A/N: written on a whim a few months ago. I dunno, I think the idea of AlmostPedo!Lucian really appeals to my freaky, twisted side :D

Don't ask me for an explanation, I was simply compelled to dust a bit of crack onto this oh-so-serious fandom.

...and what crack it is indeed. nee hee hee...

And yes, I am fully aware that it gets all deep near the end. I tend to do that when trying to make a story finish. Yet another unfortunate byproduct of the presence of philosophy as an occupational pastime... le sigh...

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"Psychotherapy is the theory that the patient will probably get well anyhow and is certainly a damn fool."

-- H. L. Mencken

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Aaron gritted his teeth. "Must you do this every time I have a birthday?"

Impassive, Lucian continued to divvy up the chocolate cake and place it on the little plates. "Birthdays are special, and should therefore be celebrated." His uncovered eye gleamed sinisterly. "Especially one's eighteenth birthday."

There was something unnatural in the way he was moving. His hands were trembling slightly, and his voice was lower than usual. Not to mention the unusually full grin he was wearing. Aaron twitched. This can't be good.

Within a minute or two the purple-haired swordsman was done arranging the cake and pushed Aaron's plate across the floor towards him. "Here, eat it."

Apprehensively the gunslinger picked off a morsel and put it into his mouth. The cake wasn't bad, he mused. Not too sweet or too dry. Just right.

Meanwhile Lucian had adopted an expression of intense study, his lone uncovered eye trained unflinchingly on Aaron's face.

"What?"

Lucian raised an eyebrow. "What do you mean?"

"You're staring at me."

For a long while Lucian didn't reply, and when he did it was with a question. "Do you like the cake?"

Disbelief flitted across Aaron's face. "I asked you first."

"Fine. I'll just have to..." Lucian uncurled from his sitting position, and with a swirl of air he was crouched right in front of Aaron. "...find out for myself."

Before he knew what was going on Aaron found his mouth covered by Lucian's, who took advantage of his shock to work his mouth open.

The next few seconds were spent rather hastily, as several things happened at once.

Aaron squeaked in surprise, jerked his head back, and hit his head on the leg of the bedside table.

Lucian fell on him- apparently he had been precariously balanced on his knees- and landed on top of Aaron, winding him.

The cake and plate skittered across the room and hit the wall, after which it fell on its side and stopped moving.

As they fell, Lucian curled his arms reflexively behind Aaron's head and waist, softening the blow.

After a few seconds they were both breathing again, and Lucian, disallowing any protests, sat up and pulled Aaron onto his lap, facing him. Due to their respective height differences Aaron was still a bit shorter than his companion, which surprised him; he thought he'd gotten taller.

"Heh." Lucian smirked. "You still can't resist whacking your head on things at every possible opportunity, can you, kid?"

Momentarily distracted from the situation, Aaron frowned childishly. "I don't do it on purpose, and you know that."

"Maybe I do and maybe I don't," Lucian retorted, smirk widening. "All I care about--" he kissed Aaron on the lips, quickly-- "--is that as of two hours ago, you are 18 years of age. And that means..." His smirk grew into a grin to rival that of the Cheshire cat. "That means you're legal."

Aaron felt dazed. "Legal what?"

Lucian chuckled. "Still so naïve..." He slipped a pale hand up Aaron's shirt, making the teen gasp and shudder.

"L-Lucian! What are you--"

"Say it again."

"Wh- huh?"

"Say my name again like that."

"But Lucian, I-- Ah!" Aaron's spine arched as said man tweaked his nipple, the contrast between cold and warm bodies making the touch all the more electric.

"I've been waiting... Oh, I've been waiting."

---

Later, after all the commotion and everything that followed, Aaron found he no longer cared about the cake.

---

They lie in bed, and Aaron's eyes are closed, his lips just barely parted. Lucian finds himself watching him again. This flower is something he waited for during the four, five, nine years he's spent as a lonely bastard, and finally it's bloomed. Gently he brushes a lock of hair from the other's forehead, and kisses him on his eyelids. Lashes flutter and lift, muscles working mechanically until the older man's face comes into focus. His breathing hitches momentarily, and he bites his lip. "Lucian..."

"Hmm?" Lucian's attention turns from his face to his eyes, and he finds it easiest to look straight into Aaron's left one. At such close proximity it is hard to look someone in both eyes at once.

"You're staring at me again."

This time he understands the question behind the statement, the confusion hidden tucked away safely behind his mask. "Am I not permitted to look upon the object of my desire?"

The way he phrases it, putting it out in the air for anyone to see, makes Aaron blush, but the corners of his mouth twitch up independently of his will, and Lucian almost smiles. "Only because it's you, and because we're alone. It makes me feel naked."

A lesser man would have succumbed to the temptation to roll their eyes, but Lucian manages to deadpan well enough on his own. "You are naked."

"Still."

The heater rattles to life somewhere deep within the building, and warm air begins to puff from the vent across the room from them. Aaron clutches his arms tighter into his chest and shuffles a little closer to the warmth of Lucian's bare chest, bowing his head like a puppy that has been chastised. He whimpers near-inaudibly, trembling, and wonders why it had to hurt so much. A pocket of chill air washes over him and for a moment he feels very alone, even with Lucian there not two inches from any given part of his body. For a moment he doubts himself, doubts his birthday, doubts life and love and everything that's ever been trumpeted and overrated and clichéd about them.

Lucian hears the whimper, and knows what comes next, and in his wisdom he pulls himself into a sitting position, tugging Aaron along with him. He does not wince when his back hits the cold wall or complain when it takes a bit of effort to get them settled; he has waited for this, has planned for this.

Gently, ever so gently, he kisses Aaron on his bare shoulder. He cannot see Aaron's face but he knows that it is closed in some strange mix of pain and pleasure, love and loathing. "It's not as bad as you think," he whispers to his lover, encircling him with his arms. "It will get better; the pain will fade. There's a reason why people talk about love so often."

Aaron whines, moving his head to the side to give him room to work, eyes pressed shut. Two miniature sobs shake his shoulders, and his lower lip trembles. He is too immersed in feeling to use words to explain his actions.

In his own way, Lucian understands. He knows that it is hard to change how you see someone close to you. He knows. Indeed, it is this knowledge that holds him closer to Aaron, and the same knowledge which holds them apart.

But he's still going to be there, waiting until he's ready to reach out and take his hand. And until then, he'll be waiting.