Title: By The Biteful
Author: spurnd
Pairing: Hikaru/Kaoru, Tamaki/Kyouya
Rating: PG – 13
Word Count 4,870
Summary: AU. Kaoru helps run Sweet Stop, a cakes and pastries shop in downtown Kyoto. Life used to be simple and easy until his family's debt started accumulating. The appearance of spoiled, short-tempered and only-heir-to-the-Hitachiin-fortune, Hikaru Hitachiin didn't help, either. And when the Host Club King himself intervenes, well. Everything goes downhill from there, basically.
Notes: Not mine, slash, etc, written for purrfectworld because the plot's basically hers and I'm just filling in the gaps. (I love you!) Also for milord dessrata, the ultimate trendsetter who is kind enough to put up with my whining.

I haven't written anything that isn't angst for a long time. Good lord help me. I'm writing fluffy PG- 13 (for now) romance again. Sweet Stop is a real cake shop specializing in wedding cakes in Kailua, Hawaii. Also, forgive me for the title and the long-ish summary. I'm used to just slapping something vague on there or just pasting a line from the fic. This first chapter has Tamaki/Kyouya. Lots of it.

one: truffles, creams and soft centers


At Lord Tamaki's insistence and due to his not-so-subtle penchant for a particular commoner cake and pastries shop (They open at Ten, Kyouya! Ten! And you know how difficult it is to get in line! They'd be full of people if we don't leave now!), members of the Host Club were forcibly dragged out of their beds at an ungodly hour to shower, get dressed and wait for a limo to collect them.

Besides the Lord himself, only Hunny-senpai, it seemed, looked forward to this particular venture. Tama-chan had been bringing in boxes of cherry liqueurs and éclairs and truffles and, and tea cookies, all of which, of course, he had several samples of, and Hunny was eager to see where and how these cakes were made. (So usa-chan and I can make them at home, ne Takashi?) The cakes and pastries that Tamaki had been bringing in for the entirety of the school year were the best he's ever tasted. Usa-chan seemed to agree too. And Mori, well, when did he not submit to Hunny's every whim anyway?

Though, it was safe to say that the remaining members of the Host Club were less than pleased. It was the first day of summer break and Kyouya Ohtori, vice president of the Host Club, second only to the Suoh heir, was not particularly enamored to find an overly zealous blond sitting on his legs at six in the morning.

"Tamaki, just how did you get in? I thought I had somebody change the lock to my room, last week."

"Oh Kyouya! You're awake!" Tamaki ignoring the inquiry, clasped his hands together in delight. "I was afraid I was going to have to dress you up by myself like last time!"

Kyouya pushed him off. Tamaki pouted. "What's wrong 'kaasan? I thought you liked me in your bed?"

"Baka, you were sitting on my legs." Kyouya said. Tamaki brightened immediately and it was only then that Kyouya noticed he was dressed rather amiably. Before Tamaki could throw his arms around him and declare his adoration (Tamaki was probably about to say something like, "Oh Kyouya! You love me, you really do!"—because he was predictable like that), Kyouya raised another question. "Tamaki, it is six in the morning. Why are you dressed to go?"

"What's the matter 'kasaan?" Tamaki leered. Kyouya thought this was not fitting. "Would you rather I wasn't wearing anything?" He raised his brows suggestively.



"If you barged into my room for no other reason than to sexually harass me, I will call my guards on you and you shall be escorted out the premises. Maybe even shot."

"Kyouya!" Tamaki cried out, indignant. He was beyond pitiful now, pouting deeper and shedding streams of tears. "That was so mean of you." He sniffed. "I am not pervert!"

"I didn't say you were."

"Kyouya," Tamaki whined. "I just came over to bring you to that place in Kyoto that I was talking about. That cakes and pastries shop." He sniffed some more and poked his fingers together.

Kyouya just stared at him.

"Ehh? You don't know? It's called the Sweet Stop! Commoners are raving about it!" Tamaki declared. He stood and began making grandiose gestures to emphasize his explanation. "You know, it's where I get those truffles and tarts and those cheesecakes that you love so much? Who'd have thought commoners were capable of creating such mind blowing, scrumptious, out of this world, ehh, — see, there's not even a word to describe how great the pastries and cakes are because they haven't even invented the word yet! But oh okaasan, otousan loves you so much that he shall bring you and our children to this gastronomical heaven he speaks of!"

Kyouya, being Kyouya, just looked nonplussed. Others, or more specifically everybody that wasn't Tamaki, had difficulty reading him but Tamaki knew Kyouya was just as uninterested as if he had just asked him if he wanted to collect stamps with him as a joint-hobby. Tamaki's ego deflated. (It does that a lot regardless of whom he's with.)

"I am in no mood for such trivialities." Kyouya said, about to fold his glasses and place them on the nightstand. His movements were slow, almost lethargic. Tamaki thought maybe he really was sleepy and almost felt guilty for jumping into Kyouya's bed unannounced but, nah. Kyouya was just Kyouya and he said, "If you want to go so badly, don't drag me along. It's the first day of summer, Tamaki. I need my sleep."

Kyouya was about to pull the sheets over his head too, if it weren't for Tamaki catching his wrist for a moment. Kyouya wanted to remind him that he had a good left hook but then Tamaki leaned down and whispered something into his ear — something that made Kyouya's eyes widen and something he will most probably take to the grave.

So Kyouya relented. And not because Tamaki was making those eyes though in a way, it did have a certain effect on him. "Fine. Let me shower first." He sighed, adjusting his glasses. Quickly, he swung his legs over the bed and made his way to the bathroom, Tamaki grinning brightly behind him, his eyes sparkling in glee as he clasped his hands together.

Tamaki made a move to trail after him, and without even turning Kyouya said, a warning note in his voice, "Do not get any funny ideas. You are not coming along, 'tousan."

Tamaki's grin died a quick death and had he ears they would've drooped too. "But 'tousan wants to play with 'kaasan in the wat—" But his statement was cut off the moment Kyouya slammed the door in his face.

"Oh , crap." Tamaki pouted. But he was not about to give up just yet! If there was anything that the Host Club king prided himself for, it was his never-give-up outlook in life. Well there were other things he prided himself for too, like his looks, and his quick wit, and his skills in bed, but those weren't important right now because was Kyouya taking off his--"I know you're pressing your ear against the door, Tamaki. If you don't quit being such a hentai, I really am calling my guards on you."

Tamaki shrieked and jumped a foot away from the door. "Hentai?" He repeated, a hand over his mouth as his eyes widened impossibly. "Ehh? 'Kaasan, I am not a hentai!!"


It was difficult to ignore that it was the first day of summer. Summer meant no school, no Host Club (though sometimes Hikaru begged to differ. The Lord dragged them to places most of the time, claiming he was bored and anyway, shouldn't they get together as friends, even outside of the Host Club, once in awhile? ) and no persistent alarm clocks or identical maids trying to shake him awake.

Hikaru would've liked to spend this well-deserved break from school (or just the Host Club, really) elsewhere had it not been for Tamaki's cell phone abuse. There was a reason he kept the thing under mounds of pillows. It was to muffle the sound. But the Lord was determined as he always was, and Hikaru, flinging an arm around his face to shield his eyes from the early morning sun, had no choice but to grab the offending piece of technology and flip it open. The ring tone was driving him insane. He didn't even remember getting it.

"Moshi moshi." He mumbled. A glance at the alarm clock by the nightstand said it was only six fifty in the morning. Hikaru groaned. Only Lord Tamaki would be this big of an idiot to call at six fifty in the morning, on the first day of summer.

"Ne, Hikaru…" Hikaru sighed, digging two fingers into his temples.

"Hai, Tono?" Hikaru noted the dejection in Tamaki's voice but gave it no mind. Tamaki continued in that dramatic though convincing way of his, "It's 'kaasan, he's locked me out again." He gave a pitiful sob and Hikaru tried hard not to let his temper flare and toss the cell phone out the window.

"A-aa, Tono. Do you mean to say that you called this early only to tell me that 'kaasan has locked you out again?"

Tamaki's only answer was a heart wrenching sob. "Hai, hai."

"I thought you should know better, Tono. He did change the locks to his door because you kept coming in unannounced."

"But I thought 'kaasan was just playing hard to get!"

Hikaru's brow twitched. "Tono, is there any point to this phone call at all?"

"Point?" At this Hikaru heard a door creak open or shut, he wasn't sure. "Ah! I remember now. I called to say that because it is the first day of summer, otousan will bring the family to Sweet Stop."

"S-sweet stop?"

"Hai," Tamaki clarified. "It's where we get our pastries and cakes from! A commoner cake shop in Kyoto, but they simply cannot be outdone! Okaasan and Otousan should know, heh. Be ready in half an hour, Hikaru. A limo will pick you up by then — ehh, 'kaasan!?"

Hikaru thought he heard something that sounded a lot like a Tamaki ogling over Kyouya-senpai and blinked.


"Oh, Kyouya! Your skin is as smooth as a girl's, and it's soft too! I just, I just want to touch it all day 'kaasan — ITAI!" Hikaru guessed Tamaki got what was coming to him and hung up.

He sighed and placed the cell phone on the nightstand.

It was going to be a long day ahead of him.

He could just tell.









Kaoru almost leapt out of his own skin. He stared at Haruhi with startled eyes, panting heavily, a hand clutching his chest. "Ne Haruhi, that was just mean. Screaming into my ear like that just to wake me up."

"Gomen," Haruhi apologized, holding up both hands. "I just didn't know how to wake you."

Kaoru ran a hand through sleep-tousled his hair. He'd fallen asleep in the back room again and he was starting to smell like chocolate frosting. "It's fine. Just, don't do that anymore. You nearly gave me a heart attack."

"Gomen." She said again as she threw him an apologetic look. "But you overslept a little bit. And we're about to open in a short while."

"Oh," It was Kaoru's turn to look bashful. "I've been oversleeping a lot these days, ne?"

"That's because you're overworked." Haruhi pointed out. She was clearing the mess of dipping sticks and heatproof bowls and stacking them into nearby shelves. "How about a vacation?"

"Haruhi," Kaoru didn't know whether he wanted to laugh or not. "Since when did we ever go on vacation? And it's not like we can afford one anyway."

"I didn't mean go out of the country," Haruhi said, tilting her head and smiling. "We could just close the store for one day, head to the park and have ice cream. It's not a vacation but it'll help you relax."

"Demo, it's not like we can afford to close the shop, either." Kaoru sighed and Haruhi looked saddened for awhile. "Otousan said our debts are accumulating. I'd feel bad being a burden and not helping out."

"Don't think about it too much, Kaoru." Haruhi said later. This time, she had a wide smile on her face. It was infectious. "Do you know what today is?"

"Pay day?"

"Eh, no."

"Oh," Kaoru said flatly. "What is it then?"

"Well," Haruhi began. "It's only the first day of summer!"

Kaoru only blinked at her.

"It's the first day of summer!" Haruhi repeated brightly. She was such a pleasant oneesan. "See, you've been working so hard you didn't even notice, Kaoru. We don't have school for several weeks which means—"

"More work?"

"Less stress."

Kaoru made a thoughtful noise at the back of his throat. "Less stress huh?" He picked at the thread sticking out of his shirt.



When Kaoru looked up, Haruhi's eyes were sympathetic and kind. "We'll get through. As long as you, otousan and I stick together. Ne?" Kaoru couldn't help but manage a smile. Haruhi had this presence. It was hard to stay depressed. "Aaa," He nodded and reached out to ruffle his oneesan's short hair. (She chopped it off when a little brat stuck gum to her hair)



"I need to pay the bills. Do you think I can leave you in charge of the shop for a few hours?"

Kaoru sighed.

Screw the first day of summer.

It was going to be a long work day ahead of him.

He could just tell.


After taking what could possibly be the shortest shower of his life and grabbing the nearest pair of trousers and shirt (which, oddly enough, still managed to make him look put together), Hikaru headed downstairs for an early breakfast. The maid prepared him something quick, nothing too fancy or heavy, and he sat on the front steps of Hitachiin estate, tying his shoes as he munched on a bit of toast.

Behind him, the house was nearly empty. Okaasan had some fashion event to attend in Paris while Otousan was, well. Hikaru wasn't sure where he was right now. Point was, his parents weren't home.

It took the Lord approximately seven minutes to show up. Hikaru didn't even have time to finish his toast before he was pulled inside the limo along with the rest of the Host Club members. He distinctly heard Tamaki say something like, "Step on it!" to the chauffer but that could just be him.

His eyes were beginning to water.

Hikaru was choking on toast. This was not how he pictured his death would be like.

"Ne, Takashi, is something wrong with Hika-chan?" Hunny-senpai asked. He had Usa-chan propped up on one knee. He pointed towards the freshman in question who was clutching his throat, sweating profusely and turning blue in rapid succession.

"Hunny-senpai," It was Kyouya that spoke. He adjusted his glasses. They were slipping off the bridge of his nose. "I think Hikaru has something stuck in his throat."

"Eh?" Some time ago, Tamaki had managed to squeeze himself between Mori and Kyouya. The Lord himself was sitting next to the Ohtori heir though the latter did not seem to be complaining. "A-ha! I knew it! I knew why Hikaru was turning uncharacteristically blue!"

Hikaru, amidst pounding a fist against his chest, said something that sounded a lot like a profanity with some "baka Tono!" throw in. The limo stopped. Somebody that wasn't Kyouya or Tamaki pulled the old Heimlich Maneuver on Hikaru and after that, they all went on their merry way.


It wasn't like Kaoru hated the life he was born into. He just firmly believed that there was something better in store for him than being a Kyoto baker's son. He wasn't ashamed of his father's profession. And hell, he wasn't ashamed of the family business, either. He loved, more than anything in the world, the cakes and pastry shop they had owned since he can remember. Sweet Stop, it was called though otousan said it was subject to change. He said that every year (It's tacky. And maybe a little homo.) since Kaoru was three but it's been Sweet Stop ever since.

They had patrons all over the country, otousan used to say. Orders were difficult to handle during the holidays because of the demand. If there was anything Kaoru loved about baking, it was the flour that clung to his fingertips, the smell it left on his clothes, after. He liked to think about a particular pastry, an apricot truffle for example, and how maybe it would be shared by lovers or, be given by a little girl to cheer up her sick mother. He liked to think their pastries and cakes were put to good use, as gifts maybe, other than to satisfy some gastronomical need.

There was only one thing Kaoru did not love about his life, however. And that was the landlady. Oh, and the part where they had to pay the rent and take care of the bills. Those too. Kami only knew how difficult those three were to put up with.

They didn't own the cakes and pastries shop. It was this two-storey little nondescript place somewhere in the quiet of Kyoto. The first floor became their little workplace, where they set up the shop. And while the second floor had working pipes, it doubled as their bedroom, kitchen, living room, and sometimes otousan's entertainment room when he was drunk and feeling miserable, missing okaasan as he sang karaoke.

Business has been a little dead ever since okaasan passed away eight years ago. Otousan used to say (he still does actually,) that okaasan was their little bit of good luck and he'd get this glossy, nostalgic sheen to his eyes. He'd shake himself back to the present though, and he'd take Haruhi and Kaoru in each arm and say at least he still had them, they were, in a way, his good luck too. They were their mother's children after all.

Though, for being his mother's son, Kaoru sure did not look anything like her. Or his otousan for that matter. Kaoru always felt out of place with his red hair.

"Kaoru, I'm going out to pay the bills now!" Haruhi called from downstairs. Her voice was muffled. Kaoru heard hurried footsteps and sighed. Maybe he was spending too much time in the shower.

He turned the water off. "Hai, I'm coming!" He yelled back as he toweled off. One glance at the mirror told him that Haruhi was right. He was overworked. There were lines under his eyes and he stood like there was some heaviness to his shoulders. And still, only in his freshman year of high school!

He sighed. "I'm coming, I'm coming." He murmured though to nobody in particular. He gave his reflection one last spiteful look and rummaged through the hamper for fresh clothes.


"TAMA-CHAN! TAMA-CHAN!" Hunny-senpai exclaimed happily. "WE'RE HERE TAMA-CHAN!"

A flashy out-of-place black limo halted in front of a common cakes and pastries shop somewhere in commoner Kyoto. Sweet Stop, this shop was called. The sign that hung over the door was in pink and bore the shape of a cupcake. Hunny-senpai, upon leaping out of the vehicle, seemed to take an interest to the fact that the sign was of the same color as Usa-chan. "YAY! CAKE!" He said, all wide smiles and wide eyes. Mori followed after him in his usual taciturn fashion.

Tamaki exited the car in slow motion and helped Kyouya out with a gentlemanly hand. Said gentlemanly hand was ignored however and Kyouya may or may have not stepped on Tamaki's toe on purpose.

Hikaru was the last to step down. "Eh? Sweet Stop? What's this?" Against the backdrop of bicycles and fish mongers, was the sound of Tamaki calling for a doctor and calling Kyouya unforgiving. Hikaru slipped off his headphones. The shop was, honest to Kami, the tackiest thing he'd ever seen. It looked like it was wedged between its neighbors (this tiny two-storey excuse for a cakes and pastries shop) a Laundromat and a barber shop. Hikaru snorted.

"Tono, do you think we're in the right place? It looks unclean."

"Nonsense!" Tamaki said, making a sweeping gesture with his right hand. "We're here! It's called Sweet Stop, right?" He peered into the shop's double doors. "Ah, there are only a few patrons inside!"

"And why am I not surprised?" Tamaki pouted as Kyouya said this. "'Kaasan, don't be rude."

"I'm not being rude." Kyouya tilted his head and his lips quirked in what looked like an eerie equivalent of a smile. He held the door open for the Host Club king. "Well then. After you, 'tousan?"

Tamaki brightened up instantly and there were pink hearts in his eyes. "KYOUYA!!" He gushed, nearly flying in bliss. "THAT WAS SO KAWAII! DO IT AGAIN FOR 'TOUSAN! DO IT AGAIN FOR 'TOU—ITE."

For the second time that day, Kyouya slammed the door in his face.

Tamaki fell in a dejected heap on the ground, fresh tears of anguish streaming down his cheeks. "Kyouya, " he sobbed.

Hunny-senpai sidestepped him, Mori at his heels.

Hikaru gave the shop on last distasteful look, slipped his headphones on and headed inside.


Kaoru was glad Arai was there to help out at such short notice. Arai had been one of Haruhi's friends since middle school. He handled the deliveries in exchange for a free box of choice pastries. At times, a nice little chitchat with Haruhi would suffice, though Kaoru would sometimes call it heavy one-sided flirting. Kaoru suspected Arai stuck around for an entirely different reason other than his innate altruistic nature (which he seemed to always posses when Haruhi was hovering close by). The guy probably wanted to take his oneesan out.

As far as he can remember, Arai only seemed to be extremely nice whenever Haruhi was around (not that Arai wasn't already. He just upped his niceness several notches.), so it was quite a (nice) surprise to see him puttering around in the backroom and putting things into order.

"Ohayou," Kaoru called dryly from the stairs, still toweling his hair. Arai turned and smiled politely. "Ohayou."

"What are you doing, here?"

Arai had the decency to look bashful. "Haruhi called and asked if I would come over and help."

"I see."

Kaoru continued drying his hair then tossed the towel into a chair, before settling on the one next to it.

"Eh, If you don't mind my asking, just where is Fujioka-san?"

Kaoru blinked and he stared at the ceiling for a moment. Arai noticed his eyes looked a little sad just then. "He's upstairs." Kaoru answered, curtly. "Too much sake and karaoke can be very bad for him."

Arai sighed. For a moment, he looked like he didn't know what to say. Kaoru ignored him and went over to the fridge to pour himself a glass of juice.

Suddenly, there was a commotion outside. Nothing of the drunken brawl sort but apparently, somebody was denying that he was a hentai whilst trying to beg for forgiveness. (It's not my fault I am criminally gorgeous, Kyouya! Kami made me this way! He made me for you!)

Kaoru started and gave Arai a curious look. "What's that?"

Arai took a small peek and came back moments later, laughing forcedly. "There are more customers, apparently."

"More customers?" Kaoru repeated, confused. He set his glass down. "That's funny, I don't remember ever putting up the open sign."

Arai scratched his head ruefully. "About that, I uh, I might have opened the shop an hour too early…"


"Here Kyouya, have some." Tamaki whispered, lifting a forkful of strawberries dipped in chocolate sauce towards the general direction of Kyouya's lips. He lowered his voice. "It tastes absolutely sinful."

Tamaki's only response was a stony silence and equally stonier eyes. And then —

"Strawberries!" Hunny declared and made for the bowl of fruits on their table to distribute amongst themselves. "Here, Usa-chan. This strawberry's for you." He said and proceeded to hand everybody on the table his share. He lifted his head and grinned at Mori. "And have one too, Takashi!"

"Mitsukuni." Mori said.

Hikaru tried not to gag. In a corner, the Lord was being his usual idiotic self and Kyouya-senpai was being his deadpan self. Hikaru rolled his eyes and pulled up his hood. He shouldn't have allowed the Lord to drag him here. He was missing some well deserved sleep.


"Huh?" Hikaru blinked as he felt somebody tug at his wrist. He looked down for a moment and met four sets of gazes directed towards him. He fought the urge to scowl back. "What is it?" For some odd reason, his headphones slipped around his neck.

Hunny-senpai looked unsure. "Anou… You don't seem to like strawberries, Hika-chan."

Hikaru said nothing. Tamaki blinked.

"Can usa-chan have your share then?"

Tamaki blinked again.

Hikaru waved a hand. "Go ahead, let usa-chan take it. I don't really care." He leaned against his seat and pulled his hood lower so that it shielded his eyes. "I don't even know what it is that I'm doing here."


Hikaru's head shot up.

"It seems that 'kaasan here wants a Maraschino Charlotte," Kyouya actually bristled at this but Tamaki remained oblivious. "Go fetch him one like the good little boy you are."

Hikaru's brows tightened. He balled his hands into fists. "I'm not your dog, Tamaki!"

"You shall do as I say." Tamaki said, with an unusual edge to his voice. His eyes were hard and piercing. "As president of the Host Club, you shall follow my orders." Then he tipped his head to the side, "And as your, well, otousan, of course!" He beamed brightly, waving his arms about. "Now go! Make otousan happy and get okaasan a Maraschino Charlotte!"

Hikaru was about to protest but thought the better of it. What was the point anyway? He rolled his eyes.

"Hai, hai," he mumbled, trying to steady his breathing. He unclenched his fists and got up to stand.

"Don't forget to get the receipt!" Kyouya called in a cool voice after him. "I'll be making Tamaki pay you back twenty times."

"Ehh? Kyouya!"


Because Arai didn't know what the cakes were called and basically mixed up the orders, Kaoru had to work out front. It felt a little odd as he'd always been the one in charge of everything that took place in the backroom. He prepared the frostings, made sure the oven was set appropriately and wrapped pastries and chocolate in dainty little boxes that Haruhi designed by hand. There was a certain thrill to it, sitting back there where nobody saw him, watching the bread expand and feeling its warmth on against the palms of his hand.

"A Maraschino Charlotte, please."

Kaoru slid a pen over his ear and looked up. They needed more chocolate frosting. "Will that be for here—"

Kaoru blinked.

And blinked.

And blinked some more.

"A Maraschino C-charlotte, ne?" He said. He felt oddly faint. Standing there in front of him was a boy who looked so much like him. The boy blinked back, once, twice. He didn't look like the usual patron. His clothes were too put together. When his hood fell and collected around his neck, Kaoru saw red hair and similar-hued eyes.

"Ne, Kaoru!" It was Haruhi's voice that startled him out of his stupor.

The boy blinked back at him, again. He looked as stunned as Kaoru was.


"Excuse me," Kaoru said apologetically and bowed. He slipped into the back room before another word was said.


"Tadaima!" Haruhi declared cheerfully until she eyed Kaoru. "Kaoru, daijobu?"

Kaoru blinked and turned to her. "H-hai," he managed to say, lifting a hand to scratch the back of his head.

"You look a little pale. Is something wrong? Are you feeling sick?"

"Gomen. I'm just a little frazzled, I guess. So many customers are coming in today."

"Demo Kaoru," Haruhi said as she snuck a quick glance outside. "There are very few patrons."

"Huh?" Kaoru blinked again. He swallowed thickly, grabbed his copy of Utopia that was sitting nearby and headed towards the backdoor.

"Ne Haruhi," He called over his shoulder, just before he stepped out.


—"I'm just going out for a walk," Hikaru announced when he drifted back to their table in a zombie-like state, sans Maraschino Charlotte.

Hunny-senpai was busy eating cake and Tamaki was busy pouting and feeling sorry for himself in his self-appointed corner. Mori was being fed, as was Usa-chan, and only Kyouya was mindful enough to notice him as he left.

"That was just, weird." Hikaru swallowed and shook his head to clear his thoughts. Across the street, somebody was selling ice cream. He rolled his eyes at himself. He was being a baka! It was impossible. That boy couldn't have looked like him, though he could've sworn —

It was just sleep deprivation, Hikaru told himself quickly before his thoughts went any further than that. And, slipping his headphones back on, he headed for what was supposedly a relaxing stroll to clear his brain.


Kaoru didn't even know where his feet were taking him anymore. He just kept following the sidewalk until it led him wherever. He clutched Utopia in one hand, his gaze fixed on his shoes. That boy. He was — there was something about him. Something familiar? Weird? He looked like Kaoru, but was that even possible? Was Kaoru seeing things? Haruhi did say he was overworked, maybe all he needed was a vacation, or a day off from the cake shop —

Utopia went flying across the ground. Kaoru almost stumbled backwards but his wrist was caught in a firm grip. A pale countenance snarled. "Baka! Next time why don't you watch where you're going—"

Kaoru's eyes widened.


-— and whatever Hikaru had to say fled his mind. It was that boy from the cake shop. The one that looked exactly like him.

end chapter one

I wrote in past tense. oh my god, it's starting. Recipes for the various cakes and pastries mentioned can be found in The Chocolate Lover's Cookbook.