Notes on the use of honorifics in this fic –
"- Senpai" is, of course, used to refer to an upperclassman.
"- kun" / "- chan" are terms of endearment that imply a fairly good degree of familiarity.
The use of someone's name without an honorific implies a very, very close and intimate connection between the addresser and the addressee. Unless you have a very close relationship with the person you're addressing, deleting the honorific is rather offensive.
That said, enjoy the crack!
It was rare that the Hitachiin twins had any opportunity to visit anyone these days, busy as they were with the multitude of fashion shows and mixers with more gorgeous models than most people ever even saw on television during their entire lifetime.
Haruhi wondered, in an offhanded way, if they found it strange to leave that world of diamonds and champagne and casual name dropping and then come into the living room of her small two room apartment and sip instant coffee from mugs she had bought during a discount sale at the local supermarket.
She didn't voice her thoughts, however…at least they both had stopped trying to needlessly compliment or blatantly insult her home.
Perhaps her lifestyle had even gained more validity from the events that had transpired over the past few years…but then again, who knew with those two?
The twins had just started a series of unflattering impressions of a particularly difficult and narcissistic model (watching Hikaru strut about while Kaoru performed flashy and ornate sashés was particularly entertaining because it all seemed vaguely reminiscent of a mutual friend of theirs…) when there was a noise of a key rattling in the apartment's door and the crunch of it opening with a strained effort.
In anticipation of a visitor or perhaps even an inhabitant of the house, the noise immediately died down and was reduced to conspiratorial whispers.
A man had walked in and, lost in his own small world and happily unaware of anyone inside the next room, set down his small, battered brief case and removed his shoes. Singing softly (and rather off key) to himself, he then removed his glasses, set them on the counter, and walked through the adjoining door.
"Haruhi!" He exclaimed happily, still oblivious to his surroundings, "the children wish me to convey their sincere greetings exuberantly!"
This odd sentence had become Suoh Tamaki's customary greeting whenever he entered the apartment after returning from work.
The Hitachiins, although they had only been witnesses to this display a few times, nevertheless chuckled at its pure absurdity.
…It certainly didn't help that his shirt was covered in splotches of brightly colored paint from his day's activities.
But, it never ceased to amuse them how the former King of the infamous Host Club had so completely immersed himself in Commoner culture. Or the fact that all of the other former members of the Club (with one notable exception) could make fun (if they so chose) of the paltry income Tamaki now made from teaching a pre-school.
But, after their idiotic leader had been disinherited by his grandmother, no one thought to ridicule him seriously for his change in fortune.
Kyouya was pretty much the only one who sometimes made pointed remarks about Tamaki's fall from the ivory tower of wealth…however, others who did so often found themselves at the wrong end of Ootori Corporation mergers and power plays.
Despite it all, Tamaki had, more or less, landed on his feet even with his inability to be as free as he once had been.
In all, the changes didn't matter much to him. He was simply happy whenever he placed a check totaling half of his meager paycheck into an envelope and sent it to his mother in France, or came home splashed with finger paint and mysterious goo, or attempted to cook a side dish (meals were still considered to be too far out of his current level of expertise) and had any degree of success…or when he received a letter from his Mother and began exclaiming excitedly in his native tongue.
Other things – decidedly more important things – had replaced all that he had lost.
It was simply not in his nature to grieve for them longer than the few stints he had taken crouched in the corner when Hunny had pointed out that he was now a poor Commoner, although the remark had been quite free of malice.
However, ever the whirling dynamo of positivism, he had merely stood up and said that he preferred the title "Middle Income Average Commoner (!)", a label he now freely applied to himself whenever anyone made any reference to his new economic status.
But, greeting and current tax bracket aside, Tamaki finally took notice of the guests sitting before him and brightened considerably, bounding over to take a seat at the remaining vacant side of the table, obviously glad to have company.
If the company wasn't as twisted as it was, perhaps they might have returned his enthusiasm.
Haruhi gave him a curt greeting, no different from her normal behavior.
But Tamaki had long ago resigned himself to the fact that she would not greet him at the door wearing a frilly pink apron, doling out a peck on the cheek, and addressing him with a well-worn term of endearment. Now those fantasies seldom registered in his head.
The twins, taking note of his presence with a mischievous grin, merely proceeded on with their model impressions, and effectively ignored him. When he caught onto what was transpiring, Tamaki looked vaguely scandalized and then, as Haruhi seemed to take more of an interest in the antics of the twins then his constant efforts to tell her, well, anything, he grew increasingly despondent.
Finally, he tried to express his interest in a supermarket sale and inform her of the discounts…however, Haruhi made a halfhearted gesture towards a newspaper advertisement that relayed the same bits of information in greater detail without more than even a perfunctory nod of acknowledgement.
It was this act that finally sent him into the corner.
The trio stopped their rather animated discussion concerning Hikaru's unfortunate misunderstanding with a 6-foot tall Norwegian seamstress and exchanged a knowing look.
"Tono," Hikaru began tentatively…however, Tamaki merely mumbled to himself in the corner and traced circles on the tatami mats, as if not a word had been spoken. The twins both shrugged and, without any further effort, gave up and returned to their instant coffee.
Haruhi merely sighed, more than used to his ploys for attention.
That did the trick.
Undergoing one of the fastest changes in mood ever recorded, he let out an exasperated "Haruhi!" and raced back to the group around the table.
Clearing his throat and attempting to sound calm and reasonable (but ultimately failing to do both), he began jabbing one finger accusingly at a tiny item on his left hand.
"My radiant, although somewhat exasperating and confused daughter, would you deign to kindly remind me of the importance of this object?"
Haruhi didn't immediately answer the question that was posed. Instead she remarked that he was the confused person if he still insisted on referring to her as his daughter.
There was an odd glint in his eyes and his earnest expression only managed to stand in strong contrast to the look of belligerent indifference (a look only Haruhi could manage to pull off) on hers.
Realizing he wasn't about to give up and knowing that it would become even more problematic if he went on to sulk and linger about for the entire evening, Haruhi grudgingly answered.
"I don't see why it's relevant, but that's your wedding ring."
Kaoru and Hikaru looked beside themselves with the sheer effort of trying not to completely burst out laughing at the exchange.
Hikaru, however, did manage to make a remark about the fact that, all things considered, his continued reference to the old convention of calling her his daughter was now incredibly unsavory.
Tamaki either failed to hear the comment (which is hard to imagine, considering that subtlety and tact were only used by the twins when it suited their needs and it definitely did nothing for either of them at that precise moment) or merely ignored them and instead concentrated on the petite figure who was now a little more than an inch away from his own face,
"And, Suoh Haruhi" he began with entirely too much emphasis and relish, wagging a finger at her, "…need I remind you of the vows of never-ending love and perpetually enduring loyalty to the needs of each other's deepest and most uncharted hearts and desires that we made on the day that we bestowed these sacred vessels of holy matrimony onto each other's fingers? Do you intend to deny the burgeoning blossom of our delicate love through the use of such foul and ill-advised language?"
The twins, sides aching, exchanged a look that clearly said that they needed to come more often for just this reason.
This was better entertainment than any of their obscene amounts of money could buy.
"That doesn't sound like anything I said, however, it may have been somewhere in one of the many long speeches you gave, Tamaki-senpai."
It was that offensive word again.
He stood up and posed melodramatically against the small window, mumbling "Tamaki…or even Tamaki-kun…but s-s-s-s-senpai!" before wilting dramatically and casting casual glances over at the table to see if anyone had taken pity on him.
Haruhi just hoped none of the neighbors were watching again.
But the twins had reached their breaking point and began rolling and pounding on the floor in an ecstasy of mirth, whispering "senpai" in a mocking tone with their rare gasps of available breath.
The reiteration of what he deemed to be an utterly inappropriate honorific for his wife to use (especially in front of the doppelgangers!) sent him sputtering for a solid minute before he (somehow) regained his accustomed vigor and resolved to try to prove his point again.
He moved into a truly outlandish pose and pointed to the spot where his wife had been seated minutes before (as it took him a good deal of time to arrange himself into the most dramatic and visually appealing pose possible), only to find that she had wandered into the kitchen and was now taking out a new mug and pouring a small package of instant Malaysian milk tea into it.
Tamaki looked confused by her sudden and unannounced change of location and stood recalculating whatever longwinded speech he had prepared before his train of thought had been derailed by Haruhi's unwitting unwillingness to participate in the display.
She didn't even bat an eye at her rather expressive husband's antics and instead returned to the table and sat heavily down, putting the cup of Tamaki's favorite tea at his place at the table for whenever he chose to sit down and act as normally as he was capable of doing (for she was quite realistic about his limitations in this area).
He had just opened his mouth to begin when Haruhi looked up calmly at him and said, "You can come sit down now, senpai."
There was a glint of something in her expression that should have been a clue to Tamaki that this form of address wasn't a product of her usual naivety.
But the combined fact that the twins were basically howling with laughter at this point and the fact that he had thought Haruhi was long over the use of that particular title had flustered him to the point that he didn't realize what was going on (not that the others present didn't realize this lack of cognizance on his part as well. And to make matters worse, two notable figures were more than happy to exploit that).
Yelling perhaps a tad too loud and pointing at his wife's abdomen he said, "Haruhi, what is that? Don't you think that warrants the use of more appropriate forms of address than you have dignified to call your husband who loves you more dearly than his own incredibly intelligent, devastatingly beautiful, and extraordinarily charming self?"
There was a very pregnant pause in the wake of the narcissistic tirade that the twins took it upon themselves to fill.
"How sad, Kaoru."
"Yes, it truly is pathetic, Hikaru."
"Tono has spent so much time with his classroom of children in the commoners's preschool that he has lost the ability to remember low level nouns."
"Not to mention the fact that he just objectified the entire matter in a truly tasteless fashion."
Haruhi sighed and Tamaki looked dumbstruck.
"Haruhi – " he began in a squeaking and soft voice, returning to the table and kneeling next to her, "you surely don't believe the doppelgangers! That is not how I meant it and, certainly, I would never objectify our child in that manner, I simply thought that the father of the divine combination of our genetic material – which will lend him or her my beauty, the combination of our superior intellects, and your cuteness…not to mention my exquisite pedigree – would be referred to with more familiarity by his cute wife and - "
At that she stopped listening. Had Tamaki not just unwittingly insulted her family history, at the conclusion of his speech she would have smiled at him, called him an idiot, and only then would she have called him "Tamaki-kun" as usual.
But now…well, she thought she would prolong the teasing and risk his ennui for the rest of the night.
He deserved it now.
Especially since he was still rambling about the virtues of their unborn child and segueing into the magical possibilities of life as a commoner and a myriad of other pointless and irrelevant subjects…she thought (and not for the first time, by any means) that he liked to hear himself talk more than actually communicating anything.
"Senpai," she interrupted, a vaguely annoyed tone edging her words, "It sounds like you are corrupting our child when it's not even born."
He looked at her and then to the twins, who had stopped laughing and merely watched the exchange.
….he realized that, with small inconsequential differences, the expressions on the three of their faces were now frighteningly similar.
In processing this odd phenomenon, instead of crouching in his corner, he pointed at the twins and started shouting an inventive slew of allegations of corruption of his cute wife.
The twins looked at each other in amusement, knowing better than to pay heed to his ramblings. After he had gotten to the letter "C" of his alphabetical chain of infamy ("Crass! Corrupt! Callous! Clammy! Calamitous!") Haruhi merely gathered her own mug and the twins' and carried them to the sink to be washed. Before she returned (and Tamaki's rant still hadn't ceased and now was becoming particularly absurd as the alphabetical theme had been dropped), she poured her husband a glass of water.
Really, all that yelling must make one's throat awfully raw.
…And this way she would avoid him complaining about it.
At her return, Tamaki had risen to his feet and was gesticulating wildly at the pair, who, in turn, were dodging any of his attacks in a manner that was so nonchalant, it was almost as if the exercise still occurred everyday.
Haruhi had set down the glass of water next to the (still untouched and more than likely cold) mug of tea, and was about to sit down when Tamaki abruptly grabbed her shoulders and started shaking her in erratic circles (however, he was gentle, because even though he was in one of those moods, he was mindful of her condition) and alternating between everything from spouting bizarre excuses and apologies to hurling ever more creative insults at the twins and anything remotely connected to them.
"Tamaki," Haruhi began, her voice suddenly sounding odd.
He stopped mid rebuke and threw a beaming smile at her, happy that the dreaded honorific had at last been dropped…
…only to realize that it was dropped because she was holding her hands over her mouth and had turned a rather delicate shade of green.
The look of an imminent eruption was etched into his mind due to its regular appearance during the first few months of Haruhi's pregnancy.
"H-H-H-Haruhi!" He exclaimed, grabbing her wrist and pulling her towards the apartment's small bathroom.
Once the awkward noises ceased emanating from the now closed door of the bathroom and Tamaki's worried inquiries as to her state had been firmly answered with assurances that she was just cleaning herself up, Tamaki turned back the twins.
Coughing delicately into his hand he told them, in a rather embarrassed tone (and in fact blushing a bit due to the fact that the twins had been witness to that), "Haruhi-chan is not feeling well at this moment, so I, as her husband, believe that guests might be an inconvenience for her to entertain in her current state of fragility."
The twins stared.
If Tamaki was hoping that they would leave of their own volition for once, he was sorely disappointed.
In fact they both shrugged and said in belligerent unison, "It seems to us that you might have been the cause of her sudden decline in health, Tono."
With the remark left unacknowledged, Tamaki pushed the two out of the door of the apartment and the visit ended the same way that it had for at least the last four times that the Hitachiin twins had graced them with their presences.
…with the door slamming on a chorus of protests and a key turning from the inside.
Tamaki turned back and found Haruhi observing him, frowning.
"You know" she said reprovingly, "Somehow I can't imagine them leaving our house like normal people anymore."
Mindful of the even slight annoyance in her expression, Tamaki resolved to soothe it out by all means necessary, lest annoyance turn into anger.
In a matter of seconds he had crossed the distance between them and was delicately hugging her all the while muttering apologies for upsetting her stomach in such a callous and unseemly fashion.
She sighed and accepted each one of his bizarre apologies with half-hearted resignation.
After he was finally sufficiently satisfied that he hadn't caused her irreparable emotional or physical harm in any way, he stepped back and regarded her for a moment.
Despite all his previous antics, there was a decided note of seriousness well concealed underneath his ceaseless exuberance.
"You look a little tired," he finally said, his voice honey coated with endearment.
"Let me guess," she responded, noncommittally, "I look cute when I'm tired?"
He smiled at her careful avoidance of the question…as well as the fact that she really did look cute.
Tamaki knew that that stubborn girl would only rely on him so much, so sometimes he just needed to ignore her well - ingrained ways.
"Of course, you're always cute," he answered, moving towards the cabinet where their futon was kept, "but you also look tired when you are tired."
He unrolled the futon out on the floor, not directly telling her to do anything…because she wouldn't if she didn't want to.
And Tamaki knew that all too well.
She sighed at him, half thinking that the reason she was tired was mostly because he was unable to take a little bit of teasing…that and the fact that when her idiotic husband and two scheming Hitachiins were in the same room, trying to make them behave at all like people who did not come from a parallel universe was akin to attempting to put out a forest fire with a squirt gun.
As he passed again, moving towards the small kitchen, he passed and gave her a small kiss on the top of her head before stating cheerfully, "Haruhi! Father will make us dinner!"
"I thought it was decided that referring to yourself as my father was a bit strange."
The smile he gave her was one that was reserved for moments when he thought himself particularly clever.
"Whoever said that I was referring to myself as your father?"
She should have known. Now she would have to listen to it…for the rest of her life. It was rather troublesome, really.
"And besides," she said, lying down on the futon, "If you want me to rest than you should order something for dinner."
Tamaki looked momentarily hurt before pressing his index fingers together in a childish manner and mumbling, "I can make edible miso soup."
In response, Haruhi immediately gestured at the phone.
There were many surprising things that she had learned about Tamaki – he actually possessed the ability to keep immaculate and thrifty records within their household account books, he was possessed of a quick adaptability to a less than fairytale lifestyle after being unceremoniously tossed out by his grandmother, and even the way he, for all his idiocy, was quite observant of her small quirks – but cooking would never be something she would ever encourage him to pursue without her active supervision.
When she looked up, Tamaki was holding the phone as if it were his mortal adversary.
She sighed and decided she would compromise with him.
"Tamaki, there's ramen in left cupboard…pork flavored."
He gave her a positively beaming smile, not because of the ramen, but because of the way she had addressed him to get it.
Hearing her say his unadorned name always had the effect of reminding him that he had managed to come into her unadorned world and remain there.
And he knew she wanted him to be there with her.
A/N: It's so…fluffy! With random bits of speculation, but still…fluff is weird and hard to write (although I think I am weird in that regard…?). This was in response to a request from Neko-Chan in Wonderland, who wanted to see me do the Haruhi / Tamaki pairing on a less introspective and more interactive level…and it was supposed to be for a 500 word max drabble. However, because the twins automatically make my fic cracktastic by their mere extended presence and Tamaki's verbosity tends to make my syntax become unnecessarily complicated and longwinded for no apparent reason…you have this hulking monstrosity of saccharine cuteness.
If I had one aim for it, because it was kinda a spur of the moment thing that then possessed my brain, it would be to establish a level of comfort between Haruhi and Tamaki…I also wanted to play with the notion of Tamaki's utter adaptability by completely removing him from his world altogether…although that just kinda happened. And that is actually two aims. It feels very different from my other Host Club fic to me for some reason (even the more cracktastic humor pieces I started out with), so I'm sorta undecided on how I think it turned out.
Oh, and Hikagi …the aforementioned glasses!Tamaki is in there for you.
As usual, comments are greatly appreciated and will (usually) be responded to. Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed it!