Wow. I haven't dived into this fandom for a while now. XD I still haven't gotten rid of the habit of scribbling fics in class hours. Done in my Molecular Biology and Biotechnology class. XD

7 drabbles. Exactly 100 words each (And believe you me, it was difficult!)

Theme: Devotion

Disclaimer: xxxHolic is quite obviously not mine. CLAMP owns it, as well as part of my soul. XD


I. Contentment

Even as a child, Shizuka had never been particularly inclined to complaining. Even if he always wore girls' clothes and was never allowed to go out and play with the other kids – he never uttered a word of discontent. For him, that was just the way things were. No more, no less. Besides, his father always said that discontent only comes to those who let it.(1)

…Lately, though, he'd been fidgety. As if he were unhappy. And that made Haruka worry.

So Haruka began to watch his grandson – so that when Shizuka finally asked "why", he'd have a good answer.


II. Longing

Shizuka always watched the others play. Even if he couldn't join them, he didn't mind. He preferred the peace of the temple – liked to watch more than interact.

Some people said that it may be bad – that his social ability may be suffering from the constant solitude… but his family didn't think so; and frankly, neither did Shizuka.

"Introversion" and "reflective" – that's what his mother called it.

So it came as a surprise to Shizuka when he felt brief tugs on his heart to leave the temple whenever an energetic little boy passed in front of the torii to school.


III. Questions

It took him a month, but Haruka was finally confident that he was ready for the inevitable question.

"Grandfather, why can't I play outside?"

"Why do you want to?"

Shizuka looked away and gave a half-shrug.

"There's someone I want to meet."


"Because... I dunno. I just want to. And it feels like I have to. I want to meet him. Play with him. Be his friend."


"If I can, I guess."

"Then you have to wait."


"Because you're the only one who can help him."

Shizuka frowned. "But how can I help if we never meet?"


IV. Answers

Shizuka had never been more ill than he was now, but he couldn't help feeling vaguely content.

"Everything has a price. The price for time is time, and while you're as young as now, the price is something your soul has decided to pay without your consciousness. You may not understand now… but later on, you will be thankful for it."

"So I'll never get well, then?"

"You will get well. When the right time comes."

If being sick meant that little boy with the smiling face and energetic bounce would one day be his friend – then it is alright.


V. Worry

When he started getting well, Shizuka did not know whether to be happy or to be worried. Was the time right? Somehow, it just didn't feel like it. Strangely, it felt… rushed.

…But grandfather was gone now, and neither father nor mother knew the answer to his question.

So as he was counting the days that he would finally leave the temple and go to a regular school, he waited. Everyday, he'd sit within view of the outermost torii, watching, just waiting for that boy to pass.

But he never did, and that made Shizuka's heart clench with unbelievable worry.


VI. Patience

Shizuka saw the boy. But he wasn't the same as before. He didn't smile as often, didn't bounce as much. And Shizuka felt something gnawing at him.

Was it his fault? Was it because he was too weak to pay the price? Perhaps if he stayed away until the right time came, the boy would be alright again.

And so he stayed away. But he sees when the boy squirms uncomfortably and runs from things no one could see. He sees the fear that often dawns on the pale face.

But the price of time was time. He would wait.


VII. Devotion

He didn't feel ready, but he had very little choice. He didn't feel ready, but it felt right.

And the lady – Yuuko – had that look in her eye that said that she knew. For now, that look had to be enough.

Because he knew, without a doubt, that if he failed then nothing would ever be alright again.

So he did exactly as Yuuko said. Took the bow, prepared to shoot the arrow he couldn't see but could very well feel. Prepared to save the one person he had always been waiting for.

And everything was right in the world.

(geeknote) 1. While this is usually thought of as a very Buddhist belief, it may also apply to Shinto. The main difference would be that Buddhism values this in order to reach a certain state of afterlife, while Shinto emphasises fitting into this world rather than preparing for death. (/geeknote)