Most days it’s manageable, some days Ritsu makes himself sick.
The routine for this song and dance is as familiar as anything he does on stage, painfully so. Even that can only help so much, knowing the knife that stabs you doesn’t make it hurt any less. But over time tolerance can build up, you can find ways to handle it. Now it hurts nobody but himself. Those accursed discomforting feelings that make him feel so pathetic.
White it first spikes again he doesn’t take it seriously. The dull churning of his stomach is passed off as too many sweets. The bitter taste in his mouth is washed down with tea. Forcibly, he wills himself to focus on whatever Hajime is saying across from him. His now flipped over phone seems to mock him, the innocent message on the other side out of sight but not out of mind.
Chipped black nails tap at the tea cup in his hands while listening to the rabbit. He catches something about his family and something about baking. Yet all he can think about is a knight and a valkyrie in romantic French cafes. He’s exaggerating, probably. Reading between lines for messages that don’t exist because it made him ill.
A group message from Izumi, a photo of a sketched outfit design. Clearly done by Shu who was slightly in frame as was the cafe table. Nothing special, a requested design for a future Knights project that Leo wasn’t around to approve.
So why was he biting down both his tongue and this rising discomfort? Logically it didn’t make sense. He glanced back down to the phone as if it had personally hurt him, but his attention was promptly pulled away. Hajime had furrowed his brows and oh so gently asked if he was okay. It did him no good to worry his junior like this.
With a smile he thinks could convince even himself everything is okay, he teases Hajime. “Your beautiful voice is like a lullaby~.” And as expected the blue rabbit flushed bright red and stutters out a response. Rather than focus on the other, his gaze goes past him and beyond the gazebo, to the flowers blooming in the back of the garden.
When the meeting came to a close, he’d offered to clean up and encouraged Hajime to leave early for once. Those moments of solitude are used to calm down, to get lost in carefully cleaning the delicate dishes and returning unfinished tea and snacks to their proper cupboard.
He finally responds to the text message with earnest approval, crushing one of the garden’s flowers beneath his foot before exiting. But even when it’s seemingly destroyed, it still clings to him, leaving a trail of yellow rose petals.
By now he should know better really. Moments like that are not fleeting moments, gone with the wind as quickly as they came. But rather the prelude to a symphony, building and building up to a disgusting crescendo. The cover of night can only protect him for so long before the sun rises and offers a false promise of a better day.
Pulling himself out of bed remains a difficult task, though far easier than it once was. His muffled grumbles and whines go ignored by the empty room as he drags himself away from the covers. Even when the sun itself despises him, there’s joys exclusive to daytime that are worth fighting for. The chance at breakfast with his boyfriend is one such special treat and his heart skips a beat as he leaves his dorm.
His heart skips even more beats when it’s stabbed through.
Ritsu gripped the doorframe tightly, ignoring as his knuckles turned white. Tired eyes stared through messy bangs into the resting room, wherein a jet lagged Izumi sat eating across from a chipper Nazuna. Every ounce of pain he’d shoved away yesterday came back full force. His instincts screamed to walk in and do something he’d regret. Passive aggression at best and hurting someone at worst.
Fangs dug into his tongue so hard he expected to taste blood soon. The self control he was using now was far more than he used to have. He hated having to hold onto it so tight. Hated how upset he was. It was disgusting, annoying. How was he to carry on like normal when his stomach plummeted and his chest ached?
Were they having fun? Did Izumi like him more? Was he falling in and out of love by the moment? Would they share a drink? Spend the day together? Take all of Izumi’s precious free time and waste it right in front of him?
His feet like lead when he finally lifts them from his spot, forcing himself to turn back down the hall. He feels like he could throw up, desperately trying to shove down his violent disgust at himself. This time he wouldn’t do something stupid. Taking deep breaths he desperately tries to settle the stupid trains of thoughts threatening to crash and take casualties.
They didn’t have plans. He repeats that to himself, over and over. Izumi is perfectly punctual and always keeps to whatever schedule they set. But no such thing had happened this time. It’s not as if his boyfriend blew him off for that guy. Izumi likely didn’t even expect him to be awake right now, and he wishes he wasn’t.
Objectively he knows the truth, he can say it to himself until his throat is numb but it doesn’t loosen the tightening of his chest. It grows more suffocating by the moment. Time with Izumi wasn’t being taken from him, because that time wasn’t his. Even if it felt like it should be, like Nazuna had something against him.
The further he gets from the scene, the more he calms down. Little by little it fades to a dull pain that still makes him grit his teeth and smack his hand against the wall. It’s disgusting when he acts like this, like an entitled selfish freak. But even still, he knows Izumi loves him. That’s enough to push him forward. As painful as it is, it’s not that bad. He can bury these feelings like a fresh corpse still, before someone gets hurt.
Ritsu spends the afternoon playing piano. Locked within a room utterly alone, accompanied only by the feel of the keys and the sound of the music. The world outside doesn’t exist, if only for a few hours. Sometimes he plays songs composed by his beloved former king, a gentle smile on his face with each one. His own solo brings him a familiar comfort, one he could play in his sleep even. Izumi’s solo isn’t suited for piano, but he tries anyway, a charming sound.
Even as his hands begin to ache and he’s short on songs, he keeps playing. Testing different melodies or patterns of his own creation. Playing, adjusting, replaying, repeating. He’s no composer, just an amateur with painfully human emotions being splayed across white keys like bright red blood. But still, it’s soothing to a degree. Even when he slips, a harsh note out of place jolting his thoughts back on track.
If he plays enough, he can avoid it all. The illogical pain and irrational sadness. It can’t pierce through the music, whether harsh or gentle, that tightly holds onto every ounce of his being– But the high ding of his phone is sharper than anything else. His final notes are hit heavily before burning hands grasp for the device near him.
He ignored the sense of dread he felt. Ignored everything he felt in the past. Ignored how he knew this wouldn’t be the end of these nauseating feelings. He should’ve been more cautious, then he could’ve avoided the knives stabbing into his stomach.
[From Secchan♡: morisawa and kao-kun dragged me into karaoke and dinner]
His free hand smacked down on the piano before he realized it, jumping from the instruments horribly loud scream. His heart was pounding with pain, feeling as if it may very well tear itself apart and leave him to bleed out on the floor only to be found when it’s far too late for even a vampire to survive. Maybe then Izumi will-
He chokes out a sound of disgust at his own thoughts. Things he’d say as a joke feel gross when for a brief moment his fucked up head means it. The urge to throw his phone is barely squashed down as he puts it back down and buries his face in his hands. Aching fingers comb through messy hair before grabbing hold and pulling.
It’s stupid. This is stupid. He’s stupid.
Who cares? Not him. He clearly doesn’t care. Doesn’t matter to him what Izumi does, who he spends his time with. It’s normal. It’s fine. Why should something that happens so frequently bother him? Why should it make his blood run cold and skin itch uncomfortably? It shouldn’t!
But it does.
He lets out the breath he was holding, leading into a groan. It didn’t matter who it was or where it was. Friend or classmate, Italy or Japan. Someone else had been hovering near Izumi at every second recently and it was sending him into a spiral. Those very feelings drove him to anger and illness. How pathetic he was.
Another sound resounds and he untangles his hands from his hair harshly. It can’t get any worse, he thinks. He knows that’s wrong. He picks up the phone anyway.
[From Secchan♡: come to my dorm sunday afternoon]
Just like that hell freezes over. The aching doesn’t stop, the wounds still ‘bleed’. A very Izumi like promise of time together. Warm fuzziness mixes uncomfortably with bitterness in his stomach. He’s not forgotten, nor mocked. Even still he’s loved and Izumi wants to see him when his schedule clears. Naturally Ritsu knows all of his jobs and hours, because of a shared calendar between Knights of course. He knows that’s the next free window of time. He knew that. And a week ago that was fine, the expectation of truly not seeing his boyfriend until then didn’t bother him. Not until yesterday.
Part of him, the repulsive parts, want to be mad. To tell him ‘no’ and make up excuses. To reject him back. But he knows, despite the pain, that Izumi wasn’t the one hurting him. As a vampire, his heart must be defective. What a shame maybe he should rip it out and get it replaced.
Instead he replies back with a simple affirmative. Creating a promise of carving out that time for Izumi and him, and nobody else. But even when staring at the message, he wants to throw up. It fills him with a poisonous guilt that only grows with each step back to his dorm.
The door is slammed behind him without a care to if anyone’s around to scold him, far too distracted by the war waged within his head. Shamefully, the logic he desperately roots for is not winning this fight. By the time he thumps to the floor, back against his bed, his hands no longer hold his phone. Rather, a stuffed animal and seam ripper fill them now.
He’s not proud of these feelings or behaviors, not by a long shot. He hates when it gets this bad. It’s horrific and nauseating and disgusting. When he can only see red as he grasps at anything to get it out of his system. The anger towards his only heart only makes it all worse, spiraling back into hatred at them.
The poor innocent people on the receiving end of the worst parts of himself.
Why was he so friendly with Shu? Why are they always talking? Always spending time together? Always going out together? Is it because Shu lives so close? Is it because Shu can sew? Is it because Shu’s better to talk to? Does he make him happier?
Didn’t Nazuna hate him? Wasn’t Nazuna always annoyed by his behavior from tennis club? Do they talk a lot? Did they meet up often? Had he not noticed all this time? Was Nazuna cuter? Was Nazuna funnier? Was Nazuna less clingy? Did he make him smile more?
Why is it always Chiaki and Kaoru? Don’t they have other friends? Is it because they were classmates? Is it because Chiaki is nicer? Brighter? Is it because Kaoru is more charming? More comforting? Is it because they’re normal? Do they make him laugh more?
Ritsu stares at the mutilated plushie in his hands, most of the seams plucked and ripped into a mess of fabric and stuffing that’s hardly identifiable. One eye has rolled onto the floor and an ear has gone missing. The tool is dropped in favor of grabbing another side of the toy, gripping it tightly and ripping it apart. Limb from limb, stuffing falls to the ground lighter than the weight on his chest.
The problem is simple. The reason he feels so repulsive. The reason his skin crawls and his anger only grows. None of them did anything wrong. They’re friends with Izumi. Nothing more. They spend time with Izumi. It’s not a crime. It’s normal. It’s good. Izumi being happy, regardless of why or who, is good. They’re good people and it makes him sick when he thinks of their blood on the floor and then maybe Izumi will-
He throws the tattered remains of a stuffed animal across the room with a hiss and pulls his knees up to his chest. There’s no tears, only a blank stare at the wall as his insides burn.
They’re not a threat, none of them are. Nobody is. Shu belongs to Mika. Nazuna to Tomoya. Chiaki to Kaoru and Kaoru to Chiaki. To name but a few. They weren’t trying to take Izumi, lord knows they probably didn’t want him. And Izumi didn’t want them. Because he chose Ritsu. Regardless of distance or current company, Ritsu is the one he really chose.
That knowledge should be enough but it can only barely settle the tides risen by a bloody moon. It makes feel warmer when his blood runs cold, carrying him off to sleep where his heart can rest if only for a few hours.
He hadn't meant to fall asleep on the floor again, hadn’t even realized he never went to bed properly until he woke up. Albeit under a blanket he didn’t grab and on a pillow that wasn’t there before. Any trace of stuffing and fabric strewn across the floor is gone when his eyes open. The source of it all giving him a nervous smile.
Within minute’s he’s sitting on Mika’s bed, holding a warm mug and learning against his dearest roommate. Mika runs his fingers through his hair, smoothing it down and offering words of comfort. It doesn’t help much, but it’s not hollow. Mika understands these horrible feelings. Under the cover of darkness they’ve talked about it before, sometimes hurting sometimes laughing.
The living doll holds him close, humming in the way he does when thinking of something to say. In the lull, Ritsu tries to choke down his feelings as well as the urge to shove Mika away and insist he’s fine when they both know he’s not. It’s not usually this bad, it’s not usually more than a passing problem anymore. But some days, or weeks, are worse than others.
Finally Mika offers a suggestion he thinks he should’ve thought of himself. Maybe he would’ve, had his mind not been full of dark clouds. Another way to try and get the feelings out, harmlessly, temporarily exorcising a demon that lives within your very soul and will always return.
The large room is decked in art supplies of all kinds, half finished projects in every corner and piles of remnants of destroyed pieces filling various containers. It’s a peaceful space still, most of the time. It’s rarely crowded, thankfully, far more normal for only a few people to be here at a time. Today it’s a bee and a star, the latter being too focused on his current project off to one side. Rinne gives a shout in greeting and Ritsu raises one hand in a wave.
Mika is a guest but not an infrequent one, responding to Rinne’s greeting as well while gesturing for Ritsu to sit down at a wide table. In his newly designated seat he yawns, trying to push away sleepiness and bitterness. He focuses on watching Mika run about the room, chatting briefly with Rinne as he seems to consider what to grab before eventually returning to the table.
Just like that they’re thrown into a rhythm. Mika set himself to sewing up the plushie Ritsu had previously mutilated, as he usually does, while Ritsu himself was given some thick paper and paints. He doesn’t have any ideas in mind, messily squeezing a few colors onto a clean new palette. After staring at the paper for a moment, he forgoes the paint brush in favor of brushing his fingers across the palette. It’s cold on his hands as he drags it around the paper, making spirals and shapes, whatever comes to mind.
It’s not violent, it’s not harsh or painful, but it’s something to focus on. The world fades away around him as paint spreads. Colors change every so often to create variety in the page of hearts, moons, and bats. The darker blues and purples are contrasted with the red he swirls around them. This time when he lifts his hand to wipe the paint off, he pauses. Deep red dripping down his fingers.
He’s well acquainted with the taste of blood and the act of spilling it, normally in small doses. Out of love and hunger. A few times anger. Whether teeth or blade, it was only ever drops, not even splatters. Harmlessly harmful. Ignoring that incident– knife in hand and blood pooling and emerald eyes panicked– he doesn’t like to think about it.
A drop of red paint hits the paper, seeping down into it in a way that almost makes him hungry for old habits. Vampiric desires that hadn’t been entirely killed by the bright sun yet. He thinks of Izumi’s blood, tasted only a few times, and he’s almost yearning. If he was worse maybe he’d ignore their boundaries and take a bloody bite of-
Distantly he hears Mika call his name in that concerned tone of his. Ritsu wonders if he had an unsettling look on his face again, or perhaps no expression at all. Even as his thoughts trail to strange and bizarre, it’s better than the previous days. For that he’s grateful to Mika. So he shakes it off and reaches out to his roommate, earning a startled squeal. Playful half attempts to get paint on the living doll are accompanied with light laughter. It comes to an end when he calls Rinne over to give him a high five and promptly ducks under the table to avoid the bee ruffling wet paint into his hair.
When all hands are clean and the paint is dried, Ritsu sits on the table, casually talking between Mika and Rinne while ripping strips of paper. The pressure on his chest is faint enough to ignore, the cloudiness of his mind clearing up for sunny skies. The cycle of creation and destruction brought contentment and relief he needed desperately. For those brief moments, he believes himself cured of that horrid disgusting feeling.
Until Hokuto speaks up finally, regretfully. He and Mika were tidying up to leave, making small talk again. Such as trading reasons for their partners not being around. Shu was still in France of course and–
Makoto was at a photoshoot with Izumi all day.
All at once Ritsu felt like he couldn’t breathe. He’d known, of course he’d known. It hadn’t been a conscious thought, it hadn’t been a problem, until now. His teeth grit down harshly as his phone buzzed again. It’d been doing that for hours but he’d ignored every cry for attention. It seemed recently every time he looked at that damn thing, things got worse. That is to say, he didn’t trust himself to look at it anymore. Yet as his discomfort spiked and spread through his whole body, he needed something, anything, to focus on.
He wished he hadn’t opened those pictures.
Arashi, the third member of the photoshoot, had been spamming him with behind the scenes pictures all day. Some of her, some of her with Izumi too, but mostly Izumi on his own. They were cute, he was mostly surprised or annoyed. Their outfits were beautiful, they were glowing. So was he. His throat burned flipping through the pictures. Makoto constantly in the corners, the sides, anywhere. Always laughing or smiling and at every turn Izumi’s eyes were on him. Enthralled by him, captivated by him, clinging to him.
Aren’t they cute? Don’t they look good together? Perfect, even? Izumi didn’t smile at him like that, gush over him like that, cling to him like that. Izumi was happy, so happy, it was a good thing. A great thing! Even if that happiness didn’t come from him but Makoto. Again.
Ritsu wasn’t aware he’d done anything other than stare at those damned pictures until the room went silent and three pairs of eyes were on him. Two halves of a broken paintbrush were clenched in either hand. Three voices called out in their own ways, and he ignored them all. Quick as a bat, he grabbed his fallen phone and tossed the scraps of his actions aside on his way out.
The world doesn’t start moving again until he’s back in his room. A solitary safe haven, for now. Pacing back and forth, digging his fangs into his fingers, scratching off the last bits of nail polish. The pain isn’t enough to combat the pressure of his chest or turning of his stomach. Kicking a fallen pillow, he lets out an annoyed growl. Stupid, stupid, stupid. Part of him feels moments away from bashing his head against the wall until he stops thinking at all.
Makoto. Makoto Yuuki. Makoto fucking Yuuki.
It’s always him, isn’t it? Even as he clawed his way out of this spiral and darkness, as he found moments of light and comfort, it all meant nothing when one boy can ruin everything. Fill his heart with knives and apologize because he didn’t mean it. The boy who hardly even cares for Izumi yet stands at the center of his world.
Those two have more history, they’ve known each other longer. Izumi clings to him with love and praise that’s downright suffocating. Izumi gives him advice, Izumi does extra projects with him, Izumi knits things for him, Izumi would give him the entire world if given the chance!
So why the fuck is Izumi with Ritsu?
Splashing water on his face in the bathroom barely pulls him back to reality for a moment. Long enough to meet his own gaze in the mirror. Deep red stares back at him. Not bright innocent green. Pale hands, almost sickly at times, grasp at black hair. Not model-perfect blonde. Not even a pathetic imitation, he’s the furthest thing from Izumi’s beloved special amazing Makoto.
Second best would be too generous for him, maybe he’s just the last resort. Izumi would prefer Makoto. Or even Nazuna, or Shu, or Kaoru, or Chiaki. Anyone but him. Rejected by everyone else he’d loved more, maybe he was forced to either be alone or settle for Ritsu.
When is Ritsu ever anyone’s first choice? Not Mao despite their own history. Not Rei despite their shared blood. Not Eichi despite their understanding. And certainly not Izumi despite their mutual love. It makes him sick. It makes him want to scream until his throat bleeds. It’s cruel. It’s unfair. Why can’t he ever be enough for someone? Anyone?
He tightens his grip on his hair, pulling and hissing and recoiling. His eyes sting as if ready to cry but no tears fall even if he wanted them to. Moments later he’s gasping through pain and clutching the edge of the sink, being stared at with an empty gaze in the mirror. What part of the monster reflected at him is worth loving? Worth sticking around for?
But the worst part of it all hits him as he exits the bathroom. As if the pain and agony wasn’t enough. As if the anger and disgust wasn’t enough. The guilt and truth of the matter are the worst. He’s completely wrong, every feeling and thought of his was almost laughably wrong. Izumi loves him. Izumi loves him. Izumi loves him. He’s heard it, he’s seen it, he’s felt it. Every word his stupid aching heart makes his brain scream is nothing but bullshit. Even still, even knowing the truth, each word is a knife twisting in his stomach, his chest, his every limb. It threatens to rip him apart and leave him a splattered mess on the walls.
He doesn’t have the strength to grasp for things to calm him. Pictures of them, gifts from him, memories of love– all just out of his reach. All he can do is return to his bed. Curling under layers of pillows and blankets, the pressure weighing down on him trying to settle his mind. The heavy plush cocoon envelopes him, and as he forces himself to fall to sleep, he hopes that maybe he’ll emerge a better person.
Seconds turn to minutes to hours. Night turns to morning to afternoon. The clock mocks him, numbers flashing at him as he wills them to go backwards, to no avail. The end of a pleasant sleep is disappointing, but he pries himself from his blankets to get ready. It’s not much of a problem that he slept past his usual, or even preferred, time but now there’s little time to mess around since Izumi’s meeting ends in hardly over an hour.
He drifts through each action he does, hardly paying attention but trying not to let his thoughts wander. Brushing his hair. Washing his face. Changing his clothes. With ginger yet hasty movements he buttons up a stolen shirt. The light blue doesn’t suit him, but it brings the ghost of a smile to his face. He tries to keep it there.
When he opens the door, he hesitates. Half asleep daze has finally cleared, allowing venom to drip back into his mind and through every bit of his blood and bones. Before he goes, he wraps one of his blankets around his shoulders. It’s old and faded, but comfortably familiar enough to relax him. It helps him get through the hall and up the stairs.
Knocking on the door gets no response, he’s both relieved and upset by it but not surprised. Still he continues on, entering a room that’s not his own as if it was. When the door clicks closed behind him he’s staring at an empty dark room. And in the silence of it all, the bitterness inside him starts to scream, starts to crawl out and grab hold of him with treacherous hands.
Ritsu knows himself well, better than anyone. He’s aware of his problems, his flaws, his mistakes. It’s something that weighs on him more than most think. He’s familiar with these feelings, urges and impulses trying to push him towards self destructive behavior as if it’ll make him feel better. He could throw away everything he has in a fit of anger and pain, he’d nearly done it before.
Izumi wasn’t here. He could leave. He could blow him off, without a word even. Or lie and say he’s with someone else, rub it in. Maybe even turn a lie to truth, throw himself in the arms of a friend or companion or- literally anyone. Make his boyfriend feel the way he has for days.
A dry laugh escapes him and it resounds in the silent room. Make Izumi feel the same as him. Isn’t that funny?
But he won’t listen to his heart that wants to run. His heart that thinks fleeing would make inevitable heartbreak hurt less, as if it was written in stone that this was all a ploy to break up with him and run off with Makoto or Shu or Nazuna or Chiaki or Kaoru or-
But he won’t listen. He’s stubborn like that. He’ll stay right here. Tired of running and getting lost in his head and imaginary scenarios of pain so starkly different from reality it’s like he walked into a funhouse mirror. He takes a step forward, away from the door.
One last chance to be bitter, to be spiteful and angry. Walking past Mao’s bed he slows, brushing fingers faintly stained with red paint across the blanket. What would Izumi think to walk in and see him lying here instead? It was a comfortable bed, for multiple reasons. He’d always been comfortable in Mao’s beds. But the past is in the past.
Ritsu instead makes himself comfortable, curled up on Izumi’s meticulously made bed. His own blanket draped over him, as if protecting him from the horrors of the world despite the worst monster being underneath it. His own crooked thoughts and cruel heart. Regardless, he waits. Waits as seconds turn to minutes and minutes turn to pain. Everyone moment alone feels like he’s drowning. Every moment feels like his heart is going to melt and choke him. He can’t tell if he’s awake or asleep anymore.
When the door opens he doesn’t move, cold hands tightening on the blanket as his stomach churns. The light switch clicks and footsteps thump. It’s nauseatingly similar to a horror movie. There’s silence. Any moment he’ll be found and gutted by–
“Kuma-kun?” Izumi Sena speaks the slightest bit softer than usual, likely unsure if his quest has dozed off or not. Ritsu hesitates in a moment of anxiety, but slowly, or perhaps too quickly, he lifts the blanket and peaks out. Ice blue eyes stare down at him as he pushes himself up to ensure he stays awake.
“It’s not good to make your boyfriend wait so long,” he teases with a mock pout as Izumi rolls his eyes. Then just like that those eyes are back on him, looking over him. Ritsu thinks, if he truly wanted, he still knows how to bury his feelings, his weakness and pain, at least with excuses and lies Izumi would fall for. Or maybe he’s too open for his own good now.
He won’t even test it.
“I won’t know what’s wrong if you don’t tell me ya’know.” Izumi sighs, sitting down next to him. Wouldn’t it be easier if his boyfriend could read his mind? Ritsu thinks he should really try to learn some day. After all, he can read Izumi as easily as a picture book. Perhaps vampires are just more perceptive.
“I know.” Ritsu scoots over to curl against Izumi, holding onto his arm. Both of his hands cling to Izumi’s one, feeling the smooth skin and admiring recently painted blue nails. As much as part of him wants to run or lie or stay silent, take the last chance to escape, more of him wants to be honest. It’s easier that way. Better that way. Even when it feels his throat is full of knives and speaking is impossible. “I want to kill everyone who talks to you-”
“Eh?” Izumi turns to look at him, Ritsu trying to avoid his gaze. His feelings hang over them, obvious as the color of the sky. Blue. Like the eyes looking at him in confusion, then understanding. When he speaks it’s calm, easy to read as harsh but there’s no malice or mockery to it. “Kuma-kun, are you jealous again?
The feeling he’s so accustomed to but despises. The way it hurts him drives him mad. It spirals far beyond any logic even he can use against it. It makes him sick and fills his guts with poison and twists knives in his heart.
He’s gotten better at handling his own jealousy, most times it’s a brief quiet feeling easy to ignore. Only sometimes, on days like the past few, does it become impossibly loud and obnoxiously cruel. It disgusts him. Doesn’t matter how familiar or normal it might be. Doesn’t matter if he’s not a danger to others. It’s awful. It feels horrible and uncomfortable. It burns.
If it was with anyone else, he’d feel like a horrible boyfriend. The guilt is easier to ignore at least. The feeling of being untrusting, possessive, and downright toxic. Can’t even trust his boyfriend to love him. He’s unhealthy and disgusting and unworthy of love. A lost cause not worth trying to fix because he’ll only pull you down forever into the darkness and drown you alongside him.
But it’s okay, because it’s Izumi. Izumi who doesn’t mind. Izumi who doesn’t find him gross or horrible. Izumi who won’t hate him or break up with him for these feelings. Izumi who’s never upset or uncomfortable by it.
Izumi who feels the exact same way.
Ritsu’s watched for a long time now. Watched how possessive and obsessive Izumi can be towards people he loves. A cold exterior and promise of it being in the past doesn’t erase when you’d kidnapped, stalked, and harassed people. Of course he’s grown from it, been forgiven for it, but he’s not immune to frequently tangoing with that repulsive jealousy. Ritsu takes comfort in knowing he’ll always be understood.
So it’s easy to ignore the slowly fading urge to run and hide, instead pressing his face into Izumi’s shoulder. “It’s been really bad for a few days.” An apology dies in his throat, it’s unneeded after all. Even if it feels otherwise. Each time they do this, it gets a little easier to admit.
“Jeez,” Izumi’s free hand comes up to flick Ritsu in the nose. “You could’ve told me if it was getting that bad again, idiot.” Ritsu responds by biting at his finger, just barely missing. Izumi shakes his head slightly, continuing. “I wasn’t trying to make you jealous or anything, I mean you’re kind of a pain in the ass when you’re jealous you know?”
Ritsu chuckles, nuzzling his face against Izumi’s neck. “I know. That makes it worse. You have too many friends.” He grumbles, clinging tighter.
“Excuse me for being popular, it’s not my fault everyone loves me- Stop laughing!” Izumi huffs and weakly tries to push the giggling vampire off him before giving up. “Even if you’re jealous, I’m still your boyfriend not theirs.”
“That’s the problem.” Ritsu breathes softly against his neck. “I know you love me the most. That’s why it’s awful to feel like this. You’re not replacing me or ignoring me or- anything like that. It doesn’t make sense. I hate having irrational stupid emotions.” His voice grows softer, placing a kiss against Izumi’s skin. “It hurts, it’s the worst. I feel so gross.”
“Was it Yuu-kun again?” Izumi asks tentatively, flinching at the way Ritsu tenses up against him.
“Isn’t it always?” Ritsu gives a weak laugh, pulling away from his boyfriend slightly. “Kaoru-san, Morisawa, Nazunyan, and Itsuki-san weren’t helping either-” He mumbles, vividly remembering the whiplash of emotions from each moment someone got too close to Izumi. Committing the crime of doing things they do all the goddamn time, normal behaviors that only randomly set Ritsu off like a repulsive time bomb.
“Fuck Kuma-kun, next time get to me sooner. I don’t want you to do anything stupider than usual.” Despite harsh words, there’s an underlying softness to his voice as he takes Ritsu’s hand. “I need to repaint your nails-” is muttered under his breath and almost makes the vampire laugh. Priorities huh.
“I’m real stupid yeah. Cause everyone knows Secchan is mine~.” He lifts their hands together, placing a kiss against the back of Izumi’s.
“Uh, excuse me? If anything you’re mine.” Spoken as if it was an obvious fact, it made Ritsu’s slowly recovering heart almost stop entirely. It filled him with butterflies rather than knives, a light fluttering in his chest.
“Mm, guess I am~.” Distracted by the intoxicating feeling of possessiveness, he hardly notices as Izumi pauses and grabs both his hands. Dumbly Ritsu can only stare as Izumi pulls him closer, blue eyes narrowing. Ritsu tilts his head slightly and opens his mouth, but a single question strikes his inquiry down.
“Is that Isara’s blanket?” The words come out cold and Ritsu’s caught between surprise and laughter. Jealousy is a repulsive thing he wouldn’t wish on anyone, but by god does it look good on his boyfriend.
“Huh, guess it is.” He glanced to the side to really notice which blanket he’d brought with him. One stolen from Mao years ago, a fact he must’ve mentioned to Izumi before. “I almost forgot it was Maa-kun’s, but Secchan remembered huh?” He could barely get the words out before the world was a blur.
When his vision settled he was on his back, looking up at Izumi pinning him down. His face was flushed and irritated, Ritsu wanted to laugh. “Say his name again and I’ll cut out your tongue.”
Ritsu could only give a lovestruck grin that flashes his fangs. “You’ve never hurt me~.” He taunted lightly as Izumi tightened the grip on his wrists.
“I’ll kill him then.” Izumi’s eyes narrowed, expression as cold as the tone that sent a shiver down Ritsu’s spine. For a moment they stared at each other.
“M-” Ritsu felt the pressure on his wrists increase again. “Maa-” Izumi’s lips met his so quickly he almost gasped.
There wasn’t a moment's hesitation before he melted into the kiss, responding to his possessive boyfriend with glee. The forceful affection taking away all the breath Izumi had put back in his lungs. He’d have clung to him tightly if only he could move his hands.
He doesn’t know if Izumi pulled away seconds, minutes, or hours later. His head was fuzzy as he opened his eyes to a very flustered Izumi. Even still, Izumi was staring at him. Ritsu wondered what he looked like in his eyes.
“Just-” He choked on his own words, always struggling with the emotional ones. “Just remember you're mine, or whatever makes you feel better.” Embarrassed by himself, Izumi lets go of his wrists and sits up. “It’s not like you’re the one obsessed in this relationship, it’s no big deal-”
Ritsu blinked, processing the words as Izumi moved to lay down next to him. His heart was skipping all kinds of beats. It felt almost pathetic, the way a little attention and possession cut down the dark fog trying to suffocate him for days. If he’d said something sooner, maybe things would’ve been easier. As embarrassing as it was.
He was pulled from his thoughts by Izumi handing him something, he blinked at it for a moment before realizing it was his unlocked phone, open on a photo. One of Ritsu from a recent photoshoot promotion. “Aww, you saved that?”
“Ugh just- just scroll.” Izumi wouldn’t even look at him, facing the other way with visibly red ears. Curiously, Ritsu did as requested.
With every swipe it was another picture of him. Some professional, most candid. Some with Izumi, some with the rest of Knights, most alone. Ritsu was aware of a number of them, and unaware of others. Numerous ones were of him sleeping in various locations. A variety of angles and times, collected over weeks upon weeks. He thinks some of them were older than their anniversary.
It keeps going, image after image after image. He exits to the full album, scrolling through what has to be hundreds of images. His face feels warmer and his free hand smushes against his face to cover his growing giddy grin. He’s ridiculous. He’s an absolute freak. To anyone else, it’d be unsettling or terrifying even. To him, it’s absolutely enthralling.
“Secchan.” He calls to his boyfriend. “Seeecchaaaan.”
“What.” Izumi huffs, finally partially glancing back to Ritsu.
“I love you.” Rather than a joke or tease, Ritsu hits him with an earnest and familiar declaration before snuggling up against him. “I love you sooo much. Enough to kill. Kidding~. Enough to go insane with jealousy for three days,” he laughed softly. It’d been a horrible suffocating three days but he survived, and inevitably he’d survive when it happened again. But even those disgusting feelings can’t outweigh how Izumi makes him feel.
“Yeah yeah, just don’t let it happen again.” Spoken out of worry rather than annoyance. Izumi rolls over, quickly putting his arms around Ritsu to pull him against his chest. Surely just to hide his flustered expression or speak easier, it’s harder when he looks directly at him.
“No promises.” He hums softly before sliding Izumi’s phone back in the pocket it’s usually in. “Thanks, by the way.” The glee hasn’t faded as he clings to him, feeling more full of life than after any blood he’s drank.
“...You’re welcome. Weirdo Kuma-kun.” Izumi mutters against his hair, gently breathing in the scent of strawberry shampoo. Ritsu nuzzles against him. It’s not as if he lives in a fairytale, a kiss can’t cure all his problems. But he feels more settled, released from the intense jealousy he’d struggled with this time. It’s died to a dull pain, no longer bleeding him out. All thanks to his wonderfully understanding, and very comfortable, boyfriend.
“I’m happy for you ya’know. That you’ve got such good friends, even your Yuu-kun. I’m glad I’m not the only one who can see how nice you are under that bitchy personality.” Soft honest, yet playful, words. Musing gently next to his slightly huffy boyfriend.
“Is that supposed to be a compliment?” Ritsu knows he knows the answer.
“I’m just trying to say, don’t stop being happy because my heart is stupid, kay? You deserve it.” Raw emotions bleed from the open wounds still closing up. In five hours or even five minutes he may not have the heart to be completely honest on this subject.
“No shit.” Izumi scoffs as he pulls Ritsu back a bit to look him in the eyes again. The feelings they share and understand more than anyone else don’t always need to be spoken, but it’s nice when they are. “That doesn’t mean you have to just sit there and suffer though. Even I can help you with this much you know.”
“Even if I say it makes me feel better when you’re jealous too?” Ritsu challenged with a slight smirk as he leaned in to place a kiss on his cheek.
“You’re so weird. Just don’t start provoking me on purpose you hear me?” Izumi responded with a harsh poke to his cheek, once again in danger of the vampire’s snapping fangs.
“I won’t~.” Ritsu brushed a lock of hair out of Izumi’s face before leaning in once more for a gentle quick kiss.
“Just think about me all the time and nobody else, then there’s nobody to get jealous over.” Finally Izumi sits up, bringing Ritsu with him, seemingly remembering how much he hates laying around in his day clothes. “Why are you even thinking about Yuu-kun so much anyway?” His accusatory tone rings as a joke, making Ritsu chuckle as he smoothes down some of his hair.
“Just following your example Secchan. Maybe you should only think about me too then we’ll be even.” Ritsu laughs again as Izumi rolls his eyes, then starts brushing down his hair in return. “Only spend time with me too, look at me the most and love me always~.”
Izumi scrunches his nose and pulls his hand from Ritsu’s hair. “Are all vampires this high maintenance or just you?”
“Eh? Didn’t you know Secchan?” Ritsu softens into an utterly lovesick fond smile and laces his hand with Izumi’s. “I’m human through and through now, my feelings for you prove that~.” And he promptly gets gently shoved away, though Izumi doesn’t release his hand.
“You’re sooo~ lame Kuma-kun!” Despite his complaints, Izumi’s face is flushed a pretty pink that Ritsu is sure nobody else gets to see, not like this. “Do you feel better yet or are you going to lay around and give me cheesy lines all day?”
“I dunno it’s pretty cozy.” Ritsu smiles, swinging their hands side to side a bit. Izumi’s gaze falls to them, and his own follows. He sees pretty painted nails and Izumi must see- ah. “Can we paint my nails?” There’s a slight tilt to his head with the gentle question.
Izumi pretends to think about it, mocks consideration as if he hadn’t lit up from the question. He hesitates before giving a forced over dramatic sigh that’s utterly unconvincing as a smile spreads across his face. “What color?”
Ritsu hums to himself while taking a slow drink from his mug. Mao sits next to him, chatting about the show they’re watching. Focusing on not spilling the hot tea is the only thing keeping Ritsu awake, far too comfortable wrapped up in a new blanket. Freshly stolen from the abandoned bed of his Italy-bound boyfriend.
Mao waves a hand in front of him to get his attention, and Ritsu blinks for a moment before realizing. His dearest friend was complimenting his nails. The vampire perks up with pride, wiggling his fingers a bit to show off. “I like them too,” he says fondly while staring at the pale blue paint.
Jealousy is a repulsive feeling that claws through his heart and mind, seeking to destroy him and everything he loves. It’s nauseatingly frustrating and irritating, driving him up a wall in blind violent anger. It’s the side of him he’s grown to hate the most he thinks.
But that’s okay.
He’s getting better at handling it, but he has his moments. When it gets too much to handle. It’s irrational beyond all belief and makes no sense and almost nothing can help. Even still, it’s okay. It’s always okay. He’s always forgiven, always comforted, always loved, never hated for it.
He’s only human after all.