Title: Going For The Gold (ch.19)
Author: Amethyst Hunter
Fandom: Get Backers
Theme: #7 – “superstar”
Rating: R (language)
Warnings/Spoilers: None other than standard canon.
Notes: Many thanks to you, wonderful readers, for your continued appreciation. :)
~ Standard disclaimer: please, if you are of legal age to do so, consume alcohol in a responsible manner. (Seriously, folks.)
~ The humorously profane medical-themed acronyms that Akabane uses are real, albeit unofficially-used, terms amongst those who work in medical communities. Be warned - at least one doctor has actually gotten into legal trouble for using one on a patient's chart!
Disclaimer: GB & gang belong to the wonderful Aoki-san and Ayamine-san, not me. I just play with them for fun. And unlike Akabane's scalpels, I'm harmless. ;)
Summary: Ban and Akabane struggle to amass funding for their trip to Europe, efforts that receive an unexpected boost when old enemies cross paths with retrievers and transporters alike.
Another round of drinks quickly became two, two added into four, and from there it went into a suds-fest. Even Kazuki, the would-be designated driver, gave up and went to order a taxi on standby after getting goaded by Ban into downing a straight shot of German vodka with a proof so high it could have lit airliner engines. He'd nearly puked it back up, the taste was so godawful, but pride forbade that embarrassment, and he reasoned that he may as well dull the verbal stings somehow if he was going to put up with constant jokes at his expense.
It also didn't help that Juubei was fast drinking himself into a gutter. Spurred on by Emishi, himself taking every opportunity to sample the booze selections, the man known as a master of specialty needlework was soon incapable of hitting the broad side of a barn with a dart, let alone wielding any of his signature weapons. Turned out that while Juubei couldn't tell a joke to save his life, he was very capable of reciting the filthiest, most salacious limericks known to mankind.
How he'd come by this talent was anyone's guess – including his own - but most of them agreed that it was probably something picked up from living within Mugenjou - “the poor man's venereal disease,” as Ban called it. Who would have thought that a stiff like the Flying Needles would have such shockers stored away in his one-track mind? It was the best entertainment most of them had seen in ages.
Naturally, Akabane – with more than a little unhelpful assistance from Ban – couldn't let such a challenge pass unheeded. When Juubei stood up after his sixth or seventh mead mixed with Jagermeister, and recited with perfect eloquence -
“When a lecherous curate at Leeds
Was discovered one day in the weeds
Astride a young nun,
He said, 'Christ, this is fun!
Far better than kissing one's beads!'”
- Ban (after convincing Akabane that pouring a double bourbon down his throat would help with the battle-fire) prodded Jackal into reciting some of his own drunken spiels, starting with an altered version of “99 Bottles of Beer On The Wall.” After the first three or four choruses of “99 Scalpels With Blood On The Wall,” however, Maguruma convinced Ban to steer Akabane onto a different topic when the latter's descent into incoherence fast became markedly noticeable. Each person's blood alcohol content manifested symptoms of intoxication according to their body's individuality – taking into account factors such as gender and the amount of alcohol imbibed – and the one drawback to having blood with properties as unique as Akabane's was that knives and drunkenness did not mix.
“Here's to those who knew us well!” Ban raised a mug of lager and sloshed it in Akabane's direction, expecting him to pick up the tail end of the salute.
The transporter obliged, albeit tipsily with a half-drained wineglass. “And those who don't can go to kiss,” he finished archly, pressing two fingers to his own lips and blowing one at his lover.
Ban groaned. “It's 'hell,' Jackal. 'Those who don't can go to hell.' I really gotta take you out drinking with me more often.”
“They can kiss off too,” Akabane said, and made an outward V-shape with his index and middle fingers, waving them at Ban.
“Don't you mean 'piss off,' Akabane-san?” Ginji burbled through a mouthful of mead and steamed oyster.
“Not at all, Ginji-kun. I saved that for the PRATFOs I had to deal with as a doctor.”
Akabane giggled softly and bent over to whisper the acronym's meaning. Ginji's eyes flew wide and he burst out laughing, much to Ban's disgust.
“Geez! Say it, don't spray it, eel!” He swiped away the sticky bits of alcohol-saturated crumbs and pulled on Akabane's sleeve. “Gonna let me in on the joke?”
“Oh. That.” Akabane took another swig of his wine, tilting on his feet before slip-sliding back into his seat. “A PRATFO, dear Ban-kun, is what Wan-san does to you and Ginji-kun when you complain about not having food. Except with coffee instead of an ER visit.” He bobbed his head, looking blissfully indolent.
“I still don't get it.”
“It means he gives your ego a couple of strokes and then gives you the boot,” Himiko informed him. “Is that about right, Jackal?”
“Mm-hmm. Except it's not very polite phrasing.” Akabane yawned then. “'S not even official terminology. We only use it amongst professionals.”
“It smells unprofessional,” Ban said, leering.
Akabane managed a dreamy half-smile. “It is! But sometimes, exceptions are best described in simple, if crude, phrasing. Take Varlou, for instance. Classic case of HUA.”
“What's that mean?”
“Head Up the Arse.”
“I concur with that diagnosis,” Ban nodded, gulping the last of his mug's contents.
“People can really surprise you with what they know, huh, Ban-chan?” Ginji said as he slurped down another tube of something called a Shooting Star, which was a mixed drink – he'd long forgotten what exactly it was comprised of, other than that the waitress had warned them not to go beyond a certain limit. Indeed, he was feeling its potency enough to slump happily on Akabane's good shoulder.
“That they can,” Ban said as they both stared at Juubei, who launched into a ditty about a girl with one titty from the town of Mitty, and was then promptly interrupted by Emishi who was moved to sing his own ode to “a young Kazuki of the strings, whose butt was like jelly on springs!”
Once the group had finished cracking up over it, and Kazuki – who was not yet drunk enough to overlook it – had punched Emishi in order to shut him up, Ban nudged Akabane again. “C'mon, Jackal, we're getting outdone here by the titans of terrible humor. Entertain us with something!”
“Not a good idea,” Himiko hiccuped, frowning as she did so. “He might start scalpel-juggling again!” She rubbed a thumb over one of the countless gouges so recently made in the table, a disastrous result of Bloody Rain mixed with inebriation.
The culprit himself slouched over in a shredded chair. “That...was just a...mis – miscalu – a...” Akabane paused, blinking. “What is it that Makubex-kun does?”
“Calculation,” Maguruma supplied. Of the group, he was the least drunk, mainly because every time he turned around to order more snacks, Ginji or Emishi would forget where they placed their drinks and grab his instead.
“Yes. That.” Akabane shook his head, swaying slightly in place. “Why is the room spinning, Midou-kun?”
“'Cause you're not drinking enough.” Ban flagged down another waitress and got them a tray of Shooting Stars. He took one of the drinks – measured out in a tall glass shaped like a test tube – and shoved it at him. “Here, pound a couple of these and tell me how you like it!”
Akabane made a face at the proffered beverage. “I'm not a chemistry set. You - “ he pointed an unsteady finger at Ban - “are. Trying. To get – get me...drunk!”
“Guilty as charged.” Ban grinned; he was higher than a weather balloon and feeling little pain now from his work-related injuries, thanks to a nonstop trip on the Jager express. “So, you gonna do it?”
Akabane shook his head haphazardly. “Had enough. D'you...have any idea...how sick 'm gonna be in the morning?”
“That's why the good Lord gave us wastebaskets and porcelain thrones to pay homage to,” Ban said, still pushing the drink at him. “Come on, Kuroudo. If anybody needs to cut loose, it's you.”
“That depends on how you want me to cut,” Akabane sassed back, a lopsided smirk forming on his lips as he wiggled his fingers in an unmistakable gesture.
“Oh please. You passed the prime knife-making threshold about eight shots back. You can't even keep your utensils straight by now.”
“Can too,” Akabane pouted. “See!” He concentrated, made a fist, and out popped a lumpy splatter of something resembling a child's attempt at a putty-like spoon. The curious red and gray substance landed with a wet slap on the table and lay there, sullenly resisting Akabane's efforts at reshaping it into its usual form.
“Oh. Damn.” Akabane scowled and poked at the stuff, first with his finger and then with a fork, eventually getting it to slither back where it came from.
“Told you.” Ban ruffled his hair and set the Shooting Star drink into his empty hands. “Now drink up! I wanna hear you sing your 'Sera Sera' song again.” He paused, and then added, “Ginji would've done it.” He winked at Himiko.
“Yeah, he would,” she tittered, helping herself to one of the tubes when Akabane shot her a curious frown.
The rest of them were quick to pick up on the game. “Ginji definitely would've done it,” Kazuki confirmed, feeling at least forgiving enough now to join in when Emishi had started playing with his hair and muttering how much he wished he could find a girl who had hair this luxuriant.
“Most definitely,” Juubei agreed, then belched. “Just like the young man of Kent, whose cock in the middle was bent - “
“Oh yeah, Ginji would've done it, all right,” Emishi said, not looking up from his nuzzling of Kazuki's braid.
“Of course he would,” Maguruma said, yanking his beer out of Emishi's reach.
Akabane finally turned to the expert in the matter and fixed him with a bleary-eyed stare. “Well? Ginji-kun?”
Ginji leaned over and slung his arm around Akabane, grinning like they were pals of old. He took the tube and held it up. “They tas' real good, Akabane-shan. You should drink it. 'Cause I'm drinkin' it. And you know what else?”
Jackal shook his head.
“Ban-chan would'a drink it too. You don' want him to beat you at drinking...do you?”
The magic button, at last. Akabane's eyes narrowed as the challenge was officially issued.
“Give me that tube.”