Watanuki couldn't understand how Doumeki could just stand there so calmly, with no expression on his face, while he waited for an answer like this. He wouldn't be able to do it, he knew. He frowned a little and wrapped his arms around his stomach, glancing away for a bit before forcing his good eye to meet with the almost guarded ones of Doumeki's.
With a suddenly dry throat and questioning why this was so damn hard, he began, "I'm not sure what answer you're expecting, but this probably isn't it. I've spent the whole week thinking about this and giving myself migraines over it. I've come to the conclusion that I don't hate you, I guess. Not really, though you are extremely annoying most of the time." He took a deep breath to reign in on his emotions, since he was going off track. "I don't…I don't hate you and I might like you. Might. I just…gah, this is too hard!" He blushed and couldn't figure out what he was trying to say. "It's just so complicated!"
Doumeki didn't say anything for a long moment. "Watanuki."
"Do you like being around me?"
"What does that have to do with anything?" he snapped.
"Just answer it."
He ruffled his hair and looked indecisive for a bit before answering. "I don't hate it. Lately, for the last few weeks or so, I feel relaxed, I guess. And…"
"You're safe," he admitted with embarrassment. "If I'm around you, I don't have to worry about spirits a lot. I mean, obviously there are still some that can come after me regardless, but when you're around, I can go to places and do things that I couldn't before."
Doumeki was slowly approaching him and Watanuki was automatically backing up a little. Seeing this, the archer stopped. "Why did you sacrifice your eye for mine?"
"Because it was my fault in the first place. If I hadn't gotten tangled…"
"Is that all? Just responsibility?"
Watanuki's back was against the door as Doumeki began to approach him more and he watched as gently, the archer touched his cheek. "It's okay, Watanuki. You don't have to think about it anymore. It's fine."
"See, this is what I hate about you!" he snapped, irritated at Doumeki's attitude. "I spend an entire week of my life, consumed by trying to figure out these complicated things and feelings going on in my head and you just brush off all that hard work with a 'don't have to think about it anymore'! You yell at me for being too soft and self-sacrificing, but what about you?! Damn it, you piss me off! I bet next you're going to tell me you won't be around anymore so I don't have to see you and feel guilty about you liking me, huh?"
"Would that bother you?"
"Yes, it would, you jerk! Weren't you listening?! I feel safe when you're around! It's fun yelling at you and I always feel lighter after I do that!"
"Were you upset when you thought that archery was more important than you?"
Watanuki was too irritated to notice the strange glint in Doumeki's eyes as he pressed the issue. "Yes! Stupid! You're supposed to protect me! Isn't that why you're always there! You say that you like me, but you obviously like archery better, since you told me not to bother you when I come to this place!"
It was a little too late to notice the sudden smirk on Doumeki's face, but Watanuki was a little dense. It took him several minutes to realize that he'd been trapped. "You…! You did the whole 'don't have to think about it anymore' on purpose, didn't you?!"
Doumeki let go of his cheek and shrugged. While the smile that had been on his lips was gone, he could still see it lingering in his eyes. "Of course. I've been around you for a while now, Watanuki. When you're angry, you're at your most honest, because you never think about what you say."
The bespectacled floundered for a bit in silence before spitting out, "You're as bad as Yuuko-san!"
"It resolved it, didn't it?"
"Resolved what?" he snapped, still put out at being tricked like that.
Doumeki shook his head with a sigh and he saw an indulgent smile flash ever so quickly over that face. "You obviously like me. You're jealous when you thought archery was more important. You like being around me and I make you feel safe. You think our arguing is fun. Even an idiot could figure it out."
"I hate you!" he spat and turned around to yank the door open and leave, mad at how things had turned out, but a gentle arm wrapped around his shoulders. When had Doumeki been so manipulative? He knew that the other boy hadn't done it on purpose, but he hated it nonetheless. That way he'd never know if his feelings were real.
"Are you going to say sorry for manipulating me and confusing me even more?" he asked bitterly.
"Watanuki, I love you. It means a lot to me that you thought about my confession seriously." Watanuki stared at the wood of the door in front of him, but wasn't really seeing it. Another arm slid around his waist and suddenly the boy behind him was hugging him tightly. "But sometimes when you think about something too much, you miss the basic answer you're looking for."
"You tire me out," he said, sighing and losing his anger. There was such gentleness in the arms that held him that he couldn't keep it up. They almost seemed to be pleading for forgiveness and he realized then just how much Doumeki must have been in anxiety over his answer as much as he had been.
"Will you go out with me?"
Put the way Doumeki had, Watanuki could see why one might draw the conclusion that he had the same feelings. He was, like Himawari was often fond of saying, much more alive when the archer was there. And he recognized what he said as being true. It was just…how positive was he about it? He couldn't deny that he had been jealous when he thought that archery was more important. And looking back on it, he realized that he had been hurt when Doumeki had told him not to come to the archery range anymore.
Closing his eyes, knew there was no way to be truly sure except for one thing left. "If you do something for me, then I will give you a yes or no."
"Kiss me. I have to know for myself what I feel."
It wasn't enough that Doumeki had guided the conversation to show him what he felt, bringing the facts he had concluded right out into the open. His emotions just had to be sure and if he could kiss Doumeki and like it, then obviously, these things meant that he liked him. If he couldn't, if it felt terrible, then he knew then too.
Doumeki didn't say anything. Almost as if waiting for that, waiting for permission and holding himself back until he got it, a hand touched his chin and tilted his head so that their lips could meet. The position was awkward, since Doumeki still hadn't let him go from behind, but there was no doubt after that.
Once the kiss had begun, all his indecision seemed to melt away and there was only one conclusion left: he loved Doumeki. Was he the sort that only learned through their bodies? Who knew. Maybe Doumeki was right and the reason he couldn't see it was because he was thinking about it too much. He wasn't about to admit that the archer had been right, though.
The slow, sweet kiss ended and automatically, Watanuki licked his lips afterwards. Doumeki smirked, causing an indignant blush to appear on the smaller boy's cheeks. "Hmph!"
Letting Doumeki stew for a few seconds more, Watanuki let go of the door handle in front of him that he still held onto. "Yes."
Doumeki hugged him so tight after that, that he thought he wouldn't be able to breathe.
Three days later, Watanuki broke the news to Himawari that he was dating Doumeki. She blinked and he swore, given that he was looking for it, surprise cross over her pretty features. He remembered Yuuko telling her that he had liked her when she'd first come to the dimensional witch about her wish. It was no wonder she found it surprising. He hadn't really expected her to disapprove so when she gushed a bit too enthusiastically about him 'finally finding happiness', he wasn't surprised.
"That's wonderful, Watanuki-kun! I'm so happy for you!" She turned to his boyfriend who was busy stealing food from Watanuki's lunch before the other boy could notice and yell at him for it. "Isn't it great that your feelings were returned, Doumeki-kun?"
Both boys blinked and Watanuki rounded on Doumeki so fast that the archer didn't even have time to plug his ears. "You jerk, you lied! You said you hadn't told anyone about it, but you told Himawari-chan?!"
Doumeki's mouth was full of food, but it didn't matter, as the girl answered for him. "Oh, of course not, Watanuki-kun."
"Then how did you…?"
She laughed and smiled brightly. "Watanuki-kun, it was obvious. I've been with the two of you for months and months now and it wasn't hard to see that he was falling for you pretty hard." Watanuki's blush was growing the longer she talked and he felt distinctly uncomfortable. "It was you that was hard to guess. Sometimes I swore that you loved him right back and other times I wondered if you really did hate him like you said. But love prevails after all!"
Given her smile, he would have never known what had happened to her a few weeks ago. Feeling suddenly guilty that he had gotten happiness when she hadn't, he began, "Himawari-chan—"
"My name is not oi!" he returned, derailed with what he was about to say as he rounded again on his boyfriend sitting a little closer than he would have liked in school. He expected any minute for Doumeki drag him into his lap or something, as the archer seemed to be very interested in physical contact between the two of them. He just loved to hug the shorter boy.
"You're cute when you blush. Do it more."
"You…! Why do I even like you?!" he ranted, but was cut off when suddenly Doumeki kissed him, causing Himawari to giggle frantically behind her hand. Like he had obviously intended, Watanuki's cheeks turned bright red.
"That's it, we're breaking up!"
Doumeki only smiled and kissed him again.