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 is the sequel to the previous piece, “T” is for Time and is the final story in a mini trilogy that started with “S” is for Serious.
“U” is for United
Miriam Webster Online defines “united” as
Inflected Form(s): unit•ed; unit•ing
Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French ‘uniter,’ from Latin ‘unitus,’ past participle of ‘unire,’ from ‘unus’ one -- more at one
1 a : to put together to form a single unit b : to cause to adhere c : to link by a legal or moral bond
2 : to possess (as qualities) in combination
1 a : to become one or as if one b : to become combined by or as if by adhesion or mixture
2 : to act in concert
synonym see join
- unit•er noun
Renkotsu’s uncle, the monk who had overseen their commitment ceremony, said one final prayer and it was over. “You are now as united as a married couple would be and may you be blessed with long and peaceful relationship,” he said to them softly and before Jakotsu knew it, he was being escorted out of the temple. There he posed for several pictures, the bright lights of the cameras’ flashes making his head throb. The sake he and Bankotsu had drunk during the ceremony, instead of easing his hangover, only made him feel sicker and he was relieved to finally get in the car and drive off with Bankotsu.
“Are you okay, Sweetness?” Bankotsu asked as he took Jakotsu’s hand and gently squeezed it.
“Yeah... I’m just hungry. I didn’t get a chance to have breakfast this morning.”
“We’ll be there soon and then you can eat all you want.”
“Yeah...” Jakotsu said softly. Closing his eyes, leaned over onto Bankotsu and sighed.
He had played a bride on TV several times as well as briefly appearing as one in a movie, so waiting around to be introduced was no big deal to the cross-dresser. This time however, it was all the sweeter, for it was not only real in a sense, but he was happily sitting on Bankotsu’s lap as he fussed over him. That in and of itself did wonders for the cross-dresser’s mood. He felt calmer, and his headache was easing up. Even his stomach felt better and Jakotsu was looking forward to finally eating something.
After his parents had been introduced, Jakotsu and Bankotsu stood up and walked into the reception hall where Suikotsu called them over to be introduced as a couple. Or he would have introduced them if Jakotsu hadn’t fainted. The cross-dresser and his new life partner took about three steps when Jakotsu felt the room spin violently just before everything went black and he crumpled to the floor, pulling Bankotsu down with him.
“Give him some air!”
“What’s wrong with him?”
“He fainted. He’ll be okay, Hibiya-san. Ban, raise his feet. Sessh, get him some orange juice...”
Jakotsu could hear everyone talking excitedly as well as feeling someone fussing over him. He struggled to come too, but it just felt so good, lying there in the mind-numbing darkness of his fainting spell. A few slaps to his cheek later, and the cross-dresser reluctantly woke up. He blinked a few times, trying to clear the fog from his brain, and frowned. Swallowing, he whispered, “What happened...?”
Bankotsu and Suikotsu slowly eased him up into a sitting position. The pediatrician pushed Jakotsu’s head downwards.
“You fainted, Jak, and I want you to rest for a few more minutes. You don’t have a headache, backache, chest pains, stomach ache, any feelings of weakness?”
“You drank a lot last night, so you could be a little dehydrated... What did you have for breakfast?” Suikotsu asked as he checked the cross-dresser’s pulse.
“Cup of tea... I didn’t have time for breakfast.”
Suikotsu heaved a long suffering sigh. “That explains a lot. He’s going to be fine, Hibiya-san as soon as he eats something. No more alcohol today, either. And- thanks, Sessh.” Suikotsu took the proffered glass of juice. “Drink up, Jak.”
“You scared the crap out me, Sweetness,” Bankotsu said softly.
“Sorry... I didn’t mean to worry any of you...” Jakotsu drank the juice.
“It’s okay, Jackson. You couldn’t help it,” his mother said. “It was very stressful this morning and you’re not well.”
“I’m fine, Haha-ue... Really I am.”
“Do you think you can stand?” Suikotsu asked.
“Yes...” Jakotsu replied and they helped him up. Much to his chagrin, everyone started clapping along with Sesshomaru, who had started it. “I’m fine everyone, really I am.” The cross-dresser took a few wobbly steps before Bankotsu picked him and brought him over to the table set up for them, adding to Jakotsu’s already high stress levels. “Put me down, my lil dumpling, please...?”
“I don’t want anything else happening to you, Sweetness.”
“I know, but would really appreciate it as I feel really stupid. And I promise to sit here and eat, okay?”
“Too late, we’re here already.” Bankotsu set his life-partner down.
Jakotsu smiled. “You’re evil, you know that?”
“Yup! That’s why you love me...” Bankotsu leaned in and kissed him.
“You’d better believe it...”
“Nooooooo!” Jakotsu cried at the TV. “It’s bad enough you’re hounding me!! Leave them alone!!”
Bankotsu came running out of the hotel’s bathroom, clutching the towel he had been drying himself off with. “Sweetness...?” he said softly.
“They’re bothering my parents.”
“Who’s bothering your parents?” Bankotsu wrapped the towel around his waist.
“The press. They’re bothering my parents about our commitment ceremony.”
“I’m sorry...” Bankotsu sat down and put an arm around Jakotsu. “What did your parents say?”
“That I’m grown man and free to do what I want. And as a famous onnagata, my father didn’t see any reason why I shouldn’t look the part... But, I still wish they’d leave them alone. I got married on that damned soap opera and they all thought it was wonderful. Damn it! I basically do it in real life and everyone’s having a shit-fit over it.”
Bankotsu sighed. “It’ll die down in a few days, you’ll see,” he soothed and made a mental note to call the hotel and complain about their privacy being invaded. Jakotsu stiffened in his arms. “What’s wrong, Sweetness?”
“Sui’s on... Oh hell, why are they bothering him too?”
“Ssh... let’s see what he has to say.”
“I’m very happy for them. Jak’s a wonderful person and a dear friend. He’s made a stellar career out of playing women’s roles, so why not have fun with it? And Ban is one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met and he makes my friend happy, and that’s what’s important. Besides, it’s not like they can legally get married anyway, so I fail to see what all the fuss is about. It was simply two people reaffirming their love and commitment to each other and if they wanted to give it all the pomp and circumstances surrounding a wedding, then why not? They’re not hurting anyone.”
The reported replied, “You don’t feel they’re making a mockery out of marriage?”
“No, I don’t. Now if you’ll excuse me I have patients to see and a clinic to run...”
Bankotsu turned off the TV. “Sui’s right; so stop fretting about it and go get ready for dinner.”
“Okay...” Jakotsu smiled sadly and got up.
“And, Sweetness, if anyone comes over to us and starts pestering us about it, I’m telling them you’re pregnant and I married you to make an honest woman out of you,” Bankotsu teased, although he sounded dead serious about it.
Jakotsu’s smile brightened. “That’ll really give them something to talk about as Emiko just found out she’s pregnant.”
Bankotsu grinned. “That’s exactly why I would say it. Let them wonder if we’re crazy or not. All I ask is that when Emiko’s stomach gets really huge you get someone to take your picture like that for me.”
Jakotsu frowned. “Okay...”
“Sweetness, I’m not looking for a family; you’re more than enough family for me. It’s just that I think you would look really beautiful like that... Not that you aren’t already beautiful the way you are...” He got up and pulled the cross-dresser close.
“Positive...” Bankotsu said as he kissed him.
“Ban honey, aren’t Inu-chan and Sessh on tonight?” Jakotsu asked. He was snuggled up next to Bankotsu in bed and they were watching a bit of TV before going to sleep.
“It’s been Saturday all day, Ban honey, and in an hour it’ll be Sunday,” Jakotsu said impishly.
“Oh... I guess I’ve been having so much fun with you, I forgot what day it was,” Bankotsu said sheepishly.
“That’s okay; I’ve been having fun too... I’ve only been keeping track of the days because I don’t want it end.”
“I know...” Bankotsu pulled him close. “So if it’s Saturday, then we have a half hour to go and I know a good way to pass the time.”
“Yeah...?” Jakotsu giggled. “What?”
“This...” Bankotsu said huskily. He kissed his life-partner as he gently eased the cross-dresser onto to his back. Letting his hands wander, Bankotsu wasted no time in letting Jakotsu know exactly what he meant.
“Inuyasha-san, what is your opinion on your producer’s recent marriage?”
“I didn’t know he had broken up with Jakotsu-san to get married.”
“No, no, no,” The host laughed. “I mean to Jakotsu-san.”
Inuyasha looked at him like he had three heads and laughed. “Guys don’t get married to each other so I have no opinion.”
“Sesshomaru-san? Any thoughts?”
“I agree with my brother in that guys don’t marry each other, but Jak is a special case. He’s ummm,” Sesshomaru lowered his voice to a stage whisper. “... pregnant and Ban wanted to make an honest woman out of him.” He winked at the camera and laughed at the stunned expression on the host’s face. Even Inuyasha joined in the laughter.
Bankotsu also laughed. “Damn it! He beat me too it!! Oh this is priceless, Sweetness. They’ll have a field day with that lil rumor and they’ll forget about hounding us about our commitment ceremony.”
“Yup!” He grinned. “I’m so glad our friends are putting up a united front to protect our privacy. And what’s great about that is your character on that soap is pregnant, so it’ll draw ratings and maybe you can get a part on some nighttime drama.”
Various reporters let out a barrage of questions the minute Jakotsu stepped off the train, Bankotsu in tow. Cameras flashed under the blinding glare of lights needed to light up the area enough for the television reporters and the pair was half tempted to get back on the train and take a cab home from whatever stop they happened to get off of.
“Jakotsu-san, are you really married?!”
“Hibiya-san!! What’s all this about you being pregnant?”
“Hibiya-san, are you really a woman?”
“Is Japan’s greatest onnagata really a woman?!”
“Jakotsu-san!! Are you taking Kusao-san’s name?!”
“When is the baby due?”
Jakotsu put a hand to his head and looked down, shielding his eyes from the glare. His head was pounding, and he was tired and wanted nothing more than to be left alone. Fighting the urge to scream, the cross-dresser felt the hand on his arm tighten.
“Hibiya-san will issue a statement when he’s ready and so will I, now if you’ll excuse us?” Bankotsu pushed his way through the crowd of reporters, pointedly ignoring their questions as he pulled his life partner along. He sighed when they were alone. “I’m sorry, Sweetness.”
“Don’t be, it’s not your fault. Oh crap!” he swore when more cameras flashed at them.
They looked around wildly, looking for a crowd to disappear into when Jakotsu spotted some members of his fan club. “Yes!”
“Ban honey, salvation has arrived and its name is Inoue-san!!” He waved at a group of older women.
Jakotsu sauntered over to them. “Inoue-san, it’s so good to see you! Ban, this is the president of my fan club, Inoue-san.”
“Inoue-san,” Bankotsu said.
“Kusao-san, it’s a pleasure to meet you,” she replied.
“Hibiya-san, we came here to offer our congratulations on your new... uh, partnership.”
Jakotsu laughed. “Thank you, Inoue-san, and if you would be so kind as to help us out, I’ll send you copies of my ‘wedding pictures.’”
“Hibiya-san, we’d do it for nothing, but if you’re offering...?”
Jakotsu chuckled. “You’re accepting.”
“Of course, right ladies?”
“Yes!! Anything for Hibiya-san!!”
“You ladies are the best.”
Minutes later, the combined efforts of his local fan club along with another one, who had just arrived, Jakotsu and Bankotsu were able to get peacefully into a cab along with their luggage and a promise to have lunch with both fan clubs as soon as it could be arranged.
“Even your fans are united in their efforts to help us.”
“Yeah... It’s nice to be finally loved.”
“Hey! I always loved you, Sweetness!”
“I know, Ban honey, but now everyone else does too.”
Bankotsu shook his head at him and smiled.
Jakotsu was enjoying a nice lunch with his mother, Bankotsu, and Bankotsu’s aunt. Things had become a bit quieter and he was able to relax without relying on the medication his friend Suikotsu had prescribed to settle his nerves. He was still a little jumpy as was evident by his reaction when Sesshomaru and his brother Inuyasha approached the table from directly behind the cross-dresser.
“Hey, guys, ladies,” Sesshomaru said. “What’s doing?”
“Nothing,” Bankotsu said. “We’re having lunch. What brings you two here?”
“We’re escaping the wives,” Sesshomaru said.
Inuyasha rolled his eyes. “Actually, I’m babysitting. Rin said if he didn’t leave her alone, she was going to kill him.” He grinned. “So I was told to take him somewhere far away and see to it he stays out of trouble. Do you mind if we join you for a cup of coffee?”
“Not at all,” Bankotsu’s aunt said as the brothers grabbed a couple of chairs from a nearby table and sat down. “Ban, see if you can get the waiter to come here and bring them some coffee and dessert.”
Bankotsu shot the Nishi brothers an “I’m not amused by your antics” look and signaled the waiter who came over to their table. “We have two unexpected guests.” He turned to brothers and asked, “Coffee okay?”
“Yeah, I’ll have a cup and slice of that chocolate cake like Jak.”
“It’s good, Inu-chan, you’ll like it,” Jakotsu said. He took another bite and swallowed. “Excuse me, can I have another slice?”
“Coffee will be fine for me,” Sesshomaru said and with that the waiter left to fulfill their order. Minutes later, he was back.
They made small talk as they lingered over dessert. Things went well until Jakotsu spotted a reporter heading their way.
“Damn it,” he swore softly. He could feel his stomach clenching, and his heart racing, as another panic attack threatened to overwhelm him. They had been home for two weeks and there was no sign of things letting up.
“Hibiya-san, if I might have a word with you?” the reporter said, a small tape recorder in her hand pointed his way.
The crosser looked up at her and was sorely tempted to get lost in no uncertain terms. Instead, he heaved a long suffering sigh and said tiredly, “I’m not married, I’m not pregnant; the character I play on TV is, and I’m not and never will be a woman. Does that answer your questions?”
The reporter tittered nervously. “Uh... yes... but why are you so pale? Are you ill?”
“I’m pale because I’m tired and have the beginnings of an ulcer from all the stress.”
Bankotsu quietly excused himself from the table and headed off to look for the restaurant’s management. He had had enough of this nonsense too.
“Oneesan?” Jakotsu’s mother said.
“Please stop harassing my son.”
“I’m not harassing him.”
“I know you think you’re doing your job, but you are harassing him by interrupting our lunch.”
“Haha-ue, it’s okay.”
“It’s not okay, Jackson. You’re getting sick over this.”
“Hibiya-san is right, Jakotsu-san,” Bankotsu’s aunt said. She turned to the reporter and said, “Go now and call his people, like they say in America, and they’ll set up a date for an interview.”
“Or you could always talk to us,” Sesshomaru added helpfully. “We’ve got another album coming out in what?” he turned to his brother.
“Two weeks,” Inuyasha said. “We’ll give you an exclusive if you want.”
“But I’m here to speak with Hibiya-san...”
“Well, you spoke to him,” Inuyasha said, leaving the “now go” unsaid.
“But...” The reporter frowned.
“But nothing. Jak doesn’t have anything to say at the moment except how good the chocolate cake here is, right, Jak?”
The cross-dresser nodded.
“And he’s having a lovely lunch with his dear mother and our producer’s aunt, something we interrupted when we sat down,” Sesshomaru pointed out.
“You forgot Ban, Sessh,” Inuyasha added helpfully.
“Yes... How can I forget our wonderful producer? Speaking of which, I believe he’s coming back with yet another guest. Jak, keep this up and we’re going to have to rent out the party space.” The blond guitarist winked at the cross-dresser.
“I suggest you go, Oneesan, as that man with him looks like the nice manager who greeted us when we came in,” Jakotsu’s mother said sweetly.
“And he doesn’t look very happy either and neither does my nephew.”
The reporter briefly hesitated, before leaving. Everyone let out a sigh of relief.
“Is everything okay, Hibiya-san?” the restaurant’s manger asked.
“Yes, thank you.”
“I’m sorry about the intrusion.”
“Please, don’t worry about it; it’s not your fault, Ito-san. She was probably here enjoying her lunch when she saw me. Unfortunately I get recognized a lot, so think no more about it.”
“Are you sure?”
“Positive.” Jakotsu smiled. “Ito-san, I was wondering if I could get this wrapped up to take home.” He indicated the second slice of cake sitting in front of him. “I really love your cake, but I’m full from my lunch and a first piece of cake and I was wondering if I could get it wrapped up, so I can take it home...”
“Say no more, Hibiya-san.” The manager took the cake and headed off towards the kitchen.
Jakotsu briefly watched him go, before turning his attention back to his family and friends. “Thank you. I appreciate the effort and I’m happy it paid off.”
“That’s what family and friends are supposed to do, Jackson.”
“Yes, unfortunately it doesn’t always work for the good, but when it does; it’s wonderful having everyone united and standing behind your decisions, no?” his mother said.
Jakotsu’s mother smiled at him, and laying her hand on his, she gave it a gentle squeeze.
“You’re family now and I’m pleased to say, I like my nephew’s choice in... eh...” Bankotsu’s aunt trailed off helplessly.
Jakotsu’s smile broadened. “Don’t feel bad, Oba-chan, there are mornings when I wake up, look in the mirror and wonder what I am too,” he deadpanned and she laughed. He was about to say something else when the waiter returned with a huge box.
“Ito-san said this is for you, Hibiya-san, as an apology for the earlier disturbance.”
“He didn’t have to...”
“What is it, Jak?”
“A whole chocolate cake,” Jakotsu said happily as he looked inside the box.
“Tell Ito-san I said ‘thank you.’”
“I will, and Kusao-san, Ito-san said the bill has been taken care of.”
“Tell Ito-san that I also said ‘thank you.’”
Jakotsu lay in bed with Bankotsu, watching TV, and eating a slice of chocolate cake. He would occasionally stuff bits of it in his life-partner’s mouth.
“Why the sudden interest in Kenshin?” Bankotsu asked quickly, before the cross-dresser could shove another bite of cake in his mouth.
Jakotsu shrugged and ate the bite instead. “I dunno... I just like it.”
Bankotsu quirked an eyebrow at him, and directing the cross-dresser’s fork towards his own mouth, he ate the bite of cake.
“Hey!” Jakotsu playfully took another bite and ate it himself. Swallowing, he said, “I like how they all got together and helped Megumi with her troubles, like everyone did for me today.”
“Oh... But that’s because we love you.”
“You think?” Jakotsu said softly.
“I know... Now, put that cake down and shut up and kiss me.”
“Okay...” Jakotsu said. He quickly ate the last bite, and smiling impishly at Bankotsu, he set the plate down on his nightstand. Licking his lips, the cross-dresser leaned in and kissed his life-partner long and hard. Breaking the kiss, he said huskily, “How about you and me do a little uniting of our own?”
Author’s end note: Next up is “V” is for Voracious.