THE DEVIL YOU KNOW...

Chapter 1: Evil things have plans, they have things to do…

 

Ran patiently looked through the mail. Bill, bill, bill, a letter to Tahara-san, another bill, a letter to Aya, another…. He stopped. A letter to AYA?! He looked closer. Yes, it was addressed to Aya, there was no mistake. He narrowed his eyes. It wasn’t possible. He’d cleared all his tracks very carefully, unless Shion had told them what had happened last week, and they’d decided to catch him.

All the nerves in his body were screaming ‘trap, trap, run away’ but he wouldn’t be himself to not open it and check it out. He was surprised when instead of some hidden threat he’d found two tickets for the ‘Fallen Angels’ concert. That was one of the most famous bands around, and their first concert in Japan was to be one of the greatest events of the year. The concert would be in two weeks time, and all tickets had been sold out three months ago. They were very popular, their music was a nice mix between classical and hard rock and soft ballads, and girls (but not only them) just loved them. They were also Aya’s favorite band, and he smiled when he remembered that his sister still didn’t know which musician she loved the most: closed off, mysterious Louis Grief, bassist and the leader of the band or the charming, alluring vocalist –Gabriel Moon.1

"Nii-san, what have you got there?" Speak of the devil… Aya came closer to him and perked over his arm to see what had caught his interest. "I don’t believe it!" She laughed, took tickets and danced in happiness. "How did you know I wanted to be there when it happens?" She ran towards him, put her arms around his neck and gave him big kiss on the cheek. "I love you, nii-chan, you know that?" Watching his sister’s happy face Ran couldn’t summon the courage to tell her that it wasn’t his idea, and that he didn’t trust the person that sent them. After all, it was the first time after the ‘accident’ when he’d seen his sister truly happy. "So when are we going to Tokyo?" Ran froze. He completely forgot that the concert was supposed to be in Tokyo. He planned on moving away from Kyoto now, so for sure he didn’t want to go back to his home-town. Not when he knew what awaited them there.

The feeling that it was a trap gained in its strength. Just why the hell did they seem to be so desperate to recruit him, no matter what? After all, Abyssinian wasn’t someone of great importance, and yet…

"Nii-san, what happened?" Aya was too observant and she knew him too well. He shook his head.

"Nothing… And when you want to go?" Now there was no turning back.

"Can we go two days before it? I want to visit our parents’ grave, and meet with my friends. Plus, we have to do some shopping!" She exclaimed happily. He moaned.

"But we don’t have any money to do shopping."

Later… Later he will tell her that she can’t meet anyone she knew in her previous life. That they had to hide. But for now he let her to have at least a little happiness.

~~+~~

 

Omi with a foolish grin directed towards his computer’s screen—that was the picture Yohji saw upon walking into his youngest teammate’s room.

"Hey, chibi." Omi jumped in his seat when he heard his voice, but he calmed soon after he made sure who it was. "Something interesting you have up there that you’ve had your nose glued to the screen?" Omi looked a little bit guilty, but he returned back to his old, innocent and cheerful self in a split second.

"That’s not what you think it is, Yo-tan." He bridled.

"Then what is it?" He leaned over him and peeked curiously over his head. "Huh? What’s that?"

"That was a contest. The one who answers the most amount of questions right wins the prize. I won!" He put on his face a wicked grin.

"So what was the prize? You wouldn’t get so excited if it was something ordinary."

"Tickets to the ‘Fallen Angels’ concert." He exclaimed happily and his whole face became one wide dreamy smile. "I just can’t wait for it!" Yohji made a face.

"Standing in a crowd of people, watching a group of sweaty guys running on the stage? No, thank you."

"Telling me such a thing let’s me know that you haven’t got the slightest idea who they are." Omi scowled. He didn’t like to hear his favorite band being criticized.

"I know them. They just are not my style. Don’t like big bands much, I prefer soloists, like Lucypher Grieve2 or Shinigami."

"Shinigami?" He asked surprised. Yohji blinked {startled }and then nodded his head with understanding. "Oh right, I forgot you’re too young to know him. His concerts have this strange sort of policy that you have to be of age to attend to them. But the performances are worth it. It’s almost like you’re brought into a completely different world. Critics from the beginning of his career are arguing whether he’s the greatest musician or just a marvelous showman. Just for some strange reason he limited himself only to live-shows. He didn’t put his feet in any recording studio or even tv program. Remind me to take you there when you’re old enough."

"Right, Yotan, knowing you and your preferences I suppose it’s not such a good idea."

"Oi, what do you mean by that?"

"Nothing." Omi was the perfect picture of innocence. "But then again I may hold you to that promise and to repay you for that trouble I’ll give you one of these tickets, what do you think?" Yohji pretended that he was thinking about it. "I have three tickets. Thought that we could go together." Omi added. When Yohji still didn’t answer him back he sent him a pleading look and added one thing more "It’s not so far from our place." Yohji decided that the chibi had had enough.

"For you chibi, always. I think I can find some nice lady for myself there." He added teasingly.

"Yotan." Omi groaned theatrically. "Is there anything else you think about besides sex?" Yohji’s grin widened.

"Yep. More sex." Omi even didn’t bother to comment about that statement.

He just loved to tease Omi. He was the youngest of them, and with all his cuteness he evoked protective feelings in him. But at the same time Omi was the one who was the oldest of them, raised as an assassin the longest, and the thing he desperately needed was a family and childhood. Which would be weird if it was about any other fifteen year old, but it was Omi. And Yohji was more than eager when he could give him at least the slightest substitute of them. After all what did one night mean to him?

Besides if the kid was old enough to kill people he for sure was old enough to go to some stupid concert.

 

~~+~~

"Schu, bring me the mail." Schuldich even didn’t get up from his couch.

"What for? There’ll be only bills anyhow. No one writes letters to people that don’t exist."

"But said people have to pay those bills nonetheless. Now, Schuldich."

He perfectly knew when he could argue with Bradley Crawford, and this day for sure wasn’t the one for it. Brad was completely pissed off, because his oh so perfect, control was slipping through his fingers, and from the day of that headache attack he didn’t have any precise vision. And their leader was used to depending on his visions so much that without them he felt like a blind man.

He went to the small table in the hall, where he was sure the post was. A pile of neatly arranged envelopes affirmed that he was right, as always. Nonchalantly he took them and he was about to go with them to Bradley’s study, when a name written on the first envelope caught his attention. ‘Christian3. He paled, and his thoughts immediately went back to the time when he heard that name every day.

//Berlin, six years ago4.

 

He slammed the door and ran away from the house. Clenching his fists he ran through the streets, not bothering with the people he jostled. His cheek was burning, in his mouth he felt tasted blood from his cut lip. His eyes were stinging but he didn’t intend to cry, like some kid, he wouldn’t give them such satisfaction.

‘I hate them.’ He thought. ‘I hate him. Who gave him right to do so?! And Mother’s only watching it with sad eyes. She’s tiptoeing around him, like some goddamned servant. She doesn’t talk, just cries. She let him to do it to me, and even thinks that it’s not his fault. Fucking bitch! She’s just happy that finally she’s not on the receiving end of it!’ He ran to the park on the other side of the town and sat on the swing.

The chain of the swing was creaking with his every movement. He was swinging slightly back and forth, with a cigarette in his hand and empty look fixed on his dirty, old tennis shoes. The pain in his cheek started to fade and he was sure that there was another bruise forming. He smiled bitterly. At least this time he hadn’t broken anything.

He was only thirteen, but his life was ending before it even had started. He was living in the worst neighborhood, in the slums, where everything stunk with poverty and death, where all one could ever see were people with drawn faces and dead looks. Everything there was grey, bland and damp.

He didn’t know any family without a drunkard, druggie or others. Educated people called them pathological families. His own was the best example.

Mother was a weak, intimidated woman addicted to tranquillizers. She was from a good family, but when she turned eighteen she married a man who in six years lost everything, and after that he started to molest her and her child. She couldn’t walk away from him. She was afraid of life, she didn’t know anything else besides her own everyday life. Besides beatings, abuse and awareness that she’s nothing.

She’d chosen the devil she knew.

Father, a drunkard, spent all his days drinking.

Once, so long ago, that beside himself no one really remembered, he was once a handsome, charming man. Now when he looked in the mirror, all he could see was the injustice done to him.

He hated rich people from the west side of town, because once he was one of them. He hated his neighbors, ‘cause they were doing better than him.

He hated his wife, destroyed by life, with her droopy breasts and blank look on an already wrinkled face. He compared her with women of his past –elegant, wearing beautiful and expensive perfumes, with smooth skin and seductive smiles on their perfect lips.

And finally, he hated his son--his youth. Looking at him was like looking at what he had lost. His face, his youth, his merely beginning life. He couldn’t stand looking at him. He felt as if his son was mocking him. The contempt and disgust in Christian’s emerald eyes was just making things worse. He was ready for everything, just to make him stop looking at him with those eyes, but no matter what he did, Christian never lowered his gaze.

Christian reciprocated that hate. In him he’d seen a defeated drunkard, who with molesting his family was paying back for his own fucked-up life.

This time wasn’t different from the others, but in the same time it was. His father came to him, as always. Stinking, dirty, and completely drunk. He hit him in the face when he tried to struggle. He warned him to never refuse him. His fight was ‘rewarded’ by his father being more rough than usual. But that really wasn’t something new. He should be used to it already. After all he wasn’t the only one who ended up in such a situation. But that time… There was something going on in his head…. He could swear that he could hear his father’s voice and he was certain that the man never once had opened his mouth. The words surprised him too. He known that his father hated him, but hearing such a words…

-Little devil. It’s all your fault. It’s all your doing. And you dare to mock me?! I’ll show you! You should be grateful that we’d taken you, bitch, from that couple of freaks! If I only knew that you were no better than them! Devil! You’ve ruined my life and so you will pay!-

In fact he felt relieved. In some strange way he wished that it was true, because then he would not feel that tiny pang of guilt that he’d hated his parents the most in his life. Then he could hate them as much as he could, and those fuzzy, warm memories of someone that had really loved him, he would ascribe to his real parents…

When his father left he saw his mother standing in the door of his room. Her eyes were puffed as always, and as always she was on some tranquilizers. Her thoughts, if he didn’t imagine things, were fogged and chaotic, but he could caught up that both she blamed him for her husband for being like this, for turning his back on her, she called him a whore and a devil, and in the same time she pitied him, she blamed herself that she let her husband molest him, and choosing it to make herself safe, she was blaming herself of breaking a promise that she’d take care of the child. But the guilt was quickly covered with her self-justifications, that he was the cause of everything, and that she shouldn’t bring the devil into her family.

"/Oh, I may be the devil, but it’s you who brought me to hell./" With that words he left his stunned, luckily-not-mother-anymore, and ran away from house.

It was the first time that he had heard the voices in his head. That was also the last time he was in the place he was supposed to call home. It was also the day, when Christian had died.//

Schuldich’s mind came back to the present time. Now he was a one big bundle of anger and hate. There was only one man who’d known about that and was still alive, and he thought he knew better than to play with him like that.

"Bradley Crawford that was low, even for you!" With those words he stormed into Crawford’s study. Stunned Bradley turned slowly from his computer to look at him.

"What do you think I did this time?" He asked wearily. His nerves were on edge, and he won’t be the one to blame when he’d snap at Schuldich. And he thought he knew better than to try his patience when he was in such a mood.

He was surprised when all Schuldich did was slam some envelope on the desk in front of him.

"That. And you know what? That wasn’t even funny!" Brad passed a surprised look on to the envelope and tensed when he found the reason for Schuldich’s fit.

"You think it was me? I thought you knew me better than that," he accused him in low voice.

"I don’t know you at all! And you’re the one that sent me for the mail, and for sure the only one alive who knew about that!" All right. Did he ever mention that Schuldich acted far too emotionally and within a second of thinking?

"And what should be the reason for me to do that?" Schuldich snorted.

"How the hell I should know how your mind’s working?! You never let me see into it, unless you need me for something! Maybe it can help raise your mood, knowing that you’re not the only one being miserable here!" Crawford sighed.

"Have you at least looked inside?" Schuldich stopped, stunned.

„No." Brad sighed once again and shook his head. He should have known that. He reached for the envelope and opened it. Inside there was one ticket for the ‘Fallen Angels’ Tokyo concert and a short note. ‘I’ll be there.’ He passed them to Schuldich. He read it in silence and then exchanged his look with Crawford’s.

"What do you think about it?"

"It may be a trap. Probably one of THEM, trying to pull our strings, to scare us. That could explain why I hadn’t seen it." Schuldich nodded once again. He could agree with that reasoning. In fact it was the only logical explanation.

"I’ll go then"

"Are you out of your mind?" Brad asked and immediately answered back. "Yes, you are. I just said it may be a trap. Haven’t you listened to me?"

"I did. If it’s a trap it’ll be good opportunity to get to know the enemy, don’t you think?" Brad sighed. He felt another headache coming on. It was always like that when he had to hear Schuldich’s twisted logic. But this time he had to admit that it sounded logical. At least as logical as Schuldich could be.

"All right. I’ll go with you."

"Aww, how cute. Is it a date?" Brad sent him THE look.

"I’m taking Nagi with me. It’ll be better if we go there prepared. No one knows what can happen there."

~~+~~

If one believed in fate or coincidence one could tell that it was one of those times, when they came to voice. But Bradley Crawford didn’t believe in either of the two. It just was too perfect, just too many coincidences in so short a time or place. He could have an either well developed sense of paranoia or it was exactly as he thought it was.

First of all their tickets. Something told him to get them in a legal way, so he called one of the places that sold the tickets. The happy operator informed him that he’s the luckiest man ever, ‘‘cause five minutes ago there was a phone call that someone had to give back their tickets’. More precisely two tickets. And it was just sheer luck that those two were exactly two seats by the one Schuldich had.

No. Brad Crawford wasn’t a man who believed in flukes, especially when those seats happened to have a perfect view to the other concert’s attendants, especially two groups, one being three Weiß assassins and the other Ran and I-already-should-be-in-a-coma-Aya Fujimiya5. He couldn’t believe in sheer coincidence, when from his place he could watch them and have the comfort that he wouldn’t be seen. He could bet that Weiß had seats perfectly suited that they could see the Fujimiya siblings without being noticed either. And said siblings were too close to the stage to see any of them. Fluke, right.

Once is coincidence, twice is suspicious, but three times already is a conspiracy. Someone had set them up, and he couldn’t help it, because said someone had blocked his visions. He really didn’t like walking in the dark. He knew that placing them in such a way was telling them something. Either it was THEM and the message was that they were already on their track, or someone tried to tell him something else…

After that thought he could swear he heard slight approval, but… It could be just his imagination, or his nerves finally had given up, but he doubted it. He stood up and looked into the direction he thought it would be best to watch them all. Yes. There was someone. A redheaded man, in long leather coat and shades covering his eyes. He noticed his look, and smiled slightly, whilst nodding his head. ‘I did my part, Oracle. Now it’s your move.’ Now he heard it for sure. Startled by the way that the telepath had invaded his mind he didn’t even notice when the man vanished. Now instead of him there was a young woman with short black hair and dark blue eyes smiling seductively towards him. If Bradley Crawford in that moment could think about someone else than said redhead, he would notice that the woman looked very similar to Asuka Murase, known also as Neu.

~~+~~

Yohji looked around nervously. He had a strange feeling that something wasn’t right. It was some nagging feeling deep inside, the one he knew he couldn’t explain in any rational way, but his detective’s and assassin’s reflexes never lied. It was something similar to sixth sense, that awoke always when trouble was about to come. He didn’t understand it though. It was a god-dammed concert! What could go wrong here? Well besides Omi going into a frenzy, Kenken falling asleep and him without any woman to entertain himself with? He looked around once more and met the gaze of another pair of green eyes. As narrowed and cautious as his, looking warily about the whole place. So he wasn’t the only one disturbed by this place. He flashed a smile to the orange-haired owner of those eyes and when he answered him, went back to checking the place.

He stopped when he spotted a mop of red hair. He smiled to himself. It was his day for redheads, wasn’t it? He was about to look in the other direction when said redhead lifted his head. Yohji froze. Quite literally. He was a well-known connoisseur of beauty and he could recognize one if he met it. And sure as hell that guy was the greatest beauty he’d ever seen in his life. Distinct cheekbones, aristocratic nose and petite lips, stunning purple/violet eyes and delicate brows, and all of that perfectly fitted in pale, cat-like face. White as snow and red as blood… Wasn’t that a fairy tale of sorts?

He just couldn’t avert his eyes from him. He was just so perfect… He was about to stand up and walk over to him, when a shadow clouded his vision. He looked at the intruder, who was revealed to be a young woman. A young, beautiful woman that looked exactly like….

"Hi, I was wondering when you’d notice me." She said and sent him a warm smile. That was enough invitation for him, he straightened himself, flashed her a charming smile and started to seduce her, fabulous redhead already forgotten.

~~+~~

"The concert was great, wasn’t it, Ran –niisan?" Ran couldn’t help but agree with that. All his worries were for nothing. They were in Tokyo already for two days and nothing calamitous had happened. Maybe he had just overreacted. Coming back to their home-town, visiting their parents grave and even, going with Aya’s advice, getting the black paint out of his hair hadn’t drawn any suspicious looking people to them. Maybe they’d given up on him…

"Hello Katzchen. /I said we’d meet again./"

…Or maybe it was just his wishful thinking.

Ran tensed and pulled his sister closer to him. He looked around, noticing that in the short amount of time the street had changed from full of people place to one totally deserted. It was only them and the German’s voice. Finally Ran had spotted him. He stood in the street lamp’s light, along with another, shorter person. Ran recognized him immediately. Nagi. Schwarz’s telekinetic.

"What do you want, Schuldich?" He snarled, feeling how terrified Aya was, clinging more tightly to him.

"/Tsk, Tsk, where are your manners, boy?/" Ran wanted to tell him that he’s the last person he would be treating with manners, when he felt that something was immobilizing him, and Aya was being drawn from him to the pair of assassins.

"What are you doing?! Give her back! Give her back, god dammit!!" He shouted, but no matter how hard he struggled he couldn’t move for an inch. "You bastard, give her back!" Schuldich smiled evilly and took the terrified Aya in his arms. He put his hand on her forehead and girl’s body went limp in his arms. "Aya! No!"

He felt so helpless. He knew it. He knew that Tokyo wasn’t the place for them. How could he be so careless? He indeed wasn’t a good brother.

"/Your screams are music to my ears Katzchen/. And your pain… You know that for a telepath your pain tastes like honey?"

"You sick bastard! Give her to me!" Ran could feel tears falling down his cheeks. "I’ll do anything, just give her back!" Schuldich pretended that he was thinking about it, then shook his head.

"I’m sorry, Katzchen. No matter how tempting your offer is, I’ll have to take your sister."

"But why?" He muffled through his tears.

~Because I have to fix the things you destroyed with your actions, Katzchen. Never try to change the future again, cause you’ll meet with the consequences of it. Never.~ "Besides /you’re the same as we are. A survivor. An assassin. And you can’t run away from that. You just can’t./" ‘And one day you’ll be thanking me for what happened today.’ Schuldich thought to himself.

"We’re finished here, Prodigy. We may go."

From Ran’s throat a painful scream escaped. It was the only thing he could do, still being held by Nagi’s power. And when Nagi’s hold on him weakened and he got up to chase them, a strange man appeared in front of him. Ran stood dead in his tracks. He’d had enough of redheads for one day.

"I’m sorry, but I’m in hurry." He snarled at the stranger. Pale blue eyes softened and the other redhead shook his head sadly.

"Ce n’est pas encore ton temps, petite. Je suis désolé6." Ran eyes widened. Another gaijin. And what was he talking about? He backed away when stranger reached to him, and shrugged when he put his hand on his cheek, but it was the same as under Nagi’s power, he couldn’t move. "Je suis désolé, mais je dois le faire. N’aies pas peur, ça ne te ferait pas de mal, mon petit. 7" After those words Ran felt all his strength leaving him. He fell limp, straight into the stranger’s arms. "Je suis vraiment désolé, mon petitt8." He repeated once more, whilst carefully laying Ran on the sidewalk. After that he disappeared into the shadows, waiting for another part of jigsaw to put itself in its place.

~~+~~

Yohji was furious. First he meets this great woman, for her he parts from his teammates and goes with her to the other part of the town, just to be dumped by her half the way there and for what? For some strange call from home.

‘Family business, you understand, right?’ She excused herself with charming smile. Yeah, right. Family business.

And now he’s walking down that forgotten by any god alley, alone, just to realize that he even doesn’t have her number. How he, a major league playboy could have been drawn into that kind of shit? It wasn’t his style or even nature to let such a chance go by, especially when she was so much like Asuka…

Suddenly he noticed the fallen body. He rushed to it, various thoughts in his head. When he came closer he saw that it was the redhead from the concert. He leaned over him to check if he was alive. Yes, he was. He let out the breath he even wasn’t aware he was holding.

He didn’t show any signs of a fight, but he could see dry tracks of tears on his cheeks. Something bad must’ve happened to him, that was sure. Yohji rummaged through his pockets trying to find youth’s ID. Without any effect. Redhead hadn’t any documents nor other personal belongings. It was getting more and more weird.

Yohji crouched over him. It was time to decide what to do with him. The most reasonable thing was to take him to hospital, but then there would be the police called and they would want to question him. The other option was to plant him at the hospital entrance and wait till someone spots him, but that wasn’t his style. So that left only one –he’d take the unconscious redhead with him, and when he awoke they’d decide what to do next. Of course he couldn’t take him to the Koneko. It would be a disaster if Manx or Birman stopped there and found him. So that left the only one place. A place no one knew he still had access to. The apartment he’d lived in with Asuka.

After settling that matter out he stood up and took the redhead in his arms. It was going to be a long night.

~~+~~

Ran woke to the warm feeling of being embraced by another person. Soft, comfy bed, heat radiating from the person he slept with, and finally no disturbing dreams of future events. It was heaven. Those were his first thoughts coming from his clouded mind. In the next second he tensed, completely waking up. Soft bed?! Another person?! Where the hell was he?! He jumped from the bed in a flash. The sudden reaction had woken up the person sleeping beside him. He heard a muffled groan and then saw a mop of blond hair. Finally after that the rest of the body came into view. Ran tensed even more when he saw whom those familiar features belonged to. Kudou Yohji. The world was small, indeed. The blond groaned once more when he saw what time it was and only then he turned to Ran. He stretched, sent him a wide smile and said:

"Good morning, beautiful, how was your day, or rather night?" Ran remembered the concert, and the events afterwards.

"Schuldich" He hissed with passion. Yohji watched him surprised.

"Huh? What was that?"

"Nothing." Came the cold reply. "I must go." He turned to leave, but a strong grip on his arm had stopped him.

"Not so fast. I think I need some explanations. Where are your manners?"

/Tsk, tsk, Katzchen, where are your manners?/ Ran passed him such a pained look that Yohji took one step backwards.

"Huh? What did I say?" He asked more to himself than his strange guest. When once again he met a cold gaze, he shrugged. "Nevermind. My name’s Yohji Kudou, and at the moment you’re in my apartment. I found you last night on the street. You were unconscious and without any documents, so I decided to take care of you." If he thought that by giving him so much information he’d draw some answers from him, he was wrong. "So what’ve you been doing here?" No response. Yohji shrugged. All right, maybe that was too personal. "So what’s your name? Don’t think I’ve heard any." Ran looked at him stubbornly. Then after a while of silence he said.

"Aya. You can call me Aya." After all he was the one that named him so, and now he didn’t have anything beside that. Yohji seemed to be shocked by each of his actions, but in the same time he quickly regained his posture. Ran decided that it was enough of a talk. Now he should go away and disappear. Or maybe he should wait here until someone from Kritiker came? After all now he was back to the point of no return.

Yohji saw his inner struggle and sent him a reassuring look.

"It’s quite early to think straight, don’t you think so? Especially with an empty stomach." He led him to the small table. "What would you want for breakfast? A mug of very strong coffee? Don’t worry, I can cook."

Ran hn’ed, but it seemed to be enough of a response for Yohji. He disappeared into the kitchen, trusting Ran to be there when he came back. And, what surprised both of them, Ran really was there waiting for him.

~~+~~

A few hours later, outside the building two persons were talking. One of them, older, was known to larger group of people as Birman, the other, younger, was the same woman that Bradley Crawford had spotted on the concert, and the one that had flirted with Yohji that same day. She was dressed in a black turtleneck, short skirt, and high combat boots, and hadn’t stood out from the crowd of other people.

"You really do owe me now." She said, her voice a little hoarse.

"I’m aware of that." Birman answered back. In fact she was more than aware of that. And she knew that if anyone would know about her connections to that stranger she would be dead on the spot. But getting Fujimiya was worth any sacrifice.

"I’m not helping you the way you think I am." She replied. "I’ll keep an eye on you. Je n’a pas du confiance en toi et en votre organisation.9 "

"So why have you contacted me?" She wanted to ask that from the very beginning of their acquaintance. The other woman passed her hard and cold look.

"Because there are things far more worse than to find oneself in Kritiker’s clutches. And his destiny is waiting for him there." Fujimiya’s destiny… That was interesting. She wondered if she could get more information on that, but the woman snorted. "N’y pense même pas. Je ne te dirai plus rien. Tu va le savoir à un moment convenable. Pour le moment garde-le.10" Birman nodded.

"I will, I promise." She turned to the building’s entrance. The last thing she heard from the stranger was a slight warning.

"Ce sera mieux pour toi si tu le fais.11" After that the woman disappeared, and Birman entered the building. She never noticed the cold blue eyes watching her warily.

~~+~~

 

Aya was sitting on the couch, with Yohji standing by the window, smoking, when they heard the door opening. He tensed.

"You said that nobody knows that you have this apartment." Aya accused him. Yohji eyes narrowed and he prepared himself to strike. That nobody knew about this apartment was sure, so he could expect anything. Anything except Birman walking calmly to the living-room.

"Good morning Kudou. Hope you had a good night." She greeted him, and then her gaze went to his guest. She smiled to him. "So Fujimiya, you’re back." She even didn’t bother to explain things. If Manx was right, he already knew why she was here. He confirmed it by nodding his head.

"Takayoka-san. Or should I call you Birman?" His voice was low and cold. Birman felt shivers going through her spine. In some weird way Fujimiya’s voice reminded her of her mysterious ally. "You came for me, am I right?" She nodded. "So, what are we waiting for?" he said. That stunned her. She thought that she’d met more resistance on his part. She never thought that he’d come with her so willingly. She nodded.

"Yes, we should go." When Fujimiya was taking his coat, Yohji finally got his voice back.

"Would anyone like to tell me what’s going on here?" Birman send him cold look.

"It’s none of your business, Kudou. Go back to the Koneko. And never tell anyone about anything that happened here, understand?" He nodded uncertainly. "In fact it would been better if you could forget about this as soon as possible. It’s an order, Balinese."

Yohji shrugged. At least that explained why his guest hadn’t had any documents and was so ‘talkative’. ‘Che, just Kudou’s luck. To find such a gorgeous person, only to discover he was another agent. Well, there was no need to cry over spilt milk. Yohji packed his things and following Birman’s advice he went back to the Koneko.

Maybe if he was another agent, he’ll meet him one day again. He for sure would wait for that.

~~+~~

 

Somewhere in a small silver-white cell there was sitting a man in a straightjacket. His hair was raven black with some silver strands but his face was one of a very young man. Twenty at the most. Once he was very handsome, but now his whole body was covered in scars and cuts, and most of them were placed on his face and hands.

His face was turned to the ceiling, that was few inches above him, and it looked like he’d found something interesting for his eyes there. But even if it was right, the man couldn’t see anything. He had no eyes and his eye sockets were as scarred as the rest of his face, if not even more.

But even without his eyes he could see. Maybe not in the way most people could, but still. And now was one of those times when he could see very clearly what was happening. His cut lips shaped into a smile that now looked like a horrifying grimace.

"They are all together now. Soon, it’ll begin. Soon."

His hoarse chuckle filled his cell until strong pain inside –another punishment- shot through his body. But he could stand that. Especially now, when he was sure that his efforts wouldn’t go to waste.

The wheel of the fortune had turned.

 

 

 

 

 

1. They belong to me. They’re characters of another story I’m working on. I plan on finishing it as soon as I get rid of my one-track-mind that’s set on ‘Devil’

2. He’s mine too, so hands off. J

3. Schu doesn’t have a name for himself, so I had a free hand with baptizing him. Christian is one of two my favorite male names, and I thought it just suited him better.

4. Here’s my lazy self talking. Most of people who write about Schu’s past mention Berlin as his home-town. I don’t know if it’s because they wanted to, or just it’s the only German town they know of. But I have to admit that it was the first one that came to my mind, when I thought of Schu. Don’t know why.

Also note on time. If I just get it right, Schu’s one year older than Ran, so that makes him 19 in that moment of the story and 13, when I’m describing his youth.

5. It’s just the same as with Sakura in the previous part—I just couldn’t help myself.J

6. It’s not the time for you, yet, little one.

7. I’m sorry, but I have to do it. Don’t worry, it won’t hurt, my little one.

8. I’m truly sorry, my little one.

9. I do not trust you, and I do not trust your organization.

10. Don’t even think of that. I won’t tell you anything more. You’ll know about it in right time. For now, take care of him.

11. It would be better for you to do so.

And there will be German translation of some things Schu’s saying, but I have to get my translator into the work. I can help myself with simple statements or single words, but German with its grammar is a mystery to me.

Still like it?

I’m working on another part already, but I’ll be able to type it on computer somewhere near next weekend. For now it’s fragments are in my school-notes. J

 

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