Summary: Tamaki thought he knew everything about Kyoya, but there are some things that can't be understood until captured.
A/N: Hello! I've been lurking here for a little while, because even though I am totally fine with Ouran Host Club canon, I do in fact have a secret weakness for sometimes-clueless presidents and seemingly-harmless vice-presidents. Not so secret now I guess but oh well. In an effort to get all my unfinished fics finished, this is semi-fluffy and not nearly as porny as I originally wanted it to be. Maybe next time. It's my first Kyoya/Tamaki, after all.
It wasn't so much the break in the companionable silence as the quality of the sound that alerted Tamaki. Usually he and Kyoya studied without conversing, because Kyoya liked the silence and Tamaki liked the company. Their study sessions in the South Wing atrium, the one that connected to the Ootohri library, were usually quiet and comfortable, interrupted only by the arrival of dinner at eight and the rustle of pages turning. For Kyoya to say anything much at all that wasn't a direct question about which practice question he was up to or what he wanted for supper was unusual in itself, but there was something about the timbre of that 'Oh' that made Tamaki curious. When he glanced over, thinking maybe Kyoya had actually managed to come across something he didn't know about Political History in the Italian Middle Ages, the boy was holding a large yellow envelope, frozen in the process of sliding something out of it. Tamaki supposed the envelope had been delivered when one of the Ootohri servants had brought in the tea a moment ago.
"What's that?" he asked idly, glad for the distraction from his studying, and even more curious when Kyoya's gaze snapped to him like he had forgotten he was there.
And it looked for all the world like Kyoya was debating something with himself for a moment, before he sighed and slid the large white card fully out of the envelope and handed it over. "See for yourself," he indicated, with a small frown, and intrigued, Tamaki dragged his eyes away from his friend and down to the – photo – in his hands.
Looming in the foreground on the left of the large glossily coloured image was Kyoya, and for a moment Tamaki didn't recognise him. He was rugged up in the school's winter uniform, his hair swept askew by an obviously unruly breeze and his cheeks pink from the cold as he stared off at something in the near distance. His unsmiling face was in profile and he obviously had no idea the photo was being taken. Tamaki found himself staring. There was something different about the Kyoya in this picture, something...unguarded, as if he was thinking something Tamaki couldn't even guess at but almost seemed to recognise.
"Oh, nice photo," he said, because it really was. Kyoya could have easily been a model, had he ever wanted to be that idle or managed to be that vacuous. "Who took it?" He squinted at the image, bringing it up closer and realised as he did that Kyoya wasn't the only person in the picture, and that there were people standing in the background, blurred enough and far enough away in the direction of Kyoya's gaze that they were only recognisable by their height and hair. "Hey! I'm in this too! And...is that Haruhi? Wah! She's so cute!"
They had been captured talking together as they walked across the school lawn towards the main hall, and suddenly Tamaki remembered the day so vividly he could almost recall the sound of Haruhi's voice as she spoke. They hadn't been talking of anything of import, just mock tests and assignments, but he couldn't recall being happier all week.
"I have no idea who took it," Kyoya said a little brusquely and snatched the photo back off him, shoving it into the envelope without a second glance.
Tamaki stared after it. "No...idea?" he repeated. "But that's...Well, that doesn't seem right. Who would be taking pictures of you without telling you? Oh, I know! A secret admirer, Kyoya! Or, no, wait. Maybe it's Renge."
"It's not Renge. Renge's in Dresden, and has been for three weeks now. That photo was taken the week before last." Kyoya frowned again; actually this time it was more of a scowl, and bent back over his books as if the unplanned break was finished and the conversation was at an end. The envelope was out of reach, tossed on the floor on the other side of the table.
"Then it must be a secret admirer," Tamaki concluded, and watched as Kyoya's scowl deepened.
"Maybe," he said, but what Tamaki heard was Maybe not.
Tamaki would have liked to say, had anyone asked, that the question preyed on his mind all the next day, but in actual fact he didn't think about it again for several days. It was the Host Club's end of the month session – mythologically themed this time, and Tamaki had chosen the guise of a Fox Spirit, white on red on white, and was enjoying the shocked gasps of the salon's patrons when he greeted them from behind the kitsune mask. The yellow envelope and it's contents were the furthest things from his mind, until Mori, fierce and alluringly dark in his oni costume, and for a moment minus Hunny, who was flitting about on the other side of the room exactly like the Zashiki-warashi he had disguised himself as, appeared at his side.
"My Lord." Mori murmured politely, and Tamaki looked up and smiled indulgently as the conversation around him paused.
"Yes, Oni Mori?" he asked, and the girls either side of him tittered approvingly. Mori didn't even blink.
"This seems to have been left just inside the door," he said, presenting the large yellow envelope. "It's addressed to you."
Tamaki stared at it for a moment, feeling a strange something ripple through him at the sight of it. "Addressed to me?" he repeated carefully. "Did you see who left it?"
Mori handed the envelope over with a brief shake of his head. "No."
Tamaki nodded distantly. "Thanks," he murmured as Mori turned away. He knew he was holding it like it might explode, but at this point in time that didn't seem like such an impossibility and when the glossy colour print finally slid out of the envelope, it was a bit of a bomb after all. This time, he was the one in the foreground, looming large and bright and blonde and almost completely out of focus. He was smiling, talking to someone off camera and he honestly didn't remember the moment, nor recall anyone having pointed a camera at him in the last week or so that he hadn't been posing for to start with, but the fact that his image had been captured without him knowing, when clearly the person taking the photograph must have been standing quite close, was not nearly as surprising as the rest of picture.
In the background, crystal clear and facing unmistakably towards him with an odd, pensive look on his face, was Kyoya.
"Oh! What an interesting photo!"
Tamaki glanced up, startled. He'd entirely forgotten about Suzuki-san sitting beside him on the divan. She placed her cup down daintily on the coffee table in front of them and leaned a little closer, pressing warmly against his shoulder to look.
"Do you know, Tamaki-kun," she mused. "That in some cultures, it's thought that to have a photo taken is to have your soul captured." She reached across him and turned the print a little so that she could see it better. "But personally, I don't think it's your soul that is captured, but your heart."
He looked at her, startled again, and something shifted oddly inside him. "Your...heart?" he repeated, and although he wasn't looking at the photo, he still saw it, like it was imprinted in his memory, the blur of his smile in the foreground and Kyoya's figure, sharp and lonely, in the distance.
Suzuki shrugged and smiled and released the photo to sit back again, although not as far away as she had been a moment ago, Tamaki noted.
"Well," she sighed, waving a hand towards the photo. "What are you thinking in that moment, when the photo is taken? Whatever it is, it's frozen there for anyone to see. If photos were more like books, then perhaps we could read the secret thoughts of your heart, Tamaki-kun."
"...What?" he breathed, and perhaps Suzuki was being poetic, and at any other time he would have thought it marvellously charming, but instead something seemed...strange about those words, too resonant by far, like an echo, like he was hollow and something had just been struck inside him and it was ringing and ringing but he just couldn't hear it... He looked back at the photo again, his eyes fixing to that dark figure beyond, and he almost recognised the expression on Kyoya's face. Its familiarity itched at him like a word on the tip of his tongue.
"Oh, Father. Sorry to interrupt, but if you wouldn't mind- What's that?"
Tamaki looked up, at Kyoya standing there at the end of the divan, smiling faintly, as elegant and aristocratic in his Heian costume as the fabled sorcerer Abe no Seimei whose persona he had chosen had been rumoured to be, and Tamaki had no idea why, but he suddenly felt as if he'd just been caught at something.
"This is- Ah. It was just delivered," he started, holding the photograph towards Kyoya for him to take, because there were certainly no secrets between them and; "Mori said it had been pushed under the door and it was addressed to me, so..."
Kyoya didn't take it, but his eyes swept down to it and perhaps Tamaki was seeing things, but all the warmth seemed to leave his face all at once.
"I see," was all he said. "And this is...the only one?"
Tamaki blinked. "Well, of course it is, Kyoya! I would have told you if..."
Sometimes he was a little slow on the uptake, he knew that, especially in comparison to someone as smart as Kyoya, but the obvious relief with which Kyoya heard that denial started to add up. The photo the other day wasn't the only one he had received.
He wasn't always quick, no, but worse, he couldn't often hide what he was thinking. Kyoya's eyes flickered to his face, saw the understanding there, and widened. And then he was turning on his heel and walking away without another word.
Tamaki stared after him, mouth gaping, for all of about two seconds. And then he was up, off the couch and running after him.
"Kyoya? Kyoya, wait!"
The door to Kyoya's office closed in his face, but it didn't lock. Tamaki decided to take that as a sign, and pushed it open again.
"Kyoya? What's the matter?"
Kyoya was standing at the window, but he was anything but relaxed, if the tension pulling across his shoulders was anything to go by.
"Nothing's wrong," he said, and his voice sounded strained too. "I just remembered something- I had to..." But he trailed off, and Tamaki let himself into the room and shut the door firmly behind him, because Kyoya was clearly upset, and Kyoya was never upset.
"Was it the photograph, Kyoya?" Tamaki asked as gently as he could, venturing carefully closer, but Kyoya was scaring him, and he didn't like the feeling, and he didn't know what to do about it. "Have you been getting others? Is it some kind of threat?"
Kyoya's shoulders hunched a little more, but he didn't turn. "It's not- I don't know. They haven't...made any demands, but they know..."
Tamaki stopped, just shy of touching his friend, because his body language right now screamed for Tamaki to leave him alone, but he hadn't locked the door on him, and he hadn't told him to get out...
Kyoya jumped, like he hadn't realised Tamaki had come so close, and whipped his head around, and he was- His cheeks were- Tamaki stared, but he couldn't seem to speak, and his brain, kick started back out in the main room, was starting to catch on. That odd feeling he'd had before when he'd seen that photo, and the first one too, seemed to not so much shift as turn to dawning surety inside him.
"Kyoya? Why am I in those pictures too?" But he thought he knew, maybe. "What is it someone knows, just by taking a photo of us?"
But he realised even as he said it that he wasn't quite right in that. In the photos, there wasn't an 'us'; Tamaki was there, and so was Kyoya, but not together. Kyoya's brows drew down and his mouth pulled into a thin, forbidding line, and probably no one else had ever seen him look this way, Tamaki realised. Kyoya almost always smiled and he never let on what he was thinking, only what he wanted you to think, but this, like the Kyoya in the pictures, was someone that no one else saw.
No one but him.
Tamaki watched as Kyoya turned away and walked over to the bureau drawer and opened it, and then tossed what he took out across the desk in a sprawling slide of glossy colour that flashed like light in Tamaki's peripheral vision. He dragged his gaze away from his friend and looked down.
Photos. At least a dozen, and in every one of them, upside down or not, he saw himself, and Kyoya, and in every one, Kyoya was looking at him.
"Kyoya?" he breathed, looking up again and he understood, finally, why Kyoya hadn't wanted him to know there had been other pictures. "Do you...like me?"
"No," Kyoya said, staring back, defiant and cool, but what Tamaki heard was, Yes.
And he would have liked to say, had anyone asked him later, that he thought about what he was doing, but in actual fact, he didn't let himself think about it at all, just took two swift steps towards Kyoya and grasped his arms before he could go anywhere else. Kyoya's eyes widened as if he wasn't entirely sure what it was Tamaki was doing, and he leaned away as Tamaki leaned forward but really it wasn't far enough and Tamaki thought about all those pictures of the two of them not together, and thought about the way Kyoya looked at him in them, and wondered why, if a picture held a thousand words, he didn't have any words now for the way his breath caught tight in his chest as he pressed his lips to Kyoya's.
It wasn't a very good kiss; he hadn't actually kissed that many people on the mouth before, just his Aunt Furiko, and his cousin Madeline although they'd been six at the time and that hardly counted. He may have been King of the Host Club, but smiles were what charmed women, brief touches and meaningful looks and sweet words and none of those were good enough right now, were enough at all.
"I like you too," he said against Kyoya's thin lips and Kyoya did pull back at that.
"What?" he demanded, his breath shivering. "You do not."
"You're my best friend; of course I like you!" He would have thought it didn't even need saying, but Kyoya just stared at him, hard and silent for a several long moments, before something darkened in his eyes and his shoulders slumped under Tamaki's hands.
"Tamaki, you don't," he repeated, sounding like an odd, flat note as he took Tamaki's hands from his shoulders one by one, gently and slowly. "I mean, I know you do, but you don't- It's not the same like. I shouldn't have shown you the photos. It doesn't matter now. Let's not worry about it, okay? I'm sure everyone's wondering where you are and-"
"No," Tamaki told him, and dug his heels in when Kyoya began trying to turn him back towards the door, because he meant it. He didn't like the way Kyoya was setting him away, because away was what was in those photos, apart, and there was nothing good about it if that was the way it made Kyoya look.
"I'm not going back out there. What do you mean 'not the same like'? Are you not listening to me? I like you back!" He held on when Kyoya tried to push him gently back again, stubborn because he could be stubborn when he wanted to be and right now he definitely wanted to be. An irritated frown drew Kyoya's brows together behind the thin frames of his glasses and his hands tightened on Tamaki's arms, as if hurting him might do what words of dismissal could not or gentle persuasion could not.
"No!" Tamaki declared again, although what he was declaring against, he wasn't quite sure; against being sent away, against Kyoya saying it didn't matter, against a dozen pictures and distant longing and apart and together and-
And then, quite suddenly, against the desk.
"Fine," Kyoya growled, pushing him back suddenly and out of sheer surprise at the uncharacteristically violent action, Tamaki froze. Kyoya had that same expression on his face that he wore when he was woken up in the mornings, and that wasn't good, probably, and Tamaki was stubborn but he wasn't a fool. He'd gone too far; he always went to far, with his friends, with his Grandam. Maybe he'd really upset Kyoya. He knew how private he was, and not that he'd ever hurt him but maybe he shouldn't have asked about the photos or about liking him or anything... Tamaki opened his mouth to say something, although he didn't quite know what, and then realised how stupid he was to try. Kyoya already knew what he was going to say even before Tamaki did, he always did, and he didn't want to hear it, since he'd gripped Tamaki's shoulders, dragged him towards him and leaned forward, and stopped any half-formed words before he could even voice them with the warm, hard press of his mouth.
And his tongue. Oh, his tongue. It was in Tamaki's mouth, filling it, strange and slick and sinuous and hot and Tamaki tried to pull back and couldn't, because one of Kyoya's hands was holding his head still, and the other still gripped his arm and was pulling him forward even as he was pressing him back against the desk. Behind him, the edge was cutting into the backs of his thighs and Kyoya's body was flush against him, pushing him back further only he had nowhere to go. And then Kyoya shifted, his mouth angling against Tamaki's, his body angling as well until he was pressing between Tamaki's legs, forcing them apart and-
Tamaki felt, right against the tuck of his cock in his pants, underneath his costume, something hard and insistent and, oh, it was Kyoya. His hands clenched on Kyoya's shoulders, and he might have made a sound, but he wasn't sure and he was suddenly dizzy and maybe if he could just breathe, if the push and slide of Kyoya's tongue in his mouth didn't match the way he was moving against him down there then maybe he could think. Oh. Oh...
"Tamaki," Kyoya said, rough against his mouth and then Tamaki was blinking, as if he'd just come from darkness into daylight and Kyoya was still standing pressed up against him, still holding him, frowning at him, but what would he be frowning about? Surely he should be smiling, happy, the way Tamaki felt, almost foolish, delirious...
"Tamaki," he repeated, and there was something flushed in his face and his glasses were a bit askew and his costume headdress was gone and, hey, how had Tamaki's hands gotten tangled in his hair? And more importantly was he supposed to take them out? Kyoya's hair was so soft. He already knew that it was, because it wasn't like the two of them didn't touch each other. Kyoya worked hard for the club, and Tamaki liked him to know it wasn't unappreciated. When Kyoya looked strained, Tamaki rubbed his shoulders. When Kyoya was distracted, Tamaki laid a reassuring hand on his arm. When Kyoya was busy, Tamaki made him tea. It was the way things were, and what kind of friend would he be if he didn't know what tea Kyoya liked to drink, or how all the hidden tension in him hunched his shoulders and made his head ache, if he never noticed how soft his hair was at his nape or how his face looked lost and lonely staring across a school yard at him...
"That's how I like you," Kyoya breathed, and his thumb smoothing lightly against the skin underneath Tamaki's earlobe and he probably didn't even realise he was doing it. "Just like that. Beneath me and moaning and shivering and wanting more. Do you get it now? That's why you should... Err, Tamaki? Why are you laughing?"
Tamaki took a breath, but he couldn't help it.
"You sound like one of Renge's characters," he snickered. "Do you really want all those things?"
Kyoya was back to being faintly annoyed. "Is that not obvious?"
Tamaki grinned. "Okay," he said.
"Okay. Like I like you like that too. Or is that not obvious?" And for illustrative purposes - although admittedly Kyoya was smart and usually much faster than he was – he took Kyoya's hand and put it right on his- "Mmm," he sighed, and smiled when Kyoya didn't move his hand away and stared at him with large, round eyes. "So, I assume you know how to make me moan and shiver and beg for more, etcetera, etcetera?"
Kyoya, somehow, stared even more. "I-" he began faintly, then swallowed. "I'm... sure I could do a reasonable job of it."
Tamaki grinned and wound his arms around Kyoya's neck. "Good," he said. "Because then you can teach me, and then we can both have what we want."
Kyoya looked, well, stunned. But he didn't resist when Tamaki dragged him closer and pressed their lips together again.
"So," Renge said over the phone, tinny with the distance or excitement, and Kyoya shifted the phone to the other ear in the hopes that it was just a bad connection. "Did it work?"
"Renge," he sighed, bending down to pick up the forgotten headdress and placing it on the bureau. "You forget who you're talking to. Although I have to admit, I didn't expect the pictures to turn out to be quite so...revealing."
"Oh, well you did say the best investigator I had, Kyoya-kun. I hope you're not complaining?"
The light, friendly tone of her voice hinted at possible, unvoiced threats. Kyoya winced and made a mental note to send a special operations team after Renge's private investigator in case they had more photos than he had commissioned. It wouldn't do for Renge to get her hands on any material he hadn't personally authorised, not when he couldn't trust her to not publish said material. At best, Tamaki would kill him. At worst, the Club might have to be closed and such an event didn't play any part in his plans for the foreseeable future.
"Of course not," he replied evenly. "I appreciate your help. I am in your debt."
"Oh my God," Renge breathed. "You did it."
"That's a highly personal question, Renge," he reminded. "But if you want a yes or no answer, we can discuss terms. Actual details of course would be additional, and costed depending on how...intimate they were."
He could almost hear the girl vibrating on the other end of the phone.
"Name your price," she agreed, hardly pausing to think about it, and Kyoya smiled into the silence of the now empty office.
"I'll be in touch, Renge," he concluded pleasantly, and hung up the phone, making sure his costume was in order before venturing back outside. Tamaki had left a few moments ago, looking quite flushed and rather happier than Kyoya had ever anticipated. He didn't normally like it when the results of his own schemes surprised even him, but just this time, he could let it pass.