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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59. Mystery Date

I can’t believe we are doing this. Tamaki’s hand tingled where it lay against Haruhi’s back. It has been so long since I have had Haruhi to myself. Gods, I don’t want to mess this up.

“Penny for your thought Tama,” Haruhi said with a smile and a sideways look at her date.

Tamaki looked down into her chocolate brown eyes and gave her a heart-stopping smile. “I was just thinking that we haven’t done this in a very long time and I don’t want to screw it up.”

Haruhi chuckled, “It does seem odd that we are both a little nervous, doesn’t it. I mean, it’s not like we haven’t done pretty much everything together before.”

They reached a sleek black Jaguar parked off to one side of the long driveway. Tamaki held the door open for her as he replied, “True, but this time there are a lot more people involved than just us. It takes a bit of getting used to.”

“Yes, though it is getting easier,” Haruhi said as she slipped down on the soft leather seats. She waited for Tamaki to shut the door and get in on his side of the car before continuing. “I think this trip was the best idea that you have had in a long time. We needed to get out of Japan and the daily stressors there to determine what we all really want to do. Not just in our relationships but also in our futures.”

Tamaki started the car, the engine purring under the hood, and slipped out the gate of the property before saying, “Have you decided what you, Hikaru, and Kyouya are going to do? What about Takashi? I know the thing with him is new even if you both have been skirting around it for years.”

Haruhi sighed and closed her eyes for a moment. “I don’t know. I have some ideas, but I need to sit down and talk with all of them. We just haven’t really had time here, not that I am complaining.”

“I can see that. Kaoru’s decision to study here in Paris was a surprise to me, but it had to be even more of one to Hikaru, since he didn’t know about it before Kaoru said it.”

“I haven’t had a chance to discuss it with Hika, but it looked like he was going to be ok with it. I am not sure if that because he was expecting it or if he plans on joining him.”

“What about you?” Tamaki glanced sideways at her. “What do you want to do? You know that you need to have all of your applications filled out by the end of next month.”

“I know,” Haruhi sighed, “I had it all worked out – I was going to go to Ouran University or to the University of Tokyo. Now… I think I need to look at other options. My grades and community service should be enough to get me into most universities.”

“You know there’s a University here back in Paris too…” Tamaki let his voice fade out.

Haruhi squeezed his hand, “I know… and it’s sounding more and more appealing. But I need to talk to everyone, including my dad, and get a few different opinions.”

“Fair enough,” Tamaki replied as he pulled into a parking spot in front of a small brick building. “Enough of the uncertain future talk. What do you say to having a little fun?”

Haruhi smiled, “Usually, I am completely up for it, but I never know with you Tama… Some of your ideas in the past have been… well…”

Tamaki threw a hand across his heart and said with a feigned hurt tone, “Everything I have done was to impress you and make you smile. Weeeell except maybe for the time with the spider costumes that was just to get back at the twins, but every other time… or almost every other time… or at least-“

Haruhi leaned over and silenced the blonde with a kiss, “I was joking Tama. You always manage to make me smile in the end.”

Tamaki winked at her, “Good. Now come on, the event should be starting any minute.” With a smile, he got out of the car and came around to open her door.
 

 

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

Tamaki kept his hand on the small of her back as he ushered her to an unassuming brown door. The faintest trickle of music could be heard even through the solid wood. As he opened the door, the music solidified into a jazzy piano piece. “Take the ‘A’ Train by Billy Stroyhorn,” Tamaki said to Haruhi as he listened to the lilting tones.

The maître d’ looked up from where he was standing behind a counter and said in Greek, “You know your American Jazz, young sir! I am impressed!” He gave Haruhi a wink, “You might want to convince your date to join the contest in progress. It’s Name That Tune night!”

“I thought tonight was dueling pianos,” Tamaki responded in Greek with a slightly worried tone.

“Never fear, young sir, it is both. Did you have a reservation or would you prefer to sit at the bar? I am afraid the wait for a table is at least an hour.”

“Dueling pianos?” Haruhi looked at Tamaki for clarification having understood only those couple of words.

“Two pianists who both play at the same time, with the winner scoring more points via audience applause or enthusiasm. I have heard about it, but never actually seen it in person.” Turning to the maître d’ he responded, “I have reservations under Suoh.”

The maître d’ looked down at his clip board and smiled, “So you do! And right in the front row!! I think you will be pleased. If you would follow me…”

Tamaki and Haruhi followed him down a flight of stairs and through a crowded room to a table with a reserved sign on it just to the left of the center of a raised stage. He held the chair for Haruhi and dropped her napkin across her lap as she sat down. Handing them their menus, he let them know that their waitress would be Sarah and she would explain the contest. With a final smile he left them.

Haruhi looked around; the ambiance was reminiscent of the 1940’s with smoked glass, hurricane lanterns and soft lighting. “This place is cool, Tama. I love it.”

Tamaki smiled and took her hand, “I hoped you would. I have wanted to check it out since I first heard about it when I was looking at the island, but I ran out of time. I thought it sounded like fun.”

“Oh it’s a rocking good time, sugar,” a pretty brunette woman in her late 20’s wearing a form fitting dress and perfectly styled hair approached their table. “Hi, I am Sarah and I will be your waitress tonight. Let me start you both off with something to drink.”

“Thanks,” Tamaki replied and ordered a bottle of wine and a cheese plate. He gave Sarah his best Host Club smile, “I heard there was a contest…”

Two bright spots of color appeared on Sarah’s cheeks as she fanned herself with her pad, glancing quickly at Haruhi, she saw the smirk on the younger girls face and confirmed that while Haruhi didn’t speak Greek, she did speak French before responding. “Oh honey, you’re boyfriend has a smile that could make the devil himself blush!” She schooled her features back into her professional mode and explained the rules of the contest – minimum of 10 correct answers out of 15 songs and the person with the most correct answers would win. At the end, she pointed out the bottle of 1940 Kopke 375 Port that was the prize for the evening and left them to look at the menus a bit longer.

Haruhi had caught the low whistle that Tamaki had unconsciously emitted when Sarah had pointed out the prize and had to ask, “I take it the prize is something of value?”

Tamaki smiled, “You know I have been researching wines and vineyards, not only with Kyouya, but also as part of my family’s business. That particular port comes from a vineyard in Portugal that was established in the 1600’s and was bottled to celebrate the winery’s 375th anniversary. It retails for about $550 Euros. It’s rare… very rare. Now I know why to even be eligible to win the prize you had to get ten correct.”

Haruhi blinked at the bottle, “Over $500 Euros just for a bottle of wine? Who would spend that much on wine?”

Tamaki grinned, “Oh my sweet princess, you have so much to learn…”

Haruhi stuck her tongue out at him, which caused Tamaki to chuckle. He squeezed her hand again. “Do you know what you want to eat?”

Haruhi sighed and looked over the menu, which was naturally printed in Greek. “Honestly, my Greek is really rusty. I don’t know what half this stuff is.”

“If you trust me, I can order for both of us,” Tamaki replied.

Haruhi nodded. “So how many languages do you speak Tama? I don’t think I have ever asked. I know Kyouya speaks Japanese, English, and some basic French. The twins are fluent in Japanese, French, Spanish, English, and Italian. Hani and Takashi both speak Japanese and English.”

Tamaki chuckled, “Well you have to understand that I spent most of my childhood in Europe, so speaking several languages is more of a necessity if you want to go anywhere, than it is in Japan. When I learned that I could potentially be groomed to take over the Suoh family enterprise it made sense to study more languages.”

Haruhi looked closer at her friend, “That makes sense and I never really thought about it that way… but you didn’t answer my question.”

Tamaki licked his lips and said with a wicked smile, “I am fluent in French, Japanese, English, Spanish, Italian, Greek, and German. I can get by in Russian, Portuguese, Austrian, and Danish.”

It was Haruhi’s turn to emit a low whistle. “That’s incredible. I never knew.”

“It has its uses,” Tamaki answered.

“I bet.” Haruhi giggled. “How many girls did you seduce at Ouran by using another language?”

“Before you joined the Host Club?” Tamaki grinned and at Haruhi’s nod continued, “Several. I don’t know the number off the top of my head.”

“And after? It couldn’t have been that obvious because I think I would have seen it.”

Tamaki lifted her hand and placed a kiss on the inside of her wrist before saying in Italian using a low sexy tone, “Solo uno ... e non smetterò mai di volere lei.”

Haruhi shivered at the tone of Tamaki’s voice and the look in his violet eyes. “What does that mean?” she asked breathlessly.

“Just one… and I will never stop wanting her.” He laid another kiss in the palm of her hand before releasing it.

Haruhi’s body was tingling and her breath uneven as she stared at the deep emotion behind Tamaki’s eyes.

Tamaki held her eyes a moment longer before releasing them with a smile. He waved to get Sarah’s attention and when she arrived, ordered for both of them.

With a wink, Sarah grinned and promised to make sure that everything was perfect.

 

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

Haruhi watched as two men walked onto the stage to loud applause. Together they met and shook hands, bantering with each other and the crowd before separating to the two baby grand pianos on the stage. Once they started playing she was enthralled.

Tamaki grinned as he covertly watched Haruhi’s fascination in between appreciating the abilities of the performers and noting down the order of the songs that were being played. He was confident that he had most of them by both name and composer and for the couple that he wasn’t, he knew he had at least the name of the song right.

“It’s fascinating how one will be playing and then the other will jump in with a different piece that somehow manages to keep the rhythm of the first piece,” Haruhi finally said as she tore her eyes away from the stage to look down at the dinner that had just been placed in front of her. She sniffed and then smiled in appreciation at the grilled fish, vegetables, and rice. “This looks wonderful. Thanks Tama!”

“I hope it tastes as good as it looks,” Tamaki smiled and took a bite before shifting the topic back to the performance. “They are both excellent pianists. They do American Jazz justice, even though they are both Greek.”

“That’s another thing that I didn’t know,” Haruhi smiled. “Obviously, I knew your love for classical composers, but I thought you mostly ignored contemporary works.”

“I am hit or miss on them, but Jazz is the turning point from traditional classical music to all the different forms of music out there today like Rock, Pop, R & B. It’s fascinating to me how it reshaped everything.” Tamaki answered with a smile.

“Can you play some for me, sometime?” Haruhi asked with a shy smile.

“I would be honored, my princess,” Tamaki replied and went back to his dinner.

Half an hour later, they were finishing up the last bit of their dessert, when Sarah came by to pick up Tamaki’s answer sheet. “We will announce the results in few minutes but it looks like you are definitely in the running based on the amount you filled out.”

“Thanks.” Tamaki glanced up at her tone. “What happens if there is a tie?”

Sarah grinned, “We don’t call it ‘Dueling’ for nothing. In case of a tie the winners have to convince the audience that they deserve the prize.”

“What if they don’t want to get up in front of everyone?”

“Honey, you don’t strike me as someone who gets stage fright, but if one of the top doesn’t want to duel, then they forfeit and the prize goes to the other person. If they both refuse the big prize isn’t awarded and both go home empty handed.”

“Makes sense.”

“Now let me turn in your answers and we will see if we have a winner!”

Tamaki took a deep breath and leaned back in his chair. “It would be nice to win. Though I could always just buy the bottle if I don’t.”

“Then it would lose some of its appeal,” Haruhi said with a knowing grin. “I know you Tama. You might have just bought it on a whim before, but now that it’s a prize you would rather win it. All of you guys are like that to a certain extent. You’re competitive.”

Tamaki winked at her, “Oh are we?? Says the girl who just shook up the Martial Arts world.”

Haruhi chuckled, “I blame all of you for rubbing off on me. All the bets, races, challenges, and such… I had to learn to keep up or get left behind.”

“We would have never left you behind,” Tamaki said earnestly.

“I know,” Haruhi responded and squeezed his hand. “Actually all of you taught me how to be free.”

“Funny, I think we would say the same about you,” Tamaki answered quietly.

The maître d’ made his way to the stage along with both of the dueling performers. Tapping the microphone a few times to get everyone’s attention he spoke, “Ladies and Gentlemen, let’s give a round of applause to our two extremely talented performers tonight!” He paused and waited for the clapping to quiet. “Now for the results that you all have been waiting for… Tonight not only do we have a winner – but we have TWO! You know what that means!!!”

“DUEL!!!” The crowd yelled back.

“You have it – it’s time for a Duel. Rules are simple – you can do anything you like and the audience will rate you on your performance. The most applause wins. If you choose not to duel then you forfeit to the other person. Now for our two Duelists this evening – James Anderson and Tamaki Suoh!!”

Haruhi laughed at Tamaki’s stunned expression and pushed at him to make his way to the stage. Once there Tamaki shook hands with the slightly graying middle-aged American man who joined him.

“Now gentlemen, you know the rules of the duel. Do either of you want to forfeit?”

James and Tamaki exchanged smiles and both responded with a “No”, the glint of competition lighting their eyes.

“Fantastic! I will flip a coin to see who goes first. Mr. Anderson please call it.” The maître d’ tossed the coin into the air as James called “Heads”. The coin landed in his palm face up. “Heads it is, Mr. Anderson you are up first. What are you going to do for us?”

“I will sing, if you don’t mind.”

“Perfect. Mr. Suoh, you may take a seat over there,” he waved to a stool being brought on the stage. “Mr. Anderson do you need accompaniment?”

“That would be welcome. To keep with the theme of the evening, even though it’s was done in the 60’s rather than the 40’s, my song is It’s a Wonderful World.”

“Great Choice and Pete here can help you with that,” he gestured to the one of the house duelists who took his place at a piano. The other brought up a microphone and set it in front of James. “All right – Let the Duel begin!!!”

The audience cheered as James took the stage and began to sing in a husky baritone.

I see trees of green........ red roses too
I see em bloom..... for me and for you
And I think to myself.... what a wonderful world.

I see skies of blue..... clouds of white
Bright blessed days....dark sacred nights
And I think to myself .....what a wonderful world.

The colors of a rainbow.....so pretty ..in the sky
Are also on the faces.....of people ..going by
I see friends shaking hands.....sayin.. how do you do
They're really sayin......i love you.

I hear babies cry...... I watch them grow
They'll learn much more.....than I'll never know
And I think to myself .....what a wonderful world

At the conclusion of the song, the audience cheered loudly for several minutes. Tamaki sat on the stool and applauded with them. He was good. Really good actually. He’s going to be tough to beat.

The maître d’ came back up to the microphone clapping, “Mr. Anderson, that was excellent and the crowd loved it. It’s going to be a tough act to beat but we have to give Mr. Suoh a chance.” He gestured for Tamaki to join him at the mic. “So what are you going to do for us, Mr. Suoh?”

Tamaki responded with a smile, “I thought I would play, since this is a Piano bar.”

“Excellent! What are you going to play for us?”

“It’s just a bit before the 1940’s but I think it will work with the Jazz theme. I am going to do Rhapsody in Blue by Gershwin.”

The maître d’ put on a skeptical look as he addressed the crowd, “Ambitious choice to do without sheet music but we like ambition around here don’t we?!?”

The crowd cheered.

“All right Mr. Suoh, pick a piano and you can begin whenever you are ready.”

“Thanks.” Tamaki gave a little bow to the crowd and went to the piano that Pete had just vacated. Sitting down on the stool, he took a deep breath and tried to focus his thoughts. Unconsciously, he glanced over at Haruhi who mouthed “Go Tama!”

With a smile on his face, he closed his eyes and launched into the complicated music, letting the steely rhythms, sensual undertones, and precise chords drag him into the heart of the music not just its notes.

Haruhi watched Tamaki lose himself in the piece the way he usually only did with his select favorites. I have never heard him play this before, but it is incredible.

As the last notes faded, silence echoed through the room for a moment before the audience went wild, jumping to their feet and screaming loudly. Tamaki sat at the piano blinking a few times before the audience applause registered. Once it did though, he grinned and stood up, giving the audience a bow.

James walked over to him and shook his hand. “That was mighty fine playing, son. Mighty fine. You deserve to win and it was an honor to duel with you.” He handed Tamaki a business card. “If you are ever in the States, give me a call. I’d love to sit down and have dinner and discuss music history with you. You don’t see many people your age really appreciating the classics anymore.”

“I would be honored to do so, Sir.” Tamaki said with a smile.

“This duel is going to go down in history here in the Bar,” the maître d’ took the microphone and handed the bottle of Port to Tamaki. Here Mr. Suoh, you definitely deserve this prize. I hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoyed listening to you play.”

Tamaki took the bottle and held it up, winking at Haruhi. “I absolutely intend to.”

The audience laughed and with one last bow, Tamaki left the stage and made his way back to the table and Haruhi.

“That was just incredible Tama. I have never heard that piece before but it was just beautiful.”

“You should hear the opening run when it is played by a clarinet, the way it was originally written,” Tamaki answered with a smile. “It’s incredibly sensual. Almost erotic.”

“You will have to play it for me some time.” Haruhi said with a grin. “Say when we get back to the villa…”

Tamaki caught the hint of passion in her voice and grinned before pulling her hand up to kiss her wrist again. “I think I can manage to find a good version.”

 

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

There were no lights on at the villa, which seemed to imply that they were the first to arrive back, much to Tamaki’s secret delight. I am not ready for the night to end. There’s so much more that I want to do, now that I have Haruhi alone.

Unlocking the door, Tamaki again rested his hand on the soft skin of Haruhi’s bare back and ushered her into the villa. Instead of flipping on all the lights, he made his way into the kitchen and turned on the light on the range hood. It offered enough light to see by, but not enough to break the moment. Setting the bottle down on the counter he turned to see Haruhi leaning against the door frame watching him, her body partly in shadow though her face was lit by the reflected glow of the light.

“So what are you going to do with your prize?” She asked quietly.

Tamaki advanced to her slowly, cautiously, making very sure that he wasn’t about to do anything unwelcome or foolish. When he stood just inches from her, he slid one arm around her back and the other into her hair, cupping her head and pulling her into a kiss. For all that he had kissed her many times before, this kiss felt different and new to him. Her lips felt softer under his, her breathless moans more eager and her tongue dancing next to his in a way that had him trembling. Breaking from her mouth to trail more soft kisses along her jaw, he whispered into her ear, “I have in my arms the only prize I want right now.”

“Tamaki…” Haruhi pulled her head back and looked deep into his eyes, concern flickering across her face.

“Hush princess, I know it can’t be just the two of us anymore,” he said against her lips, “and honestly, I don’t want it to be… I care too much for Kaoru and… Kyouya. I just want to know that I am somewhere in your heart. Some tiny place that is only mine.”

“Oh Tama…,” Haruhi breathed, “It is there. It always has been and even when I tried to bury it, it still would ache and remind me whenever I saw you laugh at another pretty girl’s comment. I can give up the petty jealousy that I have no right to, now that you know. Part of me will always belong to you; it’s just that part of me also belongs to Hikaru, Kyouya, and Takashi…”

“I know,” Tamaki kissed her forehead, “and they all love you back ferociously.” He held her for a moment longer before changing the subject. “Now do you want to see what 70 year old Port tastes like?”

Haruhi smiled, “You should save that for a special occasion.”

Tamaki grinned and stepped back. “This is a special occasion. I have you to myself for an evening. Why don’t you get comfortable why I pour a couple of glasses for us? Then I will see if I can find a version of Rhapsody in Blue with the clarinet solo to start it.”

Haruhi stretched up and placed a kiss on his cheek. “I am just going to slip off my heels and step out on the balcony. The beach should look amazing in the moonlight.”

“I will join you in just a moment.”

True to his word, Haruhi had just enough time to drop her shoes off in the room she was using earlier, drape her wrap around her elbows, and step outside when Tamaki joined her at the rail. He left the sliding door open behind him and it was only a couple of heartbeats before the tune that Tamaki had played earlier came out of the house speakers, only this time it was reedier and more earthy. Haruhi accepted the glass of port and closed her eyes to focus on the music. Tamaki’s right, the piano was pretty but the clarinet makes it more seductive. A faint breeze skittered across her skin, leaving a trail of goose bumps.

“You know the port will help warm you, if you actually taste it instead of just holding it,” Tamaki’s voice teased against her ear causing a different kind of shiver.

She turned into the voice and opened her eyes, a smile and a faint challenge in her tone as she replied, “Oh really?”

“Really, though I can think of a few other ways to warm you up if you are feeling chilled,” Tamaki grinned. He held up his glass in a toast, “To new beginnings, old friends, and American Jazz.”

“Cheers!” Haruhi clinked her glass against his before taking a small sip of the amber liquid. As she swallowed a hum of appreciation left her lips. The drink was, as Tamaki promised, warming as it slid smoothly down her throat but it was also sweet without being cloying. “Oh my goodness, that is just fantastic!”

Tamaki chuckled, “I thought you might like it. We will make a foodie out of you yet.” He reached into his pocket and pulled out a small wrapped piece of candy. “Here, try a sip with this dark chocolate.”

“But I don’t usually like…” Haruhi started to say but was interrupted by Tamaki pressing a finger against her lips.

“Trust me?” A challenge gleamed in his eyes.

“Fine,” Haruhi grumbled and broke off the tiniest piece of dark chocolate she could. Popping it in her mouth and chewing quickly she took another sip of the port. This time when the combined flavors hit her tongue, she nearly lost her balance at the pleasure of the sensations flooding her mouth.

Tamaki chuckled as he caught her with a hand around her waist and gave her a wicked grin at the near orgasmic moan that left her lips. “I told you.”

Haruhi grinned as she fed him a piece of chocolate, “I will never doubt you again. But this time I want to taste it from your lips.”

“As you wish, princess,” Tamaki chewed the chocolate, took a sip, set down his glass, swallowed and pulled her roughly into his arms, opening his mouth and letting the flavors on his tongue tease against hers. The kiss started out teasing but turned far more intimate very quickly. As his hands slid up her back, she wound her arms around his neck and pressed her body into his, deepening the kiss. Her moan under him caused him to pull back enough to say, “You look amazing tonight, I want to make love to you so much.”

“Please,” Haruhi sighed as Tamaki nipped at her neck. Her fingers loosened their grip and it was only Tamaki’s quick reflexes that caught the wine glass before it fell.

He chuckled as he set it down, “I love that my kisses make you weak.”

“They always have,” Haruhi said with a smile.

“I intend that they always will,” Tamaki replied with a grin and in one movement scooped her up into his arms, kissing her again as he walked back into the villa and towards the bedroom.

   
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