The Other Side

Chapter three

*******

Long fingers stroked up and down his back, light caresses one moment, deeply kneading into tense muscles the next, repeating over and over until he wanted to purr in pleasure. The sensation filled him, tingled down the front of him and raced like flames along his back. Aya couldn’t recall ever feeling anything like it before. All he could remember was pain, interspersed with a few memories of a laughing girl pressing against him, filling his mind with love and joy. But never pleasure. He didn’t want this feeling to ever end. Still half asleep, Aya stretched his slender body, pressing it more firmly against the source of bliss.

Amusement, satisfaction and lust flickered through his mind, becoming stronger as Aya became fully awake. Blinking open violet eyes, he tilted his head up and was met with a smug grin and sparkling green eyes. Before he could think of anything other than the fact that it was Schuldig who was making him feel this good, the older telepath leaned down and kissed him.

It was the first kiss that he had ever received, other than the ones that Aya-chan would grace his cheek with, and that fact alone the swordsman remained motionless as he tried to process what was happening. Mind still groggy from the powerful sleeping pills he’d had to take last night, Aya let the kiss go on for several seconds, dazedly noting that the tingling sensations and pleasure increased drastically the longer Schuldig’s mouth was on his. He gasped as a tongue was pushed between his parted lips, flicking deep inside his mouth. The pleasure spiked, melting his muscles. For a precious few seconds he enjoyed the experience, then scrambled to push Schuldig away from him, panicked by the lust and intimate contact. This wasn’t supposed to happen, he wasn’t allowing anyone else to get close to him again, especially an aggravating bastard who’d kidnapped him.

<What the hell are you doing?> Aya braced his hands against the German’s chest, shoving himself as far away as he could. The arms wrapped around his back only gave him so much space. He tried to ignore the tingles along his palms and fingers that the contact provoked.

"//Silly one//, I think it’s rather obvious what I was doing." Schuldig smiled at the glare that comment earned him. "You were just so cute lying there, I couldn’t resist. Thought maybe if you woke up feeling good, you wouldn’t be such a grouch all day long." He let his lust wash through the younger man, no longer bothering to hide it behind a shield. It would most likely mean a lot of interesting bruises for him, but Schuldig knew that if he ever hoped to make Aya his lover, he had to get the man used to the emotion. Then, he’d use it to coax similar feelings out of the repressed assassin. As long as he hid the truth of his desire away, Aya would stubbornly refuse to acknowledge the growing attraction between them. Though to be honest, the attraction was mainly on his part. But give him a week or two, and he would pry the man out of his shell. <It seemed to work, you were definitely enjoying it back there. Don’t try to deny it, I could feel your surprise and pleasure.>

A pale hand reached out to viciously yank on a strand of reddish orange hair. Aya’s reflexes, however, were still a bit off from the drugs. Schuldig merely laughed and caught his hand, raising it to his lips for a kiss. One that burned the palm of his hand. <Hmm, you taste delicious. Like spice cake, all sweet and cinnamon, with a hint of cloves. My favorite dessert. You mind if I nibble on you a little longer?> There was another bark of laughter as Schuldig blocked what would have been a painful blow to his groin. For a brief moment the older telepath wondered, safely behind his shields, if there was a way to convince Oracle to dispense the sleeping pills a bit more often. First there’d been the enjoyment he’d gained from having an unconscious Aya to play with last night. Now he had the added benefit of being able to prevent being abused for his audacity. He could most definitely get used to this.

Unfortunately, distracted by those thoughts and with preventing Aya from being aware of them, Schuldig was left wide open for a punch to the mouth. "Ow, dammit." Good mood considerably lessened, Schuldig focused on the bliss associated with the mean bastard glaring at him and not the man’s actual personality. <Are you not happy unless I am in pain?>

Aya immediately fired back with a retort. <Are you not happy unless you are tormenting me?>

Rolling over onto the smaller redhead, Schuldig quickly pressed his swollen lips to Aya’s. <That, little one, was not tormenting. I thought I’d go easy on you at the beginning. Later on I’ll start with the torment. Promise you’ll enjoy it, though.> He then rolled over again, off the bed and onto his feet, dragging the smaller man with him into the bathroom. Still groggy from the drugs, Aya stumbled after Schuldig, growling in anger.

Once there, he found his pants yanked down and himself shoved into the shower, along with the older telepath. Who, Aya belatedly realized, had been naked the whole time. Blushing a little at the thought that he had slept against a naked man, it took a moment to register the fact that said nude man was now sharing a shower with him. <Schuldig, I will kill you, voices or not, if you don’t get out of here _now_.>

"Ah, don’t be like that, mein kleins Veilchen. I just thought that this way we could conserve some water and time." Considering the reaction that he had provoked earlier with the massage, Schuldig decided that was the best tactic to employ now, to both keep him alive and next to Aya. Kneading the stiff neck, he smiled as Aya’s shock and pleasure washed through him. He knew that the man had never had a real massage before, besides the occasional rub of his clothed shoulders. Trailing his hands down the other telepath’s spine, he removed one to grab the bar of soap, then started to suds up Aya’s back. Biting back the comment he wanted to make, Schuldig, for the most part, behaved himself, taking advantage of the Japanese man’s confusion resulting from the conflicting emotions. Aya was torn between enjoying his touch and the desire to turn around and rip his arms off. As long as the two impulses battled each other, Schuldig would be safe.

He washed Aya’s back and chest, being careful not to dip down too low. Then he massaged shampoo into the crimson locks, tilting the man’s head back to rinse out the suds. Schuldig found himself unable to resist planting a kiss on the extended, pale throat, and earned an elbow driven into his stomach in response. Dammit, he should have known that sooner or later Aya would shake off both his confusion and the drug haze and be back in proper temper. Keeping a firm hand on the swordsman’s shoulder, Schuldig tried not to leer too much as Aya quickly finished washing himself, glaring his way the whole time.

Once the smaller man was done, he started to leave the shower. <Ah, you’re not going to return the favor?> Schuldig was shocked when Aya actually paused, one leg out of the tub, and looked back at him, then stepped back in the shower and grabbed the washcloth. He was so surprised that he failed to fully scan the other man’s mind to find out his intentions - which became painfully obvious when the vicious bastard started to scrub off his skin. <Aya, do you think you could maybe ease up a little there? I need a layer or two left, thank you very much.>

Aya ignored him and removed most of the skin from his back. Gritting his teeth, Schuldig tried to ignore the pain and concentrate on the fact that Aya was at least willingly touching him, and sharing a shower. The last fact had sort of lost its appeal, understandably, as most of his epidermis was exfoliated away. Schuldig resolved to hold off on seduction techniques in the bathroom for the immediate future.

*******

Pulling on a soccer jersey, Ken hurriedly poked his head out when he heard the door open. As usual, it was only Nagi, though this time the boy hadn’t brought anything with him. Ken was a little disappointed by that fact; he was starving and looking forward to breakfast. Then he noticed the shadows under the boy’s eyes, and hurried over to the youth. "Hey, you okay there, Nagi? Looks like you could still use a little more sleep."

"I’m alright, Ken." About to say something else, Nagi had to stifle a yawn. "Just a little tired, I had to use my power a lot last night." Realizing that he had just referred to the bloody mission last night, the youth blushed a little and became quiet.

Mouth pressing into a thin line, the older brunet decided he didn’t want to know too much about what had happened, if it had managed to wipe Nagi out. A whole hell of a lot of people must have been slammed around, or something. It bothered him that such a young man was involved with a bunch of killers, even if they had rescued him and taught him how to use his power. At least he himself had been a couple years older than Nagi was right now before he had become an assassin. He’d had a childhood of some sort, not the abuse and bloodshed that the boy had suffered through. "Why don’t you just go back to bed?"

"Because I’ve slept enough, and it’s time to eat. I came here to see if you would like to join us in the dining room. Crawford had a small brunch catered in, since he knew we would be tired and hungry from last night."

It took a moment for Ken to realize that he was being allowed out of the room, even if it was to dine with his kidnappers. Right now he wouldn’t have cared who the hell he ate with, as long as he got out of his cell. "Alright, let’s go." He grabbed Nagi’s wrist and pulled the boy after him, eager to be out of the room before someone changed their mind. Once out in the unfamiliar hallway, Ken came to a stop and sniffed the air, following his nose to the food. Trailing behind him, Nagi actually chuckled. "You look like a bloodhound."

"Well I’m as hungry as a pack of them. I hope Crawford ordered enough food." The sight of the living room made Ken slow down a little, as he thought about how nice it would be to watch a game on the big screen television set. "Is this reprieve related just to breakfast, or am I allowed to remain out of the dungeon after I finish eating?"

"If you can restrain yourself from attacking anyone with the cutlery, you’ll be allowed out for a few hours. I checked the program guide; Argentina is playing Germany at two o’clock."

Ken looked back into a pair of sparkling hazel eyes. "Not above a bit of extortion, are you? And here I thought you were nice, Nagi." He got an actual, full-blown smile in response, one that was met by a wide grin from him. "I promise not to stab anyone with a fork, as long as we get to watch the game later." He spoke those words just as he crossed into the dining room.

"I’m very glad to hear that, Hidaka. Else you would have to eat breakfast with a spoon." Crawford lowered his paper and set it aside, fixing a stern look on his new teammate.

Blushing slightly, the athlete stood there looking at the American, until Nagi pushed him over to where several serving dishes contained a Western style breakfast. Ken picked up a plate and started shoveling eggs and bacon onto his plate. When it was filled to overflowing, he headed over to the table. Upon sitting down, he glanced up to see the other two men staring at him, Nagi in stunned amazement and Crawford with a raised eyebrow. "What?"

"I see that we haven’t been feeding you properly. My apologies." The American rose from his seat and filled a plate for himself. "Nagi, would you please go and rouse Kudoh from bed? Thank you." The youth patted Ken on the shoulder as he walked past.

Ken felt his appetite start to wane as Crawford sat back down at the table and fixed a pair of piercing blue eyes on him. He’d only been in the man’s presence a couple of times; when the other precog had visited him and talked about his power. Nagi had always been in the room with him then. "How are things going, Hidaka? Your visions still centering around battles?"

"Yeah, I had another one last night, we were all fighting these three old people. It was pretty brief and confusing, so I didn’t catch much more than that." The athlete wasn’t sure if it was his imagination or not, but he swore that some emotion or another had flashed across Crawford’s face. When all the man did was nod his head and return his attention back to his newspaper, Ken let out a sigh and resumed his meal. A few answers would be nice, such as why he was only seeing things that had something to do with Schwarz fighting people. Why there was no pattern that he knew of for when the visions would come to him.

As it was, it was pretty damn depressing that everything he saw only strengthened his captors’ claims that Yohji, Aya and he would in fact be Schwarz themselves one day. That soon enough they would be fighting beside the strange men, back to a life of killing. Ken had even had a vision of him slashing his bugnucks across the front of some guard armed with a semi-automatic gun who was about to shoot the American. That worried him, that he and the others were actively protecting their abductors. That there was no hope of them escaping and returning to their normal lives. He didn’t think that he was ready to abandon his hopes of freedom and normalcy just yet, but his visions told him otherwise. And somehow he knew that he was seeing the actual future, what really would come to pass in a matter of time.

Yohji’s appearance shook him from his bleak thoughts. Ken looked up as his teammate and Nagi entered the room, and promptly jumped out of his chair to give the man a hug. Wrapping his arms around Yohji, Ken was surprised when the blond went stiff and started to pat him on the back with a gloved hand. "Hidaka, let go." It was then that the athlete realized that his exposed forearm was brushing against the back of Yohji’s neck, and he remembered what Nagi had told him about his friend’s power.

"Shit, sorry, Yohji. Guess I was a little excited to see you." Brown eyes peered worriedly at the playboy, who had a distant look on his face. "You okay?"

"Not really." Yohji rubbed his eyes, his expressive mouth twisted into a grimace. "But I see that you’ve been okay, besides going nuts about being trapped in a small space. I hate this, I really do." Ken reminded himself that the frown Yohji was wearing wasn’t directed at him, but at the situation the two of them found themselves in. Glancing about the room, the look deepened as the blond caught sight of Crawford. "Any particular reason that you had the damn brat drag me out of bed?"

The American didn’t seem perturbed in the slightest at the nasty tone those words had been spoken in, though Ken found himself bristling over the insult to Nagi. "I thought you might like some breakfast. Not to mention your cigarettes as well." Crawford gestured to the opposite end of the table, where a pack of smokes and a familiar lighter was set. "But if you miss your bed so much, Nagi can return you to it."

Judging from the way that Yohji’s mouth twisted even more, it was clear that the man knew he had to concede this one. Ken bit on his lips as the lanky playboy stomped over to the buffet table, scooped some food on his plate, returned to the table and flopped down in a chair. Then he immediately lit a cigarette and took a deep drag from it. "There any damn coffee, or now that I have my nicotine back you planning on depriving me of another pleasure instead?"

A cup floated from the end of the table and settled in front of the irate man. It was even harder for Ken not to laugh now, as Yohji was obviously torn between being thankful for the coffee and wanting to be as unpleasant as possible. The older man settled for a miffed ‘hmph’ and quietly drank the beverage.

Settling back in his chair, Ken had just started eating again when another couple walked into the room. This time it was a glaring Aya and a smirking Schuldig. The former stopped for a second when he saw Yohji and him sitting at the table, and the angry look actually faded away as a pair of violet eyes lighted on the blond. For some reason Schuldig snarled and dragged Aya to the two empty chairs across from him. The German shoved them together and sat down, practically hauling Aya into his lap as he did so. Then let out a curse when his hair was given a vicious yank as the smaller redhead shifted over to his own chair. Ken noticed that the two of them were still sitting rather close even then, and that Schuldig’s neck appeared red, as if from sunburn. Not to mention the fat lip he was sporting. Judging from the various marks, he’d go out on a limb and say Aya’s score was at three, and Schuldig’s zero.

It took the foreign man a few moments to realize that the food wasn’t on the table as usual, but over along the wall. "Hey, Nagi, you mind doing the honors for the little ingrate and I?" That earned him another yank, and while Schuldig was busy trying to trap Aya’s hands between his, two plates were filled with food and drifted over to them, along with a cup of coffee and another filled with tea. Aya bowed his head thankfully at the teenager and then settled one of Schuldig’s arms about his waist. "Thanks, kid. So what, we supposed to be one big family now, eating breakfast together and all that? Huhn, Vater?"

"I hold out no hopes for the family part, but felt it was high time that we allow our new teammates a bit of freedom." Crawford set aside his paper and picked up his coffee mug, letting his eyes travel across the room. "Everyone has to get used to each other, since we will be depending on one another."

"Bullshit." Yohji shoved aside his plate and sat back in his chair, arms folded across his chest. The pose made his gloved hands stand out all the more, resting on top of bare arms that the red crop top left exposed. "If you think that I’m ever going to trust you guys, you got another thing coming. You’re all a bunch of bastards and can drop dead for all I care."

Several sets of eyes commenced glaring at the blond, including Ken’s. He couldn’t believe that Yohji was acting like this. Yes, they had been kidnapped and had these powers thrust upon them. But as far as he and Aya could tell, the three of them were dependent on Schwarz for some time to come. And it didn’t make any sense, after finally being allowed out of their rooms, for Kudoh to act like an asshole. It was much more sensible to behave, and ensuring that they would be allowed to walk about freely through the apartment another time, than be a surly asshole who was surely going to be locked back up for the next few weeks.

<Wow, never thought you’d be the reasonable one of the two, Hidaka. You’re about to ruin your dumb jock image.> Shifting his glare over to Schuldig, Ken was prevented from snapping back at him when the smirking man spoke out loud. "And you’re such a prize yourself, Kudoh? If it were up to me, we’d show you the front door right away, and see how long it takes for you to go mad from people touching you. Or let another group snatch you up before you even make it a block from here. I highly doubt you will get room service or catered brunches then, you Dummkopf."

"I wouldn’t have to worry about shit like that if you pricks hadn’t sna-"

A low voice cut through Yohji’s comeback. "Children." Both Ken and Yohji were shocked to see Schuldig stop scowling and actually look a bit worried as Crawford leveled a stern gaze on him. "While I am heartened to see that you are moving away from physical attacks in favor of verbal, this is to be a civilized meal. Behave or go back to your rooms. Without amenities. Which means," Brad Crawford hissed out warningly, "no cigarettes or pornography for you, Kudoh." When Schuldig started to laugh, Schwarz’s leader speared him with a cold look. "As for you, Mastermind, that would entail being locked in a small room with a furious Fujimiya. Who can do whatever he wants to you short of outright murder." That got the man to shut up in a hurry, and earned Crawford, Yohji and Schuldig a shi-ne glare.

Threat issued, the American got up from the table for seconds. Schuldig muttered something that sounded like "//Father’s in a grouchy mood//", whatever that meant, while Yohji lit another cigarette and blew smoke in everyone’s direction. At that point, just wanting to get through the meal, Ken started gulping down his food. Beside him, Nagi did the same. There was one thing that he knew for sure in this crazy situation. If Kudoh messed up his chance to watch a soccer game for the first time in over a week, Schwarz was going to be down one recruit.

*******

Omi sat on a bench in the middle of Ueno Park, paying no attention to the sights of spring all around him, lost in deep thoughts. Suddenly he glanced up, watching a beautiful woman with long red hair approach him. She was dressed in a dark business suit, the skirt almost indecently short. "Good afternoon, Manx."

"Afternoon, Omi. Please don’t take this the wrong way, but I was hoping that our paths would never cross again." The Kritiker agent’s voice was hushed, filled with sorrow and regret. She had tried her best to free the boy from the organization he had worked for most of his life, only to have Omi toss aside all that hard work with a single phone call. Kritiker had to know that he had been in contact with her, or at least would as soon as they checked her call log. "But I have to admit, your fears are justified. From what I can tell, Kudoh, Hidaka and Fujimiya have been kidnapped."

A bit surprised at how the woman was cutting to the chase, Omi stood up and started walking beside her. "Are you sure, Manx?"

She nodded her head. "I spent the whole night checking things out. I have a few more resources at my disposal than you do. There has been absolutely no sign of the three anywhere in Japan, nor has anyone matching their descriptions left the country in the past week and a half. Their bodies haven’t been discovered either, though quite frankly, I doubt that they’ve been killed. Someone went to too much effort to make it appear as if they had just picked up and moved on, to have simply murdered them."

Omi had come to the same conclusion as well. "Yes, but who? Anyone that I can think of wanting Weiß dead or captured is no longer alive. Schreient died in the fire at my brother’s mansion, their bodies all accounted for. My family is gone, along with Nacht. Who is left that would have the resources to kidnap three skilled assassins and not leave any evidence behind?"

"If I tell you that, you will never be able to leave Kritiker again, Omi. It probably is too late right now, but…"

"Please, Manx, they’re my family. If I have to rejoin, so be it. I need to help them."

Manx stared into a pair of earnest blue eyes and felt her heart break. The boy was too loving for his own good. His compassion would condemn him to a life as an assassin, yet all she could think of was how proud Shuuichi would be at the moment, if he were still alive. "Do you remember your uncle mentioning the group, ‘Esset’?"

Frowning, the teenager tried to recall the exact circumstances when he had heard that name. It wasn’t helped by the fact that everytime he thought of his former employer, it tore at his heart to know that there had been a relative so close, yet forever out of reach. "It was right before he died." He glanced at what was, for lack of a better term, his surrogate mother and felt saddened by the look of pain on her face. She must have loved Persia very much. "I’m sorry, but I don’t recall him saying very much about them."

"He didn’t." Manx pushed aside the pain and tried to be more professional. "Esset is an organization that is Kritiker’s rival. They supplied Takatori with his bodyguards, Nacht, in exchange for your father’s help on certain matters. Mainly things of a criminal nature. The organization cares for nothing besides achieving its own agenda, which would benefit no one other than the people in charge of it. Kritiker has come across some information that Esset has dispatched another team to Tokyo, to complete Nacht’s work." She watched silently as Omi digested that information, dreading the questions he would ask. Manx had never approved of what Shuuichi had done, choosing such young men for Weiß.

After a couple of minutes, Omi spoke up. "Why would they kidnap the others then? If it was revenge they were after, for us killing Nacht, why kidnap Yohji, Aya and Ken? Why not kill them outright? And what about me? There have been no attempts whatsoever on my life or freedom." Upon seeing the shuttered expression on Manx’s face, he knew that she had some of the answers he was seeking. "Please, Manx, tell me the truth."

"Let me ask you one question first, Omi. Did you ever think anything about those reports that you sent to your uncle? The ones about your teammates?"

Omi flushed as he thought about the reports. He had hated spying on his friends like that; reporting everything they did and what happened around them to Persia, as he had been ordered. "I thought he wanted to keep a close eye on them, make sure that… that they didn’t get out of hand or something. Why do you ask?"

Manx spied a deserted bench and gestured for them to sit on it. "Didn’t you ever wonder about the strange incidents that you were reporting? Your teammates’ odd behavior, or how they could often solve a mission, seemingly with almost no information at all? That somehow they always knew where the target would be?"

"Well, yes, but…" But he hadn’t wanted to focus on that, nor on the fact that he had been betraying his friends, instead choosing to concentrate on happier things. Besides, it was just coincidence at work, his suspicions were completely unfounded. "They were just very lucky." Looking over at Manx, Omi was suddenly not very sure of the excuse he had always given himself over the strange happenings. One of his hands took to working at a loose thread on his denim shorts. "Weren’t they?"

"…" Manx pressed her hands to her eyes, trying to think of the best way to explain the situation to Omi. "No, they weren’t. Omi, I know this might seem hard to believe, but things such as telepathy and precognition really do exist in this world. Kritiker has spent considerable time and money researching these talents. Your uncle was aware of this, and had certain criteria in mind when he assembled Weiß. The first was that its members had to be young and male. Secondly, they had to have no family, at least that they were in contact with. Thirdly, they couldn’t be heartless criminals. And finally… he wanted young men with an edge. Something extra that would stand up to whatever his brother threw at the team. He wanted Weiß to be talented, as much as possible. So he chose Hidaka, who he suspected of being a precog or telepath, due to the man’s playing ability. Kudoh was selected because of his improbable knack for finding things, and Fujimiya was suspected of being another telepath or empath. The truth is, those reports you filed were not only to keep track of their progress and behavior within the group, but of their talents as well."

For several minutes there were no more words spoken. Then Omi leaned forward, staring at the ground as he wrapped his hands around his knees. "I want to say that you are making this up, but… it makes perfect sense now that I think of it. There were so many odd coincidences that were in Weiß’s favor. You believe that this has something to do with their kidnapping, don’t you?"

"Yes." Lifting a hand from her lap, the redhead rested it on Omi’s shoulder, hoping to reassure the boy. "Your uncle kept the fact that three fourths of Weiß was talented from everyone in Kritiker but me, but that secret only lasted until his death. Several organizations hacked into his files while Kritiker was in disarray, and found out about your teammates. Kritiker did as well. Esset was one of those groups; they have always had several talented teams at their disposal, and are constantly seeking for more of the same. I think they sent a special team here in part for that reason. As best as I can tell, they arrived right before your teammates disappeared. They are most likely holding them prisoner and breaking them, all in hopes of being able to use their powers. The team is still in Tokyo; so there is a chance that Kudoh, Fujimiya and Hidaka are as well." She didn’t want to add that if they weren’t, in all probability the men would never be recovered.

There was another period of silence, in which the teenager considered everything that he had learned. Then only one question was asked. "How do I get them back?"

Manx had dreaded hearing that. "Kritiker wants to reform Weiß. Preferably with you as leader, since you have experience with that position. They’ve… been looking for you and the others for the past couple of months, even before they learned about the others’ powers. You will come back and help assemble the team, and recovering your friends will be a top priority." She prayed fervently that Omi wouldn’t ask about what would befall his former teammates when they rescued them. Some god or another must have heard her prayer, since the boy said nothing, once more lost in thought. "Omi, please think about this. You will once again be an assassin for Kritiker, and this time I won’t be able to help you escape if you decide to leave once more. Your half-sister and school will have to come second to your job. It will be a lot of hard work to rebuild Weiß, and you might never get the others back. Won’t you reconsider, please?"

"I’m sorry Manx, but I can’t. They rescued me from my brother, and stayed by my side even when they learned who my father was. If Persia hadn’t died, we’d still be together. I have to do this, I owe them that much."

Green eyes regarded him sadly. "Very well then, let’s get started. We might as well see how much work it will take to repair the Koneko no Sumu Ie."

*******

"Oh shut the fuck up, Hidaka," Yohji muttered as he reached for his cd player. Which Master Stick Up His Ass Crawford had given him yesterday, as a ‘reward’ for sitting through first breakfast, and then dinner. There had been a promise of more cds if he would continue to attend the meals and remain ’semi-civil’. "I know how hard it would be for you to be completely civil, after all," the blond remarked mockingly, imitating the foreigner’s thick accent. "Damn right I won’t behave like a good boy, not after what you pricks have done to my life." Another loud yell from Ken had him shoving the headphones onto his ears. He didn’t want to hear a traitorous teammate having fun, busy watching a soccer game with his kidnappers, of all things.

At least this time when he put on the headphones, there wasn’t a rush of images inside his mind. Guess they had soaked up enough of his ‘aura’, or whatever. Yohji had figured out that it only took a few touches to get relatively new items past the point that his power would kick in. Though sitting in the dining room was a painful experience, if he let his skin come in contact with any of the furniture or utensils. He was getting tired of having his brain flooded with strange feelings and images, yet it seemed to him that working on his shields was giving in to the situation. It was doing what the pricks wanted him to do. He was even reduced to searching through his clothes for apparel that would completely cover him, trading his usual crop tops and low cut jeans for long-sleeved tees and sweatpants, like he was wearing right now. The pricks deserved to die for this.

So Yohji sat on his bed, even though his door had been unlocked since yesterday, only venturing out of his room to eat. He wanted to avoid setting off his power just as much as he wanted to avoid the sight of Ken being friendly with the brat, or Schuldig touching Aya. That last thought caused the blond to grind his teeth together as a hand felt about the side of the bed for one of his magazines, which he’d already flipped through and jerked off to almost a dozen times already, having precious little else to do this past week. But he desperately needed a distraction at the moment, before he started breaking things. There were too many things going on here that had him losing control over his temper. Pretty soon, people would start calling him Fujimiya.

Thinking about the man only dragged his attention back to a topic that Yohji was trying to ignore. It was so hard getting used to seeing Aya being touched by someone, let alone by the enemy. The whole year the quiet redhead had been a part of Weiß, he had kept his teammates literally at arms’ length, to such an extent that one had to practically dope Aya up and sit on him to attend to his wounds. Any casual touch had been shied away from, the pale man deliberately staying just out of reach, his skin almost completely covered with thick clothes. Even during the summer. Of course it all made sense now, Yohji thought. Aya had been protecting himself from the thoughts of other people that he couldn‘t block out when he was touched, just as he himself was doing now, forced to wear these ridiculous gloves and afraid to have his skin come in contact with anything. It was painfully clear what his teammate had gone through. What he himself would go through until he developed shields of his own.

Which the pricks kept trying to teach him, both Crawford and that smirking bastard Schuldig, who always made sure to hold Aya especially close when in his presence, grinning all the while. The German knew that he would have given almost anything to be in his position, to have Aya close and unable to run away. The man was gorgeous and unattainable, so of course Kudoh Yohji had been attracted to him. Still was, if the feelings of jealousy that were aroused whenever he saw the two telepaths were any indications. What he wouldn’t give to fuck the man.

It wasn’t fair; he had known Aya longer, had fought by his side and watched his back, putting up with that foul temper for a whole fucking year. Yet Schuldig was the one who got to touch the pale man, even if he did get abused regularly for it. It was the bastard who got to feel how smooth the slender man’s skin was, skin that he knew for a fact was like silk from that one day when he’d had Aya in his bed. He should have jumped the man then and there. Surely Aya couldn’t hurt when he was feeling so much pleasure.

Deciding that he didn’t need his porn after all, Yohji let out a groan as he tugged off his gloves. That was it, he’d imagine again how that day should have gone. When he’d had an unconscious Aya there in his room, had removed the man’s shoes and thick sweater. In his mind, Yohji didn’t stop at those garments, as he unzippered his pants and reached for the ever-present bottle of lotion. Stroking his stiffening erection, the lanky man rested his head back on the pillow while listening to the music. Lost in his fantasy, he imagined Aya’s nude body on his bed, violet eyes drifting open as his hands roamed all over that white skin. This time, the redhead didn’t snarl at him or walk away; instead, that deep voice pleaded for Yohji to take him. Which he did happily, covering Aya with his body, settling between those slender thighs.

Yohji’s breath hitched as his hand picked up speed, his eyes closed so he could better imagine how it felt to thrust into that virgin body. Gods, he just knew that Aya would be so damn tight, that all that anger would explode into searing passion. "Oh gods, yesss." He would be so damn good. So willing to be fucked into the mattress. This was one of his favorite fantasies, imagining the aloof and distant man begging him to fuck him even harder. Body tightening, Yohji experienced an explosive orgasm, groaning out loud at the pleasure coursing through him. Hell yes, this was what he needed, this pleasure. What he craved, and was being cruelly deprived of, while stuck in this place. It made him forget everything else. Made the pain of all the things that he had lost fade away. For a little while, at least. Since he was denied alcohol as well, it was the only escape available to him.

Slowly calming back down, the blond reached for the box of tissue that could be found next to the lotion. He had everything down to an exact science now, sickeningly so. Whether it was imagining one of the naked bodies in his porn mags, an old lover, Asuka or Aya, Yohji found he escaped his troubles only as long as it took to come back to his senses and realize that he was jerking off all alone, in his cell of a room. Not that it stopped him from doing it again later on, when boredom and frustration had him seeking any oblivion that he could find. It didn’t help that he kept hearing Crawford and Schuldig’s voices in his head, going on about how he wouldn’t be able to enjoy sex until his shields were adequate. Sure, the pricks told him that; too bad they didn’t let him find out whether or not that they were telling the truth on his own.

It was painful and confusing to touch a person, that was for sure. Contact with Ken and Aya had taught him that, swamped as he had been by their emotions and memories. But he hadn’t been able to touch them for more than a few seconds. Maybe things would get better the more often he touched a person, as with the cd player. Not that he had many options of people to touch while he was trapped here. A brat, a nutcase, Mr. ‘I’ve got an icicle the size of a stalagmite shoved up my ass’, the German bastard, Ken and Aya. Not that he would mind fucking Aya in the slightest, evidence of which he was busy wiping off of his hand and stomach at the moment, but the man clearly didn’t want him back. He could still feel the pain that had ripped through Aya when they had touched.

So that left him back at square one, kidnapped by these pricks and told to behave, to learn how to knit a fucking wall around his thoughts. Yohji wanted nothing more than to break out of here. But the elevator posed a small problem, and there was the annoying fact that the longer they stayed here, the more his teammates seemed to like it. Ken was bonding with that freak out there. Hell, the dumb jock had almost bitten his head off during dinner last night when he’d call the boy a brat out loud, and Aya was convinced that there was no hope for escape at the present. Maybe not ever.

That galled him to no end, the man who took obsession to new heights throwing in the towel. What was even more disturbing was the fact that Aya wouldn’t do that without good cause. But Yohji wasn’t ready to cave in just yet; he’d finally gotten his life back and wasn’t about to give it up so easily. Even if all he did was drink himself silly each night, to awaken in a stranger’s bed, and then stumble into work to spend the day tracking down this person or get photos of that husband cheating on his poor wife. Not exactly the life he had dreamed of when a kid, but at least he’d been his own boss. Which wasn’t the case here.

Anger, frustration and desperation filling him, Yohji tossed aside the soiled tissues. He would find a way out of this mess if it was the last thing that he did, and drag two ungrateful teammates with him as he left. It was as simple as that.

*******

Nagi glanced up at the sky nervously. "Uh, Ken, are you sure this is a good idea?"

"Oh, don’t be such a wimp. There hasn’t been any lightning in the past couple of hours, so stop worrying and start kicking the ball. Big bad telekinetic, all afraid of a little thing like electrocution. Hmph."

"Thanks a lot, Hidaka." Nagi mock glared at the other young man, who gave him a huge grin in return. Ken had been so excited about the prospect of playing a little soccer, which had been promised to him for behaving during the mission a couple days past, only to have the weather prove uncooperative. Today was the first day that it had stopped raining for more than an hour or so, though it threatened to resume at any moment, and Nagi had found himself dragged up to the roof as soon as he had woken up. "Now how do you play this again?" At Ken’s groan, the teenager smiled. "Just kidding."

"Nagi, kick the damn ball before I toss you over the roof. And remember, no powers-"

"Or you’ll use my head for target practice. I know." Without any warning, Nagi kicked the ball towards his friend, sending the man scrambling after it. Before he knew it, Ken was kicking the ball past him, running towards the impromptu goal. The telekinetic let out an uncharacteristic squawk and chased after him.

Ken felt as if he was back in his element. Granted, he was playing against only one opponent, and on a slippery roof at that, but he felt the blood pumping through his veins, adrenaline flowing. He was the happiest he’d been in ages. Maybe even before he had been kidnapped, he’d never realised how much of his true self he’d had to submerge, trying to fit back in to everyday life. With Nagi, and even Schuldig and Crawford, he didn’t have to lie about his past, about what he had done the last couple of years. It was a lot like when he’d been with Weiß, only even more liberating, as there was no day job for a cover anymore. Ken didn’t have to worry about keeping his guard up at all times. And now that he had his game back, things were almost perfect.

Looking up, he spied Nagi closing in on him. Suddenly he knew that the boy would feint to the left, then lash out a foot and knock the ball out of his reach. So he adjusted his speed, letting Nagi run in front of him. The whole game started to play out in his head, all the moves that he and his opponent would make, all the ways he could shift things in his favor. It felt like it had when he’d played professionally, only now, the buzz he’d felt even back then, standing before a goal as the best players in the sport tried to get past his defenses, was so much stronger. He could feel every move before it was made; in his mind he’d already played the game a dozen different ways.

Nagi started to frown when, after playing for almost a half hour, he hadn’t been able to get the ball away from Ken for more than a few seconds at a time, and then never long enough to score a goal. Meanwhile, the athlete was kicking his ass. He knew that he was a pretty decent player, not a professional like Ken had been, but still able to hold his own, even without using his power. Something suddenly occurred to him. Trying to use his talent to snatch the ball, he found it always centimeters away from where he expected it to be, just out of reach. Ken had a huge grin on his face, and waved a finger admonishingly at him. "Ah ah, no powers."

"But you’re using them! Ken, how could you?" Nagi extended his talent across the roof, forming an invisible wall to stop the athlete. Ken came to a halt millimeters short of it and turned to face him, bouncing the ball from knee to knee.

"Well, that certainly was fun. Too bad that it’s going to start raining in a few minutes." Ken smiled at the younger man, who was still scowling at him. "Ah come on, Nagi. I’m sorry, I didn’t know my power would kick in like that. It’s not like I have any control over it to begin with, and it’s never lasted this long. I knew if I told you, you’d stop the game, and I really wanted to play. Didn’t you have any fun?"

Unable to stay mad in the face of pleading brown eyes, Nagi huffed for a few seconds, making Ken squirm a little before he relented. "All right, I will admit that it was fun. Even though I didn’t get to score a single point. Which you better let me do next time, or I won’t play." Nagi felt a tug in his chest at the beatific smile that crossed the older boy’s face at that agreement.

"It’s a deal. Next time I won’t hog the ball. Though," Ken glanced up at the sky, "it might be a while before the weather cooperates. That just gives us some time to work on the others, try to find two more players so we can be on the same team. We’ll kick their asses."

Smiling at that thought, the telekinetic made his way towards the elevator door. "Don’t get your hopes up. Kudoh doesn’t seem to want to do anything but mope, Schuldig and Aya won’t be able to be apart for the whole length of the game for another couple of weeks, and then I doubt that Aya will want to be anywhere near Schu, and there is no way in hell Crawford would stop working long enough to play a game, of all things."

"What about Farfie?"

Nagi stared in wonder at Ken for that suggestion. "Farfie?" Then he took a minute to think about it. "He might play, if we tell him it will hurt god. And keep anything sharp and pointed out of his reach. He’s watched a couple of soccer games with me in the past, and seemed interested in what was going on. We’d have to get him during one of his more lucid days, though."

The soccer fanatic ignored anything that got in the way of his grand vision. "So it’s not altogether impossible. I’ll bet you anything you want, however, that if we manage to get Aya up here, Schuldig will follow. For all his protests about abuse, he’s the one who is always jerking Aya close, you notice that?" Feeling a few drops of rain land on his shoulders, Ken tried pressing the elevator button again. Someone must have gone out, leaving the elevator on the first floor.

It arrived a few seconds later, just as there was a rumble of thunder. Stepping into the carriage, Nagi heaved a sigh of relief that they were leaving the roof just in time. "Schuldig certainly has become attached to Aya." He glanced sideways to see what the smaller redhead’s teammate thought about that development.

"Then the man must really be into pain." Bouncing his ball off the elevator’s walls, Ken heaved a sigh and asked Nagi how everyone’s shields were developing, careful to keep the question as innocent as he could.

The pause between the question and the answer indicated that he wasn’t very successful in masking his interest. Nagi waited until they were back in the apartment and in his room. "Schuldig says that you have the basic foundation down, but it will take a couple of months, what with the way you are progressing, to have a complete set of shields. Then again, your talent doesn’t really necessitate that you have them, it will just help keep any strange telepaths out of your head, along with providing Schuldig, Aya and Kudoh some comfort when they are in your presence."

"Kudoh’s shields," Ken winced at the amount of scorn was ladened on the blond’s name, "are barely better than yours. He doesn’t seem to take it very seriously that anytime he touches something, his power will kick in. Schuldig thinks we should toss him stark naked onto a crowded subway train; maybe that would give him some incentive."

"Or start off a major orgy."

Nagi’s lips twitched for a moment upon hearing that. "Yes, well Schuldig has commented several times about how frustrated the man is. He better get used to it soon, from what I understand, it’s not very easy for a psychic to find a suitable lover. We’ve heard all about Kudoh’s lifestyle." Thanks to the man ranting and raving during meals about how deprived he was. "But surely he won’t be able to return to that even after he fully develops his shields."

Nagi telekinetically formed a pile of Ken’s dirty clothes as he made the older brunet’s bed. "As for Aya, well, he can hold his shields up for a minute or two without Schuldig’s help. But it wears him out, and he won’t be able to be on his own for a couple more weeks. That’s not taking into account him being outside, amidst a crowd of unshielded minds." Busy straightening out the mess in Ken’s room, Nagi set aside a stack of magazines and stared at his friend. "Are you getting the hint yet that you still can’t escape? I thought you had recognized how futile that would be. Aren’t you the slightest bit happy here?"

With a sigh the older brunet fell onto his just made bed. "I don’t like having no choice in the matter. I had a nice life, Nagi. A job that I had dreamed of for a couple of years, my own apartment, a great bike." Ken tried not to think of how empty he had been finding things, with his closest friends scattered about the country, and having to hide his past from everyone. "It was normal." Life here was anything but.

"Normal doesn’t equal good, Ken. You have a talent, and if you haven’t figured it out yet, it acts best when you are in a situation requiring action, when your adrenaline is flowing." One didn’t need to be a telepath to sense how stunned the athlete was over the revelation about his power. Nagi had thought that Crawford had already mentioned it. "You were born for this, to be a member of Schwarz. Haven’t your visions proven that to you yet?"

Indeed they had, Ken thought bitterly. So he shied away from that question. Thinking back on the past, he realized that he felt the most alive when he was playing or fighting. Those situations when, as Hidaka had just learned, his power would be most active. He thought back on all the fights he had started in the past, just so he could feel that rush of pleasure. A thrill he’d only had an echo of ever since he had quite Weiß. That feeling was what had helped to acclimate himself to his new power, and had made all of this insanity so worthwhile. Ken had never realized how insidious the feeling was. "Are all talents this addictive?"

Sitting down on the bed next to him, the younger boy tilted his head to the side and gave the matter some consideration. "It feels good to use mine, though Crawford’s visions always cause him pain. I’ve heard Schuldig talk about his, about the rush there is to be had when twisting another’s mind, or when he’s dealing with someone who has shields. Otherwise, I know it hurts him as well."

"Huhn, then Aya must be masochistic also, since he’s barely spoken a word out loud the past two weeks. He’s always using his talent."

Nagi stretched out beside Ken, feeling a bit tired from the game. It had been a while since he had exercised his body so much, being used to letting his talent do everything for him. "I don’t know about that, you would have to ask Schu." Feeling his eyelids drift shut, he tried one more time to make the precog understand. "You know you can’t survive out there on your own, that you belong with us. The second you step outside without protection you will be kidnapped again. You’re Schwarz now, Ken. One of us. None of us really had a choice about joining the team, but we became a family after all. If you would just stop fighting us, so would you and the others."

"I know, Nagi." Ken felt the small youth relax beside him, and when he looked over a couple of minutes later found him asleep. Brushing back the brown bangs, he stared down at his friend, who had somehow become important to him. He’d never had a real family before: all there had been was the orphanage and Kase, then after that betrayal, Weiß. Only to lose them as well, after Persia’s death. Ken had been one of the first ones to walk away, but only because he knew how useless it would have been to try to keep everyone together. Omi had his sister, while Yohji had been restless for months before the showdown with Takatori, anxious to be anywhere other than the Koneko. Only Aya had wanted to hold the team together, but Ken had known that Aya would never be able to open himself up enough to be a good companion, and so had left. Now he was being offered another family, albeit after an inglorious start, who if he trusted his visions, would be there for each other. He knew that there was more going on here than met the eye, but wanted so desperately to finally be a part of something. To know that he had friends that he could indeed trust.

He snuggled closer to Nagi, enjoying the feel of a warm body resting next to his. Ken was touched by the fact that the boy trusted him enough to sleep in his presence. "I know."

*******

Busy checking that the new coolers were working properly, Omi glanced about the restored shop when he heard the bell, that was set above the door, chime. Hurrying through the Koneko, his mind absently remarked on how much a few days of cleaning, new equipment, and unbroken windows had made the place appear just like it used to. All that was missing was the flowers and the crowd of flirting, giggling schoolgirls. And his kidnapped teammates, of course.

"Manx, did you find a new-" He came to a halt when he saw his guest was not the Kritiker agent but a young man, in his early twenties, with spiked black hair, dyed a bright red at the ends. He was dressed in a pair of pressed blue jeans and a white button down shirt. "Who are you?"

"Anami Dayu. Manx sent me here." The strange man handed over a envelope, then stood by nervously as Omi opened it. It held a computer disk and a phone number. Omi pulled out his cell phone and dialed the number, and wasn’t surprised in the least to find Birman on the other end of the line.

"Ah, Tsukiyono, I’ve been waiting to hear from you. I take it Anami has arrived."

"Yes, I believe so, Birman. At least that is what he tells me." Blue eyes remained suspiciously on the older man, who fidgeted beneath their regard. "I’d say he is about twenty three, a hundred and eighty centimeters in height. Black hair with red tips, and dark brown eyes."

"That’s him. He’s your new teammate, codename Burmese. His file is on the disk. It contains all the necessary information on Weiß’s newest member. Good day." With that, the mysterious woman ended the conversation. Omi stared at his phone for a moment, then turned it off and returned it to his pocket.

He gazed at the man for a few minutes, trying to get a feel for his new teammate. The man seemed nervous; it reminded him a little of his first meeting with Ken. "Welcome to the Koneko, I’m Tsukiyono Omi." He bowed politely to the stranger.

Who bowed back at him. "I’ve heard about you. Nice to finally meet you." Another long pause, filled with more fidgeting on the new man’s part. "Ah, I have a few things out in my car; can I bring them in and start unpacking? It’s been a long day, and it’s not even half over. I just want to lie down for a couple of hours, but… do you need any help down here? It looks like you were in the middle of something, so maybe I can rest for a few minutes and…" Dayu looked on in puzzlement at a chuckling Omi.

"I’m sorry, that was a bit rude of me. Of course you can rest, I was just finishing up a couple of things before heading out to dinner." For a moment, Omi debated inviting the man along, but wasn’t sure how to explain his presence to Ouka. He would have to get his sister used to the idea of him having new coworkers, and make sure his teammates understood that they were to keep their true occupation from the girl. Before he could make the decision, Dayu started talking again. This time he didn’t babble on as before.

"If you don’t mind then, I think I would like to lie down. Is there a particular apartment set aside for me?"

Just as he was starting to relax and like the man, Omi was abruptly reminded of the fact that Anami was here to replace his friends. At least temporarily. As soon as Omi had them safely back, the newest members of Weiß would be sent packing. "Ah, there are three unoccupied rooms in the complex across the street." He ran over to his backpack and grabbed the three keys that Manx had given him yesterday. "Here, take your pick, the rooms are all the same." A hand wavered in the air above his, and after a moment’s hesitation, a key was picked. "I should be back here later tonight, if you are interested in stopping by and assisting me in setting up the mission room."

Dayu nodded his head. "I’ll be here, after I get a little sleep." Bowing formally, he informed Omi that it was an honor to meet him and to work alongside him. Watching as the man walked back out of the shop, Omi tried to stop comparing him to Yohji, Aya or Ken. That was senseless; no stranger could just take their places, but with Anami’s help he would find his friends and save them.

*******

Feeling a stroking touch along his shields, Aya stopped working on his mental barriers and focused his consciousness outwards. Opening his eyes, he found Schuldig softly caressing his face, running his fingers along his cheekbone and temple. The two of them were lying down on the bed in their room, Aya curled up against the taller man, their legs tangled together and their arms about each other’s waists. It was the most comfortable position for him to be in while working on his shields, especially afterward, when he would be left drained from the mental exertions. Which were slowly paying off; Aya was finally able to block the other telepath from reading some of his thoughts, and could move away from the man for a few precious moments. From here on out those moments would only get longer each time.

Aya removed a hand that was underneath Schuldig’s dark green shirt and lifted it to press against the one stroking his face, making the touch still. A pleasurable tingle ran from his cheek and down his spine, making him sigh when he removed the German’s hand. It felt so incredibly good, but if he left it there Schuldig would just take more liberties with him. It was bad enough the man was always caressing him, kissing him when he was caught unaware and making him shiver at the feelings each touch provoked. No matter how much he struck back, the bastard wouldn’t be discouraged. It had gotten to the point that the gestures made Aya more apprehensive than angry, as he couldn’t figure out how to make the man leave him alone, or why his body ached when the caresses stopped.

<Sorry to interrupt, little violet, but I just got word from Crawford that we’re on for another mission tonight. Which means I have to go now and work on the stubborn idiot’s shields, and then you’ll have to be doped up again.> Schuldig’s legs shifted about suddenly, in anticipation of blocking a blow to his groin. Unhappy about the fact that he would be drugged again that night, and spend tomorrow feeling groggy from the medication, Aya showed his displeasure by punching Schuldig in the ribs instead. It was so natural for him to express his emotions this way, through actions rather than words, since he had bottled everything up behind his shields since he had started to sense other people’s thoughts when he was six years old. It was quicker and more to the point than trying to talk, and he had learned early on how little words reflected one’s true thoughts. Feeling Schuldig’s flash of pain, which Aya knew to be exaggerated since the blow had been more of a formality than anything, he shifted back enough to glare at the man.

<I don’t want to be drugged again.>

Rubbing his sore ribs for a moment, Schuldig let out a sigh and brushed back his bangs. <I know, but you’re not strong enough to shield yourself for several hours. Won’t be for another couple of weeks.> Aya swore he felt a trace of satisfaction underneath the usual lust, amusement and spark of irritation. <Unless you want to go mad.> When he didn’t answer, thinking of the attraction madness could hold for him, the faint hope that he could lose himself in it and never worry about pain and loss again, Schuldig snarled and hugged him tight. <Don’t even fucking think like that. You’re taking the drugs, even if we have to have Nagi hold you still and force them down your throat.> The German blocked that blow, rolling on top of him and taking the fight out of Aya by kissing him. It always shocked him when the older man did that, calming him for a few precious seconds as his whole body tingled from the bliss.

Schuldig rolled back off before he could think again and strike out, this time in earnest. Finding himself dragged out of the room, Aya snarled in anger as he tugged his grey sweatshirt down with his free hand. Merrily going about his way as if his mind was not being filled with images of what Aya would do to him the moment his shields were at full strength and he had his katana in hand, Schuldig didn’t stop until they reached Yohji’s bedroom. Then the suicidal moron jerked him forward and kissed him once more, a quick press of lips against his. Aya snagged a lock of reddish orange hair and yanked it savagely.

Yohji was treated to the sight of a wincing Schuldig and a glaring Aya when he looked up from the magazine he’d been flipping through. The smaller redhead’s anger intensified when he saw that it was one of the pornographic ones that the older telepath had teased him about before handing them over to his teammate. So Kudoh didn’t have anything better to do than look at smut, did he? Aya was just as tired as the rest of Schwarz about Kudoh’s attitude and refusal to learn anything. Especially when he’d be swamped by the man’s unshielded thoughts whenever they came within a couple of meters of each other, filling him with pain and distaste over invading a friend’s privacy, even if it was unwillingly. Schuldig picked up on his discomfort and settled his shields a bit better over Aya’s mind, offering a slight bit of relief. Violet eyes blinked in confusion as he sensed the foreigner’s anger at his pain, wondering why Schuldig cared so much about how he felt.

"You know, Blondie, you really need to give the wrist a break before you develop carpal tunnel syndrome from constant wanking," Schuldig commented drolly. "If you put that much effort into building your shields, they’d have been proficient days ago." The foreigner assumed his usual teaching position on the floor, and Aya sank down with him, sitting between the man’s legs. A hand snaked under his sweatshirt, a few fingers skimming below the loose waistband of his black jeans for a couple of seconds before curling up on his hip. Aya let the pass go by unpunished, as each touch made the pain fade a little more. "You know the drill by now, let’s get to work."

"I’m not in the mood right now, so why don’t you just go torment someone else, Schuldig." Yohji purposely leaned back against his headboard and continued looking at the naked woman he’d been ogling when they walked into the room. "I’ve got a date with Naomi here. Tell me, do you think they’re real or not? I’ve been staring at them for the past twenty minutes, trying to tell. Always needed to do hands on research to be sure."

As the playboy went into great detail about the model’s anatomy, Aya felt his temper snap. He was sick and tired of being dragged in here and subjected to Kudoh’s emotions and tantrums. The man wanted nothing more than to escape, yet it would be impossible until he was able to shield himself. Or else as soon as he stepped outside onto the crowded Tokyo sidewalks, and came in contact with other people, he’d collapse from the strain on his mind and sanity. Aya knew that much from scanning through Schuldig’s thoughts and memories. Kudoh had no hope unless a trained telepath monitored his progress and made sure that his shields developed properly, or he’d be in even worse shape than Aya had been in before his talent became fully active. <Kudoh, shut up and get to work. I’m sick of this bullshit.>

The green eyes went hazy for a few seconds as the command worked its way through the blond’s mind. Then they blinked a couple of times and focused on Aya. He caught a wave of anger, frustration, and an overwhelming amount of lust. Accompanying the emotions was a mental image of him lying on Yohji’s bed as the man fucked him; Aya felt his cheeks burn as the Aya in Yohji’s fantasy begged for more, clutching the older assassin tight. ‘Dammit who does Aya think he is telling me what to do gods he looks so gorgeous I could fuck him right now it’s been so damn long I want to show him who’s boss have him screaming my name shit why is he looking at me like that?’ Flinching back from the thoughts, the swordsman huddled closer to Schuldig, building up his mental barriers while awash with the more familiar and less turbulent emotions of the German.

It hurt, knowing that to Yohji, he was little more than a possible conquest, another person to be fucked and kicked out of bed in the morning. The lust had been there ever since he’d awakened that one morning in the man’s apartment, had constantly been in the playboy’s mind during their entire time together in Weiß. Yohji hadn’t felt this way towards Omi and Ken, at least as far as Aya could sense; and the lust had burned him every time the man had touched him. Aya had kept Kudoh at arm’s length as much as possible, reminding himself of what happened to the blond’s lovers come the next morning when he felt the lust overwhelming him and making him ache for his teammate to touch him. It wasn’t as if he meant anything to Yohji other than an attractive body to fuck, one readily available under the same roof. Or that the pain he felt when thinking of the man was anything more than a reaction to strong thoughts and emotions tearing through his defenses.

Shaking such thoughts from his mind, Aya realized that while he had been distracted, Schuldig had commenced instructing Yohji on how to build his shields. "-a god damned sieve, what with the huge holes you are leaving in them. How many times do we have to go over this, Blondie? You do it like _this_", and the older telepath mentally projected the proper way to construct a barrier for the nth time to Kudoh. Aya felt Schuldig’s frustration and annoyance wash through him, followed by an echo of even more frustration and a hint of pain from Yohji. <You know, little violet, at one time I was grateful for getting the idiot over there as a pupil instead of Hidaka. Was that ever a mistake.>

Aya felt a smile tugging at the corners of his mouth, what with the overwhelming exasperation and chagrin that Schuldig had sent with that statement. Attention returning to his teammate, the smaller redhead caught the man making another mistake. Before Schuldig could correct Yohji, Aya reached out with his mind. <Not like that, Kudoh. Do it like this.> Giving the thought an extra push, he forced the pattern into Yohji’s brain. Something seemed to click for the playboy, for when he resumed building the barrier, he was finally doing it properly. Aya let his approval leak into his friend’s mind.

‘Dammit, Aya, you should be teaching me and not the prick.’

Catching that thought, Aya shook his head, ever so slightly. When he sensed that Schuldig was busy monitoring Yohji’s progress, he answered back. <I can barely manage my own, so you are stuck with Schuldig. Do me a favor, Kudoh, and start taking this seriously. It hurts to be close to you, even with Schu’s protection.>

Yohji’s face broke into a scowl when he ‘heard’ that fact. ‘The prick’s probably behind it, trying to keep us apart by making you suffer when near me or Ken. We need to talk, Aya, about what we are going to do here.’

About to argue that it was Yohji’s intense thoughts and emotions, unchecked by a mental shield, and not anything that Schuldig was responsible for being the source of his pain, Aya felt Schuldig’s attention drift onto the conversation. Blocking as best he could, he sent one more time to his teammate. <Not now, we’ll talk more tomorrow.>

‘We better, Aya.’

As Schuldig brushed through his mind, trying to catch what he’d missed while he’d been preoccupied, Aya scooted backwards, pressing his entire back against the German’s body. It worked as a distraction, along with him resting his head on Schuldig’s shoulder and hugging the arm about his waist tightly. The sensation of pleasure from the contact made Aya’s body relax, muscles loosening until the older man was all that was keeping him upright. <I’m going to work on my shields now, you can put up with Kudoh’s attitude by yourself.> Closing his eyes, he felt the impudent bastard press a kiss to his temple as a hand slid down his jeans a couple of centimeters.

Snarling softly, Aya ignored his actions in favor of escaping the waves of anger and jealousy that Kudoh was emanating. Trust Schuldig to do anything to piss the blond off. Resuming where he had left off a little bit earlier, Aya paused for a second to wonder why Schuldig’s lust didn’t burn as much as Yohji’s did. Was it because Schu was another telepath? None of the foreigner’s thoughts or emotions caused him any pain; in all actuality, the feelings they produced were the exact opposite. Nor did Aya sense anything other than frustration and anger alongside the lust, from Kudoh. With Schuldig, it was a jumble of emotion: lust first and foremost, along with irritation, amusement, craving, affection and a desperate hope. Emotions he never sensed the man feel towards anyone else but him.

Confused and disturbed by his thoughts, Aya forcefully shoved the topic aside to work on his shields. Schuldig was affecting him, there was no doubt about it. He needed to get his shields up so he could put some distance between himself and the German, then try to figure the situation out. Sometime when pleasure wasn’t thrumming through him, making every nerve in Aya’s body tingle.

*******

Schuldig combed back the crimson bangs falling onto Aya’s sleeping face. The Japanese man needed a hair cut rather badly; it was a wonder he could see anything at all with all that hair hanging in front of his eyes, but the effect was rather stunning. Blood red hair against the pale skin, violet orbs peeking through the strands. "//You are the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.//" He was about to leave the vision of beauty for the evening: Aya was dressed only in his black cotton pants, stretched out unconscious on their bed. Knowing what was in store for him, of the ache and loneliness that would only increase the longer he was away from the other telepath, Schuldig found it very difficult to get up from the bed and walk away.

"Mastermind, we need to get going. The target is only going to be accessible for a short period of time." Crawford’s hand on his shoulder reminded the German of the task needing his attention. Standing up, Schuldig couldn’t resist running his hand through the silky hair once more, caressing his way down Aya’s neck and chest before reluctantly pulling his hand away from the white flesh. He reminded himself that the sooner the mission was over with, the sooner he could be back here. Naked and in bed with Aya, enjoying the feel of all that skin against his.

"Well, Papa, what are we waiting for then? Let’s go." Schuldig started out the door when he felt the precog touch his shoulder a second time. "What?"

Locking the bedroom door behind him, Crawford took a moment to glance down the hallway, towards the living room where Ken was watching a movie. <Listen to me carefully. Tomorrow at breakfast, Fujimiya will block you from his thoughts for a short period of time. You will not try and read his thoughts during the meal, nor scan him to find out what he is hiding from you. It is very important that you do neither, do you understand?>

Mindful of the athlete, Schuldig responded back telepathically as well. <Why? And is it really such a good idea to allow Kudoh and Hidaka free rein of the apartment while we are gone?>

<We need to build trust between them and us. My office and your and Nagi’s rooms are locked, and the phones disconnected. They won’t be able to contact anyone while we are gone, nor will they manage to escape. Now come on.> The American started striding down the hall, towards a waiting Nagi and Farfarello.

<Hold it, Bradley. You are avoiding the first question. Why am I to let Aya block me from his thoughts tomorrow? That bastard Kudoh is up to something, and he’s trying to involve Aya in whatever it is.>

Bradley Crawford surveyed his assembled team while ignoring the telepath for a few seconds. "Everyone ready?" He received two nods and a growl in response. "Good, let’s go." He let the others step into the elevator before him, still ignoring a growling Schuldig, and then keyed the apartment doors to not open until the proper code was given. <You’re starting to sound like Fujimiya there, Mastermind. Listen, I can’t explain why you should follow my orders right now, but I promise you this. Refrain from scanning Fujimiya or any of his teammates’ minds tomorrow, and you won’t ever regret it. My word on that.>

Dammit, when Crawford gave his word, the man was always perfectly serious. Schuldig nodded his head as he consented to the odd request. Besides, trying to figure out what was going to happen tomorrow should help distract him for a short time, filling the hours until he could be back home, snuggled up to Aya and complete once more.

*******

Nonchalantly strolling into the dining room, Yohji took the open seat at the end of the table. It meant that he would have to spend the entire meal feeling the weight of an assessing pair of blue eyes on him, but the only other available seat was Farfarello’s. And after sitting in it once by mistake, there was no way in hell that Yohji would ever voluntarily sit there again. His skin had crawled for hours from that brief touch with sheer madness.

As soon as he sat down, a coffee cup floated down to him. Accepting the cup, and the following bowls of rice, scrambled eggs and miso soup, Yohji nodded his thanks to Nagi. Everyone knew by now not to talk to him until he had at least one cup of caffeine in him, and quietly resumed their meals.

Green eyes surveyed the room and its occupants. Ken was dressed in one of his numerous sports jerseys, his brown hair appearing as if it hadn’t been attacked by a brush in the past few days. The athlete seemed so out of place in the formal dining room, a stark contrast to the red painted walls and rich wood paneling. Beside him sat Nagi, also dressed in a soccer jersey that was slipping down his thin shoulders. Those two were getting too close for comfort; he’d never suspected Ken of being such a pervert.

Stuck-up Crawford was dressed in a business suit as usual, this one a dark Armani. The American spared him a glance before returning his attention to the stack of newspapers in front of him. Farfarello wasn’t here; it seemed that it took the Irishman a day or two to return to ‘normal’ after a mission.

Yohji felt his teeth grind together when he regarded Aya and Schuldig. The German prick had an exceptionally smug look on his face today, and was holding Aya closer than normal as he harassed the man into eating his breakfast. For his part, the smaller redhead snarled, seeming to have great difficulty staying awake. Guess those drugs were doing a number on Aya; after all, this was a man who refused all alcohol and most pain medications, feeling the need to remain in full control of himself. Most likely because of his talent. It was funny how so much of his former teammate’s odd behavior was making sense to Yohji now. What he wouldn’t give to have had this insight back when they’d still been in Weiß.

Aya pushed up the sleeve of his black sweater, showing off a still too thin wrist for a moment before the hand smacked the German on the back of his head with blinding speed. Schuldig muttered some curses in his native language and yanked the man onto his lap, wrapping a hand around Aya’s waist to keep him from escaping. Yohji felt his body tighten at the sight, growing angrier by the minute as his teammate remained seated on Schuldig’s lap, calmly eating his breakfast.

The longhaired foreigner turned to look in his direction and smiled evilly. Smug bastard thought that he was making headway with Aya. Well, just wait ‘til his friend’s shields were strong enough, he knew that Aya longed for the day when he’d have his personal space and privacy back. Schuldig seemed to pick up on that thought, suddenly frowning as he hugged the oblivious redhead closer. Yohji bared his teeth at the man, recalling all the times that Aya had locked himself away from the rest of Weiß, needing his solitude.

Finishing his cup of coffee, Yohji started on his soup. ‘Hey, Aya, you free to talk?’

<Not now, Kudoh.> For a moment the blond thought of how hearing Aya’s deep, melodic voice had caused minute shivers to run down his back. The man’s mental projections were just not the same, lacking the special resonance that his speaking voice had. Yohji had to get Aya to start talking out loud once more; he didn’t like how easily the swordsman was adjusting to his power. Scowling in irritation, he didn’t even bother to thank Nagi when his cup was refilled with coffee.

Halfway through his rice, Yohji felt a brush against his mind. <Okay, he’s distracted now, what do you want to talk about?> He looked up to see Aya’s eyes focused on him, while the two foreigners were staring at each other. They must be talking to one another telepathically as well.

‘Hold on, can you include Ken in this? It concerns the three of us.’

The violet eyes drifted closed for a few seconds. <He’s here now. Be quick, the others will suspect something if the three of us are quiet for too long.>

‘Ken?’

‘Hey, Yohji. You need to learn some manners, Nagi’s not your damn slave, you know.’ Yohji’s confusion washed through the connection, prompting the brunet to sigh. ‘He refilled your coffee. He doesn’t have to do that, you know, Nagi’s just trying hard to be friendly to you.’

Yohji rubbed his temples. ‘Hidaka, not now. I’ll thank the bra- ah, kid later. Right now I want to fill Aya in on what we came up with last night.’

‘I’m not sure this plan of yours will work, Yohji. I have a bad feeling about it.’ Ken looked down at his bowl of eggs, pushing the food back and forth with his chopsticks.

There was a flash of irritation, and then Yohji found himself suddenly thinking of last night’s discussion. When Ken and he had talked about how to go about getting the codes for the elevator. The athlete had confessed that Nagi didn’t know any of them but the ones to get to the roof, and couldn’t be wheedled into revealing them. Farfarello was out; there was no way either of them would attempt to coerce the madman, which left Schuldig and Crawford. Which really left Schuldig, as they knew better than even to attempt trying to get the information out of the American. That man wouldn’t give the codes to his dying mother.

Since they were dealing with the telepath, that left one rather obvious solution. Aya could go into the man’s mind and get the codes for them.

<Are you fucking nuts, Kudoh? Captivity and lack of sex have clearly eroded your sanity.>

Ken bit back on a chuckle, causing him to choke on his eggs. Nagi patted his back worriedly as Yohji glared at Aya. ‘No, I’m not. You’re a telepath, get inside his head and get the codes. You want to stay here forever?’

<We have no choice but to remain here, Kudoh. How good your shields doing, lately?> Aya glared back at him, waiting for an answer that he already knew. <Besides, he’ll know the moment I try to get the information.>

‘Dammit, Aya, won’t you even give it a chance? Distract him somehow, and get the codes. We’ll put them to use the moment our shields are adequate, then hightail it to a place where there are no other people and work on them some more.’

Aya picked up his tea and started to sip it. <What if they change the codes periodically?>

‘You’ll know that when you find the codes.’ Yohji sighed and sipped his drink as well, frustrated with trying to make the redhead see sense. It didn’t help that he felt Ken’s disapproval through the link; the man had been against the plan last night. He kept saying that his visions had revealed no other alternative for them but to join Schwarz, and if that there was any chance of them escaping, he would have seen it. There was no way Yohji was going to remain here much longer, watching his two friends be brainwashed by their captors.

<They haven’t done anything of the sort, I would know if they did. Besides, how am I to distract Schu? He’s in my head almost all the time, it will be hard enough to hide this conversation from him.> Aya leaned back against the older telepath, closing his eyes again, this time apparently from exhaustion. The talk must be wearing him out. Yohji knew that he had to wrap this up.

‘Well, there is one sure-fire way.’ One that he personally detested the thought of, but it was the only thing he could think of. Aya immediately picked up on the idea and let out a low, mental growl.

<You really are nuts. Me, seduce Schu?>

‘Trust me, Aya, the man wants in your pants in the worst way. Lead him on a little, distract him and get the codes. I’m not telling you to actually sleep with him, just make him think that you will.’ He could still sense his teammates’ reluctance. ‘Don’t you want to be free? The pricks are never going to let us go, you ready to have Schuldig in your head for the rest of your life? Please, Aya, I know that I can’t live like this, or I really will go insane. Please.’

After what seemed a small eternity, Aya finally agreed. <Alright, I’ll do it. I still think it’s a mistake, though.> Ken seconded the notion. <Just don’t get your hopes up, Kudoh, I doubt this will work.>

‘Just try it, Aya.’

<Tonight. I’ll give it one try, if it fails that is it, Kudoh. Meanwhile, work on your damn shields, the both of you.> Aya abruptly severed the connection, resting his head on Schuldig’s shoulder, not moving a muscle when the German nuzzled the side of his face. Yohji reminded himself that soon he would have Aya away from the man permanently, so it would be wise to remain seated and not strangle the prick. Glancing over at Ken, he found the man shaking his head, a sorrowful expression on his face. Screw Hidaka and his ‘visions’. This would work. It had to.

*******

"No, no, no, the flowers go over there. _There_ I said." Ouka stamped her foot, waiting for Dayu and Shigi Jou, the latest recruit to Weiß, to carry the potted roses over to the opposite side of the shop. Chuckling softly, Omi reflected on how much of a terror his half sister could be. Two pairs of brown eyes stared at him beseechingly, but all he did was shake his head sadly. "I saw that. I’ll have you know that Omi-kun trusts my judgment on the matter, and left the new shop layout to me. And I say that the roses would be best over there; all the girls will gather there when they surround the register, busy flirting with you."

Dayu appeared to pale over that bit of information, while Jou, a stocky youth in his late teens, with black hair that hung to his shoulder blades pulled back in a neat ponytail, smiled at that bit of news. Omi got the impression that the man wouldn’t complain about any attention he received from the female population, judging from the way he had even flirted with Ouka upon being introduced to the girl. He wasn’t the flirt that Yohji was, but certainly was a healthy young male. Dayu, on the other hand, still came across as nervous, uncertain of the new environment he found himself in. At least the man was a halfway decent florist.

"You heard the lady, the roses go over there." The blond youth smiled at the groans his newest teammates voiced, then slung an arm around Ouka’s shoulders when she came to stand beside him. The regret over finding out that he was related to his first love had faded quickly as they had assumed a more platonic relationship as half siblings. The girl and her mother looked out for him, inviting him for dinner almost every night. For a moment, Omi thought about how hard it was going to be to keep his true occupation a secret from the intelligent girl, but knew he would go to any length to make sure she never found out. He wanted to spare Ouka from the awful truth, yet refused to push her away, needing her to balance him out.

"When will the last new guy be here?"

"Huh?" Omi blinked a few times, startled from his thoughts. "Oh, I think he is to arrive sometime today. All I know is that… hey, watch it!" He dashed over to save the display of violets and pansies from being knocked over by Dayu. It took a few minutes to put the pots back into order, what with the man constantly apologizing, and Ouka once more offering supervision. Omi was about to join Jou, who was on the floor laughing his head off, when the door chimed. "Wait here, it must be the new guy."

Rushing to the front of the shop, Omi felt the hello he was issuing die in his throat. The man surveying the shop with a hint of disgust was very tall, almost a hundred and ninety centimeters tall, and strikingly handsome. Cold grey eyes stared at him from an impassive face, as the man dropped a small bag to the floor. "Tsukiyono, I presume." He kept a long tube in his left hand, which Omi thought must be his weapon. He assumed that Weiß had been sent another swordsman.

"Correct. And you are…"

"Yasukawa Kai. Tonkinese." A folder was suddenly offered to him. "Where is my apartment?"

Fumbling in his pocket, Omi held out the key just as Ouka decided to check the man out. "Omi-kun, is this the new hire?"

"Ah, yes it is. Yasukawa Kai, I’d like you to meet my half sister, Sakaki Ouka." He shot the man a warning look, deliberately hiding the folder behind his back. Grey eyes narrowed for a moment, then the man offered a distant hello to the girl.

"Nice to meet you. I’m going to my room, I will stop by later to talk to you some more, Tsukiyono." With that, the man picked up his bag, turned around and quietly walked out the door. Omi realized that he had been holding his breath for some reason, and turned to face his sister.

Who was staring after the departed man. "Hmph, I think someone’s looks have gone to their head. He seems a bit arrogant." If there was anyone who was an expert on the condition, it was Ouka. "I’m not sure I like him as much as Jou and Dayu. He reminds me of Fujimiya." The girl spun around and grabbed his arm. "Now come on, I want you to see what I have planned for the work tables. Have to leave some open space for the girls to get their bishounen fix, after all."

Sweatdropping, Omi allowed himself to be hauled through the shop. Ignoring Ouka’s chatter for the moment, he thought of what the girl had said. There was something about Yasukawa that did indeed remind him of Aya. Maybe it was the impassive face, or the way his body had moved. It probably came from the both of them being swordsmen. Still, somehow he doubted he’d care for this man as much as he had come to care for the redhead. There had been a spark of something around Aya that was completely lacking in his replacement.

*******

Pushing away his half empty plate, Aya tugged on Schuldig’s hand. <I’m done, let’s go work on my shields.> And see if he couldn’t get Kudoh’s ridiculous request out of the way.

<Hold on, you barely ate any of your dinner.> Jade green eyes glared at him angrily. <How many times do I have to tell you, if you don’t eat enough food, you won’t have the energy to build your precious shields?>

Not letting go of the man’s hand, Aya started to stand up. <I’m not hungry. Come on.>

Getting to his feet reluctantly, Schuldig waved at everyone still eating and reached for a cigarette. <You know, little one, you are one hell of a bore. It’s always ‘let’s work on my shields’ or ‘I want to practice my cats’, when the hell are we going to do what I want to do?> He blew smoke Aya’s way, knowing how much it irritated the younger man. Then promptly let out a yelp as two of his fingers were pushed in a direction they were not meant to bend in. "//You are such a vicious little bastard.//"

<What can I say, you constantly inspire me to new levels. And it’s ‘katas’, not ‘cats’> Reaching their bedroom, Aya dragged the German over to their bed. <Listen, the sooner my shields can function without you, the sooner you get rid of my ‘vicious’ person. Then you can do whatever the hell you want. You were the one to start all of this in the first place, you get to suffer.> He stretched out on his side of the bed and stared up at Schuldig, who continued to stand there with a pout on his face. For a moment, he was caught up by how handsome the man really was, especially without the aggravating smirk twisting his features. Shaking a little at the wave of lust that flashed through him, Aya closed his eyes and tried to concentrate on his shields. He didn’t want to think about how attractive Schu was, or what Yohji wanted him to do. Nor how to even go about it. Maybe he should just wait for the man to make the first move, which would be a sure thing, what with the way Schu was staring down at him at the moment.

Schuldig had caught that brief flash of emotion, filled with elation that Aya was finally noticing him. Lips curving into a smile, he joined Aya on the bed, lying right beside the man, their bodies touching. Feeling a shiver course through his body at the contact, the older telepath wasn’t sure if the action was his or Aya’s. It was so hard to tell when they were this close to each other. Schuldig brushed his fingers along Aya’s face until the lovely violet eyes opened and stared back at him. "Maybe I’m tired of suffering, mein kleins Veilchen, and want to feel something better instead. Something like this." He kissed the smaller man on the lips, threading his fingers through the silky hair to keep the man’s head from moving away.

Expecting a blow of some sort for his audacity, the German was stunned when he felt Aya first tense at the contact, then slowly start to relax. <Schu, don’t do this, it isn’t wise.> The thought whispered through his head, carrying the sensation of regret, anxiety and longing. Unsure of why Aya had said what he had, or why he was feeling like this, Schuldig pressed deeper into the other redhead’s mind, only to come across a mental barrier. Remembering just in time what Crawford had told him, he shied away from the wall, flowing around it and burrowing deeper into Aya’s psyche.

<I don’t know, little one, it seems to be the smartest thing I’ve done all day.> Deciding to press and see just how far Aya’s uncharacteristic willingness would go, he lifted his other hand and used it to tug on Aya’s chin, opening the man’s mouth for him to explore. Once again the slender body tensed, as if to strike back or flee, only to shiver as pleasure washed through the both of them. Each intimate touch sparked more bliss, causing the two of them to shift even closer to each other, seeking more of the emotion.

Aya started to suck on the tongue flicking about his mouth, catching Schuldig’s pleasure at the action. Their minds entwining together, more so than ever before, he started to pick up on what the man enjoyed, what turned him on. Hesitantly following those images, he ran his hands through the long hair, pushing off the bandana and sunglasses as he opened his mouth wider for Schu to ravage. The resulting emotion took his breath away, swamping him with pleasure and desire, shaking his mental hold until he wasn’t sure who was feeling what. Taking advantage of Aya’s confusion, the more experienced telepath started to pull up his sweater, running clever hands up and down his chest.

As more skin came in contact with skin, the bliss kept building, dragging the two of them along. Aya let out a moan as Schuldig started to nibble down his neck, fingers rubbing and gently pinching his nipples until they hardened. White hands yanked at the pale green shirt the older man was wearing, causing both men to groan when they had to break apart to shed their respective shirts. As soon as the offending garments were discarded, they pressed back against each other, hands roaming all over the now exposed skin. Trying to remember why he was allowing this to happen, Aya would grasp at what was expected of him, mind busy flowing through Schuldig’s, until another brush of hands or a nip from the mouth on his neck would send him tumbling back down into the pleasure.

Schuldig knew that something was wrong, that he should be concerned for some reason, but was too caught up in his fantasy coming true to care. Aya was here, half naked alongside of him, gasping as he devoured the slim column that he had craved for the past two weeks. None of his actions were being checked; instead the smaller man was arching that pale body into his caresses, now tilting back his head, allowing him better access to Aya’s neck. He felt the other telepath flowing through his mind, but the deeper Aya delved into his thoughts, the more intense everything became. Being just as deep inside of Aya’s psyche as the man was in his, Schuldig let the memories and thoughts flow past him, delving as deep as he could go. There were no defenses to stop him from going deeper than he had ever been inside another’s mind before, the resulting bliss silencing any concerns he might have about the matter.

Tugging at Aya’s pants, he let out a growl as the stubborn zipper first refused to budge. Once it was down he yanked off the jeans and tossed them aside, soon to be followed by the man’s boxers. Next went his own pants, knocking something off of the dresser as he sent them sailing across the room. Not that Schuldig cared in the least at the moment; he was pressed against Aya, no barriers between their skin, and if he had thought that the pleasure had been exquisite when the man was unconscious, it was _nothing_ compared to now. "//Oh god, so, so…//" Words failed him at the rapture he was feeling, and Aya’s as well, the emotion echoing back and forth between the two of them. He felt the smaller man start to shiver again, mind overwhelmed by the sensation, and started to stroke his hands over the slender body. <So good, it’s so fucking good, and it’ll only get better, little one.>

The voice in his head helped Aya to focus himself, to remind him why he had let things go this far. Schuldig was mumbling endearments in German to him, his hands making the swordsman ache, especially between his legs. Shocked by the unfamiliar sensations, by how much he wanted the older man, Aya desperately searched for the information that he needed before being able to put a stop to the situation. Combing through Schuldig’s mind, he came across a barrier tucked far back from the man’s consciousness, and broke through it.

He found the conversation between Schu and Oracle, about how he and his teammates were necessary for Schwarz to break away from Esset. He found the older man’s dreams of finally being free, of escaping from his cruel masters. There were also the codes that Yohji had wanted him to find, instantly memorized. A flash of memory, of Schuldig stretched beside him much like now, only with him being drugged, and what the man had done to him those two times. There were a few more thoughts as well, cruel indignities that the German had suffered at the hands of his teachers, the knowledge of defensive barriers that would enable Aya to better block him out yet deprive the both of them of this bliss.

Pulling back from the breached cache of memories and information, Aya noticed that the hands stroking his body, the mouth that had been tasting his skin, had become still. Schuldig’s fury and disgust washed through him, amazed by the fact that he would use himself like this. Violet eyes snapped open, staring bleakly into narrowed green ones.

"I knew you were a vicious bastard, but not a whore as well." A hand gripped Aya’s hair and jerked backwards savagely, startling a mewl of pain from him. "A fucking whore. Kudoh taught you well." For all Schuldig’s anger, he didn’t seem able to shove the younger telepath away from him, to stop touching the man. He’d been used so callously, Aya had a brilliant future ahead as an agent of Esset.

Catching that thought, along with the hurt and betrayal that the man was feeling, Aya found himself clutching Schuldig tight. <Don’t, don’t say that. You used me. You did it first, you and the others were using us from the beginning. We’re just a means to an end for you. I’m just someone who feels great to fuck, that’s all.>

"//The hell you are.//" Schuldig brutally kissed Aya’s mouth, wanting to shut the man up, even though the words had been sent telepathically. <I’m not using you now, I’m not the whore. Could have broken you at any time, could have made you want this. That’s what Esset expects, what they want us to do, but I didn’t. I could have ripped your mind to shreds and gotten what I wanted, but it wouldn’t be you.> He felt his fury burned away by passion, the pleasure proving to be the stronger of the two emotions. He felt Aya sway under the assault as well, desperate to remain in control of his faculties. <Tell me to stop, you got what you wanted. Pull away and tell Kudoh what you found out.>

Moaning under the maelstrom of emotions, the intense pleasure, the caustic anger and choking pain, Aya couldn’t make sense of which belonged to whom. The feelings emanated from the both of them, both suffering from the various betrayals. It hurt, knowing that he was the cause of the emotions that the pleasure overrode yet couldn’t quite make go away. Telling his hands to let go of Schu, he found them unwilling to do so. Still deep inside of Schuldig’s mind, he knew that every word the man had said had been true. He could have forced this weeks ago. Instead it had been Aya who had done the betraying.

Unable to decide what to do next, Aya gave in to the maelstrom. He let the passion that he had helped provoke and used take over, finishing what he had started. Aya had known there was a risk involved in this mad plan of Yohji’s, a danger to himself, one that he was secretly hoping that would cost him his life; now he’d pay the price. He wanted the pleasure at this moment; later on there would be more recriminations and accusations, but that was then. Schuldig could despise him later, could break his mind until Fujimiya Aya was forever gone. He didn’t care anymore; in fact longed for an end to things, to his life. Aya had reached his limit: first a murderer, now a whore, it was time to let it end. Finally, and thankfully.

<Ye~esss, later you’ll pay. Promise you will. For now… you’re mine.> Schuldig ripped through his mind, burrowing in so deep Aya didn’t think they would ever be able to separate. As the German sorted through his memories, Aya found the man’s past open to him as well. All the barriers were down. Trying to make sense of which memory belonged to whom, he was jolted back to reality as he was rolled onto his back. "I’m taking all of you, every last memory and thought, every centimeter of your body and all the emotions I can wring from it. Mine." There was a flash of Crawford giving him to the German, telling Schuldig that Aya was his. Schuldig was hell-bent on making that gift a reality.

Anger flaring at finding himself treated like an object, something to be handed to one person or another, Aya started to marshal his thoughts for a scathing retort, only to lose himself in the sensation of Schuldig kissing him breathless as the taller man settled on top of him, covering his body as he nestled between Aya’s thighs. The ecstasy started to burn, an inferno of feelings that left the two telepaths gasping for air.

Recovering first, Schuldig pressed his mouth against Aya’s neck, lips sucking on the pale skin as a hand trailed down the slender body. Skimming his fingers along the smaller man’s shaft, the German smiled at the moans the touch produced from Aya. Pumping the twitching cock, he let out a moan of his own as he felt what the swordsman was experiencing. The two hand jobs that he’d had from an unconscious Aya were nothing compared to what it felt like now, with both of them awake and aware. It was enough to threaten to send him over the edge, the bliss setting his nerves on fire. Free hand fumbling along a nightstand, he desperately searched for something to use as lubricant. Coming across a bottle of lotion, he figured that it would do and tore the top off, squeezing a huge dollop onto his palm.

He felt Aya’s shock as a finger entered his body, the slim form beneath his tensing. Sliding down the bed, Schuldig took the Japanese man’s cock into his mouth, distracting Aya from what his finger was doing. Confusion, discomfort and apprehension entered the swirl of emotions between the two of them, slowly fading beneath the bliss as Schuldig sucked and licked the erection. Aya was moaning again, lost in the pleasure and need, oblivious to a second finger entering him until it flicked against that special spot inside of him. Flicking it again, drinking in the mewling sounds the smaller man made, Schuldig knew that he was pushing things, that Aya wouldn’t last much longer. The man was experiencing more pleasure than he ever had before, isolated as he had been by his power.

Schuldig pulled away from the other telepath, settling himself between the widespread thighs. "I told you it would only get better." The apprehension returned when he started to push inside of Aya, filling him with that emotion and the discomfort of being painfully stretched.

<Schu, I thought… it can’t… ohhh.> Aya tried to gather his thoughts, feeling his mind torn between the pain of something thick being slowly shoved inside of him, filling him as he’d never been before, and the satisfaction and pleasure radiating off of Schuldig from slowly burying himself inside of him. There was a wash of memories, of the other lovers the German had taken in the past. Distracted by the scenes, Aya let out a gasp as the older man suddenly thrust himself in all the way.

<Not like this, none of them were ever like this. So tight, so beautiful, so perfect. No pain. No pain at all. It’ll be all ecstasy soon, my little violet, I swear.> German endearments filled his ears, just as the man’s thoughts were in his head, telling him to relax, to wait just a little longer, how perfect he was and now he was all Schuldig’s, forever. Feeling his body slowly adjust to the invading presence deep inside of him, Aya lost himself in the older man’s emotions, wanting the pleasure for as long as he could enjoy it. When this was over he would pay, would hope for an end to things. But for now there was this idyll from the pain and loneliness.

So slowly that it took him a few moments to realize it, Schuldig started moving inside of him. Lost as he was in the other man’s emotions, it came as a shock to Aya when his hips were tilted up and that spot hit once more, this time much more forcefully than before. Both of them moaned, as anything other than desire and intense ecstasy fell away. Each thrust increased those feelings, making the two telepaths oblivious to anything else besides how good and right it felt to be joined like this, body and mind.

It felt as if they’d always been like this, inside each other. That there was nothing else out there for them but the blissful now. Passion and pleasure reaching an impossible crescendo, Aya felt his world shatter as his orgasm ripped through him, setting his body on fire. Schuldig immediately followed, crashing down with him until they slammed back to reality. Slowly coming to his senses, Aya returned to an aching, sweaty body, stomach covered by a sticky, cooling liquid, the solid presence inside of him shrinking and disappearing altogether as Schuldig shifted off of him. Busy trying to catch his breath, he didn’t resist when the other man pulled him onto his side, taking a moment to wipe him off before holding him close.

Waiting for Schuldig to exact his revenge, Aya felt exhaustion tug at him, making the world fade away once more. The last thing he was aware of was the pressing din of voices resuming their place in the back of his mind; they had been absent the entire time that he and Schu had been lost in each other. With the last of his energy he sent a message to Yohji. <Sorry, it failed.> Then he gave in to the need to sleep, body still tingling from the pleasure.

Stroking a hand through the crimson hair, Schuldig heard himself snarl as Aya sent the thought to Kudoh. Damn the man for still thinking of the bastard, after everything that had just happened. Minds still entangled, he knew that when the slender redhead woke up, he would be expecting to pay for what had happened earlier. The fool thought that he had forfeited his life or mind with the escape attempt, and actually longed for the assumed oblivion. "//Silly, stubborn little fool. I’m not letting go of you now.//"

He had the perfect punishment in mind, now that he had calmed down and was no longer overreacting. Aya’s rummage through his mind had hurt, but he’d been expecting such an action. What he hadn’t expected was the manner with which the reserved man would cloak his actions, and it was the thought that Aya hadn’t wanted him at all that had caused him so much pain and anger. Running a hand down the beautiful face before him, Schuldig reflected that it certainly wasn’t the case now. His little violet had given in to both him and the pleasure completely, making Aya his. Schuldig was half tempted to reach out for Kudoh’s mind and thank the plotting bastard. He couldn’t wait to rub the fact into Kudoh’s face that he had practically handed the one thing the blond wanted as much as his freedom. For once, Schuldig was the one to have gotten what he’d wanted. Suddenly, the thought that he and the rest of Schwarz would actually escape from Esset seemed so real. It would only be a matter of time now. Soon he’d be what he’d never been; free.

Until then, he would enjoy the present that he’d received tonight. Even though he was a telepath and not a clairvoyant, Schuldig knew that he’d be spending the foreseeable future ensuring that Aya would never leave him, even after they were free, and trying to name the confusing emotions the man had awakon in him this night.

*******

In the room down the hall, Oracle stifled a moan. Despite the pain filling him from his latest vision, the handsome man was smiling in pure joy. He’d felt the future he’d longed for so desperately solidify tonight. Schuldig had snared Fujimiya; now the man was Schwarz. Kudoh would remain with the team as well, unwilling to either leave the swordsman or admit to his true feelings for the man. Hidaka would no longer find himself split between his past and his future, and take another chance at happiness. There would be one or two more betrayals to get past before the men finally realized that they had chosen black over white, but from this moment on, even if they weren’t aware of it, they were no longer Weiß. Schwarz’s ranks had swelled, and now they had the power to break Esset’s hold on them.

*******

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