Today is my biiirthdaaaay~ And since today is Valentine's day I'm actually the one giving a present to you! Single or in a relationship, have a lovely Chocolate Day everyone!
Disclaimer : I do not own Gintama. I do not own Valentine's day either for all that matters.
"It's not there either... You guys. Anyone seen my hat lately? It's gone."
The crew members in the room shook their head, watching carefully their Razor Lieutenant opening every box, looking behind every piece of furniture, for her signature hat. She looked quite pissed and none dared talking. It was only when she gave up and left the room to inspect another one that they started working again.
When she was in a bad mood, the first one who'd get noticed even for making a small noise would usually be yelled at for at least twenty minutes, so they were getting good at turning into statues, barely breathing, waiting for her to leave.
"Say, Granny. What's so special about this hat?" a young man asked. He was no more than 17. "She almost never leaves it. I know she needs to be protected of the sun, but she also usually wears in inside as well... Would you know why?"
"Oh, that's right, Shouta-kun. You haven't been here for long enough, so you wouldn't know. Well, let me tell you a nice story then. The story of an anniversary and a promise."
It all started a few years ago.
"Mutsu! Do you know what day is tomorrow?"
"Mmmh... Based on an Earth calendar? According to the computer, in your hometown it is now February 14th? So what?"
"That's not what I meant. Tomorrow is a special day! It's the first anniversary of the Kaientai!"
"Oh. Okay. So what?"
Sakamoto let out his usual loud laugh at Mutsu's puzzled face. She really did not see how tomorrow would be any different from any other day.
"Let's celebrate! We need to go somewhere special. I don't know that much about what's interesting to see in space yet so I asked our crew where was the most beautiful place they could remember, and Granny suggested this awesome planet and-"
"Let me stop you right there. We have a job to finish. All those goods are not going to deliver themselves. That's a no."
"Hahaha! Hahahaha! I knew you would say that! So I already gave the order to set sail to that planet before you could say no! The goods can wait another day!"
The 15-years-old felt a vein popping at her temple. She was going to kill him. Probably pushing him off the ship while in space, or just shooting a bullet right into his brain.
"Once we get to that planet, I want you to land, to visit the place, and this ship to leave without you."
"Don't be ridiculous, Mutsu! I'm the captain! They can't leave without me."
"I would, and I know how to pilot this so don't tempt me."
He let out another laugh as he left the room and she swore that this sound would be the end of him one day.
On the next day, he knocked – no, pounded the door of her room, and she lazily got up, barely awaken, to open to him. The simple sight of his goofy, blissful face made her close the door even before he spoke.
"Come on! Hurry up Mutsu! We're here and I swear it's worth it!"
And hell, it was. She got dressed and followed him outside. They had landed in a field and there were flowers as far as the eye could see. Explosions of red, blue, purple, yellow, and any other color that had ever existed made this place so bright, so lively that even the Diamond Princess, usually so cold hearted, could not stop a smile.
The sun was bright and bringing a warmth that invited to lay there and take a nap, or simply enjoy your time.
"How about having breakfast here? Let's enjoy such a wonderful weather and spend some quality time together – all of us!"
He looked so genuinely happy that she could not refuse. So they brought food and drinks from the ship and relaxed there, under the welcoming sun.
The youngest of the crew started playing and running in the field. The eldest sat in a circle, merrily chatting. Mutsu did not really know where her place was. Even after a year, she sometimes was uncomfortable with bonding with the crew – she could not forget how she had treated them like slaves, and they did not forget either, avoiding her as much as they could. She saw Sakamoto walking to her and she got up, saying she was going to have a look around – she did not need his sympathy. She was feeling dizzy and his stupid laugh was the last thing she needed.
But as she tried to walk away, the world started spinning around her. As the world turned to black, she heard someone call her name, and tried to reach out for the voice, but she lost consciousness even before she could feel the arms catching her.
"Captain, you should get some rest. You haven't slept in two days. We'll warn you if there is any change in her state."
"Don't be stupid! She's sleeping enough for two so I need to stay awake for two!"
She only caught snatches of conversations, as she occasionally regained consciousness, unable to move or even to open her eyes. Mostly, it was crew telling Sakamoto to get some rest. At first, he laughed it off – a fake laugh that would have made her grind her teeth, could she have moved – but as the time flew, his answers were more and more aggressive, to the point he even insulted and yelled at someone.
"I'm telling you I am fine and as long as Mutsu has not opened her eyes mine will not close! So now fuck off before I start considering firing you for insubordination!"
Sometimes, she felt his hand holding hers, or checking for fever. Sometimes, it was someone else's hand, someone from the crew who would check her pulse, change her clothes or wash her. At those times, she could not feel Sakamoto's presence anymore – he was an idiot, but a decent being.
She heard them discuss what could be the cause of her mysterious sickness. She wished she could tell them not to worry, to tell them the truth, but she couldn't. They wanted to find her a doctor, but none of them really knew what race she was and what doctor to see.
She heard punches in the wall and she knew exactly who it was. She heard soft snores as he sometimes fell asleep, for a couple of minutes, a couple of hours.
She heard more and more as the days went by. It didn't feel anymore like she was losing consciousness, but more like falling asleep. And, one day, around a week after 'the incident', her eyes finally opened, and her body felt like hers again.
He was sitting next to her, a book about "1001 diseases and how to cure them" opened on his lap, his glasses slipping on his nose and his eyes closed. He looked exhausted, with black circles darker than black holes under his eyes and his hair was such a mess she suspected he did not wash it for a while.
"Go to your room and have a proper night, Captain." She whispered to him, sitting up with a bit of difficulty.
"I'm going to shoot the next one who says anything about... Mutsu?!"
He was now wide awake, and she could see his eyes were blood injected. She sighed.
"If I'm lying in this bed, and you're sitting next to me like a zombie, can you tell me who is running this ship? I do hope you delivered our goods."
It was just a word. A name. Her name. But he put all of his feelings in this name, all of his worries of the last seven days, all of his relief of the last ten seconds, all of his interrogations of the last twelve months, and she suddenly was unable to scold him. His body started shaking so hard the book fell.
"Seriously, Sakamoto. A good night of sleep would be the best thing for you right now."
"I will. I will get some sleep, now that you are awake. But first... How are you feeling?"
She thought about that. She was still a bit groggy, but nothing really hurt.
"Fine. I'm fine. So stop giving me those worried eyes, moron."
"What happened there? Was it the food? Could you be allergic to flowers? You did seem paler than usual, but were you sick before?"
I'm a Yato. The answer was pretty simple. But before she could tell him, all the implications of her four little words came to her mind.
I'm part of the most dangerous specie that ever existed.
Truth is, I'm a blood-thirsty monster who could go berserk and slaughter everyone on this ship.
I'm nothing but a beast.
How could she tell him? The crew still had troubles trusting her. If she revealed her bloodline, there was no way they would accept to be led by her anymore. And what about Sakamoto? He probably already heard about her race, legendary for their violence and blood lust. He would not trust her either. On Earth, he had fought violent Amantos, and she would just become one of them. His enemy. She could not tell him the truth. Not the whole truth. Not yet.
"I'm... Allergic to strong sunlight. I never really cared about it since I'm almost always on board, so I did not really think of it when we landed on that planet. I guess I ruined the day. Or the week, should I say. Sorry about that."
He kept silent, lost in his thoughts. At least he had stopped shaking.
"Does that mean you can never really go outside then?"
"It's not really that... I can go outside but it's best if I find a shadow or anything to get shelter from direct sun. As you saw, I just shouldn't stay exposed for too long."
He rose his tired eyes until he met hers.
"About the goods we were supposed to deliver... They are not still in the ship, right? We are not a week late because of what happened?"
"You know what? You are right. I need a good night of sleep. I'm glad you're okay, Mutsu! See ya' tomorrow, okay~ Hahahaha !"
She yelled his name as he escaped with his stupid laugh, but she secretly felt relieved it did not sound fake anymore.
Another week passed, and Mutsu was back on her feet, running the ship like she used to. They had a small business to do in Japan, Earth and Sakamoto had disappeared for a couple of hours, leaving Mutsu dealing with the customer by herself.
When he came back, she was back on the ship, storing the goods they were to transport to another planet in one of the storage room. He was holding a huge box and when he gave it to her, she simply thought it was another good so she put it over another box, making him laugh a lot.
"No! This is for you, actually! A present."
"A present? What for?"
"Let's say it's a 'first year of freedom' present! Or a 'I'm glad you are feeling better' present! Or a 'Thanks for putting up with my shit' present! Or a..."
"Okay, okay, I got it. So, what is it?"
"Open it and you will know!"
She did as told and found in the box a wide bamboo-woven basket, with no handles but strings in it.
"A basket? What's it for?"
He laughed even louder, and she felt pissed as he was clearly making fun of her.
"It's called a sandogasa. It's a hat samurais wear in my country, to take shelter of the sun. It's so wide that you will be safe now, no matter how sunny it will be! Let me show you how to put it on."
He helped her tying the knots, and she did not know what to say. It was the first time in her life anyone ever gave her a present. Her father never gave her anything, even for her birthday. Blood rushed to her cheeks and she looked away, embarrassed.
"Thanks. I'll take great care of it." And after a short pause, she added. "I promise."
He gave her one of those rare smiles, not the usual goofy one, but a rather soft and quiet one.
"You'd better keep up with this promise. Good second-in-commands are really hard to find these days, so I can't afford losing such a rare Diamond as you."
Clearly embarrassed now, she moved towards the door. Just before leaving the room, she mumbled, just loud enough for him to hear, "Thanks a lot for the flower field. It was really beautiful. Next year, I want to see fireworks. I've never seen any."
"And this is why, Shouta-kun, she never leaves that hat. Also, do you know what day it is tomorrow?"
"No idea, granny!"
"This is the tenth anniversary of the Kaientai. We are going to celebrate a lot, and we will this year again visit one of the most beautiful places that exist in this universe."
"Borea in sight! The land of the never-ending northern light in sight!"
The voice of their Captain was loud and they rushed to the deck to see those famous lights in the sky. Mutsu had found her hat and was carefully knotting it to her head.
"Oh? Mutsu, why do you wear this hat? It's night time you know, sun won't get to you! Hahaha!"
"Shut up, stupid Captain. I'm just the kind of person to hold their promise."
And she lifted her head to enjoy the show of the dancing lights in the sky. Actually, everyone did, and stared at it with wonder, so Shouta was really the only one to see that even though their Captain had the same wonder awestruck gaze as everyone else, his eyes were actually not set on the sky, but on the woman next to him.
First SakaMutsu fic, I hope I didn't do too bad! Once again, happy Valentine's!