Disclaimer: xxxHOLiC belongs to CLAMP. No profit intended from this fanfiction.

Love takes off masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within.

James A. Baldwin

His knuckles were white, he realized dimly.

There was no way, no way, he was seeing what he was seeing.

Should he…perhaps go in there now…?

There he was, seeing what he was seeing, and yet he was still so unsure. He had not believed it was possible.

Was Watanuki doing this in order to mess with his head? Because it was definitely messed with right now. But surely not…but what other reason…

Perhaps he should pretend not to have seen anything. That would be the safe option.

But then he would never know.

And he desperately, so desperately, wanted to know.

Is it true?

Oh, gods, is it true…?

He had an idea.

Just a little test.

He walked over to the bathroom door and knocked.

"Watanuki? Watanuki, you're taking too long."

Watanuki jumped in shock, and yet he was there, elsewhere, completely elsewhere. Amidst his desire, in his shock, he called out Doumeki's name. In his mind, he heard it: Doumeki! Geez, you scared me.

And yet it came out of his mouth completely differently.


And he shuddered, panting, already realising his mistake, already scared, already regretting.

Doumeki opened the door and entered the bathroom.

The rush of the shower was almost too loud, filling the yawning silence between them with static. Doumeki saw the trail of white, already being washed from the inside of the glass door by the water.


He waited. For once, Watanuki seemed out of words.

"I saw…but I didn't think…but then I heard…"

Eloquent. Really eloquent.


He saw the fear in Watanuki's eyes, glazing them over. And suddenly Doumeki knew.

The moment he says a word, the moment he starts talking, it will be denials and accusations, belligerence and refusals. He will put his mask back on, he will clothe himself again in words. He will convince himself that he did not do this, did not mean this, it was a mistake. He will not listen.

No, don't let him be frightened, don't let him refuse this, not now, not now.

Look, he's opening his mouth, you must stop him.

With that, he rushed toward the shower, wrenched open the door, and stepped in.

Watanuki froze in shock, his heart pounding, disbelief, disbelief, disbelief.

Doumeki's clothes were becoming soaked by the hot water. Watanuki stared, still disbelieving, impossible that Doumeki should be so close to him, the sheer physical presence of him, impossible, impossible, and yet he could see a nipple defined by the wet fabric, water dripping from his chin.

Those brown fingers, loosening the buttons of his shirt.

"What are you – "

"Be quiet."

But still, in his mind, what are you what are you what are you doing...

"Be quiet, says Shizuka, ha ha," slipped out of his mouth anyway. What absolute nonsense.*

Doumeki grasped Watanuki's hand and slid it inside his open shirt, hanging heavy now with water.

"No, no," came out of Watanuki's mouth, and yet his eyes were wondering.

Getting through the disbelief. Good.

It did not go unnoticed by Doumeki that this was almost a mirror-image of his dream. That hot, slippery hand, lightly skimming over his ribs. Pulling away.

"Don't do that. Keep going."

It was hard to look Watanuki in the eye. But he did, and he hoped that his thoughts were being displayed properly in his face. But just to be sure, he used words, pulling them up from his being - stubborn words, so deeply rooted in his soul that bringing them to the surface felt like an enormous wrenching.

"I want you to touch me."

Peeling the shirt from his body, he stepped closer, allowing his hands to hang at his sides. Open.

"Please. Kimihiro."

Saying those words, he had to close his eyes for a moment. It was painful to say those words, and yet pulling them out from himself provided a deep relief, like shifting a dislocated joint back into position, or stretching a muscle somewhere deep inside of him that had been held stiff and tight for years.

"I want you," he rasped.

Those wide, wide eyes. No doubt they had already seen the shape of his erection, straining against the soaked fabric.

Pale, creamy hands, reaching slowly, wonderingly…those eyes again, seeking confirmation.

Yes, he gave it with his eyes. Yes.

"Are you sure – ?"

"This time," Doumeki murmured, "you will be silent, and I will speak."

Author's note: To me, right now, this story feels finished. I don't feel it necessary to write the sex scene. Once upon a time, I would have gone there. But now to me it feels complete right here. Perhaps I will change my mind later on – it's not impossible – and add another chapter to the story. Certainly I find the idea of a silent Watanuki and a verbally expressive Doumeki an appealing thing to write about. If I do add it later on, it won't really be adding anything to the meat of the story – so if by the time you read this story there is another chapter added, that's what it will be, and by no means should you feel obliged to read it. I hope you enjoyed the story as much as I enjoyed writing it.

* In Japanese, shizuka means quiet, or peaceful.