It’s the unforgettable night of the Ouran Fair. While their sons and the other hosts are down dancing in the ballroom, Mr. Ootori has joined Mr. Suoh to have a very…interesting conversation.
“I’m sorry that we caused you concern,” Mr. Ootori begins, sitting on the sofa while his friend stares out the window. “It looks as though Grand Tonnerre will not be purchasing my company after all. An unexpected backer turned up. They bought the company before Tonnerre had a chance, and the backer said that he was turning all the management rights over to me.”
“That was a bold move,” Suoh replies. “Which funds manager was it?”
“A student investor, called K.O. He cleverly left his name out of the deal, but it didn’t take me long to figure out who it was. K.O. is…” He pauses. “Kyoya Ootori. The new backer is no other than my own son.”
“At least we know we don’t have to worry about the future. I thought I knew how brilliant Kyoya was, but it seems he’s even smarter than I thought.”
“Maybe so, but I think your son is the one who’s truly amazing,” Ootori admits.
“I am responsible for the entirety of Kyoya’s education. I always knew he would surpass his older brothers someday,” the dark-haired man explains. “However, I must say I’m shocked. While I can imagine Kyoya taking over a company, I never dreamed he’d turn around and give it right back to its original owner. As Kyoya grew up, I was constantly dangling the Ootori family companies in front of his face, torturing him with something he could never have. Now, not only has he taken it out from under me by force, but he’s basically told me he doesn’t want it and has thrown it back in my face.” He stops, looking up at the other. “Do you understand what that means? It means he’s finally found it. He’s found something that has an even greater value to him. And that’s probably thanks to Tamaki.”
Oh, he really has no idea.
Kyoya, who has been watching the other hosts taking turns whirling their precious Haruhi around the ballroom, sees Tamaki now approaching her. He plasters on a smirk and slides between the two, capturing the fair maiden’s hands in his own before the babbling blonde can utter a word. They spin away, and he can’t suppress his smile as Tamaki follows them across the dance floor, shouting his nonsensical protests. Kyoya closes his eyes briefly, lets the sweet tune of the orchestra flood his ears and carry him away, perhaps loosen the tension in his shoulders the slightest bit. He’s done it. He’s won. But even with Haruhi’s dainty, impossibly soft hands in his, he doesn’t feel like it. Instead, he feels like he’s losing the thing that meant the most.
He takes a deep breath—though it’s so quiet Haruhi doesn’t even notice—and turns the beautiful girl around, lightly pushing her in Tamaki’s direction. In the right direction. In a way, it’s like he’s walking her down the aisle and handing her off to the groom. The dazzling groom with his shining violet eyes and princely blond hair, his angelic face and his breathtaking voice.
The look of surprise on Tamaki’s face when Haruhi stumbles into his arms stabs Kyoya in the chest and he has to work hard to control his breathing. All his life his father dangled an impossible future before him, so it’s only fitting the same thing has been happening at school with this idiotic bastard.
And when Tamaki and Haruhi both glance back at him, wide eyes unsure, Kyoya bows and opens his eyes properly to look at them. They really are good together. A prince deserves a princess and likewise the other way around. They deserve each other. He smiles and no one seems to see that it’s really a sad smile, one that cracks his insides. He can feel all the warmth he’s felt over the last few years with Tamaki melt away, drain from his heart and leave him cold.
Then the star-crossed lovers, the royal duo, dances together beneath the moonlight as the fireworks crackle above them, leaving the sky dripping with marvelous colors. Kyoya finds it the perfect time to sneak away. No one will notice. No one’s ever noticed.
His heart clenches, and suddenly he can’t breathe. His hand tightly clutches his chest as he tries to control this burning feeling overtaking him. What is this feeling? The one thing he’s never been able to do is quell the mysterious feelings Tamaki brings up in him.
Perhaps it’s love. Or heartbreak. Whatever it is, Kyoya hates it. And for the goddamn love of Christ, he hates Tamaki for it.
He pauses to take a final glance through the indigo night at the couple. He smiles. They do seem happy. He rather it be his happiness sacrificed than theirs. What does he matter? He’s a third son.
A third son who found love and lived for it. A humble servant who did everything he could, even if it seemed incredulous, just to make his precious king smile.
Kyoya’s insides twist and somersault and he has to dash inside the school before he’s sick. He has to turn away from Tamaki and leave him behind. He knew him, he loved him for the better, but it’s time to let go.
He finds the clubroom and slumps in front of one of the cushy red sofas, leaning his back against the seat. Then he curls into a ball in a futile attempt to ease the horrible pain in his chest, the queasiness in his stomach. It doesn’t work. Instead, he cries silent tears that trickle down his cheeks and slowly escalate into sobs as he realizes what has been lost.
He’s won, but he truly hasn’t. He’s lost. Everything. It’s the way the cookie crumbles, Kyoya knows, but the knowing makes it hurt so much more. A feeling has never been so bittersweet.
Once upon a time, there lived a broken boy. He was pale and thin with a pair of wiry spectacles and a very smart brain. He worked and worked for the affection he would never receive from his family, the recognition he would never attain from his father, and the prize he would never win from the world. He didn’t have any real friends. He never felt any kind of emotion when he was with them but an emptiness, a numbness he couldn’t describe. But things changed for this raven-haired boy one fateful day. One day he met a golden boy.
This golden boy was the dumbest person he’d ever met. And on top of that, he didn’t make any sense. He wanted to do ludicrous things like travel all over the place for no reason other than that’s what he wanted. No matter how much the broken boy tried to “befriend” this golden one for the benefit of his family, something wasn’t clicking the way it had with all the others he’d made connections with.
Then one day the broken boy heard the golden boy play the piano with his graceful fingers and his charming smile. He played beautifully, but the broken boy knew it wasn’t the piano he liked. He liked the soft look in those purple eyes of the golden boy, and the way his royal locks shined in the light filtering in from the wide windows. He liked the elegant look about him. For the first time, he felt something. A warmth melted the icy walls around his heart and the water from them leaked out his eyes and spilled over his face for the first time in an eternity.
But the golden boy was yet another prize the broken one could never have. Everyone loved him, but he was impossible to figure out. The harder the broken boy tried to understand him, the further from success he became. He felt something else then: aggravation. Fury and frustration built up over the next few weeks and finally, the broken boy snapped. He couldn’t make any sense of what was going on! What were these things the golden boy made him feel? Why did he act so strangely? Why didn’t he care about status and business like the rest of the world? Why did he make the broken boy want to throw those things away, too? So, the broken boy flipped over a table, kneeled over him on the floor and grabbed up this golden imbecile by the shirt collar to look him straight in the eyes.
For the first time, he wanted to kiss him. But then the golden boy said something so true and so raw and so terribly him that the broken boy just burst out laughing. And for the first time, he didn’t feel so broken anymore.
Kyoya does now, though. He’s never felt so broken. He’s never lost so much in his life. His whole world is about to change, and he doesn’t know what to do. It’s never been so difficult to deal with Tamaki before. Well, he’s always been difficult. Except this time, Kyoya knows he’s doomed to love him from afar, knows there’s no way he can change how he feels about that oblivious asshole. He knows how weak he is for the one who changed his life. He’ll still do all those little things Tamaki will never notice, and this time, it will be worse because Tamaki will love someone else. Tamaki will hold her hand and give her kisses and presents and be just as overly dramatic and affectionate as before. Only this time, it will mean something different. It will mean, for absolute sureness, that he will never love Kyoya.
The raven-haired boy glances around the room, which is dark except for the light coming through the window from the party outside. The moon shines on a small circular table in front of the window, where Kyoya first met the twins.
Once upon a time there were identical lovers, eyes like amber and hair like fire. They were witty, smart teens with a brilliant sense for humor despite how they kept to themselves. They belonged to nobody but each other.
Hikaru and Kaoru were their names, brothers who held something almost more. Almost more. The looks in their eyes carried an indescribable emotion, something that went far deeper than brotherly affection. They exchanged light touches all the time, secret glances people brushed off. People except for a not-so-broken boy named Kyoya.
One day Kaoru whispered to Kyoya that he understood how he felt about Tamaki, even though Kyoya had never told him about his hidden feelings. They shared a small gaze of understanding then, a bond of two people who felt something strange but wonderful, something painful those on the outside could never believe.
Another day, not too long ago, things seemed like they were finally about to escalate for the red-haired jokesters. Kyoya could feel it quivering in the air. However, that was also the day a certain beautiful girl dressed as a boy stumbled into their clubroom. That day changed everything. Immediately, Kyoya would soon realize, a number of possible futures would be erased simply by her smile.
Kyoya stares at the empty room, thinking of Hikaru and Kaoru’s relationship and what will happen to them now that neither has won Haruhi’s heart. She’s split them up for good and nothing more than an awkward brotherly connection will linger between them. They’ll go separate ways now, part the way normal siblings would. They’re not normal siblings, Kyoya knows, they could have been something so much fascinatingly more. But that future, like his with Tamaki, crumbled when she came.
Kyoya buries his head in his knees and tries to imagine he’s tied to Tamaki by a long pink ribbon. He sees Tamaki’s beautiful smile, his sweet laugh, his happy eyes. He sees Tamaki holding out his hand, the ribbon wound around his fingers.
“Let’s start a club together!” he says cheerfully with a giggle. Precious positivity, a perfect promise radiates from every word.
Kyoya looks down at his own hand, the other end of the ribbon also intertwined through his fingers. He frowns and holds them up, then reaches out to the middle of the ribbon and snips it with imaginary scissors. He pretends Tamaki disappears, the ribbon falling dead and colorless, shriveling up like a wilted rose.
His heart shatters and he can hear the sharp sound of it clattering to the ground. He lets his shoulders drop as he lets go of Tamaki, lets a sob burst from his lips.
His shoulders shake and his heart aches and his whole world crumbles. It crumbles from the brightness of Haruhi’s smile. He can’t blame her. Who wouldn’t fall for such a perfect messy delight of a human? The ache in him deepens. His happiness would cost both Tamaki and Haruhi theirs. Of course, it’s better this way. At least he’s alone in a room where no one else can be hurt by him. Come next week, he’ll be back at school, absorbing any of the club’s hurt like a sponge. He’ll continue taking care of the finances and hosts from the shadows, where he belongs. Invisible.
The thought makes him cry harder and the sobs wrack his body.
He doesn’t deserve to be happy, anyways.
Tamaki’s voice is so sweet that Kyoya feels any remains of himself fracture and fall to the ground. It’s all in his head, of course. The thing he would like to hear most right now is Tamaki’s voice telling him everything will be okay. Not that real Tamaki would understand, or even realize he’s gone. He’s never really seemed to notice all that Kyoya has given for this club, for him.
A hand on his shoulder makes Kyoya jump and he stares with gray shock-streaked eyes at Tamaki’s handsome face. The blond’s brows knit with concern and Kyoya glances at the closed door. He didn’t hear him come in. Who knew he even possessed the ability to be quiet?
Tamaki’s crouched beside him, staring as Kyoya tries to comprehend that this is real. Fuck. This is real. How’s he going to explain this?
Kyoya forces a chuckle and hurriedly wipes at the salt stains on his cheeks. “I guess I’m a little emotional. Big night, lots of stress,” he tries to excuse. He smiles in a way he feels is convincing, but Tamaki doesn’t seem to be falling for it. Why can’t he be stupid when Kyoya actually needs him to be? Kyoya takes off his glasses, which are all fogged up, and cleans them on his purple jacket. “I apologize if I…caused you any trouble,” he mutters quickly. “I’m just relieved.”
“Stop that,” Tamaki says firmly, a seriousness on his face Kyoya’s never seen. He can only watch the love of his life with a dumbly stunned expression, mouth slightly agape.
“P-Pardon?” He swallows and his eyes dart to the floor, embarrassed at his stuttering.
“You stop that right now,” Tamaki says quietly, lowly. “Don’t make excuses, Kyoya. Don’t lie to me.”
“What are you talking about?” Kyoya asks, trying to look suspicious. He sets his glasses back in their rightful place and pushes them up the bridge of his nose.
“Kyoya, why are you so upset?” Tamaki asks with a frown. Frowning doesn’t suit him. Guilt plunges into Kyoya’s stomach.
He can’t help the soft whimper that leaves his mouth as he tries to hold back another sob. “I’m sorry, Tamaki,” he says quickly, covering his lips. “You don’t deserve this.”
Warm, gentle arms envelope Kyoya in a tight hug, the rose petal scent of Tamaki surrounding him.
“You don’t deserve whatever is hurting you,” Tamaki replies softly. “I want to help you.”
“You can’t. It’s my fault,” Kyoya protests, shaking his head and pulling away despite his inner reluctance. “You should be downstairs with the guests.”
“I’m right where I need to be.” Tamaki’s hands on his shoulders ground his body but send his head floating high into the clouds.
Kyoya sniffles and runs a hand through his hair. His breathing is mortifyingly shaky. This would happen. This really would happen to him. All he can focus on is how close the blond is, how close the heat of his breath is at it fans over him.
Tamaki’s brows furrow with hurt. “Why can’t you tell me what’s wrong?”
“Not everything is about you, Tamaki,” Kyoya snaps. He doesn’t know where the sudden burst of anger comes from. He isn’t aggravated with him, or maybe he is, but he shouldn’t be. He’s going to fuck this up the way he fucks up everything else.
The sudden rush of fury is brushed away by Tamaki’s thumbs on his cheek. He didn’t even notice the new streams of tears running down his face. “I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for you, Kyoya. I want to be here for you like you’ve always been for me.”
“Haruhi is the one who went after you,” he scoffs.
Unexpectedly, Tamaki smiles, softly, tenderly. Maybe it’s Kyoya’s imagination that makes him lean closer. “Aren’t you the one who sent her? Told her to ‘go get that idiot?’” He chuckles. “Aren’t you the one who dented a car over me?”
As always, Tamaki’s smile is contagious. Kyoya can’t help it. “You cocky bastard.”
Tamaki’s exhale is slow. “I didn’t get to thank you properly,” he murmurs.
Kyoya shakes his head. “We all only did what was necessary.”
“You know…after you left, I was about to hurry right after you, but Kaoru stopped me.”
Kyoya’s breath hitches. “Yeah?”
Tamaki is definitely closer now, his hands sliding up his shoulders. “Yeah. He said…” Tamaki’s voice is so quiet it’s barely more than a breath. But Kyoya can hear him loud and clear. “You felt the same way I feel about you.” His hands cup Kyoya’s cheeks as if he might break with too much pressure.
Kyoya swallows, his throat gone dry. “And how is that?”
Tamaki’s nose almost touches his, those purple eyes shining with something new. “I love you, Kyoya.”
Then he presses his lips to the raven-haired’s, a sealed promise. Kyoya leans into him, hands twining in his silky hair as he pulls him closer. In his mind, a pink ribbon lifts itself from the floor and blooms into a rose.
They part, gazing deeply at each other. Kyoya has to admit he’s rather blind when it comes to his own feelings, and even when it comes to figuring out Tamaki.
“I think that’s the craziest thing you’ve ever said,” Kyoya chuckles, forehead falling against his.
Tamaki raises an eyebrow with a bright, sunny smile. “Yeah?”
“Yeah. Because I love you, too.”