The third music room was a flurry of noise, motion, and brightly-colored fabric, which wasn't much different from any pre-Host Club activities costume-donning session except for the fact that this one included wigs and makeup. Kyouya tugged at the sleeve of his dress and sighed. It wasn't that it didn't fit right, or that it was uncomfortable, because it fit perfectly and it didn't itch or anything, and it wasn't that it was purple (honestly, Kyouya rather liked purple, and it looked good on him) or even that it was unflattering, because the Hitachiin twins had a way of making anything look good on anyone, even if it was a dress on someone distinctly un-female. It was just that, well, it was a dress. Kyouya, as a rule, did not wear dresses. He wore pants. Pants made for men.
This, Kyouya thought to himself as he looked around the room at the myriad tiny wardrobe-related disasters occurring simultaneously, is exactly the sort of thing that would get me disowned if my father were here. He silently thanked whoever might be there to receive his prayers that his father was not, in fact, present, and attempted to sit down in the chair behind him.
"Kyouya-senpai!" Kaoru shouted, waving frantically at him from across the room (effectively toppling Honey-senpai, whom he had been supporting while the older boy tugged on his left stocking), and ran toward him with his skirt hiked up to avoid tripping over it. "Don't sit down! You'll wrinkle the dress!"
Kyouya remained standing, muttering darkly under his breath about what he would rather do to the dress and whose face he would like to put a permanent wrinkle in. Kaoru reached him and readjusted the skirt, smoothing it out with practiced hands. "Tono will be upset if you ruin your pretty outfit," he said teasingly, but took a wary step back when Kyouya clenched his hands into fists.
"Kao-chan!" Honey-senpai called, voice high and distressed, and waved helplessly at Kaoru with a blonde wig. "I need help!"
Kaoru lifted his skirt off the floor again with one hand and used the other to wag a warning finger at Kyouya before departing to assist Honey-senpai with his wig, and Kyouya was left alone once again. He sighed, glancing back longingly at the chair. High heels, he had recently discovered, were murder on the ankles. Suddenly the mental image of Haruhi tottering uncertainly in her fancy shoes at the last dance party was significantly less funny.
"Glasses, Kyouya-senpai," Hikaru said, approaching him with the makeup kit that had moments earlier been tasked with making Tamaki look like a cheap hooker (not that he seemed to mind, Kyouya thought bitterly, watching the Host Club president swirl his skirt in fascination). "I can't do your eyes with those things on."
"I don't see why it is necessary to 'do' my eyes if no one is able to see them behind my glasses," Kyouya pointed out, coolly. He had to draw the line somewhere, after all. Hikaru made a face at him that was probably meant to disapproving but only came off as comical behind the layers of lipstick and rouge.
"Fine. Everyone can still see your lips, though," he added, and grinned in triumph as he rooted through the kit in search of some vile concoction that Kyouya had already determined would not be touching his mouth. Hikaru glanced up at the look of firm disdain on Kyouya's face and matched it with one of his own. Then he smiled. "Tono will be so disappointed if you don't look the part," he taunted, and a vein in Kyouya's forehead twitched violently, but he sighed in defeat.
As he allowed Hikaru to paint his lips with something plum-colored and tasting of wax, Kyouya scanned the room. Honey-senpai was fully dressed and doing experimental twirls, tossing his bunny doll into the air and catching it. Tamaki was just done putting on his own wig and was checking his reflection in a mirror, striking poses and batting his eyes at himself. Kaoru was holding various dresses up to Mori-senpai, who was standing silent and patient and watching Honey-senpai out of the corner of his eye. Eventually, Kaoru threw up his hands in defeat and yanked what appeared to be some sort of marching band costume from the back of the closet.
"There!" Hikaru announced, stepping back to admire his work. "Wow, Kyouya-senpai, you make a better girl than Honey-senpai does," he declared, genuinely impressed, and ran off cackling when Kyouya gave him a patented icy glare of death.
Kyouya closed his eyes and counted to ten, taking deep breaths to calm himself and doing a poor job of it simply because the air smelled like the perfume that Kaoru had sprayed on him when his guard was down. When he opened his eyes, Tamaki was there, smiling like the sun and looking at Kyouya like that smile was only for him, just like he always did, whether or not he was in a dress and makeup and a wig, and it helped. It made the stewing disgruntlement dissipate just slightly. Kyouya sighed.
"What is it, Tamaki."
"I just wanted to see if you were done getting dressed, Mom," Tamaki said, leaning back to look at him.
"You look pretty!" Tamaki said, and for a split second rage roiled dangerously close to the surface of Kyouya's calm façade, but then he realized that Tamaki was serious. He wasn't making fun of Kyouya; he was complimenting him. Kyouya's fury wilted, replaced by the standard mixture of mild annoyance and unbidden fondness that accompanied Tamaki's presence.
"So do you," Kyouya remarked, lips twitching into a half-smile. Honestly, Tamaki looked like an over-enthusiastic female clown, but the compliment made Tamaki light up like fireworks, so it was a harmless lie.
"Tono!" the twins shouted from the corner, where they and Honey-senpai were standing around a slightly wary Mori-senpai, who was now in costume.
"What should we do with Mori-senpai?" Kaoru asked.
"We couldn't figure out how to make him look like a girl," Hikaru added.
Tamaki stood straight and made an L under his chin with his thumb and forefinger, examining the decidedly non-feminine senior with a critical eye. Then he pointed one finger to the ceiling and announced "He needs feathers."
"Yes, sir!" the twins replied, saluting, and dove into the costume closet while Mori-senpai looked on with a worried expression. Seconds later, they emerged holding something…well, it was certainly feathery, whatever it was. They attached it to the back of Mori-senpai's jacket and jumped back to look him over.
He still looked like a boy, but with something large and fluffy stuck to him. Kyouya forced down a momentary pang of "it's not fair" juvenility at the fact that Mori-senpai got to wear pants and he did not.
"Here, Takashi," Honey-senpai announced, emerging from the prop closet with a tambourine. "Use this!"
Mori-senpai dutifully accepted the tambourine, stared at it for a second or two, and then shook it. It jangled loudly. Honey-senpai clapped in approval. "That will have to do," Tamaki said with an official sort of nod.
This decided, Mori-senpai set about learning how to properly use a tambourine, much to Honey-senpai's entertainment, and the twins stood before each other like reflections in a mirror and put the finishing touches on each others' makeup.
"This is going to be great," Tamaki told Kyouya, smiling proudly. Kyouya only shook his head, wondering why on earth he had agreed to this. Tamaki's face fell. "You don't like it, do you?"
"Tamaki, I am in a dress," Kyouya said plainly. "Ask me how I feel about your inane plans when I am wearing pants again."
Tamaki only laughed, loud and bright, and leaned in to kiss Kyouya's cheek. "Mmm," he murmured, lingering next to his ear. "You smell nice."
"Blame Kaoru," Kyouya replied. Tamaki laughed, quietly, and pressed his lips to the place next to Kyouya's ear. He shivered. "You're getting lipstick on me."
"It comes off," said Tamaki, and kissed the spot right beside the left corner of Kyouya's mouth. He pulled back a bit and looked into Kyouya's eyes as if asking permission. Why does he always do that, Kyouya wondered, when he knows the answer will always be yes? He leaned forward himself and caught Tamaki's bottom lip in his teeth, just to hear him gasp in surprise that shouldn't have been there because he should know by now that I never ask permission. He swiped his tongue along Tamaki's lip– it tasted, unpleasantly, of lipstick– and then into his mouth, which just tasted like tea and whatever he had for lunch. Two seconds, that was all it ever took, and Tamaki was kissing him back, lips made slippery by lipstick and teeth clacking together slightly and there were hands on Kyouya's shoulders, just as one of his was on Tamaki's waist and the other was on his neck, and then–
"Hey, Tono! Kyouya-senpai!" the twins chorused in unison. Kyouya pulled back and glared at them, while Tamaki turned and raised an eyebrow in inquiry.
"Not that we aren't enjoying the lesbian love-fest," Hikaru said, grinning like a cat.
"But we're on in three minutes," Kaoru added, with a mocking smile.
"And besides, now you need your lipstick redone," Hikaru amended solemnly.
"Oh, I forgot all about that," Tamaki said apologetically, touching his bottom lip with one finger and examining it fretfully.
Kaoru descended upon the Host Club president with a tube of violently red lipstick, snickering as he did, and Hikaru headed for Kyouya while digging through the bag.
"Kaoru, I can't find the plum lipstick!" he lamented.
"Use this!" Honey-senpai exclaimed, tugging on Kyouya's skirt and handing him a purple, feathery fan.
"Ah, good idea, Honey-senpai!" Kaoru said.
"Just hold it in front of your face if Haruhi gets close enough to see," Hikaru said, and Honey-senpai nodded.
Kyouya stared at the fan, and then at Tamaki, who nodded expectantly. He sighed and opened the fan, holding it in front of his face.
"Good, Kyouya-senpai!" the twins exclaimed. Mori-senpai, behind them, nodded in approval.
"Okay, everyone get in position!" Tamaki announced, pointing at the general vicinity of the spot they would be occupying. Everyone obediently situated themselves, posing as planned. Kyouya rolled his eyes at the absurdity of the situation, but silently appreciated the aplomb with which it was pulled off. It was decent planning, for Tamaki.
Just as the lights went down, Tamaki leaned back and looked up at Kyouya's shielded eyes and the fan that covered the lower half of his face. "I like it," he whispered, smiling. "It makes you look mysterious."
Kyouya rolled his eyes again as Tamaki turned back, but smiled to himself, experiencing that oh-so familiar combination of exasperation and affection that Tamaki inspired in him. I'll never be a mystery to you, will I? he thought, as the door handle began to turn. No matter what I'm wearing.