Disclaimer: Loveless is not mine. Any original characters are, though.

Author's Notes: I finished this about the same time I finished By a Thread and His Last Prayer , and all three fics just serve to prove that I am incapable of writing lucid happy stories, even in perfectly happy fandoms. Why? Why do I always end up with incomprehensible (unreasonable, needless) angst? Another thing, I haven't downloaded the latest chapters in the series yet, so if the real Loveless Fighter turned up already, forgive me, cuz the Loveless Fighter in my fic is just a creation of my own twisted imagination (and it just figures that I can't give him a happy story). Unbetaed, so forgive the grammar mistakes, which I know there are.

The Loveless Duet

By: gossec

He sits in his garden with his book, under the silvery moonlight where he can hardly see the tiny printed words. He raises a hand to the crystal bloom set in the middle of the table and feels the icy liquid boiling in its veins.

"Have some tea." His stepmother says to him from where she stands by the rosebushes, elegant fingers caressing the blood red petals gently.

He took the cup that was set in front of him and nods. "Thank you."

He does not look at her.

Her fingers close convulsively around the blooming flower as he drinks. And afterward she looks at the crushed petals in regret, her hands stained in their color. "I love you." She says, and there is a hint of desperation in her voice, but it does not detract from the lie she utters.

"I am Loveless." He tells her knowingly, as if that explains everything, and it does.

A girl walks up to him outside of class. He hears her friends giggling from around the corner and focuses on the light blush that dusted her cheeks. Her fingers tremble as she offers him a folded letter.

He takes her letter but his dark eyes remain on her. She blushes blood red and looks to the side demurely.

He unfolds the letter and peruses the neat lines of carefully written words lazily. And when he is done he folds the letter again and looks at her. "Do you love me then?"

She was back to facing him, and she nods emphatically, her red lips lifting in a lovely smile, full of hope.

"Why?" Because the letter offers no reason that goes beyond the superficial, no evidence that she really knows him at all.

She falters and hesitates, and wonders if he really read the letter, because to her, everything is explained perfectly in there.

Everyone adores him, but he knows the truth.

They say they love him, but they waver and disappear like smoke in his times of needs.

True love does not falter. It's a duet, a two-part harmony: being loved and being in love. The two offset each other, pleasure and pain. It achieves a balance. Love does not exist without one or the other.

True love does not exist for Loveless; he learns the lesson early on. Often he wonders if his Sacrifice has learned it too.

"What is that?" His brother asks with honest curiosity, pointing to the crystal bloom carefully kept under the glass jar. The boy is fascinated with the thousand-shade liquid flowing inside its crystalline veins.

"It's my greatest treasure." He says to the boy who shares only half his blood. "My mother gave it to me."

He can see the boy's eyes turn cruel and can practically taste the bitter envy and greed in the air, some traits run in blood it seems.

The boy reaches for the jar with grubby hands, and his mother stops him with a gentle tap on the wrist.

"Don't." She says, carefully and with many nuances. "Didn't you hear your brother? It's a memento from his mother."

The boy grins and laughs, mother and son can communicate in silence. "And brother would be sad if it gets broken."

The mother is most pleased with her son's understanding response.

He thinks often that it's a rather unfortunate relationship that exists between a Fighter and his Sacrifice; one is forced to follow the other's will and whims while the other is doomed to suffer pains not his own. Yet he can't help but feel envious when he sees a Fighter meet his Sacrifice, because despite all, the two are bound together forever, their fates run together and from the day they meet, they suffer and rejoice together, they belong to each other.

It calms him to know that someone in this vast world belongs to him, no Fighter exist without a Sacrifice, there exists one who is genuinely concerned for him, with him, if not because of love then because their lives are linked. It's something, he thinks, like love; like true love that will never leave you no matter how badly you mess up, except its foundations are built from necessity and needs.

He can only possess that kind of love when he is with the other Loveless, so he waits patiently for the day when he will meet his Sacrifice, the one who will never leave him.

Words are brought to him from far away.

Loveless is Beloved's younger brother.

His Sacrifice is found, he thinks, and feels something akin to eagerness blossoming inside of him.

His stepmother sits down by the fountain. She looks beautiful surrounded by the flowers, a frail, sickly sort of beauty. Her young son -his brother- rampages through his garden like a buffalo. She smiles fondly at the boy's liveliness, her hands curled around the white teacup, the smile growing as her son pulls out a white hibiscus before moving on.

He manages to keep the frown off his face when the boy crushes a dozen of his Chinese orchids.

"Your garden is most lovely." She speaks so carefully, yet with so much hidden malice that he knows instantly what she wants to say, what she is biting her tongue to stop herself from saying. It amuses him how completely artificial their conversations are, how what they really want to say are never what they do say. Sometimes he wants to stand up and cross the distance between them and whisper into her ear the truth.

He raises his own teacup to his lips and takes a few careful sips, ignoring her hungry stare, dark with anticipation.

The woman fidgets from her perch by the fountains, her nervousness poisoning the air. And when the anticipation becomes too much for her she sets her teacup down on the table and hurries to her son just before the brat reaches the rhododendrons. The boy whines and complains, cherubic face twisted in malice, chubby hands stained in the blood of his victims.

"Perhaps another time." She says. "Your father loved rhododendrons too."

The boy looked back at him, at him and the crystal flower on the table, an angelic smile with a malicious undertone. He smiles back and takes another sip.

Their game is an amusing one, but his Sacrifice has been found, there are no more needs for diversions now.

Clean air, sweetly scented by the blooms, rushes in and fills the room as he opens the balcony doors. His stepmother sighs as she walks into his room, her face flushed, limbs trembling, unnatural fatigue visible on every line of her body.

She places the tea set carefully on his table.

He murmurs his thanks, even as he watches his brother, who has finally escaped from his tutor, stumble over the rhododendrons in the garden below.

Will the tutor blame himself?

"Won't you try the tea?" She asks, her arms folded over her chest as if to muffle the beating of her heart.

"I will." He closes the balcony door.

It'll be over soon.

Everything is in black and white.

Loveless is with Beloved's fighter.

He broods over the latest message as strangers come to pay their respect. His stepmother lets out a choking sob by his side; the black veil hanging over her face does nothing to hide the presence of her tears as she cried over her son's picture, clutching his toy.

"How terribly sad." He hears someone murmur in the crowd. "He was but a child."

"His father left him nothing, you know." Voices whisper slyly to one another, and he wonders briefly if they will whisper at his funeral too. "His father left everything to the eldest son, nothing to his second wife and son."

"What a tragedy."

"The father died of poison too, did you hear? The whole family is cursed, his first wife was poisoned too."

"He was such a sweet child." One particularly loquacious woman says with vicious sympathy. "A little bit on the wild side, lacking in manners, but then you know you can't expect much from a- oh, did you know? His mother was just a mistress, he only married her after his first wife died, of course I don't mean to say that…" The crowd around her twitters knowingly. Demurely she blushes a lie and remembers herself. "But he was very sweet."

What a world we live in.

Then suddenly he is longing for Loveless with a whole new intensity, because only his Sacrifice knows and understands this feeling that's slowly killing him inside. His Sacrifice.

And because he is the true Loveless, he can't forgive Agatsuma Soubi for being nameless and trying to steal his name.

Somewhere in the garden, a glass jar lay broken on the ground.

Loveless knows nothing, Soubi tells him nothing.

He opens the door silently, balancing the tray on one hand. His stepmother wheezes and tries to breathe on the bed.

"Would you like some tea?" He asks her solicitously, carefully placing the tray on the mahogany table.

She stays silent. He feels a modicum of sympathy for her. Nothing in life is going according to plan. Not her plan.

"Mother?" He asks, cruelly.

She flinches, then nods. She is thinking to herself that it's just grief, it's just a nightmare that will end soon, and she will continue, that she will persevere.

"Ah, I almost forgot." He is in the middle of handing her the teacup when he pauses, pretends to think, and draws back to place the cup on the table again. He stands up and goes to her dresser, she watches him with bewildered eyes.

He opens the third drawer and takes out a small jade bottle. He hears a sharp gasp from behind him. He opens the half-empty bottle and turns around to smile at her.

"I forgot." He says, mildly, pleasantly, ignoring her wheezing gasps. "Mother doesn't like her tea without poison."

And for a second the world stops, and he counts the seconds before she finally understands. He can see her mind twisting and stretching to its limits, he can hear her thoughts. He's taking revenge for his parents who loved him.

Since she cannot say it out loud, he answers for her. "I am Loveless."

He places two drops in each teacup and offers it to her, an imitation of her.

Beloved is still alive.

"… the two estates and this mansion, along with..." The man reads the list with envying eyes. He can hear the man's thoughts: how did a boy like him come to inherit this fortune? More prominently, a boy like him has everything handed to him on a silver platter, I never…

It is all so tedious, but it is necessary to get through this in order to continue, he understands that. Every play had its opening act, the setting of the stage.

"…so congratulations, young man." The man shakes his hand and grimaces. "And what do you plan to do with this fortune?"

He smiles politely. "I am moving to Japan."

So just wait a little longer for me.


Author's Notes: Just in case I wasn't clear enough: the stepmother was poisoning him to get the inheritance, since the late father didn't leave anything to her and her son. The brother's death could be attributed to the poison inside the crystal flower, but if you all are unhappy with that, you could attribute it to the rhododendrons, since those are poisonous. Review! And read my D. Gray-Man fics, which will be posted most likely by the end of this week.