-1The bathroom mirror reflected someone he wasn't sure that he knew. He turned his head left, then right. He tilted his head down and ran his hand over his hair, where his feline ears used to be. Seeing himself like this - an adult - and so different felt a little like deja-vu to Ritsuka. He hadn't yet become comfortable with this new image of himself. True it had only been a few weeks, and he was somewhat younger than most when they lost their ears, but still…

At least the furor at school had died down quickly, but it had changed things. Ritsuka's classmates treated him differently now. Yuiko wasn't speaking to him at all. She had bust into tears when she saw him without his ears and tail, and she hadn't been at school since. He supposed that some part of her had still been holding out some hope that they would eventually be together. Yayoi had been taking Yuiko's schoolwork to her at home, and Ritsuka entrusted him with a letter for her. So far, she hadnt contacted him.

Ritsuka heaved a sigh at his strange reflection, flicked the light off and left the bathroom. Soubi was in the living room, kneeling on the floor and surrounded by his art supplies. Ritsuka crossed to the bed and flopped down on it. He should probably be doing schoolwork too, but he had been studying for three days, and he was tired of staring at textbooks. Soubi was painting butterflies again, he saw. Though Soubi hated them, Ritsuka had always secretly believed that they suited him.


His pale hair was pulled back into a ponytail, high on his head. As always, the front hung free, capturing the afternoon sunlight as it swayed with his movements. His glasses, with their delicate wire rims, had slipped down to rest close to the end of his nose and he wore an expression of deep concentration.

Ritsuka watched the movement of Soubis body beneath his dark blue turtleneck as he mixed paints and chose brushes. That shirt was a particular favourite of Ritsukas. It clung flatteringly to Soubis lean torso and the colour complemented his light complexion and deep blue eyes to perfection.

Observing Soubi this way made Ritsuka feel a little like a voyeur. His eyes followed elegant hands as they went about their work. Soubis hands were beautiful, long-fingered and graceful with almost impossibly soft skin. They were more like a woman's hands than those of any man Ritsuka had ever seen. They could move with lyrical skill over a canvas, with strength and surety during battle, with infinite tenderness in bed.

Just thinking about it, Ritsuka could almost feel Soubis hands roaming over his body. An arm around his back, fingers under his chin, lifting his face for a kiss…sliding so lightly along his thigh that it should tickle, but never did. The feeling of Soubis warm palm and slim fingers wrapping around his - Ritsuka felt a blush rise to his face. A pressure began to build in his groin, and he adjusted his position to accommodate. Strange that after only three weeks, simply watching Soubi work could have such an effect on him. He wondered if his fighter had ever reacted this way to him.

Shaking his head, Ritsuka scolded himself. It was the middle of the day, for crying out loud! Was he turning into the pervert that Kio was always accusing Soubi of being? And yet…and yet he felt almost jealous of the painting; Soubi looked so calm and concentrated, all of his attention focussed on the canvas in front of him.

Ritsuka wanted Soubi with him.


No reaction. Perhaps he hadn't heard. Ritsuka cleared his throat and tried again, a little louder this time.


"Hmm?" Soubi responded, but he sounded distracted and didn't look up.

"Umm…could you come over here, please?"

"Is there something you need, Ritsuka?"

"Well, no…" Ritsuka blushed again.

"I'm sorry, but I'm rather busy with this. It has to be finished by tomorrow."


Feeling equal parts embarrassed and annoyed, Ritsuka reached over the side of the bed to grab a book. Soubi liked to read in bed, so there were always a couple laying nearby. Ritsuka picked one at random and opened it. His eyes slid down the pages, one after another, but he wasn't taking in a single word. The sounds of Soubi's movement, the glimpses in the corner of his eye, the glint of his hair in the sunlight were distracting in the extreme. The more he tried to ignore them, the more Ritsuka's thoughts of Soubi intruded; the pressure he had felt before was now a persistent ache and the friction of his clothing rubbing against him was becoming more than a little bothersome.

Frustrated, he tossed the book aside and plopped his chin onto his hand. This sucked. For three years he had held Soubi at bay; now that he had finally taken the leap, it was all he could do to get the guy's attention.

Okay, that wasn't entirely fair. Soubi paid him plenty of attention. Ritsuka tilted his head for a better view of his fighter. In fact, if he really thought about it, Soubi did nothing but pay attention to him, most of the time. It occurred to him that, during the three weeks since they had become lovers, the sum total of what had transpired between them had been Soubi acting for Ritsuka's satisfaction. Certainly, Soubi had benefited and been happy enough, but the central point had always been Ritsuka.


Ritsuka berated himself for not seeing it sooner. He would have to make sure that he was more generous from now on. Soubi would never complain, but it was common sense that he would enjoy himself more if Ritsuka was attentive to his pleasure as well. Of course, being new to this whole thing, he wasn't at all confident regarding his skills in that department. He frowned, trying to think of something.

There was one thing, Ritsuka thought, that he knew Soubi would like.

But could he do it?

The thought scared him a little; it ran counter to the way he felt people should be with each other…but Soubi saw things very differently. Over the years, Ritsuka had tried to show Soubi another way, through tenderness and consideration, but it seemed that some things were just too much a part of his nature to change them now. Soubi did not seem to be unhappy with this aspect of himself, but Ritsuka knew that it wasn't that simple. There would always be the question of who Soubi might have been, had he not become Ritsu-sensei's 'perfect fighter'.

Perhaps there was a way, after all. Ritsuka contemplated the difference between his sensibilities and those of his partner. At first glance, the gap between the two appeared to be too wide to bridge, but the reality was quite different. Not only did he feel that he owed it to Soubi to try, but Ritsuka had to admit that he wanted to see whether he was capable and what the attempt would produce. He sat up and swung his legs down over the side of the bed.

"Soubi," Ritsuka called.

"Yes, Ritsuka?"

"Come here." Blood rushed to his cheeks again, hesitation robbing the command of any authority it might have had.

"Just a minute," Soubi's still-distracted voice replied. It was hardly the reaction he had been hoping for, but since Ritsuka was still struggling for composure he decided that perhaps it was best to let Soubi have his minute. A few deep, calming breaths later Ritsuka had managed to get his colour under control and was working on the shaking in his hands. He had never really gotten the hang of giving commands; combining that with this new intimacy between himself and Soubi was somewhat overwhelming.

Soubi reached out a few more times over the canvas, his willowy form bending and stretching gracefully as he applied a stroke here, a brush there. Eventually, he seemed satisfied with the state of his work and set to a quick clean-up so that nothing would suffer by his leaving. No matter how much time passed, Ritsuka was always stunned anew when he was reminded that Soubi's beauty never diminished. He was just as mesmerising when he washed dishes, as he was when he painted. The only time that ever changed was in battle, when it gained a terrible edge and became almost transcendent. Watching, Ritsuka forgot his trembling.

His tidying up done, Soubi rose. He seemed simply to unfold with a kind of strange liquidity, like pooled ribbon lifted slowly into the air. A few short strides brought him across the room and he performed the reverse, folding down to rest on his knees in front of Ritsuka. A soft smile lifted his lips.

"What can I do for you, Ritsuka?" he inquired, and suddenly this whole idea seemed to be too much for Ritsuka. His throat went dry and his voice deserted him.

With words unavailable to him, Ritsuka responded by placing his hands on either side of Soubi's face and drawing him in for a kiss. He could smell the earthy scent of paint as well as cigarette smoke and Soubi's herbal shampoo. It was familiar and comfortable. Ritsuka's nervousness ebbed as his resolve returned, his body responding decisively to the feeling of Soubi's supple lips against his. Having interrupted what he knew to be important work, there was no turning back now, in any case.

Gently releasing Soubi's mouth, Rituska pulled back to look him in the eye as he said,

"I want you."

The tremor in his voice offset his firm tone somewhat, but didn't entirely ruin it. Soubi's lips fell open a fraction. He drew a breath as his eyes darted off toward his unfinished painting. Before he could speak though, Ritsuka leaned in again.

"Leave it," he breathed against Soubi's mouth. Swallowing hard, Soubi nodded.

"But," Soubi started, "I should go and wash - "

"No, Soubi," Ritsuka interrupted, the quiver in his voice all but gone, "Right now."

He could hear the breath hitch in his lover's elegant throat and was surprised to find that it pleased him. Reaching out with one hand, Ritsuka grasped one end of the ribbon that tied Soubi's hair back and slowly pulled until the bow there let go. Long pale hair fell, flowing silkily over Rituska's hands. He pulled the ribbon free and dropped it on the floor, then reached to remove delicate wire-rimmed glasses. Soubi took them from him and placed them on the floor beside the ribbon.

For a long moment the two simply looked at each other, deep indigo eyes holding lighter violet ones. Then Ritsuka pressed in to claim Soubi's mouth in a demanding kiss. Control was not something that Ritsuka had ever sought, not something that he wanted, but Soubi's desire to be controlled was strangely powerful. The inhibitions that Ritsuka felt began to fade with startling alacrity. He threaded his fingers through long tresses to cup the back of Soubi's head. He could feel the depth of Soubi's reaction to his unexpectedly aggressive turn in the heat of the kiss, could hear it in the shortening of Soubi's breath. Ritsuka's body responded with force, his nipples hardening as his sex strained against the rough fabric of his clothing.

By the time they parted, both were breathing heavily. Soubi's eyes remained half-closed, and the mixture of desire and adoration that he gave Ritsuka from beneath lack lashes was intoxicating. His lips were slightly swollen from their heated kiss, moist and pink. Ritsuka thought that Soubi had never looked so beautiful, so desirable.

"Take off your shirt," Ritsuka ordered softly, steadily. Immediately, Soubi did as he was told. The shirt was tight, and the rippling of his muscles as he moved was intensely pleasing to Ritsuka. Breaking his gaze only long enough to slip the shirt over his head, Soubi placed it on the floor beside himself and settled back, hands in his lap, and waited. His excitement was palpable, and Ritsuka's fed on it, growing stronger with every breath.

Ritsuka dropped his eyes to Soubi's naked torso, to the network of scars that covered his skin. He did not know the stories behind all of them, save for Soubi's sanguine assertion that they had been 'discipline'. The one word, BELOVED, carved into the flesh of a pale throat, was the single exception. It broke his heart a little to see it, even now. Raising a hand, Rituska traced over it lightly with his thumb. Then he slid up, using that thumb to push at the underside of Soubi's chin. Obediently, Soubi tilted his head back, allowing Ritsuka to lean down and place tender kisses there. Ritsuka wanted to erase it, that ugliness from before. He wanted it never to have happened. He wanted Soubi to have ever belonged only to him.

The thought came with such ferocity that it stunned Ritsuka; a dark, hot tendril of jealousy that coiled in his gut like a snake. As if in response to this sudden intensity of emotion, Soubi shivered; Ritsuka gave in to it, sinking his teeth into the soft skin before him. A loud hiss startled him, made him hesitate, but Soubi did not move. Heat rose into Rituskas cheeks as he felt his body react with a strange excitement. Obeying impulse, he pressed first lips, then tongue to the tender juncture of Soubis neck. A tiny gasp of anticipation urged him on. This time, when his teeth tightened on Soubi's flesh, Ritsuka heard the appreciative edge in the hiss elicited.

It was enough, and more than enough, to drive Ritsuka's desire. Unexpectedly powerful, it left him no room to question or reflect. The deep thrum of his own heartbeat in his ears, the racing of Soubi's pulse in the vein pressed against Ritsuka's cheek, the increasingly insistent pressure in his groin - all pushed him relentlessly to the edge of his control.

"Master," Soubi whispered, and it shook Rituska to his core. He could no longer turn back.

Some small part of him cried out against the madness that gripped him now, but it was too late. Pulling back for just a second, Ritsuka yanked his own shirt over his head and dropped it to the floor near Soubi's. He met indigo eyes with his violet ones, hungrily devouring the need, naked and pleading, in Soubi's gaze. A shock raced through his small frame, and he reached out for his lover. Ever obedient, Soubi leaned in close to receive Ritsuka's impassioned kiss. A low groan rumbled in his chest as Rituska bit his lower lip.

Never had Rituska imagined that he would feel this, want this. His hands stole up to cup the sides of Soubi's head, pulling him ever closer, the thrusting of his tongue ever more demanding as the tide of his desire swiftly engulfed them both. Slowly he rose, straightening his legs without releasing his lover's mouth, until he was standing. Soubi, entirely confident, was already using deft fingers to open the button of Ritsuka's pants by the time their lips finally parted. He kept his head tilted back, his gaze steady on Ritsuka's as he pulled the zipper down and carefully dragged the denim down slim legs. The underwear followed, but still Soubi watched Rituska's eyes. He waited.

"Soubi," Ritsuka said, his voice hoarse, "I want you to suck me." Enough modesty remained to burn his cheeks as he spoke, but nowhere near enough to keep him from doing so.

"Yes, Master," Soubi breathed, and it fluttered across Ritsuka's skin.

The sound, the look of it, made him shiver. He thought for a moment that his knees might give out. Soubi reached out to touch Ritsuka's ankles, his cool fingers wrapping lightly around as he slid his hands slowly up over slim calves, the sensitive skin behind knees, and trembling thighs. His tongue darted out to wet soft lips before they parted; blue eyes held violet, unwavering as Soubi did as he was told. Engulfed in the close heat of Soubi's mouth Ritsuka couldn't entirely bite back the low cry that rose from his throat. Finally, Soubi's eyes slid shut.

Ritsuka's hands tangled into long tresses, like silk against his skin. Soubi's mouth was a molten warmth, a liquid flow around his hard flesh that tugged at his hold on reality. His head fell back, eyes closed as he lost himself in his sentouki's tender ministrations. Something like a tide pulled at Ritsuka's breath, until it rose and fell with the shift of Soubi's lips and tongue. Soft moans rose from Soubi's throat to weave through his own whimpers, tantalizing his senses.

The slowly tightening grip of his fingers, the tiny involuntary thrusts of his hips, the intensifying sounds of pleasure escaping him were Soubi's cues; he released Ritsuka with a slow drag of his tongue. Ritsuka gasped, his knees shaking with the effort to contain himself. After a moment, he opened his eyes to look down at his waiting lover. Soubi's eyes were alight in a way that Ritsuka had never before seen. It was similar to the expression he sometimes wore during battle…but this was infinitely more intimate. That look, paired with the slightly swollen and reddened lips, was heady.

"Stand up," he ordered in a low voice, rough with desire, "and strip. I want to look at you." He heard these words spilling from his lips, the wishes of a deep place within, untouched and unknown before now. Dimly, it occurred to him that he should not be feeling this way, should not be riding this rush as Soubi gracefully stood to do Ritsuka's bidding. He shouldn't, but it was just too delicious, too strong to resist.

He watched hungrily as nimble fingers worked the fastening of Soubi's pants, and then pushed them down over slim hips. Ritsuka's eyes devoured the sensuous slide of muscle beneath pale skin as Soubi bent to slip his feet out, then straightened. Impossibly blue eyes held Ritsuka's, with no hint of shame or hesitation. A carnal current raced down Ritsuka's spine. Soubi was a work of art. The scars he carried enhanced his beauty, a counterpoint to perfection. Tall and long of limb, excitement evident, he was enchanting. Ritsuka raised a hand and beckoned Soubi to come close. One step forward and he was in Soubi's arms.

"Kiss me," Ritsuka whispered, tilting his head back. Bending, Soubi did. It was tender at first, but before long, they clutched at each other, breath coming in rough gasps between parted lips. Ritsuka could feel the insistent hardness of Soubi's length against his own, and pressed his hips forward, groaning into Soubi's mouth for the delicious friction it caused.

Pulling away with some effort, he pointed weakly toward the bed behind him. Without a word, Soubi gently moved around him, climbed onto the bed and lay on his back. Ritsuka paused, closing his eyes and taking a couple of deep breaths to regain his composure. When he turned, it was taken from him again. Soubi lay with his head turned toward Ritsuka, one leg bent at the knee, an expression of nearly beatific serenity on his delicate face.

One more deep breath, and Ritsuka moved onto the bed, too. On his knees beside Soubi's lithe body, he reached out to take slim wrists in his hands, lifting them to rest above Soubi's head.

"Don't move them," he admonished, to which Soubi nodded gravely.

"Yes, Master," he replied, his voice shaking just a little. Ritsuka's breath trembled when he heard it. The need in him now was unrelenting, driven and deepened by Soubi's.

With quick, careful movements, Ritsuka placed himself above Soubi's body, supported on his arms. He pressed in to claim his lover's lips in a heated kiss. Soubi moaned and arched his body up, trying to find increase the contact between their bodies. Ritsuka pulled back, denying the attempt. He was seriously unsure of his ability to retain his control if he allowed too much touch. His senses were reeling as it was, and he struggled to keep from losing himself in the tide he had created.

Soubi understood, and subsided. Ritsuka dipped his head to press fevered lips to his lover's throat, to lick gently at an earlobe before catching it between his teeth. Soubi's hiss of pain and pleasure was sharp near Ritsuka's ear, but he did not move. Trailing a series of kisses and little bites down and across Soubi's throat and chest, he stopped briefly to suck at each nipple, teasing them between teeth and tongue in order to hear that hiss again. The scent, the feel, the sound of Soubi surrounded Rituska and drowned out the world. There was only this room, this bed, this man with his salty-sweet flesh.

Ritsuka explored Soubi's body at length, sometimes holding himself up with one arm so he could slide his fingers over soft skin. Again and again he returned to catch Soubi's mouth in searing kisses. All the while, Soubi writhed and moaned, little fluttering sighs mixing with deep gasps as Ritsuka experimented, making new discoveries about his lover's pleasures.

This kind of play took it's toll on Ritsuka. Listening, touching, watching…his body responded to all of it, growing ever more demanding of relief. He refused to allow himself to give in to the pressure growing within himself until Soubi's face was flushed with desire, eyes squeezed tightly shut, and body trembling in anticipation of the next touch.

He moved to lean over the edge of the bed, reaching under it for the little box they kept there. It housed various implements that Soubi had purchased after they had become lovers, but Ritsuka had yet to feel comfortable enough to allow their use. The one thing he did use from that box was the bottle of lubricant that he grabbed now.

Sitting back on his heels, Ritsuka flipped the cap open and poured a generous amount onto the fingers of his right hand. Positioning himself above Soubi again, he leaned on his left arm and ducked his head for another kiss. As he thrust his tongue past yielding lips, so too did he push against Soubi's entrance with slick fingers. He pressed lightly, moving in slow circles until Soubi's muscles began to relax and he was able to slip one finger inside. Gentle thrusts soon had Soubi groaning with pleasure, and Ritsuka gritting his teeth with the effort to keep a steady pace. He was aching to seat himself in the beauty beneath him. Another finger joined the first, stretching just a little; Soubi's groans grew louder, his body writhing as Rituska thrust into him again and again.

By the time he had worked a third finger into Soubi's body, Ritsuka was visibly straining under the demands of his own desires. Sweat stood on his brow, and his arm was shaking. Soubi's sinuous movements had long since grown wild, his lips parted to admit panting breaths and pleasured moans. Ritsuka could take no more.

Straightening, then leaning back on his heels, Ritsuka grabbed the bottle again. He dribbled a generous amount of lube onto his cock and put the bottle down. Grabbing his length, he stroked himself to spread it around. His brain had a difficult time coordinating the movements of his left hand with those of his right, but it was resolved quickly enough. Slowly, Ritsuka withdrew from Soubi's body, eliciting a whimper of disappointment. He inched forward until he was pressed tight against the backs of Soubi's thighs, positioned himself at Soubi's entrance and…stopped. Soubi whined and opened his eyes. Indigo eyes met violet, and held.

"I want you to belong to me," Ritsuka stated, his voice completely steady for the first time since he had called Soubi to him. "I want you to say it, Soubi. Say you belong only to me."

Soubi's eyes shone strangely as he said, "I belong to you, Ritsuka. You are my Master and my law. I exist only for you." Ritsuka stared into Soubi's eyes for a long moment. "Ritsuka, please."

Unable to restrain himself any longer, Ritsuka pushed forward, burying himself in Soubi's body in one slow, smooth movement. Soubi gasped. Ritsuka, teetering once again on the precipice of his control, put his head back and squeezed his eyes shut. He felt Soubi relaxing around him as he took a few deep, calming breaths. When he felt more sure of himself, he reached down and brought one of Soubi's legs up over his shoulder and leaned forward onto his hands. Soubi groaned deeply in his throat.

"Look at me," Ritsuka ordered. Soubi's eyes immediately found his, and the now-familiar shock roiled through Ritsuka's gut. "Don't look away, Soubi."

There came no response from his sentouki, but he knew he had been understood as he pulled back and made a strong and deliberate thrust. Soubi's head tilted back a little, a ragged moan tearing from his throat, but he did not look away. Again and again Ritsuka pushed into the liquid heat of Soubi's body, watching the pleasure play itself out across his beautiful face. When Soubi's expression began to become almost pained, Ritsuka reached up to take one of Soubi's hands, guiding it to rest on his neglected sex. Quickly, he broke eye contact, reached over to grab the bottle of lubricant and poured a goodly amount onto Soubi's cock.

Raising his eyes again, Ritsuka found Soubi's waiting for him. Oh, the deep blue of those eyes could hold him forever. Such beauty should be beyond him, yet here it was, naked and willing below him. He began to move again, entranced by the expressions that danced across Soubi's face. He could not see the movements of Soubi's hand on his own cock, but he could feel and hear it. The soft stroke of knuckles against Ritsuka's stomach, the slick sounds and the rising color in his lover's face were enough. They spurred him onward and stoked his passions.

"You belong to me," Ritsuka panted, his rhythm increasing.

"Yes, Master, I belong to you."

"Only to me."

"Only to you."

The shade of Soubi's was deepening, the pace of his strokes speeding up with every syllable. Ritsuka's control was slipping with each confirmation. Faster and harder they moved, rocking together as they lost themselves in each other.

"You should only ever have been mine…Soubi…let's erase…it"

"Master," Soubi gasped, his body arching, tensing as he approached his climax, "I have only…ever…been," he hissed with pleasure, "yours!" The last word was a cry, released as Soubi came, shooting warm liquid onto his own and Ritsuka's sweat-slick flesh.

Those words, that moment, the tight grasping of Soubi's body around his cock, all conspired to rob Ritsuka of all control. Still staring into Soubi's eyes, he cried out through clenched teeth, fighting the need to close his eyes. Not now, not now. He came in a great burst of ecstasy, pressed deep inside his lover.

It took some time for Ritsuka to regain his senses, to bring his breath under control and to be able to focus again. Sliding Soubi's leg from his shoulder, he leaned in to capture soft lips in a truly tender kiss. When he pulled away, he looked into Soubi's eyes. Unshed tears shone there. Ritsuka kissed him again.

"Did I hurt you?" he asked, his voice thick with concern.

"No," Soubi answered, lips tight with the effort to control his tears.

"Then what…?"

"Thank you, Rituska," Soubi ventured, his voice breaking on the name. Ritsuka heard more in those three words than Soubi had ever said aloud.

"I love you, Soubi," Ritsuka whispered, and knew by the flow of Soubi's tears that he had been heard.