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."
"J" is for Jealousy
Jakotsu ran through the castle in a murderous rage, slashing out indiscriminately at anyone he saw. He was enraged at finding Bankotsu, who should have been helping to secure the place, in the arms of some woman as jealousy over where his leader's affections lay consumed him. While any men he had encountered tempered his ire by the workout they gave him when fighting back, the women were a different matter. Their terrified faces only served to increase his wrath and he took a perverse pleasure in sadistically prolonging their agony as he cut them up and watched them bleed. If they were so foolish as to try to seduce him into sparing their lives, he made them wish they had not bothered to try. Suikotsu eventually found him with one such woman, and the claw-bearer quickly dispatched her much to Jakotsu's disgust.
"Everything okay, Jak?" Suikotsu asked in the same calm tones he would have used if they were at home. He was itching to wash the blood off himself but something about the cold hard stare the cross-dresser leveled at him, made him pause. "Jak...?"
Jakotsu shook his head and Suikotsu could see he was calming down and coming back to himself. "What's wrong...?" he softly prompted.
"Nothing..." Jakotsu said, a touch of peevishness permeating his exhaustion.
"Yeah..." Jakotsu said as he calmly bent down and grabbed the dead woman's foot. Dragging her behind him, he said, "Let's go..."
Jakotsu glared at the young woman who knelt to serve him dinner. The more he stared coldly at her, the more flustered she became as her fear made her clumsy and careless. Just when he was about to slap her for spilling his tea, Bankotsu called her over to him. The cross-dresser watched as his lover flirted with her, calming her down, before sending her over to Mukotsu. The wave of jealousy that washed over him was so strong; he crushed the delicate porcelain tea cup he had just taken a sip from. The pain from the hot liquid and the cuts on his palm brought the cross-dresser back to himself. He stared down at his hand as it throbbed and it was several minutes before he realized everyone was fussing over him.
"Hunh?" Jakotsu looked up blankly at his lover.
"Are you okay?" Bankotsu asked as he reached out and took his paramour's bloody hand.
"Yeah... Stupid cup broke..."
"Oh..." Bankotsu looked worriedly over at the claw-bearer.
"Here, let me see, Jak..." Swallowing hard at the sight of blood, Suikotsu carefully examined the cross-dresser's hand. "Let's go outside and wash your hand. I want to make sure all the bits of porcelain are out of it and then I'll bind it for you. I'm sorry; it's going to hurt as I have nothing for the burns. Hmmm... Girl?"The claw-bearer beckoned the serving girl over.
"Yes...?" she timidly replied as Jakotsu was beginning to scare more than the rest of them combined.
"Go to the kitchen and see if there's any honey and bring it back and some fresh linen too," he sad softly.
"Okay..." she said, before leaving to do as she was bidden.
Renkotsu heard them long before he found them outside in the courtyard.
Bankotsu was standing there, holding up a paper lantern in one hand and the cross-dresser's hand in the other, as Suikotsu poured a bucket of water over it.
Jakotsu let out a torrent of curses as the pain shot up his arm. "Damn it, Sui!" he yelled as he tried jerking his hand out of Bankotsu's vice-like grip.
"Jak, I need to flush your wounds so I can make sure all the pieces of porcelain are out. I've heard a story of a woman dying from a similar wound."
"Serves her right!" the cross-dresser said irritably.
Jakotsu glared at his lover in silence.
The fire-breather walked over to them and coughed softly."You wanted this, Sui?"
The claw-bearer looked up. "Thanks, Ren. I'd appreciate it if you could tear it up into bandages."
"Will do," the fire-breather said as he set to work.
Jakotsu tried unsuccessfully to get Bankotsu to lower his hand. He still refused to say anything more as he did not trust himself to speak, especially to his lover, so he sat there, bristling with anger.
"Jak, you're lucky that all you've got is a shallow wound, as I thought I was going to have to stitch your palm. All you have is several little cuts, rather than a huge gash like I feared," Suikotsu said as he soaked apiece of linen in the honey. Taking it out, he removed the excess honey, before wrapping it around the cross-dresser's injured hand.
Jakotsu watched as the claw-bearer wadded up some of the linen Renkotsu handed him, before placing it in his injured palm. Suikotsu held it there, putting some gentle pressure on the wound. Once he was satisfied that the bleeding had lessened, he bound the wound, after washing the honey off his hands.
"I think you should go lie down for a while, Jak."
"And I'll bring you your dinner. Did you find a room you liked yet, Sweetness?"
Jakotsu looked up at his lover and shook his head. The concern he saw in Bankotsu's eyes was very pleasing as it quieted the little voice in Jakotsu's head that insisted his lover cared more about the girls they came across than him. Still, he had his nagging doubts and he dealt with them by having a tightly controlled possessive streak when it came to their leader. Lashing out at women, whenever they were on a mission, also helped as it gave him a place to channel his frustrations and the poor soldiers he casually raped eased his insecurities about being desirable.
"You can stay with me if you want...?" The slight hint of uncertainty he heard in Bankotsu's voice did wonders for banishing the cross-dresser's jealousy away. Jakotsu found he was even able to ignore the sunny smile Bankotsu flashed at the serving girl, who had been sent to see if everything was okay. For the first time since they had taken over the castle for a rival daimyo, Jakotsu felt happy and secure in the knowledge that Bankotsu really cared for him.
"Okay..." the cross-dresser said as he gave his lover a shy little smile.
"Good!" Bankotsu said. He grinned at his paramour and Jakotsu's own smile broadened as he knew he was in for a bit of fun later that night.
"How's your hand doing, Sweetness?" Bankotsu asked as he sat down on the futon his paramour was lying on.
"It still hurts, but I'll live," Jakotsu said ruefully as he played with the end of Bankotsu's braid with his good hand.
Bankotsu gently stroked the side of his paramour's face."Uh, Sweetness...?"
"Wrong?" Jakotsu stared blankly at his lover.
"Yes, wrong. You seemed so tense at dinner and that's not like you. Normally you're very happy after a mission goes well. And this one went so well, it was like a stroll in a pleasure garden." Bankotsu grinned, although it quickly faded when he noticed the cross-dresser's sullen expression. "You sure there's nothing bothering you?"
"Then why are you lying there, sulking?"
"I'm not sulking...." Jakotsu said peevishly as he turned his head away and pouted.
Bankotsu reached out and gently turned his paramour's face to look at him. "Yes, you are. You're acting worse than you did that time Kyo ate all the dango and you didn't get any. Now, are you gonna tell me what's wrong or am I gonna have to tickle it out of you?" Bankotsu teased.
Despite the fact he wanted to hold onto to his anger with both hands, Jakotsu felt the corners of his mouth twitch upwards in a brief smile.
"Well...?" Bankotsu laid his hand on the cross-dresser's stomach, chuckling softly to himself, when he felt it tense. "I'm waiting, Sweetness..."
Jakotsu closed his eyes and sighed. "I'm mad at you..." he said softly.
"Why? What'd I do?" Bankotsu asked. He was clearly at loss as to what he did to upset his paramour, and judging by Jakotsu's behavior, it had to be something serious.
The cross-dresser opened his eyes and studied his lover's face. He wanted to gently stroke Bankotsu's cheek, coaxing his lover closer and closer until he kissed him, but the hurt he had felt when he caught Bankotsu with a girl stayed his hand.
"Sweetness...?" Bankotsu prompted.
Jakotsu sighed. "I'm mad at you cuz of before..."
"Before?" The young leader of the Shichinintai quirked his eyebrow as he tried to figure what he did.
"Yeah... you know, with that stupid girl..."Jakotsu trailed off softly.
"Stupid girl...?" Bankotsu repeated as it hit him. Damn it! "You saw that?"
"She was begging for her life."
"So did all the bitches I found, but you didn't see me kissing them!" Jakotsu said tartly.
"No... I suppose not, but you should have stuck around, Sweetness, as you would have seen me kill her."
"You're not jealous of her, are you?" Bankotsu said softly.
Jakotsu made a bitter little sound of disgust. "Me? Jealous of some stupid bitch?"
"Yeah... It's the only explanation I can think of."
Bankotsu pushed Jakotsu's hair out of his eyes as he smiled at him. "You shouldn't be, Sweetness... It's you I love."
"Well I feel like you don't when you do shit like that,"Jakotsu said peevishly.
"I'm sorry..." Bankotsu's hand slipped down the side of his paramour's face as he gently cupped Jakotsu's cheek.
"Yeah... I wish I could make it up to you."
Jakotsu flashed him a genuine smile. "I know of a good way..."he said saucily, his ill humor forgotten as his relief that Bankotsu still loved him threatened to overwhelm him.
"What about your hand?"
"Ummm... there are other ways to have fun, Aniki-chan." The cross-dresser giggled.
"Oh yeah?" Bankotsu teased.
"Yeah... You could always face me..." the cross-dresser said shyly. "We've never nookie face to face before and since my hand's hurt and all..."
"Our usual way won't work," Bankotsu finished for him.
"Yeah... But if you don't want to, I'll understand."
"No... I don't mind... I just hope I don't hurt you."
Jakotsu smiled. "I'm sure if we play around like we always do it shouldn't matter if I'm flat on my back or on my hands and knees..." He reached up with his good hand and pulled Bankotsu close for a kiss. Breaking it, he said, "This way I can see you..."
Bankotsu grinned. "Yeah... and I can see you too. I think we should try it."
"Yeah..." Bankotsu said softly as he leaned in to kiss his paramour again. If only you knew how jealous those village girls back home are of you, I'd bet you'd never feel this way again...
Jakotsu deepened the kiss. I love you so much, Aniki-chan...if only I was brave enough to tell you, then I'm sure you'd stop doing those things that make me mad with jealousy...
Suikotsu and Renkotsu paused just outside the room Bankotsu was sharing with his paramour. The claw-bearer had wanted to check on Jakotsu before retiring for the night, but the soft sounds of two people engaged in intimate activity assured him everything was fine.
"Come, Ren, I can change his bandage tomorrow."
"Yeah... It seems like everything's back to normal," the fire-breather said as they started to leave.
Suikotsu nodded. "My guess is, Jak either told him what was bothering him or Oo-Aniki figured it out."
Renkotsu chuckled as they headed to their rooms. "I'd say Oo-Aniki probably figured it out."
"Yeah, you're probably right judging by the sound of it."The claw-bearer smiled knowingly.
"Has this happened before?"
"Not that I can remember, Ren. It might of, but we just assumed Jak was tired, or he was wounded, or maybe he had picked a fight about something totally unrelated to cover up his feelings but we took it at face value." Suikotsu shrugged. "It's hard to say; whenever Jak was troubled about something a bit of fun with Oo-Aniki always seemed to cheer him up."
The fire-breather nodded. "Yeah... wait ..."
"Maybe he's jealous."
"Yeah," Renkotsu said. "Not jealous of Oo-Aniki, but jealous of anyone who gets close to him..." the fire-breather said thoughtfully. "After Oo-Aniki made me second-in-command, Jak got really pissytowards me. After first I thought it was because he got demoted, but then Irealized Oo-Aniki was still treating him as his second-in-command, so that couldn't have been it. Then it hit me after I came home from negotiations with Oo-Aniki, that Jak was mad because I was spending time alone with Oo-Aniki. And no matter how many times I told him I don't like Oo-Aniki like that as well as insisted he doesn't like me like that, Jak refuses to see it. So I mentioned it to Oo-Aniki and that's when he started taking Jak with him instead of me, or sending me with Jak. I'll be damned as to why I never saw it earlier... but what could have set him off this time? We're all here..."
"The women..." Suikotsu said softly. "He's jealous of the women. Yes..." The claw-bearer looked over at Renkotsu. "The ones who didn't cower in fear-"
"Threw themselves at you," Renkotsu finished for him.
"And that's why nine times out of ten he kills all the women so we have to do for ourselves."
"And the only time he doesn't is when Oo-Aniki specifically tells him not to..."
"Yeah... The big question is this, now that it seems Oo-Aniki has figured it out, what's he going to do about it?"
"You've got me there, Sui."
The claw-bearer nodded as he paused outside his room. "It could be a huge problem as Oo-Aniki's tastes do run towards women."
Renkotsu chuckled. "I'd say that was a good thing as otherwise I have the feeling we'd be on the receiving end of one Jak's jealous tirades. But why can't he see Oo-Aniki only has eyes for him and those girls are just apassing fancy?"
"Because being in love blinds you and makes you do stupid things..."
"You think he's in love with him?"
"Before today, I would have hesitated to say 'yes,' but now...? Now, I'd say he is."
"Hopefully Oo-Aniki figures that out before Jak does something really stupid," Renkotsu said. He yawned sleepily. "Anyway, I'd better get going, I've had a long night. Perhaps we can discuss this in the morning."
"Sure... Goodnight, Ren."
"Sleep well, Sui."
"It looks like they worked out their problems," Renkotsu said dryly.
They were on their way back to their home base, Bankotsu and the cross-dresser taking the lead. Their leader had his arm around his paramour and Jakotsu was happily leaning into him. Jakotsu would steal the occasional kiss, lending weight to Renkotsu's observation.
"Possibly, but I wouldn't count on it lasting," Suikotsu added.
"I have the feeling the next time Oo-Aniki comes across apretty feminine face, the fireworks'll begin again, Ren," Mukotsu added. "If only Oo-Aniki would let me handle that problem for him..."The diminutive poisoner sighed.
"Gesh, gesh,gesh... We'd have bigger problems." Ginkotsu chuckled.
"Oh yeah... But you're free to give Jak a helping hand next mission," Renkotsu said.
"I would, but he moves too damned fast so by the time I find them, they're usually dead," Mukotsu said unhappily.
"I'll see what I can do next time."
They walked along in companionable silence for a while as they watched their leader and the cross-dresser flirt shamelessly with each other. Just when it looked like Bankotsu would call a halt to their progress and drag the cross-dresser off into the bushes for a bit of fun and argument broke out between them.
"I told you so," Suikotsu said smugly.
"Now what are they going on about?" Mukotsu said to no one in particular.
"Who knows?" Renkotsu shrugged.
"As long Jak's not flying off in a jealous rage, everthing'll be fine. Not that we have anything to worry about," Suikotsu said with a smile.
"Well for one thing we're not women, and for another, Oo-Aniki hasn't shown any interest in any of us."
"And may the gods keep it that way," Renkotsu added.
"Yes... and may any women Oo-Aniki fancies be sent our way,"Mukotsu chimed in.
Author's end note: "K" is for Kitty.