Ginko huffed as he reached the familiar house. It had been a bit longer than usual since he'd last been to see the doctor. He stepped onto the front porch and knocked, slightly opening the screen. "Doctor Adashino, it's me, Ginko. I've got some new items I thought you might be interested in… "

Ginko trailed off as he saw a pale thin figure slowly making its way to the door. "You've always been nosey, Ginko. Aren't you supposed to wait until a host invites you in before you poke your nose in through the door?"

Ginko's eyes widened in surprise as he recognized his old friend, "Dr. Adashino, what?-"

"Quit gawking will ya. You make it seem as if I've already died. I've just grown a little thin, that's all."

Ginko's visible eyebrow furrowed. "What did you get into this time?"

Adashino coughed out a laugh. "I didn't get into anything and you're a little too young to be lecturing me about such things." He coughed wetly and Ginko noticed the smear of blood that came along with it. "Not everything is caused by mushi you know." Finally the doctor had made his way to the younger man who was still hovering on his threshold. "Well you're already half way in you might as well come in the rest of the way. I'll put on some tea." The frail man ushered the white haired mushi master into the comfortable home and set to making his way to the kitchen. Ginko set down his pack and eased his shoes off. He let Adashino take his time. Having learned long ago to not rush the older man, he waited and watched him. Adashino moved like every small motion took huge amounts of energy. After Adashino had finished the tea and settled across from Ginko with their teas he sighed. "Well I can see the questions in your eyes. Go ahead ask 'em. We might as well get this over with before we get down to business."

Ginko looked down at the tea in his hands and then back up." So what happened? What is this?"

Adashino took a sip of his tea and smirked. "I was working and in the process of trying to heal another I got myself sick. It was a village a few days walk away. They're still pretty close to the coast so it wasn't too hard for me to get to. I got a summons saying that a child had become sick with an unknown illness so I rushed over with my supplies to see if it was something I could help with. It was a disease, not unlike pneumonia, that children are slightly more prone to. It can be life threatening but if treated correctly any patient that's say, under 16 should be fine. Unfortunately for me it reacts quite differently in adult hosts but it's unusual for adults to contract such bacteria. In most cases people catch the illness as children and then as adults they are immune. I however am one of the few that never came down with the disease as a child and so now here we are."

"Wait, so you're just sick?"

Adashino laughed and coughed again into his hand. "Yes Ginko I am just sick."

"So how long until you're fully recovered?" Ginko asked; his fears assuaged.

The older man grimaced. "I don't think I'll be recovering from this one old friend."

Ginko froze and looked up. "But you just said-"

"I said that children with the disease should recover fine with the proper treatment. Chh – you have a hard time listening." The doctor said smugly.

"Just get to the point," Ginko said making a face.

"Since I am shockingly past the age of 16, my body and by relation the bacteria have acted differently. The bacteria will slowly infest and degrade my lungs until I essentially drown in them. The degradation has already started and I've been coughing up blood for a while now."

"Why didn't you tell me?" Ginko grumbled, "I would have visited sooner."

Adashino scoffed. "We both know that's a lie."

Ginko stiffened, "I'm not-"

The older man cut him off before he could finish. "Lets say I sent you a message and you started making your way back. Are you saying you would have put off helping all those people just to see me? I wouldn't want you here anyway if you're just ichin' to be elsewhere. No, it was much better to let you finish what you were doing and come here on your own." Ginko grit his teeth. He knew his friend was right, he just didn't want to admit it. "Well now, are we just going to sit here and wait for you to finish moping or should we get onto business?"

Ginko sighed. "Fine you greedy fool, I'll show you what I have." After conducting their business the two friends rested on the porch, watching the waves roll onto the beach.

"Hey Ginko," the doctor said breaking the quiet. "What should I do with my collection? I mean who should I give it to once I've died?"

"Well Hell I don't know. Just don't let any more kids get their hands on the stuff."

The doctor grimaced, "I make one mistake and you'll never let me live it down, will ya?"

"Nope" Ginko said blowing out smoke. It was a few days later that Ginko left, promising himself to visit the sick man more often.

Despite his promise it was still a few months before he returned to the house on the beach. This time when he knocked it wasn't the doctor who answered the door. A middle aged woman answered and smiled." Are you here to visit the Doctor? I'm sorry but you'll have to come back later, he's out visiting a patient and…"

"No he's not!" Yelled a familiar voice that was walking up toward the path.

Ginko turned and hid a smile with a puff of his cigarette. "I thought you'd be dead by now." The white haired man called out to aggravate the older man. The doctor huffed, "Same to you, ya rude bastard."

Ginko watched as another man helped his friend up to his own house. "Thank you Shinsui." The doctor said as he was handed off to the woman who had answered the door.

"It was my pleasure doctor. Just let me know when you need assistance again." The woman transferred Adashino's weight from the Shinsui to her own shoulders and helped the frail man into the house.

"Are ya coming?" The doctor called as he was helped to the futon in the main room. Ginko walked in, removing his shoes.

"So how've you been?" The mushi master asked.

"Could be worse." The doctor shrugged. "Lina here has been helping me out for a bit now so I don't tire out before the day even starts."

"You're still seeing patients?" Ginko questioned.

"Why not?" Adashino shrugged. "The villagers are mostly immune to what I have and if I just sit here feeling sorry for myself I'll go crazy. On the days that I'm too tired to get out I usually have Lina help me in the shed and we categorize and summarize everything that I have. It'll make it easier to disperse when the time comes."

Ginko nodded, "So do I get any of it?"

"No!" Adashino all but yelled. "You don't even get one map."

Ginko made a face, "Greedy bastard."

"Idiot mushi master" the doctor retorted.

It was a day or so later that Ginko was leaving when he said. "I know of an archive that would benefit from a lot of your collection if you're looking for a good home for some of your junk." Adashino just scoffed as the mushi master left.

Ginko continued to visit the doctor and with each visit his friend continued to grow weaker. ..

Ginko paused before the house; wondering what state his friend would be in this time. Some times when he visited his friend's condition seems to have made no progression when other times it seemed as if the doctor were only a few steps from death's door. The doctor was on the porch and looked over weakly as Ginko walked up the few steps. "So you made it back." The older man smiled. Ginko nodded and sat next to the chair the doctor was settled in with multiple blankets covering him. "It won't be long now" Adashino said with a quiet whisper. His breathing was labored and coughs racked his thin frame.

Ginko just looked on at the beach and glanced over when he heard the hoarse wheeze that had become his friends laugh."It's depressing to think that I've become one of the very people that I as a doctor always hated treating."

"What do you mean?" Ginko asked, keeping his eye on the waves.

"I always hated seeing patients that I couldn't treat. I despised not being able to cure them. I think most of all I detested not knowing what to say to them. How do you tell someone there's not hope for them? Look at me now. The only thing I can do for myself is take pain medication to dull this horrid aching in my lungs." He wheezed again. "Well I guess there's nothing for it. Things are the way they are."

Ginko glanced over as shivers wracked his friend's frame. "Why don't we go in for a bit." Adashino nodded weakly and leaned back even more into his chair. "Can you call Lina over, I can't get up-" he was cut off as Ginko picked him up gently.

"Why bother her when I can do it myself."

The older man grit his teeth. "Dammit, do you ever listen."

Ginko kept his eyes up as he maneuvered his way to his friend's futon. "There's no reason to be embarrassed. We all end up like this eventually. It's not something that can be avoided." Adashino coughed wetly again and shuddered. "I guess you're right. Sadly I won't be there for you when your time comes."

Ginko patted his shoulder and sat off to the side of the makeshift bed. "No worries my friend. You can be the first to greet me when I reach the other side."

Adashino smiled weakly, "That I will." Ginko left in the quiet of the morning. Knowing the older man didn't have much longer…

It was a few weeks later that Ginko got the letter. Opening it he closed his eye after he read it and turned around. He would have to travel quickly if he were to make it to the funeral on time…

Ginko held his head in his hands as it rained heavily outside. He was sitting in his old friend's house. Even though there was a multitude of maps and strange artifacts the house felt emptier than ever. He looked up as a hand was suddenly put on his shoulder.

It was Lina and her kind smile warmed him as she handed him a piece of paper. "It's his will. He left everything to you. He said it was too annoying to try and find a home for everything so it was up to you. He knew you would do right by the collection and he said he was sick of you being a 'poor bastard with nowhere better to go than here.'"

Ginko's eye widened. "Everything!?" He whispered. Ginko ran a hand through his white hair and looked out was the rolling waves. As a mushi master he was used to… well… fixing things. And even on the rare occasion that he couldn't fix whatever the problem was he at least knew that he had done everything he could. But with Adashino's sickness there was nothing he could do. Ginko didn't deal with the natural… he dealt with the supernatural… the mushi… Now one of his few friends was dead… and there still wasn't anything he could do about it.