rice pudding

It was a ridiculous thing to be thinking of so late at night, especially when one had to attend school in less than seven hours. Which meant he would have to cut some precious hours out of a good night's sleep. And he was above rushing like a commoner.

Hikaru blinked for the sake of it. Maybe if he kept it up, he could chase away these unusual thoughts with these average everyday common things (such as blinking, turning over in his sleep, licking his lips to taste the last of the confectionary from supper. He couldn't remember the name of the dish, but felt like he should learn since it was so high-profile). Unfortunately none of these techniques seemed to come very naturally, and it was only a matter of time before his thoughts drifted off again. Into the 'forbidden territory'.

But how could it be so forbidden? Wasn't he wealthy and charming enough to think the things he wanted to think in the privacy of his own head?

Grinning impishly against the covers and linen, he decided it was okay. It was okay to be attracted to his identical twin brother. After all, wouldn't it come naturally to someone, such a specimen of the higher breed, like himself?

--

It wasn't until mother made a second warning tap with the silverware and her glass of tea that he noticed the small trail of porridge dribbling down his chin. When he decided she wasn't looking, he wiped it off with the back of his hand. Kaoru was snickering between spoonfuls; Hikaru couldn't decide if it was his lack of polished grace or just how ridiculous he must have looked.

"Eh, Kaoru? Is something funny?"

"The script, nii-san," He replied airily, with a look that was distinctly Kaoru (a secretive smile, one brow arched, one smoothed to the curve of his eye - Hikaru had never been able to master that look, something he regretted, because he acknowledged just how appealing it was). "Remember?"

He remembered now. They exchanged glances, one of brothers before a thrill, and in sync, both heads bowed before their breakfast again - or mother would suspect another of their schemes.

They were more careful at home. Every maid, chef, butler, wall and window in the house carried the burden of a thousand warnings from the Hitachiin parents, sorted into convenient categories: what the twins might do around blank checks. What the twins might do around stationary and a couple envelopes. What the twins might do around raspberry jam. (that one was particularly long and nasty)

It was like being constantly monitored and analyzed, and every day the expectations rose higher. That was why it was becoming more important than ever to keep quiet about the sort of things they dared to pull at school.

--

That day, when Kaoru seemed to have randomly abandoned his table manners, not a single of his designators batted an eye. The anxious girls had come to expect much from such unusual occurrences.

"Kaoru, you have a spot... here." Hikaru reached out and fingered the offending area with his thumb, the cream of the rice pudding making the skin smooth and slippery to the touch, and fought to keep a straight face. Outside of the act, Kaoru was one of the neatest people he knew when it came to dining.

"I guess I can't mind my manners when I'm so preoccupied..." Kaoru shied under his touch, and a chorus of quivering gasps sounded from the girls, leaning ever so slightly forward in their seats. Perfect acting.

"Preoccupied... with what, Kaoru?" Hikaru let himself drift nearer, never breaking eye contact. "What has got you thinking so hard?"

Just the right amount of silence, filled with tension, a downcast look of uncertainty towards the floor. Then, "...You."

"Kaoru..."

"...Hikaru..."

They hadn't planned this far ahead. The script, construed through lazy ideas pitched from couches and the occasional burst of genius, was only a jumpstart. From then on, it was impulse acting.

"Hi-Hikaru... Do you like... rice pudding?"

That definitely wasn't in the script. What a silly question to ask at all - the Hitachiin twins both knew each other's palettes by heart. Except for Kaoru's strange preference of cold tea to hot tea, their tastes seemed to be identical in every way.

But he caught on at once. Act or no act, it was this: an invitation.

Still cupping his brother's chin (the way Tamaki would when he was trying to woo one of the newcomers, Hikaru realized vaguely) he drew himself closer, until his nose grazed Kaoru's cheek. This was one of the boldest moves they'd ever made, and though their lord's reaction promised to be less than pleasant, they doubted the merchandise was going to suffer.

Right on cue, Kyouya tilted his head in their direction just slightly, as if he indeed sensed the girls' pulsing hearts going on rampage. Enough to see Hikaru leisurely licking the stray pudding off of his twin's chin. If his designators weren't so captivated by the scene, they might have noticed the quiet young man's brow shift behind his lenses. Just slightly, of course.

Neither Hikaru nor his twin were exceptionally fond of rice pudding, but it sure was messy, and thus, convenient. In fact, the convenience provided by the situation was overwhelming. Hikaru found himself waiting, until he could no longer hear other traces of conversation bouncing around the room, all eyes on his lips and their rather curious placement.

Their faces were apart suddenly. It was Kaoru who had drawn back, and that was a very real blush tinting the sides of his face. Blindly seizing the opportunity, Hikaru pressed on.

"It is delicious, Kaoru... and I would love to taste more of it..." He whispered (just loud enough to courtesy an entire room full of girls straining to hear), and made a gesture to touch his mirror self's cheek, as if to draw him back to him. But Kaoru urged his index finger to Hikaru's lips, stopping him in mid-motion.

"Later," He said. "I promise, Hikaru..." (A perfectly played lie.) "This should be a... private moment."

"Very private," Hikaru agreed automatically, feeling a bit of himself slide into the role. "Away from these others." The not-us.

He was surprisingly dissatisfied even as the ladies screamed their obvious approval. Even the rice pudding left a tinge of a sour aftertaste in his throat.

But after all, he wasn't so fond of it to begin with.