"Mama!" a young boy of about four called to a young woman who appeared to be in her twenties. She turned to the boy and smiled, a baby on her back.
"Takeshi." she said, her tone almost silvery, "What is it, my son?"
"He is? Let's go greet him."
The boy named Takeshi and his mother went to their hut, where a man in is late twenties to early thirties was standing near the entrance. He noticed the two people walking/running towards him, his tired eyes shining with relief.
"Takeshi, my boy." He said, picking up the little boy to hug him, "You've grown since I last saw you."
"Welcome home, Papa!" Takeshi said.
The man smiled and then noticed his wife and said, "Kira, my darling."
"Welcome home, my love." Kira replied, kissing her husband gently, "How long are you staying this time?"
"Until I'm called upon once again."
"Papa, how long are you going to fight people?" Takeshi asked.
"Until I either die or retire. I don't like fighting, my son, but I do it to protect you, your mother, and now your little sister. Be strong, Takeshi. Protect them every time that I'm gone."
"Bandits!" someone screamed, "Bandits are in the village!"
People screamed and ran for shelter, the sounds of people dying and men laughing could be heard for miles around. Kira, Takeshi, and his sister, Yumi, hid in their hut so as to protect themselves from the bandits heading their way.
"Don't say a word, either of you." Kira instructed to her children, "I don't want them finding us."
Takeshi nodded and the three waited in anticipation, listening to their friends being slaughtered. Not even a moment later, the flap to their hut was yanked down, revealing three bandits in their doorway.
"I found three more here!" one of the men yelled, "She looks young too!"
"Yeah, we're going to have fun with her." another agreed.
As the men approached, Takeshi remembered his father's words and grabbed a piece of wood. The bandits laughed at the boy, the leader saying, "Look at this, men. This little tike thinks he can stop us."
"Don't come any closer!" Takeshi shouted.
"Move aside, kid."
Takeshi was shoved into the wall, effectively knocking him out. He remained unconscious for another half an hour before he woke up again. When he did wake up, Kira and Yumi were both bloodied and deceased. His eyes were wide with horror, not believing that his family was dead.
Suddenly, Kira started moving, snapping Takeshi out of his stupor. He ran over to his mother, who looked at him weakly.
"Takeshi...you have to go on." She said, her voice barely audible.
"Mama..." Takeshi replied, tears spilling out of his eyes.
"Please...go on...live your...life..."
Kira didn't finish her sentence; she closed her eyes and stopped breathing. Takeshi couldn't believe that his mother had just died in front of him. He shook his mother, trying desperately to wake her, but it was all in vain.
"Mama? Mama! Mama!"
"Bankotsu? Bankotsu! Wake up!"
Bankotsu's eyes shot open, tears coming from his eyes. He sat up, panting heavily, then looked at who had called him, Kikyo.
"Are you okay?" she asked.
Bankotsu never replied; he simply kept panting and let his tears continue to fall. Kikyo placed her arms around him, hoping that would comfort him.
"I don't know what you went through when you were younger, but it must've been bad."
Not able to contain his pain any longer, Bankotsu held onto Kikyo and allowed himself to cry on her shoulder, the young healer rubbing his back.
"Whatever happened to you back then...I'm so sorry."
Kikyo let a couple of her own tears shed, knowing that Bankotsu probably had a harsh life before he became a member of the Band of Seven. She placed her head on Bankotsu's shoulder, not knowing what else to do to comfort him.
Unbeknownst to them, someone was watching them with the greatest of secrecy. The creature then snuck away and went deep into another wooded area outside of Musashi. It bowed before a woman and sat up to meet her gaze.
"My Lady, the Band of Seven are in Musashi still." it reported, "The leader's having some emotional issues."
"Interesting." The woman said, "How about we pay them a visit. Maybe now I can meet the famous Inuyasha."
"What happened back there?" Kikyo asked about an hour later when Bankotsu had calmed down.
"It was a memory." Bankotsu admitted, "I lost my mother, father, and my little sister when I was young."
"I'm so sorry. I didn't know..."
"That's okay. I've probably long since gotten my revenge on the bastards that murdered my family."
"Were they all slaughtered by bandits?"
"No. My father died in battle when I was five and we buried him after his body was returned to us. Two years later, bandits raided the village where I lived and killed my mother and little sister."
Kikyo chose not to say anything for a few moments before Bankotsu decided to continue talking.
"My real name's not Bankotsu, you know."
Kikyo looked up at him, his eyes distant in thought and in his memories.
"Bankotsu's just a name I came up with after I'd gotten Banryu. It wasn't long after that that I met Jakotsu. I'd say that was about...thirty-five years ago."
*Thirty-Five Years Earlier*
Fifteen-year-old Bankotsu walked through a forest somewhere in the Eastern lands, hoping to find anyone strong so he could increase his strength. Little did he know that someone was following him, keeping an eye on his every move. This person raised his sword, getting ready to strike, but Bankotsu had beaten him to the punch line.
"I know you're there." Bankotsu said, "Come on out!"
The person came out, revealing a man who looked and dressed like a woman. His yukata was a lavender color and he had a purple sash tied around his waist and a purple scarf around his shoulders.
"You've got some impressive senses." The man said; even his voice sounded like a woman, "I'd hate to kill a handsome guy like you."
"Do you want to fight me?" Bankotsu demanded, Banryu coming front and center, shocking the man.
"What an incredible weapon! Where did you find it?"
"I got it from some demon I killed a few years back. It's my companion."
"Impressive. This is my weapon."
The person pulled out his sword and brought it down; multiple blades came out, shocking Bankotsu. He dodged the sword in time as the blades retracted, remaining with the main blade.
"You've got amazing skills." He commented, putting his sword away, "Who are you anyway?"
"Bankotsu." Bankotsu answered.
"Bankotsu, huh? Hmm. Since my sword's name is the Jakotsuto, I guess my name's Jakotsu from now on."
"What the hell are you saying?"
"Hope you don't mind an extra companion. I'm just wandering around here."
"Just don't get in the way."
"Thank you, Bankotsu."
Bankotsu started to walk away, Jakotsu following him. From that day on, the two remained pretty much inseparable.
"So that's how you met Jakotsu." Kikyo said once the story was done.
"Yeah." Bankotsu replied, "Looking back at it now, I'm kinda lucky I met him. He's the only person in the entire world I can trust, even if he's a little weird."
"You don't trust me, then?"
"A little. I'm more wary of who I trust since Renkotsu tried to betray me twenty years ago. Since the Sacred Jewel's obviously gone, I don't see any reason why he'd try again."
"You really trust them that much?"
"They're my family, my brothers. Of course I trust them."
"You're lucky, Bankotsu. You've got people that you can rely on, even if you're all a bunch of murderers. I don't really have any friends. Sure, I know Sango and Miroku's children, but I wouldn't consider them my friends. You're the first person I've ever really talked to. To me, that's special."
Kikyo looked at Bankotsu, whose head was turned away from her. She leaned in a little to see if he was okay then noticed something.
"Are you blushing?" she asked.
"Shut up." Bankotsu replied, quickly getting up and walking away.
Sighing, Kikyo got up and followed him, since her house was in the same direction. They walked in silence for a moment before Bankotsu commented on something.
"Hey, just so you know, breakfast tasted great. It just reminded me too much of my mother."
"I'm glad you liked it." Kikyo responded, a blush appearing on her face.
Bankotsu looked back at her then laughed a little, "Now look who's blushing."