Cupid Wears Glasses
Kyoya and Tamaki had given the orders in the Host Club, and for the most part, the others had listened. Even after they'd left, they still had the power to call their friends to action whether it be with a snap of Tamaki's fingers or a pointed statement from Kyoya's lips.
That was the reason why Haruhi was sitting in front of the former Shadow King of the Host Club, despite having been interrupted from a rigorous study session for a midterm she had the next day. Without a doubt, she looked like someone who had been studying nonstop for a week. There were dark circles under her eyes, her hair stuck up around her head in tufts and she was wearing an outfit reminiscent of the one she'd worn on that fateful day when an 80,000 yen vase had sealed her destiny with a group of bored, good-looking rich kids. In short, without a uniform to guide her wardrobe, she'd let clean laundry and proximity to whatever was lying around dictate what she was wearing on any given day.
In contrast, Kyoya was sleek and shiny, every aspect of his appearance chosen with calculated care. He sat with an easy grace, his legs crossed at the knee, and one arm leaning on the back of his seat. His inky black hair didn't dare deviate from the style he'd chosen for it, a few strands falling over his forehead but never into his eyes. The plain green button-down shirt and expensive pair of designer jeans he wore oozed a casualness that, despite all his posturing, their owner did not.
They stared at each other, both thinking that the other was a perfect example of what they never wanted to look like.
"Kyoya-senpai," Haruhi said, her voice taking on that flat tone that meant her patience was beginning to fray at the ends. "I hate to rush you but I've still got one more chapter of Japanese history to review."
With deliberate ease of movement, Kyoya picked up his coffee cup and brought it to his lips, taking a slow sip before putting it down on the table. Haruhi's eyebrow twitched, not escaping his notice. He'd lured her out for more than a cup of coffee, but he was going to take his time about it. He'd waited this long to have this talk with her, so a few more minutes wouldn't hurt; it would make her reaction that much more enjoyable.
"I apologize for interrupting your valuable time," Kyoya said with enough sweetness to make Haruhi instinctively lean away form him. "I know how important your grades are for your university scholarship. I'll try to keep this brief."
Haruhi waited for him to go on, but instead, he picked up his coffee again and drank, seeming to savor every drop that hit his tongue. She gritted her teeth.
"Where's Tamaki?" she asked, glancing around as if expecting him to pop out of thin air and throw his arms around her.
"I see he's not Tamaki-senpai anymore," Kyoya observed idly. "He's helping yet another befuddled student with her French homework. He might be the busiest teaching assistant in the history of the French department."
Not to Kyoya's surprise, Haruhi frowned.
"I hope he's not forgetting to study for his own classes," she muttered.
"With Tamaki's natural intelligence, he doesn't need as much time as some people."
Haruhi snorted and rotated her cup with her fingertips. She didn't look too happy about that news, but again, Kyoya wasn't surprised; few things about his favorite pair of clueless, repetitive, idiot koi rarely surprised him these days. That was mainly why it was time to stir the waters a bit. He didn't like leaving his fingerprints on anything, but he was willing to risk it for a good cause—to keep things interesting.
"I actually called you here to talk to you about Tamaki," Kyoya finally said, lifting his hand from his cup and clasping his hands on the table. "I believe it's time that you two part ways."
"Tamaki's future is still uncertain, not so long as his grandmother considers him to be nothing more than his father's most visible mistake. In order for him to change her opinion, he must start acting like the heir he's supposed to be by making an advantageous match with one of the many heiresses who have made his acquaintance," he explained patiently. "Interestingly enough, many of them switched over to the French department once they learned that Tamaki was the assistant teacher. Imagine that."
The longer Kyoya spoke, the darker Haruhi's expression became. Crossing his arms over his chest, Kyoya patiently waited for the explosion.
"What does that have to do with me? I'm not going out of my way to prevent him from dating anyone he wants to," she groused. "Besides, the days of the Host Club are over, and I repaid my debt a long time ago, so I don't think you have any right to tell me what to do."
"As your friend and his friend, I do. You don't have to do anything in particular to keep him from dating. The fact of the matter is, he's in love with you," Kyoya said, in the same tone he used to order a cup of coffee or another round of otoro.
Haruhi stared at him as if he'd grown a second head.
"Since the depth of your feelings for him are currently unknown or perhaps undecided, it would be safe to say that at the very least, you consider him one of your closest friends," he continued. "If this is true, you'd only want the best for him. Isn't that right, Haruhi?"
Kyoya had hoped that Haruhi had some clue of Tamaki's feelings for her, but judging from her expression, she was even less aware than Tamaki himself. She was more emotionally retarded than he'd expected, but Kyoya was sure her system was in dire need of a good jolt anyway.
"Tamaki is charming, handsome, and intelligent," he said. "Most people would use these facets of their personality to their advantage: acquiring more riches, more power, and more everything. However, Tamaki isn't the kind of person to take advantage of others to meet those particularly cold, selfish ends, especially if it means other people have to sacrifice something in order to do it. Without the wealth of the Suo family, he'll be nothing more than a beautiful..."
"Commoner?" Haruhi supplied, glaring at him with enough venom to make him straighten a little in his seat.
"He's majoring in art history with a minor in concert performance. While there is no doubt that he is a gifted pianist, can you see much of a future in his choice of subjects? He is taking his future for granted, pursuing only what makes him happy. He's destined for greater things, and if he were to become head of the Suo Group, a lot of good will come out of it."
"I've never heard you say that many nice things about Tamaki in one breath."
"Despite what others may think—and sometimes what I think—I hold Tamaki in high regard. He's one of those rare people who are truly good and pure, who have that rare gift to make others happy with little more than a word and a smile. It's unfortunate that his tunnel vision prevents him from realizing he can't live life exactly the way he wants to, but that's where I come in. If I don't look out for his best interests, no one else will."
"He can't be in love with me," Haruhi said quietly, her expression tight with confusion.
"He always has been, but you've both been too dense to see it. It was amusing to watch for a time, but that time has come to an end."
Kyoya leaned forward, forcing Haruhi to look straight at him. A part of him recoiled at the pain he saw in her eyes, but he didn't allow his expression to betray his thoughts.
"You have to do this for him," he said reasonably. "He's not strong enough to cut ties with you, but I am, and, I suspect, so are you. Let him go, Haruhi. If you care about him even a little, let him go."
Lips in a thin, straight line, Haruhi shoved back from her seat with enough force to make the chair topple backwards. Kyoya arched an eyebrow at her.
"Rich bastard," she hissed.
"Haruhi," he called out before she could reach the door. "Think about why you're so angry, won't you?"
Her shoulders stiffened at his words, but she blew out the door like an angry wind. Kyoya smiled humorlessly as a server straightened the chair and fluttered around him worriedly. Waving her away with one hand, Kyoya reached for his coffee.
"Kyoya," Tamaki said sullenly, pouting into his cup of tea. "Haruhi won't return my calls. Where is she?"
Kyoya looked up from his laptop, eyebrows raised in feigned puzzlement. They were sitting in his suite, supposedly studying, but Tamaki wasn't doing anything more than distracting his friend from finishing his term paper.
"She's probably in some ill-ventilated coffee shop with her head stuck in a book, or maybe even several books. Not everyone is so lucky to have only one exam a semester," he answered mildly.
"She usually calls back though," Tamaki said, eyes wide with imagined fears that were already taking hold of his high-speed, high-strung brain. "What if she's gotten sick and is lying helpless in her apartment? We should go check on her and make sure she's not wasting away, half-dead on the tatami mats, and calling out for someone to come in and save her. Kyoya! What if she's trapped underneath a fallen bookshelf? There was an earthquake last week, and you know those commoner apartments aren't reinforced properly at all. Didn't you read about the architect who..."
"Maybe she's on a date."
Tamaki stared at him.
"Yes, a date. From what I've heard, Haruhi is very popular in her classes because of her brazen attitude and innate intelligence."
"Who did you hear that from?"
"Ranka-san, of course."
Kyoya could practically hear Tamaki's teeth grinding together.
"He shouldn't allow Haruhi to date! How is she supposed to get into law school if she's getting distracted by mindless male students who will probably want to copy her homework and...and..."
It was a shame that Tamaki's complexion made him susceptible to blushes red enough to give a tomato a run for its money. Whatever he was thinking that other males wanted to do with Haruhi was lost to posterity, because he couldn't seem to find his voice in order to go on. Kyoya turned his head slowly and pinned Tamaki with a well-honed glare filled with icy irritation.
"Why don't you go check on her then?" he suggested, speaking slowly so that there was no way his obtuse friend could misunderstand him. "Go and make sure she's not trapped underneath a heater or being taken advantage of by an amorous admirer."
Tamaki stood quickly, nearly upsetting his tea, and pointed a finger in the air, striking a gallant pose.
"Yes! I shall!"
He started for the door, his stride determined, but Kyoya was already saving and shutting down his computer.
"Kyoya," Tamaki started, one hand on the door.
"Yes. I'm coming."
Ranka directed them to the library when they showed up at the Fujioka apartment. He didn't look too happy to see them, and from the way his narrowed eyes kept falling on Kyoya, he was especially unhappy with his former ally. Still, he told them where to find Haruhi, and the unexpected move even managed to penetrate Tamaki's mental fog enough to surprise him.
"Do you think he's drunk?" Tamaki whispered when the door had shut behind them.
Kyoya had only smiled in response. It appeared he wasn't the only one who thought it was time to wrap things up.
They found her hidden behind stacks of books and wearing a pair of thick, black-framed glasses that didn't do her any favors. She had to blink several times to focus on them, pulling herself back from her thoughts and into the present.
"You're alright," Tamaki said with exaggerated relief, sitting next to her and draping an arm on the back of her chair. "Haruhi, don't ever do that to me again. I thought that you were dead in a ditch somewhere or..."
"I'm busy," she said, moving away from him and her gaze fell on Kyoya. "What are you doing here? Isn't there some chess game you have to get to?"
Tamaki shot a look at Kyoya.
"Chess? Did you join a club without telling me? I thought we had no secrets!"
Haruhi made a sound that was between a sob and a laugh.
"You have no idea," she muttered, shoving at his arm with more violence than was necessary. "Just go, alright? I have to study."
Kyoya watched silently as a range of emotions danced across Tamaki's face. Haruhi studiously avoided his gaze, her arms wrapped protectively around her middle, smaller than Kyoya had ever seen her.
"Okay. Whatever you want. Just...just give me a call when you have some time," Tamaki stammered, surprised at her reaction and more than a little hurt.
He stood and studied her weary face, sallow in the glow of her laptop screen. Carefully, he leaned down and took her chin in his fingertips so that he could look into her eyes. Tamaki's magic had never worked on her before, but instead, something else clicked in Haruhi's eyes that wasn't lost on Kyoya. He pushed his glasses up with one hand, looking away from them.
"Sometimes, you lose sight of the goal when things get too difficult, but I believe in you, Haruhi," Tamaki said with a small smile. "You can do this. I'll see you soon."
He straightened, his hand falling away from her. He walked away from her, past Kyoya, and didn't wait for his friend to fall into step beside him, walking straight to the door. He didn't see the broken look on Haruhi's face, the hand she clenched over a heart that was surely aching. Kyoya wanted to reach out to her, but instead, he shoved his hands in his pockets.
"I'm doing what you'd asked," she spat at him angrily. "Why did you bring him here?"
"It's more like he brought me here. Once he starts worrying about you, there's no stopping him," Kyoya answered, and he offered Haruhi a small smile that had more warmth in it than he'd intended. "You know what I've always liked about you, Haruhi? You never give up. Even when the odds are against you, you're stubborn enough to keep butting your head against the wall until either break through it or knock yourself out. What will happen now, I wonder? Are you going to make it through to the other side, or are you going to knock yourself out and forget that any of this ever happened?"
She stared at him owlishly, her anger bleeding away to understanding.
"Good luck with your studying."
He turned on his heel, spotted Tamaki's bowed head near the exit, and went to join him.
She came to him in a white dress that suited her simple loveliness, a picnic basket in one hand, and a smile on her face. Tamaki had been shocked to see her, but he'd dropped everything to go enjoy a picnic with his precious Haruhi.
Since it was summer vacation, she came almost everyday, in frilly, lacy outfits that made Tamaki gush with adjectives that cluttered the air like so many rose petals. She took him out to get ice cream, to walk in the park, to see a movie, and to just enjoy his company.
If Kyoya didn't know any better, she was wooing Tamaki.
After each date, Kyoya would get a full-romance-novel-level-report from Tamaki, and an easier to read version from whichever bodyguard he would put on their tail. He didn't hear about their first kiss from Tamaki, for he was too much of a gentleman to do that, but Tachibana had included a line about it in his report. Haruhi still scolded and Tamaki still curled up in his dark corner, but there was a palpable difference in the way they related to each other, a closeness that no one else could interrupt now.
Kyoya had called the Hitachiins to prepare the white gown they had been saving for their friend.
In time, the glee left Tamaki's voice to be replaced with careful joy because she was spending all this time with him. The joy was then replaced with thoughtfulness over why she was putting up with him, which was then replaced by silence. And Kyoya knew that an introspective Tamaki meant that his fat koi had finally moved from circling each other to butting heads.
Finally, one day, while sitting in Kyoya's sitting room, Tamaki looked over from his perch on the window sill, a soft smile on his face. Kyoya stopped making notes in his notebook and glanced at him expectantly.
"Kyoya, I'm going to ask her to marry me," he announced with none of the pomp and circumstance he was known for, but his soft satisfaction spoke volumes.
Kyoya snapped his book closed with finality and pushed up his glasses with one finger.
"It's about time," he said coolly, trying not to sound too pleased with himself.
Tamaki laughed, and Kyoya didn't think it was possible, but he actually sounded happier. His blue eyes sparkled with something that Kyoya was sure he would never understand...or feel. It wasn't the first time in their relationship that he envied his friend yet another thing.
"I guess we have you to thank," Tamaki said, those dreamy eyes seeing right through Kyoya as they always had. "Haruhi told me that you had a talk with her."
"I meant every word."
"I don't doubt you. I'll be happy as long as I'm with Haruhi. I'll get used to living in commoner's apartments..."
"Don't be a moron. I made some investments in your name as did your father, and you'll be able to continue living comfortably whether or not your grandmother recognizes you."
Kyoya had to catch himself on a chair or else he and Tamaki would have ended up sprawled on the floor. He sighed as he tried to untangle himself from Tamaki's hold, but there was no moving the other man when his mind was set on it. So, he just stood stiffly until Tamaki decided it was time to end the hug.
"Thank you, Kyoya," Tamaki said, his tone serious. "I never knew cupid wore glasses, but then again, there were a lot of things I didn't know before I met you. Thank you."
"You're welcome...mon ami."