17th March 2008
Fandom: xxxHoLic
Series: The Seer
Summary: In roughly the sixteenth century, Doumeki is a martial monk for hire and Watanuki is an explorer.
Warnings: Doumeki-Watanuki pairing, and little relevance or parallels to real life history.

Doumeki Shizuka had been commissioned.

As per the traditions of his Order, he and all the other monks could be commissioned for a price. This price went to paying the rather vast debts a monk owed the Order for rearing and education, as well as to lining the Order's coffers of course.

His mother had been a good monk, had been pretty and demure but very capable and surprisingly strong.

She had also died.

And died she had before she could pay off her own debt, in the midst of a Commission, leaving a son she had born for her then-master. The then-master had not married his mother, had died as well, and the man's family would not acknowledge his birth. As such, Shizuka had been returned to the Order in his mother's place.

It was sad that he had been thrust into the life his mother had not wanted for him. But happy in that his mother had been so close to paying back what she owed, which Shizuka inherited. He needed only this latest five-year Commission and he would be free.

Off he'd been rushed to meet this mysterious nobility aboard his ship… on the other side of the world. And unfortunately, he hadn't known that those who had paid for this contract had not consulted the one to whom he was appointed:

"He is what?" the young Japanese lord demanded, his earlier mask of hood-eyed politeness suddenly completely non-existent.

"Your bodyguard," the Englishman Jason Astor calmly repeated, seemingly not the least bit perturbed by the lord's loss of composure ...his true state of mind belied by the sparkling in his bright blue eyes.

Doumeki Shizuka's eyes slid back the one he supposed would be Watanuki Kimihiro-sama who was to be put in his care: Dressed plainly in a cotton shirt and work-wearing trousers tucked into knee high leather boots. The young lord stood little taller than average though not by much and very slender; narrow hips and waist, long arms and legs, graceful hands which never seemed to stay still for very long. A heart shaped face, ending in a gentle point of a stubborn chin, a slim nose, and thin but expressive lips.

Shizuka watched lock of hair fall in Watanuki-sama's face, the young lord absently brushing it off from the little round spectacles sitting on his nose, huffing because the ribbon tying back his unruly shoulder-length ink-black hair had come loose a little.

The glint of metal drew the monk's eyes and he looked over the two out-of-place looking Wakizashi short-swords strapped to the young noble's lower back, wondering if they'd make an appearance… if he would now happened to have the misfortune of too-quickly experiencing one of the infamous temper-fits he'd been warned about.

What he had not been warned about was how strongly Jason Astor and Watanuki-sama would resemble each other, colouring aside; the two young men stood at almost precisely the same height though Jason seemed to slouch a bit, and they shared a rather similar thin-shouldered, slightly-built frame. The only apparent differences between them would be Watanuki-sama's Japanese-dark black hair and Jason's bright blond locks.

"Who the blazes decided I need a bodyguard?" Watanuki-sama demanded dangerously, eyes narrowing, posture beginning to stiffen with outrage.

"Your late mother's Affairs Council did," Jason-san replied in the same calm tone as though he were dealing with the earlier version of a reserved lord and not this… well.

Shizuka tilted his head a little at the young lord and, taking advantage of being talked around instead of talked to, studied Watanuki-sama. Why, the young man couldn't be too far from his own age. But that didn't explain the sight Watanuki-sama was to behold in his temper, all contained energy and expressive eyes. A line of red slowly creeping up the young Lord's neck drew Shizuka's eye.

"That committee of pompous, self-important, camel-skinned cretins?" Watanuki-sama hissed, eyes flashing what Shizuka suddenly realized were blue sparks.

Well, that was a pleasant surprise. Normally his own hazel eyes drew unpleasant notice though surely no one could find fault with the morning-sea blue of Watanuki-sama. But then again he'd been told it was common 'round the English parts for some people to have unusual eye colour such as never seen in Japan. So maybe no one really cared here. Shame.

"I do believe you have referred to them as such in the past, yes," Jason said, looking bored. Shizuka didn't think it was possible to be bored around the young lord, however. Jason must be used to this.

"My parents have been dead since I was a child!" Watanuki-sama was working himself into a fine froth in Shizuka's opinion. "And now they want me to have a bodyguard?!" The line of red, earlier merely creeping up Watanuki-sama's neck, had now reached his chin and began to blossom across his face. "I don't believe this! How on earth is my usual entourage insufficient?! They appointed half the crew as well! What are their reasons this time?!"

Jason-san checked his notebook, blond head tilting down in what Shizuka strongly suspected was also partly an attempt to hide an amused twitch of lips, "They believe that as you come into majority on your eighteenth birthday that you should be more… closely guarded." Jason-san looked back up and commented, "According to their communication, some rather unsavoury characters have become aware of your vulnerabilities and of your…ah… quest."

Shizuka ignored the way Jason-san's eyes pointedly slid momentarily to him. Though whatever it was they were discussing involved him to an extent, he wasn't interested. He had been schooled well and knew his place. He merely waited, unmoving, outwardly calm as ever.

Watanuki-sama's gaze turned and raked Shizuka head to foot, angry resignation in them, before dismissing him to return to Jason-san. Cheeks flushed and hands clenched, he growled, "I don't know what to do with him."

"Keep him," Jason-san returned blandly. "You might find having this bodyguard useful. He's a monk."

Shizuka watched the redness from Watanuki-sama's face fade a little as the lord paused, blinking. The lord turned and studied him again, this time a little more slowly and with… was that interest?

"Hm," Watanuki-sama murmured, non-committal, before addressing Shizuka in Japanese, "I am Kimi-- Watanuki Kimihiro. Only son to Lady Watanuki Mayuri and her English husband Christopher Astor." He gave a short bow and watched Shizuka expectantly.

"I am Doumeki Shizuka," Shizuka politely replied in the same tongue, bowing deeply. It would be rude to reply in English no matter his proficiency with it. "It is a pleasure to meet you."

Watanuki-sama continued in Japanese, "If I may ask, what did my mother's family Affairs Council tell you about me?"

"They mentioned that they are concerned for the late Daimyo's only daughter's only son." Shizuka noticed Watanuki grit his teeth at this but persisted in answering the question, "Your grandfather's will dictates that you receive his title and a large portion of an inheritance through your mother, and as the Affairs Council wished to keep the stability of those plans, they have commissioned me to keep you safe." Watanuki-sama seemed to be waiting for him to say more at this point, despite the long pause, so Shizuka added, "That is all they told me."

Watanuki-sama's eyes glinted knowingly at this then he asked, "What else do you know about me or this assignment which they have not told you?"

A corner of Shizuka's lips threatened to quirk. "Your mother caused quite a scandal over her marriage to her Englishman." He shrugged, "But your grandfather loved her and when he made his will, he thought of her and her children. The Affairs Council cannot go against it, even now that he is dead. And I believe they are pleased you leave the responsibilities of the Daimyo to them and adventure across the world with your father's money." Shizuka almost couldn't suppress the smile this time when Watanuki-sama rolled his eyes but he continued, "The next in line for the title, a cousin I believe, would want complete power." He shrugged again, unable to help the glint he knew began to shine in his own eyes when he said, "The pompous, self-important, camel-skinned Council are quite content to remain in power."

Watanuki-sama's eyes widened, reproach flashing quickly in them. Shizuka supposed it was better the lord understood just how much he had heard and what he was capable of in languages; maybe he should have said something earlier?

"I see," the lord murmured in English, frowning a little at Shizuka. He turned to Jason, voice icy, "I imagine you've decided how I keep him then. Where are his sleeping quarters to be?"

Jason's eyes, this time, were the ones to gleam. Expression calm, he snapped his notebook shut and turned smartly on his heel then headed for the door. He magnanimously called over his shoulder, "Why, in this room with you, of course."

Shocked silence reigned as Jason made his escape. Perfect timing, Shizuka noticed, as the door creaked shut, for that fascinating red to just infuse the lord's cheeks again;

And when Watanuki-sama lost it, Shizuka finally could not hold back a small smile, reaching to plug his ears.


Author Notes:

For some absurd reason, a few spaces were disappearing. I have no idea why FF does this but it does and it's not a typographical error; I formatted it correctly on Word.

Also, allow me to take this opportunity to say that reviews, thoughts, and comments are all welcome. Just to explain how sad I am, look at it this way: As of this edit, this story has 128 hits, 10 who have listed this as a favourite, but only3 reviews. I'm heartbroken...