I'm not going to lie to you. Weiß Kreuz is confusing. Even die-hard fans such as myself often go "WTF?" at the translations, timeline and lack of continuity or logic, as well as the bizarre stories and plot-devices. But when all is said and done, Weiß Kreuz is a classic of anime soap opera. And Brad Crawford and Schuldig are two of that soap opera's most fascinating cast members.
Like most Japanese anime, Weiß Kreuz is based on such an outlandish premise you accept it quite easily. This time the story revolves around four youths who work as florists by day and vigilante assassins by night.
(OK, you can stop laughing now.)
Their team, codenamed Weiß (the first of many, never-explained usages of the German language), belongs to Kritiker, a private organisation set up to combat the injustices that slide past the eyes of the Japanese authorities. Kritiker has taken these young men with tragic, shattered pasts and offered them new hopes, new goals, and the chance at vengeance. Kritiker has shaped Weiß into "executioners of darkness, bringing judgement upon the brutal criminals who skilfully evade the law...". In a sinister and brutal world, they are modern-day heroes.
Brad Crawford and Schuldig are not members of Weiß.
Initially the villain of the piece is the rich and ruthless Takatori Reiji. In his climb to power as Japanese Prime Minister he orders mass murders, inhumane scientific experiments, political corruption, and many other crimes. He's also responsible for the destruction of Fujimiya Aya of Weiß's family, and consequently is Aya's obsession for revenge. Takatori's chief bodyguards are a team of four young men with strange powers, known as Schwarz; Brad Crawford, a precognitive, Schuldig, a telepath, Naoe Nagi, a psychokinetic and Farfarello, a physical insensitive.
All is not as it appears however. Takatori Reiji is the puppet, not the puppeteer. Schwarz actually work for a cult-like organisation called Esset (aka Ezsett, SS) headed by three creepy psychically-gifted Elders. Their goal is to raise a demon to help them rule the world and live forever (kinda makes the ambition of becoming Japanese Prime Minister look petty, doesn't it?). Schwarz are in Japan to make sure everything goes smoothly for the demon-summoning ritual. Or maybe not. Because the Elders forgot to ask what Schwarz wanted…
That was "Kapitel". In the second anime series, "Glühen", after the Elder's failure to raise their world-conquering demon (a complicated plot involving Aya's comatose sister; several double-crossing assassin teams; huge amounts of collateral damage to property, the public, and Kritiker and Esset personnel; the death of Kritiker's founder and the Elders; and last but not least, the supposed death of Weiß and Schwarz) team Weiß (Fujimiya Aya (Ran), Koudou Youji, Hidaka Ken, and Tsukiyono Omi/Takatori Mamoru plus additional dispensables) are investigating the remnants of Esset and a new adversary, Epitaph.
Esset's secret scientific base, which is masquerading as a normal school, the
Koua Academy. Weiß infiltrate and eventually destroy it, the latter with
the aid of Schwarz. Esset and their training facility Rosenkreuz send
droves of homicidal psychic children (Class Z) and their specialist team
up against them. The Psychokinesis Squad (also confusingly codenamed
"Rosenkreuz"), were actually created from Schwarz's DNA, although their powers
differ somewhat. Glühen ends with huge amounts of collateral damage to
property, the public, Kritiker and Esset personnel, etc…
Timeline & Media:
Ah, the simplicity that is the Weiß Kreuz timeline. Not.
In actuality this is one fandom with two different accounts, one manga and one anime, of the origin story of Fujimiya Aya, arguably the main protagonist of Weiß Kreuz.
Schwarz is directly involved in the destruction of his family in the manga origin story, and although not evident in the anime origin story, would have been Takatori's bodyguards at the time. The first long story arc, the anime series 'Kapitel', is followed by several different stories - in novels, manga, anime, OAV and dramatic CD (there's also songs, music and music videos). Continuity and logic don't always follow through in all of these and they often contradict themselves.
In fandom, this complex situation is further complicated by fans ignoring various parts of the canon timeline, either because they haven't seen it (most Weiß Kreuz media is still only in Japanese) or because they dislike it (usually Glühen, which is vastly unpopular with many fans, but which also has its die-hard adherents).
Weiß Kreuz media which Schwarz appear in:
Collection I: The Holy Children
MMCC-1003, Marine Entertainment, 1st Press: 21.10. 97, 2nd Press: 20.10.99
The back-story for Nagi Naoe of Schwarz and Hidaka Ken of Weiss. Crawford appears in it briefly a couple of times.
According to the official timeline that was published on the Marine Entertainment Weiß Kreuz page, The Holy Children took place after episode 6 of Kapitel. genkischuldich did a translation of the timeline here. I have, however, left this first for various reasons - the main one being Nagi is about 10 in the Drama CD, yet 15 in Kapitel, which is only 3 years later. Another of those wonderful "WTF?" Weiß Kreuz moments. . . (thanks to genkischuldich for the translation & adrenalynnrush for the tip)
and White Shaman
Manga series. The original 'base' Weiß Kreuz story, telling how Weiss get together as a foursome and including Aya's origins. Schwarz all appear. Scan with translation can be found here:
Aya no Weiß
This is an excellent site for all things Weiß Kreuz. There also used to be an online scanlation of this manga with a slightly different translation but alas, I can no longer find it.
[aka Knight Hunters]
Anime series. This starts after Weiss have worked together for a little while. Includes conflicting origins for Aya to An Assassin & White Shaman.
und 'Strafe' ['Crime' and 'Punishment']
OAV, 2 of them. Set after the Kapitel series. Crawford and Schuldig appear briefly at the end.
Image III: Schwarz I
MMCC-1023, Marine Entertainment, First Press: 28.06.00 2nd Press: 27.06.02 Creator: Project Weiß
Pre-Glühen story about what happened to Schwarz after the Verbrechen/Strafe OAV. Details a bit more on Farfarello's powers, as well as Crawford and Schuldig's backgrounds. Explains what happened to Farfarello and why he doesn't appear in Glühen in the flesh.
(Personally, I consider this a Mary-Sue story of awe-inspiringly saccharine proportions. I have to suppress the urge to vomit every time I read it)
Image IV: Schwarz II
MMCC-1020, Marine Entertainment, 1st Press: 20. 07.00, 2nd Press: 25.07.02
The second half of the above.
Music video about which the less said, the better.
Anime series, set after the Kapitel series and the Verbrechen/Strafe OAV. Different writer and character designs. Includes Schwarz in episodes 10 to 13.
"Glühen" is the biggest 'Love it/Loathe it' feature in Weiß Kreuz fandom. On the plus side, it has interesting points and plot devices, and the original characters of Weiß become even more tortured. On the negative side, the hysterical melodrama of the overall story and dialogue are OTT, the visual mutilation of the characters is horrific, and the original characters of Weiß become even more tortured.
In conclusion: A webpage that succinctly explains the origin and publication history of the Weiß Kreuz media: http://www.lelola.net/wk/history.shtml
Anime - Japanese animated cartoons
Drama CD - audio drama (i.e. radio play). A sound-recording story with the anime's seiyuu and usually also theme songs for the characters, as well as intro and ending themes.
Manga - Japanese comic books
OAV - Original Animation Video - usually prequel or sequel movies with better animation than the series they're based on. Especially true for Weiß Kreuz!
Seiyuu - Japanese voice actor
Crawford: "We don't belong to anyone."
Brad (never Bradley) Crawford is American and Schwarz's team-leader. Crawford always wears pale-coloured tailored suits, is 27 years old, approximately 6'3", and has black hair and gold-brown eyes.
Crawford's main psi-talent is precognition, although there's no mention of it in the manga. During their first fight he tells Aya of Weiß that he can see into the future short distances, which is why Aya cannot beat him in physical combat. His precognition doesn't always work however - there are several instances of him being surprised, sometimes almost fatally, by events. A secondary psi-talent appears to be the ability to use his own mindscape to entrap and destroy an enemy telepath.
In unarmed combat Crawford boxes, at which he appears to excel. For weaponry, he uses a gun and is once shown wielding a sword.
Crawford attended Rosenkreuz where he had a lover, Silvia, whom he unknowingly shared with Schuldig. He later kills her in Dramatic Image IV. In Dramatic Collection I, he is responsible for finding Nagi and taking him to join Esset. This is all of Crawford's official background.
The epitome of tall, dark and handsome, Crawford is well-built and the most mature- and masculine-looking member of both Schwarz and Weiß (despite being American, in the anime he is bizarrely one of the most Japanese-looking). A lot of fanfiction portrays him as an icy, anally retentive autocrat who seldom shows or feels emotions, has no sense of humour, and views his teammates and all other people with contempt. The Crawford shown in canon doesn't match this.
Crawford presents the façade of a well-dressed, cool and controlled businessman. As the most socially presentable (and probably skilled) member of Schwarz as well as being their leader and a precognitive, Crawford is the preferred public bodyguard of Takatori Reiji. His behaviour in public is usually smooth, impeccably-mannered and calm. But while Crawford appears subservient he is also effortlessly arrogant and very aware of social nuances. For example, he addresses his employer as 'Mr Takatori', rather than what to the Japanese would be the more respectful 'Takatori-sama' or 'Takatori-san'. A small insolence, but not one he can really be pulled up on.
He is similarly urbane when he wants something from a person, such as the insane composer Kawaji, who kills people with his music. Crawford smiles and congratulates Kawaji to his face, apologising when Kawaji feels slighted, then when alone comments,
"Obnoxious fellow… but he is useful."
You get the feeling Kawaji's life expectancy is limited when his usefulness ends however.
Although he shows a good 'game face' when dealing with his 'superiors' or in public, Crawford is quite often visibly emotional. His manga incarnation is younger, less controlled and more emotional than his anime versions, but even in those he is expressive. Crawford gloats over his victories against Weiß as well as against other enemies such as Berger of Rosenkreuz, and takes a great deal of smiling pleasure in causing Esset's downfall. Crawford displays obvious surprise, fear and even panic when a fight turns against him, and evinces annoyance and amusement on several occasions. Pleased smugness is also one of Crawford's common expressions (but then "I told you so" is probably every precognitive's catchphrase!).
Crawford also appears to have the villain's textbook weakness for the sound of his own voice. He talks. A lot. And he is quite articulate and persuasive when he isn't boasting. Crawford even has his own personal 'villain's trademark' - an evil action or thought from him is signalled by light bouncing off his glasses, turning them into bright, reflective mirrors.
Crawford has a paternalistic attitude towards Naoe Nagi, Schwarz's youngest member; a relaxed comradeship with Farfarello, their resident madman; and a comfortable friendship with Schuldig. They usually obey him quickly and seem to both respect and like him. Schwarz have a close-knit team dynamic (and, judging from their selection for such an important position by the Elders, a history of success) that would be impossible if its members were at odds with each other. Rather, they would follow Crawford to the end of the world. In fact they do.
Mannered smoothness can't hide the fact that Crawford enjoys violence, and displays no qualms about murder, whether it's individually or on a large-scale. His fights against Weiß and Schreint (the female assassin group of Masafumi, Takatori's insane scientist son), observably give him a great deal of pleasure. He kills Schoen of Schreint with a deliberately cruel shot, leaving her a minute or so of life. At that range he could hardly miss an instantly fatal shot, but Crawford wants her to suffer and despair before she expires.
Crawford is undeniably ruthless as well as morally bankrupt. The ends don't justify the means, because he doesn't recognise the necessity to 'justify' anything. He is relentless in fulfilling his ambitions and directs Schwarz's efforts to ensure his visions come to pass. Although he compromises or changes plans if necessary, should anyone outside Schwarz hinder them he swiftly removes that obstacle (or orders the others to do so).
Similarly, used resources with no further use are discarded quickly. He shoots Schoen declaring,
"In other words, we no longer need you."
Crawford carefully husbands possible assets however. The torture of Sakura, a schoolgirl who's in love with Fujimiya Aya, produces no protest from Crawford over Schuldig's mental and physical cruelty towards a defenceless child, only the request that he not be too rough with her as Sakura might still be useful in their plans. And the planned exploitation (and likely horrible death) of Aya's comatose little sister in raising a demon invites no comment whatsoever.
All in all, Crawford is a dangerous man; intelligent, Talented, possessed of charm, disciplined and refined. Also merciless, brutal and having megalomaniac leanings. Despite (or perhaps because of) all that, he is a fascinating and attractive character. But for a truly beautiful monster, we must turn to his teammate, Schuldig…
Schuldig: "Aren't you getting excited?"
Schuldig possesses even less background than Crawford - a boon and curse for fanfiction writers.
The manga states he' s German, approximately 5'9" tall and in Kapitel, 22 years of age. In the manga his hair is green and eyes gold; in the anime his hair is vibrant orange-red and his eyes are blue (not green, blue).
Telepathy is Schuldig's main psi-talent - both mind reading and speaking. Its existence in the manga is debatable; he appears in Aya's dreams but that could be either telepathy or mere nightmare. His talent isn't entirely an advantage however. In Kapitel he remarks to Farfarello that people's thoughts invade his own and he sometimes can't tell which are theirs and which are his.
Schuldig has the secondary Talent of abnormally fast speed. If this is actual physical alacrity or a mind trick is uncertain and never explained, although he is shown using it in both anime series. He also seems to have some sort of 'ki-blast' power, which he uses to punch Ken when he and Farfarello come to kidnap Aya's sister from the flowershop in the last episode of Kapitel.
Most of Schuldig's fights are conducted out of personal range, using a gun as a weapon. Like Crawford, Schuldig attended Rosenkreuz and unwittingly shared a lover, Silvia, with him.
Schuldig's real name is unknown. In official merchandise his name is spelt several ways using katakana characters, which the Japanese use specifically to transcribe unpronounceable foreign words into Japanese approximations. Therefore his name can be commonly (and correctly) given as Shuderich, Schruderich, Schudich, Schulderich, Schuldich, or Schuldig. This last form is the German for 'to be guilty of', and seems to be the basis for the other adaptations (which is why I use it). As this is neither a proper first name nor surname (being more akin to a chosen pseudonym such as 'Madonna' or 'Cher', with whom he shares diva-like tendencies!), fandom has come up with various 'real' names for Schuldig.
Note: A quick debunk - at no point in canon does Schuldig smoke (though he possibly chews gum) nor was he ever a drug addict or a prostitute. These ideas originated in the early days of the fandom, not in canon. This is not to say there aren't very viable reasons why he might have used drugs and/or been a prostitute however. Several authors have produced thoughtful, intelligent stories incorporating these issues and their connection to Schuldig's talent and possible background (unfortunately there's also a large body of mindless crap well worth avoiding - I strongly suggest you shun any story that calls Schuldig 'Schuschu').
Schuldig acts as
Brad's second-in-command. He's a dedicated member of Schwarz and not given to
endangering his team unnecessarily. According to the character sheets for An
Assassin & White Shaman, Schuldig is someone who "acts neither crazy
nor is insane. He gets along well with his colleagues and superiors, and draws
a clear line between himself and those around him. Sometimes, he grins sarcastically."
And indeed, Schuldig's smirk is just as famous in Weiß Kreuz as Aya's
glare. The Schuldig we see in the anime however, is wilder and more unrestrained.
He acts on the spur of the moment, is egotistical, loud and sly. He's also clever,
manipulative and inventive, and an excellent tactician. As pointed out by writers
such as sidara
My personal take on anime Schuldig is that he shows the textbook traits of a sociopath. These being someone who is glib, manipulative and cunning; has a grandiose sense of self; an inability to see other people as 'real'; is a pathological liar; shows a lack of remorse, shame or guilt; has shallow emotions; a need for stimulation; displays callousness and a lack of empathy; has an impulsive nature; and last but definitely not least - has criminal or entrepreneurial versatility (telepathy, somewhat naturally, doesn't make the list). Crawford also possesses several of these traits. Notably, both men ape social norms and conventions, but don't feel them as internal restraints.
But whereas Crawford appears to prefer broad-spectrum suffering, Schuldig likes to inflict his pain up-close and personal - rather like a cat, he enjoys toying with his food. He declares that the tormented thoughts of others taste like honey to him and he enjoys causing mental anguish and fear. In Assassin & White Shaman when Schuldig taunts Aya in his dreams, he tells him,
You rightly understand that when your sister becomes well, you can never look her in the face again. You are a murderer! You are exactly as we are.
And urges him to commit suicide.
Interestingly enough, Schuldig never personally kills anyone (onscreen) in Kapitel, and he only kills one person in Glühen, although he certainly casts enough threats around. In Kapitel he informs Weiß,
I've seen your faces. I'll have your lives.
And later in Glühen after arriving to save Weiß from Rosenkreuz's Giesel, a pyrokinetic, he declares he'll be coming for them next. Even more than Crawford, Schuldig likes boasting and the sound of his own voice.
Unlike the rest of Schwarz, Schuldig doesn't seem to have an overall goal in life - except perhaps the standpoint that the world is there to entertain him; people, sheep to be played with. Unfortunately for the flock, Schuldig's idea of 'fun' tends to be rather hardwearing, if not fatal. Schuldig has a dark and wicked sense of humour, he's the trickster of Schwarz and although his schemes benefit the team, there is no doubt they are also for self-amusement. As when he sports maliciously with Omi of Weiß and his girlfriend Ouka, threatening and cajoling them with promises to disclosure various secrets.
These games also reveal Schuldig's blind spots; his inability to see people as anything but playtoys or pawns, and the inability to consider consequences. Ouka is Takatori's much-loved bastard daughter. When Schuldig's games end in tragedy, Takatori is naturally enraged and takes a golfclub to him. Even had Schuldig's meddling not ended in disaster, Takatori would have been angry and demanded Schuldig be punished.
Even moreso than Crawford, Schuldig has an aptitude for indiscriminate violence, and will employ it against anyone, be they man, woman or child. The essential wrongness of this doesn't even ping off his moral radar - it's been turned off for years. Violence against himself however, he highly resents.
Schuldig's non-physical appeal (in the manga especially he's only beaten in the prettiness stakes by Aya) lies in his contrary nature. Cruel but capable, wily, humorous, sadistic, attention demanding, curious, capricious and intensely alive, Schuldig is impossible to ignore. And rather like a beautiful but vicious cat, you either love him or hate him.
Interaction in canon:
[smiles] "You're just like the devil."
Crawford: [smiles back] "The devil? Isn't that you?"
Despite their huge impact as Weiß's most evident antagonists, Schwarz actually have little screen-time. What they do have however portrays them as an effective, cohesive unit, with more camaraderie than Weiß have yet achieved.
Crawford and Schuldig's relationship is presented in a series of small snippets, usually with either Nagi and/or Farfarello present, or with other characters in attendance - although usually these seem to be nothing more than 'audience' to the pair. These moments also feed into the overall impression as Crawford and Schuldig as a couple. The characters needle, tease, and show an awareness of the other that backs up the idea of closeness. This is shown in various ways in both the manga and anime.
In their first scene together in Assassin & White Shaman, Schuldig reports to Crawford after blowing up the Fujimiya company building. Crawford looks to see who has entered his office, then turns back to his computer monitor with a huffy expression. Schuldig scowls a little at Crawford's reaction and asks (in what would be an obvious jest at a precognitive),
"Hm, accessing weather forecasts?"
Crawford's reply is translated as either banter or reproach;
"Wrong. Volcanic eruption patterns. I've decided to blow one up near where you were spawned."
"No. You rarely come to see me anymore, so there must be a volcano erupting as we speak."
This annoys Schuldig, who slams his hand down on Crawford's desk, saying,
"Knock it off, Crawford!"
Then he puts a hand on Crawford's shoulder, standing close behind him. Crawford appears mildly amused by this reaction. They are obviously secure enough with each other that mild disagreement and irritation is neither extraordinary or a problem. Their familiarity comes across as an old, established friendship/relationship of recognised boundaries, but with enough areas of tension and powerplay to keep it interesting.
In the anime also, Crawford and Schuldig have an onscreen intensity, or connection, between them that lasts from the first to the last shot together. In the first scene of Schwarz altogether as a team, they follow Takatori Reiji down a corridor, Crawford discussing their current project with Takatori. Schuldig's attention is directed exclusively at Crawford throughout, ignoring their erstwhile 'employer' as unimportant.
In Glühen, their participation in the last quarter of the series opens with their last appearance together on a rooftop, watching and commenting on Weiß fighting Class Z. It becomes apparent the two are still together and still 'Schwarz', even if Nagi and Farfarello are no longer with the team.
Although both men are strong characters, unwilling to bend their knees to any master, Schuldig obeys Crawford's commands without hesitation. At a party he lets Weiß escape when Crawford tells him to, as he informs Schuldig 'they are destined to die'. Just not today. When Sakura fails to fatally shoot Aya whilst under Schuldig's mindcontrol, he's enraged. But then Crawford declares,
"That's it for today."
And despite his annoyance at Sakura's failure and obvious desire to continue the matter, Schuldig grabs Sakura and departs in accordance with Crawford's wishes. It's Farfarello who continues the fight.
Schuldig's obedience to Crawford's wishes also appears to be a matter of personal courtesy, as well as common sense in following the orders of the person who knows what is going to happen. In Glühen, Crawford complains after Schuldig asks him if he's Seen anything,
"I thought I told you not to look into my mind."
"I'm just excited."
Inferring that normally he wouldn't take such a liberty without Crawford's express permission.
Nor is it a one-way street. Crawford backs Schuldig up. In Assassin & White Shaman, he tells Schuldig he'll change his report to obscure the fact Schuldig could have disposed of Fujimiya Aya and didn't. He makes more fuss over Schuldig's absence than Schuldig's indecisiveness on the job.
And although Crawford is team leader of Schwarz, he allows Schuldig a large amount of autonomy. Crawford is the team strategist, looking after their long-term ambitions and overall aims, but Schuldig is the team tactician, taking advantage of any opportunities he sees and contriving plans on the fly. Crawford trusts him to do what is best for Schwarz. Crawford's only comment relating to Schuldig's propensity for labyrinthine plots is concern that Schuldig not overreach himself. When Crawford asks Schuldig what he is up to, the telepath gloats about how much he enjoys the (tormented) thoughts of others - they taste like sweet honey. Crawford warns him to be careful,
Crawford: "If you take too much honey, you have to remember there are bees nearby."
Schuldig: [mildly] "Chi! You're really boring!"
Another example of banter between the two.
So is there any subtext inferring a relationship deeper than friendship between Crawford and Schuldig? Anime is notorious for its shounen-ai or 'slashy' subtext and really, just how much slashier can you get than two teams of very pretty assassins living and working together 24/7? Add to that the strong connection the two display onscreen. In the end however, it's a matter of personal interpretation. Some people (including myself of course) look at Weiß Kreuz in regards to a Crawford/Schuldig coupling and say, "They are so doing it", others have said "I just can't see it.". I'll leave it up to you to decide.
Schuldig: "Damn. Not inviting us to such a fun reunion. You'd think maybe Schwarz weren't liked."
Crawford: [chuckles] "Love, eh? Only fools believe in love."
So why Crawford and Schuldig? On the surface, they're very dissimilar men, but then opposites do attract. And actually, Crawford and Schuldig share similar outlooks, philosophies, and a lack of morals (and probably also traumas), despite their different characters.
Crawford and Schuldig make a natural pairing - they fit together, balancing out each other's weaknesses and matching each other's strengths. Brad has proven to Schuldig that he is a man worthy of following, listening to, and depending on. Schuldig has proven to Brad that he is capable of being trusted, given responsibility, and handed delicate orders. It's a pairing of equals; despite the fact Schuldig is subordinate to Crawford. Subordinate? Yes. Submissive? Never.
Personalities aside, their Talents alone could be easily used against the other. Co-operation is a necessity as well as a requirement for their professional association, as well as any more romantic relationship. And they do respect each other's boundaries and allow compromise; Crawford allows Schuldig his little games; when Crawford scolds him for looking into his mind, Schuldig give the nearest thing to an apology he's capable of.
Although it isn't shown in action, a team of precognitive/telepath would theoretically have to be one of the most effective assassin couplings you could get. How they would interact during sex is another interesting question. Honesty, at least on a physical level, would be unavoidable. Imagine being able to see several different ways to make your partner moan. Or literally knowing from his thoughts what really pleasures your lover. Two words: feedback loop. Mmmm.
From conversations with Silvia, it's apparent that sex to Crawford is a physical gratification (one he's very good at), unrelated to affection. Schuldig, on the other hand, appears to attach affection to his liaisons - perhaps because his telepathy would make him connect more intimately with his partner. This is not to say there isn't some form of love between the two.
When asked by Nagi, Schuldig confesses to not understanding love. Crawford outright scoffs at it, although he has an epiphany at the end of Glühen as to its value. Overall their actions speak louder than words however - Crawford and Schuldig stick together right throughout Weiß Kreuz. Esset falls. Farfarello goes. Nagi leaves. But Crawford and Schuldig stay with the only person in the world they want to be with.
When I asked friends what they thought of this pairing, a phrase that cropped up frequently was "old married couple". Perhaps it isn't love, merely convenience or familiarity. Perhaps they don't recognise it as love. And if they do, they'd never actually come out and admit it (I've only ever read a couple of stories in which this was believable). Such would be seen as a weakness or vulnerability. And neither Crawford nor Schuldig are men who deal well with vulnerability.
On several levels, Crawford and Schuldig need each other. Crawford is all about control; from the pristine orderliness of his attire to the sterile orderliness of his mind. Not only does control fascinate him (he rhapsodises in Kapitel over the ability to control five human time-bombs and thus kill 55,000), but autonomy, control over one's self, is his ultimate objective. The disintegration of society into chaos as a side effect appears to be another. Schuldig himself embodies chaos. His Talent seemingly tosses him in a sea of minds, sometimes unable to differentiate himself from others. He also desires control. Over his mind, and over himself. Schuldig offers Crawford spontaneity, the ability to live in the present rather than the future. Crawford reins in Schuldig's destructive tendencies, imparts the ability to look at consequences and offers long-term goals and plans. They each possibly offer the other a stable centre, or fixed point, against the confusion and hubbub their respective Talents must cause.
Crawford and Schuldig also share one driving ambition - freedom from their owners, Esset and Rosenkreuz. This isn't a small ambition. Judging from the series, Rosenkreuz clones or acquires (through any means necessary) Talented children, trains and raises them under a nightmare regime. Essentially, it's the School from Hell. Its graduates are unscrupulous, callous, elitist, fanatical and most often, sociopathic. Not exactly ideal members of society. Esset is no different, merely Rosenkreuz for adults, whose philosophy is tantamount to 'the strong survive, the weak are crushed under the heel'.
Untouched, how far Crawford and Schuldig's Talents would have actually formed them into the people they are today is unknowable. How much Rosenkreuz and Esset warped their minds, morals and personalities, as well proposing their origins as Schwarz and as a couple, is a favourite theme of Weiß Kreuz writers.
Because neither of them are exactly 'healthy' people it's debatable whether theirs would be a healthy relationship (however looking at the other members of Weiß and Schwarz, scarily enough they'd probably have the healthiest relationship of all). To imagine Crawford and Schuldig having a smooth relationship, without irritations, resentments and powerplays is highly questionable however. Both are strong, passionate men, intent on getting their own way. This friction just makes the pairing more exciting however.
The balance of power between the two can tip either way. In some fanfics it's tipped towards Crawford, in others towards Schuldig, in yet others it's a constant balancing act. In the hands of a good writer any of these prospects are intriguing and believable. Crawford has a forceful, possessive presence in the anime that translates well into fanfiction, and Schuldig has a manipulative, teasing charisma that winds itself around that presence. Neither men are nice nor good, but as characters you can't help but be fascinated by them.
The first Weiß Kreuz story I wrote, Spielzeit, has Schuldig stalking Aya for kicks and giggles. But as a careless, almost inevitable aside, Crawford and Schuldig are mentioned as sleeping together. Even from the first it seemed to me to be the most natural pairing of the fandom. And although I've written other pairings for them both, it's my OTP which I keep coming back to again and again. Just like their Talents, the Crawford and Schuldig 'Ship offers numerous facets and endless possibilities.
Crawford/Schuldig stories cover the whole style spectrum; plot-driven epics; thoughtful psychological dramas; introspective pieces; humour; adorable fluff. The uses they're put to are endless. It isn't one of the biggest fandoms by any means, but there's still a nice-sized body of good quality work out there (I must also admit that Weiß Kreuz is one of those fandoms where, to be brutally honest, the decent fanfiction is a lot better than the actual series itself). Below are a few Crawford/Schuldig slash/UST (yaoi/shounen-ai, lemon/lime) target-rich sites I recommend. I know I've missed some and couldn't find URLs for others, so please feel free to email your own suggestions.
Sites & LiveJournals:
Daegaer LJ-Memories daegaer
Fey Puck LJ-Memories
The Green Room v3.0 viridian5
Sanity's End pspeare
Tosca's Kiss toscas_kiss
Epics & Long Stories:
Complex by Hitori Desu
Embracing the Shadows
Eyes on Me & sequel, I'm with You by mamisan
Love Lies Bleeding (aka Mars' Assassins)
Shaunetsu no Honoo (Glühen) genkischuldich
Schuldiger als Sunde ningengirai
Schu's Thin Mint (Brad/Schuldig pairing)