The Oak and the Willow


             "Over," Kanzeon Bosatsu said.

             "No," Konzen answered. He tried to turn around, but the bodhisattva had him edged right up against his desk. Hell. Hadn't he learned by now not to turn his back on his randy superior?

             "I told you, I won't do it," he said, trying to get free. He succeeded only in pushing flush up against the full breasts shoved into the middle of his back and the hard-- thing-- poking at his ass. "I'm not going to be your woman again."

             "Fine. Be my man then," Kanzeon offered.

             "Forget it!" The idea was revolting. "This is ridiculous. Let me go." He couldn't turn because the goddess' arms were about him, small and soft as a woman's and quite as strong as a man's. Stronger than his own, certainly, because he couldn't break free of their grip no matter how hard he pushed against them.

             "Then there's no alternative. It's either doing or done in this world, and if you won't do, you must be done."

             "I don't want to have anything to do with that-- *or* you, you old bag." He was beginning to feel a small desperation. "I don't want-" He pushed harder. "Dammit, I won't do it!!" It felt almost as if he was going to cry, which scared him more than anything. I'm not crying, I'm angry, I want to cry because I'm angry. Not afraid, not that... that other desolating feeling, like an undertow pulling him down- the suspicion that Konzen Douji had no power at all, not over Kanzeon Bosatsu, maybe not over anything. He stiffened every nerve in his body, tight tight tight. Turned to wood inside the bodhisattva's arms. "I won't do it," he said between clenched teeth. "Get lost."

             "Konzen, Konzen." The low voice, not-male and not-female, smiling and a little pitying. "I don't get lost just because you tell me to. Doing or done. Which?"

He shook, a tremor of revulsion. "Whatever you like," he said shortly. Kanzeon grunted in amusement, knowing what that meant. He would never put himself inside hir unnatural body. His own body- his reliable and discriminating body- wouldn't allow it. The thought gave him a small satisfaction as Kanzeon's hands slipped under his robe and began untying the cord of his trousers. Their silk slid down his legs.

"Hey!" he yelped, and smacked at the hand that was patting his buttock.

"Come on," Kanzeon said good-humoredly. "Bend over."

His breath hissed in exasperation. He laid his torso across his desk, and she hoisted the skirts of his robe up. He gritted his teeth and endured what followed. It didn't hurt, of course. It would be easier if it hurt. It was just disgusting. The silken sliding of that-- thing-- in and out of him. The seductive invitation to pleasure in its touch and the slow grudging response inside his own body. He tightened his will against it. I do not consent. You can do what you like but I do not consent. He could almost hear Kanzeon's voice. 'You think your consent matters? If you withhold your consent will the wind cease to blow and the sun to shine?' No. The universe hardly cared whether Konzen Douji consented to its deeds or not.

He tightened his fists where they lay next to his head, comforting himself with anger. Damned bitch- damned old woman- damned arrogant great bodhisattva ruler of the universe, goddamned hag--

And the door opened across the room from him. A voice said "Konzen-?" and stopped. He felt himself go a hideous dull red, felt his stomach shrink in on itself. He glared at Tenpou standing witless and wide-eyed in the doorway. Get out, he thought, sick with misery and rage as he met Tenpou's huge brown eyes. Get the fuck out of here.

"Yahh, Marshal," Kanzeon said cheerfully above his head.

"Kanzeon Bosatsu," Tenpou said politely, closing the door. Go *away*, Konzen thought in red-hot fury, but Tenpou wasn't going away. He was crossing the room and coming to stand behind him the better to watch. Konzen thought he'd never known what hatred was until that moment.

"If the Bodhisattva is bestowing hir blessings today, perhaps I might venture to join in?" Frozen in shock, Konzen heard Kanzeon's amused "As you please." Tenpou, I'll *kill* you. There was a small metallic sound, the clink of a belt buckle, the silent noise of cloth falling. Then Tenpou's face was next to his own. Tenpou was lying beside him on top of the desk. He'd taken his glasses off and his huge eyes blinked a cheerful myopic greeting at him. Konzen could only stare, not even registering the fact that Kanzeon had drawn out of him. Tenpou gave a sudden gasp, and the fingers of his hands flew up off the desk's surface. Kanzeon... Kanzeon was... Numbly Konzen straightened up. Pulled up his pants, fastened the waist closing. Kanzeon was doing to Tenpou what se'd done to him. Konzen could only stand and watch as if his mind had turned to stone. Tenpou's gasps and groans, deeper and deeper. Kanzeon's thrusts into his narrow white flanks, deeper and deeper. Annh Tenpou was saying, annnh annnh annnh. His hands clenched and pounded the desk top. His head arched back with eyes squeezed shut and mouth wide open.

"Anh-UNHH!!" Tenpou jerked suddenly, violently. Drew a deep gasping breath, and collapsed across the desk into the shelter of his arms.

"Anhh," Kanzeon was saying with satisfaction as se straightened up. Tidied hirself into hir robes. Ran a hand through sweaty black hair. "Like that, Konzen. Go with the flow." Se gave him a grin, patted Tenpou's rump in parting, said "Bye, Marshal," and left.

"Ahhh..." Tenpou got himself upright, fished for his glasses, put them on, and pulled his pants back up. Smiled at Konzen.

"You make a lot of noise," Konzen said as he sat down behind his desk.

"Do I? So I've heard. Never notice it myself."

             Konzen didn't ask who he'd heard it from. "What did you want?"

             "Nothing special. Just dropped by to see how you were doing."

             "Then you can go away again. I'm busy." He shuffled papers.

             "You're not going to offer me tea?"

             "Tenpou--" he said through clenched teeth.

             "I take it you're angry?"

             "What do you think?" Konzen glared at him.

             "At me?"

             Konzen looked down again. "No," he lied.

             "Mh," Tenpou said, resting a hip on the corner of Konzen's desk. "Mind if I smoke?"

             "Nh," Konzen grunted. Tenpou took that as permission. Smell of sulphur as he struck a match.

             "You didn't have to let hir do that to you," Konzen said to his papers, and braced himself to hear Tenpou say I did if I didn't want to have your door shut against me the next time I came calling.

             "A wise man bends to the storm," Tenpou observed, "and to the bodhisattva."

             "Not funny."

             "Besides, se's good."

             Konzen gave him a startled glance before he could stop himself. "So what," he said to cover it.

             "It doesn't matter to you?"

             "It matters that I'm not given a choice."

             Tenpou shrugged. "The nature of the universe. You can choose to go with it or you can choose to fight it. But some things you're not allowed to just sit out."

             "Meaning what, exactly? Suppose you talk plainly, for once."

             "Do I have to, or don't you already know?" Tenpou drew on his cigarette and looked at Konzen. Pushed the bridge of his glasses up with one finger. "You're in a boat floating downstream. You can let the river take you where you're both going or you can try to get back upstream against it. But there's no use just sitting in your boat saying You can take me downstream but I don't choose to go there. You go there anyway and you're not happy about it."

             "I'm *not* happy about it. And what the hell can I do about it?"

             "Start paddling across stream, perhaps." Konzen blinked. "Work with the current to get where you want. Reach a bank and start walking back. Like that." He blew a smoke ring. "At the very least you can enjoy the trip downriver."

             Konzen looked away. "Enjoy that?? Hmpf."

             "It's very enjoyable, if you let it be."

             "I don't."

             "I know."

             "I won't."

             Tenpou sighed. "I know."



Oct-Nov '02