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Those Tears, That Smile

Those Tears, That Smile
By: MemoryDragon
Summary: Doumeki wants to remember those tears and that smile, no matter what the cost. That was what he chose.
Disclaimer: xxxHolic belongs to Clamp. I don't own it and make no claim to.
Warnings: Spoilers. I'm not quite sure where I ended this little piece, but on the safe side, let's just assume up to volume 11. Also, warm fuzzy-ness ahead. It's not really shounen-ai, but you can take it that way if you want. XD  It was written before a few references to Doumeki's reasons in the manga came to light, so just take that accordingly.

Author's Notes: This fic was unbetaed, due to a lack of friends who were caught up on xxxHolic and the fact I was leaving at 6 am the next morning to tour the world with Up With People for six months and wanted to get this up before I left.  So be gentle with it?  It's basically a short little piece from Doumeki's point of view.

This was written because of a picture from Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne.   In the picture, it had four of the main characters in four square boxes, each one pointing to their most important person... All of which happened to be Maron, who was pointing off to the side.  I started thinking of how if you replaced Maron with Watanuki (with Himawari, Doumeki and Kohane as the other three) the result would be pretty much the same.

It certainly wasn't easy writing it, since I had to start it about three or four times before Doumeki started working with me and not against me. But it did eventually and I guess it turned out decently. I really like the first scene.  <3


The young boy tugged on his grandfather's hand, trying to keep up with the older man's pace. For once he was allowed normal clothes for their excursion - instead of a girl's kimono - and he was glad of it. It was much easier to move around in normal clothes than his usual apparel.

It must be an award of some sort, since it was the first time in a long while that the boy could remember he hadn't felt too sick. There had been no fever holding him in bed that morning, no dizzy spells or painful coughing. So his grandfather had allowed him normal clothing and let the six year old accompany his visit to neighboring temple.

His parents had been against the visit, but the little boy had wanted very much to see the outside world, even if it was just to another temple. His grandfather brought them around grudgingly. They had dressed the boy warmly, long sleeves and pants, to guard against a chill, even though it was the middle of summer.

Doumeki Shizuka was very hot for wearing such things even with a cool breeze ruffling his hair, but he did like it much better than a girl's kimono. The temple grounds were mostly shaded too, which helped. Though walking around had given him quite a work out... This temple was much bigger than his grandfather's.

Even though this temple was much larger than the one at home, Shizuka didn't think it was as nice. Home felt safe and secure. This place... It just felt normal.

His grandfather paused briefly, letting the little boy catch his breath on the stairs up to the temple. "We've picked an unfortunate time to visit," he said softly, causing Shizuka to look up. His grandfather seemed surprisingly serious at the moment. But the little boy still couldn't see over the top of the steps yet, so he couldn't tell what his grandfather had meant.

They had to pause again at the top of the temple steps. It had been a long walk and Shizuka's small body was not used to such exertions. He was ashamed to be so weak, but his constant illness left him little time for normal physical activity. The little boy breathed heavily as his grandfather waited, lighting a cigarette and gazing off at a bend in the path up a head.

Once Shizuka could breath normally again, he followed his grandfather's gaze. At first he saw nothing of interest down that path, but his grandfather did not continue walking. Instead, he inhaled deeply on the cigarette and pulled the little boy off to the side. Shizuka was about to ask what they were waiting for when he saw it.

Coming from around the bend was a funeral procession. Shizuka wondered if this what his grandfather had meant by unfortunate timing. But the fact that it was a funeral didn't bother the child too much. He had already seen many like it, preformed at his grandfather's temple. However, this one was slightly different from a normal procession. This time there were two coffins.

It was a small affair, despite the deaths of two people. Maybe that was why Shizuka's eyes kept returning to a small boy about his age, following the coffins with tears in his alarmingly blue eyes. The boy had scrapes and bruises all over his body and his oval glasses were clouded by the tears in the boy's eyes. But still the child continued on, tripping every once in a while so that he would have to run a bit to catch up to the coffins and pall bearers.

"Interested in that little boy, Shizuka?" his grandfather asked, noting the boy's gaze. Shizuka shook his head to deny it, even though his eyes never left the other child. His grandfather chuckled softly at the contradiction before resting his own eyes on the blue-eyed boy. "Eventually, that child will disappear and no one will even remember he existed. Sad, isn't it?"

Haruka took another long drag on his cigarette, exhaling slowly. Shizuka still watched the other child, contemplating what his grandfather had said. Disappear? It wasn't like his grandfather to use euphemisms. Even for a child, Shizuka was no stranger to death. And why would no one remember the blue-eyed child? Surely someone-

His attention turned from the child to his grandfather, who had started one of his own coughing fits. The kind of cough that had less to do with something like Shizuka's illness and more to do with the cigarette in his hand. At least, that was what his parents yelled about when they thought Shizuka was asleep.

Shizuka watched his grandfather fearfully, wondering what to do. It wasn't too long before the old man regained his composure and smiled down at his grandson, however. The boy was reassured as a kind hand ruffled through his hair.

He looked back towards the funeral procession to find that it had moved out sight, along with the little blue-eyed child. Shizuka looked around frantically to try and catch sight of them again. It was no use though, and he felt himself sigh softly before giving up the search.

His grandfather had been watching Shizuka carefully during this time, thoughtful in his expression. "Won't you remember that little boy, Shizuka?" He continued to smoke the cigarette, even after the fit. "Someone with a heart like his should be remembered. So even if everyone else forgets him, remember that boy."

Shizuka stared after where the boy had disappeared, considering the strange request. Finally he nodded, deciding to commit a mental image of the crying boy into his memory.

Every so often, his grandfather would ask if Shizuka still remembered that boy. Shizuka would simply nod an affirmative, even though the other boy's face had grown vague and faded. He still remembered the child's crying blue eyes behind a pair of wire-rimmed glasses, and that was enough to his way of thinking. His grandfather would always just smile and ruffle his hair after that, for whatever reason he had.

Shizuka never expected to see that crying child again, though he did think about that time every once and while. Even after the death of his grandfather, he occasionally wondered what became of that boy.

His illness slowly faded till it was nothing but a memory for him. Entering school, which had been an elusive dream to him before, became the center of his life. Shizuka worked hard at athletics, determined never to feel weak like that again. He worked hard at his academic grades too, because he felt the need to prove he hadn't fallen behind because of his illness.

But perhaps it was because he was always such a silent child, or maybe it was because he had never learned how to when he was younger... Shizuka never found someone he could call a 'friend.' When he was ill, it was impossible for him to go out and play. Now that he wasn't, Shizuka didn't know how to approach the other students.

He watched the other children playing and wondered why he could ever be like them. They all admired him, yes. Shizuka had always been popular, regardless of what he done to deserve that rank. But at the same time, people shied away from him. He was too aloof, too perfect for normal people to interact with. Even the teachers were always slightly in awe of the boy from the shrine.

Aloof, they said. Mysterious. Shizuka knew the real name for it however. It wasn't that he was cool or calm as everyone said. He was just lonely.

Sometimes he wondered if he ever met that sad, blue-eyed child again... could they become friends? His grandfather obviously had thought there was a connection between the two of them. Someone with a heart like that... maybe could stand being friends with someone as awkward as Shizuka? But after a while of never seeing that boy, it settled into a dream that he knew would never come to pass. That boy might have already disappeared.

During his first year of highschool, Shizuka settled into a kind of apathy about everything and everyone else. It was how everyone expected him to be, so he played the part. Aloof, mysterious... Never able to interact with normal people. Maybe that was why, when he saw a group of the older boys beating up a smaller first year with glasses, Shizuka just walked by. He had no connection to the rest of the world and therefore didn't need to help.

"They say you see monsters, right?"

"He's always freaking out over nothing like he did in front of the school this morning."

"As upper classmen, we need to teach you how to behave in high school."

Shizuka walked away.

It did surprised him when he ran into that first year student again, later that day after school. Shizuka was leaving the archery field when he saw the boy running wildly around. The other boy suddenly fell over... Almost as if he had been pushed by unseen hands more than if he had tripped.

"Hey, look! It's that first year student that sees monsters..." One of the other club members whispered behind him to a friend.

"He's probably just doing it to gain attention. I heard he doesn't have any friends, after all."

"Well, would you want to be friends with someone weird like that?"

Shizuka tuned them out as he saw the first year student trying to push some invisible weight off him. That was when he caught a glimpse of the student's eyes behind his oval glasses. Very frightened blue eyes.

He started walking to the panicked boy without thinking about what he was doing. Once he got close enough, Shizuka started to ask what was wrong. But the other boy had stopped acting wildly and was now looking around in wonder. "It's gone..." Shizuka heard, noticing up close how many bruises and scrapes the other boy had. He didn't think all of them from the bullying earlier that day.

"Do you enjoy sitting on the ground like that?" The words came out of his mouth before Shizuka knew what he was doing. He should have, at the start of this whole ordeal, just walked the opposite direction like he had earlier this morning. Yet, here he was, speaking to a crazy first year student.

The boy with glasses turned around quickly, spotting Shizuka with surprise. It wasn't too long before he was on his feet and holding both hands in fists in front of him. He was clearly not taking any chances of Shizuka being like the boys from earlier, even though Shizuka was fairly sure the smaller boy didn't stand a chance against him in a proper fight. He looked more like an abused kitten lashing out at a hand that tried to pet it. "What do you want?" the boy with glasses yelled, not taking his eyes off the shrine boy, even if his glasses slipped rather far down his nose. "Come back to finish your friends' work?" he asked, shaking slightly with either fear or fury, or perhaps a mixture of both. Had the boy seen him walking passed earlier?

There were half a dozen things Shizuka could have said to have gotten off on a better start with the boy. Later, he would often think back to this moment and wonder if he could have salvaged the relationship then and there. But between the blue-eyed boy's violent reaction to Shizuka's presence and his pointed (if unintentional) reminder of the shrine boy's lack of friends, spite won him over. "Why should I even bother with an idiot like you?"

What resulted was Shizuka's face nearly having a very unpleasant meeting of the other boy's fist. He was a lot quicker than the boy with glasses however, and moved aside. "I wouldn't try that again," he growled, anger rising slowly.

Too slowly to avoid the other fist. For someone who looked rather frail, the boy had a fairly good punch that knocked Shizuka back a little. The shrine boy's punch, however, sent the boy with glasses straight to the ground.

That was when the teachers stepped in, breaking the two of them a part. They both received detention which neither of them felt the least bit apologetic for. No one could understand what had gotten into these two normally polite and quite boys. Neither of the boys could explain any better.

It wasn't until that night that Shizuka recognized those blue eyes hidden behind the oval glasses. He had a dream of that day and saw the boy's face clearly for the first time in a long while. Shizuka was jolted awake by the semblance between the crying boy and the first year student from that afternoon. They had to be the same boy, there was no question of that. How didn't he see that earlier?

The next day at school Shizuka spent trying to gather more information about that boy. He also made it painstakingly clear to all the school bullies that no one was allowed to touch that boy - Watanuki Kimihiro, that was his name - without facing Doumeki Shizuka's wrath. Though, he honestly couldn't have told anyone why he had done so... It wasn't like Shizuka to get involved with other people's lives.

They had many more encounters, all of them turning out the same. No matter how hard he tried, those meetings always ended badly. Shizuka had just about given up on ever speaking normally with that person - perhaps he was just a failure at making friends after all - when Watanuki had come to ask about using his grandfather's temple for telling ghost stories.

Shizuka wondered briefly if he should thank Watanuki's employer for giving him a second chance. At the time it might have seemed unlikely that Yuuko had done so just for that reason, but now he wasn't so sure. She would probably say it was all hitsuzen as well.

It was that night that he realized his purpose in that little charade. Shizuka could, even if he couldn't see spirits like his grandfather did, still protect that boy. Keep him from disappearing. Was that why he had felt that connection?

The true question was... Did he want to do that? He thought about that question for a while, wondering if he should stay with his old life. It certainly was safer, he reflected while his arm had been in a sling after the trash demon event. Nor was he ever in the habit of really caring for other people. Besides, Watanuki had made it perfectly clear several times over he did not appreciate having Shizuka around.

But little by little, after having lunch with Kunogi and Watanuki... after having picnics with Yuuko and that little black manju-bun... after standing in the rain for ten hours, holding a ribbon and hoping it would be enough... Shizuka was slowly realizing that his apathy towards these people, at least, was no longer holding out. The choice had been made for him.

Yuuko was the guiding hand behind everything. He learned not to question the witch, especially after seeing her sad expression gazing after Watanuki occasionally. She cared about the blue-eyed boy very much, despite how she often treated him. Shizuka was slowly learning about her power's limitations, and he decidedly didn't envy her. She was also the one who gave him a second chance at being friends with Watanuki. For that he would forever be grateful.

Kunogi was by far one of the best topics to set Watanuki off on a rant session and she knew it. Shizuka had an unspoken agreement with the girl. She would distract Watanuki with some comment about how close they were and while the other boy was distracted with that, Shizuka could steal from his lunch. Which would eventually be noticed and set Watanuki off even more. He doubted either of them would be able to hear without hearing aids at the age of thirty, but it was great entertainment at the moment. Somewhere in their 'innocent' games, he had actually grown fond of the girl.

Even Mokona, whose purpose Shizuka had yet to discern, was part of this very strange group. It never ceased to amaze him how much liquor that little manju-bun could hold. He was almost tempted to try and match wits with the fur ball. But since he had seen it keep up with Yuuko, that probably wasn't such a good idea.

Of course, at the center of it all was Watanuki Kimihiro. An obnoxiously loud, spastic, independent, moronic, idiotic and completely selfless youth with blue eyes hidden behind a pair of oval glasses. It was this person that was slowly changing Shizuka from a aloof and lonely shrine boy to... Well, he wasn't quite sure what he was changing into yet, but it was certainly different. The old Doumeki Shizuka would never have felt so lost after shooting the lady in the park that was killing Watanuki. The one that Watanuki had not wanted him to kill, even though it would mean the death of himself. He did mention the other boy was a selfless moron, right?

At the time, Shizuka realized just how much he hadn't wanted Watanuki to disappear. Even if Watanuki hated him afterward, Shizuka didn't want to forget all that had changed in his life since the boy with glasses had entered it. It hurt, seeing the tears behind those oval glasses, tears that Shizuka was the sole cause of. He really wouldn't have blamed Watanuki if the other boy had never wanted to speak to him again, even though that possibility was far more painful than Shizuka wanted to admit.

Which was why, the day when they passed each other by in the hallway after the incident, Shizuka couldn't even bring himself to look Watanuki in the eyes beyond one un-apologetic glance his direction. He just walked by, pretending to not to see them on the opposite side of the hall. No matter what the reaction, he wasn't going to let Watanuki disappear. But... that didn't mean he had been ready for it yet. In retrospect, he had been just as big of an idiot as he kept insisting Watanuki was.

He had nearly been out of hearing range when Watanuki surprised him. Calling him back like that, saying Shizuka could still eat with them. It was at that moment that the shrine boy realized just what kind of relationship they shared. He finally had a friend. The aloof, mysterious shrine boy finally found someone who was willing to put up with his awkwardness. It was strange, but wonderful feeling.

It was something he thought about later that night. Somewhere along the way, Shizuka had started caring for all of them, not just Watanuki. He was changing...

Changing enough to lose his temper when Watanuki lost his eye in exchange for Shizuka's. Changing enough to need Yuuko's shop and become her customer when Watanuki fell from that window. Changing enough to try and cheer Kunogi up when Watanuki caught her running away. Changing enough to see spirits and monsters on his own, without Watanuki's emotions fluxing. Changing enough that he had wanted to help Kohane before he had even really gotten to know her at all, simply because she needed help.

The boy with the wire-rimmed glasses was certainly rubbing off in strange ways. Not that Shizuka expected to start ranting, cooking gourmet meals, and freaking out over every little thing any time soon... But the changes, though subtle, were still very large changes.

So when Kunogi asked her fairly innocent question, the conclusion Doumeki Shizuka came to was immediate and unwavering. Not that he was given a chance to answer with a certain four-eyed monster bait erupting like formerly capped volcano...

"Why does Himawari-chan want to know if someone like that-" special emphasis with a wildly pointing finger in Shizuka's general direction - "has a most important person? Doumeki doesn't matter at all! Unless it means she... No! She can't be asking because of that! She's only asking-"

By this point, Shizuka's finger was firmly planted in his ear to block out the worst of Watanuki's ravings. Thankfully, his other hand was still free to steal one of the rice balls in Watanuki's lunch. Which successfully sent the four-eyed loud speaker off once again. All of which lead to Kunogi's laughing and saying what good friends they were, completely unhinging what was left of Watanuki's temper. The question had served it's purpose and now slipped away, forgotten.

He rather suspected Kunogi's purpose in the question had been more for their favorite 'past time' of tormenting Watanuki than actual curiosity. They were on a particularly good winning streak at the moment. Besides, Kunogi knew full well without asking who Shizuka's most important person was. It was the same as her own and they both agreed to do anything necessary to provide for that person's well being.

Because if Watanuki disappeared and was forgotten by everyone... Those twins, the Zashiki-Warashi, Kohane, Kunogi, and himself... they would go back to what they had been before. Lives that almost weren't worth living before Watanuki had come into them. Shizuka suspected even Yuuko would be effected, though he didn't think she would forget.

Shizuka waited until Watanuki's head was turned before stealing another rice ball with his chopsticks. It was rather hard to eat while protecting his ears and his stomach was currently taking precedence over teasing Watanuki. He was also rather enjoying the smile on the other boy's face at the moment. It seemed a pity to waste it.

Doumeki Shizuka never wanted to forget that smile, or those tears. They belonged to his most important person. Going back was no longer an option for him anymore. He had made his choice.


Quote of the fic:

"The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed."
-Carl Jung