Disclaimer: I do not own XXXholic or MTNN....oh well.


Chapter One:

Strangers


The man standing at the door of Yuuko's shop sent chills down Watanuki's spine. Blond and purple hair, green eyes that shone with an inhuman light. He was taller than Domeki, but just as broad-shouldered.

However, Doumeki didn't radiate evil and malevolence like this man did.

"Welcome." Yuuko hummed, a playful smirk alighting on her lips.

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"Welcome" the strange woman said. Beautiful, although oddly proportioned, yet scary. Yako stood behind Neuro, desperately wanting to not be here. That woman was not normal. She smiled like Neuro…. a phony pleasantness, hiding something powerful and inhuman. Yako did not want to be there. Not at all.

"Welcome to My Humble Shop, please, come in."

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"It was hitsuzen which brought you here." She casually said, motioning to a low set table and some squishy pillows that Watanuki had just picked up recently. She sat down gracefully, watching her strange guests the whole time. Watanuki took his customary seat next to the door.

"Nonsense!" The man said, smiling a fairly creepy smile. "I just came here because Sensei dragged me here so brutally! She said she wanted to see this shop! I do hope you don't mind us barging in here?"

Yuuko in turn smiled a fairly creepy smile. "I see." She watched as the stranged man didn't sit down. Instead, he surveyed his surroungings. Green eyes flickering between everything in the room. From the open doors into other rooms, to the closed ones, to the window that didn't feel right to Watanuki, to the strange rabbit-like creature comfortably perched in Yuuko's lap.

"Watanuki! Bring our guests some tea!" Yuuko ordered suddenly. All of the playfulness that she had a mere ten minutes ago had dissipated. This was a customer, and Yuuko meant business. Watanuki was more than happy to get up and go to the kitchen. As he rose to do so, he caught sight of the young girl that had followed the strange man inside. She was obviously spooked by this shop. She caught sight of him, and rose as well.

"I'll help, too…." She said. Watanuki swore the man glared at her.

He didn't like him.

He really didn't like him.

"Okay…um… the kitchen is this way." He motioned to the hallway, and they made their way down it. "Do you want any snacks to go with the tea?"
He was not quite expecting the enthusiastic response he got from her.

"Really? Can we? I'm starving; I wasn't able to get any lunch today because Neuro wanted to drag us here…." She shuddered. "What is this shop anyway?"

Watanuki sighed, and opened the door to the kitchen. "One could say that this shop grants wishes and fulfills dreams." Watanuki replied, grabbing the kettle and moving to the sink. As the kettle filled with water he asked the girl her name.

"Katasuragi Yako. Nice to meet you,….mr.. ?"

"Kimihiro Watanuki. It's a pleasure." After the water was set to boil, there was an awkward silence.

A very awkward silence.

"WATANUKI! DON'T YOU HIT ON THAT GIRL!" Yuuko shouted, breaking the silence.

"I'M NOT HITTING ON HER!" he shouted back, spastically moving in a way that made Yako giggle.

"Eheheh….Sorry, my boss likes to torment me." He explained, "So, what do you want for snacks?"

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After Yuuko and the strange man were served their tea, Yako and Watanuki retired to the kitchen to munch on some melon-pan, leftover manju, and some home made Takoyaki.

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After Yako had eaten her fill…an amount that confused Watanuki very much (How could a girl so little eat so much? Maybe she was like Yuuko and alcohol), they started chatting about the more mundane aspects of life. What grade they were in, what clubs (the-go-home-after-school-club), and what their friends were like (weird).

"So…….you work here?" Yako asked, sipping some sweetened hot tea.

"Yeah…. Part-time job to pay for the riddance of ….a problem." Watanuki said, sipping his tea in a similar manner.

"What kind of problem?" Yako asked.

"Oh, you would want to know. And even if I told you, you wouldn't believe me" He laughed, in his fake 'Watanuki' laugh.

Yako oddly enough, replied with a similar fake laugh, "Oh, I'd believe you. You have no idea what kind of weird stuff I see everyday….eheheheeee."

"Really, like what?"

"Um…demons…" Yako said, uncomfortably shifting in her seat. Watanuki nodded wisely.

"Oh…that sucks. I see spirits."

"Ug…. sounds not fun. Spirits as in the 'Sixth Sense' type spirits?"

"Ah…Sometimes…more like…jelly, blobby things that harass me. Occasionally I get some of the traditional ones…like Kitsune…and Nekomusume…I see a lot of curses and stuff as well…"

"Ug. I just see one demon everyday….and his…tools?" Yako shuddered. Watanuki got up and retrieved a plate from the fridge. " I think that's what they are." Watanuki set the plate in front of them. On it sat some thick, rich, dark fudge. She picked up a square of fudge, and took a small bite. Surprise brightened her face. "Oh, these are good. Did you make these?"

Watanuki nodded, and took a square himself. "Those tools. What do they look like?"

"They're these little creepy, eye-ball things. Really ugly. They have these wings and no lids." She made a noise of joy, and took another bite.

Watanuki eyed the space above and to the left of her head. "You mean, like that thing flying by your left ear?" he said. Yako snapped her head around, and caught a glimpse of a flying eyeball whizzing to hide out of sight behind her.

"OH. My. God." She whipped back around, and leaned on her arms into Watanuki's face. "How long has that thing been tailing me?"

"Since I first saw you. Why?"

Yako huffed angrily, and sat down with a thump. "I'm gonna kill him. I can't get any privacy anymore!"

Watanuki nodded enthusiastically. "Oh, I know. I can't do anything outside of this shop by myself anymore! It's always run this errand, or take this somewhere, or 'hey, go-and-take-this-guy-you-really-hate-and-get-attacked-by-these-spirits-while-I-drink-some-more-alcohol.' It's so annoying! Some times I have to stay here all night just so I can make her breakfast in the morning!"

And with that, the two servants launched into passionate dual accounts chronicling their grievances surrounding their employments.

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A.N: melon pan- a delicious dessert/snack.

So....what da'ya think?

Reviews will be appreciated.