Author's Note: What a bumpy ride! However, we've nearly come to the very end of it. I cannot express enough thanks to all of the loyal readers of this story — I have looked forward to each and every one of your reviews. I even found myself getting nervous when one of you took a bit longer than expected to review a chapter! (hahaha) It's really very sad to think that this tale truly does have to end. I've had so much fun writing it and hopefully you've all had just as much fun reading it. I think that there was a lot more here that I wanted to say, but I've completely lost myself. So, without further ado, I present the tenth and final chapter of Des Mots Simples. Hopefully it lives up to all of your expectations! (^-^;)
Tamaki knew the drive to the Ootori manor to be a long one from the school, but the seconds had never before passed so slowly. When the driver finally pulled around to the front doors, Tamaki all but sat on his hands to keep himself from leaping from the vehicle and dragging Kyouya with him just so that they could speak as soon as possible. Of course, Kyouya was quite calm, moving fluidly and without rushing. It drove his friend to a near breaking point.
The driver had already pulled away to park before Kyouya and Tamaki had finished ascending the stairs leading up to the front door. Tamaki kept throwing nervous sidelong glances at Kyouya who only looked straight ahead as if determined to keep Tamaki in as much suspense as possible, though they both knew it didn't take nearly this much diligence. It was actually a fairly safe bet that most would know it didn't take nearly this much diligence, but Kyouya kept it up all the same all the way to his bedroom.
It was just as stark as Tamaki remembered it, but it had suited Kyouya just as well then as it still did now. Kyouya offered him a seat, which he took and within minutes there was a maid at the door with tea for the two of them. He didn't make her stay, instead having her leave the tray on the table so that he might serve it himself. "It is more personal this way," he argued, "especially since I haven't had Suou-san over for a very long time." She seemed pleased with this response and bowed gracefully before leaving the two of them to themselves.
Though Tamaki opened his mouth to speak almost as soon as she had left the room, Kyouya held up a hand to silence him. He delicately handled the pouring of the tea, making a rather large process of it — much larger than he ever made during club meetings. Tamaki was quite sure that he was only doing it to bother him now, and while he did what he could to indulge his friend considering the circumstances, he still wriggled restlessly in his place with all of the patience of a small child.
"If you have to use the bathroom, Tamaki, you know where the nearest one is." Tamaki shook his head, still considering his order of "do not speak" to be in effect. Kyouya smiled to himself a little, and paused to observe their cups beside each other for seconds that felt like hours to Tamaki. Finally, his eyes darted to his friend's, locking onto them with that same smile still on his face. Tamaki didn't know whether to melt or explode.
"Kyouya I don't understand what has been going through your head lately but I will do anything that I can to fix it even if it means that you will quit the club and we shall never again speak to each other because you are my best friend and I love you and there is not a thing in the world I wouldn't do for you." What little air remained in his lungs was expelled as quickly as his statement. He knew that Kyouya had heard him, had understood him, but there was still a very, very long wait between his confession and his friend's response.
"I apologize for acting so rashly. It is unlike me." He stopped speaking and Tamaki wondered if that was all Kyouya had brought him here to say. "I have been unkind, and I can promise you that it's wounded me just as deeply as it has you, if not even more. I told you before just how much you have come to mean to me, Tamaki. How much I've come to depend on you. You encourage me in many ways that my father cannot and that my sister can only mimic." Kyouya paused again, sipping his tea thoughtfully and swallowing. "The past few days have been an experiment."
"Experiment!—" Tamaki was outraged and wanted to say more but Kyouya clamped a swift hand over his mouth.
"I am not finished. The past few days have been an experiment in my feelings. I just didn't know how else to go about them. They are new and I still hardly understand them any better than I did before." Kyouya let his hand fall gently from Tamaki's mouth, clasping them together in his own lap. "But I do know that when you kissed me that day it lit a fire somewhere inside of me. Because of that, I have feared myself more lately than I can ever remembering fearing anything." Each of Kyouya's pauses caused a slight hiccup of breath to catch in Tamaki's throat, and each of those set a glimmer of a smirk across Kyouya's lips. He pointedly reached for his cup again, taking a moment to sip it once more before saying, "Except for all of the time I have spent so distanced from you."
"If you have been so afraid then why did you push me away? Why didn't you let me help you?"
"I couldn't. Not with the entire school talking about us. If word ever got around to my father, I would be done for."
"His standards for you don't matt—"
"They do matter, Tamaki. They matter very much, even if not to you." He seemed deflated, more than just his ego bruised by Tamaki's immediate dismissal.
"Kyouya," Tamaki began, reaching for his friend's tea so that he could put it back onto the table. "It is not in a parent's nature to blindly and unconditionally approve of what their child does. Likewise, it is not in a child's nature to ever be able to live up to all of his parent's expectations. Your father asks too much of you, and you have delivered so much more than he ever dreamed that you would and one day he will understand that." This time Tamaki paused, trying Kyouya's tactic with a decidedly lacking effect. "It might not be today or tomorrow but if he wishes to keep you, he will learn."
Kyouya shook his head wearily. "Sometimes you truly don't understand—"
"I understand a lot more than you think I do and you know that so stop using that as an excuse for your fear." Both boys had been equally surprised by Tamaki's forcefulness. Tamaki was the first to shrug it off though and turned to face Kyouya, resting each of his hands on his shoulders. "If you want something badly enough, nothing can stand in your way. Especially fear."
"Tamaki..." Kyouya had never looked so small. Tamaki took him into his arms and held him, simultaneously relieved that he seemed to be instantly eased but anxious that this was just another set up. "I can't..."
"You can't because you think that you can't. Until you stop hindering yourself, not even I can help you."
Kyouya settled into Tamaki's arms comfortably, the latter holding him close but not tightly. The longer they stayed there, the more relaxed each of them felt, and soon Tamaki was lying back on the sofa and pulling Kyouya along with him. The other boy came easily, and they came together naturally, perhaps to make up for all of their previous awkwardness. Tamaki's fingers ran affectionately up and down Kyouya's spine, his eyes shut and his mouth curled into a smile that was more pleasant than triumphant. He knew that he had won at last — and truly, had been victorious all along — but that wasn't something that concerned him. He could feel Kyouya's gentle breathing against his skin and the light shuffling of his fingers against his shirt and that was enough for him.
Tamaki awoke not knowing he had fallen asleep and found Kyouya slumbering atop of him. His arms remained around him, though grasped him a bit more firmly before he settled back into the sofa. It had been hours since they'd left school and Tamaki's stomach was quick to remind him of that. The sound caused Kyouya to stir, but not awaken, so he ignored it for now; he wasn't about to disturb a situation as perfect as this for something as silly as dinner. It was a short wait, though, for after a bit more light stirring, Kyouya's eyes opened very carefully.
"Tamaki, hand me my glasses?" A hand felt blindly around on the table beside them, unsure of what it might find. After nearly knocking over both cups of cold tea, it discovered Kyouya's glasses and eagerly retrieved them. "Do you have any idea of the time?"
"No, but my guess would be sometime after dinner."
Kyouya laughed. "Men truly do have a one-track mind..."
"Ah, Kyouya, I am no mere man."
"That is true. The twins can attest to that." Tamaki was too offended to muster a true response beyond a noise of contempt that they both knew he didn't really mean. "In any case, I suppose we should get something to eat. You are welcome to stay."
"Are you sure that's safe?"
"There are ways we can skirt the issue if it comes up." Two faces brightened, one shining with a glow it hadn't seen in far too long and the other glinting with its old cunning. "We are best friends, after all."
Unable to help himself, Tamaki reached up to take Kyouya's face in both hands, pulling him down to place a kiss that was more mess than anything else. Kyouya resisted just enough to lessen the impact, though lingered only moments before he pushed away entirely so that he could get to his feet. Tamaki looked a bit rejected, but only half-heartedly. "My only request is that we have something a bit more palatable than commoner's food."