Title: 108 Reasons Why
Author: Amethyst Hunter
Fandom/Genre: Get Backers, humor
Characters: Akabane, Ginji, Ban, Shido, Kazuki
Rating: R (Ban's cussing and various innuendoes)
Warnings/Spoilers: Canonically, Akabane is noted in the GB manga as having 108 blades all hidden in his body. For the purposes of this fic, I gave him a couple extra ones to play with. XD
Disclaimer: I do not own.
Summary: Oh, Get Backers, how doth Akabane adore thee? Let him count the ways...!
Worst. Job. Ever.
worst. Fucking. job. ever, thought Ban as he struggled not to wiggle his nose, much less scratch it. Goddamned itch would just have to come at a time like this! If he moved even a tenth of an inch he'd have an infinitely worse problem to deal with, Akabane had gleefully warned him as the hat-wearing freak delicately placed one of his scalpels, edge down, on the very tip of Ban's nose. Right where the itch happened to be, of course.
But better an itchy nose than a lack of one. Ban just hoped to God he wouldn't have to sneeze.
Beside him, Ginji whimpered for the thousandth time. Akabane tended to have that kind of effect on him, just one of many reasons why the jackal pissed Ban off so much. For a former gang leader, Ginji sure was lacking in balls. It'd be nice to hear him whine something other than "Akabane-saaaaaaaaan" every time he got a scalpel put on his body.
"And special ones, no less," the jackal was cheerfully explaining to them as he divvied up his knives. Another one went on Ban's forehead. "So that you can't try to pull them all out of me the way you did when we first met." He smiled indulgently at Ginji as though he were a favorite pet. "Much though I admire your talents and resourcefulness, Ginji-kun, I'm afraid that isn't an experience I wish to repeat." Snick went the blade as it exited some spot on Akabane's hand; it was neatly deposited business-side down in a vertical hover position above Ginji's cheek, below the eye. The tears there – good Christ, Ginji, grow a spine, will you! – were briefly split by the tip of the scalpel before rolling down the side of Ginji's face.
Akabane paused to admire this. "Oh, Ginji-kun," he sighed, and leaned over to place a kiss on Ginji's forehead, one of the few places on his body that wasn't under immediate threat of evisceration. "You know every part of you is one more new detail I find enjoyable." He peered down at his terrified prey and grinned, touching the blunt tip of a scalpel that was over Ginij's left hand. "This, for example. You have lovely hands, did you know that?" Gloved fingers slid down the length of the scalpel to stroke over Ginji's own fingers. "So quick to show gentleness...and yet so powerful when they crackle with Reitai's lifeforce."
He touched another scalpel, this one on top of Ban's right shoulder. "And this. This is where your power comes from, doesn't it? Oh, I don't mean your Jagan. Your strength...how it flows through your muscles –" the gloves wandered along the length of Ban's arm, forcing him to suppress another series of twitches – "just waiting for the right...opportunity to come by so that it might slake its desire..." His voice sounded almost breathless for a moment, as though he were reciting love poetry. If one was a bloodthirsty nutjob this would definitely be said bloodthirsty nutjob's idea of love poetry.
Ban decided that Akabane really needed to get laid, the sooner the better. Maybe if somebody gave the pretty transporter a good screwing hat-boy might lay off his carving habits for a while.
"Akabane-saaaaaaaaaan," Ginji cried. "There are better ways to show somebody you like them, you know! Ways that don't involve sharp objects!"
"But then it wouldn't be as much fun! You know how important having fun is to me," Akabane said slyly after pointing a scalpel at Ban's biceps. "And this way I am assured of your complete attention. We always seem to be interrupted by the most tedious chores whenever we meet."
"More like it's a tedious chore to be interrupted by you," Ban snapped. Which was how they'd gotten into this mess in the first place. He and Ginji had accepted a recovery job near the Mugenjou district, which should've been a red flag right there, except that their employer had promised them a lovely sum in exchange for their services. Of course a rival transport service was all over that action like white on rice, and as luck would have it that transport service had turned out to be Dr. Jackal himself. After relieving them of said recovered item Akabane had proceeded to threaten Ginji with instant death unless Ban obeyed orders, hence their current predicament involving a dual pincushion balancing act. Joy upon joys.
So here he was, lying on the ground of some stupid alley being tormented by a witch-hat-wearing psychotic with a surgical scalpel fetish. The itch on his nose was growing worse. God, just to twitch it, even a little...!
"Ah, ah. Mustn't move, Midou-kun," Akabane gently scolded. "My scalpels are made of a special substance infused with my energy, and that is linked with yours. If you move even just a tiny bit – " He made a quick slashing motion with his fingers and winked at them. "Well, I would hate for Ginji-kun or you to find out the hard way what might happen if you do that." The twinkle in his eyes strongly suggested the opposite. Remorse simply wasn't in the jackal's vocabulary.
Ban couldn't move his arms, but he still had use of his hands. He flicked a glance at his left fist, then at Akabane, and shot a middle finger skyward. Inwardly he willed the psychopath to come closer so I can look into those pretty purple eyes, you trenchcoated nutcase bastard! A good dose of Jagan was the only thing that would save their butts now.
Unfortunately Akabane knew it as well. He chuckled at Ban's vulgarity and turned to deposit a scalpel to match the one balancing on Ginji's other cheek. "Dear Ginji-kun. Your eyes are so beautiful when they're filled with tears, did you know?"
"N-No. Akabane-saaaan, do you have to put them on my fa- my faaaaace?"
Unlike Ginji, the jackal wasn't stupid. He'd been cleverly avoiding eye contact with Ban the entire time, and that big black hat was a perfect asset. The brim easily concealed most of his face.
Why won't this fucking itch GO AWAY?
"But you don't cry, do you, Midou-kun?" Akabane said in that peculiar drawl that made Ban's hair stand on edge. And his inner warning system was screaming overload, as the jackal came closer...
Something moved in his peripheral vision. Ban couldn't turn his head – a scalpel was aimed at his throat; to turn would have guaranteed him an unwelcome hole there – but his eyes tried to follow the movement. To his horror he realized that what was entering his line of vision wasn't Akabane himself, but –
"I would love to see your beautiful eyes, but there's the matter of that pesky Jagan of yours. So let's just take care of that right now, shall we?"
- his scalpels.
FUCK! Fuck fuck fuckity FUCK!
Akabane reached up and took down his hat, which he tucked underneath one arm. He ran a cursory hand through his unruly mane and leaned over Ban with a smile. "Much better," he pronounced as two blades settled themselves directly above Ban's pupils. The goddamn things were so close that his eyelashes repeatedly brushed them as his lids fluttered – an involuntary reaction to having sharp things pointed too close for comfort at his eyes.
"Relax, Midou-kun. They won't move – so long as you don't," Akabane said with a nasty little giggle. "I wouldn't attempt to use the Jagan if I were you. Energy blades have a unique skill for sensing and reacting to bodily changes."
Considering his precarious situation Ban wisely decided against his first instinct, that of snarling "I'm gonna fuckin' kill you." He settled for a terse "That's enough! Take the box and go, leave us alone."
"But where would the fun in that be?" Akabane grinned. He let a knife slip from between his fingers, the thirty-fourth one for Ginji, if Ban's count could be trusted. Or maybe it was forty-fourth. He'd lost track right about the time Akabane had stuck scalpels over his stomach and lungs.
At least, he noted with no small relief, the itch on his nose was gone now. Amazing how having knives pointed directly in one's line of sight could cure that.
"And one more there for you," the jackal was happily cooing now to Ban as he pulled another knife and arranged it to his liking. Ban couldn't see where it went but since Akabane was hovering in the vicinity of his torso he guessed it was somewhere near.
"Ban-chaaaaaaaan." Ginji's whine was definitely past the point of pathetic. "I gotta goooo..."
"Sure, just pick yourself up and walk right on over to that gas station we passed," Ban said through gritted teeth. "I'm sure our host here wouldn't mind waiting while you deal with more urgent problems!" God, these things were right over his FUCKING EYES! He could feel the beginnings of tears trigger his blinking reflex, already abused by the proximity of scalpels.
Akabane paused in the act of laying a scalpel over Ginji's knee. "I do apologize for the inconvenience, Ginji-kun." His apology was all the more disturbing for its apparent sincerity. A million stalking psycho killers in the world and they had to get stuck with the one that made everything into a big tea party. Ban often wished he'd just cut the crap and be a normal homicidal maniac like all the others. Even something along the lines of Fudou Takuma would be appreciated. Akabane Kuroudo was the only nutcase he knew of who placed as high an importance on good manners as he did the business of dealing death.
"But I'm almost finished here with my decorative work. It would be a shame to mess it all up, don't you think?" There was a coyness to his tone that indicated he would probably be happy either way, whether the Get Backers chose to remain hostage or attempt to fight their way to freedom – and since the latter option was arguably the bloodier, Akabane would doubtless like that even better.
"How many more do we have to go?" Ban muttered, wondering how long it would take for Ginji to lose the struggle with his bladder. At least it would take his focus off the blades poised above his eyes, even if only for a minute or two...
"This makes one hundred and eight between the two of you now."
He wasn't able to see it of course, but Ban was certain Jackal was wearing one of the smuggest expressions he'd ever seen on the bastard. He sounded so delighted with himself, as if he'd just completed a difficult masterpiece. Which he supposed was possible in a sick sort of way if you looked at it from Akabane's point of view. It wasn't every day that the Get Backers ran into something – someone – who could terrify Ginji to the point of pissing his pants.
Or needing to, anyway. "Baaaaaaaan-chaaaaan," his partner moaned, and then abruptly switched his concentration from hygiene needs. "Wait – there are a hundred and eight knives on BOTH of us?" he squealed.
Two of which are about to GORE OUT MY FUCKING EYES, assholes!
"Not one hundred and eight apiece, Ginji-kun," Akabane explained with a hint of condescension. Even psycho murderers had their sources of pride. "I divided my cache equally between you and Midou-kun. Fifty-four for him and fifty-four for you. Two more blades, and we'll be set!" Daintily he clapped his gloved hands together, pleased with his designs. "Just think of it as one hundred and eight reasons why I love you two so much," Akabane purred.
"I thought you only had a hundred and eight scalpels," Ban hissed, feeling the pinprickle of unease cutting across the back of his neck again. "What, you gonna whip out that sword of yours and break it in half, one piece for each of us?"
Akabane softly giggled in that creepy manner of his. "The more experience we garner from our meetings, Midou-kun, the better we get with our...talents. I've recently expanded my capabilities."
"And I saved the best for last."
And then the sick freak was moving, oh God no please not where I think he's going to, and Ginji was outright sobbing now from both terror and discomfort and Akabane had a knife in each hand and he was patting them in a place that Ban never, ever would have in a million years let that sonofablack-hat-wearing-bitching bastard touch no matter how many layers of cloth or glove were between them, and really, he knew he could think of a zillion and one stinging smart-assed wisecracks to make about Jackal's new focus on their crotches but he couldn't even make the words form on his lips because if he did then the fucking knives would gouge out his eyes, and he may have hated their inherent curse but that didn't mean they weren't still important to him, because they were as much a part of him as anything else, they were his eyes, for God's sake, his fucking goddamned precious EYES –
"Excuse me. Are we interrupting anything?"
Oh God, if he weren't restrained by the thought of fifty-four razor-sharp surgical blades ripping into him like glass through a sheet of paper he would've kissed both the thread-spool and the monkey circus, full-on lips and tongue action for sure. Well, maybe. At least the lips part for sure, for the two of them. Monkey man didn't deserve any tongue, Ban decided. Then again, it might just piss Shido off even more, which was always an enjoyable bonus.
Akabane's response would have been along the lines of 'yes, you ARE interrupting something very important' had he deigned to speak to them, but breeding dictated that his displeasure manifest itself in more subtle ways. Like the tiny quiver that rippled through a sea of scalpels atop the bodies of Ban and Ginji. "Why, it seems we have unexpected visitors," he remarked casually as he set his hat back atop his head and adjusted the brim. "Come to join the fun, have we?"
"We do so hate being left out of the loop," Kazuki said, equally as pleasant but for the coolly hard edge underscoring his voice. He had no personal dislike of the transporter per se but he wasn't unfamiliar with Akabane's tricks either. His loyalty was centered on Ginji, who obviously wasn't having fun.
"Hey Snakeface," Shido called. "You so broke that you gotta take up work as a masochist now?"
Fucker! "About time you showed up! Why don't you take your fleas and go play with Jackal here?" Ban snapped. Then he had an idea. He said to Akabane, "Monkey boy's a real strong fighter, you know. Too bad you're all out of knives..."
"Two scalpels to go," Ginji reminded him most unhelpfully.
Akabane chuckled, a silvery sound that echoed dimly in the alley. "I'm afraid I have no use for fur and feathers. I prefer challenges that are a little more exciting than that."
Ban wasn't sure if he ought to be pissed or amused by Jackal's rejection of Shido as an opponent.
Kazuki spared him the trouble of further thought on the matter. "I don't think that you'll find what you're seeking today, Dr. Jackal," he said calmly. Ban heard the tinkle of a bell and hoped it meant a limb-severing thread was being prepared for use. "The Get Backers are needed at the Honky Tonk for an assignment. Surely a professional like you would understand the necessity of business taking precedence over pleasure?"
"Indeed I do," Akabane replied smoothly. "However, as you can see, Midou-kun and Ginji-kun already have a prior commitment."
Damn right we do – a commitment to ripping off your fucking head and stuffing all one hundred and eight of these sonsofbitchin' knives of yours down the bloody stump of your neck!
"True," Kazuki mused aloud. "But, Dr. Jackal, there is always the possibility that you have been or will be hired to transport whatever it is that the Get Backers are required to recover. I'm sure you wouldn't want to miss out on such an interesting opportunity, would you?"
There was silence for a few minutes while Akabane digested this. Meanwhile Ban tried to conjure a fantasy of Kazuki's threads dicing the jackal into many thousands of bloody bits while Shido called forth an army of alley rats to feast on the pieces. Since closing his eyes was out of the question – he was too afraid of what the scalpels might do to his lids; Akabane would probably have some nasty little scars etched on them just for the hell of it – this made imagination considerably more difficult. But oh God, he'd like to be able to look at something else besides knives, preferably soon –
A regretful sigh came from Akabane. "I suppose you have a point, Kazuki-san."
Oh yes oh God thank you thank you – Ban let go of the breath he hadn't realized he was holding; it exhaled from his chest in a painful whoosh as he saw the knives retract from their holding pattern over his eyes, his face, his torso – everywhere that they'd been placed. The same was true for Ginji who was whimpering with gratitude – for both Kazuki's intervention and Akabane's withdrawal, it figured – and then he was up and off the ground, scooting over to Ban in a flash.
Ban allowed him all of two seconds' worth a hug, and then he was flying from his spot towards Akabane with the full intention of tearing out the bastard's throat with a well-placed Snakebite. But strings shooting from seemingly out of nowhere wrapped around his arms and yanked him backwards.
"I thought we agreed we had other things to attend to just now," Kazuki reminded him none too subtly.
Goddammit! His teeth were probably near worn to the root from all the jaw-grinding he'd done today. Ban roasted Akabane with a fierce glare. "The next time I meet your skinny ass I'm gonna pound it like a tent peg into the ground!"
Violet eyes flared with twisted hunger and the tip of a pink tongue darted out to lick a moist pair of lips. "I'll certainly be looking forward to that, Midou-kun," Akabane purred huskily.
He picked up the box he'd snatched from them and offered Ginji – still cowering behind Ban – a parting smile. "See you later, Ginji-kun. I hope your recovery goes well."
The Jackal tipped his hat in farewell to Kazuki and Shido. "A good day to you as well. Until next time we meet." And with that, he sauntered back down the shadowy alley from whence he'd originally materialized.
"He totally wants your body," Shido said to Ban, after Akabane had gone well out of earshot.
"Fuck you, monkey-brain."
"I'm serious, did you get a load of those bedroom eyes he was making at you before he left?"
"It's gonna be a lot harder for you to call up all your critter-friends if you have no face to speak with," Ban warned, flexing his hand for emphasis. Remembering his earlier vow about paying homage to their rescuers, he decided they could just fuck it and forget about it. No way was he going to be that generous with his world-famous French kisses.
Ginji however had no such compulsion. He plastered himself onto Kazuki first, then Shido, with profuse thanks. "I'm so GLAD you guys showed up!" he half-sobbed-half-squealed.
Kazuki gave him a modest shrug. "Local grapevine had it that there was a party around these parts needing to be broken up," he said with a wink, tugging at one of the bells on his hair.
Ban fished out a cigarette and lit up. "So there isn't really an assignment waiting for us?"
"No, that part's for real," Shido said, an evil grin curling his mouth. "I was gonna just grab Ginji and split, but Kazuki convinced me that you and Jackal would rather wait until a more private time to consummate your relationship. A hundred and eight reasons, indeed."
"That's it. You're DEAD, monkey trainer!"
"Come and get it if you think you're man enough, snakey!"
And the worst part was, Ban thought later while nursing a foul cigarette and a fouler temper, he didn't even get around to giving monkey-man one Snakebite, let alone a hundred and eight of them, because Kazuki told Ginji to shock them both unconscious so he could tie them up in threads and drag them back to the Honky Tonk.
Akabane, your ass is SO mine...!