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Why is it so hard to describe your smile?

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It’s not like he’s done anything to elicit a smile. 

At least, that’s what he thinks. Perhaps the nutjob who works as Yorozuya believes his uniform looks weird on him, or his hair looks strange that day, or—shit, maybe his everyday existence is just a joke to the man. 

If it was none of those reasons, Hijikata has no damn idea why Gintoki’s lips always quirk into a smile when their eyes lock. Whether it be on the streets during his patrol, in the restaurant that they both frequented, or during one of his arrests that somehow involved the silver-haired man; a sleezy, completely uncalled for (not to mention annoying) grin always appears on his face. 

Hijikata has no idea when it started appearing, and since when he’s gotten accustomed to seeing it. What he does recall is how they detested each other first meeting—a twisted love at first sight where it wasn’t love at all but rather hate. He had to admit to himself though, that the events that proceeded the first moment surprisingly (and he would never tell anyone this) birthed a weird sort of respect for the samurai. 

He called it weird, but he knew that it was simply the fact that their morals aligned in more ways than he’d originally expected. 

The rest of their moments blur together in his mind, and then the subject of his pondering returns when he spots a head of silver in the crowded streets. What comes with it is a purple umbrella and the simplest head of brown, which confirms all his suspicions and makes him pull his newspaper a little higher, trying to blend in with the dango stand on his day off. 

He’s unsure of what he should do, now that he’s hyper-aware of the mysteries of Gintoki’s smile. He figures he could maybe put Yamazaki on a case to figure out if the samurai smiles at everyone like that. 

If he finds the answer to that, then maybe he can find the answer of “why him“, “for what reason“, and “when”. 

Hijikata peeks up from his newspaper casually, and his gaze shifts when he doesn’t spot the Yorozuya and kids’ backs, finding them only a few meters across from him at a stand selling takoyaki. He’s simply staring before he even realizes it, tracing the figure of a broad back with his eyes, pausing for a moment at the wooden sword the man adamantly carries around. And then, god forbid Hijikata, Gin’s looking over his shoulder, stare locking onto Hijikata’s as if he knew it was on him the entire time. The smile he’s expecting appears, and what he doesn’t expect is how Gin looks away for a moment to say something, and then his boots are leading him straight to Hijikata. 

The vice commander has already pulled up his newspaper again, eyes reading about horoscopes as his brain intakes nothing except for the distance closing between them. 

The spot of bench next to him is taken up seconds later, a heavy sigh gracing his ears as Gin settles down. 

“Blissful day isn’t it?” 

Hijikata scoffs around his cigarette. “For someone who does nothing but laze around all day, when is it not?” 

Gintoki leans onto him, complaining, “Oh come on, just because us common folk aren’t like you government dogs doesn’t mean we’re lazy.” His head settles onto his shoulder and Hijikata flinches when silver hair tickles his neck.

“You’re lazy and you know it,” Hijikata retorts, and he tries to smack the permhead off his shoulder with his furthest hand, only to get it stuck in a warm grasp. 

“You love it.” 

The mumbled words hit Hijikata’s brain like a freight train, and the mentioned organ short circuits when Gin kisses the top of his captive hand. 

“You—perverted permhead!” Hijikata hisses, and he rips his hand away to roll up the newspaper, repeatedly whacking the man even as Gin chortles, blocking himself with his arms as he finally leans away. 

Moments later the vice commander is fixing his yukata, letting out a cough as he realizes all of this just passed out in the open, on one of the main streets no less. He ignores the feeling of a blush rising on his face, detesting how easily his embarrassment shows at the worst times. He's constantly being teased by the dumbass next to him whenever said dumbass manages to make him red.

"You're a pain in the ass," Hijikata grunts, and he unrolls the newspaper just to have something to do, feeling a little bothered when Gintoki doesn't have an immediate response ready.

The silence that follows just makes him more embarrassed, and so he glances over to see what the idiot is doing now, just to see the expression that'd been puzzling him for the past week. He wants to look away because there it is again, that wretched smile that Hijikata just can't decipher. With the soft curve to his lips and the stare that seems to hold on and never let go. There's only one real way to figure out what it means, and Hijikata's fed up with all the questions he has.

"What does it mean?" he asks, and Gintoki just tilts his head, answering with a "huh?". Even if it makes him twice as red he continues with, "Your smile."

"What about my smile?" Gintoki asks, and it's only after analyzing his face that Hijikata understand he's being teased once more. "Is it too charming? Handsome? Gin-chan's smile has the tendency to be like that."

He promptly ignores Gintoki's words.

“Why is it so hard to describe your smile?" 

The silver-haired samurai pauses for a moment, and then he's grinning, as if he knows something Hijikata doesn't. 

"It's easy," Gintoki says, which does nothing to answer his question. What he adds, however, makes Hijikata think. "You just don't want to admit it."

The police officer opens and closes his mouth, about to refute that there’s nothing to admit, before he promptly shuts up when he sees it one more time. 

And really, how could anyone mistake that expression for anything else? He’s making everything too obvious.

Hijikata’s grip tightens on the already crumpled newspaper.

He hates how often Gintoki is right.

The Yorozuya stands, patting off his behind to get ready to leave. 

"I'll be taking a fee for my service."

He’s probably known the exact meaning of Gintoki’s smile for a while now, but he was either too embarrassed or afraid to admit what it was.

"Huh—?! What service?!" Hijikata exclaims, incredulous as one of his dango sticks are swiped off the plate.

"I answered your question, did I not?" Gintoki asks, and he eats a ball of dango as he backs away, waving seconds later.

After all, affairs in love are difficult to think about.

"I'll see you around, Demon Vice-Commander." 

And his smiles had all to do with love.