Rating/Warnings: PG? Kio wants Ritsuka's pants.
Summary: Kio and Ritsuka try to tell Soubi that art isn't exactly relaxing, given his choice of subject.
AN: Mousapelli's Birthday Theme 22: Whose way to relax is better?
If This Silence Takes You (Let It Take Me Too)
"It's relaxing," Soubi said around the paintbrush that was clenched between his teeth, snarling at the blob of white he was attempting to mix into sky blue with the pad of his thumb.
On the other side of the canvas that was lying on the floor, Ritsuka tilted his head up, peering at Kio to see what he thought about Soubi's answer to his question, ears flicking in disbelief. Kio shook his head, barely even looking up from the bowl of brownie batter he was stirring. "Ask him about the butterflies."
"Kio," Soubi warned, then cursed as he used the wrong finger to mix the paint more, smudging red into it, which meant that he had to start all over.
"Ask him?" Ritsuka's ears flicked more, and he turned back to Soubi. "Ask him what? Soubi, what about the butterflies?"
"Nothing about the butterflies," Soubi said, squeezing more paint out of the tube with a vicious clench of his hand. "I just paint them."
"But you don't like them," Kio added, coming over and handing Ritsuka the spoon. "Lick it," he ordered when Ritsuka held the sticky thing between two fingers and peered at Kio some more.
"But I don't…"
"Lick." Kio gave Ritsuka the Eye, and Ritsuka swiped his tongue tentatively over the back of the spoon. His eyebrows flew up and his tail swished, then Ritsuka stuck the whole spoon in his mouth.
"Oo on ike em?" he asked Soubi around the spoon.
"No, he hates them," Kio answered, and there was a crack of splitting wood as Soubi bit down harder on the paintbrush. Rolling his eyes, Kio reached down and pried Soubi's jaw open to remove the brush and waved it at him. "Honesly, Sou-chan, you're going to get splinters in your tongue again!"
"Ut en," Ritsuka took the cleaned spoon out of his mouth and handed it to Kio, who strode back to the counter, pink apron swishing, "why do you paint them?"
"I told you," Soubi picked up another brush and dabbed it in the color he'd finally finished mixing, "it's relaxing."
Ritsuka's ears drooped a little as he watched Soubi dab brushstrokes of blue on the canvas with sharp turns of his wrist, his nose wrinkled and forehead creased, teeth sinking into his lower lip when it didn't go exactly as he wanted. Behind them, the oven door creaked as Kio slid the brownie pan in.
"Do you even know what relaxing means?" Kio asked as he was peeling his apron off. His voice was light, like he had meant to tease, but Ritsuka sat up suddenly.
"No, he doesn't."
Kio gasped, half shock and half laughter, as Ritsuka darted forward suddenly, knees sliding onto the canvas and right through the wet paint.
"Ritsuka!" Soubi's jaw dropped, the name as close as Soubi ever got to reprimanding, but Ritsuka didn't quail, kneeling directly in front of Soubi in blue-streaked jeans. Ritsuka reached up and held Soubi's face between his hands.
"Stop it," he said.
"Ritsuka," Soubi tried to pull gently out of Ritsuka's hands, "I have school work to…"
"Stop it," Ritsuka repeated louder, tightening his grip, fur bristling over his ears and tail. "Soubi, you hate it, don't you?" Ritsuka's fingers drifted over Soubi's face, pressing the crease in between his eyebrows flat and using his thumbs to smooth out the pinched corners of his mouth. Soubi's hands, still covered in paint, were fisted in his lap around the paint brush.
"Don’t paint butterflies anymore," Ritsuka interrupted, tugging the paint brush out of Soubi's grip and letting it clatter to the floor. He glared at Soubi with wide, violet eyes and fisted hands in his shirt. "It's an order!"
Ritsuka squawked when Soubi grabbed him by the shirtfront and hauled him closer, hands smearing paint across his shirt and burying his nose between Ritsuka's flattened ears.
"Ritsuka is so cute," Soubi murmured faintly, and Ritsuka curled arms around his neck and squeezed him tightly.
"Honestly, you two," Kio was standing beside them, rolling his eyes. "You can't do anything normal, can you? Take off your pants, kid."
"What?!" Ritsuka jerked his head up to glare, cheeks flooding pink.
"You want 'em to stain?" Kio put one hand on his hip and held out the other. "You did just crawl through paint, you know. Hand 'em over, shirt too. I'll wash 'em out."
Soubi had to admit, with Ritsuka curled up in his lap in one of his old shirts, and Kio handing them chunks of brownie from the pan that singed their fingers, while he sketched shaky flowers in red-streaked blue paint with a brush that had rings of teethmarks and a big crack in the handle, that maybe Ritsuka and Kio knew what they were talking about.
"Soubi!" Ritsuka protested, laughing, when Soubi sucked the last bite of brownie from Ritsuka's fingers, the rich chocolate melting over his tongue.
"My hands are covered in paint," Soubi grinned, and Ritsuka punched his shoulder.