Categories > Anime/Manga > Inuyasha

The curse

by kirayasha 0 Reviews

After Bankotsu decides to take on the job of getting rid of a dark miko, one of the guys ticks her off and gets cursed for his trouble. With some help from his friends, can he reverse the curse or ...

Category: Inuyasha - Rating: R - Genres: Drama,Humor,Romance - Characters: Bankotsu,Jakotsu - Published: 2007/05/30 - Updated: 2007/08/20 - 21079 words - Complete

The Curse


By VegaSailor & kira



Authors’ note: This “plot bunny” was adopted at Undying Devotion. (http :/ / www.
geocities .com/ jakotsukitty / BunnyMain. html Just remove the spaces to get to the link.)


Please note that due to the nature of this plot bunny, a character switches gender, and to emphasis that we switched genders when referring to them in the narrative, so please don’t feel that you have to point out that “typo,” as it was done intentionally. The characters, however, switch back & forth between “he” and “she,” sometimes in the same sentence. This too is not a “typo.”


Please also note that this takes place roughly two years before their first deaths. This would make Bankotsu fifteen, Jakotsu nearly eighteen, Renkotsu twenty and Suikotsu about twenty-three. (This is taking into account that their birthdays fall during different times of the year.)


888


Adeyaka sighed softly. Sweet Kami-sama, please let him be content with a little smile... The young priestess smiled briefly, and titling her head downwards, she tugged on her bowl-like woven hat, hiding her face from view as best she could. Fortunately it was raining and the streets of the sleepy little village she was passing through were relatively empty. Those who were out in the rain hurried off to do their business so no one paid much attention to her.


The samurai who lurched towards her was inexcusably drunk and Adeyaka felt a touch of fear around her heart. This one unlike the others, she realized too late, found her tight little smile more alluring than off-putting.


“Hey, Beautiful... how about you and me go find somewhere dry to wait out the rain?” He leered at her and Adeyaka saw he was not as drunk as he thought he was; his unsteady gait being the result of a broken sandal. She also recognized him as the young man who flirted with all the peasant girls, married or not. Rumor had it that he had his way with several of them much to the disgust of the older women who gossiped about those younger and prettier than themselves.


“Forgive me, but I must be on way, rain or not,” Adeyaka said tersely.


“Awe come on... it’s pouring. You don’t want to get sick, do you?”


“No I don’t... but Kami-sama will look after me as I have important business to take care off.” The pretty little miko stepped past him.


The samurai, undeterred by her polite refusal, fell into step beside her. “I’m sure whoever you’re off to, won’t be angry if you tell them you were held up by the rain.”


She shrugged. “Perhaps... but that is still no excuse when duty calls.”


He reached out and grabbed her by the arm. “I have a horse, so any time lost while you spend it waiting out of the rain can easily be made up.”


She glared at him. “Please let go of me.”


“And if I don’t?”


Adeyaka was momentarily at a loss for words. She was used to men flirting with her as she was very pretty and while her stand-offish attitude never failed to encourage it, most men gave up after a few minutes and those who did not, were taken care of by those who felt outraged by the liberties they tried taking with a miko. Now the rain became her enemy of sorts as there was no one around to help her.


“Let go of me!” she commanded when she finally found her voice.


The samurai, however, paid little heed to her warning. He had wanted her from the moment he had first seen her and he found her cool demeanor enticing. So he flirted with her every chance he got and now when it appeared she was leaving the village for good, he panicked. Drawing her closer to him, he held Adeyaka in a tight embrace.


“Oh please,” he murmured huskily in her ear, “You know you’re enjoying this as much as I am...”


“Let me go!!” she cried as he dragged her down a deserted alleyway.


Holding her hands together over her head with one hand, the samurai let his other hand wander. He touched Adeyaka in places no man had ever touched her before and she became afraid. She was so frightened that she ceased her struggling. She cried as he pulled on her hakama ties, releasing the knot, and letting them pool at her ankles. The samurai ran his hand under her kimono, gliding it softly against her bare skin to cup her buttocks, as he leaned in to kiss her.


Adeyaka prayed that’s all he would do to her. Her wrists were beginning to hurt from his vise-like grip and she used the pain to distract herself from his wandering hand. The samurai was now cupping her left breast, running his thumb lightly over her nipple as it hardened under his touch.


Chuckling, he said huskily, “You like that, hunh? What about this...?” He dropped his hand, lightly brushing it against the dark tangle of curls between her legs. Mistaking her sharp intake of breath at this latest indignity for lust, he forced his hand between her legs.


When he pushed his fingers up inside her, Adeyaka closed her eyes and cried out, “Someone help me, please!!”


Unfortunately no one was around to hear her except the demon she had been sent to exorcize. I’ll help you... for a price... it whispered in her head.


Anything!! She responded and before the samurai could rape her, the demon merged with the miko.


“May you know the pain of suffering that you’ve caused me!” Adeyaka cried as she felt the demon’s magic surging through her. When she opened her eyes, she saw not the samurai but a beautiful woman standing before her.


“What the...?”


Happy now...?


Yes... Adeyaka thought as she watched him/her go...



888


Bankotsu sat at the low table in his study, sorting out the requests for Shichinintai’s assistance into three piles. The first and largest pile contained the requests he had no intention of fulfilling and he chuckled softly at the thought of all the letters Renkotsu would be writing, politely declining the request. The second pile was for the ones he was seriously considering, as they were relatively easy work for the pay involved. The last pile consisted of offers that were strange and intriguing, namely they required a run past Renkotsu to see which pile they would eventually wind up in. That pile consisted of a single letter.


Bankotsu set down the last letter he had been reading into its appropriate pile. Sighing softly, he was about to get up to go look for Renkotsu when his paramour breezed past the open doorway.


“Hey, Sweetness!” he called out to him. Bankotsu smiled as the retreating footsteps stopped and reversed direction.


“Aniki-chan?” Jakotsu said as he waited patiently just outside. Bankotsu had once made it painfully clear to him that he was not allowed inside unless invited in, hence the wait.


“Come in.” Bankotsu beckoned the cross-dresser closer.


Jakotsu giggled and hurried inside. Sitting down, he sat across the table from his lover. “Is something wrong?”


“No...”


“Ooh!! You want to have some fun in here?” Jakotsu purred happily.


Bankotsu snorted in amusement. “No, as I told you before this table’s too low for that, for one thing, and secondly, I don’t want you sitting here thinking about that when you should be paying attention to the debriefing.”


“The de-what?” Jakotsu blinked owlishly at his lover.


“The debriefing...” Bankotsu sighed. “You know, Sweetness, when I get everyone together to explain the mission.”


“Oh!!” Jakotsu giggled.


“Yeah... Anyway, what I wanted is to know where Ren is. I have something I want to ask him about. Can you go find him and tell him I want to see him?”


“Oh-kay...” the cross-dresser said rather disappointedly.


“Thanks... I promise I’ll make it up to you later.”


“Okay!” Jakotsu stood and headed towards the door. He paused in the doorway, and looking back over his shoulder, he blew at kiss at Bankotsu who sat there, shaking his head. “Later, my lil Dumpling-chan!” the cross-dresser purred.


“Later, Sweetness, and I mean it.”


888


Renkotsu had been discussing the latest rumor running through the nearby village with Suikotsu when the cross-dresser found him.


“Hey, Sui, Ren! Aniki-chan’s looking for you, Ren.”


“Good morning, Jak. Would you like to join us for some tea?” Suikotsu said, the corners of his mouth twitching upward in a smile at the annoyed look on Renkotsu’s face.


“Thanks, Sui.” The cross-dresser came over and sat on the floor next to Renkotsu. Taking the proffered cup, he daintily took a sip. “Ooh, it’s delicious. Is this the stuff you like so much, Ren?”


“Yes,” the fire-breather said tersely. He was clearly annoyed at having his private time with the claw-bearer interrupted by what he felt was a ploy to get him away from Suikotsu. “What does Oo-Aniki want now?”


“I don’t know; he didn’t say... Can I have a rice ball, Sui?”


“Sure.” The claw-bearer picked up the plate of onigiri and held it out to the cross-dresser, who helped himself to one.


“Thanks, Sui.” Jakotsu took a bite and chewed. Swallowing, he turned to the fire-breather and said, “You’d better go, Ren, before Aniki-chan gets mad...” He took another bite. “Mmmm... Bonito! They’re my favorite!”


“They’re mine too, Jak.”


“Really?! What’s your favorite, Ren?”


“Sour plum, why?” Renkotsu said. He watched as the cross-dresser polished off another rice ball.


Jakotsu shrugged. “Well since they’re not umeboshi, I guess you won’t mind if I eat them all.”


Renkotsu stared him open mouthed for a few seconds, before heaving a heavy sigh as he watched the cross-dresser greedily devour his breakfast, much to Suikotsu’s amusement.


“Uh, Ren,” the cross-dresser said between bites, “I told you before; Aniki-chan’s looking for you. You’d better hurry now before he gets really mad.”


“You’d better go, Ren. Here, take these with you so you won’t be hungry.” Suikotsu handed his lover the remains of the rice balls. “I bet there’s another mission coming up and Oo-Aniki probably wants to discuss it with you.”


“Thanks, Sui. I’ll be back later.”


“Take your time, Ren; I’m sure it’s important if he wants you there this early.”


“Bye, Ren!”


888


Suikotsu gathered the breakfast plates and placed them along with the empty teacups on a try. Standing, he took the tray and walked over to the shoji, where he opened it and placed the tray outside his room.


“I think Ren’s a little annoyed with you, Jak,” the claw-bearer said as returned to where he had been sitting.


“Hunh? Why’s Ren annoyed with me?” Jakotsu said as he blinked in surprise. Frowning, he tried to think of what he did to annoy the fire-breather.


Suikotsu chuckled as he watched Jakotsu trying to think. “It’s because you interrupted one of the few private moments between us.”


“Oh... But it wasn’t my fault, Sui. Aniki-chan really did want to see Ren.”


“Yes, but you could have told Oo-Aniki that Ren was busy with me.”


“But I didn’t know Ren was here with you until I saw him, and besides, Aniki-chan was in his study and if he wanted Ren, I figured it must be important since he didn’t even want to stop and have fun first. And he had all these papers on the table too.”


“Still, it doesn’t make Ren any happier.”


Jakotsu sighed. “I’ll tell him I’m sorry, okay?”


“Only do it if you mean it, Jak.”


“I mean it!!” the cross-dresser said earnestly.


“Good!”


Jakotsu smiled as Suikotsu chuckled softly and shook his head at him as he poured himself another cup of tea.


888


“Jak said you wanted to see me, Oo-Aniki...?” Renkotsu said as he entered Bankotsu’s study. He walked over to the low table where Bankotsu sat and sat down opposite him.


“Yeah... we’ve got a lot of missions I’m not interested in and a few that can wait.” Bankotsu picked up a letter and handed it to the fire-breather. “This one sounds interesting...”


Renkotsu took the letter without glancing at it. “Yeah? What do they want?” He grinned happily at the thought of another mission.


“There’s a dark miko causing trouble in a nearby village.”


“Yeah...?” Renkotsu said, sounding less enthusiastic than before. “What kind of trouble?”


“The letter said all the town’s young men are disappearing.”


“Really...?” Renkotsu read the letter. “Are you sure you want this job? I’ve heard some pretty bad things about her.”


“Yeah...?” Bankotsu asked and Renkotsu nodded. “I don’t know... It pays really well considering we’re only going after some bitch.”


Renkotsu laughed. “Okay. So, who are you sending?”


“You, me, Jak, and Sui ought to be able to handle it.”


“Yeah...” Renkotsu nodded, and trying to sound really enthusiastic about going, he added, “Sounds good to me. So when do we leave?”


“How about tomorrow?”


“Tomorrow it is...” Renkotsu sighed softly. He was about to get up and leave, since Bankotsu was now busy looking over the small pile of letters, a clear sign he was dismissed, when someone knocked on the doorframe to get their attention.


“Aniki-chan...? You busy? Oh, sorry I interrupted you before, Ren...”


“Yeah...” Renkotsu said tiredly as it was one in a long string of apologies that the fire-breather suspected meant nothing to the cross-dresser other than a way to look good in Suikotsu’s eyes.


“What do you want, Jakotsu?” Bankotsu asked. He had addressed the cross-dresser by name, a subtle sign that he was busy, yet he looked up at him to soften the dismissal.


“I’m bored and I was wondering if you wanted to go into town with me... I’d like a new kimono and Sui said he’s too tired to go, although he didn’t look like it to me. He said he was up all night helping the midwife deliver Hideko-san’s baby.” Jakotsu narrowed his eyes at Renkotsu, who was busy trying to stifle a yawn. “Are you sure he wasn’t up all night nookying with you, Ren?”


“Yes, I’m sure, as I was up half the night repairing my canon.”


Jakotsu laughed. “Uh-hunh... You two were up all night nookying,” he said saucily as he gave Bankotsu a look that said, “How come we don’t do that?”


“No...” Renkotsu said slowly, “we were not...”


“Oh yes you were!” Jakotsu giggled and wagged his finger at him. “I can see it in your eyes!”


Renkotsu quirked an eyebrow at him and said dryly, “Yeah... I’m sure you can also see the fresh scars on my hands from metal-working instead of nookying too.” He held out his hands.


“Hunh?” Jakotsu looked at Renkotsu’s hands. He took one of them and gently traced the long fresh scab that ran across the fire-breather’s palm. “Oh...” He laughed, and looking up at Renkotsu, he narrowed his eyes at him and said, “Wait! How do I know you didn’t nookie afterwards?”


“You honestly think Sui would let me nookie with fresh wounds on my hands?”


“He’d treat them first,” Jakotsu said smugly, and pointing a finger at the fire-breather, he added, “I know you two nookied last night because I can tell these things... just like I know Aniki-chan wants some right now.” He smiled.


“I don’t have the time, Sweetness; I’ve got to plan tomorrow’s strategy.”


“Strategy? We’ve got a new mission?” Jakotsu’s smile broadened into a grin.


“Yup.” Bankotsu looked up, when he had finished writing, and grinned back at his paramour.


“Who’s going? And what is it?”


“You, me, Ren and Sui are going to take out a dark miko.”


“Yeah? But why so many of us? I could probably take her out myself.”


“Well, it may be just one woman, Sweetness, but miko can be unpredictable.”


Jakotsu snorted derisively. “Miko, piko... It’s still a woman, right?”


Bankotsu nodded. “Yeah...”


“Well, you know how stupid they are! This one should be just as easy to take out.”


“Yeah... but Ren recommended it as a precaution.”


Jakotsu glared at the fire-breather. “You don’t think I can handle a woman on my own?”


“Regular women, yes, but a miko and especially one with dark powers... caution is needed,” Renkotsu said.


“Oh really...?” Jakotsu said dryly as he folded his arms across his chest. He could not understand what all the fuss over one silly woman was about nor could he understand why Renkotsu was acting like a big baby over it.


“Yeah, really...” the fire-breather said calmly.


Bankotsu sat there and sent up a silent prayer, thanking the gods that Renkotsu refused to get into a fight over it, although he could see Jakotsu was spoiling for one.


Jakotsu laughed. “Then maybe you should come with me, Ren, so I can show you how stupid women are...” He grinned wickedly. “You know what? I’ll bet you a cask of sake that I’ll have her dead before you know it!” the cross-dresser said smugly.


“Uh, Sweetness, miko aren’t the same as those pitiful women we come across when we get rid of some rival daimyo...”


Before Jakotsu could reply, Renkotsu said, “I’ll take that bet, Jak.”


The cross-dresser looked over at him in surprise. “You will...?”


Bankotsu, happy to see the situation was rapidly diffusing, laughed. “You know how much Ren loves a good sucker-bet. Right, Ren?”


“It’s the cheapest way to get a cask of sake,” the fire-breather smirked.


“Oh yeah!” Jakotsu grinned, thoughts of the cask of sake, he thought he was going to win, dancing in his head.


Bankotsu slammed his hands down on the table to get their attention. “All right, I think that’s all we have to discuss, so be ready to leave in the morning.”


“Morning? But I’m ready to go now, Aniki-chan!” Jakotsu pouted like a spoilt child.


“Well, why don’t you go now, Jak, and take out the miko by yourself and save us all the trouble if you’re so eager,” Renkotsu said dryly.


Bankotsu groaned softly. NO, NO, NO!! Shut up, Ren!! Stop encouraging him!!


Jakotsu sighed. “I just said I was ready to go, Ren... weren’t you paying attention?”


“Sweetness...”


“How far away is it, Aniki-chan?”


“All kidding aside, I honestly don’t think going by yourself is such a good idea, Jak.”


“He’s right, Sweetness, that’s not such a good idea,” Bankotsu said in what he hoped was a reasonable tone of voice.


The cross-dresser’s eyes widened in surprise as he looked at his lover, his eyes full of hurt as he said, “What?! You don’t think I can handle a woman by myself too?”


“Oo-Aniki, I say let him go or he’s going to whine all day about it.”


Bankotsu thought it over as they stared expectantly at him. “How fast can you and Sui be ready?”


“Maybe an hour...?”


“Good!” Bankotsu nodded. “An hour it is! We’ll meet out front then. You’re dismissed.”


Jakotsu laughed. “Get ready to get me that sake, Ren!”


“Yeah... yeah...”


Jakotsu laughed again as they stood up to go.


888


“Is this village where she is, Aniki-chan?”


“Yes, Jakotsu, it is.” Bankotsu sighed wearily.


“So where is she?”


“I don’t know...”


“Think we’ll find her soon?”


“I hope so...” Bankotsu said. Because if we don’t I’m going to kill you if you don’t leave me alone about it...


“Oo-Aniki, see that woman up ahead?” Suikotsu said as he pointed with his claws. “She seems to fit the description the villagers gave us.”


“Yeah, I think so too,” Renkotsu said. “I can always take her out with my canon and we can be done with it.”


“Yeah... Although, I’d hate to kill an innocent woman by mistake, as that could cause more trouble for us than it’s worth,” Bankotsu replied.


Suikotsu nodded.


“I don’t know how close we should get to her. You never know what could piss her off.”


“Tell me about it,” Bankotsu said.


“And I don’t feel comfortable standing out here in the open like that. It’s like we’re asking for trouble...”


“I know. Get over here, Jak!”


Jakotsu who had been standing off to the side, staring at her, shrugged and headed over to them. “That ugly old hag over there is the woman you three are scared of?”


“She looks younger than you, Jak,” Renkotsu teased.


Jakotsu gave him a dirty look. “Does not!!”


Bankotsu, fearing another argument between them was brewing, said, “That’s enough you two!” He glared at them briefly and sighed. “So how do you think we should go about taking her down, Ren?”


Renkotsu thought it over. “Ummm... probably from a distance.”


“Sounds like a plan to me.”


Jakotsu let out a little sound of disgust. “From a distance?! How’re you going to do that? Unless Ren’s planning on blowing her up.”


Renkotsu smiled. “Or we could give Jak the opportunity he wants.”


“I don’t know about that, Ren...”


“Don’t encourage him, Ren,” Suikotsu said softly as he pulled him aside. “If something happens to him Oo-Aniki’s going to get pissed off at you.”


“Heh! Oo-Aniki’ll never let him go by himself, so don’t worry, Sui.”


“Please, Aniki-chan!!” Jakotsu gave him his best cute and adorable look and Bankotsu could feel his resolve faltering.


“How can you resist that face, Oo-Aniki?” Renkotsu chuckled.


Jakotsu, finding an unexpected ally, smiled at Renkotsu, before turning his attention back to their leader. “Please...?!” he said, while trying to look even cuter than before.


Bankotsu sighed. “Fine...”


Renkotsu looked at Suikotsu and chuckled softly. “He’s so whipped.”


Suikotsu, who had been about to say something else, looked his lover in the eye and said, “Yeah...” But why do I have the feeling someone’s going to end up regretting this...?


Jakotsu, meanwhile, held Bankotsu tightly. “Thanks, Aniki-chan!!” he said, before kissing him long and hard. “I’ll be right back!!” Jakotsu cried as he hurried off down the road.


888


“Hey, old hag!!”


Adeyaka stared at the strange person standing before her. She was not sure if they were male or female as men that age found her very attractive much to her annoyance, while the women she had met while traveling were never that rude. “Excuse me?”


“You deaf, old hag?”


Adeyaka took a deep breath, held it and let it out slowly. “I am not old, nor am I a hag,” she said tersely.


“You sure could have fooled me.” Jakotsu giggled.


“Watch your tongue...” Adeyaka narrowed her eyes at the cross-dresser. “...boy.”


“Why should I?” Jakotsu said snottily. “You’re going to be dead soon.”


Adeyaka laughed. “I think not.” Moving faster than Jakotsu’s eyes could follow, she threw a powerful sutra at him.


The cross-dresser screamed when it hit him. He quickly pulled it off, and unsheathing the Jakotsutou, he yelled, “BITCH!! That fucking hurt!!”


Adeyaka laughed. “It was supposed to. Now go and enjoy your new form!” She flung her hand out towards him, unleashing the curse, before she disappeared in a puff of smoke.


“Hunh?! Get back here, Bitch!! I’m not finished with you!!” The cross-dresser fumed. He took a few steps towards where she had been standing, before dropping his sword as it grew heavier and heavier with each breath he took. What the hell...?


“What the hell did you do to me, Bitch?!” Jakotsu cried, his voice rising a couple of octaves.


888


The others, having watched Jakotsu’s failed attempt to get the miko, came running.


“Sweetness?! You okay?!”


Jakotsu turned around, halting the others in their tracks.


Renkotsu said slowly, “Sweet... Kami... sama...”


“What?! I’m not bleeding, am I?” Jakotsu said, a tiny hint of hysteria creeping into his voice. He blinked as he looked down at his hands. “Aniki-chan...? Why are my hands smaller...?”


Bankotsu, who was just as stunned as the rest of them, blinked a few times, before frowning. “You’re... ummm... Oh hell...”


“What?!” The hysteria was now clearly heard in the cross-dresser’s voice. “And what’s wrong with my voice, Sui?! And why’s my sword so fucking heavy?! Well?!”


Suikotsu sighed. “Ummm... I think that miko put a curse on you...”


“What?” Jakotsu blinked. “All she did was throw some stupid piece of paper at me and it burned like hell. So what’s wrong with me?”


“Ummm... how do I put this...?” Suikotsu looked over at Bankotsu for support.


“Aniki-chan...?” Jakotsu was starting to panic over the way no one seemed to want to answer his questions.


“Ummm...?”


Renkotsu was the first one to get over the shock. Looking Jakotsu straight in the eye, he said, “She turned you into a woman, Jak.”


The cross-dresser giggled nervously. “You’re kidding me, right?”


“Look down at your chest,” Suikotsu said softly.


Jakotsu shrugged and looked down but found nothing out of the ordinary due to the lose folds of his kimono. “So...?”


“Feel it...” Bankotsu said.


The cross-dresser frowned. He slowly brought his hands up to his chest, and his eyes went wide as he noticed a definite difference in how his armor was fitting. Taking a deep breath despite the tightness of his armor, he screamed.


“I don’t believe it! That damned miko really did turn Jak into a girl!!” Renkotsu cried.


Jakotsu whimpered as she blinked back her tears. “No...” she said a small strangled voice.


Bankotsu glared at the fire-breather. “Thank you, Ren.” Softening his gaze, he looked over at Jakotsu and gently placed a hand on the former cross-dresser’s arm. “You okay, Sweetness...?”You look like you’re going to faint, not that I blame you.


“Calm down, Jak, it’s not so bad... You look cute as a girl,” Suikotsu said in an attempt to make the former cross-dresser feel better. Hang on, Jak, as long as you don’t faint, I think you’ll be okay for the moment.


“But I don’t want to be a girl!!” Jakotsu wailed. I wish you all would stop staring at me like that as it’s really creepy!!


“Well you should have thought of that before trying to take on that miko by yourself,” Renkotsu smirked. Although, I have to say the end result wasn’t all that bad and Sui’s right; you are cute! Heh!


“Hunh?” Jakotsu sniffed and wiped away her tears as an outraged expression settled on her face. “But she’s a stupid woman!! I’ve killed lots of them before with no trouble!!”


“Yeah, but none have been dark miko.” Renkotsu grinned. “You were warned she was dangerous. In fact,” he smirked, “I told you so myself.”


Jakotsu hung her head for several heartbeats, her hands balling into fists at her side. The only sound that came from her was a heavy panting as she fought to regain control of her conflicting emotions. Finally, a deadly calm seemed to settle over the former cross-dresser as she looked up and narrowed her eyes at Renkotsu. A tight little smile twitched at her lips and before anyone could react, she walked over to him. Reaching up, she slapped the fire-breather hard across the face. “Shut up!!” Jakotsu cried. She stood there, nursing her aching hand as the rest looked on in shock.


Renkotsu gingerly fingered his jaw, the shock and surprise he felt clearly seen in his eyes. “Well, that was different...” he said softly.


Jakotsu pouted, cradling her sore hand closed to her body. “What was different?” She narrowed her eyes at Renkotsu again.


“I don’t think you’ve ever slapped me before.”


“No...?” Jakotsu blinked. “Well, it felt good, even though my hand’s sore now,” the former cross-dresser said as she looked away, frowning.


Renkotsu chuckled softly, and hooking his finger under Jakotsu’s chin, he gently titled her face up to look at him. “Yep...” He smiled much to the former cross-dresser’s annoyance. “You’re definitely a woman.”


“What’s that supposed to mean?”


Bankotsu said softly to Suikotsu, “Oh hell, he’s in for it now...”


Suikotsu chuckled softly in reply as the two watched the little drama in front of them play out.


“Don’t give me that look, Jak; it’s your own damn fault.”


The former cross-dresser glared at him and called him a bastard under her breath. Looking over at Bankotsu for support, Jakotsu said, “Are you going to let him talk to me like that?” taking the young leader of the Shichinintai completely by surprise.


Renkotsu laughed. “Yeah, you’re not doing a very good job of defending your lady’s honor, Ban,” the fire-breather could not help pointing out.


Bankotsu’s eyebrows shot up under his bangs as he sputtered helplessly.


“Dumpling!!” Jakotsu whined.


Suikotsu sighed softly. “Oh hell... why do I get the feeling this isn’t going to be pretty...?” Why can’t you keep your mouth shut, Ren?


Bankotsu stared at his subordinates as he silently regained control of the situation. “Ren, apologize to Jak, now,” he said with deadly calm, cracking his knuckles for emphasis.


Jakotsu squealed happily as she rushed over to Bankotsu, enfolding him in a tight embrace.


The young leader of the Shichinintai’s startlement soon gave way to contentment as his face rested lovingly in Jakotsu’s newly expanded feminine bosom. Despite the hardness of his armor, there was enough of Jakotsu’s new-found charms spilling out over the top of it to make him happily put up with it and then some.


That enjoyment was not lost on Renkotsu, who said dryly, “Okay... I apologize for calling Jak a girl and saying ‘I told you so.’” He shook his head at them as he made his way over to Suikotsu.


Bankotsu, his voice muffled by Jakotsu’s breasts as he let his hands wander farther south than the small of Jakotsu’s back, said distractedly, “Good...” I wonder if his ass is as soft as I think it is...


“Oo-Aniki sure seems happy,” Suikotsu said softly. He grinned at Renkotsu who returned it.


“Yeah... well, breasts will do that to you.” The fire-breather chuckled. “Sui, I’ve seen him stare death in the face, yet get him within five paces of some village girl’s charms and he turns into mush.”


The claw-bearer laughed. “Shall we leave them alone for a while?”


“Good idea.”


888


Suikotsu sat down on the fallen log and took off his claws as he and Renkotsu made an impromptu camp.


“I can’t believe Jak’s really a girl now...”


Renkotsu carefully set his shoulder canon down and said, “Come on, he’s not all that different from before. A little moodier, but aside from some extra added curves that Ban seems to have found to his liking, he’s still the same old Jak.”


Suikotsu chuckled. “You know, I’m curious as to how Jak’s going to react when Ban wants to nookie again.”


“I hadn’t thought of that!” Renkotsu laughed. “I wonder if he’s going to be as eager as before. You know what, Ban had better not going whoring anymore if he knows what’s good for him as I think she’d kill him now if he did.” The fire-breather chuckled. “Still, I’d love to see the look on Jak’s face when Ban asks him if he wants to nookie.”


Suikotsu nodded. “I have a strange feeling there’s going to be a lot of yelling.”


“And face slapping too!” Renkotsu chuckled as he fingered his jaw where Jakotsu had slapped him before. “Did you see how much Ban’s fallen in love with Jak’s breasts? I swear he likes him better this way!”


Suikotsu nodded. He chuckled softly when it hit him, and looking over at Renkotsu, he said, “Oh hell... I just thought of something.”


“What?”


“What if Jak gets with child, only this time it won’t be a joke...”


Renkotsu’s eyes went wide in surprise. “Oh... shit...”


“Yeah... that could be a problem,” Suikotsu said soberly.


“I know... Gin and I sat around thinking about it last time. This could change a lot of things....” Renkotsu said thoughtfully. “Ban might want to settled down with him... err... her and raise a pack of brats.” He sighed. “I guess we’d be out on our own then.”


“Not necessarily. Ban doesn’t seem the ‘settling down’ type.”


“True, but don’t forget this is Jak we’re talking about and not some village girl. You saw the look on Ban’s face when he realized this could be the answer to his prayers. He likes Jak, that’s a given, but a female Jak... he might just settle down now that he’s got the ideal woman.”


“Yeah, but I don’t think Jak is going to like it very much.”


“What’s not to like? He’ll have Ban plus a bunch of lil Bans running around. Didn’t you once tell me Jak was upset about Ban possibly wanting an heir? Now he won’t have very far to look. Besides, I think Jak’ll be happy to put up with swollen ankles and a fat stomach, not to mention morning sickness, if it means he’s giving his lil Dumpling an heir.”


“Yeah...” Suikotsu sighed. “But I still have the feeling Jak in the long run isn’t going to be happy being something he hates the most. Right now I don’t think what happened has sunk in yet and when it does...”


“Hmmm... I hadn’t thought about that. But he seems to be taking it well, no?”


Suikotsu shrugged. “We’ll see when Ban wants to nookie.”


Renkotsu laughed.


888


Jakotsu pulled away from Bankotsu’s embrace and tugged on his armor. “Gods, I can’t stand wearing this any more! Aniki-chan, can you help me out of it?”


“Sure!” Bankotsu said, although he hoped he did not sound as eager to get Jakotsu out of his clothes as he felt. He had always found Jakotsu alluring from the moment he had first met him, but now this new Jakotsu was turning out to be even more enticing.


The former cross-dresser turned away and slowly slipped out of the top of her kimono, and as Bankotsu watched he felt a familiar stirring in loins. Trying to calmly tug at the laces holding her armor together, the young leader of Shichinintai stared at the nape of Jakotsu’s neck. He would have given anything at that moment to have been taller, for the urge to kiss the creamy white flesh was overpowering even though he knew Jakotsu really did not like being kissed there.


Before Bankotsu knew it, his paramour had slipped out of her armor and was busy pulling her kimono back on, much to Bankotsu’s disappointment. And yet, the former cross-dresser’s new-found modesty was proving to be just as enchanting as her old lack of inhibitions.


“Damn it!! This really sucks!!” Jakotsu whined as she turned to face her lover. “I don’t wanna be a girl!!”


Bankotsu sighed. “I know you don’t, Sweetness...” He bent over to retrieve Jakotsu’s armor. “But there’s nothing we can do about it until we find that miko and make her change you back.” Bankotsu slid an arm around Jakotsu’s waist and led her over to the shade of a large tree.


Jakotsu sat down when they got there. “What should we do until we find her?”


Bankotsu sat next to him and shrugged. “I don’t know...” He put an arm around his paramour and pulled Jakotsu close. “What do you want to do?” he asked as Jakotsu leaned comfortably into him. Please say “nookie...”


“Well... I would either like to find her and make her change me back, or put some hakama on. I don’t know why, but I suddenly feel so naked.”


“You wear hakama? Now that’s a first!” Bankotsu laughed to hide his disappointment over his paramour’s desire to cover up her body. “Although, I think if you sat properly, you wouldn’t feel so naked. Not that I don’t appreciate the view...” He looked down at the soft white flesh of the former cross-dresser’s bare thigh.


Jakotsu, blushing prettily, stood up and unhooked the left side of her kimono from her obi. Letting it drop, she knelt rather than sat down next to Bankotsu. After a few minutes of fussing on both their parts until the former cross-dresser was comfortable, Jakotsu was once again leaning contentedly against her lover.


Bankotsu smiled, and reaching out, he gently caressed his paramour’s cheek.


Jakotsu, blushing profusely as Bankotsu tilted her face up to look at him, giggled.


It was all the encouragement Bankotsu needed and he leaned in to kiss his paramour who met him halfway. The young leader of Shichinintai deepened the kiss and ran his hand lightly up Jakotsu’s thigh, cupping her bottom. The former cross-dresser moaned softly as she threw her arms around her lover’s neck, pulling him close.


Breaking the kiss, Bankotsu nuzzled his paramour’s cheek, before trailing a line of butterfly kisses down her neck. His hand, which had been gently caressing Jakotsu’s bottom, now snaked its way between them, cupping the former cross-dresser’s left breast.
Bankotsu lightly rubbed his thumb across the thin cotton fabric of his paramour’s kimono, feeling her nipple underneath. Playfully teasing it as it hardened under his touch, Bankotsu wished his paramour would hurry up and get out of her kimono already.


Jakotsu, however, merely giggled in response. She felt very unsure of herself as she should have been feeling a familiar stirring in her loins, but now all she felt was an intense desire to squeeze her thighs together as the resulting sensations were unlike anything she had ever experienced. The more she clamped them together, the better it felt and she found she did not even mind the unfamiliar dampness and the strange fluttering in her belly. She giggled again.


“That tickles,” Jakotsu said breathlessly when the fluttering in her stomach became too intense.


“Yeah...?” Bankotsu murmured huskily in her ear.


“Yeah. Now stop it!”


“Stop what...?” Bankotsu said as he continued to tease the former cross-dresser’s nipple while nuzzling her neck.


“Stop it! It feels weird, Aniki-chan!” Jakotsu removed her hand from around Bankotsu’s neck and grabbed his wrist.


“Hunh?” Bankotsu paused and pulled away from his paramour. “What feels weird?”


“Every thing... I... I just don’t like it when you touch my tit like that. It feels weird.”


“Really?” Bankotsu frowned. “That never bothered you before...Want me to suck on it instead?” He smiled. Please say “yes...”I think sucking on these nice big boobies of yours could be a lot of fun and who knows where that’ll lead to...


“No!”


“Why not? You love it when I do that to you!”


“Well that was then... and this is now, and now it feels weird.” Jakotsu looked away and blushed, hugging herself like a shy virgin, which only made her that much more alluring to Bankotsu.


“Awe, come on, Sweetness...” Bankotsu gathered Jakotsu into his arms. Unfortunately that had the effect of making the former cross-dresser go rigid instead of melting against him. “Let’s have a little fun...”


“No!!” Jakotsu struggled in his arms. Freeing herself, she slapped Bankotsu in much the same way she had slapped Renkotsu earlier.


“What the hell’s your problem?!” Bankotsu said angrily, letting the hurt he felt show on his face.


“You!” Jakotsu spat, and getting up, she ran off towards where the others were waiting much to Bankotsu’s annoyance.


888


Jakotsu threw herself at Suikotsu and wailed loudly in his ear while a seething Bankotsu yelled at her, “to get over here right now, or else!”


It took several frantic minutes, but the claw-bearer somehow managed to disentangle himself from the hysterical former cross-dresser long enough for him to tell Renkotsu to take Bankotsu aside to see if he could calm their leader down as he had his hands full with Jakotsu.


“Take a few deep breaths and when you feel calmer we can talk, Jak, but not before,” Suikotsu said softly, forcing the former cross-dresser to stop wailing, so that she could hear him speak.


Jakotsu complied. She wiped her face with her kimono sleeve, hiccupping softly as she willed herself to calm down.


“Feeling better now?”


“Yeah...”


“Good. Now what happened?”


“Ummm...” Jakotsu started to say. Feeling her cheeks heat up, she let her gaze wander around, looking at anything and everything other than the person she had come to for solace.


“Jak, it’s okay, you don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to, but I can’t help you if you don’t,” Suikotsu said patiently.


“I know... I’m just being silly, I guess...” Jakotsu smiled weakly at him.


“You’re forgiven.”


Jakotsu took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “I hate being a girl, Sui. Everything feels so weird.”


“It’s bound to, and unfortunately, for the moment at least, there’s nothing you or I can do about it.”


“I know...” Jakotsu trailed off, letting the silence briefly stretch between them. “Anyway, Aniki-chan helped me out of my armor, which was good as now I can breathe again.” The former cross-dresser tittered into her sleeve as Suikotsu chuckled along with her.


“And...?” the claw-bearer prompted.


“And things were okay, I guess... He was very sweet and understanding like he always is whenever I’m upset about something. You know how he always does to stuff to take my mind off of what’s bothering me?”


Suikotsu nodded.


“Well, he made me laugh. And then he held me close and ummm...” Jakotsu felt her cheeks heating up.


“Yeah...?”


“And ummm... well, ummm... he kissed me and it was nice, Sui, nice to know he still likes me and all.” Even though I’m sure I must look really ugly...


“Oh, I never doubted for a minute that this would change his feelings for you, Jak,” Suikotsu said.


“You didn’t?”


“No... What happened to upset you so much?”


“Ummm... Well, we kissed and Aniki-chan ran his hand up my thigh and grabbed my ass.” Jakotsu giggled. “But when his hands started to wander it made me feel strange... and scared....” she trailed off softly.


Suikotsu nodded understandingly. “How so?”


“Well, it felt good at first like it always does when he touches me like that...but then I started feeling really strange in my belly,” Jakotsu said softly as she hugged herself. “It felt like I had a butterfly trapped inside me... And the more it fluttered, the more I wanted to clamp my legs together.” The cross-dresser looked up at Suikotsu, his expression reminding the claw-bear of a frighten child, before his countenance darkened. “And after a while, I got the feeling he was enjoying himself more than I was... especially when he grabbed my tit. He was having a little too much fun if you ask me!” he said angrily.


“I see...” Feeling jealous of yourself, hunh? Interesting...


“So I slapped him...”


“Really?”


“Yeah...” Jakotsu admitted sheepishly. “Although, I’m kinda sorry I did cuz he looked so hurt by it... But he really pissed me off, Sui. I’m wondering if he likes me this way much better... And that’s what scares me. I don’t want to stay like this.” I hate looking like this! I feel so ugly and strange and... and... and I HATE it!! I wish I never saw that stupid bitch miko!! And I wish Aniki-chan was more upset about this than he is!!


Hmmm... You really are jealous of yourself...”I know... it’s a lot to handle and I think you’re doing your best which all anyone can ask. Besides, I’m sure by this time tomorrow we’ll be in the next village over and maybe someone there will be able to help you change back.”


“I hope so...”


“I know... Why don’t you lie down and get some rest, Jak. You’ve had quite a shock, and I’m sure you’ll feel better afterwards.”


“Okay... as long as I can use your lap like a pillow.” She smiled sweetly at the claw-bearer.


“Of course you can.”


“Thanks, Sui...”


888


“Come, Oo-Aniki,” Renkotsu said as he tried steering the angry Bankotsu away from Suikotsu and the hysterical former cross-dresser. The fire-breather was annoyed at having his “private Sui time” interrupted again because of Jakotsu, although he was careful not to let his leader know that. The last thing he wanted was a fight with Bankotsu, especially when their leader was clearly frustrated and angry over what he called “Jak’s stupid nonsense.”


“Let go of me, Ren, if you know what’s good for you!” Bankotsu took his eyes off his paramour just long enough to level a nasty glare at Renkotsu.


“Look, I’m just trying to prevent you from doing something you’ll regret later,” Renkotsu said calmly.


Bankotsu, who was more interested in what Jakotsu was doing than listening to his second-in-command, turned to briefly glare at him again, before focusing his attention on his wailing paramour. “Damn it!! What the hell’s his problem?!”


Renkotsu sighed. “He’s upset; it’s not every day you’re turned into something you hate the most.”


Bankotsu looked over at Renkotsu. “He wasn’t that upset before... He was all soft and sweet and shy and cuddly and...” He sighed softly as he looked back over at his paramour.


“Well that’s how women are.”


Bankotsu looked at his second-in-command like he was an idiot. Do you honestly think I don’t already know that? But this isn’t any woman... this is Jak! “I know that!” he said peevishly. “But Jak’s never acted like this before... He always wants to nookie and I’m the one who usually has to turn him down as much as I hate to at times, but it’s always for his own good.” He let out a huge sigh. “What I don’t get is why he’s acting like some shy virgin all of a sudden.”


“Well in case you haven’t noticed, Aniki, Jak is now a woman!”


Bankotsu grinned. “I’ve noticed, Ren... trust me; it’s hard not to...” He let his gaze wistfully wander back over to where his paramour sat, quietly talking with Suikotsu.


“Well, since he’s now a woman, you’re going to have to take the good with the bad.”


“What do you mean by that...? I’ve been taking his good and bad ever since I’ve known him.”


“Now you have to take some new good and bad things. Good things like he has breasts and bad things like his mood swings,” Renkotsu said.


“Are you telling me the only reason women get moody is cuz they have boobies?” Bankotsu looked at him like he had three heads. “And now that Jak has big boobies, he’s going to have big mood swings?”


Renkotsu pinched the bridge of his nose, before replying, “It’s because he’s a woman that he has mood swings. Women are just different from us and you never know what’ll set them off.”


“Really...?” Bankotsu said sarcastically.


Renkotsu, missing the sarcasm, nodded.


“Oh...” Bankotsu thought it over, his mind whirling, as he tried to make sense of things. “Wait!! How come Hana-chan is never moody? She’s a woman... and how come whores are never moody, Ren? They’re women.” He folded his arms across his chest and waited for an answer.


The fire-breather sighed. “It’s because some women are better at keeping it in check than others. Like whores; it’s their job to make you feel good and they can’t do that if they’re all moody and Hana-chan thinks more like a man than most women.”


“Well then Jak shouldn’t have a problem keeping it check too. He used to be a whore, and he was also a man,” the young leader of the Shichinintai said smugly. “So that can’t be it...”


“But, Ban, Jak never had much control over his emotions.”


“Yeah, but he was never this much of a cry-baby over things either! All I wanted was some nookie, something that all I have to do is look at Jak the wrong way and he’s hauling my ass off to the futon for a bit of fun. And he always wants to do something adventurous in there too. So why not try some nookie as a woman?”


“Do you see what I’m saying?” That women don’t like to nookie as much as we do? And when they do, they want a little romance first? So now you’re going to have to woo Jak into the futon first before you get to have fun.


“No...”


Renkotsu sighed. “I’m sure you’ll figure it out soon enough.”


Bankotsu, looking over at his paramour, also sighed. “Well, he seems to have calmed down a bit...” Narrowing his eyes, he glared at the claw-bearer, who was gently stroking Jakotsu’s hair as he rested his head in Suikotsu’s lap.


“That’s Sui’s special ability...”


Bankotsu nodded, looking none too pleased about Jakotsu using the claw-bearer’s lap as a pillow as well as Suikotsu’s fussing over him.


“He’s good at calming people down.”


“Yeah, I know, Ren.” But that should be me who’s the lap-pillow; not Sui!


Renkotsu, sounding a little distant, said, “Sui’s lap makes a very nice pillow...” That should be my head in Sui’s lap, not Jak’s!


Bankotsu glared at the fire-breather. “Yeah?”


Suikotsu looked up and sneezed, briefly drawing their attention.


“Yeah, I’ve had my head in his lap many times.” Renkotsu smiled.


“I’m sure you have,” Bankotsu said dryly. “And Jak likes to use my lap as a pillow,” he said, his expression briefly softening. “So what the hell is he doing getting all cozy on Sui’s lap?”


“I think that Jak likes it because he can have his head in Sui’s lap with no strings attached.”


“What do you mean, ‘no strings attached?’ It’s not like I tie him up and make him stay with me...” Although, I’m sure he’d like to try that at least once...


Renkotsu sighed at his leader’s denseness. “I mean he can put his head in Sui’s lap without feeling any obligation to repay Sui for it.”


“Oh...” Bankotsu frowned. “But he doesn’t have to repay me for letting him use my lap as a pillow. I’m more than happy to let him.”


“Have you ever told him that directly?”


“No... But I shouldn’t have to. He should know that already, Ren. He never has to repay me for anything... just being with him is enough for me.”


“Be that as it may, Ban, there’s no way Jak would know that unless you told him.”


“So you’re saying I should just tell him I like being with him and that he doesn’t owe me any thing for the pleasure...?”


“Yup.”


“Damn...” Bankotsu frowned. “Uh, Ren, can’t I just nookie with him instead?”


“No.”


“Why not? We’ve nookied before with no problems. And it’s not like I don’t know what to do with a woman.”


“True... but have you given any thought to what would happen if you got him, I mean her with child? Damn, it’s confusing as to what to call him.” Renkotsu sighed. “Anyway, what if she couldn’t be changed back because of it, or what if the child dies because she got changed back? You remember how upset Jak was that time he thought he was with child and you and Sui told him it wasn’t true.”


“Well, now he has his chance to really have one.”


“Aren’t you listening? If Jak gets with child, she may be stuck as a woman permanently. And since she hates them so damned much, she might be devastated, and having your child, or children for that matter, may not be enough... And what if she finds out that if she didn’t have a child she could have easily changed back? You don’t want her to wind up hating you and the child, now do you?”


“No...” Bankotsu frowned.


“So just give Jak some time to come to grips with this whole thing and if it looks like there’s no changing her back, then that’s your chance to settle down and make an honest woman out of him... or her or whatever you want to call him-her.”


The young leader of the Shichinintai sighed. “Okay...” I’ll give him some time, Ren, but I can tell you right now, it’s not going to be easy... Damn it!! Why’d you have be so beautiful, Jak? And have such nice big soft boobies too?


“Now you’re thinking like a man instead of a lecherous boy. Come on, let’s go back and figure out what we’re going do.”


Bankotsu nodded. “Okay...”



“Oo-Aniki... Ban, look, I know it can’t be easy for the two of you, but sometimes when life throws you odd bends in the road you just have to follow along and see where it goes.”


“Yeah... I suppose so.” Bankotsu sighed.



888


The next day the four of them made their way slowly to the next village. Jakotsu kept falling behind, causing the others to stop and wait for her catch up. The former cross-dresser was unusually quiet and withdrawn; in fact, she had not said a word since she went to sleep the night before.


Bankotsu knew she was upset with him even though all she did was simply remove his hand from her breast. Sitting up, she had looked at him sadly as she moved away from him. He had to admit to himself that hurt, but the look on her face, and especially her eyes which were bright with unshed tears, felt like a knife through his heart. And now every time he got close enough to apologize, Jakotsu would stare at him listlessly until he could not take it any more.


“Sweetness, we need to talk,” Bankotsu said softly as he walked next to his paramour.


Jakotsu shrugged.


“Look, I’m sorry I grabbed your boobies in my sleep... I didn’t know I was doing it until you woke me up and ummm...”


The former cross-dresser stopped walking and glared at him.


“I’m sorry, but your boobies are nice, Sweetness, I mean if they were mine, I’d probably be touching them all the time.” He grinned. “I’m sorry... I wish I knew what to do to make it up to you and all...” Bankotsu reached out to gently cup his paramour’s cheek.


Jakotsu hiccupped softly, before bursting into tears.


“Oh hell, Sweetness... Don’t cry!” Bankotsu said helplessly as he set the Banryuu down. Straightening up, he said, “I said I was sorry...”


The former cross-dresser nodded as she moved closer to him. Crying softly, she let Bankotsu wrap his arms around her, holding her close.


Renkotsu and Suikotsu had kept to the lead, giving their leader and his paramour some privacy. As they left the shadows of the forest, the village they were heading towards came into view.


“Oo-Aniki,” Renkotsu called out over his shoulder. “Oh shit! Now what’s wrong with Jak?” he groaned as he turned around and stopped.


“Hunh?” Suikotsu came to a halt next to the fire-breather.


“Something’s up with Jak again.”


Suikotsu sighed. “Poor thing... I’ve been worried about him. He was awfully quiet at dinner and I thought I heard him crying last night too.”


“I didn’t hear anything.”


“I’m a very light sleeper, Ren. It comes from being a doctor and having to wake up and be ready in case someone needed me even if was the middle of the night.”


“You think he knows or felt something that made him think it’s a permanent change? And if it is, I think we’d better start getting used to the idea of calling him a ‘her...’”


“I think the only thing he felt were Oo-Aniki’s hands wandering,” Suikotsu said dryly. “I really should have a talk with Jak about it too. If we’re going to hunt this miko down and get her to change him back, he’s got to understand that there could be serious consequences to their actions.”


“I know... I mentioned it to Ban yesterday.”


Suikotsu looked surprised. “You did?”


Renkotsu nodded, a sly grin twitching the corners of his mouth upwards. “Yeah. I told him he should be careful, because Jak could wind up getting hurt if he got with child.”

“Tell me you didn’t.” The claw-bearer shook his head and smiled. I like this new level of maturity you’re showing, Ren...


“Sure did!” Renkotsu smirked. “I also pointed out that if they made a baby it could die if Jak turned back to normal or it could make him get stuck as a woman and he could wind up hating it and Ban. I know it sounds harsh, but he wasn’t listening to me and I had to get his attention somehow.”


Suikotsu nodded. “Maybe he mentioned it to Jak and that’s why he was crying, because if not, then he was crying because he’s jealous of himself.”


“Jealous of himself?”


“Yeah... Oo-Aniki has been more attentive to him since the change and Jak told me he was upset about it.”


Renkotsu chuckled. “It’s the breasts... Ban, apparently, is very taken with Jak’s.”


“Yes.” Suikotsu chuckled. “That’s right, Jak did say something about Oo-Aniki fondling his breast and that it made him feel strange inside. Perhaps it has been a blessing that they haven’t nookied, as I have the feeling I’d be hearing all about it and that is one thing I really don’t want to be in the middle of.”


“I don’t blame you. Anyway, it looks like they have no intentions of moving along, so I guess we’d better go see what’s wrong.” Damn it! Please tell me we’re not going to waste time, sitting around doing nothing, while you two go off and disappear for some nookie...


“Yeah...” Poor Jak...


888


Bankotsu stood there, his head lovingly nestled on Jakotsu’s bosom, and as she cried softly, her breasts would jiggle slightly with each ragged breath she took.


“Am I forgiven...?”


Jakotsu hiccupped as she cried herself out. “Yeah... no...I don’t know...” she said softly.


“Oh...”


“I’m sorry, Aniki-chan...”


“No, I’m the one who’s supposed to be sorry, Sweetness.”


Jakotsu laughed through her tears. “Yeah...?”


“Yeah...” Bankotsu murmured lovingly into his paramour’s breasts.


“Aniki-chan.”


“Yeah...?”


“If I didn’t know any better, I’d swear you like my tits more than me,” Jakotsu said peevishly.


“Hunh?” Bankotsu said as he reluctantly pulled away from his paramour’s bosom to look up at her. “What ever gave you that idea?” Bankotsu said innocently as he prayed his cheeks would not heat up. Shit! You’ve gotta show more restraint there, Ban!


“Nothing...” Jakotsu said tiredly as he looked his lover straight in the eye. Damn it!! You really do like them better than me!!


“Look, like I told you before, I like them... they’re soft and ummm... big...and ummm...” Bankotsu trailed off helplessly. And beautiful and I could happily rest my head on them...


I knew it!! “Would you still love me if they went away...?”


“Of course I would!” Although, I’d have to admit I’d miss them...


“Really?” Jakotsu said as she quirked an eyebrow at him.


“I said I would, Sweetness. Why don’t you believe me?”


“I don’t know... It’s just that you’ve got that weird look on your face that you get when you drool over other women.”


Bankotsu frowned. “I don’t drool over women.”


“Yes, you do! I’ve seen you do it plenty of times!” Jakotsu spat.


“No, I don’t!!”


“Do too!!”


Bankotsu huffed angrily. He stared at his paramour’s breasts while he slowly counted to ten. Feeling calmer, he said, “I do not and let’s drop this, Sweetness, or else we’re going to be spending the rest of the day arguing about it. Besides, I’d rather do something else like ummm... nookying...?” He looked up at his paramour. Please say the word, and I’ll happily drag you off to those bushes over there...


“No!” Jakotsu said angrily, the tears welling up in her eyes again. I can’t believe you!! You just want to nookie so you can play with my tits!!


“What...? You don’t want to nookie...?” Bankotsu looked as shocked as he felt to hear that. “You’re not sick are you?”


“No. I just don’t want to nookie with someone who likes my tits more than me,” Jakotsu said tersely.


“What?!” Bankotsu sputtered.


“You heard me,” the former cross-dresser said.


“I’m hurt, Sweetness, I can’t believe you think so little of me.” I can’t believe how well you know me...


“I can’t believe you think so little of me that that’s the only thing you want!” Gods you’re pathetic!


Bankotsu opened and closed his mouth a few times, reminding Jakotsu of a koi out of water. “Sweetness...”


“What?!”


Bankotsu sighed, and looking her straight in the eye, he said, “Okay... I admit it. I’m dying to nookie with you cuz you’ve got boobies... as well as other girl parts... And well, you’re ummm... really pretty, so it’s hard not to drool all over you and them...” He motioned towards Jakotsu’s bosom. “Awe... come on, Sweetness... Let’s nookie, I’m really not all that good at begging for it.”


Jakotsu looked at him, her mouth hanging open from the shock of his admission while her tears from the hurt she felt over it spilled down her cheeks. “You mean... you like me better as a girl?!”


“No!!” Bankotsu cried as he smacked himself in the forehead. Idiot!! You had to go to go and upset him again!! And just when it looked like we were going to nookie too!! “That’s not what I meant!!”


“Then what do you mean?”


Bankotsu blushed. “Well... you know I like you a lot, right...?”


“I don’t know what you like any more,” the former cross-dresser said sadly.


The young leader of the Shichinintai looked away, embarrassed. “Well, it’s been really confusing for me ...” Bankotsu said as he reached up to scratch the back of his head. “But I still like you and if you can’t change back, I’d like us to be together and ummm... settle down and ummm... have lots of babies...? And ummm... I’ll still get you those one hundred kimono I promised.... And ummm... hehehe..” he laughed nervously.


“Really?” Jakotsu’s eyes suddenly widened when it hit her. “Are you... proposing to me?”


Bankotsu nodded and said shyly, “Yeah....”


The former cross-dresser’s joy quickly faded. “Why haven’t you done this before?”


“Done what?”


“Proposed to me like this?”


Bankotsu shrugged. “I dunno...”


“It’s because of these, isn’t it?!” Jakotsu said angrily as she held her breasts in her hands.


“No!! While those are nice, Sweetness, it’s you I like... no, you I love...” Bankotsu said softly, taking Jakotsu’s hands in his.


“Then why didn’t you propose to me before?” she said peevishly.


Bankotsu sighed. “That’s because up until yesterday, you were a boy, Sweetness, and men don’t marry each other no matter how much they may want to.” He looked up at her and smiled.


Don’t look at me like that! I’m trying to stay mad at you...”Oh... I’m being stupid again, hunh?” Jakotsu said sheepishly. Idiot!! You always forgive him too quickly!! But that’s because you love him... She mentally sighed.


“Nah... You’re just being cute as usual.”


“Really? So every time we nookied before it’s cuz you really wished we were married?”


“Ummm... Yeah...” Not really...but that’s only because I never gave it much thought until now... “Now shut up and kiss me!”


“No!” the former cross-dresser teased. How could I doubt your love for me...?


“Pretty please...?”


“Okay...” Jakotsu took her lover’s face in her hands, and leaning forward, she kissed him. Breaking the kiss, she asked, “So when are you going to make me your wife?”


“I thought we’d do it as soon as we’re sure you can’t be changed back.”


“Oh...”


“Well, we could always nookie in the mean time, no?”


Jakotsu frowned. “I dunno... I suppose we could...” She looked up in time to see the others approaching. Feeling oddly relieved, she said, “Not now, Aniki-chan. Ren and Sui are coming this way.”


“They are?” Bankotsu turned around. “Ah shit!”


Jakotsu giggled. “Don’t worry, my Dumpling, there’s always later. And besides, I’d feel more comfortable if we nookied indoors... Maybe this village will be large enough to have an inn.”


“Yeah...”


Jakotsu kissed her lover’s nose. “Don’t be sad...” She said softly, and pulling away from Bankotsu, she called out, “Hey, Sui, Ren!”


“Jak, Oo-Aniki,” Suikotsu said as he and Renkotsu approached.


“Guess what?!” Jakotsu said excitedly.


“What?” Suikotsu said.


“What, Jak? You two figure out how to change you back?”


“No, Ren, this is even better!” Jakotsu said as she came over to them.


Renkotsu exchanged glances with Suikotsu. Setting his shoulder cannon down, he asked, “What could be better than that?”


“Aniki-chan’s going to make me his wife!” she gushed.


“He’s going to do what?” Renkotsu said, as his gaze shifted from the former cross-dresser to his leader and back.


“Aniki-chan’s going to make me his wife!! Isn’t that great?!”


“Is this true, Oo-Aniki?” Suikotsu asked.


Bankotsu nodded. “Yeah.”


“I see, and that’s wonderful as I know you two’ll be very happy together. However, as your ‘Chichi-ue,’ Jak, I’d like to have a word with you first, if I may?” Suikotsu said.


“Okay...” Jakotsu said. “Can I, Aniki-chan?”


“Sure...” What the hell does Sui want now?


“Why don’t you two go see if you can find us a place to stay for the night in that village up ahead as this might take awhile,” Suikotsu said. “And, Oo-Aniki, don’t worry, your little bride will be safe with me.” The claw-bearer smiled, leaving Bankotsu to wonder whether or not he was simply teasing him or dead serious.


“Bye, Aniki-chan!” Jakotsu blew a kiss and waved at him.


“See you later, Sweetness...” Bankotsu said as he gave his paramour a little wave. He bent and retrieved his giant halberd as Renkotsu shouldered his canon. Walking away, he felt his cheeks heating up when he heard Renkotsu chuckling softly.


“Bye, Sui, Jak...” Renkotsu said as he hurried off after their leader.


“So what did you want to talk to me about, Chichi-ue?” Jakotsu giggled.


“Grandchildren.”


“Grandchildren?”


“Yes, grandchildren. While I think it’s very nice that Oo-Aniki’s going to make you his wife, but have you two given any thought to what’s going to happen if you get with child for real this time?”


“No...”


“I didn’t think so.” Suikotsu sighed. “Jak, it might be possible to change you back and if that were to happen, any child you may be carrying inside you will die because you will no longer have a womb as men don’t have them.”


“Oh yeah...”


“And, if you were to get with child, it might also stop you from changing back because it could make the magic permanent. And I would be very upset if you were to regret having children and spent the rest of your days hating them and Oo-Aniki because you lost the chance to change back,” Suikotsu said gently.


“So you’re saying I can’t nookie with Aniki-chan any more...?” I wonder why that doesn’t bother as much as I thought it would...


“No, you can, but I want you to be sure this is what you really want. Seriously, Jak, you could nookie with Oo-Aniki or any of us for that matter, hundreds of times and never get with child, or you could get with child the first time you do. And even if Oo-Aniki were to pull out before spilling his seed that’s no guarantee you won’t make a baby.”


“I know that, Sui.” Jakotsu rolled her eyes.


“I know that you do, I just wanted you to hear me say it because you know I like you and care about you. I don’t let just anyone call me ‘Chichi-ue’ now do I?”


Jakotsu giggled. “Nope!” she said. “And thank you, ‘Chichi-ue.’ I appreciate it,” she said softly.


“Don’t be sad, Jak, we’ll figure this out, but in the mean time... be careful.”


“I will.”


“Come; let’s catch up to them before Oo-Aniki thinks I’ve run off with you.”


They started walking in the same direction the others had taken.


“Okay!” Jakotsu giggled and growing more serious, she said, “Uh, Sui, please tell me you don’t like me better this way...” I have the feeling Aniki-chan does and while it hurts, I guess it’s better than having him hate me now...


Suikotsu sighed. “It’s not a question of liking you better one way or the other, Jak, as I like you and it doesn’t matter to me what you are. But you’ve got to realize you do look different than you did before and it’s going to take some time for the rest of us to get used to you like this. But I can tell you one thing...” Suikotsu smiled.


“What?!”


“It’s a good thing you’re going to be a married woman as poor Mu wouldn’t be able to leave you alone otherwise.”


“Yeah...?”


The claw-bearer nodded. “Uh, hunh... You were a very pretty boy, Jak, and now you’re an even prettier girl, so it’s no wonder Oo-Aniki was so smitten with you. I’d say if things were different and you were born a girl, you’d have all village boys chasing after you and making Oo-Aniki crazy about it.”


“Really?”


“Yup... And myself and Ren too...”


Jakotsu giggled.


“So don’t be so hard on Oo-Aniki, okay? He really can’t help it.”


The former cross-dresser nodded contritely. “How did you know...?” she said softly.


“I can tell by the way you two look at each other when you know the other isn’t watching that the two of you have been at odds with each other. Plus I remember what it was like to be young and in love with the prettiest girl in the village and acting like a complete and utter fool the whole time too.”


“Yeah...?” She smiled.


“Yeah...”


888



Bankotsu met them on the outskirts of the small fishing village.


“Good! You’re here!” He said as he hurried over to his paramour and the claw-bearer. “Ren’s gone off to see if he can find us a place to stay for the night.”


“Has he?” Suikotsu asked. “It seems like such a small village that I wonder if he’ll find anything.”


“Yeah... I know, but hopefully they’ve got something. This looks like a main road running through it. I think it’s part of the Tokaido if I’m not mistaken, and yet, it doesn’t explain why this village is so small.”


“Maybe the wars have something to do with it, Aniki-chan.”


“Yeah...”


“Hey look, there’s a priestess over there, she may know if there is an inn,” Suikotsu said.


“All I know is I’m tired, Aniki-chan, and I want to go lie down. I didn’t sleep too good last night,” Jakotsu said quietly.


Bankotsu nodded. “I’ll go ask her.”


“Be careful, Aniki-chan, in case she’s a dark one!”


Bankotsu nodded. “I will.” He walked over to where the old woman was gathering some of the plants that grew alongside the road. “Excuse me, Miko-sama; I was wondering if you knew if this village had an inn. We need somewhere to rest for the night.”


The old miko straighten up and looked Bankotsu up and down with her one eye. Shifting her gaze past him, she saw he was with a woman and another man. “I’m afraid not,” she said as she once again looked him over, trying to decide whether or not she could trust them. Smiling as she reached her decision, she said, “But you are welcome to stay with me for the night as long as you don’t mean any harm to our village.”


“We can?” Bankotsu smiled at this unbelievable bit of good fortune. “Thank you! And I will vouch for my companions; they won’t harm anyone here.”


“Good...” The old miko smiled as she bent to retrieve her basket.


Bankotsu motioned for his companions to come over. “Come, this kind priestess said we could stay with her.” He waited while they approached. “Ummm, I’m called Ban, and this is my friend, Suiichi, and that’s my ummm... woman, Cho-chan.”


“I am called Kaede.” She smiled. “I’m pleased to meet you. Now follow me, Bankotsu of the Shichinintai.”


Bankotsu sputtered. “How did you know?”


“Everyone’s heard tales of the Shichinintai. But as long as you give me your word and you keep it, you are welcome to stay.” Not that we really have a choice, if you wanted to stay there’s no one in the village now who could stop you.


“Oo-Aniki...”


“It’ll be fine, Suikotsu-san. That is your name, no?” She said, quirking her eyebrow at him, while she waited for his reply.


“Yes...”


Kaede looked over at Jakotsu. “Truthfully I thought the stories of a woman among you were wrong. But now...” She shrugged. “And yet, I could see that you are not an ordinary woman, are you, Cho-chan?”


“No... and my name is really Jakotsu.”


Kaede nodded. “You have an aura of powerful magic about you, boy. There is also a touch of a curse, but most of it feels like the work of a youkai.”


“Really?” She turned to her lover. “Aniki-chan, if she was really a youkai, why didn’t you tell me?”


“I didn’t know, Sweetness, all I knew was she was a dark miko.”


“Aah...” Kaede nodded. “I have heard rumors of such a woman myself. So it seems she cursed you, but there was other magic involved. This is not good... And you attempted to deal with her on your own, foolish boy?” Kaede grinned.


“Yeah...” Jakotsu sighed.


“Hmmph... Not a smart move on your part, boy. Nor yours for letting him go alone,” she gently chided them.


“I know...”


“Excuse me, Oo-Aniki, I’d better go find Ren and tell him what’s going on.”


“Okay... Sui, wait.” Bankotsu motioned for his fourth-in-command to stay put. “Miko-sama, where are you taking us? He’s going to find my other friend, Ren, and let him know we have a place to stay for the night.”


“Back to my hut; it’s just over there.” She pointed to a hut near a large torii. “Keep to the road, and you’ll find the village proper. You friend is probably there.”


“Got that, Sui?”


“Yes. Thank you again, Miko-sama,” the claw-bearer said before he took off towards the main part of the village.


888


The four members of the Shichinintai were pleasantly surprised when Kaede shared her meager dinner with them. They had thought they would have to go into to town to find something to eat but the old miko wisely kept them cloistered in her home to prevent any trouble. So they sat there, enjoying the old miko’s hospitality, although Jakotsu mostly picked at her food.


Once the meal was nearly finished, Kaede set her empty rice bowl down and stood up. She smiled ruefully at her creaking joints, the sound of them causing the claw-bearer to pause in his eating and look at her inquiringly. She held her hand up and he relaxed. Turning to Jakotsu, she said, “Come, boy, I wish to have a word with you in private.”


“Okay...” Jakotsu set his bowl of rice down and stood up to follow.


Bankotsu also stood up.


“You will stay put, Bankotsu-san,” Kaede said in a tone that brooked no argument. “Your friend will be safe with me. And no one will bother you as well; by now word has gotten out that you are here, and with your reputations I’d dare say it would be a fool indeed to start anything with you. Now come, Jakotsu-san,” she said as she stepped down into the genkan. “Please, make yourselves comfortable, we won’t be long,” Kaede said. Once she was sure the former cross-dresser was coming, she pushed the bamboo curtain aside and stepped outside.


Jakotsu stepped down into the entryway, and turning around, he waved shyly at comrades, before following the old miko outside.


“Shit! That’s one tough old woman!” Bankotsu said.


Renkotsu nodded. “Tell me about it.”


“She doesn’t look that old, you two.”


“No? How old do you think she is, Sui?”


“Hard to say, but she couldn’t be much older than twice my age. She just looks very old because her hair is grey and her face is lined from worry over her responsibilities, Oo-Aniki. And she probably had a hard life growing up here in this village.”


Bankotsu shrugged.


“And I wouldn’t worry about Jak either. From what I’ve seen the people here all love and respect the miko and most people normally think Jak’s a girl at first glance and now that he really is one, they won’t accuse him of spoiling her honor.”


“Yeah...”


“What I’d like to know is how and when she lost her eye,” Renkotsu said. “It can’t be easy going through life like that.”


“I’d say she probably lost it as a child since it doesn’t seem to bother her, Ren, and besides, she’s lucky to be alive and to have lived so long.” The claw-bearer paused as he thought it over. “I wonder if she could have lost her eye in an accident while playing when she was a little girl like Kiku-chan. Or it’s possible the wars could have swept through here again and again and she lost it in a battle like Gin. If you think about it, it looks like what we’re probably seeing here is the village finally starting to recover. You know how the fighting has moved north lately, while before we were always heading southeast. And if this village is on the Tokaido like you say it is, Oo-Aniki, then it should be much bigger than it is.”


“Yeah, I know... Anyway, I wonder what’s they’re talking about.” Who cares how the old bat lost her eye? I want to know what she wants with Jak!


“Who knows...?”


888


“Are you happy, Jakotsu?”


“Yeah... I guess so.” Jakotsu shrugged. “I mean Aniki-chan, err... Bankotsu still loves me and he said he’ll marry me if I can’t change back.”


“He does?” Kaede blushed as she realized exactly what the former cross-dresser meant by that. Clearing her throat to cover up her discomfiture, she said, “That’s nice he wants to marry you, but are you happy? And more importantly will you be happy living out the rest of your life like this? It’s quite possible you won’t be able to change back.”


The former cross-dresser sighed. “I think so... If Aniki-chan’s willing to put up with me looking so ugly, then I’m going to try to be happy and accept it. Why?”


Kaede frowned. “Who said you were ugly, boy?”


“No one... Sui did say I was pretty and Aniki-chan said I was cute, or being cute again.” Jakotsu frowned as he found it hard to believe them.


“They’re telling you the truth.”


Jakotsu looked surprised. “They are?”


“Yes... Come, I will show you,” Kaede said. She walked along the edge of the forest towards the river bank, Jakotsu following along behind her. “Let’s just say for argument’s sake, that you are just as beautiful as you used to be, would that make you happy?”


Jakotsu shrugged. “I don’t know. I guess it would because then I could be sure Aniki-chan wouldn’t leave me... But, ummm...” he trailed off softly.


Kaede nodded. “The reason I ask, child, is because it could be important.”


“I know... It’s just that I ummm...”


“You’re not comfortable speaking with me about it.”


“No... I mean yeah...” Jakotsu looked away.


“And...?” Kaede said softly.


“Truthfully I don’t like women all that much.”


“I see.”


“Look, I mean no disrespect to you, Kaede-sama. You’ve been very kind to us and no one had to threaten you.”


The old miko snorted in amusement. “No offense taken, boy, but...?”


“But I never really had good experiences with them. Some of them pretended to be nice when I was growing up and some were rather nasty and bitchy. And the ones I know now either fawn all over me or Aniki-chan, and I don’t know which one bothers me more... Plus they lie and they cheat and they leave you when you least expect it!” the former cross-dresser said petulantly.


Kaede chuckled. “Men also lie, cheat, and leave you when you least expect it.”

“Yeah.... But...”


“But nothing.” The old miko smiled again. “That is human nature. It matters not whether one is man or woman.” Fascinating... for one who is so jaded, you are also very innocent...Still, if you haven’t had good experiences in life it’s understandable why you are so bitter for one so young...


Jakotsu made a little snort of wry amusement.


Changing the subject, Kaede said, “Come, Jakotsu-san, I want you to look into the stream and tell me what you see.”


Glancing at the old miko, who nodded, Jakotsu looked down at their reflections in the stream. “I see an old woman and a much taller, younger looking one standing next to her.”


“Tell me, Jakotsu-san, the younger woman, does she look happy to you?”


The former cross-dresser sighed. “Not really, but she doesn’t look that unhappy either. She looks more like she’s stuck between two rocks she cannot move.” Jakotsu’s sad expression brightened when she smiled impishly. “What do you see, Kaede-sama?”


“Impudent child!” Kaede laughed. “Seriously, I see a pretty young woman who reminds me oddly enough of my older sister, or rather my older sister’s would-be lover.” She sighed.


“Really?” Your sister was in love with another woman?! Interesting, but if you think I’m hopping in the futon with you; you’re crazy, old woman!


“Yes... My older sister had fallen in love...” Kaede trailed off softly. “Let’s just say it ended tragically and I now see it still would have ended tragically if things had gone according to my sister’s plan. So I thank you, Jakotsu-san, for giving me that little bit of insight.”


“Okay... and you’re welcome,” the former cross-dresser said, sounding just as confused as she looked. Does this mean I’m not going to have to hop in the futon with you?


Kaede smiled. “And, Jakotsu-san, I want you to know that I’m not saying this lightly for it grieves me to have to say it at all, but if you wish to defeat... no, destroy this miko and regain your former self, I believe the best way to do this would be to accept that which you cannot change. You must live with it and learn to love it and accept it. And most important of all, try not to let your heart become clouded and darkened by jealousy.” Something I wish my sister had done as I have the feeling she would still be alive if she had...


Jakotsu sighed sadly as she had hoped Kaede would have had better advice about what to do. “I’ll try...” Damn it! I wish Aniki-chan was here to explain to me what the hell she’s talking about...


“That is all one can ask from you.”


“Wait! You’re saying we should kill her?”


Kaede sighed. “Yes. Now that I’ve seen you, I know what this miko may have been doing. I also have the feeling that those men who have ‘disappeared’ may have killed themselves as I don’t think they were as strong in their hearts as you, nor do I think they had the love and acceptance you have.”


“Oh...”


Kaede nodded. “Now, let’s go back before your friends come looking for us. I have the feeling your ‘Aniki-chan’ could wreak a lot of havoc in the village if he feels you’re in danger,” the old miko said.


“Yeah... I’m lucky I found him, or he found me.” Jakotsu giggled as Kaede smiled and shook her head at her.


888


The next day, Jakotsu was still tight-lipped about what she had talked about the night before with Kaede which annoyed Bankotsu a lot. It especially bothered him when the old miko gave his paramour a parting gift. The gift was nothing more an old hairpin, but Jakotsu had accepted it reverently and had made a great show of sticking it in her hair before they left.


So they walked along the Tokaido, discussing the latest rumors about the dark miko. Renkotsu, when he had gone into the village for supplies, had heard that she was not that far away, having settled in the next village over to take care of their demon problem. As they traveled, Bankotsu found the activity and planning did much to improve his disposition, but more than that, he was pleased to see his paramour’s spirits were lifting. Apparently whatever they had discussed last night had left Jakotsu feeling more like her old self, for she spent the time flirting with them and singing bawdy songs in a rich contralto.


888


They made it to the village by nightfall. After finding a place to stay for the night, Bankotsu and Jakotsu roamed the streets looking for food.


“What are you so happy about?”


“Nothing, Aniki-chan... If you must know, I’m just pretending to be happy. I used to do that all the time when I worked in the bathhouse. It really works, because after a while you forget why you’re sad.”


“Oh... I had no idea you were still upset, Sweetness. You did such a good job of pretending I think you’ve fooled us all.” Damn it!! Why didn’t you tell me you’re still upset?


Jakotsu giggled. “While I’m sorry I fooled you, I’m glad I did so you didn’t worry about me.”


Bankotsu nodded. “But it’s just that I can’t help worrying about you...”


“I know, and it’s part of the reasons why I love you so much, Aniki-chan,” the former cross-dresser said as they stopped walking and turned to face each other.


“Yeah...?”


“Yeah...” Jakotsu smiled, and taking her lover’s face in her hands, she leaned in to kiss him.


They stood there, in the middle of the street, heedless of the passersby, holding on to each other as if they were afraid to let go. It was the first time they were able to do so without worrying about what people thought and Jakotsu found she wanted the moment to last as long as possible. Not that anyone had actually said anything to them at home or in their travels as most people tended to look the other way when it came to boy-love. In fact it was viewed as something men did when they were away from female companionship; be it a wife or a lover or even a woman from the pleasure quarters. But this was something different and while it bothered Jakotsu to think that Bankotsu was happy with the prospect of her remaining this way, she had to admit she loved how sweet he was to her since the change.


“Uh, Sweetness...”


“Yeah...?”


“As much as I would to stay here and kiss you all night under the stars, I think we should hurry up and get some food and get back. If that miko’s here, then I want an early start on finding her and getting her to make things right.” Even though it’s nice having you all soft and cuddly like this, deep down I don’t think you’re as happy as you pretend to be. And truthfully, it really is selfish of me to wish you could stay like this even though you would never really be happy living out your life like this...


“Okay...” The former cross-dresser sighed as she pulled away form him. Smiling impishly as they started walking again, she said, “And besides, Ren gets really cranky when he’s hungry, so I guess it’s a good idea we find something quick, hunh?”


“Yup!”


888


It took them a week of slowly stalking their “prey” before they managed to finally catch up with the dark miko. While they had a plan of sorts to take her out from a distance, Jakotsu still wanted to have one more try at getting her up close.


“Sweetness, I know you want revenge, but that’s not a good idea. What if something happens to you again?”


“What’s the worst thing that can happen? She’ll kill me? But what if she changes me back instead?”


“I don’t know... Besides, I’d hate it very much if she killed you.”


“Oo-Aniki’s right, Jak, she could kill you. Look, I’ll cancel the bet if you want. That way I can take her out before she knows what hit her with my shoulder canon and we can all get out of here in one piece.” Renkotsu grinned at the former cross-dresser. “And you and Oo-Aniki can get married and live happily ever after in case you can’t change back or you can simply live happily ever after if you do.”


“No, Ren, I want to do this. If I die, then avenge my death if you must, but I want to the chance to do this. What if the only way for me to change back is to kill her? If you do it then I’m...” she sighed. “Then I’m stuck like this, not that it would be bad thing if I had you, Aniki-chan, but I don’t think I could really be happy if I didn’t try.”


Bankotsu frowned. He was about to protest his paramour’s insistence on going it alone against the dark miko when she interrupted.


“Please, Aniki-chan!”


“Awe, how can you resist that face, Oo-Aniki? Look at her; I don’t think she’s ever looked cuter,” Renkotsu, frowning slightly, said. It’s funny, but I feel like we’ve lived this before... He nodded, catching Suikotsu’s eye, and together the two of the backed off to give them some time together.


“Fine... but be careful, Sweetness. I don’t want anything bad to happen to you.”


Jakotsu pulled him close, nestling her lover’s face in her chest. “I know...” she said softly. “Aniki-chan, let’s go off together and pretend to have some fun... I have an idea.” She pulled away from him.


“What?”


“I’ll explain later when we’re alone,” Jakotsu said, and pitching her voice louder so that the others could hear, she said, “Come, kiss me good-bye properly, Aniki-chan!” She giggled as she led him off towards the trees that lined the road.


“I don’t like this, Sui, what the hell is he up to?”


“I don’t know... But trust them, Ren, Jak told me they used to be youkai hunters and I’m sure they know what they’re doing. But just be ready in case they need our help.”


“Okay...”


888


Jakotsu, once they were safely out of sight behind the trees, wrapped her arms around Bankotsu, pulling him close. “I’m sorry, Dumpling-chan, for what I’m about to do...” she whispered softly into the top of his head.


“Hmmmm...?”


Reaching down to tilt his face upwards, Jakotsu said softly, “I want you to let your hands wander and kiss me and...” The former cross-dresser rolled her eyes. “Play with my tits...” she said dryly.


“You mean it, Sweetness?”


“Yeah... but I want you to know that when you least expect it, I’m going to slap you and run towards that miko. I want you to run after me and you’re going to have to yell and get Ren and Sui to chase after me too. I want her to think I’m afraid you’re going to ravish me, not that I would mind if it was you.” She giggled.


“Sounds like a plan to me, Sweetness.” Bankotsu grinned. “So you won’t be upset if I touch you in places I’ve been dying to, but couldn’t since you never had them before...?”


“Nope! I figure I owe you since you’ve been really nice to me through all this, even though I was being a real shit at times, but it was only because I was scared.” Damn it!! I bet you’re wishing I get stuck like this!! I just hope you still love me if I do change back...


“I know...” Bankotsu pulled her close. He kissed Jakotsu long and hard, letting his hands wander.


Jakotsu did her best to tolerate it as it hurt to see her lover enjoying himself when she felt he should have been less enthusiastic. Just as her body was beginning to betray her, Jakotsu pushed away and slapped him. “I hate you!” she cried as the tears well up in her eyes. I’m so sorry, Aniki-chan...


“Bitch!” Bankotsu replied. “Now go!” he silently mouthed.


Smiling bravely, Jakotsu took off while Bankotsu slowly counted to ten to give her a head start.


888


“Leave me alone!!” Jakotsu cried as she ran down the road. Bankotsu had done a good job of leaving her kimono in disarray and she felt naked and vulnerable as she tried to get away from him.


“Ren, Sui! Come! Help me get that stupid bitch back!!” Bankotsu called out as he ran out of the woods after her.


Jakotsu ran as if her life depended on it. “Help me!!” she cried as she ran towards the dark miko. While they had passed many travelers going to and fro along the Tokaido as they tracked their “prey,” this stretch of road was strangely quite, and Jakotsu wondered if she were rushing headlong to her death when she felt something tugging at her sleeve. Looking back over her shoulder, Jakotsu saw it Bankotsu who had caught her. “Let go of me!!” she cried as she felt him pull her kimono sleeve off. Please, Aniki-chan, let me do this by myself!


Bankotsu grinned wickedly at her before he let go. It was enough to spur the former cross-dresser on and as he dropped back, he watched her sprint on towards the miko.


888


Jakotsu collapsed against Adeyaka.


“What’s wrong, my child?” she said softly.


The former cross-dresser slowly regained her balance. “They... they tried to rape me...” she sobbed as she straightened her kimono.


“They did what?!” Adeyaka narrowed her eyes at Jakotsu, and looking away, she glared at the others as they warily approached.


“They tried to rape me...” Jakotsu said softly as she wiped the tears from her cheeks. She could feel the power radiating off the dark miko and she felt sharp pang of fear for her comrades.


“Sssh...” Adeyaka soothed. “Soon everything will be alright.”


“I hope so...” Please be careful, Aniki-chan...


“Let go of my woman!” Bankotsu cried as he sauntered over to them, the Banryuu delicately balanced on his shoulder. Now that he knew the miko was possessed by a youkai, he could feel its power as it tried to hide it and it lent a caution to him that he otherwise would have lacked.


“She’s not your woman any more!”


Bankotsu grinned wickedly. “You want her, hunh? Normally, I’d give her to you like I would to my friends over there, but I don’t want her to get spoiled for the tasted of men.” He chuckled.


“You have such a smart mouth for such a stupid little man.”


“If you say so...”


Bankotsu slowly circled around them, trying to look for a way to take out the possessed miko without hurting his paramour in the process. He leered at Jakotsu, pleased that she showed the proper amount of terror at the thought of being returned to him. Reaching up to scratch the back of his head, Bankotsu hoped the former cross-dresser would catch his subtle message to her.


Jakotsu, who had been watching her lover intently, bit her lip to keep the smile from spreading across her face. Before Bankotsu had formed his army of seven, he and the former cross-dresser had hunted youkai and they had learned to read each others moves as matter of survival. So she reached up, just as her lover silently told her to, and pulled the hairpin Kaede had given her from her hair. Holding it out in front of her like a makeshift weapon, Jakotsu cried, “Stay away from me!!”


“It’s alright; I won’t let them harm you.”


The former cross-dresser clung to Adeyaka, hampering her movements, as Bankotsu toyed with the dark miko. He feinted a few times towards her left, away from Jakotsu, keeping her busy as she tried to guess where he would land his next blow.


“Shouldn’t we try and help? I’d hate it if Ban ended up like Jak and we did nothing,” Renkotsu said as he stood there, watching the action along with the claw-bearer.


“Wait, Ren, they know what they’re doing. I’ve seen them hunting youkai before when I first met them and joined up. It’s something I never thought I would ever see again.”


“It is pretty amazing, but I still don’t like standing around doing nothing.”


“I know...”


Bankotsu, judging the time to be right, changed his tactics and feinted to the right. He swung the Banryuu, narrowly missing taking off Jakotsu’s head in the process. Just as he predicted, the dark miko pushed the former cross-dresser behind herself.


Jakotsu stumbled backwards. She could feel the demon summoning its power and she felt a stab of fear pierce her heart. The former cross-dresser was worried Bankotsu would end up dead instead of transformed as the demon possessing the miko was starting to get very angry. She could also see her lover was just as hampered by her being there as the miko was and Jakotsu also felt a brief moment of regret for thinking up what could turn out to be a stupid, yet deadly, plan.


Renkotsu grew more and more impatient as he watched. The fire-breather was not used to waiting in the shadows nor did he like seeing his commander and subordinate in obvious danger. He did not care how experienced they were, from where he stood, he could see it would be just a matter of time before Bankotsu was injured or worse and once that happened Jak was sure to end up just as bad.


“That’s it, Sui, I’m going to help whether they like it or not!”


“No!”


“Yes! And don’t worry, Sui; I can help from right here.” Renkotsu grinned wickedly as he fired his shoulder canon.


It turned out it was just the distraction Bankotsu needed. He gave another feint to the right followed by a quick slash to the left and he drew blood.


“BASTARD!” the demon-possessed miko roared. “You’re going to pay for that!”


“Not if I can help it!” Jakotsu said to herself. As Bankotsu prepared to strike again, she ran towards the dark miko, hairpin held out like a dagger. Nodding at Bankotsu over the dark miko’s shoulder, Jakotsu smiled when Bankotsu slashed again at her, drawing her attention away from the former cross-dresser while Renkotsu fired his canon again.
Jakotsu, seizing the moment, stabbed the hairpin into the dark miko’s back.


The demon roared as it felt the life slipping away from Adeyaka. It pulled away from her, leaving her dead body behind, and revealing its true form. It lunged at Bankotsu, prompting the fire-breather to fire again, distracting it. Bankotsu leapt into the air and bringing the Banryuu down, he neatly severed the demon’s head.


Sticking his blade into the ground, Bankotsu hurried over to his paramour.


“Are you okay, Sweetness?” he asked as he wrapped his arms around her.


“Yeah...” Jakotsu held her lover close and for once she did not mind that he was resting his face in her bosom. What mattered was that he was safe.


888


Suikotsu knelt cautiously by the miko. He carefully placed his index and middle fingers against the side of her neck, checking for signs of her life force. Satisfied she was really dead as he had felt nothing, the claw-bearer stood up.


“Is she dead?”


“Yeah...” Suikotsu looked over at where Jakotsu stood, holding Bankotsu close. “He doesn’t look any different, so Kaede-sama must have been wrong.”


“You sure? Jak always looks like a girl from a distance.” Renkotsu followed his gaze. “Damn it!” he swore as they pulled away from each other. “Maybe it’s just a powerful curse and it’ll take awhile for it to wear off.”


“I hope so for Jak’s sake.”


“Yeah... me too.”


“We’d better tell them.”


Renkotsu nodded, and shifting his shoulder canon, he and Suikotsu watched as Adeyaka slowly dissolved into dust and blew away, leaving the hairpin behind, before they walked over to their leader and his paramour.


Jakotsu noticed them first. “Well?”


“She’s dead, Jak.”


“Do you feel any different, Sweetness?” Bankotsu asked softly as she turned to face him. Reaching up, Bankotsu wiped away the single tear that coursed its way down Jakotsu’s cheek.


“No...” Jakotsu replied equally as softly. Placing a hand over her mouth, Jakotsu tried to hold back her tears. She could not stand the pitying looks everyone gave her, and pushing away from Bankotsu; she ran through the forest, coming out of it into a clearing. Hearing the sound of fast moving water, Jakotsu ran to the edge of the stream and gazed down at her reflection. The former cross-dresser brought her hand up and slid her palm against her cheek, and letting her fingertips brush gently along her lips, she stared at the image of herself in the water. Aniki-chan is right... I’m still pretty, but it’s just a different kind of pretty and one that Aniki-chan seems to like too...She sighed softly, letting her hands trace the new contours of her body, wondering what it would be like to have Bankotsu do the same when she was not dressed in her kimono. It’s going to be hard, but I think I can do this as long as Aniki-chan’s by my side... She smiled at the reflection of her lover as Bankotsu came over to stand next to her.


“You don’t mind being stuck like this, Sweetness...?”


“No... As long as you’re here by my side, I suppose I’ll get used to it even if I don’t like it.”


“Yeah...?”


“Yeah...” Jakotsu smiled. “And while I’ll miss you when you’re away on missions, cuz I can’t go with you any more, ummm... maybe I’ll have a baby to remind me of you, no?”


“Yeah... So you finally want to nookie?”


Jakotsu giggled. “Yeah... I was starting to miss it a lot...”


“Me too...” Bankotsu grinned.


“Ummm... You don’t think I’m ugly like this?” she said softly. Please say you don’t even if it is a lie...


“Nah... I think you’re just as cute as ever.”


“Really...?”


“Uh-hunh!” Bankotsu slid his arm around Jakotsu’s waist.


“You think we’ll have lots of babies...?” She turned around to face him.


“Yeah...”


“Oh good, cuz I want to have lots of your babies and they’re all going to be sons of course.”


“Lots of sons, hunh?” Bankotsu laughed. “But what about daughters? You know, we could wind up making a few of those.”


“Nah-ah!” Jakotsu playfully wagged her finger at him. “There’s only room for one woman in your life, and that’s me.” She giggled. “Besides, with sons, you’ll be able to teach them how to wield a sword and how to fight and how to find cute girls like me...” the former cross-dresser teased. “And all sorts of good stuff like that... and-”


Bankotsu briefly placed his fingertips over her lips. “Uh, Sweetness...?”


“Yeah...?”


“Shut up and kiss me...”


“Okay...” Jakotsu said breathlessly as she leaned towards him, and putting her arms around his neck, she pulled him close.


Bankotsu met her halfway in the kiss. When their lips met, they were enveloped in a bright white light. Both ignored it as Bankotsu deepened the kiss and as they sank to the ground he noticed his paramour felt different. Instead of feeling softer and rounder, Jakotsu took on his old familiar lean hardness. Breaking the kiss, Bankotsu opened his eyes and saw that his paramour was back to being a boy again.


“What the hell...?” he swore softly.


“What’s the matter, Aniki-chan?” Jakotsu asked; his concern for Bankotsu and fear of losing him written all over his face.


“You’re you again!”


“I’m me again...?” Jakotsu blinked in confusion.


“Yeah!! Take a look in the water!!”


Jakotsu did as he was bidden and crawled to the water’s edge. He gazed down at his reflection, his eyes widening in surprise. “Oh sweet Kami-sama! I am me!!” he laughed. “I’m not a stupid girl any more!! What did you do, Aniki-chan?!”


“I don’t know... all I did was kiss you.”


“Yeah... but we kissed before and nothing happened ...” Suddenly the cross-dresser looked panic-stricken. “I’m not going to change back am I?!”


“Nah... I think you’re like this for good now.”


“Oh good... I was worried there for a bit.” Jakotsu sat back on his heels, and scooting around, he turned to face Bankotsu and said, “You’re not mad that I’m a boy again, are you...?”


“No, why would I be? As long as you’re happy, that’s what counts.”


“Oh... I thought you’d be upset because now I can’t have your babies any more...”


“So what?” Bankotsu shrugged. “At least now you can come with me on missions again.” He grinned happily. Besides, who wants a bunch loud mewling brats anyway?


“Oh yeah...” Jakotsu smiled back at him.


“And ummm, Sweetness, I don’t want you getting upset about the babies...”


“I won’t... Besides, I suppose we could always get another cat.”


“Are you sure you still want one?” Please say “no!”


“Yeah... I still can’t believe Kyo ate Baby too!” he said peevishly.


Thank you, Kami-sama, for small favors... Bankotsu laughed as Jakotsu cracked a smile.


The cross-dresser stood up, and taking Bankotsu’s hands, he pulled him to his feet. “Come; let’s go tell Ren and Sui I’m me again!!” he said with a smile, and bending down to pick up the bottom of the left side of his kimono, he reached around and tucked it back into his obi. “That’s better!” He giggled.


“Feeling more like your old self, hunh?”


“Yeah!” Jakotsu smiled impishly. “Hurry up!! I want to tell Ren and Sui I’m back,” he said happily, and leaning towards Bankotsu, and cupping his cheek, the cross-dresser said huskily, “And then afterwards maybe we can go nookie...?”


“Okay!”


888


“Poor Jak...”


“Yeah... I guess it’s permanent.”


Renkotsu nodded. “You do realize that now we’re probably out of a job as well as a home.”


“Yeah... You’re right; I can’t see Oo-Aniki leaving Jak behind while he’s out on a mission. Especially if he gets her with child and the way those two go at it like rabbits I’d say that baby will be here before the new year’s too old.”


“Unless Jak’s barren.”


“That would be too cruel, Ren. No, I think or hope she’s now the same as if she had been born a woman.”


Renkotsu nodded. “Maybe we should just go down to the village and settle down there. I can always go help Kaji-san with his forge and I know the villagers would welcome you as their doctor. I bet Gin’ll probably settle down with Naoko-san; she’s that cute widow who never remarried.” Renkotsu chuckled. “You know, I’ve never seen her look twice at a man until she met Gin. And Kyo could always get work demon exterminating and eating....” They laughed. “But Mu... Kami-sama alone knows what’ll become of him.”


“That’s true, Ren, but this could all be moot in the end. Oo-Aniki might decide to let us stay where we are and let us go out on missions for him.”


“Yeah... Anyway, here they come.”


“Jak looks awfully happy and yet Oo-Aniki doesn’t...”


They exchanged glances.


“Ren!! Sui!! Guess what?! I’m me again!!” Jakotsu cried as he came running over to them. “Aniki-chan kissed me and there was this bright light and now everything’s back the way it should be!! Wanna see?!” He tugged on his obi.


“No, that’s okay, Jak, I believe you,” Suikotsu said. The corners of his mouth twitched upwards in a smile. “As long you’re happy with the outcome, that’s all that counts.”


“NO!!” The fire-breather held his hand over his eyes. “Besides, I’ve seen enough of you in the past to last me a lifetime, Jak,” Renkotsu said dryly as he dropped his hand and looked up at him.


“Oh...”


“Yeah... I see Oo-Aniki’s not too happy about it, hunh?” Renkotsu smirked.


“Yeah... I think he’s upset we’re not getting married any more.”


Renkotsu laughed. “Poor thing...”


“Yeah... But I told him if he wants to think of us as married, it’s okay with me.”


“I bet he was real happy to hear that,” Renkotsu said dryly.


Jakotsu nodded. “Uh-hunh!” He smiled happily.


“Well, I’m very happy for you, Jak.”


“Thanks, Sui! Oh... and uh, Ren?”


“What?”


“You owe me a cask of sake!”


“I do not!”


“Oh yes you do! I killed her, remember? And we had a bet!”


“But...” Renkotsu sputtered.


“He’s right, Ren. Jak did kill her.”


“Yup! He was the only one able to get close enough to her at the time,” Bankotsu said smugly as he approached them.


“Yes, but I could have easily taken her out with my shoulder canon.”


“True, but you didn’t, because Jak was in the way,” Suikotsu said.


“So I killed her with that hairpin Kaede-sama gave me. By the way what happened to it? I kinda liked it. It had this thing on it that you use to attach flowers to it. “


“I think it got lost when the miko died, Sweetness.”


“Oh...”


“Yeah... maybe I can find you another one.” He patted his paramour’s arm.


“Okay!” Jakotsu said.


“Anyway, I think it’s about time we head home.”


“Good idea, Oo-Aniki.”


888


“You’re so lucky, you didn’t come with us, Mu,” Jakotsu said as he refilled Mukotsu’s sake cup. They were celebrating their safe return as well as filling the others in on what happened during the mission. As they had been drinking since sundown, they were all starting to reach various stages of inebriation.


“Thanks... So why is that, Jak?”


“Because this stupid dark miko bitch turned me into a woman,” the cross-dresser replied. “She probably would have killed you.”


“You think...?” Mukotsu sipped his sake when it hit him. “Hey!! What’s all this about you being turned into a woman?!”


Jakotsu waved his hand. “It was nothing other than the worse moment in my life... and that beat out even working in the bathhouse.” He smiled. “Then Aniki-chan proposed to me and things started looking up from there!”


“You’re kidding me!” The diminutive poisoner’s eyes bugged out in surprise, reminding Jakotsu of a frog and it was all he could do not to giggle.


“Nope!”


“He had really huge breasts too, right, Ban?” Renkotsu smirked.


“Don’t remind me...” Bankotsu and his paramour said in unison.


“How big...?” Mukotsu asked.


Jakotsu sighed. “They were so big they barely fit in my hands, why?”


“And they were so soft too...” Bankotsu sighed.


“Really?” Mukotsu said as a dreamy expression settled on his face.


“Yeah...” Bankotsu sighed. He wore the same dreamy expression.


“Aniki-chan, you’re drooling again!” the cross-dresser said peevishly.


Suikotsu sighed. “I should get some more napkins.” He started to get up to go get them when Renkotsu grabbed his arm.


“Stay or you’re going to miss the fun,” the fire-breather said softly to him.


“I am not!” Bankotsu said as he hastily wiped his mouth with the back of his hand.


Renkotsu grinned and said, “Oh I think I saw a little drool coming out the corner of your mouth, over there.” He pointed to the left side of his mouth.


Bankotsu glared at him as he wiped his mouth again.


Mukotsu sat there, still in disbelief over what he had heard. “Jak was a woman...”


Renkotsu sipped his sake. “Yup... If you think he’s pretty now, Mu, you should have seen him as a woman...” He sighed dramatically.


Mukotsu also sighed. “Awe... How come I miss all the good stuff...?”


“Good stuff?!” Jakotsu said and it was clear from his tone that he was very annoyed. “It was awful!! All Aniki-chan did was drool all over me every chance he got!” The cross-dresser drank his sake in one gulp, holding the cup out to Suikotsu for a refill. “Thanks, Sui...”


“You’re welcome,” Suikotsu said as he refilled it.


“You know, Jak, I would be drooling on you too as you’d make a very nice woman,” Mukotsu said. Damn it!! Why couldn’t I have been there to have seen it! And drool on him... and entice him into the futon when Oo-Aniki wasn’t around...


“Yeah...?” Jakotsu said. He smiled at the diminutive poisoner, as he was very flattered by his comment. “Kaede-sama told me I was pretty too, but I didn’t believe her...” He thought things over for a minute. “Damn it!!” the cross-dresser cried. “I must have been really pretty if Ren was so nice to me!” He looked at Mukotsu. “He didn’t get annoyed with me at all!” He shifted his gaze to stare open-mouthed at the fire-breather.


Renkotsu sighed. “That’s because I’m a softie for a woman’s smile.”


Jakotsu blinked as a little half smile lit up his face. “You like my smile...?” he said shyly.


“Yeah, among other things...”


The cross-dresser’s smile broadened. “Yeah...? Like what?”


Renkotsu sipped his sake and grinned a little wickedly over the top of cup at him. “Your breasts,” he teased.


“My what?!” Jakotsu sputtered.


Renkotsu laughed at the look of outrage on the cross-dresser’s face.


Jakotsu growled low in his throat like an angry dog, and turning towards Bankotsu, he said, “Aniki-chan, are you going to let him talk to me like this??”


Bankotsu sighed wearily. “Ren, don’t talk to Jak like that.”


“Yeah!!” the cross-dresser said. “And you’d better say you’re sorry too!!”


Renkotsu, unable to keep the chuckle from his voice, said, “I’m sorry for saying I admired your breasts.”


Mukotsu groaned. “No fair!! I want to admire them too!!”


Jakotsu glared at the diminutive poisoner and got up before Bankotsu could stop him. He stormed over to the fire-breather who looked up at him and grinned. Narrowing his eyes at him, Jakotsu smirked briefly before he leaned over slapped him hard across the face. “Apology accepted,” he said sweetly.


Renkotsu fingered his jaw. “Ow... And just when the other slap was healing.”


Jakotsu stuck his tongue out at him and sat down.


“That wasn’t nice, Sweetness.”


“I know... but he deserved it.” The cross-dresser pouted.


“It’s alright, Oo-Aniki, I freely admit I offended your lady’s honor and I’m sorry.”


Bankotsu nodded as Jakotsu made a face at the fire-breather.


“Come on, Jak, you can’t be too angry with me for stating the truth,” Renkotsu said.


“No...” the cross-dresser said softly. He was starting to feel badly about slapping Renkotsu as he really did not mean to hit him that hard.


The fire-breather grinned lopsidedly and shook his head at him. “So, Ban, has Jak been good to you since turning back?” he said cryptically.


“Yeah...?”Bankotsu quirked an eyebrow at the fir-breather, hoping he would elaborate.


“I’ve been a good lil wife, right, Dumpling?” Jakotsu said anxiously.


“Let’s hope so,” Suikotsu added.


“What do you mean by that, Sui?”


“You want to keep each other happy, right?”


“Yeah...?” Jakotsu said, looking just as confused as he sounded.


“Well...?” Suikotsu said as Renkotsu explained to others about Bankotsu’s “marriage” to the cross-dresser.


Jakotsu nodded, “I always want Aniki-chan to be happy! Why do you ask?”


“I know... I just wanted to make sure you do a good job.”


Jakotsu nodded vigorously, instantly regretting it. Raising his hand to his head, he closed his eyes to calm the spinning in his head. Opening them, he grinned at the claw-bearer. “Of course I’ll do a good job of keeping him happy, Chichi-ue!”


“Good,” Suikotsu said. Smiling, he patted Jakotsu on the head as the cross-dresser beamed happily back at him.


“Careful, Ban, I think ‘Chichi-ue’ wants grandchildren,” Renkotsu teased. “And your wife looks eager to give him some.” He laughed.


Ginkotsu laughed along with him. “Gesh, gesh, gesh...” he raised his sake cup. “May you and your lady be blessed with many fine sons! Gishi, gesh...”


Bankotsu glared at them. “We didn’t get married, Ren.”


“I seem to remember Jak saying you two were getting married,” Renkotsu smirked.


“That was only if he couldn’t change back and you know it!” Bankotsu took a sip of his sake and swallowed. Changing the subject, he said, “Anyone want to go into town for a lil fun?”


“Sorry, Oo-Aniki, I think I’m too drunk to go anywhere,” Suikotsu said.


“And I think I’d better stay here and keep an on Sui.”


“I’m going to stay here too, Oo-Aniki, with my luck, some woman would probably say ‘yes’ and I’m too drunk now to remember it. If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go sleep it off somewhere,” Mukotsu said as he lurched to his feet, before staggering off to his room.


“Gesh...”


“I think Gin is staying here too,” Renkotsu said as Ginkotsu nodded and refilled their cups.


“Sweetness?”


“Hunh...?” Jakotsu, who had been leaning against the claw-bearer, dozing, sat up and blinked owlishly at his lover.


“Are coming into town with me?”


“Ummm...”


“Are you sure Jak wants to into town for some fun?” Suikotsu asked.


“You’re coming, right, Sweetness?”


“No...” he said sadly. “There’s no point in me coming, Aniki-chan. Why don’t you go without me?”



Suikotsu, picking up on his friend’s sadness, said, “Jak, are you sure you’re comfortable with Oo-Aniki going?”


Jakotsu looked upset. “No... But it’s okay if it makes him happy...”


“You don’t look like it’s okay,” Suikotsu said softly.


“It’s okay, Sui, really it is. He can go if he wants to...” the cross-dresser said softly.


Suikotsu sighed.


“You’re an idiot, Ban!” Renkotsu said.


“Excuse me?!”


“You heard me!”


“Quiet, Ren,” Suikotsu said.


“No! He’s the luckiest guy I know and he so stupid, he can’t see it!”


“Watch your mouth, Ren!” Bankotsu growled.


“Listen to me for once in your life! And I mean really listen!” The fire-breather stood up and walked over to his leader. “You’ve got what most men only dream of!” Pointing at Jakotsu, he continued, “All kidding aside, Ban, but you’ve got a geisha for a wife. And yes, I know as men you can’t really marry, but Jak really is your wife when you think about it and you’re an idiot to go waste your time paying for what you’ve got at home for free!” Renkotsu sighed as he looked over at the cross-dresser. “Look at him, Ban, how can you resist that face?”


Bankotsu frowned, and swallowing the nasty retort he had for the fire-breather, he looked over at his paramour. He’s right... Although, I doubt I’ll let him know that as there’d be no living with him then. A tiny smirk twitched at Bankotsu’s lips.


“Come, Sweetness, let’s go have some fun.”


“Yeah...?” Jakotsu shyly looked at him.


“Yup!” He grinned cockily as he pulled the cross-dresser to his feet. Sliding his arm around Jakotsu’s waist, Bankotsu led him off in the direction of their old room.


“You know, Sui, as much as I hate it when they spend the night here, I think I’d rather put up with the rabbit noises than Jak’s wailing about Ban and his whoring ways...” Renkotsu sighed happily. Damn that was close! I thought he was seriously going to kill me...


Suikotsu looked at his lover like he was crazy. The claw-bearer opened his mouth to say something and closed it. Talking a deep breath he let it out in loud sigh. “Tell me, Ren, do you enjoy flirting with death?”


“No.”


“Then why do you do it?”


“Dunno...”


Suikotsu rubbed his face tiredly as he groaned. Kami-sama give me strength...


888


“Aniki-chan... Dumpling...?


“Yeah...?” Bankotsu murmured. They were lying together in their old futon and he was resting his head on the cross-dresser’s chest, listening to the beating of his heart.


“Are you mad I got changed back?”


“No.” Bankotsu reluctantly sat up and looked down at his paramour. “Why do you ask?”


“Oh... nothing...” Jakotsu said.


“Nothing?”


“Well, I was just wondering if you missed my tits...” the cross-dresser said nonchalantly, although he was terrified of knowing the answer.


“Idiot!” Bankotsu laughed. “How can I miss what I never knew?”


“I dunno...” Jakotsu said as he played with a lock of his lover’s hair. He frowned when it hit him. “Hey!! You going whoring a lot and you mean to tell me you’ve never played with their tits?!” The cross-dresser also sat up.


“No... yeah... but that’s different. Those are their boobies, not yours, Silly!”


“Oh...” Jakotsu giggled. “I guess I’m being stupid again, hunh?”


“Nah... You’re not being stupid; you’re just being as cute as ever which is why I love you so much...” Bankotsu trailed off softly as he reached out to cup his paramour’s cheek.


Jakotsu purred like a cat. “Mo...” Pouting playfully at his lover, he said, “You make it sound like a curse...”


“Hey, if that’s a curse then by all means curse me, Sweetness!”


Jakotsu made a fist before flicking his fingers at his lover. “Poof! You’re cursed!” He giggled as Bankotsu leaned in to kiss him, gently easing him back into the futon...


888

Authors’ note: We were wondering if you liked our characterizations. Since we see Jak as someone who’s emotional about things yet laid-back and accepting of what he can’t change, did this come across? Did we capture in Ban the raging hormones of a fifteen year old boy? Were you able to spot the seeds of Ren’s paranoia about Ban killing him as well as his “smart mouth” and sarcastic wit? We also see Sui as having a paternal relationship with Jak who can be very childish at times. Do any of these characterizations fit with the “warped” versions of them we meet in the Shichinintai arc?

We’re also curious to know if Jak was too obvious a choice for the premise of this plot bunny. Setting aside the fact that plot bunny stated it had to be either Ban or Jak, who was turned into a woman, who would you have “cursed” if you could pick any of them?

Most importantly... did you enjoy this? And thank you in advance for taking the time to read this and leaving us a review! We really appreciate it! And if you’d like a reply back, please let us know and sign in so we can.


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