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Chapter Twelve: Healless

Soubi knelt over his young lover, thinking about what to do next. The sirens were getting louder. The police must have been called when Ritsuka ended the spell battle and sent the customers fleeing. There was a reason the Sevens Moons forbade spell battles in crowded public places.

The worst possible result would be if the police came and found Soubi here, amid four unconscious males, three of whom were very much underage. Which meant he had to leave, ideally with everyone else.

"Winds of healing, come, rouse the weakened," Soubi murmured under his breath. Instantly, a soft, clean breeze swept through the ruined ice cream parlor. With the passing of the wind, Soubi found himself refreshed and strengthened. Yes, much better.

Soubi turned to the sound of groans coming from his right. Almost as one, Zero moaned and sat up, rubbing their eyes.

"Wha...?" Youji blinked and fastened his eyes on Soubi, after a quick check at his other half.

"Soubi-san?" Natsuo asked. "Damn, I feel like hell..."

Soubi chuckled. "You were beaten by an untrained child," he said. He was rewarded with glares from the boys.

"What happened to him?" Youji asked, pointing at Ritsuka.

"I destroyed the dominant personality. I don't know what he will be when he wakes up." Or even if he would wake up. Soubi banished the thought. Ritsuka had survived with his personality and memory modified before, he would do so again. He had to.

"What now, then?" Natsuo asked. He winced as he spoke, most likely from the remains of a headache.

"Right now, you two carry Kio and we'll head back to my apartment. Quickly, unless you want to be caught by the police?" Soubi didn't wait for an answer, but scooped Ritsuka up in his arms and stood. He heard Zero curse behind him and scramble to their feet. "Carry him gently," Soubi told the younger pair.

"Why are we stuck carrying him?" Natsuo asked.

"Because I'm carrying Ritsuka." Soubi headed out the door of the ice cream shop. The sunlight was bright after the dimness of the store. The street was deserted, without any of the hangers-on that Soubi had half-expected to be there, waiting for them.

Taking advantage of his good luck, Soubi walked quickly towards his apartment. Zero followed after him, unable to catch up, since they had the heavier burden.

Soubi wasn't surprised Kio was still unconscious. His injuries had been more recent and more severe. And, he didn't have the healing power that came with being a Fighter or Sacrifice. Nor was he too worried about Ritsuka's physical condition. Mentally and emotionally were another story, but not one that Soubi could do anything about at the moment. What did concern him was the public's reaction to what happened today. It was the first public spell battle. Ritsu-sensei would have a fit. Soubi fully expected a phone call later today. As well as a series of news stories, depending on the actions of the Sevens Moons.

The next couple of hours would be interesting, not the least because of Ritsuka.

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Pain and swirling blackness. Two things familiar, recognizable. Then, the pain faded and the darkness receded to dreams, flashes of past lives, too many to take in all at once. A dizzying array of people, places, things, experiences, memories, going to quickly to count or place or understand.

He opened his eyes to escape from it.

He was a room, a room with memories, though not many and all new. Painful memories. Loss and fear, anger, hate, jealousy.

In the distance, voices. He picked them out one by one. Placed names to them. Youji. Natsuo. Kio. Soubi.

With each voice, each name came recognition, came a slew memories that momentarily left him reeling. With the memories came emotions, happiness, friendship, jealousy, betrayal, pain, hatred. With the last, love. With them all, guilt.

He took the guilt to be a good sign, a sign that he truly wasn't the sadistic monster he last remembered. Other faces played in his memory, brought about by the guilt. Yuiko. Yayoi. He owed them an apology. They weren't annoying, they were his friends. His mother and father. They must be worried sick about him. Seimei.

Slowly, his memories sorted themselves and fell into place. There were no gaps. Relief.

Only one question remained, and he wasn't sure how to answer it.

Who was he?

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Soubi was alerted the second Ritsuka woke. His breathing changed slightly and he stopped shifting on the bed.

Soubi let him gather his thoughts, waited until Ritsuka relaxed again while the others continued their re-hashing of events to each other. There wasn't much to say anymore, they had all been over everything close to a dozen times now, over take-out that Soubi had ordered for the group.

When Soubi heard Ritsuka shift positions once more, he chanced a glance at his young master. The black-haired boy was sitting up, looking straight at Soubi. His violet eyes were lost, confused.

Wordlessly, Soubi grabbed the remaining tray of carry-out and brought it over to Ritsuka. He knelt beside the bed. Everyone else in the room stopped talking and turned to stare at the boy.

"Hungry, Ritsuka?" he asked, softly, unsure of his reception.

Ritsuka's eyes fastened with Soubi's. "Ritsuka," he repeated softly. "That's me."

Soubi nodded. He watched as understanding flooded Ritsuka's eyes. Then doubt. "There's another name too, isn't there?" he asked, his voice soft, hesitant.

Soubi was momentarily taken aback. Ritsuka hated being called by his other name. But perhaps he needed to hear it, to be sure of who and what he was. "Loveless," he whispered.

"And you are...Beloved..."

Soubi nodded, his blue eyes still fixed on Ritsuka. He watched Ritsuka go within himself, as if he was filing away the information. Suddenly, his face changed and his eyes filled with tears. "Soubi...I'm so sorry..for everything..."

Soubi blinked, but opened his arms to pull Ritsuka to him, holding the boy gently. "It's alright, Ritsuka," he said. For the first time since Seimei had appeared before Ritsuka less then a week ago, Soubi knew it really would be alright. Now that he had his Ritsuka back, he was never letting go of him again.

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A/N: Well, that's it. I do have more plans for these two, so keep an eye out for another story. Hope you enjoyed it!