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22 June 2011 @ 11:58 pm
There’s a bird that nests inside you. [Gintama]  
GINTAMA and all characters/ideas/concepts/places therein are not mine, although the writing certainly is.

Title: There’s a bird that nests inside you.
Characters/Pairing(s): Gintoki & Otose
Rating: G
Summary: It's not a good day for walking alone.
Warnings? Spoilers for the Jirocho arc.
Notes: The title is taken from the 31_days theme for August 19, 2009. It is also dedicated to Pris, the Gintoki to my Minisugi. ♥

There’s a bird that nests inside you.

She’s taken to waking up in pain these days, and naturally? It isn’t by choice. The cuts she bore from Jirocho’s sword, there are times when forgets they’re there and then there are times when they feel as though she got them just yesterday. One of the perils of old age, that. Healing so very slowly.

Otose, though, isn’t the kind of person who would, in the face of great adversity or even simple inconvenience, curl up and die. She’s the kind of woman who, pain or no pain, drag herself right out of bed and barrel through her errands like nobody’s business. The only reason why she gets up long after most of the world has already awakened, in fact, is because she’s awake when they’re all asleep. A queen of the night, they call her, sometimes affectionately, sometimes mockingly. She hates the nickname. ‘Queen’ is something she associates with Saigo and his pack of freaks.

Today is not a good day: she realizes this a bit too late and halfway between her bar and the local grocery store. It’s infernally hot, for one, and there are a lot of people out and about for god knows what reason. She finds herself catching her breath on a bench outside of the Hokutoshinken. Apparently, if the stitches don’t itch, they hurt. If they don’t hurt, they itch. Sometimes, they do both.

“Huh. You’re not here for the ramen, are you?”

She hadn’t paid any attention to the sound of the store door opening; why should she? The only people who concerned her were the folks who staggered into her bar for a drink during store hours, and anyone else who could offer her business without the hassle. Being addressed, though, made her look, and she instantly regrets it.

“You’ve got some nerve, treating yourself out when you haven’t even paid your rent.”

“The owner knows me. I get free lunch on Tuesdays.”

Sakata Gintoki is white-haired, lazy-eyed bastard who’s shacked up with two kids on the top floor of her house, liberally sucks up the contents of her pantry faster than a vacuum can take in dust and never pays her for the space in full, or on time. He wastes hours of his day reading children’s comics, eats too much sugar, brings home all sorts of trouble, regularly causes widespread damage to her property, and also happens to stick his neck out, very often, to save her sanity and her life. Come a long way, this one, from the scruffy stranger slumped behind her husband’s tombstone, hungry as a little wolf, begging for treats meant to honor the dead.

Otose sniffs and attempts to stand up. “I’m going to do the groceries,” she declares only after she succeeds, “like an upstanding citizen with a business to run ought to.”

Time to use that umbrella: the sun’s way too bright. She’s prepared to step back out onto the street and leave him; she has business, and Gintoki has whatever it is that he has that keeps him out of the house. She’ll see him later, no doubt, because she isn’t done: she hasn’t managed to harp on him about their electric bill. Hence, when she walks along and he falls in step with her, she’s instantly suspicious.

“We’re going the same way.”

“I’m not buying you anything.”

“I can take care of myself, old hag.”

She didn’t thwap him upside head with her umbrella; she’s much too cultured for that. He just happened to be standing too damned close when she opened it.

They do not talk on the way to the store, and when they reach their destination Otose goes for a shopping cart and Gintoki makes a beeline for the magazines. The household supplies are in that section, making it her first stop; somewhere between her deciding upon which detergent to get and moving to the next aisle, he’s placed the latest issue of Shonen Jump inside the cart and he’s pushing it for her. They double back right before paying, for the dairy products. He sends her a questioning look when she puts two cartons of strawberry milk. She doesn’t notice; she’s rifling through her wallet.

“Stop treating me like an infirm,” she grumbles later, when they’re stepping out; he took hold of the grocery bags before she could get to them after paying.

“Like hell I’d do that! My Jump’s in here: that’s all.”

But he has the umbrella too, covering her with it more than he’s covering himself.

Because they’re close together when they walk, she catches a glimpse the bandages hidden underneath his clothes. It’s not the first time she’s seen him injured and it certainly won’t be the last, but she knows the cause this time, knows the hand that dealt them.

“…Oi, you’re leaning on my arm.”

“Shut up. I’m tired.”

He doesn’t just drop her off at the door to her place when they get home – he goes in with her, sets himself to the task of storing the groceries while she’s having her afternoon cigarette.

“Don’t get any ideas,” she feels compelled to tell him, when he’s finally moving out the door.

“I’m not deducting labor service from the money you owe me.”

“Yeah, yeah, I know the drill.”

Something about the way the summer wind moves through his hair and the way his back looks as he’s ambling off reminds her, briefly, of her husband. She lights up another cigarette and decides to forget all about it.

Later that evening, Tama pays a visit to the Yoruzuya – she has two cartons of strawberry milk and Gintoki’s issue of Shonen Jump. Gintoki-sama Forgot These, she informs Shinpachi, before returning to her mistress. Gintoki is not available for comment; he’s taking a nap on the couch.
Current Mood: hyperhyper
Current Music: 12 Rounds - "Just Another Day"
Sakata Gintoki [坂田銀時]: Horee shit... was that....?silvershamurai on June 22nd, 2011 04:12 pm (UTC)
Gintoki has no spazzing icons sob

Otose is the strongest little old lady ever. And LMAO @ the 'Queen' comment. Their banter is so heartwarming when you read between the lines, and everything is just... so perfect. T^T

Love you long time, Kae.

do not feed the animals: squee.izkariote on June 23rd, 2011 01:08 am (UTC)
But that face he has in that icon is adorable. ;3;

Kim!spartydragon on June 23rd, 2011 03:10 am (UTC)
do not feed the animals: lookit.izkariote on June 23rd, 2011 10:53 am (UTC)
I'm glad you enjoyed it. o3o
denshi_no_ultra: gintamadenshi_no_ultra on June 23rd, 2011 07:02 pm (UTC)
Lovely fic! It was really in character, they totally would pretend that they don't care while doing heart-warming things XD Thank you for writing, I really enjoyed reading it :)
do not feed the animals: heartses.izkariote on June 24th, 2011 11:50 am (UTC)