Disclaimer: I don't own Loveless-belongs to Kouga-san.
A/N: I apologize once more for the severe lateness of this but I began working on it once more as I did not want to work on this story merely to get it finished and over with since I hit a huge, wall of China big road block with this story. I made some corrections with this chapter as needed so that I could continue this. Once I finish this story I plan to get around to a requested Ritsuka/Kio story if anyone is interested. For those that have been waiting for this story to be updated thank you for you immense patience and I hope you have not given up on me or this story.
Ritsuka couldn't help feeling nervous about what they had planned, his nervousness growing as they headed up to the temple behind Sasuke. Sasuke or Naruto had to escort everyone into the temple or the servants wouldn't allow them access. Azumi walked with her hand in his and Soubi behind him.
It had been daunting to hear of Johny's near death experience, they all knew it had been assassins employed by Seven Moons. To think that they would use assassins to get to them angered them and worried them. They worried over their families safety as they all met at the temple.
Once they finally reached the temple and made their way into the inner courtyard they noticed that Johny and Jessie were there, Johny still had bandages over his wound and looked tired and paler than usual. Ritsuka felt a pain in his heart that they had come despite the fact that Johny wasn't fully recovered yet.
Soubi stepped up next to him and whispered, ''We are all determined to end this once and for all to prevent something like that occurring again.''
Ritsuka nodded and held Azumi's hand tighter. She squeezed his hand back and glanced at the clear blue sky. She unconsciously sat down next to Ritsuka and thought back on the change in the one who's hand she held tightly in her own.
Not only was he shy, he was soft spoken most of the time, but he was short tempered and over reacted when he was being teased or pestered. She found it adorable most of the time. She had come to fully understand the true strength Ritsuka possessed by the change in him. He was kind hearted, pure, and even though he had been through a lot in his young life, there was still an air of innocence about him.
Soubi sat down next to Ritsuka as well and smiled at him making Ritsuka blush. The sight of Ritsuka being so shy around him reminded him much of how they were when they first met. Ritsuka took the initiative when it came to Azumi, seeing as how he did have more experience than she did. He often avoided situations with Soubi, but he was fine with that. Having Ritsuka there and being at his side was truly enough. He wanted Ritsuka to follow his heart, not his lust.
Ed and Winry sat next to Tidus and Yuna, Johny and Jessie were seated next to Kairi and Namine. Melissa and Joel sat next to Tye and Angela. Sasuke and Naruto were seated across from Ed and Winry. Jessie handed out ear pieces to everyone since only a few of them spoke fluent English. Everyone put them on and Ed got to his feet and looked at everyone.
''We need to make this short and sweet. We don't want them showing up here. The plan is to go in groups of four. The Quests will disable everything from the inside and make sure they can never rise again. The rest of us will be the distraction. Loveless will be the main distraction since Seven Moons has such a fixation with your group.''
Soubi, Azumi, and Ritsuka nodded. Ritsuka quickly noticed that as soon as Ed started talking that he was speaking in German. Ed sat down and Jessie stood up and addressed everyone, ''Fearless and Faithless will be paired together, the four of you compliment your weaknesses and are the best together. Speechless and Warless will be paired together given the experience level and the power levels you possess. Warless should avoid fighting if you can help it, the Zero's are dangerous and deadly. Melissa and Joel, stick with Loveless and be ready to back them up. Prideless will be going with Wiseless to back us up with our mission. If it gets to rough for anyone, back out and head out to where you are staying. Contact one of us as soon as you can. Whatever you do, sacrifices and their fighters', remain together at all times. Should you get separated then contact one of us immediately. It isn't wise to tread out alone, stay together.''
Everyone nodded and then they all stood. Johny looked around at everyone and said, ''Keep sharp, they have assassins in their that are not Zero's. All of you who know how to fight physically be prepared.''
Sasuke stood up on the deck and disappeared behind a door. He returned with a handful of katana's and kunai bundles. He looked at everyone and said, ''Who can fight with these?''
Ed, Tidus, Soubi, Azumi, Johny, Melissa, and Naruto raised their hands. Sasuke tossed a katana and bundle of kunai to all of them. He hit Naruto over the head with the hilt of the sword before giving it to him and said, ''Dobe, I know you know how to use them.'
Naruto glared at him, ''Ow, Sasuke-teme, whatcha go and do that for?''
''Because you're an idiot.'' He then placed his own sword in his belt and attached the bundle of kunai knives to his right thigh. Once everyone was armed and ready they all headed out. As the descended the stairs and made their way to their vehicles Jessie said to all of them; ''Loveless' group goes in first, the diversion must be a success to succeed.''
Everyone said an affirmative and they all headed to Tokyo for the final and last show down against Seven Moons.
Ritsuka walked silently with Azumi and Soubi up to the gate of the school they hadn't seen in years. He involuntarily shivered as he gazed at the building, the lights were on and there were people running past the windows, the searching drills and training fights. He sighed and took deep breath to push down the horrid memories from the pasts back down. Azumi could feel his distress and she grasped his hand while Soubi placed a hand on his shoulder momentarily.
Then Soubi opened the gate and they entered the courtyard, Melissa and Joel behind them holding hands. For the four of them that had once been to this very school, it was nerve racking to set foot on the grounds voluntarily. Ritsuka heard the voice of Ed in the small ear piece each pair had been given as a precaution.
''Be watchful Ritsuka, I'm sure they will have fighters waiting for you.''
Ritsuka nodded and waved his hand in the air not feeling up to talking at that particular moment. Soubi led the way across the courtyard and they made it to the front door and inside without any trouble. They even made it into the dorm hallway where sacrifices from the ages of twelve to nineteen were running around trying to get to their fighters. They made their way toward the library that was in the opposite direction from the computer room. They made it to the end of the hallway and halfway down the hallway to the left of them before they all stopped in their tracks.
Before them stood a pair, they were a man and woman. The guy was close to Soubi's age with shoulder length blond hair, mischievous green eyes, pale skin, and the physique of a soldier. He wore black cargo pants and combat boots with a white muscle shirt. The woman looked a year or two older than the man with short black hair, tan skin, a soldiers physique as well and piercing, sharp blue eyes. She had a scowl on her face directed at the guy with her eyes. She wore the same outfit as he, but with a black shirt instead.
Soubi stepped forward and said, ''You two must be Courageous, are you observes or activist this time?''
The woman smirked, ''Is that anyway to speak to an elder Soubi-kun?''
He bowed his head, ''Forgive me Mao-san. Good evening Kurtz-kun.''
Kurtz smirked, ''Evening, personally I have no desire to follow their orders or fight any of you. But Melissa Mao is my boss, which is unfortunate at times regardless of how sexy she is . . .''
He was unable to finish his statement due to her punching him in the back of the head with enough ferocity to force him to bend over and stumble. He stood up rubbing the back of his head with a goofy smile on his face, ''What did I . . . '' She hit him again and then addressed Soubi, ''Soubi-kun, unfortunately, we were given orders by the higher ups to stop all of the intruders.''
Soubi nodded, but before he could accept a battle Melissa and Joel stepped up to the front of the small group. Joel held her hand tightly as she said, ''Then we shall be your opponents, do you accept?''
Mao nodded, ''Of course, how nice to see you again Boundless, Melissa-chan and Joel-kun.''
Soubi pulled Ritsuka by the hand when he didn't move on. Azumi still held his other hand tightly in her own and walked behind him. Ritsuka glanced over his shoulder at Melissa and Joel before the battle system was initiated. Soubi released his hand forcing him to look forward.
Soubi said over his shoulder, ''Don't worry, they can fight for themselves. All of us here know who would take our lives and who wouldn't. Courageous is not one that would try to claim our lives.''
Ritsuka did feel slightly better by his words, but he instinctively suspected Soubi, who was always very good at lying. Azumi released his hand and walked slightly slower than they did as she took in her surroundings. They passed the library and continued down a dimly lit hallway to the right at the end of the hallway.
Soubi chuckled to himself at knowing the skeptical look on Ritsuka's face. He truly wished he could kiss him to make him forget about his auspiciousness, but he still wanted Ritsuka and Azumi to be together, they were the true Loveless pair. He stopped suddenly when Ritsuka hissed under his breath and his hand went to his chest. Just above his chest, was the mark of Loveless, a violet, red, and black butterfly, the name written in cursive underneath it as though it were written with a heated, yet thin poker. It was a scar and the butterfly looked as though it's wings were being torn to shreds, the replica of broken dreams, heartache, and hardship, all of which the team Loveless had felt and were destined to feel, at least with Seven Moons involved.
Soubi turned and faced Ritsuka grasping him by the shoulders and stopping him. Azumi stopped a few feet away and Ritsuka locked eyes with Soubi then turned his head away with a blush.
Soubi smiled gently, ''Ritsuka, what is wrong?''
Ritsuka stepped back from him, ''It's nothing Soubi-san,'' Soubi felt a sharp pain in his heart at the formality. They had known and done things together too long to address the other with formalities. Soubi released him and Ritsuka turned and grasped Azumi's hand and led her past him further down the hall.
'I know you're angry with me Ritsuka, but it's really for the best,' Soubi thought to himself. He heard them stop up ahead just as he was going to follow them. Ritsuka released Azumi's hand and lunged at Soubi pinning him against the wall before he knew it by the front of his shirt. Ritsuka glared at him, his eyes looking nearly red with anger.
"Who in the hell are you to decide what is best for me or Azumi, I am quite old enough to decide for myself. Don't sit here and assume you know everything Soubi-san," he said his name bitterly as though he despised the name itself.
Soubi looked him in the eyes and could tell he was close to tears. Ritsuka released him and shoved him against the wall. He walked a few feet towards Azumi and then stopped and turned to look at Soubi, his eyes close to tears.
"I don't know why I love you so much, you always lie, you're always misleading, you're manipulative, but I do. But the fact is Soubi, I have been through plenty of hardships without you there and I do have knowledge about things you don't. I fucking love you and want to be with you, but you push me away and tell me lies like you will always be here for me or you're always there for me, you love me. If you love me so much then why are you hurting me, why are you trying to break my heart, you're a little old for the mind games Soubi-san."
Ritsuka then turned and faced Azumi, "Azumi, I know you're more understanding and I don't mean to break your heart or hurt you. But I have to be true to my feelings. As much of a connection me and you have, I just . . . it's different with him. I'm sorry I can't be for you what he was for me, or ever really be that person for you because of how I feel for him."
Azumi smiled sweetly at him, ''Have you finally figured out how you feel then Ritsuka-kun?"
Ritsuka nodded and she noticed the tears glistening down his cheek. She walked over to him and embraced him. She ran her fingers through his hair and said softly, "Then that makes me happy, as long as you follow your heart I am truly happy for you. I will manage, I promise."
Ritsuka embraced her back and sniffed then pulled back and wiped away his tears with the back of his hand. She brushed his bangs behind his ears and smiled, "I just ask one last thing before this is officially over between you and me."
Ritsuka nodded, "Of course, anything you wish."
She blushed, "One last kiss . . . please?"
Ritsuka blushed and Soubi couldn't help the small smile from her timid words. Ritsuka stepped up close to her and tilted her chin by gently placing his hand on her cheek with his thumb under her chin. He tilted his head and they closed their eyes as their lips met. Ritsuka gently deepened the kiss and boldly took the lead by running his tongue over her bottom lip. She softly gasped and parted her lips. The kiss had them both feeling light headed and warm in their very cores. Ritsuka wasn't foolish enough to try and deny that this kiss, this swelling emotion in him was much stronger than it was when they had last kissed.
He stepped away and looked at Soubi over his shoulder. Soubi walked past him and brushed his hand over his shoulder as he continued down the hallway. Ritsuka met Azumi's eyes, a slight blush dusting her cheeks and his cheeks heating up at the sight of it. He felt as though his entire body was humming, but he truly despaired at the strength of it. It had been months since Soubi kissed him, but the feeling of when he last did seemed so far away compared to the kiss he and Azumi had just shared.
He grasped her hand and led her down the hallway after Soubi. 'Soubi lies, he's always lied and I can never be sure I can trust him let alone think straight when I'm near him. He's always been very good at twisting his words, at manipulating someone into doing as he wishes. I was a kid back then but he still talked me into doing things I was against and . . . ' Ritsuka had cherished those times because at the time he was so desperate to have a way to forget about the pain he was in, to forget about how much it hurt to not have Seime in his life anymore, how much it hurt to always fear losing everyone close to him. Soubi gave him something else to focus on, an escape and he did teach him some of the better things in life. He had questioned Soubi's loyalty, his love at the begining but Ritsuka had fallen for the older man, he'd started to savor his time with him, to love the smell of cigarettes when before he'd hated that smokey scent. He started to love the lavender scent of Soubi's hair, the feel of his skin, the light headedness Soubi's kisses brought, the heat that always came over him when Soubi's larger, skilled hands would run over his skin.
Soubi knew him inside and out and Ritsuka still had yet to learn everything about Soubi, he was always a step behind and when he thought he finally had the man figured out then he ended up not knowing anything at all. Soubi was a mystery, a risk, he was dangerous to Ritsuka because he was influential and he could make him forget about a lot of things and yet Ritsuka didn't want to let him go.
Azumi on the other hand was still new to the level of intimacy that came with being a fighter pair. Though he felt in control around her, though he could still keep his mind about him when he was around her did he really want the safe road when he could have something more than a comfortable and peaceful relationship? Did he really want to never feel so overwhelmed with feeling that he shortly forgot about all the pain he'd endured in his life?
Azumi watched him out of the corner of her eye. She knew that even though he had made that declaration earlier, he still hadn't chosen. The kiss was just proof that their connection to one another was not to be ignored, there was a stronger passion this time, and it seemed that it was only growing. She was growing more confident that he may chose to be with her, but she also felt guilt well up inside of her at the thought. She wanted him to be happy didn't she? Wasn't love more than just attraction and lust and want, wasn't it about being together, being happy, being honest with yourself and giving yourself completely? Did he know that, did he realize that was what she intended to do as much as she expected it of him?
Azumi's mood fell as another thought came to her; 'Ritsuka will never be completely mine, he will always have feelings for Soubi. They shared so much, have been through so much and I . . . I pale in comparison to all of that. It doesn't matter if the feelings between us have grown because Ritsuka will always belong with Soubi and nothing is going to change that.'
Azumi eased her hand free from Ritsuka's causing him to pause and turn around to look at her in question. She bowed her head and whispered, "Be with him, I want you to be happy and stop lying to yourself. This is torture to all of us, being torn and you being torn between choosing."
She refused to look up, she couldn't meet those violet eyes or she would lose her resolve to end this heartache. She would not give up, no matter how much her heart was breaking she had to let him go, she had to. She shook her head and clenched her hands at her side, "No, don't say anything or argue with me, I want you to go back with him and be happy. I don't want you to suffer anymore," she said it with such conviction that Ritsuka found he couldn't speak, she'd practically ordered him to be silent with that tone of voice.
He noticed that Soubi had paused and was watching them from a respectable distance, his piercing gaze settling over them both. Ritsuka wished to say something to tell her that she didn't need to do this but she didn't give him the chance and so he had to remain their in commanded silence.
"I can command you to be happy, to forget me and you can't do anything about it can you?"
Ritsuka tensed where he stood and slowly, hesitantly shook his head the slightest bit. It was enough for her and she finally turned her gaze to him, her eyes locking with his and making his stomach twist with dread. Soubi actually stepped forward towards them as though he was going to argue, to tell her not to do what she had in mind but when her gaze turned sharply to him he stopped feet from them and held his tongue.
There was such determination in her eyes, such strength she had to have to go through with this and yet Ritsuka had no doubt that she would do so when he eyes locked with his own once more. She took a deep breath and then said in a strong, final tone, "Ritsuka Aoyogi, I order you to forget everything about me and to be with Soubi Agatsuma, to remain with him for as long as both of you are alive, to love him, and to be happy with him."
Ritsuka's eyes closed against his will as her order washed over him, trapping him in place with invisible restraints that seemed to burn across every inch of his skin and also sent sharp shocks of pain through his viens when he tried to fight it. 'So this was what it felt like to be completely at the mercy of another, to have to follow orders blindly without the chance to resist or to argue?' Ritsuka didn't know he'd fallen to his knees from the strength of the order until he distantly heard Soubi's voice call out his name.
Soubi looked up at Azumi with hurt, fearful, blue eyes as he knelt before Ritsuka's trembling form. She met his gaze unwaveringly and then said softly, "Cherish him, make him happy."
"Azumi, why did-"
"Don't. You were dead to me long ago when you disappeared and though I had to let him go I will keep what I did have with me forever. He is not mine, he never will be, he loves you and will never let you go. You can't survive without him, but I can and will. Goodbye Soubi Agatsuma," with that she turned and ran, tears falling like raindrops and landing on Soubi's cheek. He bowed his head in depair as he placed his hand on Ritsuka's trembling shoulder, he'd lost and failed his younger sister and caused her such pain now that he'd finally found her again. As much as he wanted to be with Ritsuka, as much as he loved him and cherished him and wanted to find happiness with him the cost was his sister, was her broken heart, was Ritsuka not making the choice on his own but being forced by the only person that could truly order him to do anything.
Once the trembling stopped Soubi knew that Ritsuka would be completely drained, that he would lose consciousness and most likely sleep for days while Azumi's order carried through and removed all his memories of her. Soubi would have what he'd wished for but it would be so much different from before, now he was one the receiving end of someone loving him because they were ordered too and he would have to make Ritsuka fall in love with him all over again. The guilt and torment of what Azumi suffered because of this would remain with him always.
They had a battle ahead of them but Soubi could do nothing more than to fall back now, he had to get Ritsuka out of here before they lost their lives and while he was at it he needed to come to terms with the events that had just taken place and assess how it made him feel and how he would continue with how heartbroken his sister was would eat away at him for whatever remained of his life.
Three Days Later . . .
Ritsuka let out a yawn and stretched his arms over his head languidly before turning on his side to snuggle into the warmth beside him. He inhaled the scent of cigarettes and lavender with a warm smile, he was comfortable and happy, and if he still had his tail it would probably be wagging like some joyful puppy's. The past three days were a blur to him, like they had passed in a haze and there was something . . . No . . . I've forgotten something, forgotten someone . . . Ritsuka went as white as a sheet and sat up quickly, the one laying next to him gave a grunt as they were jostled. Ritsuka would have leapt from the bed where he was but his thoughts had shocked him too much to move anymore than he already had.
Though he recognized where he was there were gaps in his memory, things he couldn't remember and when he tried to figure out what they were he ended up cradling his head with his hands as sharp, piercing pain shot through his head like violent blows. A whimper of pain, exasperation, and horror at having forgotten again escaped him and another rough sound escaped the one next to him as blue eyes opened and peered at him warily. Ritsuka did nothing to announce he knew the man was awake. He knew Soubi was there, knew he was alive, knew some pieces of a battle that had taken place only days ago, knew of people, but something was off, someone was missing. This can't be happening again . . . Not again . . . I swore I'd never forget anyone, never forget again and . . . A sob escaped him unbidden and Soubi moved again on the bed this time reaching for him but Ritsuka did move then, he jumped and scooted away from Soubi's comforting touch.
Wide, horror stricken violet eyes looked into piercing blue worried eyes as Ritsuka moved to the edge of the bed. There was an apology in Soubi's eyes which caused Ritsuka to avert his gaze in disbelief. Soubi knows, knows what it is I've forgotten . . . Ritsuka closed his eyes as he ducked his head, he felt so tired, so hurt, so lost at the moment. His amnesia had happened again, but the first time he was in an accident so it was different than now. Now there was a force that kept him from remembering, something that blocked out the memories he could feel he'd lost. It wasn't a black void of nothing like before, this was locked away, there but not within his reach.
"Ritsuka . . ." Soubi whispered in the silence of the room but Ritsuka shook his head, he still couldn't find it in himself to speak, to say anything at all. Another sharp pain shot through his head as he tried once again to remember what it was he'd forgotten elicting another whimper from him. Soubi reached out again and Ritsuka reacted on instinct slapping his hand away with a sharp smack that seemed to echo off the walls of the empty room. Ritsuka vaguely noticed that it was daylight outside, the sun poured into the room and he knew he was in his home, in the apartment he shared with Michael.
"School," Soubi answered easily. Ritsuka let out a tired sigh and adjusted himself on the bed so that he could rest against the wall. He leaned his head against the wall with his eyes closed, "What . . . what happened?"
Ritsuka could feel Soubi's intense gaze on him but he kept his eyes closed, he idly wandered if he could order Soubi to tell him what it was he'd forgotten, who he'd forgotten . . . he was certain it was a person that he'd forgotten considering the gaps in certain events he couldn't recall. The lost memories were a constant ache in his chest, they were leaving him feeling drained and exhausted as though he'd lost someone dear to him. It was almost like when he'd lost Seime, or thought he had both times, but at the same time more intense.
"The Battle with Seven Moons . . . "
Ritsuka opened his eyes and looked directly at Soubi at the mention of that, "We . . how are the others?"
"I sent word that we were not going to be present and they reluctantly pulled back."
Ritsuka felt guilt at having caused the others worry over him as well as having been the reason for the fighting to stop so suddenly. He detested violence but he knew that this fight was not something that could be avoided, it was a battle that had to take place. Seven Moons had to be stopped for all the pain they had caused and still wished to cause. He hung his head, he was so weak, still such a child to be worrying over his own problems when others were depending on him and Soubi and . . . sharp pain laced through him, a cry escaped him as the pain grew, this time it was more than just a piercing, sharp pain, it was torrent, a white hot lace of pain that shot through his head and down his spine and back again. His stomach twisted, his chest tightened, he felt nauseous, dizzy in its' wake and more drained than ever. His body was starting to ache due to the shaking tremors that passed through him.
Soubi placed a steadying hand on his shoulder and some of the pain faded away, enough for Ritsuka to be able to think once more but when he made to speak his voice felt rough, hoarse and unwilling to work for him so he kept quiet. He still trembled in the after math and there was a cold sweat on his skin that only caused him to shiver more but he mind was starting to clear and he could feel Soubi's presence, the familiar scent of lavender and cigarettes and it helped to calm him.
Soubi's voice was firm and there was a warning tone in it as he spoke, "Ritsuka, you have to stop this. These memories you've lost you cannot get back. Trying is going to kill you."
Ritsuka let out a whimper of pain, he couldn't, he couldn't stop trying to remember, he'd sworn he'd never forget . . . He never allowed himself to completely forget his friends, his teacher, his doctor, his parents, Seime, he'd never forgotten them. He could not forget now, couldn't forget someone's entire existence, it hurt not knowing, not having whoever it was with him hurt him.
"Why . . . why did this . . ." Ritsuka let out an involuntary sob and didn't fight Soubi as he embraced him and held him in his arms. Ritsuka ducked his head under Soubi's chin and nuzzled into his chest pulling his legs and arms up so that he was practically in a ball. He knew he was crying and though he'd also made the promise not to cry over things years ago, right now he couldn't stop the tears. He'd forgotten again and that was something he had no choice in but it still felt like he'd betrayed someone.