Amanto have the weirdest holidays, and they only get stranger when they drag them to Edo. Okita/Kagura.
Love is Getting Your Candy for Free
"--and so then Zura starts going on about how it's such an awful amanto holiday and how could I possibly disgrace my ancestors by accepting candy from someone," Gintoki was saying, not looking up from his copy of Jump and his box of chocolates as he spoke. He'd actually gotten two gifts of candy the day before, one from Sacchan and the other from Shimura Otae; there was also a large pile of candy near the door that they'd salvaged from Katsura's place before the garbage collectors got there. As it turned out, there were a lot of young ladies in Edo who thought the handsome, dramatic hero of the resistance deserved candy. And that many of these young ladies somehow knew where the infamous Katsura Kotarou lived while the Shinsengumi scoured the city for him. He'd thrown all but one of them out (the one he'd kept had been from that ramen shop girl he was sort of dating but not really because he kept asking her to change her shop over to a soba one and she kept refusing). "And I told him that he'd be saying something totally different if the weather girl gave him candy."
"Gin, the weather girl didn't give you any candy." Shinpachi said; he was in Gintoki's kitchen, making dinner for him and Kagura for the third time that week. If he didn't come over and cook for them, they would have both starved to death a long time ago. "My sister and Sarutobi Ayame gave you candy." And Shinpachi most definitely had room to talk for once in his sad and pathetic life, because Otsuu had walked right to the red-light district and given Shinpachi a signed copy of her new single right in front of everyone. Not even the fact that it was signed to my favorite imperial guard, Shinji could take away from Shinpachi's absolute victory in terms of Valentine's Day. The fact that his only other gift had been a punch in the face from Kagura (it was all a guy in glasses deserved on a romantic day, she'd said) didn't even ruin it.
"Why do only crazy women like me?" Gintoki said, and Shinpachi couldn't let that one slide. His sister was crazy, true enough, but he couldn't let anyone-- not even his mentor-- slander her in such a way!
"My sister isn't crazy," Shinpachi protested, turning on the rice cooker. It started sparking and smoking, and he quickly jerked the plug back out of the outlet. "What did you people do to this poor rice cooker, and what did it do to deserve it?" A cursory look at it, however, told him just what had happened. "Gin, there are tooth marks on your /rice cooker/."
"Oh, yeah," Gintoki said vaguely, but his explanation was interrupted by Kagura coming inside. She was eating a crepe, and there was screaming on the street outside. "...Kagura, what did we say about letting Sadaharu attack street vendors?"
"Only the ice cream vendors, and only when you're around to steal the cart," Kagura said, her mouth full. She swallowed, and noticed Shinpachi hitting the rice cooker in an attempt to fix it. "Stupid Shinpachi, you have to chew on it to get it to work, not hit it!" She started to walk into the kitchen, but then she noticed Gintoki's chocolate. "Hey, candy!"
"You would steal candy from a sick man?" Gintoki asked, clutching his box of chocolates to him with a devotion second only to that with which he guarded his Shounen Jump. "That's cruel, Kagura."
"It doesn't count if you're diabetic!" Kagura said, kicking the couch over with one foot. "Fine, then, gimme some money so I can go down to the five for one yen discount candy sale!"
"There's a five for one yen discount candy sale?" Gintoki poked his head out from under the couch. "Where?"
"Gin, you've already had too much candy today!" Shinpachi warned him, now hitting the rice cooker with a wooden spoon in a vain attempt to get it to work. It seemed he wasn't going to take Kagura's advice and chew on it. "You're going to get sick!"
"Hey, can I have your TV when you fall into a coma and die?" Kagura asked eagerly.
"I already promised it to Zura. Smashing amanto electronics makes him feel better about himself." Gintoki crawled out from under the couch and poked Kagura in the forehead. "And I'm not giving you any money. Get a job if you want to pillage the candy store."
"She has a job, Gin!" Shinpachi plugged the rice cooker in again, and that time it turned on. It started smoking ominously, but at least it seemed to be cooking the rice. "You never pay either one of us!"
"Oh, fine," Gintoki said, and rummaged around in his pockets until he came up with two yen. "Here. But that's all I'm giving you."
"All right!" Kagura vaulted over the couch, two yen in hand, and went for the door. "But I still want your TV when you fall into a coma and die from eating too much candy!"
"What kind of candy do you think she would buy for the Captain?" Yamazaki asked, looking at the rows and rows of pink and red boxes at the five for one yen discount candy sale in utter bewilderment. Kondou had been depressed all day because he hadn't gotten any candy, and it had been Yamazaki's idea to buy him some at the candy sale and pretend it was a late gift from Shimura Otae.
"She wouldn't buy any for him." Hijikata grunted as if the sight of the frilly, heart-shaped boxes offended him. "That's the problem." He didn't actually hate this holiday as much as he let on, because some admiring young lady had sent him a jar of mayonnaise with a big red bow tied around it. Said young lady had not signed her name, however, and judging by the reports from the men who had seen her leave she sounded suspiciously like Okita in a dress. Still, poisoned mayonnaise and attempted murder or not, he'd actually gotten something. Which was more than could be said for just about anyone in the Shinsengumi, besides--
"Five different girls bought me that one," Okita said, sounding bored with that fact. "If you want to buy him this one, I could just give you one of mine. I was going to throw half of them away." Okita liked candy just fine, but he'd gotten so much of it that there was no way he would be able to eat it all before it went bad. No one had realized that he had so many fans in Edo before. "Oh, and this one came with a poem about how my hair looks like a sunrise. It was very moving. As in I moved very quickly to throw it away."
Okita Sougo was definitely a horrible person, but everyone knew that already.
"What kind of idiot throws away chocolate?" It was Kagura, her arms full of at least twenty boxes of candy. She wasn't flanked by her freakish friends for once, but that didn't mean anything. She was just as dangerous /by herself/.
"What kind of girl waits until the five for one yen discount candy sale to buy something for her boyfriend?" Okita asked-- not that he thought Kagura actually had a boyfriend, mind you, because who would date that little monster? It was more of a rhetorical question to point out how ridiculous she was.
"What are you talking about? This is for me!" Kagura picked up another two boxes of candy off the table. "Well, and this box here is for Sadaharu. But mostly this is for me. Like I would waste my money buying some man candy!"
"Like anyone would accept it from you if you did." Okita tapped a finger against his chin contemplatively. "I mean, you're short and violent and immature, and everybody knows that brunettes are more attractive."
"I don't think he realizes everyone says the same things about him," Hijikata muttered, and Yamazaki got over his fear of the imposing selection of candy to laugh at that. "Come on, pick one out and let's go. Before they kill someone."
"Oh, so that explains why you're at the discount candy sale!" Kagura was inordinately pleased at that she'd figured this out. "The bit about throwing away candy was just a cover! Nobody got you any, did they?"
"I got more candy than anyone in Edo," Okita said, affronted.
"Nuh-uh. Zura got more candy than anyone in Edo. You should see how much of it Gin got before the garbage collection came! I'm going to get his TV when he goes into a diabetic coma and dies, too." Kagura was also extremely pleased with this fact (never mind that she wasn't really supposed to get that TV-- hey, she watched those dramas, unlike Zura, so she deserved it!), but not so pleased that she didn't smash a box of chocolates right into Okita's face. "There, now at least you've got more candy than /Shinpachi/."
"There's no way a terrorist got more candy than I did," Okita said mildly just before slamming a box of chocolate liqueurs on the top of Kagura's head. The filling got all in her hair quite quickly, which had been the point.
"Well, he does have brown hair, Okita, sir!" Yamazaki pointed out helpfully, and at that point Hijikata dragged him off to pay for the box of candy they'd chosen at random. "But Lieutenant, shouldn't we get four more? We're paying one yen either way!"
Lieutenant Hijikata's reply was lost in Kagura's violent war screech as the caramel creams smeared down the front of Okita's dress uniform. Her dress was saved from a similar fate when she opened her umbrella just in time and held it in front of her like a shield, keeping Okita at bay until he started throwing nougat at her. That was worse, because it was sticky.
"My mother made this dress!" Kagura said, which was an absolute lie because she'd bought it here in Edo. But someone's mother had worked in a sweatshop to make this dress, and now Okita was getting nougat on it. It wasn't like his stupid uniform that got ordered in from an amanto company on the other side of the galaxy where they probably had robots that would do things for you and thus had no one's mother involved in it at all. And Kagura knew all about the strange practices on the other side of the galaxy, because that's where she was from. Never mind that she'd lived on a farm and never left her planet until she came to Edo, she still knew!
"You're a liar. You bought it, because I've seen it in the window of the secondhand store." Okita didn't explain why he, who made a nice salary from the Shinsengumi, had been lurking around a secondhand store. It was probably better that way, because his reasons for being there would probably have been incredibly shady. Like buying the dress he wore to pose as the mysterious woman who brought Lieutenant Hijikata that poisoned mayonnaise. The reason that he didn't explain was that Kagura hit him in the face with her umbrella, which both hurt and got nougat in his hair.
"It's not lying when you're a lady! It's saving face when idiots like you ask rude questions!" Kagura yanked her umbrella back, leaving little bits of nougat stuck in Okita's hair and on his uniform. "Didn't your mother teach you not to ask women how old they are or how much they spend on their clothes?"
Okita's mother had actually taught him to kill a man with one blow, but that was beside the point. If he mentioned that, Kagura would probably want to know the technique. And she was dangerous enough as it was.
"Okita, sir, we're leaving!" Yamazaki called out. He had the candy for their Captain, and Hijikata was dragging him from the checkout counter to the door. "Please don't destroy this discount store like the Lieutenant did the last one!"
"There's no way you got that much candy for two yen," Gintoki said when Kagura came in covered in chocolate. She was carrying a bag full of candy. "...and that's only counting what you're wearing."
"Kagura! Do you know how badly chocolate stains?" Shinpachi asked in dismay. He was the one who took care of the laundry, because if he didn't then Gintoki and Kagura would sit around in their own filth. Sort of like they would starve and go into debt, too. Why was he the only person in Kabukicho with any kind of life skills?
"The man at the store gave it to me for free to get me to leave!" Kagura ignored her own bag of candy to steal some of Gintoki's. He was still on the same box of chocolates he'd been on when Kagura left, so she probably wasn't going to inherit his television anytime soon.
"What did you do to the poor store owner?" Shinpachi assumed that she had done something to the store owner because that was what always happened.
"Nothing!" Kagura wandered into the kitchen, still chewing on her stolen candy. "Hey, you fixed the rice cooker. Told you that you had to chew on it!"
"That is unsanitary! And an electrocution hazard!" Shinpachi shooed her away. "Anyway, Gin already ate all the rice. And you obviously did something to the store owner! People don't get thrown out of discount stores for nothing!"
"I told you, you stupid idiot, I didn't do anything! Okita's the one who knocked over his candy display and managed to get nougat all over the weather girl while she bought candy--" Kagura's explanation was cut short by the sound of the sofa flipping over. Gintoki had heard them.
"Okita attacked the weather girl?" Gintoki asked, sounding outraged. Or, well, what passed for outraged with him, which was more of a very bored with a side of irritation. "...wait, the weather girl was buying candy? She must have finally realized her feelings for me."
"Gin, the weather girl is not going to date you! If it wasn't for hookers and Sacchan, you would still be a virgin!" Shinpachi put his hand over his mouth as soon as he said it. Kagura stared.
"And your sister," Gintoki said calmly.
"Wh- /what?/" Shinpachi demanded, dropping his hand from his mouth and then fainting.
"I think we broke Shinpachi," Kagura whispered. She sounded almost reverent.
"That beast he calls a sister broke him a long time ago." Gintoki stepped over his unconscious apprentice and went back to the overturned couch, his Jump, and his candy.
A month passed very quickly for the Shinsengumi-- after all, with their exciting existence of car chases, sword fights, bomb scares, anti-terrorist seminars, and team-building activities (which they hadn't had since the disastrous one two weeks ago when Yamazaki convinced Kondou that badminton was team-building), whole weeks could go by without them having any free time to be bored in. Okita only knew a month had gone by because of all the advertisements for White Day. Which, so far as he could tell, was yet another attempt for the amanto to milk out whatever last bits of money were still hiding in the piggy-banks and retirement funds of Edo.
"You have to send candy to at least one of the girls who sent you something, sir," Yamazaki insisted. "Otherwise they'll think you're leading them on."
"...that doesn't make any sense," Hijikata said. "If you get them something, you really will be leading them on."
"No, no, Lieutenant!" Yamazaki said, with a bizarre arm gesture that looked like he'd practiced it on the badminton court. "If you get one woman candy, the others will know that you're taken! If you don't get anyone anything, they'll think you can't decide between them!"
"But then the woman he buys candy for will think he's interested." Hijikata concentrated on putting mayonnaise on his pork fried rice instead of actually paying attention to the situation at hand, because actually sitting down and thinking about Okita Sougo's love life was likely to break his brain.
"I know exactly who to buy some for." There was one woman who wouldn't feel the need to harass him or date him or stalk him or do any of those other woman things, because she wasn't a woman. She was a hideous beast from another planet.
"...oh, shit." Hijikata actually thought about what Okita was saying. He should have concentrated on the rice. "Well, when you figure out where those ingrates live, let us know so we can arrest them."
"I can't believe I had to /bail you out of jail/," Shinpachi said, practically crying in frustration.
"I paid you that money in the first place," Gintoki pointed out boredly, wandering over to the couch and sitting down.
"Do you know how much back salary you still owe me?" Shinpachi continued. "That bail money was your television fee money, too! No more dramas for you and Kagura!"
"I'll take the television fee out of Kagura's salary." Gintoki shrugged.
"You don't pay Kagura!" Shinpachi fumed, stomping into the kitchen. "And what possessed you to follow the weather girl around and keep trying to give her chocolate? Stalking is a crime!"
"I took you on as an apprentice in the way of the samurai, not as a housewife." Gintoki put his magazine over his face and closed his eyes, planning to fall asleep and ignore Shinpachi like he always did.
"Shinpachi's not pretty enough to be anyone's wife." Kagura had obtained some riceballs somewhere (she probably killed some poor man on his way to work and pillaged his lunch) and was eating them, sitting on the kitchen counter and swinging her feet back and forth. "No one wants a wife who wears glasses. Hey, maybe Otsuu will write a song about that!"
"/Don't you talk about Otsuu/," Shinpachi said loudly, and Kagura threw a riceball at him. He was still wiping the vinegar off his glasses (and Kagura chewing on his hand in an attempt to get all the rice off) when someone knocked on the door very nicely and politely. That meant it was either a client or Zura. "/Oh look, Kagura, that must be Mr. Katsura at the door. I think I'll go and get it/." She refused to let go, and he wound up dragging her to the door with him.
"Is Kagura here?" Okita Sougo asked politely. Shinpachi slammed the door in his face.
"Gin! Otose called the Shinsengumi because you haven't been paying the rent!" Shinpachi said, and Gintoki dragged himself off the couch and to the door.
"Look," Gintoki said, opening the door, "tell that old hag that-- what the hell is that." It wasn't even a question.
"It's candy," Okita said, smiling disarmingly. There was a white box in his arms. "Could I speak to Kagura, please?"
"...oh, hell," Gintoki muttered. "Kagura, your little boyfriend is here! Look, she's not allowed to date. If I catch you making out with her, I'll have to beat you up."
"You're not my father," Kagura said loudly. "And anyway, I don't have a boyfriend."
"Kagura, you're not allowed to date!" Shinpachi's feelings on the subject were similar to Gintoki's. Kagura didn't bother arguing with him, just punched him in the nose and went to the door.
"You're damn right I'm not your father. I would have to commit seppuku from all the shame you brought to the family. And you're not allowed to date." Gintoki wandered back inside, mostly because threatening Okita was sort of useless. He was a freak of nature, sadistic and fearless and impervious to pain. In short, probably the second strongest being in Edo. Kagura would be all right. Even if she wasn't allowed to date.
That was because the likely holder of the "strongest being in Edo" title was getting a box of amanto chocolates smashed into her face at that very moment. Kagura just blinked at him, and ran a finger down her chocolate-covered face before popping it into her mouth.
"The discount store candy was better," she said calmly, and kicked him off the landing.