Ah, it seems my Tsubasa fic is once again ill-fated. Hopefully xxxHolic will do better. If you are looking for the second fic, this is the one. I won't bore you with a super long author's note to start off with, but there are a couple things you should know before reading.
First, this is the second of two fics written side by side of each other. You don't need to read both stories to enjoy this one, but if you do want to read the Tsubasa story as well, please read one chapter of the Tsubasa then the corresponding chapter of the xxxHolic fic. Kind of an annoying way to read, I know, but that's how they were meant to be read. Since the Tsubasa fic comes first, you might want to read that chapter before this one.
Second, this fic will be updated every two weeks. Why two weeks? Because I generally update once a week and on the off weeks I'll be updating the Tsubasa fic. So if you read both, you'll still be getting my usual one update per week.
Anyway, on with the show!
In Any Other World, xxxHolic Side
By Memory Dragon
Warnings: Little bit of fluff and Watanuki torment. Oh, and cliff hangers. Lots of those.
Disclaimer: I do not own Tsubasa or xxxHOlic, nor do I make any claim to. Nor can I claim the lyrics from the song "Any Other World" by Mika. Just borrowing it, since it goes so well with the fic.
Time Line: Some time after Himawari-chan gets Tanpopo, but before Watanuki makes everyone gloves and starts dreaming heavily. It's the best time line for what I want to write, with out getting too heavily into Kohane-chan. She didn't quite fit into the shape of the fic, unfortunately. And since Doumeki needed to be able to see spirits, there was the best place to put the fic in the time line.
Pairings: None. No romance in this fic, but I hope you'll keep reading anyway cause there's plenty to make up for it.
Author's Thanks: Much love to Neko, who stepped up and betaed when I couldn't find anyone else!
In Any Other World: xxxHolic Side
Prologue: ...Another story
In any other world,
You could tell the difference.
And let it all unfurl
Into broken remnants
"Who's idea was this?!" Watanuki Kimihiro growled at his partner/rival. Not that he expected Doumeki Shizuka to answer when the other teenager was plugging his hears against the torrent of complaints. It didn't annoy him too much any more, however. By this point, it was almost routine.
Besides, he was currently too annoyed at the sign hanging around his neck that said in big, bright letters, "All you can eat Spiritual Buffet!" Doumeki took second place to this latest indignity placed upon him by his evil mistress. "Honestly, does Yuuko-san want me to be eaten by the monsters?!"
Doumeki simply shrugged, for once not coming up with any smart aleck remark. It irked Watanuki to no end, having to bring the other teenager along on yet another job, but he couldn't exactly exorcise the spirits himself. And that was the job Yuuko had set for them...
"Wa-ta-nu-ki!" a strong alto voice called out to him as he swept the floor. He glanced back at the woman lounging about seductively on the porch. Her traditional kimono was opened to reveal just the right amount of scandalous flesh to real in unsuspecting bait. It was the tone in her voice that set Watanuki on guard, however. That was the kind of voice she only used when she either wanted alcohol, or was going to send him on the sort of mission that generally ended with him adding several more years of servitude to his already illustrious debt. He hoped it was the former.
"What now?" He asked in exasperation, not breaking in his rhythmic sweeping. "I'm not getting you any more beer tonight. You're going to be hung over tomorrow as it is."
"Watanuki is so cruel..." Yuuko pouted, eyes lingering on the last can she had emptied. It was an odd sight, since Yuuko usually matched her drink to her outfit. But tonight she decided to be spontaneous. "He always assumes I just want more to drink..."
He felt his stomach plummet. It was a job. "Then what do you want?" Resignation this time. As Yuuko liked to say, this was inevitable. The worst was that he would probably end up bringing her more beer anyway.
"There's a job I need you to do..." She smiled winsomely, insinuating far more than the job would be by the playful batting of her eyes. The hair on the back of Watanuki's neck stood up on end. This was going to be a particularly bad one. "And you need to take Doumeki with you! There's something I need you to get, since my specialty store can't provide this one."
Something Yuuko's specialty store couldn't get? That somehow made the unknown job scarier. Add to the fact she wanted him to drag Doumeki along only meant more trouble. Then she smirked and he knew his fate was doomed...
"Tell me again why I have to wear this bloody sign?!" Watanuki asked for the millionth time.
"Because that person thought it would be amusing?" Doumeki's eyes glanced from side to side, looking for any sort of incoming danger. It made Watanuki swallow his next complaint with a little bit of guilt. He really shouldn't be distracting the archer at times like this. It would only make him feel worse if Doumeki got hurt protecting him again. Watanuki knew better than to feel guilty about it but still he... worried.
Especially since he was sitting in the middle of a grave yard with a sign advertising that he was free food in the middle of the night. Then again, maybe he was over-reacting after all. He was spirit bait that had a tendency to attract nasty spirits and this was only a grave yard that was generally very attractive places for such monsters. So what if common sense screamed that he should be running the opposite direction? Yes, he was just over reacting... and Yuuko hated alcohol.
Watanuki shifted uncomfortably on the ground next to one of the graves, giving up on his inner sarcasm to take a quick glace around. The nearest grave was a small shrine for Yoshida Keiji, whoever that was. It wasn't very well kept, but they were in a very old section of the grave yard. It was possible that this person had no more living relatives to clean the grave. It was a little unsettling to Watanuki, who couldn't remember the last time he had visited his own parents grave. Had there been a reason or-
His thoughts stopped, back tracking to simply thinking about Yoshida Keiji's grave. As if by magic, Watanuki didn't even remember thinking about it. The seal on his memories wasn't strained enough yet. He was only left with a sense that he had just forgotten something semi-important.
The spooky atmosphere plus the fact that he couldn't remember what he had just been thinking about almost made him want to move closer to Doumeki. Almost. He still has his pride after all. But grave yards in the middle of the night were far from the best place for a person like him to be, even with someone like Doumeki for protection...
A flashlight shined directly into his eyes and was a welcome, if annoying, awakening from his thoughts. "What the hell are you trying to do!?" Watanuki yelled furiously, shielding his eyes with his hands.
Doumeki lowered his flash light and once his eyes could re-adjust to the night's darkness. His eyes must still be playing tricks on him, because he could almost see concern on the other teen's face. "Do you see anything?"
"Nothing more than you." Which worried Watanuki. Going into the graveyard at this time of night should have been suicide, even with Doumeki there. But the waxing crescent moon was enough light to see by, along with the flash lights they both brought. So far, they hadn't seen or heard anything threatening, however. Watanuki had the eery feeling that it was the calm before a storm.
Since it was Doumeki that moved closer to him and not the other way around, Watanuki didn't protest all that much. They sat in silence on the cold pavement for a few more moments before Doumeki spoke again, his eyes continuously scanning the moonlit scenery. "How long did she want us to stay here?"
"Yuuko-san said to stay until midnight and to return home if nothing happened by then." Watanuki started to fidget again, noting they still had an hour to wait.
"And if something happened?"
"She didn't say."
That hour was spent more or less in silence. Watanuki was too jumpy to really complain anymore, starting at every cricket's chirp and every wind's whisper. Doumeki didn't comment, preferring to keep his hand on his bow. He never ceased from his tense vigil. Watanuki was growing used to Doumeki's expressions by now, and though the archer looked calm, he could see hidden lines of agitated energy on his face. They both felt something in the air, waiting to strike.
The concrete grew steadily more uncomfortable with each passing second, but trying to move to a more comfortable position might attract the attention of something nasty. The night was too serene for such an eery setting. Every few minutes, Watanuki would check his watch to see if time had some how sped up and it was already twelve. He didn't want to stay in the graveyard a second longer than he had to.
When there was only fifteen minutes left, however, Watanuki felt a false sense of release from the nervous energy build up. He started to stretch and relax. "It's 11:45 now. I'm sure Yuuko-san wouldn't mind if we left a little early, right? I mean, nothing has happened yet, so why should it in the next fifteen minutes?" Watanuki took off the sign and tossed it aside with distain.
Doumeki shrugged, still uneasy. In the other teen's eyes, Watanuki could read the conclusion that he had been avoiding: A lot could happen in fifteen minutes, especially on one of Yuuko's errands. It had only taken a matter of seconds for the last big fiasco when he fell out the window...
"L-let's just start heading back." He got up and started walking, trying to shake the nervous feeling. He could hear Doumeki start to protest and get to his feet. But his senses were suddenly cut off after that and replaced with a horrible stench followed by complete darkness.
"Here, now. I thought you'd never leave that pure person's side. I was starting to get desperate." An old, cracking voice said as Watanuki's hand immediately went up to his mouth. He started coughing, but couldn't pull away from the darkness enshrouding him. "My, you'll make such a nice dinner," it spoke again, this time laughing.
He fought to stay conscious as a wrinkled and bony hand draped across his chest, pulling him back against whoever it was with an iron grip. Dry lips stared kissing the side of his neck and his eyes shot open. "Doumeki!" he cried out, struggling as hard as he could.
The crone laughed again, pulling Watanuki's body even closer. Grizzled ends of a beard prickled at the back of his neck and the stench over whelmed him. He could barely hear the crone's voice in his ear before he fell completely unconscious. "There's no escape," it said with a snide laugh as Watanuki felt his mind drift away into nothingness.
Memory: I did warn you about cliff hangers, right? Expect about six chapters worth of them. Actually, including epilogues and prologues of both fics, this is almost like a 16 chapter fic to me. So long...
I'm hoping for a little better results than the prologue for Tsubasa side, so please let me know what you think. I've still got some hope that at least the xxxHolic side won't be a complete flop. At least, my other xxxHolic fic faired a heck of a lot better than the two Tsubasa fics combined, so maybe it's just a kinder audience, lol. I do hope to hear some feed back, so please leave some. And if you also happen to enjoy xxxHolic Side, consider giving Tsubasa Side some love too?
And now I shall stop whinning end with the quote of the chapter. See you in two weeks!
"There's always one who loves and one who lets himself be loved."
-W. Somerset Maugham