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“… Am not,” Yamame finished. To trim, she shaped a tiny smile. “What dummy wears a bra to bed?”
The human Paran – the sober, steady Paran – looked less steady than he had been in weeks. The curvature of his mouth was progressed into geometric warfare; and had wool not made for a naturally sturdy cloth, then the spinstress did not doubt his fingers would have poked an eight of ragged holes through. At last, Paran’s lips were flattened out; and, with a groan like a great gate shutting, he let the tunic drop back down to the Yamame’s lap.
All but, and the spinstress would have hotly criticised this repealing of promised help (in undressing). Only then, her beloved human – as slowly and punctiliously as a spider might – began to roll the edge of her tunic up into a neat, tightly compressed tube. Yamame watched, tensing each time his cool fingers brushed against her skin. The better swing of a minute had clocked past before the cloth was curled up to the height it had been before the drop.
“Is this fun?” Yamame wanted to know.
Paran’s gaze kept trained on her evenly unveiling body. “… It has some artistic merit.”
“Are you going to be long yet?”
“Art should not be rushed.”
Then he rolled on, at the same provocative pace.
Yamame’s whole exterior itched with impatience. She raised up her arms, and folded them over her head to stave off scratching. Her calves pressed into her human’s sides, and Yamame Kurodani, murmuring, gave a voice to her frustration. But the human was too intent, too transfixed by his own art to pay attention to her begging stare. He rolled on.
… At least, until the most stuffed stretch of the tunic was reached, and his fingers bumped into something that was not skin.
The art, instantly, became damned; and Yamame’s human, discarding his pride together with his masterpiece, roughly yanked the tunic up to the spider’s chin. The black of her simple, silken brassiere was only matched by the black of his gaze when he swung it accusatorily at her rosy face. Because Yamame could think of nothing clever to defend herself, she began to laugh.
Her laughter hitched when Paran jerked the tunic up over her head, balled it up, and threw it at her face. Yamame grabbed at the cloth, and flung it beside the bed. Then, she resumed laughing.
Paran’s brows were clambering over each other. His lukewarm hands gripped onto her hips – for bracing, apparently, over anything else.
“… Was that fun?” he demanded.
“It was slightly fun,” Yamame offered diplomatically. “Wasn’t it for you?”
Her human, omitting a reply, poured his corrosive gaze at the offending bra. Somehow, somewise, the bra held.
“So,” he grunted. “… What dummy wears a bra to bed?”
Yamame graced the jab with a chuckle. “Well, you see,” she said; “wool is very fine. It’s easy to comb, spin, and it’s warm and comfortable. But when it isn’t combed properly, one ends up with shorter fibres in the yarn, which makes it rougher on the skin when you put it together into clothing. My skin is a little more sensitive than most, so… I wore a bra underneath. It’s a very fine bra – almost all silk – so it isn’t all that restricting. As for why I picked this to sleep in,” she added, smiling; “it was the closest to my normal bed-wear – in form.”
“Left legs free?”
“That’s it.” The spinstress nodded. “I sleep easier with my legs uncovered. It’s just how I am. You’ve complained about this before, haven’t you? Anyway, that’s why. I hadn’t considered the bra would become a problem until just now. I hadn’t considered you’d want to… well, do that.”
Paran briefly followed her motion to the discarded tunic. “… I hadn’t, either.”
“Or had you?” she teased. Then, appealingly, she laid her palms atop his. “… Are you so disappointed?”
The human Paran rested his overloaded eyes. His wide chest swelled up with a lenitive breath. Then, he released it in a long, trailing capitulation. It had done its work; and when he looked once more at the earth spider perched atop him, it was not with anger. This time, his gorgeous eyes were calm, even appreciative – in a sarcastic sort of way.
“… Not so much,” he told her. “At least I know why you feel so soft, now.”
Yamame, beaming happily, dug her knees into his ribs. “Are you calling me fat again?”
He slid his hands up her flanks in estimation. “… Chubby, at best,” he opined.
Yamame smacked him. “Snake. I’ll have you know I’ve sisters both smaller and heavier than me. And they don’t even eat as often as you and I do.”
“I’ll believe,” allowed Paran. “… You’re still a bit round, though.”
“But you still undressed me,” the round Yamame pointed out, “even though I’m chubby.”
“I love how you look any way you call it, Yamame.”
The spinstress let go of a dramatic sigh. “I know,” she said. “I know you do. It’s gotten really bumpy where I’m sitting.”
The human Paran – the staid, well-balanced Paran – abruptly lost his stability. He appeared to buck and flip inside-out without ever actually moving. He pitched with a violent cough; and the colour that took up on his face was so dark, all but it put Orin’s carmine braids to shame. It was, on the whole, all rather artistic.
“Yamame—” sputtered the artist, “That’s not—”
“If,” Yamame overruled him, “If you’re about to tell me it’s only some small animal slipped inside your robe – don’t. I know what it is. I’m not clueless. I’ve seen males… nude, before.”
Paran controlled his tint with difficulty. “… You have?”
“The Oni,” reminded the spider. “The Oni drink together, sleep together, and bathe together. I lived as one of them for very long. It was inevitable I’d end up coming along to the bath-house every once in a while. You remember – the bath-house in the Capital? Well, I don’t know about up on the surface; but down there, we don’t bathe inside our clothes. So, yes. I’ve seen some things. Those things too.”
“… Oni?” Paran repeated.
“Yes,” Yamame confirmed. “Oni.”
“… Way to make a man feel inadequate,” he muttered.
“What was that?”
“Nothing,” he grunted. “Nothing, Yamame.”
Again – it appeared for nothing more than structural support – his hands grazed down and locked about her hips; and her beloved human started the long process of recovery.
Yamame Kurodani the round (not fat) watched on, all bemused, as he began to strain from neck to abdomen, as though drawing the blood up by force from the region which had caused him this latest embarrassment. On a rogue whim, the spinstress feigned a tiny cramp in one of her thighs, and ever-so-slightly readjusted her seat.
Paran’s expression fell as his efforts were instantly undone. He glared up at their destroyer.
“What?” asked Yamame.
Her human yielded, his body going limp all over (except one part).
“… If nothing else,” he delivered his last, hopeless argument, “If nothing else, then this proves I wasn’t lying.”
“About you being attractive.”
A foolish grin pushed Yamame’s cheeks out. “Am I, really?”
“I must be,” she giggled, “if you’re reacting like this.”
Paran’s face became a bubbling bog of misery.
A pause came on. It was one the spider and her human spent more idly soaking up each other’s body warmth than anything nearby getting ready for coming out of bed. The orange light outside the window was dim, sunset-like, and rendered the guest-room in a lovely, muted half-shadow. Yamame’s human was its most lovely subject.
Though his expression was none too enthusiastic for this turn of events; the human Paran was all the same a wonderfully handsome sight. His silver-trimmed robe, which he had ended up wearing to sleep, was messily tugged open halfway down his front. There was little else inside that gap but he. His broad chest, only a little less rug-like than Yamame had joked, was surging gently up and down. The criss-cross of valleys and bumps on his stomach was working out in synchrony – growing deeper first, then less whenever he exhaled. The tiny play was captivating beyond any excuse.
It was then, perhaps, that Yamame Kurodani made an earth-shaking discovery.
The human calling himself Paran was a male.
He had always been a male, of course; nor did Yamame Kurodani contravene those blatantly masculine of his features. His shoulders were robust and widespread. His arms were strong enough to move her two-legged form at no expense of effort; and his fingers were tough and very long. He had a slab-like chest, a sprinkling of stubble on his chin, and a pair of brows as fuzzy as gorged caterpillars crowning his eyes. A monument to his already well-evidenced gender, a certain part of him down below was still unashamedly stiff.
But these were the hallmarks of a human male – not a spider’s. And Yamame Kurodani had ever been the latter.
Why, then, was she so incurably drawn by those arms? Why did she, an earth spider since birth, want nothing else but to be enclosed inside them? Why was Yamame Kurodani, mother of plagues, vainly willing those hands to touch to her face and lace their fingers through her loosed hair? Why did the yearly malady, she who harried humans – not kissed them – wish for a few (many) more good-morning kisses above everything?
This raw, kinaesthetic attraction was not an entirely new thing; for Yamame had allied already with the notion that touching her human felt very good. But that had ever been stored on a neighbouring shelf to her lately realised love. To knit the two together felt wrong – even immoral. To debase their almost magical partnership with these corporal urges seemed to Yamame someway the peak of insulting.
The trouble was, “seemed” was as far as this sentiment extended. When she silently reached out, and obediently he rose up, and his long arms whelmed lovingly about her body, Yamame Kurodani no more had a pride to insult. She was base and low. She was rude and insidious. Worse, for she felt there was nothing greater she wanted to be.
Yamame Kurodani, the worst earth spider of all, intersected her ankles on her human’s back, and nested her nose in a shallow dimple above one of his collarbones. Her crimes against propriety were quietly absolved with a single, hair-tickling sigh from him. Him, who had put aside his kind’s inherent fear, and valued the yearly malady for what she was beneath her terrible names: a person. A woman. A female to his male, species notwithstanding.
It was a liberating idea. That, in itself, was funny – given she could very hardly move where she now was. Yamame chuckled at the gross metaphysical paradox.
Paran alerted (as he did), and asked, “… Yamame?”
“A happy thought, that’s all,” calmed the spinstress. “It’s a happy place, here where I am.”
“… Is it?”
“Isn’t it? You’re liking this too, aren’t you? And don’t lie. I’m soft and warm, so it feels good – doesn’t it?”
Paran sighed again at his own words swinging back to shame him. “… I won’t,” he said. “It feels great.”
“Same here,” Yamame agreed, “even if you aren’t very soft yourself.”
The spinstress laughed once more. “Speaking of,” she then said, sneakily off-hand. “Is this doing anything for your problem downstairs?”
Paran breathed in sharply. Then, he blew a deep, disgruntled sound.
“… Nothing good,” he said.
Yamame purred. “Should I help you out with that?”
Her human’s replying voice was rusted thin. “… Yamame.”
“Please,” he begged, “don’t make me an offer I won’t be able to turn down.”
“Think,” hissed Paran. “It will be difficult enough to face Lady Satori as it is.”
“Oh.” The spinstress, reminded, made a ruffled frown. “It is, isn’t it? I hadn’t considered that.”
“I didn’t think you had. So, please, Yamame – don’t.”
“But you want me to help out?” she categorically needed to know.
The human Paran shaped a bunch of unflattering words. “… Yes,” he grated. “Yes, curse you. I do want you to help out. Satisfied?”
Not nearly, the greedy spinstress thought. Smiling her most appealing, she grazed up along his chest, and looped her arms behind his wiry neck. Then, weathering the abrasive staring of his fantastic eyes, she craned up hers, and brushed her lips playfully on his.
“… Maybe just a little?” she offered.
The good, well-mannered Paran actually began to swear. There were some inventive terms in his glossary, but none worse than what Yamame Kurodani had had scraping her ears during her long years in exile. She waited, the patient hunter she, until he had sworn himself out. Then, she kissed him one more time. A longer one.
When it was done, Paran was as Oni-red and putty-soft as he had been once his troublesome body mechanics had been first revealed. All required was a closing crop. A precipitous push.
“Come ooon,” she moaned. “Tell me what to do. Anything you’d like.”
That broke him.
Her beloved human, rusty red from shame, retreated his eyes to one side. Then, in a voice corroded by the same, he gave up:
“… What you did just then. When I was trying to… And then you moved.”
Against the heat breaking out up her own cheeks, Yamame smiled. “Did that feel so amazing?”
“… It felt really good.”
“Mm.” The spinstress licked her lips. “Yes. It felt… kind of good when you pressed up on me, too. All right. I’ll do that. Could you… Um. Could you lie back for me? It’ll be easier to move like that.”
The human, surrendering to the truth of her words (and who knew to what else), did lie – first to half, then fully down on his back. Yamame, on all fours, crept up over him, until she was above the part of him that was not so much bumpy anymore, but openly tenting.
A tiny, dust-like speck of a doubt wafted onto the tablecloth of her thoughts, that perhaps the silly Yamame – who herself had wheedled her human into this desperate a condition – had spun herself into an unnavigable funnel. The speck was sent flying away by the gasp tweaked out the earth spider’s chest when she lowered herself onto the strained rise in her human’s robe, and felt it give. She lowered still, until she felt the rigid shape below distinctly – squished between Paran’s abdomen and her unmentionables. Her human let go of a twin gasp. His was lined with guilt… and just a hint of harshly reined satisfaction.
Yamame Kurodani, the eldest of the Underworld’s spinstresses, blushed like one of the youngest when her full weight was settled atop her human’s thing and she felt a jolt of pleasure tickling up the inside of her belly. The jolt was alien… but all at once it was not; and Yamame laid one palm flat on her stomach in worried confusion. She nudged her hips a shy bit forward for a test… and experienced the same sensation again, fluttering up from the point of contact. It pinched another unwitting sound out of her mouth.
… And Paran’s as well. Her human slung an arm over his ever-reddening face.
“Yamame,” he groaned.
Startling, Yamame stuck halfway into another nudge. “Pa—Paran? Am I… Am I doing something wrong?”
Her beloved human wrenched his trapped head left and right. “… No. It’s just… Your name.”
“It… It is,” she agreed, uncertain. “I’m Yamame. Yamame Kurodani.”
“I know,” Paran whimpered “I know. I just… I wanted to say it. Yamame.”
“Oh.” The spinstress felt stupid. “Um. Should I…?”
“Yes.” Paran’s answer was exasperated. “Yes – please.”
So Yamame Kurodani, she with the name, spread her legs a little wider out for a steadier pose, and resumed the vulgar ritual.
And it was in that moment – not a quarter one sooner, though possibly a half of it later – that the door of their private sanctuary was all of a sudden knocked.
Yamame Kurodani, mother of plagues, seized with half her fingers stuck inexplicably below the bands of her underwear. Her beloved human was frozen as well; only his chest heaved on and on, and his other part throbbed indignantly between the spider’s thighs.
The door was knocked again.
The spinstress pried her mouth to answer. All coming out was an old wood-like squeak. Her human made no move – save breathing and twitching.
There was a third knock. But it had a follower this time, and it was a voice. A male voice – young, almost boyish, muddily familiar.
“Good day!” it called. “Uh… Yamame Kurodani? Are you awake? Good day?”
“We—” Yamame croaked. “We are. We are awake.” She cleared out the motes in her throat. “Um, was there something?”
The caller outside the door hedged. “… An it please you,” he said ultimately, “Satori reaches out with a cordial wish that you join her for breakfast. Would, though, that mine own opinion were heard,” he added, “she did not quite mean ‘wish.’”
“I think I understand,” replied Yamame.
“The foods are all but ready; your servings as well have been prepared. We do but wait now your arrival. Some of us in the slips.”
The spinstress remembered something. “Um. How do we get to the dining room?”
“Ah! Therein’s a known tale.” The voice affected a ceremonious tone. “Come, you, easterly of this chamber, and you shall erelong a crossing reach. Walk past it, then, and its sibling farther on also. Take thereafter a turning once more easterly, and seek you the nearby door great-winged awash in delectable smells. There, yes there, the dining hall lies beyond.”
Yamame grimaced. “Which way is ‘easterly?’”
“… It’s right.” The speaker sounded faintly put out. “Go right, then straight past two crossings, turn right again, and seek a large door. It’s through there. Uh… Anything else our guests may require?”
The earth spider glanced down. “… Washroom?”
“There is one at the end of this hall. I will leave its door open for you to mark.”
“Thank you. That— That should be all.”
“You will be joining us, I take?”
“We will. Shortly.”
“As you wish.”
There was a delay long enough to fit a bow (however illogical); then, a flight of footfalls fading down the corridor. Then, they were alone.
Yamame Kurodani, the eldest among Underworld’s web-spinners, looked bashfully at her beloved human. A delightfully mussed-up one peered back from under his overspread arm. She held the silence, adoring his state, until he resorted to cracking it.
“… A lesser man could hate you,” he murmured.
Yamame made a powerless smile. “What did I do wrong this time?”
The human hid his eyes again. “… I wasn’t that hungry.”
“Is that all? That’s less mistakes than yesterday.”
“It’s not all.”
Yamame’s smile curdled. “I know. It was a joke. I make those sometimes.”
“Your humour has been obscure of late, Yamame,” muttered Paran.
“Maybe,” granted the spinstress. “Maybe it has been. We don’t really have to go, you know. Lady Satori can do without us. I’d just have to genuflect to her about it later. If you want, we could stay and…”
… And finish with your thing, she thought, but was too ashamed to say.
At any rate, Paran turned his messy head. “I’d like to wash my mouth down, now I know where I can,” he said. “At least that. Something to eat wouldn’t go a miss, either.”
“But you said you weren’t hungry.”
“I’m bound to become, if we keep at it.”
Would that take so long? “You aren’t going to forget this, are you?” Yamame questioned. “You aren’t going to pretend nothing happened if we stop now?”
“Would you let me, after all that?”
“I wouldn’t let you.”
“Then what’s the sense?” sighed Paran. “I can’t tell if I would let myself, either. But for now, let me go. Lady Satori’s waiting – in the slips.”
The spider spinstress made a face. Though, in the end, she did let him go – wistfully sliding off to the side. The act of disconnection left her feeling cold and unhappy.
Her beloved human scrambled, as though to cover himself up. Then, however – maybe recognising his over-lateness – he rolled to his feet, and threw off his robe completely. Yamame Kurodani, her spider’s heart hammering suddenly up her gullet, walked him with saucer-wide eyes until he began to rifle through the heap of clothing assigned to them by their stately host.
He cast a sidelong look in her direction, and Yamame found her stare fleeing as well as her heart.
“… You too,” he suggested.
The spinstress groped behind for the hook of her brassiere – before her mind parsed this was not what he had meant. She stood up, blushing, and went to excavate a suitable day dress beside him.
They managed to make presentable (he, in another robe, and she – in a flower-spotted frock) without too much stray touching.
They managed to leave their sanctuary, somehow, without pushing each other down.
They managed to arrive in the marked washroom wanting an incident.
They didn’t manage not to make it a longer stop.
But love could wait, otherwise to vicereines, and Satori Komeiji’s call was law.