Midou Ban is very good at staying alive.
He is still alive--despite his enemies, his friends, himself--because some lessons are worth learning well. The lesson is this: no one can begin to understand others, if he does not even know himself. Control, manipulation, survival: they're all the same, and they all rest upon Ban's understanding of the people around him.
Ban is still alive because he understands people. He may not like them, but he knows them--knows them well enough to snare them with his Jagan, and to make dreams as true--truer--than reality itself. Ban knows this: to understand another person is to use their strengths and weaknesses in his own favour.
Midou Ban is still alive--despite his enemies, his friends, himself--because he knows that he is weak. Ban is honest with few people, and even then, the truth is something to be handled delicately when it can't be skirted altogether. Ban does not lie to himself--or doesn't try to fool himself when he does. There are things that he admits to himself, though he would to no others: he knows that is arrogant, rude, violent; he is foolish more often than he cares to think about, and he is nowhere close to deserving the wholehearted devotion Ginji has gifted him with.
Ban is as honest with himself as he can bear to be. He knows himself better than he wants to, but he is alive where others are not.
There is another truth, and it leaves Ban in awe, furious, choking on his own terror: Ginji is important to him, as important as his own life--more important. Ginji is trusting, generous, emotional--too much of everything--and he has become an integral part of Ban's life. Ban can not remember being lonely, or needing a partner--a friend--but Ginji filled up all the empty places in Ban that he hadn't even thought to question.
They are strong together: Ban and Ginji, the Invincible Get Backers!
They are strong, powerful, and good at what they do, but Ban can't lie to himself about this: sometimes, Ban is frightened. He fears for Ginji, not because he doesn't believe that his partner is strong, and capable, but because--they have enemies, and their work is dangerous, and even strength, and skill, and power aren't always enough.
Sometimes, Ban is afraid, because he doesn't know what he'd do without Ginji.
Midou Ban has courted death before--has brought himself to the brink of something vast and dark again, and again, and again, only to pull back, fight, survive. It isn't in Ban to give up, but without Ginji. . . without Ginji, loosing in a messy, spectacular fashion isn't the worst thing that Ban can think of.
Ban has played out his own death a hundred different times, in a hundred different ways. Old friends and enemies litter Ban's past and present, and many (most) of them desire him dead. Even his own life and death are tools to be used, and Ban is an expert at crafting his own death: violent, bloody, brutal.
Ginji dies, too, because of the job, or more often yet, because of Ban. Ban plays out his own death as a joke, and a promise, and watching his blood fly and his body crumple hasn't ruffled his composure in years. Killing Ginji is a different matter entirely, because Ban has seen too much of his partner's blood already, has seen Ginji hurt too often, and watching Ginji die is an exercise in might-have-been.
Ban doesn't like thinking of Ginji as vulnerable (foolish, naive, in need of a guiding hand--but never, ever weak). Ginji is strong, and his talent for staying alive is as great as Ban's. Ginji is still human, though, and Ban pays careful attention to detail when he uses the Jagan: the angle of a broken neck; the sound of tearing flesh; the scent of blood, bile and shit that arise from a body torn to shreds.
Once, a long time ago, Ban thought that watching Ginji die in dreams would grow bearable. Ban can admit to himself, in no one else, that he is an idiot. Now, when success and survival depend on their deaths, Ban promises himself, Ginji, the world: never, not ever, not so long as I'm here, not so long as there's still breath enough in me to fight.
He doesn't say anything of the sort to Ginji, of course, because words will only make things messy, and complicated--
(because Ban never wants to hear that same promise on Ginji's lips).
Midou Ban is very good at staying alive.
He's going to be even better at keeping his partner alive.
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