Disclaimer: I claim to own none of the characters from Loveless, but Yun Kouga does. Thank you, thank you for your many review! Although, I regret to inform you that this is the last chapter of the story. I made it real nice and long, and it took me ages. So get your tissue boxes ready:
LostHeaven: Thanks, but I really do think that I'm the Queen of all that is good and OOC, I appreciate that you don't think so :D Lol. Yea, my friends and I actually did that to people in Walmart once, we almost got kicked out, ourselves. Oh and I notice my mistake:( I feel pretty dumb... 'that' is supposed to be 'an'. I'm glad that it is such a small error though. Thanks for the review:)
Sasskitten: Soubi and Ritsuka are very similar to Tsuzuki and Hisoka. Tsuzuki is quite a bit older than Hisoka; Kisoka gets angry at Tsuzuki lots, like Ritsuka does with Soubi. Many, many similarities. Gawsh, I really want to read your next chapter, if you have noticed that I haven't yet. I've been so busy preparing for finals and all. I can't wait until Christmas break then I'll have all the fanfic time I want:D Thanks for the review, and for helping me out with Youji and Natsuo's age. :)
i-love-anime-2005: I am very pleased to make you laugh, it is what I intended on trying to do, lol. This is the last chapter! O.O I know! I'll warn you: I don't want to give nothing away or anything, but I believe you might need a box of tissues... Thanks for the review:)
Blackstar Angel: Yea, I always thought how funny it would be if Ritsuka were to get drunk while I was reading the manga/watching the anime. And then I thought one day, 'Hey! I'm a fanfiction author, I can make it happpen!' And boom, it's part of one of my chappies. Thanks so much for the review:)
loolz: Aww thanks! Although, I really don't think I'm all that good at describing the characters. I get them really OOC, it's horrible lol. I hope I updated soon enough. This was as soon as I could get it up, but hey, the original date to post it was the 15th, so I'm doing good! This is the last chapter, I regret to inform you. Get your tissue box ready. Thanks so much for the review, and for the info on Youji and Natsuo's age:)
asara kaden: Yea, hangovers are the worst on people. Heh, I've never had one or anything, but I've just heard stories. Personally I saw it as smirnoff or something like that? (Do they even have that in Japan?) Lol I was going to put it as that, but I wasn't sure how to spell it. My spell checker says I'm spelling it wrong any way I try to spell it. I can't exactly ask my parents, for they would be suspicious. But I saw a commercial for smirnoff the other day and I was like "Yes!" and wrote it down quickly. Thanks so much for your review:)
Tsubasa-love: Thanks for all of the reviews on my chapters. I would much rather people who started late in the story to review all the chapters instead of just the one they came in on. Which is why I thank you for that. This is the last chapter, so get your tissue box ready. Thanks so much for the review and info on Youji and Natsuo's age:)
Now onto the last chapter of the story people:
Ritsuka awoke the next day around 12:00, with a splitting head ache. It was lucky for Ritsuka that when he finally woke up, Soubi had been waiting for him. Otherwise, he would have thought he was dying. He was cursing at the sunlight, and holding his aching head.
"What's wrong with me?" he asked himself, then looked ver at the man who had just sat on the edge of the bed.
"Rest, Ritsuka." he looked the boy straight in the eyes, "You were drunk last night, and have a hangover." Soubi had just decided to get it out. No use in hiding it from him.
"And why... was I drunk?" Ritsuka questioned the man, with a rather bumfuzzled expression on his face. While Soubi found this expression quite cute, he answered the boy truthfully,
"Youji and Natsuo slipped it into your juice last night." he explained. He had gotten the full details from the two boys once he had laid Ritsuka to sleep the previous night. After hearing this, Ritsuka was somewhat relieved, but groaned and rolled over so the sun wouldn't get in his face.
"What..." Ritsuka paused to put a pillow overtop his head. "What did I do, and say?" Seimei had told Ritsuka a little bit before he died to never drink alcohol, because it brought out your innermost personality, and the people that love you might not be used to that other side of you. And by drinking, you're showing them that side of you they don't know, which might not always be a good thing. And he had promised his brother that he would never drink alcohol. 'I'm sorry Seimei, that I had to break me promise." Ritsuka felt that he needed to know what went on while he was drunk.
"Not anything of much importance. You just seemed like, well, a drunk child." Soubi replied, smiling, trying to keep it simple for Ritsuka. He replayed the scene of Ritsuka ordering Soubi to 'get his ears off' in his mind.
"Soubi. I can handle it, please tell me the truth." Soubi, although he couldn't see the look on Ritsuka's face, could tell by his voice that the boy was very serious.
"Is that an order?" the infamous question was asked. And then came the simple reply: A nod of Ritsuka's head and,
"Yes, and order."
"Well. You asked me to run you some bath water, and as I was doing so, you climbed atop my lap and asked me to 'get rid of your ears." Soubi stopped briefly, knowing the boy was going to get extremely embarrassed. And that he was. A bright blush quickly crept across Ritsuka's face, unseen to Soubi of course. He twitched his ears and tail a little to make sure they were still intact. Hearing what Soubi said, for the first time, Ritsuka became thankful that Soubi often times didn't do what Ritsuka ordered him to do. But that was mostly on the Septimal Moons topic. He was very grateful to the man for not doing as he was told. "But you never said when to get rid of your ears, so I'll have to someday when you're ready." he gave the boy a warm smile, although Ritsuka couldn't see it.
"You didn't wake me up for school again." ritsuka informed him, trying to change the subject.
"I knew you were going to have a hangover." Soubi explained himself. Ritsuka said nothing back, for he had drifted off into a deep slumber once more. Waking up several hours later, feeling much better than he did earlier that day.
"Ritsuka, you must be hungry, having slept all day." Were the first words the boy heard as he sleepily walked into the kitchen, where Soubi, Youji, and Natsuo sat. Ritsuka nodded his head, not wanting to fight this time. "Well if you'll go get dressed, we'll go out to eat." Ritsuka left the room, still a bit groggy. "Would you two like to come?" Soubi questioned the two zero boys.
"No, we've got other things to do." Natsuo smiled. Soubi knew better than to ask of their plans, so he left the kitchen to go get a coat.
Ritsuka came out of the bathroom, a bit more awake now, and met Soubi.
"Where would you like to eat, Ritsuka?" the two of them were already walking down the sidewalk to their currently unknown destination. A chilly breeze came through the air, and bit at Ritsuka's bare arms.
"Stay here. I forgot my hoodie." Ritsuka told the blonde, running back toward the building. Soubi obeyed since they weren't very far from the apartment, it was still in sight. He watched Ritsuka's every step as he went through the door. One minute... two minutes... three minutes... Maybe he was having trouble finding the hoodie? Four minutes... five minutes... six minutes... seven minutes... Then Soubi saw Youji burst through the apartment door and run toward him.
"S- Soubi..." his voice was shaky and he was out of breath. "Natsuo...I think he's dead! And they took Ritsuka!"
"What?!" Soubi said, grasping Youji's shoulders. "Who took Ritsuka?"
"T- three men..." was all he could get out before collapsing. Soubi picked the young boy up, carrying him back to the apartment as quickly as he could. When he got through the door, he was horrified at what he saw. Natsuo was lying in the floor, unconscious. He was covered in blood, which was still coming from his right leg. The blood was splattered all over the wall Natsuo was laying near, as well as the couch, which Soubi layed Youji Down on. He swiftly got his cell phone out and called Kio. "Ritsuka...please, be ok.'
"What am I...doing here?" Ritsuka had slowly begun to wake up. He was lying on a cold, concrete floor, and it was really damp. He felt that his hands were tied behind his back.
"You're awake!" came a very excited voice. Ritsuka looked to where the voice was coming from. There stood a little girl in a short black dress. It was ruffled with purple lace at the bottom rim of the dress and the sleeves. She had long blonde hair and bright green eyes (A/N: She sort of looks like Evangeline from Negima and her eyes look like Wolfram's from Kyou Kara Maou) "Aww...look at your cute ears!! I'm Sada!" The girl walked over to Ritsuka, playing with his ears. Much like Soubi did at times, but with her, he felt uneasy. Ritsuka took the best look at her as he could, which wasn't very good, because his head felt like it was going to split in half. But he did notice that she had no ears. 'She couldn't be any older than nine...' he thought. "So cute! He's curious as to why I have no ears." Sada said as if reading his mind. This all seemed like a big joke to her.
"How did you know?" Ritsuka pondered.
"Well, I can read others' minds. And if you really must know..." at this points, her voice lowered greatly, and she got a very sad look on her face as if hurt somehow, "my father raped me when I was seven. I didn't really like daddy after that. A few days later I met Akima, and we killed him." she smiled happily, thinking back to the day she met Akima.
"I...I hate daddy so much." Sada cried to herself, walking through an empty park. She sat near a tall tree. "Maybe I should just be like my name is...Lifeless" she found a glass bottle that was laying near the tree, and broke it on the tree. She took a small piece and held it to her wrist. Just as she was about to cut into her flesh, someone's hand came on her's.
"Don't..." came the voice of the person who's hand was on her's. The teary-eyed seven-year-old looked up to see a teenage boy who had short black hair with blonde at the tips. He had black ears, which also had blonde at their tips.
"But why?! No one cares anyway! My daddy did horrible things to me, and my mommy is dead. Who would care if I'm dead?!" she yelled to him moving her hand away from his.
"Me." he replied. "I care. For I, I am Lifeless as well." Sada's tears started to dry up. She gave him a disbelieving look. Seeing this, he lifted up his t-shirt, revealing a scar-like name that said 'Lifeless' a bit below his belly-button. She stood up, also lifting up her shirt. She had the very same mark in the very same place.
"Thank you..." she whispered, as she started to cry silently again.
"Yes, my Sentouki. And also one of the men who kidnaped you. Akima and I... are Lifeless." (A/N: You may believe that I am copying off of the story 'Lifeless', but I can assure you that I'm not. A while back my friend Brittany and I picked names we wanted. I picked Loveless and she picked Lifeless. So I decided I'd use the name Lifeless for Sada and Akima) she said in her usual happy tone, "And you are?"
"Loveless." Ritsuka told her weakly, not daring to tell her his birth name. "Why am I here?"
"Because I wanted someone to play with." came the reply. "I told Akima to hide out and find the cutest boy he could, then bring him to me. And as my Sentouki, he naturally had to obey my order." she smiled one of her wide smiles again. "Although, I never imagined he'd bring me an older boy." Sada frowned a bit, "I wanted someone my age, we would've had a lot more fun. Older boys are just mean. Except Akima of course!"
"Then why don't you just play with him? Or try making friends?" Ritsuka asked.
"I do play with Akima...all the time. But I wanted someone new to play with. And to the reason why I won't make friends..." her voice lowered as it had when she had spoke of her father, "No one likes me. They say I'm weird just because I don't have ears." she paused once more, "But it's not like it's my fault..."
'I might as well play along, or I'll never get out of here...' Ritsuka figured out. "Well I don't think you're weird! You're cute even without your ears." Ritsuka gave her a warm(fake) smile. "So what do you want to play? I'll play it with you." he struggled a bit with his hands, "but could you untie me first?" Ritsuka figured the first way to win Sada's trust was to change his attitude toward her completely and be as nice to the child as possible. Then there came a beeping sound emitting from Ritsuka's pocket.
"Oopsie! Forgot to take your phone!" She reached into Ritsuka's hoodie pocket, (which he had managed to get before being abducted) and flipped the phone open, putting it to her ear. "Hello?" she answered the phone cheerfully.
"Where's Ritsuka?!" came a worried voice over the phone.
"Oh, his name is Ritsuka? How cute! He's right here beside of me. You're his Sentouki, right? Well Loveless, do you think you can call back later? We're trying to play." Sada told the voice. She was acting as if nothing were wrong.
"Let me talk to Ritsuka!" came the voice again, that time Ritsuka heard it. 'Soubi!' he thought. Sada sighed.
"Fine, Soubi, but he is only allowed to say one word." she said, leaving Soubi confused as to how she knew his name. It was then that Ritsuka remembered that the girl could read others' minds. He had to be more careful about what he thought. Sada put the phone up to Ritsuka's ear. "Only one word..." she reminded him cheerfully. Ritsuka searched in his mind for a word he could say to give Soubi a hint to his whereabouts. He had no idea where he was at, so he could say nothing on that matter. He knew the girl's name was Sada, but who knew how many people there were out there with the name Sada. Then it came to him.
"Lifeless..." was the one and only word Ritsuka said, then Sada pulled the phone back to her own ear.
"Bye bye!" she snapped ther phone shut. "Good hint, Ritsuka! And I absolutely love your name! It's adorable..."
"What do you want to play?" Ritsuka got straight to the point. He'd never get anywhere if he didn't keep being nice to her.
"Oh yea." she smiled... yet again, remembering that they still hadn't played yet. "I'll be right back." She laid the phone on a table near the stairway, and commenced to walk up said stairway. She was singing "Ritsuka, Ritsuka, Ritsuka!" the whole way, shutting the door behind her. Ritsuka looked at the phone sitting on the table, unguarded. He tried as hard as he could to get up from the floor with his hands still tied behind his back, and eventually succeeded. He ran swiftly over to the table at which his phone sat. 'Why hasn't Soubi tried to call back?' he asked himself in his head, 'Maybe it really is like Youji said...'
"I don't know... according to Kio, he was heartbroken over Seimei, but eventually got over that, after you came along, of course. So how can you be sure that he didn't get tired with you?"
Ritsuka turned around and grabbed his phone with his bound hands. He moved his arms as far left as they could go, to try and get a glimpse of his phone as he struggled to get it open. It was even harder to see the numbers. He tried to feel around for speed dial '1'. But just as he found it, he heard the basement door open. He quickly snapped the phone shut, and put it back on the table as quietly as he could. He had just plopped back down onto the stop he was at previously when Sada got to the bottom of the stairs.
"I'm back!" she grinned, carrying what looked like a deep maroon tool box.
"Are we going to play tools?" Ritsuka asked the girl in a friendly voice, acting as if he were excited to play tools with her.
"Nope!" she replied, "This is even better!" She dragged out a hammer and nails. 'What could we be playing that isn't tools, but involves a hammer?' Ritsuka wondered to himself, pondering the hammer carefully. 'Maybe she heard me wrong?'
"Are you coming, Akima?" Sada yelled up the stairs. A second later, a boy, which Ritsuka recognized as one of those who kidnaped him, came down the creaky stairs. He had a chair in one hand, and duct tape in the other one. Akima walked slowly over to where he was and set the chair down behind of Ritsuka, who was still sitting on the floor. He lifted Ritsuka up into the chair, untying his hands at last.
"Place your arms on the arms of the chair..." Akima commanded him. Ritsuka did as told, and was a bit surprised. Akima had quite a deep voice for a seventeen-year-old. Akima took the duct tape, and commenced to tape Ritsuka's arms to the arms of the chair, rolling up his hoodie sleeves before doing so; so now the duct tape was sticking to the little bit of hair he had on his arms.(A/N: Akima actually bound Ritsuka's lower arms, right above his hands.) Ritsuka, who was now seriously wondering what was going on, didn't struggle. He just went along with whatever they had planned, hoping that if it was something bad, he would be saved by his Sentouki. Besides, as he had figured out before, if he ever wanted to get out of this place, then he had to comply. After binding Ritsuka's legs to the chair with the tape, Akima started to walk back up the stairs.
"Thanks Akima! But aren't you going to stay and play with us? Or at least watch us play?"
"No." he replied in his deep voice, his tail swaying a bit, then he left. Sada walked over to where Ritsuka was seated, the hammer and nail still in her hands.
"Ok, Ritsuka. I'll give you three tries to guess the answer to this questions." she put the nail on Ritsuka's bare arm, and his eyes were swiftly averted to where it was placed.
"W-what are you doing?" he asked her fearfully, getting a bit terrified.
"We're playing of course, silly. Answer the question wrong, and you'll find out exactly what will happen with this nail and hammer." Sada smiled, "Now what's black and white and red all over?" Ritsuka pondered for a moment. He had remembered hearing this once before, but hadn't really paid any attention to the person telling the joke. Now he wished that he had have. Ritsuka kept thinking for the next few minutes until Sada sighed and said, "Time's up!" in a cheerful voice.
"But you didn't say anything about a time limit." Ritsuka informed the child, hoping she would let him off.
"Oopsie! Must have forgot." she had an innocent, yet evil, look on her face. But Ritsuka knew better by now that it was an 'accident.' She then raised the hammer up, and drove the nail straight through Ritsuka's arm. He felt it as it pierced his skin, and went through the flesh slowly. It started to spew blood and bleed profusely, dripping off of the arm of the chair and onto the floor.
"Ahh!" Ritsuka cried in pain. He was extremely used to pain from his mother's beatings, but it still hurt severely. The knife his mother had struck him with didn't stay in his arm like the nail did. Plus, he had Soubi there to comfort him. But all he had now was a cold and damp basement with a sick and twisted little girl.
"The answer was a penguin in a blender, silly!" she smiled sweetly. "I actually tried it once. But the penguin was too big for the blender, so I had Akima chop it up a bit first." she laughed. 'She is seriously twisted!' Ritsuka thought, through his pain. She grinned and now opened her 'tool box' up again, pulling out a screwdriver. "Ok, next question!" Ritsuka looked at her, the pain obvious in his facial expression. "I'm thinking of a number between one and ten. It's not my age, it's not how many fingers I have, and it's not two." she got down on her knees in front of Ritsuka, hitting the screwdriver against his knee lightly, saying, "You have three tries."
'If it's not her age, which is nine; not how many fingers she has, which is ten; and it's not two. That leaves one, three, four, five, six, seven, and eight.' he thought. "Four?" he took a wild guess, hoping it was the right answer.
"Nope!" she told him joyously. She then drove the screwdriver into the shin of his right leg, getting another cry of pain out of him. Sada twisted it around a bit, still inside of his skin, then pulled it back out. Ritsuka was panting heavily, on the verge of tears streaming from his violet eyes. "I'll give you another hint. The number is spelled with more than three letters." Ritsuka, who was straining to even think straight, eliminated one and six with this hint, as well as the number four he had guessed.
"Eight..." he got out, praying he was correct.
"Nope!" At this word, his eyes were already shut in preparation for his next 'punishment.' She plunged the already bloody screwdriver into his left shin this time. At this point they both heard a loud crack. Ritsuka's head was now down, and his bangs were covering his eyes, which were emitting giant tears that rolled down his cold cheeks. "Here's your last hint: it's not three."
'Either five or seven...' The agonizing pain gave Ritsuka no strength to ponder which to choose. So he just told her the first number that he blurted out.
"Se...ven?" he said, begging that it was the right answer, he wasn't sure how much more of this pain he could bear. Plus, he was losing a great amount of blood in the process.
"Nope! Sorry Ritsuka, but the number was five!" she put the screwdriver against his arm that wasn't nailed, and pushed down swiftly. Ritsuka made a bit of a face, but only lightly felt the pain, for he was almost numb. His arms and legs were bleeding still and there was a big puddle under the chair. He felt as if he were going to die at any minute. His breath was short and he had shadows under his eyes. He could no longer feel his legs, arms, or fingers. 'Soubi... please... help me...' he thought. "Ok, we'll only play one more game for today. It's getting late." she paused to yawn, "And I'm getting sleepy!" she smiled at Ritsuka as if nothing were wrong with the bleeding boy in front of her. "What does my name start with?" she asked him this last question. She pulled super glue, a cordless power drill, and a bottle of rubbing alcohol out of her tool box. Now Ritsuka, being so out-of-it from loss of blood wasn't able to think straight, so he just remembered her name, 'Sada.'
"...S..." he answered in pain.
"Wrong." she told him. "You've got to think harder." she opened the bottle of super glue and glued his mouth shut. How would he answer her question now? He was so out-of-it, that he barely even considered this. But then it hit him. The answer to her question was 'L.' But how was he going to answer her? He couldn't shape an 'L' with his fingers, for they were beyond numb. And of course, he couldn't speak, for his mouth was glued tightly shut. "Time's up!" she splashed the rubbing alcohol all over his wounds, but he showed no sign of any pain. He could no longer fell anything. He knew now how the Zero must felt. "Aw! You didn't make a face!" she complained, "You're no fun!" she then took the drill, putting it right in the middle of Ritsuka's forehead, about to pull the trigger. "You actually were fun while you lasted, Ritsuka. It's sad. That man that you were talking to, didn't even come to save you. That's the difference between a good Sentouki and a bad one. Akima came to my rescue when I was in trouble, and your just doesn't care."
'This... is how I'm going to disappear...' was the last thing Ritsuka thought, before someone burst through the basement door. The person seemed to fly down the stairs, skipping several steps on their way to the bottom. The drill was knocked out of Sada's hand. Of course, Ritsuka barely knew what was going on. He had lost so much blood that he didn't even know if he was conscious.
"S...Soubi?" Ritsuka asked with out thinks, then passed out. Soubi struggled to get the unconscious Ritsuka out of the chair, while Sada started to cry.
"You ruined it! You ruined all of our fun!" Tears rolled down her cheeks, as if the two of them actually had been having a lot of fun. "AKIMA!" she screamed. Immediately, the boy came down the stairs. "Let's fight him! Fight the Loveless Sentouki. He's nothing without Ritsuka, so let's fight him." But Soubi did not have time for such things, Ritsuka needed care. Quickly he ripped the duct tape off of Ritsuka's writs, imagining how painful that would've been had he have been conscious. Ritsuka's wrists were bleeding from where the duct tape had been. Obviously from his struggling under the sticky plastic from his pain. Ritsuka's jeans were also bloody, giving then the look as if he had been knee-high in mud. The blonde could see big gashes on the boy's arms, as well as a nail in his right arm.
"As if Ritsuka hasn't been though enough." Soubi frowned.
Ritsuka woke p two days later in a hospital bed. His eyes were a bit blurry, but he could see that in front of him, sat Soubi in a chair. Ritsuka was unable to speak though. He opened his mouth slightly, but closed it again, feeling a slight stinging on his lips. He could barely remember what had happened until he looked at his bandaged arms. Soubi, who had been staring at the ground, noticed that Ritsuka was finally awake, and was quickly out of his chair and to the boy's bed side.
"Can you talk?" Soubi asked him softly. He expected that Ritsuka couldn't, and was right. Ritsuka shook his head 'no,' and Soubi took his IV'd hand. "I'm sorry...Ritsuka." Soubi put his head down. It pained him to see his Sacrifice hurt like this, but still, he was hurt so often. "I'm sorry that I failed you. Punish me as you wish. Ritsuka moved his hand to Soubi's head, taking some of his hair into his hand gently. Soubi looked up, and could see that Ritsuka was trying his best to smile warmly at him through his burning lips. It was as if he was trying to say, 'I forgive you.' Then Soubi saw something that he rarely saw out of the boy. Small tears were running down his pale cheeks. "Does it hurt, Ritsuka?" Soubi asked, Ritsuka nodded. But that wasn't the only reason he had been crying. "Ritsuka… I promise, I will never let anyone hurt you ever again…" He vowed, feeling like crying, himself. Even though he had been through all of that training to be able to handle pain, it still hurt his heart more than anything to see Ritsuka like this. Then Soubi thought of something, "Yuiko and Yayoi are coming by to see you later, maybe that will make you feel a bit better." Soubi assured him. Ritsuka now had a bit of a confused look. Seeing this, Soubi explained, "I informed them after they got off of school. I gave then no more details than the fact that you were kidnaped, tortured, and I told them that the police found you.. Even Kio, Youji, and Natsuo seemed worried for you. Youji was mostly worried about Natsuo though. Since Natsuo can't feel the pain, he insists that he's fine. But he does have a broken leg, and has to regain his blood loss. You've been sleeping for two days now, and Kio took Natsuo to the hospital while I searched for you. But I was too late to save you from your injuries and suffering..."
"Kio?" Soubi asked over the phone. Natsuo was a bloody heap on the floor, and Youji was an unconscious heap on the couch. "I need you to get down here. I'll explain things later..." Kio was extremely confused as to what was going on, but did as Soubi told him to do and headed to the apartment as quickly as possible, finding Soubi, Youji, and Natsuo. As soon as Soubi explained what was going on, he left, leaving Kio to take care of Zero.
There was a knock on the door. Soubi stood up from Ritsuka's side and headed to the door. But before he could even get the door open all the way, Yuiko burst through it, with a less-excited Yayoi following behind her.
"Ritsuka!" Yuiko half-yelled, half-whispered. He attempted to smile at the girl, but soon quit as his lips started to bleed. He just licked it away. "Ritsuka!! Yuiko...Yuiko was so scared!" Yuiko cried. She had gotten too excited and started to refer to herself with her own name at that time. "You hadn't been to school in nearly a week. Yayoi and I were so worried, and then today Soubi met us after school and told us what had happened!" she saw a lump under the blanket where Ritsuka's left leg might have been. "How did you do that?" she pointed at the lump, wiping away her tears. Ritsuka, who was just acknowledging this himself, lifted the blanket to reveal a cast on his leg.
"Ritsuka can't talk yet." Soubi explained to the flushed girl. You could clearly tell that she had been crying. Yayoi was being unusually silent.
"Oh..." she smiled at Ritsuka with teary eyes, "Do you know how he broke it?"
"Not yet." Soubi replied, "But I'm sure as soon as he gets back to school, he'll explain everything." Soubi couldn't guarantee this, of course. The nurse came into the room.
"Ah, I see you're finally awake!" she smiled, "Ritsuka needs to take his medicine, so he'll get pretty drowsy here in a minute." she informed then all.
"Oh, ok. We'll just be leaving then. We don't want to be in the way." Yuiko explained to the nurse, referring to Yayoi and herself. "When do you think he'll be back at school?" she asked Soubi.
"Maybe when all his wounds heal, and when his leg gets better. Maybe sooner." Soubi answered.
"Aw, that long?" Yuiko's eyes welled up with tears, not wanting to go that long without seeing Ritsuka.
"He'll be at my apartment a lot though, so you can stop by and see him. He'll more than likely be there." Soubi tried to make it sound as if Ritsuka still lived with his mother, but only visited Soubi often.
"Ok!" she got cheerful again, "Bye, Ritsuka, I'll come see you sometime!" she waved at the boy. He managed to raise his arm that wasn't connected to IV's and gave her a small wave. Just as Yuiko and Yayoi were about to go out the door, Yayoi said in a low voice,
"I hope you're better soon... for everyone's sake." Ritsuka's lips moved up in a weak smile, and then the two of them left. Soubi sat back down in his chair, and the nurse gave Ritsuka his medicine. It was a liquid kind, and it stung as he pressed the spoon against his lips. He had been so used to pain now, that what would sting to him would burn like one thousand hells to other kids his age. Ritsuka was asleep within the next five minutes.
ONE WEEK LATER...
"Dammit!" Ritsuka muttered under his breath. He was sitting on the couch with Natsuo. The two of them had just gotten out of the hospital the day before.
Youji helped Natsuo up the steps to the small apartment, as did Soubi help Ritsuka. Ritsuka's lips were almost healed, but if strained too much, they would start bleeding again. Both he and Natsuo had casts on their legs. His was the left leg, Natsuo's was the right. Although, Natsuo could've just broken the cast open (somehow) and walked around perfectly fine, except for a bone protruding through his leg, Youji still insisted that he help him up the stairs. They both had gotten crutches, but obviously couldn't walk with them up the stairs. And finally, after much difficulty, they got through the apartment door. They had just gotten settled down too, when they heard a knock at the door. Soubi, being the owner of the apartment, 'boss' of all the boys, and the oldest, answered the door. At said door stood a professional-looking woman, whom Soubi recognized as...shit. No, not actual shit. This was the word he said in his head as he realized who this was. She was the social worker from the hospital. He had completely forgotten that in a week or so she would be coming by to see if Ritsuka was in a suitable place. If she were to walk in right now, see Ritsuka with bandages and a broken leg; plus two other boys that were unaccounted for in the apartment, Ritsuka would be taken from him for sure. So he didn't the only thing he could think of,
"Hello. I actually just got back from the store, and I've got quite a few groceries scattered around, if you'll wait right here a moment, I'll get them out of the way. It should take no longer than a minute." Soubi lied casually. She nodded. Soubi left the door cracked a bit as he thanked the heavens that Ritsuka, Youji, and Natsuo had been in a different room at the time. Or she might've been able to see them, had she looked behind Soubi in the least. He went into the kitchen where they were all three sitting. "Youji, Natsuo. You remember that social worker I was telling you about that was supposed to come by some time to make sure Ritsuka was living in a suitable place?" They nodded, "And you remember how I said that if she found out you two were living here, we might not be able to keep Ritsuka?" They nodded again, and at this Ritsuka felt as if he were some sort of animal they were trying to protect. He just shook it off though. "Well she's here, and I need you two to take Ritsuka and go to Yuiko's or somewhere for the time being." Youji jumped out of his chair, helping Natsuo out of his chair, while Ritsuka stood up as well. "And try to get everything she might find suspicious out." Soubi was telling them all these things, but he knew good and well the Zero boys could accomplish it without any trouble. He quickly left them to their business and went back to the front door, greeting the woman once more. "I'm sorry about that..." Soubi then opened the door for her to enter the house. It was a good thing that his apartment stayed clean, because he was sure that had to count as something. She walked around the place making random comments about how beautiful his apartment was. She came upon one of his butterfly paintings.
"Did... did you paint this?" she asked in awe looking at the painting. It was a black butterfly. It was laying on the ground near a puddle of water, just barely alive. It's wing was ripped, and even though butterflies did not bleed, this one bled a small bit from it's torn wing. Soubi didn't normally draw things like this. Sure, he painted butterflies all the time, but never one's that were dying. He wasn't even sure why he had done it. The image just came into his mind one day while painting. He remembered how Kio had commented on how creepy it looked, and that even though it was very good, he should draw something more happy...something besides butterflies. But Kio was always like that.
"Yes. I do these kinds of paintings for my classes." He admitted.
"It's very beautiful." she replied, "Mr. Agatsuma, I believe this is an extraordinary home for Ritsuka to be living." she smiled, as she finished her inspection.
Natsuo sighed. They had indeed intended to go to Yuiko's house while the social worker came by, but Ritsuka told them no. He couldn't be sure what the Zero boys would try to do with Yuiko, so they had just hung out at a nearby park until Soubi had come to get them. And after Ritsuka and Natsuo had been walking so much, Soubi and Youji decided that they need the two to rest their legs up. They were unable to get up. They were told to stay on the couch and rest up. Of course, Ritsuka could've gotten up if he wanted to, but Natsuo on the other hand wasn't able. Youji was Natsuo's Sacrifice, and whatever the Sacrifice says, goes.
"I'm sick of sitting here..." Ritsuka noted to the boy beside of him for what seemed like the fifth time.
"You have a choice. I was told by my Sacrifice to stay here." This was the first time Natsuo had ever been slightly aggravated with Youji. "Besides, you don't have to sit here feeling like there's nothing wrong with you." Natsuo's arms were bandaged up, as well as his head where he had taken several blows from a knife on the night of the incident. He could've kept going, had he not fainted from loss of blood that day. "Where are you going?" Natsuo asked Ritsuka, seeing him lift himself up off of the couch.
"I'll go find our crutches." he replied.
"I won't be able to get up anyway, so don't even bother with mine." Natsuo sighed. Ritsuka hoppled along down the hallway, asking himself where Soubi could've hidden them. Just as he had started to enter the bathroom to check, he tripped and fell face first, making his lips start to bleed. He prayed that Soubi hadn't heard the thump; he didn't want to get caught. Ritsuka had a difficult time trying to stand up because of his cast. He then saw the cause of this sudden fall... Soubi's kitten. The one thing that made him fall so often.
"What are you doing?" came Natsuo's voice from above Ritsuka. He laughed at the other boy, who was staring the kitten down. But soon broke his gaze, once he heard Natsuo's voice.
"I thought you weren't able to get up?" Ritsuka asked.
"I realized that Youji never ordered me to do anything, he just told me to, which is not the same thing." Natsuo smiled at his sudden loop hole. He gave Ritsuka his hand and helped him up. They began to search once again: Soubi's room, (which had really become Ritsuka's room to for the past while) his closet, the balcony, the bathroom, the bathroom closet, and everywhere else they could think to look...except the kitchen. That was where Soubi and Youji were.
"I bet the crutches are with them..." Natsuo commented.
"You're right, let's just go ask for them. That's all we can do." Ritsuka admitted, walking towards the direction of the kitchen, when
"It's always that kitten's fault! He's always under my feet!" Ritsuka attempted to whisper.
"Did you hear that thump?" Soubi asked Youji, who was nibbling slightly on some crackers.
"Mmmhmm." he replied. Then Soubi had gotten an idea,
"Sounds like they're having a lot of fun." He winked, knowing good and well that this wasn't true in the least.
"Don't be stupid, Soubi." Youji replied in a bored tone again.
"Natsuo!" They heard Ritsuka scream. Youji's, hearing this, thought that maybe something was going on, and he jumped out of his seat, bursting through the kitchen door.
"Natsuo, what are you...doing?" he asked, looking at his Sentouki, who lay on the floor. Ritsuka was sitting down beside of him. "What are you guys doing?!" he asked once more.
"I tripped over that damn kitten!" Natsuo said, feeling a bit stupid now for making fun of Ritsuka. The kitten really was always under your feet.
"Why aren't you on the couch?" Youji asked him, extending his arm to help him up.
"We're both sick of sitting there. Give us our crutches." Natsuo admitted.
"All you had to do was ask. I was only trying to keep you safe." Youji smiled at him, and helping Ritsuka up as well. They all went back into the kitchen where Soubi was.
"So what were they doing?" Soubi asked. Even he had been wondering slightly.
"Natsuo tripped over that stupid kitten of yours..." Youji sighed, "I'm giving them their crutches, they want them."
"That's good." soubi smiled, "I was starting to miss my Ritsuka." Now Ritsuka, who was already standing fairly close to the man, was took into his arms with one swift movement. And his lips were took swiftly as well. They still tasted of blood. Ritsuka pulled away, realizing what Soubi was doing. "You taste like blood." This made Ritsuka blush a deep red.
Later on that day, or should I say, it was now nighttime, Ritsuka was laying out on the balcony letting snowflakes hit him. He found that he liked it out on the balcony, and the coldness of the night hardly bothered him at all. The stars were shining bright and beautifully, but at times, hard to tell from the snowflakes. His cast was itching terribly, and without knowing, he had caught himself scratching his cast, mistaking them for his itching skin. This only got him more aggravated. Someone had just come out onto the balcony with him. Looking over to see whom it was, he saw Soubi, then continued to ponder the sky some more. Ritsuka had been thinking about how he had been missing sessions with his therapist.
"What is today?" Ritsuka looked over at Soubi, who sat down beside of him.
"Tuesday." he replied, "Why?" ritsuka figured Soubi was going to have to figure it out sooner or later. He would've gotten suspicious had the boy started to up and disappear every Wednesday.
"I have to go to my therapist on Wednesdays after school." Ritsuka replied, rolling over a little bit so that he could look off of the balcony at the scenery bellow.
"I can take you there tomorrow." Soubi offered.
"You don't have to. I've gotten there by myself every other time."
"But I want to, Ritsuka." Soubi smiled, wrapping his arms around the boy, pulling him back a bit so that he wouldn't fall off of the balcony.
"Fine..." he sighed, "Do what you want." He wasn't really wanting Katsuko-sensei to meet Soubi. Sure, he had told her about him. Many times, in fact. But never had she met him. Ritsuka noticed a single tree off in the distance (as he could still see slightly off of the balcony), it had no leaves on in. He never realized how beautiful the trees could be in December before. Sure, maybe they didn't have many leaves, but that didn't mean they weren't beautiful. Delicate snowflakes were hitting his face softly, dotting his hair with white freckles. How would life be for him from now on? Everything seemed as if it were happening too quickly. It seemed like just yesterday that he was being beaten on by his mother, but now, he was safe in Soubi's care. Sometimes he had felt like a tree in December, on a snowy day such a s this one. He had no leaves, no memories. With the breeze flowing through the air, he had felt as if he were being constantly swayed by it, and almost knocked down. But the breeze was not quite enough, because he had a reason to stand on and dig his roots into, that wouldn't let him fall so easily. And that reason...was Soubi.
"What happened to Sada?" this thought had just suddenly came into Ritsuka's head.
"Her Sentouki and her initiated a battle, but I fled before they could fight, because you needed to get to a hospital." Soubi explained to Ritsuka, who had started to shiver a bit. Ritsuka didn't even notice he was doing so, though. Soubi pulled Ritsuka closer, and surprisingly enough, he didn't resist.
"You could've easily killed the both of them within minutes, why didn't you?" Ritsuka questioned. He knew that it wouldn't have been easy for Soubi to resist. If the 'love' he claimed to have for Ritsuka was true, he would have surly had a hard time keeping himself from murdering the two of them.
"Because I knew Ritsuka wouldn't like if I did that." was Soubi's understandable answer. Ritsuka understood now, he wouldn't have wanted the two killed, even though Sada had put him through so much pain. They were silent for several minutes as the snow started coming down heavier. "Why don't we go in? It's getting very cold out here, Ritsuka. I don't want you betting sick, along with having a broken leg." Soubi was holding the boy so close to him, that Ritsuka could hardly feel the cold at all anyway.
"You can go on, I'm fine." Ritsuka answered the blonde, seeing a snowflake fall on Soubi's hand, which was on the boy's chest. Soubi didn't move though,. He just kept hanging on dearly to his Sacrifice as if were going to disappear if he let go. Ritsuka's arms, that had been lying limply on the floor of the balcony, rose up. He put his hands on Soubi's, feeling the coldness of them. He truly was cold, but he was staying out there with Ritsuka anyway. The boy turned around so that he was face-to-face with the blonde, who was smiling at him, his arms now around Ritsuka's back. There faces were so close, and he felt a blush coming across his face. He wasn't sure why, but he had, had the urge to turn around and face the man hanging so tightly onto him. Violet into blue, once again as it had been in the bathroom so many nights ago. This time, Ritsuka wasn't going to chicken out and run. He wasn't sure if the tightening feeling in his chest was a good thing or a bad thing, he only knew that he wanted his lips pressed against the other's. Before Ritsuka could even decide what he was going to do next, Soubi leant forward, bringing their lips together in a tingling sensation. The tightening in Ritsuka's chest got tighter, and his heartbeat got faster. He wasn't sure what to do. So he did the only thing he could think of, he kissed Soubi back. They both still just lay there, on the cold balcony, kissing each other. Soubi was overjoyed, his Sacrifice was finally kissing him back. Soubi's hands, which had been on Ritsuka's back, slowly moved upward to Ritsuka's head, deepening the kiss. Ritsuka slowly pulled away, panting heavily. His and Soubi's breath was showing in the cold air.
"S-Soubi..." Ritsuka breathed out.
"Yes, Ritsuka?" Soubi whispered in the boy's ear, sending a chill up his spine."I..." he stopped and looked at the man in the eyes again, "I'm sleepy." Soubi merely smiled at the boy, nodding. He stood up off the balcony floor, helping up Ritsuka in the process. Soubi handed him his crutches that had been leaned against the window pane.
Staring at Soubi's ceiling, Ritsuka was unable to get to sleep. He placed his hand on his chest, feeling his heartbeat. 'What was that feeling?' he thought, "My heart. It's still beating like crazy...' Then as if it had just occurred to him, 'I kissed Soubi!' his chest got that same tightening in it that it had before, only smaller. He was so thankful that he was getting to talk to Katsuko-sensei tomorrow. Maybe she could help him sort this all out. Help him figure out what was wrong with him. Was he having a heart attack? He was getting a bit drowsy with all of his thinking. 'I kissed Soubi...' he thought one last time, this time it wasn't a thought of worry, anguish, or hurt. This time, in thinking about his actions, he somehow felt...complete.
"Ritsuka..." he heard a voice faintly. Then it came again, "Ritsuka..." he slowly opened his still-heavy eyes to reveal a certain blue-eyed, blonde-haired man staring down at him. "Ritsuka, are you going to school today?" the boy nodded his head in reply, raising up and rubbing his eyes.
"What time is it?" he mumbled, walking into the kitchen groggily.
"7:00." Soubi replied. Normally, back when Ritsuka was living with his mother, he would wake himself up for school every morning, and will no troubles too. But being at Soubi's house, he just felt like he could sleep forever without a care. Of course he could, Soubi would certainly let him go forever without school if that was what Ritsuka wanted, but it wasn't. His friends were bound to be worried about him still, and he needed an education. "Once you're dressed, I'll walk you to school. Are you hungry?" This was another question pertaining to back when he lived with his mother. In the morning time he usually never ate breakfast. And if on some rare occasion he had decided that he would eat, he would make something himself, not wanting to anger his mother with 'eating the wrong foods.' But at Soubi's, the man offered him food every morning, and offered to cook/buy it. There was no work done by Ritsuka at Soubi's house. And it somehow troubled him a bit. Ritsuka shook his head in a 'no' response to food. And now that he was a bit more awake, all the memories of the previous night came back to him. His face tingled of red. He turned around to head back to the bedroom to get dressed, and Soubi, who knew what Ritsuka was doing, stayed where he was to wait on the boy to finish. 'What does this mean now?' Ritsuka wondered, pulling up his jeans after his had covered his torso with a black turtleneck. 'Do I...' Realization had finally hit him, 'Do I love Soubi? I can't love him though. I'm Loveless, one without love.' but something was telling him, deep inside that he was able to love. That his name meant nothing to how he really felt. He pulled his sock on over his cold foot, the other still in it's cast, his tail twitched a bit as he left the room to meet Soubi at the front door. 'What else could this feeling be? I must love him.' Ritsuka felt like crying. He wasn't sure if he should tell Soubi what was going on, or if he should just keep quiet until he figured it out by himself. Once putting his shoe on, he grabbed his crutches, holding them as he tried to get himself down the stairs of the outside of the apartment with Soubi's help. They were silent most of the way there. Ritsuka was contemplating what was going on with him, while Soubi was giving Ritsuka bit of space. 'Ok, so say I do love him. What can I do about it? Do I just tell him straight out, or what? He's already told me plenty of times that he loves me, regardless of whether or not it was Seimei's order for Soubi to love him.' He knew Soubi would not reject him in the least, in fact he would probably be quite happy to hear the boy's feelings. But the question was: What would become of them after that? Things wouldn't be the same... or would they? Ritsuka figured at the most they would just me more well intimate. Nothing past the pg-13 level of course. Ritsuka wouldn't allow that at such an age.
"H-hey..." Ritsuka began to say something, but soon changed his mind. Soubi gave the boy a questionable look, wondering what he was going to say next. "I-it's nothing..." Soubi wanted so bad to take the boy's hand in his own. But the crutches were the only thing stopping him from doing so. He wondered how the boy would react if he were to do this. Remembering all the events of last night, he really wasn't quite sure. They arrived at the front of the school. Traffic seemed very busy this day, there were more cars than usually zooming by. Ritsuka, standing at the school gate turned to Soubi. "Are you c-coming to p-pick me up?" Soubi smiled at how red the boy was getting.
"Of course." he smiled down at him, leaning down to kiss the top of his head, making Ritsuka's cheeks tingle another shade of pink. "Have a nice day at school, Ritsuka." and at these last words, Soubi turned around and crossed the street to head back to his apartment. Maybe he'd call Kio later on to come work on their art projects. Soubi was wondering. But there were different things on Ritsuka's mind on the moment. What if you never see him again? What if he dies on his way home? Came a voice from somewhere deep inside of him. 'No, Soubi's stronger than that. He's able to stay alive through many painful obstacles. But still the voice said, You never know...this may be your last chance to tell him how you feel... Ritsuka was able to feel his heart starting to beat faster again. 'This...' he thought, 'This really may be my last chance...' He laid his crutches against the brick wall near the gate, and started to hopple toward Soubi, who was already a bit away, but still withing yelling distance. 'I...I've got to tell him.'
"Soubi!" Ritsuka yelled from across the sidewalk. But it was because of a roaring car that went by, that stopped Soubi from hearing his name, so Ritsuka called it again, "Soubi!" At this, he turned around to see his Sacrifice, several yards away across from him. "I think..." Ritsuka exclaimed as he began. But another car went by, making Soubi not be able to hear a word Ritsuka was saying. So without even thinking, Ritsuka walked out into the middle of the road, aiming to cross the street to get to the blonde. "Soubi...I...I LOVE YOU!"
A truck had hit Ritsuka. Tears came from Soubi's eyes as he saw Ritsuka's body hit the truck, and heard several bones crack. He knew what had happened, and he was sure that it was over. The truck stopped, and the man in it got out his cell phone quickly, and called the ambulance. Soubi ran out in the road to where Ritsuka's body lay. Blood was everywhere. It was spattered on the front of the truck, all over the road, and of course all over his poor Sacrifice's broken body.
"Ritsuka! Ritsuka! W-wake up, please! Talk to me! You're going to be ok. It'll be ok" he yelled, as tears strung down his face. Every bit of the training he had went through could not stop these tears. He knew, as soon as he had saw the truck hit Ritsuka, that things were more than likely hopeless. But still he pleaded, "You can't die on me! You can't!!" he looked at the boy's fragile, pale hand, that once held his, and was now covered in crimson liquid. People started yelling, and teachers scrambled out of the school. Once of the many, was Miss. Shinonome. She looked at the scene before her, and couldn't even bear it. She turned away, tears coming from her eyes as well. The ambulance finally came, but Soubi knew Ritsuka was too far gone now. Soubi took his's limp, broken body and put him inside the back of the ambulance truck on a stretcher. Several people were now crowding around. Soubi's hands and clothing were covered in the sticky substance that was still coming from some of the wounds on the boy's body. He cried as they checked Ritsuka's pulse, revealing that he obviously was not going to make it.
"He's got the smallest of a pulse. I'm afraid he won't make it, but another minute." one of the ambulance men said. Only a minute was all Soubi needed. He took Ritsuka's hand carefully.
"Ritsuka..." his voice was cracked, "I know...I know that you can really understand me. B-but I want to apologize...I want to apologize because I promised you I wouldn't ever let anyone hurt you again. But...here you are...dying...right in front of my eyes. And I can do nothing about it. I'm so, so sorry." They felt of his pulse once more.
"It just stopped." they gave Soubi a sympathetic look, but no looks could help the pain, the agonizing piercing pain that he was feeling at this moment. No one could bring his Ritsuka back...
Everyone's looking at me. I'm running around in circles, baby. A quiet desperation's building higher, I've got to remember this is just a game. It's a beautiful lie, it's a perfect denial. Such a beautiful lie to believe in. So beautiful, beautiful...