by Moonraker One

A/N: Rated M for slight lemon. If shojo ai/yuri ain't your cup of tea, don't read this fic. Don't flame, because I gave you ample warning.


Wretched sweat poured down the mostly pliable skin of a young woman facing what could be her greatest challenge. Her outfit—a skin-tight spandex pair of black shorts with a triangular violet shape down the crotch and rear, which began shortly below the belly button and came to an abrupt conclusion about four centimeters superior to the knee, as well as a sleeveless torso spandex shirt which covered only from the belly button on up to the base of her neck. It sat drenched, yet defying the moisture of perspiration decided to hold firm to her body. Her face, a collection of green eyes and dark mauve—almost gothically so—hair, symbolic of her southern Japanese heritage, found itself contorted in a concentrating expression of dedication. Her muscular frame—which would lead one to believe a Greek goddess was among her ancestry—bent into a powerful martial arts stance looked powerful, as though her bulging arms could toss a carriage with horse included, as though her massive quadriceps could kill a horse with a singular kick. In fact, her nickname came from her legs' insane thrusting power.

"Wow, ladies and gentlemen!" The Japanese announcer screeched into his microphone. "After taking a devastating kenpo combo from her opponent, she stands firm after the onslaught! It seems to have had little effect!" He paused, just to leave the crowd in suspense, then shouted, "but then again, what else would you expect from the 'Titanium Sakura!'"

Konniko Sado—known to her fans as The "Titanium Sakura"—once left a slight dent in a sheet of industrial titanium with one of her most powerful standing side kicks. Now she faced off, in illegal underground martial arts, against her deadliest opponent to date; Sanako The "Purple Typhoon" Kojimoto. Their combat had raged on for the better part of a half-hour, neither side giving in; Sanako due to her crazily high endurance against strikes, Konniko due to her rather ludicrous stamina to press the attack.

Sanako shook her head. Her opponents in the past had never possessed her degree of power before. She had gotten quite the reputation among the martial arts coalitions (both legal and illegal alike), because she never liked to spare opponents. The last time she'd involved herself in a legal organization she nearly killed four opponents and got expelled for it. Her purple training pants and tight sleeveless shirt of the same color flowed along with her movements in her stance. She knew one thing above all else; she had to strike with speed and ferocity in order to bring a conclusion to the match.

She prepared her next move with a series of furious kenpo thrust into the air, which did the trick of readying her muscles for the upcoming strike. It seemed then that air held in place, that time stood still, as she jaunted forth with tremendous force across the immense sectioned-off fighting area. Konniko clenched her teeth, she knew very well that pain would be coming up. She sacrificed her stance and steeled her nerves. Sanako closed in with scarcely imaginable speed, her red hair waving like a flag of death.

WHAM. Almost like a cannonball hitting a fortress, the resounding impact of the Purple Typhoon's ferocious flying kick against Konniko's forearm made the entire audience cringe. In truth, it merely had been the force by which the Titanium Sakura counter-struck the kick with an arm bash that saved her from a bone fracture. If her arm hadn't been motionally antagonistic, she'd have lost the use of her left forearm. A similar strike, except from her foe's right leg targeted the opposing forearm. The difference in time, although slight, was enough for the mauve-haired fighter to duck and roll.

"Oh wow, ladies and gentlemen! A violent assault from Sanako! An amazing dodge from Konniko! I dare not speak any more for fear of detracting from this combat!"

The announcer's rant came moments before a brutal counterattack from Konniko. In a display of flexibility and power, she shot her right leg up to where her lower leg touched her right ear, kicking her foe in the back of the head. Then, the laws of physics seemed cast aside as she whirled her left foot until the top of the foot sat against the floor, and coming down in a splits formation, slid backwards underneath Sanako. Then, using force of muscle alone, sprung to a standing position. She flung a kick to the upper right of Sanako's chest, landing with beast-like strength, then struck again six inches lower. Resuming her standing position she launched a similar attack on her foe's left side; but instead of coming back to a typical standing position with her left leg, she whirled around and drove a roundhouse crescent kick at her red-haired foe. It sent her sailing backwards to land face down.

The red-haired Sanako coughed up some blood, then shoved violently to a standing form as Konniko grabbed her by her hair and hoisted her to her feet. The look of horror in Sanako's eyes came in stark contrast to the anger in Konniko's. The stare lasted an eternity in the space of one second.

The the crowd fell silent as a familiar standing side kick crashed straight into the chest of the Purple Typhoon. Everyone looked on in silence as the trademark finishing combo took another victim. Sanako flew backwards and slammed into the floor, shiftless. She seemed to coast in slow motion to all the onlookers. Like a dam before the flood, everyone looked on in continued quiet as Konniko fell to her knees. Driving a fist into the ground in celebration kicked off the shouts like the river plowing through feet of concrete. Wiping the sweat off her brow and standing up, she smiled like she hadn't in a long time. The title was hers. She was the best in Japan, and now everyone who watched the underground knew it. The officiant approached her and solidified her victory by raising her arm. She proudly walked towards the locker rooms.

Why, the red-haired warrior thought. Why didn't you crush my chest with your kick? Why, why would the great "Titanium Sakura," not kill her most powerful opponent? She somehow yanked herself to her feet. The final kick hadn't been fatal. Konniko, she knew, could very easily have taken her life. The glances she got from the crowd told Sanako that they wanted blood. The illegal Japanese underground very seldom cared if lives were taken, as no official records were held. I can't figure you out, Konniko. She grinned. But then, maybe you had me figured out all along. My defeat is true. I must go back, back to that one place I learned how to fight many years ago.

After arranging with the tournament organizer which undeclared swiss bank account the participation money was to go to, both fighters in the end went to their respective locker rooms to pack their things, and then one final stop to the shower.

Konniko removed her clothing piece by piece and stepped into the white tiled shower. She stood under the stream of hot water, leaning against the wall with her eyes closed, trying to focus her mind. The water caressed her body like a lover as it streamed down, intermingling with the sweat and inevitably exiting down the drain. A thwapping of feet entering water sounded. Her martial artist instincts kicked in as she turned around rapidly.

Sanako stood next to her, equally naked. The mauve-haired fighter had never seen her most formidable opponent's true body before, she marvelled at the complex folds of tight skin where muscle wove itself—as though sewed by a master weaver—over bone. The woman's curves only difference from her own was around the hips, being a bit wider on the red haired one. "I want to know, Konniko," she simply stated. "You know, the crowd would've been singing your praises endlessly had you ended my life."

"You know, you could've called me a few days from now and asked me," Konniko logically replied.

"Yeah," Sanako shot back, grabbing some soap from the wall dispenser, "but that would be too long after the fight. I need to know what you're feeling now."

Konniko rolled her eyes. "I'm slightly uneasy about you being naked and right behind me."

Sanako lathered the soap in her hands, and in complete violation of personal space, began washing her previous opponent. "Your chest speaks a different story, I can tell."

"You're quite the pervert, I think, Sanako." She closed her eyes. She dared not say something negative, for personal reasons.

"Someone isn't telling me to stop, Konniko." Gathering more soap, Sanako began washing the entire body of her opponent. Konniko returned the favor, lathering up her hands and applying soap to the body of the redhead. It continued until not only were they washed, but delving even further into their emotions. The fires of a forbidden love burned passionately, right on the floor of the shower room. They both experienced an aspect of each other few combatants ever did; the complete physicality of their opponent, both in the ring, and in their own feelings of love.

Only nine hours later, they were separated by hundreds of miles. They each remembered their final words to one another. The gentle northern Japanese wind had blown through the air, its slight cold almost foreboding of their departure from one another. Each bore an awkward expression. "You never answered my question, Konniko," Sanako finally broke the ice. "Why did you spare me?"

Konniko shook her head solemnly. "I don't truly know. Something inside just kind of told me. Maybe one day I'll know what the answer is."

Sanako smiled playfully. "What kind of bullshit answer is that?" They both laughed. Then the awkward silence returned. "Um, well, about today."

"It was a great fight, Sanako. I was amazed at how powerful you struck." Her words warranted a glance. As if she insisted on bringing up the topic they both silently agreed not to speak about. "You know, Sanako, that..." she chose, in defiance of her common sense, to kvetch personal information, "...this afternoon in the shower...that wasn't the first time I'd been with a woman."

Sanako laughed a bit, as if to approve of her former opponent's words. "Well, me neither. But...I won't forget it. Or the match."

Konniko shook her foe's hand. "I won't forget you. You brought my spirit back, both in the ring and out."

As they both finally stepped off their separate planes, Konniko arriving in her home of Hiroshima, Sanako at the international airport in Beijing, a mere hundred miles from where she'd learned how to fight, they both were met by men in bizarrely old looking outfits.

"Hello, you may not know me," they introduced themselves as, "but you've been invited to take part in a legendary tournament."

Each fighter unraveled a scroll.

Stonekill? Sanako wondered.

I wonder what Stonekill is, Konniko thought.