Iron Butterfly

Dante stood over the massacred remains of herself. She had shucked that old body off like a husk. Like a butterfly emerging from a carapace, she extended the new soft, slender arms, admired those smooth young hands, still so young that there were dimples where the knuckles would be.

She liked the Lyra body. A lot. It was possibly her favorite, for many years, at least. In any case, it was so wonderfully freeing to be young again.

She paced the wide, marble floor, visited each of the soaring windows, feeling every supple sinew beneath her skin move with the perfection of the young. She had forgotten what it felt like, while she had been growing old for decades. Forgotten what it had felt like not to feel tugging at every joint, and resistance at every step and bend of the spine. She jumped up in the air and her heels clacked on the floor when she landed. An hour ago, doing something like that would have resulted in a broken hip.

She loved the Lyra body. She ran her hands along its sides, taking in the slender waist and narrow hips, then across the flat belly. She brought her hands up to the small breasts, firm but giving like nearly-ripe peaches, pushing up through the tight bodice. She perceived no need to control her impules; she was alone in the house.

In the first few hours, even days, that she took over a new body, there was always some period of adjustment, of disassociation. It always took a little while for her to feel at home in the new shell; there was always a small window of time when she felt like she was an interloper, a visitor. It was an odd but exciting sensation. She felt that it was somehow, still, Lyra’s body, and, perhaps, there was still a lingering wisp of the girl somewhere in here. Dante’s soul was strong, though, and it would fill up any open spaces soon enough.

Lyra was dead but her body was so very alive. Dante took some care in undressing, in enjoying the slow exposure of gamine flesh as she slid out of the dress. Lyra was an old-fashioned girl—that was why she had liked her so much—and wore a fair amount of fussy underclothes. She enjoyed shimmying out of these, too, in the middle of the great room. As she unsheathed herself she felt at the center of a great vortex, the mid-point of the room, and, in essence, the Center of the World.

She stood naked in the middle of the great room, alabaster flesh bathed in warm spring sunlight from the windows, and felt the skin growing warmer and pinker. She spread the fingers through that soft hair, trailed them down sharp narrow shoulders and collarbone, and paused to rub palms against two hard, pink nipples. It had been so long since she had last been beautiful.

The huge carpet in the center of the floor was warm under her back as she lay down, raised her knees and parted her legs. She let her hand trail down that flat stomach and into the vagina. She hadn’t touched herself in that old body for at least a decade; she had lost her appetite for it, and hadn’t realized, until now, how much she had missed this kind of pleasure. One hand swept up and down the inside of the thighs while the other rubbed gently against the clitoris, so soft and wet, and then one finger, then another slid inside. The vagina was narrow and tight, and thrilled to be invaded by the slender fingers. She realized that all this was entirely new to this body; Lyra was really a very young girl, she had probably barely discovered how to enjoy herself. What a thrill to learn that all this would become new to her again.

This body had never climaxed, but she would change that now. Her mind flipped quickly through images to help her along: old lovers...young lovers...past lives...settling for a moment on the hands of Hohenheim in one of his most handsome incarnations, squeezing her breasts, his mouth sucking her nipples, his tongue trailing down her stomach to pleasure her...he had been her first and her perennial favorite, and she found herself wishing that he were here, right now....and it wasn’t long before she realized that she was beginning to mount that spiral of pleasure, that internal tightening that would increase to the point of unbearably painful anticipation until it would reach its peak, and she was doing that all on her own, just feeling the flesh of Lyra’s body, the elastic skin of the girl heating and twitching beneath her fingers.

She bit her lip so hard that it nearly bled, and released a throaty moan—that enchanting girl’s voice said her own name, Dante, you’re so beautiful now. As you were meant to be. Dante. A flash of Hohenheim’s face, and his mouth forming the words, but it was her, Lyra, who spoke.

Her fingers worked rapidly now on the clitoris, and she was wonderfully wet. Even opening her eyes to the huge expanse of room and soaring ceilings, that chandelier far above her head, all of this was beautiful, and she was, too, she was perfect now.

The soaring ceiling spun far above her open eyes, that chandelier, a frozen shower of gold and crystal like a bursting sun, was in her view as a pulsation of warmth coursed through her, from her throat down to where her hand pressed into her, and a series of smooth convulsive shudders ran from her naval to her clitoris, downwards, down the spiral, like a descent into a paradisical hell, warm, hot, and where she was the new Queen. As she climaxed, the Stone came into her vision and was wedded with her heart, which was now pulsing with quick, irregular beats, so fast as to almost frighten, but her body was so warm all she could do was thrill and think that Death and Eternal Life were one in the same thing, that pleasure dripped from her self, her fingers, while her free hand clasped around her vision of the Stone, warm, covered with hot blood, her own and everyone’s.

Then her body curled into itself and she involuntarily flipped onto her side, her hand pressed tightly between her legs as the thrill ran through her once again and then faded like a passing train. She smiled to herself. She belonged in this new, perfect body, and when she had the Stone, she would reign for hundreds, a thousand years to come.