Author's Notes: First of all, I want to stress on this fact: THIS IS AN EXPLORATIVE FIC. THE PAIRING IS EXPERIMENTAL. Partly, this is canon, if you consider Ban's and Natsumi's interaction, there is potential. Some of you might agree, and I know there'd be protesting fans as well—but all I'm asking is to hear this out, give it a chance, because I believe it could work. This is one of a short series of "themed vignettes" (meaning, there's a theme for every scene/snippet fic), it really depends on how their compatibilities work together (at least for me), but that's as far as I go.

Sankyuu Bu-chan for the wonderful beta-work! And to all my LJ pals for the encouragement, support and brainstorming. De minna-san, onegaishimasu! Reviews are well appreciated :)

Theme #1: Cakes
Title: The Sweetest Thing
Summary: After that mission at the hot springs (episode 25 of anime: the hilarious Lake episode), Ban fulfills his end of the deal with Natsumi.

Disclaimers: Dakkanya Get Backers and its characters are owned by Rando Ayame and Aoki Yuya. The only thing I'm claiming here is the lovely theme and the plot, I am in no way affiliated with them!


If there was one thing that the Great Mido Ban-sama was bad at, it was losing; as Ginji always liked to put it: Ban-chan is such a sore loser.

The word was never included in Ban's vocabulary, because for someone who thrives on whatever it takes to ensure his survival, losing was a concept he dared not tolerate. Besides, he cannot even stand the idea of losing, much less entertain it.

Simply put, Midou Ban just cannot lose. Not to anything. No matter what. Not even in something as trivial as a table tennis match.

Except, he had.

This was why he now found himself inside Minamisanjodou Café, looking sourly at the nicely decorated cakes inside the display counter. The lady behind it watched him with sheer apprehension. In this type of place, his casual jeans and loose shirt didn't quite fit in, but Ban merely shrugged off the sneering looks from the other customers. What did they care? He was another customer too.

"Oi, Ginji," he called out to his best friend, who was currently ogling the sweets hungrily, "Which one are we getting?"

Ginji had hearts in his eyes and drool on the side of his mouth, "Ohh, I want that one, Ban-chan!" He squealed excitedly, pointing at a triple-decked chocolate slice laced with strawberry syrup.

Smack.

"Kono baka!" He pinched Ginji's ears to get his attention, and poor chibi Gin-chan flailed his arms feverishly in the air. "I'm not getting one for us! The ridiculously over-priced cake is for Natsumi, remember?"

The lady behind the counter shot them a dirty look.

Ban ignored it once again and scanned the many assorted cakes and sweets. Did he really care which one they were supposed to get for Natsumi? He could just point at some cheap-looking cheesecake and get it over with; their prices almost the same anyway.

"Ee to… Natsumi-chan mentioned something about their cheesecakes…" Ginji was pointing at the Sans Rival. "But I think she likes something else…"

Natsumi always seemed to know what the two of them each liked when it came to food. Whenever they were out of a job and broke, she had always snuck out food for them when Paul wasn't looking. And his menu had always been different from Ginji's; not that he was complaining, but he did prefer the fresh, raw maki and sushi to the sweet egg rolls and takoyaki that Ginji loves. Really, he appreciated the effort Natsumi put into distinguishing their likings.

Ban readjusted his glasses on his nose bridge. "We'll take the Tira Misu. To go," He told the cake lady tersely.

"Demo, Ban-chan! There's no Miso soup in there—"

Smack.

Chibi Gin-chan rubbed his pained skull as Ban took out his wallet.

"That'd be one-thousand Yen," The cake lady told him curtly.

"For that small piece of cake!" His loud, incredulous reply startled a few customers.

The lady nodded. She looked quite smug and satisfied that they had bought an expensive item.

Ban cursed under his breath. Did he really care that much?

After taking the neatly boxed up cake and receipt, he dragged Ginji out of the café and walked back to the Honky Tonk moodily.

Next time, he thought, he wouldn't lose to Natsumi. He's got some techniques up his sleeve that, unfortunately, he hadn't been able to use because she'd been too fast for him—amazingly. It was just table tennis, for crying out loud! He shouldn't have lost in that! He'd use the Jagan if he had to… next time… He cackled, as he pictured himself victorious.

"Tadaima!" Ginji bounced all too happily as they entered the Honky Tonk. Paul was sulking behind the registry, counting his money.

"Okaeri nasai, Gin-chan!" Natsumi returned to him as cheerfully. He expected her to be, with what her salary tripled and with the treat she was getting from the Get Backers.

"Natsumi-chan! Look what Ban-chan got you!"

Ban smirked coolly as he held up the package, with the Minamisanjodou motif imprinted on one side. "I'll win next time, Natsumi-chan." He told her confidently, "And this cake will be returned to me with interest!"

Natsumi only beamed innocently at him, as she took the box and opened it. "Hai hai, Ban-san!"

He watched her peer into the box, her eyes growing wide when she saw the cake, a look of pure delight spreading across her soft features.

"Tira Misu!" She squealed, "'Atashi mo suki desu yo!"

What happened next was something he never really expected: Natsumi leaned and placed a soft kiss on his cheek. "Arigato, Ban-san!"

He was caught off guard. But before he could even react—or was he even supposed to?—she had bounded off behind the counter, clutching tenderly at the boxed cake and began reaching for forks and plates, still smiling as though he'd just given her the best present ever.

He must've stood there looking quite stupid; feeling blood rush to his cheeks, and it wasn't too long before Ginji noticed.

"Are? Ban-chan, why are you blushing?"

Embarrassment at having being caught in such an exposed state brought the Great Midou Ban-sama back to time-present and to being his usually kechi self.

"Urusei!" He snapped.

Ginji and Natsumi laughed genially.

When they finally turned away, Ban let his fingers grazed lightly at that point where Natsumi's lips had touched the skin of his cheek. He smirked nonchalantly as he sat down at the counter.

Che. Maybe sometimes, losing wasn't that bad after all.


Transltions:

Kono baka! - Literally it means, "This idiot!" Once in the anime, Ban had used "Kono bokya!" >xD
Ee to - equivalent of "Hmm.." or "Let me see.." or "Err.."
Tadaima - means "I'm here now" or "I'm back", usually a greeting when one arrives at home.
Okaeri nasai - is the reply to Tadaima usually, means, "Welcome back/home."
'Atashi mo suki desu yo - Literally translates to "My like!" but I meant it for Natsumi to say, "This is my favorite" if the sentence construction is "Atashi mo suki na."
Arigato - Thank you.
Kechi - means a stingy person.
Urusei - the right spelling is "Urusai" which means "noisy" or "annoying" but it is also used to say, "Shut up!" or "Be quiet!". Ban in the anime says it more like with an 'e' than an 'a'.