For Wen, who requested something with the infamous pajamas on the cover of manga v.20. My sis and I, after extensive study of said cover, determined that Ginji's happy happy joy joy expression can only mean "I'm getting SEX tonight!"
Warm & Fuzzy
There's a lot concerning an apartment that you don't think about until you actually have one, complete with a futon to sleep on--sheets, even, though no pillows. Sleeping in the car is one thing, but in a bed in your clothes feels a little weird. At least to Ban; Ginji doesn't mind so much.
A thrift shop can be sad, in a way, all those discarded things, handed down and tossed aside, someone else's clothes and no matter how many times they're washed the shape of the first person to wear them warps the fabric. But they're cheap clothes, and that's the important thing. And Ginji enjoys shopping as much as any teenybopper mallrat. "Ban-chan! Look at these!"
Ban looks. "Pajamas, Ginji. We're here to get pajamas."
"These are pajamas. And they're my size!"
Which explains why they're here, because no grown man would willingly don a gag gift like that, and precious few women, even for the sake of the kawaii. "I even found the hood," and Ginji holds it up, proud as a soldier with a flag.
"And they're so soft, feel how soft they are, Ban-chan." He pushes the bundle into Ban's arms.
"There's a bell."
"They're almost brand-new, the flannel's still all fluffy."
"A bell, Ginji."
"They'll be really warm," Ginji happily muses, rubbing the sleeve against his cheek.
Which gives Ban pause, because Ginji does get cold at night. In the car it's not really an issue, but they have a bed now, and Ginji's going to be lying there, curled up under the covers. And maybe he'll say it's cold, in that little voice which isn't annoying enough to be a whimper, and Ban would just have to suggest the obvious answer to that, best way to keep warm when there's two people, after all, and. That. He doesn't need to think about. It's only Ginji. His partner, his best friend, all that. Just that.
He taps the bell. It dings. Sounds more like one of the thread spool's than a cow's, but... "You'd look ridiculous. Don't you have any...masculine pride?"
"Who's going to see me in them besides you, Ban-chan?" Ginji asks, innocently enough.
And he looks so damn happy, clutching his find to his chest. Ban sighs. "Fine. For when it's really cold. But otherwise--here." He picks up a couple sets of plain cotton pajamas, cream muslin with brown and green trim. "These'll do."
"Okay," Ginji agrees, then reaches past Ban to grab something on the table behind him. "Oh, look, here's some pillows!"
"Those are not pillows."
"They're really squishy!"
Ban glares at the goofy stuffed alligator. "Pillows don't have eyes!"
"And they're cheap!"
Some battles are lost before they begin. And lately Ban's been suspecting that in this case the war might as well be over. "...don't you have any pride?!"
The problem with Ginji is that he talks too damn much. Generally Ban doesn't mind. Ginji's chatter is like the engine of his car; he prefers it not to falter. But it's an issue tonight, because they paid the second month's rent today, and that they both decided was cause for celebration. So, after dinner at a fancy restaurant - Italian, and Ban has to admit it was better than he expected--they picked up a six-pack and some ice cream.
Only with Ginji talking so much, he doesn't even finish his bottle, and it isn't until Ban reaches for another and doesn't find one that he realizes he polished off the other five himself. Which, even after the wine with dinner, isn't that much, but contrary to his appearance Ban doesn't drink often, and it's kind of irritating the way everything at the edges his vision seems to be spinning.
"Ban-chan," and Ginji's eyes are crinkling up in that entirely undeniable smile, "maybe we should go to bed."
Ban discovers he's been blinking owlishly at his partner, as if trying to see the electricity which is always building around him. He shakes his head--not the best idea. Takes a second for things to stop rocking. "I'm not tired."
"Well, I am." Ginji gets up, goes over to the kitchenette sink and fills one of their plastic cups from the tap, brings it back. "Here. You should have some water so you don't get a hangover."
"I'm not drunk either," Ban informs him, but he drinks the water, closes his eyes and leans back against the legs of the chair they found on the curb last week. It's not too comfortable but he's not really in the mood to move.
Then he hears the jingle, a cheerful tinkling like a metallic giggle, and dammit, he thought he had buried that bag so deep in the 360's trunk that Ginji would never find it. When had he dug it out? "Ginji--"
"It's cold, Ban-chan!"
Actually it feels on the warm side to him, but what the hell, he's been drinking. With his eyes shut he might just drop off here, if it weren't for that noise. Under the jingling he can hear the shush of fabric pulled over skin, and just the smallest vibration of Ginji's footsteps. Barefoot, Ginji moves silent as a cat, without trying. But a belled cat, now, and that chiming tells him when Ginji has come up beside him, even before the hand settles lightly on his arm, with that fuzzy sensation of static charge that is as much a part of his partner as the warmth of his skin. "Ban-chan? You awake?"
The bell on Ginji's pajamas dings merrily as Ban straightens up, opens his eyes. "You are--"
Black and white cow spots, the damn bell, and above that Ginji's face, flushed light rose from half a bottle of beer--Ban doesn't color with alcohol, thanks to his European heritage, but Ginji's cheeks are pink, curved with his grin. He even put on the hood, velcroed to the shirt, the ridiculous ears flopping in his eyes along with his blond hair. And yeah, cows are supposed to have brown eyes, but there isn't a bovine born which could possibly have a gaze this warm and bright and...sincere, which doesn't make sense, but it's very hard to put Ginji into words, and the state Ban's in right now, the only one coming to mind is--
"--so damn cute."
He did not say that out loud. There is no way he said that out loud.
"...what did you say, Ban-chan?"
And even if he had, it must have been too slurred to understand. He's drunk, right?
"Did you just say--"
"You're an idiot." Ban plants his hand on the chair seat and pushes himself upright. Bathroom, pajamas, bed. Sounds like a great idea, now that he thinks about it. Too lazy to bother with a shower, but he splashes cold water on his face. And again. Even through the shut door with the faucet running he can hear the bell's jangle.
Leaving the bathroom on the way to the futon, he stumbles on one of the pillows-with-eyes, the pig one, and Ginji is right there to catch him. Floppy-horned cow hood and all. "You're sure you're not drunk, Ban-chan?"
"Ginji, I am barely buzzed--"
"'Cause you don't seem that steady," and then Ginji has hooked his foot around Ban's ankle--the flannel pajama bottoms are soft, he has to admit, as the cuff brushes his calf--and twists. Ban doesn't quite get his balance in time, squawks his annoyance and grabs for Ginji, and they both go down, onto the futon.
"Gotcha." Ginji grins. "You're sure--"
Ban just growls. The fall was a bit dizzying, and Ginji's smile is more so. The ridiculous pajamas aren't quite his size after all, a little small, so the top rides up when he stretches and reveals a brief curve of belly, looks soft and smooth as his flushed cheeks. Ban's hand is already resting on his partner's side, so it doesn't take much to slide it down to that tempting gap of torso--and it is silk-smooth, but warmer than the flannel, and the muscle underneath is solid as marble. And that's even more irresistible. Ban doesn't think the current prickling his blood is all due to Ginji's power. Or at least not his unique bioelectric properties.
"Ban-chan?" Ginji asks, and Ban feels the exhalation under his hand, rise and fall of that pliant strength. That's the only motion at all between them, and Ban thinks maybe he should move his hand, but Ginji's just watching him, perhaps confused but not disturbed, and there's that look in his eyes again that Ban can't find any words for.
Damn alcohol, damn soft warm silly pajamas, damn most of all soft warm silly beautiful brown eyes--he leans forward, it's just a few centimeters, tilts his head and presses his mouth to Ginji's. It's also warm, also soft, wet too, and sweet, just that little hint of the peppermint icecream enough that he forgets the dull bitterness of the cheap beer.
Then Ginji moves under him, no sound, except the clink of the bell, muffled by a fold of spotted flannel--but it's enough. Ban breaks the kiss, shoves himself back so hard he almost falls off the futon, props himself up on his arms and stares at Ginji. Who stares back at him, so wide-eyed his lashes brush the hood, and Ginji is totally sober, after all, quite aware of what he's doing. What he did.
"I--I--" Ban can't think. Everything's spinning. This is Ginji, this is his partner, this is his best friend and the best thing that's ever happened to him and he's gone and screwed everything up like always, but this time is the worst of all and dammit there's got to be a way around this, if his head were clear enough to think--"I guess I am--"
"Ban-chan," Ginji says, very quietly, clear as ice. "Why--"
"I didn't--you're right, I'm--"
"--did you stop?!"
And then Ginji is on top of him, fluffy flannel and strong arms around him, closing them together, and this kiss is harder, and deeper, and every bit as sweet. When it finally ends Ban is dizzier than before, but it might just be from lack of oxygen, since Ginji also looks lightheaded. He reaches up, tugs the hood down to gather in folds around his neck, so he can see all of Ginji's face unobstructed. His cheeks are glowing brighter than before. Hell, his whole face is glowing. "Umm," Ban says eloquently.
"Ban-chan," Ginji replies, slightly more verbal. Just slightly. He's straddling Ban now, and from what Ban can feel poking against him, it's impressive Ginji is managing that much.
"You. This." And the flannel is very soft. On the inside, too, when he slips his hand up the spotted pajama tops, warm fabric against the back of his hand and warmer flesh under his palm.
"You," he tries again. The beer, he sort of wants to say. Because he's just recalled that Ginji was the one to point out the six-pack in the store. Even if he drank practically none of it. Interesting, that.
"Ban-chan." Ginji sounds out of breath, and it's especially gratifying the way it catches, when Ban strokes his fingers there. Ginji always knocks the wind out of him when he tackles him in those wild hugs, so this is only fair. "Wh--what did you say before?"
"Umm. That you're." Five beers or not, he's Midou Ban. And you're not supposed to say that about guys anyway.
But. This is Ginji. In cow pajamas. Grinning down at him like he's winning the grand prize.
"You'd be even more so without them," Ban gets out, in a brief burst of coherence.
Ginji laughs, and obliges. And Ban follows suit. Because as it turns out, it's quite a hot night after all.
The next morning, when Ginji's in the shower, Ban folds them, spots and hood and damn bell and all, and puts them in the closet, middle shelf, where they can easily be found. For the next time it's cold.