Warnings: slash, crude language, aimless, short

Disclaimers: I do not own xxxHOLiC or the associated characters; they belong to the ever-so-wonder CLAMP and associates, of which I am not one (sadly). Written for violet-phoenix-rose's Calendar Challenge on HPFC.

Hazuki: Leaf

"I am sorry," the way this was said made one feel as though the person speaking – a very tall, lean, beautiful woman in extravagant clothing by the name of Ichihara Yuuko – was indeed sorry, but not about the thing that they were meant to be sorry for, "but you and Watanuki scoured your entire library, didn't you? Why would I have more information than your dearly departed grandfather."

"Because you're you," Doumeki responded. It was true; she was Yuuko. She had known right off the bat why Doumeki went deaf sometimes – though the archer probably would have worked it out eventually – and could probably get rid of the issue with a witch. But, then, what was the value of Doumeki's hearing? And he could live with spotty hearing if it meant not losing whatever the price of such a wish would be, most likely.

But Yuuko only smiled. "So I am," she replied, but she did not offer up a wish or to have him make one. "More sake?"

He accepted, but only because Watanuki had just entered the room with freshly heated alcohol and it would be impossible for him to pass it up with such a situation before him.

"You're both alcoholics, y'know that? One day your livers will go, and you won't be able to find a donor and you know where you'll be? Dead," Watanuki grumbled, his volume entirely socially acceptable for being indoors. The fact that he was not shouting, but talking at a normal volume while berating what he considered irresponsible behavior, like it was second nature, was still so surreal.

It was, by now, the start of September, and Watanuki had completely turned his speech habits around. Sure, the process had started back in July, when he realized that yelling was bad for his own health if Doumeki couldn't hear him, but towards the end of August things had made it quite apparent to him that it was not just him put in danger by this.

After all, when someone almost gets run over because they can't hear the traffic, it's a definite sign of danger.

"Not to worry," Yuuko waved off Watanuki's concern. "Now gimme!" She grabbed her cup from Watanuki and knocked it back with ease, grinning in a cat-like way and, Doumeki could swear, purring as it went down.

Doumeki only sipped at his saucer, and did not offer Watanuki any sort of recognition for bringing the drinks, no matter how grateful he really was. Things had been complicated after all. Back in Spring, he was so sure Watanuki had a crush on him, and then suddenly everything went weirder than usual and Doumeki didn't even really contemplate it anymore because when he thought of what Watanuki felt toward him he kept getting slammed in the face with the exclamation that had started the whole "deaf" thing in the first place.

After over a month of Watanuki spending an hour with him daily to go through the old books, Doumeki was pretty sure that he really did have some sort of romantic emotion-like thing directed at Watanuki. But he'd never been a master at what his own emotions really meant, and the tightening in his chest when he thought about what Watanuki had shouted at him was simply a phantom pain from straining himself from almost being hit by a car.

The excuse was weak even in his head.

"You boys should head off now; you have school tomorrow, after all," Yuuko smirked at them. Maybe it was her own way of saying that Doumeki shouldn't stay long enough to end up with a hangover in the morning. More likely it was her way of keeping the sake all to herself, even though Doumeki was the one who brought it in the first place.

The living spirit-repellent stood from the ground anyway, setting his empty cup on the low table before him.

Watanuki was waiting by the door, already ready to head out by the time that Doumeki had switched back to his street shoes. Something made him turn back when they reached the gate, to look back at the shop's door where he saw Yuuko framed in light.

"It's only after we've lost everything that we are free to do anything."

With Yuuko's ominous words ringing in his ears, Doumeki proceeded to walk Watanuki home for the evening, no closer to fixing his hearing problem, but still ever so grateful that it hadn't gotten any worse either.

Author's Note: Yo! Um... yeah, couldn't even keep my promise to get this out a few days ago. Oh well, it's out now XP I blame restaurant City on facebook (I started playing on Friday... let's just say that it's really addictive and I'm currently rated as the seventh on my "street" (will be 6th in about an hour), which includes several people over lv 20. So you can tell how addicted I am).

The October chapter WILL be out on time, hopefully it will show the START of the end of the story (ending in two months. Yay). Not sure. And I actually used the prompts this time! No way!