Watanuki didn't exactly enjoy the next three days of cleaning now that the spell of him being a child was over. Things were a huge mess, not to mention dust everywhere. The treasure room had been entirely rearranged, with all the breakable and dangerous things on high shelves out of reach of a small kid. As soon as he had come to work the first day after being a teenager again, Yuuko had gone on the worst drinking binge he had ever seen and it had taken three bottles of Ekiyabe to even dent her hangover.

Though he'd never let anyone know, out of the sheer mortification that would happen, Watanuki was slowly remembering what he'd done as a child. It came to him in dreams mostly, with an ethereal, unreal sort of quality to them. He couldn't tell if it had actually happened half the time or if that was just his subconscious embellishing them as he slept.

For example, it had to be embellishment that said that he had willingly crawled in Doumeki's lap to cuddle with the stupid lug.

Catching up at school wasn't easy, since he had lost two weeks of his life. His teachers had suggested tutors and had him stay after much of the time to help him on the things that would be on their exams. Of course, those were the nice teachers. His math and English teachers, on the other hand, had only sneered slightly and said he shouldn't have been absent and if he wanted to know, to find someone in his class to help him.

He had also taken to avoiding Doumeki, because every time he was with the other boy, he would get stared at in a peculiar way that was making him uncomfortable. And though he yelled at him every time he did so, now instead of being called 'oi', it was 'Kimihiro'. He couldn't tell which was worse. He hated being called oi, as he did have a name, but he hadn't given the stupid boy the permission to use his first name.

When he had demanded why he kept calling him that, Doumeki had merely shrugged, explained that Watanuki hadn't answered to any other name, and said 'it stuck'.

Watanuki was so busy playing catch-up with school and housework and his miserable little life in general, that he didn't even have time to do any of Yuuko's jobs. She seemed put out and had warned him that she'd have him get the charm he had failed to get when he had been turned into a child after one more week.

He wondered just what the hell was so damn special about the thing anyway.

"Why must I see you every moment of every day?! Why couldn't Himawari-chan teach me?!" he complained for the thousandth time that day as he sat in the shrine and listened to Doumeki explain about the math and English assignments he'd missed.

"Because she doesn't have your classes," was the prompt, expressionless reply.

By the time Watanuki went home that night after the week that Yuuko had given him was over, he just collapsed onto his bed without even changing. He was so, so tired. He didn't handle an overwhelming amount of stress well. Usually he had his schoolwork all caught up and didn't have to worry about it, so that he had enough mental capabilities to worry about other things, but not this time. He felt like he was running full out on a race that had no end in sight and he was just very tired.

And despite the winter chill still clinging, he was terribly hot. He hoped that if he just stopped moving his body and lay still, it would go away and he would become cooler. Maybe after a long, long sleep, he would feel better and not so faintly lightheaded and stressed.

Unfortunately, that wasn't meant to be. He had slept through the night, said his alarm clock, but his body felt even heavier than it did when he'd gone to bed. With a groan he managed to sit up and pull of his socks and clothes. His arms and legs shook a little and he felt like a newborn kitten, lacking any sort of strength.

Swallowing was painfully hard and stung and he began to make an educated guess that he was sick. This didn't help his mood, but he couldn't take any more days off from school. He still had time to get up and reach the school, if he hurried.

Since he didn't have time for a shower, he merely stripped and ducked his head under cold water to hopefully wake him up. Thankfully he had his spare uniform cleaned and despite his awkward balance, he managed to get them on. He refused to look at his bloodshot and pale appearance in the mirror and grabbed his books, trying to also ignore how hard it felt to breathe.

He was almost late and he could only attribute it to the fact that he had a tiny bit of luck left that he managed to make it to his homeroom class. Himawari watched him with concern and suggested that he go home, but he only shook his head. He couldn't afford to miss anymore school.

It wasn't until class had begun that he realized he'd forgotten his glasses at home, and hoped that was the reason that everything was slightly fuzzy and he couldn't really see anything. It was through sheer will that he didn't pass out by the time lunch came along and he came to another realization. He didn't make anything to eat, not that he could have kept it down anyway. And even if he could, his throat felt so awful that he wasn't sure he could have swallowed anything without passing out from the pain.

Watanuki made it to their usual lunch spot before the other two and he slumped under the shade of one of the trees gratefully. He had only intended to blink, but apparently he had dozed off for a minutes because the next thing he knew, his shoulder was being shaken. Blearily, he looked up, but didn't even have the energy to feel consternation when he saw it was Doumeki.

"Is lunch over already?" he muttered with a rough voice and trying to hide how pathetic he sounded.

"No, it just started."

Himawari sat down next to him and touched his forehead. He tried not to flinch and pull away from her touch because it was so warm and he was already hot despite the rather cool day.

"You're burning up, Watanuki-kun. You should go home."

He shook his head and plastered on a faint, reassuring smile. "I'm fine, Himawari-chan. I can't…" A faint pause as his head swam a little and his voice failed him, "afford to miss anymore school. I don't even know if I'll pass the exams right now as it is."

"I don't think that being in school in your state is going to help that either."

"Sh-shut up, Doumeki," he managed to spit out in a breathy, painful whisper. It hurt to even talk, so he stopped. He vaguely heard Himawari mention she was going to the cafeteria to get him something to drink and then it was silent.

Watanuki had hoped that Doumeki would live up to his name and be quiet, but it wasn't to be. Almost as soon as Himawari trotted away, he asked, "How'd you get sick?"

He let his eyes droop closed and gave a sigh. "How does anybody get sick?" he rasped. "It just happens."

Doumeki reached over to touch his forehead and the biggest difference between Himawari and Doumeki's touch was that the boy's was pleasant, his palm nice and cool against his fevered skin. He sighed again at the pleasant sensations and though he'd deny it later, he leaned into the touch just a little.

"It's probably stress. You've been doing a lot this last week and worrying." Doumeki's voice was growing fainter and yet it was still a pleasant sound, like a low humming in his ears that eased him to sleep. "You don't have to worry about everything you know…"

The next time Watanuki woke up, he was in his bed in his apartment, wearing pajamas. He was feeling slightly more human and even…clean. The last thing he remembered was lunch at school and falling into another sleepy doze. His head still swam and his throat felt worse than before, but his vision wasn't nearly as bad as it had been.

Scratch that, it must be worse since Doumeki was sitting on the floor next to his bed and watching him. When he opened his mouth to say something, Doumeki interrupted a little too quickly for his peace of mind. "Don't talk, or do you want to lose your voice? You fell asleep during lunch and you were burning up. The school nurse said she hadn't ever seen a high temperature like yours outside of critical cases and said you had to go home immediately and not do anything stressful."

Watanuki would have snapped that Doumeki's mere presence was stressful enough, if he could talk and if he hadn't remembered the nice feeling he had gotten as Doumeki's voice lulled him to sleep. Not to mention that apparently when he had been a child, he'd also felt safe around Doumeki. Not that he'd ever tell him that, not this side of hell.

"I brought you home and bathed you, changed you, and put you to bed." At Watanuki's outraged and livid look, Doumeki shrugged. "Not like I hadn't done it before when you were stuck as a kid. I did it every day." When he shook his head frantically, causing himself whiplash in the process and a pounding headache, Doumeki smirked and commented, "You really were the cutest thing as a kid."

Watanuki couldn't have spoken even if he wanted to and despite the weakness of his limbs thanks to his cold, which he was sure Doumeki caused in a major part, he threw a pillow at the archer.

"Don't worry. I'll always take care of you."

End