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. =)


16. Sight Seeing

Letting Tamaki play tour guide, the hosts listened to him point out specific landmarks on the way to Monmartre. The mood in the limo was comfortable and casual. Haruhi was in her usual place between Hikaru and Kyouya as Hani sat next to Takashi. The difference was now that they had officially announced their relationship to the hosts, they felt comfortable holding hands while they engaged the others in conversation. 

"So Haru-chan, I know lunch is your first priority, but where would you like to go otherwise?" 

"Honestly Hani, I have no idea. I was kind of hoping that Tamaki or Hikaru would have suggestions since they are more familiar with the city. I still want to see the Louvre, but after seeing the chaos for Fashion Week in the convention area surrounding it, I may have to just save and come back another time. I know there are other smaller art and history museums around the city and I am content with seeing those." 

"I will make sure you get a chance to come back and see it," Kyouya leaned over and kissed her cheek. 

"WE will make sure," Hikaru mock-glared at Kyouya who promptly threw hands up in apology. 

"I think that's a wonderful idea for all of us, actually," Takashi's quiet voice joined the conversation. "Since Tamaki is committed to finishing up University here and we are all still back in Japan, it would be nice to gather together more often. We are lucky in that we can afford to be able to do so." 

"Bu-" Haruhi started to say. 

"And before you even say that you can't afford it Haru-chan, you better just stop. While you may not, all the rest of us can and there is no way we would leave you behind. It's not charity and it's not us trying to manage you." Hani's voice was stern. "If you are still uncomfortable with the idea, look at it this way. We are selfish, rich, bastards," he winked at her, "and not having you here with us, would mean that we wouldn't have as much fun." 

"If you simplify the calculations, it really isn't that expensive," Kyouya saw the stubborn set of Haruhi's jaw and made another attempt to explain. "Think of it this way - If you were going alone to visit Kyoto for vacation, you would have to pay for a train ticket, hotel, food, activities, and any souvenirs. Am I correct?" 

"Yes…," Haruhi's response was cautious. 

"But if you were visiting your cousin in Kyoto, you may pay for the train ticket, but you wouldn't have to worry about a hotel room or food, because you would be staying with your cousin. If you and Ranka were visiting, you likely wouldn't even be paying for the train ticket, because you know you dad would never accept you paying it yourself. So you are really just paying for any activities and souvenirs. But realistically, even if you were going out every day with your cousin, she would want to treat you to the places she enjoys, because she knows when she is visiting you, you will do the same for her… Which means that when you break it down, you are really only paying for half the activities and your souvenirs." 

"I am still not seeing your point. My cousin would be my family and that's different, plus her lifestyle is not nearly as extravagant as yours." 

The others exchanged looks, since it was obvious she still did not understand. It was Takashi who gently corrected her. "Haruhi, are you saying that we aren't a type of family? I know that for most of us, we are far closer to each other than we are to our biological families. Our lifestyle may seem extravagant to you, but it is simply part of who we are. You take a train; we take a plane. In the end, we are still getting to the same location. We want to do this because to us, you ARE family and it would be wrong not to." 

A tear slipped down her cheek as she finally understood what the others were trying to say. "I love all of you. I will try to stop being stubborn, but I need to feel like I am pulling my own weight and not just relying on all of you to take care of me. Can you understand that?" 

"Princess, I know what you are saying and I do understand. I am pretty sure the others do too. But we rely on you for so much, maybe you could rely on us a little bit more." Tamaki stretched across to take her hand. Giving it a squeeze, he placed a kiss across the knuckles in a time honored tradition. 

"But you don't rely on me…" 

"Bullshit," Hikaru' voice held a hint of annoyance. "I know you can be clueless, my love, but I know that both Kaoru and I rely on you. You tell us the truth always – even when it isn't what we want to hear. It may surprise you to know we were just a bit conceited before we met you." Haruhi snorted as Hikaru continued, "Once we understood that we couldn't charm, coerce, or tease our way into making you do what we wanted, we had to learn how to be unselfish, and in the process, learned what real friendship meant. We still rely on you to keep us humble. Without you, I have no doubt that we would quickly slip back, because it is so much easier to manipulate others to do what we want." 

"You challenge me," Kyouya said softly. "I rely on that. If you didn't challenge the way I look at the world, I would slip back into the shadows. Like Hika said – It is far easier to manipulate others to get what you want." 

"I rely on your natural enthusiasm," Takashi added, "I need that push to break out of the silence that is far easier for me to maintain." 

"Haru-chan, I rely on you to help me be quiet and responsible. Takashi tries, but he loves me too much to succeed. You love me in a different way, so I can do it." 

"I rely on you to keep everything from falling apart." Tamaki's voice was just barely above a whisper and he couldn't meet her eyes. "I have watched it happen too many times. I don't know if I could handle it happening again. I … care about everyone too much. " 

Haruhi was unable to resist the vulnerability in Tamaki's voice, she leaned forward and threw her arms around him, while the others wrapped their arms around the two of them in a large group hug. Everyone felt the need for reassurance. They stayed like that for several minutes until the driver pulled up to the curb in front of a quaint café. 

In the center of the hug, Haruhi felt the car stop and gave a little giggle, as she tried to dry her eyes on Tamaki's shoulder. "Ok. Now we are all a bunch of emotional loonies. I do understand – you rely on me as much as I rely on you. I really will promise to try and be better about it. But I have one small request…" 

"Anything my love," Kyouya smiled. 

"Can we PLEASE eat now?" Haruhi smiled to take the sting out of her words. "Otherwise I may be relying on you to carry me as I faint from hunger. I can smell the fresh baked bread from inside the limo." 

The others laughed as they exited the car and entered the Café. Avoiding the curious glances of the other patrons at the group that piled out of a limo, they quickly made their way to a table near the back that would accommodate all of them. Tamaki ordered for all of them, as only he and the twins were fluent in French, though the others understood enough to get the gist of the conversation. With just a little bit of flirting on Tamaki's part, they soon had a wide array of fresh breads, cheeses, fruit, and meats in front of them. The waitress also brought over a couple of bottles of wine and poured for all of them. With a final flirtatious smile at Tamaki, she left them to enjoy their meal. 

Once half the food had been consumed and the gnawing hunger pains had eased, the group returned to discussing what they wanted to do for the rest of the afternoon. They agreed to visit the Musee de Monmartre and then take a walk through the grounds of the Basilica Sacre-Coeur, before finally heading down to the shopping district and possibly grabbing dinner. 

"You haven't experienced 'dinner' like a dinner in Paris," Tamaki said eagerly, "It generally takes two to three hours to complete. I know some of the really nice restaurants are going to be booked, but if you trust me, I know I can get us into my favorite one. I just need to call for a reservation." 

"Great idea, Tama," Haruhi said, "Why don't we have Hika send a message to Kaoru and Renge to meet us there?" 

"That sounds good. I will have the reservation set for eight." Tamaki called the restaurant, while Hikaru sent the text. Within moments, both were completed and the plans were set. The group finished their lunch, went outside and waved down a couple of taxi's. They naturally split into their normal pairings, with Hikaru, Haruhi, and Kyouya riding in one and Tamaki, Takashi, and Hani riding in the other. 



Even though Haruhi was in the middle, she kept leaning over first Kyouya and then Hikaru to gawk at the old buildings as they wound their way through the Parisian streets and over to the Musee de Monmartre. After about the fifth time Haruhi said "Oh look at that!" Hikaru couldn't contain his laughter anymore and had to tease her a bit.

"Haruhi the tourist! Now I know what you felt like when we were gawking at the grocery store, the farmer's market and the shopping mall."

Haruhi blushed a bit before agreeing with him. "It is just so exciting."

"Not to worry, love," Kyouya said. "Enjoy the view. I know we are." The tone of his voice indicated that it wasn't the sight of the buildings that he was enjoying but the way her body would brush against his as she bent one way or the other.

"Speaking of view. Can I just say again, that the view of all of you this morning, shirtless and sweaty, was almost more than this poor girl could handle?"

"It was almost more than this poor boy could handle," Hikaru laughed. "I know Takashi and Hani were having a hard time. I think I actually saw Hani take a teeny step off balance."

"Tamaki too. He really is attracted to everyone. I can say it now, but it was one of the things that he told me so long ago and asked me to keep to myself. At first he was worried that it bothered me, but after I assured him it didn't he was more worried about any of you finding out. He didn't want to ruin the friendship that had developed among all of you by admitting his attraction. Little did any of us realize that a few months later, I would start dating two of you and we would end up here." She smiled at both and laid a quick kiss on each.

"There is something that I always wondered about and this may be my best chance to find out… If I may ask," Kyouya said, "Why did you break up? All Tamaki would tell me is that you both agreed to separate and that he wouldn't be offended if any of the rest of us dated you. Honestly, I didn't want to believe him for a very long time. He always told me everything and that was the first time he didn't."

Hikaru held her hand and gave it a gentle squeeze, as she took a deep breath to answer. He and Kaoru had been privy to Haruhi's break-up and knew that she took it harder than she had let on to the others, even though it had been a mutual decision between the two of them.

"We just started to drift apart. He was taking summer classes and I was working. When we were together, it was great. But after a few months, we realized something wasn't right. It started with a day of not talking and then turned into two and three more. We were both so busy and focused on what we were doing that we forgot to make the time for each other. Eventually, we just both agreed that it wasn't the right time for us to be a couple and we ended it." Haruhi paused before continuing, "it hurt more than I thought it would, and I was really glad that Hika and Kao were there to listen and distract me. Ironically, I talk to Tamaki more now, than I did at the end of our relationship."

Kyouya took her other hand and gave it a squeeze. "Thank you for telling me. Part of me still thinks Tamaki was a fool to let you go, but since I have you now, I can't complain. I wouldn't have you or Hikaru if you didn't break up with Tama." He reached across and caressed Hikaru's cheek, knowing that any other gesture of affection could draw more attention from the cab driver than they really wanted, but the heat in Kyouya's gaze was enough for the moment.

"Do you still love him?" Hikaru blurted in a rare moment of insecurity, his grip tightening on her hand. He could see the same question in Kyouya's eyes. Both were remembering Tamaki's off-hand comment of the day before. "Wait, forget I said that."

She leaned in and kissed him again, letting all of the love she felt for him come through. Turning she did the same to Kyouya, to hell with the curious driver and passerby's. Finally she broke it off and said to them both. "Part of me will always love Tamaki. He was the first person I ever fell in love with and that will always have a special place in my heart. But I was able to overcome the sadness of our break-up pretty quickly. I will be miserable for a very very long time if I lost either of you. I love you both in a way that is different than what I felt for Tamaki, or even what I feel for Kaoru, Takashi, or Hani. I do love them too. All of you have very different pieces of my heart. I don't want to be without any of them. Is that wrong?"

"I know and I am sorry I blurted that out. I know how you feel. You have told me before. I just had a moment of worry, because I remember what you were like after you broke up with Tamaki and a tiny part of me occasionally worries that you will leave me for him. In my head I know you are mine, but…"

"It's a little bit of self-doubt that will never really go away." Kyouya added. "I finally realized it isn't really jealousy but more a tiny worry that my father is right and that I am not worthy of the joy I have in my life. Correct me if I am wrong, Hika-love, but for you is it a tiny worry that everyone else is right and you are somehow flawed?"

"You can say the truth, Kyouya. Everyone else is right and I am a freak - because of my sexuality and my relationship with Kaoru."

"I see," Haruhi answered. "All I can say is that I accept and love you, flaws and all, because I know you love mine. Kyo – I KNOW that you are a far better man than your father gives you credit for and you are worthy of so much more. Hika – you are NOT flawed or a freak. I know that there will always be people who don't understand you or the relationship you have with Kao but I do. He is part of you in a way that no one else can ever be. I don't know if it helps, but no matter what happens, I will always be willing to stand next to both of you and show the world that you are incredible. If society can't see it; it's society's loss. I have never been a Society girl, so the petty gossip that goes around really doesn't bother me. I know that I won't please everyone and that there are always going to be people who think I am a jumped-up gold digger enslaving the hearts of heirs of some of the Elite Families. I know you don't see me that way, so I can stand against it."

"Gods, I love you." Kyouya breathed against her neck as he wrapped his arms around her.

"Our fierce Haruhi," Hikaru smiled as he did the same.

A discreet cough from the taxi driver let them know that the vehicle had stopped and the others were peering in the window at them curiously. Laughing as she pulled out of their embrace, she beat the others to her wallet and paid for the taxi.

"You shouldn't have done that Haru-love," Kyouya said as he exited the vehicle.

"Please." A hint of sarcasm laced her voice, "to use your own example earlier, I want to pay for some part of the activities. I can definitely afford paying for a taxi, even a Paris taxi, since I know you won't let me pay for dinner."

"Fair enough."

"Cool. That means I get to pay for the tickets into the Musee de Monmartre." Hikaru smiled and skipped up to the window to pay for everyone, while the others just laughed at his uncharacteristic exuberance.

"Are you guys ok," Turning to Kyouya, Tamaki asked quietly, still slightly concerned, "I know we are trying to stay 'on the down-low' and that was a pretty intense embrace for a public vehicle."

"We are fine. Really. Hikaru and I just had a moment of insecurity that Haruhi snapped us out of."

Now Tamaki was really concerned. "You don't get insecure."

"You know I do. I just rarely let it out."

"Are you sure that you are ok?"

With a genuine smile, Kyouya put his hand on Tamaki's shoulder and looked him directly in the eyes. "Yes. I am. We both are actually. Haruhi just reminded us how fiercely protective she can be of the ones she loves."

Tamaki rested his hand on top of Kyouya's and answered the smile. "I do know."

"Kyo-chan, Tama-chan, are you coming in?" Hani's voice made both of them turn and join the group entering the museum.

Haruhi had a great time at the museum. There were several tourist groups in there besides their own, but it wasn't overly crowded and they were able to blend in. She really enjoyed listening to the debate that Tamaki, Kyouya and Hani got into about who was the better Monmartre artist – Monet, Van Gogh, or Renoir. Each took a position and didn't waver; the discussion remained friendly but started to take an intense turn.

Finally Haruhi could take it no longer, turning to Hikaru and Takashi, she said, "Shall we leave them at it? I want to go up to the Basilica and walk the grounds."

"I agree," Takashi answered and offered her his arm.

"Completely." Hikaru added, "Besides anyone worth his salt would know that Picasso was the best of the Monmartre artists." He made sure the last part was said quietly enough that only the two of them could hear and with a quick glance to make sure the others weren't paying attention. They took off at a stroll and it wasn't long before the others followed still engaged in their discussion.

Despite it being the middle of December, only a light snow covered the ground and the day was clear so they decided they would walk the mile or so to the church at the top of the hill. Together they strolled casually up to the well-known landmark, through the well-tended gardens, before pausing for a moment to look out over the city.

"Wow. That is just breathtaking." The awe in her voice was undeniable. Even the others paused their conversation long enough to stand and stare for a moment.

"We should come back up here one summer night for a picnic, just to see the city lit up." Kyouya said.

"I completely agree Kyo-chan. It would be really romantic." Hani glanced over to his lover and smiled.

"I am just excited about the idea that 'next time' won't involve Kaoru or me working a good portion of the time."

Tamaki looked at his watch before turning to the others. "Our dinner reservations are in three hours. Did you want to head into the Monmartre shopping district or try to find another museum to visit?"

"I vote shopping!" The enthusiasm was apparent in Hani's voice.

"That actually brings up a point I was going to talk to all of you about. I know we don't really celebrate Christmas back home in Japan, but I thought since we are in Paris, it might be fun to celebrate this year, since we are all together. We could do stockings, play games, exchange gifts, and have lots of mistletoe. Oh and hot chocolate! We could even decorate a Christmas tree!" Tamaki's voice grew more excited as he went on.

"I think that sounds like a very fun idea Tama," Haruhi said. "But I have one rule to add if we are going to exchange gifts – You can't spend more than $50 on any gift."

Everyone groaned.

"But that's not fair Haru-chan!"

"Actually it is," she smiled at Hani. "It can be really fun trying to find something perfect for someone else when you have a limit. It makes you really think about what they would like, rather than just getting them something as a show of wealth."

"I am willing to try," Takashi said. "It will be interesting."

She could see the others still wanted to protest, but Takashi's acceptance made that difficult. She stared at each one of them until they gave a nod of acknowledgement. Her smile when they all finally agreed lit up her face. "Ok then. Let's go shopping!"

She started down the stairs of the Basilica to the line of taxi's waiting at the bottom. Secretly she was thrilled that she was able to win that discussion without much of a fight. It's not because I have far less money to spend on each of them than they do on me, but more that I want to see what they will come up with when they are given a limit. I have a feeling their creativity will surprise me… and that will be fun!

Haruhi paused at the bottom and waited for the others to catch up. Without consciously thinking about it, she started walking over to Kyouya and Hikaru. She squeaked as a pair of arms belonging to the tall and muscular Takashi picked her up and started carrying her over to one of the taxis, with Hani bouncing behind him.

"Tama-chan. Send me a text with the address of the restaurant. Our reservations are for 8pm, correct?"

"Yes, but…" Tamaki was still blinking in shock at Takashi's completely unexpected action. He turned to look at her two lovers, who were also wearing stunned expressions as they watched the taxi drive off with Hani, Takashi and Haruhi. They could see her laughing in the back window as they disappeared around the corner.

Kyouya, predictably, was the first to shake off his startled expression. "It appears that we will be riding together. Do you have a suggestion for someplace we can shop that meets Haruhi's rule?"

"I just thought of an idea for my gift to Haruhi. Tamaki – are there any silversmith's in the area?"

"I know of a couple that do business in an open air market. Kyo, do you have someplace you want to go?"

"I have no idea. The market sounds like a great idea to start." Kyouya replied. The three of them climbed into another cab as Tamaki gave instructions to the driver and chattered about finding something fun for Takashi and Hani. Oh Haruhi, I know you really set that rule down just to torment me. Creativity is not something that I am generally known for unless it's a creative use of numbers. It shouldn't shock me that Hikaru was able to think of something quickly, but now I really have to come up with something different and unique. Maybe something will catch my eye at the market.

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