Yukimura frowns. It isn't supposed to be like this, he thinks, laying a cool compress over Sanada's forehead. The cloth doesn't stay as another round of thick coughs rack the man's body.
"I think we should consider it now," Sanada says, voice raspy.
"My answer is and will always be no."
Sanada glares up at him, but the look falls as he starts coughing again. He brings a cup of water to his lips and takes a long drink, the cold water cooling the inflammation in his throat.
"We've been through this before Seiichi. I don't want to become a burden. It isn't fair to you."
"Stop being selfish," Yukimura says flatly, taking the glass out of Sanada's hands and setting it on the nightstand. He gets off the bed and opens up the windows, a soft breeze circulating the stagnant air. "You know how I feel about it."
"No. I don't want to watch you die, but it's preferable to have it happen here surrounded by your family than some sterile place alone."
Yukimura ignores him, padding back over to the bed and fluffing the man's pillows. He smoothes out the thin blanket covering his lap and presses his lips lightly against a furrowed brow. "Get some rest. I'll come check on you in a bit."
Yanagi flips the page of the newspaper sports section. He doesn't look up as Yukimura walks into the kitchen. Making a mental note of the tennis scores, he closes the paper and folds it. He waits until the former Rikkai captain drops into the seat opposite him to speak.
"The number is on his desk."
Yukimura shakes his head.
"He's merely looking out for the best interests of you and your son."
"Yes," Yukimura snaps. "By dying in a home instead of at home. That makes it so much easier."
Yanagi swallows the retort on his tongue, noting the tears forming. The thing is he completely agrees that Sanada is being selfish, but utterly understands the reasons why. Ah, the double-edged sword. He hates it. "He's always been the type to sacrifice himself to save you," he says finally.
"Don't remind me."
Sanada has enough strength to get out of bed and make it uneasily down the hall. He uses the walls as support, stopping every couple of steps to take a deep breath of the cool air coming in from the outside.
"You should be in bed dad," their son says. His face is unreadable. Sanada frowns.
"Where is he?"
"Outside in the garden. Do you need him? I can get him for you."
"No. It's fine. I was just curious."
"Are you sure?"
"Yes," he says with a nod. "I'll go back to the room and no, I don't need help."
He turns around with some effort, their son hovering just close enough to support him should the need arise. Sanada makes it back to the bedroom and sits on the edge of the bed, staring out the window. The breeze is constant, branches fluttering and making ever-changing patterns on the rumpled covers.
Sanada feels Yukimura's slip behind him and drape his arms down his chest.
"You didn't have to stop."
"There are only so many weeds, Genichirou," Yukimura says lightly and Sanada can just imagine the slight upward curve of his lips next to his ear. "Nori said you needed me?"
"Just wanted to know where you were."
The hands slide back just as quickly as they had appeared. Yukimura moves and sits next to him. Sanada watches him stare out the window, focused on something that he can't see.
"I called. The place you wanted," Yukimura clarifies. He swallows. "We have an appointment for tomorrow. So you can see if it's really what you want."
Out of the corner of his eye, Sanada sees Yukimura grip at the fabric of his jeans, knuckles turning white. He inhales and looks up at the ceiling, the sun and wind playing with shapes then he stands up and goes to the door. He pauses and looks back at Sanada.
"You know," Yukimura starts softly, a sad smile on his lips, "I really thought you'd live forever."
Before Sanada can reply, he disappears into the hall.
"I don't want to hear it, Renji." Yukimura rubs his thumb over the lip of the cup, his tea getting colder by the minute.
"Nori took him then?" Yanagi asks.
Yukimura nods. He knows he should have. The list of questions he has is a mile and a half long, but he couldn't bring himself to go. Instead, he is a coward. Sanada would be so disappointed. He props his chin in his hand and closes his eyes.
"Are you worried Nori won't bring him back?"
The question is rhetorical. Yanagi already knows the answer. Yukimura sighs. Silence fills the room until a loud we're home echoes throughout. Neither of them move. Sanada appears in the doorway.
"Seiichi." His voice is shaky. Yukimura is sure he can hear his own heart breaking. He pushes his tea cup to the center of the table and stands. Padding over to his husband, we wraps his arm around Sanada's waist.
"I'll take over from here, Nori. Try not to frustrate Renji too much." He leads Sanada down the hall.
Before they reach the room, Sanada stops. He pulls Yukimura into a tight hug. It isn't as strong as he is used to, but he couldn't care less. Yukimura melts a little until he realizes...
"When do you move in?"
Sanada is quiet for a long time. Yukimura can hear his raspy breathing and waits.
"I don't... I'm not." He takes a deep breath. "We didn't go."
Yukimura pulls away. "What?! Why? You were gone for hours."
"Nori didn't take me. He drove us to Enoshima and we sat on the beach for a bit."
"Did they call?"
"Hn. He told them I wasn't interested anymore and hung up. Then he berated me for fifteen minutes and told me to shove my pride up my ass, get over myself, and realize that I'm not the only one in pain. It wasn't the most eloquent, but--"
"Since when has he ever been so?" Yukimura beams and practically tackles Sanada. The motion sends them back into the wall with a thud. He leans up and kisses him deeply. "I'm glad you're not going there."
Sanada buries his head into the nape of Yukimura's neck. "Me too," he breathes against his skin. "Me too."
The decline is quick. For that Yukimura is both thankful and angry. He doesn't want Sanada to suffer, but he'll be damned if they have to end things too soon.
His doctor suggests a different course of treatment, but Sanada turns it down. For only a twenty percent chance of improvement, it isn't worth prolonging the inevitable. He spends his days in bed or on the patio when the weather is nice, mostly sleeping.
Yukimura has stacks of filled sketchbooks of various heights scattered around the house. There is always one nearby Sanada's most frequented areas with a tin of turquoise drafting pencils perched on top.
He sits Indian-style on the porch swing, drawing pad open on his right thigh, sketch half-finished. Sanada is asleep on his shoulder, his breaths short and raspy. He threads his fingers through grey locks, tapping his pencil idly on the vellum.
"I made tea," Nori says quietly from the door, two steaming mugs in hand.
Humming, he motions gingerly for their son to come outside then puts his finger to his lips.
"How long's he been out?" he asks, handing over the cup.
"About an hour." Yukimura drops the pencil and takes the beverage. He goes back to twisting Sanada's hair around his fingers while he drinks. "I didn't think you'd be over today. You had a meeting, right?"
Nori shrugs. "I cancelled it. Renji called and said it would be a good idea if I was here more often."
"I suppose it pays to be the boss of your own company." He pauses and looks up. "Oh…why?"
"All he said was 'sakura season' and that you would know what he meant."
"Typical," Yukimura says and looks at the tree in the back yard, its buds just beginning to form. His hand slips from Sanada's head and tightens protectively around his bicep, pulling him closer.
"Do I want to know?"
"He'll miss his birthday, that's all," Yukimura says evenly.
"It's a good way to go," Yanagi says simply, adjusting Yukimura's tie. "Better than a horrific accident."
Nori hovers in the doorway. His eyes are still puffy from days of crying, but at the moment, his eyes are free of tears. Yukimura knows that Yanagi is only trying to be helpful and puts a stopper on the anger rising up inside him.
"I am also sure that this method is infinitely better than the one Genichirou would have chosen if he had the strength."
Their son snorts. "We would have been cleaning that up for days."
A small smile graces Yukimura's lips. "I bet he regrets not being able to go out like a samurai."
"Everyone knows he does," Yanagi says knowingly, finishing the buttons on Yukimura's sports jacket.
"Are you done fussing over dad now?" Nori asks when he steps back.
"Good," Yukimura chimes in. He pads over to Nori and links their arms. "Ready to say goodbye?"
He shakes his head. "No."
"Neither am I," he says softly, starting towards the wake. "Let's go."