Farfarello felt he was justified in being paranoid, but not a single disturbance set off the magnetic perimeter all night, and that, at least, helped him sleep easier. Schuldig's behavior bothered him, but he shoved that into its tidy compartment in the back of his mind to worry about later. He was stronger than he looked, as far as being a beast of burden went, but found it more convenient to stack Weiss's things outside the front door before actually carrying them inside. He knocked loudly on the door to warn them, as he had no desire to be skewered, strangled, slashed, or riddled with holes, and then unlocked the door, shoulder it open and carrying Ken's duffle bag, Aya's suitcase, one of Yohji's many bags, and Fishy, into the entry hall.
Considering the dire situation at hand, one would think Yohji's reaction might be a little different than normal, to reflect such. But no. Yohji had still found it fit to spend the afternoon dozing on the couch, as though none of this disturbed him in the least. Well, it wasn't as if there was anything else to do, really, and in truth, it was starting to wear him down, just a tad. At least, that was his story. And by God, was he sticking to it. At the knocking, though, he seemed to stir, one jade eye opening to watch Farfarello trudge in with their things, before he stifled a yawn and moved to sit up.
Aya had spent most of the day pacing and worrying. Well, it wasn't like he could help it. Despite his exhaustion, he hadn't gotten much sleep the night before, and had instead been submitted to a night of endless tossing and turning. He had moved his pacing to the first floor of the house and had, at first, been up with weapon drawn at the knocking, before relaxing once more when it was Farfarello who came through the door. Aya glanced at the the Irishman before moving over to him, taking his suitcase and Fishy from him without a word.
"Thank you," he said simply as Abyssinian pitched in, then nodded to Yohji. "Balinese. The rest is outside." He set the rest of what he was carrying down and turned to get it, helping them move all the things they'd saved from the Koneko into their apartment. He'd also brought supplies - coffee, cereal, rice, miso... an assembly of basic staples that would at least keep them fed and functional. These, he took to the kitchen and set down - it would be up to Weiss to put things away.
After a brief stretch, Yohji did get up and go to help drag stuff in, his own stuff first, to prevent the others from having to carry it, and then everything else. Well, with their belongings here, it somehow didn't seem so bad, being holed up in this place. And Fishy was alright. That was a relief as well.
Aya put Fishy down on one of the small tables in the living room, glancing toward the door to make sure everything had been brought into the house, before moving to the kitchen. He glanced over the provisions Farfarello had brought with him and nodded a few times before setting about putting them up. Should last them long enough...
Yes, Fishy was all right. Farfarello locked the door once they were done, and plucked a box of single serving hot chocolate from a grocery bag, settling down to use the coffee-maker and, essentially, inviting himself to settle in. Of course, it had been his home before it had ever been Weiss's, and Schwarz did still OWN the place. He set out a mug, then silently held up a pair of them to Ran and Yohji, offering without words.
Yohji, who was still carting his things out of the main room and into 'his' room, caught sight of the gesture and nodded, before staggering into the bedroom and letting the bags fall on the bed. Hadn't realized before how much stuff he had...you wouldn't figure one could fit so many personal belongings into a safehouse. Maybe to give it some sense of normality. Rifling through one of the bags, his fingers closed around the small box he'd grabbed from his dresser, sighing softly and setting it away. Couldn't have left that behind...
Aya nodded and took hold of the mug, settling down in a chair at the table. He let out a quiet sigh and allowed his eyes to fall shut, a hand coming up to pinch the bridge of his nose. He had watched the news report that morning about the fire. There had been a crowd of weeping schoolgirls in front of the ruined ashes of the Koneko, despite the reassurances that no one had been inside at the time of the fire. It had been...breaking, really.
Farfarello obligingly made them both hot chocolate. There were no marshmallows, but you couldn't have EVERYTHING. He spun one of the chairs around backwards, handed Aya his, and set Yohji's by the other chair, straddling his the wrong way and folding his arms over the chair back. "Your sister is safe," he told Aya. "And so are your vehicles. So far, they have not thought to put an APB out on either the Seven or the Porsche, but given the distinctiveness of those cars, it is not safe to use them for the time being." Then he settled back to let them ask questions, if they had any.
Back into the kitchen Yohji went, in time to hear Aya-chan was alright. Another relief, though he was certain Aya would remain worried for her til this was all over. And rightly so. He frowned slightly at not being able to use the Seven, but it was understandable, anyway. He pulled a chair up, letting his cool for a moment before glancing up. "Anything further on what happened to Kritiker? Who was likely sent?"
Aya nodded at the news of his sister, filing it away, even as he gazed into his mug and at the steam rising from it. It made sense about not driving their cars; they just had to go for the flashy vehicles, didn't they? Ken's and Omi's bikes would probably be safe to use, but only under the most dire of circumstances. He glanced up as Yohji came in and sat down before his gaze flickered toward Farfarello, rather interested in the answer to that as well.
"Nothing," Farfarello told them, "but here are the police reports." He was wearing his canvas jacket, and withdrew a plastic binder from inside it, dropping it on the table. "I can summarize if you like - no accelerant, no faulty wireing, no distinct source.... fire come out of nowhere and fed by nothing. They have a pyrokinetic. Bodies are still being identified. I am waiting for verification and the police have not released a list. No one was seen exiting or entering, but none of the bodies found died from the fire. Some were simply mutilated, others shot," he ascertained. "Nothing was vandelized beyond the burning... no desks disturbed, no files stolen. But that means nothing - anything they wanted, they could have taken from the computers. They have a telepath and a phrenopath as well, which I already knew, and there is no need for a hacker when the possessor of the codes cannot shield."
This just sounded better and better by the minute. Damn depressing it was. Yohji seemed to be digesting this, opting to take a drink from his mug and leave Aya to ask whatever questions he might have had. Meanwhile, he had his own to muse over.
Aya settled back as all of this sank in. They were dealing with a lot of shit here, that was for sure. He let out a quiet sigh and lifted his gaze toward Farfarello once more. "How long do you expect we'll be staying here?"
"I don't know," he told him honestly. "This was not what I expected from them. They are not using any recognizable degree of caution. Either they are on a deadline, they are emotional, or they are overconfident... and if they are overconfident, there is a reason. I do not want to keep you here anymore than you want to be here," he told Aya plainly, "and we are doing our best, but we have little to go on."
"What else is new?" It wasn't even a complaining tone, by this point. It seems like that was a situation they found themselves crammed into time and time again. Not enough info. "What about you guys? What are you doing in the meanwhile? Kind of figured they'd try and zero in on you first, being the bigger threat to them."
A brief nod followed what Farfarello told him, and Aya lifted the mug of hot chocolate to his lips, taking another drink. Staying put was going to drive him nuts, and he knew it. Cabin fever didn't sit well with him.
"We are the bigger threat, but you are the easier fix, and you do not know how to shield your minds," Farfarello explained. "That is why they went for you first - they believed you would lead them to us. At least, that is my guess. They may have been searching for you directly or they may have been trying to provoke us into acting. If the latter is true, we moved too fast for them - they have not traced your movements, of that I am confident. Now, the next move is theirs, and I cannot predict what they will do. They may try to draw us out again... and I have taken precautions," he told Ran, "to make certain they do not use your sister to do so. She does not know it, but she is being watched over."
Yohji listened, drinking now and again from his own mug, contemplating this. Eszet thought them as mere puppets...this had to be borne in mind. Now, with them having dropped from the radar...it was indeed near to impossible to guess what they might do. If they'd been so willing to indulge in the kind of blatant destruction that the attack on Kritiker had been...there was really no telling what limits they had, if any, to what they -might- do. Each possiblility seemed less pleasant than the next.
Aya's eyes flashed slightly at this, but otherwise he remained silent. There was someone he didn't know watching his sister? Yeah, it'd take a while for that to settle well with him in the slightest. He finally just nodded briefly, instead settling on taking another long drink from his mug. The way he saw it, though, they were playing a chess game. Eszet had made the first move by burning down Kritiker, and they had responded in kind by getting out of their path. Now they got to sit around and wait for the next move.
Farfarello eyed Aya, and smirked. "I know," he said amusedly. "You would prefer to be the one protecting her." He drank his hot chocolate contentedly - it was cool enough now not to burn him, not that he would have minded much.
"So, I guess that means more waiting on our part, then," he said at last, leaning back slightly in his chair and letting the mug rest on the table. "Staying out of the way, at least until we know what we're dealing with...." Joy.
Aya snorted quietly and waved a hand in the air. "So long as she's safe," he answered, shaking his head. Yes, he'd have liked to have been the one watching her, or at least the one to set up someone to do so, but he trusted Farfarello's judgement in this case. He glanced toward Yohji and raised an eyebrow slightly. Not like it'd be the first time they'd have to do that.
Trusting Farfarello's judgement... that was flattering. If only more people did. "Yes, that's what it is. But if it makes you feel better, Kudou, when you DO get out of here, you may find your Seven has a few more horses and gets another half-dozen miles to the gallon," he said dryly.
Both eyebrows flew up at that remark. Caught between a 'oh, wow, that's pretty damn spiffy' reaction and a 'wtf, they've been screwing around with my beloved Seven' reaction, he decided with the former and actually smiled a bit before taking another drink of his hot chocolate. Hey, anything to stem the gas-guzzling was a good thing, really.
Aya actually snorted faintly at the look on Yohji's face and he shook his head slightly, brushing back a strand of red hair. "You just had to go and do something to encourage him to keep that car longer..."
Farfarello snorted quietly and finished off his mug. "Any more questions?" he wondered. After all, he had an investigation to assist with and an irate lover to at least attempt to placate, though as far as THAT went, he didn't have the slightest clue where to start.
"None here," he replied lightly, shrugging and taking another drink. Nothing to frustrate over for a while, just hang around this place and chill. Fine by him.
"I'm fine," Aya answered, turning his gaze toward Farfarello. "Go do what it is you have to do." He figured the other had a bit more to do than sit and make sure they were comfortable.
He nodded and rose, setting his mug on the edge of the sink and then slipping out of the building.
That was when Touma stuck his head around the kitchen doorway. "Is the Angel of Death gone?" he asked softly, looking like he was ready to bolt back upstairs if he got a negative.
Yohji snorted. "Yeah, he's gone, kid..." Angel of Death. Oy.
"I'm not a kid," Touma informed him, a dark look on his face. He wasn't, really, not in spirit or experience
Aya nodded and rose from his seat. "Aa. Would you like some hot chocolate, Touma?" He moved toward the stove, already setting some water on it to heat.
The chibi nodded, scrambling into a chair. "What're you gonna do when Estet comes for us?" he asked bluntly.
"Hope to Hell we have a plan by then," he replied dryly, glancing over at the 'kid'. "You been listening in again, then?"
Tra la la, making some more hot chocolate...There we go. He poured the liquid into a mug with the chocolate and stirred it up before setting the mug in front of Touma, sitting again. "We'll find out when we get there," he murmured, settling in once more and eyeing the kid silently for a moment.
"No, I have a brain," Touma answered coldly. "If they already killed your bosses and chased you this far, then obviously they're not just gonna stop 'cause you found a good hidey-hole. If anything it'll make 'em even more determined to get you." He managed a bit of a smile for Aya, and a quiet thank you as he wrapped his hands around his mug.
Yohji merely grunted. These kids were really beginning to wear on his nerves. "Well, it ought to give us some measure of time. Besides, we don't know what we're up against. It'd be stupid to just go rushing into something we..." He paused, then glanced at Aya, before glancing at the kid again. "Wait, you were with Eszet for a while, weren't you?"
Yohji Kudou, master of tact. Aya snorted quietly and took a final drink from his mug before glancing at Touma half-expectantly. Now would be a good time to start asking him questions, when none of Schwarz was around. Aya couldn't be positive, but he had a sneaking suspicion the kid held little trust for the ones he'd met.
Touma nodded, sipping at his cocoa slowly. "I was," he agreed. "In South America, where they have the Mainframe. No Rosenkreuz for me, no, it was easier to use up my power and discard me, then actually put me through student training." There was a cold, bitter note to his voice, and there was no real mystery as to why.
Yohji about dropped his cup. "Where they have...you know about the Mainframe?!" Oh, geez. Now he felt stupid for not having asked sooner. Naturally the kid would have known something, but...not to this extent. And he had the feeling there was more, at that.
Touma just eyed him evenly, the 'you're a moron' look quite plain on his face. "Everyone knows about the Mainframe. The students never see it, but the test subjects... the projects," and he sneered and nearly spat the word, "that's where they do tests, and their projects."
Aya's eyebrow merely twitched upward for a second at this information. He hadn't bothered questioning the kid yet because, well, truthfully, he'd been trying to help him recover, at least physically, from his previous ordeal. And it had been working to an extent. But at that moment, he severely wished he had one of the other teams' phone numbers. It'd just have to be brought up next they meet.
Then again, Touma was about as recovered as he was going to get, and he sighed, sipping at his cocoa. "I bet you want to know who was sent after you, too," he said softly, not looking up at Ran. In the Mainframe, you heard a lot of interesting things, especially when they didn't plan on letting you live. Then again, he didn't know a lot, just that Tyriver had been piecing together teams to send after Schwarz, and that a handful of the most powerful, most promising students had been rushed through training to be sent out as well.
Aya finally turned toward Touma, pushing his mug away to look at him full on. "Touma, I'm going to be honest with you. Any and all information you can give us would be incredibly beneficial. If they find us, they find you."
Yohji, meanwhile, was still kicking himself for not having thought to ask the kid from the beginning. Hindsight, of course, was perfect, and it would have seemed the thing to do, at the time, had he thought about it. Brilliant, Kudou. Just brilliant. Ah well. Time to hear what the kid had to say.
Touma nodded slowly, looking both resigned and thoughtful. "Well," he said softly, "I know that the Mainframe is in South America, in the middle of a LOT of jungle, between the mountains and the sea. I know that after you guys and Schwarz ruined the ritual three years ago, the remaining authorities of Estet moved everything but the students and training facilities out of Rosenkreuz - the libraries, the labs, all of it. They considered Rosenkreuz compromised, because Schwarz had rebelled, and knew Rosenkreuz. Of course, they told the students that Schwarz had been killed in the blast, but at the Mainframe, everyone knew better. I don't know too much else, except that Kellyn Tyriver - he's a biopath, biokinetic, whatever, and he's on the Council - those are those who rule now that the Elders are dead - he was putting together teams to send after Schwarz. I guess he finally sent them. Those two women at the bar, I remember seeing the one with the purple hair at the Mainframe shortly before they sent me off. She's in the team that Tyriver was assembling. There were some others, and I wasn't supposed to know, but the purple woman talks, and loud, with lots of swears... they were sending Kylaris, who had been in some of the tests with me. He's a cryokinetic - he can freeze things. Other than that, I don't really know exactly -who- they sent after you, but from what the Angel of Death said, there was a pyro, as well. Makes sense, I guess. And the Mainframe usually doesn't send out a team without at least a telepath or empath, so you've probably got two telepaths, or one of each, bearing down on you." Then he shrugged, and held up the lockbox. "And then there's this."
Aya's frown deepened the more Touma spoke, and he sank into a still quiet. When silence finally settled around the table, he glanced over at the young one and gazed at the box. Yes, that box...he'd been keeping hold of it like it was a damn security blanket ever since he'd popped up out of the trunk of his car. He ran a hand through his hair and continued gazing at the box for a minute more before looking up at Touma again. "What's in it? You got it out of the asylum, right?"
...this information could have so been USED by this point. But the little twirp decided to wait until they ASKED to tell them. Hell and damnation...Yohji was doing his best to keep up with the important bits of information. South America...Tyriver....Council...the various powers, some of which he'd already known of. He blinked as the box was brought out. "What's this, then?"
Touma nodded again. "From the asylum, yeah. I can't pick the lock," he frowned. "Usually, I could... but this one's -real- complex. I even tried takin' off the hinges, but nope. Can't get it open," he said, thunking it onto the table. "Which means it's probably full of all the money from that whore-circle, and whatever orders Mason was getting from the Mainframe. Mason was the man running the ring," he added, lip curling at the very mention of the name - which made perfect sense, actually, seeing as he'd been whored out by this man and probably repeatedly raped by him as well, not to mention starved and drugged.
Aya raised a brow and reached forward for the box. First time he'd seen the kid relinquish it. He pulled it over to set on the table in front of him, gazing at it as if the box would open under his glare. Naturally, this didn't happen. "...I bet we could have a key made for it, or find someone who could open it." Nagi, for instance. He could probably trip the lock to get it open.
Orders from the Mainframe...Yohji moved to glance over Aya's shoulder at the box consideringly before looking to the redhead. Definately ought to see what Schwarz could get out of this. If the kid couldn't sneak into it, chances are none of them would be able to either.
"I've tried every way I know how to open it, and it just won't work. It -might- be spelled," he warned them, as though this was something completely normal. "Mason had all these wards and charms on his office - to keep the ghosts out, of course. He knows a lot of magic," Touma added, looking down and away, a dark flicker of memory passing over his face.
"The news just keeps getting better, doesn't it." Oy. Aya sighed and sat back in the chair, rubbing the bridge of his nose in frustration. This not knowing crap...it had to stop. It was driving him up a wall.
"Magic. Great. Cause that's our specialty," he grumbled, eyeing the box in irritation. As if it was the source of all this grief. BAD box. Bad bad box. No cookie. He looked up to see the dark look in the chibi's eyes and frowned. "You okay?"
"It doesn't matter if I'm okay," Touma said frankly, shrugging. "My fucked up past doesn't matter right now, except for the useful bits of information in it that you guys are gonna need. There's something else, too," and he hesitated, looking unsure if he wanted to clue them in or not. "But you have to promise - PROMISE - that you won't let the Angel of Death take me til after I've helped you guys burn Estet to the ground. All of it - Rosenkreuz, the Mainframe, the Texaco branch, everything. I want it in fucking ASHES under my feet... and then I want to die." He was dead serious. Creepy.
Aya's eyes snapped open at this, and he studied the kid quietly for a minute. Did it really surprise him to hear that out of Touma's mouth? Not paricularly. He finally sighed softly and closed his eyes, nodding faintly as he turned his head away. "Aa. Far...the Angel of Death won't touch you until all is said and done."
That...was just so messed up, on so many levels, he didn't know where to start. But if that's the way it was, that's the way it was...he couldn't expect much more, not now. Yohji frowned, scratching lightly at the back of his neck, leaving Aya to answer. So what else was there, then?
Touma nodded, looking satisfied. "In that case, I know the system of secret passages that lead to, under, and through the Mainframe. I took them from one of the doctor's heads before they ruined my powers completely. They never found out... just like they never realized that I still had some of my power." There was a smile on his face, but like all smiles from Touma, it was bitterly triumphant. "So once we find the place - and I'm pretty sure it's in Chile somewhere - I know how to get in undetected, and where to go from there."
Unknowingly, Aya echoed one of Yohji's earlier thoughts; this would have been handy earlier. He sighed faintly and nodded, wanting, at the moment, nothing more than to crawl into bed for a day or so. He cracked his neck slightly and sat back up, gazing at Touma. "Thank you, Touma. This information is invaluable."
And ought to be relayed to Schwarz as soon as humanly possible, Yohji's thought train continued for him. "Might just have a chance yet..." he chuckled, shaking his head slowly. "I'll be damned."
"Don't thank me... thank Estet, for being stupid enough to underestimate me," Touma smirked coldly. Then he paused, and the smile grew frighteningly... hungry, somehow. "Oh, and if we find Mason.... -I- get to kill him."
Aya scratched his neck absently, eyeing the kid. "Can't promise anything there; in the heat of the moment, it's anybody's guess as to who's going to cut his life first. Though if you get to him first, knock yourself out."
Yohji snorted in amusement, the idea of the chibi offing someone for some reason entirely amusing to him. But hey, he could do what he liked, so long as he didn't become a liability.
Sharp dark eyes fixed on Yohji. After all, Touma wasn't completely powerless; he still got impressions from people, sometimes. Not all out telepathy, but enough. "I understand that. But if there's the time... and the opportunity... well, let's just say that I'm going to cut off his fucking dick and stuff it down his throat.... and maybe tear out his eyes and replace them with his balls... and then leave him like that." There was a fond, day-dreamy tone to his voice.
Eesh. Aya was suddenly rather glad he wasn't on the kid's bad side. That phantom pain roled through him at the words but he just shook his head, chuckling quietly. "We'll hold you to that."
Again, Yohji wisely opted not to say a word...merely wincing internally and shaking his head as well. Oy. Couldn't they ever run into NORMAL kids anymore?
Touma gave him a feral smile. "Good," he nodded. Then, almost as though all of this had tired him, he yawned widely and stretched. "And when they're bred, born, and broken by Estet, normal isn't an option anymore," he told Yohji, smirking wryly.
Aya glanced between Touma and Yohji for a brief second, a brow quirking. Yohji thought something around here was or should be normal? For them? Like hell.
Yeah, wishful thinking on his part, and he wished people would leave him to it without comment. "Yeah, I'm starting to get that point by now," he replied dryly.
"It'll get a lot worse before it's over, that much is just about guaranteed," Touma sighed, and finished off his hot cocoa before slipping out of his chair. "I'm tired. I'm going to bed." Bed, of course, was the couch. And was he actually leaving the box with them? He was. Amazing.