Warnings: pre-slash, vaguely non-canon, spoilers for the manga, one-sided Spirit/Watanuki, may be OoC (I'm not sure; I've never written these characters before), innuendo, some adult-ish themes, not an excess of dilogue

Disclaimer: xxxHOLiC belongs to CLAMP and their publishers and other affiliates. Obviously, I am neither a member of the CLAMP group, nor am I affiliated with them in any way. Otherwise, Dou/Wata would be very much canon instead of mere subtext, Yuuko would be a bit crazier, and Mugetsu would be in every chapter. Beta done by CluelessRomantic.

Featuring: Protective!Jealous?Doumeki, Stalked!Watanuki, Amorous!ayakashi, and others

Target Acquired

Doumeki Shizuka opened the door to his family shrine ten minutes earlier than normal, though it wasn't particularly abnormal behavior either. That ten minute difference meant that Watanuki had probably stayed the night at the home of his employer – a Witch by the name of Yuuko who Doumeki couldn't decide if he liked or was annoyed by – and had decided to head out at the same time as always despite the closer proximity. Of course, Doumeki was already ready to go to school (he usually spent about fifteen minutes every morning just lazing about), so it wasn't really putting him out.

"Hurry up!" Watanuki, of course, had only stopped long enough at the door to get Doumeki's attention and was already setting a brisk pace down the walk and back to the front gate where they usually met. "I don't want to be late; I made Himawari-chan some chocolates and if you make me late so I can't give them to her, than I, the Great Watanuki-sama, won't grace you with the delicious bentou I made, got that?"

Valentines Day. Doumeki had almost forgotten... almost. It was not his favorite day of the year, that was for certain; fawning girls giving him chocolates even though he didn't know their names, whose faces he had to remember to give them White Day gifts for the sake of being polite. If he didn't, Watanuki would yell at him, and Doumeki was fairly certain that he was going to go deaf in at least one ear before graduating high school.

And he wouldn't even be eating those girls' chocolates anyway. He couldn't trust their cooking the way he knew that Watanuki's cooking would be perfect. Even last Valentine's Day, when he had his soul stolen over the chocolate that Watanuki made (and didn't mean for Doumeki to eat, but he was hungry and it smelled good) he hadn't regretted eating Watanuki's food. No, he didn't like to eat things made by people he didn't know, even store-bought usually.

So Doumeki followed without complaining. While Watanuki wouldn't really withhold the bentou that he always prepared for Doumeki, the archer wasn't going to test his luck on that matter. Also, since he was taller than Watanuki and better used to strenuous activity of any sort, he caught up to the shorter boy before they had even reached the gate out of the Doumeki property.

"Did you make inarizushi?" Doumeki asked part way into their walk. Watanuki blew up, predictably, and went on about how Doumeki was ungrateful for the food – he wasn't, he just really liked sushi – how he was lucky that Watanuki gave him food – which was true, since otherwise Doumeki would be making his own lunches, which didn't taste as good – Watanuki didn't take orders – a lie, because he almost always made the requests anyway – and did Doumeki have to ask every day?! Which, of course, Doumeki didn't. But he was curious how long Watanuki's patience with him would last.

Unfortunately, Watanuki saw that Doumeki had plugged his ears and seemed to think that he wasn't listening (Doumeki was, but if he didn't plug his ears he might go deaf from the sheer volume of the shouting). So he started shouting louder about how Doumeki didn't need ears if he wasn't going to use them and a variety of other complaints.

"And why do you have a bow with you?" Watanuki had finally descended to an acceptable decibel level and had stopped swinging the package of bentou boxes within striking distance of Doumeki's head. "Don't you keep your archery club stuff at school? And why is it pink? Did your fangirls attack your house in the middle of the night or something?"

Doumeki resisted the urge to shudder at the idea, instead shrugging. "The archery club has a demonstration during morning assembly," he responded, barely shifting his gaze to look at the decorative bow. The archery club's supervisor thought it would be "fun" for the club to shoot "cupid's arrow" that morning and made everyone decorate their bows at home. Doumeki thought it was stupid - so did everyone else actually - but he refrained from griping like the rest of the club.

"That's stupid," so Watanuki agreed with him on this. "You actually wrote 'cupid's bow' on it? That's as bad as Yuuko-san naming her baseball bat." Something about that statement bothered Doumeki, but he stopped caring when Watanuki suddenly stopped walking. Given how enthusiastic he was about giving chocolates to Kunogi, he wouldn't have quit walking like that...

Except that he suddenly coughed and a moment later Doumeki had double vision in his right eye, and in that double vision he could see his own back from only a few feet away. The secondary sight moved before Doumeki could do so himself, and he saw a large black cloud swarming around a humanoid form, masking it, as it descended from the sky. Headed straight for that same secondary vision.

Then Doumeki did turn and saw Watanuki was crouching on the ground roughly ten feet away, coughing harshly and rubbing his throat as he stared in horror at the being that Doumeki could only half-see in one eye. But the archer was already pulling his bow from his back, pulling the neatly-rolled string from his pocket, and had the bow strung by the time the malevolent spirit had decided to brave his purifying aura to get at Watanuki. The fact that it did this at all was a testament to the creature's power.

He drew back the string and let his incorporeal purification arrow fly just as the shrouded being dipped low over Watanuki. It was difficult to aim when the eye he saw the creature with saw from a different angle than he was shooting from, but as Watanuki's vision – and thus Doumeki's – started to fade from lack of oxygen, he could see the tip of the arrow sticking out right where the heart would be on a human.

And yet the ayakashi did not do as such beings normally did, in that it did not suddenly vanish from the concentrated purifying aura that penetrated hits chest. The ayakashi shrank back away from Watanuki, which allowed the shorter boy to breathe again, and grasped tightly at the spot on its chest where the arrow had penetrated. For a moment, it seemed to stare intently towards Watanuki – so to Doumeki it seemed to be looking at him straight on – before the malevolent cloud wrapped tightly around its figure (now noticeably male) and it seemed to dissolve into the air.

As the double-vision in Doumeki's right eyes slowly dissipated as Watanuki's breath went back to normal, and he helped the shorter (but not much, as Watanuki always insisted) teen to his feet and picked up the wrapped-up bentou boxes. Watanuki seemed caught between being indignant – considering he hated Doumeki doing nice things – and appreciative – because now he only had his school bag and the bag containing Kunogi's Valentine's Day gift to care.

For once, he didn't complain about Doumeki helping him with the spirit either.

However, their walk was interrupted yet again before it could even restart with the arrival of Watanuki's boss (or slave driver, if one listens to Watanuki's ranting), Yuuko, who was dressed in her usual extravagance. And, also as usual, she appeared seemingly out of nowhere, this time with a gust of wind that could only be associated with the magic fan in her hand.

"Hey Watanuki, Doumeki!" Yuuko declared with a smirk that could only spell evil. Not that Doumeki would allow himself to believe that she was about to cause something bad to happen, because (unfortunately) he did know something of hitsuzen. "Happy Valentines Day you two!"

"What do you want Yuuko-san? I already made you chocolate this morning, and your lunch for the day," Watanuki protested. It seemed he had already gotten over the ayakashi that had just penetrated Doumeki's aura and survived a spirit arrow. "I even heated up your sake before I left!"

"Hm? Oh, nothing, nothing," which, of course, meant something. Likely something big, though Doumeki didn't like to think what that might be... even if he would rather not be at school for girls to give him chocolates that he wouldn't eat. "Really good chocolates by the way, Watanuki. You're going to share with Himawari-chan and Doumeki, aren't you?"

"WHY WOULD I GIVE CHOCOLATES TO THIS GUY ON VALENTINES DAY?!" Watanuki belted out angrily, but Doumeki had predicted the outburst and plugged his ears to resist further damage. As much as Doumeki wanted to eat the aforementioned chocolate (last year's had been tasty), he had kind of figured he wouldn't get any. "I brought chocolates for Himawari-chan and Kohane-chan, no one else!"

"Yare yare," Yuuko faked cleaning her ear with her pinky. "You're really loud today, Watanuki. If you must know I came to make sure that you were okay after that spirit attacked you." Somehow, it wasn't surprising that she knew about the attack even though it had happened not even two minutes earlier. "But if you scream at poor concerned me, then I obviously don't need to give you the day off or anything."

While Watanuki's jaw dropped, Doumeki counted down the seconds before Yuuko would reveal the rest of that sentence. He was exactly right to start the countdown at five, though he was surprised by how she continued.

"I'm a benevolent boss though, so I'm going to let you have the rest of today off anyway since you already took care of my food and drink needs for the day," she started walking past them. "I'll see you tomo-"

She stopped mid-word. That was most certainly not a good sign, considering she was suddenly staring at Doumeki, and then at Watanuki and back at Doumeki. Suddenly, a Cheshire Cat style grin appeared on her face and she moved to Doumeki's shoulder. And she removed his bow from his back.

"Well well well, what have we here?" Yuuko stroked the wood of the bow, tracing each little heart sticker (easily removable, thank Kami) and twanging the still strung string. "Playing matchmaker are we, Doumeki-kun?" It tended to be a bad sign when she used a suffix for either boy. To his credit, Doumeki had no idea what she was talking about. "I'm not too sure of your choice for him, but..." her eyes strayed back to Watanuki (who was obviously just as confused as Doumeki) and giggled.

Doumeki wondered if he was going to die.

"What are you talking about Yuuko-san?" Watanuki asked, apparently mildly concerned as to why she giggled at him. Giggling was a not a good thing when Yuuko was sober after all, something that Watanuki undoubtedly knew better than Doumeki for having spent so much time with her.

"Names are very powerful, Watanuki," oh yes, that was a grin of wickedness. Pure evil. Doumeki resisted the urge to shudder for the second time that morning. "And Doumeki seems to have named this bow as belonging to Cupid. And he shot that spirit with it. Do you know what happens when Cupid's arrow strikes?" She didn't wait for a reply before continuing. "A being struck by one of Cupid's arrows falls in love with the first person they see, and – wouldn't you know it? – Doumeki has enough power to back up the claim."

She didn't have to point out that, when Doumeki struck the spirit, it had quite plainly been facing Watanuki with the intent of eating him. Now, it seemed, that spirit wanted to eat him in an entirely different sense of the word.

"Lucky for you, it only lasts 'til the end of Valentine's Day, which will be at midnight tonight," Yuuko clapped her hands enthusiastically. "Just be glad he didn't shoot it tomorrow, or you'd have been stuck with it for a full year. Good luck with your latest stalker! Bye!" And with a wave of the fan, Yuuko was gone, and Doumeki was busy hiding his gob smacked expression while Watanuki railed on him.

For once, he really wasn't listening to the barrage of insults that spewed from Watanuki's mouth and was instead wondering how he was going to keep his year mate from being molested by an amorous (and evil) ghost. Especially when they weren't in the same class, except for PE after lunch, and that was only because all the second years had it at that time.

It was his fault that Watanuki had gained an evil admirer after all. And a male one at that.

For reasons that Doumeki barely peeked at before shoving in the "Don't Think About That Sort of Thing Outside of the Bed/Shower" corner of his mind, he did not like the idea of Watanuki being propositioned by a male. Especially a male ayakashi whom Watanuki could not defend himself against due to a large cloud of evil choking him.

"ARE YOU EVEN LISTENING TO ME?" Watanuki roared suddenly in Doumeki's ear. He did his best not to react violently, and instead turned his head, rubbed his ear, and perked up an eyebrow.

"No," he stated bluntly. He was too busy thinking of how he could keep an eye on Watanuki. Of course, if he got too emotional than Doumeki would be seeing out of his eye and know to come help, but he had a feeling that there would be many such moments throughout the day.

So Watanuki kept on ranting and Doumeki kept on thinking until they reached the school gates. Kunogi and her pet bird, Tanpopo, were both mysteriously not present, but Doumeki was more concerned with keeping an eye on Watanuki while he waited for the morning assembly.

Twenty minutes after arriving, the school was assembled – as they did every morning – in front. Doumeki noticed that Watanuki was looking depressed (but thankfully not molested) due to a distinct lack of Kunogi. Two years in a row where she was absent on the same day couldn't be a coincidence (especially if one listens to Yuuko and Watanuki about coincidences just being hitsuzen). But Doumeki didn't really care; while Himawari was a good friend and one of few girls in their year who didn't at least try to flirt with him, he was still more concerned with Watanuki.

The archery club did their demonstration and Doumeki was happy to put away his cursed-bow (to be burned and replaced later; he didn't want to play match-maker) before going to class. As the teacher for his math class entered the room, he couldn't help but worry that his eye would not work if Watanuki were molested during class. He could worry abut the theorems and postulates that Kuwabara-sensei was trying to drill into their heads after Watanuki was safe from the amorous spirit.

A bit aggravated, he took to poking the large bag full of chocolate gifts that sat under his desk. He would probably receive more as the day progressed, having only been given them by the most aggressive fangirls, and those who arrived early to school. But he didn't particularly want them there.

Maybe it would have been easier to just kidnap Watanuki to his house, Doumeki reflected towards to end of the lesson. Watanuki had gone into a state of high emotion, and his eyes were flicking everywhere, which was making Doumeki a bit dizzy. He was excused from the room and actually stumbled when leaving – something that would probably help in getting him out later classes as necessary. Doumeki Shizuka didn't stumble, but he did, so now everyone would probably think he was sick or something. It was as good an excuse as any, he supposed.

Over in the next classroom, he managed to signal to Watanuki to exit the room rather than sit around waiting for the ayakashi to appear where he would start dying randomly in the middle of his Literature lesson. Watanuki didn't look too happy with Doumeki, but since no one else had noticed the silent interplay, he managed to slip away regardless, and (ironically) stumbled in much the same way that Doumeki had, but for a completely different reason. It seemed the ayakashi was closer than before.

As a matter of fact, just as Doumeki and Watanuki managed to get far enough away that no one else would notice (Doumeki had an inkling that Watanuki didn't want to be molested at all, let alone in public), Doumeki was starting to see the clouds of evil that signaled its arrival, though only half as often as he saw regular space since Watanuki was coughing and blinking a lot. Still, Doumeki kept his attention fixed on the half-gaze as he maneuvered himself between the spirit and Watanuki.

He also suddenly had a view of his own ass, which was kind of weird, but he could still see the ayakashi's miasma and the shape of the ayakashi itself through that miasma. The shape was more defined now, in that Doumeki could tell it was wearing a kimono and hakama like some sort of samurai, and as it turned some he saw a sword at its hip before the smoke covered it again.

There really wasn't much he could do against the thing (especially considering that most of what he was getting from Watanuki was that his year mate kept staring at Doumeki's rear end instead of the thing), but he could at least keep close to Watanuki to make it leave him alone as long as possible. So Doumeki stood his ground, even though he doubted it would do much since that thing was already fairly close by.

If by "fairly close" one means just on the other side of the hall which just so happens to be about five, maybe six feet away from his current position.

Still, the ayakashi did not advance further as far as Doumeki's half-gaze could see (why didn't Watanuki move his head so that Doumeki could see more than just his own butt?!). It had remained perfectly stationary since arriving accept for that one moment when it had turned. Maybe it wasn't as immune to the purifying aura as Doumeki had originally thought.

And then it vanished. No special movements, no fade, it just disappeared. Doumeki checked to make sure Watanuki was fine – he was – before helping his irked charge to his feet. Not that Watanuki would ever admit that he allowed Doumeki to do any such thing, but that was hardly the point.

It was only then that Doumeki noticed a small box had been left on the ground.

And it had Watanuki Kimihiro written on it in a fancy Romaji script. Apparently the spirit had very pretty hand-writing, which somehow wasn't too disturbing to Doumeki. It was more the fact that it had apparently given Watanuki a Valentines Day gift, which revealed some high quality chocolates from a high-end store on the other side of the city, that made him wonder just what was going on.

Spirits liked Watanuki. Most particularly, they liked him for dinner (except for a few), and not in the "candle-light meal for two" kind of way. This was a fact that had been established time and time again since Doumeki had come to know Watanuki. It was as much a fact as Watanuki's strange violent urges towards Doumeki – there was no way he'd forget the bruised jaw that came the first time Watanuki ever met him – and their odd form of friendship that, were it not for Watanuki's temperament, could be a lot more normal.

So because of that friendship that was fact (if a bit strange) Doumeki protected Watanuki from spirits. Or was that the other way around? Either way, Doumeki was Watanuki's protector, even if the protected person refused to admit such a thing.

But Doumeki couldn't figure out how to protect Watanuki from a box of chocolates without being insulting. He didn't want Watanuki to eat that thing's chocolates. He could eat them himself, but then Watanuki would get mad at him and the violent urges would return. And while protecting his ears from the abuse was no great chore, Doumeki did have a self-preservation instinct. Who knew what sort of contract could be formed by eating those chocolates?

So he let Watanuki take the box from the ground before they both returned to their respective classrooms. Doumeki entered his class just as the math teacher was leaving (Kuwabara-sensei asked if he was alright, but Doumeki waved the concern off) and had a few minutes to worry about Watanuki while he waited for the English teacher to reach the class room.

The day passed slowly, and Doumeki didn't get any sign before lunch that he ought to be worried about the spirit. At the usual meeting place for Doumeki, Himawari, and Watanuki, the two males of that trio met for lunch as usual. Watanuki sighed and lamented that he couldn't give Himawari her bentou, but she had called him between classes and informed him that Valentines Day was a very unlucky day for her, so she couldn't be around anyone but her parents, just in case, but she would come to school on the fifteenth.

Watanuki begrudgingly gave Doumeki Himawari's lunch, which he ate without complaint. Strange, how her lunch was the same quality as his when Watanuki always went on about everything he gave Himawari being made especially for her and anything he gave Doumeki, be it food or even the moss-green gloves, were only an after thought.

Even - or perhaps especially? – when they obviously weren't.

Doumeki was pleased to note that Watanuki had not eaten the demon's chocolates either. Rather than draw attention to them, he informed Watanuki he was welcome to his chocolate. Watanuki, of course, was suspicious and ranted about Doumeki being ungrateful and how he didn't need Doumeki's evil, dirty chocolate.

"I won't eat it anyway," he stated, biting into one of the inari sushi that had been made exactly as he requested. "I don't know who made it." Watanuki already knew that he was picky in a strange way – apparently having learned it from Doumeki's deceased grandfather, Doumeki Haruka – and opted not to comment further, though he didn't accept any of the sweets anyway.

In the middle of lunch, however, Doumeki had to leave his charge because of something going on with the archery club members. He didn't like it, but apparently they needed his help with getting the stickers off everyone's bows. Why they needed his help, Doumeki did not know.

With every bow cleaned off except for his own (nothing would come off), Doumeki was ready to go back to watching over his rather loud friend. That was when the double vision started up again. Doumeki honestly could not recall seeing through the other half of his eye so many times in a single day, and it was just about noon now, so he could only guess how much more often it would happen for the rest of the day.

He wasn't even half way there when he could see the ayakashi up close and personal, even though Watanuki was blinking rapidly and weaving from lack of oxygen. Through the malevolent clouds, Doumeki couldn't make out more than general shape, but he did catch that it was some sort of animal spirit. The tail kind of gave it away.

Putting on a burst of speed that Doumeki wasn't entirely sure he was capable of, he arrived a mere moment after Watanuki's vision had gone black. He was not pleased to find Watanuki slumped unconscious and being lifted up from the ground so carefully by the ayakashi. He hardly even realized that he still had one of the freshly cleaned and polished bows in his hand before he was drawing back a spirit arrow.

Doumeki was too busy being worried to wonder precisely how he could see the spirit when Watanuki was unconscious.

The arrow hadn't even gotten halfway between himself and the malevolent spirit before the being vanished and Watanuki slumped to the grass. Normally, Doumeki might have found it mildly entertaining that Watanuki's face landed in his nearly-empty bentou (Watanuki ate much slower than Doumeki). Now, however, he was annoyed and more than a little worried. So he picked Watanuki up and carried him to the nurse's office, pretending to be completely oblivious to the stares and whispers of the other high school students who observed this action.

When the bell rang, and Watanuki had still not woken up, Doumeki debated whether or not he could get away with skipping PE today. Technically, he was faking-faking-not-sick (pretending to be someone pretending they weren't sick), so if his own class mates mentioned he had seemed "off" earlier (hence the stumbling), or even that they had seen him going to the nurse's station with Watanuki, there wouldn't be any repercussions anyway.

It took until the end of the PE period for Watanuki to wake up, at which point he got mad and railed at Doumeki until the taller of the two pointed out that their classes were expected to reconvene in a few minutes and they probably should try not to miss more than the one class. Even though Doumeki would rather be able to protect Watanuki directly.

"What about my bentou boxes though, huh?" Watanuki seemed angered by the loss. Probably because he had purposely bought large ones so he wouldn't have to use two to make a big enough lunch for Doumeki to not steal half the food from his too. Though he still did that.

"I asked one of your classmates to pick them up on the way in," and Doumeki walked off to his class as his own classmates came swarming up the stairs from the locker rooms.

Doumeki considered himself very lucky that Watanuki was not attacked by his latest stalker the rest of the school day, even during clean-up. He also considered himself lucky that the chocolates he had been given throughout the day had been left behind outside when he was tending to Watanuki and "vanished" between lunch and after school.

He grabbed the Cupid's bow from the storage cabinet used by the archery club (it needed to be burned) and went to the front gate to meet up with Watanuki so they could walk home. Of course, Doumeki wasn't going to walk Watanuki to his home because, despite the wards placed by Yuuko, it was likely still quite vulnerable to the spirit and definitely too far away for Doumeki to get there in time to do anything.

However, when Watanuki started to take a wrong turn that wasn't in the direction of Doumeki's house, Watanuki's apartment, or Yuuko's shop, Doumeki stopped his friend(ish person) by simply grabbing his shoulder and saying "Oi."

"Ack! Let go of me you idiot!" Watanuki tore his shoulder from the grip and dusted imaginary dust and un crumpled imaginary crinkles in the fabric. "And my name isn't Oi. It's Watanuki. What do you think you're doing anyway?!"

"You were going the wrong way," it was pretty obvious, but Watanuki didn't seem impressed.

"I was not going the wrong way," he huffed. "I'm going to go give Kohane-chan her chocolates, and the fortune-teller she lives with is this way." He jerked his thumb down the road he had been turning on. "Now leave me alone! I don't need to be protected by you of all people, Doumeki!"

Being as used to such accusations as he was, Doumeki didn't even blink and decided to follow Watanuki. While it was the once-blue eyed (for one was now gold) boy who attracted the ayakashi in the first place, it was Doumeki's fault that he was going to be hounded by a spirit with romantic intentions.

He wouldn't forgive himself if something happened to Watanuki that a wish could not fix, never mind the price on Doumeki's own body. Especially if he was the cause of it.

All the way to the fortune-teller's house, Watanuki was grumping and grumbling, as usual. Doumeki paid close attention, though less to the fact that Watanuki mourned being stuck with him and not being able to give Kunogi chocolates until tomorrow and this entire ordeal was all Doumeki's fault anyway and why did he have to stalked by a perverted ayakashi. These were given to complain about since it was Watanuki. No, Doumeki watched for any signs that the spirit was around. Given the tenseness of Watanuki's shoulders and swiftness of his pace, he was either angry, nervous, or being stalked from a distance.

Probably all of the above, come to think of it.

Kohane was very happy to receive chocolate from Watanuki and gave both of the visitors a cupcake that she had baked after school the night previous. Both thanked her – and Watanuki got mad at Doumeki for never thanking him when he made the archer lunch every single day – and sat down to have tea with Kohane and the fortune teller. Apparently kidnapping Watanuki to his house where he would be safe was going to be more difficult than anticipated.

"... and then when the thing was attacking me, this idiot shot it with a purification arrow from a bow that he called 'Cupid's'!" Watanuki groused to the young girl and old woman, who both nodded understandingly. "And he even still has it with him! See?" Watanuki pointed accusingly at the bow that leaned oh-so-innocently against the wall where their bags had been placed upon entering.

"I'm going to burn it," Doumeki stated calmly. Watanuki seemed to like the idea, but he started shouting about how he was being approached by a stupid spirit anyway. It was just one of those things that people who befriended the overemotional teen learned to live with.

Besides, the expressions that crossed Watanuki's face all the time spanned from hilarious to pathetic to actually cute (not that Doumeki would ever say such a thing). And the flailing – provided it didn't involve actually hitting someone – was entertaining as well.

They stayed there for half an hour. They might have stayed longer, even though Doumeki just wanted to get Watanuki somewhere safe, but the ayakashi seemed to make its way through the fortune tellers wards at that point and set both Kohane and Watanuki into coughing fits. Watanuki started tugging Doumeki out of the house – to save Kohane from the fumes no doubt – despite his own breathing difficulties.

Having had a weak constitution as a child, Doumeki completely understood what such asphyxiation felt like.

That was probably why, as soon as he had has things picked up properly, he caught up the three steps to Watanuki and picked him up as well. Watanuki flailed of course – he always flailed – but Doumeki was more concerned with drawing the spirit away from the sensitive little girl and, more importantly, keeping Watanuki out of the thing's clutches.

He really didn't want to think about anyone molesting Watanuki. His mind almost made an exception, but he shoved that into the "Don't Think About That Sort of Thing Outside of the Bed/Shower" corner along with the half formed reasons for not liking Watanuki being propositioned by a male spirit that he had hidden away that morning.

Besides, he probably shouldn't be thinking about anything other than getting Watanuki to his house that was absolutely coated in wards and other things to keep the ayakashi away. Sure, Watanuki protested being carried, particularly being carried bridal style, but Doumeki cared more about Watanuki's continued life and state of unmolestedness (whether or not that was a real word was completely irrelevant). Personal comfort could screw itself when lives were on the line.

Let alone what the spirit likely wanted to do to Watanuki.

"Stop hitting me," Doumeki intoned as he ran through the streets that led to his family's shrine.

"Let me down, damn it! I don't take orders from you!" And then Watanuki just had to rotate his body in such a way that he flew out of Doumeki's grip and landed on the asphalt, the items that had been placed in his lap for the journey (for convenience's sake) scattering over the ground.

Sadly, Doumeki was not the first to reach Watanuki. The stalker-spirit fell from the sky faster than was physically possible and knelt at Watanuki's side, oblivious to the fact that its presence made the teen choke but not to Watanuki's brand new split lip. It leaned over him, and through the half-vision Doumeki could see its face, even as the rest of its body was revealed to him from the side as a gust of wind blew around the miasma. This time Doumeki did wonder at how he could see the being himself, but tried to pay more attention to how the hell he was supposed to get it away from Watanuki.

He was shocked to see the ayakashi had a completely human appearance, with small wolf ears parting brown hair and a tail coming out of his hakama. A bit old fashioned looking, and obviously not human, but otherwise bearing the appearance of a regular – if pretty – man in his mid-twenties.

If one discounted the completely star-struck look in his silver eyes as he looked into Watanuki's slowly fading gaze, that is.

The spirit leaned in closer and, much to Doumeki's horror, kissed the fallen teen on the lips before leaning back. It fiddled for half a moment with something lying next to Watanuki and vanished again.

All of this happened in the space of five seconds, when Doumeki had taken just two steps toward his fallen friend. It took a third and a fourth to actually reach Watanuki, who was still just barely conscious. Of course, Watanuki just glared as Doumeki sat him back up to breathe better now that his lungs were cleared. The archer couldn't help but notice now that Watanuki's lips had the thinnest sheen of frost on them, or that there was no longer a split lip but just a tiny smear of blood.

"Damn it!" Watanuki roared when he had enough breath. "That... that thing stole Himawari-chan's chocolate!" He looked completely horrified, though it wasn't the first time such a thing had happened (Doumeki didn't feel at all guilty). "And it kissed me! What the hell?!" Thankfully, he hadn't gone into full-on shouting mode or else Doumeki would still be fearing for his hearing. Though the fact that he found having it steal the chocolate more important than stealing a kiss was interesting.

Another thing to file away in the Bed/Shower Only corner.

Doumeki picked up everything from the ground, including the Cupid's bow, and was lifting Watanuki before the smaller of the two could protest. He noticed that there was still considerable weight to the bag of chocolates when one takes into account that it ought to be empty.

If Kunogi's share was stolen and Kohane's was about a quarter mile back, then why would there still be anything in the bag?

Watanuki struggled from his grasp again and grabbed that bag quite pointedly before Doumeki could take a peek. He stumbled of course and was righted again, though he glared at the offending hand, helpful or no. But Doumeki was used to Watanuki's behavior; it was just his way of saying they were friends (certainly better than the odes of adoration he recited in Himawari's presence) and Doumeki was perfectly capable of ignoring his friend when he was ranting as he tended to do.

"I don't need you dogging my steps!" Watanuki spouted mid-tirade. Of course, they had actually been walking side by side, but that didn't seem to factor into Watanuki's argument.

"I'm not following you," Doumeki pointed out, though Watanuki seemed about to protest. "You are following me."

"WHY WOULD I FOLLOW A JACK ASS LIKE YOU?!"

"Because we're going to my house," Doumeki drowned out Watanuki's accompanying shouts of denial and just kept walking... until he found a foot flying at him. It was a bit of a deja vu moment, back to when they first met and Watanuki had kicked him in the face, but Doumeki dodged this time and watched Watanuki spin rather impressively in place.

Was the fact that he was imagining Watanuki in a ballerina costume strange?

"I am not going to cook for you," Watanuki grumbled when they resumed their trek. Though a bit disappointed – Watanuki was a better cook than his mother – Doumeki remained silent. "I mean it. If you're going to abduct me to your house against my will, I shouldn't have to make you food." When had Doumeki physically forced Watanuki to go to his house? "You can't convince me to cook."

"Then I won't," Doumeki finally replied, getting a bit annoyed by the constant mention of Watanuki's cooking. He wasn't hungry at the moment, but it was still rather mean of Watanuki to constantly mention food that they both knew would make him hungry.

"WHY YOU INGRATE! YOU SHOULD BE ON YOUR KNEES BEGGING ME TO COOK FOR YOU AND –" Doumeki tuned him out again, only paying cursory attention to the words being shouted at him while he plugged his ears. At least they were getting close to his house, where there was a slight chance of Watanuki just sitting down and shutting up for a bit.

They whiled away the afternoon in Doumeki's living room, doing homework. Well, Doumeki was actually trying to figure out how he was going to burn the bow. Would he give it a formal funeral pyre or simply chuck it in a bonfire? Where would he locate said bonfire this time of year? Should he wait for a festival before getting rid of it? Or maybe...

"I should have asked Yuuko-san to move my day off to tomorrow," Watanuki sighed. "At least there I wouldn't be bored, and I could have tomorrow to spend with Himawari-chan..." He looked terribly wistful at this idea.

So Doumeki stood up.

"Where are you going?" Watanuki's tone was rather petulant, though Doumeki supposed he had the right to be since he had been accosted by a spirit or demon of some kind a few times that day.

"Yuuko's shop," Doumeki stated easily. "You're coming too."

And, even though he followed along without any real resistance, Watanuki groused about how he hadn't been serious and this was his day off and weren't they safer at Doumeki's house? Not that he wanted to go to Doumeki's house, because he didn't, but he wasn't going to Yuuko's because Doumeki had decided so. Doumeki filtered through this to pick up what he believed was the real message.

Watanuki appreciated the effort to keep him safe (in his own way) but didn't understand why they were going to Yuuko's or why Doumeki had to bring the decorated bow instead of one that would actually be useful.

Either way, the walk was only five minutes though the moon was almost full (Watanuki kept muttering something about shiritori, the word association game) and Doumeki had no trouble seeing the building in what had once appeared to him as only a vacant lot. They entered to find Yuuko in her lounge chair, wearing a different dress from that morning, with the black Mokona drinking shots with her. Neither seemed too intoxicated either.

Doumeki was fairly certain they were usually pretty well smashed by five or six in the evening, but they were both cognizant, so even Watanuki couldn't complain.

Though the pipe fox, Mugetsu, running through his shirt might have prevented that as well. Doumeki was too busy being amused by Watanuki getting his second kiss of the day stolen by the miniature demon.

"M-Mugetsu! Stop!" Watanuki was doing some funny squirmy dance while Yuuko merely waved at them both. Strange. But Doumeki could ignore the oddities about his charge and instead approached Yuuko, speaking quietly. She tapped her lip.

"And what do I get in return?" She raised a single eye brow, a slightly drunk smirk curving her lips. The Time Witch eyed his offering before shaking her head. "That's too much for just this." Oh, so his part of the deal wasn't good enough? He was going to offer something else, but Yuuko continued as of he hadn't spoken (which he hadn't, but still). "No, you'll get something else as well. That bow is worth more than just freeing Watanuki of his stalker. By the way, that smiling heart sticker? It's adorable."

As she stroked the bow, apparently tipsy enough to be stranger than normal, Doumeki thought about what else he would want for a wish. Meanwhile, Yuuko told Watanuki to get her and her drinking partners (which, apparently, included Doumeki himself, not that he minded) more sake.

While Watanuki went out of the room with Mugetsu still flitting happily around him, Doumeki gave his secondary wish.

"Hm... yes, that's just about equal," Yuuko grinned. The first is done, but you'll have to come tomorrow for the second bit. Now gimme!" Apparently she really liked the Cupid's bow. Of course, Watanuki entered just as the last sentence was uttered and went on and on about drunks and he she shouldn't be giving alcohol to minors and animals.

But he still poured them drinks without having to be told, much to Doumeki's amusement. He was well trained.

An hour or so later, Watanuki even had dinner set in front of everyone, yakisoba and sake at Yuuko's request. Doumeki happily dug in and found just the right amount of salt had been added (strange, as he knew Yuuko liked more salt than he did and Watanuki liked less, though it was still distinctly Watanuki's food). He even thanked the chef for once, but only because he'd caused trouble earlier that day, though his wish had fixed it.

"Desserts! Watanuki, fetch the chocolate!" Yuuko called the moment she had finished her food. Doumeki was long since done, but he still found the moment entertaining.

"Yuuko-san, you shouldn't have chocolate so soon after eating! You have to digest first!" Yet, as always, Watanuki was already on his way to the kitchen.

Doumeki stood up as well; despite being ever-so-slightly tipsy, there was school tomorrow and he had homework to finish. And he had forgotten to mention to his mother that he would be back late, so the sooner he got back the less the consequences. It was already late enough to cause her worry and perhaps make her think he was going to come home bloody again.

Never mind how worried his father would be.

"Aw, leaving already Doumeki?" Yuuko pouted. "But you haven't had any of Watanuki's chocolate yet! It's really good! They're these little truffles and he filled them with yummy things and he even gave Mugetsu some this morning!" Since when did Yuuko talk as loudly as Watanuki?

"I have homework," Doumeki excused himself. He nodded to the shop's owner and pet-thing known as Mokona and was heading to the front door quickly. In fact, he was halfway down the walk to the gateway in about a minute.

"Oi!" Doumeki suddenly understood why Watanuki found that annoying as he turned about reflexively at where the aforementioned boy was standing.

"My name isn't Oi either," Doumeki pointed out Watanuki's hypocrisy, but Watanuki wasn't paying attention.

"You forgot this," strange that Watanuki wasn't looking at him, but Doumeki shrugged it off as bag handles were put in his hand. It was too dark to see, as the porch light was off and the nearest streetlight was a block away, so he could look at it later.

So Doumeki nodded with a thankful grunt (as if Watanuki would see it that way) before heading home.

It wasn't until he was alone in his room that he looked at the whatever-it-was and found that that the bag was the same one that Watanuki had been carting around all day with chocolates for Kunogi and Kohane. And it still weighed more than an empty bag ought to, just as it had when Doumeki first thought that it was in the aforementioned state.

So when he opened the bag and found a small box, he wasn't entirely surprised.

Although he was surprised to see that the box was ever so slightly scuffed, like the bag, obviously from the fall the bag had endured. And the box had his name on it.

Doumeki laid on his bed to start sorting through the things in his "Don't Think About That Sort of Thing Outside of the Bed/Shower" corner of his mind and ate one of the truffles in the box.

Author's Note: Hm... now what else is it that Doumeki bought with that bow? Curiouser and curiouser... you'll find out though ;) The sequel "Bull's Eye" (posted) has some actual romance and not just "it could go either way".

This is my first xxxHOLiC story, so please excuse any out of character moments, as I'm not entirely used to Watanuki, Doumeki, and the rest just yet. I read the entire series to date just the day before I wrote this, and then I spent quite a while reading Doumeki/Watanuki one-shots and a few short multi-chapter fics, so I have to say that my characterization of them is probably rather off. Sorry. (And I really couldn't help but think, as I was writing this, that it was sort of like Takashi/Harry (my crossover OTP) only the characters are a just bit different.)

... Admittedly, I've never actually written a Valentine's Day piece, and now I'm writing one in December? What's wrong with me? (Or, more accurately, what isn't?)