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21 June 2011 @ 01:15 pm
The world is tiny; the heart’s enormous. [Gintama]  
GINTAMA and all characters/ideas/concepts/places therein are not mine, although the writing certainly is.

Title: The world is tiny; the heart’s enormous.
Characters/Pairing(s): Okita and Kagura, with guest appearances from Gintoki, Shinpachi, Sadaharu and Hijikata
Rating: PG
Summary: It always starts with a disruption in the routine.
Warnings? Contains spoilers for the Mitsuba Arc.
Notes: The title is taken from the 31_days theme for February 27, 2009.

The world is tiny; the heart’s enormous.

Looking forward while moving backwards.

They almost always started their day with a fight. She’d be there first with Sadaharu in tow, doing her stretches by the river. He’d stroll over sometime later, working a crick out of his neck and complaining about how hassling it was, having to entertain a kid who just couldn’t get enough of him. She always made sure to repay his kind words with a kick to the face. He’d respond with a smile as he brought the edge of his sword to her neck.

Okita didn’t always show up, and Kagura didn’t particularly care – to her, it was simply a matter of making him make it up to her by soundly kicking his ass when he did. As such, she wasn’t expecting him to come the morning after his sister died. That was a given, wasn’t it? He had an excuse this time; people needed time to mourn, even if they were stupid sadists with dorky haircuts.

He came, though. He was there by the river, in fact, before she was. And it looked like he had been waiting for a really long time.

“What took you? Did you oversleep or something?”

“…Don’t you have something else to do?”

“Yeah. Fight you.”

He scuffed his feet against the dirt, took his sword from his shoulders and charged.

Talking outside of gratuitous insults was unheard of, during their duels: idle chatter wasted time and energy, and beyond that, it was boring. That time around, though, Kagura found herself wanting to ask Okita a whole lot of things. Why he was moving funny, why he was hitting hard, but not well. Why he wasn’t calling her names, or trash talking her technique. Why he was still smiling, even if his eyes looked dark and strange.

The fact that she had hit the ground only registered to her when she tasted dirt in her mouth, and whirled about only to find herself staring down the end of his sword.

“Huh. That was lame.” He sheathed his sword. “I shouldn’t have bothered coming.”

“Then why the hell did you?” she demanded, as he turned away.

“I had a long night.”

By the time Kagura had the good sense to try and flying kick his ass, Okita was long gone.

Too hungry to dance.

It didn’t take all that much for Gintoki to realize that Kagura was in an exceptionally foul mood. The rice bowl that went flying for the doorframe just as he came home had been a pretty good indicator to begin with; Shimura Shinpachi’s twitching body – with his limbs arranged oh-so-lovingly in all the wrong angles – had sealed the deal for him. The white-haired samurai blinked down at the moaning boy, knelt by his head to get a better look at the damage, considered helping him, and then promptly got distracted by the sudden need to pick his nose. It did feel a bit clogged today.

“Stop slacking off, Shinpachi. It’s your turn to make dinner, you know.”

Shinpachi wheezed. Gintoki was pretty sure that the boy was trying to tell him something, but it was apparently very difficult talking when some of your teeth had been punched out, and he didn’t feel like trying to sit around and try to understand the kid. Not when he appeared to have a rampaging Amanto princess on his hands.

Speaking of.

“You’re going to have to clean up after yourself, young lady.”

The only response he got was another rice bowl chucked in his direction, from the dining area. It had been specifically targeted at his head. That did nothing, of course, but piss Gintoki off.

“Oi, oi, oi! You could kill somebody like that!” he growled, as he marched inside. Kagura, in the meantime, was already back to wolfing down more rice. Watching her brought about a whole new level of irritation – a record high, in fact – but it still wasn’t enough to get him to actually act on the murder scenarios he now had running through his head. Gintoki was, after all, a perpetual prisoner of his own inertia.

It was that self-same inertia, in fact, that led him to drop the matter entirely, and flop down on the floor for some Shonen Jump time instead.

“If you want to be a brat today, that’s not going to be my problem.”

Kagura didn’t answer: she only continued chewing her food.

Single digits only, please.

When Okita did not show up for their usual sparring session the next morning, Kagura didn’t know whether to be angry or not, and not being able to decide how to feel naturally reacted in her defaulting to ‘angry’. The next few hours passed in an incoherent blur of Angry all across town, up until lunch.

“The only reason why he didn’t show up is because he’s on leave, you know.”

Hijikata Toshirou was not the first Shinsengumi officer that had tried to apprehend her since that morning; the others who had attempted such a feat, in fact, were currently cowering behind him, gazing at her with the same, wild eyes that deer gave to trucks right before impact. He caught her attention not because he tried, but because of something else entirely.

“What the hell are you doing on patrol then?!”

“I don’t need to take a leave.”

She considered arguing that a moment, maybe even attempting to beat it into him, but then she remembered yesterday morning and decided not to say anything at all.

“Better tell your slacker boss to give you something to do until the end of the month. He might be back by then.”

“Where did he go?”

“His hometown. Someone needs to bury her.”

Kagura stared. Hijikata took another drag of his cigarette.

“Why aren’t you…?”

“Get off the street already. You’re fucking annoying.”

That time around, there was no belated decision to try and kick his ass, and even if there had been, Hijikata was walking away too fast.

Sleeping nation.

“It looks like I’m going to have to remind you,” Gintoki hissed through gritted teeth, “that you have your own damned futon, you brat!”

“But I like yours.”

She wasn’t being a brat, for once: she was putting on the most pleading look that she could manage without choking on it and she knew it. She could have huffed right along like she owned the place (because really, she did), but she wasn’t. An act of good will, maybe, to win Gintoki over.

Gintoki was suspicious. He had good instincts, after all.

“Get out.”

“But, Gin-chan~”

He was now attempting to nudge her off of his futon and back to her closet with his foot; it was remarkably similar to how someone toed at a dirty stray on the streets rather than touch them with one’s hands. The resulting wibble made him scoff. The cycle repeated about two times before the white-haired samurai eventually blew up.


Gintoki planted himself with great purpose on the free side of the futon, grumbling all along about children and old men and bad backs. Kagura heard nothing, but did register the fact that she had won. Gintoki ignored the happy sound she made, fluffed his pillow, shut his eyes, and promptly resolved to pretend that Kagura wasn’t there at all.

Some thirty minutes later, though, he realized that it was going to be a lot harder to do that than it seemed.

“Gin-chan, are you awake?”


“It’s not nice to lie to girls, you know!”

“Go to sleep already, brat.”

The silence that followed was almost long enough to give him hope.

“That idiot sadist went back to his hometown. He didn’t even tell me.”

It was a quiet evening in Kabuki-cho – a rarity, given the nature of the place. There were people in Otose’s snack bar – he could hear them shuffling about, the murmur of their voices – but the usual hoots and catcalls and discordant notes of that beaten up karaoke machine they kept in the corner were absent.

“He’s sad. That mayo freak is too. But neither of them is saying anything. The mayo freak didn’t even go.” A beat. “How can they pretend everything’s okay when it isn’t?”

“That’s their decision to make: not yours. They’ll deal in their own time.”

“I want to help.”

“You can help them by being normal.”

Kagura didn’t answer immediately, at least not in words. She wrapped her arms around Gintoki’s waist, pressing her face against his back. He hadn’t realized, until then, just how small she was. How young.


He’d reach around and muss her hair up just because, but things were fine just the way they were.

“Just go the hell to bed.”

Give me something to look forward to.

“Fancy seeing you here.”

Okita tugged his sleeping mask up out of his eyes, and, upon seeing who it was, instantly regretted that he had taken the effort to do it in the first place. Gintoki, willfully oblivious, flopped down on the bench, sitting right at Okita’s head.

“Been nearly a month, I think, since I saw your mug around. What happened to you? Did they finally decide to lock you up?”

Danna, I’m trying to sleep.”

“Stay up. You ought to pay attention when your elders are talking to you anyway.”

Ignoring Sakata Gintoki, Okita had realized over the time he had come to know the man, was the best way to deal with him, and that was exactly what he attempted to do. It seemed to work for a while, long enough for him to relax. Then Gintoki started sipping on something through a straw. Very loudly.

“Stop drinking from that carton of strawberry milk or I will cut you.”

Gintoki stared at him a moment, straw still in mouth, before he finally complied. “Now that you’re awake,” he went on to say, “I have a message for you.”

“If it’s a love confession, tell it to Hijikata-san.”

“‘Riverside, same time. If you don’t show up, I’ll hunt you down myself.’” Something was clogging up his nose; it was probably snot. Gintoki stuck a finger in one nostril and dug around to check. “She’s been waiting for days now. Some lady’s man you are, standing a girl up all the time.”

Gintoki found the offending goober right after he finished speaking, blinked at it, and flicked it off into outer space. He stood up afterward, started sauntering off.

“That’s that. Stop slacking and do your damned job already, Okita-kun.”

Strangely enough, it did not occur to Okita to arrest him for public indecency.

And I missed you quite terribly, in fact.

Kagura was the perfect picture of calm from a distance: an orange-haired girl in a cheongsam with a decent-looking face, kicking up stones, twirling around with her purple umbrella. It’s that very image that Okita decided to destroy, by charging right in with a swing for her head. When the umbrella snapped shut and was up to ward off the blow in a second, he almost smiled.

“You’re late.”

“I didn’t know you were waiting.”

“That’s because you’re stupid.”

From that point on, they didn’t need to talk. Fists and feet were more than enough.
Current Mood: accomplishedaccomplished
Current Music: Mike Wyzgowski - "Nothing Can Be Explained"
...with a pen in hand.: come closer & listenstitchedophelia on January 26th, 2012 12:01 am (UTC)
Hi, there! Sure, you certainly can. I'm glad you're enjoying my stuff so far. :)