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A piece of crossover that wouldn't leave me alone--spoilers for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest and for Volume Eight of XXXHOLiC.



Destiny

Watanuki was just finishing the polishing of an old silver tea service when he heard the unmistakable sound of the shop door opening. He went to see who'd come, hoping that it was Yuuko returning rather than a customer turning up.

It wasn't Yuuko. She was, quite possibly, as far removed from Yuuko as it was possible to get, Watanuki thought privately. For one thing, she was only as tall as he was and quite obviously wearing heeled boots to get that way. For another thing, her skin was a rich shade of chocolate brown. Her long dress was something Yuuko might have owned as it bared the shoulders and a great deal of cleavage, but it was trimmed in lace and colored in shades of dusty rose and fawn. Her hair was long, as was Yuuko's, but was twisted into rough looking ropes and there were…chicken feathers?...tucked in here and there around the crown of her head.

"I'm sorry, the shop keeper is out at the moment," he said, politely. "May I help you?"

The woman smiled at him, revealing teeth that looked to have been purposely blackened. "Well, well, well," she said, walking towards him—both her accent and her steps reminding him of the sway of the ocean. "Dat woman, she got a rare eye."

"You know Yuuko?" he asked without meaning to.

"I do," the woman nodded and then stopped well within his personal space. But backing up merely brought her forwards another step, her long fingers tapping at the seashells woven into her dress. "Do you believe in destiny?" she asked him.

The curious pause before the word 'destiny' threw him. It reminded him of Yuuko talking about 'hitsuzen'. "Uh," he stammered.

"Because," she said, circling him, "you 'ave more dan a touch about you. In fact," she added, facing him again. She smelled of angelica and rosemary. "In fact, y'ave the look of somebody who fell out the destiny tree and hit e'ry branch on the way down," she said and let out a cackling sort of laugh that was, nevertheless, not unpleasant.

"I—" Watanuki started.

"Ah, I see you've met Tia Dalma," Yuuko said. Watanuki looked past the woman—Tia Dalma—to see his employer standing in the doorway. "Tia," she said, turning to the woman, "this is—"

Tia spoke over her. "Dis be Watanuki Kimihiro." Watanuki must have looked stunned because she lifted one hand, waving it impatiently. "Your name be whispered on the wind i'self," she told him, sounding amused and sharp both. "De other world sighs wi' it."

"And right now I'm sighing with it," Yuuko said. "We're being very remiss hosts, Watanuki. Make tea. Tia, come along to the parlor. I do believe we have nearly ten years worth of catching up to do."

Watanuki stalked off to the kitchen, making peppermint tea with the service he'd just restored before the door had opened. On impulse, he added a plateful of coconut drops to the tray before heading to the parlor. He paused outside the slightly ajar door, listening to make sure he wasn't interrupting.

"...an' y'ave a soft spot for dat boy," Tia Dalma was saying. Watanuki felt a frown wrinkle his brow. Yuuko? With a soft spot? For anybody?

Yuuko's reply nearly made him drop the tray. "Probably a rather larger one than I should harbor, all things considered. But he's a good boy even if," and she raised her voice, "he's prone to listening at cracks when he'd be better served to not."

"I was trying to make sure I wasn't interrupting some important business," Watanuki said waspishly, setting the tray on the table between the women. "Next time I'll just barge in on the gossip."

Tia Dalma laughed that strange cackling laugh again. "M'ybe I should buy dis child from you instead?" she offered.

Yuuko snorted. "Don't you have more than enough young men already cluttering up your shop?" she asked.

"You don' know de half of i'," Tia confessed, settling back regally into her chair while Yuuko stretched lazily across her chaise, smoking her pipe.

"Do tell," Yuuko invited, propping herself up on her elbow. "Watanuki?" she called before he could escape the room. "I need you to fetch something from the treasure room. A black mirror. You'll see it."

Irritatingly, she was right. Watanuki walked into the treasure room and his eyes immediately landed on something that he was sure hadn't been there earlier but must have been the 'black mirror' that Yuuko had asked for. It was as large as a diner plate, jet black, and slightly concave. It was edged in antiqued silver and yet not backed with it because when Watanuki lifted it from its stand he could see the dim glow of light through it, even though his face was reflected back clearly. "Yuuko owns the weirdest things," he muttered, holding it carefully.

In spite of his earlier words, he paused at the door again and lifted his hand to knock.

"…t'ree hundred years I be under the spell cast when him turn dat key," Tia Dalma was saying. Watanuki lowered his hand, listening without meaning to. "Now the end be comin' and i' moves like a hurricane. Deadly an' untrackable."

"I know the feeling," Yuuko said and Watanuki could hear the pipe-smoke in her words.

"Time be runnin' out for you as well, den?"

"He is here, is he not?" Yuuko asked rhetorically. "And Watanuki is listening in at the door yet again. I've raised quite the peeping tom, it would appear."

"I have manners," Watanuki snapped, frazzled as he entered the room. "And you didn't have a thing to do with raising me!"

Tia Dalma's laugh interrupted Yuuko's replying smirk. "I buy 'im from you if I could afford i'," she said, sounding amused. "Jus' for the entertainment."

Forgetting that this woman was someone powerful, someone like Yuuko herself, Watanuki turned and gave her a glare. "Glad I could be amusing."

"Aha!" Tia clapped her hands together. "Den as payment for your gladness, I ask you a question." Her face was suddenly serious. "Wha' is it dat vexes all men, Watanuki Kimihiro?"

"Doumeki," he said reflexively.

Tia cackled delightedly.

Yuuko gave him a look. "One day, Watanuki, you're going to learn," she sighed before gesturing with the hand that held the pipe. "Hand the mirror to Tia, if you please," she instructed, smoke trailing the words.

Watanuki reached out to put it into Tia Dalma's outstretched hand and nearly shouted. His face was no longer reflected in the dark surface. Neither was hers nor even the room around them. "What—" he gasped, his fingers clutching the sliver frame of the mirror tightly even though he wanted to drop it.

"You see something in the mirror, Watanuki?" Yuuko asked, her voice sounded far away and unsurprised.

"Some sort of monster," he answered, staring at the mirror and wishing he could blink or put it down or wipe it clear. "A sea monster. What—?" he asked again.

It was Tia Dalma who answered him, her voice hushed but still resonating power. "If all you see is a monster, dan a monster is what it is."

Watanuki stared at the image. "But he was a man," he muttered. "He used to be a man."

"What did you say?" Yuuko's voice was surprised now and sounding as though coming from a great distance away.

He wanted to look at her, but his eyes would not leave the mirror. He answered her anyway. "He used to be a man. He…is like the Sakura that came here. He's missing…something. His heart," he said, testing the feel of the words on his tongue. "But not the same way. His heart…he doesn't want it."

"Him cut it out. Long time ago now, him cut his heart out," Tia told him, her voice sounding tinny and faint but resoundingly so. It made Watanuki's head hurt.

"Love," Watanuki heard himself say, "love vexes all men. All women. Everybody." His head hurt. "His heart…needs to stop. It has to let go. Of everything." He looked away from the mirror, finally. He looked at Tia Dalma. "He can't have it back," he said firmly, not even knowing why he said what he did. "It's caused too much pain. But this eye—" he lifted a hand, touching his right eye. "I lost it. And I thought 'if I get it back, that would be good'. But I didn't get it back; I gave it to save my friend. This eye that I have—it's from Doumeki. It doesn't look different to most people, but when I look at it, I see that the color is different. If it were blue, like the other, I would think 'it's good that I got it back' but it's gold, like his and I think 'this is a gift, to be able to use this eye'." He dropped his hand again.

His head was killing him. His own voice was making it ring hollowly, like the inside of a huge temple bell. "Sharing it, we both see things we wouldn't see otherwise. Losing one part of yourself—if you don't value it, it's hurtful. But that hurt, now I understand it. More than sacrificing myself, I understand why other people sacrifice themselves for me. It's love. When you understand it, it won't vex you anymore. You can quit hurting the ones you love then." He felt the mirror slip from his grip, the image of the man vanishing from it. "Do you understand?" he asked. It was the last thing he heard before everything mercifully went quiet.

The next thing he knew was the sweet scent of Yuuko's pipe smoke and the feeling of something soft and cool against his forehead. "Huh?" he asked, realizing that he was staring at the parlor ceiling. It needed to be dusted.

"Welcome back," Yuuko said, her voice soothing something sore inside his head. He opened his eyes to see her face above his. "You really gave it your all, for your first time," she told him. Her hand moved through his field of sight, coinciding with the disappearance of that cool, soft touch.

"Yuuko-san?" he asked blearily. Something had happened. She'd sent him to get a mirror. And there'd been something horrible in it…he'd told Tia Dalma something… "Tia Dalma—"

Her voice came from somewhere behind Yuuko. "You be wantin' your payment," she said, her accent, like Yuuko's voice, easing the ache behind his eyes. A large silver locket dropped into his field of view. Lobster claws surrounded a strange face in the shape of a heart. "This pendant was given to a woman by the man who loved her," she said. "He said it was a music box wi' the song of love inside it, but when she open it, nothing play. She could not give him what he want. He come to her 'gain, two lockets made the same. Both a music box wi' the song of him heart in it. His played, oh a sweet, sad song. She open hers, and it be empty. No song an' no music box. Dat night, de ocean boil alive and he lock his heart away to be as hers. He trap dem both in his chest. He would not love her and she could not love him."

Watanuki took the locket so that it would stop swaying and shining in his eyes. "That's a sad story," he mumbled. The locket was cold in his hand even though he knew it had come from around Tia Dalma's own neck. "How does it end?"

Tia Dalma laughed softly. "I don' know yet. M'ybe it be a happy end." He heard the rustle of her skirts. "Yuuko, I 'ave much to be doin' now. I don' t'ink we be seeing each other again."

"No, I don't believe we shall," Yuuko said and Watanuki heard a faint trace of regret in her voice. "I'll walk you to the door."

"Wait." He sat up, the room swimming alarmingly around him. His head throbbed distantly. He opened the locket. The music that came out was sweet. A little wistful. A little sad. But sweet still. "It's a nice song."

Tia Dalma came to his side, dark and beautiful, and pressed a kiss to his forehead. "It is," she said simply, pressing him back and he realized that he was on Yuuko chaise lounge. He closed his eyes.

It was later, much, much later, when he opened them again. Yuuko's pipe smoke was still there, but she'd changed clothes, wearing a black silk kimono covered in a rainbow hue of butterflies. "And you rejoin us again," she said.

Watanuki sat up and looked around. He was dressed in pajamas and was on the futon in the guest bedroom. The silver locket was beside him. He picked it up. It was still cool but warmed quickly in his hands. "What I did—" he stopped, not even sure what he was asking. He opened the locket but it remained silent even as the gears turned.

Yuuko's hand settled warmly on his, folding his fingers over the locket gently. "Another time, Watanuki. You should sleep."

He let her push him back down. "That song," he murmured, "I'd like to let somebody else hear it someday."

"And so you will," Yuuko answered him. "Thank you for letting Tia listen to it today. She's never been able to hear it before."

"Have you heard it before?" he asked, already feeling sleep stealing over him.

"Yes," Yuuko answered him. He thought he felt her hand on his forehead again. "Once before. Now sleep."

He slept.

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
kittychan1986
Mar. 6th, 2009 07:01 pm (UTC)
Holy..... Wow, I could so see this in my head, so rich and dark and Poor Watanuki....so many things that he is that he doesn't understand, absolutly riviting, I couldn't look away.
gweneiriol
Jul. 11th, 2009 05:05 am (UTC)
Hi! I just started watching xxxHolic and just want to say this is such and AWESOME story! Everyone was in character and my heart ACHED for Tia Dalma and yet, I'm hoping Doumeki gets to hear Watanuki's song someday. Though, I think he already knows it. :D
emptybackpack
Feb. 12th, 2010 02:26 pm (UTC)
This was amazing! Such an odd but perfect crossover.
nietzscheme
Jan. 19th, 2011 04:58 pm (UTC)
Wow, this was hauntingly beautiful. I've always wondered about her, the human form of Calypso. And absolutely amazing skill with your accents.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )