Disclaimer: Characters belong to Rumiko Takahashi, and I'm making no money off of them.

AN: Written for TailFluffGirl, beta'd by KellyChan85. I've never written Bank/Jak before bites nails

Thank You

Jakotsu folded a leg up, knee peeking out precociously from a fine lavender silk. He suppressed a shiver; he hadn't expected to be exiled from the warm indoors to winter's chill when he'd dressed this morning. He slid to sitting cross-legged, hoping he didn't give the appearance of fidgeting. Because the truth was, he felt exactly that-- that nervous energy all over, like excitement before a sporting tournament, but with nothing so glorious to anticipate.

InuYasha didn't appear to be doing much better. Sure, he was holding stock-still leaning against the wall, but something in the tight fix of his jaw, or the occasional restless twitch of those ears Jakotsu longed to--

InuYasha was lovely, it was true. He had that long, silver-white hair that just needed to know a caring touch, restless golden eyes, a brashness and bravado and lean muscularity, all hiding child-like innocence. In fact, Jakotsu realized, he was not so unlike--

So it seemed even dwelling on this bit of eye candy was not enough to distract Jakotsu. He blew out a heaving sigh and rested his chin in his knee-propped palms.

"Keh, what's your problem? All your fidgeting is annoying the hell out of me."

Jakotsu blinked at InuYasha, and then managed a half-hearted flirtatious smile. "Aww, am I making you nervous?" But he didn't even have the energy to flirt properly, to taunt InuYasha and tell him things to make him blush. Jakotsu's sagging mind returned to its familiar haunt too quickly. "So, do you not mind what's going on in there, then?"

"What's going on? What are you talking about?"

"I suppose there are a lot of reasons a man might ask to be left alone repeatedly with a woman, right?" Jakotsu raised a suggestive eyebrow.

"Hey, what are you trying to say?"

"Why are the cute ones always so dumb?"

"Wait a minute! Kagome's not like that!"

"Not like what?"

"You know, a woman who-- who..."

"She's not like a woman? No wonder she chose Bankotsu."

"She didn't choose anyone!" InuYasha was clearly losing his patience, fists clenched, eyes glowering under his brow, teeth grating.

Jakotsu rolled his eyes with meaning, and returned to resting his chin in his palms. Even after all of this time, after all he thought he and Bankotsu shared, after all... Bankotsu was still choosing to be with a woman. Jakotsu had a weak spot the size of the Pacific Ocean for that man, though. He wanted to be angry, but... he loved all of Bankotsu, and if this was a part to love, too, well. He suppressed another heaving sigh only because he knew it'd start InuYasha whining again.

Time passed slowly, though the sun's angle hadn't changed much, filtering through the leafless branches of Kagome's family shrine. Jakotsu could still remember the first day he'd seen this place. He'd been walking through the city when he happened upon the small family-owned shrine. Something about its quaintness, and the uniqueness of both Kagome and InuYasha, the strange hanyou boy that lived there with her and her family, had drawn Jakotsu in. He admired people who followed their own rules. Besides, he had been inexplicably drawn to InuYasha, reminding him so well of a more short-tempered Bankotsu. The first chance he'd gotten, he'd brought Bankotsu back here, and again for too many Saturdays following. Before he'd known it, they'd made friends with the teenage inhabitants of the Higurashi Shrine.

Recently, Bankotsu had been requesting time alone with Kagome on their visits. This was the third time. At first it had been an annoyance, but by now it was just a depressing fact of life. Once, Jakotsu'd asked Bankotsu what was up, and all Bankotsu'd said on the subject was that he was "practicing", and that Kagome was teaching him. Jakotsu wasn't under the impression that Bankotsu needed a lot of teaching... maybe Bankotsu was more naive than Jakotsu realized?

"Hey, you don't... you don't think Bankotsu would...?" InuYasha's voice, a thunderstorm roiling underneath with hidden threats at the suggestion, roused Jakotsu from his reverie. How had this possibility not occurred to the hanyou before now?

Jakotsu rocked back to blink at InuYasha over his shoulder. The honest truth was he had no idea what was going on inside, but he wasn't about to say so.

Just then, a feminine sound that wasn't quite a scream or a yell pierced the chilly afternoon, followed by a "No, you have to wait to turn it on until after you put it in! Otherwise it makes a mess."

Jakotsu saw InuYasha's eyes widen.

"Alright, now make sure you get it evenly in both."

To Jakotsu, the only sign of InuYasha's shifting mood was the way his chin and eyebrows dropped at the same time.

"Watch out, it's already hot."

InuYasha was on his feet in an instant, sliding the door aside and barging in. Jakotsu wasn't the least bit surprised to see him backpedaling out again a moment later, though, Kagome's palm planted against his chest. She was a bit exasperated. "I said to stay out here."

"Keh, what's going on in there anyway?"

"It's still a secret. That hasn't changed."

InuYasha's answering response was a hefty sneeze. Jakotsu could see now that Kagome's hands and face were misted in a fine white powder. The same powder marked her shirt in a couple splotches, and in fingerprints near the hem of her denim skirt. It must be chalk, or--

Kagome shot him a smile before turning and closing the door with her definitive air. Jakotsu liked Kagome; for a woman, she had a lot of balls. InuYasha slumped back down, defeated.

Jakotsu turned to InuYasha, wanting to ease the boy's foul mood. After all, it was only compounding his own. "They're cooking."


"She was covered in flour."

"Hmph, are you sure it was flour?"

Jakotsu tried not to show his alarm, hearing his own doubt voiced back at him. "Well, what was it then?" Because Jakotsu sure as hell hoped it was flour.

InuYasha didn't answer, so Jakotsu gathered that he didn't know.

Eventually, though, the smell of confections gathered thick in the shrine air. Before long, a new and different scent entwined with the sweetness-- that of chocolate.

Time dragged on, and soon Jakostu was up and about, exploring the shrine, his nervous energy refusing to be contained. InuYasha went on sulking, looking for all the world like a child left out of a game.

Jakotsu was sure now that Kagome and Bankotsu were doing something food-related. For starters, sex never took this long between a man and a woman. Now, between two men... Jakotsu squashed the thoughts of the million and one ways he yearned to show innocent Bankotsu the difference. It was a train of thought that never failed to arouse a howling sense of frustration with his best friend. Besides, sex didn't smell as good as baking.

Finally, Kagome's door swung open. She was smiling, still smudged in white, but with some dark spots, too, Jakotsu noticed. She was smiling ear to ear out into the yard, and the smile drew Jakotsu closer, sensing she had something to say.

"You guys can come back in now, but you have to close your eyes."

"We what?," InuYasha huffed.

"Just do it."

"Fine." InuYasha closed his eyes, but Kagome pulled him close with her arm and slapped a hand over them as well, presumably for added insurance.

Jakotsu likewise put his own hand over his eyes, moving silently behind InuYasha and Kagome into the house.

"Keep them closed." Kagome instructed him. "Now you, InuYasha, you can open them. Look, for you!"

"For... for me?"

"Merry Christmas! Ok, Jakotsu, next."

Bankotsu spoke now, coming over and pulling on Jakotsu's arm to position him in the room. "Ok, you can open your eyes." Jakotsu recognized that Bankotsu's voice was filled with emotion for some unknown reason.

Jakotsu removed his hand and opened his eyes. There, on the table in front of him was a chocolate cake. On top were red and white sprinkles, and in white, hard-to-read scrawled words, a proclamation: "Thank you."

"I, but, what..." Jakotsu's eyes went large and fixed on Bankotsu's.

"It's a cake! I hope you like it." His smile seemed a little strained. Was he nervous?

"Thanks, I guess... But what are you thanking me for?"

Bankotsu's nervous smile dropped right off, eyes locked on eyes for a moment too long. "I just..."

Jakotsu's world spun down, collapsing into one spot in one kitchen, as Bankotsu's strong arms pulled around him. It was so much contact, so much constraint, that Jakotsu nearly pulled away, until he felt the cheek against his own. Eyes wide still, he melted against Bankotsu, deciding that even if this was the only full-body contact he would have with the man he loved, he'd treasure it forever.

Bankotsu's words were quiet near his ear. "Just... thank you." The hug slackened, the nervous smile returned, but Bankotsu's hand slipped comfortably around Jakotsu's shoulder. "Thanks for always being there, you know? For being you."

Jakotsu stared into Bankotsu's face, trying to read his deeper meaning if there was any. And somewhere there in the nervous lines and smiling eyes that darted back to his own then, and away with a blush, Jakotsu guessed it would not be the last time he felt an embrace from Bankotsu.

Kagome seemed to know, as well. Jakotsu could see she'd made a tray of cookies of interesting shapes, for Christmas he guessed, each decorated more ornately than the one before. That must have been InuYasha's present. But Kagome was holding InuYasha's arm still, smiling bright with excitement. "Why don't we let these guys alone for a minute?"

"Huh, but why?" InuYasha was dense as usual. She pulled him from the kitchen, but not before he swiped a few of the cookies as he went.

"What's going on?"

"Nothing." She dragged him to sit next to her on the couch, as she leaned into his arm, familiar and warm.

"Something's going on."

He seemed intent on knowing what he was being left out of. She sighed. "Bankotsu likes Jakotsu. You know what I mean?"

"Of course he likes him. They've been friends for a long time." InuYasha crunched on a Christmas cookie for punctuation.

"No, I mean, likes him likes him. As in, like a boyfriend?"

InuYasha's chewing stopped, his gaze went wide. "I didn't know Bankotsu--"

"He's not, I don't think."

"But I'm sure Jakotsu--"

"Me too. That's why I suggested he bake the cake. Because he isn't too good with his saying feelings... not like anyone else we know." She giggled, and InuYasha offered her his last cookie. She took it and laid it in her lap, not finished yet with what she needed to say. "Christmas... Christmas is sort of a romantic holiday, you know? For couples. All the bright lights and good food. That's why I thought he should make a Christmas cake."

InuYasha was not as clueless as he sometimes seemed, she knew, and he stopped chewing the cookie his was eating to look at her. "Is that why, is that why..."

She felt a warm glow run through her chest.

"Kagome," his voice was all seriousness now. "Thank you."

"You're welcome."

"No, not just for the cookies... thanks for... for being you. And for always being there for me."

"That's nothing." She brushed it off, his compliment surprising her in its unusual frankness.

"No, it's not." Without warning she was enfolded in those strong arms she had grown to know so well. She leaned into them, reveled in the earthy scent of InuYasha's hair.

"Thank you too." It was all she could think of it say, but it was good enough, because they understood each other. He let her go, and she split her red-sprinkled bell-shaped cookie down the middle.

The shared the cookie in silence, utterly oblivious to the chocolate cake fight soaring to near-nuclear proportions in the kitchen.