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Watanuki had always loved the onset of cold weather. With cold weather came hot cocoa, warm stews, and the tingling feeling that was cold fingers warming up once he'd come in from outside. Every winter, Watanuki went into his front closet and stood up on his tiptoes, reaching for the cardboard box he knew was on the shelf.

He would take down the box and remove the carefully folded mittens, hat, and scarf that he had placed in there last spring, replacing them with his fall jacket and windbreaker. It was a routine that he enacted every year, like a signpost for the season's change.

This year, as the seasons changed, Watanuki had to invite new faces into his routine, but he was all right with that. As he patched any holes or wear-and-tear that might have formed last season in his own winter gear, he offered the same to both Himawari and Doumeki. It was something he was good at, and he didn't mind the slight amount of extra sewing.

Himawari, true to form, gushed her appreciation and asked him what she could do in return. Watanuki truly didn't mind, but he knew Himawari, and so he replied, "Why don't you bring desert tomorrow, Himawari-chan?" Delighted to be helping, Himawari agreed.

Watanuki didn't expect any thank or offerings from Doumeki, so he was a bit surprised when, mid-way through December, weeks after he'd finished the mending, he answered a knock at the door to find Doumeki on his step.

It was expected to snap at Doumeki; it was routine. "What are you here for?" Watanuki asked, crossing his arms.

"To get you," Doumeki replied, turning from the door and gesturing out. "You should get your things; it's cold out."

With a lot of excess fuss and sputtering, Watanuki did as he was told, locking the door as he stepped out of his apartment, hat, scarf, and mittens settled precisely where they belonged. "Where are we going?" he asked, turning from his door to follow Doumeki's path away from the apartment.

"Not far," Doumeki said, turning slightly to give Watanuki the slightly crooked expression Watanuki had decided was Doumeki's version of a teasing smile.

"That's not an answer," Watanuki argued. "I asked where, which means you should give me a location, not a distance."

"Not far refers to a specific location."

Watanuki let out what he hoped was a dignified squawk and yelled, "Not if the other person doesn't know what location it's referring to!"

Turning to look at Watanuki, Doumeki stretched out one arm and pointed. "That one," he said, redirecting Watanuki's attention to the copse of trees along the path to which Doumeki was referring.

A secluded copse of trees. "Wait a minute! What are you dragging me out here for? Are you going to do something questionable, you pervert?" Watanuki yelled, pointing to the trees in a semblance of mimicry.

"Yes, obviously," Doumeki replied, dropping his arm and continuing to walk in the direction of the trees.

"Well, I won't fall for it!" Watanuki yelled, catching up with Doumeki with a few long strides. "You won't catch me unaware!"

Reaching the grove, Doumeki stopped walking and stood, hands in his pockets, looking into the leafless tree branches. "If you say so," he said, watching.

Turning to face the direction in which Doumeki was staring, Watanuki asked, "What am I looking for, now? Did you drag me out here to look at some trees? Is there something in there?"

"I thought we'd already decided I dragged you out here to do something questionable to you," Doumeki replied, continuing to watch.

Watanuki let out a huff of breath, at that, which froze in the air before him for a few seconds. The temperature had dropped some while they were walking, and the purple color of sunset through clouds was sinking into the prussian of winter twilight. As he watched, the lamps lighting the path flickered on, casting cones of light down among the trees. "It's getting dark," he said unnecessarily. "What are we waiting for?"

Doumeki turned to look at Watanuki for a second before looking up. "That," he said, lips curving in a smile.

A few snowflakes drifted down from the sky, sparkling in the lamplight and landing on the bare branches of the trees. Watanuki watched as the snow lightly fell, gathering slowly and iridescently. "First snow," he said softly.

In a motion that Watanuki only briefly registered, Doumeki reached out and grabbed one end of Watanuki's scarf, tugging.

Watanuki gave Doumeki a sideways glance before looking back to the snow and missing the first half of Doumeki's forward movement. He caught the end with enough time to forget to pull away, leaning up as Doumeki pressed their mouths together.

As Doumeki leaned back, Watanuki was close enough to feel his exhale freeze in the air. "You were wrong," Doumeki said lightly, smirking.

 

"What? How?" Watanuki asked, immediately confused. He didn't back away or push Doumeki's hand off his scarf, but settled for glaring lightly over the short distance.

"You said I wouldn't catch you unaware." Doumeki kissed him once more as a reminder. "I don't think you were expecting that."

Watanuki smirked, a feline gesture that Doumeki rarely got to see, and said, "Maybe I was."