A/N: Hello lovely people! June 9-happy birthday to the Hitachiin twins, who are the only club members whose birthdays I can remember. When I realized it, I rushed a fic in honor of them. Hopefully next time I can at least remember the Shadow King's birthday.

I just watched X-Men: First Class and I loved it. Would have loved it more with some Professor X/Magneto action.

Written for AisuDragoness's request of Sick!Kaoru with Kyouya lovingly nursing him back to health. Something about this fic though: it opened me up to some KyouHika possibilities. Ahem. Though I don't think I could make that happen in the OTNK-verse, what with KyouKao and TamaHika being the established pairings. Also, I really have a thing for Kyouya carrying Kaoru everywhere, apparently.

School starts soon. Onwards!

In Sickness and In Health

by Magician April Aries

While Kyouya and Kaoru, the club's resident Manipulative Pair, preferred to keep things low-key, they recognized their customers' demand for the dramatic.

Hence, every few weeks or so the ladies were treated to the boys breaking out a few 'acts', much like those of Hikaru and Kaoru when they were still the brotherly love duo. They ranged from the simple 'Kaoru-blushes-as-Kyouya-teases-him' to the over-the-top… like a spiked-hair Kyouya coming in without his glasses, decked out in a black-and-red leather outfit, leading Kaoru by a leash while the redhead wore a shirt that read 'Property of the Demon King'.

Hikaru had, predictably enough, nearly murdered the Shadow King for that one. It had been the younger Hitachiin's idea, and the whole point of it in the first place was to drive his brother insane.

As Kyouya's family was in the medical business, one of the girls' favorite routines was that of the two 'playing doctor'. Kaoru would sit on his lap complaining of mysterious illnesses, while Kyouya prescribed some 'medicine', with a healthy dose of mouth-to-mouth on the side.

So no one reacted at first when Kyouya frowned and set down his cup of tea. His boyfriend had been uncharacteristically quiet the whole day. "Kaoru, you're not feeling well, are you?"Perking up, the fangirls pulled out their cameras, eagerly waiting for the sophomore to respond with requests for the usual 'prescriptions'.

"Not this again," Hikaru said, exasperated. "Oi, piranha, get away from him before he really infects you with his hell-germs."

"Kyouya, could you two stop pawing each other?" Tamaki pleaded. "You aren't the ones who have to deal with the aftermath." Since the Idiot Couple—as Kyouya had unceremoniously dubbed them after the nth time Hikaru had threatened to break up with Tamaki, only to end up furiously kissing him only minutes later—had formed, Tamaki had taken it upon himself to be the one to restrain his temperamental boyfriend from murdering the Manipulative Pair. It had resulted in quite a few bruises, black-eyes, and teeth almost getting knocked in. After every incident, the Host King would swear that he would let Hikaru do as he see fit, since Kaoru and Kyouya seemed impervious to guns, bombs and knives—but he could never quite help himself from trying to hold the older Hitachiin back anyway.

Kyouya, however, ignored them as he pressed his forehead against the younger host's. Kaoru shivered at the small movement and let out a soft moan. "It's nothing too bad, sempai," he mumbled.

"You're burning up," the Shadow King disagreed, the frown turning into a full-blown scowl. "How long have you been feeling sick?"

"This morning," Kaoru admitted in a weak voice that Hikaru remembered from their childhood, during all the times that his twin had been seriously ill.

Kaoru had been staying up late recently, working on designs for an upcoming fashion show. And as it was flu season, the lack of sleep had probably lowered his immune system. He'd noticed that his brother had been silent and flushed that morning, but he'd chalked it up to pre-show jitters. Hikaru was more blasé about work; he'd finished in about a week and then gave it a rest. Kaoru had always been more nervous about his designs being received by the public, no matter how many times they raved about his work. He'd been pushing himself a lot… and apparently he'd pushed himself a little too far.

"Oh no, Kaoru-kun, will you be all right?" a customer asked anxiously.

"We can all nurse him to health!" another added, brightening.

Renge's eyes gleamed as he coughed. "I have a nurse cosplay outfit just waiting for such an occasion!"

"He'll be fine given time, ladies," Kyouya said, holding a hand up to avert the potential fangirl tsunami. If they were left unchecked they would crush the poor boy in their attempts to 'make him feel better' (translation: about half would coddle him, and the other half would pretend to pet him but really use it as an excuse to grope him—something that the Shadow King would definitely not allow). "All he needs is rest and quiet." He allowed his more sinister side to seep into the last word as the light gleamed off his glasses menacingly, so that they all scuttled a good few feet away, their mouths clamping closed. Good. Now maybe they wouldn't disturb his lover. Still, just to be sure, he shot an extra death glare at Renge.

He turned to Kaoru. "Come on, let's get going. We should take you home. Is that okay, Tamaki?"

The Host King nodded. "Of course. We can handle things from here." Not that he would have responded otherwise, what with the way his best friend's 'disagree-with-me-and-die' expression.

"But the show tonight," Kaoru muttered weakly as he leaned back against the couch. They had tickets to a sold-out play that they'd been looking forward to watching.

"Don't tell me that's why you didn't tell me earlier," the Shadow King said. At his boyfriend's guilty look, he shook his head, exasperated. "Kaoru, I'll buy the whole troupe and the theater if you want. We can watch it another time."

"I'm sorry, sempai," Kaoru mumbled. "Maybe Haruhi and Mori-sempai would like the tickets?"

"Um… well, we didn't really have plans," Haruhi said.

"Thank you, Kaoru," Mori agreed, nodding. He would have offered to pay, but he knew that the other two would both insist that it was unnecessary. Best to just let them get on with it so that Kaoru could get home quicker. "We'll take them. Rest well."

"Wait, I'm coming with you guys," Hikaru cut in, grabbing his bag, his twin's—and even Kyouya's. And he didn't even wince and pretend to writhe in pain from touching something of Kyouya's. Miracles would never cease. "Mom and dad are away on business in Brazil, so there's no one to take care of him at home." Except for the numerous maids they had, of course, but he wasn't counting them. In his opinion, what Kaoru needed was family, funneling copious amounts of chicken soup down his throat and fluffing his pillows every five seconds.

"I'll contact Hitachiin-sama," Kyouya murmured, typing and sending a quick text message. There would be time for a proper phone call later. He glanced at Kaoru, and worry cracked through his calm mask. He dialed his private doctor's number as well, asking her to come to the Hitachiin estate. "Come on," he murmured, bending down to lift the other boy in his arms.

"Sempai, I can walk," Kaoru protested weakly as the sophomore held him.

"I know that."

"Are you going to let me down, then?" He noted, with a hint of amusement that even the fever couldn't quell, that Hikaru looked like he very much wanted to start beating the Shadow King over the head with the bags he was holding.

"No." His tone brooked no arguments. Kaoru sighed, surrendered and snuggled closer into his arms.

"It's just a simple case of influenza, with a bit of exhaustion… and I think a touch of anemia from lack of proper nutrition," the doctor said, packing up her equipment. Kaoru was lying in his bed, propped up by cushions. Kyouya and Hikaru were hovering nearby, frowning. "Kyouya-sama, you know the standard procedure. I'll leave some medicine. Contact me if there are any complications. Thankfully it's the weekend, so he won't have to miss any school."

"Oh joy," Hikaru said unenthusiastically. "What's the point of getting sick when you don't get to skip?"

"Thank you, sensei," Kyouya said, bowing as she left. The moment she was gone, he turned to Hikaru. The redhead had an unpleasant look on his face—no doubt he knew what was coming. "Hikaru…"

"Ask so I can say no," the older Hitachiin said, folding his arms across his chest.

"Good luck with that," Kaoru coughed. "Kyouya-sempai never makes it easy for anyone to say no."

The Shadow King sighed. "I simply wished to request that you allow me to stay here and care for Kaoru."

"He's got me," Hikaru said stubbornly.

"Yes, but you need periodic rest. You can't watch over him around the clock. That would only make catch his flu. You'll need someone to relieve you while you're resting or eating."

"We have maids."

"I know that you do." The sophomore's frayed patience was starting to run out. "Fine, Hikaru… treat it as my own selfish request. Please."

Hikaru raised an eyebrow. Kyouya hadn't even sounded sarcastic with the last word. "Why…?"

"Hikaru, shut up for a second," Kaoru said. He looked up at his boyfriend. "Sempai. Listen to me, okay?" At the Kyouya's nod, he stated, "Repeat after me: it is not your fault that I'm sick."

Kyouya adjusted his glasses. His face was impassive. "I never said that it was."

He smiled wearily at him. No one else would have seen through the mask of calm. "But you're thinking it. Not in that logical mind of yours, maybe—but I can practically see you beating yourself up for not preventing it somehow anyway. You're telling yourself you should have realized that I was overexerting myself, you should have made me rest, eat properly, should have strapped me down and injected me with some kind chemical mix that would make me immortal…"

The Shadow King was conspicuously silent. Kaoru rolled his eyes.

"Hikaru, let him stay," the sick twin said, Bambi eyes suddenly coming in full-force. Kyouya winced in sympathy; no one could say no to that, least of all (with the exception of himself) Hikaru. "Please?"

The older brother frowned, knowing that he would end up giving in anyway… but he had a reputation to keep up. "What if I say no?"

Kaoru snorted. "You think that the guards are going to listen to you and not me?" Hikaru winced. Of course not. And even if they did, Kyouya could always bring in his own private army. Much as he hated to admit it, even he wouldn't bet against Kyouya's guards kicking the Hitachiin security's asses.

"Fine," Hikaru muttered. "I'll have the maids prepare one of the guest rooms."

Kyouya cleared his throat. "I was thinking more along the lines of staying here."

The freshman reminded himself that Kaoru was sick and his recovery would definitely not be helped by the angry fit he wanted to pitch. Or by his boyfriend dying an untimely death on his bedroom floor.

"Look, piranha," he said, trying to sound as reasonable as possible (which was not very, seeing as he sounded as though he would like nothing more than to paint Kaoru's carpets with Kyouya's blood) "In case you didn't notice, there isn't a lot of space here."

It was true. The twins' old shared bedroom was gigantic, but when Kaoru had moved out he'd chosen a much cozier room. Plus he'd filled it with lots of things: bookcases overflowing with novels and manga, a dressmaker's dummy with pins stuck all over it, a small table with two dainty chairs for when he had tea with Kyouya, an easel with his occasional attempts at painting (all that sketching for his designs had given him a measure of talent in other arts), and so on. It was just a good thing that Kaoru kept a separate room for all his clothes.

"We can't fit another bed in here, and if you think I'm going to let you in the same bed as my twin, you've got another thing coming."

"Why not? Wouldn't be the first time," Kaoru mumbled. Hikaru glared and once again had to force himself to concentrate on not killing Kyouya.

"Because, beloved twin of mine, that would make him catch your germs. And as much as I value the Hitachiin Code of Conduct's rules on brotherly love, it definitely doesn't have any section on me taking care of parasitic bats."

"Bats aren't parasitic," Kaoru snorted.

"Yeah, and aliens don't exist either—but how do you explain milord, then?" Hikaru challenged. "Long story short, no room for another bed, and you two aren't going to do any hanky-panky while you're sick. Or while you're well. Or any day of the week, any week of the month, any month of the year."

Now, Hikaru was a great believer (or so he claimed, anyway) in the fact that Kyouya was just abusing his poor, naïve brother's love for him and that the Shadow King had only brainwashed Kaoru into their twisted relationship… but the next sentence that left Kyouya's mouth reminded him exactly how much Kyouya really did adore his brother.

"There's always the floor."

While the Shadow King exited the room to make some calls to his house and issue some orders to the Hitachiin maids, Hikaru stared at the floor. The carpeting was thick enough that it wouldn't be that uncomfortable, but… it was a floor. And their kind grew up sleeping only on the most luxurious of mattresses. They even turned up their noses at some of the five-star hotel beds that they were offered.

Kyouya especially. The Shadow King's bed was the stuff of legend.

Other than the one time they'd all gone into Kyouya's room to wake him up (something that Hikaru fervently prayed he'd never have to do again, considering they'd almost lost their lives in the attempt), only Tamaki and Kaoru were permitted to enter his 'chamber of evil'. The bedroom itself wasn't all that amazing—none of the torture instruments that Hikaru had expected were there, surprisingly. It was all very functional, simple and tasteful, with Kyouya's preferences clearly going for minimalism…

Except for the bed.

It was huge. A monstrosity that Kaoru swore almost took him five minutes to climb out of once he'd gotten in it (to which Hikaru had, of course, yelled, "YOU WERE IN THE DEMON SPAWN'S BED?").

Tamaki claimed that it would take five Mori-sempais before the bed even felt the least bit crowded, and that no matter which way you stretched, you couldn't feel the edges of the bed. And both Tamaki and Kaoru agreed that the mattress was the fluffiest, most comfortable thing that they'd ever slept on (which made Hikaru huff—wasn't it bad enough that his twin had slept in the piranha's bed? Did his boyfriend have to be included?).

Then again, Hikaru wasn't entirely sure that Kyouya's bed was actually used. After all, he wasn't certain that the Shadow King didn't snooze in a coffin or something. Or if the Shadow King even slept lying down at all. He probably hung upside-down like a bat. He'd confided this theory to both Kaoru and Tamaki and told them that they'd probably just been hypnotized into thinking that Kyouya slept at all.

Kaoru followed his gaze. "Yeah, I know. He's mental," he said, with a soft laugh. "Still think he's only pretending to be in love with me?"

Hikaru scowled at him. "The fever must be making you delirious," he said mutinously. Then he sighed. "I get it, okay? I know that the demon spawn's head over heels for you."

"Too true," Kyouya said, coming in through the door, a laden tray in his hands. "Glad to see you've finally caught up with that fact. I hope you don't mind that I borrowed your kitchen to make some soup." Never mind that the Hitachiins had a five-star chef, of course. "Kaoru, you're going to need some food in your stomach so that you can take your medicine… but first, Hikaru, could you open the window and ask the interloper to leave?"

Hikaru raised an eyebrow. "Wha…?"

"Just do it," Kaoru said, coughing slightly. Puzzled, the older twin shrugged and pulled the window open. He stared out and stifled a gasp.

"Renge! This is the third floor!"

"Don't worry, Hikaru-kun, if I fall and break something I won't sue your family," she promised, one hand clutching precariously at the window sill and the other protectively cradling her beloved video camera.

"Shouldn't you be more worried about us getting you for trespassing?"

"Details," she said with a breezy laugh—she would have shrugged, but that would have meant tumbling down to her demise.

"I believe I emphasized that Kaoru requires rest, Renge-kun?" Kyouya asked, eyes narrowing.

"But Kyouya-sama—"

"And pass the message on to the rest of your followers. Don't even think about it." His teeth clenched. There were so many of them who had converted to Renge's camp that it was difficult to remember the days when their customers were so much more refined. There were still a number of them, genteel and demure; the problem was that Renge's girls were so much louder that they tended to fade into the background and not be noticed enough.

"Fine," she huffed. Then she bit her lip, her eyes softening. "I hope Kaoru-kun gets better soon." With that she ducked her head and disappeared.

"Uh… do you want to maybe come in and take the door out?" suggested Hikaru. Silence followed, and he stuck his head out and gaped when he saw nothing but air. "Did I just hallucinate that?"

"No. Renge's good." Kyouya was already settling down beside Kaoru. "She spent a few months training with Tachibana-san and the rest of my bodyguards. I wouldn't normally allow such a thing, but as her family is close to mine, I acquiesced to her request."

Hikaru snorted as he closed the window. "Who the hell uses the word acquiesce in normal conversation?" He turned to find Kyouya lifting a spoonful of soup to Kaoru's lips.

"Too hot?" the Shadow King asked.

"It's great," Kaoru said with a tired smile. "Delicious."

Sometimes, when he looked at the way Kyouya looked at his brother, it hurt. Kyouya usually kept his emotions under wraps, always wary of people watching and waiting for him to slip up. But when he did let it show… Hikaru caught his breath, blown away by the honesty in his eyes, and couldn't find the heart to demand that he stop. Instead he stood up and left, closing the door behind him.

Hikaru had to admit that it was a good idea for the Shadow King to be there. The two of them traded shifts in watching over Kaoru as he dozed fitfully, spending most of the rest of the day unconscious. At ten, though, Kyouya had insisted that it was okay for Hikaru to go to bed and that he could handle the rest. Hikaru had pointed out that he was no longer a child and that no self-respecting teenager slept at ten o'clock… but at half-past midnight he'd had to give in when Kyouya told him that Hitachiin Yuzuha had called to tell him that he had to get some sleep.

It was already past three in the morning, and Hikaru had woken up for a glass of water. As he headed for the kitchen, he decided to make sure that the demon wasn't molesting Kaoru in his sleep.

Kyouya was sitting in an armchair beside Kaoru's bed, glasses sliding down his nose as he typed quietly on a laptop balanced on his knees. And it was just so very Kyouya to sleep in black silk pajamas. Typical evil overlord attire, Hikaru Kyouya normally slept bare-chested, but he'd decided not to give Hikaru an excuse to attempt to throw him out of Kaoru's room again.

The sophomore had managed to get Fuyumi to send some of his clothes and things to him—he was of a slender enough build that he could have perhaps squeezed into something of the twins', but the height difference made it too awkward; plus Hikaru swore that he would have to burn any clothing he touched. Fuyumi had also sent a huge bouquet of flowers and a letter that told Kyouya that he'd better not be blaming himself for Kaoru getting sick. Fuyumi knew her little brother too well.

"Still awake?" Hikaru asked. "If you want, I can stick around with Kaoru while you're working."

"It's fine," Kyouya replied as he fixed a long column of figures. "I don't intend on sleeping yet, and it's no trouble for me to multi-task."

"What are you doing anyway?" he asked, wrinkling his nose.

"Corporate takeover."

Hikaru snorted. "Wonderful."

A small smile quirked up Kyouya's lips. "It's… exhilarating, doing what I do. A challenge. Not to say that I don't dislike the collateral damage, but I enjoy the feeling of attempting something high-risk."

"No wonder you're dating a Hitachiin, then."

Kyouya's smile widened. "True." He glanced at the nest of blankets on the floor, pursing his lips.

"What, regretting your promise to stay? You can still go home to your mattress."

"No, I'm merely trying to gauge whether or not the discomfort will make my sleep light enough to wake up if Kaoru needs me. I normally sleep like the dead."

Hikaru shuddered. "Yeah, I know. And when you wake up, it's the dead rising." He glanced back at Kyouya's screen, which had shifted to show a jumble of diagrams. The Shadow King never showed up at school looking anything less than perfectly put-together, but there were days when Kaoru would look at him and let the older boy rest his head on his shoulder. He had told Hikaru that it was because Kyouya stayed up late doing whatever his father asked of him—and more. "Why do you push yourself so hard? I mean, as far as your family knows, you aren't in the running for successor anymore. You could take it easy and then pounce when it's time."

"This is the part where I insert a platitude about how the journey is just as important as the end result." Kyouya took off his glasses and polished them. "But the truth is that I want either of two things. One, they can either choose to believe that I've thrown it all away for love and have no problem serving my two brothers. That's fine with me; being underestimated makes things so very entertaining in the end. Or two… they can be paranoid and start flinching at shadows. And that I can certainly capitalize on."

"And people wonder why I expect blood to be dripping from your teeth every time you smile?" Hikaru inquired dryly. "And what of your brothers?"

"I'll probably send them to do overseas work for the zaibatsu. I think Siberia would suit them nicely."

"Ah, brotherly love. Heartwarming. Kaoru and I have forbidden incest, you have Siberia… if you're not giving Kaoru any ideas, I mean. I'll know who to blame if I find myself eating penguin burgers."

"There are no penguins in Siberia," Kyouya replied, rolling his eyes. "And you and Kaoru are fortunate enough to be co-heirs. Besides that, you love each other more than anyone else in the world."

The redhead raised an eyebrow. "Not more than anyone else. He has you."

Kyouya reached out a finger and poked at the quirked eyebrow until Hikaru settled for a sullen glare. "He loves us differently. But we know that age-old question which they ask… if the two of us were drowning and Kaoru would only save one of us, who would he choose to rescue?"

"Me, because you're an evil immortal bastard and won't die unless we're drowning in holy water," Hikaru answered immediately. And… yeah, he hated to admit it, but he trusted Kaoru to do that for him.

"Not quite the answer I was aiming for, but yes, he would save you. Just as if the choice were between Tamaki and Kaoru, you would pick Kaoru."

"Milord's head is empty so he stands a better chance of floating." Not because he didn't love Tamaki—and only heaven knew why he did, considering Tamaki thought it would be 'cute' if Hikaru made him a homemade lunch—but, well. That was just the way it was. Hikaru fought a yawn.

"Back to bed," Kyouya said at once.

"I was getting water," Hikaru grumbled, rubbing at his face. "And you're a hypocrite. You won't grow any taller if you don't sleep."

"Someone who is shorter than I am is hardly suitable to say such a thing." Kyouya smirked at the indignant squawk that Hikaru let out at that, but his eyes darted quickly over to Kaoru. The sleeping boy stirred but quickly settled down again. Kyouya let out a small sigh of relief. "I'm fine. I have many things to keep me occupied."

Not least of which is Kaoru, thought Hikaru, watching the way Kyouya put his laptop aside to check on the cool cloth draped on his twin's forehead. "I'll leave him to you, then."

"You trust me with him?" the Shadow King asked, for once not smirking but smiling, and were those dimples? Where had he been hiding those? Hikaru gaped for a moment before snapping out of it.

Dimples. More like craters of doom. Or a temporary hallucination.

"Don't make me say it again," he mumbled, running out the door.

When Hikaru waltzed into Kaoru's room the next day, he just had to stop and snap a picture of Kyouya sleeping. Renge would probably cheerfully cut off her right arm for it. His face was relaxed, even childlike, and his hair was mussed into a black halo on his head.

Hikaru reminded himself that the most poisonous snakes often had the brightest, prettiest scales.

"Oi, demon king," he said, shaking Kyouya's shoulder. "Wake up. It's already nine-thirty."

The sleeping lump grumbled, shifted and burrowed deeper into its nest of blankets.

"Wake. Up."

Dimly Kyouya registered something interfering with his much-needed rest. He hadn't slept until around five in the morning. Must kill it, his brain whispered sluggishly.

"Hello? Seriously, I'm eating all the bacon."

No, no, murder is a pain to cover up, countered another voice in his head.

"I could dump you in the shower, see if that gets you going."

Screw it, murder isn't that hard to cover up.

But at that moment, the annoying presence removed itself. Kyouya let out a sigh of happiness and buried his face in his pillow, blissful, his mind murder-free… until he heard it return.

"Awesome," he heard someone say. At the sound of the offending voice, Kyouya started to emerge from the depths of his cocoon, emanating a dangerous purple aura.

"I always wanted to do this." Hikaru grinned as he started to tip a glass of cool water onto Kyouya's head. Meanwhile, the Shadow King was subconsciously calculating the angle he would have to snap the redheaded thing's neck at in order to ensure the cleanest kill. He was vaguely aware that he didn't want to get blood on these carpets, because they were someone's carpets, and he was certain that he loved that someone and that someone would be upset if he got the room dirty, but at the moment it was far, far too early for him to think about that…

"Oh my God, Hikaru, what the hell do you think you're doing? Do you have fucking death wish?" Kaoru sat up in bed, wide-eyed.

"Crap," Hikaru muttered, withdrawing. It was only at that moment that he noticed the way Kyouya's body was twisting up to get at him. Before he could run, Kyouya sprang at him, pinning him to the ground. "Oh shit, call him off!" He began to choke.


Kaoru broke off to have a coughing fit, spots of red appearing on his cheeks. At once, Kyouya bolted from his position to sit at his side, rubbing circles into his back.

"Water," he ordered, still bleary-eyed as he beckoned Hikaru forward. The redhead hurried over and handed the glass he was clutching to his twin, who drank it greedily. "Are you all right, Kaoru?"

His boyfriend nodded, and Kyouya let out a soft sigh of relief. He bent his head to press it against Kaoru's. "I think your temperature went up," he murmured. "I'll get you some ice, all right? And maybe something to eat." He pressed a kiss to Kaoru's cheek, ignoring half-hearted protests about how he was going to get sick too. "Be right back." He sighed, scrubbing at his eyes. "I need coffee anyway."

He spared a moment to look back at Hikaru. "Try that again," he said simply. "I dare you." He padded out, still in his pajamas with his hair in disarray, glasses left behind. If the delighted whispers Hikaru could hear were any indication, the maids found the bedhead quite appealing. And judging by the glazed way Kaoru stared after him, he found it appealing too. Or that could just be the fever.

"You saved my life," Hikaru mumbled, massaging his wrists. God, Kyouya had left marks. He let out a shaky laugh. He was pretty sure that if Kaoru hadn't intervened, his corpse would be on the floor. "Maybe you should get sick more often. I could get away with more wakey-wakey attempts on your creepy boyfriend if you do."

Kaoru groaned, coughing into his pillow. "I may be sick but that doesn't mean I can't still punch you in the balls, Hikaru."

Of course, being led by Tamaki, there was no way that the Host Club wouldn't visit Kaoru. Both Hikaru and Kyouya had been adamant that only the members could come; their customers instead sent mountains of get-well presents that were scattered all over their living room downstairs.

And the Club was glad the girls weren't present, considering how Kaoru was behaving at the moment.

The thing about Kaoru was that he was selfless. It made up the core of his character. He wasn't the type to kick up a fuss or be bratty about things, a by-product of being Hikaru's twin.

But he was feverish, achy and having an intense staring match with the dosage cup of medicine Hikaru was trying to make him take.

"But Hi-ka-ru," he whimpered, turning his face away. "I don't want to."

"Come on, Kaoru. You're not going to get better if you don't take your meds."

His twin tried to put the cup to his lips, but Kaoru squirmed away. "No! It tastes yucky."

Haruhi stared at the overgrown baby who seemed to have possessed Kaoru's body, because there was no way that the 'mature Hitachiin' had just said that his medicine tasted yucky. And in that tone of voice, too. Kaoru was pouting. If the girls had been there no doubt all their illusions about adult, composed Kaoru would have been completely shattered. Either that or they would simply have cooed at how adorable he was, now that his 'selfishness filter' wasn't functioning.

Kaoru gave Hikaru a look that would have made Scrooge melt. Being sick apparently gave him super Bambi eyes, amplifying their normal effects a hundred times over. Hikaru winced. "Please don't make me take it," Kaoru begged. "Hikaru, you love me, don't you? If you love me you won't make me drink it."

"Fuck," the older redhead muttered. He gritted his teeth. "Nice try, but I'm not going to fall for emotional blackmail. You'll thank me for it later."

The Bambi eyes got impossibly wider. "Please, onii-chan."

"You… you…" At that, Hikaru passed the cup to Tamaki. "Okay, I can't. Damn it, Kaoru. Calling me big brother is cheating."

"Let me try," the Host Club King offered. "Kaoru—"

"But you won't make me, will you? Right, otou-san?" the sick boy breathed, eyes fever-bright. Tamaki's jaw dropped open. "You wouldn't, right? Please, please, I'll be good, so good for you, just don't make me take it."

"I'm really glad Renge-chan isn't listening to this," mused Hunny as Tamaki gaped at Kaoru. "Taking what Kao-chan said out of context would make it…" He trailed off at the blush on Haruhi's cheeks. "Well."

"I can't." Tamaki passed the medicine to Haruhi. "Perhaps you will fare better, my darling daughter."

Hikaru raised an eyebrow. "We'll see. Kaoru's a master at manipulation."

Haruhi snorted. "I'm not the type to be swayed by pouting and tears," she pointed out. "And calling me nee-chan or okaa-san isn't going to work either."

"Oh believe me, I know." They turned to stare; Kaoru's formerly breathy voice had gone low and dangerous. "But I'm going to warn you now, my pretty little toy… make me drink that and I'll kiss you."

The natural rookie host bit her lip. "You're bluffing."

Kaoru let out a half-cough, half-laugh. "Try me, Haruhi," he purred. "I don't need to tell you how very contagious I am, or the fact that I have no qualms whatsoever about sticking my tongue down your throat and giving you my germs." He quirked an eyebrow up at her. "Nor do I need to tell you how Kyouya-sempai would react when he finds out."

Haruhi immediately handed the cup to Hunny. "He's all yours, sempai."

Hunny shook his head. "I can't. I'd be a hypocrite if I did. I don't take medicine when I'm sick."

"That's because you don't get sick, Hunny-sempai," Tamaki pointed out.

The blonde senior nodded. "I almost never do. But the last time I did, I ate five cakes and got better. So I can't make Kao-chan take his medicine. It wouldn't be fair."

Kaoru smiled brightly at him. "I knew Hunny-sempai would see my side," he said, his voice now back to its normal higher pitch. "See, medicine is bad for you. I'll die if I drink it."

"Mori-sempai?" Haruhi asked, exasperated.

Mori held eye contact with Kaoru for a moment. The redhead met his stare defiantly. After a beat or two passed, the senior shook his head. "I don't like what he was going to do," he said.

"And it would have worked, too," Kaoru said smugly.

Hikaru sputtered. "Did you guys just have a telepathic conversation or something?"

"If we all hold him down, we could maybe force his jaws open and pour it in," Tamaki suggested.

"What are you all doing?" They turned to see Kyouya. He'd just gotten out of the shower. His hair was still damp, though he was fully dressed. He took in the scene, rolled his eyes and grabbed the dosage cup from Hunny. Kaoru opened his mouth—no doubt to enforce some other nefarious ploy to get out of drinking it—but Kyouya promptly drank the medicine.

Hikaru gawked. "What the—oi piranha, in case you didn't know, you're supposed to make him take it—"

The Shadow King shot him an exasperated look and pressed his lips to Kaoru's, forcing the liquid from his mouth to his boyfriend's. Kaoru let out a shocked whimper but couldn't pull away.

"Now there's an option we didn't think of," Haruhi mused.

Kyouya released his blushing boyfriend after he made sure that he'd swallowed it all. "There. That wasn't so hard. Next time you refuse to take your medicine I'll get a suppository and—"

"Don't." Hikaru covered his ears. "Seriously, don't. I'm going to pretend that we're in a sacred prism of innocence and my little brother's backside will be forever untainted by your evil tentacles, okay?"

"Sempai's just giving me more incentive to refuse to take my meds," Kaoru said with a cheeky grin, which Kyouya quelled with a warning frown. The redhead looked forlornly at the dosage cup. "And now I almost wish I had more to take."

The medicine did help, and soon Kaoru had stopped whining and was playing cards with them. Kyouya insisted that he stay in bed, though, so they sat around him in a loose circle, using his bed as their table.

"Oh for the love of… sempai, being sick doesn't make me stupid," Kaoru snorted, putting down his third royal flush of the day. "Would you guys stop letting me win?"

"Who said we're letting you?" Haruhi grumbled.

"Okay, not you. You're naturally horrible at poker." Ignoring her indignant scowl, he jabbed his finger at Kyouya, Hikaru, Mori and Hunny. "But you four! Don't think I don't know what you guys are doing."

"Hey, what about me?" protested Tamaki.

"Nope, you go and join Haruhi in the totally sucks at card games subgroup," Hikaru said, shaking his head. "It's too easy to read you."

In poker, Hunny, Mori and Kyouya were actually insanely difficult to beat. Mori obviously had a perfect poker face. Hunny just smiled at everything, which made it impossible to tell when he was bluffing or not. Plus he almost always had incredible luck.

And Kyouya… was Kyouya. Which was pretty self-explanatory. Not that the twins sucked, either; they were excellent at misdirection and ruthlessly exploited their opponents' weaknesses, such as Hunny's inexplicable penchant for being distracted by fluffy or shiny things.

"We could switch to blackjack," suggested Hikaru.

Kaoru rolled his eyes. "You would pick that, wouldn't you. You count cards."

"Doesn't everybody?"

"If everybody means you and Kyouya-sempai, then yes," Haruhi scoffed. "We should pick a game we're all good at."

"We'd end up playing Go Fish or something equally horrifying," Kyouya told her. "I regret to tell you that you have absolutely no chance of winning any skill-based card game with us, Haruhi."

"And apparently I have absolutely no chance of losing," Kaoru said, exasperated.

Hunny made a face. "It's no fun beating a sick person."

Kaoru shuffled the cards. "It's no fun being with a sick person, period." He frowned as he dealt them out. "I don't understand why you guys are here, really. It's not that I don't appreciate you all being here, but it's a weekend… you guys could be out having fun."

"And abandon you? Heavens, no," Tamaki said. "We're family, Kaoru. You even called me otou-san! I'm so happy you finally acknowledged me as your father."

"Did I? I don't remember that. My mind must have been addled with fever," Kaoru teased. "Seriously, though. You guys could even catch whatever I have—"

"You're worrying for nothing. Commoners are hardier than we look," Haruhi deadpanned.

"Unless you count toothaches, I haven't been sick in more than a decade, Kao-chan," Hunny added cheerfully. "I can't remember Takashi even catching so much as a cold, either. We're two of the most unlikely people you could infect."

Hikaru shrugged, tossing a couple of chips into the pile in the center. "Call. I don't mind if they're your germs. Besides, I live here. You can't kick me out that easily." His eyes narrowed. "If I went off on my merry way, you would turn this into a demon love nest. Like hell am I letting that happen."

"I follow a regimen which optimizes my immune system, minimizing the statistical probability of catching your flu." The Shadow King's lips quirked up into a smile, the first sign of facial movement he'd had since they'd started playing. "You couldn't get rid of me even if you tried."

"That's right," Hikaru muttered. "True evil never dies."

Kaoru snorted. "Your loss—"

"It isn't," Mori cut in. "We're here because we want to be."

Haruhi tossed down her cards. "I fold," she said with a sigh. "And if you guys were willing to stalk me all the way to Karuizawa just because I was on vacation there, I don't see why you think that we wouldn't at least visit you while you're sick."

"You know, Kao-chan, your inferiority complex is one of the many, many things which make you cute, but it would be nice if you believed in us a little more," Hunny said, making Kaoru turn pink.

"I didn't say—"

"I don't really get it," Hikaru said. "You'd think that being as gorgeous are we are, you'd realize that people care about you. But for some reason you seem programmed to be this selfless little angel that keeps making me look bad by comparison."

"I don't need to make you look bad, you do a terrific job all by yourself," his twin returned.

Hikaru shot him an aggrieved look. "You abuse me so much," he sighed. "But I love you in spite of it, my darling brother."

"I can't believe you have no problem using the L word for him, but not for me," Tamaki muttered before he could help himself.

Hikaru's cheeks flamed. "I—that's—you're…"

"Waiting for you to be ready to tell me. Don't worry about it, I know even if you don't tell me." The blonde turned to Kaoru. "And you're another one who should know even though we don't say it often. You do know that we all love you, right?"

"…yeah, I know. Thanks, guys." And if Kaoru teared up a little and mumbled something pathetic about the fever making his eyes water, the Host Club generously chose not to contradict him.

"Fuck," Kyouya cursed later, mopping at Kaoru's sweat-sheened brow. His boyfriend was dozing fitfully, not deeply enough asleep to get proper rest but still nowhere near conscious. Hikaru took the cloth from him, dipping it into a nearby basin of cool water and handing it back to him.

When the others had left much later in the evening, Kaoru seemed to take a turn for the worse, almost immediately going pale and shaky. No doubt he'd expended all his energy in trying to seem cheerful and relatively healthy for their friends' sakes instead of getting the rest he'd needed. And he, like an idiot, of course had suspected, but had refrained from intervening in case he was wrong (he had to remember the he was almost always right).

He and Hikaru sat by Kaoru's bedside most of the night, waking him up to make him eat, making sure he took his medicine, and changing him out of his perspiration-damp pajamas (Hikaru insisted that Kyouya leave and let him do it, as he couldn't "risk Kaoru's perky bum being on display for lust-blinded ghouls", but the Shadow King had snorted and told him that it wasn't anything he hadn't seen before, which nearly prompted a bloody takedown from Hikaru). Mostly they just sat there, Hikaru playing video games with headphones so as not to wake Kaoru, and Kyouya… really just sitting there. He didn't even take out his laptop as he refused to let the tapping of the keys disturb his boyfriend.

At around half-past ten in the evening, about fifty video game victories later, Hikaru was tired. His stomach growled, and he got out of his chair and stretched. "Let's grab a late dinner?" he asked Kyouya.

"Go ahead, I'm not hungry."

"You're taking this too far, Shadow King."

Kyouya adjusted the sheets on Kaoru. "No such thing. You know what they say… 'to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part'."

"I'm really freaked out by the fact that you know wedding vows. You aren't married."


"Never will be, if I have anything to say about it."

Kyouya smirked. "I distinctly remember you trying to marry me back in Vegas."

"Fuck off, we agreed never to talk about that again!" Hikaru watched him with pursed lips. The Shadow King had a half-crazed look on his face, and he refused to admit it but it scared him, a little bit. "You know that Kaoru was right, yeah?"

The words flew out of his mouth before he could prevent them from slipping out. Kyouya looked up at him. "He usually is, but right about what?"

Hikaru shrugged, trying for nonchalant and simply coming off uncomfortable. "That his being sick isn't your fault."

At Kyouya's scowl, he threw up his hands defensively. "Jesus, call off the laser vision! I can see it written all over your face. You're thinking that you should have done something earlier, made us all go away and locked Kaoru up into a sterilized box or something. And yeah, I make it a point to blame you for everything from dandruff to world hunger to that disaster of a viral video tween singing about weekends—whatever her name is. But I don't blame you for Kaoru, and if I don't blame you, no one else will. " He paused in consideration. "Well, except for yourself."

"You usually hate me," Kyouya murmured. He was still bent over Kaoru, but Hikaru could hear the beginnings of a smile in his voice.

"Fuck off," Hikaru said flatly. "I, it's no fun if you self-destruct. Whatever. Don't read too much into it." He took a breath. "And don't think I don't know you're also partly doing this for my sake."

Kyouya didn't even pause. "Well, it would be terribly inconvenient if you were to get sick as well."

"Partly that," Hikaru replied. "And partly because you're a freak who thinks he has control over everything in the world and therefore should somehow be able to magic disease away. But the other part of it is that you don't want me to be the one beating myself up over this."

The Shadow king laughed, soft and low. "You're far more perceptive than we usually give you credit for." Hikaru lived with Kaoru, after all. He'd known that his twin wasn't sleeping, eating regular meals, or taking breaks from his workload. All Kyouya had had was the going-to-school version of Kaoru, who was a little wan but gave no other outward sign of running himself ragged. If anyone was guilty through omission, it would have been Hikaru. But with Kyouya repeatedly insisting that it was his responsibility, it just made it seem ridiculous to blame anyone for it.

Hikaru rolled his eyes and dragged his chair close to Kyouya's. "I'm teaching you how to play," he said, tossing a spare handheld game doohickey at him. "If we're going to be up all night, then by god I should at least get to kick your ass at Tekken." It wasn't a thank you, but Kyouya understood anyway.

At about four in the morning Kaoru cracked one eye open to hear Hikaru swearing like a sailor. Kyouya ignored him, going to Kaoru's side the moment he'd so much as blinked. "How are you feeling?" he murmured, taking out the thermometer.

"Better. What time is it…?" He checked the clock and winced. "You guys have been up all night?"

Hikaru glared at Kyouya. "Yeah, and your bastard of a boyfriend is a cheat and a liar. He definitely played Tekken before. There's no way a newbie like him should be able to beat me."

Kyouya shrugged. "I observed you playing before. It was hardly difficult for me to recall some of the things you did." He checked the thermometer. "Your fever's down," he said, relief thick in his voice. "Do you want anything? Water?" The world on a platter?

The redhead's eyelids drooped. "Just want to sleep. You guys won't kill each other if I do, right?"

"We make no promises," Kyouya and Hikaru said in unison.

Kaoru frowned sleepily at them. "You know what? Good enough. Just make sure one of you is still standing to nurse me back to full health. I'll host a nice funeral for the other one." Kyouya chuckled and pressed a kiss to his forehead, ignoring Hikaru's grumbling. Kaoru smiled. "You two won't go to bed?"

"Ew, no," Hikaru said. "Gross."

"Not like that," Kaoru snorted. "You always jump to the most perverted conclusions."

"We'll be watching over you," Kyouya said.

"Like guardian angels," his boyfriend laughed right before sleep overcame him.

"Sempai," Kaoru whined. He was already much better, but both Kyouya and Hikaru had insisted that he stay in bed for another day to make sure that he was fully recovered. "You've been in here all weekend. Get out already. Even Hikaru took a breather."

"That's because your twin is off merrily raising mayhem with Tamaki," Kyouya said. Kaoru had been trying to kick him out all day, but his attempts were nothing but unsuccessful. "His boyfriend. Now, my significant other happens to be in the room you are attempting to chase me out of so… I think I'd really rather stay."

Kaoru glowered at him, but the Shadow King paid no attention, simply making minute adjustments to the room's thermostat—how did he know that Kaoru was feeling the teensiest bit chilled? Kaoru was starting to wonder whether Hikaru's allegations of mind-reading were true.

"But sempai, you look horrible."

"Thank you, Kaoru. I do so love it when you stroke my ego. In fact, there are other things I could think of which I would greatly appreciate you stroking."

Kaoru blushed, making Kyouya laugh. "Your attempts at misdirection aren't going to work." The freshman pouted at him. "You haven't slept properly in forever—"

"Two nights does not count as forever," he replied. "Besides, you know that my sleeping habits are already sporadic at best. Your illness was hardly much of a disruption."

"—you're practically living on caffeine—"

"Again, how is that any different from the norm?"

"—you sleep on the floor—"

"It isn't that uncomfortable." Which was a glaring lie, of course, but Kyouya just gave him his most innocent what? look when Kaoru raised an eyebrow at him.

"—you haven't been out in the sunlight since Friday morning—"

"Actually, Hikaru was right. I'm secretly a vampire. I've run out of my SPF 100000 sunblock so now I have to stay indoors with you."

"Please don't tell me you sparkle under the sunlight."

"As long as you don't tell me I have to compete with a werewolf who never wears shirts for your affections. And also, why on earth did you even read that series?"

"Your sister made me," Kaoru said with a shrug. "Said that it would provide a reference for how I should learn to make you behave, minus the entire getting-knocked-up-by-demon-babies thing. She was particularly emphatic on telling me that you should compose lullabies for me or some such nonsense. Why did you end up reading it?"

Kyouya gave him a withering look. "I'm in a host club, Kaoru."

"Point taken," Kaoru said, remembering how Haruhi had been subjected to a PowerPoint presentation from the girls when the natural rookie had mistakenly let slip that she had no idea what Twilight was. She'd also been bombarded with paraphernalia, dragged to the movies, given hundreds of copies of the books, and even been forced into a Bella costume—which was even more horrifying considering that their customers still thought she was male.

Needless to say, it had not been pretty—not Haruhi, of course, who was very pretty—and all of the other hosts had made it a point afterwards to get at least some basic knowledge they could feed the girls if they were asked about it (though there had been a close call once when Hikaru had accidentally said 'Jacob Cullen', only managing to cover up by convincing the girls that he shipped the two enemy characters in the series).

"And also, you're distracting me from the subject. The last thing I want is for you to get sick too."

"I'm fine, Kaoru." Kyouya let out a fond, exasperated sigh. "You're the only person I know who would have the time or inclination to be a mother hen on his sickbed. It's rather endearing."

"We could at least have lunch outside?"

Kyouya looked doubtfully out. It was hot outside, sunlight lighting up the grass in patches of white-yellow. "Perhaps tomorrow. The weather is a little extreme for your condition right now."

"I'll stay in the shade, we can have an umbrella, and I promise you I'll tell you right away if I'm feeling the least bit dizzy."

Kaoru smirked as Kyouya hesitated. Now it was only a matter of pressing the advantage. "Pretty please, Kyouya-sempai?" he asked, pressing kisses against the Shadow King's jaw and feeling the pulse there.


"Kyouya?" he whispered in his ear, feeling his boyfriend stiffen in surprise. He'd never addressed him without the 'senior' honorific before. And if the way Kyouya's eyes went hot was any indication, he didn't mind in the least. "You've taken such good care of me, come on, let's go outside. Just for a little while, please? I'm tired of being cooped up in here." Well, the truth was that he was just tired of how pale and exhausted Kyouya seemed. The least he could do was manipulate the Shadow King into getting a bit of fresh air. "Please, Kyouya?"

Kyouya swore softly as the redhead kissed the shell of his ear. "Kaoru, you little devil—"

Kaoru smiled, sensing victory and deciding to test something. "Kyou-chan."

The Shadow King's breath caught in his throat. The next thing Kaoru knew, he was wrapped pressed against the mattress and being peppered with kisses. "You'll be the death of me, Kaoru," Kyouya muttered shakily, biting into his collarbone. Kaoru let out an involuntary whine which made the Shadow King sigh and release him. "Don't you dare call me that in public—I won't be able to hold back if you do. Now come on, we're getting out of here before I can't control myself anymore and take advantage of a sick person."

A/N: Hope you guys liked it. I've still got a ton of pending requests, I know, but I'll try to work on them soon. I'm actually bursting with ideas for fanfics. I'm just too lazy/busy to type them up... still, I'll do my best. Have a gorgeous June month!