Warnings: Spoilers for chapter 53 onwards; also, I took some liberties with canon. See A/N at the end.

Looking Past Glass

Sometimes Kaoru missed seeing his reflection across the room, sitting languidly on the bed they once shared, finishing the last level of Super Mario or browsing through the latest issue of Jump. Sometimes when he entered the dining hall, he would recall the way they used to switch places during dinner, and the way they would snicker when dad had to correct mom for mixing up their names again, as if it mattered (and it didn't matter then, did it?). Sometimes when he curled up in bed, knees to his chest to compensate for the lack of another person's warmth, he remembered, with stinging clarity, how once he only had to shift his head and reach out his hand to find another set of his fingers to hold, another of his own beating heart to comfort him, quieting his nightmares with his own voice going shh, Kaoru, it's going to be okay.

It wasn't the same when he whispered it to himself.

It wasn't the same when he looked in the mirror, either.

He knew this was what they wanted, and he didn't regret it. He knew it had to happen eventually – had known for much longer than he cared to admit, even, because he had always been more practical, and he had always been more forgiving. He knew that one day his reflection would be split away from him; that he would stop being his brother's reflection as well. That the mirror images would crack, and that the pieces would be impossible to put back together.

It was just hard to swallow the fact that one day had already happened, and more than the bottle of black dye on their bathroom sink, or the way they toned down their act at host club meetings, he felt this stinging reminder whenever he wanted to call out Hikaru as if he wanted saving, as if he needed someone to hold him and tell him that he would be loved forever and ever, no worries there. He could never call out Hikaru like that again, and he didn't want to, or else the mirrors would never leave them; the twin shadows would always fall too far and wide and they would never be able to step out into the sunshine.

He didn't want to tell Hikaru about this; then they'd second-guess themselves, and all he wanted was for his brother to be happy with Haruhi already. He'd get used to it eventually. They both would.

"It's funny," he found himself saying, as he leaned against the foot of the bed and tried to concentrate on his Physics homework. Hikaru's head was hanging upside down beside his; he was working on their lab experiment.

"What is?" Hikaru smiled. And Kaoru smiled back, although for some reason he felt like crying from pain instead, as if he had just swallowed glass.

This was what we wanted.

After a moment he ran his fingers through his brother's black hair, looked away, and laughed. "It's nothing."

A/N: Thanks for reading. The twins aren't my favorite characters, but I wanted to try writing some angst for them. (Actually, since I haven't read much of the manga past chapter 55, I don't know if the twins actually started having separate rooms or not.) Comments would be greatly appreciated. :D