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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54. Stars

“Do you have anything in mind that you would like to do?” Haruhi asked Kyouya as they went upstairs to grab their coats.

“Honestly, I had several ideas thought out but right now, none of them sound like anything that I really want to do.” Kyouya responded. “I want to be somewhere where we won’t have to deal with paparazzi or random strangers accosting us. I just don’t think there is any place in France where that is likely to happen, right now.”

Haruhi walked over and put her arms around her boyfriend, holding him tightly. “I may have an idea if you are up to it. We may still see a few people, but it’s unlikely that they will recognize either of us. It’s just less on the romantic side and more on the academic end of the spectrum.”

Kyouya held her tight against his chest absorbing her love and using it as the foundation to rebuild his shields against the emotional pain his father continually caused. “Academia instead of emotion sounds about perfect right now. What did you have in mind?”

“I spoke with my physics teacher and I can get a bit of extra credit if I visit the Observatoire de Paris and write a paper on one of the star clusters I observe. There is an exchange program between Ouran and the observatory, so I have an access pass that will let me in to use the large telescope. I just need to sign in and out with my Ouran ID and they will give it to me. I am guessing that it will likely be pretty quiet there mid-week in the middle of winter, but since it is still part of the university, there may be other students roaming around.”

“Essentially what you are saying is you want to do homework, not only on our date, but that you specifically asked for it knowing you would be be on vacation,” Kyouya replied, smiling down at her to let her know he was teasing.

Haruhi blushed a faint pink and mumbled, “I happen to really like my physics class and astronomy is one of those things that I loved as a child, but never really pursued.”

“I happen to think it sounds like a perfect evening.” Kyouya brushed a stray hair back and leaned down to kiss her gently. “Let’s get you some extra credit.”
 

 

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

The Observatoire de Paris was located in central Paris but true to Haruhi’s prediction, the parking area near the building had several cars in it but was only half filled. Kyouya parked the Land Rover near the main entrance, having chosen that vehicle rather than the Aston for its ability to better blend in. He jumped out of the car and walked around to open the door for Haruhi.

She smiled at him and hitched her bag higher up her shoulder, as he took her gloved hand in his and they walked up the steps leading into the entrance. A night guard was seated at a large desk as they walked in.

“Can I help you with anything?” He queried politely.

Haruhi stepped forward and replied in French, “I attend a sister school and am in Paris for my winter break. I was hoping to get access to the observatory’s telescope for a bit of extra credit in my physics class. I brought my student ID and I believe my professor at Ouran Academy made arrangements.” She handed the guard her ID card.

He looked at it for a moment and ran it through an ID reader. Haruhi was unable to see what pulled up on his screen, but he whistled under his breath at something it showed. He handed it back to her with a smile and a touch more deference, “Yes Miss Fujioka. The Director himself has approved your use of any of our telescopes. The main one is in use tonight for a research project by several students, but the secondary is open to the public. It will be much more private and you will have access for a longer period of time. However it is smaller than the main. I am not sure of your needs, will that be a problem?”

“Not at all. It’s been a busy week filled with too many people, so the quieter the location the better in my mind.” Haruhi replied with a smile. “Besides, I know the size of the secondary and it will be more than enough for my needs.”

“Wonderful. The Observatory closes to the public at 10pm but your access will allow you to stay until 1am.” He handed her two access cards. “If we have more visitors, you will need to share the space until we close. The Cafeteria closes at 9pm and the Gift Shop closes at 10pm. Your pass will let you into all public areas of the Observatory as well as the computer lab. It will also give you access to the elevators and room with the telescope after the other areas lock, so please keep it on you at all times. You can turn it in to the night guard when you leave. It is coded to only allow access for this night, though you have unlimited access through the Director. If you come back another day, just check in here and we will issue you another pass.” He smiled at both of them. “Enjoy and welcome to the Observatoire de Paris.”

“Thank you.” Kyouya said with a polite smile. As they walked towards the central hall he glanced at his watch. “It’s 8pm now. Do you want to head directly to the telescope or would you rather wander around for a bit?”

“Actually, if we have private access after 10pm, I think I want to check out the cafeteria first. I am a little hungry.”

Kyoya’s stomach rumbled in agreement which made Haruhi giggle. “Food it is, and then I’d like to check out the Gift Shop. I would like to explore more, but I think we may have to do that on another day. I am impressed that you were able to get such unrestricted access.”

“Frankly, me too.” Haruhi responded. “I just thought that we would just get in line behind several others and wait to get a few minutes to look through the telescope. Three hours of uninterrupted time is far more than I dreamed of… and I am going to take advantage of it.”

“Me too.” Kyouya whispered suggestively in a way that made Haruhi laugh as they turned to follow the signs pointing down a staircase towards the cafeteria.

 

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

“While that was not the finest meal I have ever enjoyed, it was definitely not the worst.” Kyouya stated as they walked back up the stairs toward the main hall and gift shop.

“Snob,” Haruhi said fondly. “It’s a cafeteria. I haven’t found any that are exactly gourmet. I know Ouran comes close, but that’s because the school pays a small fortune in food costs.”

“It is better than the one at the University back home. I ate there once before deciding that I needed to plan for alternate forms of nourishment.” Kyouya made a dramatic shudder. “Thankfully there are several decent restaurants near the campus.”

“You could always pack your lunch,” Haruhi teased then giggled at the look of horror that crossed Kyoya’s face.

“I would burn the fish and the rice would be raw,” Kyouya grimaced. “I have no culinary skills.”

“Hmmm…,” Haruhi said as a thought crossed her mind, “You could always ask Hani to teach you.”

“Hani can cook?” the level of incredulity in Kyoya’s voice made Haruhi smother a smile.

“Yes he can actually. He made me dinner last night.” A faint flush crossed her cheeks as she thought of the other things that Hani did to her the previous night. I am also grateful for the Zouka balm. I should be far sorer after yesterday than I am. “He used to steal into the kitchens of the Zouka Estate and an Undercook took him under her wing.”

“Good to know,” Kyouya responded as they stopped outside the Gift Shop. “I got something for his Christmas gift but it’s pretty generic, so that gives me a few more ideas if I find something else.”

“You know, I had almost forgotten Tamaki’s idea to do a Christmas thing. So much has changed in the last week and a half. We go home in five days. It’s surreal. I don’t know how I am going to be able to go back to the restrictions of Ouran.”

Kyouya pulled her into a hug and tucked his head on top of hers. “We will figure it out. It’s only one more term for you, Hikaru, and Kaoru. Then we can talk about finding an apartment together near the University.” He kissed the top of her head. “Or we can look at moving to Paris and going to school here. I know you have your application packages ready to be submitted when we return. You could always send one to the University here. I know you want to do study law, but you could focus on International law and still keep the focus on equal rights.”

“You sound like you have thought about this,” Haruhi replied.

“I have been actually. I have to admit I really missed Tamaki and I know he is entrenched in a program here. My focus is international business so that can pretty much be studied anywhere. Paris is the Fashion capital, so Hika and Kao could easily set up shop here and it’s a quick hop to Milan and London and only a few hours to New York.”

“What about Takashi and Hani?”

Kyouya sighed. “I don’t know… Would they even want to leave Japan? I know Takashi was thinking about studying Law too but as far as I know Hani hasn’t defined his curriculum. They both have been completing all their general classes first rather than mixing them with a major.”

“Knowing what I do now about their traditions and desire to serve their House, I know they are both determined to reach their fifth level mastery, so they are subject to the whims of the High Council. Based on how fast they have risen and the controversy surrounding them, they could be separated and sent to opposite ends of the earth.” She chewed on her lip before saying. “It’s a bit frightening to have your path decided by someone else that may or may not have your best interests at heart.”

“But that is their choice, is it not? You know you may be subject to it too one day.”

“True,” Haruhi sighed. “But for me, that level of mastery, if I choose to go that far, will come after I graduate, so that will be taken into consideration. They are both deliberately not choosing beyond the broadest generalizations until they know what the council will require of them. I know they are used to it, but that level of calmness in the face of major upheaval is not something I am good at.”

“They will be fine,” Kyouya kissed her forehead and held her for a moment. “Don’t fret for them. If I have learned anything over the last week, it is they will never fail to surprise everyone and succeed at whatever is thrown at them.” He glanced down at his watch. “Now the Gift Shop closes in a half hour, should we check it out?”

“Yes.” She sighed again and smiled up at him. “You’re right. I am borrowing trouble and worrying over something that may turn out to be nothing. Let’s look around, and then we can go up to the telescope.”

Kyouya leaned in and kissed her softly. “You are more than a little in love with Takashi, so it makes sense that you are worried about what will happen to him. Since I know he loves both you and Hani deeply, he will do what is right to find the balance in that and his House will support him. Trust in him. I do.”

“What did I ever do to deserve you?” Haruhi replied, love shining brightly from her eyes.

“You brought light and love into my life. It would be wrong to keep you from being who you are when you make all of us better. Takashi is a good man and a good friend. He is worth the attention and concern. I want him to be a part of our lives regardless of what happens in the next few months.”

She smiled and wrapped her arms around him again noting his use of the word ‘our’. Then she looked up and grinned mischievously, “Does this mean I get to watch you and Takashi the next time you two get together?”

Kyouya grinned back. “Maybe.”

 

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

“Miss, I am sorry, but we are closing. Is there anything you wanted to purchase?”

Haruhi was startled out of her perusal of a book on galaxies by the voice of the shop attendant. She looked up to see Kyouya at the cash register paying for something which the other attendant quickly wrapped up. Turning to the clerk next to her, she said with a sheepish grin, “I am sorry. I lost track of time. Let me just pay for these and I will be out of your hair.”

The clerk smiled back, “It happens. Thank you for your purchase tonight.”

Haruhi walked up to the counter and set the two books she had been looking through on it. On impulse she also grabbed a bottle of water. Looking over at Kyoya, she asked, “What did you find?”

“Just some Christmas gifts. I can’t tell you more or it would spoil the surprise.”

“So you found something for Hani then! I can’t wait to see.”

Kyouya just gave her a wink.

“Here you are miss.” The clerk handed her a bag with her books.

“What do I owe you?”

“It’s already been taken care of.”

“What? How?”

“I told them to ring up anything that you got on my card.” Kyouya held up a hand to forestall her protests. “Don’t fight me on this please… Don’t think of it as a gift but as a study aid. I really want you to graduate with top honors.”

Haruhi glared at Kyouya for a few minutes more, while the two shop attendants looked at each other warily. Finally to avoid a scene, she just said “fine” with a look that told Kyouya that the discussion wasn’t over.

The clerks thanked them with a sigh of relief then quickly locked the doors behind them.

Haruhi remained silent as they made their way to the telescope. She held the access card against the panel and the door slid open. The light from the hallway was enough to illuminate a panel on the wall to the side, which appeared to control the lights to the room next to a computer to adjust the angle of the telescope. She stepped forward and slid the lights on just enough to make sure they weren’t going to run into anything in the dark.

Recessed in the center of the room was the largest telescope that Kyouya had ever seen. There were several reclining chairs and curved couches around it. Looking up he could see a glass dome which let in the natural starlight. A soft sound escaped his lips as he realized that the whole contraption was on a moving platform. What an impressive display of machinery. “This is the small one?”

Kyouya started to step forward to get a better look when both his and her phones beeped indicating they had a text message. He looked at the screen.

Don’t know if you guys were planning on coming back to the house tonight or tomorrow morning, but you need to be back here by 8am. Since the Guest House is going to have a ton of people swarming through it tomorrow afternoon and Friday in preparation for the Grand Ball on Saturday, the five of us decided that it would be best if we all just got out of the way. Tamaki made arrangements with one of the Suoh Resorts on Santorini and mom is letting us use the jet. We will fly out at 9 and come back Saturday early afternoon. Almost two days on a private beach away from all the paparazzi… - HH

Haruhi looked up at Kyoya. “Are we going back to the House tonight?”

“That was my intent. I am sure we could have found something if we were here too late, but I didn’t plan on staying overnight… and I have to admit being out of Paris when Marika’s interview breaks sounds wonderful.”

“I agree.” Haruhi answered and responded back to Hikaru.

We were planning on coming back to the House tonight so no worries, though it might be late. Thanks to Professor Noguchi, I have an afterhours pass to the Observatoire de Paris. That’s where we are at the moment. I am working on a bit of extra credit for Physics. – HF

She set her phone down and moved over to the computer. “To answer your earlier question, this is the smaller telescope. The main one is about twice this size.” She glanced up to watch Kyoya’s expression as he absorbed the information. Idly she asked, “Is there anything that you want to see?”

“Can we see the Andromeda Galaxy with this telescope?” Kyouya asked curiously.

“Of course,” Haruhi responded with a smile as she punched some information into the computer then pushed a button to run the program. The center of the room slowly rotated 137 degrees to the right.

Her phone buzzed again and she laughed as she read the message.

Seriously!! You are doing HOMEWORK on your date night?? What is wrong with you!? I love your brain but that’s ridiculous… Then again, if I had special permission to be alone in a dark place looking at the majesty of space with you, I would leap at the chance too. Just don’t forget Kyo while you get lost in the in the depth of space. He is hiding it well, but he’s hurting after earlier. Anyway, see you back at the House then. We are going to be up for at least a couple more hours finishing up all this stuff, so we may still be up when you get in. You will be seriously impressed at what the photographers and designers came up with. Oh, and Marika sent me the link for the finished interview. I can pass it on if you want to see it, but I gave her tentative approval to air it. She did a great job with the editing. Love you! – HH

“Hikaru sent over Marika’s interview. Do you want to watch it?” Kyouya asked as his phone beeped again. Looking at the screen he suppressed a smile.

I know you both are brainiacs but doing extra credit homework just doesn’t sound like a fun date. LOL. Make sure that you both get in some real conversations not just school stuff. You both need some time to just be without the rest of us. Enjoy it!! Love you and see you when you get back. –HH

Quickly Kyouya typed back.

Haru seems to forget how romantic looking star gazing really is. I will make sure to remind her. I trust your judgment on the interview. If you think she was fair then it is good enough for me. I don’t know if I am ready to sit down and watch myself. Have fun with the rest of the editing. Love to you – KO

“Not particularly. At least, not right now… Do you?”

Kyouya blinked in confusion then realized that Haruhi was answering his earlier question. “Not really. I trust Hika. If he says it’s fine then I am ok with her releasing it.”

Haruhi grinned, “Kind of what I thought, but damn… how the world has changed. You are actually really trusting Hikaru’s judgment on something. If you had told me this day would happen two and a half years ago, I would never have believed it.”

Kyouya grinned as he pushed her toward the center of the room, “Yeah, yeah… now are you going to do your homework or just continue this witty banter?”

“Hmmpf.” Haruhi flounced to the center of the room, enjoying the light hearted banter between them. “With that attitude, see if I explain anything to you.” She sat down in an angled chair and put on an optical headset that looked like a set of virtual reality goggles.

Kyouya sat next to her, still grinning. He looked at the headset in his hands and said, “Somehow this was not what I was expecting. I thought there would be an eyepiece.”

Haruhi lifted and set the goggles on her head. “In a way these are. The telescope is so powerful and used for so much research that a single eyepiece is not practical. These goggles are basically the same thing; it shows exactly what the scope is pointed at but enhances color and makes it almost three dimensional. It also allows for several headsets to be attached at once rather than just one.”

“Makes sense… and beats just staring at a computer screen.”

“I thought so,” Haruhi said and pushed the goggles back down.

Kyouya followed suit and reclined back in the chair, his right hand reaching out to grasp Haruhi’s left.

“Are you ready?” She asked as she held the remote in her right hand.

“Completely. This is actually quite fascinating.”

Haruhi grinned as she pressed the start button. Kyoya’s swift intake of breath was worth the annoyance of doing classwork on her vacation. I just won’t tell him that I planned this out, just so he and I could have this together.

“It’s breathtaking.” The reverence in Kyoya’s voice was clear. Unconsciously he tightened his grip on her hand tighter.

“Andromeda is a spiral galaxy,” Haruhi pushed a button and the image zoomed in closer. “Can you see the way the stars spiral out from the center?”

“Yes.”

For the next hour or so, Haruhi spoke about the star cluster and Astronomy in general answering Kyoya’s questions as best she could. She was surprised that he hadn’t taken physics at Ouran. He replied that most of his science classes centered on organic chemistry since the Ootori family had interests in the Medical field. It was a good conversation for both of them as they learned a bit more about each other. Finally Haruhi said, “So that was the Andromeda Galaxy. Want to see the Milky Way?”

“Sure. That’s the galaxy our solar system is in, correct?”

“Yes.” She took off the headset and got up to walk back over to the computer terminal. As she was punching in some information the door behind her opened and a security guard walked in.

“Hello. Just checking in. I am Frank. Jay said you have a pass that lets you stay until 1 am. I will come by at that time and escort you out, or if you leave before then, you can leave it on the front desk. I will be walking the halls, so I may not be at the desk. Everything is locked up at this point, so if you leave this room to use the restroom, make sure to take your access card with you. Otherwise, enjoy your night.”

“Thank you Frank, we will do so.” Haruhi said with a polite smile and turned back to the screen to adjust the telescope. A program option caught her eye and she clicked on the button experimentally. Instantly the dome above their head became one big screen, showing the current view of the telescope.

“Wow. That’s cool. What did you do?” Kyouya asked.

“I have no idea, but it looks like a program to turn the dome into a quasi-planetarium. Excellent. I can program it to circle the sky for up to ninety minutes. We can watch the stars without having to be out in the cold.”

“Perfect.”

Haruhi walked over and dimmed the ambient room light down even further until the majority of the light was coming from the stars lighting up the dome. She increased magnification and positioned the telescope to start at Venus and slowly work its way around the night sky. Finally satisfied with the settings, she walked over to Kyoya, took his hand and led him to one of the couches. “I want to lie in your arms and watch the stars.”

Kyouya smiled and pulled her into his arms for a kiss before sitting down, “As you wish.”

Time lost its sense of meaning as Kyouya and Haruhi lay on the couch, staring at the stars, but the events of the day slowly started to slip in. It’s really done. I really have walked away from my family. I won’t ever be welcomed at the place I used to call home. Kyoya’s arms tightened around Haruhi unconsciously as a tear slid down his cheek. Everything I have done before… gone. Everything I was… A few more tears slid silently down his cheeks.

Haruhi felt his arms tighten around her and immediately understood what was happening. She turned so she could bury her head in his chest and wrap her arms around him. She remained quiet, but held on to him tightly.

Kyouya felt all the overwhelming and conflicting emotions hit him at once, Haruhi’s silent and unconditional support finally giving him a chance to grieve over what he had lost. A sob cracked out in the silence, followed by several more, as he clung to the woman in his arms. The tears poured unheeded down his cheeks and the sobs racked his body as he let it all out.

Through it all, Haruhi just held him and focused all her love toward him. Finally the sobs quieted and the death grip on her eased slightly. She reached up with one hand and stroked down his cheek before stretching up to place a soft kiss on his lips. “Shhhh… It will be all right, my love. The hard part is over.”

“I don’t have a home anymore… or a family.”

“Shhh… not true, my love. Not true. Hikaru and I will be your home. All of us will be your family. We will make the future a beautiful glorious thing… and in time, your father may reconsider.”

“I sincerely doubt that,” a severely self-deprecating laugh accompanied that statement. “I just committed the ultimate sin in Ootori eyes. I chose my own wishes over the good of the family.”

“Maybe, but that’s not the way the rest of the world sees it. You are stepping forward and taking the Ootori family in a new direction. A better direction that will make you an innovator and leader of the community. Yes, right now, it is just you, but mark my words… the rest of the Ootori clan will see what you are doing and understand eventually.”

“I don’t believe in hope.”

“That’s ok. I believe enough in you for both of us.” Haruhi said quietly. “You will succeed where your father has failed and the family will see it. Until then, you have all of us… and we will support you.”

Kyouya felt the fierceness in her voice and held her tight. Voice just barely a whisper as if the thought itself was so faint, he said, “I think I could learn to believe… after all… I have you, when I never thought it would be possible.” He kissed her deeply. “Never leave me… please… I don’t think I could survive the world without you.”

“I am here for you… always.” Haruhi replied and returned his kiss, letting all her passion, love, and desire for him flow.

With a growl at her heated response, Kyouya deepened the kiss, rolling her underneath him, and bracing himself on his arms so he could stare down into her eyes.

Haruhi stared back into the silver eyes made black by the dimness of the room. She wrapped her arms around his neck and arched her head up just enough to be able to breathe against his lips. “Make love to me… please…”

“Always.”

The stars moving slowly overhead cast faint shadows on their skin as they moved together. Slowly. Deeply. Focused solely on the connection between them. Unshakable and unbreakable.

   
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