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silent blessings

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Left.

Right.

Left.

Right.

 

Gintoki squeezes his eyes shut, pulling the blanket closer to himself. By right, this should be an easy night to fall asleep to; the rain outside would usually have a calming effect. Today, however, he can't seem to enter dreamland as easily as he usually did. And it frustrates him.

After what seems to be an eternity, Gintoki finally feels some form of fatigue that lulls him to sleep. Before he could completely fall asleep, though, any sort of fatigue disappears with a sudden bang on the door.

The silver-haired man covers his ears with his blanket, hoping that whoever is there would just go away.

 

Bang! Bang! Bang!

 

It repeats, seemingly becoming more frantic.

"Tch. Who the hell is that?"

Gintoki ruffles his hair as he heads towards the door. Annoyed, he pulls the door open. The sight that greeted him, however, isn't exactly what he expected.

Hijikata stands there, his stance wobbly as he fights to maintain balance. His yukata is completely drenched and dripping with rainwater, while his hair is a tangled mess. Overall, he looks like he'd just gotten into a brawl in the rain.

"Oi, Yorozuya…"

He collapses, and Gintoki barely manages to catch the man in time before he fell. But there's something that's not quite right. The moment Gintoki came in contact with Hijikata's skin, he almost retracts in shock.

Gintoki put a hand to Hijikata's forehead. Yep, it's burning, almost as hot as a frying pan.

"Ugh, seriously? What are you doing out here at this time?"

Hijikata mumbles something in reply, and then passes out. Well, there goes Gintoki's sleep.

He sighs, carrying Hijikata into his room. After all, as much as he's tempted to leave the man there, something urges him to at least try to relieve his predicament.

Damn it, he wants to sleep too! Why does Hijikata get to enter dreamland first!!

Gintoki quickly dries his body down with a spare towel, then changes Hijikata into one of his spare pyjamas. Then, he leaves to take the first-aid kit.

"Ah, this is bad…" Gintoki shakes the mercury thermometer, scrutinizing the measurement against the fluoroscent light. His brows are tightly-knit in concern.

Gintoki quickly rummages through the box to find the fever patches, then places it firmly on Hijikata's forehead. Then, he washes the towel and sponges it all over Hijikata's body in an attempt to cool it down. Unfortunately, he ran out of fever medication the other time; he'll have to buy more tomorrow morning.

At this point of time, Hijikata slowly comes to, his eyes slightly disoriented. "Where...am I?"

"You're at my house, idiot." Gintoki washes the towel in the metal basin. "I was trying to sleep, but you started banging on my door! Ugh."

Hijikata doesn't reply, instead staring up at the ceiling as Gintoki sponges him down again.

"What the hell happened anyways?"

"…"

Never mind, Gintoki should probably ask him when he gets better. For now, he spends his time trying to cool Hijikata down. Neither of them speak, but the silence isn't uncomfortable.

"…Sorry for the trouble." Hijikata mumbles.

"Harh? What did you say?" Gintoki pretends to not hear it.

"I said I'm sorry for giving you trouble!"

"Hahaha the Shinsengumi Vice-Chief, Hijikata Toushirou, apologizing to me, his archenemy?" Gintoki chuckles. "Wow! Now the sun will be rising from the West."

"Shut up." Hijikata rolls his eyes.

"Yes, yes, Shinsengumi Vice-Chief." Gintoki gets up. "You sit tight here and I'll go get you some hot water."

Hijikata sips the water carefully, while Gintoki sits and watches him quietly. He's never noticed it before, but Hijikata is surprisingly good-looking from the side. Well, Gintoki was usually too busy arguing with him to take notice of this anyways. Before Gintoki realises, he ends up staring.

"What are you staring at?"

Gintoki flinches, realising what he has been doing. He quickly snaps out of it, shaking his head and runs a hand through the messy curls. "Sorry."

He thinks he sees Hijikata smile ever so faintly, but before he could confirm it, it disappears.

"Thank you for helping me." Hijikata says, not looking away from the water cup.

"Well, now you owe me a favour too! What a day." Gintoki laughs. "How about you try the Uji Gintoki-don to pay back? Hahaha!"

"No way!" Hijikata immediately replies. "That's basically a bowl of sugar, I'll never eat that shit."

Before he realises, though, Hijikata starts chuckling. Both of them burst into genuine laughter, and the sounds echo around the small room merrily.

"But I'll get you something…I guess…" Hijikata's voice fades away. "Can't be owing someone like you a favour."

To his own surprise—Gintoki doesn't know what got into him, either—he ruffles Hijikata's hair, a smile involuntarily tugging at his lips.

"I'm kidding. It's fine, you don't have to pay me back or anything. Consider this free help."

"Eh…? But—"

"Well, if you really want to repay me…" Gintoki moves closer, a finger daintily lifting up Hijikata's face.

Then, the silver-haired samurai presses his lips against the other's, ever so gently.

Gintoki slowly moves away, his thumb brushing over Hijikata's bottom lIp. "…And now we're even."

Under the fluoroscent lights, Hijikata's face becomes two shades redder—and it isn't because of his fever—his eyes blown wide from the surprise.

"What—?"

He forces Hijikata back under the blankets. "Now, go to sleep or Gin-san won't let you off so easily!"

 

 

The next day Hijikata wakes up, only to find Gintoki sound asleep beside the futon he slept on.