Second xxxHolic fic, what now. This is actually what I intended for the first one to be but, uh, it obviously didn't turn out that way.

Ahaha beware my block paragraphs of doom.

Querulous (quer-u-lus): Expressing a complaint or grievance; grumbling: a querulous voice; querulous comments.

Watanuki says: "So I worked all night as soon as I got home making your stupid bento but it was okay since I was also making one for Himawari-chan and my love for her overpowers even the nausea that strikes me every time I see your face. But just as I was giving her my love-filled bento I found a note from Yuuko-san saying that I have to be at her shop late tonight for some stupid assignment, and for some reason you have to come along though I don't know why because you never do anything."

Doumeki hears: "I was going to complain about how my employer forces me to make you lunches in thanks for you saving my life over and over, but instead I'm just going to go on for a bit about how much more I like a girl who is constantly putting my life in danger than you. Just as I was giving a bento which may or may not have been laced with Restoril to the person who will most likely inadvertently curse me for the rest of the day, I found out that perhaps thanks to Kunogi, I will once more be arriving home in the early hours of the morning because I'm going to put myself unknowingly into mortal danger yet again. Your presence is required because without you I will undoubtedly get myself eaten by something, but I refuse to give to you credit because I'm in denial about liking you to any extent, friend or otherwise."

Doumeki can kind of understand where Watanuki is coming from, since Watanuki is spazzy and insecure and temperamental, and that's sort of what Doumeki likes about him. And Doumeki can kind of understand that Watanuki will never be able to say or see things at face value because Watanuki himself is a complex person and will always complicate things around him as much as possible because that's the only way he can understand them.

But Doumeki is kind of getting tired of this process, because it could all be so easily avoided if only Watanuki would get a clue. And Doumeki is kind of getting tired of how Watanuki makes them both run around in circles, never getting anywhere, because Watanuki is too blinded by what he thinks he knows and knows he thinks.

Doumeki isn't satisfied with Watanuki just looking the other way. He could share a thousand eyes with the other boy, and still Watanuki wouldn't see.

Himawari says: "Have you seen Watanuki-kun today? He gave me something earlier, and I wanted to thank him for it, but I haven't seen him since. Ah, but don't trouble yourself too much if you haven't seen him around, okay Doumeki-kun? I'm sure I'll be able to find him later on my own, and I wouldn't want you to miss your club activities."

Doumeki hears: "Please tell me you've seen Watanuki! I touched him earlier and I think something terrible may have happened to him since I haven't seen him all day and it's not like him to disappear and, oh God, it's all my fault. It's all my fault and I'm so, so sorry, I didn't mean to but it happened anyway and now I promise I'm going to fix it. I know you're better suited for this and I might just make everything worse, but please, please let me try to help because it's not fair that I always put you into these situations, and I'm so, so sorry."

Doumeki wants to help Himawari, because she's kind and sweet and did nothing to deserve her fate. And Doumeki wants to share Himawari's pain, because she tries to share Watanuki's (and has the scars to show for it), and there's just no way that Doumeki can justify not helping someone who so obviously cares as much about Watanuki as he does, if in a different way.

But at the same time, Doumeki almost doesn't want to like Himawari, because she remains a constant threat and it would be so easy to blame her for so much if only she wasn't so completely kind and regretful. And Doumeki doesn't want to admit that by being their friend, she might do unrepairable damage to both Watanuki and himself, and he will do nothing to stop it because he doesn't have the heart to.

He knows it isn't fair, but Doumeki isn't satisfied with Himawari just being sorry. Demons and spirits he can stop from hurting Watanuki, but there's no way to shoot away her bad luck.

Yuuko says: "Oh, Doumeki-kun, I'm so glad you could make it! I'm sending poor Watanuki on an errand tonight, and I think the burden of what I want him to retrieve will be too much for his piddling upper body strength! Good thing we have you around!"

Doumeki hears: "There will be something that wants to kill Watanuki on tonight's job. Try to avoid it."

Doumeki can appreciate that Yuuko is probably older than his mind can wrap itself around (as she seems to have known his grandfather well enough), and thus has a different way of thinking after years and years of existing. And Doumeki can appreciate the way she tries to help Watanuki and others grow by making them figure out how to obtain what they wish on their own by not giving anyone any direct answers.

But Doumeki can't say he enjoys the feeling of being pulled along by invisible strings with Yuuko as the master puppeteer. And Doumeki can't say he doesn't fear that he will one day fail one of Yuuko's tests, one day get an answer that's wrong.

Doumeki isn't satisfied with Yuuko knowing all the answers but giving away none. The scariest enemy to Doumeki is the enemy that isn't known.

Hitsuzen says it is Doumeki Shizuka's fate to stand by, unable to help, as Watanuki fulfills his destiny fighting who knows what. That's what it says, and that's exactly what Doumeki hears.

But like Watanuki always says, Doumeki isn't very good at listening.

There are problems with this system. Doumeki has problems with this system. He wasn't trained to be a pacifist; no Doumeki ever has been. It's family policy to take what you want, no matter if all of fate is telling you, "no."

Doumeki isn't satisfied with hitsuzen, but that doesn't mean he's just going to sit there and let the so-called inevitable just take him along.

So when he hears Himawari say: "Oh, it's a good thing you were there, Doumeki-kun! You two are such good friends,"

And hears: "Thank God you were there to save him when I couldn't,"

Or hears Yuuko say: "Watanuki is such an ungrateful, servant, isn't he Doumeki-kun?"

And hears: "He would've been a goner without you,"

Or hears Watanuki say: "I guess you were useful, though you probably would've been more so if you didn't go and do something completely moronic like running in front of that monster and injuring yourself,"

And hears: "Thank you. I need you here, so don't get yourself killed. Please,"

He thinks, yeah, there are many things that are unsatisfactory about his current situation.

But at least it's a good place to start.

Well, it's a better ending than Reality Is, but still not where I want it to be.

Comments and criticisms make the authoress happy in her pantalones.