A/N: Yeah...the title isn't very original.., but the rest of the cast are appearing in this chapter, so yay!
Chapter 3: Plan into Action!
The group finds themselves once more in Shin'Ura's headquarters. Two out of the five were fidgeting, two were scanning the room, one out of curiosity, one out of reflex, and the last one finally took action.
"We have a proposition for you, Sawamura-san." began Hijikata, "If we take first place in this tournament and you let us go, and if we don't, like we get second, you're free to do whatever you want to us. Is that acceptable?"
Sawamura's answer was short and curt. "Let me think about this for a moment. Come back in an hour."
Having nothing else to say, the team filed out of Sawamura's office.
For the whole hour they were restless for their own reasons. But they were all restless for a single mutual reason: this decision was their ticket to being free or not. And who doesn't want to be free? Soon the hour passed and the group of five were called back into the office.
"I have given your proposition some thought. I will accept it on a few conditions. First, only if you get first will we let you go. Second, if you get anything less than second you'll be attending next year's as well. Third, if you get second, we're going off into space. Will you accept it?"
Letting the group the chat amongst themselves, Sawamura sank into her chair.
"Will we be allowed to use our weapons?" Gintoki spoke up.
"Hn? Yeah, how else will you fight? I can't leave you defenceless, can I?" answered Sawamura.
"Then I'm fine with it. What about you guys?"
"Then can we get some sort of physical proof, like a contract of the sort, in case you go back on your word?" said Gintoki.
"Very well, I suppose I should. I look forward to your results. You are dismissed." agreed Sawamura.
Back in Kabukichou
"Patsuan... It's been a week now and Gin-chan hasn't come back yet. What do you think happened to him, uh huh," said Kagura, chewing on her piece of sukonbu for the fourth time.
"Now now, Kagura-chan, Gin-san probably has a good reason for disappearing on us for a week," replied Shinpachi, trying to soothe Kagura. "Why don't we go to the Shinsengumi to ask Kondo-san if they've heard anything about him."
"Fine... it's been awhile since I've seen So-the sadist, might as well beat him up for some stress relief." agreed Kagura, albeit reluctantly.
The two Yorozuyas trudged up to the Shinsengumi barracks only to find the Shinsengumi in utter disarray. Yamazaki was running around, throwing anpans everywhere and using it as a birdie for his badminton practice; Sougo was making wara ningyos of Hijikata and setting them on fire; Kondo was just up to his usual antics; Shimaru (the orange afro guy who only talks with signs) also joined in the chaos, scribbling "Z" everywhere; all others were just running in circles and screaming unintelligible prayers? curses? prayers to the devil.
Upon witnessing this very shocking scene, Shinpachi and Kagura can only gape in surprise.
"Wha...what is going on, Kondo-san? Yamazaki-san? Mind explaining to us what exactly is going on?" asked Shinpachi, practical as ever.
"You... you see, Vice-Chief hasn't come back since his day off. A week's already passed, so everybody's going hysterical," started Yamazaki, gesturing to his surroundings.
"TOSSHIIII! Where are you! You haven't been abducted by any weird associations, HAVE YOU?! Without you I can't go visit Otae-san! Came back soon! So I can go stalk Otae-san!"
"Chief is a prime example, so is Captain, burning his wara ningyos. Ah, maybe me too. Sorry, but I still have a badminton tournament I need to attend, and I can only go while Vice-Chief isn't here. Bye," finished Yamazaki, rushing off to his "tournament".
"EVERYONE SHUT UP! GET A HOLD OF YOURSELVES! THEN MAYBE WE CAN WORK TOGETHER TO FIND HIJIKATA-SAN AND GIN-SAN! YEAH, THEY'RE BOTH GONE!" yelled Shinpachi, heaving quite heavily.
"Eh? Is Danna also missing? For a week? It can't be a coincidence, can it? Maybe they're together. Great, now I finally can take to the title of Vice-Chief. I'll listen to you in a sec, just let me finish burning all the Hijikatas to Hell," said Sougo with a glimmer of life back in his eyes.
"Oh-o-ok, then we will wait for you guys to come down from the clouds before discussing what information we have. And our plans regarding Gin-san and Hijikata-san," said Shinpachi, obviously sick of the behaviour he has to put up with everyday. And his usual partner wasn't here either.
. . .
An hour later, Shinsengumi has just about calmed down and was in seated the hall used for morning meetings. Kondo began the meeting like always,
"So, according to Megane and China here, Yorozuya has also been missing for a week. How long exactly has it been that Sakata-san hasn't come back?"
"Well... we haven't really noticed until the third day he was 'missing' missing, as Gin-san sometimes disappears for a day to two. But he always leaves a note. This time he didn't and like we said, is missing for a week now," said Megane. "Who're you calling Megane, huh?"
Gaining some weird looks of 'Is he out of his mind?' Mega-ahem Shinpachi suggested, "It's nothing, what about Hijikata-san? Have you heard anything suspicious? Should we get Katsura-san, no, it's for the sake of finding our bosses so you don't get to cuff him."
"O-uh-um-eh, fine, get him here then," agreed Kondo with some difficulty.
"Great, now we have more opinions and ideas. Kagura-chan, mind calling for Katsura-san?" asked Me-Shinpachi.
"Fine, OI~! ZURA! GET DOWN HERE AND QUIT SPYING ON US!" called Kagura.*
"Not Zura, Katsura! And you really should have better security than this. This is at least my fourth time infiltrating this place. And who knows how many times Gintoki's been in here. What, don't look at me with that kind of face, it's true. So what's with this talk of Gintoki being 'missing'?" said Katsura.
"Ah, Katsura-san, it's just that Gin-san and Hijikata-san have both been missing for nearly a week now. Do you have any ideas what could've happened?" supplied Shinpachi.
"Now that you mention it, one of my spies I sent to spy on Hijikata-kun hasn't reported back yet. Could this have anything to do with Rengokukan-like activities I heard a while back? Gorilla-san, where was your vice-chief when he went missing?" mused Katsura.
"Wait up, Katsura. What do you mean "Rengokukan-like activities"? Cough it up or your Ahiru-chan** here gets it." Sougo threatened.
"Nooo! Elizabeth-chaaan! Fine, but aren't you guys Shinsengumi? Oh, it's because you guys are Shinsengumi you aren't told anything or are allowed to do anything. Anyways, there has been and there still is some suspicious activities going on near the outskirts of Edo. Don't tell me Gintoki got caught up in it, did he? He should be fine, after all he's the Shi-mmfph!"
"Nope, you are not saying that, especially when the Shinsengumi's around. Back to the topic, outskirts where?" said Shinpachi while forcefully covering Katsura's mouth.
"Shi~what? Outskirts where? Rengokukan how? Spy on who? Rumors when? Start answering already~" drawled Sougo. (This was supposed to be Hijikata's line, but since he's not here...)
"Apparently I'm not allowed to talk about Gintoki being Shi-gaaahhh! I got it! I got it!" cried Katsura, his hair being yanked by Kagura and her monstrous strength. "I won't say anything else! Next answer, you know the place where there's an abandoned dock east of Edo? They're holding some sort of tournament there. Some who has money or something may kidnap some people to get them to fight for him or her. They may be treated like slaves, or like guests. Depends on the boss. That's all I've heard. Spy on Hijikata-kun, who else? Since two weeks ago? They might stay for another two weeks before taking off to space." Katsura answered, still desperately freeing his hair from Kagura.
Discussing different strategies on how to get back their bosses and subordinates took until sundown. When the pathetic existence of a being called Yamazaki reminded them of the time, the Yorozuya kids and Katsura excused themselves and agreed to meet up again the next day to execute their plan after the long hours of debating what to do, how to do, and who to do(torture).
"I do hope you won't complain if I bring a real katana for Gintoki, will you? And see you tomorrow!" exclaimed Katsura, throwing a smoke bomb and running away.
"Zura! You didn't need to do that! We all know you're helping us so why did you still use a bomb to exit?!" coughed Kagura. "I'm seriously gonna kill you someday." she muttered.
. . .
As the night went on, the 'contestants' and the 'rescuers' both slept, some soundly, some not. What happens the next day, even Fate doesn't know.
A/N: Chapter 3's out! R&R
*When Kagura calls for an ambulance in episode 5. Quite literally.
**Ahiru is duck in Japanese. Yes, I decided that Elizabeth-chan is a duck. Not a penguin. Nor a Renho. Not yet.