The Shinsengumi being an all-male organization was great in a lot of ways; eliminating the embarrassment and need to impress when it came to the opposite gender, being able to be as dirty or uncouth as they wanted and totally avoiding stereotypical boob grabs that was sure to get their throats slit and balls ripped. In times like these however, Sougo wished more than anything that they took a page out of the Mimwarigumi's book and enlisted fearsome women into their ranks, if only to avoid the horrific situation he was in now.
Currently, the Captain of the First Division stood outside the Yorozuya doorway, with his mayo obsessed and gorilla like superiors. Faintly, Sougo could feel his eye twitch. "Remind me again why we're here?" he drawled, already knowing the answer but hoping the extra few seconds could buy him enough time to come with a plan- any plan- than the one proposed.
Kondo, in typical Kondo fashion, pushed out his chest, stretching his face into a wide grin, "Sougo! Don't be so down! This won't go nearly as badly as you're imagining!"
Beside him, Hijikata scoffed, a swirl of smoke curling from the end of his ever-present cigarette. "You're right Kondo-san." He agreed, before his tone dropped, "It'll go worse."
Promptly, the Vice-Commander rapped his fist against the door and waited all of three seconds before ripping it to the side with the violence of machine gun. "OYYYY YOU LAZY BASTARD, YOU SHOULD ANSWER THE DOOR FOR YOUR GUESTS!"
Immediately, like a genie summoned from a bottle, or maybe a cursed spirit from a dented coke can, the Yorozuya leader stuck his head out his bedroom door, lip curled in antagonism. "Hahhh?" he sneered, "Look who's talking you rude Mayora. Don't you know breaking and entering is a crime? I'll arrest you."
Hijikata's patience already thin, the officer launched himself towards Gin, grabbing him by his pajama lapels and shaking him to the point of murdering whatever brain cells he still had left. "I'll kill you." Hijikata swore, "I'll absolutely kill you. Why is it that whenever something happens it always has to involve you?! For once I just want a job to go smoothly, is that too much to ask!?"
Bored, Gin picked his nose as his head shook back and forth, "What's this about a job? Are you tax robbers finally gonna pay us everything you owe?" Gin's smirk was all Hijikata needed to slam his head against the wall and wash his hands clean of the silver haired perm head.
"What's with all this noise! A lady needs her beauty sleep, yes!" Kagura's feet flew in the air, landing a solid kick to Hijikata's head as she rubbed her eyes of sleep.
"You could sleep forever and you would just get uglier China." Sougo deadpanned, expertly dodging the flying slippers to his head.
A torn expression on his face, Kondo jumped in between the two savages, arms waving in a placating gesture, "Now, now, everyone should just settle down. We came here with a request not to fight, right?"
The front door slid open again as Shinpachi stepped in, taking one look at the insides of his home before feeling all the energy drain from his body. And it wasn't even noon. The boy sighed. If the Shinsengumi were here, that couldn't mean anything good.
With Shinpachi's help, Kondo managed to get the yelling to stop and at least save some potential broken limbs. Emotions settled and a temporary truce laid out, the six of them had managed to seat themselves like civil adults. "So?" Gin asked, arms outstretched behind Shinpachi and Kagura's heads, "What's the job?"
Hijikata lit up another cigarette, puffing out a plume of smoke. "What we're about to tell you is top secret and can't leave this room. Four days from now, a kidnapping attempt will be made on Princess Soyo's life."
Kagura's eyes widened, body shooting forward as she yelped, "Soyo-chan!?" her lopsided grin sent shivers down Hijikata's spine, "Tell us who it is so we can crush them."
"Relax China girl, we're asking for your help to save her, but we can't alert them of our knowing." Sougo said, finger tracing the hilt of his sword.
"The Princess rarely leaves the castle for official purposes," sending a pointed look at Kagura, "But in four days she's going to be attending the Light Festival as a dignitary to boost public morale. A division of the Harasume Space Pirates are pulling off the job in order to have leverage over the Bafuku. As the Princess's escorts during the festival, we're supposed to take her to a private waiting room before the festival begins for her grand entrance. That is when the kidnapping is going to take place."
"It sounds like you have everything covered," Shinpachi said, confusion written in his face, "Why do you need us?"
"I'm sure you understand that we can't endanger the Princess's life even a little," Kondo replied, "So to ensure that nothing will happen to her, we're going to make a switch, use a decoy and hide the Princess so that when the kidnappers do come, they'll be met with our own ambush and we'll take out the whole group in one go."
And suddenly, the plan was clear. "You want to use Kagura as the decoy?" Gin asked, side-eyeing the girl.
Kagura's eyes were sharp, focusing on the ideas turning around in her head. "If it's to protect Soyo-chan," Kagura said, clapping her fist against the palm of hand, "I'll crush them and look all royal doing it, yes!"
Smiling just a little, Gin nodded his head, "Alright, we'll help you incompetents out."
Grinding his teeth, Hijikata forced his hand to stop twitching to his sword, "Don't act all cocky Yorozuya, the Shinsengumi don't have any women and we can't just put in a civilian who can't defend herself. China girl's gonna have to do."
"We'll be expecting full reimbursement you know." Gin stated, his fish eyes looking more sadistic than dead.
"I'll need extra for the emotional trauma of losing my identity for a while." Kagura added.
"And of course you need to pay the consultation fee for taking up so much of our time today." Shinpachi pretended to look apologetic but was mostly fantasizing about the real food they would get to stock up in the fridge with all the money.
"You've got yourself a deal!" Kondo boomed, looking pleased with himself before two fists flew in the air to bash him on the head.
"Idiot Kondo-san and his ridiculous ideals."
As the days rushed by in planning and ironing out the details, the Light Festival seemed to have crept up behind them like an ambush. Meeting up in the living room, the Yorozuya crowded around the table, all fired up and ready to go. "Everyone remember the plan?" Gin asked, looking sharply at Kagura who seemed to be focused on picking her ears rather than listen to him.
"Yeah, yeah, I got it. It's not that difficult to remember. I don't have Alzheimer's like you, yes."
"What?! I'm not that old you little brat!"
Stepping in between them, Shinpachi's smile strained, "Come on you two, we're going to be late to meet the rest of them. Let's just hurry up and finish this so we can go eat hot pot after."
At the promise of food, the two gluttons pacified instantly, becoming all sparkles and rainbows. "Is it your treat Pachi-boy? Really? Really?" Kagura squealed grabbing her friend in a side hug.
Gin clapped his protégé on the back vigorously, "That's my boy! Always knows what to say!" Sighing, Shinpachi could feel the years on his life drain away.
At least he got them out the door.
A little while later, they had arrived at the Shinsengumi station, Gin and Shinpachi being ushered into the main hall to change into the signature uniform while Kagura disappeared. "I hope everything goes smoothly," Shinpachi worried, his hands curling around each other, "Kagura-chan isn't exactly the most princess like person…"
Smiling, Gin placed a comforting hand on Shinpachi's shoulder, "If it's to protect a friend, Kagura can do anything."
Shinpachi smiled, resolving to put his faith in his friend and finished buttoning up the uniform. Together, the two boys of the Yorozuya retraced their steps until they were outside and looked around for some hint as to what to do next. "Oy, Yorozuya!" Hijikata barked, waving them over.
The two jogged towards the vice chief and his first officer who looked suspiciously like he was trying to set the back of Hijikata's shirt on fire. A pair of keys were tossed in the air and Gin caught them, looking more excited than could be trustworthy. But considering there were no other options, Hijikata tried to ignore the bad feeling that a theft was about to occur. "Take that car over there, number 52, and wait on standby. We're heading out in two minutes so hurry up." Hijikata snuffed out his cigarette, "And remember, when escorting the princess into the car, make sure it's obvious which one she's getting into and that her face shows clearly."
"Roger that." Gin answered in mock seriousness before running giddily to the car.
"Should we tell him that all cars have a tracking device in it?" Sougo mused, arms locked behind his head.
Hijikata grinned, "Of course not. This time I'll finally be able to arrest that silver haired bastard."
Back in the car, the two Yorozuya members buckled themselves in and Gin quickly stuck in the keys. The revving of the engine made him giggle like a schoolgirl as he reversed out the lot to join the car line up outside the station.
"Oy, Shinpachi. Do you think we can keep the car?"
"Absolutely not." Shinpachi deadpanned, already knowing exactly where this was leading.
Gin nodded, "I thought so. Guess we're just gonna have to steal it then. I don't have money to fix my bike."
"YOU CAN'T STEAL A COP CAR! THEY'LL ARREST YOU! THEY'LL ARREST ME! I WON'T ALLOW IT!" Shinpachi shrieked, smacking Gin's arm repeatedly.
But as Gin guffawed manically, his eyes already dreaming of high speed chases and no lease fees, Shinpachi could only mourn his potential at living crime free and of them ever getting a single penny from the Shinsengumi for the rest of their lives.
Kagura was ushered into a separate room by Yamazaki who carried a bag of supplies. "Here you go," he said, handing her the bag, "Just come out when you're done."
Kagura saluted, "Aye aye!"
Quickly pulling out the multi-coloured kimono and obi, Kagura struggled to put it on but seemed content with the final result as she twirled before a mirror. Adjusting the waist a little, Kagura pulled off her trade mark bun covers and tied her hair back into a tight bun. Pulling out a brown wig from the bag, she placed it on her head and stared at herself curiously. Kagura arched her back, holding her hands above her stomach the way she'd seen Soyo do it a million times and kept her face blank. It was funny, she mused, how straightening your back and holding yourself with grace could change a person. Grabbing the luxurious fan, Kagura strode out the door putting in every ounce of effort at trying to mimic her friend's gait and felt rewarded at Yamazaki's awed eyes.
"You look completely different China-san!" he marvelled.
"That's Princess China to you, plebeian." The evil expression ruined her royal appeal however and her glamour was quickly dispelled.
"Alright, now that you're ready, we can get going."
Hurrying, the two ran outside the compound towards the sewer grate. Sliding open the grate, Yamazaki crawled down the ladder first, jumping onto the worker's ledge and waiting for Kagura to follow after, closing the grate behind her. Immediately, the girl's hands flew to her nose, her face scrunching together, "It's disgusting in here, yes!" she complained, waving her fan in front of her as though that would help any.
A resigned smile on Yamazaki's face, he simply shrugged, leading the way. "It is what it is."
They continued their trek in silence, the two of them mainly focusing on stepping onto clean pathways and trying not to puke. Eventually, they turned into a more spacious passage with streams of light flowing from another grate up above. Yamazaki glanced at his watch, "Ok China-san, you're up."
Nodding, Kagura climbed up the ladder lithely, looking down for Yamazaki's signal. She stood there on standby for maybe seventeen minutes, her impatience tapping her foot against the ladder rail and her irritation making her this close to launching down and beating the crap out of Yamazaki for being so plain. Finally, Yamazaki nodded at her, and Kagura groaned in relief, nimbly pushed the grate up and to the side only to see the underbelly of a car. Tapping it, a circular hole opened as Shinpachi lifted off the metal sheet that covered it. "Hi Kagura-chan."
Crawling up, Shinpachi grabbed hold of her underneath her arms and helped pull her into the car. Seeing her friend, Soyo clapped her hands together in cheer, "Kagura-chan!" she chirped, "You look so much like me! It's amazing!"
"Right? Right?" Kagura egged on, revelling in all the praise.
"Yes, yes, Kagura looks like a replica of you but you need to get out of the car now Princess if we want this plan to work."
"Oh, right! Well I'll be on my way then, good luck everyone! I'll see you soon!" her farewell was caught in the echo of the sewer as she climbed down carefully, Yamazaki helping her down at the final rungs.
Reaching down, Kagura closed the grate again with one final smile to her friend before sliding the metal sheet over the car floor and tapping the back of Gin's chair. "Let's go."
"As you wish Princess." Though his tone was a mocking seriousness, Gin's smile was rife with amusement.
Gin honked on the horn three times, the signal for the disguised Shinsengumi members to stop their bumbling construction worker act at the pedestrian walkway and clear up the way for the cars. As the procession moved again, Shinpachi slid back into the front seat and Kagura took her place in the back fanning herself to curb her nervousness.
Eventually, the car pulled up at the festival main house, a luxury hotel that specialized in big events and mind-blowing entertainment. The squadron of cars lined up at the front in a diamond formation, with the exterior cars unloading their men and standing guard before the middle car, containing the Yorozuya, was given the ok signal. Gin and Shinpachi stepped out first, checking the area before Gin moved to Kagura's side and opened the door, bowing to her slightly. "Princess, we've arrived."
Hiding her face with her fan Kagura's demeanor burned with regality. "Thank you officer."
Striding up the stairs with her entourage, Kagura's every footstep was light and her chin high. She would do Soyo proud. Inside, she was met with the manager of the hotel who bowed low and spoke reverently. "Your highness, we are honoured by your presence at our humble hotel. Please follow me to your suite along with your security and aides."
Kagura bit her lip. The trouble of this plan wasn't the hotel or the Shinsengumi or even the wildcards, (meaning her and her idiotic partners), it was the aides. Those who knew the princess inside and out just by spending so much time with her. They had intended to split them up for some alone time but the offer of the manager made it awkward to implement without arousing suspicion. Glancing quickly at Gin, who's blank stare lent her some comfort, Kagura set her resolve to make this work. Marching up to the highest floor, her entourage of guards split as they covered all access points until all who were left were Kondo, Hijikata, Sougo, and the Yorozuya.
Kondo and Hijikata stayed put at the door, barring the manager from entry as he bowed his farewell. Inside the room, Sougo, Gin and Shinpachi stood near the windows and door and allowed the two aides to settle the princess's belongings and the like. Being the Blossom Suite, the room took up the majority of the floor and was fixed with the highest security features; filtered air systems, bulletproof windows and nearly impenetrable walls. The elevator only got that high with clearance access which only the people on that floor currently had plus the manager. All in all, it was a security dream, which made Hijikata and the rest all the more nervous about the impending attack.
What Kagura was more concerned with at the moment however, was how to act normally while not showing her face. She didn't need to worry though, as her aide primly stood up and bowed, "Excuse me Princess, but I would like to speak to the manager about lunch arrangements and to ensure they're accommodating your dietary needs."
"Yes of course, you may take your leave." Kagura answered, inwardly sighing in relief as the other stranger in the room was busy preparing the bedroom, which would keep him occupied for a while.
Lilia took a deep breath as she closed the door to the Princess's room behind her. This was the critical moment and it all rested on her. She had entered in this job as an expression of her loyalty to the Shogun and the Bafuku, but after months of working there, she had seen the ugly underbelly of the monarchy and was revolted. Corruption, scandal, disloyalty, the monarchy sucked the riches of the poor to support their disgustingly luxurious lifestyle and she had had enough.
"Excuse me Commander, but my lady has requested that I go meet the manager downstairs and wishes me to have an escort down to ensure my safety."
Hijikata appraised the girl before sighing. This wasn't part of the plan but he had to credit the China brat for her critical thinking skills. Anybody trying to enter the suite would try and take the girl hostage. Noting his put out expression, Kondo smiled reassuringly, patting Hijikata on the shoulder, "I'll escort her down, you just stay on watch here Toshi." Lending his arm to the girl, Kondo giggled to himself, "It's like training for walking down the aisle with Otae-san!"
Hijikata rolled his eyes, "You realize that would mean giving her away to be married, not marrying her right?"
"WHAT! Who's marrying Otae-san! No one can love her as much as me!" Kondo shrieked, tears welling up in his eyes.
Rubbing a finger to her temples Lilia forced herself to remain calm. "Commander?" her questioning stare was sweet like spring.
Kondo laughed apologetically just as obnoxiously as always and slid his card into the elevator slot. Waving at Hijikata, he walked into the elevator with Lilia and sagged against the bar. "So, miss, what's it like-" but his question remained unfinished as Lilia stabbed a needle into his thigh, watching as his hand struggled to find his walkie-talkie and warn the others.
Ripping it from his belt, Lilia's smirk spread slow like smoke, "Ah, ah, ah." She reprimanded, "There'll be no heroic rescue today."
The elevator stopped one floor below and opened up to a ragtag group of burly men. "There are four more guards upstairs along with the Princess and Chouji. Chouji won't be a problem and neither will the Princess, she'll be too afraid to fight. Let's go."
Leaving Kondo's body in one of the rooms they had rented, they re-entered the elevator, using Lilia's pass to gain entrance to the top floor. As the elevator pinged open, a man in a red bandana wrapped his arm around Lilia's neck and dragged her out, making a fuss and drawing the Vice Commander's attention. Hijikata's hand flew to his sword, gritting his teeth. "Oy," he called out, bangs drawing menacing shadows along the curve of his brow, "What do you think you're doing?"
But he didn't get a chance to say anything more as the thug grinned widely pulling out a knife and stabbing it into Lillia's back. In a soundless scream, Lillia hurled forward, Hijikata's hand outstretched as though trying to reach her. As she fell, she whipped out a tube and blew in it, a tiny needle zooming into the hollow of Hijikata's throat. Gurgling, the Vice Commander tried clawing it out but suddenly stumbled, falling to his knees before the two thugs behind Lillia ran forward, catching him before he made a sound.
Rising to her feet, Lilia dug out the plastic knife from the folds of her gown, playing with the false edge before urging her partners to be quiet and move out of sight from the Princess's door. "Give me the bag and set your timers for one minute." A man with a scar over his eye handed her a brown satchel before moving to hide and taking a breath, Lillia knocked curtly on the door before letting herself in with a bow. Her fingers pressed a button within the contents of the bag. Lillia's resolve was steel.
"Ohh Lillia! Did you bring us back any snacks? Guarding is a lot of work you know!" Gin demanded, not even pretending to move from his slouched position that blatantly gave him away as a lazy good for nothing.
"Gin-san, you actually to work to be able to say this has been a lot of work!" Shinpachi berated, wagging his finger while simultaneously modeling the frustrated-exasperated-how-do-I-put-up-this expression that Shinpachi did best.
"Shut it kid! I haven't eaten since yesterday since we're so broke!"
Stepping out from behind Kagura, Sougo's face gleamed demonically, "Oy, oy, any more noise and I'll be breaking more than your bank account. You're disturbing the princess."
Shinpachi eeped, hands up in a white flag gesture before his nose scrunched up, brows pinched together. "Hey…anybody smell something funny?" he tried to bring his hand up to his head but for some reason, he felt like he was floating, "Huh? What's going…" Shinpachi's eyes rolled back and the boy crashed to the ground like a meteorite.
Horrified, Kagura reached out, "Shinpachi!" but Sougo jumped in front of her, arm blocking her movement as he and Gin launched into an attack.
Sougo and Gin's swords flew in the air together in a criss-cross pattern locking Lillia's neck to the wall. "What kinda snacks did you bring up in here Lillia-chan." Gin's tone dropped venomously, but despite that, Lillia remained unfazed as her knees began to buckle from the light-headedness.
Gritting his teeth, Sougo tried to stay awake as the door burst open, men in gas masks pouring in. He watched as Lillia crumpled to the floor, somewhat admiring her dedication to the cause before the reality of a successful kidnap jarred his thoughts. This would be a shame to the Shinsengumi name. Sougo wasn't going to let anything tarnish what they had all worked so hard for. Grunting, he lifted his sword as though it were made of a string of weights and tried to swing it at an oncoming assailant but dropped it halfway.
Beside him, Gin had abandoned his sword completely and was racing towards Kagura, using his fists as a battering ram. "Oy! Kagu-" but Kagura's hazy stare pierced his heart and Gin's eyes widened as he noticed the needle sticking out from her neck.
Kagura rose to her feet shakily, but the double drugging did nothing but make her stumble before she finally faltered to the ground. Gin grit his teeth, forcing his body to move and reach her before he felt someone club him in the back of his head. His knees buckled and though he could feel himself falling, from the regret and from the blow and from the utter bitterness at failure, his hand reached up- in one final act of dissent- tearing the mask off his assailant's face and throwing it into the air.
Gin's body landed with a thud but he knew that guy would be there to catch it. Chuckling darkly, Sougo found the energy to jam the mask to his face, revelling in the breath of untainted air and quickly tied it around his head. His sadistic side took over and suddenly, the room was aglow with bloodshed. He could feel the tide of the fight surging in his favor, but as his sword pierced through bodies, the shattering of glass and a tremendous shockwave threw him off his feet. A metal projectile taller than he was had rammed itself at the far end of the room, the window burst open, the jagged shards looking like a beast's gaping jaws. Sougo couldn't help but stare at the sheer outrageousness of the situation.
A helicopter rose into view, the power of its blades sending everything flying around the room and drowning the world out in its cacophony. Vaguely, Sougo thought he could hear screaming and the shrill ringing of an alarm. But all he could see was the sword pressed against Kagura's neck as the man holding it dragged her backwards towards the window. "Move and she's dead."
Sougo smirked, "You wouldn't have gone through all the trouble if you were just gonna kill the brat." The sadist's twisted eyes couldn't be seen behind the mask, but the man could feel his killer intent as Sougo ran at him.
Shocked that an officer would take the risk, he scurried back, letting his team fend Sougo off as he grabbed hold of the rope dangling from the helicopter door. Clasping his hand around it, the man yanked on it and slowly it rose, slipping his foot into the loop.
Sougo was seeing red. Red, red, red blood spraying and yet he didn't seem to moving any closer. His sword reamed through a wall of men, his jaw clenched and eyes wild, "I'm not letting you get away…China!" he yelled, breaking past the wall of bodies and jumping from the window sill into the open air.
Clawing his way further, Sougo grasped Kagura's ankle, his mask tearing off his face from the wind. "Oy! Are you crazy! Let go!" the man screamed shaking Kagura before immediately regretting his decision as she slipped further down his body.
Frustrated, the man grit his teeth, "Fine, have it your way you bastard." His smile was twisted as he looked down at the hanging boy, "We'll just chop off your head anyway."
Sougo blinked, "Actually, if you could just let me off on the roof that'd be fine." Sougo deadpanned, having ignored everything the man had said, "I jumped off spontaneously but I don't really know what I'm doing here."
The man sputtered, trying to think of something to say before a hand reached out from the open helicopter door, "Tanaka, grab on."
A man with red frizzy hair tugged the three of them on board, gawking at the extra passenger. "Tanaka how much of an overachiever are you?! We only needed one hostage!"
"Shut it Jackie! I didn't do anything! He jumped out the window on his own!"
The squabbling ended as the pilot sent them a scathing look. "Shut it you two. We don't have time for this. Just tie them both up and we'll see what the boss says."
Fearfully, they both saluted him, "Aye!"
Motionless, Sougo said nothing as Tanaka tied his wrists and feet together, tightening the knots so that they dug into his skin. Beside him, Kagura was getting similar treatment. Satisfied with their work, the two went back towards the pilot side to report a mission well done. Sougo leaned his head against the wall and wondered how he had gotten into this mess. Hijikata was going to be furious.
Glancing to the side, he was slightly surprised that the China girl had actually passed out at some point. So even monsters were affected by knockout gas. Looking at her though and examining her clearly not Soyo-like features, he had a sick feeling that nothing was going to end up well.
When Gin came to, he was in an unfamiliar room, Otae standing over him. "Welcome back, Gin-san." She said softly, a small smile trying to edge its way onto her face.
Rubbing his forehead with his palm, Gin sat up, slowly recognizing the inside of another hotel suite. Beside him, Shinpachi sat on the floor, back against the wall and arms crossed over his knees. On the other side, Hijikata and Kondo were still out cold, a fresh bandage wrapping around Hijikata's neck. Gin turned his head again. No one else was there. His hands dropped with a thud, "Where are they?" the intensity of his question forced Otae to look at him only for her eyes to drop again.
Denial surged through Gin's veins as his hands crumpled the sheets within them, "Where are Kagura and Sougo?"
Standing up slowly, Shinpachi shook his head, "We were too late." He answered quietly.
"After the gas knocked you two out, a helicopter came from nowhere and broke the glass. They stole Kagura-chan from there and apparently, Okita-san jumped out to save her but they ended up just taking him too." Otae explained, distress evident in the tension in her shoulders and distraught eyes.
Cursing, Gin kicked off the blanket and stood up, clutching his head at the vertigo. "Who did this? That girl…Lillia, she passed out too, we can ask her-"
Shinpachi shook his head, "Everyone had disappeared when they found us. Maybe they had a recollection team."
Gin's stance widened as the disappointment flashed in his eyes, "What's with that expression?" Shinpachi recoiled at his intensity, "You think those brats are gonna be taken down by a bunch of measly low-lives? If they don't feed her Kagura'll probably destroy the whole syndicate!"
Shinpachi's amusement flared without his control. "She'll probably eat them out of house and home and they'll beg us to take her back." He quipped.
Gin grinned, brows furrowed in determination, "That's the spirit. So stand up Pachi-boy, those bastards have one of our own and an obnoxious cop too."
Otae smiled from behind her hand.
All fired up, Shinpachi slid his wooden sword into its loop and hummed his agreement, "Plus, I'm sure the reward for bringing back Okita-san will be enough to cover our rent for months." Shinpachi smiled turning towards his sister, "We'll be back soon Anue, Kagura-chan'll be mad if we're late to get her after all." Gin's hand clapped Shinpachi's back.
As the two members of the Yorozuya walked over to the door, a hand shot out to grab at Gin's wrist. "If you think we're going to pay you to bring Sougo back, you're out of your mind."
Sitting up next to him, Kondo smiled, stretching his arm behind his head. "Now, now Toshi, we should just go with them, that way, they can pay us for bringing back China-san." He said, looking pleased with himself.
"Hey, hey, that's corruption isn't it?" Shinpachi cried, "What kinda horrible cops are you!"
Gin scoffed, "I don't want to work with a bunch of incompetent tax robbers." At Hijikata's frustrated eyebrow tick though, Gin suddenly grinned, a serious glint in his eye, "But considering it's one of each those bastards have over there, I guess we'll settle. Though I'm sure by the time we get there Kagura will have already kicked all their asses."
"Huhh? Sougo is the best swordsmen in the city, he'll finish them all off in a second!"
"Ahh but see our Kagura doesn't need a weapon, her fists can topple countries you know. Sofa-kun is basically useless without a sword." Gin jeered, a shit eating grin on his face as his antagonisms rapidly increased Hijikata's blood pressure.
Sneering, Hijikata ripped off his bandage, standing tall and straight and dangerous. "Tch, Sougo, Kagura, either way, there's no way we're not going to take them all down and send them straight to hell." But just as soon as he finished his sentence, blood gushed out of his neck wound and he shrieked, pressing his hands against it frantically.
Next to him, Gin sobbed with laughter, his shoulders rocking as he wiped away tears with Shinpachi, as even Kondo looked away to sneak a laugh. "You just tried to look cool just now, right? Right?"
The helicopter landed in a rural area where nothing but long grass grew. Dragging the two hostages out of the car, Tanaka stuffed them into an unmarked car, tapping on the window, signalling to the driver to leave. Behind them, Sougo could vaguely make out the rest of the helicopter crew getting into their own car, abandoning the helicopter. Considering he was seeing all this go on, Sougo was only a little worried about his life, but more so concerned with the growing damp spot on his shoulder stemming from Kagura's infinite pool of drool. Crinkling his nose in disgust, Sougo considered jerking his shoulder so that Kagura went flying into the window but remembered that his image so far was that of ridiculously loyal guard to the princess. He couldn't mess up now.
They were on the road for hours. Even if Sougo had anything to free his hands with, he had no idea where they were or where anything could be. Plus, Kagura was still out cold and he had no weapon. All in all, escape was a pipedream. So, Sougo decided to stay quiet, stare out the window, and wait. Occasionally, he would glance over at Kagura, not quite sure whether he was checking to see if she was alive or because he couldn't tear his eyes away from the face he had never seen her make. Honestly, he wasn't even surprised she managed to stay asleep this long.
Eventually, the car pulled up at a decrepit port, lamps flickering from age and shops boarded up with cracked windows. Assessing the situation, Sougo's mind flickered over to the idea of escape, but his hopes were dashed when an entourage came to meet them. Shifting his body to better hide Kagura's face, Sougo stared up at the man with steel in his eyes.
"What do we have here? A Shinsengumi dog protecting his master till the end? How sweet." The man's cane flashed in the air and suddenly Sougo was on the floor, his head pounding.
Looking up, Sougo's breath caught. Standing before him was a man not yet old enough to really need a cane, but still whittled away at the bone to have greyed hair and a trimmed beard. His blue captain's uniform blew in the breeze. Sougo exhaled, his thoughts spinning. Hiro Yamaguchi. An ambitious lowlife in the eighth division of the Harusame Pirates. Not quite at the level of Captain but not just a bottom-feeder either. Hiro had risen up the ranks of the criminal syndicate through ruthlessness and cunning and had achieved enough sway to be more or less independent. Sougo smirked.
Things just got interesting.
Not liking the vibe of disrespect, Hiro jammed his cane back into Sougo's skull sending his face crashing to the ground again. "Look at me with those eyes again boy and I'll cut off a limb."
Struggling to turn his head to look up at him, Sougo's tone was cheeky, "Just a limb?"
Hiro grinned, "I got big plans for you boy. The third in command at the Shinsengumi is going to fetch me a huge bonus from the head honchos. Or maybe I'll just sell you. I haven't decided yet." Nodding his head to the side, a man stepped forward chopping Sougo in the neck with his open palm, catching him as he fell unconscious. "Put them in the cell and let's move you lazy slobs! We don't have all night!"
Sougo woke up to the feeling of cold metal biting into him and someone's stare that sent goose bumps down his spine. Jerking his wrist, he looked emotionlessly at his cuffed hands. Glaring at the source of the creepy feeling, he found Kagura gazing at him with a haughty expression. "Oh, you've finally woken up? And they call you Edo's finest." She sneered, jutting out her chin in disdain.
An immature anger flicked across his face, "I'm not the one who stayed knocked out the WHOLE TRIP here you lazy China girl!"
Kagura stuck her nose up in the air, "A woman needs her beauty sleep." She retorted.
Sougo snorted, "Shit load of good that's been doing you."
Kagura sniffed, "Yeah well, I don't even know what you're doing here, yes. Why'd they kidnap a stupid cop anyway?"
Sougo blanched, immediately looking away and refusing to meet her gaze. Surprised at his reaction for only a second, Kagura looked practically giddy with a shit-eating grin and jeering eyes. "Did you perhaps go after me Sadist?" Kagura's grin was unbearable.
Sougo scoffed, "I wasn't going after you China pig. I was trying to keep up the act. Any good cop would jump out the window to catch the princess."
Kagura's jaw dropped. "You jumped out a window?!"
Sougo wanted to smack himself. Or maybe finally make Hijikata happy and be the first to commit seppuku. Or maybe he'd just bite off his tongue and that'd be the end of that. "It was instinct you brat. Instinct."
Kagura laughed hysterically, loving the way Sougo's shoulders hunched in humiliation. "It's okay Sadist. I would've done the same, yes." Sougo glanced up, slightly curious but more skeptical, "Of course," Kagura amended, "I would have actually saved you, because unlike you I'm not an incommunist-"
"You mean incompetent, idiot."
"-Incompetent who can't even do something as simple as save a beautiful princess-"
"The only thing beautiful about you is the silence that comes after I punch your lights out." Sougo interrupted scathingly, his limbs aching to fight.
Screeching, Kagura launched forward only to be pulled back by the chains on her wrists. She glowered, before a smirk pulled up her lips. Kagura tugged at the chains experimentally, looked at Sougo and grinned, "You know, they still think I'm just a human girl."
Spat forgotten, Sougo perked up with hope, "Maybe you're not as useless after all-" he drawled before a chain came hurtling at his head as Kagura whipped the bolt off the wall.
Ducking, Sougo glared. "Watch it!"
Snickering to herself, Kagura feigned innocence, "What's that Sadist? I can't hear you over the sound of your uselessness. Once again I prove that I am almighty compared to you" She cackled, pulling her other arm free, and allowing her to snap the cuffs off her arms and legs.
"It's not once again if you never actually jumped out of a window! You were just imagining it!" Sougo yelled, his annoyance furrowing his brows.
"Imagination, reality, either way I'm better than you in every single way." Sougo had never wanted to punch her in her smug face more.
Parading herself over to where Sougo lay, Kagura considered just leaving him there, but figured she'd just be back here again to save him from guilt. Being sold into slavery seemed a befitting end for a monster sadist, but even she wouldn't want to condemn him to that kind of misery. Plus, Shinpachi would yell at her if she abandoned him, which wasn't appealing in any scenario. "Despite my superiority, I'll help out a weakling like you, Gin-chan says it's good to help out the less fortunate, yes." She sighed dramatically, bending down in front of him, and pulling at his wrists, unclamping the metal cuffs without a sweat.
Sougo stilled, not knowing how to feel at the close proximity, so close he could see each individual lash that framed her eyes and feel the heat of her breath. As the final cuff fell, Sougo rubbed his wrist and stretched his muscles. "China, snap this chain in two."
Kagura scoffed, "Don't tell me what to do."
Rolling his eyes, Sougo jerked the chain closer to her, "Just do it, I need a weapon, don't I?"
Looking like she wanted to argue but determining she'd rather escape more, Kagura took hold of the chain and snapped it over her knee, handing it to him wordlessly. Wrapping the chain around his fist, Sougo smiled, looking more deranged than pleasant. "Let's see if there are any M's around here."
Letting out a battle cry, Kagura kicked down the door, the duo running down the hall, not quite sure where was what. As they rounded a corner, two guards jumped in alarm, reaching for their radios. "Outta my way!" Kagura yelled, ricocheting off the wall to kick one in the head only to use him as a launching pad to stomp on the other one.
Turning around, she stuck out her tongue at her rival, "That makes two."
Blood boiling with excitement at the prospect of a battle within a battle, Sougo surged past her, chain whipping forward to circle around another guard's neck, yanking him forward so that he could grab hold of his sword and beat him down. He wasn't sure they'd be carrying swords, hence the chain, but the sword definitely felt better in his palm, even if it wasn't his own. "And what do I get when I win China pig?"
Snorting, Kagura barreled through the horde of reinforcements, "You can be my slave for a week."
Sougo's sword arced above her head as she ducked to side sweep an attacker from behind him. "Too slow." They insulted in unison, grinning to themselves as they ran forward.
Finding a door that led to a set of stairs, they ran up two at a time until they reached the top, kicking open the door and ready to barrel through anyone in their way. Except what they saw stopped them right in their tracks. The Harusame hadn't taken them to just any port. Kagura gaped at the glass casing of the ship, watching as Earth got further and further away. The emptiness of space swallowed her whole. Kagura's stomach dropped and looking over at Sougo, she could see the resentful frustration boiling up within him. "China." He said, his proud back facing her.
"Yeah, I got it."
They launched forward, fists flying and sword swinging. Maybe there was an escape pod, maybe there was a defector, maybe there was something, something, there was always something! But the crowd around them got denser and Kagura could feel them circling, pushing her closer and closer to her bloodied partner. Gritting her teeth, Kagura jumped onto her hands, twisting in a spinning kick before hurtling up onto one of the guard's shoulders clapping his ears to knock him unconscious. As two swords whizzed past her head and her fists shot out in retaliatory punches, she watched with doom plummeting in her stomach as guards armed with guns stormed into the hall.
She glanced at Sougo, who while adept with swords and hand to hand combat, definitely couldn't catch bullets with his hands as only the Yato could. Resolving to take them out and let Sougo deal with the swords, Kagura shoved her way out of the circle only to have a spattering of bullets form a semi-circle around her feet and froze, looking up to meet the eyes of a man she had never seen before wearing a navy captain's uniform. Kagura jeered, "You dare to shoot at your princess?"
Sougo, caught between three men, glanced over in panic, that brat was going to ruin everything and they were all going to suffer for it. Twisting to reach her, he choked as a sword grazed his side, the blood staining his uniform at a frightening speed. Clenching his teeth, he ignored the pain, slicing the men in his path to Kagura only to come to a screeching halt at the sight of the gun barrel pointed at Kagura's head. "Move and I blow your brains out." Hiro grabbed Sougo's gaze, "You move too and everyone around me shoots you and her."
Satisfied at having tamed the two beasts that had slaughtered half his forced, Hiro tapped his foot against the floor, "Now when did the little spoiled princess learn to fight like a monster?" he tapped his cane in thought before stepping over, keeping the gun trained on Kagura, and ripped the brown wig off her head, tendrils of red blowing over her stormy eyes. "I should kill you right now for wasting our time imposter brat. But I won't. Because only a Yato could fight like that and I know plenty of buyers interested in freaks like you." His smile glimmered sinister and gold, "So get on your knees and thank me for your life."
Kagura's lip twisted in scorn, "Tch, Anego's right, men do get stupider with age."
She didn't even see the gun move before the pain in her shin exploded and Kagura's tongue bled as she forced herself to keep quiet.
"I won't repeat myself." Hiro's tone didn't change though there was a hardness in his eyes at the disrespect and a maliciousness Kagura wasn't unfamiliar with crashing in his eyes.
But Kagura had spent the better part of her life fighting and being beaten and she knew that the bullets that ripped through her skin would be gone and her wounds healed the next day so she stood, unwavering. The gun boomed again though Kagura couldn't feel any new rip in her body but the distinct grunt behind her sent her heart beating in her ears. She turned around to see Sougo pushing his hand against a gushing wound in his bicep, his face vying for control. Inside her, Kagura's blood burned, her instincts shrieking for bloodshed and pain and retribution. But the Kagura who spent her life fighting against those same instincts looked around her to see no way out, guns and swords pointed at her in all directions, a wounded leg and her only ally being deadweight.
Biting her lip until it pained her, Kagura knelt to the ground, pressing her forehead to the floor and bowed. "Thank you for my life." She gritted out, and though every single muscle in her body was tense with war mongering and battle, she kept still, and thought that this was more painful than any wound.
She felt Hiro's boot bury itself in her hair as he laughed, "The strongest race in the universe is bowing at my feet. How pitiful the strong become." Bending down, he grabbed at Kagura's bun, jerking her head upwards, "I'm going to lock you and your cop friend up and then I'm going to sell you two to the highest bidder and you are going to stay put and not cause trouble or you'll die. Either by my hand or trying to make it by yourself in this heartless void we call space."
Kagura's head dropped along with her pride and the bitterness welled up inside of her. With no choice, she remained motionless as she was shackled with chains far heavier than before and was forced to march back into her cell without Sougo, who was being dragged to the medic department. Back inside, extra metal strips were bolted into the walls and once she was in place, the guard pulled out a syringe from his pack, pressing on it to make sure the clear liquid within it spurted out. "Hey, assholes, what's that?" she demanded, her anger giving her stupid courage.
The guard ignored her, stalking over to her and pulling at the end of the chain so that the pulley system tightened its hold over her, stretching her body taut and disabled. As he neared her, Kagura's eyes flashed with fear. Quickly, the needle stabbed into her leg and a cry tore from her throat as she felt a heavy blanket descend over her mind, everything becoming much slower. "Wha…What did you do…"
"Even chains can't hold down a Yato." The guard said simply, before turning around and leaving Kagura in the dark.
A/N Hope you all liked the first chapter! This will probably be a three chapter story considering I'm almost done. Prepare for angst and lots and lots of snark!