Hey, Murayama Tsuru here. I'm back with the fifth chapter! Also, on a not so very unrelated note, today I bought Gintama volume 46 in Japanese! It features Obi One and the slightly cheesy (I think so anyway, I haven't read it in English) starwars knock off. Well, I just had to announce that to you guys, even if you don't really care (but, hey, this time it was Gintama related!) And now, on with the fifth chapter!
Disclaimer: I don't own Gintama; it's the property of Sorachi Hideaki-Sensei.
Abuto woke with a curse on his lips. His dreams had been filled with witches, curses, and annoyingly flirty guys. He sat up, looking for the clock on his nightstand. And, not finding it left Abuto momentarily confused. But, the room was too dark and Abuto was too tired to care about where he had just woken up; it wasn't the first time he found himself in a place he didn't recognize.
Abuto decided that now would be a good time to find out where he was because no one else seemed to be awake. Bleary-eyed, He then walked over to a door that he thought could be the bathroom, it just looked like that kind of door. But when he opened it, he saw a familiar clump of orange hair on what looked to be a pillow. Abuto blinked in recognition, 'I see the admiral is here as well, must not be such a mysterious place after all."
After a second, the one of the 'admiral's' brilliant blue eyes opened and 'he' said in a rather feminine voice, "Akari? What do you want? It's too early for this, uh-huh…"
Did the admiral just call him Akari? Abuto brushed it off, though, as the admiral's usual morning mood. There had been this one time that Abuto had tried to wake Kamui up for an early morning meeting. Let's just say that Abuto attended the meeting in Kamui's place with two black eyes, some cracked ribs, and an arm that would probably need to be looked at by the Harusame doctor sooner rather than later.
Realizing 'Kamui' was now glaring at him for taking too long for answering 'his' question, Abuto said hastily, "Ah…admiral, could you tell me where the bathroom is? I haven't quite got the layout of this place down yet. And since it's dark and, as you said, early, I don't think I'll be able to find it without help. Could you help me out?"
'Kamui's' groan seemed to say 'It's too damn early for you to be using so many words, Abuto.' But then there was a shuffling noise and a small, pale hand appeared and pointed in the direction the bathroom must be in. Before Abuto could thank the 'admiral' or apologize for waking 'him' up, the closet door slammed in his face. Abuto just shrugged though; at least there were no broken bones this time.
Abuto went in the direction the 'admiral' pointed, but instead of a bathroom, Abuto opened another door to a bedroom. The room was, in polite terms, messy. There were stacks of Shonen Jump, empty ice cream cartons, various candy wrappers, and broken alarm clocks of various shapes. Abuto wondered why he didn't find the state of this room surprising.
While he was thinking about this, he absent-mindedly started scratching his chin. But he soon stopped when he didn't feel the usual prickle of stubble on his fingers. Abuto didn't remember shaving recently; he was pretty lazy about that particular hygiene related practice, didn't quite find it necessary. And, as he rubbed his chin, slightly desperately, for that familiar scratchy feeling, yesterday's memories flooded back into him.
And the memories came back just in time too. Abuto looked up as he heard Gin's voice, "Ah, Akari-chan, what'cha doing here? Looking for some…company?"
Abuto chuckled quietly, it was indeed too early for this, "Um…no. I wasn't here for that Sakata-san. I was looking for the bathroom and Kagura-chan pointed me in this direction, guess she was tired. So, could you tell me where the bathroom is?"
"Sure," Gin said smiling slyly, "I'll do it on one condition."
Abuto raised a slightly irritated eyebrow, "And that condition would be?"
"That you call me by my first name. There's no need to be so formal with me, we're all friends here."
Abuto balked at the plainness of Gin's request. But after a moment, Abuto shrugged and nodded, "Sure, I'll call you by your first name from now on…Gin-san."
Abuto then watched in slight horror as a shiver ran up the Silver-haired Samurai's body. Unfortunately, Abuto knew this reaction all too well. Whenever Kada had said his name, he had reacted very similarly. But, Abuto chose to ignore Gin's increasingly annoying reactions toward him and instead asked, "So, Gin-san why are you up so early today? I figured you were the type of person who slept in until someone dragged you out of bed."
Gin suddenly started avoiding Abuto's gaze, choosing to look past Abuto rather than at him, "Haha…I guess I am the type to sleep in until someone forces me out of bed. At least, I pretend to be that kind of person…" Gin trailed of then and Abuto took an involuntary, irritated step forward to get a better look at Gin.
Abuto immediately recognized the hollow sort of look in the natural perm's eyes; he'd seen the same look in Kamui whenever he'd been woken up by his own nightmares. Abuto felt an irrational urge to say something to comfort Gin, but he stopped short when a pleading expression fleeted across Gin's face. The look seemed to say, 'So you know why I was up. Please don't say anything; I really don't want to talk about it.'
So instead, Abuto said, "Gin-san, where's the bathroom again? If I don't go soon, I think I'm going to burst."
Gin gave Abuto a grateful smile and pointed to where the bathroom was, "The bathroom's right be the main entry, just exit my room and it's a straight shot from there. If, after you're done, you wanna come back and chat some more, I certainly wouldn't mind."
Abuto rolled his eyes, "Sorry, I think I'm going to try and get some more sleep instead. See you later in the morning, Gin-san."
Abuto then left rather quickly, to avoid more early morning flirting. Now, Abuto actually did have to pee,so he walked over to the bathroom. While he was relieving himself, he realized something; he'd called Kagura the admiral. Abuto desperately hoped she was too sleepy to notice or remember his slip of the tongue. If not, well, he was screwed.
Once Abuto was done in the bathroom, he walked back to his couch-bed, hoping he could get some more sleep. Abuto slipped the covers over his head, closed his eyes, and hoped sleep would overtake him soon. After about five minutes, Abuto shifted position, trying to get more comfortable. It didn't really work, so he tried shifting position again. This happened a few more times before Abuto threw the blankets off himself and stood up in a huff. 'Tch, so much for getting any more sleep. The admiral has me too well trained.' Abuto thought to himself, annoyed that he wasn't going to get any more sleep until night came again.
So, Abuto went over to the kitchen area and did what he usually did when he got up early like this; he made breakfast. Living with Kamui, Abuto learned pretty quickly how to cook. It was a good thing that Kamui wasn't too picky, as more often than not Abuto would accidently burn whatever he was cooking.
As Abuto cooked breakfast for Kagura and Gin (Shinpachi too, of he got there early enough), he lost track of time and the morning moved on without him noticing.
The next thing he knew, Abuto heard the front door open. A second later, Abuto heard a small gasp and looked up to see Shinpachi staring at him open-mouthed. Abuto raised an eyebrow, was it really that strange for someone to be cooking?
At Abuto's raised eyebrow, Shinpachi's mouth shut with a snap. And, after a second of awkward silence, Shinpachi said quietly, "Um…Akari-san…It's burning."
Abuto growled and turned back to the pan. The omelet he was cooking was, indeed, burning. Abuto Tch'ed, and then dumped the burnt omelet onto a waiting plate. Abuto sighed, "Alright, so this one will be mine. Thanks Shinpachi, if you hadn't distracted me, this wouldn't have happened."
Shinpachi flinched and started explaining himself, "I-I'm sorry Akari-san. I usually do the cooking around here, so I was just surprised to see someone else cooking. You should give me the burnt omelet; it was my fault after all. Or better yet, why don't you just throw it away?"
"No, no, I should have been paying more attention. Sorry for yelling like that. And wasting food isn't good, so I'll eat it."
"You know," Shinpachi said, a knowing smirk making its way across his lips, "You could probably get Gin-san to eat it, if you really wanted to."
Abuto gave the boy a withering look, so he'd noticed the obvious flirting as well, "Yes, I'm perfectly aware that I could convince that silver haired idiot to eat the burned omelet. But I don't particularly want to. It really wouldn't sit right with me."
Abuto then thought to himself, 'A guy flirting with me, I can deal with. It's creepy, but tolerable. But I don't feel like degrading myself by getting a guy to eat something I burnt. That would be emasculating.'
Abuto heard Shinpachi chuckle, and turned to him a scowl forming on his lips. Shinpachi, smug smirk still in place said, "Wow, you're a lot nicer than the other females we know. If I had told that to Tsukuyo-san or my sister, they would have forced whatever they had burnt on him in a second. I see you're almost done cooking, shall I go wake up Gin-san and Kagura-chan?"
Abuto nodded numbly and watched Shinpachi walk over to Gin's room thinking, 'I knew the women on this show were scary, but not that scary. I guess I haven't had enough screen time to get acquainted with them.'
Regaining his senses, Abuto watched the comedy of Shinpachi trying to get Gin and Kagura out of bed. Even though, Abuto knew Gin had probably been awake this whole time, he'd made a loud lecture about how Shinpachi shouldn't wake them up before noon. And Kagura had practically beat Shinpachi to a pulp when he tried to wake her up. It eventually took the combined efforts of Gin and Abuto to separate the younger members of the Yorozuya trio.
Once everyone was up and gathered around the table, Abuto started serving up breakfast. Breakfast was an assortment of various western and Japanese foods. There was miso soup, rice, and an omelet. When Abuto was handing out the omelets, of course Shinpachi and Kagura chose the non-burnt ones. But then, when Abuto was about to hand the other non-burnt omelet to Gin, he took the burnt one instead.
"Wha? Hey, what do you think you're doing? I was trying to give you the one that wasn't burnt." Abuto growled indignantly
Gin just shrugged, though, "Well I wanted this one, Akari-chan. You can have your unburnt omelet, I like mine with a little more flavor, thank you very much." And Gin sat down at the table without letting Abuto say another of objection.
As Abuto sat down with his own food, he saw out of the corner of his eye, Shinpachi giving him a conspiratorial wink; Abuto groaned, why was this happening to him? But he decided to ignore the wink and breakfast was eaten in silence.
After breakfast, Kagura asked Abuto to train with her. She told him that she usually trained by herself, so it would be a nice change of pace to spar with someone else. Abuto liked that idea; he needed to relieve some stress, and sparing with another Yato was the perfect way to do so.
The two were sent outside, so as not to break everything in the house, both Shinpachi and Gin had said. Luckily, it had started raining so they two Yato could spar with all the weapons they had at their disposal. Once the mock fight got started, Abuto had to make sure that he didn't lose himself and actually end up hurting her.
As the fought went on, Abuto realized something; it seemed suspiciously similar to their fight in Yoshiwara. Actually, it was going in the same direction as their fight in Yoshiwara, except Shinpachi wasn't there to make Kagura lose herself to her blood and go on a wild rampage.
Kagura seemed to realize the same thing Abuto realized soon after, because after their next clash of umbrellas, she stopped and asked, "Akari, have I fought you before?"
"Uh…N-no, of course you haven't fought me before. I-I just met you yesterday…"
"But when we were sparring, it felt so nostalgic. I wonder why?"
'Nostalgic is not the word I'd use,' Abuto thought
"And another thing," Kagura started, making Abuto jump, "This morning, did you call me 'admiral'?"
"What?" Oh crap, she'd heard him and she hadn't been tired enough to forget, "Wh-why would you think I called you that? L-look at the time, I think I'm going to go take a bath now. See you inside, Kagura." And Abuto then dashed inside so as not to give himself away.
When Abuto got back inside, he heard Shinpachi practically yell, "Akari-san stop right where you."
That made Abuto's heart sink into his stomach, had he figured out that 'Akari' was Abuto? But then Shinpachi said, "You're soaking wet. If you'd taken another step into the house, you would have gotten everything wet!"
Abuto heaved a mental sigh of relief, he hadn't been found out after all. He then started taking off his wet clothes, Shinpachi was right, Abuto may not be the most polite Yato around, but trailing wet clothes inside was one of the things he couldn't stand.
But before, he could take off his shirt, he heard Shinpachi say nervously, "A-Akari-san, what are you doing? Let me get you a towel!" and Shinpachi ran in the other direction.
Huh? Abuto paused, what was the glasses brat so flustered. Oh, right, Abuto had almost forgotten that he wasn't male right at the moment. He'd inadvertently given the hapless Shinpachi a striptease. Oops, he should probably think next time he planned on taking his clothes off.
Shinpachi soon returned with a towel, a familiar-looking white Kimono, and a black jumpsuit looking thing. Shinpachi explained, seeing Abuto's confusion, "Gin-san told me that you didn't have any other clothes and that you could wear one of his spare Yukata while I wash your clothes. So…here you go." Abuto accepted the clothes, then went into the bathroom to dry off and change.
Once Abuto came out of the bathroom, Gin was outside waiting for him. Gin then said excitedly, "Wow, my clothes suit you! Glad I mentioned it to Shinpachi. Now, c'mon, let's go!"
Before Abuto could ask where they were going, Gin grabbed his hand and dragged him out the door. After a while, Abuto finally managed to ask, "Gin-san, where are we going?"
Gin let go of Abuto's hand and said with a grin, "I knew Shinpachi wouldn't approve of this if I told him. But since we're out of the house, I can tell you. We're going to a Pachinko parlor. I don't usually have very good luck there, but with you around, I'm feeling unusually lucky."
Abuto couldn't object to that, he hadn't had the time to play Pachinko in a long, long time. It was high time he had some fun. So, Abuto followed Gin eagerly to the Pachinko parlor.
At the Pachinko parlor, Abuto was doing well for once. He usually didn't have much luck at places like this, so it was nice to be winning for a change. Gin, on the other hand, was also having luck today, but not as much as Abuto. He eventually complained loudly, "Akari-chan, why are you doing so much better than I am?"
Abuto turned to Gin and grinned, "Woman's intuition, Gin-san, woman's intuition." Gin and Abuto both laughed at that and went back to their games though.
After some more good luck with his Pachinko machine, though, he was kicked out of the building for winning too much (or some such crap like that). As he was being led out the door, he yelled to Gin, "Gin-san, you don't have to leave on my account. Stay as long as you want, I'll just be waiting outside."
So outside Abuto waited. He was just beginning to become bored when he saw a familiar white to dark blue Kimono. He sucked in a breath; it was the witch that had cursed him!
Without thinking about Gin, Abuto ran after the witch. He followed her to an alley ('well, now that's a coincidence isn't it?' Abuto thought as he entered the alley) and shouted, "Oi, witch girl, stop!"
She turned around and blinked at Abuto, "Who are you?"
And that ends this chapter…What? You wanted a confrontation with the witch? Well too bad, that comes next chapter! I have to keep you guys hanging somehow, don't I? Ahem…anyway, next chapter we will learn why the witch cursed Abuto. Well, until next time, then. I hope you guys enjoyed this chapter as well. And if you did, please review! I love to know what you guys think!