Posted: Saturday, August 16, 2003 7:25 PM
The last bodyguard slid down the blade of Aya's katana. Room cleared. But something, some feeling or presentiment, made him turn his head. That way he got to see the bullet coming at him right before it smashed into his chest in an explosion of pain. As he hit the floor, he idly noticed that he'd landed in a pool of his victims' blood. It seemed appropriate. The red filling his vision turned to black.
He came to lying on someone's worn-out couch, as a woman he'd never met before but somehow knew said, "Good. You might be interested in these." She seemed very familiar.
"There's never anything good on TV," he answered.
"This will be different."
Something about her.... "Am I dead?" Was this Hell's waiting room? Had he lost his mind?
"Only temporarily. Would you like some tea?" She handed him a steaming cup.
Why not? "All right."
Pointing at the TV with her remote control, she said, "Fujimiya Aya-Ran, these are your lives. At least some of them. Enjoy the show."
As Ran walked through the halls he tried to look like he belonged. How fortunate that the paramilitary uniforms of Takatori Reiji's personal army included a cap that covered most of the head and shadowed the eyes. Ran wouldn't stand out at all if only he could keep the right attitude.
Shuuichi-san would be so disappointed in him, but Ran couldn't stand by any longer. Takatori Reiji had to die.
Ran admired Shuuichi-san so much, seeing him almost as a second father. How could he not, when the man had saved his family from his brother's plotting? The Fujimiyas would be dead if not for him. Of course Ran had joined the police force as soon as he came of age.
Shuuichi-san had spoken of how the law would punish Takatori Reiji, but Ran had watched the bastard duck every charge and watched as a different family died to take the fall for the embezzlement charges the Fujimiyas had escaped. Ran tried not to feel guilty. Still, Shuuichi-san had told him to wait. Vigilante justice would not be justice at all.
But now Takatori Reiji was prime minister and had declared martial law. Takatori Reiji now was the law. He'd arrested Shuuichi-san.
Ran had a gun, and his marksmanship scores were high. He would become a killer, but only to save innocents.
Ran quietly pushed the door to the prime minister's office open and barely held back a gasp. Shuuichi-san was lying on the floor, bleeding, dying, as a group of young men dressed similarly to Ran in the uniforms crouched around him and listened to his final words. Something held Ran back from announcing himself. Then he heard Shuuichi-san speak, heard that Takatori Reiji had blighted the lives of the four young men who crouched and listened.
Heard Shuuichi-san call them "Weis" and give them a mission to kill his brother.
Weis. Terrorists. Assassins. And Shuuichi-san was obviously their leader. While he had spoken so reverently of the law to Ran, he'd flouted it with these people.
And the young blond called him "uncle"! He'd brought his own nephew into an organization of murderers?
Ran felt something inside him die. Perhaps his devotion and career. It had all been a lie.
"Ran?" Shuuichi-san choked out, and Weis turned to the door.
Ran fled. He had only one thing left he was certain of, and he would kill it as he'd promised. Shuuichi-san may not have been the pure soul he should have been, but Ran had seen Takatori Reiji's evil himself and watched the entire country suffer under it.
Ran watched with relief as Takatori Reiji's foreign bodyguards left him and sneered as Weis tried and failed to kill him. Ran followed him at a distance to the roof and snarled at the waiting helicopter. There would be no escape.
As Takatori Reiji grabbed the ladder, Ran shouted, "Takatori!" He turned to face the shouter, and Ran shot until he emptied his clip. Takatori Reiji let go of the ladder and fell to the burning roof.
Hearing nothing but the flames and the helicopter blades and the pounding of his own heart, Ran walked up to him, the man who'd intended to slaughter him and his family, make it look like a suicide, and blame his own embezzlement on them. The man who'd killed both the body and image of someone Ran had revered as a second father and driven Ran to take an action that would make it hard for him to look his family in the eyes and would insure that he would have to resign from the police. Ran had to see.
It was his personal demon lying there, eyes open and empty, a hole blown through its chest. Ran had said once that Takatori Reiji had no heart. Ran didn't know if the sound coming from his mouth was a cough from the acrid smoke around him or a giggle.
He'd never killed anyone before.
As if from a distant place he felt Weis gathering around him to witness. "Our mission is finished," the little blond said in a tone of disbelief. After all, Ran had deprived them of their prey. "You should come with us, Ran."
"Are you going to kill me?" Ran asked, not that he cared at the moment. He was a killer.
"No. I think we've had enough of that tonight. You're just coming with us. I'm Omi."
As Ran heard a crunch of metal and the high, thin sound of uncoiling piano wire he figured that he didn't have any choice, so he might as well go gracefully.
In their car, Omi sat next to him in the backseat and asked, "How did you know my uncle?"
Empty inside, Ran had to answer, "After what I've seen tonight, I have to say that I didn't know him at all."
When Ran sat at his computer terminal, he noticed that the pile of papers next to his monitor had grown since last night. Once he'd thought that someday he'd finish the pile, but he'd learned the truth within three days of starting this job. He'd be happier if he could just point to something, one thing, he'd finished, but nothing here ever really ended.
His father had been proud to see him following in his footsteps at the bank. He too had started at the very bottom and earned his way up.
Although Ran had a small variety of tasks he oversaw, mainly he keyed in, added, subtracted, multiplied, and divided figures all day, every day. He did important, necessary work safeguarding the bank's, and its customers', financial futures.
It was very, very dull.
Sometimes he felt that he wasn't meant for this, but that was stupid. Only children dreamed of adventurous work, no matter what Aya said. She could afford to be a little more frivolous than he could.
Ran had a normal, comfortable life. He had a future. His father often spoke of how proud he was of him.
He just didn't know why it didn't feel like enough.
Takatori Shuuichi looked at the boy propped up in the hospital bed and said, "Fujimiya Ran, I'm with the police."
The boy's eyes looked bruised. Not physically bruised, not anymore, but bruised in the soul. "I've already told the police all I know, which is nothing. I was in a coma when they died." But then anger flared up. "But I know that they didn't embezzle anything, their deaths weren't a suicide, and they sure as hell wouldn't kill my sister, especially not on her sixteenth birthday! While you're all certain that it's over, the real killer is out there!"
"I believe you."
Ran looked surprised. "Then do something about it!"
He would, but not yet. His plans needed time. "I think I know who did it. I have evidence enough to satisfy me but not enough to satisfy the law. The case has been closed."
Ran took a deep breath. "I was afraid they'd close the case." He'd only been conscious for three days. On the second day he'd been told his family's fate.
"Maybe you can help me."
"I've started a freelance group of investigators. You're smart, and I think you're motivated."
The hope in those violet eyes died. "I'm only 18, and no one knows how much physical therapy I'll need." He'd been badly injured by that car, to the point where no one knew if he'd revive from the coma. Many thought it amazing that he'd survived at all.
"I don't need you to run a marathon. Your brain is fine. Besides, I think a goal would help you recover faster. I also worry about you."
"Your family was murdered."
"I could be next, now that I'm awake and likely to live?"
Such a smart boy. He would have to be carefully handled. "Yes. We can protect you, your earnings would help your family with the medical bills, and you can help us bring the real killer to justice." Final justice.
>From the relief on his face, Ran had worried about the bills. Well he should have, since the circumstances of his parents' deaths had left their finances a tangle of red tape and his extended family had spoken of pulling the plug on him. "I'll repay your kindness, sir." He had a sweet, sad smile.
Shuuichi smiled back. "I'm sure you will."
"Now, cheers to the meeting of the pair! Cheers!" Gushoshin shouted as he lifted a glass high, while Tsuzuki tried not to look across the table at the cold-eyed kid who would be his new partner. The cold-eyed kid who'd stuck a gun in Tsuzuki's back and carried a katana under his long coat that he probably would have used instead if it wouldn't have attracted too much attention in such a public place. Tsuzuki's glances at that kid showed him trying not to look back either. Violet eyes on him. Tsuzuki wondered if that meant anything and if those violet eyes had ever gotten this kid in trouble as his purple ones had gotten him into such troubles.
This kid. Kids could be cruel. Tsuzuki knew.
The chief wanted this to be his new partner?
"Tsuzuki-san, smile, smile!" Gushoshin growled, then put on a big smile. At least as much of a smile as can be shown by a beak.
Tsuzuki put on a big friendly smile. "Hello, I'm the one who takes care of the Kyuushuu area, Tsuzuki."
"Fujimiya Aya," the boy answered, short and rude. Fujimiya Aya looked bored, annoyed, and faintly psychotic. It made Tsuzuki twitch.
Sensing awkwardness, not that it took much effort, Gushoshin tried to smooth the rough spot over by saying that Aya had been chosen by the chief himself, flattering the sullen little--
Tsuzuki would be friendly. Maybe Aya just didn't make good first impressions. Accusing one's new partner of being a vampire and preparing to shoot him might be a truly terrible first impression, but he had to give Aya a chance. Aya would probably dump him the way everyone else did, but....
"By the way, how old are you?" Tsuzuki asked.
Older than he'd thought but.... "You died at a young age. Was it a car accident?"
Aya flinched, and his cold, annoyed expression cracked to reveal torment. Tsuzuki wanted to reach out....
"Tsuzuki-san!" Gushoshin shouted.
The chill, sullen look returned to Aya's face. "I messed up on a job of mine and died of it."
At 19? "What kind of job can kill you for a mistake?" Tsuzuki asked.
"The kind where you try to kill people who have bodyguards around to discourage it."
Tsuzuki nearly choked. His new partner was an assassin? What kind of cases did the chief think he'd get that he'd be assigned a professional killer?
A 19-year-old assassin, dead and a Shinigami now. There was something feral and abandoned and hungry about Aya. What kind of tragic life had led him here? No wonder he was a cold, defensive jerk. Tsuzuki decided to try harder.
Aya leaned forward a little, an almost predatory expression on his face. "Since we're asking personal questions, it's your turn to answer mine. You're the number one career man at the Enma Department, right? Why is an elite like that a Shinigami?"
"Elite? Me?" Why did Tsuzuki get the feeling that this would blow up in his face? And this one wasn't even his fault!
Gushoshin almost exploded with laughter. "Tsuzuki? He's the laziest waste of space in the Enma Department!"
It didn't hurt. It really didn't hurt. People didn't understand why he tried to stay out of things....
>From the look on Aya's face, he could have been dying all over again. "What? The chief said--"
"I'm sorry that you don't know anything," Gushoshin said.
"The rule is for Shinigami to travel in pairs. But nobody wants to pair up with Tsuzuki."
It didn't hurt. They must have had good reasons.
Aya stood in a rush. "He lied to me? They have to know why I agreed to-- I can't be paired with someone useless!"
Not good. Not quite the reaction Tsuzuki had expected from Aya, though. How did Aya's partner have to be useful? Trying to defuse the situation, Tsuzuki kept eating and said, "This is good."
Aya looked very far from defused. He leaned forward so fast that his one long earring swung. "Stop eating, and listen to me!" Aya stilled when Tsuzuki reached out and ate his dumpling. "You--"
"You weren't eating it." A food duel would be just the thing to loosen Aya up.
As his host clicked off the TV with her remote control, Aya leaned back on the worn-out couch and asked, "Let me see if I understand this: I'm either bored to death or a killer no matter what else happened?" That last one.... "Or I'm a dead killer?"
She leaned back next to him. "I only showed you the ones that applied most to you as you are. You wouldn't recognize yourself in some of them, like sometimes you died at birth or you were a girl. That kind of thing."
"Is Takatori Shuuichi actually a bastard in every one?"
She smiled. "You remind me so much of my brother that it's good to see that you have a better sense of humor."
She reminded him of his sister, but he didn't say so.
"In one instance," she continued, "your parents died in an office building explosion while your sister was hit by a chunk of debris and that put her into a coma. You noticed Schuldig at the scene instead of Takatori, and he spent a lot of time messing with your head and flirting with you. Yoji inadvertently named you 'Aya,' and Weis knew all about your circumstances before you even said anything."
Yoji? And they knew...? "Yoji?"
"He did drag you to his bed after you and Ken knocked each other out cold."
His bed? His bed? Aya wasn't sure he really wanted to know, but.... "These things could have happened?"
She stood to feed her goldfish. "They have happened somewhere."
"Why show me this?"
"Maybe to ask you to live before you die, and why not, since you were here anyway. Maybe you'll even remember this."
"So I won't die." He still figured he'd lost his mind.
"Not yet. Give it time."
Good. Somebody had to look after his newly awakened sister, even if from a distance.
"What I've seen won't make a large change," he said.
She rolled her eyes. "That would have been too much to expect."
She shrugged. "I like you when you're not being an ass."
"But who are you?"
"You know me. You live with me almost every day."
Aya woke up to a distant awareness of pain. He knew he hurt but couldn't quite feel it. Good drugs.
Hospital room. Kritiker hospital room. Weis?
"Sleeping beauty's back with us." But despite Yoji's flippant words, some measure of worry could be seen in his eyes. He had an unlit cigarette in his mouth.
Omi just about bounced up into view. "Aya!"
"Don't smother him, Omi," Ken said with a smile. Like Yoji, they looked tired.
"I had the strangest dream," Aya said. It was important....
"Were we all in it?" Yoji asked with a smirk.
"Yeah. And goldfish."
Yoji snickered. "Good drugs."
"Omi." He could trust Omi with this.
This was very important, so Aya made his voice as solemn as possible. "Don't ever let me work in a bank."
"He's going to hate us when he sobers up," Yoji whispered.
"Maybe we'll get lucky and he won't remember," Ken answered.
"Are you kidding? You think I'm going to let him forget this?"
"I didn't get shot in the ears, Yoji," Aya said. "I'm going to kill you when I feel better."
"I'll look forward to it."
Surrounded by friends, alive, Aya felt content. Things could have been much worse.
Of course, he might feel differently once the drugs wore off.
More Viridian5 stories can be found in The Green Room version 2.0 at http://viridian.mrks.org/
No-frames but no-frills access available at http://viridian.shriftweb.org/
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Fandom: Weis Kreuz
Title: Waiting Room
Author: Viridian5 [email]
Details: Standalone | PG | gen | 15k | 02/11/04
Summary: Aya gets to see a few things that never happened to him.
Notes: Yeah, I know it's weird.
Spoilers: "Mission 13: Bruch-- Rain of Revenge," "Mission 15: Duell-- Hunters of Revenge," and the manga _Weis: An Assassin and White Shaman_. "Nagasaki Part One" for _Yami no Matsuei_.
Archival/distribution: Anywhere, as long as you ask me first.
Disclaimers: All things _Weis Kreuz_ belong to Koyasu Takehito, Project Weis, Polygram k.k., and Animate Film. I haven't been able to figure out which entities the _Yami no Matsuei_ stuff belongs to, but again it's not mine. No infringement intended.
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