Ritsuka had never been particularly good at drawing, and he was most certainly terrible when it came to paint. Soubi had been trying to teach him, and his pencil work had definitely improved, but when it came to paint, he was still faced with a more ... abstract final piece than he really wanted, and after five years Soubi was beginning to lament Ritsuka improving any further in the art of applying brush to canvas.

"You have gotten better," Soubi assured his precious sacrifice as he wrapped his hands around Ritsuka's waist and rested his chin on the younger male's shoulder.

"Thank you Soubi," Ritsuka answered, a wry smile on his face that said he knew exactly how bad he was. "I think I'll leave the painting to you from now on though."

"You're quite a guy, Ritsuka."

"I don't know about that, I take nice pictures though," he answered, his deep blue eyes leaving the canvas before them to rest on his camera. It wasn't large, or particularly fancy, and it certainly hadn't been the most expensive camera in the shop, but Ritsuka knew how to get the best out of it, and when it came to photography, that was one of the truly important things.

Knowing how the instrument worked, having the patience to wait for the perfect shot of the subject within the frame of the photo, knowing about exposure and blur and motion. It helped that he had good programs on his computer to tweak the pictures afterwards – making the colours brighter or more subdued, joining a series of photos together to create one extensive landscape, layering different pictures together to create a new one...

Soubi's favourite picture was one that he knew Ritsuka had spent three hours tweaking like that. It was of them, but not of them together. Ritsuka's face was a slightly faded image across a night sky, while Soubi stood clearly beneath a street light, looking up. It was representative of their bond. Even apart, they were still together.

Ritsuka reached an arm up and slid it around Soubi's neck, pulling him just a little closer. Art, he thought, was the best way to represent what their bond was like. Soubi was like a paintbrush to a talented artist: the artist was the one credited, but it was the brush that applied the pigment. It was the artist who moved the brush and chose what the picture would look like, but it was the brush that executed the artist's will and brought his vision to life. He knew better than to think himself a painter by this time, of course. Ritsuka was the photographer, the one who saw the potential of any given thing to be beautiful, if he could just be allowed the time, given the patience, allowed the correct light to see all that could be offered. Soubi was Ritsuka's favourite subject for photography.

"I love you, Ritsuka," Soubi whispered, snuggling closer to the young man in his arms.

"I love you too Soubi," Ritsuka answered, turning his head slightly to kiss his fighter's cheek. "Though it's going to take a while for me to get used to not having my ears or tail."

"Are you unhappy that they're gone?" Soubi asked, though what he meant was "Was your first time good for you?"

"I wouldn't trade last night for anything," Ritsuka answered, smiling. They might have been named Loveless, but their relationship most certainly was not.