Disclaimer: Gintama belongs to Hideaki Sorachi. Let's leave it at that.
Messing With A Rotten Bond Will Mess With Your Rotten Heart
Chapter 1: What About Strawberry Milk?
The little feast Kondou had organized at the Shinsengumi barracks was very welcome. Gintoki and his two amusing goons could not agree to a more befitting compensation after their job had gone so terribly bad thanks to Sougo's sadistic behavior. However, they all secretly knew that Kondou's number one reason for allowing this little party was the chance of seeing Otae, who apparently had not arrived yet, and thus the Commander of the Shinsengumi was in low spirits. Not that Gintoki or Kagura cared, as long as they were given free food, much less Otae's brother Shinpachi who suffered severely from a sister-complex.
Either way, the overall mood was very pleasing and by the time Gintoki felt his stomach filled and pampered enough he scanned around the room absentmindedly. Kagura and Sougo were both competing for who knows what, still eating nonstop, Shinpachi and Yamazaki were being as random and predictable as possible, dethroning the common man and beating randomness to smithereens, Kondou was crying in a corner calling for Otae and the rest of the Shinsengumi were partying as typical Japanese people. For some reason everything was excessively pleasing and Gintoki appreciated that.
Nevertheless, this story would not have a beginning if annoyance was not needed. Well, maybe not "needed", but vexation had a bad habit of gravitate around Gintoki for he had a natural charm that drew in said vexation. In this case, the source of annoyance was clearly missing. The insanely perfect black hair, the dark blue eyes examining every centimeter of the room, the cold heavy aura that emitted a high sense of self and undoubtedly a great amount of pride. All these characteristics collided with Gintoki's own. They were two opposite poles and likewise Gintoki could feel when said rival was around and vice-versa.
"Where's Oogushi-kun?" Gintoki asked the nearest Shinsengumi officer out of curiosity. The man turned around and after pondering for a second replied.
"Today is the Vice Captain's day-off, he must be in his room"
Gintoki nodded with his head and then glanced at the seat next to Kondou's that usually accommodated Hijikata Toushiro. It struck him how boring these gatherings at the Shinsengumi quarters could be without the bastard around, though Gintoki did not dismiss the pleasantness of such absence either. It was significantly better than crossing swords with the vicious Vice Commander every five minutes.
As Gintoki reflected upon these irrelevant matters a brief discussion ensued next to him among three young officers. They were talking about bringing more sake to the Vice Commander's room and fretting all about it.
"You go there! He made me go buy him more tobacco half an hour ago"
"I brought him sake just after dinner"
"Don't look at me asshole, I'm not going there either"
"Yeah, what if he is drunk?!"
"I don't want to die today, there's a special episode of my favourite drama airing tomorrow and I wanna record it"
"Yeah, I'm waiting for next week's Jump too, I can't have my body slain yet"
"Are you serious? He will kill you anyway if you don't go"
Gintoki found the whole argument very interesting and the idea of a drunken Hijikata instantly revealed itself in his mind as something very amusing to behold. He would have a new way of messing around with the other man's mind and threw on a little shame at his frowny mug. A devilish smile came to play eagerly upon his lips.
"I'll do your task in exchange of a week supply of free parfaits" he said to the three officers playfully. Gintoki wasn't totally sure they would comply with his offer but he might as well try. Seeing Hijikata's shameful face would already be a prize on its own.
"Really, Danna? You would do that?" one of them blurted astonished. Gintoki flashed him a grin.
"Ok it's a deal then"
The young officer handed the little bottle of sake to Gintoki and after accompanying him out of the room he pointed towards the Vice Captain's quarters.
"It's the second door at the first right of this corridor. A little farther from the bathroom"
Gintoki strolled happily down the wooden pavement anxious for the glory awaiting just a few meters ahead. It was right within his grasp and he could not but smirk at the thought of a miserable Hijikata consumed by alcohol. It was going to be incredibly fun.
He approached the room carefully, attentive to any movement from within. There was none whatsoever. Perhaps the Vice Captain had fallen asleep before Gintoki's arrival, hence stealing the entire amusement he had been hoping for. He halted for a second in doubt yet, in spite of the brief disappointment, Gintoki was determined to go through with his plan. He was not going to bail out after having come so far.
"Oogushi-kun~~" he called in a sing song voice. There was not a single reply. Gintoki frowned.
"I have your precious sake~"
Silence greeted him again and seconds flew by in the same fashion until the neglect became too great to just dismiss as annoyance.
"Oi you bastard I'm coming in-" Gintoki announced ill-tempered. However, the door to Hijikata's room slid open itself before he could touch it and the man behind it stumbled forward crashing against his chest unwieldy. Gintoki fell on his back with dismay and his grip on the sake bottle eased making it fall to the ground as well.
"What the…" Gintoki cursed loudly not quite aware of what had happened and then looked at his lap. Resting on top of him was Hijikata, lumpish and disoriented. Dressed in his yukata the dark haired man was looking pretty inebriated, his cheeks were mildly flushed in a pink colour and his gaze was lost in a far away world. He had definitely tripped on his feet while leaving the room. Gintoki felt like laughing at the display. Actually he would have done so if the position they were in was not so awkward. Hijikata's hair grazed his chin and his hot sweltering breath was on Gintoki's skin. It didn't feel right.
"Oi, oi, get up" he grumbled quickly but his words reached no one. Hijikata was still hopelessly resting on top of him breathing deeply as if trying to inhale resolve.
It was impossible not to become engulfed in the lingering tobacco smell drifting from the Vice Commander. There was a strong alcohol odour floating around too, accompanied by a scent that was Hijikata's own. It was not surprising that such smell would burn into Gintoki's memory in the near future. He already repented having submitted to this stupid idea of his. He would not have gone along with it if he knew he would end up in such a risky situation. All he wanted was to make fun of poorly rational Hijikata in all his deprivation of sobriety. It wasn't asking for much really, but no, everything had to go completely out of control. That satellite of vexation and bad omens had to tantalize Gintoki even in this twisted way.
While such thoughts rushed to his head and busied his mind with self-abashment, it did not take long for Gintoki's eyes to wander below Hijikata's sculptured chin and imagine his fingertips trail the smooth pale skin of the Vice Commander's neck and exposed collarbone. It almost gave him contempt towards his own feelings thinking such things, but the fact was that the vulnerability presented before him aroused him in strange unexpected ways and was, as much as he wanted to deny it, delightful to behold. The soft slow breaths near his ear transformed themselves in atrocious, though alluring illusions of Hijikata nibbling at his earlobes and tracing his jaw line with his tongue down to his lips… A furious flush rose to Gintoki's cheeks. It seemed unable to be driven away as long as the warm supple body rested in his arms. Shit. Gintoki's slightly drunken mind had to be playing tricks on him. He dared a guess at what would become of him if the scene prolonged itself for much longer and he even took a moment to acknowledge the future of the throbbing member between his legs.
The situation was beyond bad. Soon enough it would be beyond repair and the sudden grip on his neck proved no better. Hijikata was trying to stand up supporting his weight on Gintoki. The latter felt his conscience brim into clarity for a moment at the chance of fleeing from such a predicament and consequently he tried to help the former with an enormous wish of success. He had to detach himself from the Vice Commander as soon as possible or he would not be able to suppress his urges for much longer.
Gintoki tried to hoist Hijikata up by placing his hands on the other male's hips and, for a secure second, he thought he had made it. Hijikata managed to get a foot solidly against the floor when his knee brushed clumsily against Gintoki's sensitive erection and sent him groaning loudly.
"Bastard… Get off me!" he scowled between gritted teeth. The thought of having his own pride stained like that made him feel sick. How could his body betray him like that? It wasn't right, not even for a person as lax and easygoing as Gintoki. He was shocked and repulsed at himself. Regardless of anything he thought, of any reason he tried to pound into his head, the undisputed truth revealed itself in his body. The move made Gintoki lose his composure and the steady hands holding Hijikata quickly fell from their place unbalancing the weight of the Vice Commander further onto Gintoki. The latter thrust his head back in utter desperation, applying all his concentration into negating the sight before his eyes. It was an inconceivable, ridiculous situation and it only made him regret coming to the barracks even more. He had told them, he truly had. He had told Kagura and Shinpachi that he didn't want anything to do with the Shinsegumi freaks but the money had gotten the best of him as always. Shinpachi had to open his big mouth and babble about money which they most probably would never get thanks to some crazy mojo that was sure to come their way. In the end things did come out as Gintoki had predicted and the party Gorilla decided to host seemed a nice enough gesture to compensate the damages and money lost. However, not in a million years would Gintoki have predicted this, this absurdly drunk Hijikata who could not even stand on his own two feet. It was even worse than having to bump into him all day during his other stupid days-off. Moreover the worse thing about it all was that Gintoki had to control the irrational natural cravings of his body; to prevent the moans and weird thoughts and, if such proved too difficult to deal with, at least he had to delay the sexual impulse for as long as possible.
Everything was way too spooky and terrible and Gintoki was just about to curse the whole damned universe when someone approached. He did not know if he should be terrified or relieved but he opted for the later.
"Danna! I was wondering where you could- Ah! Hijikata-san!" Yamazaki gasped surprised at the poor figure of his Vice Commander. He hurried to Gintoki's help and with joint effort the two successfully pulled the man up.
"Is the Vice Commander… drunk?" Yamazaki asked, looking at Hijikata quite astonished. Gintoki wondered if Yamazaki truly lacked a brain.
"No, Friezer came from Namek and hit him with his tail- Of course he is freaking drunk! Are you blind Yamazaki-kun, oi?!"
The younger man bowed his head in an apologetic manner, half-smiling and half-embarrassed.
"We should drop the Vice Commander in his room don't you think Danna?"
"I couldn't care less, excuse me" Gintoki said shortly, removing his arm from under Hijikata's. Yamazaki lost his balance with the sudden withdrawal and looked behind in plea at Gintoki's back.
"Danna! Are you leaving me alone? Danna!"
"You are not alone, are you Yamazaki-kun?" Gintoki replied coolly, though it was all an act to hide the persistent blush on his face. He then quickened his step and vanished from sight. He needed to get rid of his arousal and rapidly. He could barely walk straight anymore. A voice soon reached his ears and Gintoki did his best to look as unassuming and slack as usual.
"Gin-san!" Shinpachi's head popped out from the bright room where the group was partying "Where were you? Aneue brought rice cakes and Kagura is eating them all!" he complained. Gintoki managed to give the boy a look of acknowledgment and then walked swiftly past him.
"Gin-san? Where are you going? Gin-san"
"Doing a man's job Shinpachi-kun, a man's job" he said proudly with an unreadable gaze. Shinpachi sighed heavily and shook his head in disapproval.
"I don't need to know it every time you're going to take a dump Gin-san"
"Erm… the bathroom isn't that way"
"Oh…" Gintoki stopped in his tracks and looked around as if he had been transported to another dimension "You're right Shinpachi-kun, where was I headed?" The question struck Shinpachi's usual snarky attitude, typical of his stooge personality.
"How would I know?!" he bellowed angrily. Gintoki scratched the back of his neck tiredly.
"Yamazaki is over there so…" Gintoki complained in a bored voice. Shinpachi's eyebrow twitched at the remark and then with a strong shove he slid the door shut.
"Like I care!"
Gintoki sighed as the boy disappeared behind the door and then looked at the corridor ahead of him. He sure as hell was not going to go back there, though Yamazaki had probably disposed of the Vice Commander by now. Either way that was not Gintoki's chief concern. He had to do something about his throbbing fellow down there. It had been pure luck that Shinpachi did not notice it but that's how virgins were, or so Gintoki liked to think.
Once the Yorozuya finally dared to take a peek at the dreadful corridor and saw it clear he ran for the bathroom with all his might. The more steps he took the more painful it was to prevent loud groans. As soon as he entered his destination he scanned the place in a glimpse and then shut himself in a toilet stall. He loosened his kimono and got down to business. The quicker he got rid of it the better. He undid his pants and not long after low soft moans filed the tilled bathroom. Aside from the quirky, dirty thoughts that swarmed in, the fact that the bathroom was empty was probably the one thing that eased Gintoki the most. All the stall doors had been open and no one had entered his field of vision, not even near the sinks. Gintoki could unleash himself freely.
Not that seclusion was his real problem. That one was just about to start.
As he began reaching more intense stages of pleasure, images of recent porn books and DVDs Hasegawa had lent him proved themselves insufficient, not even his favourite ones seemed worthy, and so, in despair of not being able to release or eventually for some other unknown twisted reason, the recollection of Hijikata's demeanour came to his mind. His flushed face, his hot breaths near his ear, the naked legs exposed under the yukata… Gintoki could hardly believe he was being consumed with such lust but there he was jerking off at the thought of the Demonic Vice Commander. His breath became irregular and as he quickened his pace, burning waves of heat unleashed throughout his body. He glued his forehead to the freezing tiles in the vain hope of cooling down the wild rush but only more curses and groans came out from the attempt.
At last, with one final long moan escaping his lips, Gintoki released and succumbed to his knees. Something that was prone to give him as much happiness as it did to any other man had become a terrifying experience which would now haunt him for the rest of his life. It took him a while to regain his apathetic assurance and calmness and when he did, the fact that he had to bear the memory of such a colossal jerking off shook him slightly. In the ocean of his being now sailed a ridicule piece of his past that would always remind him of this day. He felt his self-esteem rotting in the pit. Why of all people did it have to be Hijikata? His annoying rival at everything in life, the unbelievable Mayora, the Vice Commander of the Shinsengumi! His complete opposite! Gintoki's soul witnessed shame beyond comparison. He was confused, disgusted and angry at himself.
After swallowing what was left of his pride Gintoki stumbled out of the toilet stall muttering. His expression was dull and indifferent as he tried to ignore all his inner turmoil.
"That bastard… I can't belie-"
Gintoki looked at his right and stared. There was definitely something staring back at him with big blue eyes; something quite pale and discomposed, looking as if it had been regurgitating organs and above all, something shocked; shocked right out of its mind. The situation was so immensely surreal that a part of Gintoki's brain burst out laughing making one corner of his lips turn up in a weird smirk. Since it was reality and not some stupid anime scene, Gintoki felt only a cold drip of sweat run down his back, otherwise he would have melted right there and then, clothes included.
The untouched, seemingly unbreakable silence kept the atmosphere as awkward and uncomfortable as possible. Gintoki's second cerebral activity besides acknowledging human embarrassment was retracing his steps back to the time when he had stepped inside the bathroom, particularly to the part where he had made sure no one was there. In fact he was certain all stall doors had been open and no Shinsengumi officer was in the vicinity. How could he have missed one? Gintoki began to wonder if perhaps the Vice Commander was stupid to the point of charging in regardless of the intimate sounds soaring in the air. That would make him a pervert as well, though his cold and distant bearing dismissed such presumption. But if not so, how come he was there staring back at Gintoki with those pure beautiful blue eyes? Gintoki wanted to throw himself into the nearest hole. Never mind it was probably a sewer.
Eventually it hit him that it was possible that Hijikata had been there all along, too busy with his fragile drunken state to close the stall door.
Shit. Shit. Shit. Gintoki had been extremely reckless not to have listened to any other sounds besides his own, yet he could not have quite worried himself with other matters while he was doing his thing, could he? And it wasn't really that bad that he had been overheard, except it was the Hijikata he had been thinking about while masturbating that was now standing beside him. How ironic. The situation left Gintoki with one scary gigantic question racing through his mind, exploding and echoing everywhere, turning him numb: had he uttered Hijikata's name, had he, Sakata Gintoki, in the middle of all his satisfaction and debauchery let Hijikata's name slip from his lips? No, no, no, no, no. Even as the need to have the question answered corroded his spirit, Gintoki still stood casual and nonchalant on the outside and knowing that he took advantage of his wit and arsenal of retorts to lighten up the mood.
"Oogushi-kun you look terrible, did you vomit your balls too?"
The other man made no reply. Hijikata just kept staring at him with overwhelming perplexity and though such reaction perturbed the latter more than anything, he did not sink into distress.
"Eh? That bad was it?"
The stare did not stop and only when Gintoki thought Hijikata had finally succeeded in piercing him with those striking eyes, the Vice Commander flinched and in a rush returned to the toilet behind him with his hands covering his mouth. An awful gurgling noise filled the bathroom. Gintoki could barely contain his sneer.
"You bastard, I didn't need to hear that" he said mildly nauseated, walking towards the sinks.
A flushing sound then resounded throughout the bathroom, along with the sound of running water, and Hijikata finally spoke. His voice was feeble and dry, yet cold and as serious as always.
"I didn't need to hear you either"
The phrase froze Gintoki from within. He felt shrills run countless times through his spine and he endured it all for the sake of his already blemished pride. He had never given it much credit until now, but he had never expected a situation like this to begin with. There was just something about Hijikata, perhaps his voice, his attitude towards Gintoki that really pissed him off. A torn prickled inside him with rage, making his easygoing nature go all to waste in a moment. No one else had this effect on him and he didn't like it. Moreover it had been Hijkata whom he had just fantasised about minutes ago and that was as degrading as it could get. Not to mention the screams inside Gintoki's mind that begged for some reassurance, for concrete proof that nothing accounting of the Vice Commander's name had issued from his mouth. Nevertheless, Gintoki was resolute in not pursuing the subject (even though the needy question was still left unanswered) and therefore he did not reply one word to the man who now popped up beside him in the next sink. Gintoki merely smirked. Above anything else he did not want to show the tiniest bit of apprehension in his presence. His confident, bored, usual self had to overflow and suffocate the rest of the world more fiercely than ever before. At that moment, Gintoki could not sound strange, could not show any kind of discomfort knowing his blissful moans had been heard by Hijikata. Gintoki had to act as if everything was normal even when he knew exactly why it wasn't. He had to act as if Hijikata was Hasegawa or Kondou or Zura any other person not Hijikata.
Thus, when Gintoki finished washing his hands he began to slowly walk away and struggle out of that bitter silence. He did not expect more conversation between the two of them, especially on the account of Hijikata's painful return to sobriety and so he left with a short and amused "Sorry about that" which had nothing of amusing about it, just plain muffled panic.
"What's done is done" Gintoki said to himself. He walked back to the party with great intentions of indulging himself in ways to forget what had happened.
A week had gone by since the fated embarrassing encounter and Gintoki had successfully overlooked it. Reading Jump, putting up with Shinpachi and Kagura's craziness, avoiding Otose and Katherine's demands for paying rent, hanging out with poor Madao Hasegawa and eating strawberry based sweets had truly lifted his spirits and helped him forget the event. The time passage had even eroded any such feelings of confusion or awkwardness towards the Vice Commander, though they had not been entirely ripped from root. Gintoki occasionally found himself lost in a haze reflecting upon it, remembering what he thought agreeable about the whole experience. Obviously, those moments felt like a slap in the face once he thought about them reasonably, but they were something he could not avoid. A state of mind he could not control.
"Gin-san is something wrong? Is it the ramen?" Ikumatsu asked a bit worried.
"Eh? The ramen? No it's fine"
"You seem deep in thought, I wondered if the ramen was not to your liking" she said with a weak smile.
"It's nothing, it's nothing…" he mumbled quickly, brushing away the intangible disturbance with his hand.
"Kagura and Shinpachi-kun are not with you. That's strange" she continued "Busy with work?"
"Hmph, they are probably slacking somewhere being the slobs they are" he complained tiredly "Probably dragging the big dog behind them too" he added. Ikumatsu smiled politely.
"Well, that still doesn't explain why you are here alone. Katsura is not here you know?"
"Yeah, whatever, who cares about him anyway…"
"Seeking solitude once in a while is not bad uh?" she said quiescently. The sentence peeked Gintoki's dead interest and he looked up at her. The ramen shop was empty besides the two of them, but that wasn't unusual regarding the hours. It was close to four in the afternoon.
"I guess so" Gintoki told her after finishing his bowl of noodles. Ikumatsu smiled at him.
"I'm sure the reason for you to be like this has something to do with relationships, it's pretty obvious" she said with a laugh. Gintoki thrust his perplexity down his throat. He knew the shop owner could be very slick when she wanted to, but scoring so hastily caught him off guard. He returned the smile before she spoke again.
"I never believed you would go as far as having your little crush for the weather girl, but I guess she has a new rival, hahaha"
Gintoki choked on his own saliva. Her daring guess had surprised him so much more than her previous statement that he had to cough several times to get rid of the shock. What the hell was she talking about? Could she read minds or something? Even if she did read minds, what could be so bad about it anyway? Gintoki shrugged. He could hardly accept the direction the conversation was going. What had Ketsuno Ana to do with his relationship problems? Nothing! It has absolutely nothing to do with it! Besides, he didn't have a problem any longer. It had never been a problem to begin with. Yeah, just something hard to swallow like when they said Trunks-kun was Vegeta and Bulma's son. It was merely a memory difficult to store away, something that would eventually be forgotten. Gotta put shit like that behind your back. So what was this talk about Ketsuno Ana having a rival? Gintoki could be dense, but he wasn't dense to the point where he didn't know who he fancied.
"Did I hit the spot?" Ikumatsu queried amusingly.
"I don't know what the hell you're talking about" Gintoki replied dryly, making a huge effort not to roll his eyes.
"Eeh? Being evasive are we?"
"Ikumatsu-san, did Zura's stupidity affect your brain? You're not thinking straight"
"No need to lecture me Gin-san, it doesn't take a great level of intelligence to see you're in love, just like a high school kid" she said while leaning on the counter and resting her head on her palms.
Gintoki kept his mouth shut in case he might stutter. What the hell was she saying? It was ridiculous. Who could he possibly be in love with? Not even Ketsuno Ana retained such degree of his affections, and for the most part, Gintoki did not want anything, anything to do with love or like or whatever. Attachments were something he did not need; he already had more than he wished for. They were troublesome and caused him the emotion which he dreaded the most: worry.
"So are you going to tell me who she is?"
"I already told you I don't know what you're talking about"
"Oh come on Gin-san"
"You're being shy"
"I don't have anything to be shy about"
"Denial is the first step" Ikumatsu said louder as Gintoki reached the entrance. He waved his hand at her with his back turned and then he slid the door shut. Ikumatsu was left entertained for the rest of the day and Gintoki troubled.
If there was something in the whole world he loved, he surely did not love now. He had lost that ability; most accomplished discarded it. But what would he call those feelings that jabbed his chest now and then, how could he label them when he did not fully understand them?
Gintoki looked up at the azure sky and sighed.
"What about strawberry milk?"
AN: I finally finished this hellish chapter! I still don't believe how diligently the words came out, but I'm glad they did. After reading doujinshi after doujinshi and watching so many great episodes I knew I had to write a Gintama fic. I hope I'll be able to keep the promise I made to myself and conclude this in four chapters. Until then, please read and review. I pray you enjoy it.
Last edited on July 2013.