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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71. Old Friends Meet New

Tamaki leaned up against the wall leading to the dining room, body naturally striking a casually sexy pose in his perfectly tailored tux. An amethyst pin in the neck rather than a bow tie was the only break from the classic tuxedo style, and even that only served to accent his violet eyes. Yet, while he was definitely gathering some appreciative glances from the females entering the Ball (and the occasional male), they didn’t register. He was closely watching the expressions of the guests as they arrived and was trying to interpret their reactions to the entrance hall, the decorations, and the entire venue. This is the first real test of my skill. Talking grandmother into letting me redesign the Guest house was difficult enough. I know her… if I can’t prove that this idea can be successful, then she will order it back to the way it was – a shrine to our long dead Suoh ancestors who thought that displays of wealth and prestige should be visible and gaudy… “the better to impress people.” Ugh. I respect the lineage of my family and what it has accomplished, but people like grandmother and Kyouya’s father seem to have forgotten that the only way our houses were able to maintain their wealth over the decades was through innovation and change. New ideas. New Opportunities. Not clinging to the past in a vain attempt to hold on to remembered glory. Tamaki sighed. Kyouya’s father… gods. I know how much time and effort to Kyouya put into trying to please his father all those years. Trying to win his father’s respect. All the while just watching Yoshio take it as his due, without giving any sort of affection or respect back. It shouldn’t be surprising that once he understood someone truly loved, valued, and respected him for the person he is and not as a tool to be used, that he would willingly give up the cold affection of his family. I was lucky. For all that grandmother is cold; I had maman… and later my father. I know what it is like to have love around me… and why it is worth fighting for. I will be there to support Kyouya any way that I can.

“Earth to Fuzzy!” 

Two fingers snapping in front of his face shook Tamaki from his thoughts. Startled, his eyes flew to the laughing ones of his friend Marika. With a grin, he lifted her hand and placed a kiss on the back. “Bon jour, mademoiselle. May I say you look decidedly not frizzy tonight?” 

Marika laughed, “A good stylist can work wonders.” A hint of concern crept into her tone. “So what had you so lost in thought, Tama? I have been trying to get your attention for the last five minutes.” 

“Trying to read the expressions of people as they see the house. Grandmother. Dynasties. Fear of innovation. Love. Kyouya.” 

“It’s good to know that some things never change. Love and Kyouya, huh?” Marika smirked as a blush crept up Tamaki’s cheeks. 

“That’s not what I meant,” Tamaki sputtered. “I meant… Kyouya is going through a… Love is worth fighting for.” 

Marika laid her hand on his arm, “I know, Fuzzy. I was just teasing you a bit. But don’t fool yourself. It’s been obvious for years that you are more than a little bit in love with Kyouya. Then you fell hard for Haruhi. Which is why I was a bit nervous when you asked me to do an interview with them and the other person they are dating… not because of the poly thing, but because you weren’t that person. I care about you too much as a friend to see you hurting because you want something that is unattainable.” She pulled back and searched his face, noting as something flickered behind the violet eyes. “But it isn’t unattainable for you, is it? What aren’t you telling me?” 

“Damn you and your perception,” Tamaki sighed. “I know it is what makes you a great reporter, but I wish that, just this once, you weren’t quite so insightful.” 

“Tell me. Please? I swear it will be kept in confidence.” 

“I know you can be trusted,” Tamaki replied, before taking a deep breath. “Yes. I am also in a relationship with Kyouya and Haruhi that is separate from theirs with Hikaru. Incidentally, I am also dating Kaoru.” He glanced up swiftly, but seeing no judgment in her eyes, he continued. “Haruhi and Kyouya are also dating Takashi, Kaoru is also dating Renge, and there are some other dynamics between Hikaru, Kaoru, Hani, and Takashi… all of which needs to be kept a secret. It’s hard enough for Hika, Kyo, and Haru to go public with their relationship, but thanks to you, they can do it in a way that just makes them seem a bit more on the leading edge of a possible upcoming trend. If the rest of the relationships were made known, all of us would be completely blackballed.” 

Marika sighed, “I know that only too well. I am actually a little jealous of them with even being in a place where they can go public. God knows that Mel, Jon and I can’t.” She glanced over at her lovers who were standing discreetly off to the side, giving the friends a moment of privacy. With a smile and a hand wave, she gestured for them to join. 

“Hi Melissa. Hi Jon,” Tamaki said warmly as he gave Melissa a hug and Jon a friendly handshake. “It’s been a long time. Thanks for joining us tonight.” 

“Wouldn’t miss it for the world! Thank you for giving Mari the story of the year,” Jon replied with a smile. “She has already had several calls from major media outlets offering her positions.” 

Marika blushed, “Hush, this isn’t really about me.” 

Melissa (Mel to her friends) smiled fondly. “But it is a definite perk.” 

Tamaki smiled, “I am really happy that it is turning out as well as it is for you. I am just glad I could help out a couple of different friends. Sometimes it really is about who you know.” He caught a glimpse of a tall statuesque auburn haired figure in a stunning dress descending the staircase out of the corner of his eye. Turning more fully, he caught a glimpse of Ranka laughing and smiling at a man in a stylish suit. “Speaking of who you know, there is one more thing that you may want to know ahead of time, since it looks like Yuzuha Hitachiin is about to spring another surprise tonight.” 

“What’s that?” Marika turned to follow Tamaki’s gaze. “Who is that woman? She is stunning!” 

“That my dear Frizzy… is Haruhi’s father.” 

Three heads whipped around to stare at him in shock. 

“Did you say father?” Jon asked. 

Tamaki gave them a teasing grin. “Yes. That is Ryouji Fujioka, known to most of his friends and family as Ranka. He is a cross-dresser. He used to bartend at a Bar that featured a Drag Queen Show. Now he works for Yuzuha Hitachiin. That job change is really recent and was a kept a surprise until yesterday, so I am not exactly sure what he does with her, but from what I have been able to gather it is some kind of consultant/liaison. Haruhi’s mother died when she was still quite young, so Ranka has literally been both father and mother to Haruhi. Growing up in a single parent family and one with an alternative lifestyle shaped Haruhi into the woman she is… and when she stumbled into all of our lives, she opened up a world that none of us knew existed. We haven’t looked back since.” 

“That’s just… unbelievable… and incredibly impressive, considering,” Melissa said as she continued to watch Ranka flirt with the unknown man. 

“The whole Fujioka family is pretty impressive once you get to know them,” Tamaki said quietly. “Those of us born into wealth with both parents and nannies to care for us have no idea what it is to really grow up struggling to make ends meet or going without luxuries.” He watched as the gentleman offered Ranka his arm and they turned to head toward the ballroom. On an impulse he said, “Come on, I will introduce you to Ranka before we go in and meet the others.” 

“That would be cool,” Marika responded and linked her arm with Tamaki’s, while giving her partners a wink. 

Together they all started to follow the couple in front of them. 
 

 

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

When Ranka and his unknown escort made a slight detour and avoided the ballroom, turning instead down a side hall, Tamaki’s first thought was that maybe Ranka knew her escort, and they should give them some privacy, but just as he was about to turn to Marika and suggest they go back to the ballroom, a glimmer of something in the man’s hand and a sudden unpleasant look on his face made him pause. Stepping into the shadow of the hallway he pulled Marika close to him. Knowing that Jon and Mel were only a few steps behind them, he made a stopping hand motion to keep them from coming around the corner.

“Wha-“ Marika started to say.

Tamaki clapped a hand over her mouth before whispering in her ear. “I have a really bad feeling all of a sudden.”

Together they watched in horror as the man plunged something into Ranka’s neck and she slumped unconscious against him. They could hear him say something sinister in Italian but were unable to make out the words. Shifting Ranka further in his arms to make it look like Ranka had just a bit too much to drink and was requiring assistance, he them moved closer to the door leading out to the back gardens. Pausing he waited for a few moments, obviously waiting for some kind of sign or signal.

Slipping silently back around the corner, Tamaki whispered furiously, “Go let Kyouya know something has happening with Ranka. I am going to follow them and find out where they are going. I will leave the GPS locator turned on my phone. Kyouya or Hani should know how to track it.”

“I’m going with you,” Marika said firmly. She put a finger on Tamaki’s lips. ”No arguments. We will blend in more and may go unnoticed for longer if we just look like two more people looking for a bit of privacy at the Ball.” She turned to Jon. “Do you remember what Kyouya looks like from the interview?”

At Jon’s nod, Tamaki slipped a silver bracelet off his wrist. Handing it to Jon he said, “Give him this, that way he knows that you are telling the truth.” He ducked his head back around the corner just in time to see the man push the door open to leave. “We have to go.”

“Be careful!” Jon said before pulling Marika to him for a quick crushing kiss. “I love you.”

“Get Kyouya!” Tamaki whispered urgently, before grabbing Marika’s hand and pulling her around the corner.

An icy blast of cold night air hit them as they stepped outside and without a word; Tamaki took off his jacket and put it around Marika’s shoulders. He could just make out the shadowy shape of Ranka and his abductor in front of him. It looks like they are heading towards the garages. Makes sense. This whole area is off-limits to attendees of the Grand Ball, though I have a feeling that is where all the service staff for the Ball are parked. There’s a dirt road that leads to a small side gate that grandmother often uses for deliveries. Akira said there would be patrols across the property… Let’s hope someone is watching that gate.

 

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

Jon and Melissa ran back towards the ballroom and slammed to a stop at the crowd in front of them. Looking at each other, they linked hands and started moving through, staring intently at the groups of people who danced in the center of the floor and milled around the edges, looking at the concept drawings, and gathered around the bar at the far end of the room.

“There!!” Jon yelled as he spotted a tall dark haired man with glasses standing in line to get a drink. Rushing up to him, he asked breathlessly, “Are you Kyouya Ootori?”

“Who?”

“Sorry,” Jon said crestfallen. “I thought you were someone else.”

“Is that O- tor- whatever guy the one who is dating Hikaru Hitachiin?”

“Yes! Have you seen him recently?”

“He was just here…” he looked around and focused on something down the side of the room and pointed. “Is that him over there?”

Turning Jon saw the person who he pointed to and rushed off, leaving Mel to say a hurried “Thanks.”

This time Jon could see the lights from the dance floor bouncing off his face and knew it was Kyouya. He approached rapidly. “Kyouya? Kyouya Ootori?”

Kyouya froze before schooling his face into a politely indifferent expression as he turned to face the two strangers staring at him. “Yes. Can I help you?”

“We are friends of Tamaki. Melissa and Jon – Marika’s partners. Something has happened,” Jon rushed out.

“What do you mean something has happened?” Kyouya asked still suspicious.

Melissa held out something silver. “Tamaki gave this to us and told us to find you… Ranka has been kidnapped.”

All the color drained from Kyouya’s face as he recognized the bracelet that Haruhi had given to Tamaki… the bracelet that rarely left his wrist for any reason. The words suddenly echoed in his head. Ranka kidnapped. Oh gods… We didn’t think to protect Ranka… A note of cold determination settled into his voice. “Tell me everything you know.”

   
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