Note: First off, let's get one thing straight-- I love Haruhi with all my fangirly heart *__* I really do. And I like her with any of the boys, actually. Circumstances with her in this fic are as they are simply to make this yaoi couple work. So Haruhi fans, don't get mad at me XD;
Also... Please forgive any OOCness ;_; It's going to be difficult keeping everyone IC, especially since the series is such a comedy, and I suck at comedy. That, and I've never written these characters before.

Warnings: Spoilers for the series are scattered throughout. If something is mentioned that doesn't seem right w/ the anime, remember I've read the manga, too, so I might be pulling a specific instance from that. Tho this story is starting roughly from where the anime stopped. Also, obviously, there is rampant yaoi/shounen ai in this fic XD

    "The one thing most important to me is my dream. That's why I attended Ouran in the first place.
    The Host Club takes up enough of my time as it is, but to be honest...
    I really don't have time during my years at Ouran to focus on any relationships outside of friendship.

Act 1
The Twins' Boredom: A New Contest!

    "Oi, baka!"
    Tamaki yelped at the swift blow to his head. He turned from where he'd been brooding at the windowsill, swiftly replacing his vacant look with one of heartbreak as he nursed the slight bump. "Mother!" he complained loudly. "You're so mean."
    Kyouya's mouth twitched slightly in the beginnings of an impatient frown, eyes hidden by the light flashing across his glasses from the window. He held the folder he'd belted Tamaki with by his shoulder warningly. "Listen when people are talking to you. Idiot."
    Tamaki leaned over slightly to see past his friend, where the other members of the host club were scattered around the music room.
    Hunny was, predictably, devouring a plateful of cake, while Mori sat silent witness. Haruhi was walking their way with a tray of freshly-brewed tea. Tamaki hastily jerked his gaze away-- don't go there his mind hissed in warning --and settled on the remaining two of his strange "family".
    They were slouched together on the couch, looking petulant and..
    Alarm bells went off, and Tamaki shot to his feet. Bored Hitachiin twins were a Very Bad Thing. If he didn't find something to spark their interest soon, they would resort to their own version of "fun". The kind that involved mischief, pranks, and usually ended up with Tamaki himself looking the idiot.
    "Saa! Minna!" Tamaki struck his best Royal Pose, hand on hip, finger jabbing at the air as he flashed an enthusiastic smile. "We should discuss what our theme will be for next week!"
    "We already went over that yesterday," Hikaru grumbled without looking up from the gameboy he was idly playing with.
    "The lord doesn't remember anything past breakfast," Kaoru agreed, finger tracing the hero on the small glowing screen.
    "Tamaki-senpai, we already decided it would be a fantasy setting," Haruhi put in, pouring hot tea carefully into Hunny's cup. Tamaki caught himself watching her in spite of himself, some of his enthusiasm dying.
    How was it that she could...
    Always she could shrug things off. Take things so...
    "Remember?" the twins demanded in unison.
    "Ah-" Tamaki quickly wrenched his attention back to the current problem. "Yes! That's right. We must get the costumes prepared--"
    "We already did that," came the chimed answer.
    "..Oh." Tamaki wracked his brain, but Kyouya stepped in then, eyes on his notebook.
    "Rather, we should spend time going over the budget." His eyes slanted accusingly Hunny's way. "Despite the dance at the festival last week, many people still believe that Haruhi is male, and was merely cross-dressing for the event. But many more have figured it out or have their suspicions. That caused her to lose some customers, and in the long run, some of them were so embarrassed they didn't return to the host club at all. We need to make up for this. If, for instance, we cut down on the snacks provided..."
    "Kyo-kun nooooooo!" Hunny wailed in horror, eyes welling up with tears. He moved to cover his cake protectively. "You can't! Anything but thaaat!"
    Kyouya's glasses flashed. "We will save a good amount of money simply by replacing the specialty snacks with something light, like sandwiches and crackers. We cannot cut back on any of the other projects; the online auction and the sales of the monthly photo magazines are not doing badly enough to dismiss."
    "Ahh~ Boring!" the twins sang. They uncoiled from their seats, turning to face the others with unamused faces.
    Hikaru propped himself on his brother, frowning in displeasure. "This is no fun."
    "No fun at all," Kaoru agreed.
    Haruhi turned towards them. "Well, the club isn't open for another hour. Can't you amuse yourselves until then?"
    "There's nothing interesting," both boys mourned.
    "I'm sure you'll think of something," Kyouya said drolly, determined to make his point made. "But the snacks--"
    "You can't!" Hunny protested loudly, dribbling tears. "Kyo-kun, you wouldn't! What would you say if someone tried to take away something YOU loved?"
    The twins laughed. "The only think Kyouya loves is his money," they mocked.
    "Maybe if senpai had a girlfriend, it would loosen him up," Hikaru jeered.
    "Someone to relax him," Kaoru agreed with a matching grin.
    Haruhi smiled slightly. "It's difficult imagining Kyouya-senpai with a girlfriend," she admitted.
    Kyouya managed to look mildly offended.
    "Kyo-kun doesn't seem interested in girls," Hunny said innocently.
    "Or anybody for that matter," Haruhi mused off-handedly, pouring tea for Mori.
    "Aa," Mori agreed shortly, reaching out to wipe frosting from Hunny's cheek.
    Tamaki, for once, was silent, face shifting into something unreadable as his eyes flickered towards the sole girl in the room.
    The twins' faces lit up suddenly in identical grins, eyes hooded as their minds worked furiously in unison. "Ah~ Kyouya-senpai is so cold," they noted. "And no fun. You never take place in any of the games."
    Kyouya shifted his glasses with an index finger, a little irritated that the conversation kept getting deterred. "Kudaran."
    "Yosh'! Time for a new game!" They shot their fingers Kyouya's way, still grinning demonically. "The one who can make Kyouya-senpai act a little bit like a human being wins! The Seduction of Kyouya-Senpai Gaaaaaame!"
    There was a brief moment of stunned silence.
    Kyouya's eye twitched violently in annoyance. "Human," he repeated in a deadpan, more than a little offended.
    "Ara~?" Hunny was kneeling in his chair, clasping the back of it as he stared at the twins with wide eyes. "Seduce Kyouya-Senpai Game?" he repeated.
    "Kyouya-senpai obviously needs to get his mind on something other than his one-true love," Hikaru said cheerfully.
    "Money," Kaoru supplied with a smirk.
    "And it would be fun to see Kyouya-senpai in a situation like that, ne~?"
    Haruhi sweatdropped. "They're serious."
    Hunny's eyes brightened. "Ah, it would be interesting!" he agreed happily. "I've never seen Kyouya interested in anyone before!"
    Both twins nodded firmly, grinning in triumph. "The losers have to donate 240000 yen apiece to help the budget," Kaoru proclaimed.
    Kyouya's brow lifted slightly.
    "EH??" Haruhi turned about quickly, gaping at them in horror.
    "The winner," Hikaru continued, ignoring the outburst, "gets to spend the weekend with Haruhi-chan!"
    "Chotto!" Haruhi sputtered. "Don't decide things for yourselves!"
    "Of course, for Haruhi, the situation's different," Hikaru allowed. "You can pay off the debt if you lose with chores. You can be our dog again!"
    Haruhi looked less than enthused, to say the least.
    "And if you win, you get a plate full of the best otoro money can buy," Kaoru finished cheerily.
    Haruhi faltered. "...A plate?"
    "Un un!" Both twins spread their arms. "A platter thiiiiis big, all to yourself."
    "..." Haruhi stared at their outstretched arms, obviously torn. The twins smirked at each other, knowing their bait had been snatched. "So... we just need to find Kyouya a girlfriend...?"
    "BZZZZZZZT!" came the chorused denial. "Since when are any of our games extended to outside members?"
    The full meaning behind the game finally struck home, and her eyes widened. "You mean-- US? We have to--"
    "This will be fun!" Hunny cried happily. Tamaki blinked at him, as if just now paying attention to the conversation at hand.
    "This is an unnecessary--" Kyouya started.
    Kyouya's pencil snapped in his sudden angry grip.


    The twins' attention span was short, Kyouya reminded himself grimly as he smiled in an automatic polite response to something one of his customers had said. Things quickly became 'too boring' for them to spend much energy on. Within a day or two, perhaps even a few hours, they would abandon their idiotic idea for something more interesting. In any case, there was no point thinking about it now. In the back of his mind he was still trying to fix the current money problems the club had encountered. The suspicion of Haruhi's true gender had hurt them quite a bit, surprisingly. She'd gotten several customers that saw her exclusively, and in embarrassment at such a revelation, many of them had ceased attending the club's functions. There were other fans of hers who hung around-- whether it was because they still thought Haruhi was a boy or they no longer cared was of no concern to him. They had also spent a sizeable chunk of change on the festival. And that idiot Tamaki flying a carriage in from France... And of course, one of their biggest concerns was the fact that Mori and Hunny would be graduating at the end of the year. They would lose two big assets. Replacing them would be troublesome.
    For just a moment he thought of the twins' proposal. That 240000 yen apiece... would actually be a big help...
    He frowned inwardly, shoving such thoughts from his mind with difficulty. It was hard to pass up on such an opportunity-- that's 960000 yen, his mental calculator supplied helpfully --but the game itself was ridiculous and insulting. Even if he were to go along with it just to get the money the club so desperately needed, it was pointless. The twins would lose interest by the end of the day and cancel the game in order to find some other way to amuse themselves.
    ...'Act human'?.... Little brats.
    He quickly jerked his attention back to the girls at his table, plastering a fake smile on. "Ah. Sumimasen."
    "Are you feeling well, Kyouya-senpai?" one of the girls asked anxiously.
    "I'm fine," he assured them, clasping his hands on the table. He was not as good at this as Tamaki, who would have hastily made up for the blunder with flowering words. Something stupid like "I was lost in a world in my mind where you and I were the only two souls left together to spend the rest of existence in each other's arms."
    Or something equally as gag-inducing.
    What made it even more irritating was the underlying sincerity in Tamaki's words when he spoke to the girls. His eyes had drifted unconsciously across the room to where said president was currently clasping one girl's shaking hand, eyes sparkling as he bedazzled her with his words. He really was... a king idiot.
    Kyouya turned slightly to lift a brow at the bubbling boy who had appeared at his elbow. "Nani, Haninozuka-senpai?"
    Hunny held forth a plate topped with an oversized slice of strawberry cake, wearing his best winning childlike smile. "Would you like to share my cake with me and Usa-chan?"
    The girls were all atwitter at the appearance of the most adorable of the group, so Kyouya thought it safe to ignore them for a moment. "No thank you." Since when did Hunny ask him to share one of his precious treats, much less interrupt him when he had customers unless it was something semi-important?
    "No?" Hunny pouted cutely. "But it's my favorite. I think you'd realllllly like it!"
    "Hunny-senpai, would you like to sit with us?" one of the girls asked eagerly, scooting over to leave a space next to Kyouya. "You two can eat it here."
    "Actually, I thought maybe... we could eat... over there..." Hunny was doing an ultra-cute imitation of a shy student, eyes darting repeatedly towards an empty table by the window.
    Kyouya stared at him, nonplussed, then checked automatically to see where Mori was located. He was with customers, very pointedly not looking Hunny's way.
    As if giving...
    Kyouya's eye twitched in sudden annoyed realization. The game. The stupid game. He shifted his gaze towards the twins, who were hiding behind a couch and watching with big grins on their faces for his reaction.
    Hunny was already seating himself, scooting his chair closer to Kyouya and pushing the cake in between them. "You can have the first bite!" he offered happily.
    Kyouya stared down at the cake helplessly. His customers were unaware of his sudden uptightness, too busy enjoying the company of two host members at once. Bluntly saying "I don't want any" would not be a good impression for the customers, he admitted grudgingly. But he was not really into desserts, and Hunny should know that by now.
    This was the only weapon Hunny had for the game: cute little-boy tactics and his beloved sweets. Neither of which worked on Kyouya.
    Mentally, despite his irritation about the game as a whole, he marked Hunny off the list of potential winners of the twins' sad attempt at amusement.
    Hunny was still gazing at him all sparkly-eyed, smiling encouragingly as he waited for Kyouya to dig in.
    Kyouya hesitated, glancing from him to the cake, then to his customers. He had no interest whatsoever in humoring the boy, much less having a taste of such a sugar-filled treat, but he was having a difficult time figuring out how to decline without appearing to be an ass in front of the customers.
    Perhaps Mori sensed his petite charge's impending failure, or perhaps he was just being his normal overprotective self, but he saved Kyouya just when the other boy was beginning to consider taking a bathroom break to escape.
    "Mitsukuni." Mori appeared behind Hunny's chair, face as blank as ever. "It's time for your nap."
    "Awww already?" Hunny pouted. "But I was gonna eat some cake with Usa-chan and Kyo-kun!"
    "You didn't sleep much last night," Mori pointed out, "studying for that exam. If you don't take your nap now, you will regret it later."
    The underlying "we'll ALL regret it later" wasn't caught by the small blonde, but Kyouya was grateful for the intervention for that as well as the rescue from the cake problem.
    "All riiiight," Hunny sighed, jumping up into Mori's arms and skittering up to his shoulders. He waved cheerily to the members of the table. "Good night~! I'm gonna go nap now. Enjoy the cake, Kyo-kun!"
    "..Aa," Kyouya muttered. The girls offered their farewells, then turned back to Kyouya. Seizing the opportunity, Kyouya struck up a conversation with them, unobtrusively sliding the unwanted treat out of reach.
    Behind the couch, the twins made a mark on a pad of paper, seeming highly amused by the whole situation.
    Later, Kyouya promised himself darkly, he was going to get them for this.
    And he had ways of revenge that could leave a man a broken, empty shell.


    Kyouya had been too preoccupied with thoughts of the budget and the twins' foolish prank to really notice Tamaki's strange mood until they were all straightening the music room up and preparing to leave for the day.
    It was true that there had been something a little... off.. about him since shortly after the festival, but Kyouya had assumed it was backlash from his grandmother's harsh treatment and the incident with his short-lived engagement.
    It didn't take a genius-- and Kyouya was certainly much smarter than most boys his age --to figure out that Haruhi seemed to be at the root of whatever was troubling the host club King. With the flurry of clean-up after the festival, and the sudden budget problems immediately afterwards, however, he hadn't had the time or interest to devote much thought or notice. Tamaki was the type of person who could bounce back from anything, given enough time and incentive.
    But this...
    Kyouya watched his friend over the top of his notebook where Tamaki had paused in the act of setting the chairs upside down on the table, his eyes staring vacantly out of a window. This wasn't something stupid or easily solved. Whatever it was, it bothered Tamaki enough to put him in unusually somber moods more and more often. He always tried to act normal around the rest of them, but this was the nth time Kyouya had caught him staring off into space with an almost sad cast to his eyes.
    It could have something to do with his lost opportunity to meet his mother again-- and Kyouya was sure that had something to do with it in some small part --but Kyouya suspected it was much more than that. He'd seen the looks of hurt confusion Tamaki had sent Haruhi's way whenever he thought no one-- including her --was looking. Kyouya didn't understand it, and almost felt personally offended by it. He had even made steps on the night of the festival to force the two of them to accept that something was growing between them. And now it seemed that somehow his gracious gift had been tossed aside. What could Haruhi have possibly done or said to put such a lost look in Tamaki's eyes? He looked like a kicked puppy, and Kyouya was uncomfortably dissatisfied with it. The boy was an idiot, a moron, a loud-mouthed King of Fools.
    But Tamaki was the kind of person... that you never wanted to see with such a look on his face.
    Haruhi had already left to get some shopping done before the grocery store closed, and Mori had disappeared to rouse Hunny from his nap. The twins were fooling around on the other side of the room, so Kyouya headed towards his vacant-faced friend.
    "Oi." He bapped the other boy's head lightly with his notebook. "Hurry up. I need to lock up and get home. Some of us have better things to do with our time."
    The look Tamaki turned on him was so full of honest desperation and guilt that it took him off guard. "Kyouya... Is this a waste of time to you?" he asked quietly. "The host club... Am I keeping you from things that would make you happy?"
    Kyouya blinked. "That's not what I was referring to," he started to argue.
    "You can tell me. I won't be angry." Tamaki's face was dead serious now. "I know this club.. and me... just ends up being a nuisance to you most of the ti-- ACK!"
    Kyouya hefted his notebook again threateningly, glasses flashing as his mouth tightened in irritation. "Shut up, king idiot. If I want to quit, I'll quit. I'm not going over this with you again, it's pointless. What happened between you and Haruhi?"
    Tamaki's eyes widened in surprise, and he paused, hand still buried in his hair from where he was rubbing the hurt spot. "Ah-- What? What are you talking about?"
    Kyouya frowned in growing annoyance. "Don't 'what' me. I'm talking about the obvious--"
    "Na~ Kyouya-senpai~" Hikaru was suddenly leaning on his shoulder, grinning by his ear. "We're all done for the day. Kaoru and I were going to stop and get some coffee on the way home. Feel like joining us?"
    "I have things to do," Kyouya said shortly, still eyeing Tamaki sternly.
    "You're so cold," Hikaru pouted, but his eyes were dancing with amusement at the game. "Don't you like us anymore?"
    Kyouya stamped on his temper, keeping it in check. He turned away, and Hikaru's elbow slipped from his shoulder. "I'm going home."
    "Hidoi~" Karou called after him.
    Kyouya ignored them both, striding out of the room. By tomorrow, he reassured himself, they would have a new game. And Tamaki...
    If that idiot wanted to play the clueless card, let him. Kyouya would figure it all out eventually.
    He always did.

Author's Notes: Domo to firetwit for helping me think of what the winner gets XD And the recurring kicks in the ass whenever my inspiration/willpower lagged.
Oh, and I use a lot of Japanese words/phrases throughout the fic because some of the things they say sound OOC somehow when translated to English o_o;; For some reason. But if anyone doesn't know what a certain word/phrase means, don't hesitate to ask. If it becomes a problem, I'll leave translation notes in the author's notes from now on, but most of the things I use are heard a million times in anime and should be familiar.
Except maybe kudaran/kudaranai. Um, best translation I can think of for this instance is "That's so meaningless it's not worth mentioning".

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