|India II: Kali
Author: Guede Mazaka
She never really figured out what had happened. Damn well wasn't because of anything she had done. Maybe Hattori Hanza had seen something besides vengeance in her eyes, and taken pity on her. Or maybe he just had a real shit sense of humor. Either way, it didn't look like O-ren was going to go away.
Actually, the…spirit…ghost, whatever, seemed to get more solid with every drop of blood that touched Beatrix's sword. By the time she'd gotten through with Budd and Elle, and was lurching back into their hotel room with muddy streaks over her field of vision, O-ren was solid enough to hold out a towel, without Beatrix having to touch the sword.
That was the other thing Beatrix didn't get: somewhere along the line, things had evened out. They weren't enemies anymore. She hadn't the slightest clue what they actually were, but it wasn't adversaries.
To be truthful, she didn't have too much against O-ren in the first place, when she thought about it. The other woman hadn't crossed her path too often, but when they had met, O-ren had always struck her as a level-headed professional. She'd heard rumors of a temper that made Hell look like a grade-school playground, once aroused, but she'd never actually seen it. They had always kept a wary, polite distance, with only Bill to link them together.
For that matter, Bill was why Beatrix had gone after O-ren in the first place. The one thing that was certain about Ishii was that she only really gave a damn about her own plotting, and put no emotional value in anyone else's. What she'd done to Beatrix, she'd done because Bill had ordered it and Bill was the way by which she was going to exact her own vengeance on yakuzas. She wanted to rule Tokyo, in recompense for her parents' death. That was all. "There was nothing personal about it."
"As trite as it is, the saying's true: it's always personal." Beatrix flipped the towel back in O-ren's face and stomped off to the bathroom.
If Beatrix was thinking, she wouldn't be taking such great pains to torture herself. Killing her way through two continents, and heading for a third. Her wounds barely had time to heal before she got herself a whole new collection to grit her teeth over, and she just kept adding more and more nightmares to her stock. And now there was a whole new one. Being buried alive.
"Christ…" She sank down before the toilet, stomach wrenching with every breath, and waited for the spew to come. Except it couldn't, for the obvious reason that she hadn't had anything in her stomach except a cup of coffee, and that was long gone. So it was dry heaves all the way, convulsing her throat till it wanted to lunge right out of her and squirm down the plumbing. "Oh, Christ…"
Darkness. Like the first seconds coming out of the coma, except she'd been aware the whole goddamn time, and she hadn't been able to do anything. Sounds-thuds and thumps and sharp bangs-and smell of wet earth and fear.
The wedding rehearsal had been like that, too. Pregnancy had turned her soft in more ways than one, and she, Black Mamba, the fastest snake in the world, hadn't been able to move. To do anything. "I hate feeling helpless."
"Everyone does." A hand tentatively touched her shoulder, and she whipped about. Grabbed that little wrist and pinned O-ren to the floor before the bitch could do anything else to her. "Wait! Wait-"
"-what, for you to climb on top with your big samurai sword?" Beatrix curled her lip as she glared at the other woman. Oh, pretty big eyes, I'm not going to eat you. Because you've already eaten me, and it's hard to bite without teeth. I'll just cut your throat instead. "I heard about your nice little start in the assassin game."
Something of the old O-ren came through, steel gleam in her eyes and the tilt of her chin. "This is ridiculous. You've already killed me once."
"I keep trying to kill you, but you just won't go away. So you can understand if I'm a little frustrated." Thank God none of the others had come back. There were enough ghosts haunting Beatrix's sleep, clutching at her knees and lisping in adorable little voices, and she didn't need any more. She'd made sure to not kill Elle, just in case-with both eyes gone, the hell-bitch would fling herself through a mirror sooner or later, and die without Beatrix's hand having to reach out and do it herself.
"I understand a great deal." The fire in the black eyes suddenly went out, leaving cool black glass that was begging to be shattered. "It's killing you to kill us. Because we know you better than anyone else."
"You don't know anything about me," Beatrix snapped, but she could hear the crack in her voice. And the look in O-ren's eyes told her the other woman knew it, too.
"I do. I've watched you sleep. I've listened to your every nightmare. I. Know. You." With every word, O-ren's head lifted a little more and crept dangerously close. It was like she wanted…a mouthful of acid, or something like that.
Which Beatrix could give her, and have more to spare. "Yeah?"
"You're not going to have anything left by the end of this." O-ren's lips twisted, deep flaw in her porcelain face. "Bill dies, and then what? You'll be nothing but a walking sword by then-a killing machine."
"But I'll be alive, and he'll be dead-" spat out the word fast before anything could catch up to it "-and I'll get that."
The other woman was obviously unconvinced, and it was irritating and provoking and-
--spark. Beatrix had just spent hours in a coffin, six feet under. She'd fought two people she'd hated and respected and known deeper than bullets to the head, seen one's corpse and plucked out the eye of the other. Found out so much about how things stood and didn't stand and clawed like a mad, pathetic creature in the rubble. And it hurt, and O-ren was there, with that goddamned look.
She ripped open their lips, first off, and blood stained their mouth-mashing. Nails ripped at her hands, a knee went hard into her stomach, but B wasn't in the mood. Not for names, not for games, not for anything except getting rid of that fucking smile, which told her she was an open book. A blown cover. A staggering failure, still trying to catch up. Always trying to catch up to a phantom, but never quite touching it.
So she broke the curve of those lips. Bent and battered it with her teeth till O-ren's breath was ragged and flecked with red that splattered all over B's face. The struggling was getting in the way, so she smashed their skulls together. Dazed her as well as O-ren, but she'd been lightheaded for the entire night so a little more didn't matter.
She scraped her mouth down the white perfect line of O-ren's neck, saw reddish jags develop on the skin, like it was splintering from beneath. Bit into the join of neck and shoulder, shoved her leg down between the two kicking under her, and pushed. Rubbed, twisted, spread her rage over every single inch she could reach. It would heal-not like her, who carried more and more scars from more and more hands. Her body was turning into a warped tapestry of other people's work.
"Don't you get it?" she hissed, squeezing both of O-ren's wrists together in one hand. Her other snaked beneath the woman's tattered kimono, ripped cloth out of the way and kneaded full, unmarked breasts. No lead shot pebbling up from their skin, no deep ache that started with every gasp and went down to the bone. "I don't have anything now. I can't lose what I haven't got."
"No-that's not-wait-please wait-" Sometimes O-ren arched up into the rough caresses, sometimes she flinched away. Didn't fucking matter. It didn't. Been done to B so many times she couldn't see…
Didn't know the difference between herself and her sister in death-dealing. Treat one as the other were treated, and that was equality for you. Bile rose high and fast, spring flood in the desert, and B flung herself off O-ren, back to the toilet. She didn't know from what or where the vomit came, but it did and she splashed it everywhere. Then she hung her head over the rim, not giving a damn if this very moment O-ren was going for her sword.
O-ren wasn't. O-ren was getting another towel and cleaning off Beatrix's face, while her own was bruised, bloody between her nose and her chin. Black tangles fell haphazardly about her face, and she wasn't even trying to salvage the wreck that used to be a pearl-white kimono. "I've seen," she started to say, and then had to stop for a moment because her voice was so shaky it wasn't even intelligible. "I've seen this before. You need an anchor. Something to remind you that there are things outside of revenge."
"Is that what you did?" Beatrix demanded, her own voice like glass shards in her mouth.
"You killed mine." As she answered, O-ren's expression didn't change, and her eyes didn't grow hot with anger. "Go-Go was…it's hard to remember now. Like looking through a haze…but she helped."
"She was insane." Some days, Beatrix wondered if she was living in some pervert's ultimate wet dream of irony.
The other woman shrugged and tossed the towel over Beatrix's shoulder, into the bathtub. Then she folded her hands in her lap and quietly knelt. "It's very hard to find sane people that understand someone like you and I."
"Yeah." Beatrix indulged in a laugh and discovered that that hurt too much to repeat. "So now you don't have one, and neither do I."
O-ren raised one hand, then lowered it. She looked uncertain, and that was a strangely innocent expression on her. Moreover, it appeared to be genuine. "But…I do."
They stared at each other for a long, screaming-silent moment. Then Beatrix glanced away. Laid her head on a clean patch of toilet rim and snickered until her ribs were howling too loud for her to hear herself. "Don't tell me you're offering."
In reply, O-ren slid delicate fingers down Beatrix's thigh and angled into the crotch, applying constant pressure. Her thumb hooked over the waistband, and then she undid the front of Beatrix's jeans.
They got out to the carpet this time, and Beatrix was still on top. But O-ren was moving back this time, surprisingly abandoned and almost ungraceful. Her hands seemed to be everywhere, like they were measuring the span and degree of every curve, surveying every ridge of scar tissue. Beatrix didn't find any such marks on the other woman, which seemed to surprise O-ren as much as her. "I did have some," O-ren moaned, bucking and wriggling her way out of the ragged robes.
"God knows what you are now." But she still responded like a living woman, Beatrix soon found. Lick and bite, because she wasn't going to be gentle even with this-because she didn't think either of them remembered what gentleness was, anymore. Scrape off her ruined clothes, rub away the remnants of the night and the day on O-ren. Watch that vanish, and hope that the memory of suffocation in blackness would go as well.
She worked her fingers down between them, scratched them over moist flesh and caught O-ren's lip between her teeth. Tasted more blood, and found she liked that. So Beatrix moved on, latching onto a hardened nipple and sucking it while her fingers played with folds and long coarse-silk hairs. O-ren whimpered and fell back when the first one slid in, jabbing up to the bottom knuckle, and Beatrix didn't wait very long to add more. She scooted up and slapped O-ren's hand between her legs. Nipped when the other woman didn't immediately get the message, and then that got her some sharp nail-work. They probed their way back, pushed in and twisted the boiling within her tighter and tighter. Wound it till the key wouldn't turn any more, and then-
--almost enough. Did give her a single second when she wasn't feeling the hollow in her uterus eating her from inside-out, when she wasn't hearing her heart gnaw itself. And that…that was something she hadn't had before.
O-ren was still shuddering, crying out her climax in strained little keens into Beatrix's mangled breasts. Her tongue laved the broken skin, first furious and then slowing down till it was almost like holding a lazy pet. "Please…I can't do anything else-I can't do anything, and it's driving me mad…"
"Shut up." Beatrix was tired. Too tired to think, or to act. For a moment, she almost wanted to die.
But she didn't. And she let O-ren sleep next to her, instead of in the chair. And the next morning, Beatrix bought her some clothes.
Company in hell. Fuck.