3rd January 2011, 12:27 PM
New Year's Kiss
I wrote this for entry into PC's New Year's Fic contest. I think I was a little dialogue-heavy, and the pacing was a bit slow, but eh. It's CaféMochaShipping again, enjoy. Rated PG.
New Year's Kiss
New Year’s Eve brought snow to Kanoko town for the first time that year. The flurries sparkled in the moonlight as they spiraled through the frosty air to blanket the quiet town in their pristine whiteness. Most of the flakes settled serenely on lawns, streets and rooftops, but an unlucky few met their doom in the form of a warm pink tongue belonging to a delighted brown-eyed young man.
Ash was perched on the roof of Professor Araragi’s house, catching snowflakes in his mouth and enjoying the cold air. He had come back to Kanoko town with Dent and Iris to spend New Years with his mother and Professor Oak at Professor Araragi’s invitation. As a surprise to Dent, the Professor had also invited his brothers Pod and Corn of Sanyo Gym to the small party. It made Ash smile to recall Dent’s shocked yet overjoyed reaction upon seeing his brothers. The boy knew it was hard at times for Dent to be away from his home as long as he was.
He shook a small collection of snow from of his black hair and listened peacefully to the sounds of people enjoying their time together floating up from the house below him.
Dent deposited a few empty glasses into the dishwasher and turned to find Pod and Corn staring at him expectantly.
“Well?” Corn asked.
Confusion was visible in Dent’s green eyes. “Well what?”
His brothers took him by the elbows and dragged him to the back of the kitchen. “What are you two doing?”
Pod and Corn deposited him on a chair and stood so the blocked off any escape route Dent could have used.
“Have you and Ash-” Pod mimed something in the air. “-done it yet?”
Corn sighed as Dent’s face turned the color of Pod’s hair. “Way to phrase it delicately.”
Pod shrugged while Dent tried to formulate a coherent sentence. “I- we- Ash- no!”
“What? Really? It’s been what, six months?”
“Hush, Pod. Not everyone is as promiscuous as you are.” Corn turned back to Dent. “Are you two at least dating, then?”
“Tell me you’ve at least kissed him.”
Dent shook his head mutely.
Corn exhaled and flipped his blue bangs out of his face. “This is a situation that we need to remedy.”
“I can drink to that.” Pod flicked open a flask of something alcoholic.
“Put that back, that belongs to Professor Araragi.”
“What do you two intend to do...?” Dent asked apprehensively.
Pod and Corn flashed identical grins. “Never you mind.”
Pod clambered onto the low roof with a good amount of difficulty as he tried to keep his clothes from getting wet and himself from falling off, then gave up on the former idea and crawled gingerly up toward Ash. The boy turned at his approach, seeming surprised to see anyone else outside.
“So,” Pod began, sitting himself down next to Ash. “You and that Iris chick, am I right?”
“Huh?” Ash was confused. “What about me and Iris?”
“Aren’t you two...” he made some interesting gestures in midair, but gave up upon seeing complete bewilderment in Ash’s eyes. “...going out?”
The boy laughed. “No way, we’d kill each other.”
“Huh. That’s too bad then.”
“What do you mean?”
Pod seemed taken aback for a moment, then understanding dawned. “Oh, right. Kanto doesn’t have the same traditions as here.”
Ash looked at him expectantly, so he continued. “Here in Isshu, it’s customary that when the count down to the new year reaches zero, you kiss someone.”
The redhead shrugged. “Something about it bringing good luck to your relationship for the next year, probably. It’s too bad you don’t have someone to kiss this year, though.”
“Well... there is someone...”
Pod turned his head so fast he nearly gave himself whiplash. “Ooh, details.”
Pod frowned. “I guess you not telling me means you’re planning to kiss me, then.”
Ash made a face at him. “Not in a million years.”
“Aw, that’s not nice.” Pod began scooting down toward the edge of the roof. “Well, I’m off, now that you’ve hurt my feelings so badly.”
“Oh, whatever.” A thought struck Ash. “Hey- why were you asking about Iris? You gonna kiss her?”
“Heck no! I like curvaceous ladies, not children who haven’t hit puberty yet. I’m going for a certain tipsy professor- WHOA!”
Pod disappeared from view and Ash heard a thud, a muffled “Ouch”, then “I’m okay! Probably...”
The brown-eyed boy rested his chin in his hands and stared vaguely out into the starry night. It occurred to him that he wasn’t really sure how he would go about kissing someone, but he figured he would know what to do when that time came.
It was strange how Dent’s normally so mature and poised demeanor was so easily cracked if one had the correct tools, Corn mused. His brother was becoming increasingly agitated as they waited for Pod to return, pacing back and forth across the room.
“I can not believe that you two would take the liberty of interfering with my relationship with Ash. You’ve locked me in this kitchen so Pod can go harass Ash. I don’t trust him to say anything appropriate at all. And what if he starts telling Ash embarrassing stories from when we were little? Oh god what if he actually does that?! How could you let him do that?! And he’s probably going to say something about “getting it on”, oh I’m never going to live this down! The end result of all this is getting Ash to kiss me? There is no way this is going to end well!” Dent fell heavily into a chair and slumped face-down onto the table. “Why would you do this to me...”
And he’s monologuing, Corn thought. I haven’t heard him do that in a while.
A soft knock came from the door the blue-haired man was leaning against. Corn unlocked and opened it to let in a soaked and snow-covered Pod. “What happened to you?”
“I fell off the roof,” he replied, teeth chattering. “so I’m gonna need a drink. What’s up with him?” Pod nodded toward Dent, who was hitting his head against the table while continuing his tirade incoherently.
“He’s psyching himself out again. Café mocha with a shot of Irish Cream?”
“Ooh, yes please.” Pod seated himself across from Dent and took off his wet vest. “Hey. You.”
Dent stopped banging his head on the table. “What.”
“Stop flipping out. He likes you.”
“You don’t know that.”
“Yes I do. I talked to him about it.” Corn came back with his drink. “Thanks.”
Dent sat up. “You didn’t say anything... uncouth, did you?”
Pod looked shocked that Dent would even suggest such a thing. “Of course not! And he didn’t get it anyway,” he added.
“So you did say something!”
“Well, kind of. But it was about Iris and he didn’t get it. And it’s beside the point.” Pod dismissed the matter as Dent opened his mouth to rage at his brother. “He told me he is going to kiss someone, and he explicitly told me it’s not me or Iris.”
“He wouldn’t kiss his mother or Professor Oak, who he sees as a father figure.” Corn chimed in. “And he does not seem like the type to go after someone he doesn’t know very well. That eliminates Araragi-”
“Which is just fine with me,” Pod interjected.
“-her assistants, and yours truly.” Corn continued. “That leaves you as the only logical option.”
There was silence in the kitchen as Dent tried to find some flaw in his brothers’ argument that he could use to refute it. After a moment he stood up, sighing in defeat. “All right. I suppose he’s on the roof?”
Pod grinned. “Yeah, he is. I knew you’d come around.”
Corn ushered him out of the kitchen. “Be sure to thank us for interfering later.”
Dent peered over the edge of the roof apprehensively. Part of him was afraid of falling, another afraid of rejection... and a tiny sliver was afraid of what would happen if Ash accepted him. Would things be different? He didn’t want the life they had been living for the last half-year to be completely altered; he just wanted Ash to be his.
He pulled himself onto the roof and cautiously made his way toward the lone figure silhouetted by silvery moonlight. The figure turned toward him as he drew neared, revealing Ash’s cheerful face smiling at him. “Hi Dent!”
Dent smiled back and seated himself next to the younger man. “What’ve you been doing up here this whole time?”
“Just sitting here, I guess.” Ash turned to look back over the neighborhood. “It’s nice just to relax sometimes.”
The two sat in silence for a while. The noise from the party could just barely be heard over the soft wind. Dent’s ears picked up the sound of Iris playing with Kibago, Pod hitting on a rather drunk Professor Araragi, and Pikachu happily accepting treats from Delia. Eventually someone- Dent thought it was Professor Oak- said, “Hey, everybody! Five minutes ‘till the new year!” and the whole house cheered.
Ash cleared his throat. “Um, Dent...”
The green-haired man felt a wave of adrenaline course through his body. “Er... yes?”
“Pod was up here earlier and said... something about a New Year’s tradition in the Isshu region.”
Dent blushed and saw that Ash was doing the same. “The one about kissing someone at midnight?”
“Yeah.” Ash examined his fingers, trying not to lose focus. “He said it would bring good luck to the relationship.”
“That’s what is said.” Dent set his hands on the roof to stop himself from fidgeting nervously.
The two sat in edgy silence, neither looking directly at the other.
“One minute ‘till the new year!”
Dent suddenly felt Ash’s hand on his. He looked toward the boy and found brown eyes staring into his. “Dent... I want... can I... Would you...”
Ash bit his lip and looked away, frustrated at his inability to word what he wanted to say. A warm hand hesitantly touched his cheek and gently prompted him to gaze into Dent’s green eyes, sparkling in happiness.
Ash leaned closer to Dent, feeling the warmth radiating from the other man’s body. He wondered why he hadn’t done this sooner...
Dent parted his lips slightly as he felt Ash’s hot breath on them. His head was buzzing and he couldn’t focus on anything but the smaller man so close to him...
Ash’s arms wrapped themselves around Dent’s waist. The action was so natural that he had to wonder if he were not made to do this- but there wasn’t time to think...
Cold noses brushed and warm lips touched as the two kissed for the first time while fireworks lit the sky over Kanoko town and their companions below them cheered for the coming of the new year. The kiss had an unaccustomed, awkward air about it, but it felt so right that neither of them cared. Their lips parted gently and they sat for a moment, gazing into each other’s eyes.
Ash broke the silence with a nervous giggle. “I’ve never done that before.”
Dent smiled. “Neither have I, actually.”
Ash snuggled up to him, reveling in the new-found closeness. “Happy New Year, Dent.”
Dent hugged him close and whispered back. “Happy New Year.”
6th January 2011, 8:29 PM
Well this is really sweet. Again, I'm really impressed by your clever use of language. I think that's really emphasized in the first paragraph where you lead what could be just an ordinary winter description directly to the character of Ash. It's a great transition.
I don't think it's too dialogue-heavy, but then again, I like a lot of dialogue in stories. Anyway, there's a lot of cute and funny dialogue in here.
As for your comment about pacing issues... I'm not sure about 'slow'. There's obviously a build-up here, easily shown through the wait for midnight and the new year. Slowness is fine since it feels like suspense is being built. I think the problem comes at the end where the tension is broken with... just the kiss. I mean, it's nice and it's sweet, but it's also a bit of a foregone conclusion by the time we get there. I think some kind of surprise at the end would give it a little more oomph. It doesn't have to be much, I think. Just a cute little turn to make it a little different. Professor Oak saying that his watch is fast and that the New Year's really another minute away is the only thing that comes to mind at the moment though.
Anyway, this was a really sweet oneshot and I think you did a good job on it.