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. =)


77. Planning

The knock at the door signaling that room service had arrived was followed just a few minutes later by the arrival of Ranka, Akira, Yuzuha, and the lawyer from the previous evening.

The lawyer held out his hand, “I don’t think we were formally introduced last night. I am Jean-Claude Remy. I am representing your father and House Hitachiin.”

After politely shaking his hand, Haruhi gestured for him to enter the suite. “Breakfast is on the counter, please help yourself.”

“Thank you, but I have already eaten. Please don’t hesitate though on my account. I know it has been a long night for all of you.”

“That it has,” Ranka replied as he made a plate. “I’m actually starving. I didn’t eat much yesterday before the Ball and I couldn’t eat last night. But something about knowing Yoshio Ootori is behind bars at the moment has brought back my appetite.”

Remy nodded and cleared his throat before taking a seat on one of the couches. “Yes he is, for now. That is one of the major things that we need to discuss. I received word from his lawyer this morning that since all parties are Japanese citizens, they are going to push to move the case and charges back to Japan. Because of the status Yoshio Ootori holds and In the interest of political relations between Japan and France, there is a very good chance that the government will agree.”

“No…” the color drained from Ranka’s face.

“We have to find a way to prevent that from happening,” Kyouya jumped up from his seat and started pacing. “You don’t know my father. If this goes back to Japan, there is no way the charges will stick. He has too many connections to see jail time.”

“That is what I am afraid of and please rest assured that I and my team are doing everything in our power to make sure it doesn’t happen, but we have to resign ourselves to the possibility. We can still press charges in Japan and Ootori isn’t the only one who is well connected,” Remy replied. “We will see him held responsible for his part in this.”

“It’s not going to be enough,” Kyouya responded, anger and frustration coloring his tone. “My father will find a way to get out of it. He has done it countless times before. Someone else will take the fall for him again. WHY DOES THIS ALWAYS HAPPEN?? WHY?!” He slammed a hand down on the counter causing the dishes to rattle and the others to look at him sharply. “Sorry.” He mumbled as he rubbed the side of his hand and turned away breathing heavily.

Haruhi immediately stood and started to walk over to him, but her father put a hand on her wrist and stopped her. Instead Ranka stood, went to Kyouya and laid a hand on his shoulder turning him gently back to face the others. Speaking gently he asked, “How many times have you watched your father get out of the consequences? How many times have you had to bear the burden of his actions?”

“I have lost count,” Kyouya said bitterly. He took a deep breath. Looking Ranka in the eye he continued, “I’m sorry. This really isn’t about me. What he did to you was beyond the pale and I want you to see justice for that. You have been more of a father figure to me in the last two years than Yoshio Ootori has been for most of my life. You deserve to see him held accountable for everything he put you through. I am just afraid that if this goes back to Japan, then it won’t happen.”

Ranka pulled him into a hug. “You are very much the son, I wish I could have had, never doubt that. The way you care for my daughter speaks volumes about you, despite the man who had a hand in your creation.” Looking over at Remy after releasing Kyouya, he asked, “Is the main argument for moving the case and jurisdiction back to Japan the fact that both Yoshio and I are Japanese citizens? Or is it something else?”

“That is it,” Remy replied. “Ootori’s lawyers are arguing that it is a personal issue between two visitors from another country even though it happened in France. They acknowledge that it is a high profile case because of the connections, which is why they are assuring that it would still go to trial in Japan, but like I said for political reasons, there is a very good chance they may succeed in the argument.”

“Would the same argument be made if it was a French citizen that Yoshio attacked?”

“Not at all. The police and the government would actively fight to keep it here if that were the case. There is too much chance of publicity and politics.” Remy looked suspicious. “Why? Is there something that you haven’t mentioned?”

“I have dual citizenship in Japan and France,” Ranka replied. At the shocked looks, he continued. “At least I think I do. We may need to check.”

“Dad?” Haruhi asked as Ranka and Kyouya walked back to the couch.

Ranka scratched at his head. “Sorry babygirl, this is one of those things that I kept meaning to tell you someday, but it was never really important enough, so I kept forgetting about it.” Turning to the others he said. “Technically, I was born in France. My mother was French-Japanese living in a little town outside Avignon. Her family hosted a Japanese exchange student while she was finishing up school. They had a fling and my mom ended up pregnant with me. Of course, at the time it was a huge scandal and they were forced to get married. But my father only had a student visa, so he had to return to Japan. My mom had me here, and then joined him in Japan with me when I was three months old. My grandparents died when I was an early teenager, but because of the distance and financial constraints, I never really knew them. Japan was my home. I never thought of myself as French. I think they tried to be good parents, but the attraction they had for each other had faded by the time I was a teenager. Then they caught me trying on one of my mom’s dresses and I was kicked out of the house. I stayed with my best friend Ako and her parents. Then I met your mom and the rest is history. My mom died when I was in college and my dad had a heart attack a couple of years later. I don’t think they ever really forgave me for being born and forcing them to change their lives. I didn’t have much contact with them after I married Kotoko.”

Haruhi got up and hugged her father. “I didn’t know. I always wondered about your parents, but I knew that they had disowned you, so I didn’t ask.”

Ranka hugged her back. Turning to Remy, he asked, “So does that information help in any way?”

Remy smiled, sympathy in his eyes, “It does. I will have someone look up the records tomorrow. Do you happen to know what hospital you were born at?”

“I do. I was going through my parent’s things after my father died and I found a box with my birth certificate in it. Unfortunately, I think it got lost in one of the many moves that Kotoko and I did in the early years of our marriage.”

“Even the knowledge alone is enough for us to put a wrench in Ootori’s plans,” Remy answered. “Well... that just made some things a hell of a lot easier and more complicated at the same time. We definitely now have the grounds to keep the trial here, assuming of course that Ootori doesn’t take some kind of plea.”

“It would be unlikely,” Kyouya responded. “My father never sees his actions as mistakes and accepting a plea bargain would be admitting that he made one. No. He is far more likely to try and spin this as a miscommunication or that one of his underlings took his instructions too far.”

“Thanks to Ms. Bellamy’s foresight in video recording everything that is going to be hard to prove,” Remy replied before changing the subject. “But we will deal with that when it comes up. We need to address the vultures outside the building.” He gestured toward the window. “We have called for a press conference this afternoon but we should discuss what we are going to say and who will be talking.”

“I thought I would start,” Yuzuha spoke for the first time since coming into the suite. “I was going to make a statement that one of my staff was abducted from the Ball and that on his behalf, we are pressing charges.”

“Are you ok with that Ranka?” Remy asked. “If this were a normal situation either you or I would be the one who would be the center of attention.”

“I am not used to being in front of the press. I am perfectly ok with Yuzuha taking point. I am probably going to have to answer questions anyway. Am I correct?”

“Well, that is up to you,” Remy answered. “We can play this as a straight informational gathering and refuse to comment, but it will lead to a lot of speculation and the press will continue to hound you and your daughter. Of course, that will probably happen any way just based on the circumstances around her coming out with Hikaru and Kyouya.”

“We addressed that issue already with the interview we did with Marika last week,” Hikaru interjected.

“Yes you did, but the fact that it looks like Ootori may have retaliated to that interview by kidnapping her father means that the focus is squarely back on the three of you.”

“What do you think we should do,” Kyouya asked.

“I think that Yuzuha should start the conference off, but that you, Haruhi, Ranka, and Hikaru should be open to answering a few questions. We can make clear beforehand that any questions relating to the relationship that you have that are digging for salacious details will be ignored. It won’t stop them completely, unfortunately, but it will help us weed out the respectable news agencies from the tabloids. It’s the best we can hope for in this situation.”

“I hate that my personal relationship is being brought up as an excuse for my father’s behavior,” Kyouya replied, incensed. “The fact that there are people out there who will approve of and justify his actions, sickens me and the media feeding that opinion is worse.”

Hikaru laid a hand on Kyouya’s arm. “You and I both know that there are people who thrive on that kind of tabloid gossip. We both have had to deal with it often enough in the past. Granted that was just in Japan and not on a global stage, but we can do this. I am not ashamed of my relationship with both of you and I don’t want to try and hide it. I do want to protect Haru from it, just as much as you do.”

Haruhi sighed, “I appreciate the knight in shining armor chivalry crap you are spouting, but I am not exactly a fragile flower. Do I want this level of intrusiveness in my life? No. Obviously. But I can and will deal with it. I am not ashamed of my relationships either. I know that we are going to be judged by small minded people. I know that it is going to be hell for a few months… and I also know that something else will come along and grab the media’s attention. If I can just keep reminding myself of that, I will be fine.”

Akira beamed and muttered under his breath about the fighting spirit of House Zouka, before giving Haruhi a wink.

Hikaru grabbed her hand, “I know you think you can handle this, love, but it is going to be constant for several weeks now and then will pick back up again when Yoshio goes to trial. You and I can hide from it a bit when we are back at school, but even then there will be a lot of gossiping in the hallways. There’s a strong possibility we will even be blackballed for the rest of the year.”

Haruhi leaned in and kissed him on the cheek, “I was expecting that anyway once we got back. A poly triad is not exactly a common thing in Japan.” She sighed. “It may be a good thing that we decided not to do the Host Club this year. There is a good chance that we would have been disbanded over this, despite Tama’s father’s influence.”

“I didn’t think about this before, but it could very well impact your admission into some of the most prestigious universities,” Kyouya looked torn.

“Then I will apply abroad.” Haruhi responded. “I am kind of enjoying France. England could be interesting as could the United States. Would you be ok with that though, Kyo-love? Your businesses are mostly based in Japan and I know that you really enjoy Tokyo University.”

“I mostly enjoy it because it is close to you and Hika,” Kyouya responded as a faint blush crept into his cheeks. “I could easily transfer anywhere as needed. KO Enterprises is already registered as a global group and I can communicate to the stakeholders through video conference as needed.”

“Good,” Remy interrupted. “There’s a pretty good chance that question will come up and if you guys have a solid answer it will help cement the idea that you three aren’t just doing the relationship thing as a publicity stunt for HDG.” He held up his hand in apology as Haruhi sputtered in indignation and Hikaru looked about to jump off the couch in protest. “I am sorry for phrasing it like that, but you needed to hear it from someone else before the press hit you with it. Unfortunately, there will always be a population that will think that way, especially as Haruhi and Ranka do not come from wealthy backgrounds.”

“That at least I am used to dealing with,” Haruhi smiled grimly. “I was called a fortune hunter and worse, so many times after I started dating Tamaki that I lost count. It stopped bothering me, when I realized that it really didn’t matter what petty minded people thought. I knew that I wasn’t, especially since in the beginning the luxuries that Tama and you guys take for granted just made me uncomfortable.” She squeezed Hikaru’s hand. “I have since learned to appreciate some of them, but I can just as easily do without. Though it is nice to know that I won’t have to work while going to college to pay for it. I knew scholarships would cover a lot, but I thought I would still have to supplement it in some way.”

“And the fact that you earned it in a legitimate way, by being a model for HDG (even if you didn’t realize that is what you were doing at the time), will go a long way to dispel any additional gossip. We can even make your portfolio public if we need to.” Yuzuha inserted.

“Wait,” Haruhi said, “I have a portfolio?”

“Of course, yoshi,” Yuzuha grinned. “Nothing was shown in magazines, of course, because you weren’t a runway model for us, but as an R&D model we needed to have photographs so we could figure out what worked and what needed to be changed for the runway. And as this started long before you started dating my son, there is no question of the legitimacy.”

“And Dad?”

“I started with HDG a few months ago. I thought it was just a casual brain-picking thing, but it was legitimately on the books as meeting with a consultant so I have technically been on contract to HDG before this week and the blow up with Ootori. I know it seems a bit surreal, but on the employee front everything is legitimate and time-lined in a way that is irrefutable. This will also allow HDG to sue Yoshio Ootori for libel and slander against the company… eventually.”

“Haruhi, Kyouya, I don’t want it to seem like we are jumping on an opportunity or making what happened any less atrocious, but from a strictly business point of view, we would have brought charges regardless. I hope you understand,” Yuzuha looked apologetic.

“From a business perspective – I understand completely, Yuzuha. From a personal one too, actually,” Kyouya replied. “I would do the same if our positions were reversed.”

“Thank you, Kyouya,” Yuzuha acknowledged, relief evident in her voice.

“That is probably how we should end the information part of the press conference,” Remy said. “That will bring it full-circle to Yuzuha and HDG. That should also bring the attention off of Haruhi, Hikaru, and Kyouya.” He looked at his watch. “Is there anything else we should discuss at the moment?”

“I think we are all aware of what has to be done,” Ranka replied.

“I am going to leave then and start the preparation. We will start the press conference in 3 hours. Until then, I would strongly recommend staying in this room.”

“I have stylists and wardrobe coming in an hour and a half,” Yuzuha responded. “We should be fine in the meantime. After all, we need to discuss how the Ball went last night and get some regular HDG business completed. Thank you, Jean-Claude.”

He bent and kissed her hand, “Always a pleasure, Yuzuha. I will come back up and get you when it is time.” He turned to the hosts and Ranka. “Until then, try to relax as much as you can.” With a nod, Jean-Claude Remy left the suite.

As soon as the door had shut behind him, Yuzuha smoothed her hands down her lap and started issuing orders. “Hika, please get your brother and Renge on the phone then start reviewing the usual social media sites. Ranka, can you please call for notepads and writing instruments. Haruhi and Kyouya, loves, I would really appreciate it if you made a list of everything that you felt went right and wrong from a participant’s point of view. Ranka, you saw it from the industry side. I need the same from you on that perspective. We need to debrief, so we can start thinking about what we will have to do differently for Spring Fashion Week.”

“On it, mom,” Hikaru replied and then subtly turned and rolled his eyes at his lovers in a way that made them stifle giggles.

“Yes Yuzuha,” Haruhi laughed and got up to start another pot of coffee, while she waited for the notepads to be brought up. Looking out over the sudden flurry of activity, her heart felt lighter than it had in several hours. For all that she is a wonderful supportive presence to all of us; it’s moments like this that remind me why she is the head of a multi-million dollar company. Yuzuha Hitachiin may have a huge heart, but she is also one smart and savvy businesswoman. Mom would have really liked her.

At that moment, Ranka looked up and caught his daughter’s eye. As if he could read her thoughts, he smiled and nodded.

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