Author Notes: Just read the new chapter last night, and when I got up this morning, I had to write this. I've got happier, fluffier stuff on the way for these two (as well as a bajillion other fics I still need to do) but again, the angst demands to be written, and who am I to deny the muses? No porn this time (is the sky falling? raining frogs?), but there will be in the funnier one, I promise!
Pairings or Characters: Doumeki/Watanuki
Warnings: spoilers for chapter 186
Word Count: 656
Summary: Life continues, but it's nothing like it used to be.
What Has Become of Us
They're stuck acting in this sad play, Watanuki knows. Every day that Doumeki comes by, with his groceries and that disapproving frown, they pretend and ignore what they both know is there and slip into their roles in this solemn story.
As he prepares dinner, Doumeki becomes the happy parent, playing with Maru, Moro and Mokona, pretending like Watanuki isn't the only thing on his mind every moment of every day or that he doesn't hate who Watanuki feels he has to be. In the kitchen, Watanuki becomes the knowing parent, smiling sadly as he hears the others running about joyfully, pretending like he doesn't miss how things used to be.
As they eat, the conversation is the same it is every day. On the rare occasions that Himawari is there as well, Doumeki finds it hard to swallow as the differences between then and now stare him glaringly in the face. The egg in his pocket always feels heavy and useless, and he has little idea how it could help when things already seem hopeless.
Doumeki thanks him for the meal and stands to help with the dishes.
"You needn't do that," Watanuki smiles somberly as Doumeki heads for the sink, "You'll be late."
Doumeki grimaces, still not used to the way Watanuki talks to him even after all these years. He misses the yelling and the howling, because now all he hears is I am empty behind each word.
"You're a cruel wife," he frowns, the mask of happy parent slipping, but he never really cared for acting, anyway.
"And you're a fool," Watanuki replies, staring at the hands in his lap. It gets harder and harder each time they have this exchange not to add 'of a husband', and he isn't quite sure if that means he's giving up or trying harder.
"Watanuki," Doumeki says again. Unlike the old days, now Watanuki is the one never to refer to him by name.
"Yes?" Watanuki answers sleepily, finally looking up at his old friend.
"Please," Doumeki practically whispers, face desperate, and for once Watanuki feels.
He pushes off the floor gracefully and reaches his arms up to pull Doumeki's head down to his shoulder. He runs a comforting hand through dark hair and mumbles his apologies as warm arms wrap around his waist.
"I hate this."
"... You never had to stay."
"I won't leave you."
"It would be best if you did."
Despite themselves, they each smile as the familiar word escapes Doumeki's lips. It takes a while, but when he finally manages to pull himself away from Watanuki's warmth, Doumeki stares down into mismatched eyes as the grins slip from their faces. Watanuki's hands begin to fall away from his neck but he reaches up to keep them there.
"Watanuki," he says once more, leaning forward.
"You should go," Watanuki breathes against his lips before they reach his own, his fake smile plastered back on his face. Doumeki's eyes widen briefly before he shakes his head and steps back. The space between them never felt so wide as they begin to clear the table, slipping back into their roles.
Maru and Moro dance Doumeki to the door, asking him in unison to stop by again tomorrow, more out of habit than anything, because there hasn't been a single day he didn't come by. As he slips into his shoes and pulls on his jacket, he looks back down the hallway as Watanuki drapes himself on the couch in the living room.
Their gazes meet, and he stares with sad eyes for a moment before turning and calling goodbye over his shoulder.
That night, for once, Watanuki doesn't dream of Yuuko being swallowed into the dark. Instead, he dreams of Doumeki's hands, Doumeki's eyes, Doumeki's smirk and Doumeki's heat. His guilt for not thinking of Yuuko for even a moment manifests in the tears that stream steadily down his face as he sleeps.