"Isn't your birthday soon?" Doumeki asked.

It was a rather chilly Monday night and they were standing in a quiet street corner, waiting for a customer of Yuuko's to deliver something; whatever it was, Watanuki had learned to not even want to know. Yuuko had been on a particularly smirky mood that day and Watanuki had been only happy to oblige when she suggested he go home early in exchange for playing her delivery boy after hours.

"In two weeks and yes, I'm making cake but it doesn't mean you're getting any." After a minute or two of Doumeki very loudly not saying anything, Watanuki added with a pointed voice: "Cake."

Only, the customer is question was nowhere to be seen and they had been waiting for a good half an hour. The only available activity being snapping at Doumeki (which quickly lost its appeal) and forming balls from lint found at the bottom of his jacket pockets (which had never had appeal in the first place), Watanuki was growing dangerously irritable.

"Exactly two weeks?"

It took him a minute to figure out what the other boy was referring to. "Well, I don't know if it's exactly. Go ask stupid questions somewhere else."

"You can't count?"

"Shut up, you big pile of idiot."

But he of course could not keep his brain from making the calculation. "Yes it is two weeks exactly, after midnight at least."



"I was just wondering."


"If you've managed to kiss anybody."

"What?" He would have punched Doumeki if he could have been bothered to dig his hands out of his warm pockets.

"You don't know?"

"If I have to say 'what' one more damn time my head will explode and I will make sure it explodes on you! And there will be pieces of brain and blood and other bodily fluids on your clothes! Lots of them! I have big brains!"

Doumeki was unaffected. It wasn't as if Watanuki's blood all over the place would be anything new.

"Just, you know, the thing that people say, if you've haven't been kissed even two weeks before your seventeenth birthday, you never will be. You'll die a virgin."

This was worthy of getting his hands out of his pockets. He was often told that his incessant flailing about made it hard for anybody to take him seriously, but he adamantly believed it made him appear bigger and more intimidating, like a cat puffing its tail. Well, a big and a manly cat. A tiger.

"That is the stupidest thing I've ever heard!" he screamed, his fist just barely missing Doumeki's face. Doumeki was too cool to duck and only shrugged lightly, refusing to make eye contact.

"It's just a superstition, I guess. Old wives' tale."

"It makes no sense! Why not on your seventeenth birthday?"

"Well, I guess it's too easy to get kissed on your birthday." Nobody reasoned like Doumeki.

"What does that have to do with anything? You're making all this up! Why hasn't Yuuko said anything about it?" By this time, his pitch had reached a level where it was going to give all the neighborhood dogs a very memorable hangover.

"Maybe she didn't want to rub it in your face that you've never been kissed."

"You show me a thing Yuuko won't want to rub in my face and I'll show you… something non-existent!"

"Maybe she thought you already knew about it. I don't know. Stop yelling, I'm too young to be deaf."

Only then did it occur to Watanuki that he should perhaps defend his honor. "And who says I've never been kissed? I very well may have been! Yuuko wouldn't know! You wouldn't know!"

Doumeki's looks naturally tended towards condescension and he was spared from the trouble of changing his expression. Watanuki fumed, once again disappointed that his puffed-up-cat act wasn't working. But he could hardly say anything else in his own defense. Doumeki shrugged again when he saw Watanuki giving up.

"Like I said, it's just a superstition."

"And it would, of course just by coincidence, occur to you now when it's too late."

"Well, you told me only now that there's two weeks until your birthday, idiot." Doumeki made a little cough and made a sideways glance. "It's not as if I have your birthday marked down in my calendar with three different colored pens. And anyway, you've still got fifteen minutes, it's not midnight yet."

"Right!" Watanuki was suddenly gifted with the brightest idea ever. He bent over to rummage around his schoolbag.

"What are you doing?"

"I'm going to call Himawari!" He announced brightly, his smile almost blinding himself as well.


"Hah! See how you like it!"


"Ha ha!"

"What are you doing, Watanuki?"

"She'll help me out, I know it. And maybe this will be my chance!"

He could see it now, leaning over the adorably short and petite Himawari, and smiling at her. And she would smile back, radiantly, understanding, and tilting her head with that cute way she had. Maybe she would look a little bit timid or unsure; it would be her first kiss too. Her long, inky black eyelashes would flatter and ah, it would be heaven. And after he would have kissed her, very sweetly of course as not to scare her, she would look flustered and take his hand and tiny blue birds would sing. Finally, she too, would know that it was true love.

"Are you stupid, you're just going to call her in the middle of the night and ask her to kiss you?" Doumeki's voice boomed like the voice of God announcing the exile from paradise to Adam and Eve. "She'll think you're a pervert."

Obviously Doumeki would try to spoil his wonderful idea and his happiness. Doumeki wanted Himawari to himself. Jealousy was obvious in the angry tilt of Doumeki's eyebrows, and it was a lot to say considering he could be having a heart attack and not show it on his face.

"She won't! She'll understand, she knows about things like these. She's met Yuuko, for crying out loud. I know she'll help me out!"

"But it's still not as if she could fly. It would take a bit more than fifteen minutes to get here."

Watanuki deflated, clutching his cell phone to his chest. It was true, Himawari lived far away, and it probably wouldn't even be safe for her to be out at this time of night.

"And besides, she's probably not even awake", Doumeki said quietly, sounding vaguely sorry even if his face had returned to its normal not-expression.

"Fuck." The phone was dropped back into the bag rather unceremoniously. "Well, maybe somebody will pass by; maybe I could ask somebody, as a favor."

"Good luck."

"You bastard, you're enjoying this, aren't you? You want me to die a virgin."

"And exactly how would that benefit me?"

If Watanuki would have been interested in discussing his sex life any more than he had already been forced to, he could have said that he could very well imagine all the jokes his unwanted celibacy would inspire in Doumeki. He was, not for the first time, thankful that Doumeki didn't seem to have any friends with whom to gang up and make more of Watanuki.

"Somebody will pass by", was the only answer he deemed Doumeki worthy of.

Silence followed and Watanuki took up swaying back and forth on the balls of his feet and found it was an adequate alternative to exploring the wonderful world of lint. After a minute or two, a small red cat sauntered across the road. Watanuki turned, but could barely get his mouth to open before Doumeki snapped a firm "No." Watanuki made a face and turned away. He had started to already feel a dread balling up in his stomach until he spotted a distant figure approaching.

But alas, he was not to be relieved of his first kiss. As the person stepped into the yellow circle of a streetlight, he was revealed to be a very elderly man in a dirty overcoat, his back hunched and his skinny legs crooked. Watanuki watched in horror as the man turned to give the boys a nod of his head and a toothless smile, enhanced by a drop of drool worming its way decidedly down the man's chin.

Watanuki could feel Doumeki snickering all the while he waited for the old man to pass out of sight. Disgusting or not, he had been raised well enough to at least not let others hear him speak evil of them.

"You missed your chance there."

Watanuki's head was suddenly overtaken by numerous fantasies of killing Doumeki. It disturbed him momentarily that in some of them, he was sitting on the other boy, but he let it go. Surely, Doumeki, who was a good amount taller than him, would need to be subdued somehow while Watanuki would pour scalding hot water down his nostrils or do something else of the sort. He had many options prepared.

"I think he even seemed kind of interested in you."

Ah, and then there was of course the Laxative Plan that often brought Watanuki much private pleasure. When Doumeki had swindled Watanuki into making lunches for him, he had apparently overlooked the fact that Watanuki would be preparing the lunches all alone, in his own home, undisturbed, and nobody would ever find out what he put in them, at least not before it was too late. As soon as he could be convinced that Himawari wouldn't want to taste Doumeki's lunch, The Laxative Plain would be set into motion.

"I will kill you. And it's a he, anyway. So I couldn't have kissed him. Hah."

"What does it matter if it's a he? As long as it's a, you know, romantic kiss. With tongue and all."

It somehow sounded too filthy to hear Doumeki talk about French kissing. Of course the bastard had had kisses left and right and wouldn't understand that it still, at the ripe age of almost-seventeen, made Watanuki blush to think of kissing anybody, much less kissing anybody with tongue.

"The clock is ticking." Doumeki kindly reminded him.

Watanuki could see the reflection of himself and Doumeki on the window of a car parked across the street. If he were to kiss Doumeki, as that seemed to be the only option left, it wouldn't be him leaning over but Doumeki. It would be Watanuki that would be towered over. The laughing and teasing would never be over, especially if Yuuko ever found out and she was bound to stumble on a secret this delicious.

It was, of course, only superstition. But he could still hear the snap of that scissor creature, the hiss, and the snap that could have very well been his neck breaking into two. He had learned that old wives' tales weren't to be joked around with. And was he willing to risk a life without that sort of human touch? It would, after all, be only one kiss and there had been no definition of how long it should last, had there, it could be a fraction of a second and then over. It wasn't as if Doumeki was particularly unattractive, Lord knew he had many enough girls running after him. But he was a boy, and while Watanuki did consider himself rather open-minded – hell, he'd been thought of being gay often enough for it not to even freak him out anymore – it was still a bit weird. And Doumeki was annoying and stupid.

But Doumeki wouldn't enjoy it either, so in a way, it could be a win-win for Watanuki, what with getting rid of whatever curse it would bring him to remain unkissed and at the same time, he would have a chance to cause discomfort for Doumeki.

Still, he had no desire to beg for a kiss from that idiot. And how did one go around begging for kisses, anyway? Bargaining, obviously, was the word of the day.

"Doumeki," he said, eyes firmly on the tips of his shoes.

"Yes?" The word was stretched out very, very ominously.

"I uh. I." Go, go, Watanuki. Think of all the girls you'll never get to kiss if you don't do this. "Maybe I'll make enough cake for you too."


Watanuki clenched his fists. Doumeki was so enjoying this, after all, and wasn't it natural that he would when he could see Watanuki squirm and humiliate himself completely.

"You, you worm. You..."

"I don't think that was what you were going to say."

"Ugh." He gave up when a flick of his wristwatch revealed there were only four precious minutes left. "Doumeki. Can I kiss you?"

"I'm sorry; I don't think I heard that correctly."


"Are you sure that kind of tone inspires any sort of willingness for kissing?" Doumeki's smirk was too obvious in his tone so it didn't surprise Watanuki when he finally managed to look up. He knew he was blushing, from rage and from something else as well. But there was no time. He leaned forward and just about managed to keep himself from clasping his hands together. He would not die a virgin, he would not.

"For crying out loud, please, Doumeki, can I kiss you?"

Doumeki's snicker faded into an odd smile and suddenly he had a rather determined look. As he loomed closer, Watanuki had a few fleeting, panicky thoughts, such as why am I nervous and when did he become so wide, why does he grow and I do not? Then there were lips pressed against his and his eyes slipped shut. Doumeki's hand, – big and warm – was gently pressed against his cheek, guiding his face. The other hand grasped Watanuki's, just shy of fingers sliding between fingers. Doumeki's lips were surprisingly warm, even if the tip of his nose was cold against Watanuki's skin. The taste of something lingered, something spicy and bitter, coffee maybe, and somehow it made him think of Christmas. There was a nudge and a minute movement, Doumeki's lips parting and guiding him, up and down, slowly, languidly and then Doumeki was sucking his upper lip in, touching it with his tongue and only hours later would Watanuki remember he had made a horribly breathy gasp and thought, well, this is nice, I've been missing out.

Then it was over, the lips pulling away, but Watanuki couldn't open his eyes, lost for a second. The presence lingered, he knew the other person was still only a precious inch away from his face. He heard the click of a swallow and felt a warm breath, or a sigh, against his wet lips, trying to suck him back in. He had to open his eyes then and backpedal, make the distance big enough so that it seemed as if he had never stood close in the first place, as if there had never been a kiss. As if there just about wasn't a second one.

Their torsos were still slightly aligned, though, even if Doumeki was looking somewhere completely different now and it took a while for Watanuki to understand that this was Doumeki's confused face.

"Well, ah, thank you. Glad that's taken care of."

Doumeki coughed as well, his voice slightly weak as he only said: "Uhn" and then suddenly snapped his hand away from Watanuki's sleeve where it had lingered. Watanuki returned his hands to his pockets, his fingers shaking a bit. He had a distant desire to yell at Doumeki but couldn't really think of a reason. It felt a bit different now, all of it, the silence, the yelling, and Doumeki as well. He cleared his throat, just to fill the void. Doumeki followed suit and for a while, it was as if they were having some strange, incomprehensible conversation by coughing.

"I want strawberries in the cake." Doumeki finally said, when done with his coughing performance.

"It's my birthday cake; I decide what goes in it." Watanuki snapped, lifting his chin a bit. It was a relief to snap. "Maybe there will be strawberries, maybe there won't be."

"You owe me." Doumeki reminded and Watanuki couldn't keep himself from flushing just a tiny bit. He wouldn't need Yuuko to rub this particular incident in; Doumeki was going to keep reminding him of it until the end of time. There was no way he was going to let Doumeki bully him around now. And he had intended to put strawberries in the cake a while ago, way, way before Doumeki ever said anything.

"I better not die a virgin then. If I do, I'm holding you personally responsible."

Doumeki shot an extremely dirty look but said nothing. Watanuki threw lint at him.