A/N: My first ever Ouran fic, unbeta-ed and written spur of the moment after I got tired of carrying the idea around in my tiny, tiny brain.

Enjoy. :)

A good director knows how to handle his actors, and Kyouya has always been a good director. Standing in the wings, watching the action from a safe distance; only when the blocking veers off track does he step in and rearrange the characters, tweaking the dialogue to keep the paying audience happy. He has seen the play so many times that he could rehearse it in his head.

He doesn't play favourites amongst the cast, but everyone knows that Tamaki is his prima donna. When the action becomes too intense, Dad flees back to Mom and ruffled feathers are soothed, trampled pride lifted back on its pedestal, broken heart mended with careful words that are never in the script.

Sometimes it takes more than words, though, and this is a convenient explanation for the long limbs tangled together on sleepless nights, young bodies pulled taut with contained energy as sweat-slick skin makes do for costumes. Fingers and aching cocks are all the props they need for this particular scene, and Kyouya knows how to make the best of what they have. He plays Tamaki like a violin, drawing sweet sounds and breathless sighs from somewhere deep inside. An instrument, not a lover. It is not an act, just a performance.

Tamaki is a good performer. Far into the early hours of the morning, they are wrapping up their final encore as the maid taps respectfully on Kyouya's door. Clear blue and impassive brown, their eyes meet each other for a split second before they remember their places.

"You're as bad as Renge; you keep saying you want to see this of me and you want to hear me say that, but the picture you have of me in that silly blonde head of yours will never match what's standing right here."

The accusation comes as a surprise to no one but the accused, but that is often the way these things play out. Dramatic irony is thick in the 3rd Music Room, and it was only a matter of time before the tragic hero discovered his own folly. Too late, of course, as that is the way this lesson is taught. The hero must be sacrificed in order for others to learn from his mistakes.

Kyouya doesn't like to call it a sacrifice, as his creative design is unable to accomodate for a death scene. It is not really a death, but as the love interest stands with her finger thrust towards the protagonist, the pallor of our hero's face suggests nothing so much as a recent corpse. The high-power generator is silent for once, but then again the entire room is devoid of noise at the moment. The play has stuttered to an abrupt halt and the well-dressed audience is no longer convinced that this is part of the act.

Ladies and gentlemen, we are experiencing technical difficulties...

Haruhi is as quiet as the rest of them after her monologue, perhaps realising that Tamaki really -had- been as clueless as his countenance suggested. Her part is finished for this particular improvisation and the heroine exits stage left.

Kaoru smiles and assures the customers that this was all in the program as Hikaru slips an arm around his waist and affirms breathily that love stories are better between family. Mori's hand moves again, finishing the downward slice into Hunny's strawberry shortcake. The sounds of clinking china and silver gradually begin to blend with hushed voices that swell into flirty chatter once more. Normalcy returns to the 3rd Music Room.

Intermission is over and the tableau is broken. Tamaki slips offstage and, after a moment's pause, Kyouya parts the curtains and follows.

Later that evening it is Kyouya's duty to remind the king of his crown. Dry eyes close as a wet mouth brings the scene to a climax- it is difficult to tell who is directing tonight but Kyouya has never minded switching roles like this. Dusk wanes into darkness and he murmurs the lines Tamaki needs to hear.

It's okay to be in love with an idea...

You're not a bad person...

No, you're nothing like Renge at all...

-Someday, there will be someone who loves you...-

He doesn't bother mentioning that there is already someone who loves Tamaki; that is a sub-plot and he hasn't yet written the denouement. For this conflict, there may not be a resolution.

But that is alright because it has to be alright. In the morning the maid will rouse them, carefully not minding the extra occupant and informing her young master that they have set an extra place at the breakfast table. The Ohtori and Suoh sons will shower separately, dress in silence, and descend the stairs as best friends before leaving for school. At Ouran, they will become actor and director once more.Nothing will be said about the nocturnal lessons and that is alright, too.

By lunchtime Tamaki will be his usual overexuberant self, accepting Haruhi's awkward apology and re-claiming his daughter in a brilliantly staged hug, ignoring the loud protestations of the Hitachiin comic relief. Haruhi will don her familiar mask of resignation as Kyouya watches the action and pens rewrites on his ever-present clipboard. On the surface, nothing will have changed because the sun is up and so are the curtains.

After all, the show must go on.