"But I don't want to," Fudou whines.
‘You lost the right to refuse after getting yourself drunk.’ Yagen doesn't budge. ‘I told you that wasn’t amazake, but you didn’t listen.’
He waits a few more seconds for Fudou’s reply, but the tantou is lying unresponsive on the ground. With a soft exhale, Yagen bends down to pick him off the floor, only for the other to suddenly reach up and wrap his arms around his neck and shoulders.
‘Mhm, that’s me.’ Yagen tries experimentally prying Fudou’s fingers loose, but the other seems to have stuck to him like a octopus and holds fast. ‘Fudou, I can’t get up like this. Let go of my neck.’
"Mmggrnh," is the intelligent reply.
It’s late, but nobody else is awake. The aftermath of the festival celebrations have left most of the swords tired and asleep in their rooms. Only a few scattered members are sprawled around the main room, Fudou Yukimitsu amongst them.
Yagen tries patting his back next, but that only makes the other sword hug him tighter. Finally, he settles for awkwardly shifting the taller boy until Fudou’s head is resting on his shoulders in a preliminary piggyback.
‘Up we go,’ he says to the darkened room before rising to his feet.
Fudou’s response is to nuzzle against his cheek. Fortunately, Yagen’s not ticklish, so the sensation is only mildly distracting as he picks his way through the halls. The tantou is more Odagumi than Awataguchi, but he lives close enough to the rest of his brothers for Yagen to find his quarters in the dark. Nobody else rooms with him yet—Souza has his own brothers, and Hasebe is too short-fused about their previous master to live together peacefully. Yagen might have volunteered if he didn’t have enough tantou to look after on his own. Maybe after they get stronger…
He uses a foot to slide open the door and step inside. The faint light is enough for his eyes to pick out the various empty bottles scattered about, which he kicks aside to make a space for the sword to lie down.
‘We’re here,’ he announces to nobody. Fudou snores, sending a waft of alcohol into the air. He’s asleep enough to relax his hold, so Yagen simply dumps him unceremoniously on the ground and goes to find a futon. The entire process of laying that out, rolling Fudou on, and settling him under the covers is done with the same clearheaded efficiency he uses to treat sick swords and sleepy brothers in their own rooms.
It’s only after he finishes tucking in the tantou that Fudou attacks once again, this time latching onto his sleeve. Exasperated, Yagen simply slides his labcoat off, but the boy is quick enough to trap his other hand instead.
‘Fudou.’ Yagen tries after tugging himself free fails again. ‘Fudou. Let go.’ How can he be so strong when he’s dead drunk?
No response. Yagen tries pinching, poking, prodding all the pressure points that should release those fingers but still, no luck. Finally he stops to stare at the snoring sword with thoughtful eyes before leaning in very, very close.
‘Are you sure you’re still asleep…Yukimitsu?'
He breathes out the last word as a whisper that glances featherlight over Fudou’s ear. If the resulting silence disappoints him, he doesn’t show it beyond an internal sigh.
‘Never mind.’ Yagen digs into a pocket and takes out a needle. Even if Fudou wouldn’t let go, he had ways of turning his hands numb. It’d be easy enough to slip away after he wrested free from the–
There’s a rustle of cloth and fabric before his acupuncture needle falls with a soft clink between the woven threads of tatami. When Yagen blinks again, he’s the one lying on the ground with Fudou hovering above him.
‘You were awake,’ he says, almost accusingly.
Fudou hiccups. “I didn’t know what to say.”
‘You’re drunk. Just go back to sleep.’
“But I don’t want to. It’s dark and lonely in this room.”
‘You were doing well enough before.’
“That’s because you’re here.”
Yagen sits up, absently rubbing the spot on his head where he’d hit the ground. ‘Do you want me to stay until you fall asleep for good?’
Fudou gives him a stubborn look, his nose and cheeks and ears all burning the same shade of red. “You right the loss to refuse after carrying me inside!”
‘You really did drink too much.’ But Yagen reaches out a hand to brush stray hairs from the tantou’s face before guiding his head to his lap. ‘Next time, just ask first. It’s not like I’d say no.’
“…m’fraid I’ll get used to it,” Fudou mumbles from below. “And then what’d I do if you’re gone?”
He stops playing with Fudou’s hair and rests his hand against the purple strands. ‘I’m not going anywhere.’
“That’s what you said back then! But then–but L-Lord Nobunaga, too–”
‘That’s all in the past now.’
“But it happened! I still remember it! I didn’t want it, but it did, and–!”
‘Shh.’ Yagen presses a finger to Fudou’s lips. ‘Stop talking. If you keep quiet, I’ll sing you to sleep.’
“Like you know any songs! I’ve never heard you sing a single–’
‘Fudou Yukimitsu, Tsukumogami…’
Fudou abruptly stills. There’s an audible moment of hesitation before the low, soft voice tentatively begins again.
♫ Fudou Yukimitsu, Tsukumogami, Hito ni wa Gorou Saemon no Jyou…
It’s true that Yagen doesn’t know many songs, but for this particular tantou, just one is enough.