A/N: Really, even tho I write stuff like this, I'm actually a very happy person in RL. Really.

Hate 09

Once she was a girl, a daughter born to a respected family. Once she was a child, innocent and free of all things shameful. And once she might have loved, embraced a husband with blushing cheeks, shy eyes and eager lips. She might have had children; grandchildren even, and filled her days with gentle laugher and the warmth of a loving family.

He'd stolen that from her. And she hated him for it.

Izayoi no longer remembered that it wasn't he who had murdered her family. When she closed her eyes, she saw his soldiers burning the house where she'd been born. She saw them strike down her family, gut her little brothers, then defile her mother's body even after her death.

And she saw herself dragged by him to the courtyard. The faceless man who'd assaulted her first became him, the others that followed became him, and every man who'd laughed as he dirtied her with his seed or smirked at her cries when she'd begged him please, stop!…they were all him!

She knew she was losing her mind by now…she just didn't care anymore.

For the longest time, all she'd had left was her hatred. She nursed it at her breast like a child; she'd tried to warm herself beside its cold flame. It was the only thing that fed her when she was starving, licked the wounds that were still bleeding inside. But it was a lonely companion, never offering comfort with its sharp-edge embrace, only a bitter drink like vinegar in wine while she remained as parched and dry as sand itself.

Only now, hatred had company…a mistress in fact.

Pretending to love him, pretending that she desired his touch…had been excruciating for her. Just the same, he taught her how to lead him, how to sigh and moan appreciatively. It was the mask he desired her to wear, and in desperation she'd let it become her naked face. The gasps and endearments she uttered when he rode her were salt in her wounds, but her voice did not always cry false in his ears.

She couldn't say that he'd become suddenly gentle, it wasn't in his nature. But now he pursued her body with pleasure and her body found this to be a welcome change of circumstances. What Izayoi couldn't deny was that this war-like youkai, this demon of the battlefield and nightmares, knew enough of a woman's body to make it weep for his touch.

He knew the secrets that she'd never had a chance to learn, he knew the places on her skin that had no resistance. Murmuring dark promises, he spread her thighs to probe skillfully, tasting her until her body melted on his tongue. She clawed at his hair, shoved herself into his mouth with fierce abandon, grinding her hips when he teased and nibbled her lazily. With fingers and lips, he coaxed her to pleasure, made her wanton and shameless enough to beg him to take her again.

The size of him had always been painful to her, the swiftness of entry and hard pounding of flesh a brutal torment. Now he slid her over him like an oiled sheath upon a silken blade, one hand gripping the back of her thigh, the other stretched out to cup the side of her face. He'd take her silently then, compelling her to look into his burning eyes, watching closely until her face darkened and she screamed her climax loud enough for every youkai in his camp to hear.

Afterwards she was always filled with disgust. Held tightly in his arms, his sweat drying on her skin, she loathed him all the more for making her come.

Angry as she always was, Izayoi had lost touch with her fear.

She knew it was so when one morning she left his tent alone, the scent of him like a musky shroud cast over her body. The man at guard gave her a knowing smirk and she dealt him a hot glare of hatred. Surprisingly, the leer faded and he dropped his eyes almost respectfully. She lifted her chin, trumping him with a disdainful sneer of her own before stalking away.

That's when she knew something had changed. As long as she didn't try to run away, she was free to go where she wished. The strong essence of their violent lord clung to her now, made them cautious and unwilling to challenge her. It was obvious he favored her…far more than he'd favored any other, far more than he'd favor any of them.

Their lives were his to cast away, with no more whim than that of an angry child. They'd greedily offer their loyalty, their love, to him and he gave them nothing more than promised. Bloodshed, warfare, and victory after vile victory…she alone was different. No longer just warm flesh to sate his desires, he pleasured her until she screamed…and hearing it made their loins throb and their stomachs twist with envy.

Izayoi smiled to herself and walked among them, a lone human and fearless. She wore her bright kimono tied firmly beneath her breasts so that they would notice her ripening belly. She let the layers of fabric slide down to show her milk-white shoulders and the livid marks of their master's passion. Her round breasts bounced temptingly when she walked, the sway of her hips begged them to stare. She wanted them to stare.

Touch me and he'll tear you apart!

It made her giddy, this sudden power where before her life had been defined by weakness and helpless hatred. Her loathing bloomed around her like an aura of defiance, daring them to touch the untouchable. His jealousy and sexual possessiveness became her armor in the face of so many monsters.

As long as she wore this mask, the illusion of love, he would hold her above all others and they had no choice but to bow at her feet. Still…she knew it couldn't last for long. He'd grow bored with her when her passion no longer tasted fresh to him. Eventually she'd be cast aside, perhaps given as spoils to one of these men who watched her with hot eyes. Her stomach churned at the thought and Izayoi's breathing grew harsh as she tried to contain the panic.

Yes, it was a very dangerous game she played with him. One she had no illusions about surviving. But she wanted to live long enough to bear his son, she wanted to see his face when she held their newborn in her arms…and then throttled the life from the tiny body before he could stop her!

That would be her revenge. The pain and betrayal in his face when she screamed out her hatred, her disgust. Whatever had made it so important to him that she bear his offspring, she would crush it with both hands.

Izayoi laughed darkly to herself, ignoring the pensive faces of nervous youkai around her. Whatever else she was, she was becoming something dangerous in their midst.

Their general's mad concubine and captive lover. A woman insane and reeling between hatred and lust, death and desire. She might even bring about his downfall, his defeat where he had always been victorious. Most of them shuddered at the thought and kept their distance as if the lightest touch of her finger might tip the balance.

Save for one, who watched his father's toy with calculating eyes. And planned ahead for the inevitable future when power would shift into his hands with the passing on of a certain sword.


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