[ This story has been translated into Chinese. The link is on my profile. ]

Certain Things Rearrange, and This Whole World Seems Like a New Place
Book I: Jezebel

Jezebel stood at her window to gaze out at the moon just beginning to rise over the horizon, idly tracing the line of her collarbone and simply enjoying the feel of her long blonde hair tickling the length of her naked form. She honestly didn't give a rat's ass if anyone walking by happened to look up and see her there. Hell, the only people who hadn't seen her naked at some point or another were the ones who didn't live in the shithole of a village, and chances were high that they'd get a look at her if they stayed long enough, anyway.

A small gasp drew her pale blue eyes down, though she didn't move her head. It gave the impression that she was looking down upon the people below, the way an empress might grace a trembling peasant with a vague offhanded curiosity. The older woman's expression of open disgust shifted to surprise as she met Jezebel's eyes before she swiftly scurried away. A subtle smirk pulled at the blonde's lips as she let her eyes follow the retreating figure.

Considering the seedy underhanded nature of the small town, it never ceased to amuse her that there were people living there who believed they could pass themselves off as prudish upstanding citizens. Or that they had the gall to attempt to vilify her. Her body was hers to do with as she pleased, and it pleased her to do whatever she wanted with it. She made a mental note to corner the escaping woman in the public bath as soon as possible, that woman was in dire need of a good back massage. After all, those old bones weren't getting much attention anymore since the old hag had poisoned her husband three months ago...

With a sigh, Jezebel returned her gaze to the rising moon and let her smile fall. He wasn't coming. She'd known he wouldn't show the instant he'd turned and walked away from her, but she waited regardless. She would wait for an hour after the moon began caressing the sky in all her full glory, and she would wait an hour longer than that. He'd looked like the type to show up late so he could use it as an excuse for not following through. Still, in her heart she knew he was probably miles away, and he would not come to her if she waited an eternity.

She licked her lips in sensuous regret, trailing her fingers down her chest in random little curving patterns as she recalled the lean rangy muscles that had tensed and trembled ever so slightly at her touch. Such a pity. Coming across a truly tortured soul was an exceptionally rare treat, and that man had wanted her. The hands of an assassin, soaked in the blood of god only knew how many dead souls, had slid through her hair with such gentle hesitant desire. He had needed her.

Drawing a lazy circle around her navel, she tilted her head and took a deep breath of the spring air. She had heard enough men and women claim to be tortured souls to know the real thing when she saw it. The fakes enjoyed the torture, though they'd never admit it. They bathed in it with avaricious self-pity, radiating their woes like a foul stench that clung to their skin. They used it to their every advantage, excusing all the debauchery and sin they delighted in wallowing in because 'they were tortured souls'. It made no difference to her, they paid the same and some of them could be downright entertaining.

But the real thing... Jezebel closed her eyes and wrapped her arms around herself, shivering at the image of that magnificent creature with hair as silver as the moonlight and a dark eye that had frantically tried to hide the hunger growling under his skin. Oh, how delicious the real thing could be. Howling and ravenous, whispering and snarling and calling someone else's name, tender and passionate, dragging the devil out of her own soul until his demons were calmed by the fires that consumed them both.

Opening her eyes, she considered the man thoughtfully. His torture had not been borne of grief, nor of coveting someone that belonged to another, and the darkness he carried wasn't that of an unpalatable deviant nature. That much she had been able to clearly see. It had been a ripping tearing wound, pulling him apart because the one he wanted was already his. A friend, probably. Someone close enough to touch, and precious enough to keep his hands firmly in his pockets while he fooled himself into thinking he didn't want what was right in front of him.

Jezebel whispered a prayer to the moon and blew a kiss to the wind so her words would be carried to the sun at dawn. If the Fates would not show him mercy by letting him warm her bed, then perhaps they could grant it to him in the bed of another. She chuckled impishly and drummed her fingertips along her hip as she recalled the specific things that had drawn the shinobi's eye.

...preferably tangled up in the long legs of a blonde with blue eyes and a bright smile...