My love for you is kimochi-real
People could be reborn, sometimes time and time again.
This was the third time Soubi had been reborn. Once had been when his parents had died. Twice was on the day he was forced into adulthood, and thus, forced to realize how alone he was. And now- All of that was being left behind. Soubi was being reborn. The old, dirty layers were being torn away from him, and he was emerging new again. The rebirth of a blank Fighter was something phenomenal, beautiful, and violent.
Soubi knew he was going to be reborn. Soubi didn’t want to be reborn. Soubi wanted to stay here, where he’d lived for eleven years of his life, withstanding Ritsu-sensei’s constant teachings, as well as his ‘teachings’. He didn’t want to change, and he didn’t want anything else to change. In Soubi’s life, change was a bad thing. Any sort of drastic change in his life was followed by intense emotions of despair, anger, and wanting to scream and cry. That’s what change meant to Soubi. The simple prospect of it scared him, striking fear into his angry, naive, adolescent body. He didn’t want change. He didn’t know how to change.
All he knew was Seven Voices and Ritsu. He was known as the blank Fighter in a sexual relationship with the principal who got into constant fights in school but could easily kill another unit while fighting a spell battle alone. That was all he knew, too. He knew nothing of the outside world and what it held, nor did he know anything about normal human interaction. His head was too muddled with being submissive and always, always obeying his Sacrifice. He was a naive boy who feared being thrust into the outside world, alone with a stranger he was supposed to call his Sacrifice.
He was scared of being reborn, and angry, as well. He wasn’t good enough for Ritsu. He’d tried hard to please him, and yet, he wasn’t better than his dead mother. Sensei was giving him away, and even if Soubi hated him, Soubi had never felt more alone in his life, because even if Soubi hated him, he loved him, too, and he was all Soubi had. And he was about to lose that all.
It was like losing his parents all over again. His relationship with Ritsu was a whole lot of bad—painful, unloving, confusing, frustrating, and some called it abusive, though Ritsu said it was just training—but after his parents’ deaths, Ritsu was the only person left, and he was the person Soubi had depended upon for eleven years and now to suddenly have to leave all that behind—it hurt him, and Soubi would’ve done anything to make Ritsu let him stay. And he tried to, not that it ever worked. Soubi was going to be reborn whether he wanted it or not. After all, there was no such thing as consent for Fighters.
Soubi was scared of rebirth, but like all butterflies, he was forced to do it.
Seimei wasn’t what he’d expected.
Actually, Soubi hadn’t known what he’d expected. Someone like Ritsu-sensei. An adult. The person who came into the designated room was none other than a child. Fourteen, Ritsu-sensei had said. Younger than Soubi. Shorter than Soubi. Purer than Soubi. The first thing he noticed was the virgin ears on his head, his bushy tail twitching slightly behind him. The second thing he noticed was the smile on his face, the welcoming it held, and to Soubi, it seemed gentle, almost, and yet, Soubi felt as if there was something more behind it. In that moment, when he met Seimei’s eyes, he was completely and totally captured and pinned. Something started in that moment, something Soubi couldn’t explain, and when Seimei held out his hand with that smile, telling him to come to him, there was no more hesitation. The moment Seimei told him to come, Soubi went.
He trembled, shaking as Seimei took his hand. He hardly heard the boy’s parting words to Ritsu, and Soubi found himself with no words to say. He looked back once, and only once, and he say his now former teacher with an expression he’d never seen before. He couldn’t place what it was—sadness? Regret?—but he turned quickly away. He rarely saw Ritsu express emotions, and never before had he ever seen him so clearly do it. It wasn’t what he’d wanted to see. He’d wanted a goodbye, or a nod of approval, but he got neither and this was the end. A soft tug on his hand and a word of encouragement reminded him of such. Seimei went and Soubi followed, head down and silent.
No one needed to say it.
Soubi didn’t look back as they left the school. He knew he wasn’t going back. He knew that this was the end, and that this was the beginning. No one needed to tell him that. He was being led out into the world by someone he’d just met, a boy with something dark behind his welcoming smiles. He was going to serve this boy. He was going to become his Fighter. All he needed was the name. Beloved, Ritsu had told him. The boy’s name was Beloved. A fitting name, Soubi had decided. Seimei seemed like the type of person everyone would like. After all, in the first minutes of meeting him, Soubi had felt captured and connected with him, as if they’d been fated to meet.
No, Seimei wasn’t what Soubi had expected, but suddenly, Soubi couldn’t imagine being given to anyone but Seimei. Seimei had such an odd air around him. He seemed kind, but there was something lying underneath it all, something that brought out that dominant air Soubi felt when Seimei spoke. There was something about him that told Soubi that he would not be a kind master, and yet, Soubi felt no reason to pull from or hesitate. He wanted to be useful. He wanted to be used. He needed someone to hurt him and punish him. That was the only thing Soubi knew, and the only thing he was left with. He could become Seimei’s Fighter, and he’d do whatever his Sacrifice would tell him, just as he’d been taught. Maybe it was a type of love at first sight, or a need to make a bond with a cruel Sacifice. Whatever it was, Soubi felt compelled and drawn to Seimei.
Seimei wordlessly led him through the woods, pulling on his hand slightly as they wound through the woods behind the school. Soubi knew where they were going—the old Septimal Moon meeting place. It was the only thing in the woods, and they traveled down an old, beaten path to it. Questions burned at the tip of Soubi’s tongue, but he asked none of them. They didn’t need to be asked. He didn’t need to speak, even if there were things he wanted to know. It wasn’t his place to ask, and neither was it the time to do so.
He could feel things changing before him. He knew he wasn’t going back to the academy, that he was going to live in the outside world now. It was new and overwhelming, and Soubi definitely knew that he wasn’t ready for it.
But like everything else, Soubi had no say in it. He was being reborn, and Seimei would shape him into exactly what he wanted as a Fighter. Soubi was malleable and he held no personality of his own. It would be easy. Rebirth, though he feared it, would be easy.
And as Seimei led Soubi into the old meeting place, he knew he was going to be made perfect.
Soubi’s line of thought, his despair, was unsettling to him. Nagi reacted on instinct, voice earnest and laced with latent emotion.
“Just because you’re going to die, doesn’t mean that you should give up on life. We’re all going to die at some point, death row or not, but that only makes life even more precious.”
Nagi’s expression waxed from intense to shy and apologetic a short moment after the last word left his mouth. He laughed, self-consciously adjusting the scarf around his neck.
“Haha, I’m sorry…this is our first time speaking, and the conversation has already gotten so heavy.”
The smile fell from Soubi’s face almost as quickly as it’d came. That was right— He’d just met this man. This was the first time he’d ever spoken to him, and Soubi had driven the conversation into a topic that had made things awkward. Why was this man apologizing—? Soubi had been the one who’d put it in that direction. It seemed like even in prison, he was unable to socialize correctly.
He relaxed a little, then. Nagi seemed forgiving. Soubi could still save this, and it suddenly occurred to him that he wanted to save this. He wanted to consider this man a friend. He wanted to have a conversation with him. That was rare, especially here, where Soubi would do his most to not speak to other convicts.
“Oh no, it’s my fault. I should apologize.”
“Let’s talk about something else. This section of the prison is awfully odd. Why isn’t anyone here wearing the standard uniform?” It was something he’d been wondering, as well as a way to dance around the question ‘are you a prisoner?’. That wasn’t something he wanted to ask Nagi outright, though since Soubi didn’t want to say he’d been wandering about to just anyone.
Most people bored Soubi. They were bland and more often than not, they simply went along with the crowd, never differing or wavering. It was so, so boring. That was the main reason Soubi decided to frequent in the ruins of the war, where a community of eccentric, interesting people lived. Soubi didn’t reside in the ruins, but he spent most of his free time there, taking walks or talking to people. It must have been fate that he decided to pick this area to walk in, or he wouldn’t have noticed something odd.
Soubi recognized the symbol immediately, and he knew where he was. This was the office of the great defeated detective, a man by the name of Shinjuurou Yuuki. He was on the news often, and his name was commonplace. Even Soubi had heard the rumors that circulated about him. He seemed like an interesting man—and Soubi was curious.
Perhaps he could help him?
Without a second thought, Soubi gathered the courage and knocked on the door of the office.