DISCLAIMER: None of the characters in this story belong to me. They are the property of Quentin Tarantino, Uma Thurman, Miramax films and a bunch of other people who are in no way, shape, or form me. These people just managed to create some real kick-ass, smokin' hot characters that I simply had to borrow for a while.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Story does contain minor spoilers (e.g. The Bride's name) for "Kill Bill Vol. 1" so if you haven't seen the film and hate being spoiled, go see the film (cause it kicks ass) and then read the story :) In other news, Lucy Liu and Julie Dreyfus are hot, smokin' hot, red hot, muy caliente! And there are looks between them looks I tell you!
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Reflections of a One Armed Woman
"Sofie, my sweet, beautiful Sofie."
The rough tips of his fingers brushed across my cheek, the touch so soft that I would've had to categorize it as gentle if the fingers had belonged to anyone else.
"All alone," he continued in that low whisper of his, his voice soft, sympathetic and understanding. His hand pressed against my neck, enclosing it in the stretch of skin between his thumb and index finger, the movement emphasizing how very small and fragile I am. The movement wasn't at all necessary since the night I had just barely lived through had already made me painfully aware of my vulnerability. But necessity had never been a prerequisite for Bill's demonstrations of his dominance.
He leaned down closer to me after that, so close I could smell his cologne and I had to fight to control the urge to shudder. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath as the thought came to me that I had survived the Bride only to be done in by Bill.
Truthfully I'd expected as much. When I had felt a hand snaking its way under my legs and another moving around behind my back as I lay prone on a floor made slick by my own blood, my eyes had fluttered open and I'd blinked unseeing for a few seconds, momentarily relieved, almost happy. I had thought it was O-Ren holding me, her fingers cold from the winter air returned to the warmth to save me. However, as I was unceremoniously flung over the shoulder of the person holding me so that there was nothing in my line of sight but yellow, yellow, and more yellow I knew the truth. It wasn't O-Ren whose arms had been around me, it was her. The blonde. The Bride.
"All alone," Bill repeated his voice bringing me back to the present as he helped me out of the wheelchair I'd been seated in and into the bed. 'All the better to strangle you my dear', I thought to myself as I allowed him to lay me out on the mattress.
It was something that O-Ren would've said.
I focused on the ceiling above me. I didn't want to think about her, not with Bill there. I couldn't. It was one thing to let your fear show in front of Bill, it was another to let your love be seen. He understood fear and could respect it. The idea of love however, the type of love that made people fling themselves out of windows and drink arsenic, was beyond him and so any demonstrations of such was to be avoided at all costs.
Instead I focused on the last thought I had and almost laughed when it came back to me. 'As I allowed', the word 'allowed' reverberating humorously in my head. As if I had any other choice.
"Sleep now angel, you're gonna need the rest," he went on pulling up the white sheets over my chest and my arm, tucking it in under my chin. It was almost fatherly. It made me feel ill.
And then he was gone, vanished like some specter into the night leaving me alone and perhaps most surprisingly alive.
You didn't fail Bill and live. You didn't disappoint Bill without feeling his wrath, without having pain rained down upon you like a torrential hellfire. And yet there I was. I took a deep breath; the pain was there that was for sure but I was experiencing an unseasonable dry spell. I had failed him, O-Ren was dead, the Crazy 88's were massacred, the Bosses would begin in fighting again making control of the Yakuza and Tokyo's underworld a grab bag once more, removing it from Bill's purview again and perhaps permanently this time. And yet my heart continued to beat and blood continued to rush through my veins.
That's when I realized; I hadn't failed him, not really. All of what had happened that night, O-Ren, the annihilation of the 88s, everything was of little concern to him. I hadn't failed because I had lived. I had suffered her torture, and her mutilation by I caving in. I bargained, I brokered the information I held and took a plea. I had been the lawyer he had trained me to be. As always I came through with the information he needed when he needed it, forever the slick one, the smooth one, the snake. I had given Beatrix the information she needed to continue her roaring rampage of revenge and through helping her resume her sworn orgy of destruction I had set her on a path that would lead her back to Bill. And that was what he wanted, Beatrix and a chance to honourably exact his vengeance upon her. I had managed to slither out of the massacre with my wicked life just like he had taught me to do. O-Ren wouldn't have
I bit my lip and blinked rapidly trying to contain the tears that came to my eyes at the thought of her now that he was gone and taken the fear with him. My beautiful, fierce, delicate, vicious, passionate, clever O-Ren dead. Beatrix did not show me her body, or throw me down beside O-Ren's mangled and beaten dead body, which was a small mercy, but she did tell me with great relish, her lips curved up into a vindictive smile, that O-Ren was dead as a doornail, and I knew she was not lying. I knew it was the truth that somehow this blonde had managed to succeed where all others had failed; that she had managed to extinguish the great flame of Ishii, to best the best. I knew this without a doubt because if O-Ren had lived, I would not have been here, in this bed in this hospital, and I would not have been alone.
If O-Ren had lived it would have been her arms that I felt wrap around me in the silence of the House of Blue Leaves. She would have cradled me in her arms, holding me easily her slight frame belaying her strength, and walked determinedly with me in her arms, her dark eyes focused forward, burning with a hellish intensity, her lips forming a thin line before she whispered, "she made me angry. She should've known she wouldn't like me when I'm angry," or something like that anyway. It was the American in her, the remnants of her days as an army brat. She loved pop culture, and would spew out catchphrases at moments that would seem inappropriate but turned out to be just the opposite. I loved it when she would whisper those things in my ear, her voice light and teasing so that when I turned my face to see her I would be greeted with a playful smile and her eyes shining with delight. It was so rare to see her like that, light and free and happy, and I coveted those times, longed for them even though I never quite understood her fascination.
If O-Ren had lived, when we made it outside there would have been a black, unmarked van waiting for us, and men in suits and Kato masks would've jumped out from every opening and rushed towards us. O-Ren would've barked something at them like, "Back the fuck up ass prick! If I needed a hand I would've brought one out with me. Just open the goddamn doors!" And I would've smiled at that despite everything that had happened that night because it would've made me feel safe. Then she would've carefully maneuvered us into the back of the van that had been retrofitted as an ambulance and placed me down on the bed gently, her hand holding the one I had left as the medics rushed back into the van and to my side. I would have drifted into unconsciousness staring into her eyes while her thumb stroked the back of my hand.
When I woke up, I would've breathed in the cool, crisp air of her home in the mountains outside of Takayama, and as I struggled into conciousness the attendant watching over me rushing to the screens and outside, O-Ren's name -- or at least her formal name -- on her lips bringing me back into the world. And then O-Ren would've been in there, walking into the room slowly, perfectly dressed, icy and cool, all calm and control, inclining her head slightly indicating the attendant, probably Aki, should leave. Her shoulders would slump slightly once the screen was closed and we were alone, her expression becoming more open as she relaxed slightly, though the tension she had been feeling could still clearly be seen on her face and in her posture. She would've moved over to the side of the bed and sat on the edge before carefully and deliberately removing her slippers, her attention completely focused on the task at hand. Then she would turn to look at me, her expression serious, and she would reach out her hand towards me where it would end up hovering over the space where my left arm should have been. I would've looked down as she gazed at the empty space, ashamed and disgusted at the sight of the mutilation I had suffered, scared to look at her and perhaps see similar feelings show in her expression.
"Are you in pain?" she would've asked softly, moving further onto the bed so that she was lying on her side facing me. She'd be speaking in English; she always spoke in English when she was serious, when what she was saying was important to her. She still felt, even after all of her years in the East, that she could be more precise, more evocative in English. She still felt that her words carried more gravity, more meaning in the language of the West.
I would've looked into her eyes momentarily, almost bashfully before my gaze skittered away, "I I'm," and I'm sure I would've paused searching for a term, a word that was honest, but wouldn't make me seem any weaker than the events of the nightclub had shown me to be. "Fine," I would have settled on. It probably wouldn't have been true, but it certainly would've been truer under those circumstances than now. Even through the drugs I would've been able to feel some pain, though mostly it would've been the absence of sensation on my left side that hurt me. But I would've had her there with me, felt her eyes watching over me protectively, lovingly, and it would've been a balm, calming me, warming me despite my trauma.
She would've made it fine, made me fine.
She would've placed her hand on my shoulder, rubbed it lightly before moving down to cover my nub with her hand. "I looked for your arm, and sent Jun back in to look for it after we left. It wasn't there." Her face would darken as she said this. "One of those fuckers must've taken it by mistake." She would be silent for a moment after that, and then focus on me again, her expression softening as she softly swore, "I'll get it back for you."
That would be too much for me and I would smile before tears began to come to my eyes. I would shift towards her, and she would move to meet me, her arms wrapping around my waist as I buried my face in her neck and cried into her skin. I knew she would find my arm, that she probably already had all that was left of her forces scouring every hospital and backroom that could possibly be used for surgery, looking not only for my arm but for the incompetent fucks that had failed her so completely so she could finish the job the Bride had started herself. O-Ren hated incompetence and failure and it would have put her in a vendetta mood that would have probably already produced a body count. We both would have known that even when she found my arm, it would be too late to reattach it, that the assfuck who took it had doomed me to a future with a hook or a plastic hand, but the sentiment was what would count and I would've never wanted to let go of her. She would've pressed her lips against my temple as her hands rubbed my back soothingly, I would've thought that maybe when she found my arm we could bury it in the garden.
I wouldn't have cried on her shoulder like that for long however, the contact I craved shifting and transforming into something new. My lips would've moved against her neck with purpose then, licking and then nipping before I moved up her neck and over her jaw to her lips. I would've kissed her hungrily, desperately, my remaining arm tugging at her, clawing at her needing to feel her naked skin, desperate to taste her.
"You've been out for days, I don't want to hurt you," she would whisper, her voice rough with desire as she ripped her lips away from mine so that she could look into my eyes as she spoke. It would've made some people laugh, to hear O-Ren Ishii worry about hurting someone, to hear her voice gentle and full of concern. They wouldn't have believed it; they would've had to see it with their own eyes, and maybe not even then. But not me, I knew that she had a soft side, a gentle side, that she had managed to salvage some of her humanity and that she guarded what Boss Matsumoto and his men hadn't managed to rip away from her as a child savagely. She only let that side out, really let her guard down and let herself feel, with me and occasionally with Go Go her little psychotic protégé but Go Go would've been dead, and I would have been glad.
"I want you. I need to feel you inside of me," I would've responded closing the distance she had imposed between us, kissing her again, shamefully needy. "Unless you " I would start to say when I felt her hesitate, stopping mid-sentence, unable to get the rest of the words out of my mouth, the mere thought that this might be it, that she might not want to be with me and my sole arm sending waves of panic through my system. I would've felt ugly, and stupid and asymmetrical and wished for a moment that I had just bled out on that floor in the House of Blue Leaves.
"I know you understand that my past, my training, and current position have had, and continue to have a great influence over how I conduct myself and how I relate or don't relate to others," she would start softly, her tone conversational though she held my eyes, willing me to watch her as I listened to her. "They say I lack empathy, kindness, consideration, sympathy and most of the lighter spectrum of human emotions. To this I cannot necessarily object though I feel it is an oversimplification. I am, as you are well aware, capable of committing acts of kindness, of showing due consideration, and of empathizing if there is cause for such things. I am, also, capable of love, of loving and I do. I don't state it much, and I'm not likely to start doing so any time soon, but know, Sofie, that I am in love with you. Know that the depth of my feelings for you shocked even me when they appeared, and that they are not fleeting or shallow. I may not have a lot to give, but what love I do have belongs solely to you and always will, no matter how many arms you have." And she would begin to undress me.
I was the one who usually initiated our lovemaking. I was usually the first to show my weakness, to admit that I had lost to my desire once again. It was I who would kiss and undress her, it was I who would take on the seemingly subservient role caressing and worshipping her body. She loved to be teased, to have things drawn out, and I loved to tease her, torture her by prolonging her release until her body quivered helplessly and my name was groaned from her lips over and over again, her head thrown back in ecstasy her body arched and taunt with pleasure.
My desire for her, my need for her knew no bounds. Sometimes I would walk into her office, closing the door carefully behind me and turn to find her wearing a knowing smile. She always knew when I was in a mood. I would walk over to where she was and drop to my knees, ripping away, bunching, and removing the material covering her treasure as I kneeled at her pew. And then she would be on my lips, in my mouth, and I would be inside of her, consuming her hungrily as her hands worked themselves into my hair, pulling it lose as she ground herself against my face, thrusting onto my tongue desperately, her hands holding me in place, making sure I wouldn't take away the source of her pleasure, as if it wasn't the source of my pleasure too.
Other times I would need to have her in me, and I would go to her, wherever she was and straddle her while I grasped her hand and moved it under my cheongsam, my hand over hers positioning her fingers at my opening. My hand would fall away then, and I would wait for her to move, to strike to attack, to take me, to fuck me, to own me. She would wait for long moments, staring up at me, holding my gaze until my body quivered and dripped with anticipation and desire, she would wait until I was so wet that I felt as if I would pass out if I was forced to wait for a second longer, and then she would stab inside of me, her free hand on the back of my head holding me steady forcing me to watch her as she pumped into me roughly, her fingers pistoning inside of me marking me, holding me completely under her control.
During encounters like these she would usually drag my head towards her until her lips were near my ear and would whisper her voice harsh and authoritative, allowing for no argument or resistance "cum." And I would, hard and long, my breath coming in gasps and shudders as my body continued to buck against her hand, forcing her fingers inside of me again and again as I rode out the waves of pleasure. "Like Mom's apple-pie," she would sometimes say, her hand on my back, rubbing, her motions now gentle and calming as I struggled to regain my breath, and my composure. I never knew what she meant by that exactly, only that it always sent a new a rush through my system that would cause me to shiver, and her to smile and mummer, "lawyers, such naughty girls" fondly.
However, as we lay on that bed in her home in the mountains outside of Takayama, it wouldn't have been like those times. It would've been more like in the hotel after she was named Big Boss, or like when we were in New York in the suite that overlooked Central Park. It would've been like the times when she awoke in a cold sweat, breath rough and ragged as she escaped the tortures of some demon in her mind. I would've lain naked on the bed, the cool air tickling my skin and heightening all sensation as she slowly undressed herself, making a show of it for my appreciative eyes, igniting a slow burning fire in my stomach that would flare when she covered my body with her now naked one, warming my skin again with hers, holding me quietly for a few seconds before placing a kiss on my neck as her hand drew up and down my thigh, as she slowly kissed her way lower.
I would've gotten frustrated at times as we made love, trying to reach for her with a hand that was no longer there, longing to touch her as I had before and resenting the fact that I could only now touch half the amount of skin I wanted to, that I had to plan and strategize about how to touch her, how to stimulate multiple areas now that I was playing singles. But those would've been minor frustrations, infinitesimal really as our bodies rubbed against each other and I felt her warmth surround my fingers as we moved inside of each other. I probably wouldn't even have remembered feeling upset afterwards because I would've been with her, touching her, smelling her scent, protected in her arms.
If O-Ren had lived
But she didn't.
I lifted my hand to wipe away my tears with my one hand, before flinging my arm over my eyes as I tried to control the swelling of tears I could feel gathering within me.
I missed her so much.
I should've bled out on the floor of the House of Blue Leaves. We should have died together. It would've been for the best. We would've been together. It would have been better for us and for her. I had called her a stupid blonde and told her to go to hell earlier. What I didn't realize as I said it was that both of us were already there.
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