“Ban-chan …”


“But, Ban-chan …”

“Ginji, no. We can barely feed ourselves, and where the hell are we going to keep a goldfish?”

Ginji pouted, but Ban looked away before he could be suckered in by those large, sad brown eyes. The borrowed yukata felt stiff and a little too large on him–and it galled to think that not only did they have to rely on the monkey-trainer’s “generosity” to have them, but the implied fact that the bastard was bigger than him, Midou Ban-sama. It pissed him off more than when Natsumi had stolen his cigarettes, in effect cutting him off for the night.

“C’mon, Ban-chan, can’t I at least try?” Ginji was whining now, flattened palms pressed together, radiating the sort of desperate cheer that made him attractive to grandmothers, schoolgirls, and psycho stalkers. Ban was positive that the man in the black-and-silver yukata back over by the shooting booth was that damned zombie, but he wasn’t going to say a thing, not when Ginji was having fun.

Even if this “fun” currently involved harassing Ban until he got his way. “No is no, Ginji! If we blow all our money on games now, we’ll have nothing for food!”

Maybe that was a low blow, appealing to Ginji’s constant appetite–but sometimes, the best defense was going on the offensive. Ban shifted his weight and caught himself from looking at Ginji’s pleading eyes and fattened lower lip just in time.

“Ginji …”

“Just this once, Ban-chan, I promise! Just once, and then we can go.” Ginji sidled closer, all hopeful eagerness. Ban felt his resolve crumble, just a little.

Ginji …”

“This is the first festival I’ve ever been to,” Ginji wheedled. “Please? Can’t I at least try?”

Ow. Sucker punch, straight below the belt–Ban was impressed, even as he reeled from the impact. Contrary to what the monkey-trainer and his fellows thought, Ban did like to do stuff for Ginji, and there were certain key things he couldn’t refuse–and once upon a time, a younger Midou Ban had promised a newly-freed Amano Ginji that they could try everything, anything, at least once, just so that the lost boy could find something which fit.

“Fine. Fine, catch yourself a damn fish,” he bit out, and dug into his pocket for loose change. Ginji practically bubbled, hopping from one foot to the next, greedy-eyed as Ban gave him the required money.

“Wai~!” Ginji cheered, then bounce-launched himself at Ban, catching the other in a brief, strangletight hug around the neck. His breath smelled like the chocolate banana he’d been munching on, when it breezed Ban’s cheek. “Thank you, Ban-chan!”

Then he whirled back to the stall to try his luck. Ban tucked his hands into the yukata’s sleeves rather than touch his cheek–but anyone looking at him could easily see the smile trying to hide under the scowl.

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