Chapter 7: Always Watch Your Kids while Playing in a Park
It was another
day in Yorozuya. But this time, Shinpachi had left quickly after finishing his
morning chores to go to Otsu’s concert with his fellow fan club. Kagura went on
a job taking only Sadaharu with her, due to some jobs that Yorozuya took
required Kagura’s super strength. So the leader of Yorozuya was left alone
together with a little girl who shared the same hair as him. Gintoki was reading
his usual Shounen Jump on his office chair as Kyouko entertained herself on the
table by scribbling on paper, while the TV was showing some random kids show to
keep her from boredom. Gintoki could not focus on his manga, because he was
reminded again on the last night’s event with Tsukuyo. Because of what she did
to him that night, he could not fall asleep for few hours afterwards. He did
say to himself to accept his feelings towards Tsukuyo, but what she did last
night was beyond his expectations. Only when he saw Kyouko’s peaceful sleeping
face his body eased up a bit, letting him to get some rest. When Gintoki was
busy reading and contemplating with his thoughts, he suddenly noticed that the
little girl, who was previously on the table had already made her own way on to
his laps, surprising Gintoki in the process, since the man had been busy with
his own thoughts.
As Kyouko looked at Shoune Jump in Gintoki’s hand for a while, she turned her head upwards and she told Gintoki, “Papa, hurry to the next page…” Kyouko pleaded to the man.
Gintoki’s eyebrows rised up as he saw the behaviour of the girl on his laps, he crept up a smile, forgetting all of his thoughts and worries. “What? You like it? You have good taste. Although it’s unusual for a girl to like Shounen Jump.” Gintoki said as he flipped the page.
The rest of the morning was spent by two of them reading Shounen Jump together. Few hours later, suddenly Kyouko’s stomach let out a gurgling sound, signalling that she was hungry. Gintoki patted Kyouko’s head after hearing the noise and he put down the girl to the floor as he made his way to the entrance.
“I guess we can have something to eat outside…” Gintoki said as he started to walk to the door as Kyouko nodded in cheerful manner, following behind him.
As they made their way to the white scooter, Gintoki put on his own helmet and his spare helmet on Kyouko’s head, put the little girl on the space behind him on the scooter’s seat. After everything was set, Gintoki started the engine.
“Alrgiht Kyouko, hold on tight.” Gintoki said to the little girl.
Kyouko responded by quickly hugging Gintoki’s waist. After feeling that the girl had held him tight enough, Gintoki started to drive his scooter at moderate speed towards the streets of Edo.
Gintoki decided to take Kyouko with him to his usual restaurant. After he parked his scooter nearby, Gintoki and Kyouko entered the restaurant and made their way towards the booth, only to meet a familiar face.
“Hoo…. So that’s your girl, huh… She sure has your hair, not as messy as yours, though.” Hijikata Toshirou said with a smirk at Gintoki after the former saw Kyouko, sitting on the same booth, few seats away from the two.
“Shut up, you tax robber. Aren’t you supposed to be working now?” Gintoki shot back with annoyed tone.
“I’m on my lunch break. And this is my favourite spot. So you shut up.”
“Toshi~!” said Kyouko waving her hand cheerfully to the raven-haired man.
Hijikat raised his eyebrows hearing Kyouko’s greeting, Gintoki was slightly surprised that Kyouko knew the chain-smoker.
“Okay…. Why does she know you?” asked Gintoki staring at Hijikata.
“Don’t ask me. Although I heard that she even knew Sougo during their first time meeting each other.” Hijikata replied, raising his shoulders.
The restaurant owner hand over a bowl full with rice and mayonnaise to Hijikata, “One Hijikata-don Special!” Gintoki only shrugged seeing Hijikata’s favourite food.
“Whatever, you can just eat up your dog food over there.” Gintoki then turned to the owner. “Pops, bring me the usual and something that easy enough for this kid to eat.” Gintoki finished his order while pointing his thumb at Kyouko.
“It’s not a dog food, this is a famous meal that was founded by the Barbarossa Shogun!” said Hijikata starting to gulp down his meal, but his retort fell on deaf ears.
After a while, one bowl of rice with red beans on top of it and a small bowl of rice with sunny side egg with minced meat on top of it arrived at the two silver hairs. While the two were eating, Gintoki noticed that Kyouko was staring at his food, leaving her own meal half way.
“What? You want some of this too?” Gintoki asked with his mouth stuffed and his lips twitched upwards.
“Yorozuya… I don’t like to butt in, but are you sure want to feed your own girl that junk?” Hijikata asked with sceptical look.
“What junk?” Gintoki mildly glared back. “This is a convenient meal for those who are too lazy to eat his meal and dessert separately. And it tastes better than you dog food!” Gintoki replied, raising his meal.
“Like I said, this is not a dog food! Mayonnaise is an almighty dressing with combination of sour and salty flavour, enabling to suit with everything and anything. Right, little girl?” said Hijikata moving a bit closer towards the two.
“Why the hell are you asking her? She doesn’t need to know about your crap. Right, little girl?” replied Gintoki looking at Kyouko.
After a moment of silence, Kyouko reached out her hands toward Gintoki. “Kyouko wants to eat the same thing as papa.” The little girl said with a smile.
After Gintoki fed Kyouko a small scoop of his Uji Gintoki-don, Kyouko’s lips curled a bit and then she responded, “It’s sweet…” with a cheerful smirk.
“See, Ogushi-kun? This girl has a good sense of taste.” Gintoki said with a triumphant smile.
“I think she just inherited your taste as well.” Hijikata replied with a sigh.
Suddenly the restaurant’s door slid open, revealing a blonde woman clad in black kimono with a kiseru at the corner of her lips. “So you’re here, after all”, said the blonde woman walking towards Gintoki and Kyouko, who noticed her entrance.
“Mama!” squealed Kyouko while she ran from her seat towards the said woman.
As Kyouko struck the woman with a hug, the woman flinched a bit from the small impact and she held Kyouko’s shoulder and proceeded to pat her head. “Easy there now. It’s good to see ya again, Kyouko-chan.” Said the woman smiling.
Gintoki’s eyes widened a bit as he saw the woman caressing the little girl in front of him. He still felt awkward from the event last night, but he decided to put up a front. “Tsukki, what are you doing here?” Gintoki asked with his usual deadpanned expression.
Tsukuyo flushed a bit at Gintoki’s voice. Despite the bold things she had done on the other night, she still felt nervous and awkward around him. “I just wanna pay a visit to Kyouko-chan here. But when I arrived at yer place, nobody’s there. Then I saw yer scooter outside when I took a detour to go back.” Tsukuyo replied while still holding Kyouko.
“And why would you suddenly want to visit? Are you sure that you just don’t miss me?” Gintoki asked with a teasing smirk.
But deep inside, he felt like he had just dug his own grave when he teased Tsukuyo like this, remembering the moment they shared that night.
“Wha- what are ya talkin’ about?! I-I just worried about Kyouko sharing the same roof with a looser like ya. Besides, I told her last night that I’ll come around again...” Tsukuyo replied while trying to look tough, but her cheeks were beet red.
When the words ‘last night’ were mentioned, both Gintoki and Tsukuyo were reminded again about what they had done that night. Both of them looked away from each other’s blushing face. In fact, Tsukuyo was like Gintoki, didn’t get much sleep last night, as she could not believe of what she had done to Gintoki. But remembering Kyouko’s face somehow helped her to ease up as well. Kyouko only blinked at her two parents, oblivious about the atmosphere between them. As the atmosphere tensed up, Hijikata decided to break the ice, being a man who was said to be good at following the situation.
“Alright you two newly-weds, instead of stay silent like idiots, why don’t you guys just sit down together? I’m done here, anyway.” Hijikata said after placing his money on the table, lit up his cigarrette and took his leave.
““WE’RE NOT NEWLY-WEDS!”” Gintoki and Tsukuyo shouted at Hijikata who was only chuckling as he walked towards the exit.
After watching the raven-haired man vanished from the door, in the end Tsukuyo decided to take a seat besides Gintoki, with Kyouko sat between them.
Kyouko continued to finish her half eaten lunch, while Gintoki and Tsukuyo remained silent, still not knowing of what to say. Finally, Gintoki decided to start first.
“Are-Aren’t you gonna order anything?” Gintoki asked as he took a glance at Tsukuyo.
Tsukuyo winced a bit then she let out a smoke from her kiseru. “I’ve already had something before I came, so I’m fine.” Replied Tsukuyo, facing the other way.
The silence remained until Kyouko finished her lunch. Upon knowing, Tsukuyo stood up from her seat. “Well, I guess she’s fine with ya, so I’ll go now.” Tsukuyo concluded her visit as she prepared to take her leave.
But before she walked far enough, Tsukuyo’s movement was stopped when a tiny hand held her kimono’s sleeve. When she turned around, she found the silver haired little girl was looking at her.
“Mama… Where are you going?” Kyouko asked to her ‘mother’.
“Sorry, Kyouko-chan. I… mama has to go back to work, okay?” Tsukuyo replied as she smiled rather uncomfortably at the little girl.
“But you just came….” Kyouko said back with her eyes got teary from disappointment.
Tsukuyo looked at Gintoki who was looking back at her, as if he was also expecting something. After looking at each other for a while, the two adults sighed, and Tsukuyo stopped on her tracks and she patted Kyouko’s head.
“I guess I can stay a bit longer, after all… Should we go somewhere else, then?” Tsukuyo said as she proceeded to hold Kyouko’s hand.
Kyouko’s expression was beaming as she nodded cheerfully and she reached out her other hand towards Gintoki, wordlessly asking the man to hold her hand as well. Gintoki hesitated for a moment, but reluctantly held her tiny hand as the three made their way out of the restaurant. The three just walked across the streets of Kabuki district, as they looked around one shop to another. When they walked into a local park, they heard two familiar voices followed by the sounds of yelling and explosions. Kyouko got curious and she quickly ran away from the two adults towards the source of the voice.
“Oi! Don’t just run like that!” Gintoki yelled out as he tried to reach towards the little girl.
Gintoki and Tsukuyo automatically followed towards Kyouko’s direction and they found the girl was standing not far away from a brawl in front of her. In front of Kyouko, there was a girl with red vermillion hair that was tied into two buns. She was wearing a red cheongsam outfit and had a pale white skin with a pair of large ocean blue eyes. Her opponent was a man with sandy brown hair, he wore a shinsengumi uniform with katana, and had a pair of reddish brown eyes. The two fighters were fighting intensely while shouting every insult they could think of at each other.
“Dammit, sadist! Stop moving around so I can beat the shit out of you, yes!” Kagura shouted as she was swinging her parasol around, trying to hit the Shinsengumi 1st division captain.
“Only idiots like you who’d likely to wait around so someone can land a hit. After I win, I’ll arrest you for assaulting a police officer.” Replied Sougo with a plain expression as he was dodging Kagura’s attacks and countering them with his sword.
“You are the one who started this first! You stole my lunch and my sukonbu! It took half of my payment from this morning job, yes!”
“Don’t be such a cheapskate, China…. It doesn’t hurt to take only one or two pieces…”
“But I still haven’t given the permission, yet! You just stole from the queen of Kabuki district, y’know!”
“Who would in their right mind accepting you as a queen? Anyway, if I were to ask you nicely, would you have given some to me?” asked Sougo with deadpanned expression.
“No. Like hell I want to share my food with someone else, especially a sadist tax robber like you, yes!”
“And there you have it.”
As Kagura’s veins popped out on her head, the battle intensified even more. Trees were falling down, park properties were destroyed, and dusts were flying around. Kyouko saw Sadaharu was sitting from the other side of the battlefield, barking at the little girl. The little girl got excited to see the giant dog greeted her.
“Sadaharu~!” Kyouko squealed as she ran through the battlefield without being aware of the danger.
When Kagura and Sougo were about to exchange blows once again, Gintoki and Tsukuyo caught Kyouko was walking right between the combatants. Sougo and Kagura were surprised to see the little silver haired girl suddenly appeared in their way, but they’ve already could not stop their advances.
“Kyouko-chan! Get away from there, yes!” Kagura shouted but she could not stop her parasol heading towards Kyouko.
“What are you doing there!? Out of the way!” Sougo shouted as well as he could not stop his own momentum.
Sadaharu could only close its eyes as the dog was too scared to see the outcome.
As the sound of steel was heard, the cloud of dust cleared up and the view became more visible. Kyouko was standing between Gintoki and Tsukuyo, who were protecting the little girl back to back. Gintoki’s bokuto was slammed into Kagura’s parasol, redirecting its trajectory into the ground instead of Kyouko. Tsukuyo’s tantou was blocking Sougo’s katana.
“Kyouko, you alright?” Gintoki asked with Tsukuyo peeked over their heads at Kyouko.
Kyouko only nodded back, as she was still shocked from what happened. As Kagura and Sougo eased up and put away their respective weapons, both of them received a blow on the head from Gintoki. Kyouko also received a small flick on her forehead from Tsukuyo as well.
“I know you brats don’t get along with each other, but know your limits! What would have happened if we weren’t here?” Gintoki was surprisingly lecturing the two teens.
“Same goes to ya, Kyouko-chan. Don’t just wander on yer own.” Tsukuyo said with soft yet stern tone to the little girl.
“Sorry, mama…” Kyouko said with apologetic eyes while holding her sore forehead with both of her hands.
“But Gin-chan! He started first, yes!” Kagura said with a swollen head pointing at Sougo.
“I just wanted to tease her a bit…” replied Sougo with his head in the same condition as Kagura’s.
“I don’t give a shit who started what. You brats almost hurt someone here. I’m also gonna get into trouble if I got a corpse with me, ya hear me?” said Gintoki placing his bokuto on his shoulder.
“Now, now. Do you kids know what ya must do fer now?” asked Tsukuyo after calming Gintoki down, then she turned to the two teenagers with her arms crossed.
Kagura and Sougo looked at each other first, then they turned to Kyouko.
“I’m sorry, Kyouko-chan…” said Kagura with her hands clapped together.
“My bad, kid…” said Sougo bowing to the girl.
“Never thought a sadist like you can apologise to someone”, Kagura commented with somewhat disbelief look.
“I’m still a police officer, you know. I’m not into brats, but I can still tell what is right and wrong. And the same goes to you. Never thought a monster like you knows manners”, replied Sougo.
“Don’t start another fight when you just apologised. Honestly, brats these days….” Gintoki said with exasperated tone as he slid his bokuto back to his waist.
After things were settled, Sougo and Kagura raised their heads and took a look at Gintoki and Tsukuyo who were now paying their attention to Kyouko, examining just in case if the little girl were injured or anything.
“By the way, Gin-chan… What are you and Tsukki doing here with Kyouko-chan? Are you guys having a family outing, yes?” asked Kagura, starting another topic.
Upon hearing Kagura’s question, Gintoki and Tsukuyo flinched as their faces flushed a bit. They might have accepted their circumstances with Kyouko, but they still could not get used to it entirely.
“Well… You know… We’re just…” Gintoki and Tsukuyo tried to find correct words but felt awkward with each other.
“And boss, you and your woman there looked very compatible when you two were protecting that little girl. As expected of parents…” Sougo smirked playfully on the couple.
“Well, like I said, we’re just…” Gintoki thought for a while, but later he ruffled his hair and then he decided to let it all out. “Ah, whatever! Yeah you’re right, I guess until Kyouko can return back to her real home, she is my… no, our daughter after all.” Gintoki replied, looking at both Tsukuyo and Kyouko as he finally admited his entire circumstances with Kyouko and Tsukuyo.
Tsukuyo’s cheeks got even redder when she heard what Gintoki had said and she could not help but put on a small smile. The couple put their hands on their daughter’s shoulders when suddenly a familiar voice was heard shouting at them.
“Gin-san! Kagura-chan! What happened?” Shinpachi screamed running towards them. “I was just going back from Otsu-chan’s concert when I heard a ruckus from the park. I just came to take a look out of curiosity and I saw all of you are together… with Okita-san too?”
“Yo, four-eyes. I guess you just missed the party here.” Sougo greeted while pointing his thumb at the family of three.
“Shut up, Souichiro-kun… Aren’t you supposed to work now?”
“It’s Sougo. I guess I have to go back to work now before Hijikata caught me slack- I mean, taking an overtime break. China, we have to postpone our duel.” Sougo said as he stared at Kagura.
“I guess so, yes. I’ll whoop your ass when Kyouko has returned to the future, yes.” Kagura replied back at Sougo.
“Wait, what do you mean by future? And speaking of, I think boss also said about going back to her real home?” asked Sougo turning his gaze from Kagura to Gintoki.
Since Sougo only knew about half of Yorozuya’s situation with Kyouko, Shinpachi quickly explained about how Kyouko was sent here from the future and other stuff. Sougo’s eyes widened a bit from the revelation, but his overall expression remained indifferent.
“That explained everything. No wonder I felt weird that a little girl suddenly appeared out of the blue claiming to be the boss’ daughter.” Said Sougo crossing his arms.
“Yeah, yeah. Now that you get it, get lost, sadist. You’re already scaring Kyouko-chan enough”, said Kagura moving her hand in shoo-ing motion towards Sougo.
“China, I can also say the same to you again. It’s both of us who almost hurt her”, replied Sougo at the yato girl. “Anyway, my business is done for now so I’ll take my leave. Boss, don’t forget to invite shinsengumi to your wedding later”, said Sougo waving his hand as he walked away from the Yorozuya.
“Like I’d invite you tax robbers to my wedding!” Gintoki shouted towards the officer.
As the Yorozuya family was left alone in the park, Tsukuyo held out her daughter’s hand. “I guess we should go home now…” said Tsukuyo towards the rest of Yorozuya.
The others nodded in agreement. Gintoki and Tsukuyo walked side by side with Kyouko between them, holding their hands; Shinpachi, Kagura and Sadaharu were walking behind them. The youngsters’ faces had wide grins as they saw the family in front of them seemed even closer.