It's been too long since I've written another fic. And this is the first time that I've written a fic with a dramatic genre. I've been feeling a bit down lately, but I never thought that a depressing feeling would make me write something like... this. And because of that, I wrote another 7k in one sitting.
I didn't want to make this as dramatic as it is, but my hands seemed to fly on the keyboard. I'm hating myself for what I did to my OTP, but i guess it's good that I explore different kinds of writing styles. Besides, too much fluff would rot your teeth.
About Yukimura's condition... well, I don't know if this is going to be classified as a semi-AU, becuase I've changed the nature of his condition into something much worse... but I'm rambling here.
Warnings: Shounen-ai, character death. Some typos I may have missed, and lots of drama and angst. Characters may be OOC.
Sanada Genichirou knew that something was wrong. Horribly wrong.
His smile… just wasn't the same as it used to be.
Why won't you smile that way anymore?
He could see the fleeting look of the pain in the other's eyes, even as he laughed around with their teammates.
Are you… in pain?
His normally bright and beautiful eyes were overshadowed with sadness, with a tinge of fear. The look was enough to make Sanada freeze on the spot. He never feared anything.
What made you so afraid? And… why won't you tell me?
Sanada could see him crumbling; his normally warm and gentle presence was slowly becoming muted.
Don't you trust me enough to share your pain…?
Sanada noticed it immediately.
"Yukimura!" He shook the fallen captain. "Yukimura! Answer me! Are you all right?!"
Yukimura started to stir and turned to look at him with an ashen white face, his effeminate features contorted in extreme pain. Somewhere inside him, Sanada felt as if he'd been stabbed a thousand times, over and over again. It pained him to see such an expression on the strong teen's face, to see the Child of God on his proverbial knees. He wanted to shut his eyes and look away. He didn't want to see his friend and captain like this, like he was the most vulnerable person on earth.
"Sa… nada? What… happened?" The teen's brow was furrowed, as if willing the look on his face away. The effort was enough to make Sanada's heart break. "You collapsed. Are you all right?" He asked again, trying to mask the worry in his voice, and was internally glad that his voice did not break.
"I'm fine." Yukimura smiled at him. A forced and brittle one that held nothing of what Sanada was used to seeing. The pain in his heart increased a hundredfold.
"Do you want to go to the clinic?" He asked slowly, trying to gauge the captain's current state of health. "I'll accompany you there."
"NO!" The vehement and almost forceful answer surprised the vice-captain. But the sudden snarl had put color back into Yukimura's cheeks, and Sanada internally sighed in slight relief. There was no way that Yukimura would answer him like that if he wasn't feeling fine. But the nagging feeling didn't disappear, and he forcefully pushed it aside in favor of looking after his friend.
"No, I mean…" Yukimura realized that he had just growled at his best friend and looked away, feeling and looking guilty. "I'm fine, Sanada. Don't worry about me. I just forgot to eat breakfast today, and don't look at me like that," He added as his vice-captain looked disapprovingly at him. "I was running late today."
Running late…? Something about the explanation made Sanada suspicious and worried at the same time. Yukimura was never late. In fact, the teen would arrive earlier than him in some days of the week, or both of them would arrive at the same time, which is at about six in the morning, and classes start two hours later. He knew from experience that Yukimura is a very skilled liar, and as he stared at his best friend, who was still smiling at him, he can't help but feel that the other was hiding something from him.
And that feeling hurt.
As he opened his mouth to ask another question, the bell rang, signaling the start of class. He heard the faint babble of voices and he straightened up, holding out his hand for Yukimura to take. In his surprise, the teen took it, standing up, giving a small, grateful smile up at him before staggering, like the movement he just made was causing him pain. Even as Yukimura breathed, Sanada could see the haze of deep hurt that clouded his usually clear, blue eyes.
"I-I'm all right. J-just feeling a bit dizzy…" Yukimura whispered softly, and if not for the fact that Sanada caught him as he fell, the capped teen wouldn't have heard it. Sanada frowned, his concern starting to bubble up again. He clutched the smaller teen close to him, seeing the thin sheet of sweat the covered his face. Yukimura was deathly pale, his breaths coming out in short, breathless gasps. His skin felt cold, and Sanada internally battled with himself, debating on what to do. It was for the best if he should take the captain to the clinic, but he had never denied Yukimura's wishes. It was something equivalent to a mortal sin if he did, and with a resigned sigh, he bent down and scooped the captain in his arms, ignoring the sudden gasp of surprise.
He carried the captain to his first class, ignoring the looks that came their way. He couldn't care less if they suddenly sprouted some nonsense about what he did to the Rikkaidai tennis captain. He paid full attention to the male resting in his arms, noting that the captain leaned on him immediately, his thin hand grasping his (Sanada's) uniform lightly. Sanada frowned. "Yukimura, you're losing weight." He could never carry the captain this easily. "Have you been eating well?"
The blunet laughed softly, but the capped teen noticed that the laugh had a certain edge that he can't recognize. "Of course. It's just that… I haven't been playing as hard as I used to… I've been too busy lately… I can't even get up… too much pain…" Slowly the words dwindled away, spoken barely above a whisper that even Sanada didn't hear it. He shifted the weight in his arms, never stopping from his brisk walk, stealing looks every now and then at the blunet, who has the weary look of exhaustion on his face. Yukimura looked less pale than he did before, but there was no way he would risk Yukimura getting hurt. They approached the classroom and he set Yukimura down, never letting let go until the blunet was able to stand without swaying on his feet.
"Are you sure you're all right, Yukimura?" He asked him seriously. "I'll be okay. Thank you, Sanada." The captain smiled at him again and entered the classroom, leaving him standing there, alone, unable to shake off the worry that he felt. Just as he turned around to go to his own class, something registered in his mind.
Yukimura never said his first name. Not even once.
Somehow… realizing that… made his heart ache more.
At the first moment they laid eyes on each other, Sanada knew he was never looking away.
He was six years old then, and he came with his parents in visiting a new neighbor. But the adult chatter soon bored him, and in his curiosity, he managed to slip away from his parents' doting glances and decided to explore the house himself. He silently marveled at the cream colored walls, the French-inspired windows, and the big, airy rooms, which wasn't filled with furniture then. It was a big house, hip and modern, nothing like the shrine of his home, and being in another house completely different from his own put him in a state of complete wonder. He touched the freshly dried paint, looked beyond the crystal displays on the wall, and looked above, observing the chandelier that made the ceiling sparkle beautifully.
But as with every young, curious boy, soon he found himself lost. He looked left and right, unable to trace where he just passed. He frowned, not liking the situation. He passed by another door, but it lead him to the outside, instead of the sitting room where his parents are located.
The bright sun blinded him, and as his eyes adjusted to the sudden brightness, he was suddenly greeted by a profusion of fully bloomed flowers. It was then he realized that he was in his neighbor's garden. It was a beautiful place, almost a fairyland, and he started to walk around, fully captivated.
And there he was, the future captain of the Rikkaidai tennis club, among the many lovely flowers of the garden. He held a white flower in his snow white fingers, a happy smile gracing his angelic face. They looked at each other the moment Sanada stepped around the corner, surprise dominating their expressions.
A silence passed between them. Sanada blinked. The child he was looking at cocked his head in curiosity. Then he held out the flower, a smile blossoming on his young, cherub face.
"Play with me?" He asked sweetly.
Sanada Genichirou was instantly smitten. He approached the child shyly, a bright blush appearing on his young features. The other child giggled, grabbing both of his hands when Sanada became close enough to touch. It seemed that the blunet didn't particularly care about the fact that there was an unknown boy in their garden.
"Let's be friends! What's your name?"
"S-Sanada… Genichirou…" He stuttered, blushing darker when the other child let out a peal of laughter that sounded like a thousand windchimes on a breezy day. He was transfixed at the beautiful sound, only coming back when he felt the smaller hands squeezing his own.
"My name is Yukimura Seiichi! Nice to meet you!" The blunet was no longer laughing but instead beamed at him happily. "I hope that we'll be close friends!"
"Ye-yeah… you too…"
And thus, it was the start of his stressful but beautiful relationship with Yukimura Seiichi.
Sanada walked in the deserted road leading to the tennis courts, exhausted but quite pleased with today's events. He had improved on his calligraphy today (he was planning to give Yukimura one as a possible birthday present since he knew Yukimura loved handmade gifts) and tennis practice was satisfactory, even by his standards. Just as he was passing by the school greenhouse, a loud crash startled him from his thoughts and caught his immediate attention. He hurriedly entered the greenhouse, only to find the object of his constant pain, worry and affection sprawled on the ground, his body convulsing violently, soil and shattered remains of what seemed to be a pot scattered everywhere.
"Seiichi!" He rushed to the captain's side. "Seiichi! What happened?! Are you all right?! What's wrong?!"
Yukimura was coughing hard, with every intake of his breath his body jerked in pain. His breathing was labored, his face paler than any sheet Sanada had ever saw, cold sweat dripping from his forehead.
The Rikkai captain was moaning in pain, his chest heaving as his coughs dwindled away. Yukimura turned to look at him; his ocean eyes raging with a storm that looked like it wouldn't be calmed soon. Something crimson trailed from his mouth. Sanada's eyes narrowed as fury bubbled within him. After all this time… Yukimura was… and he didn't even notice it.
"Hello Gen…" He greeted Sanada weakly and saw his vice captain's barely concealed anger. "Why? What's… wrong?"
"I should be asking you the same thing, Seiichi!" He has never felt this angry before. Or worried. Silently he was cursing himself for not noticing sooner. How could he? He was always there, by his side! How could he not see how much pain his best friend is in?! How did he not realize that his friend was moaning in pain while he was overseeing tennis practice?! He was a failure. He let down his closest friend. For the very first time…
He has failed Yukimura Seiichi.
The thought was quickly wiped away from his mind when the captain suddenly coughed again, his wiry shoulders shaking violently from the effort. Sanada held him up, his blood turning cold when he something crimson dripping down from Yukimura's mouth. Slowly the barrage of coughs dwindled away, to be replaced with a dry heaving that was more painful to see and hear.
"Why didn't you tell us, Yukimura? Why didn't you tell Renji? Why didn't you tell me?" The pain of not being trusted enough made his voice break.
"I didn't want…. to worry all of you… especially you, Genichirou…." Yukimura slumped against him, fighting to stay conscious. His shallow breaths touched his neck and if it were any other time, Sanada would have blushed profusely.
"I'll take you to the hospital." He said hurriedly, already scooping up Yukimura in his arms, but something stopped him.
"No!" Yukimura suddenly latched a hand on his arm in a vice-like grip. "Don't… I… I already know." He whispered brokenly. Sanada's blood turned into ice.
"Please Genichirou… take me home. I promise to tell you everything." The blue eyes pleaded with him, asking him, actually begging for his request to be granted.
Just once, just this once, Sanada was tempted to knock the captain out and rush him to the nearest hospital. But the desperate look on his face…
Damnation! Sanada couldn't refuse those eyes.
He was hyperventilating in his chair, and he knew it.
He can't concentrate on the lesson at all, even though it was History, one of his favorite subjects. Tried as he might to listen, he would always find his mind and eyes wandering to a specific location in the classroom.
To the seat beside him, to be more specific.
He watched as the person beside him gasp softly in surprise as a folded piece of paper had found its way on top of his notes. He tensed as the person slowly took the paper and opened it, reading the message written in a neat, scripted handwriting.
He stared at the person, waiting for his inevitable reaction.
At once, the person beside him blushed, biting his lip in a manner that he found extremely adorable. The person quickly hid the piece of paper in his school bag, and immersed himself in the lesson, seemingly conscious of the intense gaze on him.
At any rate, it wasn't a negative reaction, as he hoped it would be.
And then the person looked up and their eyes met.
Everything seemed to stop in that one moment when they caught each other's gaze. Or rather, the sounds and sights fell into nothingness; he raised his brows in silent question, trying not to look hopeful.
The person beside him blushed harder; once again enchanting him with the shy gaze as he slowly nodded his agreement. And the world suddenly appeared brighter, more colorful, as he suddenly couldn't help himself and gave the other a small, but otherwise happy smile as he turned back to the teacher, now much more enthusiastic in leaning his lessons.
He's looking forward to this weekend. Immensely.
He couldn't believe it.
He didn't want to believe it.
But the proof was there, in front of him.
Yukimura Seiichi… his captain… his closest friend… his secret love… was…
"How… how long left?" He choked on the words. How could had he been so blind to his friend's pain?
"I don't know… exactly." Yukimura smiled sadly. "Maybe tomorrow, next month, next year…"
Tomorrow! Sanada was going to raise hell for this.
"Why didn't you even tell us about this?" He asked quietly. Yukimura looked away.
"I… I didn't want all of you to find out. You'll start to worry about me and then the team will lose all their concentration. I will not be the reason for our loss in the tournament." Yukimura answered a little too harshly, causing Sanada to smile slightly. No matter what happened to him, Yukimura was still the infallible captain of Rikkaidai.
But he was serious again. "Yukimura, you should be in the hospital. There must be a way to treat your illness."
"I refuse." There is it again, the steely edge that told Sanada quite plainly that he wasn't going to even consider that option. "But Yukimura!" He replied insistently, almost desperately, trying to make the other teen see some sense. "There has to be a way!"
"They'll never let me out of the hospital. I refuse to be caged like a bird."
"So that you wouldn't die!"
Please… Please don't leave me.
"I don't want to survive, Genichirou. I want to live." Yukimura whispered softly.
Sanada hadn't seen this side of Yukimura before. This somber, quiet Yukimura… he hated it.
He wanted his old friend back.
They were walking towards Yukimura's home. Both of them were silent, not because they didn't have to say anything to each other, but because the day they had spent in each other's company had left them completely speechless. They spent the day at the harbor, where they walked beside the beach and went to the pier, where a carnival just opened.
It was perfect. Sanada never thought that the simple day that he planned for their… ahm… date would go so well. Yukimura was all smiles, holding a stuffed teddy bear that Sanada won for him at a booth stand. They walked side by side, not holding hands, their shoulders just slightly brushing against each other.
"Thank you, Genichirou. I had fun." Yukimura finally spoke, his voice softly carried by the wind like the tinkling sound of wind chimes. He looked up and smiled at his best friend. "It's nice to relax from training once in a while."
Once again, Sanada couldn't help the shock that always came whenever he would see the pure beauty of Yukimura's face. His features were so fine, so delicate like porcelain, and yet he knew that inside, Yukimura was as hard as a diamond, unbreakable and still shining above the rest. It was this trait that attracted him, so much that he didn't know how to stop it anymore.
He was falling for Yukimura Seiichi. Hard.
"Genichirou? What's wrong?" A small, pale hand lightly touched his face. "Are you felling all right?"
"Seiichi." He breathed, watching as blue eyes widened, the undertone of a blush spreading to his already rosy cheeks.
Sanada didn't know why he did it. Or how did he muster up the courage to do it. It simply felt like the right time and place, both of them alone in the deserted street, with no one to watch them but the moon and the stars that were starting to appear on the orange and blue sky.
His lips felt soft. That was his first initial reaction. A pleasurable tingle spread to his body, and he slowly closed his eyes, feeling the other teen respond to his touch, warm hands travelling to his shoulders, to the back of his neck, and he too, wrapped his arms around a small waist, a hand going to a thin nape, toying with a lock of midnight blue hair that fell down to soft, creamy shoulders as he felt the warmth that radiated from both of their bodies.
How long did they stay there, he didn't know, nor did he care. It seemed to him that he spent an eternity with his love in his arms, a forever that he would rather stay in until he died. But time seemed to end all things, and they finally parted. Yukimura gave him a small but affectionate smile, telling him, without words, that he too, returned his affections.
And that was all Sanada needed.
Sanada never let Yukimura out of his sight now.
After what happened in the greenhouse, Yukimura was back to his old self, friendly and kind, with that hint of mischievousness that always sent others running for their safety. Everything was normal again.
Or he so wanted to believe.
No matter how much the captain tried to conceal it, Sanada can always see the almost unbearable pain that would flash every now and then in his blue eyes, even as he talked, laughed and smiled with their teammates. Sanada knew it hurt. It must be hurting.
Can't you share with me your pain, Seiichi?
His eyes left the captain for a while so that he could concentrate on the team's training regime. But it was impossible. Again, he found himself staring at the Child of God, looking carefully for signs that Yukimura would be attacked by his illness once more.
The teen caught him staring and sent him a gentle and assuring look.
Don't worry about me. I'll stay here for as long as I can.
But even that did nothing to calm him. Sanada looked away, unable to stare at the angelic face no longer, feeling his heart ache with the foreboding thought of death.
How can I not worry? I'm afraid… if I tear my eyes away, I might not see you again.
It was night, and Yukimura was sitting on the futon in the Sanada household, already dressed for bed. He was staying for the night, as he and Sanada completed a project that was due the next day and thought it more practical to stay than to walk in the dead of night. Sanada sat beside him, going to say his goodnights before retiring to his own bed on the other room.
"How are you feeling?" Sanada asked quietly.
Please… don't do this to me. Let me in. Share your pain with me.
"I've been feeling better." Yukimura replied softly, his voice barely above a whisper.
I can't do that. I don't want you to hurt because of me.
"We should go to sleep. It has been a long day, and we have practice tomorrow."
I don't want to just stand here and do nothing. I would die if I lose you.
"… We should."
And I would die if I knew that I caused you pain. Please… please don't do this. Don't weaken my resolve.
I would follow you anywhere. Even if that means that I would die with you.
Sanada couldn't stand it anymore. The despair was consuming him, luring him to the point of no return. He can't control the complete helplessness that gripped him, shattering his self-control, causing him to pull the other teen into a bruising, fiery kiss, giving everything, needing to feel those lips on his own, telling him that Seiichi was still alive, that blood was still flowing through his veins. Slowly he moved forward, causing the other to lean back, until they finally hit the soft covers of the futon, his large body covering Yukimura's own.
He broke their sensual tango with a groan, his lips questing for still untraveled regions that only he alone can discover. He touched the soft skin gently, a pale, milky white under the moonlight's faint glow. He pressed his lips to the pale flesh of the other teen's neck, feeling a sense of satisfaction as he heard his love gasp, feeling the quickening pulse under his lips as he parted his lips and sucked, the body under him shuddering in pleasure.
"Genichirou…" He heard his name being called out, and he responded likewise, murmuring his love's name in reverent worship.
Don't leave me. Again and again these words repeated in his head like a mantra, as he clung to his love like a lifeline, never wanting to let go.
"Please… please…" He cried, almost begged, feeling the tears escape his eyes, run down his cheeks, and into an unclothed pale chest. They were moving in synchrony, their not so innocent touches making them crave more… want more… desire more.
"Share with me your pain." He whispered. "It will be our own. And no one would be able to take it away from us."
I need you. So stay here with me, by my side, always.
It was his blue-haired lover that kissed his tears away, the man that had allowed himself to finally gave his whole body, heart and soul to him, the human angel that cried in pleasure, taking their hands and lacing both of it together, never removing them, even as they reached the peak of their completion. Their lovemaking was gentle and rough, demanding and at the same time, indulgent. It was a puzzle, a perfect contradiction that left him confused, just like Yukimura was.
Yukimura, however, understood him perfectly.
Sanada felt it a few weeks after that fateful night.
He was in his family dojo that early evening, practicing some sword exercises with his katana. Every movement was fluid and sharp. He went back to his original stance, sufficiently warmed up, and proceeded to do one of the more complex techniques of his family's sword style.
But then, a sharp, blinding pain seized him, making him lose his grip on the katana, sending it clattering to the wooden floor. This was pain beyond anything imaginable. His knees gave in and he crashed to the ground, his head swimming, his vision blurring and darkening. Every breath he took made his chest scream. Something rose to his throat and a coppery, metallic taste invaded his tongue, causing him to choke and something red spilled to the dark wood, staining his fallen sword with bright red blood. His heart thumped quickly but unevenly, ice cold sweat dripping from his pale face. He went on all fours, a hand cupped to mouth to stop the stream of blood flowing from the corner of his lips. He heaved, his whole body shaking violently from the effort of just breathing.
He managed not to shout out from the pain, or even black out against it, no. Finally feeling the coughs subside, shakily he tried to sit up, his head still reeling from the sudden attack. He tasted the blood on his mouth. He touched his lips, and it turned up into something of a smile.
Now I know your pain… Seiichi.
Yukimura finally caught up to him during lunchtime. The blunet's sapphire eyes were blazing, and Sanada internally flinched, already feeling the dread sink into his mind.
"You're avoiding me." His voice had dropped into a dangerously low pitch which was more dangerous than if he was actually screaming. He pushed Sanada to the wall with a strength that was not quite his own. "Why?"
Sanada had expected this to happen. He avoided looking into the vivid, deep pools of cerulean blue, feeling ashamed. "I'm sorry." He muttered. "I'm so sorry, Seiichi."
Now it was Yukimura's turn to look slightly baffled. But as they both stood close to each other, away from the prying eyes of the other students, his angelic face finally turned into a look of realization, and then into an expression of deep hurt.
"You regretted… didn't you." He said quietly. It wasn't a question. "You regretted… what happened that night."
"… What?" Startled, Sanada looked down at him. What was Yukimura trying to say?
"We shouldn't have gotten carried away. You…"
"You regretted sleeping with me, didn't you?"
It took a moment for the words to register in Sanada's mind. And when it did, Sanada's heart stopped beating for a split second. He immediately looked into Yukimura's eyes…
Only to see that those beautiful eyes were already sparkling with clear, unshed tears.
Oh god. He almost made Yukimura cry.
It almost tore his heart apart.
"Wha- Oh my god, no! How can you say that, Seiichi?" Softly he touched the white cheek, wiping a wayward tear away. He smiled crookedly, knowing that it always made his love happy, seeing him smile. "I will never be sorry for what happened that night. It was the best thing that has ever happened to me in my life. Well, second best, as the first was meeting you."
He knew as he spoke these words that he meant it with every fiber of his being. "I apologize for avoiding you lately."
"No… It's all right." Yukimura's smaller hand covered his own, cradling it towards his face, smiling happily at his love. "I forgive you."
Sanada drew him close for a kiss, their lips touching tenderly and sweetly, with no hint of passion or lust. It was as pure as their affections for each other, almost like that time they first kissed on the street with twilight as their witness. Hands gently cradled his face, with firm, cool lips pressed against his own, with that hint of vanilla essence that could make him completely intoxicated. He drew back slightly, and couldn't help but grin as Yukimura leaned in and pecked his lips once more.
"Tease." His warm breath tickled Sanada's skin. Sanada grabbed the hand that touched his face and pressed a kiss to a cream-colored wrist, lacing their fingers together. "Only with you."
The blunet truly smiled at him then, and they held each other close; both of them enclosed a world that was their own. Sanada could smell the scent of vanilla and pine of the other teen's hair, lulling him into a deep calm, and he inhaled deeply, branding the scent in his mind for all eternity.
But then his body suddenly lurched in pain, and he bit his cheek as he fought against the terrible scream of agony that was on the verge of spilling from his lips. His body froze and his vision suddenly swam before his eyes, the world blackening and slowly fading into a comfortable darkness. The next thing he knew, he was leaning against the wall, hands firmly holding his face still, cold sweat dripping from his body. Yukimura's face came and went, looking anxious and deeply disturbed as his musical voice reached his ears, asking what's wrong, what's happening to him. Sanada couldn't answer, putting all of his concentration in willing the pain away, trying his best not to lose consciousness. Gradually he finally regained control of his limbs; his vision refocused on Yukimura's distressed features.
But before he could explain, the captain suddenly pressed his hand against Sanada's chest, making the teen hiss in surprise and extreme pain. Quickly he pulled back, seeing Sanada's face pale. But again he pressed, but more gently, hearing Sanada stop breathing whenever his hands would pass through a certain region of the teen's torso and a small groan escaping the tall teen whenever he would put too much pressure on his hands.
Yukimura's eyes widened in denial and disbelief.
It can't be… NO! Please God, NO!
Slowly he pushed the dark green school coat from Sanada's shoulders and undid the tie, taking off the buttons of the school uniform one by one, revealing a tanned and muscular chest. When the last button was finally freed, he could only stare in shock as the truth was finally revealed to him in one big sweep.
"NO! Why?!" He managed to strangle a cry.
Blotches of blue and violet were marked on what used to be an almost flawless chest. They weren't ordinary bruises.
They were the marks of his illness.
"You… you have them…" He said faintly, feeling his knees go weak.
"After that night… I started having these bruises, one by one. I thought that it was the aftermath of what we did but… they stayed. And I'm glad they did… because we finally shared everything." Sanada explained quietly.
At one moment, Yukimura's world came crashing down on him in one blow.
"NO! NO NO NO NO NO!!!" His voice was high-pitched, and he knew he was losing it. Sanada quickly grabbed his arms as tears started to flow to his cheeks. "I did this to you! I don't want this to happen! Not to you! Anyone but you! Now you're going to die too!" He was hysterical, never once letting the flow of tears stop pouring. His cries were muffled by a solid and warm chest and Sanada held him close, his large hands threading through his blue hair, whispering words of comfort as he clung to him, held him tightly, never wanting to let go.
Sanada leaned back against the wall, his face facing the ceiling, unable to stop the tears from falling from his closed eyelids.
Afterwards they lay together quietly, still relishing in the afterglow. His hands gently stroked the sweat-drenched blue hair, feeling exhausted but still very content. He had never remembered a time that he felt this… happy. His tightened his hold around the human angel in his arms, making the other teen murmur sleepily, instinctively snuggling closer to the warm body.
"Gen…" The blunet mumbled below him and Sanada couldn't suppress the small, affectionate smile that suddenly appeared on his face. When Yukimura was asleep, it seemed that he didn't have a care in the world. He wasn't Rikkai's team captain or even the Child of God anymore. He was simply Yukimura Seiichi, the person that Sanada cared about the most in the world. Sanada watched the rhythmic rise and fall of his shoulders, the long, curled eyelashes, the slightly parted lips that breathed warm air into his unclothed skin… he felt the teen stir, looking up at him and cracking one blue eye open. Yukimura's lips twitched into something of a smile.
Sanada brushed off the bangs from his eyes, softly caressing a smooth cheek, smiling at him softly. Yukimura grabbed the fingers on his skin and touched them to his lips. He laced their hands together, resting it over Sanada's heart, where they could both feel a strong heart beating. They didn't speak, but they didn't need words to express their feelings. Together they shared the tranquil silence, only to be broken with Yukimura's small cry of pain.
Sanada suddenly sat up, alarmed. But Yukimura stopped his actions, gripping his hands so tightly that his knuckles were already white. In the flurry of movements, the comforter slipped from their naked bodies, making Sanada gape at the sight of Yukimura's skin in the moonlight.
The perfect skin that was so flawless, so beautiful before was blemished with angry marks of red and blue violet. They weren't the proofs of their passion moments ago, that he was sure of. Sanada looked at his love, only to find him shaking his head slightly, a finger pressed to his lips.
Don't tell anyone. Please.
Sanada wanted to refuse him so badly. But he nodded, holding his captain closer, careful not to touch any of the bruises that littered Yukimura's torso. Soft, white hands held him and they lay quietly, unable to shake the feeling of foreboding.
I love you Seiichi, so leave don't leave me this soon.
Yukimura was finally given an ultimatum.
Resign from his position as team captain or go to the hospital for treatment.
He opted for the former.
Sanada internally sighed in relief. He had been keeping Yukimura's ailment a secret for weeks, and was thankful that somebody finally noticed. He too was on the brink of breaking Yukimura's trust and was about to tell the proper adults of the blunet's condition, but now that he has his own secret to keep, and so he stayed quiet about it. He tried his hardest not to let them notice every time the pain would start, especially during tennis practice, since it was both mentally and physically exhausting to keep his composure at bay. He could feel Yukimura's intense gaze on him, and he knew that the captain knew that he was in pain. But what was more painful to do is that he could always see Yukimura internally screaming in pain when his attacks would start, and yet do nothing about it.
The school found out when Yukimura collapsed in the art room one day, shaking violently, art utensils scattered, paint jars shattered, the floor stained with bright red blood. His classmates immediately brought him to the clinic, and seeing his condition, the nurse sent him to the hospital, despite the captain's weak protests.
When Sanada heard the news, he quickly stood up and rushed to the hospital, ignoring the dumbfounded looks of his classmates and the shocked splutters of his teacher. His body screamed as if tortured, but he paid it no heed.
Seiichi… needs me.
"Genichirou." Yukimura smiled weakly from his spot in the bed. He looked up when Sanada came in, reclined on the pillows, a book on his lap. His face brightened when he saw the boquet of flowers in the capped teen's hands. "Thank you."
It took all of Sanada's strength to keep his face impassive. He approached the bedside and placed the flowers in a recently emptied jar before sitting down on the other side of the bed. Yukimura changed in the few months that everyone knew of his current condition. He had taken a turn for the worse. His skin, although it was still pale, had a sickly, pasty shade to it, and his eyes were glazed, almost hollow.
The team was devastated. The regulars constantly worried about him. But not as much as a certain capped vice-captain, who frequently visited the ex-captain's home. He held Yukimura's hand, pressing it close to his face.
"How are you feeling?" He asked quietly, a thing that just came on autopilot. He really didn't need to ask. He already knew how it felt anyway.
"Tired." The blunet sighed. This wasn't the Yukimura Sanada knew. This was just a shell of the person he loved, and his heart ached in longing.
"Are you hurt anywhere?"
"No." Yukimura sounded petulant. "I think they overdosed me with morphine. I'm surprised that I'm not addicted to it already."
Despite himself, Sanada could suppress a smile at the childlike quality of the blunet's voice. He pulled the pale hand from his face and brushed his lips across a knuckle. "Feel that?"
"…Somewhat." Yukimura gave him a crooked smile. "Happy Anniversary, Genichirou." He laughed at Sanada's stupefied face. "What? You didn't think that I would remember this day? It's been eight years, am I right?"
"Ever since I saw you in your garden, holding that white flower… have I told you how beautiful you looked then?"
"Oh? And I'm not beautiful now?" Yukimura asked playfully. Once again Sanada kissed his hand grandly. "You know you are."
Yukimura's laughter was infectious, and Sanada found himself laughing along as well, as they both reminisced the eight years they had come to know and love each other deeply.
Sanada never knew that walking down their memory lane would hurt so much.
Sanad couldn't stay put. He was in the middle of tennis practice, playing the sport he loved, and yet he felt so disturbed, as if something horrible was about to happen. He frowned deeply, not liking the feeling at all. He turned away from the team and briskly walked towards the campus, pulling out the keys to the lockers rooms on the way.
As expected, there was no one inside save for him, and he quickly went to his locker, opening it and taking his cellphone from his school bag. As he did, the framed picture of Yukimura in his locker fell down and the glass shattered into a million pieces. He bent down to take the photograph of Yukimura among the broken glass, but he accidentally nicked his finger on one of the sharper edges, cutting him and letting a drop of blood stain the picture, a crimson blot amidst the bright colors of the picture.
The disquieting feeling worsened. He usually didn't believe in omens, but…
He grabbed his school bag and slammed the metal door shut, leaving the room with a brisk walk, only to end up running as he exited the Rikkaidai campus.
Something bad is going to happen. But what or when, he didn't know.
"Seiichi?" He knocked on the teen's bedroom door. Hearing a low moan of pain in response, he immediately opened the door.
"What happened?! Seiichi! Are you all right?!" He rushed inside, only to find the lone occupant of the bed on the carpeted floor. He quickly lifted the teen up, cradling the thin torso towards him, checking for any injuries. Finding none, he gave a sigh of relief.
"Please take me to the garden, Genichirou."
"Please." His voice was barely above a whisper, the small, almost helpless plead stinging Sanada's chest badly. Without a word, he scooped up the blunet in his arms and stepped out of the room, complying with his wishes. Yukimura's breaths were short and shallow, and Sanada could feel the minute struggle as the other teen drew another breath. His heart ached, but he stayed silent all throughout that time, opening the backdoor and walked into the garden, the afternoon sun bathing the flowers and trees with a fiery glow. He crossed the green grass to the wooden bench where he tried to set Yukimura down, but a hand stopped him.
"No… let's stay like this for a while." He whispered.
Sanada nodded, sitting down on the bench, shifting Yukimura so the teen was sitting on his lap, his cheek resting against Sanada's shoulder.
"I don't have much time anymore." Yukimura finally spoke up, his quiet voice reverberating through Sanada's soul. "I just want to see the outside… the place where we first met… one last time."
"I have one request, Genichirou." His voice weakened, and a pale hand reached for his face and Sanada took it, brining it close to his cheek.
"What is it?"
"When that time comes… close my eyes for me."
Your face is the last thing I want to see… before I go.
Sanada's eyes widened in shock. He's not saying that…
"Yes." He smiled sadly. "I'm leaving."
Sanada's world stopped at those words. "… Now?" He whispered.
Sanada heard glass shattering into a thousand pieces. It resounded through his entire being, echoing through his very core. Soon he realized that it was the sound of his own heart... already broken but still breaking inside. But in it, there was a resigned acceptance, and he knew that only time will tell when they are finally forced apart. He cupped the face he had learned to love more than his own life.
"Will you wait for me?" He asked quietly. It was selfish, he knew it, but he couldn't bear but ask.
"Just promise me you'll never let go." And in one synchronized moment, their eyes sought each other's face, their hands connecting, hearts beating as one.
"I promise. I'll never let go. Not unless you told me to." Sanada swore reverently, kissing the thin hand that he held so gently, so protectively. "Only a word from you, and I shall obey."
Yukimura sighed in contentment. "Now… I am at peace." He pulled away from Sanada's grasp, only to cup his face and place a kiss onto his lips, so sweet and tender that Sanada felt tears coming out from his eyes, as he all but crushed the other teen to his chest, responding to the kiss with gentleness and warmth, feeling the teen in his arms sigh softly, before pulling away.
But his lips lingered, slow, warm breaths caressing Sanada's skin. They were still so close, never wanting to break apart, for they both knew that it was time.
"I love you." Yukimura finally whispered to him, all emotions and feelings condensed into three words. He smiled, the most beautiful and sincere smile Sanada had seen, the same smile that greeted him when they first met.
Slowly, the long, thin hand slackened in their hold.
Sanada froze, numbly watching as the light from the blue eyes gradually disappear, solidifying into hardened gems. Slowly his breaths gasped, until it became no more.
All was silent. The sun had long set, shrouding the garden in semi-darkness, the only light coming from the bright stars and the full moon that cast its light in a silvery glow. Sanada stared at the lifeless eyes of his beloved, his form made even more ethereal by the moonlight. Gently, he removed his hand from the slackened grip and pushed the teen's eyelids down, closing his blue eyes for all eternity. He didn't notice the tear that fell from his eyes or the soft smile that was slowly appearing on his face.
Sanada placed a kiss to his lips once more, and whispered back.
"I love you too."
In sickness and in health… for better and for worse… not even death can do us part.
When my sister was reading this, she suddenly burst into tears and told me that I was so heartless for doing that to Yukimura. What can I say... I was feeling so emo at that time. I might post an omake to this, depends on the reader's choices.
Read, review, and if you want, drop me a line.