Those Three Small Words

For once, I'm not writing about Chiaki and Kotoha, or Shouta and Doji-chan (though they do make an appearance here). I thought I'd shake things up and write something from Dogu-chan's perspective. As far as I know, this is the first-ever Dogu-chan fic, at least here at ff dot net.

This takes place in the slightly AU timeline a few weeks after the events of my fic "Red and White – Doki Doki Version" and has major spoilers for the Dogu-chan finale. Granted, the series is two years old, but I don't know of many people who've seen it, so you've been warned. For those of you who may have watched the entire run of Dogu-chan, but are not familiar with Dogoon V, you may be wondering what Dogu-chan is doing here, and my answer to you is that you'll want to watch the first episode of Dogoon V. If you're still raising your eyebrows after that, you'll want to take it up with the folks who did the show.

Kodai Shoujo Dogu-chan, Kodai Shoujotai Dogoon V, all characters, and references are the property of the Mainichi Broadcasting System. No infringement is intended or implied.

Dogu-chan watched as Doji-chan followed Shouta out of the townhouse as they went to the market to buy the week's groceries. She went to the kitchen window and chuckled as she saw Doji-chan's hand gently bump Shouta's as they walked, which caused Shouta to stop and look at Doji-chan briefly. He looked down and took her hand in his before they continued, both blushing as they smiled lovingly at each other.

Ever since Shouta had given Doji-chan a White Day present and the two had confessed their feelings to each other, they were rarely apart, save for when Shouta had to go to class. Doji-chan was now sleeping with Shouta in his bed every night, which elicited reactions ranging from curiosity from Dori-chan, to tacit understanding from Dore-chan and Doro-chan, to slight envy from Doka-chan. As for Dogu-chan, she was amused by Doji-chan's fascination with Shouta. Shouta's attachment to Doji-chan was understandable; after all, he was supposed to be her servant. Doji-chan is too permissive with Shouta, letting him take the lead and calling him Shouta-san, thought Dogu-chan, Still, she seems to be happy with how that's working. As long as she still proves to be an effective youkai hunter, who am I to complain?

Dogu-chan sighed. Doji-chan and Shouta do look good when they're in each other's company; I might even say that they were cute. It kind of reminds me of the days when Makoto was in my service. I wonder how he's doing without me.

Wait, where did that come from? Makoto was just my servant, nothing more. Still, seeing Doji-chan with Shouta makes me think of my time with Makoto. I actually miss that guy. He was just a lowly human, but he and his friends made me realize that humans do have value and are wonderful in their own odd way, and there was something about him that made me sad to leave him that day. When he said that he'd loved me since the first day, it made me think about what his friend, that human female, Kimika, had said earlier… was I really in love with Makoto? Do I love him now? The idea of having feelings for a human, especially one who was just a servant, is actually kind of revolting, but still…

Dogu-chan felt her heart begin to beat faster. She clutched at her heart, breathing hard. What is this feeling? It doesn't hurt, so I guess that means I'm not dying. It actually feels kind of good. What is it? I think I remember this feeling from when I first ate human food with Makoto, when Kimika told Makoto that I was in love with him, from the last lap pillow that he ever gave me. Is this what being in love feels like? Makoto… Dogu-chan felt tears building in her eyes and hurriedly wiped them away with her fingertips. Why am I crying? And why do I feel like I should go to find him? He was just a servant… he… Makoto… Dogu-chan slammed her hands down on the kitchen counter before sprinting out of the kitchen and towards the front door.

Doro-chan had entered the kitchen to get a glass of water when she saw Dogu-chan hurriedly leaving the townhouse. "Sensei, where are you going?"

Uh-oh! Think fast! "Um, out. I, um, have to catch up with Doji-chan. I forgot to add green tea to the shopping list."

"But, Sensei, I thought you didn't like gree– " started Doro-chan, but Dogu-chan had disappeared.

o-o-o-o-o

Makoto watched as Kimika and Shintaro continued down the street after saying goodbye to him after walking with him to the condominium that he shared with his father, Kenzo. Shintaro pulled a gravure idol photo book from his backpack, earning a smack upside the head from Kimika. Makoto snickered. The two had been part of his inseparable support group since long before the day he felt his heart crumble as he watched Dogu-chan do the same, literally. As much as he appreciated the support from the two, as well as from Kenzo, Makoto still felt an emptiness in his heart. The sudden appearance of the spirit of his mother, Sayuri, had allowed him to finally let go of the guilt from his belief that his childish petulance had led to Sayuri's death in the middle of a crosswalk, but Dogu-chan's sacrifice to free him from the Mother of Eyes youkai was something he couldn't let go of. As Dogu-chan lay dying in his lap, her life force almost completely spent after using her final Doki Doki Wave to do away with the youkai that had assumed Sayuri's form in order to dupe Makoto into killing himself, she seemed to acknowledge his blurted confession of his love for her, but she was only able to thank him and whimper "sayonara" before she breathed her last breath. Makoto could only watch in horror and abject sadness, weeping uncontrollably as Dogu-chan's body turned from flesh to packed dirt, which then fell apart in his hands and onto his lap.

Though it had been well over a year since that day, Makoto remained haunted by what had occurred. He tried to keep his mind occupied by accompanying Kenzo on his digs. Kimika and Shintaro would often join them; though Shintaro seemed to be in just to see if Kimika was wearing a skirt that he could get a peek under, Kimika, who always had the good sense to wear pants on those days, seemed genuinely interested in seeing what the latest dig would uncover and enthusiastically threw herself into seeing who amongst the group would be the first to find something interesting. It was that interest that moved Makoto enough to finally ask her out on a date. Even though their first couple of dates went well, Makoto and Kimika soon came to the mutual conclusion that though they would always be good friends, they were ultimately incompatible as a couple. The failure of a romantic relationship between Makoto and Kimika emboldened Shintaro to make his move, but Kimika shot him down immediately, citing his perverted tendencies as the deal breaker. Makoto was secretly glad that Kimika had chosen not to be in a relationship with Shintaro, not just because she was, in Makoto's opinion, too good and sweet for and deserved much better than the likes of Shintaro, but also because he didn't think that he could have stomached the sight of the two of them carrying on in front of him.

Unlocking the door to the condo, Makoto called out, "I'm home." Hearing no one respond, he presumed that Kenzo was either still at the college, or had made a late trip to the market. He set his backpack on the kitchen table and went to the fridge for a bottle of water. He had barely cracked it open when he heard something moving around upstairs. Makoto set the bottle onto the countertop and looked around for something to use as a weapon. Seeing a well-worn broom in the corner, he grabbed it, holding it like a baseball bat. Slowly, he crept up the stairs, hoping that he wouldn't find a burglar, or worse, some weird youkai, lurking about his room. Makoto stood with his back against the wall outside his room, gripping the broom handle tightly, a nervous grimace contorting his face. What am I going to do if it is a youkai? Dogu-chan, if there was ever a time I needed you, it's now. He took a deep breath and whipped himself around the door frame into the doorway. Upon seeing what had been moving around upstairs, Makoto dropped the broom in shock.

Dogu-chan was sitting cross-legged on the floor in front of the coffee table, facing the window. When she heard the broom handle clatter on the floor, she turned around quickly. Seeing Makoto staring at her with a bewildered look on his face, she pushed herself up to a standing position, placed her hands on her hips, and looked at him like a teacher about to scold an unruly student. "Hey! Makoto! Why are you standing there looking like you've seen a youkai?"

"D-dogu-chan? Is it really you?" Makoto rushed forward and gently gripped her arms, looking her up and down. His heartbeat, already beating quickly, further sped up. She's here! How? I saw her… I saw her… I saw her go away!

Dogu-chan felt her skin tingle when Makoto touched her. His touch… it feels different from what I remember, but I like how it feels. "Of course it's me!" she answered as indignantly as she could. "Don't you know your mistress when you see her?"

"Of course; I'd know you anywhere. I'm just…" Makoto's hands wandered to Dogu-chan's hips. "I didn't think I'd see you again this soon," he whispered.

Dogu-chan placed her hands on Makoto's chest. "Well, I was… I was in this area, and I thought I would see how well you were doing without me," she said, surprised that her last two words had come out with a slight quaver. Her surprise ramped up when Makoto suddenly pulled her to him, and she was further surprised when her hands seemed, on their own volition, to slide to his back to return his embrace.

Makoto tilted his head to touch his cheek to the side of Dogu-chan's head. "I missed you."

I missed you, too, thought Dogu-chan. I want to say it, but why can't I? Why can't I just say that I… why can't I admit how I feel? Forget that he's just a human. Doji-chan did, with Shouta, and she seems so happy. Why can't I do the same with Makoto? Dogu-chan simply nodded.

Still holding Dogu-chan close, Makoto asked, "Are you back for good? If you are, let's live together."

Suddenly, Dogu-chan felt something different. It wasn't painful, but it wasn't pleasant, as she winced at the thought of disappointing Makoto. "I… I can't," she managed to say. "I'm sorry. I can't live with you. I have… other… obligations."

Makoto's eyes squeezed shut. "I understand." He wasn't sure what hurt more, Dogu-chan's declining his offer to live with him, or the thought that among her "other obligations" was possibly someone else that she had feelings for. He steeled himself enough to ask, "What's his name? Is he good to you?"

Dogu-chan's head lifted from Makoto's shoulder. She stared at him, confused. "Eh? 'He' who? What are you going on about?"

"You know, your 'other obligation.'" Makoto slowly and very reluctantly dropped his hands away from Dogu-chan. "He must be really special if you're not going to stay with me."

Dogu-chan's eyes widened as she realized what Makoto was hinting at. "You idiot," she chided, "I'm not bonded to Shouta! He's Doji-chan's servant! Well, he's supposed to be, but she likes him so much, she lets him get away with a lot of stuff. It's almost like she's the servant sometimes."

"Doji-chan?"

"My apprentice. Actually, she's one of my five apprentices." Dogu-chan folded her arms and nodded proudly. "We all live at Shouta's house."

I don't know if I like the idea of her living at this Shouta guy's house, but she did say that he's bonded to one of her apprentices. I hope that he's got a large enough house to have them all there; I can't imagine having six more people under the same roof with Dad and me! Makoto sighed in relief. "So, what is it, you, um, have to stay close to your apprentices, in case they need your help or something like that?"

Dogu-chan nodded once firmly. "Doji-chan's been the only one so far who has mastered the power up and using the Doki Doki Wave. The other girls are decent, but they sometimes need more help than Doji-chan is capable of giving them. The life of a youkai hunter sensei can be a rough one."

Makoto nodded sadly as he looked down. "Well," he said, taking a deep breath, "if you can't live with me, will you at least stay with me tonight? That's all I'll ask of you."

"I… I suppose… I suppose I could do that." Dogu-chan struggled to get the words out. Come on! What's one night? "I should still be able to sense if they need my help from here."

Makoto's face brightened. "Thank you." He went to the closet, pulled out his futon, and unrolled it. He sank down to his knees, patting his lap. "Here's your lap pillow."

Dogu-chan looked at Makoto, frowning. "No. That's not going to do at all." Makoto looked up at her, stunned. Dogu-chan continued," I didn't ask for a lap pillow. I want you to… to… I want you to hold me in your arms as I sleep." Amused by the stunned expression on Makoto's face, she took advantage of the moment to give him a shove so that he fell back onto his backside. She laid herself down on the futon next to him. As she wound Makoto's arms around her body, she thought, I hope this will be good enough to tell him how I feel. When Makoto whispered something about his dreams of her, kissed her on the forehead as he pulled her closer to him, and whispered, "I love you, Dogu-chan," Dogu-chan felt tears welling up in her eyes again. It is good enough… he does know… maybe one day, I'll actually be able to say it. She blinked the tears away as she settled into Makoto's arms for the night.

This one was a bit harder than I'd anticipated, because I'm nowhere near as emotionally invested in Makoto/Dogu-chan as I am Shouta/Doji-chan, but given how it was obvious how drawn to each other the latter were, even if there was no incontrovertable canonical proof, I wondered if Dogu-chan, who had observed Shouta and Doji-chan having a bit of a moment towards the end of episode 7 of Dogoon V, was ever inspired by them to think about Makoto after she was resurrected.

Reviews are always welcome; not expecting too many since Dogu-chan doesn't seem like the sort of property that inspires fic, but what the hey. ^^;;;