Title: Though birthday's themselves can sometimes suck, there will always be something better to come in the days to follow
Rating: T..I guess
Word Count: 2,765
Warnings/Notes: So this is an older fic that's been sitting around looking cute in my mac for a while...It was written as a gift to a friend and was supported to be more than one chapter, but yeah...that never happened. ^^; I certainly wouldn't mind picking it up again, but I'd like to first see how it's received (...and try to find/remember what I had originally planned for this fic, hehe...).
Disclaimer: Gintama belongs to Sorachi Hideaki
Summary: It's Hijikata's birthday, and there's quite a few things in store for him, and they all have something to do with Gin-san.
The first rays of sunlight barely began to peak over the horizon. The sounds of the birds greeting the new day with their song was the only thing to be heard in the stillness of the early morning hours.
For Hijikata, still barely awake at this hour, it was relaxing, so inviting of sleep...
However, falling asleep would just not do. He still had far too much paperwork to get done. Under regular circumstances, this rare time of peace and quiet would have been most welcome considering the hectic week it has been for the Shinsengumi. That is, had it not been for the fact that almost every aspect of the hectic week had required Hijikata's attention. It was to the point where he was needed at five different places at once, and while he was completely drained physically and mentally, the last thing Hijiakta wanted to do was surrender the battle with his heavy eyelids.
What started out as some criminals who claimed to be Jouishishi committing various crimes such as robbery and murder turned into what Hijikata figured was a conspiracy, seeing as numerous small-sized Jouishishi groups emerged out of nowhere. They were causing a ruckus all over Edo simultaneously, resulting in Hijikata having to be in non-stop motion, working late into the night hours and being welcomed back by piles of paperwork stacked on his desk upon his return to the barracks.
Now here he sat cross-legged at his desk within a sea of papers, his forehead dropped in his left palm, in the right, a forgotten cigarette between his fingers who's nicotine was doing nothing anymore to help keep Hijikata awake and was left to slowly use itself up.
And if the paperwork from hell wasn't enough, all night long since the time he reached the sanctity of his room, Hijikata had this sense of foreboding that grew stronger as the sun rose. He couldn't really make sense of it just yet, but he had a feeling that it was a warning of sorts.
Sighing in frustration at what was quickly becoming a losing battle against his blanking mind, Hijikata only managed to snuff out the forgotten smoke in the ashtray that was already filled to the brim with cigarette stubs before his eyelids shut tight, sending Hijikata's body into sleep mode without him even realizing it.
Consciousness slowly made its way back to Hijikata as he cracked his eyes open ever so slightly when he caught the faint scent of tobacco. Though it was odd, since it certainly wasn't him who was smoking, so where was the scent coming from …?
It took a few moments for his vision to clear when he opened his eyes completely and when it did, he began to notice things.
One, he was staring at the ceiling. Two, he awoke changed out of his uniform and into his night time clothing laying under the covers of his futon. Three, his room was brightly lit by the sunlight.
He gasped when his slow crawling mind caught up with his observations and he sat upright.
'How the hell did I end up in bed? The last thing I remember was putting out my cigarette…'
"Yo Birthday Boy, you awake?"
It was a familiar voice, an unexpected voice.
Hijikata's gaze sought out the direction in which the voice came, and his eyes widened when he confirmed who the owner of the voice was.
"Yorozuya…" Hijikata whispered under his breath, all the answers to his unvoiced questions starting right back at him.
The shoji door leading to the courtyard outside Hijikata's room was completely opened, no doubt by the silver-haired man leaning against the door frame with his arms crossed over his chest and his legs stretched out, crossed at the ankles. Dressed in Hijikata's uniform and a cigarette dangling from the corner of his lips curled up in a smirk, Hijikata's eyes locked with the pair of crimson eyes that gleamed under the sunlight.
Bringing his right hand up to his face, Gintoki caught the cigarette between his middle and index fingers, closing his eyes for a moment as he took in a breath of the tobacco, removing the cigarette from his lips as he blew the smoke into a passing breeze.
"So, finally get your beauty sleep?" he began, locking his gaze back with Hijikata's. "Not that you really need it since you're still sexy to me no matter what. It was certainly a sight to see though. You with bags under your eyes and drool coming out of the corner of your mouth crashed at your desk."
Hijikata put his forehead in his hand, groaning at his words and at the knowledge that Gintoki saw him in such a state. The fact that Gintoki was clearly wearing the uniform he had on the night before left no doubt in his mind that Gintoki was the one responsible for changing him, too. While his first reaction to this realization would have been to get on Gintoki's case, Hijikata simply let out a long, deep sigh.
"What are you doing here?" Hijikata asked instead.
"Saving you from yourself, Birthday Boy." Gintoki replied.
This time the words 'Birthday Boy' caught Hijikata's attention, and made no sense. What was Gintoki playing at? It wasn't his -
Hijikata paused, turning his head to look at the calendar hanging on the wall and his mouth opened in surprise and disbelief.
It was Gintoki's turn to sigh. "Aw, geez, don't tell me you forgot your own birthday!"
"I guess I did…" he said at length, making a face at Gintoki who was shaking his head in a that-just-figureskind of way. Then another thing Gintoki previously said registered in his mind, and Hijikata narrowed his eyes at him.
"Wait, what do you mean 'saving me from myself'?' "
At that, Gintoki's smirk returned. "For the rest of the day I'm to uphold all the duties of the Vice-Commander in his place while he has the day off to relax and rest after a trying week." he proclaimed as he stuck out his chest with pride at his new job. Hijikata's expression went from suspicious to confused, and Gintoki couldn't help but laugh outright at the sight.
"Basically, it means I'm your present who's job it is to take on all your burdens for the day."
Hijikata snorted. "My present, huh? Not one of your better ideas. Do you have any clue what it takes to do my job?"
"Well, sadly to say this wasn't my idea but the idea of that gorilla. My idea is there at your right," Gintoki informed him. He took his statement as pretext for to get up, taking a couple steps inside and sliding the door closed behind himself. Disposing of the cigarette in his hand in the ash tray on the desk, he then made his way over to Hijikata's side.
Looking to his right, Hijikata found what indeed looked like a present in a white box with a red ribbon. Upon closer inspection, Hijikata noticed a small rectangle card attached to the ribbon by a thin string, the words 'To Oogushi-kun' written on it in the natural-perm's unmistakable penmanship.
"I was actually on my way over here to give this to you when I found a note attached to my front door," Gintoki further explained as he took a seat at Hijikata's left.
"It was from that gorilla boss of yours asking me to help you to enjoy your birthday by relieving you of your duties, while spending time with you so that you wouldn't be alone."
Gintoki glanced over from his close proximity to the black-haired man, grinning. "Apparently he thought I'd be the best person to turn to, seeing as 'we get along so well' and have been 'spending a lot of time together'." he said, quoting Kondo's words from the note.
"Seems he's caught on," he finished.
Hijikata said nothing at that but began to feel flustered at Gintoki's closeness, turning his head away. It was then that Hijikata took notice of his desk, cleared of the stacks of paper that were there the night before.
Gintoki followed his gaze. "Oh, those? I already took care of them, not to worry."
Yet Hijikata did worry. Gintoki could tell he did.
"I had Jimmy show me how to fill them out, and if I screwed up somewhere, I'll take responsibility, okay?" Gintoki supplied as a way of assuring him.
As if on cue, they both heard footsteps in the distance coming closer to Hijikata's room, and soon Yamazaki appeared, his shadow cast on the door from the sunlight behind him, greeting his superior and awaiting permission to enter. Hijikata gave him the okay absently, still staring at Gintoki with a questioning look. In the end, he decided to trust Gintoki, figuring he'd just make sure he held him to his word that he'd take responsibility should he have made a mistake.
Yamazaki entered, sliding the door closed with his right foot as he balanced a tray of food in his arms. Walking over to his superior, Yamazaki knelt down on the side opposite of Gintoki, setting down the tray within Hijikata's reach.
He began briefing the two on the recent details he acquired involving the Joui incidents and Kondo's whereabouts, which at the moment was in a meeting with Old Man Matsudaira.
After asking both Hijikata and Gintoki if there was anything else he could do, Yamazaki stood to bow and exited the room the same way he entered.
Hijikata began to reach for the food at his left when Gintoki's hand on his shoulder stopped him.
"Since one of your presents have been put in use already, you should at least open your other one," Gintoki suggested, placing the white box on Hijikata's lap. Hijikata lifted an eyebrow at that but said nothing as he turned his attention to the box, hesitating for a moment before lifting the lid to reveal the contents inside.
He didn't know what he was expecting, if anything, but he certainly wasn't expecting anything like this. It was only until Gintoki uttered the words "It's a cigarette maker," did he make sense of the device he lifted out of the box.
Gintoki explained that the day before he went to Gengai's to offer him a deal. If the old man put him to work, instead of paying him in money, Gintoki instructed Gengai create the light-weight and simple to use machine instead. All it took to get it to work was to insert in a couple cigarette stubs into the open slot on one side of the device and from there it handled the rest, dispensing the finished cigarette at the other end, created by recycling what was left of the used ones. This was more for 'emergency' sake, when the nicotine addict ran out and couldn't get a chance to go buy more.
"...And let me tell you that old man sure knows how to put a guy to work," Gintoki grumbled under his breath, turning his attention to Hijikata who hadn't said a word since he opened the gift. Gintoki stared hard at Hijikata as he waited anxiously for his response to his gift.
Hijikata's eyes were covered by his bangs so Gintoki couldn't really tell what his expression was...
'...But it was...worth the effort...nee, Hijikata-kun?'
Gintoki couldn't help the nervous flinch when Hijikata finally lifted his head, his cheeks taking on a pink shade as he held Hijikata's gaze. For a moment his expression was unreadable as to whether he was pleased or not, but then Hijikata burst into laughter at Gintoki's nervous appearance, all the while bringing the cigarette maker closer, holding it to his chest to serve as his silent answer to Gintoki's unspoken question.
At that motion, the breath he didn't even know he was holding in rushed out of his lungs in and Gintoki rubbed the back of his head in a bashful manner, grinning, the blush on his cheeks deepening a shade.
To be able to trigger this rare flustered behavior from Gintoki over such a small thing was highly amusing to Hijikata, something he didn't realize he could do, and he liked it. To have this 'power' over the stubborn, carefree man, it was really something, and he planned to use it to his full advantage.
Gintoki blinked at the smug sort of smile that appeared on Hijikata's face, and could only sit motionless as Hijikata placed a hand on his left cheek, tugging him forward for a kiss. What he intended to be a light, quick kiss Hijikata turned into a slow, passionate one. Warm mouths pressed together, tongues exploring, Hijikata tasted a mix of tobacco and sugar on Gintoki's lips, an odd but delicious taste nonetheless. He broke off the kiss to come up for air, resting his forehead against Gintoki's with that same smirk on his face and with a sparkle in his eyes as they both panted.
"For this," Hijikata motioned to hisnew cigarette maker. "I suppose I can forgive you for taking my cigarettes." he commented, regarding the one Gintoki had been smoking earlier.
At that, Gintoki smirked too. "Well, I got another surprise waiting for you. How about we go pick it up later when I go on parol?" he suggested.
"Hmm...I guess, but it better be good if you're gonna make the Birthday Boy walk for it."
"Hey, it shouldn't be just the present you're after, you should be looking forward to spending time together with me." Gintoki remarked with a false-hurt tone.
"But when that time comes, you're to be patrolling, not goofing off. It seems like you forgot the fact that your supposed to be working in my place-"
"And helping you enjoy your birthday, so a little bit of goofing off is also part of my job," Gintoki add. "Don't worry, I'm the Yorozuya, after all. I can do both no problem."
An explosion sounded in the distance, both men swiftly put their guard up, to only put it down just as fast as the voices of Yamazaki and Sougo drifted to their ears. If it was to two of them as the source of the ruckus, them it was simply another case of Sougo trying to inflict harm on Yamazaki for whatever it was he did to piss of the young captain.
Gintoki snickered at the turn of events. "Looks like before I make a mistake in the paperwork, it seems that Jimmy and Okita-kun are gonna get the whole place destroyed."
Hijikata on the other hand was just annoyed, choosing to ignore the commotion by busying himself with his breakfast.
"Hurry up and stop those two before they blow up my room," he instructed.
"Got it," Gintoki replied, straightening up and hastening his step as he heard the two trouble makers get closer.
Forgetting how hungry he was the night before, Hijikata hurriedly stuffed his face with food, to only grimace as he swallowed down the food that had not an ounce of mayo in it. He began to seriously ponder whether he should join Sougo in beating the crap out of Yamazaki over forgetting something so important, when he saw Gintoki stopped at the open doorway. He seemed to be looking for something within the inner pocket of the uniform jacket and a moment later called out "Here," as he tossed the something over his shoulder as he stepped out to deal with two of his 'temporary subordinates'.
Hijikata caught the item, which turned out to be a brand new mayo bottle complete with another red ribbon and card.
'Heh, Yorozuya really seems to be taking his job seriously for once...'
It occurred then to Hijikata that the foreboding feeling that was bothering him since the night before seemed to have disappeared. Maybe it was more appropriate to say that it was being overpowered by the constant fluttering in his stomach triggered by Gintoki's presence. Or perhaps the foreboding feeling he took as a warning was just a sign that was leading up to the silver-haired man's appearance. He didn't know, and right now, he really didn't care.
Smiling to himself as he twisted open the red bottle cap, Hijikata poured almost half of its contents all over his food as the message he read on the card still lingered in his thoughts.
'Happy Birthday Hijikata Toushirou-kun...'