One (of Two)
Disclaimer: CLAMP owns all,
including my soul and most of my money. I have nothing left to give!!!
Setting: Post-series and
Spoilers: Up to xXxHolic #5 (which
is as much as I've read).
Rating: PG. Drama, Angst.
Warnings: Character death.
Pairings: Yuuko+Watanuki innocent
Several liberties have been taken with Watanuki's powers, as I've
assumed they will develop in some fashion during the course of the
Words in *asterisks* denote
Hitsuzen = Naturally foreordained events.
Yuuko Hajiwari smiled gleefully as
her faithful (yet reluctant) "part-time help" approached her with a
"Here you go," Kimihiro Watanuki
said ungraciously. "Takoyaki, fin soup, and green tea. Enjoy your
you Watanuki, you're so good to me," she purred at him, sprawling
comfortably in her chair. "Just put it on the side table."
"I'm NOT good to you. You're
FORCING me to do this," he snapped, rolling his eyes.
laughed at him and waved him away. "Clean the windows!", she called
after his retreating figure. "And then bring me some sake!"
ignored his rude reply and settled in to enjoy her lunch. Ah yes, life
was good. She expertly speared a piece of takoyaki and brought it to
It tumbled from her fingers and
rolled across the floor as an odd chiming sensation rippled through her
*No, it can't be...*
body shuddered again as the chime became louder and clearer, deepening
from the ringing of a bell to the tones of a grandfather clock,
counting out the time.
She pursed her lips and
looked around, as though searching for an avenue of escape, before
smiling at her own foolishness. Hadn't she known this was coming?
*Everything is in place. There is
only one thing left to do.*
Watanuki jerked at the unusually
serious tone in Yuuko's voice and headed back. "What?" he asked
Yuuko smiled and held out a hand.
approached her nervously, and she wiggled the fingers on her hand
meaningfully. Taking them, he found himself drawn into a kind of
embrace as she tugged him closer and put an arm around his shoulder. He
tried to adjust, and finally let himself to respond to the pressure she
was applying by sinking to his knees, and allowing his upper body to
lean against her legs. He shifted slightly to allow Maru and Moro to
slide a cushion under his knees, while Yuuko gently guided his head and
arms across her lap, his face turned away from her, and waited for him
to get used to the strange position. Her fingers began gently combing
through his hair as he allowed himself to relax into it.
"How long have you been working for
me now, Watanuki?" she asked idly.
dunno, two years?" He mumbled, head pillowed on one arm. He felt a
little embarrassed at his childish pose, and oddly comforted at the
same time. *It feels nice, like this.*
"You've worked pretty hard for two
years," Yuuko said casually. "Do you remember your first day here?"
Watanuki closed his eyes, remembering the first time he'd ever
encountered his exasperating and flighty employer. "You told me it was hitsuzen. Destiny."
"Mmm," Yuuko continued to stroke
him. "We've had some interesting times, haven't we Watanuki?"
He snorted slightly in response,
but refrained from elaborating.
promised that when you'd worked enough to pay for your wish, I'd remove
your ability to see spirits," Yuuko said quietly. "Guess what? Today's
Watanuki's eyes snapped open, and
his whole body tensed.
"You finally earned it," Yuuko
raised his head up and turned to stare at her, wide-eyed. A multitude
of emotions flickered across his face. Surprise, hope, anticipation,
fear, and finally hurt. Yuuko watched each one and felt a small twist
in her heart.
"Oh," he said finally. "Umm...
well, good." He
pulled away and stood up, twisting his hands together. "So I guess my
work here is done then?"
"Yup! No more work for you!" Yuuko
sighed. "So this will be the last time I drink your delicious tea."
Watanuki looked away, before
speaking rather hesitantly. "Well, you know, I could still..."
"No. You can't." Yuuko's voice was
firm. "After today, you cannot return here Watanuki. Not ever."
He flinched as though he'd been
struck. "Why not?"
Yuuko's eyes softened. "It's time
for me to move on."
"You're leaving?" Watanuki couldn't
keep the panic out of his voice. "Just like that? When?"
Today," Yuuko stood and approached him, trying not to look upset when
he backed away from her. "That's why we have to do this now." She
assayed a small smile. "You still want me to grant your wish, don't
you? To no longer be plagued by spirits? To be free? To be able to lead
a normal life?"
Yuuko took another step
towards him while Watanuki thought furiously. *Why am I hesitating?
Wasn't this what I wanted? I worked hard for this. To pay the price for
*But I didn't think it would be so
Yuuko reached for him and he backed
"Watanuki," her voice was fond, and
slightly exasperated. "Come here. I can't do this if you're halfway
across the room."
"Why do you have to go?" He knew he
was whining, couldn't help it. "You never said anything about it
doesn't tell me anything! You NEVER tell me anything!" His hands balled
into fists and he glared at her. "I... I don't want you to go! I've
changed my mind! I don't want you to take my power if it means I won't
get to see you again!"
Yuuko stopped, blinking rapidly to
prevent tears forming in her eyes. "If I could stay, I would," she said
finally. "But sometimes we don't have a choice."
"You always say it's up to people
to make their own decisions about what to do," he argued. "Stay. Don't
*Don't leave me alone again! I
don't want to be alone!*
"I have to."
you don't!" He was shouting now, tears trickling down his face. "You...
you're so powerful! Why can't things just stay the way they are? Why
does everyone have to leave?" He wiped his eyes roughly.
"Because that's the way it is,"
Yuuko regarded him sadly. "Your parents didn't want to leave you,
Watanuki. Neither do I."
can't," she crossed the distance between them and gripped his chin with
one hand, forcing his head up to meet her gaze. "Stop crying."
"I'm NOT crying!" He shouted
an eyebrow, she wiped a finger along his cheek, just beneath the rim of
his glasses, and held it up, damply glistening. "Then what's this?"
Watanuki blushed and refused to
answer. Yuuko chuckled and pulled him into a hug, which he returned
"I don't want you to go," he said,
"Yeah, I know," she said finally.
"Sorry about that. But it's a time of changes. Not just this, but
"Can I... can I come with you?"
Watanuki whispered, ashamed of his behaviour but unable to resist
trying one more time.
Yuuko's arms tightened around him
Watanuki bit his lip, trying to get
himself under control. "Will I ever see you again?"
that I don't know," Yuuko answered. "Maybe. One day. The creep
certainly always managed to see other people, no matter where he was,
so maybe I will too." She ruffled his hair playfully and slowly
released him. "Chin up Watanuki. Don't be so gloomy."
sniffled in response and fished out a handkerchief, wiping his eyes and
blowing his nose. Yuuko waited until he was back in control and then
"Now, your wish."
"No," Watanuki shook his head.
He was louder this time. "I told you, I've changed my mind." A stubborn
expression settled onto his face. "I don't WANT you to take my power
"Watanuki..." Yuuko sighed, "It was
"Well it's not anymore."
"Do you WANT to be pestered by
"I can deal with it," he said
defiantly, before suddenly realising that it was true. "I can deal with it," he repeated in some
surprise. His eyes narrowed.
"THAT WAS YOUR WHOLE EVIL PLAN ALL
grinned at him unrepentantly. "Very good," she said, clapping her hands
together. "I was beginning to think you'd NEVER get it. By the way,
evil is a bit strong a word, don't you think?"
"Of all the rotten, nasty tricks you've ever pulled on me..." His lower
lip trembled and Yuuko quickly put a finger over it.
she said. "I'd hoped to have more time to go over it with you, but
unfortunately I don't. You have to go now, Watanuki. It's important.
Can you manage, now that you know the truth? Can you live with this?
Can you control it? Think carefully."
Biting back his first
response, Watanuki thought about it. *Do I really want this? Now that I
know so much more about the world and the spirits in it?* He was
surprised to find that he did.
Yuuko didn't even need to hear his
reply. The look in his eyes told her everything.
"I'm glad," she said, taking her
hand away. "In that case, do you have anything else you want to Wish
Watanuki said, shrugging slightly in embarassment. "I guess you can owe
it to me," he met her eyes squarely. "I'll ask for it next time."
nodded, a smile playing across her lips. "Then you'd better get going.
First and only time I'm ever letting you off early!"
rolled his eyes. "Great. Doumeki's got an archery tournament this
afternoon and the whole school's going along to cheer. I told everyone
I couldn't go because I had to work. The one time being your servant
was a handy excuse to get out of going to something and you ruin it for
"Sorry, sorry," Yuuko waved her
hand and grinned. "Guess you'd better go then."
"And watch all the girls squeal
over HIM?" Watanuki sniffed. "Forget it. I'm going home."
turned and marched to the door, pausing as Moro and Maru glomped on to
him. Kneeling he whispered a few private goodbyes before straightening.
As he reached the door, he turned back to Yuuko.
"Are you sure you don't need
anything...?" His eyes pleaded with her.
Yuuko gave him her best languid
smirk. "Run along now Watanuki. Stay out of trouble."
Hesitantly he bowed to her, and
"Damn," Yuuko rubbed at her face.
"Something in my eye." She inhaled deeply and pulled herself together.
"Maru! Moro! Get this place tidied
up. We're about to have company."
walked despondently down the street. He'd always known intellectually
that one day his servitude would be over, but he'd gotten so used to
working for Yuuko, being a part of her crazy world, that he'd just...
forgotten. He'd even forgotten about the Wish, not that he had ever
really wanted to make one at the beginning. He was a cautious boy by
nature, and making wishes seemed to be a bad idea judging by all the
stories in which people wound up regretting them. Yuuko had pretty much
pressured him into doing it in what he strongly suspected was a plot to
avoid doing her own damn housework.
Absently he kicked a stone.
after a while, it had almost been... nice. He didn't mind the work,
although he complained loudly about it. But he was used to it, and good
at it. And even the spirits didn't bother him at Yuuko's, and he
gradually... got used to them. Even felt strange when they weren't
around. He'd visited a brand new building development a few months
previously, just before it was opened, and had been taken on a tour
around the upper levels. It had been weird. The view had been
spectacular, but everything in the building smelled of "new". The air
had been almost sterile. No humans had really left their mark on the
building yet, and there were no spirits at all. It had been barren and
cold, and left him distinctly unnerved, to the point where he'd been
straining to extend his mystical senses, actually hoping to
make contact with something. Eventually he'd tuned in to a low level
spirit in the next building, and had been able to relax a little.
was odd, he reflected, how he'd been doing that more lately. Trying to
reach out with his senses and observe things. It had certainly made his
life easier, as he was now able to avoid the worst of the spirits that
used to plague him. It was helpful in his work too, to the point where
Yuuko had begun relying on HIM to let her know about things that might
be affecting the situation. Yet another example of her little
He felt a twinge in his chest.
Yuuko was flighty and bossy and annoying and took a peculiar delight in
shocking him, but she'd been the closest thing he'd had to family since
his parents had passed away. She'd hauled him out of his shell, forced
him to see more of the world around him, and nagged and cajoled him
into activities he'd never voluntarily have tried. She'd made him
really live again.
He sniffled again. *Damn it, men
aren't supposed to cry.*
bit his lip as he remembered the last time he had, when the Himawari
fiasco had blown up in his face. He'd been heartbroken and humiliated,
with noone to blame but himself. He'd been warned, subtly AND bluntly,
by several people (nearly all of them psychics) that she was wrong for
him. That she'd bring him nothing but misfortune. Yuuko herself had
tried to warn him, many many times, but he hadn't listened. And when it
had finally exploded in the most spectacular way possible, he'd turned
"You stupid old hag! THIS IS ALL YOUR
now he flushed when he remembered how he'd shouted at her, calling her
the worst names he knew, swearing up and down that he'd hate her
forever. She'd just stood there while he screamed until finally, the
echoes of his last curse still ringing around the shop, he'd burst into
tears. Yuuko, impassive until that point, had taken him into her arms
and let him cry himself out. Afterwards she'd tucked him into her bed,
and hummed lullabys until he fell asleep.
Aside from a profuse
apology from him the next day, they'd never mentioned it again. But
ever since that day, he'd been more comfortable with his strange
abilities. And gradually life had returned to normal.
Another tear trickled down his
This was no good.
stopped in his tracks, fists clenching. This was ridiculous! He knew
Yuuko was prone to making sudden and final decisions with no warning
whatsoever, but this was too much. What on earth was she THINKING?
*I wonder if I could find out.*
The thought teased at him.
*I've gotten much better at sensing
things. Maybe I could pick up some sort of idea if I just... tuned in
to her aura.*
Before he knew it he was directing
his spiritual "awareness" back in the direction he'd just come.
*She's going to be pissed,* his
mind whispered. *But... even if I only get to touch her aura, just one
And that thought was enough for him
to focus all his attention on this task.
wasn't difficult, really. He was used to searching for her like this,
and checking the surrounding areas for anything strange or dangerous.
But she'd been so insistent he leave at once, that it was a huge relief
to find her aura back where he'd left it.
*She hadn't left
yet,* he thought with a smile, and curled his senses around the
familiar warmth of her aura. *Just a moment more...*
Something entered Yuuko's area.
*What IS that?*
He reached out to take a look.
body jerked as a massive jolt of pain flared through him, mentally and
physically. He retracted his power into himself as fast as he could,
but not in time to prevent the spiritual shock from sending him into
convulsions. Collapsing to the ground his back arched and jerked, the
impact causing him to bite his tongue painfully. Blood spurted from his
nose as vessels burst from the pressure. Everything seemed to be
coloured an angry scarlet, although this was actually because the blood
vessels in his eyes had also burst, flooding them with red.
His last thought was Yuuko's name
before he blacked out.
Back in the shop, a young man
raised an eyebrow. "Now, who was that?"
important," Yuuko said quietly, trying to relax as she searched
desperately for Watanuki's living aura, and played for time.
"Would you care for a cup of tea,
End of Part One
Additional author's notes:
have no idea what the "Himawari fiasco" could be, but there's certainly
enough signs in the manga that that's going to turn spectacularly into
custard at some point in the future, and since I wanted that resolved
for this fic, I needed to make a reference to it. Likewise I couldn't
really have Yuuko and Watanuki skipping out on helping Syaoran and co,
which is why I've said it's set post the Tsubasa:RC storyline.
Feedback deeply appreciated.