Author's Note:

Kuze Takeshi is a character from the manga who has a long feud with Kyouya.

Haven't a clue why I wrote this, but there doesn't seem to be a Kaoru/Kuze story… so here it is!

The Cat and the Orange

Then Kuze slapped him with enough force to make it hurt. For a moment, Kaoru could only blink at the stunned expression on Kuze's face, before raising a hand to his own, touching his stinging cheek. 'Why did you do that?' Kaoru asked in a small voice, tears in his eyes.

'I panicked,' said Kuze, panicking. He was completely confused and also a little shocked at having kissed a first-year student – and a male one, no less! 'That didn't happen, you understand? That didn't happen!'

'The slap or the–'

'Don't provoke me, Hitachiin!' Kuze warned, palm over Kaoru's mouth. 'I haven't had an orange today, so my stress levels are pretty high…'

Kaoru nodded, keeping to himself the fact that lavender oil was superior. Now that Kuze was no longer intent on kissing or hitting him, turning away to quickly calm down, it gave Kaoru the chance to absorb what had just happened. One minute, they were arguing about Kuze's opinion of Kyouya, and the next, Kuze had laughed and told Kaoru he was funny, only to unexpectedly lean forward. If Kuze thought he was alone in finding the kiss inappropriate, he was wrong. Kaoru felt panic as well. Despite what clients at the Host Club might think, he had never been kissed like that. His relationship with Hikaru was as straight as a chopstick – there were not enough tents to make it a camp. So finding the lips of Kuze pressed against his had come as a huge surprise; the fantasy of kissing another guy only went so far in practice, only so far!

'My fiancée's going to kill me. What am I going to do?' Kuze was saying as he paced the classroom, not so distressed as to forget where the tables were. Had Kaoru been the one pacing the floor, he would have bumped into a few table corners or tripped over some chairs in the process, but Kuze seemed to be exceptionally graceful.

'I won't tell if you won't tell,' Kaoru offered, eyes downcast. No way could this get back to Kyouya. In trying to reduce the misunderstandings between Kuze and his friend, Kaoru had only made the situation worse, and Kyouya was unlikely to thank him for that. Slowly, Kaoru met the piercing gaze of Kuze from the other side of the classroom as the older guy mulled on how the prospect would suit him.

'So you won't tell?' Kuze repeated.

Kaoru shook his head. 'No,' he answered. 'I won't tell.'

'Oh thank god!' cried Kuze, openly relieved.

'I wasn't that bad, was I?'

Kuze glanced in the twin's direction and could see that the comment had hurt him. He returned to the table where Kaoru was now sitting, fingers clasped, legs still. He was glaring at the sakura trees beyond the tall French windows, and judging by the level of anger within Kaoru's glare, those sakura trees had done something bad. Really bad.

'Well, you didn't kiss me back,' Kuze joked, with a deadpan expression.

'Why the hell would I kiss you back?' snapped Kaoru. 'And that joke wasn't funny! If you say one word of this to anyone, then I'll make sure that your fiancée definitely kills you!'

Kuze smiled. 'Want an orange?'

Kaoru blinked at the fruit on offer, unimpressed with its waxed peel and near perfect roundness. 'No,' he said, stubbornly. 'It's probably poisoned.'

'What bullshit! Did Ootori say that?' demanded Kuze through gritted teeth. 'You do know that pesticides are not involved in the growth of this orange and that my family holds the largest share of the market with legitimate reason?'

Kaoru yawned. 'You tell me this like it matters…' Hands seized him roughly by the collar; he smirked. 'What, you don't love me anymore?'

'We made a pact not to speak about that!'

'Okay, if you're serious, let's shake on it,' said Kaoru. 'Man to man.'

Kuze released Kaoru's shirt and began to eat the orange. 'Fine!'

If there had been a mild breeze to hand, it would have blown between Kuze and Kaoru.

'I'm not shaking that,' Kaoru said, flatly.

'What, you're backing out?'

'No! Just wash your hands first! They're covered with juice!'

'You're so annoying, Hitachiin – just like Ootori!'

'Say that again, Kuze, and I'll make you hate that orange!'

Then Kuze and Kaoru looked down, aware of how closely the two of them were standing.

They jumped apart, embarrassed.

'It's like we're going around in circles,' said Kuze, flustered. He retrieved a wet-wipe from his blazer pocket and proceeded to wipe the juice from his fingers. 'Need one?' he asked Kaoru, who frowned at the gesture.

'What for?'

'Your mouth.'

Kaoru smiled, restraining his temper. Everything about the President of the American Football Club was driving him up the wall and he was tired of driving up walls. Wordlessly, he shook the clean hand of Kuze, returning the older guy's grip with an equally firm handshake. 'It's strange,' said Kaoru, afterwards.

'What's strange?'

'You make peace with me, someone you barely know, far easier than with someone you've known for years… Why?'

The observation raised a brow, as well as a slight, incredulous chuckle from the thin-faced Kuze. 'You have a lot to learn about people and their arguments,' smiled Kuze. 'Don't you know that people who have known each other for years are harder to understand?'

Kaoru shook his head. 'You should make friends with Kyouya.'

'No,' said Kuze, preparing to exit the classroom, 'you should make friends with Kyouya, and then, perhaps, you will see what I mean.' Kuze winked to emphasise his point, only to regret it. 'I wasn't flirting! There was something in my eye!'

'Of course,' agreed Kaoru. 'See you later.' He watched his former nemesis retreat down the corridor and straightened his tie. 'You hear that, Kyouya?' Kaoru said, speaking to the hidden microphone. 'Told you that Kuze was your greatest fan.'

The microphone in Kaoru's tie crackled. 'Seems he's also yours.'

Kaoru sighed. 'Shut up, sempai.'