Characters: Hijikata Toushirou, Kondou Isao, Okita Sougo, Yamazaki Sagaru, Sakata Gintoki, Kagura, Shimura Shinpachi, Sadaharu
Disclaimer: Sorachi owns. I only play. You do not sue.
Summary: The Shinsengumi have to learn yoga. This can only end in tears.
Note: Written for Short Precarious Anecdote Month.
"Yoga?" Hijikata asked, reaching for his cigarettes then remembering the smoking ban. Though maybe that was just the one episode. I'm sure I've smoked in here since then. Fucking reruns messing with the timeline.
"Yoga." Kondou folded his arms across his chest and nodded for emphasis as he often did when presiding over the general members' meeting whether he knew what was going on or not.
"Yoga?" Okita asked, doubtful in a bored sort of way.
"WHY?" Hijikata demanded. "Why yoga? Why us?"
"The Shogunate has issued a decree," Kondou said with a shrug. "I don't ask; they don't explain."
"If you asked, maybe they would explain, Kondou-san," Okita offered.
Someone tittered; a few others picked the laughter up and bounced it around the back rows. Okita directed a malevolent glare in that general direction, and everyone fell silent.
"Be that as it may," Kondou said, "It's yoga time."
Mayonnaise Kitchen began to play in the background.
"Is this really okay?" Yamazaki asked, sitting seiza-style on the floor of the old Shinsengumi dojo as the first unit waited for the yoga instructors to appear.
"What are you whining about now, Yamazaki?" Hijikata asked. He was in no mood for any of this: doing yoga, sitting on a rubber mat that looked like it belonged under an incontinent hospital patient, listening to Yamazaki's complaints, abstaining from smoking.
"We're going to do yoga in our uniforms?" Yamazaki must have sensed Hijikata's irritation, for his voice was quite subdued this time.
"What's wrong with our uniforms? If we can sword-fight in them, we can do anything in them, yoga included."
"I think Yamazaki-kun just wants an excuse to wear yoga pants, Hijikata-san, don't be so hard on people," Okita said, fussing with his scarf.
"What are yoga pants? Kondou asked.
"Right, that's enough talking, you bastards," the instructor said, walking into the room from a nondescript side entrance, as instructors were wont to do.
The instructor bore a resemblance to Yorozuya's Sakata Gintoki, a resemblance so suspicious that it was complete: the instructor was Yorozuya's Sakata Gintoki. Must have been. He was dressed in his usual outfit, but Hijikata still couldn't be sure if it was really him or not: this person was carrying an actual book. With pages and everything.
Behind him trailed Shimura Shinpachi, undisguised and looking as beleaguered and on the edge of apoplectic shock as usual, and a young girl dressed in red. Although she wore a pair of glasses with a fake nose-and-moustache attached to them, this was unmistakably Yorozuya's Kagura. The giant demon-dog who was either the Yorozuya's pet or its mascot -- Hijikata could never tell -- completed the procession. They filed in and stood in front of the Shinsengumi members, who had all fallen quite silent.
Hijikata's head began to hurt at the same time as his eyebrow began to twitch. Never a good sign.
"Right, welcome to your first yoga lesson," Gintoki said. He was either high on something and thus unaware whom he was facing or didn't care. Either scenario pissed Hijikata off to no end.
Ginoki held up the book he had carried in. The cover was bright pink; on it, in black bold letters, was the title: Yoga Manual for Total Noobs. "Right, first of all--"
"Why do you have that?" Hijikata exploded. "Isn't it just proof you're a total noob and not an instructor at all?"
"What?" Gintoki drew himself up with an elaborate show of indignation. "How dare you? This is the textbook! You all have to buy it. There will be a test."
"Now you've done it, Hijikata-san," Okita said.
There were disgruntled murmurs in the back, to the tune of great, a test and can we expense those? If Hijikata turned around to see who was talking, he feared he would start cutting people open, and that was something Kondou-san had explicitly prohibited. In fact, he had actually made Hijikata sign a memo that read I promise not to cut anyone open at any time during the yoga lessons.
"As I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted, first of all let me introduce your instructors. I'm Sakasanata Yogintoki, and these are my assistants: the pair of glasses over here is Shinpachi, the girl is named Fearsome Gura-san, and Sadaharu is Sadaharu. Those of you who are a little more advanced should watch Fearsome Gura-san, and as for those without any yoga experience, watch Sadaharu as he will be performing modified versions of the exercises developed especially for elderly people."
Gintoki actually had a fairly impressive teacher voice; it was almost as though he was a teacher in an alternative universe. Maybe one where everyone else was a high school student.
"Excuse me, Danna-sensei?"
"Yes, what is it, Okita-kun?"
"What kinds of moves will Shimura be demonstrating?"
"Don't be silly, Okita-kun, glasses can't do yoga; they only have two arms."
"HEY!" Shinpachi began to argue, but Gintoki continued to talk right over him.
"So let's start with the first move, which is also the easiest because that's only logical."
Yamazaki raised his hand. "Shouldn't we do a warm-up first?"
Gintoki scratched his butt. "Right, a warm-up. Okay, everyone go run around the building ten times. We'll wait."
"As if we will!" Hijikata snapped. He would have questioned Gintoki's credentials at this point, but Kondou-san had made him sign a memo that read I promise not to call the yoga instructors' credentials into question. "Just get to the damn lesson already, we've got a briefing in an hour."
"It's your funeral," Gintoki said with a shrug, but put his nose back into the book. "The Mountain Pose. Stand up straight, raise your arms above your head, reach for the sky -- reach for the sky? Who writes this stuff?"
Kagura lifted her arms overhead and started jumping up and down, with the rest of the Shinsengumi -- with the notable exception of Hijikata -- following her lead.
"What are you doing, China?" Okita asked, jumping, his breathing laboured.
"Reaching for the sky, obviously," came the effortless reply. "The roof's in the way, though."
"If you're too unfit to keep up with Fearsome Gura-san, just follow Sadaharu," Gintoki put in.
Sadaharu lifted one paw off the floor and held it there.
"Gin-chan, how many of these are we supposed to do?" Kagura asked after the fiftieth jump, beginning to sound slightly winded.
"That's about enough," Gintoki, who had put the yoga manual aside to read Jump, said. "Next one is the Downward Dog... er... no, this is way too many words, just do your best, Fearsome Gura-san."
"This pose is too obscene for a young girl," Kagura said after peering at the book. "Sadaharu, take it away."
"Right, then, Sadaharu, do the Downward Dog." Gintoki thrust the manual at Sadaharu's muzzle.
Sadaharu lay down on the floor with his front paws stretched out.
"Sadaharu, what a good boy!" Kagura exclaimed in extremely proud tones. "Who's a good boy?"
At this, the entire Shinsengumi squad -- with the notable exception of Hijikata -- lay down on the floor with their arms thrust out in front of them, as if prostrating themselves.
"You bunch of perverted lolicon creeps!" Hijikata screeched. "You just want a twelve-year-old girl to tell you you're good boys! Commit seppuku and die!"
"Now, now, there's no need for violence, Oogushi-kun," Gintoki said.
"You were just nodding in agreement with me, you perm-headed bastard! And who the hell is Oogushi-kun?"
"I'm fourteen," Kagura said, peevish.
Gintoki stirred the air with the book as though it were an uchiwa. "Stop arguing. Next we're moving on to the Warrior Pose. Uhhh, let's see. Stand with feet apart... right foot out... left foot in... lower your arms and bend your knee... anyway, something like that. Do your best."
The Shinsengumi members -- with the notable exception of Hijikata -- tried to follow these directions and ended up contorted into various shapes that in no way resembled any warrior Hijikata had ever seen.
There was a loud ripping sound and Kondou raised his hand. "Excuse me, sensei? My pants have come apart at the crotch. May I be excused for the rest of the lesson so I can run to check if Otae-san will consent to sewing them up?"
"You stay right there, gorilla. No pain no gain," Gintoki replied. "Fearsome Gura-san, why aren't you demonstrating?"
"How do you expect me to demonstrate?" Kagura demanded, pushing the nose-and-moustache glasses up her nose as she looked up from Gintoki's discarded Jump. "In this week's chapter of SKET Dance, Himeko is supposed to finally admit she has feelings for Bossun--"
"That's the problem with the new generation," Gintoki lectured. "Jump manga used to be all about friendship, effort, and victory; now it's all about love stories, teenage angst, and magical basketball. Man, the editors have totally sold out to the female fanbase--"
"Don't blame the women, you bastard, we're the pinchy pin of the economy!"
"That's linchpin, Kagura-chan," Shinpachi, who had for a while now looked desperate to get a word in, volunteered.
"It's Fearsome Gura-san!"
"How about you get back to the lesson, you pathetic excuses for human beings who have no taste because Magazine is clearly the superior choice for the thinking man," Hijikata complained.
Kagura rounded on him. "Do I look like a man to you, you weird otaku?"
"Everyone looks like a man to Hijikata-san. Don't take it personally, China, he can't help that he swings that way."
Hijikata glared at him. "Do you want to die?"
"All right, since we've decided we're going to be children, I'm going to introduce the Child Pose, so pay attention," Gintoki called over the general bickering in the room over whether or not Himeko was going to confess to Bossun or keep her feelings bottled up forever. "Sit on your heels and bend down with your full torso, uh, what does this say... basically just do Sadaharu's version of the Downward Dog but with your face to the floor."
Everyone -- with the notable exception of Hijikata -- complied, except Sadaharu, who didn't seem to be interested in moving from the original Downward Dog.
"Doesn't that just look like they're all lying down and crying?" Hijikata muttered.
"And there you have it, that's why they call it the Child Pose. Pattsuan, mark it down: ten points to Oogushi-kun."
"Why are we being graded on half-assed yoga poses?"
"It's not your pose but your commentary," Gintoki told him. "You haven't actually been doing any poses at all since a while ago, so maybe you shouldn't be picky about where your points come from."
"Like I care about your shitty points!"
"Okay, that's enough crying into the floor, everyone. Next one, Tree Pose -- er... I don't know how to read this character so I'll just describe the picture. Raise your arms and stick your foot into your crotch with the toe pointing down."
Kagura demonstrated, and there were loud yelps all around the room as select members of the Shinsengumi -- with the notable exception of Hijikata -- proceeded to drive their own heels right into their testicles and promptly collapsed to the floor.
Kondou raised a timid hand from the fetal position. "Excuse me, sensei?"
"What is it, Stalker-kun?"
"Uh, we appear to be in the wrong place," Kondou wheezed.
"This is yoga boot camp, of course you're in the right place."
"No, it turns out that when our higher-ups sent the memo to attend yoga classes they accidentally forgot the katakana dash after ト and the device they were using auto-corrected 'toga' to 'yoga' -- we're actually supposed to be attending a toga party, it seems." Kondou delivered this while waving his cell phone at Gintoki and clutching his partially exposed private parts with his other hand.
Kondou's parts were partially exposed because he had ripped his pants earlier. Also he had forgotten to wear underwear that day. Hijikata was nothing if not a continuity fan.
"Wait, Kondou-san, you hired these clowns? What the hell were you thinking?" Hijikata wanted to know.
"Otae-san said that if I keep her brother in work for a year, she'll let me gaze at the nape of her neck for five minutes!"
"No matter how you look at it, that isn't a fair exchange at all!" Hijikata shouted.
"So you don't need us any more?" Gintoki asked, closing the book and depositing it in his kimono sleeve. "Well, you'd still better pay us, you damn gorilla. We went all out for you, as always."
"Gin-chan, can I still be Fearsome Gura-san on our next job?" Kagura asked.
Gintoki patted her on the head and removed the nose-and-moustache glasses from her face. "Sure thing. I'll just hang on to these for you until then." With that, he put them on.
"Right, men, we're leaving," Hijikata said. "Anyone with injured balls, ask a buddy to help you walk."
"All this is because you idiots didn't do a proper warm-up!" Gintoki yelled at their backs.
In the background, Mayonnaise Kitchen finally stopped playing.