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WARNING: If you haven't read the warning on the index page, go back and read it. If you don't, and you don't like what you find here, don't come crying to me.

Title: Words

Author: Eleanor K.

Fandom: Blade of the Immortal

Pairing: Magatsu/Anotsu

Rating: NC-17

Posted: 8 Jan 2004

Spoilers: Dreamsong

Email: emungere@gmail.com

Series/Sequel: part of the Honor Bound universe.

Disclaimer: The boys belong to Hiroaki Samura and not in any way to me.

Notes: Much gratitude to Chrissy for betaing this, waiting patiently while I rewrote almost every word, and then betaing it again. She rocks.

..___..


Anotsu left Makie standing on the bridge.

Tears, revulsion, outright refusal of everything he was. He felt as if he should have expected it.

He hadn't expected it.

All he could remember was the child she had been, the child who had killed more beautifully than anyone he had ever seen. The child who had set him on the path he was following.

His footsteps were hollow on the planks of the bridge, and he walked quickly and still more quickly. He needed to be away. The solid stone of the street was better, the hard-packed earth of the road better still.

The moon lit his way, pulling him off the main streets, away from the city proper. He kept walking.

***

He could smell the rain in the air an hour before the clouds overtook the moon, but he didn't stop walking. He was without goal, without any purpose whatsoever this night. That was a rare thing in his life. He wanted to hold onto it just a little longer.

The first spats of rain fell on his upturned face. He breathed deep of the wet air and kept walking. His arms swung faster, and his feet covered the ground with longer and longer strides until he was jogging, and then running flat out until his chest burned and the last straggling houses on the city's edge were left behind.

The strap on his sandal was what finally stopped him. It snapped under the strain, and the sandal twisted halfway around on his foot. He tripped and fell forward. His knees and hands ground into the mud.

He stayed there for a moment, letting his breath calm. He picked up a handful of mud and squeezed until it ran out between his fingers.

He would have given her what she wanted. He would have given her himself, or as much of himself as he was free to give. He would have done it without a second thought. He was only beginning to realize that he didn't want that. He'd never considered that his own wishes entered into it. Even now, if she would join...

She killed so beautifully. He'd never seen anything like it.

Of course, none of it mattered now. She wanted nothing to do with him.

He picked himself up and pulled off his broken sandal. Funny, now that he thought about it. He remembered breaking this strap before, but he couldn't remember fixing it.

He sat by the side of the road, sheltered by the branches of a pine tree. He turned the sandal over in his hands. He hadn't fixed it. He would remember.

He remembered breaking it. He'd been sparring with Magatsu, and that was how Magatsu had finally gotten the better of him. He'd gone down as he had in the road just now, and more painfully, landing not on mud but on stone.

Magatsu had helped him up, laughing, and declaimed the victory. They'd gone upstairs, and-- And his sandal had been fixed the next morning. He'd put it on and left without a thought as to who had done it.

The fix had snapped, and there weren't enough strands of the rope left whole to fix it again. He took off the other sandal and stood. He slogged barefoot through the mud toward an inn he hoped he remembered nearby.

The inn turned out to be nearly half the distance to the Itto-ryu dojo. He stopped on the road. Considered simply continuing on. He could expect to find dry clothes there, his own room, a familiar bed. Magatsu would probably be there as well.

He turned abruptly off the road. There was no reason to continue.

He raised a fist to pound on the door, expecting the owner to be long asleep, but saw a sliver of light creeping over the threshold. Not only was it unlocked, the door was open a crack. He pushed, and it gave way without a sound.

He heard voices and stopped in the doorway, sure he recognized at least one of them and equally sure he must be mistaken.

He was not mistaken.

He watched Magatsu give the bright flash of his smile to the inn keeper's daughter and apologize for the lateness of the hour, for tracking mud into their fine establishment, for his state of dress. Magatsu's clothes were not as badly off as Anotsu's own, but then Magatsu was unlikely to have spent much time on his knees in the mud.

Anotsu stared. There was a faint sense of unreality prowling around the edges of his mind.

He thought he might stay where he was until Magatsu was safely settled, and have his own dealings with the inn keeper. Better to leave in the morning and go quietly on his way. It was only chance they'd met here, and he'd always distrusted chance. It was the random element that tended to upset one's plans.

Magatsu stopped at the bottom of the stairs and turned to look straight into his eyes. Smiled a smile that was too close to the one he'd given the inn keeper's daughter for Anotsu's liking.

Anotsu nodded shortly in return and watched a frown pass over Magatsu's face.

Magatsu's hand twitched, the movement aborted, but fully realized in Anotsu's mind. It was often enough when they were together that Magatsu had held out his hand just like that--waiting for Anotsu to take it, to be pulled close.

He followed Magatsu up the stairs and tried not to think too hard about why.

Up the stairs, down a drafty hall, and they stopped at the last room on the right. Magatsu stepped inside, and Anotsu followed, all but shutting the door in the inn keeper's face.

Anotsu studied the door from inches away, his hand still resting against it. He should not be here.

"You look wet," Magatsu said.

"So do you," he said without turning.

"Yeah, well. It is raining outside. What are you doing out here, anyway? Thought you were staying some place in town."

"I was."

"Thought you were meeting Makie tonight, too."

"I did."

"Mm. Okay." Magatsu paused. "I'm not expecting anything from you, you know."

He turned from the door, at last. Magatsu was watching him calmly, dripping water into a slowly growing pool on the floor.

"Maybe I expect something from you."

Magatsu smiled. "You always do. Don't see why tonight should be any different."

Anotsu blinked at him. "What's that supposed to mean?"

"You expect things from people, Anotsu. Always. Everyone."

"I..." He stopped, unsure what he had been planning to say. There was no point in protest. It was perfectly true. "Perhaps."

"Perhaps nothing." Magatsu began to strip off his wet clothes. He hung his kimono by the fire and looked at Anotsu. "I guess Makie didn't appreciate it."

"I asked no more of her than I would of anyone else."

"That was kind of my point. You want to get your clothes off, maybe wash up? You're going to make yourself sick standing around like that. Not that the idea of keeping you in bed and incapacitated for a few days sounds so awful, but I bet you'd make a horrible patient."

Anotsu found himself smiling almost against his will. "You're probably right."

Magatsu turned to him in a quick move that almost made Anotsu step back. He fisted a hand in the sodden cloth of Anotsu's kimono. There was anger in his eyes. Anotsu wondered how long he'd been holding it back and what had finally released it.

"You don't need her. The Itto-ryu doesn't need her."

"Need?" Anotsu shrugged. "I suppose not. But she is the height of what we are, what we reach for. She should be with us."

Magatsu pulled him closer. "You don't need her."

"She wants nothing to do with us. I won't pursue her."

Magatsu looked at him, mobile face for once blank.

"Good."

Magatsu pulled away and turned toward the fire.

Anotsu stood still for a moment. He wanted to follow. He turned his back instead, untying and peeling off his kimono, undershirt, and hip wrap. All were soaked through. He wrapped himself in a towel and hung his clothes up, only then allowing himself to settle on the floor beside Magatsu.

"You're angry with me."

Magatsu paused with his cup of tea raised halfway to his lips. "I've got no right to be."

"Nevertheless."

"Yeah. Nevertheless."

Magatsu wasn't looking at him, but he hadn't moved. Little ripples shivered through the tea in his half-raised cup.

"You're jealous."

Magatsu still did not move. "Yeah. That too."

Anotsu closed a hand over his wrist and held it tightly tightly when Magatsu tried to pull away. Anotsu took the cup from him and set it on the floor.

"Good."

Magatsu did look at him, then. "What--?"

"Good."

"You...?"

There was a question in Magatsu's voice, one that had hung between the two of them almost since the first night. Anotsu had never felt capable of answering it until now.

"Yes."

"I thought you wanted her," Magatsu said, finally.

"I wanted her sword. I wanted her strength. Nothing more. Even she knew that."

Magatsu broke his hold and gripped his arm in turn, on his knees and bending over him.

"Swear it."

He met Magatsu's eyes more easily than he'd expected. "I swear it."

"I never know with you. I never know what to believe."

Anotsu pulled him down, a hand on the back of his neck, another on the side of his face. Kissed his cheek, the skin behind his ear, his temple. His slack mouth.

"Have I ever lied to you?"

Magatsu's eyes were closed. His voice was low. "You've never *told* me anything. Not a fucking word."

It was on the tip of Anotsu's tongue to say he hadn't known--but it had always been clear that Magatsu wanted words from him. He couldn't say he hadn't known.

"I... I didn't know my own mind in this."

"You always know what you want."

"No." He touched Magatsu's lips, warm and soft, with a hesitant finger. "Not always."

"And do I owe Makie for this epiphany?"

"Only yourself, and a broken sandal strap."

"What?"

"It doesn't matter."

"But--"

"It doesn't matter."

Magatsu sat back on his knees and rolled his eyes. "Fine. Be that way."

Anotsu felt laughter rising in his throat, unexpected and incredibly inappropriate. He set his jaw against it, but it did no good. He covered his mouth and ducked his head.

Magatsu looked at him with narrowed eyes.

"You think this is funny?"

Anotsu shook his head, sure that if he tried to speak things would end badly.

"No?" Magatsu grabbed his hair and forced his head up. "Then will you please tell me what the hell is wrong with you?"

He saw the anger in Magatsu's eyes, but could only shake his head. He didn't know how to begin explaining. Magatsu treated him like no one else did. Dared to get angry with him. Told him to take off his wet clothes before he caught cold. It was the sheer normality of it that he found almost unbearably funny. Or, possibly, it was just hysteria. He wasn't familiar with the feeling, but he imagined it wouldn't feel dissimilar to this choking panic that wanted to come out as laughter. Either way, it was something to be ignored.

He shook his head again and bit the inside of this cheek until he could speak.

"Kiss me."

Magatsu just stared at him.

Anotsu touched his cheek. "Please don't make me explain. Not now. Kiss me."

And when had Magatsu ever told him no? He shouldn't take advantage of that. Note for later. Much later, because now the tentative press of lips against his was taking all his attention. So brief, and then Magatsu pulled back to look at him.

He smiled, and Magatsu smiled back, oh so sweet, the barest hint of shyness shining through.

"You're... I don't believe you sometimes. You're as big a freak as the rest of them, you know."

Only Magatsu could say that and have it come out as an endearment.

Magatsu braced his hand against the floor and hitched his body closer until their thighs touched. He pulled Anotsu down to him. His lips were warm.

Anotsu heard the click of teeth meeting. He sank into wet heat, and the strength of Magatsu's hand on his neck held him there. And it kept him from following when Magatsu pulled back.

"You don't have to do this." Magatsu's voice was serious and strained. "You don't have to... I shouldn't have pushed. I don't want you to--"

Anotsu put a hand over his mouth. "Push me. If you don't..."

He listened as his own voice faded out.

Magatsu pushed him--with a hand in the center of his chest, bearing him back to the floor.

He caught himself with an elbow, but the pressure didn't stop until he was laid out flat. Magatsu pulled at his towel until it parted. Their legs brushed as Magatsu moved to straddle him, and then met solidly as his weight settled on top of him.

Warmth seeped into his skin where Magatsu's legs were pressed against his outer thighs from knee to ankle. Their cocks brushed under Magatsu's towel.

Anotsu laid his hands on Magatsu's bare knees and rubbed circles into them. Warm skin, smooth. Thighs hard with muscle.

Magatsu pulled his towel off and tossed it aside. He laced his hands with Anotsu's and leaned over him. Stretched out over his body until he covered him. Their hands, still joined, Magatsu pressed to the floor on either side of Anotsu's head.

Soft kisses, starting at his neck and working up, assaulted his composure. By the time Magatsu reached his mouth, he was so ready. He pressed up into a light brush of lips and their mouths opened and joined and locked together. Wet heat, clever tongue fucking his mouth. Pushing him.

"Is this what you want?" Magatsu asked him.

"Yes," he hissed. "Yes."

Magatsu lowered himself fully onto his body, still kissing him--not soft now, but hard. Demanding. He was rolled onto his side. Their legs tangled together, his trapped somehow between Magatsu's. A hand separated from his and wormed between their bodies to close around their cocks.

Anotsu moaned at the feel of it. Held tightly, every movement made them slide together, slicker all the time as fluid dripped from the tips. He wrapped an arm around Magatsu's back, and the other buried itself in his hair, locking him into their kiss.

"Move with me," Magatsu whispered.

The words caught in his mouth, and he swallowed them and obeyed. They shifted against each other, fucking Magatsu's hand. He couldn't sustain the kiss any more. Cock slipping against his, pleasure sharp and erratic, catch of thumb across the head, a twist so Magatsu's cock rubbed hard up the underside of his. Magatsu started to move faster, and he was swept along, help prisoner by hot hand and hard length moving against his in an aching torture. Heated body over him, surrounding him, holding him close with no way or desire to escape.

He let his release tear from his throat and buried the sound in Magatsu's neck. Magatsu bit softly into his shoulder, stifling his own cry as he came as well.

***

After.

Tea, cold, sipped from thick earthenware cups that always remind him inevitably of his grandfather's paper-thin china.

The flavor of tea in Magatsu's mouth, tasted in kiss after kiss. Magatsu's arms holding him against a chest not so much broader than his own, but so very solid where he now felt himself--transparent.

"Still awake?"

The words came as a shock, and it was a moment before he could muster his own voice. Fit himself back into reality.

"Yes."

"You were going to explain."

"I was?"

Magatsu snorted. "Well, I thought there was a chance you might. I wasn't counting on it or anything."

"I...don't know if I can." He looked back over his shoulder. "I don't really want to."

"But you're done with her?"

"She's done with me. I told you."

"And if she comes back?"

"That won't happen."

A hand gripped his arm a little too tightly. "If it does?"

He leaned back and put his hand over Magatsu's.

"I can't turn down her sword. You know that."

"What if...I ask you to?"

"I wish you wouldn't. She would be a valuable addition--"

Fingers pressed across his lips silencing him.

"Lie to me if you have to," Magatsu said quietly.

He paused, listening to their breath and the crackle of the fire.

"I want nothing to do with her." He kissed the fingers still lying across his lips. "I never did."

Magatsu didn't ask if he was lying. Maybe he thought he knew. Anotsu, for his part, wasn't sure any more.

-------
..end..

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