It’s the final chapter…so strap in! This is what the series has been building toward!
Saji walks slowly down the austere hallway of the hospital, a bag in one hand as he mulls over mentally how to broach the topic he wants to discuss with his grandfather. If they can just dig a little deeper into their mutual feelings on Saji taking over the clinic full-time…maybe they’ll finally see eye to eye. He raises a hand to knock and announces himself as he steps inside–only to find, of all people, Tanihara.
His grandfather is less than thrilled to see Saji dropping by and informs him that he’s with a guest and that Saji should come back later. Against Tanihara’s agitated efforts to stop Saji from doing just that, he drops off his package (a gift of goodwill for his grandfather) and quickfly takes his leave. Tanihara chases after him, and requests the chance to talk in a less crowded area, so they make their way out into the hospital’s secluded gardens.
Tanihara is clearly worried by Saji’s silence–taking his loss for words as sure indication that Saji is furious with him for sticking his nose where it doesn’t belong by trying to go around him to speak with his grandfather about Saji’s own agenda. Saji is confused–his silence is merely due to his shock, never having expected to find Tanihara here of all places. Far from angry, he feels a bit downtrodden now, realizing that he’s caused Tanihara to worry so. Tanihara urgently assures him that it was no fault of Saji’s own that brought Tanihara here, merely his own meddling.
After acting all high and mighty only the day before, in the end, he’s realized that it’s not the distance they might be separated by that concerns him–whether Saji goes back to the hospital or opens his own clinic, it won’t be a terribly large distance compared to now–but rather the mere fact that Saji won’t be right there where Tanihara’s grown used to him being.
Tanihara: “It just…made me feel kinda lonely…so I just…”
Saji steps forward and embraces him tightly, whispering how happy he is–happy, that Tanihara has actually thought about their future together. “More than the past,” he admits,
Saji: “…I’ve so longed to talk about my future with you.”
It’s here that Tanihara realizes how discussion of his ex-wife and marriage had affected Saji; suddenly, the reactions make more sense. Saji takes him by the shoulder and solemnly admits, “Would you mind terribly…if I wanted to be with you…for the rest of my life?”
Tanihara can’t help glancing away with a dry laugh–when he puts it like that, it sounds like a proposal. Saji is unmoved–maintaining that it sounds like a proposal precisely because it is one. Tanihara chides him for acting like a dreamer–pretty words like that strike a bit too close to home for a divorcee. Saji admits with a wry grin that he’d never really thought about marriage himself, seeing as he’s a member of a minority for whom it’s impossible at the moment. But…he realizes now it was simply because he never expected he’d ever find someone he wanted to be like that with.
Tanihara is still having trouble coming to grips with the fact that Saji is quite serious–growing more flustered when Saji must all but beg him for a response to his proposal. Tanihara’s mind is flying–so what, it’d be some kind of ‘gay marriage’, then? A man-man couple? There’s no way in hell they’d ever be able to do it–not from a societal acceptance standpoint, certainly not with their jobs. But…after a moment’s thought, he realizes that these excuses aren’t what’s really holding him back, and he slumps to the ground.
Saji deserves a proper response, he supposes, and admits that because he’s already screwed up one marriage, he can’t let his head get filled with larger-than-life dreams along that line again. He can no longer so easily accept the idea of an unwavering, evergreen love. But before Saji can offer his bitter acceptance–Tanihara suggests “three years”. It’s the longest he’s ever been with anyone before, including his marriage.
Tanihara: “If we can keep this going for three years, then we can discuss this marriage deal again.”
He can’t promise he’ll be on board, even after three years, but they can just keep ‘renewing’ their vows then. Saji offers a soft smile–kind of like an apartment rental contract, then? He agrees to Tanihara’s unorthodox terms–admitting that they might last longer with a bit of pressure on them this way, after all.
In a small cafe, Tanihara and his wife discuss Chisuzu’s upcoming meeting with her new step-father–her first ever. Tanihara isn’t quite so sure it’s a good idea, letting the two meet just yet, but he does allow that the man will probably be able to handle a new daughter fine. His wife smiles into her coffee, reminding that she’s mostly allowing the meeting to happen now…because she’s finally satisfied that Tanihara isn’t alone anymore and can stand to be without Chisuzu some of the time. Tanihara is a bit both irritated and embarrassed that she seems to have caught on to the fact that he’s seeing someone now. But he sees similarities between his ex-wife and himself now–they’d been drawn to each other initially for that very reason, but had never been able to cut it as husband and wife. It’s part of what gives him hope that he’ll be able to make it, now, with someone so very different from him.
That evening, Saji drops by Tanihara’s place with a bottle of sake he picked up, and inside he finds Tanihara busy cooking dinner. Chisuzu is away on a trip, and Saji’s staying over; while Tanihara prepares a snack for them, they discuss the fact that Saji’s grandfather and he are finally seeing eye to eye, thanks to Tanihara’s appearance–that’s what the sake is for, a thank you. When Tanihara assures him he didn’t even say anything, though, Saji explains that his grandfather had seen how much calmer and relaxed Saji was since he’d started associating with Tanihara and deemed it fine to retire now.
They’re alone for the evening, with Chisuzu off meeting her new step-father, and while Tanihara plays it off as no big deal, reassuring Saji that Chisuzu can come back whenever she pleases, Saji sees through him for the lonely man he truly is, embracing him from behind with teasing suggestions of licking his wounds to cheer Tanihara up again. Shoving aside the mild irritation at being distracted from his snack preparations, he remarks that while Saji seems to think himself at risk of being tossed aside at any given moment, the feeling is mutual, so although he isn’t sure what it is Saji even sees in him, he intends to do his best to never tire of the good doctor, pulling him in for a kiss.
The action very quickly moves to the bedroom, and Tanihara is in a mood to get well and thoroughly fucked.
Tanihara: “Sensei…feels great…rub deeper…”
Saji obliges, and Tanihara remarks with wonder that he’s going to get off just from Saji pounding into him from behind,
Tanihara: “Do…it more…”
Eager to please, Saji does just that and renews his efforts, pulling Tanihara closer to improve the angle, and Tanihara lets out a desperate cry of I’m cumming, I’m cumming…! before falling boneless back onto the futon.
After but a moment’s recovery, though, Saji is about ready to go again, a bit embarrassed at how much sex on a futon in a traditional Japanese-style room is an obvious turn-on for him, but Tanihara is in a giving mood this evening.
Tanihara: “Wow, Sensei…someone’s excited here.”
Saji: “My apologies…”
Tanihara: “Nothing to apologize for; I’m planning on giving you whatever you want tonight.”
Tanihara teasingly asks for requests, and Saji, a bit confused, asks what’s gotten into him–but Tanihara laughs it off and asks Saji to just let Tanihara spoil him, pressing a soft kiss to his mouth. After a moment’s consideration, Saji decides that he’ll ask if they can call each other by their first names, then–and drop the overly polite language they use with one another. Tanihara tuts at him for getting ahead of himself, and when Saji asks if that’s a ‘no’–he’s told that yes, it’s very much a ‘no’, which he smiles wryly and admits, “I figured…”
After all, Tanihara explains, Saji’s too likely to slip into casual, overly-familiar speech in public if they do that–and plus…
Tanihara: “…I kind of like calling you ‘Sensei’ now. It’s kinda kinky~”
With a sigh of bemused defeat, Saji gives in and agrees to just wait until Tanihara finally tires of calling him as such, opting to settle into their next round of lovemaking rather than listen to any more of Tanihara’s mouthiness. As Saji thrusts into him, Tanihara reflects that if they can keep up this relationship another 3…5…10 years, then eventually he’ll never be able to stand the thought of letting Saji leave him. He’s the kind of guy who loves things that’ve been used and worn than things that are new and sparkly and shiny
He breathily lets his thoughts drift into speech, musing, “Ten years, huh…” and at Saji’s confusion, he explains, “Hey, Sensei…if we can make it 10 years together…”
Tanihara: “…I’ve got a buddy who’s a Shinto priest. Wanna have him marry us?”
Saji is overwhelmed, and Tanihara snorts at his expression, his amusement only rising when Saji asks if that means they’ll both be in traditional Japanese wedding kimono. “Sensei, you’re getting waaaay ahead of yourself!” Tanihara laughs, but admits silently to himself that, if it’s with Saji, it might not be so bad to entertain one more childish dream for old time’s sake.