Stick Figure Sentiments
Chapter 1: Decay

The explosion had come off as quite a shock.

The silence beforehand had been absolutely stifling. Dead bodies haphazardly strewn all over the battlefield, and the stench of blood, sharp and tangible, penetrated through the air. The stillness of the entire battlefield stood in stark contrast against the sounds of war that were present just a few minutes prior, and standing as the lone man amongst a sea of quickly cooling bodies had reminded Sakata Gintoki too much of his past.

And so he had run. Quicker and quicker, he allowed the blood to pump through his body as he raced through the dead grounds; avoiding the swords and arrows and other foreign Amanto weapons lying around, he called out, "Is anyone alive? Can anyone hear me?" in a tone that Takasugi would say reeked of desperation.

"Hello?" He would pause beside fallen comrades and allow his hand to touch their skin, pulling back immediately as the cold would seep into his own palm, and he would run off to find another person to save, another source of heat. He was so sick of the cold, just so, so tired of it and he simply didn't want to be surrounded by death anymore; he wanted to find life.

It was in this state of mind, that Gintoki hardly noticed the sounds of a small battle ringing out just ahead of him, swords clanging and the newly familiar sounds of bullets ricocheting against armor and steel blades accompanied by war cries and moans of agony. However, the sudden BOOM! that shook the ground and the heat and wind that seemed to spread like wild fire could never be ignored, and Gintoki skidded to a halt as he stared at the cloud of dust that appeared just a few meters before him. His red eyes became half-lidded in order to prevent any particles of sand to fling into his eyes, and he ran forwards.

By the time he got to his desired location, stillness had begun to creep amongst the once lively warriors, and the silver haired man cursed lowly as he stared at the charred bodies. Bile rose in his throat at the smell of burning human flesh. He took a step forward, then another, his eyes scanning through the mess to take in the sight of his fallen Joui comrades. He stopped next to one of the unfamiliar bodies and flipped the person over; the corpse's features were unrecognizable, blackened as it was due to the bomb that was set off, but a quick press of fingers to the dead man's throat, and Gintoki could tell that he had already been dead for quite some time, and his downfall was not due to the detonation. Looking over what left of the uniform hanging off the man's body, it took Gintoki quite a while before he could recognize the faded gold insignia sewn into the man's black jacket.

One of the major Royal military forces from the planet Taihō, the Shinsengumi.

Shit…seriously?! Gintoki cursed his luck, and dimly remembered Takasugi briefing him just a mere week ago about Taihō's recent involvement against the Joui Rebellion.

"Well…that explains the bomb…But how the hell did they get here so quickly?" The samurai muttered, before slowly lowering the corpse back to the ground and standing up, prepared to head back to the Joui camps in order to inform his comrades of his findings. However, a sudden noise stopped him, and Gintoki slowly looked around before detecting the sounds of clanging metal and voices just a bit to his left. Inching towards his destination slowly, Gintoki grasped his sword tightly and made sure his footsteps remained undetectable. As he got closer to his target, he began to distinguish a deep raspy voice.

"Shit…fucking hell. God it hurts…"

When Gintoki was mere meters behind the target, he got a close look at the owner of the voice and began taking in the other's appearance. Long black hair tied back in a ponytail, skin that seemed rather pale beneath all the grime and blood, and dilated blue eyes. This person was no doubt an Amanto, if the Shinsengumi uniform hanging off his frame was anything to go by, but his appearance was strangely human and Gintoki found himself wondering if this person was truly an Amanto or just a fellow Joui patriot dressed in Amanto's clothing for some strange reason. It was due to his thoughts (thinking was always a bad thing, Gintoki knew) that he didn't even notice a bullet flying straight towards him until it grazed his cheek.

"Shit!" Gintoki growled before ducking as another barrage of gunfire flew straight towards him. Looking up, he caught the sight of blazing blue orbs, and continued to smoothly avoid every fire. The enemy's aim was rather off, Gintoki realized as he managed to dance through the bullets rather easily, and the Amanto was barely moving either. Another quick glance and the samurai realized the blood leaking from the enemy's stomach, and the odd angle his left foot was in. Normally, Gintoki wouldn't attack an enemy that was already down, however, when it came to war, it was a completely different matter, and it was only a matter of seconds before Gintoki managed to get directly in front of the Amanto and bring his sword down, successfully pushing the blade deep into the other's shoulder.

The black haired man growled, and quickly pressed the barrel of his gun against Gintoki's knee, but the samurai anticipated such movements and simply twisted his foot, successfully knocking the weapon away from the Amanto's hands before crushing the appendage beneath his foot. The alien gave a soft cry and simply looked up, glaring defiantly at Gintoki. Pulling the sword out of the enemy's right shoulder blade, Gintoki pondered dully at how this Amanto's blood was just as red as a human's, and raised his sword, readying to bring it down to end his enemy's life.

The blade glistened with drying blood as it was lowered in quick succession, and Gintoki found himself looking into dark blue eyes once more, getting lost in the defiant and arrogant look in them, not an ounce of fear to be seen and pondered once more at the humanoid traits of this alien. The next thing Gintoki knew was that the Amanto was slumping down sideways, unconscious as the silver-haired man had somehow simply rammed the hilt of his sword into the other's temple, rendering him into submission.

Gintoki pulled back slightly from shock, and glanced dully around him at all the cold bodies; silence seeped deep into their bones. Leaning down, he pressed his fingers against the long-haired Amanto's slender and pale throat, marveling at the warmth lurking just beneath white skin, and found himself leaning down to carry the other piggy-back style.

"I suppose," Gintoki said, his voice much too loud in the silence, as he trekked back to the camps with an unconscious and foreign, yet very, very warm, Amanto body slung on his back, "we can always use you for questioning. Hm?"

There was no reply as the body dangled limply from his back, and Gintoki found himself quickening his pace as the warm liquid of the enemy's blood seeped at an alarming pace past his clothes.

It was rather strange, Gintoki decided, strange yet welcome how there was finally warmth in this cold and deadly silent battlefield, even though the warmth belonged to the enemy. But in the end, the silver-haired man decided, as the silhouette of the camps came into focus among the horizon, that warmth was warmth, regardless of the source.

-x-

Disclaimer: I'm not brilliant or funny enough to come up with Gintama.

This is an AU story involving Amanto!Hijikata (and in extension, the Shinsengumi), set during the Joui War with the Amanto versus the samurai. Things seem rather shaky and confusing at this point, but everything will begin fleshing out by the next chapter, so please continue reading! Considering the fact that this AU takes place near the end of the war, I'm gonna say that there will probably be only about ten or so chapters, and I have most of the story planned out…except the middle, so I have at least the basic storyline so things shouldn't seem to haphazardly thrown together!

I hope you enjoyed this chapter so far, and I hope to see you next time as well! Remember to review. ;)

Until then!

- masruiiiik