Gintama meets the end of the Victorian Era.
The city of London had undergone a name change. It is now called Edo, after the foreigners from the East invaded the land. The European streets have integrated the imported goods of the Amanto, or as Gintoki liked to call them, "aliens" due to their strange style of dress and mannerism. Gintoki was known by the native residents of Edo as the "Jack of All Trades" or as the Amanto liked to call him "万事屋 銀"(Yorozuya Gin). On a particularly harsh winter, he witnessed a little boy craft a make-shift house out of the leftover scraps in the junkyard as a shelter from the cold. He decided to take in the orphan boy in order to help him with the business. He raises Sougo alongside his daughter, Kagura, the only memento left of his late wife excluding that mangy mutt of hers, Sadaharu. There had never been a dull moment since.
As the years passed, the children grew taller, although Gintoki often wondered if they had grown any wiser as their fights had become increasingly violent and the damages to their surroundings had become more costly to repair.
Sougo Okita possessed skilled hands, perfect for Gintoki, the owner of "Yorozuya", a flourishing business nowadays. Kagura, on the other hand, didn't really have a skill with tools, cooking, cleaning or really anything. Her only merit was her strength. It often seemed that she could rival the force of a thousand men any day. Her monstrous strength is reminiscent of her mother, of course.
The format is a series of short stories (memories) mapping out Okita, Kagura and Gintoki's lives along with the strange people they meet.
Disclaimer: Hideaki Sorachi owns Gintama.
Gintoki, now a single father, had opened up a business to feed his daughter after his wife recently passed away when she gave birth to their daughter. Sometimes, he would reminisce about her.
"Hmm." He grunted.
"I want to name our child. Kagura."
He turned from his side to lay flat on his back with his head resting on her lap. He looked upward, towards the woman who was now carrying his child.Their child. "Why's that?"
"I think it's perfect." She placed the baby book she had been holding, face down on the wooden bench next to her. "It means 'god-entertainment'. Our baby girl's been kicking around since the fifth month. I think she'll be a really active and interesting child."
"What if the baby's a boy?" He inserted.
"I just have a feeling that the baby is a she not a he."
"Either way, they'll be a great addition to the Sakata family," he thought. "Like that overgrown dog of yours isn't enough of a problem already."
"Ruff! Ruff! Ruff!" He heard Sadaharu bark angrily at him as if the large canine understood his words. Ultimately, the light haired dog bit his hand, as if it was his chew toy.
While he screamed out incoherent words that resembled profanities, his wife picked up the baby book and continued to read it. "I think we both know whose fault that was. Don't we, Sadaharu?"
She rubbed her dog's chin gently, as a sign to show that she was proud of him and that he should continue what he was doing.
"Where did you pick up this dog anyway?" She ignored him and turned a page of the book instead. "I think it's best to take him to the pound."
"As far as I know, Sadaharu is a good boy. He doesn't harm anyone, but you, Gin. And that's only because you keep insulting him."
Just when he was about to tell her about the time when strangers stepped into their home and Sadaharu had gone wild, she interrupted him.
"In here, it also says that the father should interact with the baby as a part of the child development process."
Gintoki complied. Not wanting to anger the dog's owner in case his wife decides to unleash the canine's full wrath on him. He placed a palm on his wife's bulging stomach. Even with the cloth of her loose summer dress covering her skin, he could still feel their baby's movements in her stomach.
"Woah." He jolted.
He wasn't sure if they were kicks, punches or even, head butts, but their baby could certainly be move. He had counted 4 quick movements in less than 5 minutes. "Was that normal?"
"Strange. Our baby's never done that before. I usually count ten to fifteen 'kicks' in one hour." She laughed. "I think our baby likes you."
"Or maybe, our baby already has a mommy complex?" He could already imagine the little brat interrupting their time alone in the bedroom.
A/N: Any guesses to who the mom is? I want to keep her anonymous for now.
Gintoki & Baby Kagura Picture: http://stuffpoint.com/gintama/image/26658-gintama-dad-gintoki-and-baby-kagura.png
As Gintoki passed by the side of the junkyard on his way home from the grocery store, he noticed a thinly-clothed and barefooted young boy, a few years older than his own snoring four-year old daughter who continued to cling around his neck, even in her dreams. His heart sank at the thought of the boy being orphaned at such a young age, especially during one of the harshest winters that Edo experienced every ten years. It reminded him too much of his own past.
He knew there were many orphans on the street as a result of the war that had taken place, but taking in another child would be difficult. He was no merchant. He barely had any money left over after buying the necessities for his daughter, his wife's dog and himself. He wasn't sure if he could afford to have another mouth to feed.
Even with those thoughts in mind, he continued to watch the boy from his peripheral vision. He needed to take a shortcut through the junkyard before returning home to his shabby-looking apartment. The rent was really cheap, most likely because it was positioned in front of a junkyard, which any normal buyer would refuse. In a sense, he was one of the lucky ones. At least, he wasn't homeless.
Speaking of homes, there was a little structure, resembling a doghouse, to the left of the boy. He had been desperately trying to start a fire with the lighter he found, in hopes of warming himself by burning the small pile of wood in front of him. Just as Gintoki expected, the lighter wouldn't light since it was a part of the rubbish that belonged in a junkyard. The young orphan then, switched his attention to the miniature home, grabbing a bag of nails and a hammer on his way over. He began to hammer in the side of the roof, which Gintoki assumed was done to secure a covering over his head. He had finished hammering the last of the nails when Gintoki entered the junkyard.
It was impressive that the boy could build such a thing. It was roughly constructed, he noted. The outer wooden panels were not fully aligned, yet it was sturdy enough not to be blown away by the harsh winter gusts blowing from the southwest. Gintoki continued to observe the little architect even after the boy entered his makeshift home since there was no door to separate him from the outside world. His interest in the boy heightened after watching the scene unfold. Perhaps, taking in the boy who could help him with his business wouldn't be such a bad idea.
As Gintoki came closer to the little boy's house, he noticed the boy shiver as the wind blew. He gripped a blanket tighter around his neck while maintaining his fetal position. The little structure was big enough to protect him from the falling snow, but did nothing to warm him.
Once Gintoki was in front of the structure, he squat down. He was now at eye level with the boy. The blood red eyes of the child showed a hint of fear, however he didn't run away or fight. He, simply, watched the man in front of him to see if he would be an enemy or an ally.
Gintoki noted the wary eyes that watched him as he searched the grocery bag on his lap. His daughter continued to sleep by his neck and he had a hard time seeing over her pink knitted cap. When he finally managed to locate what he wanted, he grabbed it and held it out to the boy.
"Oi, kid. Want some chocolate?"
The man expected the boy to rush over like a good little dog, but the boy only stayed still.
Hmm. I guess kids are tougher to please than dogs.
He unwrapped half of it and started to wave it around in order to tempt the boy.
"C'mon, kid. I won't bite."
The young child inched closer ever so slowly towards the entrance of his little home, just in case the man attacked him. After what felt like half an hour to Gintoki, the boy came out of hiding and stood in plain sight. The quilt around him had a few loose stitches in it as a sign of long ownership. Gintoki noticed the letters on the side of the blanket spelled out a name: SOUGO OKITA.
He looks closer to a Souichiro-kun to me. Oh well, I'm not the one who named him.
Hopefully it belonged to the boy's. Just in case it wasn't, he wanted to try it out.
"Here, Sougo-kun. Sugar is the best thing to eat any day, even on a cold day."
The boy's eyes widened. After his older sister died, no one had called him by his name in a long time. When he scavenged for food, whether it was the stolen fruit from the food stalls or the leftovers on the customers' plates, the people would always shout out profanities at him, going so far as to call him a demon child based on the colour of his eyes.
Who was this man? He didn't seem like a bad guy.
His stomach growled, interrupting his thoughts. The chocolate bar in front of him seemed even more tempting than ever, and he finally gave in to his yearning for food. He quickly grabbed the chocolate bar and devoured it, practically as a whole. The man tried to stop him, warning him about eating in small bites to avoid choking.
Sougo started coughing. Only stopping when the chocolate piece that was lodged in his throat was laid out on the snow at his feet. The man uncapped a bottle of water and offered it to him. He didn't hesitate to take it this time. It felt like his mouth was on fire.
What was in that chocolate?
"It was jalapeño-flavored chocolate." Gintoki answered as if he could hear Okita's thoughts. "They were the cheapest snacks I could buy. I'm not exactly the richest guy in the world, Sougo-kun."
There it was again. His given name. Also, why was this man helping him anyway? It's not like they knew each other.
"So, what's it going to be? Will you live with me in a warm house or stay frozen in your own home?
Ah. So that's how it was. He wanted to take me in.
"Maybe. Is your home better than a dog house?"
Sougo winced as he felt the man's fist pound on his head.
"Much better than any dog house. Especially, yours."
He noticed that the man could've used his full strength if he wanted to, yet his fist didn't hurt him as much as he initially thought. Perhaps it was the spicy feeling in his mouth which reminded him too well of his sister's obsession to spicy food and essentially, his household. But, the idea of living with him was starting to sound pretty good.
"I'll go with you. I just won't be your second dog."
Sougo helped himself on top of the large white canine next to the man. He used the heel of his feet to kick the dog, signalling that he should move forward.
The next thing he knew, Sougo found himself flat on his back. He was glad that the pile of snow cushioned his fall. Gintoki laughed at the scene. Hard enough that he had to wipe away the tears in his eyes. When the man finally calmed down, he warned Sougo about the dog.
"His name is Sadaharu. If there's one rule you should follow when living with us, it's that you should never mess with this dog. And as you've witnessed, he hates name-calling the most. No one but my wife and child can ever get him to obey. Not even me."
A/N: Prologue is a little depressing, but it sets the tone of the time period. I wanted to show how it all began. The rest of the chapters will be more lively, especially with the interaction between my favourite pair, Okita and Kagura.
Okita as a Child picture: http://1833.img.pp.sohu.com.cn/images/blog/2008/9/1/18/3/11cc40646d1g214.jpg