May, 1994 - New York, USA
He wondered how much he had changed.
Two years of distance and Brad still couldn't forget the taste of the redheaded German. He would be seventeen now, and finished with his training. Waiting in the airport lobby, he crossed his arms and watched as the passengers debarked. He spotted Schuldich immediately. He had grown over the past two years; growing into his long limbs and now moved with the deadly, stealthy grace of a killer. But he still had that edge of sexuality that Brad knew would never go away. Hands tucked into a green overcoat, his long red hair was held out of his face by a wide yellow band of cloth and sunglasses were perched on top of his head.
He was smiling, the lazy grin that Brad remembered all too well, but the smile never reached his eyes. Cold, calculating, the brilliant green orbs were the same as before but for one noticeable difference. There was power in his gaze, a strength that had not been there two years ago. He came to a stop before Brad and arched one thin brow.
"Hello," he said in accentless English.
"You're late," Brad replied.
"We had a delay." This said with a smile.
"So I saw on the computer. In Madrid."
"How else was I supposed to learn English?" Schuldich asked with a shrug, smile still in place. "There was a newlywed couple on the flight who were American, coming from Paris. It was a simple matter of dig and take."
"You're still late."
Schuldich tilted his head slightly. "Miss me?"
"Hardly. Let's go. I have someone for you to meet."
"It can wait until I get my luggage. You didn't bring him, whoever he is. I can read that in your mind. So come on."
Schuldich pushed past him and Brad was forced to follow. He fell into step beside the redhead silently, expression blank and neutral as they walked through the crowded airport. As usual, Schuldich broke the silence first.
"I figured one of the expendables would be picking me up."
Expendables; a term for the non-paranormal people that worked for them. Brad shrugged, indifferent. "I was told to come."
Schuldich smirked. "How amusing."
Brad didn't know how that was amusing to the telepath but then, he had never professed to be a mind reader. The German lengthened his stride and Brad followed easily as he headed where the arrows pointed the baggage claim to be. They rode the escalator down a level to the ground floor and the crowd seemed to part like water for them as they made their way to the luggage conveyer belt, no doubt due to Schuldich's influence. Brad frowned at that thought.
"Don't patronize me, Brad," Schuldich told him mildly as he paused by the metal ring. "I can do what I like, when I like."
Schuldich threw a sultry smile over his shoulder at him. "Not by a long shot."
He reached over and picked up his suitcase, eyes still locked with the American's. Without a word he brushed past him, the smile still on his lips, one hand tucked into his pocket. Brad shook his head slightly. Training complete, he thought to himself.
He wondered who Schuldich was now.
"So who is this person you want me to meet?" Schuldich asked as he sat down on the couch, propping one booted foot against the coffee table.
They were in the penthouse suite of an elegant and expensive hotel in downtown Manhattan and had the whole floor to themselves. Schuldich had tossed his suitcase into the room given to him and was now in the process of staring at Brad as if he were some expensive dessert. Brad ignored his stare as well as he could, looking out of the glass doors that led to the wide balcony outside.
"His name is Farfarello."
Schuldich arched an eyebrow. "Devil may come," he replied.
The redhead smiled enigmatically. "Nothing. My own thoughts, Brad. Leave it at that. So who is he really? Other than a name."
"I found him in Ireland a little over a year ago."
"That long ago?"
Brad grimaced slightly. "He's by no means sane, even by our standards."
"Oh ho. Really?" Schuldich asked as he leaned forward. "Sounds interesting. Can I see him?"
"If you want to."
The German got to his feet and gestured at the door. "Lead on."
Although Brad disliked having the telepath at his back but he went out first anyway. The sharp staccato of their footsteps on the marble floor echoed through the hallway as he led Schuldich to a room guarded by four men holding machine guns and a half-dozen locks on the door. Schuldich eyed the door with amusement.
"So much for one person."
"It's for our own protection," Brad told him as he proceeded to unlock the door.
"You don't trust him, I take it."
"I trust no one."
"That's what I love about you." Schuldich leaned in close, lips brushing over his ear, his voice a bare whisper. "You're in this for survival and nothing more."
Brad threw him a sharp look but Schuldich was already pulling away and giving him that sensual grin. Without a word Brad pushed open the door and turned on the light. A snarl from the corner caught Schuldich's attention and the redhead looked over at the form crouched there.
One burnished golden eye glared at him in a thin face topped with short white hair. His other eye was covered by a black eye-patch and his face was crisscrossed with several scars. He was wrapped in a white straight jacket, long legs pulled up before him and hooked together by a strong leather belt. Schuldich leaned against the door and tilted his head, giving the boy a smile.
"Farfarello, I presume?" he said mildly.
"He doesn't speak much," Brad said. "Except to condemn God."
Schuldich shrugged with one shoulder and stepped into the room. "A non-believer?"
"No. Not that extreme."
"Betrayer then," Schuldich mused as he looked at Farfarello from half a room away. He met the single eyed gaze easily. "Do you love God, Farfarello?"
The Irishman raised his head, gaze unblinking. "Do you?" came the rasped reply.
"No. Not particularly."
A cold, knife-edged smile lit bloodless lips. "Then you won't feel my vengeance."
Schuldich smiled and turned on his heel. "How sweet. He's insane."
"I told you he was, even by our standards," Brad replied.
Schuldich brushed past him. "Give him a knife."
The German looked over his shoulder as he walked away, his smile never meeting his eyes. "He likes knives. Give him one. I want to see him play."
Then he was pushing through a door and was gone.
Brad shook his head and adjusted his glasses. "I'm surrounded by insanity," he muttered.
Farfarello smirked and hid his face against his knees. He licked his lips as the door was closed and the locks snicked back into place.
He liked how the redhead thought.
Part 10 | Fanfiction