Chapter One: When I’m Gone
I was almost rudely awakened from a happy and, for once, nightmare-less slumber by a loud snort and an arm in the face. The bed shook as the other occupant forcefully turned over, which resulted in the heretofore mentioned arm landing on my nose. I woke up rather groggily, my mind not quite alert, which was odd for me. I am sure that if someone had been looking at me, they would have seen a satisfied look to my face. I wouldn’t say a smile, not yet, but content was probably there.
There was comfortable warmth beside me that was accompanied by a scent that I could never forget… spice and mystery… pain and hunger… desire and sensuality… it was unique, it was all Mugen. I rolled over lazily, pushing the offending arm off of my nose and curling up closer to his warmth, laying my head on his shoulder. He always seemed to be made of fire, as if there was something within him, burning, consuming. I always seemed to be cold, no matter how close to the fire I huddled…
I said that I was almost rudely awakened because I was happily drifting back into sleep, cradled against his warmth, one arm flung over him. My mind began to wander to the past, present, future as I slipped into the dream world albeit rather slowly.
My life before I met Mugen and Fuu… the dojo and the other students I trained with. They will still be coming after me I know. I will fight only to survive. If only it weren’t necessary. The sense of honor and duty instilled in me from birth that I just cannot shake. A desire for redemption for a crime that even I have trouble sometimes believing. Secrets… always secrets.
And then home… father and my brothers… Mugen never need know of them. For all intents and purposes, they are dead. As dead as I am to them. I have no home now, no place to belong. I just wander unceasingly, unwilling to take my own life… yet, quick to take that of others.
Fuu and the Sunflower Samurai, who any person with any sense could have figured out was her father all along, and the many adventures we had together. Reuniting with Mugen made me wonder how she was doing. Maybe we will see her on our travels…
And then finally finding him after this time, rekindling a desire that had burned once, bright and true, that had fizzled when the world came crashing in. This thought startled me into alertness faster than a bucket of freezing water poured over my head. My eyes snapped and I was now unfortunately and thoroughly awake, a pit beginning to form in my stomach and a sinking feeling in my heart.
…What if this ended up just like last time? The both of us waking up to realize with horror that not only were we naked, but we had no recollection of what had happened.
Or at least that is what we claimed.
I certainly remembered every detail, well, my dreams did anyway. He was ashamed of what had happened then, why would now be any different? We pushed that little incident aside and never spoke of it again. Why would we? Neither of us could give conscious thought to anything and I was not going to bring it up when it obviously bothered him. I think he knew on some level, as did I, that both of us remembered.
How could I forget?
So much passion… unlike anything I have ever felt before. Not even when I was with… well, never mind about that.
Mugen mumbled something in his sleep, not even I could decipher it, distracting me from my thoughts. Instantly, my eyes wandered over to him, watching him. I could not help myself, he was so damn sexy. He shifted his body, curling one arm around me, cradling me. He unconsciously licked his lips, that one action instantly erotic. I thought for a moment that he would wake up and I would be faced with the startling truth, unprepared. But no, he just angled his body more towards mine, heaved a great sigh and fell back into a deep slumber, the sheets slipping down from around his midsection to reveal of more of his lean, smooth stomach, tanned skin stretched out so enticingly. I just wanted to run my tongue up and down that caramel-colored expanse, tasting him as I had the night before.
Thoughts of that and other things that I suddenly wanted to do to the rough swordsmen instantly sent messages straight to my groin and I had to bite back a groan. Thank god he slept hard! It was impossible to think clearly with that much temptation in front of me. Sighing reluctantly, I pushed down all urges to kiss him until he woke up so I could ravage him senseless… then again… that idea does sound appealing…
I shook the hentai thoughts out of my mind and sighed again. What if he woke up with the same startled reaction as that other night? I could very well be getting myself straight into a fight I was in no mindset to win. Last night was… special… but I cannot say how he feels… not until I know whether or not alcohol comes into the equation or not. It does tend to change things for the worse.
Pretending as if I could not see him snoring all peacefully, and looking innocent (that’s a first), I edged carefully out of the bed, trying not to disturb his slumber. I snorted at that thought. He slept like a rock! I quietly found my clothes and got dressed, grimacing for only a moment at the soreness in my legs. For all his lithe and lean looks, Mugen was not exactly a light person. I found some of my clothes in the oddest of places. I won’t even stop to wonder how his hakama made it under the single dresser next to my pale kimono. Or how my glasses somehow managed to be folded neatly on top of the dresser either. I could not remember taking them off… or even if I was wearing them… strange.
Retrieving my daisho from their abandoned position in a corner, I sat cross-legged in front of the door, blocking the only entrance/exit from the room. My swords sat at my right hand within easy reach, it never hurt to be careful, as I tried to relax. I needed to think, I needed to decide what to do. I tried to clear my mind to meditate, fingers unconsciously rubbing on my blue prayer beads. Symbols of time not so long past… but long enough to leave an empty pain in my heart. One that I do not wish to dwell upon…
Which brings me to thoughts about my current situation, which has unfortunately disturbed my meditation. The sudden appearance of a bit of light brought my attention to the window. The sun was just rising and casting pale shadows in the room. Too early for me to be up but I wasn’t about to crawl back into bed, not with my heart all curled up in knots. And knowing Mugen, he would probably be asleep for another four hours. I did not want to things to end up like last time.
Then, there were many things that we did not know about each other. Of our pasts and who exactly we were. So many secrets… Would he hate me, I wonder, if he found out what I did? I mean, if he truly realized? I mean, he had obviously done some things… prison tattoos gave him away… but still, there is a difference here.
He had said he loved me last night and I had returned the words. It was hard to believe, it almost appeared surreal. He seemed sincere; even he could not hide the hurt I saw in his eyes. My mind returned to that moment…
…Breathing hard, lost in the symphony of our bodies moving as one, thrust meeting thrust, it was not long before I found myself reaching that crescendo. Mugen emitted gasps and moans, getting louder and louder even as the door behind him thumped.
“Unn… I’m close…” he moaned. I took his mouth with my own, thrusting up hard into him, buried to the hilt.
“Shit, Mugen… so good,” I gasped in return.
“AAH! I… I love you!” Mugen screamed, cumming loudly with a spurt of warm sticky liquid, covering our two bodies.
His profession stirred me forward. I thrust wildly, erratically until I came in a spurt of wild emotion, pleasure filling me to the bone. I clenched his ass in my hands, squeezing, feeling, filling him up on the inside with my cum until finally I collapsed against his body, trapping him between myself and the door…
…“Did you… really mean it?”
Mugen turned towards me, our eyes meeting, locking. Inwardly, I felt an arousal beginning to start again. “Don’t even think about pitying me,” he answered, a bit of his stubborn prideful nature peeking in.
“Doesn’t matter then.” He looked away, shifting his body from me as if he was ashamed.
“Of course, it does.” I grabbed him by the shoulders, forcing him to turn and look at me. “I love you. I always have.”
“Tch!” he retorted, trying to pull away. “You do not mean that.” My grip on him remained firm. I wouldn’t let him from me this time; I could not live through it.
I looked into his eyes; saw the scared soul of a little boy looking back at me, the hurt soul of someone who has been destroyed over and over again. “I would not lie to you, Mugen.” …
He had claimed he loved me in the heat of the moment. When I asked him about it, asked if he truly meant what he said, he seemed so uncomfortable, so lost. He could not even look me in the eye. Like he was afraid that I would not return the feeling. And him afraid of something, well, that put even more of a fear into my heart. It was then that I grabbed him, held him close to me…
He is so much stronger than I. He is not locked up with himself like me; he doesn’t hide from the world, instead embracing it with open arms. Sure he is uncouth and vulgar with no proper manners, but to be anything else he would not be Mugen; he would be something beaten, destroyed by custom and rules. Yet, even with his strength, he feared the emotion that he may have felt then.
I had told him that I loved him in return. He acted as if he did not believe me, like I was incapable of feeling that emotion. I had to convince him, show him that I was not leaving, not like the last time. But it still seemed like he never really accepted what I told him.
It was my fault in the beginning anyways, letting him walk away from me without another word. That first time, I was the first to pretend that I had forgotten what had happened. In truth, I did not want him to think less of me. How foolish I was!
What will be his reaction I wonder, when he wakes up? Will he remember last night, his actions and his words? How will he handle it? It would not surprise me if he left, after all, what have I to keep one such as him? Nothing to offer, very little to gain, that is what he would have in me. I doubt that I am enough for him, that he could love someone such as I, or even desire for that matter.
He would wake up, be furious when he realized what happened, and storm out of the inn, on the road again. I would never see him again, left alone in my own torment.
He is not one to settle down with just one, is he?
Though in the end he did seem quite loyal to the girl and I. Never can tell with him, his emotions are easily changeable. Sake does have that nasty side effect of making someone say or do things that they would later regret. No… he would never stay with one such as me… he deserves better.
I got up from the floor, my actions decided. I would leave before he had the chance to hate me, leave before he broke my already fractured heart. There was only so much an abandoned ronin could take; only so much I could handle anymore. When had I ever gotten the foolish notion that things were possible between us?
We were too different he and I, fire and water, moon and sun, life… and death. There was no way he could truly love me and no way could I ever be good enough for him. I want to be there for him, watch his back in battle, act like a foolish little girl in love… but I just cannot.
How do I know that he will not leave me? How do I know that when I need him, he won’t be a leaf in the wind?
To save myself the heartache, to save myself the pain, I will end it first. Before he can reject me, before he can forget me… why did I ever think to find him? Why did I have to be the foolish one?
I have but one choice…one path to take…
I moved swiftly, hands on the knob when the creak of the bed and a following groan made me freeze in my tracks. I don’t know why I didn’t just open the door; I don’t know why I didn’t just walk out.
“Jin?” I heard him, calling my name as if it were a question, his voice thick with sleep and confusion.