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. =)

http://archiveofourown.org/works/681492/chapters/1250078

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19. Amusement

“Ok. I know feel like an idiot for my earlier comment regarding gender,” Tamaki said to the eight people currently sharing a table in the hotel lounge. “Male, Female, Trans, Gender Fluid, Gender Queer… I am still confused.”

“You aren’t the only one,” Mai Nakasaki added with flirtatious wink at Tamaki. To the group’s surprise, when Renge had joined them at the hotel before the first session she had brought along a friend. Mai was a runway model for Hitachiin Design Group, Inc. and as such was well known to both Hikaru and Kaoru, though neither had much contact with her outside of work. She was tall and willowy (both required traits in a fashion model) but her hair was dyed a bright red at the roots and graduated into a deep purple at the ends. She called the look “Caribbean sunset” and it was striking to see. So striking, in fact, that Yuzuha had asked Kaoru to design a specific outfit around the color scheme and Hikaru to find the right precious stones to make a necklace and bracelet set. Presently she sat at the end of the table next to Renge, and flirted mercilessly with Tamaki whenever she got a chance.

Haruhi was amused by Mai’s flirting but instead of watching her and Tamaki she focused more of her attention on watching Renge and Kaoru, who was sitting on the other side of her. They keep trying not to look at each other and would twitch if they brushed up against each other. It’s highly amusing. When Kaoru caught Renge looking at him out of the corner of her eye, she blushed. Though knowing what I know about Renge, watching her and Mai purposely act casual is its own kind of entertainment. I wonder how long it will be before anyone realizes they are a couple. Not that she isn’t attracted to Kao, because she definitely is, but Mai and Renge have been together pretty much since Yuzuha hired her as an assistant. 

At that moment, Renge looked up and caught Haruhi’s eye. Guessing part what her friend was thinking she gave Haruhi a big smile and a wink, which Haruhi returned before turning back to the conversation. She started to answer Tamaki, but Hani held his hand up to stop her.

“I know you know the answer Haru-chan, but I want to make sure that I have it straight as well. So please correct me if I am wrong,” He looked at her and getting her nod in response, continued with his observation. “Gender is the way you feel about yourself outside of your sexuality; the way you identify yourself. Male and Female are generally defined by society’s definition of their roles and are the most common. Trans is like Haruhi’s father – Ranka. He is biologically male but he also identifies as a female.”

“Let me clarify just a bit more,” Haruhi interrupted gently, “My dad is a transvestite. Meaning he is biologically male and acts with male attributes part of the time, but he also identifies with the female and acts with female actions part of the time. So in some ways he is both, but he still identifies as male most of the time. Transgender is when a person is biologically one sex, but identifies completely as the opposite sex. Transgender people may seek out hormone therapy or a sex change to turn them into the biological sex they identify with, which is where you get male to female or MtF transgender or female to male FtM transgender. Does that make sense?”

“Much more sense than it did fifteen minutes ago Haru-chan,” Hani said with a smile as the other’s nodded around the table.

“I can see why you are interested in learning about different lifestyles, my love,” Kyouya added, “It is actually kind of fascinating to realize there is more out there than what we learn in school or are brought up in elite society to know. I can also see how it would be very difficult for people who identify as outside the mainstream to find lawyers, doctors, and other professionals who won’t judge them on their lifestyle.”

“Let me take a stab at explaining gender fluid, though I am still a bit confused,” Hikaru entered the conversation. “Gender Fluid is where the person really feels that they are a mix of both male and female. Some days they may be more one than the other, or both equally. It can be different than a transvestite because a transvestite may view his male and female sides as separate aspects of his personality, where a gender fluid person sees both aspects as part of the same personality.”

“Exactly Hika-love!” Haruhi’s smile was huge as she leaned over and kissed him quickly on the cheek.

“So a Gender Queer person is someone who feels that they don’t fit into the traditional male or female gender?” Kaoru asked. “Wouldn’t that also mean that someone who is gender fluid, a transgender, or transvestite could be considered gender queer?”

“Absolutely,” Haruhi responded. “Gender Queer is kind of a catch-all phrase, but it can be broken down.”

“OK, I think I understand a bit better now,” Tamaki said. “I still want to take back my earlier comment, but at least now I know the differences. It’s funny. If I think about it, I can probably name a few people other than your father who match one of those descriptions, including a couple of my cousins. My grandmother just calls them “odd” and disassociates from them, but they are really cool – just different.”

“Your grandmother is very much like my father. He would not tolerate any difference beyond the traditional in the Ootori family. So if anyone did meet an alternate definition, they hid it behind traditional roles.”

“The Morinozouka and Haninozouka families have long held the belief that a warrior’s spirit is not limited to the gender that the body is, so in a way, Mitskune and I were lucky growing up. We didn’t have definitions or terms to use, but we saw people who fit them. It didn’t matter as long as their heart was true to their martial art.” Takashi said quietly.

“Of course our families only really recognized that after some kick-ass women in our lineage a couple of centuries ago proved they could fight as well as any male samurai,” Hani giggled. “What I wouldn’t give to witness the Emperor being protected from a military assassination attempt by the handmaidens of one of his wives.”

“Now that’s something I could stand behind,” Mai raised her glass of water and said to Renge and Haruhi, “Here’s to kick-ass women who break boundaries!”

Both Haruhi and Renge clinked their water glasses with hers, while the guys chuckled. After taking a sip, Renge turned the conversation towards the afternoon’s lectures. “So this afternoon is devoted to alternative religions and medical practices?”

“Yes,” Kaoru responded rifling through his bag to pull out the brightly colored paper listing the day’s events, “As far as the schedule says. For the religion part it looks like there are classes on Paganism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Wicca, and Shamanism. For the medical practices it appears to have classes on Reiki, Acupuncture, Reflexology, and Homeopathy.”

“Does anyone else find it kind of amusing that Buddhism is considered an alternative religion, when pretty much all of us practice it? Or the fact that Acupuncture and Reflexology are considered alternative medical practices, when it’s just part of our normal health care?” Hikaru asked.

Haruhi laughed before answering, “I completely agree Hika-love, but this conference is put on by a “western” company in France, so all of our “eastern” practices are considered alternative. I am pretty sure that western culture defines alternative religion as anything outside of Christianity, Judaism, or Muslim.”

“I know that many western medical practitioners are starting to include acupuncture and reflexology into their practices, but it is amusing to be considered “alternative” when in our culture we have actually been practicing them for hundreds of years.” Kyouya couldn’t resist adding.

“So basically we have all been living “alternative” lifestyles from the very beginning!” Tamaki chuckled. “No wonder my grandmother is so against western culture. She is too much of a snob to admit that someone else may have a different point of view. Hers is the only right way to do something.”

Takashi looked at his watch. “It appears the next sessions are starting soon. Is everyone going to the same session or are we splitting up? I want to look into the sessions on Paganism, Shamanism, and Reiki.”

“I think that might be best Takashi,” Hani replied. “It does look like the “Marketplace” will be open after the last session, so it may be fun to meet back up there and wander through it. Some of the vendors look interesting and there is an I-Ching fortune telling booth. I haven’t done that in forever!”

“Oooh… I want to get a tarot reading done! Renge, you HAVE to do it with me!” Mai’s said eagerly as she linked her arm with Renge’s. Her enthusiasm was catching, and it wasn’t long before the group dispersed to go to several different sessions. All agreed to meet back at the opening of the Marketplace.

 

***************************************************************

Several hours later it was an excited but tired group that climbed back into the limo headed toward Suoh House. They chatted amicably about the colors of their auras captured on film and printed, the various fortune-telling readings that were done, the different candles, books, and music that they purchased and their excitement to see what the next day would bring. Tamaki in his generosity had invited Mai to join them at the Guest House, but she declined stating that she had to remain close to the Fashion Week venue with the other models. Renge (much to Kaoru’s disappointment) also told the others that for the next several days, she would also need to remain near the venue as she was also acting liaison between the models and Yuzuha. But both agreed to go back to the Guest House for dinner that night, saying that since they were having such a good time, they would stretch their day off as long as they could.

Once they reached the Guest House, Haruhi, Kyouya, Hikaru, Hani and Takashi started setting up the meal that had been left for them in the Library, while Tamaki and Kaoru offered to give the girls a tour, since it was new to Mai and Renge hadn’t really gotten to see much while she was recovering from her fall. Agreeing quickly, Mai latched onto Tamaki’s arm and started flooding him with questions as they walked. Kaoru, shaking his head at Mai’s exuberance offered his arm to Renge as they followed along.

Kaoru was conflicted. He couldn’t decide which he liked more – the view of Tamaki’s ass as he walked in front of him or the warm sweet smell of the woman on his arm. Deciding to just enjoy both, he leaned over and spoke quietly to Renge. “How is your ankle doing? You seem to be walking with only a slight limp. I don’t want to tire you out, so please let me know if you need to rest.”

“I am actually doing pretty well. I have it wrapped well and the swelling is almost all gone. You saw yesterday how much your mother is requiring me to take breaks and rest it. I think I will actually be fine for the red carpet Sunday night as long as I wear ballet flats rather than high heels.”

“That’s probably a smart idea. I know you wanted to wear heels, but some of Hika’s designs for flats are incredible.”

“I know. I am really sorry about what I said the other day. His designs are just as important as yours and I am really happy that you are both willing to help me with mine. I am so excited and nervous at the same time.”

“That’s understandable. Just be yourself. Your dress is quirky and fun – just like you. I have a feeling it will go over well at the show.”

“Thank you.” Renge blushed at the compliment before turning her attention back to Tamaki’s description of the rooms. Kaoru seeing her slight distress made no further comment, but steered the conversation back to the house and Tamaki’s idea of what he wanted to achieve.

Both Mai and Renge declared themselves in absolute love with the Conservatory and decided that after dinner, everyone should go up to it for dessert. Laughing, Tamaki and Kaoru agreed and ushered the girls back down the stairs to the Library to eat.

Dinner that evening had a Spanish flair with paella, tapas, and gambas ajillo, and with montecados and flan for dessert. The dinner conversation mostly focused on Fashion Week, as they finalized the plans for the Red Carpet and the Grand Ball. Soon everything was finalized and the only thing left to do was wait for the actual events to occur. The group energy was still high after the discussion, so when Tamaki shared the girls' idea of going up to the Conservatory to eat dessert, everyone readily agreed. Grabbing plates, silverware, napkins, wine and glasses, they all made their way up to the greenhouse on the top floor.

Haruhi felt the moist warm air and could smell the lush tropical scents as soon as she walked through the glass doors. I have walked by this room every day and I keep forgetting to come inside. It is so beautiful in here. I know why this room is one of Tamaki’s favorites.

Tamaki led the group over to a cluster of low slung couches centered around a square table. He directed them to put all the food on the table, while he stepped over to a panel to fiddle with a few switches. Finally he found what he was looking for and with a chorus of ooh’s and aah’s from the others, small hidden LED lights light up the area, adding a fairy twinkle to their surroundings.

“Tama-chan, it is absolutely beautiful up here. The lights, the smells, even the couches are comfortable. Why did we come up here the last couple of nights?”

Laughing Tamaki replied “Well… Tuesday night you all had just arrived and had other things on your mind,” he said this with a wink and a grin at the Hosts. ”Wednesday Night Renge hurt herself, and last night we were all exhausted from sight-seeing and shopping.”

“I vote we have dessert up here every night, from tonight on. You are going to have cake as a dessert one night, right Tama-chan?”

‘Hani-sempai, I wouldn’t forget cake for the world.”

Haruhi giggled at Tamaki’s gallant response, while Mai just looked confused. Renge leaned over and whispered to her, explaining Hani’s obsession with cake.

"Hani is right though, Tamaki. It is really beautiful in here. I wouldn’t mind having dessert up here either.” Kyouya said.

“We agree.” Hikaru and Kaoru chorused.

“Mmmm…” was Takashi’s response as he reached for a plate of flan.

Taking that as a signal, most of the chatter ceased while they enjoyed the sweetness of the flan and cookies, the lushness of their surroundings, and the soft hiss of snow on the glass above them. When they were finished eating and sat back to relax, Tamaki poured each a glass of Spanish wine.

“Spanish wine from a Frenchman?” Kyouya teased his friend as he sat back on a couch next to Hikaru, with Haruhi lounging across them both in what was fast becoming their favorite relaxed position.

“Yes but Tama-chan is only half French, so that may mean something,” Hani joined in the teasing from where he sat next to Takashi on the couch adjacent to where Kyouya, Hikaru and Haruhi sat.

“Hey!” Tamaki grinned. “It’s a Spanish wine, because that was the theme of tonight’s dinner. Because I am French, I know a good wine when I have it and I am not stupid enough to think that France has the market cornered on the only good wines.” He finished his glass and poured another before sitting back down next to Kaoru. Casually, Tamaki slid an arm along the back of the couch he shared with Kaoru, fingertips just barely brushing the other man’s shoulder. He hid his smile as he felt Kaoru’s body react.

“Now that’s unusual to hear a Frenchman say!” Mai giggled. She and Renge shared the last couch.

“Ahhh… But I am an unusual Frenchman, Princess,” Tamaki’s flirting can as naturally as breathing to him.

“In some ways not so unusual. This bottle is empty!”

“Well that could only mean one thing…”

“We are going to play Spin the Bottle?” The words escaped Renge’s mouth before she had a chance to think about what she was saying. When she realized what she had said, she turned a bright red and clapped her hands over her mouth.

Once he got his laughter under control Tamaki replied, ”Well I was going to say, I would open another bottle, but I like Renge’s idea better.” He winked at her and she blushed even deeper.

“I can’t believe I just said that. It must be the wine talking. I mean, I have always wanted to play, but I never have and it just popped out after such a fun day today with all of you…” Renge’s babbling ceased when Kaoru leaned over and placed a finger against her lips.

“Why not?” Kaoru said with an evil grin. “We haven’t played Spin the Bottle in a looong time, right Hikaru?”

“Oh I agree brother, this could be very fun.” Hikaru responded with a smirk.

“Oh why not?” Haruhi shocked the others by saying. One by one the others agreed, fully realizing that it was, in essence, foreplay for most of their group.

With a mischievous grin, Kaoru handed the bottle to Haruhi to take the first spin. Laying it down in the center of the table, she spun. When it slowed to a stop, it was pointed at Takashi. Grinning at her chance to do something she always dreamed of, she looked over at her Sensei, partner, and friend. He met her eyes and smile in them burned deep. Crossing the space between them, she held out her hand. He took it and stood up, holding it to his heart. He placed his other hand on her hip, while she slid hers up his neck and into his hair. Stretching onto her tiptoes, she gently placed her lips on his.

Takashi, feeling the so soft lips teasing at his, couldn’t resist for long. With a primal sound he opened his mouth and deepened the kiss, plumbing the depths of her mouth and sharing in the energy that had been building between them for months. Slowly the sound of catcalls and random commentary reminded him of where he was and he reluctantly broke off the kiss. Heart beating heavily, he looked one last time into Haruhi’s eyes, before turning to see the wide grin on Mitskune’s face.

“Wow. You guys really know how to play spin the bottle!” Mai said her tone impressed.

As Haruhi walked back to her spot between Hikaru and Kyouya, she glanced quickly at their expressions, since that was a much more intimate kiss than she had planned. She was relieved to see the lust and not the jealousy on each of their faces. Hikaru even whispered once she was seated “Damn. That was HOT!”

“I think if I remember the rules right, that means the next spin is mine,” Kyouya said. Taking the bottle and spinning it landed on Hikaru. “HA! That’s an easy one.” Kyouya leaned across Haruhi and laid a scorching kiss on Hikaru. Haruhi, of course, caught between them had an up close view of her lovers as they teased each other.

“You are an evil man, my love,” Haruhi whispered to Kyouya after he broke off the kiss. “I want you both right now and we still have to sit through seven more turns!”

“Patience, my love,” Kyouya responded with a smirk.

Tamaki’s turn was next and the bottle landed on Mai. With a gallant bow worthy of his Host Club days, He swept her off her feet and dipped her backwards, while placing a sweet kiss on her mouth. For all of the flirting that they had done throughout the day, it still remained a relatively chaste kiss. But Tamaki’s charm was legendary, and it was a blushing Mai who returned to her seat.

Kaoru was the next to spin and it landed on Haruhi. Laughing, he jumped across the table and landed on top of Haruhi. Pinning her to the seat, he kissed her soundly, while his brother faked a sigh. Grinning, Kaoru looked up at Hikaru and playing up the twincest act, even though everyone but Mai knew it was just an act, he said, “Brother, I know by the rules of the game, I had to kiss Haruhi… but I wish the bottle had stopped just a bit sooner, so I could have kissed you instead.”

Twin sighs from Renge and Mai at that little speech made the group burst out into laughter, while Hikaru and Kaoru just grinned at each other.

Still slightly pink, Mai grabbed the bottle and spun it quickly. She was surprised when it landed on Hani. Deciding to be bold, she marched over to Hani, pushed him back in the seat, sat on his knees and pressed her lips firmly against his.

Hani was a little shocked, but decided to get into the spirit of the game and kissed her back thoroughly. He gave her the full force of his Lolita smile and a wink when she broke it off, so she was a little unsteady as she sat back down.

Renge felt slightly confused. She was enjoying the game, but she was still trying to process how it was making her feel, seeing people that she was attracted to kissing others. She knew it was her idea for the game in the first place, but part of her was at war with herself. It took Mai prompting her a couple of times to realize that it was her turn to spin. Reaching out, she spun the glass. She couldn’t decide if she was relieved or eager when it landed on Kaoru.

Kaoru saw the bottle spinning and his heart gave a little flip when he realized that it landed on him. He had admitted his growing curiosity for the girl approaching him and now he was going to sample her lips. He just knew that somehow he had to make this first kiss memorable. When she stopped in front of him and looked up at him with those big brown eyes, he held her gaze. Slowly he let his lips descend as he cupped her face. Teasing her lips gently with his, he swallowed the soft sound of pleasure that escaped before deepening the kiss. He flicked his tongue softly against her lower lip and nibbled gently at the edges before pulling back with a smile to see the completely dazed look on her face.

Renge had never been kissed quite like that before and she was dizzy from it. When she opened her eyes and saw Kaoru smiling at her, it was a moment of magic that she didn’t want to end. She smiled back at him, before turning back to her seat.

Takashi was next. His spin landed on Kyouya. Still feeling a little bit guilty for kissing Haruhi so deeply earlier he wasn’t exactly sure how to respond, but he knew the rules of the game and had agreed to play, so he approached Kyouya. Letting a little of the lust that he felt show on his face, he turned to the man who was nearly his equal in height and pulled him in for a kiss. It was shorter than the kiss he had given Haruhi, but it’s intensity was close. It became a challenge, with both trying to take the lead and neither quite succeeding. Both of them were breathing a bit heavy when they broke apart.

This time, Hikaru who leaned over to Kyouya and said, “I want to see that again! So fucking hot!”

Hani grabbed the bottle as he gave another knowing glance at his lover. Giving it a quick spin, he smiled as it landed on Tamaki. A slight smirk settled on his face as he walked over to the other blond man, as he remembered exactly how Tamaki had tasted in the shower the other morning.

Tamaki for his part was also remembering the morning in the shower, so when Hani stopped in front of him his smile matched the one on Hani’s face. Together their lips met as they savored the memory and gave an unspoken promise that it would need to be repeated soon. A discreet cough from Kaoru, reminded them of their present state and they broke apart.

“Finally it’s my turn!” Hikaru complained jovially. “I have had to watch all of this kissing and I have only been kissed once. It’s not fair. I am making up for it now.” With that he spun the bottle for the last time, surprised to see it land on Renge. Glancing swiftly up to first see the stunned expression on his brother’s face and then glancing at her – seeing the confusion still evident, Hikaru made a quick decision. Walking over to her, he gently lifted her head and placed a soft kiss on her lips before walking back to his seat. Once he sat down, he gave her a wink which caused her to blush even deeper.

The game over, the hosts started to say their goodnights and a car was called for Renge and Mai. Within 15 minutes, Tamaki was shutting the door behind them and walking back up the stairs to his room. Seeing the gold-streaked redhead naked in his bed, he couldn’t help but smile. “I take it the game didn’t make you jealous.”

“Jealous – No. Horny – Hell Yes.”

“I think I can do something about that.”

   
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