Summary: Shinpachi Shimura was not someone you could call unattractive, necessarily, but neither was he exactly handsome. At most, you could say he was symmetrical. And that was Shinpachi in a nutshell, really.
What is a Man?
A Gintama oneshot
A/N: ... just a miserable pair of glasses. XD
Just a Shinpachi character piece. He needs more love. This is set no later than episode 169, because that's about as far as I've watched so far.
I'm not sure where I was originally going with this, but I think I like how it ultimately turned out.
Shinpachi Shimura was not someone accustomed to being complimented. He did not have the kind of presence which garnered positive attention, or really any attention at all. Hardly anybody ever had anything good to say about him.
Not that Shinpachi was a nasty or unpleasant person, or anything. No, it was quite the opposite – Shinpachi Shimura was generally polite and unassertive, pretty much only ever raising his voice for one of two things: Otsu-chan or punchlines. He wasn't particularly rude or abrasive – certainly not when compared to Gin-san or Kagura-chan – though the antics of those around him very easily wore at his patience and caused him to lash out verbally.
Not that his words held any importance of the minds of his companions. No, depressingly enough, it hardly ever mattered what he said. His so-called friends almost never really cared about his opinions. They were too stubborn and self-centered for anything like that.
Honestly, sometimes Shinpachi felt like his presence was never even really of any consequence outside of delivering punchlines. Gin-san and Kagura-chan et al certainly did not help matters any, frequently going so far as to mistake Shinpachi's spectacles for Shinpachi himself. Even Ane-ue, his dear, elder sister Otae Shimura, for whom he cared more than basically anyone else in the world, sometimes made Shinpachi feel like his life was a failure, like he amounted to nothing more than a pair of glasses.
Sometimes, when things slowed down and he was left to think to himself, Shinpachi felt more like a Yamcha than a Krillin. Despite years of training himself in the way of the sword since childhood, because he was surrounded by freakishly strong people Shinpachi often seemed far weaker than he actually was. Even if he could send people flying with one hit, compared to Kagura or Gin-san, or basically anyone else he knew, who could easily send dozens flying at once, Shinpachi came across as weak. It didn't matter how strong he was compared to the average person if he was always the first one out of his friends to need protecting whenever things got serious.
Not that Shinpachi judged his own worth as a person by his strength, or anything like that – no, if he did, he would probably be more confident than he was. Because by most other measures of a person's worth – wealth, friends, romance – he was even lower. Shinpachi never had any money, what little he made working at Odd Jobs usually being immediately spent on either food or Otsu-chan merchandise, and his only close friends were a hopeless, unreliable, borderline-diabetic ossan in his twenties and a barely pubescent, freakishly strong, bottomless-pit of a young girl amanto, both of whom frequently either ridiculed or ignored him. Even if their teasing was never mean-spirited, that didn't mean they never made Shinpachi feel dispirited. And don't even get him started on romance, just don't.
His only real potential female love interest among the recurring cast members was Kagura, and while he dearly cared for the obnoxious little brat, trying to romance her seemed like it would just be far more trouble than it was worth.
Honestly, was it any wonder Shinpachi immersed himself in devotion to Otsu? The only place he ever really felt important was with the Otsu-chan Fanclub, where he was both a respected leader and a feared commander. Even if his devotion to Otsu was never rewarded with anything more substantial than empty, sugar-coated platitudes, it sometimes seemed like it was the only thing keeping him afloat.
And truth be told, even then there were times where Shinpachi felt like he was on the brink of falling once again into hopeless depression. But then Gin-san would say something ridiculous, or Kagura-chan would do something stupid, and he would snap out of his funk to loudly rebuke them.
And when he finished reprimanding them he would turn around and stalk off, muttering under his breath about hopeless idiots. But his mood would be lighter, and his mutterings would hold less bile.
And Gin and Kagura would share a conspiratorial smile (not that Shinpachi ever saw it) knowing that they had done their part as the plain-faced teen's friends. Because despite all his complaints, Shinpachi would not trade Gin-san or Kagura-chan for the world, and, when it came right down to it, neither would they trade him. When it truly mattered, they would always be there for him for curse out and yell at.
And after that, they would smile and lend him a shoulder to lean on. Because that was just what friends did.
TTFN and R&R!
"ane-ue" - a very respectful, somewhat old-fashioned (I believe) form of "oneesan", 'elder sister'
"ossan" - slang term for 'old man', generally referring to men in their twenties or thirties ; ...or men whose pillows smell like their dads
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