“So you see, Your Honor, my client is innocent.”
Judge Bunta considers him for a few moments. Sakata Gintoki leans against the defendant’s table and shoves his hands in his pockets to avoid playing with his tie. From the corner of his eye, he can see Hijikata Toshirou quivering with rage over by the plaintiff’s table.
“Um, Gin-chan,” Kagura pipes up behind him. “I don’t think—”
“Not now, Kagura. Can’t you see I’m working?”
Katsura Kotaro slams his hand down on the table, shaking their glasses and water jugs. “Gintoki—!”
“Stop interrupting,” he dismisses his client. “I’m waiting for answer. Aren’t you under arrest? The arrested should stay quiet.”
Judge Bunta rubs his temples with his thumb and middle finger. “Sakata-san, it’s wonderful that you believe your client to be innocent, but here in the courtroom, we’re going to need some evidence.”
Gintoki blinks. “Oh.”
“Your Honor,” Hijikata deadpans, “this whole case is a waste of time. I suggest you just throw that terrorist in jail and maybe we can enjoy the rest of our afternoon.”
“Not so fast,” Gintoki says, pointing at his rival. “I have proof that my client is innocent!”
“This should be good,” Okita Sougo mutters, pouring the contents of his own water glass into Hijikata’s open briefcase.
“Your Honor,” Gintoki proclaims, “my opponent’s testimony directly contradicts … this hat!”
Kagura produces the velvet fedora in question, modeling it with an appropriately European flair.
Judge Bunta sighs, resting his chin on one hand. “Sakata-san, you’ve presented that hat to the court no less than three times today. Either work it into your testimony, or get rid of it.”
“I object, Your Honor! That hat is … Zura’s father!”
Behind him, he hears Katsura’s head hit the desk.
“Who is Zura?” the judge asks, irritated.
Hijikata is fidgeting with his tie, probably because smoking is prohibited. “Waste. Of. Time.”
“Zura is Katsura,” Gintoki explains. “Son of Fedora.”
“Fedora the war hero!” Kagura puts in, hugging the hat to her chest. “Rest, brave soul. So much, you have done for us.”
“Enough,” Judge Bunta declares, slamming his gavel. “I’ve heard enough.” Still holding the gavel, he points an accusing finger at Gintoki and Kagura. “If you two can’t be bothered to approach your cases with professionalism or, nay, facts, then my courtroom has no time for you. I rule in favor of the plaintiff; the defendant is guilty. Bailiff, take Katsura-san away.”
“Well,” Gintoki sighs, “we did our best.”
“Did we?” Kagura wonders. She puts the fedora back on.
“Giiiiintokiii!” Katsura growls as he’s dragged away. “I’ll get you for this!” He reaches out with cuffed hands, miming strangulation. “What kind of lawyer are you, anyway?!”
Kagura cocks her head, watching their friend get dragged to prison. “He’s gonna be so mad.”
Gintoki shrugs one shoulder. “Next time,” he murmurs to Kagura, “he should consider paying a real lawyer.”
“You are a real lawyer,” she points out. “You have business cards and everything.”
“I meant a lawyer who cares about the law,” he clarifies.
“We meet again, Gintoki.” Hijikata’s voice makes Gintoki cringe, but he turns around anyway, facing his professional rival with a bored expression. “Have to say, this performance was dismal at best. I don’t even think you were trying.”
“I don’t have to try to beat you,” Gintoki replies, sticking a finger in his ear.
Hijikata blinks. “… You lost.”
“Did I?” Gintoki muses. “Or did I simply win the game of life?”
“A dangerous game,” Kagura puts in, sagely.
“You’re both idiots,” Hijikata declares. He turns on his heel and marches away, like he thinks he’s cool or something.
“That’s a villain’s exit if I’ve ever seen one,” Gintoki mutters to Kagura. She doesn’t answer, busy making faces at Okita as he packs up Hijikata’s personal effects. Hijikata’s assistant responds with a crude gesture; Kagura retorts by flipping him off.
The courtroom’s empty now. Kagura adjusts the fedora and starts gathering Gintoki’s papers, shoving them unceremoniously into his worn briefcase.
“Ready?” he asks her.
“Well, let’s go bust Zura out of prison.”