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Opportunity Knocks

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Sanada stays quiet during the carriage ride out of Gion. Yukimura watches him stare at the passing countryside, the sunset giving his features sharp contrast. This isn't uncomfortable and doesn't feel forced. In fact, it is the first time in months he has felt so at ease. The thought is a little unsettling initially, but as the carriage speeds along, he finds that it doesn't bother him. He knows it is silly to feel this way considering everything, the almanac had given him positive signs for days. Fate was such a tricky thing.

They travel over a number of bridges. Yukimura is not overly familiar with the area; maybe coming out this far only a few times in his career thus far, but he knows that they are traveling east. The sun has dropped behind the mountains, casting them in a bright pinkish orange glow, by the time the carriage begins to slow down. Small buildings soon populate the roadside, then bigger establishments. They come to a complete stop before a large theatre. The door to the carriage opens, but Sanada doesn't move. Yukimura shifts in his seat, waiting for a few long moments before reaching across to touch the man gently on the knee.

"Sanada-san?" he ventures softly.

When he turns to look at the geisha, Yukimura notes how exhausted Sanada looks for the first time since leaving the okiya.

"You go first," Sanada says evenly, trying to keep the tiredness from seeping into his voice.

Yukimura frowns for a moment before nodding. He lifts the edges of his kimono carefully and steps out of the carriage with help from the doorman. Moving out of the way, he waits for Sanada. The man follows soon after, waving off the servant in annoyance, and closes the door to the carriage. He knocks on its side twice and their ride disappears into the night. Yukimura has to bite his cheek to prevent laughing at the doorman.

"Shall we?" Sanada asks, holding up his arm just enough for Yukimura's to slip through.

The geisha blushes, thankful that is it dark enough to hide the colour of his cheeks. He slides his arm into place. Sanada's gesture is incredibly Western and they get disapproving looks as the man leads him slowly up a small staircase. This reminds Yukimura that they aren't the only "couple" there. He wonders, briefly, why Sanada didn't bring his wife instead.

"You should have told me where we were going. I would have chosen a different kimono," Yukimura chastises quietly, a light frown tugging at his lips.

Sanada barely quirks an eyebrow. "No one is going to be talking about what you are wearing," he whispers. "Besides, if it was unacceptable, I would have said something and waited for you to change."

The geisha knows this is true, on all accounts. Instead, they will talk about how Sanada goes against tradition to spite everyone around him. He sighs. "We would have missed the performance if you disapproved."

"That would have not bothered me in the slightest."

Yukimura squeezes his arm tightly in annoyance. Sanada gives him an amused look as he passes over two slips of waxy parchment to a young man at the door. They are ushered inside and led to seat in the very centre of the theatre. Is is a very good view and the building is beautiful. Yukimura has a hard time focusing on any one thing. He is inspired and would rather draw than watch.

When the house lights are lowered to barely flickering, Sanada taps his wrist to get him to focus on the stage. Being trained in various arts has taught Yukimura to respect all forms, even if he doesn't like them very much. Kabuki is no exception. He understands the meaning, the purpose, the metaphor, but the execution leaves something to be desired. He tries to pay attention, really, but he finds the story lackluster at best.

The theatre becomes bright once more as the lanterns are brought to full luminance. Yukimura has to fight the urge to yawn. Sanada stands, joining the others in leaving. He takes them back out into the cool air of the summer night.

"Interesting, but I'd rather not see it again."


The man looks at him curiously. "Hmm? I only attended because a superior gave me tickets. I wouldn't have bothered otherwise. You shouldn't act so surprised. You know that if I don't like something, I will say so. Also, learn to hide your yawning better."

Yukimura gives him a look. "I thought I was doing so well, too."

Sanada smirks. "It doesn't bother me. I like that you break the mold so often. It would be stifling, otherwise."

Their carriage appears and Sanada helps him inside, getting in after. When the door closes, they start heading back west towards Gion. This time, it is Yukimura who stares out the window, the sky completely covered in stars.

"I admit," Sanada says eventually, drawing back the curtain to peer outside. "That the kabuki act offered me a prime opportunity."

Yukimura drops his gaze from the heavens to look curiously at the man across from him. "And what would that be?"

The corners of Sanada's lips quirk slightly. "You still would like a danna, yes?"