title: the truth in beauty
fandom: Loveless
characters/pairings: Kio, Soubi
rating: G
warnings: none
summary: Kio answers Soubi's question
notes: someone on the loveless comm posted something about kio and soubi's relationship, and clearly, that leads to thinking... could be read as a prequel to catching butterflies. jeez, it's like i'm writing a series backwards or something. ^_^;;;;;

Kio tried to stifle his yawn, but it was late, and he had finished his work hours ago. Still, he'd stay there all night long if that was how it turned out.

Soubi was still working.

Kio leaned back against the wall, and watched Soubi work. There was something indescribably elegant in the arch of Soubi's back, the line of his neck, the way his hair swung around in a tail, the tips of which teased the back of Soubi's neck through his turtleneck, the planes of Soubi's face, and the motions of his hands. Soubi created art every time he exhaled, and took it in with every inhalation.

Kio almost laughed at himself. The way he put Soubi up on a pedestal... it was ridiculous.

But unavoidable.

He was obsessed with sketching his best friend, trying to capture that elusive air of beauty that Soubi wore draped around his skin, like clothes he had thrown on because he was running late for the day.


Soubi's voice startled Kio so much, his pencil skittered across the paper, ruining his sketch. He grinned at himself, and looked up. Soubi seemed to be either finished or taking a break. It was sometimes hard to tell. "Are you done, Sou-chan?"

"Kio." Soubi looked away, biting his lip. "What's... what's good about me?"

Kio blinked. "What are you talking about? Did Ritsuka-kun say something mean to you, or something?" Kio frowned. Soubi had been a lot less prone to fits of depression of late, but...

"That's not it," Soubi chuckled. "I want... to seduce Ritsuka. But I don't know how to go about it." He rubbed his fingers over his lips, considering, his gaze unfocusedly on his painting.

Sighing, Kio tipped his head back. "What are you talking about? Haven't you been seducing him for years now?"

"Mm," Soubi vaguely replied. "This is different. He's older now. That changes things."

"Glad you recognize that," Kio muttered.

"Do I have... good qualities?" Soubi wondered.

"Of course you do," Kio sullenly said. "C'mon. You're an artist. You do own a mirror, right?"

"Ah." Soubi leaned back, and closed his eyes. "You think I'm beautiful."

He sounded disappointed. "You are beautiful," Kio corrected.

"I see." Soubi raised his hand, and regarded it coolly. "My body is just flesh. I can be used or not as any tool can."

Tool. Kio didn't like that word. He scowled, and looked down at his ruined sketch. "There's more to beauty than just what you can see."

"What you can see..." Soubi echoed, turning his hand around, as if he'd never seen it before. "What is there that you can't see?"

"You can't see a heart. But you can feel it break," Kio said quietly. Soubi dropped his hand to his side. Kio took a deep breath. "Da~mn, that sounded deep or something. Whatever. I just mean.

"There's more to your beauty than just your body."

"Like what?" Soubi asked childishly, the way that he could that made it seem like he was still innocent and wondering, like the world was still vast and unknown.

Kio smiled. "I used to think it was your mystery. The way it seemed as if no one could ever get close to you. But." He crawled across the floor, until he was right in front of Soubi, moving closer, so Soubi scooted back, until his back was to the wall. "I can get this close, and I still want to be closer. Maybe... it's that look in your eyes."

"What look?" Soubi blinked, his voice low and soft, and it made Kio's skin quiver.

He wanted so badly to kiss Soubi. To put his hand on Soubi's face, and lean in, and taste his lips. To touch Soubi's hair, and his waist, and be close to him... To smell his scent, and feel his arms come around him...

They wouldn't, though. And kissing was out of bounds, now. Soubi's lips were parted, however, and it was cosmically criminal that no one was kissing them.

Kio smiled brightly, and leaned back on his haunches. "That look. Look at Ritsuka-kun like that, and he won't be able to resist you."

"He will," Soubi sighed, looking away.

Kio's chest ached. "Well, I can't. Want to seduce me, instead?" He wiggled his eyebrows comically for Soubi's benefit.

"I don't think your boyfriend would approve of that," Soubi slyly commented.

Kio winked. "Ah, he's a wet blanket. He'd never even seen a Prince Albert before he met me."

Soubi laughed, a low, deep sound that made Kio's belly melt.

"There. Smile for him. That'll get him."

Soubi looked at Kio from under his bangs. "If you'd been my master, life would have been much simpler."

For a second, Kio couldn't breathe. For a second, he felt like he was being pulled apart while also being squeezed. For a second, he thought he might cry, or laugh, or both.

And then he started to hit Soubi on the shoulder. "Sou~chan, don't say things like that! Not unless you're going to throw me down and have your way with me! It's not fa~ir!"

Soubi laughed, and playfully pretended to block Kio's blows.

Ritsuka would have to explain to Soubi what beauty was.