Hikaru slammed his tray down next to his brother, giving him a little scare, but surprisingly, Kaoru gave him a smile that seemed somewhat real. He couldn't tell. "I haven't seen you all day," Hikaru said, feeling a bit lonely. He inspected what Kaoru had chosen for lunch. It was the A lunch, same as Hikaru actually.
Kaoru shrugged, biting into his burger. "My counselor suggested that I have separate classes from you. It's so that I make my own friends or something like that."
"That's what I said!" Kaoru exclaimed, waving his burger at Hikaru.
Hikaru smiled. "Did you get that engineering class you wanted?"
Kaoru shrugged and set the burger onto his tray. "Nah, I decided to take the study hall instead… I would never be as good as Dad anyway."
Not a good sign. Kaoru was being negative again and that led to nothing good. "What about soccer?" Hikaru asked.
Kaoru snorted and turned away. "I haven't done that since…"
"I'm serious here Kaoru! Are you really gonna make me drag you to practice?"
For a moment Kaoru just chewed his food, watching Hikaru uncertainly. "Only if you join too."
"Oh come on Kaoru! I would never miss this for the world! Together, good sir, we will make champions out of this school!" He took a hearty bite of his own burger just as a group of three approached their table. "What do you want?" Hikaru grumped through a full mouth.
Thankfully, Kaoru reverted to the reasonable brother. "Hey guys," Kaoru said to Tamaki, Haruhi, and Kyoya as he rolled a fry between his fingers. "You can join us if you want."
"Good. We were going to do that anyway," Tamaki said as he sat down at their table with the others. "And sorry about earlier… we didn't want to offend." He looked pointedly at Hikaru.
Kaoru came to his rescue again. "Whatever it is, I'm sure Hikaru got over it by now. Right Hikaru?" Kaoru looked at him with such serious eyes, Hikaru wanted to laugh.
Instead he smiled and said, "Yeah, sure, what he said."
Haruhi leaned forward. "So are you two going for soccer?"
Hikaru nodded and nudged his brother. "Yeah, both of us."
She smiled. "Well then Kyoya and I will come and watch the practice."
"If I must," Kyoya sighed as he did something on his phone.
Kaoru walked down the hall after school, feeling absolutely sick to his stomach. The last time he played soccer was a few weeks ago, before Mom and Dad had died. He and Hikaru were practicing with some friends and then slept over at Mori's house. The storm had started soon after.
He imagined what it would have been like if he and Hikaru had gone home instead of the sleepover. They would all be dead right now. What scared Kaoru the most is that sometimes… he wished he had gone.
Sucking in a stuttering breath, Kaoru worked his hands against the straps of his backpack, trying to gain his bearings back. There was nothing to be afraid of. He was good at soccer and he could play it again. He could!
He blinked slowly and walked down the hallway to his locker, quickly dialing his new combination. Slowly, he opened the locker and tried to ignore the staring people around him. Jesus, he was a new student, not a freak show. At their old school, Hikaru and Kaoru had been only known because of the soccer team. Otherwise they had been utterly invisible. Kaoru missed it.
Kaoru shoved his bag into his locker and slammed it shut before heading to the gym locker room. He breathed deeply and pushed the door open.
"Finally!" Tamaki called, turning away from his locker with a pair of white running shorts in hand. Beside him Hikaru was already changing into a similar pair. Tamaki threw the pair at Kaoru which he caught easily. "Those are my extras. You can use them for the day." He threw a spare blue shirt to him too.
Kaoru changed quickly. Was it hot in there?
Kaoru panted, facing Tamaki on the opposite team, wearing the red jersey where he red yellow. His orange hair was plastered down against his brow, covered in sweat, but he had his focus on Tamaki ahead of him. He kept running, keeping the ball at his feet, and dodged around Tamaki.
In his peripheral, Kaoru spotted Hikaru and he quickly kicked a pass to his brother. Hikaru easily took it and ran ahead towards the goal before passing off to another teammate.
They were ahead in the game but just by three points and only needed this one goal to win the game. The adrenaline was flying through Kaoru's veins as he pulsed forward, easily swerving around Tamaki to hurtle at the goal.
Kaoru ran faster as he saw the ball passed to him. He saw his opening and if he could just angle it right… Kaoru caught the ball against his shoe and he ran. Blood pounded to his ears and he could hear the cheering from the sidelines but he funneled his focus at the goalie and the net around him. He aimed and pounded a fierce kick into the ball, sending it flying.
The ball flew, hard and fast, at the goal. The goalie dove, trying to catch it, but it evaded his fingers by centimeters, plunging against the net.
Cheers burst around Kaoru as he panted in disbelief at the net. They won! Kaoru was pummeled into by his brother who shouted his ear. "That rocked Kaoru!" It was almost lost in the voices around him.
Kaoru laughed, feeling alive, as his team wrapped around him happily. Hikaru took him by the shoulders. A deep happiness was in Hikaru's amber eyes that Kaoru felt himself. "Now they have to let us on the team!"
"They better!" Kaoru hollered back. He was buzzing with energy.
"No one has ever beat Tamaki," someone said.
Someone pushed through. It was Tamaki and he held out his hand to first Hikaru and then Kaoru. Kaoru shook his hand and Tamaki said, "Great game."
"Welcome to the team," the coach said from behind the other students.
Kaoru smiled at Hikaru. Things could get better, he supposed.
Arriving home at 5, Kaoru pressed the key into the lock but he was surprised to find the door was already unlocked. He pushed inside and kicked off his shoes at the door before running up the stairs. He swung his bag off just inside his bedroom door before collapsing onto his bed, facedown.
He smiled and rolled over, pulling his ratty old phone from his pocket. He opened up a new text to Hikaru.
It's about time something good happens to us.
Kaoru pushed send, zipping it off to his brother, before laying back and just looking at his phone. He knew that Dad would be proud of him if he was still around. Mom would too but she would've said something like, 'Just make sure you aren't slacking on your homework,' or something like that. He missed that stuff that used to make him roll his eyes.
"Where have you been?" a gruff voice asked.
Kaoru gasped and sat up fast. Ryota stood in the hallway by Kaoru's doorway, fixing him in a low glare. "I-I tried out for soccer," Kaoru stumbled to say.
Kaoru swung off his bed and approached the man slowly. "I would have called to let you and Emi know if I had the house number or something," Kaoru said, opening his old phone. He hoped the man would just give him the number and leave him alone.
Ryota suddenly yanked the phone out of Kaoru's hands and threw it down the banister to the floor below, just next to the stairs. Kaoru's heart faltered when he heard a hard crack when it landed.
"Ask Emi about it," Ryota said with a glare. Then he trudged off without an explanation.
When he was gone, Kaoru slowly approached the banister in the hallway and peered down at the first floor where his phone had disappeared. Dad's phone was ruined.
I know, I know! I suck big time because of my slow updates. At least I am updating this story at least once a week. My other story, Sanity's Edge, isn't even getting that. Stupid work/school/social life combo! It wasn't this bad last semester. Motivate me, sweet reviewers. I got a lot of urgent reviews and messages to keep updating. I suggest you continue to get on my case. It helps, believe me. I will try to increase the updates. I will be finishing my other 2 ongoing stories soon, so once that happens, this story will fly.