Bunji reflects on his friendship with Brandon and a special gift that he will cherish till the day he dies. This fic will contain spoilers if you haven't reached that far in the series.
Pairings and/or characters used: Brandon/Grave and Bunji (no yaoi)
Warnings: few swear words, perhaps slight spoilerish regarding Grave and Bunji's last and final battle, death.
Notes: the idea behind the lighter was a recent complaint I made on how you can't find good lighters that don't crap out on you before they are spent. Or just good working lighters at all. I feel Bunji's pain. Thanx to my wonderful betas!
Disclaimer: Me no own. Gungrave belongs to Red Entertainment, Project Gungrave, & Yasuhiro Nightow
Hunched over and struggling to remain conscious, the shady-eyed assassin, in a begrudged manner, admitted to himself how much of a punch the anti-Superior bullets really packed. A disgruntled sigh, something akin to a laugh, left his aching chest, which rose and fell in rapid sessions. His voice was still somewhat gruff, though the pain and fatigue hinted that his words were that of a dying man.
"Hey Bro, would....you....mind?" Bunji didn't have to finish his request as Grave slowly approached his pathetic, decaying shell; a mere remnant of what, at one time, was a man.
His eyes were just about useless though he still held his gaze on Grave, and even as his body was beginning to go numb, he could still sense the gray-haired man's hand touch his chest to reach into his jacket pocket and pull out a very badly crumpled pack of cigarettes. A glint of silver caught Bunji's attention and he watched Grave stare intently at the lighter he held, as if contemplating the familiarity of it.
"You still surprised I have it...after all this time huh? That is, if you even remember it." He saw Grave's eye glance from the lighter to his face and back to the lighter again, and in a moments passing, a surge of memories came rushing back into the amnesiac's mind. Must be nice to be able to forget, Bunji thought, for every time he had used the lighter, he could not help but think of how he felt the day he received it.
Grateful....acknowledged....accepted....one of the guys, a part of a family, feelings he hadn't felt, in what seemed like forever. Until the day, Brandon Heat caught him off guard and breathed life back into him with a challenge to become better and most definitely stronger. A wry smile he could barely feel crossed Bunji's lips, if he wasn't on the verge of dying, he would have shivered at the thought of the winter when the incident occurred.
Taking long drags off his cigarette, Bunji leaned over the stair's railing, watching the descent of the icy flakes as they blanketed the ground in whiteness. He pulled the collar to his jacket a bit tighter around his neck as the wind started to pick up, noticing from the corner of his eye a dark shadow approaching so quietly that even the bag it carried did not snap when it crinkled. His life of experience made him automatically tense up, though it immediately relaxed into a natural position again once he saw exactly who had appeared.
"Hey Bro. A group of us are going to the club in a few to celebrate, wanna join us?"
With his friend's hand upon his shoulder, Brandon was forced to stop in front of him, though he seemed preoccupied as he began to rummage into the bag he was carrying. "Sorry." He spoke in his usual soft, but monotone voice. "I have a few things I have to take care of tonight...perhaps some other time." His words ceased, as he seemed to come across the item he was looking for. Pulling it from the bag, he held the small box out to Bunji, motioning him to take it. When the burly man stretched out his hand, Brandon then placed the package into his palm. A raised eyebrow spoke Bunji's surprise and confusion.
Seeming to be amused, Brandon gave him a gentle smile, speaking two simple words. "Merry Christmas."
"Ehhh...well, um Bro, I don't normally do these kind of things. I...uh...never had a reason to."
Brandon just brushed the comment aside and nodded in understanding. "Neither do I but isn't it what friends do during this time of year?"
Bunji grunted in agreement at Brandon's logic, which surprisingly made sense to him. But just as he was about to respond, the head of True Grave patted his shoulder, releasing it as he began to walk away. "Thank me later." And with that, he quickly faded from Bunji's view.
Still a bit caught off guard and embarrassed by that fact, Bunji placed another cigarette into his mouth, having discarded his first one seconds before. He looked down again at the box in his hand, frowning somewhat as he tried to make sense of it all. "Ah hell..." He cursed under his breath as he reached into his breast pocket to pull out his lighter. Flipping his thumb over the rough circle, the lighter sparked once or twice but its flame never rose.
"Piece of shit." He grumbled in irritability, shaking the plastic object vigorously as if that would help fuel the fire. When it still refused to cooperate, Bunji admitted defeat while gruffly tossing the lighter off to the side. He then patted all of his pockets, hoping desperately to have something else on hand that could light his cig. With a sharp shake of his head, he blew out a breath of frustration, placing the cigarette behind his ear, freeing up his hands so that he could open the gift. Hopefully whatever was inside would ease the annoyance he had when simple things never went his way.
Ripping the ribbon, Bunji lifted the lid and was automatically stunned in awe. So much so, that he took off his shades to admire the item in his hand better. He plucked the cold metal out of the confines of the box and turned it over in the fading evening light, making sure that his eyes weren't playing tricks on him. The lighter was an unusual silver-gold color with a tint of copper. When turned a certain way, it was silver and another slightly angled view gave it the appeal of gold. But to look at it straight on, it was as shiny as a new penny. And the weight of it; he felt it to be endangeringly comfortable in his hand, unlike anything he ever had before. Flicking open the cover, he struck the lighter only to be graced with an actual flame. "Well, I'll be damned." Bunji gave a hearty laugh as he thought of the coincidence of it all and used the opportunity to light the cigarette he had earlier. It was quite unexpected to receive such a gift but it was a gift that he was sure he would die with when his time came. It would hold him accountable for so many things in his life. Things he never even thought would come to pass at this moment of receiving it.
He leaned back against the railing, observing the design and colors of the lighter. An unusual piece indeed, it took a special and unique person to pick something like this out, perhaps that's what captured Brandon's attention when he bought it for him in mind.
Those feelings, however, were short lived five months later when he received the most disturbing news. It wasn't so much that Brandon supposedly betrayed Millennion but the idea that he felt abandoned and lied to by him. Bunji even went as far as defiling the grave of the only person who was truly like a brother to him, the only one that he had considered family. This was beyond Bunji's style but he had to know, had to see with his own eyes if Brandon was truly dead or not. It was almost too much for him to fathom. Not only was the person who crashed Millennion's party and killed Bob Poundmax, Brandon Heat, (who is presently the walking dead among the living), but he was now Bunji Kugashira's enemy.
Standing at the edge of the freshly dug hole and glaring down into an empty casket, Bunji grounded his teeth in ill humor as he bit into the butt of his cigarette and leaned on the shovel, trying to make due of everything that happened. He snapped out of his stupor when he realized he was still holding the lighter, the lighter that he had given him and placed it back in his pocket; out of sight, out of mind.
"I warned you. I even went as far as nearly begging you not to do it and you sat there with such a cold, hard expression on your face agreeing with me that you wouldn't betray us....me. You said that you understood completely." The tone to his voice rose in anguish from all the bottled up emotion that he never had the chance to express until now when no one was around to see him behave this way. Bunji could start to feel himself reverting back to his old image, a part of him that he didn't want to go back to, but now...now he had no reason to keep himself in check, no stronghold to fall back on when he would need it the most. Sure he was now in charge of True Grave, no, that's not right; the new title he called the group was now Kugashira-gumi. Even the name Brandon Heat was forbidden to be spoken of and sometimes resulted in death to those who forgot. Traitors didn't need to be idolized.
Bunji flicked his spent cigarette into the open casket and spit on it in disgust. "I doubt that I'll ever know why you turned against us. For all those times we worked together, I still could never get a grasp on what made you tick. You were always so mysterious; I should've known that someone like you would find a way to cheat death." He reached into his waistband and pulled out his pistol, aiming it at where a body would've been laying and fired a few rounds into the cloth interior of the coffin. "This time, I'll make sure that you'll understand what happens when someone breaks the Iron Law. You taught me that much, I'm only upholding my duty."
Metal clicking against metal resounded in Bunji's ears. It didn't take a genius to figure out what it was, for not long after, he saw a blurry hand reach out in his downcast vision and place a lit cigarette between his lips as well as replacing the lighter where it belonged. He was right, after all this time, he would actually get to die with it. Something to take with him of memories that he tried to forget though was impossible to dispose of. Nothing more was said between the two men as Grave gave one final look to his ex-comrade and turned to leave. Bunji knew he had to say some parting words before it was too late but the real task was trying to get in a last breath to form the words he wanted to say.
The retreating footsteps stopped and waited.
"I never did get to tell you this." Bunji only hoped that death could hold out just a little while longer as he wheezed for air. "Thanks for the gift." Those few words held a lot of meaning to Bunji Kugashira that perhaps Brandon Heat would or would not have figured out the meaning of it. Thanks for the lighter; thanks for taking me in as an equal, and most importantly, thanks for the friendship when no one else would have ever given me the time of day.
Bunji wasn't able to see the expression on Grave's face but he faintly heard his retort as he fell sideways, death finally claiming its victim.
Grave continued walking, he didn't need to look back to know that Bunji was no longer in existence. It was all he could do for everything that he had just witnessed- a passing of friendship, betrayal and sorrow through a life and death that would never leave him the same. In walking away; in knowing that his friend-- or enemy-- was dead, it was his release and he'd leave it as such.