Magic 8 Ball
An improbable AU in which Schuldig finds Crawfordpixies: voksen made me do it.
Schuldig slouched along the cement path. His head hurt and his feet hurt and they hadn’t allowed him to sleep for sixty hours. He’d been walking constant circles around the scrubby, barren yard outside the classrooms since morning. He kicked at the ground as he walked, fixated by the way the scuffed toe of his boot, damp from melting snow and spattered with blood from the exercise in the middle of the night, and he wondered when the fuck he would ever get out of this place.
He’d passed the archway so many times that he’d started to think that the sky grew longer, higher, heavier every time he moved beneath the crumbled stone, a ceremonial fixture that spoke of the school’s lofty beginnings. He walked and he grumbled and he wondered when he might be allowed to sleep again when his boot kicked something , hard, and it rolled away into the bushes
“What was that?” Schuldig said, out loud, before he came to his senses and glanced around to make sure there was no one around that could hear him. He made one more full circuit around the yard before he gathered the nerve to carefully, innocuously, bend down and peer beneath the scraggly thorns of an untended rose bush.
Schuldig’s sight was very good – he took special pride in the fact that he didn’t have to wear glasses like so many of the others he went to school with, but he still had to squint his eyes and look closely, closely before he made out any shape in the damp shadows. It was black, whatever it was, so it blended into the mulch and dark branches of a nearby yew shrub.
He reached out carefully, stretching . . .
Schuldig’s gloves were wool and worn and he’d cut the fingers out a long time ago because the threads always caught on the grip of his gun when he tried to shoot targets. So his bare finger tips caught the edge of something round . . . it rolled away from his touch. He pressed his knees against the ground, felt the cold slush soak into his jeans, and pushed himself farther into the bushes.
His palm caught the round object, and the sphere squeaked against the wool of his palm as he pulled it to him, reaching out with the other hand to make sure it didn’t roll away. He grasped the thing tightly and sat back on his knees. Before he scrutinized his prize, his found object (and there weren’t many of those lying about in this dreadful place) he again looked left and right to be certain he was alone.
And then he looked straight at it.
A simple, black ball. Nothing more.
Schuldig’s shoulders slumped. He’d had the feeling that it was Important, that it might Mean Something. That it would give him an answer to . . . he rolled the ball over and saw a small window at the very bottom. Something floated around; the ball was filled with water . . .
Words floated to the surface:
“Are you fucking serious?” Schuldig said. Nose scrunched up, he peered closer and shook.
More words floated to the surface of the window.
Schuldig had been asked to do stranger things than rub a big black ball that he’d found beneath some shrubbery, so gently, tentatively, he did as he was told.
Nothing happened immediately, and Schuldig almost tossed the ball back into the bushes, but slightly, imperceptivity, the ball began to rumble, a low grumble. The ball seemed to complain.
Schuldig frowned and rubbed the ball more vigorously.
Suddenly, the ball split apart within his hands and all the water, words and mysteries tumbled out. The two halves of the magic ball fell apart and down to the ground. It all happened so suddenly that Schuldig’s hands were still held out, cupped together, and there, in the very center of his hands stood . . .
A tiny, tiny figure, a little person wearing a small suit coat and perfectly pressed trousers. The little figure raked its hands through its hair and fluttered its wings to flap the water off. Its glasses glinted in the dull winter sunlight.
“What took you so long?” The little thing said, and kicked Schuldig’s thumb.
“What took you so long?” Schuldig said back, though he didn’t know why. He just knew that this thing . . . whatever it was could not be allowed to get the upper hand, not right away.
“I asked you first, and I’ve seen that you would stumble on me, and I mean stumble, you need to watch where you’re walking – for many months and I’ve been waiting for you to find me and get me out of that hell hole.” The little figure peered up at Schuldig. “You should really do something about your hair. What’s your name? I can see things, but I can’t hear things and I can’t read lips.”
“You’re deaf?” Schuldig asked.
The tiny figure frowned. “No. I can hear you perfectly fine. But I can see the future.”
Schuldig tried to think of a sufficient retort. “Before you start to think you’re special, I can read minds.”
“What am I thinking then?” The tiny person said and snapped his wings closed.
Schuldig bit his lip and stared very hard. He stared and pondered until the edges of his sight went grey. “You’re thinking that . . .”
“Can’t hear it, can you?”
“Give me a moment.” Schuldig brought his hands closer to his face as if the thing was only out of range and a closer inspection would bring its thoughts to him.
“No luck, eh?”
“It feels like I’ve met you before,” Schuldig said.
“Don’t change the subject,” the winged thing said. “It’s not attractive.”
“And no, I can’t hear your thoughts!”
Schuldig lowered his voice. “My name’s Schuldig. What’s yours?”
Before the little creature could respond, if he planned on telling Schuldig his name at all, both of their eyes widened and they went absolutely still at the sound of approaching footsteps.
“Quick, hide!” Schuldig said, and without thinking he put the bespectacled, winged . . . whatever it was, onto his shoulder. It scurried behind Schuldig’s hair and slipped into his collar at the back of his neck. “Watch where you’re going,” Schuldig warned, as he stood up straight and braced himself for whoever approached the yard. He felt a tiny breath, like a moth behind his ear and it took all of Schuldig’s long-trained, all-suffering power to not reach up and flick the thing off his neck.
A teacher approached and flexed his fists as he examined Schuldig from head to toe. “Why did you stop walking?”
Schuldig smirked. “I was walking.”
“No you weren’t.” The teacher’s name was Colonel Amlisch and he didn’t need eyes to see anything.
A tiny voice in Schuldig’s ear said, “Don’t push it, he’s about to tell you that you can go sleep now.”
Schuldig drew on every single bit of willpower he had in order to not respond. He bit the inside of his mouth and held his breath. He’d never taken advice from anything before, but he figured this thing might know what it was talking about because Schuldig had found it under a bush, its voice carried a tone that made Schuldig believe it knew what it was talking about – and it had wings for goddsake. Wings.
Amlisch stepped closer. So close, Schuldig could smell the metal, sourness of him.
“Why are you quiet?”
Amlisch drew even closer and Schuldig felt the tiny person slip down beneath his collar, but not before it whispered, “Not a word.”
Schuldig felt all the words building up in the back of his throat. He clenched his fists and bit the other side of his mouth.
“This isn’t like you at all,” Amlisch said. One beat, two beats, three beats . . .”Maybe you should go in and sleep.”
Schuldig smiled and nodded. He rushed off toward his room before Amlisch could change his mind
And now, thanks to
questails, this story has perfect pixie illustrations with perfect wings:
Hugh the Slightly More Evil Pixie (but not by much).