoh."

Omi nodded his head, a grim expression on his face as he set about to stitch several of the wounds closed. "That’s why he’s there then, to see how the users react to mental stimuli. This is not good. If he’s involved, so is the rest of Schwarz. We have to inform Manx. Now rest Aya-kun. We’ll keep an eye on Yohji until the drug wears off. Let me close these wounds and then we’ll put you to bed. Ken, give me the painkillers."

"No." The redhead started to struggle against the small blond, frantic to get away. "No medicine. I’m not sleeping. He’s probably waiting for that, to gloat over, over what he’s done." Fighting to keep his friend still so he didn’t injure himself anymore, Omi tossed a desperate look Ken’s way. The brunet quickly grabbed a hypodermic needle, filled it with the strongest pain medication they had, and injected it into the thrashing man. Aya let out a gasp and in a weak voice cursed the two younger men before his eyes glazed over and drooped shut.

Ken gazed down at the limp body in his arms, and gently stroked back the disarrayed red hair. Settling Aya against the tub, he quickly jumped to his feet.

"Ken, where are you going?"

"To take care of Kudoh. The bastard’s dead for doing this."

"Wait." Omi grabbed at the man’s calf, frantic to prevent the athlete from leaving. He was about to yell out it wasn’t the older man’s fault, but the look in Ken’s face hinted that he wasn’t going to listen to reason. Whatever cause the man had to be anger at Yohji these past few days had too strong a hold on him. So the youth tried another tactic. "I need you to stay here and help me tend to Aya, and then get him to bed. We’ll deal with Yohji later, he’s not going anywhere." Seeing the feral gleam partially leave those brown eyes as the furious man gazed down at the redhead, Omi mentally heaved a sigh of relief. Hopefully Ken will have calmed down by the time they were done taking care of Aya. But just in case the brunet was still intent on murdering the drugged man afterwards, Omi secretly pocketed a needle full of the same stuff Ken had given Aya. Something was driving members of Weiß insane, and he was willing to bet he knew who it was.

*******

Needing a caffeine jolt to help him through a night of computer hacking, Nagi was startled to switch on the kitchen light and find Schuldig sitting at the table, a blissful smile on his face. Great, the man must have been into drugs again, Crawford was going to be /pissed/.

<Now now, Nagi dear, Crawford’s not going to be anything other than happy. And who needs drugs when I’ve got a litter of kittens to play with, one of who’s mind is the sweetest ambrosia. So much better than anything one can buy on the street, especially right at this moment. Hee hee.> "Hope Kudoh didn’t hurt him too much, or he won’t be able to come out to play for a while."

It was even worse than the boy suspected. The German evidently had just royally fucked up some poor soul, belonging to Weiß from the sound of it. Oh well, better one of them than him. "So why don’t you go report to our boss instead of skulking around the kitchen?"

Schuldig stuck his tongue at the youth over that prissy tone. Nagi just ignored it as he brewed a pot of coffee. As soon as the drink was finished Crawford entered the room, snatched the pot out of the young brunet’s hands, and poured himself a cup. "It’s past your bedtime, go log off and get to sleep." The telekinetic opened his mouth to protest, but one look from cold blue eyes was enough to send him on his way. He heard the German laughing inside of his head, and quickly mentally shifted his chair until the man smacked into the table before fleeing the room.

Grumbling as he moved his seat back, Schuldig looked over at his silent leader. "So Crawford, need an update on tonight? Or did you take a look inside your crystal ball before coming out here?"

"You found out the drug is everything Dr. Gotō promised it would be. And you ‘played’ around with Weiß. Don’t you think that was a little bit rough, even for you?"

"Had to teach my pretty little redhead a lesson. Besides, you said you wanted them thrown off balance, right? They shouldn’t be causing us any problems for some time to come."

Crawford glared at the smug man over the rim of his cup. "I said to shake them up, not break them. I think you’re letting your emotions for Abyssinian get in the way. And I hate to tell you, but all you did was buy us a few days. The brave white hunters are going to be all the hungrier for our blood after tonight. But still, we now have the time we need. This mission will be resolved by the middle of the week."

The smile that spread across the long haired man’s face was one of pure evil. "And then I can devote my full attention to my sweet little Kätzchen."

*******

Pink larkspur – fickleness

Tuberose – dangerous beauty

nekojita

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