It had been a week since Wraith was found dead and life continued as it always did. Liebe sat on the barstool staring into a corner where Schuldich was slung across a man's lap, doped to numbness, and smiling like always as he got fucked. She snorted and looked away, popping a pill into her mouth. Speed was cheap this week and she was making good use of the discount. Tapping her fingers against her brandy glass she propped her chin up on her hand, gazing at nothing.
"Tired?" Schuldich asked her sometime later when he was through.
"Shouldn't I be asking you that?" she replied as he leaned in next to her.
He shrugged. "I have enough for the night."
Liebe nodded and took a sip from her drink. "You still hearing voices in your head?"
Schuldich slanted her a look, red hair falling over one green eye. "Always."
She reached out and combed her fingers through his hair, giving him an empty smile. "Crazy fucked up kid."
"Yeah. So what else is new?"
She removed her hand. "Nothing."
"Want to go home?"
She brought her glass to her lips and downed it in one swallow. "Yeah."
They left the rave together, arms around each other's waists and heads bowed against the wind. It was snowing outside; a light fall that melted on their bare arms and tangled in their hair. The walk to their apartment was forty-five minutes away. Clinging to each other they made the journey in silence. By the time they made it home, they were both shivering and cold, lips blue and faces chapped by wind.
They made it up the stairs and stumbled through the door of their apartment. Schuldich locked it behind him and then he was being tugged into the bedroom where Liebe stripped them of their clothes and guided him under the quilt. Holding him close she pressed her face into his chest and listened to his heartbeat.
"Do you ever dream, Schuldich?" she whispered.
"I try not to," he murmured, eyes closing. She pressed a kiss to his skin, moving against him. "Liebe?"
"Shh," she whispered softly, placing a finger over his lips. "Don't talk. Let me do all the work."
The sex between them that night was gentle and silent. Two people of the same profession, in the same hell, looking for a little comfort. It was soft touches and gentle kisses, no harsh words or abuse or money exchange. Just an understanding as they got warm. When they were done, Liebe held Schuldich close to her until he fell asleep, her hands running through his hair as she stared blankly out the dirt stained window.
"My crazy little redhead," she whispered. "Who will save you now?"
The knock came around noon, waking them up. Schuldich made a face and pulled the pillow over his head. "You answer it," he grumbled.
Crawling over him she pulled a tee-shirt on and padded barefoot down the short hall to the door. She opened it and stared at the elegantly dressed man standing before her. He eyed her without contempt, the smile on his face pasted on. "Is Schuldich here?" he asked her.
"Who's asking?" she wanted to know.
"I can give him what he wants," was her answer.
For a moment she didn't move. Then she pulled the door open wider and gestured for him to come inside. "He's in the bedroom. I'll get him for you," she said softly.
The stranger headed into their tiny living room while Liebe returned to the bedroom. Shaking Schuldich out from under the pillow she met his glare with a dispassionate gaze. "Get dressed."
"That American is here."
The expression on his face changed from annoyance to hunger in a heartbeat. He sat up and reached for his pants. She left him to get dressed and went into the kitchen and poured herself a glass of scotch. Lighting a cigarette she watched expressionlessly as Schuldich stepped out of the bedroom and towards the stranger that stood in the middle of their home.
"You came back," Schuldich said, tucking his hands into his pockets.
"I said I would," the man told him.
"You said you would do anything for the silence."
Schuldich nodded. "So?"
"I'm here to take you up on that."
"Do I need a reason?" the man asked, adjusting his glasses.
Schuldich arched an eyebrow, his lips stretching into an empty smile. "There are reasons for everything."
"True enough. But I'm here on business, Schuldich. If you want the silence badly enough, you'll come with me."
"And if I don't?"
The American smiled enigmatically and said nothing.
The silence stretched out for long minutes, the two just staring at each other. Liebe broke the silence by slamming her glass down onto the counter, cracking it, and removed her cigarette from between her lips. Schuldich jumped slightly, jerking his eyes over to hers.
"Just go, Schuldich," Liebe told him softly.
"Liebe - "
"What have you got to hold you here, Schuldich?" she asked him, her eyes boring into his. "Is insanity what you want if you got the cure standing right in front of you?"
He bit his lip, eyes flickering between the two. "Liebe ..."
"Just go, Schuldich. You've always wanted the silence more than anything else. So just go."
Shoulders sagged. Eyes dropped. Defeat had won out, his addiction claiming his life once more. "I'm sorry," he whispered as he moved to her, coming into the kitchen to give her a soft, gentle kiss. Pulling away he gave her a hauntingly real smile full of pain. "Thank you. For everything."
"I've told you not to thank me," she muttered as he looked over at the American.
"Go wait in the limo," the man ordered.
Schuldich nodded and lifted his hand to touch his fingers to her lips. "Goodbye, Liebe."
Then he was walking out of the small apartment and out of her life. Raising her cigarette to her mouth she turned and looked at the man in front of her. "He's a junkie and a chain-smoker and an alcoholic and a trick," she told him in a flat voice.
"I know," the man replied.
"He's fucked in the head."
She took a deep drag. "He was my friend."
"He always will be."
"Tell him - " She hesitated, her eyes flickering away. "Tell him my name is - "
"I know what your name is," he said, cutting her off. "I'll tell him."
She looked at him. "You're like him, aren't you? That's why you have the silence that he needs."
"I'm not exactly like him, but yes, we are alike."
She chuckled bitterly and turned her back on him and closed her eyes. "Take good care of him for me, all right?"
Two in the heart. One in the head. She was dead before she hit the ground. Tucking his gun back into his coat he pushed his glasses back up his nose and left the apartment, closing the door behind him. Walking down the stairs he made his way out of the building and to the limo. Climbing inside he buckled up and leaned back against the leather seat.
"Take us back to my hotel," he ordered the driver.
The limo pulled away and he turned his attention to the redhead who was sitting across from him, green eyes studying him intently. "You killed her," he said softly, with no accusation in his voice. It was just a simple statement.
"I had to," the American told him. "I was under orders."
Schuldich shrugged. "Liebe's better off dead anyway."
"She told me to tell you her name."
"Really?" He looked at him with slight curiosity in his eyes. "What is it?"
Schuldich smiled slightly and looked out of the window. "And what's yours?"
"Brad. Brad Crawford."
Schuldich nodded to himself and then curled up on the seat, closing his eyes. Brad watched him thoughtfully, seeing in his mind that Schuldich would never cry over her. He would remember her, yes, but cry over her? No. That's not who Schuldich was.
He had told Schuldich her name.
He had not told him that she had loved him.
Part 8 | Fanfiction