Disclaimer: Do not own Host Club or characters, want no money, have no money.
Comments: ... Let's not talk about how it takes me over a year to update. I forgot the point of this story. I SUCK. Just shoot me now and let it be over with.

Chapter Seven
Everyday Simplicity

It was under Haruhi's watchful eye that Kyouya reluctantly picked up his phone. It wasn't as though he disliked calling his mother - he simply thought it was too much trouble for the small effort of having her officially meet Haruhi, and if he were really asked any opinion, he'd rather none of his family have anything to do with her. She was seperate from them, easily settled into the category of personal instead of business, in which category his family firmly entrenched itself.

His dearest wife reminded him of that quite incidently when she asked, as though the idea just occurred to her - as it probably had, "She won't have a problem with the menu, will she?"

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If Kyouya were a fanciful man, he would consider his mother as more of a whirlwind or force of nature than any sort of maternal personality. His father, too, would be a force of nature, but with less whirlwind and more tsunami thrown in. Unfortunately, Kyouya is not a fanciful man. Oh, he has dreams - many dreams! - and is as loathe as any other to throw them away needlessly, but he is not gifted with the art of poetry. He can fake the art of poetry, with well-calculated oratory skill, but he cannot create poetry that makes hearts tremble and skin shiver with the wonder of words and whispers.

His mother often thought it a pity, really, because all artful appreciation had disappeared once her husband's blood had entered into her family. She thought a trifle wistfully of her brother, an artist - never a painter, because a painter implies such vulgar methods as graffiti and starvation and half-finished sketches on a sidewalk - but a creator, a living example of the divine. With a brush (and some paint) he could create people and worlds, and--

"... madame."

"What?" Hardly irritated at the interruption of her daydreams, for interruptions were frequent and quite normal considering that she half-lived in them during the times that she had no business to attend to, she lifted a hand for the message to be repeated. One of the servants - some silly little name, Izumi or Mizuki or Popo for all she knew - duly repeated that the youngest master was on the line and did she wish to speak with him. "Of course," she half-snapped then, impatience flurrying the papers on her desk into unseemly piles just as her extension rang. "Yes?" she answered smoothly, all cultured and cool and elegant once again, as though her moment of daydreaming had never occurred.

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Kyouya had an exasperated sort of resignation to his mother's flighty personality. He knew that within her there was the mother of her children, the same lady who loved ridiculous poetry and daydreamed at odd hours of day, and also within her there was Madame Ootori, her husband's wife. Behind that silly almost-mask was a very intelligent mind, yet that mask was not truly a mask for it was her true personality as well.

So he ignored it, forgot to remind his wife of it, and learned quickly that it was a rather stupid thing to forget about when his mother settled in to a welcoming little lunch of rice, miso soup, a couple broiled fish and a spicy beansprout dish that Haruhi had mentioned was a Korean recipe and he had become rather fond of.

His mother's face was simple enough to read, but Haruhi was busy settling the last bowl of soup next to her own bowl of rice and was quite too busy to see the snobbery raising its ugly head at their family table. So he did what any good husband would do.

He stared at his mother until she looked up and flushed and realized that she was behaving with horrible manners indeed, then stared longer until she also realized that, no matter what else happened today, she would have no chance to lecture the new addition to their household on the little things of their household - like hiring chefs who would make an outrageous amount of food for three people at lunch. An outrageous amount of food that certainly wouldn't be limited to such choices as homemade miso soup and simple broiled fish. So she did what any good mother in her situation would do.

She talked about Lord Byron, and it was all very civilized, and she was getting quite comfortable after she insisted that her daughter-in-law not call her Yazuko and why not call her mother instead and my, the fish was well-seasoned and it was quite tasty and could she have the recipe, and she talked about Lord Byron some more.

Then, for some odd reason, Haruhi had to ruin it all and inform her quite gravely that the Lord Byron she was speaking of was in fact called Shakespeare.

Really! It wasn't as though she, Ootori Yazuko, had not gone through quite a bit of education herself.

But then that ridiculous son of hers had to side with his wife and it was not going at all well indeed, and they had to bring a couple books to her, and--

"Oh," she said in a rather curious voice, all the indignation of the past two and a half hours disappearing quite suddenly. "How novel. What ghastly prose Lord Byron uses!"

"It all depends on taste, really," Haruhi said simply, closing the various books and setting them to the side. "Did you want some more tea, Mother?"

"That would be wonderful, dear," she approved with a smile. Really, her son had married such a charming young girl, and intelligent, too. She would have to keep her husband from doing something silly like disapproving of them when he found out. Honestly, her husband was a great businessman, but he could be so silly in these little matters. It wasn't as if he had plenty of other children that had married the way he wanted them to, sometimes against her own disagreement!

And as she thought these protective little thoughts, Kyouya thought that everything was working quite as planned, indeed.

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Takashi was enjoying the idea of coming home.

Of course he had always enjoyed the idea of coming home. It was not a novel thing, really, and he had ample time to get used to it since he and Kyouya had made their own little corner in the world. But home had not, until now, brought home thoughts of an efficiently run kitchen, where he could go into and watch where things happened and food come out the other end, never charred and always smelling like a home kind of meal.

And then three people would sit around their table and eat that home kind of meal, and it was very homey indeed.

So he was enjoying the idea of coming home, this new type of coming home that seemed to add levels upon levels to his old type of coming home, and he walked through the streets with a happy sort of stride.

Most people who let him pass through thought he seemed dreadfully imposing and in a bit of a hurry and that there weren't enough places to hide in case his temper decided to boil over if their shoulders touched. Takashi was fully aware that this was what they thought, and normally dwelled on that sort of thinking, because he is an innately kind person and likes people.

But his steps remained light and his demeanor excited and he knew that there were three people in this world that would understand at a glance how he felt.

Then he stopped in the middle of the street in consternation and pulled his phone out of his pocket and called a number in panic.

"Yes?" that wonderful voice said in his ear, and he blurted it all out, everything, and she understood.


Granted, no one would have recognized the depth of his panic from that one name and the slow and deliberate way it tore from his throat, but Haruhi said simply, "I suppose we did forget about him. How about you invite him for dinner tomorrow night?"

He nodded, and never thought that she couldn't see that through the phone. But she went on, as always somehow knowing that he nodded, and added, "Kyouya's mother just left, but did you want me to have some food ready? She missed you being there."

He nodded again and once again threaded through people and streets, phone plastered to his ear, and if his face was impassive, his eyes were practically glowing and he felt for all the world like a little kid with a whole jar of candy.