by Laura Bryannan

Mugen was home and things became immediately complicated, but I didn’t care. He was back! That was the only thing that mattered. Thankfully, Fuu helped us bypass the entire who-was-going-to-do-what-to-whom-first issue by dragging us all off to dinner, and I was grateful for that. It was also a relief to not feel angry with her any more. Her honesty with Mugen about her behavior had diffused it immediately.

And, of course, now that he was home I was thankful she’d chosen the inane ways to approach me she had. I’d been feeling so disheartened about his ever returning by that point, if she had simply spoken to me about becoming lovers, I would probably have done so. Instead, her teasing felt insulting, as though she thought I had absolutely no self-control. Or, even worse, that I was incapable of responding to it. But, now that he was home, I was glad she’d literally chased me away the past month because I could welcome him back with a clear conscience. Having Fuu—and I fully intended to have her—would come in due time now that he had returned.

We walked to our usual dining spot, pointing out the local establishments of interest as we went, such as they were. Unfortunately, the teahouse was quite busy, and when we stepped inside all conversation stopped and every pair of eyes turned to us. I nodded to those I knew as we took our seats and Fuu was saying hello, too, as most of the faces were familiar.

Sensei, Wakana-kun,” said Yuan-san, the owner, eyeing Mugen curiously. I introduced them and got the first of what would become the standard response from just about everyone when I did: “Your…partner? Oh…but I thought…” And then they would look at Fuu and blush. It happened over and over again, until it became quite clear how folks viewed my relationship with Fuu all those months. I’d been aware of it. I just didn’t care enough to bother about it.

So, everyone thinks you two are lovers, huh?” Mugen whispered, grinning, after Yuan-san left. “Are you?” We both shook our heads and he raised his eyebrows in surprise. “Why not?” he asked.

Jin wanted to wait,” Fuu replied. “He didn’t want us to get together until we were sure we weren’t ever going to see you again.” He made a ‘you’re crazy’ face at me, but still looked pleased, confirming in my own mind I had made the right choice. “So, Mugen,” she continued. “What’s with the hair? How come you chopped it off? Was it lice?” He took a swing at her and she ducked it, giggling.

I joined the crew of a trading ship. That’s where I’ve been the past six months,” he said. “One of the cabin boys had a bug up his ass about me. The last thing he did was chop off half of it, so I had to chop off the rest.”

Why did he have a problem with you?” I asked. He looked at me and shrugged his shoulders. “Uh…he didn’t have a good reason. He was just a shit,” he said. Clearly there was more to the story he wasn’t sharing. It wasn’t as though he were lying, just not telling the entire truth. I found that very interesting. Disturbing, but interesting. It was the first time I’d ever sensed he wasn’t being completely honest with me.

So we shared our first meal together in many long months under the watchful eyes and fascinated ears of our neighbors. The quieter we spoke together, the quieter the room got trying to listen. He’d sailed all the way to Saigon, of all places! His skin was so dark, I didn’t have any trouble believing that part of his story. I couldn’t take my eyes off him. He looked so fine! He’d put on some weight, and looked truly stunning in Japanese clothes. It made him seem so much more mature, somehow. I found it amusing that fate had put us in each other’s color, and wondered what that meant, if anything. The three slashes on his right cheek were still there, and it was obvious they would be with him for the rest of his life, but they just added to how exotic he looked to me. Exotic and eminently desirable.

As he told us stories of life on board the Brightness something started to bother me. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but there was something he wasn’t saying. Something big. Something important. And he seemed so different: quieter, calmer, his speech more measured and thoughtful. He’d always seemed like a stroke of lightening to me—hot, bright, hair-trigger—an act first, think later type of man. Now he was burning strong and steady, more settled in himself and confident. Not in his old, blustery cock of the walk way either, but as though there was something solid behind it, like a well-banked fire you knew would still be burning in the morning. I was very intrigued.

I looked over at Fuu and saw she was mesmerized as well. I had wondered how I would feel if she turned back to him when he rejoined us, and I could see now I was going to be all right with it. I had wondered if I’d feel jealous, but I didn’t. It felt correct, and I was pleased. I suddenly realized I had been afraid she wouldn’t turn back to him, so it was a relief to see her look at him with such a dreamy face. I had no idea what we were going to do with each other later, but I honestly felt ready for just about anything. Perhaps he was reading my mind again…

So,” he announced, startling me out of my daydreams. “Are we all gonna get it on tonight or what?” I looked at him and then at her. He did the same. In the end, I realized, it was her decision. She blushed at our gaze, but didn’t look down.

I’m not ready for something like that tonight, guys,” she said. “I need to figure things out.” I nodded and so did he, and she smiled at us gratefully.

I smiled back and stood up. “Let’s continue this conversation somewhere private,” I ventured.

We settled our bill and headed home in silence. I walked a little behind the two of them so I could watch him. It still didn’t seem quite real, but there he was. He was dressed differently, his hair too short and his sword all wrong, but there was no mistaking the walk. Some small frightened place inside me calmed down to see that it really was him after all.

When we neared the house he turned to us. “I know it’s late, but come with me to get my stuff. I don’t want to go back there again.”

She shook her head. “I’m going to bed, Mugen,” she replied. “I’ve got to be up early. You go ahead, Jin.” He grabbed her wrist as she turned to go and kissed her. I cringed and cast a quick glance up and down the street, but thankfully no one appeared to be around. She pushed away after a few moments, giggling, and walked toward the house.

The gossip around here is going to be really something if you start making out with Fukashi in public,” I warned him as we headed down the street.

She’s hot as a boy,” he laughed. “I can’t believe you didn’t fuck her all this time.”

I didn’t want you to come home and find that I’d had your woman,” I explained.

Is she my woman?”

You were the one having a sexual relationship with her, not me,” I said. “You laid a claim on her, in my opinion. I wanted to honor that. Plus, the ways she chose to pursue me the past month were…counterproductive.”

That why you were pissed at her today?”

I nodded. “Angry enough to not come home last night.”

He snorted and shoved his shoulder into mine as we walked along. “Still disappearing when you get pissed, huh?” I shoved him back, but didn’t respond, as the question was rhetorical.

I noticed we were heading into the red-light district closest to our house, about four blocks away. We walked along an alley, and I followed him up a flight of stairs. He opened the door to a small room and lit the lamp. Just a futon and a sack with things spilling out of it on the floor.

How long have you been living here, Mugen?” I asked. It hurt my heart to see the place. I could hear certain sounds from the rooms nearby and there was no mistaking the kind of establishment it was. It had to be a brothel.

I’ve been in Ryukyu three or four weeks, I guess, but I’ve only been here a little over a week,” he said. “I had a room at an inn for a while…didn’t know what to do with myself.”

Suddenly, out of nowhere a disembodied voice sing-songed. “Muuuuugennnnn-saiiiiiii, where have you been all night?” We’d left the door slightly open and a smiling face peeked inside. One I knew. It was Dohzu! She looked as surprised as I probably did. She eeeped and then gasped, “Shinshi! Oh dear!” I hadn’t known what she did for a living, and it certainly didn’t make me think any less of her, but she seemed mortified. I realized she’d left this evening before Mugen made his presence known.

He was chuckling, and she was blushing. “Zu-chai,” he said smoothly. “I’m moving out. Tell Ayaa to keep the rest of the rent for the week. I guess I’ll see you later if you keep training with Jin.”

She looked at me again with the most puzzled expression, and then back at him. “You’re living with Shinshi? But I thought… But you’re so… Oh dear!” And, with that, she bowed to me and ran off. We both laughed while he gathered up his things, and walked back to the house. So, he’d been whoring while we were apart. I found that comforting. Much more comforting than the mystery of what he was keeping secret from me.

As we walked inside, I could see that Fuu had fallen asleep in The Box, still dressed. I turned to him after I closed the door and we kissed for a long while. It was wonderful to do it without an audience, when I could get a good hold of his ass and grind myself into him the way I’d wanted to earlier. I had forgotten how disarming his kisses were, and found myself melting and losing my will to stand. We finally came up for air at some point and I smiled at him in rapturous appreciation.

Welcome home,” I whispered.

Thanks. I missed you a lot,” he whispered back, nibbling on my neck in this lovely way. Then he abruptly stopped and pushed me back. “Hey! I’ve got something for you,” he announced, and promptly grabbed his sack, dumping its contents on the floor. He dug through everything for a moment, then handed me a small box. I looked at him curiously and he motioned for me to open it. I did and couldn’t believe my eyes. It was my glasses!

Oh my god! I don’t understand.” I sank to my knees next to him, blinking stupidly.

I found them where we met the assassin dude. I got pulled to walk the pier there before I left for Ryukyu,” he said.

I nodded incredulously. “That’s where he knocked them off my face. That’s where I went down. I looked for them myself the day after we all parted but didn’t find them. When did you look? How did you know?” It was still too amazing to believe.

I looked a few weeks after we split up. I don’t know how I knew. Something just kept bugging me to go back there, so I did, and I found them.”

As the realityof that sunk in, it hit me in the strangest way, and I felt so moved, so touched, I began to weep. I cried uncontrollably, hiding my head in his lap. He was home! He was back! And there was enough…something…between us that he’d found my glasses. It was all too much, and my heart simply burst. Now that I wasn’t being ogled by a bunch of nosy neighbors it could all come out. He stroked my hair and my back as I soaked his hakama, but remained silent. Finally I pulled myself together and managed to speak.

Forgive me. I feel ashamed.”

Heh, I’m glad to know you’re human after all,” he said. “You should’ve seen me bawling like a baby under that tree across the street when I first laid eyes on you.” That made me feel better, and I raised my head and smiled at him, sniffing and wiping my eyes. He smiled my favorite Mugen smile back, and that set me off again, so I buried my face in his shoulder and cried some more. It didn’t last as long that time. I stopped when I felt him pull the tie off my hair. My body stiffened without my willing it.

Your hair’s so long,” he murmured, running his fingers through it. “Let me see it tonight.” His stroking felt so nice, I relaxed and decided to not argue with him. It wasn’t such a big deal. After a little while, he grabbed a handful and pulled me off his shoulder so we could kiss. I started untying my hakama, and his too. It was strange to have him buried beneath so many layers of clothing. Usually he was easily within reach whenever I chose to grope. He always complained about my clothes and now I could understand why.

I broke the kiss and walked over to my chest of things to search for the oil. I still had it, even though I hadn’t used it much in the months we were apart. I brought it back and set it down in front of him.

What’s your pleasure tonight, Mugen?” I asked him, untying the belt to his kimono and his juban. Before he could answer I had my mouth on him. I needed to taste him there and breathe in his scent. He smelled as I remembered, thankfully, and more fearful parts of me calmed down. He moaned in appreciation and lay back. I just played, not trying to make him cum. And then I don’t know what got into me, but I felt inspired to move lower. I grabbed his hips and tipped them up, spreading his cheeks with my thumbs so I could take a tentative lick…there. He gasped most wonderfully, which inspired me to continue. It was all right. It wasn’t as bad as I’d imagined it would be. In fact, it was very arousing.

Jin, I don’t believe it!” he said, in between his sighs. “Oh man, oh man…so good…ohmygod…feels so good,” he was singing. It was most inspiring. I tasted and teased for quite some time, trying different things to see what he liked the best. It appeared he liked everything. I didn’t stop until I felt his legs trembling, then I raised my head and sat back. “Fuck me first and I’ll do anything you want later, K?” he begged.

I smiled and nodded, untying my own kimono and juban. Pulling him up, I leaned against The Box. “Come sit so I can look at you,” I replied.

He got up, dumped some oil over me, straddled my hips and settled himself, both of us shuddering as he did so. Wrapping his legs around my waist, we shifted around to fit just right and I sighed in bliss. It was wonderful to hold him like that again, my hands on his luscious ass once more. You’d think that after being apart for so long we’d be screwing each other’s brains out but, amazingly enough, we talked instead. Sitting there impaled in my lap, he had things to say.

So you wanna fuck her?” he asked, nodding toward Fuu.

Yes, I believe I do,” I replied. “Did you ever have her that way?”

He shook his head and I was surprised. “Nope. I didn’t want to make any babies, and she never asked me to anyway,” he replied. “She ever ask you?” I nodded and his eyes widened. “Really?”

Yes,” I responded. “Once outright and then many ineffectual hints after that. She’s afraid of it, and of your…dimensions. She had a very bad first experience. Did you know that?” He shook his head, but his face got impish.

You ever think of her with the two of us?” I stammered a bit and he crowed. “You have! I knew it! Oh man. You take the back door cuz you’re thinner and I’ll take the front and…” He wiggled his eyebrows up and down and I had to laugh. It was ludicrous.

That I cannot imagine, Mugen. Practically virgin Fuu in between us both? No, I’ve never fantasized about such a thing,” I said honestly.

But that’s what fantasies are for,” he protested.

Well I guess my mind needs a certain amount of plausibility to find pleasure in a fantasy, and I just can’t ever see such a thing happening.”

Too bad for you, I guess. Well, what have you fantasized about? What seems plausible?” he asked. I hesitated and he poked me with his finger. “Come on…tell me!”

I can see the three of us together if you are in the middle…or perhaps even me,” I answered, and his eyes lit up, nodding in appreciation.

Yeah, that would be good too. I could definitely get into that. So, who’s gonna fuck her first?”

”I believe that should be her decision, don’t you?” I replied.

He shrugged his shoulders. “Most gals are persuadable, given the right persuasion. If she’s outright asked you, maybe you should try first. I’ll bet she’ll let me after that if she sees how fun it is.”

”You wouldn’t mind me taking her first?” I asked, surprised at his apparent lack of jealousy about the entire matter.

Nah. I just wanna do it with her. Whatever it takes to get there is cool by me,” he replied. Well, that certainly made things interesting.

He squirmed in my lap and began to laugh. “I guess you like that idea, huh? You’re dancing in there. I can feel it,” he said, leering at me. I grabbed his head and kissed him to shut him up. I could feel him chuckling, though, and when I let him go he still was. “So the ice man finally got the hots for Fuu,” he teased.

I was irritated enough by his comment to lash out. “Yes. And who do you have the hots for?”

He gasped and stared at me open-mouthed. I didn’t know why I said it, but his response proved there was someone. I was as shocked as he. He stammered a few nothings, then looked down, fidgeting. It was so unlike him, I could only stare in wonder. Then he took a deep breath and looked at me.

The captain of the Brightness. He was really my type, and really hot, and really good to me the time I was on board,” he stated.

I could feel a knot tighten itself around my heart, and steeled myself. “Were you lovers?” I asked, fearing the answer. Mugen’s feelings for this man were so clear, it was hard to witness. If they’d been lovers too….

Nope. He let me know that door was open, but I didn’t walk through it myself and he didn’t make me either,” he said with pride in his voice. The pain in my heart mercifully dissolved, for the most part. “I got you to thank for that one,” he continued, smiling at me in this way that made me fear I’d start crying again. So I kissed him some more, trying to stay in the moment and not let myself obsess about this captain person he was in love with. To accomplish that, I was going to have to do more than sit there.

How do you want to get laid, Mugen?” I asked, grabbing his hips and rotating them over mine so that everything moved together so…nicely.

He purred for me and decided, “Just like this, but screw me into the floor.”

I lifted him off my lap and he stretched back, his kimono fanning out on either side of him. Shrugging off my own, I scooped up his knees and began to thrust, taking it slow but pushing all the way in each time. He was being so sweetly Mugeny in his responses—moaning and swearing the way he always does as we moved together—it was both arousing and comforting at the same time, which was a heady combination.

Oh, it was him, it was him! I had moments when the reality of it would dawn on me anew, and I would feel so breathtakingly happy. I couldn’t believe that after all those long lonely months of thinking about it, I was finally doing it. I was actually fucking him. It was amazing. I was stroking slow and steady, and it was feeling so good. And then he began to say the most wonderful things:

Ahhh, Jin……nobody but you……no one’s had me but you……no one but you….” Oh yes, it felt very good to hear him say such things!

You are mine, Ryukyu Mugen,” I declared, shoving him hard for emphasis. “Mine, mine, mine.…” I chanted in time to my thrusts.

He opened his eyes and looked at me with the most alluring smile I’ve ever seen. “Ain’t that what I just said?”

Clamping his legs around me so tightly I couldn’t move, he ran his hand through my hair and used it to pull me into a kiss, clenching me inside as well,to make his point. My state of arousal wasn’t going to allow me to stay still for long, however, and soon I was rocking against him. He loosened his death grip on my hips, allowing me more movement, and I moaned my thanks and screwed him into the floor, as he so delicately put it.

No more waiting, no more talking, no more teasing. I fucked him hard and fast, vaguely thankful that my loose hair was becoming enough of a bother that it distracted me from cumming before he did—falling in my face, my mouth, sticking to everything because I was so sweaty—I remembered why I liked it tied back all the time.

In any event, I could feel him tightening up inside and clenching his jaw the way he always did before he came, so I stopped trying to hold back and let myself go. When his arm moved over his face his sleeve slid up and I saw the scar—my name carved there on his arm—and I lost it. I pounded into him over and over as I came, felt the warmth of his release on my belly and knew he had as well. It was so amazingly sweet. I lay on his chest relaxing my body, waiting to get my breath back, his hands lazily stroking along my spine. It was gentle, lulling, and I sighed in wonder at the happiness I felt.

I enjoyed his petting for a long while, but eventually reality began to loom. “I should go to bed,” I finally announced. “I have to work in the morning.”

I could feel him chuckling and wondered what was so funny. “Rest for a while, if you want,” he said quietly. “I can’t promise I’m gonna leave you alone though. I ain’t had my fill. It’s been too long.” I smiled but didn’t open my eyes. I did need to rest for just a little while….

I woke up because I’d been having the strangest dream, of this dragon that came out of a cave and encircled me like a snake. And when it opened its mouth this enormous split tongue was already between my thighs and….

Startled, barely awake, I realized someone was rimming me. I was lying on my back and Mugen was rimming me. Not dragon, Mugen. Mugen was home. How wonderful! And I was as helpless as I’d always been when he did that to me. It was just too good for this earth, and I could do nothing but lay there and receive it as I slowly woke up. After a while I felt his finger go in. Ooooh yes, very nice. The knuckles on his fingers, so large…I could always feel them as they moved around inside me. And he was so skilled at it—so gentle and yet…not. After a long luscious tease he slid in another, and I moaned in appreciation. But then came the strangest thing. It was almost as though the temperature in the room dropped. Something was wrong. He was…angry?

Who’s been fucking you?” he said sharply.

I shook my head. “No one, Mugen. I’ve not been with anyone since the last time we were together.”

But you’re open,” he insisted, frowning. “If no one’s had you, how can you be so ready? You should be tight as a virgin after eight months.”

Finally it dawned on me and I groaned, hiding my face in my hands. How could I be so stupid to believe he wouldn’t know? Of course he would know! He mistook my groan for an admission I imagine and withdrew his fingers, sitting back, looking at me with an expression that could have frozen water.

There was nothing to be done. I was going to have to own up to it. I stood up and walked over to my chest, got it out and gave it to him. He looked at it open-mouthed, then at me, his eyes big as moons—and burst out laughing. I just sighed and waited, figuring it was going to take a while before he stopped. I was correct.

He finally steadied himself and wiped his eyes. “Where the hell did you get that?” he asked, still chuckling.

I worked in a brothel for two months, and it was one of the many strange gifts I received when I left,” I replied. It was a phallus, a polished wooden one. Proof that Spirit moves in the most amazing ways, it was just about as thick as he was. And, yes, I’d found it…comforting at times in the long months without him.

Oh man. I don’t know what it means that they gave you something like that, but boy does it make me hot to think of you playing with it,” he panted. “You actually jacking off these days?”

Yes, sometimes,” I whispered. He nodded his approval and reached for me again, working his fingers in such a way that my back arched involuntarily. He leaned down near my face and watched me as I danced to the tune he was playing in there. “I wanna fuck you,” he said huskily. “I wanna fuck that lily white ass of yours till you scream for mercy.”

I shuddered. The words…dissolved me. “Please,” was all I could manage to say.

And so he did. And I screamed for mercy before he was finished. When I’ve already cum once, it takes a lot more work to coax another out of me, and the same was obviously true for Mugen. He stayed hard for so long, filled me up so full, I was reduced to total incoherency. But I do remember whimpering and begging for release at some point. When he finally began to stroke me I writhed and cried out, probably waking Fuu but there was nothing to be done. And when I came it shook me so deeply I almost started sobbing again.

He leaned down, panting against my neck. “Jin-nii,” he whispered, and I thought I would lose it completely. It had been so long since anyone called me that, I felt profoundly touched. It was all so lovely, but I was feeling completely overwhelmed and exhausted. I looked out the window and my heart sank to see that the sun was going to be up within a few hours. We’d been messing around the entire night. He kissed me and I floated there in his arms until he let me go, then he slowly backed out and pushed me onto my side. Throwing a blanket over us, he spooned up to my back in that blessedly familiar way, and that’s all I remember.

It seemed I had just closed my eyes when I heard Fuu calling my name and felt a hand brushing hair off my face. “Jin,” she whispered. “Are you going to work today? You should get up.” I groaned and rubbed my eyes. I tried opening them a bit and groaned some more. It was morning already. I sat up, grateful the blanket was still covering me, and looked at her bleary eyed. She handed me a cup of tea and I smiled gratefully. “You guys pulled a late one,” she observed.

I nodded and cleared my throat. “I hope we didn’t wake you,” I said honestly, and she blushed in a way that made me think we probably had. I turned to look at him sprawled half on the futon and half off, only one corner of the blanket affording him any modesty. It was such a wonderful sight, I offered a prayer of thanks to see it. Last night had not been a dream. He’d found his way back to us.

I hate to leave him here alone all day when he’s just got back,” she said. I felt the same, and said so, but there was nothing to be done. I intended to ask for the day off tomorrow, but I had to go in today, and I knew she did too.

He’ll probably sleep for most of the day anyway, lucky shit.” Oh, how I longed to lay back down and do the same. “Fuu, my dear, I need to get dressed. Can you go hide somewhere for a few minutes?”

You mean you’re not going to let me watch?” she teased, as she wandered into her room. I had a quick wash and decided to forget about shaving that morning. There was no time to do my kata either. I figured I had enough of a workout last night to forgive myself the lack of discipline, and found it pleasant to be aching in places that never ached when I did my kata.

And then I remembered. My glasses! He’d found them and where did I put them last night? I dug under his clothes and there they were. That part of last night was real too. Putting them back on again felt…I don’t know…it was as though our entire journey flashed through my mind in a single moment. I couldn’t believe I was standing in my own house with Mugen and Fuu, wearing my glasses again. It was like being in the past yet still so wonderfully in the present. And oh, it was good to be able to see again!

You decent?” she called and I told her I was ready. When she caught sight of me in my glasses she gasped and I could see her eyes getting misty. I grabbed her by the wrist and pulled her along with my arm around her waist.

Come on, Kashi-chan, come on. We’re probably late already. I’ll tell you the story on the way.”

She allowed herself to be led, and by the time we hit the street the tears stopped threatening. “I left him a note,” she said. “At work. Back later. Welcome home. You think he’ll be alright?”

Yes, I do. Are you alright?”

I looked at her and she smiled at me. “Yes, I’m alright,” she said. “Are you alright?”

Yes, I’m alright as well,” I replied. “Tired, but otherwise quite alright. Um…Fuu…I won’t be hurt if you turn back to him. I want you to know that.”

She looked at me searchingly. “Do you want me to turn back to him?”

Yes. He still desires you. I hope you can let him back into your life,” I told her honestly.

She nodded and looked thoughtful. “And you? What do you want?” she asked, not looking at me.

I still desire you as well.” I could tell by the blush on her cheeks that she was pleased. “We’ll figure something out, all right?”

She looked up at me and smiled. “OK,” was all she said. When we were at the door of her workplace she grabbed my sleeve and I turned to her. She rose on her tiptoes and planted a kiss on my cheek. “Life is pretty good, isn’t it?” she said, still smiling.

Yes. It most definitely is,” I agreed.

to be continued