Steps lighter than air and quick in rhythm befell the wooden floor as he tiptoed up the steps. Hikaru could feel the cool density of the marble beneath his sock-covered feet as he stepped away from the landing, leaning forward, eyes scanning the dark hallway like a panther on the prowl, cat-like reflexes readying themselves to jump at the slightest disturbance. Taking wide and ginger strides, he worked his way to his bedroom, hand befalling the handle cautiously, one finger at a time. Holding a single, silent breath in his chest, he exerted the force down and out, pushing the door open gently for a smooth and hopefully silent entrance.

"..." The bedside lamp was ablaze, he noted as he clicked the door shut behind himself. The alarm clock on the night table read 1:13 AM. And what of his brother? ... Asleep, of course. Hikaru felt the pang of something soft and sweet hit somewhere between his stomach and heart. Was it guilt? Maybe a bit. Fondness too, perhaps... Whatever anger Kaoru had experienced at Hikaru's breaking plans before falling asleep had given way to dreamland's pleasant emotions, doubtful scowl ebbing away to a sweet, innocent smile. Hikaru watched the gentle rhythm of Kaoru's breathing for nearly a full minute before turning away to undress for the night. It was only with his back to his brother did Hikaru's neck prickle with the sensation of conscious eyes watching his every move. Pulling his shirt away from his form, he chanced a cautious gaze at the sleeping angel. Nothing appeared different at first glance- indeed, his eyes were still closed, but his breathing had certainly quickened its pace, and something of his expression seemed forced.

"I know you're awake," Hikaru muttered with a sigh, undoing the button on his uniform pants.

"I'm surprised you noticed a thing about me, really," came the sarcastic response. Hikaru's eyes turned wary as he gathered in Kaoru's gaze, unzipping himself and letting the pants fall to the floor. Clad in naught but checked white and blue boxers, Hikaru gathered his worn garments, crossing the room to toss them in the dirty hamper.

"Don't say it like it was my intention to leave you home alone," Hikaru warned as he turned around, watching Kaoru prop his tired head upon his hand.

"Oh, but that's exactly what happened, ne Hikaru? Do you know how many hours I waited to start our math homework so that we could do it together? How much time I wasted? How tired I was before I eventually gave up and did it all myself?" Angry questions poured from Kaoru's mouth like venom. Sighing, Hikaru sat at the edge of the bed.

"Sorry, Kaoru... I know, I said I'd come home right after we finished our assignments... But it got late, and Haruhi offered dinner. And then we watched a movie. It's very hard to say no to her; you know how it is..." he trailed off, looking back to his brother for a bit of sympathy. Kaoru simply rolled over.

"You could have told me you were going to make it a date instead of breaking our promise," he muttered into his pillow.

And suddenly, in a single breath, Hikaru was there, this warmth radiating through the bedsheets, his fingers pressing insistently, comfortingly into the flesh covering Kaoru's shoulder muscles. A low moan escaped Kaoru's throat before he could control himself, and he scowled, jerking away slightly.

"Don't think a massage will make up for this," he said warningly. Hikaru smirked, coming closer as his hands traveled lower, down the front of Kaoru's bare chest.

"Oh, won't it?" He asked devilishly, the tips of his fingers rubbing small circles into Kaoru's breastbone.

"No. It won't." Hikaru could hear the hesitant smile in his brother's voice. Finding no need to ask permission, the "pitcher"'s hands were quickly on the move, pulling Kaoru backwards. There was a hint of menace left in the younger boy's eyes, but his actions conveyed the fight to be won, laying back to accept his brother's apology. Happy to oblige, Hikaru worked his nimble fingers down the alabaster skin of his brother's chest and torso, laughing in stereo with him as he came in contact with the sensitive, ticklish patches of skin just above his waistband. Patting the area to relieve the itch, Hikaru then helped his brother to roll on his stomach, smiling at the utterly euphoric expression he donned as Hikaru began rounding out the muscles just above his shoulder-blades.

"Mmmmm, yeah, there," Kaoru approved, arching his back a bit. Hikaru tilted his head as he kneaded away the knot gently.

"You're very tense tonight, Kaoru," he noted, a hint of concern evident in his tone. Kaoru shrugged.

"You had me worried. I tend to over-think things when you go away." Hikaru finished off the knot and began working his way over to the other shoulder-blade.

"Worried? Kaoru, you knew I was going to be at Haruhi's house."

"Not that late. I assumed the driver had wrecked, or something equally horrible."

"Kaoru, I always have my cell phone with me."

"Right, but then I thought... what if you were on a date? I didn't want to interrupt..."

"Oh, but you seemed perfectly content to berate me when I came home late after being with Haruhi all day." Kaoru gave a sheepish smile.

"Well, I was disappointed, you know. I like spending time with you..." At this, Hikaru blinked. Smiling, he clapped twice, extinguishing the room's only glowing light. In the new darkness, he pushed his arms forward, wrapping his brother in them as he fell to his side, pulling him close.

"Kaoru," he spoke quietly into his ear, his warm breath ruffling the soft ginger hair along his brother's cheekbone. "You can always call me, no matter what. For you, I'll always answer." Kaoru blushed, an inexplicable shiver running down his spine and into the pit of his stomach, filling him with a drunken warmth.

"Mmm," he yawned. "I hope that policy doesn't change anytime soon," he said, closing his eyes.

"It won't. Promise." Spoken words ceased, Hikaru nuzzled into his brother's back, pretending to sleep. When, at last, he was sure Kaoru had settled for the night, he brought his lips to the nape of his neck, speaking the words soundlessly against Kaoru's soft skin.