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How Strong is the Red String of Fate

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A tall, thin boy sprinted down the street, his breath coming short, his muscles burning, his glasses starting to slip down the bridge of his nose. No matter how fast he tried to run or how many twists he tried to take the foul black and purple smoke was always at his heels. This was a common occurrence in Watanuki's life. And this particular spirit was one he had run into many times in the past. Yuuko said it was most likely the spirit of an unfortunate child who died in the park it now haunts. Watanuki understood the tragedy of the spirit but found it hard to sympathize with a twisted cloud which wanted to consume him.

At last he turned a corner and a smile spread across his face. The taller boy turned at the sound of heavy footfalls and a small grin touched his lips as well. Without a word Watanuki leaped with all his strength into Doumeki's waiting arms and solid chest. The archer took in the younger boy's quick breaths and knew he must have been fleeing a spirit.

“Is it gone, Kimihiro?”

The black haired youth peered behind him and saw the black cloud stalled a few feet back.

“It's there. We should move on, it won't follow us anymore.”

The tall boy nodded and turned them away, keeping one arm around his seer. They walked calmly, Watanuki tucked against Doumeki's side, until the shop came into view. For the smaller at least. He could always tell when the shop was visible to his lover because his eyes would turn up slightly to observe the strange towers of the house. Today his eyes were down, seeing nothing but the grass.

“Do you ever wish you could see it all the time, Shizuka?”

“Not really, then I wouldn't know when I'm needed.”

“You're always needed.” The raven said with a smile.

Doumeki smiled as well and wrapped his other arm around Watanuki's waist, turning the dichromatic boy toward him and leaning in for a kiss. The smaller boy reached up to circle his arms around his archer's neck and opened his mouth invitingly. Doumeki followed his lead and slipped his tongue into the other's mouth so their slick muscles could dance. Lack of oxygen eventually forced them apart but all the bespectacled boy did was snuggle his face into his lover's chest.

“You're going to be late, Kimihiro.”

“Don't talk, you're ruining the moment.”

The taller boy laughed and kissed the other's head before disentangling them.

“Have a good day. See you tonight.”

“You too.” He waved and watched his boyfriend walk away.

His smile never faltered as he walked up to the shop and was greeted by the spirit twins, Maru and Moro. He followed as they danced deeper into the house to Yuuko's lounge. The beautiful and mysterious witch was sprawled on her couch, sake cup in her hand, flowing robes falling delicately over her body to the floor and ebony hair cascading over her shoulders. She gave her errand boy a knowing smirk as he entered.

“So how is Doumeki today?”

“Why do you only ask about him? Don't you care about how I'm doing?” The boy tried to say spitefully but could not shake his grin.

“Fine then, how's Himawari?”

At the girl's name, Watanuki's happy face was shaken at last. He tried to recover it quickly.

“I haven't seen too much of her lately but when I bump into her in the halls she smiles and seems to be doing well. Shizuka always worries but nothing has gone wrong so far.”

“Be careful, Watanuki. Fate has little self control so when it is tempted it takes the opportunity. Now, why don't you get to work on some dinner?”

It never ceased to amaze the boy how quickly Yuuko's mood could change. He chuckled a little.

“Okay, what do you want tonight?”

“I want okonomiaki for dinner. And don't forget to warm up some sake.”

“You already had a drink. Don't you think you should ease up a bit?”

“Don't talk back to your employer, young man. Honestly, how does Doumeki put up with you?”

Watanuki smiled at the gentle ribbing, Not bothering to complain about his slave driver boss anymore. With any luck the day would pass quickly and he would soon be back in his lover's arms.

As it turned out, luck was not on his side. The day was long and uneventful with no customers or visitors to break up the monotony. Only the endless cleaning mixed in with being called to make various snacks and fetch sake, all sprinkled with the annoying antics of the twins and Mokona. At last the day ended and he was allowed to leave and make his way to Doumeki's family temple. He looked up and saw a light on in his boyfriend's room and a grin found his face. He hurried inside, stopping only to remove his shoes, eager to be with Doumeki again. When he entered the room he was greeted by the sight of the archer lying on his bed, asleep, with a book open on his bare chest. The bespectacled boy smiled softly at the adorable scene but still felt a little disappointed. Still, he would have to make due. He stripped down to his boxers, folding his clothes into a neat pile next to the bed, before climbing under the covers and placing Doumeki's book with his clothes. He scooted close to his boyfriend and snuggled into his side, finding him in a similar state of undress. He curled closer, tucking his face into the crook of Doumeki's neck and inhaling the clean, fresh scent found there. Suddenly, the larger boy shifted in his sleep so one arm was draped over Watanuki's waist and their bodies were pressed tightly together. At first the seer was surprised but he soon melted into the warm safety of the embrace and the gentle rhythm of Doumeki's breath on his hair. He was just about to drift off when the archer muttered something.

“Kimi...chan.”

A blush stained the pale boy's cheeks at the use of 'chan' but he couldn't find it in him to be offended. Instead he reached out and placed a gentle kiss on the sleeping boys lips, trying not to wake him in the process, but as he started to pull away the arm around him tightened and the tan boy's lips moved with his own. They separated and golden eyes met dichromatic ones. Doumeki smiled sleepily down at his lover.

“Hello, Kimihiro. I rather like waking up like this.”

The seer's blush deepened and he tucked his face under the older boy's chin.

“Do you always call me...Kimi-chan in your dreams?”

“Sometimes, when you're being especially cute.”

“Why don't you call me that in reality?”

The archer smirked, unseen by Watanuki, and rolled them over so the slender boy was pinned under his broader form.

“Because you are so much more, so much better, than those dreams that such a cute name doesn't do justice to the true beauty you are.”

Watanuki's face was now beet red but he smiled nonetheless.

“When did you become such a romantic?”

“Around the same time you stopped being such a spaz.” He leaned down and pecked his lips.

“Now how do you expect me to resist sweet talk like that?”

The younger boy wrapped his arms around tan shoulders and brought his lover down for a smoldering kiss. Slowly the simple lip-lock evolved into a twining of tongues and clashing of teeth. Doumeki's large hands wandered the thin chest of his dear lover and when the tips of his fingers brushed his ribs, the archer was delighted to feel Kimihiro's lips vibrate with a soft whimper. They both wanted more, needed more, and Doumeki knew just how to make it happen. He separated their mouths, causing a thread of saliva to break and fall to the seer's chin, and simply traced his nose along the tendons of the other's neck until he found the tender spot just beneath his rapid pulse. A small flick of his tongue, a taste, was all the warning Watanuki received before a hot mouth attached itself to his pale neck and sucked hard.

“Shi-Shizuka!” he wailed in pleasure.

The older boy decided it was time to really up the ante to make his lover fall apart. All at once he scrapped his teeth over the bruise he had made on Kimihiro's neck, dug his fingers into his ribs, and harshly ground their clothed groins together. The brunet felt blunt nails rake down his back , raising long welts in their wake, as delighted howls rang in his ear.

“Shizuka, more! More! Please, God, take me!”

Ah, the sweet little masochist had emerged at last. Doumeki loved how desperate his dear Kimihiro could become with the smallest push. He detached from his spot on that perfect neck and made his way up to an ear. His lips grazed the delicate skin as he whispered low and steady.

“Now, you know I can't make it that easy on you when you kept me waiting this long.”

“Not my fault...Yuuko...”

“Take responsibility, Kimihiro, and let me play with you a bit.”

The bespectacled boy shivered at the words breathed hot against his flesh and nodded silently, tightening his grip on his lover all the same. Strong hands began moving in soothing circles up his torso while soft lips moved the other way. They converged on his chest where an assault on his nipples started in full force. The fingers pinched and tweaked, the mouth suckled and nipped and poor Kimihiro could do nothing but moan and writhe, knowing that the exorcist was barely even started on his magnificent torture. Once the archer was satisfied that the nubs were sufficiently hard and rosy he moved lower, peppering kisses and bites over the flat stomach and leaving a trail of marks to his real destination. Kimihiro, brain too addled with lust and pleasure to keep his eyes open, felt the elastic of his boxers pull away from him and a hot tongue swipe the newly uncovered flesh of his hips. In that moment of shock the seer's spine arched up and his hip pushed against his lover's burning mouth, begging for more intimate contact. He got his wish. He felt the fabric of his underwear slide all the way down his smooth legs and the older boy position his body between them. With absolutely no warning, the raven's throbbing cock was suddenly wrapped in the warm tunnel of his lover's throat and it took everything he had not cum that instant.

Watanuki's pained yet joyous cries sounded from above the archer as pale, wiry legs locked around his back. He felt the raven tremble as he tried valiantly not to buck his hips. The golden eyed boy was trying to remain still as well, only flexing his throat slightly in adjustment, knowing the younger was on a razor's edge and not wanting it to end too quickly. It took a few moments but eventually Watanuki started to relax and Doumeki took this as his cue to begin bobbing his head slowly and with a gentle suction. The slender youth's body wriggled uncontrollably in response and hot moans escaped his swollen lips. It was moments like these that tried the exorcist's patience and today the desire for release, the need to rut and fuck and own his lover's very being was far too strong. He reached up and slipped his hand under the pillow to find the tube of lotion they use for these occasions. It took some effort but he was soon able to remove the lid with one hand and cover three of his fingers with the goo. Without removing his mouth, he slid the first finger into his boyfriend's tight sheath.

The bespectacled boy gasped at the sudden intrusion and his hands practically tore at the sheets around him in an attempt to retain control. He felt the long digit wiggle inside him for a moment before a second one pushed its way in as well. Watanuki was aware that his inner walls had become much softer and more pliable since the start of their relationship and often joked that Doumeki had fucked his ass so much that it naturally took the shape of his cock. The older boy seemed to like this idea and would always be especially passionate after a long time apart so neither would forget the other's body. Lost in his musings, the seer hadn't noticed his lover insert the last finger and when it brushed his prostate, combined with a stiff lick up his length, he let loose a piercing, keening wail of ecstasy. His body was nearing its breaking point and his soul was burning with lust.

“Shizuka, now! I need you now! I need your big, hot cock fucking me until I can't remember my own goddamn name!”

“I love it when you get graphic.” Shizuka drawled as he slithered back up Kimihiro's body.

The brunet gently wrapped himself in the seer's soft legs and deftly stroked over the flawless form offered to him, trying to ease the younger away from the brink a bit. The raven continued to shiver intermittently, his skin stained with a beautiful flush, his eyes blown wide and dark, his lips puffy and moist, the perfect picture of lust. If Doumeki had his way, his lover would look like this forever. He was confident now that Watanuki would not burst right away so he quickly slicked his cock and pushed in. Kimihiro tensed for only a moment before his body fully accepted the intrusion and the archer began a steady rhythm. It had been a long time since they felt the need to wait for adjustment and both of them were so impatient this night that it wouldn't matter.

After only a few thrusts Watanuki's spine strained upward and a shriek of shock and ecstasy ripped its way from his throat. The pleasure was so sudden and intense that the dichromatic boy's vision went black for a second and came back swirling. He was closer than ever and could tell Shizuka was right there with him. His lover's thrusts were hard and deep and his breaths were coming in quick, hot puffs. Without warning, Watanuki felt the archer grab his legs and all but fold him in half so that each stroke carried the weight of his entire body. The head of Doumeki's cock felt like it was pounding into his belly and seemed to slip deeper with each thrust. At last, the seer could take no more and with one final, precise strike to his prostate his body tensed and spasmed through his orgasm which left his mind completely blank but for the feeling of hot liquid drenching his most intimate depths.

Doumeki's body tightened as his long awaited release overcame him. The pleasure was overwhelming and he clenched his eyes shut out of instinct. As the waves of bliss began to fade he slowly lifted his lids to find his lover practically unconscious. His mismatched eyes were hazy, his breaths heavy and slow and his skin gleamed with sweat. He gently unfolded the young man before grabbing a tissue from the box next to his pillow and cleaning the mess off his chest. He tenderly pulled down the seer's eye lids so he could be fully claimed by sleep. With a clap of his hands the lights died and he was able to snuggle comfortably into bed with his Kimihiro.

“I love you.” He whispered to his sleeping boyfriend. “I love you, Kimihiro. I could say it a hundred times a minute until the end of my days and it wouldn't be enough but I will try. I will try to deserve you and do everything in my power to ensure that no force imaginable can take you from me.”

It is truly unfortunate that the archer had not heard Yuuko's warning about fate or he might have chosen his words more carefully.

The two of them woke up slowly the next morning, still wrapped in the blankets and each other. Doumeki placed gentle kisses all over his boyfriend's face, making the seer giggle. He tried looking toward the clock but without his glasses the numbers were blurred.

“What time is it, Shizuka?”

“Almost ten. Do you have to go to the shop?”

“Mmhm, Yuuko will be expecting me soon.” The younger boy started to get up but as he tried to stand a jolt of pain shot down his spine and he fell back on his rear.

Doumeki chuckled quietly and stood to help his lover up as well.

“Do you want me to walk you there before I head to practice?”

“N-no. My back's just a little stiff so I shouldn't need help with more than getting dressed. Besides the two are in opposite directions and I wouldn't want you to be late.” He said blushing.

“When are you going to finish that stubborn streak?”

“I thought you loved that about me.”

“I love everything about you but you don't have to carry everything yourself anymore. I'm here for you. I've been here.”

“I know but I want to be able to take care of myself. I want to live a normal life with a normal job and no spirits trying to kill me. I don't want to be a burden on you.” Watanuki wrapped his arms around the taller boy's waist and tucked his head into his chest.

“Kimihiro...” The archer held them together tightly. “A burden is the one thing you could never be.”

The tan boy brought his lover into a sweet kiss before they pulled apart and began to get dressed. As the seer buttoned up his jacket Doumeki noticed that the mark he left on Watanuki's neck peeked above the fabric quite nicely. He smirked and couldn't help nuzzling it and making the pale boy blush even more. He liked knowing that the world knew Kimihiro was off limits.

“Shizuka, I'm going to be late if you keep that up.” The seer said while gently trying to push his boyfriend away.

“But you're so cute when you're frustrated.” The larger boy whispered sensually, not backing off.

“Shizuka, I mean it, I can't be late again or Yuuko will tease me.”

“Okay, okay.” Doumeki gave his lover a kiss on the cheek and released him.

Soon enough they were going on their own ways, a promise to be early called back with a wave. Watanuki's smile refused to fade as he walked down the street towards Yuuko's shop and it felt like nothing could bring him down. As he began to cross a small intersection he heard quick footsteps coming toward him and a voice calling his name happily. He turned to see his former crush, Himawari, running to him. The bespectacled boy still thought she was cute and still liked to see her smile but he no longer mistook this feeling for love. At last, she stopped beside him and took a second to catch her breath.

“Watanuki, it feels like it's been so long. How have you been?”

“I've been great, Himawari. How about you?”

“I'm fine. I was just out doing some shopping. Are you going to Yuuko's? Where's Doumeki?”

“Yes, I was on my way and Shizuka is going to archery practice.”

“That's great. I'm glad you guys still get along so well. Oh,” She noticed the dark bruise on the raven's neck and reached out to touch it. “What happened here?”

A shiver ran down Watanuki's spine as the girl's cool fingers brushed his flesh and he tried not to let it show on his face.

“What, this? This nothing. I just tripped and knocked it on something.”

“You should be more careful. Oh, I need to go or I won't get home in time. It was nice seeing you Watanuki.”

“You too.” The boy smiled and waved until she turned a corner.

Once his former crush was out of sight Watanuki's face dropped. The strange chill from before had yet to fade and a sense of foreboding began to creep in. He continued to walk, not really paying attention, as he scratched his neck absentmindedly until he accidentally took a wrong turn and wound up at a dead end. He turned around and was suddenly slammed back with a twisted, vile presence so heavy he could barely breathe. As he slowly opened his eyes he could finally see the spirit responsible. It was a massive, seething, writhing, gelatinous blob of black, purple, red and brown with dozens of eyes of various unnatural colors. It leaned over the frightened boy and spoke into his mind.

“Oh, how delicious you smell Little One. And how lucky I am that no other has snatched you up before me.”

The spirit's voice was like thousands of voices and sounds all playing together. A small child, a creaky old man, a gentle woman, and a terrifying scream that couldn't be identified, all backed up by buzzing and ringing bells and crashing drums. It echoed in the seer's brain and made him feel as if his skull was splitting in half. He covered his ears but the voice continued anyway.

“How is it such a treasure as yourself has remained in tact so long, Little One? Oh well, it matters not, your soul shall be mine now.”

“I don't think so.”

Yuuko. The witch stood at the mouth of the alley in a pair of tight jeans and a low cut top with Mokona on her shoulder.

“This boy is under my protection so I suggest you back away from him.”

“Disgusting interloper, you think to steal my prize? What delusions of grandeur do you suffer from to oppose me?”

All Watanuki saw was Mokona opening his tiny eyes to glare at the enormous monster but whatever really happened had the spirit shrinking away from the pair.

“So this is your power. Now I see. But I shall not depart this world empty handed!”

Before Watanuki could even blink the dark spirit was lunging at him, its ethereal form wrapping all around him, consuming him. It felt as if his body had been dipped in fire but he couldn't scream or even move out of fear and shock. His senses slowly began to fade as consciousness left him and the last things he was able to process were the incorporeal heat being pulled away and his own name being yelled in concerned tones.

()()()()()

Doumeki pulled back his bow and was ready to set the arrow on its course to the target when a spike of pain shot through his eye. The arrow buried itself in the ground as the archer clutched the eye he shared with his lover. A vision began to form. A monstrous spirit with inhuman eyes was lunging toward him until he was immersed in darkness, pain and terror. It suddenly began to fade away and soon the only darkness he saw was the palm of his hand slapped over his face. He slowly became aware of his teammates gathered around him in concern but he could pay them no mind now. Without a second thought Doumeki dropped his bow and sprinted off the range and toward the witch's shop, all the while praying to be met with nothing but an empty field. When the brunet rounded a corner and the strange, ornate building came into view his stomach dropped and his legs only propelled him faster toward it. Before he could even reach the door it was opened by the little twin spirits but he couldn't be bothered with them or even taking off his shoes. He knew that if Watanuki was here he would be in the guest bedroom so he made a bee line for his lover. He flung open the door and saw Yuuko standing over the pale boy's unconscious body. Tears sprung to his eyes as all the strength left his body. He slowly dragged his legs toward the bed before collapsing to his knees next to it.

“What happened?”

“A spirit cornered him in an alley. We arrived in time to save his life but this was inevitable.”

“Was it?” Doumeki felt anger rise in his stomach at the witch's cold reasoning. “Was this the only alternative? Was this the lesser of all evils?”

“Doumeki, despite what you might think, I did try to save him. Yes, I knew this was the most likely result but the heart has a tendency to hope for more favorable outcomes, especially when it concerns a loved one.”

“Fine, but you can bring him back now right? I can wish him back.”

“That won't work, it would be your eye all over again. The only payment I could accept would be for you to take his place and he would wish himself right back into this coma for your well being. If he even remembers you that is.”

“What?”

“I was able to save his life but the spirit was still able to steal a piece of his soul. A rather substantial one at that, from what I can tell. The Watanuki that was attacked may not be the one that wakes up.”

“So you're saying he'll be a different person?”

“Not really. A person's soul is forged from his or her experiences and memories. Memories are the most precious thing anyone can posses and by stealing them you steal crucial pieces of a person's soul. Watanuki may have forgotten his time in school, you, me, or even all the way back to his parents' death. How do you think you would handle that Doumeki?”

“It doesn't matter. Whatever happens, I will stand by him. I will always love him.”

“Good, he will need that.”

“Could you leave us now?”

“Alright, but you can't wait by him every minute until he wakes up. He wouldn't want you to sacrifice your health like that.”

“I know. Just for now...”

He didn't look to see if she was going but he heard the door close and that was good enough. He finally thought to take off his shoes before slipping under the covers beside his lover and gazing at his adorable sleeping face. The archer cuddled close to the unconscious boy and whispered in his ear.

“Come back, Kimihiro. I need you. You gave me something to care about, something to want. Without you I'll go back to the apathetic jerk I was before. You hated that guy remember? Stay with me, My Love, I can't be happy without you anymore.”

()()()()()

The next two weeks passed in a fairly similar manner. Doumeki would go to school, his mind never really on the classes, run back to the shop once the final bell rang, head straight to Watanuki's room to plead with the boy to wake up. Some days he would fall asleep holding his lover and others the twins would come to tell him it was late and he should go home. It always hurt to leave his poor Kimihiro but he knew that being patient was the best thing he could do. Then, one day he entered the shop to see Mokona waiting for him.

“Watanuki's soul has started stirring. Yuuko said you should hurry if you want to be there when he wakes up.”

Hope surged through the archer as he raced to the seer's room he wrenched the door open and ran to the bed, his eyes carefully watching for any movement that would indicate his awakening. His heart thumped behind his ribs as the raven's eye lids fluttered slightly and then opened as if from a calm sleep. The mismatched eyes blinked groggily a few times before focusing on the boy above him, though he was still blurry since he didn't have his glasses. The taller boy realized this and reached for the glasses on the bedside table as Watanuki slowly propped himself up to sit against the pillows. The seer accepted the offered glasses and put them on. Once his vision was clear and focused on Doumeki the older boy could no longer hold himself back and wrapped his lover in a tight embrace.

“Kimihiro, I'm so glad you're okay. I almost thought you would never wake up. These last two weeks without you have been Hell.”

“D-Doumeki?” His voice was quiet and horse from disuse but that one word was still enough to make the archer pull back a bit. “Am I dreaming? Must be a nightmare otherwise it would be Himawari hugging me.”

“What are you talking about, Kimihiro?” Doumeki didn't like the look on his darling's face, the same hopeless, love-struck look he used to get when talking about the unlucky girl.

“Stop calling me that, idiot. I never gave you permission to use my given name.”

It suddenly struck Doumeki what had happened.

“You forgot about us. That's what the spirit stole from you, your memories of us.”

“Would you please stop spouting nonsense. It's too early for it.” The smaller boy made to get out of bed, trying to escape this weird conversation.

“No, you have to understand.” The exorcist grabbed his confused lover by the arms . “The two of us are together, a couple. We're in love but two weeks ago you were attacked by a spirit and it stole your most precious memories of our relationship.”

“You've gone crazy. Let go of me!”

“No. I will not let you go because you have to remember. I waited for you. I prayed, begged, for you to wake up so we could be together again. Please, Kimihiro, please, you need to remember.”

“Doumeki, you have lost your mind! I'm in love with Himawari.”

Doumeki's heart broke a little at that. The love of his life, the boy he'd pined over for years, was flat out rejecting him. Tears began to sting behind his eyes and he made one last, desperate attempt.

“In your mind that may be how you feel but your body will remember me. Forgive me, My Love.”

The archer surged forward to kiss his lover hard and fast, pinning his small body to the pillows with his own. The kiss lasted only a few seconds before the older boy detached to nibble at the spot where his mark was barely visible. When he heard Watanuki gasp and whimper at his touch the older boy loosened his grip and peppered kisses toward his collar bone. Suddenly a harsh, blunt pain erupted in the side of his face and he fell off the bed. He stared up at his beloved, face flushed with anger, fist raised and eyes blazing with hatred, utterly crushed. He rose slowly, a few tears falling down his forced stoic face.

“Alright, I'll leave you for now. I'm sorry I tried to force you to remember. I'll give you some time and, hopefully, it will come back naturally. If not...I will always love you, Watanuki.” The name felt wrong as it left his lips and all the archer could do was turn and walk out the door before he could make a bigger fool of himself.

The seer sat on the bed for a few minutes, stunned and still seething over the other's attack. What the Hell was that bastard thinking anyway? And why had he been acting so emotional? Watanuki decided he would ask Yuuko about the older boy's strange behavior and got up to go find her. As usual, she was in her lounge lying over her couch in an elaborate kimono which hung loosely over her body and her hair done up in some needlessly complicated style of braids. Beside her were Maru and Moro and Mokona sat on her shoulder. They all wore the most grim expressions he had ever seen.

“What's wrong?”

“Doumeki has informed us of your condition.” Yuuko spoke smoothly.

“Condition?”

“Your loss of memory. I knew the spirit had stolen a significant portion of you but even I couldn't have predicted this.”

“What are you talking about? I'm the same as I've always been. It's Doumeki whose acting crazy.”

“I see. And what is the last thing you remember?”

The raven scrunched up his face for a moment before answering.

“I was talking to Himawari. She touched my neck.” He brought his fingers to the almost completely faded bruise. “And then she had to run off to go shopping.”

“What about before that?”

“I was working all day. I remember feeling really impatient but I don't know why.”

“And what happened in between these things?”

Watanuki brought his hand to his forehead and furrowed his brow in thought. “It's a blur. I don't know what happened.”

“Why did Himawari touch your neck?”

“I...don't know.”

“What did you see while you were asleep?”

“Nothing, it was completely black.”

“How long were you asleep?”

“A few hours maybe. What does any of this have to do with why Doumeki was acting like a lunatic?”

“Because you were not asleep a few mere hours. You were stuck in a coma for two weeks after being attacked by a spirit.”

Watanuki froze for a moment, trying to process Yuuko's words.

“But...Doumeki said the same thing but that's not possible. How could I live with no food or water for two weeks?”

“The magic of this house sustained you during your slumber as it has sustained me over the years. As well as Maru and Moro.”

“It can't be.” The seer fell to his knees in shock.

“But it is. That day, while I was waiting for you, I felt a chill run through the lines of destiny. I know now that the chill was a curse Himawari unintentionally placed on you. This curse called the spirit to you and made it ravenous enough to defy my power and try to take you with it.”

“So I really was in a relationship with Doumeki? But...but we hate each other. He's always trying to steal Himawari's attention from me.”

“Or, perhaps, yours from her.”

“But he's always teasing me in that damn monotone of his. Besides, he's so popular what would he even see in me?”

“The same thing that Zashiki Warashi sees in you. But, regardless of that, I notice you haven't made the argument that you are both men.”

The boy's pale face flushed pink and he began twiddling his thumbs from his seat on the ground. “I don't...I mean, I feel...well...I don't discriminate people like that. Not that I want another guy because I love Himawari, but...if he were sweet and caring I might...I might come around.”

By the end of his speech his face was red and hot and a smirk had found its way to the witch's lips.

“Watanuki, I think you should speak with Doumeki again. You may find he is more than what you're looking for.”

The dichromatic boy thought back to Doumeki's kiss. It was demanding, harsh, and almost brutal. The way the older boy had bitten his neck was domineering and primal. It all made him feel helpless and trapped and, more than anything, used. How could he ever have let himself be in a relationship where he was clearly nothing but a sex toy? How could Yuuko be suggesting that he go back to that?

“No. I don't want to see him. He's nothing like what I want. I want Himawari.”

Yuuko sighed, “Well, that is unfortunate as Doumeki has volunteered to walk you to and from school tomorrow to asses what other damage may have been done, as well as to tutor you in the classes you missed while you were asleep. Rather generous of him, I'd say, considering how you broke his heart.”

“Broke his heart?”

“Talk to Doumeki about it tomorrow if you want better answers. For now, you have two weeks of chores to catch up on. Starting with a little lunch and some drinks.”

“Drinks! Drinks!” Mokona cheered from his perch.

“I just woke up from a coma and you want me to cook?” The boy bristled like a cat.

“Don't talk back to your boss, young man.”

Watanuki grumbled at the woman's unrealistic request and shuffled off to grant it.

The next morning, Doumeki met Watanuki outside the empty field which hid the witch's shop. He was a little surprised when he could no longer see the building but supposed it was because all he had wished was for his lover, former lover, to be okay. Now that the boy was awake he didn't have a wish anymore. Or, at least not one Yuuko could grant. It would appear for him again when he could be of service. He looked up when the raven appeared out of thin air and gave him a bright smile which was met with a glare. His face dropped instantly and the two began walking in silence. The few times the archer tried to start a conversation the younger boy simply walked a little faster and looked away angrily. That is until they walked past a park and the bespectacled but simply stopped and stared.

“What's wrong?”

“It's not here. There's a spirit tied to this park that usually chases me.”

“Well, my presence might be keeping it away. That's why I'm here after all.”

“No, it's not that. I would still be able to see it and it would still come within a few feet. Stay here, I want to test something.”

Doumeki grabbed his arm, “Kimihiro, I'm not going to let you waltz into a spirit's territory alone.”

“I told you to stop using my birth name.”

“Watanuki...”

“Shut up. I need to check this out so give me back my arm.”

The seer yanked away from Doumeki and marched defiantly into the park. He moved toward the swings, having seen the spirit push other children off of them many times. He sat down and began to swing slowly until he felt a sudden force push him forward off the seat. He spun around but saw nothing. There was no foul presence either and it was as if the spirit was ignoring him now that he was off the swing. The truth dawned on him and a smile broke across his face. Watanuki ran back to the park entrance and even tried to go right past the taller boy.

“What happened?” Doumeki called as he jogged after the young man.

The pale boy suddenly stopped and turned with the biggest grin the archer had seen in a long time.

“I didn't see anything. The spirit pushed me off the swing but I didn't see it.”

“You can't see them anymore? Isn't that dangerous?”

“Nope. Not only can't I see them but this spirit didn't seem to care about me at all once I was off the swing. Don't you get it? I'm normal!”

“This is wrong. We need to tell Yuuko about this.”

“Yeah, yeah, later. Right now, I want to go to school and have a day completely free of spirits.”

Doumeki stared at the wide smile and bright eyes of his love. He could never deny him such happiness so he slowly nodded his head and continued walking, Watanuki practically skipping beside him. The older boy couldn't help worrying though as his mind conjured all the possible dangers that may still want to consume his dear treasure in his now defenseless state. Regardless of if the boy in question could remember, Kimihiro was Shizuka's precious love and would always be protected. Doumeki also tried not to think of this as being rejected but as a second chance to court the boy as he deserved. He would simply have to be gentle.

At last they reached the school gates with Watanuki still walking on air, a condition which only worsened when Himawari came into view. The bespectacled boy swooned with a stupidly happy grin on his face while Doumeki's own features twisted into a scowl. The archer had never liked the girl. She was boring and bland with no passion in her heart and, to top it off, she was dangerous. Watanuki was so infatuated with how 'cute' her face was that he constantly put himself in harm's way trying to get close to her. When they had been together Doumeki had asked his love not to hang around her which the younger boy had mistaken for jealousy and thought it was adorable but in reality it was because she was just a threat Doumeki would not tolerate.

“Himawari!”

Watanuki called to the girl of his dreams. She turned and the pale boy watched her long pigtails sway with the motion. She looked confused for a moment but then a smile dawned on her face and she trotted over. Watanuki's heart shone with happiness at her smile and he wondered why he would ever take Doumeki over this beautiful angel.

“Watanuki, you're finally back in school. We were really worried about you.”

“Oh, Himawari, you're so sweet to worry but everything's fine now.” The first bell tolled through the air and they all fell silent.

“Ah, I need to get to class.”

“Alright, let me walk you there.”

“No.” Doumeki stopped his former lover with a hand on his shoulder. “We can't be late either, Watanuki.”

“It's not that far, I'll make it.” The smaller boy said with a glare.

“No, he's right, Watanuki.” The girl chimed in “You shouldn't be late on your first day back. I would hate for you to get in trouble on my account.”

“Oh, Himawari, you are so kind. Alright, I'll do as you wish. See you at lunch.”

Himawari glanced at Doumeki for a second before giving a tentative nod and heading for her class. The two boys walking in another direction, an awkward quiet hanging over them until the ex-seer could stand it no more.

“This neediness really doesn't suit you, Doumeki.”

“Huh?”

“The way you tried to keep me away from Himawari like some jealous ex, it was weird. At least before I could deal with you but now? I just don't understand what you've become.”

“But...”

“No, listen, we are not together and as far as I'm concerned, we never were so let's just forget all of this. Just go back to when we hated each other.”

Doumeki's heart felt like it had been torn to shreds at this final rejection. His hopes for a new romance were crushed and all he could do was nod shakily, no words forming to aid him. They both schooled their expressions as they reached the classroom and moved silently to their respective seats.

The day trudged by as the exorcist tried desperately to quash the wild range of emotions whirling through his soul. The sorrow over the loss of his love, the anger at the spirit who did this, the guilt over not being able to stop it and, most turbulent of all, rage, jealousy and worry surrounding Watanuki fawning over Himawari again. His heart was in a vice, his brain was about to explode, his stomach churned dangerously and he just wanted it all to go back to the way it used to be. The final bell pierced his mind and told him it was time to go. He quickly packed his things and followed Watanuki out the door, remaining silent as they exited the building. He swallowed a sudden surge of bile as the pale youth gave a cheery goodbye to that stupid girl. It was only when they reached the shop that something strange happened. Watanuki's walking slowed to a stop and the smile drained from his face.

“I don't see the shop.” He all but whispered.

“It's right there. Why can't you see it?”

“Why can you?”

“Ever since I gave you half my eye I can see what you're seeing if it triggers a strong emotion. I've also been able to see and enter the shop if I'm needed.”

“So you're needed and I'm not?”

“Or...your wish has been granted. You can't see spirits anymore so you have what you want and no longer need the shop. I see it because I have a wish now.”

Realization dawned on the smaller boy's face and he turned toward Doumeki in a rage.

“Don't you dare, Doumeki! I won't let you take this away from me just so you can have a fuck toy. There's no way in Hell...”

He was stopped short by the brunet cupping his face in his large, warm hands. The action was gentle and his gold eyes were sad.

“I would never. Your happiness is more important to me than anything, that's why I have to do this.”

“D-do what?”

“I have to end my pain in the only way that will save you.”

“Doumeki, what are you going to do?”

“I'm sorry. I'm sorry I've been selfishly pushing my feelings on you but you won't have to deal with this, with me much longer.”

“Doumeki...”

“Please, since I will never have this chance again, may I have one last kiss?”

Watanuki was stunned silent for a moment. In his own mind this would only be his second kiss and he didn't really count what Doumeki did when he woke up. Then the tall boy had been forceful but in this case, the ex-seer knew that if he said no, nothing would happen and this comforting thought almost had him turning the archer away. Yet something in those honey eyes, a quiet and desperate sadness, made him nod slowly.

The older boy tilted his hands on the raven's face so his long fingers tickled the nape of his neck and leaned down carefully. Just before their lips met Watanuki felt a tiny rush of anticipation and hesitation but when soft lips gently slanted onto his own, he was lost in it. His eyelids fluttered closed and his hands slip up to broad shoulders as he was overcome with a sense of loss, regret and sadness. The scene was ridiculous. Killing yourself over a breakup was something too juvenile for comparison but the ache this gentle kiss brought to Watanuki's heart made him see the tragedy rather than the childishness and petty feelings he had before. He felt Doumeki separate their lips and he opened his eyes with a new clarity in his vision. The archer ran the pad of his thumb across a pale cheek to wipe away a tear Watanuki hadn't realized he'd shed.

“Doumeki, you don't have to.”

“Yes, I do. Goodbye, My Kimihiro, and remember that I have always loved you and always will.”

The taller boy quickly turned and stepped into the seemingly empty field, promptly disappearing. Watanuki tried to follow him but the shop's magic kept him out. His wish had been granted after all. The chance for a normal life was his and all it cost him was Doumeki. It should have been worth it but it wasn't. It wasn't even close.

The archer slowly and calmly made his way through the house until he found himself in the witch's lounge. For the first time he'd ever seen her, Yuuko sat perfectly straight and serious on her little couch, an equally sullen Mokona on her knee and the blank faced twins on either side of her. It made Doumeki feel a little guilty but it was still his wish to make.

“Hello Doumeki, I see you have a wish for me to grant.”

“Yes.”

“And Watanuki is outside?”

“He has what he wanted.”

“I feared something like that may happen. The spirit took something precious from him so, to keep an essential balance, something troubling had to be taken as well.”

“I don't care. He's happy and that's what matters.”

“And you?”

“It feels like someone dipped my heart in liquid Nitrogen and used it as a punching bag.”

“I see. And what is it you want me to do?”

“I don't want this pain anymore. I can't take it, but I can't hurt Kimihiro.”

“I can only help you if you tell me what you want.”

“I wish to be like him. I wish away all the memories of our relationship.”

Yuuko leaned forward seriously and pinned him with her stare. “You ask much of me, Doumeki. I have already told you how important memories are. You know their value.”

“I'll pay any price.”

“You don't seem to understand. No trinket from your grandfather's storage will do for this wish. For me to take away this pain you must also give up one pleasure.”

“Anything.”

“Then this is what must be done; Your feelings for Watanuki will never change, you will be eternally loyal and will love him without condition but you can never voice these feelings to him. Even if you are pushed you cannot tell him you love him or you will be rejected instantly and the pain will return. These are the only terms I can accept.”

“I understand but aren't the odds against me? If you take my memories I won't remember getting rejected and thus won't remember this conversation. What happens then?”

“Despite what Watanuki may say, it is obvious that his memories are still foggy in some areas and not completely gone, you will be the same. I will eliminate the memories directly relating to your relationship but the connecting memories, giving up half your eye, his time in a coma, and this conversation will be foggy but still there. Because of this there will always be a feeling in the back of your mind telling you to remain silent or face the consequences.”

“...I accept.”

()()()()()

Watanuki paced back and forth in front of the field, an agitated scowl on his face. This wasn't what he wanted. He never would have wished for anything like this. He stopped and punched the fence with all his strength, his knuckles splitting with the force of impact and the slightly splintered wood. He ignored the pain and continued pacing. If he was so unhappy, why couldn't he see the shop? What did his wish have to be? He knew he had to stop Doumeki. He couldn't be responsible for another person's death, but what could he do? What did he want?

“I want...I want to know what happened. I want to know how...why we got together. That's my wish.”

The bespectacled boy looked to the square of grass and watched as the shop shimmered into existence until it was solid and he could march up the path. He flung open the door to Yuuko's lounge and his blood turned to ice at what met him. Yuuko and the others were all standing before an unconscious Doumeki, sprawled unceremoniously on the floor. When Watanuki's muscles would listen to him again, he was off like a shot. He hurled himself over Doumeki's prone body and flipped it so he was facing upward. When the tan boy didn't respond to the movement the ex-seer turned his rage to the woman who did this.

“You bitch! What did you do?”

“I granted his wish.” She replied coolly.

“What the Hell happened to 'Death is too heavy' huh? How could you do something like this?”

Yuuko's eyes narrowed. “You seem to be rather confused, Watanuki. Check his pulse.”

The pale boy quickly pressed his fingers to Doumeki's neck and as he felt the steady heartbeat, his own started to calm. But then, what was the archer's wish?

“Why is he like this then?”

“He wished to be like you. He wished away all his memories of your love. This sleep is just his mind adjusting.”

Watanuki heaved a sigh of relief and confusion.

“But...I thought...”

“Honestly, Watanuki, you should know Doumeki better than to wish for suicide. If he wanted to die he would do it himself and not bother me with a wish he knew I would never grant.”

“Sorry, it's just, he said he would never see me again. Will he be like this forever?”

“Of course not but why don't we get more comfortable so we can speak properly. Maru, Moro, please take Doumeki to the guest room so he can rest.”

“Yes, Mistress.” They chorused.

Yuuko sat back on her couch and Watanuki knelt comfortably on the floor. “On to business. I believe you have a wish for me.”

“You never answered my question.”

“Yes, but you have many questions and answering them all for free is just bad business sense.”

“Fine. What do you want in return for the information?”

“I think it would be best to go back to our original arrangement. Work for me until I feel your debt is paid and you can ask as much as you want.”

“Deal. Will Doumeki be asleep forever?”

“I already told you no. Try moving forward with these questions, not back.”

“How long will he be asleep?”

“Much better, Watanuki. Your coma lasted for two weeks because your mind was constantly fighting the loss while Doumeki is giving up his memories willingly so he should wake up in the next day or two.”

“Why did he say he would never see me again?”

“In a way, he won't. In the same way that the 'you' who loved him is gone, now the 'Doumeki' who had been loved is gone as well. You changed each other in your time together and now the people you were are dead.”

Watanuki froze, eyes wide and hands clenched in the fabric of his pants. He hated the thought of killing anyone even if he knew Doumeki was still alive in the next room. The simple notion that he had stolen so much of another person's life terrified him.

“Will...” He swallowed the lump in his throat. “Will he ever remember?”

“No. He gave me all his memories which directly involved your relationship. His connecting memories, and yours as well, are still in tact.”

“Connecting memories?”

“Like what you remember with Himawari before your attack. Little moments when you weren't together or weren't focusing on him.”

“Little moments...” He said quietly. “So, I'll never remember how we...”

Yuuko smiled teasingly at the blushing boy. “Sweet, innocent, Watanuki. Did you want to remember your more intimate trysts?”

“W-what?! No!” His blush flared dramatically. “I wanted to know how we got together in the first place.”

“Oh, but that's no fun at all. You should have seen yourself after your first night together. All bow-legged and hunched over, absolutely hilarious.”

“Gaaaaah! No no no no no! I don't want to hear it!” He screamed and covered his ears.

“He loved you.”

“I said I don't...”

“Not that. He loved you in the same way he has always loved you, and always will. Fierce devotion, unending loyalty and constant protection. You are the moon to him, Watanuki and he showed you in the only way he could that would get through that thick head of yours, he told you.”

“So he just confessed and we started dating? I don't think so.”

The witch stood and walked over to the kneeling boy, pointing a long slender finger at his right eye.

“He saved your life, cemented your bond with a physical pact, vowed his allegiance forever and stole your first kiss. He told you, in every way he could fathom.”

“So what happens now?”

“That is entirely up to you. This is where you decide your true wish, Watanuki. Do you want to go back to the life you had, constantly seeking an ideal that is now available, or will you choose the more difficult path which will lead to a result you've never considered?”

Watanuki was silent for a long time, simply staring at the small patch of carpet between his knees. What should he do? Who should he choose? Who did he want? He had one more question before he could be sure of his decision.

“A long time ago, you told me I was tied to Doumeki by the red string of fate. Was that a joke or did you see this happening?”

“At the time it was a joke but whenever two people meet there is always a connection made and those bonds change as people do. The thing about string is that, while it is easy to cut, it is just as easily retied if you care enough to.”

“I...I want...”

“No.” Watanuki looked up at her, surprised. “This is important and needs to be thought carefully about. Go home, sleep, take in everything I've told you and come back tomorrow with your decision. I will not take your answer now.”

The boy nodded and slowly rose to his feet. He bowed slightly to his employer and turned to leave without another word. He walked mindlessly home, eyes glazed in thought and completely unseeing. If he were still a spirit magnet Doumeki would tell him to stop spacing out. But Himawari would just tell him to be careful and worry over him. As he entered his apartment his body guided him to his bed with no intention of stopping to eat or remove his uniform. What did a few wrinkles matter anyway? It felt like his mind was going too fast and too slow at the same time. Thoughts whirred and buzzed in the background, each with its own questions and paths and problems making them veer off course and crash into each other and on top of it all loomed a single, heavy, time stopping question...Doumeki or Himawari? He knew he had made this choice before but he could not remember what had swayed it so heavily to Doumeki's side. Was it really just his love and devotion? And how did he show this devotion anyway? Teasing and a constant cold shoulder. Himawari was sweet, genuine an uncomplicated. She was the kind of real, honest person Watanuki really wanted. Why had he ever picked Doumeki? As this final thought fluttered across his mind the young man felt his eyelids droop as sleep overtook him.

His eyes opened to a beautiful field of stars and a bright quarter moon. He felt a slight breeze ruffle his hair as the smell of cherry blossoms and freshly cut grass wafted over him. He smiled peacefully and leaned back slightly, his hands gently gripping the edge of the porch. He suddenly felt someone stir beside him and looked over to see...Was that Doumeki? He could hardly see the person beside him as their body rippled and swirled as if they were simply a reflection in a lake but the tall, broad stature, perfect posture and sunset colored splotches-where-eyes-should-be definitely gave the impression it was the archer.

“Watanuki,” The voice was quiet and garbled like it was spoken through layers of clothes yet still held that unmistakable baritone. “I'm sorry about all this.”

“About what?”

“I always try to protect you, do all I can to keep you safe, and all it did was cost you your eye.”

Oh, this was after the incident with the spider lady. “It wasn't your fault. And, besides, you gave me half of yours so we're even.”

“You're kind but wrong. We will never be even and I will never be able to pay you back.”

“What did I ever do?”

“You gave me a mission. School, sports, even the temple, I've never really cared for any of it. Only in you have I found a passion. Protecting you has become my calling.”

“Doumeki, are you saying I'm your dream job?”

“No, but you are my dream. I love you Watanuki.”

“What?!” The bespectacled boy reeled back from the strange, straight forward statement.

“I'm sorry. I thought it was time you knew the truth.”

“But aren't you always showing off in front of Himawari?” Watanuki was confused, he knew all this but couldn't help asking anyway.

“I can't stand that girl, all she does is steal your attention. I show off for you.”

“But you tease me all the time. That's not love, that's mean.”

“I don't mean to hurt you, you're just too adorable when you get mad. Like a kitten puffing itself up to look bigger.”

“I'm not a kitten!” Watanuki bristled at the accusation.

“Hahahaha,that's the look. Hahaha.”

Watanuki was genuinely shocked. He had never heard his rival laugh before and he couldn't help wishing that it were clearer or that he could properly see the other's smiling face. A smiling Doumeki is something he would pay anything to see. The laughter died and the blurry boy turned his body to face the dreamer and started to lean in. Watanuki was still too stunned over the older boy's laugh to move and he felt a nervous warmth fill his chest. Dream-Doumeki lifted his hand to lightly stroke inky black hair but once it made contact a ripple was sent through the dream and everything began to fade and darken with only a weakening tingle and soft laugh playing in the back of his mind as he woke.

The next day the ex-seer stayed in his same zombie like state as he went along his business. He stopped into the shop on his way to school to check on Doumeki and seeing the usually strong boy in his comatose state sent a chill of fear and sadness up and down his spine. He couldn't help wondering how he would look with his mouth turned up in an easy grin. In a way it felt like a familiar image but it was still so distant that he couldn't be sure. School wasn't much better. His classes were dull and due to his time away he could barely understand anything the teachers said. Even having lunch with Himawari seemed boring and trivial even when he would normally be hanging off her every word. The girl noticed this and was about to say something when the lunch bell rang. Watanuki didn't even look at her as he packed his things and left. Once school was done he made his way back to the shop where he found Yuuko in the hall outside the guest room.

“I see you've made a decision.” She said, only glancing at him.

“Doumeki, he was happy with me wasn't he?”

“Extremely.”

“Then I want him to be happy. Himawari can get by without me and...I want to see him smile.”

“Very good, Watanuki, that is an excellent wish and one that I do not have the power to grant.”

“What?”

“You made up your mind on your own and what you have chosen is also something only you can do. You must woo him and I can't help you with that.”

“Can't you just give me a charm or artifact or something to make me...I don't know, attractive?”

Yuuko sighed and looked at him disapprovingly. “You are attractive, Watanuki. And you should know better than to try and start a relationship on such a trick.”

“I know, I just...have no idea what I'm doing.”

“You chose this path and, as long as you stick to it, everything will work out in the end.” Her head tilted to the side for a second and a smirk spread on her painted lips. “It seems Doumeki is stirring, and even earlier than I'd imagined. You may go see him if you'd like.”

Watanuki nodded slowly and went to open the door to the room he, himself, had occupied only a couple days ago. He looked back at the witch as she nodded knowingly and walked away. As he entered the room he saw the archer was already sitting up and watching him with the same blank stare that had become the norm in the last few years. No. Not the last few years. The norm for so long had been happy but the raven haired boy had only ever seen blank, sad and desperate. It seemed strange to want the 'old Doumeki' back when he had never met him and that the boy before him was the old Doumeki. It was more accurate to say that he wanted to see the 'inner Doumeki' and never lose him again.

“Hey Watanuki.” The flat, deep voice snapped the younger from his thoughts and he stepped over to the bed to talk to his friend.

“Hey. You had us worried.”

“Us? Yuuko's the one that did this.”

“Fine, it was just...Wait, you remember?”

“Yeah. Just what?”

“How can you remember everything?”

“I don't. Just what?” Doumeki's voice didn't falter or hitch or even raised to show any form of emotion or reaction which thoroughly aggravated Watanuki.

“You're not making any sense. How can you remember and not remember at the same time?”

“I remember fragments but I know I must have made a wish so I'm not worried about it. Just what?”

“What?”

“You said 'it was just...' Just what?”

“...Me. J-just me...I was worried.”

Watanuki looked away, a small blush spreading across the bridge of his nose. He flinched slightly as he felt a large hand brush through his hair. He looked back at the older boy's face and the archer did not remove his hand. It looked almost like he wanted to say something even though his expression was as passive as ever. A thousand possibilities flew through Watanuki's mind of what he wanted it to be. A small apology? Comfort? A compliment on his thoughtfulness?

“You're an idiot.”

Anything but that. Anger surged through the bespectacled boy for a moment and he slapped the other's hand away.

“Oh, I am so sorry. I just walk into the shop and see you lying unconscious, on the floor. I got scared, okay, excuse me for having emotions.” Just as the former seer was getting started on his real rant, Doumeki's stomach decided it would no longer be ignored and let out a loud gurgle. “You must be starving. I'll go make you something.”

Doumeki watched the pale boy walk away and silently cursed his stomach for cutting his time with him short. He looked down at his hand and remembered how soft and silky that ebony hair had felt between his fingers and wondered why he had to tease the boy so harshly when it only pushed them further apart. Then a picture of those wide, mismatched eyes and cheeks flushed bright with anger flashed across his eyelids and he questioned it no more. He was simply too cute when he was mad. But then he would smile. He would smile at Himawari in that warm, cheerful, genuine way that broke Doumeki's heart with its beauty. Or was it jealousy? The archer knew he could never get a look like that from his secret treasure and it killed him inside. It was even worse knowing that his sole purpose, protecting the boy from spirits, had been stolen from him. Watanuki would choose that stupid bitch and Doumeki would be left with nothing, as always. It hurt knowing these things. It made him want to scream his feelings at his beautiful love and the boy's sweet words had almost broken him. But what good would it do? The one painful truth more concrete in the exorcist's mind than anything else was that his love would always be one sided.

Doumeki continued on these thoughts for a couple minutes until the door he'd been watching absently, slid open once again. Watanuki held a large tray with two plates of sliced eggs, mixed fruit and fried pork strips. He set the tray across the older boy's lap, pulled up a chair beside him and grabbed his own plate.

“You made one for yourself?”

“You always steal part of my portion anyway. Besides, it's rude to just watch someone eat.”

Doumeki seemed to accept this and started eating. Watanuki did not.

“...I was really scared, you know. I've never seen you so helpless and, honestly, I...I didn't like it.”

Doumeki froze mid-bite and stared, dumbfounded, at the confession. His resolve was crumbling beneath him but the fear of rejection kept his indifferent mask strong.

“I-I've also been thinking...We've been friends awhile so why don't we call each other by our first names? What do you think?”

The brunet's eyes widened a fraction and he was shocked silent for a moment before his lips part and he let slip the word he has so long dreamed of uttering. “Kimihiro.” He put his all into making it sound flat but the blush on his love's cheeks clearly told him a little of the reverence had leaked through.

“Sh-Shizuka.” Was whispered back in the most adorably bashful way the older boy could have possibly imagined.

It was amazing how one word could hold such power. How just his barely audible name could shake the stone faced archer to the core and leave his fear all but forgotten. This could very easily be his one chance, the opening he'd waited so many years for and, by all the Gods, he was going to take it. He took Watanuki's plate on his lap, food completely untouched, and set it on the tray with his own half eaten plate. He gently placed the tray on the bedside table and pulled the covers back so he could swing his legs off the edge. He did not stand up, merely stared at the boy sitting across from him with hardly a foot of space dividing them. His throat clenched and unclenched and the words tingled along his lips but the fear was quickly rising again and he knew he would have to act quickly. In a blink his suddenly panicking mind ordered his arm to shoot out and yanked the two of them together so Watanuki was forced to straddle his lap. Watanuki's cheeks flared red as he had to catch himself on the older boy's broad shoulders and his slender body was encircled by a pair of strong arms.

Stillness. The world froze for a solid five seconds and really, neither of them moved first. They simply gravitated toward each other until their lips met and time started once again. The kiss was slow and cautious, both testing if the other would accept it. Neither pulled away until their lungs burned for air and as their gazes met the ex-seer spoke first.

“Why did you do that?”

“Why didn't you fight it?”

They clashed back together in an instant with a new confidence in their movements. Kisses came and went quicker and with more ferocity each time. The boys clutched at each other, hands venturing beneath clothes in the pursuit of warm flesh. With one strong movement, the archer rolled them so Watanuki was lying on the bed, his legs still wrapped around his soon-to-be-lover's hips. They continued to exchange hungry kisses, some landing on cheeks, chins or necks before always returning to their match set. The two of them were rocking their bodies together as if wishing the clothes would simply melt off and they could touch. Unfortunately, such wishes are unreasonable and the brunet boy was forced to pull away so he could divest them of their shirts. A small victory perhaps, but with such great rewards.

Beautiful. Doumeki gazed down at the raven haired boy with pure awe. His pale skin looked simply lovely with a light blush starting at the bridge of his nose and descending past his tiny pink nipples. His chest was completely hairless and his slight but well defined musculature was displayed brilliantly. He wanted more. He wanted to touch and taste and claim, and so he did.

Watanuki was absolutely stunned by the older boy's body. He was lean yet perfectly sculpted and gorgeously tan. Even his nipples were the color of caramel. The bespectacled boy was so absorbed in the bronze Adonis before him that he hardly noticed when the aforementioned boy leaned down to lick a trail up his throat. A myriad of tingles and shivers wracked his body at the light, sensual contact and he could not contain a sharp gasp. Watanuki tilted his head back into the pillows in offering to the warm mouth. Apparently this action was appreciated because Shizuka practically made a feast out of his upper body, licking and kissing all across his delicate neck, even sucking a mark into a patch of skin just below the dichromatic boy's pulse point when he gave a particularly loud moan. Once the archer was satisfied with his neck he moved lower to lightly trail his teeth over the prominent collar bone presented to him and even lower to nibble the rosy buds, already hard and sensitive from lust. Kimihiro arched his back forcefully toward the gently, teasing teeth and moaned in an almost demand for more. The brunet placed his hands firmly on his lover's sides and pushed him back to the mattress, not even close to done with mapping out the younger's body. He noticed that whenever the raven tried to push upward again and his fingers would press into his ribs, Kimihiro would let out the sexiest little whines. He dug his digits in a little deeper and was rewarded with hitched breath and a loud whimper of barely contained pleasure. Seems Kimihiro is a little bit of a masochist. Perfect.

Shizuka continued down, licking over the younger boy's flat stomach until an obstruction came in the form of a pair of pants. The older slowly pushed the button through the hole and pulled the zipper down teasingly so Watanuki could feel every tooth come free against his straining cock. The slow torture did not end there as the once stoic boy slipped his fingers under the waistband of his boxers and slid them around so his palms rested on his hip bones. Shizuka started to run his hands all the way down the length of his legs, bringing the annoying clothes away with them. Once the pale youth was laid bare on the mattress the archer continued his meal. And he started with a big taste of his hardness. The younger boy's body lurched in pleasure as the tongue and lips of the exorcist massaged and suckled his swollen head. His hips pushed against Doumeki's strong hands, his head wrenched back as a long scream was let loose. The older boy pulled off for a moment but Watanuki could still feel his warm breath as he spoke.

“Quiet, they'll hear you.”

“Don't care. Don't...Don't stop sucking me.” He panted.

But he didn't. Instead the brunet peppered soft kisses on the abandoned head and down the twitching shaft, adding the occasional nip to the tight flesh to receive short, wanton yelps. More kisses, these hot and wet, were laid along the creamy inner thigh and its owner began to wiggle impatiently.

“Why, Shizuka? Stop teasing.”

“You were bossy and should be punished.”

“Shizuka, please!” He all but wailed. “Let me cum!”

“Oh, you'll cum. Don't worry about that.”

Watanuki wasn't sure if that was a comfort or a threat but it suddenly didn't matter when a hot, slick tongue poked at his hole. At first it just trailed over his outer muscles, making them flutter excitedly, but soon grew bold and pressed inside. The reaction was instantaneous as the feeling of that soft muscle wiggling within him caused the younger boy to violently arch his spine and release a primal howl. Warm cum splashed all over its owner's chest as he slowly came down from his high. The world started to form around him again and he became aware of a slight pressure at his hole. He looked down and saw Shizuka pumping three fingers in and out of him.

“How long was I gone?”

“Long enough. You're ready for me.”

The archer pulled his digits out of his lover, a small whimper resulting from the action. Shizuka was quickly learning that he loved those pleasured noises more and more as each one was released and his favorite had been the scream of orgasm. It made his blood churn with wild lust at the mere thought of hearing it again. His hard-on pulsed insistently between his legs and he could no longer deny it, or his treasured love, full release. He scooped up more cum off the boy's chest and used it to lube his waiting cock. Gently, the brunet spread his lover's legs a little wider and touched the puckered hole with his tip.

“Wait.” Kimihiro gasped.

“What's wrong?”

“I-I'm scared.”

“Should I stop?” Asked Shizuka, concern and love outweighing disappointment.

“No, just...hold me for a minute.”

The archer nodded and carefully lifted the slender boy into his lap in a similar way to when they started. The former seer wrapped himself tightly around Doumeki and buried his face into a broad shoulder. He was trembling. The elder wondered if this would ever happen, if it should. He was the one to push the issue and he was the one truly in love. He didn't know the younger boy's feelings. His heart was beginning to form new cracks for doubt to slip through and he held his beloved more firmly in a desperate attempt to keep these thoughts away.

“Shizuka, I...I want you to know that...I love you. I didn't really put it together until I saw you at your weakest but...that feeling of never wanting to lose you, that's love. Isn't it?”

Doumeki was amazed. Watanuki, Kimihiro, the boy he had treasured for so long, the boy he had dedicated his life to, had just returned his feelings. For a long moment he couldn't speak, only clutch him tighter as his brain tried to reboot. Finally, words were formed.

“Yes. Yes, My Kimihiro, that is love.”

The young man took a deep breath and his body stilled. “I'm ready. I'm yours.”

The archer didn't want to disturb the moment they had created so he carefully lined them up and eased his lover down onto him. It was a slow decent and he savored every fresh inch of the raven's heavenly tight sheath he was allowed inside. The warm inner flesh gripped almost perfectly around his length as he pushed deeper inside, watching Kimihiro's face relax with the pleasure the slight pain brought him. Finally their hips met and both of them released a sigh of fulfillment at being truly connected. It was utter perfection as far as Doumeki was concerned but he was sure the younger's body needed time to adjust so he determinedly fought every instinct to pound this wonderful hole and make it his.

“Are you alright?”

“Y-yeah, just...please move.”

The brunet nodded and gently wrapped his hands around the perfect globes of his dear one's ass. He gave the cheeks a light squeeze before he began rocking them together. The motion wasn't really slow but it remained steady and where the dichromatic boy had originally just hung on, he was quickly becoming an active participant. He used the strength in his arms and legs to help him ride the deepening thrusts, he rotated his hips every time they slapped back together, his muscles clenched on the out-pulls, his back arched and his voice rang like a cat in heat. It was all rapidly becoming too much and Doumeki knew it was time for a grand finale.

Watanuki felt himself be lifted for a second before his back slammed into the mattress. He kept his legs tight around Shizuka's waist and the honey eyed boy's hands on his ass elevated his hips for gloriously deep penetration. The angle shifted slightly and the ex-seer saw white. He screamed at the explosion of pleasure he hadn't thought possible and raked his fingernails down his lover's strong back. His brain turned to mush in the wake of the intense sensation and pure desire ran wild with his voice.

“Oh, Shizuka! More! Please, more! I need your huge cock pounding me right there! Oh, just like that! Harder! Yes! Faster! YES!”

The older boy easily complied with the raven's demands, his hips pistoning instinctively as lust and passion drove them higher and higher. Doumeki watched Kimihiro's face contort in bliss and his body undulate in time with the quickening strokes to his prostate. The archer could feel the familiar heat pull behind his naval and knew his end was near but refused to cum before his lover was satisfied. He squeezed his perfectly soft cheeks in his hands so hard he was sure they would bare small crescent shaped marks for days and leaned in close to his beauty's ear to gently nibble its shell. The younger boy was panting hard and his voice had gone weak.

“Shizuka.”

“Cum for me, Kimihiro. Show me how beautiful you are.”

It was as if the young man's body had been waiting for the order. It took mere seconds for Kimihiro to be hurled fully into the most powerful orgasm of his life. Every muscle in his body tensed as the remainder of his seed showered between their sweat soaked chests. Bursts of color flashed across his swirling vision and it felt like an eternity before he was lucid enough to feel Shizuka's weight on top of him and a comfortable liquid warmth inside him. It was a wonderful feeling. He slowly let his hands stroke up and down his lover's muscular back and felt the tracks of raised skin from his scratches. At this small show of affection, the older boy reciprocated by trailing his fingers along Watanuki's ribs and placed soft, tickley kisses on his neck.

“Oh, Shizuka.”

Keep saying my name like that and we'll never be done.”

“Don't make promises you can't keep.” Watanuki chuckled weakly.

“Just give me a minute and I will.”

“Ha ha. But seriously, you're heavy, can you shift over or something?”

“Okay.” The tan boy started to lift himself off but Kimihiro stopped him when he felt the soft cock almost slip out of him.

“Wait, stay inside. It's warm.”

Doumeki smiled down at his blushing lover who marveled at the softness in his sunset colored eyes. The archer carefully pushed himself back into the loose hole and rolled them so they were snuggled together on their sides. It was quiet for a moment until Kimihiro spoke again.

“Hey, Shizuka, do you remember when Yuuko said we were bound by the red string of fate?”

“Yeah. That was along time ago.”

“Well, even though she was joking, I've decided I want it to be true.” The pale boy felt Doumeki's body shake against his own before deep, rolling laughter sounded from above him, beautiful and filled with mirth. “What's so funny?” he asked after the shock wore off.

“I just didn't know we got to choose our soulmate. I would have got this started a long time ago.”

“Well, even if we can't really choose, I still love you and you love me. Right?”

Once again, Doumeki froze, those three words stuck in his throat. Why? It should be easy but for some reason the simplest and most efficient expression of his feelings terrified him. He couldn't be rejected now that he knew his dear one felt the same but he still choked on those words like his own body refused to let them form. But he had to say something.

“Kimihiro, the way I feel about you can't be put into words. Since the day we met, I've been trying to win your attention over that stupid girl and now I have you in my arms. And even if you no longer need me to keep spirits away, I will spend every day of my life protecting you, My Treasure.”

“Shizuka.” The younger boy placed one last kiss over the other's heart. “I like it when you're romantic a lot better than when you tease me.”

“I'll probably still tease you. You just look too cute when you get mad or flustered. It's the way your nose crinkles up and your eyebrows scrunch together.”

“Fine, I'll put up with it so long as you always make love to me to apologize.”

“Agreed.”

The boys settled in and gave themselves to sleep, completely oblivious to the witch standing just outside the door.

“They sure don't waste any time do they?” Mokona asked from the floor.

“Such is the way of the young, Mokona. Let them be.”

“So do you think they'll really work this time?”

“Very few people in this world get to find true love once and they have found it twice. And if Watanuki takes my advice and remains loyal to his decision, his decision will remain loyal to him.”

She smiled serenely as she felt their energies mingle and mix to rebind the severed string. She had the utmost faith in her apprentice to make the right choice and, as usual, he did not disappoint. She knew her time in this shop was nearing its end but seeing her loved ones happy and knowing they were safe together gave her hope that she would leave no regrets behind with her departure.