[Author's note: This is set during episode 3/chapter 4 of the anime and manga respectively. (I used both as inspiration.) Please see my disclaimer page for copyright information regarding this story.]
Everything We Touch, Changes
A Loveless Fanfic
By Natalie Baan
/This is wrong./
Ritsuka lay on his back on the bed, staring up toward the ceiling, hands clasped behind his neck. From time to time he blinked, a shivering flutter of lashes over his eyes as he refocused, trying to keep that pale, blank surface above him from blurring, but his mind kept wandering, and then he'd suddenly discover that he wasn't seeing what was in front of him anymore, that he was seeing what was only in his thoughts: a person who wasn't even there. The curtains stirred on either side of the open window, restless in the breeze, framing the black emptiness that echoed other hollow places, other missing pieces--he kept pushing those aches aside, firmly, angrily sometimes, but they just kept coming back. He tried not to think about Soubi, who used that window as casually if it were a door--as if it were his own /personal/ door--but he couldn't, just as he somehow couldn't find it in himself to get up and close that window, to lock it against any further intrusion.
And right at that moment, more than anything else, he couldn't stop thinking about the piercing he'd just done--about how simple it was, how it might seem like nothing at all until you realized that it actually meant punching through someone's /flesh./
Flinching, he blinked again, more fiercely. Something like that...it shouldn't be so /easy./ His own hands--small, just as he was small for his age--shouldn't be strong enough to leave such marks. Just a quick squeeze of the piercing gun....
One ear, and then the other. Had it been easier the second time? Or harder, realizing what he had just done and knowing that, despite himself, he was about to do it again?
One. Two. Like the passing of the years, since that time that he couldn't remember.
One. Two. Like the beating of a heart.
And he knew that his heart would not stop beating, no matter how much he wished it would sometimes, when the pain became too much to bear, but instead it would keep on going, counting out moment after moment, and he knew that the years would not stop passing, that they would keep on going too, taking him farther and farther away from Seimei.
Away from the person that he'd been.
And between himself, and Soubi....
Rolling over onto his side, he curled in on himself, arms folding about his own trembling--he felt once more the metal and plastic slick against his palms, Soubi's arms lapped loosely about his waist, the faint catch in Soubi's breath, until then warm and even against his neck, as he'd clenched his teeth and his hands at the same time, driving the needle home, wanting and not-wanting so desperately that it made him sweat, that it made him want to scream /I don't understand you, I don't understand any of this!/
Again and again. Step by step, along a road whose ending he couldn't see.
Would it stop there? Or anywhere?
Ritsuka closed his eyes, but still he could see Soubi.
/This is wrong. But..../
His ears quivered, flat against his head. He hugged his arms more tightly around himself, hands fisted at his shoulders. And then, muscle by muscle, he began to relax, slowly, reluctantly, inevitably, into this strange, new equilibrium, nothing ever quite the same--gently now, gently, while outside the rain pattered, hissed, and sighed, as if somebody were whispering his name, over and over.