Disclaimer: Ouran is not mine.

Summary: Behind the scenes. (Ootori family-centric)

Author's note: There had to be one at some point. A mother, that is.

It isn't necessary, but I would recommend you go read 'Trinity' before reading this. There are some paragraphs you might understand better.

The Fourth

Neither of them was in love.

Thus, as they were asked a question, words slipped off their lips and out of their memory, just like the brush of mouth against mouth accompanied by countless camera flashes.

Their real vows, they exchanged that night in their appropriately expensive honeymoon suite.

"Three children," Yoshio told his newlywed wife, "Give me three children, and you will be nearly free to do as you please. Do you agree to those terms?"

His wife was quite conscious of her wide hips and her equally wide lack of interest in children.

She was also very aware of the fact that those were the only reasons her husband had picked her out of a handful of suitable girls.

Nevertheless, as his wife came from a wealthy family herself, she knew when she heard a good business deal, and so she said: "Yes, I do."

Their pact was sealed by skin on skin.

It took her ten months to start holding up her end of the deal.

By the end, she was very round and she was very tired and Yoshio treated her as if she were very fragile.

Pain and blood and screams slid away from her, the same way words once uttered in a church had.

What she could remember was waking up to the penetrating smell of a sea of brightly coloured flowers.

She was more surprised, though, to come to lying on a stark white bed, her husband's attention resting solely on her.

There were no documents or business meetings between them, just the small bundle held between his hands.

"A son," Yoshio informed her and lifted his lips into what she supposed could be considered a smile, "Well done."

"Did you name him?" she wanted to know as she convinced herself all too easily that she didn't want to look.

"Yes," her husband told her.

"Take him away," she murmured.

And for once, Yoshio did as his wife asked him to.

Surrounded by every comfort and luxury an Ootori had at his proposal, a tiredness not born by lack of sleep claimed her and surrendered her firstborn to the burden of inheritance, Yoshio and the name of Ootori.

The next two years she took sleep as her only lover, constantly drifting out and in and never ever looking.

One such time, when sleep caressed her skin, Yoshio dared to lay down next to her in what was officially their shared bed.

"You still owe me," he whispered into her ear and his tone spoke of terms and articles of a contract.

"I know," she whispered, because she knew for her there would be no loophole.

"You should see our son," Yoshio told her and his hands faked tenderness in their touch, "He is developing well."

She kept her eyes shut tightly and rolled away from him.

His hands followed, like she had anticipated they would and made her pay her debt in as many moans as needed.

This time, she didn't get as round, Yoshio didn't treat her as so fragile and tiredness left her for weariness.

Pictures of people in white flashed across her eyes, exactly like the ones once done at a wedding, and her ears were full of screams and consoling, meaningless words.

All the while, she refused to open her eyes for as she long as she could, preferably never.

As long as she could turned out to be until her husband told her: "Look."

Discarding never like the dresses of the last year's fashion, she did.

There was a vase of not as brightly coloured flowers, Yoshio and in his arms there was a small blue bundle.

"Another son," he let her know in a voice usually reserved to celebrate the takeover of a large company, "Our reassurance."

The bundle in his arms stirred and for all her nights and days of closed eyes, she couldn't help but see something red and tiny.

"No need to get overly emotional," her husband stated, a slight frown upon his features.

'Oh,' she thought and noticed that her cheeks were wet and the wetness was coming out of her eyes and just wouldn't stop being wet.

Surrounded by luxurious damp pillows that failed comforting the wetness away, she could just watch as her husband took the bundle of red and tiny out of the room and forfeited her second child to the burden of a fallback plan, Yoshio and the name of Ootori.

For the time it took to never ask after her second son's name (the discarding of last year's fashion), silken sheets, designer dresses and costly creams were the only ones allowed to touch her skin.

Only, on one such day, fingers mingled with the silk sheets tangled across her limbs.

"One more," Yoshio breathed and his tone spoke of the conclusion of a contract.

"Yes, one more," she breathed, because she knew there could be no breach.

"Our sons-"

His wife cut Yoshio off, her eyes half-closed, by rolling unto him.

Yoshio's hands trailed her frame and she trembled in a way she hadn't anticipated and she gave as many trembles as necessary to fulfil his terms.

From beginning to end, she was not round at all, Yoshio sometimes forgot to treat her as fragile and tiredness came back to merge with weariness.

She let screams and blood and words and flashes of white wash over her and almost didn't close her eyes.

When she almost opened her eyes again, her hands touched a single flower on her bedside table, Yoshio towering over her.

"A girl," her husband told her and gripped a bundle the same way he held his briefcase. "Congratulations."

The third child, she thought, the third child and a daughter, that means she will be half mine.

At that, another tremble went through her and, her eyes wide open, she reached for her child, her daughter, half hers.

"Let's name her-"

"Fuyumi," her husband interrupted her, "I decided on the name Fuyumi."

Surrounded by her own trembling limbs, her eyes seeing too much at once, she nodded and shared her third child with the burden of a pawn to be used, Yoshio and the name of Ootori.

Money was earned, and she caught a glance at her sons.

Fashion was discarded, and she saw her daughter (as much as a half allowed).

A wrinkle found a place in a corner of her mouth, and she and her husband had now officially divided rooms.

Between division, discarding and earning, Yoshio insisted on making a tradition out of family dinners.

It was a tense, silent and painstakingly polite affair and even in conversations no one talked to the other.

Instead, she would ask her eldest son: "Do you like it at Ouran?"

"Yes, mother," he would answer without looking up from his plate.

Or, she would ask her second born: "Do you like your new toys?"

"Yes, very much so," he would answer and add as if he had just thought of it, "Mother."

And, nearly desperate, she would then turn to her daughter and ask: "Is the food to your liking?"

"Yes, it is, mother," Fuyumi would answer, giving her the smallest lift of the corner of a mouth.

Yes, mother, yes, yes, yes, her children told her five years of yes and not even once a no, not towards her, certainly not towards their father.

Silk didn't feel smooth on her skin anymore, fashion was just another tedious task and creams left a sting on her hands.

So, one such day as even silk scratched her skin, she went into a bedroom not her own.

"What is it you want?" her husband's voice rang out to her, while she climbed unto the bed, the same way she proceeded to climb unto him.

Yoshio didn't look at her, his concentration completely on the documents in his hands.

She nestled her head down in the crook of his neck.

He sighed into her ear. "The Suou patriarch has taken a mistress. It's not yet public knowledge, but it will be, soon enough."

Her fingers started to busy themselves with the buttons of night clothes.

"He says he wants a divorce," Yoshio continued, "He says he is in love."

She raised her eyebrows and her touch made contact with his skin.

"Now," Yoshio caught her hands in one of his, his other still clutching the documents, "What was it you wanted?"

"Another child," his wife told him, the edge of never having looked in her voice.

"That's not what we had agreed upon," her husband stated, not relinquishing his hold on her.

"I want one just for me," she told him and pretended to not notice the wetness on her cheeks.

Yoshio frowned when his attention went from the documents to her and didn't pretend not to notice. "You know the prize for that."

"Yes," she whispered, the expensive fabrics of her clothes weighing her down, "A new debt."

"I didn't arrange for any delays in my schedule," Yoshio stated, tightening his grasp to not quite an embrace, "You would be alone on this project."

She closed her eyes, leaned forward and brushed mouth against mouth, the sealing of a contract.

His hands couldn't quite keep up with hers, like she had anticipated they wouldn't be able to and documents were pushed aside as many times as required to take up a new debt.

Right from the start, she was rounder than she had been ever before and the only one to treat her as fragile was Fuyumi with her tiny smiles.

Instead of being tired, or weary, or both, she just smiled back.

At the end, she felt pain, and bled and screamed and kept her eyes wide open through all of it and it was beautiful.

When she closed her eyes, just for the shortest moment, really, she awoke to a lack of flowers at her bedside.

And wherever those flowers were she hadn't wanted anyway, Yoshio seemed to be, too.

It took a complaint, a beg, two nurses and then her hands consumed a bundle of red, tiny and all, all hers.

"Hello," she told her tiny, red, all hers son and greedily took in every noise he made, "Let's name you…"

For a moment, she paused, as if expecting an interruption, a voice to rise.

When nothing happened, she continued, her lips swallowed up by a smile.

"Let's name you Kyouya."

Surrounded by maybes and possibilities and a hunger for something not food, she took her fourth child as hers, hers and hers alone.

A nanny was dismissed, and she lost sight of her two eldest.

A struggle was had with diapers, mother's milk and wails at all times, and tiny smiles were shared by her and Fuyumi.

Kyouya spoke his first and more words, took his first and more steps and grew.

She saw, took in and devoured.

By the time family dinner was an established tradition, Kyouya was five and always smiling and touching and firmly believed he understood everything

What Kyouya didn't understand though was there were no smiles or warm touches to be had with dinner.

"He disturbs the order," Yoshio told his wife, very matter-of-factly, "Put him to bed."

From his mother's lap he had just climbed into; across the table, Kyouya stared at his father.

Yoshio's wife put her arms around her youngest son and stood up without dropping another 'Do you like (insert optional topic here)?'.

Yoshio and his sons resumed eating and Fuyumi, half hers, gave Kyouya a small smile and a tiny wave, when they left the room.

As they climbed the stairs to Kyouya's room, his arms went around her neck and they seemed to fit better than any designer dress ever had.

"Father doesn't like me, mama," he confided to the base of her skull and she noticed wetness all over his small face in place of a smile. "I don't understand."

She noticed a sea of wet and thought it to be the most precious thing, devouring every drop with starved eyes.

After all, she was mama, mama, and Yoshio was only father.

"I love you, dear," she told Kyouya, while she put him into his much too large bed and dropped a brush of mouth to his forehead.

Drowning in a sea of wet, a smile emerged unto Kyouya's lips. "Do too, mama."

"Sleep, now, and I promise everything will get better," she assured him and switched the lights in the room off.

Only, it won't, she knew and by the time she had switched lights off over a thousand times, Kyouya was six and shy and talented and hid behind her knees at every occasion possible.

Like say, at Yoshio's birthday party.

"Will father like it?" a small voice asked behind her legs.

"Of course he will, dear," she said and felt tiny fingers curl around her knees.

"Very much?" Kyouya inquired further, tugging at his mother's dress.

"I am sure," she answered, even though she was anything but.

Her eyes watched Yoshio make a big show of presenting the paintings he had advised their children to make voluntarily for this day, to his guests.

"This is quite a surprise," Yoshio said and laughed as fake as the smile on his lips was.

The audience orchestrated by him found the appropriate response in the congratulations on his lovely and gifted children.

"The one I favour, however," Yoshio continued and came to a halt at a rather large, opulent painting, "is this one here, courtesy of my eldest."

He made a gesture into the crowd, at their firstborn, who smiled politely and thanked his father.

Yoshio shook his head in mock-exasperation. "And this is the young man who hopes to succeed me."

Everyone laughed at that and soon the guests mingled once more and the party went on.

His wife saw Yoshio's eyes linger, though, on the smallest painting of them all, the one made with the most precision, the one by Kyouya.

Her hands searched those of her son and drew him as close to her as possible.

And, although the party would go on for another few hours, she went to put Kyouya to bed.

Halfway on their way up the stairs, he halted and looked at her, a smile that was more frown on his face.

"Mine was better," Kyouya told his mother and she felt the first stirrings of something very much like dread in her stomach, because she knew it was.

For that reason, she said to him: "It's not polite to say such things. You heard what your father said. He preferred your brother's."

There was no smile on Kyouya's face anymore, only frown.

That night was the first night Kyouya switched off the lights in his room himself.

Many nights followed, they laughed and coloured their faces in finger-paint and sometimes Fuyumi joined them.

And by the time Kyouya was seven, he was still shy and even more talented and came into his mother's room all the time, completely unannounced.

Until, one time, there was a knock at her door and her son announced himself with a call of:

"May I come in?"

"Certainly," she called back, just a bit baffled, looking up from the book she was reading.

The door opened slowly, to reveal her son, his right hand covered in dressing material.

"Oh, you poor dear," she said, flung the book aside and was instantly by her son's side. "What happened?"

Kyouya remained at the threshold of the door.

"I did something stupid and cut myself," he told the floor tiles at his feet, "Father asked me if I was a stupid boy."

"I sure he didn't mean it," she said and her hands reached for him, hungrily and selfishly.

Kyouya looked up and the edges of Yoshio in his gaze halted her hands.

"I told him I wasn't," he let his mother know, "I told him I was an Ootori."

Then, without ever stepping into the room, he turned around, and left her to watch his retreating small frame, her arms still frozen in midair.

Kyouya never came unannounced into his mother's room again.

Yoshio, on the other hand, did.

The same evening Kyouya had knocked at her door, Yoshio's hands desired skin and, true to their contract, she gave it to him.

When they lay there together and no one stood up right away, a rare occurrence, her husband told her without prelude:

"He is quite intelligent. His marks are excellent, of course nothing his brothers hadn't achieved before him."

She shut her eyes close very, very tightly.

Leaning forward, like a lover might breathe caresses into a woman's limbs, Yoshio whispered into his wife's ears:

"The boy may yet hold some value."

"He is mine," she whispered back.

Her husband rose from the bed and left.

But from then on, along with dinner, Kyouya had orders of 'befriend that boy',' get to know this girl' and make connections, connections, connections.

By the time she couldn't stand another word and stopped attending family dinners, Kyouya was thirteen and confident and brilliant and wore smiles the same way he wore clothes.

"Yes," he said to his sister at her wedding, dressed in a suit, a smile and polite words, "It was quite a delightful ceremony."

"Quite," Fuyumi agreed, dressed in her wedding garb, a lack of expression and words slipped away from her memory.

"I won't be able to come home very often," she unexpectedly blurted, suddenly plenty of expression on her face.

"I know," Kyouya said and changed out of his smile and into something completely different for but a second.

They stared at each other.

Smiles were slipped on again, wrinkles ironed out of expressions.

Minutely, perhaps out of coincident, their hands brushed.

Then, they parted, Fuyumi intent on finding her husband, Kyouya intent on making connections.

From the sidelines, a mother watched, weighed down by a designer's dress, and knew she had sacrificed half of her daughter to marriage politics.

Later, much later, as they were on their way home, in the back of a limousine, Kyouya asked his mother the question least polite of them all.

"Do you love father?"

She looked at Kyouya looking out the car window and still saw enough child, her child and her child alone, to be unable to not answer him.

"Sometimes," she said and her hand forced herself on his, the only way he would give her his touches now, "Most of the time I just owe him."

Her son didn't stop looking out the window, didn't stop smiling and as the sunlight gleamed off his glasses, he may or may not have given a nod in response.

All of a sudden, before her eyes, what she could see of her child slipped out of her memory.

Her fingers bore into the flesh of his right hand.

Kyouya didn't react.

There may or may not have been wetness on her cheeks in response.

A search was taken up for a child and she searched, searched and searched and searched some more.

By the time she believed she found him again, Kyouya was fifteen and handsome and perfect and fulfilled everyone's expectations.

So, when Yoshio told him, along dinner, to make friends with the Suou heir, he did.

Restlessly, her son would wander around the house and, always on the search, she followed him and was rewarded by every mutter of:

"He is a moron."

Or: "I don't get him."

Or: "He is a naïve idiot."

She would smile and soak up his words feverishly and nod at the places he expected her to.

Problem was, when, all too soon, he stopped his pacing, looked up at her and told her:

"I don get him"

And: "He is a moron."

And: "He is a naïve idiot."

Yet, the smile he slipped unto his face with those words was the smile of a child coming into her room unannounced.

She didn't smile back, but she clung to his word desperately and nodded even though he didn't expect her to.

By then, Kyouya was nearly sixteen and even more handsome and not as perfect and exceeded everyone's expectations.

Possibly even those of Yoshio, because, one evening, her husband climbed unto her bed the same way his hands then proceeded to climb unto her.

"What do you want?" she asked, her voice barely above a whisper, her frame not even trembling.

"Our youngest son," he told her and she didn't feel something like dread clutch in her stomach, because, by now, it did all the time. "The child seems quite intent on proving his surely invaluable worth, lately."

She didn't tell him he was hers.

But she kept her eyes open and rolled away from him.

Her husband's hands didn't follow her, like she had anticipated they wouldn't, since it was likely that this time, there would be breach of contract.

Likely, her life now consisted of likely.

Maybe, possible and probable soon joined in.

It was likely she wasn't spotted much around the house anymore, and very possible she didn't see her son any longer and also quite probable she was avoiding talking to her husband.

By the time she herself wasn't sure about which things she did, and which she didn't;

Kyouya was seventeen and scheming and had secrets and sometimes she suspected his smiles to be real.

As everything was so likely as of then, it was quite possible she dropped into his room, all the time, completely unannounced.

Probably she didn't.

Instead, like she was doing right now, she might have knocked and called: "May I come in?"

"Do as you please," her son answered.

So, she could have opened the door to find him sitting at his laptop, a tower of homework at his left, a tower of documents at his right.

She didn't enter, perhaps looking around the room, maybe at her son.

"The last time I was in here," she remarked to her son or the room, "I may have seen pictures of a girl on your desk."

Kyouya adjusted his glasses, his concentration shifting between her and the screen before him. "It's likely you could have."

"Ah…" She cocked her head to the right or left. "Is it possible I will see more of her around here?"

He didn't stop in his tipping, but, the lights gleaming off his glasses, he seemed to look at her, through her, and she knew he was scheming. "You might, at that, mother."

She recoiled and took a step backwards into the floor.

Mother, she thought, she was a mother so long now she couldn't remember what it had been like to be a mama.

All of a sudden, she had a craving for something definite, something absolute and so she gazed distinctly at her son. "How do you know her?"

"A school acquaintance, clearly," Kyouya said without missing a beat.

Her craving not satisfied, she waited.

"She is in debt to the Host Club," he elaborated with a sigh and hidden in his tone was the preamble of a contract.

Yet, as Yoshio Ootori's wife, she knew a deal when she heard one.

"Oh," she said, staring at all the documents surrounding Kyouya and noticed that her cheek were dry and the dryness was staining her eyes and just wouldn't start being not dry.

Dread dropped out of her stomach, slipped out of her mind and gave way to tired weariness.

"I am not feeling well," she let him know, because she knew, any loophole that there might have been had without doubt long since closed up. "I will lie down for some time."

Then, without ever stepping into his room, she turned around, and left him to watch the screen of his laptop, her mind still frozen in realization.

She never came into his room again.

Into Yoshio's, on the other hand, she did.

The same night she had knocked at Kyouya's door, she awaited a negotiation of terms on her husband's bed.

The moment Yoshio stepped into the room, her voice rose to speak aloud what she knew Kyouya had desired to hear since he had thrown glances across a dinner table in vain.

"He is your son," she whispered and her tone was not quite anything, just like the expression on her face, "All yours."

Yoshio lay down next to her and something was in the way his hands almost not quite definitely held her close.

Both closed their eyes, leaned forward and brushed mouth against mouth, the termination of a contract.

Surrounded by not quite anything and not quite definitely something, she kept her eyes closed as tightly as possible and gave up her fourth child, all hers, to Yoshio, the name of Ootori and the burden of ambition.