Disclaimer- For the last time in this story, GB ain't mine. Just the OCs.
Goo's Notes- I forgot "Goo's Stupidity" at the end of the last chapter, but oh well. Probably just as well that I don't give away anything about the ending before I have to, not even the title. If you haven't been yet, http://www.puddleofgoo.com/ is the official home of Wilhelm's Manuscript and the other two stories in this trilogy, as well as character bios on each of the OCs. (Trust me: a little later, you'll be glad for the reference. I don't want to say I am going to be overdoing the OCs, but sometimes people have trouble keeping track of them, especially since by the end there will be three stories worth of OCs to keep straight.)
Chapter Nine: Showdown! Jakob vs. Wilhelm
By A Girl Named Goo
Beta'd by Magical Mage
"So tell me, Hevn, when did you plan on telling us that we were working against each other?" Ban asked as they entered yet another corridor. Himiko was using her tracking scent to make sure they didn't go down the same corridor twice, since it seemed to be the only thing they could do without Wilhelm noticing.
Hevn rubbed the back of her head nervously, making sure she was standing between Shido and Akabane. It said something about how angry Ban seemed when Hevn would rather leave her back exposed to Akabane. "That's not it....exactly. Two people came to me, one named Karl Hamrich and one named Katrin Blauvelt. They both claimed to be from the German Historical Society and they both were willing to pay a lot of money for the same thing. I figured since the manuscript would end up in the same place in the end then I would just get a little....insurance."
"Insurance?" Ban asked skeptically.
Hevn was clearly flustered now. "I trust you to get it back, but you're not exactly lucky with money. I wanted to make sure I got paid this time. Besides, you're forgetting not everyone here is a retrieval specialist. I've also hired couriers to transport the manuscript."
Ban nodded. "Right. So how long did it take you after we escaped the hotel to figure out you endangered us all by hiring half of us out to Jakob and half of us out to Wilhelm?"
"What?" Ginji asked. "Ban-chan, who is working for Jakob?"
"We are," Ban said simply. Greeted by quizzical expressions, he held up the bar of soap Goshoku Kusakiko had given him and handed it to Ginji. "Smell that."
Ginji did as he was told, sniffing a couple of times before putting it in Kadsuki's burnt but outstretched hand. Kadsuki also inhaled it deeply, then handed it back to Jubei.
"Hamrich," Jubei said simply, handing the soap back to Kadsuki to give to Ban.
"Exactly," Ban said. "When we first met him Ginji said he smelled funny, and neither of us could place what the scent was. Then back at the hotel Goshoku Kusakiko gave this to me. She said it's made with herbs only she can grow. Amaya Hajime was repaying a debt to Jakob Grimm, so obviously he had access to their soap-making ingredients."
"Why would he want soap?" Ginji asked, the pieces starting to come together in his mind.
Ban lit a cigarette. "Dynamite," he said.
The pieces clicked in Kadsuki's mind. "Glycerine is a compound in making soap. It's in nitroglycerine, an explosive."
"Exactly," Ban confirmed. "The scent probably came from having to steal the glycerine so no one in the hotel would know he planned to make a bomb. Just because they owed him a debt didn't mean he could trust them. Also, stealing it from there he made sure he didn't have to get any of his contacts involved and risk exposing his plan to anyone, namely to Wilhelm."
"And the paper he showed us...?" Kadsuki asked.
Ban shrugged and tapped the ashes from the end of his cigarette. "It was a bluff. He took for granted none of knew German. He lucked out in that I didn't see it, but near as I can tell it was probably some arbitrary German document or from one of the two contacts he must have had: one in America to notify him when the boat with the manuscript would reach Yokohama, and one here in Japan to get the bomb on the boat before it reached shore."
"Then how did Wilhelm find out?" Jubei asked, the picture finally becoming clear to him (metaphorically speaking) as well.
Ban dropped his cigarette and stepped it out. "Hevn," he told him.
"What?! I didn't tell her anything! I didn't want her to know you were working for Hamrich!" she cried out in her defense.
"No, I think I know what he means," Clayman told her, picking up the pace so she was walking next to her now. "Half of you were employed to Jakob and half to Wilhelm. Jakob set up a trap to catch Wilhelm's retrieval specialists, but he didn't expect the ones he employed and the ones she employed to be represented by the same person, or that their paths would meet where he created the trap. Wilhelm surely knew he was going to detain her retrieval specialists, but when he accidentally trapped his own as well she saw an opening to intercept the manuscript."
"Exactly," Ban confirmed. "Jakob might be good at bombs and bluffs, but he's not exactly the sharpest knife in the drawer. Wilhelm is much more intelligent. While he was caught in a trap of his own design she noticed an opportunity and seized it."
"My, that is very impressive," Akabane mused, the obvious traces of a smile tingling his voice. Ban wasn't sure whether Akabane was talking about Jakob and Wilhelm's strategy and cunning or if he was referring to Ban's skills of deduction. He also didn't really care.
"I think this is it," Himiko interrupted, pushing open a door. The group paused around her as the door came open. Inside was an extravagant room. A huge picture window took up a large portion of the wall in a similar fashion as her office. In the center of the room was canopy bed with black bedspread and violet sheer curtains. Around the room were various pieces of dark antique furniture and musical instruments. The sun coming up was the only light in the room.
"I thought she said she was going to bed?" Emishi asked, looking around the room.
"Apparently she lied," Ban muttered. "Now let's find this map and get it over with."
The group dispersed, Ban leading Solomon over to the bed and sitting him down, and began to open various pieces of furniture with no regard for the contents as they were strewn throughout the room. After about ten minutes the map was still no where to be found (and Shido had to slap more than one pair of panties out of Emishi's hand before sending him to the opposite side of the room from the underwear drawer).
"Ban-chan, is this it?" Ginji asked. He was holding up a black cardboard tube. Everyone stopped in their searching and turned to face him as Ban took it from his hand, popping the top off and extracting a sheaf of neatly-rolled papers.
Crouching onto the floor, he unrolled the papers so that the top one was now visible. "Bingo!" he announced standing up and holding the papers in front of him. "A map of every floor of the house. We'll be out of here in no time."
"You really are getting to be more trouble than your worth," an exasperated voice said from the direction of the open door. Although they didn't have to turn around to realize who it was, they all turned to face Wilhelm as a sign of acknowledging her presence. "It was very cute when you wandered around my home trying to get back my manuscript. It was even cuter when you managed to find more friends and escape my dungeon. But I am afraid I must draw the line at kidnapping my son and ransacking my bedroom." She pretended to examine her fingernails. "I'll bet you are all feeling wonderful now, aren't you?"
Ban noticed then that, along with her tie and blazer, her glasses were gone. Was it because Solomon had already used his Evil Eye that she had removed them? It didn't matter why she didn't have them, though. The point was they were gone, which was a good thing. A useful thing. Sighing, she smiled and turned her gaze back to the group. "Well, if you will just follow me to my office-"
"Why should we do anything you say?" Emishi snapped. "You're alone and
outnumbered. You didn't expect us to come in here. Your guards are no where to
be found-" Emishi suddenly stopped talking as he felt something on the back of
his neck. Everyone looked at
"You should know better than to trust complete strangers," Wilhelm said
mockingly, grinning. The guards were appearing behind her now. "Did her story
fool you? Poor
She laughed then, that hard sound that made Ban clench his hand into a fist. He noticed Ginji was doing the same thing, crackles of electricity surrounding his fists, and shook his head. Ginji looked over at him, surprised, then nodded.
"Now, if you would kindly follow me, we can bring this game to the final
stage," she told them, turning to leave the room with Solomon in tow. The others
had no choice but to follow her,
As they marched across the hall from the room to an exposed flight of stairs, however, they didn't notice the two figures on either side of the hall. Kokuhaku observed silently from his place to the left, his broken arm now in a sling. Kokubyaku observed from the right. As soon as the others disappeared down the stairs and the door was closed behind them, Kokuhaku gave his brother a curt nod. Both twins then darted for the door...
Wilhelm sat down at her desk. The first thing she did (and she took her sweet old time about it) was light another cigar. Then she pulled a sheaf of yellowed papers from her desk drawer and threw them onto her desk. "There it is. That is what you were looking for. Take it if you think you can."
Solomon was standing in front of the crows' perches, looking at his feet.
"Impressive," Wilhelm said, chewing on her cigar. "Now how do you suppose you're going to get out?" She gestured to the guards in front of the door. No one turned to look, instead glaring at her.
"I occupied them for you and lead them astray,"
Wilhelm pretended to think as she reached into her drawer. "Yes, I'd really hoped we could discuss that in private, but since you insist..." She closed the drawer, concealing what she had pulled out. "You killed Naoya. That was certainly not part of our deal."
"He was being annoying,"
Wilhelm nodded. "Yes, I have no doubt he was. That's the way he is. However, do you know how hard it is to find a medium? Or how hard it is to find one that will work for you exclusively? I needed him, dammit." Wilhelm stood and held up a gun, switching off the safety. "Here is your payment!"
No one had time to react. There wasn't even a split second between the sound
of the gunshot and when
"What the hell is wrong with you?!" Hevn cried, before cowering under the gun that was pointed at her.
"She was annoying me," Wilhelm said simply. She switched the safety back on her gun and put it on her desk. Ban clenched his fists. Just a little longer...
"What did happen to your husbands, Wilhelm?" he asked, in Japanese so everyone else present would understand.
The smile that settled on Wilhelm's features was most unsettling. "You know, I have been waiting for you to ask all night. Usually by the time I mention my second husband people are getting curious. If someone could-"
Without her having to finish, a guard switched off the light. As the room descended into darkness, magenta light radiated from the floor, causing everyone to look down. When they did, most of them gasped and either jumped back and stepped back. Kadsuki lead Jubei away as he stepped back.
The floor was clear, and in four evenly spaced and lit up chambers were the frozen bodies of four men. Wilhelm stood up and walked over to the bodies. The first one was an older man with a beard and glasses, wearing an expensive and old fashioned blue suit. "Daniel Ostheim. Wealthy man. Old money, no pun intended. I married him on my parents’ request. We were together for about four years. Then he tragically died of a heart attack. How sad. Especially since no one had bothered to look in his wealthy young widow's pantry for the poison." She laughed then, like she'd just heard some hilarious joke, and stepped over to the next body. This man had to be in his forties. He had short, wavy red hair and was wearing a green business suit. "Jan Hayman, world famous ethnologist and professor at Universität Kaiserslautern. He broke his neck while on a bird-watching expedition with his wife of two years. He never even saw that ditch until his wife had pushed him in." She was still laughing as she approached a handsome man in either his late twenties or early thirties. He was wearing a black shirt and black jeans that matched his dark hair. She suddenly stopped laughing and scowled down at the body. "Leon Vibbard. It was kill or be killed. He was Solomon's father." She walked over to the last coffin. In it was a man wearing a black tuxedo. He was clearly the youngest of the four men, when a somewhat boyish face loose shoulder-length dark brown hair. "And my last husband, Niklas Blauvelt. My beloved Nicki. I married him for love, but when he inherited this house I had to make the most difficult decision of my life: Nicki or this house." Wilhelm released an exaggerated sigh. "Poor Nicki committed suicide when he caught his wife having an affair with a man named Amaya Hajime. At least, that's what the police report said." She started to laugh hysterically again.
Really, no one was surprised. They'd all suspected her of having a hand in the conspicuous absence of her husbands when she'd first mentioned them. But they'd never thought they would end up meeting the men that had once called Wilhelm their wife. Still laughing, Wilhelm snapped her fingers as she walked over to her desk. A guard obediently switched the light on, and the bodies disappeared.
"The real trick was sneaking the bodies away after the funerals," Wilhelm
continued. "I am usually not an advocate for grave robbery, but I had to make an
exception. My husbands were far too dear to me." She took a drag off of her
cigar. "It was also something getting them from
"What do you want with us, Wilhelm?" Ban asked. He hated her as much as he hated Amaya Hajime now. She was a horrible woman and her innocent son had to pay the price for it. Had he ever watched her kill any of her husbands? For his sake, Ban hoped not. Although he had just watched his mother kill his nanny, so he wasn't entirely ignorant to death.
Wilhelm examined her cigar. "What do I want?" she asked softly. "I want to win. I will let you all go if you will leave the manuscript. If you don't....I..." Wilhelm fell silent as the lights in the room switched off, illuminating the bodies of her husbands. "Morons! I didn't tell you to turn off the lights!" No one answered. "What the hell?" she whispered, in German.
The lights in the coffins began to flicker as the glass above them began to crack. Wilhelm widened her eyes and sat up. "What the hell is going on here?!" she howled, looking at the others. Except they were all gone. Everyone was gone except for her crows, who all began to squawk. Wilhelm looked back at the door of her office as it slammed shut. "Whoever is responsible for this will die!" she shouted threateningly. The coffins suddenly shattered in an explosion of glass, which scattered around the room. They crows scattered off their perches, brushing Wilhelm as they flew around and making her scream. Then they all settled onto the shoulders of the four figures standing in the flickering violet light. The four figures began to step toward her, slowly. One of them had dimly glowing gasflame blue eyes...
And then the scene disappeared, just as suddenly as it began. Wilhelm was in
her office. The lights were on. Her floor was still whole. And her guards were
standing at attention at the end of the room. The empty room. The retrieval
specialists, the crows, and Solomon were all gone. Only
Hatten Sie einen netten
Wilhelm growled angrily and tore the note to pieces. "After them, you damn fools! Go after them!" As her guards scrambled to obey her orders, Wilhelm reached into her desk and pulled out her gun, walking toward the entrance herself.
"Leave it to Wilhelm to let her paranoia override her common sense," Ban noted smugly as they wandered through the halls, manuscript in hand. Ban had already announced if he had to he'd kick walls in to find a way out, and that suited everyone else just fine.
"How did you know the guards didn't have minds of their own?" Ginji asked, amazed that Ban had figured this out.
Ban shrugged. "There were a lot of signs. The fact that they just stand there when Wilhelm doesn't give them an order, the fact that none of them speak, and that fact that I was going to use my jagan on them before I realized they had no minds for me to mess with. It makes sense, though: they're a lot stronger than Wilhelm. She had to make sure they wouldn't get pissed at her and overthrow her."
"Stop where you are!" a voice howled, followed by the click of a gun being cocked. Everyone turned around to see Wilhelm standing in the hallway, gun poised and aimed directly at Ban, eyes wide and frightened looking. It was an expression that no one had ever expected to see on her. It was also rather unbecoming. The gun was shaking violently in her grasp.
"You're a monster!" she accused. "You're just like he was! An evil monster!
He infected my son and he only wanted to torment people! You knew him, didn't
you?! That's why you have come to take Solomon, not my manuscript!" She pointed
the gun at Ginji next. "You're all in this!" She moved it over to point it at
Clayman. "Aren't you?!" She started laughing then, but it was hysterical, more
disturbing (if that were at all possible) than her normal laugh. "The joke is on
all of you! Monsters like him are not immortal! If a bullet in the brain could
The sound of a gun being fired echoed through the hall. Everyone froze for a moment. For a split second they couldn't figure out who had been shot. Suddenly, Wilhelm fell over onto the carpet of the hall, face-first. Her position on the floor kept her from bleeding, but she had clearly been shot in the back of the head. Everyone then followed the path of the bullet to the one holding the gun.
Pocketing it and brushing off his suit, Karl Hamrich (or, rather, Jakob Grimm) looked out over the group, his sunglasses clipped onto his regular ones. "You talk too much, Wilhelm," he said simply, brushing past the guards and stepping over her body. Clearing his throat, he looked up at Ban, who was still in shock. "Well, if you will give me the manuscript our business transaction will be complete."
Ban hesitated a moment. It was true that Jakob was less despicable than Wilhelm, and he had still pulled some pretty nasty tricks. But he was also still technically their customer. They could give him the manuscript, take the money, and maybe salvage this entire horribly botched job. Sighing, Ban gave the thick sheaf of yellowed papers to him.
"Danke," Jakob said with a nod. "Now one more thing..." He aimed his gun at Hevn and cocked the hammer. She gasped and backed up a step instinctively. "I don't like being made the fool, Ms. Hevn. Your greed shall be your downfall."
Before he could pull the trigger his body jerked up stiffly. Blood began to leak out of his mouth as he slumped forward. Kadsuki, Ban, and Ginji all stepped back to keep him from falling on top of them. His suit jacket was ripped open, and on his back was a bloody "J". Everyone looked from his body to Akabane's, who was now standing above Wilhelm's body.
"I had no more personal stake in this mission," he explained calmly. "My employer is dead at his hands and I have been denied any enjoyment for this entire job. Now the job is over."
The guards were still standing around blankly. They probably would be for the rest of their unnatural lives without Wilhelm to command them to do otherwise. Ban wanted to yell at Akabane for killing their employer, but their employer had been just about to kill their negotiator and obviously had no intentions of paying. Ban looked down at Solomon, who was now hiding behind his legs.
"Let's just get the hell out of here," he announced, turning around and walking through the group to walk in the opposite direction of the dead Grimms. Solomon also squeezed through in his desperation to follow him and not be forced to see what had taken place. Everyone else sighed and followed suit.
As they passed into another corridor Ban sighed in annoyance. Standing in their path were the Tanshoku twins. Side by side. They usually angry looking one, Kokuhaku, was now wearing a smug smile while the sad one, Kokubyaku, had a kind of distant smirk. They just stood there for a moment, looking at the group. And the group watched back, ready to attack them at any moment.
Suddenly they looked at each other and nodded simultaneously. Then they turned and walked away, Kokuhaku gesturing with his head to follow them.
"Should we really trust them?" Emishi asked as Ban hesitantly began to lead the group after them.
Clayman answered the question, suddenly looking and sounding very worn out. "They worked for Wilhelm Grimm. She is now dead. They have no reason to object to helping us. From the looks of it they weren't very fond of being employed by her."
And that was all that was said as the twins lead the group out into the hot dawn air.
"Well, that was a royal disaster," Hevn announced from her place in the back seat of the Bug. Kadsuki and Jubei had announced they were taking a bus home, trusting public transportation more than they trusted the little car. Solomon was also curled up in the back seat, fast asleep.
Ban sighed and threw his cigarette out of the open window. "That is an understatement," he muttered. He wanted to add that it was Hevn's fault, but she was already suffering enough from the mission.
"Ban-chan, what are we going to do about him?" Ginji asked, gesturing with his thumb to Solomon.
Ban shook his head and closed his eyes for a moment, all that his position as driver would allow. "I have an idea. I just hope it'll work."
That said, he pulled into the parking lot of a familiar square-shaped building. A sign on the door read "closed". Hevn and Ginji both looked surprised as Ban parked in the empty parking lot and opened the door. He climbed out, Hevn and Ginji following suit as Ban put a hand on Solomon's shoulder and shook him awake, speaking softly in German. The boy looked up at him with bleary eyes and stood up, climbing out.
No one asked any questions as Ban walked over to the entrance of the hotel and knocked loudly, making sure he didn't knock hard enough to break the window. It took a moment for Kusakiko to answer the door.
"M-Midou-san! Amano-san! Hevn-san!" Kusakiko said, surprised. "We didn't expect you!"
Ban swallowed. "I need to talk to you."
Kusakiko nodded. "Come right in."
As the group walked into the dining room, Kaneko suddenly bounded out of the kitchen and jumped onto Ginji. "GINJI-KUN!" she cried out, hugging him tightly.
"Ah...easy, Kaneko-chan," Ginji instructed, his voice sounding strained. Ban smiled at the scene, then turned back to Kusakiko. The rest of the sisters began emerging from other doors. They all looked very worn out, and for the first time Ban noticed that it looked like Kusakiko had been crying.
"Did we come at a bad time?" Ban asked, as if he had been able to call ahead or reschedule this particular visit.
Kusakiko nodded. "Just after you left Amaya-san died. We've been up all night getting things ready for his funeral. Kuroko says if we don't give him a proper funeral he will become like her."
Ban snorted. His original plan was to encourage the sisters to leave the hotel and Amaya, but that was better. He wasn't even going to pretend to mourn that horrible man. "Actually, that's probably for the better," he said out loud. Kusakiko didn't argue or ask him to clarify what he meant by that. This was good, because Ban meant it in several ways. "I have a favor to ask of you guys, actually, and it's very important that he be out of the picture to do it."
Kozeniko leaned in the exit to the courtyard she had just come in through, a door marked "Employees Only". "So you guys expected to come in here and ask us to do something for you that required us to leave our home and our boss? You must have been pretty damn sure we would accept."
Ban pointed simply at Solomon, and all of the sisters (Kaneko included, although she was still attached to Ginji) turned to look at him. "Last night when we went to finish our job we ran into some...unpleasantness. A lot of it. Now this boy doesn't have any parents or a home."
"Then you take him," Kozeniko huffed, but the other sisters glared at her. She sighed. "All right. Keep going."
Ban shrugged and leaned back in his chair. "Amaya messed with him when he was younger. That's why it's important he not be involved in this. He needs someone to take him. He has a power similar to mine, the Evil Eye. He doesn't know how to control it. Since you all have powers and abilities I thought you would be the most likely to accept him."
At the same time Kozeniko said "are you crazy?" Kusakiko said "I'd love to." Kozeniko glared at her sister, who was now staring at the surface of the table at her folded hands.
"What did you say?" Kozeniko asked in disbelief.
Kusakiko drew in a deep breath. "Kozeniko, we left home because no one would accept me and my powers. All my life I had only you to rely on because you understood me. Now I feel like this boy needs that same kind of understanding, and only we can give it."
Kozeniko shook her head. "We can't take care of a kid. We just can't. Absolutely not."
"Why not?" was the only argument she received.
"Because...because we..." Kozeniko looked down at Solomon. She sighed deeply. "Fine. All right. But you're taking care of him. If you have a sudden urge to play mommy then you're on your own." And with that, she turned and left the dining room.
Ban smiled. "He doesn't speak Japanese yet. Only German. But he's young and he's smart. He'll pick up Japanese fast." Then he kneeled down in front of Solomon and began to speak to him in German. The boy's eyes widened. Then he turned and looked at Kusakiko, who smiled warmly at him. The boy nodded once, and Ban stood up.
"Well, now we've got that settled," he said simply. He turned and left the room, and Ginji noticed he pointedly didn't look back.
"Thank you so much," Ginji said to Kusakiko. Then he looked down at Kaneko. "I'll see you soon, Kaneko-chan."
"See you soon, Ginji-kun!" Kaneko said brightly. Hevn then followed Ginji out of the hotel.
It was night again. The lights of
"Ban-chan?" Ginji asked suddenly.
"Yeah?" Ban asked, lighting a cigarette.
"I know you didn't really forget what you were going to say when we were on the side of the road," he said softly. "What were you going to say?"
Ban gripped the steering wheel hard, almost hard enough to break it. "I was just going to say that the time I've spent working with you are the best in my life, and that there was no one else I'd rather die of thirst and heat exhaustion on the side of a dirt road with."
"Oh," was the only thing said for a long time. Then Ginji said "Same for me."
Goo's Notes- Yes, it is finally over! And I wasn't going to put in what Ban was going to say to Ginji but too many people asked. I left it purposely ambiguous. If anything is confusing, remember that there are two more fics to go. And so concludes the longest Get Backers fic yet! Thank you all for reading and supporting me! I now leave you with a preview of the next fic, "Hand of God":
*Cue Goo's Stupidity*
Ginji: Ban-chan, that boy knows Natsumi. We should help him.
Ban: Well, he looks like he has enough money..
Ginji: But can we find his beads in time? He's already looking so sick...
Ban: Of course we will! We're the Get Backers, success rate nearly 100%
Next Chapter of Get Backers: "The Hand of God". Look forward to it!
Any similarity between anyone living or dead is purely coincidental unless other wise noted.