a/n: This comes after the Owee Arc (chapter 148 in the manga) and has some slight spoilers for them. As always, at the end please review!

Shinpachi shuffled through the snow, rubbing his hands together for warmth, trying to ignore the fading bruises from the violent battle that had taken place by the end of chapter 149.

And of course he wasn't avoiding Yamazaki. Of course he hadn't been to their usual place where they would meet to complain at least twice a week- and of course he hadn't been ducking and hiding from any Shinsengumi members whenever he could, and he most certainly wasn't using his healing as an excuse not to visit the police station-

The sight of a black coat with gold made him instinctively drop and run for cover. While being punched by Gintoki was bad enough, he somehow doubted Yamazaki was doing much better after having been kicked and sent flying by Okita.

But you could never tell with Jimmies. After all, they were some of the hardiest creatures-


Shinpachi let out a yelp of surprise as his ducking around the corner sent him headlong into a body, sending both sprawling out into the snow. With a low groan he began picking himself up, acutely aware of the warm body, already babbling an apology, "Sorry about that- didn't mean to run into... you... Yamazaki-san?"

The Shinsengumi spy was face down in the snow, anpan scattered by the bucketful. "Y-Yamazaki? Are you going out on a stakeout?"

Yamazaki lay perfectly still, unable to believe his luck. It had at first been incredibly bad- after the Owee incident, he had been stuck in a hospital room for several days. After that, Shinpachi had never come to their twice-weekly meetings and he had nearly caught a cold. It had eventually been banished when Kondo had lovingly declared that he would attempt to nurse it out of him.

Two extremely jealous glares from the Vice-Commander and the Third-in-Line quickly convinced him it was best for him to hurry up and get better before an assassin came in the night to make it a lot shorter. (He still had that blasted sword cut)

After that he then realized something- he hadn't seen Shinpachi for at least two weeks after the Owee incident, and neither had any other Shinsengumi member.

This required a stakeout in order to gather what was going on.

But- Yamazaki's head slowly rose as he rolled over in the snow to stare up at Shinpachi's shocked face. He looks kinda cute like that, the thought drifted through his mind, before he registered the question. "Ah, yes Shinpachi-kun. I was about to go on a stakeout for you, since none of the Shinsengumi members couldn't remember seeing you lately and I was getting worried..."

A startled, slightly guilty look crossed Shinpachi's face. Yamazaki's eyebrows snapped together. "Are you still sore over me winning the Owee game?"

As Shinpachi spluttered the words, wheels slowly began to spin in the spy's devious little mind.

Shinpachi spluttered, all prepared responses flying out of his brain on silver wings. No, he was being quite literal- an idea with silver wings just flew away.

Unexpectedly Yamazaki smiled. "But it's good to see that you're alright Shinpachi! If you're free now, do you want to go get something to eat?"

"I-I got an errand to run-"

"Then I'll come with you." Yamazaki smiled again, blinding Shinpachi with its brilliance, and the fact that without a doubt, Yamazaki wasn't going to allow him to disappear.

"Ah, then never mind, let's go get something to eat."

Yamazaki picked himself up as Shinpachi shuffled to his feet, leaving the fallen Anpan where they lay- if anyone was really that desperate to steal it, they could have it. "Shinpachi-kun, I don't think I ever got a prize for winning."

"True- we did basically tie, and the game console sales were canceled." Shinpachi's momentary perk up faded into wariness. "Why do you say that?"

"Well, it was the first time that I ever won a game like that except for badminton, and I wanted a prize." Yamazaki sighed, glancing at the Yoryuza member out of the corner of his eye. Do I dare go through with this? What if he refuses?

"For a prize then, do you want me to pay for the meal then?" Shinpachi offered, crying inside over the finances. Yamazaki mutely shook his head before glancing around.

Street empty. Very good. "Shinpachi-"

The samurai's head turned towards him, as Yamazaki leaned forward to place a chaste, quick kiss on lips. Shinpachi turned to rock and stood frozen. "That's my prize. Anyways, I just remembered something I had to do! See you next week at the regular place!"

Before he could be cut down by the katana, Yamazaki fled the scene, bright red.

Shinpachi's hand bemusedly rose to his lips, before a slow smile spread across his face, and with a suddenly lighter heart he turned away- maybe he would visit Yamazaki in the police station for once.