Title: Not Spoken
Author: vitupera
Series: RG Veda (before the series)
Summary: Souma comes to a young woman's milestone.
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: It's CLAMP's sandbox, we (okay, I) just play in it.
Notes: A quiet little piece I wrote for the "First Blood" prompt on the yuri-challenge LJ community. As you might expect, some mention of blood. Not gory.

Souma woke in the quiet gray light before dawn and knew something was wrong. Nothing dangerous, no one in the room, but everything felt shifted, just a little, but right down to the core of her. Then she moved one leg slightly, frowned, and threw her covers off.

She gasped a little, almost silently, as she took in the sight. Blood on her thighs, enough to have begun to stain the bedding. She bit her lip and jumped off the bed, locking knees together until she had retrieved a cloth, folded it several times, and secured it. Then she sank back down onto the bed, wrapped her arms around herself, and took a deep breath.

She knew it was mostly fancy to think she could feel the differences between the body of today and the one she had worn yesterday, but everything that had been so familiar to her after years of practiced physicality was once again strange. Was her reach just a little longer than it had been? Had her center of gravity drifted just slightly, and most of all, was not there a heaviness, a weight in her belly not quite like a cramp, around which she would forever after center and orient herself?

Whatever comes, I will prepare, she promised herself silently. I will train, I will fight, I will learn whatever changes my body undertakes. I have to. I want to. I am... not a child anymore.

Souma took a deep breath and began to pace, unable to stay still now that the thought had taken form in words. I am not strong enough yet. But someday I will be, and I will kill Taishoku-ten, so now I should not- cannot- hide under Kendappa-ou's protection anymore...

She stopped short, feeling her cheeks heat at the sudden thought. Kendappa-ou! The sun is almost up! The bed-!

Souma tore the covers off her bed and gave everything a frantic survey, then bundled up what was stained and flew to the door, wrenching it open.

"Good morning, Souma," Kendappa smiled, with not so much as a raised eyebrow at the violence done to the door. "I thought we could have breakfast by the pond, but are you going somewhere? And-" her eyes flickered quickly over the room- "ah, what have you done to your bed?"

"Kendappa-ou," Souma faltered, "I am sorry, I- I-" and suddenly finding it hard to explain, she simply showed Kendappa the stains.

"I see," Kendappa smiled, then hailed a servant in the hall. "Suri! Please take these and wash the stains out, thank you."

Souma numbly handed over the bundle and followed as Kendappa walked into the room and sat on the bare bed. Easier to stand at Kendappa's side, and wait for her cue, than think of what to say and risk blurting out the conclusions she had come to.

"Congratulations, Souma," Kendappa murmured, eyes on her own clasped hands. "I have heard a girl's coming-of-age is a celebrated thing, so..." she raised her head and met the other girl's eyes, "is there anything your tribe used to do, that I can do for you?"

Souma suddenly found breath impossible to draw. She did not know... presumably, her mother had been waiting to show her, as with so many other things. "I do not think so, Kendappa-ou." She summoned a smile and added, "But thank you."

"Well, alright," Kendappa conceded, giving Souma's hand a quick squeeze. "How are you feeling, then?"

"Strange," Souma admitted, the first thing that sprung to mind. "Everything feels a little unfamiliar. And this blood... it is not... well, it just feels wrong." To Kendappa's quizzical look, she tried to explain, "I am not a... I will never be a, a mother, that just would not be right, and this is-"

"Not even to continue your tribe?" Kendappa's soft question broke through Souma's words, and she stopped out of sheer confusion.

"Continue..." The thought had never crossed her mind. "I have to avenge them, first.

"And anyway," she hurried onward, trying to gloss as lightly as possible over what she had just said, "what I meant was, this blood, it is not right. It cannot be. This is not how I am supposed to spill my blood, this is not the kind of life that can come from me."

I am supposed to give life to you, she added silently, to you. If you want it.

"But you are a woman as well, Souma," Kendappa chided her gently, "a woman first, even."

"No, no. Maybe when I was-" she cut herself off with a quick gesture. Forbidden. That would never be her name again. "I am the last of the Souma tribe now. That is why it is the name I bear, it is what has to come first."

"That is not true." Kendappa was shaking her head, frowning. "Souma, do not- choose your life now, not so early on. Please."

"How can I not?" She cursed herself for the way her voice cracked on the last word, but the thought of giving up, forgetting her entire tribe, brought tears to her eyes and threatened to shatter her composure entirely. "I did not choose this! Taishoku-ten made it impossible for me to do anything else!"

Kendappa dropped her eyes, and one delicate hand flickered through a pose Souma thought she recognized as Atonement. "I... I know. Please forgive me. That was not right of me to ask. I am sorry, Souma." Head bowed, she fisted her hands in the fabric of her dress.

"It is not your fault," Souma whispered, deeply ashamed of what she had done. Kendappa-ou looked close to tears, and Souma didn't know how she could have lost control of herself so easily and to the one person who meant more to her than anyone in the world.

Kendappa took a deep breath. "Souma. I know you are bound to this, I know you could not do anything else. But this is wrong. Your life will be spent pursuing the man you despise above anyone else, and that will, it will- it will confine you! And you are so many things! I cannot believe you were ever born to such a restricted life and such a narrow destiny. You are so many- my Souma when you sit and listen to me play, Souma-in-the-shadows when you do not want to be seen, fierce Souma when you throw your knives among the trees and terrify all the gardeners. You could be anything, you could leave this sad little limited heaven and be anything under the sky, do you understand?"

Souma did not understand, had no idea how to answer when everything was so uncertain. But just then the sun crept over her windowsill, playing across the gold set in Kendappa's hair, the sapphires suddenly flashing blue fire. Kendappa's eyes caught hers, held her, and all Souma could say was, "Yes."