Rating/Warnings: PG-13 for male zero.
Summary: This 'training' of Soubi's seems to have not so much to do with self-defense and a whole lot to do with getting Ritsuka's shirt off.
AN: Mousapelli's Birthday Theme 13, The Seven Arts of Self-Defense.
Bob and Weave
"You said you wanted to battle," Soubi pointed out.
"You keep fighting by yourself!" Ritsuka retorted. "You always get hurt! I won't let you do it anymore, Soubi! I'm your sacrifice!"
"Then you have to learn to protect yourself." Soubi crossed his arms firmly.
"What does taking my shirt off have to do with that?" Ritsuka demanded, fur bristling from ear to tailtip.
"It's constricting," Soubi said, reaching over to tug on the fabric in demonstration. "You need to be able to move freely."
Ritsuka's blush could've set soaked wood ablaze as he stripped the shirt over his head, and it didn't help that Zero was lounging on the bed and cat-calling.
"Soubiiii," Ritsuka wailed, the blush creeping down Ritsuka's chest as Soubi curled along his back and reached out along his arms to twine their fingers together.
"Relax," Soubi soothed, smiling as Ritsuka shivered a little against him. "I'm just going to show you how to move." He flicked his gaze over to Youji and Natsuo, who were sharing knowing grins. "Oi, you two, get over here."
"Yeah, yeah," Youji whined, but they slid off the bed and shuffled over. "What do you want, pervert?"
"Try and hit Ritsuka," Soubi said. Ritsuka protested and tried to squirm away, but Soubi's grip was too strong. "Go on."
Youji and Natsuo exchanged a suspicious glance, but after a few seconds, Youji's affection for violence overcame any concern for their living situation and he charged Ritsuka, Natsuo close behind.
It wasn't easy fighting both Ritsuka's stiffness and their height difference, and Youji and Natsuo were better hand-to-hand attackers than he would have expected from a team trained by Nagisa-sensei.
"I told you, relax," Soubi said when Ritsuka whined and struggled harder after taking a nasty scratch down his forearm from Natsuo.
"Are you crying about that little thing?" Youji sneered, tossing his hair back. "You're the most pathetic sacrifice I've ever seen."
"Shut up!" Ritsuka snapped.
"You don't trust him or anything," Natsuo added, draping himself over Youji's shoulders and twining fingers with Youji's in a weird mirror of Soubi and Ritsuka. He nuzzled Youji's cheek and Youji went limp against him, letting Natsuo move him about compliantly. "You're pretty useless, huh?"
"SHUT UP!" Ritsuka said louder, but added "eep!" when Soubi's nose brushed his cheek.
"You trust me, right, Ritsuka?" he purred. Ritsuka nodded after a second, staring at Youji and Natsuo's smirks. Then he tipped his head back far enough to dart his tongue against the scars at Soubi's throat, making him start.
"Keh, you're both useless," Youji pronounced, then charged again suddenly.
Ritsuka closed his eyes and leaned back into Soubi's warmth.
"There you go," Soubi murmured in Ritsuka's ear with approval, and Ritsuka felt the impact of Youji's fists against his arms distantly as Soubi moved them to block.
There was a sort of jerky flow to it, Ritsuka thought, an ebb and flow to the flurry of strikes as Youji and Natsuo traded off, and Ritsuka thought there might be a hole in the pattern as Soubi pulled back their right arms further than usual and curled Ritsuka's hand into a fist.
His eyes flew open when his knuckles connected with something hard, and Soubi said, "There." Youji was scowling and rubbing the back of his hand over his cheekbone.
"You're just lucky," he said. Ritsuka stuck out his tongue, and then put his knuckles in his mouth to suck on them.
"It's a start, I suppose," Soubi said, letting go of Ritsuka and straightening, his back cracking. "Maybe we should work on something else for a while. You two," he caught Youji and Natsuo as they were heading back towards the bed, "find somewhere else to roll around on each other. And you," Soubi's smile made Ritsuka bristle and drop the shirt he'd been picking up off the floor, "won't need that."