A/N: Yeah, I got kinda lazy. And it was Easter yesterday, and now I'm a blob full of chocolate. Also, it's April Fools today, so happy April Fools! (And Happy Birthday Fred and George) ... (And R.I.P Richard Griffiths. Godamn, I'm going to cry again.)
A shoutout to:
YOUR REVIEWS MADE ME FEEL HAPPY FOR A DAY, SO THANK YOU!
Anyway, thank you so much for your reviews, favourites and follows! Love you all! –air kisses-
Disclaimer: It's not mine. No. NOooooooO.
Not proof-read due to sheer laziness, so watch out for typos and more, scary stuffs
"Akito?" Kyouya mumbles sleepily, his hair ruffled by the sleep supply. These rare occasions were the only times you can witness the boy without a subtle mask. Though on the other hand, if you were intruding on these two, a mask would have been flipped on immediately. Kasanoda and Akito held a fond brother-ship along with Kyouya, conversing freely with others (barely, Akito was the ring leader so he had to reassure everyone in difficult situations, Kyouya was well liked upon, yet displayed a true sense of danger, Ritsu was scary, but when one had the heart to talk to him, his tightly shut doors would break in ecstasy) however, also keeping the deepest and the darkest amongst themselves only.
The first tier members, Kyouya, Akito, Kasanoda, Rex, Nekozawa and the dubbed trio, were now on their second, wonky ride; the train, followed closely by the other members, the ones who star brightly with newly found potential, but have yet to make themselves known. It was quite hard to find undulating members fit to join Chiaroscuro Circus, as first tier were defined to equip some sort of natural ability, alongside a unique beauty found differently in each of them. The train ride was a display of hard work and no pay. For them, it was the worst of rides—rickety and undeserving.
"What is it, Kyouya?" He answers wearily.
His eyes glint in the dim light. "The Cirque de Sourire, who are they?"
Kyouya finds his near-brother yawning softly, a palm coming down to rest on his eye as he rubs it slowly. The elder turns his head to the side to face Kyouya who was looking down at him expectantly. "It's safe to say that we shouldn't be together."
He knew that Akito was referring to the permanent change and decided not to prod on it. "Is the case some clashed rivalry or cumbersome matters?"
"Why the sudden interest, Kyouya?" Akito grunts out as he bends to rise up from his sleeping position. He checks if the train is still moving and snorts amusedly, yet inwardly to himself. Noting the audible darkness which seemed to take place outside, he twists his spine to the side, unbuckling his strain and hearing satisfying clicks to the bone. Then he lies back down and faces the other way.
"I don't blame you." Akito sighed. Then another miserable yawn shot through his tired lips. "To be so young and already hold the burden of being a first tier member. And now, only after a couple of periods, we're first to join with another one. Circus clashes can be messy, you know that, right Kyouya?"
The young boy crosses his legs on firm ground, his back relaxing as he set his palms on his lap. Hesitantly, he nodded at his makeshift older brother. "I suppose I do."
"Didn't expect less," Akito smiled fondly before turning into a solemn expression. "Our circus is sensitive. Surely you pinpointed that out the first minute you accepted my invitation to join Chiaroscuro circus. Everyone here is stoic and their own person, but they are treated well and united with individuals just like themselves. We're only a circus, but—"
"—we're so much more." Kyouya finished himself, nodding. "You told me that, the first time you found me."
"Very good," Akito chuckles. "On display, we're nothing but entertainers, nothing to think of. The audience loves us, but they don't bother to look behind the tricks and fake laughs and trapezes and swings. Have you ever heard of the expression, 'Circuses are for unidentified criminals'?"
"That's a horrible expression."
"But it is a famous one," Akito replied pointedly.
"Forgive me for interrupting," Kyouya frowned. "But I do not see where you're trying to get at."
Akito pursed his lips worriedly, staring at the younger boy at a one-over glance. Dressed in his wearied pajamas that the manager supplied for them at first once running out from a broken house, Kyouya looked tired. Way too tired for a normal teenager cast out in the real world. Yet in the Chiaroscuro, the first fact you have to learn is that no one is normal.
"I don't know what our big boss was thinking," Akito stated. "The Sourire joining us is not good. Not healthy for us, for our younger members—and for our old."
"Akito, what do you mean?" Kyouya pondered, his eyes calculating. "I've heard that they can be barbaric and destructive. Loud and obnoxious, but they deliver flawless acts that can undoubtedly bring a smile to childish lips. Our acts are dangerous and exciting, to move an adolescent to adult audience. The manager must have been thinking along these lines."
"That's not what I mean." Akito presses forward. "Maybe a good deal of our best performance can be labelled as technique and skills, but the rest is our own wellbeing."
There was a small silence.
"You're worried about the performers."
Akito nodded at this, pleased at the quick child already learning his tiny hints. "Have you seen our interaction? You and Kasanoda are the only true friends that I have. The others can be considered strangers to myself, because they either have their own friends or only choose to perform for escape. Every day, I wish I can change that."
Kyouya thought about this. "I think our circus acquaintanceship is fine."
"See?" Akito said exasperatedly. "It's already addled to your mind. "Our Circus is full of criminals, our circus is a jail. No one trusts anyone, and everyone brushes everyone away. We can't be ourselves here. And even if all of this begs to change, we're standing on thin ice. One cautious move can break it—can end our whole Chiaroscuro. This is why the manager doesn't even look us in the eye. We don't even know his name. Half of the circus goes by fake names."
"But if you want this to change, then Cirque de Sourire might be...effective for it." Kyouya says quietly.
Akito merely shakes his head. "Like I said, wrong moves can break the ice. I can't help but stress that the merge won't click. Our members keep to themselves. What if they can't see that? What if they keep pushing us until we snap? All of us are hidden under one mocking facade."
"That would be unfair. They should treat us with respect as we should them. To do differently is a zero tolerance policy for brotherhood."
"The outside world is unfair. Because you've been bound in our little group, you're blind to everything else. Sometimes I...," Akito trailed off before inhaling sharply. Hastily Kyouya reached up and squeezed his bed-warmed hand in reassurance. They were all slaves in a castle. It was always pressuring to anyone when remembering their past.
"Stop talking," Kyouya put kindly. "I'm sorry."
"It's fine." Akito squeezed back. "Our newly found brother circus is playful and can't take anything seriously. We are the exact opposites. They share everything amongst their selves, always smiling like no care in the world. We are disciplined harshly with whips and abuse, but in another sense, they are too, by society. The members there are picked securely."
"How do you know this?" Kyouya asked, surprised.
Before Akito could hurriedly answer, there was an unmistakable groan of wakening and they fell silent as Kasanoda woke up beside them, on the lofty bed rock hard above the rickets of the truck floor.
"Well, look who's up." Akito teased.
"Like I can get any sleep with you two whispering about like some damned chatterboxes. You two gossiping about our partnership? It's what's going around these days." Kasanoda coughed, a grin forming at his lips.
"So you did hear everything." Kyouya mused.
"Very well," Akito said. "What should we do?"
There was a silent pause, and Akito took this time to pull Kyouya up and bring him to his chest, both sheathed under Akito's slightly warmer blankets. Opposite them was Kasanoda whose eyes were twinkling in amusement, and while Kyouya was holding in a protest of being touched so freely, he nodded appreciatively at his fake, older brother, whispering a soft word. He squeezed back, and mused himself in Kasanoda's answer.
"We should stick together." Kasanoda answered quickly. "Trust no one else but ourselves. And-"
"Invite them all for tea and watch a movie or make them sit still so we can explore face paint on them!" Tamaki declared, his feet stacked neatly onto the folds of their carriage queen bed, his face a pure picture of excitement and fury. His friends stared up at him in awe (as he was on the bed, pointing downwards at them) and wondered if their friend was a mistreated human or simply a perfect symbol of stupidity.
"Sempai, are you crazy?" Kaoru supplied. His brother supporting him.
"Yeah, have you not heard of those rumours?" Hikaru shot back. "They're cold and vile bastards. Some people even say that they're enemies themselves!"
Kaoru pointed at his elder. "Imagine a dark setting where there are always harsh fist-fights and positions at stake. Their ring-leader Akito sitting with a grin on his face and hosting ever act with a sword on his hand!"
"Scary!" Honey accused, his arms flailing as Mori hung his hands on Honey's shoulders comfortingly.
"Hey, let's not be rude!" Haruhi told them off, swatting each twin at the back of their head. Ignoring their protests of pain, she stared up at Tamaki, their almighty ring-leader. "Tamaki, you are true to say that they have hearts, and it's irrational to think that they're thieves or murderers and such. They are actual human beings with rights. However, I think we should be careful. Whether they're not, or whether they are dangerous to us, we don't know."
"To speak so logically—" Hikaru whispered behind his hand.
"Even though she's younger than us," Kaoru whispered back, eyes glinting.
"Oh shut up, you two. You're only a few months older than me."
Tamaki's melodramatic gasp filled the room, and brought winces onto every breathing face. "What my daughter speaks of is undoubtedly true! We will do our very, very best to befriend them in every way! Even if that means pushing them off the cliff to deliberately save them!"
Haruhi brought a hand up onto her face.
The train ride had been messy. The plane ride, even messier. Thankfully, both circuses scheduled for a separate plane, as to not obtain any loud encounters or horrible banters. At least the managers thought one thing out, Akito thought bitterly.
Loud snoring was situated beside him, to the left. Kasanoda was too busy taking a snooze. His snores rivalled the sound of pigs getting squashed, and the people in front of them spared them glares over the back of their comfy chairs, in which Akito gave one back in turn. When the glare was at its full effect, the lady huffed and resumed to looking forward, her inner grumblings still aloud. He looked over to his side, on his right, where Kyouya was settled. The young boy seemed to be deep in thought, his gaze looking into the window.
They were well over the clouds now, free and...pfft, free, yeah right. As free as three birds trapped in jail. Christ, how bitter was it when Akito spoke his words. Although he kept it a secret for all these years, he couldn't help but feel guilty whenever Kyouya came into his vision. He used to be a healthy young boy that he'd see with his parents at the markets, looking strangely identical to him as a younger child. He never mustered up the courage to greet him. But when the past struck Kyouya deep, that was years after he'd seen him. And he outstretched a hopefully warm hand in request to joining the circus.
A request of pulling him out of the cage he'd already been, to get trapped in another with Akito and Kasanoda. The ringleader clenched his hands, his mouth worrying into a straight line. Kyouya was now his responsibility, his younger brother. Anyone who dares to hurt Kasanoda would get a right punch in the jaw. Anyone who dares hurt Kyouya, by the by, would be downright praying a death wish by the time Akito finishes with them.
Still wondering over his words, Akito felt a shot of surprise as Kyouya's head was lowered onto his shoulder. Kyouya had fallen asleep. Hesitantly, he rose up his large hand and stroked Kyouya's hair, something he'd felt like he should do whenever the nightmares were intact. Obviously he wasn't having one now, yet, it was something soothing, even for Akito who was still worrying over the Circus de Sourire.
Akito rolled his eyes as another, Kasanoda rested his head on Akito's newly occupied other shoulder, and started to snore his guts out. He placed his other hand on Kasanoda's head and sighed.
They were now in Australia, it was reaching past mid-night by now, and Kyouya was exhausted. Which was slightly disheartening since Akito was the one who had two heavy lumps on either side, preventing him from getting even a wink of sleep last night. While Akito didn't complain, Kyouya and Kasanoda tensed on either side of him, slightly in fear, as one should always be whenever Akito was in that mood. They finally got to ride in actual, safe cars, while their luggage was moved in caravans. They arrived somewhat shortly after two am in the morning, and another perk was labelled.
The first tier members of the Chiaroscuro were introduced to the founder of Cirque de Sourire and the one thing holding them up, rambling on in a speech that went on for about hours until Akito kindly pointed out that the members were tired from the trips. The Senior Suou's words seemed to float through one ear to the other for each member, and once faced with a bed, the other members seemed to fall down and sleep like a rock.
Their room was a complete full house. Oh, the irony. They were in an apartment block, the stupid manager having booked two rooms for the first tier members, one for the girls, and the other for the boys.
"Sorry, my men. I don't want to lose my dignity," Kasanoda said in a rush before taking the last bed from the spot, already dumping his worn-out bed and loud snoring initiated seconds later.
Akito and Kyouya sighed.
"Here you go," Manager Suou cooed. "Since we're already on good terms, the actual members should too."
But he already scurried off. Akito and Kyouya warily eyed each other, then back to the door which held the male, first tier members of the Cirque de Sourire. Kyouya vowed to never talk to Kasanoda again. Kyouya shot him an eerie look which Akito returned.
"I already hate that Suou man." Kyouya whispered.
"Wait till you meet the ring-leader, his son," Akito replied. "Oh wait. We are." The boy deadpanned.
Kyouya huffed, a sigh of exasperation and moved forward, hastily knocking on the door, since someone was too mature to be.
They were greeted with silence. Another knock.
Akito leaned up close to the door, and it opened. Which of course, caused Akito to fall onto the person who opened it.
"Augh!" Two identical cries of distress were sounded.
The loud chitter-chatter was suddenly audible, and as Akito stood up, both of the former circus members winced.
"Ay, that hurt, man." Said a young boy with auburn strands of hair placed on his head. His eyes were strangely gold-ish which left many female audiences mesmerized, Kyouya concluded. His body frame was thin and otherwise flexible-looking, an understandable individual suited for the circus life. He seemed to be frowning at the two intruders. "Who are you guys anyway?"
Akito and Kyouya stayed silent.
"Hikaru, what's wrong?" An identical twin popped up near him, which Kyouya was surprised. Though, being the perfect Chiaroscuro member, he didn't show it.
"Who's at the door?" The smallest one, who looked like he could be thirteen, more or less squeaked out, his loli face stuffed with the remains of chocolate cake that the servitude of the hotel supplied. Beside him was a large, young adult with a mature face that could intimidate any other guy, and set hearts beating for every girl. "Is it Haruhi? It's still so sad how she had to be in another room, because she's a girl!" He complained, and the poker face grunted.
"Hey, stop getting distracted, listen to me, sempai!" Tamaki waved his arms around. "You said you wanted to listen to our hierarchy—"
"Actually..." The sempai said, with a sweat drop forming on his face.
"Haruhi's the daughter, I told you this!"
"Yes, Tama-chan, but!"
Akito slowly turned his head to the side, to face Kyouya who was just as brain-dead.
"And Honey sempai and Mori sempai are the older brothers, and those ghastly twins are the next door, perverted aliens,"
"Hey, Tono!" Hikaru cried out. "If someone as idiotic as you gets to be at the top, then don't Kaoru and I deserve a spot in the family?"
"Fine!" Tamaki snapped. "You can be the dogs."
The twins gaped, and the trio went in a flail attack, shouting repetition towards each other in vain.
"Hmmm..." Honey hummed, a small finger pressed up against his lips. "Families won't really be happy until there's a mummy, right Takashi?"
Before Takashi could grunt, the feared ring-leader finally focused his eyes on the two at the door, his eyes going wide. He suddenly leapt forward, his visible teeth showing. Akito's head went dizzy as it registered Tamaki on the other side, one lurch, and a second later, he was right in front of them.
"And maybe you...," Tamaki's voice suddenly went down a seductive octave, focusing solely on the young boy before him. Kyouya was tall, but Tamaki was taller and his chin was suddenly propped up by two pianist-like fingers, and he was face to face with the ringleader. "You will be the mummy."