001: DISEASE (1/3)
It hadn't been Yoite's idea. He'd been quite content to stand over the kitchen sink and try to wash the blood out of his gloves. The cloth was brown and blood dried brown, so it didn't really matter much. But it gave him a good reason not to look at Yukimi.
He'd been the one to call Kazuho and interrupt Yoite's washing. The two blondes had hovered over him, the sister taking his temperature and pressing a stethoscope against his chest while Yukimi waited with arms folded, trying to look aloof.
Now, the siblings hung back, murmuring in the living room. Yoite reached out with a discolored hand to turn off the water, straining his ears to listen.
"...hard to say... decades since the last Kira user..."
"...tough, but... maybe four months if..."
Yoite picked up his wet gloves, wringing them into the sink. He decided not to tell them that he'd actually started coughing up blood two weeks ago.
002: MIDDLE (2/3)
There was no statistical data, but Yoite had always been good with numbers. From his best estimate, the average ninja lived to be late thirties, early forties at best. Competent ninjas, at least- there was no telling the fates that would befall ninjas who were less than so. By the time they reached the middle of their human lives, the average ninja either got killed on duty due to slowed reflexes and a weaker body, or retired and spent the rest of their days aching from old wounds.
Yoite was in the middle of his ninja career, more or less. Of course, he'd only actually been a ninja for a couple of years, but no matter. Yoite wasn't interested in the fine details.
Sixteen years old. Yoite did the math as he pulled his still damp gloves on.
If he was lucky, he might have another hundred days.
003: DELIRIOUS (3/3)
Kazuho finally left from her latest impromptu house call after making Yukimi swear to feed Yoite three times a day and informing Yoite himself that she'd be bringing new pills for him by Thursday. Yukimi sighed when she left, rubbing his forehead. "I've got to go eat out for my article. What do you want me to bring you back?"
Yoite brushed past the older ninja, crouching down in his usual corner of the room. "Yakitori." He folded his legs up to his chin and wrapped his arms around them before letting his cheek rest atop his knees.
Yukimi lowered his hand. "Oi. If you're going to sleep, why don't you do it in a bed?"
Yoite shifted his head so that his bangs fell into his eyes. There was only one bed- Yukimi's. He decided not to grace the inane suggestion with a comment. Something caught in his chest and he coughed instead. No blood this time.
"Or at least the couch. You don't have to sleep on the floor, you know."
Yoite stared at Yukimi through his hair. The man huffed, turning to gather up the bag with all his surface job gear. "Damn brat. Just trying to look out for you."
Yoite reached his conclusion as Yukimi slammed the front door closed.
He was delirious.
Leaves littered the steps. Yoite could hear Miharu's shoes crunching through the dead things up ahead. Yoite's own feet had stilled somewhere during the climb.
Usually, he liked it when the weather went cold. People stopped giving his coat and gloves strange looks when autumn came around, and by the time winter settled in most people had joined him in wearing layers.
Now though, the cold air bit at his chest, squeezing his worn lungs and making him double over and clutch his knees as he tried to breathe.
He lifted his head. Miharu stared down at him, eyes the only green thing for miles around.
"Are you okay?"
Yoite knew the answer to that, but he wasn't going to say it.
"Can you keep going?"
He nodded. The wind started to pick up. Miharu reached out and Yoite grabbed his hand and let Miharu pull him up the rest of the steps as all the red, gold, and brown blew around him.
Yoite had stubbornly remained in his soaked clothes until the man from the station finally went to bed. Miharu knelt down in front of him and whispered, "You need to change, you're going to get sick."
"Doesn't matter." He was already sick.
"Yoite..." Miharu reached out as though to touch him, but hesitated. "You can change in the bathroom. And it's dark out here. I won't look."
Yoite tightened his arms around his legs. The rain had chilled him all the way to the bones and he could tell that his fever was worsening. Miharu hadn't said it, but Yoite read it in his face: you promised me you wouldn't die.
Silently, he rose to his feet, toed his shoes off, and stripped his gloves. He considered his options. He didn't want Miharu to see his body, but the bathroom was sure to have a mirror...
Yoite carried the clothes the man had left into the bathroom. He locked the door behind himself, but didn't turn the light on. Eyes closed, he unbuttoned his coat and dragged his clinging sweater over his head. He was out of his pants and into the dry pair in a matter of seconds. It was in the middle of tugging the new shirt on that morbid curiosity possessed him.
Yoite raised his head up and stared into mirror, eyes clinically examining the spread of discoloration across his chest. The dark, bruise-like patches didn't disturb him like they should've. Yoite had never liked his body. When he was younger, the doctors had studied his reproductive organs inside and out and deemed him to be mostly female But as he got older, no period ever came and breasts failed to take shape- his shoulders widened and his voice dropped instead.
Yoite went to clasp his scarred neck, but his hand jerked in reflex to cover his mouth as he choked on blood.
All his body ever did was betray him.