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Here's to Your Empty Space.

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Here's to Your Empty Space.

The first time Watanuki wears one of Yuuko's kimonos, was most likely out of need, six months after Watanuki inherited the store. Shizuka steps carefully over some puddles of water and he follows Maru and Moro giggling all the way to the living room, where Watanuki is grumbling as he combs through Maru's long, curly hair, Moro playing with Mokona.

He sets his briefcase down. "What happened?"

"Balloons!" Moro and Mokona cheer, giggling.

Watanuki grumbles a bit more as Maru giggles too, moving. "Hold still."

Later, as the kids and Mokona go to hang the soaking clothes outside, Shizuka waits outside of Watanuki's room, holding his hand for Watanuki to give him his soaking clothes as well.

"They wanted to cheer me up," Watanuki says, and with the twins outside, he doesn't try to mask his fondness for them, how touched he is that they did this. "After Himawari-chan left, they thought I looked down."

Kunogi tries not to come to the store on her own, unless she absolutely has to, not willing to risk the chance that her bad luck may cause, now that Watanuki is learning how to grant wishes, when he's still learning how to balance the retribution so that it's always equivalent.

More grumbling from Watanuki, then. "Of course, they could have chosen something that didn't involve water. The mattress is soaking as well!"

He slides open the door to his room, and Shizuka stares as Watanuki comes out, wearing one of the witch's kimonos light blue and orange, the obi still askew. Watanuki turns around, giving him his back.

"Help me? I can't get it right."

Shizuka steps closer, fixes the koshi-himo belt and the fabric in silence, then the excess material before he takes the date-jime belt, moving in front of Watanuki to tie it up properly.

"I just didn't have anything else to wear," Watanuki grumbles. He sounds embarrassed.

"I didn't say anything," he says, his eyes still on what his fingers are doing.

"Well, before you said anything!" Watanuki huffs, crossing his arms once Shizuka steps away from him. He crosses his arms, the long sleeves moving as he does this. He's blushing. Shizuka moves away, picking the clothes from the floor as he goes towards the garden.

"You look ridiculous," he tells Watanuki because it's the truth: he asked him to tie the obi as if he was a woman, and of course it shows. He moves his head to the side when Watanuki throws him a slipper.

"I didn't ask you, did I?!" Watanuki shrills, but Shizuka doesn't hear him walking towards the kitchen or back inside his room.

He turns to look back, but Watanuki isn't looking at him, but at the mirror, his eyes sad, longing. His fingertips touch the surface of the mirror.

Shizuka goes outside.


The kimono stays on later, barely on Watanuki's shoulders but hanging there, like butterfly wings against the pale skin, and Shizuka can feel the silk of it against his thighs where Watanuki isn't, can feel it shifting when Watanuki arches his back as he rides him.

He doesn't dare to touch Watanuki's thighs, lest his hands touch the kimono, too, so he keeps his hands clenched on the futon, his eyes open where Watanuki's are closed. Watanuki is gasping, his hands on Shizuka's knees, cock flushed against his stomach, thighs flexing as he moves, but otherwise not making a sound.

When it feels as if he's about to come, Shizuka moves a hand to wrap it around Watanuki's cock, stroking him, a little awkwardness with the angle like this, but it doesn't seem to matter because Watanuki still makes a sound as if it hurt him, and before Shizuka can ask if he's alright, he's coming all on his hand and stomach, and it's a couple of heartbeats later and then he's coming too.

Watanuki takes off the kimono then as he moves up to clean himself, and Shizuka does the same in silence.

"Where are you going?" Shizuka asks, once Watanuki has picked up the kimono, folding it with his careful, smart hands.

"To sleep, obviously," Watanuki say, giving him a look as if he couldn't believe he was being so stupid.

"I doubt your mattress has dried yet," Shizuka says, frowning.

"Mm," Watanuki agrees, but he doesn't look back, sliding open the door. "Good night."

It's the first night he sleeps at the witch's room. He never stops after that


The second time, it's almost a year and a half since Yuuko disappeared. Shizuka is walking with Kohane towards the store, the two of them carrying the groceries because Kohane insisted she wanted to help, so he gave her the bag with the bread and flour, and the two of them walk in companionable silence until Kohane seems to swoon and he has to drop the bags to stop her from falling down.

Her eyes are scared. "Kimihiro."

It's all she has to say. Kohane looks at him, blue eyes worried and Shizuka picks up the bag and they run all the way back to the store, even when he leaves her behind.

"Doumeki!" Mokona cries.

Shizuka drops the bags and his shoes and he runs inside, where he can now hear Moro and Maru calling for Watanuki. He can't hear Watanuki at all, and when he opens the door he's not surprised.

So much blood. His leg is a bloody mess of torn muscles and raw skin, and he can't tell if Watanuki passed out due to the blood loss or the pain. The white and brown kimono he was wearing is ruined due to the blood, the pants torn open.

"Kimihiro!" Kohane cries, but Shizuka shakes his head no as he takes off the kimono.

"First aid kit and water," he says to the girls, and then there are their footsteps running outside.

Hours later, with Watanuki still sleeping, he walks Kohane home, simply squeezing her fingers back when she takes his hand leaning her head against his arm. It's too late but the granny understands, giving a soft, sad nod at him. He promises Kohane to call her tomorrow early to let her know how Watanuki is and he goes back to the store.

The idiot is up when Shizuka goes back, limping as he stands by the bathroom sink with a bowl of milk and peroxide, soaking the kimono. He looks a wreck, the shadows under his eyes looking like bruises, his expression grim.

"What are you doing?" he asks, grabbing Watanuki's arms.

Watanuki shrugs him off. "The kimono will be ruined if I don't start getting the stains out immediately."

"It's already ruined," Shizuka tells.

Watanuki glares at him through the mirror.

"It's not. I just have to take care of it."


"I said no," he deadpans.

He spends about three hours by the sink, washing, rinsing, scrubbing at the delicate material carefully and reverently. When Watanuki is done there are no remains of his blood upon the kimono, but his leg is bleeding again and Shizuka has to almost carry him all the way back to the witch's room.

Shizuka stays up for the rest of the night.


Then it becomes a gradual thing. Watanuki starts wearing Yuuko's jewelry, her long earrings as brooches, making bracelets of some others. He wears the long sweater that Kunogi gave him as a gift for his twentieth birthday over the modified cheongsams he has styled to fit a perpetually lanky teenager instead of a voluptuous woman, and through it all no-one says anything at all. Kunogi gives him a sad look, but she smiles at Watanuki when Tampopo chirps in delight. Kohane grabs Watanuki's hand and the witch's bracelet shine upon his wrist as Watanuki asks Kohane if she would like more dessert.

And he sits there as Watanuki goes through the clothes that Yuuko left behind, almost like a child playing pretend with his mother's clothes. The most modern stuff is the first to be perpetually adapted, but the kimonos remain, mostly, untouched.

He wears man's obis low over his hips, the furisode open and loose, the soft colored fabrics contrasting against the dark colors of the Chinese shirts he wears underneath. While Shizuka does his research for college, Watanuki will have thread and needle as he goes through the clothes, standing up every now and then to check them against himself on the mirror by the wall.

And Watanuki takes them to bed with him, the folds hanging over skinny shoulders, so that Shizuka can feel them against his back when Watanuki holds his hips as he pushes inside him, he can feel the cool touch of silk bunched as Watanuki thrusts, and he closes his eyes so that he can't see the way the clothes seem to enfold Watanuki, how they almost seem to set him apart from the rest of the world.


The tray with the cups fall down. Shizuka doesn't move to pick them up, and neither does Watanuki, who just stares at him. Shizuka looks right back at him, still wearing the black and purple kimono, or barely wearing. He wouldn't have been able to tie the formal obi so he didn't try, merely did as Watanuki did, and used a man's obi around his waist.

He's naked under it.

Watanuki moves and there's anger in his eyes, finally something else besides that hateful smile and pain. He pushes him against the wall, turns him so that he's face first against the wall. Watanuki's hands scramble for the oil that Shizuka left there and then he's pushing the kimono away, oiled fingers moving down the crack of his ass and Shizuka opens his legs, braces himself against the wall as Watanuki's fingers work him open, hard and fast. He can feel him trembling as he pushes with two fingers, then three. He waits.

It seems as if Watanuki is trying to speak, but he only manages choking sounds before he withdraws his fingers, and then his cock is pressing against his hole and he pushes in. Watanuki's hold on his grip is almost bruisingly tight, and he sometimes forget just how strong Watanuki is, how strong he can be when he wants to, when he has a reason. Shizuka moves a hand towards his own cock and he strokes himself, following the rhythm Watanuki has set.

Watanuki bites the back of his neck, the shoulder, rubs his face against the silk of the kimono, breathing in the scent of magnolia and wine and opium that is not his nor Shizuka's, breathing in so deeply that it almost feels as if he's going to pas out. Watanuki thrusts hard and Shizuka can feel the way he mouths a name that's not his nor Kunogi's before Watanuki groans and comes inside him.

Later, there is silence as Watanuki puts on his usual sleeping robe, as he smokes. Shizuka stays upon the futon, uncovered, looking at Watanuki, but Watanuki is not looking at him, merely picking up he kimono Shizuka had worn.

"Don't do it again," Watanuki tells him in a soft voice, giving him his back as he carefully, reverently folds the kimono, holding it against him before he stands up and walks outside the room.

Shizuka closes his eyes, and says nothing at all.