"Let's see your homework. You okay with your homework?"

Seimei always looked out for Ritsuka that way, he was a great tutor, he made sure to check his little brother's homework each night, and, moreover, he made sure to check that Ritsuka understood. Gently smiling, he'd push the chair next to him back, soda still in hand as he settled on down, eyes already scanning his assignment and lips moving silently as he read.

He was great at explaining stuff, he understood things right away and could explain them to Ritsuka in a way that made sense, that didn't make him feel embarrassed or flustered or dumb, and he didn't act like it was a bother or a chore to help his brother out, he genuinely cared for him—

And Ritsuka loved his big brother with all his heart, regarding him with infinite affection and trust, eyes bright as his wiry frame bent partway across the desk to read along with Seimei, nodding at his explanations, tail batting slowly, engaged.

Two hours before, up in Seimei's room, while Ritsuka was still at his after-school clubs, Seimei had Soubi tied face down on his bed, bound and blindfolded and gagged, his perfect back red and raw and bleeding a little with the aftertaste of discipline, Seimei's breath hovered humid and hot just at the delicate folds of his ear,

"Hold out just a bit longer, and I'll give him to you,"

The wet insistence of his tongue, trailing along the cartilage shell, "You'd like that, wouldn't you—"

And, bound and blindfolded and gagged, Soubi nodded that yes, yes, he'd like that very much, and yes, he could hold out a bit more—

Seimei thought of things very carefully, he'd planned this out for a very long time. There was no doubt about it, Soubi was the best choice for his brother, even before Ritsuka ever learned to properly handle himself, Soubi was powerful enough to protect him all throughout; he would certainly be in good hands.

It wasn't supposed to be possible to give your fighter away, but this was the best possible choice, and Ritsuka mattered more to Seimei than the way things were supposed to be.

You're a fool, Seimei would laugh, sliding the point end of the whip absently along the cuts on Soubi's back, you're a fool for wanting him, he couldn't do this to you, you know—

And, skin electric with pleasure, Soubi would arch his back ever so slightly into the leather point, breath coming hot just beneath the restraint of his gag, it doesn't matter, he would say if he were free to talk, it doesn't matter, Ritsuka would do just fine, I would love whatever it was that he did—

Seimei was cruel, and at times Soubi thought that his cruelty had hurt so good, he was young but quite clever, proficient, he used Soubi in battle like a well-oiled weapon, it was pleasure, pure pleasure to fight at his hands; Ritsuka is still innocent, you know he couldn't use you like that—but that was also fine, because Soubi would love whichever way Ritsuka had chosen to use him—

Seimei wouldn't dirty his hands, wretched creature, beneath him Soubi lay bound tightly and naked, the absence of his ears painfully obvious, implicit of scandalous things that never were actually true—everyone knew Soubi never had a say in the matter, himself, but he was a wretched creature all the same.

So Seimei wouldn't dirty his hands, what would everyone think? All those who adored and respected and praised him, all those who would follow Seimei to the ends of the earth, what would they think if, one day, Seimei showed up to the next student council meeting or battle or ceremony or social event, having lost his ears—accountable, responsible Seimei, doing something like that—

That just wouldn't do, so Seimei had never degraded himself, he did things far worse, painful things, wicked things, things that left Soubi battered and bruised and cut up, as, staring absently into space later on he would sit on the banister at his porch, cigarette dangling forgotten from in-between his fingers and hair softly batting in the afternoon breeze, and absolutely satisfied, he would be lulled into a state of inner peace.

"I don't like this Aoyagi Seimei," Soubi's friend Kio would say, gazing with pensive discontentment at the other boy, all too acutely aware that his friend had been out there for a good forty-five minutes, hardly moving at all, hiding all manner of just plain bad things.

"Yeah?"

There would come the reply, a note of amusement but not terribly much, and even though Soubi had never divulged much about it at all, there was really no need, everything about him was telling enough—

"How deep inside do you want this?"

Seimei would grin, the words ghosting ethereal at the nape of Soubi's neck, a rhetorical question, because Soubi couldn't answer even if he weren't gagged, and he would wait, patiently wait for the other boy to slide the item inside, too far inside, painful and deep, a feeling that Seimei, himself, never had known, deceptively proficient as he were at inflicting it, regardless—

You couldn't come to me, you know, he'd quietly say, once you're his, you couldn't come begging for me to do this—

"I can wait—"

There would come the reply, muffled and hoarse, and Seimei would slap him for speaking up, Soubi's lips stretching in a stifled grin behind the gag, again, he wanted to say, his naked behind red and raw and still tingling with heat from the strike there before—

I can wait until Ritsuka learned to discipline me.

And he'd be completely aroused at the thought, Soubi, you pervert, does that get you wet?

And Soubi would shake his head, no, a plain, useless lie, "I'm not a pervert," he'd murmur against the moist front of the gag, and Seimei would strike him again, "Oh, you are," that went without saying, as plain and as obvious as how wet he really was—

Seimei would think to leave him deliberately out in the hall like that, still naked and bound and all wet and cut up, but Ritsuka would find him, or their parents, once they returned, and it just wasn't something they needed to see, it just wouldn't do anyone any good.

Soubi had watched from outside the window as Seimei had tucked Ritsuka in bed, affectionate, gentle, silhouettes moving in the dimly-lit room, illuminated by the iridescent glow of a computer screen, he couldn't really see—

Seimei hadn't given him to his brother just yet, but Soubi had wanted to see, even before the official command he had felt all along that Ritsuka was his, he waited with childlike impatience for Big Brother to leave so that he would have the boy all to himself—

He helped himself to the porch outside the window, staring inside for a good five minutes before quietly knocking on the glass, a rush of pure joy coursing through him when he saw that Ritsuka had heard, when the black silhouette of his body stirred slowly in bed, and, for a few moments more, the boy only stared at him, frozen, confused and a little distraught, silently mouthing his name when he recognized who he was—

This wasn't normal, folks showing up at your window at night; it was even less normal when it was some friend of your brother's, some older, grown-up friend, whom you've only ever met once, but who grasped you with silent possession—

What was it that Seimei had told him then? Ritsuka thought he'd been too sleepy that night to remember, his name is Soubi, he's for you—

Why do I always meet you at night, Ritsuka thought, staring for a few moments more before finally pacing to the window, quiet and curious as he undid the latch.

To be continued…