Makubex growled in frustration, his fingers flying across the keyboard as he typed, the glow of the mother computer his only light, making his eyes glow almost manically in his irritation. Why wouldn't the calculations work out right? What was he missing?
"Makubex?" a tentative voice called, but the computer genius ignored Sakura in favor of glaring at the computer, his fingers still typing in code after code, trying to break through whatever block was preventing him from obtaining the calculations he desired.
Sakura bowed to someone outside the room and gestured inside, but Makubex wasn't paying attention. Until a boisterously loud, utterly familiar voice, called out, "Hey, Makubex! What's up?!" The boy's hands froze, poised above the keyboard, as his head whipped around so he could stare, wide-eyed, at the intruder. He had been so focused on what he was doing that he hadn't even seen the computer alert that would have warned him that his former leader was on his way up. There, in the doorway, stood Amano Ginji, still wearing that stupid grin, his eyes sparkling with happiness and curiosity.
Recovering himself, Makubex shrugged. "I'm just working on some calculations," he replied casually, his eyes flashing at Sakura when the girl went to contradict him. She flinched slightly and just bowed again at Ginji before taking her leave.
Ginji, being as clueless as usual, didn't notice the interactions between them, and so had no reason to suspect that anything might be wrong. Instead, he strolled into Makubex's command room and seated himself on the floor next to the younger boy. Brown eyes regarded him warmly, and Makubex felt that same warmth that came whenever Ginji directed his attention to him. Ginji had always been there, for all of them, and even when he had left the Limitless Fortress, somehow Makubex had known that if they truly had a need for him, he would return. And so he had, coming to the rescue with his partner and allies to take back the IL and to stop Makubex from destroying the entire Fortress, and all the people living within its walls.
Now, though, Makubex found himself curious. He wouldn't put it past Ginji to just stop by to say hello, but he hadn't for an entire year after his last visit. And they were okay with that, because they all knew that should the need arise, Makubex could send word with Shido or Kazuki, or even Juubei, and Ginji would return to them, ready to give assistance in any form. Makubex held that knowledge dear, and so found that he could survive when Ginji was gone – could push away the depression and the anger, could find hope and reasons to live, even if he was forever locked inside of the Limitless Fortress. It was his home, after all. His home, and his birthplace.
But for now, he mused, his hands flying instinctively across the keyboard, hiding what he had been working on and bringing up harmless information instead, Ginji must have a reason for coming here without being called upon. Turning to stare up at the taller boy, Makubex asked softly, "Have you just come to say hello, Ginji? Or was there something you needed?"
Dimples appeared as the former Thunder Emperor smiled broadly, his eyes lighting up as he replied, a bit sheepishly, "Well, actually, Makubex…I was sort of wondering if Ban and I could stay here for a few days?" He ducked his head a bit in embarrassment, waiting for Makubex's reply. The computer genius, however, could only stare at him, completely thrown. Ginji actually wanted to stay in the Limitless Fortress? It wasn't in any danger of being destroyed, which Makubex would have known about, and he was also well aware that Ginji was afraid of this place, simply because it brought back the Thunder Emperor, and Ginji was afraid of that darker, crueler side of him. Makubex had never feared Raitei before, though, simply because their leader would never raise his power against any of them. It was a known fact, and it had comforted them all to be part of the Volts, and to know that their leader cared for them all, even if he couldn't show it properly.
Then again, the Limitless Fortress had hardened all of those within its walls. Only a lucky few, like Ginji, could walk away from it and find a new type of freedom – freedom that wasn't taken by power and by force, but freedom that was given in the simple act of being allowed to be whoever you wanted to be.
Realizing that he was getting distracted, again, Makubex turned his attention back to the waiting Ginji. "I don't mind," he replied slowly, holding up a hand when Ginji went to thank him, no doubt boisterously. "But would you please tell me why, exactly, you and Ban want to stay here for a while? And how long, exactly, are we talking about?" He really wanted to know, because his calculations might have to be put on hold for however long he had to entertain his two guests, and he didn't have very much time to lose.
"Ah, well, you see," Ginji started, blushing, "our last clients were a little…rowdy. We got the item they requested, but the people who we had snatched it from followed us when we met up with the clients at the Honky Tonk, and a fight broke out. Ban and I had to step in," Ginji trailed off, and Makubex closed his eyes, knowing exactly where this was going.
"The building was destroyed?" he asked softly, feeling the beginning s of a headache. At Ginji's affirming nod, Makubex sighed. "And your car?" he asked, already knowing the answer.
"It was towed away, and we don't have the money to get it back yet," Ginji answered sheepishly, watching Makubex with that endearing grin on his face – the one that said 'yeah, I messed up, but you love me anyways, right?' It was a look that none of the Volts could resist, so he didn't even try.
"All right. You and Midou Ban may stay here for as long as you need to," he acquiesced. Ginji's smile grew wide, right before he launched himself at the surprised Makubex. Unprepared, both boys tumbled backwards onto the floor, and Makubex found himself gasping for air as Ginji hugged him. He had almost forgotten just how boisterous this new Ginji was. No, not new, he corrected himself. Ginji was as he was always meant to be, as he would have been without the Limitless Fortress feeding him power and causing him so much pain. Perhaps, Makubex admitted grudgingly, Ban Midou's challenge to Ginji had been a good thing. Not that he'd ever admit as much to Ban.
Ginji finally seemed to realize that he was still squeezing the breath out of the slighter body beneath him, and shifted upwards, letting him breathe, which he did gratefully.
"Yes, well, you'd better go tell that partner of yours that you'll be staying here," Makubex smirked, glancing at the screens and seeing that Ban had gotten himself into trouble…again. "Preferably before he destroys the Limitless Fortress on his own." Makubex was under no illusions about the strength that Ban Midou held in his right hand, and in his serpent's gaze. The Jagan, or evil eye, wasn't something to tamper with, but at least it had set limitations. That grip of his, however, had no limitations on its strength save for those that Ban forced upon it.
Ginji blinked, then turned to glance at the monitors as well. Seeing his partner in the middle of a fight – enjoying himself completely, of course – he rolled his eyes before jumping to his feet. "Thanks, Makubex. See you later!" he called as he bolted out the door in a flurry of movement, before leaving Makubex to sit in the silence that had been left in his wake.
With a sigh, Makubex turned back to his computer, quickly encrypting all files relating to his interrupted search. There would be time for that later, after Ginji and his troublesome partner left. For now, though, he simply couldn't risk anybody realizing what he was doing. Ginji was a lot smarter than he appeared, and Ban was even more intelligent than him. It wouldn't take the Jagan user very long to figure what he was doing, and Makubex knew full well that he'd try to stop him. No, it was better to put the research on hold for now. Who knew? Maybe a few days away from the computer would let him see what it was that he was missing. For now, though, he had some visitors to entertain.