Band of Eight

By Anonymous Laughter

Disclaimer: I do not own the characters created by Rumiko Takahashi.

Chapter Three

"We'll stop here for the night, men," Captain Saraga ordered his small legion of followers. They had been sent to destroy a nearby shogun by their General and so he would obey. He had to be careful though. They were in a small village and he was eyeing every man as a possible assassin. His mission could not fail.

The giggling and gossiping of female voices drew his attention and he saw the most beautiful village maiden he had seen in his life. Her eyes sparkled and her lips were luscious and red. Her hair was as dark as midnight and the blue kimono she wore hugged her slim frame.

He dismissed his men for the night and casually approached the girl, "Hello miss, do you know where I can find a place to eat around here?"

The girl giggled delightfully and said, "Yes sir. The inn down this road has good food and warm baths."

"Will you allow me to escort you to dinner, miss?"

"Of course, sir," the young lady smiled and followed him at a respectable distance. There were several soldiers and travelers lounging inside the inn and Saraga led his new acquaintance to a small table next to another where a harmless looking young boy and strangely dressed girl sat. There was a fluffy black puppy sleeping beside the girl.

"It isn't healthy for a person your age to have sake. We should have water with our tempura." The girl warned as the boy ordered their food from a servant girl.

"What are you a doctor?" the boy asked, "I've been drinking sake since I was seven and nothing's wrong with me."

"Not yet but your liver will get diseased if you drink too much sake and you'll die a horrible death at a young age. We'll have water, thank you."

"You've been nagging me for two days and I'm getting sick of it. Why do you care what I do?"

"It's because I don't want to see my friend to die horribly that's why."

The boy sat silent in thought and Saraga took the silence as an opportunity to get to know his date better. "So miss, my name is Saraga what are you called."

"Well you can call me Natsu if you'd like," his date smiled flirtatiously and he looked deeply into her mesmerizing dark midnight eyes.

"You are the most beautiful woman I've ever seen. Your eyes remind me of the stars in the sky."

"You are too kind. As handsome as you are I'm sure your wife back at home misses you. Your face is like a mighty mountain."

"If I had a wife she'd have to be as beautiful as you otherwise I'd never return home."

"Oh Saraga, you're so kind." The woman said with a giggle.

"Ugh, that's so gross," the boy muttered, "If I ever get that mushy with anyone I'll gag myself."

"Oh shut up," the girl said, smacking him playfully on the hand, "I think it's romantic and sweet."

"What did I tell you about hitting me?" the boy warned.

"Oh stop whining. That couldn't have hurt. And it's not like I was doing it to undermine your authority."

Throughout the meal Saraga found himself wishing the night would never end. Most of the tenants had left for bed or baths except for the kids beside him who were discussing travel plans at their table.

"This has been the best night of my life. I wouldn't wish for another day to live if you would allow me to kiss you."

Natsu's eyes gleamed a bit and she pulled him into a soft, yet passionate kiss before whispering in his ear, "Wish granted."

Before he had time to grasp what was said she pulled a short dagger from the knot on her head and slit his throat. With a slight gurgle Saraga collapsed and Natsu looked around only to see the two kids from the next table staring at the scene, the girl in open shock and the boy in open glee.

"Do I have to silence you two as well for seeing that?"

"No way, that was the coolest assassination ever!"

"Bankotsu! Just an hour ago you were calling them gross," the girl said, sounding exasperated, "I think that was an underhanded trick though. How can you make someone fall in love with you and then kill them like that? It was cruel."

"He wasn't in love girly; his loins were just looking to be met with someone pretty."

"Are you a mercenary or an assassin?" Bankotsu asked excitedly.

"Mercenary. I do military and civilian killings."

"We're mercenaries too," Bankotsu said, "Want to join forces with us and become the greatest band of mercenaries ever?"

"What's in it for me? Besides the company of an attractive boy who's sure to grow up into a hot young man?" Natsu asked with a grin causing Bankotsu to blush and the girl to shake her head.

"She's too old for you, Bankotsu-kun. She's like sixteen or something."

"I happen to be fifteen, girly," Natsu said with a glare, "Well, what's in it for me then?"

"Mercenary teams get paid more per person than singles do," Bankotsu said, "Plus it's more fun to kill when you share the experience with others. Or so I'm told."

"You've got yourselves a partner then munchkins."

"All right! Well in case you missed it my name is Bankotsu."

"And I'm Kagome, this is my dog Aza."

"er…people call me Natsu but my name is Jakotsu."

"Great!" Bankotsu said with a grin, "We'll leave here in the morning." He stood up and pulled a huge halberd from underneath the table.

"Where did you get that?" Jakotsu asked and noticed Kagome rolling her eyes.

"This is Banryu. I inherited it from my father and I'll carry it until the day I die."

"We stopped at Bankotsu-kun's abandoned home yesterday and he found it in storage. He's just glad he doesn't have to carry a normal weapon." Kagome explained.

"It's awesome though, Kagome-kun!" Bankotsu said as he swung it over his head. There was a ripping noise and when he noticed he had cut apart Jakotsu's cloths he muttered, "Oops."

Kagome scrutinized Jakotsu for a moment before she said, "Hey, you're a guy!"

"No, I'm a girl with a penis," Jakotsu quipped sarcastically.

"Really?" Bankotsu asked, "How did that happen?"

"Bankotsu. That is another reason why you shouldn't drink sake. It's making you dumb. Now let's get to bed and we can talk more in the morning." Kagome stood up and marched into the hallway and headed for her room.

"Now quick, let's leave. We'll ditch her while she's distracted," Jakotsu whispered fiercely into Bankotsu's ear.

"Why would I do that?" Bankotsu asked, "She's my second-in-command."

"But she's a girl and will become a woman and women are evil."

"If women are evil why do you dress like one?"

"Because I'm beautiful and the cloths look better on me than guy clothing." Jakotsu said as if it were obvious.

"If you say so. Oh well, I'll see you in the morning Jakotsu-kun," Bankotsu said with a wave as he went into the room Kagome had entered. It was cheaper to share a room after all and they were only ten and twelve.

Jakotsu grinned and said, "Good night Bankotsu-kun." Then he looked around and seeing that he was the only one in the dining area gave Saraga a quick peck on the cheek and after emitting a slightly insane giggle said, "Good night Saraga-san."


Yes, Jakotsu is a little nutty, but all teenagers have their moments, ne? Thank you very much for the reviews. They mean a lot to me.