Warnings: mild shounen-ai, vaguely non-canon, spoilers from the manga, may be OoC (I'm not sure; I've never written these characters before), innuendo, some adult-ish themes, not an excess of dialogue, (very few) spoilers from Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles as well (I guess), Donuts pairing, un-beta'd
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.
Featuring: Sleepy!Watanuki, Nervous!Doumeki, Meddling!Yuuko, and others
Spring had most certainly sprung, Watanuki Kimihiro decided. The sky was blue, the birds were singing, and Yuuko had him cooking her breakfast and lunch for the day while she drank sake.
At six in the morning.
Normally, he would still be at home, getting ready for school – which generally included making three bentou for Himawari, Doumeki, and himself. Normally he would have slept the night before. Normally he would be cursing the hollow-legged black hole that he had to make lunch for because of whatever ridiculous request he had made.
But he had been cleaning Yuuko's shop all night (she wouldn't tell him why), so he hadn't slept, which was also why he wasn't at his apartment. To be fair, he was still making lunch for the black hole, but for once it was something in season and something he could just make a lot of extra of for Yuuko, the black Mokona, Moro, Maru (though the last two were still "napping" and had been for months), and Mugetsu to eat later.
After breakfast (that he had to take off the stove now before it burned) was consumed, they would probably eat lunch and when Watanuki returned to work he would have to deal with cooking them more food (though he really did like cooking) because everyone he knew was a glutton.
Especially Doumeki, but not Himawari. Sure, she was a walking bad luck charm, but she was perfect and not a glutton.
His sluggish movements almost caused him to spill the eggs in Himawari's lunch (Yuuko's liking for Western breakfast could have ruined it!) and almost burn him at the same time. But Watanuki, while clumsy in general (especially since his glasses had been lost in a dream and he was relying on his half of Doumeki's eye to see what he was doing), knew his way around a kitchen better than most housewives and settled the pan properly without mishap. It was a close thing.
Soon after, breakfast is ready and set in the lounge where Yuuko seems to do everything from meeting customers to getting drunk off her ass. She was already there, despite having been a hangover-zombie up until she told him to make her breakfast.
"Happy now?" He grumbled. He had about a two minute leeway to be in the lounge before he had to get back to the kitchen to start making onigiri for lunch.
Yuuko smiled, already digging in without so much as an "Itadakimasu" or even a "you skimped on the sake" and did not dismiss him until Mokona had finished its first plate of eggs. "You'd better be grateful, Watanuki," she said with the dismissal. Watanuki shouted at her as he returned to making bentou.
What did he have to be grateful for? First she deprived him of sleep two days before the final exams for the year, then she doesn't thank him for breakfast, and now she wanted him to be grateful? Yuuko's only response was a malevolent cackle and an order for some European wine she kept in the liquor closet (a cabinet wouldn't be big enough).
The next forty-five minutes passed quickly as Watanuki made bentou, yelled at his boss, and drank enough caffeine to keep an entire bank running three days without rest. Not that it helped his predicament since Watanuki had never slept well to begin with and was running on only two hours of it from the other night, but it meant that he didn't fall flat on his face when he ran out the door of Yuuko's house/shop.
Doumeki was waiting for him outside the gate of the shrine, as usual. It spoke volumes that, despite having been at Yuuko's, he was only arriving a minute or so earlier to Doumeki's than when he came from his own apartment. Coffee may have infused him with energy, but he was still rather lethargic.
That would probably explain why he managed to deal Doumeki his usual abuse – at half volume and not as fast as he normally would – for about five minutes before he noticed anything off about his... whatever Doumeki was. Not friend. He wasn't about to think friend. Really.
"And what's with that bag of roses, anyway?" Since Doumeki was, in fact, carrying a bag with several bouquets of pale yellow-orange roses, this was not an outrageous question. Doumeki did weird things often enough, in Watanuki's opinion at least, and roses weren't the worst of it, but that didn't make it any less strange.
"It's White Day," Doumeki shrugged, as if it was no big deal. It took Watanuki a moment to realize that Doumeki meant he was going to give a rose to every girl who gave him chocolate a month ago. Watanuki wanted to rail at him for being insensitive – after all, yellow roses were pretty much turning down the affection shown, meaning "just friend" or "sorry", and these ones were pale and kind of peach-colored at that – but it wasn't that bad. At least he wasn't going to completely crush half the female population...
He twitched slightly at that thought. Half the girls in school had given Doumeki chocolates, or that's what it seemed like.
"You better not be thinking of giving me one of those things," Watanuki said quickly, making a great show of his disdain for the flowers. "I only gave you chocolate because there was some left over from making them for Himawari-chan, Kohane-chan, and Yuuko-san, and I wanted to give Himawari-chan better chocolates after hers were stolen. Nothing else!" Doumeki was a perpetual after-thought. Nothing more; probably less.
"I wasn't going to," Doumeki shrugged. Watanuki twitched slightly; well wasn't that nice. Wasn't even going to bother... well, why should he have expected any better? Doumeki didn't even have the decency to thank him like the great lunch-making god that he was, let alone for something like Valentine's chocolates.
But he hadn't expected any thanks, not when he gave the chocolates to Doumeki, and not before or after either. Watanuki just grumbled sleepily the rest of the way until they reached the gate where Himawari was waiting as she did most mornings. She smiled happily, Tanpopo perched on her hair, and Watanuki did his best to seem awake and unreasonably chipper for her. No way was Watanuki going to drag down her day!
"Himawari-chan! How are you today? I hope you didn't have any trouble with the literature homework," he took care to talk quickly as he usually did around her. To not do so instinctually... gods he was tired! "Happy White Day!" And then he pulled the gift from his bag, which was a velvet cake he had baked at Yuuko's. The witch seemed to think it was for her, but he managed to save a serving for her before the monsters got to it.
"Thank you Watanuki-kun!" Himawari smiled at him and if he hadn't been trying so hard to stay awake he may have fainted from the sheer radiance. Ah, Himawari... "Are you alright? You don't seem yourself..."
"Wha -? I'm fine!" Watanuki was already being crushed by the weight of guilt, but he tried to alleviate it. "I just didn't get any sleep tonight. It's no big deal though, since Yuuko-san is only having me long enough today to take care of meals. I can sleep later."
"But we have our exams tomorrow..." Himawari sighed before smiling again. "Well, I'm sure you'll do great! After all next year is..." Watanuki could see her mouth moving, but could make neither heads nor tails of the words. They just sort of... washed over him. (1) "It'll be so much fun, right?"
"Of course!" Watanuki blamed the lapse in comprehension on his lack of sleep, but he knew better. His thoughts, however, were interrupted by a bright-yellow rose being handed to Himawari... from Doumeki.
Watanuki might have gotten mad at Doumeki for breaking the moment normally, but there wasn't actually anything wrong with it. Doumeki gave Himawari a rose – the prettiest and brightest of the lot, but still just yellow, so there weren't any romantic intentions revealed in the action. So Watanuki couldn't really get mad... he must really be sleepy.
"Thank you Doumeki-kun! It's quite lovely, and you have so many with you," Himawari was already threading the flower into her hair, on the side opposite where Tanpopo were perched. Watanuki couldn't help but to notice that the little bird he had given her matched the rose exactly.
"It's White Day," Doumeki replied, and then he was off giving roses to every single girl who had given him chocolates on Valentines Day, looking almost like he was fleeing from them before they could express their own thanks.
By morning assembly, it was quite fashionable for girls to have a yellow rose as part of their attire, though Himawari was one of few with thick enough hair to place it there.
And not a single one of those girls seemed to realize that yellow was about as unromantic a color as there was. None of the guys in school seemed to notice either, which made Watanuki want to smack his head in a wall. Was he the only person whose mother - ?
He blinked down at his notebook and wondered what he had been thinking about, considering he seemed to have nodded off in the middle of math. Probably something derogatory about Doumeki.
That bastard had way too many admirers.
Eventually, lunch came around and Watanuki went on his usual tirade about Doumeki being ungrateful. He also tried to study for exams, but it wasn't working as his eyes wouldn't focus. So he got even madder at Doumeki and railed on him some more.
He didn't even notice the concerned look on Himawari's face until she had placed her hand on his forehead.
"No fever..." she murmured. "Are you sure you're alright, Watanuki-kun? You aren't as active today. Your words were slurring together... I know you and Doumeki-kun are good friends, but maybe I should take you to the nurse's station while he finishes lunch? You shouldn't do things that worry us."
Himawari was worried about him? Watanuki felt a burst of energy and smiled. "I'm okay now, thank you Himawari-chan!" It didn't even occur to him that consenting would give him some alone time with the object of his affections.
Time spent with Himawari and away from Doumeki was time well spent.
His energy burst from Himawari's smile wore off by the end of lunch. Watanuki was more tired than he could remember being in a long time, and he was nearly falling asleep on his feet all throughout PE. Since boys and girls had that class separate, he couldn't get any uplift from seeing Himawari in her cute uniform.
Instead he had to deal with Doumeki. The one class he had with that guy – since they were in separate classes and a grade has all classes in PE together – and he was too exhausted to even compete properly. Sure, Watanuki wasn't the best at American football, he wasn't the best athlete in general really despite being a fast runner, but he always at least tried to one-up Doumeki.
He was going to sleep like the dead that night. To hell with studying; if he didn't sleep he would fail the tests anyway. He was lying face-down on the ground, having been knocked over by a line-backer or something from the other team (the same position as him anyway), and lying down with the scent of grass in his nose and the sun on his back made him so sleepy...
Next thing he knew, he was being lifted off the ground and tossed over a shoulder that was certainly broader than his own. An indignant squawk escaped the demon-bait as soon as he realized what had happened, and he tried to escape the grasp of his rival... or whatever the hell Doumeki was.
"Let me down! This is no way to treat the Great Watanuki-sama!" He flailed, but his knees were caught by Doumeki's second arm so he could only barely kick at Doumeki's stomach and try very hard to remove his gaze from the butt that was straight in his line of sight, made even worse by the fact that Doumeki (and Watanuki himself) were still in their PE uniforms. Doumeki had snug shorts.
Sadly, the gentle rocking motion of this mode of transportation, with the sun still beating down on him, made Watanuki all the sleepier, and he really felt like he could fall asleep. If this weren't Doumeki, that is.
Doumeki ignored all the protests and abuse poured down upon him, and merely dropped Watanuki in the nurse's office, citing "exam nerves" as the reason. Watanuki barely heard as he fell asleep on the cot in the corner. Sleep was good... and missing history wasn't that bad since it was just review for the exams.
And so he slept, even if it was only for a couple hours. He was still a bit like a walking zombie when Doumeki escorted him to Yuuko's – the witch's words, of course – but functional. He didn't even really notice that Doumeki didn't leave, though he did notice his arm being grabbed.
"Doumeki, let go," he grumbled sleepily. He didn't have enough energy to get properly mad and only half-heartedly flailed his free arm in protest. He wanted to go to work, make food for Yuuko, and go home to sleep the rest of the day and night away. "Idiot, use your ears and listen for once. Let. Me. Go."
And he did, but not before handing Watanuki a box. "Have a nice White Day," he called over his shoulder, but Watanuki was far more focused on getting to work and slipped the thin box in his bag. He hardly even registered that it was there, really.
Upon entering the shop, he was beset by an overenthusiastic Mugetsu, as usual, which decided to crawl about in his shirt. Watanuki hardly even squirmed, though the tickling made him twitch. He greeted the squirming creature, and the black Mokona that met him on his way to find Yuuko and find out what she wanted for her snack and dinner – aside from sake, that is.
"Didn't I say you should be grateful?" Yuuko stated calmly from her couch. She was painting her nails and didn't even bother to look at her employee (aka indentured servant).
"Grateful? What for?" The day had been exhausting, and his nap, it seemed, didn't give him the energy required to properly back-sass the Witch of Dimensions. Strange how she didn't seem too pleased with him. Not in a "you did something wrong" way, but still not pleased.
"Never mind," of course she wouldn't tell him. "You can go home today. I granted a wish for the foxes, so I get free dinner for the next few days. Although why you did all the cleaning last night instead of saving some for today –"
"Exams are tomorrow," Watanuki grumbled. He then pulled Mugetsu out of his shirt (as politely as he could) and left, completely ready for bed. Yes, bed sounded like a good idea. Cotton sheets warmed by the sun through his window, a down pillow, comfy pajamas... it sounded like heaven for his lethargic body. And if he woke up early he could do some very last minute studying. Surely the time he'd spent in the past week with his nose crammed in a book would help, right?
Right... exams would be easy. And then... well, he didn't even know what year it was, or what year of school. For all he knew, college entrance exams were coming up! Maybe he could be subtle and ask what Himawari's plans for after the end of the school year would be... but deceiving her was such a horrible thought. Bad enough that he hadn't told her that he couldn't remember anything before Yuuko, but to actually lie to his sweet angel...
At his apartment, Watanuki immediately kicked off his shoes and didn't bother with slippers. He couldn't remember going to bed, let alone changing his clothes, but he entered a dream quickly.
"Haruka-san," he bowed his head to the grandfather of his rival. Doumeki Haruka was far preferable to Doumeki Shizuka, that much was certain in Watanuki's brain.
"Good afternoon," Haruka looked a lot like his grandson, though his posture and clothing style were different (Doumeki was weird, but he didn't dress like an old man), and he had a lit pipe in one hand. "It seems that you are doing well. My grandson has been keeping spirits away for the most part?"
"Except one," Watanuki grimaced.
He hadn't spoken to Haruka in over a month, and so did not know of the amorous ayakashi and cupid's bow incident. Watanuki still shuddered at the thought of the fox demon's spirit kissing him. It had felt like he was thrown in a freezer that was sitting out in the snow with dry ice fused to him lips. Much as he hated to admit it, Doumeki helping him at the time had returned some heat, but that was simple science. Cold things take warmth from warm things.
"He cannot be blamed for not knowing the importance of names," Haruka let out a smoke ring, and Watanuki watched it drift away into the dream-space. "You did not at first. Am I wrong?"
When the teen did not respond, Haruka smiled and continued puffing his pipe. The silence dragged on.
"Haruka-san," began Watanuki, "do you know what Yuuko-san meant when she said I should be grateful? She didn't do anything for me, and I did give her a White Day gift (even though I was also the one to give her chocolates on Valentine's Day), so I'm... at a loss."
"That's because you didn't open it yet," Watanuki faced the older man curiously, but only a small smile that looked rather out of place on someone with Doumeki's face greeted him. No sly looks or anything of the sort. "The gift that Shizuka gave you before you entered her shop today. You didn't open it."
"Gift? Anou..." it took a moment for Watanuki to recall the small box that had been hastily shoved into his hand upon splitting with the archer. "Oh. I barely even noticed..." he paused and let himself get angry for a moment as there was little limit to his energy in a dream. "And why did he give me that anyway?"
"It's White Day," Haruka was sounding as cryptic as Yuuko. Why would it matter that it was White Day or that Watanuki had given Doumeki chocolates? They meant nothing, and even though Doumeki ought to be exceedingly grateful to the Great Watanuki-sama, giver of lunches and punches, it didn't explain why he would get something different from the girl who gave him gifts (not that he wanted a rose, especially not from that jerk).
Watanuki was disappointed to wake up at that point instead of continuing his conversation with Haruka; the old man in a young man's body was truly a breath of fresh air compared to Doumeki. Still... Watanuki dragged himself out of bed, noting that it was a bit before sunset, and retrieved his school bag.
No time like the present to find out just why he ought to be "grateful".
On top sat a note, reading only "Open when you are alone. –Doumeki" which did little to make Watanuki feel good about it. Nowhere was more solitary than his apartment, nice and warded and safe from spiritual influence (true, that added a month to his employment with Yuuko, but it made life so much easier). The note was neatly discarded on Watanuki's bedside table, as was the red ribbon that was tied around the white box (that bastard, treating him like a girl).
When he lifted up the top of the box, Watanuki wasn't sure what to expect. Something stupid but not as condescending as a rose (hopefully), or an order for lunch on exam day (typical).
He did not expect there to be a stab of pain in his (Doumeki's) right eye, nor to pass out.
Instead of going into a dream – in which case he would have gotten way pissed off – Watanuki found himself standing the middle of a small kitchen where a tall man with black hair was cooking something with curry. The method was so familiar, that Watanuki could see himself doing those exact same actions, though he might use less salt.
The man stepped back from the stove and Watanuki watched him, curious. He had moved to a cutting board and called over his shoulder, "Kimihiro, could you get a lime from the fridge for me?" Watanuki moved to obey unthinkingly, only to find a small boy, undeniably himself, already picking out the requested item. "Thank you. Go tell your mother that dinner will be done soon, okay? She's in the garden."
"Okay Dad!" The undeniable mini-Watanuki chirped happily, a grin on his small face. He ran out of the room and Watanuki found himself following. The child went through a second room to the front door, where a beautiful woman was pruning a rose bush under the slowly setting sun. "Mom, Dad said –"
"I know Kimi-chan," the woman laughed lightly to herself. She pulled Watanuki over and gave him a kiss on the forehead. "The window is just over the garden after all. Help me finish, would you?"
And Watanuki couldn't help but touch the place on his forehead and stare. This was his mother, and the man had been his father. Watanuki was lying on his bed, his fingers pressed on that one point. He had felt it.
Suddenly he scowled and vaulted off the bed, into some proper clothes, and was out the door. He didn't think much really, and had run all the way to Doumeki's shrine faster than ever (though he could blame the vicious-looking spirits that were slowly appearing on the streets, the few that were only out at night) and his fist had rapped on the door not seven minutes after he left his own apartment.
And when the door was opened, by none other than Doumeki himself (a good thing since Watanuki had never actually met any of the miko of the shrine, or Doumeki's family other than the deceased Haruka), Watanuki didn't actually know what he wanted to say.
So he was invited in by Doumeki, who didn't seem at all surprised to see him. The tea set for two that was laid out on the table gave it away.
Even though Watanuki didn't say anything still – aside from thanking Doumeki for the tea on reflex – the host didn't seem at all bothered. He let Watanuki sit and think over the tea.
It was... strange. Watanuki was torn between shouting at or thanking Doumeki. He had seen his parents, people he could place neither a name nor a face to for months now. Sure, he still didn't know the former, but being able to remember even that tiny moment of his childhood...
Only when Doumeki offered him a handkerchief did Watanuki realize that his cheeks were wet. He waved off the offer and wiped away the salt-water on his own, stemming the flow as well. For some reason he didn't mind that he had cried in front of the other boy, if only for a moment, and tried to formulate some expression of what his emotions were doing.
Yuuko-san told me to be grateful, Watanuki thought. And she was undoubtedly the one to provide Doumeki with whatever that was. There was bound to be a reason for this, and there was no reason not to be...
"Thank you," Watanuki did not look at the archer, instead contemplating his tea. "It was very kind of you." Even if it could have done without that girly red ribbon. Be he didn't say that part because he didn't want to seem ungrateful when he really was grateful, rival or no.
Though the opposite was the case several times in the past.
"I wanted to give you their names, but Yuuko-san refused," Doumeki shrugged, as if it was no big deal. To get it from Yuuko, he must have paid a price of some sort. All for Watanuki. "It was the price for the Cupid's Bow. That and the eradication of your stalker."
Ah. Maybe not so selfless after all.
"Thanks all the same," Watanuki still didn't look at his host. There was no need; Doumeki would still have that same stoic expression that gave some people – or maybe just Watanuki – the impression that he was a robot, or simply one-dimensional. There was no point in looking up at Doumeki's face.
"It's rude not to look at someone when you're talking to them," Doumeki's voice pierced Watanuki's little bubble, and he whipped his head up, ready to shout abuse... only to stop. Watanuki had seen that smile before, just... not on Doumeki's face. Haruka's face, but not Doumeki's.
Somehow, it suited him better than it had his grandfather, despite the similarities to their appearances.
It took Watanuki a moment to realize he was staring. Not surprising since he was still dead tired (he had only amassed maybe five hours of sleep, maximum), but he also avoided redirecting his gaze entirely. Concentrating on the air near Doumeki's left ear seemed just fine. Though why he was being polite to Doumeki... but no. He had to be grateful. That's what Yuuko said.
And ignoring what Yuuko says is akin to signing a death warrant.
"Do you mind," Doumeki drew Watanuki's attention to his mouth again for a split second as sound issued from the still smiling feature, "having dinner with me?"
Watanuki practically face-faulted. Doumeki wanted him to cook? When he was still so tired?
"My treat," continued the archer, oblivious to the semi-murderous thought that had pervaded Watanuki's mind. "You don't have to." Though this dad remind Watanuki tat, due to fatigue, he'd not eaten and given Doumeki his own lunch (save for one of the onigiri).
Sleep helped more when the person sleeping had some fuel in them. Not to mentions the exams the next day.
So Watanuki thanked Doumeki again, glad that he'd changed from his pajamas to something he could wear in public. He didn't fancy going to even something so simple as a food stall in his sleepwear, though he was embarrassed to note that his clothes were slightly more rumpled than usual.
As if it were completely planned already, Doumeki led Watanuki to a nearby cafe, easily scaring away all the spirits nearby so that Watanuki didn't feel so much as a chill. They sat down, ordered and simply sat in silence for a while.
It was downright eerie.
Watanuki did not shout at the boy who gave faces to the concept of parents. He did not glare, sputter, or get mad in any way. Had Himawari seen them, surely she would have had good reason to call them friends for once, though now he was slightly more awake Watanuki would deny it. He wasn't friends with Doumeki. He just... wasn't an enemy or a rival either.
Perhaps confusing would be a better phrase, but Watanuki stuck with eerie.
They ended up talking about school and some jobs they did for Yuuko. Not exactly about spirits – they were kind of in public – but it was strangely comfortable conversation. It probably wouldn't have been were Watanuki more awake, better rested, anything really. But it was okay for the moment.
True to his word, Doumeki paid (a nice gesture as, in his rush to Doumeki's, Watanuki hadn't brought his wallet), and they left. The night was dark, the moon waxing – thankfully not full since such nights were to be traversed in pairs while playing shiritori – and Doumeki was standing suspiciously close to the shorter of the two... not that Watanuki would admit he was shorter by much.
He also didn't move away.
Why, he could not say, but Watanuki could still blame it on the fact that he only had five hours of sleep in the past thirty-six or more hours. And he was looking forward to going back to sleep.
He almost didn't notice when they had arrived at the apartment. Watanuki smiled briefly at his... well, he still didn't have a name for his relation to Doumeki, since they didn't seem to be rivals anymore.
"Thanks," Watanuki bowed his head slightly as he said this. Somehow that one movement, that instant of glancing away from the archer, gave him opportunity to approach unseen. Watanuki almost jumped when he looked back up to find Doumeki in his personal bubble.
Had he been more energetic, he might have started flailing when Doumeki closed what gap remained.
Especially considering it was his lips on Watanuki's that had closed the space between them without the consent of the party being kissed.
As it was, Watanuki only stared as Doumeki pulled away and walked off as if nothing had happened.
When he fell back into his bed five minutes later, Watanuki brushed his lips with his finger tips. So that's what we are...
Author's Note: I hope I didn't disappoint! I tend to prefer having a longer expanse of time to establish relationships, but I think it turned out alright... I'm such an unrepentant Donuts fangirl though... X3 Oh, and I imagined this would be at the end of their second year in high school, so Himawari was saying that "Next year is our last year together here."
Okay... so my making Watanuki sleepy? That was really just my ploy to make him controllable and easier to write. I'm not good with wild characters (or, rather, I'm not confident with them), so I took the cheater's way out and just made him sleepy. But I made him very sleepy and now I feel sorry for him!!!
(1) Since Watanuki gave away his memories, he has forgotten even what year of school he is in. A memory, once lost, is gone forever (a la Tsubasa)... unless it is bought back.