Points of Reflection
Spoilers: This whole entire fic is pretty much a gigantic spoiler for the events of volume 6 of the manga.
Disclaimer: I don't own Host Club…I just play with the characters and their world from time to time to amuse myself.
Keeping Up Appearances
After the chaotic weeks leading up to the Cultural Festival, he finally found a brief respite in which to sit back and think about the events that had happened in the past few days.
And indeed, for Tamaki, such a period of contemplation would not have been complete without mentally recalling his conversation with his precious daughter at the festival's dance ball at least a dozen times.
Although with this memory, he became conscious that he had also made another mistake in front of his grandmother.
But Tamaki Suoh was not one to regret his actions.
There had been no lies in the words he had said to Haruhi.
He was very serious about the fact that he would be himself before he was a Suoh.
Being a Suoh was something he had never chosen. Certainly, he enjoyed the benefits of money and prestige that were attached to the name…but, in the end, these weren't things that were essential to who he was.
And Tamaki wasn't anything if he wasn't aware of himself.
He regarded himself as was quite handsome and intelligent…and his extensive knowledge of the commoners' culture certainly could become quite useful if he ever needed it.
There was no need to depend entirely upon the prestige and power that his name lent him when he had his own attributes.
He thought of all these things as he told her.
And, indeed, Tamaki would never so much as think of lying to Haruhi.
His words were the absolute Truth. He was himself before he was a Suoh.
However, as he drew the silk sheets of his bed over him and drew Beary into the crook of his arm, he reflected on (with a rather large yawn) when he had first decided that.
In the end, it all came back to being what his name required him to be.
It came from the pressure of constantly keeping up appearances.
Many summers before he had actually come to live permanently in Japan, he had often come here during the summer months at his father's request.
It was supposed to be a way for him to be able to learn the culture and the language of the country that Yuzuru Suoh hoped that his son would eventually take as his own.
Tamaki couldn't say that he hated these visits. He certainly loved to see the strange sights and sounds of his other heritage.
But in truth, he missed his mother and France's tranquil familiarity whenever he came to Japan.
His mother had only accompanied him once and had spent the entirety of the trip in bed smiling and telling him that the time change was very difficult for her to deal with.
Every summer holiday after that Tamaki would put on a brave face and tell her that he would be fine without her. He would then ignore the maids that tried to console him as he cried in a dark and obscure corner of his father's private jet.
Suddenly, the expression that his grandmother had made as he ate the small bite of strawberry cake served as the dance party's refreshments surfaced in his thoughts again, and he recalled his first meeting with her two summers before he had moved to Japan permanently, leaving France and his mother behind.
He was told by the small army of maids that were assigned to prepare him for another dance party in order to entertain prominent business connections of the Suoh family that he would get to meet someone very important to his future. Indeed, the maids, who usually had a lively and rather mischievous demeanor, talked in hushed, cautious voices about the Suoh Matriarch. But, having met no other family members beyond his own parents, Tamaki was still excited about the prospect of meeting another relative.
Nothing prepared him for the severe woman that entered and sat down.
She was beautiful and was traditionally clad in a kimono worth several thousands of dollars. Behind her chair a small entourage of servants stood at military attention.
There was a heavy silence as she scrutinized the boy who was supposed to be her grandson. She then began to address him without preamble.
"You are distasteful to me. But if I must tolerate you, you had better do your best not to disgrace the Suoh name that was so unfortunately bestowed upon you."
Tamaki remembered thinking that his grandmother was a beautiful person…but he couldn't quite understand, at first, why her words lacked the graceful nature of her demeanor.
Meanwhile his grandmother went on and delivered her instructions as to how he was supposed to proceed during the evening.
"If you are asked, you shall unconditionally answer that your mother is dead. No other answer will suffice. I will be frank…that is all that I expect from the son of a harlot. Do you understand?"
Normally such words would have caused him to immediately cry and rush for a corner. But here he could not do that. However, his father had told him to try to impress her…and his mother had told him to behave as she had taught him to no matter what.
And so, Tamaki could only look at her with a dumbstruck expression. He had always had a gift with words, or so many of the female students had always told him, but he could not understand why his own grandmother would say such a thing about his mother.
So he turned back to what he had always known.
He stood up and bowed to her and said cheerfully, "I am glad to finally have the pleasure of meeting my grandmother and discovering her to be such a beautiful woman." He flashed his brightest smile at her as she merely looked on with a pensive expression, "Indeed, I am pleased to find that you, like my mother, are a woman of incomparable loveliness. However, my mother, although her health is rather poor as of late, is very much alive."
Tamaki bowed to his grandmother again, with flourish, his smile never losing even a touch of its brilliance.
From her seated position, the Suoh family matriarch merely kept her steady gaze on her unacknowledged grandson. After a long period of silence she closed her eyes and gave him a ghost of a nod.
As she rose, carefully aware of the trailing sleeves of her kimono, she simply said, "I see that I was indeed correct."
With deliberate slowness and a proud, haughty grace, she exited the room without another word.
That was the moment that Tamaki learned what being a Suoh truly meant. And, when he learned that, surprisingly, his grandmother wished to acknowledge him as someone that was actually connected to her own name, he learned the entire cost of simply having a name.
Yes, he was given his own mansion…a building built for the first legal and estranged wife of his father. The entire building was like a corner of his family's domain that he had been given solely as a location in which he could assume his dejection pose in…at least, that was how Kyouya had wryly put it once. But the unique position of the Suoh's would-be heir to the rest of his family was not widely known in the circles of the elite that they were part of.
That was chiefly because the first rule of politics within such an established power structure was that one had to perpetually keep up appearances.
And Tamaki had decided that he never wanted to do such a thing. The name didn't matter to him, the power and prestige didn't matter to him.
These had cost him, at least for the time being, his mother.
What mattered to him was simply the ability to love who he pleased. And that was simply a matter of choosing for himself who he wished to be.
And this principle was why Ouran High School's Host Club existed within the walls of the infamous Third Music Room. Within the restrictive society that surrounded the children of the elite, Tamaki Suoh had created one place that allowed the heir of an extremely tough martial arts family to enjoy cute things, a set of twins to experience a life outside of their tiny world, and the third son of a family to exercise and cultivate talents that would have been otherwise ignored and that could one day win him the status of an heir.
The Host Club existed because Tamaki inherently understood that he was not alone in trying to not only find, but keep his own identity, while under the shadow of an inherited name.
Part of him wanted to make the only person he knew that was capable of being completely herself understand that about them.
Before he finally drifted off to sleep in the comfortable darkness, Tamaki had a moment of weary exhilaration at the fact that she had smiled at him when he told her that.
Tamaki's last thought before he fell into a deep, restful sleep was that he was glad that Haruhi had understood.
A/N: This is a bunny that has been bothering me for a very long time and I have finally gotten enough time to sit down and actually write it out. Anyways, as mentioned in the spoiler (well, sorta) this is going to focus on the aftermath of the cultural festival from Volume 6 of the manga from the points of view of Tamaki and 3 other characters (perhaps more, if ideas come to me). Anyways, please give me your thoughts and comments, as they are very much appreciated (and I very much love nerdy discussions as well). Just to let you know, I do try very hard to respond to all the reviews I get personally. Thank you for reading!