Loveless - Call Me Anytime PART THREE
Title: Call Me Anytime
Characters: Soubi, Ritsuka
Genre: Not-quite-right hookup.
Ritsuka turned around and around, trying to orient himself, but the forest didn't have anything that could be used as a landmark, just an endless number of trees in every direction. The sun was already down, even the twilight was fading, and meanwhile the moon hadn't yet risen. When the last of the light faded, he wouldn't even have the trees for company: just himself, and the darkness.
He tried not to panic.
Where was Mom? He hadn't come here alone, he'd been following her, but sometime in the last few minutes he'd lost sight of her. If he'd only walked a little faster. Then he wouldn't be lost, alone, in the woods, at night...Ritsuka could feel the sky darkening with every quick irregular breath, and it was with a supreme act of will that he forced himself to breathe deeper.
He had to think. Maybe it wasn't too late, and he could still catch up with her. He looked down -- there was a path. Relief surged through him. If he followed the path, he'd surely find Mom at the end, waiting to welcome him back home. His eyes on his feet on the ground, Ritsuka started walking.
And walking. Mom was around the corner, behind the next tree -- somehow he knew this, although he didn't know how he knew. He came abrest of the tree, passed it, and...
She wasn't there. That was fine: she was behind the next tree.
She wasn't there either. Ritsuka broke into a run. The trees began to blur, until they were a solid line of black on either side, then a tunnel with only a small circle of dark grey sky in front of him. Ritsuka ran faster than he ever had, so fast he was nearly flying, but no matter how fast he ran he wasn't fast enough. He ran for what felt like hours, and when he finally stopped he wasn't in the woods anymore, he was standing by a scenic mountain overpass.
He padded to the guardrail, then leaned over to look down. Below was only an endless, aching darkness, and Ritsuka pulled back, horrified; but it didn’t matter, somehow he'd lost his balance and he was falling end over end into nothingness...
Warm arms wrapped around him from behind. "It's alright," Soubi said, and Ritsuka believed him.
He stopped falling.
His face was pressed into the back of the couch in a way that was sure to leave a mark.
A dream, Ritsuka realized, then corrected himself:
Relief loosened every muscle in his body; his spine turned to rubber and toes throbbed. Soubi had been the one to wake him, Ritsuka had never loved him more than he did at this instant -- but in a minute he'd have to open his eyes, and then the feeling was sure to fade.
So he kept his eyes closed, because he could still feel Soubi's arms around him.
Soubi's hold was loose, and his breathing was even. His chest rose and fell at Ritsuka's back with reassuring predictability. Ritsuka could almost imagine that he could feel Soubi's heart beating, exactly sixty beats per minute like a metronome. With his face pressed to the back of the couch, he wasn't getting enough air, so Ritsuka turned until he could tuck his head under Soubi's chin. He kept his hands limp at his sides -- if anyone asked, he was still asleep.
Soubi slid his hands over Ritsuka's pajamas until they came to rest at the small of his back, right over his tail.
Ritsuka kept his eyes closed.
Soubi kissed from the top of his forehead to his human ear, small light kisses in quick succession.
Ritsuka twitched, but kept his eyes closed.
Soubi's hands found the boundary between Ritsuka's pajama top and pajama bottom; one hand slipped between to his bare skin, and spread, the fingers splayed over half his lower back.
Soubi's got big hands, Ritsuka thought distractedly. He kept his eyes-
"You're awake," Soubi said. His fingers flexed staccato, and the odd sensation traveled all the way up Ritsuka's spine, a shivery, shuddery feeling. Ritsuka's breath caught. Before he could decide whether the feeling had been good or bad, Soubi followed it up by mouthing one ear.
That was just weird.
"S-Soubi!" Ritsuka brought his hands up to Soubi's chest and pushed, with the unfortunate effect that his hips were brought directly into contact with Soubi's.
Soubi smiled. "Good morning, Ritsuka." His arm at Ritsuka's waist, if anything, tightened.
A small noise escaped from Ritsuka's throat. He couldn't breathe. "Don’t 'good morning' me, what do think you're - ah, s-stop that!"
Soubi pulled his mouth away from Ritsuka's collarbone, leaving a small wet spot on the skin. "No?"
"No! Get off!"
Soubi sighed and shifted away, and Ritsuka fought himself to keep from following. He followed Soubi with his eyes as Soubi very slowly stood up. His hand at Ritsuka's back stayed there until the end; Ritsuka watched it retreat. With his other hand, Soubi picked his glasses off the armrest. He started to put them back on.
"Wait," Ritsuka said.
Ritsuka pushed himself up with an elbow until he was sitting, not lying, on the couch. The change made him feel a little less vulnerable, but only a little. His mouth moved, but no sound came out. "Don't go away, because I don't want to be alone," he didn't say. "Stay, because I don't want to be abandoned again," he didn't say. He stared at Soubi's chest, two feet away.
Suddenly two feet felt like an ocean. Even losing his ears would be better than drowning.
"...let me hold you," he said, finally
"Yes," Soubi said, and took his glasses off again.
As Soubi sat beside him on the couch and leaned in, Ritsuka reasoned that he was only going a little further than he had before; and if he did well, Soubi wouldn't have any reason to leave.
He intercepted Soubi's kiss with one hand. "Before we start...before you get any weird ideas...there's a rule." He swallowed.
Soubi met his gaze calmly, but with obvious interest. If he'd still had ears, Ritsuka thought they might have pricked forward. His face burned, but he doggedly continued, "You're only allowed to kiss me, okay? Just kissing, absolutely nothing else. Got it?"
"Yes," Soubi said, and something about the tone...
With one hand, he tilted Ritsuka's head up for a kiss, full on the lips. The other hand slipped down - "
"I'm only kissing," Soubi murmured against his lips. "This is for balance."
Ritsuka wasn't sure he believed that. But, well, it was true that in their current position -- half twisted towards each other, but with their legs dangling over the edge of the couch -- there was only Soubi's arm at his back to hold them together.
It didn't need to be so low, though. Soubi's fingers brushed the base of his tail and Ritsuka shuddered. He mewled. This wasn't how it supposed to go! This was just like before, Soubi always acting and Ritsuka always reacting.
Before he could change his mind, Ritsuka swung himself around until he was straddling Soubi's waist. "M-My legs were falling asleep," he said, defensively, when Soubi raised an eyebrow.
Soubi just smiled. Ritsuka clutched at his shoulders; Soubi moved both hands to Ritsuka's waist. His head dipped low, until his lips were at Ritsuka's throat. His breath was warm, and his kisses went lower and lower...
The shirt is in the way, Ritsuka thought, but he didn't move, just tilted his head back to stare unseeing at the ceiling. His grip on Soubi's shoulders tightened. Soubi sucked at his collarbone, and Ritsuka's back arched; only Soubi's hands at his waist kept him from tumbling backwards onto the floor. Then Soubi's head came up and they kissed lip-to-lip again, deeper this time.
With a sudden, disorienting rush, Soubi leaned, changing their position from vertical to horizontal mid-kiss.
Ritsuka's hands landed on either side of Soubi's head. He stared down, incredulous. Soubi just smiled and reached up to place a hand on either cheek.
"I love you, Ritsuka," he said, and before the words could affect him the way they usually did -- before they could cause that painful little stab in his chest -- Soubi pulled him down and kissed him.
Which was probably why he didn't hear the front door open.
"Ritsuka! Ritsuka! Are you home? I was going to visit Grandpa, but I couldn't leave without --"
Masaki paused at the entrance to the living room. From his position underneath Rituka, who had been wriggling a moment ago but now looked ready to go into shock, Soubi had an excellent view of her silently opening and closing mouth. Whatever she was trying to say, it seemed that her vocal chords were in no mood to cooperate.
Maybe it ran in the family.
"Mom!" Ritsuka said, horrified, after he'd finally managed to recover somewhat. He scrambled off Soubi, adjusting his pajamas. "Mom, it's not what it looks-"
"...not my son," Masaki said. Ritsuka's mouth snapped shut, a pained expression passing over his face. Soubi took his time sitting up.
"Not my Ritsuka," Masaki went on. "He would never." Her fingers tightened around the keys in her right hand, the knuckles turning white. "Never." She slowly raised her hand -- it was shaking -- and there was a glint in her eye that Soubi immediately disliked.
He stood, deliberately, and her gaze shifted from Ritsuka, who was drooping so low he was almost melting into the floor, to him.
"What are you doing her-"
"An invisible fog descends on your thoughts," Soubi said. "You become insensible to your surroundings."
The effect was instantaneous. Masaki trailed off, her eyes going wide and vacant. Her hand dropped, the fingers loosening until her keys dropped through them to the floor. She stood diffidently, looking at nothing in particular.
Soubi had lost the knack for anger a long time ago, but he was definitely annoyed. It was an annoyance that bordered on rage -- but out of respect for Ritsuka, who for some reason cared about her, he didn't give voice to any of the several thousand extremely painful punishments he could imagine inflicting on this woman.
Instead he said, "Your most recent memories are fragile glass beads, they shatter into ten million irregular pieces," and had the satisfaction of seeing something die deep in her empty eyes, and knowing she wouldn't be using what she'd seen to hurt Ritsuka.
Who was staring at him with an expression ten times more horrified than the one he'd had for his mother a moment ago.
Ritsuka looked at Soubi and saw someone completely different from the cheerfully perverted University student who'd come to pick him up in a borrowed car. Someone completely terrifying. Soubi had just used Words, without even declaring a battle.
He'd used Words on Ritsuka's mother, and he'd made her forget what had just happened.
Voice shaking, Ritsuka said, "Undo the memory loss."
Soubi's face showed confusion, then a dawning realization.
"I'm sorry," he said, "but that Spell is irreversible."
It was like something snapped. As Soubi looked on in concern, Ritsuka went from shaking to completely still.
"Wake her up," he said, in a flat voice.
Soubi snapped his fingers, and Misaki blinked in confusion.
"Now leave," Ritsuka said, "and don't ever come back."
"Get out. Right now."
At least one person totally called the ending orz. I like the next chapter even less than I like this one, but the chapter after that I am actually looking forward to.