When she was a child, Éclair Tonnerre dreamed of being a princess. Merely being descended from royalty wasn't enough for her five year old self, she wanted a castle with a tall tower she could hide in and wait for her Prince to come for her.
Her dream prince was the most handsome man in the world, and he would love her so much, he wouldn't care about her oddly colored hair or her too thick eyebrows or her pointy nose. He would look at her with all the love in the world and say, "You're beautiful."
He'd say it, and he would mean it.
It occurred to her years later, after she'd long ago given up on fantasy worlds, that her prince might really exist. His name was Tamaki Suoh, and she loved him with all her heart before she even met him.
Or rather, she loved her vision of him. A handsome young man, blonde hair and blue eyes, with a charming demeanor and a kinder heart than the rest of the world combined. Her favorite part of the day was when her homework and etiquette lessons were over, and she could just sit back and listen to her maid weave stories about the angelic boy she'd born and raised.
When she met him for real years later, her first thought was that her vision of him had been wrong: he was even more handsome and kind than she could've imagined. He treated her like she was the most beautiful woman in the world, and she refused to believe it was simply because his Grandmother had told him to be her escort and to treat her kindly. He had to have fallen in love with her at first sight, just as she had him.
It didn't even matter anyway, because he was already hers. The marriage liscense had been printed and only needed his signature when they got back to France. He'd accepted the arrangement peacefully, and disbanded his Host Club as she looked on in silent joy. He did it because he loved her, that just had to be it. He did not walk away with a gloomy air around him, and the song he played on the piano was happy and full of life. His former charm did not vanish to make way for sorrow and conflict, and he did not question the arrangement to her later on when they were in the car driving away from his old life and towards the new.
Her mind reassured her of this over and over again, even when that Haruhi Fujioka arrived in a horse drawn carriage and in a billowing white dress, betraying to Eclair that this 'boy' was no more male than she was.
"Senpai, please come back to Ouran," she shouted, her voice surprisingly firm despite the situation they were now in.
Éclair was rooted to the seat as her Prince and this meddling girl argued back and forth, the wind blowing through their hair and making their voices carry. She wanted to pull Tamaki down and tell her driver to floor it. She didn't care if Haruhi Fujioka and that stupid Host Club were left behind. He was her Prince. He wanted to be with her.
Haruhi reached a hand out to him.
Tamaki reached out to her.
And Éclair's heart shattered. She couldn't even look at him anymore, her hand grabbed his arm completely on it's own. She forced her tear filled eyes to look into his. His violet ones showed light surprise and a touch of sadness, but no love. Not even a little. Not for Eclair, anyway.
Haruhi went over the bridge a minute later. Tamaki called out to her, and Éclair knew in her heart what she had to do. It took all the willpower she had to let go, but she did. She let him go. And he looked at her and he smiled.
Her eyes widened as she looked up again, but he was already gone. He plunged over the bridge with Haruhi Fujioka in his arms, like a knight who'd just rescued his princess from the evil dragon. They would survive the fall, she knew, and they would go back to their Ouran Academy, and the Host Club would resume, and she would go back to France just as alone as she'd arrived.
"Let's go ahead," she told the driver.
She spent to rest of the trip staring into her lap at her empty ring finger. Her mind was on Tamaki Suoh, just as it had been for so long now, but already, her love was fading.
He'd smiled at her. In spite of everything, he still showed her all the affection he could without loving her, and now more then ever, there was no doubt in Éclair's mind that Tamaki Suoh was every inch the Prince she always dreamed of.
He just wasn't hers.