Class sacrificed: Chemistry. As with Time, 7 drabbles, exactly 100 words each. (And it was no less difficult than before!)

Warning: More confusing than Time, I think. But it'll make more sense if you read that, so please go read it :) (Replace the long string of numbers up there in the address bar to "3743109" and the story title to "Time") I contemplated posting this as a second chapter, but the theme and such is totally different, so I was advised against it.

Disclaimer: xxxHolic is still in no way, form, or manner, mine. It is a copyright of CLAMP. And they still own part of my soul.


I. Blood

It was in their blood. From the beginning, they knew their son would have a difficult life. All through her pregnancy, they lived their lives in fear. What if he died before he was born? What if they couldn't keep him safe? It was in their blood… and anyone with power knew that blood was inescapable.

Blood strong enough could determine fate. So every day, they prayed that theirs was not strong enough. This precious child was to be their only one – the single chance they had. If something happened to him, they wouldn't know what to do with themselves.

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II. Spring

When he was born on the First of April, they couldn't contain their joy. April First. Watanuki. It was a good omen, they decided. April marked the beginning of spring – the season of new beginnings. Even if it was unavoidable that their precious baby would face many tribulations… there was hope. There are no coincidences in this world, after all. Only Hitsuzen.

Kimihiro could be happy. And for years, that single fact was enough.

Until one day, she saw a little boy in a beautiful kimono, surrounded by the thick smoke that had plagued every one of her dead relatives.

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III. Price

They met Yuuko before, oh yes. But they knew enough not to buy anything from her. They could do it themselves, they decided. No need to give anything up. Besides, nothing could possibly be as precious as the existence of their child.

But they couldn't not pay, this time. It wasn't just their son anymore. This time, they were risking the life of someone else's only treasure. The little boy in the kimono didn't have very much time left.

But one of them wasn't enough. Even both of them weren't enough. Their powers together couldn't come close to the curse's.

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IV. Equivalence

"Those two boys' lives are a package deal, and their presence in this world is worth far more than mere lives."

"What's price then? No matter what it takes, we'll pay."

"You can only pay for two parts of four. One party has already agreed to pay the third, and the last is something only your son can give."

"Then what is it? We will ask."

"A couple of years of joy."

Brief silence, then --

"We'll come back when we secure his share."

Yuuko smiled sadly. "There will be no need. It will happen as soon as he decides"

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V. Meetings

Kimihiro loved going to temples. Somehow, they made him feel better. Cleaner, safer, more peaceful. So now that he was there, on his birthday, for blessings and prayers – he'd gotten lost in his excitement.

"Are you lost?" A kind voice asked.

Kimihiro turned and smiled at the old priest. "Yes. Um… could you please help me find my parents?"

"Of course. But I have a short errand to run. Do you mind tagging along?"

"Okay! Can I help?"

The priest laughed. "Such a nice boy."

Kimihiro blushed, and he didn't hear the whispered "I'm glad it's for someone like you."

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VI. Decisions

"What's wrong with him?" Kimihiro frowned from the doorway.

He couldn't go in. The priest said so. Besides, he felt that if he went in, he'd be eaten.

"He's very sick."

Sick? Kimihiro had been sick before, but he'd never been that pale or clammy or… pained.

"But why?"

The priest smiled sadly. "He's trying to keep someone important safe."

"But… won't he die?"

"Perhaps. But no matter what, I will trust his sacrifice."

Kimihiro watched the little boy sadly. "I wish I could do something for him…" he said, with all his heart.

……At that night, Kimihiro's parents died.

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VII. Blame

Kimihiro sobbed quietly, clinging tightly onto the sheets of his parents' bed. They were moving him to an apartment tomorrow. In the end, he couldn't even keep these things, these memories, of them.

…He was all alone now…

But he deserved it, didn't he? Because it was all his fault…

That night, he fell asleep in tears.

But not long after, he dreamt of arrows and butterflies and strange looking creatures – and somehow, deep inside him, he knew everything was going to be alright one day.

And though he'd never remember it… at that time, he woke with a smile.


Notes:

Part II – Yes, I know that Watanuki is a surname. :) The 'curse' is primarily from his mom, here, so the parents construe the reiteration of "April First" as a special kind of hope, so to say.

Part IV – Third part paid by Shiuzuka. In addition to Shizuka's idea of the "price of time is time", here, "time" is also directly related to "joy/happiness"

Part V – Watanuki doesn't remember seeing Shizuka because the memory was overshadowed by his parents' death. And he hasn't been able to connect the temple he visited as a child to Shizuka's temple. Childhood memories tend to be hazy, after all. He'd never met Shizuka before this because Shizuka wasn't actually allowed outside his house – he just sneaks into the grounds sometimes (usually during the time schoolchildren passed the temple – he wanted to see how other kids were like).

Part VI – Might write another fic (one shot, this time) on Haruka's quotable: "But no matter what, I will trust his sacrifice." What do you guys think?