Between a Man and a Butterfly.
"Now I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly, dreaming I am a man." Zhuang Zi.

Soubi wakes up with the sun heavy on his eyes and Ritsuka's fingers warm over his hair and back. For a moment he considers pretending to be asleep still and let Ritsuka's caresses lull him back to his dreams of soft kisses and Ritsuka pressing inside him, Ritsuka's weight on him and Ritsuka being everything he could feel or think about, finally.

He could do it, too. Soubi feels pleasantly heavy and warm and perhaps a bit sore, and he's entertained by the idea of trying to find out every little mark Ritsuka left over his body that will, undoubtedly, fade away. He thinks he can still feel Ritsuka's lips against his throat, still can hear the way Ritsuka moaned his name.

But Ritsuka keeps petting his hair and back, his fingers tracing the curve of his shoulder blades, the bumps of his spine, tangling a little with his hair as Ritsuka caresses his neck and Soubi can't stop himself from sighing contently, stretching languid as a cat and turning his head just a little, arms still underneath the pillow, to open his eyes and look towards his Sacrifice.

The lack of ears makes something twist deep inside him when Soubi thinks of the way they pressed down when Ritsuka was upset or how they perked up when he was happy, that something twisting a little more when he thinks that Ritsuka's tail won't curl over his hip ever again, but Ritsuka's hand is still twirling strands of his hair, Ritsuka's eyes on him, deep and certain, and it's more than a fair trade.

"Morning," Soubi smiles, blinking slowly as he takes in Ritsuka actually wearing one of his shirts and his own jeans despite still being on bed. So he had probably thought about going away to get some space.

And yet he stayed. Even if the thought warms him, Soubi frowns a little when Ritsuka doesn't answer, the young man looking at him thoughtfully, his expression faintly troubled. The something from before comes back again, twice as fierce, and Soubi rolls to his side to face him better, the sheets over his waist as he pushes himself up with his elbow, immediately missing Ritsuka's touch when the teenager moves his hand away.

"Ritsuka?" He asks again, trying to fight the sudden panic. He resists the urge to look around and make sure they are at his apartment, Ritsuka's expression reminiscent of when Seimei had died, a little lost, a little scared. Soubi reaches for him this time, a hand over his face and Ritsuka leans against his touch, closing his eyes. "Is everything alright?"

Ritsuka doesn't answer again and Soubi sits down, wraps his arms around Ritsuka and again he misses the ears for a second when he leans his head against Ritsuka's, but at least the teenager sighs and wraps his arms around him, allows him to pull him down again and Soubi fights the irrational wish to wrap the covers around them in a cocoon.

"Yeah," Ritsuka murmurs finally, presses a kiss to his collarbone, a little below of where the BELOVED scars had faded. "I just... I had a weird dream, that's all."

Soubi hums, soft and tender, caressing Ritsuka's hair and the back of his neck. "Do you want to talk about it?"

Ritsuka remains silent again for a few moments, enough that Soubi does his best to look at his expression through the untidy black hair. Then Ritsuka pushes himself up and Soubi feels his breath catch at how sure his master's expression looks, at the warmth in his eyes.

"No," Ritsuka says, voice firm before his expression softens a little and he reaches to touch his face and Soubi can't stop himself from kissing the pads of his fingers when they get close to his lips. "It's not important. I chose this, after all."

There's no proper answer to that, not when Soubi isn't sure he understands what Ritsuka is talking about other than the fact that Ritsuka is saying again that he chooses him and that is more than enough for Soubi to pull the boy as close as he possibly can, chasing whatever it was Ritsuka had dreamed about with a kiss and his master's words.