My Brother's Wedding
Sunlight shifted across the clouds, illuminating their soft appearance and casting them in a warm yellow light. The cloud cover parted and the first sight of the island of Japan could be seen through them, glittering in the afternoon sunlight; blues, violets and grays of a heavy marine layer hung about the coast, covering it in an ominous shawl.
Hikaru rested his head in hand, watching the changing colors in the light, five different ideas popped into his head and he played with the idea of doing a hasty scribble of his inspiration before they slipped away. He waited a few more minutes, watching as the colors intensified upon descent. Then he unbuckled and stood up from his chair to reach to the over head compartment, where he'd stowed his notepad moments before.
"We're almost home," Kaoru's soft voice commented from behind him.
Hikaru glanced over to his brother, whose face mirrored his own; they were identical after all. Everything was identical but subtle changes they'd made to make them distinguishable. After spending two years dying his hair ash, Hikaru had opted for a different hair style than his brother, keeping it a bit longer and a slightly deeper auburn. While Kaoru was shorter with his natural hair color, the changes were subtle and most people couldn't tell at first glance, but that's how they wanted it. For the people that mattered to be able to tell them apart.
"I guess so," Hikaru smiled warily.
Kaoru came to plop himself down in the seat beside his brother. "Nervous?" he asked without judgment.
"Pfft," Hikaru dropped into the seat beside his brother, flipping open his sketch book to a free page. "Why would I be nervous? We're coming home, nothing to be nervous about." He picked up his pencil and began making light sketches.
Kaoru watched him, a small smile curling his lips.
"How long do you think it'll be before the host club descends on us?" Kaoru asked with a wicked grin.
Hikaru laughed, "I wouldn't be surprised if Tono didn't have them all gathered at the airport waiting for us with a banner."
Kaoru sniggered in turn, "And have everyone dressed in some ridiculous outfits!"
They laughed heartily until Mei came over from where Kaoru had abandoned her. "What's so funny?" she demanded with half-lidded eyes and hands on hips.
Kaoru grinned up at his soon to be wife, grabbing her hand and pulling her down to sit in his lap. "Talking about the greeting that will be waiting for us at the airport," Kaoru offered with a grin.
Mei leveled him with her gaze, "Huh," she scoffed.
Kaoru then took it upon himself to tickle Mei until she was gasping for breath beneath her laughter. Hikaru watched them from under his lashes, pretending to be sketching, when really he'd merely made a few doodles, all inspiration having slipped away as soon as it had hit him.
Kaoru was getting married, that was one of the reasons they were returning to Japan, the other being they'd completed school and it was time for them to take their places in their mother's company. He still found it hard to believe his brother was getting married though, and before him no less; to Mei.
He never would've thought four years ago when he left for France to study fashion, he'd be returning not only with a degree, but an engaged brother. The three of them had been classmates; Mei had won a scholarship to the same school of fashion in Paris that they were attending. In the beginning they'd made her life a living hell. Then somewhere along the way they'd become three inseparable friends, not as close as they'd been with… well, not like they'd been with anyone else. It was different but a good kind of different. Even though Mei was boisterous and obnoxious and had a penchant for fighting with Hikaru over trivial things, and oh, she loved to boss them around. Besides that though, she was a talented designer and he could respect that.
Before Hikaru even realized it, Kaoru had fallen in love with Mei. Not that he'd ever been very perceptive about that sort of thing in the first place. Kaoru had asked her to marry him just after graduation and here they were, returning to Japan. After four long years away, and intermittent visits on holidays, they were back to stay at long last.
Mei and Kaoru had stopped laughing and had grown quiet, without realizing it Hikaru had been staring at them without seeing them. The pair made googley eyes at one another before locking lips passionately, lost in their own little world.
"Gah." Hikaru gagged immaturely, "get a room."
Mei turned on him with a thunderous expression. "Shut up, Hikaru."
"Shut up, Kiba!" Hikaru flung his favorite insult in response.
Mei scowled, stepping off Kaoru's lap. "Don't call me Kiba, just because I like to take care of myself! Besides I've toned my makeup and hair down a lot since High school."
Hikaru glanced her over, skeptically. She had 'toned it down' but not by many shades. Sometime during High School, Mei stopped tanning and she was a healthy color, just a ting of bronze. She'd stopped bleaching her hair as bright yellow and now favored a still unnatural, dark blonde along with a little less mascara and lipstick but essentially she was the same Mei, just a bit more mature.
They all were, he supposed. They'd all grown up a lot in the past four years.
"Whatever, Kiba," Hikaru offered flippantly.
Mei turned to her last resort, Kaoru. "Tell him not to call me that, he's your brother."
Kaoru only grinned at her, shrugging his shoulders. "I can't control him and you know it."
Mei scowled before stomping off to the back of plane, muttering under her breath, 'he's just jealous because we're in love and he isn't', as if telling herself that made it all better.
Kaoru gave his brother a devious grin. "Good job, Hikaru, now she's mad." His tone held a forced anger but his Kaoru found teasing Mei just as entertaining as he did.
Hikaru shrugged his shoulders. "That's your problem."
Kaoru winked before slipping out of the seat beside his brother and slinking to the back of the compartment where his angry fiancée awaited.
Hikaru looked back out the window. They'd begun the spiral before the final assent; he really was returning for good. He felt an odd mixture of relief and foreboding. It felt good to come home but at the same time, nervous. Part of him wanted to see the Host Club; part of him was a bit terrified. It'd been over two years since they'd all been together, and that was at Honey and Reiko's wedding. During his time out of the country, he'd had infrequent communication with his friends, facebook and the like helped, and they emailed when they thought about it.
But there were still those that fell through the cracks… alright it was Haruhi. He'd been avoiding it since he'd begun planning his return but he couldn't avoid it any longer; there was a strong chance he'd see Haruhi again.
Haruhi who'd he loved and lost; Haruhi who by now was either married or engaged to Tamaki, he didn't know for sure. They hadn't spoken in awhile, his last email to her was over… eight months ago - had it really been that long? The email itself had been brief and superficial. Hell, the last time he'd talked to her it'd been two years ago at Honey's wedding. Even then it was painful, seeing her and Tamaki, hands intertwined, sitting close to one another and speaking quietly.
Hikaru shook his head to dispel the thought. He'd given up on her long ago. The day Kaoru and he left for Paris he'd made the decision to let his first love go. There'd been others; he'd dated superficially in France, the longest relationship being for a year with a fiery red-head named Alianore Roux. He'd met her by chance at one of his mother's parties in France. She was the daughter of a French ambassador to Japan and a whirlwind if he'd ever met one. But in the end it didn't work out, just like all the rest.
Now back in Japan, he was prepared to make a new start, watch his brother walk down the aisle and throw himself into helping his mother run her company.
The crackle of the intercom interrupted his thoughts. "Good afternoon, lady and gentlemen, we are preparing for our landing, please buckle your seatbelts."
Hikaru sighed and began stowing away his sketch book, tired of the pretense of even trying to sketch. He dropped back down into his chair, sliding the cold metal buckle into its mate. Across the row, Kaoru and Mei had moved to take a seat. Mei had her head resting against Kaoru's shoulder, looking perfectly at ease, their hands intertwined, the sparkle of Mei's five-carat round-cut diamond sparkling on her fourth finger.
Hikaru looked away.
He was happy for them, he really was. Someday he'd find the right woman for him; he just hadn't met her yet. At least that's what Kaoru kept telling him.
The landing was rather uneventful. They flew into the airport, coming to a smooth landing and pulling up to the unloading station. Their personal flight attendant informed them they'd landed and ushered them out of the compartment with a smile and a wave. They left their carry-on luggage on the plane for their staff to gather later.
Hikaru stepped from the plane and took a deep breath. He was home, back in Japan. He glanced over at Mei and Kaoru; by their expressions they seemed to be thinking the same thing.
Kaoru gave his brother a mischevious grin. "I wonder who came to meet us."
Hikaru looked at his brother warily, craning his head for the sound of Tamaki. "I don't hear Tono so maybe just the driver?" Hikaru offered.
"Oh, but-" Mei began before she was silenced by a look from Kaoru.
Hikaru pressed her to elaborate but she was uncharacteristically tight-lipped as they travelled the long hallway. Before long, the bright light at the end of the terminal blinded them as they stepped out of the exit terminal.
A not quite girlish squeal of delight was the first thing to greet them as Misuzu ran up to them, his hands pressed together. Swinging his arms out, he gathered Mei up into a reluctant hug. When he was finished with her, he turned to Kaoru.
"Dad, quit it," Mei scolded as the tranny fussed over the pair of them.
Hikaru watched them, letting his eyes travel over the sickening family reunion before coming to rest on the bright smile of yet another tranny.
Ranka greeted him with a grin, "Long time no see, Hikaru,"
"Ranka-san, what are you doing here?"
Then it all made sense. She stepped out from behind her father. Just the same as he remembered her, short brown hair to her shoulders. Her father had dressed her in a fuchsia dress with thick straps, the skirt falling to her knees.
"Hey, Hikaru, welcome back." Haruhi smiled and his heart dropped.
He thought he was over her. He told himself he didn't love her anymore. But all it took was one smile from her and he melted every time.
Across the way he caught his brother's eye. Kaoru grinned at him in his knowing way. He'd known. He knew Haruhi was going to meet them at the airport.
Hikaru glared at his brother. He was going to kill him. Wedding be damned.
A/N: Acknowledgement's first, thanks to Mimi-dudette for her awesome beta-ing skills with this little short story. I'd also like to thank Enigmaticrose4 for letting me borrow Alainore are Hikaru's past girlfriend. Alainore is Enigmaticrose4's original character and she owns all rights to her. You should check out the stories she has with her in them: Facade of a Relationship and Continuing Story: a Facade of a Relationship and she's mentioned in several other of her works, now go read! That being said this was originally intended to be a oneshot but I had greater Ideas for it so I expanded on the concept to a 5 chapter story. Just something short and sweet I'm working on to pass the time. :3 yes, I know I have two other serials still in progress and some oneshot collections that are being neglected but lets over look that for now and enjoy this, shall we?