Rating: PG-13, just to be safe, though the smut isn't graphic.
Disclaimer: GetBackers and all associated characters belong to Rando Ayamine and Yuya Aoki.
Notes: Wrote this several months ago and completely forgot it even existed. Since I haven't posted anything in a long time, I figured it couldn't hurt to do so, since I'm kind of fond of it. A bit depressing, I think I must have been in a bad mood when I wrote it. Oops.
Kazuki had always been a hopeless romantic. His childhood playtime consisted of reading books about medival princesses and heroic knights, samurais protecting the emperor's daughter from kitsune or evil spirits, dragons, unicorns, kirin... It was not an uncommon occurance for him to drag Juubei and Sakura into the woods surrounding the compound, where they would stay for entire afternoons. Sakura got to play the role of the damsel in distress, or sometimes she would sit them down beneath the shade of a tree near the brook and tell Kazuki the stories he so loved to hear.
As they grew older and Sakura wasn't allowed quite so much 'play time' with the younger boys, Kazuki ended up, much to his disdain, playing the part of damsel in distress. Juubei insisted it had to be so, because how could he learn to protect Kazuki if he was the one even pretending to need rescuing?
They were good days, spent in comfort, spent with those Kazuki loved most in the world.
And it was all taken away in the course of a single night that was set alight by flames... Where there was no happy ending because all who were important to his living fairytale were dead and his brave samurai had been too late. Instead, they fled. Sakura and Juubei dared to turn away from their own family for his sake, for duty, for friendship and love, and they told him they would take him anywhere he wanted to go.
In his numbness, Kazuki had answered simply: "Mugenjou."
But no one could say that night killed Kazuki's love for romanticism and silly fairytales. He wouldn't admit that his own happy end had been ruined. Simply... postponed, delayed, more difficult to acheive. But that would only make it better in the end, right? The reward would more than make up for the suffering he and his companions had and would continue to endure, wouldn't it?
Years later, when Kazuki's small, lanky body had molded itself into something slender and beautiful, and his hair had passed that awkward in-between stage of growth and now hung down to his hips in silky waves, Sakura continued to tell him stories. She never seemed to run out of ideas; everytime was something new and exciting. Kazuki would crawl to her, lay his head in her lap, close his eyes and visualize pictures and voices and music to her words while Juubei sat nearby, sharpening his tobari and smiling.
Even years after that, after Toshiki had come and gone, after they joined the Volt's beneath Raitei and the three remaining members of Fuuga had little alone time together, Sakura still thought up new stories and stored them away for later use.
But it wasn't until several nights after Ginji had left Mugenjou with That Man that Kazuki came to her with tears in his eyes and Juubei along beside him, attempting to comfort him because, no, Raitei was not coming back, and Kazuki had failed to keep the Volts together for any length of time in his absence. Sakura was touched as her crying master forced a smile, "Sakura, I miss your stories."
She gladly stayed up all night in to the early hours of morning, speaking even while Kazuki lay curled and dozing in Juubei's arms.
It was good that they enjoyed that night, because when the Kakei siblings awoke later, Kazuki was gone.
He'd not meant to leave... He went out for a walk and found himself at the threshhold of Mugenjou to the Outside. He'd thought, 'Why stop here?'
Why indeed. And so he'd continued on to the Outside, leaving everything and everyone behind who reminded him of hurt and failure and regret and all things lost.
Except that Outside, Kazuki couldn't help but feel even more lost. Ginji did not need him here. For the first time in his life, he had no direction, no idea what to do with himself with no one to lead and no one to follow.
Kazuki alternated his nights between crying and missing Juubei's warm arms, and missing Sakura's stories and trying to replay them in his head as he fell asleep in the coldness of a tiny apartment.
And then he met Midou Ban.
Not their first meeting atop the roof of Akutsu's mansion, but their real first meeting in broad daylight where Ban had stared at him apathetically and Kazuki had tried to smile at him. ...A smile that had faltered when Ban's large mouth opened to comment on the string-user's wonderfully feminine figure. Needless to say, he did not leave a good first impression on Kazuki.
But things were alright after awhile. Ban didn't find Kazuki quite so threatening as he did most of Ginji's other ex-followers, and Kazuki found Ban to be quite intriguing when he wasn't offering so-called compliments on Kazuki's hips or ass. It took awhile, but they fell into a sort of 'do not speak until spoken to' habit with one another. If Ban had to choose one of Ginji's friends to work alongside, he probably would have chosen Kazuki. And Kazuki was always so curious to eavesdrop and spy on them when he was able. Ban was quite an interesting person to watch. And Kazuki did so love to observe.
These days, Kazuki notes all the little things about Ban; the way he nudges his glasses up the bridge of his nose, the brand of cigarettes he smokes and the way they sit just so between his slightly wind-chapped lips. Ban has a pleasant singing voice, Kazuki discovers. He knows this because Ban hums or croons softly along with the car radio or a tape he tosses into the casette player while flashing an occasional grin at Ginji in the seat beside him or Kazuki in the rear-view mirror.
And Kazuki smiles back, because Ban is intruiging and smart and stubborn and funny... and because Kazuki is, unfortunately, finding himself quite taken with him.
Some nights he looks in his mirror and denies it. Others, he lies in bed, arching into his own hands while the coherant parts of his brain wonder 'Why? Why him? Why not Juubei or Sakura, Ginji-san or Shido, even? Someone safe and familiar who actually gives a damn?' All Midou Ban sees is Ginji and money and girls. Kazuki does not fit into that equation - into that life.
So imagine his surprise when Ban shoves him up against the wall outside of his apartment building one night and kisses him. Just a brief yet insistant clash of lips that cause Kazuki's breath to hitch in his throat, which Ban is claiming soon after with his lips and tongue and teeth. Kazuki's legs are shaky, as is his constitution. He doesn't want to push Ban away, and so he doesn't - but still wondering 'Why? Why?'
Except now it's 'Why me? Why do you want me? I am nothing, I am a failure, I am no heir nor leader nor even follower anymore... So why me?'
And Ban's mouth returns to his own, "Because I kinda like you, threadspool." Only then does Kazuki realize he spoke his insecurities aloud. Ban doesn't ask to stay the night, but since Kazuki offers he agrees and follows him upstairs as though it were nothing.
But it's far from nothing once they're upstairs and undressed, and Kazuki is beneath Ban on the bed like he's envisioned a hundred times before. Except not even his vivid imagination could have prepared him for reality. Ban's hands and mouth and body all feel wonderful and surreal against his skin. 'This could be a fairytale,' he thought, 'the parts that never quite made it to the books because they were too intense for children to ever comprehend.' And then he wonders, 'is this what follows happily-ever-after?' ...Except he knows it's not that easy.
For tonight, however, he can pretend. Ban is around him, over him, inside him, and Kazuki relishes it all because Ban helps him forget what he's lost, helps him set aside his failures and misgivings of Once Upon a Time's long ago... And he loves the way Ban's voice sounds against his ear; soft and just shy of desperate and longing, "Kazuki, Kazuki..." It's enough to bring him to release, crying out the other's name - not Midou-kun but Ban - while he clings to him like a drowning man. Ban can feel the body beneath his own tighten and tense around him, and that accompanied with Kazuki's voice is all he needs. His own cries are softer, muffled against the sweat-dampened curve of Kazuki's throat and Kazuki can feel the almost-purr to his voice against his skin.
Kazuki savours it all; the coupling, the time after where Ban lays with him silently, head tucked against his neck and breathing slow and steady. Kazuki needn't think of Sakura's stories as he wills himself to sleep tonight, because this is enough of a happy ending as he's ever had and he is content.
But Sakura and the books left out an important fact; Happily Ever After wasn't necessarily Happy Forever.
Because when Kazuki wakes up the next morning, Ban is gone and Kazuki knows he won't be coming back.