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. =)


9. Mirror Image

Hikaru sat in the limo and waited for Kaoru to come down, Haruhi's words echoing in his mind. Can I stretch our bond to include the others? I don't know. A small part of me wants to grab Kao, tell the limo driver to take us somewhere where no one will find us and keep him for myself. But if I did that I would lose Haruhi, Kyouya and all of the others. I can't do that. They have come to mean too much to me and I know Kao feels the same. The days where he and I alone were enough for each other are gone. It started to fade when Tamaki asked us to join the Host Club and it disappeared completely as soon as we realized that Haruhi could tell us apart. I don't want to go back to that isolation but I don't know what I would do if I lost Kao. Am I losing him?

Touching his chest to alleviate the sudden ache, he tried to reach along the twin bond. A feeling of worry, love, and a faint twinge of guilt met his query. No. I am not going to lose him. He is part of me and that can't be lost. A few months ago, I challenged Kyouya, point blank, to see if he could accept the idea of sharing Haruhi with me. I knew that the Shadow King would have a hard time doing it and I wanted to see if he was really strong enough to change his deeply ingrained idea of ownership and possession. He did it and aside from a few moments where I can see the jealousy flare, has completely changed the way he looks at the world. Today Haruhi asked if I could stretch the bond that I have with Kaoru to include the others. It's not even as drastic a step as my challenge to Kyouya and yet still it is hard. I need to be fair though. Haruhi taught me that. Kaoru deserves to find the same happiness that I have found with whomever he desires. At least I know Tamaki and I like the person he is. Is it really a stretch to accept they made love to each other when there was already love and friendship there to begin with?

The limo door opened and Kaoru slid onto the seat across from Hikaru. The pensive and worried expression on his face made Hikaru's heart clench. Without a word, he opened up his arms to Kaoru, who flew across the seat and into them. Arms locked around each other and tears streaming down both of their faces, they held each other for a few minutes in silence. Finally Hikaru reached up and wiped the tears away from Kaoru's cheeks and kissed him softly.

"I am sorry Kao. I didn't even think about you having to be alone. I was selfish and I am sorry."

Hikaru's words made a fresh stream of tears slip down Kaoru's cheeks. "No Hika, I knew that you wouldn't be there with me. You needed to be with Haruhi and Kyouya. You still need to be with them to build the bond that you three have together. I know that and I am so very happy that you are building it with two people I care about so much. Last night I just realized how turned on I am by watching the three of you together and I didn't know what to do. I knew that I couldn't join you so I was going to just stay downstairs and watch TV to try and distract myself. But then I started talking to Tamaki and I realized that he was in the same headspace I was. Our conversation was really interesting and enlightening. I think that is the first time I have talked to anyone other than you or Haruhi about something that personal. I also realized how alone he has felt the last few months. He has been here in France while all of us are on the other side of the world. I know we still talk text and video chat, but it isn't quite the same. When he offered to spend the night with me so I wouldn't have to be alone, it made me realize how much he needed the contact too. We both needed the comfort of another person there. I just didn't realize that we both would sleep that deeply."

"I do understand that. Haruhi guessed that was pretty much what happened and talked to me a little bit about it after I saw the two of you together. I have to say it was a shock at first, but I really do understand why it happened. I am glad you weren't alone."

"You know, that girlfriend of yours has come a long way from the oblivious girl we first met," Kaoru said, "though I guess even then she always seemed to have a unique point of view which is what made her fascinating to all of us. She was just completely clueless to anything relating to relationships or love if it involved her. When I think how much that has changed, it is kind of funny. She is the one now that helps us all understand our own feelings or sees the other side of any situation."

"I like to think that we brought her out of her shell, but I guess I am willing to concede that the others may have helped just a bit," Hikaru smiled. "Tamaki taught her that it was ok to love. Kyouya strengthened her ability to challenge any situation, which I think he may actually regret just a teeny bit because, now she voices her opinion rather than swallowing it and just doing what she is told. Mori and Hani helped her realize that she is vulnerable but she can take measures to reduce it. Of course, we made her realize that she is beautiful to us, even if she doesn't always think she is."

"I think the same could be said of us too, my brother. Tamaki accepted us for who we are and included us when no one else would have dared, which opened the door for friendship. Kyouya was a challenge we had to learn to deal with. Hani and Mori taught us respect. Haruhi taught us how to actually let others in." Kaoru added. "I for one am really glad we decided to join the Host Club. I can't imagine our lives without everyone in it now."

"Me either. It's been a really interesting journey and I don't see it ending any way but happy." A sly smirk crossed Hikaru's face as he realized that he had a prime opportunity to tease his twin. "Speaking of 'happy endings', I noticed that both you and Tamaki were naked and wrapped up in each other this morning…"

Kaoru saw the smirk and knew it was exactly the moment that everything was back to normal between them. The double meaning in his statement just confirmed it. "Are you asking for details, brother? Aren't Haruhi and Kyouya enough for you?"

"You know they are, just as you know I still haven't even kissed let alone fucked Kyouya. I haven't even touched him beyond the casual. So technically, you are the first of us to be with another man. Details are required. Now. Especially as I know you aren't bi like me."

"You know Tamaki used the word flexible to describe himself and I have to admit that it pretty much applies to me too. I am mostly attracted to women, but occasionally a guy will catch my attention for some reason or another and I wonder what it would be like. Though mostly I admit it's the guys in the Host Club that seem to do that to me the most often."

"I understand and you are stalling. DETAILS!" The impatience in Hikaru's tone made his brother burst out laughing.

"Ok. Last night Tamaki got on his knees, pressed me up against the wall, and while the firelight and the glow from the snow danced across his chest, gave me a blow-job. It was freaking amazing and different than anything we have done. I offered to return the favor, but he wanted more skin contact so I gave him a hand job instead. We both fell asleep satisfied. Does that answer your need for the details? Now can I hear about the three of you? Because I wasn't kidding when I said watching all of you yesterday made me horny."

For the rest of the limo ride, Hikaru related both the conversation he had with Kyouya while Haruhi was in the bath and the resulting actions. By the end of the tale, both he and Kaoru were smirking in self-satisfaction and laughter, their bond completely renewed, and plans underway to make the rest of the trip even more satisfying to all of the Hosts – whether they wanted it or not.

Exiting the vehicle, they linked arms and walked through the glass doors into the Carrousel du Louvre, the premier venue for Paris Fashion Week. Part convention/exhibition center and part shopping mall, it was a buzz with reporters, shoppers, and fashion devotees who were clamoring for a glimpse of some of the famous designers who would be featured in a few days. The fabulously wealthy and undeniably attractive Hitachiian brothers walking in together arm and arm, caused a minor riot as they waved, blew kisses to the crowd and played up their 'twincest' act for any camera's that happened to be around.

Murmuring so only his brother could hear, Kaoru said, "I wonder what they will do when we bring Haruhi out for the public events and you link arms with her and Kyouya. Are you sure they are ready for such public exposure?"

"I don't know," Hikaru replied sheepishly, "I kind of haven't talked to them about it just yet. I was waiting for the right moment."

Kaoru whipped his head around to look at his brother, "you haven't mentioned it at all? Dear gods Hika, mom has the red carpet all planned and Haruhi is on the bill as going out on the catwalk with us when we are introduced. Please tell me you have mentioned that at least to them."



"I was planning on asking them this afternoon, when they come by to see us. I was hoping that after they see the excitement of the event they would be eager to join in."

"Right, because being the absolute center of attention is EXACTLY what both Haruhi and Kyouya crave," the sarcasm dripped from Kaoru's voice. "Good luck brother, I have a feeling that you are going to need every ounce of it in the world to get them to do it. Just don't think about what mom will say if they don't."

"Thanks, like I needed to be reminded of that." Hikaru looked up and saw Renge standing in the entrance to the area reserved for Hitachiian Designs, one hand on her hip and her foot tapping impatiently. "Maybe I need to share the luck, Renge looks pissed. We are only a half hour late. I may have to convince my lovers to stand in the spotlight with me, but I have a feeling it will be easy compared to having to work with her for the next week."

"Gods. Don't remind me." Taking a deep breath, Kaoru muttered under his breath as the twins walked over to the waiting girl. "I can do this." Renge's light brown hair was pulled back into a functional ponytail and instead of one of her normal cosplay outfits, she was wearing a simple pair of jeans and fitted button-up shirt. Wow, Kaoru thought, I didn't realize how pretty she actually is when she is not trying to be someone else.

"You both are late," Renge's no-nonsense tone held no room for argument, "I don't really care about why, but your mother is starting to work herself into a panic and it's not fair to her that you don't take your responsibilities seriously."

"Wait a minute, Renge," Kaoru stopped and grabbed her arm, before Hikaru could let loose the scathing words that formed as he heard her disapproving tone. "It was my fault. The alarm didn't go off, so when I was woken up, I didn't have much time to get ready. We are here now and I will talk to mother and make sure that she calms down. This is your first fashion week as her assistant. We have been going since before we could walk. There is a reason it is called 'fashionably late.' You better get used to it. Fashion never runs on exact time unless you are on the catwalk. I know you are eager to help, but you need to lighten up."

"We take our designs very seriously. Don't you dare question that. You may be think you are impo-"

"Hikaru!" Kaoru sharply cut his brother off in an attempt to reduce the tension that had spiked the moment Renge had opened her mouth. With a slightly softer tone, he continued, "Why don't you go into the area and check to make everything is ready. I will go greet mom and give her our apologies."

Turning abruptly and without saying another word, Hikaru left them, while Kaoru watched his brother's stiff back. He started walking to the lounge area he knew his mother used every year. When he heard Renge breathe a sigh of relief, he turned to her, "I stopped Hikaru because I don't want to be even later to mother, not because I disagreed with what he was going to say. So don't think that I am going to let you call into question either of our integrity for our designs."

"But Hikaru just does Accessories – hats, purses, belts, and jewelry. It's not as important as the dresses."

"Now you are showing your ignorance. Think back to your cosplay. Is the outfit complete without the shoes, the ribbons, or the jewelry? No. It is just as important to the overall design as the fabric. One without the other is incomplete just like Hika and I. I know you are eager to try to show off your design skills and mother has graciously allowed you to create a design and show it under the Hitachiian name this week, but if you want to make it memorable, you need to work with Hikaru. Right now, you are making that difficult."

Fully chastised, Renge put her hand out and stopped Kaoru before he entered the lounge area. "Kaoru-sempai, I am sorry. You are right, I know that. I didn't mean to make you and Hikaru-sempai angry. I am just so anxious to make everything perfect. I want to start my career in fashion and I know that I can learn so much from all of you. I know I can get bossy, but I will try to watch it, I promise. I can be like Tohru in Fruits Basket, eager, sweet and willing to help out any way I can!"

"First Rule. Be yourself, Renge," Yuzuha Hitachiian's cultured voice came out of the room as an elegant woman followed, her stylishly short silver hair floating around her head as her smile lit up the hallway. "If you really want to succeed in Fashion you need to be yourself completely. Fashion is about revealing yourself to the world in the most intimate way. What you find beautiful, intriguing, exciting and sexy. If you are trying to copy something else, you won't make it as a designer."

"Yes ma'am."

"Kaoru- darling," Yuzuha continued as she embraced her son. "Which one of you over-slept and where is my darling Haruhi-yoshi?"

Smiling as he warmly returned his mother's hug, "It was my fault this morning. I was the one who overslept. Haruhi had to wake me. She and Kyouya will be joining us a bit later this afternoon. I sent Hikaru over to the work area, but I came directly over to give my apologies for our tardiness."

"Nonsense, fashion is about being late." Kaoru stifled a smile at the look on Renge's face as his mother echoed his earlier comment. "I am ready to head over to the workspace myself. Shall we all go?"

"Of course, mother." Kaoru linked arms with her and together the three of them walked back down to the working area. Hikaru,upon seeing his mother, came over immediately to give her a hug.

"Hika-darling, how are you? How is the relationship between you, Haruhi, and Kyouya going? Have you told him you want more yet?"

"Mother!" Hikaru turned a bright red in embarrassment as Yuzuha just laughed. His mother had an uncanny ability to see right through him, even as she offered him her full support. She knew that by falling in love with more than one person her son had chosen a tricky path. It was an interesting dichotomy that in the Fashion World, the idea was unusual but much more easily accepted, whereas to the rest of the world, it was a difficult concept - especially the world in which Kyouya Ootori was raised. Haruhi and Kyouya complete him in a way that not many will ever understand. I just worry about how Kyouya's hidebound and conservative father will take the information when it becomes public. Haruhi is resilient and can bounce back from anything. If the three of them can make it through the issue together, I doubt there will be anything that will be able to break them.

"I will take that as a not yet, though I have a feeling it will be soon. You have been far more patient than I would ever have guessed. Well, the world will find out on Sunday at any rate. They are still accompanying you down the red carpet, correct?"

"Well… I still need to ask them," Looking up into his mother's eyes, Hikaru let the fear that they would deny him show, "I was going to do it this afternoon. I know Haruhi will be willing, it's Kyouya that I am not sure of."

"Just ask him, darling. I know you want to. If for some reason he won't, then we will make it work and he can join the other hosts in the VIP area."

"Speaking of other Hosts, mother," Kaoru interjected, "I hope you don't mind, but we made a change to the venue of the Grand Ball." He went on to describe how Tamaki had redesigned the Suoh Guest House and turned it into an Event venue, and their idea of a way to make it a pillar of the Fashion community.

Yuzuha listened closely as Kaoru explained. I would help any of the members of the Host Club without thinking twice. They were the ones that were able to finally bridge the isolation my sons were in and gave them the gift of true friendship. Those boys and Haruhi are all like my own children in some ways, I will support all of them any way I can. Though it is interesting to note a faint blush on Kaoru's cheeks at the mention of Tamaki Suoh's name, I wonder what has happened between them.

"Whatever you need, it is done. I think it sounds like a fabulous idea, and we will be that much more popular for introducing a new venue. I would like to come by next week to look at the house, if I may. Renge will accompany me to take notes for any last minute details or changes."

"Of Course, mom," The two voices in unison never ceased to cause a bit of a smile and a proud warmness in her chest.

"Yes ma'am." Renge's eyes glowed at the opportunity. She and Tamaki had casually kept in touch over the last year, and she remembered his telling her about his plans to alter the house. This would be her chance to really see it. She daydreamed for a moment about descending the grand staircase, while the flashbulbs of a sea of paparazzi waited in the entry hall.

"Earth to Renge," Kaoru voice shattered her daydream as she blushed furiously, "We need to get to work. Why don't you shadow me for a few hours so you can ask questions and get tips, then we can look at your design. Hikaru is going to be meeting up with Kyouya and Haruhi this afternoon, so we can use the afternoon to finish off any details and he can accessorize it tomorrow morning."

"That sounds like a good idea," she responded and gestured for him to lead the way.

Hikaru watched Kaoru and Renge walk over to the rack where several designs were hanging, choose one and place it on a mannequin. I hope he is ok working with her. She really annoyed me this morning with her comments about our lateness and her implications that we don't take our work seriously. But Kao must have said something, because she is quiet and actually appears to be listening. Maybe mom didn't loose her mind when she agreed to take Renge on as an assistant. She still bugs me, but I will try to let it go for the sake of harmony. I know that's what Haruhi would tell me to do. Speaking of Haruhi, I am 95% certain she will walk the carpet and the catwalk with me, but will Kyouya? I don't want to admit how much it would mean to me if he did. I know I love them both and want them both beside me, now I just need to trust that they want to be there too. I just wish that wasn't so difficult to do.

With a sigh, Hikaru turned back to the jewelry he had spread out on the table. He had three and half hours to make sure everything matched perfectly and was neither too overstated or understated, before Kyouya and Haruhi arrived. Three and half hours before I get to swallow my pride, my fear, and just ask. Gods, give me the strength to do this.

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