Aoyagi Ritsuka (shotaball) wrote in hollow_glory,
Aoyagi Ritsuka

Meeting of the Traps - Open mainly to Ion [Trabia Garden - Thursday Afternoon ]

Even in spring, the snow refused to melt. At first, he'd thought it strange, but now he was used to seeing snow in some form or another all year round. Ritsuka pulled his jacket closer around him, two books tucked under his arm, and trudged along beside the school building. Normally he had a class right around now, but he'd fallen asleep while studying during the lunch hour and was now far too late to go. The teachers would likely berate him for his absence, but Ritsuka excelled in theory so he didn't worry too much. They couldn't fail him for one absence every once in awhile. At least, he hoped they couldn't.

He rounded a corner and stopped, his cat ears twitching at the sound of birds playing in the trees above him. This place was so peaceful when no one else was around. No wonder Seimei had chosen Trabia Garden over all the other schools. His brother liked peace and quiet, he enjoyed studying over going out with the rowdy neighborhood children. The birds overhead twittered again and Ritsuka looked up to find them, raising a hand to protect his eyes from the sunlight. He could see them, fuzzy outlines flitting among the branches, and he smiled faintly. Setting his books down, he pulled out his camera and aimed upward, wanting to capture this moment for later. It was stupid, but it would help him remember the serenity of this place - undisturbed by any other human.
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Never before in Ion's life had he witnessed so much snow, the cold air reddening cheeks and the tip of his nose. This winter scene enough to coax a smile out of the Fon Master, though it hardly took much of anything to make him light up. Even the extremities of this seemingly barren environment weren't enough to dampen his mood in the lightest. But he wouldn't be the first to admit that maybe a little warmth wouldn't do any harm. Naturally, it was much colder here than it was in Daath, and his body shivered against the wind.

The reason the Fon Master had even traversed to Trabia was to personally congratulate his twin for passing the SeeD exams. Ion's heart had nearly swelled in joy when he heard the good news and rushed to the Garden as soon as he could. Yet his memory was a fleeting one, and before he even stepped foot into the school Ion was doomed to become lost amidst the snowy grounds. His travels were also ill planned, and besides his traditional garb he wore nothing more than a scarf and a pair of gloves. Still, this wasn't enough to wipe the smile off his face, and he continued forth nonetheless in hopes of finding someone who could point him in the right direction.

By then Ion caught sight of a darker figure standing next to a tree, and his first instinct was to walk over and ask for help. But his foot played the captured victim to a stubborn piece of ice that was buried in the snow, causing the Fon Master to fall forward face first with a small cry.
Just as the shutter clicked and Ritsuka looked down to see what he'd been able to capture, a cry rose up along with a small flurry of snow a few yards ahead of him. Worried that it was his partner yet again, Ritsuka rushed over and knelt next to the prone figure. He hadn't felt any twinge of pain, but that didn't mean it wasn't coming. "You okay? I keep telling you to stop that tree crap, but--"

Ritsuka froze when he realized that the uniform and hair were all wrong. Who in their right mind would come outside without a jacket on? Prodding the boy's shoulder, the catboy then attempted to pick up the fallen traveler. "Hey, what're you doing out here? You alright?"
If Ion thought the air was cold, it was nothing compared to the burning sensation of snow rubbing against his bare skin. His body gave another shiver, but he endured it to the best of his abilities. It wasn't long before he heard the crunching of feet stepping into ice as the figure drew closer and tried to help him up.

"I'm sorry," Were the first words that came out of his mouth. "I shouldn't have bothered you. You looked busy after all."

Ah, but as green eyes cast a glance up at his 'savior', Ion couldn't help but blink when the latter's face looked awfully familiar. It only took a second to recognize the boy as the one that contacted him of Sync's whereabouts and also played witness to their 'reunion' shortly afterwards. At this realization the Fon Master's face brightened, doing his best to stand up without losing his balance.

"I'm fine, thank you. And I really mean it too." Ion answered happily.
As soon as he touched Ion's shoulder, he realized how cold the boy was. Without thinking, he shrugged his jacket off and threw it around the Fon Master's shoulders as he helped him to the feet. The face looking back at him was all too familiar, and yet it belonged to someone completely different. Not many people could look this similar to Sync, so once he got a good look, Ritsuka's memory jogged and popped out the boy's name. "Ion? It is Ion, right? What are you doing all the way out here?"

Ritsuka braced himself as he picked Ion up and let him lean against him until he regained his balance. They hadn't met but briefly before and other than his name, Ritsuka knew next to nothing about Sync's twin. His partner was always less than willing to discuss the subject, but it always made him curious. With his ears flattened against his head due to the sudden loss of his jacket, the SeeD-in-training looked up at the other boy. "I wasn't that busy - I already missed class so I was just wandering out here."
Ion's expression lowered into a rare frown when the other boy sacrificed his jacket, but he tried to make up for it by answering his question quickly and efficiently.

"Yes, and that means you're Ritsuka." He pointed out, still trying to regain his composure in the snow. "I can't thank you enough for finding Sync..." Whether or not the younger boy knew of Sync's past, one look at the Fon Master's face would've been enough to hint anyone that it was, indeed, a big deal that he found his twin. And so it was no surprise when Ion tugged off the scarf he wore and carefully wrapped it around Ritsuka's neck until it was snug. It was a kindly gesture, one of many he was planning to share to show his utter gratitude.

"I heard that the results for the SeeD examinations came," Ion started as he looked back down at Ritsuka. Now at his full height he easily towered over the latter by almost a foot, a fact that smiled amusedly at. "So I traveled here as fast as I could to congratulate him."

His smile then dropped into somewhat of an embarrassed look.

"Unless he didn't make it. He'd probably want someone to yell at if that happened, but I have confidence in him. After all, Sync's the type of person who'd rather light his pants on fire than lose at anything."
"Yeah, I'm Ritsuka and I didn't really find Sync so much as..." Ritsuka paused, remembering back to the day when he saw his partner plummet from the treetops. He was ignorant of Sync's past, making the brothers' relationship even more of a mystery. Still, he knew better than to press Sync for answers. Ion putting the scarf around his neck drew him back to reality and Ritsuka looked up at the other boy. He wasn't used to kindness from strangers and was going to give it back until he saw Ion's face. Quickly, he dropped his gaze and shoved his hands in his pockets, shrugging slightly. "It wasn't a big deal, we weren't too far from the school anyway. And it worked out for me, too. Without him, I wouldn't be where I am now."

If he remembered correctly, Ion was from Daath, meaning he wasn't used to this weather at all. Securing the jacket around the taller boy, Ritsuka checked the area for the closest entrance and motioned for Ion to follow him as they talked. He chuckled at the thought of his partner - focused and determined - ever failing at anything.

The examinations had indeed come and passed. Ritsuka could still feel the ghosts of the damages he'd received in Sync's stead. Tear's healing had helped keep him in good health, though, and both of the older students had passed. "Ha, well, he didn't need to light his pants on fire. He and Tear are full-fledged SeeDs now."

Ritsuka wondered if Ion reuniting with Sync again would be a good idea. The last time he'd brought the siblings together it had ended rather nastily. Ion, however, was earnest about keeping up good relations, and Ritsuka couldn't fault him for that (even if it was like running his head into a wall repeatedly and expecting different results). "He might be around here somewhere..."
Ritsuka's words stopped Ion in his tracks for the moment, staring at the back of the boy's head with a mixture of shock and surprise. If Ritsuka wasn't lying (like that would’ve made any difference since Ion would've believed him anyway) then that meant Sync had done something good for someone else. He liked to believe that he knew his brother the most out of anyone, and even then the thought of his twin aiding another was somewhat foreign to him. Of course, he was blissfully unaware that Sync’s idea of ‘helping’ involved using Ritsuka like some kind of meat-shield.

A smile curled up from his lips before the Fon Master strode forward until he was walking next to the other boy. He listened to the latter's words with interest, all up until he mentioned who actually became the full-fledged SeeDs...

"Did you pass with them?" Ion asked. The name 'Tear' also sounded familiar, but his main priorities were focused on Ritsuka for now.
They were nearing the building now and Ritsuka's ears twitched as he heard other students starting to get out of class. He'd have to do a little maneuvering to avoid his classmates so they didn't rat him out to the teachers. Wait - class - students - books. He'd left his books! Ritsuka stopped abruptly and turned to Ion, holding up one hand as he pivoted and turned back to retrieve them. He'd get fined if he didn't return those in good condition! "Hold on a second - I forgot something. I'll be right back."

A minute later, Ritsuka returned, the books a little damp from the snow but otherwise no worse for wear and tucked back under his arm. He glanced at Ion sheepishly and coughed, motioning toward the door and hoping the Fon Master would just ignore his sudden dash. "Me? No, I'm too young yet. I can't take the exams for awhile yet, but I helped them. Sync is pushing for me to test earlier than most though."

Or so he hoped. If Sync left him behind for some reason, he didn't know if he could adapt to another fighter. His family had kept their powers a secret and he'd really only learned about them from Seimei through his vague letters. If Ritsuka could only synchronize with one person, he'd be useless if Sync left him. Ritsuka pushed the side door open and peeked inside, making sure the hallway was clear before ushering Ion inside. The school was heated against the cold outside and he loosened the scarf a bit. "I'm only Sync's unofficial partner when we train for now."
"Oh...!" It all happened so suddenly, and before Ion could even fathom to open his mouth Ritsuka was already long gone. The boy tilted his head, but obediently followed the latter's orders and waited. He was close enough to the building to catch sight of students flowing into the halls, and the Fon Master gave a cheerful wave even though he doubted they could see him.

It wasn't long before Ritsuka returned to him, giving another 'Oh!' when he saw the pile of books he was carrying. "I'm sorry..." He felt responsible for it, especially since he was the one whom distracted the other boy in the first place. But Ion was happy that they weren't completely forgotten in the process.

"I hope you pass when it's your turn to take the exams. It sounds like Sync really likes you." Or at least, had some form of respect for Ritsuka or else he wouldn't have bothered at all. No one could blame Ion for being ecstatic that his twin was gaining friends, especially when he could remember the scraped knees and bruised elbows that done on Sync whenever he got caught in fights when he was younger. And Ritsuka was such a nice person, so he knew his brother was heading in the right direction.

Ion gave a soft sigh when the hot air of the building splashed against his frozen cheeks. The difference in temperature was staggering, but he chose to warm up completely instead of shrugging off the jacket.
"Don't apologize - not over a couple books." He waved off Ion's apology, keeping his attention on the hallway and staying away from anyone he knew. The last thing he needed was for another classmate to bully him over his refusal to fight as a SeeD when Ion was around. Sync would be pissed if he got hurt because it would decrease his ability to handle damage in an actual battle.

When he was certain that his classmates had already passed, he strolled along at a more casual pace. Becoming a SeeD was just an aside to his real goal, but he didn't exactly want to say that. He needed to find out what happened to his brother and that was the only reason he'd come to this place at all. "Thanks..."

He didn't see why Sync refused to acknowledge his twin. The guy was amiable enough and didn't seem to exude any ill will toward him. He'd have to ask Sync about it later, when his partner was in the mood to talk. "You know, you two are like night and day - it's weird. I've never met any two people so different before. Were you raised separately or something?"
"I'm sorry, it's just in my nature..." Ion apologized yet again, though looking rather humbled as he did do. It was just a habit that was hard for him to get rid of, and many a time it managed to drive Sync (and many others) up the wall. He tried his best to keep it under control, but he'd often find himself slipping, especially with those he'd just met.

It didn't take long for Ion to warm up, hugging the jacket closer to him and enjoying the different sights the halls had to offer. He'd been confined to the Infirmary the last time he'd been there so it was no surprise that Trabia would be a new experience to him.

"We were raised exactly the same, or at least, as close as our parents were able to." The Fon Master began after laughing lightly at Ritsuka's question. If it weren't for the important fact that they were twins no one would believe that they were even related. "They thought it was best that we grow and take whatever path we chose on our own, but even then I'm a little baffled as to why we grew up so differently. I guess a lot of it had to do with what we did in our free time."

Ion stopped and thought.

"Sync was a lot stronger than me so he liked to wander out of the house and all around Daath. I always wished that I could follow him, but I know I'd just slow him down because I was weaker. One time mom sent us out to get bread and he got mad because I took too many breaks so he ran on ahead without me." And yet the entire time Ion spoke all of this with a smile, because he felt it just wasn't right to blame Sync for his own faults.
"You really don't have to apologize," Ritsuka said, his tail flicking at Ion's persistent apologizing. The brothers really were polar opposites. He couldn't remember the last time he'd heard Sync apologize for something so small. Probably because it hadn't happened.

He listened closely as Ion talked, trying to picture Daath and his partner's childhood. How differently children turned out was a mystery to even the best scholars, he supposed. After all, who could have predicted that Ritsuka would have turned out the way he did? Still, the smaller boy frowned when Ion described the past event. Even if Sync was his partner, Ritsuka often snapped at him over just this very thing. Leaving the weak behind was no way to win a war.

Still, Ion was smiling and it wasn't Ritsuka's place to step on his memories. He knew what it was like to cherish any memory he had, even the bad ones.

"Well, he hasn't really changed much, but he's grown a bit," Ritsuka said. He hoped he was right. He wanted to think that Sync wouldn't just leave him behind if he started to slow down, too. The sun disappeared behind a cloud and Ritsuka looked out the window. The sun was starting to go down and a light rain had begun to fall. No doubt it would only add to the ice outside as night progressed. "Hey, since it's getting dark, want to come see the dorms? We're almost there anyway."
"I'm glad that Sync has grown. I know he's a good person on the inside, but I guess he doesn't show it because he's afraid it might make him look weak." And if this assumption held any sort of truth to it, then Ion knew that he was partly the one to blame. The twins really were as different as night and day, but he didn't seem to mind one bit. There was no doubt that he loved his brother unconditionally, and cared and worried for him as deeply as anyone possibly could. The very thought that Sync was so near left Ion's cheeks tingling with excitement.

But he also wanted to spend more time with Ritsuka, clasping his hands together when his new friend brought up the subject about the dorms. Leaving at this hour was dangerous, and as much as the Fon Master loved the sight and sounds of snow, the bitter cold left him wary of setting out that night.

"I hope it wouldn't be any trouble if we did. I really appreciate it."
Sadly, what Ion said was true. Kindness and compassion weren't exactly high on the desired list of traits in mercenaries. As someone who refused to fight or inflict pain on others, Ritsuka had found that out the hard way. His inability to injure another living creature wasn't even out of compassion so much as sympathy, but the other students didn't care. It was a weakness that they could exploit. After awhile, Ritsuka had stopped caring whether his classmates bullied him or spoke ill of him, and his indifference had eventually caused the majority of them to move on. Appearing cold-hearted was an excellent tactic. "He's smart - he knows what this job entails so he still keeps it under wraps. Sometimes, though, you can see the subtle changes in him."

On very rare occasions, Ritsuka thought as they continued along to the dorms. His room wasn't exactly amazing, but it served him well enough for all the time he spent in it. "It's no problem. If you need to stay someplace, you can stay with me." He doubted Sync would agree to having his twin stay in his room, after all. "It isn't very big, but it'll work out somehow."

They arrived at his door and he unlocked it, moving inside and assuming Ion would follow. As he said, it wasn't big - just his bed, a desk, the usual dorm room fare, and a small, low table he'd rescued from the scrap heap. The room was almost immaculately clean, the bed made, clothes neatly folded even in the laundry hamper, and the table clear of clutter. The walls, however, were covered with photographs of different people and places, neatly labeled and arranged in groups. Ritsuka set his books down on the desk and rubbed the back of his head sheepishly. "Sorry that there's not a lot of places to sit, but I'm still a pretty low ranking student, all things considered. You can sit on the bed, if you want..."
Ion gave a curt nod, following Ritsuka inside the tiny dorm room. But it wasn't the small bed or the tiny desk that captured his attention but the photographs that spanned across the walls. Green eyes completely mesmerized by the array of colors, the Fon Master found himself stepping forward to take a closer look.

"These are wonderful," He turned away from the photos and gave his friend a wide smile. "You're really talented, I don't think I'd ever have the eye to take pictures as good as these." Ion wished that he could tack up pictures all over his own walls, but the most that might be seen as unprofessional. And, as much as he didn't want to admit it, he had the reputation of Fon Master to worry about. Still, it made him happy to see others utilizing whatever they excelled in.

"It's alright if the room is small. After all, it gives friends the chance the be closer with each other." As usual, Ion had the knack for finding a good out of any situation, finally meandering towards the bed and nestled himself at the edge.


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