Author: Eleanor K.
Fandom: Blade of the Immortal
Posted: 8 Jan 2004
Series/Sequel: part of the Honor Bound universe.
Disclaimer: The boys belong to Hiroaki Samura and not in any way
Notes: Much gratitude to Chrissy for betaing this, waiting patiently
while I rewrote almost every word, and then betaing it again. She
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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."
"Thought you were meeting Makie tonight, too."
"Mm. Okay." Magatsu paused. "I'm not expecting anything from you,
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
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
Anotsu found himself smiling almost against his will. "You're probably
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.
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."
Magatsu wasn't looking at him, but he hadn't moved. Little ripples
shivered through the tea in his half-raised cup.
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.
Magatsu did look at him, then. "What--?"
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.
"I thought you wanted her," Magatsu said, finally.
"I wanted her sword. I wanted her strength. Nothing more. Even she
Magatsu broke his hold and gripped his arm in turn, on his knees
and bending over him.
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."
"It doesn't matter."
"It doesn't matter."
Magatsu sat back on his knees and rolled his eyes. "Fine. Be that
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
"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
Magatsu just stared at him.
Anotsu touched his cheek. "Please don't make me explain. Not now.
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
The words came as a shock, and it was a moment before he could muster
his own voice. Fit himself back into reality.
"You were going to explain."
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.