For Aza-Chan. It was supposed to be a drabble, but... It took on a life of it's own... Hope you enjoy it anyway.

He's sprawled there, long legs very much visible beneath a blood red kimono. Against the pallor of his skin, the red looks even more vibrant. Doumeki's never liked the look of red on him though. Especially not a kimono. It pools around his frame like a puddle of blood. Unpleasant memories resurface and he wants to pull the fabric away. Expose soft skin and destroy the mental images of the past from his mind. Forget as fingers trace out the form beneath the cloth.

Instead Doumeki sits, keeping a safe distance, and holds his cup out in silent request for more sake.

Watanuki frowns, those beautiful lips turning down at the corners. But he pours the sake, not even scoffing at Doumeki's lack of manners. Time changes many things.

More than anyone could have imagined.

After he pours the sake, he sets the bottle aside. Instead of settling back into his previous position amid the cushions, he stands before Doumeki. The two stare at one another and a hint of a smirk pulls at the shop owner's lips. His hand moves slow and casual, fingers brushing along Doumeki's chin, up along his cheek and then down again.

Doumeki keeps his composure, staring directly into Watanuki's eyes. "What is it you want from me?" The question is not spoken, but Doumeki feels as though it hangs between them as Watanuki's fingers caress gently.

Then, as if nothing is out of the ordinary, he passes Doumeki by and heads for the bedroom. "You should be getting home. It's late."

"I'll just sleep here tonight." Doumeki replies, as he always does these days.

"Suit yourself." Watanuki says, waving his hand vaguely over his shoulder without turning. The exchange is one they've had too many times to count over the years. But there's something in Watanuki's voice that wasn't there before, and Doumeki can't place it.

"How is he?" The question isn't spoken, but it's on her lips all the same. He can tell by her expression.

"He's the same as always." A slight pause before he adds, "Some things are different, but he's still the same person underneath."

Maybe that's just how he wants it to be. These days he isn't really sure Watanuki's still in there. He knows she wants to believe it though. As much as he does. Whether there's proof or not. Whether it's true or not.

And he doesn't want to make her cry.

She smiles gratefully at him, but it's half-hearted. Her true smiles are reserved for someone else. It should annoy him that they save their best for one another. But he can't bring himself to hate it. Or them. Hating them would be like hating the very breath in his body. Pointless and stupid. And impossible.

Conversation turns to mundane things now. Weather. School. Trivial things. It's what keeps them from breaking under the sadness.


Doumeki keeps his position, kneeling on the floor with a text book open in his lap. "I'm studying. Isn't that what you usually tell me to do?"

Instead of answering, Watanuki settles himself down behind Doumeki. Without a word, his arms snake around the larger man's waist. Doumeki doesn't react, continuing his reading. Until Watanuki's body is pressed fully to his back and he feels soft breath in his ear.



The answer is lips on his neck. Doumeki lets the book slip to the floor, sighing. There are hands--grasping at his clothes and pulling, gently but insistently. He doesn't respond. He just lets Watanuki kiss and touch and cling to him. He seems so needy. So desperate.

How long has he been craving contact?

Watanuki makes a frustrated noise in his throat as he moves his body, shifting himself around in front of Doumeki. Lips meet lips, hot and eager. Doumeki can feel pressure on his chest as Watanuki tries to force him down. He can't let it continue.

"Wait." Doumeki takes Watanuki's hand in his own to halt the pushing. "Watanuki..."

As he looks into Watanuki's eyes he sees determination. And also... sadness. Fear. And so much pain it threatens to rip Doumeki's heart in two.

Their faces are still so close that Doumeki can feel Watanuki's breath on his lips.

He wants this too. He's wanted this for so long. And yet--

"What about Kunogi?"

That name seems to bring Watanuki crashing back down to earth as he slowly disentangles himself from Doumeki. And there's an ache--so painful in Doumeki's chest... But he resists the urge to reach out and pull him back. "He isn't mine. He never was. He never can be."

Watanuki runs his fingers through his hair, looking away. Doumeki is instantly regretful. For so many reasons. How much Watanuki appears to crave for contact. How much he wants to give it to him. And Himawari Kunogi. They both know Watanuki loves her dearly. Doumeki loves her too, in his own way.

He doesn't want either to be hurt.


"You should get going. It's late."

He opens his mouth, habitually forming the words he always speaks in answer. But closes it without a word. Tonight it would be better to leave. He thinks he's wounded Watanuki's pride--and his heart.

When he's gone, Watanuki swallows back the pain as best he can and goes to bed. Escapes into the comfort of dreams.

"I can't be there with him."

It's obvious. They all know. Why speak of it? But she has a point to make.

"I only see him once a year. It's not enough. It's not what's best."

"For him or for you?" It sounds harsher than he meant it to be. He knows she isn't thinking for only herself.

"For any of us." She replies. Her eyes are sad, but no tears cloud her vision as she gazes at him steadily.

"There's nothing we can do about it."

"We can hold on to what we dohave." She takes his hands, gently in her own. "Doumeki-Kun, you've been selfless for so long..."

He squeazes her hands slightly. It's the first time she's willingly touched him--even with knowing that she can't hurt him, she's avoided before.

"Doumeki-Kun, you've both been selfless. I wish I could be as well." He doesn't understand. She's one of the most unselfish people he knows. "Even when I'm with him, I can't touch him. It must hurt him as much as it hurts me."

Oh... So that's it. Of course.

"People need to be touched. They need contact. It's so painful not to be able to hold someone or be held... I don't want Watanuki-Kun to feel that way anymore." Now she cries. And he holds her. Because he's the only one who can.

Right now, he's the only one who can hold either of them. Life isn't fair.

"I'm selfish, Doumeki-Kun. Sometimes I think it would be better if our roles were reversed. If you were the one who only got to see him once a year. I'm terribly selfish." She murmurs into his chest, tears soaking his shirt. He rubs her back in soothing motions.

He doesn't know how to tell her that sometimes he wishes for the same. He hates seeing them hurting.

He'd give it all for things to be right. For their happiness.

But he's powerless and it kills him.

A person's will is only so strong. It can only take so much before it bends or breaks.

Watanuki is against him again, but he's not fighting. He inwardly curses himself for giving in. Now who's the selfish one?

"It's not me you want..." He manages to say between frantic kisses. "I'm just convenient."

"That's not true." Watanuki replies, trailing his lips down Doumeki's throat. "I want this as much as you do."

"For different reasons." Doumeki mutters, followed by a soft groan. "It's about comfort for you."

"It's about pleasure for you." Watanuki fires back as he unbuttons Doumeki's shirt.

"It's about love." Doumeki corrects, catching Watanuki's lips. "It's always been about love." He doesn't add, except for in his own mind.

"Love for whom? Me?" A bitter chuckle. "You don't have to lie, Doumeki."

"What reason do I have to lie about it?" Doumeki questions. "The only reason would be to get you in bed. But you jumped me. So there's no reason."

Watanuki's lips find a sensitive spot of skin and Doumeki moans. He can feel Watanuki's smirk against his flesh. He's pleased with his discovery. Then he raises his head once more to kiss his lips. "Maybe you just don't want to admit that this means nothing."

"Your right." He thinks as he gives up. "I want this to mean something--to you."

He can't look her in the eye. He knows he's taken something from her and he knows that when the truth comes out it will hurt her.

And he knows she's sharper than she looks.

He wonders if she can see it in his eyes.

"Doumeki-Kun? Are you okay?"

Yeah. She can tell something is up. She's not stupid.

He bites his tongue and swallows the truth like a bitter pill. There's no reason she should know now. Nothing has changed. Watanuki still loves her. She still loves him. He's still left wanting.

"I have his body, but you have his heart. I'd trade you if I could."

"Got a cold or something." He says instead, regret and shame welling inside him.

"Oh? Please take care of yourself." She tells him, concern in her eyes.

"I will." He promises, as he starts walking. She falls into step beside him.

After a few moments, she suprises him by reaching out and taking his hand. He stops in his tracks.

"Doumeki-Kun... can I ask you a question?"

He looks at her hand and then to her face, curiously. "Yes."

"Do you love Watanuki-Kun?"

For just an instant he almost lies to her. But the way she's looking at him...


She nods. "Do you love me?"


She squeezes his hand in hers. And it seems that for once she turns one of her brightest smiles on him. "I know it's not a cold, whatever is bothering you. Watanuki-Kun wouldn't have let you leave if you were sick."

A pause as she studies his face carefully. "You don't have to tell me what it is. But I want you to know, I love you too. And if you have something on your mind, you can tell me."

He closes his eyes for a moment and when he opens them he steps forward. Leaning down he places a kiss on her forehead. She giggles at the contact and when he pulls back, her smile is bright enough that it lights her eyes.

He understands fully why Watanuki would choose her. Especially over him.

For everyone's sake, he vows to keep searching for a way to fix things. Everything.

"I'll keep wishing for a day when we can have lunch together again." He tells himself. "All three of us."