Four months ago, Ban-chan mentioned to me that he is bilingual. I – being as pitifully clueless as I am – had no idea what he meant. I thought he was coming on to me. Ban-chan smacked me in the back of the head and told me with annoyance that bisexual and bilingual are two different words. I was surprised to learn that Ban-chan could speak German as well as Japanese. He already speaks Japanese more fluently than I do anyhow. He even spoke a little bit of German to me. I didn't understand a word of it. He smacked me again when I told him the words made him sound like a growling demon.
I thought maybe I could make up to him for that by learning a word or two in German myself. I never mentioned it to Ban-chan. I would have loved to have Ban-chan teach me. But, he is so impatient that I thought it a better idea to try and learn for myself. Besides I wanted to surprise him. So, a few weeks later and after several successful missions, I had saved up enough money to purchase a book called German for Dummies.
After a couple of days I decided that keeping this a secret from Ban-chan would be a little hard since we're never apart. So, after asking Natsumi to keep quiet about my plan, I had asked Shido for his help. I knew that Shido would help me, even if he does dislike Ban-chan. He has a strong sense of loyalty and – even though I'm forgetful and goofy now instead of hard and demanding like Raitai – he still listens to me.
So every Tuesday night, I would make up some excuse to go over to Madoka's house to see Shido. Ban-chan would just sit there impassively as I walked out the door of the Honky Tonk. Ban-chan was, of course, fuming behind his poker face and emotionless purple glasses.
"Hey! Natsumi," Natsumi told me Ban-chan would growl at her every Tuesday night. I like that he is so possessive of me. He tries to hide his feelings for me behind his tough attitude. But, I know he'll come around eventually. "Do you know what the hell Ginji is doing with Monkey-Boy every freakin' Tuesday night?"
"What do you mean, Ban?" Natsumi questioned pretending to be curious. For such an innocent looking girl she is an excellent liar. She could be an actress some day. "Didn't Ginji say that he was helping Shido with something?"
"It doesn't matter what it was," Ban-chan snarled. Natsumi filled me in later. Apparently on that night he was particularly annoyed. "It's been something different every week for the last month. What the hell is he doing with Shido?"
"What… Is the great Ban Midou jealous of Ginji and Shido's relationship?" Paul questioned behind his dark glasses. For some reason he thoroughly enjoys provoking Ban-chan. And his growing paranoia provided him the perfect opportunity to poke and prod. I think he might be nicer to Ban-chan if we actually paid our tab every once in a while.
"Shut your mouth, Paul," Ban-chan snapped, venom dripping from his words. "I've never been jealous in my life and I'm sure-as-hell not jealous of that Monkey Bastard." Ban's hand gripped his coffee mug tightly in anger.
"Hey everyone," Of course this was the moment I decided to reenter the café – when Ban was almost overflowing with anger. My sense of timing is impeccable. It never fails me.
Natsumi greeted me enthusiastically. Paul just gave me his usual nod. I plopped down on a barstool next to Ban-chan and smiled soothingly, "Hey Ban-chan, did you miss me?"
But he just gave me silence in return. I tried again – terribly confused at his childishness, "Ban-chan?"
Before I could call out to Ban-chan once more he rose from his stool and stomped out the door of the Honky Tonk. I'm not as stupid as I look but, I really was baffled. I realize that I was being secretive. But, was it wrong to go to Shido's house every once in a while? It wasn't like we were a couple or anything. As far as I knew Ban-chan wasn't interested in me like that. So, why act as if I was cheating on him?
"What's wrong with Ban-chan?" I asked as I turned to face Natsumi and Paul. Maybe they could give me some clue as to what his problem was.
"He's just being an ass," Paul responded absent-mindedly.
"Ban's just jealous about Ginji spending so much time with Mr. Shido. That's no reason to call him names." I smiled. She is such a smart girl.
"Natsumi, why did you say that Ban-chan was jealous of Shido?"
"Well that's simple," Natsumi responded. "He's jealous because you've been spending so much time with Mr. Shido recently."
"I got to go," I rose from his seat and raced out the door of the Honky Tonk and down the street hoping to find Ban-chan.
'What way did he go,' I wondered to myself as I walked hurriedly down the street. 'The Subaru was still at the Honky Tonk, so Ban-chan didn't take the car. So, where could he have gone?'
I was puzzled. What way did Ban-chan go…? I stood at the intersection looking around carefully. Did Ban-chan go left or right? I scratched my head as I looked around. I didn't want to get lost; if I did, Ban-chan would probably get irritated with me. And then he would be really hard to deal with. I had no idea where I was going. So, I did the only thing I could think to do. I headed towards the bridge in Central Park where I usually go to stare at the Limitless Fortress. Good ideas come to me there.
Right as I was about to give up hope something struck me – specifically a punch to the head. My surprised eyes snapped up at once to find Ban-chan standing beside me, staring out over the traffic that was speeding under the bridge.
"There you are," I said, relieved that Ban-chan had found me. I'm hopeless when it comes to a sense of direction. Now I could explain to Ban-chan what was really going on before he worked himself up anymore. "You left the Honky Tonk so quickly and then Natsumi said you were jeal-." I was cut off abruptly before I could finish. He is really rude sometimes.
"I was not and am not jealous," Ban-chan roared crossly.
Sure you aren't, Ban-chan. I recoiled a bit before and responded. "Right…" I know better than to believe Ban-chan's outbursts. But, that doesn't mean he isn't scary as hell when he is mad. "Anyway, I wanted to explain why I was at Shido's. I was there because Shido's been-" Again, I was unable to continue.
"I don't fucking care! Do whatever the hell you want with Shido. Why don't you just leave the GetBackers and join up with him! Then you can spend everyday together and I won't be in your way anymore," Ban-chan snarled viciously at me. He hadn't meant a word of it. When Ban-chan is mad he doesn't even think about what comes out of his mouth.
I gave Ban-chan my most heartbroken look. It caused Ban-chan's anger to disappear immediately. I know it is cruel. But, I was given a pair of eyes that have the ability to become wet like a kicked puppy or like a child who had just been told Santa Claus wasn't real on que. I saw Ban-chan's heart contracted painfully in his chest as I continued to stare at him. When I thought he couldn't take it anymore I lowered my eyes and turned my head back in the direction of the Limitless Fortress.
"Ich liebe dich," I whispered ingratiatingly but, too softly for Ban-chan to hear clearly.
"Ich liebe dich," I repeated a little louder.
"What?" Ban-chan still couldn't understand me. It was slightly muffled. I was scared about my pronunciation.
"I said," I repeated considerably louder, this time I was sure Ban-chan would hear me. "Ich liebe dich!" I turned and locked eyes with Ban-chan forcefully. I know he isn't used to people looking at him like that – like they aren't afraid of him.
"Ginji…" Ban-chan replied gradually. I know he thought he did not just hear what he thought he heard. "Ginji you… You just…" Ban-chan paused. He was trying to get the words out but that is hard for him. His throat constricted involuntarily, "Your pronunciation is perfect."
I stood there dumbly.
"Ginji…" Then the meaning of my words struck him. He did not look at me when he asked, "Did you just say?"
I hope I did not look as nervous as I felt. There was a change in Ban-chan's voice and the emotions flowing through his eyes. They had been muffled astonishment. But, now they were filled with surprise and another emotion I couldn't quite place. For Ban the line between amazement and disgust is extremely thin. I was extremely edgy now.
"Did you just say that you love me?" Ban-chan finally asked.
"M-maybe…" he stuttered out as speedy as possible. 'Maybe' was right – maybe I could pass this off as a joke.
"How did you learn how to say that? I never taught you how to," Ban-chan perused.
"Well…" I swallowed hard and did what I always did when I'm nervous – filled the air with as many words as I possibly could. "After you told me you could speak German, I wanted to learn. So, I saved up some money from our missions and bought a book to help me learn. I wanted to surprise you and I couldn't do that if we were together all the time. So, I asked Shido to help me. He helped me practice my pronunciation and such. That's why I've been going to Shido's every Tuesday for the last month." I trailed off and waited for Ban-chan's reaction. I just hoped that Ban-chan wouldn't hate me.
But, the next thing I knew I was pressed up against Ban-chan's chest folded in his strong arms. I smiled and laughed with relief. A minute later, Ban-chan released me from the hug and ruffled my hair affectionately. I smiled up at Ban-chan and was surprised to see Ban-chan giving me the softest smile I had ever seen from him.
He stepped closer to me so that there was less than an inch between us; I knew what came next. But, I still blushed.
"Hey, Ginji," Ban-chan said calmly as he pulled me flush against his chest.
"Ja," I responded in German without thinking.
Ban-chan moved his head so that his mouth was right next to my ear. "Ich liebe dich," Ban-chan breathed. I shivered slightly.
Ban-chan then swiftly moved his mouth from my ear to my lips and kissed me strongly. I melted into the kiss and wrapped my arms around Ban-chan's neck to pull him closer to my chest. I poured all the love that I had for Ban-chan into our kiss. No language could express the immense emotion. Ban-chan smiled tenderly through our kiss and responded in the exact same way.
And I knew exactly what Ban-chan thought to himself as he placed his hands on the small of my back and pressed me closer. 'Ginji, Ich liebe dich sehr.'