Tamaki Suoh comes into Kyouya's life like a whirlwind of colorful emotions and limitless energy. He takes everything Kyouya knows, everything he's sure of, and turns the Universe on its head.

In other words, annoying.

He was hyperactive and clingy and he just wouldn't. Leave. Kyouya. Alone. Kyouya tried to get rid of him, tried to make Tamaki see that he didn't want him around, but none of it seemed to sink into Tamaki's thick skull.

Maybe all that blonde hair of his was cutting off circulation to his brain.

Tamaki brought out uncomfortable emotions Kyouya tried to bury deep in his heart.

Tamaki made things change. He made things different. He popped that little plastic bubble that kept him safe and isolated. A part of Kyouya resented him for that. But a part of him was grateful- he was something new, a distraction from whatever fresh and painful bruises he came to school with that day.

(His best-kept secret- the head of the prestigious and respected Ootori family beat his youngest child.)

He never breathed a word of his troubles, even when Tamaki opened up about his own.

"I'm not allowed to see my mother anymore," Tamaki said, far more solemn than he usually was. "My grandmother says she's a bad mother, and I'm better off without her. And I miss her."

Kyouya pitied Tamaki, the way one might pity a homeless puppy. But he didn't particularly care- why should he concern himself with the problems of some blond twat he only hung out with because his father wanted him to?

At least, he tried to tell himself that.

"Kyouya, something wrong?"

Tamaki tugged on his shirtsleeve, inadvertently hitting a sore spot on his arm. Kyouya shot a foot in the air with a howl of pain.

"Damn it, Suoh!" he growled. "Watch what you're doing!"

Tamaki's eyes were full of innocent confusion. He lifted the cuff of his uniform jacket and blanched at the ugly, yellowing bruises that twisted around his wrist like thorny vines.

"Kyouya…"

"They're none of your concern," Kyouya said bluntly, tugging his sleeve back down over them. "I had an accident. That's all you need to know."

Tamaki pressed his lips into a line, but let the matter rest there.

"Y'know, Kyouya, you're my best friend. If you wanna talk about something-"

"I'll come to you first. We've been over this, Suoh."

Tamaki broke out in a wide grin, then captured Kyouya in another of his spine-breaking hugs.