TS3W 2014-12-26 23-04-02-18

Tadayoshi watched as Tationy stood on unsteady legs. It was clear on her face that she was hurt as she left him alone. With a deep breath he closed his eyes. His thoughts were muddled and his perception of his reality had been turned upside down. It was not her fault. He had been so foolish, blindly allowing himself to never question. With a breath and an uneasy feeling he opened his eyes and there standing before him was Kazuma.

Around them was darkness and what looked like snow falling gently to the ground. The King of the Gods stood silently and even though Tadayoshi could no longer feel the wayward emotions within Kazuma he understood through their connection that there was a heaviness overshadowing him. “Have you ever been in love? It probably seems an odd question all things considering, but have you ever looked upon a creature and felt your heart beat wildly? Even as I ask I know the answer, yet I find myself still asking the question. My time as a mortal, I never felt that even as my vessels experienced it time and time again.”

“Before the world was new, I idly sat alone in my Kingdom. I had plenty of time to consider what I did not like about myself. I had all of the power in the universe, yet no imagination to do anything with it. As the centuries passed all I could do was focus on those things about myself I did not like. Perhaps it was loneliness that brought about the other gods, but the reality of it was I did it simply because I was tired of those things that I despised about myself.”

Tadayoshi listened as the King of the Gods spoke thoughtfully, “The closer you get to her the more powerful I become. In no time at all, I will be capable of devouring your soul until there is nothing left of the man she calls Tadayoshi with the gentle hand.” The King of the Gods sighed, “She was not wrong. Even as mortals we still acted as though we were Gods. Do you think Tearra accepted her life as a mortal? Is that why she runs from me? Does she appreciate these frail bodies, these overwhelming emotions, these conflicting beliefs? I still do not understand.”

“Is the fight worth it?” Again the King of the Gods posed a question, “I wonder if I take over your body completely if your queen will be able to look upon me with love. I do not doubt she will keep Tearra from me. Is it obsession or love? I do not know any longer.”

The conflicting emotions and constant questions from Kazuma troubled Tadayoshi. Were his feelings reflective of his own heart or that of the vessels that he had lived life through. He could not help wondering what damage these many lifetimes had done to both Tearra and Kazuma. Was their love distorted due to time?

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Tadayoshi braved it, “I cannot speak for Tearra, but Tationy likes me just as I am.”

“I do not understand how that is possible. How can someone appreciate something that is imperfect?”

“The Kari were created in your image and you still find us flawed? Are there none among the Kari you respect?”

Silence followed his question, had he offended the King of the Gods he was certain he would hear about it. This moment of pensive thought was brought on by something else though.

“The child called Kazuma looks at me so curiously. Even though he does not have the eyes of my queen, he is still capable of seeing me. He is true power. If there are any among the Kari that are worthy of my praise, it is the one that has his future before him. The little Kazuma has yet to be tainted by the mortal world. He will be a great leader of the Kari if he is nurtured properly. I suppose, none of that matters. There are none among the Kari worthy of mentoring him. He will fall like those that came before him.”

Tadayoshi found himself annoyed, “Are my skills so inadequate?”

“For a man whose faith has been shattered you are fighting fiercely to hold on. Mortals are so contradictory.”

Even though he was acutely aware that this entire conversation was taking place on the divine plane he still felt tension in his body. The mind was a remarkable mechanism. He sighed trying to release all of the stress that was building, “How am I suppose to feel? Everything I have been taught about the honor of being your vessel was shattered in a single sentence. I believed, therefore I am chained by that belief. I have spent my entire life living with my own insecurities about whether or not I was even worthy to be your vessel only to find out that it was all lies. The vessels only importance is that they believe in the ways of the Kari so vehemently so that you can bind them. What comes next Kazuma, do you intend to devour my soul?”

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“This is as it was always meant to be. With your body, my queen and I can be reunited. Binding you ensured the outcome I desired. You were meant only to shepherd the union and then disappear.”

“How many souls have you devoured?”

“I do not recall. Remembering the vessel has never been important.” Kazuma paused, “You told the vessel of my queen you wanted to die. Why does devouring your soul anger you so much?”

Even though Kazuma asked him a direct question he avoided it and asked one of his own, “Have you never considered that it is this behavior that causes your queen to run?”

The steely gaze of the King of the Gods focused on Tadayoshi, “I have not.”

Tadayoshi was shocked that the King of the Gods could be so narrow-minded in his view of the situation. With a sigh Tadayoshi responded, “I always expected if I got the opportunity to speak with you that this moment would be different. That you would impart upon me some great wisdom about life or the Kari. I lived for the Kari. All of these years I sacrificed for what? You tell me Kazuma, what was the point of all of this?”

His words were without any emotion. The King of the Gods was unmoved, “You are just a mortal. I am sure you can find some reason that will satisfy your questions. Those with such short lives are very good at deluding themselves into thinking that there is more to something then there actually is. Life has no meaning. You were created for the amusement of the Gods, nothing more. From the heavens we watched you mortals move about the world like ants.”

As Tadayoshi hung his head he was sharply reminded of his weakness, “You do not have much time left. Do you think your queen will submit to me? I wonder how much force will be needed to break her so that mine can be freed. I find myself quite entertained by the prospect. I have never made it this far before. Had you been any other Kari, things might have turned out differently.”

“You are deluding yourself if you think for a moment she will submit to you.”

Kazuma sighed, “You are probably right. I expect she will not disappear quietly. There is, however, one thing that troubles me.”

Tadayoshi found himself annoyed and curious as he asked, “What would that be?”

“Her blood is unusual even among the Tylo. I can see her lineage so clearly; Tylo, Ishi, Matsuo, Shima. The blood of the Tylo intermingling with countless other lines; Saitama, Yamada. Her blood is not diluted through time, it only becomes stronger. How? Why? What is this phenomenon? Is it because her blood is mixed with the time powers of the Shima? Is it because of the Saitama blood that she can suppress my queen? I find myself wondering what it means and more importantly what she is capable of.”

There was a moment when the realization hit Tadayoshi why Kazuma seemed so concern when he released him earlier, “You are afraid that she does have the power to ensure you will not see your queen again.”

“I am so close. Your time here is limited and I have a clear path to devour your soul. However, I find my path is blocked by the prospect that she has such power within her. I have never seen Tearra suppressed before. I could go around the block, force her into submission, but at what cost? I cannot decide if it was a miscalculation upon the part of Tearra or something else; predestined. Did my queen plan this while she was still within the heavens? I am troubled by my lack of knowledge on this matter. There is a part of me that wishes to study your queen more closely. I wonder if devouring your soul might be too rash.”

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Tadayoshi found himself quite surprised by the words of Kazuma. His anger that had bubbling within him dissipated as he considered that he was feeling the same way the King of the Gods was. The loss of Tearra was weighing heavily on his god and even though Tadayoshi had such a short time with Tationy he felt the same. He did not want to have his soul devoured and leave her at the mercy of the King of the Gods. He had promised that he would not give up on them, so he should be fighting, “It must be difficult for you to have patience when you are so close to reaching your goal. You asked earlier if it was love or obsession, for a Kari man it is probably a bit of both. My only thoughts have been of my queen. You and I are in the same predicament. If you devour my soul you will never see your queen again and I will never see mine. I want a life with her. One filled with the joys and pains that mortals suffer through. Don’t you think your queen wants the same thing?”

“Tearra was always so curious about mortals. She wanted to understand how they loved, carry a child, even experience death. I could give her anything she wished, but I never understood why she desired mortality. Was I not enough for her?”

“You are asking questions that every Kari man has asked at one point or another. How I have been plagued with insecurities about whether or not I would be enough for Tationy. Could she love this old body? Would she want to stand at my side? I wonder still if she will even be able to love me like she does my son. Kari men take great pride in their strength and purging unwanted emotions, but when it comes to the woman in his life all of that emotional baggage that we hide away is revealed. I feel quite humbled knowing that the mighty King of the Kari shares this burden.” Tadayoshi paused, “However, I will not let you devour my soul without a fight. A battle against you is probably futile, but I am Kari. I will never lie down like a dog and let you do as you wish; god or no god.”

The King of the Gods had forced Tadayoshi out of the Divine Plane so violently his stomach lurched. Coughing and trying to collect himself it took him some time to be able to stand on steady legs. He found himself considering if his words angered the great god Kazuma.

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He groaned as he steadied himself and moved toward the balcony of the private jet where the bed was, “So what did you do?”

Osa’s question caught Tadayoshi off-guard. Scanning the room he noticed Tationy was lying on the bed covered by Kazuma’s favorite blanket. Kazuma was in the chair giggling as he watched cartoons on the television and Osa was playing with his cellphone, “What makes you think I did something?”

“Mom cries a lot and it is usually because of a Kari.”

Bowing his head, a purse upon his lips, “I was hit with some rather unwelcome news and I was a bit rash in forcing your mother away.”

Sighing Osa responded, “I think it is probably better to be single. All couples do is lie and hurt each other.”

“Osa, that is not how it is. Couples have moments where they fight or where they make each other sad. All people do.”

“Uncle Kin said the same thing when he and mom fought.”

“Your mother and Kin were fighting?”

“They fight all the time.”

“About what exactly?”

“Stupid stuff.” Knowing that Kin and Tationy did not have a perfect relationship made Tadayoshi feel slightly better. They where young, with so much in common, he could not imagine them arguing about anything. His thoughts were distracted, “You going to fix it?”

“Yes,” He responded as he began to remove unnecessary clothing so he could lie next to Tationy unrestricted by the traditional clothing he generally wore.

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Climbing into the bed she instantly rolled away from him, which forced a sigh to leave his mouth. He leaned over her closing his eyes as he spoke in a whisper, “I am sorry.” Laying a tentative kiss upon her shoulder, “Please forgive me.”

“Are you going to push me away any time something happens?”

“That was wrong of me. I feel like everything I know has been ripped away. Spending my entire life devoted to a god that intends to devour my soul.”

“Wait, what?” She rolled slightly looking up at him.

“That is what he does. The closer the two of us get the more powerful he becomes. Eventually, he will devour my soul. My body will be his and then he will…”

“I get it.” Rolling away from him she sighed, “You do not have to worry about me Tadayoshi. I won’t let him have Tearra if he hurts you.”

“Do you intend to fight him?”

“I stood at the side of Hiko Kari, I know how to play dirty.”

Tadayoshi should have felt annoyed that Hiko got brought into the conversation, but the way she smiled comforted him. He was certain someone like Hiko would have been able to stand before Tearra without buckling. Perhaps, a little bit of Hiko was exactly what this situation needed. He tried to hide his worry. There was no knowing how much time he had before Kazuma would devour his soul and he would be as good as dead. Preparations needed to be made and he wanted to spend as much time with Tationy as he could. Make every moment count. “Tationy, I don’t want you to do anything that will get you hurt.”

“There is nothing anyone can do to me Tadayoshi. A part of my soul was sacrificed when Hiko did what he did. What is left of it, already knows the pain of the worst anyone can do.”

He rolled to his back staring at the lights. Even though he opted to not comment her words had troubled him. No one should have to endure the amount of pain she had been through and yet, he found himself wondering if she expected and anticipated nothing but pain. Did having such a negative outlook on life allow her to handle things better then someone who moved through the world without any cares? His eyes closed, his body still ached, and he was trapped on a plane for another twelve hours. His thoughts were distracted when she rolled over and snuggled into him, “You should try and sleep.”

He chuckled briefly. Here, he was wanting desperately to take care of her and it was her that was taking care of him, “Alright, but only if you stay here with me.” Tadayoshi heard a muffled ‘mmhmm’ and he realized that she was practically asleep already. Certain that Osa would keep an eye on Kazuma, Tadayoshi allowed his body to relax as he drifted off to sleep.

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The flight had been too long and when they finally landed in Bridgeport, Tadayoshi was thankful. They had awoken a couple of hours before they were scheduled to land. Tationy had given Osa some clean clothes to wear and she redressed Kazuma. While she worked to prepare herself, Tadayoshi dressed and then had a brief lunch with the boys. As they walked through the airport the occasional glance was directed toward them. Most people were too busy to concern themselves with random people in an airport, but he was Tadayoshi Kari and it was not unusual for people to openly stop and stare; especially when he had Tationy’s hand in his.

There was a point as they walked toward the escalators, side by side that she clumsily tripped over her own feet. Tadayoshi instinctively reached for her and after that point had refused to let her hand go. He understood how it would look, but he wanted to have these moments with her before he was unable to. “You look weird,” She whispered as they walked.

“I figured seeing I was supposed to be on a short vacation in America that dressing traditionally when I returned might raise its own share of questions. Does my appearance disappoint you?”

“No, it just does not match your character.”

He chuckled under his breath briefly before speaking in a rather serious tone, “I like your face without all that make-up on it.”

“You make it seem like I wear a lot.”

“Are you going to take all compliments this way?”

“Was that a compliment?”

“Yes. You are beautiful.”

There was a brief silence before she spoke in a hushed voice, “Thank you.”

Their conversation was interrupted, “I cannot wait to get home, I am so tired,” Osa spoke as he and Kazuma walked ahead of Tationy and Tadayoshi.

“You should have slept on the plane,” Tationy responded.

“I did, just not very long.”

“Well once we make it through baggage claim, we can head home.”

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Tationy and Osa chatted as they walked. Kazuma was tired and every few minutes he would yawn and rub his eyes. If all went as planned, by the time they reached the house the announcement would be in progress. As they approached baggage claim, a young Saitama man pushed off from the wall and stood casually. He was waiting for them. “Mr. Kari,” The young man addressed him. He was tall, towering over most of the people in the airport. Tadayoshi was willing to wager he was probably taller then, Kin. “Moromari sends his regards and apologizes for not being able to pick you up. There has been a situation.”

Tadayoshi understood that this was all part of the scheduled announcement. If there were prying eyes and ears about it needed to be convincing, “A situation?”

“Yes, sir. I am to bring you to the Kari Foundation. I have a vehicle waiting outside and another available to take Miss Tylo and the children home. Moromari instructed that there should be no delays. With your permission, we can leave Miss Tylo in the care of my kin. They will see she makes it home safety and we can depart.”

Tadayoshi turned his attention toward Tationy and she encouraged him with her words, “Go it is alright.”

“Are you sure?”

“Of course. It has to be important otherwise Moromari would be here. I will be alright and Hiko should be home in a couple of hours. Call me when you get a chance and let me know everything is alright.”

Tadayoshi nodded his head as he turned his attention upon the Saitama, “Please lead the way.” He hated leaving Tationy, but this was all part of the meticulous planning to handle the loss of so many.

TS3W 2014-12-27 22-03-27-77

Tadayoshi had gotten himself situated upon his arrival, “How was your trip?”

“Eventful.”

“Did something else happen?”

“Yes, but we will discuss it later there are other matters to attend to. Have all arrangements been made?”

Zen had given him a stern look which spoke of his concern though he did not press the matter, “They have. Kin is on his way to Shimragata to oversee the ‘rescue and recovery’ process. A press release has been prepared and we will distribute it within the hour.”

“They will want to know who was aboard.”

“Moromari and the Saitama made a detailed inventory of the bodies so we will be able to give a list of the ‘passengers’.”

“What of the pilot?”

Zen glanced at Moromari, “I chose one of my best. The importance of this assignment was not lost on him and as an accomplished pilot, he was able to successfully crash the plane into the sea.  The coordinates of the crash are within the territory of Shimragata, so the authorities of Aslann will not be able to get involved without the approval of the Kari and Shima.”

“They most likely will wish to help, once the information has been released.”

“So the question is do we allow them?” Zen responded.

“Most of the bodies would look as though they died from the impact. There are three bodies that would be problematic. We recovered the body of Seiji Shima as ordered, but he was shot as was Katsu and Hiko. Ensuring that my people find their bodies will be difficult if the Aslann authorities are allowed to assist in this matter,” Moromari explained.

“For the time, we will handle it on our own. Once the bodies of Hiko, Seiji, and Katsu have been recovered we can allow the Aslann authorities to come in and assist. Is there anything else?”

“Moromari has sent his men to watch over Tationy. When the announcement is made the press will most likely begin to gather outside Hiko’s home.”

“Good, she has enough stress without dealing with those vultures.”

“How is she?”

“Doctor tells her to keep stress at a minimum, try to eat properly, and sleep more. He gave her a prescription for an iron supplement which she is already refusing to take. She has a lot going on right now.”

“It will be difficult for her, but all of Aslann will be watching. She needs to be at her best.”

“She is aware of what is required of her.”

Zen gave a curt nod, “Of course. I was not suggesting she wasn’t.” Glancing toward Moromari he spoke, “Could you leave us?”

With a short bow of his head Moromari departed leaving Tadayoshi and Zen to speak.

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“You and Tationy have already been on the news. Seriously, holding her hand already.”

“Don’t,” Tadayoshi responded as he turned away from Zen.

“What happened?”

“Do you know what Kazuma does to the vessel?”

“Only what the Kari have been taught. The vessel is Kazuma and once the queen sees him they remake the world.”

Tadayoshi sighed, “Tationy was weakened due to her hospital stay and an emotional conversation we had. For the first time before me stood Tearra.”

“So, you saw her?”

“I did and she overpowered me with just her voice. My knees buckled, my breath suffered, and she asked me to allow her king to come forth and speak with her. It was not as though I had a choice in the matter, I was weakened to the point of not being able to resist and Kazuma took control. He is his own entity within me Zen.”

Zen seemed surprised, “I don’t understand. We were always taught that the vessel was the god.”

“The vessel is nothing more than a sheep. He intends to devour my soul and take control permanently. The closer Tationy and I get the stronger he becomes and when he has destroyed what remains of me he intends to force her to see him. He says this is the closet he has ever come to having his queen. He does not even remember how many Kari souls he has devoured.”

Tadayoshi heard a somberness in Zen’s voice, “I have not seen you like this.”

“There has never been a moment in my life that I have doubted Kazuma, until now. I don’t understand why this is happening.”

“How much time?”

“I don’t know.”

“Is Tationy aware of the situation?”

“Yes. I know I should keep my distance, but whatever time I have left I want to spend with her. I need to spend with her. So, please don’t lecture me Zen about doing something inappropriate. Just handle it like you do.”

He was trying to hold back the emotion, but he knew he was failing. “I will take care of everything.”

“Thank you.” Tadayoshi took a step forward, “I hate to do this to you, but it is probably for the best I take my leave from the Kari Foundation sooner rather than later. I was hoping to have more time to help with the America move, but…”

“No, there is no need to say anything. We both knew your time here was not permanent. There is another matter.”

“I have already considered who will replace me as Head of the Kari. I want to focus on Tationy and the boys. You should probably decide who will replace you as the shield. We have not really talked about it, but…”

“No, I have considered it for a while. I know who it will be.”

“We can tell them in a few days. For now, I am going to go home to Tationy.” Tadayoshi knew that he needed to end the conversation there before the emotion overtook him. He was certain Tationy would fill in the parts he didn’t when Zen contacted her. He knew Zen well enough to know that he would not just let the conversation end there. No, he would want to get as much information as he could about what was going on and how it all came about. Tadayoshi paused as he turned back to look upon Zen, “I was chosen because I believed. It made it easier for me to be bound to Tearra. That is the secret to why the vessel is chosen. If it hadn’t been me, it probably would have been you. I am glad it turned out like this. The Kari are in the best hands possible.”

The Elder of the Kari was not about to let Zen respond as he quickly made his departure.

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Tadayoshi had searched the entire house for her when he arrived at the home of his son Hiko Kari, “I was starting to think you ran away.”

“Where would I go?”

He quietly entered the room considering her question as he took a seat upon a chair in the corner. He had noticed instantly she was not wearing his bracelet. Forcing himself not to question why he spoke, “You could go anywhere you wanted.”

“Perhaps where I need to be is right here.”

His heart felt warmed by her words. Tadayoshi had to force himself to look away glancing around the room which was essentially a closet. When he noticed the box he realized that she was packing up Hiko’s belongings. “Tationy, you do not have to rush to do that.”

She pursed her lips eventually responding, “When I got home I situated the boys in bed because they were so tired from the trip. I thought I might watch a little television, but every other channel was talking about me and you holding hands in the airport. Another portion of channels was talking about how I looked. What I was wearing. What my make-up looked like. How my hair was done. So, I kept flipping through the channels until I found something to watch that did not focus on me only for there to be a breaking news report about an airplane crash over the sea. So feeling restless I wandered around the house trying to figure out what to do with myself and I ended up here.” There was a pause he was certain it was because she needed to rein in her emotions, “I just need to be doing something.”

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He understood, “So what will you do with it?”

“Well, I will keep some of it for Kazuma. There are things that he would probably like when he gets older, but for the most part I think I will give it to the Anami Chantry. They have a program that helps dress the homeless so they can find jobs. Every year they take donations and hand them out to those in need to give them an advantage to find work that they might not have had before. Who wouldn’t want to have one of Hiko Kari’s suits? I think he would have liked that he was giving back to Aslann, the nation that he loved. He has all of this clothing and he always thought about how to improve Aslann. Starting with its people seems like a good idea.”

“I see you have given this considerable thought.”

“There is plenty of time to think when you are not sleeping.”

“Which you are going to work to change.”

“I told the doctor I would try, but don’t expect miracles.”

“I am going to ensure you take care of yourself.”

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She gave him a look, “You really think you are capable of controlling me, Mr. Kari?”

He wrinkled his nose when she addressed him with an honorific, “I am not trying to control you. I would be foolish to think I could.”

“From my experience all Kari men tend to be foolish.”

He snorted, “You are being awfully saucy.”

“As if you do not find me delightful.”

Tadayoshi stood and took a step toward her, “You talked to Zen.”

“What makes you think that?”

“Well, I get the impression you are sizing me up. You can tell Zen I am fine.”

“Are you really?”

Forcing the emotion from his face was difficult. He did not understand why he felt the need too. She was his queen. He knew it, she certainly knew it and yet, he felt the need to hide how afraid he was. There was certainly a part of him that thought she was aware, “I am. Every day from here on out will be amazing.”

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For the first time he did not hesitate as he pulled her close and laid a single soft kiss upon her lips, “Well Mr. Kari…”

He chuckled, “Are you going to call me Mr. Kari from now on?”

“Well you know, I was watching television and some comedians thought it would be funny to talk about our age gap. One of them suggested that you probably enjoy me riding you like a cowgirl while calling you Mr. Kari. I sort of have that image stuck in my head.”

Tadayoshi was acutely aware she was teasing him, “Have to have thick skin in this nation.”

She laughed, “I thought it was funny. Apparently you and I are a pretty hot topic.” Her voice softened, “I suppose with the announcement of Hiko’s death all eyes are going to be scrutinizing everything we do.”

“Are you okay with that?”

“Yes. So, I have a thought.”

“I am listening.”

“How about you take a shower, sleep for a bit, and I will wake you and the boys up in a little bit for dinner.”

“I have a counter.”

“I did not realize this was a negotiation Mr. Kari.”

“Everything is a negotiation.”

“Alright, tell me your counteroffer.”

“How about, we take a shower and go to bed. I cannot promise there will be any sleeping involved, but I … I desperately want you in my arms.”

“That does sound nice.”

Tadayoshi noticed she seemed hesitant, “Is something wrong?”

“You are talking about sex right?”

He tilted his head, “I am talking about seeing where things go. If making love is an option for us, then I certainly would not be disappointed, but there is no pressure. Why do I sense hesitation from you?”

“I was so ready to have sex with Kin, so prepared, but now I am a little scared.” He was not certain what to say as he bowed his head. Of course he instantly thought that perhaps it was just him she didn’t want to be intimate with. She was more than willing to have sex with Kin, but the thought of having sex with Tadayoshi repulsed her. When she continued talking his troubled mind was eased, “I don’t want to disappoint you. What if I have a flashback? You and Hiko, have the same face. It has been almost two years now and I don’t think you ever get over it, but I can’t tell you that a special moment between us is going to be perfect. It scares me to think that I might ruin…”

“No. Don’t even think that way. If things do not go perfectly, then we will try again when you are ready. I don’t know what to expect, but I don’t plan on rushing through a moment that is meant to bring us closer. If you want me to stop or if you are really scared, you just have to speak up. I know it is easy for me to say I will not hurt you, but I will prove it to you.” Tadayoshi paused as he collected himself his hands resting on her hips, “There is no pressure. I will go and take a shower. If you decide at any point you want to join me, I would be quite a lucky man.”

Hesitantly she nodded her head and Tadayoshi forced himself to pull away.

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There was disappointment when he spent twenty minutes in the shower alone. He was being selfish. Tadayoshi was quite aware that he could not and should not force things to progress at a certain pace. They had time, though how much was anyone’s guess. With a towel wrapped around him he stepped from the master bath into the bedroom. Her words stilled his body, “I couldn’t find anything nice to wear.”

“You look amazing. Does this mean…”

“Make love to me Tadayoshi.”

His stomach was jumping all about as he cautiously took a single step forward, “Are you certain?”

“Yes.”

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It was with anticipation and purpose he quickly closed the distance. Between tender kisses he whispered how beautiful she was, how she smelled so good, how amazing her body felt. Her voice was whispery and sensual, “Tadayoshi, I would rather know what I do to you.”

He nervously chuckled. Never in his life had he talked about his needs and what he was feeling. “I’m afraid to tell you.”

“Why? Don’t you want me Tadayoshi?”

“Without question, I want you.”

“Do I turn you on?”

“Yes.”

“Then tell me what you want to do to me.”

He choked on the words only managing to force them out of his mouth after several excruciating moments of her lips brushing teasingly against his, “Everything.”

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The anticipation since that day on the subway had been building and now that he was finally able to touch her, he felt only eagerness and not the nervousness that he had thought would be there. He had only been with two women in his life.  Ako, the mother of Hiko, found him intolerable. Their intimate relationship was based on necessity.  As the Head of the Kari it was about appearances and it would not have looked right if he and his wife did not have any children.

When he laid with the wife of his brother it was for a similar reason. Abelie had begged him. There was no Kari man’s pride that would not be damaged by the knowledge he could not get his wife pregnant. The shame of it. Even though his brother had greatly stained the Kari by claiming himself Kazuma’s vessel, Tadayoshi still felt a need to protect his brother’s pride. So, he allowed himself to lie with a woman that he not only did not love, but was the wife of his little brother.

His history with women was short. As ridiculous as it sounded he thought of this moment with Tationy as his first time. The feelings he had were only for her. He had never once given his heart to another and he desperately wanted these precious moments with her to be memorable and fulfilling. “Tationy, can I take these clothes off you?”

“You don’t have to ask me.”

Between kisses he spoke, “Promise to tell me if …”

“Tadayoshi,” She breathlessly whispered, “Shut up and kiss me.”

He realized much to late that he was nervous. Tadayoshi had thought he was only anticipating, but the moment Tationy told him to shut up and kiss her he noticed he was talking a lot. Inwardly he tried to gather himself as he leaned in claiming her lips. This time though he was not content with just her mouth, lavishing tender kisses along her cheek and her neck as he worked with all thumbs to undo her top.

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Coaxing him with her body to the bed, she was always taking the initiative. He was certain the shy woman from the subway had grown sexually under the tutelage of his son. For the Kari, moments like these were about learning as much as they were about pleasure. Tadayoshi was listening for the little sounds she would make that would tell him she was liking what he was doing. The way her body tensed when he explored certain parts of her. More importantly, those small cries of pleasure telling him she wanted more. If this moment went as it was meant too, he would understand her wants and desires and she would understand his.

Lying upon the bed he stared up at her breast which were swaying close to his mouth. Teasingly he allowed his tongue to swipe along her nipple as she situated herself in a more comfortable position over him. Initially she had no reaction until he caught her nipple between his teeth and nipped. Not hard enough to hurt, but it took her by surprise especially when she tried to pull away. Sitting atop him, she scowled, “You just bit my nipple off.”

“I am pretty sure it is still there.”

“By Kazuma, Eri was right.”

He put his arms behind his head chuckling softly, “Why is that exactly?”

“She said you Kari boys were biters,” Her hand rested across her chest. A few moments into their conversation, she would peek as though she was looking to make certain it was still there and not bleeding.

“Well I know more about my brother than I wanted to know.” Laughing Tadayoshi added, “I promise not to bite again.”

“Why did you this time?”

“I wanted to understand your threshold.”

“You could have just asked me if I liked biting.”

“I could have. Women and men don’t always speak honestly about what they like.  Perhaps from embarrassment or shame. If you would have moaned I would have done it a second time.”

“Do you like biting?”

“No, but if it brings you pleasure I am willing to do it. I want to take this moment to learn about everything you like and dislike.”

She pouted, “Well I am not certain I want my nipple near your mouth again. How would you like it if I bite you?”

“I have never been bitten before, but you are more than welcome to. I cannot say if I will like or dislike it.”

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Tadayoshi found the look she gave him was undecipherable until she leaned in and brushed her lips lightly over his. “You like that?” Tension filled his body upon her question as the kiss deepened. She pulled away slightly and Tadayoshi found that he had to move his hands from behind his head, propping himself up just to reach her mouth again. The sensual movements of her body and the deep kisses were just a distraction for the bite she laid upon his lower lip. It was not hard, a playful nip, and when she teased the sensitive part of his bottom lip with her tongue he groaned. “I think someone likes biting,” She teased.

His breath escaped his mouth, “I want to be in you.”

“Already? I am not nearly done torturing you yet, Tadayoshi.”

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Tationy squealed excitedly as Tadayoshi rolled the two of them over, “I think I should be asking if you like that. Do you want me in control Tationy?”

Her voice was barely a whisper, “Yes.”

“I can’t hear you.”

“Please, Tadayoshi take control.”

Quickly he pulled the towel from around his waist. With her underwear still on he slid his hands up along her hips. She was accommodating by lifting her bottom and placing her legs up on his shoulders. He hesitated. Tadayoshi had seen her partially clothed, but this would be the first time in nearly twenty-five years that he would actually get to explore a woman’s body completely. It excited him so he pushed his hips forward pressing himself against her. The way she nipped her lower lip and closed her eyes made it so he was unable to take his eyes off her face.

Even though he was hard he did not want this moment to progress too quickly. His fingers teased along her hips, up along her waist, settling upon her breast. He liked how full they were. Her nipples were big and he playfully pinched and tugged. Her response was a small cry, but it was different from the yelp of displeasure she had expressed when he had bitten her. He wondered how she would react if his teeth nipped her playfully now that it was obvious she was aroused.

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Up her body he traveled, lavishing kisses as his hands roamed freely.  As he licked teasingly along her neck she moaned, “Your tongue feels so good.” She knew just what to say to get him worked up. Kari men were taught that women wanted to be appreciated and desired so he was very dedicated to making sure she felt that way. Even though he never told her what a Kari man expected she seemed to anticipate it with each word she breathlessly moaned. A Kari man wanted approval, from the woman in his life. He needed to know that he was pleasing her.

It took him a bit to work up his courage to explore below her waist. At first brushing his fingers along the sensitive skin. When she tensed he frowned, “Did I hurt you?”

Her eyes locked with his, “No, you just surprised me.”

“I am sorry. Is it alright to touch you there?”

“It is. You can touch me anywhere,” Her encouraging words brought him comfort as he let his finger run along the covered patch of hair between her legs.  Through the flimsy fabric he could feel her heat and wetness which caused a throb at his own need. He was ready, he desperately wanted to be inside of her. Without any warning, he placed himself into a position that would allow him to remove her panties quickly and aim himself at her warmth. He was so close when her words froze him, “Tadayoshi, you can’t just stick it in me.”

Blankly he stared, “Is something wrong?”

“Just because I am wet does not mean I can take you. You have to help prepare me.” He swallowed the lump that formed in his throat as nervous anticipation overtook him. Even though he had been with two women he hadn’t gotten the chance to do certain things. She must have sensed his nervousness, “Relax Tadayoshi, you can enjoy me all you want.”

He felt naive as he stared at the patch of red hair. When she chuckled he wrinkled his nose, “What if you do not like what I do? I might not be any good…”

“Tadayoshi if you lick me there the way you licked my neck, you will do just fine or is something else troubling you?”

He reached out his fingers teasing, “Is there anything you don’t like?” He sighed when she did not respond right away. His mind had wandered to her and Hiko. He was certain that they did things other than actual intercourse after all there was no way his son was completely abstinent.

When she grabbed his freehand he realized he had been lost in thought, “Thinking about him while you are making love with me is probably not a good idea.”

“Was it that obvious?”

“Well, my legs are spread, I am wet, and you have not stuck your fingers in me. So yeah, it was obvious.” Pausing only a moment she added, “Tadayoshi, please don’t tease me.”

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Tationy had a way of relaxing him, “Isn’t teasing exactly what I am supposed to be doing?” The way she nipped her lip playfully forced a groan to leave his mouth, “If I am not in you soon, I think I might die.”

He heard her giggle, “If that is the case, shouldn’t your mouth be working on something?”

Tadayoshi found his body tense and aching with need. He told himself if it was always like this with her, there was no way he would be able to keep from taking her. Did she like it that way? Was she spontaneous? If he bent her over his desk would she protest? He wanted to know these things as he licked the inside of her thigh. The soft gasp, drew his attention toward her face. She was watching him. Her fingers laced within his hair as she coaxed his attention back to her thigh. There was this sensation along his arms; goose-bumps? What was it? He was not certain, but it felt so amazing he wanted it to happen again.

The moans from Tationy brought so many questions in his head. Was this her unconstrained? Would she always be like this? The fact that she had not pushed him away encouraged him to continue. He was already thinking of what he wanted to do the next time he was capable of making love to her. He wanted to explore between her legs longer; touching, licking, looking, anything she would allow him to do. Tadayoshi felt tension in his shoulders as he told himself to not get sucked in by the momentum of the moment because just as quickly it could end.

He was on the brink. Certain that the moment he was inside of her he would lose control he slid a single digit within her. Offering no resistance he tried two and the way she moaned his name caused his entire body to tense, “Tationy, I need to be in you.”

Tadayoshi was so afraid to move as he took several deep breaths. He had no doubts now that he would be lucky if he was able to stroke within her even once. The way she looked was too tempting and he could not hold back any longer.

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He did not want this moment to end prematurely, but he considered apologizing in advance. Even though he had wanted to, he did not kiss along her body instead just positioning himself between her legs. When her eyes locked on him he had no doubt that she was ready for him. Kissing along her neck he was distracted by her question, “Do you have anything?”

“Anything?” He felt dizzy. He was inches away from sliding within her, his tongue licking along her neck, and she was asking him a question that he could not possibly comprehend at that moment.

“A condom.”

He managed to whisper against her mouth between kisses, “No, I don’t think so.”

She groaned softly in frustration her forehead pressed against his. He could feel her hips moving slightly as her warm mound rubbed against him. “Is it alright without one,” She questioned laying a tentative kiss upon his lips.

“Tationy, are you going to make me beg? Please, can’t I just be in you?” He did not know if it was pity on the poor Kari man that was losing control of himself, but she willingly helped to guide him within her. This was her first time since the rape. He wanted it to be perfect, but his mind was distracted by her lips and body that the even pace he had wanted to keep was a bit more aggressive. He realized much too late, when she tensed and dug her nails into his neck. Her eyes were wide, frightened, and the only thing he could do was wrap his arms tightly around her and whisper, “Don’t look. Keep your eyes closed. Just feel my lips and my body. Don’t look at my face. Alright?”

She only managed a soft whisper of acknowledgement. Tadayoshi forced himself to slow the pace which he found to be difficult. He had thought of her. She was his queen and as much as he wanted to savor the moment, the agonizing years of being without her continually overrode his better judgement. When he would pick up the pace her soft whimpers would force him to slow it down again. Even though he understood and did not want to hurt her, he was ultimately torturing himself. His neck ached from her nails, his need was telling him that he was not going to be able to hold out much longer, his mind forcing him to keep the pace slow, and his heart was swelling even though he told himself if he loved her anymore, then Kazuma would win. In the end, the momentum had already taken him.

To Be Continued

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