First XXXHolic fic ever. Be kind and R&R!
A/N Beta: I've had this version for a while now but was too lazy to post it but since many people seem to like it and are disturbed by the typo, I decided to post it now. Thanks to Red Carpet Lies for the beta. By the way I didn't realize that this is similar to 50 First Date. I haven't watched it and realized it after a lot of reviews mentions the similarities. And umm, I still haven't changed the smut part in my LJ *runs away*
Disclaimer: They aren't mine.
Here and Now
Doumeki checked the contents of his bag one last time. He was to make a presentation in a class today, so he had to make sure that he brought all the necessary books and materials. His schedule wasn't as tight today since he wouldn't have an archery practice but he would have to run an errand for Yuuko after his classes. The woman had asked him to buy necessary ingredients for today's meal without specifying what she would like to have. He knew it meant that she entrusted the menu to Doumeki's taste and hitsuzen, something he had started to accept as a part of his new daily life. Doumeki started to plan his schedule as he quietly prepared his leave.
His movements ceased when he heard the sound of cloth rustling from the bed. Doumeki watched the stirring figure in both wariness and expectancy disguised as calm indifference. The sight was familiar to him, as was the pain that accompanied it. Eyelids slowly opened to reveal bicolor orbs. Those pair of eyes would stare at the ceiling for a while. The mind hadn't fully awakened and grasped the situation yet then. The eyelids closed again for a fraction of second and then he sat up suddenly, looking around the room in something akin to panic. He glared daggers at Doumeki when he saw his unclear figure standing nearby.
"Where am I?!" He demanded angrily. "Who are you?!"
Doumeki swallowed the painful lump that formed in his throat and calmly approach the youth on the bed. "Shizuka ni." He said quietly.
"Who are you, bastard? What do you…"Watanuki raised a hand, perhaps to push Doumeki away, but the taller youth caught it first and held it close to his chest. "Let me go! Let me go, you bastard!" he yelled, trying to pull his hand from Doumeki's strong grip. He raised his other hand to strike Doumeki, but he once again caught it. "Let me go, bastard! Let me –oof…"
Having enough of the struggle, Doumeki pushed Watanuki down until he lay down once again on the bed. "If you want answers, listen to me." He said quietly, ignoring the stirring that was only the natural reaction from their proximity.
Watanuki's tantrum subsided but he still glared at the person on top of him in suspicion like the first time they met years ago. Doumeki suppressed the urge to sigh and slowly released Watanuki's hands. He ran his fingers on the slender wrist briefly. A spark of hope appeared when the bicolor eyes lit up in surprise and confusion, but he quickly quenched it down. He removed himself from Watanuki to sit on the edge of the bed, allowing Watanuki to do the same.
"I'm Doumeki Shizuka. This is Ichihara Yuuko's store where we both work." Doumeki explained. He watched the display of emotions on Watanuki's expressive face, hoping to find a hint of recognition but much to his sadness and disappointment, found none.
"We work here? Why can't I… Why can't I remember anything?" Watanuki asked the last part quietly to himself. Fear started to creep into his eyes as he realized his predicament. "Why can't I remember anything?"
"You got into an accident." Doumeki lied smoothly, ignoring the jab of pain in his chest. It was a practiced lie and though Watanuki deserved nothing less than the truth, Doumeki couldn't bring himself to give him that. Watanuki had dealt with the other world enough; he had given up more than enough for his accursed gift. Doumeki didn't want Watanuki to concern himself with those things anymore. They didn't need more of that pain. Watanuki didn't need more of that pain.
"An accident." Watanuki echoed blankly, trying to see if it brought back memory. Doumeki read suspicion and resignation in his eyes and had to bit his tongue to not tell the truth. "When was this?"
"Four years ago." At Watanuki's questioning gaze, he continued. "Your memory was severely damaged. You couldn't remember anything anymore."
"Oh." Watanuki said a long pause. He closed his eyes again and Doumeki knew exactly what he was thinking: he was a man without a past and a future, where was he to go to? Alone. Lost and alone. Doumeki longed to gather the slim body into his arms, but knew the gesture wouldn't be appreciated. He clenched his hands into fists and held back. Not now. Not like this.
"Who are you?" Watanuki asked, opening his eyes to look at Doumeki intently. "Who are you to me?"
"I'm your friend." Doumeki answered despite the painful clenching of his heart.
Sensing the lie in the pain in his voice, Watanuki seemed unconvinced. "My friend?"
Doumeki nodded. "Aa."
"Then why are we wearing the same ring?" Watanuki asked, looking pointedly at the ring that hung on a necklace around Doumeki's neck and then to its twin on his right ring finger.
"Who do you think we are?" Doumeki asked calmly, standing up. Doumeki's ring had slipped out of his shirt during the struggle earlier. He didn't usually reveal himself so quickly. Watanuki was naturally skittish around strangers and even more so around him. He rarely took the knowledge of the true nature of their relationship very well, unless on particularly good days that came rarely. Doumeki learned to get used to being a stranger, learned to adapt to his new role as a 'friend', learned to accept the pain. It was for Watanuki. Always for him.
"I asked you first!" Watanuki yelled in annoyance. "Hey, listen to people when they're talking to you!" He said loudly when Doumeki walked out of the room. He grabbed the glasses he found on the nightstand near the bed and quickly followed Doumeki, still shouting angry remarks and insults.
Doumeki walked slowly so that Watanuki could follow him. He intended to show Watanuki the house. Yuuko's traditional compound was a labyrinth that one could easily be lost in. It took him a while to map it in his mind and with Watanuki's condition; he could easily be lost in there. He carefully avoided Yuuko's living quarters and the curious shadows of the rest of the members of the household. Doumeki knew they were watching, anticipating, preparing the lies. Watanuki didn't need to know their secrets, the past they shared. He didn't need to go back to that life. This moment was all he had. This moment was all he needed to know.
Watanuki was ranting about Doumeki's poor manners when the latter made a sudden stop, causing Watanuki to crash against him and curse.
"There's the bathroom. I'll show you the dining room when you're done." Doumeki said, gesturing toward a door.
Watanuki opened the door cautiously, untrusting of the stranger's information. When it proved not to be some form of harmful trap, he relaxed a little. Clearly, he was still doubtful of Doumeki's intentions. Doumeki turned away to hide the pain, knowing it's best if Watanuki didn't know. But just as he was about to leave, Watanuki called for him.
"Were you… my boyfriend?" Watanuki asked, not facing him. His shoulders were tense in dread and anticipation as he waited for the answer.
"… what if I was?" Doumeki asked carefully, not giving away even the slightest bit of hopefulness in his voice.
"Why did I go out with a jerk like you?" Watanuki asked angrily, glaring at the taller youth as if it were Doumeki's fault. "I don't even like you!"
"Well, I like you."
Watanuki started to stammer as his face turned red in both embarrassment and anger. "What… Why… What… You can't like me! I'm… You're… You can't like me!"
Any other time Doumeki might find Watanuki's tantrums childish or amusing, but he wasn't in the mood today. He was tired. He was angry. He longed for Watanuki. He grasped Watanuki's wrist and pulled him into a demanding kiss. A shocked gasp gave him entry into the warm cavern. Doumeki closed his eyes as he savored the taste he had missed so much. His body stirred in awareness when Watanuki moaned softly and clung to his shirt. He broke the kiss with much regret when he felt need radiate from Watanuki's body. He couldn't do it like this.
The dazed look on Watanuki's face made it hard for him to resist the temptation and wait. His eyes strayed to the slightly parted puffy lips but he quickly turned them elsewhere.
"Don't try to reason out my feelings." Doumeki released his grip on Watanuki and walked away, ignoring the burning desire to embrace the other youth. This wasn't how it was supposed to be.
Watanuki smiled fondly as he watched Maru and Moro play with the sprinkler in the yard. The strange twins were very adorable and yet annoying at the same time. The way they kept repeating words was driving him mad, yet the childish curiosity cooled his growing annoyance. Watanuki resolved to not think much of it. They were only kids after all.
"It's soo hot… I'm melting…"
Watanuki regarded the woman sprawled on an antique chair beside him with cautious curiosity. There was something about the beautiful lady that made him uneasy. Maybe it was the all-knowing look in those red orbs and the twist of her painted lips into a smirk that made him uncomfortable. He was told that he had been working for her for years now and despite his unease, he felt that he could count on the beautiful lady. He felt that she meant him no harm, despite her occasional mischief. Just like Doumeki, she cared for him and his well-being, though perhaps with different kind of nature.
"I know! Why don't we have a party?" Yuuko-san said, clapping her hands in glee. "What about cold sake and zaru soba?"
"Sake? It's only midday!" Watanuki protested. "And you've had sake for breakfast and snack!" He said, ignoring the happy chorus of "Party time! Party time!" behind him.
"Now, now, we should celebrate such a fine season, shouldn't we?" Yuuko said, wiggling her forefinger at Watanuki.
"You said that when you asked me to make you snack an hour ago! And besides… I don't know how to make it."
The singsong voices died down. Watanuki removed his gaze from the floor to meet Yuuko's somber ones. He thought he saw apology in Yuuko's eyes but wasn't too sure. She was difficult to read. Layers of secret lay hidden inside her and Watanuki wondered if there was any about him.
"Maru, Moro, help Watanuki to make zaru soba for us!"
Watanuki opened his mouth to protest, but Maru and Moro were already pushing him away to the kitchen. He threw an annoyed look at Yuuko who merely smiled at him while petting the strange doll she always carried. Cursing loudly all the while, he set to make Yuuko's orders.
Apparently 'helping Watanuki' meant constantly repeating Yuuko's orders. Watanuki began to work while muttering curses about alcoholics, gluttons and unreasonable employers. How did he fit the job anyway? He was amnesiac, barely able to recognize himself, let alone perform tasks that require practice. Not to mention his body wasn't functioning properly either. He often had blank moments where he briefly slipped into consciousness. Perhaps he should be grateful that Yuuko was willing to employ him and let him live here for free, but he still thought that he would be better doing simpler chores –thank gods, the snacks that Yuuko had demanded thus far were already prepared in the refrigerator. Heavy duties and complicated ones could be left to Doumeki. After all, he was the healthy one around here! He certainly looked like he's used to hard work; his lean body hid surprising strength as Watanuki discovered earlier when they…
"Why am I thinking about him?" Watanuki shouted to no one in particular. Maru and Moro giggled behind him, whispering about how funny he was acting. "I don't care about that jerk. I have to finish…" He faltered as he stared at sight in front of him. His right hand was holding chopsticks as he placed zaru soba into the half-filled bowl. "How the…"
"Hurry! Hurry! Mistress is waiting!" Maru and Moro reminded him with their cheerful voices.
Still confused, Watanuki finished his task and took a tray containing two bowls of zaru soba and cold sake to his employer. Yuuko didn't seem to notice Watanuki's puzzled expression as she began to devour the meal hungrily.
"See, you could do it after all!"
"But I didn't know how I did it. Suddenly it was finished!"
Yuuko paused eating long enough to smile at him mysteriously. "Sometimes the mind forgets but the body remembers." She waited until the words sank into Watanuki before continuing, her smile now turning mischievous. "I'm sure you've learned that this morning."
Watanuki began to stammer, his face flushing scarlet as he glared impotently at the woman.
"What? Nothing happened this morning!" He denied loudly. But Yuuko kept giving him a knowing smile and after throwing a tantrum for a while, he finally gave up. "… was he really my boyfriend?" he asked slowly, eyes locked to the floor as if by doing that he could deny the reality.
Yuuko put down her empty cup and regarded her employee somberly. "He is your lover."
"Why?" He was not blind. He knew that Doumeki was good-looking. He probably had many female admirers who would gladly be his girlfriend. Watanuki was no one, just a boy with no memory, no skill, no past, nothing. Why did Doumeki choose him? Why would Doumeki want him?
"He loves you." Yuuko answered with a wise smile. "He never stops. He does many things for your sake; taking care of you, moving out of his family house, working for me…"
Watanuki shook his head. "He shouldn't have. I can make it on my own." He said, bowing his head lower to hide his emotion.
"But he wants to. He loves you."
"Did I love him?" Watanuki asked quietly. When Yuuko failed to answer him for a long time, he looked up. "Yuuko-san?" But the woman wasn't looking at him. Watanuki followed her line of sight, wondering what had captured her attention. His eyes widened when he saw Doumeki standing by the door leading to the porch.
Tension surrounded Watanuki and Doumeki all evening. The tall youth had said nothing about what Watanuki said to Yuuko earlier, but Watanuki could somehow tell that it bothered him. He saw it in the tension in his shoulders when they were in the same room, the way his eyes lingered on Watanuki just a second longer, and the way he carefully avoided touching him.
Yuuko's words haunted Watanuki. Doumeki loved him. Even he had said so himself. That was why Doumeki was here, for him. He had done many things for him. Doumeki loved him. But had Watanuki loved him back?
After dinner, Watanuki was assigned washing the dishes. At first, he was glad of the chance to think things through, but his relief didn't last long because Doumeki was asked to help him. He had tried to refuse but the silent youth wouldn't take "no" for an answer and simply proceeded to wash the dishes, leaving Watanuki to do the drying.
The silence was unnerving, yet familiarly comfortable. Something about being near Doumeki made Watanuki feel safe. Somehow, he felt like this was where he belonged. Watanuki stole a glance at the youth beside him, trying to read him. Though initially he saw nothing, after a while Watanuki could recognize the darkness clouding his eyes. Guilt stabbed him painfully and he tightened his grip on the cloth he was holding.
"How was I to you?" Watanuki asked, finally gathering enough courage. Still he avoided Doumeki's eyes, afraid of what he might find there.
Doumeki glanced at him briefly but didn't pause in his work. "Not very different from today." He said calmly. There was a hint of longing in his voice but he expertly hid it. "You could've been nicer though."
Watanuki frowned and prepared a nasty reply but changed his mind. "How was that?"
This time, Doumeki did pause. Watanuki could sense he was making an effort not to look at him and stared ahead instead. Calm as he tried to look, Doumeki's failed to hide his feelings completely as he described Watanuki's treatment toward him. "You are stubborn and loud. You're always yelling at me. You always argue with me. It seems like you're never satisfied with what I do. You kept complaining about my behavior."
"Then why did you love me?"
Doumeki turned to face Watanuki. His voice was as firm as his eyes as he answered. "I love you because you are you." He stared at Watanuki's surprised expression; waiting for a question he knew was coming.
"Did I love you?"
Doumeki said nothing for a moment. Then slowly he reached out a cold hand to caress Watanuki's cheek. Stunned by the action, Watanuki could do nothing but stare at him. "I hope you do." Doumeki said with a hint of a smile. His hand lingered on Watanuki's skin for a moment before it retreated and he turned back to his task.
That didn't answer Watanuki's question but he knew that was the truth. Something about the way Doumeki said it, the tone of his voice, the look in his eyes, the softness of his touch, told Watanuki that it wasn't a lie. It was what Doumeki was feeling. But what did Doumeki mean by that? How did it answer his question?
Did I love you?
I hope you do.
The words finally made sense to Watanuki. Just as Doumeki turned to leave, he pulled his hand. Knowing that Doumeki's strength and agility was beyond his, Watanuki acted as quickly as possible. He pulled down Doumeki's face and sealed their lips together.
This felt familiar to Watanuki even if this was the second kiss in his memory. He smiled slightly, reveling in the familiarity and began to move his lips. Not so long after, Doumeki began to respond to the kiss. As the kiss became more heated, Watanuki wrapped his arms around Doumeki's neck while Doumeki placed his hands on Watanuki's hips to pull him closer. Their desire burned hotter as they explored each other's mouths. Watanuki gasped softly as instinct guided him to grind his aching shaft against Doumeki's thigh. Doumeki's grip on his hips suddenly tightened and he pulled away.
"No." He said, looking away from Watanuki's flushed face. However, Watanuki could tell from his accelerated breathing that he wanted this, needed this as badly, if not more, than he did.
"Love me." Watanuki whispered, pressing their bodies close once more.
"No. Not like this." Doumeki said, his voice strained from holding back his desire.
"Let me love you."
That got Doumeki's attention. He hesitated, hope and fear battling in his eyes. He shook his head. "No. I shouldn't. I will hurt you."
Watanuki smiled a little sadly. Had he been holding back all this time? He felt a slight tug of fear but most of all; he needed this connection as an affirmation of his being. He pulled Doumeki into an embrace, feeling as tension drew the toned body taut. "Then be gentle tonight."
"Did I hurt you?" Doumeki asked softly.
"No." Watanuki answered, tracing invisible patterns on Doumeki's chest with his finger. For what seemed like the first time in his life, he felt happy and content. It felt like he had found the missing piece of his soul. No, he was still unable to recall anything but the past didn't seem to matter anymore now. It was this moment, this very second, when he lay within the embrace of Doumeki that really mattered. "You'll never hurt me."
Doumeki kissed the crown of his head. Watanuki could feel love in the gesture and felt his body and his heart responded to it. This felt right. This was right. He knew it now.
"How do you make it all this time?" He wondered out loud.
"I just have to make you fall for me every day." Doumeki said. His voice held no malice, only slight bitterness of reality and contentment from post orgasmic bliss.
"Don't sound so smug!" Watanuki exclaimed, slightly embarrassed. He wanted to lift himself so he could have a better look of Doumeki or even perhaps hit him once or twice, but Doumeki's arm was unyielding and he settled with glaring at him.
Watanuki studied Doumeki's somber expression closely. While to others it might seem blank, he could see the faint lines that pain had drawn on his face. He had put up with this for years without a single complaint, only devotion for him. For Watanuki.
"Did I hurt you?" Watanuki echoed Doumeki's earlier question quietly. He wasn't referring to physical pain and Doumeki knew this.
"You're worth it." Doumeki said, neither denying nor confirming. He merely stated the fact.
Watanuki's face heated up but before he could say anything, a yawn split his face. He decided that whatever he was going to say wasn't so important and settled his head on Doumeki's chest. Exhaustion from work and their previous liaison finally took their toll on him. Doumeki's warmth enveloped him and his steady heartbeat quickly lulled him to sleep. Just at the brink of oblivion, though, a thought struck him and he lifted himself up to look at Doumeki. "If I sleep, will I forget everything again tomorrow?"
Doumeki looked at him, face completely unreadable. Then he pulled Watanuki back into his embrace and kissed his temple. "We'll see."
"But…" Watanuki began, struggling against Doumeki. But sleepiness weakened him and he was lost again.
"You're tired. Sleep." Doumeki said. "I'll be here tomorrow."
Watanuki threw one last glare at him, then gave up. He tightened his arms around Doumeki as if to make sure that he would keep his word. He settled back into Doumeki's strong chest and slowly drifted up to a dreamless sleep.
Doumeki watched his lover sleep for a while. Unmasked sadness drifted across his face briefly, but then disappeared again. He reached out to turn off the lamp on the nightstand and wrapped his arms around his lover's figure.
Tonight had ended. Tomorrow would begin.
A/N: This fic is slightly related to a lesson from one of my classes several weeks ago about existential psychology. It is about being here and now and that was all that matters. That we are separate and unique entity (or so I understood).
To those who don't get it ( I know you don't) the italic sentences above mean this: Watanuki wanted to know if he had loved Doumeki in the past but Doumeki said that he wanted Watanuki to love him always. Got it? I don't quite get it either.