A/N: If Anyone still cares. I'm so sorry. It's been a busy year and having a new fandom distracts me.

Disclaimer: Gintama isn't mine

Chapter 10

Hijikata liked Okita's hands; they looked so deceptively fragile, yet perfectly capable of bringing death. He liked the fact that he was kept on his toes whenever he was near the captain; it helped him train his survival instinct. He did know that it was very unlikely for Okita to really try to kill him. Those threats, no matter how deadly they might appear, were his versions of jokes. Hijikata wouldn't pretend that he understood completely, but he knew enough to know to oblige him; Okita liked it when he was angry and tried to fight back.

But violence wasn't the only thing Okita possessed. The boy was a collection of paradoxes. It took Hijikata a long time to figure out Okita's childish side, a side that wasn't acceptable given their occupation. It was a struggle, but Hijikata had grown to tolerate the spoiled brat Okita was. Although, it did bother him to think that he might have spoiled Okita too much. Nothing good could come out of it. They were supposed to be adults.

And yes, Okita was an adult. He knew what he needed to know about the world. He was jaded even, knowing much more than those his age did. Hijikata admired how he took everything in stride, trying hard to keep up with those older than him (although not necessarily more mature.) And he had to admit, he was a little grateful that this was one of the ways Okita wanted to keep up with his older friends.

"Sougo! Get out of here! It's almost dawn!" Hijikata hissed as Okita climbed on top of him to undress him.

"Hmm? I'll be quick." Okita replied calmly.

"Quick? Sou…"

Hijikata tried to stop Okita from removing his sleeping robe completely but the boy was too fast. He gritted his teeth when the robe was pulled aside to reveal his body. All right, so he wasn't unaffected by this, but it was nearly dawn. People would be awake very soon and they could be…

All thoughts were lost to him when Okita rocked his hips slightly, causing their erect manhood to rub together. It was unfair that Okita was still dressed. It was unfair that he could affect Hijikata like this. But damn if Hijikata could protest about that right now.

"What if people hear?" Hijikata whispered frantically. His hands twitched on his sides, craving to touch Okita's smooth skin. He liked that about him, too. Okita's body wasn't flawless, there were scar tissues here and there, but it was still soft to the touch. The planes and the firmness of his muscles however, reminded Hijikata that this was a trained swordsman, not someone to underestimate.

"Then we need to be silent." Okita replied, running his hands down Hijikata's chest. Hijikata could imagine a mischievous glint crossing the captain's eyes as he spoke. It took him a long time, but he had finally realized that Okita was more expressive than he liked to believe. Hijikata hadn't quite mastered predicting his responses, but he was sure that right now Okita was sporting a cross of smugness and naughtiness on his face.

Hijikata frowned, but who was he fooling. Okita might not see that in this darkness and he could definitely feel that Hijikata didn't dislike his action. With a growl, Hijikata pulled Okita close to him and flip their position. He paused once he was between Okita's legs, gauging the brunet's reaction. He could never tell with him when it came to this. Maybe Okita wanted to top? Or maybe he wanted something else? Hijikata wasn't gentle last night –he never was. Okita had called him a brute more than once- and the last thing he wanted was to hurt Okita.

Okita solved his dilemma with a kiss. Hijikata liked his kisses. He was inexperienced with kisses, the only other person he had ever kissed being Karin. But he liked the way Okita turned kisses into fights and arguments and conversations familiar to him. This was just Okita, someone he knew for many years. Maybe he didn't have much experience in sex, but he knew how to deal with him. Kind of.

"Are you sure?" Hijikata asked quietly, fingers lightly stroking Okita's inner thigh until he reached his destination. He swallowed thickly when he brushed his fingertips against Okita's entrance.

He liked the way Okita arched up beneath him and the quiet way he moaned. He liked it almost as much when Okita was on top of him, groaning when he did something right. He liked the gleam in Okita's eyes when they were like this, it made him feel wanted, and even needed. He liked the way Okita licked his lips. He even liked Okita's commands, rude as they were.

"Stop talking, Hijikata-san."

Hijikata didn't even spare a second to think before he flipped Okita to his stomach. His hands shook slightly as he hastily prepared the captain, earning him muffled words of goading. Okita impatiently pushed back against his fingers, oh-so-eager to get more. Hijikata groaned, pulled his fingers out, and slid into the captain in one smooth thrust and oh. Oh. Oh… It's so warm, so tight, so perfect and Hijikata couldn't help the quick jerk of his hips. He leaned down, pressed his chest against Okita's back, wrapped his arms around him and rutted, hips snapping back and forth quickly in shallow thrusts. He mouthed the back of Okita's neck and his shoulder to silence the words Okita didn't care to hear.

It was pointless to deny that he liked the sex. He was proud of the way he had become better at it, at pleasuring Okita. He knew because it no longer took very long for Okita to groan to the pillow and gripped his hand tightly to direct it to his dripping erection. Hijikata obliged him, kissing and licking Okita's ear as he stroked him. When he sensed the captain was about to come, he moved his other hand from Okita's waist to hold his hand. The brunet gripped his hand tightly at the first brush of hands and panted, pushing back against Hijikata's thrusts, demanding Hijikata to stroke him faster. Hijikata relished the symphony of his 'yes, yes, yes', 'more', 'harder', 'oh, please', and sweet moans of his name ('Hijikata-san, Hijikata-san, oh, Hijikata-san…') and awarded it by pressing even closer until he was sure they would merge into one. He liked how Okita held his hand, as if he didn't want Hijikata to be too far from him. He did the same when he was in Okita's position. The sensation of skin against skin made everything a lot more intense, making maintaining control a lot more difficult. He liked the tension in their bodies when they came, that moment of shared bliss Hijikata had grown addicted to. He almost regretted having to pull out and move away if he didn't remind himself that it'd make Okita more comfortable if he wasn't squashing him.

He liked the way Okita looked after he came, the way the sharpness in his eyes was gone and he looked completely relaxed. Even his nonchalance was gone, replaced by contentment. Hijikata thought it's the look that suited him best. He wiped the captain's sweat away and brushed stray strands of hair from his face to properly look at him. He liked their slow kisses, their murmured conversation, the way Okita caressed him slowly.

And when Okita finally left for his own room, leaving nothing but memory, Hijikata laid down quietly on his bed. He wondered what his life had turned into, what it should've been, what it would probably be in the future. Then he decided that this wasn't so bad at all and he got up and prepare for another day fighting side-by-side with Okita.

Hijikata frowned, watching the crowd around him carefully, his senses in high alert. There were too many people to watch, too many things that could and would go wrong, too many stupidities that would test his patience. There were kids running around, not all of them with their parents following closely behind. People were lining up in front of small stalls and sellers raised their voices to promote their products. Hijikata was especially wary of the people hanging around sake stalls, knowing that sooner rather than later, they would cause some kind of trouble. He had assigned some Shinsengumi officers to keep an eye on those stalls just in case. There was also a problem of pickpockets. It's only to be expected to find those in a festival. He didn't look forward to reviewing countless arrest reports of pickpockets that would certainly swarm him tomorrow.

"No sign of Joui so far. No amanto, either." Okita said. There had been very little action for the captain lately (at least not the kind of action that required the use of his bazooka) and he had been a little restless. Hijikata couldn't count the number of pranks he had pulled the past few days. He had been on the receiving end of quite a few of those recently. Hijikata had lost count of how many times Okita had spent the night in his bedroom, only leaving when dawn came and people would be looking for them. He was convinced it was Okita's way of trying to give him a heart attack, a small price to pay for what he had done. But he honestly thought that it was better than letting Okita destroy half the city or charge into battles recklessly.

Hijikata grunted in reply. "Good. This festival would run smoothly, then."

Okita glanced at him. "You look awfully relaxed, Hijikata-san. Better watch out. Someone could sneak up and kill you and you won't even know until you're in hell."

A growl was Hijikata's answer to that. As usual, Okita ignored him and turned his attention to the festival. Hijikata couldn't tell whether he was searching for troublemakers or trying to get in trouble. Either way, it made him a little anxious. A restless Okita was a handful to handle, as he had known all too well.

"Stop looking at me, Hijikata-san."

Hijikata blinked, not realizing that he had been staring until Okita lazily spoke. "Huh?" He said in confusion to the back of the captain's head.

Okita slowly turn his face to the side so he could watch Hijikata. "You're looking at me like you want me…" He said slowly, eyes glinting with something Hijikata had grown familiar with. He felt a pull of lust combined with panic. Was anybody around? Was anybody watching or listening to them? What if someone heard? But he couldn't tear his eyes away from the captain, nor could he say something in reprimand. "… to neglect my duty and go have fun by myself." Okita continued.

It took a second for Hijikata to realize what just happened. By the time he was snarling and stammering chastises, Okita was ignoring him again. "Idiot! What do you think you're doing?"

"Well, you look like you expect me to do that just now." Okita said calmly. "That's very irresponsible of you, Hijikata-san."

"No more irresponsible than blowing things up just to catch a petty thief!"

"Are we talking about this again?"

They were definitely talking about this again. Or at least, Hijikata was. He ranted on and on about how Okita rarely obeyed the procedures and how much trouble he left for Hijikata and Kondou to deal with. He complained about how sick he was of writing letters of apology for Okita's demolition game. Although it was better than bowing down in apology -which he would never be good at- it was still very irritating.

"But you'd still do that for me, wouldn't you?" Okita stated calmly, as if he was merely commenting on the weather.

Hijikata paused, looking at the captain. Standing side by side, he had a better view of the boy and he could see the slight curves on the edges of Okita's lips. His eyes gentled with something akin to mirth. Tension had seeped away from his body, leaving him relaxed, although not vulnerable. It occurred to Hijikata that it was the first time he had seen Okita like this in broad daylight.

"You're staring again." Okita said.

Hijikata hid his nervousness by lighting a cigarette. Neither he nor Okita said anything after that, but it was okay, the silence was actually nice. Being with Okita was actually nice. Now if only he could stop him from implying publicly that they're sleeping together.

Hijikata nervously watched girls draping themselves over the palace official he was supposed to guard tonight, fervently hoping no one recognized him. He had tried to refuse when he was told that the official wanted to go to the red light district, but Kondou had insisted on sending the best Shinsengumi officers to protect him against the many threats the official received. Hijikata thought that going to shady red light district was evidence of the lack of desire to preserve one's life, but kept this thought to himself.

Hijikata had been very nervous since he set foot on the district, worried sick that someone might recognize his face although he only went there once. He was grateful that the official chose a different brothel from the one he went to with Okita months ago, although it didn't completely remove his agitation, something Okita apparently didn't share.

The captain had been showing familiarity with the environment, ordering the best dishes and drinks in the house for them and even requesting some of the most popular girls there. HIjikata was surprised no one commented on how he seemed to know all of that, not even Kondou. Had it been a known fact that Okita occasionally visit the district? The thought that he had been the only one in the dark angered him.

"Don't you want some girls to accompany you?" Okita asked absently.

Hijikata turned to the captain. The boy was calmly watching Kondou making a fool of himself as girls flirted and teased him, appearing completely unaffected by the chaos in the room they stayed in. Some girls had approached him earlier, but he had rejected them, telling them 'not tonight' (how often does he spend the night here?) then sitting down on one side of the room without a care in the world. He ignored Hijikata's glares all night, occupying himself with small talks with girls when he wasn't talking their comrades into getting wasted. "Don't you?" Hijikata asked back, a bit more sharply than he intended.

Okita shrugged, "We're on duty."

The vice-commander wanted to point out that it hadn't stopped him that time they did it in the patrol car, but bit his tongue. Instead, he asked, "Have you been here before?"

For a second Okita didn't reply, "Yes," He finally said just when Hijikata thought he didn't hear him the first time.

Hijikata gritted his teeth, "Is there any place here you haven't been to, Sougo?"

This time, Okita turned to him, his face completely unreadable, "There are a few places. Do you want to check them out with me, Hijikata-san?"

Anger bubbled up within Hijikata. He scowled at Okita and stood up, "I'm going out for a smoke." He announced to everyone in the room crossly. There were some unclear responses from his teammates, but Hijikata didn't pay attention to that, immediately leaving the room. He knew Okita wouldn't follow him. As reckless as the captain could be, he wouldn't leave the room and put the life of the official in the hands of a few distracted Shinsengumi. It's for his own good. Hijikata wasn't sure he could hold back from giving more than an angry speech to the boy, and he really didn't want to hurt him.

Some girls giggled at him when he passed them by, and other Shinsegumi members he had stationed outside the room stared at him in confusion and fear, but he ignored them, quickly leaving the building. He needed fresh air and cigarette. He needed to get away from Okita and those stupid girls.

Unfortunately the air in the red light district was far from clear. The scents of incense, perfume, and food combined into something sickening. Hijikata growled, scaring a few passerbies. He wished he could go back to the headquarter instead of being here watching Okita reacquainting himself with the brothel. He's pretty sure Okita would like that. He could sleep with one of the women with Hijikata out of there and there were only inebriated men to watch over him. The girls certainly looked ready and willing to share a warm bed with the captain. Hijikata and his sobriety would just be a hindrance in there.

Hijikata smoked angrily, glaring at everyone who dared walk near him. Exactly how familiar was Okita with this place? How many of these brothels had he visited? Had he ever been involved with one of the women? Hijikata never asked about that particular aspect of Okita's life. It was disturbing enough that one time he took Hijikata there, but sometimes the vice-commander really wondered. Who on earth had introduced this to Okita? Hijikata swore if he found the guy….

"What the hell is that?" Hijikata growled as angry shouts and quick footsteps reached his ear, interrupting his train of thoughts. He frowned as he caught the sight of a group of men running after a woman. Great, it's just what he needed: security problem. Hijikata gripped his sword tightly while quickly assessing the skills of the men, neither looked particularly threatening, but he tightened his grip on his sword nonetheless. He kept his eyes on them as the woman spotted his uniform and hid behind him.

"Help me!" She begged urgently.

It crossed Hijikata's mind that these men were unlikely to pose any threat for the man he's supposed to be guarding, but he didn't care. He drew out his sword and held it up as one of the thugs came too close.

"Stay away." Hijikata warned.

The man, visibly scared, backed off. A quick look told Hijikata that this was a man who spent more time slacking off with his parents' money- another spoilt brat raised to believe he could have anything he desired. He couldn't say the same about some of his friends behind him, though. Scars crisscrossed their skin and although they didn't carry any visible weapon, Hijikata didn't like the look in their eyes. These men were trouble. "I-I don't want to cause trouble! I just want to talk to my girlfriend!" He said, stepping back, away from Hijikata's sword.

"I'm not your girlfriend!" The girl protested.

"What do you mean you're not…" The man stepped closer but was stopped by Hijikata's blade on his neck.

"Leave or before you do something you'll regret." Hijikata growled.

The man hesitated but then smartly decided that it wasn't wise to get in trouble with Shinsengumi. With one last angry glare to the woman and a rude name calling, he motioned his friends to leave with him. Hijikata watched them run, satisfied that he had done his job although anger still course through his veins.

"Are you all right, Miss?" Kondou asked. He had been drawn out by the commotion along with several other Shinsengumi officers. Even Okita was standing at the front door of the brothel, watching the scene with an unreadable expression on his face. Hijikata glared at him, daring him to comment on Hijikata's method to stop the conflict. The boy's eyes weren't on him, though. Instead, it was trained to the woman Hijikata just saved.

"Yes. Thank you, Hijikata-san."

Hijikata felt his stomach drop and his body grow numb. He spun around in trepidation, quickly recognizing the voice. "Karin." He choked out when he saw the woman smiling at him. Beside them, Kondou looked taken aback, blatantly staring at the woman, the living ghost of Mitsuba.

The thought sent a realization crashing through him. Hijikata quickly looked to the doorway to Okita. The captain had a strange look on his face. Hijikata opened his mouth to call out to him, his previous anger completely forgotten, but Okita turned around and entered the establishment again. Hijikata could only stare as he left him outside with the reminder of his crime, his guilt, and the sin he could never redeem.


A/N: I've written half of the next chapter. I know where I'm going to take this but I'm not sure how to get there. I'll try to update as soon as I can.