Title: Going For The Gold (ch. 20)
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.)
~ Bit of OOCness with drunk!Akabane, but let's face it: knives and booze and blood don't mix very well. >;)
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.
“...so when he wouldn't shut his bloody noisemaker about the pills, that's when the chief physician and I looked at each other and I stamped 'AMYOYO' on his release form and sent him off on his merry way!” Akabane let loose a little giggle and downed more champagne. “I want – I want another tubey-thing. And bring some more for Ginji-kun.”
“Maybe you've had enough tubeys,” Maguruma muttered. “Those things are two-hundred proof!”
Akabane merrily dismissed such concern with a wave of his hand. “Oh, sod the content, Gouzou, we're having fun here!”
Proving once again that there was no love as truer or timeless as the pure inebriated love of one dead drunk for another, Doctor Jackal had finally discovered a way to get everyone to, if not actually like him, at least tolerate his presence without either cowering or sending glares in his direction. There was nothing like the art of storytelling, Ban mused – with what few brain cells that weren't saturated in booze – to bring mortal enemies together.
And Akabane had plenty of both. Under the influence of intoxication and therefore freed from normal constraints, he spun whopper after whopper about all the dirty little secrets of military and medical life. He somehow had them all howling at a tale of two grunts that had ended up in the emergency ward after attempting to get high off of some medicines, and then had them laughing even harder when he detailed in hiccuppy form how a rival transporter – not the same as the creep they'd dispatched earlier tonight – had managed to off himself after taking a badly-misplaced swing at Akabane when the two were fighting above a barbed-wire fence. For once his extensive experience as a doctor came in handy: Akabane kept Ginji distracted enough with the hilariously immature medical acronyms that the latter forgot to order more appetizers, which relieved Maguruma and Ban to no end (Ban especially was trying to plot a way out of the bar in case they came up short on the tab).
The others encouraged the doctor's unusual loquaciousness, finding it amusing – and also helpful in that it mostly kept Juubei and Emishi from offering up their brand of humor which was arguably worse (and in Juubei's case, nonexistent). But not even a poor audience could keep a good (or bad) Joker down, and eventually Emishi found his way to the stage and started in with the karaoke. At least the jerk could sing halfway decently, Ban decided, after the group cringed at Juubei's tone-deaf warbling of a 1980s American pop song.
When Emishi had satisfactorily annoyed the few people left in the bar with his hammy antics, Kazuki took over and proceeded to surprise them all with his rendition of a metal power-ballad. At one point Akabane made a sad little noise and drooped against Ban, his head landing on his shoulder.
“You OK there, Jackal?”
“Oh...this song reminds me...a patient I once treated liked to play it every now and then. He died, you know. The poor fellow was burnt to a crisp during an ambush. There was nothing I could do for him.”
Ban frowned as Akabane's eyes glazed over in a way that had nothing to do with the saturation of alcohol. “Hey, don't get all maudlin on me. We're supposed to be celebrating, remember? We won!”
Akabane blinked, still in the throes of drunken memory. His words, when they came, were halting and slurred. “Did we? Funny...how no one ever really seems to win a war...unless they're the survivors...”
“I meant the mission, Doctor Dummy.” Ban's frown increased as he struggled to unravel his own fuzzy memory. “Wait...I did mean the mission...right?”
“A mission...weren't we supposed to deliver a box?” Akabane blinked several times in succession, his brows squiggling as he tried to process this transition back to reality. “It was a box, wasn't it?”
“Guess so.” Ban reached for a shot glass, found it empty, then reached for another. This one still had liquid in it, so he tossed it back, savoring the warm burn as it hit his stomach.
“What do you think was in it?” Akabane murmured, content to use Ban as a pillow.
Ban shrugged, not noticing how much he jostled him. “Who cares? That's your guys' motto, right? Doesn't matter what the item is as long as it's moved.”
“Because that's what a pro...fessional...does. That's what Himi – Himiko-san told me.” Akabane tried to nod but only succeeded in bouncing his head off his own chest before lolling back onto Ban. “She's smart. You should listen to her more, Ban-kun.” He gave Ban the same deadly serious look he'd given him when admonishing him to beware of upsetting his mother Akane. “She knows
“Oh yeah? Like what?”
“Like...” Akabane hiccuped, an odd little high-pitched squeak, and then looked around, confusion overtaking him again. “Where's my – Ban-kun, where's my hat?”
Ban squinted around the bar. “'S on the coat-rack over there.” He pointed at Ginji, who was swaying tipsily to the song while attempting to dance with an empty barstool.
“Oh.” Akabane looked at himself. “Then where's my coat?” He leaned over and gently patted a snoring Himiko's shoulder. “Lady Poissshon...have you seen my coat?”
Her only response was to grumble something about a boot and her foot and a bottle of perfume, while pulling the long black trenchcoat she was using as a blanket over her head.
“Lightweight,” Ban snorted. “Brat never could hold her liquor.”
Ginji chose that moment to plop down beside them, his dance with the unresponsive furniture having failed. He pushed up the wide black brim of the black hat he had on and grinned as he said in a loud whisper, “Ban-chan...don't say anything...but I think Akabane-san is fit-shaced!”
Akabane narrowed his eyes. “You're one to talk, Ginji-kun. Why are you wearing a flying saucer on your head?” I jabbed a gloveless finger at the retriever. “I'll have you know that I'm too think to drunk!”
“You're both out of your gourds,” Ban snickered. “I'm the great Ban Midou-sama, and I'm smarter and drinker than everybody in this room!”
“Well, you've got the second part right,” Maguruma muttered. He glanced at Jackal, saw him try to form a scalpel without much success, and quickly revised his opinion.
“Gouzou...did you know...these
come out? Of my hands?”
Akabane plucked forth a misshapen spire and dangled it in front of him before dissolving into merry laughter. “I'm a silverware drawer!”
Ginji stared at him. “Cool!” Then his expression shifted to a frown. “Akabane-san...I just thought of something.”
He leaned in and in another loud whisper said, “What if...what if the hokey-pokey really is what it's all about?”
Akabane stared at him for a while. Then he frowned too. “Oh my. You might be right!”
“No way,” Ban said. “The answer to everything is forty-two. There. You're welcome and thanksh for the bushiness!” He sagged onto the table.
Ginji and Akabane stared at him. “Ban-chan's so smart,” Ginji said in a reverent tone.
Akabane nodded. “Like game-show-smart.”
“You know...Aka...Akabane...san. Drinking with me and Ban-chan. You're kinda fun like this!”
Akabane beamed. “Really?”
“Yeah. You're not all spooky and serious. And you tell great storieshes!”
Akabane tilted his head, not quite in a frame of mind to be able to process that as an insult or a compliment. So he just smiled lopsidedly at Ginji. “How can I be two things at once?”
Ginji rolled his eyes. “'Cause you're Doctor Jackal!”
“Oh. Of course!” Akabane giggled again.
A sudden blast of metallic interference from the stage made everybody wince and cry out. Emishi had wrested the microphone from Kazuki and was unloading a spiel of bad one-liners; he was able to get out three of them before the dwindling crowd, already annoyed by his earlier act, turned aggressive in their rejection. A few beer bottles flew at the stage and the bar manager rushed Kazuki before the latter could let fly with a few choice strings at the bottle-chuckers, one of whom had made the now-familiar mistake of assuming the Fuuchouin heir was a female and attempted to plant a big wet slobbering kiss on him. Two more bouncers raced to the manager's aid and helped him drag both Kazuki and Emishi out of the limelight before the complaints escalated.
Ban looked up in time to see the angry manager explaining to Kazuki why they were being summarily ejected. “Party's over.” He swatted at Maguruma's arm. “Pay the tab an' let's jam, No-Brakes.”
Gouzou looked like he would have snapped at him, but he grunted wordlessly instead and lumbered out of his seat to find the waitress and settle their bill.
Ban leaned back in his seat, Akabane curling up next to him. “I wanna cigarette, but I bet if I light up I'll go boom, I've got enough flammable proof in me for a Samhain bonfire,” Ban sighed.
Akabane nuzzled his shoulder. “Oh, but that doesn't matter now.”
A soft, blissful sigh warmed the side of Ban's neck. “Because I'm here with you. Having...fun.”