Cravings & Addictions

Ginji thought he had been wandering the busy streets of Shinjuku, for what seemed like forever. But, in reality it had only been about two hours. Ginji really didn't know or care at this point. He had left the 360's usual parking spot by Central Park, around midnight, for a short walk. Ginji would have woken up Ban to tell him where he was going but Ginji noticed early that Ban was exhausted from their last job. So – rather than disturbing Ban's much needed sleep – Ginji slipped out of the 360 as quietly as possible.

'Now, which way did I come from?' Ginji wondered to himself as he stared at the unfamiliar streets around him. 'Ban's right, I could get lost in a closet,' Ginji sighed.

When Ginji had left the Subaru, his plan was simply to take a short walk to clear his head. Now he was lost in downtown Shinjuku, forlornly allowing his feet to carry him wherever they felt like going. Ginji was just thankful that Ban and he didn't have a recovery job in the morning. So, it didn't really matter if Ginji got any sleep or not. The recovery business had been really slow in the past few days - ever since the last incident with Masaki inside the Limitless Fortress.

"The Limitless Fortress," Ginji mumbled softly to himself as he wandered passed the bridge, where a person could see the outline of the Limitless Fortress.

The Limitless Fortress, his only cradle, the birthplace of Raitei, and for the longest time, the place that Ginji thought would be his grave. That all changed the day that Ban had ventured into the Volts' territory and had challenged Raitei to a duel. The day Raitei was finally sealed away deep inside Ginji's soul and Ginji Amano was finally able to shine.

The neon lights of Shinjuku were reflected in Ginji's big brown eyes as he continued to wander aimlessly down the streets. To a passerby, his eyes would seem like they were shining like stars but in truth Ginji's eyes were hidden beneath hopeless depression. It had been months since the IL recovery and since Raitei had broken free of his seal but Ginji was still feeling the after affects deep inside his soul. He never voiced this to Ban though, it would only cause Ban to worry and Ginji did not want that in the least. So, Ginji chose to suffer in silence. He thought that at least that way one of them was happy.

He kept recalling the words that the virtual Teshimine had said to push him over the edge. He also remembered, with shocking clarity, the exact moment Akabane's sword passed through Ban's shoulder in an attempt to reach him. Raitei's escape had caused a very strange urge to start to well up inside of Ginji – an urge that he had not felt for a long while. He had thought that since he left the Limitless Fortress this desire had been extinguished. However, he now knew that it had only been numbed.

This longing made Ginji's heartbeat race, like he was on some sort of high, making him crave some sort of twisted pleasure. It makes the electricity within him fluctuate rapidly causing his body to lose all feeling and he slowly give in to numbing bliss. Ginji had never experienced these feelings with such ferocity before. They were much stronger than they were in the days of the Volts. His heart beat so fast. He felt as if it were about to explode. The electricity increase made Ginji feel as though his body was being fried from the inside out.

"Oh… Gomen nasi," Ginji mumbled out quickly as he moved past the person he had bumped into. This feeling, more like a craving, of power kept distracting him. It was blocking out all other thoughts that would usually be at the forefront of his mind. Ginji was becoming so hopelessly distracted that even food was a fleeting thought. Ginji's craving for this feeling had intensified after he recklessly fought Masaki, after being severely injured. No matter what Ginji did this craving would not dissipate. This feeling was bothering Ginji a great deal. It was similar, in a way, to the surge of power he would feel before his world went black and Raitei would emerge. Destroying everyone and everything insight, trying to grant Ginji the relief he craved.

Ginji shivered as the unwanted memories flooded to the surface. Memories of what he would see once Raitei had faded away – the destruction, the bodies of enemies, and the chaos all around him. Raitei was like a substance that Ginji could not help but need, to save him from the pain and sorrow. But, in the end, Raitei only brought more pain and sorrow. Raitei as something Ginji thought he needed to survive but it ended up making him hate himself for craving it, for wanting it so much.

"He's awakening," Ginji whimpered softly to himself. Ginji was lost, lost in Shinjuku and lost within himself. 'He's calling out to me, he wants out, wants me to give in to him. How long do I have left, He'll take me over at this rate,' Ginji thought to himself as his feet led him down a deserted alleyway, hidden in the shadows.

Ginji was so caught up in his thoughts that he didn't notice that the alleyway was a dead end. Once he did realize, he turned around and collided into something hard. Or was it someone? Before he could even mumble out an apology and move away, a pair of strong, familiar, and comforting arms coiled around Ginji's waist pulling him into a well-known chest. Ginji's eyes snapped up and were met by a pair of enchanting and mystifying sapphire eyes, half hidden behind a pair of rounded purple shades.

"B-Ban-chan…" Ginji stammered, quite surprised to see Ban there in front of him, looking into his eyes. "W-what are you doing here?"

"Looking for you, Baka," Ban replied softly. "Isn't it obvious? I woke up and you weren't sleeping next to me so I came looking for you."

Ginji felt himself sinking in Ban's embrace but once he realized what he was doing, he forced himself away. He made sure that there was some space between himself and Ban. The brief contact that he had had with Ban had left him feeling warm, but as soon as he pulled away that feeling was gone and Ginji was left with an empty void. Ban just stood there shocked that Ginji, of all people, would pull away from him.

"I'm sorry, Ban-chan," Ginji whispered, almost too quietly for Ban to hear. But Ban could hear that his voice was almost void of all emotions, very un-Ginji like. "I guess I should have left a note."

Ban was thoroughly confused. This wasn't his Ginji. Ginji never pulled away from his embrace, he was the one who usually started the hugs. Ban took a step towards Ginji. Ginji almost automatically stepped back. He was making distance between them. Ban was confused at this. Ginji never did this. What the hell was going on? Ban stared almost helplessly into Ginji's eyes. They were void of all emotion… just like his voice was. The cold hard rain that used to fall in his eyes was once again present. Ginji stood there, his whole body stiff, the power of Raitei pulsing through him, stronger than ever.

"Ginji…" Ban called to him. "What's the matter with you?"


"Bullshit!" Ban growled dangerously out at Ginji before Ginji could finish what he was saying. "Don't you dare say 'nothing'. Damn it, Ginji. I can tell when something is bothering you. So don't lie to me."

Ginji was shocked at Ban's outburst. But Ginji knew Ban was right. Ban had always known when something was bothering him and it was the same with how Ginji always knew when something was bothering Ban. He couldn't hide it. Ginji lowered his head, hiding his eyes from Ban's knowing gaze. There was no use in putting on a fake smile and saying he was fine. Ban would see right through that.

"Ban-chan…" Ginji paused. "Ban-chan, Raitei is stirring deep inside of me, I can feel his power slowly taking me over, consuming me. I'm almost craving it. Craving the feel of the relief he offers me. The numbness, that comes with him being in charge. I don't know what to do! I don't know how to make him stop! I'm scared…. scared I'll give in and never be able to survive on my own without him. That'll I need him more and more until I can't depend on anyone else… not even you."

Ban's eyes widened as he listened to Ginji. Raitei was trying to win him over. He didn't think this could happen outside of the Limitless Fortress. He was trying to make him give in with false promises of weightlessness, with false relief. If that were to happen, Raitei would only cause Ginji pain and that would cause Raitei to take over him completely. Ginji would be gone and only Raitei would be left. Acting on impulse, Ban stepped forward and wrapped his arms securely around Ginji before he could move away. Ban breathed a sigh of relief when Ginji did not force himself away.

"Ginji… I know you think that Raitei will give you the release that you crave. But it doesn't work that way. He's trying to trick you," Ban said calmly. Ban said everything calmly, confidently even when he was panic stricken. "He's trying to make you give up, that way he won't meet any resistance from you. He'll be in complete control while you sit there in black and have to suffer. You need to fight this Ginji." Ban rested his head on top of Ginji's and stroked Ginji's back in hoping it would comfort him.

Ginji just stood there limply, listening carefully to what Ban had to say. 'Ban-chan's right,' Ginji thought to himself. 'As long as I try I'll be able to stop this craving, stop Raitei from trying to consume me.'

'But you need me, Ginji,' a voice sneered seductively from within Ginji's mind. 'You need me, I can give you what Ban can't – the relief, the numbness. Just give in to me, Ginji. Ban won't be able to help you forever. Eventually he'll leave or die and you'll be all mine. I'll have control and you'll just be a spec of a long forgotten memory.'

Ban could feel Ginji's body stiffen suddenly. He pulled back slightly so that he could see into Ginji's eyes. They were still void of the light that usually sparkled brightly back at Ban. They were clouded by fear, sorrow, and shame. Ban could almost see that mental battle Ginji was fighting against Raitei. Ban would give anything to be able to climb inside Ginji's head and beat Raitei to a bloody pulp.

Ban was at a loss. What could he do? There had to be something he could do to save Ginji. Ban did the only thing he could think of. He pushed Ginji up against the alley wall and pressed his lips firmly to Ginji's. The kiss was hard but tender, coaxing Ginji to wake up and forget about Raitei. Ban was pouring everything he could offer Ginji, into that kiss. Hoping to get Ginji to realize that he could offer Ginji things Raitei's power couldn't. Ban pulled away a minute later and his eyes were caught by confused but clear brown eyes.

"Ginji…" Ban paused, gathering the right words. "Listen, there's no reason for you to fight Raitei on your own anymore. I can help you fight him off. We're partners, and whenever you need me I'll be there to pull you back from Raitei's grasp. Don't fight him alone, I'll fight him with you."

"B-but Ban-chan…" Ginji stammered. Doubt still plagued his mind. The pull of Raitei was so strong that Ginji didn't believe it would be possible for Ban to help him. If Raitei gained full control there would be no stopping him, even Ban might not be able to beat him.

Yes, it was true that Ban had beaten Raitei before but that wasn't all on his own, even though he doesn't realize it. During that fight Ginji had been taking on Raitei from the inside, which greatly diminished Raitei's powers. So, if Ginji finally lost himself completely to Raitei, there would be no one to give Ban the extra help he needs to overcome Raitei.

"But… Ban-chan," Ginji tried again but no words would form on his tongue.

"That's enough Ginji. No more doubts. No more buts, no more second-guessing," Ban said softly to Ginji.

He still had Ginji pressed against him; thankfully no one decided to venture down dark alleyways at 3 AM. Knowing that no one would see them, Ban pressed Ginji closer to his chest. Hell, even if there were people around them, Ban would've done it anyway Ginji needed him.

"Ginji, listen to me. Those thoughts aren't yours. You'd never think such things about giving up so easily. I mean, you fought Masaki even when you were horribly injured. Don't let Raitei pollute your mind. You need to realize that he can't save you, he's never been able to. He only brings you more pain. Ginji…" Ban's voice was almost pleading at this point. "Please, don't give in."

Ginji just stood there. Ban was begging him, actually begging him, not to give up. Ban was there for him whenever he asked, and Ginji knew that Ban could give him something that Raitei never could. Support. Ban would sit down and talk Ginji through his worries, Raitei would only try and destroy them. Ban would be beside Ginji, helping him pull through.

"Ban-chan…" Ginji was speechless. He had no clue what to say to Ban. He knew Ban would do everything in his power to keep Ginji from giving in to Raitei's power. Ginji raised his head just a little so that his brown eyes met with Ban's captivating sapphire ones. Ginji leaned in towards Ban and pressed his lips to Ban's. Ban responded immediately. The kiss was slow and tender. Ginji smiled softly into the kiss, thinking that this was a substance that he wouldn't mind abusing. Ban pressed Ginji as close to his body as humanly possible and Ginji responded by winding his arms tightly around Ban's neck.

'Yep,' Ginji thought to himself happily, as Ban forced him against the alley wall again. 'I could really get used to this addiction.'