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: “Time in My Heart” is a song from the anime “Gravitation.” It was sung by Kotani Kinya and can be found on his 1999 album, “Mad Soldiers; LABORATORY.”
Please note that this is the sequel to the previous piece, “S” is for Serious.
“Love vanquishes time. To lovers, a moment can be eternity; eternity can be the tick of a clock.” Mary Parrish
“T” is for Time
Jakotsu lay in the futon on the floor of his parent’s living room, counting the ticks of the clock as the night crept towards morning. He was exhausted, yet he was all wound up at the same time, and he found it hard to sleep. The fact that futon felt like it was spinning slowly off into space did not help matters either. Clutching the Hello Kitty plushie Bankotsu had given him when he was in the hospital, Jakotsu let his mind drift back to events of the past evening.
They had gone to a karaoke bar in lieu of a bachelor/bachelorette party and rented one of the upstairs party rooms. Jakotsu smiled at the memory of them all taking turns, and singing a mix of popular songs and anime music. One song stood out in particular, since Bankotsu had been content to sit back and enjoy his friends’ singing. Jakotsu remembered standing at the bar, talking with Kagura when one of his favorite anime songs came on. He had groaned because he had wanted to sing it when it came up in the rotation, what he had not counted on was the singer who was singing it instead.
“Kasumu yume no tsuzuki wo kimi ga mitai to ima nozomu no nara... hashiru toki wo toraete kimi no BEDDO ni todokete mo iize...”
The rest of lyrics seem to float past his brain without registering until Bankotsu got to the refrain.
“Time in my heart...kotae no nai sekai mo nai kitto...Time in my heart...subete ga aru kimi no yume ni ORE wo irete...”
As clichéd as it had sounded when he told Bankotsu afterwards that he had felt as if they were the only ones in the room, Jakotsu knew it was true. For one brief moment in time the lovers were in a place all their own and the outside world did not exist. The fact that Jakotsu had always thought of it as their song only added to the warm and fuzzy feelings the memory gave him as he heard his lover singing in his head.
“Time in my heart... kotae no nai sekai mo nai kitto... Time in my heart...subete ga aru kimi no yume ni ORE wo irete...”
Jakotsu’s mother padded softly into the living and knelt by her sleeping son. She smiled and gently brushed the hair out of his eyes, seeing not a forty year old man, but the little boy he had once been. She sighed, reluctant to wake him and yet knowing that she had to, as they had a long morning ahead of them with barely enough time to get ready.
“Jackson...” she said softly, gently shaking him. “You must wake up, my son.”
Jakotsu groaned. “FivemoreminutesHahaue...”
“I’m sorry, Jackson, but I’ve already let you sleep longer than you should. Come, get up and go get ready. I’ll bring your tea if you like in the bath, but you have to get up. NOW!” she raised her voice on the last word, something she rarely did, but it had the desired effect. Jakotsu was awake.
The cross-dresser sat up and looked around bleary-eyed, his hand over his wildly beating heart. For a minute there, he could have sworn he was sixteen and nearly late for school. “Good morning, Haha-ue...” he said softly. Now that his heartbeat was slowing down, his hangover hit him right between his eyes. Smiling sweetly at his mother, he crawled out of the futon and stood up, instantly regretting it.
“Here,” she said softly, handing him a glass of water and a couple of aspirins. “Kusao-san said you had a little too much sake last night when he dropped you off and that you would need it.”
“A little too much, doesn’t begin to cover it, Haha-ue...” Jakotsu took the aspirin and swallowed both them and a mouthful of water.
“Apparently as Nishi-san said you did a strip-tease in the bar. Jackson, what kind of party was this?”
“So that’s what happened to my panties...” he said ruefully. “Everyone kept filling my cup, Haha-ue, and it wasn’t like I was the only one naked.”
“That’s not what Nishi-san said,” his mother said reprovingly.
“Well, Nishi-san was just as naked if I remember correctly...” Jakotsu smiled contritely. “I’d better go bathe, hunh?”
“I think that would be a good thing to do while I make breakfast. Thank goodness your father was asleep, Jackson, when you came home.”
Jakotsu chuckled. “Why do I have the feeling I’m about to get grounded again?”
His mother smiled.
Jakotsu stood in the kitchen, dressed in a hadajuban and susoyoke, his nagajuban thrown casually over the traditional undergarments like a bathrobe, drinking tea. He glanced at the clock and groaned when he saw only five minutes had passed since he last looked. He winced when he heard his mother calling for him.
“Jackson? Where are you? Are you dressed yet?” his mother said, her voice scarcely louder than her soft footsteps. “The hairdresser will be here any minute now and your girlfriends are starting to arrive. Jackson? You’re not outside smoking are you?”
“No, Haha-ue. I’m in the kitchen, having tea. Although, I wouldn’t mind a quick smoke; got any cigarettes?” Jakotsu asked as he turned to face his mother, who just entered the kitchen. One look at her face and Jakotsu was sorry he had asked.
“No, I don’t have any cigarettes and your father gave them up years ago when the doctor told them they were affecting his health. Are you smoking?” She frowned.
“No, Haha-ue... I only smoked that one time when I was nine and you caught me. My arse still hurts just thinking about it,” he said ruefully. “I’d really like some chocolate cake, but the way my stomach feels, I think I would be ill...”
His mother’s glare softened into concern. “You’re not getting sick are you?”
“No...” Jakotsu sighed. “I just have the hangover from hell combined with a bad case of nerves.” He sipped his tea.
“Stop with the tea already,” she gently admonished. “It’ll make you go too much...” she trailed off softly.
“I don’t have anything left to go with, Haha-ue.”
“Sorry...” Jakotsu moved to give his mother a hug. “Haha-ue...?”
“When’d you get so small?”
“About twenty five years ago when you started to grow up...”
“Please keep still, Hibiya-san, or else I’m only going to wind up pulling your hair,”said the hairdresser for the umpteenth time.
“Sorry, but I’m too antsy to sit still. Plus I need to go do something,” Jakotsu said.
“Can’t it wait?” the hairdresser said irritably as she pulled, twisted and pinned the cross-dresser’s hair into shape.
“No, I’m sorry; it can’t wait.”
“Jackson, you will sit there and behave,” his mother said.
Jakotsu pouted, reminding his mother once again of the little boy he used to be. He sat there, obeying her wishes, while desperately trying to ignore his bladder, and even the parade of visitors and friends did little to take his mind off the discomfort. Minutes dragged and felt like hours until at last she was finished putting his hair up in the traditional bunkin-takashimada style. She added various kanzashi, the beautiful hair ornaments his mother had worn at her wedding, to the finished hairstyle along with two golden tsuno “horns” to the front. As soon as it was politely possible, the cross-dresser escaped into the privacy of the bathroom.
His father, standing in front of the bathroom door, knocked and called out, “Jackson, get out of there, now!”
“I’ll be out in a minute, Chichi-ue!”
“You’ve been in there a half hour already, and you’re upsetting your mother. Now get out!”
Seconds later the door opened and the cross-dresser emerged, looking pale and drawn.
His father shook his head and handed Jakotsu a teacup. “Drink up.”
Jakotsu took a sip and coughed. “Chichi-ue! That’s sake!”
“I know. Your mother said you were hungover and nervous about this whole thing. Sake is a good cure-all as my grandfather used to say.”
Jakotsu laughed and drained the cup. “Thanks, Chichi-ue.”
His father held up a hand. “You wish to thank me? Then stop acting like a spoiled child and grow up!”
“Good, now go to my room, your mother’s waiting for you with the kimono-dresser.”
Jakotsu nodded and hurried off to do what he was told.
The elder Hibiya sighed as he watched his son hurry off towards his bedroom.
“Why aren’t you made-up, Jackson?”
“Because I was hiding in the bathroom...” the cross-dresser said dryly. “Haha-ue?”
“You went through all this when you got married?”
“Yes, Jackson, I did. And my parents, especially my mother, made me crazy. My older sisters did their part too. But I got through it and a big move to New York on top of it. And I didn’t even know English at the time your father was transferred there. Rosen-obaasan taught me.”
“I saw her that time I went to New York with Sui. I still can’t believe she took the time to make me a chocolate cake when I told her I was coming to see her.” He sighed happily. “I always felt lucky I had three grandmothers instead of two.”
“She was a good woman,” his mother said.
“Yeah... She didn’t even bat an eyelash when I showed up dressed like a woman. I remember she found the whole thing funny. What did she say?” he frowned as he tried to remember. “Yes! ‘Stupid doctors’ wives can’t see past their diamonds and furs.’” He laughed along with his mother.
“Now go hurry up and put on your face, my son.”
“Yes, ma’am.” Jakotsu hurried over to the living room and grabbed his make-up case. He briefly stopped in the kitchen to have a glass of water, although he would have preferred a cup of tea. Minutes later, he was sitting at his mother’s dressing table, carefully applying a lighter version of the traditional geisha make-up to give his complexion a fine porcelain glow. A half an hour later and looking more woman-like than ever, Jakotsu was ready to put on his mother’s wedding kimono. Since it had been made for his maternal grandmother Takako, who had been as tall and thin as he was, it would fit perfectly.
Jakotsu stood there as the dresser tied the nagajuban properly around him, before setting to work, tying various padding around his waist and hips. A hiyoku was layered on over that and tied. The dresser fussed with the length for several minutes although it felt like hours to Jakotsu. He preferred dressing himself with minimum assistance, but getting dressed in a kimono, and especially a wedding kimono, required more help than he was used to dealing with. Just when the cross-dresser felt he would scream in frustration if he was not left alone for two minutes, the dresser stepped back after setting the tsuno kakushi or white wedding hood on his head, and smiled.
“You look beautiful, Hibiya-san.”
After various friends and relatives took his picture, Jakotsu sank back on the chair and wondered how long it would be until he could go to bed. He felt so exhausted that he was willing to beg Bankotsu in to letting him sleep until morning and consummate their union then. Sighing wearily, when he caught Kagura staring at him, he barked out a little laugh as she rolled her eyes at him.
Sauntering over to him, she smirked as she looked at her watch. “Sui’ll be here in a few minutes and then we can go, Sugar.”
“It’s that late already?”
“Yeah, they managed to fuss and primp your whole morning away without you knowing.” She laughed.
Jakotsu laughed. “Damn, I must have been having fun, too bad nobody told me, hunh?”
“Too bad for you.” She smiled. “By the way, your darling life-partner-to-be read us the riot act, so no matter how much she irritates me, I promised to ignore Kikyou.”
“Yeah?” Jakotsu chuckled. “And here I was looking forward to a reenactment of ‘Godzilla vs. King Kong,’” he deadpanned.
Kagura laughed. “You’re impossible, you know that?”
“Yup, as everyone was kind enough to point it out to me this morning,” the cross-dresser said sweetly as she shook her head at him.
“Jak, you ready?” Suikotsu called out as he entered the living room.
“As ready as I’ll ever be.”
“If it’s any consolation you look beautiful, Jak.”
“I guess it’s time to go, hunh?” Kagura said.
“Yup. Shall we?” Suikotsu held out his hand and helped Jakotsu up.
“Come, Haha-ue, Chichi-ue! It’s time to go!”
Author’s end note: Next up is “U” is for United.