I want to thank everyone who is reading and responding to my stories here. I am having fun writing them, even though I don't have a set schedule when I type and post. As this is my favorite series, I am glad to have met some people who are just as interested in Loveless as I am.

I don't own, never will.

/GG/

Dream

Rain fell from the sky in droves, causing the streets to become flooded and schools to close early. A typhoon was on its way and wasn't supposed to let up for a few days. Ritsuka sat in his classroom, the last one in the room because everyone else had left, letting his mind wander. He didn't really want to go home because that would mean he'd need to be alone in the house for longer with his mother, who'd been nice enough to put a gash in his forehead that morning. Normally he'd want to return home to see if she'd accept him, as she rarely did, but for some reason he figured the typhoon would cause her to be more on edge. She'd probably end up making a comment about how her Ritsuka would never track water through the house.

He'd already send an e-mail to Soubi, so he figured the other would come to collect him in a short amount of time. Ritsuka just needed to wait an extra half an hour or so. If he hid away from his mother while the typhoon was blasting away then maybe her attitude would clear up with the weather in a few days.

Ritsuka closed his eyes and sighed, letting a daydream overtake his psyche. In the dream he could see Soubi walking toward him with a huge grin plastered on his face. That was a rare occurrence; then again there'd never been a huge grin before on the man's face that he was aware. Small smiles every now and then, but never a huge grin before.

Then he found himself in a more god-like perspective and realized that it wasn't him in the dream, but his brother. Had Soubi really smiled at his brother like that at any point in their relationship? He hoped it was just his mind thinking that Soubi had ever smiled like that for someone. The idea actually made him a little jealous.

Why he was jealous was an unknown element. He had no idea why the idea of the older man smiling at someone else would make him jealous. In truth, Ritsuka would love it if Soubi smiled more and actually meant it. One of those huge grins he himself used to have when he was a child in those pictures he'd seen of him and his brother. Those types of genuine smiles were rare; he doubted he'd had one in years.

He continued to watch the scene unfold. There was no sound to the scene; he could only see body language. Obviously his brother and Soubi had a good relationship if they were that friendly with one another. He even saw Seimei hold hands with the blond-haired older man. Ritsuka never would have pegged his brother as someone who would hold anyone's hand, except maybe his.

Then he noticed something that didn't stick out if one wasn't looking. Seimei didn't have his ears anymore. How was that possible? The last time he'd seen his older brother those ears had still been attached. Maybe the dream was a premonition of what was to come and Seimei was going to make Soubi take his ears. Though, the way they were interacting, it was probably a mutual agreement for the loss.

Maybe it wasn't Soubi who had taken his brother's ears; maybe it was Nisei. Ritsuka was sure the older fighter was more than happy to take Seimei's ears if Seimei allowed. The very idea made him want to gag; the loss of ears should have only been with someone a person loved.

Ritsuka then saw himself in Seimei's position again and he could feel Soubi's hand in his own. He looked at the other man and realized Soubi was looking at him with a curious expression on his face. Then the man spoke, but it wasn't Seimei's name, it was his own. Ritsuka realized that he was seeing himself in the future and his ears were gone.

This caused the boy to snap out of his daydream and shake his head. The rain was still crashing against the windowsill. Ritsuka watched the droplets fall down the window pane and land in the pool on the ledge. Once the pool got too big for the ledge gravity took over and caused the water to cascade down to the ground below.

The daydream didn't want to leave his mind and he wondered if it was going to happen. If so, who was he going to give his ears to? Or was someone going to take them without his permission?

On the grounds he could see Soubi making his way toward the entrance. He'd finally be able to leave school and make his way to the other's home. Maybe he'd even be able to figure more out about the strange daydream he'd had.

/GG/

"Ritsuka?" Soubi asked when it was way passed either of their bedtime, not that they ever really adhered to any sort of sleeping schedule the way a normal couple of people would. Normal meaning someone who wasn't part of a fighting pair.

The young man had been sitting on the sofa, eyes glued to the television, which had gone to static at some point about two hours ago. Ritsuka hadn't moved in that time and it worried the man when he saw the small figure starting at nothing. He waved his hand in front of the boy's eyes and didn't even get rewarded with a blink.

Maybe Ritsuka was sleeping with his eyes open. If that were the case then he needed to close them before his eyes dried out. Soubi reached his fingers over to the kid's eyes and lowered the lids, only to have them snap back open and a hand grab his and push it away. Ritsuka looked over at the older man with confusion on his face.

"Soubi?" he asked with a yawn. "What time is it?"

"Three in the morning, Ritsuka," he stated monotonously.

"How come we aren't in bed then?" Ritsuka asked rather dumbly.

"I was painting and I thought you were watching television. It appears not."

Ritsuka shook his head and stood up. He'd been thinking about his daydream, for hours it seemed. Where the time had run off to was beyond him. He was just glad he didn't have to wake up and go to school in a few hours.

The tween headed toward the bathroom to change into bed clothes, Soubi followed.

"What were you thinking about, Ritsuka?"

"I had a weird daydream today about us, in the future," he stated as he shut the curtain separating the toilet from the rest of the studio. "I didn't have my ears, but you were smiling."

Soubi thought for a moment about the dream his sacrifice was talking about. A time in which he was smiling; such a time hadn't happened in years. Plus, the loss of Ritsuka's innocence was quite the intriguing prospect.

"Who did you give your ears to, Ritsuka? Was it Yuiko?"

Ritsuka shuddered slightly. He adored his friendship with the girl, but he couldn't fathom being with her in any sort of sexual way.

"I hope not, I'd rather lose them to someone I loveā€¦" Ritsuka stalled in his thoughts as he realized he had no idea what love really was in a sexual way, nor did he want to know any time too soon. "Maybe some pervert took them from me." He said as he pulled back the curtain and stepped out wearing one of Soubi's shirts.

Soubi grinned; bemused. Ritsuka was too small for that shirt, which also meant he was way too young to be losing his ears anyway.

"I can promise you, Ritsuka," Soubi said with a small grin, "I do not plan on taking such an important thing from you; whether you are ready or not. I would never force someone to lose that innocence without their permission."

Hearing those words made Ritsuka blanch slightly. He'd probably hit a cord within the older man, who had been raped and forced to lose his ears before he was ready. Ritsuka'd never wanted to hurt his older friend by bringing up those issues. Then again, maybe if they talked about them it would help Soubi to smile like he had in that dream.

"If you could go back and change what happened, with your parents dying, and being abused, would you?" Ritsuka asked as he walked over to the bed and climbed in.

A slight look of pain passed quickly from Soubi's features as he watched the older man walk toward him.

"It's not important anymore, my Ritsuka," Soubi said softly. "Right now it's more important that you go to bed so you can grow up."

Soubi patted the younger boy on the head and turned to leave, but Ritsuka wouldn't hear of it. He grabbed the elder's hand and pulled him onto the bed. Soubi landed with a soft bounce and looked into the young man's face.

"I want you to answer the question, Soubi. It's not an order, but I am generally interested, since so many people seem to think we are more than what we are."

Soubi's eyes widened. "Who made such vulgar comments?"

"Yuiko and Yayoi have both commented on our relationship, as have a few of the girls in my class who like to gaze at you standing at the gate; smoking. You should stop doing that in front of the school."

"Really?" Interest had been piqued.

"Someone even pulled on my ears the other day to make sure they were real," Ritsuka spit as he had a flashback of his ears getting pulled.

"If it makes it easier I can wait for you down the block so your friends don't have to see the two of us together anymore," Soubi offered.

The grade-schooler shook his head. He wasn't particularly annoyed with the comments. In truth he tended to ignore most of what anyone from his class said. The only reason he even brought it up was because he wanted a segue into Soubi's mind.

"No, you don't have to do that." Ritsuka found that he wouldn't be able to sleep if he didn't get the answer, so he gripped tighter to the man's hand. "I do want to know if you would go back and change what happened to you. You may still have your ears if Ritsu hadn't done what he did."

Soubi had a minor flashback of his own and shook his head clear. He didn't want to bother Ritsuka with all the junk in his head regarding his former teacher. There was no guarantee he'd have retained his ears by that time if his parents were still alive, though if Ritsu hadn't raped him and he'd had the same path he'd have retained his ears to that point. Soubi had no time for intimacy.

"I don't think about things I cannot change," Soubi said. "If my parents were alive then I might not have met you, and I am not willing to give you up," he answered truthfully.

Ritsuka hadn't thought of that. If Soubi hadn't been part of his Ritsu's school then he never would have become Seimei's fighter. Subsequently, Soubi never would have been bequeathed to Ritsuka. It didn't take but a second for Ritsuka to be grateful that they couldn't just go back and change things because he wouldn't have wanted to never have met the man. It was selfish, but it was the truth.

Soubi ruffled Ritsuka's head, right between the ears, and then scratched the tips. Ritsuka involuntarily reached up into the touch. He'd not admit that he did like having someone touch him in that manner, especially someone he trusted. Soubi was someone he trusted with all of his life.

"You can sleep here tonight, Soubi. It is your bed after all," Ritsuka said with a yawn.

He burrowed under the covers and let his head hit the pillow. The last thought he had before falling asleep was that he wouldn't change his past either if it meant he'd lose his friend.

"Only if that is your wish, Ritsuka," Soubi said with a slight smile. "Don't let dreams bother you though. That's all they are; dreams."

Soubi placed himself on top of the covers and let sleep begin to overtake him. The idea of ridding himself of his troubled past was an intriguing possibility, but the changes to the present would not be acceptable. His current dream was to sleep next to Ritsuka and wake up with the boy in his life the next morning. Nothing would change that dream.