Summertime bakes all the love out of the land. It's too hot to fight, to run jobs, to think about the future; it's too hot to do much more'n sit in dark bars and drink until the evening comes, when the heat lets up a little. And this is exactly what Hyakurin does with the majority of her time, not to mention the lion's share of her money. She likes to drink, she's good at it. Plenty of other things she's good at too – she was a wife for some years, and not a bad one. She was a killer for some more years, and if she says so herself she was damn good. But hell if those are things she really wants to take money for, and hell if there are lots of other options for a woman of her age and (ahem) station. Some days she wonders what the fuck Giichi was thinking, buying her out. The hell did he expect her to do after?
Of course, her shooting arm had gone at the time. Like a fickle lover, and it figures.
A good sword arm and a keen eye are always commodities, of course, of course, even in these times, with everything quieting down. There's always a throat in need of cutting, and someone else who'll hand over cash for someone else to do the dirty deed; it's just that these days Hyakurin has trouble working up the motivation. Plus the energy. She knows all this shit, she has the contacts; she could. Only killing is kind of a bitch, not to mention Giichi, who pays her not to. But it drives Hyakurin a little crazy, not. She's made for action. She's picked up a taste for the business. And you can take blood away from a lady, maybe, but you can't take a lady away from blood – a lady is all about blood.
But, hey. If Hyakurin can't get a job she can stomach, she can get cirrhosis instead. Giichi doesn't tell her what to do with her money, and she doesn't have a kid in the oven, either, so there's really nothing to stop her.
She can drink herself to hell, and she's well on her way, the night she runs into a pretty familiar face. Or maybe that night the familiar face runs in to her.
Hyakurin could recognize that ass anywhere, not to mention that cute little pout, the big eyes that go all dark and worried. The dark hair up in a bun – a little tougher without the braids, but Hyakurin is good at this kind of crap. It comes with the business. She's pretty deep in her cups when cute little Rin-chan comes over and sits across the table from her, again with the worried face. Rin is a worrier, always will be. Hyakurin knows the type.
"Hey there, sweetheart," Hyakurin slurs. "Long time no see."
Rin raises a hand and gets a tray with a couple of sweet buns, somehow. Her brows are pulled tight together when she looks back across the table. "Hyakurin," she says. "I've been looking for you." But she doesn't look drunk, and shouldn't everyone in this damn shithole be drunk? Hyakurin is not entirely sure what's going on.
"Nicest thing 've heard in… I dunno how long," Hyakurin bubbles into her sake.
Rin catches her, somehow, when she topples sideways off the bench.
Hyakurin doesn't exactly sober up when Rin heaves her over her shoulder and starts hauling both of them out of the shithole Hyakurin was just recently getting tanked in. Rin soldiers along next to her anyway, and Hyakurin gazes limpidly at the bit of Rin's cleavage she can glimpse and tries to make conversation. "So howmany yers it been," she tries. "You gotta be legal bynow… right?"
"Come on, Hyakurin," Rin says. "You'll feel better if you lie down and… probably if you throw some of that up and… oh, God, don't step in that! Hyakurin!"
Rin is right. She does feel better once she horfs up some of the booze, and then a whole hell of a lot better when Rin helps her take her shirt off. But it's just so Rin can scrub her back, which is awfully nice but not exactly scratching Hyakurin's itch, if you know what she means, nudge wink nudge. Somewhere along the line Rin's hands have gotten strong as hell, and her fingers have gotten clever; she roots out ever knot in Hyakurin's shoulders and upper back, and tweaks them out, one by one. Being looked after is a novelty. Hyakurin searches for a time in her memory when somebody scrubbed her back and fails to unearth a single incident, although someone must have, once. Isn't that just her luck, though, fuck and Goddammit? Rin frets over her the whole time, naturally, in the tight voice she uses for worrying. "Giichi told me where to look for you. Honestly, Hyakurin, you look terrible. Where are you sleeping?"
Hyakurin mumbles out a half-remembered address and Rin sighs, not at all surprised. "Well, I won't take you there." She dumps a bucket of clean hot water over Hyakurin's head. Yellowy fringe occludes her vision. "I mean, I wasn't going to anyway, but…"
"My hair dye is there," Hyakurin informs her.
"I'll send a runner for it."
Hyakurin scoots around on the bench and looks at her old – friend, she supposes, is the proper word, although back in the day "headache" was more like it. Rin is rosy-cheeked and her hair is thick, and she's not got much flesh on her still but it's obvious she's getting enough to eat. She is staring at Hyakurin, worry writ large across her features.
Hyakurin leans forward. She's still half-drunk; her sore muscles give like thick mud. Her skin is red from scrubbing, she feels her breasts swinging forward as she leans. Rin's eyes are studiously on her face. The girl was always a bit of a prude, Hyakurin thinks with a kind of affectionate hunger. She twines a lock of blond hair around her forefinger and asks the question that's been on her mind since she recognized Rin.
"Where's that Mister Manji, sweetie?"
Rin looks away completely, and Hyakurin congratulates herself – she still has an eye for a soft spot, even when she doesn't have her shooting arm anymore.
"He's not here," Rin says, which Hyakurin takes to mean "I have no idea". But Rin is going on, all quiet – "He actually took a contract with the bakufu for a while after things with me got worked out – " – (He went and took the Mugai-ryu deal, Hyakurin translates) – "And I get money from him sometimes, and there was a note with the first payment saying that he couldn't write after this but not to worry, and I – " Rin finishes with a helpless shrug.
Haven't seen hide nor hair of him since, Hyakurin thinks.
But craven woman that she is, these are exactly the kinds of words she wanted to hear.
Rin's eyes widen a little when Hyakurin reaches out and cups her face. She might almost look afraid. Hyakurin loves that look, in a way. She pauses and commits it to memory so she'll be able to call it up again and savor it later, and then breathes tenderly against Rin's brow. "Oh my sweet. Did he leave you here all alone?"
Rin's hands cover hers. Hyakurin is not surprised to feel calluses on them, the kind earned through swinging a sword. "I – " Rin begins, chokes off, swallows. "Hyakurin, I'm…"
Hush, hush. Hyakurin kisses her forehead. Summer bakes all the sweetness, all the love out of the land, but it's nighttime now, they can sneak a little if they're careful. If they don't spill a drop. If they lap up every bead of moisture, if they suck away every trace of flavor, before the sun touches the horizon.
Hyakurin slides down and sits with her legs a little open. She pats her thighs – here, come sit here, Rin. After a moment, still unsure of herself, of this, Rin comes closer and sits. Hyakurin takes the collar of Rin's robe, then, and unwraps her like the gift she is.
Oh, in a summer sun like they've been having, skin this pale would never survive. Rin folds her hands in her lap like she's listening to a poetry recitation and then moves them again, quick, nervous darts like birds taking flight, when Hyakurin pulls Rin's robe down so it pools around her waist. Even drunk, Hyakurin knows her stuff. Rin's dark little nipples are already pebbled hard, and Hyakurin puts one hand over Rin's nape and traces the soft curve of one breast with the knuckles of her other hand. She is thinking about how much she wants to trace out the characters of her own name on the tips of Rin's nipples with her tongue. And then her name on the back of Rin's knees, the insides of her elbows, the insides of her thighs, her name on Rin's clit –
The girl she's dreaming about turns a little in a way that doesn't exactly look comfortable and puts her hand on Hyakurin's side.
"Hyakurin," she starts, and Hyakurin is so focused on Rin's eyes, hazel with little flares of green like the bottom of a pond, something so gentle to come across, a balm for a sore, water for thirst, something so welcoming after an age of deprivation, Hyakurin is so focused on these eyes that she almost misses the question: "Are you all right?"
"No," she laughs against Rin's lips, when the query registers. "Never."
Even drunk, Hyakurin eclipses Rin in her skill at this kind of thing. She pulls her close, pushes their mouths together; thinks that in surprise or protest Rin might yell, but no. Rin's mouth opens just that easily to her; Rin's lips are soft and warm, she makes a noise like a little cat when Hyakurin brushes her tongue into Rin's mouth. She would like to convey all her secrets like this, without the fuss of words and misunderstandings, simply poured mouth to mouth, swallowed from dark into secret dark. Rin has her hands on Hyakurin's shoulders, gentling her, holding her at bay. Hard to tell which.
Hyakurin gives Rin a push to get her off; Rin nearly tumbles ass over teakettle, either from surprise or because she's so stunned by Hyakurin's incredible seductive skill. That last, that last part must be it. Hyakurin stands um and laughs; Rin sits there looking like she isn't sure what just happened. Hyakurin puts her foot on Rin's chest between her breasts and pushes so Rin goes flat on her back, staring up at Hyakurin like she's descended from heaven wreathed in flame, or something – maybe it's just that she can see Hyakurin's cunt.
"Take me to your room," Hyakurin says, tilting her head and winking like a rogue.
Rin gets up and stumbles over to where fresh clothes are folded – as if. "Uh uh, honey," Hyakurin says, catching her halfway and glueing herself up against Rin's back. "Don't fret, I've got you covered." The important bits, at least; Rin's breasts fit nicely into her hands. Hyakurin gives Rin's nipples a tweak between her fore- and middle fingers and steers her towards the door.
Outside, evening is folding close around them like a wing; there's a fence holding the world out too, but dimly Hyakurin can hear people living on the other side. This is much less important than licking Rin's neck in a delicate warm swipe that stops just below her left ear, and hearing the little noise Rin makes at that.
"Hyakurin," she starts, all pleading and kind of embarrassed.
"Better run for it, sweetheart," Hyakurin teases, and lets one of Rin's breasts go to reach down past the younger woman's waistband and take a dig at something even more tender. That gets the girl going – she makes the cutest little squeak – and then they're running together in a jumble of legs and arms and Hyakurin's hand is still on Rin's breast and her other hand is hard at work, and the gravel on the path bites her feet but that's fine. Rin bangs into her house with Hyakurin cackling in her ear, bangs into another room five paces along. There's a futon still unrolled on the floor, which is good enough for Hyakurin.
She has Rin smushed against the comforter and the rest of Rin's clothes mostly off before it registers that Rin's squirms and mewls are less because Hyakurin is doing a damn fine job working her over (although obviously that's part of it) and more because the sliding door has been left wide open.
Door closed, Hyakurin can finally get a good look at what she's unraveled. Never a big girl, Rin has not gotten too much bigger – she's pale all over, a real aristocrat, a real lady. There's a little line of fading scar tissue following the curve of her belly, and little scars ringing her wrists and ankles. That dark hair is loose by now, she's all dark lips, mouth a little open, eyelashes fluttering. Hyakurin goes and sits on Rin's belly, straddles it, really, so she can press again where she's all wet and want. Then she lets herself down so they press front-to-front. Their tits press together. Hyakurin pushes another kiss on Rin's panting mouth. "Did I ever tell you I had two kids?" she whispers. Rin looks up at her, puts her arms around Hyakurin's shoulders and pulls her close. Presses her face close to Hyakurin's, panting, gentle. Hyakurin kisses her again and then moves down.
The fantasy, writing her name's on Rin's nipples with the tip of her tongue, becomes reality, only instead of her name, it's her children's – one nipple for each. Rin will wear all her secrets and never know it.
Still, her reaction is fabulous, A-plus-plus. Her fingers get caught up in Hyakurin's hair, first her moan is just a rising breath and then it's "Hya-ku-rin," in three little stutters of breath. Hyakurin blows a chilly little draft across Rin's hardened nipple and keeps moving down. She has a lot of ground to cover; she has to work fast if she wants to see it all. And if everything goes well, she'll get another chance eventually, too.
Hyakurin traces that pale scar with her tongue next, then lets herself go for the sweet spot and nuzzles against Rin where her legs join. Rin breath catches in something like a sob, gratifyingly; her hips rise, and Hyakurin's still got it, yes-oh-yes. She holds Rin's hips down and just teases her, a little flick of the tongue, little soft puffs of breath, while Rin grapples at the covers and pulls Hyakurin's hair and lets noise into the sweaty little room, please oh yes it's good Hyakurin please on and on.
Getting to this is so sweet, surprise surprise. Hyakurin takes a last little lick and changes focus (momentarily) – she hasn't forgotten that promise to herself, her name, invisible, emblazoned on Rin's inner thighs.
She starts on the left thigh, nibbling and licking her way up; only that one becomes Shinriji's death. The right one becomes her husband's. Hyakurin feels lighter even as she weighs Rin, unknowing, down.
But Rin is so strong, strong enough to hold these things and remain unbowed by them. Hyakurin hopes.
This is frustrating, by now – she meant to be putting her name all over Rin, with this. Instead these are just all ways for Rin to own her. Hyakurin has one more chance, though, hell if she won't get this one right.
Rin makes a shrill noise when Hyakurin hooks her arms under Rin's thighs and tips her up, so the younger woman rests on her shoulders, body curved like a bow, ass in the air. Hyakurin scoots close to lend some stability to the position, and smiles at the part of Rin's flushed face that she can see. "You've got the most adorable cunt I've ever seen," Hyakurin tells her, and it's the damn truth, it is adorable, pink and slick. She teases at it with her fingers a little before she scissors Rin open, exposes tender flesh to her tongue.
Her tongue, which Hyakurin pushes into Rin, as deep as she can get it. All the love is gone from the dry summer land, the people are parched, the water has disappeared, sucked up in one long gulp by the cracked, greedy earth. Hyakurin has a secret. She's found an oasis, and she's not going to be sharing.
Rin yowls, whip-crack orgasm, and Hyakurin messes up again. Instead of her name on Rin's cunt it's I love you, and the kiss afterward: please love me too.
Rin is languid when she's done. Satiated; but the girl is a wellspring of energy, and she pulls up enough to look at Hyakurin with cautious tenderness, and stroke her blond hair. The roots are starting to show, Hyakurin knows. Almost time for a touch-up.
Hyakurin can feel that the headache tomorrow is going to be fierce, and she's pretty much happy allowing herself being held. Rin's breasts aren't big, but they're great to rest her head against anyway. But of course – Hyakurin shoulda figured – Rin is a talker after sex as well as a cuddler.
"You had two kids?" Rin makes a kind of thinking face. "I mean… I wasn't even sure you were married."
Hyakurin contemplates mumbling something about "sleep" and "talk tomorrow". But this, this kind of thing, this is fragile. And wasn't that kind of response what got her so sick of fucking men, anyway?
Hyakurin does not want Rin to get sick of fucking her.
"C'mon, kid," she sighs instead. "Didn' I tell ya way back when we first met… not to marry a samurai? How d'ya think I got the inside info to say that if I hadn't got married?"
"Okay, so I guess I was pretty sure. But…"
Rin will not pry if Hyakurin puts her off. Hyakurin knows this. It's a bit of a gamble to drop all the heavy shit after something like that, of her own will and volition, though. Especially after something like what they just did. Of course, if anyone can take it…
"Two kids," Hyakurin says. "Yeah. Boy anna girl and… my fucking husband killed both of 'em."
Rin touches her hair again, gently, as if Hyakurin is a hurting thing that needs gentleness. The wound isn't as sore as it used to be. It's had some years to scab over now, really, and Hyakurin is over it. She's a working woman, anyway, she hasn't got time for crying –
The almighty honk of a sob takes her by surprise. She curls up towards Rin with her eyes streaming, and after a minute she feels Rin shudder and looks up to realize that Rin is crying too. She always did tear up easy. Not the best of omens, both of them carrying on like this, right after fucking.
Rin rubs big gentle circles on Hyakurin's back. Hyakurin snorts and oozes more fluid on Rin and Rin's comforter. God, she's got to be a mess, she's really damn lucky that Rin isn't clear-eyed and –headed seeing this. She hasn't cried like this in ages. Years, really. Rin dribbling too, her mouth so full and sad that Hyakurin has to kiss at it. A voiceless kiss this time, her questions still unanswered.
Hope in the future is an unfamiliar sensation. Hyakurin almost doesn't want to feel it; it's too delicate an emotion, it won't survive the summer days. Rin was looking for her; Rin asked Giichi how to find her. Rin probably got more than she bargained for with this. If Hyakurin doesn't ask her questions out loud, she won't get an answer that she doesn't want to hear – she probably isn't sober enough to ask the right way, anyway.
Hyakurin is not good at this kind of shit. Nine times of ten she flubs it; in the other one, Mr. Right croaks. She's a gambler by nature even if it's hard on her, though, and hope springing eternal is unfortunately part of the nature of a gambler.
Confirmation one way or another can wait one night. This is cowardice talking; putting off a conclusive answer until the moment where someone has to spit it out or die.
Rin's smell is warm and soft. Hot water, soap, sweat, sex. Yes or no, will she or nill she, her arms have found their way around Hyakurin.
She'll take that, and savor it, for now.