As inspired by a scene in 'Of Brothers and Sisters' when Kyouya attempts to ask Haruhi if she's alright…
Word (werd) n. 6. play, joke using features of word, pun etc…
For a sight can inspire and awe
A melody can move and touch
Taste can satisfy and touch can hold
But a word, a word can conjure it all.
"Kyouya!" Tamaki said, characteristically excited. Kyouya, sensing some sort of scatter-brained plot once again, decided to give the man his full attention, lest something dangerous happened. "I have the most wonderful idea for the World Cultures festival!"
"Yes?" Kyouya asked, patiently. They'd been discussing ideas for the last two weeks and, with a month to go yet, he suspected he'd be dealing with plenty more of these ideas. With any luck, he could steer Tamaki towards the best one.
"India!" Tamaki was saying cheerfully. "We can dress like the Sultan! Or is that Arabia…? Elephants, Kyouya, imagine that! I've only ever ridden one once, but it would be so amazing- everyone would love it! Or perhaps we could have camels- I don't think anyone would mind that they don't really ride camels in India, would they? I know! Why don't we have both? Hey? Wouldn't it be wonderful?"
"It does sound acceptable…" Kyouya mused slowly.
"Then can we? Elephants?"
Kyouya paused. If he said he'd look into it he'd be pestered all evening and none of them would ever leave to go home. He allowed himself to glance around the room. Haruhi was busying herself clearing away empty plates and cups- some plates still had cakes on that Honey was hastening to empty for her- Mori, as always, supervising this. The twins were being reasonably quiet for once, muttering darkly about the state of a costume they were currently repairing. He himself had been in the process of calculating the day's takings quite peacefully, until Tamaki had come to cause a headache.
But still. Elephants…
"Of course." He answered eventually, with a slight smile. "India it is."
"Excellent!" Tamaki enthused, looking genuinely enthused.
"Naturally," Kyouya continued. "We shall have to consider the implications this will have not only on our club but to those students here who are from India, and perhaps missing their homeland- this move would surely turn their hearts, I'd say- don't you agree?"
"Kyouya! You're right!" Tamaki nodded. "We will touch them!"
"That's one way of describing it, though perhaps a better phrase, on the other hand, with all things considered and weighed against each other, in the context of the conversation and taking all angles into account; without generalising or presuming to judge another's culture, assuming appropriate research was to be done- though not to be saying that this would necessarily, in all sincerity; and again, not making dangerous assumptions, lead to any exertion on our parts to achieve this goal- is that it would be entirely ambitious; however, looking at it all together, with the right motivation and suitable method, I believe everything I've told you would be a very good idea and far less troublesome."
"Well done Kyouya!" Tamaki answered, grinning. "I knew I could count on you!" He went off to tell the twins to prepare the outfits excitedly.
Kyouya watched him go, adjusting his glasses.
"That must be a useful trick." Haruhi commented, coming to collect cups from the table he was next to.
"Trick?" He repeated, voice carefully neutral. "What do you mean?"
"Saying 'No', but making it sound like 'Yes'." She answered, quietly enough so no-one else could hear, smiling a little more in amusement.
"I assure you, Haruhi, I said exactly what I meant to- no trickery was necessary."
"I have no doubt about that." She snorted. "Just admit it, Kyouya-senpai. That whole conversation translates to: 'Let's have elephants!' 'No.'."
Kyouya couldn't help smile a little. He would not say in so many words that she had him there- and he did not intend to let her have him nailed for long. He carefully formulated a reply. "I'm sorry you feel that way, Haruhi. Really, though, I can hardly be held responsible for what my peers ascertain or, should I say, make assumptions of when I'm talking- despite the conversation not always flowing in a strictly linear fashion, I'm hardly speaking vertically; that is to say that coherency does not always double as fluency, yet, that is not to say that on occasion, it is not unknown, within certain circumstances, with certain given factors and intellect, that what I say is precisely and obviously exactly what I meant to say."
Approximate translation: It's not my fault Tamaki is an idiot.
Haruhi smiled pleasantly at him. "Be that as it may, Kyouya-senpai, and your point taken in to account, the original argument still stands. That is, in terms of previous experience, with the understanding of practise, and, naturally, assuming things stay constant, the criteria and circumstances are well known. They are given catalysts to your argument but cannot be used as a proxy to counteract the original intention and purpose of the narrative despite veiling it to the untrained ear."
Approximate translation: He may be an idiot, but you're a manipulative git.
"Exactly." Kyouya agreed, simply, knowing he shouldn't be pleased that there was someone who could understand him even when he didn't want them to but also knowing that he couldn't help revel in the idea of having a challenger, who would give as good as she got. She chuckled a little, a pleasant sound, and so the game began. For now, however, there was the issue of Tamaki.
"When are you going to give him a straight answer?" Haruhi asked, wryly.
"Wait and see." Kyouya answered. Just then, Tamaki returned, looking troubled.
"Kyouya! Disaster!" He said, mournfully. "The twins have just suggested- and I hate to say it- that the club may not have enough funds to have elephants! Could it be true…?"
"Well," Kyouya said, reluctantly. "It's certainly true that it would cost a phenomenal, in fact, mammoth- if you'll excuse the pun- sum to get elephants particularly given this point in the school calendar when, needless to say, time is so taken up in festivals that we may or may not get the patronage we normally do, depending entirely on the atmosphere and image that lingers around us, of course; although, saying that, it is normally given that we usually do well from festivals and the profit made is usually a princely sum for a princely demeanour if nothing else, but, after taking into account what we have in savings and the cost for costume and lighting, not to mention any hair and the like you want 'done'; I think it's fairly safe to assume that to spend such money would be unacceptable, though not completely inconceivable- in other words, obtainable but we must take care not to 'drop the ball', as it were, on this one by using money we don't have in an ill-advised circumstance."
Approximate translation: Just because we could afford it doesn't mean I have any intention of doing so.
"Kyouya-senpai's talking an awful lot today…" Hikaru muttered suspiciously to his brother, biting off a thread.
"Yeah, and he's normally so straight-forward…" Kaoru agreed. Then he shrugged. "Still, it's better to just let him deal with Tono…"
"And let Tono deal with him, because I have no idea what he just said." Hikaru was saying, a little frustrated.
Tamaki, thankfully, had more of an idea- or rather, exactly the idea Kyouya wanted him to have. Despairing at the club's lack of funds, he turned imploringly to Haruhi.
"We can't just leave it all on your shoulders, Kyouya! There must be something we can do to raise funds…" He mused. "Yes, I have it! Haruhi, you could be sponsored to wear pretty things in the club! Yes, whatever the designators would desire, you could-"
"Eh?" Haruhi blinked. Then she smiled, and for some reason, it seemed a very similar expression to Kyouya's. "Well, yes, that would raise money, Senpai; but at the end of the day, when the money has gone, and the cows have come home and the eagle has flown the nest, if you know what I mean; when all's been said and done, it's a dangerous plan, isn't it? For me to stick my neck, over the finishing line, out like this when all the eggs are very much in one basket and to try and satisfy the fickle and fleeting hearts of girls who, frankly, to put it rather bluntly but without making any dangerous assumptions as Kyouya-senpai so eloquently put it earlier; and trying not to make any vulgar generalisations- and please don't forget to compensate for any oversights, Senpai, unavoidable as they are- would be consumed with the moe or else disappointed and either way, all things considered, it would probably do more harm then good, wouldn't you agree?"
Approximate translation: Bugger off.
"I see…" Tamaki sighed. "I was rather hoping we could have those elephants… Still, I suppose you have a point…" He wandered listlessly away.
"I had a point?" Haruhi echoed in mock surprise.
"You're rather good at that." Kyouya commented.
"You mean saying nothing in a very long way?"
"Oh, come now, Haruhi. You can't say nothing in a long way, as, by it's very definition, nothing has no real substance and exists only in there being a lack of anything. However, in it's own right, I suppose, one could say- if not worried about being too precise or technical- that nothing, on one plane or another, given current understanding of the universe, and carefully side-stepping those consuming paradoxes, that you could say nothing in a very long way if it was a suitable amount of nothing."
Approximate translation: Yes.
She laughed a little, and considered him, and he was waiting for a suitably complicated reply; but it never came, because the twins, perhaps jealous of her time being monopolised, came and attached themselves to her arms.
"Come on, Haruhi!" They said together. "We'll escort you home!"
"I can manage." She answered calmly, pulling away.
"Ahhh," Kaoru pouted. "But you've spent all your time being complicated with Kyouya-senpai…"
"What were you talking about, anyway?" Hikaru asked, curiously.
Haruhi glanced at him, and Kyouya shrugged.
"Nothing much." They said together.
Most of the occupants of the table were bored. They'd been looking forward to having their club meal for sometime, but by this point, the unspoken competition between Haruhi and Kyouya had reached a ridiculous level. It seemed each were vying to out-do the other, to word something in such a way that their opponent would be lost. Everyone else had been left behind miles back. Still, they seemed to be enjoying themselves as the sentences got longer and longer, a ridiculous amount of clauses being added, each simple phrase adding more and more, padding out the meaning and sometimes seemingly not having one at all. At the moment, it appeared it was Kyouya's 'turn'.
"I hope, Haruhi," He said, seriously. "That you made the appropriate choice when selecting your sustenance as, after all, the cost being what it is, it really ought to be worth it particularly considering how- ignoring, for a moment, inflation and the changes in the stock market, and, naturally, omitting current rates of interest, seasonal fluctuations and, indeed, the fluctuations between different organisations; and assuming on the question of the character of the area that it's situated in- it approximately has more value then your house; the option of a second attempt being out of the question the obvious result, although, on a more basic level, one may actually consider the satisfaction derived more important; and therefore I must reiterate that I hope it would not be too bold of me to anticipate the utmost enjoyment on your part?"
Approximate translation: Are you enjoying your meal?
"You would not be too bold." She replied happily. "After all, with club funds being what they are given the constant strain of the inflation- if I may bring it back to the forefront, Kyouya-senpai, I hope you don't mind- of the general materials you must purchase for the benefit of the school, and, on a slightly more material level, to generate further funds; I can only say that it is a pity I do not get the second attempt you spoke of as the variety- taking into account that many are merely slight alterations in texture, colour, or, indeed, flavour- is quite astounding, though only in terms of my usual pallet, which, sadly, despite every effort, could be considered- within certain circumstances and with the pleasure of certain companies, though, on the other hand, it should be mentioned that it is vaster then some that belong to those who frequently pick quantity and speed over quality and patience; yet, even so, as I was saying, and not to deviate from the point nor try to mask it, restraining any hyperbole, exaggeration, or any other manner of deception, rather small. However, I can't help but feel that, in context, this may, in paradox, be a benefit, of sorts, depending on how you look at it, and in what light it stands of course, as it naturally gives the advantage of the excitement and anticipation of a new experience."
Approximate translation: It's great- even better because it's free.
There was a quiet round of applause.
"Haru-chan's really good at this!" Honey said, in awe.
"I have no idea what she said-" Kaoru commented.
"But it sounded good!" Hikaru completed, and Mori nodded in agreement. "Plus, it was even longer then Kyouya-senpai's!"
Kyouya raised his eyebrows just a fraction. If they thought Haruhi was going to win, they had another think coming. He took a deep breath, and began.
"Indeed, I concede to your point; although I do feel that experience can be beneficial in terms of developing and training the required level of enjoyment of certain foods, particularly when considering that, in certain conditions, it may be preferable to be able to partake freely without fear of disliking, spilling, dropping, hating- though it is a strong and emotive word, so pardon me for using it, but I'm sure you got the casual context and will forgive me, on this occasion- burning, politely declining, dribbling- not that I suggest something so uncouth might ever be something habitual or familiar to you Haruhi, I merely mean that certain foods can cause a rather troublesome build up, but that, at this point, is neither here, there, anywhere nor relevant, so I shall leave it as it is, with that, as they say, being that- dropping, impolitely declining, improperly eating- if you catch my meaning of poor table manners- the poor manners themselves: elbows on the table, eating noisily, you understand; or in any other manner inadvertedly, purely accidentally- or otherwise, I suspect, if the host is unpopular or inappropriate, although, naturally, one could never let others know of this, though they may suspect, being involved in common practises themselves- experience is usually the best protector against circumstances which may prove embarrassing to yourself or parties associated with yourself; which I'm sure was a primary concern of yours when you were somewhat, shall we say, not wanting to judge or put words in anyone's mouth, I assure you, as that would be an entirely inappropriate action, and far out my place; reluctant to accompany us- though, naturally, that is taking in to account other contributing factors that vie quite frequently for your attention, and also the fact that your top priority being as it is, which, I suspect, is more involved in the pursuit of knowledge, or to put it another way, with the tasks which you are charged with and are anxious to complete as best you can; may not have been to come and share this meal, though, there is no doubting that, as we have already attained, you are enjoying at least the physical manner of the occasion and, it would seem, the certain company I mentioned before, although that is not to say they are presuming to judge anymore then I myself would dare."
The certain company in question was blinking, mystified, but Kyouya wasn't finished yet.
"Although, while we are on the subject, and attempting, in all manner of ways- and that is not suggesting underhand tactics, although one could infer, perhaps, with delicacy and precision, that, in some ways, looking on it in a certain way with a biased viewpoint, there is a possibility that some may perhaps be present- the current company is being enjoyed most for the indication that a competition- if I may call it that, although, as such, if one is being technical, I suppose it could be argued that with no official recognition of the aforementioned status nor any formal preceding agreement, including the decision of a basis of laws and rules; in which case, as I outlined previously, underhand tactics could not be used unless speaking in terms of moral fibre and ethics; but, in any case, all that aside, the aforementioned competition- still accounting for the discrepancies mentioned, naturally- is the highest sought after form of entertainment, although, in the end, it may all prove understandably worthless."
Approximate translation: This is fun.
She looked, by this point, like she was dying to laugh. Then, she could restrain herself no longer, and began to chuckle. The others looked on, baffled, wondering if Kyouya had made some of joke that they'd missed, but he only had eyes for her, and her smile. It was unusual; he didn't think he'd ever made anyone laugh before. He quite liked the idea that he had been the cause- far too often he'd been on the back end of a glare courtesy of her, and her smile was far more pleasant. He was glad to have someone who could converse on his level at last, and he liked her strange, subtle sense of humour that wasn't anywhere near overblown. In short, Kyouya liked Haruhi a lot; and he had accepted that a long time ago. So what? He did not let it get in his way or affect his day to day life, and he wasn't going to stay in deluded self-denial like the others.
The flaw was, until now, he'd never found reason to tell her.
Only, now, she was laughing at him; and Kyouya, ever the opportunist, sensed this could be his chance to move to something more then a tentative friendship without compromising who either of them were as people. So, without letting her have her 'turn', he spoke again.
"Well, Haruhi, it seems to me that even though we've only known of each other a relatively short time and known each other an even shorter time then that, though I suppose that depends on each person's individual perception of what 'to know' someone is, but for my part I mean more than a mere visual recognition but less material than likes, dislikes- or things that are both, or somewhere in between- loves and hates- I would maintain that there is a small, albeit negligible difference between the two, as the latter naturally infer a stronger and more passionate feeling, though when attached to material objects it could easily be argued that this passion is then absorbed into a wave of indifference- and favourite pastimes; but rather knowing an essence of a person, knowing what makes them tick, or run, and how those likes and dislikes or- and allow me some licence here, if you please- loves and hates shape their persona and models their psyche; though of course one can never be quite sure, because the one part of a person that cannot be seized and turned against themselves is the thoughts- though they admittedly often do so of their own accord! That aside, your own level of existence contains the depths of mystery and the tips of the iceburgs, pens, pencils, knifes, triangles and whatever other pointy objects you care to add to the list, or, indeed, anything with a vertex will do -because, as you know corners have been the subject of many modernist novels, whose protagonists customarily develop fascinating new corners and places to put them; and the rest is submerged in a shroud of diffidence and reticence, discretion and reserve or any other word suitable given the circumstance that I am not insulting, but rather expressing a desire to lift that fog and reveal the rest of the substance, though the veil would be gathered up and kept, because it's value to the whole of the scene is undisputable. In short, I'm saying that if everything is concealed or if everything is all left in the open it will all come to the same end- braving the elements. Through lashings of rain and whipping of wind, and, forgive me Haruhi, the crashes of thunder, it's all the same in the end… and I like it all a great deal."
Kyouya sighed mentally. How awfully romantic he was. However, Haruhi was now blinking at him in absolute surprise, a soft smile on her lips. Perhaps she had heard exactly what he had been trying to tell her.
Approximate translation: I love you- everything I know about you, and everything I don't know about you. I want to have everything you're willing to share with me and I don't care how much or how little that is. I love you as you are, and I will love you whatever else you become, and I will never stop.
Haruhi stared into his eyes, with a little confusion and a lot of happiness. She seemed to shine a little, ready to laugh with joy at her life. Kyouya suddenly felt nervous, dreading what her answer would be. But as she continued look right at him, he felt his doubts slip away. He couldn't help it. She was his Achilles' heel, his one weakness. Somehow, it didn't seem to matter anymore. He loved her for being just that.
Unfortunately, Haruhi had a crippling weakness too:
"Sorry, you've lost me there." She laughed. "I give up."
She was totally oblivious.
"Eh?! No, Haruhi, you can't lose!" Tamaki said, as Kyouya couldn't help stare in disbelief. Was this what it felt like for a plan to go wrong, to fail at something…?
"Pay up, Tono!" The twins were demanding delightedly. "You should know better then to bet against Kyouya-senpai!"
Tamaki muttered darkly under his breath, but then patted Haruhi's arm comfortingly. "It's okay, my daughter, you did your best!"
"You shouldn't have been betting on us at all!" She answered hotly, pulling away. Tamaki quietened down considerably now that Haruhi was angered at him, and once the twins had extracted the money they hardly needed from him they left him to mope in peace.
"Still…" Hikaru tilted his head to one side. "Just what did you say just now, Kyouya-senpai?"
"Yeah, 'cause it sounded pretty deep." Kaoru added, nodding solemnly.
Kyouya swallowed, hoping to come up with some feasible lie pretty fast and, for once, words failed him. He was thinking perhaps it was better this way. After all, a relationship would only have been a distraction, and besides, it was highly unlikely Haruhi would actually act upon-
"He said he loves her." Mori said, calmly, and carried on eating his food as though nothing dramatic had been said at all.
"Wai!" Honey clapped his hands happily. "Takashi's good at this game! Ah, maybe not at the talking bit though, so I guess we can't really say he's the winner, but maybe if I did the talking, and Takashi and I were a team…"
The others were staring back and forth across the table between Kyouya and Haruhi, both of whom had found interesting spots to study on the carpet. They were silent, apart from Honey, who seemed to be in cahoots with his cousin to push this potential relationship along.
"Hey, hey, does this mean Kyou-chan and Haru-chan are going to get together now? How wonderful!"
"No!" Kyouya said hotly. "Mori was wrong, I-"
"I guess." Haruhi said quietly at the same time, and Kyouya trailed off. He gawped at her.
She was hastily back peddling. "Oh, nothing, I mean if you-!"
"No, I, um, yes… Yeah…"
"Heh…" She was chuckling again, partly out of nerves, and partly at the shocked expressions on everyone's faces. Then, red in the face, she bowed slightly and answered simply: "…I'm happy you feel that way."
She smiled a little shyly, and broke the others out of deep-shock stupor they'd been in. Kyouya smiled awkwardly back, still desperately embarrassed and not sure how to progress. Tamaki seemed certain though as he started yelling idiocies that made everyone in the establishment turn and stare and the twins clung jealously to their toy remarking on their great sympathy that she had been caught in the Demon Lord's trap.
But Kyouya merely consoled himself with the fact that soon he would be the only one with the 'right' to be close to Haruhi and that Tamaki could panic till he was blue in the face but all that mattered what she thought; simply because she was the only one who really, well and truly, completely and utterly, totally understood him.