When Doumeki realized that he was no longer able to recall the sound of Watanuki's voice, Doumeki recalled what his grandfather once told him.
Voices were always the first to go.
At first, it was the sound of the way he scolded him that left first from the days Doumeki would walk home together with Watanuki when club was not in session. Next was the sound of Watanuki's exclamations, frantic and loud, they were usually accompanied by Watanuki's weird dancing. Then, there was the sound of his laughter, a sound that could make him relax and happy.
Though all Watanuki did before was ramble, watching and listening to Watanuki always gave him peace in mind. Watanuki always had that affect on people. He was selfless, caring and naïve to the extent that those that flocked around him wanted to protect him. It was only because he always managed to get into binds because he could not let things alone.
Doumeki was different. Doumeki understood the way the world worked and how one should not interfere in most events. Hitsuzen, Yuuko had called it in one of his briefs meetings with her. Doumeki remembered his grandfather speaking of that when he was younger. However, as much as he understood this, there was only one thing in life that he was unable to let alone – Watanuki. In turn, Watanuki was unable to let anything alone.
That habit of his ended up costing him.
Doumeki continued to walk down the paths that he use to take with Watanuki. There was the street that they would walk through that would take Watanuki through the market where he would bargain for the best cuts of meat and the fresh vegetables.
There was the route where the sakura trees would bloom vibrantly during the spring. Watanuki once told him the story about the ghost that was his best friend that dwelled in this area.
"He's been gone for awhile but those memories are special to me."
Then there was the route that Watanuki use to take to go to work and the place where Watanuki use to disappear and reappear from.
One day, as he walked down that same path, Doumeki noticed a change of appearance. Rather than a dusty, dirty lot that was empty and out of place, Doumeki saw a traditional house with a metal gate and stone walls to guard it. Leaning against the entrance dressed in a kimono was a familiar face that had been anticipating his arrival.
"Doumeki-kun," Yuuko greeted him from the gate. "You look well."
Doumeki nodded at her before looking beyond her and at the house. It was a traidational Japanese house with a spacious front yard a storage area at the side of it. "This is your shop?"
"Yes, this is my shop that grants wishes," Yuuko pauses for a moment before looking deep into Doumeki's eyes. "In exchange for something of an equivalent price, I will grant wishes that others have. Whether or not the outcome is good or bad, I will grant their wish."
"You have a wish."
Yuuko pauses then, her lips pursed together before she shook her head. "That is the one wish that I cannot grant. There is nothing equivalent that you or anyone else could possible give me that would allow me this wish to be granted."
"I suspected that," Doumeki simply stated. "I would also not want to be indebted wish the price of that wish."
"It was a wish I had as well," Yuuko spoke in a soft tone. She lifted up her pinky. "He was tied to me as well."
They spent a moment in silence.
"There is another wish I can grant. Will you agree to the price?"
She handed him a video tape. "We once sang karaoke with a couple of my friends. I made him sing of course."
He took the video tape and dropped it into his bag.
"Have tea with me whenever you find yourself in this street. The best way to remember is to relive your memories with others."
That night Doumeki fell asleep with the sound of Watanuki's laughter teasing his ears.
Written for Summer Flinging a few summers backs. Possibly two. One day I'll have time to write again, I swear it!