"I'm off."

Pulling on his shoes, Doumeki frowned a little at the floor.

When he slid his lazy, stoic eyes up to meet a pair of empty mismatched ones, his frown deepened. The slight quirk of pale lips made an angry, bitter feeling stir in his stomach, but he ignored it as he stood up straight.

Watanuki stood before the archer in a long, elegant kimono. One that had belonged to his employer back in the day. It draped flawlessly over his long, smooth limbs, allowing just the right amount of allure and mystery. Doumeki felt a pull in his gut as he stared into the empty eyes that looked so cold on the normally animated face of his companion. His partner. His soul mate.

"Be safe. Take Mokona with you, he has the list of things for you to buy." With that said, he gave a slightly more defined quirk of the lip and then turned, the long kimono dragging on the floor to make a far more elegant picture than would have been possible for Watanuki.

Doumeki ignored the laughing black ball of insanity and waited, knowing something more was going to be said. This was so every time he left the shop now a days. It just always varied depending on the day.

"Oh and Shizuka." As expected, Watanuki turned slightly, looking over his shoulder at Doumeki. For a moment Doumeki saw Yuuko. He saw the old owner of that kimono and this shop. He saw the one who took the old Watanuki away by disappearing and leaving everything behind in the care of a (at the time) seventeen to eighteen year old boy. And he hated it.

"Take an umbrella. The rain will start by the time you get to the shop." And then the image was gone, and it was the back of Watanuki's head that he saw walking away from him, dragging the kimono behind him.

Moro came seconds later, smiling at him with an umbrella in her hands.

"Be safe!" She sang, followed by Maru who came with a shopping bag for him to take.

"Be safe!"

And the the two sang together. "Be safe! Be safe! Be safe!" Until the door had slid shut behind him and he was left listening to Mokona's rant about wanting sake and food. His last thoughts were a silent reassurance to the man he'd left inside the Wishing Shop.

"I'll be home soon."

Now a days, this was how it went. Every time Doumeki was to leave the shop's grounds, Watanuki would pull back. Emotionally, physically, and even spiritually. Doumeki always felt it. The uncertainty that Watanuki carried that Doumeki would leave and not return anymore. After all there was no reason to come back. Doumeki didn't have a wish, not one that was possible to be granted anyways. He had no reason to come back again and again, yet he did. Not even Himawari is able to come back to the shop after she graduated high school and went off to college.

Watanuki had asked before when he was cooking for the both of them.

"Why do you return here?"

The answer had been clear to Doumeki, and he had believed it clear to Watanuki too. So when he was asked, he paused in wonder at being asked at all. That pause had made the first sign of emptiness return to Watanuki's eyes since Yuuko's disappearance. And Doumeki grit his teeth before he answered.

"Because you're here."

Come to think of it, it had been that day.

The day when everything started between them. The loneliness and the situation he was now found in, had swept Watanuki away, and Watanuki snapped inside. He began to throw plates and cups at Doumeki, yelling at him to leave and never come back.

Doumeki had understood, he always had. Yet it was then, in the heat of a broken moment that he finally had the strength to put his own heart on the line.

He rushed to Watanuki's side, avoiding the thrown objects, and he had kissed him. He had pulled Watanuki into his arms, into his chest so that the other could feel the beating of his heart, managing to restrain Watanuki as he crashed his lips onto the seer's. That had been the moment where the thing that had broken, cracked further; beyond repair even. But for some reason it had been okay. What is broken beyond repair can be replaced, at least in this case.

Watanuki had never asked again, had never mentioned to Doumeki how much he hated seeing the archer leave, even if it was inevitable that he would return.

"I come back because you're here."

Even if Watanuki didn't believe it, Doumeki knew that there was no better reason in the world to always come back. This was his place now too, and maybe he didn't belong, but that didn't matter. All that mattered was that this was where Watanuki was.

"I'm home."

"Welcome back."