Doumeki wasn't going to be able to last much longer, that much he knew. He was coughing up flowers at an alarming rate now, and he was always short of breath. The flowers had completely ensnared his lungs, and Doumeki could swear he could feel the tendrils beginning to twine around his esophagus. Things were beginning to look grim, but he felt that he was close. Doumeki had taken to avoiding Watanuki when he could, and he could tell the situation was wearing on the other boy. Watanuki would seemed like he wanted to say something to Doumeki, but always held himself back. Always held back by his pride. His stupid pride. He was on the verge of breaking through that pride, but he needed more time. Time he wasn't sure he had.
"Are you sure you can afford to wait much longer?" Himawari asked him one day after a particularly bad coughing fit. The flowers, once a soft white, were now stained crimson, with only faint traces of their former purity. A sign that he really couldn't wait.
"Not really. But I have to," Doumeki replied, wiping the blood from his mouth. His voice was raspy from the constant coughing, and his throat felt like it was constantly on fire. He was going to be so relieved once this whole affair was over with.
"Okay, if you think it's worth it. I just don't want to see you die," Himawari said, seeming even more worried by his words. Doumeki felt a pang in his heart. He hadn't wanted to worry his friend like this.
"It'll be over soon," He said.
"Really? Are you sure?" Himawari asked, perking up a bit.
"Yeah. Just need a little more time."
"Okay, just make sure that 'little more time' is enough."
The ringing of the bell sounded abruptly, cutting off their conversation. Himawari stood up and dusted herself off before turning to gather her things. "We'd better get going to class now. Will you be seeing Watanuki today?" She asked. Doumeki gave a short nod in response. "Well, you should think of talking to him then. I'll see you later!" She gave him a short wave before heading off back to her classroom. Doumeki quickly gathered up his stuff and headed off after her.
The rest of the day passed quickly, with Doumeki trying to hold off his coughing as much as he could so as not to disturb his classmates. It was getting harder and harder, with as often as the attacks were coming now. He left as soon as the bell, quickly retreating to an empty bathroom to deal with the latest onslaught of flowers. Leaving the bathroom, Doumeki quickly made his way to the front gates. Upon arriving, he noticed Watanuki already standing there waiting for him. He shot Doumeki a worried glance, before quickly turning and leaving without a word, and Doumeki followed.
Their walk was uncharacteristically silent, with Watanuki shooting glances at Doumeki every few seconds, seemingly about to say something. But each time, he turned his head and kept walking in silence. Doumeki was okay with silence, but with Watanuki, it was unnerving, especially with the tension currently hanging over their heads. Once they had made almost all of the way to the shop, Watanuki stepped in front of Doumeki, causing him to halt.
"Are you ever going to tell me whats going on? Or am I the only one who's going to be left in the dark?" Watanuki asked, crossing his arms and glaring at Doumeki.
"What do you mean?" Doumeki asked.
"What do I mean? I mean about how you and Himawari are always sneaking off together, and how you are clearly getting sicker, yet refuse to tell me anything about it! We may not be friends, but if your supposed to protecting me, I should at least know about this!" Watanuki yelled.
"It's nothing you need to-"
"Bullshit!" Watanuki screamed, cutting Doumeki off. "You're one of the few people I hang around! Of course it's something I should know about! I'm... I'm... I'm worried okay! I'm worried about you!" Watanuki huffed at the end of his tirade, clearly out of breath.
Doumeki blinked in surprise. He hadn't quite expected that, but he was pleased with where things were heading. It meant he was finally breaking through Watanuki's stubborn pride. "I-" Doumeki started, but was cut off again, this time by another coughing fit. Watanuki let out a noise of alarm and quickly moved beside Doumeki, roughly pounding his back. It wasn't long before the flowers forcefully expelled themselves from his throat onto the pavement below, stray petals and blood clinging to his lips.
Watanuki started down at them in shock. Slowly, he bent down and picked one up, flinching slightly at the wet feeling. He examined it for a few seconds, before looking up at Doumeki. "What is this? Are these... flowers? And is this blood? What's going on?" He barraged Doumeki with questions, his former ferocity gone. In it's place was quite shock and worry.
"It's Hanahaki disease," Doumeki said, straightening up and wiping his mouth.
"A disease caused by unrequited love. Flowers grow in the lungs, and if left alone, they'll suffocate me and I'll die."
"Is there anyway to cure it?" Watanuki asked frantically.
"Either remove them through magic, or have my loved be returned," Doumeki answered simply.
"Tell the girl how you feel then! Don't put yourself through this!"
"They won't accept me if I tell them now."
"Then get them removed! Yuuko can surely do it!" Watanuki sprung up and spun around, starting off towards the shop.
"No!?" Watanuki exclaimed, turning back around. "What do you mean 'no'?"
"If I do that, I'll lose my feelings for that person, and I don't want that." Doumeki replied evenly.
"So what? You'd rather die!?"
Doumeki gazed directly into Watanuki's eyes. "If that's what it comes to."
Watanuki stumbled back a step, shock written all over his face. "You... you'd rather die? That's... that's crazy! Why? Why would you want to die for love? That's... I..." He trailed off, his head spinning with so many thoughts and emotions. Fear, worry, hatred, fear, hatred, fear, worry, worry, worry. "I..." Watanuki staggered forward, clutching onto Doumeki's jacket. Worry, hatred, fear, worry, fear. "I..." Fear, worry, fear... love. "Don't do this..." Watanuki said quietly, tears beginning to drip down his face. "Don't do this to me... I... I think... I think I love you..." Watanuki sobbed out, the tears coming faster. At that confession, Doumeki felt his chest loosen up. He started coughing violently again, causing Watanuki to step backwards in alarm. Doumeki hunched over as he coughed up the rest of the flowers in his lungs, along with the branches that had been anchored in him for so long. After a couple minutes of coughing and hacking, Doumeki righted himself, finally able to take a deep breath in what felt like ages.
"What... what was that?" Watanuki asked shakily, staring at the new mess on the ground.
"That was all the flowers in my lungs," Doumeki said, turning to face Watanuki.
"All of the flowers... so that means it's gone? Your Hanahaki disease?" He asked. Doumeki nodded in response. "So then that means... it was me? Your unrequited love?" Another nod. Watanuki eyes flickered to the ground, then back up to meet Doumeki's. "Why didn't you just tell me? Instead of putting yourself through this?"
"Would have believed me? Or accept me if you did?" Doumeki asked.
Watanuki looked away. "...Probably not."
"Exactly. I needed to push you to accept your feelings for yourself, before you could consider accepting mine."
"What a backwards way of confessing... And what made you so sure that I even liked you in the first place?"
"You aren't subtle, even if you think you had yourself fooled."
Watanuki flushed deeply at that. "Well, anyway, what does this mean?"
Doumeki raised an eyebrow. "What do you mean?"
"You know, about our relationship. Are we... are we dating now?"
"Do you want to be?"
Watanuki's blush deepened. "I... I guess I wouldn't be opposed to it."
"It's settled then" Doumeki said, stepping closer to Watanuki.
"Wait,wait,wait, are you trying to kiss me? You just had blood and flowers in your mouth!" Watanuki exclaimed, taking a step back.
"I think I waited long enough. Don't you?"
If Watanuki could have gotten any redder, he would have. "...Fine," He grumbled, raising his head slightly and closing his eyes in anticipation. He felt Doumeki grab his chin, and then his lips were upon his.
...It was better than he could have imagined.
A/N: Finally, the ending! I'm so sorry this took so long for me to finish, all that time for four measly chapters. Thanks to everyone who stuck with me to the end, you rock, and I hope you like this ending! Your continued support kept me motivated to actually see this through to the end. You're all awesome, and I hope you read whatever I put out next!