A/N: Hello, readers! A Christmas Ouran fic, just for you all. This is set after Old Tangles, New Knots, so if you haven't read it yet, go read it. Ahahaha. I know I've long promised reviewers either a sequel to OTNK or else an entirely different Ouran story, and believe me I am working on it. I've had a lot of false starts (that means that I taper off somewhere halfway through the prologue T___T) but I'm working on it, really.
This one-shot is for all the lovely reviewers of OTNK. I love you guys.
Forgive me for the slap-dash job. This was written just last night--I stayed up until four in the morning just to finish it. Ahahaha. A very Merry Christmas to you all!
All I Want For Christmas Is You
by Magician April Aries
It was lunchtime, and Kaoru had successfully mindfucked his twin.
"YOU WANT TO WHAT?"
Heads turned all over the lunchroom, but the Hitachiins, who had been born with people staring at them, ignored the curious eyes. Well, almost all of them; Kaoru couldn't help grimacing at his boyfriend, Kyouya, who raised an eyebrow from his table with Tamaki nearby.
It was rare that they didn't eat lunch together, but the Shadow King had gone off with his blond best friend once Kaoru had explained that he and Hikaru had some 'major plotting' to take care of.
But apparently Hikaru wasn't too keen on his suggestion.
Hikaru gritted his teeth. "Kaoru, look. You're my brother and I love you, and I've done a lot of stupid things for you like that time when we were three and I went along when you decided to play matchmaker with our bunny rabbits—"
Kaoru grinned reminiscently. "My rabbit was totally seme."
The older twin scowled. "Yeah, your rabbit tore the fur off mine before feasting on his carcass!"
"Keep your voice down, Hikaru. People are staring, and this stuff is classified information." Kaoru sighed. "We should get cats next time."
Hikaru gave Kaoru a sour look. "In case you've gotten temporary amnesia, we're not exactly ideal pet owners. Remember that time you left your turtle on the radiator and he melted?"
"Hey, you did that!"
"No, you—oh wait. Hmm." He frowned. "Well, whatever, that wasn't my point. Anyway, where were we? I think I was trying to make a speech about how your stupid plan will get us all killed."
"It's a good plan," Kaoru insisted.
Hikaru raised an eyebrow. "No, see, a good plan would be something like gluing mirrors to the tops of girls' shoes or something." He permitted himself a fleeting grin, thinking of the chaos that would cause in the teenage-hormone-charged school. Mental note to self: enforce plan sometime soon. "You know what's not a good plan? Serenading Kyouya-sempai with some godforsaken Christmas carols. That's a really bad plan."
"Why not?" Kaoru asked, frustrated. "Come on. It's a Christmas present for him. Please?"
The older Hitachiin stared at him, incredulous. Obviously being in love melted your brains. Because no one in their right mind would go to the Ootori residence at midnight on Christmas Eve to caterwaul under the Shadow King's window in the snow, much less expect his friends (in other words, the rest of the Host Club) to accompany him on his suicide mission.
"It's very simple, Kaoru," Hikaru said. "I like being alive. So let's just declare the subject closed, okay? Go buy him something nice instead."
Kaoru sighed, slumping in his chair. "I should have known," he said, his bottom lip starting to quiver. "I mean, we haven't exactly been close these days. You're always off playing with milord, and I spend all my time with Kyouya. I guess I can understand why you don't want to be around me anymore…"
Hikaru groaned, knowing exactly what his younger brother was up to. Kaoru could give Kyouya a run for his money when it came to manipulation. "Oh no. No. Kaoru, that's cheating!"
"I-it's okay, Hikaru," he sniffled. "I understand. E-even if you and Tamaki-sempai were so mean to us before… even though the two of you tried to split us up in the beginning, nearly killing us in the process…" No exaggeration, actually. Kaoru and Kyouya had practically been vegetables when they'd been apart. Hikaru winced at the memory of how badly he had hurt his twin in those days. Kaoru had been really, really good at not bringing it up at all. Until now.
"Damn it, Kaoru!" Hikaru slammed his fist on the table, causing yet more heads to turn. Hikaru noted that Kyouya's was one in particular, and the look in the Shadow King's eye made him hastily withdraw his hand.
Do anything and I'll kill you very slowly and painfully, Kyouya's face seemed to say. Hikaru cringed. Kyouya's glare turned even more deadly when he noted Kaoru's I'm-so-sad-and-hurt pose. The temperature in the lunch room seemed to go up several degrees, and Tamaki scuttled away from his best friend hurriedly, taking cover behind a potted plant.
No one messed with Kyouya's belongings and escaped alive. And apparently, Kaoru was now very much one of Kyouya's belongings.
Great. If I agree, I get killed. If I don't agree, I get killed anyway. Hikaru shut his eyes and hissed, "Okay, fine! Whatever. But if I die, I'm definitely going to come back and haunt your four-eyed boyfriend. I'll put maple syrup in his shampoo everyday and mess up all his notebooks."
Definitely going to regret this.
The beginnings of tears immediately disappeared from Kaoru's eyes as he glomped Hikaru. "Thank you thank you thank you!" he sang out, a Cheshire cat grin spreading on his face. Hikaru scowled; Kaoru had known from the very start that he would get his way.
In truth, Hikaru had known it too. He was tempted to throttle his twin, but he saw that Kyouya had already relaxed his scary I'm-the-demon-king aura now that Kaoru had dropped the misery-and-woe act, and punching his redheaded brother would probably not only reactivate demon-Kyouya, but set it into overdrive mode. He sighed, putting his head in his hands.
"Fine," Hikaru repeated. "But you have to convince the rest of the Host Club."
"Kao-chan, there are limits to friendship…" –Hunny
"Did you hit your head—repeatedly? Because brain damage is the only reason I can think you're even asking this." -Haruhi
"See?" Hikaru said. "I told you it was a really bad idea."
Kaoru looked at them, exasperated. "Come on, you guys. I'm begging you here. I can't do this by myself."
"Actually, you could," Haruhi interjected.
Kaoru grimaced. "No, seriously. I need your moral support. I need your friendship. I need your backup voices and instrumentals."
Momentary silence before pandemonium broke out. "Backup voices and instrumentals?" Hikaru exploded. "Okay, I did not get the memo for this one. I'm voting myself off your island."
"Hi-ka-ru," Kaoru whined. It was always a warning sign when he dragged out his brother's name like that. It meant that Kaoru was dead-serious, and Hikaru had better get moving or he would find himself handcuffed to their bed later that night. With Kaoru holding a feather, tickling him mercilessly. "You already promised!"
"Just hire a stupid band or something."
"That's exactly what I don't want," Kaoru retorted. "Look. What was the best present I ever got you, Hikaru?"
Hikaru blinked. "Er…" Then he smiled. "That time, when you almost set the house on fire making me those maple syrup and hot sauce cookies for my birthday three years ago." He saw the horrified looks on everyone else's faces. "What?" he said defensively. "I like maple syrup and spicy stuff!"
"Did you actually eat them?" Hunny demanded, obviously aghast at the idea of such sacrilege against sweets.
"Er… well, no. We put them in someone's lunch. It was hilarious." Hikaru beamed. "Ah, good times."
"Okay, see, that's my point," Kaoru said.
"What? You want to give sempai maple syrup and hot sauce cookies? Because by comparison, your serenading plan actually makes sense," Haruhi said.
Kaoru rolled his eyes. "No, that's not what I meant. Look… I've gotten Hikaru some pretty good gifts over the years. Cars, trips to other countries, electronics, a house or two…" He ignored Haruhi's mutter of "damned rich kids" and plowed on. "But it's just too easy to do that sort of thing. Heck, I could throw around a pile of cash and get Kyouya-sempai's name put up in glittering lights all over the city."
"Which Kyou-chan would probably kill you for," Hunny said. "I'm letting it be 'probably' only because he loves you."
The mushy look that settled on the younger Hitachiin's face at those words was so gooey that Hikaru made retching noises. Kaoru snapped out of it and bonked Hikaru on the head. "What I mean is, a gift means more when you put some work into it. I know that sempai would thank me for anything that I give him, but I want something that means more to him."
"Then why does it have to be serenading him, of all things? There are so many other things that you could do for him," Haruhi pointed out. "Things which would not require our involvement or getting killed."
Kaoru folded his arms across his chest. "Name something that I could do better than Kyouya-sempai."
The rest of them looked thrown. "Er…"
"He bakes better than I ever will, and he doesn't even like sweet stuff all that much, so that's pretty pointless," Kaoru said. "I can't draw him anything, since he's a better artist than I am. I could design him some new clothes, but I've been doing that regularly anyway. It wouldn't be all that special. I at least have a decent singing voice (I think), and even if he does happen to be better at it than I am—not that I've ever heard him sing, so I'll never find out—it's different, having something sung to you."
Apparently Kaoru had thought the whole thing through pretty well. "Besides, I already talked to Fuyumi-neesan, and she said that Christmas at the Ootori house isn't really all that cheerful. So I though, what better way to give some holiday spirit… than by going over there with our best friends and caroling?"
Haruhi blinked. "That actually… makes sense."
Hikaru grabbed her by the shoulders. "Haruhi, no. Don't give in to the dark side! Resist! Resist!" Haruhi slapped his hands away and settled beside Mori, who wrapped a protective arm around her waist.
"Does that mean you're in?" Kaoru asked hopefully.
Haruhi shook her head. "Sorry, Kaoru. You've got good intentions, but the most likely result is that Kyouya-sempai will get pissed at all of us, raise my debt, and then throw us out."
Kaoru wilted. Then he brightened for a second. "Ootoro."
She stared at him. "Come on, you can't believe that'll work this time."
He slumped again. "Okay. I get it. I'll do it on my own."
Haruhi blinked. It wasn't like Kaoru at all to give up so easily. "Er…"
"It's fine," he said, sighing. "I just, you know. I wanted something really special for sempai."
"Aww," Hunny said, visibly melting. Hikaru groaned inwardly. The rest of the Host Club had almost never seen Kaoru's bag of solo tricks, the arsenal that the younger twin had at his disposal when he it was just him pulling something over people. "Well, Kao-chan… if it's for the sake of love…"
Kaoru looked up. "R-really?" he stammered. It was simple. If Hunny was in, so was Mori—with or without Haruhi there. But he had a few more buttons to press. "Thanks, Hunny-sempai! Do you really mean it?"
"Of course I do!" Hunny said. "I'll help you."
"Thanks so much, sempai. Wow." He glanced at Haruhi. "But oh, don't let that influence your decision, Haruhi. I mean… I guess I'm being kind of silly, right? It's just that when you're in love, you really want to do something for the person you care about." He let out a self-conscious laugh. "Sorry. I mean, of course you know what that's all about, right?"
Haruhi cringed. "Well, I…" She faltered when she saw that Mori was looking determinedly down at his shoes. "Of course I do," she said softly. She knew that she would do the same thing for her stoic boyfriend in a heartbeat. "All right, Kaoru. I'll do it."
Kaoru threw his arms around her. "Thanks, Haruhi!"
Hikaru snorted. "Exactly as planned?" he whispered sourly when his twin released their beloved toy.
Kaoru smirked. "Exactly as planned."
"Well, this is really stupid."
Kaoru put his hands on his hips. It was the day after he had practically gotten down on his knees to get everyone to agree to his admittedly hare-brained scheme, and he was already up to here with his twin. Hikaru had spent the entire night compiling a list of reasons why they shouldn't push through with the plan, and Kaoru had listened to every damn item on the list—amounting to three hundred fifty-nine reasons total—with infinite patience.
After the recitation, Kaoru had simply taken the list, shredded it, and smiled sweetly at his twin.
He exhaled slowly. Endurance is key. Count to ten. He counted to ten, and still found himself really irritated. Finally, he settled for a quick rant. "Hikaru, stop whining and get on with it. Just a little practice. I already told Kyouya-sempai that we were all ditching club activities to go Christmas shopping. I already made sure that Tamaki-sempai would be there to distract him. I already arranged us to have this lovely practice room so that we could hear how we sound. I already did everything short of sacrificing white chickens to get you guys to help out. SO COULD YOU EFFING COOPERATE WITH ME NOW? Please? Please?"
"Okay, okay! Call off your freaking Bambi-eyes already!" Hikaru adjusted his grip on his guitar, muttering something about how using Bambi-eyes was a total copyright violation of a Disney character and how using such a lethal weapon should be outlawed. "Remind me why I'm doing this."
"Because I'm your brother and you love me to the point of throwing yourself in front of me if someone tried to shoot me," Kaoru answered without hesitation. "That, and you actually know how to play the guitar and actually like playing it."
"So do you." The two of them had originally learned it to amp up their bad-ass images, but had nearly gotten lynched by fangirls the first time they'd tried to play in the Host Club. By that time they'd actually grown fond of being able to blast the ears off their maids without their parents complaining about it since their mother thought it was great they were into music, so they'd kept at it, but had never shown any inkling of their guitar-playing at school again.
Kaoru shrugged. "So I'll play along with you while I'm singing. Whatever."
"What do the rest of us do?" Hunny asked.
"Sing backup," Kaoru answered promptly. "Unless any of you guys know any instruments?"
Haruhi had the funniest look on her face as she concentrated. . "Triangle?"
"Nope, singing it is," Kaoru said.
"Er, Kaoru. It's not such a good idea," Haruhi said, wincing. "Trust me."
"Nonsense," Kaoru said briskly. "I'm sure you'll be fine."
Two minutes later…
"You know what, Haruhi… maybe the triangle wasn't such a bad suggestion," Kaoru said, trying to keep his tone as neutral as possible.
Apparently the 'natural rookie' had a lot of talents, but singing wasn't one of them. No wonder the Zuka club had gotten her to lip sync that time they'd dragged her to perform in that ridiculous play of theirs.
"I tried to tell you," Haruhi said, blushing furiously in spite of herself. "I can't carry a tune in a bucket." She avoided everyone's eyes. Mori sighed, causing her to look even more miserable.
"I like your voice," he said quietly—not that Mori had any other way of speaking. At that, Haruhi looked up and allowed him to pull her close. Mori and Hunny had, thankfully, okay voices (well, Hunny did; no one could tell whether Mori did as well, seeing as he was almost inaudible, so Kaoru just chalked him up as 'extra moral support and all-around prop').
"Ah, rose-tinted headphones. Got to love them," Hikaru said with a laugh and a roll of his eyes as his fingers strummed idly on his guitar. Mori shot him a look and he quickly shut up. "How are you getting Kyouya-sempai to stay out of this anyway? I mean, he's got that freaky psychic power of his. He's bound to have noticed that we're all up to something."
Kaoru rolled his eyes. "I'm not entirely stupid. Did you really think that I would just start this whole thing without a plan first? I told him that he should keep Tamaki-sempai distracted because we're planning a huge gift for him."
They all blinked at him. "You lied to Kyou-chan," Hunny said in a hushed, awed voice. "And he believed you?" No one in working memory had been able to lie to the Shadow King (barring, of course, the time when he had been zombie-Kyouya during the period right before he and Kaoru got together). Kyouya inevitably knew when someone was prevaricating.
The redhead paused, then suddenly looked floored. "Holy crow. I did. He did."
"Love is blind," Haruhi said with a shrug. "And if you and Kyouya-sempai don't love each other, I don't think it exists anywhere on this planet."
Three days later, Kyouya was handing Kaoru a cup of hot cocoa. "Finished with your little plan for Tamaki yet?" he asked, taking a seat on the couch beside the younger Hitachiin. The two of them were at Kyouya's house, indulging Fuyumi's impulse to redecorate the Christmas tree by themselves even though they'd already had it designed by a professional decorator. She launched into a long, convoluted explanation about how it would help them all feel the holiday spirit—at which point their two older brothers had walked away muttering something about work, their mother had swept off to attend a Christmas charity, and their father was not home. Kaoru, who'd been studying over with Kyouya that day, had insisted on the two of them humoring her little Tamaki-esque whim.
Of course, Kyouya had pointed out that she wasn't even an Ootori anymore, and Fuyumi had stuck out her tongue and said that she and her husband would be spending Christmas Eve—tomorrow—at the Ootori mansion at least, before they went to her in-laws' house on Christmas.
Upon hearing this, Kyouya had twitched and immediately ordered the servants to stock up on their aspirin supplies for the duration of Fuyumi's stay.
Kaoru sipped at the sweet liquid. Too hot—he burned his tongue and winced. "Yeah, we're done. Thank you so much for distracting him, sempai."
Kyouya smiled. "It was no problem." Tamaki had been ridiculously easy to divert, in fact, while the rest of the Host Club… did whatever it was that they were doing. The blond had jumped at Kyouya's every suggestion of going to museums, eating lunch together, Christmas shopping… He glanced at his sister's dark head, dwarfed by the huge pine that his parents had chosen, so big it was twice his height. "Oneesan, the tinsel's lopsided."
She blew out a breath. "What?" she demanded. Her hair was disheveled around her face, and she stepped back to eye the gigantic tree critically. She made a face. "You're right."
"That should teach you not to try doing things the commoner way," he said. "Tamaki's been rubbing off on you too much." He stepped up, disentangled her from the sad heap of tinsel, and waved her off. "Go keep Kaoru company for a second," he said, eyeing her botched handiwork. "Leave this to me."
Fuyumi winked at Kaoru. "How's your little scheme going?" Of course Fuyumi was in on it—she had been delighted by Kaoru's plan.
"Doing as well as we could hope, considering everything." He shook his head, remembering yesterday's 'practice'—honestly, he didn't even know why he bothered, seeing as they rarely actually did any rehearsing and usually ended up with him begging for the rest to actually try. Oh well. "It's tomorrow night or never, anyway, so it doesn't really matter whether we're ready or not."
"It's very sweet of you," Fuyumi said, patting him on the arm. "Kyouya hasn't really had a real Christmas yet." She watched her baby brother with fond, protective eyes. "He only does it for appearances. You know how he is. This is the closest I've ever seen him to actually enjoying the holidays—you wouldn't have caught him dead drinking cocoa or hanging about the tree last year, that was for certain."
Kaoru shrugged. He never did quite feel comfortable with talking with Fuyumi about Kyouya, since the woman always had such personal details about Kyouya—and almost no qualms telling Kaoru about them (true, it was only because he was trustworthy, but still). "Well, that's what I want to do. I want to give sempai a real Christmas. And maybe this isn't the smartest way of doing it, but I know he'll thank me for it later on." He smiled impishly. "I mean, when's the last time his best friends stood under his window to sing for him?"
Fuyumi laughed out loud. "Not since yesterday," she joked. Kyouya looked up at the sound her giggle, and Kaoru warmed at the sight of the soft smile on the Shadow King's face when he looked at them.
"That looks beautiful, sempai," Kaoru said, looking at the tree. Well, Kyouya was an artist, so it was only to be expected that he would do a good job at something as mundane as this.
Kyouya tugged him by the hand. "Trust my clumsy sister to be unable to accomplish such a simple task," he said, ignoring Fuyumi's stifled noise of outrage. "You can put the star on the tree."
"Me?" Kaoru asked. Kyouya nodded. "I can't reach—"
He was cut off by arms around his waist, and Kyouya easily hoisting him up as if he weighed no more than a bough of holly. "Sempai!" Kaoru squeaked, flailing slightly as Kyouya raised him up as high as he could—just barely enough for Kaoru to reach the top.
"You're very light, Kaoru, but if you insist on moving in such a manner, I may well drop you by accident." At that, the younger boy stilled in his arms. "Much better." Kaoru was unable to see the smirk that his boyfriend was undoubtedly sporting, but he could feel it. "The tree would be much more meaningful to me if you were the one who placed the star there."
Kaoru blushed, deaf to Fuyumi's squeal of delight at Kyouya's out-of-character quip. Carefully, he perched the hand-blown glass star on top, admiring the glimmering facets until Kyouya slowly lowered him.
"The tree's perfect," Fuyumi pronounced, beaming at the two of them as Kyouya wrapped an arm around Kaoru's waist. "Much better than that silly designer person's work." Her eyes twinkled in their direction. "There's something to be said for doing things the commoner way sometimes, Kyouya."
And for once, Kyouya agreed with her.
"This is the stupidest thing we've ever done," Hikaru grumbled, shouldering his guitar case. He looked sleepy and irritable; not that Kaoru could blame him—it was already half past one. "And considering the Zuka club incident, rushing to Karuizawa, and even being in the Host Club… that's saying a lot."
"Shut up," Kaoru said, glaring at him. He was shivering against the cold in spite of his thick coat the moment he stepped out of his car a block away from the Ootori gates. They'd already agreed that they would get down a short distance away so that there was no way that Kyouya would see them coming. It was meant to be a surprise, after all. He breathed a sigh of relief at the sight of Haruhi, Mori and Hunny coming down from the blond senior's car. Tamaki pulled up in his own limo.
"Thanks for coming, guys," Kaoru said.
Hikaru snorted. "Like we had much of a choice." Haruhi elbowed him, and he quieted.
"Here goes nothing," Tamaki said, pressing on the intercom and explaining who they were, saying that they were there to see Fuyumi. They were let in immediately.
Unfortunately, there were a few things that the Host Club didn't realize.
Firstly, that Kyouya didn't appreciate unannounced visitors.
And secondly, that Kyouya took very stringent precautions against unannounced visitors.
It was Haruhi's sentence that alerted them to those two first simple facts. The rookie host blinked. "Do you guys hear… barking?"
And the next thing they knew, they were being mauled by killer dogs.
"I knew it! I knew we would get killed!" Hikaru yelled, scrambling up a tree and being followed suit by Tamaki. Mori had already perched Hunny on his shoulder and away from the snapping fangs, another arm yanking Haruhi out of harm's way. "Your homicidal boyfriend's out to kill us all!"
The dogs, however, weren't attacking Kaoru.
"Oh, they recognize me," Kaoru said with some surprise as one stopped to lick his hand. "Hey there." He petted it before it bounded off to snap menacingly at Mori, who was enduring the fact that his trouser legs were being torn apart.
"Even Kyou-chan's dogs won't hurt Kao-chan," Hunny said, managing a grin in spite of everything that was happening.
"How about us, then?" Tamaki wailed above the ripping, snarling sounds of the hounds gathered under the tree that he and Hikaru were precariously roosting in. Kaoru winced, pulled out his phone and frantically dialed Fuyumi's number.
Fuyumi came out racing out of the house seconds later, a dressing gown thrown over her nightclothes. "Oh my goodness, I didn't think of this," she apologized. She gave a long, low whistle that the dogs evidently recognized, because they backed off. "Sorry about that. Kyouya's a bit paranoid."
"A bit?" Hikaru said incredulously.
"Guard dogs are nothing new," Fuyumi said, petting one before sending them away. "I'm sure Tamaki-kun recognizes them? They're Kyouya's regular guard dogs, and they patrol his area of the house all day."
"They don't normally attack when I see them," the Host Club King protested.
"Yes, but it's nighttime. Kyouya trained them personally to attack any unwanted visitors after a certain hour. He seemed to think that they would serve as a nice deterrent if you ever 'came over late with one of your hare-brained schemes'," she quoted. "Luckily for you, I learned how to imitate his signal to make them back off."
"Then how come Kaoru wasn't—"
Fuyumi's eyes twinkled. "Perhaps it's because he wouldn't mind having Kaoru over at nighttime. Who knows?"
"What?" Hikaru said, reddening as his instinctive older brother mode kicked in.
"To play tiddlywinks, or something of the sort," Fuyumi said airily. She grinned, then yawned. "My husband's going to think I'm insane, running out of bed like that. You'd better go and do what you've set out to do then." She winked at them as she pulled her dressing gown tighter around her shoulders and started back towards the main house. "Honestly, though? Better you than me."
The first hurdle cleared, they set off.
But of course, being a Host Club escapade… there was more to come.
"I'm telling you, it's that balcony," Kaoru said stubbornly.
"Look, Tamaki-sempai," Kaoru said, exasperated. It was cold, late, and they had just spent ten minutes arguing a very simple point. "I know that you're his best friend and everything, but I think I know which one his room is."
"And how would you know that?" Haruhi said innocently. Then she blinked and blushed. "Oh."
"What?" Tamaki and Hikaru demanded at the same time.
Kaoru was glad his cheeks were already red from the cold. "I don't know what you're thinking, but let me just say that sempai and I haven't…" He looked away. "We study in his room."
"Study what?" Tamaki said, scowling. "Anatomy? You have corrupted your mother's purity—"
"Stop being an ass, Tama-chan," Hunny scolded. "If Kao-chan says they've done nothing, then they've done nothing. And if Kao-chan says it's that balcony, it's that balcony."
"I swear it's this one," Tamaki insisted, and then threw a few pebbles at the window he had indicated before any of them could stop him.
A dark-haired figure opened, the window, looking exhausted. "What the devil?" Tamaki let out a squeak as his last pebble flew through the air and hit the person squarely in the nose, knocking that person out cold.
"I think that was Kyou-chan's brother," Hunny said. "It didn't sound like Kyou-chan." Especially since Kyouya would have thrown a boot at them instead of bothering to inquire what the hell was going on.
Kyouya was the shoot-first-ask-questions-later type of person when it came to pebbles at his window.
"Personally, if I were you, I'd pray that that was Kyouya-sempai's older brother rather than sempai himself," Haruhi told him.
"And I think," Kaoru said, unable to suppress a triumphant smirk, "that you should have listened to me in the first place, milord."
Ignoring Tamaki's muttered protests and half-hearted excuses ("Kyouya must have switched rooms tonight" or "The cold is affecting my thought process"), they grouped under the balcony that Kaoru had pointed out.
"I'm not throwing any more pebbles," Kaoru said. "He's going to hear us anyway."
However, Kaoru had not factored in a very simple fact: that it was one thing to get his friends to agree to come, and a whole other thing to get them to actually perform when they were there. And no matter what he did—sacrifice virgin goats or whatever—they would be a useless mass of snickering idiots.
In fact, Haruhi was now giggling, and then the rest of them were snorting at the ridiculousness of the whole situation.
"Come on, guys, please?" Kaoru begged. Getting them to practice had been bad enough, and now it seemed that the actual thing was even worse. "I can't believe this. Please? I rescued you all from those dogs earlier."
"We wouldn't even have been attacked if it weren't for your silly idea," Tamaki argued.
"Yeah, well, considering that you probably gave his older brother a concussion, I think we should at least show sempai that we really do have a purpose in being here," Kaoru replied.
Kyouya was dreaming.
He'd been up late, of course, finishing off some figures that his father had given him—Christmas Eve notwithstanding, of course—and had dropped into bed, exhausted, at just past one, looking forward to some a halfway decent night's sleep since he had been working through the evenings for the past week.
One reason why the Shadow King detested the holiday season was all the affection floating around. It made him slightly sick; the very air seemed to taste sweet in December. And to this he attributed his dream.
Beginning the first week of December, Kyouya would often have a strange dream of being alone in a glass cage, watching families around Christmas trees as he himself merely added up numbers and balanced accounts. Where his own family was, he had no idea—but he would see his friends, laughing together without seeing him. He was invisible, apart.
It was not a dream he particularly enjoyed, and that was another reason why he disliked Christmas so much. However, this year, he had had the dream only twice before this night—a minor miracle.
Tonight was the third time. Perhaps it was because his father had just come back from Beijing and tossed some work at him. The worst part was that when he was dreaming, he was unaware of being asleep. He felt as though he were fully awake and actually living in his... well, he wouldn't exactly call it a nightmare, but it left him feeling cold and out of sorts for the rest of the day whenever he awoke from it.
And then there was a strange song. Somewhere in the murky recesses of his subconscious, he recognized it as one of those silly Christmas carols. All I Want for Christmas is You, if he wasn't mistaken. He frowned, and his dream-self set down the papers as the real Kyouya jolted awake, blinking sleepily.
Padding over to the window, he reached down, grabbed a boot, opened his window and threw it at the offending noise.
The noise cleared some of the cobwebs in his mind, and he looked down. Apparently he had hit Tamaki right in the head. "What the hell?" he muttered, groping for his glasses. He slipped them on and saw the whole host club arrayed there.
Hikaru was laughing. "Well, you did hit his brother, milord. Karma!"
And Kaoru, through his own chuckles, was waving at Kyouya, a grin on his face. Kyouya dimly registered the guitars in Hikaru and Kaoru's arms, Haruhi holding the triangle, and Hunny and Tamaki singing in high, sweet tenors. Much to his astonishment (and apparently everyone else's, since they all gaped when it happened) Mori even actually opened his mouth and sang with an adequate bass.
And Kaoru's voice. Kaoru was magnificent, standing there like a snow angel, the song so beautiful on his lips.
He opened the door and went out into the balcony, shivering in the snow as they ended the song. He allowed himself to clap twice before he inquired, "What is the meaning of this little display?"
Kaoru ignored his comment. "Merry Christmas, sempai," he said, beaming at him. The redhead's cheeks were pink from the cold, and his fingers were white and frosty on his guitar. It was a wonder how he could play in this sort of weather. "I wanted to get you something different for Christmas."
Kyouya disappeared back into his room. A minute later, the main door opened, and Kyouya came striding out—still in his house slippers and pajamas. They stared at him. This was almost as out of character as Mori singing.
The Shadow King reached out and took Kaoru's hands, almost numb with cold. "You little fool, you could have given yourself frostbite," he murmured, rubbing them in his palms. "All right, you imbeciles. Get inside and have some hot chocolate. You'll catch your death of cold if I leave you out here, and God only knows what kind of damage that would to do the Ootori business prospects." He wrapped an arm around Kaoru's waist as he led them inside.
Kaoru peeked at him. The Shadow King looked tired, but—only Kaoru would have said this, but then again, by now no one knew Kyouya better than he did—happy. Affectionate, even. "Did you like it?" he asked hopefully.
"You woke me up," Kyouya said. "I'm exhausted."
Kaoru beamed. "That much, huh?"
Kyouya surrendered into a reluctant smile. "Yes, Kaoru," he said, hugging him. "That much."
It was halfway through the cocoa and about an hour of their babble later when the Shadow King finally regained some of his senses.
"So you weren't working on a present for Tamaki."
"Nope," Kaoru said blithely, warming his hands near the fireplace. They'd all peeled off their wet coats and were busy toasting marshmallows. He admired the Christmas tree with a quiet sigh; there was something so homey about the whole situation. "I lied." Kyouya twitched at that; it seemed that his lovely boyfriend was getting more manipulative.
"I can't believe you fell for that," Haruhi said.
Kyouya shot her one of his patented looks. Some people could speak volumes with their eyes; Kyouya's wrote whole libraries. "You will find, Haruhi, that such comments are extremely detrimental to your health. However, as this is your first offense, I shall pardon you. I suggest that you do not attempt to find out whether I will be so generous a second time."
Haruhi suddenly became extremely busy with her hot cocoa.
"All right then," Kyouya said, adjusting his glasses. "I hope that you all know that you won't be getting away with this unpunished."
"It was a present!" Hikaru howled. "I knew this was really bad idea."
"What sort of punishment?" Mori inquired, frowning.
"As penalty for your crimes, you will all have to suffer by all of us going out right after Christmas," Kyouya pronounced. "We'll have to do all those insufferable holiday activities that people are wont to do—sleigh-riding, caroling, sledding, snowball fights, and whatever other nonsense you may dream up. I realize that this is almost too cruel a sentence to inflict upon you, but you must endure the consequences of your actions."
The words took half a second to sink in before they all stared at him.
"Who are you, and what have you done to Kyou-chan? Hunny suddenly demanded, looking closely at the Shadow King.
"Yes, Hunny-sempai, I really am Ootori Kyouya. I'm sure that I'll be regretting this later on, but for now you may take advantage of my merciful nature." He ignored the coughs, nudges and eye-rolls, and even Hikaru's brazen outburst of, "Oh please!" which greeted his words.
Kyouya smiled, baring expensively cared-for fangs. "And I'm giving you to the count of ten to vacate these premises before I send my personal guards after you." He had barely even glanced at his watch before everyone had scrambled to their feet and dashed out the room.
Except for Kaoru, naturally, who was laughing. He knew that Kyouya wouldn't lift a finger against him, even if he did stay behind.
He sighed, wrapping his arms around the chuckling redhead. "Mischievous little devil," he said, yawning. He was still so very, very sleepy. "I know that you masterminded this entire enterprise, so you'll bear double punishment." Without warning, he lifted Kaoru up into his arms, bridal-style.
"S-sempai! What are you doing?" Kaoru protested, struggling a little as the sophomore carried him almost effortlessly up the stairs. Kyouya smirked as they came to his room, and he unceremoniously dropped the younger Hitachiin into his bed. He was amused to note the flush blooming on Kaoru's cheeks as he lay down beside the freshman.
"You're my pillow now," Kyouya murmured, slipping his glasses off as he pulled the covers over the two of them. "Seeing as you deprived me of a good night's rest, you must bear the burden until I see fit to release you." He checked his clock with a groan. It was four in the morning, and he had gotten zero sleep. "Don't worry, I won't bite—unless you tempt me to."
"B-b-but sempai," Kaoru argued vainly as Kyouya trapped him in his arms. Kyouya's bed was so warm and comfortable, but that only made him blush harder. Did Kyouya have some kind of crazy control over his hormones? Because he certainly didn't seem as unsettled as Kaoru was. "This isn't exactly appropriate—"
"Propriety be damned," Kyouya groaned, burying his nose in Kaoru's hair. Kaoru smelled like honeysuckle and lemon, and the scent made sigh with sleepy contentment. "Goodnight, Kaoru."
"Merry Christmas," the Shadow King added before he closed his eyes, looking so much more innocent and childlike when he was asleep that Kaoru didn't have the heart to complain further. With a quiet smile of resignation, he snuggled closer, finding himself on the verge of falling asleep too.
"Merry Christmas, sempai," he whispered.
The day after Christmas, and they were all bearing Kyouya's 'punishment', as promised, riding all in a sleigh together. Of course, this was after the fit that Hikaru threw when he found out that the Kaoru had spent the night in Kyouya's bed, which resulted in Kaoru bonking him soundly on the head and yelling that they hadn't do anything but sleep.
"Hey, I never got around to asking," Hikaru suddenly said, toying with the sleeves of the sweater that Tamaki had gotten him for Christmas. "What did your barracuda of a boyfriend give you for Christmas?"
Kyouya twitched. "I'm right here, Hikaru. Kindly do not speak of me as though I were not here." No one commented on the fact that Kyouya didn't even dispute the barracuda comparison.
"Oh, er…" Kaoru blinked, reddening.
"What did you get from Mori-sempai, Haruhi?" Kyouya interjected.
Haruhi blushed. "A few books, and a lovely dress." She let her stoic boyfriend draw her closer in the circle of his arms. "And I made him some cookies and a shirt."
"It suits Takashi very well," Hunny added.
"You guys aren't answering the question," Tamaki said.
Kyouya shrugged. "If Kaoru doesn't feel comfortable showing it, then I shall defer to his wishes." But he was looking away as he said it, his hands folded in his lap as he stared out at the snowy landscape flying by.
Kaoru sighed, then held up his hand.
It was Tamaki who shrieked first.
Haruhi was possibly the second.
And definitely Hunny was the one who squealed, while Mori said nothing, only let a huge smile spread across his face.
But it was Hikaru who freaked out.
"YOU GOT HIM A RING?"
Kyouya simply grinned as Kaoru sheepishly showed Haruhi the opal set in the platinum band. "I'm sure that you have a great many objections, but I'm sure that you also know that I have no interest in hearing them. Believe me, I've thought of all of them myself. I gave him a ring, and Kaoru accepted it." He shrugged. "It doesn't mean marriage, don't worry. Not yet."
"Not yet?" Hikaru said in disbelief over Tamaki's tirade of how 'mother is marrying her own son, oh, the tragedy!'.
"So what does it mean, then?" Haruhi asked, admiring the ring.
Kyouya shrugged, but Kaoru smirked. "Actually, I asked Fuyumi-neesan." At that, Kyouya froze, and he looked away.
The redhead was grinning. "She helped you pick it out, right?"
"My reputation is going down in flames thanks to my sister," Kyouya muttered.
"It's okay, I won't tell," Kaoru said.
Soon the conversation turned to other things, but Kaoru couldn't help smiling to himself, recalling what happened when he and Kyouya had awoken on Christmas day, and he had found himself sandwiched between his boyfriend and Fuyumi at the breakfast table.
"Do you know what he told me?" Fuyumi said with a giggle when Kyouya was busy asking his brother how exactly he'd managed to break his nose. "About your present? He said, 'It should be something that says, 'Merry Christmas, I love you, and I promise always to love you'."
Hunny fished something out of his pocket and held it over Kaoru and Kyouya's heads, startling Kaoru out of his thoughts. "Look," the tiny senior chirped. "Mistletoe."
And the two of them laughed.
A/N: And that, dear readers, is the end. I hope you enjoyed it, and thank you for reading! Make my Christmas happier by reviewing. :)