Chapter 6: The Three Words during Confession are Overrated
It was already past afternoon. The
sun was no longer high up, but it was still bright enough to dye the sky with
blue colour. Gintoki who had been riding his scooter looking for Shinpachi,
Kagura and Kyouko across the Kabuki District finally decided to go back after
“Maybe they have come back by now. Or rather, maybe they’ve got a call from old-man Gengai and have sent that kid back!” thought Gintoki wishing for the best.
As he started to drive his scooter to the direction where his home was, he saw two men in black uniforms on the sidewalk. One had a raven-hair with cigarette in his mouth, while the other had a sandy-brown hair with red eyes. The sandy-haired one caught a glimpse of a white scooter being rode by a silver-haired guy, and he waved his hand as a greeting. Gintoki stopped his scooter at the two shinsengumi officers.
“What do you guys tax robbers want from me? I didn’t break any traffic regulations.” Gintoki said lazily picking his nose.
Hijikata stared at him for a second, he smirked, then he looked the other way as he snorted, trying his best not to laugh.
A vein popped on Gintoki’s face. He asked with annoying tone, “The hell’s with that snort, huh? Oi, Souichiro-kun, why is this ass laughing?” said Gintoki at Sougo, pointing at the shinsengumi vice commander who was still holding in his laughter.
“It’s Sougo.” The man corrected. “Say, boss… I just met your kids at the shopping district few hours ago. Or should I say you kids and your daughter?” said Sougo putting on his sadistic smile.
Gintoki’s eyes got widened, “Of all people, why did this guy have to find out?? I’ve already got enough people to know about this crap!” said Gintoki in his mind panickly.
“Wh-wh-wh What are you talking about, Yagami Souchiro-kun? What daughter? Sure, I have a little girl living with me, but she is not my real daughter… hahahaha…” said Gintoki nervously, trying to fool the two men in front of him.
“It’s Sougo. There is no need to feel embarrassed, boss. That little girl of yours... Kyouko-chan, isn’t it? Her hair sure resembles yours. Her face is also cute. Just like her mother….” Said Sougo, his sadistic expression starting to come out.
Gintoki flinched when he heard the ‘mother’ part. “Wait, what did you just say?”
“Easy there, Yorozuya… Sougo just trying to say that your girl is…” before Hijikata could have finished, Gintoki cut in.
“No, no. I mean about the last part. What was that again, Sofa-kun?” said Gintoki pecking his ear.
“It’ Sougo. Oh…? You don’t know? Well, apparently when I helped your two Yorozuya looking your lost girl, she found her mom. And guess what, her mom is…”
This time, before Sougo could have finished, Gintoki drove his scooter at full speed, leaving the shinsengumi officers behind. Upon seeing Gintoki’s scooter that was getting further away, Hijikata let out a smoke as he looked at the chuckling Sougo.
“Ok, you win. I thought you just wanted to mess with me. Yorozuya having a kid for real…” said Hijikata sighing, but he smirked again since he could not help but to see the whole situation as hilarious.
“That’s terrible of you, Hijikata-san…. Maybe I did lie to you about my previous paper works, but I won’t lie to you about serious matters” replied Sougo putting on his plain innocent expression.
“Well, as funny as I think that was, it’s not my business from the start. Why are you telling me this, anyway?” asked Hijikata confused.
“Well you see, I was just using you for me so I can tease Yorozuya boss even more, knowing your history with him…” said Sougo as he walked to the opposite direction.
“Oi, what do you mean by ‘using me’, huh? Oi, Sougo!” yelled Hijikata as he walked chasing Sougo.
As Gintoki arrived at his Yorozuya office, he got down from his scooter, ran through the stairs and stopped at front of the door. His heart was beating like crazy, his sweats were flowing on his face. He was very scared of facing what lied beyond his front door. As he stood still for a while, he shook his head, took a deep breath, and he entered the house only to see what he feared the most as soon as he stepped into the living room. Gintoki could only curse his fate at this point.
“Oh, f*ck me…”
In the living room, Gintoki saw five figures: two teenagers, one adult woman, one little girl and a giant dog. The two teenagers, Shinpachi and Kagura, were sitting on the couch with their heads down staring nervously at the table in front of them. Sadaharu was sleeping without a care in the world at the corner. On the other end, Tsukuyo was sitting with her legs crossed, her left one on her right one, holding her kiseru as her free arm was being hugged by Kyouko, the little girl was smiling as her head resting on Tsukuyo’s side. When Kyouko noticed her father, her head left her mother’s side and she greeted in cheerful tone.
“Papa! Welcome back!” She waved one of her arm towards Gintoki.
Shinpachi and Kagura turned their heads toward Gintoki nervously as they said with forced smiles and scared looks on their faces. “”Welcome back, Gin-san/chan…””
Tsukuyo turned her head as well as she put on a smile, but scary face as well.
“Welcome back, DARLING….” Said Tsukuyo with sarcastic tone, especially on the darling part.
Gintoki could only smile back awkwardly as well, as he replied while rubbing the back of his head, “Ah.. err, yeah. I’m back.”
The atmosphere in the room was very tensed for another few hours. Right now, the sitting formation didn’t change much as Gintoki on the same couch as Shinpachi and Kagura, sitting between them. Kyouko is now sleeping on Tsukuyo’s lap. The Yorozuya trio were still looking down at the table, not knowing what they should have said in this awkward moment. Shinpachi, feeling the urge to say something, decided to start a conversation.
“Um… The weather was nice today…” he tried to smile naturally.
The other Yorozuya member’s faces only got darkened as they thought together,
“”Just shut up, megane….”” Then, Shinpachi went silent again.
Knowing that their situation would not get them anywhere, Tsukuyo blew some smoke into the air and cleared her throat. Yorozuya trio winced as soon as they heard her.
“I got the gist of the situation from Shinpachi and Kagura….” said Tsukuyo with her eyes close, the trio only nodded.
“Don’t you have anything to say about this? DARLING?” continued Tsukuyo as she opened her eyes, her amethyst round eyes right on red dead-fish eyes.
Gintoki fidgeted a little bit, “W-well, you can cut the darling. And it’s just as Shinpachi and Kagura have said…” said Gintoki feeling nervous.
“Then… Do you…” this time, it was Tsukuyo who sounded nervous.
As the yorozuya trio lifted up their faces to look at The Courtesan of Death, they saw she was trying to avoid looking at Gintoki’s eyes. They stared at her for a little longer, waiting for her to finish what she wanted to say.
“Do you…. And me…..” Tsukuyo continued as her face started to turn red.
“Eh? What?” replied Gintoki confused at the lady’s rambling words.
As Tsukuyo’s blushing face got ever worse, she finally snapped.
“Anyway, this is all on you! Do somethin’ about this!” shouted Tsukuyo pointing at Gintoki.
“Oi, wait a minute! Even if this were all my fault, what can I do now?” replied Gintoki holding both of his hands up.
“Well, you have to……” Tsukuyo’s face became as red as tomato again. “With me…” she muttered with her red face turning downwards. Her body was fidgeting.
“What?” asked Gintoki.
He was actually a bit scared about the answer what he had to do with this situation, about Tsukuyo and Kyouko. Shinpachi and Kagura could not do anything but watch with worried looks on their faces. But before the situation got any worse, suddenly the sleeping child on Tsukuyo’s laps moved as the child mumbled. Everyone suddenly forgot their tension as Kyouko woke up and she said looking at both Gintoki and Tsukuyo.
“Papa, mama… I’m hungry…” said the silver-haired girl still a bit sleepy, her both arms holding her tummy.
Upon seeing her ‘daughter’, Tsukuyo just let out a big sigh and said, “Well, why don’t we eat somethin’ fer now? Having an empty stomach only makes us can’t think clearly…” as she put on a little smile at the girl, patting her tiny head.
Shinpachi and Kagura smiled at each other as they thought that the situation had calmed down for now. They started to run to the kitchen as Tsukuyo followed them, offering her help. Gintoki let out a relieved sigh as he tried to relax his body on the couch. When he turned to see on Kyouko, Gintoki saw the little girl smiling to him and he could not help but to smile back as well.
“Seriously, this kid…”
The Yorozuya family started to dig in as soon as Tsukuyo’s hotpot was put on the table (since hotpot is the only food that Tsukuyo can make). As usual, Shinpachi was busy fighting Kagura over a piece of meat, Sadaharu was busy finishing his portion at the corner, Gintoki and Kyouko watched the two teenagers fought almost spilling the food, while Tsukuyo helped distributing the contents of the hotpot. As Tsukuyo glanced over to Kyouko who was eating, the older woman saw that the little girl’s mouth was messy from her food. Tsukuyo let out a smile as she took a napkin and wiped Kyouko’s mouth. When Gintoki saw Tsukuyo and Kyouko’s interaction with each other, he could not help but smile to himself. As he realised that the hotpot content had been reduced quickly, he turned to Kagura who was still chugging her big bowl, ignoring the yelling from Shinpachi who kept telling her to spare some for him.
“Oi, you brats! Especially you, Kagura! Stop getting too excited over a single hotpot! We have a minor here!”
Shinpachi and Kagura stopped, Kagura saw that she had unconsciously hogged almost all of the hotpot, she then apologised to the older man. Gintoki looked to Kyouko’s bowl that only contained a little, then he put some of his food into her bowl.
“What am I doing, what am I doing…. Oh, screw it…” thought Gintoki but soon he simply shrugged the thought off.
Seeing Gintoki’s surprisingly matured attitude, Tsukuyo relaxed her body as her smile got a bit wider then, she decided to tease Gintoki, “What’s this? Never knew you can act like a daddy…”
Gintoki snorted at the comment, “You too, just now I thought I saw a caring mommy. Why don’t you also wipe my mouth too, honey?” Replied Gintoki, his tone sounded different when he said the word ‘honey’.
Tsukuyo blushed again a bit and she threw her napkin to Gintoki’s face. “Shut up, you. If you got something on yer face, clean it yer’self” said Tsukuyo, now eating her own portion.
Gintoki could only poute as Kyouko let out a cheerful laugh seeing her parents ‘bickering’. Shinpachi and Kagura only smiled as they were looking at the happy family having dinner in front of them. Then Kagura talked to Shinpachi, “Say, Shinpachi…” said Kagura still looking at the ‘family’.
“Hm?” Shinpachi replied as he was still looking at the same direction as Kagura.
“Gin-chan and Tsukki are glad to meet Kyouko-chan, yes?”
“I guess so. Look at how happy they are.”
As the dinner ended, it was already at night and Tsukuyo decided to call it a day, preparing herlself to head back to Yoshiwara. When she was at the front door, she felt Kyouko was holding on her kimono. The little girl’s eyes were the pleading eyes she used on Gintoki at the other night.
“Mama…. Are you leaving?”
Tsukuyo still could not accept the entire situation, but for some reason she also felt a feeling of attachment with the silver-haired little girl near her, the same with Gintoki’s case when the man met Kyouko for the first time. She kneeled to meet the little girl’s eye level. “Don’t worry, Kyouko-chan. I’ll be back here again. Be a good girl, ‘kay?” said Tsukuyo with a reassuring voice, patting Kyouko’s head gently.
Then she stood up and noticed that Gintoki was walking to them. His bokuto was set on his waist and he proceeded putting his shoes on. “I’ll drive you back to Yoshiwara. It’s not good for a woman like you to walk alone at this hour.” Then he turned to his ‘daughter’. “Kyouko, you go ahead and sleep first. If you feel you can’t sleep alone, just ask Kagura or Shinpachi to accompany you.”
“Wha- you don’t have to! I can take care of myself!” said Tsukuyo waving her hand, her face showed a faint blush.
“Papa, protect mama, okay?” said Kyouko with her innocent smile.
Tsukuyo’s face got redder and even Gintoki’s face showed a faint blush as well. The said man just sighed, and he just smiled reluctantly as he patted Kyouko’s head and proceeding to put his helmet on and the spare helmet on to the woman’s head, and he stepped out the front door.
“Then, I’ll go out for a bit. Shinpachi, Kagura, you know what to do, right?” Gintoki looked back into the hallway. Shinpachi and Kagura were standing on Kyouko’s both sides. Kagura’s arms surrounding Kyouko’s small body.
“Don’t worry, Gin-san! We’ll look after her!”
“Leave it to us, Gin-chan! Just enjoy your date!” said Kagura waving.
““IT’S NOT A DATE!”” shouted Gintoki and Tsukuyo at the same time.
Gintoki hopped on the scooter to start the engine and Tsukuyo sat behind Gintoki. Then two adults were seen drove away on white scooter towards Yoshiwara.
At night, the streets of Edo were empty as the business hours were over. Under the moonlight that shone upon the night sky, the voice of a motor being ridden by a man and with a woman sitting behind him could be heard going on the road leading from Yorozuya office to Yoshiwara. As the two people were riding their way on the scooter and showered by the moonlight, Tsukuyo placed her hands on Gintoki’s shoulders, her head leaned forward as she started a conversation with Gintoki.
“Say, Gintoki…” asked Tsukuyo hesitantly.
“What do you think?” she continued.
“About Kyouko. Do you think that she… That Kyouko really is our kid from the future?”
“…. How about you? What do you think of her?” asked Gintoki back.
“I don’t know. To be honest, all this future stuffs are giving me a headache”, said Tsukuyo closing her eyes.
“Well, as for me, at first it was all ridiculous. But it’s not really the first time, though…” said Gintoki putting on a smug face.
“What?” asked Tsukuyo snap-opened her eyes and pull her head backwards. She was intrigued. “What do you mean by ‘first time’?”
“You heard it. I faced a similar problem in the past… But not as crazy as the one we are facing now.” Gintoki glanced his eyes to the side for a second before turning back to the road again.
Seeing there was no reason to refuse, Gintoki started explaining his history about his previous encounter with a baby who looked similar like him. Long story short, he told Tsukuyo about what he had been through during the Infant Strive arc. After hearing Gintoki’s story, Tsukuyo remained silent for a moment until she chuckled.
“Where the hell did that come from? You are the one who asked first!” Gintoki retorted.
“Then, are you trying to say that Kyouko is not our kid? That this is all some sort of misunderstanding?” Tsukuyo replied with another question.
“No, that’s not the point…” Gintoki replied. “To be honest, I feel…. Strange. Ever since the first day she spent time with me, I’ve found myself caring for her so much before I knew it. I feel like I’ve found something that only I can protect.” Gintoki finished, his eyes turned downward a bit, but still focused on the road.
Tsukuyo’s eyes widened a bit, surprised at Gintoki’s comment. “That’s some weird words coming from a man like ya.”
“Shut up...” Gintoki whined.
“Well, it’s not like I’m any much different from you…” Tsukuyo smiled as she closed her eyes again.
Upon hearing Tsukuyo’s comment, Gintoki’s lips crept up into a small smile as well.
“Well, I guess we have to face it head-on for now” said Gintoki as he gazed far in front of him.
Tsukuyo remained silent again for a while. Then she slightly tightened her grip on Gintoki, her face heated up as she gathered all her courage to ask Gintoki something else.
“Say, Gintoki…. About all this future stuff…” The woman swallowed before continuing. “Do you believe in fate?” said Tsukuyo, still blushing.
“What?” Gintoki was slightly taken aback by the question. “Now you start to act girly? Asking about fate…” Gintoki ended up teasing her with a small grin.
“Shut up, just answer me…” Tsukuyo pressed on as she bit her bottom lip.
“Well… If you asked me, I’d say it depends on what sort of fate we’re talking about.” Gintoki replied with carefree tone. “From what I’ve learned so far, rather than worrying about the future, I’d prefer to live my present with my friends to the fullest. I’ll just do my best to accept what’s in front of me, and I want to keep it that way as long as I can….” Gintoki finished his answer. “Well? What ‘bout you?”
“I…” Tsukuyo stopped for a moment as she pushed one of her arms to her chest, thinking about what Gintoki said.
But then she jolted a bit because the scooter stopped moving. She realised that they have arrived in front of Yoshiwara’s entrance elevator that leads to the underground. Tsukuyo stepped down from the scooter and put her helmet off her head. “I can manage on my own from here. Thanks for the ride, Gintoki” Tsukuyo said with grateful smile.
As Gintoki watched her walking away towards the elevator, he thought to himself as he stared at her retreating back.
“I guess I have to accept the answer in front of me, huh…” said Gintoki in his mind as his smile started to creep up to his face and he thought again. “Never knew that it was so obvious all this time…”
But then, Gintoki noticed that Tsukuyo had stopped moving towards the elevator. Tsukuyo on the other hand, the woman felt her face getting hotter as she remembered what Gintoki said about the future, how he chose to accept what was coming for him. As she gathered her resolve, she took a deep breath and she turned back towards Gintoki. When Gintoki saw Tsukuyo turning back to him again, his eyes widened in confusion as of now he was seeing Tsukuyo walking back towards him. As Tsukuyo started walking, she started talking as she was getting closer.
“Gintoki…. About what you said earlier” she stepped closer. “You choose to accept the present and what’s coming in front of you…”
“So from now on, I will accept the feelings that has been inside of me since long time ago.”
This time her face is close to his.
“What are you-!”
Before Gintoki could have finished, his eyes widened on what Tsukuyo did to him. The woman grabbed his head and pulled his face towards her, causing their lips to make contact with each other. After that few moments of intimacy, she finally let go of him. Gintoki’s face was dumbfounded, his face was red, his mouth was gaping like an idiot, still shocked about what just happened. Tsukuyo tried to hide her face that was flushing like mad, and she turned her heels then ran towards the elevator. As she entered the elevator, she turned her heads to Gintoki, who was still shocked. And she smiled as she muttered some words as the elevator descended, taking the woman away from the man. Gintoki came back to reality as he read the movement on Tsukuyo’s lips.
“I love you”
As Tsukuyo’s figure had gone out from sight, Gintoki flushed again a bit then he smiled to himself. He ruffled his shaggy hair and started to drive his scooter back to Yorozuya. Along the way, he made a mental note not to let anyone to know about this.
As Tsukuyo returned to her house in Yoshiwara, she found that Hinowa was sitting on her wheelchair, waiting for Tsukuyo at front of her house. When The Sun of Yoshiwara saw The Moon of Yoshiwara walking back, she smiled in relieve upon her return.
“I did tell you that you could take your time, Tsukuyo. But you made me, Seita and the rest of the Hyakka worried! What happened? And You looked exhausted…” asked Hinowa worriedly.
“Sorry Hinowa. It’s just… Somethin’ really bizarre just happened today…” said Tsukuyo as she rubbed her forehead.
When Hinowa read Tsukuyo’s face, her smile showed up. “Did something good happen between you and Gin-san?” asked Hinowa in teasing manner.
Tsukuyo’s face got heat up again, as she started to walk into the house quickly. “No, nothing happened! Sorry, Hinowa. I guess I’m tired so I will go inside now.”
As Hinowa saw Tsukuyo rushing into the house, she could only smile happily from Tsukuyo’s reaction. When Tsukuyo took a quick bath before going to bed, she thought to herself while letting the water flowing on her body.
“I did it… I finally did it!” said Tsukuyo repeatedly in her mind.
Her face remained hot even even when she slept that night. Before she slept, she thought about Gintoki and Kyouko. Meanwhile in Yorozuya, Gintoki was looking at the sleeping Kyouko, his smile present as the man was comparing Tsukuyo with the little girl.
“I guess she has his hair, after all…”
“I guess she has her face, after all…”