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Jakotsu finds that first battles like first kisses can leave a lasting impression...
Author’s note: Uijin means “one’s first campaign or battle” in Japanese.
Jakotsu stood on the battlefield and marveled at how eerily quiet it was aside from the sounds of the horses. No one spoke and the tension, excitement, and the waiting for the battle to come were like a living thing that had settled over both armies. What had been fun this morning, when everyone moved into place, was now beginning to scare him. He looked over to his left at Bankotsu, the memory of their time together the night before bringing a faint smile to his lips.
As if sensing his discomfiture, Bankotsu turned his head and met the cross-dresser’s gaze. He smiled cockily at the older boy, who had seemed more girl-like than ever to him while they waited, and regretted his insistence that they hire themselves out as mercenaries. When Jakotsu’s smile broadened and lit up his face, Bankotsu let out a mental sigh of relief. His friend, and would-be lover, was fine for the moment and he had every confidence the cross-dresser would be alright during his first battle.
In the blink of an eye two different war cries shattered the stillness of the morning and the opposing armies surged forward to meet each other. Metal clanged against metal or thudded into soft yielding flesh. Arrows whizzed by like annoying mosquitoes to bite their victims or stick harmlessly into the ground only to trip someone up later on. Horses thundered by along with the softer, quieter sound of men running forward or beating a hasty retreat. War cries mixed with the screams of the wounded and the dying.
Being in the midst of a battle was louder and more intense than fighting a demon as Jakotsu soon found out. A demon may be more powerful, but it did not come at you from all sides. Although humans had the good graces to stay dead when killed unlike some demons, they were just as deadly when fighting for their lives. Jakotsu swung Jakotsutou, grinning as the snake-like blade bit into the necks, neatly severing their heads. It was his first human kill and it left him feeling oddly disappointed because they had died so quickly and disgusted by the spray of blood that covered him.
The day wore on in much the same fashion, the sound and fury of the battle briefly broken only when Jakotsu dispatched his hapless opponents off to hell. Since he could not count to save his life, he did not even have the fun of numbering his victims the way Bankotsu did, not that Jakotsu cared about killing so many people and demons that he became one himself. Besides, the opposing army’s soldiers had started avoiding him; leaving him to their archers, once they had figured out the reach of Jakotsutou. That turned out to be a good thing as the cross-dresser’s arm was getting tired. He no longer felt the same thrill of keeping himself alive as no one fought closely with him. The same ennui settled over him that he used to get on a busy day in the bathhouse when one client started to look like the ones that came before him. Thankfully the opposing army stayed clear of him and his mysterious blade, or else he would have ended up dead alongside his victims.
Jakotsu picked his way though the battlefield, looking for Bankotsu, when something or rather someone caught his eye. The soldier, who had been stunned by a glancing blow, was just as young as Jakotsu and as pretty despite the layer of grime that covered his face. The cross-dresser looked around, and deciding that no one was paying the least bit attention to him, he quickly straddled the young soldier’s hips. Jakotsu let his hands wander over the boy’s armor, closing his eyes, and imagining that it was bare skin he was feeling, he leaned forward and brushed his lips lightly against the soldier’s. He felt a brief moment of fear when the boy woke up and snaked his arms around Jakotsu, although it was quickly dissipated when the soldier whispered “Junko-chan” loving in his ear. Chuckling softly, the cross-dresser indulged the soldier’s fantasy until he realized his error. Smiling sweetly as the boy struggled beneath him, Jakotsu grabbed the short sword from his hand. Giggling, as he calmly slit the young man’s throat, the cross-dresser watched the life bleed out of him, before he got up off of him. Looking around again for Bankotsu, and not spotting him, Jakotsu shrugged and turned his attention to looking for more prey to toy with.
The cross-dresser made his way across the battlefield, indiscriminatingly dallying with whoever caught his eye, regardless of what side they were on. He alternately tortured and molested them, using his victims’ pain and terror as a distraction from his own. The cross-dresser discovered that he loved the looks of shock and surprise they gave him when they realized he was not the woman of their dreams and that they were on a battlefield. Their struggling and pleading cries only served to encourage him as he felt more and more detached from his surroundings. The metallic tang of blood and the stench of offal faded away along with the cries of the wounded and dying that were indistinguishable from the crows that scavenged the corpses.
Jakotsu wandered this hellish nightmare, searching for his friend Bankotsu. Relief that his friend was not among the corpses turned to frustration when he could not find him. Frustration led to fear and fear to anger as the day wore on and nothing seemed to change. The fun of his sadistic rampage had finally worn off, leaving him drained and exhausted and Jakotsu’s knees buckled under him. He lay there, senseless, as the shadows lengthened, ignoring the soft snuffling of a riderless horse. The animal was wary of him, but deeming him harmless, it grazed a hand’s breath away from Jakotsu.
That was how Bankotsu found him an hour later, stretched out on the ground and covered in blood and grime. The younger boy felt his heart skip a beat as he hurried over to Jakotsu, afraid that he would find the cross-dresser dead. Bankotsu knelt and gently brushed the hair from the cross-dresser’s eyes, his fear written all over his face until Jakotsu’s lips twitched upwards in a weak smile.
“Aniki...” he whispered, chuckling softly as Bankotsu helped him to sit up.
Rather than answering his friend, Jakotsu threw his arms around the younger boy and cried his heart out. He held onto Bankotsu as if he never wanted to let go and the younger boy instinctively comforted him instead of yelling at him to control himself as his father and older brothers had done after his first battle. That simple act of compassion was to have far reaching consequences as it set the stage for future indulgences concerning the cross-dresser. Not that Bankotsu would have minded had he known what it would eventually lead to, for he had far more important things to worry about like checking his friend over for signs of injury.
Aside from getting drunk a few days later at the inn, along with seducing Bankotsu into having a bit of fun in the futon, Jakotsu came away from his first battle remarkable well despite the occasional nightmare. That pleased Bankotsu very much as he had dreams of the two of them becoming famous mercenaries despite the cross-dresser’s insistence they find some cute guys so he could some fun with them before cutting them up. Still the idea of finding a few more men was a good one and the two of them set off a few days later to check out some rumors about a demon or possibly a man with demonic powers...
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