Written for prompt 81 (a picture of a tree that I can't link here) of maritombola; it's like the Italian version of bingo, only better. So I saw this prompt and I was all... pink tree = cherry tree = Japan = anime/manga fandom. I'm not really into animanga any more but I read all the newest xxxHolic volumes so I could be educated on the newest developments and write about boys snogging.

-x-

The first months without Yuuko had been the hardest. Along with her shop, Watanuki had also taken over her flamboyant wardrobe and her habit of getting drunk all day long.

Sometimes it seemed like the only way to cope, pretending that a small part of her was still alive somewhere, or maybe that was just the alcohol talking. Still it did the trick, dulling the heart-shattering pain and reducing it to more mundane headaches and dizziness.

There was the job too. It kept him busy, but it also gave him more reasons to be drunk. It was a good thing Yuuko had been so fond of giving him no instructions. It had been good training for the time when Watanuki wouldn't be able to rely on her any more.

Either that or Yuuko had liked to see Watanuki scream and flail desperately. Knowing the witch, it was probably a mix of both. He was learning to be on his own but it was a slow thing and his jobs left him sore and exhausted at best.

...

There was a day in the last week of March in which for the first time in months Watanuki was mostly sober and without any grievous wounds.

He'd made traditional Japanese sweets with green tea and eaten them under the cherry tree in the garden. Mokona had eaten most of the sweets by himself and was now napping in Watanuki's lap. He stroked one floppy ear absent-mindedly and watched one of the cherry blossoms fall down into his cup.

"Oi," said Doumeki, coming up the path. Watanuki could have argued that his name wasn't 'Oi', or complained about the disturbance, but he wasn't thinking about anything much. Anyway it was pointless to argue with Doumeki, whose dead fish expression never changed.

He grabbed the bag that Doumeki tossed at him (threads and colored pieces of fabric to adapt one of Yuuko's dresses into something he could wear) and gestured at the remains of the snacks spread on the mat. "I made some sweets to go with green tea," he said.

As expected, Doumeki ignored the fact that it had been a statement more than an invitation. He never missed a chance to get free food.

"They would go better with sake," he replied.

Watanuki got up, carefully dislodging Mokona from his lap and leaving him to nap on a corner of the mat. "No, they're meant to be eaten with tea," he argued, but he went inside and fetched a bottle of liquor anyway. He also got Doumeki's share of the sweets: he'd left it in the kitchen, safe from the afternoon's heat and from Mokona.

When he walked back outside, balancing the bottle, two glasses and a plate filled with small pastries on a tray, Doumeki had stolen Watanuki's spot and was sitting against the tree.

"What took you so long?" he complained, possibly on general principles since Watanuki had only been away for a minute or two at most.

Watanuki refused to rise to the bait, preferring to shut him up with food. He placed the sweets in front of Doumeki and plopped down unceremoniously on the mat to fill their glasses. Doumeki started eating without even a 'thank you', not that Watanuki had been expecting one. It was good enough to see another person eating his sweets. It made Watanuki happier than eating them himself.

They sat together for a while in something that resembled companionable silence. At any rate they didn't speak while Doumeki ate. Watanuki wasn't hungry but he didn't mind drinking a glass of two of that clear liquor that went so nicely with the sweets.

By the time Doumeki had cleared his plate, the bottle was half empty and Watanuki's world looked soft, as if it was wrapped in cotton. Even Doumeki looked soft, which really didn't make any sense since Doumeki was the opposite of soft: tall, angular, infuriating, dense and incredibly entitled, that's what Doumeki was.

It was nice right now, though, and Watanuki wished they could stay like that for another while. Just drinking one more glass together under the cherry tree, without having to worry about Watanuki's destiny or the shop or inevitability.

It had been a while and his brain was dulled by the alcohol so it took Watanuki a while to recognize the feeling. He wasn't happy, not exactly, but he wasn't unhappy either. Just for a minute, one glorious minute, Watanuki was definitely not unhappy.

Doumeki shifted and put his empty glass down. Watanuki felt as if the moment of peace was slipping away. Doumeki would get up and leave, or worse he'd start talking and break the quiet spell that had settled over them. He couldn't let him do that, so he did the only logical thing he could think of: he leaned forward and kissed Doumeki.

He'd only meant for it to be a quick peck on the lips but for some reason he didn't feel like stopping until Doumeki shoved him away. And Doumeki, though startled, was very much not shoving him away. Watanuki breathed in Doumeki's scent, a mixture of soap and wood, and grabbed the front of Doumeki's shirt for balance, pulling their bodies even closer.

Doumeki's lips, softer than Watanuki would have thought, parted slightly as Doumeki hissed with surprise. He licked into the other boy's mouth, tasting the warmth and the sweetness and the sake on his tongue. He was just drunk enough not to care, and he'd already waited for too long.

One of Doumeki's hands was tangled in Watanuki's hair, the other was sliding down his back. He could feel it through the loose fabric of his kimono: large and warm and sending shivers down his spine. Watanuki clung to Doumeki as if his life depended on it

He caught Doumeki's lower lip between his teeth and bit it, softly, and Doumeki moaned against his mouth. It was unbelievable that Doumeki could make such a sound, that he would kiss Watanuki under a cherry tree on a sunny March afternoon. It let Watanuki completely breathless.

Watanuki broke apart from Doumeki, slowly and reluctantly, his breath coming out in gasps. At some point he'd slid forward so he was almost sitting in Doumeki's lap, but Doumeki was in no state to comment on that compromising position.

Doumeki's lips were red and kiss-swollen, his usually impeccable shirt all askew. Watanuki thought he could come undone just because of that, from hearing Doumeki's heartbeat racing against his own chest. He adjusted his own kimono with shaky hands, only too conscious of Doumeki's stare on him.

Watanuki wanted to ask what was going to happen now, where they would go from there, but he had a feeling that Doumeki wasn't in any shape to answer questions right now. Nobody ever gave him a straight answer anyway.

Next to them, Mokona was stirring in his sleep. Watanuki found Doumeki's hand in the grass next to him and twined their fingers together, giving Doumeki a small smile. Doumeki didn't return the smile, but squeezed his fingers for a moment. And maybe this too was inevitability.