Title: Thanatophobia

Author: Amethyst Hunter

Fandom: Get Backers

Word count: 1000

Rating: PG

Warnings/Spoilers: None

Disclaimer: I don't own GB.

Notes: Drabble request for Nanthimus. Thanatophobia is a real phobia; it means the fear of death and/or things related to death.

Summary: There is no easy cure for that which ails Amano Ginji.


Plenty of doctors would say that the best way to conquer one's fear of something is to immerse oneself in the midst of that terror, in measured amounts, gradually increasing those amounts until the system builds up a tolerance to that stress.

With all due respect to those doctors, they're full of shit. Ginji's (un)faithfully followed that prescription with steady doses of Akabane-san and he's still no closer to leveling off the spike of horror that buries itself in his heart every time he turns around and finds an extra shadow.

He's tried, oh yes, he's tried to strengthen his immunity against this particular malady. But it never fails. One look at that big black hat, those sly purple eyes, that maddening Smile, and he's right back where he started, quivering like a wreck, sweat streaming down his face and teeth clattering like horse's hooves on cobblestones.

Therapy is overrated when it comes to numerous sharp objects - especially when those sharp objects are aimed directly at one's body!

Worse, Akabane-san knows of Ginji's phobia. Oh, he never takes advantage of it or mocks Ginji for having it. That would be ungentlemanly, and the transporter considers himself a professional of the highest standards. Anyway, he doesn't need to stoop to such lows. He's well aware of the effect he has on others; to him that's part of the appeal of being a thanatophile.

In a way that's so much worse than it would be if he were predisposed to tormenting the weaker: Akabane-san's amusement is derived not merely from the satisfaction of having such an effect but from a mutual acknowledgement that he doesn't actually have to do anything to send his prey screaming from him. Even just a whisper of the dreaded name – Doctor Jackal - sets Ginji's nerves on edge and has him suspiciously eyeing the silverware at Paul's diner.

Some folks might say that the solution is simple. But to Ginji's way of thinking, it both is and isn't. True, knocking off the good doctor with a well-timed bolt would certainly solve the rising body count during missions that involve transporters, and it would definitely eliminate the source of Ginji's affliction. But he can't bring himself to take that plunge, and whether it's because of his past as Raitei, or his inherent belief that there is good in everyone, he can't say for sure why.

Akabane-san, ever the helpful soul that he is, complicates the matter by being so bloody – ha, ha, - so bloody nice, even…sort of…kind…at times. He's been known to help out once or twice when the going gets rough, will even graciously inquire after the welfare of his acquaintances, and he never expects any thanks or reward for his services.

Except, of course, a good fight.

He's tried reasoning with the man, tried to get him to see the benefits of homicide-free living. But Ginji would be first to admit that his debating skills aren't exactly Mensa material, and nobody can run mental circles around others quite like a psychopath can. The only thing worse is a sociopath, which is why Ginji's eternally thankful that the diamond-dusting Kyouji Kagami stays sequestered within the walls of Mugenjou's Babylon City. At least Akabane-san actually follows a set of…guidelines…and seldom deviates from his personal norm unless deliberately provoked.

He could always move, he supposes…move far away…far, far, FAR away…but Ban-chan enjoys the creature comforts of their base at the Honky Tonk and makes no bones about it. Besides, Ginji would miss all of his friends. And even if he did move, Akabane-san would probably just follow him like a cat that shadows a mouse's every trail. Ginji hasn't yet figured out the secret behind the bloodhound's uncanny ability to track him down any time, any place, and he's all but given up on that hope. Shaking an insistent Jackal from one's tail is about as easy as pinching pennies from Ban-chan.

He's attempted to talk sense into his partner, get Ban-chan to see the wisdom of healthcare in avoiding any job that has Danger! Transporters! written all over it. But Ban-chan has a stubborn streak that mules envy (some say it's his cursed German blood), and family pride demands that every job, regardless of risk, gets completed to its fullest. And when food is low and fines are high, even Ginji's stomach is willing to go along with just about anything for a nibble of Paul's finest…

Conversely, he's tried thinking of various ways to make jobs as unexciting as possible, on the rare occasions the Get Backers are teamed up with the mercurial man, in the hope that Jackal will decide the trip isn't worth it and give up and go home. Unfortunately, Akabane-san's violent tendencies are directly proportional to the amount of stimulation he's receiving.

Ginji can almost – almost - forgive him for that. Boredom isn't fun for anybody.

Bribery might have been an option…were it not for the fact that Akabane-san has particular preferences concerning currency. Ginji quite likes his blood right where it is inside his body, thank you very much.

He's noticed that the jackal exhibits a peculiar semi-deference towards his perfumed cohort, and he's tried to talk to Himiko-chan and ask her if she could ask Akabane-san to scale back his slaughter. When she stopped laughing she told him bluntly that she was a witch, not a miracle worker.

Similar queries have produced similar results. Shido specializes in savage animals, not dangerous humans. Kazuki isn't eager to put his princely title to the test, and besides, he's into information, not fighting. Makubex…well, even a good VR will only get you so far with entertainment.

Add it all up, and Ginji's dilemma boils down to one inescapable truth: he may be perpetually broke, but this is one tax he won't get out of paying no matter how hard he tries. Whatever else he is, Akabane-san is a professional, the very best at what he does…

…and professionals always finish their jobs.