Pairing/characters: Doumeki Shizuka/Watanuki Kimihiro
Disclaimer: The characters and universe presented in this story are the property of CLAMP.
Summary: Watanuki must confront his feelings for Doumeki the day before Valentine's Day.
Author's Notes: Originally posted 4/21/08 for lgbtfest, prompt # 864: xxxHOLiC: Shizuka Doumeki/Kimihiro Watanuki. Doumeki and Watanuki walk down the street together, obviously a couple. Endless thanks to glossing and oneangrykate for the beta. 3900+ words. Title borrowed from Andy Stochansky.
Like The Doors Of My House
When I hear your voice
like the doors of my house from long ago
that say "please stay, sleep well."
"Ugh. Is it gone?" Watanuki asked, propping himself up on his elbows, one of which was throbbing. The street was empty around him except for the irritatingly tall figure of Doumeki hovering over him, bow in hand.
"Yeah," Doumeki said, holding his free hand out to Watanuki.
Watanuki reluctantly took it and let himself be pulled up off the ground. He groaned. "Yuuko-san's going to kill me. I should have been there an hour ago. Tomorrow's Valentine's Day."
"Do you need time to make chocolate?" Doumeki asked, brushing some dirt off the back of Watanuki's jacket.
Watanuki bristled, wrenching himself away from Doumeki's hands. "Why would you ever think I was making chocolate for Valentine's Day? GIRLS MAKE CHOCOLATE FOR VALENTINE'S DAY! DO I LOOK LIKE A GIRL TO YOU?" And as Doumeki's mouth opened, he added, "DON'T YOU DARE ANSWER THAT, IT WAS RHETORICAL!"
"You made it before," Doumeki said.
"WHAT DOES THAT HAVE TO DO WITH ANYTHING?" Watanuki replied, stomping down the street, which was probably not the best choice, he thought, as a sharp pain shot up his leg.
"Are you making some for me?" Doumeki asked, following along next to him.
Watanuki's brain burst from his skull. "IF I MADE CHOCOLATE, which I never said I would, WHY ON EARTH WOULD I EVER MAKE IT FOR SOMEONE LIKE YOU?"
"I'd like it if you did," Doumeki said.
And suddenly the air shifted and there was this long, sharp moment, where Watanuki knew something extraordinary was going to happen, and Doumeki was there, warm and close and kissing Watanuki, like it was the most natural thing in the world.
Watanuki felt dizzy. "Doumeki. What is this?"
Doumeki smiled, his face still so close, and he opened his mouth to say something but just at that moment, Watanuki became aware that he was falling, down, down, away from Doumeki. His vision was going haywire and there was darkness, then bright light, and a flash of a face that looked like Yuuko's, then Doumeki's, then Yuuko's again and then someone was speaking low into Watanuki's ear.
When Watanuki's vision finally cleared he was standing alone in the darkness.
"A dream?" Watanuki blinked. For once the emptiness was a relief.
"Watanuki-kun. I'm surprised to see you," came a familiar voice from behind him. "I thought you'd be busy."
Watanuki turned around. "Haruka-san."
"So Shizuka finally made his move," Haruka said, leaning against a pole that appeared in the blackness. The smoke from his cigarette curled around his head. "He's a patient boy." He tilted his head, lips pursed in concern. "He must be very worried right now."
"Oh, I--" Watanuki frowned.
Haruka leaned toward him. "Do you really want to miss this, Watanuki-kun?" His eyes were twinkling.
Watanuki's heart was pounding and the answer that came out of his mouth was not at all what he expected. "No."
Watanuki's vision fell away again and as he returned to consciousness, he became aware that he was being carried in the arms of someone who was running very fast.
"You can stop. I'm back," he said, pushing at the arms around him in an attempt to free himself, though mostly because the movement was extremely jarring.
Doumeki stopped running and released Watanuki from his arms, placing him carefully in a sitting position up against a smooth stone wall. He collapsed next to him, sweating and breathing hard. "What happened?" he asked. "Is it because I--" His eyes crinkled up and he looked hurriedly at his shoes. "I'm sorry."
Watanuki cringed. "No. I mean, yes." He waved his hands in front of him, as though that might erase the pained expression from Doumeki's face. "But you don't have to be sorry."
"I don't?" Doumeki's eyes narrowed.
Watanuki shook his head.
"So, does that mean--" Doumeki started.
"DON'T GO JUMPING TO CONCLUSIONS!"
"Well, then, what does it--"
"I DON'T KNOW." Watanuki pulled his knees in toward his body, trying to become as small as possible. He pushed his back harder into the cool stone behind him.
Doumeki frowned. "Do you want to kiss me back?"
Watanuki's brain ceased to function. He opened his mouth but nothing came out.
"What are you afraid of?" Doumeki asked.
Watanuki scowled and moved to stand. "Who said I was afraid of any--"
Doumeki grabbed his wrist, pulling him gently back. "What are you afraid of?" he repeated.
Watanuki looked away, his eyes settling on Doumeki's hand around his wrist. He spoke slowly. "If I do this, I can't..." He couldn't finish the sentence.
The tightness in Doumeki's voice brought Watanuki's gaze back to his face. There was a desperation there Watanuki hadn't seen on him before.
"Doumeki..." he said, and for some reason he later could not recall, he reached his hand out and touched Doumeki's cheek. It was warm and unexpectedly soft and Watanuki couldn't stop himself from running his thumb over Doumeki's cheekbone.
Doumeki closed his eyes and leaned into his touch. Watanuki's hand was shaking, but he somehow managed to guide Doumeki's face to his and then they were kissing. The kiss was so much different than the first one, Watanuki wondered if he'd invented that one in his head. All of Doumeki's brash confidence was gone, replaced with a painful vulnerability Watanuki never would have imagined he could possess. It was clear somehow that all control had been given over to Watanuki and it was Watanuki's responsibility to figure out what to do with it.
"Do you want to?" Doumeki asked, breaking the kiss, and Watanuki's head spun with the suddenly terrifying list of things Doumeki might be referring to.
"What?" he finally managed to reply.
Doumeki leaned his forehead against Watanuki's. "Undo it?"
Watanuki answered by moving his hand to hold the back of Doumeki's head and then kissing him as deeply as he knew how. He was sure his inexperience was showing but he hoped the message was clear. After a moment, he screwed up his courage and moved his other hand around Doumeki's back, finding his way under Doumeki's shirt to touch the smooth, warm skin under it. The feeling of his hand on skin was incredible and his whole body responded as he grasped for more. Soon, both his hands were exploring under the shirt, one tracing over a shoulder blade and down the side, up and over his ribs and chest, while the other slid down to touch the soft, tiny hairs at the small of his back.
It was Doumeki who finally pulled away, rumpled and breathing hard. "You're late for Yuuko-san," he said.
Watanuki remembered then where they were and noted with embarrassment just how close he'd come to performing a lewd act in a public place. Thankfully, it was getting dark and there was nobody around. Doumeki was already standing up, straightening his clothing, and he held out a hand to Watanuki.
"Wait," Watanuki said, his heart still beating a little too fast. "How long have you... you know?"
Doumeki sat back down. "Liked men or liked you?
"Um. The first one, I guess," Watanuki said.
"Since the beginning," Doumeki said.
"Oh," Watanuki said. "And... the second?"
Watanuki nodded slowly. "Why?"
"That's a stupid question," Doumeki said simply. He frowned. "What's wrong?"
"I'm just." Watanuki struggled for words. "Today this happened," he said. "For me."
"I know," Doumeki said.
"So--" Watanuki flushed. "I'm sorry I didn't notice."
"It's okay," Doumeki said. "You were always pretty slow."
Watanuki shot him a half-hearted glare. "I wish I'd... If I'd noticed earlier, we could have--" He was pretty sure what he was trying to say was embarrassing but he forged ahead anyway, pulling one of Doumeki's hands into his for good measure. "The way Yuuko-san's been acting lately, it seems like the world might end tomorrow." Then he had a horrible thought. "Ugh, tomorrow. At school. You'll be bombarded with chocolate and confessions from girls."
"Will that bother you?" Doumeki asked, with a smile in his voice.
This time there was nothing half-hearted about Watanuki's glare.
"Well," Doumeki said. "It doesn't have to be like that."
"And how do you plan to stop it?" Watanuki snapped. "After all, until today, I was the only one who hadn't fallen for your--" There was something alarming about the look on Doumeki's face. "What?" Watanuki said. Doumeki raised his eyebrow and glanced pointedly at their joined hands. Watanuki's eyes widened. "NO!" He jumped to his feet.
"Why not?" Doumeki asked. "You were just making out with me in the middle of the street."
Watanuki flailed. "That's completely different! It's dark! There's nobody here!"
"Okay," Doumeki said.
"It's a ridiculous idea!" Watanuki raved. "I can't--" He shook his fists in frustration. "TODAY THIS HAPPENED!"
"Okay," Doumeki repeated.
Watanuki raised his fists to the heavens. "WHAT DO YOU MEAN 'OKAY'?"
"Kimihiro," Doumeki said.
Watanuki was pulling his hair from his head. "YOU FINALLY START CALLING ME BY NAME AND THAT'S WHAT YOU CHOOSE?"
"Watanuki," Doumeki said.
Watanuki fell to the ground. "YOU DIDN'T HAVE TO CHANGE IT."
"Oi," Doumeki said, standing up. "It's okay." He reached out to pull Watanuki up. "Just walk to school with me tomorrow."
Watanuki frowned. "By 'walk to school,' you mean..."
"Walk to school," Doumeki said.
Watanuki was still frowning. "We've walked to school together before."
Watanuki crossed his arms in front of him. "So it's not really any different."
"Not unless you want it to be," Doumeki said with a smirk. "I won't try anything."
"I NEVER SAID YOU WOULD," Watanuki cried in horror.
Doumeki patted his shoulder in a maddeningly patronizing manner. "You should get to Yuuko-san's."
"FINE," Watanuki said, stalking off toward Yuuko's shop.
"Welcome back, Watanuki-kun." Haruka was sitting next to him on Yuuko's porch. "This is much better time for dreams, don't you think?"
Watanuki looked down and realized he was in his pajamas. A few sakura petals drifted by in the darkness, mixing between swirls of cigarette smoke. His bare feet grazed the cool grass of the yard.
"You're glad you went back, aren't you?" Haruka said, smiling.
"Yes, I--" Watanuki stuttered. "I mean--" It seemed too strange to be having this conversation with Doumeki's grandfather.
"What is it?" Haruka asked. "You're embarrassed by your feelings for Shizuka?"
"No!" Watanuki said, feeling a flush rising to his cheeks. "Maybe," he admitted. "Mostly I'm... confused." He frowned. "Surprised?" He dropped his head to his hands. "I don't know," he said. He stared off into the darkness. "I didn't even realize I had these feelings until today. Well, that's not exactly true, I guess, but--" He frowned. "I've never really thought much about any of it. I never had... time." He glanced at Haruka. "That probably sounds really stupid."
"Not at all," Haruka said. He placed one of his hands on Watanuki's shoulder, the other still holding his cigarette. "Your life has been too full of the extraordinary," he said. "You haven't had an opportunity to enjoy the simple things." He smiled. "But it is those things that make life worthwhile."
"That's how life is supposed to be, isn't it? School, work, home. Love. Normal things," Watanuki said. "Even though I live in that world every day, I'm disconnected from it." He looked at Haruka. "But I'm not supposed to be, am I? That's not how things are supposed to be. It's only because of..." He gestured to the blackness around him. "All this."
Haruka squeezed his shoulder. "Shizuka will keep you connected to the things you love," he said. "Like you, he is caught in worlds that others cannot see. But that boy's heart is firmly planted in that world you wish for, Watanuki-kun. He will anchor you. He will make a home there for you."
Watanuki felt his heart lurch. He brought his hand up to his chest, and let it rest there.
Haruka pulled his face to look at him. "Do you believe me, Watanuki-kun?" he asked, his eyes unusually earnest.
Watanuki woke up.
As Watanuki reached Doumeki's temple that morning, he considered walking by without stopping and then immediately felt ashamed about it when he heard Doumeki's voice.
"Ahhhh, good morning," Watanuki said, his face turning hot. "Doumeki."
They stood there in silence for a moment, until Doumeki said, "Should we get going?"
"I WAS WAITING FOR YOU," Watanuki said, embarrassed by his irritability but unable to shake it. He quickly started walking, hitting himself in the leg with the bundle of bento boxes he carried in one hand and then again with the briefcase he held in the other. He stumbled from the pain and felt Doumeki's hand touch his shoulder to steady him. "Thanks," Watanuki said, walking swiftly away from his touch.
Doumeki let out a sharp sigh and then his hand was on Watanuki's shoulder again, this time with some force, turning Watanuki around to face him.
"Hey--" Watanuki began to protest but he was stopped by the distress in Doumeki's face.
"What's wrong?" Doumeki asked, his voice lower than usual and rasping at the edges.
"I--" Watanuki considered making up something but he found himself compelled with the desire to remove that awful look from Doumeki's face. "I'm sorry. I don't really know how to act right now. I've never--" He flushed. "This is all new to me."
Doumeki's face softened. "We're walking to school," he said. "That's all."
"Right," Watanuki said. He turned and started walking again but he was careful to let Doumeki fall into step beside him. For a while they just walked, neither of them saying anything. Then Watanuki found himself blurting out questions out of the blue.
"Aren't you worried about your future?" he asked, flushing again. He wondered if a person's face could turn permanently red from too much embarrassment. "It's nothing for me, but. Your family... they must want you to get married. Have children?"
"Has my grandfather said that?" Doumeki asked.
Watanuki's face heated unbearably. "What makes you think I've been talking to your grandfather?"
Doumeki just gave him a small smile. "My family doesn't choose my future. I do," he said. "Do you want those things?"
Watanuki frowned. "We're not talking about me!"
"That's right, we're not," Doumeki said. "After all, it has nothing to do with you."
"What do you mean?" Watanuki felt his heart turn over. "I thought--"
"I choose you," Doumeki said. "But being homosexual... that would be true with or without you. I don't have a choice about that."
"Oh," Watanuki said. "For me... I think it's not the same."
"I know," Doumeki said. "You don't have to tell me." His voice was as even as always but there was a wrinkle between his eyebrows.
"Yes I do, because you don't understand," Watanuki said. "I think I believed that someone like me had to be alone. Like Yuuko-san. Not because of... this." He gestured between them, knowing that was an inadequate way of referring to his sexuality, but he hadn't really figured out how to talk about that. "But the other things. Ghosts and spirits. It isn't safe for someone to be with me. So I thought I had to be alone. I never expected anything else. Even Himawari-chan..." He stopped. "Oh! I'm sorry."
"That's okay," Doumeki said.
Watanuki frowned. "Really?"
"It was funny," Doumeki said, smirking.
"FUNNY? I--YOU--" Watanuki sputtered. "I AM NOT FUNNY!" he raged, striding on ahead.
Doumeki sighed, hurrying to catch up. "Too loud."
As they reached the crowded area in the middle of the neighborhood, Watanuki stopped off to look at some fresh produce. Doumeki followed him around to the farmers' stands on the side of the street, making requests for the rest of the week's lunches. Watanuki loudly protested. Everything felt normal, as though nothing at all had changed between them.
Watanuki noticed an older woman behind a fruit stand, watching them with what could only be described as fondness. He gave her a confused smile, and then he caught their reflection in a nearby store window. They weren't touching or even looking directly at each other but there was such a sense of ... comfort between them. Doumeki was placed just so, between Watanuki and the bustle of the street, protective and aware, and Watanuki stood at the center of Doumeki's protective circle, his body at ease in a way even he could recognize as unusual, at least for him. It didn't matter that they weren't holding hands or gazing lovingly into each other's eyes. For anyone who cared to look, their relationship was plain to see. Watanuki wondered how long it had been like this and how many people had understood their relationship before he had.
The woman was still watching them, so Watanuki smiled at her again. He tucked his briefcase under the arm that was holding the bento boxes and then reached his free hand out to touch Doumeki's. He felt Doumeki go still beside him. Doumeki's hand was cool and a bit rough and Watanuki threaded his fingers together with Doumeki's, lingering around the calluses on his fingertips. The woman returned his smile warmly.
"You sure about that?" Doumeki asked, squeezing his hand.
Watanuki nodded, avoiding his eyes. "Let's go," he said, leading Doumeki to the street.
"Wait," Doumeki said. He pulled Watanuki back for a kiss, which Watanuki definitely would have pulled away from, if only his knees hadn't gone wobbly beneath him just at that moment.
"You said you wouldn't try anything," Watanuki said, trying to glare, but that was something that worked better when he wasn't clinging to someone for dear life.
Doumeki's eyes twinkled, reminiscent of his grandfather's. "I lied."
When Watnuki's knees became functional again, he pulled away but kept his hand entwined with Doumeki's. The older woman who had smiled at them earlier was whispering to a friend who gave them a much less friendly look, and who said something to the first woman that made her wave her hand dismissively in return. The first woman looked at them and smiled again.
As Watanuki pulled Doumeki into the street toward their school, he watched the other people around them. Most didn't seem to notice them at all. Of those who did, only a few showed any expression. A couple of older men shook their heads. A cluster of girls from another school giggled and fell into whispers. One of the guys from the pharmacy where Watanuki often purchased Yuuko's hangover remedy elbowed his companion in the side and then gave Watanuki an enthusiastic thumbs-up.
"You know that guy?" Doumeki asked.
"I don't know who you mean," Watanuki replied, but he held Doumeki's hand a little tighter.
A few minutes later, Doumeki's pace slowed. Watanuki glanced up at him, questioning.
"We're getting close to school," Doumeki said.
Doumeki sighed. "If you want to let go, I understand."
"Are you suggesting that I'm scared?" Watanuki felt heat rising in his chest.
"You said you were," Doumeki said.
Watanuki's fists clenched, and he thought it must be hurting Doumeki's hand, though perhaps his type had no FEELINGS in the hands. "WHEN DID YOU EVER START LISTENING TO ME?" he shouted, dragging Doumeki in the direction of their school with as much force as possible.
There were a few students milling around the area of the front gate but Watanuki ignored them, pulling even harder. Then when they finally reached the gate, he dropped his bento and briefcase to the ground with a thud, pushed Doumeki up against the large, concrete gatepost, pressed his body close to Doumeki's, and proceeded to kiss him with all the enthusiasm he could muster, which was, in fact, quite a bit. Of course, just as he felt he was getting the hang of things like where to put his hands when a full school uniform was involved, and how to get Doumeki to make the best noises, Doumeki broke the mood.
"Do you think you might be going a little overboard?" Doumeki asked, as Watanuki was kissing his neck, working his way to the right earlobe.
"WHAT?? YOU'RE THE ONE WHO--" Watanuki sputtered.
"I don't mind, but..." Doumeki brought his hand up to turn Watanuki's head toward the street outside the school gate, where at least a hundred students were stopped in their tracks, staring at the spectacle. Several of the girls looked quite pale.
Watanuki took a step back and brushed down the front of his uniform with his hands, straightening things as best he could. A couple of girls giggled to the right of him, but he stopped them with a glare. Nobody was really moving. He looked over at Doumeki, and then took his hand and puffed up his chest with all the dignity he could manage.
"LISTEN, ALL OF YOU!" he shouted, with a sweeping gesture toward the crowd. "YES, YOU THERE!" He pointed to a girl near the front who was tearfully grasping a large, red, heart-shaped box. "DOUMEKI SHIZUKA IS MY BOYFRIEND!" He thrust their clasped hands fully into view. "SO KEEP YOUR MEDIOCRE STORE-BOUGHT CHOCOLATE TO YOURSELVES. GOT IT?"
After that, the crowd began to disperse, though with a great deal of chatter and a bit of loud commentary. A couple of girls cast longing looks at Doumeki as they passed, and it appeared as though they might have approached him but Doumeki just shrugged at them and nodded toward Watanuki. Watanuki took a deep breath and felt the blood rushing back to his face.
"You okay?" Doumeki asked. It was obvious he was trying not to laugh. Watanuki shot him a glare. "Oi," Doumeki said then, nodding his head toward something behind Watanuki. Watanuki turned to see Himawari walking toward them from the remnants of the crowd.
"Watanuki and Doumeki..." and she seemed to lose the thread right about there.
"Himawari-chan," Watanuki said, his hand automatically going to his heart.
She walked close to them, placed her hand over their two joined hands and leaned up to kiss Watanuki's cheek. "You should be all right," she said. "As long as you're with him." She was smiling brightly.
Watanuki returned her smile. "Yes," he said.
"See you later," she said, starting through the gate. Then she turned back to them. "Lunch?"
"Of course!" Watanuki replied, picking the furoshiki-wrapped bento up off of the ground and holding it up for her to see.
Doumeki grabbed the bundle from Watanuki's hand. "I hope you brought me some chocolate," he said. "Now that you made the rest of it go away."
"WHY SHOULD I HAVE BROUGHT YOU CHOCOLATE? WE'VE BEEN OVER THIS ALREADY. GIRLS GIVE CHOCOLATE ON VALENTINE'S DAY!" Watanuki cried. Doumeki was popping a handmade matcha truffle into his mouth. Watanuki batted wildly at his arm. "HEY, WHO SAID THAT WAS FOR YOU?"
"Who else would it be for?" Doumeki asked, through a mouthful of chocolate. "You just told everyone I'm your boyfriend."
"THAT'S BESIDE THE POINT! THE POLITE THING TO DO IS WAIT UNTIL A GIFT IS GIVEN! YOU DON'T JUST TAKE IT AND STUFF YOUR STUPID FACE," Watanuki shouted. "HEY!" He glowered as Doumeki shoved yet another truffle into his mouth. "WHERE DO YOU GET SUCH A BIG ATTITUDE?"
"Watanuki," Doumeki said.
"WHAT?" Watanuki screeched.
Doumeki kissed him lightly, leaving the taste of chocolate on his lips. He smiled. "Thanks."
"Yuuko's right, the world is ending," Watanuki muttered, heading to the school building. Doumeki chuckled, following behind him.
Lyrics quoted at the beginning are from "Song For You" by Andy Stochansky, from the album Radio Fusebox.