The curtains flutter and fly about the window as a harsh wind blows through, scattering the paper shapes in the room.
It's a warm day when they're given the news.
"There's no resolution to appease the both of you."
...They've never had to agree on a sacrifice before.
Slim fingers fumble with the nth piece of paper, the hundredth cut appearing on an already abused thumb.
Blood taints over half of the origami figures in the room. He doesn't stop folding.
There are worse things than death, they know. And perhaps it's that knowledge that makes suicide seem so appealing.
Even so, they straighten their shoulders, fix each-other's ties, run their fingers through each-other's hair, and hold their heads up high as the doors open before them.
They've come this far; they're not going to give up now.
Someone comes into the room full of fragile shards of nothing, and carefully dodges each and every animal littering the floor, to slide the window shut.
He pays them no mind, and ignores when they inquire as to whether he needs a bandage for his thumb. It hasn't stopped bleeding.
Only after they've left and he sets down the latest figure does he notice that it's night, and as he raises his thumb to his lips to suck away the blood, his eyes catch sight of one of the origami birds shut in the door.
Dumb thing should've known that escape was futile.
Plans litter the table in front of him; some so intricate that it would require all of their skills and resources to pull off, and others so simple all they would require was a week and Kaoru's ability to manipulate people they hardly knew.
They all seem like good ideas at the time, but each one of them has a major flaw;
They need both twins to be able to be pulled off.
He presses a button to send for more paper and – as an afterthought – some coffee.
He's not going to stop until he's done.
Kaoru loved fantasy books.
On their off-days (read: the days where they were banned from any and all mischief, on pain of having to sleep in separate rooms), the younger twin would curl up on their couch with a painfully big novel, and firmly immerse himself in another world until his older brother grew bored of video games and demanded that they go out somewhere.
Kaoru never complained when he was pulled away, half-way through a sentence.
They knew that their time together was being cut short.
He's going to pass out soon, he thinks. His eyes can't stay open any longer, and no amount of coffee will stop the ridiculous hallucinations running through his mind.
He recalls reading somewhere that a human can stay awake for 11 days before going insane. It's already been five, and he thinks he's reached his limit, with nothing to force him to stay conscious.
His eyes drift towards the picture of them during one of their Brotherly Loveacts at the Host Club, and two days later, he's still awake.
Their parents hated themselves for doing it.
They could see it in the way their mother stopped churning out designs, and the way their father was always on the phone to someone, trying to fix things. The way both of them went out of their way to ensure that their boys spent as much time together as possible, going so far as to offer to remove them from school, so they wouldn't have to worry about any course work.
If it weren't for their other family, the twins would've accepted.
When Tamaki opens the door to the room filled with the shards of broken dreams and hearts, he doesn't notice the paper bird that drifts into the hall he's standing in. He's much too busy trying to remember where the maids said the blankets were, because while he knew that moving the twin from the desk and the stacks of paper on it would be a bad idea, he can't help but worry that his 'son' is going to catch a cold if he sleeps without a blanket.
And when he finally finds the linen closet and drapes a warm quilt over the thin body, he makes a point of setting the desk alarm for three hours from then.
He'd never be forgiven if he allowed the twin to sleep while his brother was away.
The Host Club had taken the news almost as well as the twins had.
When the phone went off, he grunted for his brother to turn the damn thing off.
When no hand obediently reached out to silence the annoying ring tone - mi'Lord's, he thought blearily – he groaned and did it himself, surprised when he realised he was leaning on their desk.
He wasn't happy when reality came crashing back down, and threw himself back into his self-appointed task with vigour.
Kyouya had immediately set about making phone calls; Hani had sunk into his "Demon" state; Mori was almost visibly fretting; Haruhi was leafing through one of her textbooks, muttering about standard legal procedures.
Tamaki was as still as a statue.
The most recent cut on his thumb splits open again.
This time, he curses and stops folding to rummage through the drawers for a bandage.
Renge was pulling strings. Nekozawa was arranging special masses. Satoshi and Yasuchika were rallying the karate and kendo clubs; Kasugazaki and Suzushima were conferring via long-distance calls in order to produce some semblance of a working plan.
Tamaki was still staring into space.
The bandage slips from his hand and lands on one of the birds with the sound of a thousand pieces of glass breaking.
He can't hold back the sob that tears itself from his chest.
Shiro does nothing except sit with them when he's supposed to be in class.
And really, that's all they need from him.
Tamaki still can't do anything.
His world is breaking with each tear that falls. He's crying, loudly and without restraint. His fingers fumble desperately, trying to fold the paper the way he's done hundreds of times before this.
The paper rips cleanly in two, and becomes scrunched by his fists.
Tamaki watches as his family falls apart, and does nothing to help them.
Warm fingers wrap around his clenched fists, a firm body presses itself against his side.
"Stop." The word is whispered.
"We'll get him back."
The Host Club King, he thinks as his sobbing increases, is a fantastically good liar.
They know things are bad when the Zuka Club offers their assistance.
The Zuka Club works well with the Class Prez, finding his fear of just about everything sweet and refreshing.
They say nothing when Benio turns to them with pity in her eyes, and says with nothing but pride in her voice that if anyone can solve this problem, the fair maidens of Lobelia Academy can.
From a corner in the room, Tamaki is writing down notes.
Fingers longer than his guide him in the folding of the next piece of paper. His sobbing eventually turns into a slow hiccupping as he feels the warmth radiating off of the other person.
"I've counted them. Four more."
A task which is impossible to accomplish with only one person becomes a goal that can be reached, with two people. And that was why they were born as twins; so that they could exceed the expectations placed upon the entire world, and rule their lives as one ultimate person.
He can't help but be grateful for the hands that guide him, though he knows that another set of hands entirely should be holding his.
Kasanoda and his family work on using brute force to gather information.
For once, Kyouya encourages this approach, and sends out three members of his family's police force to ensure that no word is leaked about the Kasanoda branch of the yakuza is supporting a family as prestigious and law-abiding as the Hitachiin.
It would only get them into deeper trouble, after all.
In an equation where y = z, if y = the end, and z = the means, while y also represents them being together, he thinks that he'll do anything to discover what z is.
Unfortunately, in an equation where y = z, he has no way of knowing what either letter equals to until the equation is complete.
But right now, he has one of his best friends helping him decode the pronumerals, and he knows that sooner or later, both y and z will be revealed.
After all, while the Host Club King is a fantastically good liar, he's never given the twins any reason to doubt his words.
Ayame pushes her grudge against Tamaki further back as she discusses the situation with the brightest minds at Ouran.
Alone in his corner, Tamaki wonders at how a situation like this has brought everyone together, and is promptly distracted when his father enters the room.
Apparently any friend of Tamaki's is a friend of the family, regardless of the matriach's opinion, and Tamaki feels like joining the twins in their crying when it is revealed that the chairman of the school has joined forces with the families of the Host Club, and that they were currently dragging in every family they knew of.
Something like what was happening to the twins was a big deal, and apparently, none of the "rich bastards" of Japan were going to stand for it.
They're on the last one now, by Tamaki's count. This will be the first one to not have blood or coffee stains on it; the pure white of it hurts his eyes, and he almost wants to spill something on it to make it look like the others.
But then, he thinks that maybe, this one can represent the King of Idiots, and doesn't hesitate when he shakes said King's hands off and begins folding it himself, determination in his eyes.
Tamaki watches, and smiles when he sees that his son's spirit is building itself up again in front of his eyes.
In the end, their efforts amount to nothing.
On the third fold, he slips, and almost screws the whole thing up.
The plane to America arrives, and they're both terrified. They're clinging to each-other and their parents are hugging them as if they'll never see him again—which, they think rather morbidly, they probably won't.
Their mother is crying and making promises about bringing him back home again, and isn't at all offended when their father pulls her away and holds her tightly, so that they can do the same to each-other.
The Host Club is there, standing guard around them and glaring down anyone who dares to approach. For the moment, this is their slice of the world, and no-one would dare to wage war against the world's defenders.
The time comes for him to leave, and they both know that the smile on his face is as false as the documents they're being blackmailed with. His eyes slowly shut themselves off from the world, and it's eerie, looking at your mirror image who is smiling an empty smile with dulled eyes.
They hug one last time, whispering about how it's just a vacation and have fun, don't terrorise any maids too much, don't forget to brush your teeth before bed, don't touch my computer, don't get too attached to your own reflection while I'm gone, and I love you, stay safe, don't get hurt or I'll never forgive you.
He watches his brother board the plane that'll take him away, and Hikaru wants nothing more than to run out there and whisk him away to some far-off country where they'll never be found.
He's broken his promise, he thinks, as the last piece of paper cuts him again. His index finger, this time. He quickly pops it in his mouth before it has time to tarnish the pure white paper, and frowns when he realises he can't remember what fold comes next.
But then, it's a stupid promise, and they both know it. Nothing would hurt more than being apart from each other.
Tamaki didn't mention that the place Kaoru had been sent to was burnt to ground the day the twin arrived.
After a moment's hesitation, the blond hovering behind him leans over and helps him with the next fold, and Hikaru's back on track again.
It's finished within seconds, and he thinks that it looks like its neck is broken, but it doesn't matter because it's done, and he scrunches his eyes shut and wishes for his brother to be there.
He jumps when the door is flung open with such force that it slams against the wall and back into the frame, but doesn't get to hear much more before a blur has attached itself to him and is mumbling something about gasoline and matches and a set-up.
Tamaki thought it was rather pointless to ruin a dream by pointing out its basis in reality. If Hikaru had known that the house burnt down, he would have quit working.
It was only luck that Kaoru had been delayed at the airport when the house went up in flames. But, Tamaki thought as he looked at the hundreds-one thousand-paper cranes scattered about the room; perhaps it wasn't luck at all.