"Hey, Crawford? Let's get married."
Crawford blinked. He hadn't seen that coming. Well, that was interesting, even if it was merely proof of his theory that Schuldig managed to confuse his prescience.
"What?" he said, trying to concentrate on where the snipers would shoot from next.
"White dress, big cake, all our friends at a party – "
"What, all two of them?" Crawford muttered, and pulled Schuldig down just before a bullet came in from a new angle.
"C'mon, it'll be fun," Schuldig said, reloading both his pistols. "I get what I want, you get to go home to New York –"
"I'm not from New York," Crawford said, and fired at where a sniper was just about to poke his head above the skyline. The man appeared in time to get the bullet through the left side of his skull and fell back without a sound.
"Yeah, yeah, you're from Poughkeepsie or Podunk or Buttfuck –"
"There's a town in America called Shut Up? Cool. Let's go there for the honeymoon." Schuldig grinned at his expression and concentrated, pointing across at the building where two of the snipers lurked. A figure appeared at a window, moving awkwardly as if not under full control of its gait. Crawford shot and turned his attention back to Schuldig.
"We're not getting married. What the hell do you want to get married for?"
"I just want my own special big day," Schuldig said and fired at another window. "Maybe you should have let me bring gun journals to the hairdresser so I could read something other than bridal magazines." He stood suddenly and emptied both pistols at another assailant. "That's all of them in that block. Don't you want to make an honest woman of me?"
" . . . no," Crawford said. There was far too much wrong with the thought to consider in the middle of a fire fight.
"Crawford. Think of it like the acquisitive shit you are – I want to endow you with all my worldly goods."
"Ehh," Crawford shrugged. "I know where you live, I can just take them." Schuldig's face took on a particularly funny look of irritation.
"You do know you're getting amused by this, right?" Schuldig said. "Shit!" he added, leaping to the side as bullets traced their way across the wall. "New shooter!"
"Way ahead of you," Crawford said from his new hiding place behind a dumpster on the other side of the alley. "Move on my mark – three-two-one - now."
"Where the fuck are the others?" Schuldig whined, rolling across to join him.
"We just have to stay alive a few more seconds," Crawford said. "You don't really want a pointless piece of paper do you?"
"Yeah," Schuldig said. "I do. And I know it means signing fake names on the paperwork, so don't bother saying it. I still want it."
"Jesus, Crawford, if you make me say it I'll shoot you myself," Schuldig said. "Can't you just assume this is some telepath weirdness you need to indulge?"
There were a lot of things they'd never said to each other, things they'd never needed to say. It was one of the benefits of living with a telepath, Crawford had always thought, but maybe they should say them at least once before they got a bullet between the eyes. They looked at each other for a long moment, and then Crawford put his hand on Schuldig's arm, a wry smile on his lips. His answer was lost in the explosion that took out the side of the building housing the new sniper, then all the windows in the opposite building shattered and snipers tumbled out, their screams silenced as their necks were snapped mid-air. Crawford and Schuldig huddled together, shielding each other's heads from the falling glass, which tinkled harmlessly down in a circle around them.
"Hi," Farfarello said, strolling up the alley, a grenade launcher on his shoulder. "Sorry for the delay, Nagi wanted to pick up the whole run of Fruits Basket."
"What if the German side of Tokyopop folds too?" Nagi said behind him, his hands weighed down with plastic bags. "I don't want to miss out on a volume." He leant against a wall and began to examine his purchases.
"I could really go for a steak," Farfarello said, looking at the flames and sniffing the scent of roasting meat.
"Me too," Crawford said, shooting one of the fallen snipers who was attempting to drag himself down the alley.
"They do really good steaks in New York," Schuldig said.
"We are not going to New York," Crawford said, reloading his pistol and slipping it back into the shoulder holster. "We're based in Europe right now, and there are many closer places to get married. I suggest Spain; I can book cheap flights and it'd be convenient for a relaxing honeymoon. Our next job's there as well."
Schuldig pushed him back against the wall and made his opinion known enthusiastically and at great length.
"Huh," Nagi muttered into his book. "I don't know why everyone says teenagers are the ones ruled by hormones."
"Ah, the true horror hasn't occurred to you yet, then," Farfarello said. "One of us has to be the best man."
"God," Nagi said, rolling his eyes. "You do it."
"And one of us has to be bridesmaid," Farfarello sniggered.
"I've always thought you'd be an adorable flower-girl, Nagi," Schuldig said, breaking off from kissing Crawford for a moment. He laughed as Nagi pushed himself away from the wall so hard that it began to collapse, a look of terror on his face. "Hey, don't kill us, and we'll allow you to invite Omi."
Nagi pursed his lips. "OK," he said reluctantly. "Maybe."
"Let's go," Farfarello said, as Crawford reeled Schuldig back in. "They can catch up with us at the hotel."
"Yeah," Nagi said. ". . . do you want to be the bridesmaid?"
Sandwiched between Schuldig and the crumbling wall Crawford had a sharp and detailed vision of his wedding night. He resolved to book the flights the moment they got back to the hotel.