A/N: Hi everyone! This is going to be first fanfic uploaded in over two years. How time flies. Anyways, I've really gotten to the Hanahaki disease au lately, and became inspired to write this! If this one turns out well, I might also write one with Watanuki suffering from it. Enjoy!
Disclaimer: I do not own xxxHolic nor any of it's characters. They all rightfully belong to CLAMP.
It started as a slight tickle in the back of his throat. Doumeki didn't think anything of it; allergy season had just started and he had his fair share of them. Still it's better to be prepared, so he decided to make a stop by the store and get some cough drops and cold medicine.
As the days wore, the tickle progressed into a full-fledged cough. Doumeki was becoming convinced that this was more than just seasonal allergies, as none of the other associated symptoms came up. The cough had become so persistent that even Himawari and Watanuki were starting to take notice.
"Are you okay, Doumeki-kun? It sounds like you have nasty cough. Please take care of yourself and go see a doctor, okay?" Himawari told him during lunch with a concerned look on her face.
"You should really go see a doctor. You're making Himawari-chan worry about you and I don't want to catch your germs!" Watanuki said to him on the walk to Yuuko's that afternoon, making sure to walk a few feet in front of him. Doumeki mumbled a vague noise of affirmation that seemed to satisfy Watanuki for the moment. A doctor's visit wasn't a bad idea, but it would have to wait until after the next archery competition. He hoped that he didn't get worse before then.
The cause for his mysterious cough would make itself known sooner than he expected. About a week after Himawari and Watanuki told him to go to the doctor, he woke up in the middle of the night in an intense coughing fit. He felt like there was something stuck in his throat and he was suffocating. Doumeki crawled out of his futon and over to the wastebasket and heaved, desperately trying to force out the obstruction in his throat. After a few rounds of dry heaving, Doumeki felt something explode from his mouth. He coughed a couple more times to completely clear his mouth of whatever it was he just coughed up.
As he sat back, exhausted from his ordeal, he realized that the ticklish feeling in the back of his throat was completely gone. Curious to see what had been affecting his breathing for the past couple of weeks, he slowly hauled himself to his feet and shuffled over to the light switch to turn it on. He went back over to the wastebasket and widened his eyes slightly in surprise.
In and around the wastebasket were a bunch of white petals. Doumeki knelt and cautiously picked up a few of the petals from the floor. They were wet, unsurprisingly given where they had come from, but even so they were soft and smooth, and certainly felt like they were real. It seemed impossible for his body to produce these flower petals, he thought as he cleaned up the ones that had fallen on the floor, but then again, he was used to dealing with the unnatural. His exhaustion hit him full force as he dumped the rest of the petals into the wastebasket and he resolved to look more into this matter in the morning. He turned his light off and laid back down on the futon to try and get some more sleep.
When Doumeki awoke later that morning, the first thing he did was look into the wastebasket, silently hoping that the events of last night had all been a horrible dream. The white petals sat there staring back at him, almost as if they were mocking him. He sighed and went to go get ready for the day.
As he was going about his morning routine, he noticed that the ticklish feeling had returned, and more prominently than the first time it had appeared. He had hoped that this would be a onetime thing, but that would not be the case, it seemed.
It also appeared that he was quickly progressing towards another attack as the ticklish feeling was growing worse at a faster rate than the first time around. Wanting to find some answers as to what was happening to him, he went online first, plugging in every search word he could think that related to his illness. Much to his frustration, his searches yielded no helpful results, save for one article on an occult website that mentioned the word 'Hanahaki'. Doumeki spent the rest of the afternoon pouring over some of the old books in their collection, but he was unable to find any more information. As much as he disliked the idea, it seemed he would have to ask Yuuko about the situation.
Over the next couple of days, the feeling in his throat rapidly grew worse, and he started having more coughing fits, though none of them ended in him coughing up more flower petals. These fits caused Himawari and even Watanuki to look at him in concern, although the latter would deny it. Doumeki waved them off, saying that he intended to see someone about his cough later.
Watanuki prattled on and on about Himawari during their walk to the shop as usual, but Doumeki noticed that the other boy was shooting him worried looks whenever he thought the taller boy wasn't looking. A tingle ran through his chest at the thought Watanuki actually cared about him, and he abruptly launched into a coughing fit. He doubled over with the force of his coughing, and Watanuki hovered over him, unsure of what to do with an alarmed look on his face. After a couple minutes, the fit subsided with Doumeki thankfully not throwing up any flower petals in front of Watanuki.
"Are you okay!? This seems to be really serious, you need to go see someone now," Watanuki said frantically, turning every which way and that as though there might come a doctor conveniently walking past.
"I am," Doumeki replied as he straightened back up and took a water bottle from his bag, taking a drink from it.
"You are...?" Watanuki mused as they resumed the walk to the shop, processing his words. "Wait, do you mean Yuuko?"
Doumeki gave a short nod in reply.
"Is it caused by something supernatural?" Watanuki asked, mind racing through all the encounters they'd had in the time before Doumeki's cough started, trying to think of what could have caused it
Doumeki nodded again.
Watanuki cast his eyes downwards and they spent the rest of the walk to the shop in an uncharacteristic silence.
When they arrived at the shop, Doumeki was unsurprised to find to find Yuuko waiting at the shop gates from them. "Oh Watanuki I'm so glad you're finally here! I'm starving, so go and make some snacks for us!" She said in her dramatic fashion as the pair drew closer. Watanuki hesitated and looked up at Doumeki. The taller boy gave a small nod to indicate that he would be alright alone with Yuuko and Watanuki vanished into the empty lot to do Yuuko's bidding.
"You've managed to get Watanuki to obey quietly and get him all worried about you. This must be something quite serious, hm?" Yuuko said, turning to face Doumeki with a knowing smile.
"Well then, don't keep me in suspense. Spit it out!"
Doumeki opened his mouth to reply, but all that came was a series of coughs, strong enough to make him double over. He put his hands over his mouth as the coughing fit became more severe. The suffocating feeling was back, and it somewhat felt even worse from a couple nights ago. He continued to hack and heave for a couple minutes before he finally forced the petals out. He spit out the last of them and straightened back up, holding out his hands to Yuuko to show her the pile of white petals that lay within them.
"Well, I didn't mean it quite so literally," She said while inspecting the petals.
"Do you know what this is?" He asked her, his voice rough and scratchy after his recent fit.
"You should take a couple cough drops, those things work wonders," Yuuko said, looking back up at Doumeki with a mischievous grin. He shot her a pointed look. "Alright, alright. I do happen to know what it is you suffer from. It's called Hanahaki disease."
"Hanahaki…" Doumeki repeated.
"You sound as if you know about this already," Yuuko said.
"Just the name."
"Not surprising. You'll rarely find it mentioned outside of things dealing with the occult, and even then you won't find much. People who have had it don't like to talk about it. Anyways, Hanahaki disease is born from one sided love. The sufferer coughs and throws up flower petals due to unrequited love. The flowers grow in and around your lungs, eventually suffocating you," Yuuko said.
"Is there a cure?" Doumeki asked.
"The only cures are either to have your love returned, or to have the flowers removed entirely," She replied.
"A certain ceremony must be performed that will cause the flowers to wither and die, thus making it possible for you to cough them all up. However, by doing this ceremony, you will lose all feelings of love towards the other person, and, depending on how strong your love is, you may forget about them entirely," Yuuko said solemnly.
Doumeki looked down at the petals in his hands, lost in thought. After a short pause, he raised his eyes again. "How long until it kills me?"
"I take it you're going to try and get Watanuki to return your love then?" Yuuko asked, a coy smile toying at her lips. Of course she knows. "It varies from person to person, again depending on how strong the love is. Most people die less than a year after first developing their symptoms. A good indicator of when you don't have much time left is when you begin to cough up entire flowers instead of just the petals."
"I see," Doumeki said, looking back down at the petals.
"If that's all, let's discuss your payment. Bring over a few bottles of your grandfather's sake the next time you come by," Yuuko said and began to head back to the shop. "Oh and one more thing: the flower those petals come from is a white carnation." With that, she vanished into the vacant lot.
Doumeki continued to stare at the white petals for a moment longer before he flattened out his hands and watched as the wind picked the petals up and scattered them along the road. He stood there watching them dance on the pavement for a few seconds, and turned to make his way back home.
"Is he going to be okay?" Watanuki burst out as Yuuko entered the room.
"My, my, aren't you rather worried about Doumeki?" Yuuko teased, leaving Watanuki blushing and stuttering out an excuse as to why he would be concerned about the big oaf. "As to whether he's going to be okay, that's up to him." She said, sitting down and popping one of the freshly made cakes into her mouth. "Mmm! These cakes are divine!" She exclaimed, grabbing more off the try.
Watanuki stopped his stuttering and puffed out his chest in pride. "Well of course they are, I made them!" He said proudly.
"You know what this puts me in the mood for? Okonomiyaki!" Yuuko proclaimed as she and Mokona, who had just jumped up on the table, quickly polished off the rest of the cakes.
"How does that make any sense!? Besides, we don't have the ingredients to make Okonomiyaki!" Watanuki whined.
"Okonomiyaki! Okonomiyaki!" Mokona started chanting, and Yuuko added her voice to his. The two of them kept chanting until Watanuki growled and threw his hands up in the air.
"Fine! I'll make Okonomiyaki!" Watanuki shouted, and went to go put his shoes on as Yuuko and Mokona cheered behind him.
As Watanuki makes his way out of the house towards the store, he pauses by the gate, fascinated by the numerous white flower petals littering the street. Strange. I don't remember those being here when we arrived. He chalks it up to them being from one of the trees in the front yard and continues on down the street.
A/N: Please fav, follow, and review if you enjoyed! I'm not going to pretend to keep a stable updating schedule, it's never worked in the past. But for now I intend to work hard on this fic so updates will likely be several times a week!