Harnessed Lightning

A Get Backers Fanfic

By Jaelle

Disclaimer: Not mine.
Setting: Post-anime.
Warnings: Spoilers for end of anime!
Rating: G. Angst, fluff.

"Did you know?" Makubex asks one day.

Ginji is on a rare (and closely supervised) visit to Mugenjou. He brought his Get Back partner, two former Emperors, one poisoner and a picnic hamper with him. The latter item generates more interest within the walls of Lower Town. Inhabitants of Mugenjou see people with strange abilities every day, but a wicker basket containing strange and exotic foods like sandwiches and sushi rolls is something new. The plates and cutlery are an oddity too - they all match. Sakura has been staring at them in wonder since lunchtime started.

Makubex picks up the thermos of coffee and sniffs at it cautiously. The taste is disgusting, but it smells wonderful. He doesn't care much for the can of soft drink Midou pressed into his hands when they arrived either. Midou assures him that in the outside world a boy with his hobbies would be drinking this... Jolt Cola... stuff every day. It's almost a relief to know that that's one experience he'll be spared.

"Did I know what?" Ginji responds, having finally managed to clear his mouth of food long enough to speak.

Over on the other side of the picnic blanket, Midou and Shido are fighting, as usual. Kazuki is watching and trying to referee, flanked by his bodyguards, while Himiko merely watches, occasionally throwing in a jibe where it'll do the most good.

"That I was..." Makubex makes a motion with his hand and pauses, embarassed. "That I wasn't real."

Ginji stares at him for a long moment. "But you ARE real," he says, with patented Ginji misunderstanding.

Makubex sighs. "You know what I mean."

Ginji turns to look at the fight, which has now escalated in size and volume to include Juubei and Emishi. Ban clearly has his hands full. When Ginji turns to look back at Makubex, his posture has altered and he sits a little taller, a little straighter. He seems brighter somehow, and his eyes are much, much older.

"From the moment I first saw you," says Raitei. "I knew."

Makubex lowers his eyes before his King and clenches his hands tightly around the thermos. It comes from a coffee shop called the Honky Tonk. Ban and Ginji speak of it often. They make wonderful food there, and the best coffee in Japan. The owner's name is Paul, and he is a former retrieval expert and computer geek, who has ridiculously powerful hard drives in his basement.

All of which are full.

The thermos is warm, made of metal, and unblemished by scratches or dents. It is solid and heavy and real in Makubex's hands, which are not.

It's a long moment before he speaks again, this time with a slight choke in his voice. "Why?"

Why didn't you tell me? Why did you accept me? Why did you bring me into the Volts and make me a leader?

Why do you keep saving me? Why do you care about me?

When you knew all along I wasn't real.

"Because," says Raitei, "you are Makubex, and you are my friend." The Lord of Lightning leans over and presses his lips against Makubex's forehead. They're warm.

"To me, you are real."

And the flush across Makubex's cheeks certainly feels it.

"What are you two talking about?"

Makubex and Raitei jerk apart and look up at Midou, who is glaring at them suspiciously. Ginji blinks twice, and them beams. "Ban-chan! Did you win the argument?"

The conversation moves on, but Midou's gaze on Ginji is narrow, and soon he announces that it's time to go. The party breaks up, with various people leaving or staying behind. Midou gives Sakura a flat stare when she tries to hand him the picnic basket and asks out loud what the heck she's talking about, just keep it! Or does she really think he's gonna walk around with that thing like an idiot? Ginji laughs and hugs everyone, even those who are accompanying him back into the world outside Mugenjou. And Makubex hides in silence, wondering if this, then, is Raitei's true power.

"Don't worry so much, Makubex," Ginji chides teasingly, tackling him for one last hug before he leaves. "If you think too hard, it'll just make your head hurt."

"I'll do my best," Makubex promises, already missing his friend.

Midou scolds and Ginji laughs and they leave together, out into the real world where he cannot go, for he does not truly exist. They are human, and he is merely data; a massive computer programme, given shape and substance by electricity.

Harnessed lightning.


A/N: Rrrgh... could NOT get the ending to go the way I wanted it.

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