Disclaimer: None of the characters here belong to me.

My first foray into Samurai Champloo fandom. Hooray!

Lessons in Control
By Alexis C.

Your blade sings through the wind as metal clashes against metal and skids smoothly apart.

His blade meets yours, again and again as the both of you partake in this dance, both deadly and beautiful.

A wrong move could finish you off, you know, but cocky self-assurance and the right twist of the blade at the right time have seen you through many fights unscathed.

It'll probably be a draw today. Just like all the other days before.

A smirk curves the corners of your lips. His eyes narrow ever so slightly. He's annoyed at how lightly you seem to be taking this match. He's probably thinking that you're sure you'll be the one to win. Eventually.

Idiot takes himself too seriously sometimes. All hung up on his values and morals and half the time you know he doesn't even really care about his stupid principles.

You know what he needs to be truly free.

You can show him the way. Teach him how but you know he's too stubborn, too deeply entrenched in tradition and the teachings of his youth to ever set himself free.

Fool. He'll spend the rest of his life seeking answers to the burning questions within him instead of living life the way it's meant to be lived.

The thought annoys you. The fact that thinking about him affects your mood annoys you even more. It's not like you care either way.

The sudden ferocity with which your blade suddenly meets his steel startles him. He stumbles backwards, but recovers quickly enough to parry your next blow.

He's not fast enough to prevent the hungry edge of your sword from nicking the side of his face.

He's frowning now and you can see the anger burning in his eyes.

He's outraged that you managed to get close enough to hurt him but he's keeping the anger leashed, suppressing it.

The cocky grin is back on your face before you realise it. You lower your sword and he does so as well, knowing that he has lost for today.

To be frank, it's not exactly a loss in the exact sense of the word. You didn't disarm him or maim him, an almost necessary outcome of all your battles. But equally matched as you are, being able to get inside his guard and wound him is a semi-victory in itself.

The anger fades from his eyes and as he sheathes his sword, he just looks resigned.

"What do you want?" He asks, wiping the thin line of blood off his face. Almost instantly, the crimson line appears again.

You take a good five minutes to come up with your answer.

You can't figure out if you'd rather have him preparing dinner, sleeping on the floor or preparing your bath for you.

"Din..." you begin to say then stop.

An evil plan is working its way into your mind.

He'll murder you in your sleep for it, or at least attempt to, and the thought delights you. You turn to face him, smirking once more.

"Close your eyes," you command.

"Quit fooling around," he tells you, eyebrows drawn together.

You arch an insolent eyebrow.

He gives you a purely evil glare for an instant and then gives in and shuts his eyes. He's probably already thinking of how to get back at you next time for whatever sort of humiliation for him you've got up your sleeves.

Well. You'd most certainly deserve it.

Time to find out if he was the man you always suspected he was.

You move closer and he twitches uneasily, unnerved at how close you are to him.

"Don't move," you whisper hastily in his ear and he goes immobile once more, warrior's pride binding him to his word to you. He loses, he obeys. It's that simple.

You scan the area quickly. Fuu's not around.

Good. This isn't something you'd want her to see anyway.

You bide your time.

Wait for it, you tell yourself.

Wait for it.

The suspense is evidently torturing Jin and you take evil glee in drawing it out.

He's on the verge of fidgeting, yet he's just barely holding back.

You snigger.

He starts then frowns heavily, his eyes still shut. His line of his body is taut. He's obviously preparing himself for the worse.

Smart man.

His patience wears thin by the end of the third minute.

"Mugen. Do something," he grates out, with great difficulty, since his teeth are gritted.

This is going to be the ultimate victory for you. There's no way he can top this because he hasn't the strength to rid himself of his precious inhibitions.

You pluck his spectacles deftly from his face.

His response is swift and expected.

"What..." He begins, looking really crossed as his eyes fly open.

You lurch forward and plant your lips firmly against his.

The momentum carries you both into a tree.

He goes slack with shock or horror, you don't really know or care.

You're just too busy sticking your tongue down his throat and offending all his sensibilities.

He jerks, presumably to throw you off, and instantly you clasp his wrists in your hands and force them down behind beside him.

You're not about to let him lob off any particularly vital bit of you, of course.

A strangled noise emerges from his throat.

You're holding on to his wrists so tightly you think you might be cutting off all his circulation, but he's struggling that desperately and suddenly...

Suddenly, you realise this isn't just a game anymore.

He's scared, angry, confused.

And you...

You like this.

You like him caught off his guard. You like him under your thumb.

You like him like this.

You like him.

The realisation stuns you long enough for him to twist free and punch you. Hard.

You slam back against the ground, cursing like a drunken scoundrel, as you taste blood in your mouth.

A faint retching sound reaches your ears and you look up to see him crouched on the ground, a hand over his mouth, looking desperately ill.

Not surprisingly, you find yourself feeling rather... offended.

It couldn't have been that bad, could it?

"Hey. Err. You okay?"

He glares up at you with narrowed eyes, a hand still over his mouth.

You reach down to pull him up and he slaps your hand away angrily.

"Don't touch me," he hisses. He pulls himself up with the help of the tree trunk and steps back away from you.

You realise that you've never seen him so angry before. He looks quite attractive really, with his pale skin flushed pink and his usuallyblank features so full of emotion today.

It's almost entrancing, you think to yourself, as you flat out stare at him.

He is the most powerful man you've ever met. The only person who is your complete equal when it comes to the martial arts. And the power to unnerve him is delicious. You decide quickly that this sort of thing will be happening a lot more often from now on.

It's ironic really. Just a while back, you were afraid that he was a homo and now, it's obvious that your positions have been switched.

"That was a very sick game," he states, glaring disdainfully at you, as he tries to recover his composure.

You leer at him. He flinches. Obviously.

You gloat and respond with two simple words.

"Beat that."