you could do better

It's not that hard, really. Stealing someone's heart. Sometimes it just… pops out of their chest with a charming word and winning smile. That's Tamaki's favourite, of course. Charming the heart right out of them.

And that, Kyouya decides, is exactly why the Suou heir is dangerous.

"You're next," he says, quite cheerfully, sparkling eyes a deadly mixture of cadmium red and Prussian blue and perhaps a hint of antimony—he has such pretty eyes and it's such a shame.

Kyouya's lips curl upward in a mocking smile. "Well, if you can find any heart left to devour, that is, daddy."

They both know that's a lie, and Tamaki's laugh is like bells.

"I don't eat their hearts, Kyouya!" he protests, words hiding a little bit of horror, but mostly scorn. "I just… keep them."

"Yes," Kyouya says, "I suppose that is a little better."

When really, it isn't.


They always seem to end up in the most interesting positions, the two of them. Tamaki sprawled out on the cleared floor of the Third Music Room, Kyouya leaning against his chest—it's ridiculously intimate, this, like one of Tamaki's girls instead of Kyouya.

Tamaki doesn't mind, of course.

It's almost degrading, but he's cold, and Tamaki is warm, and it's alright that he's playing right into the blonde's hands. He tells himself that he's safe; Tamaki only steals pretty hearts.

They look out the windows into the dark, dark sky that matches the precise shade of Kyouya's eyes—and it's as if there's no movement in Tamaki's chest, the cavity on the left side just where his heart should be.

"And what happened to your heart, Tamaki?" Kyouya asks, and there's almost an icy note to his voice.

Tamaki makes a shrugging motion. "I don't know. I suppose you'll figure it out."

His tone is terribly light, and Kyouya finds that he hates him quite a bit more than five minutes ago.


Kyouya wonders vaguely whether the piano has always been just that-a piano. He can almost hear a faint, irregular little heartbeat when he presses his ear to the dark wood.


Tamaki's smile is beautifully tragic when he finds Kyouya kneeling by the piano.

"Well. I guess you've found it," he says, and turns on his heel and walks away. Kyouya's dark tunnel eyes follow him with a decidedly apathetic expression.


He pulls the heart from among the piano strings, holds it in his hands—it's small and golden and fragile enough he's almost afraid it'll crumble into dust at the slightest touch.

It's fluttering like a caged bird in his hands, lukewarm and weak—and Kyouya almost has the urge to cut Tamaki's chest open, to pull his ribs apart and here, here it is, take it back!

But then, Kyouya's never been quite that helpful.

It's in complete selfishness, then, that he raises the small golden orb to his lips.


There's a faint irregular flutter in his chest, mingling with his own steady heartbeat. It's almost unnerving, but Kyouya had been expecting that all along.

He doesn't miss how Tamaki's eyes follow him the next day, or the day after that, or—

Hikaru suggests in snarky tones that perhaps the Host King had found his Queen after all.

Kyouya suggests that he already had.

He almost feels sorry for Haruhi, but that's probably only Tamaki talking.


"Kyouya-senpai, what's going on with you and Tamaki-senpai? I'm getting a little worried, to be honest."

He turns to Haruhi, smile perfectly charming and glasses flashing in the light. "Tamaki is just a little tired, that's all. You don't have to worry about it."

She looks wholly unconvinced, and honestly, Kyouya doesn't blame her.


"I want it back."

"What?"

"I want it back, Kyouya," Tamaki repeats, his expression comically serious. Kyouya would have laughed, if he hadn't been certain of how foreign the sound would have been to him—to both of them.

"Well, then," is the quite reasonable response, "I suppose you'll have to take it back."

He watches as Tamaki rises from his chair and crosses to the other side of the table—that part isn't surprising. What is surprising is when he pulls Kyouya from his chair, cadmium and cyanide eyes flashing in anger.

He shows nothing, looking forward with a cool gaze, glasses somewhat askew, and repeats, "I suppose you'll have to take it back."

Tamaki kisses him, and that Kyouya can deal with—it's not like it's hurting anything, and even he can admit that he was the tiniest bit curious of it all. To be attracted to the Suou heir is perfectly logical. Sensible, even. He always has been very beautiful.

What he can't deal with, however, is the flood of emotion that comes with it—it's unbearable, for Kyouya who has scarcely felt a thing in his life.

He can feel something slipping away from him as Tamaki just barely pulls away. His chest feels strangely empty, and he could have sworn there was a touch of dark blood adorning Tamaki's lips before he wipes it away.

Kyouya falls, and finds himself caught before he can hit the floor.


He is weak, and Tamaki stronger than ever. It doesn't surprise him, really. He leans against the marble counter in front of the sink, represses another wave of nausea, and looks in the mirror.

The reflection is horrifying to someone as carefully vain as Kyouya. The shadows under his eyes are dark and contrasting with his fair skin, his hair is tousled and his shirt rumpled—it's annoying, he insists, but nothing more than that. Everyone gets sick, third Ootori heir or not—it's just a little misfortune, that's all.

He presses the palm of his hand to the left of his chest, can almost feel that little irregular heartbeat and nothing else.

He pretends that isn't the problem, because if he pretends long enough, he might just start to believe it.


He gave his heart away. That does not mean that he is in love with Suou Tamaki. If anything, the fact that it was stolen from him points to quite the opposite.


"I want it back, Tamaki."

"I don't see why. You already have mine," the golden-haired youth retorts, voice impossibly bright. "You just haven't accepted it yet. You have to want it, Kyouya!"

When all logical conclusions leads to Kyouya rejecting the heart, and all illogical conclusions lead to romantic involvement, his lip curls up in a sneer.

"Here," Tamaki suggests, voice still bright has he stands up. "I'll show you."


He wakes up with his nose full with the scent of some sort of Parisian perfume, a head of blonde hair obscuring his vision, and Tamaki's thin arms wound around his naked body. He doesn't know which is more horrifying; the fact of what they had just done, or that he can feel the foreign heart beating more steadily in his chest.

Interestingly enough, he doesn't feel quite as ill as before.


It's a work in progress, Kyouya soon learns, their relationship, as Tamaki so affectionately names it. Personally, Kyouya thinks, there is nothing relationship-like about it. It's more something of convenience, because Kyouya knows perfectly well that his heath, at least for the moment, depends on Tamaki.

He lets the Host King pretend for now. It makes him happy, at least, and Tamaki is the most bearable when he's happy.

He feels a painful twinge of something he can't quite place, in the upper left of his chest.


The first time he lets Tamaki sleep with him, it's out of curiosity and necessity. The second is all pity and guilt.


"Kyouya," Tamaki whispers, burying his face in the dark head of hair, his arms wrapping around the Shadow King's thin shoulders from behind. Kyouya stiffens in his chair, fingers hitting the wrong keys on his laptop. He hopes the deep flush across his cheeks isn't as obvious as he knows it is.

Tamaki sighs contentedly. "Kyouya," he repeats, as if merely wanting to say his name. Sometimes Kyouya does hate how affectionate the other male is, because he's sure the rest of the Host Club knows by now.

"Yes, Tamaki?"

"Je t'aime, Kyouya. Je t'aime toujours."

Kyouya freezes, and doesn't respond. I love you, the beating of Tamaki's heart in his chest insists. I love you too.

Preposterous.

He can feel the rest of the Host Club's eyes on him.

"Tamaki. Get off," he says, voice as cool as ever, and his fingers resume typing.


The third time, he really doesn't have an excuse.


"I love you," he whispers, as if that can stop him. "Tamaki, Tamaki please…"

It's foolish, it's idiotic. Ootori Kyouya never acts like this. He can't afford a break in his mask now. It's not like him.

But then, it wasn't like Tamaki to run off to France with some—with some whore to get married, of all things. Kyouya doesn't even know her name, not that he much cares. Who is she, to walk in and steal Tamaki away from them all? All of them. All of them had fallen in love with him, it's not like any of them can help it. He's beautiful, he's radiant—and damn it all, it hurts. He can hardly breathe from the pain of each individual beat of Tamaki's heart.

They were supposed to be… they were supposed to be together. Isn't that what this all meant? Something told him it really couldn't be healthy to separate the heart that far from the body. Perhaps that was why it hurt so much.

He almost feels guilty that he couldn't go after Tamaki like the rest of them—but he couldn't, he really couldn't. He could have done nothing, and living with failure was never part of the plan.

He passes into unconsciousness by the beat of Tamaki's heart, which is sluggish and uncomfortable in his chest.


"Kyouya? Kyouya! Kyouya, wake up!"

He decides that it must be a dream, because that voice sounds far too much like Tamaki to be real. He keeps his eyes shut, moth setting in a determined line, until he can feel someone shaking him, and he looks up, glaring into Tamaki's face, which is so close the golden locks of hair are tickling his cheeks. Kyouya blinks, and his face flushes with colour.

"Tamaki, get off."

Tamaki just smiles brilliantly, and gets up, offering his hand out for Kyouya, who takes it, and lets the Host King help him to his feet.

"I heard you calling," he says brightly, and places a hand over where Kyouya's own heart lies in his chest.

Kyouya can see the rest of the Host Club behind Tamaki—more reason to stop him before he says anything even worse—

"Tamaki, not n-"

Tamaki decides to take advantage of his open mouth, and kisses him in front of the entire Host Club, effectively cutting him off. When he pulls back, Kyouya momentarily contemplates hitting him, but instead rests his chin on the other man's shoulder and hugs Tamaki to him.

"You're an idiot," he informs the blonde, and sends the rest of the Host Club a look that could kill.

"Not a word," he mouths, and lets his eyes close to relish in the moment.