Series: Three Cities
Title: Paris: An Experiment in Gravity
Pairing: Eventual Hikaru x Kaoru x Tamaki
Summary: Three cities. Three stories. In the first of these, Hikaru searches for a door, something for Tamaki to wear, and absolution for a crime he still hasn't committed.
Paris: An Experiment in Gravity
He’s not entirely sober himself, so they make quite the pair stumbling down the hotel corridor.
The summer nights are overly warm and humid; there is a heavy drag in the air that makes breathing seem more difficult than it has any right being. Hikaru imagines swallowing air like a fish out of water, and isn’t aware he’s actually mimicking the gesture until Tamaki laughs drunkenly against his ear. A hand pushes up at his chin.
Hikaru bats it away.
“Oh, don’t be like that,” Tamaki says, cheerfully. He’s got his arms wound tight around Hikaru’s neck and has been steadily increasing the amount of weight he leans on Hikaru as they go.
The overgrown leech, Hikaru thinks, not without some affection. It’s the alcohol, of course.
They haven’t seen anyone on this floor of the hotel so far. Not that Hikaru cares what they look like. They’re just trying to get to the rooms. That’s all. It’s better than staying in the bar, where Kaoru will alternatively snicker at his fumbled words and then switch on an extraordinary amount of twin-ish-ly concern, saying things like you really ought to slow down or maybe an early night? Besides, Tamaki had been getting louder with every minute, and Hikaru has a much higher tolerance for his own public indecency than he does for their Tono’s.
Which is why they’re weaving around on the plush carpet, running into people’s doors (because Tamaki is an idiot, and can’t walk straight, and can’t read numbers, either, apparently). Hikaru thinks, not for the first time, they really should’ve just bought out the whole floor. It’d be so much easier.
“It’s that one!” Tamaki crows triumphantly, pointing at a set of doors.
Hikaru sniffs. “Tono, that’s the elevator.” Probably.
“Buttons,” sighs Tamaki, his exhale heavy with the scent of sickly sweet liquor.
Pressing all the buttons does sound like fun. Hikaru shakes his head. “Bed,” he says decisively. Or rather, beds. He’s suddenly glad for their adjoining rooms and the single door splitting them, if only because he won’t have to go around pathetically looking for his own relief after he’s delivered Tamaki safely, as promised to Kaoru, in a trouble-free zone. “You’re absolutely wrecked, Tono.”
Tamaki says, in a small voice, “I’m drunken.”
“Yeah. It was pretty brilliant ‘til you tried to slide down the bar counter.”
Hikaru wishes he’d had a camera. The blackmail would’ve lasted for another two years. Kaoru’s face had been priceless. “Did you see it in a movie?”
Tamaki hiccups and drags his feet. His bodyweight is dead, and heavy, and stifling hot. Its inescapability is irritating, but Hikaru’s familiar enough with it by now. “You’re sliding, too.”
“No, but I’m drunk,” Hikaru admits. It’s pretty funny, that sliding but not sliding thing, so he laughs.
They pass a set of bleached, white oak doors that look vaguely familiar, so Hikaru takes a second to stop and try their keycard. It beeps and the light flickers red. He scowls at it.
Tamaki’s fingers tangle in his hair. “Says no go…”
“Don’t pull, Tono. I just highlighted it, and I’ll bite you.”
“You’re sliding,” Tamaki whines, but he loosens his grip.
“You’re sliding, I think.”
“Try again. S’all stuck.”
“Nah, I think I’ll keep going.” Hikaru walks, not surprised when Tamaki slumps against him and half-hangs, half-shuffles his way along. Idiot. He’s never been good with drinks. He loses count too quickly. At least, Hikaru thinks to himself, I know very well I’m getting drunk. There’s a fine line between perfectly sober and perfectly legless, and Hikaru prefers to expertly toe it.
“Where’s Kaoru?” asks Tamaki mournfully.
“In the bar. Entertaining the people I’m s’posed to.” Hikaru doesn’t feel too guilty for that; it had been Kaoru’s masterpieces in the show, anyway. Since it’s normally Kaoru’s job to pull Hikaru, acting more intoxicated than he actually is just so he can plaster himself to his twin and incite womanly fantasies in their guests, back to their room, Hikaru doesn’t think Kaoru got too shady a deal. “Do you want Kaoru?”
“I want Kuma-chan.”
Hikaru snickers. “How old are you, Tono?”
“Try door 772. It’s all… good door.”
Hikaru obliges, and somehow isn’t surprised when this time the keycard clicks and a tiny green light flashes at the door jam. He pulls the door open before the lock has time to change its mind, and sighs in relief at the sight of Tamaki’s room (the assorted junk that only Tamaki would bring to Paris with him is scattered all across the dresser surface: tourist snow globes, worry dolls, nail clippers, silly coffee mug). The windows are open and let in the vast array of night lights Paris has to offer, casting the walls in oranges and grays. “You win, Tono. That was the door.”
“Yeah? Yeah. I win.”
“That means you only lost…” He doesn’t remember. “A lot.”
Tamaki squeezes him and giggles.
Hikaru has some trouble getting over the door jam—he wishes he understood why his dexterity leaves way before his brain shuts off—but then they’re inside, and Tamaki shuts the door by thudding his entire body against it. It doesn’t look like a planned move; not that he expects planned moves at this point. Then Tamaki raises his arms in the air, thereby releasing Hikaru, his white sleeves falling to his elbows.
“I win,” he repeats again, dazed.
Hikaru rolls his eyes and says, “Stay there.”
“There is where,” says Tamaki, only without the question mark, as he leans back against the door. He closes his eyes, the blond ringlets that humidity had teased into curling sticking to the skin at his temple. Hikaru waits to make sure it’s all right and then throws his shoes in the corner. Free feet are happy feet.
He drinks a few glasses of water first from the bathroom sink, feeling the liquid spill down the corner of his mouth and dampen his jacket. He takes the jacket off. Then, rubbing his eye with the heel of his hand, Hikaru grabs the tiny plastic garbage can under the sink. He takes it out to the queen-sized bed and sets it neatly by the head of the mattress. He’s a professional, of sorts. And Tamaki is notoriously bad at keeping breakfast in on the morning after. And the carpet is nice, as far as France goes.
Tamaki is humming against the door.
There’s a plush white robe hanging in the bathroom that is still somewhat damp from the shower Tamaki had taken before going to the show. It’ll have to do. Hikaru doesn’t have the patience for room service, and it’s not like their moron king will know the difference, anyway. He pools the cloth over his arm and then goes back to the door.
“Tono, what song is that?”
Tamaki says something in French. He does that a lot when he’s in Paris, but it’s still annoying.
“Tono,” says Hikaru, irritated. “Take your clothes off. You’re not sleeping in the outfit we designed.”
“I like this outfit,” Tamaki informs him, with the dramatic intoning of one who is imparting great knowledge upon an inferior. Then he says, “You’re not very, very drunk.”
“I’m tired drunk. Shirt. Off.”
The pout looks ridiculous on someone who’s not quite a child anymore, but it’s also Tamaki, and Tamaki can wear anything. “I like this shirt.”
“You’ve said. I’m glad.” But Hikaru can’t help the grin. It’s a freakishly nice shirt, and it was his, from its perfect measurements to its breezy fabric to its subtle but vibrant use of off-white. It’s the closest a white shirt can come to not being white at all, and Hikaru is proud of it, so much so that he’d gifted it to only two. “Tono, come on… You want to go to bed, don’t you?”
“Is that a robe?”
“Yeah. You want it?”
Tamaki deliberates. And grins. “I like that robe.”
Okay, the robe is nice, but it doesn‘t warrant the same love as the shirt. Hikaru steers him to the bed, sits him down, and starts yanking recklessly at buttons, his mouth pursued. Tamaki squeals inappropriately.
“You suck at buttons. Let me.” Tamaki’s hand gets in the way, of course. “Tono, let me means keep your sticky fingers out of it and let me!”
“Make up your mind. Take it off, let me do it, here’s a robe, it’s a nice shirt...”
“That last one was you.”
“You were thinking it. I know it.”
Hikaru pulls the shirt off and puts it away safely. When he turns back, Tamaki is shucking off his trousers and shoes at the same time, which isn’t going very well, so Hikaru just stands back and laughs to himself for a little while until it all gets kind of hazy. When he rubs his eyes and comes back to himself, Tamaki is done and looking expectantly at him. He’s got a patch of pink carpet burn on his elbow that Hikaru finds distracting and weird.
Tamaki continues to look expectant.
“I’m cold,” sighs Tamaki, and then Hikaru remembers he’s holding the robe.
He goes to get another glass of water, and contemplates calling Kaoru. Then he decides that there’s nothing to really call Kaoru about (though that’s not normally going to stop him), and that the sheets, sheets in Paris, are begging to be rolled around in. Sleep sounds bizarrely enticing. So does another drink. But he won’t. The other drink, that is.
Tamaki is bundled in the robe and curled up against the pillows on his bed when Hikaru comes out of the bathroom. “I’m going to bed,” Hikaru calls.
Tamaki’s hand shoots up and beckons.
Hikaru knows that game. “Tono, I’m too old for bedtime kisses.”
Tilting his head, Hikaru moves closer. Tamaki’s eyelashes are resting on his cheeks like tiny, fingered shadows, and his lips are still wet and bright. His hand flails in the air briefly once more and then falls, wrapping around his own shoulder in a half-hearted hug. He looks, in the lack of light, both utterly comfortable and utterly alone at the same time.
Hikaru studies him and wonders why, even years later, there’s something about Tamaki that’s like vertigo.
The mattress dips as he sits on its edge, and Tamaki stirs a little. He opens his bleary eyes and looks up at Hikaru.
“Just one,” says Hikaru.
Tamaki’s smile is soppy and stupid and—distressingly so—beautiful. “Just one,” he echoes eagerly.
Hikaru waits in patience.
He’s aware, in his peripheral sense of the world, that the hotel room is quiet and the digital alarm is flashing red in the dimness. All other senses are taken up by the gentle touch of fingertips to his cheek, drawing him down without effort and without pressure. All else is swallowed by the press of a mouth to his forehead, more precise and focused than any other movement exhibited by the person in question giving it.
Hikaru ignores the burning in his ears. His embarrassment isn’t nearly as alarming as the drop in his stomach he’s becoming used to.
Tamaki lets him go and makes a sleepy, sated noise that does nothing to help the matter. “Good night, Hikaru.”
“Yeah,” he says. “Sure.”
Then he leaves, because he knows enough about physics and the law of gravity. If he stays, Hikaru is going to fall forward, drawn inevitably to the center of the Earth, with pale skin under a soft robe and a welcome tangle of limbs to break his descent. He knows Tamaki well enough without ever having to see the experiment through; there has never been a time their Tono hasn’t left the door open for them. It’s more than a little terrifying, and Hikaru has never exerted so much effort in not taking something that’s been freely, if unknowingly, offered to him.
He goes back to his room. He locks the door between them. And he goes to bed, alone.