It was early morning, and Gintoki was coming down the stairs with the cake and a bottle of sake in his hands. He was trying hard, as to not drop it.
"Is it this day of the year again?" Asked Otose.
"Yeah." Gintoki said, as he put the cafe on his motorcycle. "I will be back by tomorrow."
"Like every year." Otose said, as she turned around. "Travel safely."
Gintoki started to motorcycle, driving all the way to the outskirts of Edo. He stopped the motor by the hill, and walked a little further up.
There a little of the abandoned path was a place. There was a stone, marker of the grave, under the maple tree. It just started to turn red.
The grave was already cleaned, the names Yoshida Shouyou clearly seen. There had also been three yakults and a full glass of sake.
Gintoki put the cake and the sake next to the grave, and started working on the plants around him. He took out all the weeds and put them away, then cut all the flowers that were planted next to it.
He then opened the box and put the cake on the offering place, then took one of the glasses and poured a sake, making it stand next to the one already there.
He clapped and bowed. He than took another glass of sake and drunk it. He stood there, not knowing what to say.
"Teacher, another year had passed." Gintoki said, scratching his head. "Nothing new. I am still doing an odd-jobs by myself. I still get repeatedly yelled for not paying the rent." He let his hand fall down. "I still haven't seen these two. Ever since..." He took a deep breath. "They are most likely fine. Doing the crazy dangerous stuff, but it would be news if they would die."
He paused, gathering his thought. "So try to make sure that they are fine. Don't worry about me." He then left. There was no longer any way of him getting a reply.
He spent the day in the nearby village. Ended getting wiped into helping an old lady find her granddaughter. Who ended up lost in the woods. Then they insisted for Gintoki to join them in the celebration.
When he returned back to the grave, he realized that this time he is the last one here. Instead of the things that he left there, there was now just a third of the cake, one yakult, one glass of sake and two rice balls.
Gintoki took the glass of sake, the one that he left in the morning, and threw it in the air. He was looking at the drops that got caught in the leaves. "I hope you are happy with how we live our life, teacher."
He then sat down, and started to eat the rice balls. He was already full from people almost forcing down his thought, but the rice balls were just as tasty, as they were the ones that he ate during the war, after a day long battle.
He then ate the last third of the cake, drowning it down with the Yakult.
"Shouyou." Gintoki started. "Did I made the right choice?" He let his head fall down. "I am..." He paused, starting again. "I am still trying to find a different way. But I can't." He let his hand rest on the stone. "I wish there was a different way." He let the silence answer hims now.
He than took the litter that was still there, making his way down. This was the ninth visit like that, and he hoped that the next time he would be able to say, that he is enjoying the life that he lives right now.