Their first kiss tastes like bubblegum and vodka.
They sit in their dorm room with t-shirts carefully tucked underneath the crack of the door to block the light from being visible to anyone outside. A bottle of vodka sits on the ground between them along with several packets of different flavours of gum. Xigbar had smuggled the vodka in, and Saix had brought the bubblegum so they would be able to mask the smell of the vodka.
Xigbar pours out a little of the vodka into two mugs, one for each of them, and sits with his legs out in front of him and his back against the foot of his bed. Saix sits facing him with his legs crossed and his elbows on his knees, head in his hands as he stares down at his cup.
“I can’t believe I’ve known you for like, two, three years and still didn’t know that about you.” Saix remarks, picking up their conversation from before Xigbar started pouring the vodka.
“Well, I don’t just tell anyone that story so…” Xigbar replies, “And I don’t know much about you either. Wanna trade good ol’ childhood stories?”
Saix hums, not quite answering Xigbar’s question, and brings his mug to his lips. He grimaces as he takes a sip, but takes another anyway as he stares down at the ground, avoiding eye contact with Xigbar.
Xigbar tenses up for a moment before relaxing again, bringing a knee up to his chest as he takes a gulp of the vodka. He takes the moment to think before he chuckles.
“Broke my arm when I was 8. I was hanging out with Xald’ and his friend Lexaeus? I just called him Lex, it was easier, but yeah. We had to get Lex’s mum to take me to the hospital. I’d wanted to impress him. Fell outta a damn tree trying.”
Saix snorts with laughter, nearly choking on his next sip of vodka, the sound of it in turn makes Xigbar snicker in response. Saix smiles up at him with amusement in his green eyes, peering at him from over the rim of his mug. Xigbar sighs, glancing out the window for a moment before turning back to face Saix with a smile of his own.
Saix watches Xigbar’s expressions and his chest tightens. Xigbar sees Saix smile at him from across their little dorm room and feels his whole body melt.
“You wanted to impress him by climbing a tree?” Saix laughs, “Somehow I’m just surprised you didn’t do something else more reckless.”
Saix laughs again and Xigbar can’t help but laugh too, making sure to keep his volume down so as to not wake anyone else up. Saix downs the rest of his mug and places it down in front of them, nudging it forward towards Xigbar and gesturing with his chin towards the vodka bottle.
“Just a little bit more, please?”
Xigbar nods and starts to fill his cup up again, watching Saix carefully and waiting for him to stop him when enough vodka is in his mug.
Saix takes another sip as he reaches down for a strip of gum, holding it in his hand as he drinks.
“Aqua and I would talk to each other in Romani chib, as you know,” Saix starts, a fond smile on his face, “We really only had each other, our parents weren’t usually around. It sucked, I’m not gonna lie, but man, it’s so fun when you can shittalk people without them understanding.”
Xigbar grins mischievously, “Oh, I understand, believe me. Xaldin and I would do the same in Chinese.”
Saix sits up straighter, “Right??”
He finishes off his cup again and pops the gum into his mouth, there’s a warmth in his chest that he knows isn’t from the alcohol, and it only grows warmer the more he looks at Xigbar. His gaze crosses the other’s face, from the bleached streaks in his hair to his beautiful brown eyes and to each of his piercings.
Xigbar’s grin grows slowly as he, too, finishes off his cup and puts it down in favour of gum.
“That explains why you liked that piece I wrote so much,” He says as he chews, “We’ve got a lot in common, huh?”
Saix hums a little sadly as he blows a bubble with his gum, his mind going over the story Xigbar had written for their high school’s school magazine. It had been a morbid piece, focusing on the struggles of growing up with only an older sibling as family. It had had an open ending, an unclear future.
“Yeah. Yeah we do, huh.” He replies quietly, “Hey Xig?”
“I’m glad we’re friends.”
Saix smiles and there’s a genuine happiness in his eyes. Not for the first time, Xigbar realises just how beautiful he is, inside and out.
“I’m glad we’re friends, too.” He replies softly, meaning it with all his heart.
There’s a shift in the tone of the room as Saix’s smile grows sly and his eyes narrow, “Bet I can blow a bigger bubble than you.”
Xigbar feels a pleasant chill crawl up his spine as he leans forward in challenge, “Oh you’re on.”
It ends in a reluctant tie.
They’re both too stubborn and having too much fun to back down, but eventually they end up lying down on the floor side by side, stomachs still aching from their laughter, hips pressed against each other.
Xigbar holds up his left hand between them, elbow pressed to the floor. Saix chuckles breathlessly and grabs it with his right hand, squeezing tightly in lieu of a handshake to confirm their tie. Their hands drop back down between them, still clasped together although neither of them mention it. It feels natural, safe, warm, comforting, for both of them.
Their gum has since been spat out, the vodka bottle closed and put away, and the curtains pulled over the window, hiding the moon.
“You ever just… realise how big the world is?” Xigbar takes a deep breath and continues, “I mean, everything else is just, so out there. This is just a small part of our lives and yet it means so much.”
Saix is quiet as he mulls over his best friend’s words, turning them over in his head as he thinks over his own words to respond with.
“...Yeah.” He whispers, eyes focused on the ceiling and the little cracks in it, “It’s been… hard. Getting through everything, I mean. But we’re still here, aren’t we?”
Xigbar cracks a smile and turns his head to look at Saix, “Yeah. Yeah we are. Thank you for being here with me, through everything we’ve done together.”
Saix turns to face him and he sighs warmly as he presses his body closer to Xigbar’s, “Thank you to you too.”
They both go back to staring up at their ceiling in silence and Xigbar takes a deeper breath. He could blame this on the vodka maybe, or on his tiredness, if it doesn’t go well. But he wants to ask, it’s something he’s wanted to ask for a long time now.
“Saix, would you kiss me if I asked?”
Xigbar’s about to quickly backtrack, to say nevermind, to shake his head and apologise. He opens his mouth to ask Saix to forget what he just said when-
“Are you asking?”
Now it’s his turn to be silent. His heart is racing in his chest and although he doesn’t know it, Saix’s heart is racing too. Their hands are still tightly held together between their bodies.
“Maybe.” Xigbar finally replies.
There’s more silence as the two of them sit up together in sync, shuffling backwards until their backs are pressed up against the side of Saix’s bed and they’re both staring forward, cheeks flushed. It’s not from the alcohol and they both know it; they’re both still completely sober.
They’re both sitting up and avoiding each other’s eyes until Saix finally replies.
“Then ask me and we’ll find out.” he whispers.
They turn to face each other and Xigbar bites his lip.
“Saix, may I kiss you?”
Saix smiles and nods, “Yes, please.”
And then they’re both leaning into each other as their lips meet and their hands are in each other's hair, not wanting to pull away from this soft sweet kiss of theirs that they’ve started. There’s no fireworks or sparks or anything like that. But there is a comfort to it, a feeling that they share with each other, a feeling of belonging. They’ve both wanted this for so long.
“I’ve wanted to kiss you since prom, you know? That’s what I was going to ask that night.” Saix whispers against Xigbar’s lips as they pull away just enough to breathe.
“I.. I know. I just wanted to ask.. To make sure you hadn’t changed your mind or anything.” Xigbar whispers back, eyes still closed as he has a hand in Saix’s hair while his other arm is wrapped around Saix’s shoulders, holding him close as if he’ll disappear if he opens his eyes.
They kiss again, harder this time but they pull away too quickly for their liking.
“Well, I haven’t.” Saix whispers again, his lips sweet like bubblegum.
“I’m glad.” Xigbar whispers back as he opens his eyes, smile widening as Saix lifts himself up to straddle Xigbar’s hips, making him lean back further against the bed and look up at him.
Their third kiss is much softer than the first two as their arms wrap around each other once more. It tastes like bubblegum and vodka and it’s so, so worth it. They’ve both waited long enough.
And in the moment, nothing else matters but the two of them, together.