As the sun rose over the lands of Musashi, Sesshomaru's silhouette could be seen in the early morning light. He had travelled for the past three days to get to Musashi and now that he had arrived, he was seeking out Inuyasha. Needless to say, he had a lot to chew his brother out for.
"Inuyasha, you're such a fool." Sesshomaru commented to himself, "Letting a group of deceased mercenaries into your lands."
Humorously enough, as he passed through the forest, he spotted the Band of Seven asleep nearby. It was actually a funny sight, even to the stern and usually unfazed Lord of the West. Although, Jakotsu's dreams did concern him (albeit barely), so he decided to keep on walking.
It didn't take him long to pass through InuYasha's Forest and to see his half-brother's house in sight. He noted that Inuyasha and Kagome were already up and doing morning chores while the smell of rice and soup came from the house. Kagome was the first to notice Sesshomaru's presence and smiled to him.
"Hello, Sesshomaru." she greeted, "What are you doing here?"
"I'm here to discuss matters with Inuyasha." Sesshomaru answered, "Where is he?"
"Hold your horses!" Inuyasha called from the side of the house.
Sesshomaru heard the sound of water then a towel being used before Inuyasha came around, untying his sleeves.
"What the hell is it this time?" Inuyasha asked, annoyed.
"I've heard rumors that the Band of Seven is in this area." Sesshomaru explained, "I cannot ignore your lack of responsibility on the matter."
"I know they're here. They're sleeping in the forest."
"I saw them. Why are you letting them stay in your lands, Inuyasha?"
"Because we're planning on destroying a demon, that's why. Damn, you're so nosy."
"I'm not nosy, little brother. I'm merely checking to make sure that you take your responsibilities as guardian of Musashi seriously."
"I do take it seriously, you bastard. You forget I have a wife and kids to look out for."
"As do I, Inuyasha. I don't want to hear any more rumors of possible irresponsibility from you. If I do, I may have to consider putting you through training to be a proper leader."
"I can do just fine by myself, Sesshomaru."
"Very well. I have no more to say to you. Good day to you and your family."
With that, Sesshomaru walked away from Inuyasha and his family, leaving an irritated Inuyasha standing. Kagome came up to her husband and gave him a reassuring pat on the shoulder.
"You're doing a great job of protecting us, Inuyasha." She said, "No matter what Sesshomaru says, you're a wonderful guardian and father."
"So, husband's excluded from that statement?" Inuyasha asked, his voice calmer and his arms now around his wife.
"Of course not. You're a fantastic husband."
Inuyasha and Kagome kissed, allowing the familiar sensation to come back once again. Inuyasha let his hand slide from Kagome's back to behind her head, keeping them in their romantic embrace. Before the moment could escalate, however, someone cleared their throat, getting their attention. They turned in the direction of the voice and it was Kikyo, who had a slight smile on her face.
"I hope you don't mind if I check in on the Band of Seven." She said, "I'll leave you two alone that way."
"Yeah, sure." Inuyasha replied, nervous that he'd been caught by his own daughter.
Slightly giggling to herself, Kikyo walked past her parents and into the woods, where the Band of Seven was still sleeping. Kikyo noticed Bankotsu leaning against a tree and decided to carefully walk over to him. Sitting in front of him, Kikyo noticed that Bankotsu had a rather youthful look to him and that he was actually quite handsome.
"He seems so innocent when he's sleeping." She thought, "It's almost as if he's not a murderer at all."
"Like what you see?" Bankotsu asked, shocking her.
"I'm sorry." Kikyo apologized.
"It's nothing. Why're you up so early?"
"That's normal for us. I've gotten up early since I was fourteen. My younger brother and sister just started doing this about three months ago."
"Ah. I only wake when the sun hits my face. Except this time, I wake up to a pretty face looking right at me."
Kikyo blushed with embarrassment, making Bankotsu laugh a little. She turned her head away from him to further hide her embarrassment.
"You know, I wasn't joking about the "pretty face" part."
That got Kikyo to look back at Bankotsu in surprise.
"You're one of the most beautiful women I've seen. If you weren't Inuyasha's daughter, I might have already done something to you. Well, not me, but Mukotsu might. I'll keep an eye on him."
"Thank you." Kikyo said nervously.
Knowing that it was almost time for breakfast, Kikyo got up and started to walk away, Bankotsu calling, "Kikyo!"
She turned around to look at the young leader, who had a serious expression on his face.
"Don't tell anyone I told you that."
Kikyo then proceeded to walk away just as the other Band of Seven members woke up from their slumber. Bankotsu, on the other hand, had a hand over his heart and a confused expression.
"Why the hell did I just say that to her?" he asked himself, "Dammit! I can't let my heart be stolen by a woman. That's the ultimate betrayal to my men."
"Bankotsu!" Jakotsu called out, getting his attention, "You hungry?"
"Yeah." Bankotsu answered, getting up and picking up Banryu, "Let's go to the village and get something to eat."
"Big brother, why not ask Inuyasha?" Renkotsu asked.
"I think you keep missing the part where we were once his enemies. It's better to not bother him yet."
"Yes, of course."
Before the Band of Seven could start moving, someone whistled to them, alerting them. It was Izayoi, who was carrying six trays in her arms, shocking them. She came over to them and handed them each a tray, giving them an explanation.
"Mom figured you guys were hungry, so she made some breakfast for you." Izayoi said.
"She does know that we're her current enemies, right?" Bankotsu asked.
"Mom doesn't think you'll try anything. She said what happened has already happened and that we should move on from it."
"Kagome is rather considerate." Renkotsu said, "Those qualities are rare in this day and age."
"I agree." Bankotsu said, "Tell Kagome we accepted her meal."
"Sure." Izayoi said, "Oh, by the way, Kikyo made the soup herself. Hope you guys like it."
With that, Izayoi ran back in the direction of her house, leaving the Band of Seven to their meals. Jakotsu decided to be the guinea pig and tested the soup. His eyes widened and Bankotsu swore he saw them sparkle.
"This is the best soup I've ever had!" Jakotsu said, quickly getting back to his meal.
Renkotsu, Suikotsu, Mukotsu, Bankotsu, and Ginkotsu also tried some of the food, the group amazed by how rich the taste was. In fact, to all of them, it was some of the best food they'd ever had in their life...or rather lives.
"This is astounding." Renkotsu commented.
"Ghesh." Ginkotsu agreed.
"Inuyasha's daughter does know how to make a good meal." Suikotsu said.
Bankotsu simply nodded in agreement, but went into thought a moment later, trying to figure everything out.
"Okay, so she's kind and can cook doesn't mean she's a friend." He tried telling himself, "And yet, I can't seem to stop wondering about her? What the hell is my heart doing to me?"
"Bankotsu." Jakotsu said, "Are you going to finish that?"
Bankotsu looked at his food for a moment before answering, "You can have it. I'm taking a walk."
The other members watched as their leader got up and left them, confusing them all immensely. Jakotsu, who had a mouthful of rice, said, "What's wrong with him?"
"I think he might be in conflict." Renkotsu suggested, "Something tells me that Kikyo's reminding him of something in his past that he doesn't want to remember."
"What could that be?" Mukotsu asked.
"I don't know."
Bankotsu had overheard them and, once he was far away from them all, sat down, brought his knees up to his chest, and placed his head in his arms. For the first time in years, he allowed himself to shed some silent tears, his shoulders shaking in an almost uncontrollable manner. All that he said to himself was, "Why did you have to die, Mother?"