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The first time the General sees someone who is not shaped liked her is when she is 8 years old. Farha is sweet and soft and whenever she smiles wide she has big dimples and the General plays the fool, gets in trouble, just to see her smile. Farha does not smile often, for she is not judged well by her classmates. After all, if she is still all soft when she is Full Grown, who will want to Contest her and take her on to fight life’s battles alongside them? Even in the playground, Farha does not fight well, and so she is forever unpicked, the lone space around her speaking volumes.
The day after the General plucks up the courage to kiss her dimple (her skin! so soft! not at all like the scarred cheeks or swollen bruises and muscle knots of the General’s own skin) she is transferred away, and the General never sees her again. But still, that thought remains. Softness. A still point in the chaos. When the General remembers Farha’s eyes, they were like ….Softness, letting the world curve around you instead, like a rock planted in the torrent of the river. Existing, in spite of it all, and saying, “No. You move.”
….So began the general’s love affair with round-edged women. Pretty women, she thought, though no one around her did. Women like that were fetishes, mistakes. Real women were as hard as stone, covered in scars, towering. Real women had the darting eyes of an animal looking for a fight. A real woman would make a good Bonded, her arms strong enough to battle off all the worlds by your side.
Privately, the General sincerely doubted the arrival of an army on her doorstep at dinnertime. Privately, she thought, surely I should have someone to help me fight the pitched battles?? The snideness of social exclusion, the machinations and politics of life? What use are biceps when someone denounces your presence at a friend’s nameday party by saying you’re an illegitimate mongrel born out of wedlock when you are 13 and small and weak and everyone else laughs at the joke?
Privately, she thinks to herself, she’d quite like all of that softness, as long as whoever had it also had the mind and tongue of a silver steel trap.
As she ages, the thought of her fingers pressing into yielding flesh, unscarred skin, a woman who is soft everywhere (on the outside, at least) fills her with a shocking flash of heat, her mind wiped all over with a wall of bright light. She brings herself off to it, so many times that the idea settles in her bones, unshruggable, like a stone in a river. She needs it too deeply for it to be a fetish. How can you explain to someone that you want something so badly that you can feel it in your bones, that it makes your teeth ache with the wanting of it?
By Gods, when she got off-planet she was glad of the Galactic Healthcare Implentation. She was fairly certain she had been incubating multiple STIs for a while there. After her 5th panicked visit to the clinic in the 1 month a Gullurian nurse pulled her aside and told her, in excruciating detail, including diagrams, how to have safe sex.
She couldn’t help it! She had gone from a desert of attractiveness to a soft, soft oasis. Women, everywhere. Looking down at her, the soft bow of their unscarred lips curling into a smile and they gazed through their lashes. Their soft breasts and round hips like pears, sweetened with ripening, skin as smooth as foyou silk, suddenly bared from the hollow of their throats to the beginning of the soft curls at the apex of their thighs. Or tentacles. And all of them wanted her. Her!
They returned her heated gazes, they matched her bruising kisses with soft lips, and by gods were they soft and wet and so good.
Her sheath was nearly aching from overuse by the time she started to...whittle down the list. There were just certain things. A particular way of doing things that the General discovered she...preferred.
She liked naughty women. Women who misbehaved just so they could look to her to see her reaction. Women who liked to perform, dressed up in their prettiest skimpiest things, or in nothing at all, parading around their room just so the General could look at them from every angle. Women who wanted to be used in specific ways. As a footstool, a drinks table, a sheath-warmer. Women who liked to be told they were bad, and smiled and said they knew.Women who wanted to be spanked, owned, and on their own terms. Women who liked to be hurt, and wanted her to do it, and do it well.
She liked her ladies, pretty, vain, bratty, soft, and a little bit rude. And that was just the bedroom.