WARNING: This part contains yaoi. If you have something against it, I suggest you stop reading here. Otherwise, enjoy!

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Shadows were growing longer. A small rabbit was sitting in the middle of forest, eating grass. Suddenly he heard something. He jumped to a bush just in time; young tanned man with big halberd rushed from the woods. The man looked behind, stepped into a rabbit hole and fell on his face. His blade landed few feets away from him.

'Okay now...' Bankotsu thought, catching his breath. 'Let's check the situation: I'm lying on the ground on my face, I feel dizzy and I have one hell of a headache. I don't hear horses or footsteps, so those creepy soldiers probably aren't after me. Besides, I'm well hidden here in the middle of leaves so I think I can relax a bit.'

He was exhausted. He had been captured by two village men, most likely to be used as a hostage to catch the whole Shichinintai. He didn't know how long he had been unconsious but he had woke up in a bush, hearing voices closeby. He had peeked between the leaves to see his capturers kneeling before some landlord's soldiers. Apparently their village hadn't paid the daimyou as much as it should have. One of the men had red hair and terrified face; he didn't look older than Bankotsu himself. Bankotsu thanked gods; he was probably too precious to be taken by the soldiers, so the men had hidden him. Too bad for them he had woken up.

As he started to crawl away, grabbing Banryu tightly, he heard red-headed man praying for their miserable lives. Clearly it was no good; Bankotsu heard high-pitched pleading, a yell, and then all was silent. He crawled a little bit faster. As soon as he was sure to be beyond hearing and seeing distance, he had started to run.

Now he decided to stay in place for a while. He had run a long way and he knew the cabin was only two miles away. His companions wouldn't come back for him before tomorrow (he knew Renkotsu's tactics and had seen his arm getting wounded) so he could sleep couple of hours before appearing in front of them.

He crawled under a large bush and placed Banryu next to him. Just before he fell asleep, he thought about Jakotsu. 'I hope he doesn't come after me alone. He can be so stubborn sometimes. But then again, if he wasn't he wouldn't be himself at all. And that's one of the reasons I... I...' He passed out. But his mind kept circling around tall, pale man with black eyes and painted lips...

...

They had known each other for a year or so, when Bankotsu asked Jakotsu about the markings on his face. "How did you get them?" Jakotsu closed his eyes for a moment and smiled widely. "I made them myself. I can make to you too, if you want." Bankotsu's eyes sparkled. "Really? It would be cool! But I don't want the same markings you have." Older boy laughed. "I would never make you same kind of marks. They mean death, and that wouldn't suit you at all. You're so full of life all the time." He fidgeted with Bankotsu's braid.

"I think the mark of youth would suit you." Bankotsu's eyebrows rose. "I won't always be a child, baka." He sounded a little offended. Jakotsu patted his head. "True. But you will always have a spirit of youth in you. I can tell. I knew a witch once and she taught me to see into people's souls." Bankotsu didn't know whether to believe this or not; Jakotsu had a knack of talking pure rubbish from time to time. But when it came to knowing people, he did have a talent. "Well... What does a mark of youth look like?" Jakotsu smiled.

Not too long after that, Bankotsu found himself from the woods lying on his back with Jakotsu sitting on him. He was quite nervous, and for good reason. "So, why exactly do you have to sit on me? And what the hell are you doing with that needle?" he asked with a little squeaky voice. Jakotsu was intensely studying the sharp needle on his right hand. "Because that way I can reach your forehead and keep your hands on their place at the same time. We don't want you to hit me and cause a needle scratch on your face, do we?"

Bankotsu's face went green. "Needle scratch? You didn't say anything about needles! You told me it wouldn't hurt! It didn't hurt on you, did it?" Jakotsu looked a little guilty. "Well, no... But I had drank half a bottle of sake back then and I was wasted for the first time, so I didn't feel a thing anyways." Bankotsu stared at his friend. "You are really weird sometimes, you know?" Jakotsu grinned. "Yes, I'm aware of that. Now, stay still and I promise to be gentle..." He bended over.

Few crows were scared away by the scream of young boy down on the ground.

...

A bird sang over Bankotsu's head and he opened his eyes. It was getting dark. He sat up and thought about his dream. It had been a long time since he had last though about that time. How much it had hurt to make one single mark on his face! Still, Jakotsu was good for an amateur. He had made the markings to all members of Shichinintai. He hadn't sit on the others. But then again, they had only been kids by the time Bankotsu got his mark and Jakotsu had knew he would struggle. But now when he thought of Jakotsu sitting on him, how light older man was and how their hips would press together... Bankotsu felt his face wasn't the only place getting hot.

'Stop this!' He shouted inside his head. 'You need to get to others before they come looking for you. And once on the cabin, you can meet Jakotsu and talk with him... About what, exactly?!?' Bankotsu sighed. Somehow he felt going to Jakotsu and telling him to have dreamt about him could sound a little suspicious. But then again... "I'm going out of my mind, I see these... these - dreams." Isn't that what Jakotsu had said? 'Maybe... Just maybe...' Deep in his thoughts, Bankotsu finally stood up, grabbed Banryu and headed towards the cabin.

...

Suikotsu sneezed. It was pretty cold outside. And of course Renkotsu had told him to be the guard for tonight. "You have sharp ears", he had said. But Suikotsu knew the real reason was that he was the only one who could talk Jakotsu back inside in case he tried to run after Bankotsu in the middle of night. 'Renkotsu might be a smart guy but he sure doesn't know anything about people. Jakotsu is a mess right now... I doubt he could even stand straight.' Once again he felt worried for the young leader. If the villagers decided he wasn't useful, it would be Bankotsu's end. Suikotsu didn't think he would be able to talk sense to Jakotsu if that happened.

Someone was coming from woods. Suikotsu heard the footsteps long before he saw anyone and grabbed his metallic claws. He was fully alarmed, ready to attack at once if it would be needed. Then he saw a figure with a giant blade on their shoulder. He gasped. Before he could say a word, Bankotsu was on the yard, pressing a finger on his lips. "There's no need to wake everyone. They'll see me in the morning", he said quietly. "But - Are you allright, Oo-aniki? How did you get away?" Suikotsu was amazed. The leader sighed. "Let's just say a couple of soldiers did the dirty work for me. I'll tell the whole story tomorrow when all ears are listening at once. But now, where is he?"

The doctor didn't need to ask who he meant. "In the small room. Bankotsu, he's been worried sick about you. He would have run right after you if we didn't stop him. He cares a lot about you." Even in the pale moonlight, Suikotsu could see young man's cheeks getting little red. He smiled to himself. "Yes. Thanks for taking care of him. I'm going to see if he's awake and... and... goodnight." Short man hurried inside and Suikotsu laughed quietly after he had gone.

Bankotsu heard Kyokotsu's low snoring and Ginkotsu's heavy breaths when he stepped to the hall. He could see all four men lying on their futons, their weapons right next to them. He quietly placed Banryu on the floor and tiptoed towards the door. He opened it as little as he could, slid inside like a shadow and closed it. The room was black; there was no ray of light whatsoever and Bankotsu couldn't see a thing. But he heard something from the corner he knew the futon was. It took him a moment before he recognized the sound, because he had only heard it once before and that had been almost ten years before.

It was sobbing. Jakotsu was crying. Bankotsu felt like someone had grabbed his throat with an ice cold hand. Was something wrong with Jakotsu? Was he hurt? Before he could open his mouth, he heard something else. His friend was saying something, whispering a single word over and over again. "Bankotsu." More sobbing.

Finally Bankotsu found his voice again. He stepped towards the corner. "Jakotsu. I'm here." Sudden silence. A soft hissing noise of the futon told him Jakotsu had sat up. "Bankotsu?" His voice was incredulous and shattered. "Am I dreaming? How can you be there? Is it really you? I can't see you!" Jakotsu winced. Bankotsu walked to the window and opened the curtain just a little bit, enough to cast a little moonlight on the room. Then he sat on the floor beside his friend. "It's really me... I escaped. I'm fine. Are you allright?" Bankotsu hesitated for a moment and then touched Jakotsu's cheek. It was wet. "No... I'm not allright. I'm sorry, I'm so sorry! It was all my fault. If I hadn't been so stupid we would have never went there and you wouldn't have..." Bankotsu pressed his finger on tall man's lips. "It's okay. I shouldn't have been angry at you. I'm sorry I made you feel bad." Jakotsu let out a long, relieved breathe and hugged Bankotsu. "I'm so glad you aren't hurt", he muttered.

Jakotsu felt the warmness grow inside him when Bankotsu hugged him back. 'I wish we could stay this way forever.' Then young leader loosened his hold a bit and placed his hands on Jakotsu's shoulders. Their faces were only inches away from each other. Then, without a warning, Jakotsu felt those soft lips on his. It was pure surprise that kept him stunned for a second or two. Then he melted into kiss. Bankotsu tasted like wild berries. His fingers slid through Jakotsu's hair.

Suddenly Bankotsu broke the kiss and turned his head away. "Achoo!" He sneezed. Jakotsu giggled. "Are you sick, Oo-aniki?" Despite the darkness he could see that Bankotsu gave him a look. "No. It was just cold outside." Jakotsu put his hand on his friend's chest. "Maybe I could warm you up." Without the need for any more words, Bankotsu took off his armour and placed it quietly on the floor. Then he pressed his lips again on Jakotsu's.

Their hands were sliding under each other's clothes. Bankotsu found the sash of Jakotsu's yukata and opened it. The light pink clothing fell off Jakotsu's pale shoulders. Bankotsu moved his lips from Jakotsu's mouth to his neck, licked and sucked it gently. Jakotsu gasped and quickly stripped Bankotsu's upper body off the clothes. He moved his hand all over Bankotsu's tanned chest. They kissed again. Bankotsu felt Jakotsu's tongue in his mouth and pushed his own against it. Bankotsu opened his eyes for a second and noticed his eyes were getting used to the darkness. He could see Jakotsu's closed eyes and the long, beautiful eyelashes.

Bankotsu slid his fingers on Jakotsu's hair and found the blue hairpin. He gently removed it and Jakotsu's silky black hair was free. The older man grabbed Bankotsu's braid, took off the string holding it and unbraided it with his fingers. He held Bankotsu tighter, pressed himself against him and felt the heavenly warmth of the leader's body. Jakotsu now started to lick Bankotsu's neck and moved lower, to his chest. Bankotsu whimpered quietly when the warm tongue touched his nipples. He moved his hands to Jakotsu's lower body, stroked the hips and thighs through the underwear and let his hand slide over the hard bulge between Jakotsu's legs. Jakotsu gasped loudly and immediately moved lower, now breathing hot air under Bankotsu's waist.

Two long pale fingers sneaked under Bankotsu's underwear. They stroked the hot skin gently and touched Bankotsu's arousal. He moaned quietly. Then, as if commanded, both men slowly stood up and struggled out of the few clothings they still had on. They stood there for a moment, breathing heavily and looking at each other's naked bodies with lustful eyes. Then Jakotsu stepped forward and took younger man to warm embrace. Their hot bodies pressed tightly together. Silently, without any sound at all, Bankotsu pushed Jakotsu backwards and they fell on the futon and their lips melted into another hot kiss.

'I've never been this close to heaven,' Jakotsu thought when he felt Bankotsu naked above himself. He put his hand between Bankotsu's legs and stroked his hard member. Bankotsu answered by sliding a finger inside Jakotsu. Tall man would have cried aloud from enjoyment if Bankotsu's lips hadn't been on his. Younger man kissed Jakotsu's ear and whispered "You have to be quiet... Suikotsu is awake." Jakotsu was panting, but managed to answer. "Hai... yes... Bankotsu, I need you... now..." Bankotsu pulled his finger away. Jakotsu moaned with disappointment and moved his tongue slowly over Bankotsu's throat, begging for more. Bankotsu knew he was going to lose his self-control and quickly rolled them around so Jakotsu was on top of him. "I want to be... beneath you, Jakotsu..."

"Hmmmh?" Was Jakotsu's only answer, since his tongue was sliding over younger man's nipples again. He teasingly pushed his hips against Bankotsu's and young leader knew he wouldn't last any longer. "Ah...! Ja-jakotsu, you remember... back when you... made me the mark on my... my forehead...?" He panted. Jakotsu blinked his eyes. Then he smirked as he realized where Bankotsu was going. He trailed his tongue over Bankotsu's chest once more and then moved off his friend, just to place himself again.

'He's so beautiful,'Bankotsu thought when Jakotsu settled himself on his knees above the leader's stomach. Tall man noticed the blue eyes staring at him and gave the most angelic smile he could manage. Then he reached his hand to touch Bankotsu's lips. Bankotsu licked his fingers, took two of them in his mouth and sucked them enthusiasticly. Jakotsu's eyes widened, he blushed a bit and the pleasurable hotness between his legs grew even larger.

After watching Bankotsu concentrating in his tonguework for a while, Jakotsu decided it was time to make his next move. He pulled his fingers out of his friend's mouth, Bankotsu tried to catch them again but Jakotsu giggled at his effort. "I need them myself now." Bankotsu's eyes had been closed during the whole finger-sucking operation, now he opened them slowly and saw Jakotsu's flushed face as the older man reached his hand back and stretched himself. Bankotsu knew what was coming next and tried to be prepared, but nevertheless let out a loud moan as Jakotsu led him in and sunk down.

"And you told me to be quiet..." Jakotsu whispered with a smile on his lips, his eyes closed as he relaxed himself a bit. He was feeling great; there was pain, of course, but the euphoria of making love to the person he loved more than anyone drowned it almost completely. He started to move slowly up and down and Bankotsu grabbed his hands, desperately trying to keep silent. "Oh holy Kami-sama..." He gasped and Jakotsu smiled brilliantly as he steadily quickened his pace.

Bankotsu started moving his hips too, and it didn't take long for the two men to find a rhythm that made them moan and whimper quietly, Jakotsu hoping vaguely no to wake any of the others. Then Bankotsu brought his hand to stroke Jakotsu's arousal and all rational thought escaped tall man's mind. When that hand closed around his hot skin and began to jerk him off, his whole body started to tremble slightly. He tightened his grip of Bankotsu's shoulders and heard his own heart beat like mad. 'Any second now..'.

Bankotsu whispered something; his words were coming out with loud panting. "I... love... you... Jakotsu... Aah!" The words and sight of Bankotsu's face as his eyes spread open with sudden touch of heaven pushed Jakotsu over the edge. He arched over Bankotsu, both men letting out a soft cry of blinding extacy that slowly faded away. Then Jakotsu moved off the tanned body with his last bit of strength and collapsed next to Bankotsu. For a few moments all that could be heard was the sound of two men trying to catch their breaths.

When Jakotsu was able to move and think again, he snuggled close to Bankotsu, who wrapped his arm around pale form. "You think anyone heard?" Jakotsu whispered. Bankotsu stroked his back. "Nah... They would've come to check out by now..." He gave Jakotsu a kiss on his forehead. Jakotsu yawned, but he still had something to say. "Did you mean what you said? About - about loving me?" Jakotsu blushed again. It was an adorable sight and Bankotsu couldn't resist kissing his friend again, so sweetly Jakotsu could almost taste the sugar in his mouth. "Of course I did", he answered after pulling away.

Jakotsu wrapped his hands tighter around his leader and whispered to his ear: "I love you too. Very much." Then, with their bodies sharing each other's warmth and their hearts sharing the same emotion, they both fell asleep.

...

Sun was shining right into Renkotsu's eyes. He groaned and slowly stirred awake. Other men in the room were also about to face a new day. Suikotsu came inside, yawning widely. "It's my turn to sleep now..." he said, heading towards his futon. Renkotsu immediately adopted a commanding tone. "Before that, I want a full report about your guard and any possible events of it, so don't try to -" "Gesh, Renkotsu no aniki? It seems Oo-aniki is back." Renkotsu forgot what he was trying to say and turned to Ginkotsu, who was pointing at Banryu, which was innocently lying on the corner.

Before catching his voice, Renkotsu heard Suikotsu's sleepy mumbling. "Yeah, he came back last night. He told me not to wake you guys..." The second in command stared at Suikotsu with incredulous eyes. "But then... Where is he?" Suikotsu yawned again. "I think he went to Jakotsu right after he came back..." 'And judging by the voices I couldn't help hearing last night, I'd say they were indeed very happy to see each other.' The doctor decided not to mention his last thought aloud, but was startled to see that Renkotsu was heading towards the door of small room. He raised his voice. "Um, aniki, I don't think you should -"

Too late; bald man was already at the door and started yelling before he even got it open. "Oo-aniki! How dare you not to inform us immediately after escaping such a -" he suddenly stopped as his eyes fell on the sight inside the small room: Bankotsu and Jakotsu were lying under a blanket, both seemingly naked, and holding each other with warm smiles on their faces. Both were still asleep, but when Renkotsu caught a glimpse of Jakotsu's bare behind from under the blanket and covered his eyes with a howl (Author's Note: Apparently Renkotsu does not agree with the numerous fangirls out here who would kill to see what he did), the lovers opened their eyes.

When other members of the Shichinintai started to gather behind Renkotsu to see what had caused his reaction, Bankotsu realized the situation would need some fast settling. "Hey! Calm down, everyone!" he shouted, and although it was kind of weird taking orders from their Oo-aniki while he was covered with nothing but a blanket and still sleepy Jakotsu was lying next to him and yawning, the other men silenced themselves to hear what Bankotsu had to say.

"Uhm... I shall give you a full explanation about my kidnapping and escaping later, but now I would appreciate if you just let me and Jakotsu... gather ourselves for a moment. We will join you soon", he said with as much dignity as he could manage. His dignity, however, was washed away when Jakotsu wrapped his arms aroud the leader's waist and squaled happily: "Yeah, close the goddamn door before we get cold! Or I'll have to make Ban-chan warm me up..." The face of younger man felt like burning. His comrades (save for Renkotsu, who was still looking horrified) chuckled to themselves and Suikotsu smirked as he slid the door closed, saying: "Of course. Take your time... But please have mercy on our innocent ears."

As the roar of laughter from the other side of door made Bankotsu's face turn even brighter shade of red, Jakotsu just smiled comfortingly and sat up next to his friend. "Don't worry about them. They'll soon get tired of teasing you. Besides..." He brielfy pressed his lips on Bankotsu's and pulled away before short man had a chance to answer the kiss, "...I'll be here by your side, and protect you from their evil nasty comments." Bankotsu glared at the effeminate man but smiled nevertheless. "Now just what was that talk about warming you up...?" he asked teasingly. Jakotsu giggled and pushed Bankotsu back down on the futon. "There's only one way to find out", he said and claimed Bankotsu's lips. As his lover's tongue found his, Bankotsu decided their friends could wait for a while longer before any explanation...

The end