Disclaimer: Gintama belongs to Hideaki Sorachi. Let's leave it at that.
Messing With a Rotten Bond Will Mess With Your Rotten Heart
Chapter 6: Beware of Contradictions and People's Names
When the soul is irrevocably in uproar there is, usually, little will to acknowledge it, even more so when it comes to Hijikata Toshiro. In this case, such induced ignorance can reach so high a state it becomes blatantly noticeable to any bystander. Unfortunately, how sad it was that the latter happened to be the nosy and chatty bunch of the Shinsengumi barracks! It wasn't half bad actually, given the total mess Hijikata's mind was in lately, but it did take a toll somehow. Amidst all the worry and frustration he seemed to be bearing, there was still a weight on his shoulders reminding him that everyone else knew he was acting weird.
"You know, yesterday I bumped into the Vice Captain in the bathroom and he was mumbling to himself. Really creepy!" said one officer to another at breakfast.
"I heard he forgot to put mayo on his rice the other day"
"What?! Impossible!" Two others exclaimed perplexed.
"That isn't too shocking…." Yamazaki cut in wisely "Since he fell asleep during last week's patrol" he added, rubbing one finger under his nose proudly.
"Wha-? The Vice Captain?!"
"The same!" Yamazaki answered vainglorious.
These little competitions seeking the best incredulous story about the Vice Commander were becoming very popular among young officers and the fact that the man in question did not appear to engage in any effort to stop them, made it all the more enjoyable and lasting. Obviously there were those who simply shrugged the topic off or basically didn't care, but there was one evil seed in particular which was awkwardly silent about it. Although, it didn't mean he wasn't interested in the business, on the contrary. Captain Okita was all over his superior and if not for the latter's alienation he would have already been dissected for being the irritating leech he was.
"Eeeh... Hijikata-san, you're not taking your sword out with you today? Pretty confident, I see, or are you patronizing me? I would really like to kill you, but don't underestimate me please" Okita said innocently one day before patrolling. Hijikata immediately snapped out of his momentarily trance and scowled.
"Wha-?! A-as if! I was just going to go get it, invertebrate! Tsk!" He hurried away grumbling furiously and brushed the embarrassment aside.
"Come on, Hijikata-saaann~~! We don't have all daaay!"
"Yeah, yeah… stop pestering, sheesh!" Hijikata came back in a quick step avoiding any eye contact with the teasing prick. Okita smirked.
The two walked out of the barracks and headed to the patrol car parked by the gate. Hijikata was currently focused, reading some reports Harada had just brought him. The contents were the usual. Lists of supposed Joui faction members, info and rumors, robberies, rapes, accidents, the everyday-crap policemen are expected to deal with. However, this exclusive report included, for the first time, something Hijikata did not foresee. His head turned up reflexively, portraying a deadly glare, and he looked around fiercely scanning the surroundings for his prey.
"Who the hell wrote this?"
"Hijikata-san, the name is written on the front page" Okita indicated nicely, though swarming with sarcasm.
"Oh, right, I forgot" Hijikata nodded and skimmed the pages backwards. His eyes quickly found their destination and it wasn't even two seconds before he shouted "YAMAZAKIII!"
The clumsy, nerdy officer came running and stopped before his Vice Commander breathing heavily.
"You called sir?"
"Yes I fucking called!" he yelled enraged "What the hell is this!" he shoved the report papers in Yamazaki's face and took out his cigarette pack while waiting for an answer. A decent, acceptable answer, if that was even possible.
"This is my report from yesterday's-"
"I know that! What about the last part?! The last part!" Hijikata roared. He lit his cigarette viciously, ticking the lighter nervously.
"Oh, about the Yorozuya, sir?"
"R-right, the Yorozuya group was headed into Yoshiwara two days ago and it seems they are causing quite the riot over there. According to some reliable sources who saw the -"
Hijikata stared at Yamazaki deep in thought. He wasn't hearing much after the confirmation. Lots of questions were popping up inside his head instead, occupying most of his senses. What could the silver haired idiot possibly be doing at that nest of geishas and prostitutes? It is needless to number all the episodes and wicked affairs that were unraveling in Hijikata's mind once he came to know such fact. Also, it was easily detectable how the information pissed him off. The cigarette between his teeth which was no longer being smoked but bitten and the murderous look in his eyes were evidence enough, though the last detail could barely count given the person Hijikata was and the personality he had been bestowed with. Nevertheless, he controlled himself sufficiently to keep his cool. Hijikata managed to brush the issue aside and after some of Yamazaki's ranting, he took off calmly, quietly, without too much trouble. Okita was secretely aware of all this, but he did not disclose anything except to himself. From thereon, Hijikata was unknowingly being over-supervised. Okita had him under the microscope.
Luckily for Hijikata the day did not end without good news. During a tactical meeting that afternoon, a new anti-terrorist operation was successfully appointed to start the next day without much ado or critiques. His bloodlust and anger would finally be properly canalized and his mind could temporarily get some rest from the constant giddiness. However, life was not only roses or gardens of flowers and sparkle like some stupid shoujo manga, which meant that something was wrong. Something had to be wrong to disrupt the fucking peace in the universe. The highly approved operation had a special factuality which discomposed the whole of the Vice Commander. The area in question, which they were to spy and oversee, was coincidently near Gintoki's house. The Shogun be damned! Hijikata was cursed. He was fucking cursed and he knew it. The following day came in a blink of an eye.
"Hijikata-san are you nervous?"
"I don't know. I just wondered if it could be the cause for you forgetting your vest, that's all"
Hijikata peeked at his chest and flushed. He sent a glare to the smiling Sougo and turned to the nearest official.
"You. You're with Captain Okita today"
"Uh? But, sir I-"
"Oooh, Hijikata-san… how subtle"
"Shut up. I don't wanna hear you today!"
"Sure thing, sir" Okita nodded faking his politeness. He then tiptoed behind the Vice Captain and attached a ticking voodoo doll to his patrol car. We all know what happened next.
Surprisingly, the anti-terrorist operation proceeded quite smoothly and without half the personal interferences Hijikata had expected. In fact, there hadn't been one. Putting it bluntly, the strolls Hijikata did past Gintoki's house were all of his own accord and always ended in secret disappointment. Although, Hijikata admitted there was some stupidity to his actions. Of course, if the idiot was over at Yoshiwara doing who knows what with all those women, logically, he couldn't be at home, could he? These suppositions were proven correct until a few days later. One evening finally came to put an end to Hijikata's hidden disillusion. As he walked by Otose's bar a familiar Chinese umbrella and white fluffy dog came walking down the street. China and the big dog? Kagura did not pretend to be cheerful once she noticed him.
"Oh, it's Mayora. What's up" she greeted with such exceeding boredom Hijikata was sure it could only have been taught by a certain useless asshole. Sadaharu conceded him a quick glimpse but did not stop his march. Another jackass.
"Hn" Hijikata tilted his head slightly. He debated intensely with self-control, wondering if perhaps he should ask anything in particular. Nonetheless he said nothing. He walked home in silence, with every nerve stinging with regret.
That guilt did not burn long though. As if by magic, in two days time, during his same old walk home from the supervising area, Hijikata bumped into Shinpachi. The latter was probably the most decent of all the people related to the white haired perm and that was probably what encouraged Hijikata to proceed with his questions. As artfully and coldly as he could though.
"Hijikata-san! How are you?" the four eyes asked nicely. Hijikata replied ever so politely and turned his head to the side in a guarded manner.
"Heard Yoshiwara got rowdy" he stated brusquely. Suggesting was not on Hijikata's dictionary. Shinpachi gulped anxiously. He was definitely more worried about legal matters than the Vice Commander's pressing needs.
"Ah-hah ahahaha" Shinpachi laughed disturbed "Yes, yes, it appears so… hahahaha"
"I know you guys were behind it"
Shinpachi's laughter ceased like a blown out candle.
"As expected from the Shinsengumi…" Shinpachi said defeated.
"We can't touch Yoshiwara, so whatever you did, I hope you did it right" Hijikata said coolly "Though I don't expect much from you, or the other two"
"Ahaha, don't worry. Gin-san and Kagura are alright-"
"Does it seem like I care?!" Hijikata suddenly burst enraged. The mere name pissed him off.
"N-no, sorry, sorry I didn't mean to-"
"Anyway, I got work to do. See ya"
"Goodbye" Shinpachi replied with a slight bow.
Hijkata was restless. How could it be that Gintoki was back to the Kabuki district and he still hadn't run into him? It was positively maddening. Unheard of! Did he have to go to duch lenghts as to take a day off so the bastard could strangely pop everywhere he went? No! No! He wasn't that desperate! He didn't even want to see the damned pervert. What would he even say? Hello? Shit no!
Days passed by without anything as a glimpse or a glint of silver hair. Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Despair had a cruel way of working. It was digging deeper and deeper into Hijikata's brain, deeper and deeper into the marrow of his bones. He was sick of seeing China girl and four eyes. In fact he was sick of the fucking "Yorozuya zone" in general, but he was even sicker of himself who couldn't stop walking past it. Kagura popped up again that day.
"Oh my, it's the virus" she said taking a few steps back. Okita who stood like steel next to Hijikata was the first to yield to the provocation.
"It's the virus job to attack bacteria" he said stoically.
"And talking crap as well. Come Sadaharu, I am getting sick"
"Watch out, don't drown in your own puke"
"Ah! If I indeed puked you'd be dead"
"I would kill you before you could, stupid child"
"Shut up Kid Number 2"
"Whaat? I couldn't hear you Baby Number 1"
"Graaaaaaah! Wanna fight bastard, OI!" Kagura yelled, showing a tight fist in front of her face. Okita smirked and stepped forwards.
"Bring it on-"
"Oi! Sougo! Enough, let's go!" Hijikta shouted angrily not bothering to stop and survey the pointless fight. Okita shot a glare at Kagura and resumed his position by the Vice Commander.
"Another day, puke bean"
"Ah! Kagura-chan! What are you doing! Gin-san! Gin-san! Kagura is going wild again!" Shinpachi's voice rang in the street loudly. His words caught Hijikata's hears in an alarming manner but before he could hear any further conversation (and voices) his legs walked faster and the Yorozuya house was soon out of sight. Stubbornness came with idiocy too.
At the peak of despair comes a trial. After the closure of the anti-terrorist operation, Hijikata's trial finally came to be. It was no longer something he waited for, nor something he worried himself about, probably not something he could even remember at the end of the day like he used to. He was already too engrossed in his work when the re-encounter took place, and such circumstance could not have led to a bigger shock. Hijikata was left alone at the scene, in the company of his loyal sword and cigarettes, overworking as per habit. The troops had already disbanded by the time he decided to head back home. The sun had set and families throughout Edo were enjoying their warm dinners.
Two people obviously weren't.
Hijikata's foot took him through his usual route back to the barracks and as he passed by Otose's bar a silver head popped out of the crowded, loud place and stepped outside. Silence was automatically established as the solely reaction possible to what occurred.
Hijikata tried to say something but not one word came out of his mouth. He tried to move, to turn away his gaze, but he couldn't. He just stayed rooted to the spot, much like Gintoki himself who couldn't wipe the annoyingly happy look off his face. Maybe not happy, Hijikata couldn't possibly ever understand what the hell Gintoki thought about, much less felt, but his usual nonchalance felt different at that moment and so, he labeled it some kind of happy. What else could it be besides that? It was Gintoki for cryin' out loud!
Red cheeks started burning to the point of acknowledgment and as Hijikata noticed it, he tried desperately to leave the strange situation. He nodded with his head awkwardly and kept walking. Obviously, not a good choice. He was cruelly aware of how stupid he must have looked: stopping in his tracks to stare at the dumb fool and then resume his walk as if nothing gigantically striking had happened.
Of course, he was not the only one who shared that thought. An impressive throbbing vein could almost be visibly seen, even in the dark of the night, pumping on Gintoki's forehead and before Hijikata could predict whatever was to happen next, Gintoki was already doing his move taking a step forward and grabbing Hijikata's forearm. The context was something the Vice Captain could barely be surprised at anymore. It was always him running away so Gintoki could catch him, but now that he thought about it, now that he met Gintoki's eyes again and stopped his fluttering feelings to remind himself of the fact the fucking bastard had spent a whole week in Yoshiwara doing who knows what, surrounded by all those slutty geishas, the thought itself angered the hell out of him and this closeness with Gintoki was not so bad anymore. It was ideal for a good punch in the face.
"What?" Hijikata roared viciously, controlling his impulses not to break the fucking prick apart.
"What? What?!" Gintoki repeated incredulous "Is that how you greet someone?" he asked angrily as well. Hearing his voice again was more disgruntling than Hijikata could have ever predicted. His heart halted for a second.
"I don't greet lowlifes, asshole!"
As scary as it might be, Gintoki smirked at this. A really creepy kind of smirk. Hijikata hissed.
"What are you laughing at, scum?"
"Is that all embarrassment?" Gintoki asked still quite amused.
"Embarrassment my ass! I told you I never wanted to see you again" Hijikata muttered; voice pure poison.
"Really?" Gintoki said still smiling. The reaction didn't make any sense at all. Hijikata furrowed a brow suspiciously. Was the sick bastard that dumb?
"I'm not joking perm bastard!" Hijikata growled angrily. He could feel the frustration boiling in his blood. He brushed his arm away from Gintoki's grip and tried to back away a few steps. Unfortunately, he was unsuccessful. Gintokil managed to catch his sleeve and, with a strong pull, brought Hijikata back to the place near his chest.
"You damned… Let- go… Tsk!"
Hijikata kept wrestling endlessly, forcing Gintoki to invest in a more effective move. The Yorozuya took a few steps forward and turned a sharp right into a side street perpendicular to his building. Hijikata was dragged along with him and his struggle ceased when his back collided with solid wall and Gintoki towered himself over him, leaving the Vice-Captain no chance to run away.
"For someone who didn't ever want to see me again you sure pass by my house often. Is it a job you have for us? 'Cause I would gladly accept one" Gintoki said quite coldly. He sounded pretty annoyed.
At this Hijikata could not prevent a flush. His ulterior motives shouldn't have been so easily unraveled. But who gave a shit?! It wasn't like the damn bastard was the sole purpose for his peculiar choice of path back home. It was quicker that way as well.
"Damn conceited aren't ya idiot? It's work, bastard! Work! It's not like I want to get anywhere near this hellish place!"
Gintoki's eyes bulged slightly. His expression was unreadable, but his angry tone of voice presented a frustrated state of mind.
"Then don't, fucking jerk! Then don't!" This time Gintoki yelled loudly, more than necessary perhaps. It startled Hijikata mildly, but only when he punched the wall centimeters next to his ear did the latter really flinch. The violent act aroused Hijikata's own fighting instincts as well. He immediately let loose his rage and punched Gintoki's face making the obnoxious samurai fumble a few steps back.
"I walk by the place I damn well want, fucking asshole! Wanna pick a fight, uh?"
Gintoki caressed his cheek slowly; his expression bore a confused look. Hijikata exhaled hot breaths, practically fuming.
The next move was close to instantaneous. Gintoki moved in a split second, almost too quickly for Hijikata to see. He felt a pair of hands gripping his collar fiercely and the next thing he knew, he was violently pushed backwards once again, meeting the solid wall. However this time it was slightly different. Not only was Gintoki towering over him but also kissing him deeply. Hijikata took a while to process the development.
There was a momentary sense of yielding; a complete want of defeat, but Hijikata was more stubborn than his lustful urges. He pushed Gintoki back after biting his lip. The silver haired samurai cursed loudly and sucked the trail of blood that started flowing down towards his chin.
"Shit! It's bleeding! Look what you've done asshole-"
"If you want a slut to mess around with, you can go back to Yoshiwara, fucking degenerate!"
Hijikata cursed mentally as soon as he ended his sentence. Why the fuck did he have to say that? His mind was racing a thousand miles per second. He had the notion he was burying himself in shame. He tried to think of something to cover up; another crappy piece of information that would divert Gintoki's attention from that especial quote, but it was too damn late. Gintoki was staring at him with those enigmatic red eyes, most definitely making up a whole new story in his retarded head and assuming falsehoods. Unfortunately, Hijikata was beyond bad at human relationships. Anyone could predict what followed as well as the terrible blush that wanted to crawl over Hijikata's features but fought against his burning jealousy at the same time.
"So you heard about that…" Gintoki trailed off quietly and thoughtful. Hijikata gulped but didn't answer a word. Obviously his silence was more of a confirmation than an act of rebellion to whoever witnessed the scene.
"I wonder how many people in Edo didn't" Hijikata replied sarcastically. His hand searched for his pack of cigarettes unconsciously. The addiction was supposed to kick in at times of distress.
"Right…" Gintoki nodded. His dead fish eyes were partially closed, clearly bespeaking a mental strain. It angered Hijikata somehow.
"Why are you staring at me like that? Knock it off, it's annoying!" Hijikata grunted.
"But I can't believe it" Gintoki pouted childishly like a kid who doesn't enjoy being scolded. Hijikata lit his cigarette and threw him a harsh look.
"What kind of crap are you thinking about?"
"Eeeh? I'm not telling. Hehe"
The reply struck a nerve. Hijikata scowled.
"Fine! Whatever!" He placed the cigarette between his teeth and began walking away, leaving the dark street and muttering incomprehensively to himself. However, Gintoki had not finished the torment yet.
"Wait, wait, wait! Sorry, sorry. Gin-san will tell. I was just joking-"
"You're always joking, dumbass" Hijikata replied briskly. As he kept walking, he could listen to Gintoki's steps following him closely behind, but before he could ascertain how pleasant that was, Gintoki interrupted his thoughts again.
"I was just wondering how it could be that Oogushi-kun is jealous over me, especially after-"
Hijikata stopped dead in his tracks and turned around fiercely to deny. Deny deny deny.
"Shut up asshole! Stop making things up! And why the hell are you following me?!"
"I'm not following, I'm just taking a walk which, coincidentally, appears to be the same way you're going, and I am not making things up" Gintoki answered oh so truthfully.
"You…!" Hijikata wanted to refute. Refute with something intelligent; something that made sense, though, how could he refute something that he knew deep down in his heart to be true? He couldn't and this incapability materialized itself in a sad substantial sight: Hijikata standing rooted to some random spot on the street looking at Gintoki without anything smart to say. Not to mention, the silver headed man was all smiles and smirks of course.
"I what?" Gintoki queried nonchalantly, looking around coolly as if the current moment consisted in the most boring five minutes in the whole history of humanity.
Still nothing. Hijikata decided it was better to walk. Yes, at least if he acted it was a sign he was alive and breathing and thinking. The silence was hideous.
They kept walking, one following the other, though Hijikata wasn't paying any attention to the way they were going and only when they reached another deserted street did he surface from the depths of his soul to pale at his idiocy.
"Are you done being really embarrassing? I'm still here you know? There's only a certain degree of cuteness I can take, after that it is just plain stupidity"
"I don't want to hear you saying that, creep! Why are you still…" Hijikata babbled strange sounds. Sure, killing people was not particularly comfortable, but this, this utter helplessness he showed Gintoki was the peak of dismay. The cigarette stuck between his lips fell to the ground silently and Gintoki approached him with open arms.
"What are you doing?"
"I'm going to hug you and then we're going home do some making up. It's obvious"
Hijikata slapped his hands away.
"You're not touching me anymore, perm hair"
Gintoki recoiled slightly showing a little apprehension.
"So, we are going to act like nothing happened?" there was no expression, no emotion, nothing absolutely relevant in Gintoki's voice this time. Hijikata suppressed his own flinch and squeezed the fallen cigarette with his foot.
"Why should we do otherwise?"
An icy wind blew by, ruffling black and silver hair. The silence in the alley reigned until drops of water started falling down from the sky, one after the other. Hijikata looked up discreetly.
"Shit, it's raining" he cursed blatantly. Gintoki stayed silent and still, unaffected by the sudden downpour.
"I'm going home Yorozuya, you should do the same" Hijikata said loudly through the rain.
Gintoki replied something inaudible but when he repeated it again Hijikata was already out of sight.
"It's Gintoki, not Yorozuya, damn bastard"
Hijikata was too concerned with catching a cold to even think about the current chain of events. He ran to the barracks cursing all along, looking out for some patrol car to drive him safe and dryly. But no such luck. He didn't expect that kind of usefulness from his subordinates to begin with. By the time he arrived though, he was received by a group of young officers, one of them being Yamazaki.
"Vice-Captain! Did you return from the scene just now?"
Hijikata felt complied to answer with blood and gore but loud familiar steps stopped him.
"Toshi? Is it Toshi?" Kondo appeared from behind the group of youngsters with a big grin across his face "Hey! You've been overworking yourself again, haven't you? Don't worry Toshi, you know those…"
Hijikata was not listening. For once in his lifetime he wasn't listening to Kondo unwillingly. His span of attention was occupied with other very significant matters, especially a particular flash of memory that had suddenly crossed his mind. The big gorilla Captain repeating his name over and over again wasn't helping him regaining his concentration at all.
"Toshi? Toshi? Oi Toshi?"
" Can I call you that?" Gintoki's breath near his earlobe was slow and warm. It made his mind go out of focus and eased him as much, letting him forget momentarily the strain and pain in his body.
"Haha, I knew you would say that" Gintoki laughed and snuggled against Hijikata's neck.
"Oi Toshi! Are you ok? Oi!"
Hijikata left his trance with a jolt. He looked up at Kondo and bowed his head quickly.
"I'm sorry, I forgot something" he mumbled while making his way backwards towards the entrance. Kondo and the other men looked at him confused.
"Wha-? But you just got here"
"I'll be right back" Hijikata told them absentmindedly. He sprinted out of the barracks not even remembering to take an umbrella with him. The drenching rain kept falling incessantly and he slipped in a few wet sidewalks, fumbling forwards.
"Shit! Damn fucking rain! Die, damn it!"
Hijikata ran and ran nonstop. The mad sprint was actually proving to be really invigorating, and the heart beating steadily inside his chest did not halt one second. It was pretty determined to cross over the district, even through a freaking tornado if necessary. Although as he got closer to his destination a tingling feeling of anxiety threatened to turn his legs into jelly, testing his perseverance, which was as stubborn as ever, fiercer than at any other time he ran after some criminal.
He climbed up the stairs to the second floor in a flash and when he finally made it to Gintoki's front door his stance wavered. His doubts came rushing back to him. Loud voices from inside the house interrupted his thoughts.
"Shinpachi was right, you do have creepy amounts of the same outfit Gin-chan" a girl's voice said teasingly.
"Hmph! I don't want to hear that! At least I'm not represented by a common pair of glasses!"
"Anyway Gin-chan, you're clothes were really wet. You should have asked Tama for an umbrella. I heard her arm can turn into one"
"Don't spout nonsense. Go to sleep. Go, go"
Gintoki stopped abruptly in his speech startling Hijikata, who stood outside. What could have happened?
"What's wrong Gin-chan?" Kagura's voice brought forth the question Hijikata asked himself.
"Nothing, nothing. Sadaharu's yawn distracted me. You can go to sleep, shoo, shoo"
"Oh ok. Goodnight Gin-chan"
Hijikata sighed. How depressing was it? How stupid he must have looked standing there on the rain gathering strength to finish whatever he had started. He raised a hand to touch the sliding door but before he could knock or attempt to move it, someone opened it from inside. Gintoki was once again before him, now in his green pajamas and blue winter coat hanging on his shoulders.
"Oh, it's Oogushi-kun" he said devoid of emotion. His expression was one of positive boredom "What do you want?"
Casual words that usually stung nothing but hard ignorance now bruised some weak tenderness that was not there initially. Hijikata was still struggling with words when Gintoki began sliding the door again.
"If there isn't anything, I'm off. Excuse meee"
The door slid shut. Hijikata was angry but powerless. He couldn't go home but he couldn't face Gintoki either. What a fucking little coward. He took a couple of steps backwards and slid down the stairs' railing. The drenched uniform above his skin weighed a ton and the cold of the night scarred his face through the wind. Damn it. What was he doing? It wasn't like him to act on instinct… why did he even come? He didn't actually think he could do anything, did he? What did he even want to do? Was there anything he wanted to prove? Hijikata was lost. Why should that stupid ridiculous recollection affect him so? The events of that night were something close to surreal, the time which had spawned after it had been filled with regrets and uncertainty. Maybe Hijikata just needed to put an end to it. It wasn't such a twisted unrealistic goal. It was quite understandable rather.
Minutes passed by in silence and Hijikata was almost falling asleep on the stairs when the front door opened once again.
"Stupid asshole! What are you still doing here!?" Gintoki shouted in disbelief.
"I can't go back, idiot"
"Oooh… did they throw you out because they found out your dirty little secret Vice Captain-san?"
"It's raining" Hijikata said, head buried between his knees. He didn't dare look up. No, he didn't. He would not take further humiliation. Contradicting himself and acting stubborn were things he took a while to acknowledge. Yet, suddenly, it stopped raining. The consistent drops of water pounding over his head ceased completely. The perplexity of the situation forced him to raise his head in curiosity.
"What about now?"
Gintoki was crouched in front of him holding an umbrella. His face was as nonchalant as ever.
"I'll let you borrow this so you can go pester somewhere else" he said gesturing to the handle in his hand.
Hijikata mustered all courage to say the two most important letters ever said in his life.
"No?" Gintoki repeated irritated "What can I do for you to leave, annoying leech?"
"Nothing. I'm not leaving"
"You'll catch a cold, stupid"
"I'm fine like this" Hijikata mumbled leaning against the wall tiredly.
"Aaargh! Stop being so annoying, damn it!" Gintoki grunted. He took the winter coat off his shoulders and threw it over the black haired man's head.
"Oi, jackass, what do you think you're-" Hijikata started complaining and tussling against the thick garment. However, Gintoki's arms captured him in a quick embrace before he could see anything at all.
"Don't even think about looking at me right now, fucking bastard! I hate you, damn Shinsengumi dog, I hate you! Evil creep!" Gintoki said in a quick rant. Hijikata blushed slightly and managed to stick his head out of the heavy warm coat.
"I'm sorry Gintoki I-"
Gintoki pulled away suddenly. He stared at Hijikata with eyes twice their size.
"Say it again"
"Say what? I'm not apologizing twice idiot, so listen-" Hijikata began chiding away angrily but Gintoki interrupted him again still quite surprised.
"No, no, not that. The other thing"
"What? I said I'm sorry damn it!"
"Stupid, call me!"
"Call you…?" Hijikata furrowed his eyebrows frustrated but then understood what was being requested. He was not able to repress a smirk.
"Are you a little kid?"
"Don't be an ass, just say it" Gintoki pressed on.
"Oooh! You said it!" the silver haired man exclaimed perplexed. There was an unusual shade of red coloring his face, but Hijikata thought Gintoki immune to his own blushing.
Hijikata glared heavily. The stupid birdbrain surely didn't have any idea how embarrassing it was to have to say his name all those times, did he?
"I'm done, idiot. Now give me that umbrella" Hijikata said standing up. Gintoki did the same but maintained his strong grip on the handle. He eyed Hijikata mischievously and grinned.
"I thought you weren't going anywhere"
"Good. Then let's dry up Oogushi-kun and snuggle into bed" Gintoki said in a sing-along voice. He held Hijikata's hand in his and pulled the Vice-Captain's dripping frame inside after him. At the threshold, however, Hijikata halted. Gintoki turned around to survey him.
"I have a name too you know, and it's not Oogushi-kun"
"Then, if we have that cleared up, go fetch me a towel" Hijikata said quickly, trying to brush off the awkward atmosphere. Yet Gintoki did not ease things.
"What? You're not going to let me say it?" He exclaimed outrageously. Hijikata turned his gaze the other way and muttered.
"Whatever, I don't want to wake up China girl anyway"
"Oh don't worry Toshiro, you can moan all you want, she sleeps hard and deaf as a rock" Gintoki stated seriously before pulling Hijikata towards him once again.
"You damn pervert perm head!"
"Follow me Mayora-kun!"
TO BE CONTINUED IN
"What Follows Consent"
AN: Finally finished! I battled with myself for a few days trying to decide whether or not to end this fic here. I was worried about the credibility of the characters, but I guess it ended up pretty well. Anyway, for those who wonder what will happen next, I suggest you to stay alert for more upcoming stories. I'm already starting a sequel to this, though it may stand alone as a new story. I feel so comfortable writing GinHiji that I'm sure I will not get tired of it anytime soon. Please read and review. I enjoyed all those extensive commentaries and opinions. They really made me happy. I'll try my best on the next fic. Thank you very much! By the way, forgive me for the never-ending length of this chapter. I hope it pays off somehow.
Last edited: Jan 2014