Disclaimer: Ouran is not mine.
Summary: Hikaru and Kaoru play a game. But how is a certain commoner supposed to join when even the twins themselves don't know the rules?
Author's note: My first non-oneshot. Tremble in awe before my… er… non-oneshotness.
Uh… Yeah. Anyway, if you have any questions about the story, feel free to ask and I'll try to answer as soon as I can.
There had been a beginning.
Kaoru knew there had been.
He just couldn't say when.
Perhaps, he thought, it happened like this.
A six year old Hikaru took his twin's hand into his own.
"We don't want a second one," they declared in unison, their joined hands swinging back and forth.
Their mother took a look at the matching pouts on their tiny faces and tried a different approach.
"Look, loves, this way each of you would get to be the friend of a very lonely teddy bear," she said and presented them the stuffed animals, one pink, one blue.
Her sons looked at each other out of the corner of their eyes.
"No. We just want one," they stated finally, their pouts only deepening, "And he can be our friend."
Not quite ready to give up yet, their mother turned to the twin on the right. "Hikaru, honey, see-"
"He isn't Hikaru," the left twin piped up, "I am."
"Sorry," their mother said without missing a beat, "It's just that you look so much alike."
As one, the twins took a step closer to each other.
"How do you expect it to work with just one teddy bear, anyway?" their mother continued.
Two identical faces turned to stare up at her.
She couldn't decide if it was deeply amazing or slightly creepy to observe the way a grin grew completely in synch on their lips.
"We can share."
Their mother didn't even sigh in response, she just put both bears on their bedside tables and left.
As she did so, the right twin turned to the other.
"Do you think she knew she guessed right, Kaoru?"
The other twin tilted his head to the side. "Mother never does."
A small tremble went through their joined hands.
The next day, Mrs. Hitachiin wasn't all that surprised to find her working desk at home had become the quite gruesome murder scene of a single pink teddy bear.
Then again, maybe it all started completely different, more like this.
Fingers glided across white, folding, turning, unfolding, folding again.
Breath was exhaled.
The Host Club stared at what was once a completely normal piece of paper resting in the palm of Haruhi's hand.
Hunny was the first to step forward (skipping, really), his face lit up in a way usually reserved for especially tasty sweet treats.
"Haru-chan!" he exclaimed, taking her hand in his almost as if to make sure it was real. "It's-"
"A paper crane," Haruhi replied evenly and blinked up at the stoic presence of Mori suddenly at her side. "I don't get what's so special about that."
"I don't either," Hikaru remarked at the same as his twin yawned pointedly wide and long.
"But!" Tamaki exclaimed, his face lit up in a way that made him seem years younger, "Can't you see the beautiful gracefulness in its simplicity sure to satisfy our costumers' unfailing sense for aesthetics?!"
There were one or two beats of silence.
Then, one of the twins gave the paper bird a flick of his fingers.
It sailed out of Haruhi's palm, was airborne for one wobbling twirl and, quite ungracefully, plunked down to the ground.
"…it's a piece of paper, tono," Hikaru said after the crash landing. "So what if it's folded to look like an aerodynamically-challenged bird-thing? It's still just paper."
Tamaki shrieked some more.
Some feet away from the rest of the group, where he had been preoccupied with checking the latest Host Club sale rates on his notebook up to now, Kyouya felt declined to translate.
"What our…king is trying to express so eloquently," he stated over Tamaki's volume of voice, "...is that he made Haruhi show us this because he wishes for us to partake in more… commoners' activities."
"Yes!" Tamaki cried and calmed down somewhat, "Finally someone who grasps my true genius!"
Kyouya slammed his laptop shut. "You told me about it. Three times. Every hour we've been in school. For a week."
The light gleamed off Kyouya's glasses. "Be assured I will find a way to… repay your kindness."
"Er…" Tamaki suppressed a twitch and instead twisted rather quickly to several towers of paper on a table beside him, glue and pairs of scissors perched precariously perched atop.
"Look my children what I got you!"
"Oh yeah, look everybody," Hikaru intoned, "It's paper!"
Tamaki went into shrieking mode once again.
All the better to enjoy the show with, Hikaru took Kaoru's hand into his own.
The problem with that was where his twin's hand should have been there was only air.
Worse, said twin's hand was closing around a crash-landed 'just a piece of paper' lying on the floor.
Kaoru's attention, though, was resting on something completely different.
Hikaru looked at Kaoru looking at Haruhi.
The muscles in his arms clenched.
"Careful," Haruhi was instructing an overly excited Hunny in the folding of yet another paper crane, "If you tug too hard at one end everything becomes apart."
Hunny's eyes widened and he held up a decidedly sickly looking paper-bird…thing. "I got it, Taka-chan, see, I got it right!"
Mori eyed the wilted crane and the corners of his mouth lifted upwards.
Still as excited, Hunny turned around to Haruhi.
In one motion, he tugged at her tie until she was on his level and brushed his lips across her left cheek.
"Thank you," Hunny told her, nothing childish in his tone of voice, before he bounced, quite childishly, in direction of the cakes they had left from a day of hosting, Mori in his tow.
Kyouya took note.
Tamaki was still far too deep into his shrieking fit to notice.
Haruhi simply blinked, once, twice, and shrugged.
All of a sudden, completely unexpectedly to Hikaru, Kaoru smiled softly at the paper bird now clutched in his hands.
Apparently, even Tamaki had his ranting limits, because at that moment, there was a cough and a voice, just a bit on the scratchy side, followed.
"Anyway," the Suou heir said, "It's going to be so much fun folding all of it!"
Everyone turned to stare at the large, wobbling piles of paper, glue and scissors surrounding Tamaki.
The next moment, Haruhi slung her schoolbag across her shoulders and with a calmly stated "I am going home.", she went to leave.
"My precious daughter!" Tamaki exclaimed and sprung after her.
In his haste, he also bumped into the table next to him.
So, when Haruhi spun around to tell him off, she didn't even have enough time to realize that, amid all the paper and glue raining down on her, there was a pair of scissors crashing down right at her face.
Her world turned red.
If it didn't begin like that, it could have been this way.
The door to the twin's bedroom was thrown open and in followed their mother, a lot of a pink something in her fingers.
The twins didn't look up from their video game, a single blue teddy bear perched in-between them.
"Do you have an explanation for this?" their mother asked and dropped a heap of pink stuffed teddy innards in front of her sons.
"We didn't do a thing," they chirped in chorus, their concentration still on the game before them.
Their mother glanced at the bed on the left, at a gleaming pair of scissors they hadn't even bothered to hide.
The only sound to fill the room was the click-clack-clack of her sons pushing the buttons of their gamepads.
Their mother waited.
She waited for three full sequences of click-clack-clack
At some point, along with another click-clack-clack, there could be heard the closing sound of a door.
Without taking his eyes off the screen, one twin asked the other "Have we got any continues left?"
"There are always continues left," responded his twin.
They continued to play.
On the other hand, it could also have been that way.
"You really need to stop doing this before you make a habit out of it," Haruhi remarked while she dabbed Kaoru's wound with antiseptics.
(Kyouya had produced them from a first-aid kit he had apparently purchased the moment the word 'scissors' had left Tamaki's mouth for the first time.)
Kaoru winced at the differing sensations of the sting of antiseptics and the warmth of Haruhi's touch on the injury on his hand. "Can't do. We got no guarantee license for our toy. If you break, we will be left without replacement."
"He wouldn't have had to anything if a certain idiot hadn't decided to play make pretend with a frigging pair of scissors!" Hikaru objected heatedly and narrowed his eyes at a mess on the floor, "Isn't that right, tono?"
Aforementioned mess of blond hair and teary eyes raised his head from the floor long enough to give a wavering wail of: "I am sorry, really, I am!"
(In the background, Hunny let his newly-folded paper crane whirl through the air, Kyouya thought up seven different ways they could make profit out of Kaoru's injury and Mori alternated between glancing at his cousin and the only girl of the Host Club.)
Hikaru tapped Tamaki into his side with one of his shoes, none too gently. "Sorry doesn't cut it!"
Messed up hair and tears were reinforced. "I didn't mean to!" Tamaki sniffled.
"It's fine, tono," Kaoru declared loudly and gave his brother a small shake of his head.
In turn, Hikaru crossed his arms before his chest and gave a not so small huff. Not for a second he took his eyes off his twin.
"Really?" a mess on the floor inquired.
"I'm really okay," Kaoru told him and locked eyes with his brother.
Another huff made itself heard.
Apparently, that was all it took to make Tamaki less of a mess and more of… well himself, because, just a second afterwards, he demanded of Kyouya to supply them with safety scissors.
With a roll of her eyes at Tamaki's antics, Haruhi applied a band-aid to the scratch on Kaoru's left hand.
Afterwards, she paused for a moment, only to bend forward, without haste, and breathe a whispered "Thanks" into his ears.
Kaoru closed his eyes, just minutely, and leaned into her, ever so slightly.
As Hikaru had never taken his eyes off his twin, he saw.
It also might have happened in such a manner.
Kaoru stared at the ceiling of their room with bleary eyes.
Lying in his bed, he was forced to endure a night audition of his twin's irrational behaviour at its best.
"Hikaru?" he said after several encore performances, "I can't sleep when you can't sleep."
The shifting didn't stop. "Sh. I'm thinking."
Kaoru rolled his head into his brother's direction. "Does your thinking include sighing and shifting every other second?"
This time there was a pause and even though it was dark, Kaoru knew Hikaru had turned to face him too.
"It's complicated sighing and shifting stuff."
Kaoru could just imagine the frown etched unto Hikaru's face.
With deliberate slowness he put the hand Haruhi had treated on his twin's shoulder.
"I'm fine, Hikaru. It's just a scratch."
The skin under Kaoru's fingers trembled.
"It's not that," Hikaru whispered, "It's…"
Another sigh, one more shift, both not by Hikaru and there was considerable less distance between them.
Kaoru entwined his and his twin's fingers.
"…it's complicated." Hikaru's breath flittered across his collarbone. "Just complicated."
An exhaling of breath, just one more, and Kaoru whispered: "Okay.
Hikaru entwined their fingers further.
That night, there was no more sighing and shifting.
Perhaps it was probable that it had begun like this too.
Two pairs of arms sneaked across a single waist.
Pages of a book were turned.
Grinning faces were buried in short hair.
Irritation was made know.
"Don't you have to do your homework as well?" Haruhi asked the twins, a book in her lap and a tangle of limbs thrown across her body.
"Aw…" Kaoru drawled into her ear, letting his breath fawn across her skin, "Look, our faithful toy is concerned for us!"
Haruhi took up her book once more before glaring at them over the rim of its pages.
Hikaru shook his head overdramatically. "Somehow I'm not feeling the faith."
Kaoru tried to appear thoughtful for a moment there, yet couldn't quite keep the grin off his lips. "Why, then we'll just have to test her belief."
With a shake of her head, Haruhi went back to reading.
"See that?" Hikaru remarked to his brother, giving Haruhi's waist a squeeze, "Yes, a test of belief is most definitely in order."
With that, an unsuspecting Haruhi, book and all, was lifted into one of the twin's laps, her legs positioned to stretch across the other's knees.
Haruhi turned a page of her book.
"Now, our surely faithful toy, you can either-"Hikaru began while Kaoru raised, beyond Haruhi's back, one finger into the air, two fingers, three-
"What is the meaning of this?" Tamaki's shrill voice rang out, right on cue.
Nonchalantly, Hikaru faced Tamaki. "Why, tono, what a surprise to meet you here in our… clubroom."
Kaoru stifled a chortle of laughter in Haruhi's hair.
Said commoner was by now halfway through her history assignment.
"We are kind of busy here. Testing faith and all," Hikaru carried on conversationally, "Was there a reason for this interruption?"
Tamaki bristled. "I want you to stop injuring my precious daughter's fragile purity! Let go of her, you treacherous imps!"
"Funny he would mention 'injury' don't you think?" Hikaru asked his brother, his fingers starting to play with a few strands of brown hair.
Kaoru seemed to mull over his brother's words. (Anyone knew you could do so best while nuzzling your favorite commoner's neck.)
Haruhi started to memorize some particular important facts.
Suddenly, Kaoru snapped his fingers and waved his left hand around the air, a band-aid well visibly against his white skin.
Tamaki paled, stuttered and the cry of 'mother' was on the tip of his tongue.
Then, he remembered that the other three hosts (Hunny, Mori, Kyouya) had gone to inspect the authenticity of the weapons for their latest cosplay performance. (The last they would all be able to attend with their oldest members' impending graduation looming over their head.)
Also, they were doing so on his own orders.
The twins touched.
Haruhi pondered if she should prepare the next few pages in advance for next lesson.
After a bit more gulping Tamaki gasped out a shaky "Fine!" and proceeded to recede into his personal corner of woe and misery.
Beyond Haruhi's back, the twins gave each other high-five.
There was the sound of a book snapping shut.
"He's right, you know," Haruhi announced as she put her book into her schoolbag and started to sort out which limbs were hers, "You've to let me go. I've to get my train."
"Definitely not feeling the faith," Hikaru muttered and the grin on Kaoru's face had waned slightly.
Both could tell offering Haruhi a home ride in their limo would be like asking a wall to paint itself.
For that reason, they didn't stop her from detangling herself.
Neither of them could tell however, which twins' hands lingered the longest on the girl.
In the end, it was possible it had been as simple as this.
The gong rang.
"Aren't you coming, Kaoru?" Haruhi asked over her shoulder.
At her side stood Hikaru, giving his twin a lopsided grin.
"Yes," Kaoru said and closed up to them.
They made their way back to class, Hikaru on the left, Haruhi in the middle, Kaoru on the right, together.
It was most likely, though, that it hadn't happened at all yet, because it was just about to start.
It was the day of Mori's and Hunny's graduation and the Host Club (namely Tamaki) had insisted on organizing a party for them.
There was cake, lots of cake, drinks and music, in combination with a hoard of squealing girls.
Yet, for once, Mori and more so Hunny completely disregarded all the various sweet treats displayed or any attempt to get them to dance.
Nevertheless, it didn't stop the girls in their squealing, for there was a person Hunny and Mori danced with tonight.
Dressed in a suite similar to theirs, she gave Mori permission to lead her through the more complicated steps or whirled around the floor with a beaming Hunny.
Time after time after time, until Haruhi got dizzy and had to sit down, both Hosts hovering at her sides, awaiting the moment the girl felt well enough to be swept to the dance floor once more.
The other club members let them. It was an unspoken agreement between the six of them.
All knew it was probably going to be some time before either Mori or Hunny were going see Haruhi (or any of them) again, least dance with her.
So, they contented themselves with watching from the sidelines and occasionally indulging a girl's wish for a dance.
That was the way Hikaru found his brother.
Watching from the sidelines, in a secluded corner away from the heaviest throb of people.
He stood next to his twin.
Kaoru didn't react but continued watching.
Hikaru didn't have to look to know who Kaoru was looking at.
"So, you have a crush on her, too," Hikaru state d with all the non-existent tact he had.
Kaoru didn't react to this either, at least not until he did by whispering a simple: "Yes."
Hikaru snorted, his eyes following the twirling forms of Haruhi and Hunny on the dance floor.
"We're both screwed."
Kaoru responded with a short chuckle. "Yep. Totally."
A not quite seventeen year old Hikaru took his twin's hand into his own.
"What do we do, Kaoru?"
His brother blinked and stared at their entwined hands.
Slowly, a grin started to spread across his lips. "We don't do a thing."
Hikaru's lips got infected by the grin. "Do we have any continues?"
"There are always continues," Kaoru firmly stated and took a step closer to his brother, "When do we start playing?"
Hikaru tapped his chin as if considering a matter of grave importance.
"How about… now?" he asked and before Kaoru could stop his twin, Hikaru stalked across the room with a shout of "Hey, Haruhi!".
As Kaoru watched a person looking so alike to him walk up to a person so unlike both of them, he discovered both were equally important to him in different ways.
Suddenly, he found it didn't really matter when it had all started.
Kaoru was much more worried about how it was going to end.