even assassins get older. schu with reading glasses; crawford gets nostalgic, in a weird way. romantic, also in a weird way.
The clicking sound stops and Crawford glances up from the circle of light the reading-lamp's throwing over his book. On the other side of the bed, Schuldig has apparently come to some sort of hitch in whatever he's doing on the laptop; long pale fingers hover over the keys without touching them. The telepath is biting at his lower lip in a way that makes something happen in the center of Crawford's chest, and he allows the book to slide onto the floor, lets the feeling push itself a little more deeply into him.
His telepath, engulfed in a screaming Suzy Wong souvenir-of-Chinatown kimono, reading-glasses sliding down his sharp nose as he frowns into the glow of the screen, improbable hair partially restrained by a plastic clip. Crawford wonders how old he really is - he doubts Schuldig knows exactly and wouldn't say if he did, but it doesn't matter; in the frail light he looks just as he always has, as he always will until the final day when dawn catches him and he falls into ash. Crawford smiles for a minute, pictures them as Holmes and Moriarity, plunging over the Reichenbach Falls, locked in each other's arms forever.
They should be dead, both of them, shoved into the dirt somewhere, not here in this quiet house, in this respectable neighbourhood hedged in old stone walls and good manners, this bed with its smooth ivory sheets - how is it they aren't? How many beds have held the two of them - starting with the iron cot in his prefects' room at Rosenkreuz how many years ago; beds in hotel rooms where you could smell the last five or six occupants steaming up from the mattress, narrow bunks in foreign trains, a futon in a mountain onsen with a quilt covered in worn-thin silk, a mat on the wet cement floor of that pitch-dark police cell in Kinshasa with the corners that reeked of shit and blood and fear...a thousand and one beds but there was always Schuldig, under him or wrapped around him, thin ribs against his palms, hipbones bruising his, hair drifting across his mouth. Now, when Schuldig's not there, Crawford seldom bothers trying to sleep.
You're staring, Bradley. The laptop snaps closed, and the telepath reaches up to pull the clip out of his hair.
I'm wondering what it will be like without you, when you die.
Don't worry, baby. You'll go first - I'll see to it. And I'll make it good for you.
Schuldig looks at him over the top edge of the reading-glasses and his smile is the same as it's always been - edged, ambiguous.
I'll be the last thing you see. And when you can't see anymore, I'll be the last thing that you feel. He says it like the last words of a fairy tale - and they lived happily ever after.
Crawford reaches for him, hand closing around Schuldig's wrist. To him, that's what it sounds like.