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Scented (prompt #3, Gyokumen Koushou, R)

Title: Scented
Author: opalmatrix
Warnings: possibly not worksafe - allusions to m/f sex, nudity
Pairing(s): Nii/Gyokumen Koushou
Notes: Challege: post coital. Time given: 1 hour. Time taken: 55 min? I'm trying to factor in time I spent thinking about it ahead of time. I typed for about 40-45 minutes.
Spoilers: some history of the Kou-tachi and their associates
Summary: The Lady of Houtou is finding it harder and harder to wait.

"Get out."

Her own words echoed in her ears, but it was his touch that still echoed through her body. A weak, pathetic human man - but his skill and intelligence gave him a place in her bed far more often than she liked to admit even to herself. Now, even though the door had shut behind him, his presence was still all around her, within her. His seed between her legs, her lips and nipples reddened from his mouth, her womb still vibrating from his touch, his blood on the tips of her claws, and his scent ... everywhere.

It was too much, suddenly. She rolled from the luxurious bed, rumpled and stained by their play, and shouted for her attendants.

They raced in - quietly. Slaves did not stamp and thud like cattle in the presence of the Lady of Houtou. One flung a robe of light, soft cotton around her nakedness. Another slipped finely woven straw sandals on her feet. She let nothing precious touch her after she had been with him, before she could wash.

Her bath was ready in the adjoining room. She stood on a slatted platform carved of cedar while warm water was sluiced over her, raising her arms, spreading her legs, allowing the intimate but impersonal touches everywhere. Her bath attendants had no claws, and no body hair either - his work - and were dexterous and gentle. The soap was scented with citron and herbs, the sponges had come from southern seas. "More!" she ordered. "Have you no noses? I can still smell him!"

At last she felt free of the most obvious reminder of who it was who had pleasured her, and went to soak in her tub. The steaming water had a delicate slick of rose oil, and pink petals floated about. More roses, and lilies as well, stood about the tub in tall vases. "Music," she ordered, and the sound of flutes and a small drum drifted from behind a silk screen that had taken three artisans a year to embroider.

Yet despite the soothing assault on her senses, she could not forget how she had spent the last few hours.

Among some youkai tribes, a woman might take a lover, if her lord was not able to attend to her needs. Gyumaoh would never have tolerated such a thing. And during their brief years together, the thought would never have occurred to her. The Ox-King was possessed of an overwhelming physicality. Handsome of face - Kougaiji was his living image from the neck up, although slightly refined - large of body, he had been an awe-inspiring force in bed. It would never have occurred to him to spend the time learning her body the way her current lover did, and yet she had never been less than satisfied. Her lord's power had been like a love-drug to her in those days.

How long has it been? And how much longer must I wait?

Now, eyes closed, the innocent perfumes of flowers drifting around her, she could remember the face of her lord in anger. And she knew that if he had ever smelled another man upon her, she would have had that as her last sight in this life. He would have killed her quickly - and her lover, dying slowly, would have lived long enough to curse her name a hundred thousand times. Her gut felt like ice despite the warmth of the scented bath. She sat up, then stood, water sheeting from her skin, white skin flushed rose pink with heat, and her servants looked up, startled. "Dry me!" she barked.

Dried, her hair brushed out and plaited, she sought her other bedroom - the one that no man had entered since her lord was taken from her. And there it was, the little chest, with its tight-fitting lid. She opened it slowly, and gently lifted up what lay there.

Clothing - a few garments, in rich fabrics, made to fit a tall, heavily built man. Bed linen. Towels. Anything that had touched Gyumaoh those last few days. She buried her face in them, inhaling deeply and desperately. She could hardly smell his scent any longer.

She carefully tucked the relics back into their casket, then extinguished the lights herself. In the dark, she lay down in the great cedar bed where Lirin had been conceived. She tried to recall the feel of her daughter's father - the heavy body, well-thatched with hair, the huge phallus that her own body had welcomed so often. But another presence intruded, a smaller man, slimmer, wiry, with soft, slender fingers, and a clever, clever tongue, and once again, she seemed to smell her lover, as though his scent had soaked into her very brain.

It was along time before she slept.



( 23 comments — leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Apr. 9th, 2008 01:53 am (UTC)

Yeah, I was trying to puzzle out the business of how she always seems perfectly happy to be messing with Nii, and yet she's really into the idea of reviving Gyumaoh. I mean, she could just be a slut, but I thought maybe there was more to it than that. And I'm always into the idea of how youkai senses could be different than ours ... .

(And here I ran off on a tangent and didn't even say "thank you" ... I'm sucha clod.)

Edited at 2008-04-09 01:54 am (UTC)
Apr. 10th, 2008 03:52 am (UTC)
Although I couldn't help thinking to myself through the whole thing, If you feel filthy after having sex with Nii, it means you're doing it right. XD;

SNORK! You have made me laugh into my Fruity Pebbles (evening snack). Awesome.
Apr. 7th, 2008 03:55 pm (UTC)
I like the guilt you've associated with Gyokumen here - too often in the manga she seems a little two-dimensional, but here she really pops out of the screen, surrounded by her opulence yet troubled by her baser instincts. Fragile, almost. It certainly makes for a nice change, and it's very well written! ^___^
Apr. 9th, 2008 01:55 am (UTC)

I'm glad you liked it! I was a little worried ... I mean, I don't like her either! But the idea showed up and wouldn't leave.

Apr. 7th, 2008 04:22 pm (UTC)
Wow. I really have to say I loved the depth you gave to gyokumen's character here. It's truly stunning.
Wonderfully done.
Apr. 9th, 2008 01:57 am (UTC)

Thank you! She wasn't comfortable to write, I have to say ... !

Apr. 8th, 2008 02:18 am (UTC)
Oh, well done! This fic really adds some wonderful layers to Gyoukumen's character. I love her imperiousness here, which is balanced by the knowledge that if her lord were around, she would be the one bending to his whim. Also the idea of scents woven throughout was a nice touch (there is something quite poignant in the idea of Gyoukumen seeking comfort in Gyumaoh's personal effects--and the contrast in her reaction to his scent and to Nii's). I really enjoyed reading this.
Apr. 9th, 2008 02:31 am (UTC)

Very glad you liked it! Yeah, I love to play around with the idea of youkai cultures, and how they must differ in some ways because of the differences in how their senses and things work. And also, I'm sure she was always a bitch, but I think Nii has been working to make her worse: it's to his advantage, should he ever decide to jump ship and leave entirely, that she not have any real allies among her people at the castle. So I think he's encouraging the "regard other people as things" tendency (the only real sin, per Terry Pratchett's Granny Weatherwax). But she must remember, quite often, why she's got Nii there in the first place.

Apr. 8th, 2008 04:59 pm (UTC)
Love the look into Gyoukumen! She's very often a two-dimensional villian so it's great to have a look at the woman beyond that. And you've made her very...well...human. Awesome work.
Apr. 9th, 2008 02:34 am (UTC)

Thanks! She's an awful person ... but I was trying to figure how her brain works. All this weird science is in the service of getting her man back, after all. And we know how great Nii is at manipulating people.

Apr. 9th, 2008 01:04 am (UTC)
This is a great perspective on Gyoukumen and her thought process. Nice.
Apr. 9th, 2008 02:37 am (UTC)
I'm so glad you liked it! I was trying to get past the "she's a bitch and a slut" thing, and I found myself thinking about the thought processes of a woman who wanted her man bacl so badly that she was willing to (apparently) sacrifice their child.</p>
Apr. 10th, 2008 03:49 am (UTC)
Oh, this was very interesting! I really like the character of Gyokumen Koushu, though I hardly know why because she's not much characterized in the manga-- but you added to her and gave her almost "normal" thoughts, making her more real. I love her thoughts about how power is a turn-on for her, and how perhaps slyly that there are more kinds of power than she has realized. Very nice. :)
Apr. 14th, 2008 02:20 am (UTC)

Yes, she's just sort of there and very very bad ... I began wondering about her, especially since so many of the characters (Nii, for example) are explored more thoroughly. (And yes, she only has herself to blame for feeling slimy after screwing around with him ... but he's really terribly good at getting people to do things they shouldn't!) (D'you ever read any Tanith Lee? She's fond of this sort of character.)

Apr. 14th, 2008 05:29 pm (UTC)
I haven't really read her, but my roommate is a crazy devotee of her books-- as in collecting different editions, etc. I've only read "Silver Metal Lover," and I think I was too old and sticklike when I read it because I was impatient with it. ;)
Apr. 14th, 2008 09:50 pm (UTC)

I'm thinking more of the "Flat Earth" series. If you can grab a copy of Death's Master without tons of money or effort, you might want to try it. Narasen, Queen of Merh, is a Gyokumen-ish character (although I wasn't particularly thinking of her when I wrote the story).

Yes, Silver-Metal Lover is beautiful in its way, but you have to suspend cynicism and age to appreciate it. It made me cry when I was in college, though. (And it's interesting that Lee, who has written tons of stuff that verges on porn fantasy and includes intense evil, wrote such a thing ... it makes me like her, actually.)

(Deleted comment)
Apr. 14th, 2008 02:23 am (UTC)

Thanks - I think!

She's an appalling person, but I began to wonder what was behind the tyrannical bitchiness. Very few villains - with the exception of someone like Nii, who's a little more philosophically complicated than most - are evil just for evil's sake. Most of them think they have good reasons (good to them, anyway!) for what they're doing ... .

(Deleted comment)
Apr. 14th, 2008 09:43 pm (UTC)

Oh, he does! What I was trying to day is that it takes a certain philosophical turn of mine to persue villainy for its own sake. Most villains are heroes in their own minds, pursuing some course of action that seems sensible or even noble to them. Nii admits to himself that what he's doing is villainous, at least by the definitions of those to whom he feels superior (that is, everyone!).

Apr. 12th, 2008 08:47 pm (UTC)
Wow - she is a wonderfully vile character that gets so little love. You've made her interesting and tortured in her own way. I want to know more!

Thank you for writing this, I really enjoyed it.
Apr. 14th, 2008 02:25 am (UTC)

Thanks ... but I'm not sure how much more I could take of trying to be in her shoes! (But I should never say never - who knows, something may make me think about her again.)

Apr. 17th, 2008 06:32 am (UTC)
[Edited because I was tired and repetetive.]

Ohhh, delish. I love the way you used scent, and the feel of cloth in this fic.

Edited at 2008-04-17 06:39 am (UTC)
Apr. 17th, 2008 08:20 pm (UTC)

I'm glad you liked it! Even though she's a villain, she was also once a woman in love (even if what she really loved was her man's power). And I keep being fascinated with the idea of youkai senses and their effect on the viewpoint.

Apr. 17th, 2008 10:31 pm (UTC)
It's totally something to play with. That reminds me, I really have some Saiyuki drabbles I need to upload...
( 23 comments — leave a comment )


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