A/N: Hooray! I have another two reviews! I think you guys set some sort of record (laugh)!
Thanks a bunch, Milky Mentos and Escape-to-the-Stars! I lurve both of your usernames, for the record.
Now on with the story, right?
And just as I finished recounting what had happened to my sickly little brother, he said quietly with a faint smile, "Well, that's freakish."
I grinned. "Yep. And you are going to feel better tomorrow so I don't have to go alone again."
He pulled his thick blanket up even more than it already was and laid his head on his bed's pillows. "I can't guarantee anything, but I'll try. I'm looking forward to seeing those attractive, strapping young men."
I laughed and leaned against his headboard from my perch on the side of my twin's bed. "I wouldn't exactly call Honey-senpai strapping, but whatever."
"Eh, who cares?" Then Taiki yawned impressively, so I stood up.
"You tired?" I asked. Before he could respond, I continued, "Maybe you should get some sleep."
"That's a good idea, I guess," he said wearily, closing his eyes and rolling onto his side.
I patted his shoulder vaguely and whispered, "Sleep well," before exiting almost silently and closing the door behind me. I felt bad for my dear twin. Being sick was never fun.
I went downstairs to the private library to read, when I got there and, lo and behold, I saw my father. "Hello, Daddy," I said nicely enough, despite the fact that I didn't really feel like seeing him at the moment.
"My daughter Chiharu. Just the person I wanted to see. Come, sit with me," he said, gesturing to a nearby armchair.
"Okay," I said hesitantly, sitting down with a note of suspicion.
My father was a tall, intimidating man who enjoyed making people cower at him. I inherited my shrewd gray eyes (and bad eyesight, but I wore contacts) from him, and that was about it. Taiki and I mainly resembled our mother, although my brother inherited his blonde hair from our father.
My dad smiled suddenly, which made me narrow my eyes. What was going on? "So, daughter, how is school going?"
"Fine," I told him. "I like Ouran a lot."
"Have any friends?"
I considered it. "I suppose so." I guess you could call the Hitachiins my kind-of friends, even though I just started talking to them a day before.
"Good, good." Then his manner abruptly changed, as I had been expecting. "Enough with the small talk. You and I need to discuss the matter of your inheritance."
I shrugged. "If we must." His eye twitched at my nonchalant manner. I greatly enjoyed irritating adults, but especially my father. Don't ask me why, because I don't know.
"You know how the Kuroda fortune can only have one heir," he said conversationally.
"Yes, I am well aware of that." I was mildly bored at this conversation, so I picked at my long nails for something to do.
"And you, Chiharu, are my eldest child..."
I caught what he was getting at, so I said flatly, "I don't want to be the heir."
That took him aback, and his eyes slightly bugged. On a side note, I was glad that never happened to me. It was quite unattractive. "What did you say?"
"I have no desire to go into," my nose wrinkled, "hotel management." I knew it was more than that, but still. I had other aspirations besides getting married to some loser who only wanted my family's money and having a dozen kids. No thank you.
Predictably, he said angrily, "It is more than hotel management! It is-"
I interrupted him. "Can't you just let Taiki take control of it?"
He was doubtful, and knew he was thinking that my twin wasn't up for the job. Anger washed over me, but my father said, "I will consider it. For now, you are the official heir."
"I don't want to be!" I said in frustration. "Just let Taiki- I'm sure he'd love to!" For that point, I wasn't speculating. My twin had actually told me before that he dreamed of running the family business, that it was what he wanted to do with his life.
"I said I will consider it!" he hissed in a deadly whisper. I also inherited my getting-quiet-when-angry from my dad, I guess. "Now don't you have homework to do or something?"
I shook my hair out of my face, lying convincingly, "It's done already." Then I twisted my lips into a smirk, just to make Daddy even madder and to see what would consequently happen.
His gray eyes (so much like my own, sigh) narrowed and he pointed at the door, uttering one word. "Out."
So I got up, stretched, and left the room, not caring that I had possibly just written myself out of my dad's will. Nah, he'd never do that to his favorite daughter.
I refused to speak a word to either of my parents even as I exited the limo to go to school. Alone.
Alas, Taiki was still sick, and now vomiting, too. Yeesh. Our private nurse bet her apron that he had the flu. So I was the lone Kuroda twin again, at least for that day.
When I got into homeroom, the Hitachiins raised their eyes to glance at me the second I stepped through the door. I strolled over to where they were leaning against a few chairs, and decided to sit on top of a nearby desk. "'Sup," I said dully. "Mind if I sit here?"
"Go right ahead," said Hikaru. "We don't mind." I smiled a little bit, I'll admit it.
Kaoru's eyes darted to the door again, and then he asked me, "Is Taiki still sick?"
"Yeah," I sighed. "I feel bad for him. No one should get sick." Just then, a random girl from my class walked by. I didn't know her name, and I couldn't care less.
"Did you say that your twin is sick?" she sniffed. I nodded skeptically. "Okay, eww! Stay away from the rest of us who don't want to get sick too!"
She hurried away, so I yelled after her, "It's not me who's got the flu- it's my brother!" I took a deep breath to calm down, and said to the Hitachiin twins, "My brother gets sick and everyone acts like Ishould be quarantined." I thought about how, if Taiki were there, I would be sitting with him. And then at lunch, too, and all through our classes. Who was I supposed to sit with? Sitting alone wouldn't be that bad, but still, it was kind of depressing.
They seemed to know what I was thinking about, and so said, "You can hang out with us today, if you want. Besides, we want to get to know you better."
"Thanks," I admitted, flashing them my actual smile- no arrogance, no cruelty. Just friendly Chiharu. (What an oxymoron.)
Both boys also smiled quite nicely, and for whatever reason I suddenly felt like my stomach had jumped. Was I getting sick too?
Hikaru's brow furrowed. "You okay?" He must have seen my expression, which was probably quite funny for a second.
"Are you sure that your twin isn't the only sick Kuroda?" added Kaoru.
"Yeah, I'm fine," I said a tad too quickly. I looked down at the floor, letting my hair fall over my face. Long hair was such a nice thing to have when it comes to covering emotions.
Then, completely shocking me, one of them brushed my hair behind my left ear. When I glanced up to meet the eyes of the perpetrator, my cheeks flooding with color (that NEVER happened), I found myself looking up at Hikaru.
"Back up, there," I said semi-playfully, leaning back a few inches. "You'd better not be doing your fancy Host Club thing on me." I raised an eyebrow, and prayed for my cheeks to stop being red.
But then I saw Kaoru's reaction. He was full-on gaping at his twin- like, literally, mouth hanging open and everything- and giving him a face that said clearly, "What the hell?"
Hikaru seemed surprised at his own actions, too. I was almost gloating mentally at how he was blushing, just like I was. But still, he had the nerve to touch me. And that was a major no-no. I was kind of surprised that I didn't flinch, actually.
However... there was a part of me that half-wanted him to brush my hair to the side again, even if I didn't want to admit it to myself. I grinned cheekily and said, "I guess it's a good thing that Taiki isn't here, because he'd kill you, Hikaru."
Kaoru found his voice and rearranged his facial features, saying, "Excuse me, but I really need to use the bathroom right now, so I'll be back in a minute..." And before Hikaru or I could say anything, he was gone out the door. I doubted that he needed to "go", but then why would he leave?
"This is awkward," I said, stating the obvious after a brief silence.
Hikaru agreed with a vague, "Yeah," and said in a small-talk kind of way, "So... you grew up in Romania?"
"Yep. My mom was a model when she was younger there."
"Oh, really? My mom is a fashion designer."
"Neat." This conversation was going nowhere fast. Forced conversation was just that: forced. I needed a topic! Quickly! But what? "So, Hikaru... why did you and Kaoru decide to join the Host Club?" I was mentally relieved at my sudden burst of genius.
He was, too, and grinned. "Well, Tamaki nagged us nonstop for a month, so we eventually caved."
I considered his relationship with his twin. They seemed extremely close. My curiosity nagged at me, so I finally put on my Confidence Pants and brought it up. "That's cool. You and Kaoru really seem like you get along well."
"Yeah, I guess you could say we have that 'twin bond' or whatever those psychotic psychologists call it." I laughed at that, and he went on. "We've always been together, so why stop now, you know?"
I understood exactly what he was saying, since I felt the same way about Taiki. "Definitely. Some of the idiots at my old school used to make fun of Taiki and me for being so close, but we never really cared or whatever. We were 'us', and everyone else was 'them'," I said, trying to describe it.
Hikaru nodded enthusiastically. "Exactly!" He paused for a second, smiling at me. "No one else seems to understand that."
The corners of my mouth twitched upwards. "Yeah, I know." And as I gazed into the amber eyes of Hikaru Hitachiin and he into my gray, I'm pretty sure we both realized just how similar we were. It was tangible and odd, since it went past just the whole "has a twin", "misunderstood by most people," etc. I saw mirrored in his eyes my selfishness, my longing to protect my twin, my philosophies that people are meant to be toyed with and rules are meant to be broken.
And it scared me.
I had always thought I was one-of-a-kind. Unique. Inimitable. But here was a boy my age I just met who was like me to a point I'd thought impossible. Not even Taiki, the other half of me basically, fully understood the workings of my mind. He thought he did, but he really underestimated me, just as I underestimated him on a daily basis.
But this... this was something I never could have imagined, someone so similar to myself that we could have shared a brain and not known the difference.
I was slightly afraid, yes, but the other part of me was intrigued. Maybe a little happy to find someone like that.
I couldn't break our eye contact, which probably meant that Hikaru couldn't either. Not even as Kaoru apparently walked through the door into our homeroom and sat down.
Right between us.
Breaking the momentary connection, although one remained on a much deeper level.
I turned off my confusion/bliss like a switch, and grinned at Kaoru as if nothing happened. "What took you so long?" I asked him, even though something inside me cursed him for interrupting my staring contest of sorts with Hikaru.
Kaoru shrugged, and returned the smile. "Oh, nothing much. Did anything happen while I was gone?"
"Nope," Hikaru said dully. "Just small talk about our moms, pretty much."
Kaoru blinked, obviously perplexed. "Really?" Had he wanted something to happen?
"Yep," I answered unenthusiastically. "Quite the conversationalist, Hikaru is." Kaoru glanced at the front of the classroom for a momeny so I smirked devilishly at Hikaru, just for a millisecond.
Hikaru rolled his eyes once Kaoru was looking again. "Touché. You should have heard Chiharu rambling about life in Romania, Kaoru."
Kaoru opened his mouth to speak, but was cut off by the bell, signaling our move to first period. "Whatever. Forget it," he sighed.
And on the way out, I couldn't resist the self-satisfied leer I sent at Hikaru. And of course, there was one waiting for me, too.
Sorry it took me so long to update (grr) but I've finally worked out how to word this chapter the right way, I think. Please keep reviewing!