Lights On, Lights Off

Kaoru can't sleep in the dark, but Hikaru can't sleep with any light, so they either have to choose lights on, lights off, or separate rooms. implied HikaKao

A blanket of shadows covered the five-year-old red-heads heavily as one of them, eyes fully open, tried to shut them, but couldn't. He was the one who was scared of the dark; he was the one who couldn't sleep without a night light; he was the one who suffered from fatigue every morning because of lack of sleep. He was Kaoru Hitachiin, aka "the twin who's pretty much scared of everything."

It wasn't true, of course, but sometimes Kaoru found himself getting scared at almost everything – well, only if Hikaru wasn't there with him. The only exception was when they were asleep, because Hikaru wasn't awake. Other than being a scaredy cat, Kaoru was a big worrier too. If Hikaru wasn't awake, who would save him from the monsters and his nightmares?

Curling up in a tight ball, Kaoru subconsciously inched closer to his older brother and moaned, "Hika… Hii-kaa-ruu…." Kaoru raised a finger and started poking Hikaru's cheeks, still moaning the subject's name. "Hikaru…!"

A slight growl escaped Hikaru's lips, followed shortly after by a short moan, then the older twin's eyes slowly fluttered open, meeting the same amber eyes. "What is it, Kaoru?"

"Kaoru is scared." Kaoru began shuddering under his thick blanket as he felt a pair of thin arms wrap around his neck, pulling him closer to Hikaru's face. Hikaru buried his face in Kaoru's hair and sighed.

"I'll turn on the night light," Hikaru said bravely. He really didn't like having the night light on, because even a tiny speck of light would make him stay awake. Although, he was thinking for Kaoru's sake. He was the older brother after all.

Hikaru crawled off of bed lazily with Kaoru clinging to his arm, whimpering that he couldn't see anything. Hikaru, trying to endure having to walk around in the darkness with his night-vision still developing, fumbled over their scattered toys, telling Kaoru at the same time to be careful. Hikaru's arms stretched and felt everything all around him, trying to find a particular shape. Once Hikaru's hands felt a glossy, smooth texture and s small knob (most likely the switch), he grabbed it and examined it. By that time, his night-vision had developed for him to be able to see. It was the night light – the gift Hikaru gave Kaoru on the day Kaoru confessed his fear of the darkness. They haven't used it for quite some time, mostly because it was Hikaru who would be up every morning in a disorientated and grumpy mood, bags under his childish eyes, and a paler face. It was a much worse case than Kaoru's fatigue look, so their mother decided to stop them from using the night light.

Hikaru walked over to the plug, wrapping his free arm around Kaoru's waist protectively, telling him to watch his step again. Then, Hikaru plugged the night light into the socket and flicked on the switch, a faint but noticeable light emitting. Kaoru's face brightened as he hugged Hikaru, thanking him gleefully but quietly. Hikaru pecked Kaoru's forehead and picked him up, the crushing weight of Kaoru's equally heavy body making his arms go numb, and walked back over to their bed, placing his younger brother gently onto the left side of the bed. The two exchanged "good night's" as Kaoru's eyes immediately fell asleep. Hikaru crawled onto the bed and started massaging his temple, gazing at his ceiling. He knew it was going to be a very long night.

Hikaru's bloodshot eyes wavered over to his brother's sleeping face as he looked at their digital clock. It read seven o'clock exactly in the morning.

With an irritated groan, Hikaru slid off of the bed, careful not to wake up his younger brother, and walked to the kitchen. He saw his mother already in her business outfit, spreading layers and layers of make-up on her face. Once she noticed Hikaru's small body attempting to climb up his favorite high chair, she stopped patting on her blush and curiously looked at her son.

"Hikaru, where's Kaoru? Isn't he usually the first one up?" Yuzuha mused, puffing out her hair. She picked up her cherry red lipstick and started smearing it roughly on her already red lips, puckering them in front of the mirror. "Hey, hey, don't strain yourself."

Hikaru grumbled, "I'm not," and started climbing on the high chair again, his eleventh try being successful. "Bacon and eggs, over easy, with toast, OJ, local newspaper, now." Hikaru's expression softened when he heard tiny footsteps behind him, turning his head around to look at a groggily-eyed Kaoru. He was yawning and had a stuffed cow (Ushi-chan) dangling in his small hands. The younger of the twins looked up at Hikaru and frowned. "Hika looks sleepy still."

Yuzuha stopped applying her lipstick and stared at her eldest son, her face beginning to wrinkle up from her scowl. "Hikaru! What did I tell you about the night light? You never listen, do you? Never never never." Yuzuha placed her hand mirror on the table and walked over to Kaoru, picking him up. Kaoru squealed in joy when Yuzuha brought him up in the air, telling him to spread his wings. "Kaoru takes tons of naps anyway, and you don't. Do you know what that might do to your health? From now on, it's either lights on and Hikaru can sleep, lights off and Kaoru can sleep, or you both sleep in separate rooms, alright?" Kaoru's happy squealing stopped abruptly. Hikaru chocked on his bacon.

"W-what? That's not fair!" Hikaru exclaimed angrily, rushing towards his mother. Kaoru struggled in Yuzuha's grasp as she sighed and brought him back down, watching as her two sons hugged each other. Hikaru glared at his mother and said, "I'm going to protect Kaoru no matter what!"

"Yes, and you can protect him while sleeping in your own bed." Yuzuha sighed and dabbed two more layers of blush onto her cheeks, picking up her brown designer Louis Vuitton purse, the sound of her high heels dragging quickly on the glass floor. When she reached for the door knob, she turned around and stepped outside simultaneously, waving goodbye to her two sons. "Tell me your decision when I come home, okay? Love you!"

"Hika?" Kaoru's innocent eyes fixed on Hikaru's annoyed face as he brushed his hands under Hikaru's bangs, sweeping them to the side gently. "What are Hika and Kaoru going to do?" The younger twin gave his Ushi-chan a tight squeeze as he said, "Kaoru thinks Hika and Kaoru should sleep with light off. Kaoru will try to be brave." A grin was firmly placed on Kaoru's face as Hikaru tousled around with his hair, pouting.

"No way! I won't be able to sleep if I start worrying about you, so we'll both be restless. I think the better decision is to help me practice sleeping in the light. Really, Kaoru, how do you do it?"

Kaoru cocked his head to the side slightly and placed his index finger under his chin as in indication he was thinking. Then, when his eyes turned wide, he smiled and grabbed Hikaru by the wrist. "Naps made Kaoru like the light. Light makes Kaoru feel safe."

Kaoru dragged his older twin to their nursery station and took out two sleeping bags, placing them close by each other. Kaoru took over the green one and ordered Hikaru to sleep in the red one. Hikaru sighed; he couldn't refuse his younger twin.

Raising the blanket over his neck, he watched as Kaoru squirmed in the sleeping bag to find a comfortable position, holding Ushi-chan close to his chest. Hikaru closed his eyes shut and saw red flashing about, making his eyes burst open. He saw Kaoru frowning, handing him his stuffed cow.

Hikaru accepted the cow and hugged it, closed his eyes again, but the heat from the light made Hikaru's eyes jolt open again as he sighed disappointedly, giving Ushi-chan back. "I can't," Hikaru stated bluntly, "I can't sleep with any light. It annoys me."

"Oh." Kaoru's eyes darted around as an idea flashed through his mind, making him smile. "Kaoru thinks Kaoru can help Hika."

Yuzuha entered her mansion and walked up to the twin's room, checking her watch worriedly. She had stayed at work for two hours longer, and she was sure worrying about her sons.

Opening the door to the twin's room, she stepped inside – careful not to step on any of their toys – and smiled when she saw Hikaru and Kaoru hugging each other. The glint of the night light was still visible, but Hikaru was wearing a sleep mask.

Pecking her two sons on their heads, she slowly crept back out of the room, saying to herself, "I better buy Seiryō a sleep mask…."

A/N: Reupload.