A/N: Ok, so this takes place a bit before Sadaharu and Elizabeth join the cast, around the time Kagura first appeared. Just keep that in mind when you read this ^^
It had been raining in Kabuki District for a whole week. The three members of Yorozuya remained in the upper half of the building they shared with Otose, not willing to go outside. Kagura was sprawled on the couch, chewing on a piece of Sukonbu, while Gintoki had fallen asleep in his chair with the newest issue of Jump covering his face. Shinpachi muttered something about laziness and unpaid rent as he moved around the apartment with a broom in hand.
A knock on the door alerted them, and Shinpachi quickly ran over to open it. Gintoki rubbed his eyes and let out a long yawn. "We have a customer on an ugly day like this? What do they think it is? Independence Day (1) or something?"
"Eh, Gin-chan, it's Independence Day?" Kagura asked, sitting up, "We forgot the fireworks!"
"Baka, who'd even watch fireworks when it's raining? Did someone fireworks off in your head?" Gintoki complained.
"Your head's the one that looks like someone set fireworks to it, stupid perm," Kagura deadpanned, "Shut up and go back go sleep."
A cough from the doorway stopped their fighting. Shinpachi stood with a disapproving look on his face, followed by a cloaked figure wearing a large rice hat. "Will you two be quiet? We just managed to get a customer and you're scaring her away." The person stepped out from behind Shinpachi and took off her hat.
"Ano…I saw the sign, and I was wondering if you had any food to spare?" you said, rubbing the back of your head, then stopped when you saw Gintoki. His eyes widened at the sight of your face and the Jump in his hand fell to the ground with a loud thud.
"(Name)?" Gintoki asked, while shouts of "EH?!" exploded from Shinpachi and Kagura.
You sat in a bar next to the silver haired man with a cup of sake in front of you. "I never expected to find you here," you told him ask as you swirled the liquid in your cup.
"I didn't expect you to turn up on my doorstep begging for food," he replied, taking a sip.
"I wasn't begging," you defended, "Just…asking politely to be fed."
"That's definitely begging."
You sighed. "Fine, fine. But it's not like you ended up having food anyway. Your fridge is about as empty as your head."
"Oi, I'm the one paying for the sake here," he drawled. You laughed a little at the expression on his face.
"Still the lazy old Samurai?" you smiled.
"Something like that," he said, his expression softening a bit.
You reached over to pour some more sake into his cup. "So you've been in the city this whole time then?" you questioned.
"Yeah. And what about you? Finding your inner self in the countryside?"
"I helped rebuild a couple of the villages that had been destroyed during the war," you explained, "and stopped by a few dojo along the way. The Amanto did quite a bit of damage."
Gintoki raised an eyebrow but didn't ask anymore. "Hey, I saw Zura recently," he informed you.
"Really?" you perked up, interested to hear how your old friend was doing, "How's his Joui rebellion coming along?"
"It's a pain, to be honest," he frowned, "They're running all over the place dragging innocent Gin-san into bombing situations."
"Oh, I heard about those," you chuckled, "I find it amusing that you were behind it."
"What are you, a sadist? Honestly," he complained. The door of the bar opened and five men walked in. You and Gintoki watched them for a moment, but then returned to your conversation, disinterested.
"I saw Tatsuma," you said, "He was doing pretty well when I saw him."
"Sakamoto Tatsuma?" Gintoki looked at you with a disbelieving expression, "No one decided to kill him yet?"
"Nope, not yet," you smiled and took a sip of sake, "He hasn't changed at all. It's really been a while since I last had contact with you guys though. I suppose Takasugi's the only one we haven't heard from yet?"
"I doubt he's up to anything good." You opened your mouth to reply, but just as you were about to speak a large crash alerted you. You turned around to see the five men who had walked into the bar before had surrounded you and Gintoki.
"(Last Name, First Name)," the tallest of the five, who you supposed was the leader sneered, "It took us long enough to find you."
You raised your eyebrow. They sure did look familiar, but you couldn't really remember their names. They were most likely small fry that you'd run into and defeated while in the countryside. "And who might you be?" you wondered, still seated calmly in your chair. From beside you Gintoki hadn't moved either.
"You're quite forgetful, little lady," the man snarled as he brought his right fist into the palm of his left hand, "We're here to get our revenge."
"What a pain," you sighed, standing up and cracking your neck, "You lot are persistent aren't you? Well I suppose I have to get rid of you before you kill me. Troublesome." You turned to Gintoki who had just begun to stand up. "I'll take 'em," you smirked, and without waiting for his reply you pulled out the sheathed sword from your sash and swung it into the side of the first gangster.
The man flew into one of his cronies and the two hit the ground with a bang, followed by a loud 'oof.' The other customers in the bar ran away quickly to avoid the fight, and one of them shouted, "She's got a sword!" on the way out.
"Tch," you muttered. The police would be there any moment. The third gangster aimed his fist at your face, which you dodged easily. From below, you swept his feet off balance and he toppled back into the first two gangsters who had just begun to recover. The last two men faced you, both drawing knives from their belts. They advanced cautiously and you gave them the credit of being slightly less stupid than their friends. Then one attacked and you sidestepped while grabbing his wrist, twisting it hard enough for him to drop his weapon, which you caught skillfully. Using the stolen knife, you blocked the blade of the other gangster. With a flick of your wrist you successfully disarmed him and without a moment's hesitation, grabbed both of their heads and smashed them into the ground.
"Let's get out of here," you ordered, turning to Gintoki as you stuck your sword back into the sash of your kimono, "The police will be here soon." He nodded and the two of you ran out of store together.
"Did you know them?" he wondered as the two of you rushed along the streets of Kabuki.
You nodded. "I'll explain when we're back at your place."
By the time you returned to Gintoki's apartment it was already late. Shinpachi opened the door when you got back with a disapproving look on his face. "Gin-san, where've you been? We have a customer."
"Customer?" Gintoki asked with disbelief, "at this time of day?"
"Actually," Shinpachi began, crossing his arms, "He's already been here for two hours."
"Huh? What kind of idiot waits to get help for two hours?" the silver haired man inquired.
"It's not idiot, it's Katsura," the familiar voice floated in from the living room, "I see your late as usual, Gintoki."
Your eyes widened when you heard the voice, and you quickly ran into the living room. "Zura!" you shout with joy with you see the longhaired man, "I can't believe it's you!"
"It's not Zura, it's—" Katsura began, and then stopped when he recognized you. "(Name)? (Last Name, First Name)?"
You nodded with a bright smile on your face. "Yeah, it's me!"
"Eh, (Nickname)-chan, you know Zura too?" Kagura asked from her spot on the opposite couch.
"The world is a small place," Gintoki said as he walked into the living room with Shinpachi. Then he turned to look at you, "By the way, (name), are you going to explain who those guys were?"
"What guys?" Shinpachi asked with a confused expression.
"A couple of thugs we ran into at the bar," you answered. Then, leaning against the wall you began to explain. "At first I didn't recognize them, but then I realized who they were. I ran into them a while back when I was helping to rebuild a dojo. They'd come to bully the man in charge of the dojo for money. I caught them before they could do anything and beat them up, so I guess that's why they came for revenge. But it's strange," you frowned, "They would have to be pretty dedicated to have followed me all this way." You took out the knife you confiscated and showed it to the others, "And this isn't a weapon normal thugs carry around."
Katsura's eyes widened when he saw the knife. "Those gangsters were carrying that?" he questioned with an alarmed expression.
You nodded. "Yeah, I thought it was odd too. Have the Joui been supplying any gangs recently?"
"No, not the Joui. But I've heard rumors that the Harusame have. And that knife is without a doubt one of theirs," Katsura replied.
"H-harusame?" Shinpachi exclaimed, "You mean the Space Pirates?"
"Yeah, that's them," Katsura muttered seriously, "Actually, I came to you today to ask you a favor regarding them."
"As long as it doesn't require bombing buildings," Gintoki said.
Katsura crossed his arms and looked down. "Recently I sent in a couple of spies to infiltrate the Harusame. Two weeks ago we noticed some strange behavior and wanted to investigate them. We've were receiving reports on a daily basis until three days ago. I'm worried that the enemy may have captured our spies, and I was hoping you could help us. If we leave this unsolved, all of Edo might be affected," he explained.
Gintoki sighed. "It looks like you're trying to drag me into your crazy Joui schemes again? Now no one's going to believe I'm a model citizen anymore."
"But Gin-san, consider the consequences!" Shinpachi argued, "If what Katsura-san's saying is true we might all be danger."
"Gintoki! Are you a Samurai, or not?" Katsura shouted after him. You remained where you were as you watched the perm carefully.
He ignored his subordinate and old comrade as he scratched the back of his head. Opening the door, he stopped to look back at the rest of you. "Oi, hurry up you guys," he said in his usual lazy tone. You smiled and followed him without any questions, confident in the silver haired man.
Kagura jumped down from the couch. "Gin-chan, where are we going?"
Gintoki grinned at her. "Isn't it obvious? We're going to blow up some pirates."
(1) Independence day is a reference to the mini episode where Kagura gets a new umbrella. It's kind of vague so that's why I footnoted it
Arc 1 begins! I have a second one planned, but think of this as you introduction to Yorozuya~ Depending on how I feel I may write one or two more arcs after the two I have planned. Either that or just a couple of drabbles to fill in some details I haven't been able to reach yet. Again, thank you so much for reading! Your support warms my heart ^^