C.C.: Here is chapter two! Hope you like it :)

Chapter II.


They had decided to make camp at an abandoned shrine, which was, in her opinion, quite ironic considering the men's profession and natures. The girl—or rather, Yukiji—sat alone in a room with her legs pulled up against her chest. Her chin rested on her knees and she hugged her legs to both keep herself warm and for comfort. Yukiji wondered how she got herself into such a predicament—how she was taken and somehow given a name all in one day seemed almost surreal in a way.

Silently, in her mind the dark haired girl repeated her new "name" in her head.

Whispering it in silence, over and over. It was a name given to a man who frightened her but—it made her feel peculiar. It was growing on her to say the least, the name. She had feared that he was going to give her a ridiculous name considering his personality. But why did he name her? Why not just leave her nameless and still take her? Did it even matter that she had a name or not? He was going to use her and then throw her away eventually, right?

So why go through all the trouble of giving her a name and a good one at that?

One that held memories.

Though, she suspected, he would not remember the meaning behind her name as time went on nor of their meeting. The girl hardened herself, thinking about it. It would be best to not get too attached to a man like that—especially one so dangerous. As she thought this, the door to her room slid open and she jolted with surprise, a silent gasp escaping her lips. To her surprise (and relief, admittedly), it was Bankotsu.

He stood in the doorway, his halberd in hand and a strange expression on his face.

"You know," Bankotsu said, "I almost forgot you were here—you being so quiet and all."

He took a few steps toward her and took note of how much she seemed to tense with every inch he grew near. He smirked inwardly, fully aware of the effect he had on the silent girl and enjoying every minute of it.

"I guess that's to be expected since you can't talk and all," Bankotsu continued, setting aside his Banryu and sitting not too far from the mute.

He frowned. "Now about your appearance..."

At this, Yukiji looked at herself for what seemed to be the first time in a long while. She hadn't realized she had scratches and bruises all over her body nor did she realize how weary her body was feeling. It must've been the rush of having been dragged here that made her forget the pain that raked her entire body. Trying her best to somehow smooth down the mop of hair and readjusting her kimono, she did not notice the intent stare of the man before her.

"If you're going to belong to me," he said, now standing up. "You can't look so dirty."

With that, he yanked the girl up onto her feet none too gently and practically dragged the poor girl out of the room. Grabbing his Banryu in the other hand, he stormed out of the room with a determined expression on his face. Yukiji silently tried to protest, slender fingers clutching onto the sleeve of his haori in an attempt to get away.

Her efforts, however, were futile seeing as how he was so much stronger than she. He did not even seem to notice that she was even trying to get away!

"Huh? Big brother, where are you going?" Jakotsu asked, spotting the two leaving the temple. His eyes fell on the young female that his leader was currently dragging along and scowled.

"Oh, Jakotsu...you remember that hot spring we passed by not too long ago?" Bankotsu asked, slowing down his pace to look back at his companion. For a moment, Jakotsu stared back in confusion before answering slowly, voice hesitant.

"Yes, I do?"

"Good, tell the others I'll be there if they need me," Bankotsu said, smirking, "I need to get our little pet cleaned up."

Said 'pet' tried to tug away in frustration only to earn a rough pull from Bankotsu who frowned at her in response. If there was one thing he did not want was her trying to get away from him. It would be best if she simply followed him without a fight.

"If that's what you want," Jakotsu said, sighing heavily as he watched his leader walk off with the little whelp of a girl. He did not understand why the young leader was so obsessed with the girl.

As they continued walking, the girl found it hard to keep up with the man's much faster pace and Yukiji soon found herself tripping over various rocks and fallen branches just trying to keep up. With an impatient growl, Bankotsu stopped midway and hoisted the girl up off her feet, slinging her over his shoulders easily. He heard her let out a gasp of surprise and continued on as if nothing had happened.

It was a set back that she couldn't talk—but no matter. He'd simply make the best of it. Once he got her cleaned up then he'd really start looking forward to his plans.

Suddenly, he stopped walking, the sound of running water perked his interest and he grinned. They were close. He continued on his path, spotting the hot springs not too far from where he was standing. Meanwhile, Yukiji could not think straight what with being treated like a sack all the time. For the most part, she wanted to scream and kick her way out but for one, she could not scream and second, she was much too afraid of what Bankotsu would do to her if she did.

Her heart was racing and she feared he would hear it. She wanted to cry—wanted to scream so badly it hurt. She cursed herself for being the way that she was...cursed that her voice failed to work for her no matter how many times she begged it to. It was then that Bankotsu had stopped walking altogether and she was afraid that he had somehow read her mind and was now angry.

Glancing nervously at the man she was surprised to see him looking at her now. She fought the urge to blush as she was not used to such attention from a man (despite how cruel he was). Without warning, he dropped her and she found herself landing on a pile of leaves. Letting out a soft gasp of pain, Yukiji rubbed her sore bottom and glared up at the culprit. However, the feeling of steam hitting her back caused the girl to turn around with surprise.

A hot spring...?

The mute girl stared at it in confusion, not sure what the man wanted her to do. Then, it dawned on her. He had said he wanted to 'clean up the pet' and 'pet' being her...

Surely he did not expect her to simply strip in front of him and dive right in without a care in the world? However, one look at his face told her otherwise and she dreaded the idea of doing such an indecent act.

"Strip." He commanded.

Bankotsu folded his arms, ready and waiting for the girl to do what he had ordered only to be answered by wide eyes and a mouth gaping back at him. What? Did she want him to spell it out for her or something?

"I said strip, woman, you may be mute but you're not deaf," he said, kneeling down so that he was at her eye level. Then, an idea came to mind and a sly smirk crossed his features.

It was a smirk that scared Yukiji greatly—she had a hunch at what the idea might be. Swiftly, she put up her hands in defense, shaking her head. This stopped the mercenary as he stared back at her, eyebrow raised and arms rested on his knees.

Sucking in a shaky breath, Yukiji brought her hands up to carefully peel away the thin layers of her kimono. She felt ashamed—embarrassed to be seen by a complete stranger. It felt so raw, as if his eyes bore right into her body and made holes with his gaze. Her body lit aflame, feeling his eyes on her now nude body. She felt so dirty, half of it due to the busies and the other half of being seen.

Bankotsu took in the sight before him, of the girl whose body quivered ever so slightly and the way she shied away every time she glanced up at him. Her naked body was slender, petite in a way though not at all malnourished as he had believed it to be and covered in small bruises and scrapes (no doubt from the bandits from earlier). It was enticing, really, and he had to fight the urge to simply push her down and claim her as his right then and there.

No, the timing had to be right. She had to be at her best before he broke her and brought her back down. As quickly as she had pulled off her kimono she dove into the hot spring, sinking in till the water was up to her chin. With a satisfied expression, Bankotsu straightened up and looked down at her.

"Well, that wasn't so hard now was it?" He asked, earning a glare from the girl in the water. His smirk only grew.

"Now hurry up and get yourself cleaned up, I want to go back before it gets too dark."

If she could say anything back, she'd have yelled at him or cursed him till his ears fell off. However, seeing as she could not she simply glared harder and went on to cleaning herself up. She hadn't realized how much her body hurt until she had hit the water, her scrapes stinging as soon as it came into contact with the hot liquid making her flinch.

How badly was she injured?

Certainly, Bankotsu had managed to save her dignity before the bandits could have their ways with her (ironically, really), thus she was thankful in the sense that she was able to keep what little honor she had left. Unfortunately, it seemed, the young leader standing before her has a plan to ruin all of that in the near future. It took a good twenty minutes to get all the dirt and grime out and as Yukiji finished, she felt clean and refreshed.

This feeling, of course, was ruined immediately as she realized she would eventually have to get out of the hot springs—in front of him.


"Well? What're you waiting for?" Bankotsu said, eyeing the girl now with suspicion. She was sitting in that water for far longer than he liked. "You coming out of there or not?"

Silently, the girl looked up at him, then down at her clothes on the ground. It seemed to click, however, and Bankotsu could only chuckle at her innocence. To think, after all that she was still shy about him seeing her naked? Not that he cared, really, seeing as how he was going to see her naked body however many times he liked. He decided to allow her to get away with it this time, just this once.

Without a word, he turned around and waited for her to get out. He heard the water splashing ever so slightly, knowing full well that she was till much too cautious to make any sudden movements.

"You done yet?" He said, turning around without waiting for her to make some sort of answer.

Not that she could, he supposed. She had on her tattered kimono again, having no other choice but to put the piece of cloth she called clothing back on. He supposed he'd have to do something about it, seeing as how it defeated the purpose of her being clean and all. Turning around, Bankotsu stalked off with his halberd in hand. He wanted to test if the girl was smart enough to follow him and, much to his surprise, she did.

It was a simple act but it assured him enough to know that she was smart enough to not run away, especially with him around. No doubt she would not get far and he would probably kill her then. When they finally reached the temple, Bankotsu was already devising up a plan to get some clothes for the girl. Bankotsu knew he couldn't ask Jakotsu—he would refuse and make a fuss if he did.

Glancing back at the girl behind him, he saw that her eyes were downcast, one hand resting on her other arm and she took soft steps as she walked. Everything about the girl was soft, thinking back to how she felt when he had held her a few moments ago. Her lashes were long, that he could tell, giving her a far more feminine appearance than before. Although the bruises were still there, he could tell that her skin was white but not sickly so. Her hair, though damp, was long but barely reaching the middle of her back.

It was straight, black as ink and swayed as she moved about. To say the least, she was anything but plain but she was not a beauty to behold, she held a certain charm to her and he suspected it was the way her cheeks flushed a few shades of red whenever she glanced up at him. Not as beautiful as a certain undead priestess he had run into not too long ago anyway.

It would have to do, however, as he did not plan on just letting her go now.

When they finally made it to the room (his brothers now asleep), he closed the door behind him and watched as she sat down near the burning candle. It was a small, broken room but it was better than sleeping out in the open. Yukiji watched with weary eyes as Bankotsu put aside his halberd, stripped away his armor, setting it next to his halberd and sat near the door, as if he were keeping watch.

She was no fool, however, and knew it would be useless to run even if he weren't in the room. He would find her, she knew it and when he did he would most likely kill her without sparing a second thought. Thus, she thought best to simply stay put and wait it out.

"Yukiji," he suddenly said, using her 'name' for the first time that day since he had given it to her. She blinked back at him, wondering what it was that he wanted now. Bankotsu then did a rather peculiar thing and lifted a hand towards her, as if beckoning her to him.

"Come here."

For a moment, Yukiji simply looked from his extended hand to his face, searching for any other hint as to why he wanted her to go to him. She was partially afraid and partially curious. What was he going to do? Slowly, she crept over to him, cautious and unsure of what he was about to do to her. To say she feared him would be an understatement. However, there was something about this man that made her want to keep looking at him and she could not deny the sense of odd attraction she held for him despite all else.

Those feelings, of course, were often hidden behind the fear she held for him.

As soon as she got within range, he grabbed hold of her arm and pulled her towards him. A light, airy gasp escaped her as the young girl felt her body fall against his much broader one. She could feel the hardened muscles underneath his haori and blushed slightly at the close contact they held. It would be the first time she had been held this way by a man. Wrapping his arms around her, Bankotsu took note of how well her petite body molded into his much larger one.

It was soft, small and he could wrap his arms around her fully, encircling her completely like a shield. She sat there stiffly, no doubt both puzzled and scared out of her wits. Resting his chin atop her head, he only hugged her tighter.

"Enjoy this moment, Yukiji, because the nights after this I won't allow you to sleep," he said, grinning at the idea of it. He could hear her answer in the form of a sharp intake of air and he only chuckled. For a few hours, they sat like this until Yukiji had fallen asleep. The exhaustion of the day finally piling up on her and forcing the girl to go to sleep despite not wanting to. It was not too long before he, too, fell asleep.

C.C.: As much as he may be sweet in this chapter (ah well...sort of), things will change as his intentions are made quite clear later on. Thank you for reading! I'm currently working on chapter 3 and to be honest I really don't know how long I'm going to be making this haha but hopefully a good amount of chapters.

Another thing, sometimes I feel a little relieved that I don't really have to write "he said" or "she said" during the interactions between Bankotsu and Yukiji haha it makes it so much easier.