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Weiss Kreuz; Nagi/Schuldig; PG-13

Title: The World and the Flesh
Author: daegaer
Illustrator: puddingcat
Fandom: Weiss Kreuz
Pairing: Nagi/Schuldig
Rating: PG-13
Note: Thanks to louiselux for beta-ing! And thank you puddingcat, for suggesting the collaboration!





New tech was hitting the street and with Tokyo being the tech capital Schuldig couldn't blame Nagi for falling for it. Intimidating websites in the browser history, incomprehensible magazines littering Nagi's room - Schuldig could see things wouldn't remain theoretical for long. It made his skin crawl.

"Never buy new hardware till all the bugs are ironed out," Schuldig said, looking at the fashion magazine heralding the advent of the android. "Right?"

"Right," Nagi said.

Schuldig decided to misinterpret the yearning in his voice and kissed him. There were some things machines couldn't give you. Nagi seemed to agree. For now.


*



Saying, You're not my father seemed wrong, even if he really wanted to say it sometimes. Schuldig would grab it and make it into a distractingly filthy joke. Nagi sighed irritably. Schuldig could be such an idiot sometimes about things he didn't want to understand.

"What're you thinking?" Schuldig said muzzily beside him. "Your face will stick like that."

Nagi rearranged his thoughts quickly as Schuldig woke up fully, imagining slow, delightful pleasure where he didn't have to do any of the damn work. Schuldig laughed and pushed him back against the pillows.

Sometimes, Nagi thought, Schuldig understood just fine.


*



Schuldig walked round Nagi cautiously.

"What am I looking at, exactly?" he said. Everything looked normal, down to the impatient roll of the eyes.

"My hair."

He looked closer. "You have computer wire in your hair?" he guessed.

"Oh, for --"

The lights turned themselves off as Nagi fiddled with a lock of hair. Tiny filaments of blue and green glowed brightly.

"Oh," Schuldig said, touching it in delight. "You've got little glowsticks in it!"

"It'd look good under ultraviolet," Nagi said. "We could go to a club."

"You hate clubs."

"You don't."

He must really like me, Schuldig thought, touched.


*



"What do you think?" Nagi said, turning slowly to show off his sheer new outfit.

Schuldig put a hand on his chest and lifted it in fascination, looking at the change in colours. "It really suits you," he said.

Nagi half-smiled at the tone. "It gets much brighter if I'm really hot," he said.

"You're really fucking hot," Schuldig said. "Take it off."

"It's self-cleaning," Nagi said. "Want to see how bright you can make it go?"

Schuldig did, it seemed. Nagi looked down at himself, admiring the shift of colours across his torso till he couldn't think any more.


*



The clothes and the hair looked good on Nagi, turning him from just another scruffy hacker to something sleeker, sharper. Schuldig felt less of a cradle-robber, less foolish at not having made the first move.

Clubbing, Nagi moved less like Dance Dance Revolution and more like you're all too boring to fuck. People looked. Schuldig felt good they saw him take Nagi home.

This evening, though, a girl with glowing violet hair was making eyes at Nagi, telling him she didn't want to go home to Squaresville, Yokohama. Nagi looked over, eyebrow raised.

Well, well, Schuldig thought. Boy's growing up.


*



The trick, Nagi thought, was to hasten slowly. Cosmetic changes first, nothing too drastic. The clothes and hair cost him a fortune, but if it helped desensitize Schuldig --

He rolled over, thinking of the girl the previous night. Going clubbing made Schuldig happy, but it was attracting too much attention. Nagi had no illusions about why people wanted to be with him. He looked young and wealthy, that was all.

He hadn't realised he looked wealthy enough for eager agreement to a threesome, mind.

He dressed and went out for breakfast. Let Schuldig deal with throwing her out, he decided.


*



As modifications went, Schuldig thought, it wasn't too bad. The Bluetooth receiver winked jewel-like in the cartilage of Nagi's ear, the slender wire of the antenna looping over the top like an earring. It was really just jewellry, it wasn't like Nagi'd done anything irrevocable. The thought cheered Schuldig more than he wanted to admit.

"Can you detect your computer?" he asked.

"Yeah, it's right there," Nagi deadpanned, pointing.

Schuldig grinned, basking in Nagi's new-toy glow. Shiny new gadgets always made him more at ease with the world and himself.

Nagi's current obsession was nothing to worry about, Schuldig decided.


*



Enough. He was tired of looking at specifications and envying anyone properly modified. Schuldig had come around far enough to at least not freak out. And even if he did, Nagi thought, that was hisproblem, not Nagi's. It wasn't like either of them had signed up for a picture perfect, roses-round-the-door sort of romance anyway.

He pulled out his phone and was half-amused, half-irritated to see that Schuldig had messed with it again, the wallpaper now a photo of them in last week's club.

He dialed.

"Hello. This is Naoe, we spoke before. I'm coming in for my appointment."


*








Schuldig lifted Nagi's hair carefully, afraid of what he'd see. Idiot, he thought. You can kill someone but you can't look at a flesh wound? There it was, a neat hole in Nagi's temple.

"I can't see your brain. Did they take it out?"

"Moron. Ow!"

"Sorry," Schuldig said, getting his fingers away from the hole fast. The area around what Nagi insisted was a perfectly ordinary USB port looked swollen and red.

"I should have gone for the ethernet," Nagi said in the weird, flat way he told jokes.

Schuldig let the hair conceal everything again, and didn't flinch.


*



He'd been meticulous in his after-surgery care. Finally he was healed, and could actually use his expensive new components. Of course, he'd need a whole new computer system now to be compatible, but that was a pleasure to look forward to.

"You should sit, Naoe-san," the doctor said. "Some people get a little dizzy."

He sat, ignoring the urge to say he wasn't some people.

"Ready, Naoe-san?" a technician asked.

The world went white, and Nagi felt clean and whole. He opened his eyes, shocked at the realization he'd orgasmed, better than with anyone else.

He could never tell Schuldig.


*



"Come on, let's go out."

Nagi didn't hear, still communing with the matrix. Schuldig paced back and forth, not liking being ignored. Maybe he should be used to it by now, he thought.

"Nagi?"

Nagi was spending too much time with his computer. He wasn't taking care of himself. Schuldig didn't care that his standards for hair and clothes were slipping, but the sight of Nagi's face, seemingly thinner by the day, worried him. He squeezed Nagi's shoulder and managed to smile as Nagi looked up slowly, frowning like he was a stranger.

"It's just me," he said, very gently.


*



"I know you're worried," Nagi said.

"I know what it's like to spend too much time listening to the voices in your head," Schuldig said. "You could trust me on this, you know."

Nagi swallowed his anger. The sooner he calmed Schuldig down the sooner he could get back to work. "It's not the same," he said.

"Eat," Schuldig said, shoving the plate of calorie-laden paté over. "Just . . . eat." He poked unhappily at his own food. "I'd like to go to bed with you tonight," he said.

Nagi paused at the tone. Maybe he shouldn't claim over exhaustion after all.


*



"What's wrong with your eyes?" Schuldig said, peering closely. He was just glad that the way they were intertwined made it difficult for Nagi to wriggle away and pretend he hadn't said anything. "They look different, somehow."

"It's not much of a modification," Nagi said, and tried to distract him with hands and telekinesis. "It lets me see more clearly in the dark."

"You let them carve up your skull and now your eyes? Fuck."

"It wasn't much more involved than cataract surgery," Nagi muttered. "It might be useful in the clubs --"

Schuldig knew when he was being fucking patronized.


*



The electronic world felt clean and cool, washing away physical memories. Nagi sank into it, wondering what he was going to do. He'd always upgraded, from slower to faster, from old to new --

He blinked in confusion; found Schuldig had disconnected him.

"Talk to me," Schuldig said.

"Non-attachment," Nagi said. "One should strive --"

"You're not Buddhist."

"OK. How about renouncing the world, the flesh and the devil?"

"Is that what you want?"

Nagi looked in his un-modified eyes, at the miserable un-modified face.

"Some devils are hard to renounce," he said.

Schuldig smiled, slowly. They both left the yet unsaid.


* * * * * * * *




A larger version of puddingcat's lovely picture can be found here.

Comments

( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
lirren
Oct. 5th, 2007 02:38 pm (UTC)
Wow! Oh, WOW! That was amazing. Both the story and the artwork were fantastic.
daegaer
Oct. 6th, 2007 02:08 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I love puddingcat's picture so much :-)
puddingcat
Oct. 7th, 2007 02:37 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I really enjoyed drawing him :)
smoothlikebutta
Oct. 5th, 2007 05:42 pm (UTC)
Oh my goodness! That was amazing and very creepy. Poor Schuldig, having to watch Nagi fall away from him with each new component. I love the picture.
daegaer
Oct. 6th, 2007 02:12 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I'm delighted you liked it - poor Schuldig indeed. And I'm full of squee over puddingcat's picture!
puddingcat
Oct. 7th, 2007 02:38 pm (UTC)
Poor Schuldig
That's exactly what I said when I saw the initial draft. Thank you!
staubundsterne
Oct. 5th, 2007 08:02 pm (UTC)
I don't really have a squeeish icon, so here's Lucy Liu
I'm blown away. Honestly, I read this story about three hours ago and am still floored and have been thinking about how best convey the level of floordness since.
I must admit that cyberpunk is my pet genre and I didn't really think that someone would pick that prompt. And that story and the picture (Nagi is smoking hot especially with his new outfit and cyber-gadgets. I also covet his eyebrows.) ! I'm still floored (will remain so for the time being) and will give a more in-depth commentary once I have time. *bounces*
daegaer
Oct. 6th, 2007 02:14 pm (UTC)
Re: I don't really have a squeeish icon, so here's Lucy Liu
Oh, thank you! I'm so pleased you thought it was good :-) It was great to see a cyberpunk prompt and have the chance to do something a bit out of the ordinary. And yes, Nagi is just made of hotness in puddingcat's marvellous picture, mmmm!
puddingcat
Oct. 7th, 2007 02:39 pm (UTC)
Re: I don't really have a squeeish icon, so here's Lucy Liu
Wow, thank you! I had great fun hunting through photos for clothing ideas :)
lady_ganesh
Oct. 6th, 2007 12:01 am (UTC)
What a disturbing and oddly sweet little story, and a great illustration. Lovely work!
daegaer
Oct. 6th, 2007 02:08 pm (UTC)
Thank you! This was a lot of fun to write, and I was so happy puddingcat did art for it!
puddingcat
Oct. 7th, 2007 02:41 pm (UTC)
Thank you! It was one of those prompts that put a picture straight into my head - I'm so glad I could bounce details back & forth with daegaer as well :)
lady_ganesh
Oct. 7th, 2007 03:06 pm (UTC)
It sounds like you had a lot of fun, which makes it even better. :D
freeradical9
Oct. 6th, 2007 01:54 am (UTC)
This was wonderful. I had to go back and find the prompt because I was curious about the original request. Nice match! Beautiful job with all the technical details and building up the thread of the story. (The bit with the color-changing clothing was especially enjoyable.) ^_^

Also an excellent idea to match it up with that lovely artwork! Kudos to both artist and author. Thanks for sharing!
daegaer
Oct. 6th, 2007 02:07 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! I had a great time writing this, and was thrilled puddingcat wanted to do artwork for it!
puddingcat
Oct. 7th, 2007 02:42 pm (UTC)
Thank you! Both the picture & the collaborating were really good fun - I *definitely* want to do it again :)
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )

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