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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33. Preparation

Renge sputtered as Haruhi hid a grin and stepped into the shower. I figure that I just managed to delay the inevitable questions for at least a good three minutes. I wonder if I could distract her completely. Making sure her voice was full of innocence, Haruhi asked again, “oh I am so sorry Renge! I didn’t hear your answer.” 

“Umm… Kaoru is… well… I didn’t really see… I mean… I did see, but I wasn’t really paying attent-“A sudden realization dawned on her, and Renge’s tone quickly changed to curiosity tinged with suspicion, “Wait a minute! All of you were either half naked or naked, including you my dearest best friend, so why are you asking about Kaoru specifically? How do you know I wasn’t checking out how your boyfriend looked in your pink lace panties or how chiseled Mori-sempai’s chest is?” She crossed her arms over her chest in emphasis, even though she knew that Haruhi wouldn’t be able to see her. 

Haruhi peeked her head around the shower curtain and grinned at her friend, enjoying the chance to tease her a bit. “Well, for one – you couldn’t see much of Takashi’s chest because both Hani and I were covering most of it. Two – You have never been interested in Hika, and while you may appreciate his body as an abstract, he doesn’t ‘do it’ for you sexually. You are far more interested in the story behind the pink panties than you are with fantasizing about him.” 

“Hey!” 

“Which leads me to number three – I KNOW you and you have been covertly staring at Kao every chance you can get. Even when Mai was flirting heavily with Tamaki, you showed no sign of jealousy or really even interest in their conversation, which I have never actually seen you do before. Plus you kept drifting back to wherever Kao was,” Haruhi continued, “I take it you have talked with Mai about this?” 

With a sigh, Renge leaned back against the counter, before responding, “I have. She is open enough to let me figure out exactly how I am feeling and what I want to do. I don’t want to give her up.” Renge blushed and got a slightly dreamy look in her eyes. “I really am completely in love with her, which is why this sudden odd feeling for Kaoru feels so out of the blue. Back at Ouran, I never really paid more than passing attention to either him or Hika other than to try and keep myself from being the butt of their jokes. Even when Yuzuha took me on as a personal assistant, I didn’t really think much about them. Then suddenly this week happened and I find myself fascinated with him in a way I never anticipated. It doesn’t make sense.” 

Haruhi turned off the water and reached for a towel. Wrapping it around her body, she stepped out and grabbed another for her hair. Looking directly into her friend’s eyes, she answered honestly, “There is something about this trip that is changing everyone. What you saw today was just one example. I don’t think it a bad thing at all, but I needed to not exactly warn you, but make you aware. I have a sneaking suspicion that Kaoru is feeling the same way about you right now. I know he is attracted to you, though he hasn’t yet admitted it to either Hika or me. Personally, I think you would be a good match, and as I care deeply about both of you, I am secretly thrilled at the possibility.” Haruhi paused and took a breath, letting it out slowly before continuing, “However, there are some things that you both need to discuss openly with each other before you even start to get involved. It’s not my place to tell either of you what the other’s secrets are… but you need to ask yourself a couple of questions. You know that he has a very unique relationship with Hikaru. It may change over time but it isn’t likely to disappear completely. Can you accept that there will always be a part of his heart reserved only for his brother? A lot of women wouldn’t be able to accept that, which is a good part of why he doesn’t date often. Are you going to keep seeing Mai? Are you willing to let him see other people if he has a need that you can’t fill?” 

Renge tilted her head and really considered her answer before responding to Haruhi. “I don’t think I could give up Mai to be in a relationship with Kao. She fills part of me in a way no one else really can. Which probably is what Hika does for Kao… so I think I could accept that, actually. If I were in a relationship with either Kao or Mai and I couldn’t fill a need for either of them for some reason, I think I could learn to be ok with them going to someone else if I knew about it ahead of time and knew it was something that I really couldn’t do. If we talked about it before it happened. I would be really upset if either of them did something behind my back without telling me or giving me a chance to try to meet that need. Does that make any sense?” 

Haruhi pulled Renge into a brief hug. Letting her go, she answered, “Perfectly… and it also explains why I was snuggled between Takashi and Kyouya, not Hika and Kyo. I love them both beyond belief, but I also love all the others in their own way. Hika and Kyo understand this and honestly this week are discovering aspects of themselves that they need to explore as well. We are all talking about it openly and because we are doing so, there isn’t the same jealousy or worry. I don’t know if this is how all poly relationships work, but it is working for us. Communication is the key. Just like it should be in ANY relationship.” 

The sound of clanking and murmured voices in Haruhi’s room alerted them to the fact that the make-up artists had arrived. Knowing that she only had a minute or two left before they had to go in there, Haruhi added, “You also need to tell Kao about your relationship with Mai.” 

“I thought he knew.” 

“I don’t think any of the Host Club knows, actually, including Kyouya. It wasn’t my secret to share. It is yours… though I can pretty much guarantee that while it may surprise them for a moment, they absolutely won’t be shocked by it.” Haruhi started to walk toward the door to her room, but Renge’s hand on her arm stopped her. 

“Thank you for keeping my secret. I knew you would so I am not sure why I said that.” Renge smiled in apology, then grinned mischievously, “So you kind of explained Mori (and omg does he have a nice chest!!) But before we go in will you PLEASE explain Hikaru and the pink panties? I am dying here!!” 

Haruhi giggled. “We were playing capture the flag earlier. Takashi, Hani and I were on one team while Kyo, Hika, Tama, and Kao were on the other. Kao ran inside and grabbed a couple of items to use as the flags. He grabbed my pink lace panties and Kyouya’s notebook.” 

“Oh my! Kyouya must have been pissed.” 

“He definitely wasn’t happy but Kao put it in a plastic bag so it wouldn’t get harmed. As the game turned out the guys beat us by a split second. I almost had the notebook. Now I may never know what was inside it.” 

“Ok. I can see why Kao would grab those items, since all of them would think of it as a great joke to get your panties and Kyouya’s notebook is legendary… but if you lost, why was Hikaru wearing the panties and not you?” 

Haruhi laughed, “So Hika bantered something about making me wear them if his team won and I countered I would make him wear them if my team won. After the game, we were all relaxing in the Jacuzzi and Hika whipped them out and tried to get me to put them on, but I joked that we only lost by a fraction of a second so it could be said it was too close to call. Long story short we bantered back and forth a bit and I challenged him on something else – winner would have to put on the panties. The other guys were to be the judges. They determined that I won but as a penalty for losing the capture the flag game, I would have to lose my bikini top. So while Hika grumbled and submitted slightly less than gracefully, he put on the panties. About that time we all decided that we needed a nap before the craziness tonight, so we dried off and moved to the cabana. Honestly I think Hika forgot he was wearing them. The next thing I knew I was waking up to your giggle.” 

“You have a very interesting life, you know that Haruhi!?!” Renge said amazed. “The fact that the others are right there with you is either really cool or really terrifying. How on earth is anyone supposed to get close enough to any of you to join your circle?” 

“We all share something unique, it’s true, but we are all still very different people with very different things we like to do. Just be willing to have real conversations and get to know them without judging them on their wealth, positions in society, families, etc. They are still just people and so many forget that. They are my friends, just as you are.” 

“Got it – people not the social elite… You do know that I am a socialite too, right?” 

Haruhi laughed, “Of course. But you are still friends with me even though I am a commoner and can’t do anything for your social standing. Why?” 

“Because you don’t cater to me and are an awesome person in your own right.” 

“Exactly. The guys are the same. Treat them like you do me and you won’t have a problem… Though, I think you are closer to achieving that than you realize. Just be yourself – you crazy otaku!” 

Renge giggled at the fondness in Haruhi’s voice. “I think I can do that.” Then she said slyly, “Are you sure that you aren’t at least a little but bi?” 

“Positively. Unfortunately. Sorry. Trust me the guys were bummed. Something about thinking it would be really hot to see two women make out with each other. Since I feel the same way about watching them, I can kind of see their point, but I just don’t feel that way or at least I haven’t found a girl yet that made me want to explore that option.” 

“Pity.” Renge grinned then winked at her best friend. Linking her arm she said, “Thank you Haruhi for being you.” 

“Umm… You’re welcome?” 

Laughing at Haruhi’s obvious confusion, Renge led them out of the bathroom into a bevy of stylists anxiously ready to transform them to red carpet worthiness. 
 

 

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

For the next hour and a half both Haruhi and Renge were poked, prodded, airbrushed, taped, and pinned into perfection. Two rooms down, they guys of the Host club had gathered to get ready as well. However, since it didn’t take them nearly as much time to get ready as the girls did, they were able to relax and joke around a bit. Hani was having a grand time teasing Hikaru about the pink panties, while Kyouya and Takashi set up a chessboard between them to play a quick game, and Tamaki wandered the house making sure everyone had what they needed.

Kaoru was restless. He tried to focus first on the banter between Hikaru and Hani and when that didn’t work; he sat down and tried to watch the chess game. Soon enough though, his heavily bruised ass started causing him discomfort, despite the fact that Tamaki had rubbed in another thick coat of Takashi’s wonder cream. Thank gods for that cream. Tama really did a good job on me. Not that I am complaining, of course… and now Hani has offered. Somehow the naughtiness of the idea that Hani, who looks so sweet and innocent could make me black and blue with delicious torment is really appealing. Hika wants to screw him and Takashi both. I just want them to beat me until I am flying in bliss. It should sound fucked up, but it is what we want and for the first time we don’t have to hide it from the others anymore. That, in itself, is amazing… and Tamaki as a lover? Not something I would ever have expected but it also feels right in its own way. He’s the only one I feel that kind of sexual attraction to other than Hika. Part of me wishes that I could fall for the others too or at least feel something deeper than a close friendship with them, but if I am honest, I don’t. I just can’t picture having sex with Kyouya or Takashi or Hani. Even Haruhi - I would rather cuddle with her after making love to Hika or Tama, than have sex with her with just the two of us. She is just far more my friend than my lover. The thing is - I know she feels the same for me. Maybe if the others weren’t around then we could have made it work as just her, Hika and I, but as soon as Hika pulled Kyo in that game, I knew it wasn’t meant to be. I wonder if I will ever find a woman that I can fall in love with the same intensity that Haru feels for Hika and Kyouya or that they feel for her and each other. I want a family someday. Renge’s face flashed to his mind. Renge. Now that’s a woman who is a mystery to me. I have known her for three years, but I don’t feel like I really KNOW her. But part of me wants to. Really. I have watched her laugh and joke with Haruhi, so I know that she can be genuine and I have to admit that mom did well in picking her as her assistant. A whisper floated across Kaoru’s mind. She felt really good in my arms after she had twisted her ankle. She showed a hidden well of strength by not letting the injury stop her from preparing for tonight. She even showed that she was comfortable enough with us to suggest that Spin the Bottle game, so she has a fun side too. But would she understand if I wanted to be in a relationship with Tamaki? Or Hika? I can’t give him up completely. Gah! I just don’t know what to do!!

Sick of the arguments in his head, Kaoru decided that the best distraction would be to sketch for the next 15 minutes or so until it was time for all of them to get into the limo. Walking briskly into his bedroom, he stopped short at the sight of a very shapely derriere covered in slinky deep aqua knit dress that shimmered in the lamplight, poking out from under his bed. Without warning his stomach flipped and a tightness started in his groin, as a laughing Renge crawled carefully backwards from underneath the bed, making sure that she didn’t mess up her hair and revealing the front of the dress as it clung like a second skin against her hips, crisscrossing across her chest and down her arms in long sleeves, baring her shoulders and ending at a point on the back of her hand. Around her neck was an emerald and diamond choker that combined Hikaru’s edgy design with the brilliance of pure gems. With her head turned away from him, and still unaware of his presence in the room, she called to Haruhi, “Found it! I thought I might have dropped it when I stayed here the other night.”

Turning to walk back into the room where Haruhi was finishing her preparations, she finally saw Kaoru standing shell shocked about two feet from her. Blushing faintly, she said, “Oh hi! Ummm… I dropped my earing when I stayed here the other night. I was just getting it.” She held up the piece, her voice trailing off at the look on Kaoru’s face. When he didn’t say anything but just looked at her, she started to get annoyed. “What? Did I pull something out of place? Do I look funny? Am I not doing your design the justice it deserves? Tell me!”

Kaoru slowly walked forward and brushed a stray hair off of her forehead. He was amazed to feel the faintest tremor under his fingertips at the soft caress. Is she attracted to me the way I am to her? Unable to help himself, he let his fingers trail down the sides of her face, to the nape of her neck, never letting his eyes leave hers. Inside them a question burned. So very slowly Kaoru stepped up to meet his hand, bringing his face in line with hers. Whispering against her lips, “You are breathtaking,” Kaoru closed the distance and claimed her lips.

A faint moan escaped Renge’s lips as she surrendered into the kiss she had wanted for days. Pressing deeper she opened her mouth to invite the silken slide of Kaoru’s tongue against her own, her arms winding themselves around his neck and holding him against her. He obliged. The silken caress of his tongue as it twisted around hers caused bolts of electricity to shoot down her body and pool low in her stomach.

A sound from the other room brought both to their senses and they pulled apart, reluctantly letting each other go. Her breathing uneven, Renge said, “I have to go help Haruhi finish getting ready… but there is something I want.. No… need… to talk to you about. I know it’s forward of me to ask, but since I know that we won’t have a chance to talk tonight or tomorrow, would you be willing to meet me on Tuesday for lunch or coffee or something?”

“Renge, are you asking me out on a date?” Kaoru smiled at her, letting his impish personality show through.

She blushed faintly. “Yes. I think I am. Do you mind? I understand if you have other plans.”

Swiftly Kaoru claimed another kiss, this one just teasing enough to show his delight. “I would love to meet you for whatever you want. I will pick you up. Say 12-ish?”

“I would like that.” Her smile was blinding, causing the tightness in his groin to increase. Turning, she gave him a wink over her shoulder.

Feeling the need to get the last word in as well as reassure her, Kaoru said, “Oh and Renge… I didn’t realize it, but I think I designed that dress specifically for you. I don’t think anyone else could do it justice. You look perfect.”

Renge was almost dizzy from pleasure as she walked back into the other room. Who needs grand entrances down huge staircases? Nothing could be better than the look in Kaoru’s eyes as he kissed me.

   
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