It was a fairly bustling day at Koneko No Sume Iie, thanks to the crisp breeze blowing in off the ocean and making the warm summer day not only tolerable, but delectable. The sun shone, and the sky was only spotted by clouds, and since it was only just lunchtime, the schoolgirl crowd hadn't arrived (along with their earsplitting shrieks) to torment the boys JUST yet. They had a few customers, older men and women who stopped to buy or to browse, and otherwise, it was a good time to water the plants or put together back-ordered arrangements. The phone rang just shortly after lunchtime, as the crowd was beginning to thin. Yohji had gone off to that infamous coffee shop and met Schuldig, and Ken was off at the soccer field, so it was Omi and Ran manning the shop.
Aya glanced up from where he had been working on a bouquet and over toward the phone. He finished tying off the ribbon before grabbing it, lifting the phone to his ear. "Moshi moshi. Koneko no sumu ie desu." He finished the transaction with the lady waiting on his flowers before turning his attention back to the phone.
Omi picked up the broom as the crowd left to sweep away anything the might have fallen during the past few hours before the new wave of people, the most bustling and loud people (schoolgirls), raided the store. His eyes flicked to Aya-kun when he picked up the phone for a second or so then went back to his business. Nagi, still staying with Weiß, sat with his arms crossed over his chest and typing with his telekinesis. He knew he had to report to Crawford or he'd get cranky and take things into his own hands. He contemplated going out and helping Weiß with flower shop duties, since he hasn't really worked or been in a social scene like that, it might be an interesting venture.
"Abyssinian," said the familiar voice with its lyrical Irish accent. He didn't bother to introduce himself, figuring that Ran would figure it out even if he didn't recognize the very distinctive accent on his Japanese. "You have two problems. One arrived last night in the form of five individuals taking the direct flight into Tokyo from Switzerland. The other may be related - Kritiker's Shobuya headquarters is burning down. The fire department is having no success getting the blaze under control. I can not give you absolutes, but I believe Eszet is moving now in force. If they attacked Kritiker, there is only one thing they would have been after."
Aya froze immediately when that familiar voice worked its way through the phone line. He lifted a hand toward Omi, motioning for him to be quiet for a moment while he listened. A dark frown began etching its way across his face the more the other spoke, and soon he was scowling at the counter top. "Kuso..." His free hand curled slightly into a fist. "...Information. Us. Damnit." Shit. This was one of those Really Bad Things that happened from time to time.
Concern arose in Omi's face as he saw Aya's frown, which was in fact slightly different than the frown he wears all the time, but anways, Omi was concerned. Since the store was empty, he quietly made his way to the entrance and closed the doors and flipped the sign to close for the time being; all they needed was someone coming in during Weiß talk.
Nagi, in the mean time, sent his e-mail to Crawford about what was going on and that he was alright and the such. After Brad's almost groping manner at the cafe, Nagi wonderd if he would actually care this time about his well being outside of the fact he was a tool for Brad's success. The teenager walked downstairs and headed to the door leading to the flowershop, hoping neither Omi nor Aya would mind and would see it as a helpful gesture.
"I do not know how much time you have. They may be tracking you already. I have no information on the new arrivals at the moment, so I have nothing to give you. None of the known Kritiker agents, including your female contacts, are accounted for. They are probably dead. I see two possibilities - either they already know who and where you are, and have done this in order to force you into reacting so that they may track your movements and, by them, discover us, or they did not know and are currently seeking you." He was speaking quickly and evenly, in clipped tones. "Your course of action is up to you, but I suggest you decide quickly. Balinese is with Schuldig, and I am keeping an eye on the situation as much as possible, but I will know nothing until the blaze is under control."
"Thank you, Farfarello." With that, the phone was put down and he turned toward Omi, expression rather grim. He shook his head and sighed faintly. "We don't have much time. Kritiker's Shobuya base is gone. Guess who's responsible for that?" Frown. "Either way, chances are they know we're here." Pause. He didn't want to have to do this. Not in the least. "We have to leave."
"Leave?" Omi's face screwed up a bit as his emotions and logic collided within himself. "This soon?" Nagi, by a work of fate or not, decided to open the door to the flowershop with and apron in hand that he found discarded in the kitchen, with a mindset of helping out. But seeing Omi's pained expression and Aya's grimness stopped him from doing anything. "...what happened?"
"We're leaving." Aya answered, pausing for a moment to glance once over the store. "Now, Omi. Go upstairs. Take only what you need. There's no telling how close they are to us." He paused, frowning. They had to take their weapons, but anything more would burden them. And the kid...shit. "Five minutes. And make sure to get Ken's bugnuks. Call him." Aya was already on the move, heading back toward the stairs. He took out his cellphone and quickly punched in Yohji's number, even as he moved to their room to begin gathering what would be needed.
The Seven was already making its way back towards the Koneko, Yohji's grip on the steering wheel nearly white-knuckled, when he felt the phone start ringing in his back pocket. Turning onto their street, he pulled the phone out quickly. The ringtone told him who it was. "Aya. What's going on?"
Omi grimaced as he headed towards the back. "Why did this have to happen..."
"At least you know we weren't lying, Omi-kun." Nagi held the door open for the Weiß assassin to go through. "You must hurry." Omi's eyes connected with Nagi's for a few seconds before he nodded, then hurried in, following Aya's instructions. He hurried and grabbed a bad he found lying around to stuff Ken's bugnuks and his assassin clothes in. Take only what you need... Aya's voice rang through Omi's mind as he opted to leave Ken's room and head towards his. Nagi was already there, having disconnected his laptop and put it in its case, and also was starting to put Omi's ammo into bags that would be easier to carry around than cases.
"I think you'll need these. Hurry and call Siberian." Nagi instructed as he packed for Omi. The other assassin quickly dialed on his cell phone to contact Ken, talking to the other as he helped Nagi pack for him. "Hai, hai, emergency. Hai... I have all of your stuff packed, you need to hurry. No Ken-kun, don't get angry... please, just come over. Arigato." He quickly hung up and finalized his packings. He had the most stuff, whether Aya liked it or not. He headed down stairs, Nagi trailing behind him.
"We're leaving." Aya answered, busy with putting just a few spare bits of clothes into a bag. He carefully laid his katana on top and zipped it closed. Chances were that Yohji had his wire on him. "I just received a call from Farfarello. Kritiker's been burned down. We can't stay here." He paused for a moment before glancing toward Fishy. With an almost exasperated sigh, he grabbed the fish bowl and tucked it under an arm, slinging the back over his shoulder before exiting the room, phone pressed between ear and shoulder. He moved down to the room Touma was staying in and banged a few times on the door. "Touma! We're leaving."
The door swung open under his knocking hand, and somber dark eyes were looking up at Aya, the chibi holding the backpack that had been bought for him, crammed with the things they'd gotten. He'd been with them for a couple of weeks now. "What's wrong?" he wanted to know, though how he'd anticipated having to leave was anyone's guess. Then again, his power was based in telepathy, so he probably had a very sharp intuition.
Omi and Nagi were outside packing Aya's trunk with the belongings they mustered. Nagi watched as Omi cast a mournful look at the shop that had become home to him. "It shouldn't be this way..." he whispered, to himself Nagi assumed, and cupped his face in his hands. "This is horrible..."
The telekinetic approached the other from behind, and wrapped an arm around his shoulders to hug him. "It will be alright... just survive so you can see it again later."
Meanwhile, Farfarello made another few phone calls. The first was speed-dial. "Weiss is informed and they are moving. I presume you have a location in mind?.....................Yes. I will let them move once first, then move them again underground. Understood....... Understood. I'll keep you informed." He didn't bother closing the phone, merely punched another button, moving with eerie speed while maintaining secrecy - even in the light of day, he was uncannily stealthy. "105 East Kakyou. I need it safe and untraceable and I need it done NOW. Send Circiatto to secure it.......... no, a healthy amount of paranoia. A mouse twitches within a hundred feet of that building and I want to know it. .... In all the time you have known me, have you ever known me to be prone to exaggeration? ..... That does not count........... Enough. Just DO it. Call when it's done and have Circe call me en route. New developments on the fire? Keep looking." He snapped the phone shut and paused, leaning back against sun-warmed brick to think.
His face was grim. Hadn't Schuldig just hinted that something like this would happen? "Understood...I'm pulling up to the Koneko now." The phone was quickly stuffed back into his pocket as they tore around the corner, pulling up to the side of the building, Yohji quickly pushing his door open and seizing the keys. "Fuck..." he muttered, glancing at Schuldig. Surely he'd picked up what had happened by now. Without another word, he was making his way into the flowershop and heading back towards the place that, up til now, had certainly served as a kind of home. No time for regrets or second glances, though. What needed to be done was crystal clear.
Schuldig was already climbing out of the car, with a strangely grim look on his face. Hot on Yohji's heels, he paused and grabbed Nagi by the shoulder. "Close the trunk," he told Omi, as the stuff was all packed by now, "and get back inside. At least for now," he amended, and then walked into the flowershop, dragging Nagi with him and locking the door behind Omi once he got his ass inside. Then he frowned. "Where the hell is Abyssinian? RAN!" he shouted, turning his gaze to the stairs behind the counter as he headed for the till and snapped the register open. Calmly he started collecting the money out of the register, and he turned to dump it into the nearest hands. "In less than twelve hours, this flowershop will be ashes," he informed them. "Might as well save the cash."
You know...he just wasn't even going to ask why the kid was already packed. He just didn't want to bother with it. "If they don't know where we are now, they will soon. You're coming with us." And with that, hearing his name being called, he turned and swiftly made his way down the hall and to the stairs, taking them down quickly, Touma hopefully in tow. He glanced at Schuldig for a mere second before gazing at the others. "We have everything?"
Touma was obediently following Aya, quickly slinging the pack over his shoulder and skittering down the stairs in silence. Something was up; the hair on the back of his neck was standing on end, and what had once been telepathy was warning him. Sometimes he wondered just what Estet had done to make his power go away, and why he was still able to make himself invisible. But now, he wasn't wondering, was just grateful, and he paused at the sight of Schuldig, and stayed half hidden behind Aya.
Nagi remained in the base as Omi was dealing with Schuldig, mostly in a state of shock, he silently complied with what he was saying. Had Schuldig been an empath instead of a telepath, he probably would have felt like he was being burned by a fire when next to Omi. Bombay efficently grabbed a bag from under the counter and allowed the telepath to dump the money in there. Nagi confirmed that Omi and Ken's belongings were packed in Aya's car, and that Omi knew what was going on with Ken.
Yohji only took a moment to pile what he could into his bag, pausing for just a moment as he looked over the more...sentimental of his possessions. Most would undoubtably be left behind...but he did take the opportunity to seize a small box off the top of his dresser and stuff it into his bag as we before darting back out into the hallway. "If that's everything, we better get going." His gaze swept across to Schuldig, then to Aya. "Any word on where exactly it is we should be heading?"
"Any safehouse you guys might have had has been compromised," Schuldig said evenly, finishing with the money and stepping into the kitchen to turn the gas valves on high. "There'll doubtless be things here that they can use to track you, to track all of us, papers... fuck, if they have a psychometrist, all they'll have to do is touch one thing that you owned, and they'll know everything about you. Make sure there is NOTHING left here that you might want, 'cause when we leave, we're leaving this flowershop in flames behind us." He had to know what he was doing. "And I'm not precisely sure where to send you for now; there'll be a safehouse set up for you by nightfall, but for now..." He sighed, and caught sight of Touma, a frown crossing his face. "Who's the kid?"
"I'm not sure where at the moment. Anywhere but here. We need to head in the direction of the soccer field, though, to get Ken on the way." He adjusted the pack on his shoulder, shaking his head. He had all he needed, including the only picture of his family he'd managed to salvage from the wreckage of their old home. Aya glanced toward Schuldig briefly. "Touma. Guess who stuffed him into the asylum?" And that was all he offered. His eyes swept the gathered team once more before he nodded curtly. "Let's go."
"Shouldn't someone take Ken's bike?" Omi mentioned, "We should keep our cars and bikes at least, they will be beneficial and we wouldn't want them lying around as evidence." Omi approached his own, and Nagi accompanied him, not minding that Omi got a little ditzy knowing that someone was riding with him. I wonder if I should tell them about my grandfather's... but would any of them want to be near the Takatori?
Schuldig took another look at Touma, and his eyes widened slowly. "Holy shit," he breathed, and Touma flinched and ducked back behind Aya again. Then Schu shook his head. The kid, and the incredible wealth of knowledge that he represented, could wait for later. "So we swing by the field... somebody, think of something. Someplace you can be safe for a few hours. I'd say the mall, or someplace public, but you guys are way too familiar with your customers; someone might recognize you and wonder why you're in the mall when your shop is in flames..." Schuldig kept talking, while Touma inched toward the door, looking nervous. He didn't like that redhead; he knew what it felt like when someone looked into your mind, and the redhead had definitely done that.
The telepath also greatly resembled someone EVERY Estet pawn had ever heard of... this had to be the famous Schuldig, of the even more famous Schwarz. "Take the cars, and the bikes, anything you've touched or owned too long. And no, nobody gives a fuck about the Takatoris. You're listed as Tsukiyono in Kritiker's files, they won't even know to look for any Takatori. Now let's fucking MOVE."
His phone rang again. "Here. .......... Aye. .......... No. Tell me what you need. ..................................... .......................Understood. I will meet you there in no more than an hour. Do what you can without me." Clicking the phone shut again, he started moving fast. No public transit now - he was paranoid, and rightfully so. But he'd have to go ahead and step out in public..... thank the Malebranche for commercial charge accounts. He'd come to expect a certain level of competence from the associates he was visiting, and was not disappointed, thankfully. Within half an hour of collaberation with a very trig cove of a salesman, he had what he (or rather, Circe) needed and was moving again.
The smell of the gas was starting to get stronger, and Yohji wanted to get moving, as quickly as possible. The problem was to -where-. There was no place he could think of...not that he would have them go, anyway. If it were just him, that would be one thing. "If anyone thinks of anything when we pick up Ken, then we'll head that way," he agreed with a curt nod. "Someone do a once over, quickly. Make sure we DO have everything we need." His bag had the only thing of his that could have been used...everything else was temporary. Always had been. Easily replaced, though he doubted he would for a while. With that, he was heading out the door, heading toward the Seven. "If you've got anything extra that won't fit in your car, I've got room in the back of mine," he called on his way out.
Time to start stuffing people into vehicles. "Ken has his bike with him, Omi, so just worry about getting yours. Touma, you'll come in my car." He pointed the kid toward it as he began putting things in the back seat. Once Touma was situated, he handed the kid Fishy and climbed in himself, rolling down the window, punching in a number on his cell to get a hold of Ken. "Where are you? ...Stay there. Follow us when you see us passing." And then he was hanging up again, gazing out the window. "Everyone set?"
Omi shrugged to himself. He's just a little sharp because of the situation... "Ready Nagi-kun?" Nagi wrapped his arms around Omi in response, to the other's surprise. "Don't worry about me, go fast." After a short rev of the engine, Omi was off, hoping to reach the park first so he could get Ken up to speed with them before the cars left them behind, knowing Ken would want some sort of verbal explaination.
Touma took Fishy gravely, cradling the fish carefully and waiting for the rest of them to be set. He didn't take up much space; the whole back of Aya's car was still open if needed. Schuldig was already pulling Yohji out of the shop. "We're headed for the Citadel," he told them, and mentally gave Omi and Aya the directions, effectively just downloading it into their brains. "Into the cars, people, into the cars." He made sure he was well outside the flower shop before he lit a cigarette, making sure everyone and everything was outside, and in their vehicles. ~Abyssinian, Bombay, start driving, and don't stop,~ he commanded them mentally, sliding back into the Seven to wait rather impatiently for Yohji. "Come ON," he hissed, and only when they were driving away did he flick his cigarette into the open door of the shop, and it went up in flames like a bonfire made of sawdust on a hot summer's day.
The Seven pulled in quickly behind the other two, Yohji refusing to look back at the Koneko as it burst into flames. Probably the most peace they had found in their lives was in that place...but it had to end sometime. Everything did. Grimly, he set his mind off of it for the moment, focusing now merely on getting away, finding someplace to crash, even for a while. And then....figuring out what came next. "Guess it's started, now...this war Farfarello was talking about," he murmured quietly.
Aya nodded at the mental command and was immediately off, heading toward where Ken told him he'd made it to. He glanced in the rearview mirror just once as the shop went up in flames before turning his gaze away for good. It didn't take long for him to pass the soccer player, who fell into line behind the others. There'd be time for explanations later. Silently he followed the directions that had been put into his mind, turning the corners needed.
Omi didn't quite like it that Schuldig could invade his mind whenever he wanted. But he shoved away any thoughts that would distract him, with difficulty, and followed the directions. Omi was able to keep ahead of the cars since he could weave through traffic, mostly to burn off the excess emotions that were haunting him. Nagi looked back to the others every once in a while. ~Schuldig-kun, what do you have in mind? What about Farfarello and Crawford?~
"Yeah, it's started. Shitfuck," Schuldig cursed. "You guys are lucky Farf had a bead on things, you might..." he trailed off. How HAD Farfarello known? What the hell was his lover UP to out there? Definitely a question to ask, and soon. "But yeah, I'm pretty damned certain that you four are all there is left of Kritiker." Then something occurred to him, and he groaned. "I -really-, really hope that Aya-chan is safe," he muttered. "And that she's not in Kritiker's files, or else she's in just as much danger as you guys are, and Ran won't be able to concentrate with her in jeopardy...." Fuck! Why hadn't he thought of her sooner? He didn't even know where she was -at-. He sighed, and lit another cigarette. ~Farfarello is working on it. We're not the ones in danger here, it's Weiss.~
Meanwhile, in Aya's car, Touma was looking very somber. "Estet's come for you, hasn't he," he said softly, gazing blindly out the window. How they would get a twelve year old into the Citadel was a mystery, but Schuldig had to have something up his sleeve.
"Aya-chan!" Inwardly, he groaned as well. They'd all been in such a rush...he had completely forgotten! And Aya was likely soon to remember... "Shit. We'll have to go back and find her, and soon." With the fire and everything...he hoped she had the sense to stay away. They could call her, once they'd gotten stopped for a while, and figure out what to do about her. God, it was just one thing right after another...
Aya nodded at Touma's inquiry, glancing in the mirror briefly to change lanes. "Yes. They are." And then, just like something of a ripple effect, Aya-chan did cross his mind and he almost lost control of the car. "Shit." He began digging through his things and pulled out his cellphone, punching in her number quickly. "Aya-chan. ...Hai. Look, do you have any friends you can stay with? At least for tonight, but maybe longer if necessary. ...Nn. Find someone, or get to a hotel. Whatever you do, do not go back to your apartment tonight. I can't explain why now, just swear to me you won't." With that, he hung up again, letting out a sharp breath. Fuck.
~Schuldig, you know that right now Weiß is Schwarz and Schwarz is Weiß. We need them and they need us.~ The telekinetic leaned in ever so slightly towards Omi. Nagi has had experience with Omi, and knew ultimately, someone being close to him was the best thing. He continued his mental messaging to the telepath. ~Will Brad be there? Tell me what's going on.~
~Yes, right now we're all one, but not according to Kritiker. Basically, Kritiker has been completely trashed by whomever Estet has sent after us, which means that they now have files on Weiss, which means that Weiss was no longer safe at the flowershop. However, we ourselves are perfectly safe for now. Farfarello is taking care of a place to put Weiss, and Crawford is at our own headquarters with Cody. Farf'll probably send them to our old safehouse - you remember, right? When Brad foresaw that we'd need a whole new place, with a bunch more space? Well, the safehouse we vacated then is still safe. And it'd be stupid to take Weiss into our HQ right now, in case they're being tracked, so if Farf is smart, which I know he is, that's where they'll be sent. But for now, we have to hold off, let Farfarello get things set up. We're gonna be alright, okay, chibi? Nothing to worry about.~ Okay, so he was probably lying out his ass on that last bit, but for now, they -were- safe. The drive to the Citadel passed quickly, and soon, they were in a less-than-nice district, before a giant pillar of a tower that stretched into the sky. Touma looked nervous; he didn't like neighborhoods like these. They brought back memories that he would rather have left forgotten.
The rest of the drive was surprisingly silent, or perhaps not -surprisingly-. What was there to say, really? Having nothing in particular he wanted to say, Yohji looked rather uncomfortable, glancing around the seedy-looking area they were passing through and frowning. Hated passing through places like this, sometimes.
Eventually Aya came to a stop and parked the car before popping open the door and stepping out. He gazed up at the tower, a brow raising slowly as he craned his neck backwards. He turned and glanced toward the Seven as it pulled up, eyes trained on Schuldig. "This the place?"
The building they pulled up to was a veritable Dark Tower..... six stories tall at least, and constructed of soot-gray stone, it towered above the other, shorter buildings in the area. Small, arched windows marched up its spiralling, gently tapered length. It was buttressed, in old-fashioned style, and leering gargoyles sat atop the buttresses - it definately wasn't Japanese construction. If anything, it looked purely gothic. The parking lot was a square of trash-littered space around it and the doors in were massive, two-story oaken ones, heavy and solid. The sign above the doors, on black-painted stone and gently backlit so the equally black, spiked lettering would show up, read "The Citadel". And yes, Aya and Yohji had been here before, but in the middle of the afternoon, no heavy bass throb emenated from those dark stone walls.... just the smell of something yummy cooking.
Aya could see Omi looking up at the tower as he pulled up to "The Citadel" and Nagi facing the approaching cars with his arms crossed. "What is this place Nagi-kun?" Omi inquired.
"Yeah," Schuldig nodded to Aya with a wry smirk. "Best place in town. Park the cars around back, and get everyone inside. Even the chibi, it's not night yet, they'll let him in." He waited until everyone was parked and out of the cars before leading the small troupe - Weiss, plus Nagi and Touma and himself - up to the doors, which, this time of day, were not attended by a bouncer. He heaved on one of the huge doors to pull it open, and waved them all in before following them into the interior of the downstairs level, which Yohji and Aya hadn't seen much of on their last visit. Touma just stuck close to Aya, looking nervous, although he'd wisely left Fishy in the car.
The doors were extremely heavy,and it took two of them to haul one open. When they stepped inside, that door swung shut behind them with a heavy, but soft *WHOMPH* and they were sealed inside. The first level of the Citadel was a classy bar/tavern sort of establishment, done in worn, gleaming, honey-colored wood and dark red upholstery. A bar stretched along the right side of the building, sparkling glasses hanging from overhead racks like a glittering forest. It was pleasant and warm, and the weathered hardwood floor was dotted with heavy oaken tables set around with comfortable-looking chairs. There were booths lining the back and left walls, and the lighting was gentle, leaving shadows that were equally harmless and inviting. It wasn't crowded at the moment, only a group of people laughing quietly together at one of the tables and two women sitting at the bar chatting idly with the bartender, a blonde gaijin in his mid-twenties with an easy, friendly smile.
Yohji's shades were pushed up to rest at the top of his head, gazing around. Was certainly the kind of place it seemed that trouble couldn't follow you to...but he still felt slightly uneasy. Glancing briefly at the other patrons, he let out a bit of a sigh. "What to do now...just wait?"
Aya glanced around and moved further into the room, silently taking in the patrons before turning back toward the small assembled group. He nodded at Yohji, crossing his arms over his chest for a moment. "Until we can find somewhere else, I think so." He figured the others liked the idea about as much as he did.
"Let's get a booth seat!" Omi was already shoving the whole disaster in the back of his mind, being the only way he could really deal with everything. "And we can all have drinks!" Nagi could help but smile at Omi being so cheerful so soon.
One of the women at the bar twisted slightly on her stool. She was wearing torn jeans and a black t-shirt, both worn and faded, and... here was the odd part... a set of massive, heavy, powerful-looking firearms strapped low on her hips on gunbelts. One hand was gloved, and disheveled honey-brown hair was bound back in a messy braid. She was wearing sunglasses, even in the low light, and the grin that overtook her was both cheshire and predatory.
"We sit down, get some food and something to drink, and yes, we wait, until Farfarello lets me know that he's got a place set up for you guys." Why Farfarello was the one setting things up, nobody knew, not even Schuldig, but right now Schu was grateful for it. He pointed them toward one of the larger booths. "Now, what does everyone want? Tell me, and I'll go retrieve drinks... I'll need somebody to help me carry them all, though," he mused with a slight frown. Then he turned, waving at Joriel from across the restaurant with a grin. "Maybe, just maaaaybe, we can get Joriel to bring stuff over for us," he said with a hopeful smile. "They've got some -really- good food here..." He trailed off, eyes on the two women at the bar. "I'll be right back," he said, and wandered over to them.
The other woman was dressed in tight black jeans and wore a purple tanktop with a big black anarchy symbol on it. Her hair was short and very violently purple, rather spiked around her head in a wild mess, and she too seemed to be armed, though there were no visible weapons, just the telltale lumps of gun-butts where her pants vanished over her thick combat boots. She, too, had a wide, wicked grin pasted on her face as she looked over the assembled Weiss and Schwarz. "Looks like the kittens came to us," she said to the woman next to her, and then turned that grin on the approaching Schuldig.
Touma just climbed into the booth and huddled there in the corner, looking around nervously. The chibi also refused to sit with his back to the door.
Yohji frowned, glancing at Schuldig as he departed, then his eyes travelling over to the two women as well. Shoving back, for the moment, the feeling of unease that was niggling at the back of his mind, he glanced at Aya. "Did you call your sister and get her set up alright?" he questioned quickly, remembering yet again.
Aya slid into the booth next to Touma, mostly because he, too, was rather loathe to put his back to the door, and nodded once, briefly. "Aa. I told her to stay with a friend for at least tonight, until we can figure out where to place her." She had sounded so worried when he hung up with her...the urge to call back and tell her what was going on ate at him, but he beat it back into submission with something of a mental sigh.
"I'm sure she'll do fine Aya-kun, she'll be safe." Omi sat in the booth after Nagi had slid down towards the wall, both sitting across from Aya and Touma. Omi looked over to the women Schuldig was talking to. I wonder who those two are...
He looked to Nagi who gave him a shrug. "Things will be okay Omi."
Omi smiled brightly at this. "You're right! We're gonna be fine."
"Mais oui, what Korrigan wouldn't GIVE," the other woman agreed, her voice carrying a very, very foreign accent that sounded French, but wasn't French, and sounded American, but wasn't American.... Pur' Cajun, actually. She spun in her seat to face Schuldig, smiling that fractured, insane smile. Weiss wasn't close enough to see her eyes when they peeked over the tops of her sunglasses. That was a good thing. As it was, the full force of her Power brushed up against Schuldig in a manner both intimate and utterly obscene. "Slumming wit' de Talentless, ma petite chat?"
"Saving a bunch of Talentless asses from you guys, actually," Schuldig snorted. If these two hadn't given them away by now, they weren't going to. He decided not to mention that Nagi and Touma were both psions. He just met the crazy Cajun's stare head on, looking completely nonplussed. "Come on, I've spent some eight years immersed in Farfarello's head, you really think -you- can scare me?" he smirked wryly, pushing firebrand hair over his shoulder.
The purple-haired woman, who really didn't look all that old, maybe nineteen if that, snorted at Schuldig. "If you ain't scared, you're a fuckin' moron," she informed him casually, to which Schuldig merely smirked.
"Or maybe I'm crazy myself," he told her, then chuckled and shook his head. "So do you two freakettes have names, or what? Might as well know, if you plan on fraternizing with your prey."
"Well, I guess we're just going to have to wait and see how things are going to turn out before making a move ourselves..." He paused, looking a bit wistful. "Hope Manx and Birman are alright, though," he added as an afterthought. It would really, really be a bummer if they hadn't.
At that, Aya fell silent, gazing down at the table. He took a deep breath before lifting his eyes again, glancing toward Yohji with a faint shake of the head. "...None of the agents have been accounted for." He murmured this rather quietly before gazing back down at the table again. At the moment, he was more focused on what he was going to do with his sister.
Omi leaned back into the booth seat. "It's no use dwelling on it, only what we can do now... it seems to be just waiting, we should enjoy ourselves, you know?"
"Guilbeaux," she told him easily. The caress of her Power receded without prodding.... she wasn't about to mess with Schuldig. She had a sneaking feeling what would happen if she did, and while it would likely involve lots of blood and orgasm, it would also involve her extremely painful death, and the positives and negatives just DIDN'T balance each other out. She still had plans. "Dun worry, ma cher," she assured him, downing a shot of whiskey without flinching. "We ain't got no interest in your precious kittens.... bigger t'ings on de back burner, ain't that so, cherie'?"
"And I'm Sanyra," the purple one said, snapping off a lazy salute to Schuldig. "And kittens.... don't interest me. Now, your one-eyed wolf boy on the other hand...." She let out a whistle, grinning wickedly. She didn't even reach for Schuldig's shields. She'd felt them before, and she damned well knew she didn't stand a chance. Maybe she was more of an empath than Schuldig, but his telepathy was fucking Pathogenic in strength, and she didn't stand a chance, and knew it. So, like Guilbeaux, she settled back, knocking back another shot of gin - and at this hour! what was it, like two in the afternoon? - and accepted Schuldig as the beta wolf. Because that Farfarello was definitely the alpha male. "Much bigger things," she agreed, winking at Guilbeaux.
Schuldig eyed them for a while, then finally chuckled with a shrug. "I like your priorities," he told Guilbeaux, smirking right back at them. "And don't -I- know that we've got some major shit going down. Nice to know that we won't have to worry about you two double crossing us, though," he added thoughtfully. "Because if you haven't already, then you're not going to. So, pray tell, what brings YOU two to the Cit when you could be out murdering people?"
"Had ta get out," Guilbeaux told him simply. "Dem boys got dere plannin' goin' on, and so much paper dey wanna look t'rough, I'm t'inkin' dat sounds like a borin' way ta spend an afternoon ta me. Dat, and it was gettin' so hard to not slap 'em upside de head wit' what we know when it contradicts all dey assume... dey was gettin' suspicious. You woulda laughed, t'ough," she told him thoughtfully, smirking slightly. "At de part 'bout you an' Crawford holdin' Wolf-boy's leash, anyways."
"What happened?" Touma finally asked, looking up at Aya with a slightly worried look on his cute little face. He was so lost, here; he didn't know -anything-.
"Pretty much reached the point of no return here, it seems," he murmured, arms folding over his chest. "After Aya-chan's somewhere secure, we have to start worrying about what we're going to do. How we're going to retaliate. But until then...there's not much that can be done..." He bit into his lower lip, leaning back. GOD, he hated this...
Aya actually blinked in something akin to...confusion at Omi. "Enjoy ourselves?" Did he even realize how stupid that sounded? Hell, he was the one who should be worried about this the most, given who he was. He glanced down at Touma and sighed quietly, sinking further in his seat. "Well, Kritiker, our... employers... their local base was found by ß and burned to the ground. Nothing exists there now. No one exists there now..."
"Well, how else are we going to get over what happened?" He looked away from the harsh look Aya gave him. "Excuse me..." He made his way out of the booth and decided to walk around, he didn't want to be stuck there with that negativity. Nagi's first reaction was to follow, but he decided Omi needed time to sort things out on his own. The only place to walk here was around the tables, or up a stairway that curved around the inside of the tower. It was dressed in thick, red carpet and led up past the ceiling, into shadow. Or there was the bar, where Schuldig was chatting with two women who looked somehow very dangerous.
The chibi's eyes widened, and Touma watched Omi go with a slight frown. "Your... employers were killed... and you had to burn down your home and business.... and flee, and you're being hunted by Estet.... and he gets pissy when you shoot down his four-year-old genki-ness?" the kid asked incredulously, almost like he couldn't believe Omi was truly that immature and stupid. Then he shook his head, fine dark hair flying around his face. "Now what are you going to do?" he wondered. And would they be taking him with them? He'd grown quite fond of Aya in the month or so he'd been with them, and more importantly, he'd grown to TRUST him. And they still hadn't tried to find out what he knew about the Mainframe yet.
"A leash on Farfarello, huh?" Schuldig inquired, looking highly amused at the very idea. "No, no, if anything it's the other way around... he goes out and leaves me stuck at home with the kid. Some Hausfrau I make," he said, rolling his eyes and making Sanyra laugh sharply.
She fixed him with a very intense and very bright green stare, one strawberry blonde (must've been her natural color, that purple sure as hell wasn't) eyebrow lifted speculatively. "So what's up with the Deiter brat, anyway?" she wanted to know, to which Schuldig merely smirked.
"He's not the Deiter brat anymore, and that is all -you- need to know. D'you wanna come sit with us?" he wondered, well aware of the irony, smirking at them. One hell of a crazy invitation to extend to them, that was for sure. Then again, Schuldig was almost famous for being completely unpredictable. As Sabbath had once said, Schuldig was the type to prove everything you knew about him wrong in one fell sweep, and then go and prove it all right again just a moment later.
"Somehow I don't t'ink de kittens would like dat too much," Guilbeaux said reasonably. "I don't make YOU skittish, but you've seen more'n dey have.... dere's more in heaven and on earth den's dreamt of in der philosophy, I t'ink. 'Sides, all dat pretty angst.... I might just hafeta reach out and TWIST, y'know?" She smirked at him ferally. Phrenopathy was a rare gift, since it usually claimed the life of its possessor early on. Guilbeaux had survived it somehow without Eszet's intervention and not been nabbed until later... and an experienced, canny Phrenopath was a literal vortex of walking madness.
He shook his head as Omi left. It was obvious he was just trying to hide how upset everything was making him...which was the only reason HE didn't berate him for acting that way. Admittedly, it had been a stupid thing to say, but it wasn't like any of them at the moment DID know how to deal with it properly. "It's a good question...I haven't a damn clue what we're going to do," he replied quietly, glancing again to Aya for a moment. "Any ideas are more than welcome, right about now..." Hell. That's why they were HERE. And Schuldig seemed to have chosen this moment to go off and flirt with those two girls at the bar. Oy.
~This is business, not flirting, Kudou,~ came the admonishing mental voice, letting them know that yes, Big Brother Schu was watching. Always.
"That...I'm not sure about, at the moment. First thing's first, we have to get somewhere they can't reach us. Then we have to take stock of what's left of Kritiker, see if we can't get a hold of one of the other branches, let them know we're alive. Not where we're at, necessarily, but that we're alive." Aya frowned and lifted a hand, tugging slightly at a bit of hair before shaking his head. He glanced down at Touma and chuckled just faintly. "Don't mind Omi. Endless optimism is his way of dealing."
Omi was fuming inside. Why must they just make everything seem like it's not going to get better! There's no use in just moping around without answers... Omi wondered around the room as much as he could. But when it came down to it, Omi has always been a social creature, and being that he wasn't in the most rational state of mind, he approached Schuldig and the two women he was talking to, in hopes of leaving behind the gloom.
Touma nodded slowly, and then shifted where he sat. If they were in danger, then he was probably a liability of sorts. Would they get rid of him? He certainly hoped not. He had nowhere else to go, although hopefully Estet still thought he was dead.
Back at the bar, Schuldig just chuckled, while Sanyra looked a little intruiged by the invite. Finally she shook her head. "Nah, don't wanna give 'em TOO much of a sneak preview, right Guilly?" she grinned widely. Schuldig laughed louder, the sound echoing across the tavern-like place.
"Yeah, I guess you're right. But the kittens are angsting - again - and I have to go reassure them that yes, there's a nice, warm basket and some cream waiting for them elsewhere, if only they can remember the definition of patience. See you two around," he said, wiggling his fingers at them in farewell before he realized that... yes, Tsukiyono was indeed coming over here. Did the kid have NO brains whatsoever? Schuldig sort of blinked at him, but the younger of the two women, and the more punk-looking one, grinned.
There was an evil light in her very green eyes as she looked at Omi, and the violently purple hair and her punker-rebel outfit somehow seemed dangerous, despite being appropriate for many a teenybopper. "Well hello there, lil kitty," she said, and laughed. Like Schuldig, she seemed able to look right through you with one glance, only unlike the impression Schuldig gave of being vaguely amused, she seemed to give off this malicious, wicked air. "Schuldy here was just wantin' to have us drop by and talk to you all over there, but we figured we'd let you stay a little bit sane for now... but when the fly walks up to the spider with a big fuckin' EAT ME sign on his forehead..." She glanced at the other woman, still grinning evilly.
Guilbeaux slid easily off the stool and took a peek at Omi through her sunglasses. "Howdy there, ma petite chat," she murmured, and her voice was low, husky from cigarettes and somehow.... hungry. She bared her teeth at him in a grin. "Ain't you afraid of us, cher'? D'be smarter if you were."
Business indeed. What sort of... And then when he glanced up again, he froze. What the HELL was Omi doing? Those women did NOT strike him as the sort to be up for friendly conversation, especially from someone as naive as Omi. Schuldig seemed to be handling himself just fine, no worries there at all, but damn if he didn't get a bad feeling about this. "That's not good..." he murmured quietly to Nagi and Aya, eyes not leaving the situation at hand. The car crash waiting to happen.
Aya's eyes swivelled around toward slowly toward the bar and he let out a quiet sigh. Oh for the love of...He rose slightly in his seat, eyes locking on the youngest Weiß. Why would he do that. "Omi." His voice cut across the room; sharp, clipped. The unspoken command behind it ran along the lines you will get your ass back over here, now.
"Should I be?" He gave them a sheepish smile. "I saw Schuldig over here talking to you two, and the people I'm with right now are too gloomy for my tastes at the moment. I hope you don't mind me interrupting your conversation." Omi scratched the back of his head, getting an eerie feeling from this couple, but right now, he was just wanting to talk. Nagi, back at the table, started to panic when he saw Omi approach the women. He cold sense that they definately had elevated powers and Omi should have just bared with everyone over here where he was safe. ~Schuldig, aren't you going to stop Omi?~
Omi looked back to Aya, with a little frown. I wonder what he wants... "Someone from my table is calling me, would you rather come join us?"
It took Schuldig one very stunned moment to realize that yes, Omi HAD just walked over. Quelling the urge to beat his head against the bar - Joriel wouldn't like him denting it - he just shut his mouth. ~Nagi, if the kid wants to walk in front of a bus, who am I to stop him? The same goes for looking into the Abyss.~ He'd been unsettled by what he'd seen in Guilbeaux's stare, but he could handle it. He wouldn't lay money on Omi remaining sane afterward. He saw what she was going to do to Omi, and... well... he didn't really WANT to stop it. If the kid needed to learn his lesson, then he would. Besides, he could use the hardening.
"Too gloomy, huh?" Sanyra snickered, and one of her hands - small, fine boned, and calloused, with dark purple nails - reached out to settle on Guilbeaux's hip, just above one of her guns, in a rather possessive manner. ~Don't drive him TOO crazy,~ she told the phrenopath, using her own telepathy, and she offered Omi an absolutely black smirk. "Well, I think you'll find that where they're gloomy, we're just fuckin' crazy, and pretty fuckin' bloodyminded. Do your thing, Guilly," she said, looking very, very amused as she waited. "Dollar says the little twat pisses himself."
"I raise you a dolla he shits 'imself too," She murmured, sliding a finger under Omi's chin. "You t'ink you're a huntin' cat, dontcha now? T'ink you're a big, bad predator? Lemme tell ya somethin', cher....... dem polecats ain't got NOTHIN' on de big, bad, WOLF." Her other hand tipped the sunglasses down her nose, and then her gaze locked onto Omi's.... and she didn't have eyes. She didn't fucking have EYES, she had PITS, vortexes of pure.... something. Terror, madness, complete fucking insanity, and Omi couldn't see anything but black, couldn't hear anything but his heart beating in his ears. Some... THING... reached out with cold hands and caressed his soul with sharp talons... it was like being touched by sewage. His hearbeat began to skip, and suddenly he couldn't catch his breath, and then the whispers started... screaming, horrendous whispers that echoed in the deepest reaches of his mind, hungry demons clawing their way up, devouring him, screeching their rage and pain and twisting all the peices of his SELF into something other. Like a mirror, he could feel his mind begin to crackle under the strain, and couldn't help screaming, couldn't help collapsing, couldn't help losing complete control of his body in the most embarassing ways, as he felt the darkness crawling into him.... and felt the ABYSS. Guilbeaux had the eyes of HELL, and it took a half second flat to snap Omi's sanity like a twig and leave him a drooling, convulsing heap on the floor. Of course, he would recover... he'd be back to himself in five minutes or one good slap across the face, but right that minute, he stared into the lower pits of Malboge and was lost in it, and his other teammates merely saw him collapse. As for emotional recovery, well.... he wouldn't forget what he'd seen in those eyes for a very, very long time, and the nightmares, very possibly, would never entirely fade. He'd wake himself and Nagi up screaming for weeks, if not months, remembering the ice-cold talons and the whispering screams....
He'd -known- it was a bad idea to let him go over there. KNOWN it. And whatever that woman had done...well, it explained the uneasy feeling he'd had coming into this place. "Nagi, get him -away- from them!" he hissed, eyes locked now on those two women, even as Omi collapsed. Who -were- they? Psions, obviously enough by this point, if the one wasn't, then the other surely was. And he would bet anything he knew what two such as them might be doing here. No wonder Schuldig has called it 'business'.
"Omi!" Now, you see, this was why the command from earlier. Swear to God...he'd have gone over there, if he wasn't worried about falling into the same trap. His eyes narrowed on the women before snapping down to take in the huddling mass on the floor. He glanced toward Ken for a moment and fished out his keys, tossing them to the other. "Go get him a change of clothes. They should be in the trunk of my car." He nodded and departed, coming back just a short time later with a change of clothing for when the other came around.
Nagi, while half pissed and half in agreeance with Schuldig concerning Omi's actions, quickly left the party to retrieve Omi. Unlike Omi, Nagi, having both mental prowess and practice with Schuldig, could fend for himself. Though he knew it was best to hide his capabilities, chairs and glasses rattled as he passed by, and almost knocked over once he came into full view of Omi. He didn't bother wasting words with amused women, just picked up the unconsious Omi off the ground. He frowned when Omi's skin was cold to the touch, but he could tell he was still alive.
Guilbeaux straightened, chuckling quietly under her breath as she pushed the sunglasses back up over those black hole eyes. Safer, now, and all right to look at her. She stepped easily over Omi's twitching, prone body and withdrew a cigarette from her jeans pocket, lighting it and dragging on it slowly. She smoked a similar brand to Schuldig's, all harsh tobacco and nicotine, no filter. "Pathetique," she said flatly. "You kittens are gon' hafeta do better'n dat." She let Nagi take him, then stepped back to lean against the bar with both elbows, regarding them maniacally through those dark-tinted shades.
Sanyra slumped back against the bar, shaking with laughter as Omi crumpled to the floor. She could hear his mind screeching and tumbling over itself, driven temporarily insane by what he saw in Guilbeaux's eyes, but hell if it wasn't fucking funny as hell. "Guess I owe ya two bucks, then," she wheezed, and then dissolved into laughter again.
Schuldig just sighed and eyed Omi dispassionately. "Don't know when to listen to your instincts, do you," he muttered, shaking his head. Then, wonder of wonders, he glanced up at the man behind the bar. "Joriel, can I borrow a room for a few, to fix him up in?" he asked the handsome blonde, who would doubtlessly agree because he was the good Samaritan type like that, and glanced back at Nagi and Weiss. ~Don't worry, he's not hurt... just didn't like what he saw when he looked into the heart of Madness. Nags, do me a favor, and float him upstairs - and grab those clothes from Siberian, we'll have to let him change.~ He would have picked Omi up himself, but... seriously. -He- didn't have any spare clothes.
Joriel rolled his eyes and passed Schuldig a key. "Go," he said, shooing them upstairs. "And girls, come on, no making the customers lose bowel control. It's bad for business," he told them with a wry grin, though his eyes followed Omi with concern. None the less, there wasn't anything he could do.
Yohji watched as Nagi bore Omi away from the two at the bar, inwardly cussing. So much for this place being safe...though it did seem like they had merely done it to toy with Omi, more than anything else. If they were going to try and kill them or alert their teammates, they would have by now... It was curious, but then, Yohji was hardly one to look a gift horse in the mouth. ....and that was the sort of power they were going to have to deal with.
Eventually, Aya sank back down into his seat once more, but not before casting one final glare at the women. He turned away from them once more, fingers twitching slightly against the table. Well, one thing was for sure, there was no need to reprimand Omi for doing something so stupid. Aya was pretty sure that job had already been performed, and to a much more successful degree.
Nagi telekinetically took the keys from Schuldig, or at least tried to. "I'm going to clean him up and get him as comfortable as possible." He looked back at the table. ~I was wrong... Weiß is as far from human as we are.~ He gave Schuldig a final look before heading upstairs.
Very literally, it was the kind of power they had to deal with, as those two women were what would later be referred to as the Bad Guys. Sanyra watched Schuldig, seeming rather entertained by the whole situation, but turned her attention back to Guilbeaux as the kook sat back down. She groped at the other woman for those cigarettes, and offered Joriel a deceptively sweet smile. "Aww, c'mon, the little fuckbrain was just fuckin' BEGGIN' for it," she protested, and then laughed again as Schuldig took the key from the bartender and followed Nagi upstairs, refusing to let Nagi have the key.
"You'll get lost, and I DON'T mean that condescendingly, this place will -swallow- you..."After an incredibly long trek up a LOT of stairs and past two very huge doors, Schuldig pointed Nagi toward the right room, which was one of many identical doors down a long hallway. By now the effects were wearing off, and Omi should be waking up any time soon. He waved Nagi into a very plain room with a bed and another door, which presumably led into a bathroom, and left them there, wandering all the way back downstairs himself.
Guilbeaux merely leaned against the bar, smirked wryly at Weiss, and exhaled thick clouds of smoke. Joriel threw up his hands, silently declaring them all lost causes, and moved on to wash glasses at the other end of the bar. She let Sanyra take a cigarette, since the other Psi knew where they were just fine.
Well, yeah, but Sanyra liked any excuse to grope Guilbeaux, especially searching for cigarettes. She snickered at Joriel, and smoked her poached cancer stick, and drank lots of gin. Sanyra liked gin. Oh, yeah, and she also forked two dollars over to Guilbeaux.
Guilbeaux pocketed these dollars with a smirk... they'd be used to buy more cigarettes, which she would then end up sharing with Sanyra, so Sanyra wasn't really giving it up, as it were....
And Nagi washed poor Omi up, and Omi recovered just fine, except maybe for the nightmares, and they all sat there for quite a while, with drinks and very nummy food, until night fell.