Title. Goji Berries
Author. Mech
Project Start. 9/1/11
Applicable Genres. Romance, introspection
Rating. T
Canon. Anime
Warnings. Shonen-ai, sexual references and discussion, potentially ill-received suggestions regarding characters' sexual and romantic orientations
Pairings. Kyouya/Tamaki, along with as much one-side Tamaki/Haruhi as there is in the anime
Summary. In which Kyouya opens the metaphorical Pandora's box, but unexpectedly finds hope released as well.
Inspiration. Asexuality fic requested by acey-gleek-girl on tumblr. Conveniently, though, this one fit in quite well with my other red-colored fruits stories and their planned continuation.

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"Mother, why are they saying I have an S&M fetish?"

Kyouya peered over the top of his book at the blonde, pacing in distress from one end of the room to the other. After the twins' proclamation, Haruhi had returned to her room in annoyance, ignoring every word of apology. Once he had decided on a book from Nekozawa's library – a morose selection, for sure – Kyouya returned to find Tamaki sulking in the middle of the floor.

"You do know what that means, don't you?" Kyouya first ensured.

"Of course!" insisted Tamaki, blushing for unintentional emphasis. "But why? What made them think that?"

Kyouya offered him a flat stare. "You were in a quite compromising position, Tamaki."

"I wasn't doing anything."

Really? Did he have to spell it out for him? Kyouya picked up the blindfold from where it had fallen on the floor. "You put her in a blindfold and ear plugs."

"I was just trying to help her—" he interrupted himself, covering his mouth in order to avoid spilling the beans. A intrigued brow raised over Kyouya's right eye. "There's nothing sadist about that – just the opposite!"

"Imagine the situation from their perspective. What do you think it looked like to them?" He waited a moment for the image to congeal in Tamaki's mind. Unfortunately, he didn't receive much more than a blank stare in return.

"It couldn't have looked like anything. We were just sitting on the floor, talking..." Abruptly, he leaped to his feet and pointed an accusing finger at the other person in the room. "Kyouya, don't make this a challenge unnecessarily! That's just mean."

Kyouya massaged the reborn knot in his temple. Apparently he would have to spell it out for him. He'd much rather get back to his Agatha Christie. Returning his gaze to the page – who had just been murdered, again? – he said plainly, "The twins were implying that you were trying to have sex with her."

Tamaki had started out as wildly unpredictable – and, sure, quite often he continued to be that way – but, over the years, Kyouya thought he had become accustomed enough to the blonde's rationally irrational personality in order to anticipate his reactions with high enough accuracy. And so, when that which followed was not shock nor denial nor embarrassment but honest bewilderment, so too was Kyouya put equally out of place.

"Why would I want to have sex with Haruhi?"

Kyouya's common sense and heart – because contrary to popular belief, he did have one – told him not to immediately answer, Because you love her, and break the illusion. He swallowed, wondering how to answer a question that shouldn't have needed asking. "Because she's an attractive young woman," he finally decided.

"She is!" Tamaki proclaimed in agreement, seemingly forgetting his previous conundrum. "Like a late blossoming flower..." Almost naturally, Kyouya tuned out the meaningless, air-filled dribble and focused instead on how this might mean Tamaki didn't care about the girl in that way after all. Although this would also mean Kyouya was wrong once more but only in his Tamaki-infected life, he regretted to call that other feeling hope.

"But if you didn't get Hikaru and Kaoru's sexual implications, what did you think when you walked in on me and Haruhi?" he brought up. "You seemed sufficiently abhorred."

"T-that's different!" sputtered Tamaki, stumbling out of his monologue. Once again he waggled an accusing finger at Kyouya. "You were half-naked, and she was sitting on the bed, and the lights were off...! Excuse me for assuming something inappropriate. Shame on you for trying to seduce your daughter."

Rolling his eyes, Kyouya gave up on discovering "whodunit" – not that he hadn't already figured it out – and closed his book, placing it aside. Standing, he made his way towards the armoire for some more comfortable bottoms. "For your information, Tamaki, I have no interest in having sex with Haruhi, either. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'd like to sleep before tomorrow's escapades."

"Can't I sleep with you?" Tamaki asked innocently. When Kyouya turned around, somehow Tamaki was already on the bed and in pajamas. For the first time, Kyouya didn't just brush off the question as naivete or an accident of translation. Was it possible that Tamaki didn't realize what most people meant when they said that? In his second year of high school? This time, Kyouya decided not to breech the topic further at the risk of alienation. At times like these, he could see why Tamaki preferred to pretend.

"Whatever you want," he capitulated, only to Tamaki. Even for the sake of that smile, it was worth it. Kyouya removed his glasses and shut off the light. The two of them slid under the covers. Within seconds, Tamaki's un-kingly snoring broke the silence before only punctuated by crickets. Now confident that the motion wouldn't shove the boundaries of their too-comfortable relationship off a cliff, Kyouya shifted just a little closer and placed a hand on Tamaki's lower back.


Tamaki peered – leered, one might say – over the top of a red velvet couch at the incognito Host Club member as she shared slices of the pastry version with her clients. Kyouya's words repeated themselves over and over in his head: "Because she's an attractive young woman." Well, that was certainly true. The tip of her head when she smiled, her huge, brown eyes, slender, huggable frame – all made her incredibly cute. He felt like he could stare at her forever. Beautiful. Like a painting.

But have sex? Why would you want to have sex with a painting?

His gaze briefly whipped over his shoulder to glance at Kyouya, but he was too busy calculating something to notice – or at least look back. How did he feel about Haruhi?

"Ah, Tamaki-senpai, what are you looking at?" cooed one of his fangirls, attracting his attention back to the task at hand. He flipped back around on the couch to gently, politely caress her cheek.

"Excuse me, princess, for I could not stare at you for too long, else I would melt from your beauty," he serenaded. Instantly she forgave him with a flattered cry. As he continued to entertain them, he took a closer look at his clients. Sure, they were pretty – some even beautiful – too. "Attractive young women," as Kyouya might have described them. And sure, Tamaki wanted to make them happy, because they deserved to be happy and treated well, but that was all he felt about them. They weren't special like Haruhi, from whom he wanted all the time and attention she could offer.

But sex? Why would he want to have sex with them?

He mulled over this for a while – days, weeks, months, even – gazing at girls whenever he got the chance without looking like a creep, scrutinizing every, little thought that crossed his mind as he did so, and trying to convince himself that one of them was equivalent to the desire to have sex.

Then he realized he wasn't getting anywhere on his own. Fortunately, he knew just the person with whom to consult – a reliable source on all matters. And so, the next time Tamaki was over for a studying session at the Ootori mansion, he set aside his textbooks and said,

"Hey, Kyouya, remember when you told me that you had no interest in having sex with Haruhi either?"

Kyouya laid down his pencil, put off by where this discussion could go. Throwing on a nonchalant face, he turned to the other, "Yes, Tamaki?"

"Why is that?"

"Why did I say that, or—"

"I mean, why don't you want to have sex with Haruhi? You said yourself that's she's an attractive young woman."

Kyouya sat back, pressing his palms into the coffee table. He looked to Tamaki's cerulean eyes, shining with innocent curiosity, then to the nearest, blank wall. He couldn't admit the answer to anyone – not even to himself.

But he could trust Tamaki. "It's nothing against her personally," he finally said. "It's simply because she's a girl."

As always with Tamaki, there was no judgment. "What about boys?"

"Some of them," he said quietly, purposely not looking the other in the eye. He prayed to any available gods that Tamaki wouldn't ask next, Like who? In an effort to appear at ease, he picked up his pencil again and tried to work on some integration. "And you? Have you ever felt that way about a boy?"

"I don't think so." Pondering this, Tamaki looked to his best friend just in time to catch what he thought was a look of disappointment cross his normally stoic face. Efficiently dropping this notion, he continued to the question at hand. In all that time of focusing on how he felt about girls, he hadn't thought to consider boys.

"One usually knows."

He stared Kyouya up and down, earning plenty of intrigue in return. If anybody, he thought he should feel that way about Kyouya, because sex was something done between two people who cared about each other. And why would two people who cared about each other have sex if they didn't have the desire for it in the first place? "So people are supposed to feel that way about either boys or girls?"

"Or both," he added. He could sense Tamaki's growing frustration. A part of him couldn't help but be amused by it. This part grew when Tamaki pinched his eyes shut, ruffled his blond hair, and collapsed into a ball on the floor.

"I don't understand this at all!" he moaned.

Kyouya just watched on in interest. "You've never been sexually attracted to anyone? Ever?" Tamaki shook his head. A second later, he peaked through a slit in between his fingers.

"Is that weird?"

"Your entire existence is weird."

And there he went into the corner, huddled with a dark cloud hanging over him. "Why does mommy have to be so mean to daddy...?" he was muttering to himself, drawing circles on the wall with his finger. Kyouya lingered in the quiet long enough to finish a few calculus problems.

"For the record, this comes as a surprise to me as well," he said, which meant quite more than it sounded on the surface to those who knew Kyouya well and how rarely – if ever – he was taken by surprise, "for all you talk about love."

"Love has nothing to do with sex!" proclaimed Tamaki, launching out of his corner. Well, that's debatable, thought Kyouya, interested to hear Tamaki's side of the story. "While it's true that you're only supposed to have sex with someone you love, that's not what love's truly about, Kyouya." He spoke as if teacher to a student. "Love is about being together forever, and caring more about each other than you do about yourself, and making each other smile, and being there for each other in hard times, and protecting each other from the harsh realities of the world outside, and—"

"All right, I get it," interrupted Kyouya, else he thought Tamaki might go on forever. He rolled his eyes at the corniness of it all. Still, that sounded like a lot of responsibility regarding things to which Kyouya wasn't accustomed.

"But there's one more thing! It's very important, I promise."

"Go ahead."

"Most of all," Tamaki finished dramatically, "love is about making the other person happy. Isn't that right?"

"Absolutely," Kyouya immediately agreed; the first thing that correlated with his experience since Tamaki started this conversation. Basking in that wistful smile, he wondered if he was qualified to keep it there. Though Ootori Kyouya never backed down from a challenge, this one was far outside his realm of expertise.

Finally, Tamaki sat back down, plopping a text book down in front of him. Unfortunately, perhaps, his attention was not yet distracted. "So when you think about boys, you think about having sex with them?" Kyouya sighed in annoyance, not eager to discuss his personal life any further. At least the slight blush on Tamaki's face meant he wasn't perfectly comfortable, either.

"Among other things; though it's often less explicit than that. And, please, don't make me out to be a pervert. It's only certain people." Like you, he silently added, but please don't ask me that.

"Oh, okay," Tamaki replied simply, humming to himself in thought. He tapped his pencil against the notebook in a vague attempt to actually start his homework.

"Well, Tamaki, what do you think about when you think about boys or girls?" Kyouya prompted. As an observer, he couldn't help but be interested in discovering this facet of human behavior, even if it only existed in Tamaki. A rare, pensive expression settled on the blonde's face.

"Well, for most people, it's just things like 'I like them,' or 'That person's creepy,'"—Nekozawa, no doubt—"or 'She's good at math'... That's normal, isn't it?" He turned to his friend in question. Kyouya nodded.

"Certainly."

"But for certain people," continued Tamaki on his own, "like you said... it's very different. For instance, when I see really beautiful people"—Kyouya noted how he didn't specify gender here.—"I think about staring at them for a long time, admiring their beauty. Haruhi, too. She's very pretty, you know. You said so yourself. Is that what you think about when you think about Haruhi? Or other beautiful girls?"

"Not staring at them, per say, but I certainly appreciate their aesthetic appeal."

Tamaki nodded once before continuing. "At the same time, when I think about Haruhi, it's more than that. She's very special."

"What do you think about when you consider Haruhi?" Even as he asked for it, he knew he would probably regret opening the Pandora's Box that was Tamaki's Inner Mind Theater. Regardless, the knowledge was vital. Even just for the smile that lit up on Tamaki's face, it might have been worth it.

"I think about"—His eyes went off into dreamland.—"dressing her up in pretty clothes, and eating her homemade bento, and cuddling her in my arms, and sharing breakfast in bed together, and protecting her from thunderstorms..." he trailed off into a wistful sigh. "And from those dastardly twins!" he adjoined suddenly and adamantly, pounding his fist on the table. Kyouya rolled his eyes. Perhaps only one twin is really in competition...

"And what about boys?" he had to ask, if only to see how far this romantic attraction extended. "Have you ever thought about a boy in a special way?"

"What are you talking about, Kyouya? You're special," he proclaimed, latching onto the other's arm. Kyouya's jaw dropped just a little in the slight image of a gape. Then his conscious mind caught up with him, reconnecting his mandible with the rest of his skull. This time, "special" could have meant something different. He was well aware that Tamaki saw him as his best friend and the "mother" of the Host Club, both of which were certainly "special" positions. Before moving further, it was in both their best interests to clarify Tamaki's vague wording.

"What do you think about," asked Kyouya softly and – he would never admit it – nervously, "when you think of me?"

"I think about being with you forever, and taking care of you – 'cause you never do yourself"—Here he inserted a scolding glance for effect.—"– and playing the piano for you – I know how much you love that – and being there for you when you need me, even though you don't like to talk about things, and doing everything I can to make you happy..." Almost smiling, Kyouya placed a hand against Tamaki's where it lay on his arm. For a long moment, Tamaki simply smiled – far more broadly – back at him. Before Kyouya could convince his own emotions to come out and say something in return, Tamaki's gaze dropped to the floor. From between strands of blond hair, a deep blush peeked out. "...and—" He stopped abruptly.

"And?" prompted Kyouya, curious to know what about him was blush-worthy from Tamaki.

"And... sometimes... I think about kissing you," he nervously finished, fidgeting. Immediately after, he threw a worried gaze back up to look Kyouya in the eye. "Is that weird?" Kyouya's true smile broke through. His free hand went up to caress Tamaki's cheek.

"No," he answered confidently. "It's perfect." Tamaki's expression morphed from fear to confusion.

"Really? Why is that?"

"Because I think about kissing you all the time." That hand gently guided Tamaki's face closer as Kyouya himself leaned forward to press their lips together. For only a moment did Kyouya keep them there before letting go. When their faces slid apart, Tamaki's bore the expected thoughtful surprise. Kyouya didn't let himself smile until Tamaki did so. Grinning, Tamaki wrapped his arms around Kyouya's shoulders and brought their foreheads together.

"What else do you think about when you think of me?" he finally asked, but this time Kyouya had a perfect, confident answer.

"I think I love you."