Ban wasn't really suprised when he found a gun underneath the counter. Paul was, after all, the sort of man usually decribed as 'mild-mannered', complete with undertones of subtle menace. It was more than possible he was in the smuggling business on the side, although the padlock on the basement door was beyond Ban's skill to open.
Still, it wasn't what he was looking for, and so he set it carefully aside before he resumed his hunt for the secret stash of cigarettes. (There had to be one.)
"Ban-chan?" came a querelous voice. "What's this?" Ban winced and climbed out, caerful not to hit his head. Ginji had picked up the gun and was peering curiously at it. His eyes widened. "A handgun? Why's it here?"
At that moment, the door chimed and swung open. Ban sighed and leaned against the counter, fishing for a cigarette before remembering that he was out, completely out, and that was why he'd been trying to borrow from Paul. "Hello~!" chimed a familiar voice. "I brought - EEEK!" A thump, as though she'd dropped something. Ban held onto the counter as he pulled himself upright. Natsumi was shivering, staring at Ginji, who had the gun pointed toward the door and a puzzled look.
"Shit," Ban muttered. "Ginji, give that here, it's not ours, we shouldn't mess with it - " He paused, because Ginji had a tendency to do things too fast. "Carefully."
"Ah - alright," Ginji said, and handed it back. Ban took the gun by its barrel and set it down in front of him.
Natsumi had pulled herself together by this time, and picked up the bundle she had dropped, with a laugh. "Sorry," she exclaimed, a little breathlessly. "You startled me. I know I shouldn't be scared, Master keeps that thing loaded with blanks. Would you like some pie? I baked it myself."
"Hold on," said Ban. "You knew he kept a gun under the counter?"
Natsumi nodded, and handed Ban the bundle. Automatically he began to unwrap it; the smell of warm blueberries drifted out. "Yeah. The loaded one's in the freezer." She appeared oblivious to Ban's look of shock as she continued, "He's been teaching me target shooting - I'm not very good yet, but I'm getting better, really! And besides, he says most people are so scared of guns they won't even notice if you miss. Where's the cake knife? I know I washed it."
"Ah, right here," piped up Ginji eagerly, and produced it with a flourish. The knife block wobbled dangerously, but didn't actually fall over. "You've really been learning target shooting, Natsumi-chan? That's so cool!"
Ban took a seat at the counter, wishing again for a cigarette. He listened as Natsumi explained the basic principles of aiming a handgun to Ginji, and watched her earnest face and tiny hands, and suddenly felt a chill in his stoumach.
When they finished the pie, Natsumi vanished to the back room. Ginji trailed after her, but stopped in the doorway, glancing back at Ban. "Ban-chan? Did you know about the gun?"
"I thought it might be around," Ban said. "Don't worry, I'll put it back and he'll never know it was gone. Unless Natsumi mentions it. Can you talk to her?"
"Sure!" Ginji grinned and left.
Ban picked up the gun and weighed it between his hands. Only blanks, he thought. Well, it's a cafe, even if it might have other things in the basement. Not someplace dangerous.
Not someplace where the waitresses should need to know how to shoot.
He wiped the grip with his shirt-tail before he put it away, and told himself it was just a hobby.