A/N: Nothing remotely plot-critical left to share by this point, but a bonus few hundred words of hopeless fluff seemed like as good a way to end the story as any. Thank you all for reading!


Much later that evening, both of them warm and comfortably sleepy and feeling rather better disposed towards the actions of some of the more unusual members of the spirit world, it occurred to Watanuki to ask, "Hey, what if I had been the one it hypnotized? What would you have done?"

Doumeki only considered for a moment before replying, "Probably shaken you by the shoulders until you snapped out of it."

"You would?" While Watanuki could easily picture that happening now that he'd heard it, it wasn't quite the answer he'd been expecting.

"I recall you mentioned punching me in the face earlier, but that might have been overdoing it a bit," Doumeki added.

"But… I mean…" Watanuki disentangled a hand and made one last use of his things-I-will-not-say-aloud gesture over the state of the two of them. "Wouldn't you have been at least tempted?"

"Not enough," said Doumeki, with that new honesty in his voice again. "You were the one who said before – it's not supposed to happen like that. And after I snapped you out of it, you would have been embarrassed enough. Letting anything else happen would only have made it worse."

"Well. You're right there," Watanuki admitted, indignant on his hypothetical self's behalf.

"You would have spent the rest of the day assuring me you'd never do anything like that normally…"

"Well, it would have been true! Up until today, anyway."

"…and I'd tell you I knew that," Doumeki continued smoothly. "But you wouldn't be satisfied by it; you'd keep on telling me the same thing until I got sick enough of you repeating yourself that I'd tell you the fact I knew you wouldn't do that normally was why I'd stopped you."

Doumeki had not been facing him properly through the conversation so far, but here his eyes wandered a little further in the opposite direction – what might, on anyone else, be interpreted as a nervous reaction. "I'd also tell you it was the only reason."

There was a kind of pleasant fluttery feeling in Watanuki's chest, one which usually turned itself into indignation when Doumeki was responsible for it, but which never quite got there today.

"That would shut you up for a bit," Doumeki went on. "You'd have to think about what I said for a while before you figured out I meant it…"

"Sorry for not having your oh-so-mighty intellect," Watanuki countered, with entirely feigned indignation.

"…and that I really did mean what you thought I'd meant."

"I mean, it isn't my fault you're so vague all the time! You leave so many spaces for other people to fill in that it's like having half a conversation!"

"Then you'd probably have gotten angry again, and you'd feel guilty too, but you'd have had to think about it even longer before you figured out why."

"Excuse me," Watanuki mumbled light-heartedly.

"At least it would all get you thinking about this. Thinking seriously. It would probably take a few more days," at long last, Doumeki's eyes found their way back to him, and Watanuki was caught there for a moment, "but if I was very lucky, just maybe we'd have wound up here anyway."

"Aw, a happy ending," Watanuki murmured, the moment safely past. "I like happy endings. See? I knew you could find something to talk about if you only tried hard enough."

"I had good inspiration." Doumeki started to shift himself again. "Now aren't we about at the rolling over and falling asleep part yet?"

"You had to go and find a way to ruin the mood," Watanuki complained into his shoulder, although he was clearly no more than a hair's breadth from falling asleep himself.