“I... I think you have a crush on Haruhi and... well, I'm honestly really upset about it and wish you didn't.”
When Hikaru had uttered these words in a half-secretive whisper to his brother in the solace of their lavish mansion, Kaoru had merely blinked at him for at least a solid minute before busting into a gut-clenching laughter that had tears streaming down his face. He blinked them away to look at his brother, sure that Hikaru was at least cracking a smirk at his own silly joke, and was immediately silenced by the stony eyes and pink cheeks flushed with angry embarrassment that he was met with instead.
“Oh.. You're serious?” Kaoru questioned, wiping his eyes and situating himself in the chair he sat in across from his twin.
Hikaru nodded, his eyes darting to the doorway to be sure they were alone before he continued. “I've given it a lot of thought and... It just really bothers me that you like her. I don't want you to isolate yourself from her or anything like that, I think. It took me a long time to come to terms with it, but I know where my feelings lie now.” Realization struck Kaoru and a small breath of air escaped his lips, as if he'd been punched in the chest, and he certainly felt that way. So Hikaru was admitting that he loved Haruhi, and apparently was jealous of Kaoru's friendship with her, enough to confront him over it and warn him off.
“I see.” Kaoru gritted coldly, his knuckles white with how hard he gripped either side of his seat to keep his composure. “Well I don't, brother.” And with that he pushed himself away from the table and stormed off, not bothering to glance behind him.
He stomped his way audibly to the bedroom, brushing off any of the maids inquiring about his demeanor with a wave of his hand, before locking himself in the bedroom he shared with his twin.
So this is how it is, he thought. So many years struggling first with his sexuality and where his own heart lay, for this moment where it all fell apart and stopped mattering.
He let out a deep sigh and flopped back onto the bed, closing his eyes to sort out the wave of emotions he felt rushing through him and cluttering his mind. It was a well-known fact that him and his brother had lived in solidarity together, only making company with one another, for a very long time. It was fairly recently that they had opened their world to others and even more recently that Haruhi Fujioka came into the picture. She was beautiful and sweet yet sarcastic with a good, brilliant head on her shoulders and the trio became close friends quickly with all the time they spent together in both classes and the Host Club. They'd even added her on her cellphone plan and, despite her griping about them, he'd guarantee that she considered them as close friends as well. It hadn't been too long before Kaoru had noticed Hikaru's odd behavior towards her; at first he tried to brush it off as his twin not knowing how to handle having a new friend. Hikaru had shown his habit of letting his emotions control him often, and Kaoru figured he was still figuring things out when it came to having friends other than his brother. But it started to become painfully evident to him that Hikaru's feelings for Haruhi went beyond friendship, and that realization came with a hard lump in his throat and a pain in his chest.
Despite what many in the school would have thought, Hikaru and Kaoru were neither sexually nor romantically involved outside of their act in the Host Club. Inseparable, yes. Cuddle buddies, yes. But that was as far as it went, but it wasn't from a lack of feelings being there; well, at least not with Kaoru. The boy fiercely struggled with his emotions towards his brother, and the fact that Hikaru was indeed his brother only made it harder. He'd laid in bed many a night, listening to Hikaru's soft snores in his ear and thinking, and the thought process was always the same. He struggled to think of Hikaru as his brother; he always had. It was more like they were the same being separated into two entities. To Kaoru, he was half of a soul and Hikaru was the other, cruelly separated by their bodies and morality. It only made sense to him that they should be together in all senses of the word, and to think of another holding his brother sent a cold shiver down his spine and knotted his stomach. Hikaru wasn't just his twin to him; he was, utterly and completely, his soul mate, and there were so many times he'd wished he could share these feelings with Hikaru, but the fear of being rejected or shunned for his confession weighed too heavily on his logical mind for him to take such a risk. Though he had to admit to himself that somehow, he always assumed that it would work out; in his mind and heart he imagined that eventually they would be together.
But now... Well, now he knew that what he felt meant nothing to the other. “I suppose it was for the best I kept quiet.” He sobbed to himself, the tears that squeezed from his closed eyes now bitter and hot against his pale, smooth skin. He stayed that way for a while, quietly crying to himself, until finally curling up and falling asleep.
When Kaoru woke up, he wasn't alone. A long arm identical to his but belonging to another was draped over his waist and for a sleep-fogging moment, his mind forgot why he shouldn't enjoy his brother's warm body snuggled up to him to its full capacity. But as the light seeped through the curtains and stirred his functions, the memories of the previous day came back to him and he tensed in his brother's arms. The sudden frigidity stirred Hikaru and the arm around him tightened, pulling him closer.
“Hikaru, let me go.” Kaoru whined quietly, voice hoarse as he squirmed against the grip.
“It's not yet time to get up, brother. I'm too comfortable. Go back to sleep.” Hikaru groaned into Kaoru's ear, making the twin shiver as the warm breath tickled his sensitive morning skin. “I'm so tired, brother, please.” Kaoru hesitated, mentally cursing his yearning to please the other, before sighing loudly.
“Hikaru, move your arm. I want to get up now.” He demanded and Hikaru drew back like he had been burnt, flinching at the uncharacteristically harsh tone of his usually soft-spoken and sweet brother.
The rest of the morning went by in a similar fashion and when they arrived at school, there was a clear rift between them. The quiet tension surrounded the two like a stretched bubble and the only interactions they shared were polite words one would expect an acquaintance to say.
“We may need to have another talk with the twins.” Haruhi announced as soon as she passed through the Host Club doors, taking the others by surprise. She was soon followed in by the two in question, walking beside one another with polite smiles on their faces.
“Why? They look perfectly fine to me.” Tamaki stated cluelessly, looking up from where he'd been preparing the table for the girls that would soon be visiting.
“Tamaki your ignorance continues to leave me utterly underwhelmed.” Kyoya drawled, not bothering to look up from the notebook he was scribbling in. “I'd say this argument is far worse than the last judging on their demeanor.”
“What do you mean? We're fine!” The twins defended in unison, but there was a foot between them that became far more evident considering it was usually difficult to find even a full inch between their stances.
“They don't seem mad.” Honey's blond head popped out from where he clung to Mori's back, his eyes wide with confusion.
“It's an act, Mitsukuni.” Mori mumbled and Honey hummed his understanding.
“Yes. It seems the problem is so crucial to their relationship that they have not only decided to hide it from us, unlike the last argument, but also from one another. Let me remind you two that I support not meddling into your business, but if it starts to affect my business I will be forced to intervene for the good of the Club.” Kyoya finally glanced up, flashing Kaoru a meaningful 'fix this' kind of look.
Damn me for being the more sensible one. Kaoru thought bitterly as he looked away from the powerful gaze. You only care about the good for your pocketbook, Kyoya, and this isn't a problem that can be so easily solved.
“Well you guys will see that we are perfectly fine when the girls arrive so be prepared to be wrong.” Hikaru groused, taking a seat at his usual table and pouring a cup of instant coffee for himself. “Now, Kaoru, would you like some coffee?”
“I would. Thank you, brother.” Kaoru responded almost mechanically, looking anywhere but at the spitting image of himself.
“Alright, what about you Haruhi?” At the sound of Hikaru saying her name, Kaoru bristled. His brother's words from the previous day echoed through his mind and a quiet rage flowed through his veins; now was the time for some passive aggressive battle.
“You can share mine, Haruhi. I'm actually not that thirsty.” Kaoru offered, holding the steaming cup up to Haruhi's lips.
“Thanks but I can drink it myself.” She said sarcastically, gripping the cup and taking a sip. “I'm actually not that in the mood for coffee either so this works out. I know this is the official drink of this club and all but you guys drink this stuff way too much. Then again, that would explain Tamaki's mannerisms.” She mused and Tamaki sputtered, face blushing red as Kaoru took the cup back.
“What mannerism do you mean, Haruhi!? I assure you my charm has nothing to do with the commoner's coffee!” He brushed his golden hair out of his face with a dramatic sweep and Haruhi rolled her eyes.
“Nothing, senpai.” She grumbled and Kaoru laughed a little too loud before side-eyeing Hikaru, who sat rigid and emotionless in his seat.
“Thanks for drinking some of my coffee for me, Haruhi.” Kaoru brought the attention back to him as he raised the cup to his lips and licked the edge slowly before taking a drawn-out sip. “I could've never finished it on my own.” He smirked, sitting the fine china back beside Hikaru's untouched one, and took his seat. “Now I'm ready to start my act.” Another glance at Hikaru confirmed that his plan was working. Hikaru still hadn't moved, not even a twitch, and his eyes looked glassed over. Good, Kaoru decided. If his brother didn't want Kaoru to flirt with Haruhi so he could have her all to himself, too bad. Kaoru was going to be the biggest nuisance he could.
“Hey, actually, Haruhi.” He stood again and stopped the girl as she walked away, a new idea in his head. “I was thinking...” Kaoru slung his arm around her and leaned in, as if he had a secret, but continued to talk at a level he was certain Hikaru could hear. “We never did get to go out on that date. Maybe I could take you to dinner on Friday? Our mother is friends with a the owner of a five-star restaurant and I'm sure you'd love the food there. It'll be my treat and just the two of us.” With those last words he turned just enough to where Hikaru could see his grin.
“Well, I've never been to a five-star restaurant so it could be fun. Are you sure you'd want to pay for that?”
“Of course! You can get whatever your heart desires.” Kaoru tipped her chin up with a finger and smirked at her.
“Sure, I guess. It would be nice to eat out.” She shrugged before heading to her own post as the doors opened for business and Kaoru smugly walked back to his own seat, pulling it a few inches away from his brother before finally settling.
“So a date with Haruhi, hmm?” Hikaru inquired, his tone straining to sound light. “Could be fun.”
“Definitely.” Kaoru composed his own voice much better and it came out smug and harsh. “And if all goes well then who knows?” He was startled by the sudden sound of wood grating against tile as Hikaru stood quickly, pushing his chair back. Kaoru looked up at him, wide-eyed and almost daring him to start this fight. However, Hikaru merely stood there, rigid as a board with his head down, before sitting once more as the first girls walked in for the day.
“Hello Hikaru! Hello Kaoru!” Two girls chanted as they approached the table and took their seats across from them, smiling brightly.
“Hello, princesses. Don't you look lovely today!” Kaoru exclaimed politely and they blushed, covering their giggles with perfectly white-gloved hands. They turned to Hikaru, likely hoping for the same treatment, but he only nodded quietly.
“What's wrong with Hikaru?” The darker-haired girl asked and Kaoru merely shrugged.
“He's not feeling very well today, my princess.”
“Oh no! What's wrong, Hikaru?” The other girl prompted and Hikaru let out a low sigh.
“It is not my stomach or even my head that ails me today, my princesses. It is my heart.” He paused dramatically for the sad “aww's” of the girls before ducking his head. “I fear my brother no longer shares the love I feel for him anymore.” The girls gasped at this, turning to Kaoru.
“As if you have any love there.” Kaoru grumbled almost to himself before remembering that they were doing business in front of others. “Brother, I can assure you my love for you far exceeds any you might feel for me.” His voice came out less like acting and far too close to truthful for his comfort. Hikaru looked up to meet his eyes earnestly and pulled him into the same embrace they performed nearly every day, cupping his face as artificial tears pricked at his eyes.
“Kaoru...” He whispered, and even though the other knew it was an act, he couldn't help that his anger melted for a moment. “My love for you knows no bounds. Please do not break my heart and tell me that there is another that dwells in yours.”
He could feel the eyes on him, girls with bated breath awaited his answer.
“Hikaru...” His own tears, though far more real and more of a nuance than anything, welled up and he wished more than anything that he could wipe them away. “Nobody in this world could ever replace you.”
“EEE SO SWEET AND TRAGIC! THEY'RE LOVE IS SO TRUE!” The girls squealed in the background as they held the pose for a moment before breaking away with red cheeks and breathless chuckles.
“There was no need to do that today.”
Hikaru finally broke the tense silence they'd sat in for an hour in their bedroom, each on different sides of the same room; Kaoru sat on the edge of the bed while Hikaru had opted for the chair against the opposite wall.
“I don't know what you're talking about.” Kaoru insisted, staring a hole into the carpeted floor.
“You know damn well what I'm talking about!” Hikaru's voice rose angrily but he remained seated. “Your answer was enough to dishearten me but what you did today was just cruel.”
“I'M cruel?!” Kaoru's head snapped up to glare right at Hikaru, only to be met with the exact face. “You think I'm the cruel one?? That's worth a laugh!” He barked a single bitter laugh and Hikaru growled.
“Yes you're cruel! I confess how I feel and you go and throw it back in my face like I'm nothing to you!!”
“How do you think I feel?! You're so self-centered! Did you never think about how I might feel about this love? Maybe I have a love of my own!!” This was it. It was broiling up inside of him and he was ready to explode. But to his surprise, Hikaru got there first.
Hikaru stood and slammed his fist onto the small table beside him, disturbing the vase. “I DIDN'T ASK TO LOVE YOU!” He screamed, tears freely pouring from his eyes, and Kaoru locked up at the surprising words.
“You think I didn't battle with myself for weeks? Months? Years even! I was so damn afraid to tell you how I felt but I thought at the very least you would understand, not try to put me down! I mean, my God even if you don't feel the same I thought our bond was closer than that!” He was pacing furiously, his head down and shaking arms gesturing in front of him as he spoke. “I tried to keep it hidden, I really did! But every damn day I got to look in the mirror and all I could see was you! All I could think about is how much I wanted to hold you and k-kiss you and I tried to feel wrong about it but I just couldn't! And then I'd see you with Haruhi and it just... just drove me wild! I didn't want to lose you. Dammit I wanted to be with you! And I finally try to tell you and-and-and...” He trailed off and stopped moving before cupping his head in his hands and letting a sob rip through him.
And Kaoru laughed.
Kaoru laughed and cried, tears absolutely pouring down his smiling face so much so that it kind of sounded like he was being choked.
“Wh-why are you laughing at me?!” Hikaru demanded as Kaoru stood, his own face a perfect image of pure misery, but Kaoru only continued to laugh as he rushed towards him; for the first time, Kaoru was the one to sweep Hikaru up into his arms, and Hikaru squeaked in surprise.
“I'm so relieved!” Kaoru gasped through his chuckles before finally, finally pressing their lips together. He pulled back, his eyes scanning over Hikaru's stunned and tear-stained face. “And so stupid!” He laughed again before laying three more quick kisses on his twin's lips.
“I-I don't understand.” Hikaru sniffled, though he wrapped his arms around Kaoru to keep him close. “I thought-”
“Shh, forget what you thought. Hikaru... I love you, I love you more than anything! You are the only one in my heart.” He smiled happily at the other and watched as a small smile grew on Hikaru's face. “Now kiss me, dummy!”
And Hikaru did just that. He dipped Kaoru slightly and connected their lips with a desperate fervor, one hand holding his twin's lower back and the other slipping into his ginger hair. “I love you, I love you, I love you.” He murmured between hard presses and Kaoru hiccuped a giggle and returned the sweet words with vigor.
Everything was gonna be alright, Kaoru thought as his brother held him closer. They were unconventional and things would very likely get tough, but they would always have one another.
And everything was gonna be alright.