Disclaimer: Gintama belongs to Sorachi and we love him for that.
Friendly Advice: This fic can be considered a sequel to "Messing With A Rotten Bond". So please read it first if you're interested in enjoying this plot completely.
What Follows Consent
Chapter 1: Perspective is Overrated
Shimura Shinpachi was supposed to be a nice, regular young man. He thought himself quite the patient, comprehensive fellow but he didn't have any idea how forging bonds with a silver haired Yorozuya would change him completely. From thereupon he became familiar with all types of craziness and used to the most obnoxious, stupid jobs ever available in the galaxy. Shinpachi could barely understand why he was spending his precious Otsuu-chan-devoting time with those people. Nevertheless, he endured it. He bore all the burdens on his back because that was what people expected from his type of character. However, let's not cross the line here. He had limits too. Shinpachi's tolerance wasn't infinite. There were obviously a few things he disapproved of and would simply not allow. He was soon to discover one of them.
His day started normally. He left the dojo and headed to Gin-san's house. He would wake up Kagura and Gin-san, feed Sadaharu and help with breakfast. Then, they would go look for a job or wait aimlessly in the living room for something extraordinary to happen. Unfortunately, something incredibly shocking had already occurred before Shinpachi could prevent it.
He entered the Yorozuya's headquarters and took off his shoes. He was so used to the routine he didn't notice the strange pair of shoes discomposing his everyday view of the threshold. Afterwards, he entered the living room and walked towards Kagura's closet. He slid open the door slowly and called her.
"Good morning Kagura-chan. Wake up" he told her. She was sleeping deeply, drooling from her mouth. Her pillow was in a disgusting state. Shinpachi brushed off the flinch of horror such sight induced in him.
"Ka-gu-ra-chaan! Wake up!"
The younger girl grunted and turned her back.
"Come on, it's eleven already. Is Gin-san up yet?" He asked, though not expecting any kind of answer from the half-sleeping Kagura. He sighed and patted Sadaharu's head. Perhaps he should go wake up the adult first.
Thus, Shinpachi headed towards Gintoki's room. He raised an innocent arm to open the door and what unfolded before his eyes could not have been predicted, not even in a thousand light-years. In the futon where used to lay asleep a single lazy human body were now two, more specifically one on top of the other. This first assessment was by itself something overwhelmingly terrifying. Shinpachi couldn't yet find words or actions to respond to it. Also, the neglect the two men were giving him did not ease things either. Shinpachi couldn't stop staring. His brain was currently numb while trying to cope with the words "men" and "bed" together.
Gintoki's face was buried in a collarbone not his own and, the dark haired man beneath him took a while to recognize. Shinpachi felt his insides twitch with a strange tremor. It can't be… he thought with dismay. He then noticed how Gintoki's torso was more naked than it ought to be and he held his breath.
What the hell?!
Hijikata moaned tiredly and caressed Gintoki's messy curls. He mumbled something in his ear with that trademark coarse, dry voice and the authenticity of such sound sent shills down Shinpachi's spine. Is this for real?!
Gintoki lifted up his head with a smirk. His dead fish eyes were sleepy but he was clearly in a good mood. Shinpachi was wondering how the hell they still hadn't noticed him panicking internally and vomiting invisible waves of disbelief. Couldn't they please stop that and notice him hyperventilating over there?! Gintoki had seriously scarred a mental kind of virginity Shinpachi didn't even know he possessed. Wasn't it enough already?
Unfortunately, the two men kept completely engrossed in their moment and alienated from the youngster's presence. Gintoki in particular was pretty awake and his hands were traveling to whereabouts Shinpachi refused to acknowledge. However, the straining distress he was feeling was soon put to an end. His surprised gaze met with Hijikata's for a second and there was a freeze. Gintoki, noticing the Vice Captain's sudden taut figure turned his head towards the door and finally saw Shinpachi's feeble frame standing there with eyes bulging out of their sockets.
Shinpachi's legs and mind reached their limit before Gintoki could finish his sentence. Shinpachi wobbled to the side and passed out in pure shock. His tolerance had clearly outdated itself.
"Gin-chan, is Shinpachi dead?" Kagura asked rubbing her eyes.
It was going to be a long long morning.
Being a dog sucked potatoes. Not every freaking pet could be Doraemon or Pikachu or stupid Agumon. Thus, Sadaharu could not talk as well. He was not a Wolf's Rain character either; he could not turn human in a snap of his fingers, so there wasn't much he could do about speech or intelligent interaction with people. All Sadaharu was capable of doing were huge amounts of dung and seas of vomit, aside from emitting the overkilling cuteness he had been bestowed with by Sorachi. Nevertheless, these facts shadowed the most rudimentary of truths: Sadaharu could listen, feel, see and smell as well as any other living being, maybe even better, and this led to his latest doom.
Yes, dogs have complaints too.
It all started when stupid Gintoki brought home the awful smelling man. Not only did he reek of tobacco, he infested the whole house with the terrible smell. Sadaharu could only thank the rain for fading the scent a little. It was close to unbearable. Yet, this was only a minor problem. The worst was the noise. Sadaharu wished he could bite his damn ears off. There was no way Kagura could sleep so soundly with all that moaning and panting every night. Each breath seemed to produce a massive echo everywhere! Sadaharu was in despair. From the bedroom next door all kinds of sounds issued, even the most stupid of conversations.
"Ha! Ha! … ha!"
"Aaah, Toshiro-kun is squeezing me in so tightly…"
"…Shut-…up!...nnngh… don't- call me… that… now"
Gintoki exhaled a long breath.
"I'm sorry Hijikata-kun"
"Can't help… it"
A loud yelp followed.
"Hyaa! D-don't do that!" Hijikata said breathlessly.
"Aaah, it's gonna leave a mark"
"What?! Fucking asshole! That's a visible place!"
"Use your scarf, bastard!"
"The one you tainted with your jerking off?… No way!"
"Shut it! It's natural fluids-"
"That virus infested thing ain't touching me"
"Oh, right…. Hijikata-kun prefers the source"
"Wha-? You're pissing me off! Damned- …Ha! Nnnnh…. N-not t-there-"
Sadaharu covered his fluffy ears. It was too much for a lonely dog to endure. He shot a glance at Kagura's closet and leaned closer. He could hear her peaceful snores and strange mumbles about a kappa and a Justaway knight.
The universe be damned! How gladly would he exchange places with her! How joyfully would he accept those weird dreams! Nobody knew his pain except himself.
Suddenly Gintoki stepped out of the bedroom. His white kimono was hanging loosely on his shoulders, and he tiptoed to the kitchen silently. When Sadaharu lost sight of his creepy figure he turned his gaze towards the bedroom once again. He could see the sweaty back of a dark haired man and two arms stretched over his head. There was a white sheet covering him from the waist down and throughout the bedroom were scattered various pieces of clothes.
And they called Sadaharu an animal.
Gintoki returned shortly afterward from the kitchen with a package of strawberry milk in his hand. Sadaharu grimaced. The silver haired man reentered the bedroom with a hunched back and slid the door shut, much according to Sadaharu's wishes. The dog did not want to see whatever was going to unfold next inside those four walls.
"What's with that?" Hijikata asked suspiciously. His speech was slow and indicated tiredness.
"This…" Gintoki sobbed.
"The two things I love most in the world are in the same room together…" he trailed off emotionally.
Sadaharu heard a loud scoff. It was obvious Hijikata did not fancy himself being compared to dairy products, though he couldn't whine much since he had a few non-living priorities up on his list as well, namely mayonnaise and cigarettes.
"Oi , you're drooling, idiot"
"Hijikata dipped in strawberry milk… kyaahh!"
Ninjas are creatures of darkness. Ninjas live in the shadows. Ninjas live for a particular goal, they worship a particular lord. Sa-chan has her eyes glued to a sole person as well. That person is Sakata Gintoki. It's pretty blatant actually, but it doesn't mean she stalks him every second of every day. No, no. Sa-chan may be a sadomasochist perverted girl, but she has work too. She is a ninja. Unfortunately, such side of her character is probably the thing she regrets most. She can't stay beside her beloved Gintoki constantly, nor properly write her diary of his actions and emotions. However, Sa-chan is far from being as desolate and depressed as she will be in the near future, for there is nothing she can do to stop that event. People's lives are lived by none other but themselves.
It happened when Sa-chan was returning from her latest mission. She was jumping from roof to roof, heart in her throat; anxious to see the object of her affections once again, when she caught the shock of her life. It was the colossal "meant to happen". It could not have occurred in any other way.
Sa-chan positioned herself in the roof of the house across from Gintoki's and stayed there watching. It was too late for a complete intrusion. The silver haired man was certainly already up and about, as well as Kagura-chan and Sadaharu. The probabilities of Sa-chan being noticed were overbearing. She would not risk it. It was best to wait for them to leave before breaking in and hiding in the drawers.
The violet haired ninja kept her rigorous position on the roof for at least half an hour. Thirty minutes were nothing compared to the hellish hours she had waited in the past. Nevertheless, she did not have to wait long. Five minutes after a soft rain started falling, the Yorozuya's door opened and a familiar figure in a white kimono stepped out. Gintoki's face was hidden under Kagura's chinese umbrella and it would take a closer approach to see it entirely. Gintoki climbed down the stairs to the main street and walked directly towards the nearest vending machine. Sa-chan followed behind, laying her heart ready for direct contact.
When she finally arrived to the rooftop above the vending machine, she immediately put her plan into action. She fell to the ground purposefully and crawled towards Gintoki's legs, clinging to them as soon as she touched them.
"Ooh… Gin-san! It hurt so much… that fall just now… please, heal me!" she cried in fake desperation.
Gintoki was still. Gintoki was very still. By now Sa-chan should have already been sent flying to the nearest garbage and induced a high level of pain, but she did not. Gintoki stood quietly and unwavering. Had he had a change of heart at last? He couldn't have! Sa-chan looked up in astonishment.
She soon figured out two things.
She would never look up again and she would never cling to that person's legs EVER again.
Above her, with an amazing serious face was Hijikata Toshiro, Vice Captain of the Shinsengumi. At first, the shock did not surpass the acknowledgment of his status, then, after Sa-chan overcame her surprise she noticed the small details any passerby would have overlooked. The Vice Captain was wearing, without a shadow of doubt, Gintoki's white kimono with the blue patterns, however, on his neck bloomed red marks he had not troubled himself with hiding and beneath the fabric not a single damn thing was being worn. Sa-chan glimpsed at the vending machine and her brain grimaced. It was strange indeed, that Gintoki would leave his house to buy something from that particular machine, especially, tobacco.
"I suppose you're confusing me with someone else" Hijikata muttered in a bare whisper. Sa-chan quickly detached herself from his legs and stood up rigidly.
"Yes, I was" she replied numbly.
"Good to know…" Hijikata mumbled. He then lit a cigarette and headed back to Gintoki's house. His face held an angry expression.
Sa-chan was left torn between two emotions: anger at being switched for a guy and happiness for sensing a little bit of jealousy from the same. What was she supposed to feel after that?!
Shimura Otae was a beautiful young woman, hard working and gracious. She was the delight of her friends and neighbors yet there were times when her bad side was revealed, much against her will. She really did not mean any harm… except when she did. Anyway, what's important here is the fact that she was indeed a good person and above anything, an exemplar sister. She was currently worried about her baby brother Shinpachi, who had been acting weird for the past few days. He would not disclose whatever it was that was troubling him, and thus, such secrecy did not pass by Otae indifferently. She began to feel truly preoccupied and probably, more frustrated than she would like to confess. Otae was one of those girls who simply did not like being left out of the party and what was happening between Shinpachi and the others was sure to get to her ears, whether they liked it or not.
Kagura-chan was another person who was worrying poor Otae's soul as well. Every time she tried to suck some information out of the little girl the latter would always act indifferently and stoic, stating over and over again that nothing was wrong with them. Her attitude pissed the hell out of Otae and the similarity Kagura's personality began to show with that of her guardian could not anger the elder sister more than it already did. It was a sensitive situation and Otae began to scheme abominable persuasive ways to get the gossip she needed. However, one evening summed up everything she wanted to know, with more details than she would have requested.
"Otae-chan, are you leaving already?" One of her friends asked her at the hostess bar's back exit.
"Yes, I'm going to see Shin-chan" she answered kindly, clinging to the warm coat over her kimono.
"Oh, I see. Send him my regards then. Bye bye!"
"Goodbye" Otae replied. Her friend waved her goodbye with a smile and went back inside.
Otae turned the corner and stepped into the main street of the Kabuki district. It was crowded with people: old men looking for a comfortable place at a hostess bar, some entering the pachinko parlors, girls taking pictures at the most stupid places, kids running after their mothers so they wouldn't get lost, old ladies hushing home to prepare dinner. It was pretty chaotic, but Otae didn't care. Her mind was elsewhere, planning a devilish appearance by Gintoki's house.
She noticed a small group of Shinsengumi policeman some meters ahead and it did not take long until one came to greet her.
"Nee-san! How are you doing? It's unfortunate, but the Captain is not here right now. The Vice-Captain is the one leading this operation" he babbled with a bow.
Otae smiled gently and replied immediately.
"Oh my! That's wonderful! I'm not up to gorilla-sighting at this hour of the day, you know? Excuse me" and then she disappeared from sight behind a passing car, leaving the officer dumbfounded.
Otae entered a side street to avoid more annoying monkey leeches and picked up her pace. It seemed the whole of heaven was against her today. All she wanted was to know what the hell was going on at Yorozuya's. Nothing more.
For a moment, it seemed like God had answered her prayers. Only a few meters ahead Otae caught sight of Gintoki's extravagant silver hair. He was walking down the roadway while reading his weekly Shounen Jump. It was the perfect opportunity for Otae to ask her questions wisely, without Shinpachi or Kagura to annoy her.
"Gin-san!" she called him. Otae raised her arm and waved to catch his attention.
Gintoki raised his head from the magazine and looked left. How strange. Otae was right in front of him… Did he not see her? She waved more fiercely to highlight her position yet without success. A big crowd appeared in front of her suddenly, leaving the nearest restaurant, and she was shadowed completely. A mayhem of curses gathered at her throat, but not a word escaped her lips. She hadn't given up yet! Otae launched forward and squeezed through the happy group of employees.
"Excuse me! Pardon me! L-let me through!"
While battling through the flow of people she glanced over at Gintoki hoping he had not disappeared. Thankfully he was still in the same spot, in the exact same position, which raised an interesting question. What the hell was he looking at? His stare was not normal. He had Shounen Jump in his hands and he was looking elsewhere. Was that really Gintoki? It would be quite understandable if he was looking at her, but he wasn't. Those compassion filled eyes were focusing on something quite dearly and… wait! What if he was staring at someone?! That would explain a couple of things!
Otae finally stumbled out of the crowd and ran towards the silver haired samurai.
"Really! I called you at least a hundred times! What were you looking at?!" she scolded him angrily before looking at the alley on their left. There was no one there except some of those Shinsengumi idiots running around.
"N-no one" he replied with a jerk "I was just thinking about something"
"And what might that be? Shin-chan has been acting very weirdly lately" she began with a hand on her hip "I'm really worried. Are you hiding something again? Ever since you came back from Yoshiwara I thought something was up. Kagura told me you made lots of female friends there and you ran into some trouble as well. What have you done? Please let me help!" her questions were quick and filled with superficial care. She even batted her eyelashes for a stronger impact.
"Whaat?" Gintoki scratched his neck and yawned. It was impossible to notice his discomfort. That's how good he was.
"I don't know what you're talking about. Maybe Shinpachi has finally gotten himself a girlfriend or something. You know how boys his age are"
Otae pouted and furrowed a brow.
"I doubt that severely"
"Naah, don't worry I-"
Once again Gintoki turned his head sideways and lost track of his speech. Otae twisted her head immediately scanning every inch for the distraction.
"What is it Gin-san? Something wrong?" she queried in a shallow tone. She got on her tip toes and perked her head up in hope of seeing something of importance.
"Ah!" Gintoki exclaimed surprised. Otae was totally lost. She had no idea what he was looking at or why he was reacting that way.
"Shit!" he cursed "Go on ahead, I'll only take a few minutes" Gintoki mumbled quickly before disappearing from her side. He sprinted towards the alley and left her rooted senseless to the spot. Otae was positively furious.
"What? Gin-san?! Wait!" she yelled confused and then after a few seconds deliberation she ran after him. What the fuck is this moron doing? Is he fucking kidding me? I am gonna slash his body apart and drag him alive through the muck and the mud, freaking stupor! He will wish he never met Shimura Otae, fucking dick! I hope he's saying goodbye to this world and his little mister down there because tomorrow will be a very dark, hideous day for lady Sakata Gintoki! Prepare yourself Gin-san! I'll unleash hell on Earth!
Otae's legs ran as fast as they could and after turning a couple of corners and evading a few Shinsengumi leeches she finally regained sight of Gintoki.
"There you are…" she muttered devilishly to herself. Otae stepped closer but stopped as soon as she heard a thunderous crash.
Gintoki was arguing with someone; someone very angry apparently. Otae could hear loud voices, loud male voices echoing everywhere, and the fact dozens of policeman were in the area didn't help one bit. Nevertheless, she tried her best to stay focused on Gintoki's argument.
"What the… saying? I was… to her!"
"I don't care!... hear it! Fucking asshole"
Otae paled at the sight. Thank God it was dark. Thank God she was hidden in a dark, dark shadow for some things are not meant to be seen.
"My dear Shin-chan, what you must have seen…"
AN: And here it is: the awaited sequel that had been screaming in my head ever since I finished "Messing With A Rotten Bond". I hope this approach to the main relationship with lots of different perspectives didn't scare anyone. I plan to return to the usual Gintoki/Hijikata points of view, but I thought writing the thoughts of outsiders would be pretty interesting (and funny) as well. I hope you'll like it. Next chapter we are back to our dear Gintoki and I can't tell you how excited I am to write it! I have lots of angst and comedy ready to pour out! Hopefully I'll have the time to work it out. Please R&R. Let's make this sequel as good as the first fic! Yay!