Chapter 10: It’s Not a Date When Bunch of People were Involved
at the girl who was supposed to be the client of the day. After stuttering for
a second, he was finally able to reply the normal greeting. “K-Kirara-san! It
sure has been a while! How have you been?” said Shinpachi in excitement.
“I’m fine, thank you. I’m sorry for the trouble you have been through just to see me”, Kirara replied with a smile.
“It’s fine, Kirara-san! We are Yorozuya after all. So what do you need from us?” replied Shinpachi reassuring the bespectacled girl.
“Actually, I was just a bit bored since I was alone at home with nothing to do. My little sister already has her own plans with her friends today, so when I thought of another companion, somehow you are the first one who came up to my mind. I’m sorry again for troubling you”, said Kirara shyly.
Shinpachi felt flattered somehow. “It’s alright, Kirara-san. If you just want a company, I can accompany you for the rest of the day. So where do you want to go today?” the boy replied.
“Oi, oi… easy there patsuan… Don’t get excited just because a girl asking you for a date. No wonder you are just a cherry boy”, Gintoki commented with lazy tone.
“What’s wrong being a cherry boy, huh?! Ah, sorry about him, Kirara-san”, yelled Shinpachi retorting Gintoki but soon he bowed down apologising for being loud.
“It’s alright, Shinpachi-kun. In fact, thank you so much for accepting a selfish request from a girl like me, who was still embarrassed going outside alone…” said Kirara with her eyes looking down in embarrassment.
“No, no… I’m glad that I can help you if you don’t mind with a plain person like me…” said Shinpachi waving his both hands.
“No, no… I think you are a good man, Shinpachi-kun. If it’s not for you I might be still locking myself in my room without any friends, never know about the world. I’m very grateful that you accepted my letter, Shinpachi-kun…” said Kirara waving her hand as well.
“You are also a fine woman too, Kirara-san. It also took lots of courage for you during our first meeting and I admired you for that, Kirara-san”, replied Shinpachi rubbing his head.
When the two youngsters realised they have been complimenting each other, their faces blushed as they were avoiding each other’s gaze. Upon seeing this, Gintoki only let out a smile with a sigh.
“Okay, okay. This old man will give you two lovebirds some time alone. Shinpachi, I’ll pick you up here again later when you’re done with your date”, said the silver samurai starting his scooter.
“Gin-san, please don’t say it like that! Otherwise, people might get wrong ideas!” said Shinpachi blushing. Kirara was blushing as well as her eyes were looking around.
“Then, have fun you guys”, said Gintoki as he drove off with his scooter, leaving the two bespectacled youngsters behind him.
“I’m having a kid with Tsukuyo, Shinpachi gets a girl… The world is sure starting to go around”, thought Gintoki amused with things that had happened.
After Gintoki had left, Shinpachi and Kirara just stood there feeling awkward with each other. For Kirara, it was her first time going out with a boy on her age. As for Shinpachi, this feels like the real date he had always hoped for, ever since his last date with a certain cat-eared girl who was just scamming him. Knowing he had to do something about the atmosphere, Shinpachi spoke up first.
“Anyway, shall we head somewhere? Where would you like to visit first? I might not be reliable, but I’ll do my best to be your guide for today”, said Shinpachi inviting Kirara.
“Um… I’m fine whatever you like, Shinpachi-kun. Since I’m the one who have troubled you in the first place…” said Kirara, still being shy.
Before the situation could have gotten awkward again, suddenly a gurgling sound came out from Shinpachi stomach. The glasses man stayed silent for a moment, then he giggled sheepishly in embarrassment for being in such state in front of a girl. The girl just chuckled as she spoke up to lighten the mood.
“Well, should we have lunch, then? I have not eaten lunch yet, anyway”, said Kirara smiling to Shinpachi.
“Then shall we go, then? There should be a new family restaurant around here. Although it might a bit of walking distance”, said Shinpachi inviting.
As the girl nodded, the two youngsters in glasses walked off together leaving the park.
At a certain clothes shop with Sadaharu sitting and waiting in front of it, squeals were heard from a group of ladies with a little girl. Otae, Kyuubei, Kagura and Tsukuyo were waiting outside of a fitting room. As the curtain opened, the ladies saw a little girl with a new black kimono with white butterfly and snowflakes design. The older women were astonished at the little girl’s appearance.
“Kyouko-chan~, you looked even cuter in that clothes, yes!” said Kagura squealing as she closed her eyes tightly, her hands were cupping her own blushing cheeks, her body shaking in excitement.
“She… She looked so cute…” said Kyuubei with her face sparkling and blushing.
“Oh my, those clothes really suits you, Kyouko-chan!” said Otae with her eyes sparkling, her hands clapped together.
Although Tsukuyo didn’t really show it, her eyes widened in awe as she admitted that her daughter was really cute in that kimono. “She really looks good in that… Even better, actually…” thought Tsukuyo holding her chin, her face slightly blushed.
More squeals of awe due to overload moe-ness were heard for few more times as the ladies dressed Kyouko up with more kind of outfits from uniforms, maid outfit, and even cosplay. Finally the ladies got out from the stores with several bags, with Kyouko now wearing the previous black kimono she tried before. The girls, especially Kagura, Otae and Kyuubei had satisfied expressions on their faces, as Tsukuyo who walked holding Kyouko’s hand turned to look at the girl.
“How’s it, Kyouko-chan? Are you fine walkin’ in it?” asked Tsukuyo.
“Un! Thanks, mama! Everyone!” said Kyouko thanking the older women with her usual cheerful smile.
“Glad ya like it”, said Tsukuyo smiling back at the little girl.
As the sun went higher in the sky, Otae invited the rest of her companions for lunch.
“Shall we have lunch together? I heard there is a new family restaurant just around that corner”, said Otae pointing at a direction.
“Let’s go, then. I’m starving already, yes!” said Kagura agreeing.
The other girls also nodded in agreement on Otae’s invitation and they walked together towards the direction Otae pointing at. As they got in front of the restaurant entrance they met two figures, one young man and a young woman with glasses.
As the silver haired little girl recognised the two figures first, she called out to greet them both. “Pachi! Kirara~!”
Shinpachi and Kirara looked at the group of girls and the bespectacled man surprised a bit when he heard Kyouko mentioned his companion’s name. “Kyouko-chan! And everyone! What are you doing here?” asked Shinpachi.
“We could ask you the same, four-eyes. What are YOU doing here with Kirara-chan, yes?” asked Kagura back.
“Shin-chan, we were just about to have lunch after shopping some new clothes for Kyouko-chan here. And…” said Otae explaining then she stopped for a while when she noticed a girl with glasses behind Shinpachi. “Who might this be?” asked Otae glancing over Kirara.
“Oh right, ane-ue. This is my pen-pal I told you before, Kirara-san”, said Shinpachi as he glanced over towards Kirara. “Kirara-san, you have known Kagura before, and this is my sister, Otae and our childhood friend Kyuubei-san. And this little girl here is Kyouko-chan and her… mother, Tsukuyo-san”, said Shinpachi introducing his family and friends to Kirara.
Although when he introduced Tsukuyo he felt a bit awkward, not sure if he should have introduced the blonde lady as Kyouko’s mother. Tsukuyo seemed pay no mind to it.
“Good afternoon, my name is Kirara, Shinpachi-san and Yorozuya have helped me before. Nice to meet you all”, said Kirara introducing herself in polite manner.
“I’m Shin-chan’s older sister, Shimura Tae. Nice to meet you too”, said Otae back politely as well.
“My name is Yagyuu Kyuubei, Nice to meet you too, Kirara-dono”, Kyuubei said as she returned the courtesy.
“Name’s Tsukuyo. Nice to meet ‘cha”, said Tsukuyo bowing as well.
“Oi, Shinpachi. You still haven’t answered my question”, said Kagura glaring a bit.
“Well, you see Kagura-chan… Kirara-san was our client who called today. She just asked me to accompany her to look around”, said Shinpachi explaining.
“Shin-chan, it’s good to help others like that, but are you sure you are not being scammed again? I’m worried ever since your first date”, said Otae putting on her usual smile.
“Ane-ue! Don’t say rude things like that! Kirara-san is not such a girl!” said Shinpachi correcting his sister.
“Oh my, then I’m sorry about what I said, Kirara-san. You see, I can’t help but worried about my brother here”, said Otae apologising.
“It’s fine, Shimura-san. In fact I’m sorry as well for troubling your little brother today with my selfish request”, replied Kirara referring to Otae.
“You can call me Otae. Then why don’t you come join us for lunch? Since we’ve already gathered here and all. And I’d like to hear more about you and Shin-chan”, said Otae inviting the two youngsters.
As the other agreed, the group got in the restaurant and they took an empty round table for large group near the window. Kirara sat beside Shinpachi, and after the two were Tsukuyo, Kyouko, Kagura, Otae and Kyuubei circling the table. They ordered their food, of course with Kagura ordering almost everything in the menu and a kid’s meal for Kyouko. As they were waiting for their food to come up, Otae started up a topic.
“Well then, Kirara-san. Why don’t you tell us about your meeting Shin-chan?” Otae asked as she already had a good first impression from the girl in question.
Simply put, Kirara and Shinpachi explained about when Shinpachi discovered Kirara’s bottle message at the beach and all events that had happened during Pen-Pal arc. The older women who were listening simply nodded understanding their explanation. As the two youngsters finished their story, the other girls started to ask questions.
“So that’s what happened between you two. I’m glad that you two become friends like now”, said Otae smiling.
“Then, are you two still writing to each other?” asked Kyuubei in curiosity.
“Yes, we still write to each other on certain occasions. But lately, I didn’t manage to reply back since I’m a bit busy with my medical check-ups. I’m sorry, Shinpachi-kun”, said Kirara then she bowed slightly to Shinpachi.
“It’s okay, Kirara-san. You can always take your time to write me. Speaking of, how is your health nowadays?” asked Shinpachi.
“My body is still weak but it’s getting better, even doctor said walking around outside sometimes can help me to improve my stamina. That’s why I decided to ask you to accompany me, Shinpachi-kun”, replied Kirara.
“Then are you like… dating now?” asked Kagura suddenly.
The two bespectacled youngsters were flustered at the question. “No, no! It’s not like that, Kagura-chan! Like I said before, she just asked me to show her around! It’s not a date or anything!” said Shinpachi nervously waving his two hands, his face was blushing mad. Kirara herself only blushed at the question as she looked down at the table.
“I guess so. There’s no way a girl like Kirara-chan would date a boring guy like Shinpachi, yes?” Kagura dismissed her previous idea while picking her nose.
“Oi, that’s mean Kagura-chan! You don’t have to blatantly point that out…” said Shinpachi pouting.
“I- I don’t think Shinpachi-kun is a boring guy at all…” said Kirara, making the others raised their eyebrows at the bespectacled girl’s sudden response.
“He is a nice guy who accepted someone plain like me as his friend, we also had fun when we write letters to each other, his handwriting is easy to understand, his words always cheer me up when I was feeling down too, and…” Kirara stopped as she realised what she said out loud in front of people she just knew.
“I mean, Shinpachi-kun is fine just the way he is…” said Kirara with her face got redder as her voice was getting lower every word.
Shinpachi could only blush and after hearing Kirara’s comment, the other women who listened Kirara’s opinion of Shinpachi were slightly surprised as they thought in unison.
“What a nice girl….”
“Waaah…Pachi and Kirara are red~” said Kyouko innocently pointing out the two youngsters in glasses, making the other ladies giggled a bit, breaking the ice.
As the atmosphere was getting any weirder, their foods were served on the table. The others decided to put their conversation on hold and focusing on their meal for now. But when the others had started eating, Tsukuyo noticed Kyouko was only staring at her kid’s size hamburger steak.
“What is it, Kyouko-chan?” asked Tsukuyo alerting Kagura about Kyouko’s behaviour as she was in the middle of chugging her food.
“It’s just hamburger, Kyouko-chan. Have you ever eaten one?” asked Kagura with her mouth stuffed.
Tsukuyo took an initiative grabbing a fork and took a piece of the meat, and she moved it towards Kyouko. “Here, Kyouko-chan. Say ‘aaahn’”, said Tsukuyo holding the meat with the fork in front of Kyouko’s face.
“Aaaaahn~” said Kyouko as she opened her mouth putting the entire piece into her mouth. As she chewed the meat for a while, her eyes opened with sparkles as her face brighten up.
“Is it good?” asked Tsukuyo looking at the little girl’s expression.
“Umn!” said Kyouko smiling.
Then Kyouko grabbed the fork by herself and started to eat her meal merrily. Tsukuyo and Kagura were smiling to each other as Otae and Kyuubei were mesmerized seeing how cute Kyouko was enjoying her lunch. Shinpachi and Kirara only giggled upon seeing this.
Kagura’s burb in satisfaction signalled that the group had finished their meal. While they were waiting for the bill, Kyouko tugged her mother’s sleeve, causing the blonde woman to look at her.
“Mama, toilet….” said Kyouko pleading Tsukuyo to go with her.
“I guess it can’t be helped, let’s go then Kyouko-chan”, said Tsukuyo sighing as she stood up from her seat with Kyouko and she accompanied the little girl to the restroom.
As the two members group left to the restroom, Kirara leaned a bit to whisper to Shinpachi. “Um… Shinpachi-kun, I’ve been meaning to ask. That little girl, Kyouko-san, is it? Have I ever met her before?” asked Kirara.
Shinpachi thought that there was no need to involve another person into Kyouko’s circumstances, so he decided to make up some lies. “Well you see… We mentioned you to her when we talked last time. Kyouko-chan is quite perceptive despite her age, you know. Hehehe….” Said Shinpachi nervously.
Kirara felt something was off, but still believed what Shinpachi said anyway. After Tsukuyo and Kyouko returned from the restroom, the group paid their bills using Kyuubei’s money. Tsukuyo, Shinpachi and Kirara thanking the one eyed woman and promised to pay her back, but Kyuubei just refused the offer politely as she doesn’t mind paying for her friends.
Since they took quite some time with their lunch thanks to Kagura’s amount of food, it’s almost evening already as people have started to go home from their work. Shinpachi decided to send Kirara back to their rendezvous back at the park, as Kirara said she has promised her sister to be picked up there. But before the two took their leave, Otae motioned Shinpachi to come over and the brunet whispered something to the glasses man’s ear. “Shin-chan, make sure that you’ll take good care of her. Girls like her are hard to find in these days”, said Otae smiling as she glanced over towards the glasses girl.
“Yes, yes, I know that, ane-ue. I’ll make sure she made it home safely”, said Shinpachi leaving.
“Shin-chan, I think you misunderstood what I meant”, said Otae as she watched the two youngsters with glasses said their goodbyes and walked off.
As the two youngsters left, the other girls decided to call it a day and go their separate ways.
“Well then, we’ll take our leave. See you again, Kyouko-chan”, said Otae as she rubbed Kyouko’s head, Kyuubei only waved her hand towards the little girl.
“Bye bye, Tae! Kyuu!” said Kyouko waving her arm back.
“Bye bye, Anego, Kyuu-chan!” said Kagura waving her arm as well.
Tsukuyo only waved her arm as she nodded at the two leaving girls. As Otae and Kyuubei left after they said their goodbyes to Kagura, Tsukuyo and Kyouko, the rest of the girls remembered of something.
“By the way, if Shinpachi was there with Kirara, what’s that guy doing?” asked Tsukuyo to Kagura.
Kagura stayed silent closing her eyes for a while, thinking where her surrogate father might be and what could he doing during that time. As her eyes opened in realization, she walked towards a direction and asked the other girls and Sadaharu to follow her. “Around this time, I think I know where that perm bastard is, yes”, said Kagura sighing.
As they arrived at a pachinko place nearby, they saw Gintoki was sitting at one of pachinko machines, his face was serious looking at the balls running around. The machine then buzzed, signing that he had lost, and Gintoki cursed his luck in that game. Then the silver-haired man noticed the girls were standing in front of him, two of them had their eyes glaring at him, and Kyouko just looked at him with innocent face. “Ah, hi there”, Gintoki simply greeted.
The girls trashed him into the machine with their kicks. “If you had free time you can go see us and Kyouko-chan, you lazy-ass old man!” yelled Tsukuyo and Kagura.
“What about Shinpachi, yes?” asked Kagura pointing her parasol at Gintoki.
“Ah right, yes. I’m supposed to pick him up by now”, said Gintoki getting up from the machine’s rubble, rubbing his head. Gintoki walked towards his parked scooter, as he started the engine he glanced over the girls.
“Well, did you have fun today?” asked Gintoki putting his helmet on.
“Sure we do, yes. Look at new clothes we bought to Kyouko-chan”, said Kagura lifting her shopping bags then she turned to Kyouko.
“Papa, look!” said Kyouko as she spun around showing her new black kimono to her father.
Gintoki’s eyes widened a bit as he looked at his daughter with her new clothes and her hair-clip she got yesterday. “Yeah, it looks good on you”, said Gintoki smiling, ruffling Kyouko’s hair.
As Gintoki drove off with his scooter Tsukuyo told him,
“Make sure to go home straight after ya fetched Shinpachi, ya hear me?”
“Yeah, I got it, HONEY!” said Gintoki teasing, waving his hand.
“Wha- don’t say that out loud!” shouted Tsukuyo blushing as she waved her fist around.
After Shinpachi and Kirara had returned to the park, Kirara spotted her sister waving at her from inside a taxi.
“Ah, there’s my pick up. Thank you for today, Shinpachi-kun”, said Kirara pointing at the car.
“I’m sorry Kirara-san, I promised to take you look around the town, but we ended up only having lunch together with my friends”, said Shinpachi apologizing.
“It’s alright, Shinpachi-kun. I had fun today. Please send my regards to everyone, and…” said Kirara then she stopped for a while, trying to remember something.
“Oh, about the payment for today’s request…” said Kirara rummaging her purse.
“You don’t have to pay, Kirara-san. It’s just a hangout together, after all. You don’t have to make it as a job request if you just want a company. Just ask me right away if you need any help as a friend”, said Shinpachi waving his hands, averting the girl from her purse.
Hearing Shinpachi’s words making Kirara’s face flustered all over again as she played with her fingers and nervously asked him.
“Then can we….” The girl fidgeted around before continuing. “Can we meet again?”
Shinpachi blinked before replying with a smile. “Sure. Anytime, Kirara-san.”
Kirara’s heart skipped a beat when she saw Shinpachi’s smiling face. As she bowed down saying her goodbyes for the day, she walked off and got into the taxi with her sister, Urara waiting inside. Soon after the car left, Gintoki arrived with his scooter. After Shinpachi put on his spare helmet and sat behind Gintoki, the two men started to head back to Yorozuya.
“Well, how’s your date, patsuan?” asked Gintoki on the way.
“Gin-san, it’s not a date. Although… it was nice” retorted Shinpachi but a smile crept up on his face.