[Maria] November 19, Minato Mirai 21
They had just gotten paid, which was good, and they'd been nowhere near the Honky-Tonk at the time, which was better, because it meant they got to splurge on dinner before Paul could demand his share. It wasn't quite cold enough to snow, and the last of the dead leaves were falling through the air. Dinner was all-you-can-eat pasta, at one of the many restaurants in Yokohama that had not been planning for just how much Ginji could eat, when motivated. Ban had a few breadsticks. His appetite was always bad in winter.
They walked out next to the water in the dark, afterwards, and tossed rocks in. The bay was dark and still, and every rock left ripples across the long reflections of the pathway lights.
"Hey, Ban-chan." Ginji leaned over the railing, bouncing on his toes. "Have you ever been to America?"
Ban sniffed and took a drag on his cigarette. "America? Naaah. Nothing over there but a bunch of google-eyed tourists. How come?"
"Well, I mean, it's that way, isn't it?" Ginji pointed out over the bay, a little unsteadily, toward the distant lights of what might be Tokyo, or might be somewhere in Chiba. "Natsumi let me look at her map of the world once when she was doing her homework and she showed me Tokyo. And if you go straight east from Tokyo you get to California. They pan for gold there! It's just lying in the streams, and if you run a bunch of water over a pan the gold just floats up - ow! Ban-chan, what was that for?"
"That was a hundred years ago, idiot." Ban leaned forward on the rail while he lit his cigarette. It reflected on the water as well. Close to the railing he could see that the water wasn't perfectly still; it lapped against the pilings below them, in tiny waves. Ginji was balancing on the rail; he rocked on his heels, hanging on the edge, exuberant and childish.
He pouted like a kid, too. "So they've gotten it all?" But them he perked up and jumped down, grabbing a lightpole and spinning around it. "But maybe there's more gold coming out fo the ground now! If you have a lot of gold, you're rich, right?"
"What, you want to live in a tent out in the woods and have to carry all the gold out on a mule?" Ban puffed on the cigarette, and leaned comforably against the rail, watching Ginji. There was plenty of gold in his hair, and in his oversized sweatshirt he looked ridiculously comfortable.
"Nah. Being a retrieval agent's better." Ginji nodded to himself as he spun. "Besides, we're helping people." He abruptly let go of the post and careened off of Ban, managing somehow to plant a kiss on his cheek and press him up against the rail without dropping both of them neatly into Tokyo Bay. Ban dropped his cigarette. It vanished somewhere into the water and he gave a startled squawk before shoving back. They rocked across the boardwalk, trading occasional loose blows, although any pretense that this was a real fight was ruined by Ginji's occasional guffaws. Ban kept his scowl firmly in place, and managed to bark out a few half-hearted insults before Ginji managed to bang his knees against a planter and go sprawling over backwards, bringing Ban with him with an offended yelp. They lay there for a moment, panting. Their noses were touching.
"Shit," Ban declared. "Didn't you watch where you were going?"
"Ban-chan, let me up? There's multch in my hair!" Ginji wrinkled his nose. "And I was going backwards, so I couldn't."
He managed offended dignity remarkably well. His body was warm and comfortable, and after a long moment where Ban didn't move, he wrapped his arms over his partner's shoulders. They were warm and comfortable too, and very strong. Ban gave up and lay his head on Ginji's shouder. "Yeah, well, you nearly knocked me into Tokyo Bay. You have any idea how hard it is to get seawater out of upholstry?"
"No. Do you?"
"Nope. Never had to."
Somehow this struck them both as hilarious. Ban managd to roll off and land next to Ginji, his glasses askew. He reached up abesntly to settle them back on his nose. When he finally manged to stop, he took a few deep breaths. The putative tree was a nest of bare branches and dead leaves, but there were a few stars visible high above. Somewhere off to the side he could see the shape of the Landmark Tower. Second tallest building in Japan, he remembered muzzily. It didn't look like much from this angle. Most of it was dark.
"Did we have two beers or three?" he asked, trying halfheartedly to sit up.
Ban stretched out. He was going to get multch in his hair too, but it was already a mess. He had a comb in the car; it wasn't a big deal. "Good thing you're not driving, then, airhead."
"We don't have to drive anywhere, Ban-chan, we're not parked in a tow space and we don't have a job." Ginji rolled halfway over and propped himself up on one elbow, blinking earnestly at Ban. "I like it out here. How come we always hang around Shinjuku? We should get out of the city more."
Ban blinked lazily. In the soft glow Ginji's face was shadowed; only the outline of his shoulder was clearly visible. "It's where the jobs are." It's where all your friends are, he didn't say, because he knew Ginji would protest that they were Ban's friends too, and he didn't want to break up the peaceful night with an argument. He took a deep breath; there was already mist rising off the bay.
Ginji stared down at him for a long moment. For a giddy second Ban expected Ginji to kiss him, but the moment passed, and his partner sat up, stretching, turning until his soft smile caught the light. "Come on," he said. "It's cold out here. Let's get back to the car, 'kay?"
"Yeah, sure." Ban accepted the hand up with only a slight glower, and attempted to brush the dirt from his hair and his coat while Ginji attempted to hide his giggles. His breath formed clouds in the air, and the stars were invisble behind a soft layer of mist. "Have to get some rest. You never know when the next desperate customer will show up."
Ginji nodded. "And you can't pan for gold anywhere anymore, right? So we have to get money some other way."
"Right. Who needs gold, anyway?" Ban ruffled Ginji's hair, and Ginji's smile lit up like a bulb turning on.