It would be quite plain to anyone with one or more eyeballs that Tamaki relishes the expression of resigned disbelief that appeared on Haruhi’s face every time she walks into Music Room #3 to find herself in a parallel universe of Daddy’s design. Kyoya relishes it, too, but for different reasons.
“You do know that you could open an orphanage with this kind of money” is her greeting today.
“This is an orphanage!” Tamaki proclaims, flinging an arm outward for good measure. “…of sorts! An orphanage for lost hearts and unfulfilled souls, a cozy place they can call home—”
“It looks like a Hallmark store threw up,” Haruhi says.
Tamaki is momentarily stricken but recovers admirably. “Hallmark is an entirely venerable institution, and I welcome its festive… vomit.” Perhaps not so admirably. “This week the Host Club’s theme is A Continental Christmas!”
“Is that like a Continental breakfast?” Haruhi asks.
“Unfortunately not,” Hikaru says.
“Old Man Clause forgot to think about food at all,” Kaoru takes up.
“Probably too excited about the prospect of lapping up Hallmark’s—”
“Eeew!” Honey cries. “That’s gross, Hika-chan!”
Haruhi surveys the assembled company somewhat grimly. “Am I slated to be a reindeer or an elf?”
Kyoya checks a few things off of his prep list. Just another day at the Host Club.
Tamaki is wilting.
“Isn’t festive cheer and five cubic meters of fake snow enough?” he asks, dragging his feet as he moves to gaze piteously into the oven. “Why must they demand food as well? Isn’t this the season of giving?”
Kyoya leans over him to flick the oven light on. The gingerbread seems to be rising nicely, unlike Tamaki’s spirits.
“It’s also the season of rampant consumerism,” he says, “and the consumptive impulse seems to carry over to food.”
“You’re a Grinch,” Tamaki says. “And a Scrooge.”
“I am neither of those things,” Kyoya says, checking on the nonalcoholic eggnog. “I’m a ruthless pragmatist. Aren’t mince pies British, rather than strictly Continental?”
Tamaki’s eyes go huge and limpid. “Maybe… but… they’re so… delicious…”
Kyoya sighs and starts on the filling.
“That’s more like it,” Tamaki says, perking up at last. “You mince those pies, Shadow King.”
Kyoya would be happy to remain firmly on the Naughty List—or at least the Somewhat Dubious List—if it wasn’t for the way Tamaki’s smile lights up the room like a flashbomb.
When Kyoya and Tamaki return from the cafeteria kitchen, staggering under the weight of Kyoya’s culinary accomplishments, an X made out of duct tape has appeared on the floor. Kyoya makes a mental note not to go anywhere near it for the duration of the day, as there is a ninety-eight percent probability that it’s the twins’ work, and it’s waiting for a victim.
Honey, reindeer antlers slightly askew, looks at the perfect pyramid of mince pies in front of him mistrustfully for a moment before selecting one and taking a bite. He chews contemplatively, and then his eyes widen and—impressively—sparkle. “Kyo-chan!” he gasps. “Did you make these?” He crams the rest of the pastry into his mouth and swallows, putting Kyoya in mind of an extremely adorable snake. “This is yummy!”
“You have filling on your face, Mitsukuni,” Mori says.
“Oh!” Honey dabs with his napkin at the wrong cheek.
“Mitsukuni,” Mori says.
Honey gazes up at him.
Mori leans down slowly and licks the wayward fragments off of Honey’s skin.
Kyoya remembers to cover his ears just before the screaming starts.
Tamaki plants his hands on his hips and sighs happily.
“Well, Kyoya,” he says, “another Club theme is a success—thanks to my ingenious vision and your tireless efforts to do it justice.”
Justice would probably involve a jilted club patron upending her nonalcoholic eggnog over Tamaki’s head.
“I’m afraid the traditional decorations weren’t cheap this far from Europe,” Kyoya says. “We might have to sell some nude pictures of you to make up the difference.”
Tamaki’s face falls instantaneously. He freezes, and then he twitches, and then he hangs his head and starts trudging off towards the eggnog table. In the process, he steps on the duct tape X.
Out of nowhere, Kaoru appears and slams his shoulder into Kyoya’s so hard that both of their elf hats tumble to the floor… and Kyoya stumbles forward and almost collides with Tamaki.
Ah. Of course. Kyoya thinks himself an unlikely target for this sort of thing—but then, the twins have never been orthodox in any way, and mistletoe shenanigans are not among the most discreet and discerning of Christmas practices.
He gives Hikaru—who’s holding the fishing rod baited with a sprig—a knowing look, tosses his camera to Haruhi, sets his clipboard down, and fists both hands in the front of Tamaki’s Santa suit.
“Don’t you ever tell me that I don’t love this club,” he says.
Tamaki gulps, and Kyoya kisses him.
Three days later, the screams of their audience have finally stopped ringing in his ears, and the latest photo magazine is selling so well that Kyoya thinks they’ll be able to afford pyrotechnics for New Year’s. He looks forward to having to use a fire extinguisher on Tamaki’s hair.