The Only Constant is Change

It's Haruhi, Kaoru, and Hikaru's final year at Ouran. Dynamics are changing and evolving... What will happen to the Host Club Members?

Author's Note: This story takes place about 8 months after the events in A Faire Shot at Mythology. It can be read as a stand alone, but it references events and items from that piece as well. If you are reading my work for the 1st time, I would humbly suggest reading my other stories The Game and A Faire Shot at Mythology before reading this to completely understand some of the relationship dynamics that I use. I promise that if you like this style of writing you will like those too. =)


47. A Good Place to Be

Hikaru and Tamaki watched as the reporters pounced, immediately shouting questions at Haruhi, Kyouya, Takashi and Hani. Their faces were grim as they heard some of the extremely personal questions that were being yelled out.

“Can’t they leave her in peace?” Hikaru clenched his fists to keep from flying off the handle.

Tamaki placed a hand on his shoulder and gave it a squeeze before releasing it, “We knew this was going to happen… and look. Haruhi is handling it far better than I think you or I would. Kyouya and Takashi will protect her.”

Hikaru took a deep breath. “I know. I just don’t like anyone harassing her.” They broke away from others and started heading for the Aston. A few reporters started following, but when they heard Kyouya start to speak they ran back, so Hikaru and Tamaki made it to the car unmolested.

Hikaru slipped into the passenger seat and looked sideways at the blond. “You don’t usually either. You used to flip completely out when Kao or I came near her.” Hika grinned at the memory of deliberately baiting their leader.

Tamaki grinned, “I used to flip out because I was terrified that you were going to steal her from me. I could never have predicted what actually happened. We dated, broke up, and then you and Kyouya both started dating her.”

Hikaru bit his lip before responding, “I know you told us that you were ok with that but it had to have been weird. It was weird enough for both of us to agree to try and share her but we quickly realized that if we tried to compete and make her choose, it would have destroyed the group.”

“Yes it would have.” Tamaki replied, seriousness coloring his tone. Flashing his signal he turned onto the highway. He changed the subject briefly, “Do you have any place in particular you want to go or anything you want to do?”

“Honestly, I haven’t even thought about it.” Hikaru answered. “I am getting hungry, so food would be good soon. We do legitimately have some stuff to discuss regarding the Ball on Saturday night but I think you and I need to have another discussion that would probably be better done in a more private location.”

“I agree. There’s a small café just outside of Paris that one of my cousins owns. It’s in a picturesque little part of the old town so it gets some tourist traffic, but there is a private room upstairs where we won’t be disturbed. It also has a solid wi-fi connection if we need it.”

“That sounds perfect.”

Tamaki took an off-ramp and was silent as concentrated on working his way through traffic.

Hikaru was lost in his thoughts. I really do need to know what he felt then and how he feels now about Haruhi. Not just Haru, actually, but Kyouya and Kao as well. I know my brother is starting to fall for him, even though he says it’s just casual. It’s the little side glances Kao does when he thinks no one is watching. The way his body molds itself to Tama’s whenever they touch. It used to mold to me that way... I have been watching Tamaki as well and he does show honest signs of returning his affection, but I know that he has always been half in love with Kyouya and he loved Haruhi from the moment he met her. I can’t really blame him on any of them actually – Kao, Haruhi, and Kyouya are my life and my heart. I think I would go crazy if I lost any one of them. For Kao it’s not just Tama though. It’s Renge too. I still don’t know what she did that made that hurt/confusion stab just before HDG hit the catwalk on Sunday night, but he seems to be resolved about it. I am sure that whatever it was he will be talking to her today. Hikaru laughed ironically to himself. Gods if I ever thought about it, I would have understood his falling for Tamaki before his falling for Renge. That girl was a menace.

Tamaki turned down a side road. The scenery they passed looked like something straight out of a postcard and it made Hikaru let out a soft “wow.”

“It really is a pretty little town,” Tamaki said as he made another turnoff and headed toward a cluster of buildings. “It’s still close enough to the city that I could easily come out here when I was feeling overwhelmed, feeling alone, or just needed to think. I’ve been out here a lot in the last year since leaving Japan.”

“I can’t imagine how hard that has been for you,” Hikaru replied. “You were the center of so much of our lives, it was really odd to not have you there yelling at us.”

“It was rough… really rough for a while,” Tamaki answered quietly before turning into a parking spot in front of a picturesque cafe. “I knew that I HAD to come out here but my life was really back there. It was the exact reverse of what happened six years ago only it was harder because I had to leave so many people I had come to care about, not just one.”

Hikaru laid a hand on Tamaki’s arm. “You are a lot stronger than I gave you credit for… I am sorry that I ever doubted that.”

Tamaki turned and gave Hikaru a weak smile. “Thank you for that. It really means a lot. I just don’t know what I am going to do in a week when all of you leave again. I have felt more alive in the last week than I have all year.” Visibly taking a moment to compose himself, Tamaki put on his usual bright grin. “Come on, this café has the absolute best crepes.”

“Sounds good to me,” Hikaru replied and let the subject drop since there wasn’t really anything that he could add. He stepped out of the car and quickly wrapped his coat around him. “Brr…”

Together they walked into the café. Tamaki greeted the middle aged woman behind the counter with a warm hug and a kiss on both of her plump cheeks. Slipping an arm around her shoulders, he introduced her to Hikaru. “Hika, this is my cousin Marie-Claire, she owns the café and is the best baker in all of France.”

Hikaru took her hand and kissed the back of it. He infused all of his Host club charm into his response. “Mon plaisir madame. Il sent très bon ici. Je ne peux pas attendre pour essayer toutes les choses délicieuses Tamaki m'a été dit au sujet. My pleasure ma’am. It smells wonderful in here. I can’t wait to try all of the delicious things Tamaki has been telling me about.“

Marie-Claire blushed and responded in halting Japanese. “Thank you. Any friend of Tamaki’s will have a warm welcome here.” She switched back to French. “You must be one of the ‘devil twins’ he likes to brag about. I would recognize that red hair any time.” She mock whispered while two small pink spots appeared on Tamaki’s cheeks. “He has told me all about your days in the Host Club – the devil twins, the two warriors, the shadow prince, and the girl who has captured all of your hearts.”

“Oh really?!” Hikaru turned and gave Tamaki a grin so wicked it set Marie-Claire’s heart pounding.

“Mon Dieu…” She murmured and waved a fan in front of her face. “I can see the tales weren’t exaggerated. That look could make the Devil turn and run – hoping that you would chase him. But I ramble on… Tama – the upstairs room is free. Go and relax. I will bring you both something to eat and warm to drink.”

Tamaki kissed her cheek again, “Thank you, Marie-Claire.”

“Anytime dearest.” She bustled back behind the counter.

“This way,” Tamaki stretched his arm out to lead the way. In the hallway there was a flight of stairs that lead into a moderate sized room equipped with comfortable leather couches, low tables, and a fireplace on one wall. Gesturing for Hika to sit down on one of the couches by the fireplace, Tama quickly set some wood in and lit it to take the faint chill out of the room. Once it was burning cheerfully, he took off his jacket and sat on the other end of the leather couch. “Better.”

They both stared into the flames for a few minutes until Marie-Claire brought up a tray of hot soup, fresh bread, and several fruit crepes. There was also a French press of strong coffee, creamer and sugar. She set the tray on the table between them and with a final “I will make sure that you boys aren’t disturbed” she walked out of the room.

The smell of the food immediately brought both men out of their wandering thoughts and they dove into the food with relish.

“This is amazing,” Hikaru said around a mouthful of crepe.

“I told you.” Tamaki grinned. “Marie-Claire was classically trained and could have gone anywhere, but she fell in love with her husband and decided to start a family and a small business rather than taking on an Executive Chef position. It makes her blissfully happy and she shares that with her patrons. She is an easy woman to talk to. She never judges and she takes pity on a poor lonely boy stuck in France without his friends.”

Hikaru smiled, “We should all be so happy to have that kind of love in our lives.” He looked around. “Wait – you were here when you sent us that first message telling us to come to France for the Holiday. I recognize the background.”

“Yes,” Tamaki answered. “Anytime I was could get out of that cold house, I would come here. I could study, talk to all of you, or just talk and not worry about being chastised or interrupted by my grandmother.” 

“How is that situation going?” Hikaru said with genuine interest.

“Better than it was. Grandmother has finally recognized that I may have a brain in my head, even if her wish that I would reconcile with Éclair will never be fulfilled… like it could ever have happened. That woman was everything I hate – cold, manipulative, demanding, and loveless. Thankfully, she found some poor sod that wanted her money enough to put up with her and they were recently married.”

“I am glad Éclair is out of your life. None of us could stand to see you with her.”

“You can’t know how much it meant to me that you, Kao, and Haru came after me. I am just sorry that you broke your arm in the process.”

“Meh… It healed and we got you back, Boss. That was the important part.” Hikaru took a deep breath and plunged into one of the questions that had been running through his mind on the way over. “Better still it got you and Haruhi together.”

“How was that better?” Tamaki asked curiously. “I know you and Kao were in love with her at the time and I later found out that Kyouya, Takashi, and even Hani felt the same. I could have ruined it for everyone when we broke up.”

“I won’t deny that I was slightly jealous when you started dating, but you made her better. You gave her the confidence to see herself as a real person and that she had her own kind of beauty.”

“And when we broke up?” Tamaki dreaded hearing the answer but knew that he had to.

“If there was ever a time that I hated you, that was the closest to it,” Hikaru said honestly but took Tamaki’s hand when he saw tears start to threaten. “It looked like you had everything all of us ever wanted and just threw it away. The night that you guys broke it off, she came over to the house, didn’t say anything other than you both split, and just cried for hours. The only detail she gave at first was that it was a mutual decision but I could see her heart breaking.”

“Gods… I never knew… I didn’t want to but she made several points in that oh-so-logical way she has and I couldn’t disagree. Neither of us had the spare time to be able to spend together the way we would have liked… the way our relationship would have needed to survive at the time.” Tamaki’s voice got small. “I didn’t want to hold her back.”

“I know. I finally figured that out the next morning when she relayed the entire conversation. She was much calmer. It was almost like she needed the time to let go. When I asked her if she was leaving the Host Club, she was genuinely shocked. It was obvious that the thought hadn’t even crossed her mind. I knew then that no matter what had passed between you, she still cared enough to call you a friend. She also made us promise that neither Kao nor I would to ever say anything to you about it. Still… I was angry with you. It wasn’t until I saw the way you interacted with her on the first day of class that I finally let it go. It was obvious that you still cared deeply for her. The fact that you kept all of the Host Club clients at a slightly further distance than you had in the past was also obvious. You still flirted but were VERY careful to keep it friendly rather than intimate.”

“Yes. It was so hard at first, but I knew that it was the right thing for her. She needed to experience more out of life than I could give her… and I realized that I was being selfish in trying to keep her all to myself. You all were my friends too and I knew that you loved her and I wasn’t letting you show her.” He chuckled to himself. “I just had no idea that when all of you finally stepped up it would be so… ummm…?”

“Unusual? Chaotic? Crazy?” Hikaru added with a smile. “I promise you that while I fantasized from a distance over Kyouya, I NEVER expected to be in a relationship with him, let alone one with Haruhi at the same time.”

“Kyouya is worth fantasizing over,” Tamaki grinned. “I pretty much did so on a weekly basis from the moment I met him. Despite the fact that I knew he was straight and not interested in me that way.”

Hikaru laughed. “Exactly! Shows what we know. I blame Haruhi and Kao.”

“I understand Kao now that I have seen the Andromeda costumes and heard the back story, but why Haru?”

“Because once she found out that I was crushing on him, she would find little ways to push us together. Nothing overt and nothing that clued us in, though I can look back now and guess. She must have discussed that night with him and something he said must have made her think that he was more open than he let on.”

“I can see that,” Tamaki said. “She always did have a way of seeing something in us that we never realized was there. It made us better.”

“I agree and I am definitely not complaining. The last week has been, hands down, the most intense and exciting week of my life.”

“And unexpected…” Tamaki grinned. “I had absolutely no idea any of this would happen when I invited you all to come here for winter break. It’s been enlightening and I don’t want it to end.”

“That’s one way to put it,” Hikaru answered, “Which leads me to the question I know we both have been tap dancing around… No… the questions that we have been avoiding. What are you wanting with Kao – where do you see that relationship going? And… what kind of relationship do you want with Kyouya and Haruhi? I can see that you want one and I can read Kyo enough to know that he wants you. Haruhi always has and probably always will. Where do you picture me in the equation?”

Tamaki gulped, “Yikes… um which do you want me to answer first? Your brother or your lovers? Gods... that just makes me sound insatiable and a little bit pervy.”

Hikaru laughed. “Well since I am a bit insatiable and more than a little bit pervy when it comes to all of them, I can understand the feeling.”

Cheeks bright red, Tamaki responded maintaining eye contact with Hikaru by sheer force of will. “I think with regards to you, Haru and Kyouya, I will take whatever you are willing to give. The three of you have something that balances each other perfectly and I don’t want to mess that up.” He continued as Hikaru nodded, “I told you that I have always been attracted to Kyouya, but when he slips into Dominant mode, I just want to drop to my knees in front of him and let him do whatever he wants.”

“It is something to see.” Hikaru nodded. “He hasn’t quite topped me that way yet, but I am looking forward to the day he does. I am curious about being topped by Hani too, but that’s a different discussion.”

“Last night… Kyouya was fully in the mindset and it was unlike anything I have ever experienced. I want more, but I also know that I will burn out or burn up if it was a constant kind of thing. I don’t think I could handle a full-time relationship with him the way you do. We seem to have two modes when we are together – best friends and Dom/sub. Sometimes I need a bit more making love and less fucking but I don’t know if I want that with him per se. I know he has that kind of relationship with you and Haru.”

Hikaru laughed, “Well… there is plenty of fucking but I see what you are trying to say. It’s kind of the way Haruhi needs Takashi and vice versa. Different kind of love and attraction.”

“Exactly. Please don’t get upset but I have to say this at least once, because it has crossed my mind several times this last week since I saw them do yoga…” Tamaki started to say.

“That if Takashi had approached her before any of us, then we wouldn’t be where we are right now?” Hikaru finished the statement for him as Tamaki nodded. “I have thought the same. It’s kind of scary how compatible they are. I have no doubt that in some alternate world, Takashi and Haruhi are blissfully married completely satisfied in just each other. I was so jealous when I first saw them together practicing for the first time. But just as I was about to turn green and stomp out, Haruhi looked over at me and I could see the love she has for me burning so brightly in her eyes, I lost every trace of jealousy and started feeling guilty instead. It was obvious that while there was undeniably something that was between just them, there was something between us that couldn’t be broken unless I did something stupid like walk away.”

“Like me.” Tamaki said.

“All in the past, boss,” Hikaru gently reminded him. “She loves you too. Always has – probably always will. She is happier with you in her life then without you… Now… about Kaoru…”

Tamaki sighed and rubbed his hands across his face. “Kao… damn… Kaoru was so unexpected. I was always attracted to him, to both of you actually, but again I never really thought any more of it because I thought he was interested in Haruhi and I know the relationship he has with you.”

“Just so you know, while Kao and Haru do love each other, it is more friendly than loverly. The both had to sit down and explain it to me one day, because I kept trying to push us into a triad and couldn’t figure out why it wasn’t working. It was the reason why Kao was able to walk out of the room and leave me and Kyo to Haru when we tried on the Andromeda costumes. It is also the reason why Haruhi teases him so frequently.”

“But I have seen her kissing both of you…”

“Yes… and we have a great time, especially when we were teasing Kyouya, but it doesn’t go beyond the fun of the teasing moment for them.”

“I am still not sure I understand.”

“I have an idea that might explain it, if you trust me to show you.”

“Sure…” Tamaki nodded.

“Close your eyes and keep them closed.”

Tamaki did as he was bid.

Hikaru moved on the couch until he was sitting next to Tamaki. Shifting his weight he leaned forward and took Tamaki’s head in his hands. Slowly, so as not to startle him, Hikaru pressed his lips to Tamaki’s. Sliding them softly over Tamaki’s, he traced his tongue gently against Tamaki’s lower lip, requesting them to open.

Tamaki realized as soon as Hikaru’s weight shifted what he was planning on doing, so the pressure of Hika’s lips wasn’t a surprise. What was – was Tamaki’s response. He opened his mouth and responded to the kiss with his normal skill, even wrapping one hand in Hika’s hair. Their lips teased and tongues danced together. It was nice.

It was nice. The words echoed again in Tamaki’s brain, the meaning of what Hikaru was trying to say becoming crystal clear. Tamaki’s eyes flew open.

Hikaru felt Tamaki’s understanding and pulled back, relaxing back into the seat of the couch. “What are you thinking?”

“That I finally get what you were trying to say. Don’t get me wrong – kissing you is nice and you are obviously good at it, but it’s not the fireworks that I get with Kyo or Kao. Hell, it’s not even the same kind of connection I have when I kiss Haruhi.”

“Bingo… and ditto.” Hikaru grinned. “So I think that answers the question of where I fit in… But back to Kao. I take it from that response that you do get fireworks with him.”

“Huge bursting ones that I never expected,” Tamaki said with a sigh. “I meant to just keep our relationship as friends but in only a week I suddenly want it to be much more. It’s that more making love less fucking thing I mentioned earlier… I just don’t know if he feels the same. I know he is attracted to Renge too.”

“He is (which I still find weird by the way) but there is no question that he is falling hard and fast for you. That morning when I found you two together was eye-opening.”

“I am sorry for that. I had planned on getting up and going to my own bed before everyone woke up.”

“No… it was a good thing, actually,” Hikaru grabbed Tamaki’s arm. “It made me realize that if I was going to be in a relationship with both Kyouya and Haruhi, I needed to let Kao have relationships with people outside of me too. So yes it was a shock, but it was a good one in the end. I can see how you make him happy and comfortable in a way that I never could. He melts into you whenever you touch him… the way Haru melts into Kyo or me. I am happy for him… and you. There is something with Renge that he needs to work out, but if he does then I hope you will be as willing to share him.”

“I told him that I want to be in a relationship with him and that I am ok with him dating Renge as well as long as he doesn’t make me into a dirty little secret. He doesn’t have to tell the world, but she needs to know. It’s what you said. It’s not fair for me to have an outside relationship with Kyo or Haru and not let him have any.”

“Best answer I have heard yet,” Hikaru grinned. “I gave a similar statement to Kyouya the morning that I finally screwed up enough courage to kiss him. When he kissed me back, I saw stars for a good fifteen minutes.”

“I can imagine,” Tamaki gave an answering grin.

“There is no question that man can kiss. You should have seen the first time Haruhi kissed him. The moment his arms wrapped around her and his lips touched hers, she absolutely melted into his arms.”

“Wait… How did you manage to watch Kyouya kiss Haruhi for the first time? He never would tell me when it happened or how.”

Hikaru laughed then gave Tamaki a wicked smile, “You see… one day when you, Hani and Takashi were gone, Kao and I decided that we wanted to play a game…” Hikaru went on to relate the story of the first time that he, Kaoru and Kyouya kissed Haruhi.

Tamaki listened intently to the story, laughing at the appropriate points and humming on the juicy bits, more relaxed around Hikaru than he had ever been before. I know where we stand now… and it’s a very good place to be. 

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