by Laura Bryannan

“You know,” she whispered. “I've never had one.”

“B-But, you're a mother!” Fuu whispered back. “You must have had an orgasm sometime.”

“You said yourself you didn't have one the first time you were with a man,” Sara replied. “I'm ashamed to admit I pretended with my husband, as he had little skill, and I usually wanted it to be over as soon as possible.”

“You've never even done it yourself?” Fuu asked, incredulously.

“Never,” Sara admitted. She couldn't believe she was saying such things out loud. What was it about traveling with these three? It was waking up memories and feelings she had thought long-buried. There had been a time when she was more than a killing machine, when she had loved, hoped and felt alive, like this young girl.

The warmth in the hearts of her three companions was melting the ice around hers, and it was both frightening and exhilarating. She had never been in the presence of such love before, and while she could not discern whether it was carnal or fraternal, it didn't matter. These three were happily entwined, each separate and yet completely necessary to the other two. She found herself endlessly fascinated and drawn to them like a moth to a flame. It made what she had to do seem impossible.

“Well, to tell you the truth,” Fuu admitted. “I didn't know how to do it myself until recently either. Jin taught me.”

Sara startled, honestly surprised. “Jin?!” Imagining the quiet ronin doing such a thing was making her heart beat faster.

“Hard to believe, huh?” Fuu giggled. “He found me when I was crying about my first time and showed me how it should have been. After that, I knew how to do it too. It's a good thing he was the one to show me, because Mugen only uses his mouth, so I wouldn't have known how to copy that!”

“Mugen's...mouth?!” Imagining the brash, uncouth rooster at such a tender activity was causing her to squirm without willing it.

“Cumming is pretty fun, you know,” Fuu went on blithely, enjoying the girltalk, totally unaware of her impact on the older woman. “I could tell you what Jin did, if you want. I feel bad for you. I didn't know what I was missing till I had one, but I sure couldn't live without 'em now!”

Sara's mind was whirling. Stern voices screaming about duty, honor and obligation demanded her attention. But the heart that had been dead for so long yearned for life, for contact, for love. Fuu was offering her all these things and she needed them as much as she needed air to breathe.

“Would you show me?” she whispered.

Fuu smiled, scooted underneath Sara's blanket, and spooned against her behind. Sara felt gentle fingers stroking her back.

“This is how Jin started,” Fuu told her. “He just pet and pet me, till I was all squishy and melted.” Squishy and melted...Sara almost giggled at the description, but it was so apt. It did feel wonderful.

“And then,” Fuu continued, her hands reaching around Sara's body to slide underneath her juban, tracing lazy circles around each breast. Sara cooed, and then immediately felt mortified that such a sound had escaped her lips—for all of three seconds. Then she sighed again, enjoying the languor spreading through her body.

Fuu had learned her lessons well, and showed a level of care and patience that Jin would have been proud of. She finally reached Sara's hardened nipples and began to gently pull and roll each one in turn, just the way she liked it herself. Sara was beside herself. Her hand reached between her legs and pressed into her mound, thighs squeezing around it. She needed something to happen, but she wasn't sure exactly what. But, oh the frustration was focused right here...the ache in her belly was centered right here. Silently, she asked for help.

“Like this,” Fuu whispered, gently moving Sara's hand aside and dipping her fingers in the slippery juice between Sara's legs. Searching carefully, Sara's body writhing as she explored, she found the nub of flesh she was hunting for. She stroked and tickled for a long while as Sara gasped, and then she finally took up a rhythm.

“If you want to cum,” her teacher told her, “you've got to pick somewhere that feels good and stick with a rhythm that's working too. Once you do that, if you just keep going, great things will happen. Is this good, Sara?”

“Ummm, oh yes,” was all Sara could manage. Something was most definitely growing inside her. She could feel it, the pleasure building, reaching for more. The ache, the itch...it was so gloriously unbearable, she wasn't sure she could withstand it.

And then Sara's body exploded. Fuu held on tight as she sang a new song, improvised, heartfelt. Those within earshot recognized the lyrics, and most smiled thinking, Ah, youth!

For Sara, it was a healing. She felt included, cared for and loved in a way she couldn't remember ever feeling before, and she wept for a long while afterward. How had her life come to this? How had she allowed herself to become nothing more than a tool for other's evil?

“Hey,” Fuu whispered, after Sara's tears began to quiet into soft hiccups and sniffs, “are you okay?”

Sara nodded, took Fuu's hand and brought it to her lips. “Thank you, Fuu,” she said sincerely. “I shall never forget your kindness.”

The two listening in the next room hadn't realized they were holding their breath until there was quiet again.

“What the fuck do you think that was?” Mugen sputtered, knowing full well what he heard, his ego bruised by Sara's choice.

“Fuu's done some good work tonight,” Jin replied calmly. He still didn't trust Sara, but she seemed more human somehow and it gave him hope. “Perhaps it will be enough.”

“Huh?” asked Mugen, but the ronin refused to speak further.

Yes, it was enough. When the time came to destroy the circle of love they had created, the circle they had included her inside, Sara chose not to. And she died knowing she made the right choice.