A/N: Dear Santa, I have been very, very bad this year. I rushed my holiday fic and wrote it with only two hours to go before the 25th, whilst watching my siblings play horror survival games with really bad graphics. While sugar rushing on candy canes. So yes, it's terribly hurried, and I'm not all that confident of it, but IT'S CHRISTMAS, and Christmas fic must be posted.
On another note, just watched Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. I swear I now watch all films with my slash goggles on because I keep shipping people. I've been told that it's annoying (and endearing, because I apparently make the squeakiest little chipmunk noises when I fangirl, but come on, it's YAOI and man feelings!).
Dedicated to all my lovely, lovely reviewers who have been so darling this past year. I hope you all get something delightful under the tree. And also for my liebling, because my liebling sent me the craziest Christmas message ever and I. Cannot. Stop. Laughing. That message made me stop writing just to laugh.
All The Little Pieces
by Magician April Aries
"I want to invent a time machine and punch Murphy in the face. Him and his stupid law," Hikaru said balefully.
Tamaki glanced at him. "It isn't all that bad…"
"If you say 'at least we have each other', I'm going to be forced to pluck out your rib cage and use it to comb my hair." Hikaru sighed and sank into one of the Host Club's armchairs. "Is there some law of the universe saying that when Christmas rolls around, I need to be trapped somewhere with a member of the Host Club? As if that elevator stunt with the piranha wasn't bad enough?"
It was Christmas Eve, and the Host Club had just wrapped up their holiday party with their customers a few hours ago. Kyouya and Kaoru had vanished almost immediately after bidding their guests goodbye ("We have… plans," Kaoru had explained with a roguish wink, and Tamaki had had to hold Hikaru back from fastening a chastity belt on his twin); Mori, Haruhi and Hunny were volunteering at an orphanage for the holidays.
And Hikaru and Tamaki were stuck in the Host Club room.
Hikaru was tempted to whirl around and say, "This is yourfault, milord", but he knew perfectly well that the reason that they'd gotten locked in was at least half because of him. After all, he'd been an extremely willing and enthusiastic participant in the activities that had distracted them enough to not realize that Haruhi had assumed they'd already left and locked the door.
"Maybe I could try mom again," Tamaki offered, thumbing at his cellphone.
Hikaru glared. "He's probably too busy despoiling my twin," he bit out. Nobody was picking up their phones; they all had other things, or were celebrating, or were probably off canoodling like Kyouya and Kaoru. His parents weren't due back until tomorrow morning. Both the Hitachiins and the Suohs had given their house staffs both today and tomorrow off so that they could celebrate the holidays. There wasn't even a way for them to call for help, since the club room was on the third floor and if there were any guards, they would be roaming on the grounds. The windows were barred so they couldn't get out that way—not that they would have fancied trying Spiderman stunts in any case.
They could perhaps dial emergency services, but Hikaru just knew that the media would catch wind of it and they'd be a Christmas joke in the papers. Plus Kaoru would never let him live it down. So, no. A world of no.
He shivered. Everyone had gone home ages ago, and the heating had been turned off. His stomach rumbled. The hosts hadn't really had much of a chance to eat at the party earlier, far more focused on serving their guests (well, except Haruhi, whom they had plied with plates and plates of ootoro—never mind how odd it was to serve ootoro along with the mostly Western menu they'd selected for the event)."I'm starving," he complained.
Tamaki rummaged through his gifts. They were planning on having another club party the next day, this time just for the hosts. But surely Haruhi wouldn't mind if they opened hers early. "Do you think Haruhi baked for us again this year?" Her cookies from last Christmas had been divine. "Or did the 'Kiss the Cook' apron I gave her put her off?"
"No, she actually wears it sometimes. She got annoyed, but she doesn't waste things." Hikaru ripped through the wrapping and immediately stuffed his mouth with butterscotch. Bless Haruhi and her sugary commoner treats. "At least we aren't going to starve to death."
"Just freeze, maybe," Tamaki said, unwrapping his own gingerbread. "Want some?"
Hikaru grabbed a piece, munching on it thoughtfully. "Well… you know. Body heat and all that… survival 101…"
Tamaki's lips quirked up into a smile. Hikaru was a fierce and unapologetic cuddler—he was like a redheaded starfish, given half the chance—but he always needed some sort of excuse for it. "Well. For the sake of survival. I think Hunny-sempai left one of his nap blankets behind."
"Awesome. Go get one… hey, you know what else got left behind? The demon spawn's emergency liquor stash."
"What?" Tamaki squawked as Hikaru went off to root around in one of Kyouya's private desks.
"Think he's got some kind of tripwire that'll make this place explode… ah, no." Hikaru extracted a hairpin from the depths of his pocket and started on the lock, which was open within seconds. "Huh." He pulled out a piece of paper and read it aloud. "Dear Host Club member who opened this—and I know it's a Host Club member because otherwise the tripwire would have been triggered… crap, I knew it… you had better have a very good reason for breaking into my supplies. I expect you to restock anything you consume. Sincerely, the Shadow King. Excellent, I've never had this before!"
"Why does he have that?" Tamaki goggled as Hikaru pulled out a bottle of bourbon from what looked to be quite a selection.
The Hitachiin snorted. "He deals with us on a daily basis. I'm surprised he doesn't need a Prozac drip yet."
Kaoru tried to ignore the silent vibrations against his leg, though he couldn't help but squirm just a little. Fuyumi shot him a questioning look across the table from where she was sitting with her husband, but he smiled reassuringly back at her even though he was dying slowly on the inside. Because dinner at the Ootori household meant that he was on his best behavior and he would just have to endure and pretend that the pulsations against his upper thigh just didn't exist.
Damn his phone.
Kyouya discreetly slipped his hand off the table, all the while still talking to his father about their newest acquisition. Kaoru tried not to let out a squeak as his boyfriend slid the hand into his pocket, removing the phone and making a small gesture that made Tachibana appear out of nowhere to take it.
"Better?" Kyouya murmured as his father's focus shifted to his brother Akito. He hadn't missed how nervous Kaoru was. Earlier today he'd even taunted Hikaru a bit, even though he'd tried to refrain for the sake of the holidays. "Though it was rather… delicious, seeing you so flustered."
Kaoru flushed and hoped to hell that no one else had heard. "I thought that you said that your family would consider it unspeakably gauche if we so much as touched hands."
"Don't be ridiculous, I only said that of my brothers. Fuyumi and my father are distinctly more progressive and my mother really has no interest in your genitalia."
He suppressed a laugh. "Please never use your mother and my genitalia in the same sentence again." Kaoru felt eyes on him and looked up. Great. Akito and Yuuichi, Kyouya's brothers, had brought home dates for dinner as well, and they had been frowning at him in confusion and more than a little disgust the whole time. Of course it could be just them being shy and quiet, but he was fairly sure that it was more that they were silently judging him.
Fuyumi had cheerfully offered to stab one of them in the eye with her fork if they didn't stop gawking at him earlier—"Kaoru is overwhelmingly attractive, I know, but surely you know that staring is rude? And in case you were wondering, I'm only being sarcastic because telling you two to go fuck yourselves outright is generally considered impolite."—but it hadn't seemed to stop them from giving him sidelong glances as much as etiquette allowed.
Well, Kaoru had at least been briefly entertained, even though the Ootori matriarch had shot Fuyumi a quelling look that had her daughter settling down into her food. It was still the most amusing part of the night so far, whereas the rest of their meal was defined by perfectly lovely conversations about things like Frank Lloyd Wright architecture and the current economic situation in Europe. Their talk was conducted strictly at a certain volume level, and laughter was cool and modulated.
It was like being at one of their business functions, not a family dinner.
And more eyes—Kyouya's parents, who'd been observing him the whole time. Kyouya's brothers. He was being evaluated, he knew. Right now Kyouya was the star of the family, and Kaoru was the anomaly preventing him from inheriting the company (not that that really meant anything since Kyouya had already bought the company previously and simply handed it back to his father).
He lifted his chin and shot them his most dazzling grin, feeling Kyouya smile beside him, Fuyumi smirking proudly.
Apparently they were mistaken and thought he actually gave a fuck what they thought.
Because Kyouya wanted him there, and he really didn't care about anything else.
When Haruhi sneezed for the fifth time, Mori spoke up.
She sniffled as they walked away from the orphanage, their job finished only a few minutes ago. "'m fine," she murmured, accepting the tissue that he offered her. Even though she'd clearly caught something when she'd been spending time with some of the kids who'd been sick. It had only taken a couple of hours for her to notice that her head was pounding.
"Haru-chan, you can't argue with colds," Hunny said. His phone buzzed in his pocket, but he ignored it. Whatever it was could wait. Hunny had a vested interest in keeping Haruhi healthy and well, because when Haruhi was sick, she was miserable. And when she was miserable, Takashi was miserable too, and Hunny hated that. Not that he liked Haruhi being sick in the first place, but it was somehow a million times worse when Takashi was unhappy. "Germs exist and there's no point telling them otherwise."
She gave him a red-rimmed glare that clearly meant, watch me. He pouted at her until she winced. It was impossible to glare for long at someone that adorable, particularly when he was wearing a Santa hat to add to the vision of cuteness.
Mori sighed. "I prefer you being able to breathe properly, Haruhi," he murmured, ghosting a kiss against her ear. She tensed a moment before letting out a soft groan and melting against him. "It isn't like you to be this unreasonable."
It was true. She was very practical about these sorts of things. At the first sign of illness, Haruhi tended to burrow herself into a nest in her bed and ruthlessly attack her viruses with a combination of porridge and medicine until she got better. Her behavior now was completely uncharacteristic.
She exhaled slowly. "There's still something that I want to do. Tonight. With… with both of you."
Hunny and Mori exchanged looks and were quietly thankful that Hikaru wasn't there to make the obvious joke. "Okay," Mori said, stroking her hair. "Whatever you want."
"But we're getting you some pills first," Hunny declared authoritatively, leading the way to his car. "And some cake, because it's Christmas and I want cake."
Hikaru tended to have strange reactions to drinks. Champagne made him loquacious (yes, more than usual) and manic—once he'd earnestly told his chauffeur, "I believe in you, and I hope that you follow your dreams". Vodka made him irritable and tend to pick fights, and unfortunately it was often his drink of choice.
Whiskey made him odd and prone to using ridiculously elaborate words (because no one really needed to be subjected to a lecture on antidisestablishmentarianism). Fruity mixed drinks made him flirty—something that Tamaki enjoyed endlessly when it was directed towards him, though not so much when Hikaru tended to be overly charming with strangers.
Bourbon, apparently, made him giggly.
And handsy. Tamaki was wishing desperately that he had a camera, because it was rare to see Hikaru so open and sweet. He hadn't had much to drink himself—just enough to feel pleasantly buzzed—since Kyouya had given him the most dire warnings about him drinking alcohol.
("The last time you got drunk, Tamaki, you killed a unicorn."
"NOOOOOOOO! THE UNICORNS! I—I'm a monster!"
"That's right. That unicorn will never see its unicorn brethren again, thanks to your drunken actions. So mend your ways and limit your alcohol intake from now on."
"But shouldn't I sacrifice myself to the unicorn mountain as penance?"
"…your judgment was impaired so it's forgivable just this once. Also, I'm fairly sure that Hikaru would be more homicidal than usual if I let you run off to… wherever this unicorn mountain is.")
Hikaru took another swig out of the bottle and wrapped himself even more tightly around Tamaki.
"Do you ever notice that we say the weirdest shit and mean something else entirely?" he slurred, warm and content. "Like when I'm screaming that I hate you, I really mean something like 'you're going off to do something stupid and I don't know how to tell you that I'm going to be really lonely and upset if you get hurt', and then you yell back at me and you really mean 'well it's not like you ever told me that you care, and you could stop me if you would just let me know that you actually worry for me instead of acting emotionally constipated'."
"I know you care," Tamaki said fondly. "I just—forget, sometimes."
"Got to remind you more often," Hikaru told him, wagging a finger in his face, almost poking Tamaki's eye out. His brow furrowed in a cross between bewilderment and concentration. "You're an idiot so you don't always remember that you're… you're the one I want. Should tell you for once—I lo—"
Tamaki put a hand to his mouth. "Not like this," he said quietly, leaning his forehead against Hikaru's, even though a part of him was yelling that he would never get another opportunity like this. "Not… not when you're drunk. If… no, when you tell me. I want you to mean it and not have the excuse of not knowing what you're saying."
Hikaru blinked owlishly at him before shaking his head in solemn disagreement. "I'm not too think to drunk."
"No, you've had enough," Tamaki said, trying not to laugh. "Besides, if you say it I'll want to do so many things to you, and I don't think I want to do that considering we're using Hunny-sempai's blanket. Pull yourself together a bit."
He hiccupped. "You don't want me to do that. You like me this way and want to pet me, don't you?"
"I would like to pet you," Tamaki admitted. He was just so cute.
Hikaru responded by burying his face in Tamaki's neck.
"I had plans for this Christmas," Hikaru hiccupped. "Our… our first Christmas together. We were going to go see one of those big trees all lit up, and then I would take you home and we'd light the fire and make s'mores and… I was planning to kiss you forever." He snuggled in closer. "But it's not so bad, yeah? Hey, do you think Santa will come let us out? Oh—and, and…" He frowned, expression tightening into fierce determination. "You can pet me. Because you want to." He nodded. "Yes. You can."
Tamaki didn't say anything, only pulled him up to press their mouths together. It was freezing, and Hikaru reeked of bourbon—and tasted of it too—and they had only got a couple of tins of cookies for their dinner, but all Tamaki could think was, This is the best Christmas I've ever had.
Kaoru was a frequent visitor at the Ootori residence, so he was fairly used to the place. Still, he couldn't help but feel slightly ill whenever he saw the tasteful photographs placed on discreet display in the den.
Kyouya, just a baby, being held not by his parents but by a nanny.
Kyouya, five years old, dressed in his school uniform with a polite and distant smile on his face.
Kyouya, eight years old, with his Akito and Yuuichi—a careful distance between the three of them—expression carefully schooled into a cool, blank mask.
Kyouya, thirteen years old, in formal attire and at the fringes of a family portrait, looking calmly at the camera like he was working out an escape route.
"You dislike the photographs, of course." Kaoru turned to find himself confronted by Yoshio, Kyouya's dad. He suppressed a shiver, wishing that Kyouya hadn't gone off to get them hot chocolate. He'd never been alone with Yoshio before, had always had either his boyfriend or Fuyumi along with him.
But Kyouya didn't do anything without purpose, and Kaoru could handle himself just fine.
"I dislike them because I see them as I would a tiger masquerading as a house cat," Kaoru answered.
"He was exceedingly good at the masquerade, at least. And from what I understand, the house cat comparison is rather apt, given how well you make him purr." Yoshio didn't bother hiding his amusement at Kaoru's blush. "But that in its own way was time spent sharpening his claws. It has only made him stronger now. Kyouya has very few weaknesses." He raised an eyebrow. "You know that you're one of them."
Kaoru pursed his lips into a frown. "Yes," he allowed. "But only if we let me be a weakness. I think you severely underestimate both your son and myself if you assume that we would be foolish enough to permit that to happen."
Yoshio chuckled. "Kyouya makes things so difficult for himself sometimes. But I suppose that life can't always be easy. After all, imagine how much simpler it would be for you if Fuyumi and I weren't the only ones who think that your relationship greatly benefits this household, which is a far better opinion I have than the relationships my other sons have with those spineless women." He patted Kaoru on the shoulder. "Merry Christmas, then. I believe my son will be back shortly, and I have things still to organize."
Kaoru blinked at him before managing to get out a "good night, Merry Christmas" in return, his brain stuck for a second.
If Fuyumi and I—
I think that your relationship greatly benefits this household.
His grin widened, and he wondered if it was possible to be even happier than he already was.
"You look happy," Kyouya said, entering the room and handing him a cup of cocoa. "Does this have anything to do with my father taking me aside to tell me that he made Akito and Yuuichi's companions leave? Mother was rather malevolent about how tasteless their holiday outfits as well, and mentioned something about perhaps ordering something from Hitachiin Designs soon."
Kaoru beamed. Apparently it was still possible to be happier. "Apparently I've been very good this year, because Santa's giving me everything I asked for."
The Shadow King smirked. "You'll have to tell me what went on while I was trying to prevent Fuyumi from destroying the kitchen, then. Oh, by the way, Tachibana said I should return your phone. You have a few voicemails—now that I think about it, I ought to check on my phone as well, there may be some business to attend to—"
Kaoru cut him off, stepping right into his personal space. He took the phone and tossed it over his shoulder, not caring where it landed on the plush carpets with a barely audible thump. Right now he wanted to kiss Kyouya somewhere where his parents or god forbid, his brothers, would walk in on them. (Fuyumi was all right, but she would probably squeal at them and refuse to leave the room until they demonstrated their copulating skills or something). "This cocoa would taste better upstairs. In your room." He sipped it. "In your bed. " He deliberately licked his lips. "On your tongue."
Kyouya raised an eyebrow. "Well. Then what are we waiting for?"
"And that hypothetical business you were talking about?" Kaoru challenged, smirking.
"It can wait," Kyouya replied, kissing the smirk right off his face.
"Dad," Haruhi said softly. She pulled up the scarf she was wearing a little higher so that it partially obscured her face.
Ranka looked up. "Haruhi," he said. He was holding a big bouquet of flowers.
"Yes," she said quietly. She had her own bouquet, which she had insisted that they stop for along with the cake and medicine even though it was near-impossible to get flowers on Christmas (considering all the lovers snapping them up, it had been a challenge to find a decent arrangement; but then, the Morinozuka family name carried enough clout to make it possible). "And I brought my sempai with me."
He smiled morosely at her. "Kotoko is probably happy to see them with you this Christmas." He moved aside so that they could see Haruhi's mother's grave.
"Haru-chan…" Hunny reached out a hand and tucked it into hers, squeezing. Mori wrapped an arm around her shoulders.
"Dad and I come here for Christmas so that mom won't feel lonely," she explained. "I… I missed last year because we went to Vegas."
"Kotoko understood," Ranka reassured her. "She wouldn't have wanted you to miss out on the opportunity. And I gave her two bouquets last year, so she'd know you were still thinking of her." He frowned at her. "Don't stay too long. You look feverish."
"I know. I'll go home after," she promised, putting a hand to the gravestone.
"We'll give you a moment," Mori said, gently tucking a loose strand of her hair behind her ear and pressing a quick kiss to her cheek. She gave him a tight smile and a nod as they moved away with Ranka.
"It's the first time she's brought people here," Ranka told them. "I don't need to say what that means, do I?"
"We both love your daughter very much, sir," Hunny informed him. "Though Takashi loves her in the way daddies love mommies and I'm more of the way daddies love their kids."
Ranka made a face. "The other one with the daddy issues was bad enough."
"Big brother, then," Hunny said with a grin.
Haruhi was motioning for them to come join her. "And if you hurt her I'll make sure they never find your bodies," Ranka intoned, even though Hunny and Mori could both kick his ass easily. Then again, it was never wise to underestimate the power of cross-dressers, as Haruhi had shown them time and again. "You think I'm kidding? I have Kyouya-kun on speed-dial."
"Dad," Haruhi said, exasperated, dragging her sempai away.
"He's just watching out for you," Mori said.
"I have too many people doing that for me lately," Haruhi grumbled, pulling them towards the grave. She took a deep breath. "Mom… these two are my club sempai. Mori-sempai and I are dating. And Hunny-sempai is one of my best friends. I know you see them from heaven, but I thought it was time to formally introduce you." She looked at her boyfriend. "She would have loved you. Both of you."
Mori squeezed her hand. "Fujioka Kotoko-san… thank you for your daughter."
"We'll take care of her, so you'll be happy in heaven watching her become even more beautiful and happy than she already is," Hunny promised. "Merry Christmas, Kotoko-san. It was an honor to meet you."
He woke the next day to what sounded like the gates of hell being opened. "Fuck," he ground out, clutching at his head.
"Awww, you two are so adorable," Kaoru cooed.
Hikaru barely cracked an eye open and instantly regretted it as light stabbed at his eyes (and brain). "No mocking before coffee and aspirin," he groaned, burrowing into his makeshift pillow.
"But it's more fun if you aren't coherent," Hunny protested. "Besides, you used my blankie, so I'm allowed to take a few potshots at your ego."
The pillow let out a soft laugh and Hikaru was forced to smack it. "Good pillows don't giggle," he informed it.
"I'd say he's been a very good pillow, seeing as he allowed you to drool all over his chest." Kyouya's voice was even more annoying when he was hungover. It had to be some kind of supervillain power.
The pillow shifted, stroking his hair. "Wake up, Hikaru. We're being rescued."
Kyouya spoke up again. "Also I have coffee."
At that, Hikaru allowed the pillow to prop him up, and didn't even give a damn that the coffee had probably been brewed in hell by tortured souls. "Can I have a sip?" his pillow asked.
"No. Ten commandments forbid it. Get thee not between a man and his coffee." He drank it greedily and then realized that the pillow had been Tamaki.
He went crimson. "Oh fuck. I didn't really drool…" He trailed off as he caught sight of the wet patch on his boyfriend's sweater. And blushed even more when he saw the rest of the Host Club exasperatedly watching them. He handed Tamaki the half-empty travel mug of coffee without another word.
"Well, that's what you get for breaking into the emergency liquor reserves," Kyouya said. He glanced at Tamaki. "I'm sure you controlled yourself this time? Or were more unicorns harmed?"
"N-no, mother, I swear!"
"Unicorns?" Haruhi mouthed at Hikaru. She was a little pale, and was wearing what seemed to be a dozen layers. He shrugged in reply, having no idea what the hell his boyfriend and the demon were talking about. Nothing sensible, anyway.
"We got your messages only this morning," Hunny explained. "Sorry. We were all… preoccupied."
Hikaru gave them a pained glance. "I asked to be informed about any and all club orgies."
"Sorry, we were all so into it that we forgot," Hunny replied with a sunny smile, even though Haruhi elbowed him. "Kao-chan is wickedly good with his mouth, by the way." Kyouya shot Hunny a look of half-amusement, half-possessiveness that had the diminutive senior raising his hands in surrender.
"Yeah, I have to get Kyouya-sempai a new bed frame for Christmas because we broke his," Kaoru added, grinning at Hikaru's squawk of indignation and the subsequent moaning and clutching of the head that ensued.
"Now what really boggles the mind is that neither of you thought to use the spare key that we hide in the plant by the door," Haruhi mused before sneezing.
"…you're joking, right?"
Mori carefully pulled out a key hidden in their pot and held it up for him to see. "Kyouya informed us all about it last month."
"You just automatically delete his e-mails," Kaoru said, rolling his eyes. "That'll teach you."
"I don't know," Tamaki said, smiling. "I don't think it was so bad."
Hunny shot him a suspicious look. "Tama-chan, the two of you had better not have done anything on my blankie…"
"No, it's only… it was still a good Christmas Eve." Tamaki brushed a thumb along Hikaru's temple, and the redhead allowed him, only sighing and smiling tiredly.
"No, it wasn't," Hikaru grumbled.
"Yes, it was."
"Yes, it was," Hikaru repeated. "There. Happy now?"
"Very," Tamaki said, kissing him.
The rest of the Host Club watched them, Kaoru automatically gravitating towards Kyouya, who wrapped his arms around his waist; Mori gently placing a hand on the nape of Haruhi's neck as she leaned against him; Hunny smiling as Kaoru sent him an affectionate look while Haruhi drew him close to her and Mori.
Hikaru looked at them—the family that he didn't have to love, but did anyway. He knew that the little couple-y dynamics they all had were different. He and Tamaki were together with a vicious certainty, clashing together but loving like they were the only two people in the world. Kyouya and Kaoru were so fucking obvious, all passion and a sense of rightness that he would never admit to the demon lord; like they were fated. And Haruhi and Mori, so calm and grounded and sure and soft. Even Hunny, in his own way, the oldest of the club and single but somehow not alone, fit into the scheme perfectly.
"Merry fucking Christmas," he muttered, smiling. "I need more coffee before we move on to the presents, okay? And next time have Kaoru send the goddamn memos."
A/N: It's a little bit horrifying and wonderful to realize that this is already my fourth Christmas fic. I've been writing even longer than that, but it's a little surprising to realize that the OTNK-verse has endured that long with me (even longer, in fact, since I posted my first Christmas fic a year after OTNK). I'm getting old, aren't I? How awful.
I love you all, gorgeous readers~ Hope you all have a glorious, snuggly, cocoa-filled holiday!