A/N: Don't get your hopes TOO high, folks. Thischapter isn't action packed, and it doesn't have a good cliff hanger, but it is full of GetBacker bonding, ya know… in that way that they do. I hope you all enjoy and as always, have fun and leave a review on your way out. I'd really really love it if you did.
This time the chapter is told from Ginji's POV. I figured we all had our fun time in the complicated space of Ban's brain, and I wanted to give Ginji a chance to tell his side of things. I'm so glad most of you think I managed to write Ban well enough to seem believable, and I can only hope to be the same was with Ginji.
I tried to make it so thatGinj kinda feels the same way about things that Ban does, and he talks about it, which I find funny. Ahem..right..well..
OH! And if you care, I fixed any errors that I could find on chapter 1 and 2, so it will be more enjoyable.
Disclaimer: GetBackers and all related characters to the anime and/or the manga do not belong to me but oh how I wish they did.
Pairing: Ban x Ginji
Warning: THIS FIC CONTAINS YAOI! If you don't like that sorta thing, turn your little caboose around cuz this ain't for you! Uhm… ya, yaoi is pretty much the gist of it, besides grammar issues, and joined wordslikethis, of which I apologize greatly for. I'm sure most of you have noticed that little problem on fanfiction, too. I'm doing what I can. I always manage to miss a thing or two, but I always go back and fix it while posting a new chapter. Well, my loves, Enjoy!
Thank you so much:
AkunoYume: giggles with you yes well... I think I would just about die if I got to witness Ban pulling Ginji closer like that. I don't blame you.
Poochiini: In my opinion, Ban is an easy character tp butcher, 'specially when in 1st person POV. So I was really really happy to haer that you think I pulled it off! I love Ban sooo much, I odn't ever want to wright him OOC! And yes.. Akabane's teeth are interesting, lol.
signourney: Thanks! I got so caught up in what I was writing in chapter two that I got carried away, but didn't have the heart to get rid of any of it, so I had to toss in there that yeah, Akabane's still on their tail. Or Ban's anyway... Still, glad you liked the chapter!
kerosuke jin: big sigh oh yes, I find it very sweet how Ban's body language and dialog changeds for/when he's around Ginji. And I guess that's pretty easy for him to do 'coz your right: Ginji is just too cute to resist.
yugh: lol you're welcome? uhmm, sorry it took a while for the next chapter to get up, but I hope you like this one as much as you did the last one.
noipu: Happy to hear that you love it. And don't worry I plan to keep going, just not anywhere near as fast as I would like to.
Shini: Awww You're making me blush! One of the best you've ever read? I feel so flattered, thank you! I hope I don't let you down with this chapter.
Crimson1: Haha, no no, thats not it at all.. Thank you for your compliments on having a grasp for the characters, that's a big thing for me, I like to get it right and I even go so far as to research my Get Backers DVD's to do it. I guess it's paying off!
AnimeAnna22: Why thank you darling! I hope I didn't make you wait too long, I hope this chapter makes up for the time it took me to update. I'll keep working hard!
bffmagine: lol yeah pretty much. I think anybody who crosses paths with Akabane would feel haunted.
Slashed by shards of reality: Real quick, beautiful penname. And WOW! You made me feel soooo good about myself! As I've said before, writing people in chatacter is a big thing for me so thank you thank you thank you for your kind words.
tenshiforgotten: Sorry there were only two chapters for you at the time. I try to make up for slow updates with long chapters, and this one is no different. Enjoy!
Icedragon316: masterpiece, huh? That's a very nice word for you to lable my story with, it means a lot to me!
Rathrahk: Rahkshi of Yaoi: hehehe glad you think it's pretty. And I hope you like this chapter of goodness, cuz it has a lot of cute Ginji-ness inside.
YJ: ok! ok! I continued, see? You think it's good? Thanks! I'm just happy you reviewed.
Afterthought: Yay! Another round of good reviews and even greater reviewers. For serious you guys make me feel so loved it's not even possible! Thank you all sooo much! I can never tell you all how much it means to me that you review. They are what make it all worth it in the end, and it's so frustrating and so sad to look at my stats, see a load of hits and only a scrape of reviews.
And so, since I feel so happy about the amount of reveiws I have, this chapter goes out personally to the people who read AND took the time to review.
The Rain Keeps Falling
A fiction by Crimson Vixen
Chapter Three – Sunny Side Up
Last night was crazy, but as always, Ban-chan was there to patch things up. One of the reasons I confide in him so much is because he doesn't always feel the need to question. He's just there when he needs to be, and always knows just what to say. That's cause no matter what anyone tells you, Ban-chan has a heart, and it's in the right place… I just get to see it more than other people might.
So, because he was so understanding last night when I was having a hard time, and because I put him through something like that when he didn't deserved to be bothered, I decided to repay him by getting him breakfast. When I had woken up, I was loosely encased in his protective arms, and it took me a full ten minutes to shimmy out without disturbing him. He looks so peaceful, like he always does when he's resting. When he sleeps, he can't help dropping the cold mask he often likes to show off.
He dropsthat mask for me… He can be himself, and it feels good. Well... I guess it's not really a mask, more like a defense. But Ban-chan has a warm heart, I can tell, and cares more than he lets on. So when a sob story comes our way and he refuses because the money just isn't enough, I kinda drawl his name, knowing that deep down, he wants to help. And he usually does it in the end, with a little push from me.
Every time I wake up from a night of sleeping next to Ban, I always feel perfectly rested, ready to take on the world. And I almost dreaded having to get out of bed. I mean, Ban-chan is so warm, and I like the way his hands rest on me. He always knows the right place to put them, and his warmth makes me forget all about the bad things. When he's around, the memories that flood my head; the screaming, the pain, the blame and the tears… it all goes away.
He makes me feel safe, makes it easy to sleep, makes all those horrible thoughts seem meaningless in that instant. I like the way he soothes me and I like how he's always so calm and rational. I like how smart he is and how observant his is in and out of battle, and I like how he's so strong and yet he holds back a lot of the time when he fights. So he's always amazing people. Always a mystery. Though I don't know if he does that just to save energy, he doesn't feel the need to, or just because I'm around, but whatever the reason is, I'm glad he does. I like the cocky grin he has and the glint in his eyes when he's driving like a maniac behind the wheel. I even find myself liking the childish gleam in his eyes when he gets his recovery fee. I've thought about it for so long… And there's no way I can deny my feelings when they're so strong. I like Ban-chan.
I… I love him.
It couldn't be prevented, really. He pretty much rescued me from a manmade hell and made me realize I was living a life I didn't want. He still saves me from time to time from my stupid actions, and continues to save me just by being around. He took me away and gave me a newer, happier, more meaningful life, and a partnership that I wouldn't trade for the world. He took me under his wing and in return, I always try to make him happy, try to make him proud of me. In fact, I've placed so much trust and dependence on Ban-chan, I never know what to do with myself when he's not around. But I know that no matter what, he will always be there for me, which is one of the reasons I can pretend to be so brave half the time; 'coz I know that Ban-chan would never let anything happen to me. I can reach out my hand in a dark room and know that his hand will be waiting.
In my old life, I was so used to being a leader, a man everyone looked to and followed and even feared, it was a nice change to be the follower for once. And I'll follow Ban-chan to the end of the world.
I can hear Ban-chan softly snoring next to me, and I can't help but grin. The familiar scent of old cigarette smoke flooded my nostrils. The nicotine smell was strong and should have sent my nose into recoil, but I was used to it, almost fond of it, as it reassured me that he was there.
I made my way to the bathroom and closed the door before turning on the light, so that the brightness wouldn't disturb my best friend and partner. Looking into the mirror, I sometimes wished that it was me who held the power of the Jagan. I would be able to look at my reflection and send myself into a believable dream, even though it would be over in a minute. Even though Ban-chan told me how dangerous it would be if he ever did such a thing, as it may be too hard for him to fully control the dream or even come back to reality safely. So I had to use my imagination instead.
My lids closed themselves; I always closed my eyes when I started thinking, it helps me concentrate.
When I opened my eyes, my mind forged an image in the mirror, one where Ban-chan was standing behind me, his hand resting on my shoulder, eventually wrapping his whole arm around my neck. His mouth formed a smile as he looked at my reflection. A light blush crept into my cheeks as my mind told me how well we looked together, how his hand would probably make a perfect fit into my own.
Sadly, pretending to be asleep and reaching out to hold his arm like a stuffed animal after having another intense conversation in the 360 was about all I could do to satisfy my random cravings. Anything more than that would make him suspicious and Ban-chan is good at reading people. It's hard to keep my cover closed. Thankfully, Ban-chan has grown used to the idea that I'm touchy feely, and I have a tendency to reach out and touch the person I'm talking to.
He tells me not to be so clingy, but he never does anything about it.
My need for him never ends there, though. On nights I don't dream about the past, I dream about him. My dreams are vivid. They always seem so real, so real I usually think I can touch it if I reached out, but just as I start to believe what's happening, I wake up sharply. The experience of a Dream Ban-chan's hands over my body and his lips on my collarbone and his fingers through my hair leaves me breathless when I jolt awake. I can never stop my heart from racing, or the electricity from surging through my veins, sparks jumping from fingertip to fingertip. I wake up only to find that Ban-chan… isn't on top of me or beneath me. And he isn't whispering sweet nothings in my ear, or repeating my name in a husky voice. Instead he is just next to me, patting or rubbing my back and reminding me that it was just a dream.
But I don't want it to be a dream.
I shook my head of the false image in the mirror and the painfully true facts. I made the water run cold in the sink and cupped my hands beneath it to catch the temporary salvation. I slapped it onto my face, not even bothering to wipe it dry but letting it dribble down my chin and neck, and finally exited the bathroom. I gave Ban-chan one long look before I quietly left the room.
It was nice of him to offer sleeping in real beds, and eating decent food for once, which is always his first suggestion when money lands in our hands. 'Course sometimes I wonder if it's my complaints about cramped backs and grumbling tummies that drives him to it. 'Coz I know Ban-chan wouldn't mind having one or two nice things to call his own, yet I'm always the first thing he contributes his money to.
All I had to do was follow my nose, which led me two floors down and around three corners to a breakfast buffet. At the sight of steaming fresh food, my stomach growled in sudden realization that it wanted some of it. Licking my lips, I strode happily to the start of the counter, grabbing a tray and a plate to put on top of it, placing a thoughtful finger to my cheek, pretending to be Ban-chan. What would he want?
That was a dumb question. He would want every penny spent well in this place, so I decided to grab a little bit of everything. There wasn't a very wide selection to begin with, so this seemed to be a good idea.
A couple of pancakes and a few packets of syrup on the tray in case Ban-chan wanted some, and he probably would. Ah, this was going to be a work of art. I had to replace a few pancakes after my greedy fingers brought one or two to my mouth. I took a bite of another piece, remembered what I was there for and placed it back on Ban-chan's plate. Now that the whole surface of the plate was covered with pancakes, I put bread on the side to give the plate a beard. Bacon served as a smiling mouth, two eggs became eyes, and sausages had become thick eyebrows. Perfect…
I looked at the meal I had just prepared and stupidly found myself smiling back at it. Then I made my way back up to our room, retracing the corners and the floors all the way to the door.
While trying to balance the tray with my left hand and my chest, I used the other to reach out to the doorknob. Unfortunately, the door flew open all on its own, giving me a good smack in the face and causing me to stumble backwards. I did what I could just to keep the tray steady, but the food rolled around a bit, but did not fall. A pair of hands shot out from inside the room to grab at my shoulders roughly, shaking me violently and carefully at the same time. I gasped as a first reaction, but all my mind could think of at the time was keeping Ban-chan's food safe.
"Where the hell were you?"
The alarm that had been crawling up my throat disappeared at the sound of that voice. Suddenly, my attention was drawn to the tray in my hands, and I started to readjust the food that had gotten scrambled in our run-in. Ban-chan sounded angry, so I fixed his breakfast up as he spoke, quickly making the face that I did earlier, and held it out to him. He did not seem to notice.
"Dammit, Ginji! Next time tell me when you're gonna wander off! Geezus, I thought you were… Just what were you doing any—"
"I brought you breakfast, Ban-chan! See?" My arms were outstretched to show him, and he stared at the face of food. He removed his glasses to make sure what he was seeing was correct, and for some reason, he didn't look very thankful, or very proud of me, like I somehow wanted him to be. I felt disappointed, that I had somehow let him down, which was always an uncomforting feeling; 'coz making Ban-chan happy makes me happy. Of all things, he looked… relieved, like an enormous dread had just been lifted from his now slumping shoulders. Be he eventually smiled weakly, taking the tray and leading me inside.
I frowned as he sat on the bed and stared at his food.
"I'm sorry, Ban-chan. I didn't mean to worry you."
"You always apologize for things you shouldn't," he grumbled, not even looking at me, eyes glued to plate. He poked around with his finger a little, moving pieces but not destroying the face. His eyes settled on a single pancake which had a small bite taken out of it. "I'm guessing you already ate?"
I blushed and turned my head to keep him from seeing my face.
"Mebbe just a little."
Ban-chan's always thinking about me, it seems. And though I'm always thinking about him, the things I try to do for him never seem like they're good enough. He was evenly splitting his breakfast with me, a ghost of a laugh creeping though his teeth as he removed one of the yolk eyes and sausage brows, handing it to me. As I let the yolk slide down my throat, Ban-chan's eyes met with mine, his cool blue irises sending warm shivers down my spine.
If youlook overhis glasses, you will see that Ban-chan has very beautiful eyes.
"I'm sorry I made you worry…"
He sighed in defeat. No matter how many times he told me otherwise, I felt the need to redeem myself for leaving.
Ban-chan swallowed, as if swallowing the memory of waking up to find me gone. But his smile told me all was forgiven as he handed me one of his pancakes.
He ate swiftly and quickly, like he always did, as if he had to finish it off before someone else had the chance to steal it from him. He always had a strange defensiveness to him and his posture, painted over with pride and stamina and words, and would never settle himself for second best. So… I can't even begin to express my gratitude for the trust and confidence he place into me. It was an honor, really, to be able to gain his trust, for he trusted very few to none, and you had to prove that you were worthy of that trust. You can't blame him, really, when his own mother was screaming that she would rather see him dead than under her care.
He knew what was too much for me and what I could or could not handle. He knew where I was even when I was lost, what buttons not to push or how to press them to get what he wanted. He just… watched over me, in his own way. Knew me inside and out.
Shido never seems to understand what I saw in him, or what I liked so much about him, but he still treats Ban-chan with a subtle respect, if only just for me. He said he was aware of how well Ban-chan treated me, and how he was always so much gentler and kinder to me, but he could never understand just how or why the friendship between us was so strong. But Shido, being the good friend that he is, stopped questioning it after he realized how much Ban-chan meant to me.
The food was gone in record time from both our plates, though technically I used the tray, and as soon as the paper plate was disposed of and the tray was set aside, Ban-chan announced our leaving.
It's normal for us to ride in silence, Ban-chan grasping loosely at the wheel with one hand, the other laying lazily atop the shift. I'm actually calmed by the familiar vibrations of sitting in the car, and the soothing sounds of rushing air as we passed by another car, knowing that we didn't have to say a single word to each other and be okay with it. But this time, something was off. Something felt wrong but I didn't know what.
Looking at Ban-chan's face didn't say much. He had that hard, concentrated look that he wore when he specifically didn't want me to read him, so that only thing I could conclude was that my assumptions of something being wrong… were correct.
As much as I try, I can't control the worry that causes my voice to waver cautiously.
His grip on the wheel tightened, as if slightly scared, though I think it was only because I had shattered the quiet, asking him to talk to me with just the sound of his name. But he didn't open his mouth, or even glance my way. He just kept on driving, his foot slightly pressing further on the gas pedal, and the scenery flew by just a little faster. His knuckles were beginning to turn white. Something was definitely up, something was on his mind.
But for the life of me, I couldn't figure out what that something was.
"Not now, Ginji…"
"But Ban-chan, I—"
My words were devoured by the gasp that shot out from my throat, only because Ban-chan had made a sudden sharp turn, causing me to fly to the side and crack my head against the window. That was Ban-chan's way of asking me to shut up, but I refused. Rubbing my head with a slight wince, I spoke his name again, and this time, he looked defeated by my determination.
"Ban-chan, you do trust me, don't you?" I knew he did, it was a stupid question. But his actions in the car – or lack of, I should say – made me want to hear it from him directly; to relight the dimming surety I had. But he didn't respond, and I grew worried.
"I trust you, Ginji. You know that."
In the time we've spent together, he's always said my name in so many different ways. Lovingly (in that sort of way that only Ban-chan can do…), warningly (such as fighting over the last scrap of food…), even teasingly… But scolding… if that's what you could call this, was the only tone of voice I couldn't handle, because that meant I had made him unhappy, and disappointment is not something the suits Ban-chan's voice very well.
"I know, Ban-chan…" I tucked my head low, my chin coming to rest on my chest, and I focused on my pale knees. "I'm sorry."
"Don't start apologizing…" his voice was softer now, as if he knew and expected it to come, and I noticed that his hands had relaxed and returned to their normal color. His eyes narrowed but in a calming sort of way, keeping them on the road, but reaching over with one hand to roughly but playfully slither his fingers through my hair. I smiled, 'coz that was the real Ban-chan. The one I know and love.
"Ginji, you're smart," he forced himself to speak from deep within his throat. "But you're just so clueless sometimes…"
This time it was me who lacked in response. What was he talking about?
His eyes lowered a little, but he still kept them focused on the road. Silence. Then…
"I want you to be careful."
"Of Aka…" a small breath. "Akabane."
For whatever reason, he seemed angry with himself for bringing it up, and even angrier that there was no way to take it back, but now my curiosity was bubbling over, as well as a strange twinge in my stomach at the name mentioned. I mean, I was always careful around Akabane; it was a survival instinct that had been improving with every meeting with the man. With a reputation such as his and an alias such as Dr. Jackal, who is able to hold countless blades inside his own body and pull them out at will…. Watching your back was not only top priority in the survival game, but common sense. Even I had enough of that to sense his bloodlust and awesome aura.
It makes me sick when Akabane tries to tell me that he and Ban-chan share that same bloodlust. I always argue with him, spite my fear and at times, the tears that I keep in check behind my eyes, because although Ban-chan has the same – if not higher – power and capabilities, he would never stoop to his level and kill just for the sake of seeing blood spill. Ban-chan has a good heart!
Anyway, it wasn't like him to get so worked up about something like this. He knew I wasn't incapable of protecting myself, and he wasn't afraid to admit that he had a strong confidence in my abilities. After all, I can control my power and know how much will do what and how hard it'll hurt, if at all. But Ban-chan also isn't one to openly show when he's worried about something. He would always forge a winning grin that boasted he knew what he was doing and that there was no way he could ever lose, but after being with him for so long and after getting so close to him… seeing smile after smile, grin after grin, snappy comeback after snappy comeback… I've gained the ability to be able to tell the real ones from the fake ones. I'm able to see through the cocky stride and the strong voice, though the occasion is extremely rare when he is afraid. And when I finally see through it, I see someone who is only trying to put on a show in order to make me feel better and safe.
Of course, there are times when he won't directly state he is concerned, but the way he brings himself across is always so clear.
Like when we were in the Limitless Fortress, several times he had shown his affection, and I burned each and every memory into my brain for safe keeping. After busting down the wall to get into the room of doors, only after looking straight at me and giving that grin that only he could have mastered over the years, yet only one that was granted to me and only me, he had said:
'Hey, Ginji. Looks like your doing alright.'
Because he knew what this place was capable of doing to me. And he had returned my embrace, even though he turned it into a headlock and noogie-fest. Then, just when we were about to go our separate ways into different rooms, he had looked at me, really looked at me and told me:
'If things get bad, you just call me. You got it, pal?'
I had laughed, curtly.
'I'm telling you, it's okay, You can be such a worrywart sometimes, Ban-chan, I swear.'
Ban-chan is hard to fool. He knew as well as I did the risks of me being there at the time. But I smiled and tried to reassure him like he had always done for me.
'It'll be okay, Ban-chan. You know why? 'Coz we're the GetBackers, that's why.'
I remember the look in his eyes, I can never forget. They were so sincere, and I couldn't help but smile when I told him with the utmost assurance that everything would turn out alright and that I would be fine. But I needed him in the end. And like always, he came to the rescue before something irreversible could happen.
Because he always manages to hear my cries when I need him, even the ones I never make.
"Don't leave just yet, Ginji. Stay with me," his voice was back to the way it was supposed to be; relaxing to my ears, deep and strong, like something solid I could hold, bringing me out of my thoughts. But the forced chuckle he made afterwards was nervous. "Do you understand?"
Stay away from Akabane… Right. No problem.
I nodded my head, but Ban-chan's eyes remained on the road in front of him and I swallowed to answer.
His whole posture slouched as the word came rolling off his tongue. Had said it right after I had drawled on the 's' and he seemed happy with my answer, but frowned when I spoke again.
He rounded a corner sharply, just like before, only this time, I went the other direction, ramming right into Ban-chan's arm. It didn't end there, though. He looped that arm around my neck and tightened his grip so I couldn't pull out with strength alone, and let go of the wheel completely to grind his knuckles into my scalp. My teeth gritted and my eyes squinted at the pain, sputtering out random sounds because words were not forming the way they were supposed to. I knew I couldn't push him off of me, but I tried anyway, muttering something – I couldn't even hear the words clearly – about driving and not crashing.
But the car kept going straight as he continued to hold me there, and from the sound of his cloudy voice, I could tell it was barricaded by growling teeth. During all the friendly pain and fret of Ban-chan's hands not being on the wheel, I managed to listen to him.
"Dammit, Ginji, do you need a reason?" His fist dove deeper into my skin and my pleading went up a frantic octave. "When I tell you to stay away from Akabane, you stay away from Akabane! Now… what are you gonna do?"
"I..Ack! St-stay away from Akabane!"
He released me and continued driving while I tended to my neck in the passenger seat. Ban-chan firmly gave a small nod, to himself rather than me, and I said the first thing that came into my mind, and the first thing he was probably expecting me to say.
"I'm sorry, Ban-chan…" He looked at me, those intense, sharp blue eyes showing me that he was, in fact, deeply worried about something. And that made me worried because this was Ban-chan. And I got a strange wrench in my stomach at the thought of it. "I just wanted to know why you seemed so distracted, that's all."
He prepared himself, taking a few breaths before tensing and lowering his head so his hair concealed his eyes.
"I'm the one who's… sorry, Ginji." My heart fluttered; Ban-chan never apologized to just anyone. Not so freely. Though it was quiet, it was still there. "I might have over-reacted. A little."
He parked the car across the street from the Honky Tonk, turning off the engine and looking to me before opening the car door.
"Just stick with me. Everything'll be fine."