A/N: I love Sharpay. She is my favorite part of High School Musical. That said, I've only seen HSM and HSM2, though I am eagerly anticipating Sharpay's Fabulous Adventure when it comes out. The twins just seemed to suit her. I've seen all of the Ouran anime, and have up to volume 15 of the manga. No spoilers beyond Hikaru's hair.
The concept of Helper Twin and Stupid Twin is stolen from hyperboleandahalf and the concept of Stupid Dog and Helper Dog.
Warnings: Mild twincest, other homosexuality, poly. It's all implied and very gentle, I promise! Also Sharpay's voice is very heavy on the italics, so emphasized text happens, er. Frequently. Really it's just that no one man could handle Sharpay and treat her like she deserves. She needed a matched set.
She'd outgrown loud chiming bangles years ago, but the click, click, click of two inch heels on a tiled hallway floor still made her feel like she could take the world by the balls and rule it like a queen.
Today the world's balls were waiting in room 247 of one of the ugliest buildings she'd ever seen in her life. She straightened her back as one heel hit the ground and sent a shiver up her spine. Oh, she'd take those balls and squeeze.
A year and three quarters of classes, two musicals, one production of As You Like It, eight one act plays, and three student films had taught Sharpay Evans exactly three things:
1. The world had too many actors.
2. Too many actors and not enough people with Vision.
3. Apparently Vision was directly related to truly perfect hair because she was the only human she'd ever met with either one.
That was how she'd ended up here, in the front row of Hector Pestor's period design class, two thousand miles from drama school and New York City and all those very, very poorly coiffed actors. She'd hated the cold anyway, and the way it forced her to layer. Even girls with perfect figures started to look lumpy, and there was no way she was subjecting her favorite shoes to yellow-gray slush or black ice ever again.
Notebook on the table in front of her, she corrected her posture, checked her nails and then clasped her hands on the table-top. She positively radiated Bright Attentive Articulate Student.
Nothing else in the room moved. Being the very first person to class always gave her too much time to think. Which was possibly thing number four that those almost two years working in a BA in acting had taught her. Sharpay was a lot less shallow than even she had thought.
She hadn't even realized it until the very end either. Not until she was standing in front of the dean of admissions for LA's newest and most cutting edge fashion school and had actually heard herself say, "I don't care about being famous. I just want to learn how to be better and more interesting than everyone else out there."
And she'd meant it.
Self-discovery, however, was no reason to get sloppy and the arrival of several black-clad, long haired fellow students brought her chin up higher and a bit of a pout to her lips. Just because she didn't care about being famous didn't mean everyone else had to know that.
It was hard not to fidget, nerves demanding their outlet, but that scene from The Winter's Tale where she stood like a statue through seemingly endless Shakespearian dialogue had shown Sharpay she was capable of it if really necessary. She practiced. Some things were still easier if she imagined she had an audience.
As a girl carefully led her bike into the front of the room, she took a moment to roll down her pant leg. Sharpay looked her over from head to toe and realized, Too much blue. Passing judgment on the people filing into the room helped to calm her, and after a moment Sharpay found herself back on comfortable ground. It was easy being the prettiest and brightest looking student in the class when you knew quite certainly that you really were.
The thing about fashion students, she was realizing, was that it wasn't cool to sit in the front row. Most of her fellow students clustered in the back rows, talking, making jokes, acting disaffected and misunderstood. It was quite fine with Sharpay, as she rather preferred the scent of her perfume to cigarette smoke and bicycle grease.
Front row seats were competitive, and the language spoken always came through loud and clear. Her talent glittered just as brilliantly as her earrings and nobody seemed to want to challenge her. Until the seats directly to her left were taken, filled so gently the chairs almost didn't squeak.
She glanced over out of the corner of her eye and saw, oh. Twins. Suddenly, more than anything, she missed her stupid, wonderful brother and his atrocious taste in hats. She couldn't believe she even let him out of the house some days. The boys next to her certainly seemed attached at the hip. And hands, and shoulders, and knees. They were passably cute at least, not a freckle out of place on either, with excellent color sense. Sharpay could appreciate a good matched set that wasn't actually matchy-matchy, though she wouldn't have pushed the width on the collar on the one on the left.
Then again, nobody was perfect, and especially not next to her. She could forgive them their flaws, even as she bettered her posture. Blonde curls tossed over her shoulder, she adjusted the lay of her notebook, already opened and dated in dark pink ink, with an orange highlighter for emphasis waiting in the wings. As she lifted a hand to ready her pen, her elbow brushed against the boy next to her.
Sharpay gave him a brilliant smile. He returned it, winked, and in unison with his twin, said, "Ohayo" in a little sing-song.
The only useful thing she'd ever learned from Zeke's unabated love of ninja movies, because the myriad ways abdominal muscles could tense didn't count in the classroom, was a tiny smattering of Japanese. She knew "Please", "Thank you", "I'm Sorry", "Die", "Ouch", and various other words highly important to ninjas. As well as "Good Morning."
She winked back. "Good morning, cuties," she replied, and proceeded to completely ignore them with Professor Pestor's arrival.
Sharpay knew, from the instant the two next to her called him "Professor-sensei", it would be war.
The class was part survey, part practice. The Professor spent the first few minutes of class asking questions about the history of fashion design to gage how well his class already understood the basics. Sharpay knew it wasn't fair to raise her hand to answer every question, but she always nodded along with the correct answers, listening politely as other students had their chance to try. She made a few notes, shifting in her seat to keep from bumping the elbow of the boy next to her again. It was cruel that all lecture halls in the entirety of the universe relegated left-handed writers' desks to the aisle seats. She refused to be shuttled to the side of the classroom.
The boy next to her seemed to think it was funny at least, and kept looking over at her when his brother compensated, giving her these small, knowing smiles. She'd seen better, but she'd seen worse, and she knew the smiles she gave him in return were always just a little bit fiercer. Even though the twins appeared to be trading turns taking notes, she'd still written down the same volume of information, and in her personal, round, perfect handwriting.
She and Ryan had always taken notes in tandem in their advanced classes in high school. He seemed to fit his observations in with hers, like puzzle pieces. And owing to his faint dyslexia, he needed her to remind him just what dates were accurate and required for their history finals. She'd passed many of her classes feeling the way his weight shifted against the back of her desk. Ryan was never a foot-bouncer, never a pencil-tapper. He'd been a classmate she could rely on to create an atmosphere in which she could perform to the best of her ability.
They'd never outright cuddled in class, however. The twins next to her seemed so physically comfortable with each other she was rather unsurprised when the one with the dye job yawned.
Well. Sharpay would never fall to the depths of rudeness of yawning in class. The professor was working hard to impart knowledge and she was not taking it for granted! She raised her hand to land a very well-thought-out question, and was rewarded with a smile. If the boys couldn't handle the front row, they could bask in her presence from the next one back.
She knew they had begun to watch her, alternating glances. Sharpay had no intention of being intimidated by the gaze of others; in fact, it was one of the galvanizing forces behind her continued success. Sharpay Evans had an audience, and she would show them how to be the best student in the class. And she was still the prettiest.
She didn't even let it rankle when they chirped out, "Arigato, Professor-sensei," at the end of class. If that was the best they could do, they had nothing on her. With another toss of her hair, she stood, shouldered her purse, gave the professor a smile of blinding wattage, and flounced from the room. Knowing how to try, and when trying too hard was a sign of desperation, appeared to be another trait only bestowed upon Sharpay. It was terribly hard, sometimes, being alone in her brilliance.
If she had any faults, she knew they lay in her competitive nature. After class, she'd realized she'd missed two very important things:
1. The class culminated in a group project. If she scared everyone away, she'd probably end up doing all of the work on her own, and while she knew she'd do a better job than anyone else, she liked her beauty rest as much as the next girl.
2. Twins, one fair-haired, one dark-dyed, with Japanese accents and a penchant for mixing plaid and paisley. She'd seen them before. She knew it.
It wasn't until the next morning that it clicked. Most of the girls' diet plans appeared to be the Smoke Instead of Eating plan. As Sharpay valued both her curves and her teeth, she followed good, old-fashioned exercise and diet rules. Her personal trainer at home had given her a regimen to follow, but all of the nearby gyms were filled with muscleheads and women who brought their purse-dogs and left them on the treadmills. Sharpay had to forsake Boi for New York living two years previously, and she absolutely could not stand watching those pampered princesses forget their babies in a stinky, sweaty, steroid-glorifying hotbox.
Instead, she went on morning jogs and practiced cardio with a personalized DVD her trainer had made her. She varied the distance she ran, but that morning her feet took her past one of the more popular coffee shops just outside the campus grounds. And she overheard one of the more excitable girls, wearing a pair of knitted kitty ears that were almost loud enough to drown her out, gushing about the Hitachiin Brothers attending their school.
She did not trip, nor stumble dramatically to a halt. Theatrics were best left for appropriate times, and she was in no mood to entertain witnesses. Instead, she stayed in rhythm, minding her breathing. She'd heard of them. Anyone with their head in the fashion world knew their mother and the sheer versatility of her body of work. For her twentieth birthday, her parents had given her a trip to the only Hitachiin showroom in the entire United States, and it had been a thoughtful present indeed.
But the work of the mother was not the work of the sons. The more she considered it, the more she realized she hadn't seen anything they'd done. They were students, just as she was.
As an actress, Sharpay was no longer impressed by celebrity. She resolved not to be star-struck, nor steamrolled. She had always grown up with loving, affirming parents that told her she was special. Just because they knew the truth didn't preclude other parents from telling the same things to their children. They probably had whole teams of people telling them how wonderful they were. That, to Sharpay, sounded like a crutch.
She was there to learn, not to be seen. She would claw her way to the top of the fashion world on her own steam, even if it killed her. Or preferably anyone underneath her.
By the time Professor Pestor's next class had rolled around, Sharpay had been unable to escape rumors about the Hitachiin brothers, about their mother, their living arrangement, their girlfriends, their boyfriends, their shoes, their favorite foods. She'd done her best to keep her nose above the flow. It wouldn't do to be swept away, but neither was it fair to condemn the boys just because everyone loved them from afar. She knew that feeling, and it often wasn't pleasant.
She was still the first in class, settling herself comfortably in the center seat. They sat down right next to her as she flipped to the appropriate page in her notebook, and waited until she'd laid it on her desk to chorus, "Ohayo, Blondie-cha-an!"
Sharpay turned, her smile already growing. When she saw them in two unique variations on argyle, she wrinkled her nose. They were kind of like puppies. Adorable and floppy and crawling over one another. She tilted her head to the side and chirped, "Good morning to you too!" in response.
The mirrored grins she got in response to that one were broad and sharp. They knew it was a war just as thoroughly as she did. The one with the natural hair spoke softly, his accent a little thick, his words a little stilted.
"We are new to California, United States. You are very nice."
His brother leaned over his shoulder, tucking an arm around him, and echoed, "Yes, hello," in much the same tone.
Her classification appeared accurate. These weren't boys, they were puppies! Why else would they fake the accent? She knew their mother sounded nearly natural in her English speaking, and she couldn't believe a woman that powerful could neglect the education of her sons. She smiled her sweetest smile and said, "Aw, don't let yourselves be fooled by appearances."
The fair one laughed, bringing both hands up with his fingers curled like talons. "Ah! Pretty face, fang like tiger?"
She giggled. "Claws like a tiger. I'm not about to get my mouth dirty."
He wiggled his fingers. "Ah-ha, claw."
Sharpay felt compelled at that moment to shoot the one with the dye job a bit of a sympathetic look. It had come to her attention, in twin-based relationships, that sometimes there was a Stupid Twin and a Helper Twin. Being the Helper Twin was a labor of love, and too rarely acknowledged because Stupid Twin tended to be nearly unbearably cute. Oh, there she was missing Ryan again. She bit the inside of her lip and smiled as she added, "Mm, like the ones at the corners of your eyes, honey."
The fair one brought his hands up to the corners of his face and wiggled his fingers again. His twin cracked up, laughing with his head thrown back. He reached around his brother, holding out his hand to shake, though palm-up. "My name is Hikaru."
She shook her head, indulgently correcting the angle of his hand and shaking it. "Sharpay Evans."
Hikaru wrinkled his nose, obviously holding back a laugh. His brother, the one that had to be Kaoru, and she'd remember that even without his having to introduce himself, bit the insides of his lips and blew out his cheeks. She waited for the amusement to pass. Funny how nobody made fun of her name once they knew her. She gave Kaoru a very firm handshake when he offered his name.
She tossed her hair over her shoulder, and was gratified when both of their gazes followed the movement. "It's nice to meet the Hitachiin twins in person."
The twins, unfazed, smiled back. "You say 'Hitachiin' much better than we say 'Sharpay'," said Kaoru graciously.
"You'll get practice, I'm sure," she responded, and smiled when they both broke into laughter and applause. It was a knee-jerk reaction, but the two of them seemed genuinely amused.
"Shar-pay," murmured Hikaru. "Sharpay. Sha-shar-pay." He wrinkled his nose again. Apparently these two traded Stupid and Helper hats frequently, because as Kaoru settled into his seat, and better into Hikaru's hold, he said her name for him, and correctly.
Hikaru grinned. "It is very nice to meet you, miss Sharpay Evans," he said, and Kaoru applauded him with a little pat to the back of one hand.
"You see what a little practice can do?" she murmured in response. "It is very nice to meet you too, mister Hikaru Hitachiin."
It was to a chorus of laughter beside her that the professor finally made his way into class. She realized, only then, that the rest of the class had been more or less quiet behind them. Usually, under those circumstances, Sharpay could be reasonably assured that the silence was only preparation for her next words. In this case, as the twins settled beside her in a different cuddly pile than before, she couldn't be sure she wasn't sharing the spotlight. Ah well, nothing for it but to ignore them. Already they were chasing her attention, and she was an excellent target of pursuit.
Hikaru and Kaoru had, thankfully, dropped "Professor-sensei". Kaoru did adjust the way he sat to give Sharpay full use of his armrest, which she appreciated thoroughly as they still insisted on sitting on her left side. When, as Professor Pestor shuffled through his slides, she accidentally-on-purpose dropped her highlighter, Kaoru swooped in to recover it, and gave it back only after drawing a smiley face at the top left corner of her notes. She could ignore the silliness for his gallantry, this once, she decided.
By the end of class, she knew that Kaoru's sighing was a signal for Hikaru to start taking notes. She knew how they smelled, and that Hikaru had a cut on the back of his right wrist that only showed when his sleeve was pulled taut. She also knew that their notes skittered between English and Japanese, sometimes within sentences. It made for some odd angular adventures in their script. She also learned that the group project due by the end of the semester was going to be assigned according to seating.
As soon as class ended, both boys rose and turned toward her. "Sharpay-chan!" they cried in unison, looking absolutely gleeful.
"If you want you can come to our apartment," said Kaoru.
"It is very nice," interjected Hikaru.
"We have big tables for working," added Kaoru, his smile growing broader. Hikaru's broadened to match, and as he tucked his arms around his brother they started to turn on the puppy eyes.
She considered, taking longer than she usually would. The effect was only enhanced when she pressed the cap of her pen to her lower lip just to remind them of how full it was, and how shiny. "Hm-m, alright. But only if you promise to drop the accents, boys. If you can't even use them consistently, it's obvious they're not real."
Hikaru blinked, but Kaoru recovered more quickly, his smile softening. In impeccable, California-accented English, he murmured, "Accepted, Miss Evans."
In unison, the twins rose, and extended their hands to her to help her to her feet. As she slid her hands into theirs, Hikaru said, "We can have a driver come by to pick you up."
She rose, guided expertly, and wondered where boys like these two had been all her life if they were going to make even walking seem like a dance. Even shifting her hips to get past her notebook balanced on the arm of the seat hadn't altered their balance together. She smiled, looking up at the two of them. "No, thank you. I like driving."
"I'll write down our address, shall I?" murmured Kaoru, gently releasing her hand. He could have just as easily slipped it into his elbow, or twined their fingers. Oh, he was good. Stupid Twin still had her hand, and was examining the rings on her fingers, running one thumb down to take in her manicure as well. Kaoru ignored him, and Sharpay took her cues from the Helper Twin, knowing her nails were as impeccable as the rest of her.
"Please." As Kaoru dug in Hikaru's bag, she wiggled her fingers a little to get Hikaru's attention and said, "By the by, I just love your necklace. It really balances the rest of your accessories."
He looked up from her hand and exhibited a little honest humanity when he flushed with pleasure at the compliment. "Thank you," he said, then grunted as Kaoru started using his shoulder as an impromptu writing surface.
Kaoru slipped one arm around Hikaru, and passed the note to Sharpay. "There. If you get lost, our phone numbers are at the bottom."
"Call his," said Hikaru with a grin.
Kaoru rolled his eyes and tweaked Hikaru's ear, but without malice. "Either. Say, this Friday afternoon?" he offered.
She folded the note with perfectly even creases and slipped it into her purse. "Five if you'll have food. Otherwise I can't be there until seven."
Hikaru smiled. "We'll have food."
"Five," agreed Kaoru, grinning.
Sharpay nodded, slipping her purse up onto her shoulder. "Five it is. I'll see you then, boys. Ta."
She felt their eyes on her back as she walked away. Among other places. Boys were boys no matter where they were from, it seemed.