Disclaimer: Gintama belongs to Sorachi Hideaki.
('It Looks Nice And All, But Who Knows? You Might Be Allergic To Flowers')
('in the Japanese flower language, white camellias mean waiting')
. . . . . .
The snow had melted completely by March 14, and now, with the yellowed grass as a reminiscence of winter and the warm air as a sign of approaching spring, there were no traces of white anyone, not even in the sky which was as clear as it could be on a cloudless day. Well, maybe there were some silvery white on Gintoki's hair, and on the head of that old man walking home with grocery bags in hand, who barely had any hair left.
Kagura heaved a sigh as she leaned on the railings in front of the Yorozuya headquarter's entrance, watching Edo folks hurry around with their personal businesses, bored out of her mind.
It was White Day today, the day that girls were supposed to receive presents from the boys that they had given Valentine gifts to. They were supposed to return the favour, but so far, none of the boys Kagura knew had given her anything, though it was maybe no surprise considering that it wasn't even past lunchtime yet. She had been kind and considerate a month ago, spoiling Shinpachi and Gintoki with chocolates, which made Gintoki sick the next day after eating so many sweets.
There was a scuffle inside the house, and then a shout that escalated into a scream. It was probably just Shinpachi arguing with the former Joui samurai again, which wasn't a really uncommon occurrence. Or there could be a ten-legged alien shaped like a hexagon dragging the teen off to a planet with smoldering heat that could melt human skin off, but to be honest, Kagura was too lazy to check. Most likely, she was wrong, though she'd hate to admit that. The alien could be shaped like a icosihenagon for all she knew. (She had been memorizing complicated words the last few days, after the Sadist had called her a dumb knowledge-less flying monkey who only knew how to eat.)
On the street below, there were no signs of romance nor gratitude for some gift being bestowed. Kagura sighed again, and glanced back at the sliding door, which was trembling due to the ruckus inside. Any minute now, and the old landlady would send Tama up to blow the upper part of the building up. They were pretty behind on rent too, and the amount they'd need pay to properly fix the place without causing the whole thing to collapse wasn't too cheap, either...
It wasn't like her to worry about trivial stuff like that, because that was Shinpachi's job, but using up extra money meant that there would be less food being bought, and less food being bought meant less food being eaten. Being eaten by her, of course.
The Yato slid open the door with a slam, and froze when she saw the scene before her, a little shocked by how dark it was in the room with the curtains still shut. A large mound of fur in the far corner snoozed quietly, sleeping like a bear during hibernation with no regard to the noises around him. Shinpachi was on his hands and knees ― was that agony in his expression? ― while Gintoki nonchalantly stood atop his back, arms reaching up with a roll of something colourful that she couldn't make out in the crappy lighting.
"Gin-chan, what are you trying to do to Shinpachi?" Kagura stuck a pinkie up her nose and blinked her wide eyes at the two, who immediately whipped their heads around to stare at her, suspicious aura emitting from every single corner of their existence.
"Ah! Kagura-chan! Um, no, we're not doing anything..." The bespectacled teen tried to wave his hands in denial, but ended up making Gintoki lose his balance when he straightened his back. "Eek! Gin-san!"
A crash was heard, and Kagura squinted at the spot where the Yorozuya leader had fallen, or at least where she assumed he had fallen.
"You did that on purpose!"
"Gin-san, that's not the issue here! Do you want..." Shinpachi's voice fell to a hushed whisper, and it left Kagura puzzled as Gintoki randomly started up about not having his daily fix of before-lunch-dessert, effectively drowning out the other boy.
"Kagura! Go buy me JUMP! A c-client came by earlier, a-and, he wants us to..." Gintoki's words hung in the air as the peach haired girl tilted her head sideways, opening the door wider to let more light stream in. At the same time, there was a clatter and when the sun struck the spot where the silver headed man was, he and Shinpachi were grinning widely (read: creepily) at her, both sitting cross-legged in a row facing her, their hands behind their backs. "...to go on a secret mission..."
Shinpachi flinched as Kagura noticed a hand flash out to hit him on the back. "Uh, yes! To find the ring that his great-aunt gave his grandmother, which was then passed onto his sister, who gave it to his fiance, who gave it to him for safekeeping, which he lost because he dropped it on the streets and his neighbour's kids took it to play with as a toy!"
Gintoki nodded, a strangely satisfied look on his face. "So that's why you have to buy me this week's JUMP issue! I won't pay you if you don't, so get to it, Kagura!"
"You don't pay me anyways, old man," Kagura replied, and reflexively caught a wallet that Gintoki threw at her. It was becoming a routine, actually. Gintoki lounges around on the sofa, reading last week's magazine, or some other garbage, and then makes her go outside to buy stuff for him because Shinpachi was too busy cleaning and scolding the two of them. He even got a new wallet, specifically for putting in the money needed to buy one issue of his favourite magazine. No more, no less. Just the perfect amount, because he probably wanted a way to know if Kagura had been spending the leftover on food. (Well, she would buy food with the JUMP money anyways, she doesn't really care about his need to read shounen manga, but he wouldn't feed her, and that's more important in the long run.)
She grabbed her violet parasol resting on the floor by the doormat, and stepped outside, flicking it open. Giving the duo one last strange look, Kagura turned, closing the door behind her. As soon as the soles of her feet touched the ground after ambling down the stairs, the chaotic orchestra of sounds started again. The next time they'd have to rebuild the house, Otose was probably going to force them to install soundproof walls before the neighbours complained.
The sun was bright, but it wasn't too hot yet, which was the perfect kind of weather in Kagura's opinion. Maybe later she would go to the park and sit on her usual bench and sulk in her White Day depression.
As she made her way out of Kabuki District, there were more and more youngsters around, and it was apparent that White Day existed here. Kagura tried to block out high-pitched squeals of happiness as she entered the convenience store that she usually bought the magazines at. The cashier recognized her immediately, and pulled out a copy of JUMP onto the counter while she counted her money.
"Thanks for saving the magazine for me," Kagura put a handful of change onto the top of the counter, and clutched onto the book.
The lady beamed. "No problem, after all, it must be hard having a useless alcoholic father threatening you to buy JUMP or you'd be starved as a punishment around."
Kagura mustered up as much cuteness as she could, and gave the woman big, round puppy eyes to assure that next week's issue would be safely kept behind the counter as well. As long as she didn't get fired, anyways. It was hard getting the issues on the day of the release, so Kagura sincerely hoped the best for the cashier to keep her job.
Idly strolling down the street, Kagura passed by a boy who was down on one knee, offering a gushing girl a small velvet box holding something that glittered in the sun at a certain angle. She forgot what the ritual was, exactly, but she was pretty sure that she had seen something like that on TV once, in a drama. So it must be a romantic gesture.
The girl was still staring at the two, when she tripped over something, something that felt like a shoe. Her hand went limp and released the handle of her umbrella. The sudden brightness made her blinded for a second, and Kagura braced herself for the hard impact of the ground as she let go of Gintoki's precious magazine. Instead, she collided into something softer than what she had initially expected, and smelled the faint odour of laundry detergent.
She leaned further, knocking both her and whoever had caught her down, so that she was lying on top of that person. For a moment, the thought that his clothes smelled nice crossed her mind, before she shook to clear her head.
Rubbing her eyes, she pushed herself up, and heard a distinct, "ouch! Watch it!" from beneath her. Her umbrella was unharmed and was lying, along with JUMP, on the ground. She stood up to pick the parasol up to shield herself from the light once again, and bent to retrieve the magazine.
"China! Do you want me to arrest you for harassment? You just pushed a cop onto the ground."
Kagura stilled at the familiar monotonous voice, before she turned to glower at the Shinsengumi officer. It irritated her that she had to look up to meet his eyes, so she kicked him in the shins, hard enough to inflict pain, but gentle enough so that she wouldn't break anything.
"What do you want now, Sadist?" The Yato snapped, feeling the urge to throw something into the flaxen haired boy's blank face. "Wanna move so I can get home before Gin-chan stops buying food for me? He's waiting, you know."
For a moment, Kagura thought that she saw a brief expression of annoyance flit across Okita's face, but it was gone in a second. But she was sure that it wasn't her imagination when he spoke through clenched teeth. "You won't even thank me for saving your ass earlier? Don't you have manners?"
The JUMP issue smacked square into Okita's face, and he was left with reddened skin. "Shut up! Didn't you just say that I was the one who pushed you? Now you're saying you saved me! Make up your mind, stupid!"
"I see. So you admitted that you were attacking me," the teen drawled, and blew a bubble from the gum that he had apparently been chewing the entire time. "Never knew you were so truthful, China. Didn't expect it."
"Shut up!" Kagura shouted, earning curious looks from the people around the two, and she flushed, too noticeably for her liking. She focused back on the light brown haired teen, but she could still feel the gazes of passerby's.
"Whoa, whoa. Hold up, China. Are you blushing? I never knew you could blush," Okita leaned in so that his face was a mere inch from hers, and she felt her cheeks heat up even more. There was no telling about the other, whose face was already red from being hit with the magazine. "Or could it be that you like me?"
Kagura's eyes widened, as she watched crimson eyes edge closer, and for a moment she froze, before shoving the boy as far away as possible. "Ew! No! Why would I...get away from me, you disgusting―" Her words ended up in a strangled choke as Okita grabbed her wrist and she helplessly watched as he picked the now-dusty magazine up.
"Come with me, I need to give you something."
He began to pull her forward, and Kagura was forced to stumble along, not wanting to fall again, because once was humiliating enough, especially in front of this person. As they navigated through a thinning crowd, Kagura wondered what form of evil awaited her at their destination.
"Hey, Sadist. Are you kidnapping me? Gin-chan says that it's illegal. Aren't you a police officer? I'm going to report you, stupid tax robber―"
"Shut your mouth and just follow me, ok?" The older boy interrupted, shooting her a dirty look, which she returned with three times the fervor. She was definitely getting kidnapped, and he was definitely going to pay for it later. To be honest, Kagura was partly curious about this thing that he wanted, no, "needed", to give her.
They rounded a corner, and Kagura skidded to a stop as the image of the familiar park where she spent most of her afternoons at filled her vision. Okita tugged at her arm impatiently, and eventually they reached Kagura's special bench, where the other plopped down comfortably. It pissed Kagura off to see him so at home while sitting on her bench. Kagura frowned further, seeing the JUMP magazine in his hold, and remember her initial task.
"Aren't you gonna give that back to me? I bought it with my money."
She was answered with a snicker. "As if you have money, China," he rolled his eyes, and patted the empty spot on the wooden bench invitingly. Kagura stared at it reluctantly, now suspecting that there was some sort of device that might spring out and shave her head so that she would be as bald as her Papi. She wasn't sure if she was ready to wear a wig 24/7, though Umibouzu had sent a letter a while back claiming of a hair product that lets one regrow their hair. Technology was advancing speedily nowadays, but she didn't trust him. There was always some flaw with whatever he got excited about, it was almost a law of the universe.
"China, just sit down. There's nothing wrong with this place, I promise." Was she hallucinating things today, or did Okita's voice really just soften, ever slightly it may be? "I'm not going to give this stupid book back to you if you don't sit." Nope, it was reality, alright.
"If you say there's nothing wrong, there's something wrong," Kagura scoffed, and went around the bench, inspecting every inch of it. After carefully scrutinizing the thing five times, she finally sat down, and let out a breath that she hadn't realized that she was holding until now. Okita looked at her wearily, and sighed loudly, before reaching into his back pocket.
"Here," the boy tossed an object shaped like a cube over to her, and he pulled his signature sleeping mask over his eyes, not even waiting to see the surprise in Kagura's cerulean orbs. "Run along now, China, like the dog you are, and give Danna his magazine."
Kagura turned the box over in her hand, stroking the soft red velvet with her fingertips with admiration, not bothering to make a biting comment back at Okita's insult. It looked like the box the boy from before she had crashed into Okita held, and Kagura held back the urge to open it out of caution. What if it was rigged?
"Thanks..." Kagura stared at the box. But what if this was ― she dared to hope ― a White Day gift? She had been obliged to give Okita chocolates for Valentine's out of courtesy, as stated by Otae (under not-so-subtle death threats), but Kagura couldn't imagine the mayo freak or the gorilla forcing him to give her a present. So did this mean that he gave her this of his free will?
It couldn't be good, but a girl could hope, right?
To be safe, Kagura proceeded to snatch the JUMP issue from the bench where it lied without opening the box in an act of prudence. "See you later, Sadist!"
"Yeah..." his voice faded, as Kagura sprinted in the direction of Yorozuya's headquarters, the box and magazine safely tucked in her arms. It was funny, how one little box can brighten up someone's mood so dramatically. It was also funny, how they parted ways without a fight. She ran past Otose's Snack Bar, and up the old staircase which creaked in protest as her weight pushed against the wooden platform.
"I'm home!" She grinned as she closed the purple umbrella after opening the door. It was still dark inside, and her stomach suddenly growled, making itself known to whoever was around to hear it. Who, in this case, was no one.
The girl stepped into the room further after sliding the doors closed with a soft thud, and padded towards the window to let in some light so she could at least see. Sadaharu was no longer sleeping in the corner, but there weren't many places he could go, anyways. Or maybe Zura had paid a visit today, and had taken her dog out for a walk. He could defend himself quite well, so she wasn't too worried about the matter. However, she was hungry, and that was as important as the world ending, at least for her.
Kagura turned to head to the kitchen, but was met with a roomful of decorations and balloons, along with a number of desserts and sweets on the coffee table, making her do a double take as lithe figures crowded into the room, streaming in from her peripherals to the center of her attention.
"Happy White Day, Kagura-chan!" Shinpachi and Gintoki appeared in the midst of a shower of confetti, and Kagura dropped the shounen jump magazine onto the floor as she gaped at the gathering of friends before her. Tama, Otose, Catherine, Sacchan, Tsukuyo, Otae...even Madao was there, though she suspected that he wasn't even invited.
"They say you're supposed to give present three times the value of what was given on Valentine's Day," Shinpachi explained as Kagura looked around in wonder, taking in every little bit of detail and effort that had been put into transforming the room into a place full of celebration. "Gin-san and I needed some help, though, so we had everyone here."
Gintoki was sheepily grinning and rubbing his neck, and the widest smile Kagura could manage without splitting her cheeks in half made its way onto her face. "Thank you, anyways, this is... "
She lowered her head, and was reminded of the box that she still tightly gripped in her hands. The others had begun slicing the cake that sat prettily on the table, but she refrained from chattering with anyone as she held her breath, lightly propping the lid of the box open.
Inside, was the most beautiful man-made flower she had ever seen, and warmth rushed to her face as she turned the box so that she could observe it from a different point of view. Then, delicately, she gripped one of the white petals, and lifted the flower carefully out of its position, now realizing that it was actually a hair clip.
Kagura reached up to slide it into her orange locks, rushing past the others who were busying themselves with food (which was weirdly unimportant to her at the moment) to the washroom so that she could see herself in the mirror. However, she also realized that the petal was stuck to her fingers.
What kind of glue is this?! She let out a frustrated scream. "DAMN SADIST!"
A/N: hello there! ^^ This is my first fic for the Gintama fandom, so I'm sorry for OOC-ness because I haven't watched/read Gintama in such a long time orz /in the shame corner.
btw, just saying, it was Okita who tripped Kagura haha...
I chose a white camellia, trying to say that Okita in this fic is waiting for Kagura to realize that he likes her but LOL idk I winged this ok
So uh, happy late White Day and Pi Day! (lol some of my friends spent their math class eating pie in their Pie Day party ._.)
Thanks for reading! Please tell me anything I can improve, I'd really appreciate it! (: