Disclaimer: I don't own Loveless

A/N: There may be spoilers if you haven't read far into the manga (I don't know the exact part). One point is my guess at an aspect of the anime.

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"True pairs"

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Today is February third. Semei took Soubi back one year ago.

With cruelty he seized the fighter as his "property", to treat him like a slave again. Soubi could do nothing but obey, uncooperative slaves are punished.

Though depressed, the older man put up a mask so Semei did not see. Intelligent and observant, Semei knew of the fighter's sadness, his feelings for Ritsuka were evident. He used this awareness against Soubi with evil delight, reminding him now and again about the innocence of his brother, and how the boy trusted his fighter so.

Soubi lost weight, but maintained muscle through rigorous training Semei contemptuously forced him to practice for hours each day, including when he simply wanted the man out of his sight. When Soubi turned to drinking, Semei beat him near senseless. Alcohol damages the body and lessens awareness; a fighter would be incapable of victory in such a state.

During the months since his brother took Soubi away, Ritsuka found the fighter who shares his name. Osamu Kimizuka, his friend from his old school now attended his current middle school, and one day revealed to him why. To his astonishment she explained their connection went deeper than friendship, that they share the name Loveless. She told him to "Forget about Agatsuma Soubi, he's a worthless dog." He shouted at her then, telling her to not talk about Soubi that way. An ice he never saw before came to her eyes, and she said "I'm your true fighter and you can't think about him anymore." Pain suddenly rose to his chest as if hands crushed his lungs. She smiled, taking his hand, and the pain ceased. "I'm stronger than I look", Osamu warned calmly with a smile as he coughed and gasped. He never spoke of Soubi in her presence again, not even to defend against the trash she spat about him. She smashed his cell phone and threw the pieces in the garbage.

It was now month twelve since Soubi saw Ritsuka's smile. Twelve months that Ritsuka thought of Soubi but could not hear his voice. Three hundred and sixty five days since the last time they shared a breath with a stunning kiss.

After school Ritsuka walked behind Osamu from the bakery. She giddily thanked him for buying her croissants, though it was at her behest.

Soubi trailed after Semei who explained the grueling training he must do as punishment for his poor performance on the path to victory in their last battle.

As the Loveless fighter chattered on, and Beloved sacrifice coolly spoke, Ritsuka and Soubi looked ahead. They could hardly believe what they saw as they neared each other on the sidewalk.

When their eyes locked, suffering, love, regret, and joy passed wordlessly between them.

All they wanted but could no longer have was within reach. Soon they were inches apart, and clasped hands. Silent tears flowed down Ritsuka's face, and three familiar words came near to Soubi's lips, but he could not say them.

Neither blamed the other.

They continued walking, hands slowly slipping from grasp.

Semei and Osamu relished in this game play, and would punish their partners later for obvious traitorous thoughts.

Beloved again, it felt to Soubi like the depth of the name Loveless. Ritsuka felt more alone and without love than ever before.

When feet which resembled miles separated them, Ritsuka wiped his face remembering Soubi's caress as Soubi thought about how to escape Semei's control.

Cursing the games of spells and teams and given names both wished only to be together again.

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End

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Hope you liked it, please review.