Title: Giving Way to Warm

Rating: G

Word Count: 911

Pairing: Ritsuka x Soubi

Summary: There are some spots that Ritsuka cannot bandage himself, and there are some bandages that suffice better than others. However, this is not a story about bandages.

Notes: This was posted on the Loveless LJ comm a few weeks ago, but I felt like giving it some air on Additional notes are at the end of the ficlet. Enjoy.

Giving Way to Warm.

"You," he says to me drowsily, "always make me so tired." I smile, and bow my head to show apology.

"I'm sorry, Ritsuka... although, it is more than late right now. I would expect you to be tired." The dark-haired boy (young man? Teenager? None of those classifications fit him, somehow, he was so unlike anyone his age) stifles a yawn and gives a small smile back. His smiles are rare... I am lucky enough to be the one who mostly receives them.

(His smile makes me strain against my calm, just like the bandages all over his arms and face that I have grown accustomed to seeing.)

"Well, I'm the one that called you," he replies plainly, his eyes on the carpet. He can feel my eyes on his bandages, I know. "Thank you, Soubi."

My hand closes the lid of the first-aid kit quietly. "Whenever you call, Ritsuka, I'll always--"

"Don't say it," he says sharply, his weariness temporarily replaced by irritation. I snap the lid shut. His eyes look more tired than ever, and the smile on his face is gone. "I can't stand those hollow words."

I know I make promises that are impossible to keep. I know that everytime I cannot or do not follow what I say, the load upon his back gets heavier.

But I say these words anyway, because I will believe that I can do anything for him.

What good is a servant who rationally thinks out his actions, who does not do what is told to him with every ounce of strength in his body? What master would demand for a servant to TRY as hard as he can?

I hurt Ritsuka. I see it obviously on his face; in turn, I am hurt as well, although my expression seems serene. But everything I do is done purely out of concern for his well-being.

Someday, when he is truly safe, I know he'll understand.

"They're not hollow," I said softly. He looks even more tired and small, with an enduring face.

"I know they're not hollow, Soubi," Ritsuka concedes, leaning against the side of his bed. "But please don't... Don't make promises you can't keep."

"Is that an order?" Ritsuka closes his eyes, weariness overtaking his features once more.

"Go home," he says tiredly.

(I know he'll understand in the future, but for now, in his present... I don't want to be the straw that breaks his back.)

"Let me stay a little longer," I suggest as I stand up to put the first-aid kit back in his closet. "I want to make sure that the bleeding around your wrists has totally stopped before I go."

"She's cut me there before, you know," he says, in a voice so tiny I can barely hear him. I turn to study him and his eyes meet mine before closing again. "But... well, thank you again for coming to help me bandage my cuts." He pauses, then continues on as an afterthought. "I'm used to bandaging myself now, but some cuts are hard to wrap tightly without someone helping you. Seimei used to get the spots I couldn't."

I look at him a little longer, Ritsuka temporarily lost in the remembrance of his older brother. His dark, tousled hair frames his pale face as his head nods downward; his arms wrap around each other tightly and I wonder if he is remembering a warm embrace.

And suddenly, with an emotion so strong it almost knocks the wind out of me, I am compelled to rush across his small room and take him in my arms. Without a sound, his eyes, overly bright, look into mine. I wait for him to demand to put him down; instead, he loosens his muscles into my embrace and slowly leans his head against my shoulder.

Ritsuka, so fragile in my arms.

So beautiful.

No matter how many times my promises to him fall by the wayside, he trusts in me so strongly... and completely, as I am faithful to him.

Sans amour. Our fates, our names, are predetermined before we were even born... I told Ritsuka this when we first met. I was perfect with Seimei... that was our fate together. So, too, was my place with Ritsuka, for Seimei's words were my law.

But with Ritsuka, we as Fighter and Sacrifice are imperfect. Our connection, technically, has a long way to go before it can ever become even a shadow of what my connection with his older brother was. In a way, Ritsuka's name is apt and well-fitting.

I gaze softly at the small body fitted in my arms and hold him tighter to myself. However well-fitting your name was beforeā€¦I will not let that be your fate.

"Soubi..." he sighs, his eyes closed and his breathing even. I lean down to his lips and kiss him softly, the sensation of my lips on his thrilling through my body.

(A connection can be made through more than just a name shared.)

He stirs in my arms, his eyes opening to my smile.

"Soubi... you can put me down, now." I pull him even closer to me as I sit on the edge of his bed, and note amusedly that he is already falling asleep. He puts his pale, bandaged hand on mine. "Soubi..."

"Just let me stay like this a little longer." I kiss his forehead, wanting to stay forever. "I love you, Ritsuka."

And he is fast asleep.

He goes along just as a water lily
Gentle on the surface of his thoughts his body floats
Unweighted down by passion or intensity
Yet unaware of the depth upon which he coasts
And he finds a home in me
For what misfortune sows, he knows my touch will reap

And all my armour falling down, in a pile at my feet
And my winter giving way to warm, as I'm singing him to sleep.

end.

The song featured is Pale September by Fiona Apple, and I originally wrote the story for the #22 theme for the 30 kisses LJ comm - totally unofficial of course. (The theme, if you're curious, was Cradle.)

Lastly... trying to peek into Soubi's point of view is as easy as trying to see through a wall. Thanks for reading anyway :)