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The Street Rat and the Samurai

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Samurai: (Japanese) Mercenary or muscle-for-hire. Implies code of honor. (Syn. Street samurai.)
Samurai: (Japanese) A corporate assassin or mercenary, hired to protect Corporation property (...) (a type of Solo)
~ Street Slang

“Here we are.” V steps into her apartment, looks around for anything that’d mortally embarrass her, and is pleasantly surprised to find no dirty underwear scattered on the floor. “Isn’t what you’re used to, but the shower’s workin’.”

Goro waits until she’s cleared the entrance before entering. His head swivels around even as the door closes around him; he takes in the single room, those pretty eyes never even flashing. Either he’s not scanning, or his optics can cloak it.

Whatever he’s looking for, he doesn’t find it, turns towards her and sends an electric jolt through her spine with the intensity of his gaze. “Thank you, V. Truly.”

Instead of breaking eye contact and flushing like a nomad in a brothel, she somehow manages a smile. It feels skewed even to herself.
“Make yourself at home,” she offers and walks towards the sofa as if jumping him right here was not the more tempting option. “The bathroom’s on the left.”

No kidding, she muses while Goro bows his head towards her and disappears inside her tiny bathroom. If you do that without warning, best option you’ll end up on the floor. With his knee pressing against her back, and… Might decommish you by reflex, and wouldn’t that be fun?

As usual, Johnny SIlverhand materializes out of nowhere in a fizz of blue static.
“Jesus Christ on a stick, you’re disgusting.”
The dead terrorist in her head is pacing, visibly exasperated this time. Good.
“You’re literally waiting for Arasaka to fuck you!” He throws up his arms, glaring. “Can you stop creamin’ for just one second?”

V wants nothing so much as to down an omega blocker to make him go away. But he’ll be a distraction from the guy in her bathroom.

In her shower.

“Fucking shit, V, stop it! Cut back on the shotgun shells some time!”
Johnny’s in front of her all of a sudden, bent down to tower over her. With anyone else, she’d have flinched, but not with him — the rockerboy’s no longer random, not even while warping through her perception like a glitch in the optics.
“Think of something else.” He plops down on the low table, an immaterial cigarette between his fingers.

V, who hasn’t touched dope in years, hates the fact that she can smell the burning tobacco. She hates it even more that she likes the smell.
A distraction from her distraction: her thoughts circle back to Goro and the way he smells, the familiar scent of guns and Wako’s tea and something spicy-exotic like that one type of preem kibble, but also not.

“Stop thinkin’ with your cunt for just one second and remember your choom.” Johnny gets up to pace some more. “Jackie. Ring any bells? If Takemura’s not shot ‘im himself, he’s workin’ for the people who did!”

That wound still hurts, and it’s never gonna stop. “Goro went off in the other direction with Smasher and Yorinobu. He wasn’t even close.” V loathes how rough her voice is. I’m not even talkin’ out loud, for fuck’s sake! “Caught a bullet from the fuckin’ AV. Bled to death on the way out. How’d you call that? Occupational hazard...”

“You ain’t even buyin’ that yourself,” Johnny scoffs. “He’d’ve put ‘im down like a rabid dog, and he’ll do the same to you.”

And he would.
“At least he’d feel bad about it after!” she snaps, Kiroshi optics focussing through the sudden blur of rage while she fumbles for an omega blocker and swallows it dry.

Just like that, Silverhand’s gone.

Suddenly, the room feels claustrophobic, and V, who has never felt any discomfort in the cramped confines of Night City before, can’t breathe.
A single smoke would fix it, and that’s even worse.

I’d rather die.

The shower is still going. V grabs the big gun and slings it over her shoulder, then hurries out of the apartment.

I’m grabbing chow.’
It’s only a thought to text Goro, who is in my bathroom and quite possibly not wearing anything right now. Picturing that makes her breathe more quickly, but not more easily. ‘Back in ten. Feel right at home.’

This time at least he doesn’t ghost her. ‘My “home” does not have a shower,’ he writes. ‘Yours is better.’

*

Elias smiles when she leans on the 24/7’s counter in front of him, short dreads standing up like chubby fingers. He’s wearing a BD wreath that’s even more out of date than Johnny Silverhand. “V, hey, ‘s’been a while. Noodles?”

“Hey Ells. How’s Bartie?” Nodding, she waves a sloppy salute and turns around so she can watch the corridor between her apartment and the lift. She doesn’t really expect Goro to sneak out without a word, but… better safe than sorry?

“Fine,” he smiles, folding open a takeaway box and moving the pan back to the middle of the heater.

Might as well ask. “You got anything that’s not… y’know? Got someone over. Picky eater. Spoiled rotten.”
“Sure, one ‘ganic salmon comin’ right up.”
They both laugh at that.

The radio’s playing Samurai. V used to like the band, back then, ‘smuch as you can have an opinion on something that’s older than dirt.
Recently, her feelings are more mixed. Johnny’s riffs carrying through, making her fingers itch. Only instruments she’s good with are blunt and heavy, yet the song makes her want to pick up a guitar and shred something other than gonks.

*

V returns to her apartment with two plastic boxes full of noodles and Never Fade Away stuck in her head, silently fuming: She knows the lyrics by heart, remembers writing them, and it’s about that Alt fuckup Johnny’s hurting over, and not about a crazy ‘Saka ronin and a street rat, no matter how pretty his eyes.

Heart wants what it wants, says the part of her that is Johnny.
Crotch, says the part that is V.

*

I saw in you what life was missing
You lit a flame that consumed my hate
I'm not one for reminiscing but
I'd trade it all for your sweet embrace

*

There’s still water running in the bathroom, although by now it’s the sink rather than the shower. She hangs the big gun on its peg, then gives the bathroom door a wide berth, mindful of her guest’s privacy and the busted lock and her own risk of spontaneous combustion, trying to breathe shallowly.
His scent’s all over the place.
Smart move woulda been to click the switch outside, it occurs to her now that it’s too late — she’s not gonna risk Goro coming through that door to find her with her hands up her panties.

V puts the food down on the end table before throwing herself on the sofa. There’s none of Johnny’s junk around this time, yet when she opens the box with the noodles she finds herself too charged-up to be hungry.

She’s halfway through disassembling and cleaning her gun when the bathroom door opens. Goro is carrying his thick synthleather coat over his arm, and…

From the way his threads are sticking to his body, he’s taken them for a wash and hasn’t found the dryer function.

She feels her mouth go dry and finds herself licking her lips, as if that would help.

“Are you alright, V?” There’s concern in his face, the Japanese accent a tad stronger than usual, and fuck, he has no idea.

“Fine,” she manages. He’s ripped, and given what he and Vik dropped about his chrome… all that’s gotta be him. Shit. “Brought chow for you too, if you’re hungry.” This time, the smile doesn’t feel as lopsided, but she can feel every beat of her heart in her entire body, a drumbeat centering in the molten heat between her thighs. Fuck.

“There is no such thing as bad food when you are really hungry,” Goro agrees. “But I do not want to soak your furniture by sitting on it.”

“Don’t mind that,” she reassures him. The sofa’s not the only thing that’s soaked because of you.

“I do not understand?” He sits down carefully after patting the seat, folding his hands in front of him, looking at her.

V can feel the blood rush to her face. “Uh — what?”

“You said the sofa was not the only thing that was soaked… because of me?” He tilts his head.

I said that out loud? Oh fuck. Fuck… “I…” Her voice abandons her together with coherent thought. Abort, abort. At least she’s mortified now rather than horny.
“Listen, I’m sorry. I’m going to…”
I just… hit on Takemura. Sweet Jesus. And I omega blocked the only guy who can get me out of here.
She gets up, feeling as if the ground below her’s made of that fizzy blue shit that came with Johnny instead of being solid and proper. “I’ll take a shower. Cold.” Very cold. Fuck, I have to salvage this somehow, what’s he gonna think? “Then I’ll… go out and take a good long walk, and when I come back… I’d like to pretend I never said that...?”

Takemura’s not even making eye contact, he appears uncomfortable, and V deltas into the bathroom, acutely aware all of a sudden that the door behind her won’t lock. Taking in his scent and her soap with every breath she takes, she kicks off her boots, dumps her gun in the sink and turns on the shower.

At first, the water is almost boiling hot, then it quickly chills to the point where it causes a dull ache in the top of her skull. V leans her forehead against the shower’s back wall and hopes for a miracle, for time to turn back, for another meganuke, anything but this.

Instead, there is the hiss of the opening bathroom door.

A part of her still fantasizes. She knows how stupid that is: Goro Takemura is, after all, a perfect gentleman, certified by Wako herself, who — other than V — ‘sgot standards.
He’d never just walk in here and fuck her against the wall, no matter how much she’d want that.

“From your reaction I think that I understand you correctly, V,” he lets her know.
Way his voice sounds, he’s facing away from her, and she can all but see him in front of her: He will be standing next to the door, back to the wall, hands clasped in front of him.

She can’t not answer, but her jaw muscles are locked tight and won’t let her speak.

“I am honored, V.”
He will say ‘but’ now.
“But I have other… obligations in Japan.” A brief pause. “I hope you understand…?”

“Yeah.” Her voice’s a hoarse whisper, because no matter how gently he’s turned her down, he just did, and V swallows tears that come unbidden. Lost count how often I’m fighting those… “I get it.”

“Under other circumstances…”

She can’t read his voice, other than that it is thick with something and that the accent is stronger. Are you adding that to lemme save face or some sort of bullshit?
“Wasn’t lookin’ for something long-term, Goro. Just… wanted to stop thinkin’ for a while.”
Don’t have long-term.

There is a brief moment of silence, broken by his sigh. “Will you come out, V?” And after another heartbeat: “Please?”

“Sure,” she agrees mutedly. Already made a complete fool out of myself.
It is surprisingly difficult to shove off the bathroom wall, as if her chrome has turned back to meat.

Goro stands outside of the room exactly as she knew he would, meeting her eyes only briefly before focussing his attention somewhere around her collarbones. V knows that she’s currently rocking the wet t-shirt look and is just glad — or sad? — that it’s not white. The gonk’s even too decent to stare.

“I see that you are soaked. That, too, is because of me?”

She can’t hold in the sound that’s breaking free at that and just hopes that he’ll take it as a laugh. “Could say so.”

“Then perhaps I must atone for this,” he states matter-of-factly.

The fuck? Is he joking again, or is he… but he can’t be flirting back, right?
“You really don’t.” The ice cold water had taken care of the flush, but now it’s back ‘cause this is awkward as hell. “Don’t owe me a thing…”

“Untrue,” the ronin quietly replies. “I have giri-ninjo towards you, too.”

Her optics translate that as obligation, and her heart skips yet another beat. “Same kind you've got back in Japan?”

For some reason, that draws a smile that she can’t read, and he meets her eyes, reflective irises catching the light like he’s a human cat. Prettiest optics I’ve ever seen. “No. Only giri, there.”

Again, her optics translate that as obligation, yet all V cares about is that her big mouth hasn’t ruined this.
Whatever this is.
She feels faint with relief, or maybe that’s just the fucking butterflies rioting in her stomach. “So… you tellin’ me you got no one waiting in Japan?”

The blue reflection of his gaze is snuffed out like a candle when the ronin looks away. “Not in the way you are asking.” Something in his words makes her wince. “No. There is nobody waiting for me.” Takemura meets her eyes again, calm once more. “But that changes nothing.”

V always knew that he’s not that kind of guy. This letdown was predictable, and Johnny’s warned her, repeatedly.
It still hurts.
“Wasn’t asking you to run off to the Badlands with me, Goro.”
Though I’d sure like to. We’d be major league, you and I. Canned food and campfires, sleepin’ in the back of your truck, hot-bunk like. Lone wolves ‘thoutha clan.
If only we were other people.

He’s pulled her out of a landfill and seen Vik cutting a bullet out of her brain.
Her grin comes unbidden ‘cause that’s how V has always hidden pain. “Didn’t even mean to say that out loud. Just forget about it, ‘kay?” She keeps herself busy looking at the tips of her toes, titanium without synthflesh.

“V…” It’s just that his voice sounds different, even rougher than usual. It sends a shiver all the way down her spine, but it’s bittersweet and cuts her heart like monowire, straight out of a tacky sob-story flick.
At least she’s no longer horny, despite the fact that she can smell him, so close and fresh from the shower: he used the mint shower gel and then there's the scent of him, gun oil and something slightly bitter. She’s embarrassed, yeah, but at least he’s still talking to her. He’s even too decent to give me shit ‘bout this.

“Perhaps I must atone for this,” Goro repeats, emphasizing every word. The usual harsh edges are completely gone from his voice.

She’d have missed it again if not for the fact that he takes a step towards her.

Only twice before has he touched her at all. That time on Vik’s operating table she’s probably dreamed, but he’s put his hand on her shoulder, back in Tom’s Diner when she wanted to walk away.
Otherwise, Goro keeps himself well out of melee range, and when that isn’t possible, some obstacle between himself and his opposite.

Not this time.
This time, he’s right in front of her, close enough to reach out.

V jerks up her head to stare at him in disbelief, and his eyes meet hers for only a second before drifting back to her collarbones. Saying it out loud feels unreal. “Are you… are you askin’ me?”

His lips twitch into the hint of a smile that she can’t read because those butterfly gonks are at it again.
“Perhaps you have changed your mind,” he suggests. “As we have already established, you are currently drenched.”

“You got no idea,” she replies hoarsely and steps forward as well, heart pounding like a fist on a door she’s never seen before, blood rushing south.

*

The first thing that touches are their hands, and it’s ‘lectric shocks again all the way through her body. He’s wearing shoes and she isn’t, so he’s slightly taller. Neither of them needs to bend down for kissing, and his lips are warm and dry when they touch hers. His beard is pricking her skin; she’s never kissed a guy with a beard before, major buzzkill, that.

Not this time.

Even without anyone’s tongue being involved, that’s all it takes to switch her cunt back to overdrive, and now she can feel her heartbeat there as well, even as she explores his lips with the tip of her tongue — is kissing Goro, is kissing Saburo fuckin’ Arasaka’s fuckin’ bodyguard for fuck’s sake — until they open to allow her access.

Rather than fondling or groping her, he keeps his fingers entwined with hers, effectively blocking both of them from moving past increasingly involved kissing. V’s got no idea if that’s his kink or if he’s being accommodating again, so she guides his hands to her hips before grabbing his belt. He’s fine with her taking the lead, and V desperately wishes he’d stop being polite for just five minutes. After that he can go as slow as he wants… At least he’s putting his arm around her waist now, as gently as if she was fragile, which she’s not.

She almost whimpers when his body touches hers. Goro’s solid and hard against her, his shirt no longer damp until it gets in contact with hers.
Always knew he was hot… didn’t think it’d be literal.
She presses against him, finding something else that’s hard and hot and behind too many layers of clothing, hears him draw a single sharp breath against her cheek. Then V has to back away because she’s so charged that she’s gonna blow up if anything touches the trigger, and she needs him inside for that.

She isn’t getting anywhere with his belt, being this close to him, but that doesn’t stop her from trying, and he backs away just enough to give her a chance while his other hand’s caressing the strip of exposed skin between her pants and her shirt. She stretches to allow him better access, undoes his pants before moving back in to press her stomach against his cock that’s straining against his underwear, and his breathing gets slightly faster.
It’s not fair — at this point, her cunt is throbbing with every beat of her heart, she needs, and how’s he not feeling the same way? Not once in her entire life has she been this turned on. Always thought those BDs were edited. Fuck...

By now he’s at least holding her firmly enough to count, so she snatches his other hand and guides it up her soddy shirt. The synthflesh of his fingers is softer than that on hers and feels amazing on her breast, her nipple perking up even before they make contact.
Another jolt of lightning arcs from her chest to her cunt like she’s some fucking... tesla coil, or whatchacallit.
She can’t see his face, he’s too close, but she buries hers against his neck, his endoskeleton’s ablative plastic cooler than his skin. There’s a ‘Saka label directly in front of her and she presses her lips on that because fuck you, Johnny.

The water has glued her pants to her hips and she’d shred them if she could, but they’re armour and that ain’t gonna work, which has been the point when she got them a lifetime ago. The only thing saving her from frustration is Goro, who’s finally taking some initiative and gives her a hand, the other still cupping her boob.
With his help, V is able to wriggle out of her threads to the point where the metal of her calves doesn’t stick.

She pulls the shirt over her head and dumps it on the floor, then turns back just to find him watching her face.
The fuck is wrong with him? Every other guy would be inspecting the display.
He’s even more attractive like this, so she goes in again to strip him, finding to her dismay that his shirt’s fastened by roughly seven million tiny buttons. The molten core between her thighs is still throbbing in tune with her heartbeat, making her want to tear the obstacle away, but she doesn’t think he’s got many spares.

Her groan of protest draws out a quiet chuckle, and then both of his hands are over hers, opening one button after another with practiced ease; but of course he’s wearing something else under that and she’s got to let go of him so he can get it over his head.

V takes a step towards her bed, enjoying the view and hating the delay: the gonk’s holding his shirt, looking as if he was waiting for someone to hang that up for him. He’s about as ripped as she’d figured, and obviously Vik’s pulled most of his implants, so… yeah. All that’s gotta be real. The endoskeleton barely reaches past his throat, so that’s one question answered; the one where that’s making no sense has to wait. Any chrome he still packs is covered in synth flesh — and either ‘Saka pays for hair follicles, or anything below the navel’s ‘ganic.

V licks her lips. “You comin’?” Her voice is hoarse, and sudden insecurity makes her want to close in again, just in case: what if he reconsiders?
She forces herself to take another step away, sits down on the bed, resisting the urge to draw in her shoulders: he’s gonna delta any second now.
Instead, she arches her back and throws back her head to put her assets on display, and this time he’s looking.

All she wants him to do is to finally get on the bed and fuck her, but instead he’s keeping hands and shirt between his cock and the world, and she’s never seen that look on his face before.

Her stomach drops all the way to the bottom of the megabuilding. Yeah, he’s gonna delta. Gotta have changed his mind…

But then his cat eyes catch the light as he nods, and that smile on his face…
He kneels, puts his shirt down as if dropping it’d break it, but he needs to get off his boots anyway so that’s okay.
“I am coming,” he answers.

When?!?
She bites her lips, but now he sits on the bed, turned away to get out of his pants so all she can see is his back, which isn’t half bad to look at either, endoskeleton covering his spine and he prob’ly can’t feel a thing there. Is that why…?

After forever — every heartbeat hammering a counter in her ears — Goro’s finally done getting outta those pants, and when he turns, V’s optics only find more ‘ganic flesh, rather than the Mr. Stud Combat Edition. ‘Saka appears to keep out of some things, and fuck them anyway, it’s bad enough that he’s running around with their brand on his neck.

The samurai’s smiling with his eyes only and that’s a much prettier sight ‘cause whatever, chrome’s for function and not for fashion, and the same’s for the ‘ganic shit, too. V reaches out for him, increasingly frantic, and whether the mood has finally caught or if he’s just being polite again, Goro eagerly complies.

She’s panting, every breath a moan, but once she’s wrapped her legs ‘round his hips, there’s really only one way his cock can go. She’s so wet that there’s barely any friction — which saves her for the moment, until she learns why guys were given pubes and what a gonk move it was of everyone she’s ever fucked to have none.

She thinks her Kerenzikov’s goin’ off.

V’s never come so hard in her entire life, and the porn flick BD has nothing on this ‘cause it’s real. He’s trying to back off, probably trying to last, but she needs and anyway they can always go again; she crosses her ankles and presses her heels against him so that he can’t pull out. She’s blowing up harder than Johnny’s gonk nuke, and Goro’s right there with her, the other half of this critical mass.

He pulls her around before he collapses, rather than doing that on top of her, and V’s never been so glad for the reinforced tendons and their added flexibility, ‘cause she never wants to move a muscle again. Her ear ends up against his shoulder, and she can hear his heartbeat, now that her own’s calming down. It takes only a minute until hers is in sync, and she dozes in a haze of ‘ganic dorph.
Then Goro shifts under her, and that startles her awake enough to look at him.

Somehow, his eyes are smiling even though the rest of his face looks concerned. His bun has taken some damage, and his hair is coming loose. Despite the effort, V has to learn if it feels the way it looks, and when her fingers brush the black and silver strands she finds them much thicker than her own, but softer than expected.

Her smile spreads like an air hypo, and Goro’s lips twitch in response, worry draining away. She cranes her neck to kiss them, and he draws up his shoulder to support her, other arm around her waist. Every joint she can see has seams; he must’ve been cybered up to the tips of his ears before Vik took it out.

He reaches out to caress her face, and she leans into his touch, the exposed gold of his finger joints cooler than the synthskin around it. Now that she has time to ogle him without having to play it cool, she notices that his eyes aren’t blue, that’s just the reflecting iris. Below that there’s a second layer of a much darker colour, and right now the mirrored hue’s like sunlight and neon.

Neither of them is talking.
For the first time in weeks, the wounds Johnny tore open aren’t hurting.
V shies away from the complex tangle of pain and anger like a Samurai song and buries her face against Goro’s neck.

But not before he’s noticed.

“This was a poor attempt at recompense,” he tells her, voice rumbling against her skin to all sorts of interesting side effects. “Do not be sad. The next one will be better.”

She can’t help but laugh.
“Just the best sex of my life, nothin’ special…” V raises her head to look at the only real samurai she knows, who is in her bed among other places, “stop sellin’ yourself short!”
Bed’s gonna smell like him when he’s gone.
She feels a sudden pang at that and smiles it away.

Goro’s eyes are bright once more behind that stern facade. “Another Night City thing, then? ‘Scraping scraps out of scop tins’?” He scoffs. “One day, I will show you real food.”

Usually, V’d feel insecure enough about this to lash out, draw a line in the sand just in case. It’s something she hates ‘bout herself, the constant need to stand her ground.
But never with Goro — he’s never once made her bristle.
Instead, the way he says that, quoting her own words back at her, just makes her laugh: “Are you hungry? ‘Cause I got chow for us both… ‘fore we got sidetracked.”

He raises his chin, turns his head away — a lord’s haughty decline of something beneath his notice — before sinking back against the pillow. Fuck, he’s so handsome. V trails her fingers along his cheekbone. You’ve lost weight, haven’t you?

“Your ‘chow’ cannot lure me away,” Goro kindly informs her before he leans in to kiss her, bolder now, or perhaps less shell-shocked ‘cause she’s no longer throwing herself at him like a joytoy when rent’s due.

“Glad to hear...” At least I’m more appealing than noodles.
V sits up at his gentle urging, and he angles his legs to support her. She runs her hand over his chest, finding his nipple perk up and smiles at it.

Reflective optics follow her gaze and he chuckles. “Arasaka surgeons would not have included these.”

“‘ave Viktor to thank for that, then?” Gotta do that some time. She arches her back, bends over his chest to kiss it, testingly licks over the aforementioned area and sees it react just as specified. “Mmh. Had been wondering…”
V trails a line of kisses towards the endoskeleton and runs her lips along the seam where it’s fused with his skin.

“The plates have saved my life.” Goro nods earnestly, his bun coming fully undone at the motion. “But they were too badly damaged.”

She has to straighten out the strands and is surprised to find his hair longer than hers. Sitting up, V smiles at him: “Took a few bullets for me that day…”

The samurai averts his eyes. “Yorinobu’s assassins came for me, not for you. We were lucky.”

Shit… sore point, and I stepped right into that.
V grinds her hips against him as a distraction. “Talkin’ dirty’s a bit better than slappin’, but not much,” she drawls and is pleased to see him chuckle after a second of confusion.

“Let us not talk about these things, V,” he agrees.

The way Goro says her name is giving her goosebumps, a word rather than a letter, and she arches her back, feeling him move inside her.
“Let’s not talk,” she agrees, then clears her throat.

His hand wanders up her spine to rest on her neck. “Your wishes are the same thing as orders to me,” he replies, and only the glimmer in his eyes indicates that he’s joking.

V moans when his hand finds her breast once more. “Best gotta shut up,” she replies, and then she does.