AU story centering around Jakotsu (where everyone is not only human, but older as well) and his return from the hospital and the homecoming party that Bankotsu throws for him. Rating is for languag...
Author's note: Special thanks to Kristyn who took the time to beta this fic! Special thanks as well to Vega-chan for her helpful suggestions & tweaks!
FYI: Cluster Edge is a real anime about a new transfer student at a prestigious school, named Agate Florite who impresses his fellow classmates with his zest for life. Unbeknownst to him he was born with mysterious powers that can create miracles. Beryl Jasper and Chrome are characters from that series.
Bankotsu turned slightly in the passenger seat and looked at the figure dozing in the backseat. The windshield wipers thumped in time with the raspy breathing and Bankotsu wondered, for what had felt like the millionth time that night, if they had made the right decision in bringing Jakotsu home from the hospital.
"He's going to be fine, Ban," Suikotsu soothed. "If he wasn't over the pneumonia, they never would have released him."
"I know..." the younger man said softly. "It's just that..."
Suikotsu nodded as the pulled up to the traffic light. "He pushed himself too hard while stupidly ignoring a chest cold." He gently accelerated when the light changed. "If you're going to blame anyone, blame Sessh. Nobody told him to run off and marry Rin the minute she turned eighteen, leaving everyone to rush to finish the video."
"Yeah," Bankotsu chuckled. "But you have to admit she's a mighty fine piece of ass."
"And I'm not....?" Jakotsu rasped.
"Of course you are, Sweetness."
Jakotsu smiled weakly. Closing his eyes, he coughed a few time, before saying, "Sui, can we stop somewhere and get me some hot chocolate?"
"Sure. We didn't pass the 'American McDonald's' yet. Is it okay if I go on the drive through?"
"Sui, tell him why I call it that..."
Suikotsu chuckled. "Before you two met, I took Jak with me when I went to a medical conference in New York."
"It was right after he'd divorced Kikyou and I spent the week pretending I was her..." Jakotsu half laughed half coughed.
Suikotsu also laughed as he pulled into the parking lot. "He did and miracles of miracles he got away with it too."
"Yup. And the reason he calls that McDonald's that, is it seems once you get away from the city, they're all freestanding buildings like this one." He crept towards the menu when the cars in front of him moved. "Want anything else, Jak?"
"I'm not hungry..."
As Suikotsu ordered the cocoa Bankotsu's cell phone rang. Pulling it out of his pocket, he answered it.
"Sessh said to tell you everyone's here and it's all set to go."
"Fine... Can I call you back when I get home? We're at the American McDonald's, don't ask, so I should be home in about five minutes or so."
"Make it fifteen minutes, Ban," Suikotsu said as he paid for the cocoa. Turning in the driver's seat, he handed him Jakotsu's hot chocolate, before leaving McDonald's and pulling out into traffic. "It's snowing heavily again."
"Everything okay, Ban?"
"Sorry, Sui says it'll take a little longer to get home."
"Don't worry about it. And tell Sui, if you can, that Ren got here okay. You should see him, Ban, he's really hot!" Rin giggled and Bankotsu heard the sound of someone fumbling for the phone as he handed Jakotsu the cup of hot chocolate.
Bankotsu chuckled when Sesshomaru got on the phone and said, "Yeah, you'd better watch out or your girlfriend's going to jump him. Rin says she can see a definite foursome happening."
Bankotsu chuckled softly to himself as listened to them playfully arguing with each other before someone else grabbed the phone. "Just hurry up and get your asses over here, okay?"
"We're almost there. Bye..." He hung up the phone. "How's your cocoa?"
"Good... Who was that?"
"Sessh, he wanted to know when you'd be ready for their next video."
Jakotsu sighed. "Tell him if I can spend the entire thing in bed with him, I'll do it in a heartbeat..."
"We're here. I'll let you two out and I'll go park and meet you upstairs." Suikotsu pulled over to the curb.
"Okay. You ready to go, Sweetness?"
Bankotsu cast a worried glance at his lover.
"I was joking..." Jakotsu opened the car door and carefully swung his legs out. "Oh hell, the walk isn't shoveled..." He grumbled as he got out of the car."
"I'll get your bag," Suikotsu called out as Bankotsu raced to Jakotsu's side.
"Thanks, Sui." Turning to Ban, he said, "I'm not an invalid, you know..."
"I know, Sweetness, but it's been so long since I've had you all to myself..." He grinned suggestively at his lover.
Jakotsu laughed and it quickly turned into a coughing fit. He could see his lover was itching to scoop him up in his arms and carry him, and he leaned into him as they made their way slowly into their apartment complex. "I'm fine, Ban..." He coughed. "It's just that the cold hurts my chest." Jakotsu dropped the nearly full cup of cocoa in one of the lobby's trashcans.
"Maybe you should have stayed a little longer."
"Ban honey, if I had to stay another minute in that place, I'd have died of sheer boredom."
"What? The nurses not cute enough for you?"
Jakotsu laughed. "Nope, and neither were the orderlies. Though there was this cute doctor who used to come in and check my vitals at night, but I've decided I don't want to be a doctor's wife," he joked as the made their way towards the elevator.
"Well, Sui's loss is my gain."
"You'd better believe it!"
Jakotsu leaned against the wall just outside their apartment while Bankotsu unlocked the door. "It feels good to be home," he said as the door swung open. "I can't wait to take a real bath and get into bed..." He sighed contentedly as he followed his lover inside. "Who knew sitting in a car was so exhausting..."
"Yeah..." Bankotsu said worriedly as he gave the hallway a quick look. He knew their friends were inside, waiting to welcome the cross-dresser home, but as he watched Jakotsu flop down on the hall bench and close his eyes, a wave of second thoughts washed over him. "You need some help?" he asked as he took off his coat and hung it up.
Bankotsu quickly removed his Timberlands and after slipping into his house slippers, he helped Jakotsu off with his Uggs. Reaching under the bench, he pulled out a pair of pink bunny slippers and put them on Jakotsu's feet. He had just hauled him to his feet when the doorbell rang, signaling Suikotsu's arrival.
"Let Sui in, Ban." Jakotsu shrugged out of his fur coat and hung it up. "I'll take my bag, Sui," he said as the doctor entered and set it down.
"Ban and I have it, Jak. Go inside and sit down for five minutes and rest, then you can go shower." He softened his tone with a smile. "Doctor's orders."
"Oh, Sui! I always knew you loved me!" Jakotsu gushed as his friend chuckled and shook his head. Turning to his lover, the cross-dresser said, "You'd better watch out or Sui'll steal me away from you." He laughed only to wind up in a coughing fit.
"I wouldn't worry about that, Ban, your girlfriend's too high maintenance for me," Suikotsu quipped as he quickly checked the cross-dresser over for signs of a relapse.
"Sui's right; you need rest more than a bath. I think if you can make it without one for three weeks, another day isn't going to hurt you."
Jakotsu, who had finally stopped coughing, sighed softly. "I know... but I just feel so grubby. What if Sui's new boyfriend comes over here looking for him?" Catching sight of his reflection in the hall's mirror, he added, "Oh hell! I look like shit; my hair's a mess and somebody not only forgot my toothbrush, but they left my makeup case home as well."
"Sorry," Bankotsu said as he led his lover towards the living room, Suikotsu trailing along behind them. "We can have a Cardcaptor Sakura marathon if you want, or we can watch Cluster Edge instead."
"Nah... I'm not in the mood for them, although that Beryl is hot and so is Chrome..."
Bankotsu laughed. "What about Touya?"
"He's cute and so is Yuki, but I feel like watching a lil Gundam Wing. That Duo Maxwell is just too cute for words..." He giggled as he playfully tugged on his lover's braid. "I wish I had me a lil cutie like him as he can pilot my gundam anytime..." he said huskily as he held tightly onto his lover.
"And here I thought you were a Quatre Rabba Weiner fan."
Jakotsu laughed. "It's Winner, not Weiner."
"Weiner, winner, whatever..." Bankotsu shrugged. "I still think he looks like a weenie," Bankotsu said as he exchanged relieved glances with Suikotsu. It was the first time since they came to his hospital room to tell him he was free to go home, that Jakotsu had perked up.
"If you two want, I can turndown the bed for you."
"Is that a hint, hint, Sui?"
"Sorry, but I don't do threesomes." He held up a finger and playfully pointed it at his friend. "Pout all you want, Jak, it didn't work for Kikyou and it's not going to work for you."
"Too bad...But if you ever change your mind..."
"You'll be the first to know. Besides, I've got someone new in my life. And I'd love to introduce you to him too."
"When did this happen?" The cross-dresser's eyes widened in surprise and he was also a little hurt that his friend had kept this from him until now.
"The day they admitted you, Sweetness," Ban said. Taking his lover's hand, Bankotsu kissed his fingers.
Suikotsu nodded. "You've been so out of it until recently that I never had a chance to tell you."
"He's right, Sweetness. After they had admitted you, Sui saw this guy who needed a couple of stitches, so he fixed him up and got his phone number."
"No fair! I was so sick I missed it all. What's his name; got any pictures of him in your wallet?" Jakotsu was soon pouting like his old self, but before Suikotsu could do or say anything, they entered the living room.
"What the hell...?" Jakotsu blinked as he friends came over to him. "I'm so going to kill you for this..." he whispered to his lover, although Bankotsu could see he was happy about the surprise. "Don't come near me, I need a real bath... and some makeup and my toothbrush and I know you never minded my morning breath, Narie-pooh, but this is three week's worth." He waved his hands playfully, trying to jokingly keep his friends at bay.
Naraku chuckled as he pulled the cross-dresser close. "Damn it, Jackie, you scared the shit out of me!"
"Sorry about that, but it wasn't like I ran off somewhere and didn't tell anyone..."
"I know, but you swore up and down it was nothing and next thing I know you're in the hospital."
Jakotsu shrugged. "Ban wasn't too happy about it either..." he sighed. "Guys, do you mind if I grab a quick shower?"
"Only if you put it back when you're done," Sesshomaru deadpanned as everyone groaned.
Jakotsu, pulling away from his ex, looked from Rin to Sesshomaru and back. "How do you put up with that freaking cornball?"
Rin giggled. "Cornball?"
"Ummm..." She looked at her husband.
"Jackie, you know as well as I do that she likes the way his feet smell," Naraku joked.
The cross-dresser smiled. "You've got it all wrong, Narie-pooh, that's the reason why I love you so much. Well, I also like that Spiderman tattoo you've got on you back..."
Jakotsu nodded and smiled wanly.
"Look, I've got a new one over here." Naraku pulled his left arm out of his sweater's sleeve, revealing an old school tattoo of heart with a knife in it. "Kikyou forever" written on the white banner that covered the lower portion of the heart.
"Nice..." Jakotsu gently ran his finger over the tattoo. "But the guy made a mistake. It's supposed to say 'Jakotsu' not 'Kikyou.'"
Naraku laughed. "Sorry, Babe, but I don't have a death wish."
"No? And here I was an inch away from killing you..." Jakotsu said softly. "Look, I don't care that you left me for a real woman, but did you have to leave me for my best friend's wife?" he said bitterly.
Naraku shrugged. "I'm sorry, Jackie, but you have to admit she looks like you."
"She doesn't look a thing like me, Naraku. Well, maybe now that I haven't bathed in a while and I have no makeup on..." Jakotsu trailed off airily, and pushing his hurt aside, he said, "You have no idea how much I would love a bath right now." He pulled away from his ex as Kikyou was still a sore subject between them, although it was getting better.
Before the cross-dresser could excuse himself, Sesshomaru felt the need to lighten the mood. He glared briefly at his fellow band member for reminding Jakotsu of "the incident," before draping an arm around the cross-dresser's shoulders. "Well, since Jak wants a bath so badly, I say we need to find a volunteer who'll get the job done quickly otherwise he'll be in there all day," Sesshomaru said as he gave the room a quick scan. Finding the person he was looking for, he said, "And I have just the man for the job..." He grinned wickedly. "Hey, Lil Brother? Can you come're?"
"Oh, Sessh, I love you!" Jakotsu mouthed as Inuyasha made his excuses to Bankotsu and came over to them.
Suikotsu shook his head as he chuckled softly.
"What's so funny, Sui?" Renkotsu asked. While everyone had welcomed him warmly when he had arrived, he still felt awkward and out of place as he barely knew them.
"It's just that everyone here knows that Jak is so in love with Ban that it's not even funny and that he'd rather scratch his own eyeballs out than look twice at another guy, but Inuyasha thinks he's dead serious every time he flirts with him. It started out innocently enough on the shoot for the band's first video. Sessh had seen Jak in some magazine ad he did for Maybelline a couple years ago, and when Naraku said they used to live together, they hired him as the girl for the video. Well, Sessh couldn't resist playing a trick on his brother, so he got Jak to come on to him and well, Inuyasha thought he really was a girl and they've been teasing him ever since. Even his wife gets in on the act."
"Kagome. She's the one over there with Sango and Miroku..." Suikotsu nodded discretely towards the people he was referring to.
"Oh... And she doesn't mind him carrying on about her husband?"
"Not at all. They're like a one big family, Ren. Jak is just as much a part of it as I am, although he's in a bit thicker as he's not only Naraku's ex, but Ban's their producer slash manager. I'm only in because I was married to Kikyou for six years before the divorce, she's the one over in the corner by herself, and I think rooming with Jak after that helped. And don't give me that look too, nothing went on between us except a friendship so deep we're like brothers or brother and sister depending on how you want to look at it." Suikotsu smiled ruefully. "And if I may give you a word of advice, if Jak flirts with you; flirt back, otherwise you'll end up getting the hell teased out of you like Inuyasha if you're not careful."
"But I can tell he's a guy, Sui. He may look prettier than half the women in the room, but his Adam's apple and the way he walks is a dead give away."
Suikotsu nodded. "True, but then again you haven't seen him dressed up; it's eerie how much he really does become a woman, Ren. Anyway, what I meant is if he sees you as a 'challenge' he's never going to let you go. And while I know you can be stubborn about things if you put you mind to it," he said with a smile. "Jak is just as stubborn, but with him it becomes a game to play. I think that's why he's gets on so well with Sessh, despite his cold exterior and no-nonsense attitude when it comes to work; underneath it all he's just as fickle and flighty as Jak is."
"The rest of band is fairly 'normal.' Miroku is a real family man; he and Sango have five kids and Jak says he stopped partying the minute he said 'I do.' Anyway, he's their drummer. Kouga, he's the guy that just went into the kitchen, is their bassist, and the woman over there with Ban is his wife, Kagura. She hates Kikyou as much as Kikyou hates her. Then again, Kagura's not that fond of Naraku either, especially after she found out about his relationship with Jak."
"So Naraku was the guy you found in bed with your ex-wife?"
Renkotsu nodded. "And Kagura doesn't like gays?"
"Actually she doesn't give a damn what anyone does in the bedroom. Kagura met Jak when they shot the video. Well to make a long story short, Jak was changing in his dressing room and Naraku walked in and tried to pick up where they had left off and when Kagura came back with their tea, she found Jak in tears and got the whole story out of him. Shortly afterwards, while the band was touring, she and Kikyou got arrested for disturbing the peace in some hotel in Osaka."
"I remember hearing about that." Renkotsu laughed. "So that's her, hunh?"
"Yup." Suikotsu chuckled. "Anyway, where was I?"
"You were telling me who everyone is."
Suikotsu nodded. "And I told you about how they tease the hell out of Inuyasha. Anyway, he's the other blonde in the room, over there; he just walked over to his brother. He alternates rhythm and lead guitar with his older brother, Sessh, who shares vocal duty with Jak."
Renkotsu rubbed his forehead tiredly. "Wait a minute...Jak is part of the band?"
"Not officially. He recorded a duet with Sessh for fun that wound up being released with the single he did the video for and it turned out to be a bigger hit than the one that was supposed to top the charts according to Ban, and Sessh has been trying to get him to join ever since. Did I mention Naraku's their keyboardist?"
"No, you just told me he and Jak were together at one time."
"Okay... anyway, as I told you before, Inuyasha's married to Kagome, and Sessh just got back from his honeymoon with Rin. And that's it."
Renkotsu nodded. "I like Kagome, she's very sweet and so is Rin. The others I only met in passing, as everyone was running around trying to get things ready." He smiled. "I made the salad by the way. You'd think with all the money in this room, they'd cater it and enjoy themselves."
"That's because Sessh won't eat catered food. He got sick once from eating it and that's all it took to swear him off anything other than Rin's or the other wives' cooking. Well that and a two day hospital stay." Suikotsu smirked. "And don't worry; once they find out you make custom bikes, you'll know everyone better than I do." He patted Renkotsu's thigh. "Anyway, I wonder what they've got planned for Inuyasha."
Renkotsu shrugged and looked over at the cross-dresser and his friends. "Things seem pretty quiet; Sui, maybe they're not going to tease him since I'm here and they don't want to embarrass him in front of strangers."
Suikotsu shook his head. "That never stopped them before. Just give them a few minutes to lead up to it."
They watched as Sesshomaru calmly explained to his brother what he wanted.
"What?!" Inuyasha exclaimed. "I'm not doing that! He's a big boy, Sessh, I'm sure he can wash himself, no offence, Jak."
"None taken, Inu-chan..." the cross-dresser purred.
"Look at him, Inuyasha, he's as weak as a kitten, what if he slips and falls in there?" he said as the cross-dresser tried to look even more pathetic than he felt. "You want Ban to have your ass instead?"
"You know, Sessh," Jakotsu said seriously. "I wouldn't mind if Ban had his ass, cuz my lil dumpling always shares..."
Inuyasha glared at them. "If you're so damned concerned about his welfare and hygiene, you wash him!"
Jakotsu sighed dramatically. "I'll be okay, you two... It might take me a little longer to do it by myself as I suddenly feel exhausted, Sessh..." he trailed off as he leaned into him.
Sesshomaru put a comforting arm around him. "Don't mind him, Jak, not everyone is as secure in their manhood-" The rest of what Sesshomaru was about to say was swallowed up as his brother whacked him upside the head. "Hey!"
"Hey, yourself. You're just lucky you're with him or else I'd kick your ass for that. Come on, Jak, and if you try anything funny, I swear the second you're feeling better, I'll kick your ass too." Inuyasha jerked his thumb in the direction of Jakotsu's bedroom. "Let's go."
"Ooh... I love it when you get all forceful with me, my beloved lil homophobe..." the cross-dresser smirked.
Inuyasha grumbled incoherently under his breath as he stalked away, Jakotsu following along slowly behind him.
"Inuyasha!" Ban called out from across the room. "Be gentle with him, he just got home from the hospital!"
Whatever the blonde guitarist had said was lost in everyone's laughter.
"Hurry up and get undressed already, I don't have all day" Inuyasha said impatiently. He glared at the cross-dresser and whatever smirky come-on Jakotsu had died on his lips as he tugged at his sweater's sleeve.
"I'm trying, but I could seriously use some help." Jakotsu looked up at him from his perch on the edge of the bed.
"You're even more pathetic than my idiot brother."
"Look, the joke's over, Inu-chan, go get Ban and tell him to come here." He sighed wearily as he flopped over onto the bed. "It's obvious you're afraid of catching 'gay cooties' or something."
"I don't have AIDS if that's what you're really worried about..." Jakotsu said bitterly. "All I had was pneumonia from neglecting a bad chest cold and exhaustion from overwork..."
Inuyasha looked away.
"Besides, even if I did have AIDS, you can't get from casual contact." He silently fumed, before continuing in the same bitter tones, "Come on, Inuyasha, you don't think I'm such an idiot as to not educate myself..."
The blonde guitarist turned back towards him. "Look, I don't give a rat's ass what you do in your spare time and with whom. Nor do I think you're as stupid and airheaded as you'd like everyone to think you are." Inuyasha sighed. "I just don't like a person who comes on to me every two seconds or hangs onto my every word like I'm something special that's all."
"I do that?" Jakotsu said as he quirked an eyebrow at him in surprise.
"Yeah... Even when my asshole brother doesn't put you up to it, you still do it. You know, you're worse than the fucking groupies. At least I can escape them, but you?" He laughed. "You, I'm stuck with."
Jakotsu rolled his eyes. "Sorry... Ummm, maybe we can devise some sort of signal between us that you can do when I start running my mouth off." A smile slowly spread across his face and the cross-dresser quickly covered it up with a cough. "I know, you can kiss me when I-"
"That's exactly the kind of shit I was referring to."
Jakotsu sighed. "I'm sorry; I just can't help myself where you're concerned. Who knew you'd be so much fun to tease...?" He smiled weakly at Inuyasha. "But seriously, if you don't want to help me, go get Ban..."
"No, I'll help you. And if it takes awhile, then maybe my idiot brother'll think we did something and he'll stop the shitting nonsense." He helped the cross-dresser sit up
"Ummm... as tempting as that sounds, it ain't gonna work..."
"Why not? Everyone knows you drool all over me, and so what if I took advantage of your weakened state? Maybe they'll think I was just waiting for an opportune moment." He carefully pulled Jakotsu's cashmere sweater over his head and tossed it on the bed.
"Well, aside from the fact that everyone knows that there's only one guy for me and it ain't you, Sugah..." Jakotsu drawled as he winked at him. Continuing in a more serious tone, he said, "I know what it's like to be cheated on and I swore I'd die before I'd do that to another human being..."
"I'm sorry, I had no idea," Inuyasha said softly. "I make it point not to listen to any gossip and since Kagome doesn't care for it either..."
Jakotsu shrugged. "It's okay, Inuyasha... Those involved know who they are and what they did. Besides, it happened long before I met you..." He tiredly rose to his feet. "Now if you don't mind..." He tugged on his pants.
"Oh... yeah..." The blonde guitarist felt his cheeks heating up as he turned away.
Jakotsu catching sight of his pink cheeks giggled softly. He quickly stripped down and kicked his jeans towards Inuyasha, signaling his intent to head into the bathroom. "You don't have to do anything, other than make sure I don't faint or something as Ban and Sui would kill you..." He padded across the carpet and into the master bathroom.
"Yeah..." The cross-dresser stuck his head out of the bathroom and said, "But if you do decide to follow me in here, I'd take your socks off and roll up your jeans. The bedroom may be western-style, but the bath's traditional." He disappeared back inside.
Seconds later, as Inuyasha took off his socks; he heard the sound of water running. It briefly shut off and entering the bathroom, he saw the cross-dresser sitting on a stool at the far end, lathering himself up. Jakotsu had his back to him, and reaching up; he grabbed the handheld shower head and rinsed himself off. Inuyasha winced at how thin he looked.
"Wanna hand me the Pantene? It's over there on the sink."
"Hunh?" Inuyasha stared at him blankly.
"Checking out my ass, were ya?" Jakotsu smirked.
"No... I was just ummm..." Inuyasha trailed off helplessly as he reached for the shampoo.
"Yeah...?" The cross-dresser looked over his shoulder and held up his hand. "Just a lil bit as this shit's expensive as hell and it takes forever to get here..." He coughed.
"Sure..." Inuyasha said as he came over to him.
"So, you were checking out my ass, hunh...?"
"And now you're checking out the rest of me..." Jakotsu said playfully. "Guys do that, straight or gay, Inuyasha. Don't you ever go to the gym?" the cross-dresser chuckled softly as he tried not to cough. "Anyways, you should consider yourself lucky...You've got to see something very few people have seen..."
"Don't flatter yourself."
Jakotsu's snort of amusement quickly turned into a sigh of contentment as Inuyasha started to wash his hair. "That's nice, Inuyasha... Thanks..."
"You're welcome. Do you mind if we do a quick lather rinse repeat?"
"Nah... I'm kinda tired..."
Twenty minutes later, they emerged from the bedroom, the cross-dresser looking pale and drawn, despite the touch of makeup he wore. His wet hair was pulled back into its familiar topknot to keep it from resting on his cashmere sweater. After thanking Inuyasha and giving his cheek a little kiss much to everyone's amusement, Jakotsu slowly sauntered over to the sofa. He wedged himself between Suikotsu and Renkotsu and head back and eyes closed, he appeared to have fallen asleep.
Suikotsu reached up and felt the cross-dresser's forehead. Frowning, as he did not like how warm he felt, Suikotsu was about to get up and go get Bankotsu when the cross-dresser whispered, "I'm fine, Sui..."
"You feel like you're starting to run a fever, Jak, and you look exhausted. Maybe we should all go home and let you rest."
"Just give me some Tylenol and I'll be fine..." Jakotsu smiled weakly. "Besides, you can't send them home, Sui, Ban went to all the trouble of making this party, and I don't want to disappoint him..."
"That's your trouble, Jak, you don't know how to say 'no' or take a little 'me time' for yourself."
The cross-dresser shrugged. "Whatever... Anyway, I haven't had a chance to talk to this cutie over here..." He grabbed Renkotsu's hand and rubbed it against his cheek. "Now go be a good lil doctor and get me some Tylenol..."
Suikotsu sighed as he stood up. "Jak..."
"I'll see to it he behaves, Sui," Renkotsu added helpfully.
"You see? I'm in good hands, Sui... hands that have been in places I've only dreamed of..."
"You sure you're not delirious?"
"Nope... I think I'm just high from that codeine shit you gave me before we left..."
Jakotsu giggled as Suikotsu headed towards the kitchen. He leaned on Renkotsu and closed his eyes. "So ...uhhh... What's your name again...?"
"I don't think we properly met before. It's Sugita Renkotsu, but you can call me Ren. And you are?"
"Okay, Water Lily..." Jakotsu said tiredly.
"Yeah... Oh, never mind, my brain's a lil fuzzy... I'm Hibiya Jakotsu, although it's actually Jackson."
"My name... My parents were living in the states when I was born cuz my father got transferred there, so they decided I should have a nice American name..."
"Yeah... I hate it too, so that's why I changed it to sound more like Sui's nickname."
"Yeah... I added the 'bone' and dropped the 'number one' on him when he got into med-school."
"So how'd you meet Sui?" the cross-dresser asked.
"I was working on a bike when I cut myself test-fitting the frame."
"You make bikes...? Sessh'll like that... He collects them and he got some freaking loud American one... I think it's a Hillary or something like that..."
Renkotsu chuckled. "You mean a Harley. It's not a bad bike. And you're right; they are a little loud."
Jakotsu nodded. "So...?" He coughed softly.
"How'd you meet Sui again?"
"Oh... I went to hospital to get stitches, and after sitting there for a couple of hours, he took one look at the blood soaked towel I had wrapped it in, barked a few orders and next thing I knew he was stitching me up. Afterwards we grabbed a cup of tea in the cafeteria while we waited for Kusao-san-"
"What's so funny?"
"Nobody calls Ban that unless they either want something from him or are scared shitless of him, so call him Ban like everyone else does..."
"Yeah... Look, Ren, you're here so that makes you family now."
"I am...? Ummm...Thanks..."
"You're welcome... Truthfully, I've only seen Sui look this happy twice before. The first time was when he asked Kikyou to marry him and she said 'yes,' and the second was the day he signed the divorce papers and it became final. So relax... I don't sleep on just anyone, you know..."
"If you're that tired, maybe we should all leave."
"Yeah... but I think this is supposed to be my birthday party... Unfortunately I got sick and missed the damned thing."
"Sit up," Suikotsu said as he came back over to them.
Jakotsu opened his eyes and did as he was told. Holding out his hands, he took the proffered glass of water and Tylenols his friend handed him. Popping them in his mouth and sipping the water, Jakotsu swallowed, before setting the glass on the coffee table. "Happy now?"
"I'll be a lot happier if you ate something and so would Ban."
Kagome walked over to them. "You guys want something to eat?" she asked. "Ban said to tell you that he decided to set the food up in the dining room and we could just grab a plate and eat wherever."
She nodded. "No problem. Do you want me to bring you something, Jak?"
"Nah-unh... I'm not hungry..."
"Jak honey, you have to eat something or you're going to wind up back in the hospital."
The cross-dresser made a face.
Renkotsu bit his lip and looked up at Kagome. "Nishi-san, if you would be so kind as to bring him something, I'm sure he'll eat it." He looked over at the cross-dresser. "Right?"
Kagome smiled as Jakotsu stuck his tongue out at Renkotsu.
Suikotsu rolled his eyes at his friend's childishness. "Thanks, Kagome," he said. "Come, I'll give you some help." They walked away.
"You know they're going to come back with a ton a food..." Jakotsu said.
"So, you're going to help me eat it."
"Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday to you!"
Renkotsu gently nudged the sleeping cross-dresser. "Wake up, Hibiya-san," he said softly.
Jakotsu mumbled something incoherent about not wanting a catheter change in reply.
"Happy birthday, dear Jackie, happy birthday to you..."
"No, wake up, and blow out your candles." Renkotsu shook the sleeping cross-dresser.
"Jak...?" Bankotsu said softly as a worried frown creased his forehead.
"I can't get him to wake up, Kusao-san."
"Ren, for the last time, it's Ban." Bankotsu said as he knelt and gently shook his lover. "Sweetness, get up and stop drooling all over Ren. Sui's getting jealous."
The cross-dresser slowly cracked his eyes open. Looking bleary-eyed at the expectant faces, Jakotsu half coughed half sighed, before closing his eyes, and settling more comfortably against Renkotsu.
"He's not feverish, is he?" Suikotsu asked.
Bankotsu laid his hand against Jakotsu's forehead. "No, not really. Come on, Sweetness, wake up..."
"Maybe we should go home, Ban," Rin said. "He barely ate a thing." She giggled. "Sorry to blow your cover like that, Renkotsu-san."
"It's okay, Nishi-san. I'm sorry, Ku... Ban, he kept dumping his food on my plate."
Bankotsu laughed much to Renkotsu's surprise. "He has a bad habit of doing that amongst other things. Everyone keeps trying to fatten him up and he keeps finding better and better ways around it. Feeding an unsuspecting victim is just the latest one." Bankotsu gently shook his lover again. "Come on, Sweetness, Rin made your favorite... chocolate cake with chocolate icing..."
"Nothungry..." the cross-dresser murmured.
"Hey look, Jak! Inuyasha's swinging naked from the chandelier!" Sesshomaru said.
Jakotsu coughed out a breathy, "Donecare..."
"He must be sicker than I thought if he's not jumping up to see that."
"He's not really interested, you asshole," Inuyasha hissed at his brother.
"No?" Sesshomaru narrowed his eyes at his brother and smirked, "What, you guys play 'show and tell' in the bathroom before?"
"Calm down you two. This is serious... Can't you see the poor thing is suffering?" Kagura hissed at the brothers. "We're going to go, Ban... Just leave him sleep. He can open his presents later and have cake then too."
"What's the big rush now? I thought you were so eager to see him open our present," Kikyou said sweetly.
"Ban can call us let us know how he liked once he's awake. Not that you care, Kikyou, but Jak's wiped," Kagura said just as sweetly.
"Wake up, Jak or you'll miss the cat fight," Kouga joked as he and Naraku pulled their respective wives away from each other.
"Cat...?" Jakotsu opened his eyes. "Wheresthecat...?" he said, sleepily slurring his words together.
"There's no cat, Hibiya-san," Ren said. "I think the girls have something they want to give you, so sit up."
"Okay..." Jakotsu said softly, and with Renkotsu's help he sat up.
"Well, we girls got together and made you this," Kagura said as she handed him a flat, wrapped package.
"Thank you..." Jakotsu smiled sleepily as he carefully started to open it.
"Oh for Pete's sake, just rip the paper, Sweetness!"
"But it's so pretty, Ban-chan..."
"Just do it," Renkotsu said softly.
"Fine..." The cross-dresser tore the paper off. "Calendar cuties?"
"Yeah... Look inside," Sango giggled.
Jakotsu opened it, and looking at January, his eyes went wide as he squealed with delight. "It's my dumpling with his yummies hanging out! Look!!" He held up the calendar.
"Nice yummies you got there, Ban!" Naraku smirked.
The smirk quickly faded when Jakotsu laughed. "Look, your yummies are on display in February, Narie-pooh!"
"What the hell?! Let me see that!!" Naraku reached for the calendar.
"No... I want to see who March is." Jakotsu flipped the page to the next month and giggled. "Sessh, you dog, you! I didn't know you had such a big bone... Look, Ren..."
"Uh, yeah... He's right; you are a big dog..." Ren deadpanned much to everyone's amusement.
"So who's next, Jak?" Sesshomaru asked.
The cross-dresser, perking out again, turned the page to April. "It's Miroku! Now I know why he's got all those kids too..." He giggled.
"Yeah, Sango likes my package..."
"You'd better believe I do! And that's the closest I'm getting to sharing, so you'd better appreciate it, Jak" She playfully shook her finger at him.
"I do!!" he giggled.
"Well, go on... who's next?" Bankotsu prompted.
Jakotsu turned the page to May and his mouth hung open as he did so. He slowly closed it and smiled. "You really do love me, Inu-chan," he said softly as he held up the calendar.
Sesshomaru laughed despite the death glare his brother leveled at him.
Jakotsu flipped the page up and giggled. "Sui's playing doctor again!"
"Nice..." Renkotsu said softly as Jakotsu showed off the calendar picture.
"Isn't it?" the cross-dresser purred. Flipping the page over, Jakotsu's smile turned to a look of surprise. "That's some smoking bike you've got there Ren..."
"Uh, yeah..." Mortified, Renkotsu tried to flip the page over before Jakotsu could show everyone.
"Awe, don't be shy, Ren...If you want I'll show you mine later. It's not like the girls haven't seen it... but okay..." Jakotsu said as he pretended to turn the page.
"Thanks..." Renkotsu's relief was short-lived when Jakotsu smiled sweetly at him and quickly held up the calendar. "What the hell?!"
"Awe, come on, Ren, you know you wanted to show it off. Besides, everyone's going to see it as soon as it's July. Remember I told you you're family now, and whatever stupid thing one of us does the others always have to do it too..."
"So, who's August?"
"You are, Kouga! Look!! And your puppies are there too!" Jakotsu held up the calendar.
"Uh, Jak, those puppies are full grown akitas," Renkotsu pointed out.
"Aren't my puppies the cutest?" Kouga said to no one in particular.
"If you say so..." his wife, Kagura, said dryly. "So who's September?"
"Ban again," the cross-dresser said coyly.
"Well, you can't have too much of a good thing," Ban smirked.
"Especially when it's my Ban-chan!" Jakotsu smiled.
"If you say so," Renkotsu said dryly.
"I do! Oh look, here I am in October. I think that's when I caught that cold too..." the cross-dresser giggled.
"You make a cute geisha, Jak," Rin said.
"Hey! You're not supposed to be looking at that!" Sesshomaru said as he covered his wife's eyes with his hand as everyone laughed.
Rin giggled and said, "Who do you think took all the pictures, Honey?"
"Oh yeah..." her husband said sheepishly as he removed his hand.
"Anyway, wait 'til you see November, Jak," Rin said.
"Oh shit, I forgot about that," the blonde brothers said in unison.
Jakotsu licked his lips, and turning the page to November, he squealed in delight. "Oh my word...! Who was the genius who thought up trying them both up together like that? Whoever you are, you're my hero!!" Jakotsu handed the calendar to Renkotsu. "You do the honors while I melt into a little puddle of blue goo..." He coughed and lay back weakly.
"You okay, Jak?"
"You sure, Sweetness?"
"Yeah... after this, I've gotta go to bed..." The cross-dresser sighed.
"You feel up to looking at December?"
Renkotsu closed the calendar and handed it over to Bankotsu, who quickly opened it up to the last page.
Jakotsu laughed himself into a coughing fit. "Santa's naughty lil elves!! What do you guys do up there, make sex toys for bad lil girls and boys? Oh this is too rich!! Thank you, Ladies..."
"And we're going to get going now. Thanks for having us..."
"Yeah... we've got get going too before the babysitter starts making more than I do..."
"Feel better, Jak. Thanks again, Ban..."
"'Night!! And go easy on him, Jak before you break something!"
"Will do, Sessh... Thanks, Rin..."
The cross-dresser closed his eyes and frowned when he felt both Bankotsu and Renkotsu get up off the sofa. Ignoring their soft chatter as they saw everyone out, he smiled at Suikotsu who was busy fussing over him.
"You're even warmer than before."
"I feel even worse than before... I just want to crawl into bed and die..."
"That's not funny, Jak."
"I wasn't trying to be... Besides, it's just an expression, Sui..."
"I know," Suikotsu said tiredly. "Can you stand?"
"No... I'm too tired to... just bring me my pillow and blankie..."
"Shit..." Suikotsu swore softly. "Ban..."
Closing his eyes, Jakotsu listened to his retreating footsteps and sighed. Lying back on the sofa, he realized exactly why no one came to see him in the hospital except for Bankotsu and Suikotsu. As nice as his friends were, they were exhausting to be around at the best of times and now that he was sick, he was finding it hard to keep up with them.
The cross-dresser was dozing off when he felt a pair of arms scoop him up. He giggled softly as his dreamscape shifted to one where he was a bride. It alternated with memories of being a child and colleges parties with Suikotsu where he had had too much to drink and had passed out to more recent memories of being taken by ambulance and admitted to the hospital. The feelings of floaty weightlessness were quickly replaced by the sensation of being grounded as he was gently settled on his bed.
Those feelings were short-lived as he was hauled upright, making his head spin, and he briefly opened his eyes.
"Good, you're awake," Bankotsu said softly. "Let's get you in your jammies."
"No..." Jakotsu pouted, not that it did any good, as the next thing he knew the temperature had dropped when his sweater was pulled off and replaced with the soft cottony folds of the old thermal undershirt he slept in. Shivering, he fussed like a sleepy child when he lay back and tried to curl on his side only to be told he had to get out of his jeans.
"Go'way..." the cross-dresser murmured and he frowned when a cool hand touched his forehead and cheek.
"He's still warm, although he hasn't gotten any warmer. The Tylenol must be starting to kick in."
"Yes. And I want you to call me if he gets worse and call an ambulance too."
"Sui, maybe you should stay in the guest room."
"Okay... But what about Ren?"
"He's welcome to stay too if he wants."
Suikotsu nodded. "I'll ask him."
"Before you go, can you help me get him out of his jeans?"
Jakotsu could feel his lover tugging at his pants, which normally would have been a good thing except for the fact that he felt like crap. All he wanted to do was sleep. Still, he couldn't resist giggling, as the denim trailed down his legs only to be replaced minutes later by his flannel pajama bottoms. Soon he was enveloped in the warmth of the down comforter along with a quick kiss on his cheek. As the room dimmed, he drifted off into a deeper sleep, the sound of his lover's and his friend's retreating footsteps weaving itself into the fabric of his dreams...