Okay, this is a weird fic, just warning you now. Consider it a bit of an experiment, IN NO WAY having any part or impact on the major WK story arc that I write. Itís more along the lines of a Ďwhat ifí, a slight AU where Aya and Schu donít quite hate each other. It can also be considered a respectful nod to tmelangeís wonderful ĎAlles Nahe werde ferní fic. There are worse ones to take a slight inspiration from, and not many better. This is only the first part, so keep that in mind while reading.
Disclaimer: Donít own the pretty pretty boys. But I still insist on playing with them.
Eyes glaring across the room at the foreigner standing on the balconyís railing, Aya felt a disturbing mixture of hurt and anger swirling inside of him. The anger was perfectly understandable, but the hurt anything but. Pale green eyes met his, and in his thoughts a voice whispered. <Meet me later tonight.> In a flash the man disappeared, leaving him to deal with a betrayed and battered teammate, and several questions clamoring about in his mind with painful intensity.
Aya placed his katana on its stand and his coat in the closet. Now that WeiŖ was safely home, Aya was indecisive, trying to decide what he was going to do. Stay or go. He thought for a moment about his teammates. Last he saw, Hidaka had been in Tsukiyonoís room, tending to the boyís injuries, trying to help him cope with the fact that heíd just killed his own brother ó nevermind the fact that the man had been one seriously sick fuck who had just tortured him. Kudoh had headed for his own room as soon as they had returned, and it was a safe bet that he was getting ready to leave for the night, to get drunk and find a willing companion. And he was here. Most nights it would mean locking himself away from the other men and reading, or writing, or just flat out brooding. Did it truly matter to the rest of WeiŖ if he stayed in tonight? Deciding that he didnít give a damn even if it did, Aya quickly changed his clothes, needing to get out for a while and maybe find a few answers.
Aya dressed quickly in a pair of black leather pants and a tight grey nylon shirt. Pulling on a pair of biker boots, he made his way out of the room, eager to get to his assignation. Stepping out into the hallway, he almost collided with Kudoh who stared at him frankly. "Hey, Aya, where are /you/ going?" The Ďand dressed like thatí part had not been voiced out loud, but was apparent in the manís tone and expression.
A pair of green eyes were rolled, then focused back on him with a flash of irritation. "Really? And here I thought you were heading down to the shop to work." Those eyes narrowed on him for a moment, as if their owner was considering something. "You going to a club? Wanna tag along with me?" That was a first. Kudoh had never invited him along before. Then again, Aya had never run into the man while dressed like this.
"No." Having said more than enough, in his opinion, Aya turned around and headed for the steps. Behind him he heard Kudoh muttering about Ďstuck-up redheaded pricksí but ignored the comment. It wasnít anything that he hadnít heard before, and the older manís opinion didnít matter to him. Besides, all he wanted at that moment was to get out of the house, to leave his roommates and their problems far behind. He had more than enough of his own, such as his reaction earlier tonight, and what running into the foreigner again signified.
Aya exited the Koneko, walking down the street towards the subway station. Where he was going it wasnít a good idea to take his car, not if he wanted to keep it from being stolen. So he suffered public transit, hopping three trains and a bus as he made sure that no one was following him. Kudoh could be a nosy bastard at times, and he didnít want to chance that the blond had tailed him to find out where he was going. When his sense of paranoia was appeased, he made his way down a familiar side street and entered a seedy looking bar.
Once inside he sat at a table in the corner, his back against the wall and violet eyes staring at the door. When one of the wait staff came over to ask him if he wanted a drink, he ordered some nigori sake. As soon as the alcohol arrived Aya gulped it down, feeling the need to settle his nerves a bit. This was ridiculous. What was he doing sitting here, waiting for /him/ of all people to show up? Most likely the foreigner never would, and heíd end up spending the night in a run-down bar when he could have been home in bed. Aya shoved aside the little voice that nettled him, whispering that all heíd be doing at home would be lying still in his bed, too afraid of the nightmares to actually get any sleep. They had been particularly bad lately, the frustration building as he failed to gain his revenge against Takatori, as Aya-chan just continued to quietly sleep her life away while his hands became irreversibly stained with more and more blood lately. He longed for the day when she would wake up and he could put down his sword, and be a killer no more. It would mean an end to the blood. However, he wasnít naÔve enough to think that the dreams would stop when that happened. The guilty ones received no mercy. Aya couldnít get that thought out of his head anymore. It taunted him at all times, reminding him of his sins. He was about to order another drink just to have something to do and to distract himself from these thoughts, when the door opened, admitting a longhaired gaijin.
Aya could only stare at the man as he made his way to the table, at the way he quickly and effortlessly navigated the room full of drunks, pausing for a moment to catch the bartenderís eye, and jerked a reddish orange head in his direction as two fingers were held up. Once that was done he continued on, taking the seat opposite him, leaning linen-clad arms on the table and offering Aya a mocking smile. "I wasnít sure you would be here tonight," the man said, his Japanese good but with a trace of an accent.
"Really? I thought you knew everything."
Schuldig snorted as he rested his chin in an upturned palm. "Iím telepathic, not omniscient." He was quiet as a waitress approached and placed two shots of Scotch on the table. Once she was gone he continued. "Besides, I know how much you hate to have me poke around in your pretty little head."
Waving aside the comment, Aya frowned at the German. "Except for when Iím
dreaming. You seem to have no problem then." Schuldig often paid him a
visit in his sleep, just about every week, reminding him of all the things he
would have much rather forgotten ó reminding him of his guilt and his
bloodstained hands. So why was he sitting here in a bar with the man?
"Because you find me irresistible. Come on, admit it. Iím one hell of a sexy bastard."
"I thought you werenít going to poke around in my mind," Aya gritted out, eyes narrowing as he graced the man with a shi-ne glare. "You promised, remember? To not use your talent when we meet. Iím not going to sit here if youíre going to be messing with my head."
Schuldig just smiled as he picked up a shot and pushed the other glass next to his left hand. "I didnít need to use my talent to figure out what you were thinking just then. You always have that same expression on your face at all of our little rendezvous, wondering why the hell youíre sharing a drink with me instead of killing me. Speaking of which, here, have this." Waiting until Aya complied and lifted up the shot, Schuldig tapped their glasses together. "To always being the damned survivor." They downed the liquor, mouths twisting a bit as if at the taste but their expressions had nothing to do with the scotch.
ĎTo always being the damned survivorí. "Youíll never let me forget that fact, will you Schuldig?" For a second Aya flashed back on that day years ago, at the smug gaijin smiling down on him as he tried to wake his precious imouto. "Is that why you never left me alone, because we share the same sins? Always the ones to survive, no matter the odds, when everyone else around us dies? I should hate you." He knew he had, at some point. Where had that hate gone? Aya should have felt it tonight, having been reminded yet again whom his companion worked for.
"Yes, you should hate me." The accented voice cut through his thoughts, causing Aya to gaze blankly at the German. "But you donít. Why should you, when you know that Iím not the one truly responsible for the death of your parents and your sisterís coma. It was all Takatoriís fault." Schuldigís words rang in his mind, insinuating themselves deeply, until they were the only sound he could hear, the background cacophony fading into silence. "Heís the one you hate, not me. I am merely an instrument of his, just like you are for Kritiker, carrying out orders no matter how many die at your hands."
"I know, Schuldig, I know." The blood never went away, after all, the justifications needed in the dead of night when he woke up shivering from yet another nightmare where the murdered dead pointed accusing fingers at him.
Starting when another round of shots was placed on the table, Aya snapped back to the present, finding a pair of pale green eyes staring at him. Unable to fathom the emotions swimming in the jade orbs, he picked up the glass and tossed it back. "Why are we drinking Scotch again?" he asked as he suppressed a cough at the rough alcohol burning its way down his throat.
"Because I refuse to drink something that looks like a certain bodily fluid, such as that stuff you prefer. And since ordering more gave me something to do while you zoned out." Schuldig reached forward to grab the three empty glasses sitting in front of Aya, and started to stack them. He regarded him with some amusement. "You know itís not very nice to tell me to keep my mind to myself, and then just sit there thinking so furiously."
Toying with an eartail, Aya snorted. "Donít tell me you didnít amuse yourself poking about in everyone elseís head."
The Germanís tone was subdued when he answered, uncharacteristically serious. "No, I didnít. Part of the reason I come here is that when Iím around you, everyone else just seems to fade away, no more constant noise. Itís so quiet, and too nice to ruin by messing around with other peopleís minds." Aya couldnít believe his drinking companion was being this open with him. Schuldig seemed to become aware of this, and suddenly smiled, back to his normal self. "Like listening to Brahms and then being subjugated to a Yoko Ono cd. A very rude contrast, Aya."
That name. "You donít call me Ran anymore, do you know that?" Heíd always wondered at the abrupt change, the telepath had never questioned him about the matter, but had just gone along with it.
"Why should I, itís your name now, just like ĎSchuldigí is mine." The pale green eyes were once more focused on him. Aya found himself thinking of the other man every time he saw a piece of green jade, because of their color. "You took my advice, incanted the word that cast the spell. A constant reminder of your sole purpose in this life. To kill." The German extended a hand and brushed it against the back of one of his, jolting him with the touch. "Besides, it suits you. Much more so than Ran ever did."
Another tie to his past cut, gone like so many things. "Sometimes I feel like he was another person completely. As if I am his reincarnated soul, and him dead and buried. Isnít that odd?" Schuldig shook his head in disagreement. "Youíre just about the only one left, you know, who knew the both of us." Thanks to his talent, the telepath knew his old self almost as well as Aya-chan. Who he feared more with each passing day would never wake up. Maybe that was why he met with the man, to be near someone who remembered when he had been a gentle, shy youth and not a cold-blooded murderer. It had been so long ago, before so many deaths, that not even he was sure he remembered Ran properly anymore.
All that was left now was Aya. Abyssinian. Who lived and killed for a girl who would never wake, seeking revenge with his every breath. Who tried to never think of the past or the future, unless sitting in a chair besides a silent figure in a hospital bed, or here in this bar. Across from this man.
"Youíre doing it again. Iím starting to feel offended." Softly mumbling an apology, Aya looked at the German, finding a smirk on the handsome face. "Now you have to pay a penalty. Tell me what you were thinking."
For a moment, he almost didnít answer, but Schuldig had shared something with him this evening. "I was trying to figure out how these meetings started. Why I agreed to come here."
Schuldig snorted as he played with his watch. "Thatís easy. Because I asked you to meet with me one night. Not the smartest thing Iíve ever done, but things have worked out well, donít you think?" Once more turning serious, he stopped playing with the jewelry to run a finger across the table, skimming it back and forth over the pitted surface. "I wanted to see you in real life again, figure out why I could never get you out of my mind. Never thought you would say yes. Quite a shock, when you did. And that you didnít try to kill me that night. But then again, why would you? It wasnít my fault. I had to obey the orders." A slight pause, during which Aya started to rub his temples. "Moreover, who else are you going to talk to? Itís very rare to come across someone who understands you as well as I do, what with the Ďprofessioní and all. Not many people in our occupation, even fewer who would be willing to sit down and share a drink. How are the roommates, by the way."
The last was a needling taunt, making him scowl. "You know how they are, especially Tsukiyono. The same as always, if a bit bruised now."
"In other words, you donít talk to them, they donít talk to you. Iím amazed you havenít killed each other yet."
"It wasnít supposed to be like this." Aya closed his eyes for a moment, reflecting back on his hopes when Kritiker had dragged him back into the organization, and informed him that heíd be working with a team. For a precious day he had thought heíd re-find what heíd had with Shion and the others, at the very least it would be like it had been in Crashers, but without the pain of knowing he would have to leave one day soon. "WeiŖÖ. WeiŖ is not what I expected it to be. If it wasnít for Tsukiyono, Iím sure we would have killed each other by now." He snapped his eyes open to glare at Schuldig, thoughts angry once more. "You might want to remember that, the next time you try and murder the boy. What was that about, just you doing your job again?"
The other man was quiet for a moment, then in a small voice answered yes.
"Well, we have a problem, donít we? You have your job, and I have mine. There were three promises at the beginning of this, Schuldig. I wouldnít mention Takatori and you wouldnít speak about my sister. There would be no telepathy. And these meetings lasted only as long as we werenít fighting each other. Now we are, thanks to this evening."
"Is that why you came tonight, to say you donít want to meet anymore?" the older man snapped at him, suddenly angry. Aya could only shake his head, too shocked at the manís reaction to speak. Did Schuldig actually care so much about these get-togethers to be upset at the prospect of them ending? He couldnít stop shaking his head. "No, thatís notÖ.. I wasnítÖ. Iíd wantedÖ. dammit, donít you think we might have a problem here?"
It was Schuldigís turn to shake his head. "No, I donít. Weíve always left the teams behind in the past, why not from now on?"
"Because WeiŖ just fought you today. You going to tell me that it wonít happen again? Sooner or later I am going to be coming for Takatoriís head, with the others or not. Maybe we should stick to the plan, and end it after tonight." But a part of him didnít want to, the same part that kept him coming back almost every week, even after Kritiker had forced him back into the fold. The telepath was one of only two people he felt he could confide in, unburden his tainted soul to, and the only one who could speak back to him.
"Dammit Schu, stay out of my head!"
The snappish tone made the gaijin smile. "Sorry, kleiner Stern, but I canít. You just think and feel much too strongly. Some things are bound to slip out."
"Then stop with the nicknames." Aya was appalled to hear that come out more as a sulk than a demand. The bastard only smiled all the more.
Schuldig waved at the bar again before answering. "But you started it. Donít know what you are bitching about. Iíd rather be called Ďlittle starí than something that sounds like an article of clothing. Canít you come up with a more original name, and /not/ the one you were just thinking right there." Aya just tried to look at the German as innocently as he could. "I know you better than that, Fujimiya, donít even try to pretend, and have another drink."
Doing as he was told, Aya realized that the Scotch hadnít tasted so bad that time, which was a good sign that he needed to slow down. Hn. If only Kudoh could see him now, he knew that the playboy would die of shock. No one on the team would ever suspect him of spending the night in a dive bar, downing shots of Glenlivet. Dammit, how had he gotten off the topic of WeiŖ and what had happened earlier? "Weíre enemies now, Schu. Itís going to be a problem. You know it is."
Nodding his head, the telepath sighed. "I know." For a moment it looked as if he was about to say something but broke off to swear in German instead. Aya looked on, eyes wide, as he mentally translated every word. Wow. He started when he felt Schuldig grab his hand. "What goes on here has nothing to do with anything outside of this bar. We decided that a long time ago. This is our way of staying relatively sane, of relieving pressure. Why should it matter what happens when weíre not here? Never thought you were one to back off just because things have gotten a little rough."
"Itís more than Ďa little roughí." Aya didnít know how to put his thoughts into words. He never had been very good at that, and now was no exception. "Like I said, weíre enemies now. You should be agreeing with me, and just consent to walk away from this." It was hard, getting the words out past the pain in his chest and his head. It hurt, the thought of not seeing Schuldig anymore except to fight him. Where had that thought come from? It was frightening, to realize how much he had come to depend on the man. And oh so incredibly confusing. Chest constricting, he rushed out of his seat, needing to leave this bar, and the man sitting across from him, behind. Things were too confusing in here. So he ran. Behind him he heard Schuldig curse some more.
As soon as he was past the door he was running in earnest, not even sure which way he was going. Buildings flashed past him, stunned faces turned his way as he barely avoided colliding into a couple on the sidewalk. Aya didnít get more than a block, narrowly avoiding being hit by a car as he crossed the street, before someone latched on to his arm and jerked him to a halt. Spinning around, he punched at Schuldig, catching the German on the mouth before he was shoved against the wall.
"What the hell has gotten into you, Fujimiya? Are you in your right mind or what?" Schuldigís eyes drilled into his, as the taller man pressed against him tightly. Aya felt a pressure in his head, and knew that it was the foreigner trying to read his thoughts. Not knowing what to do, he didnít fight the invading touch, he just let the man in, allowed him to read what had been going on inside of him at the bar. After what seemed a small eternity the pressure was gone, and Aya jerked as his hand was released, as Schuldig brushed back his sweaty bangs and touched their foreheads together.
<I know, sein kleiner Stern, I know how you feel. It would be so wise to walk away and never see each other again, unless it was to fight. But I wonít give in. Never was one to take the easy way out.>
Aya chuckled weakly, having finally caught his breath. "Canít see how to make things any more difficult. How are we going to pull this one off?"
For some reason, whatever he had said made Schuldigís face break out in a huge grin. "The way I see it, there are four of you kitties, no reason I have to fight you when there are others to play with. You do the same. As long as possible, we ignore the other, much like earlier tonight. Agreed?"
"Those are my teammates you are talking about, Schu."
A hand stroked his face, as the insidious voice once more filled his thoughts. "Teammates, but not friends. Do you really think they would spare a momentís concern over you if your positions were reversed? All you are to them is the cold, emotionless Abyssinian who was forced on the team. Someone they have to work with. No, they wouldnít worry about you for a moment, not if it meant it would save themselves."
Aya wanted to tell the man that it wasnít true, but knew better. Hidaka hated him, Kudoh and him clashed so badly that any conversation between them degenerated into a fight within five minutes. Only Tsukiyono seemed to care if he woke up alive each morning.
Schuldig continued. "I wonít fight you, Aya, not as long as there are other options. And I donít think you want to fight me."
"Itís not a matter of want, Schu. Itís a matter of reality. What happens if a mission comes down to just the two of us? Or what if one of our teammates kill the otherís?"
"I donít see the first being a problem, but if it happens, we just improvise. As for the second," the German paused, as if not willing to continue. "Iím sorry, but WeiŖÖ.. WeiŖ is not that strong of a threat against my teammates and I. Sorry, Aya, but itís the truth. You wouldnít stand a chance against us if we were serious, but we have no reason to wish you and yours dead." Ayaís lips thinned in anger, and he tried to shove Schuldig away, but found himself pushed back into the wall. Oh it hurt, to be told just how useless one truly was, to be reminded at his failure to get even close to gaining his revenge. "Fuck you, Schu, some of us are just mere mortals." He wasnít going to give up. Even if he had to fight his way through the telepath and his friends by himself, he was going to get Takatori. Pushing forward once more, he was again slammed back into the wall, head impacting the brick harshly enough to make him see stars.
The foreignerís voice was hoarse and ragged. "Dammit, why do you have to be so obsessively stubborn? WeiŖ will never get to him, not while my friends and I guard him. You were lied to. Kritiker just wanted you back, and told you what you wanted to hear. The things I could tell you about your teammates and your employers ó but you wouldnít believe me, would you? Just have to find things out the hard way. Such a goddamn stubborn bastard, I want to strangle you. What the hell is it about you that I just canít walk away from?" Ayaís eyes focused on Schuldigís face, on the stark emotions showing so plainly. He didnít know who initiated it, but suddenly the two of them were kissing, mouths frantically tearing at each other, trying to take as much of the other inside as possible.
His arms were wrapped around Schuldigís neck; the telepathís hands were buried in his hair, tilting his face upwards. Aya let out a gasp as he felt the otherís desire wash through him, causing him to lift a leg and wrap it around the older manís waist, holding him close. Schuldigís erection rubbed against him, raising a similar fire within his chest. It was too much ó he started to panic. They had just been discussing how to remain tentative friends, and now he was necking with the bastard on the street. He grabbed Schuldig by the hair and jerked his head back, needing to have that mouth off of him so he could think. Jade eyes looked back at him, filled with confusion and desire. Aya was afraid they resembled his own at the moment. "We canít... we canít do this."
"Mein Stern," the nickname came out as a moan, "enough with the Ďcanítís tonight." Aya was kissed once again, so thoroughly and passionately as he felt his resistance flee, any and all thought of the reasons this shouldnít be happening being wiped from his mind. What mattered at the moment was Schuís mouth moving down his throat, the manís hands under his shirt, teasing his flesh, the hard shaft grinding into him, all of it making his knees weak as he clung to the telepath, clutching him tight.
As suddenly as it started, it came to a screeching halt. Schuldig was pulling away from him, once more swearing up a storm as he raised a hand to his temple, eyes closing. After a moment the curses drifted off, and the telepath opened his eyes as he reached out to pull Aya close for a brief kiss. "I have to go now," he murmured against his lips, making Aya shiver. For a moment the caress deepened, almost reaching the frenetic peak of earlier, before Schuldig once more broke it off, groaning in earnest. "Damn that uptight bastard."
"Aya, I really have to go now. Something has come up."
Nodding his head, refusing to feel disappointed but failing, Aya set about straightening out his clothes. He should be grateful; his reason was returning now, telling him that they had almost made a terrible mistake. It was one thing to have drinks every now and then with the enemy, quite another to fuck him. What the hell was wrong with him?
<Donít ever think that, you hear me?> Aya found himself pressed yet again to the wall, Schuldig having moved too fast to even see the motion. The man stared unblinkingly into his eyes, as if trying to pierce his soul. <This is strictly between us, nothing else matters. I wonít let it. Neither should you.> Schuldig bent his head down to nuzzle Ayaís neck, making him shiver. <If only we hadnít been interrupted, Iíd prove to you this isnít a mistake. But that will have to wait for another time. Make me a promise, Aya, that no matter what happens during the next couple of days, it doesnít touch this. There are things I have to do that wonít make much sense to you, but believe me, there is a reason for them. Trust me on this.>
It took Aya a minute to find his voice, between the words in his head, and the talented mouth making it so hard to think. "Why should I?"
Schuldig nibbled on his ear, teeth pulling on the dangle earring for a moment. <Because I will give you Takatori, in the end. Just trust me.> Once more his world focused down on that voice, blotting everything else out.
He felt his head nodding, moving of its own will. "Okay." Grabbing a handful of reddish strands, Aya yanked until the other manís mouth was once again covering his, both of them becoming breathless. He let out a whimper when Schuldig shoved away from him, standing shakily in the sidewalk, breath panting and long hair all disarrayed. The telepath made a motion to reach out for him but arrested it, letting out a curse.
"Remember your promise. I have to go, Iím sorry. Be careful." With that the telepath disappeared, leaving Aya leaning against a wall, befuddled and aching.
Pushing himself upright, he made his way down the street, heading back to the subway. Desperately trying to puzzle out just what the hell had happened that night. Over the way he had just acted, so uncharacteristically for him. Ayaís mind soon drifted, wondering if Schu would keep his promise, oblivious to the world around him. In fact, he was so lost in his own thoughts, he barely noticed the trip home, and was somewhat amazed to find himself standing in his bedroom when he came to. Quickly stripping off his clothes, he crawled under the covers, expecting to spend another sleepless night or to be chased by nightmares until daybreak. It was yet another surprise when he woke in the morning, unable to recall anything but frustrating dreams featuring himself and Schuldig on a nice soft bed. The words "I always get what I want" echoed throughout his head.
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