Omi looked at Aya desperately. He couldn't believe what he was hearing.
"Keep him," Aya said. "You've shown a weakness, wanting your man back, Crawford. If you want him to live you'll help me kill Takatori."
"Aya, please!" Omi said. Ken and Yohji looked sad but determined.
"I can take them," Nagi murmured.
"No," Crawford said. "Kudou'll kill him."
"I'll expect an answer within the hour," Aya said.
"You'll get it," Crawford said. "Let's go."
Omi struggled as Farfarello shoved him back.
"Aya! Ken! Yohji, please, Yohji!"
The others didn't meet his eyes as they dragged Schuldig's drugged form away.
* * *
Checking the Merchandise
Omi knelt, bound and gagged with duct-tape. Schwarz were arguing loudly in German. Finally Crawford phoned Aya, curtly saying they'd help him.
Omi shook as he was dragged upright and searched more thoroughly than before. They searched his hair, checked his teeth, and stripped him. Farfarello checked the seams of his clothes; Crawford pulled on a latex glove.
"Please, no," Omi said, his voice high and breathless.
"Interesting reaction," Crawford said as an unseen force slammed Omi over the table. "But very unprofessional."
"It's just a search," Nagi sneered. "You haven't got lucky."
Omi wept as they laughed.
* * *
Waiting for Rescue
Omi wasn't sure how much time had passed. Crawford was on the phone to Aya again.
"Let me speak to him."
A few words in German, and Crawford hung up.
"Well?" Farfarello said.
"He's heavily drugged, they're probably trying to get information." Crawford grinned briefly. "Though I doubt they speak dialectical German. I could barely understand him."
"They didn't ask to speak to their man?" Nagi said maliciously. "Nice."
Omi stared at the floor. Aya was distracting Schwarz. Ken and Yohji would break him out. He closed his eyes, listening to Schwarz fretting over Schuldig.
His friends would come soon.
* * *
"What'll you tell Takatori?" Farfarello asked.
"I'll say Schuldig's ill," Crawford said, straightening his tie.
Omi kept his eyes on the toast he'd been given. The front door closed; Nagi got up from the table immediately.
"It's just you and me now," he said conversationally. "Isn't that cosy? Finish the food, I'm not sitting here all morning."
Omi obediently ate a few mouthfuls, then Nagi pulled his hands behind him, duct-taping them together securely.
"If Weiss hurt Schuldig, you get my undivided attention," he said, and shoved Omi ahead of him.
Omi dozed off to the sound of his typing.
* * *
Omi woke with a start, wondering what day it was. Toast, he thought. He'd been given it twice, this was the third day. He looked up at Crawford, who pulled him to his feet. Cold metal touched his wrists, and the tape was cut.
"Sit," Crawford said.
Omi sat. He stared at the burger Crawford put before him, then slowly began to eat.
"What do you think your friends are doing to Schuldig?" Crawford said.
Omi lost his appetite. He didn't want to talk. Crawford waited, patiently.
"He's too useful to kill," Omi said at last.
He hoped he was.
* * *
"Today's the day," Crawford said, putting down the phone.
"How do we do it?" Nagi asked.
"I do it," Crawford said firmly. "Nobody'd believe assassins could get to him if we were all on duty." He pocketed a coil of piano wire. "I'll make it look like Kudou."
"Fujimiya wants to do it," Farfarello said.
"He'll have to live with the disappointment."
"When do we exchange him?" Nagi said, nodding at Omi.
"I'll find out."
Omi looked uncomfortably at Nagi and Farfarello after Crawford left. They regarded him in disgust and spoke in German for the rest of the day.
* * *
Omi woke when he was nudged with a foot. He looked fearfully up at Farfarello.
"He's sleeping a lot," Farfarello said, pulling Omi up.
"I haven't hurt him," Nagi said defensively.
"Eat," Farfarello said, cutting the tape and indicating the polystyrene box on the table.
Omi ate the burger in small bites. He was half-way through when Crawford came in, looking tired.
"How did it go?" Farfarello asked.
"Schuldig?" Nagi said. "When do we get him?"
"They'll contact us," Crawford said wearily.
"Do they even want him back?" Nagi said, glaring at Omi.
They did, Omi thought. They did.
* * *
Omi looked at the shower in gratitude, then paused when Crawford didn't leave.
"Hurry up," Crawford said. "Stop being such a girl, it's nothing I haven't already seen."
Omi slowly turned his back to strip. He was sure he was being stared at. He turned holding his clothes and flinched back, his heart hammering, as Crawford reached out to take them.
"A word of professional advice," Crawford said in dry amusement. "Control those reactions, you're handing out weapons to use against you."
"What--" Omi started anxiously.
"Just wash," Crawford said.
The water was hot, but Omi felt cold all through.
* * *
Omi peered eagerly over at Weiss.
"Wait," Crawford said. Then Aya shoved Schuldig forward. "OK, walk."
Omi walked slowly, staring at Schuldig. He looked exhausted, his face bore fresh cuts and bruises, and his eyes were fixed on Schwarz like they were the best thing he'd ever seen.
Omi reached the far side, smiling as Ken grabbed him.
"There's no need to put on a show like them," Aya said curtly.
Ken dropped his hand, sheepishly. Omi looked back. Crawford's hands were tight on Schuldig's shoulders, and all of Schwarz were grinning like fools.
Nobody spoke to him at all.