Hijikata’s eyes flutter open. He can’t say that he doesn’t recognize the sight of Edo’s hospital ceiling, because he’s grown accustomed to that and the dull pain he feels at different locations; ghosts left by the steel that’d kissed his skin in battle. When he turns his head, he almost feels himself smile because he also recognizes this sight. A lump in the sheets on the bed next to his, distinct breathing that would lull him to sleep all belonging to the body under the covers, sporting the silver tuft of hair atop the pillow. They’re separated by a pink curtain, but it seems that whoever was taking care of them had opened it just enough so that they could see each other.
His lips feel chapped, but he opens them to speak anyway, entirely expecting it when his voice is nothing more than a croak. “Oi.”
There’s no response, and Hijikata suspects that the dumbass is plain knocked out. He pauses in his quest to wake the other up, then glances at the calendar on the wall he’d noticed out of the corner of his eye. It hurts when he bends himself up to read the date, squinting a little before he realizes it’s August 12th. They’d been out for nearly a week.
He lets his muscles relax again, staring blankly at the wood ceiling as he recalls what got them in this situation anyway. It was stupid conflict as usual; a bad group of Joui rebels attempting to overtake the Shogunate. It just had to be with the addition of remnants of the Kiheitai and some amanto that’d teamed up—that, and a good supply of newly produced weapons.
Hijikata remembers taking on a whole lot of them by himself, yelling at Kondo and Yamazaki to keep the Shogun safe. Sougo was god-knows-where, and even now he can smell the scent of blood that’d nauseated him, taking up every inch of the room as he forced himself to keep going even with his screaming muscles. His right forearm had been slashed partway through, no doubt cutting whatever nerves led to his hand, because his fingers had gone limp and his sword clattered to the ground. He had been in the midst of picking up a sword in his left when the entrance blew open with an inhumane force, a flash of white invading his sight moments later.
Hijikata flinches, taken out of his memories as a comforting voice grunts. It’s the same voice that called out to him on the battlefield, belonging to the person that Hijikata was trusting his back to.
There’s a shuffling of sheets, and a guttural groan leaves the man’s lips before Hijikata hears him mumble to himself. Something about how “Gin-chan hates this feeling”.
“You awake?” Gintoki soon questions, and Hijikata turns his head to see Gintoki half propped on his side, evidently trying to see Hijikata’s condition. His gaze flits over Gintoki’s face, taking in the cuts and bandaid patches, as well as the bandage wrapped twice around his head. He was glad to see, at least, that there were no bags under the man’s eyes and he’d seemed to have a nice rest the past few days.
“‘Was up before you,” Hijikata explains, and Gintoki’s lips quirk a little before he drops onto his back again, groaning once more when the movement agitates his wounds.
“How many times have we been in this situation?” the silver-haired man asks, and Hijikata can’t hold back the snort that he lets out, wincing when an area right in between his abs and obliques burns.
He then remembers that wound was what took him out. At least, from whatever part of his brain was conscious. He was known to keep fighting even when his brain wasn’t registering anything.
“…Says you,” Hijikata retorts. “I wasn’t the one spitting out blood every few minutes.”
Gintoki chuckles in that deadpan way of his. “Yes, but I wasn’t the one using my non-dominant hand for the remainder of the fight. Gin-chan was very surprised, you know? When I saw you with a limp arm at your side right when I came in.”
The Vice-Commander lifts his right arm when he hears that, squeezing his hand into a fist and feeling satisfied when there’s only minimal struggle.
“Well whatever,” Gintoki finishes, “We should just be glad we’re both alive.”
Hijikata turns his head then, meeting Gintoki’s gaze which has apparently been on him this entire time. He smiles a little (shocker, because that only happens once every hundred episodes and when it involves mayonnaise), because he is truly grateful that they’re both alive.
“Ahh,” Gintoki makes a noise of satisfaction, eyes flitting over different parts of Hijikata’s face, “I’m suuuper glad I’m still alive.”
It sounds more like he’s talking to himself than anything else, but Hijikata replies anyway.
He doesn’t look away still, and the two of them spend a few moments just staring. There’s always a thought that Hijikata has—a fear, that maybe the next time they do something crazy, he won’t wake up to this person next to him. He sometimes wonders if Gintoki feels like that, because it sure as hell doesn’t seem like it when he tosses himself head-first into the strongest enemy’s reach. But then again, Hijikata does that as well. They both don’t value their life a little too much, but then expect the other person to value theirs. Stubborn, the two of them are.
“Stop it with that.”
He watches as Gintoki struggles to sit up, movements slow but face still a dead fish face. It’s a talent to always have dead eyes, Hijikata swears. When Gintoki’s feet finally hit the floor, he only knows it by sound, because the rest of him is covered by the curtain. Hijikata suddenly realizes what the bastard is trying to do.
“No—what if someone walks in?” he questions, just as Gintoki‘s footsteps move towards him and he grabs the curtain, ripping it to the side with an excessive use of force.
He takes the last two steps over to Hijikata’s bed, and then he’s lifting the sheets and slipping right under.
“Then they’ll see two bros cuddling it up.”
Hijikata’s sure that all their friends will see two people cuddling it up, because there’s no other way to describe what Gintoki does (glomping to his side and burying his dumb face in the crook of his neck), but he’s unsure whether they’ll take it as “two bros”.
Gintoki’s arm draped across his chest is actually kind of comforting, and it just reminds him of all the other times they’ve done this after a battle.
How stupid, to be cuddling with someone who should be his main target as Shinsengumi’s Vice-Commander.
He notices that Gintoki avoids touching his side, and it’s a thoughtful action even if they both know they could care less about their own injuries. They stay like that for a while, and then Hijikata soon feels discomfort because his arm is trapped to his side and he can’t touch Gintoki (stop! that sounds inappropriate but he swears it’s anything but).
“Move,” Hijikata commands, but Gintoki just lets out a low whine, pushing his face further into Hijikata’s neck, “That tickles, you.”
“I don’t wanna,” Gintoki states, “I want to touch you.”
“Yeah, yeah, I know, but—“
Surprisingly, Gintoki actually listens. Or so it seems. He’s mounted atop Hijikata in the next moment, blanket draping over his back and creating a dome over the Vice-Commander’s body. His hair hangs down and he’s got a look in his eyes that signals exactly what he wants; one of the only moments when his hooded stare becomes more than dead fish eyes, holding a passion that sends a zap of adrenaline down Hijikata’s spine.
Hijikata opens his mouth to protest—they’re still in the hospital, for gods sake—but Gintoki just takes that as an opportunity. His fingers hold Hijikata’s chin in place as his lips descend on the other’s, immediately slipping his tongue into the Vice-Commander’s open mouth.
Hijikata grunts, and he knows there’s no use fighting his monstrous strength, hand sliding up the arm Gintoki uses for balance and gripping the hospital gown tight.
Gintoki’s a fierce kisser when he wants to be, pulling out noises at his convenience, stealing his breath, completely dominating Hijikata with the conniving appendage in his mouth. It leaves the dark-haired man reeling, and he accidentally moans loudly when Gintoki runs the tip of his tongue over the roof of his mouth.
His face is flaming when the permhead leans away, talking in between pecks down the side of his face, “How cute, Toshi.”
Hijikata’s still catching his breath when Gintoki sucks at the skin on his neck, and he squirms a little when an offending hand runs down his body.
“Yorozuya—“ he starts.
“Up,” he says vaguely, but Gintoki doesn’t listen, tongue lapping at the junction between his neck and shoulder. So Hijikata decides to just do it himself, grabbing a handful of messy hair to tug the man back up, planting their lips back together.
He can feel the bastard smiling, and honestly he wants to punch him in the gut but he doesn’t want to trade that out for possibly separating their mouths again.
There’s something comforting about kissing Gintoki. That’s probably why he always finds himself doing exactly that whenever he wakes up in a hospital bed next to the man. It’s a weird sign to the two of them that a make-out session is due.
Hijikata figures that it might be something to signify that they both made it out alive again, and the feeling of relief is what drives them to hold each other close. He enjoys the warmth he feels whenever he’s kissing the man; likes how he can run his hands all over his arms and back and make sure that he’s actually there. He’s sure that Gintoki does it as well, hands wandering and touching as he ensures Hijikata’s presence and existence. He has yet to admit that he needs this whenever he wakes up from a long battle—needs to feel Gintoki, himself, to make sure he’s actually alive.
There’s nothing that separates this instance from others, but for some reason he has the urge to tell Gintoki.
So he pulls away, hands on either side of the NEET’s face.
“I like when we do this.”
Gintoki raises an eyebrow, but he shows nothing more because he knows moments like these are rare. Hijikata never likes to show his vulnerable side, after all. Most of what Gintoki’s learned about his past had been from other people and events.
“It makes me feel safe,” Hijikata admits, and it’s strange, opening himself up so deeply like this. He doesn’t feel so much like a Demon Vice-Commander anymore, just some idiot who gets into life endangering situations and has to cling to an even bigger idiot to feel okay again. But, he guesses that this is okay. “You remind me that I’m living.”
A range of emotions flits across Gintoki’s face, going from surprised, happy, maybe even relieved.
His body slumps and Hijikata’s breath gets knocked out of him in an entirely different way, wheezing a little when Gintoki buries his face in his neck once more.
“Dammit, I’m so glad I’m alive.”
“Oi, I get that you guys are having a moment,” a familiar voice says, and immediately Hijikata is scrambling to push Gintoki off of him in case they’re caught in this position, failing to do so when the permhead pins both of his wrists down to the bed, legs trapping Hijikata’s as he shushes him. “But I’m trying to get some sleep here.”
It’s coming from the bed on the other side of Gintoki’s, and Hijikata soon matches the voice to a certain madao’s face.
“What are you in for?” Gintoki speaks casually, as if he doesn’t have Hijikata immobilized under him.
“Seems that I’ve had too much dog food lately.”
Hijikata shuts his eyes, feeling dread and embarrassment fill him simultaneously.
“That’s what you get for being a madao, I guess.”
“Says you, Gin. What are you and Hijikata in for? Wait, that’s Hijikata, right? Demon Vice Commander of the Shinsengumi?”
“Ehh? That’s Hijikata?” a voice even further away questions, and then a mumble, “Shoot, I need more medication for my hemorrhoids.”
Hijikata changes his mind.
“Oh, nothing much.” Gintoki answers the question, grinning down at him. “Just thought it’d be cheaper than a love hotel.”
He wishes he was dead right now.