|Genre: Gen, Horror?
Characters: Schwarz & some enemies
Comments: Halloween always makes me think about certain classics. :)
"boojeanne" a.k.a. bonnejeanne's website: Love & Gundams
It was far from the first time Farfarello had disappeared for a night or longer, only to show up the following day somewhat the worse for wear. Since it was assumed the other party could hardly have gotten off with his life, it wasn't a matter for much concern. Someone patched him up - Schuldig, bitching about it; Nagi, with dark looks - or he did it himself and no more was said unless someone noticed a mention in the back pages of the newspaper of an unrecognizable body found or a missing person reported. But that happened only rarely. The Irishman was choosier than one might expect about his victims and their deaths were rarely noted.
It wasn't the first time, but from the moment the first rays of dawn brought the soft limping drag and the catlike scratch at the door, no, more like from the moment a sleepy and resentful Prodigy opened said door, Crawford appearing behind him suddenly, wide awake and tense, it would go down in current Schwarz memory as the worst.
Nagi was pretty well nigh unshockable, but when he saw what fell into the door, his eyes widened and he gagged, covering his mouth with his hand.
Schuldig, wakened and thoroughly curious from the reactions he was sensing, walked in from his bedroom, hitching the green silk pajama bottoms up absently as he scratched his backside. A witty/scathing comment died on his lips as he observed the man on the floor, just inside the door.
A low whistle emerged from his lips instead.
"So what country now doesn't have an army?"
The single gold eye opened and rolled to look at the German with an expression that, through the gore, was almost beatific.
"Shut the door," Crawford snapped at Nagi, who broke his trance and moved to obey, pushing a trailing leg inside so he could do so.
Kneeling beside Farfarello, Crawford tilted the Irishman's chin up with his fingertips, lips pressed together thinly, though whether as a reaction to the state of his team member, or out of distaste, wasn't obvious. He examined the throat wound, where a lot of the blood appeared to originate from, critically.
Without commenting on his findings, he glared pointedly at the victim. His next words were in English, to Farfarello, but Nagi marked them, quite certain he had the pronouns right.
"Did you kill it?" Crawford said.
The answering smile was affirmative, if unfocused from blood loss.
Turning from Farf, Crawford stabbed a look at Schuldig, when for once, the German hadn't done anything that he knew of to warrant it.
"Do you know what 'inevitable' means?"
"Ja, of course."
Crawford snarled softly. "No you don't. Hope you never find out."
Standing up, he glanced from Schuldig to Nagi and back. "Well, clean him up. Are you waiting for an invitation?"
Nagi's muttering was subdued as he telekinetically lifted Farfarello's mass from the floor and moved him into the tub. It was the most efficient way to go, Schuldig admitted, as he turned on the shower water, warm, watching the red wash slowly out of white hair. Until they got the gore off it would be impossible to tell what needed patching.
The entranceway rug was going to need replacing.
They worked mostly in silence, without the typical soundtrack of Schuldig's running commentary. The only thing on the Irishman that was clean was the spike still clutched tightly in one hand, and which Farfarello would not let go.
Unable to resist, the telepath delicately attempted to sample his teammate's recent memories, desiring with increasing urgency to see who or what had given Berserker such a battle. Expecting perhaps a gang in the double digits, he wasn't prepared for the erratic flashes that came at him, filtered through Farf's odd mental chemistry. Schuldig didn't try to look in that particular mind often, but familiarity allowed him to see enough to leave him confused, puzzled and disturbed.
Bundled in clean white linen already starting to stain with sluggish seeping, Farfarello was deposited in his room with the blinds closed and the lights out. Rags of clothing sodden with blood and water went into a heavy-duty green plastic trash bag and Nagi announced he was skipping school and going back to bed, with the tone of no argument.
Leaving Schuldig alone to ponder the disturbing second-hand glimpses he had seen of a single foe, an epic battle that would have put any Hollywood blockbuster to shame, and persistent images of long white teeth and red, red blood.
No one was surprised when Farfarello didn't emerge from his room for the entire day. Attempting to mask a superficial concern with annoyance, Nagi fetched a tray of food - whatever was around already, the Irishman wasn't usually too picky - and left it just outside the door, after knocking. He heard what he took to be sounds of movement within and assumed his knock had been heard and properly interpreted, but the tray remained outside the door, untouched, for the rest of the day.
Crawford seemed unusually tense and snappish, which gave Schuldig something to occupy his time with - it usually wasn't worth the effort to get a rise from the American, in spite of his dedication to trying. But having Crawford place his gun to Schuldig's temple along with the tenth order to shut up, even though the German moved out of range instantly, put this mood outside the scale of Crawford's better-known tempers.
"Don't ask me what's wrong, you looked," the Oracle hissed after a silent, and almost conciliatory inquiry.
"What did you see?" Nagi asked quietly, as Schuldig watched Crawford stalk off. He realized that Crawford was probably referring to a peek into Farfarello's mind the night before.
Schuldig shook his head. "Nothing... much. Things that don't make sense. He must have been high."
Nagi stared at Schuldig in mild disbelief. He'd never observed the drink or drug that affected Farfarello with dementia.
The pale Irishman emerged from his room at sunset.
Ignoring the tray on the floor, he wandered into the living room first, glancing around as if taking a head count. Nagi looked up from the book he was reading and his eyes narrowed.
Farfarello tended to heal quickly, they all did to a degree. But it should have been several days before he could move quite so easily. Not only did he seem to show no ill affects from the terrible wounds, but his wiry body seemed almost a coiled spring of suppressed energy.
"What happened to you last night?" Nagi closed his book and made a direct question of it, annoyed by the uneasy sensation that there was something afoot he knew nothing about.
The single gold eye fixed on him. "Went hunting." Farfarello's attention shifted from Nagi, having answered the question to his own satisfaction. "'M hungry..."
"I left you a tray."
The Irishman wrinkled his nose, wandering towards the kitchen. "Cold food. I want something warm."
"Fine if you're going to be particular." Nagi wrenched his attention back to his book.
"Mein Gott! What happened in here?"
Schuldig's exclamation came from the kitchen about twenty minutes later. Nagi considered ignoring it but curiosity got the better of him and he put down his book and went to see.
Every cabinet was opened, most of the contents pulled out and discarded, and the same for the refrigerator. There were packages of food and drink all over the counters, many of them opened, but little or nothing eaten.
Farfarello was sitting on a stool, eating raw hamburger with his fingers. The microwave door was open as it he'd heated it for a few seconds but not cooked it at all. The red juice ran down his fingers.
He looked at Schuldig innocently, chewed, and then spat out most of the mouthful into the sink.
"Too much fat..."
"You're cleaning this mess up," Nagi snapped, attempting to pre-empt getting stuck with the job.
Farfarello glanced at Nagi and the boy blinked. It almost seemed for a moment as if a flicker of red light kindled in the pupil of that yellow eye. Odd trick of the light.
Dropping the rest of the meaty mess into the sink - a waste for the disposal but who would want it after all? -- the Irishman licked his fingers and then began randomly shoving items back into cabinets.
"'M hungry," he muttered. "And thirsty."
"I said no."
"You have to be ficken kidding," Schuldig's voice oozed incredulity. "I'm not going to stay cooped up here, I'll go nuts! Either he goes or I do!"
"I said no one is leaving before dawn."
"Dawn? Dawn??!! What does that mean? You sound..."
It wasn't often Schuldig censored himself (in fact Nagi couldn't remember a single instance) so the cut off had an odd feel to it. As if the German finished mentally, but only in Crawford's mind.
Crawford scowled, pushing up his glasses deliberately. "Don't fuck with me about this, I have my reasons. As if you didn't know."
Farfarello waited a tad blankly during the spat, then simply attempted to walk around the two and open the front door.
The click of Crawford's gun cocking was loud in the quiet night.
There was a long silent moment that followed, then Farfarello shrugged and retreated from the door, wandering back towards his room.
Nagi waited until Schuldig left as well, shoulders, then hips swinging dramatically in a silent expression of displeasure.
Looking at Crawford, Nagi folded his arms over his chest.
"What is going on?"
Crawford uncocked the automatic and put it away. He looked at Nagi, calculations visible behind his eyes.
"We're going to have company. Don't let anyone in. No one. Understand?"
Nagi frowned. "Of course not," he snapped. Then, "Who..."
Crawford walked away before he could finish the question.
Something about that order stuck to Nagi's consciousness like something tacky. He found himself sitting where he could actually see the front door. The minutes ticked by into an hour or two, and even the sound of Schuldig and Crawford arguing somewhere in another part of the apartment didn't liberate his attention.
He 'read' the same page three times before a soft touch on his shoulder made him jump, slamming it shut and turning with a snarl.
A single gold eye gazed back at him.
"What are you doing?" Even jerking his shoulder sharply didn't dislodge the hand that had settled on it.
"You smell good."
Nagi stared, nonplussed. He knew Farfarello was probably crazy, they all might qualify for that in some sense, but he also knew the shapes of their various dysfunctions and this didn't fit the Irishman.
"I don't know what is going on with you, but if you're going ecchi, you can shove it."
Farfarello gazed back with a standard, one-size-fits-all stare.
His eye fell to the line of Nagi's throat and the Irishman licked his lips.
Nagi frowned like a thundercloud. He felt reluctant to do what he did, but his deeply buried affection for the Irishman wasn't enough to prevent him. He pushed, and Farfarello flew several feet and crashed into the sofa.
Looking up almost reproachfully, Farfarello said, "'M hungry." The mildly plaintive tone left Nagi feeling both confused and annoyed.
The knock at the door caught him off guard. Putting down his book, Nagi went to it, not to answer, but to peer out the peephole, at the same time sending a sharp thought towards Schuldig asking what the telepath sensed. /Who is it?/
The image in the peephole startled him. He had the door open before he realized he was doing it.
"Tot! What are you... you're alive..."
/VERDAMMT! IT'S NOT.../
The mental scream hurt but he was already pulling her inside.
The subsequent mental cussing by Schuldig didn't drown out the sound of Crawford's gun being cocked again. But Nagi was staring frozen as the girl in his arms began to shift, the familiar face peeling away as Schuldig none-too-gently disabused him of the glamour. A stranger looked back, a girl, very young looking, but her lips were dark red, though they didn't look made up. She smiled and opened her mouth, white teeth gleaming at him as she slipped a hand around his neck.
With a gasp, Nagi blew her back out the door, her body slamming into the hall opposite with a sickening crunch.
Crawford emptied four shots into the crushed girl's body for good measure, and grabbed the door to slam it shut.
The American threw a glare at Nagi, and words did not need to be exchanged. However Nagi was too shaken by what had happened to feel the sting of the silent remonstrance.
"What the fuck was that?!"
Schuldig managed a smirk at the uncharacteristic cussing on the part of Prodigy.
Crawford slammed the door and shot the lock. He pinned Farfarello with his eyes.
"You said you killed it."
"Was a different one."
"Fantastic. You pissed off its friends."
Nagi cornered Schuldig. "Cut the stupid jokes, what is going on?"
"I wasn't joking, brat."
Nagi scowled at the German, looking for the sneer and the punchline.
He got a smirk, but it wasn't the one he was looking for. In fact, the redhead seemed both excited and mildly nervous.
"That was just a mental illusion."
"Right. But what about this? Look out the peephole."
Feeling an odd chill run up his back, Nagi looked out.
There were some reddish smears on the wall but the girl was gone.
"Someone dragged away the body. So there are others."
Schuldig appeared to suppress a slight shudder. It was such an odd thing for him to do that Nagi stared. "Ja, I think there are others, but no one dragged it away. It walked."
Skeptically, Nagi gave the German a disgusted look, ignoring his own slight chill.
"Stay away from the liquor, we're having a problem."
"Leck mich am arsch."
The conversation, such as it was, was interrupted by the sound of Crawford pounding nails into the door to nail it shut.
Nagi contemplated the possibility that Rosenkreuz had somehow infiltrated some kind of gas into the apartment that was making his teammates go crazy... er.
"Don't do that, you're freaking me out!" Nagi hissed as he watched Crawford take the bottle of garlic powder from the kitchen and begin spreading it across the windowsills of the apartment.
"Folklore is probably rubbish but there's no way to tell at this point," the American muttered.
Farfarello came over to one of the windows sills, sniffed from about three feet away, sneezed, and moved off.
Wandering over to Schuldig, the Irishman sniffed again.
"You smell good."
"Erzaehle mir nicht so einen Mist."
Evidently, they didn't sniff before they came. This time four windows blew open at once in spite of the fact that they'd been locked. Four bodies hurtled inside, one of them the girl, looking mussed but hardly damaged.
The tallest, a dark, handsome if gaunt fellow, pointed a taloned finger vaguely at the nearest of member of Schwarz and said, "You don't kill one of ours and get away with it... you don't take from us, we take from you!"
Ignoring him, Crawford hissed, "Farfarello, how did you kill it?"
"Fine." Crawford put five shots in the forehead of the enemy leader, changed magazines, and put six in the thing's heart.
The girl approached Nagi, smiling evilly, raking the air with her claws. "Come here, pretty boy. I'm thirsty..."
The female's expression shifted to anger as she found herself lifted in the air. Then shock as, instead of being slammed against a wall, she found her skull suddenly imploding. She fell to the ground like a sack of meat and the coffee table disintegrated, one leg impaling her in the chest.
A silver haired man leapt at Schuldig only to find his prey behind him, fingers lightly spreading around his skull. A primal fear was plucked from a hidden memory and suddenly the silver-hair creature screamed in agony as his mind was filled with the illusion of blinding sunlight. There was a slight cooking odor and the creature dropped, smoke coming from between its ears.
Crawford quickly looked around, taking tally. He stopped and rolled his eyes to the ceiling as he saw Farfarello in the corner with the fourth intruder.
Licking his spike, the Irishman looked up apologetically. His canines were now elongated and sharp looking, as well as stained red.
The next morning they moved out, and torched the apartment behind them. None of the building's other residents died in the fire but several of them were made impoverished by the loss of their belongings.
Farfarello had to be bundled up and carried to the next location. The grumbling from the others was subdued.
Wakening as fresh as a daisy at sunset, the Irishman regarded his new surroundings curiously, and then returned the looks of his teammates.
"It's not like he's that different," Schuldig smirked.
"At least now we know what to feed him," Nagi remarked, opening his book.
Farfarello awaited Crawford's pronouncement.
The American waved a hand. "Fine go. But be discrete this time."
"No problem." Farfarello smiled, a definite red flickering in the depths of a gold eye.
* all German swearing from The Swearasaurus.