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Chapter Text

Crawford could spend hours studying Schudig's sneer. It curved up proudly, mocking everyone who changed their intended path just to walk wide around him. A bit of white, the tip of a canine visible between lips parted ever so slightly was humor found in everyone else's misfortune at being in his presence. Schuldig was king of the pariahs, sweeping through the halls with a languorous disdain that should have taken generations to perfect.

Somewhere in the lines of that face, the slight crinkling at the corner of each eye as lips twisted upward, was the secret. Crawford could predict and plan, but he couldn't make heads or tails out of the tangle of contradiction that was the Mastermind.

Telepathy brushed against Crawford's thoughts, as gentle as a curious butterfly. It was Schuldig's brand of humor, amusement at the inevitable involuntary shiver his presence always produced. Anyone who had witnessed the Mastermind tearing someone's sanity out by the roots, anyone who had heard the screams, couldn't help but shy away to even the most delicate of inquiries.

Schuldig smiled at Crawford, his sneer writhing into something that tried to duplicate proper pleasantness.

Crawford smothered his frown, knowing it would only encourage Schuldig to drag the moment out for as long as possible. Pale blue eyes met his, flitted away, and the moment ended as Schuldig moved on, telepathy reaching before him, invisible feelers that sent a trail of shivers in their wake.

Crawford rubbed his hands on his pants, hating, as always, the slightly slimy feel he was left with every time he crossed paths with Schuldig.

It was the eyes.

The sneer never reached the eyes.

Nothing ever did.