Warnings: This fic is rated M for a reason. If you are offended by Yaoi, sexual themes, or Aoyagicest, this is not the story for you.
In the beginning there was Seimei, early winter light pooling silver around his form and illuminating him in a frosty angel's glow. His stride into the room was clouded with resignation, steps slow and halting against the gleaming tiles of the hospital.
"Ritsuka," our mother said, and tipped me upwards for him to see.
Seimei stared down at me, silhouetted against the brightness of the sterile room. His face shifted easily, from resentful to surprise to extreme delight as he reached out and carefully stroked the ledge of my dark ear. I was passed into his lap moments later, cocooned in a starch-stiffened nursery blanket and pressed warmly against his chest. His five-year-old's arms closed around me, tight and possessive, his entire form suddenly relaxed and emanating love.
This was my first memory, splashed in sepia and fogged with twelve years of age. Seimei, stealing me from my mother's arms and never letting go.
I couldn't remember anything before two years ago, nothing except the first time I was in Seimei's arms. No one remembers the day they were born; no one remembers the first time they felt safe. But I remembered what they couldn't, as if I had swapped my childhood memories for the possession of that single vision. A memory that was never meant to be kept at all.
I can still see him, the image as clear to me now as the tri-chorded weeping of Sunday morning bells—Seimei curling forward, nuzzling against my cheek and pressing warm lips against my forehead.
"Ritsuka," he whispered against my new baby's skin. "My Ritsuka. I'll never let anyone hurt you. I'll never let you go."
The promise ghosted around me in secret, resounding charmingly in my head, tinkling like the perfect symphony.
And I believed his every word.
I dreamt about you again last night. We were in the bath, but this time I didn't want to wash myself. I wanted you to do it. I called your name, and when you looked up, I held the soap and cloth out. You stared down at it, stared so long I thought I'd die. When you finally reached out, you pushed my hands away. You told me I was too dirty and you couldn't touch me.
I don't understand. How can anyone be too unclean to wash?
I bit into my lip and read it over, wishing it didn't sound twice as stupid on paper as it did in my head. Not that it mattered. The whole purpose of writing my thoughts was so I could express my concerns when Seimei wasn't here.
Or when I felt too embarrassed to talk with him about it, something I never thought would happen.
So when it did start happening, Seimei bought me a notebook, made of sturdy composition cardboard and pristine white paper. The cover was a polished black, watercolor butterflies with blended purple and blue wings smeared from one corner to the other.
He told me to leave it on the desk if I wanted him to read it. The hard part was deciding if I did or not. Something told me the dream I had been having stretched a little further than an ordinary bath. Something about it felt dirty, just as dream Seimei had said I was. I didn't want that opinion bleeding over into reality, but I didn't like keeping secrets. Not from him.
I flipped the cover closed and set the pen on top. My eyes slid toward the window parallel with the front of the desk. The sun was already beginning its steady decline, angled diagonally in the sky and casting long, awkward shadows across Tokyo.
Seimei wouldn't be home for at least another hour. I was in his room, and I didn't have the nerve to wander any further than the bathroom connecting my room to his. I was still too shaken by the mood Mom had been in earlier to risk inducing another episode.
She had given me three new cuts; two zigzagging up my arm and another on my temple, frighteningly close to my eye. That one was small, though; triangular evidence that her wedding ring still adorned her finger after a year and five months of widowhood.
Sometimes I wished she'd take it off. She seemed to get upset whenever she looked at it too long, and usually I was the one who had to suffer for it. Sometimes I wondered if she blamed me for my father's death, but if she felt that way, she mercifully kept it to herself. Seimei told me not to listen to her anyway. He said she was too sick to realize what she was saying half of the time, and I was inclined to believe him.
With a sigh, I pushed up from the desk and lugged across Seimei's room to his bed, nose-diving against the blue flannel coverlet. I inhaled deeply and held his scent in my lungs until I felt like they'd burst. I wished he'd materialize and wrap his arms around me, pull me close and keep me safe. The way he always had.
Just one more hour, I thought, absorbing as much comfort from that as I could.
Downstairs, I heard Mother shriek, a sharp tremor that cut off with the shattering of crystal. I curled into myself and closed my eyes. Hunger clawed at my stomach like a ravenous panther, but it wasn't fierce enough to make me wander into the kitchen in search of food. It wasn't worth another run-in when she was in a mood as dark as she was in now.
I covered my ears when her shrieks became louder, trembling and willing her demons away. It would all be better soon––the anger, the hunger, the fear.
Seimei would save me. Seimei would make it all go away.
It was dark, I realized, as I gently broke the surface of sleep. I could feel Seimei spooning me, his chest crushed to my back. He was caressing my stomach in small, slow circles, humming something soft and unrecognizable into my ear. Something that made me sigh and snuggle deeper into him.
His lullaby halted. "Finally awake," he said. The overhead light had been switched on, spilling soft yellow lighting across the room.
"You told me you'd be back before dark," I said. I was surprised at how harsh it sounded. No one ever used that tone with Seimei, but I didn't like promise breakers.
Seimei chuckled, his breath rustling stands of my hair. "I was back just before the sun set. Could I help if you were sleeping?" He nuzzled the junction between my throat and shoulder. My irritation disbanded easier than it should have.
"I guess I was more tired than I thought." I stifled a yawn and stretched back against him, absorbing the warmth he radiated. And then, as an afterthought, "Seimei? Where's Mother?"
Seimei's only response was a nip at my earlobe.
"I've brought you something." He suddenly sat up.
I turned onto my back and pushed myself into a sitting position. He handed me a white paper bag with golden arches.
"You haven't eaten dinner, right?"
I shook my head and eagerly unfurled the bag. McDonalds was probably my favorite place to eat. It had such a pleasant setting, bright and happy. Not to mention I didn't have to worry that the cook was testing me somehow, as Mother so often liked to do.
I shoved a french-fry into my mouth and wondered if her Ritsuka liked American food.
Seimei was inspecting me closely, his expression unreadable. I knew he was looking at the fresh welts on my face. I didn't bother to hide them, didn't stop him when he took hold of my jaw and turned my head this way and that, memorizing each cut.
"What was it this time?" He asked.
"I got a perfect score on my history exam," I said, the words muffled.
On a number of occasions, Seimei had told me not to talk with my mouth full. But what was I supposed to do when someone asked me a question while I was eating? Spit it out?
"That was all?" He handed me a child sized to-go cup and patiently waited for me to wash everything down with Orange Slice.
I nodded as I drank, then swallowed hard. "She said her Ritsuka always got an average score, never above."
He swore under his breath and disappeared into the bathroom.
"But, Seimei, where—"
"I dealt with her," he snapped.
I didn't even flinch. He always became peevish when she did this sort of thing. He was mad at her, not me. And likewise, it was Mother I was jumpy around. Never Seimei.
I watched his shadow in the sharp angle of lighting stretching from the bathroom door to the foot of the bed. He rummaged through the medicine cabinet, bottles clicking and sloshing, mumbling to himself. He closed it again with a snap. I grimaced, hoping it wasn't loud enough to disturb Mother, wherever she happened to be lurking at that moment.
"Seimei?" I lowered the french-fry I was holding and looked down at the stitching on his blanket.
He materialized next to me on the bed, iodine and bandages in hand. "Yes?"
"Did the Ritsuka before two years ago like Western food?"
Seimei's face softened. "The Ritsuka from two years ago and the Ritsuka now are the same person." He covered the opening of the iodine bottle with a cotton round and tilted it up and back.
"I'm not Mother's Ritsuka."
"Of course. I thought you've always been my Ritsuka." He lifted his eyes to mine, a faint smirk curving his lips. I bit back a smile. Seimei brought the dampened cotton to my temple and began dabbing at the wound.
I winced, my breath hissing through my teeth, and grabbed onto his bicep's. The french-fry tumbled into my lap, forgotten. "Seimei, it hurts!"
He cupped my cheeks and blew, cooling the fire blazing down my face. As the sensation died, I realized my nails were digging into his arms. I relaxed my grip and slowly opened one eye.
He pulled back. "Better?"
I opened my other eye. "…yeah."
"I think we should get you cell phone." He tossed the soiled antiseptic pad into the garbage can beside the bed. "That way you can call me whenever things with Mother start to get—"
"Start to go to hell," I mumbled.
Seimei laughed. Hard. I remember the way his voice sounded, rich and deep. The way his eyes narrowed and the skin crinkled at the corners. How perfectly aligned and glaringly white his teeth were. And I was torn, violently, between my desire to be just like him and my desire to belong to him forever.
I was almost finished with my hamburger by the time he was satisfied my wounds had been properly cleansed. It took seven cotton rounds. The antiseptic left the cuts raw and sore, but at least he'd wiped away the traces of dried blood that would have otherwise soaked off in the bathwater, which I knew was coming.
"Finish your dinner while I draw us a bath," he said, and started toward the bathroom. "I'll bandage them after."
I hid my smirk behind another bite, delighted in my ability to anticipate his actions. It made me feel special, like I was so much a part of him our minds were linked.
I polished off the burger quickly; eating wasn't a particularly favorite pastime of mine. The experience had been marred by the sound of Mother's anger and too many bruises. I ate only because I had to, and only because it made Seimei happy.
After crumpling my white and sunshine yellow garbage into a suitable shape for throwing, I tossed it into the wastebasket next to the desk, and then took a moment to gaze out the window.
The night view of the city was something I had always appreciated, despite being a fan of nature and wide-open spaces. Though the streets were no doubt bustling with activity, from this distance, it looked as if the darkness had cast a spell upon Japan; crime was quieted, silence instilled, and variegated lights twinkled up at me like star-kissed raindrops. With a view like this and Seimei just in the other room… I almost felt like royalty. Like a prince.
Seimei's prince. And this kingdom, Tokyo, it was ours.
"Ritsuka, are you almost ready?" He called.
"I'll be right in." I reached across the desk to shut off the bamboo wood shoji lamp-and froze.
My notebook was open.
I hesitated, apprehension zapping through my blood. I hadn't left it open, I know I hadn't. Seimei had already read it, and I could see, with a sudden, ominous jutting of my heart, that he'd also already replied.
My palms were perspiring badly; I wiped them on my thighs and reached forward, supporting myself against the desktop with one hand and sidling the silver pen from the spine crevice with the other.
The sound of running water filtering in from the bathroom acted as my sentinel. Carefully, with my dark ears perked in vigilance, I let my eyes slide over the words.
It's normal to feel insecure at times. But never doubt that my love for you is boundless, and your worth exceeds all the world's riches. Even the dirt beneath your shoes is precious, blessed for having been touched by you. I could never think you're too filthy—I would touch you any way you want, anytime you want, anywhere you want. And that is a promise.
What had started as a small tickle in the lowermost part of my stomach had arrowed downward and evolved into a mute, throbbing ache. The urge to quench the desire was all-consuming, like the burn of intense thirst. I swallowed hard and shuddered.
Was it really so simple? Could I truly just ask him for it?
I closed my eyes and leaned harder against the desk, trying to breathe steadily. There were things wrong with what I wanted, morals at stake. It was considered unethical by society's standards.
But the idea of Seimei touching me… of his hands gliding against my skin…
"Ritsuka, the water is going to get cold." The words were accompanied by the gentle sloshing of water.
He was already in the tub washing his hair when I inched just inside the door. I felt nervous about him watching me undress, and then disappointed when he didn't. In fact, he didn't look at me at all as I eased into the bath on the opposite end, facing him.
Sometimes he appeared lost in his own mind, so enthralled with whatever was there that he didn't take much notice of me. Not that he ever ignored me, but a darker part of myself couldn't stand it when his attention was on anything else, no matter how irrational that was.
Then there were the phone calls, the text's he never showed me. Understandable, I guess. Seimei was seventeen, he went to High School. It was only normal, and I never intruded on that, but my emotions were barely containable, twisting into a tight knot of jealousy whenever his cell vibrated. Part of me wondered if it was best that I didn't see them. If he had a love interest, I'd probably lose it.
"Is something the matter?"
I broke my hard stare on the bar of uniform white soap floating near the drain. Seimei's honey-colored eyes met mine across the frothy bathwater.
"You look distressed," he said, leaning forward. "It is rather adorable, but no less worrisome."
I made a conscious effort to not blush, but wasn't able to fight all the color away. I looked down, rubbing my unwounded arm. "It's nothing, really."
"No? Well then, Ritsuka, would you like a massage?" He slid his hand beneath mine and trailed his fingers up my arm with the other. "It'll help you relax."
"I, well…" I looked back up at him. His smile brightened.
You don't have to do that for me, I wanted to say. I'm not really a prince.
But a smile from Seimei was something I couldn't say no to, even if at times I felt like he was subjecting himself to slavery over me.
I returned the smile. "Okay."
He released my arm, and I turned my back toward him and scooted closer. It was unavoidable, given the limited space in the tub and the length of Seimei's legs, to fit myself anywhere except in between the V of his thighs. This wasn't an unfamiliar position for me; I'd often climb into his lap and snuggle against him, my hips nestled between his legs. Usually, though, we were clothed.
"It's what I love about bath oils," he was saying as I positioned myself. "They double as a massaging agent."
Behind me, I heard him open the bottle. The cool, ocean breeze scent swirled around me as he started working it into my shoulders. At first, I only tensed more, nerves making it impossible to ease up.
He leaned forward and brought his lips to my ear.
"Relax," he whispered. "It's okay, Ritsuka. Just relax."
I shivered pleasurably and dipped my head. He worked circles with his thumbs into the nape of my neck and slowly down my spine. Each vertebrae he touched tingled deliciously, even after he'd moved on to the next, igniting a blazing trail along the way. I closed my eyes and tried to concentrate on my breathing: Inhale, exhale, relax; Inhale, exhale, relax.
…No, it wasn't working. Skin against skin, I would never be able to concentrate on anything else.
Once he reached the tip of my tail, he moved upward again, kneading each side of my back with the cup of his hands. The anxiety began to drain, finally, flowing out of me like beach sand in a punctured bucket. By the time he reached my shoulders, I was beginning to droop.
"Lean back," he said, still whispering against my ear.
I fell back against his chest. He rested his chin against the crown of my head and worked through the knots in my shoulders first, then slowly began to stray down my arms. He grazed his fingertips across the sensitive bend of my elbows, etched patterns into my wrists. The feeling was so sensual I had to bite into my lip and stifle a faint moan.
It felt so good. The tight muscles were becoming flaccid beneath his touch, and the more I relaxed, the more stimulating the sensation became. That sweet ache had come back, tingling steadily toward my groin.
Seimei's hands slipped over my shoulders to my collarbone. I sucked in a sharp gasp and arched into it, my shallow breaths sounding suspiciously like a soft purr. Seimei's, I noticed, sounded just as labored as my own. I tuned in to the rhythm of his chest beneath my back, the sound of his dry swallows every few moments.
His thumb suddenly brushed over a nipple; it was softly, but it still sent a jolt through my core strong enough to make me jerk. My hands shot out involuntarily, grasping onto his thighs beneath the bathwater. His breath hissed between his teeth, and he muttered something that sounded suspiciously like a curse as he brought his lips to my neck and pressed them warmly against my nape. A landslide of gooseflesh washed over me and I shuddered, a whimper finally working past my lips.
His fingers trailed down the shallow indent bisecting my ribs, circled my belly button with deliberately teasing pressure. My fingers dug into his skin; I seemed to have lost control of my body, whimpering and writhing and unable to stop. Unwilling to.
I tried to protest when his hands withdrew and moved back to a much more innocent position on my shoulders, but the words were lost somewhere when he kissed my neck again.
"I think you're much more relaxed now," He said, his breath amazingly stable.
I was still panting, starved for oxygen. "This is what you call relaxed?"
I had started out sitting up and was now splayed star-shaped, my back plastered to Seimei's front. Somewhere along the way I had looped my legs overtop each of his. My knees were poking out of the water, thigh's spread. I would be embarrassed if I hadn't been so frustrated with his sudden decision to stop.
Seimei chuckled, the sound tickling my now overly stimulated senses, and unhooked his legs from beneath mine. He sat up, easing me off and to my own side of the tub. I turned toward him, a steely cord of rejection coiling like a serpent in my chest.
You said you'd touch me anywhere, my mind screamed, completely overthrown by my hormones. But I felt too jilted to say it. Why would he just stop? Did I do something wrong?
"It's getting late," said Seimei, as if that was some sort of legitimate excuse for his behavior. "We should finish washing before the water gets too cold."
Probably my face reflected exactly how wounded I was by it, but Seimei simply pretended not to notice, snapping open the shampoo bottle and squirting a fat, pearl-colored dollop between my ears.
"Scrub well," he told me, and grabbed the soap to finish his own sanitization.
Tears burned beneath my eyelids. I turned away from him so he wouldn't see the humiliation on my face and scrubbed hard, angrily. I wasn't used to Seimei not giving me what I wanted and I wasn't dealing with it well. I wasn't angry at him, though; most likely he was respecting some sort of unspoken boundaries he'd set. Would I really have to tell him straight out that it was okay? That I wanted him to? Or was it really that he didn't want to?
I didn't know, and I was in no state of mind or body to ask something like that now. Maybe I'd even imagined the entire thing; maybe he'd really meant for it to be an innocent massage.
If so, he was too kind. Really. It wouldn't hurt if he were just a bit more deviant. In this respect, anyway.
I was one step behind him tonight—rinsing off while he brushed his teeth, brushing mine while he combed his hair, combing mine when he slipped back into the bedroom to pull on pajamas.
He was seated at the desk, cell phone to his ear, when I flipped off the light switch and exited the bathroom. The door creaked as it opened, alerting him to my presence.
"I'll have to call you back," he said.
Figures. Did he really expect me to believe it was a coincidence that I only ever heard the tail end of his phone conversations?
"Remember what I told you. And don't make me say it again." His tone sounded far too pleasant against the harsh words.
I plucked the towel from my hips and dressed in the red checkered pajama pants and white T-shirt Seimei had laid out for me, trying to ignore my jealousy and the dim palpitations of my still-unsatisfied anatomy. Obviously I wasn't going to get any relief from it tonight. It was bothersome, but I'd simply have to live with it. That was fine.
I pulled back the covers on the bed and climbed in, leaving the damp towel at the bottom of it. That was as far as my defiance would go, I couldn't retaliate any bolder than that or my conscience would scream at me.
Seimei swiveled around in the chair, caught sight of the towel and frowned, disapproval scrawled across his features. I leaned back on my hands and watched him pensively. His frown deepened when his gaze caught mine.
"What happened? You look utterly displeased again."
"You said you would touch me anywhere and any way I wanted." I said it crisply, before I had a chance to stop myself. My cheeks immediately flushed. I looked downward, shading my eyes behind my bangs.
"And I meant what I said."
He was kidding, right? I drew my knees to my chest and didn't look back up.
"Ritsuka." The chair squicked when he got up. "Is there something else you wanted?"
Cruel, that's what he was. I could feel an answering reaction to his question in the front of my pants and snapped upright to try to hide it.
Seimei leaned forward and nudged my chin up with his finger, bringing my eyes to his. "I would give you the world, Ritsuka. We belong to each other. Do you believe that?"
Melting was something I never seemed to get used to, even though he was able to make it happen to me so easily. Those eyes, warm and hypnotic, drawing me in like the glow of a candle.
I brought my hand up to his wrist. "Yes. Of course I do. I love you more than anyone."
He looked pleased by my answer. His smile made my heart twist, the pleasure of it as dominant as the pain. And that's when I realized exactly what this was all about. My hormones played their role, but it was my desire for Seimei to express the same devotion of love to me. Physically. Words could be easily said and easily forgotten, but a memory… it was everything.
"Let me bandage you," he said, drawing my attention back to the surrounding world.
It didn't hurt this time when he applied the astringent, and felt much less raw once they were bound. Seimei had such a gentleness about him, a grace that belied his strength. His hands could crush bones and yet they'd never been anything but tender with me. I generally disliked being touched—it was unsettling, uncomfortable. But with Seimei, I yearned for it, craved it.
When he got into bed, I curled back into our spooning position and pulled his arms around me like a cloak. One of his legs pressed against the back of mine; I wriggled it between his thighs, sandwiching them together. The action made his breath catch, and I smiled.
He brought a hand to my temple and began sifting his fingers through my hair. "Goodnight, Ritsuka."
I had already started to doze when his hand strayed from my hair and found its way to my hip, the effect of which an intermingled spark of desire and comfort rode through me. I hmm'ed and shifted against him.
"Ritsuka," he whispered, conducting an idle skimming with his fingertips.
My drowsiness faded steadily. The fire he'd first ignited in the bath had been doused to glowing embers; it took only that whisper of breath and barely-there touch to rekindle the flames.
I whimpered, the sound needy and agony-laden, and reached back to his thigh. My fingers dug into the flesh, a silent begging ensnared in the motion.
Seimei kissed at the junction between my neck and shoulder, bringing on another round of shivers, more whimpers, more writhing. He traced a path along the band of my pajama pants and dipped a finger between skin and fabric.
"Seimei. Seimei, please."
"Please what?" He asked, hot against my ear. "What do you want me to do?"
The uncertainty in me snapped together like jigsaw pieces fitted together. It wasn't that he didn't want this, it was that he wanted me to be certain I wanted it.
I covered the hand tugging at my pants and moved it downward, underneath the elastic waistband and beyond. We both moaned when his hand finally enclosed on the one area that had been aching most for his attention.
"Touch me here," I said, breathily.
Hesitation. I almost expected him to pull back. Almost, and then he squeezed and his hand began to move and pleasure blossomed inside me and swelled like strawberries ripe with rainwater.
I wasn't so naive that I didn't understand the significance of what was happening. But Seimei had charmed me into believing he could do no wrong, so this, if he was finally doing it so willingly... it must be okay that I had wanted it so badly. And what was it hurting? Neither of us would lose our ears because of it. And if I awoke tomorrow without them, I couldn't say I'd regret giving them to him. He was the only person in the world I felt this close to.
My breath was getting shallower, the tremors deeper and more coordinated, dissipating into a pleasurable throb concentrated in the area Seimei's hand was manipulating. I rocked against him, stimulating the bulge pressing against my backside.
"Seimei," I whimpered. I wasn't entirely sure why I'd said it.
He turned his mouth toward my ear. "Is this what you wanted?"
A noise unlike anything I'd heard before tore out my throat, starting as a low base and evaporated into something not unlike an intermingled growl and gasp.
Seimei chuckled, but it was slow and heavy with sweetness, more of a purr. "So innocent," He whispered. "So precious. My Ritsuka, don't be frightened. This is beauty. This is love."
His words were hypnotic; enchanted lyrics gently stroking the fire already blazing low in my stomach. I moaned louder.
Seimei reached up with his free hand and pressed two fingers into my mouth, muffling the noises. I clamped onto his arm and flowed into it, suckling as they began moving in slowly in and out, pressing against my tongue. The rhythm matched our hips, our breaths, his hand.
"That's it," he said, stroking harder. "Just relax. Relax and feel."
His fist tightened on the last word, and with a single roll of his thumb over the tip, my climax was torn from me like the ripping of tree roots from the Earth. He pushed his fingers a little further into my mouth to better muffle my voice as I came hard into his hand. I was riding out the last of the spasms when I felt him tense with his own powerful release.
I'm not sure how long we stayed that way, my eyes squeezed shut and Seimei's breath hitting against my neck, but it was the salty, metallic taste of blood that made me reopen them.
I unclamped my teeth, realizing with sudden horror that I'd bitten hard enough to break his skin.
"It's fine," he said, amusement clouding his tone.
"But I made you bleed!"
"So you've given me love bite," he said. "I'm honored."
I made to sit up, but Seimei held me fast.
"Sleep now," he said, and pushed me back down.
He kicked the towel I'd left at the end of the bed up and began to clean off the evidence of our activities, moving carefully against my over-stimulated flesh, then moved away to clean himself. My ears perked when his weight let up from the bed, and I listened to the sounds of his rummaging through the medicine cabinet for his own bandage this time.
I blinked rapidly, trying to stay awake, but I had fallen asleep before he ever made it back, already dreaming about his smile.
Authors Notes: This is not a one-shot, although it CAN be read as one. This IS a SeimeixRitsuka (obviously) but it is also slight SoubixRitsuka. This is not meant to follow the manga exactly, I'm using that as a rough guideline, so if things are off, they're supposed to be.
I realize Ritsuka seems a little deviant and Seimei seems far too kind. Remember we're seeing this through Ritsuka's eyes, so Seimei appears harmless (for now). And Ritsuka... well, we all know he's kind but he's STILL an Aoyagi. XD
There is not enough Aoyagi-cest. Although there are some good ones, I wanted to contribute. Reviews are much appreciated.