✱ FUTO ✱
A scant hour since their inglorious return, Futo was gliding along the temple’s sombre hallways on a pair of slippery, woollen socks.
An hour, even so, had been enough to wring a handful of soberer conclusions out of her thoughts. Futo had made a slip. Not an error; for nothing within the day had unwound contrary to what she’d have deemed expected. And yet, in the course of her long, lukewarm shower, whereuntil she had laid the blame in full on the mulish Mu, a concern had merged – between her pride and moral sense – that perhaps she had been gauche in her advances. That, in her combat furore, with her desires Winded out of balance, under the unwitnessed cover of Gensokyo’s skies, perhaps Futo had succumbed too swift to her lust. That, had she but taken faster hold of her own reins, perchance her brother might have been willing not only at first – but at second, third and fourth also. Until the precipice. Until there was no pulling out.
Spilt milk, as he sayeth, Futo had chided herself, tepid water streaming down her face. A giddy, dissatisfied tingle had still been fiddling with the inside her chest, yet Futo had kept her hands well off of her body’s trouble spots. Withal she had spoken of “refreshing” herself, she had the fullest intention of facing Mu – and their combined wants – in a fully natural state. No forestalling what she may yet win. No Winding or Damping her emotions. No chicanery or artifice.
Only two adults with an unsettled claim of adultery.
Futo skipped to a halt before the door of her brother’s room. Then, as smoothly as allowed by her loose clothing, she slipped inside.
Afternoon had not overmuch changed Mu’s chambers from Futo’s morning call. Still they were a plain, unadorned home of four walls, a bed, a table and a couple of trunks belike unopened since Mu’s ascent to greens, two seasons prior. Still Mu himself lay on his back atop his bizarrely framed bed, whereon with dispatch he studied the insides of his eyelids. Still he vouchsafed no reaction – even as Futo padded near. All but, and it would have been a perfect re-tread… save that now Mu was nowise as deficient in the trousery area.
Fie, thought Futo.
Across the barren room, and she sidled up, on her knees, onto her brother’s unmade bed. Awhile, she entertained edging up on top of him… ahead her womanhood marked the idea down as forceful. Futo resorted to scuffing a measure closer – and merely placed a hand atop her brother’s slab-like chest.
A drawn-out, rattling, burring noise rumbled out of her brother’s ajar mouth, leaving his breast at near half its previous volume once over. Still, a pleasant half. Futo graced the antics how she did as a rule: with a forbearing smile and a pat on Mu’s flattened regions.
Mu drew in a wheezing refill of air. “…. Understanding of others,” he recited, swelling up to a ponderous sit, “bespeaks intelligence. Understanding of oneself bespeaks wisdom.”
“So Laozi Sage sayeth,” obliged Futo. “To what it now adverts, pray?”
Mu gave a flippant shake of his head. “Thought about everything of it.”
Futo regarded him with polite incomprehension. It seemed, at first sight, that her brother may turn his non-reply into one of those segues their conversations were wont to take. At second, his attention scaled off of her face… and tumbled down her front. Futo ill needed follow its lead to know where it was stuck. This, present, set of her uniform lacked perchance for the viewing windows the Myouren-ji devils had opened in her last – but it was all the same airy and mobile and scanter the farther below it stretched, until tapering to nothing at mid-thigh. Futo had it on good exposure that her brother had somedeal of an appreciation for women’s mobility parts. Hers, she had experienced, included in the notable group.
Futo thrust a warding hand between her bare thighs.
“Then you’ve on what I bade to you ponder pondered?” she asked.
Mu walked his eyes back upwise her body, rather by the scenic route than any highway of propriety. They caught: on her dangling pom-poms first, then on her neck, her lips, and on her own eyes lastly, where they came to a road-worn rest. Mu exhaled. He licked his own lips. Then rubbed his own neck. Then breathed back in.
At last, then, he gave up. “… If we were to have to stop pretending,” he confessed, “then yes. I want to sleep with you. I’ve wanted to since our first co-ed bath. You are a wonderful, lovely woman – and I am a wicked man with an imagination. There is a hundred hundreds filthy things I’d do to you if I could. Which was, I computed, why we were pretending to begin with.”
I never did pretend, Futo corrected inside. Outward, she tipped her head and questioned, “Then what, pray, such a conundrum is?”
“Thought I’d said already,” sighed Mu. “There is that girl, in town, that I’m… courting. That is conundrum one.”
“And I therewith said,” Futo reminded him, “that I might nay lesser care.” She rolled her eyes. “Soothly, Mu, I nay half so sentimental a creature as you am. Nigh on to twenty years of my former life I to the clans-head of the Soga wedded was. We all of five… all of four children together had. Hode, beloved Toziko, Kahakami, Kuramaro. I Umako husband’s crown jewel and fain treasured relic was. And I never did the man aught love.”
“And that,” Mu was wondering, “did not vex you, ever?”
“Vex, perchance,” admitted Futo. “Halt me? Nay once. Umako husband did to me honour do; I his trophy was, yet a symbol also. Whilst I, of the Mononobe daughter, content in our marriage remained, then so long was his rout under Shigisan in the court’s eyes vindicated. I have you the story told, have I not? I to Umako his victory faithful delivered, and he to me access to the throne through marital bond bestowed. He a worthy man was, Umako – for a Soga ape.”
Mu let the implications of her disdain fly away. “And yet,” he said, sceptical, “you loved him not.”
“And yet,” nodded Futo, “I nay did. I have but one man in my life’s millennium truly loved – and Umako was nay he.”
“… Who was?” Mu wanted to know.
Futo gave him an arch smile. “A dead man,” she dashed his hopes, “whom you nay know. And hereto your lesson pertains, Handai Mu. I can sex from love lief separate. It on you, all told, leans to the self-same do. Court you, Mu, whomever you desire. Our Taishi Lord, your of the Human Village girl, Toziko if you dare… I nary a fraction mind. I your affection want. Nay your devotion.”
Mu mulled over her reply. There was something within it which caused her brother rather visible bother, even if Futo could not – nor cared to – tell which. At length, it seemed, whichever piece it had been was shelved on a backwise shelf of his mind for later mincing.
“Conundrum two, then,” he moved on, raising the supportive number of fingers. “I do love you, Futo. You know, yes?”
There was an insidious clinch of pleasure inside Futo’s chest. Yes. She had, in fact, known fain well that Mu’s heart had a special spot inside carved out to her shape. No soul un-enamoured of at least parts of her would have gone the lengths Mu had done to enable – further, encourage – Futo’s idiosyncrasies; even the Crown Prince – in His sagacity – had expressed His gentle, yet firm disapproval. Not so Mu. Her colourful brother saw what Futo desired from her second youth – and let her to reach out for it. And that took either the most temperate of hearts… or one, indeed, full of love.
To be told, still, gave her own heart a treacherous jolt of happiness. Futo swept back a wisp of her silvery hair – which she had left untied after her shower for just such an occasion.
“… Yes,” she granted. “And I do you too love, Mu.”
Mu’s eyebrows poised on his forehead. “As a brother?” he guessed.
Futo made a nod. “As a brother.”
“And there lies the dog,” said Mu, alongside a surprisingly brutal gesture meant to indicate that, if the dog did not lie there, he would gladly brain it to make his point. “See, I do not love you like that. I’ve done the survey. The results are clear. It’s far and away, categorically, positively not as a sister.”
“How, therefore?” asked Futo. “Also, I have that one heard. It ‘rub’ is. Therein the rub lies. Nay ‘dog.’”
Mu squinted his opinion on idiomatic precision. “As a person,” he told her. “As a man to a woman. The normal, heavy, romance-sort of love. That is how I love you.”
And there was the thrill again. Futo fiddled with the inside of her sleeve until it had run its course. Fie, me, she thought, keeping her lips from curling up. Hath thy wits as well been smoothed in thy sleep as thy wrinkles?
“… And that,” she challenged – somewise, “whereinsoever differs, Mu?”
“That I do want to sleep with you, for a first,” pointed out Mu. “Men do not… Those normal of us do not feel this way about their sisters.”
Nay, thought Futo. I nay so suppose. “Have I you nay already told?” she asked him instead. “I nowise a monogamous creature am. If you so desire, love me. If you to another love yearn – do. To Toziko’s language borrow: I discriminate not.”
Mu made an ugly sound – and an even uglier face. “… And that,” he muttered, “is conundrum the third. Since meseems I do not discriminate, either.”
Futo cocked her head, not quite decided whether to praise her brother for this admission – or to bemoan it. Mu seized her confusion and gave a rueful smile in exchange.
“See, Futo,” he said, “I’ve already cheated on Seki. Once – so far. And all it took were three weeks of abstinence and a set of pretty legs.”
“That easy sounds,” dared Futo.
Mu nimbly ducked her sarcasm. Or, perhaps, failed to hear it altogether. “All too,” he agreed. “All too easy. And did you know the worst blasted part? Afterwards, all I felt was guilty that I did not feel guilty. Whereas I realised I should have. Then, you caught me with my faculties elsewhere earlier today, and…”
Her brother’s voice trimmed off – the mere memory apparently enough to dislodge said faculties all over again.
“And…?” Futo urged him on. “I heed you, Mu.”
Mu grunted something in his crackling, native tongue. “… And,” he went on then, “I hadn’t as much as thought, ‘Sorry, Seki,’ before my hands were all over you. To be honest, Futo, I have only the dimmest how I managed not to strip you nude right then and there. I was hard as rock the entire time.”
“Mhm,” agreed Futo. “I felt,” she lied – and watched her brother squirm on his seat. Futo’s senses had, truthfully, been Winded too high to focus on aught else except her own body… but Mu needed not to be told. “And I,” she added, “would nay have ‘no’ said.”
And this was markedly not a lie. Mononobe Futo now may not recall with any exactness the paths taken by her Winded, turned-on mind; she remembered, even so, where it was she would have made her brother stick his long, rugged fingers if he had not then spoiled her vulgar plans.
That place remembered too. Futo fidgeted on her knees. Irony of ironies, her own repartee had swung around to distract her.
Mu’s tone was pleading when again he posed the question: “Is that how a loyal man acts, Futo?”
Futo shook her silver-cloaked head left and right. “Is loyalty precious so, Mu?” she questioned him back. “Wish you, after all, to loyal be? Heed. Shouldest you to it change try,” she quoted, “you it ruin shall. Shouldest you to it hold try, you it lose shall.”
“Quoth Laozi,” Mu obliged in return. “I am loyal to Lord Taishi and the temple. To the precepts. To you. Staying loyal to one girl—” he scoffed, “—should have been a cake piece in comparison.”
Futo, frowning, chased after that horse-leg of their conversation in her head… and found it tragically, secretly lame.
At least, she cheered herself, it was not one of those lost horses their conversations on occasion became. There was yet a way to come first in this race. Mu did want to have sex with her; Futo sensed she could not have had him say it any straighter unless she was atop him and riding him halfway to an orgasm. Nor did she have aught else on her mind apart from fulfilling that desire. Mu was still her tall, well-proportioned, exotic brother; she had still a “hundred hundreds” depraved, unsisterly things she wished to do to him – and half again that for him to do to her. Sex would be a satisfying start. A slippery, hot, precept-compliant start.
All which Futo had yet to saddle was a clever horse that would overtake Mu’s confused sentiments. The truth balder than her brother was, she did not care for his childish romances; she did not care that another girl in the Human Village was using of his affection as well. Her courtly life had taught her naught but that relationships were flimsy, impermanent things. Sex and marriage and adultery were but labels for a simpler, more cardinal law: that of desire. All within the palace had followed theirs; all had styled it some else a privy name. All had traced their own, intimate Ways onto the murder fields of Yamato’s court.
All except Futo’s had failed.
And this was why she hadn’t mounted her oaf of a brother and ground atop his nether parts until he begged to be let inside her. Consent. Consent was a drug more puissant than all of wicked Seiga’s concoctions pitched together. Consent plied Ways and smothered afterthoughts. Futo would come moaning her brother’s name today, but she would do it either underneath him, with his willing assistance – or back in her rooms, with her own fingers.
Swell Handai Mu’s desire – and she would have the first. Swell, instead, his boyish guilt – and the latter was sooner like.
Futo knew of few things which roused her brother more than his own, overactive imagination. She only had to nudge it onto more fertile grounds.
( ) The wench he’d cheated with. Whatever she had done, Futo could do better.
( ) The girl in town. Whoever she was, Futo had the longer legs.