Telling himself it was to ease the pain of loneliness, Bankotsu adopts a strange traveling companion and wonders if the fascination he had for Jakotsu and his odd ways was worth it...
Bankotsu leaned against the tree trunk, eyes closed. He was half paying attention to Jakotsu as he thanked him again, for the umpteenth time that day, for rescuing him from the bathhouse. With his eyes closed, the younger boy could easily imagine he was sitting with a girl instead of an older boy who not only looked like one but acted like one too.
Thinking back to their encounter in the bathhouse, Bankotsu realized he had been fooled at first by Jakotsu's demeanor, not that he would ever admit it. Acting impulsively, he took the older boy with him, telling himself it was only to ease the loneliness of traveling solo. However, in the deepest darkest parts of his heart, Bankotsu knew the real reason was he simply found him fascinating.
While growing up, and amusing himself by spying on his older brothers, Bankotsu had heard derisive tales of peach boys who were ripe for the picking if the price was right. All he knew was that they lived in the capital city of Kyoto in someplace called an eel-house which sounded strange as Bankotsu was sure Kyoto was nowhere near water. He also remembered that whenever his brothers had mentioned the eel-house, they would all start laughing, during which time Bankotsu was usually discovered. If he was lucky, all his brothers would do is tease him about selling him to the afore-mentioned eel-house and if he was not, he would usually get the crap beat out of him until one of his sisters happened along and rescued him.
So when Jakotsu finally grew quiet Bankotsu decided to seize the opportunity with both hands. He slowly cracked opened his eyes and said as casually as he could, "Have you ever been to an eel-house?"
His feminine looking companion blinked at him a few times before answering. "No... why?"
"You're not going to take me to one and leave me there, are you?" Jakotsu said and it was not hard to miss the panic in his voice.
"Nah...I was just wondering, since you know all about the sort of shit they're supposed to do in there." Bankotsu shrugged.
"Oh..." The cross-dresser sighed in relief. "I thought you were going to... ummm, you know..."
"Nah... You're not going to get rid of me that easily." Bankotsu laughed.
Jakotsu tittered nervously into his sleeve like a girl.
"Stop doing that!"
"Laughing like a girl... Don't you know how to be a boy for Kami's sake?"
Jakotsu blinked a few times, before slowly shaking his head. "No..." he said softly. "Everyone always made me act like all the other girls there, especially when I started working... Why?"
"I don't know..." Bankotsu quickly turned away, hoping the older boy would not see his cheeks heating up.
"You think I'm cute...?" Jakotsu said softly, changing the subject, and leaving Bankotsu to wonder if it was a question or not.
The truth was the younger boy did find his new companion attractive. There was something about Jakotsu's gentle demeanor and eagerness to please that Bankotsu found fascinating as it was so feminine and yet there was just enough manliness about him that made him so much fun to be with.
"It's okay; you don't have to answer..." The cross-dresser smiled and looked away.
"Well... you are cute if you must know, but I swear if you ever tell anyone I said that, I'll beat the shit out of you!"
Jakotsu, not understanding the reason for it, shrank back from the force of Bankotsu's ire as he willed himself not to cry.
Bankotsu rolled his eyes as he reined in his anger. He looked away and frowned, trying to get his inappropriate thoughts in order, but all he could think of was how much fun it was to kiss the older boy. The thoughts about kissing led to memories of the good time they had had together in the bathhouse.
"Are you okay? You look like you have a fever," Jakotsu said softly, and Bankotsu was glad to have the interruption until the cross-dresser leaned closer and placed a cool hand on his forehead. "You're not really warm, but you look-"
"Shut up and kiss me..."
"Hunh...?" Jakotsu blinked, and licking his lips, he kissed the younger boy. He went slowly at first, taking his time, and when the younger boy relaxed, he deepened it.
Bankotsu in turn, let his hands wander until he realized who and what he was kissing. Confused, the fifteen year old shoved the older boy away and sat there, arms folded across his chest as he scowled at the cross-dresser.
Jakotsu sat back and pouted at him in reply. Letting his irritation get the better of him, the cross-dresser said peevishly, "Oh please! You enjoyed that and you know it! So what if I'm a boy?! What difference does it make?"
"I said shut the fuck up!!" Bankotsu narrowed his eyes as he glared at the cross-dresser. "You know if you want to whore around so much, I'll find you a whorehouse and leave you there!"
Jakotsu eyes welled up with tears. "You wouldn't, would you?" he said softly. His complete turnaround in behavior added to Bankotsu's confusion and that made him irritable.
"Stop blubbering like a stupid girl!!" Bankotsu shouted. Heaving a heavy sigh, he softened his tone and continued, "I told you before I won't. But I swear if you piss me off again, I will. Understood?"
The cross-dresser nodded and hastily wiped away his tears.
"Besides, what's so bad about a whorehouse anyway? I mean, who wouldn't want to spend their days fucking around and getting paid for it?!"
Jakotsu snorted softly in contempt. "It's not as much fun as you think it is. It's hard work and I don't get paid for it; the bathhouse owner does. Every client that ever walked in there has to be treated like a lord, whether I find them attractive or not. The other girls treat me like I'm shit cuz I'm a boy. Some of the clients did too, especially when they wanted a girl and were stuck with me. And I've been beaten too for disappointing a customer who wanted their money back... I can go on, if you like," Jakotsu said bitterly.
"Don't bother; I get your point."
The two of them lapsed into an uneasy silence. Bankotsu used the time to study the older boy's profile. In the late afternoon sunlight, it was easy to imagine Jakotsu was a girl, for his skin was pale from spending his life indoors. His features were also just as finely chiseled and pretty as Bankotsu's sisters'. His dark brown eyes in particular, reminded the younger boy of his older sister Fumiko. Bankotsu swallowed when he felt a sharp pang of homesickness pierce his heart.
"Must you stare at me like that?"
Bankotsu frowned as he was pulled from his reverie by the cross-dresser's soft inquiry. "What?"
"You're staring at me and it's making me feel uncomfortable."
"Oh... Sorry." Bankotsu blushed and looked away.
Cocking his head to the side, Jakotsu tried unsuccessfully to catch the younger boy's gaze. "Can I ask why you were staring at me?"
Bankotsu shrugged, and turning his head to face him, he looked Jakotsu in the eye and said, "Because..."
"Because...?" Jakotsu repeated; quirking a delicate eyebrow at the younger boy.
"Yeah... I find you ummm... fascinating." Bankotsu refused to look away even though he felt his cheeks heating up as the cross-dresser stared blankly at him. "Fascinating... interesting...unique... ummm, different...?"
"Yeah..." Bankotsu grinned sheepishly. "It's not too hard imagining you're a girl if you know what I mean..."
"Can I ask you something?"
The cross-dresser smiled impishly. "Don't worry; I won't make you pay to sleep with me."
Several emotions flitted across Bankotsu's face in rapid succession. "What?!" he sputtered.
Jakotsu covered his mouth with his hand and laughed coquettishly. "Gotchya!" he giggled.
Bankotsu rolled his eyes and chuckled as he looked at the older boy ruefully. "That wasn't what I was going to ask."
"So what were you going to ask then?"
"I was just wondering why you're still dressed like that. We're away from that bathhouse and you still look like a whore and you won't let me buy you a man's kimono and some hakama ..." Bankotsu trailed off helplessly as he watched the cross-dresser reach into his kimono and pull out a tiny cosmetic pot, before opening it and rouging his lips. "And why do you keep painting your lips? Shit! Not even my stupid sisters do that as much as you do!"
Jakotsu paused with his pinky still on his lower lip. Slowly removing it, he blinked a few times and pressed his lips together as he closed the tiny rouge pot. Tucking it back into the folds of his kimono, and carefully wiping his little finger on the tail end of his scarlet obi, Jakotsu said, "I don't know... I just like dressing like this, maybe it's cuz I don't know any other way... And I also like painting my lips. It keeps them soft and kissable."
"But it's weird!"
"So what? And besides, you liked kissing them!" the cross-dresser replied tartly.
"Did too!" Jakotsu smirked.
"You fucking take that back before I smash that smirk off your face!" Bankotsu glared at the cross-dresser, his fists balled and ready to carry out his threat.
Despite the fearful hammering of his heart, Jakotsu pointed his finger at the younger boy. "Why are you so angry?" Narrowing his eyes at Bankotsu, he said shrewdly, "I bet you haven't been with that many girls before, hunh?" Smirking, he added, "And it bothers you that you find me so fasitating too!"
"Fasi-what?!" Bankotsu stared at the cross-dresser like he had three heads.
"Fasitating!" Jakotsu threw up his hands in exasperation. "You should know what it is! You said it earlier!"
Bankotsu slowly mouthed the odd-sounding word several times before it hit him as Jakotsu sat there, pouting. "You mean 'fascinating.'"
"That's what I said! 'Fasitating!'" the cross-dresser wisely left the "idiot" unsaid, although it was clear from his tone.
"And what's so wrong with finding you fascinating? You're the weirdest thing I've ever seen," the younger boy huffed.
Jakotsu ignored the insult. "I think it's cuz you're not sure if you really like girls or not. And by finding me so fasitating, you can pretend that you're with a girl, while having all the fun of being with me," the cross-dresser said smugly.
Bankotsu laughed. "Yeah!" he said sarcastically.
"You may laugh now, my friend, but one day you'll wake up and see that I'm right; that girls aren't worth the trouble." Jakotsu gave the younger boy a knowing look. "Besides, I don't mind pretending for you. You're kinda cute and I know I'm going to have fun doing things with you that no stupid girl would ever do. And if they will do it, then you're gonna hafta pay for it!" He laughed.
"Ha, ha, ha...very funny."
"Why thank you."
Bankotsu snorted softly in amusement and he shook his head at the cross-dresser. "Alright, I liked kissing you and I did have fun with you in the bathhouse, but I've had similar fun before..." he paused, watching the emotions flit across the cross-dresser's face. "With girls!" he finished smugly, although he felt bad about the hurt look on the older boy's face. "Don't cry!!"
Jakotsu sniffed. "I'm not crying..."
"Damn it! You are too! And right now you're just showing me that you're even bigger pain in the ass than most girls are, which is not the way to win me over!"
The cross-dresser took a minute to compose himself. "Sorry..."
Bankotsu shrugged. "So, ummm... how are you going to keep me fascinated with you for a long time? That's your intention, right?"
"Like this..." Jakotsu murmured. Leaning forward, he closed his eyes, and cupping Bankotsu's cheek, he kissed him.
Breaking the kiss, the younger boy replied, "That's as good a way as-" Bankotsu's breath caught in his throat, as Jakotsu was also gently rubbing the younger boy's crotch with his free hand. "An-nee..." Bankotsu squeaked.
As much as he hated to put a stop it, because Jakotsu was very good at what he was doing, Bankotsu did not want to end up with a mess in his hakama. Grabbing the cross-dresser none too gently by the wrist he pulled his hand away. "Stop it! I get your point. You're going to keep me fascinated by molesting me. Well it's not going to work!"
"No...?" Jakotsu said, sounding somewhat disappointed.
"No!" Bankotsu huffed.
"You sure? Besides, I don't think it's really molesting you if you're enjoying it."
"Heh! It gets hard no matter who touches it. Hell, I can even get it to do that myself!" The minute the words tumbled out of his mouth, Bankotsu instantly regretted them.
"Yeah?" Jakotsu said dryly, the corner of his mouth twitching slightly upwards in amusement.
The silence stretched between the two of them again. While Bankotsu quietly brooded about his choice of traveling companions, Jakotsu looked the younger boy over. Had Bankotsu bothered to ask, Jakotsu would have told him he was just as fascinated with the younger boy as Bankotsu was with him.
The cross-dresser had found the darker younger boy very attractive from the minute he had first seen him in the bathhouse. He had found it difficult at first to calmly run his hands over Bankotsu's lean, yet muscular, body as he washed him. And when Bankotsu seemed eager, yet hesitant, to have some fun with the cross-dresser, Jakotsu happily let him have his way with him.
As he stared at the younger boy's face, and looking back on their first encounter, Jakotsu realized Bankotsu was not as experienced as he had pretended to be. Despite his boasting about all the girls he had slept with, he was shy and clumsy with the cross-dresser, something Jakotsu had figured was simply sexual inexperience with a man. But now as he looked back, the pieces started falling into place and Jakotsu realized with a start that he had made the younger boy a man. The cross-dresser smiled smugly.
"What are you so happy about?"
"Nothing..." Jakotsu said sweetly.
"Nothing, hunh?" Bankotsu said and when the cross-dresser shrugged, the younger boy let out a long suffering sigh. "Come." He stood up and stretched. "Let's start moving so we can reach the next village by sundown."
"Okay." Jakotsu did the same. "Which way do we go?"
Bankotsu stared at the cross-dresser for several heartbeats. "This way..." he said softly as he took off in the direction they had been heading, heedless of whether or not the cross-dresser was following. Chuckling softly, the younger boy realized that Jakotsu's sexuality and knowledge of sex as fascinating as they were, they were nothing compared to his naÃ¯veness. Bankotsu figured if he could put with the cross-dresser's inane chatter and clever attempts at seduction he'd never have to worry about being lonely, or bored, as he had the feeling this fascination he had for Jakotsu was going to last a long time. What the younger boy had not counted on was the fact that the fascination was mutual...