"He won't call."
"Huh? Why do you say that?"
A young man leaned back against the gateway that served as the entrance to the high school, he lead his head back a little with the slightest of smiles curving his lips. He seemed amused by the question and the thought of whether or not he really had to answer the teenager beside him, crossed his mind.
"Ritsuka is still not happy with me." He said simply, "I failed to inform him of my battle and he has been avoiding my calls ever since…myself included."
"Then…why are you here?" the high school girl asked, leaning slightly to the side, her arms folded behind her back, her messenger bag sliding off of her shoulder since she failed to adjust it back into position. Her bright pink cat ears perked in naïve bliss as she stared up at the young man curiously.
Soubi lifted his head back up, his index finger casually rising to aid his glasses before they could slide down the bridge of his nose and threaten to fall off. He looked down at Yuiko with mild surprise at her question, staring at the student in her high school-uniformed glory.
Realizing his expression had faltered; Soubi smiled and closed his eyes as he stuck his hands into his pockets.
"I wanted to see him." He confessed as openly as he proclaimed his love for the younger male. Casual and suave, each time he muttered the words it would cause the student to recoil from him or at least arouse some flushed color in his pale cheeks. Of course Aoyagi would always try to hide it away by letting his sleek black hair hang in his face, but the way his ears drooped was sufficient proof that Soubi's words had an effect on him.
Yuiko smiled, straightening as well, rocking forward and back on the soles of her shoes she stared up admiringly at the man.
"Ritsuka-kun has taught me a lot, Soubi-kun." She said with a much more thoughtful tone, "I've grown to love him more and more over the years…even managed to mature a little more as I came to know him…but…I think you're the only one who knows Ritsuka-kun."
"Yuiko-chan?" Soubi arched an eyebrow.
The pig-tailed school girl smiled, her cheeks ripening to a pale pink that rivaled her ears.
"We're best friends…but Ritsuka-kun doesn't see it as anything more. He still doesn't trust me or Yayoi-kun with a lot of his secrets…like the bandages."
Soubi's face fell a little.
"He's still showing up hurt?"
Yuiko nodded slowly. "This morning…he had one just visible above the collar of his uniform, not to mention two on his face."
She traced two fingers over her cheek to her jaw like two cuts alongside one another…almost as if she was interpreting that Ritsuka had been scratched by something…or someone.
The two immediately lifted their gaze to the source of the voice; a teen was standing just past the gateway, his eyes wide and focused upon the man more then the schoolgirl he was standing next to. He shook his bangs out of his eyes briefly before balling his hands into fists, his ears laid back flat as he walked forward, still all glare and no welcome as he stood directly in front of the two.
"What are you doing here?" Ritsuka demanded.
"You did not order me not to see you anymore. I gave you time to settle down, but you didn't call me…so, once again, I came to you."
"I-Idiot!" Ritsuka snapped, screwing his eyes shut and hanging his head, "You weren't supposed to come anymore. Not unless I called you!"
"R-Ritsuka-kun…" Yuiko touched the teen's shoulder even though he was significantly taller then her now and the comforting gesture looked out of proportion.
"Yuiko-chan. Can I speak with Ritsuka alone?" Soubi asked, rather pleasant considering he had just been scolded by a male that was much younger then him.
"Sure…Ritsuka-kun? I'll see you tomorrow, ok?" she smiled hopefully but the teen didn't look, his eyes were still focused upon the ground and looking rather distraught. She left them with one final word of farewell to Soubi before disappearing with the rest of the crowd bustling out of the high school. Yet even with the vacating students passing them, Augatsuma Soubi and Aoyagi Ritsuka were still standing before one another. Not a sound reached their ears; it was as if the two had been placed in a soundproof room all alone.
It was awkward…it was uncomfortable…it was bliss.
"What was so important that you had to see me?" Ritsuka asked, sitting down upon a park bench and ignoring the hiss of the leaves overhead in the tree. Soubi didn't join him on the bench; rather he remained standing, his eyes on the teenager sitting casually on the bench.
He'd grown a lot in four years…
Ritsuka still had his ears, Soubi had to give him credit for that, but it did not take away from the boy's looks in any way to have the appendages of his childish innocence. His long legs were crossed over one another and his slender form slouched slightly against the back of the bench, long-fingered hands looked elegant and almost feminine to him…he was beautiful, indescribable.
"I wanted to see you." Soubi stated, only slightly altering the words that he had spoken to Yuiko only half an hour (if not less) ago.
"That's not it. You're lying again." Ritsuka said, frowning up at his Fighter.
"Why do you say that?"
"You can't just visit someone because you want to. D-Did you miss me or is it something to do with the Seven Moons?"
Soubi stepped closer to the bench and reached down, his fingers hooking and knuckles tilting up the teen's face, earning a startled dark-eyed gaze. He leaned down closer and pressed his lips to the Sacrifice's forehead, jet-black bangs tickling his nose and taunting his face to submit and bury itself into the head of hair, nuzzle the ears and embrace the body to which they were all attached to.
"I love you, Ritsuka."
Ritsuka stiffened and closed his eyes, pushing Soubi away from him but not completely, his hands still clung to the older man's shoulders, the fists grasping handfuls of fabric but still managing to tremble in spite of his attempts to stay them.
"Strange…" he muttered, "its strange…it's strange!"
"You say you love me…you've said it to me for four years…." Ritsuka said, trembling, "But it's only because Seimei told you to!"
A ringing from Soubi's back pocket interrupted him and Ritsuka's hands immediately released his shirt, the teen lowering his hands onto his thighs and his head lowered, cat ears drooping once again. Augatsuma reached for the cell phone, withdrawing it and flipping the communication interruption open.
"Remember…you can't tell him about it, Soubi-kun."
"Sensei." Soubi said stiffly, Ritsuka's ears perking once he heard the name muttered and he dared to lift his head partially.
"I can't promise a good result unless you do this without his knowledge. Alteration of fate can not have too many individuals involved."
"I understand." Soubi said, still a bit firm.
He hung up on the unwelcome voice.
"Who was it, Soubi, an old teacher of yours?"
Soubi looked down at the Sacrifice for a moment before he smiled a little, tucking his phone back into his pocket. Ritsu-sensei wouldn't call back.
"You could say that." He said, slipping down and sitting on the bench beside Ritsuka.
"What did they want?" Ritsuka pressed on, leaning over to see Soubi's face, trying to see if the adult would reveal some sort of reaction to his questioning.
He didn't answer; merely tilted back his head, one of his hands rising and Ritsuka uttered a cry as an arm wrapped around him and tugged him against the man's side. He was close…too close for comfort. The stench of cigarettes greeted him and he wrinkled his nose, pushing at Soubi's side to try and shove him away but the arm clamping him to his side was too strong. It was as if Ritsuka was still only twelve years old, so much weaker then Soubi the adult…
Would he be strong if he lost his ears too?
"What are you doing here?"
"I came to see how you were progressing outside on your own. You haven't called me in quite some time and so I was curious."
Soubi shut the door behind him, looking at Kio lying on the floor, his eyes closed and mouth slightly agape, it was obvious that he had been rendered unconscious, by some chemical no doubt. He couldn't see any traces of wounds on the other male when he looked him over and judging by the bag lying next to him, he was in the process of picking up the paint supplies that he had allowed him to borrow.
Lifting his gaze back up, he frowned at the figure knelt on the floor observing his painting that have been leaned up against the wall. The vibrant wings of a jungle butterfly reflected vaguely in the man's glasses when he let the painting fall back against the others. He straightened up, tucking his hands into his pockets and finally turning his gaze up to the Fighter.
"Your hair has gotten longer since I last saw you at the school…"
"Sensei, you didn't come here for a friendly visit. What do you want with me?" Soubi asked, trying to get to the point, a rarity for someone like him.
"You're being rude to your sensei…" Ritsu-sensei said with a frown. He had yet to be impressed by Soubi's manners but it wasn't much not to be expected since he was the one who had robbed him of his ears and the same person who had somehow managed to betray the Sentouki's trust. "But I suppose that is to be expected…"
Leaning back against the door, Soubi watched his former trainer peer about the apartment a moment before sinking down onto the edge of Soubi's bed. He surveyed his student now, eyes trailing up the vaguely familiar body and unwillingly recalling how the skin felt under his hands, even as he looked over him, he could see the scars hidden beneath that shirt, the lash marks…
"You're still covering up your name, I see." He observed, removing a pack of cigarettes from the pocket of his lab coat and removing one from the slightly crumpled pack. He placed the cigarette between his lips, hiding away the others within the depths of his pocket again and retrieving a lighter, igniting the tip until a burning red glow consumed the tip. "It hasn't faded away yet, has it?"
"No." Soubi touched the base of his neck, "Beloved is still the name I am under. Is that why you are here? Because I am no longer under Seimei's orders and now serve Ritsuka?"
The teacher shook his head slowly, taking a steady drag of the death stick before removing it and exhaling a steady stream of gray smoke that lingered in the air. The cigarettes must have been a higher brand compared to the cheaper ones that Soubi purchased; the smoke overpowered the lived-in stench. "No. I did not come to try and take you from Ritsuka or the other way around. I am here because you did not come back to the school and you're living on your own in a pathetic excuse for an apartment. However, rather then lecturing you on your choice of living, I came here to see if your Sacrifice still had his ears or not."
"Ritsuka's ears? Why are you curious about those?"
"It's not his ears so much as his name." Ritsu-sensei said, pushing his glasses up the bridge of his nose and returning the cigarette between his lips, "If he still has his ears and you still have your name, then it is obvious you two aren't any closer now then you were four years ago."
"My name has nothing to do with Ritsuka's ears."
"But it does." Sensei smirked, "If both of you express the same amount of love for one another, it will be enough to change your name. You can thank another teacher for that minor detail."
"You mean names can be changed?" Soubi stared, "But they said it was impossible for names to be changed. The names were bestowed upon individuals before they were even born."
Sensei held up a hand and Soubi found himself quietening obediently before he could catch himself.
"It is possible." He murmured, more smoke rising from his lips when he removed the cigarette and held it between his fingers as he glanced up at Soubi, "They just arranged it so that no one would try to confuse the record by changing their name every time they fell in love. We'd loose order and it would cause problems in some areas." He closed his eyes, leaning forward a little before opening them again, "The point is that you have the potential to change your name and give him his…and so now I wonder…"
"Will you go through with it?" he asked, "Find out just how your Sacrifice feels for you?"
"I don't know. He probably will think that telling him how I can change my name—"
"You can't tell him." Ritsu said shortly, flicking ashes onto the floor and earning a frown from his former student.
Soubi pushed off of the wall, gazing at his teacher as he rose from the edge of the bed and started towards him, his hands still in the pockets of his white lab coat. He stood directly in front of Soubi; both men peering over their glasses at one another, neither of them seeming too pleased by the looks they were giving one another.
"Ritsuka is not to know of your reasons behind your actions. If he knows, it will be seen as just a move to change your name and your experiences will mean nothing, you will still be under dissimilar names."
"So I have to continue keeping secrets…" Soubi murmured, chuckling softly to himself, "Sensei, you still torture me."
"Only a little, Soubi-kun." He said, reaching up and tilting up Soubi's face with a knuckle. "Only when I feel like it."
A/N: How was it for the beginning of my first Loveless fan fic? My computer finally allowed me to work on it, YAY!