disclaimer: if tenipuri was mine, oh-ho-ho, you wouldn't believe how much yaoi would be blatant.
an: merry christmas eve and happy birthday, ryoma-chan. now go get laid.

1140 words.

12-24


Echizen Ryoma had never really liked Christmas. Maybe it was because he was brought up by a Buddhist family, or maybe it was because his own birthday was always shown up by the internationally-celebrated holiday, but, either way, whenever he heard someone shout out 'merry christmas' or 'happy christmas eve', all he would wonder was, 'i wonder if anyone remembers that today's my birthday, too.'

~&~&~

"Yo, Echizen, Merry Christmas!"

Echizen looked up for a fleeting moment, then turned back to his book. The subway was full of happy couples, out on a Christmas-day date, and that was exactly what he didn't want to see. All of the love and cheer made him sick, especially since none of it was aimed towards him. Christmas, in Echizen's opinion, was worse in Japan than in America. At least in America, people try to focus on giving and being happy, not making out with your girlfriend.

Momo-senpai plopped down in the seat besides Echizen, grinning hugely. He pulled something out of his jacket pocket and dropped it in-between Echizen's pages. A candy cane.

Echizen looked at the red-and-white striped peppermint candy, and then picked it up and threw it at the incoming train, waiting until the two items made contact before returning to his book. If he'd thanked Momo-senpai, then he'd be encouraging him, and if Echizen encouraged Momo-senpai, then he'd never stop thinking up pranks.

"That was mean, Echizen," Momo-senpai said, sad in a teasing way. "I spent a full hundred yen on that, just for you."

"I don't like candy," Echizen quipped, flipping the page. "Especially not peppermint." It was too stingy—it burned the back of his mouth and made every breath he took feel cold. There was a bling-blonging as the train pulled out.

Momo-senpai leaned back in his seat, folding his arms and raising his eyebrows. "Oh? The only guy I know from America—land of 'happy holidays'—doesn't like peppermint? What else?" He started ticking off on his fingers as he listed the many items Echizen could—and did—hate. "Presents with big bows? The colors red and green? Garland? Mistletoe? Or just Christmas in general?"

"I like red," Echizen protested quickly, but he hid his face in his book before saying anything else. "Besides, Momo-senpai, if you haven't figured out what's bothering me by now, than you probably won't figure it out later."

"That's mean, Echizen," Momo-senpai said, once again sad in a teasing way.

That was when Echizen really got annoyed. He slammed his book shut and turned to glare at the fourteen year-old boy beside him. "Can you really not tell?" he asked, voice heated. Momo-senpai can't be that much of an idiot, right? He couldn't have forgotten about Echizen's birthday so quickly. True, Echizen never really told anyone that today was his birthday, but thirteen was an important age to turn, and it's just not cool to have all of your friends forget about that.

Startled by the sudden hostility, Momo-senpai jumped back in his seat, eyes wide and confused, any trace of a smile gone. "Wh-what?"

And that was enough. Echizen stood up, and, without looking back to see Momo-senpai's reaction, got onto the train that had just pulled in.

~&~&~

Maybe it was expected. Momo-senpai never paid attention to anything that didn't interest him. Why would Echizen interest him? Why does it even matter, anyway? After all, he's going back to America soon, even if Momo-senpai doesn't know. He'd just forget about him once he didn't show up for the new Spring Semester, anyway. Like expected.

When Echizen looked up, he saw Momo-senpai swaggering his way towards him, looking as if nothing was wrong with anything at all, which, by all means, just further annoyed the already half-annoyed, half-depressed Echizen.

"Echizen," he greeted, grinning as wide as usual, looking like his face was going to slip in half. Echizen knew, though, that he was just like always, that he could be happier and, amazingly, smile wider.

Starting to feel embarrassed for his earlier outbreak, Echizen diverted his gaze to the snowy ground.

Momo-senpai only had to take a few steps to reach Echizen, and then he was by his side, leaning against the same wall as Echizen was, three inches beside him and almost an entire foot taller. There was a moment, and then he asked, "You cooled down yet?"

Echizen nodded, a small movement.

"Good," Momo-senpai sighed, really looking relieved. "I was worried about what I'd do if you were still all pissy."

A blush stained Echizen cheeks, and he tried to hide it by lowering his hat, so far down that he couldn't even see anything anymore.

Momo-senpai leaned his head against the wall and stared at the cloudy sky, watching the snow as it fell closer and closer to the mismatched tennis couple. Echizen peered out from underneath his cap to watch the never-ending flow of loving couples and bustling businessmen pour out of the station, all of them together leaving thousands of footsteps behind. Echizen felt like he wanted to look up and see what Momo-senpai was doing, but decided against it and watched a man put out his cigarette in the snow.

"Is it still too late to guess?"

Confused, Echizen just looked up. Momo-senpai met his stare with a light gaze of his own, smiling just a little—Echizen recognized it as his match-point smile.

"Why you were so pissy," Momo-senpai explained. "Can I still guess?"

The emotions inside of Echizen weren't making any sense, so, not annoyed and yet still annoyed, Echizen mumbled, "Only one guess," as he looked back down to the floor. After all, Momo-senpai either knew or he didn't.

"All right, then," Momo-senpai said sounding invigorated.

It was almost a second later when Echizen heard Momo-senpai's voice saying simply, as if it were common sense, "It was your birthday yesterday, right."

It wasn't a question—he knew this—but it was so exact for such a short time to think—not 'today', he knew it was 'yesterday'—that Echizen actually paused his current train of thought and wondered, for the smallest of split seconds, 'does momo-senpai actually care?'

And then, as Echizen looked up to ask Momo-senpai how, the older boy leaned down and pressed their lips together for an insanely long yet still too short moment.

Echizen jerked his head back. "Momo-senpai…!"

Momo-senpai's smile was now his 'game-set-match, momoshiro, six games to love' smile, the happiest and cockiest smile he had in his entire arsenal. He pulled something out of his pocket and pressed it into Echizen's hand, unnecessarily leaving his hand on top until after he said in a low and chuckling voice, "Happy belated birthday, Echizen."

When Echizen looked down, he almost smiled.

A candy-cane, tied with a red and green ribbon, a mistletoe hanging off of it.