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"Is he completely fucking insane?" Schuldig was still ranting. "Even Farf knew not to do this shit at home."

"There were exceptional circumstances," Crawford placated.

"Bullshit. And another thing, my kid's here, he's probably been traumatised for life-"

"He's right," Ken murmured, when Schuldig had slammed outside.

Crawford sighed impatiently. "You know, Ken, the one thing that makes this orgy of guilt tolerable is your touching faith that Schuldig is motivated by parental concern." He reached for the tv remote.

"It doesn't matter that he means it," Ken exclaimed bitterly. "It matters that it's true."


Crawford insisted on normality. They took the boys to the park next morning. Ken rounded them up to play ball while Crawford sat on his usual bench, skimming through papers.

Ken joined him, half an hour later, looking harassed and out of breath.

"Shige's acting really wild today."

"Shige's always wild."

"Yeah but-"

Crawford folded his papers away and removed his glasses. "He ate like a pig at breakfast and managed to irritate Kunimitsu at least three times. He seems healthy and unaffected."

He'd also been bragging to the others, but Ken would prefer not to know.


“Is that where he stabbed you?” Shige was all ghoulish curiosity as he poked at the bandaged area. Shinji and Kaoru leaned forward beside him, eyes round.

“I didn’t stab him,” Ken lied, slapping the blond boy’s hand away. “It was a kitchen accident.”

“Which is you should never play with knives,” Crawford intoned from the doorway.

Yohji made an odd grunting sound and reached for the morphine dispenser. "I'd tell you not to make me laugh," he grumbled. "But it's not actually funny - oh bugger." He'd exceeded the maximum dosage.

"Yohji," Ken protested, looking pained. "Language..."


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September 2017


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