December, 1992 - Paris, France
He missed the feeling of the needle.
Fifteen years old and scarred for life. As strong as he was, he had thought he was going to die during the year of rehab that they had forced him through. The pain had been like nothing he had felt before and he still had lingering flash backs of drugs. Sometimes, if he cracked his spine, he'd get brief hits of acid in his brain. The first time he had done that, Brad had called him on it.
He still remembered the beating they had given him.
He reached up and tucked a lock of long red hair behind his ears. It was getting annoying and his sunglasses didn't always keep it back. It was too thick and too wild. He thought about cutting it short but decided against it. He liked his hair long and it suited who he was. Short hair meant that he had finally given into the businessmen all around him in their designer suits and short styled hair. He never succumbed to anyone. With a slight scowl, he stared out the hotel window.
He had gone through so much cleansing to get to the point where he was today. Clean of all the drugs he had been addicted to, no sex since last December, and remarkably free of STDs. And amazingly enough, he was HIV negative. How that happened he didn't know but neither did he care. Death was death, no matter how you died. And unlike other people on the street, he had been careful most of the time. He still craved cigarettes and after using his body to get money for five years, he was horny as hell half the time with no release except to jerk off in the morning and evenings when the want got too bad.
But the silence made up for it all.
He finally had a name for what he was: telepath. Able to read other people's minds and, if he was strong enough, influence and control them. But the most glorious thing now was that he knew how to shield and keep the voices out and his own inside and the blessed silence was worth the withdrawal, worthy anything. Brad hadn't lied. He had given him the silence - but for a price. And that price was to become a member of an assassin group called Schwarz; puppets of the SS.
He had never killed a man before yesterday.
Looking down at his hands he remembered the feel of the gun in his palms, the way his finger had curled around the trigger just so. The slightest hint of pressure and BANG! The man had been dead before he hit the ground.
"I've sinned," he mused with a lopsided grin.
"So? All of humanity sins, Schuldich. He deserved it."
Schuldich turned to look at the American sitting on the couch, reading a newspaper. Brad was twenty-one, six years older than he was, and taller than him. He had learned within a week of being in his company that the blue-eyed American was a pre-cog. He could see the future, albeit only a few days to a week at a time, and his visions were usually short flashes that were filtered out of a greater whole.
Schuldich still remembered how he had tasted.
He opened his mouth to say something but Brad beat him to it. "No, Schuldich. I will not fuck you," came the calm reply before the question was even asked. He didn't even lift his head from the paper.
Schuldich crossed his arms. "Fine."
"Get over it. You don't need to trick anymore. You have everything that you could want."
Schuldich tilted his head a bit, looking down at the street. "The want is still there Brad. Come on, just one quickie."
"I'm not going to help you get rid of it. Do it yourself."
"That's no fun. And besides, I'd rather have you doing it."
Brad refused to rise to his bait.
Schuldich smiled. One of these days he would get the American into his bed. He'd make sure of it. Except for the one time he had gone down on him in the limo and when Brad had kissed him at the rave, the older man had not touched him with the slightest hint of sexual interest since then. It was driving Schuldich mad. No, he corrected. Having no sex period was driving him mad. Brad was just the icing on the cake. Look but don't touch. Don't touch. Don't touch ...
Forgive me father, for I have sinned, he thought to himself, his mental voice mocking. Smoothing back his hair he turned and walked with long-legged grace to the couch and fell down beside Brad, glancing over at the paper. It was in French. He couldn't read French.
"What's it say?" he wanted to know.
"It's an article on your job. You left no clues behind. The police don't' know where to start looking," Brad told him.
Schuldich rolled his eyes and propped one booted foot up on the table. "You told me to kill him and not get caught. I do know how to follow orders, Brad - when it suits me. I've always been good at what I do."
"Yes. I know."
Schuldich smirked. He knew Brad was thinking about that time in the limo, even if he couldn't reach into the other man's mind. Brad could shield better than he could. He was still learning the basics of his power. The first thing they had taught him though was shielding and for the silence, he'd do anything for them. They were training him in martial arts, which he thought was rather boring. He had just absorbed the information from the teacher's mind on the second day months ago, leaving the man catatonic in a hospital somewhere in Germany.
He could fight now and they were making him practice every single day. Except yesterday. Yesterday he had killed someone. But other than that, he trained daily, bringing his thin body up to normal weight and muscle mass, up to the normal standards for fitness. He had a thing for speed. Long legs and near constant equilibrium, they had gleefully drawn out this talent and were happily exploiting it at his expense.
Physical exercise was easy. Mental exercise was a different story all together. He got migraines that rivaled the ones he had suffered through when he had gone through withdrawal. He supposed it was worth it, in a way. He still had to finish his lost years of school. Cram taught and home schooled around his other hours of work was a bitch. Who cared what x or y equaled and so what if it changed this function? He hated calculus more than the rest of the subjects.
The crinkle of paper brought his attention back to the room. Brad was folding up the newspaper and getting to his feet. "Where are you going?" Schuldich asked.
"I can see that. Why?"
"Because I've been ordered to track down another potential member for Schwarz."
Brad slanted him a look. "Don't think you were the only paranormal person I've tracked down."
Schuldich arched an eyebrow. "Really," he dead-panned.
"You were the only sane one."
"I've never been called sane before in my life, Brad."
"Did I say I was ranking you by humanity's standards? You're sane by our way of thinking, Schuldich."
The redhead tilted his head back. "Am I going with you?"
Blue eyes looked at him levelly. "You're not fully trained."
The American shook his head. "They'll teach you what you need to know, Schuldich. Don't fight them."
"They gave me the silence, Brad. There's no way I'm going to just walk on out of here," Schuldich retorted. "Besides, they would probably kill me before I even got through the doors."
Brilliant green eyes slid over to meet his gaze. "When will I see you again?"
"I don't know," Brad said as he turned to pick up his coat. Shrugging into it he stilled when he felt hands on the small of his back.
"Any words of advice?" Schuldich asked him softly.
"Don't submit to them," Brad murmured.
A soft chuckled. "Brad, haven't you figured it out yet? I submit to no one."
"Really?" came the acid tinged reply as Brad threw him a memory of watching the redhead dancing with a stranger at the rave sometime last year.
Schuldich leaned forward and rested his forehead against Brad's back. The tall American could practically hear the smile in his words. "I chose that life, Brad. It was my own decision and I tricked for no one but myself. I gave my name to no one. No one owned me but me."
"No. You don't. At least, not completely. But maybe someday you will. Until then - "
He had foreseen it and as prepared as he was for it, it still managed to knock all sense from him. Schuldich turned him around, hands sliding up his body to frame his face and then he was kissing him with all the skill he had acquired while living on the street, body rocking into his. Brad preferred women over men, but Schuldich was unlike either sex. Quick and sensual, with a mocking smile and acid barbed tongue, he could make a look be fire or ice, depending on the situation. Fifteen years old and far too wise in the ways of the underworld and he knew how to use his weapons. A touch. A look. A soul searing kiss. Bang bang bang.
Part of Brad's defense crumbled in the wake of the kiss.
Point Schuldich. Zero Brad.
The redhead pulled away and smirked up at Brad as he watched the older man struggle to regain his composure. "You won't be able to forget me," he whispered.
Brad couldn't tell if it was a promise or a threat.
Then Schuldich was walking past him and heading out of the room, whistling some German tune. Brad watched him go; unmoving, face expressionless. After a moment, he took off his glasses, cleaned them on his shirt, then put them back on. He took a different exit out of the room, licking his lips and trying to forget the taste of Schuldich. But the redhead lingered on his tongue and lingered in his mind long after he had left the building, heading into his new assignment.
Part 9 | Fanfiction