Crawford is lead to take the subway and ends up encountering Ken right before a botched robbery.
Author: Sybil Rowan
Summary: Crawford is lead to take the subway and ends up encountering Ken right before a botched robbery.
Author's Notes: This is written for the 'FicTicTacToe' community on Live Journal. My competitor is my hubby, WingedPanther73. We're posting these to our Live Journal blogs. My prompt is #2: "Your heart will tear mine apart." By the way, the song I reference to by Joy Division is 'Love Will Tear Us Apart.' It's the most awesome song ever! Totally about love destroying the lovers.
Beta Reader/ Opponent: My wonderful hubby, WingedPanther73.
Word Count = 1,817
July 27, 2010 5:03am
"You're home early. So, things weren't to you're liking?" Schuldig asked, not looking up from the house of cards he was building on the coffee table. Crawford tossed his keys on the small desk by the door and glared at the back of his head. Schuldig wasn't reading his mind, but that didn't mean he wasn't willing to pry.
"It played out differently than I predicted. I don't anticipate seeing him again, outside of the occasional dust ups with Weiss."
Schuldig glanced at him and gave him a toothy smile. "Anticipate? That's an odd word for you to use. Kind of... uncertain? Let me guess, you had a vision that didn't go well with Chianti?"
"Something like that. We do need to stay away from all Weiss until we're in a better position. I foresaw it could be our undoing."
"Ah! Speaking of which... Takatori was trying to get you on your cell phone. Plus, you've kept your mind off limits tonight."
"What did Takatori want?" Crawford asked peevishly. He hoped to change the subject, but knowing Schuldig, that wasn't going to happen.
"He wants you to escort him to Hokkaido tomorrow."
"Good. It's the gun shipment." Crawford marched towards his study in Schwarz's high-rise apartment. He started to feel the slight buzzing in the front of his mind, just a subtle push.
"Still closed off, Brad..." Schuldig called out in a mocking tone that grated on Crawford's nerves.
They ordered food and sat in silence for several long minutes. Crawford sipped his wine and watched Ken fidget slightly. Crawford had waited for an opportunity like this to happen for a while now. This could be a chance to work his way at gathering information about Weiss and then exploiting it. He to be careful and not give Siberian an excuse to bolt.
Crawford still couldn't figure out if Siberian was bored, addicted to danger, or just plain foolish. After all, why didn't he hand his wallet over to the other Weiss members or Kritiker? Obviously, Crawford didn't keep anything damaging to himself in it, and not even the police had come knocking at his door asking about the three, now dead, hijackers.
He'd had a premonition early that afternoon that told him Siberian hadn't compromised him in any way, but his premonition hadn't provided the motive behind the Weiss assassin's thinking. Crawford took this as a promising sign; maybe Siberian was as gullible as he perceived. A small frown came to Crawford's lips, disappointed at how easy this was going to be.
"So you know my name; are you going to out me somehow?" Ken was the one to break the silence, which suited Crawford. He wanted to take his cues from the young man.
A small tug from his clairvoyance told him to turn off his cell phone and to gently ensure Schuldig wasn't lurking in his head; both of which he did without much conscious thought, just obedience to his Sight.
"It figures you'd be the type to get to the point, being into sports and competition." Crawford watched Ken's face get unpleasant, able to concentrate now that distractions were gone and privacy was ensured.
"I shouldn't be surprised you checked up on me this afternoon," Ken said. Crawford watched Ken's hands clench together so hard he was getting white knuckles. He was getting used to applying the real name to the young man; it would be more disarming in the long run.
"I found some old magazine articles online. You're supposed to be dead in some warehouse fire. Before that, you had a gambling addiction. You were a rising soccer star until you started throwing games."
Ken's face turned pink, he clenched his jaw. "I was framed. I was never addicted to gambling. It was all just gossip," Ken answered with a calm, quiet dignity. His eyes didn't waver from Crawford's.
"So you seem to have been forced into Weiss by some extreme misfortune," Crawford said. Ken was about say something, but the waiter came and served their food. Crawford picked up his fork and took a bite of the warm veal in sauce.
"Being in Weiss is my choice," Ken insisted, but Crawford noticed the slight waver away from eye contact.
"So tell me about how you came to that choice."
"No, you're fishing for things to use against me."
Crawford figured some honesty would go a long way. If he used the old magicians trick of showing one clean hand, Ken wouldn't be watching his other. Crawford gave him a sly smile and nodded. "Of course, I didn't just want my wallet back."
"I know," Ken snapped.
"You can leave any time you want. I have no hold over you." This was to create the illusion of choice. Let Siberian make this trap out of his own ennui; Crawford wouldn't have to expend much energy, at least, for now.
Crawford could tell his taunt only seemed to stiffen Ken's resolve by the furrowed brow and narrowed eyes. Ken picked up his fork and looked down at the heavy food in front of him. Crawford continued to eat while inwardly gloating. This Mundane, Crawford hoped if played right, could hand over Weiss.
He sipped his tart wine and felt his eyesight being drawn away, tugged down a path. He relaxed and went with it. He would be speeding in his car towards a hospital; a small, wailing child would be in the passengers seat of his beloved Austin-Healey with a broken leg. He would try to calm the child dressed in a bloodied and grass-stained soccer uniform. Crawford tried to push into a deeper and more detailed version, but something clicked, and he was pushed towards another vision against his urging.
The Balinese's eyes were going to be blazing hot with rage directed at him. The Weiss assassin would accuse him of causing Ken's ruin. Crawford would refute the charge and tell Balinese Ken's stubborn integrity was what brought the downfall of both Weiss and Schwarz. Crawford could feel his own malice grow when he would loft the gun at Balinese and demand to know in which sanitarium Kritiker had put Ken. His vision started sliding backwards into real time.
"You knew I wasn't going to leave this restaurant now?" Ken asked, his expression seemed suspicious.
"No, I didn't," he said, trying to puzzle out the distracting visions. Ruination, Crawford had a feeling, wouldn't just be Ken's if he kept contact with this young man.
"But I thought you could see... things..."
Crawford's smile dropped into an irritated expression. "It doesn't work that way." Mundanes' questions about Talents usually irritated him; this was no exception.
"Well, tell me how it works."
Crawford could see an authentic curiosity, no fear and bigotry seemed to be lurking behind those large, pure eyes. Crawford paused for a moment before blowing off the request. Yes, a little openness was the way to keep this young man intrigued. That would suit Crawford for now until he could figure out what was behind his two visions that peaked his curiosity.
Crawford nodded and said, "It's like playing a chess game. I can see two or three moves ahead of time. I can adjust to what I see, but a new situation is created based on what choice I make."
"Do you ever go against them?"
"If you mean ignore them, no. All it boils down to is getting information ahead of time. This morning, for example, I was warned that those men would kill everyone on the subway car. Saving you changed the situation, but there was no guarantee that the new, random situation would be an improvement."
"That makes sense. It's like a competition. You have to change your strategy depending on the plays your opponent makes."
Crawford was a little surprised Siberian grasped the explanation. Crawford felt a little more pleased this dinner wasn't full of childish bickering, or worse yet, boring. He watched Ken finish the last bite of his meal and take a sip of water. Crawford had the briefest vision of Ken awkwardly bidding a hasty goodbye and leaving.
"You could stay for dessert," Crawford suggested.
"No, thank you though. And thank you for saving my life today. I hope I can repay you one day," Ken said earnestly. "I really should go. I liv... I just really need to leave."
Crawford was happy at the slight slip; he could infer Ken lived where Kritiker could observe him, or maybe the Weiss members were keeping tabs on each other. This also let him know he could erode Ken's wariness, and he'd slip up again, given enough time together in the right circumstances.
"I understand," Crawford relented after another brief vision. This one involved Ken calling his cell phone while he was on a flight tomorrow evening. Yes, Ken's ennui was going to draw him to Crawford with very little effort.
Crawford had no plans to travel tomorrow, but Takatori was known to have him run errands at the last minute. He was starting to feel a push into his mind, a slight buzzing sound. It was Schuldig trying to get his attention. Crawford decided he didn't want the German telepath around when he was trying to coax Ken, it would spook the Weiss off quicker than anything Crawford could do.
He watched Ken stand and go for his own money. Crawford shook his head and said, "I've got this. Consider it a 'thank you' for returning my wallet and an apology for Schuldig's behavior."
"No, I promised that you could leave unharmed after we were rescued. I did mean it."
Ken looked baffled, but nodded. "Thank you... Crawford."
Crawford sat in his dim study, feet propped on his mahogany desk and hands folded across his chest. He felt a little drowsy from the wine, but his head was still trying to sort out his visions at dinner.
He had called Takatori and the airport. Things were calm, and everything was silent. Crawford opened up his laptop, brought up his music player, and hit random order. He fixed himself a scotch, not wishing to have visions and a nagging mind disturb his sleep.
He was surprised to hear Joy Division playing softly. He hadn't listened to them for a good ten years. The particular song had almost the same melody as 'And Then He Kissed Me' by The Crystals, but the twist was by far darker. The lyrics invade his subconscious and it morphed from the proper phrase into, 'Your heart will tear mine apart.'
He startled and shut the laptop lid, cutting off the soft glow providing the light in the shadowy office. He quickly drained the drink and went to bed.
To be continued.