Title: Threaded Fingers
Series: xxxHolic
Character/Pairing: Doumeki/Watanuki, hints of Clow/Yuuko
Rating: PG at very most.
A/N: November 30th - xxxHOLiC, Doumeki/Watanuki, he misses Doumeki's hands. Late, yes. Sorry about that. Also, apologies for any mistakes, I didn't have time to send it to a beta.

Kamameshi: rice topped with vegetables and chicken or seafood, then baked in an individual-sized pot.

.

He misses Doumeki's hands. It is that startling detail that assails him in the absence, that sneaks up unaware to mock him with things he doesn't want to see. The wide, mannish difference to his slender ones, the grace of them at a bow, the strength. It is that which frames, and starts the missing – yes, missing, if only because he can't think of another word to describe it. There's nothing sterile or detached enough, for yearning is too flowery, and longing implying something that he does not wish to admit.

It is there in silence, in the lack of fights, or how he feels the press of spirits around wherever he walks. When he reaches the shop, he busies himself with work because that is how he deals with any type of sadness. With anger, he bursts out unheeded but with melancholy, it's straight for the broom. Menial work provides a focus, and working until exhaustion leaves no time for thoughts he doesn't want to acknowledge. He puts on a kettle, pulls out the tea leaves and gets to scrubbing the floor.

Yuuko takes her tea with whiskey. She looks sympathetic without ever saying a word, as if she has read him in a glance.

"They're always so infuriating, they drive you up the wall and then some.. And you wish them gone forever, which is the worst part that it comes true. Everything is quiet and you wish that they were there just to bother you once more."

She takes a long, slow sip, and Watanuki doesn't fill the holes of the conversation.

"But one thing about life is that they always come back to irritate us more," she says. She looks to her whisktea with a little secret smile.

"I don't miss him," Watanuki says, less vehement, more weary. He doesn't even sound convincing to himself.

He looks out to the day t the gathering evening and the feeling of threads, the little red lines pulling him back. What whimsical, horrid little things. As supple as a bowstring, as

He looks to Yuuko to see if the word hitsuzen is there in a sly grin, the implications hanging in the air like smoke rings.

"He'll be back," Yuuko says sagely. She poises the whisktea at the edge of her lower lip. "They always do."

Watanuki takes a long look out over the garden, where shadowy spirts and amorphous shapes come to play. They all point to memories, times past spent bickering and feeling and now, wanting. Even the rising moon looks bow-shaped to him. And then he curses – Doumeki himself, Yuuko, and sets to his chores with a fury that threatens to peel the tiles beneath him.

He makes a resolve. When Doumeki (sometimes substituted for him or that man or some other versions spat out like a curse) returns, he is going to give him a piece of his mind.

And then he's going to give him Kamameshi that he spent entirely too much time making, because that is how Watanuki does things in life. Especially when it comes to Doumeki.