((After a lengthy, unannounced, unplanned, and unimportant hiatus, I have returned to the world of fan fiction. My friend convinced me that following around Doumeki and Watanuki like a lost puppy would be a good way to spend my time, and if they were real, you can bet that's what I'd be doing. Instead, I wrote a little proverbial ditty about their thinly-veiled romantic chemistry. Warping quasi-serious, well-planned manga into frivolous young adult drama is the way I like to exercise my brain, or something))

The First Three Kisses

I. The first time it happens, Doumeki is the only one who knows.

Watanuki is sleeping soundly. He's had a fever the past couple of days and Yuuko recruited Doumeki – with one of her trademark maniacal laughs – to check in on him. Doumeki doesn't try to pretend like the shop owner hasn't noticed the feelings he's developed for her hired hand. He does however, stop himself from dwelling on those feelings and the disasters they could cause, should he listen to them. Doumeki is unfailingly sensible that way.

But Watanuki is sleeping soundly, in the tiny living room, holding a bottle of medicine like he was too tired to measure it out and drink it. Doumeki had knocked and there being no answer, he'd let himself into the apartment, and now he's watching Watanuki sleep and feeling like sensibility is a goddamned waste of time. Doumeki kneels beside him and with infinite care and steadiness, takes his glasses, folds them, and sets them aside. The action makes Watanuki's eyebrows twitch but he doesn't wake.

Doumeki lays his wrist against the other boy's forehead and the burn he feels in his skin has nothing to do with Watanuki's now completely harmless fever. He lets his hand rest over Watanuki's, lightly running his thumb over the skin. What am I doing? What if he wakes up? But he knows that won't happen. With all the energy Watanuki burns off flailing and protesting and fawning over Himawari, he just has to be a heavy sleeper. It would be impossible otherwise. So for a moment, Doumeki forgets that he's Stoic-Logical-Doumeki, and forgets that he should practice discretion, and tries to ignore the feeling that his behavior is bordering on overbearing stalker, and he touches his forehead against Watanuki's and in the heartbeat of a second he stops thinking entirely.

Doumeki presses their lips together and heat lights up his face like the butterflies of his first kiss, even though this is far from it. As far as Doumeki's concerned, it should be.

II. The second time, Watanuki is caught off guard.

Doumeki is being quiet. Different from his usual quiet. The kind of quiet that Watanuki notices because after he finishes flamboyantly twirling for Himawari, Doumeki doesn't insult him or bring up the presence of bento boxes. For some reason Watanuki doesn't like the silence, it makes him suspicious, so he shoves lunch into Doumeki's face and snaps, "Here."

Doumeki blinks at him. Damn apathy.

"You're hungry aren't you?" Watanuki pushes the bento at him. "Of course you are, you're always hungry, it's all you ever think about, so here, take the lunch that I slaved over. I don't expect a thank you."

Doumeki doesn't give him one. He eats silently. He's been silent for an alarming amount of time. Watanuki's face falls as he sits down, unsure if he's done something to warrant a cold silence, or if something happened at the temple. Maybe he's thinking about it too hard. Maybe there isn't anything wrong at all.

"Did something happen?" Himawari asks and Watanuki's gaze flies upward. She's fixed the pair of them with wide, curious eyes, head tilted slightly.

"Of course not!" he cries, with a flutter. "Why would you think something happened?"

"You and Doumeki-kun are always so fun together," she answers with a dazzling smile that forgives the words coming out of her mouth. Fun? With Doumeki? Where does she get these ideas? "Today you're very quiet, are you fighting?"

"No, we're not fighting. He's just being himself." Watanuki sends a glare across to Doumeki, who's apparently gone deaf and is very interested in his lunch.

After school, Himawari announces she has errands and won't be walking home with them. Watanuki makes a show of forgiving her and spinning and acting like walking home with Doumeki is the worst thing that could ever happen in the history of ever; and it might not be if he stays so quiet all the way there.

And he does.

He says nothing as Watanuki complains of his presence.

His mouth doesn't move when Watanuki starts in on Yuuko and her tendency to be a slave-driving booze hound.

He stays silent as the grave when Watanuki finally brings up the fact that Doumeki's not only deaf but he's also mute, and why is that?

"Not that I dislike the sound of my own voice," Watanuki says arrogantly, "but you usually spend more time insulting me and less time....doing that."

"What?" Doumeki says finally. Watanuki allows himself a brief victory until he realizes that Doumeki's 'what' sounded less like 'what' and more like 'you're a fool who doesn't make sense.'

"That!" he insists. "That dreamy, lost in thought look that you've had all day. Why are you doing that?"

"I've been thinking." Doumeki shifts his bag to the other shoulder and before Watanuki can demand to know what he was thinking about, he continues. "I came to see you while you were sick."

"You did?" He stops walking for a second, trying to remember if that ever happened.

"You were sleeping," Doumeki says with a nod.

"So you just barged in?! What is wrong with you, just walking into somebody's apartment? That's a felony Doumeki! That's trespassing! You–"

"Watanuki."

The boy stops short, not because Doumeki is speaking – he would've talked over him any day, hell usually he doesn't even hear him – but because of the way he said his name. It was commanding, and somehow gentle, and full of meaning that Watanuki would probably never fully comprehend, even if he was inclined to try.

"Doumeki...?"

The taller boy stoops slowly to brush his lips against Watanuki's wearing a more than convincing mask of apathy. Watanuki puts a hand to his mouth, momentarily stunned and there's a quiet look of pleasant surprise in his eyes. But the moment is gone in an instant and rationality comes thundering back wearing steel-toed boots, and Watanuki's face contorts into outrage.

"What the hell was that!?"

"A kiss," Doumeki says it like it's the only reasonable answer.

"I know it was a kiss, I'm not a moron!" comes the retort, going down in history as a great failure in logic. "Why was it a kiss? What do you want to kiss me for?"

He has no idea that internally Doumeki is listing reasons ranging from sweet romance to raunchy fantastical lust, and that it takes an immense amount of control to keep the three foot distance that Watanuki has put between them.

"I just wanted to."

"That doesn't answer the question at all!" Watanuki's arms pinwheel before he suddenly gasps and leans against a tree. "Oh god... I just kissed a boy."

Doumeki's eyebrow twitches up in irritation. "So?"

"So, it wasn't just any boy, it was you!"

"What's wrong with kissing me?"

"It's – it was...." he opens his mouth and closes it, not quite sure if there was anything wrong with it. At a loss, he finally shouts, "You're Doumeki!"

"You didn't like it?"he prompts and Watanuki realizes with a jolt of discomfort that Doumeki has taken two long strides closer and is peering down at him with a thimbleful of desire leaking through his nonchalance. The smaller boy shrinks a little against the tree, feeling embarrassed and warm, and not entirely sure of himself. This is Doumeki, I don't like Doumeki – I can't. He's arrogant and cold, and never says thank you and hardly ever smiles, and never at me, and he insults me, and he cares more about his bow than he ever will for me...he doesn't really care....

Self-denial always worked for Watanuki in the past. He could use it like Himawari could use her smile to ignore the curse of her birth and Yuuko could use unfailing cheer to deal with the strange, uncontrollable things that lurked in the corners of the universe. But right now, with Doumeki's hazel eyes staring down at him and his eyebrows coming slowly together in anticipation, Watanuki couldn't deny anything and he couldn't ignore the itching feeling of emotions long kept secret and stuffed away.

"I didn't...expect it," he manages finally. Doumeki's face dips closer, head tilting slightly. Watanuki grasps at a lifeline. "I'm going to be late for work."

He slides away from the tree and around his assailant and starts off down the street, but it feels terrible and weird to just leave him like that, so he turns a little, avoiding eye contact, and say, "I'll see you later."

Doumeki is back to being silent.

III. The third is beautiful.

Doumeki thinks that escaping to the roof will get him away from thoughts of Watanuki. He's always believed that fresh air will clear the mind of unwanted or consuming thoughts, and that a lunch period without having to watch the object of his desires making a fool of himself for a girl when he should be spending that energy on Doumeki, will help him move passed this damned infatuation and perhaps, even abolish the stupid things he's done in the passed week.

It's a hope that's shattered and scattered as he opens the door and sees said desire, sitting with his back against the railing and his head tipped upwards, exposing his pale neck to Doumeki's lingering gaze.

"I was hoping you'd come up here," Watanuki says before the other boy can process the situation.

"Why?" It's a simple enough question but it carries weight that both of them can feel. Watanuki lowered his head, looking Doumeki in the eye.

"You've been avoiding me all day, so I thought you wouldn't show up for lunch. I told Himawari-chan I had to stay after class and then I came up here because it seemed like the right place."

"You lied," Doumeki is having trouble understanding the boy's motives, "to Kunogi?"

Watanuki nods. It's suspicious how still he's being. Doumeki moves forward until he's standing in front of the young man who's captivated his thoughts for months, and then feels suddenly, unbelievably awkward and clenches his hands to try and deal with it. Luckily, Watanuki gets to his feet.

"I wanted to apologize," he says formally, dropping the strained, uncertain quality that'd been plaguing his words since Doumeki showed up. "Yesterday wasn't as bad as I made it out to be and I..." he hesitates then, one hand coming up and pausing in a half movement between them. Doumeki relaxes his fingers and brings one hand forward to wrap around Watanuki's. The younger boy looks up, startled, and his eyebrows come together in uncertainty.

"Watanuki," Doumeki says softly, taking a step forward. He feels like he's making a risky move, like Kimihiro is a small animal that could shy away and bolt at any moment if he isn't careful. As much as he wants to wrap the boy in his arms and kiss him until they're dizzy, he takes a breath and keeps the little distance there is, staying himself with all the self-control he possesses so that Kimihiro can finish.

"There's nothing wrong with kissing you," Watanuki says finally, so quietly that Doumeki has to wonder if he didn't just imagine it, and whether or not his heart has any right to beat so fast. There's enough silence – about three seconds' worth – that Doumeki feels like action needs to be taken and he leans in slowly to take Watanuki's lips with his own and kiss him with more purpose than the first two times.

Watanuki responds perfectly, pulling at Doumeki's lips with a kind of innocent determination, and wraps his free hand around the taller boy's neck. It isn't the most graceful or well planned kiss in the history of kisses but it's happening and Doumeki doesn't plan on taking any of it for granted, since he's still not certain it's anything but a well imagined dream. He puts both arms around Watanuki's waist and pulls him close, stomachs brushing together. He hears no protest, so he tries for more, feeling greedy and wanting, and deliriously happy. He slips his tongue between Watanuki's teeth and runs a hand up his back.

It would've been nice if Watanuki continued but he seems shocked by the advances and pushes away, blush tinting his cheeks. Doumeki resists the need to pull him back.

"Doumeki, I..." he trails off for a moment, takes a breath, and some of his usual flailing bravado returns. "I'm not just somebody you can kiss one day on the roof and never again."

"Okay."

"You might be okay with one-night stands, or one-day kisses but I'm not, and I don't want – what? Okay?"

"Okay," Doumeki says again, allowing himself a small smile. Watanuki looks stunned.

"Then what," he gestures between them, "is this?"

"This," says Doumeki, reaching for the other boy's hand, "is me saying that I would like to take you on a real date, and I want to meet you every morning and walk to school, and have you wait for me at archery so we can go home together, and if you insist on smiling so brightly at Kunogi, I'd like it if you'd smile more brightly when you look at me."

Smile is exactly what Watanuki is doing, and the sun itself seems to be contained in that one expression. He grasps Doumeki's fingers gently and moves forward again.

"I think we can work something out," he says cheerfully. "But this means you have to start saying 'thank you' when I make you lunch."

"Fair trade," Doumeki murmurs and leans forward to capture Watanuki's lips for a wonderful fourth time.