Kihentai shared her headcanon about Takasugi dying and seeing Shouyo before being sent back and I loved that so much I had to write something about it.
Takasugi doesn’t hurt anymore. He doesn’t feel anything at all, actually. He’s weightless and listless and just doesn’t care about anything either way. There’s no thoughts or feelings, only a blankness that stretches on and on into the darkness that welcomes him. He doesn’t like where he is, he also doesn’t dislike it, it’s all just one huge cavern of apathy that has swallowed him whole.
He starts walking and he knows that it doesn’t matter which direction he goes, it’s all the same. How he got here has slipped his mind and though he feels it’s important, he has no mental fortitude to really give it a second thought. Details are so taxing and there’s already an exhaustion weighing down each one of his limbs that stems from his very core, he has had enough.
There are things around him, other people, maybe, but he doesn’t bother looking. His eyes, both of them – two, not one – are cast down to the ground just before his feet. He’d never imagined Heaven or Hell or thought about what purgatory might be like, but this endless listlessness is something he could never have counted on. It goes as deep as his bones and manifests itself as a physical blockade that he sees no way through, around, or under. The nothingness is even so thick that he can’t even bother to care about not caring… until something stops him in his tracks.
It’s instinct that makes him stop, an instant reaction to a presence his soul recognizes while his mind remains blank. He’s staring at feet and it takes more willpower than it ever should to get himself to raise his eyes. It doesn’t strike him right away who this is, but there’s something familiar about that smile. So familiar that Takasugi can feel something inside of him begin to wake up.
The man starts walking toward him, his steps soundless and short. For Takasugi, there’s no thoughts, only flashes of images of things he partially recognizes. The fingers of his left hand twitch and his vision starts to fade out on one side – there’s a flash of a person crying. Takasugi’s heart should be beating faster right now, but there’s no beating at all, his chest is hollow, yet still heavy. The man is right in front of him now and he’s still smiling – dammit, Takasugi knows this smile.
And then it hits him.
But before he can utter his name, Shouyo says, “It’s not your time yet.”
Faster than Takasugi can react, Shouyo punches him on the top of his head, driving him right back into darkness. Pain surges through him and he knows he’s back in his own body. The pain is actually so sharp and startling that he takes in a gasping breath that’s filled with dirt. He coughs and feels himself bleeding out, a feeling that can most closely be related to standing up too fast and getting lightheaded. His hearing is the last thing to come in and at first everything just sounds like water. Waves or static, that annoying tshhh noise clogging up his head.
Then, there’s yelling.
At first he almost thinks it’s himself, but no, that can’t be right. It’s a voice he knows as well as his own, one that’s imprinted on him as permanently as any tattoo. Through the pain, his mind is clear and feeling, actual feeling, is back. He can feel his heart thrumming away in his chest and there has to be some irony in the fact that each time it beats he’s losing more blood.
The yelling comes in clearer and for some reason, the moment he can hear things is when he becomes all too aware of the rod sticking out of his back. If that gets taken out, he’s definitely going to die whether it’s his time yet or not. Curling his fingers in the dirt, it’s work to get his eye open and more work to turn his head to see, but this is worth it, this is worth seeing. The movements are slight and all he can manage for now, but even something so small costs him. He doesn’t actually care about the pain, he’s used to pain, he just really feels he needs to see this.
Gintoki’s standing over him and he’s the bloodiest mess he has ever been. His legs are trembling, but his hands are steady even as blood drips down into his eyes and splashes down onto the ground so close to Takasugi that he could reach out and touch it had he any strength left. Gintoki’s holding Takasugi’s sword and that, too, must have some irony in it. It’s almost a cruel joke that Takasugi’s being defended by his own sword and a person he’d so recently been trying to kill.
His heart suddenly aches and he wants to tell Gintoki that he’s a fool.
But instead, all he can think is that it’s now 247 wins and 247 losses.