“Ken?” Shige had poked his head around the bedroom door. “My dad wants to speak to you. He said he’d…”
The hotel phone rang just on time.
“That’s just great,” Ken muttered, pushing himself off the bed where he’d been attempting to 'take five' after the afternoon’s drama. Shige disappeared with a gentle snick as the door closed.
“There were fucking snakes,” Schuldig shouted, as soon as Ken picked up the phone.
“Lots of countries have snakes,” Ken replied tiredly. “Japan has them.”
“He didn’t get bitten in Japan!”
“No,” Ken said. “He got bitten when he was out for a walk with his father.”
Some swearing followed at the other end of the line and then a brief sullen silence. A small smile found its way across Ken’s face. Telepathy, he’d discovered, didn’t work across a long distance phone call. The German bastard just had to put up with being normally frustrated.
“You still there,” he finally asked, some remnant of good humour now restored.
“Testy aren’t we?” Schuldig snarked, as if he hadn’t been the one to complain.
Ken used his foot to hook out the chair which was pushed under the dressing table and sat himself down. “I’ve just had Brad ranting at me,” he admitted. “Apparently I should have been more freaked out and it would have been different if it was Kaoru. And so on.” He made a dismissive gesture with his free hand which was pointless when nobody else could see it.
“Did he really panic?”
Ken recognised morbid curiosity when he heard it. He temporised. “What did Shige say?”
“He said talk to you, the little shit.”
Well that figured. “It wasn’t panic exactly, he just… " Was really pissed off about Ken being stronger and faster now? Everyone got old, for God's sake, and Ken still trained. "He’s probably right," Ken sighed. "I don’t know what I’d have done if it had been Kaoru who got hurt. It doesn’t mean I don’t care about Shinji. And he’s going to be fine. He’s got to stay in hospital for a few days but the antitoxin is working.”
Schuldig huffed down the line. Ken was tempted to ask if he’d already booked his flight but Schuldig wasn’t much better at 'fessing up to being an actual feeling human being than Crawford. It would be easier to just let him arrive. And there was something that was troubling Ken more.
“Are they letting your little prodigy keep the corpse?” Schuldig asked sweetly. Maybe telepathy did work down the phone.
“Oh shut up.”
“Just the skin perhaps? That would be one hell of a show and tell.”
“I’m not encouraging it!”
“Guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”
“I will fucking hang up Schuldig.”
“Actually,” Schuldig said, chuckling deeply. “It sounds much more the sort of thing Abyssinian would have done. You were never that reckless.”
And that, hit the nail on the head.