Author/Artist: Amethyst Hunter
Fandom: Get Backers
Theme: #22 - "cradle"
Rating: PG-13 (language, m/m)
Warnings/Spoilers: Minor ones for basic canon.
Notes: By necessity this chapter is unfortunately very short - I'm having computer problems (again). :/ Comments are still welcome, though it may be a while before I can respond due to the aforementioned situation.
- The tarot used is the standard deck; I tweaked it a little to provide suitable drama for Himiko's reading. ;)
Disclaimer: Don't own 'em. Akane Akabane though, is my own invention.
Summary: Himiko reflects on the mysterious no-man's land that brought Ban and Akabane together, and a new path revealed sets into motion a revolution that will change everyone's lives forever.
It started, as such things do, with a simple cough. From there it progressed to hacking fits, and further onward to full-blown sickness. At first they thought it was just a cold - the flu season was being unusually virulent this year and nearly everyone had gotten hit with something; Paul Wan had had to temporarily close down the Honky Tonk for two weeks the previous month because he, Natsumi, and Rena were all out sick at the same time. But when Akane's tissues began turning up in the wastebasket dotted with dark bloodstains, the gravity of the situation leveled them.
"No arguments, Mama! You're going to a hospital at once," Akabane ordered as he packed the overnight bag almost as quickly as a grumbling Akane was yanking items out of it. "This is serious!"
"You fuss too much!" Akane half-hacked, half-hissed out as she struggled to rise from the sickbed where she'd been forcibly confined. "Is only same thing I had before many times. It passes on its own, I rest and I will be fine!"
Akabane looked aghast at her. "And you never went to a doctor for this condition? Mama! I'm taking you straight to the emergency room myself!"
"Karawan, I warn you - " Akane shook her small fist, trying to pull the overnight bag away from her stubborn son.
Himiko stepped in between them, allowing Akabane to take the duffel and keep filling it. "Akane-san, he's right. Listen to you, you can barely talk, much less sit up. At least do it for our peace of mind," she implored.
"Forget it, she's a tough old bag," Ban said, narrowing his eyes in warning at the angry elder. "No buts, Akane! You're going now and if you keep pissing and moaning about it so help me Aesclepius all three of us are gonna drag you there by the skin of your teeth!"
Akane relented only slightly, continuing to growl under her breath about overprotective sons, their churlish mates and said mates' impertinent siblings. But she allowed them to bundle her into Ban's Subaru and drive her to the nearest hospital.
The news wasn't good. Upon being admitted for examination the attending physician took one look at Akane's test results and diagnosed an infection that had been brewing indefinitely. Hearing that sent Akabane into silent ice-racked spasms and Ban into a frothing fit, so it fell to Himiko to gather the particulars of Akane's treatment and relay the information between doctor and patient - when she wasn't being hounded by said patient's other escorts.
"How could she not tell us she was getting worse?" Akabane fumed quietly in the waiting area while Akane was being transferred to a private room for immediate treatment. "Did she honestly think I'd never find the bloody tissues she was trying to conceal in the trash all the time?"
"Well, that explains how come I could never draw any blood from you every time you came home from a rough beating and I'd ask what happened," Ban grunted. "Like pain-in-the-ass mother, like pain-in-the-ass son!"
Akabane's eyes flattened to slits and his lips peeled back to spit a sharp retort. Himiko cut him off before the first knife, verbal or otherwise, could fly. "Save the fight for later! Akane needs us right now and she can't get any rest if you two are tearing this place apart."
To her surprise it was Ban who was first to surrender. "Aw hell, she's right." Some of the tension drained from his taut face and he squeezed Akabane's shoulder. "Didn't mean to bite off your head. I know this isn't easy for you."
Akabane didn't look any happier, but neither did he have that dangerous glint in his eye anymore. He sagged against Ban's side. "Why didn't she say something about how awful she was feeling? Instead she kept swallowing all the medicine I was giving her and I never knew - "
"She didn't want to worry you," Ban soothed, putting his arm around Akabane and bringing him in a little closer. "Moms are like that with their grown kids." There was a moment of awkward silence as he realized how close to home his own words had hit, given his uneasy truce with his own mother. "You did nothing wrong," he said in a firmer tone when it looked like Akabane would have descended into self-flagellation. "You said yourself to me, patients fight with their doctors all the time. It doesn't surprise me that your mother wouldn't say a thing. I could tell right away when I first met her that you got your strength from her. Her type doesn't crack."
"Oh?" Akabane leaned into his lover, relaxing somewhat. The tightness in his knit brows ebbed a little. "I suppose I am being rather foolish about this, aren't I?"
"Nah." Ban rubbed Akabane's shoulder. "Just upset. That's normal. I'm not too thrilled either with Akane for keeping her illness a secret, if you want to know."
Akabane tucked his head under Ban's chin, favoring him now with a tiny lavender glimmer of affection. "Thank you, Ban-kun," he whispered.
Ban nuzzled his temple. "It'll be okay, Kuroudo-liebe."
But hours later when the doctor returned to update them on Akane's status, it wasn't.