"Do you have your bag?" Kaoru is perched on the windowsill, twirling his wand between his fingers: the acacia wood is a rich brown in the sunlight, a warm note in his peripheral vision as he watches the way the water from the fountain catches rainbows in the morning light.
"Kaoru!" Hikaru is loud, as always, but Kaoru doesn't really mind. He glances over to see his twin's impatient expression, smirking as he stops the wand spinning with a flick of his wrist.
"Of course I have it," he says, slipping the wand into his sleeve as he reaches into the pocket of his blazer for a miniature shoulder bag, reduced in size so that it seems more befitting of a doll than a fifteen year old boy.
"Show off," Hikaru says, elbowing Kaoru affectionately in the ribs even as he slips his own wand out of his sleeve, hawthorn, the wood shining red in the sunlight as he shrinks his own bag to match.
"Haruhi!!!!!" They both turn their heads to glance down the hallway, where somewhere in the depths of the school, Tamaki is complaining yet again about the fact that his career day placement isn't with Haruhi. Hikari rolls his eyes, but Kaoru knows he's secretly disappointed as well, even though they were both pretty excited when they opened their crow post.
"Psst." There's a rustle from the curtains across the room, and Kaoru can't help but laugh when he spots Haruhi peeking through the heavy velvet folds. "Have you seen Kyouya anywhere?"
Kaoru watches, amused, as Hikaru shakes his head. Haruhi sighs and steps into the room. "I got the portkey," she says, which explains the ofuda she's holding. When Kaoru squints, he can make out the first letters: "Cast—"
"Let's go," Kyouya says, stepping into the room as a painting swings shut behind him, the geisha staring appreciatively at his backside, not that he's paying her any attention at all. He's peering at a tablet, fingers tapping across the touchscreen, and Kaoru wonders, not for the first time, what it would be like to be in charge of such a huge Muggle conglomerate.
"Boring," Hikaru says, speaking his thoughts out loud. He pulls their ofuda out of his pocket; a little crumpled but not really worse for wear, and they watch as the delicate brushstrokes in the corner count down the time.
10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1—
Kaoru sees a flash of blond hair from the corridor, Tamaki's mouth open in complaint but his fingers are clutching Hikaru's and they disappear in a swirl, that uncomfortable tugging sensation of the portkey dragging them off to today's destination, stomach first and the rest of them trailing out behind.
It's entirely black when they get to wherever they're going; London is what Kaoru remembers from the crow post but he also knows that London is a large city area made up of smaller boroughs, never mind the distinction between the Muggle and wizarding districts. Wherever they were going though, it definitely wasn't supposed to be night time—or was it? He's counting back the hours on his fingers, trying to stare through the darkness that doesn't seem to be an absence of light at all but instead the profusion of something black, filling the air, when a faint flash of red light flashes against the powdery substance, Hikaru's faint murmur of "tempus" tickling his ear:
"Psst," a voice says from Kaoru's right, before he's had time to process the fact that yes, it is in fact an hour before yesterday midnight.
"Yes?" he hums, fingers still wrapped in Hikaru's hand—the ofuda crumpled between their fingers, the portus spell expired—when he realizes that he has no idea who is whispering.
"Lumos," he blurts out, startled, wand slipping from his sleeve to fall into the comfortable grasp of his hand as he loses touch of Hikaru, but even though he can see the light glowing at the tip of his wand, the darkness refuses to budge.
"Sorry," another voice, remarkably like the first, adds from somewhere ahead of him, and Kaoru blinks at the strange quality of the word before he remembers the translation spell that he and Hikaru had cast earlier that morning, as part of the day's preparations.
"Fred here got a little carried away with the Peruvian darkness powder," the first voice, the one to his left, says, and there's a warm breath on Kaoru's ear before a warm hand rests on his shoulder. "I'm assuming you and your brother next to you are Hikaru and Kaoru?"
"Kaoru and Hikaru," Kaoru corrects, out of contrary habit; the person resting a hand on his shoulder must be George, if Fred is the one somewhere ahead of him.
"Pleased to meet you," George says, and he sounds amused. "I'd love to shake your hand, but little Freddie here accidentally blew up a crate of good old Peruvian just before you were due to arrive and we're currently trying to find our way out of the back room."
Kaoru isn't holding Hikaru's hand anymore, having left go in order to go for his wand earlier, but he still knows exactly where his twin is, just to his right and currently hovering between highly amused and slightly disgruntled.
Kaoru is just opening his mouth to—he's not sure what exactly, but just then, Fred ahead of them lets out a cheerful whoop. There's the sound of a door opening, before a rush of wind swirls around the room, dispersing the darkness powder into more of a dull gloom than pitch blackness, and Kaoru blinks as the room fades into focus.
"Yuck," Hikaru says beside him, running his tongue over his lips where a fine layer of black dust has settled; Kaoru runs a tongue over his own bottom lip in a reflexive motion as a response, and makes a face, but he's distracted by the sooty taste by the shelves and shelves of half-finished pranks lining the walls.
"Wow," he says, scanning the random objects that range from what looks like a Muggle toaster, only bright purple and emitting green sparks at odd intervals, to a clock that instead of ticking from second to second and minute to minute, instead points to phrases like "tea time" and "get out of homework".
"Pasty?" Fred offers, red hair brighting in the light from the overhead lamps as the haze of the darkness powder continues to dissipate. Hikaru is already absently reaching out, fingers hovering over the dish, when Kaoru knocks his hand out of the way.
"Hey!" Hikaru glares at him, but Kaoru only smirks at Fred.
"Puking pasty?" he asks, eyebrow quirked. Next to him, George laughs, the sound echoing through the room and startling a flock of miniature paper bats that detach themselves from a corner of the ceiling and flutter across the beams of lamplight.
"I like you already," Fred says. Kaoru doesn't have to glance to his side to know that Hikaru is scowling, or use legilemens to know that his twin is secretly just as delighted as he is.
"Our career day is going to be brilliant," he says, and reaches out to shake Fred's hand, but not before checking to make sure that his palms are bare of tricks.
"Oops," George says, when Kaoru's skin starts to turn green anyway. "That's where the chameleon lotion went."