Soubi cares for Ritsuka.
He counted Ritsuka's ribs silently, feathering his fingers along each one as he went; each lone protruding bone a tribute to his mother's cruelty.
The boy was now bandaged and half unconscious on Soubi's bed, clothes having been removed to treat the many injuries he'd sustained due to his mother's insanity.
It was painful for Soubi to see his sacrifice this way, beaten, bloodied and broken, listening to what he'd been told. Ritsuka firmly believed that he could never be good enough, accepted that he was never included as part of the Aoyagi family and preferred not to make any friends as his current self would certainly some day disappear from this life and leave them behind.
The young boy honestly thought that only the real Ritsuka should be afforded those luxurious; love, affection, kindness, friendship. Those were only things that actual people could hope to experience. For him, only darkness and loneliness were expected.
Soubi had never imagined any pain as great as the one that engulfed him each and every time he found Ritsuka huddled on his doorstep, peering at him with those sad, lost eyes. The sight of those violet pools silently begging him for reassurance that his existence was still necessary, that there was a purpose for him in continuing this life, haunted him endlessly.
He wasn't entirely certain how to reassure the boy that he needed him, that he loved him more than he'd ever thought it possible to love another human being. Ritsuka always looked relieved when Soubi cradled him to his chest, but there was an eternal layer of disbelief etched in the fragile features.
Soubi did the best he could, but knew it wasn't enough. He understood that Ritsuka needed more than he knew how to give. And he always opened his door with a certain amount of dread, wondering if this would be the time, if this very night would be the night that he lost his beloved sacrifice forever.
Closing his eyes against the sudden wetness there, Soubi leaned down and laid his head on Ritsuka's stomach, hoping, praying that he could find a way to convince this beautiful boy of his immense worth before it was too late.
A/N: I do hope that the tenses are right, I've had a heckuva time lately with them for some reason! Let me know what you think!