Characters: Doumeki, Watanuki
Disclaimer: The characters and universe presented in this story are the property of CLAMP.
Summary: "So the world doesn't end after all, and when all of the fighting is over and the dust has settled, things become small and quiet again."
Notes: Originally written 7/2/08 for oneangrykate's First Lines Challenge. First line by oneangrykate, the rest by me. Comment-fic.
So the world doesn't end after all, and when all of the fighting is over and the dust has settled, things become small and quiet again. Doumeki has always thought this is what he wanted, but somehow he's become used to the constant danger, the cryptic warnings, and all the ridiculous flailing, and in the face of all that, simple temple life is lacking. The quiet, he supposes, should be a relief, but he's not foolish enough to deny that he misses the noise.
Summer break at the temple has always been too short for Doumeki, but this year it drags on, conspicuously free of incident. He's no longer seeing spirits (or anything) through his shared eye, so he can only assume that Watanuki's wish has finally been granted. He's ashamed to realize that the happiness he feels on Watanuki's behalf is tainted by his own sense of loss, and he wonders when it became so necessary for him to feel needed that he would depend on someone else's misfortune. He wishes, as he has often, that his grandfather might visit his dreams. He suspects he needs it more than Watanuki does now.
He's surprised when school begins again, and Watanuki is waiting for him on the street, bento in hand. So surprised, in fact, that he just stares at it for a minute, which would usually cause some kind of fit on Watanuki's part, but as more evidence of how things have changed, only prompts a small sigh.
"What?" Watanuki asks.
Doumeki blinks. "You brought lunch."
"Oh." Watanuki frowns at the bundle in his hand. "Yeah."
There are about six or seven different things Doumeki can think of to say to that, but some part of his mind advises him to back off, and he's learned to pay attention to things like that, so he just starts walking. Watanuki falls into step next to him, and he'd be surprised, but it seems to fit with this new, post-not-exactly-the-apocalypse Watanuki, so he lets it go.
They walk in silence, but silence with Watanuki is different than silence without him, and Doumeki is beginning to realize this difference might matter, so it's Watanuki who eventually breaks it, just as they are approaching the school gates.
"Doumeki," he says, glaring vaguely in the vicinity of Doumeki's elbow. "You know I--" His eyebrows furrow. "There's enough in the bento for you."
And this time the word escapes Doumeki's mouth before he can stop it. "Why?"
Watanuki's eyes get big, and now he is looking straight at Doumeki. The hand that is holding the bento has started to shake, and it is all Doumeki can do to resist reaching out to steady it, but somehow he gets the feeling that this moment is pretty delicate, and if he doesn't manage it just right, he'll regret it for a long time.
Watanuki's eyes dull, along with the rest of him, and if Doumeki has never really understood the concept of someone "deflating" before, he certainly does now. "Never mind," Watanuki says, and continues on through the school gates.
"I'm glad," Doumeki says, louder than usual for him, and he's a little embarrassed by the relief that he feels when Watanuki stops in his tracks.
Watanuki turns toward Doumeki, and there's a new color in his cheeks that Doumeki did not even realize was missing until now. "Good," he says, turning back toward the school and striding on with great purpose. "And you'd better not be late!" he shouts behind him.
"I won't be." Doumeki grins. "Idiot."