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There was a little hotel in the south district where the streets weren't so clean and the people not so bright eyed, but not so bad as the folks that lived on the edge of Mugenjou city. No, not nearly so oppressed by poverty as that. It rented rooms by the week at a price that was affordable to those with fluctuating and sometimes elusive incomes.
One tiny cramped room with a toilet off to the side that came barely furnished with a bed and a table and a single flickering light bulb. No air conditioning. No fan. Just a window with a view over an alley that let in questionably fresh air.
Still, it was better than sleeping in the car. At least a body could stretch out without the dash getting in the way or the clutch.
Amano Ginji had slept in admittedly worse places than either car or cheap one room rentals, so he had no room to complain. He'd damn sure, for absolutely certain, slept with worse companions at his back. But don't start thinking about those days, because he'd just sink into nightmares he'd rather not encourage. Think about Ban's back pressed lightly up against his. Ban's skin cool and smooth against his. Or maybe Ban's skin wasn't really cool at all in this heat, but only felt that way against Ginji's own internal heat.
Ginji was facing the window, and the dull dirty stone wall of the building across the alley. Ban lay breathing softly on the outside, always on the outside as though he were unconsciously putting himself between the door and Ginji. As if Ginji needed his protection. There was a time that that sense of somebody wanting to protect him, somebody thinking he needed it, would have irked, but he wasn't quite that person anymore, even though the nightmarish afterimages of that life still regularly came to plauge him. Maybe Amano Ginji occassionally needed a little looking after as opposed to Raitei who looked after everyone else. Or tried to. But no, that was getting back to things that would cause nightmares, so think about other things. Like the heat and whether they had enough money left to get a decent breakfast or whether they'd have to beg charity from Paul again. He'd really like a decent breakfast, even a cheap one. There was a new fast food restaurant down the street, one of the American one's that sold really good breakfast sandwiches that weren't that expensive. They could maybe get a couple and take them back to the Honky Tonk and pilfer coffee to drink with them. Or even just get one and split it if their cash was that deficient. Ban could generally go without breakfast - - reluctantly - - if he had a cup of coffee, but Ginji would feel hollow and thin if he didn't have at least something to start the day off with. Maybe it was the electricity that coursed through his body, even when he wasn't actively summoning it, that ate up his reserves and demanded more. Maybe it was his metabolism. Maybe he was just a glutton, as Ban liked to say when Ginji had nabbed the last scrap of lunch or dinner off his plate like a starving dog.
Ginji sighed and shifted his arm under his head. Ban was hogging the pillow and trying to reclaim a part of it would only gain him a growl and a irritable glower. Ban was light sleeper and he didn't like to be woken up over such trivial things when he'd achieved a comfortable slumber. Ginji ought to be sleeping well enough himself. It was due. They'd had an energetic night, it being the first one in a while with a roof over their heads and a mattress under them.
A few years ago - - hell a year ago - - he'd have taken mortal offense if someone suggested he'd be doing the things he was doing now and enjoying them. Oh, damned sure liking the things Ban did with his hands and his mouth and the rest of his long, sinewy body.
The first time had not been so much surprising as unexpected. For the both of them. The first time he'd looked into Ban's face, into those incredible, dangerous, beautiful eyes of his, Ginji had been snared. Lured by the irresistible, indefinable something that spoke to the inner Ginji as strongly as whatever issued from Ginji had spoken to Ban. Maybe it was shared tragedy, a common darkness that they saw in each other.
They'd skirted around each other for a while, uncertain, wary, but the pull had been too strong. The chemistry, the pheromones, the mojo, whatever it was had reached a crescendo and they'd come to mutual breaking points.
Ginji wasn't even sure who'd made that first move. He remembered it was during some job or another, and he'd thought Ban had gone down under the debris of a collapsing building and rushed in pell nell to find him, only Ban-like, Ban had avoided it unscathed, with a sly smirk on his face for Ginji ever having worried to begin with. But Ginji had jumped him anyway, desperate in his relief to get his hands on Ban and make sure for himself that it was him and not some ghost risen out of the dust and then the next thing he knew, they were both on their knees in the rubble, and Ban's mouth was on his and all the humor had fled, all the fear, to be replaced by another sort of panic that centered at the bottom of the gut and coiled there begging to be appeased.
Almost, right then and there with who knew what enemies lurking around - - but one of the two of them regained a little common sense - Ban probably, and backed off, breathless and wide eyed and beyond easy words.
"I'm sorry. I'm sorry . . ." Ginji thought he'd stammered, aghast, once reasoning returned, and Ban had narrowed his eyes at him and spat, Idiot, before climbing to his feet and holding out his hand to help Ginji to his.
And that might have been the end of it, embarrassment drowning out need and desire, if Ban hadn't pursued it. And what Ban went after, Ban achieved with a 100% success rating. Guaranteed. So he got Ginji, not that he hadn't already had him before, there was just more personal space invasion involved and more tongues and less conversation in the depths of the night when they had a private place to call their own.
So that was the last few months. That was belonging to something that wasn't trying to drain the life out of you. That was happiness, no matter that they couldn't always afford a bed to sleep in or a decent breakfast. Truth be told, Ginji lamented the breakfast over the bed most times.
But not last night, when they'd fallen into it, a six pack of beer in hand that Ban had spent a good portion of the remaining funds getting, and a carton of shared fried rice. The rice had been scarfed down in minutes. The beer lasted longer, with Ban drinking four out the six and Ban becoming very, very touchy feely afterwards, which Ban usually wasn't.
Ginji liked kissing Ban. Liked the way his lips felt against his, and the feel of slick even teeth and the purposeful, gifted way Ban knew how to use his tongue. Ginji never would have thought kissing could be so erotic, just on its own merits. It sort of seemed silly, spending so much time with lips and tongue when the intake of food wasn't involved. But then, there'd never really been anybody that he'd cared to experiment with before Ban and those few encounters he'd had in Mugenjou city had not been particularly meaningful or lasting.
Ban knew kissing well enough. Ban was an old hand at it, though for the life of him Ginji couldn't figure out who had taught him or when. Ban hadn't had any girlfriends or boyfriends since Ginji had known him and Ban was no older than him, hell a few months younger if truth be told, which meant everything he knew he'd learned before he was nineteen, maybe even a few years before that, because Himiko claimed he hadn't exactly been a social butterfly when he'd been running with her and her brother. Of course Ban wasn't talking. Ban didn't like to talk about his past. Ban's eyes got shuttered and cool when you pried too hard, or he'd flat out tell you it was none of your fucking business, so Ginji stopped asking. It didn't matter. It didn't change who Ban was now. The past was the past as he tried so hard to tell himself and if you didn't let it, it couldn't impact your future.
So they'd had a good night. Ban had gone to sleep a little drunk and Ginji had hovered just beyond consciousness, still buzzing from his two beers. When you didn't drink very often it didn't take much to start making you see double. Eventually that melted away he had a dreamless few hours rest, before the heat woke him up again and he lay there thinking about Ban's cool skin and breakfast.
There was an itch between his legs. One hand drifted down to assuage it. He shut his eyes on the dingy scenery outside the window, interest diverted by the lazy pleasure stirring between his thighs. He jarred Ban with his elbow in the process and Ban stirred, grousing for Ginji to quit it, without really knowing what it was. Ginji murmured apology, hand stilled, waiting to see whether Ban would wake up or go back to sleep. If he woke, that would be nice, for maybe Ginji could get something more than a self-inflicted hand job. If not - - well, he'd just be a little less energetic about it, so as not to disturb. But, he really, really was feeling the itch bad now and lying there quietly seemed very much beyond him.
" . . . . . . ummmm?"
". . . . .is this a trick question?" Irritable reply from under a limp hand.
"Oh . . . um . . . did I wake you?"
"Is there someone else here?"
Ban turned onto his back, head firmly in possession of the pillow and let out a long sigh, on the verge of falling back to sleep. Ginji shifted around so he could see him. Slimmer than Ginji, a few pounds lighter, but it was all hard, solid strength under his skin. Deceptive strength considering his leanness, considering the fine elegant crafting of his bones. His hands were narrow. Fingers long and tapered, compared to Ginji's, but they could crush a man's neck or rip a door off its hinges if Ban tried. But for the most part, Ban was very, very careful with him, so much more in control of his strengths than Ginji was over his. Ban might be able to punch a hole through a concrete wall, but he was hardly ever anything but gentle when he lay with Ginji, only leaving occasional fingermarks on skin, or faint bruises when need overcame control .
On the other hand, lights often blew and the electricity in the walls hummed when Ginji was on the verge of orgasm. Hell, not even on the verge, if you wanted blatant honesty, sometimes all it took was a hand on his dick or a mouth on his nipple and he'd start emitting little tendrils of crackling energy. Ban had gotten a few nasty shocks in sensitive places during the last few months. But, Ginji thought he was getting better, he really did. He had much more control now that it wasn't so new - - now that he knew what to expect.
He reached out a tentative hand and skimmed his fingertips across Ban's ribs. Muscles twitched reflexively under thin skin. Ban's nipple pimpled a little. Ban sighed again and Ginji took a little more initiative, pressing his palm flat and running it up the long line of Ban's pectorals to the awakening nipple. Muscle, sinew, bone, flesh, skin . . . all combined to make a dangerously beautiful whole.
Ban cracked an eye open, a great deal of hair scattered haphazardly around it, shielding his exact expression from easy view.
"Ginji, do you wanna fuck?"
"un." Ginji thought he did. Really.
"What time is it?"
"I dunno. Ban - - ?" The urge came upon him strong and clear, and when Ban looked at him in question, Ginji stated definitively.
" - - I wanna be on top this time." He usually wasn't. It was just that Ban was so much more proficient at the task - - and had more patience
Ban kept looking, absorbing that demand, then blinked and shrugged. "Okay. Whatever."
Ginji grinned, gripped suddenly with the enthusiasm of the newly promoted.
Fucking Ginji was like home. Or some odd personification of that concept. It wasn't distant, or impersonal, it wasn't cheap and meaningless. It touched something inside Midou Ban that he hadn't even really known was there. Weird thing was, they probably could have gone on without ever having delved into the realm of sex and that same indefinable something would have responded to Ginji, like a moth drawn out of the darkness, fluttering bemusedly around a bright light.
That's how Ginji felt to him sometimes, when Ban stopped to think about it, like a light at the end of a dark, dark tunnel. Like a path to something that before him, had been unattainable. Which of course, was what he was. You didn't form bonds - - bonds that went deeper than friendship and more solid than simple physical contact, with a person newly met unless there was something other than chance in the working. Ban had a healthy respect for things that went beyond the mundane; for arcane mysticism and fickle fate and all the little intricacies in-between.
Sometimes Ginji scared him a little. Nothing Ginji did or could do or might do, but more that Ginji represented something Ban had gone without for a very long time. Comfort, need, trust. He'd had one or another of all those things through the years, but he couldn't ever recall experiencing all at the same time from the same person. He honestly hadn't thought it was possible, but with Ginji they just fell into place one after the other until Ban was left warily wondering if he wasn't expecting just a little too much from one ex-Mugenjou City gang banger.
Ginji never let him down. Even though he found himself expecting it now and then when the darkness crowded around the edges of his vision and the cloying omnipresence of the curse pressed down with just a little more weight than Ban could easily shoulder.
So, fucking Ginji was more than home, it was haven, even if Ginji never realized the enormity of the gift he was giving.
Now being fucked by Ginji was a completely different ball game. They'd sort of put it off for a while, Ban being on the receiving end of things. Partly because Ginji, while passionate and eager, was just a little uncertain about all the intricacies of sex and his role therein. Partly because - - well, Ban just didn't like being on the bottom of any situation and it took a whole lot of the trust that he'd grudgingly given Ginji, to allow someone else that much control over him. But mostly, mostly it was because it never ceased to freak Ban out - - really freak him out - - when Ginji lost control and started emitting current while he was actually inside him. Granted, there was more of the former and less of the later going on usually, but sometimes at the height of passion when pretty much all rational thought had left Ginji's head and he was down to primal instinct, his eyes would lose all the post-Infinite Castle Ginji and revert a little to the Raitei he had been when Ban had first met him.
That was a bad thing. Raitei Ginji made Ban uneasy, so Ban really rather preferred to be on top and in charge and for the most part, Ginji was perfectly content with that. Apparently today wasn't one of those times and Ginji was hot and impatient to be about it, hardly really giving Ban a decent amount of time to wake up from what might have been - - if they hadn't dissipated immediately upon wakening - - vaguely disturbing dreams.
Ginji wasn't one for needless foreplay when he was intent upon a thing. Especially in the morning when the need came on strong and urgent of its own accord. A hasty, obligatory meeting of the lips, a hand skimming down Ban's belly and encircling his dick and Ginji was questing for the lube, fumbling with a condom and trying to get down to business.
"Watch it - -" Ban warned, flinching from a crackle of just a little too much static electricity between their lips as Ginji pulled back to get the top of the lube off and spurt some of the stuff in his hand. Ginji grunted, semi-apologetic, mostly focused on getting Ban's leg up over his hip and himself positioned where he wanted to be.
Okay, a body expected a few shocks when dealing with Ginji. A body sort of got used to them - - well as much as it was possible to get used to electrical current skipping over your skin or passing through your flesh. But Ban truly preferred not to be shocked within an inch of his life if Ginji lost control, so Ginji had to be reminded in a sort of running commentary to ease up and tone down the sparks.
"Idiot! That hurts! Calm down. You'll blow the damned light bulb! Ginji - - breath. Ahhhh - - fuck - -"
And Ginji was where he wanted to be and happily setting his own pace and Ban clutched vainly at the sheets, biting his bottom lip at the varying degrees of sensation he was on the receiving end of. Every hair on his body was on end, crackling with residue static electricity. He felt it in his teeth.
"Giiiinnji - - -" he hissed in warning when a little jolt of electricity sizzled around Ginji's fingers, which were pressed into the mat by Ban's head.
"Sorry - - sorry, Ban-chan . . ."
Ban really didn't think Ginji had any idea exactly what he was apologizing for, it was simply an automatic response.
It didn't bother Ban much, his own focus narrowing down to the basics as his mind began to follow his body down the path of not really giving a goddamned as long as Ginji kept hitting that one particular spot, as long as Ginji's hand on Ban's cock didn't spark with too much current. A little electrical probing in the right place wasn't necessarily a bad thing and sometimes, without Ginji really trying or knowing he was doing anything more than relieving a troublesome itch, he could take Ban past that point where control was an option - - where anything resembling rational thought was attainable. Hell, he could almost do it when Ban was on top and in charge of things, but somehow, when he gave up that power it was like he left himself open to the flood.
Ginji started humming, a faint bluish glow emanating from his skin. Nothing particularly dangerous, just his internal power reacting to the crescendo his body was reaching. It meant he was close.
Ban got there first, with the help of Ginji hitting just the perfect spot with the perfect timing and the perfect little jolt of electricity that seemed to spread out along every nerve in Ban's body with little tingling shivers of sensation. He cried out and saw white, arching into Ginji's hand, spilling over Ginji's fingers and onto his own belly. Ginji wasn't far behind and after a few moments of furious pistoning, shuddered and emptied himself into Ban's body, then collapsed atop him, soft, tousled hair tickling Ban's jaw.
"Mummmmm, good." Ginji murmured, sated and happy and drained. There was nothing but the heat of skin between them now and the warm sticky mess that Ban had made on his stomach.
Normally, Ban would have pushed Ginji off immediately afterwards, uncomfortable with the dead weight pinning him down, but this particular session had been a bit more intense than usual and it took a bit longer for his brain to start functioning rationally again.
Even when it did he still felt a more than a little stunned. "Ginji - - get off." He pushed at Ginji's shoulder and Ginji obligingly rolled off, back to his side of the mattress.
"God, I need a shower." Ban muttered, pushing himself up, failing on the first attempt and lying back down with little lights dancing before his eyes. Which was why Ginji didn't get to be on top more frequently, Ban being entirely too wasted afterwards for comfort's sake. He made it up on the second attempt and staggered into the box of a bathroom with its sagging ceiling and hideously mildewed shower stall. It was like showering in a decrepit coffin and Ban would have waited for a proper bath at one of the local bath houses if he hadn't felt so sticky and hot and dazed. A spray of cold water was just what he needed to alleviate all of those problems.
Ginji was up and dressed and looking spry when he got out. He'd splashed water from the sink on his face and body and was apparently satisfied with that. He looked damned chipper. Ban glowered at him, snatching his glasses from the box that served as a bed stand and settling them on his nose.
"Breakfast?" Ginji asked hopefully. Breakfast sounded good. Ban thought he deserved breakfast.
Ginji pulled out a few lonely coins. Ban had a bit of paper.
"I've gotta get gas." Ban said.
Ginji groaned, the breakfast fund dwindling. "One egg mcmuffin? We can split."
Ban shrugged, figuring a half of breakfast sandwich wouldn't even begin to fill the void of his stomach.
"Maybe we'll get work today." Ginji said eagerly, ever the optimist.
They got gas. They got their one measly egg mcmuffin and took it to the Honky Tonk where Paul grudgingly added two cups of coffee to their ever expanding tab. The door jingled half way through the java and emitted a set of gravity defying female assets. Hevn's face floated above them, a perfect pin up for any number of X-rated magazines.
"Well hello, boys." She sang, in a fine mood, flouncing down to sit next to Ginji. She leaned forward, pale flesh spilling out of the low cleavage of her blouse to look around him at Ban. "You're looking frazzled this morning, Ban. Rough night?"
He narrowed his eyes and glared at her. She smiled charmingly but, her own gaze flickered away from his, not so comfortable meeting his eyes as Ginji.
"Fuck off, Hevn. What do you want?"
"What a way to speak to the lady that's brought you a job. A well paying job."
"Really?" Ginji said, a little suspicious. Hevn's well paying jobs usually entailed pain and suffering on their part.
"Really. And its easy. All you have to do is find this one little seal that's gone missing. It couldn't be simpler."
"Aren't they all?" Ban finished the dregs of his coffee and started fishing for a smoke.
"The client will pay for expenses up front." She added the clincher and Ginji's eyes widened. Ban's thumb paused on the lighter, his own eyes momentarily going a little round.
Hevn smiled. "Of course, I get my percentage - -"
"Fine. We'll take it." Up front meant gas money and decent meals and not being miserable while they were doing whatever it took to find this simple missing seal.
"I thought you would. Let me tell you the details . . ."
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