Romance

Receiving a confession usually invokes some sort of immediate reaction out of a person. It may be a good reaction to the confessor or a not so good reaction. Obviously the person wants a reaction if they are confessing, but when a reaction isn't given then the person who just confessed should probably expect the not so good reaction.

Ritsuka walked out of the school with Yuiko and Yayoi at his heals. The purpose behind each step was clear; to vacate the area as soon as possible. Soubi watched the youth make a beeline for him; his friends, both almost in tears, running behind the cat-eared boy. The artist didn't even have a chance to offer a greeting before Ritsuka grabbed him by the hand and pulled him away from the building. He could hear Yuiko burst into tears and Yayoi trying to calm her down as he walked further away.

The walk was rather fast-paced and soon the pair were far enough from the school that even Yuiko's incessant cries were not heard. Ritsuka didn't quite know how to react to the prior situation, so he did what he thought best; he removed himself from the questions. He didn't quite know how to answer the confession he'd received from Yuiko prior to leaving the classroom. Nor did he know how to respond to Yayoi getting in his face and demanding to know what his answer was.

"Ritsuka?" Soubi asked an entire sentence in one little word.

"Yuiko told me she loves me today and that she wants to be my girlfriend," the younger boy answered with a stoic look in his eyes.

"What did you say to the confession?" Soubi was generally curious about when he might possibly lose his second sacrifice.

"I don't quite know how to respond to her confession, Soubi, because my mind isn't in that place right now. I wouldn't even know where to begin."

This thought troubled Ritsuka, as the boy was adept at being a sacrifice, keeping his grades up, dealing with an abusive parent, and maintain his friendships. Why in the hell couldn't he figure out romancing people, or being that way with another person? In truth, it was making him feel rather inadequate.

Soubi gazed fondly at his little sacrifice and the other's face made him realize he did want to help. Even if it meant he'd end up losing Ritsuka to someone else, he just wanted the boy to be happy. Ritsuka's happiness was the only thing that mattered. He'd never admit that to Ritsuka though, or he'd get his head handed to him when said boy told him that Soubi's own happiness was just as important.

"I can show you what you are looking for, Ritsuka," Soubi said calmly. "Then you can tell Yuiko your answer."

Ritsuka eyed Soubi from his vantage point for a spell and the nodded. "No funny business though."

"Is that an order?" Soubi asked.

The younger of the two glared up at his taller partner. Soubi was obviously baiting him, but he wouldn't bite. Ritsuka was not going to order Soubi to do anything anymore, if it could be helped. This lesson on love was not something that required an order of any sort.

"No, that is not an order," he snapped, unintentionally. "You are older than me, I expect you to act accordingly."

Soubi laughed slightly and ruffled the boy's hair, right between the cat ears, which earned him those cute little twitches they made when he rubbed Ritsuka's head. Funny enough, when he did rub between the ears his tail also tended to move from side to side in a happy manner. Obviously Ritsuka was calling out for some physical contact with someone.

The artist reached down and took Ritsuka's hand in his as he started walking through the streets. It wasn't uncommon for him to hold the grade-schooler's hand, but he turned around and explained his action.

"When you are with someone, Ritsuka, it is common to hold their hand like this." He picked up their combined hands and showed it to the boy.

"That's common knowledge, Soubi, tell me something I don't know."

Soubi smirked. "I am getting there. Have patience, my Ritsuka."

Ritsuka rolled his eyes and let the older man lead him toward a mid-range restaurant. They walked inside and were immediately seated as it was three in the afternoon, so it was definitely down time. Soubi pulled out the chair at the western table and motioned for Ritsuka to sit. The boy complied and soon they were sitting across from one another, looking through the menu.

"What would you like to try, Ritsuka?" Soubi asked.

"Can you afford this stuff?" He wasn't sure a college student had the money to be purchasing 5000 yen per plate meals.

"We're going to share," Soubi stated calmly.

"What do you mean share?" Ritsuka demanded.

"I mean girls like it when they share a meal with their boyfriends. Kio is always asking to share a meal with me in a restaurant."

Ritsuka scoffed. "Kio is a guy; surely there is a difference between girls and boys in that sense."

Soubi smiled slightly. "Kio is one of a kind, but from him I have learned that one partner may like sharing the food, or even being fed. Yuiko seems the type to like that idea."

This idea caused Ritsuka to shake his head. "She's human and capable of feeding herself. Why would a person need to feed another?"

"Because it's romantic, Ritsuka."

"Doesn't sound very romantic to me," he replied. "Then what, after she's fed like a baby, we kiss, we do…other stuff…" he couldn't continue because the blush on his face caused his skin to burn with embarrassment.

At that point Soubi knew his young sacrifice was completely aware of what a relationship with a girl might entail. Ritsuka wasn't ignorant of what went on around him; he was just young and not interested at that stage. If Yuiko waited a few years then maybe she would have had a different response.

"I don't want to do that with Yuiko though," Ritsuka said quietly.

"Then maybe she isn't the one for you or you just aren't ready at your age, Ritsuka," Soubi said with his usual emotionless voice.

Ritsuka shook his head. "No, it's not that. I will never want to do that with her because I only see her as a friend. She's not someone I can tell my secrets to, or I can bring into my private life. If I were going to be with someone I'd want to be with someone like you…" he broke off and blushed again when he realized what he'd just said. "I mean…"

Soubi smiled. "It's okay, Ritsuka, I understand what you meant. I am someone who knows about who you are outside of school, so you want someone you can trust like me."

"Yes." The reply was soft, barely above a whisper. Though that trust had been shady in the start, it had started to build after Septimal Moon.

"You can always change your mind later on, Ritsuka."

The boy looked at his fighter and nodded. "I know, but it won't happen. It's not because I am young that it won't happen because I don't want it to happen in the future either."

Soubi reached across the table and took hold of one of Ritsuka's small hands. He squeezed it with reassurance in his.

"Romance can come at any time, it doesn't have to happen now."

He was right, and Ritsuka knew it. The thought that floated through his head during the conversation though wasn't that he wouldn't find someone he cared about in that way, but that if he did he would probably end up losing Soubi. The older man wouldn't want to admit it and neither would he, but the thought of losing one another to anyone after going through what they had been through together was a fear that might never go away.

"Let's share an ice cream sundae, Soubi," Ritsuka said. "I'll feed myself, though."

Soubi's eyes danced as he watched Ritsuka fidget with that last sentence. He really was a kid, but one day he would grow up and his ideas would change. No matter what happened in the future though, he wasn't going to leave the boy, because they were tied to one another with a bond that couldn't be broken.