title: Less than Zero
fandom: Loveless
characters/pairings: Natsuo/Youji, Soubi
rating: G
warnings: none
summary: Natsuo watches over Youji
notes: takes place during ep 9-10, when natsuo was nursing youji back to health after their encounter with Kouya and Yamato.


He never stopped screaming in his head. Youji made a noise... even when they fought Soubi, Youji didn't make any noise. Youji didn't know what pain was. They didn't. Soubi made them weak.

Those bitches made Youji hurt.

And Youji still, still, still wasn't awake. He moaned sometimes, and his chest moved, so Natsuo knew he was alive. He carried Youji up to Soubi's apartment alone, even though Youji was a little bigger than him, and Soubi offered to carry him. Soubi was hurt, but that didn't matter. That pervert liked pain or some such shit. But Youji was his, so he carried him up the stairs. Youji was damned heavy, too. He put Youji to bed, and then he sat at Youji's side, and watched him.

Youji was a Sacrifice. It was a stupid differentiation, but it meant that Youji was supposed to take damage. He wasn't supposed to Fight. So he didn't need to heal.

Natsuo didn't even know what was wrong with him, just that, like, two seconds after the Fight was declared, Youji was completely encased in chains. When the System collapsed, Youji was still prone on the ground. The only proof of life was his labored breathing.

In turns, Natsuo would cling to Youji's hand and draw back, just watching him. There were spells to promote your own healing, but by the definition of Sacrifice, he was supposed to suffer. Natsuo was supposed to protect his Sacrifice. It was a stupid thing, because they didn't feel pain, and the differentiations were meaningless.

Youji should never know pain!

No pain, no hot, no cold. Only touch. Only they, only they could understand. What did those cunts understand about anything?

Youji... his Youji... he was broken by pain.

Soubi came with a plate of food, and some water. Natsuo ignored the pervert. Nothing mattered except Youji. The pervert was talking to someone about their fight. Natsuo didn't care. He didn't care about anyone but Youji.

It wasn't fair! Why should Youji know pain? He wasn't made for this! And if Youji was in pain, then so should Natsuo! They're not like that pervert and Loveless! They're connected! What Youji feels, Natsuo should feel, too!

This thing in his chest, his heart, it was beating hard, but he couldn't feel it. There was a sensation, but he couldn't interpret it. He felt like he couldn't even breathe until he saw Youji's eyes again.

Time was meaningless. Hunger was meaningless. Youji was the only thing that mattered. Youji was everything.

What if Youji died? Natsuo felt something, but he didn't know if it should be called cold. If Youji died, then he would die, too, right? Would he have to kill himself, or would he just expire? If he had to kill himself, how would he do it? Maybe he'd drown himself. It was hard to know.

He didn't want Youji to die.

Youji turned over, and groaned. Natsuo's ears perked up.

"Oy," Youji quietly moaned. "Why're you so far away?" His lower lip protruded cutely.

Natsuo scrambled into the bed, and wrapped himself around Youji. Youji still didn't open his eyes. Natsuo really wanted to see Youji's eyes. "Does it hurt?"

"How the hell should I know?" Youji whined. "Closer, closer. Hold me tighter. Can barely feel you..."

No one else could understand this. No one else was Zero, and those bitches were fucking soulless. To hold someone in your arms, but feel no heat, to feel nothing but the sensation of them filling you. No one could understand but them. They belonged to each other. Natsuo pulled Youji into his arms, holding him as tightly as he could. Youji sighed softly, and fell back to sleep.

Natsuo kissed Youji's forehead. He was Youji's Fighter. He'd never really understood it before, but he did now. He had to protect Youji, or else he would lose him.

As long as they were alive, he had to protect Youji, no matter what.