Okita Sougo was not good with his feelings. Never has been the most open and affectionate person. Could be the sadism getting in the way, or maybe the guy’s just slightly emotionally constipated. So naturally, he doesn’t fully understand why his heart flutters when he sees Kagura at the Yorozuya house, or why being around her makes him so nervous, or why he enjoys every chance he gets to playfight with her and never wants it to end.
He’s not stupid, though. He knows the baseline of why it happens. He just refuses to believe the fact, even when it stares him straight in the face. He likes Kagura, and as much as he wants to, he can’t run from it. Kondou knows fine well why Sougo likes to go with Hijikata whenever they need to go to the Yorozuya house, and Hijikata has had his fair laugh poking fun at the way his subordinate seems to freeze around the Yato. And of course, Sougo gets his own right back with the help of his good ol’ friend the bazooka. Toshi gets pissed, but Sougo argues ‘all is fair in love and war’, and it serves Toshi right for bullying him, and he should be thankful he missed his shot. Just a typical day with the Shinsengumi, really.
Being in the Shinsengumi teaches you a few things, too. How to pick locks, sneak about places quietly, get in through windows. That all sounds pretty incriminating, but not every raid has to be big, flashy and announced. Sometimes they just need to get inside information or make a quiet arrest, or just sneak about for the hell of it. Either way, Sougo was pretty practiced, so picking the lock of the Yorozuya's door was a breeze. The difficult part was sliding that damn thing open without making a noise. A slow and careful process, including having to slide it back over again, but he had been doing this for a couple nights now on and off, and every time he felt as though it was more and more worth it. He couldn't shake off the feeling of being a creep, but God, what else was he meant to do? Tell her he likes her? No way in hell. He would never embarrass himself like that. He was a sadist, not a masochist, and it would stay that way. Or, well, so he thought.
What Sougo didn't know, was that Kagura knew. That girl could flip flop between being able to sleep through a nuclear bomb to being woken up from a creak of the floorboards. And what Sougo didn't know, is that she liked him too. And she didn't want to scare him away, ruin her chances, so whenever she woke from him playing with her hair, she daren't move or make a sound to show that she's awake. She would relish in the feeling of his nimble fingers threading through her hair, the sensation of his fingers scratching at her scalp. Hell, if he was feeling particularly bold, he'd even press a kiss to her head, maybe even another when he's about to leave. It would make Kagura's heart skip a beat were she awake long enough to feel it. Other nights, she fell straight back to sleep from her hair being played with - it's easier to pretend when you're actually doing it, after all.
Sougo carefully slides open Kagura's door, steps in, closes it. He's silent as he makes his way over to her bed and sits on the edge of it, taking in her sleeping form. Moonlight filters in from the window and the silver light frames her face, and Sougo thinks she looks pretty cute like this. She looks peaceful, in contrast to the fact whenever he sees her she's trying to pummel him into the concrete or stuffing her face with all the food she can find. Like the nights before, his fingers deftly tangle into Kagura's ginger locks, running his hand down from her scalp down to the tips that splay over her pillow. He briefly thinks to himself that he would love to see her hair down more instead of hidden away, but he doubts he'll ever get the chance to tell her. For now, he'll cherish the time he has.
He usually sits for about an hour, just basking in the silence of the night except for his own voice. He usually likes to give her little anecdotes of his work day or the latest and greatest idiotic thing that Kondou has done, even if, as far as he's aware, she's asleep and therefore not listening. It's nice to get it out in a judgement free zone. As he finds it always does, the hour passed far too fast for his liking. Brushing some hair out of her face and tucking it behind her ear, he presses a kiss to her head, whispers a goodnight. He gets up to leave, his footsteps ghosting across the old wooden floorboards until a small voice pierces the air and he freezes in his place, heart rising in his throat.
"Please don't go."
Sougo slowly turns back around, and Kagura is sitting up, rubbing an eye and frowning at him from the bed, though it's hard to make it out with the light of the moon now behind her instead. Her hands settle in her lap and from what he can see she's practically pouting.
"Don't… go?" He echoes.
"Are you deaf or what, aru? That's what I said. I know you probably wanted this a secret. But it can be our secret, right? I… I like it when you play with my hair. It helps me get back to sleep, aru."
With the way she's fiddling and now looking away, he can only assume she's blushing. A smirk crosses his face. He will definitely use this to his advantage, even if he's totally embarrassed about being caught.
"You like it?" His tone is awfully teasing and it makes Kagura flush, half with anger half with embarrassment.
"I'll call for Gin-chan, aru!"
"Alright, alright," He sighs and relents. Drifting back over to the bed, he toes off his boots while Kagura shuffles along to make space. Once he swings his legs over and settles down, Kagura nudges his arm out of the way and snuggles up to his side, her head resting on his chest and Sougo is almost certain she can probably hear how fast his heart is skipping.
"Well? Play with my hair, aru."
"I'll tell Mayora you've been sneaking off here every night." She bites back, glaring up at him. Sougo responds by gently pushing her head back down and starting to scratch at her scalp. He clears his throat a little.
"You, uh… knew I was here other nights?"
"Yup." She pops the p, getting comfortable against him. "You kept waking me up, aru. But most of the time I ended up just falling back asleep. I didn't say anything at first because I didn't want you to smother me with my own pillow, but I got sick of having to pretend and listen to you leave on the nights I was still awake, aru. I like having you here, Sou-kun."
There's a beat of silence.
"You sure do talk a lot." He hums.
Kagura huffs, snapping her head up to look up at him again.
"Don't be mean!"
Sougo grins down at her, and for once, he doesn't feel as nervous as he usually does with her. In fact, he's feeling a little brave. He bends his head to kiss her forehead, rests her head down and scratches at her head some more, speaking quietly, just above a whisper.
"Go to sleep, China."
Kagura's breath evens out after a little while, and eventually Sougo follows suit as he listens to, and feels, her breathing lightly against him.
The next morning, Kagura wakes up alone, the only evidence of company being her memory.
They both think that was the best night of sleep they've ever had in a long, long while.