People have always wondered about Kaoru and me, ever since we joined the Host Club and began our "brotherly love" act. It was never like that though. It was just a show we put on to excite the ladies. I mean, sure, I love Kaoru more than anyone else in the world, but not in that way. It's been fun though. Flirtatiously teasing your twin brother and watching him go pink, much to the delight of the ladies, and to my delight as well. Kaoru was simply precious when he got all pink and flustered! Even if it was just an act. Anyways, we had our fun with it, but it was never serious.
Then today, it happened. Kaoru and I were entertaining a group of girls when he began to act bashful about a comment I'd made. That was my cue. I played right along with it, gently turning his blushing face back towards me and leaning in close, murmuring in a seductive voice.
Then, the hushed silence that usually dominated the atmosphere of brotherly love created by Kaoru and me was broken by a stuttering female voice.
"I'm so sorry Mori-san, I-I'll pay for- I mean not that- I'm so very sorry Mori-sempai, sorry, sor- Oh!"
Something slammed into my back. It wasn't very hard, just a light shove really, but it sent me tipping forward.
Then before I knew it, I was kissing Kaoru. It was a complete accident, ok?! It was all that girl's fault! Some new customer who spilled tea on Mori's uniform. If she hadn't begun walking away backwards from Mori as she attempted to apologize, she never would have walked straight into me, and I never would have careened forward and planted one on my brother. My brother and I are two very in control, coordinated human beings, and we always know where to draw the line. We would never have slipped up and fallen into a kiss! But thanks to that one clumsy girl, we did.
The squeals in the room reached a noise level I'd never heard before, which I probably would have relished—if only to mock Tamaki—had I not been a bit, well, distracted.
Our eyes identically wide with shock, Kaoru and I leapt apart as soon as we realized what was happening. I could see that his face had turned beet red, and I could feel that mine had too.
As soon as we burst apart, the squeals were joined by dejected cries because the kiss had been too brief for the girls to snatch pictures with their cell phones.
That's one good thing at least, I thought shakily as I took a moment to recover. These girls won't be able to show the rest of the school what happened.
As I pulled myself together, I observed the same stunned look on Kaoru's face that I'm sure was present on mine.
Then, at the exact same time, we both gave our biggest grins and loped our arms around each other. We were back in the swing of it.
"We're so sorry, ladies," I said dramatically.
"We hope we haven't offended you with our display," added Kaoru.
"My brother is simply so… delectable, wouldn't you all agree?"
Our crowd—which had now practically tripled in size (we'd drawn in almost all the other customers because of our kiss)—shrieked at this comment, and many shouted their agreement. As I'd expected, Kaoru's cheeks blossomed with modest color and he looked away.
"Hikaru, you mustn't say such things, you're embarrassing me," he objected with mock shyness.
"I'm sorry, Kaoru. I can't help it if our guests are jealous of me because I've had a taste of you and they have not," I replied mischievously. His blush became fiercer and I smirked, knowing I'd won this round.
Kaoru locked eyes with me. His glance was partially still embarrassed, partially scolding, and partially amused.
This isn't a competition, Hikaru, he was thinking. I could tell. We'd become very good at silent communication over time, as you may well imagine.
Life is a competition, my dear Kaoru, and this round belongs to me, I thought back triumphantly. His mouth quirked upwards (this is always what happens when he restrains the urge to roll his eyes). Sending a bold wink in my twin's direction, I turned back to the ladies and Kaoru and I continued to entertain them as if nothing at all had happened.
After the Host Club let out for the day, with the girls even more reluctant to leave than usual, the other hosts pounced on us before we could leave.
"Decided to take things to a new level, did we?" was Kyoya's comment, smirking plainly. "Well, it will be good for our business profits, so I have no objection."
I'm sure Tamaki would have had a few choice things to say, but he was rolling on the floor with laughter, tears of joy spilling from his eyes in waves. Kaoru and I crossed our arms with displeasure and merely glared at him for a moment, before the others drew our attention away.
Honey was his usual sweet, energetic self.
"Well you two sure got a lot of attention because of the kiss, didn't you? I bet you'll become the two most popular hosts from now on!" he exclaimed from atop Mori's shoulders. Kaoru and I locked eyes, minds whirling as one.
"That's true," we chorused.
"We stole away every single one of Tamaki's princesses today," I said.
"And they sure seemed to enjoy themselves with us!" Kaoru contributed.
"All of Tamaki's regulars will probably switch over to us now!" we exclaimed in conclusion.
Tamaki ceased his antics as our words sunk in. Not a moment later, he was sitting, gray and frozen, in a lonely little corner. Kaoru and I high-fived, grinning brightly.
"Popularity like this isn't likely to last," disagreed Haruhi calmly. "I mean, sure, the girls might stay excited for a while by the memory of it, but things will return to normal soon enough."
And just like that, Tamaki was up and smiling again.
"That's right!" he crowed triumphantly. "Listen to the honors student, boys! Your fame shall be short-lived, whereas my princely charm…" He paused to run a hand dramatically through his golden hair. "…will never stop pleasing the princesses."
Kaoru and I stuck our tongues out at Haruhi. We'd already known what she said—it was obvious really—but she didn't have to point it out to the Boss.
Side-stepping Tamaki, Mori approached us and said stoically,
"I'm sorry about what happened. I can only feel that I am to blame."
"Nah, don't worry about it, Mori," Kaoru replied kindly. "It wasn't your fault. Besides..."
"There's no need to apologize for what happened in the first place!" I completed. "After all…"
"We both got to kiss the most attractive person in the room!" we exclaimed exuberantly, winking at all our friends as we threw our arms around each other.
Kyoya rolled his eyes and returned to his accounting book, Honey giggled, and even Mori cracked a small smile. Tamaki looked personally affronted, and he was clearly about to argue, when he caught sight of Haruhi's expression. She was smiling affectionately at us, no sign of disagreement with our bold statement.
Tamaki, being the drama queen he is, took this to mean that she did in fact agree with the statement (which is an absurd assumption to make). And before we knew it, he was back in his little lonely corner of misery. Haruhi, not understanding his sudden mood, was immediately concerned, but Kaoru and I—after sharing a look—decided not to divulge the reason. Those two can certainly be rather thick about each other's feelings, not to mention their own.
It was at that point that Kaoru and I finally escaped the Host Club and made our way home together. Though we were able to remain normal on the ride home, as soon as we stepped through the doors into our gigantic foyer, things changed. We fell silent and snuck embarrassed glances at one another, as if the big house was shaming us for our accidental kiss. It wasn't, of course. We just didn't know how to handle the elephant in the room. So we made our way up to the hallway with our bedrooms and stopped at the door to mine, since it's closer to the stairs. Usually one or the other of us would have suggested some sort of activity for us to do together by now, but instead, we are enclosed in silence.
And that's where I am now.
I glance at Kaoru. His hands are in his pockets and he sways back and forth a bit. He looks up to meet my eyes and smiles sweetly at me. I can't summon the strength to pull out a smile, but I admire him for it. He really is rather cute like that. I can see what the girls find so appealing.
"I'm just going to catch up on some studying," he says to me.
The world is suddenly cold and gray. Everything around me has frozen and my heart has shattered inside of me. Studying is the one thing I'll never do with him, so he never studies until after dinner. We always, always always always, spend time doing things together as soon as we get home from school. I know in this moment that nothing will ever be the same between us, all because of that damned kiss!
Kaoru looks like he wants to say something else, but he doesn't. He just turns and walks to his room, a slight blush creeping into his cheeks. I watch him disappear into his bedroom, though he doesn't look my way again. I scowl.
I twist the knob to my bedroom with unnecessary force and slam the door behind me. Gritting my teeth, I run and leap onto my bed. There's a book still lying on my bed from last night that I grab and begin to read with a vengeance. I don't really absorb the words at all, which is strange. I love to read. I read every day. But today I just can't focus.
Soon enough it's time for dinner, but I take it in my room. I try not to picture Kaoru's look of sadness when I don't show at the table.
I spend the rest of the afternoon locked up in my bedroom, reading or daydreaming. Mostly daydreaming. Sprawled out on my huge bed, arms folded beneath my head, staring up at the ceiling as if it were the night sky full of stars. It's not, but I wish it were. Maybe my parents will put in a retractable roof if I ask them to.
When the time rolls around to go to sleep, I toss and turn unhappily. It strikes me suddenly how much I truly need my brother. I already knew that, obviously, but I guess I didn't realize that I couldn't even last an afternoon without him.
I miss Kaoru. Already I miss him. He's my brother, partner, and best friend. He's my other half, almost literally. Well, more like my double I suppose, based on looks. But not in terms of personality.
When we're together, Kaoru and I work perfectly as one. We speak in unison, are equally crazy and fun, and enjoy stirring up the same amount of trouble. But when we're not acting like one person, our differences come out. Kaoru is sweeter and gentler than I am. He likes to draw and study. I've got more of a smart mouth and a temper. I like to read and daydream.
I like Kaoru better. I love Kaoru. And I miss him desperately. I want to see him smile and tell me to stop my worrying and fussing.
Just like that I decide not to wait until tomorrow to see him. I climb out of bed, the air cool against my bare chest, and pad over to the door. Exiting it, I immediately head down the corridor to Kaoru's room. This is a familiar trek to me. We often spend the night together.
His door makes not the slightest sound as I push it open. I can't hear any soft breathing, which means that Kaoru must still be awake.
Without speaking, I make my way to his bed and climb under the covers. Kaoru turns over and faces me, his amber eyes meeting mine.
"Why… did you come tonight?"
His words are calm and quiet, but I know him well enough to detect the sound of hurt in his voice.
"I'm sorry I didn't come to dinner." From the flicker in his eyes I know I've hit the nail on the head. "I was… upset."
"I know. I shouldn't have gone off to study." He hit the nail on the head too. "I just didn't know what else to do, Hikaru. It was so… strange. I know it was an accident but… I needed some time to myself, to think."
"What did you have to think about?" I ask. "This doesn't change anything between us. It was just an accident, like you said. Alright? Nothing has changed. And I… I came tonight because I missed you, Kaoru. It doesn't feel right for us to be separated."
"I know. I know."
Reaching out, I drape an arm over Kaoru's waist and scoot closer to him. I close my eyes, allowing myself to breathe in the quiet of his room. Here, my thoughts don't clamor quite so loudly. His presence puts my mind at rest.
For a moment anyways. Then suddenly an image of our accidental kiss leaps unbidden to my mind. A shiver runs through me but… it isn't wholly unpleasant. In fact, it leaves a strange tingling sensation. What is that about?
My pulse is racing. I've become strangely hyperaware of Kaoru. The feel of his bare skin beneath my arm, the closeness of our bodies, the warmth emanating from him, his soft, delicate breaths. My eyes shoot open. Now I'm focusing also on the shadows resting on his pale face and the contours of his hair. I wonder if his hair is as soft as it looks… Logically I know it should be, since I've got the same hair, but still, I want to check…
I jolt out of my thoughts. I even give my head a little shake to snap out of it. If Kaoru notices, he doesn't comment.
"Have you ever kissed someone before?"
His question surprises me.
"Of course not! You'd know if I had," I answer. An expression of guilt appears on his face. My stomach sinks.
"Kaoru, have you… ever kissed someone?"
His cheeks flush and I can see him trembling slightly. "It wasn't on purpose, I… I didn't kiss her, she just… she just kind of… Well… It was just that one time anyways!"
I feel betrayed. Understandably so, I think. But why do I also feel sick to the stomach? Why do I feel annoyance towards this girl, whoever she is? There's something else too, but I can't place it. I shove those feelings aside, focusing on the only one that makes any sense. Betrayal.
"Why didn't you tell me?" I ask harshly. "I thought we told each other everything!"
"I wanted to tell you, Hikaru, I did! I'm… I'm so sorry I didn't. I just didn't know how."
"When did this happen? We're hardly ever apart; how could I not have seen?"
"It was at the last Host Club party. You were off with a few girls, grabbing punch for them, and I… well this girl just came up and kissed me. Please, don't be angry with me! I'm sorry, I'm sorry I didn't tell you. Forgive me, please."
"I…" I don't want to forgive him. And yet I do want to forgive him. His scared and innocent expression is breaking my heart. I don't want him to ever look like that, and I can't bear to be the cause of it. "I forgive you, Kaoru. I just… wish you'd told me."
He seems to have calmed down, but I can still see the guilt clear as day. I need to distract him from that feeling.
"Did you… like it?" I ask, straining to get the words out. I'm not so sure I want to hear the answer, but the question is already out there, so I just grit my teeth and wait.
He contemplates it. Finally he replies, "I don't know. I couldn't really tell anything; it was over so quickly."
"Like ours," I say immediately. I regret the words as soon as they're out of my mouth. I didn't mean to bring up our kiss! In fact, I was hoping that it would never be brought up again!
"Yes," Kaoru agrees simply, meeting my eyes, "Like ours."
Our eyes stay locked upon each other's, and I feel my heart begin to race again. I feel as if Kaoru can see through my eyes all the way into my soul. He knows everything about me. But can he tell the strange way that my body is responding to him right now? I can even feel my palms beginning to sweat.
My eyes flick down to his lips. They flash quickly back to his eyes, embarrassed by their action, but it was there. Now I understand. In that one glance at his lips I understand the emotion I was struggling to place earlier.
I was feeling possessive. Of Kaoru. It feels much different than when I got possessive over Haruhi when her old school friend showed up. With Haruhi I felt abandoned, hurt, unloved. The idea of her having other friends made me feel jealous because I suddenly felt unimportant. But with Kaoru… I feel angry almost, not because I feel unimportant, but because Kaoru belongs to me. Simply that. No one else has the right to touch my things, and Kaoru belongs to me. Just as I belong to him. That's how it is, and exactly how it should be.
My eyes are gazing into his once again. My heart is pounding as my head reels from what I've finally come to understand. And now that I've admitted to those feelings, there is even more that becomes clear to me.
I want to kiss Kaoru. I want to see him genuinely blush because of me, and I want to feel his lips on mine again. Our first kiss was so short and I wasn't really focused on how it felt. But looking back on it now makes my skin tingle and my stomach flutter. That has to mean something, doesn't it? Well I have to kiss him to find out.
Steeling my nerve, I lift my hand from his waist and place it on his face. His eyes widen in surprise as my thumb, trembling, strokes his cheek gently.
"H-Hikaru?" he manages. I swallow my fear, deciding to act confident about what I'm doing. I give him our characteristic Hitachiin brother smirk.
"Don't you wonder what a real kiss would be like, Kaoru? One that lasted longer?"
"But… but you're… you're Hikaru! And I'm… the one that is not Hikaru is me."
"You're Kaoru," I correct softly. His obvious hesitancy has calmed me down for some reason. Now I just want to convince him that I'm right. I want to… seduce him, I realize. But I don't know how! I won't be able to seduce Kaoru the way that I seduce the ladies in the Host Club, and I don't know how else to do it!
I make my decision quickly. I don't know how to seduce my brother, so I'll just have to prove that I'm right by showing him.
My thumb still caressing his cheek and the rest of my fingers curled around to hold the back of his head, I quickly lean forward, pressing my lips to his. Though I have no experience with this, I am still the same Hikaru who can charm stars into any ladies' eyes, and I decide to trust my instincts.
When I first press our lips together, the kiss is forceful. After a second, I allow my lips to relax against his. Slowly and softly, I move my lips against Kaoru's. His lips are soft and full, to match mine. Electricity shoots through my body and it feels so good that I never want to stop.
But I do. I pull away after a few moments to gauge his response. The fact that he didn't pull away first seems positive, but he also wasn't entirely responsive to the kiss.
When I look at him, his eyes are still closed and his cheeks are perfectly flushed. I can feel the heat in my cheeks as well. I don't think either of us got that way from blushing. This heat is of an entirely different kind.
Slowly, his eyes flutter open and he looks at me. I feel my heart racing nervously. What if he didn't like the kiss the same way that I did? What if he thinks that it's wrong, because we're brothers, twins?
I've already made up my own mind. I didn't even have to think about it. I don't care what society thinks. And certainly the girls at school don't seem to think it's bad. That doesn't matter anyways. The point is, why shouldn't I be allowed to love Kaoru? It makes perfect sense. He is my best friend. He is the one person I could never survive without. He is my better half, and I love him more than anything in the whole world. Isn't that what love is? I think it is. Especially considering this tingling in my skin that still hasn't gone away. I love my brother. That's all there is to it.
But does Kaoru feel the same?