They called Seiichi out of class because of it, which was enough to send the rumors flying for the rest of the afternoon. It was not until Genichirou got home after tennis practice that his mother gave him the news: Seiichi's grandfather had died that morning, and wouldn't he go upstairs to see whether he'd outgrown his good suit yet?
He did, and hadn't (although it wouldn't be long, his mother clucked, dismayed by the rate at which her son was growing up), so she took it to brush and press and left him to start his homework. Genichirou spread his books and notes out, and began the problem sets for his math homework, but his concentration was off. He'd liked Seiichi's grandfather, who'd drafted him to help in the garden, and then had despaired of teaching him any gardening skill more complicated than pulling up weeds. Genichirou wasn't sure he could imagine going over to visit Seiichi without Seiichi's grandfather puttering around in the background.
They went to the funeral and paid their respects, which was proper, and it wasn't until he saw Seiichi sitting with his family, pale face floating above a dark suit, that it struck Genichirou that Seiichi had been closer to his grandfather than anyone else in his family.
There was no chance for him to say anything then and there, and it might not have been seemly anyway, so Genichirou bided his time, and when Sunday arrived, told his mother that he was going to see Seiichi.
She nodded, and sent him off, and when Seiichi's mother let him into the house, she seemed relieved to see him. "Thank you for your visit," she murmured. "Seiichi's in the garden." She paused, delicately. "If I might ask a favor, Genichirou-kun?"
"Of course, Yukimura-san." Genichirou bowed, wondering what she could want.
Seiichi's mother led him to the kitchen, and took a bento from the refrigerator. "Would you take this to him? He hasn't--his appetite--" She handed Genichirou the bento with a short bow. "Maybe you can persuade him to eat?"
"I will try, Yukimura-san," Genichirou said, accepting the bento with a return bow.
"Thank you, Genichirou-kun." Her smile was tired. "This has hit him rather hard."
"Mm." Genichirou shifted on his feet. The bento was heavy in his hands.
"Go on, then, and good luck," Seiichi's mother said, giving him a gentle push towards the door.
He knew the Yukimura gardens well, and Seiichi better, and made straight for the section of the garden that had been specifically Seiichi's grandfather's. Seiichi was there, carefully weeding a bed of flowers. He barely glanced up as Genichirou deposited the bento on the bench. "Genichirou," he said, in greeting, and bent his head back down over his work.
Genichirou hesitated, but knelt a bit down from Seiichi. After all of Yukimura-jiisan's tutelage, he could weed with the best of them.
"Did my mother ask you to bring that?" Seiichi asked, presently, uprooting an especially stubborn weed and shaking the dirt off its roots.
"She said you haven't been eating." Well, she hadn't used those precise words, but Genichirou felt comfortable with the assumption.
"I'm not very hungry." Seiichi yanked up another weed. "She doesn't believe me. Sorry she got you involved."
"I don't mind."
"Did she call to invite you over?" Seiichi asked, calm and practical.
Genichirou looked up at him. "No. Why would she?" he asked, puzzled.
Seiichi half-shrugged. "No reason. You know how she is."
Genichirou did know; if Seiichi thought his mother was to the point of calling him for--help--then Seiichi knew there was something going on that was--not right. "Why would she call me, Seiichi?" he asked again, finally.
"For distraction, I expect," Seiichi said, tearing up another weed, the roots making popping noises as he did. "Did you know I have a tendency to brood?"
"I didn't," Genichirou said, returning his attention to the weeds.
"Neither did I." Seiichi lapsed into silence for a while; they shifted position twice, moving down the length of the bed, before he spoke again. "The weeds grow so fast. Jiisan just did this bed last weekend."
"Mm." It was easier to make a listening noise than to respond to that.
"Tousama has hired a gardener, to keep up with it all." The bitterness in Seiichi's voice was sharp. "I can't do it, since I'm in school all day."
"It's a lot of garden to keep up with," Genichirou said, carefully.
Seiichi yanked another weed out of the earth. "It is." Instead of dropping it on the pile with the rest of the weeds, he twirled it between his fingers. "He starts tomorrow."
"That's... good," Genichirou allowed, and watched Seiichi's fingers clench around the weed, sap oozing out around them.
"We should have had a gardener to help Jiisan years ago," Seiichi hissed, voice low and angry. "Maybe then he wouldn't have tried to lift a bag of manure and had a heart attack instead."
He was familiar with the bags of manure in question; they were heavy, and unwieldy, and Seiichi always insisted that his grandfather let him and Genichirou carry them. "Is that what happened?" Genichirou asked, as Seiichi wrung the weed in his hands into a pulpy mess.
Seiichi's hands went still. "We think so," he said, voice uneven. "He didn't come in for lunch, so Kaasan went to look for him."
Genichirou didn't know much about medicine or heart attacks, but could guess that by that point, it had already been too late. "I'm sorry," he said, which wasn't adequate at all, not even a little bit.
"He should have waited. I would have been home in a few hours." The weed, by this point, was unrecognizable as such--was nothing more than a green stain that Seiichi was working into his skin. "I would have moved it for him."
Genichirou leaned over and stilled Seiichi's fingers. He couldn't say anything, although he wished he could, to take that bright, raw edge of pain away from Seiichi's voice.
"I miss him," Seiichi said, and twisted his sticky fingers around Genichirou's.
"I know," Genichirou said, and kept his eyes on their hands so that Seiichi could have some semblance of privacy while he cried.