They leave her alone until she graduates from High School.
By then, Kyouya is in his first year at Harvard, fulfilling his law school pre-requisites, and Tamaki is in Chicago Booth, working towards his MBA. The three of them are as close as they used to be when they saw each other in school every day, though the time-difference poses some difficulties. She also has to put up with the two of them spending glorious summer breaks together while she slogs it out at Todai, but that’s a small price to pay.
The anonymity is nice, though, for a change. By the time her senpai had left, she’d gained some degree of notoriety. Half the school thought she was the nicest, most approachable member of the famous Host Club. The other half was convinced she had a darker side; a rumour fanned by the fact that the twins had taken to lurking around behind her like ominous shadows.
That she was a girl was an open secret by the time she graduated – too many people had come to know for the secret to remain a secret. Thankfully her senpai had left her with the necessary skills and knowledge to protect herself. What she missed, the twins would catch. She almost understood why people were scared of the two, but she didn’t think she would ever be afraid of them.
Todai practically unrolls a red carpet for her but Kyouya swears that neither he nor Tamaki had anything to do with it, and well, it’s nice to know that she’d earned the scholarship on her own merits. As far as the boys had been concerned, she’d been planning to join either one of them for her law degree in the United States, and they’d been arguing over it for months. She’d just conveniently omitted to mention that she’d chosen Todai and that she’d be sitting for the entrance exams on her own. If they’d bothered asking her father, he’d have mentioned – complained – that that’s exactly what she’d done for Ouran, and look how well that turned out – but since no one had thought to ask, she’d gotten away with it.
She’d been looking forward to some peace and quiet, for a change. A place where she was openly female and totally unassuming in any way except for the fact that she was a scholarship student in the law faculty. Even then, at least she wasn’t the only one. She’d almost cried when she’d come across people discussing the best ways to make cheap instant noodles more palatable, because at least that was normal, though sometimes she did miss the casual extravagance of Parisian chocolates, or fresh tuna belly.
It’s… almost okay when the Host Club sends her food (which is the only thing she will accept, thanks to her damnable pride). Sometimes she gets too busy to cook and it’s nice to not have to think about it when there’s ready-to-eat food sitting in the fridge.
She mentions to Tamaki once that she’d eaten half the food he’d sent her and saved the rest for the following day, and the next thing she knows the Suoh family is inviting her for brunch. Oh, they pretend it’s because the Superintendent of Ouran wants her input on expanding their scholarship programme, but she’s under no illusions as to who’s to blame for the sudden invitation.
The very next day, the Ootori family invites her for dinner. It’s strange because she’d have expected Kyouya to not involve his family at all, given their history. Still, she gets along swimmingly with Fuyumi, and it’s nice enough.
She expects that to be the end of it. She feels like this is a lesson she should have learned a long time ago; nothing ever comes for free.
It’s alright in the beginning, when the two families are just inviting her for the occasional meal, but the gifts continue to escalate and when she goes from having no cars to having two cars in a span of twelve hours, she knows it’s time to put her foot down.
Over the course of some months, neither patriarch has been very subtle about trying to win her over. Kyouya’s mother even commented that if she’d been anyone else, she’d have worried that her husband was trying to woo himself another bride. The comment had so utterly horrified her that she’d refused to speak to either Kyouya or Tamaki until they talked their respective families down.
Until the car incident, of course.
“There’s a really simple solution to this,” she says, because she knows that if she wants this problem solved right, she'll have to do it herself.
They’re all gathered for Christmas, which is the one holiday the Americans took really seriously. There had apparently been an argument about who would have Haruhi over the holiday, so in the end the two families had resolved to celebrate together, no matter how little they got along. It’s been an awkward weekend and Haruhi is half of the mind to run away next year, to avoid this whole song-and-dance.
“You’ve made up your mind?” Fuyumi asks, leaping out of her chair in excitement. Kyouya and Tamaki both look sick to the stomach, and they’re not making eye-contact with each other or with anyone else. Their family’s behaviour hasn’t made it easy on either of them and Haruhi is quietly, sincerely grateful for her father, who would have cheerfully murdered anyone who tried to buy (or sell) his daughter.
“Yes. I’m not marrying either of them.”
The uproar is unanimous and she waits for them to calm down. “I’m a child of a single parent, Ootori-sama, Suoh-sama. I’ve no money to my name or any connections. I’m working to become a lawyer, while your sons are going to become leaders of the business world. I am nobody and nothing, even though I love them both dearly.”
By then Tamaki and Kyouya are huddled together, waiting for the doom that is to befall them. Or at least, Tamaki is huddling. Kyouya looks like he’d rather be anywhere else. They’ve learned to be very afraid of Haruhi’s ideas, during their time in Ouran.
“Instead, as this would be more advantageous to both families, they can marry each other.”
Almost all as one, both families turn to look at the two boys – men, really, pressed up against each other in the back of the room. Tamaki gives up the ghost and only remains standing by dint of Kyouya’s arm around his shoulders, which really doesn’t do anything to less incriminate them.
“Gay marriage was only legalised a few months ago,” Fuyumi ponders, and then even Kyouya’s arm isn’t enough to keep Tamaki standing.
Haruhi shrugs. “You have a younger demographic you need to target. The wealthy youth who are looking to invest their funds in businesses run by a different generation. Where’s the harm in being ahead of the curve?” and that makes more sense than it should. Everything Haruhi says always does.
“Do you two even love each other?” Kyouya’s mother asks, looking like she’s seriously considering it, and Haruhi interjects before she goes too far off track.
“That didn’t matter ten minutes ago when you were trying to get them to marry me. No one even asked if either of them loved me, or wanted to marry me. It was a strategic thing. This is even more strategic than that. It’s unconventional, sure, but it’s legal, and would benefit your respective empires far more than marrying your sons – either of them – to a penniless law student, and possibly ruining their friendship. Don’t talk about love, now. Talk about practicality.”
At least in that, Haruhi doesn’t have to worry. She knows perfectly well that the two of them love each other as dearly as they love her. She just doesn’t want them to have to admit it in front of these people, who would hurt them for the knowledge.
“And what about children?” Kyouya’s middle brother asks. “To carry on the family name?”
She shrugs. “It’s pretty obvious that people don’t have to be married to have children.” At least three separate people in the room fail to meet her unflinching gaze. “Adoption, surrogacy, they’re all options. Even if these two want me to be their surrogate, and I’m in the right time or place in my life to do it, I will. You could have my genes for intelligence and a modicum of common sense, if you want. I don’t even have to… procreate with them. Because, well. Science.”
“And don’t you want the Ootori or Suoh name?” someone asks.
Haruhi snorts, and it should be unattractive, but – “I’ve got my own. Why would I want yours?”
Really, Fuyumi can see why both boys love her, and why both of their fathers adore her too. But she’s clearly made up her mind.
Yuzuru looks a little bit taken aback by the suggestion, but Yoshio doesn’t even flinch. “Well, boys? Any objections?”
“Can we have some time to think about it?” Kyouya asks, because Tamaki is still in a state of dumb shock.
“You have until tomorrow afternoon. After that we start planning the wedding. The only question is whether you’ll be marrying this,” and here he Yoshio gives Tamaki a slightly condescending look, “boy or another suitable lady of my choice.”
“Then please excuse us,” Kyouya says, bowing politely, face blank. “It seems we have a lot to discuss.” He takes Tamaki by the elbow and marches him out of the room, and Haruhi follows because this is going to be excellent. Far better than staying in a room with their respective families.
They leave the dining hall silent behind them, both sides contemplating that they may soon be related. It’s a worrying thought.
“What on Earth, Haruhi—”
Haruhi cuts Kyouya off with a hug, before he actually blows his top. He automatically hugs her back, because no part of his brain is primed to deny her anything, least of all affection, and she uses this against him shamelessly. She tucks her face into his neck so he can rest his chin on her head, and Tamaki wraps around her from the back, arms reaching around Haruhi’s waist to fold his fingers into Kyouya’s belt-loops. Like this, surrounded by the two people he loves best, Kyouya doesn’t mind the blatant manipulation.
“I’m sorry Kyouya, I would have told you earlier but they’ve had a watch on me for weeks.”
Both Kyouya and Tamaki freeze up, not at the allegation but at the fact that it is in fact very likely. “I’m pretty sure someone swapped my phone out for a slightly newer model, but not the latest one, which doesn’t make sense unless they’re tapping my calls.”
“Huh,” Tamaki says, pressing his cheek against Kyouya’s above her head, “who’d have thought that an ancient phone could be an anti-spying deterrent. Your phone model probably isn’t even in production anymore.”
Haruhi clicks her tongue, but this is a familiar refrain, hardly something to get worked up about.
“I could feel them closing in, and I don’t think – I mean. If they marry me to either one of you, the other one would have to get married to someone else, and I can’t imagine – I just don’t see any way that would work, for us. I don’t want this to end.” She’s uncharacteristically hesitant, and her eloquence has failed her, which is how they know it’s serious.
Both sets of arms squeeze around her almost reflexively, and she feels warmer than she has in months. “If you marry each other, I can keep my own flat but I will live with you as long as you want. The two of you could never get bored of each other, and—”
“Stop that thought right there, Haruhi,” Kyouya interjects. “We will never get bored of you. If you wanted to go back there and retract your suggestion and choose either of us to marry you, we would. I swear, we would, and the other would love you no less for it. We will work something out, as long as it does not result in leaving you out.”
She huffs a little and presses a kiss to his chest. “I’m not feeling left out, you know I’m not. My suggestion is selfish too, you know. I could never – I can’t bring myself to choose. I couldn’t – I won’t choose between my right and my left hand, you know that.”
Both of them reflexively roll their eyes when Tamaki squeals a little, restrained under the circumstances, at the romantic declaration.
“So, will you do it? Obviously, the alternative is that you refuse and we all run away to live together as penniless plebs, but I know you’re both allergic to cheap things, so.”
Kyouya draws back because clearly, this is something to be addressed, and quickly. They haven’t seen each other in months, and they still don’t have much time, which is regrettable. He tilts Haruhi’s head up towards him with gentle fingers against her jaw so they can make eye-contact. “I think I speak for Tamaki too, when I say that we would happily live under a bridge, if it meant we could be with you.”
She presses her face against his chest again and laughs, but it sounds choked up. “When will you learn, Haruhi, that you’re our darling?” Tamaki speaks up, and in the past this has been a problem; he’ll say something and Haruhi will assume that he’s exaggerating, or that he doesn’t mean it because that’s just how he talks. It’s not true, and Kyouya knows it. Tamaki means every damn word he says, no matter how flowery and extravagant.
They’ve still got her sandwiched between them, but not so tightly that she can’t turn to wrap her arms around Tamaki’s waist either. Tamaki is the one to break the hug, but only so that he can lean down and press soft lips against Haruhi’s. She leans back against Kyouya so that she doesn’t lose balance on her tiptoes, and braces his knees to support her, resting his hands on her hips, marvelling at the feel of her smallness compared to him.
The kiss stays chaste, sweet, and almost unbearably pretty. For all his grandiosity, Tamaki is the least physical of the three of them, the most innocent and tender. His fingertips on Haruhi’s face are as light as air, like he’s touching a flower. When they part, Haruhi licks her lips and Tamaki blushes the most enchanting shade of pink.
Kyouya uses his hands on her hips to pivot her around then, trusts Tamaki to hold her up, and kisses her hard. She kisses back, giving as good as she gets. This kiss is not chaste at all, and it feels like they’re trying to consume each other whole, like they’re waging a war, tongues tangling wetly between them.
When they part, their lips are shiny with spit, and they’re both panting a little bit. Kyouya immediately turns to Tamaki and kisses him too, just as softly and sweetly as Haruhi had. Haruhi plants kisses on Tamaki’s cheeks, on his jaw, on his neck, even while Kyouya is kissing his lips, and he goes shaky at the knees, which is definitely Kyouya’s favourite thing about kissing Tamaki.
When they’re done with their greetings, because they really haven’t been together in the longest time, Haruhi asks, “so what are we going to do?”
Kyouya nods. “I’d consider myself privileged if I could live out the rest of my life with both of you. I’ll do it, if you will, Tamaki.”
Tamaki goes even more pink, and it’s lucky that neither Kyouya nor Haruhi are the cooing type, or he’d never recover. He nods and Haruhi can’t help but laugh, because she’s not even getting married but this is the happiest day of her life. Even Kyouya can’t supress a smile.
“Shall we go and break the news?” Tamaki asks when they’re done smiling, beaming, glowing, cheeks aching with mirth.
“Let’s go create some social havoc,” Haruhi says, as gleefully as she ever does, as they’re walking out of the room and towards the dining hall, where Christmas is still being celebrated without them.
Kyouya rolls his eyes, but there’s no sting to it. “I should have guessed that was your ulterior motive.”
“Oh no,” Haruhi says, smiling back at him angelically – another trick she’d worked out years ago. “I love you both so much I don’t have the words for it. But honestly, if I never have to deal with either of your families again, it would be too soon. They deserve to be shaken up.”
Tamaki laughs and links his arm with hers. “You’re not even marrying into the family, and they’ll never know what hit them.”