Forgive me if this might seem a bit cliché, as it was inspired by three different sources. One was
baby Shizuka story. The other a story (on on where Wata-chan
is shrunk but still maintains his mental capacities of a sixteen year
old (the story which I can't currently find...), and my urge to write
something to do with an adorable Wata-chan thanks to my other fic I
just did, Wind Which Blows From The Dark.
Doumeki groaned and tried to ignore the sound that penetrated his sleep. If he just ignored it, it would go away. This was a proven fact, as Doumeki had found. It worked all the time.
Ring Ring Ring
…Just not this time. It seemed to grow even louder when he ignored it, as if it found that offensive. Even though the phone was in the living room, he could hear it clearly in his bedroom. Knowing that it would wake up his parents if he didn't get it, and just in case it was Watanuki, he crawled out of his bed to answer it.
His mother had just come out his room to grab it, dressed in a robe and looking tired. He waved her back to bed, which she was just as happy to go and picked up the phone. "Yes?"
Oh. Her. Doumeki rubbed his gritty, tired eyes and yawned. Scratching his head only made his rumpled hair worse, as usually at two am in the morning he was happily sleeping, and muttered in a rough voice, "Yeah?"
"Ne, ne, Doumeki-kun, could you meet me in the park? It's Watanuki."
"Just come. Oh, you won't need your bow, though, so don't worry."
The dial tone assaulted his ears this time instead of her voice as she hung up and he set the phone back in its cradle slowly. His mother would kill him if she found out he was leaving, but what choice did he have? He slipped back to his room and pulled off his pajamas to trade for comfortable jeans and a gray, worn-in t-shirt. But his mother didn't come back out of his parent's bedroom even as he pulled on his shoes and left the temple.
It was actually the perfect weather that Doumeki liked. Not too hot nor too cold. He couldn't suppress another yawn, but he had gotten used to being called out in the middle of the night for these kinds of things. He wondered what Watanuki had gotten himself into this time. An injury of some sort maybe? Obviously nothing too serious, since Yuuko had sounded more amused than worried.
"No, don't touch that, that's bad for you."
She glanced up when he approached, and raised an eyebrow at his unkempt appearance, since he hadn't taken the time nor interest to care if his hair was brushed. As if she couldn't help it, she commented, "You look like you stuck your finger in an electrical socket."
Doumeki just grunted in response to the tease and asked, "Where's Watanuki?"
Her grin was so wide he thought it would crack her face and she bent down to pick up something at her feet that he had failed to notice. He blinked blearily and rubbed his eyes to make sure that it was indeed what he thought she was showing him. The image didn't change and somehow of all the things he had expected, this wasn't it.
Watanuki Kimihiro was short. Short and now three years old, to be more precise. In an action that even Doumeki could only describe as adorably cute, Watanuki stuck his covered fingers in his mouth and lightly chewed on them.
His eyes glanced down at the ground, seeing what could only be Watanuki's pants lying in a heap. The shirt he wore was four times as big as he was and part of it was getting wet with drool as the little boy chewed mercilessly on it.
"I sent him to pick up just a little charm for me, but that's where things went wrong. For whatever reason, he carried a mirror with him. The little sprite with the charm is a mischievous one and when she caught him glancing in it, she played a trick."
"Turned him into a kid?"
"Yup and took off right after again, so now I have to get in contact with her again to get the charm she didn't give Watanuki."
"How long is it going to last?" His overwhelming thought at the moment was that they get Watanuki back to normal. Watanuki did have a life, albeit a strange one, and they couldn't spend the next sixteen years raising him again.
"Anywhere from a week to a month. The magic isn't strong enough to last more than one month."
"And you called me out here…why?"
"So you can take care of him!" she answered with panache.
Doumeki was suitably not impressed. "I can't. My parents would notice if I suddenly brought a child home."
"Would they think it was yours, Doumeki-kun?" she teased.
He glanced down just as little Watanuki looked up, those mismatched eyes much larger than he thought any should be allowed to be. An adorable smile touched his face and it was then that Doumeki realized something about himself, something that shocked even him.
He had a weakness to cute things.
"I can't take him in," Doumeki repeated and folded his arms.
As if Watanuki got heavier in her outstretched arms, Yuuko shifted her hold until she had him held against her hip. "Well, we can't give him to Himawari-chan and he doesn't know anyone else. Obviously leaving him alone is out of the question too."
"…Why don't you take him in?"
She blinked, as if the idea hadn't occurred to her. Doumeki thought it was perfectly reasonable, given that she was the one that knew what happened, lived alone, and was old enough to know how to take care of a toddler.
The wish granter looked down at the little boy huddled against her side that looked so tiny in the big shirt, and smiled a little. "Hell, why not? It can't kill me."
As she left the park, his eyes followed her. He wasn't entirely sure of that last statement. After all, this was Watanuki, child or not. Adorable or not. Somehow he didn't envy her the kind of things she'd probably have to deal with. He was no expert at raising children and would have no clue what to do, but he had heard horror stories from his mother about himself.
Soulless children notwithstanding, he doubted that Yuuko had any sort of experience with children.
"Might be fun."
"Eh? Watanuki-kun is a baby?!"
Doumeki shook his head at Himawari's shocked voice. "No, not really. He looks like he's three or four years old."
"Well that explains why he didn't come to school. But poor Watanuki-kun. This'll ruin his perfect attendance." And like he had expected, she smiled brightly. "But I want to see him! He's probably just adorable! But…can we enter the shop?"
"Not likely," he answered, though he had no proof. He just didn't think having Watanuki a child would be enough for them to enter.
Himawari rummaged around in her bag and pulled out a cellphone. Neither Watanuki nor he owned one. He had never seen the use for one and Watanuki couldn't afford one. Yuuko no doubt had one since she had called him from the park the night before. He just hadn't expected Himawari to have one too, as she didn't seem to know that many people.
He figured she'd probably gotten the witch's number during the time Watanuki had been healing after falling out the window. He listened vaguely to the one-sided conversation and realized that until Watanuki grew back up in a real hurry to what he was supposed to be, he wouldn't be having any lunch. Now this was a real state of emergency.
"She said she'll be at the park after school. Do you want to go, Doumeki-kun?"
Doumeki had archery practice, but the prospect of seeing cute little Watanuki made him figure he could skip it. After all, at least at this age, he wouldn't be yelled at and as he had discovered the night before, he had a weakness for something that adorable.
Watanuki was even more endearing by daylight. He was in a pair of tiny overalls and blue shirt, obviously given to him by Yuuko, and fluttered around with the other children. For a minute, he wondered as he watched the little boy go farther and farther away from the older woman, who had taken to talking excitedly with Himawari, if he was afflicted with spirits. Watanuki had told him he'd had it ever since he was born.
As if to answer his question, Watanuki's little legs soon stopped running with the other children and he could see tiny little shivers going down that spine. His eyes widened and he looked like he was about to cry as he stared at the empty air in front of him.
The boy was probably safe from spirits with Yuuko, but she was too busy gossiping with Himawari like two housewives with children, so he took the few necessary steps needed to reach the child. When his aura seemed to encompass Watanuki, he blinked away and looked up at the hulking mass that was Doumeki.
There was a singular moment where they just stared at each other and Doumeki realized just how unfathomably deep Watanuki's eyes were, even as a child. He could get lost in them so quickly. Those mismatched colored eyes were still the same even as a child and suddenly, quick as a blink, he was seeing himself through a child's vision. He seemed impossibly huge and the sun was shining behind him, making his face shrouded in shadows.
He watched himself partly as he crouched down in front of Watanuki. The moment his arms touched the boy, his double vision was lost, but that didn't really matter. Watanuki was being silent. Wasn't yelling at him, nor was his face suffused with rage. In fact, as he picked up the child, those lips curled into a happy smile.
Doumeki glanced up at Yuuko's voice and for the first time he realized that this child didn't seem to fit "Watanuki", but he was a "Kimihiro". Perhaps he should start calling him that, as he seemed to respond without question to the name.
"Bring Watanuki-kun here, Doumeki-kun!" Himawari added enthusiastically.
Yuuko reached out to hold Watanuki when he got near them, but Watanuki stubbornly wrapped his little hands in Doumeki's shirt. The three of them blinked and Yuuko suddenly had peals of laughter spilling from her mouth. She laughed so hard, she was clutching her stomach as she sat on the bench.
"At least when he's this small, he's not in denial!"
Watanuki's eyes looked up at him, as if asking if he could stay and Doumeki finally shrugged and sat down on the ground. The little boy crawled out of his lap to go play again, but he noticed that he never strayed too far from the archer. He wasn't sure how, but maybe in the way that only children's instincts can be, he had realized that the bigger boy kept away the scary things.
"He is just too cute!" Himawari gushed and Doumeki raised his eyebrow when he noticed that Watanuki still smiled at her. Really, some things never changed no matter how old.
"Between the three of us, you're the one he still gravitates too, Doumeki-kun," Yuuko murmured slyly.
Doumeki shrugged. "Probably because he figured out the spirits don't go near him if I'm there."
"Maybe," was all she said in response, but her expression said she didn't think it was all that simple.