Fic: Falling Empires ch.4
Title: Falling Empires ch.4
Fandom: Weiss Kreuz (AU)
Rating: Pg-13 (for this chapter) NC17 (overall)
Pairing: CrawfordxRan, SchuldigxYohji
Warnings: Not really.
Chapter Summary: Ran meets his new team and tries to understand Crawford a little bit better, with Schuldig actually trying to give advise.
Comments: always appreciated.
The car journey had gone in silence and Ran had been left alone with his thoughts; his mind a whirl of contradicting opinions. The man that had used him the other night was clearly dangerous and cruel if need be, what he had done to Ran's pimp was evidence of that.
The night they had spent together had been so strange, he had been cold and demanding. Yet Ran couldn't help it, the man had also warmed something inside of him. He still did it now, even when they weren't even talking or looking at each other. Ran had never experience those feelings before, he didn't know what to make of them. The way the man had made him feel that night! No punter had made him feel like that.
Ran looked up at the back of Crawford’s head and quickly back down again. He didn't know if he could cope with these feelings, he couldn't stand the man's eyes on him and his voice talking to him, yet he craved the attention so much.
Stop this, you mustn't think of him like this. He's just using you like all the others but just in a different way. You must think of Aya-chan all you do is for her.
YesRan said to himself i must only think of how to help her, i can use them as much as they use me!
Ran looked up again, and his eyes caught Crawford's in the mirror.
Oh god, oh god, oh god!
The fire in his belly, which had been brewing, sizzled and popped. Had there been something in the man's eyes? Did he feel something too? But then another thought suddenly came to him: what does he want me too do? How is he going to use me? Will it be the same as the other time, will i still be a whore? Ran had always felt degraded and humiliated by his position, his 'job', yet that was all he had been able to do to raise money for his sister. Wondering whether sex was included in the man's plans for him, Ran hated the thought to be used like that again, but did he? The feel of His hands on his body, touching him, caressing him.
The car came to an abrupt stop and Ran's eyes flew open and he groaned to himself as he realised what he had almost just done.
/You're not kidding, i really did not want that journey to end, that's some mind you have there./
Oh shit, how could i have been so stupid? A telepath in the car and i did that!
/Oh don't beat yourself up about it, you'll get use to it soon enough. By the way, and don't think that I’m butting in or anything, but don't you think that you should get to know him first. Trust me, Crawford‘s not really the caring type./
"Are you two getting out or what? I don't have all night."
Ran jerked as the voice broke his train of thoughts, and Schuldig's little monologue. He had already exited the car and had began to walk away, and Ran was once again aware of that coldness that radiated from the man.
They were in an underground parking lot, and Tokyo flats with these were extremely expensive. Ran hadn't even noticed when they had gone down into it, and he felt a little silly now for not paying more attention to where they had taken him, well they hadn't exactly made themselves trustworthy had they? Taking a large breath and scooping up the kitten in his lap, Ran got out of the car and began to follow the other two, hoping that he wasn't being lead to his doom.
Crawford, Schuldig and Ran walked across the parking lot to the elevator, with Ran lagging behind as his bad ankle began to hurt again. When they had entered, Crawford pressed the button for the top floor, the penthouse suite. The ride took place in silence and Ran had his eyes firmly on the floor, thinking over the things that Schuldig had said to him about Him. Schuldig was right he didn't know the man, and in truth he was quite afraid of him. The silence was unnerving, and Ran desperately wanted someone to speak.
"So you’re Schul-dich, that’s a weird name, where’s it from?"
Schuldig raised his eyebrow at the boy, the kid had some sass.
"Yeah, well where I come from to be named after a flower is strange. It’s Schuldig by the way, try to pronounce it right."
Ran averted his eyes to the floor again, his face nearly as red as his hair.
"Do play nice you two." Crawford cut in. "Yes, his name is Schuldig, but in certain instances in the future you will refer to him as Mastermind."
"Mastermind? - "
"Yes mastermind." Crawford continued, clearly irritated at being questioned. "I take it that you have already heard Schuldig call me Crawford, and that is what you shall call me." The elevator pinged and the doors opened revealing the flat that he was to live in from now on. Crawford walked on past him and as he went over the threshold he turned to Ran and said "However, like with Schuldig, in certain instances you will call me Oracle."
Ran followed Crawford into the flat, trying to fathom just what the hell Crawford had said to him, whilst taking in the amazing living area of the suite. Everything was clearly expensive and maybe even rare, Ran wondered if they may be antiques. His family had been fairly well off, but nothing like this, they could not have afforded even half the things in this place. After taking in the decor and the size of the main living room, he became aware of the big TV in the corner, and sofas with people sitting on them.
"Well Ran, it is time for you to meet the rest of our team, your new family."
Crawford had said the last part with a strange smile on his face, and Ran wasn't sure if he was meant to be comforted by it or not. A family was the thing he wanted most in the world, but was this really a family?
Maybe he knows what i really want and is just fooling me, but how could he know that? Unless that Schuldig told him.
/Hey you catch on fast! And less of the 'that Schuldig' if you don't mind./
/Oh great! You're going to do this a lot aren't you?/
/Oh you'll learn to love me'./ Ran scoffed at the words.
"No seriously you will, i'm a loveable kind of person." Now Ran was the one trying very hard not to laugh, he was certain that Schuldig was joking, but the man had such a leer on his face when he said it, Ran just couldn't always be sure if the man was joking are threatening.
* * * * *
Crawford walked over towards the sofas and motioned to the two people sitting on them. "this is Nagi Naoe and Farfarello, for the foreseeable future you will be living and working with them."
The teenage boy on the couch looked up at Ran and stared at him, Ran guessed this to be Nagi Naoe as the other guy was definitely not Japanese. Ran looked back at the boy and gave a short and, hopefully, friendly smile. Nagi gave a short nod in reply but said nothing, instead he was staring at the kitten in his arms with a look bordering on amazement. The man next to him on the sofa said nothing as well, but gave a small, deep chuckle as he watched the TV. Ran noticed the blood on the man's arms and hands, and the scars on his face. At that moment Ran wanted nothing more then to run away, these people were really starting to creep him out.
Ran turned away from looking at Farfarello, with a desperate feeling to turn around and run a thousand miles, but as he did so his bad ankle jarred, and Ran went flying into the one man he really didn't want to.
"Don't worry, Farfarello only has blood on his hands from killing your pimp tonight, Schuldig will clean him up, won't you Schuldig? and put him in his room."
Oh right, yeah, because that makes everything alright does it?
"Yeah i guess so. What the hell is this you're watching anyway Nagi?"
"It's an Irish comedy called 'Farther Ted' , Farf likes it, it keeps him quite." Farfarello gave another chuckle at the television.
"It's about priests and stuff though, right? Shouldn't he be hacking the TV apart with a pocket knife by now?"
"No, the priests in this are either stupid, drunk or gambling addicts, Farf says that it hurts God."
"Oh the mind of a maniac huh?"
Ran listened to the conversation in awed silence, what the hell?
"What do you mean hurt God? it's a TV programme."
Schuldig turned to Ran, a wide grin playing across his face as he was about to reply.
"Schuldig take Farfarello and clean him up now! Nagi go to bed, you have school in the morning, go!"
Nagi slowly got up from the sofa with a big huff, and Ran was relieved to see that in some ways the boy behaved like a normal teenager.
"What's the kitten about anyway Crawford? You hate animals, you hate most things."
"The kitten is still under negotiation, it will all be explained tomorrow."
"No, it's not under negotiation, you said that i could bring him."
Ran knew he sounded rather petulant right at that moment, Crawford certainly didn't look impressed with the outburst, and Nagi had now returned to staring at him like an animal in the zoo.
"The boy's right though Crawford, you did say he could bring the thing."
"Schuldig butt out and take Farfarello with you, Now. Nagi, you were on your way to bed yes?"
Schuldig walked over to Farfarello, and pulled him up from the sofa.
"Come on Farf, big boss have given us our orders."
Ran wasn't sure whether to laugh or be deathly afraid, as Farfarello was lead away, out of the room. Turning to Crawford but not looking into the man's eyes, Ran opened his mouth to ask any of the hundred odd questions he wanted to ask.
"Not now Ran it's late. You're still injured, and you need to bath and go to bed, I’ll take you to your bedroom."
"My bedroom? You mean you don't want - i mean, that's not what i have to - "
"No Ran, i would not demand sex from you, you're not here to work for me like that."
"Oh - ok." Ran offered a small, shy smile, and Crawford felt himself feeling warm inside when he saw it.
"Come on, you need to get all those injuries cleaned."
* * * * *
Ran stepped into the hot shower, and revelled in the feeling of the scalding water hitting his skin, and cleaning all the cuts and bruises. Crawford had said that he would wait outside, in Ran's room. Ran didn't know actually how to feel about that, but he supposed that he should be happy the man was taking care of him. Ran had truly had a terrible night, but through Crawford showing up at his flat, and whisking him away, Ran had almost - almost forgotten everything.
As he stepped out of the shower, Ran hissed as the cold air hit him, and quickly pulled a towel around him. He was so relieved to finally be clean. The door to the bathroom opened, and Ran spun around in shock to be met by a rather embarrassed Crawford.
"Oh - sorry, i thought that you had finished."
Now Ran was really confused. "Er, i thought you saw the future. Shouldn't you know?"
Crawford had to laugh at the boy, he was pretty smart, and he was also relieved to see that he still had spirit.
"Yes, i normally do know these things. However it's not always a precise science", especially where you are involved Crawford added to himself. "Anyway, come on get dried and here's some fresh night clothes for you, we need to sort out your injuries."
"Oh no it's ok. They're not that bad, I’ve had worse."
"I don't care, you're no good to me injured. I'll bandage you up as soon as you get dressed."
Finally clean, dried and dressed, Ran walked out of his bathroom into the bedroom, and found Crawford waiting, sitting on the end of his bed. Even more amazingly he was stroking his kitten, Ran stood in shock for a moment just staring at the scene, and suddenly came to his senses at what he was doing. Looking down at the floor in embarrassment he murmured his apologies, Crawford simply smiled at him.
"Come, sit down, i'll bandage your arm and ankle, do you think that you'll need a doctor?"
"You're sure? Okay, come here then."
Moving over towards Crawford, Ran could feel his insides jump again. He was glad that Crawford was taking care of him, he wanted Crawford to take care of him, it was so good to have someone to care for you, it had been to long since the accident, no, the murder.
"Ok, we're all finished, leave it on over night, and i'll have a look at them again tomorrow."
"Thank you - for looking after me like this."
"You're important, you're talented. Soon you'll be able to take care of yourself."
Ran wasn't too sure how he was supposed to react to that comment, so he offered another small smile. Crawford decided that he quite liked those small smiles, and he was glad that Ran gave them to him.
"Go to sleep now, you need your rest, and we can all talk in the morning. Oh and best not to let the cat out of your room yet - Farfarello - if he got hold of it, wouldn't be a nice site."
"Ok i'll remember that."
* * * * *
Ran awoke from an uncomfortable sleep. He had been tossing and turning all night, unable to settle, as he mind kept on asking those annoying questions that he just couldn't answer, and replaying those images of Crawford on repeat.
Crawford. The more Ran thought about it the more it sounded right, the right name for him.
"Crawford." He said aloud. It was a to the point, strong American name, just like its owner. Actually he quite liked the name.
"Oh my god! Oh - um - sorry, you made me jump." Ran gave a small, nervous laugh to the man in the doorway, anxiously hoping he would leave very soon.
Crawford tried hard not to smirk at the boy, he was still timid and needed handling with delicacy.
"I'm sorry i made you jump Ran. I came to tell you that breakfast is on the table, and i wanted you to join us."
"Of course, you are a member of the team now."
"Oh, yeah right, of course the team."
Crawford could sense the boys disappointment, and gave him a small indulgent smile.
"We have to discuss things, and i have a meeting soon, so we need to get it done."
"Right, ok i'm coming."
"How are the injuries?"
"Oh they’re fine, can hardly feel them now."
"Ok well, give them another clean. and leave the bandages off for the day. If they begin to hurt you though, you must tell me understand."
"Yes, ok, I will."
"Good, now come, you must be starving."
As they walked back into the apartments’ open-plan living area, Crawford smugly smiled to himself about what he had just seen. He was glad that the boy was so taken with him, it would make him easier to manipulate. However, that little voice inside of his head pointed out: you smiled at him, you actually smiled, and it's not the first time is it. God that voice was so annoying. He lusted for the boy, that was it. Honestly, sometimes he was certain that the voice must be Schuldig in disguise, just trying to annoy him.
/Hey, I would never do such a thing! As interesting as your weird, decrepit mind may be, i have no desire to be in there. Although, i do think it’s right this time, you do have some feelings for the boy, and they're more then lust./
/Oh so now you're an empath huh?/ Crawford replied as he sat down at the dinning table.
/No, starting to date one actually though. But that's not the point, the point is that on more then one occasion, you have broadcasted some rather loud thoughts towards this new boy of ours./
/Don't be utterly ridiculous, and we need to have a chat about your new hobby by the way./
At that moment Ran nervously joined the table, kitten once again in his arms. Crawford, not happy about having an animal at the table, had to painfully bite his tongue.
Trying to avoid Crawford's eye, Ran looked around at the others: Farfarello didn't spare him a glance, but stared intensely at the cat, which made Ran pull the thing even closer towards himself, in an attempt to protect it; Nagi gave a brief look, and then averted his eyes back to the bowl of cereals; and then there was Schuldig, who looked directly at him with a massive smirk on his face.
"So, heard you trying to get to grips with your new boss' name huh?"
Ran went scarlet red at the statement, averting his eyes squarely on to his plate.
"That's enough of that, we do not have time for games Schuldig." Crawford punctuated the reprimand with one of his cold 'don't piss me off' looks, and he tried enormously hard not to smile smugly, when he saw that it had worked.
"I have offered Ran a place in Schwartz, that's the name of our team Ran. He is a conjurer, though at the moment untrained, and that shall be our job in the near future, as well as all your other duties."
Ran sat looking at Crawford dumbfounded, what exactly had he been expecting? He actually didn't know. Schuldig sat quietly with complete disinterest, as if this sort of stuff was just said everyday. It was Nagi who was the first to speak:
"What about Eszet? What have they said?"
"I have told them of the find, and they are happy to leave him in our care and guidance, as their number one team of course."
"And the rest?"
"They are still completely unaware, and that is how it shall stay."
Ran's eyes widened "What rest?"
"Nothing for you to worry about at the moment Ran, you'll find out when you are ready. Now I need to meet with our employer. Nagi go to school. Schuldig you will stay in today and start teaching Ran, save your stuff with the empath until later okay."
"Whatever. Hey when can I pull my lover boy in to our little group?"
"As soon as I say you can, and do exactly as I say Schuldig, I mean it."
"What about my sister? The money, you promised."
"The money has already been transferred into the bank accounts. As for your revenge, that will come soon, when you have learnt your power and - understand all the facts."
Ran continued to stare at where Crawford had been a moment ago, trying to understand that last comment. Was it him or had Crawford appeared a bit uneasy? It wasn't something he thought he would associate with the man. Nah, it was probably just wishful thinking, hoping that there was some vulnerable, loveable side to him. Oh god I’m doing it again, having those thoughts, he turned and found himself looking at Schuldig, oh great.
Schuldig smiled, a nasty smug smile, he couldn't help it. Crawford wasn't the only one that had felt uneasy about the last thing he had mentioned. Ran's revenge, how were they going to get the kid to understand their position at the time? Sentimentality was not Schuldig's strong point, it was so much easier being nasty to being nice.
"Right Nagi off to school, you heard him. Farf - go and - tear something up in your room okay. I guess you and I should get started ja."
"Yeah, i guess we should."
* * * * *