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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17. Shopping

Haruhi couldn't stop laughing as the taxi turned around the corner and left her lovers behind. Turning to Hani, she asked, "So why am I being kidnapped and how long have you been planning it?"

Hani grinned as he answered, "Since we got on the plane to Paris. This was just the first chance that we got. Takashi and I wanted to equip you for your testing next week. And no… this is not part of your Christmas gift, so we aren't sticking to your asinine $50 rule. We have been planning this for a while, since this is your last belt step. As your Sensei it is tradition that we provide you with the traditional garments. "

"My $50 rule isn't asinine," Haruhi blurted mildly annoyed, "I purposely raised it to $50 since I know all of you would complain. Among my old friends the limit would have been $20." She continued in a calmer tone, "but I do understand that for the training, you want to do this and have tradition on your side, so I will accept it gracefully and gratefully. I have been trying to hide the hole that is developing in the seam of my gi pants. I have patched it; I just haven't had the time to replace it."

"You should have told us," Takashi said as he took her small hand in his.

She squeezed his hand while she replied. "Like I said earlier, I need to feel that I am not a burden or a toy to be played with. Hika and Kao have already filled my closet with things that are pretty but aren't practical and I can't refuse Yuzuha when she creates a design for me, it would be disrespectful. Both of you have taught me kendo and aikido, and you have never charged me for a class, though I know what the cost of being trained by you would be if I was anyone else walking in the door. I can afford my own uniforms. It's the least that I can do. I actually was going to do that this month, but Tamaki's plan to bring us all to Paris pushed back my shopping."

"I can see your point of view," Takashi responded, "but I want to remind you of ours. You are NOT a burden. But I don't want to get back into that discussion. There is another reason that we wanted to get you alone, and it is such a recent development, we needed your insight."

"Oh really?"

"Yes," Hani replied with a faint blush pinking his cheeks.

"Hani… blushing? This should be good." At her words even Takashi turned slightly pink. "Now Takashi too? Damn... Good… this should be seriously entertaining!" The teasing note in her voice let them know that whatever they told her, she would listen. Arching an eyebrow at Hani she stared at him until he started talking.

Fidgeting in his seat, Hani complained, "When did you learn that look? It's not like you."

"I have been taking lessons from Kyouya. Now spill…"

"Apparently Hikaru's impatience has also rubbed off…"

"Still waiting..." She smirked.

Taking a deep breath, Hani started hesitantly, "You know how last night, we offered our bed to any of you… and this morning we played that prank on you that kind of backfired…"

"Oh yes. Like I told Hika and Kyo earlier, I seriously had a hard time concentrating with so much yummy hunkiness around me."

"Us too, which is why the prank backfired," Takashi said quietly as Haruhi smirked at him.

"Well after the three of you left, it was just Takashi, me and Tamaki…"

"And we were all sweaty and needed showers…"

The grin on Haruhi's face threatened to spilt it in half. "So the three of you took a shower together. I can assume from the lovely shade of pink that you both currently are, that more than just a shower occurred." She grabbed Hani's hand and squeezed, before laying a kiss on each of their cheeks. "Congrats. I know you have wanted it for a long time and I know Tama has been secretly daydreaming about it for years."

Startled at her quick and easy reply, Hani asked, "Haru-chan, has anyone told you lately how incredible you are?"

"Huh?"

Hani laughed loudly as Takashi did the same silently on her other side. Puzzled she asked again, "I hear it from all of you, but I can't figure out why all of you keep saying it. I am just me."

It was Takashi's turn to lean over and kiss her cheek before enlightening her, "because you are the only women that we know who wouldn't throw a fit on learning her ex-boyfriend has taken another lover, let alone two others of the same sex."

"But that's silly. Tamaki and I haven't been together in almost a year and a half. Why would I begrudge him another lover?"

"Most women in our circles are incredibly possessive and jealous; it is always about status and keeping what you have. The men are the same way. Even if they broke it off with someone, they would not be pleased to find out the other person has moved on."

"I still think that's silly. I want Tamaki to be happy. You all are such good friends of mine that if you have found happiness with each other, I am happy for you. I like seeing the people I care about happy. Is that really weird?"

"It's unusual and part of the reason we love you so much," Hani answered honestly. "But I can't say that we are in a relationship with Tama-chan, just that we had sex. I don't know if it is something he will want to continue long term."

"You might be surprised."

"We hope so."

The taxi turned down a street and dropped them off at the entrance to an open shopping area. Haruhi smiled as she looked down the block and saw a number of local artisans and craftsmen selling their wares. Seeing a coffee vendor, she walked over and ordered three cups of coffee, while Takashi paid the driver before joining Hani as he watched a group of children having a snowball fight in a small park on the corner. Walking up to them, she handed each a steaming mug, and quietly enjoyed the sounds of laughter coming from the park.

"Shall we go walk down the shops?" Takashi said after watching the merriment for a few more minutes. "I thought this would be a good place to find some of those Christmas gifts for the others. After we are done shopping, we will go to a special shop in Japantown to get your gi, since it is on the way to the restaurant. We should have plenty of time."

That sounds like a great idea Taka-," Hani started to reply when a very familiar scent wafted across the street. "CAKE!"

Haruhi burst out laughing as Hani took off running toward the scent, while Takashi just shook his head. Looking down at her, he offered her his arm, and they strolled into the bazaar together, companionably.

Haruhi was delighted with all of the beautiful craft wares, silks, and trinkets that the merchants were selling along with a wide variety of baked goods. A sudden burst of heat on her back drew her around to a tent set off to the side an artist working in blown glass. By mutual agreement, they wandered over to his stall. Haruhi was excited by the delicate intricate figurines and vases. Some were clear or tipped in gold, while others were multiple colors that sparkled in the afternoon sunlight. Spying three specific pieces, she immediately purchased them and had the sales clerk wrap them carefully. She turned to find Takashi and noticed that he was completely entranced by the artist and asked questions about techniques and methodology as the artist worked. The awe on Takashi's face while he watched the artist gently blow into the glass and roll it into shape, gave Haruhi an idea for a fourth gift. She quickly turned back to the sales clerk and asked her several questions. Getting the answer she wanted, she quickly tucked one more thing into her bag, before walking over to stand next to Takashi. Now I have four of my seven gifts completed. I just need gifts for Tamaki, Kaoru, and Renge. I know the others probably aren't factoring Renge into the mix, but I just have a feeling that she is going to be more of a part of our group in the future than everyone suspects. I see the way Kao looks at her – like he is trying to figure her out. But this time, he is actually interested in the answer, whereas, two years ago she wouldn't have gotten more than a passing thought… But he is also very interested in Tamaki, and now there is this new development with Tama, Takashi and Hani. I am intensely curious to see how this turns out, but I don't want to see anyone hurt.

Giving the artist a farewell, Takashi slipped his arm around Haruhi's waist as they walked over to the bakery that Hani had run to, only to find him walking back toward the two of them. Handing them each a small bag, he said, "Strawberry tarts. I couldn't resist. I know they aren't actually in season, but I tried them and they are very good anyway. Knowing how much you like strawberries, I thought you would enjoy it."

"Thank you, Hani." Haruhi smiled. "Have you gotten any of your shopping done? I have four gifts done."

"FOUR!?"

"When did you manage to do that?"

"When you weren't paying attention, of course," she grinned up at Takashi. "It's not often I catch you unaware."

He smiled back at her, while Hani, slipped an arm around her from the other side. "Well, I guess we better get started. So now that we have you captive, will you please (here he gave her his best Lolita gaze) help us with gifts for the others?"

"Of course. Want to walk some of the other stalls?"

"Yay!"

Haruhi, Takashi, and Hani spent the rest of their afternoon together, enjoying the camaraderie, the laughter, but most of all having fun going through the stalls to find the perfect gift for the others.

So this is what she meant by the fun of finding something small that is perfect for the others. Hani thought to himself. As usual she is right. It's a new experience and one that I am really happy she is sharing with us. This week is changing all of us Hosts somehow. For the better I think. We still have almost two weeks before we go back to Japan. I wonder what else is going to happen.

 

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

Hikaru, Tamaki, and Kyouya climbed into the backseat of the other cab. Tamaki leaned forward and gave directions to the driver to take them to Rue Cler open air market. Sitting back in his seat he glanced over at Hikaru, who was texting frantically on his phone, before turning to look at Kyouya. He noticed that Kyouya was smirking at him. Unable to resist – he asked, "What?"

"So how was your shower after working out this morning?"

Sputtering, Tamaki flushed a bright red. "How? Gah! Really?! How the FUCK do you know these things?"

Kyouya just sat back and gave him one of his inscrutable Shadow King stares. Hikaru, finishing his text, closed his phone with a slight sigh, before deciding to come to Tamaki's rescue. "I think I have finally figured it out. In Japan, he has his network of spies. Here he doesn't have anything, but he has a reputation to maintain. So he unleashes his ability to read body language and get you to confess before you realize its happening. He thinks something may have happened, but he isn't sure, so he gets crafty with his phrasing. If something happened, it will get a reaction; if not, it will be just general conversation."

"Huh?"

Kyouya smiled at Hikaru and gave him a wink. "I know now it won't work with you any more Hika."

Hika blew a kiss at his lover, while Kyouya licked his lips slowly and flirted back, "Later."

"Ok. I am still confused." Tamaki looked at first one or the other.

Hikaru tried again. "Kyouya suspected that something may have happened after the three of us left you this morning to take our shower, since the sexual tension in the room was off the freaking charts. But he wasn't sure."

"So I asked a question – How was your shower? If nothing had occurred after we left, you would have said something like Fine, Refreshing, Etc., but instead you turned scarlet and started stammering. This can only mean that something DID happen after we left, and we want to know the juicy details."

"Shadow King you definitely still are." Tamaki responded, slightly calmer, but still mortified at having been so easily read.

"I have to practice when I can. It's not working on Haruhi or Hikaru anymore. It never worked on Takashi."

"So Boss, are you going to tell us what happened?"

"Well… I don't know... I am still trying to process it really…"

Seeing that Tamaki was genuinely flustered, Kyouya backed off. "You don't have to tell us Tama. It was just fun to tease you a bit."

"I do actually want your opinion and advice, but I am a bit nervous of the reaction."

"I can promise I won't judge."

"Honestly its Hika's reaction I am worried about…"

"Mine?!" Hikaru sounded puzzled, but comprehension soon dawned. "I get it. Let me guess, you had sex with Takashi and Hani, and are worried about how I will react because you have also been sleeping with my brother this week."

"Ummm…" The guilt was evident on Tamaki's face.

Hikaru smiled, "its ok Tamaki. I was startled at first when I went to wake up Kao and you were sleeping together, but I talked about it with him. I am glad that you were keeping each other company. I know he enjoyed every moment." He paused to gauge the reaction. "I also know that he doesn't think that you two are a couple because if it. You are still friends, if you want to explore a deeper relationship, then that is a discussion you will need to have together. As your friend, like Kyo and me, Kao would want to know that you are happy. If you got to explore the option that was offered to all of us last night, then he definitely wouldn't want you to refuse because of him. Hell, he would want the details too. We are a horny bunch. While he really isn't bisexual, he is attracted to some men; you are one of them as are Hani and Takashi to a lesser extent. Picturing the three of you together would be guaranteed to be spank bank material for sure."

"I do really like your brother. I enjoy his company outside of the bedroom. I am realizing that this is the first time I have really gotten to spend time with each of you separately. You are always together. It's kind of odd to see you separate. I know you are separate people, but you are also one. That probably sounds stupid. Forget I said anything."

"No you are right. This is the first week that we have been in the same city, doing things, just not together. It feels odd. But it is odd in a good way, I think. We need to become our own individuals too. We will always be twins and part of us will always need to be together, but we also need to find what we like and who we love outside of each other. I have found mine… I think he is in the process of finding his."

Kyouya reached across Tamaki to caress Hikaru's cheek. "I am honored that you have chosen me."

Hikaru laid a kiss in his palm and closed his eyes for a moment, enjoying the love in Kyouya's voice. When he opened them again, however, the mischief was back. "Now Kao may not be as attracted to other men, but I am. I am practically chomping at the bit to find out the details, because I seriously would have jumped at the chance to fuck them, if I wasn't already occupied in my own triad shower fuck. Not that I am complaining, mind you. We were having an excellent time."

Kyouya laughed out loud at the expression on Tamaki's face as he digested Hikaru's words and grew red again. "Hika-love, you may want to stop teasing Tama or there isn't going to be enough blood left in his body. It keeps rushing to his face."

"Sorry." The unrepentant note was clear.

Taking a deep breath and a moment to gather his thoughts, and hoping to deflect at least a little attention off of him, Tamaki asked "That brings me to a question that I have wondered about. I KNOW you are in love with both Haruhi and Kyo, but you talk of wanting to have sex with Hani and Takashi. Plus you do it in front of one of them. How is that possible? Isn't there any jealousy?"

Hikaru paused a moment before responding, so Kyouya started the answer. "Once upon a time I was consumed with jealousy. It wasn't even really that long ago, since the last big jealous moment happened at the beginning of this trip. But Haruhi reminded me of something that I needed to hear. I don't own her or Hikaru for that matter. They are both separate people with separate needs. It would be completely selfish if I ignored that only focused on what I want. Do I want to be with them? Absolutely. I am still in awe that they want to be with me, knowing my tendency to coldness and withdrawal. I love them, but I know that to be completely whole, I can't be everything for them. Hika will always need his brother. That is a role that I can't fill. He also is very, and if you think about it- always has been, extremely sexual. We watched he and Kao play it up for the club, but it's a part of him. He feels the passion of connection in lust as well as love and he needs to be able to experience and share it. If he can't do so, it kills a part of him. I love him too much to want him to suppress his desire, especially since it is helping me realize so many of the things that I have suppressed over the years. Haruhi has the same kind of passion, but she shows it differently with each of us. It's the reason that we were ALL drawn to her."

"Haruhi told me something the other day and it actually revolved around you, Tama. She reminded me that it was possible to have amazing sex with a friend. There is lust involved, but it is also about sharing the closeness you feel for the other person. It's a different kind of love and comfort. The example she gave was after you both broke up and before we started dating, you would still comfort her during thunderstorms. She needed the closeness and connection and I have a feeling you did as well. I am actually really glad she told me. It was the same reason you asked Kao if he wanted company that night. Haruhi broke me and Kao of being jealous long before any of the rest of you. When we finally understood that it was either maintain our jealousy or have her in our lives, we learned to let go of the jealousy and opened up to so many amazing opportunities. This is also why Kyo and I can see your need for rekindling some kind of connection with her. Like she said to us earlier today – Part of her will always love you. But we also have parts that no one else can touch."

"Wow. Um. I don't know what to say." Tamaki said as so many thoughts ran through his head. "I think I need to say Thank You."

"You are welcome."

Then gaining his own equilibrium and enthusiasm, Tamaki added. "And for the record, Takashi's cock feels amazing and Hani could suck start a leaf blower under water."

All three men burst out laughing. They were still chuckling when they reached the market. Tamaki paid for the cab this time and they got out to walk through the stalls. Hikaru immediately walked over to the silversmith and engaged in a deep discussion with him. Kyouya sighed under his breath as he and Tamaki kept walking.

Tamaki heard the sigh and had to question it. "What's wrong mon-ami?"

"It's this $50 limit and the creativity thing. Part of me thinks she put that restriction in place just for me. I can think of a ton of things I would buy her, but having to keep it under $50 makes them all impossible."

"I don't think, it was meant specifically for you, if that helps. I am feeling the same way, but I kind of like the challenge. Think like a commoner."

"You know she would smack you if she heard you say that."

With a cheeky grin, Tamaki answered. "Oh, I know. Which is why I said it."

Kyouya laughed as Tamaki's attention was caught by a stall selling silk scarves. Leaving Tamaki to haggle with the shopkeeper, he continued to wander. Before he realized it, he was enjoying himself and he had picked up small items for everyone in their group except Haruhi. Her gift still puzzles me. I want it to be completely unique. Thankfully I still have a week. Maybe inspiration will strike this weekend.

Looking up he saw Hikaru walking up to him grinning, a few small bags held in one hand. Unconsciously, Kyouya reached out and captured the other one, before leaning in to kiss him on the cheek. "Did you find something for everyone?"

"Everyone except you and Kao. How about you?"

"Everyone except Haruhi. I want to get her something really unique. I just need to figure out how to do it cheaply."

"Oh I do understand. I picked silver because I knew I could get what I wanted for less than $50, even though I really wanted to make it platinum."

Tamaki bounced up to them, his arms completely overflowing with packages. He was grinning. "I am done! You are all going to love my gifts!"

"Boss… somehow I have a feeling we will. Even as we groan over whatever you have picked out."

"What do you mean?" Tamaki pouted.

"You have a tendency to go crazy." Hikaru teased. "But it's one of the things we love about you."

Kyouya sensing a potential return to the early Host Club not-quite-pleasant bantering between Hika and Tama, quickly changed the subject by suggesting that they needed to hurry or they would be late for dinner. The thought quickly made Tamaki's mood change as they jumped into the first available taxi and rushed off towards the restaurant.

 

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

Despite Kyouya's urgency in rushing them to the restaurant, they were the first to arrive. Haruhi, Takashi, and Hani were five minutes behind them, and Kaoru and Renge arrived less than two minutes later. It was the arrival of the last two that sparked the most interest and excitement among the others. As Kaoru assisted Renge out of the cab, the glint of the marquis noted a slight change that had not been there when he left that morning. As Hikaru turned towards the others, he silently laughed while the others just stared.

"I take it you forgot to mention it to everyone else?"

"What and miss the fun of seeing everyone stare in shock?"

"You do know we can't play the Which One is Hikaru Game anymore?"

"Let's face it, after the last time we played the Game, not much could beat the enjoyment we got out of it. Besides, at this point, I am pretty sure everyone can tell us apart."

"True… and there is your whole tattoo thing. Since I haven't gotten one yet all anyone needs to do is see us shirtless and they could easily tell."

"And since there are several people here who absolutely love to see you shirtless, you both tend to show off. Hedonists," Haruhi cut into their banter with her usual aplomb. "Kao, I absolutely love your hair. The gold highlights and the new style really fit your personality. You are going to be absolutely stunning on the runway on Sunday." She linked her arm with his, so he was escorting both her and Renge. She gave a wink to Hikaru as they walked into the restaurant, knowing that the others would shake off their surprise if they were moving.

"But you absolutely adore our hedonistic ways!" Hikaru grinned as he followed her.

"Oh absolutely! I wouldn't change you for the world."

Once inside the restaurant Tamaki gave the maître de his name and the party was soon seated at a secluded booth in the back. Still in amazement at the change that had come over Kaoru, he couldn't resist asking, "So what made you decide to change your look?"

With a wink and a completely bland expression, Kaoru replied, "I decided I wanted a little more blond action in my life," as Tamaki spit his water across the table and the others started laughing.

Renge was confused by the undertone and the laughter that Kaoru's comment caused, so she decided to respond earnestly. "We were discussing the red carpet event on Sunday and Yuzuha made a comment about how it was too bad that everyone still couldn't tell Hikaru and Kaoru apart. Kaoru came up with the idea to make a change and we just ran with it." Her voice got meek as she added, "I think it looks really good."

Haruhi took pity on her friend. "It does look good and you are going to look stunning on his arm on Sunday."

"What?" Renge looked blank.

"Please tell me I didn't spoil the surprise?" Haruhi looked mildly embarrassed. "Yuzuha and I were talking about it the other day. Kaoru will escort her and you, while Hikaru escorts Kyouya and me. The rest of the group will be waiting inside the VIP area."

"Really?" The look of pure joy on Renge's face made her light up. "This Fashion Week is going to be the best yet. There are so many new things that Hitachiin Design Group is doing. I am so lucky to be a small part of it."

She really is pretty when she is happy. I see Kao staring at her and trying to figure her out. Soon, my friend. I can see you slipping under her charms very soon; just like I see her slipping under his. I am slightly curious to see how he will react when she actually tells him and lets him know her secret. Haruhi thought idly. There is so much more to Renge than meets the eye. She can play the ingénue, but she is one smart cookie.

Renge's enthusiasm soon swept up the others and they spent the rest of the evening eating and indulging in conversation that ranged across several topics. Tamaki filled her and Kaoru in on the Christmas idea and both thought the idea sounded fun. Hani described the incredible bakery that they had found. Hikaru teased his brother by making subtle comments about Tamaki and Renge, though the latter didn't seem to notice. Kyouya went into detail about the various museums. Haruhi talked a bit about the workshop they were still planning on attending the next day and was glad when Renge asked if she could join them for the Friday, though she already had a commitment for the Saturday. Takashi, unsurprisingly, remained mostly silent and observed the rest, though he did add a few pithy comments that had Tamaki blushing.

Tamaki was correct in his prediction, and it was a very happy and very full group that finally exited the restaurant 3 hours later. They groaned as they all climbed into the limo that had been called to pick them all up. Once inside the limo, silence seemed to be the order of the night, though no one had specifically requested it. The excitement of the day gave way to exhaustion. Hani laid down on one of the bench seats, put his head in Takashi's lap and promptly fell asleep. Renge, seated between Kaoru and Tamaki, fell asleep on Kaoru's shoulder as he stretched it out behind her, ghosting his fingers across Tamaki's shoulder. Tamaki's head was pressed back against the seat and his eyes were closed, his fingers reaching up to link with Kao's.

Across from them Haruhi lay across Kyouya and Hikaru's lap. Their arms around her and their hands linked across her chest. Kyouya's silver eyes were closed behind the glass lenses. Only Hikaru and Kaoru's eyes remained open and they stared at each other across the dimly lit limo. Their legs were stretched out across the distance and locked with the others as their eyes met. Speaking without words in the way they had been doing from birth, they were checking in with each other and giving each other support in the best way they knew how.

As the limo pulled up in front of the guest house, they all climbed wearily out. Immediately Takashi picked up Hani, Kyouya picked up Haruhi, and Kaoru grabbed Renge. While they carried their fragile loads up the stairs, Tamaki and Hikaru opened doors and assisted where they could.

Hani and Takashi quickly disappeared into their room. A fraction of a moment later Hikaru and Kyouya quietly shut the door to Haruhi's room.

Tamaki held open the door to the room being used by Renge, while Kaoru carried the sleeping girl in, removed her outer layers of clothing and pulled the covers over her. On impulse he leaned down and whispered, "Thank you for helping me find the way to let 'me' out" and kissed her gently on the lips. The soft sigh in her sleep at the action made him smile. Looking up as he walked away, he saw Tamaki looking at him with an unreadable expression. He went over to Tamaki and wrapped his arms around him before lifting his head up and kissing him deeply.

"I am too tired to do much beyond sleep, but if you still want company, I would love to share your bed again." Kaoru whispered quietly. They tiptoed out of the room and shut the door behind them.

"I want you next to me. I was just worried that you may not want me anymore."

"Because you had sex with Takashi and Hani?"

"Did Hikaru tell you?"

"No, Takashi did actually." Kaoru smiled at him. "You are my friend first and I knew you wanted it. I am happy you got to experience it. You will have to tell me about it later when I can enjoy the imagery."

"Your brother thought you would feel that way, but I didn't want to hope."

Kaoru yawned, "You should have believed him. Hikaru is usually right. Now come get naked with me. I want to hold you as I fall asleep."

"As you wish."

   
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