Title: The Good Die Young
Fandom: Natsume Yuujinchou
Word Count: 896
Disclaimer: I do not own Natsume Yuujinchou.
Summary: Madara can only watch as Natsume withers away. He has seen countless leave this world and this is just another passing, another day. That's what Madara believes. A bit of Madara/Natsume, if you squint.
Notes: Written for Day 2 over at adventchallenge. I took advantage of the seasonal theme 'winter' and went with the idea of 'sickness' since it's that time of year. I hope that's not too vague. The prompter was xii_itachi this time and the other prompts can be found here.
Madara wasn't sad. He didn't know what he was feeling at the moment, but it wasn't sadness. Countless times he had watched souls leave this world behind and this was just another passing, another day in his life that would go on for eternity if the world didn't stop spinning. He didn't have time to feel sadness. Or anger. Or hate. His existence was a prolonged life of solitude and boredom. Nothing could stay by his side forever, so he had no right to feel sadness over one measly little loss. His time spent with Natsume had merely been his way of killing time. There hadn't been a single dull moment around the kid. Now, though, that was over. Natsume was bedridden in this too clean hospital with its white walls and medicinal smell. He wasn't even thirty yet, the damn brat. Reiko had died young too, but at least she had made it to her thirties.
Madara wasn't bitter. There had been a chance to force Natsume to remain by his side, that time with the Mermaid, but he had let it pass him by of his own accord. If he had wanted to change something about the coarse of the boy's life, he should have done it then. Regardless, in respect to Natsume, he hadn't harmed the Mermaid for her blood - only put the idea in the boy's head to see what he would say. Natsume wasn't going to do that, though. Living one life of solitude had been enough for the boy and he had chosen finding his own way with the few short years he had left as opposed to making it longer. Perhaps he shouldn't have allowed the brat to have a choice. He wasn't supposed to be so thin and pale looking while wasting away beneath even whiter sheets.
Madara wasn't angry that there was nothing he could. He had known long before this day that this would happen. He had been prepared for it. The boy's grandmother had also been consumed by her power, a power so strong it ate away like a disease from the inside out. Like that man they had met long ago, it would have been better if Natsume had lost his sight and ability to perceive spirits as he aged. That hadn't been the case for such strong senses, however, and here was the price to paid.
He may not have been sad, bitter or angry - but he was going to miss the brat. The stubborn way he would go about things, determined and foolhardy. The way he helped and took burdens onto himself, always causing trouble but still doing his best. Most of all, he was going to miss those rare moment when there wasn't a spirit knocking down their door and wanting their name back. Those quiet moments where he could just watch Natsume and all the emotions that played across his face. Or those moments where Natsume would smile and taunt him with a piece of string, watching his 'Lucky Cat' jump and paw at it without reserve. Yes, he was going to miss those times the most.
He wasn't the only one that would miss times spent together. Tanuma had remained by Natsume's side since yesterday evening, refusing to let go of the fragile hand he held. The boy was too afraid to let go and Madara couldn't blame him. It was the last thing keeping Natsume anchored to this world.
On Natsume's other side was Taki, eyes red-rimmed and her ever present hat twisted into an unsightly mess from its place in her lap. The two of them had grown up well and they still had many years ahead of them. Not like Natsume. No one was ever like Natsume. Well, there was one who came close and Madara would have preferred it if the man hadn't shown up. At least Natori wasn't hovering over Natsume like a mother hen this time, the man hadn't said a word. He just remained with his back against the wall and tired eyes fixed on Natsume prone, barely moving form. Occasionally Natori would glance in Madara's direction, but the glances didn't linger and Madara didn't acknowledge them. Natori may have been the only one in that hospital that could see him now, but he didn't have to like it.
Then there was the last two occupants crowded into the room, the boy's foster parents. Touko's eyes were just as red as Taki's, but she was staying as strong as she ever had in Natsume's presence. Beside her, offering silent support, was Shigeru. It was the older man who had the biggest burden of all in his arms, a miniature Natsume curled up against his chest, sleepy and unaware. The stupid brat's son, who couldn't see him either. Madara wasn't sure if that was a good or bad thing, but he would fulfill his last job and watch over the kid. It coincided with his objectives, anyway, now that Natsume Takashi had passed on what was left of the Book of Friends to his son. He could just eat the kid and be done with it, but somehow he couldn't bring himself to do that to the last reminder he would have left of Natsume.
He wasn't sentimental, not in the slightest, but he did see a job through until the end.
- [Yuujinchou] The Good Die Young, Madara/Natsume