Title: First Kiss (part 5, conclusion)
Author/Artist: Amethyst Hunter
Fandom: Get Backers
Theme: #30 – “kiss”
Rating: R (m/m adult content, swearing)
Warnings/Spoilers: Takes place during the scene of their big fight near the end of the anime.
Notes: A slight AU twist as Ban does something that’s a little unexpected.
- I'm in the process of uploading my fics, including this series, to my A03 account (same name). In the meantime, this and others are all archived on fanfiction.net (not yet updated), and my journals here on LJ and on Dreamwidth (same name). Many thanks for your kind comments. :)
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em. I just plays nice with 'em.
Summary: How Ban and Akabane got together in the first place.
--Many years later...
The dark-haired man settled back in his chair with the superior air of one who knows his storytelling skills are unparalleled. He took a long pull on his wineglass, set it down and declared with a flourish, “And that's how your father and I met.”
The girl lolling near his feet sighed. “Oh, Papa. It's so romantic!” Her lavender eyes fairly glowed with rapture.
Her brother was amused. “Listen to you. 'It's sooooo romantic!'” He mimicked her faraway gaze with exaggerated gestures, opening his eyes wide and batting his lashes. Then he ducked when she winged a blue streak of light at his head.
“Hey! What'd I say about throwing knives in the house, Matty?” Ban scowled at his teenaged daughter as he got up from his seat and started for the kitchen to replenish his drink.
“He started it,” Mathilda Midou-Akabane replied without a trace of shame. “Besides, you let Daddy throw knives around all the time!”
The pout and row of shining scalpels leveled at him made clear this was an unacceptable excuse.
Ban snorted. “Mind your manners, brat, or I'll stuff you both back in your Babylonian test tubes. We...sort of brought you into this world. We can darn well take you out of it if we feel like it, too!”
“No you won't, Pop.” Yamato Junior, or sometimes shortened to Jun, as he was called by most, grinned as he looked up from his school textbooks. His cerulean blue eyes glinted with more than a hint of mischief.
Ban raised a brow at his son. “And why's that, kid?”
Jun snickered and pointed behind him. Ban suppressed a groan and turned around, pasting a smile on his face when he saw the other dark-haired wraith standing cool and calm like a cobra waiting to strike.
“Hi, honey. You're home early. Job went well, I take it?”
“Don't 'honey' me.” Sharp eyes the same shade as Mathilda's flicked over the scene as Kuroudo Akabane stepped into the room, sans hat but still clad in his long dark coat. “I know your tales, Ban-kun. You needn't be so...descriptive, when it comes to certain parts. It's not proper for the children.”
“Hey, how else are they gonna learn about the retrievers and the transporters?” Ban winked at his giggling progeny. “Better they hear it from me than from the monkey-spanker. I still say Madoka pulled off an immaculate conception!”
“Daaaaaad,” Mathilda groaned. “Wolfgang was made the old-fashioned way. Uncle Shido isn't that
“Don't worry, Dad, it's cool,” Jun assured a frowning Akabane. “Pop skipped over all the sex stuff. Even though Matty kept bugging him to tell!” His grin resembled that of a shark's in the pond.
“Did not. You were the perv asking about scar comparisons!” Mathilda huffed, looking very much like her father when Akabane was put out.
“It doesn't matter who had which scar where,” Ban interjected before the kids could continue squabbling. “Your dad's right, it's nothing you need to hear about till you're older. Much
older,” he added, setting down his empty glass and sidling over to sling an arm around Akabane. “Like sprouting-gray-hairs-older.” He glanced at Akabane and reached up to tug on a lock that stood out from the rest of its raven brethren. “Speaking of which - ready to paint the town with a color other than red? I hear the forecast is a bloody rain-free one.”
Akabane was as perfect in appearance as ever, his handsome visage virtually unchanged. Within the past year a singular stripe of solid white had begun to make its stealthy way out from the center of his hairline. The effect only heightened his exotic appeal and lent him a distinguished air. Ban had joked that he should start calling himself the Skunk instead of the Jackal, until a pointed response from Kuroudo quickly made clear what his
opinion of the proposed change of alias was.
He smiled now and lifted an ungloved hand to tease at the wisps of silver dusting Ban's temples. “You're one to talk. You know graying doesn't run on my side of the family. Ask Mama. We turn pure as the driven snow.”
“Pure evil, maybe!”
“Oh, come now. Don't tell me you're still sore over the fight she gave you last week. You know I've warned you before about messing with her cooking. She doesn't like it. Even my father won't argue with her!”
“I'm the only one she won't let sneak a bite,” Ban grumbled. “How come everybody else - “ he shot a dirty look at a snickering Jun and Mathilda - “can gobble it straight from the pot without checking to see if there's a meat cleaver with their name on it lurking around the corner? And you wonder why I've
got gray hairs!” Like Akabane's, Ban's silvering only made him that much more attractive, as did the slight effects of time's passage evident in his face. “Raising you heathens has probably been responsible for half of them alone.”
“Really, Ban-kun.” Akabane shook his head. “You adore them just as much as I do.” As if on cue, the kids fixed Ban with their best, most sweetest smiles.
Ban rolled his eyes. “Okay, yeah, call my bluff. Come here, you little punks.”
He hugged the kids, bopping them affectionately on the head before setting them loose. “But you're still not getting me to dish the dirty details!”
Both teens stared at him for a moment. Then Jun spoke. “Okay. We'll just go ask Miss Hevn!”
“The hell you will,” Ban snapped. “What that greedy broad knows, you don't need to learn about till you're in prison!”
“Then we'll just ask Makubex. He has a whole Archive of knowledge at his disposal,” Mathilda muttered to her brother, who cackled agreeably.
“Now, now.” Akabane slipped free of Ban's hold and gathered the children closer to him. “Your education on prurient matters has already been attended to ages ago, so let's have no more talk of them.” He smiled at his offspring and kissed their foreheads when they happily snuggled into his embrace. “Besides, I know far more entertaining history. Someday I will tell you the story of how Aunt Himiko and I had a great battle.”
Jun gaped at him. “You and Aunt Himiko had a fight? And you walked away from it?”
Akabane chuckled and ruffled his hair. “Yes, you impudent little scamp. I'm here now, aren't I? Well, it was all a dreadful misunderstanding, at least on my part.”
“Possession by demonic entities is not a misunderstanding,” Ban muttered under his breath, annoyed by the way the kids were staring, their faces rapt, as their attention stayed riveted to the prospect of future stories. Somehow Akabane could always get them to respect his authority where he, Ban, could not.
His mate gave him a look, but continued. “Well, she was only doing her job. Your aunt was one of the bravest fighters I've ever had the good fortune to witness. She truly did her bloodline proud that day.”
Jun was amazed. “You won a fight with Aunt Himiko? But how'd you do it, Dad? Bribe her?”
“My, my, what impertinent questions.” Akabane chuckled with typical aplomb. “We both won. Dear boy, don't you know that when everyone wins, it means there's more fun to share around?”
Then again, Ban was glad there were times when Akabane's rule prevailed.
“Stalemate's not a win. Not technically,” Mathilda pointed out.
“Oh, it was no stalemate, I assure you, pumpkin,” Akabane told his daughter with a smile. “Ask your father. He was there too.”
The kids' heads swiveled instantly to Ban. His only answer was a smirk and a waggle of eyebrows. “Jagan, then,” Jun declared.
“Nope. No doom-gaze involved, kiddo.”
Perplexed, the teens looked to Akabane again. But all he would offer by way of explanation was his usual enigmatic smile and a shaded twinkle of amusement in his eyes. Ban watched his family and felt a now-familiar swell of pride and joy.
Both children had Akabane's tousled jet-dark hair, although while Mathilda had inherited her father's mercurial purple, Jun boasted a set of baby blues to rival his old man's. Mathilda was the spitting image of Akabane right down to mannerisms and clothing style, so much so that she'd been nicknamed Baby J – a moniker she wore with great glee. Her brother Jun had Ban's hawkish features. Ban actually thought he looked more like a blend of Kaiser, his own father, and his namesake, Himiko's elder brother, a notion which gave him an oddly comforting pleasure.
Jun was nearly at Ban's height and in a few more years would probably overtake him. Mathilda, while tall for a girl her age, still couldn't rival Akabane in height, even in high heels. But both of them had plenty of power between them to spare, and if Jun joined the fray they made for a formidable and intimidating trio indeed. Ban had learned the hard way many times that he was no match for them when they were in a mood for pizza at Paul's.
Jun was studying to become a veterinarian – the penchant for medical pursuits remained firmly ingrained in their family, apparently, even if the practice switched to patients of the four-legged variety. Ban would have blamed a certain Beastmaster's influence, or perhaps that of his husband's. Except that Jun, without any prompting from either Shido or Akabane, had held a keen interest for medicine and an affinity for creatures of all kinds ever since he was a youngster. They were always playing host to various critters the boy had found and brought home for tending, and if that menagerie wasn't enough, he could usually count on a call or two once a week from Shido, asking for help with his zoo.
Truth be told, Ban couldn't say that he was too disappointed that his son wasn't following a retriever's path in his footsteps. The war with Babylon City and a long-past encounter with a thousand-pound horned hamburger-to-be – the former responsible for a permanent souvenir, the slight limp in his leg – had gradually convinced him that retrieval was probably a game best left to the younger bloods. Besides, Ginji's spawn were well on their way to filling those shoes. And, much though he hated to admit it – Shido's boy, Wolfgang, showed distinct promise as a future recovery agent.
Not that he had given up the business completely. Not for the great Midou Ban the placid passivity of retirement. He still did the occasional retriever's job, but he made damn sure first that it didn't have Hevn's prints anywhere near it. A guy had to look out for the future at some point in his life, especially when he added kids into the equation. Thankfully money wasn't as critical an issue now as it used to be; the gods in charge of that had evidently decided his wallet had had enough punishment and finally blessed him with the fortune of his dreams. Some careful investments here and there had paid off well. There were, he'd learned, benefits to a certain amount of stability.
Paul would have said that Ban had gained a new maturity. Ban would have called it being fed up with a bloodthirsty cabal's bullshit. Wasn't it freaking common sense to want to avoid having whole worlds topple down on top of one's head? When it came time, the torch would be safely passed on once more. After all, despite the lack of Babylon baloney these days, somebody had to keep up the famous one-hundred-percent success rate. The Get Backers' rate was still second to none in this town, and Ban had vowed to do his part to keep it that way.
He was not the only one concerned with achievements. Mathilda, predictably, had her heart set on becoming a transporter. This goal, when first announced at the tender age of five, had delighted Akabane for weeks, and he had, along with Himiko and Maguruma No-Brakes, been teaching her all the intricate points of that career ever since. She had a natural aptitude for it – she'd even taken on some (supervised) low-risk runs, and done very well – so it was quite likely that this mantle would also be passed on. After discussing it with each other, however, her fathers had agreed that a backup plan was still important, and so to this end Mathilda chose her academics with estate planning and management in mind. In this too, she showed considerable savvy and skill: she, like her father, had a will of pure steel...and the matching hardware to back it up.
Ban hadn't yet decided to whom he would pass on the Evil Eye. He wasn't even sure if he would – if he should - pass it on at all. The Jagan was capable of doing both great damage and great good, and he trusted his kids, knew that neither of them would ever consciously invoke it for malevolent purposes, just as he and Akabane had taught Mathilda that the intentions behind her scalpels were just as important points as the blades themselves. But it was also a burden that he didn't want for either of them to have to shoulder, despite their training in magics and lore. Himiko had kept on him about revealing the entire family history and the lessons it contained; he might have bitched royally about it at first, but he was glad now that he'd listened to her for once and, with Ginji's help, laid out the whole sordid story of his grandmother's inheritance. His children understood well that power was a serious responsibility with a corresponding price.
Unable, for the moment, to solve history's mysteries to their satisfaction, the children turned their attentions to mugging Akabane for affection. Such a problem was nonexistent. When they'd first become parents Ban had been shocked to learn that one of his mate's other pleasures was spoiling the brats rotten. Oh, Akabane remained ever the stickler for manners, all right, and he insisted on a stern but fair discipline that went above and beyond the standards of most parents, but he was far more wont to permit Jun and Mathilda leeway on incursions (knives and poison perfumes were frequently involved, often in tandem – Jun excelled in chemistry) that Ban would've blown a gasket over. Though, if pressed, he secretly admitted to letting the kids slide on a few things before during moments of weakness...
“How was your day, Daddy? Did your job go well?”
“It was lovely, darling. And yes, the job went very well. We may have a new lead on our missing group. I'm to meet with Hevn-san this Friday. She may have more details by then.”
“That's great, Daddy! Can I go too when you leave to transport them?”
It pained Akabane greatly to crush the eager gleam in his daughter's eyes. To his credit, he didn't falter in his parental duty. “Perhaps next time when it's not so, er, busy, sweetheart. This one might be a bit of a razoring, I'm afraid. And you've got school, after all.”
Mathilda pouted but didn't give in – yet. “School's boring. Missions are way more fun!”
Akabane stroked her hair and gave her a patient smile. “Be that as it may. Hevn-san does have a tendency to downplay the more difficult aspects of a job. And you know how your father feels about that. If he says no, I say no.” He and Ban had both agreed, the latter from hard experience, that it was best to present a united front on this subject.
“Please, Daddy? I promise not to start any fights this time...”
“We talked about this, Mathilda-chan. I'm sorry, but the answer is still no.”
Mathilda wasn't happy about it, but she recognized defeat. “Bugger,” she sighed.
Jun had a way of cheering her up. “Aw, Pop's just afraid that the negotiator will hustle us, send us back with a new brother or sister so Pop or Dad has to take her job offers, 'cause she gets a bigger commission when her agents finish a job. You know she's always called Pop and Uncle Gin her favorites!”
“That's because your Uncle Ginji is the only agent sucker enough for a sob story,” Ban cut in. “I swear, we wouldn't have done half the jobs for her that we did back in the day if Hevn hadn't laid it on so thick!”
“And if she hadn't dangled a fat wad of cash in front of you too, huh, Pops?” Jun smirked.
Mathilda spoke before Ban could get in a good swat at his son. “Wouldn't do her so well with us, to try the soft touch. We are the consummate professionals,” she declared archly. “We let nothing interfere with our interests! Right, Daddy?” she said, beaming at Akabane, who nodded.
“Quite right, princess. I taught you well,” her father replied in his fey purr.
“Too well,” Ban groused. “You take after your father entirely too much, brat.”
Mathilda, far from being discouraged by the affectionately gruff rebuke, lifted her pert nose in pride. “That's because I'm the best, like Daddy and you!”
This was how they had come to be parents. In the course of the war with Babylon, the Get Backers had discovered that there were far more unaccounted-for Voodoo Children than was originally purported – and there were credible rumors that some of them still lived. Spurred by Himiko, herself one of the most prominent Last, the Honky Tonk clan had made it their lifelong mission to track down these remaining magician's children and make them aware of their true heritage, and, if necessary, help them to relocate. While the Brain Trust had been vanquished, at least to the point where they could no longer interfere with this world, there existed plenty of other similar groups and factions that would have taken a keen interest in these children's welfare – and the potential purposes to which they could be put.
It was during one such successful recovery and transport that Akabane had raised the prospect of taking on a brood of their own. Ban was surprised, mostly because he hadn't really considered it, and mostly because he hadn't expected that he'd walk this earth long enough to do so. Akabane was already a father – as Makubex's shocking revelations were to prove. He'd lost one son and missed out on raising another thanks to Babylon's deviousness, but was only too happy to accommodate that second boy when at length they were able to reconcile. Still, Makubex could easily take care of himself, and Akabane wanted to experience parenthood in its entirety. He didn't exactly get maudlin over the topic, but Ban found himself talking it through with him at the most unexpected times.
After further thought he'd come to enjoy the idea of it as much as Akabane did, and so, when during another mission they found – in addition to the other adult escapees they'd brought back from Egypt – a pair of unclaimed, unknown infants stashed in the hotel, it was a very easy matter for Ban to persuade Akabane to 'misplace' the extras and claim instead that they had only found three Voodoo Children, as opposed to the original five that their negotiating source had speculated.
Makubex's manipulative electronic wizardry had taken care of the paperwork. No one who looked at Jun's or Mathilda's birth certificates, for instance, would ever doubt that they were legitimate. Why the two children had grown up with their fathers' respective physical appearances was a true mystery for the ages, but both Ban and Akabane knew without being told how it had happened. Not for nothing was the Voodoo lineage reputed to possess unfathomable powers. And the power of love – the real power of the Get Backers – was well known to work miracles.
As for the rest – well, blood magic had a good aspect too, albeit borderline. And a little infusion of the Witch King's and the Jackal's finest helped give the kids an extra boost – one that Ban had oft cause to question when he was on the receiving end of their shenanigans.
“Oh, Papa. Don't be such a stick in the blood,” Mathilda said.
“You mean mud.”
Feline eyes glinted. “No, I mean blood.” Mathilda held a hand to her lips and giggled; if one looked closely enough one could just make out the flash of a blade concealed between her fingers. “Daddy and I can take you any day!”
Akabane's quiet chuckle warmed their ears. “As entertaining as your enthusiasm is, Mathilda-chan, sometimes one must learn to fight one's battles by one's self. Besides, the conflicts your father and I have tend to include other adult activities.” Sultry eyes met Ban's as he said this, and the look was returned with one doubly so. Their passion for each other was as strong as ever, a potent meld of lust, affection, antagonism, and trust that created an unbreakable bond of body and soul.
As always, when it was kids versus parents, the siblings had each others' back. “Don't worry, 'Thilda. Even if it's just you and me, Pop and his pet snake are still no match for the both of us!” Jun waggled his eyebrows and where his hands had been empty a moment ago, a pair of tiny bottles containing a bright green substance emerged from his fingertips.
Ban pointed at him. “Don't even think about whipping out that devolution scent, buster. I don't need Aesclepius to kick some sense into your butt. Whose side are you on, anyway?”
Twin fanged smiles shone in his kids' faces. Mathilda piped up. “Why, the same side we've always been on, Papa. Our own!”
One other thing the kids had gotten from him, much to Ban's chagrin. They'd picked up attitudes to rival his own. Neither Jun nor Mathilda was any slouch in the smart-mouth department. This was useful more often than not, especially when the monkey trainer or the threadspool started bragging about all the amazing wonderful things their brats did, but it had its disadvantages. Very much the double-edged knife, as Akabane would say. While Ban would never admit it in front of them of course, he did take a perverse pride in knowing that his kids could hurl sass along with the best (or worst) of them.
Luckily Akabane was more interested in other avenues this evening to want to prolong the battle. “All right, you two. That's enough sharpening of claws on your father.” He hugged them, then gave them a gentle nudge towards the stairs. “Go and get ready so that we can all leave for dinner. Tonight's a special night, you know.”
“Are we going to Uncle Paul's?” Mathilda said as she and Jun obeyed.
“Naw, you heard Dad,” her brother said. “Anniversary means someplace a lot ritzier. Like the place Aunt Riko and Uncle Gin took us to that one time when it was Uncle Gin's birthday.”
“I hope we go to Gunkanjima someday. Daddy said that's where he and Papa dueled once. Uncle Kazuki told me it's been totally remodeled.”
Jun made a face. “Gunkanjima's just a tourist trap now. I bet it was cooler when it was still an island hideout for gangsters!”
“You have no concept of romance,” his sister sniffed.
Their parents watched the siblings, still debating the merits of various locales their parents had visited, head off to their rooms to change. “And you say I'm a bad influence,” Ban said after a moment.
Akabane was unrepentant. “Well, what do you expect if you're going to tell the children how their parents became a couple? Everyone loves a good story, Ban-kun. Especially children. It's all in good fun.”
“Until the knives start flying and somebody loses an eye.”
“Or an arm.”
“Or another arm.”
“Fudou-san never did get over that second bit, did he?”
“Died still ranting about how much he wanted to bludgeon me,” Ban confirmed as they both looked up to the wall where a specific piece of their art collection resided. “If I recall right, I think his last words had something to do with me, a pit of vipers and a few scatological references somewhere. He always did have a thing for those.”
“Well, you know what they say.” When the other man looked at him, Akabane smirked. “It takes one to know one.”
Ban let out a rich burst of laughter. “That it does!”
They grinned at each other. By mutual accord they embraced, then kissed.
“Don't worry, dearest,” Akabane said. “I've made it quite clear to Jun and Mathilda – college first. Then they can decide on a proper career path.”
“As long as that path stays far away from demigods, supercomputers and sorcery. I've had my fill of enough spooks to last me several lifetimes, let alone thirty!” Ban complained.
“Oh, Ban-kun.” Akabane patted his shoulder. “It wasn't all bad, don't you think? If it wasn't for particular entities, we might never have found what we have, hmm?”
Ban pondered this, and a wry smile relaxed his face. “I suppose you might be right. Funny how fate works, isn't it? Even I never would've guessed things would turn out the way they did.”
Akabane's eyes softened. “It truly was fate that we should meet, wasn't it, Ban-kun? I'm so glad that we both won that day in Mugenjou, when we took up the challenge granted to us. Being alive with you has been the happiest time of my life. And to think...how easily destiny could have swung in another direction, how simple a matter it would have been to chart a course elsewhere...all but for just one minute, and one first kiss.” He hugged Ban tightly, as if fearing he might suddenly vanish on the universe's fickle whim.
When at length they let go of each other, Ban nodded. “That's why, sometimes, even fate needs a helping hand to get back on track – and get back what shouldn't be lost.” He held up his right hand and made biting motions with it. The gesture made the transporter smile, and Ban kissed him again. “Happy anniversary, my Jackal liebe.”
“Happy anniversary, Midou-kun, my merer-ab,”
Akabane echoed softly, leaning closer to nuzzle him.
Together, they had built the castle of their dreams, one forged not with concrete or steel, but an empire of life and love everlasting. Their future had never looked better.
- liebe – German for “beloved;” a term of endearment
- merer-ab – Ancient Egyptian words combined to mean “beloved heart”