This Side of Saturn
This Side of Saturn is a story written by Shinju Yuri and illustrated by amei. It ran in Issue 10 at http://s2b2.livejournal.com/42586.html, and is mirrored at http://www.shousetsubangbang.com/mirror/this-side-of-saturn/.
When this story originally ran, there was an animated video at the start; that video is no longer online. The cover illustration for Issue 10 contains the characters from this story.
"In his dream Ken was awake and lying in their bedroom. It must have been one of his good days because he had his tablet on his lap and was sitting up, working on something. Naoki slipped onto the bed and kissed his temple. The skin above Ken's skull seemed infinitely frail and precious. "Hi," he said. Ken leaned against him, winced, and shifted a little. Naoki slid his arm around Ken's shoulders. Ken hadn't been eating again, Naoki realized. The medicines weren't working like they should have. Naoki closed his eyes hard and promised himself he'd call the doctor in the morning. The medicines were working less and less now, in a slow downhill slope. At Ken's last appointment the doctor had said 'palliative measures' and Ken had gone very quiet. It wasn't fair, Naoki thought helplessly. It wasn't fair. Ken was still so young. He was still so young. They should have had a long time together."
From Outlaw Reviews: "A young man has his hopes and dreams turned upside down when his best friend contracts an incurable disease. What will he give up to save him?"
My goodness. This is both excellent sci-fi and a bittersweet romance. Naoki dreamed of the stars and of Saturn, but his dreams became dust when his best friend and crush, Ken, develops the then incurable McClain’s Syndrome and must be put into deep sleep to save his life. Naoki then dedicates his life to find a cure – and then has to deal with the fallout when he succeeds.
So many good ideas here from this capable author, and deftly handled. The patient, waking from sleep into a brand new and scary world. Those who waited patiently, letting some hopes die, not daring to let others blossom for fear of disappointment. How to handle a love formed in the teenage years, when one of the partners has endured life and pain for fifteen years, when the other has been stuck on hold all that time. None of the problems are ignored or brushed away. The lovers can’t go back in time – the question is, can they go forward?