Title: Blue Monday

Author: Sybil Rowan

Pairing(s)/Characters: Kanou Somuku /Ayase Yukiya

Rating: M

Summary: Ayase stumbles into the wish shop and has to think if he really wants to wish his debt to Kanou away. Watanuki gets concerned when Ayase won't commit to the wish Yuuko offers. He starts trying to convince/interfere with Ayase's decision. Watanuki's good intentions only makes things painful on Ayase desperate situation.

Warnings: implied rape, and talk of violence (Okane ga Nai, so go figure), I do refer to Someya as "he" because I wasn't sure what tack to go, so PM if you think I should change to "she."

Author's Notes: This takes place early in Watanuki's time at the shop so he still is learning wishes cannot be interfered with, even if it's a wish to be miserable. And it takes place right after chapter 11 in Okane ga Nai, so Ayase's feeling towards Kanou are getting more complex. This is my first foray into Okane ga Nai, I haven't even finished reading the whole thing- up to volume 7, but I'm in love with the manga and ova. I got inspired to do a xxxHolic crossover.

Disclaimer: xxxHolic and Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicles and Legal Drug characters, belong to CLAMP. Okane ga Nai (No Money) was created by Hitoyo Shinozaki and illustrated by Tohru Kousaka.

My Generous, Kind, Sweet, Intelligent, Ravishing, Loving, Adorable, Anniversary-Laden Beta Reader: WingedPanther73 (SR – I didn't write all that) (WP - but she did get it started)

Date: February 13, 2014, 3:35pm

Word Count: on going

Watanuki was in the middle of dusting and mentally planning out dinner. Yuuko had requested a yōshoku meal. He was glad the pantry was stocked appropriately. He didn't want to head out for anything. He had already had a run in down at the Green Drug Store picking up a case of sake for Yuuko. He shook his head, gritted his teeth, and started dusting more furiously at the thought of being teased about being a lush by Rikuou and Kazahaya.

He hoped Kakei would line up a dreadful side job to put those two in their place, but he was grateful it had been a quiet day once he had gotten to the wish shop. It had been so quiet today, after he banished the girls. Yuuko had left a note that she'd be out for a while, and the girls were preoccupied with some sparklers out in the backyard. He got irritable when the girls had tried to light them in the shop. At least they hadn't set the wish shop on fire.

The bell to the front door rang, and Watanuki flinched. He needed to go greet the customer and tell her that Yuuko was still out. Watanuki went to the foyer and gasped as the light haired customer leaned against the doorway. Watanuki rushed over to the customer's side and helped ease what he mistook as a woman, at first, towards the floor. The young man looked up at Watanuki with lovely, wide eyes that were so very haunted. A large, deep, purple bruise was across his cheek.

"Please... I'm desperate. I'm in a lot of trouble and don't have anywhere else to go," the boy said after he caught his breath. Watanuki didn't miss the boy's cheeks growing flushed, and then he finished collapsing on the floor.

"Oh no! Now what?"

"Take him to the guest room. What else?"

Watanuki let out a strangled scream and swirled around to see Yuuko had snuck up on him. "Where did you come from, Yuuko-san?" he demanded with a balled up fist.

She ignored his question with one of those serious faces she greeted customers with. She ran her hand under the customer's thick bangs and laid it on his forehead. "Watanuki, he's running a fever."

Watanuki quickly stooped down and grabbed the customer. He put the customer's arm around his shoulders and clenched him around the waist. "Wow, he's so light. I wonder if this guy eats. And that bruise... He told me he was in real trouble."

"What else did he say?"

"He said he was desperate, that he had no place to go," Watanuki said, feeling worried over the customer's health.

"He, indeed, has a place to go, one he's not accustomed to."

"Well he shouldn't go back if this is what kind of shape he's in! Shouldn't we call the police? Or take him to the hospital?"

"This wish shop is much safer for him than anywhere beyond the fence. Anyone seeking him won't be given access, unlike at a police station or a hospital. Now hurry and get him comfortable."

Watanuki took the customer to the comfortable guest room. After he got the young man settled on the bed, he looked him over. The white clothes were torn and dirty, but looked as if they were new and high quality. It would be from an expensive wardrobe. Watanuki drew the drapes closed and turned the lights low.

He leaned over to see if there was anything he could do for the bruise on the boy's face. Watanuki couldn't help but be struck. He flinched back when the thought, 'This is the most gorgeous person I've seen in my life,' crossed his mind.

His stomach sank when he thought, 'This person is being abused. I will help him!'

Watanuki was about to take off the customer's clothes and dress him in spare pajamas he kept at the wish shop. Yuuko opened the door and asked, "Are you sure you want to do that?"

Watanuki frowned. "His clothes are ruined. He needs something comfortable."

"Sometimes kindness can seem like cruelty. This customer doesn't understand that yet."

"That's ridiculous! He's obviously being abused! How is that kind in the least?" he raged. Watanuki shook his head in aggravation. "I'm going to help him."

She nodded and said, "As you wish," before she left.

Watanuki removed the customer's clothing and was shocked to see more small, bluish bruising, like hickies, all over the soft, pale flesh. He pushed on, starting to get angry on this customer's behalf. He froze when he got to the young man's underclothes. He saw a spot of dried blood where it shouldn't be on a boy.

Watanuki had sat on the side of the customer's bed for close to three hours, waiting for his fever to break. He had put countless ice packs on bruises and cleaned up some cuts he found. He didn't know what else to do for him, and Yuuko had hinted that the young man was safer here than anywhere else.

Yuuko had never been wrong before. He decided to trust her, this time. Still, he'd like to see this customer get proper medical aid and then file a police report.

Finally, the young man sighed and opened his large, alluring eyes. He looked over at Watanuki, confused. He tried to sit up, but Watanuki carefully made him lay back down.

"Please take it easy! You're hurt!"

"Where am I?"

"You're at a wish shop." The customer's eyes grew baffled. Watanuki chuckled and gave him his friendliest smile. "I know it sounds strange, but the shop owner can grant your wish for a price."

"How did I get here?"

"You must have a wish, or you couldn't have gotten in."

The young man's eyes grew wide and fearful. Tears were starting to brim. "I don't even begin to hope my wish could ever be granted, even if wishes were true. There's no way."

"Don't say that. Yuuko-san is amazing. She'll help you. And not to sound too nosy... you seem like you desperately need one. Please give her a chance. She can help you." The young man shook his head and tears started to flow. Watanuki gently prodded, "Please. Just tell me what's wrong. I've seen her grant every wish."

"My situation is impossible."

"What is it?"

A sob broke forth and he despaired in a soft, trembling voice, not meeting Watanuki's eyes, "I was sold to a man for 120 million yen. To get free, I have to pay him back. He makes me have sex with him. For every time I'm forced to sleep with him, he gives me 500 thousand yen credit towards the debt. The thing is, the interest builds up at such a fast rate. There's no way I'll ever be free of him."

Watanuki felt the color drain from his face at the confession; his stomach was awash in acid. He took a deep breath, and tried hard to repress his horror at this customer's condition. Watanuki forced a smile to his face and patted the customer's hand. "What's your name?"

"Ayase Yukiya."

Watanuki was glad to see Ayase was able to sit upright on the fainting couch in Yuuko's parlor. Before that, Watanuki had served him early dinner in bed. He seemed so listless, so Watanuki urged him to eat a little. Ayase tasted Watanuki's cooking and looked amazed. A pleasant, innocent smile came to that beautiful face. It lit up with such warmth, Watanuki was taken off guard.

Ayase was so gentle, sweet, and kind that Watanuki couldn't help but respond to him in a nurturing and protective manner. He wondered what kind of twisted person could raise a hand to someone like Ayase. Whoever that man was had to be a sociopath; it was all Watanuki could figure.

Watanuki had to shake his head and wonder what was wrong with himself as he watched Ayase eat. What was it about Ayase that kept catching his eye? He'd always liked Himawari, and she was a girl. Maybe it was a lot of similar qualities Ayase shared with her. Watanuki's musing was broken by Ayase's bright smile, and he got a rush of joy when he was complimented over the meal and and was thanked.

Over the meal, Watanuki had learned Ayase was a first year college student. That made Ayase two years older than him, which didn't look to be the case. Ayase looked younger by far. He had been orphaned early and lived on his own, as well, so Watanuki felt a wave of empathy.

When Watanuki gently prodded about the situation with the man that had "purchased" him, Ayase clammed up. He looked utterly sorrowful and hopeless. Watanuki didn't press for details that were obviously painful and embarrassing. Ayase had been through so much, from what he'd seen.

He took up an empty plate and cup after the fair-haired boy was finished, and then he did plead, "Please come and talk to Yuuko-san. I'm sure she can help you out of this situation you're in."

Ayase looked confused and frowned. "I don't know how she could. I owe so much money."

"Why don't you run away from the man? Maybe to another town?"

He shook his head. "My cousin owes him money, too, and he hates my cousin. I'm afraid he'd do him harm if I ran away." Ayase's head drooped. "Tetsuo is my only family. Surely you understand why I have to defend the only piece of family I have left, don't you?"

Watanuki had a feeling there was something Ayase was holding back about his cousin, but he refrained from asking anything about that. Watanuki then said, "That's all the more reasons to talk to Yuuko-san, right? She could grant your wish."

Ayase looked startled and then nodded. "Okay. I'll see her."

Watanuki helped him out of bed and into a robe over the borrowed pajamas. Ayase struggled against pain. Watanuki helped him down the hallway and found Yuuko in the parlor already. She looked as if she was ready to receive Ayase, which surprised Watanuki.

He expected Yuuko to be out on the back porch with Mokona as they gazed at the moon and got plastered on sake. He had planned on fetching her, but it looked like she was ready to grant a wish. Watanuki got Ayase to sit on the fainting couch and waited for Yuuko's orders.

"I hope you're feeling somewhat better," she greeted.

"Yes, ma'am. I appreciate your kindness at letting me rest. Also, I know Watanuki-kun is busy with your business, so I thank you for letting him look after me."

She gave him a serene smile and said, "Watanuki is working off a debt to me. He has to do as I say. Part of that is serving my customers. But I have a feeling you're familiar with that situation."

Watanuki's hackles rose. Why was she trivializing what Ayase was going through by comparing it with some stupid after school job! Watanuki didn't speak, because Ayase was now giving him a look of pity, which took him off guard. Why would he get pity from someone in real, dire trouble and receiving sexual abuse? Yuuko only make him do annoying crap around the shop like dust, but he'd never been molested here.

Ayase nodded that he was in a similar arrangement, which gob smacked Watanuki. He felt his heart go out to this customer when Watanuki's supernatural vision saw a black cloud gather around his shoulders. He knew it was suffocating Ayase's spirit. "I am. I owe a man a lot of money. I have to pay him back in shameful ways."

"So your wish is to be free of your debt?" Yuuko asked, and puffed on her pipe.

Watanuki expected the young man to say, "Yes! Rescue me!" Instead, he said in a quiet, calm voice, "I don't know now if I want to leave Kanou-san. He just saved me from something really degrading. And underneath it all, I know he's been very kind to me."

"Kind?" Watanuki snapped, only to get an icy glare from Yuuko.

Ayase nodded and said meekly, "It's complicated, Watanuki-kun. I'm confused myself."

"Nobody that hits you is kind! He left that bruise on your face and marked up your body." Watanuki looked at Yuuko and was surprised she wasn't saying anything or taking back the appointment. He felt as if Yuuko was paying more attention to him than the customer.

Ayase gasped and shook his head franticly. Watanuki didn't understand the surprise in those sky blue eyes. "Kanou-san wasn't the one who struck me. It was someone who kidnapped me. You see, I wanted to get another job so I could pay off the money faster. He made some arrangements for me to do something with him at a hotel." Ayase's skin grew a bright pink. "Anyway, there was a disagreement, and I ask that we not carry through with it. He offered to let me stay at the hotel for the night. I should have asked to go home with him. There were some men he had dealings with that kidnapped me from the hotel. There was some politician involved where I was kept and he..."

Watanuki quickly got Ayase some water from a pitcher on the coffee table. Ayase was ashen and looked as if he were going to faint. After Ayase was more composed, Watanuki urged, "What happened?"

"The politician drugged me... and then was going to use me while they video taped it. That's when Kanou-san came in to rescue me and a friend of his that had also been kidnapped." Watanuki saw the dark cloud around Ayase getting thicker. "Kanou-san threatened a girl's life, and that disturbed me. He took me back home and didn't attack the girl when I asked. The drug confused me. I gave myself to him because of it, and I'm just feeling so confused about it."

"So he took advantage of you!" Watanuki raged.

Ayase flinched and shook his head. "You don't understand. I realized Kanou-san wasn't like that politician or any of the other men that look at me. I still feel Kanou-san's breaking everything around me, breaking me into pieces, but I still owe him a huge debt, so I have to remain with him."

"Don't, Watanuki. That's not your decision," Yuuko chided firmly. Watanuki looked down to see his hand was on the phone's receiver. He was surprised; he didn't even remember making the decision to call the police on Ayase's behalf. "Your wish is possible, but it comes with a heavy price. You'll have to sacrifice something."

"But I don't have a thing, Yuuko-san."

"You have two things you can offer. One, I'm not interested in: your domestic skills. I already have a maid," Yuuko joked slightly.

"WHAT'S that supposed to mean, Yuuko-san!?"

"Well, what you're working off will keep you around a lot longer then just paying back 120 million. I'd be out a part-timer in no time if I went with Ayase-kun," she said sly and then gave one of her evil chuckles when Watanuki howled at the ceiling.

"What are you paying off, Watanuki-kun? It sounds so horrible," Ayase asked, looking so worried.

Watanuki waved his hand and said, "I've lived with a condition all my life. I'm trying to get relief from it." He then paused in shock and gave his boss an incredulous look. "You have that much money, Yuuko-san?"

"Of course not. I don't deal in money. It has no intrinsic value. But the second thing Ayase-kun posses, I'm interested in."

"But he says he has no money, or anything of value aside from a small apartment and childhood mementos. What could he possesses? A piece of memory like what you took from Sakura-chan? Then again," Watanuki scowled and crossed his arms, "that might be a blessing in his case."

"His memories are very weak. The one of value is too dim to free him. You see, it's a lot more than money that ties him to Kanou-san, so it has to be a great sacrifice. It's something you've already sensed and held in admiration, Watanuki. Look at Ayase-kun closely."

Watanuki's eyes narrowed and he really studied Ayase. Beyond the black mist, he saw some glimmering on his skin. Watanuki walked around him, baffled. He drew closer and Ayase drew back in a defensive pose. Ayase then looked at his hands, trying to see what Watanuki was staring at.

"Yuuko-san, he's glowing. What's that glow?"

"It's what makes him desirable to others. It entices others, even though they can't see it, they'll surely sense it. It's a curse, of sorts, on him. Ayase's beauty is more than just his face and body. It's also his soul that people are drawn to and want to possess."

"A curse?" Ayase asked, looking franticly at his skin. Watanuki knew Ayase couldn't see what he was seeing.

"Yes, and it's that curse I'll take from you in exchange for the 120 million debt, plus all the interest you owe Kanou-san. Plus, I'll take that bond that ties you to him that you don't see."

"That doesn't sound so bad, if it's a curse. Shouldn't I want it gone?"

"Wait a minute, Yuuko-san," Watanuki interrupted. "This situation is bad. Why would you require something bad from him in return?"

"Because, it's the thing tied to keeping his heart walled up." She turned to Ayase and said, "You'll have no choice but to let people into your heart after I take it, your defensive nature will have to come to an end. I do warn you, I can take away your debt and what makes people want to make you a possession, but I can't do anything about how Kanou-san will treat you afterwards or how your heart will respond to his treatment of you."

"So he could still want me or reject me? And..." Ayase let out a strangled sob, "...I could... want to be with him?"

Yuuko took a puff off her pipe and said, "It's you're decision. You'll no longer be able to keep people at a distance like you have been."

Suddenly, Ayase bolt up and towards the front door.

"Ayase-kun! Wait!" Watanuki shouted and went to chase him.

"Watanuki. Relax. Go gather his clothing. You'll find a business card in the pocket that'll help you track him down. However, I'll tell you this: it was hitsuzen you mentioned Sakura-chan. She and Ayase-kun's keeper share something in common you should know about."

"What would a heartless beast share with Sakura-chan?" he snapped, impatient to get to Ayase.

"Lady Luck favors them both."

"A what?" Watanuki howled in shock as he stood in the lobby of what he had thought was an innocent, karaoke bar. Come to find out, it was another kind of bar completely. It was an "okama bar," where the servers were all transvestites. He clutched the shoulder bag carrying Mokona tightly, and the magical creature gave a yelp as Watanuki saw a cluster of burley men in tight women's clothes.

"That's right." The attractive man in an a grossly expensive kimono said. He looked like he was getting very peeved at Watanuki.

'What was Yuuko-san thinking sending me to an okama bar! She probably knew! I'll never live this down if Doumeki or Himawari find out! Thank goodness I brought Mokona along to play shiritori and keep away the spirits instead of Doumeki.' Watanuki looked at the business card again to make sure.

"Then you must be Shinobu Someya?"

The irritated man in the elaborate kimono gave Watanuki a shrewed look. "That's me, and unless you can prove your over nineteen, I'll have to ask you to leave. Your schoolboy outfit might bring out the worst in some of my customers."

"No, no! I didn't come here to do anything except to ask if you know an Ayase Yukiya. He was at my employer's shop this afternoon and left some stuff behind. I wanted to take it to him and make sure he's okay."

Someya's eyes widened dramatically as he grabbed Watanuki's upper arms and shook him. "Kanou has been frantic! He's been looking everywhere for sweet, little Aya-chan. He usually has the greatest luck at chasing Aya-chan down, but he couldn't find the poor dear this time. Wait a minute!" He then gave him a narrowed eyes. "What on earth was he out shopping for? He has no money, except what Kanou gives him. And he was pretty sick, from what I heard."

Watanuki thought a couple of things. The wish shop's barrier was certainly strong, if someone with good fortune like Sakura's couldn't "see" past it. Also, Someya was close friends with Kanou by the lack of an honorific, and he must not be aware of Ayase's dire situation. Surely he would have called the police.

"Well, out with it?" Someya demanded.

"Um... the owner of the shop has lots of objects she trades with clients. Anyway, Ayase-kun worried me because he left so suddenly."

"What did he leave behind?"

"His clothes," Watanuki answered.

Someya's expression grew concerned. "Oh Danna isn't going to like that one bit. You better let me have those," he said, pointing to the paper bag Watanuki was carrying, "and I'll smooth it over with Danna."

"You mean he's your husband?" Watanuki felt shocked at how Someya was referring to Kanou.

Someya waved his hand in the air in vexation. "No, it just irritates him when I call him that. He can be such a prude about certain things. He's an old, childhood friend. Anyway, he's been worried over where Aya-chan went, so he's already in a very foul mood. To know Aya-chan lost his clothes along the way will send him through the roof."

Watanuki clutched the paper bag before Someya's hands with long, red nails could snatch it. "I really want to return them personally. He was running a high fever, so I wanted to take him some of this oden. It's a really special kind." Watanuki, of course, didn't tell Someya that it was made by a fox, lest he call the authorities to come and take him away.

He had found the dimensional portal, slipped through, and graciously asked the fox father for some oden for a sick friend. He, of course, agreed and Watanuki traded some change he'd gotten from the Green Drug earlier for Yuuko's sake. The fox child seemed so fixated on Watanuki's pocket, so he figured there must be something about the coins. He was more than happy to hand over the change to the sweet fox boy, along with a fond pat on the head.

"Besides, he does have my pajamas and robe. Could you please tell me where he lives."

Someya looked as if he were weighing things out. He then nodded after some agony. "Okay, but don't stay long. You'll only aggravate Kanou. Let me call." He retrieved a red cell phone and hit a speed dial number. Someya frowned and said, "It's seems the cell towers are down. What rotten luck."

There was that word "luck" again. He shivered and said, "I know it's getting close to ten o'clock, so I won't stay long at all. It's a school night."

"Well okay. But remember, Kanou's bite is worse than his bark, so if he starts growling, you leave in a hurry."

Someya wrote down an address on a piece of paper at a hostess stand and bid him good luck and good night.

Watanuki's mind was tired from playing shiritori with Mokona. At the high rise apartment, though, the spirits abated. Watanuki had to admit this place was very posh. He got to the appropriate floor and knocked on the door with the number Someya had written.

The door flung open and a giant, dark-haired man stood there, glaring daggers at Watanuki. "What are you doing knocking on my door? Collecting for some school club? Scram!"

Watanuki, now face-to-face with this man, grew even more concerned for Ayase's well-being. No wonder Ayase was terrified and in distress. Watanuki screwed up his courage and said, "Um... no, sir. I actually came to return some things to Ayase-kun. May I please..."

"No! Go the fuck away!"

Watanuki didn't flinch back. He insisted, "I need to see Ayase-kun, because he had unfinished business at the shop I work at."

The man light a cigarette, got in his slacks' pocket, and withdrew a huge bundle of yen. "What's he owe you?"

"Oh nothing yet. I just wanted to see if he'd like to continue his order. And I brought his clothes back, along with some oden."

"That so?" Kanou gave him a hateful glare. "I was wondering about those pajamas he was in. Give it to me and get lost."

"Wait! Watanuki-kun? Is that you?" Ayase asked, coming to the door. Kanou's face clenched in aggravation, while Ayase smiled at Watanuki brightly.

"I brought you oden for your fever and the clothes you left."

"How did you know I'd have a fever again?" Ayase asked, the tell-tale signs of a flushed face giving it away. Watanuki was glad he obeyed his urge to take the detour for the fox oden now.

"Oden? For fever? Are you crazy?" Kanou snarled.

"This oden will break his fever before he finishes the bowl. I guarantee it," Watanuki smiled, proud of the fox's craft.

"Please let Watanuki-kun in. He really was nice, earlier, and gave me a good dinner. You wouldn't believe the food he made."

"This oden was made by someone else. It's a little more special. I hope one day I make it as well as him."

Kanou let out a gruff sigh and opened the door all the way. "In, but you leave quick."

Watanuki said, "Just point me to the kitchen."

Kanou insisted on tasting Ayase's bowl first to check for anything "harmful." That nasty scowl dropped for the briefest of moments and showed a peaceful pleasure, then went up in disgruntlement as he handed Ayase the bowl.

Ayase was tucked under a blanket and lying on the sofa. Kanou sat on the arm of the sofa by his head. Watanuki knelt by the coffee table as Ayase ate in silence. After a couple of moments, he perked up. Watanuki wasn't surprised, but Kanou put his hand on Ayase's forehead. The man looked shocked and then eyed the oden suspiciously.

"There is plenty of oden if Kanou-san would like some as well," Watanuki offered.

The man crossed his arms and shook his head. "It's for Ayase. He gets lots of fevers."

Watanuki could have sworn the man would crave it after tasting it. Fox oden was extremely powerful. It'd take some real willpower to refuse it. Why would such a stingy man sacrifice a bowl of soup to someone he was sexually abusing?

"This is really delicious, Watanuki-kun. Your meal was fantastic, too. I would love to cook like you."

Watanuki's mind then latched on to an excuse he could use to stay by Ayase. All he needed to do was have some more time to persuade Ayase to accept the wish. Or, at the very least, go to the police and turn this man in for the criminal he was.

Watanuki offered, "Why don't I show you some of my cooking tips? It's something I enjoy and my friends all seem to like what I make." Then Watanuki glowered. "But never ask me to show you how to make Valentine's Day chocolate! Ahg... that sadistic woman I work for... That fiasco with that snack stealing Doumeki and flying around on that bird to find his soul!" He clenched his fists and waved them around frantically. "And then to find out from Syaoran-kun that Fai-san ripped off my chocolate recipe and made a fortune in Outo World off my hard work! I hope he ends up with a rash or a werewolf bite in the next dimension! Kurogane-san is right to call him an irritating, blasted wiz...!"

They were both looking at him as if he had suddenly had grown horns and was a demented lunatic. He waved his hand in the air and asked, "So how about it? Cooking lessons?"

"Oh that'd be great," Ayase gushed.

Kanou growled. "You're a good cook Ayase. You don't need lessons from a deranged, otaku high schooler."

"But not as good as Watanuki-kun, yet. Can't I study with him for a little while? It'll benefit you," Ayase pleaded.

The man absolutely looked like he was about to explode, but he took a deep sigh and said, "Fine. He comes over when I'm here. Very seldom. Now," he pointed at Watanuki's nose, "get out!"

"What is it?"

Watanuki started at Doumeki's question. "What's what?"

"You're too quiet today. Why?"

Watanuki couldn't muster any sass to tell Doumeki to mind his own business. Plus, he did want some additional advice. "There was a customer at the wish shop yesterday that I'm worried about." He then looked to make sure Himawari wasn't around at their lunch spot. He told Ayase's story, including the sexual abuse, in a nutshell, and how he tricked his way into staying involved in Ayase's life.

"He sounds like yakuza."

"What! Not sweet Ayase!"

"Kanou-san," Doumeki said blandly.

"Yeah right! I knew that's who you meant!" Watanuki hissed, cattily.

"Well, a person can only make a wish if they want it. If Ayase-kun doesn't want it, then there's nothing to do," Doumeki said simply and blandly.

"But this is so terrible! He needs to be rescued from this yakuza jerk. He was going to throw money at me when he thought Ayase-kun owed me money. He would probably have tacked that on to poor Ayase-kun's bill, too."

Doumeki closed his bento container and set it beside Watanuki. He rose and asked Watanuki, "Does he really want to be free?"

"Of course! Everyone wants to live free!"

Then Doumeki gave him a cool look. "Not everyone. Sometimes people choose to chain themselves to others for all sorts of reason."

Watanuki shook his head furiously. "That's horrible and a ridiculous notion! Why would someone deliberately tie themselves to another for the rest of their life?"

He froze when Doumeki gave him a very harsh expression. "You're interfering. If Ayase-kun wants to be free, he'll come to Yuuko-san. Let him make the choice."

There was ice that came to Watanuki's stomach as he watched Doumeki walk off. There wasn't one reason, in Watanuki's opinion, Ayase should stay with Kanou. He had to try to make Ayase see sense and accept Yuuko's terms.

To be continued.