Title: (Don't) Call Me Maybe
Author: Amethyst Hunter
Rating: R (language, graphic gross/bloody imagery)
Warnings/Spoilers: See above. Akabane can be shockingly, err – descriptive...!
Notes: The title is a parody of the song "Call Me Maybe" by Carly Rae Jepsen. I couldn't resist.
Disclaimer: GB is not mine, I only play with them for fun and no harm is meant. Ditto the original song title. No profit is intended from either.
Summary: Paul Wan fends off an unwelcome holiday surprise without much success, until one resourceful Honky Tonk patron steps in...!


Holidays at Paul's brought a typical stream of customers, those shoppers who, after having scoured the local stores for the perfect gifts, were passing the respite between sales rushes by taking in a pleasant cup of coffee, or the occasional sweet pastry.

There were of course the locals as well. Ban and Ginji, having nothing more pressing to do than argue over who deserved the last chocolate chip cookie for having solved the most recent retrieval case. Kazuki, passing through the neighborhood and passing on to Shido a bit of gossip concerning a case the latter was working on. Hevn conducting business with Himiko, when the two of them weren't haggling somewhat heatedly over Hevn's exorbitant (in Himiko's opinion) fee. Emishi attempting - and failing - to amuse the random crowds with his improvised comedy.

And, of course, there was Akabane.

He sat demurely off to one corner, legs crossed quite properly at the knee and pristine white gloved hands folded around his piping mug of frosted pumpkin cappuccino, content to watch the others while they provided the afternoon's amusement. Unspoken was the mutual, if uneasy, agreement between him and them: they gave him a wide berth in their ignoring of him, and he allowed them to pass unharmed past his circle of isolation.

After all, Paul Wan was loath to dissuade a paying patron...even if that patron's idea of decking the halls was awash in blood.

So went the hour until the phone calls started. Ban didn't miss the fact that Paul, who normally moved at a snail's pace unless broken dishes or imminent electrocution by human eel were involved, stumbled all over himself in his race to snatch up the phone. He'd listen for a second or two without saying a word, then just as quickly hang up the line.

This went on several times. Finally, after Paul had just stubbed his toe on a stray chair leg and was quietly swearing up a storm as he hopped his way over to the jangling phone, Ban had to say something. "Hey, what's up with the spazztastic? Finally got a hot date?" He and Ginji elbowed each other with knowing grins. They'd often joked to each other that the only entity the shopkeeper would ever be married to was his coffeepot.

Paul waited out this round, then put the phone back down. He scowled at Ban and held up a finger. "Wait for it."

Chatter died down temporarily while everyone obeyed. In a few minutes the phone rang again. This time instead of picking it up right away, Paul hit a button and put it on loudspeaker. A man's voice, filtered into a bad accent, filled the place.

"Hello? Hello?"

"Hello," Paul half-grumbled out.

"Eez theez Meester Paul?"

"Yeah."

"What happen to thee preetee girl I talk to earlier?"

"Natsumi's not here right now."

"Ahh, too bad. Eez there any weemen else I can talk to?"

"No," Paul said.

"Please? Please? May I weesh someone a Merree Chreestmas? I want to speak weeth a preetee weemen."

Emishi snorted. "Don't we all, pal!"

"There's nobody here," Paul, stifling a long-suffering sigh, told the man.

The caller persisted in an increasingly morose tone. "Please, Meester Paul? I talk to my doctor today. He say I have thee ball deesees. They turneeng all blue. Thees could be my last Chreestmas...I want to share eet weeth a weemen..."

"Oh, come on," Himiko groaned. "Seriously?"

The caller overheard. His voice perked up. "Ees that a weemen? Are you preetee?"

Caught off-guard, Himiko stuttered. "Hey, buster, I'm not bad-looking, but - "

"Save it for the mirror, honey." Hevn waved her aside and got up from her seat. She went over to the phone and spoke into it, lowering her voice into a practiced seductive warmth. "I'm a woman."

"What's your name, lovelee ladee? What color ees your hair? Ees it long?"

"My name's Hevn. Yes, I have long blonde hair. And I assure you, I'm very lovely."

A loud cough that sounded more like an explosive "Desperate!" preempted whatever else she'd been about to say. All eyes shot to him and a smirking Ban cleared his throat.

Hevn rolled her eyes and turned back to the phone. She was just about to launch into an itemized list of her attributes when the caller decided to do it for her.

"Oooh, Heveen babee, I wanna leeck your long blonde hair! I wanna steeck my beeg hairee stalleeon een you goldeen joosee box! I wanna motorboat your ripe peelows, I'ma gonna make you creem sexee mama! I wanna hump you, ram eet, shove eet hard! And fast! And een, and out, and - "

"EWWWWWW! Pervo central!" Hevn, her perfectly painted face screwed up into a mask of revulsion, gave the machine a rough shove towards Paul, who jabbed the button and disconnected the rest of the man's hard-breathed ode to " - een and out and een and een and - !"

There was a smattering of laughter around the room as the outraged negotiator stalked back to her seat. Himiko didn't even bother to cover her smugness as she said, "I could have warned you."

Ban stopped snickering long enough to spring his inquisition on Paul. "That's what you've been falling all over yourself for all day? Geez, Paul, most guys when they're hard up hit a strip club or something!"

The elder was unamused. "Creep's been calling all week, usually at this time of day. I had to invent a cleanup chore for Natsumi and Rena in the basement so they don't answer the phone," Paul complained, slinging a damp towel over his shoulder as he began polishing drying dishware with a fresh one. "Poor Natsumi got to it yesterday before I could and you should have heard the filth he was bombarding her with! No, wait, forget that," he growled. "I caught the tail end of it and I still feel like washing out my ears with soap." He shuddered.

"So just unplug the phone already," Ban groaned at having to state the obvious.

"I can't. I'm expecting a call from one of my suppliers."

"Get an answering machine," Shido advised.

"And spend the time deleting obscenities while there's still work to be done? I don't think so." Paul put away the dishes he'd dried. "It's bad enough I get sidetracked when those two - " he jerked a thumb at Ban and Ginji, who looked suitably outraged - "are taking up air space yakking like a couple of broody hens!" He glowered at the objects of his ire. "Which reminds me, your tab needs to go on a diet, unless I start seeing some effort that doesn't involve expanding it."

"Hey, don't take it out on us just because your dirty ditz is reminding you of what you haven't had in ages," Ban snapped. "If it bugs you so much, why don't you just call up Computer Boy and have him track the line so you can block it?" A light overtook his face. "Scratch that, we don't need the guesswork. I have it all figured out." He pointed at Shido. "There's your culprit. You're welcome and that'll be five thousand yen." Ban sat back and grinned.

"You dope. How can I be the one making the calls when the last one just came in while I was sitting right here?" Shido glowered. "Besides, even with that godawful accent, the guy sounded nothing like me!"

Ban remained unyielding. "Recording and remote control. You borrowed one of Makubex's voice synthesizer programs, didn't you? How much did that set you back with the First Bank of Madoka?"

"Suck a moldy fruitcake, Midou!"

"Methinks the monkey trainer doth protest too much," Ban laughed.

Paul stepped in to Shido's defense. "If I'm going to suspect anybody in this motley bunch it'd be you," he said flatly, enjoying the way Ban's smile instantly erased itself. "I still remember that time you and Ginji called here pretending to be bill collectors trying to get me to wire you ninety thousand yen so you could blow off to the cherry blossom festival!"

Ban punched the countertop. "Oh, come on! That was just a joke! You honestly thought we were being serious? Serves you right," he grumbled.

The shop master would have berated him further but the shrill demand of the phone interrupted. Paul whipped around and spun toward the phone, everyone raised their gazes to him, and whatever pox Paul had been about to vent upon his tormentor skidded off into a deathly silence when he saw the shadow gliding into his path.

Akabane had gotten up from his seat and was moving to the counter to pay for his refreshments. His trajectory took him right past the squalling phone, and he stopped directly in front of it, putting down his own cell phone next to it while he regarded the shop's device with the same sort of idle curiosity as he might with an inferior opponent foolish enough to challenge him.

Paul shook off his inertia and forced himself to approach, keeping his hands up and visible so as not to pose a conceivable threat. He was about halfway to the phone when Akabane suddenly pushed the button for speaker.

"Hello? Ees Meester Paul there?"

The transporter looked at it for a moment, his expression unchanged. Slowly he lifted his half-lidded gaze to Paul. "It's for you."

Paul blanched and gingerly stepped forward, his Adam's apple working overtime as he sought an appropriate response. "Um – this is not a good time – I've got a customer - " He fumbled with the money Akabane presented him with.

"You so meeeeeen, Meester Paul! Who ees thee sexee voice weeth you now, ahh? I wanna weesh a Merree Chreestmas to - "

"Call back tomorrow and you can speak to all the girls you want," Paul urged, trying not to notice the unblinking stare Akabane was directing at their conversation.

The perp was having none of his appeasement. "Gimme thee sexee voice. I wanna speek to – what's thee name?"

Paul started to reply, but Akabane suddenly leaned over the speaker. "My name is Jackal."

A muted collective groan went up. Nobody wanted to be the one to say it, but someone had to do something before a bloody rainstorm erupted. "Paul!" Ban hissed hard enough to spray Ginji with flecks of spittle.

Paul turned toward them with a grimace and a helpless shrug. He could stop the caller, or he could try to stop Akabane. Either way, he was screwed.

The tirade was timed perfectly. "Ooh, Jackal babee, you gonna screem for me, yah! I'ma ram you weeth my beeg staff! I wanna make you crawl for me, I wanna do you bad! I work you till you beg me for more, more, more! You a-gonna likee what I geev you - "

Ban couldn't stand it. He jumped up and bolted for the phone, jabbing buttons every which way in the hope of cutting off the call. "Listen, you sick disgusting bag of - "

The caller's fury fairly rattled the phone. "Shut up, schoolboy! I'ma not poppeeng thee cherree on your dong! Put thee other beetch back on!"

A sputtering Ban tried to throttle the machine. "You rotten little – I'm not a virgin! I never was!" he added at some of the looks he was getting, namely from Shido and Kazuki. "Now you listen to me, you ass-sniffing rat-spew - "

"No, you leesten, punk! I wanna talk to Jackal! Sexee voice Jackal!"

"Are you crazy - "

"I wanna Jackal! Gimme Jackal!"

" - sicko pervert without the brains God gave tree stumps - "

"GIMMEE!"

Snarling, Ban all but threw the phone at Akabane. "You can have it! Freak!"

The perp paid him no mind, rolling back into his litany of lust with nary a missed breath. "Yeah, Jackal babee, I wanna do eet to you so hard! I wanna have you suck my deek, I make you bark like a dog! Woof! Woof! Woof! Woof! I wanna write your name een cream cheese! You a-screamee for me, sexee, I geev eet to you good! Een! Out! Een! Out! Een - !"

This went on for several more minutes, though to everyone else in the Honky Tonk, it might as well have been an eternity. They watched, frozen, their horror increasing exponentially with every raw, raunchy act the prankster was vowing to confer upon Akabane's body, certain that a hurricane of scalpels would flatten the entire place and them with it at any second. Their fear was only stoked by the way the transporter just stood there, not saying anything, not making any movement, but calmly staring at the machine as it poured forth its verbal sewage.

Personally Ban thought that maybe Akabane was getting off on the perversion, letting the creep go on like that, but he wasn't about to say so. Even he had his limits and a knife in the back was not conducive to festive holiday cheer.

When at last the perp had run out of steam and wound down to a blissful sigh of "Jackal babee, eet ees gonna be as good for you as eet ees for meeee," Akabane deigned to speak.

"My, my, my. That was quite a thorough list." The transporter's lips pursed for a second, and when next he spoke, his voice took on a husky, sensuous thrum, lightened with a breathy exhalation. "Now, would you like to know what I'd like to do to you?"

The caller's enthusiasm was immediately revived. "Ooh, tell me, babee! Tell me!"

"Patience, my darling." Akabane crooned into the device. "I want to write my name too," he purred.

"You do?"

"Mm-hmm." Pause. Akabane dropped his voice to a whisper. "In your hot, steaming..."

"Tell me, Jackal babee! Geev eet to your love stud good!"

Akabane looked up at the morbidly fascinated group and smiled briefly at them before dipping his head back to the phone. "Sure you want to know?"

The screech practically burst from the speaker. "Yes! Yes! Gimme all your goodees, Jackal babee! What you gonna write your name on me weeth!"

Sweet honeyed poison from this Jackal baby. "Your entrails, soaked in your blood."

The fake accent at the other end evaporated into an awkward yelp. "I – what?!"

Still using the same dulcet murmur in rapid fire, Akabane let him have it. "And then I want to whip out my big long sharp sword and thrust it down your throat to the hilt! You'll take it all till you choke, and then I'll razor you like an onion while you drown me in your salty, hot screams. I'll carve you like a Christmas goose as I savor the bloodbath from your torn arteries. I'll scrape your bones raw till you beg me for mercy! I'll split you like a fatted calf, drill apart your skull, slice your meat sideways and lick off what drips out onto my knife! How does that sound, stud?"

A long, heavy silence saturated the entire shop. No one dared breathe or move. Then, very faintly across the speakerphone, there was the gentle, slow click of the other side's receiver carefully being laid down.

Akabane looked pleased as punch. He tapped the button on the phone, cutting off the subsequent drone of the dial tone, and lifted his gaze to his stunned audience. "Problem solved."

More silence, and then the muscles in Paul's neck bobbed several times while he worked out a response. "...thanks..."

Akabane smiled, mischief twinkling all the while in his shaded expression. "You're welcome." He picked up his phone and spoke into it. "Have you traced it yet?"

Makubex's voice was audible in the tomb-quiet room. "Three blocks down from the left. I just texted you the address."

Purple eyes sparked merriment. "Thank you, Makubex-kun."

Akabane pocketed the cellphone and smiled at everybody on his way out the door. "Well. Looks like Christmas has come early for me. Do enjoy the rest of your holiday."