Act 2
The Game is Over, Damn it!

    There was a special place in hell reserved for people like Hikaru and Kaoru Hitachiin, Kyouya found himself thinking murderously the next morning as he found himself face-to-face with a fuzzy plushed... something two inches from his nose upon waking.
    He sat up slowly, belatedly noting the alarm blaring at him from the nightstand. Slamming his hand over it angrily to quiet it, he peered blearily around the room. He always set up three alarm clocks. Otherwise there was no way he got up in time... Ah, there they were. He'd evidently given them the same treatment as their unfortunate predecessors. One was a broken heap against the far wall, the dent in the wallpaper silent witness to the strength of the furious throw. The other was all the way by the door. Hm. A new record. Usually he didn't get it that far. It seemed to have hit the door quite solidly. While the firm oak was relatively unmarred, the alarm clock itself was dented horribly, the bell smashed in from the blow.
    Well, at least one of them had survived the ordeal that was Kyouya in the morning.
    Wait, that wasn't the issue here, Kyouya thought fuzzily, rubbing at his eyes and reaching for his glasses. He settled them on his nose and looked down at the thing in his bed with an expression that had made Tamaki run screaming in horror many times before.
    A stuffed. Blue. Rabbit.
    Kyouya seized the soft toy and flung it across the room without hesitation. It squeaked when it struck the dresser, and plopped to the floor unharmed, staring across the room at him with shiny black eyes.
    His window was open. He never left it open at night. How the hell had the blue monstrosity gotten in his room? Who the hell had managed to sneak past security? He forced himself to get out of bed and plodded towards the bathroom, mood still dark and senses clouded with sleep.
    It wasn't until he was stepping out of the shower, rubbing his hair vigorously with a towel, that his tired mind caught up enough to put two and two together. A stuffed rabbit. A seemingly impossible task of getting it past Ootori security and into his bedroom. It sounded like something a damned ninja would do.
    Or a soon-to-be-dead, short, child-faced martial artist with a fondness for sugar.
    Muttering darkly under his breath words that would have shocked his more tender-hearted staff, he jerked on his uniform and snatched the rabbit up. He was going to rip it into little pieces, dip the fluff in soy sauce, and force-feed it to those meddling demon-faced twins.
    Kyouya was not a morning person.


    "What. Is. THIS."
    It was not quite a question, which Hunny was secretly grateful for, because he wasn't sure he was quite ready to attempt an answer. Not when Kyouya's normally calm face was tight with barely-restrained annoyance, eyes narrowed behind their spectacles.
    "Oh, how cute," he tried instead, a slight strain to his happy tune as he held his arms out to accept the large stuffed rabbit Kyouya was wagging in his face like a weapon. "Where did you get it, Kyo-kun? He and Usa-chan can be friends!"
    Kyouya snatched the doll away, mouth tightening. "Are you trying to tell me you've never seen this.. thing.. before?" he demanded. His voice was cool and composed, but there was a growling threat hidden underneath.
    "Um, no..." Hunny glanced from Kyouya to the bunny, unable to hold onto his fear when something so unbearably cute was being held just out of reach. "It's really cute, Kyo-chan! Can I play with it?" He adopted his best pleading face.
    "..." Kyouya turned slowly to face the only other possible culprit, who was busy cutting a slice of cake for Hunny's after breakfast snack. "Mo-ri-no-zu- kaaa..." he grated, dark threat now audible.
    Mori seemed to notice the rabbit for the first time. He set the cake slice on a plate for Hunny and straightened, face impassive.
    Kyouya held the rabbit up in a clenched fist. "Did you put this in my room?" he demanded in tones of steel.
    Kyouya didn't have a chance to ask why. His answer strolled through the door a heartbeat later, dragging a tolerant Haruhi between them as they chattered about something from class. They screeched to a dead halt on noticing the current drama being played out, and for a tense moment there was dead silence.
    Which was broken almost immediately by the twins' hysterical laughter.
    They collapsed to the ground, kicking their feet and shrieking with laughter, tears streaming from their eyes. "AHAHAHAHAHAAAA!! KYOUYA-SENPAI HAS A NEW FRIEND!!"
    Even Haruhi had to slap a hand to her mouth to stop the giggle that snuck out, though over her hand her eyes were dancing with obvious humor at the sight of the stoic shadow king clutching an overly-large stuffed rabbit in his hands. "Ky-Kyouya-senpai," she gasped, voice muffled from the hand hiding her grin. "What... is that?"
    "IT'S HIS NEW GIRLFRIEND!!" the twins howled in glee.
    Kyouya's glasses flashed. Suddenly he smiled.
    Haruhi took one look at him, stopped grinning, and got quickly out of the line of fire.

    When Tamaki came strolling in five minutes later, he was surprised to see both twins sitting on the couch in perfect silence, their faces sullen but their mouths, for once, shut tight. They barely acknowledged his presence, keeping their eyes straight forward.
    Puzzled, the self-proclaimed king went over to where Kyouya was busily writing in his notebook by the bay window, seeming as calm and collected as ever. "What's wrong with the twins?"
    "I gave them a reason to keep their mouths shut," Kyouya said almost absently. He finished what he was scribbling, ignoring Tamaki's confused expression, and slapped the notebook closed. "Now about the funds--"
    "Kyo-kun, you don't have to worry about that anymore, remember?" Hunny cut in, face smeared with frosting. "The losers of the game will have to put money into the club, won't they?"
    "There is no more 'game'," Kyouya said firmly. When the twins looked as if they were about to turn around and protest, he turned his head slightly their way. They snapped back around and hunched down in the couch, trying to hide. "There is no more game," he repeated. "First we'll start with cutting back on some of the specialty snacks- -"
    Hunny gave a heartbroken wail.
    Kyouya ignored him. "Then we'll come up with some sort of extra fund raiser. Haruhi actually had an idea that underprivileged children used in her middle school." In the background Hunny continued to cry loudly while Mori patted him on the shoulder.
    Haruhi's eyes hooded in annoyance. "I'd rather you say 'poor' than 'underprivileged'," she muttered defensively.
    "A 'kissing booth'. Girls pay for a kiss from the members of the host club."
    "A k-kiss??" Tamaki repeated, looking both embarrassed and intrigued at the same time.
    "On the cheek, doofus," Haruhi sighed.
    Tamaki glanced at her, then quickly away and didn't answer.
    Kyouya frowned at the exchange, but didn't comment on it. "It could coincide with our fantasy theme for next week. We'll just move it outdoors."
    "Ah, sou!" Tamaki was immediately taken with the idea, eyes lit with fervor. He swiftly took a knee, holding out his hand for an imaginary princess. "Ah, hime- sama... Kiss me, as we sit beneath the sakura trees in the blossum of our youth, and let us forget for just a moment the turbulent life that awaits us outside these orchards! Let us- -"
    "I'm going to class," Kyouya dead-panned, cutting Tamaki off mid- spiel as he headed for the door.
    "Ah- us too!" Haruhi exclaimed, checking her watch as Tamaki still knelt on the floor, looking teary-eyed at the heartless interruption. She hurried over to the couch and dragged both twins to their feet. "Ha-ya-ku!" she huffed, striving to propel them towards the door. "Ja, see you at the meeting!" she called to the other three before she pulled the door shut behind her.
    Hunny studied Tamaki curiously for a moment as the blonde huddled in a corner pouting, then turned back to the second slice of cake Mori had just cut for him. "Ne ne, Takashi, the bunny was a nice idea! I'm sure secretly Kyo-kun really liked it."
    Mori retrieved the rabbit from where it had been deposited in the wastebin and dusted it off before setting it on the table beside Usa-chan. "Aa," he said to humor the other boy. "Hurry and finish your cake, Mitsukuni. We have class as well in half an hour."
    Hunny nodded absently, stuffing a forkful of cake into his mouth as he dragged his eyes from the rabbits to the dejected Tamaki. "Ne, Takashi," he said quietly. "Do you remember what we talked about before? After we met Casanova-kun?"
    Mori took a calm sip of tea. "Aa."
    A small smile spread across the smaller boy's face as he dug his fork into the cake for another bite. "I hope we really do see everything work out all right. Before we graduate. I want them all to realize their feelings." He beamed with his frosting-covered face. "Na?"
    Mori inclined his head slightly in agreement. "Aa."
    Hunny nudged the other boy's knee under the table playfully with his foot and continued devouring the cake, humming happily to himself.


    Haruhi was personally relieved that the game had been cut short, but the twins were having none of it.
    The teacher had stepped into the hall to talk with another member of the faculty, and the students were taking advantage of the absence to chatter. Hikaru was leaning back in his chair, feet propped up on his desk. He clasped his hands behind his head and made a face. "Keh. Kyouya's out of his mind if he thinks we're really going to stop this."
    "It might have gotten boring, but now that it's obvious he can't stand it, it'll make it more fun to continue," Kaoru agreed with a grin from where he was resting his head on his desk, scribbling on the wood surface idly with his pencil.
    "Are you serious?" Haruhi stared at them in horror. Why, she asked herself, was she in the least bit surprised? "Kyouya-senpai is obviously tired of the game. You heard him earlier. You know what he'll do to you if you keep it up."
    "We're not afraid of Kyouya-senpai," both twins insisted carelessly.
    Haruhi decided not to remind them of the terror said senpai's calm words had struck in their hearts not ten minutes earlier. They were creatures of the moment, and right now all they cared about was having their fun the usual way: at someone else's expense.
    She sighed to herself. There was no stopping them now. Kyouya's threats and obvious distaste of the game had only egged them on. They certainly weren't going to listen to any protests from her. And while watching the antics of the twins, not to mention Kyouya's reactions, would in some way be amusing, it didn't work out well for her. She already knew she would be one of the losers. When it came to seduction, she was just not cut out for it. That, and she could not dig up either the guts or interest to play along in such a game. Not for Kyouya-senpai, anyway. Haruhi was at heart a very simple, down-to- earth person. She was not about to play a part, especially when something held no special importance to her. She was blunt and honest, and trying to 'seduce' someone she was not romantically interested in just to win a bet was ludicrous.
    She was going to lose, she might as well accept that. The only weapon she had left was natural, unintentional charm. Sadly she dismissed the thought of a platter of otoro from her mind. At least she wouldn't be expected to pay the fine in actual cash, she consoled herself. That, and seeing the look on Kyouya's face the next time one of the incorrigible host members hit on him was sure to be worth it in the long run.
    But there was still one obvious problem. "Kyouya-senpai said the game is over," she reminded her friends firmly. "And I don't think it was a polite suggestion."
    "Saa~ did he, now?" the twins mused, looking completely unconcerned.
    "Don't pretend it didn't happen," Haruhi protested.
    "The game continues," Hikaru insisted with a grin. "Kyouya-senpai can fume and threaten all he likes. He needs to loosen up. Not to mention it will be funny as hell, if his reaction to Mori's little gift is anything to go off of."
    "Then you're going to have to get him to agree somehow," Haruhi admitted. "Or at the very least, find a way to keep him from ending the game too early."
    "Already thought of that," came the chorused response.
    Hikaru held up a finger. "A game can only be cut short by us," he said, indicating himself and his brother. He grinned. "The game's still on."
    "How will the winner be declared?" Haruhi asked with a frown. "Even if Kyouya-senpai decides he wants the losers' fee badly enough to play along when he realizes you're not letting up, he could still just pick a random winner to collect the money from everyone else."
    "Tsk tsk tsk." The twins wagged their fingers sternly. "It's not that easy."
    "Something must occur first for a winner to be officially recognized," Hikaru said loftily.
    "Something that makes it obvious that the winner has actually gotten to him," Kaoru agreed.
    "Like what?"
    The twins grinned. "Sooner or later someone is going to be an obvious loser," Hikaru said heartlessly. "They'll be the judge."
    "Well whoever the first loser is," Haruhi admitted, knowing secretly it would probably be either herself or Mori, who was just as inept at flirtation as she was, "it won't be you two."
    Their grins widened.
    "Though of the two of you," Haruhi continued, arching a brow as she rested her chin on her palm, "Hikaru, you have the best chance."
    Hikaru blinked. Obviously the idea that he and his brother wouldn't be joint winners had never crossed his mind. "What? Why do you say that?"
    But Kaoru only laughed. "Honto. Hikaru will beat everyone."
    "We both will," Hikaru insisted with a frown.
    Kaoru smiled back indulgently. "Hai hai," he said, but Haruhi could tell by looking at him that he was only humoring his twin.
    It was the forlorn look in the back of his eyes that got her wondering.


    Haruhi had at some point ceased her habit of taking her lunch in the classroom in peace and quiet and had started eating in the cafeteria with the twins. Whether it was because one or the other tended to swap meals with her or she was sick of their constant wheedling, none of the host members were sure.
    Mori and Hunny usually ate in the music room, where there was an ample supply of snacks and tea, and Kyouya and Tamaki switched depending on their moods, sometimes eating in the classroom, sometimes in the music room. Sometimes they actually ate together, when Tamaki seemed determined to spend time with his friend, and sometimes Kyouya disappeared to attend to his own business. It was a pattern they'd had since meeting in middle school, and as Kyouya found himself listening with half an ear to whatever Tamaki was prattling on about as he unwrapped his own chef-prepared lunch, he wondered just how long he had been content to follow such a routine. He was usually jealously protective of his alone time, and before that had included lunch time, aside from the times when fangirls or the sons of wealthy business men would bother him. But Tamaki had changed him in subtle ways over the years, and he couldn't quite dredge up the indignation such a fact of life required as he laid his napkin out in his lap and tuned out most of what his friend was going on about.
    Finally he glanced up, watching as his friend dug enthusiastically into a cheap bento box (he apparently still had a fascination for the commoners' way of life). The question was out before he could stop himself or wonder why the thought had crossed his mind in the first place. "You weren't interested in participating in the twins' ridiculous game?"
    Tamaki cut off mid-sentence, blinking at him in confusion. It took him a moment to pull his mind away from whatever he'd been animatedly talking about and go over the question again in his mind. "Game?" he repeated blankly.
    Kyouya arched a brow at him, cutting a piece from his filet mignon. Tamaki had been more out of it than he'd thought yesterday. "Never mind," he said dismissively, transferring the piece of steak to his mouth. He'd appreciated Tamaki's rare show of self-control (the idiot could rarely pass up a challenge, no matter how stupid the game), but now it was obvious that Tamaki hadn't even been aware of such a game in the first place.
    "There's a new game??" Tamaki looked upset. "I missed it??"
    "It's over," Kyouya affirmed, stabbing his steak with unneeded force as he cut another piece. "I put an end to it this morning."
    Tamaki screwed up his face in concentration, and was silent for a long moment.
    Kyouya continued his meal in silence, congratulating himself on putting an end to the twins' idiotic "fun". He still, he reminded himself, needed to find out what the hell Tamaki's problem was as of late, however. The boy's intermittent spans of brooding were starting to get on his nerves. He'd thought an over-enthusiastic childlike Tamaki was bad, but this new side of Tamaki, when taken in such large doses, was proving to be quite an annoyance.
    It wasn't that he was concerned, he told himself firmly. He was just sick of having to silently trail after the idiot and pick up little pieces of Tamaki from all over the floor. It was time to shake some sense into the boy. He set his utensils down and dabbed at his mouth with the napkin. He had barely opened his mouth to speak, however, when Tamaki suddenly slammed a fist down on his desk hard enough to knock rice from his bento box.
    Kyouya started despite himself, and offered his friend a look of displeasure for having surprised him in the first place. "Don't go around beating up school property," he started to say, but Tamaki ignored him, face lit up in the triumph of one who has solved a puzzle.
    "I remember now!" he proclaimed. "I wasn't paying attention yesterday, but now I remember them saying something about a game." He jabbed a finger into the air. "The Seduction of Kyouya-Senpai Game!" he quoted triumphantly.
    Kyouya groaned inwardly. He hadn't thought the boy had actually caught any of the previous day's conversation; he certainly hadn't seemed to be mentally "all there" when the twins had made their challenge. And what was with that straight-forward attitude? Was he even thinking about the words that had just come out of his mouth? "I put an end to it," he reiterated sharply, spearing a potato cube with his fork.
    "And the winner gets... um..." Tamaki frowned in concentration.
    Unwilling to go through a repeat of the actions from just a moment earlier, Kyouya filled him in, voice monotonous. "A weekend with Haruhi." He chewed on the potato, attention back on his food. "Speaking of which--"
    "A weekend with..." Tamaki's expression shifted from curious and eager to startled. And quickly faded into something more withdrawn. His gaze drifted to the side as he mulled over his private thoughts.
    Kyouya gave up on the food for the moment. He was determined to get some answers from his friend. He leveled the other boy with a stern look. "Tamaki. What happened between you and Haruhi after the festival?"
    Tamaki didn't seem to hear him, his eyes still looking at something that wasn't there. He was nibbling distractedly at his bottom lip, fingers drumming in an unconscious anxious habit on the back of his chair from where he was seated sideways in it.
    "A weekend. Maybe... if I can talk to her alone... for a few days..." Tamaki's expression cleared slightly with sudden hope, his fingers ceasing their tapping to curl into a fist. He was talking to himself, seeming to have forgotten Kyouya's presence.
    Kyouya rather wished Tamaki wouldn't worry his lip like that so obviously, but was too irritated to think why. "Suoh," he snapped, and the blonde jumped slightly, finally looking his way with wide, questioning eyes. "I don't like repeating myself. I'll ask you with a blow to the head next time, you king of fools. What happened after the..." And then Tamaki's muttered words hit home. He leaned back in his chair slightly, narrowing his eyes at his friend. "No," he said flatly.
    "No what?"
    "The game is over," he reiterated, his own finger beginning to tap out a rapid, irritated beat against the side of his desk.
    "Did you even stop to think about what the game entails?" he demanded acidly.
    Tamaki paused, cocking his head slightly in thought. Kyouya wanted to hit him.
    "Oh--" Tamamki blinked as if he had indeed just gotten it, then grinned. "It's OK, Kyouya, don't be shy. It's just a game, it doesn't mean anything. You don't need to be so uptight about it."
    "I'm not 'uptight', you windbag--"
    But Tamaki was already shifting gears into Prince mode, sweeping his hair dramatically back from his forehead and flashing the smile he turned on the club's customers. "Ah, finally, a contest I can win easily," he declared with a complete lack of modesty. "Yosh'!" He leapt to his feet, and Kyouya had to grab his cup to keep it from being knocked over. He struck a pose, face gleaming as if he had already won. "I will win this game and get my weekend with Haruhi! Once we talk it over, everything will be fine again. She'll see!"
    Kyouya struggled to keep his temper in check, warring internally with his sharp irritation at the other boy's overconfidence and stupidity and the need to get Tamaki to elaborate on what he wanted to talk to Haruhi about. "The game is over," he growled again.
    "Only the twins can stop a game they've started," Tamaki reminded him as if this was an obvious fact of life that Kyouya was somehow unable to grasp. "They won't stop it until they're tired of it or somebody wins." He began pacing, clasping his chin with his fingers while he held the other hand behind his back in an exagerrated act of someone deep in thought. "I have to consider my competition," he muttered earnestly, half to himself. "I don't think Mori-senpai is much of a threat, but Hunny-kun has the advantage of the shota lolita on his side. I've seen it work over and over."
    "In what way would I be interested in something like that?" Kyouya demanded, offended that Tamaki would even think he was into such a fetish. That wasn't the important point here, he reminded himself a second later. "Tamaki, for the last time, the game is--"
    "The twins!" Tamaki gasped in horror. "They're the most sensual of the club! They've probably already got a headstart on me!"
    Kyouya allowed himself a moment of vague surprise that the fact had even made itself into Tamaki's thick skull-- for indeed, of the seven of them, the twins were the ones who tended to use the allure of sex as their selling point --before irritation swept it away. "Tamaki, you idi--"
    Tamaki whirled around to face him, desperation and a hint of real fear stamped on his face. "Haruhi! She isn't-- Is she-- Will she be... participating? I won't allow it! No one lays a hand on my daughter!"
    That did it.
    Kyouya got to his feet so quickly he bumped the desk and nearly knocked over his own cup. He seized Tamaki by the front of his shirt and hauled him forward til they were nearly nose to nose, giving him one or two hard shakes. "Listen when people talk to you, you super idiot!" he snapped. "There is no more 'game'! End of discussion!"
    Tamaki clasped his wrists, but didn't attempt to pull away. He adopted a deeply wounded expression, seeming completely unconcerned by the other boy's temper. "But Kyouya~" he wheedled. "I have to win this! I need that weekend!"
    "Don't be so selfish," Kyouya cut him off sharply. "You can say such stupid things because you're not the victim here. I refuse to tolerate this idiotic plan the twins have made to amuse themselves."
    "They're the only ones who can stop a--"
    "They'll be tired of it by the end of the day," Kyouya insisted firmly, giving him another small shake. He ignored the little voice in his head that tried to remind him that he'd thought they would have given up by yesterday. "Don't keep dribbling stupid things."
    Tamaki grinned at him, still completely unfazed by his ire. He had seen this angrier side of Kyouya often enough, and it was not in his personality to be intimidated by such a display of temper. The other host members were rarely witnesses to such lapses in self-control, but Tamaki had been there the first time in his life Kyouya had let his anger loose on another human being. And since Tamaki had been at the brunt end of said explosion, his continued disregard for such instances was a bit baffling.
    But mostly just really really aggravating.
    But just as Tamaki knew Kyouya well enough to feel mostly unconcerned at his anger, Kyouya was well aware of just how stubborn Tamaki could be. If he believed the game was still going on, and if he wanted to win that badly, nothing Kyouya said short of perhaps a death threat was going to stop him. And even that wasn't guaranteed. Eventually he would resort to pouting and puppy-dog eyes until Kyouya would feel compelled to give in if only to get such a moronic look off the other student's face.
    Kyouya released his friend abruptly and sat down again, giving in with bad grace and pulling his composure around himself like a shield. "You're an idiot who doesn't listen to what other people say," he declared coolly, beginning to cut into his steak again as if the explosion had never happened. "Fine. It doesn't concern me. I obviously can't talk you out of it; you're too stupid to listen to the obvious. Either the twins will lose interest, or the club will benefit from the losers' fee." He chewed on the steak slowly as his steely calm settled back into place. "Besides," he admitted, repeating Tamaki's earlier words, "it's just a game. It doesn't mean anything."
    Tamaki just grinned as if he'd already won. By the time Kyouya had himself completely under control and remembered to ask about Haruhi again, lunch was over and the rest of the class was trickling back into the room.

Author's Notes: Concerning the conversation Hunny mentions to Mori, here is a quote from ep 23, in case some ppl don't figure out after awhile which convo they're talking about, and/or I never actually spell out the conversation later: "So the problem is Kao-chan and Kyo-chan, right? I think that one of these is unconscious of his feelings, as well. Will there be any kind of development before we graduate?"
Also, remember the majority of this fic is from Kyouya's POV, who despite his intelligence, can sink deep into denial like any teenage boy XD;

Back to fics