Author's Note: Why does Kaoru seem to become an angsty nervous wreck in all of my writings? O.O I actually consider him a strong person, that's why I can't agree with all those stories that make Kaoru kill himself or becoming a drug addict or something like that because his brother left him.

shrugs can't be helped, I guess. Enjoy, anyway!

Chapter 3

So now I'm telling you the reason I'm all messed up / Just have to look me in the eye and I fall apart / please let me hold you till I know we are both through this / I couldn't live another day without you here in my arms.

Snow Patrol, In my arms

Most people wouldn't consider Ootori Kyouya a man to give in to his desires, act upon them and not give a damn about the circumstances.

How surprised would they be if they were ever to learn that exactly that had just happened, in Ouran High School's third music room, with the ever-present danger of someone coming in, on a couch… and with a younger student, a male student at that, and, as if that wasn't bad enough already, with a price member of the Host Club.

This thought would've amused Kyouya immensely… if the shadow king hadn't been so busy hating himself for the very deeds few people would think him capable of.

Kaoru was by now sitting on the window sill again, one leg pulled up, arms draped around it. His eyes, however, weren't drawn out to the school compound, but restlessly wandering around the room, more often than not returning to Kyouya.

The shadow king couldn't bring himself to meet the younger one's eyes. It wasn't shame he felt, he told himself. He simply had to wince at the sight of the ugly bruise marks on Kaoru's wrist, that's all. Those marks, and the even darker ones on the redhead's neck, were evidence of how he'd lost control, how deeply he'd lost himself in that boy, and it wasn't something he could deal with.

He would've liked to say that he was sorry and go back to routine. However, he couldn't. Because he didn't regret it. Because he simply couldn't return to his detached position.

Though the murky depression, the destructive desperation had gone from Kaoru's face, as Kyouya was relieved to notice. Wait a second… relieved? What reason did he have to feel this way? It wasn't like he cared, anyway!

It was just that something had changed, and he had yet to find out if this was a good thing or not.

Taking a deep breath, he quite rudely told his mind's voice to shut the fuck up. Kaoru's amber eyes were clear and open again. That was what mattered, even if he couldn't pinpoint the reason.

It annoyed him, however, that he couldn't read the boy's expression, nor his intentions, right now. It made this whole mess even less predictable, and that was something he couldn't ignore. So he decided to ask directly: "What was it to you?"

The shadow king, Kaoru mused, had mastered the art of hiding any inner turmoil so long ago that, right now, it was impossible to read him. All the redhead saw was the typically stoic face, flashing glasses safely guarding his eyes from view, and it both confused and hurt him.

It should've been alright now. He had been able to forget, if only for a moment. He'd been at peace, in those few precious moments when their harsh breathing had been the only noise to break the silence of their shared afterglow, before Kyouya had pulled away, grimacing at the mess, and risen to clean them up.

He should've been alright, and found he wasn't. Yes, this was definitely better than before, he at least could think straight again, but that was about it!

The need, the pain, was still there, and he couldn't figure out what to do. So lost was Kaoru in his dark musings that, when he heard Kyouya's question, all he could to was to give the sullen reply: "Didn't think you'd care enough to ask".

The dark-haired boy cocked an eyebrow, his expression and tone unreadable. "You know that's not true, Kaoru."

Had he just heard correctly? Had Kyouya just uttered what Kaoru thought he'd heard him say? And had he, god beware, actually said his name?

Yet this only served to make the boy even angrier. Why did Kyouya have to constantly mess him up? Being the north pole in person first, than displaying such passion, turning cold again, and now this? Saying these words, as if they meant something? He just didn't understand! Confusion made him defensive, robbed him of the strength to fight down his anger, but Kaoru was past caring already. Things were going down the drain anyway, so why bother?

He'd gotten what he thought he wanted, only to discover that it wasn't. So he was acting like a spoiled kid that couldn't get enough! Even if this was all that'd there ever be, he at least had to try. In order to have something to lose, you needed to posses something in the first place. And Kaoru felt he'd long ago lost everything that mattered.

He simply had to move forward, and so the younger boy decided to challenge the shadow king directly. "What am I to you, then?" he asked heatedly. "A way to try how it feels to not obey the rules for once? A way to forget about Tamaki? 'Cause that's not what I want!"

"Then what do you want?"

The hand in Kaoru's lap curled to a fist at the indifferent reply, nails digging painfully into the skin of his palm, a grim expression making his lips almost disappear into a thin line of anger, disappointment, hurt.

Kyouya noted in satisfaction that the boy wouldn't allow himself to cry, although he was trembling by now.

What he wanted, Kaoru raged inwardly, what he wanted?? Warmth. Want. Touch. Words. Truth. Acceptance. To regain a fraction of what he'd lost, of the peace of mind he'd had, and more, something beyond that, something to allow him entry to that world outside the twins' shared garden. Something that made him want to destroy something sometimes, just to forget…

Silently Kaoru stared into the empty space before him, suddenly too tired to fight. Why did his life have to be so damn complicated? Why couldn't he rid himself of that longing to return to how things were before, even if he knew it was futile? Why couldn't he seem to find something to hold on to? Why couldn't he ever be certain of anything?

A hand on his shoulder startled him out of his dark train of thought, made him aware of the fact that Kyouya had come over to him and was regarding him with dark, knowing eyes. What the older boy did next, though, caught Kaoru completely off guard. Sitting down on the window sill behind the younger one, drawing one leg up while leaving the other on the floor, the dark-haired boy gently pulled Kaoru into his embrace, making him rest against his chest, wrapping his arms around the slender, shivering body.

Inhaling the warmth that was Kaoru, faking a sigh of exasperation, Kyouya whispered right into the boy's ear: "Isn't this what you want?"

Kaoru couldn't respond, not without his voice betraying how shaken he truly felt. Instead, he answered by leaning his head into Kyouya's neck and closing his eyes. This felt so solid, so warm. So good that he even managed to ignore the fact that it was the shadow king holding him, giving him what he'd longed for so badly.

Couldn't they stay this way?

"For now, we can. If you want."

Damn, had he really voiced his thoughts? He shouldn't let his guard down that much, the redhead cursed inwardly while squinting up from the corner of an eye to see Kyouya's face. The older boy's expression was carefully neutral, but Kaoru thought he detected a hint of warmth in his eyes. Plus, the dark-haired boy had come to him, had readily offered him what he craved.

Kaoru's right hand came to rest on Kyouya's arm. "Thank you."

You're welcome , the shadow king thought, amazed at how easily Kaoru was trusting him, how good it felt to have him in his arms. You amazed me again, Hitachiin Kaoru. Let's see how often you manage to do that again.

He hoped it would be many, many times.