[An AU of sorts] Soubi doesn't understand why he's suddenly attracting so many fourteen-year-olds.
"I will you give you anything," he says with such determination that Soubi half believes him. "My body, my life, my heart. All of it is for you."
"Ask and you shall receive?" Soubi suggested, bemused.
Soubi rises from the bench and stretches languorously. "Ritsuka, was it?" The boy's ears twitch and Soubi can't help but think how small he is, how helpless - "I'm going to go home now. So, I suppose I'll see you around."
He turns to walk off of the beach and actually go to his apartment complex (already dreaming about the expresso he'll make upon arrival), when Ritsuka grips the end of his jacket. "Wait!"
And something makes him stop and turn to see Ritsuka's stricken face - so white, so pale he thinks - and Ritsuka's lips are moving but he can't seem to hear
The beach lights up in an explosion of white and orange and Ritsuka screams something that he doesn't quite catch and then - in the immediate stillness - he hears a voice.
"Hey!" More kids, Soubi thinks. "Beloved! Come with us."
He turns to Ritsuka - who looks even more pale and fragile - and asks, "Are they calling for you?"
"No," Ritsuka grounds out and Soubi thinks Finally I can hear him, "They're calling for /you./"
"But my name isn't-"
"/It is!/ Don't reject your real name."
Soubi puts his hand on Ritsuka's shoulder - so thin, so small - in an attempt to calm him. "I won't."
"Well, look who's here." A pair of kids sidle up to them and Soubi is wondering how the hell his day can get any more populated with these little tykes when Ritsuka steps in front of him protectively. He doesn't find it appropriate to laugh at the irony.
"What do you want, Breathless?" It sounds so cold and detached and unlike the passionate Ritsuka Soubi has come to vaguely know in the past half-hour or so.
"We've come for Beloved," answers the taller one. A boy with pale green hair and a cocky attitude. Kids.
"On whose orders?"
"What does it matter?" The green haired boy sneers. "You can't stop us anyway."
Ritsuka's tail bristles and he hisses more than speaks: "/I declare this to be a battle of spells./"
"Midori," says the girl next to him, short purple hair that doesn't even reach her chin, "can he do that?"
"/We accept./" Midori says.
And Soubi is left wondering if he should have killed that spider this morning, because karma can be a real bitch.
"Sentouki system initiate. /You will not emerge victorious from this battle./"
"A power-down spell so early in the game?" Midori mocks, his one visible eyebrow quirked surprisingly close to his hairline. "Start him off slow Ai; let's show him how it's done."
Ai and Midori hold hands and sort of intone: "/Breathless. So fierce it's impossible to breathe./"
"What are they doing?" Soubi asks.
"The joining of names, the bonding of souls."
"Do you have to have the same name to do it?"
Ritsuka tosses him a look that he can't quite decipher and says: "It has never been tried before."
"Ritsuka..." Soubi breathes.
"Your eyes... They're black."
"It is of no consequence."
When he turns back to the battle, Ai is already holding a spell in her hands. /I didn't hear anything/, Ritsuka thinks before she smiles and throws it. Ritsuka ducks, then remembers Soubi and barely launches a barrier in time.
"Can't seem to remember what it's like to fight with a sacrifice, Nameless?"
Ritsuka grits his teeth but says- in an eerily calm voice- "Ice that blows from the heavens, deliver your justice upon my enemies."
"/Useless. Your defense cannot shield you from heavenly justice./"
The shards of ice that formed at Ritsuka's words impacted on the shield, and Breathless flinched. When the mist cleared, Breathless was facedown. "And yet I cannot speak the words of victory," muttered Ritsuka.
"Words of victory?" Soubi asked from his sitting position behind Ritsuka.
"The words are used to finish the battle."
"Is that a part of a ceremony or something?"
"Without the words, we cannot leave."
Soubi smiles and Ritsuka feels that he's missed something important.
"Midori, are you alright?"
Midori groans. "Ai, you have to be more careful," he chastises as he gets up, "we obviously underestimated him."
"The professor did mention something like this, right?"
"Yeah," Midori replies as he focuses on the bored looking pair a ways in front of him, "but I didn't expect him to be so strong. Especially because..."
"He is of the Aoyagi clan."
"True. But that just makes his position more unfortunate."
"Are you done yet?" a dispassionate voice calls from the other end of the battlefield.
"C'mon Ai. Let's get this done with."
"/Winds of darkness, blind our opponent and make him senseless!/"
Ritsuka curses and Soubi eyes him - surprised. "Aren't you going to counter that?"
"I don't know how."
"Why not just use another wind to blow it back to them?"
Ritsuka mumbles something Soubi doesn't quite catch and then turns around. "Soubi, I need you to kiss me."
Ritsuka's eyes seem to lighten as he blushes and repeats himself.
His eyes darken. "Quickly, we don't have much time!"
"This is so wrong."
"Morals later. Kiss me already!"
Soubi sighs and thinks this is probably going to bar him from Nirvana, grabs Ritsuka and kisses him full on the lips. No tongue, of course.
Ritsuka sighs and deflates a little before pressing his lips back against Soubi's. Surprised, Soubi pulls back. "What-" But Ritsuka has already turned, a bony hand extended toward the Breathless pair.
"/Holy winds, rid us of this miasma. And bestow upon my enemies a gift - the dark wind they have conjured./"
"Ack!" Breathless dissolves into fits of coughing.
"/The Victory of this battle belongs to me./"
And then the world tilts again and returns back to normal. Well, except for a few things. Ritsuka is passed out on Soubi's lap, that Breathless pair is passed out on the edge of the beach, and Soubi has the distinct feeling that karma is really, really pissed off at him.
Yes, I know that Midori can't technically accept a battle, but I wanted to illustrate the hot-cold of the Breathless relationship. So, Ai actually said it after him, but I didn't feel it was necessary to write it out. Then it would make the fic look... well, to be frank, superfluous. Also, during the battle, Breathless summons a miasma. Yes, a touch of my own personal genius. Although I felt that I made them a bit more efficient than they are in the anime, it has something to do with age. Since the anime informs that Breathless is the same age as Ritsuka, and Ritsuka is two years older in my fiction, I made them slightly better with age. A few more aces up their sleeves. Which is about a few more than they had when they were twelve.
Oh, yes: And the whole 'bony hand' description was sort of symbolic, both fiction-wise and symbolism-wise.