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Disclaimer: Weiss Kreuz and its characters do not belong to
I'm just borrowing them for my and (I hope)
my readers' amusement only
have no intention of trying to make money off of them in any way,
Warnings: Canonical levels
of violence. Canonical character death. Mild AU.
Fandom: Weiss Kreuz
Author: The RCK and Hope of Dawn
Last updated: 2 August 2013
Notes: Written for the Weiss Kreuz Reverse Fest 2013 on LJ.
I'm really bad at writing combat, so I begged HopeofDawn to help me
out with those sections. She obliged, and I'm extremely grateful.
The action is almost entirely hers. Thanks to lynnoconnacht and
Sabine for help with German titles and names. Thanks to Gemais for
taking a look at an early draft. Thanks to my husband for beta
The Road Taken
//If you want to upset him, kid, tell him Reiji's not his father.
Tell him his mother was an adulterous slut,// Schuldig
suggested to Nagi with malicious glee. //I'm sure you can angle
it for maximum pain.//
Crawford frowned. "Enough." He turned his back on Nagi, the youngest
member of Weiss, and the bodies of the two soldiers Tsukiyono had
killed. He took two long strides to follow Takatori Reiji
around the corner. //The rest of Weiss is ahead.// He
thought about reminding Nagi not to kill his opponent, but Nagi had
never had trouble remembering that sort of thing. Unlike certain
other members of my team. //Schuldig, Kudoh is next. Let
Farfarello take care of him. That'll leave you with Hidaka. We
definitely need Hidaka alive, him and Fujimiya.//
//Farfarello and the wire wielder? Hardly a fair fight.//
Footsteps behind him told Crawford that Schuldig, Farfarello, and
the two surviving soldiers were following. By the sound of it,
Farfarello had stopped at the corner to look back. Crawford closed
his eyes for just a second and sighed. And he's frustrated
because he hasn't gotten to kill anyone tonight. //If you have any
doubts about leaving Hidaka alive--// Crawford brought to mind
the first image that had come to him earlier that evening, Hidaka
slicing his claws across Dame Abendroth's body and her collapsing,
obviously dead. He kept the image clear in his mind for about three
seconds, long enough for Schuldig to get a really good look.
"Farfarello, get ahead of Mister Takatori." He pushed his glasses up
Farfarello darted forward, his knives held at ready. One of the
soldiers also pounded forward. Crawford approved of his initiative.
Too bad for him, but he'll provide cover. And-- now!
Kudoh's wire flicked out, slicing through the air, whipping around
the soldier’s throat, his arms, so that he couldn't move. The wire
sliced into flesh, and blood spurted; the man fell. Kudoh stepped
out from a doorway, looked directly at Takatori and said, "I'm
getting you back for Asuka." His tone was flat but determined.
//I still say he must have some sort of psychokinesis,//
//Irrelevant,// Crawford replied, watching Kudoh and the
flickers of near-future images both, making sure all was proceeding
as planned. //We're not recruiting.//
Farfarello stepped toward Kudoh, a one-eyed wolf on the hunt, knives
at the ready. He lunged, ignoring the corpse on the floor.
Once people were dead, Farfarello didn’t have much use for
them. A hand flickered out, edged with razored steel as he
slashed at Kudoh with one of his knives.
Kudoh twisted out of the way, body arching to avoid the slice.
He backpedalled quickly, trying to regain his distance even as
Farfarello closed in, drawing more of that lethal wire out of his
"Leave this to Farfarello," Crawford ordered Schuldig and the other
remaining bodyguard. He waved the nameless soldier forward, moving
fast. "Schuldig, take the lead." Takatori hadn't paused at
Kudoh’s attack, and his three protectors had to hurry to catch up.
Schuldig obediently put himself in front of Takatori. //I'd
rather let the grunt take the lead. I don't fancy steel in my
//I'll warn you in time.// Crawford wanted desperately to
stop and sort through futures-- He needed to find the path that led
to the death of the elders. He'd never looked for such a thing
before because it had never occurred to him that it might be
possible. And now he couldn’t afford to take the time, now
matter how much he wanted to. Instead he did his best to cast
his vision towards the future, trying to sort through flickers and
fragments as they ran. But if Hidaka kills Dame Abendroth and
Fujimiya kills Herr Zimmermann-- If that happens, Schwarz can deal
with Herr Schoepke. It's possible.
As they approached a corner, Crawford Saw Hidaka waiting just
beyond. //Stay back,// he told Schuldig, //and keep
Mister Takatori back for a moment.//
Schuldig obediently halted, putting out an arm to stop Takatori's
Takatori opened his mouth to object but was forestalled by Hidaka
charging around the corner. The other soldier hadn’t stopped
when they had, and Hidaka didn’t hesitate, ripping his bugnuks
through body armor and underlying flesh in a vicious slash.
Clutching at the wound, the man collapsed, blood and viscera
spilling out onto the floor. Hidaka glared at Takatori,
bloodied hands closing convulsively into fists. "My friend is
waiting for you in hell!"
"Now, now," Schuldig said. "I'm the one you'll be playing with."
With blinding speed, Schuldig darted forward, tweaked Hidaka's nose,
then danced out of reach before Hidaka's answering slash could
connect. Drawing his gun, he gave Crawford a quick glance, even as
he dodged another attack. //I have this. Go.//
"Mister Takatori, it's best we move on." Crawford led Takatori
around the circling pair to the door they'd been aiming for. "The
only member of Weiss left to appear is the one with the sword."
As they passed through the door, Takatori squared his shoulders. "I
have a sword, and I know how to use it."
Crawford blinked. He could See Takatori fighting Fujimiya with some
success until Takatori's overconfidence gave Fujimiya an opening. Never
turn your back on an enemy. He blinked. But that looked as
if I weren't there. Am I likely not to be? "If you'd feel
better armed, we can certainly detour to retrieve it. The last
assassin will be waiting on the roof." That will give me time to
look at futures.
Takatori changed direction, no doubt to get his weapon, but most of
Crawford’s attention was on the visions unfolding in his mind.
He followed on autopilot, letting Takatori lead as he focused
"Takatori Reiji!" Fujimiya leaped down from above, sword
drawn. Drama queen. Look further. That part isn't going to
change. Unless-- They could avoid the roof entirely, if they
chose; it appeared that they had been able to avoid the fire as they
descended through the building, and exiting caused no problems.
Blinded by his single-minded vengeance, Fujimiya stayed on the roof
until he asphyxiated. Not that one.
Fujimiya attacked Crawford with single-minded fury, trying to get
past him as Takatori climbed the rope ladder to the waiting
helicopter. Sword against gun had only one outcome, really, as long
as Crawford had enough space to keep out of the range of that blade.
But he was hampered by trying to keep the redhead alive.
He fired a couple shots, enough to give himself some breathing
room and keep Fujimiya at bay. Then Crawford turned to climb
the ladder-- and took the sword through his chest. Definitely
Crawford continued to battle Fujimiya, letting the helicopter fly
away without him, ensuring Takatori’s escape. He could keep Fujimiya
at bay, but the redhead’s single-minded madness meant he couldn't
disengage, and the fire was spreading. He called the rest of his
team for backup. They came, but the rest of Weiss came, too, turning
the burning rooftop into a lethal melee as the two teams regrouped.
Stalemate, unless he was willing to kill them. Try something
else. Nagi... Thinking of the telekinetic, Crawford
pushed in that direction. What if--?
Nagi knocked out each member of Weiss as he went toward the roof.
All it took was a bit of unseen pressure on the carotids;
something Nagi’s control was more than good enough to accomplish.
Farfarello, never one to pass up an advantage, carved an inverted
cross on an unconscious Kudoh's left cheek. That will scar.
Crawford's team regrouped, each carrying their particular Weiss
opponent. Fujimiya roared in outrage at the sight, charging;
with a flicker of a thought, Nagi knocked Fujimiya out.
Schwarz pulled out, their mission complete, hauling Weiss with them
as they descended down through the building. Schuldig blurred the
minds of the surviving guards they encountered, hiding Weiss'
presence, and they dumped Weiss in an alley. Possible. Very
possible. What happens next?
The future fragmented. Weiss had many options, and Crawford had no
way of controlling or predicting which they would choose. They'd
live to see dawn if they listened to Kudoh. He apparently knew how
to go to ground. A definite reason to keep him alive. How
long they lasted after that depended on how they decided to come
after Takatori. They would. That was certain. It was a question of
whether they'd wait for a good opportunity or take the first
Crawford couldn't tease out the most probable course of events.
Fujimiya seemed to have no sense of self preservation, and Hidaka
was happy to follow him on a kamikaze run. Kudoh seemed to want to
cut his losses and bide his time. Given opportunity, Tsukiyono would
look for information, resources and allies. But loyalty might
override both Kudoh and Tsukiyono’s survival instincts, if Hidaka
and Fujimiya decided to pursue their vengeance to the end. The
only thing that became clear quickly was that Fujimiya and Hidaka
would only live if Takatori died. Specifically, if he died soon. If
Takatori lived long enough to consolidate his power, his successor
would hunt Weiss into oblivion.
Crawford shook his head to clear out the visions. Ahead of
him, Takatori opened a door, entering a particular room. His
personal quarters, from the looks of it. Crawford
followed him in and found Takatori lifting a sword from a display
rack. "We should head for the roof, Mr. Takatori, before the fire
spreads," he suggested, watching the potential futures narrow.
Dying from smoke inhalation in some dingy stairwell was not an
Takatori held the blade with an ease that spoke of much practice.
"The helicopter will wait for us," he said arrogantly, still sure of
his power. But he gestured for Crawford to lead the way.
I don't like Weiss making decisions. It's too uncertain. What
variable can I change? Crawford wasn't sure exactly where the
stairway to the roof was, but he figured it couldn't be too hard to
find or too far from the main stairway. He was right. And
it's well marked. Crawford pulled open the door,
thinking. I can’t control what Fujimiya does--what about
Takatori? Takatori trusted them, to an extent.
Could he be the leverage Crawford needed? Fujimiya would
certainly do anything to see out his revenge on the man. "When we
get to the top, stay in the stairwell. I'll deal with the assassin,
Mr. Takatori." He stretched briefly, rolling his neck and shoulders,
swinging his arms a few times. I might as well have some fun
tonight. Nothing else has been remotely enjoyable.
At the top of the stairs, Crawford pushed open the door, and hung
back, waiting for Fujimiya to make his leap from above. Just
as he had seen, the Weiss swordsman didn’t wait to to verify his
target, dropping down in an overly-dramatic entrance that impressed
no one but himself.
"Takatori Reiji!" Fujimiya slashed at the spot where Crawford would
have been if he'd stepped out of the stairwell, his katana gleaming
silver in the darkness. Crawford took advantage of Fujimiya’s
surprise, stepping onto the roof while the redhead was still
off-balance from the lack of a target. The Weiss assassin
tried for a clumsy, backhanded slash, trying to regain lost ground;
Crawford twitched sideways, evading it with bored ease. Pathetic.
It was almost an insult, these rank amateurs who called themselves
assassins. But then, vigilantism required a certain amount of
stupidity as well as fanaticism, in Crawford’s estimation.
Wheeling, Crawford jabbed a short, sharp punch into Fujiymiya’s
back, right over the kidney, sending him stumbling forward.
Refusing to allow the other man any room to recover or to
think, he pressed his attack, sliding out of the way of Fujimiya’s
increasingly frantic sword attacks, slapping away the flat of that
lethal blade, hammering punch after punch home. Advancing,
always advancing, driving the Weiss assassin around the roof.
Fujimiya pivoted, trying to break free from a desperate defense,
going on the offensive with a low cut to the knees. Not that
it did him any good; Crawford, warned by his precognition, was
no longer there, stepping just outside the sweep of Fujimiya’s
blade. Takatori is getting impatient. He’s not used
to being ignored. But I can’t let him kill Fujimiya.
Not yet. Crawford considered the possibilities
before him. Their orders were to keep Takatori alive.
Still his usefulness to the Elders was limited-- to Schwarz
even more so-- and quite frankly, Crawford was getting tired of
chivvying this particular bit of bait around. He stepped back,
deliberately leaving open one side, allowing Fujimiya to attack.
Ducking under the resulting upward cut, Crawford lunged inside
Fujimiya’s guard, binding his sword arm and hammering a punch into
the other man’s solar plexus. He could have finished him then
and there; instead he leapt backwards, letting the younger man gasp
for air. "What exactly do you think you're going to accomplish?"
Crawford said mockingly, letting his disdain show.
Fujimiya snarled something between gasps; Crawford couldn't make out
the words. Not that he cared. He needed Fujimiya to stay
angry, to keep reacting instead of thinking.
"I'm curious about that myself," Takatori said. Ignoring Crawford's
instructions, he had left the stairwell to stand on the roof, sword
Overconfident idiot. Takatori can’t stand not being the
center of attention--he just has to complicate things.
In an instant, Crawford was forgotten. Fujimiya spun on one
heel, hurling himself at Takatori. "I am the son of Fujimiya who you
Takatori parried Fujimiya's blow effortlessly, metal ringing against
metal. "Fujimiya? That name doesn't sound familiar."
Fujimiya pressed forward, launching a flurry of angry strikes.
He was skilled enough with a sword, but his fury made him
sloppy. "We were a happy family!"
Parrying, Takatori locked their swords hilt to hilt. He threw
his greater strength and size against Fujimiya, sending the assassin
flying, his sword spinning from his hand.
Catching Fujimiya before he could hit the ground, Crawford spun him
around and rammed a knee into his gut. "What a waste of time,” he
said contemptuously, letting Fujimiya drop to the ground. He
followed with a kick, slamming one polished shoe hard into the
younger man’s side, easily evading Fujimiya's flailing attempts to
grab him. He could feel the telltale give of bone beneath the
kick--cracked ribs, at least, if not broken. And this
isn't nearly as much fun as I hoped.
Wheezing for air, Fujimiya scrabbled at the ground, trying to get
Crawford kicked him again, this time catching him on the shoulder.
No point in breaking more ribs; internal injuries could be
tricky, and he didn’t want Fujimiya dead. He drew his gun,
knowing what Takatori expected him to do. Pity about the
helicopter pilot. Ah, well. We've dealt with inconvenient
"That's right! Shoot him!" Takatori was watching avidly.
"Are you certain you don't want to do it yourself?" Crawford stepped
back from Fujimiya, glancing over at Takatori and allowing a
victorious smile to show on his face. The last few pieces were
almost in place...
Takatori took a step forward, sword lifting in one hand.
In a single fluid motion, Crawford lifted his gun and shot Takatori
twice. Good riddance.
Takatori staggered, sword falling with a clatter to the ground, then
crumpled. He didn't even have time to look surprised.
Fujimiya was on his hands and knees, wobbling, trying get to his
feet. His face was a pale mask of impotent rage, streaked with
blood and angry tears.
Crawford thought about kicking him again. But what was the
point? He was no Farfarello, to indulge in sadism at the
expense of all else. A few taunts would drive Fujimiya’s shame
deeper than any physical wound. "See where your revenge has
led?” Crawford said mockingly. “All that fuss, and you didn't
even draw blood. I had to do it for you. Find your playmates, Weiss,
and run along home." He turned and headed for the stairway.
In his mind's eye, he saw Fujimiya stagger to his feet, straighten
and rush at his back. Crawford turned just in time to catch that
desperate lunge, redirecting it and throwing the other man
contemptuously across the roof. "You aren't worth my time." Then he
was through the door, taking the steps two at a time. His
gambit had worked; now Fujimiya would chase Crawford as long as
Schwarz needed, desperate to taste some scrap of his vengeance.
//Schuldig-- Tell the others we're done. Let Weiss find their own
way out. We're leaving.//
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