Kyouya woke up late on a Sunday morning with a headache.
This in itself was not new. His habits of staying up late to work meant he often slept in on weekends, and the eye strain that accompanied staring at a laptop in the middle of the night caused headaches that carried over into the next day.
However, he never slept in his street clothes, above the blankets, nor did he often clutch his pillow to his chest like a child.
He groped for his glasses, found them on the bedside table, put them on. The world swam into painful focus. He looked down at himself, noting that yes, he did go to bed in his blue jeans, and a soft, green shirt with a pattern on it that he found unfamiliar.
Kyouya paused. With every moment, he was growing more certain that he'd never seen the shirt he was wearing before in his life. A man knows his own clothes, even if his wardrobe was subject to periodic raiding.
He looked around his bedroom, and leaned to get a view through his door into the apartment beyond. Nothing appeared out of place. He got slowly, unsteadily to his feet, swallowed thickly, and tottered to the bathroom. This, too, seemed quite normal. He slipped his glasses off again, bending to wash his face in a little cool water.
And remembered Tamaki saying something about how, since they were in America, they ought to live like the locals. That meant a commoner house party, with some of the students from the university Haruhi was attending.
Kyouya, face washed, turned off the water and pressed his face into a cool, dry towel. It had been a loud and busy place, with commoners seeming to crawl out from under the floorboards, packing into communal areas to drink and dance and laugh. He'd been given a red cup of punch and had sipped at it to appear polite.
He rubbed his forehead, coming to the slow and damning conclusion that he was, in fact, hung over.
His phone rang.
He jumped, then crossed the room to pick it up, squinting at the display. Not only did he have an incoming call, he also had six voicemails and thirty-two text messages. And fifteen e-mails.
Kyouya decided he couldn't listen to Tamaki just that instant and ignored the call. He flipped through the texts instead.
The ones from the night before started out as variations on "Where are you?", but as the night wore on they progressed to, "Did you leave?" and finally, "Call me Sunday!"
The voicemails were similarly nonsensical, Tamaki's chatter drowned out by the party noise. He must have gotten separated from him, and the moron panicked.
He sighed, ready to delete them all, when he saw the last voicemail was from Kaoru.
Kyouya narrowed his eyes and listened.
"It's Kaoru. You're going to want to call me first, okay? No matter what anyone else tells you. I'm doing you a favor."
With a half-swallowed groan, Kyouya called.
"Morning, sempai," answered Kaoru. "I'm surprised you're up this early."
"What happened," asked Kyouya flatly. "If you don't tell me-"
"You'd have to figure it out on your own, and I'm the only one who was sober enough to remember it."
Kyouya paused. Then said, "Kaoru. What happened?"
"You got wasted. Everybody was surprised. I mean, you're a pretty decent sized guy, for being unable to hold your liquor."
Kyouya winced. He hadn't remembered drinking all that much, though the night was coming back to him. It had been a cup, to be polite.
"And then you disappeared. Do you want to know where you went?"
"Did we fuck, Kaoru," he asked, dark and flat.
Kaoru laughed. "No, we didn't. But you went off with some other redhead. That mass-produced piece of shit you're wearing is his. If you haven't changed out of it yet."
Kyouya pinched the bridge of his nose. Hard. "And you're angry?"
"I admit, it pissed me off you dropped me like a hot rock. But I guess he was more your type, and who am I to compete with a third-class nicotine addict?"
Kaoru laughed again, though this one was softer. "Don't worry. I won't tell a soul. It's your new boyfriend you have to worry about. Nice hickey, by the way."
Kyouya heard, dimly, the sound of Kaoru hanging up, but he was busy probing the side of his neck with his fingertips. When he found the sore spot, high behind his left ear, he growled.
With a sudden lurch, his stomach twisted. He didn't yet have the strength to be furious, nor the willpower to direct his fury outside himself. So he drank two cups of cold water, looking at himself in the mirror, willing the shirt he wore to give up its secrets.
It did smell a little like smoke, since Kaoru mentioned it. It had no tears, no stains, but the neck was stretched and the shoulders were loose around his own. A redhead in a green shirt.
It was too early for this. He headed for the kitchen, for another glass of water and a bowl of old rice. Why he'd chosen to live in an apartment by himself, uncatered, without servants nor security, he couldn't really decide. It seemed right, for a man heading into his adulthood, to take some time and live on his own to prove that he could. When the majority of his actions were undertaken to prove his strength, he was admittedly rather desirous of challenges.
Kaoru had been a challenge, in the beginning. A challenge to hold at arms' length, to keep in the realm of physical and professional, not emotional. He knew he could never really adore him, but the sex had been pretty good and that, for a high school boy, was all he really needed. But Kaoru, in the way of gentler, younger boys, had begun to care.
Hell, they hadn't so much as had a moment alone for nearly a year. It wasn't as though Kyouya had done anything to intentionally hurt him. But there was Kaoru, making unnecessary drama.
It was difficult for Kyouya to reminisce fairly with a splitting headache. He gave himself that much.
A redhead in a green shirt. Now in a gray shirt. His gray shirt. He'd liked that shirt.
He flipped through his phone on the off chance he'd gotten a number, gotten something, but. He couldn't remember the guy. Not his face, not his name. He remembered the smell of him, cigarette smoke and skin and soap, not cologne, just soap. Who had he been?
His phone chimed in his pocket.
He pulled it out, and the screen display read: "Meet me for lunch? You have my favorite shirt."
After a moment's hesitation, he responded. "1pm? I haven't washed it."
He had another swallow of water, waiting. Then, with a frustrated grunt, pulled the shirt off over his head. He needed to shower. To get into his own clothes again.
The phone vibrated, the display reading, "Not a problem. Santa Maria's?"
A taco shop. Classy, especially after a night of drinking. Kyouya let out a sigh, his faint hope that this might go well withering. He responded, "Fine."
It wasn't until halfway through his shower that he started to remember, bits and pieces. He'd stopped because he had to go home, couldn't spend the night in a stranger's house with a man he'd never met, having some tiny inkling of self-preservation. But he'd started because he'd wanted to, kissing a stranger just to feel him respond.
Cursing himself, Kyouya dried, dressed, and headed out into the early afternoon. For the extent of damage control he had planned, he wished he could have at least remembered the cause completely.