forher—wish started following you
Under happier circumstances, you mean? I must say, it is nice to see that there is no love lost between us. You have grown.
Like I said, I have grown bored over the years, and this seems like an enjoyable time waster, so why not? Don’t let this face fool you; I get lonely, too.
” I suppose the air between us is lighter, for the time being. Ah, and you give yourself little credit; you’re a difficult person to forget about, Jorogumo. All things constantly change, though I’m sure you know that quite well. “
” I remember your home, in quite a few ways. It is possible for anyone to feel loneliness, so I don’t doubt your words. Perhaps I shouldn’t be so surprised that you appeared before me because of them- still, it’s rather interesting that you intend to find entertainment from myself. “
forher—wish started following you
Ah, a familiar face.
It’s been a while. Still as cute as ever, I see.
” .. indeed, it has been quite some time. Although I can’t say I was expecting to see you like this once more. “
” A visit from you is rather rare. I would have to wonder what brings you back to a place such as this. “
; ( introduction )
Ever since that one, fated encounter in the city, Wocky had found himself wanting to talk to him again. That strange, enigmatic version of the one he held so close that had taken over his body and visited him for only one night. They’d barely spoken - after all, Wocky had been drunk off his rocker, but the memory still remained in his head.
From what he remembered, he was very…odd. Odd, but not in a bad way, not in the slightest. He just didn’t act as Kimihiro usually did. He was so much calmer, with a peaceful appearance but incredibly sad eyes. He couldn’t help but wonder what had happened to turn him this way, and the question had burned away at him for many days.
He couldn’t tell the Kimihiro he lived with any of this, of course. He’d be warned about that. If he said anything well, that could change the course of the future, and he certainly didn’t want that? (Or did he? Either way, it was something that wasn’t really his decision.) He couldn’t worry him either, especially not over something so farfetched.
His wish was simple.
He wanted to talk to him again.
That night, when he went to sleep, close to the younger version of who he wanted to see once more, he kept that thought in his mind.
When he awoke…well, he didn’t wake up. More like, he was having a dream. A dream on its own was a blessing already, since for the last few months, all he’d had was either a horrifying nightmare or a blanket of nothingness.
He arrives at a fancy looking house. No, it wasn’t a house, it didn’t have enough things in it to really be a house, besides, it didn’t really give him that sort of feeling. Smoke fills the rooms, but it’s light and airy, nothing too asphyxiating or unsettling. One thing he notices is that it reminds him very much of his home back in his world, and he realizes that he could live here comfortably. Why that thought comes to him, he doesn’t understand.
Then two young girls, one with pink hair and one with blue hair pull him to a room, but he’s far too distracted by who he sees ahead to pay them any mind. He sees that same mismatched gaze, but it’s different, different in some way and that’s how he knows. He is given a greeting, but for a few moments all he can do is stare in complete silence, trying to make sure this is all real. Soon enough, a couple of clumsy words stumble out of his mouth.
“…i-it’s nice t’see you again. I…wanted t’talk t’you again.”
Watanuki could never be completely aware of who would be coming into his shop, though there was always a lingering feeling that began to bubble whenever a customer came close. As the years drifted by, he was able to register those who frequently visited him (with or without notice), and would always prepare what was necessary for them before they arrived. Even with those he did not know, he did the same; afterall, if he hadn’t, he wouldn’t have been doing his job properly. If he was unprepared, then he could not cater to their needs; he would have no sense of what their desire could be.
But even if he had known that someone was coming, even if he somehow felt like he knew who this person could be, nothing could have prepared him for this.
It took everything inside of Watanuki to not completely shatter when that familiar boy was led right through his doors.
He didn’t move. He didn’t speak, didn’t breathe; but that same smile stayed over his features, masking the whirlwind of emotions inside that were begging to be released. His heart was swelling, his hands on the verge of shaking- and he wanted nothing more than to abandon all else, to find himself in Wocky’s arms once more; to hold him, keep him close and never let him go. For him.. it had been so long. Even if they had seen one another months ago, in a dream, in another world.. Watanuki was only given a taste of truly being reunited with the person he had fallen in love with. But he knew that this, as well.. was exactly like that time.
It would not last. Despite what he wanted, what he constantly wished for to happen, Watanuki could not allow himself to give in.
As difficult as it was.. even though it hurt him to even think about, he needed to control himself. Just like before.
After what he had done to his own future, he hardly deserved to have Wocky by his side again, in any case.
” .. so I see. ” It was all he managed to say at first, words forming in his mind, all wanting to spill out at once; but Watanuki held them back, expression softening in the slightest. ” Then that is why you are here. I’m surprised that you were able to find yourself here.. but if it was what you truly desired, then there was no controlling it. Fate has allowed us to meet in these forms once more. “
Was this version of Wocky from the city? Were they still near each other everyday, in that time? Had they.. even realized their feelings? Whatever the case might have been, he needed to be careful. He needed to watch his words, hold back certain actions; even if everything was telling him to do otherwise.
Taking a step forward, Watanuki almost moved to reach for an unlit pipe- but instantly stopped, silence taking over him once more. He could feel the space around him bending, Maru and Moro’s appearances gone instantly; somehow, it seemed that they had found themselves in a sort of dream. One that he would not be treating lightly.
” .. It’s nice to see you as well, ” Takita. The softened smile on his lips faltered slightly, slight sadness showing through his expression as he dropped his gaze, only to bring it onto the other once more. ” I wonder if we’ve been apart for the same amount of time since we last met. ” He chuckled; but it was empty. ” I would hope that you haven’t been getting into too much trouble, after that event in the kitchen. “
” Though.. you are here for a specific reason, not for me to reminisce on the past. You came to seek me out yourself, so your request must be something important. And if it is your wish to speak to me.. then I am here to listen. “
; in dreams we meet. ( doumeki )
Despite himself, Watanuki had been falling into the past more and more recently.
Life as he knew it had been steadily changing for over ten years, now. Those he knew were growing, aging with time; moving from one place to the next, as they should have been. They were living; and with each passing day, the shop keeper could always find something new about them if he looked hard enough. A new line creasing the skin of their face. Different clothes, different smells; they were the same, and yet, so different from when he had first met them.
It was to be expected, of course. One could not control the growth, nor the life of another person.
Watanuki was merely a spectator; watching as that uncontrolled time changed faces, tinted hair with gray, and withered those he knew down to their very last flame.
It was a lie to say that he had not changed, but he was also the same as he always had been. His skin did not wrinkle, his face did not age. His body stayed thin, lithe; bones protruding at the hips, the collar, the ribcage. Every time he saw his reflection in the mirror, a teenage boy would be staring back at him with weathered blue eyes, and messy, unkempt hair; dressed in an almost too tidy school uniform. But that boy was a stranger to him now. He no longer knew who that person was- he only recognized the gaze of mismatched hues; one golden, one blue. Instead of school clothes, he was always drowning in colourful silk that would never belong to him, and yet, he continued to clutch at it so desperately. He would never grow into the countless kimono that were stored inside of the closed off space; they would always slip off his shoulders, expose pale, creamy skin that hadn’t aged a single day since he was seventeen.
Physically, he was still the same. But Watanuki’s mind had aged profusely; inside, he ached, and his bones were beginning to creak. The world was visible to him in a different light; changing each day as a new wound was inflicted, as a new customer fueled him with emotions that he forgot he had. His new life was just as apparent as everyone else’s, something that would be staying the same for a very long time.. and yet, he kept finding himself remembering. Searching his memories of school days and lunch underneath the shade of a tree; of bickering, laughter; paid prices and choices that threatened to rip certain feelings apart. Even though a certain person had remained constant in his mind, in his entire self; there was sometimes more, more than he could handle.
And when that happened, he usually found himself in a familiar place he could now only visit in a dream.
The dark area around him was silent; all he could hear was a breeze that echoed in the dream space, but where that wind could even be coming from, he never questioned. A familiar cherry blossom tree stood before him, with empy boxed lunches sitting on a faint yellow blanket- they were never filled with food, and the occupants who would have been there.. of course, they never appeared in the dream. Watanuki was always alone, but he knew where this was supposed to be. Although it always felt strange, being at a place he used to eat his lunch at school with his friends dressed in a pale blue yukata; draping past his feet on the soft grass beneath his feet. His glasses had been left in the world of the awake; and as always, he was left to his vices. Left to live through dreams that were once memories- that was once something he did almost every day of his life.
An empty smile traced his lips as fingers did the same to the bark of the tree; touching the outlines as petals gently fell around him. He wanted to sit, but it wouldn’t have felt right without Himawari or Doumeki, so he always stood. It shouldn’t have been so quiet, either- he should have been fawning over Himawari, while yelling at Doumeki for something or other, and Himawari’s cheerful laughter should have been filling the air, with Doumeki speaking only short words, every few minutes. But he couldn’t have it that way anymore. Unlike many other things about himself, this would never be the same.
” .. I suppose I have no right to complain, do I? ” he murmured quietly, pressing his fingers harder against the surface. ” After all.. I’m the one who continues to bring myself here. Even if I’ll never get used to this. “
Though suddenly, something caught his attention— snapping his focus away from the tree. It almost didn’t reach his ears, but he knew every sound from this place, every shift in the wind, every footstep he made- and this was not one of them. This belonged to somebody else.
He stayed still for a moment, before slowly, he turned, gaze searching for the source of the sound- and when he found it, every inch of him froze. He felt his breath still, his eyes widen, his heart drop into the depths of his chest.
.. this wasn’t a memory. This wasn’t a figment of his imagination, something he created- it was real. He was real. But it was a version of that self he hadn’t seen in so long, never would like this again- so why.. was he here?
How did he end up in a dream that was not even happening in his time?
” .. Dou.. meki. “
; ( introduction )
It was only possible to find yourself here if fate led you down the correct path. Listening to the desire in your heart, knowing that you had been searching for one thing for so long— you never thought that anyone would ever hear you. You’ve held this inside of you, away from the world all your life; but it’s what you want, more than anything, and you would give whatever you could to see it come to light. Wouldn’t you?
No one has ever been able to help you. There is not one person on this planet who can give you want you want, but that’s where you’re wrong. This is what this place is meant for. You’ve finally arrived at the destination where your wish can be granted—
But only for a price.
It seems like a farfetched idea. It’s possible to wish, but to have that small thought granted- if it is, it’s only coincidence, you think, though that’s not true. Coincidence, mere chances- those do not exist.
There is only hitsuzen. There is only an ageless shop keeper, temporarily taking the place of another- until her return, he is of service to you. He gives everything he can if you are able to give him something in return; something of equal value to your request. Smoke lingers around you when you arrive, while two small girls take your hands and lead you to another room. When the doors slide open, you see him, and he greets you with a smile; dressed in brightly coloured robes, and it’s all absolutely chilling in its own ways.
None of this feels real. You’re sure that you’re only dreaming..
But when he speaks, you know that all of this really is happening. And any doubts, any fear that you might have had are suddenly completely washed away.
This is your fate.
This is where you were meant to be.
” Welcome to the store. “
asked : I guess you could say I`m doing alright, eheh. It`s always funny when people say they`re "well" or "fine." What exactly is 'doing well" anyway?
” You ‘guess’.. ? Well, I hope things are truly alright for you, then, and if they are then I’m glad to hear that. “
” Mm? I suppose it is rather odd to say.. ” he chuckles slightly, smiling soon afterward. ” Though, I was always under the assumption that one was simply.. content, or at peace in some way. Not truly feeling a specific emotion, but in a state where things are not hectic or upsetting. ” He stops, quietly chuckling once more. ” If that makes any sense to you. “
” .. and just how do you know what my true age is? Calling someone old isn’t a very polite assumption; and no, I do not have a clue what you are speaking of, unfortunately. I am not quite sure who you even are, either. “
asked : Hi mister Watanuki!! How are you doing today~?
” My, I seem to be getting a fair amount of visitors lately. Good afternoon; I’m doing quite well, thank you. I’d have to hope you are doing the same? “