Standard disclaimers apply.

Warnings: Possible OOC-ness, shameless non-canon, and overdone fluff. Consider yourselves warned. Oh, and this is unbeta'ed.


By: Ryuuen

Ban never really says, "I love you." He never really needs to. Kazuki has come to realize this after some time. For all his apparent albeit unrefined eloquence, Ban was never a man of words. Rather, he was a man of action, and appropriately so, as he seemed not to know how to express himself any other way. He would do many an unexpected thing that would leave Kazuki either pleasantly surprised or breathless. Or both. Little things, really, that meant nothing and everything but left no doubt in Kazuki's heart that Ban loved him just as much. Simple things. He'd take Kazuki out to fancy dinners and midnight strolls down by the beach. He'd wake up at an ungodly hour to have breakfast with him and suffer through Kazuki's many whims in (relative) silence. He'd take him to the movies or one of Madoka's recitals and hold his hand all throughout, unmindful of the many curious, speculative glances thrown their way. In crowded streets, he'd place an arm around Kazuki's shoulders, pulling him close as though afraid he'd lose his beautiful lover if he so much as left an inch of space between them. There were times when it annoyed Kazuki somewhat, how he had ended up being the woman in their relationship. But then there was something about Ban's protective nature and crude attempts at romanticism that made him feel ridiculously happy and giddy that he didn't really mind that minor detail. At least, not most of the time.

It was strange, really, this relationship of theirs. It was something he hadn't really thought possible, let alone expected. If ever there was someone he had thought of that way and had envisioned himself having a relationship with, it would've been Juubei. His first love, as clichéd as it may sound, and rightly so. Juubei loved him, was ready to give up everything to protect him and he thought he couldn't be happier with anyone else. He was wrong. For he met Midou Ban, really met him, and things had never been the same since then. There has always been some sort of tension between him and Ban, something formless yet almost palpable, that left Kazuki wondering what it was about the Jagan master that intrigued him so much. Maybe it was respect for his power or the desire to fathom the inner workings of his mind. Maybe he was fascinated by his strength and wondered what it would take to break him. Or maybe he was just curious to know just what Ginji saw in Ban that made him leave Mugenjou with him all those years ago. It was, however, only when Ban actually approached him one morning and asked him out on a not-quite date that he recognized the almost instant attraction (heightened awareness, he had termed it once before) for what it was.

The start of their relationship was shaky, having no foundation other than mutual, if somewhat hesitant, attraction. They had their share of fights, most concerning Ginji or Juubei or virtually anything they disagreed upon, that usually ended in rather cataclysmic shouting bouts regardless of where they were and him storming off in anger, both directed at himself and his sometimes dense lover. How Ban had actually managed to win him over was still a mystery, would remain a mystery for generations to come, but it sure as hell wasn't through sweet talk. But then Ban would come after him, pull him into his arms and just hold him. Sometimes, Kazuki would find himself crying, sobbing against his lover's shirt and Ban would raise a strong hand to run his fingers through his long hair in a soothing gesture. Other times he would struggle, trying to get himself as far away from the other man as possible. But Ban would hold on, nonetheless, until he calmed down. And then Ban would cup his face tenderly in his hands and kiss him, tenderly, reverently... his forehead, his eyelids, his nose, his cheeks, his lips... It was apology enough.

Kazuki smiled to himself as he walked down familiar streets towards the Honky Tonk, absently fiddling with the ring Ban had gotten him six months back. He remembered it clearly, as vividly as though it happened just yesterday. And maybe it did. Nonetheless, it was one the fondest and happiest memories he had of his lover.

They were sitting on the couch in their apartment, cuddling in front of the television as some cheesy romance movie he had actually persuaded Ban into watching was playing. Ban was leaning back against the pillows, white shirt unbuttoned, a cigarette upon his lips. Kazuki was dressed in one of his more comfortable kimonos, all but sprawled on top of him, enjoying the sensation of skin against skin and the faint, musky smell of his lover, slightly tinged with smoke. Ban's arms were around his waist, hands toying with the carelessly knotted string that held the only article of clothing he had on precariously in place.


Kazuki sighed sleepily, snuggling further against his human pillow, and almost purred as he felt a questing hand slip under the folds of his yukata.


It always amused him how Ban still used the old, derogatory nickname.

"I bought something for you."

Ban's breath was warm against his neck.

Kazuki managed a husky whisper.

"Oh? And here I was thinking you forgot."


The hand near his waist began tracing lazy patterns on his stomach and he had to close his eyes in spite of himself.

"You're not easy to forget, Kazu-chan."

And then he felt his left hand being taken and something cold and metallic sliding into his ring finger. His eyes snapped open in surprise, eyeing the

simple silver band he now wore. He was speechless for a heartbeat and then...

"Ban… it's…"

"Beautiful," he heard his lover whisper, though if he were facing the other, he wouldn't have noticed that Ban's eyes weren't on the ring.

"Ban, I…" Kazuki began, turning in Ban's arms to face him and found that he had no words. So he reached up, fastened his arms around his lover's neck and kissed him. Kissed him with all the passion and love and happiness he was feeling at that moment.

Ban's cigarette fell to the floor unheeded.

That was six months ago and now… Kazuki's heart pounded hard against his chest as opened the door to the Honky Tonk, the welcoming bell tinkling in tandem with his own. It was empty save for two.

"Good morning, Kazuki-kun!"

Kazuki almost jumped, startled, at the perky voice that greeted him, but managed a smile in return.

"Good morning, Natsumi-chan, Paul." He looked around. "I'm looking for Ban. Do you know where he is?"

"You missed him." The café owner answered him, not bothering to look up from the morning paper. "He already left with Ginji for their next mission. Hevn seemed to be in a hurry."

Kazuki's heart dropped.


"He left you something, though, over there," Paul continued, gesturing vaguely. "Said he needed to tell you something that can't wait till tomorrow."

"I see. Thank you."

Kazuki's expression was blank.

Slowly, he approached their usual booth, telling himself over and over again that it didn't matter as he'd get to see Ban the next day, only to stop in mid-stride upon seeing what Ban left for him. There, on the table, were three perfectly red tulips. Beside them was a note.

Kazuki reached out with a shaky hand to take both. He stared at the flowers unbelieving before turning to read the note.

I just realized this morning that I've never really given you any flowers before…

…and it's been a while since I've given you any real reason to smile.

Happy anniversary, Kazuki.

Kazuki was rendered speechless and for a good five minutes, he just stood there. Natsumi, who was hovering nearby noticed and reached up to place a comforting hand on his shoulder.

"Ban-kun really wanted to wait for you, Kazuki-kun but Hevn threatened to cut their pay in half if he didn't hurry so..." Kazuki's shoulder trembled under her hand. "Uhm, Kazuki-kun, are you okay?"

When Kazuki finally looked up, she wasn't surprised to see tears streaming down his cheeks. And then he smiled and there was something in his eyes that made him all the more beautiful than he ever was. When he spoke, his voice trembled with emotion.

"I'm okay, Natsumi-chan. I'm more than okay."

Ban never really says "I love you" but Kazuki doesn't really mind. He never needs to. He does so in every little thing he does. He does so every time he gives Kazuki another reason to fall in love with him all over again. He does so without words, in his own unique ways.

Red tulips in flower-speak signify a declaration of undying love.

And Ban couldn't have made Kazuki any happier.