Collection of 26 Jakotsu-centric challenge fics. They can either be set in the feudal era or modern times. The idea is based off of Killa Kay's Gravitations short stories called "A to Z."
Author's note: The following is a series of Jakotsu-centric challenge fics written from a list my dear friend and writing partner, Vega-chan, came up with for me. It's is based on Killa Kay's awesome collection of Gravitation short stories called "A to Z." (You can find them in my favorite stories section.) Due to the nature of the word given, they can either be what I call "canon timeline" which is set before their first deaths or AU which is set in modern times and will be set in the "world" I created in my story, "Homecoming."
FYI: A bakeneko is a cat in Japanese folklore with supernatural abilities similar to a fox's or raccoon dog's. They are said to come from normal cats that live to be a certain age, grow to a certain size, or be allowed to keep a long tail. If the tail gets too long and forks, the cat is called a nekomata. Since they can cause a lot of trouble for people, having a cat as a pet would be discouraged. This legend is said to have led to the breed of cat known as the Japanese bobtail which was loved and adored by its owners.
Oneesan means "older sister" or "Miss?"
"C" is for Cats
Jakotsu had always loved cats. Most people feared and hated them, but he found them to be the perfect thing to ease the pain of loneliness. As a young child in the bathhouse he was always getting in trouble for playing with the stray cats in the area as everyone was afraid they would turn into bakeneko and haunt the place. So he reluctantly gave up his furry playmates in favor of the ephemeral butterflies that flitted about the wildflowers. Besides, it was not long before the six year old was put to work when his mother ran off with one of her clients, taking his sister with her, and leaving him behind as payment for her debts. As result he had no time to play with anyone let alone a stay cat.
Things changed when he grew older as he had more time for himself because most men who came to the bathhouse would rather have a young girl or even an older woman than a boy who was nearly a man. So his loneliness returned and with it a renewed interest in the cats in the area. Unfortunately, there were not many as the bathhouse owner was rather diligent in keeping them away after the death of one of the girls was blamed on an evil bakeneko. So Jakotsu was please to find a mangy ball of black fluff that he named Kageboushi. The kitten soon grew into a sleek black cat that came and went like the shadows and he managed to avoid discovery for a while as well.
Jakotsu had the feeling it was Water Lily who had discovered the cat and had reported it to the owner. Since her room was next to his, it would have been an easy matter for her to have seen Kageboushi leave him a "present" of a dead mouse or bird, despite Jakotsu's best efforts of disposing of said presents as quickly as possible. Plus it would have been just like her to suggest he was possessed by the cat's malevolent spirit, earning him a beating. And Jakotsu happily took the beating too as the cat had disappeared for a few days and he was happy it had found somewhere else to live. However, he found the dead cat a few days later in the garbage heap. Sighing softly, he gave into conventional wisdom and forgot about having a cat. But all that changed the day a cocky young warrior walked into his life and took him away from all that...
"What are you doing?" Bankotsu asked as he quirked an eyebrow at his new traveling companion.
"Playing with Tama..." Jakotsu said impishly as he dangled a long blade of grass in front of the kitten.
The little brown tabby stood on his hind legs, determined the catch the blade of grass that dangled just out of reach.
Jakotsu giggled as the kitten caught it. "Good, little Tama-chan..." he said softly.
"Done playing with him yet?"
"No..." the cross-dresser looked up at him. "Why?"
"We have to go now. I've got a job for us. Some farmer's been having trouble with a rat youkai. It shouldn't be too hard for the two to kill. Hell, I think you could probably do it by yourself."
"I don't know, Bankotsu... fighting alongside you is one thing, but by myself?" He gently tickled behind the kitten's ear.
Tama purred loudly, prompting Jakotsu to pick him up.
"Yeah. I think you can do it. But you're going to have to pay attention to what you're doing, okay? You can play with the cat later..." Bankotsu trailed off, his mouth hanging open as he watched the cross-dresser cuddle the kitten.
"Okay... Bye, Tama-chan..." Jakotsu said as he set the kitten down.
"Who's your little friend, Jakotsu?" Suikotsu asked as he came over to the cross-dresser. They were waiting for Bankotsu, and Jakotsu had flopped down in the shade of a large ginkgo tree in the middle of the village they were passing through in search of work.
The cross-dresser stroked the calico cat that was sitting in his lap and sighed contentedly. "Mi-ke..." He looked up at Suikotsu worriedly. "I think something's wrong with him, Sui..."
"Really?" Suikotsu held his finger out to the cat, which briefly sniffed his finger, before rubbing against it.
"Yeah... His stomach keeps moving around. Look it's doing it again."
Suikotsu snorted in amusement. "That's because he, or rather she's going to have kittens."
"It's a girl cat? But I just saw him scratch the hell out of a couple of dogs..." The cross-dresser blinked.
"She's a tough little lady and will probably be a good mother to her kittens."
"Maybe if we pass through here again you can have one of her kittens."
"Yeah... That would be nice, but how I can take care of a cat if we're always moving from place to place?"
"You've got a point there... But maybe one day we'll be able to settle down and then you can have as many cats as you like."
"You think so?"
Jakotsu giggled and clasped his hands together in delight. "I think he likes you, Gin!"
Ginkotsu looked down at the cream and white colored bob-tail cat. "Geshi...?"
The cat purred as it rubbed against the half-metal man's leg before sauntering over to the cross-dresser who picked it up.
"You see? They only do that when they like you! And cats must like you a lot, Ren, cuz they're always doing that to you!" Jakotsu said. He was smiling happily as he cuddled the cat who purred happily against his shoulder.
"Tell me about it..." the fire-breather said dryly.
"There you are, Momo-chan!" the daimyo's young daughter cried she approached. "I've been looking everywhere for you! Naughty cat!"
The daimyo's retainers, who had been keeping a loose watch on the four men while Bankotsu was inside working out the details of their mission with the daimyo, snapped to attention as the little girl approached.
"Yuriko-hime!" Two guards stepped in front of her.
"I want my cat!!" the little girl cried.
"You cannot go there."
"Give her back her cat, Jak," Suikotsu whispered.
"But the cat doesn't like her, if he did he wouldn't have left her," Jakotsu hissed back at him as he held the cat tighter.
A petulant frown creased the cross-dresser's features.
Renkotsu got up and came over to them. "Jak, give the kid back her cat now. If she causes a fuss like I think she will, you could cost Oo-Aniki this job. So I suggest you march your ass over there right now and hand over that damned cat!" The fire-breather left the "or else" hanging unsaid in the air between them.
Jakotsu made a face before complying. He walked up to the guards and said sweetly, "Excuse me, but I believe this is the lady's cat..."
"Thank you for finding Momo-chan, Oneesan!" the little girl said happily. She held out her hands as she waited for Jakotsu to give her back the cat.
Jakotsu rubbed his cheek against the cat one last time, before reluctantly handing over the cat.
In a soft rustle of silk and a loud angry meow from the cat, the little girl ran over to her nurse. "Look, Komori-san! The pretty lady found Momo-chan!" she said as they disappeared from view.
Mukotsu watched as a group of village girls flirted with Jakotsu. His look of disgusted annoyance that was tinged with envy was amazingly mirrored by the cross-dresser as he looked up to see Mukotsu standing by himself. The diminutive poisoner, however, would have given anything at that moment to have all those girls fussing over him as he sourly thought about the cross-dresser's luck in attracting both men and women. His only consolation in the whole sorry affair was the fact that Jakotsu was getting more and more irritated as time went by.
Finally unable to take it any more, Mukotsu said, "What's he got that I haven't got?"
Renkotsu, who had heard him as he approached, said simply, "A kitten."
"Kyo, have you seen Toraneko-san?" Jakotsu asked the largest member of the Shichinintai, who was longing around the courtyard, picking his teeth with a ragged fingernail.
"Toraneko-san! I can't find him anywhere..." The cross-dresser sighed sadly.
"Oh... who is he?"
Kyokotsu belched contentedly. "What's he look like?"
Jakotsu held up his hands about a foot apart. "He's about this big and he's orange with darker stripes like a tiger. Why? Have you seen him?!" he asked excitedly.
"I might have..." the giant replied vaguely.
"I'm sorry, Jak..."
"He's not hurt, is he?" the cross-dresser asked, as a look of panic crossed his features.
"Oh... so where is he?!"
"What?! Where is he, Kyo?!"
"I ummm..." Kyokotsu belched. "I think I ate him..."
"I'm sorry, Jak, but I thought he was a funny looking rabbit and I was hungry and he looked like a tasty lil snack..."
Jakotsu paled. "You... ate... my... cat..." he said slowly.
"I'm sorry... I was hungry and I didn't know he was yours..."
"How could you?!" Jakotsu cried as his eyes welled up with tears.
"What's the matter, Sweetness?" Bankotsu asked as he came over to see what the fuss was about.
"Kyo ate my cat!!" the cross-dresser wailed as he threw his arms around his lover's neck.
"He did?" Bankotsu frowned at the largest member of the Shichinintai. "Bad Kyo!" He shook his fist at him before quickly turning it into a gesture of approval as he silently mouth "thank you!"
Kyokotsu, who was very confused by his leader's actions, none-the-less managed to look properly chastised.
"Come, Sweetness, maybe we can find you another cat."
"Yeah..." Bankotsu said with a sigh as he really did not want another cat. He agreed to it simply because indulging Jakotsu in his love of cats made him happy which was the important thing in Bankotsu's eyes...
/Author's end note: Next up is "D" is for Daring./