Sanada looks up from his paperwork to see Yukimura standing in the doorway. The geisha bows low and enters.
"I didn't expect you at the manor," the man says, putting down his pen as Yukimura sits in the chair next to his desk. "Do you need me to make an appearance?"
Smoothing out his kimono, the geisha shakes his head. "No, nothing like that Sanada-san." He leans on the wooden desk.
"Yagyuu?" Sanada questions at the action.
"No no. I'm perfectly okay, but I was rather hoping you'd pull yourself away from this for an evening as a personal favour to me."
Sanada raises an eyebrow. He hasn't received any missives from his companion about events that need his presence. Yukimura sits up and looks straight at the man.
"You'll be happy to know I'm finally going to take your advice and retire... But before I do, I want you to accompany me to one last event." Yukimura shakes his head as Sanada opens his mouth. "Don't shoot it down just yet. It's nothing ridiculous. No teahouses, no kabuki. I promise."
"Then what is it?"
"Hanami," he replies simply.
Sanada snorts lightly and goes back to writing. Yukimura frowns.
"It isn't funny."
"Don't get defensive, Seiichi. I had planned on taking you anyway. Do you need a new kimono?" He doesn't look up from his writing, switching to another piece of paper.
"No. I thought I'd wear an old one."
Yukimura hums. "You know me so well, Sanada-san."
"I've had a number of years to do so. Name the day and I'll make sure I'm available."
"As you wish."
The geisha bows his head, stands, and leaves the room.
Yukimura ties the obi tight, Kirihara smoothing out any wrinkles that form.
"I can't believe you're really gonna retire. Who will get me into the good teahouses now?"
The geisha smiles at his apprentice. "You'll be fine. You're the preeminent geisha in Gion now and no longer need my assistance."
"Whatever. I'm not dealing with Sanada-san for you."
"You have your own danna, Kirihara. There's no need for Sanada-san to be dealt with. He has his work which will occupy all his time. Though, he might call on you from time to time." Yukimura tucks the jade lotus into his hair and smiles. "Since I'll be traveling, it's only natural that if he needs a geisha, he'll call upon my second."
Kirihara frowns. "He's yours. I don't want him."
A part of Yukimura is very relieved by that statement, but he doesn't show it. Instead, he tucks one of Kirihara's wayward curls back under his wig. "Most likely I'll be staying at the manor tonight," he says. "You watch over the apartment."
The Sagano Bamboo Forest isn't the way Yukimura would have taken, exactly, but it's quiet. He tucks his arm into the gap made by Sanada. He can make out a few other travelers far ahead of them, definitely out of earshot.
"Why did you take me the long way?"
"I wanted to give you the best view. Only certain people are allowed to take this path."
"And you are one of these certain people?" Yukimura asks, amusement in his voice.
"I thought you knew that by now."
Yukimura smiles and leans against him as the path winds farther. A gentle breeze blows around them both, making the more loose strands of Yukimura's hair fall out of place. He looks up at Sanada, still stately despite his hair being swept around by the light wind. The bamboo stalks wave back and forth, an occasional sakura petal filtering through the bright green.
"We're close," Sanada says.
The geisha can see an opening at the end of the path. It widens as they get closer. A group of sakura appear before him when the exit the bamboo-ensconced area. The man certainly knows his aesthetics; it is beautiful. He lets go of Sanada and walks amongst the trees, petals falling around him as the wind unhinges them from their precarious place.
Sanada stays close to the path, more than happy to let Yukimura wander for a bit. As the sun starts to set, he moves from his spot and comes up next to the geisha.
"How is this for your last event as a geisha?" he asks quietly.
"Perfect," Yukimura replies. "You'll have to find someone new to accompany you places when you find the time to be social."
Regardless of the dig, Sanada shakes his head. "No, I think it will be quite better of me to stay in the shadows for a bit."
"Having me around never stopped that annoying tendency of yours before," he quips, tucking a wave behind his ear.
"True." Sanada holds out his arm. "Ready to return?"
The geisha takes it and the man leads them back into the bamboo forest. Yukimura hears various birds and insects amid the quiet turn their conversation has taken. Breezes swirl cooler around them and the geisha instinctively moves closer to the nearest source of warmth.
"Thank you, Sanada-san," he says, smiling as they continue down the path.