TITLE: If you want to act more like an adult, start by dropping the Jump and Parfait.
TIMELINE/SPOILERS: Yoshiwara arc
WARNINGS: T for a reason. Unfortunately, I can't write a lemon confidently enough to share to the world, so yeah. Just T. Sad.
DISCLAIMER: Hideaki Sorachi is the genius behind Gintama, so yeah, I don't own it.
A/N: Oct 03, 2014 - edited it. I didn't know it didn't have line breaks wth
If you want to act more like an adult, start by dropping the Jump and Parfait.
She had only meant to cook something special for the Yorozuya leader for the time he arrived back home. She had bought quite a lot of ingredients from the market with some of the money her papi had sent for her to use in case of emergencies, and she had intended to make a large buffet for Gintoki, and maybe a dish or two for Shinpachi as well.
But as Kagura stared at the rubble that was once the kitchen, bathroom, and part of the living room and Gintoki's bedroom, she felt a horrible sense of dread. Normally she would have deemed the situation easily repairable, but as Gintoki and Shinpachi had trusted her enough to leave the Yorozuya office to her as they went to the Atsuu Desert for work – one of the factors why she stayed was the fact that she couldn't withstand too much heat and sunlight and the other being a promise from Gintoki that he'd bring home snacks for her— Kagura knew what she had done was going to make the man angry. For real. And that didn't settle well with her, especially now that she's trying to win over his favor.
Sending a hard glare at the oven that had decided to explode while she was trying to bake a large chocolate cake, Kagura picked a random splinter of wood and threw it to the burnt appliance. Sadaharu, its fur now gray from the ashes that had come from the explosion and short-lived fire— all thanks to Otose and Catherine's quick help— let out a small bark, and Kagura stroked its fur idly.
Kagura had been out all day, furious that Gintoki and Shinpachi had both insisted that she stayed in the Yorozuya office instead of going with them to the dessert for the job. She liked going places, even with the heat, and she certainly did not like being away from her friends for a long time, especially from Gin-chan.
Kicking a pebble aside, Kagura continued on her way back to the office. It was getting dark already, and she was getting hungry. She knew both guys had their best interests for her, especially since she could barely stand the desert planet they had landed on to when she had won free rides to the outer space and met Sakamoto, but it really didn't sit well with her that she was going to be alone for several days.
'At least they left me the office.' Kagura muttered bitterly, kicking another pebble that hit an unknowing bystander by Otose's snack shop. 'Ah, I could finally try sleeping in a real bedroom!'
Grinning at the positive side of having herself left behind, Kagura jogged on her way up the Yorozuya office, ignoring the snack shop customer who was wondering what had hit him so painfully in the head.
"Gin-chan, I'm home!"
Hearing no response, Kagura knew very well that the guy should be asleep by one of the couches, a copy of that week's jump covering his face or his stomach.
True enough, she found him lying on the couch near the wall beside the closet that had been her bedroom for the past four years. The Jump that had probably been lying on his stomach was on the floor, and the guy was snoring lightly.
Grinning at the good chance, Kagura quickly went to the desk and grabbed a permanent marker pen, uncapping it as she quietly headed over to the sleeping Yorozuya leader.
Kagura had initially planned on playing a classic trick on the guy with the help of the permanent marker, but as she bent down to look at him, her smirk had softened and she contented herself into just quietly looking at the guy. She had always seen Gintoki sleeping, and she had always wanted to watch him do so while thinking of several ways to play a trick on him, but when Shinpachi had caught her staring at the guy a few months back, she had decided that it would be weird if she was always caught. It had been quite a long time since she had seen him like this, and now that she was finally able to look again, she couldn't help but wonder why she had come to like the guy even if he was lazy and a bum.
Kagura grinned. In the four years that Gintoki had let her stay in the Yorozuya, she had been really happy, especially since she finally had a home where everyone was constantly there, and she had made a lot of friends and acquaintances. She had liked working as a Yorozuya, even if the jobs were scarce and it didn't really pay well, and most of all, she liked that she could control herself from letting her Yato blood run free.
"Gin-chan? Are you awake?"
A small grunt amongst his soft snores told otherwise. Clutching her umbrella tightly, Kagura leaned closer, her heart throbbing inside her chest. Since Gintoki had always refused to see her as an adult now and that posed a big problem for her, she might as well try messing up his mind like what she had seen on tv the other day, when a little kid kept to whispering on his asleep parents that he wanted to go to a theme park, and the next day, his parents did take him to one, saying they suddenly had this thought in their brain that they couldn't stop thinking about.
Licking her lips, Kagura leaned in closer to Gintoki's ear, hoping against hope that he wouldn't wake up until she had finished talking.
"Gin-chan?" She whispered, her voice trembling slightly. "Can you hear me, Gin-chan?"
Deeming the guy's incoherent murmurs satisfactory, Kagura let a small smirk grace her features as she cleared her throat.
"Oi, you should start paying your employees, you know? I can't live on sukonbu and half-priced bento boxes from the convenience store, you know? And pork buns and instant noodles can only fill up my toes. And Shinpachi will never get a wife without having a stable income; don't make another guy single and miserable just because you are too, you oldie bastard."
A small fit of giggles escaped from Kagura's lips as Gintoki gave a small grunt and a string of mumbles. She immediately froze, however, as he turned to his side, their noses nearly touching. Taking a shuddering breath, Kagura looked hard at the sleeping guy's face.
"And Gin-chan?" She whispered even more quietly, hoping he wouldn't wake up until she finished. She wanted the plan to work, damn it. "You should start treating Kagura-chan like an adult now, you know? Kagura-chan can already marry, even if she doesn't have anego's body. B-but even so, don't you think Kagura-chan's nice?"
Hearing no response from the dead asleep male, she racked her brains for more things to say.
"Kagura-chan's... Kagura-chan could... uuh, fight. And she takes care of Sadaharu. And— and she can eat 100 packs of sukonbu in one day, and she could clean— erm, herself..."
Kagura frowned. She tried to think of things that wives often did for their husbands and family on tv, but even she admitted she couldn't wash the dishes and laundry, cook food, or sew clothes. Hell she couldn't even dust the whole house without breaking something.
'Peh. That's why Shinpachi's here anyway. He could do all of those.'
Frowning, Kagura stood up from her place and headed straight to her closet door. Maybe it wasn't only genes that children inherited from their parents, but also the way they had lived their lives. Slamming the closet door shut, Kagura nodded in determination. She would ask ane-go to teach her to cook, and she's going to make a big feast when Gintoki and Shinpachi would get back from their job at the desert. She may not be the perfect woman a guy would dream of, but if she could learn at least how to cook, then she would have a chance that Gintoki would start seeing her in a new light.
"What are you going to do now?" Otose spoke, taking a long drag from her pipe. Kagura shook her head to clear her thoughts. "That lazy bastard and that other boy will be back tomorrow."
"Ha!" Catherine piped in, making Kagura's eyebrows twitch. "That's what you get from attempting to do domestic chores, stupid monster!"
"Tch. You're one to speak, ugly fake cat-monster." Kagura rebutted automatically, still staring at the damage she had done to the office. "You can't even pick your nose right."
"Stop it, you two." Otose cut in, giving a short sigh. "Well, you all managed to repair the second floor when that spaceship crashed here; I'm sure that lazy good-for-nothing will find a way. I'll be down at the snack shop if you need anything— except money, of course."
Kagura didn't even turn around to see the snack shop proprietor and her assistant leave. There was only one thing on her mind as she continued to absently stroke Sadaharu's forehead— she needed money, lots of it, and fast. Gintoki and Shinpachi would be back around noon the next day, leaving her the afternoon and a whole night to gather enough money for the office's repairs, replacement for the appliances damaged, grocery for the buffet she was planning to make, heaps load of sweets to quell down Gintoki's anger, and perhaps extra so he could have something to play pachinko with. Yes, that enough money would be able to make the Yorozuya leader forgive her— and perhaps pleased enough that he'd let her stay again. And maybe earn a hug, like how the husbands from tv soaps often greeted their wives when they went back home from work.
Nodding to herself and picking up her purple umbrella from one of the couches in the living room, Kagura led the way outside of the shop.
"Sadaharu, we're heading out."
"Oi, oi, how long is this thing going to take before we get there? I can run even faster than this stupid horse."
"Calm down, Gin-san, and this 'thing' is called a train, not a horse."
Gintoki impatiently shifted his leg and crossed the other one over the other. The job had been quite easy enough— dig in the scorching desert until they struck water for the small town. However, instead of getting water, black liquid sprayed all over from the ground, leaving him smelling strongly of petroleum. The town had opted for the oil to get more money, and the job was done earlier than they had expected.
The travel had been long— one day of train ride to the damn town— and they spent three days digging under the blazing infernal thing called 'the sun', and the only sweet things he could eat were small candies sold in small shops in the agonizingly small town.
Kagura's lack of presence didn't help either, and although Gintoki didn't want to think why, it had bugged him since the train had left from the station and Kagura's red-clad figured eventually disappeared from the horizon.
Shinpachi was a sane company despite his often fits of panic, and Gintoki couldn't find himself having fun in the arid town. Well, it was more like he couldn't bring himself to have fun, even when the whole town was celebrating for their good fortune via the oil well. Shinpachi provided only little entertainment whenever he would get exasperated; however, Gintoki needed more.
He needed her.
"Kagura-chan will be surprised for sure when we get home." He heard Shinpachi muse and give a small chuckle. "Hopefully she hadn't blown up the office yet. Or burnt it. Or left the trash bin overflowing with sukonbu boxes. Or—"
Gintoki returned to looking at the golden and purple tinted view outside the window as Shinpachi's voice started to get louder and louder and more distressed by the second. Sometimes the guy thought things over too much. He's going to die of heart attack, that's for sure.
"She's already grown up, Shinpachi, give the kid some credit."
Said person only looked back at Gintoki with a doubtful stare.
"You do realize you just contradicted yourself?" He muttered, his shoulders hunched over. "And even if Kagura-chan's an old lady, I'm sure she'd still be the same. She being grown up does not assure me at all."
Gintoki's frown deepened as he mulled over the accursed words. Grown up. How many times had he told the girl not to refer to herself as a 'grown up'?
One too many times, Gintoki.
It was hard enough to suppress the morality offender in him when he finally realized there was no way he could treat the girl the same way he did when he had first met her, and now that she's actually entitled to get herself married— or god forbid, freely enter bars and shops in the red light district— it didn't bode well for him, his sanity, and the dark urges in him that he had long tried to suppress with the use of Jump or, in desperate times, his hidden stash of porn.
"You should start treating Kagura-chan like an adult now, you know? Kagura-chan can already marry, even if she doesn't have ane-go's body. B-but even so, don't you think Kagura-chan's nice?"
Gintoki quickly shook the memory off his mind. This was not the good time to think about that person's words. In fact, it was never a good time to think about that incident at all.
Maybe it was time for her to look for another place to stay in? Like Shimura Otae's place. Or Otose's place. Or at another district. Anywhere far, far from his easy reach.
But then again, he could barely last a few days being away from her.
'Oi, oi, this will be your own undoing, Gintoki. If you've made it through for more than three years, you could make it in another. Or maybe ten years. Or maybe forever.'
He knew he was totally screwed, and he was only waiting for karma to fuck everything up.
Meanwhile, as the sky continued to bleed from gold and red to hazy pink and purple, Kagura was starting to worry. So far the only job she managed to find was to help a dango shop water the ground infront of the entrance, and as Kagura worked on it enthusiastically, relieved that she was actually going to be paid for something, her body decided to conspire against her and let her joy run through her veins and limbs, causing to actually create puddles of mud which repelled customers quite drastically.
The owner, feeling sorry for the dejected form of the girl, handed her a few coins for the effort. Grumbling inwardly, the sole female Yorozuya member continued on her fruitless search for a paying job with her pet dog, but as dusk took over the autumn sky, Kagura felt more and more tensed. She needed a high-paying job, and fast.
"Hello, young miss! May we interest you in a delectable menu of our highly palatable men?"
Kagura looked back at the man who had followed her in her idle walk through the red light district. He was wearing a violet suit with golden yellow shirt, and a thick silver chain hung from his neck. His hair was bleached blonde and slicked back, and Kagura immediately thought he looked like a corn cob covered with yam jelly.
She was definitely hungry.
"Go find an unsatisfied married woman, you idiot." Kagura said, continuing on her way while beckoning Sadaharu to walk with her. The host club advertiser didn't seem fazed, though, and kept his poster boy smile intact.
"We have every kind of males that you would like— an S, an M, someone young, someone older than you, an uke, or perhaps a seme—"
"Bother me again and I'll make you Sadaharu's dinner." Kagura all but snarled. She was hungry, she only had a few coins with her, and Gin-chan would be back in less than a day.
"A-ah, s-sorry, Miss," The guy said, smiling nervously at the large dog that had turn towards him, its mouth already open wide enough to fit a human's head in. "I-I'll be going on my way, then."
Kagura didn't as much as utter another sound as she stalked away from the highly relieved advertiser. Honestly. Gintoki kept on refusing that she was already an adult despite her eighteenth birthday a few months back, and yet there's that guy who insisted she tried out something that only adults, particularly painfully single or painfully unsatisfied women and men, do.
Kagura's frown deepened. She had always hated it when Gintoki would always refer to her as a 'little girl' or tell her that she's 'not an adult yet'. She had waited for three years to finally become of legal age so she could finally tell the Yorozuya leader how she really felt about him without being laughed at, but with him acting like he always did, and patronizingly and carelessly so, it was hard to even try to bring up the topic of her being an adult and of equal rank with him now, for what it's worth, and make him listen.
"Stupid Gin-chan" Kagura muttered darkly, and Sadaharu only looked at her blankly, as if mildly surprised. "A little girl, huh? Not yet an adult, huh? I'll show you adult, you—"
Kagura froze. As the lights of the red-light district blinked and shone all over the place, an idea bubbled in her head more and as her grin widened.
She had a whole night to earn the money she needed— and a few extras, if she managed— and Yoshiwara would be there to help her do just that.
Grinning at the luck that she had been part of the underground city's freedom, Kagura hopped on Sadaharu's back and pointed her umbrella to the direction of the district that was once hidden from the sun and the moon.
"Wait a minute, let me clear this up," A cream green-haired woman said, taking her thin pipe off from her lips. "You're saying you want to work here in Yoshiwara for a night?"
"You hard of hearing?" Kagura said, frowning as she crossed her arms. The large plate of dangos Tsukuyo and Hinowa had left for her had been completely consumed even before Kagura had started to state her purpose in the district.
"Kagura-chan," Hinowa spoke, looking back at Tsukuyo uncertainly. "Are you sure you want to do this? For the money you need, you have to entertain at least ten customers tonight, especially since you're new here and not yet known."
"Peh, I can handle even twenty of them!" Kagura answered confidently, crossing her legs over another infront of her. Both women before her exchanged looks of reservation and worry.
"Alright, I'll take you to a place that will suit you fine." Tsukuyo finally said, refilling her pipe with bits of dried herb. "Although I'm sure the Yorozuya head wouldn't approve of you doing more, so I'm making sure the owner will only let you entertain guests like in a cabaret. No more than that, you get it?"
Kagura nodded as she jumped off her bench. She didn't really plan on being an entertainer in Yoshiwara— she had thought it would pay a lot to be even a utility worker in the underground Shangri-la, but as Hinowa had said that it would take her at least ten customers to get the money she needed, Kagura inwardly thought maybe it wouldn't be so bad. Otae had remained a virgin until she finally decided to consider the Gorilla's feelings and go out with him. It had definitely shocked everyone when they found out about her acceptance, and Shinpachi didn't go out of his room for three days until his sister chucked him through the shoji doors.
A small sigh escaped from the Yato member's lips. If Otae had come to like back the Gorilla who had loved her despite her violent tendencies, how could Gin-chan not see her in a new light?
But then again, she had never really told the guy anything about her feelings, except for that time during the night before he and Shinpachi left for the new job, and she hadn't exactly said she liked him, but rather just told him, as he slept and snored, to treat his employees better and to convince him that she's an adult. Heck, she even failed to make sure that came across right.
Kagura fingered the blue kimono she had on. She had never worn something this nice before, although she didn't like the way her clothes were restraining her leg movement. She had preferred something that resembled the one she had worn when she and the rest of the Yorozuya were fighting for Yoshiwara's freedom, but the owner of the bar insisted that it was standard for the beginners to use a simple kimono.
"Kagura-chan, ne? You're called Kagura, Kagura-chan?"
Said girl looked back at the already inebriated guy. Splotches of spilled wine already stained the front of his kimono, but he looked like he was past caring. His companions were quite drunk as well, but it seemed her fellow entertainers weren't worrying at all.
"Oi, the way you say my name makes you look like a pedo. You got a fetish or something, old man?"
The man only laughed heartily, seemingly mighty amused.
"It seems my friends were right, Kagura-chan, they really have interesting ladies here! Heeheehee!"
Kagura impatiently tapped a finger on her knee. She needed to entertain nine more customers, but with the clock ticking past eleven already, the chance seemed smaller and smaller, especially since it looked like this specific bunch she's in would be drinking the night away. The first hour of entertaining a customer always cost one and a half times more than the following rate, and if she didn't get another customer, she was bound to snap and rob them of their money instead.
"Ne, Kagura-chan? How about you dance for this old man?"
Kagura crossed her arms.
"I can't dance and I'm not dancing for a pervert like you."
"Come on, Kagura-chan," Mariko, the entertainer who played shamisen beside her, encouraged. "It's not nice to refuse the customer of entertainment, you know."
"Yes, yes, Kagura-chan." Said customer agreed. "You could make up your own, I don't mind."
"I don't want to dance, you bastard, now go finish up drinking, I want to get more customers."
Kagura's current customer only laughed as the shamisen-playing Mariko apologized on her behalf.
"Ah, it's alright, it's alright." The customer said, waving a hand. "Then, Kagura-chan, how about just sitting here right beside me, hm?"
As soon as the man's hand had grabbed her by her behind, Kagura finally snapped and hurled her umbrella with all her might.
"Kagura-chan, you're not going to get customers if you continue working this way. That's the third one you had gotten, and the third one you had maimed. You do know they only pay for the food if the entertainers weren't satisfactory, right?"
Kagura frowned deeper. It was nearly half past eleven, and she still hadn't earned even a single cent from the bar that Tsukky had taken her to.
"Can't you make me do any other job?" Kagura said, getting more and more worried. "I really need the money as soon as possible."
"Hm, yes, Tsukuyo had told me of your situation." The old mama-san of the bar said, taking a sip from her pipe. "But she told me to only let you work as an entertainer."
"But I really need the money!" Kagura said, clenching her fists. "I don't care how dirty the work is; I'll do it!"
The old woman looked back at her hard, a grim expression gracing her wrinkled face.
"As long as you don't hurt the customers?"
"If they're not asking for it."
The old woman took a piece of paper from her desk and wrote something down. Kagura couldn't help but grin. She was right— cleaning jobs did cost high in Yoshiwara.
"Take this letter with you and go to my sister's place next door. If anyone asked why you're doing this, don't you dare pin it to me. You brought this to yourself."
Kagura took the envelope and nodded at the owner.
"Thanks for the help, old lady!"
Walking as fast as her kimono permitted, Kagura quickly headed to the establishment beside the one Tsukuyo had taken her to earlier. It was longer than the bar, taking up almost half of a block, and there was a billboard with pictures of the beautiful women who worked there, most of them in costumes. Grinning, Kagura continued inside the building, excited at the prospect of being finally able to earn money.
"Good evening." A woman in maid outfit greeted. "How may I help you?"
"Ah, I'm looking for the owner." Kagura said, looking around the hall. The place looked like a hotel packed with beautiful ladies in different attires. The only downside was that not all customers matched their beauty. "The old lady next door said I should give her this letter so I could work here."
The woman in maid costume studied Kagura in mild surprise, but nonetheless showed her all the way to the owner's office. The old woman looked nearly the same as the owner of the bar, although Kagura couldn't help but think this one was the older twin or sibling.
"So..." The old woman said, setting down the letter on her desk. Her smoking pipe even looked the same as her sister's. "You've come to work here for a night, with the full guidance of Miss Hinowa, Miss Tsukuyo, and my little sister."
"Yep!" Kagura said, standing up tall. "I can do everything you would want me to do— I've been working in the Yorozuya for four years, so there's nothing I can't do!"
Kagura knew she was lying, but false advertising ran rampant these days, which was why Gin-chan never liked watching commercials.
"Very well, then." The old woman said, standing up and closely observing Kagura, walking around her with a serious expression on her face. "Do you currently have a boyfriend, or a husband?"
Kagura couldn't see the reason why that sort of information was needed from a utility girl, but as she really needed the money, she could care less.
"Have you had any before? Any partners of the sexual kind?"
Thin eyebrows rose in askance but nonetheless Kagura answered back.
"That should be better for you, I suppose." The old woman said, nodding. "You don't look too bad either, although your hair is a bit different from everybody else. Follow me, then. You need better clothes than that cheap kimono."
Gintoki felt his stomach sink and his jaw drop as he saw the state of the Yorozuya office— nearly half of it was burnt, and there was no sign of Kagura or of Sadaharu anywhere.
"She was all over the district trying to get jobs." Otose supplied, explaining the absence of the Yorozuya's sole female member. "The dango shop three blocks from here managed to give her something to do this afternoon, but she ended up doing it too enthusiastically."
"Maybe she's on her way back?" Shinpachi said, trying to look positive. It was, afterall, already nearing midnight, and normally Kagura went home before dinner. "Maybe she just got a little lonely so she took a walk with Sadaharu. Besides, Sadaharu will surely protect her if ever she got into trouble. Ah, no no no, Kagura-chan is already grown up, she could handle herself well, right, Gin-san?"
Gintoki didn't say anything, his thoughts still racking his brain for where Kagura could be. Beside him, Otose took a long drag from her pipe.
"We got word from those people at Yoshiwara a few minutes before you got here."
Gintoki and Shinpachi both looked back at the old woman, their faces paling by the second.
"Y-Yoshiwara?" Shinpachi said, teetering on the verge of having a breakdown. "What the hell is Kagura-chan doing in Yoshiwara?! D-don't tell me she—"
"Relax." Otose interrupted before the boy could do more harm on himself. "She's working at a bar, serving drinks and entertaining guests. From what I've heard, she's actually failing in her job, as she usually ends up beating them to a pulp. It seems she really admires your sister, boy."
Gintoki didn't need to hear anymore. The mere fact that Kagura had headed to Yoshiwara meant she wanted the job to pay for all the damages she had caused before they supposedly arrived the next day, and with her having difficulties in getting money, it was most likely she'd do something else, something that he didn't want to dare think about.
"O-oi, Gin-san!" Shinpachi called out as he followed said man out of the shop. "Where are you going?"
"Little girls shouldn't be wandering outside at night!"
"Ah, this is a pretty dress!"
Kagura studied herself at a mirror as she turned around. The owner had given her a red silk brocade cheongsam with loose, long sleeves and intricate gold dragon and tsubaki design and black lapels. Even back in her planet she hadn't seen anyone wear such a beautiful dress, and Kagura felt like showing it to Gin-chan and the others.
"Well, glad that suits you right." The old woman said, nodding. "It's time for work, then."
Signaling at the man behind her, the old woman stepped aside as he propped up a camera and took a picture of Kagura, who grinned readily.
'Wow, even utility workers get dressed up nicely and taken photos of? This place is better than the world above!'
Giggling to herself, Kagura turned to the old woman. The assistant that had helped Kagura dress up and the photographer had already left the room, leaving the two alone.
"So, where do I start working?" Kagura asked, standing ready.
"You wait here." The old lady answered, taking her pipe off her lips. "I'm surprised you're this excited when this will be your first time in this kind of place."
"Gin-chan said 'if it pays well without bothering you, go for it!'"
"Heh. Well, whatever you say. Someone will get back here when you're needed. Just sit there and relax."
Kagura nodded and settled down on a small backless couch at the foot of a large, four-poster bed, watching the old woman as she closed the shoji doors. When she was led to this room, she passed by other rooms that had noises coming from them that would surely cause Shinpachi to panic and blush heavily while Gin-chan would cover her ears and drag her away. Kagura had always thought places like this would be dirty and smelly, but the whole establishment was spotless and looked high class, just like the deceased 'King of the Night's' palace. One wouldn't suspect that this was a place for carnal pleasures, unless you walked down the hallways like she did and listened around.
With nothing to do, Kagura looked around the room she was in. The whole place looked like a set for a Chinese historical drama, with watercolor paintings hung on the wall and antique furniture pieces here and there. But the biggest feature was the behemoth of a bed behind her, curtained with velvet red fabric adorned with golden tassels and translucent black linen. The bedding and pillowcases were soft and most probably made of silk, and the mattress seemed soft as well. Suddenly, Kagura wanted to have her own bed like this. She had always slept in the closet door at Gin-chan's place, and it was really rare for her to sleep in a bed, much more so in a decent bedroom.
"I'm surprised you're this excited when this will be your first time in this kind of place."
Kagura stared blankly ahead of her, her eyes widening in surprise. Reality hitting her hard, Kagura involuntarily shivered in her seat. The reason why the old woman asked those silly questions, the reason why she couldn't see any cleaning material around her, the reason why she had a picture taken, and the reason why she was waiting in a high class Chinese room and wearing an expensive— not to mention figure-hugging and high-slitted— Mandarin dress, was definitely not because she was waiting for the customers in other rooms to finish up so she could clean, but rather because of a terrible, horrible misunderstanding.
Kagura could already hear Gin-chan and Shinpachi scolding her for being so stupid.
"N-ne, Gin-san, y-you don't think Kagura-chan—"
Gintoki kicked a sign board as response, and Shinpachi didn't push it. The old woman who owned the bar that Hinowa and Tsukuyo had said Kagura worked at said that the girl had transferred to the red house next door. She hadn't even finished her sentence when Gintoki quickly headed for said establishment, Shinpachi following behind him with an apology directed at the old woman. It took all of his patience to keep himself from bashing the old woman with his bokuto, and only the thought of Kagura misunderstanding her new 'job' kept him back. Yes, he refused to believe she took on the job voluntarily. There was no way she'd do something like this just to pay back what she owed to him. It was all too much, and he wouldn't have even asked her to earn back everything by herself to renovate the shop.
"Ah, there's a sign board for the employees!"
Shinpachi quickly scanned the billboard for a picture of a peach-haired girl, but there was none. Temporary relief washed through Gintoki's body, until he realized the women could have been wearing wigs. Relaying the thought to Shinpachi, they studied each picture, hoping against hope that none of them was actually Kagura.
"Ah, excuse me, I need to post this."
Shinpachi moved aside as a man unrolled a poster twice the size of the photos of women on the board.
"A notice?" Shinpachi asked, adjusting his glasses.
"Yeah." The man said, applying glue on the billboard. "There's a new one for tonight, and the owner's appraisal came out really high. Not really a surprise, though. She's really different from our usual girls here— her peach-colored hair wasn't a dye, and her skin really looked nice and bright—"
Gintoki grabbed the poster before the man could even unfurl it once more.
"H-hey! What gives?!"
"Gin-san..." Shinpachi said, looking at said man with a grim expression. "Mister, has anyone else known about her yet?"
"What do you think this poster is for, you idiots?!" He shouted, trying to pry the paper from Gintoki's hand. Gintoki ripped the poster to shreds and handed them to Shinpachi, much to the man's disbelief. "And if you want to get her you might be too late; we've already asked people to post these ads at the special notice boards all around Yoshiwara."
"Shinpachi." Gintoki said, stepping ahead of the two towards the establishment's entrance. "Take Sadaharu back home and get some rest. I'll take care of this."
Knowing how angry the man already was, Shinpachi ran back to Hinowa and Tsukuyo's shop. He knew Kagura wasn't entirely at fault, but he also knew Gin-san wouldn't let her off easily. As much as he wanted to be there for the girl, he knew it was better to get away from ground zero. Even his ane-ue didn't get that angry, ever.
Shinpachi hastened his pace. He didn't know what could possibly happen, or how much they would owe the place after this ordeal; he only hoped that whatever would happen, they would all be able to laugh at it together one day.
Slapping her forehead at her own stupidity, Kagura quickly grabbed her umbrella beside her. There was no way someone's going to buy her to have his own way, and she definitely won't let anyone touch her except for—
"Kagura-chan, you have a customer."
Said girl softly cursed. Hearing the shoji doors crack open, she quickly ran towards the sole window in the room with every bit of intention to jump out despite the three stories height from the ground.
"A— Kagura-chan, what are you doing—"
As if someone had turned off all the heat in the world, Kagura felt a cold chill wash through her entire body. They said they were going to be back around noon the next day. She swore she heard them say there were arriving around noon the next day. If that was the case, why the hell was he here?
Hearing the shoji door snap soundly, Kagura flinched. Rare as it was, she knew very well when Gintoki was angry, and with her caught in a misunderstanding, the guy would definitely make sure she didn't forget about her stupidity that night. Slowly taking off her feet from the window sill, Kagura cautiously turned to the guy, her head hung low. As much as she insisted she was already grown up, she definitely felt like a child in for a good scolding.
"G-Gin-chan," Kagura started, gripping her umbrella tightly. "I-It was a misunderstanding, I wasn't— Gaah!"
Feeling the wind knocked out of her and taken by surprise, it took a few moments before Kagura realized that she had been thrown all the way to the bed, the light smell of the floral fabric conditioner used for the sheets hitting her nose. Shaking her head as if to clear her thoughts, Kagura helped herself up, and she felt like running away as Gintoki stood silently before her, his face a mask of seriousness.
"Do you have any idea how worried we all were?"
Kagura shivered in her seat once more. She never thought she would be at the receiving end of Gintoki's deep, angry voice or his hard stare. Kagura wanted to sulk— even her papi had never treated her in such way— but she couldn't even bring herself to talk straight.
"B-but Gin-chan," Kagura tried once more, her voice breaking. "I thought I-I was going to be a cleaning lady, b-but it seems we had a m-misunderstanding so—"
"What the hell were you thinking, working for a place like this?!" Gintoki shouted, his face livid. "Girls like you should be at home at this time, watching tv, sleeping, or doing whatever girls do at night!"
Kagura instantly felt like giving someone a taste of her kicks and fists.
"Stop treating me like a little child, you bastard!" She shouted, raising her fists in indignation. "You're always going on and on about me being a kid and not an adult! Just because I act this way doesn't mean I'm not like you! I can take care of myself! And you call yourself an adult, yet you still eat sweets and read Jump like a kid— how does that make you different from me?! I don't even read Jump!"
Heaving from her sudden outburst, it was too late when Kagura realized that she could have made Gintoki angrier. But she was past caring— she had had enough of him insisting that she was a kid, and she did have a point. She was sure even Shinpachi would see that.
"So you're insisting that you're already an adult, and that I should treat you as one."
Kagura could hear her heart beating louder and louder as she gave a short, but firm, nod. Seeing Gintoki take off the bokuto from his waist, Kagura readied herself for any attack coming in, but was mildly stunned as he only threw it down the floor, the wood thumping softly on the black carpet. Her body still tensed, Kagura waited with bated breath for any attacks, but her expression slowly slid from wary to astonishment as she watched the Yorozuya leader before her take off his boots, unbuckle his belt, loosen the sash around his waist, slide the white kimono off his body, and divest himself of his black top, leaving him only in his black pants.
"S-so you're really going to go all out in a fight with me, huh?" Kagura said, unable to believe that the man was seriously going to take it this far to teach her a lesson. "Don't blame me if you end up half-dead after this—"
"I'm not going to fight you."
Kagura stared at Gintoki in confusion as he took a step forward, going closer and closer to the bed. Her heart felt like exploding in her chest, and she felt like letting her dinner of dangos out through her throat.
"T-then what are you—"
A small sound of complaint escaped from Kagura's lips as she was pushed back down on the sheets, her hands pinned down by Gintoki. More than being turned on, Kagura felt nervous, worry and panic gripping her head firmly.
"The woman before did say I was a customer, didn't she?"
Kagura's eyes widened in shock.
"Y-you can't be— Don't joke with me, Gin-chan! I told you to treat me like an adult, but not like this!"
"So you don't want me to do these kinds of things with you, even if you tried to convince a sleeping person how nice it would be to have you as his wife?"
Suddenly, as if nature decided to right itself, everything felt hot and stifling. Kagura could barely breathe, and her chest already felt painful from her rapid heartbeat.
"Y-You were... awake... that time?" Kagura asked, her voice barely above a whisper.
"You have no idea how hard it is, trying to lead a peaceful life with you living with me under the same roof."
"Oh? Where's Gin? Did you find her at Yoshiwara?"
Shinpachi quietly looked back at Otose, who had gone out of her snacks bar to see a customer off. As the dojo would be empty with his sister working at the cabaret, he decided it wouldn't be too bad to wait by the Yorozuya office instead. It had been a while since he had also seen Kagura, and he wanted to know immediately if everything had went well or if he would be needed to knock some sense on both people when they got back.
"Otose-san, can we stay in the snack shop until they got back?"
The old woman glanced back at the direction Shinpachi and Sadaharu had walked from, and opened the shoji to the snack house wider.
"I have tea inside. It seems that guy finally got some sense knocked into him, huh? I pity that girl for having to wait for so long."
Shinpachi stared at Otose, clearly confused.
"What are you talking about, Otose-san?"
The old woman stared back at him with nearly the same wide-eyed expression.
"Oi, oi, aren't you supposed to be the sane and perceptive one in your group?"
As Shinpachi stared back at her, still clearly not getting what she meant, the old woman let out a heavy sigh.
"Looks like you're going to need alcohol as well, kid. They'll most likely be back tomorrow morning."
Sadaharu let out a small bark as a pale Shinpachi followed Otose inside the snack shop. Whatever Otose was going to discuss with him, he knew he wasn't going to be able to sit still and have peace of mind for days to come.
Hadn't karma had enough when his sister decided to go out with the Shinsengumi's commander?
He knew very well shouldn't be doing what he was doing right now. Hell, he shouldn't even think about it. But as Kagura pulled him closer, one hand on his back and the other holding on tightly to his hair, there was no way he was going to deny himself of this kind of happiness anymore. She did say she was already of age, right? They celebrated her birthday at Otose's place, and the numbers 'one' and 'eight' were big and clear on the banners that they had all put up. Surely no one else would accuse him of taking advantage of a girl's love for him or of being a horny good-for-nothing who couldn't control his feelings, would they?
"Gin-chan," Kagura broke off, her lips barely away from Gintoki's. "Did you really buy me from the owner?"
"Idiot, we don't have that kind of money." Gintoki answered, knocking Kagura's head lightly. "I made a deal with the old lady."
"Shinpachi better be ready to get up early tomorrow; he's going to clean this place for free."
The heavy air seemingly bearing down upon the two was immediately lifted as Kagura broke into a fit of laughter, her loud voice an unwanted invasion on Gintoki's ears.
"Oi, oi, don't laugh like that if someone's head is close to yours." Gintoki muttered, giving Kagura another light knock on the head. "I'd like to hold on to the little ear wax I have left in my ear, thank you very much, and the only loud sound that should be coming out of this room is—"
Gintoki paused, feeling his face burn as Kagura looked back at him with a confused expression.
"Gin-chan," She said, her lips twisting into a wide grin. "Gin-chan is a pervert."
"S-shut up." Gintoki quickly said, knocking on Kagura's head once more. "And this is entirely your fault. Who said you could blow up half of the office? And really, going to Yoshiwara to work!"
"You're scolding me, Gin-chan, but your face is red like a monkey's butt and I'm sure that's not your bokuto poking hard at me down there."
Gintoki didn't know whether to smack her head harder for being so vulgar or to kick himself because what she had said was painfully true.
"Gin-chan," Kagura spoke once more, her voice and face now curious instead of mocking. The red tint on her skin was making his sanity even harder to hold on to. "Are we really going to do what those people in the other rooms are doing?"
"W-well," Gintoki said, clearing his voice. "N-not exactly everything, who knows what else they're doing with all the racket they were making, b-but only if you want to do it, o-of course; I don't exactly plan on getting my balls cut off by forcing a Yato warrior."
Gintoki gulped. He should be given a 'nicest man alive' award. He could barely hold himself in, and as much as his hands were itching to move to places of his great interest, he had kept them on the sheets of the bed and away from Kagura's still fully-clothed body. Really, he should be given an award...
"If Papi finds out about this, he'll rip your head off your shoulders."
A nervous laugh broke out from the Yorozuya leader.
"T-then I better make sure it's welded and bolted tightly, hahahaha..."
"And I'll cleave your balls off if you try messing up with another person."
Gintoki grinned confidently at Kagura.
"Oh? Then I'll make a feast out of Sadaharu if you try messing up with someone else too, especially with that Sadist Prince from Shinsengumi. If you're not beating him to a pulp, don't talk to him at all."
Gintoki felt the wind knocked off him as Kagura suddenly pushed him aside, effectively changing their positions. He desperately tried to hold on to the little patience he had left in him as she settled comfortably on his lap, the throbbing presence under his pants becoming more and more unbearable by the second. Kagura's smug grin didn't help at all, either.
"Just because this is my first doesn't mean I'm going to take it easy, Gin-chan."
Maybe it was better if he had just dragged her back home?
Meanwhile, at a snack shop in the middle of Kabuki-chou, a young man in glasses had passed out from excessive alcohol intake.
"Tch, weak boy!" Catherine huffed, grabbing the glass still wedged in Shinpachi's hand. "Not only unable to handle the truth, he also can't handle his alcohol!"
"Maa, leave him there." Otose said, lighting another cigarette. "It's a good thing I didn't tell him yet about the letter I received for them this afternoon."
Otose took out a small, white envelope from her kimono and handed it to her assistant.
"Umibouzu?" Catherine read, taking a closer look at the sender's name. "That monster- girl's bald old man?"
"A child's transition to adulthood is important for any parent who cared. I'm actually surprised that he wasn't at that girl's birthday party."
"Maybe the old man's going to drop by?" Catherine guessed, trying to peel the seal off the envelope. Otose slapped her prying hand away and took back the envelope.
"That lazy guy really likes getting in trouble, doesn't he?" Otose said, putting the envelope back inside the sleeve of her kimono. "Maa, but this kid has it harder. He's bound to die of heart attack, that's for sure."
"Hah! I'll make sure I'll be watching when that freeloader gets his head cut off!"
: END :
Author's Notes: Ahahahaha... so this would be my first Gintama fanfic. I ship Okita and Kagura like hell, but Gintoki/Kagura also hit me hard XD Blame it on my preference for an older guy/younger female relationship.
Anyway, I hope they were all (somehow) still in-character. I'm quite nervous about this, especially since so far, all the GinKagu fics I've read were written really well. Also, there's supposed to be more 'action' in this fic (if you get what I mean winkwinknudgenudge) but sadly, I'm not confident enough with the one I came up with, so yeah. Just T for suggestive stuff. Oh, and the title was too long, so I shortened it. The actual title is the one in bold letters above, right before the ff itself. I can already hear Gintoki trying his best to counter my title lol
So... Reviews, comments, suggestions, and bursts of fangirling squee are most welcome, as always. :)