I am the God of Death; won't you come dance with me? Schuldig-centric. Crawford/Schuldig
This suited him just fine.
Schuldig had always been an odd child. Even before he had known what those strange whispers were, the ones that made him turn around quickly and search for their source but had always shown just an empty hallway. He had been curious and clever, too observant for his own good despite what most people would think. And eventually he realized that it wasn't right, wasn't /normal/, for people to hear what he heard or know what he knew.
So he told his mother. But Mother was a practical woman who didn't have time for a child's game. "Grow up," she told him in frustration. "Stop making up stories," she would scold. She hit him once, when he had told her what father really thought about her.
So he never told her the things he heard again. Not even when he heard the bad men outside their house, with their guns and greed-filled thoughts.
He watched them kill Mother with wide eyes from his hiding place, watched the red spread out from under her and realized how much he liked the color; wondered how he had escaped the same fate. He saw Death looking at him with its skeletal grin and did the only thing he could do.
your devil-may-care smirk
He grinned back.
The second time he saw Death was years later. With Mother gone and rotting, it was just him and his Father. They moved, from Munich to Berlin, and lived in a small apartment that was no more his home than the last house was. Empty rooms, filled with dirty magazines and cigarette butts. Schuldig didn't pay much attention to it. He had tasted something bittersweet and wanted more.
Father hated it when he mentioned the voices but he used it when he could. Taught him to play cards and brought Schuldig along. A resourceful man, Father was, and Schuldig liked to think that was the only thing he inherited from him. But sometimes the voices mixed together, talked too loud in muddled sentences, and Schuldig lost. And then Father would grow angry, throw a fist and a kick or maybe worse.
So when Schuldig heard the mugger waiting around the corner as he and Father walked back to their apartment h did nothing. Simply melted back into the shadows and waited it out. He saw Death again, in a dirty side-ally, and tossed him a couple coins.
you've got the devil's luck
He always won at cards after that.
The streets were dangerous, but so was he. When he lacked it strength, he made up for it with speed. He could spit acid with words and could make you bleed with a flash of his razor-blade smile. He could fuck with mind and body, could twist truth to lies and black into white. He could adapt. He could survive. He'd done it all his life after all.
But sometimes it got to be too much. Sometimes, he'd hide in one way or another until he could play the game better. Because he always played to win.
But then he started to break around the edges, sharp enough to cut even him. He bit through his lip to stifle a scream, his mind filled with too much, too fast. He saw a familiar grin from the corner of his eye; knew he'd fight tooth and nail against it if he had to.
Then it was silent.
Schuldig looked up at the black-haired man who stared back down at him. He wasn't Death, true, but he was close.
always give the devil his due
Did he have any other choice but to follow?
Rosenkreuz, the guilty one decided, was a poor imitation of hell. Bleak, grey, and reeking of death. But it lacked the flare that hell had, the stuff that made legends and nightmares so vivid and eternal. The demons there were dull-eyed children who were being shaped into something different, with powers that they barely understood but would master before their time was done.
But there were a couple that were different. The ones that snarled back, no matter the consequence. The ones that had that certain flicker in their eyes that could only be noticed by those who had that same something in their own eyes. The ones who took everything in for themselves, not for some greater plan, and would use it with a grace so many lacked.
They were the ones who laughed with Death but never gave into him.
He rewards all of his children
They were the ones that would survive in the end.
They were killers, plain and simple. Nothing sweet about them, nothing to be redeemed or saved. They weren't evil, that would be too much like a storybook for Schuldig's tastes. They weren't tortured men who needed a hug or a better childhood or a "it's not your fault." That had nothing to do with it, in the end. It wouldn't change who they were.
And they all understood that, while others were blinded by some sense of righteousness.
"It's what makes Weiss so weak," Crawford had told Schuldig once with that smirk the redhead loved so much.
No delusions, no illusions, no misplaced guilt. It was what made them so powerful.
So they killed and burned and ruined whatever they were paid to. And then they rested.
Schuldig had told Crawford that they gave Death a run for his money.
it comes in many forms
And Crawford hated being second.
It was natural, really, for them to end up together. Schuldig wasn't a leader in any sense of the word, while Crawford couldn't be anything less. He was loud, swaggering, flirtatious and laid back. Crawford was the opposite, though every bit as annoying when he wanted to be. The oracle probably hadn't seen it coming.
And that was half the appeal.
It wasn't love, not the hearts and flowers kind anyway. It was raw and fast and possessive, with gunshots instead of love songs and blood instead of flowers. It was all the things that made little girls cringe but made Schuldig laugh and Crawford's eyes gleam a bit more than usual.
"You're just like the devil."
"The devil? Isn't that you?"
And sometimes Crawford said just the sweetest things. So Schuldig was reward him. It was always give and take. It was never about love, or even about lust, no matter how big a role that played. It was about loyalty and bonds that were broken and remade over and over again.
Lucifer himself was God's most beautiful angel
But it suited them both perfectly.
Farfarello had shot the girl and they both heard the screams her kitten had made while they ran for the car. As if the kid didn't see a corpse ever other night. And Jesus, but Schuldig was getting a headache from all the angst rolling off of the boy. All for the sister or cousin or whatever that he thought he loved.
Schuldig resisted the urge to gag. Farfarello just cackled.
And he was still cackling into his mind an hour later, when Takatori was beating both of them with a nine iron. Because it was fucking /hilarious/. And sometimes the Irishman was too insane even for him.
But they played along, rolled with the punches, and Schuldig figured that it could go on like this for a while.
Then it stopped, a deep voice breaking through the ringing in his head. He loved it when Crawford used his own tactics on people, and manipulation was the sweetest. But he didn't miss the anger brimming under the surface or the calculated calm that followed.
He saw Death creeping up behind the old man with that same grin, knowing exactly what future the oracle would bring and willing to do his part. The bastard had hurt his favorite sinner after all.
his own divine intervention
Schuldig loved it when his two favorite men got along.
He remembered the room shaking, all the battles put on hold and concrete and steel gave away. He could see Crawford's hand bleeding, Farfarello's neck tainted red. Could still feel the wire wrapped around his throat. Because they had won their freedom, their own revolution, and the chance to have this little mock fight had been too inviting.
Then Schuldig had felt the floor give away, heard his teammates surprise in his head, saw the darkness below loom up. He had thought that Death had finally caught up with him, tired of watching from afar and ready to claim his as his own. Death had been patient after all...
if I die before I wake
Schuldig should have known that Crawford wouldn't allow it.
His head was pounding, making him grasp for those last moments of unconsciousness. But life was never fair and he found himself blinking open dazed blue eyes and seeing darkness above.
And it was silent.
His own personal hell.
He remembered hearing once that Lucifer had smiled when he found himself in an uninhabited Hell and tried to grin. It would certainly be appropriate. But it faltered, turned into a bitter twist of his lips.
He wasn't the devil. Just another demon to join the ranks. And Schuldig hated the silence. It was unnatural and empty and endless and /not right/. He fought down the brief panic that was rising in him. He tried to tune in but all he got was a static buzz. What happened to his telepathy? Where the fuck was Brad? Nagi? Farfarello?
Then he heard it, a murmur in the back of his mind. Confusion, awareness, cool anger followed by smugness.
That would be Brad then.
And for a wild moment he wanted to laugh over the idea that Brad was stuck with him in hell too. Footsteps, soft and slightly uneven on the ground -sand?- making their way towards him.
One eye opened blearily before closing again. Just enough to see black hair and white suit.
The foot connecting with his ribs wasn't really unexpected.
He sat up, hands curling into sand and eyes flashing. "You fuckin bastard! I'm injured here."
"You're alive. Let's go."
"So we're not in hell?" Obvious, but he just had to ask.
"Figures. They're probably afraid you'll kick up the anarchy there too."
Annoyance mixed with exasperation, but there was a hint of amusement woven in. "Let's go."
"Ja, ja. Where are our other little demons?"
"Unconscious. We'll have to carry them."
"I get dibs on Nagi."
And in a snap it was back to normal. Crawford got to keep him a bit longer, a fact that the rest of humanity was probably cursing. And Death would have to be happy watching from the sidelines. The oracle never gave people exactly what they wanted if he could help it.
greed, sloth, wrath, envy, lust
But Schuldig always had ways of getting around that.