Ritsuka's eyes were full of innocence. They held fear, sadness, but also a wisdom beyond his years. His were eyes that had seen terrible things, things that no child should ever have to experience. The look on his mother's face, for instance, when she yelled that she hated him and that he was not her son. The pain that such words had caused had formed shadows in his eyes, and those shadows could be seen as quickly moving clouds in his gaze if one looked carefully.
The innocence was still there, though. Despite the bleeding wounds in his soul, Ritsuka had not closed off to the outside world, like his mother had, hadn't fled to a fragile fantasy world that needed fierce protection so as not to crumble. He was still interested in what went on around him, as well as the potential for friendship and memories. Soubi could see how his Sacrifice struggled with the concept of people wanting to harm him simply because he was a Sacrifice, or rather because he was Soubi's second Sacrifice which was against rules that Ritsuka had only recently learned of. He watched Ritsuka try to understand. Soubi wished he could explain how this was different from Ritsuka's mother wanting to hurt him just because he was not who she wanted him to be.
In Ritsuka's eyes, Soubi could see discomfort whenever they had to hurt another team. But he could also see understanding that it was a necessary evil, that it was self-defence, something that Ritsuka had never before used in his life. It would have been so easy, so logical, for Ritsuka to turn hard, tough, unforgiving, and hateful after so many nicks, cuts, blows, and abuse. Yet, to Soubi's relief, the innocence remained, unsullied. Like a presence apart from experience and pain, remaining hidden until an unguarded moment to smile at Soubi.
... Seimei's eyes had never been innocent.
Ritsuka's lips were warm and soft. Sometimes they stretched into a little smile, sometimes they were pressed into a thin line of annoyance, but they were never curled into a sneer. Never that. The words that came from those lips were honest and real. Even when Ritsuka was angry at him, Soubi had never heard a single word from him intended to harm or humiliate. Disappointment could make Ritsuka say things he didn't mean, trying to push Soubi away, but there was never malice on his tongue.
When Soubi had kissed Ritsuka that first day, his lips had been soft, despite the surprise. Later, when Ritsuka had grabbed Soubi during a fight to kiss him, they'd been just as pliant, giving, tender. Soubi knew why he had fallen in love, but it was hard to convince Ritsuka that when he said 'I love you' he really meant it.
He could see it written on Ritsuka's face, the disbelief. It saddened him to see that it was so difficult for the boy to understand that anyone could love him, but sometimes it seemed like Ritsuka forgot to be suspicious. On those days, Ritsuka let Soubi pull him into his lap to hold him. He let him press their lips together, and the little flush on his face told Soubi that he liked it, just as surely as his lips did when they parted slightly under his and Soubi could taste the sigh that escaped Ritsuka.
... Seimei's lips had never been soft.
Ritsuka's hands were gentle and careful. Soubi could still remember how they had trembled when he's convinced Ritsuka to pierce his ears. They had been like little butterflies, held up against his face, agitated and insecure at the thought of hurting Soubi, and the piercing device scraping first against his skin. But then Ritsuka had made his decision, for Soubi's sake, and his hands had steadied. Afterwards, they had fluttered and trembled again, but then Soubi had been able to hold them in his.
Whenever they'd been fighting another team, Ritsuka touched him, making sure that he was unharmed and wasn't bleeding. This, even though it was always Ritsuka who took the damage, and he knew that. Once, when Soubi had been hurt, his hand nailed down and bleeding, Ritsuka had searched far and wide for him, helped him home and taken care of him. Soubi felt both indebted and touched, ashamed that he'd caused Ritsuka pain and fear.
Soubi loved feeling Ritsuka's hand linger on his arm, on his sleeve, seeking reassurance when they were in trouble, and sometimes, sometimes just when they were at home, sitting in Soubi's sofa and watching TV together. Like Ritsuka wanted to check if Soubi was really there, was real. And even when Soubi was certain that he deserved a punishment for not being good enough or for breaking a promise, even then, Ritsuka would never hit or pinch or hurt him.
... Seimei's hands had never been gentle.
Ritsuka's heart was caring. It didn't matter to him that his mother hit him, Ritsuka still loved her and worried about her. He tried so hard to be the son she wanted, the one he really wasn't and that had perhaps only ever existed in his mother's shattered mind. It broke Soubi's heart every time he saw Ritsuka with a new bruise or cut, knowing that once again, the boy's trust and his love for his mother had been dealt another blow.
At times, Soubi had caught Ritsuka looking at him with a soft and warm kind of look, and then Ritsuka would blush and look away. Don't worry about me, was always on the tip of Soubi's tongue then, worry about yourself instead, but he never said it, because a part of him wanted Ritsuka to care about him in that way, to worry about him, to want him to be happy... Even though most of the time, Soubi didn't think he deserved it and that he was selfish for it.
Ritsuka was happy when he was playing with a neighbour's dog, giving it a treat and burying his hands in its soft fur. It had been a stray once, beaten and abused, that Ritsuka had found. Ritsuka's mother wouldn't let him keep it, and when he'd asked her a second time, ugly purple bruises had bloomed on his cheek and almost closed one of his eyes, so he'd gone to the neighbour across the street to ask them to take care of it instead, begging them to let it have a warm home, away from rain and cold and snow, and to pet it and be kind to it. It had been important to Ritsuka.
... Seimei's heart had never been anything but a hard rock with smooth surfaces and sharp edges, Soubi had come to realise. Through the lessons of a boy's broken life, Soubi had to face the lies of his own life, the life he'd had before he met Ritsuka. His own innocence had been ripped apart long ago and could not be reclaimed, but he would protect Ritsuka's innocence to the death, if need be. By a miracle, Ritsuka's eyes were still full of innocence, and that must never change.