Title: Not Sorry
Summary: When understanding reaches a plateau, 'sorry' means nothing at all.
Disclaimers: Ouran High School Host Club is created by Bisco Hatori. Not mine.
Notes: This was meant to be a standalone, but can also be considered a companion piece to Sorry versus Apology.
"I'm sorry," Hikaru enunciated around a mouthful of toothpaste foam.
It was Sunday evening and they were getting ready for bed. Their bathroom, although spacious, was a bit of a mess - yellow rubber ducks dripping on the edge of the tub (Kaoru's), a haphazard trail of wet footprints outside the shower (Hikaru's) and two tubes of toothpaste, uncapped, on either side of their shared washbasin.
"Sorry for what?" Kaoru asked, still brushing his teeth, unfazed. Hikaru had the tendency to be overridden by guilt in the evenings, as if his stubbornness would only let him apologize for the day's misdeeds just so he could sleep better at night.
Hikaru swivelled on the balls of his wet feet then, and gave Kaoru a sort of awkward side-ways hug, one arm slung around Kaoru's one left shoulder, head bowed, discreetly avoiding Kaoru's eyes.
"Kaoru... you understand, right? About us."
The bathroom lights seemed to skew at that moment, dimming, making the yellow rubber ducks less yellow and more grey. He took out his toothbrush and tried to reply, the foam masking his shaking voice.
"Yeah. I do. We're twins, of course I understand. Who else would if I didn't?"
"Un... thank you, Kaoru."
"Mm. Now get off me, the toothpaste is burning my mouth."
What Kaoru left unsaid is this: what a bastard. How dare he reject me, me who's been by his side since before we were born, so flippantly, so casually?
Not that Kaoru didn't understand, because he did, more so than anyone else. That Haruhi was merely a catalyst, that even without her the lock on their world had to break or rust, sooner or later.
Kaoru understood. He just wasn't as fast as Hikaru in accepting it.
Getting ready for bed several weeks after the Karuizawa incident, Hikaru said "I'm sorry" again, followed up with a playful toothpaste foamy lip-stamp on Kaoru's cheek. Kaoru was too exhausted to be angry and worked up anymore. He took his toothbrush out of his mouth, gurgled something that might have been "Did you do that just to get toothpaste on my face?" and swivelled his head so foamy mouth met foamy mouth.
Kaoru's eyes bore into Hikaru's so hard as to shock the both of them, said, "I'm sorry too," and kept on brushing his teeth.
Because, if Kaoru had to live with Hikaru's feelings, then Hikaru will have to live with Kaoru's too.
Author's Notes: I wrote the beginning bit, thought to myself, "Kaoru, you are such a wussy pushover." Kaoru retorted by finishing the fic off with the latter bit. Got a bit of an attitude, that one. Still fun to bully though :)