wedding bell bruises
What to do when the love/ultimate rival of your life decides to get married? Crash the wedding and beat the living daylights out of said rival, of course.
Disclaimer: I don't own Gintama. Sadly.
"I'm getting married next week."
"…Bwahaha…ack! Stupid, you made me choke on my sukonbu! And like hell I'm gonna fall for that, Sadist king, uh-huh."
"Aaa, I'm really wounded. Here I am, being serious, and you're laughing like a crazed hyena. Hn, no use getting through that thick head of yours, I suppose."
"Have you met her?" (Did you fall in love with her?)
"What's she like? Must be pretty desperate if she agreed to marry you, uh-huh." (Is she better than me?)
"Tall. Thin. Long hair. Frilly dresses. Typical princess."
"She's…an Amanto? Ha. Doesn't that mean she's got green scaly skin and pointy horns? Ewww." (You just had to fall in love with an alien girl that wasn't me, didn't you?)
"Not all Amanto are monster girls with freakish strength, China. She's normal looking, unlike some pink-haired loudmouths I happen to know."
"So just like that, ya have to marry her to promote peaceful relations? Kinda…sucks, yup. I mean, what if you were already engaged to someone, or had a girlfriend, or—"
"Kondo-san did give me a way out."
"That clueless look really doesn't suit you, alien girl. Makes you seem more out of it than usual. "
"Shut up. And whaddaya mean, 'a way out'?"
"He asked me if I was already in love with someone."
"What did you say?"
"…I said no."
Kagura absentmindedly swung her feet as she sat perched on the edge of Otae's front porch, idly watching her almost-older sister bustle back and forth in the house. She smiled slightly, fondly taking in the older woman's protruding stomach that seemed to be hindering her movements, reducing her steps to a rapid waddle instead. Sort of like a mother penguin, Kagura laughed to herself.
Not that she would ever tell her adopted sister that, of course. As Kondo-san had discovered to his demise, one mention of his wife's weight would result in a few black eyes and bloody noses. Namely his.
Kagura couldn't help but snort. Despite the fact that Tae had finally accepted the Gorilla's relentless and increasingly desperate proposals (much to the amazement of everyone and the complete and utter horror of poor Shinpachi), it was strikingly clear who wore the pants in that family.
Blue eyes rose to meet concerned brown, as the dark-haired women momentarily paused in her doings to take in the sight of her young friend sitting alone on the weathered wood of her porch.
Kagura blinked, momentarily startled out of her reverie. "Yup?"
"Why are you still sitting there?" Eyes sweeping over the Western style white sleeveless dress and neatly brushed (for once) hair, Otae added meaningfully, "Don't you have somewhere to be right now?"
And just like that, Kagura felt her mood crashing violently back down to Earth, falling far from the determined airiness she had fought to keep as to force her mind away from…other things. Like dying puppies. And disease. And how in the six years she'd worked for him, Gin-chan had never once paid her a salary. And the fact that the person-she-couldn't-get-out-of-her-head/stupidly-annoying-rival/Sadist-king-who-was-probably-taking-immense-pleasure-in-torturing-her was, at the moment, in the process of getting married.
Hence the dress. And the general neatness of her appearance. And the oppressing cloud of depression that was poisoning the air around her, making flowers droop pathetically and rocks disintegrate into little piles of dust.
By all means, she should just pick herself up, dust off her fancy outfit that actually made her look like a lady (Kagura shuddered at the thought), and waltz off to that stupid wedding like she desired nothing more than to watch her own personal pain-in-the-ass Shinsengumi marry some poor, deluded alien princess who had no idea what she was getting into; and then wave cheerfully as she looked at him getting on a rocket ship with his perfectly perfect wife, and blasting off to a distant planet that was hopefully a million, trillion light years away so that she never had to see his STUPID BASTERDLY FAT FACE ever again.
But somehow she just couldn't do it. If she did go to the wedding, she wasn't sure if she would be able to contain the urge to sic Sadaharu on him, all the while cackling maniacally like those mad scientists on the late night shows that she and Gin-chan liked to watch.
It was a sorely tempting idea, but another danger was that Kagura couldn't be sure that she wouldn't burst out into loud, babyish sobs if she had to sit through…that. Because for some reason, each time she even thought of the event taking place today, she could feel her stomach clench painfully, her eyes burn irritably, and her nose start to run—all of which either meant two things: she was getting sick with some deadly disease or she was getting ready to cry.
Since she didn't quite have enough willpower to convince herself it was allergies or an oncoming cold, Kagura could only conclude, that for some bizarre reason, she just wanted to crawl into bed, smash her face into her pillow, and wail like a spoiled child denied a long-desired treat.
And since she was already eighteen years old (more mature than she had been at twelve, she liked to think), that type of behavior really didn't seem appropriate.
Thus her hiding out at her self-proclaimed older sister's house while the idiot went and got himself married.
"Kagura? Did you hear me?"
A soft, "uh-huh" was Otae's only answer.
"I'm not going."
Staring at Kagura's determinedly blank face, Otae's eyes were filled with a gentle understanding that could only come with age and experience. The floorboards of the dojo porch creaked under her much increased weight as she made her way over to the pink-haired girl, painstakingly careful of her pregnant belly as she eased herself down beside Kagura with a soft grunt of exertion.
Tenderly, she reached out a hand to stroke her friend's pink locks in a comforting manner, the loose strands now spilling halfway down Kagura's back in a cascade of brightness. She sighed forlornly, the entire situation reminding her of how old Kagura and Shinpachi had already become. Just yesterday it seemed like this girl had been a small, loud-mouthed alien with blinding cherry hair drawn up in childish buns, forever running around with a piece of sukonbu hanging from her lips and an exuberant attitude that could easily exhaust all other humans. And now she was suffering from her first true heartache, the type that every young woman inevitably experienced.
Kagura, no matter her heritage, was still a girl, and therefore condemned to the strong feelings that came with the gender.
The brunette woman smiled in amusement as Kagura turned her face away petulantly, shying away from the affection in a grumpy manner.
"My, my. You're certainly acting odd today, Kagura-chan."
"I don't want to hear it." Kagura's voice was muffled, as she had buried her head deep into her arms in an ostrich-like way. "I'm fine, nee-san, so you don't need to worry about me."
Otae made a soft disbelieving noise. "Oh really?"
"Really, uh-huh," was the muttered reply. "Just a lame stomachache. It was Gin-chan's turn to cook last night, after all. I think he tried to poison us. Cheap bastard doesn't like how much money he has to spend on feeding three mouths."
She raised her eyebrows at Kagura's stubbornness, exhaling lightly as she looked at the curled up alien beside her. "You know, Kagura, this isn't exactly like you."
"Running away from your problems." Otae paused. "Or in this case, hiding yourself away from them. Usually you run right out to meet them head on, screaming and shouting and swinging your fists without fear. You shouldn't let him get to you this way."
That got a bit of response, as Kagura stirred uncomfortably, lifting her heart-shaped face from where it was burrowed. "What problems, uh-huh? I don't have any problems nee-san! And I'm not letting that bastard Okita get to me, in any way! There's no getting to anyone, anywhere!"
A light smirk spread across Otae's pretty face, as she said airily, "Ne, I don't believe I mentioned Okita-kun's name anywhere, did I?"
Kagura's blue eyes widened in horror as she realized what she'd said. "That was a dirty trick," she mumbled.
She only received an answering snort from the brown-haired woman beside her. "Kagura-chan, you'd have to be deaf, blind, and completely dumb not to notice what's eating away at you." A dainty hand reached out to smooth down the vibrant pink hair again, and this time the younger girl didn't pull away. "I'm not any of those things. Between you moping around here on Okita-kun's wedding day looking like someone murdered Sadaharu and refusing to even crack a smile or laugh for the past few days…" She paused, surveying her self-proclaimed sister with a gentle look that not many ever received from the tough woman. "Kagura-chan, why didn't you just tell him?"
"Tell him what?" was the grumpy mutter.
Otae just smiled as though it were obvious. "That you didn't want him to get married." She waited for the inevitable denial.
She wasn't disappointed.
Kagura exploded in full force, cheeks flushing and eyes flashing. "HA! Not want him to get married?" She scoffed, looking as though it was the most ridiculous idea she had ever heard. "Psh, that guy can go and do whatever he wants. It's not like it matters to me. I wouldn't care if he married the Loch Ness Monster, uh huh, or Big Bottomed Bertha from Wrestle World."
She abruptly halted her tirade for a moment, as though fighting with herself as to whether she should continue on. Otae waited patiently, a mere onlooker as Kagura was speaking more to herself than the woman beside her.
"Only…only…" Kagura twisted her hands in her lap, her voice rapidly growing small. "Only I don't understand…" She paused again, the fire draining out of her posture as she wilted into a slumped position.
"What don't you understand?"
"I thought it was enough. I don't understand—I was happy fighting with him every day, being with him every day." She cast a look of desperate confusion at her listener. "So why the hell would he just suddenly decide to tell me he's gonna randomly go and get himself hitched?"
A secretive, knowing grin was playing on Otae's face, concealed by the hand she lifted up to rest on her mouth. "Is that what he did?"
"Uh-huh," Kagura replied, a frown emerging again as the events of that stupid day played out in her head.
A soft sigh left Otae's lips as she shook her heard disparagingly. "Men are funny creatures, Kagura-chan. Sometimes I think those idiots are more alien than any Amanto is. When Okita-kun told you he was getting married, just like that…I don't think he was really in his right mind."
And that wasn't really a lie, she thought to herself. After all, desperation and love made men do strange things. She should know-she was married to the strangest man of them all.
Kagura, however, looked contemplative. "Not in his right mind?"
"So…I just need to beat him up 'till he comes to his senses? Or something like that?" Kagura perked up, eyes shining as she came to a realization.
"Um, Kagura-chan, that wasn't exactly what I meant—"
"Of course! Something heavy probably fell on that Sadist's head and made him crazy!"
Otae was unable to do anything but watch helplessly as Kagura leapt to her feet, energy renewed and crackling enthusiastically. "That evil idiot probably doesn't have any idea of what he's doing! As his one and only rival, it's up to me to stop him!"
One second later and there was only a dusty porch, a surprised pregnant woman, and a scene sans one pink-haired Yato girl.
When Kagura finally stumbled up to the doors of the wedding hall, she was breathing rather hard and violently cursing the high-heeled shoes that were painfully pinching her toes. After a moment of brief consideration, she leaned down and violently ripped them off, tossing them carelessly into a cluster of bushes with a muttered "Good riddance".
Strains of slow, soppy wedding music were already seeping through the walls, making her cringe in disgust.
How in the world was that guy even putting up with this?
If it had been her wedding, she would have soundly punched the nose of whomever suggested such stupid music be played. Dammit, when it was her wedding she'd simply be getting married outside, on a hilltop or a valley, with her Papi crying and Shinpachi and Gin-chan staring threateningly at the Sadist—
But she was getting a little ahead of herself.
With a gaze that regarded the ornate double doors before her in apprehension, she rallied the courage that seemed to have leaked out along the way there, and took a few tentative steps towards them.
Firm fingers pushed open the doors, and she immediately wished that she hadn't.
A barrage of noise hit her then, her eyes widening as she recoiled slightly at the laughing, chattering guests, the floating music, the shouted congratulations and hearty cheers. If she looked hard enough, she could just make out the top of Gin-chan's curly white head and Shinpachi's black bowl-cut one, bobbing away somewhere in the crowd. Her eyes roved over the dark navy uniforms of the Shinsengumi men, all wearing somber looks on their faces, and the formal black outfits of the visiting alien clan, all of whom were staring distastefully at their human hosts…
…it took her only a heartbeat, however, to find the one person she'd sprinted all the way here to see and/or possibly pulverize.
Contrary to the usual butterflies and stomach clenching she usually experienced around him (before she'd always just chalked it up to adrenaline, but now she suspected those feelings had been something else), her heart sank like a stone, falling down, down, down all the way into her stomach where she was sure she heard a distinct "plop" as it did so.
Because it was all so hopeless.
There was so much sound…she'd never be heard in this din…she thought miserably, blue eyes fixed on the blonde-haired man who was separated from her by so many noisy bodies. The ceremony would start any time now, it would be soon…he'd be getting married…become out of her reach forever…
Kagura shut her eyes tightly, clapping her hands over her ears in an attempt to block out the turbulent sounds that echoed throughout the meeting hall. Her legs were shaking under her dress, already threatening to give way in a boneless heap upon the floor. Desperately, she leaned against a nearby column to retain her balance, rapid breaths emerging from her pink mouth.
It was so loud.It was all…it was all far too much.
I can't do this.
There was white everywhere she looked, piercing her eyes like a sharpened spear—the white-washed walls, elaborate tablecloths, elegant chairs filled with chattering guests, and the bride, a pale, slim girl dressed resplendently in a pearly gown. A delicate beauty who probably never raised her voice beyond the shadow of a whisper, who wouldn't dare to smack her husband for being annoying or bicker with him for being a sadistic asshole who she couldn't seem to get away from…
Kagura choked slightly, already feeling the beginnings of tears leaking out of the corners of her blue eyes, much to her angry horror.
The only sensible thing that was running through her head right then was: What was I thinking?
But one look at the soon-to-be-groom, and her heart gave a bitter pang, reminding her exactly what she had been thinking in sprinting here.
And try as she might, she couldn't quite convince herself that it was to save a rival.
It was him, all of him—his dirty-blonde locks falling in that carelessly messy way; the deceptively lean body of a warrior now clothed in the traditional outfit of a newlywed; the eyes that were a rare mixture of red and brown, highlighted by odd human emotions that never failed to enthrall her. The soft lips she wouldn't get to kiss; the rough swordsman hands that wouldn't ever brush against hers in a spirited spar or hold a sword to protect her again; the unyielding arms she would never be able to curl up in, feeling as safe as she had when she was a little girl in her mother's warm embrace.
She knew why she had come—what was the point in denying it, now that she was actually here?
For the first time in her eighteen long years of life, years that were an amalgam of loneliness and pain, sacrifice and borrowed contentment, she had finally decided to make a desperate grab at the one chance she had at a lasting happiness. It wouldn't be happiness she stole from Shinpachi's family, or from belonging to the Yorozuya with Gin-chan, but a joy that she had single-handedly achieved by herself, and that would belong to her alone.
It was a contentment no one else could ever take from her again.
The tears were falling too quickly for her to stop them, and at the moment she couldn't muster up enough willpower to care.
She wanted to be with that insufferable Shinsengumi bastard. She wanted to fight with him every day for the rest of her life—
The bride and groom were already taking their positions up front.
She wanted to hear him call her "China" and "monster girl"—
The guests were falling silent in anticipation of the ceremony, and somewhere among them were Gin-chan and Shinpachi and the Gorilla-san and 'Zaki-san and the Smoker…
She wanted to burn his meals and glare as he smirked at her cooking attempts—
She wanted to smack him awake whenever he lazed around in that ridiculous red eyepatch, snoozing the day away as he pleased—
She wanted to one day raise a child with sky blue eyes and sandy blonde hair that they would protect, love, and teach to live with honor—
Okita had slowly reached out and lifelessly taken hold of his fiance's hand…the official marrying them had already begun to speak…her time was running out…
Kagura bit her lip, hands tightening into fists at her side.
She wanted him.
Out of all the creatures that inhabited the dozens of planets out here, out of all the galaxies and worlds that were floating aimlessly in the vastness of space, it had to be this particular stupid human male that she had come to see as a natural, irreplaceable part of her life throughout the years.
It had to be this twisted, lonely, mischievous human male that filled the gaping hole her mother's death, her father's absence, and her brother's leaving had cruelly carved out of her heart.
And maybe that was alright.
Kagura inhaled deeply, the droning voice of the official suddenly cutting sharply into her hazy mind. Her blue eyes, focused upon the bane of her existence intently, shone with an inner steel as Kagura opened her mouth…
…and screamed his name as loudly as her lungs would permit it.
So it wasn't the most romantic of entrances. But beggars couldn't be choosers, and Kagura was already irritated beyond her limit.
Had this been a magical, happy fairy-tale, this would be the part where Kagura, sniffling and beautiful in her tears, confessed her undying devotion to Sougo, who, hardly daring to believe his ears, would immediately drop his ex-fiance's hand, sprint across the room in an impassioned frenzy, and twirl Kagura around as they both laughed like the soppy pair they were.
Or, another version of the magical, happy fairy-tale could have involved Kagura, sniffling and beautiful in her tears, confessing her undying devotion to Sougo right before sprinting to the podium, drop-kicking his ex-fiance out the window, and taking her rightful place beside him to be married.
Unfortunately this wasn't a fairy-tale; it was Okita Sougo, the hard-ass First Captain of the Shinsengumi, and Kagura, daughter of the most fearsome alien-hunter in the galaxy and descendent of the ferocious Yato clan. They were rivals first, and almost-lovers last. So of course nothing was going to go as planned.
First, there was a stunned silence.
Everyone had frozen as they stared at the odd girl who had most definitely broken the sound barrier with the pitch of her yell, and whom was currently preoccupied with sending a look of deepest loathing at the would-be-groom.
Even Gintoki and Shinpachi, respectively busy stuffing themselves and packing away food in plastic take-out containers at the buffet, stopped their activities to gape at their friend's unexpected entrance. Smirks were exchanged after they overcame the initial shock—this was going to be amusing (at the Shinsengumi's cost, of course), and they didn't really feel the inclination to interfere.
Then came the apathetically drawling voice. "Oi, China. Mind telling me what you're doing?"
His words snapped through the deafening silence, as well as any nervousness Kagura might have had, indignation taking over her instead. She couldn't help it—when it came to that guy, it was an instinctive response.
She bristled like a riled tiger. "ME? What am I doing? I could ask you the same question!"
"Oh really. Why's that?" Okita's eyes were boring into her darkly, clearly ignoring every other person within the room, including one very confused alien-princess-fiancée (obviously she hadn't been warned of the possibility of any psychotic ex-girlfriends/rivals her fiancé may or may not have had).
Kagura's eye twitched. "I'm not the one getting married, dumbass. That's why."
"Last time I checked, there wasn't anything wrong with that," Okita deadpanned from across the room, folding his arms in one swift movement.
"It IS if you're not freakin' in love with the person, you stupid—stupid—dummy head!"
"Name-calling now, are we China? Very mature."
Her fists tightened even more into angry little balls of fury. She replied with an outward calmness she most definitely was not feeling, "Well excuse me, but it seems to be the only way to penetrate your thick skull, since you don't seem to care about anything I do or say anymore. In fact—"
"Not care?" He interrupted in a low voice.
Kagura moved back slightly as Okita's red eyes burned angrily, swallowing her words whole as he pierced her with a suddenly incensed stare. "After everything, how can you even have the gall to stand in front of me and tell me I don't care?"
Even if she was taken aback by his uncommonly forthright manner, Kagura staunchly fought her surprise from surfacing on her face. She glared right back at him, refusing to back down. "And running off to get married is how you say you care? No wonder you never had girlfriends, uh-huh."
The bane of her existance shot her an indefinable look, his long fingers running through his hair in irritated movements. "I swear monster girl, out of every person, animal, plant, Amanto, and dung beetle I've ever seen you're definitely the densest thing in the entire universe. Hands down, you win."
That did it.
"And you say I'm spewing out petty insults? Look in the mirror, you smug bastard!" Kagura fumed, all thoughts of winning over the idiot rapidly dissolving into an undeniable urge to punch his dumb face as hard as she possibly could. Belatedly, she realized that forgetting her ever-trusty umbrella had been a mistake—she could have used it to riddle the Sadist with holes right about now. Or simply just smacked him over the head with it. "You have absolutely no right to call me that!"
A quick, mirthless laugh interrupted her ire, the Shinsengumi captain across the room eyeing her with a raised eyebrow. "Well, seeing as I've been in—"
(A loud CRASH as someone accidentally dropped a buffet plate drowned out the word to a majority of the room)
"-with you for five years and you never picked up on it, I think I'm pretty much justified in saying that you're dense, China."
And that pretty much summed it up—only Okita Sougo could make a declaration of love (at least, that's what everyone supposed he must have said) and an insult in the same sentence.
Face perfectly blank, he glanced over to where Gintoki and Shinpachi were standing, watching the debacle with every appearance of entertainment written on their faces. "Yo danna, you need to start filling her head up with something other than sukonbu and white rice. I think it's starting to affect her brain."
There was a profound pause, as Kagura's mouth opened and closed in rapt succession, making her look akin to a gasping fish. From the shock on her face, she certainly hadn't been expecting that little tidbit of information to come out of her rival's mouth. Neither, if the surprised/horrified expressions suddenly surrounding them were anything to go by, had anyone else.
Kagura's blue eyes were dazed, and when she spoke, her voice came out sounding extremely tiny. "Oh."
The blonde male snorted at her weak response, though his body was taught with tension. "Yes, oh. Very eloquent, alien girl."
Then it started.
Predictably, the Yato girl was the first to explode in a burst of fury.
It was like a tennis court, both participants shouting at each other from opposite ends of the room. Their words were the ball and the guests' heads turned back and forth as they looked on in amazement. Clearly neither the extra-terrestrial dignitaries nor the Shinsengumi had any remote idea of what to do.
"YOU IDIOT! You LOVE me, so why the hell didn't you ask ME to marry you then, uh-huh!"
Okita's eyes widened for a split second at Kagura's words, before narrowing them again in frustration. "Because you never gave me the smallest hint that you wanted to marry me, China!"
"It's not my fault that you're about as observant as a rock, you stupid SADIST! I was sending out, um whatchamacallit-" Kagura glanced over to where Gin and Shinpachi were watching the match, munching cheerfully on refreshments.
"Signals?" Gin supplied helpfully from the sidelines.
"Yeah, I was sending out signals right and left!" Kagura retaliated triumphantly.
The Shinsengumi captain could only stare at her in disbelief. "I'm sorry," was the acerbic reply she received, "but was I supposed to interpret you attacking me every chance you got as a sign of true love? I'm not up to date on Yato courting rituals, Miss Alien."
She glared, stung. "It's not like you didn't fight back!"
"Well, if it's between that or having my head pulverized into a bloody mass…"
The official performing the marriage ceremony looked rather terrified of the wrathful display going on in the room, clearing his throat nervously a few times when both opponents finally lapsed into silence a minute later, settling for merely glaring at each other.
"U-um, c-clearly the bridegroom has s-some issues to resolve before committing to anything, so why don't we just postpone—"
The father of the very flabbergasted princess stood up quickly, banging his fist on the table as he glared at a flummoxed Kondo-san and a lackadaisical Matsudaira-sama. "Matsudaira! You promised me this marriage as a term of our alliance treaty!"
The old man raised a lazy eyebrow, unimpressed. He chewed on the lank cigarette hanging from his mouth. "Well, I personally don't care who marries who, but this guy next to me…" Both men turned to look at Kondo, whose nose and eyes were streaming with an incessant flow of salty tears. He smirked. "This guy next to me, he might just have something to say."
They observed the Shinsengumi commander seated near them, one observing with increasing fury and one with mild amusement.
"S-sougo! I had no idea you felt that way!" Kondo bawled out at the still bickering not-quite-couple, snot dripping from his nose. "Why didn't you say anything! Waaaah!"
Hijikata sighed and absently patted his sniffing commander on the shoulder, lips curling on his cigarette in a bored manner. Really, there was only one way this was all going to end up—he was having unpleasant flashbacks to another wedding which had involved the Shinsengumi leader and a gorilla bride…why was he cursed with such troublesome friends, he couldn't help but wonder for the umpteenth time.
Really, he should have just retired long ago. By now, he could have been lounging on a beach somewhere, sipping mayo and blissfully free of the daily Shinsengumi drama that seemed to plague him.
The princess's father tightened his lips, face growing dangerously stormy as he observed the sobbing Kondo. "Kondo, I expect Okita to marry my daughter, now! Matsudaira, I demand your compliance with this!"
The white-haired Matsudaira leaned back in his chair, unimpressed. "Really, now? Sorry Ichidou-sama, but it looks like the wedding's off." He exhaled lazily, looking up at the ceiling with a uninterested stare. "Man, these guys cause me nothing but headaches and paperwork, should probably retire soon," he mumbled to himself, his thoughts unknowingly paralleling those of his black-haired subordinate still comforting a weeping Kondo.
The alien king, eyes popping out in disbelief, snarled, "I cannot accept this, such a dishonor to my house, to my daughter…" His hand flew to the sword at his waist, his subjects immediately rising from their places and drawing their weapons as well upon seeing the actions of their king. Whirling, he pointed angrily at a still shouting Kagura, who had at some point marched up to her sadistic Shinsengumi and was pounding her fists irritably on his chest as she yelled at him.
"Get rid of her! Now!" The alien king, Ichidou-sama, wrathfully ordered his brethren.
And chaos erupted.
Kagura and Okita were having their verbal sparring match less than a hair's breadth away from each other when a spear came flying at them from the now brawling crowd of wedding guests, nearly impaling Kagura through the head.
It was only due to Okita's timely intervention that Kagura wasn't skewered (though he had his doubts if that would actually kill her—she seemed to be very akin to a cockroach), as he tackled her onto the floor within seconds, arms holding her tightly against him as they crashed against the wall that the spear imbedded itself in moments after.
Kagura, her face a bright red, wriggled impatiently in his arms. Sputtering loudly, she managed to get out, "O-OI! What d'ya think you're doing, uh-huh! Dammit, I'm not done shouting at you, now lemme go!"
Okita heaved a sigh, cutting easily through her babble. "China. Look up."
Against her better judgment she obeyed, and immediately spotted the weapon that had been inches away from making her the day's barbeque. Kagura-on-a-stick.
Dawning comprehension appeared on her face. "Er…oh."
She stilled as she felt Okita smirk against her hair, his body still behind her, arms clasping her protectively. "Like I said, dense."
This time her wriggling succeeded, and she escaped from her place against him with minimal resistance, abruptly scooting away from him. She tried to ignore the fact that her cheeks were still overheated from their intimate proximity, still not quite at peace with the fact that her greatest rival could make her so flustered. Che, annoying jerk.
Okita raised himself into a sitting position, leaning his head against the wall as he eyed the raucous din that had formerly been his wedding with none-too-little amusement. In all honesty, he didn't seem to be overly torn up over that fact. "Oi, you seem to have a talent for wedding crashing, monster girl. Maybe danna should start renting you out," he said thoughtfully, watching five alien visitors sail across the room, followed by crazily yelling Shinsengumi wielding…bananas?
Kagura couldn't help but look around her at the mass destruction occurring and feel just a tiny bit proud. After all, it wasn't every day you got to start a full out clash between aliens and the Shinsengumi, after all. So she couldn't quite hide the resulting grin as she told her rival/love, quite firmly, to shut up.
Of course he didn't listen—he never did.
"Still…never knew you found my charms so irresistible, alien girl. I'm flattered, uh-huh." He smirked at her mockingly.
She couldn't help but roll her eyes. "Oh please, I wasn't the one proclaiming my undying love in front of an entire room of people, yup," Kagura retorted smugly. "I'm gonna remind you of that 'till you die, ya know."
"Aah…temporary brain damage and a case of mistaken identity. Maybe I thought you were Hijikata-san."
Kagura laughed, grinning. "So you're passionately in love with the Smoker, huh?"
"…on second thought, you're right. I knew it was you all the time China."
"Glad you're 'fessing up to it, Sadist." She allowed a small, triumphant smile to drift onto her lips, blue eyes raising almost shyly to meet amused red ones.
They were silent for a moment.
Then: "Hey, China girl, why aren't you wearing any shoes? Have some decency—you're at a wedding."
Kagura followed his gaze to her bare feet, slightly cut and bruised and more than a little sore. She wiggled her toes with a frown, and then abruptly was reminded of something. "Oh yeah! It's all your fault, uh-huh!"
"How is it my fault you're barefoot?"
She scowled. "Cause I had to run all the way here just to save your stupid butt from getting married, and in high heels too!" She lifted one of her wounded feet and stuck it firmly in front of his face, waving it at him accusingly. "You owe me a foot rub, yup!" She paused thoughtfully, before adding, "And a whole year's supply of sukonbu, too! For all the trouble you've caused me!"
The Shinsengumi captain snorted, easily grabbing the foot being waved at him before it accidentally smacked him right in the nose, thereby accidentally breaking it. "Trouble? If we're talking trouble, then you should be the one giving me a foot rub…every night for fifty years, I think."
Kagura hooted at that, loud chortles erupting from her as she clutched her sides. "As if, uh-huh!"
"Well, isn't that what sweet, angelic wives are supposed to do for their husbands? Or so I'm told. I have trouble believing that Shimura's sister would go anywhere near Kondo-san's feet."
The snickering girl stilled immediately, laughter ceasing like sound being sucked into an airless vacuum. Her mouth dropped open silently as she processed what her rival had just said.
Okita smirked at her momentary quiet. "Though like hell I'm letting you near any of my appendages. You'd probably just kill me with your monster strength."
It took a full minute's time of surprised gaping for Kagura to recover.
A slow smile tilted her lips upwards, eyes peeking through her haphazard bangs.
"Heh. Whatever. When we get married, you'll be rubbing my feet every night, uh-huh."
Her now-fiancé sounded amused. "Keep trying, China."
She sniffed in mock-annoyance. "Don't you know? In Yato marriages, the female is the dominant partner. You'll have to do whatever I say," she told him with an unholy gleefulness, clearly entertaining thoughts of all the ways in which she could abuse her marital power. She even rubbed her hands together in the universal sign of greedy anticipation.
Rolling his eyes, Okita leaned in to poke her forehead. "I'm not a Yato, in case you hadn't noticed."
"You're going to be marrying one," she pointed out.
"We live on Earth."
She gave him a sugary smile. "But cultural customs don't have a planetary limit, dear."
"When in Rome, do as the Romans do, sweetness…"
"But we're not in Rome either!"
"It's a saying, alien girl."
Their newfound relationship was off to a wonderful start.
In a way eerily reminiscent of another Shinsengumi's failed wedding to a gorilla princess, the loyal men of the Shinsengumi, plus two members of the Yorozuya, had thrown their bodies into the mad fray, creating an impromptu pathway of escape for the undeniably odd couple.
"Protect Okita-taichou's path of love!"
"C'mon boys, hold 'em back!"
Gin looked at the enthusiastic men he was half-heartedly helping, silver eyebrows raising confusedly. "Oi, oi, what's the big deal? Didn't know you were so keen on helping out with your captain's lovelife."
Beside him, Yamazaki let out a small yelp as he dodged a flying elbow attack, vehemently wishing he held his trusty tennis racket in his hand, rather than his sword. He turned his head towards Gin at the other man's questioning words. "Well normally we wouldn't, but we really hope Kagura-san decides to accept taichou at last." He sighed, distractedly shoving back a shouting Amanto guest with his foot. "See, every time they get into a fight, Okita-taichou comes back to headquarters pretty mad, and makes us all do double training sessions to vent his frustration. Hopefully if they get together, that'll stop."
Gin raised an eyebrow, glancing at the young captain and the alien girl. "Aa, seems like a good plan."
"Why're you helping out danna? I didn't think you'd want Kagura-san to get with a member of the Shinsengumi," Yamazaki asked curiously.
The silver samurai ducked a Shinsengumi that went flying over his head. "Eh, I guess." His eyes were briefly drawn once again to the unlikely duo, resting on Kagura's animated face, lit up with emotion. For the most fleeting of moments, he was reminded of another child, wild with joy at having found a teacher who had been willing to pour all of his love and knowledge into his students. "But I figure you need to grab onto happiness wherever you can find it, whenever you can find it…and that kid deserves it most of all."
Yamazaki looked teary-eyed. "Wow…that's deep, danna."
"Plus I expect Kondo-san to reimburse me and Shinpachi for our help here today."
In the end, a pink-haired alien, her rival-cum-fiancé, two other lay about Yorozuya members, and a whole host of Shinsengumi men stood outside the now smoking and charred ceremonial hall, idly watching as the thoroughly beaten and humiliated alien dignitaries departed in their space ships.
There was a lingering feeling of pride and contentment among all members of the oddly formed group:
The Shinsengumi men at having successfully thwarted yet another alien wedding (they were getting quite efficient at this).
Kondo because…well, he was Kondo, and as long as his precious friends were happy, then he was too. Except he couldn't quite figure out how he had missed Sougo falling in love with the female Yorozuya member. He'd always been under the impression they'd hated each other's guts. After all, there hadn't been any True Love Stalking at all!
Hijikata was as content as Hijikata ever was, meaning that because he was still alive at the end of the day and had a cigarette wedged in between his lips, all was well in the world.
Shinpachi, the only one who had seen this entire thing as being long in coming, was glad for his friend's fortuity in love, but at the same time lamented losing yet another person to the clutches of the Shinsengumi. Really, first his sister and now Kagura-chan? Thank god for the lack of female Shinsengumi members, which meant that he and Gin-san were spared at least.
And Gintoki, who was mildly disgruntled at appearing so little despite being the main-damn-character, decided that he would valiantly give up the spotlight for the day for Kagura's sake.
That didn't mean he wasn't going to get the last word in, though.
Through what could only be described as an extraordinary run of luck, otherwise known as plot convenience, he withdrew a white envelope and held it out to his subordinate. "Here, take it."
Kagura blinked at him confusedly before stretching out a hand to do so. "Gin-chan what's this? Have you been reading my mail again, uh-huh?"
"Hey, don't be so insulting. Kids should respect their betters," Gin muttered, affronted.
"I thought it was 'kids should respect their elders'. Cause you're my elder, Gin-chan, much elder—"
"Oi, you brat!"
Kagura was only half paying attention to her seething friend and boss as she perused the contents of the letter. "Oh!" She beamed, eyes continuing to skim across the writing. "Papi and Kamui-nii are coming to visit me!"
Shinpachi and Gintoki paled at the mention of Kagura's menacing, baldy father and reformed-yet-still-slightly-insane older brother.
Immediately, Gin suggested with an air of determined casualness, "Aa, that's wonderful, Kagura-chan. You can introduce them to Okita-kun!"
She frowned in thought, casting a thoughtful glance over at her fiancé, who was currently being attacked by a crying Kondo and congratulated by the navy-clad soldiers. "You think that'd be a good idea?"
Gin and Shinpachi nodded their heads in enthusiastic unison.
A nervous, high-pitched laugh was heard from Gin. "Oh, definitely! I'm sure they'd just love to meet the brave man who's going to marry their little girl…"
Hey everybody! Thanks for reading. This is my first posted fanfic on here—I'm a little nervous, so I'd love to hear what I could do to improve, what you liked, anything! Thanks :-)