Characters: Sakata Gintoki, Shimura Shinpachi, Kagura, Katsura Koutarou, Shimura Tae, Okita Sougo, Hijikata Toushirou, Kondou Isao, Sadaharu
Disclaimer: Sorachi owns. I only play. You do not sue.
Summary: See Kagura. See Kagura visit the future! But of course it couldn't possibly be the real future. Nuh-uh. Nope. No way in hell.
Note: Written for Short Precarious Anecdote Month.
Sakata Gintoki sat in his office chair, leafing through last week's Jump.
Shimura Shinpachi looked up from dusting the television set and said, "Gin-san, you aren't doing any work."
"What are you talking about, Pattsuan? I'm working very hard here. I am supervising you."
"That's not real work!" Shinpachi returned. Then he sighed and moved on to the windowsill, shaking out the feather duster. The dust from it promptly settled right back on the TV, because feather dusters are goddamned useless if you really think about it.
Kagura strolled in, carrying five boxes of sukonbu under her arm and looking extremely pleased with herself.
"Welcome back, Kagura-chan. Your face says you won us another space trip," Gintoki said, leaning forward in his chair.
Shinpachi turned to look at her with a hopeful gleam in his eye. "Can we leave Sadaharu at home this time? Tama said she'd look after him."
"Pfft," Kagura said, marching up to Gintoki's desk. "Why do you guys always rely on me to bring home the bacon? How pitiful are you? I didn't win anything at the convenience store but I did find this in the park." She brandished a large, heavy-looking timepiece that appeared to be made out of gold. "Gin-chan, I can't read these foreign letters, so read them for me."
"Oyster Perpetual Superlative Chronometer Officially Certified Cosmograph... er, Daytona," Gintoki read. "Sheesh, what a mouthful."
"What does it mean?" Kagura asked, retrieving the watch.
"It means that's probably a Folex watch," Shinpachi said. "They're really expensive! My sister told me that a man once wanted to give one to her as a gift in exchange for feeling her up."
"Did she take it?" Kagura asked.
"No, she said it's bad luck to take things from people who have been beaten unconscious. Tell you what, I'll go get her; she can tell us if it's a real Folex." He lay the feather duster on the windowsill and hurried out.
"That guy will do anything to get out of work," Gintoki said, staring after him. "Don't end up like him, Kagura-chan." He held out his hand. "In the meantime, hand it over."
Kagura, who had been admiring the way the watch sparkled in the lamplight, hid it behind her back with a suspicious glare. "Why?"
"If it's real, we'll pawn it, obviously! Where do you think your next meal's coming from, you little brat? We've been out of work for weeks."
"No flippin' way," Kagura protested. "I found it, it's mine! Even if it's a Molex. Get your own."
"Kagura-chan, you don't even wear a watch," Gintoki pointed out.
"I do now!" Kagura said. She slipped the watch around her wrist and snapped the clasp shut. "A young lady should always know what time it--"
Gintoki blinked at the spot where she'd stood. When that did not make her reappear, he blinked again twice, then rubbed his eyes thoroughly -- they needed a good rubbing anyhow. Still no Kagura.
Sadaharu, who had been dozing behind the sofa, raised his head. "Arr?"
"Don't 'arr' me, find Kagura. She was just here, and now she's gone. Are you a dog or not?"
Sadaharu sniffed the air, sneezed.
"Come over here and sniff the crime scene, you lazy mutt! Ah, but don't sneeze here or you'll disturb the evidence."
Sadaharu walked over to the desk, sniffed the spot where Kagura had stood, and wagged his tail. Then he lay back down and rested his head on his paws, utterly disinterested.
"Some dog you are," Gintoki said. "Oh well. She couldn't have actually vanished, so she probably just ran out really fast. She'll be home by dinner time."
He went back to reading manga and picking his nose.
Twenty or so minutes later, Kagura reappeared in the same spot she'd vanished from, except instead of the smirk she'd left with, she wore a positively radioactive expression. "OKITAAAAAAAAAAAAAA! BRING ME THAT FUCKER RIGHT NOW!" she screamed.
"How the hell did you do that?" Gintoki exclaimed, rising from his chair. "Also, mind your language; do you want Gintama to start airing after midnight? Think about the main character--"
"Not now, Gin-chan, I have to kill Okita! Let's go, Sadaharu."
Gintoki barely had time to jump atop Sadaharu before he bounded out of the house and into the cloudy afternoon.
"Kagura-chan?" he asked, clinging to Sadaharu's back as they barrelled down the street, sending pedestrians scattering for cover. "Care to fill me in on what's going on?"
Kagura stared straight ahead with a crazy look he didn't like at all. "I went to the future," she said over her shoulder. "That bastard's gonna pay."
"Wait, wait, Kagura-chan, let's not overdo this, okay? If I'm going to go to jail for aiding and abetting in the murder of a Shinsengumi officer, I at least deserve to know why we're murdering him? Please?"
"Fine," Kagura said. "I'll tell you, but once I do, we're going to kill him, got that?"
"Yes, yes," Gintoki said, sighing in relief as she told Sadaharu to slow down. They halted near an alley and dismounted, then crouched behind a pair of garbage cans as Kagura told her tale.
INT. GENERIC HOSPITAL ROOM - DUSK
KAGURA is on a bed with her feet in STIRRUPS.
She looks to be in her mid-twenties. A female
DOCTOR flanked by a pair of NURSES stand in
front of the bed, obscuring a view that would
surely earn this anime an R-18 rating.
(she is very pale and her eyes are crazy)
OW OW MOTHERFUCKER OW I'M GOING TO KILL YOU ALL
OKITA is standing on KAGURA's left side. He is
trying to wipe her sweat away with a CLOTH and
his other hand is clutched in KAGURA's.
THIS IS ALL YOUR FAULT! SEE IF I EVER DO IT WITH
YOU AGAIN, YOU USELESS CRETIN!
There is a motionless white-clad FIGURE on the floor to
KAGURA's left. It is GINTOKI, who appears to have passed
out. OTAE and TSUKUYO are holding KAGURA's shoulders.
UMIBOUZU is passed out on the right side of the bed. He
has a prominent BALD SPOT because that's FUNNY.
Mrs. Okita, your labour's gone on for 36 hours now.
Perhaps you will consent to a C-sec--
NO WAY! I REFUSE TO BE CUT OPEN! I WILL PUSH THIS
LITTLE BASTARD OUT OF MY GARDEN OF DELIGHTS IF IT'S
THE LAST THING I DO.
Gintoki suspected that he looked a little green, because he certainly felt a little green after hearing that. "W-Wow, now I understand where you picked up that awful language. I'll have to have some stern words with you in the future."
Kagura's nostrils were starting to flare again.
Gintoki patted her head. "Why are you planning on killing him if he hasn't done anything yet? Just don't let him near your, uh, garden of delights."
"It's obvious that I won't!" Kagura said. "I never planned on it in the first place, how rude! I'm going to kill him out of principle just because I had to see--"
Gintoki and Sadaharu looked at each other.
"Arf?" Sadaharu asked.
Gintoki shrugged. "She must have gone to the future again. Let's wait for her to come back." Chances were good she would reappear in the same spot, just as she'd done at the Yorozuya. Man, he should've brought his Jump.
Katsura Koutarou strode around the corner, wearing a pointy party hat and a fake white beard.
"Was that Leader I heard just-- oh, hello, Gintoki. Well done on finding our secret intel exchange spot, just as we discussed! What can you tell me about the Shinsengumi movements?"
"I don't have time for you right now. I'm waiting for Kagura to come back from the future so go pester somebody else, Zura."
"It's not Zura, it's Katsura. Leader went to the future? How?"
"Long story. Now stop bothering the hard-working self-employed class and do something about that outfit, it's embarrassing!"
"You don't understand anything about disguises," Katsura said. "With these simple accessories, I can pretend to be a lawn gnome at any time -- observe!" With that, his eyes turned unnaturally glassy; he thrust his arms out to the sides in an A-shape and grinned a creepy grin.
"That's even worse," Gintoki said. "Just buy yourself an Elizabeth costume like I keep telling you. They're really cheap at the spaceport cosplay shop."
Katsura launched into a rant about the needless sexualised elements prevalent in cosplay and how it poisons the minds of young people today, then segued into discussing a minor plot point in some Korean drama that stopped being popular a month ago. Gintoki tuned him out.
When Kagura reappeared fifteen or so minutes later, she no longer looked ready to explode with rage. Gintoki would have called it an improvement, but she kept glancing at him and snickering in a really annoying and evil fashion.
"What is it, Kagura-chan?" he asked.
"Oh, nothing." Kagura snorted, then guffawed, then covered her mouth and began to laugh silently, her eyes never leaving Gintoki's face.
"Just tell me, come on. Did I have Okita's baby too, or something?"
"Okita... Sougo's... baby?" Katsura interjected. "What on earth are you people talking about?"
By this point, Kagura was rolling around on the ground without a care in the world for Shinpachi's efforts in laundering her clothes, drumming the road dirt with her feet and hiccoughing. "Okay, okay, I'll tell you," she finally managed to say.
INT. FAMILY RESTAURANT - DAY
GINTOKI and HIJIKATA are sitting at a booth at the back
of the restaurant. They are side by side and appear to be
SNUGGLING. Two extra-large parfaits occupy the table in
front of them. Other restaurant patrons are pointedly not
looking in their direction and appear to be EMBARRASSED.
One of the parfaits is covered entirely in MAYONNAISE.
(lifting a spoonful of normal parfait to GINTOKI's mouth)
GINTOKI eats the spoonful of parfait. The air around
the pair lights up with SHOUJO SPARKLES. Their eyes
also SPARKLE as they look at each other. HIJIKATA
wipes a bit of chocolate sauce from the side of
GINTOKI's mouth with his index finger and then licks
the finger SUGGESTIVELY.
Several patrons exit the restaurant and rush directly
to a DENTAL OFFICE that is conveniently located across
the STREET from the FAMILY RESTAURANT.
"AS IF THAT WOULD EVER HAPPEN! YOUR FUTURE IS FAKE, KAGURA-CHAN. FAKE! THAT IS FALSE! THAT WILL NEVER HAPPEN. EVER. EVEN IF THERE IS EXTRA CHOCOLATE SAUCE. NO WAY." Gintoki's head felt as though it would explode at any moment. He didn't remember ever using this much capslock in his entire life.
"I always knew you were in bed with the Shinsengumi," Katsura said. "How far you have fallen, Gintoki."
"DO YOU WANT TO DIE?"
Katsura put his hand on Kagura's shoulder. "You've done a good job exposing this, Leader. The Joui movement is in your debt."
Kagura began to giggle again. And then she vanished.
Katsura blinked, his hand frozen in mid-air where Kagura's shoulder had been. He looked like an amateur mime who hadn't yet figured out the basics of his profession. "L-Leader?" He blinked again, just as Gintoki had done not an hour ago at the Yorozuya. "SHE WAS JUST HERE! WHY IS SHE GONE? HOW? WHAT IS THIS CONSPIRACY?"
"WHY ARE YOU YELLING?" Gintoki demanded. "I'M THE ONE WHO SHOULD BE YELLING HERE! GODDAMNIT I AM YELLING ALREADY! WHY AM I YELLING ABOUT YELLING?"
They were attracting a crowd -- two grown men shouting at the top of their lungs at each other in an alleyway, in this neighbourhood, meant a knife fight was probably imminent, especially when one of the men looked like an oversized lawn gnome. A local yakuza small-timer was already setting up a betting pool at the other end of the main street. Gintoki and Katsura retreated behind Sadaharu, who proceeded to growl at the onlookers until they dispersed.
Then Kagura came back, this time after about ten minutes.
"I was just at your concert," she told Katsura. "You're even more popular than Terakado Tsuu in the future, did you know? Your onstage persona is called Zurako, and you're super famous for your R&B arrangement called Joui is JOY."
Katsura drew himself up. "This is incontrovertible proof that the ideals of the Joui movement will be alive and well--"
"Your manager is Shinsengumi's Yamazaki," Kagura continued.
"That's impossible," Katsura said, adjusting his beard. "Completely unbelievable. I may be a Zurako of many talents but I would never work with a dog of the Shinsengumi. Leader, you are obviously visiting a future in an alternative universe. It's the only explanation."
Kagura looked doubtful.
"Seriously, think about the things you've seen. They're completely out of character -- you would never give that creepy sadist the time of day, would you?" Gintoki said in cajoling tones. "No need to get all worked up over things that will never happen, right? Let's go home and I'll give you some egg over rice. Okay?"
Reluctantly, Kagura climbed atop Sadaharu; less than ten minutes later, they were home again.
Gintoki was about to ask why Katsura had tagged along since nobody invited him, but Shinpachi interrupted his thought, stomping out into the front hall, where Gintoki and Kagura were belatedly discovering that they had no shoes to take off: they had left the living room riding Sadaharu and had been barefoot this entire time.
"Where the hell did you guys go?" Shinpachi demanded. "My sister's here but she got bored; she's about to go in the kitchen and make tamagoyaki."
"ANEGO!!!" Kagura shrieked. "HEALTH ME!"
"What is it, Kagura-chan?" Shimura Otae called, emerging from the kitchen. "Is Gin-san trying to take your Folex away?"
"It's not a Folex or Molex," Gintoki told her. "It's some weird device that makes her have visions that are totally and completely wrong forever."
Otae grabbed Kagura by the shoulders, peered into each eye with great concern. "Visions? Are you all right, Kagura-chan? It's not a brain tumour, is it? A girl at the shop said her father has one."
"No, it's--" Kagura began, but she vanished before she could complete her sentence.
"Huh?" Otae murmured, looking at her hands. "She just-- poof?"
"Yeah, that's the fourth time it's happened," Gintoki said.
"But where did she go?" Shinpachi asked. "Gin-san, you said she was having visions, didn't you?"
"Yeah, it seems that she is having them somewhere else. Anyway, they're totally fake visions so don't ask about the one she had with me in it."
"And that watch she picked up is causing them?" Otae asked.
Gintoki nodded. "Seems that way. They started as soon as she put it on."
"That should teach her not to pick things up on the street," Shinpachi opined.
Kagura reappeared, ripped the watch from her wrist and threw it in the corner. "No," she said, wide-eyed.
"What did you see?" Gintoki asked.
"What happened?" Otae asked.
INT. LAVISH RECEPTION HALL - NIGHT
A WEDDING is in progress. At the head table, the bride and
groom are clinking their glasses together as everyone cheers
and calls for a toast. The bride is OTAE. She is smiling even
though her groom is KONDOU. On the table in front of them is a
bunch of BANANAS. A BAND full of ALIENS is playing soft music.
"No way in hell!" Otae shrieked. "That--"
"I'm convinced, Gin-chan," Kagura wailed. "Of course it's all fake. Anego would never!"
The doorbell rang. Shinpachi went to get it.
The door slid open, revealing Okita, Hijikata, and Kondou standing outside.
Kagura, Gintoki, and Otae screeched in unison and charged the door.
Gintoki pulled Hijikata in by his lapels. "It will never happen!" he screamed in his face. "Never ever, even if there's extra chocolate sauce, do you understand?"
Hijikata, so stunned he didn't appear to notice Gintoki's fist slamming repeatedly into his ribs, stammered, "Y-y-yes?"
"Why are we being attacked?" Okita demanded, fending Kagura off with difficulty. "We're here to retrieve lost property -- a time machine belonging to--"
"SHUT UP, YOU CREEP!" Kagura took a flying leap at him and missed, landing a few feet behind him.
"Otae-san!" Kondo whined, shielding his head from Otae's pummelling. "I swear I'll bring the Baagen-Dazs next time; I got held up, please stop hitting me!"
Otae produced a naginata from apparent thin air and levelled the business end of it at Kondou.
"Did you say a time machine?" Gintoki asked, trying to escape from Hijikata's chokehold. He spotted Sadaharu sniffing the corner where Kagura had thrown the weird watch. "Guys, guys, Sadaharu's got the fake time machine."
Everyone stopped fighting and turned to look, just in time for Sadaharu to vanish.
"Which time was that?" Okita asked. Kagura had straddled his neck from behind and was attempting to gnaw his back-bent arm off at the elbow.
"What do you mean, which time?" Gintoki asked, pausing in his pummelling of Hijikata, whom he'd wrestled to the floor in the confusion.
"That device only works five times, in increments of twenty minutes, ten, fifteen, five, and then one."
"God damn it!" Shinpachi shouted, leaping into the fray even though there was no opponent for him to fight. "I needed to get that last minute, to find out about my virgini-- I mean, my future success as a, uh--"
"Wait, so it's an actual time machine? For real?" Gintoki asked, sitting down on top of Hijikata's thighs.
"Get off me!" Hijikata growled. "Bastard!"
"Real as Doraemon," Okita confirmed. He had removed Kagura from his neck but she was still latched to his arm by her teeth. "Hijikata-san was delivering it to an embassy earlier, and dropped it like the incompetent that he is."
"I was delivering nothing!" Hijikata objected, pushing Gintoki off himself and rising. "I was your backup; you were the one who dropped it.
Okita finally managed to dislodge Kagura from his arm. She fell to the floor and crouched there, eyeing him suspiciously. "when we realised we didn't have it and came back to search for it, it was gone, so we started asking people and only now found out that someone who looked like China picked it up."
"No, no, no," Gintoki moaned, also rising to his feet and brushing off his kimono. He noted Zura in the corner, pretending to be a lawn gnome and actually not doing a terrible job of it. "You don't understand. It was an actual time machine? Showing the real future? For realsies?"
"Of course it shows the real future," Okita said. "If you want to see a fake future, you watch a movie or something; no need for a time machine."
Sadaharu reappeared. He sniffed Zura's motionless legs, lifted his tail to fart in the rest of the group's general direction, and curled around Zura's feet, shutting his eyes. The Oyster-whatever watch fell out of his mouth as he got comfortable. Kagura, looking shell-shocked, went over to sit by his side.
"Sadaharu, did you see anything about me?" Shinpachi asked with a pitiful look on his face.
Sadaharu ignored him.
Okita retrieved the time machine from the floor. He held it up with two fingers, inspected it, wiped the watch face on his uniform jacket, and stuck it in his pocket. "So... why were you guys attacking us, again?" he asked.
"No reason," Kagura said and patted Sadaharu's flank.
"None at all," Otae said and patted her Unexplained Naginata.
"Nope," Gintoki said and patted Hijikata's head as it was the nearest object to him. Then he wiped his hand on his shirt.
When I rule the world, I shall allow these humans to take turns pouring my Alpine goat milk, Sadaharu thought.