The coldness of his fingers is so unlike the warmth of Ritsuka's touch as he brushes too-long hair from my face, his dark eyes menacing. Sadistic. I shivered, wanting to pull away from his touch but am unable.

"Soubi… Tell me, what happened while I was gone? How has Ritsuka been?

Soubi's eyes were glossy blue behind his glasses and as dismal as the storm brewing outside. He refused to look into Seimei's eyes, but rather stared at the floorboards of the small apartment.

"Ritsuka has been well. He hasn't fallen sick once or twice and has made friends at school." Soubi hesitated, choosing his words carefully. "The past few weeks he's been quite happy, for the most part."

If it wasn't for you things would surely be perfect in his world. But I can't say that.

"For the most part…?" Seimei scowled. "I suppose that's acceptable." He paused, sitting back in his chair. Soubi breathed soft sigh of relief when he was freed of Seimei's touch. "And how have you been, Soubi? Have you been enjoying life under Ritsuka's rule?"

Soubi glanced into Seinei's eyes for a second. But only a second. He couldn't dare to look into those eyes for any longer than that. "Ritsuka never ruled. I was only ever living under your hand."

Seimei didn't seem impressed. "Were you good to him? Did you care for him?"

Soubi nodded. "Of course. Those were your orders, so I had to obey."

"Mmh…"

If only it were as simple as that. As simple as following a few orders… If things actually played out in that manner everything would be much easier.

"I can't help but notice… You disobeyed him. He told you to stay."

"But you told me to come."

Seimei's eyes flashed, and Soubi flinched.

He's going to hit me.

But the blow never came.

"You might be smarter than I thought," Seimei mused, his expression softening. "You were clearly smart enough to learn that you never truly belonged to Ritsuka. You were simply a loan." He laughed softly. "It's a good thing I came to take you back when I did. Ritsuka obviously wasn't keeping you in check." He paused. "This was like a test run. It's like giving a child a plant and saying if he can keep the plant alive for three months then he can have a puppy. You were like the test plant, preparing Ritsuka for his true sentouki. But it seems Ritsuka has failed the test."

Soubi looked up abruptly.

Seimei was smiling wickedly, his ears perked. "Failure is unacceptable."

I felt sick to my stomach. I thought knew where this was going, and I wanted to cover my ears and drown out the words I was almost positive were coming. But I sat still and endured, unaware that in seconds I would wish I had guessed correctly.

"I'm sure you know how Ritsuka spends each day by now, ne? So I'm sure you know where he is at what times and how he gets there and what he's doing."

Soubi nodded, trying to keep his hands from shaking and hiding behind his hair, blocking the tears that were surely forming from Seimei's view.

"I have a request for you, then."

"I'll do anything you say, Seimei," Soubi said softly.

I had never regretted any words more.

"Perfect…" Seimei stood, wandering over to the bookshelf, pulling something off the top of it and brushing it off with his sleeve. Soubi couldn't see what it was because Seimei's back was to him, though. "I'm sure that giving you this is unnecessary, because being you all you truly need is words."

Soubi's stomach turned uncomfortably. Where was this going?

"I think that this might make things easier, though." He turned so Soubi could see the object in his hands. "It'll make everything go much faster."

Soubi thought he might vomit at the mere thought of what Seimei was saying. He stared at the gun in Seimei's hands, a brand new shining silver pistol.

No…

"I sort of always expected this to happen, so I've been holding onto this for you, Soubi."

No…

"Why don't you come over and I'll show you how to use it."

No…

"No…"

Seimei blinked. "Would you like to say that again?" he said coldly.

Soubi swallowed his fears, looking up at Seimei through sheets of golden hair. "No. No… I can't do that."

A nasty grimace crossing his face, Seimei bunched a fistful of Soubi's hair in his hand, forcing the sentouki to look at him. "Are you disobeying me before even receiving an order?"

Soubi winced, but maintained his stability. "There's only one person who I would point that gun at."

"And who would that be?" Seimei spat.

Soubi took a slow breath, making a gun with his hand and holding it up to his temple.

Seimei was clearly surprised, but his shock didn't last. He struck Soubi across the face with the pistol in his hand, leaving an angry red spot on Soubi's cheek that stuck out cruelly against his pale skin. His glasses broke immediately on contact with the solid metal. His head had been twisted so violently to the side that his neck hurt.

I promise you, Ritsuka. I will never hurt you.

There was another blow, but this time with Seimei's hand, and, thankfully, on the opposite cheek.

I will never, ever raise my hand with the intent to do you harm.

"Bastard!" Seimei hissed. "Complete idiot." He turned and stalked out of the room into the kitchen, leaving Soubi to sit in silence.

I promise.