Tamaki was sitting improperly – knees bent out at angles and shin crossed – at Kyouya's work table and smiling brightly. "Let's get going!"
Kyouya pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose with one finger. "First, explain again why I must study with you."
"Because you find me so very, very charming, and I won't study otherwise, and you really, really want to be friends with my dad," Tamaki recited. "Right, right? Did I get it right, Kyouya?"
Kyouya's carefully constructed not-quite-a-frown expression didn't falter as he took out his tablet of graph paper. He said, "You are second in the class, even coming from France so recently. You do not need my help."
Tamaki leaned across the table to look up endearingly into Kyouya's dark, empty, business-like eyes. "Obviously, I do, if you're still better."
Kyouya said, "Define theta."
Tamaki faltered, taken off guard, but recovered with, "It's the measure of an unknown angle, yes? You use it in sine – cosine – tangent problems." He waved his hands in front of Kyouya's impassive face. "Right, right?"
Kyouya's pencil was racing as he said militarily, "Copy the first problem of our homework out of the book and solve it. I will check it in five minutes."
Tamaki sighed and leaned his head on his arm, and his arm on the table. What had he gotten himself into?
A very long hour passed, wherein Tamaki whined and sulked and whimpered and appealed to any better nature Kyouya might have possessed. Finally, Kyouya declared that their homework was complete.
Tamaki flew ecstatically to his feet. "That means that it's time to play!"
Kyouya said immediately, "No, it means that you should go now. I am to have dinner with my family in ten minutes."
Tamaki beamed. "Well, then, I guess I get to collect a new experience!"
Tamaki's smile evolved into a smirk before he turned on his puppy eyes of doom.
"Behave yourself," Kyouya reminded Tamaki. "Do not be a fool. I have a sister who is betrothed, and you will not romance her, although a small amount of flattery is acceptable. I have two brothers, and you should try not to flatter them at all, because Father does not play along with that behavior when he knows that he is out of the public eye. You will not, under any circumstances, talk to Father. I cannot afford to have him angry with me."
Tamaki smiled. "So I'm really only allowed to talk to your sister, and then just a little bit?"
Kyouya had a foreboding feeling, but dismissed it. There would be no diverting Tamaki at this point.
They entered the dining room. The other members of the family were already seated, and they looked as one to the door. Fuyumi, Kyouya's sister, said, "Oh, Kyouya, you have brought an unexpected guest."
Kyouya said, mostly toward his father, "Please welcome Suoh Tamaki to share this meal with us."
His father nodded his head. "You are welcome here, Suoh-kun. Please sit."
Tamaki sat in Kyouya's usual seat, beside Fuyumi and across the table from Kyouya's older brothers. Kyouya sat beside him, the farthest away from his father at the head of the table. The meal began.
Ten minutes passed in relative quiet, and Kyouya was proud of Tamaki for sitting still. Eventually, the silence proved too much, and Tamaki turned to Fuyumi.
"Kyouya-kun told me that you are engaged to be married, Nee-chan," he said in the most mature, measured voice that Kyouya had ever heard from him. Perhaps the older sister remark was too much, but Kyouya suddenly remembered that Tamaki didn't know his sister's name in the first place.
Fuyumi beamed and started on a long, winding tale about how she and her groom-to-be had met. And Tamaki kept up with it effortlessly, reacting appropriately (subdued in the extreme, for him).
The entire time, Kyouya and his father exchanged short glances. He had never been able to fully read his father, and the body language he was observing was unsettling.
Fuyumi wound down into laughter and then there was silence again.
They were almost through dinner; dessert was served. They had made it without major incident.
"Why don't any of you talk?" Tamaki asked.
Kyouya's father frowned. "What do you mean, Suoh-kun?"
"Neither you nor any of your sons have said a word all through dinner."
Kyouya's grip on his spoon tightened.
"Now, Suoh-kun, we were listening to Fuyumi telling her story."
Tamaki stared at the head of the family for a moment, and then smiled and completely changed the subject. "Would you like to hear about Kyouya's behavior inside school?"
Kyouya's father looked at his third son and nodded once. Kyouya recited a prayer in his head.
"Well, he's first in the class, of course." An opportunity for comparison. That was a strike against Kyouya. "And he has been helping me study, since I'm second." Aiding the competition. "And he's my best friend!"
Honestly, Kyouya didn't know how his father was going to react.
Fuyumi said, "Tamaki-kun, are you Kyouya's best friend, also?"
Tamaki blinked. "Who cares? If he puts up with me, that's enough, isn't it?"
Kyouya's father said, "It is good that you two are so close." Because you have influence in the world, Suoh-kun.
Tamaki said, "Also, naturally, Kyouya holds himself kind of aloof from the rest of the students."
Kyouya sucked in a breath, face motionless, and took an overlarge spoonful of ice cream. This wasn't good.
"And have you made it your mission to make him more personable?" His father sounded much less amused.
Tamaki smiled like he did when he was talking about his mother. "I believe that it's important for a person to have at least one other person who understands them as much as possible. Everyone needs to be close to someone."
Kyouya's father was silent.
Tamaki asked to be excused and stood. As his hand fell on Kyouya's shoulder and guided the dark haired boy to stand, Tamaki said, "It was nice to meet you. I hope you all learn to talk soon."
And then they left.
Kyouya was sitting on the couch in his room. "He can't be mad specifically at me."
Tamaki was stretched out full length on the same couch, with his head resting comfortably on Kyouya's lap. He hummed, "I was serious about it not really mattering whether you even like me or not."
Tamaki's violet eyes opened to stare up at black ones. "But, you know, if you really do want to like me, that's fine, too."
"I know," Kyouya repeated.
Tamaki closed his eyes again.
Eventually, Kyouya mused, "You do know me the best. You are the person who is closest to me."
Tamaki's eyes stayed closed. His breathing was even.
Kyouya watched this person sleep, and said, "I don't like you, idiot. Look at what you've done. Father's been offended, and dinner was more stiff than usual. You are a fool a thousand times."
He paused to lean down and press his lips against slightly parted ones.
He sat back up quickly and put one hand on Tamaki's breastbone and another on his forehead, and the latter began to stroke through his hair. "I love you," Kyouya said to the sleeping boy.
No one could tell for sure whether the twitch of Tamaki's mouth was a suppressed smile or not.
Kyouya sighed and asked himself, "He knows me best, but who knows him?"
Tamaki said, "I think it's obvious that you do, considering that you just read my mind."
Kyouya faltered, and then threw Tamaki off the couch and onto the ground. "You faker!"
"You know you love it!" Tamaki cackled as he took this as a signal to start a pillow fight.
Kyouya rubbed the bridge of his nose. It would be impossible to live with him after this.
Yes. I certainly like it. Good luck, Adi.