Tamaki-style Dedication: To the lovely and oh so very talented – you simply must look at her lovely art! She's a Michelangelo! A Rafael! – Bagsybabe on the date at which she becomes a quarter of a century old and still as lovely ad the freshest breeze of spring! The following is dedicated to her lovely personage with greatest affection and devotion in lieu of sadly malformed drawings containing wonderful products of patisseries and writing in sugary concoctions…
Translation: Happy 25th Bagysbabe! I'm giving you fic because I cannot draw worth beans. Sorry for the lateness.
Warnings: Spoilers for Tamaki's family background (as per the usual) and OC usage. Oh, gratuitous fluff sometimes, as well.
Disclaimer: Nope, don't own it.
A Lovely Veneer: A Life in Five Scenes
It was a truth almost universally acknowledged that Suou Tamaki shone far brighter in the realm of all that was impractical and abstract than anything composed of rather pesky facts.
Facts are, of course, such horrible things.
Indeed, his father was surprised whenever his rather silly boy did anything practical.
But, by this time Suou Yuzuru had fairly resigned himself to the fact that only one practical thing would ever come of his son's college days.
As it stood now, any of his subtle suggestions that a business course or two might do him well were obliviously ignored.
At first, he started as a cultural anthropology major…but a mandate to "follow hypertext links to their source" – and indeed, the rather…voluminous source all internet links happen to lead to – scarred him into a brief stint as a graphics design specialist.
Tamaki, however, was appalled to find that stylized stick figures just wouldn't do.
Yuzuru then suggested to him that, perhaps an economics class or even an international business relations course might prove to be enlightening and mentally invigorating…however, he said this half-heartedly, knowing that if his silly son's head wasn't in the clouds at an altitude where he could at least observe low flying jets, he simply would not be happy.
So, as Tamaki did a rather abbreviated stint in studying biology – he wanted to know more about the heart…however, capillaries and blood vessels were not his…ideal version of what he pictured he would be learning. After learning about bacteria and going through a brief hypochondriac phase as a result, he changed yet again.
In fact, the longest duration he spent in any one academic concentration was in the study of literature.
One day, Yuzuru was incredibly amused when, one day at lunch, Tamaki paced across the room complaining of a midterm assignment and, plucking up a copy of Pride and Prejudice, began declaiming, "Jane Austen – that wondrous writer of fine novels featuring the marriage plot ad nauseum and the fine novelist who has elevated Mr. Darcy to the ideal symbol which all gentleman of the upper-class, myself included, must aspire to be in order to attain the hand of many fair Elizabeth Bennets throughout the world – is an incredibly vexing writer on whom one must write a paper of such a scanty length – a true pittance of pages! – in such a precariously and ridiculously short amount of time!"
However delightful and instructional Tamaki found the world of Mr. Darcy and Mr. Knightley, his fascination with literature ground to a halt with the mere utterance of a rather pedantic phrase.
"When looking at most novels we must realize that the happy ending is an artificial construct. Novels give us this definite end and give us a wonderful myth that everything will turn out perfectly, romantically, and, as with Ms. Austen's books, many things are wrapped up rather hastily to produce this…How plausible is it that her heroines can always be happy and rich?"
This was something Tamaki would simply not have. He, indeed, rather thought that such a statement lacked any semblance of imagination and perhaps was caused by a lack of romance and her donning of rather manly clothes…
However, with the speed of an arrow, he changed his academic specialty to education and. in an act of defiance, moved all of his Austen novels to the second shelf. However, when his books kept falling in on each other in such a disorderly manner that his Type-A personality couldn't possibly take for any extended duration, with a dramatic sigh, he moved them back.
The romantic happy ending was a veritable staple of existence. He told his father so on one of their lunch dates.
Yuzuru, of course, laughed…much to his son's mortification.
But he would learn. If anything, his one staple of practicality would teach him.
She always brought the silly boy crashing back down to earth when he went too far into the clouds for his own good.
It was something that no one would ever let Tamaki live down.
Something inexpressibly embarrassing…
Something almost, well, criminal…however, by its very nature Tamaki could not so much as protest for one single minute. Nor a second. Not even the barest fraction of a part of a second.
…such was a veritable sin against everything sacred and wonderful and exquisite and certainly eloquent – and when he added these last two to his litany, he was certainly thinking of himself – but despite all of his distinctly fluffy and self – approbating words to the contrary…the entire situation was simply…unconventional.
If any word could be used to describe the entire affair it had to be "unconventional." But there's no use tossing metaphors at it until something sticks…
Upon his announcement of this particular news…and its manner of coming about…his friends greeted him with a variety of responses.
Hikaru and Kaoru, of course, guffawed quite loudly and rolled on the floor with laughter until they started crying while stuttering, "Tono, she didn't- No! No! This is too-"
However, their fragmented sentences were quite cut off as they rolled around and gasped for air.
In desperation, Tamaki had turned for comfort and solace elsewhere.
Hunny looked thoughtful at such news and said good-naturedly after a moment, "Tama-chan…I always thought you would be the one to do it…But knowing her…"
Mori grunted a "Surprising" even though his face looked just as placid as ever.
Leave it to Kyouya, however, to quantify the embarrassment.
Kyouya glanced briefly at his notebook, looked down, and said, "It seems 70 of the female population was wrong. Interesting."
The twins, however, were still laughing and saying, "Tono…we can't – can't believe, you didn't…hahahaha."
Even under the weight and duty of the occasion, Tamaki found he couldn't keep himself out of the Corner of Woe. In fact, one might say that he fairly barricaded himself into it and covered himself with a shield of doom and gloom.
This, however, merely increased the laughter and fairly self-satisfied (but still good-natured) grins at his expense from the other end of the room.
Haruhi, however, who had merely decided to observe while Tamaki did the talking…all of the talking…sighed.
"You know that he's going to go on about this all night so that he feels that his reputation is restored…or something like that."
The rest of the former Host Club nodded. Haruhi covered her face with one hand in exasperation.
"He's looking over here now, isn't he."
Kyouya, confirmed this, eliciting another sigh and a mumbled, "So troublesome…" from her.
"Well," said Hikaru, standing up and dusting off a shoulder, his composure found, at last, "We long ago found – "
Kaoru had also picked himself up and went about straightening his clothing, " – If you don't look at Tono's eyes -"
They jointly plopped down onto the room's couch and - with dramatic flourish -both finished, "There's no way he can influence anyone with that kicked puppy look of his. But I suppose anyone would look like that if he was a so-called king who had been de-throned."
If at all possible, Tamaki's corner had grown more dark and oppressive in the wake of this particular comment.
Haruhi rolled her eyes, not really understanding what the big deal about this whole thing was.
"Haru-chan," Hunny finally said, "How did it happen?"
At this, Tamaki's ears perked up and he began to wander over…doing a fairly accurate impression of a crab as he did so.
"Well," began Haruhi with so little enthusiasm that it seemed rather anticlimactic, "We were talking."
Everyone – but Kyouya who was scribbling something or other and Tamaki, who was still sulking – nodded in encouragement.
"And Senpai mentioned that it would be the fifth year that we have been dating for…in a month, I believe."
She thought to herself that Tamaki had been much more long-winded, but she decided to spare her audience.
And, anyway, Tamaki had already sprung up and was now verbally haranguing her for being so general as to the date when he first confessed and was now recounting their entire romantic history with numbers of extreme precision.
However, Haruhi merely ignored it – she didn't really care when the first time was that they had accidentally shared an indirect kiss because he had mistakenly imbibed her beverage rather than his own – and went on with her account of the incident at hand.
"And I merely said that that was a long time and perhaps we should get married."
At this rather succinct summation of the entire embarrassing debacle, the twins once again began howling with laughter.
"Some King…Tono couldn't even ask her…"
After putting a large fork full of cake into his mouth Hunny said, thoughtfully, "Perhaps, Haru-chan got used to being a boy."
The Hitachiin twins then went on to make a very long and unsavory joke about how Haruhi was bound to wear the pants in that relationship…however, they went so far that Tamaki – blushing furiously and, all the while incurring more laughter - ran after them exclaiming something to the effect of "It takes a true gentleman to accept a proposal of such a magnitude from a lady such as my Haruhi! Indeed, no elaborate and ostentatious act of wonderment would have sufficed to show my lovely daughter - " Here Haruhi frowned and commented how she might rethink things if he continued to call her that. Tamaki patently ignored this quip. " - These feelings within me that can only be rendered up to the blushing ivory goddess of love herself who is but a shadow of the beauty on my love's face!"
As Tamaki stopped and paused for breath before he continued to vindicate himself, Kyouya surreptitiously looked at his watch, snapped his binder closed and said, "Well, Tamaki, I personally believe that this beginning shall be rather indicative of marital relationship."
In the barest minimum of seconds, Tamaki found himself back in his accustomed corner.
Indeed, Suou Tamaki would never live down the travesty of having been proposed to when he, the former King who had made hearts melt with a well-turned phrase, should, by all rights, have been the one proposing.
Some happy endings, he was learning, took a detour and ran over a few caution cones by accident before they were on course to the fairytale "happily ever after" where the wedding goes off without a hitch and all ends are tied up perfectly.
In some fairytales, he decided, the princesses woefully usurped the prince's domain.
iii. Rising Action
"The alphabet!" He cried from he front of the classroom, basking in the excited cries that came after his exclamation and rubbing glasses smudged with a fair degree of bright pink finger paint on his shirt while gesturing at irregular intervals, "That wonderful concoction of letters used to make up grandiose words and wonderful phrases by which we all – as charmingly cute, if a bit petite - human beings can communicate our wonderment at the lovely veneer of life!"
As a way of staving off impoverishment within his blissfully married state – while perpetually refusing to access any of the money that his father lavishly hinted he was generously depositing within his account – Tamaki had decided to emulate the commoners whom he loved so dearly.
That was how he found himself in front of fourteen five-year-olds, wearing a stained cotton shirt (not a designer label in sight!), and asking, "Now, I want every one of my excessively splendid children to tell me a word that begins with A!"
He welled up with pride every time one of his illustrious charges exclaimed "Aardvark!" "Apple!" and "Animal!"
However, Suou-sensei quite lost the attention of his little ones when a little brunette girl with pigtails and a dress that contrasted the blush that flared on her cheeks as she stuttered "A-a-a-amour!" and Tamaki, exclaimed his praise in a long stream of French.
Finally, he came to his last student – his very favorite, although Tamaki was known to be prone to biases of such a sort - and asked with his usual brilliant smile, "And what is your word?"
The girl looked up at him seriously, blinked, and answered, "I couldn't decide between 'annuity' and 'amortization.'"
Tamaki looked back at her in a bit of confusion before cautiously asking, "A-a-amortization…?"
The girl frowned and said in her small childish voice, "I think it's to pay debts. By saving…or something. He said to ask my mother…who would know about it. I don't really remember."
Perplexed and a bit astonished that a five-year-old – and this five-year-old at that – knew this planted one hand on his hip and finger wagging asked, "Himeko-chan…just where are you learning such vocabulary?"
"Uncle Kyouya was helping me study. He said it would help you study, as well, Sensei."
The child frowned and wondered why he was flailing all over as he was.
"That is what you are, Sensei."
"You should call me your father! Because my dearly beautiful but misguided daughter, that is what I am."
She shook her head and merely restated "Right now you're sensei, Sensei. This is school, not home. You can be my father later. Mother says so."
Tamaki's eyebrow twitched as a horrific scene in which the word "senpai" echoed from the mouth of an older woman with the same colored eyes as the little girl in front of him.
He never seemed to have good luck with the S-words.
Then he recalled exactly who else had been teaching his cute little daughter…things.
"A-a-a-and what has Kyouya been teaching you?!?"
Tamaki's rather stoic daughter – completely oblivious to her father's very blatant distress – merely pit a finger to her mouth thoughtfully and responded, "Right now…international investment. Uncle Kyouya says with your spending, one day I will need it."
Listening to this conversation, Tamaki had to quiet down several innocent questions of, "Sensei, are you poor?" "My mommy can bring you food, Sensei!" before turning back to his rather passive daughter in increasing agitation.
"Why haven't you told Daddy that Kyouya says such things?"
Himeko's attention span had, by this point, almost depleted itself and she now began to draw elaborate stick figures on a piece of brightly colored construction paper before saying absently, "He told me to be discreet."
She mangled the pronunciation entirely, but said it with such confidence that, had Tamaki been anyone less than her actual father, he would not has noticed.
Tamaki cocked his head to the side and thoughtfully said, "And have you, my darling effervescent and erudite daughter, been discreet?"
Pursuing her lips together she answered, "I don't know. We haven't gotten to D yet" and went about drawing.
It was then conveniently decided that he would serve his children snacks and then go speak to Kyouya on his cell phone – and he didn't care how early in the morning it was – about his daughter's education.
"Uncle, what do you know about my great-grandmother?"
He stops at the question and at the change in conversation marked by both Haruhi and Tamaki leaving the room. In a slight action indicative of an extremely well masked nervous compulsion, he adjusts his glasses.
"That's an interesting thing to ask."
She purses her lips in an expression that says that she won't be put off like that. It's a petulance he is quite accustomed to.
"What do you know?"
He trains the look that forces so much productivity out of his employees on her. She, unfortunately, has never been made aware that she should be in any way disturbed about this.
"I've seen her picture in the paper." She says it evenly, almost completely nonchalantly. After a moment, with childish innocence, she looks back at him to see if he has been convinced.
His expression informs her that he hasn't.
"What else do you know?" He asks her, supremely unfazed.
Two can more than play at the awkward questions game that she is so fond of playing with her favorite uncle.
He nods. "And your father?"
She frowns and he knows that Tamaki's reaction is still the same.
"He says...that she is a beautiful woman."
And being very young and innocent and brought up completely out of the realm where family politics are dinnertime gossip – even for all of her innate intuition and intelligence – she doesn't understand why she has never seen this beautiful woman who her father seems to love so much.
Moreover, he realizes that she is unable to reconcile her mother's dislike with her father's words.
But, then again, other than vaguely knowing the fact that her rather doting grandfather lives in an enormous house and buys her egregiously expensive presents, she has never fully comprehended where, indeed, her father came from in the first place.
Kyouya doesn't know how to explain to Himeko that her great-grandmother hates Tamaki because he was a rich bastard in the very literal sense of the word.
Right now she only sees family and it is neither his job nor his desire to explain Tamaki to her.
She would, perhaps, understand her father in time. Or simply understand her great-grandmother like Tamaki does.
For now, he gives her a litany of facts to answer the awkward questions that she somehow knows she can't directly ask her own parents.
When he finishes she thanks him with far more words than are necessary and hugs him.
He tells her to stop, lest her idiot father come in and accuse him of stealing his precious daughter.
She giggles because she knows that is just how it would happen and hugs him all the tighter.
Kyouya finds this exceedingly awkward.
It is cheap. Dirty. Common.
…For "common" is the greatest sin - even above cheap and dirty.
She is above common. Everything she stands for has never been subjected to common. Nothing about her has ever been cheap, dirty, or common.
It is simply an affront against all strict notions of propriety.
Brushing her finger tips on the railing and seeing a dusty film come off and onto her wrinkled skin makes her smile in abject disgust.
She wonders, as she had done the entire way, how her foolish son had finally convinced her to debase herself in this manner. Rather, she signals to two black suited individuals and they accompany her as she - with slow, utterly fragile grace – ascends the stairs to the second floor of the apartment complex.
Arriving at a number indicated by her son's ridiculously arabesque writing, she knocks without the slightest hint of hesitation.
However, in doing so part of her immediately wishes that she might turn back now, say that she has done her utmost and that anything more is simply out of the question.
Unfortunately, within there is an affronting cacophony of giggling and a long-winded and familiar sounding apology.
The door opens and a man with rather tousled hair wearing a shirt splotched with several different colors looks out at her. For a moment, there is no recognition of who she is. But slowly – she can see it in those offensively bright eyes of his – the gravity of her presence dawns on him.
Her grandson. The one with such delicate features reminding her perpetually where he came from. And moreover where he did not come from.
And yet, still, unfortunately, her only grandson.
Not the heir to her empire. She has seen to that when he had decided to become common.
But her foolish son had convinced her to pay one visit. Only one last visit to her foolish son's son.
The boy sweeps the door aside with a flourish and immediately offers her an offensive arm to help her into an armchair within the interior of the impossibly cramped house.
He leaves with a long-winded promise of bringing her tea for his "beloved Grandmother who has taken the pains to come see him!"
Suddenly she notices the room's other inhabitant, a young girl about six years old. With no regard for introductions, she sits and examines her as if she is a porcelain doll. Sure enough, there is the delicate and fine boning of her face lurking beneath all of the pigments that announce her ethnic heritage.
The taint of her blood has been passed down.
"Come here," she snaps regally.
The girl blinkingly complies. That same offensive brightness in her eyes not in the least bit extinguished by the harsh tone in her voice.
"Who are you?" she asks the little girl.
Without a bit of hesitation at being ordered so by a stranger, she bows deeply and says, "I am Suou Himeko, honored great-grandmother. I am pleased to meet you at last."
Then the creature smiles at her. It is not a common smile in the least. Nor is her formality in the least common.
She obviously has a breeding that is superior to the station her father has sunk her to.
Somewhere, something becomes nicely rationalized and pieces fall into place.
Moreover, it dawns on her exactly what she was referred to as. The little girl – absent for any sort of introduction that her fool of a father made for her – knew exactly who she was.
"How do you know me?"
The girl looks surprised at this question and than gestures to a picture on the table next to her. She is surprised to see an image of herself with Yuzuru standing there. In this house. Framed by that boy.
"My father always says that his grandmother is very beautiful," she says.
This young girl does not speak with any of the polite niceties that she normally encounters. It is with an unaffected earnestness. A candidness that is usually lacking in the people who tell her such things.
"Beautiful…?" She says under her breath. Not meant to be heard by anyone but herself.
The little girl, fidgeting with a ribbon in her hair, says, "Yes. I can see that you both look a little alike."
She would have retorted that such a thing was highly unlikely that they bore the slightest resemblance to one another had her grandson not crashed into the scene with a ridiculously doting cry of, "Grandmother, I have brewed the most wonderful brand of tea – it is a delicacy of the common folk! A veritable wonder of commoner ingenuity! Full of the most exquisite flavors and nutrients!"
With a curt "I very much doubt that" she haughtily took the proffered cup and barely wet her lips with it before setting down on the crowded table to her side and not picking it up again for the duration of her visit.
In his excitement at seeing his grandmother, Tamaki has quite forgotten his daughter's presence in the room and spotting her, says "Himeko-chan! Come and sit next to your daddy! Have you introduced yourself to your great-grandmother?"
"Of course," she says and sits down on the proffered lap.
How quaint, the Suou Matriarch thinks, eyeing the scene. How very quaint.
"I do not see…your wife." She states in measured, judgmental tones.
Utterly oblivious to the note of disdain and critique in her voice, Tamaki responds absently, "Ah! She is in court today…something about a labor dispute at a bakery chain…"
"And you just stay here?"
"School is over for today, so Daddy is home" Himeko supplies happily.
Tamaki laughs nervously and scratches his head while responding, "I teach pre-school. But my lovely and bright children go home in the early afternoon because they get tired and a bit cranky."
For the hundredth time since sitting in the room she wonders how this boy could possibly be related to her.
Observing that he is waiting for an answer of some kind she simply says, "I see. So that is what you've been doing."
An awkward silence passes between them for a few minutes. In the midst of it, Himeko's attention span wanes and she wanders off to her own room to read a picture book of some sort, her own Kuma-chan in tow.
"It's good to see you again, Grandmother."
The boy's sentence is quiet. There is not even a hint of a lie or flattery in it.
She looked up at him and said very purposefully, "Your father would like you to come back to our business. It would please me –" this part particularly pained her, so she stopped short in the middle of it. But she had promised her son this one point. "- It would please me to see that the family's holdings remain within the family upon my death."
Tamaki looks up at her with...compassion and smiles slowly.
"I'm honored, Grandmother, but I must say that I have to decline such a lavishly generous offer."
"There's no need to be a modest fool. It is obvious," she looks scornfully at her surroundings, "that you are in need of money to improve your current position."
Tamaki chuckles quietly, mindful of his daughter in the next room, remembering a time he had thought just like that.
"It was never about the money, Grandmother."
"Than what," she says rather snippily, "is it about?"
He looks thoughtful for a moment, "Happiness. Yours just may look a bit different from mine, however."
She laughs a bit at that. It is not entirely good-natured laughter. "Still an optimistic fool, I see."
"But a happy fool," he says gallantly.
Tamaki hopes that for once, she does.
Yuzuru looked in on her when she entered into the Main Mansion again, well aware of where she had just come from.
"Did you make your peace?"
She shot him a withering frown. "I don't believe I need peace such as that."
However, as she walked back to her room, Yuzuru swore he saw a faint shadow of a smile as she muttered something to herself.
When she died a month later of the cancer she had recently been diagnosed with, Yuzuru was glad that she had finally been convinced to see Tamaki just one more time.
Because he knew that even in her toughest of hearts, some guilt might linger.
And Yuzuru knew that his son would never have forgiven himself for such a thing.
After all of these years, Suou Tamaki still believed in happy endings.
Perhaps they took a less straightforward route than he ever imagined they would, but they did, in fact, exist.
Sometimes you just had to look at your own life and decide these are the veritably unconventional things that simply exude a pronounced degree of happiness and take them.
Indeed, he always imagined himself to be walking about romantically along the beach with his wife on the anniversary of the day in which they contracted to remain together in a state of matrimonial bliss after a dinner in which they ate the highest quality of French cuisine while dressed rather dapperly in silk and dripping in diamonds.
That sort of ending made him laugh a bit to himself now.
He had certainly never pictured himself in a Commoner's apartment surrounded by the soft glow of bright halogen lights eating ramen for his wedding anniversary dinner.
Nor did he imagine his lovely Haruhi wearing a rather manly suit – "It's comfortable" she quipped unapologetically when he had half-heartedly asked her if she wanted to change into something else – or threatening both Hitachiin twins with swift legal action if they taught her daughter anything she might disagree with while they were gone for the evening.
He thought over all of this as they rode the train to the nearest cinema – he had never quite lost his passion for the commoner's institution of movie going.
"Tamaki," Haruhi said, eyeing him with a small smile, "You're far too quiet for an occasion like this."
"See? You should have been ranting about what to do about 'the unsavory doppelgangers' if they did anything to your precious Himeko or obnoxiously ruminating about how I wouldn't wear the cute dress that you picked out from my wardrobe and that you probably bought for me anyways at some point to this occasion."
Tamaki blanched in the face of his wife's customary brutal honesty, but quickly recovered.
"Would it be better if I simply told you how lovely my most precious wife looks upon the evening of the memory of our first day of wedded bliss?"
Haruhi brushed what she saw as an exaggerated comment off with a wave of her hand.
"You could just tell me what you're thinking."
Tamaki blinked at her and said suavely, "That was a part of what I was thinking of."
She merely responded by rolling her eyes.
"...And I was thinking that I never expected things to work out like this."
She raised an eyebrow, "Just how did you think it would work out?"
He merely smiled at her and brushed off the question with an entire litany of eloquently turned phrases before stating, "It doesn't really matter…I think this way is better."
Haruhi's protest was summarily cut off when he took her hand and dragged her out onto the station's platform, happy just to be happy.
That was enough for him.
A/N: Wooot! It is done at last! I am sorry for the sake of bagsybabe that it took so long. So now, the structure…set up with the chapter names as basic story elements (I was feeling in a very meta-ish mood, I suppose). The first part is chockfull of Jane Austen allusions…if you get all of them, I'll be impressed.
And, just so you know, bagsybabe, I totally stuck your blushing presence into part iii.
Yes. All of part iv is in present tense except that last bit. Writing experimentation of my behalf….I wanted it to be like…active memory. That part had me stuck for a long time, too. Suou-sama's voice is hard to pin down.
Other than this, this became a random place to put all my cracktastic ideas that didn't entirely make a whole fic and that painted an entire picture of a lot of lives while using Tamaki's as a jumping off point.
Oh. There's fluff too. The fluff never gets easy, I don't think.
…Next stop courtship fic. Dear me…I like future fic…why?!?!? 3
Love and sparkles for your enjoyment!