DISCLAIMER: Get Backers belongs to Aoki Yuuya and Ayamine Rando.

WARNING: Semi-AU, shounen-ai/yaoi, weirdness, semi-smut, unabashed fluff

NOTE/S: This is… well, a bit weird, and is more of a product of writer's block than anything else. Another thing is that I know that there are two versions of the Fuchoin Heir's name, those two being 'Kazuki' and 'Kadsuki'. For convenience's sake, I'm going to use 'Kazuki', since it's shorter to spell.

FOR: My dear, bribing cousin Jen, my best net friend and fellow GB fan corn3ts ( I know I haven't finished "Inspire Me" yet, and this is a 'sorry' gift for you! This time the events are in chronological order! )and my friend and comrade in arms Karura, who loves these characters as much as I do. Huggles to all of you!

SUMMARY: The games that our hearts play. Subtle smut and blatant angst ensues. [ Kazuki x Jubei/Ban/Toshiki and Ginji x Ban ]

RHAPSODY

[ Kazuki ]

I'll tell you a story.

A Fairy Tale.

There once was a prince, who was a very beautiful yet lonely prince. So lonely he was that they said he was made of frozen tears. His only comfort was his roses. He tended to them and groomed them and praised them endlessly. When he felt particularly lonely, he cried and let his tears fall glistening on their leaves, surprised that his tears were warm.

And his roses felt so bad for him that they couldn't stand it. They held a council one night, leaning their pretty heads together and whispering to each other with their leaves. They decided that they would make him a part of them and then he'd never be lonely and his tears wouldn't scorch their delicate leaves.

When the prince came the following morning, the roses reached up for him. They kissed his face with their petals and he laughed delighted at the caress, dizzy from their fragrance. Their leaves murmured against his clothes, little needy hands that asked him to touch them. And their branches pierced his skin, wanting to take him into their embrace and alleviate his loneliness.

But the prickle of a thousand thorns went unnoticed under the onslaught of the petals and heady scent. Besides, the scent of blood mixes so nicely with the fragrance of roses and maybe the prince was indeed made of frozen tears, for he didn't mind that he was bleeding.

And when he finally lay dead under his roses, they dipped their buds into his blood and painted their lips red.

It was his favorite. But the lips from which he had heard it from were burnt along with his childhood. He remembers how it was it like, to watch helplessly as the flames consumed his home, his parents, his happiness. He felt as though all the years of running his fingers through the koto's fine strings were a waste. He couldn't do anything.

He remembers tears falling from his eyes, soaking his cheeks, his hair. He remembers hearing that one traitorous word. His destiny –

"Mugenjou"

Infinity City. City of Immortality. These words rang through his head like an echo of an endless chime. Please Kami-sama, have mercy, save us, save me, he thought. But only half of his prayers were answered.

He remembers feeling his childhood friend's callous palm against his own as he led him away from the hungry, murderous flames. The sound of their feet trekking the forest was insignificant compared to the thunderous beating of their frightened hearts. After an almost endless journey, they both lean on the trunk of a tree, panting as they slide down to rest on the hard earth. Tears and harsh breaths come together in a cruel symphony.

One of the things he clearly remembers is Jubei's voice, cracking even as he spoke words of reassurance. "I'm sorry," he whispers as he holds him close, "I was supposed to protect you, and I failed. Forgive me." He recalls being unable to answer, and instead holds onto Jubei like a dying man held onto life. And in many ways, Jubei was indeed his life.

He remembers thinking what the beautiful tale meant as his means of comfort that night.

Lovely and dark and deep. He likes that in a story. He wants a lover to be no different.

&&&

[ Jubei ]

Arriving in Mugenjou wasn't too eventful. A few challenging, arrogant fools who thought they could best the combined prowess of Ito no Kazuki and Tobari no Jubei were the only ones who disturbed their otherwise peaceful trek through the city. True, their skills weren't too developed when they had come there, but surprisingly enough, the enemies they had encountered fought like mere tots next to them. But they made for good practice, anyway.

Jubei was more than ecstatic when his sister showed up one day to aid them in a fight. It turns out that Sakura had followed them to Mugenjou after escaping from the fire. Jubei and Kazuki thought her to be dead, and were glad to be proven wrong. Sometimes though, Sakura would turn out to be a thorn on Jubei's side whenever she would tease him about Kazuki. He didn't understand. What was there to tease about?

Getting used to Mugenjou was the hard part of it all. Both of them, though they knew how to effectively defend themselves, were somewhat used to being pampered. They fended for themselves the only way they knew how: They fought.

Kazuki's skills with the string grew to be a lot more versatile than Jubei's needles. It seemed as if Kazuki could perform countless tricks and techniques with it, some of it he even made himself. In addition to that, as they grew, Kazuki's face did indeed lose all traces of baby fat and became more angular. But anyone who would see him said he was beautiful beyond compare. His beauty was simply not masculine beauty, but rather, more of the feminine kind. He was soft, slender and had curves that most women would kill for.

Jubei always reminded himself that Kazuki was raised to emulate all aspects of femininity. But sometimes, it was just unbelievable the way a fully-grown man could just walk or talk or look at him like that.

And then there was Fuuga.

They had formed it when Kazuki was eighteen and he nineteen. They were known all over Mugenjou for their fierce art of combat. The beautiful warrior of the string was like a double-edged sword, and very easy to underestimate at first glance. There were many that experienced punishment under Kazuki's seemingly innocent hands. Because of this, his beauty and sheer passion, he was worshipped by almost all.

"Ne, Jubei, say hello to our new member!"

"Aa. Kakei Jubei desu. Yoroshiku."

"… Uryu Toshiki da."

A strained, welcoming gaze. A cold stare. An oblivious smile.

One of these worshippers was Uryu Toshiki.

He was a handsome man of good built, and his longish, blond hair fell in wisps all over his temple. He was one of the primary members of Fuuga, one of the people Kazuki paid almost an ungodly amount of attention to besides Jubei.

This disturbed Jubei. He did not know why.

Maybe it had something to do with the fact that he caught them staring at each other one moonlit night. For an instant, he sees Kazuki's expression melt, his eyes appearing lost in a dream. Toshiki, on the other hand, looks as though he's dissecting Kazuki, sizing him up for possible weaknesses. Just as he usually looks at his next prey.

This was something that bothered Jubei for a long while, a problem that demanded solution. He would have to see to that soon.

&&&

[ Kazuki ]

The bad thing about perfect plans is that they don't exist. Kazuki realizes that the moment his plan succeeds. The moment Toshiki's lips brush gently against his own and a fluttering feeling starts somewhere inside him, from the pit of his stomach perhaps, or the deeps of his sternum. It reminds him of the excitement he felt when he first met Jubei, but this is far more powerful.

Maybe because Toshiki's lips are just so delicately touching, without demanding anything. They just are; and Kazuki feels every ridge on their surface. Toshiki's lips aren't soft, they are half-chapped and slightly scratchy, but that only makes his mouth feel more receptive.

His feelings for Toshiki have always been confusing; Kazuki rarely thinks of them or analyzes them. From his first encounter with him, Toshiki has always managed to make him feel.

Perhaps if Toshiki were just another man, it wouldn't really matter. But Toshiki is Toshiki and Kazuki always is who he is. But, Toshiki's tongue slips out and slides over his lips, a lazy moist caress that speaks of respect and happiness and just a slight wish to dominate. It speaks of desire, and Kazuki realizes that he is falling in a pit of lust for Toshiki. Perhaps he already had but hadn't noticed so far.

So he parts his lips and agrees to his fate. This may burn, this may very well heal him and scar him in the process. But Kazuki is enough of a man to believe in himself. Let Toshiki walk in and eventually out of his life. He will survive. He is sure of it.

And that's when Kazuki starts to enjoy their kiss. The way Toshiki's tongue slides along his, the mutual tender exploration, the eloquence of Toshiki's mouth. Toshiki is truly skilled and has complete control over their kiss. Kazuki feels clumsy in comparison. For a second he wonders if Toshiki has kissed others like this. Was he just as gentle with them, his lips caring and his hands barely caressing their skin?

Then, as if reading his mind, Toshiki breaks the kiss to murmur against his lips, "Only you, Kazuki. Only you and no one else."

Before he could blink in confusion, his lips are once again claimed. He discovers that Toshiki is curious about him. Kazuki feels explored and discovered, new and fresh under those raspy, moist strokes of the warm intruder. He wonders how one of the most unsightly parts of the human body can be so agile, so versatile, so arousing.

The tingly feeling inside him grows so much that Kazuki feels he can't contain it much longer. Toshiki's tongue becomes more aggressive; it no longer wanders inside him, it sweeps over his teeth and it clashes against his tongue, pushing it around, trying to tie it in a knot. Kazuki thinks if that were possible, Toshiki would do it. But besides this violence there are the gently holding hands, a slow thrust against his hips, a faint rocking motion burning Kazuki from the inside.

"I love you." Toshiki whispers before pushing him back on the bed and slowly ridding both himself and Kazuki of their clothing. Kazuki sees the faintest hint of sincerity in his eyes before he allows himself to lose control, all rational thought flying out the window.

Everybody thinks that his first time was with Jubei.

Everybody is wrong.

&&&

[ Jubei ]

It never ceased to amaze and disgust him whenever he saw his childhood friend with Toshiki. Nowadays, they seemed almost inseparable. He wondered why, and he wondered out loud. But in the back of his head, he did know. The reason was as palpable as the paltry breeze that blew in Mugenjou during late afternoons.

Kazuki was glowing with unnatural happiness. This wasn't to say that he didn't want Kazuki happy, but this was a different circumstance altogether.

He remembered his sister telling him that he had practically no ambition in life when they were children. Why would he? He didn't really need it. He had everything. The skills, the wealth, the prestige.

And then there was Kazuki.

And he became Jubei's ambition. He had to have him. He wanted Kazuki to see only him. He wanted Kazuki to take his hand and be his friend. He wanted Kazuki. He'd always wanted Kazuki.

It was a pity that Jubei didn't realize it sooner.

&&&

[ Kazuki ]

He could never deny that the day he saw Ginji in all his Raitei glory was one of the most moving experiences he's had in entire eighteen years of life. Sex with Toshiki was good, satisfying at most. But it could not compare to the sheer rush of adrenaline in his veins when he so much as sensed the surge of power that one Amano Ginji hid inside his lithely muscular body.

Fuuga was disbanded according to his command, and most of its members including himself allied with Ginji's group, aptly named "VOLTS". The forming of this group also marked the day that Toshiki left for good.

He had given him one last embrace, savoring the warmth of his first lover's body, before he willed himself to give in and just let Toshiki go.

He did not cry for him. He was his friend and lover, yes. But Kazuki never cried for people who had not proven their love for him. He was not one to waste time on such frivolous matters. He was not an idiot, and he knew the difference between eyes that held longing for his heart and eyes that glazed over in lust for his body.

… Which was why he had come to Jubei.

Oh, how he just wished that Jubei would just let go of his inhibitions and take him right then and there, pound into him with one swift thrust or even just kiss him until his lips bled with saliva and blood.

But Jubei was not that kind of person. He held Kazuki on a high pedestal, like a thirsty man worships the far-away mirage of an oasis. But he wasn't a god, and he was surely not some illusion. He was real. His desire was real.

"Please, please…" He said.

Jubei's eyes shone with a strange light, probably an effect of the moonlight. "Please?…"

Kazuki stared at him for a long moment, then leaned over and gave him a chaste kiss on the lips. It was short, sweet and could barely satisfy a virgin.

His friendship was real.

Jubei's eyes had widened to indefinite proportions, the moonlight highlighting a soft blush on his pale cheeks. "Kazuki?…What –"

Kazuki answered him with a smile and a mere shake of his head. "It's nothing, Jubei."

Jubei's eyes without the visor he normally wore were intense, and his steady gaze on the other young man held volumes of meaning. "I'm not like Toshiki."

To say that he was surprised would be an understatement. "O-Of course you're not… I'd expect nothing of the sort from you." Comparing Jubei to Toshiki was like comparing the sky to the earth. It was a ludicrous idea, in Kazuki's opinion.

Jubei came to him in slow, easy steps and took him in his arms. Kazuki let him. The taller man perched his head low enough so that his chin would rest on Kazuki's shoulder. Then, somewhat awkwardly, he declared, "I may never be able to… satisfy you the way he did, but at least I'll never leave you," his arms reached around tighter, "I'll always protect you. My life, my heart, from the tips of my hairs to the soles of feet, everything is all yours."

This devotion was…

Kazuki couldn't find a word for it. Was it heart-wrenching? Sweet? Obsessive? Ridiculous?

"Did I… say something wrong?" Jubei asked softly.

Kazuki closed his eyes. When did Jubei start to have such a low opinion of himself? When did he start spouting nonsense about him not being able to 'satisfy' Kazuki? Did he really think that Kazuki was that shallow, that he'd only be satisfied by the rewards of carnal desire?

Somewhere between his thoughts and his grasp on Jubei, he didn't know when he started to cry.

&&&

[ Jubei ]

Midou Ban. That was the man's name, and he had come and challenged Raitei. As soon as the VOLTS saw Ginji poised and standing atop a metal pile, his hands crackling with energy, they had shooed away everyone so that only the two fighters would remain. Clearly, the challenger was no fool. His cobalt blue eyes shone with intelligence and the wisdom of an old sage.

Although Ginji had wanted everyone away, his four Kings remained there, lurking in the corners, hiding and looking out for their leader, in case Ginji would call upon any of them for help. But they knew the chances of that were almost nil, since Ginji never liked to involve others in his fights, especially people close to him.

As for Jubei, he was looking out for Kazuki like always, and he kept a close watch on him. Fuyuki Shido was also with them, while Makubex and Kurusu Masaki were on the other building overlooking Ginji and the challenger.

No one knew at that time that it would be a fight that would change everyone's lives, especially Raitei's.

Midou was powerful, no doubt about it. He and Ginji had come close to killing each other for good. Then, the very unexpected happened: The battle ended in a draw.

Kazuki chided at that time that it seemed like Raitei had a classic case of "falling in love at first sight" with the very first person that had come very, very close to defeating him. Nevermind if it was also the first person that he had not defeated in a head-to-head battle.

Kazuki, Jubei would muse now, was too right.

Some days later, Ginji announced that he was leaving VOLTS and Mugenjou. The entire group went into shock with the apparent loss of their 'Emperor'. They all figured that it was somehow because of that challenger. Whatever he had told Ginji must have been greatly persuasive for Ginji to just suddenly pack his bags and leave.

Makubex was near tears at his announcement. He adored Ginji to the point of worship. Shido held a somewhat pained look in his eyes, and said nothing. Masaki sighed heavily, like suddenly the burden of the world was dropped on his shoulders. Kazuki…was leaving with Ginji. And he wouldn't take Jubei with him. The excuse that he gave him? He had to take care of Sakura. What a load of bullshit.

Jubei felt that that Midou Ban character was ultimately at fault here. If he hadn't come to Mugenjou and taken Ginji away with him, then none of this would have happened. VOLTS wouldn't have disbanded and Kazuki wouldn't have left. The worse thing is that Shido and Masaki soon followed after them and also left.

He wished that Kazuki hadn't given him that kiss for goodbye. It only made things a lot more painful than it already was.

&&&

[ Kazuki ]

It was already weeks after his first encounter with the slowly growing to be infamous Dakkanya duo of Midou Ban and Amano Ginji in Otowa Madoka's spacious mansion. It was amazing how, well, different Ginji was now that he and Ban were working together. His normally hard amber eyes were shining with warmth and mirth and pure, untainted love. All because of his former rival, of course.

The Emperor had finally found an equal to rule by his side. Kazuki was happy for them.

Then it happened.

Nighttime. The park. Midou Ban sprawled on a bench, carelessly puffing on a cancer stick. Kazuki had to do a double take. Ginji wasn't there with him. Maybe he was left in that café that Ban and Ginji were so fond of biding their free time in. No matter what the reason, this was still slightly unusual since the two were practically joined at the hip.

"Ban-san." He greeted, approaching the bench.

"Yo," The other man replied in a smooth rasp, his eyes opening slightly as he gingerly plucked the cigar out of the corner of his lips. "What brings you here at this time of night, Ito no Kazuki?"

Smoke was swirling around Ban, but strangely, Kazuki did not mind much. "May I sit here?"

Ban shrugged. "Yeah, sure. This bench ain't mine, you know."

Kazuki graced him with a small smile and sat down beside the other man, who scooted to the other side of the bench, one arm hanging off the edge. Ban turned until his back was facing Kazuki, and he brought the cigar to his lips again and resumed smoking.

"Where is Ginji-san?"

"… Back in the apartment."

Kazuki blinked. "Apartment?"

Ban' shoulders shifted. "Yeah, our apartment. It's small but it's good enough for the two of us. Didn't he tell you about it?"

"No. We haven't really caught up to each other again since the incident with Shido-kun and Madoka-san."

"Aa."

It was amazing, Kazuki thought, how Ban's voice could still be so clear, so suave even while having a cancer stick hanging off the side of his mouth. He thought that this was probably one of the reasons why Ginji had taken a liking to Ban.

Speaking of which…

"Are you and Ginji-san together?"

Ban seemed to tense for a moment, but it swiftly faded off into his usual cool. "Depends on what you define as 'together'."

Kazuki's eyes narrowed. "You're quite the intelligent man, Ban-san. I'm sure you know what I mean."

Ban's fingers deftly took the cigar off and he exhaled smoke in one quick breath. "What's it to you, if ever I really am screwing Ginji?"

Kazuki was always certain that he saw a deep intelligence in Ban's eyes, as if he had been formally schooled and he knew things that geniuses would salivate for. Sometimes though, the man was just so crude that he began to doubt his theory.

"How about you? Been getting laid lately?"

"E-Excuse me?!"

Ban shook his head as he chuckled, crushing the cigarette butt between his fingers. His fingers were stained with ash before he expertly aimed at a trash bin ten feet away and promptly threw the cigar there like a basketball. "You're too modest for your own good, pretty boy."

Kazuki frowned, and said nothing as Ban turned to face him.

"Heh," Ban smirked. "You really are a pretty boy. I bet you could beat any woman in a beauty pageant or something." Had he been observing his face?

" Thank you… I think." Kazuki didn't know whether that was a compliment or an insult coming from Ban's lips –

…Which descended on his own before he even had time to finish the last word. Eyes wide open, Kazuki decided that Ban definitely had too much narcotics that night. He tasted strongly of smoke and dry ashes and wasabi. He found out soon that he didn't have much of a strength – or willpower – to push Ban away. There was nothing sweet about the kiss. It was like sucking on charcoal.

"Ban-san," He murmured when the other man had pulled away. "I thought you and Ginji-san –"

"Ah-ah," Ban waggled his index finger in front of his eyes. "I never said anything like that now, did I?" He grinned at Kazuki as if he knew a terribly sordid secret that he wouldn't dare tell.

Maybe it was irritation at those taunting blue eyes, or frustration because he gave such vague, almost nonsensical answers to everything he asked. Whatever it was, it effectively got him into a tangle of limbs with Midou Ban. This was one of the things he didn't remember much, but he will try. Ban had stood up and pulled Kazuki with him, and led him to a nearby motel, though the latter didn't notice at that time. After heated moments of fleeting, hungry kisses and half-finished touches on the sidewalk, it was a relief to finally get a room.

"Ginji –"

"-- Isn't here, so shut the hell up about him."

Ban kisses him passionately, crushing Kazuki beneath him, hard bones poking him and flesh yielding softly to his touch. "You tell me where you want to go, and I'll learn how."

Kazuki shivers, trying to forget the taste of Ban in his mouth. "Ban-san…"

And then it was all so fast, a whirlwind –

Ban was thrusting inside him. Kazuki couldn't move and he refused to open his eyes. He knew that if he opened them he'd see a gigantic snake over him. Ban, but not Ban. Not with those scales and the sharp fangs that threatened to shed his back, that violent thrusting that ripped him apart and drove Ban further inside him with every move.

That didn't stop him from arching his back, from grasping the sheets, from tasting his own blood in his mouth, from feeling saliva slide on his back and sting inside his wounds. It didn't stop him from coming with a hoarse cry, his body tensing for a second and then feeling utterly relaxed, scattered scales around him and Ban no longer over him.

Ban didn't dare kiss him again. He was glad, because he couldn't possibly bear tasting himself in a stranger's mouth.

&&&

[ Pillow Talk ]

"I know you lied, Ban-san."

"About what?"

"About you not being with Ginji-san."

"Che. How would you know that?"

"Mm. Maybe because I'm not an idiot?"

"… Whatever."

"So, it's true?"

"Hmm."

"I think I know what's the issue here. You're officially together, but you haven't slept with him yet, haven't you?"

"What the—"

"You can't deny it anymore. You know I'm right, ne? Ne?"

"Ow. Stop poking me first and maybe I'll answer you."

"Sorry. Don't sound so irritated, Ban-san."

"Stop calling me that. We're lovers… or fuck buddies, at least. Least you can do is call me Ban."

"…We're not lovers, Ban-san. In the 'love' sense of the word, anyway."

"Huh. Perfect logic from you as per usual. How long has this been going on, anyway?"

"Four months, at most."

"…Shit."

"Does Ginji-san know?"

" 'Course not. But if he wants to, he can figure it all out on his own."

"If I wasn't so tired, I could slap you now. You really think so low of him?"

"What the hell are you playing at, Kazuki? You can't say things that you don't know shit about –"

"—And you are an intensely stubborn man. You need to sort out your feelings."

"What are you, a shrink?"

"If I need to be, yes."

"…"

"Ban-san?"

"I need to go. Job with Ginji."

"Aa. Good luck."

As the other man put on his clothes and slammed the motel door closed, the same motel room that they've been using for their past affairs, Kazuki was content to snuggle back to the covers and rest some more. Kazuki knew when to stop, and he knew his limits, and Ban's as well.

( at least he thought so )

He had a feeling that he wouldn't be seeing Ban for quite some time.

&&&

[ Ban ]

There were times when a person would just want to beat his conscience over a concrete wall. Today was one of those times. Of all the days, it had to be this one. A day when he and his good-natured partner had finished their job to retrieve a jewel for an old woman, and it seemed like lady luck was on their side that day, for she had rewarded them graciously with enough money to feed them for days.

Ginji had excitedly coaxed him into going into one of those fancy Japanese restaurants a few blocks away from their apartment. Ban, wanting to appease his partner for some reason, agreed. Soon, he found himself driving their worn-down, little car down the street with Ginji blasting some Hamasaki Ayumi on the radio.

He glanced at the corner of his eye over his partner, whose head was bobbing up and down to the bouncy tune. Ban guessed that Ginji was so much like a child because he hadn't had much of a childhood back in Mugenjou. With him, Ginji would be free to express his repressed desire for plain fun and be carefree without having to worry about stopping fights or keeping the peace in a whole city that looked up to him.

Ban was unspeakably happy over the fact that he, in a way, set Ginji free. Him, not anyone else.

He didn't know if what he would say next would trap Ginji in another cage.

"Ginji," He started.

"Nani, Ban-chan?" And he suppressed a gulp. There was that difference between a soft, silky, seducing voice crying out "Ban-san" and a joyously inviting, all too-innocent chirp of "Ban-chan". The latter was something he considered intimate, and dependent and so very trusting.

"I'm – I've been sleeping with Ito no Kazuki."

He expected Ginji's head to stop bobbing up and down, it would snap up to attention and his warm, amber eyes would stare at Ban, his lips would draw in a thin line and his shoulders would tense. Ginji would stare at him for a moment longer, and he would say nothing.

And he was right.

Whatever came next was not according to his predictions, certainly. When Ginji had declared not too loudly "Whatever makes you happy is enough to make me happy, Ban-chan," Ban swore that someone up there must hate him.

Ginji turned away from him and slumped back down to his seat. Ban could see his nose scrunching, a sign that he was having a hard time concentrating. Ban felt the beginnings of a headache coming.

"That's all you're gonna say, huh?"

Ginji, surprised, abruptly turned to look at him. Then, to Ban's surprise this time, Ginji gave him a small smile. A smile that Ban knew was breaking Ginji's heart just to make.

"Ne, when I was a kid, someone had told me that you had to make sacrifices if you really loved someone," Ginji's eyes turned downwards, avoiding his gaze. "If you really love someone, he said, set them free. And if they come back to you, they're yours forever."

Ban didn't know what to say to that.

"Haven't you ever heard of something like that, Ban-chan?"

Of course he'd heard it before. It was a cliché love statement that was the element of almost every romantic movie and book ever made. But…

"So, you're going to 'set me free' just like that? You can stand to give me away so fast?"

Ginji's unpredictability was set in moments like these. Ban half-expected Ginji to run away and never come back and maybe even electrocute him before he went away, and he half-expected Ginji to cry and scream and repeatedly say that nothing of it was true. But this – the look in Ginji's eyes, how can hurt and love and pain mix like that? It was enough to drive Ban insane.

"How can I give you away, Ban-chan," Ginji asked in a strangely soft voice, it unnerved Ban to hear it. "When you were never mine in the first place?"

That was the last straw.

Ban pulled on the brakes, stopped the car on the side of the street, and pulled Ginji into an embrace.

"Ban-chan?…" Ginji's muffled voice was heard against his shoulder.

Ginji. Ginji. Ginji.

Ginji will hear him, hopefully. Then Ban will realize that he isn't too late.

I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry.

Ban will repeat his apologies endlessly, in a sadly awkward imitation of Ginji's monotonous song. When he will raise his head again, his cheeks will be tearstained and his eyes liquid. But he won't miss the sudden spark of something crossing the amber pools looking down at him.

Together, they were perfect. How could it be anything else? Two people can really be made for one another. Made to fight, to hate, to love, to fit. And they did. They did it all.

I'm yours and you're mine. I'm yours and you're mine. I'm yours and you're mine.

Don't forget.

Don't forget.

&&&

[ Duet ]

A Conversation in the Silence of the Rain

Tug at the other's shirt. Ban-chan…

What?

Eyes rolling upwards. We're outside. It's raining. You're crazy.

As if you could talk.

Pout. We're gonna get sick, Ban-chan.

Snort. You're strong. I'm strong. We're gonna talk here.

Uncharacteristic sigh. Okay.

…You're an idiot, you know.

Barely-there smile. I know.

So we're still together, huh? Rain staining specs.

Smile widening, if only a bit. Yeah.

I still can't believe you're not mad. Curious blue-eyed gaze.

Shake of head. I love you, Ban-chan.

Don't say that. Turning away.

A sparkle of amber eyes. Why not?

Because I'm a bastard. Heave of breath. I should just walk away.

Then I'll come with you. Tremble.

Sigh. You're lost, you know. Quirk of lips.

… I don't mind being lost. As long as I'm lost with you, it's okay.

Wet bangs falling forward. Embrace his other half.

Sigh. Close eyes. Return embrace of his other half.

Murmur. You're really an idiot.

Laugh. I know, Ban-chan.

Knees almost giving in. Don't leave me?

Grasp tightening. Never.

Never is a promise.

[ Cut ]

&&&

To be continued…

Things that are probably going to happen: Jubei leaves and Kazuki waits, Ban finds himself being unfaithful again, Toshiki may or may not make an encore appearance, A confused Kazuki and Ban find themselves in a stand-off, The fairy tale is unraveled…

Feedback, anyone? Please?