Disclaimer: I do not own xxxHolic; the series belongs to CLAMP and their wonderful team.
Warning: Character death, you can probably guess who, there might be a bit of angst as I am currently unaware of my capability of writing that.
He never wanted this day to come, ever since he had made his choice, there was always the knowledge that this was inevitable, but he did not expect it to be so soon. No, this was too soon too unexpected, he didn't want to know, he wanted the knowledge out of his head. But as they said, facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored, and he had learnt, during his time with Yuuko, that ignoring facts could very well be dangerous.
He closed his eyes, hoping to wish it all away, but he could still hear the man rustling about. He tightened his lids willing away the next few minutes. However, when he opened his eyes again, he was still there, the only difference was that he was now looking at him with curious eyes. The rest of his face, as usual, did not change.
After a few moments of just staring at each other, the other man just sighed and got up. As he walked past Watanuki, he was grabbed and paused.
"Be careful when you cross the road, there has been an increase in road accidents lately."
"Is this a warning?"
"Oh, I can't just caution you without it being a warning?" He asked with a closed eyed smile on his face. Suddenly his smile shrunk and his eyes opened halfway, "Take of that what you will, as Yuuko used to say, all is inevitable."
His hooded eyes turned away from Doumeki and their conversation turned to the usual topics even though Watanuki could still feel the man's concerned eyes on him. He started gathering the dishes to hand over to Maru and Moro for them to place back in the kitchen. The whole time, he tried to push away what he knew was unavoidable and tried his best to ignore the urge to just stop Doumeki from leaving the store.
In the end he managed to push the urge down and they both rose, Watanuki walked Doumeki out taking their time to reach the door. He just stood there as Doumeki was putting on his shoes smoking his pipe all the while. The words that come out of his mouth were so soft, Doumeki could barely hear them.
"So, how are the children and Kohane? You've been taking good care of then right?"
"WHAT? WHAT KIND OF ANSWER IS HNH! ANSWER PEOPLE WITH FULL SENTENCES WHEN THEY ASK YOU SOMETHING!" he continued screaming at him and as usual, Doumeki stuck a finger in his ear and stoically stared ahead. When Watanuki had reduced the volume of his shouting, he unstuck his finger and rose. As he walked off, he was halted by a soft call.
"Doumeki, I mean it, take care of yourself, and watch out on the roads. Not everyone follows the road rules."
Suddenly the door slid shut; Doumeki just shrugged and walked off, taking his friends strange behaviour in his stride. On the other side, Watanuki leaned his head against the door. His clenched fist weakly hitting the door until they finally stilled. There he stood, in the exact same position, shoulders shaking from repressed tears.
Suddenly, two pairs of small arms wrapped themselves around him surrounding him in a comforting embrace. A small ball of black fur jumped onto his shoulders, he forced a small smile onto his face. Then all four of them turned and walked back into the depth of the shop.
Three days later, there had been no sign of Doumeki's daily visits. Yet, on this day, the house was busy; the girls were sweeping and cleaning and Watanuki was cooking. Mokona, however, was 'picking' out appropriate sake for them to drink later. Of course, Watanuki and the girls ruined his fun by roping him into doing some chores. Despite the cheerful actions of the occupants of the shop, the atmosphere coming from it was strangely morose.
On that day they had a visitor; it had been a long time since they had seen this familiar face. As usual, Maru and Moro were there waiting to greet the person with a synchronised 'Welcome!' They led her into the main dining area, the one with a view of the garden. There he sat, waiting for her, when she came in, he rose and enveloped her in a hug. Kohane pulled away from the embrace, eyes damp and weary.
He quietly sat her down and served tea and some snacks. He waited for her to calm her shaking body down before he finally said anything.
"How did it happen?" He asked softly.
"I-It was an accident," she hiccoughed, "he was walking home from the university. It had been a long day and he had forgotten something in his office. Because of that he had been a bit late coming home. When he came to the traffic junction, something seemed to distract him and he just stood there. According to some witnesses, he had been looking around and acting extremely cautious."
At this, she let loose a shuddering sigh.
"When the road was clear, he stepped onto the road, the lights were red and the green man was up. As he reached the middle of the road, a speeding car came out of nowhere and hit him. He died the next day; there was no way of saving him."
"Looks like he listened to me after all." Watanuki whispered under his breath.
At the gentle hand on her shoulder, Kohane dissolved into tears and finally let loose all the grief she had been feeling. Watanuki just hugged her in return and quietly gave her the comfort she needed. Once the sobbing had died down, he released her.
"Go home, stay with your children, they need you now. There will be no need to visit me for at least a month. I have enough supplies from Doumeki's last visit. Go, there will be time later for us to talk and reminiscence, for now, you need your family and loved ones with you." He gently said sadness in his hooded eyes.
All she did was nod in acknowledgement before moving from her position to give him a tight squeeze before leaving him alone.
When she left, he stayed there for a while longer, just staring up at the ceiling letting his tears roll down his face. Such was his life, knowing, or at least foreseeing some of what those close to him would go through, but never able to stop what would eventually happen.
"Good evening Haruka, is he well?"
"Considering the method of death, I would say that yes, he is surprisingly well."
For the rest of the dream they stayed together in silence. Neither willing to break the peaceful moment for useless talk. While one mourned the passing of an old friend, the other rejoiced in welcoming someone he had left behind. The two emotions serving to even the other out, ending in a tranquil air permeating through the shop.
After that moment, the shop went into a sort of hibernation, a cold sort of slumber settled on its residents. Its inhabitants asleep whenever they were not needed, whenever there were no customers and no wishes to be granted, and so days turned into weeks which turned into months. Somehow, the food stayed fresh and edible, but even so, they were barely awake long enough to eat.
It was quite some time before any member of the Doumeki household remembered their duty to a certain shop-keeper. However, by the time it came, the first generation of Doumekis were already long gone. So it was that Doumeki Shizuka's son came back to the shop years after the death of his father, worried about the lives that had been placed in their hands.
To his surprise, when he reached the front door it opened without him even touching it. Behind, there were two children smiling at him shouting out 'Welcome back!' just like they used to do long ago. There was a man waiting for him inside, his clear, unblemished and ageless skin nowhere near an indicator of how old he truly was.
As this new Doumeki walked in, the man turned his head and said, "You're late, what took you so long?"
So, what do you think? Did I manage angst? Or did I just skim over the juicy part? Hope it wasn't too bad, and don't forget to R&R!