title: Earned
fandom: Loveless
characters/pairings: Ritsu-sensei, Soubi/Seimei, Ritsuka/Soubi, Kio
rating: G/teen
warnings: food/eating disorder triggers
summary: Soubi considers food.
notes: experimental style, whoops. we all know what that means.
based on the same idea as this loveless secret.

He slouched toward the kitchen. It was a morning like that; he knew that if it took him more than a few minutes to find something to eat, it would suddenly be too much effort, and he wouldn't be able to eat at all. He opened his cupboard. There was really nothing there. Nothing worth mentioning, anyway. He shoved the energy bars and candy that Kio brought aside. Those things have way too many calories in them. No way he could ever eat them. Natto might have been good, but too much work.

He really couldn't be bothered to eat, anyway.



He stands at Sensei's desk, trying to be quiet, unobtrusive. Next to Sensei's elbow, there's a plate, laden down with rice, and fried shrimp, and things Soubi doesn't even know the name of. He hasn't touched his plate in ages. Soubi wishes he had the courage to just reach up and take the food.

Sensei looks over at him, and Soubi shrinks back. "What do you want?" Sensei frowns, typing harder.

Soubi looks down at his feet. "S-sorry, Sensei. If you're done with your plate, c-could I have it? I haven't eaten today."

Sensei picks up his plate, and throws it in the trash. "So? What have you done to deserve food?"

Soubi stares sadly down at the trashcan. There's nothing in there but paper. He could still eat the food, but then Sensei would beat him for being disgusting. "I finished all my homework perfectly. And I performed all my spells perfectly."

Sensei sneers, and leans back to take a swack at Soubi, but Soubi scoots back against the wall, under the displays of butterflies. "So what? You are expected to do those things, Soubi. You have to do something special to deserve special treatment. Now, go away. I'm working, if you couldn't tell."

Soubi scuttles away, to his tiny room, and sits on his thin bed, in the dark, holding his stomach, trying to convince himself that he isn't hungry.



He dodged between the carts of food as he tried to get to the paper store. This place sold the best hand-made papers in Tokyo, and he needed some for his latest project, but the smell of the food was making him sick. Fried foods, the vats of oil used to make them spewing out sickening piles of steam. He covered his mouth, and slipped into the store.

He was going to have to charge himself at least ten calories for breathing all that in.

At school, he was barely inside the door when a girl from ceramics was shoving a thick piece of chocolate cake in his face.

"Agatsuma-sama, would you like some cake? I baked it for Akari-chan's birthday, and I know she would love it if you had a piece." The girl smiled coquettishly at him, and there was a small knot of giggling girls behind her, including one who was particularly red, and who couldn't look him in the eye.

He smiled his most charming smile. "It looks wonderful, but I have to decline. I don't like Western food."

They groaned and tried to convince him to try it, but he got away with just a bite. He escaped to the upperclassman's studio, and went to the sink to wash out his mouth.

Disgustingly sweet.



"Are you gaining weight?" Seimei asks, staring up at Soubi from the futon. The expression on his face and the tone of his voice are of pure disgust.

"What?" Soubi looks down at himself, frowning. He doesn't think he is... "Am I?"

"You shouldn't gain any weight, Soubi," Seimei scoffs, sneering at Soubi. "Look, those jeans used to be loose on you. They're tight now, aren't they?"

Soubi tugs at the belt hoop of his jeans experimentally.

"I certainly don't want to be saddled down with a fat Fighter. You're really useless, aren't you? Do you need Sensei to monitor how much you eat?" Seimei looks thoroughly sickened, and Soubi panics.

But, they share a name, right, so there's no way Seimei can... trade him in, right? "I'll lose some weight, Master. Don't worry."

"You'd better," Seimei stands up, shivering. "You're a reflection on me, you know. You should be perfect."



He unlocked the door to his apartment, his eyes half-closed because Kio was still lecturing him. As soon as he got inside, though, he saw the pair of small shoes, just inside the door. He looked up, and smiled. "Ritsuka."

"Ah! Good!" Kio toed his shoes off, and walked around Soubi, stalking over to where Ritsuka was sprawled out on the futon. "You! You should make him eat something!"

"Kio." Soubi warned. "Don't bother Ritsuka with unnecessary things."

"Eat?" Ritsuka looked up at Kio and Soubi, confused. He was so cute.

"He hasn't eaten all day!" Kio threw his arms up dramatically. "And he was lightheaded after cleaning up all the brushes!"

"That was just the turpentine," Soubi sighed, going to the kitchen. Ritsuka was here. He'd have to make something good for dinner. "I'm cooking now. You're both staying for dinner?"

"Talk to him!" Kio prodded Ritsuka with his foot. "He refused to eat or drink anything at school! He said he was on a diet! Just look at him! Will you tell me where he has any weight to lose?" Kio sounded desperate, but it didn't impress Soubi.

He was going to worry Ritsuka about something unimportant.

"Kio," Soubi half growled. "I said it's fine. Stop pestering Ritsuka."

"Soubi?" Ritsuka got up, and brushed off his pants. He went over to Soubi, and tugged on Soubi's shirttail. "Soubi, are you on a diet?"

He was afraid to look at Ritsuka, because Ritsuka sounded upset. He didn't want Ritsuka to be upset with him. Well, the kind of upset where Ritsuka yelled, that was always cute. But the kind of upset where Ritsuka's voice shook... Soubi shrugged. "Don't worry." He smiled brightly, patting Ritsuka on the head while looking over his shoulder. "I watch my diet very carefully. I always eat enough to make sure that I don't gain weight. I'm fine."

"Soubi..." Ritsuka lifted Soubi's shirt, and put his hands on Soubi's stomach, letting his fingers stretch up.

Soubi shuddered, needing to hold on to the edge of the counter to keep himself steady. Ritsuka didn't seem to notice, though.

"Soubi." Ritsuka frowned. "You could gain some weight, you know. You're so skinny."

"I keep telling him that, but he doesn't listen to me," Kio sighed heavily, but he was right, Soubi wasn't listening.

He was looking down into Ritsuka's eyes. "Don't worry. I'm fine. I follow orders precisely."

"Orders?" Ritsuka narrowed his eyes. "You mean Seimei's orders? But you should follow my orders now, right?" He put his arms around Soubi's waist, and clung to him. "No more diet. It's ok to gain some weight. Your health is more important than anything else. If you aren't strong, you can't protect me, can you?"

Soubi was speechless. Ritsuka... must not understand. Seimei said... he had to be perfect. He can only eat if he earns it. He doesn't deserve food if he's not perfect.

Ritsuka's youth was the problem, maybe. Maybe he didn't understand. Soubi... Soubi had been trained...

Kio chuckled darkly. "Wow, the kid is good. Listen to him, Sou-chan. You have orders, right?" Kio sounded bitter.

Ritsuka was looking up at Soubi, though, his eyes hopeful and needy. Soubi leaned down, and kissed Ritsuka's forehead gently.

"Yes, Ritsuka."