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.”
Please note that this story takes place after the end of “Knocked-Up Joke” and is a sequel of sorts.
“P” is for Parenthood
Jakotsu sat outside the “love nest,” playing with his kitten. “Who’s a cute lil baby?” he cooed.
Walking over to them, Renkotsu said, “Hey, Jak, you haven’t seen Ban anywhere, have you?”
“Say ‘hello’ to your Uncle Ren, Baby!” the cross-dresser said, and picking up his kitten, he held him out to Renkotsu.
“Nee-yow,” Baby mewed.
Jakotsu beamed at the kitten like a proud parent, before looking up expectantly at the fire breather. “Well?”
Renkotsu frowned. “Well what?”
“Baby said hello to you, so why aren’t you saying it back?”
Renkotsu shot the cross-dresser a look that said “you’ve got to be kidding me...”
Heaving a long suffering sigh, and resisting the urge to rub his temples, the fire-breather said, “Hello, Baby. Happy?”
Jakotsu smiled. “Yes!”
“Good, now have you seen Ban? I need to go over a few things with him about this mission I’m going on.”
“Yeah. He’s inside, sleeping.”
Jakotsu nodded and cuddled his kitten. “That’s why we’re outside, so Chichi-ue can sleep.”
“Yeah... I figured that since Aniki-chan got him for me, he’s Baby’s father.”
“You know if Ban’s the father, that makes you the mother,” Renkotsu said wryly.
“What?!” the cross-dresser sputtered.
Baby meowed and squirmed out of his grasp. The kitten hissed at the fire-breather when he bent to pick him up.
“Tsk, tsk, you dropped your Baby, Jak.” The fire-breather chuckled and handed kitten back.
“Ummm... yeah...” Jakotsu held out his hands and took the kitten. After a few minutes of soft cooing, Jakotsu had the kitten, sitting in his lap, purring contentedly.
“Well, I’d better get going. Tell Chichi-ue when he wakes up that I’d like to meet with him as soon as possible.”
As Renkotsu headed back to the main house it was all he could do to keep himself from laughing.
“What’s so funny, Ren?” Suikotsu asked as his lover entered their room.
The fire-breather chuckled. “Jak. You should have seen his face, Sui. He was outside playing with his cat, and he... he... hehehehehe...”
Suikotsu looked up from the low table where he sat, sorting his herbs. “He what?”
Renkotsu took a deep calming breath. “You know how he calls that cat Baby?”
“Well, hehehehe... he said Ban’s the cat’s father.” The fire-breather laughed.
Suikotsu smiled “I know, Ban had said something about it this morning.”
“Well, I merely pointed out that if Ban’s the father, hehehehe,” He paused to control his laughter. “Then he’s the mother...hehehe..HAHAHAHA!” Renkotsu roared with laughter at the memory.
“You didn’t!” Suikotsu laughed.
“We shouldn’t be laughing, Ren,” Suikotsu gently chided.
“I know...but it’s so funny.”
“Be that as it may, it’s also very sweet.” Suikotsu chuckled. “It shows he’s got a good heart.”
Renkotsu nodded. “Yeah...”
The claw-bearer’s eyes twinkled with amusement. “You know had it been possible for him to really have been with child, he probably would be a very good mother despite his unusual childhood.”
Renkotsu thought it over. “You’re right. He did plan to take care of his child had he had one.”
Suikotsu nodded. “And I wouldn’t tease him too much about the cat, Ren. You don’t want Oo-Aniki getting involved.”
Bankotsu stood in the open doorway of the love-nest and yawned. Stretching contentedly, he said, “Thanks for letting me sleep, Sweetness.”
Jakotsu, not even bothering to look up at his lover, shrugged in reply.
“You okay, Sweetness?”
The cross-dresser shrugged again.
“Are you mad at me for napping without you?” Bankotsu came over and sat down next to the cross-dresser. Putting an arm around him, he pulled him close. “Sweetness...?” Bankotsu murmured softly into the top of Jakotsu’s head.
“No...” Jakotsu said softly.
“Then what’s wrong?”
“Ren said something and I got to thinking,” the cross-dresser said sadly.
“And I told you he’s an idiot and not to pay attention to what he says.”
“I know... but I couldn’t help it.”
“What’d he say?”
“I said you’re Baby’s father and he said that made me Baby’s mother...”
“So? He’s not the first person who called you a girl.” Bankotsu held his lover tightly.
“I know... but, Aniki-chan, my mother...” Jakotsu trailed off softly.
“Ssh... She made a bad decision, but the way I see it, it worked out just fine.”
“Yeah. Because if she hadn’t left you behind, what would have happened to you? You’d be the vassal of some snot nosed lil half-brother who’d just lord it over you that he knows who his father is and you don’t. And then I’d never get to meet you, because how would I find you?”
“I don’t know...”
“So it’s a good thing she left you behind in the bathhouse,” Bankotsu said matter-of-factly. “And I think you’d make a great mother too.”
“You do?” Jakotsu asked although he was not sure if he wanted to know the answer.
“Yeah... look at well you take care of Baby. It’s not like your mother showed you to be a mother.”
“True... But some of the other girls showed me how to look after my sister.”
Bankotsu nodded. “And I bet if we really had made a baby you’d be the perfect mother. Better than my own mother who used to foist me off onto my sisters. I remember thinking for the longest time that my sister Fumiko was really my mother.”
“Yeah. And didn’t you tell Ren that you were going to stay home and take care of our child?”
“Yeah...” Jakotsu said and Bankotsu could hear the smile in his voice. “Too bad I wasn’t with child.”
“Yeah... That would have been nice even if it could never happen,” Bankotsu said, and gently tilting the cross-dresser’s face upwards, he leaned in, and kissed him.
“Hey, Ren!” Bankotsu called out when he spotted the fire-breather sitting outside his workshop. “Jak said you wanted to take to me about something?”
The young leader of the Shichinintai walked over to him and sat down. “That’s funny cuz I wanted to talk to you about something too.”
“Yup... You know you upset Jak before,” Bankotsu said, getting right to the point.
“How?” the fire-breather asked, clearly at a loss as to what he had said or done.
“Look, I don’t know if you know or not, but Jak had a shitty childhood and-”
“I know, Sui told me a little about it and I know better than to bring it up, so what is he so upset about?”
Bankotsu gave his second-in-command a long hard stare, before nodding. Sighing, he said, “He got upset when you called him that damned cat’s mother.” Bankotsu held up his hand forestalling the fire-breather’s protests. “You reminded him of his own mother who wasn’t the greatest.”
“I’m sorry, that wasn’t my intention, Oo-Aniki.”
Bankotsu gave him a look that said “it had better not have been.”
“I was merely making a joke about how he calls you baby’s father.”
“Don’t remind me...” Bankotsu said tiredly.
Renkotsu could not help chuckling at that and was surprised when Bankotsu laughed along with him.
“All I know is he’s been doting on that cat like it was a real baby and...ummm...” Bankotsu, at a loss for words, trailed off softly.
“Say no more, Oo-Aniki; just be glad he’s not really a ‘hermadingle.’” Renkotsu choked out a laugh. “Or else he’d be sitting around raising a pack of your brats.”
Bankotsu laughed. “That’s what I’m afraid of!”
“As well you should, Oo-Aniki, with your prowess...” Renkotsu winked.
“I could sire my own army!”
“Now what is it you wish to discuss?”
“Just how much firepower I’ll need for this new mission,” Renkotsu said. He was pleased Bankotsu had found the whole thing with Jakotsu just as amusing as he did because anything resembling criticism of the cross-dresser was dangerous territory.
Suikotsu gently took the cross-dresser’s arm and moved it, checking his range of motion. “Your shoulder’s as good as new, Jak.”
Jakotsu stuck his arm back into his kimono sleeve. “Good...” he said softly.
“I’d thought you’d be happy to hear that.”
The cross-dresser nodded.
“You don’t look happy.”
“But...?” Suikotsu gently prompted.
“I’ve been thinking about my mother...”
“I see,” Suikotsu said softly.
“Yeah.... Aniki-chan said she made a bad choice but it turned out good because we got to meet and all...” Jakotsu looked up at his friend.
“That’s a good way of looking at it, Jak.” Suikotsu reached out and put a hand on his shoulder. “When my Sedako-chan died after giving birth to our child, I was so overcome with grief that I don’t think I would have been such a great parent, Jak, had our child lived.”
“No... It’s not that I couldn’t find a wet-nurse to look after him, or that I drank myself into oblivion at the time, I would have a horrible parent because every time I looked at our child all I would have been able to see was the cause of my beloved’s death.”
“Yeah...? But you’re good with children, and they like you, Sui.”
The claw-bearer nodded. “True, but that’s because I think I’m trying to find what I lost and they know it. But children like you too, Jak.”
“Heh!” Jakotsu could feel his cheeks heating up. “I just know a lot of games to keep them quiet and away from adults.” He shrugged. “It’s just stuff I used to play until I started working.”
“But you knew how to make that baby stop crying, something nobody else did-”
“Except that baby’s mother,” he said dryly. “Stupid bitch was too busy chatting Aniki-chan up to care.”
Suikotsu made a little sound of amusement. “But we needed that information.”
“So how did you know what to do?”
“I don’t know... It was just something any of us did to make a baby stop crying at the bathhouse.” Jakotsu frowned. “Babies usually cry when they’re hungry, Sui, unless they’re sick or something. And sucking on your finger makes them shut up cuz they think they’re sucking on their mother’s tittie.” He smiled wryly. “That’s what Cricket told me. She was really old and she knew lots of stuff about babies.”
“I see...” Suikotsu smiled.
Jakotsu smiled back at him.
Jakotsu picked up his kitten and set the little ball of black and white fluff into his basket. “‘night, Baby,” he said softly, running a finger lightly on the kitten’s head, before getting up and coming over to his lover.
“Tucking Baby in for the night?” Bankotsu asked.
Jakotsu sat down next to him. “Yeah...” the cross-dresser said sheepishly.
“You’re such a good little mother.” Bankotsu pulled him close.
The cross-dresser giggled. “Yeah?”
“Yeah... and I was thinking maybe we should try for another baby,” Bankotsu said huskily as he trailed a line of little kisses across his paramour’s cheek.
Jakotsu giggled. “Really? So when are we going to get this other cat...?” He kissed his lover.
“Cat?” Bankotsu teased. “I was hoping to make a real baby...”
“Yeah?” The cross-dresser’s eyes went wide at the possibility.
“Yup, remember I told you part of the fun of making a baby is in the trying...?”Bankotsu winked.
Jakotsu nodded, an impish smile lighting up his face. “Uh hunh!” He giggled.
“So let’s get the futon.” Bankotsu pulled away from him and got up to get it, the cross-dresser trailing behind him.
“Because even if it never works...” Bankotsu said huskily. “It’s still a lot fun trying, no?”
“Oh yeah...” Jakotsu said breathlessly.
Bankotsu felt a stab of guilt and sighed. “You know we can’t really make a baby, Sweetness.”
“I know.” The cross-dresser smiled and gently cupped his lover’s cheek. “And while I’d love to make one with you...”Jakotsu trailed off softly.
“I just remembered what a pain in the ass babies are,” Jakotsu said with mock seriousness. “Besides, I’d rather have another cat.”
“Fine with me.” Bankotsu chuckled as he unrolled the futon and sat down on it.
“Yeah?” Jakotsu said as he crawled over to him.
“Yeah! Now shut up and kiss me!” Bankotsu said as he pulled his paramour close.
“With pleasure...” Jakotsu said breathlessly as he leaned in to kiss him, all thoughts of parenthood forgotten.
Author’s end note: Next up is “Q” is for Quiet.