Disclaimer: Don't own Ouran.
To my dearest Dream on her birthday. I hope it almost works and resembles what it almost should.
Dancing without music is nothing short of a ridiculous pantomime, tantamount to putting shadow puppets – disembodied dogs and butterflies and the like – on the flawlessly gilded walls.
They all danced the straight lines of a waltz in the smallest ballroom to a tune provided by the only one capable of doing so. The slow one-two-three steps.
One – I am here because there is nowhere else to be. And if there was, there is simply no conceivable way that I would ever wish to reside anywhere apart from this place.
Two – I am here to be here. Security without suffocation. A balance, a control against excessiveness. Because there is a practicality that I find convenient. Because there is something else that is not practicality that is also alluring.
Three – You are here because you understand. I am here because I am understood.
We dance – in slow circles around each other, in lamplight, by stars, under the sunshine. We dance like clockwork, mechanical and precise; we dance like eloquence, with bows and curtsies and decorum; we dance like balance, arranged in a symmetry of three.
We dance and we dance and we dance.
Our waltz, we think, we dance our waltz in beats of one, two, three.
Parties are a social dance of words and gestures – a feinting bow, a double entendre, a hazy lie.
The Ootori parties are run with a deft, gloved hand, highly allergic to dust and grime. The steps are fast, like an Irish jig where everything is in the footwork while the top half of one's body remains poised and upright…almost as if there was no movement at all of the feet.
There are gasps, of course, from newcomers. The thought on their minds is easy to read.
That Suou boy is here.
Perhaps they view his chatting with a petite brunette in the corner as an affront to the social order and niceties that everyone is supposed to pretend to have. Perhaps they are offended that such a pariah is merely sitting about twirling his wine and having intimate conversation.
What is certain is that those who react adversely to this arrangement are summarily recorded and stricken from the dance, ever after being condemned to sit unpartnered on the sidelines.
It does not matter what business threats the Suou family may have made. Prohibitions are of a small matter to an Ootori. Especially this Ootori.
Others are wiser and keep their opinions and conjectures firmly in check regarding the guest list.
The truly wise recognize the Suou boy for what he is – a litmus test introduction to Ootori Kyouya's empire.
In any other circle the Suou outcast is a taboo, a red mark, an invitation that doubles as financial suicide.
Here he is seemingly the gatekeeper to Ootori Kyouya's good graces.
And oh! there are rumors – how could there not be? – about such an arrangement, but not even that barest mention is made up them while sipping Ootori merlot and basking in the perceived shared glow of a man who single handedly dismantled his father's business empire by founding a rival company.
It, however, is whispered that should they say anything the Suou have something to fear from him should they object.
But Suou Tamaki – pink cheeks belaying the amount of fine French wine he has consumed already this evening – is busy pouring the man of the hour another glass as he sits and watches and idly chatters to another woman of low pedigree that seems out of place in the opulence of the affair.
No one questions why the Suou boy doesn't leave with the rest of the guests. Or why the commoner woman never left either (although she was of lesser importance).
These are just steps of the dance. A waltz played in the name of Ootori Kyouya – for prestige, pedigree, and most importantly, profit.
Tamaki and Haruhi were dancing fools. Which is the kindest way Kyouya can think to put it. But it is succinct and accurate…exactly to his liking.
They dance past each other and never quite latch on and stay.
However, Kyouya supposes he is grateful for their stupidity and prizes their incompetence in a way that he could not in any other human beings.
He might even say that he has profited from it.
He leans back, used to Tamaki's light snoring, and the uncomfortable heat as the idiot continually moves closer to him, clinging and murmuring his name, exactly as he does when he is awake.
No different unconscious, he muses.
On the other side of him, Haruhi – as if to be stubbornly distant in order to act as a constant foil to Tamaki's proximity – runs a hand across the covers, pausing for a moment to gather a fist full of Egyptian cotton in her hand, languidly pulling at it.
They are all exhausted and Kyouya is just holding out, habitually thinking his way into the void of sleep.
Finally, he closes his eyes to the feel of Tamaki's hot breath on his cheek and a slight chill as more and more of the sheet disappears into Haruhi's fist.
In this state of imperfection he finally sleeps.
It was no secret that Tamaki had too much of everything – he would tell you about all of his positive excesses if you so much as dangerously gave him half a suggestion that such a spew was merited – and the most of this excess was love.
Furthermore, he was admittedly selfish.
A walking contradiction in terms, he gave everything and with an unrealized sort of selfishness.
Tamaki – probably mostly unconsciously, as most things that directly pertained to himself were done – brought out the best in people and kept it close to him.
He kept Kyouya to himself. Rather, he sent Kyouya out in the world to conquer it and kept the private Kyouya to himself.
The horrible one whose kotatsu he fell asleep under he considers to be almost all his…although he will admit there is a little sharing to be done. But he doesn't begrudge anyone on that particular issue.
But Tamaki loves the Kyouya that is not often seen.
The rough laugh and the hard smile. Like sharp, wonderful daggers, hard and glinting. Definitely a scary face to love and keep to himself.
That is, himself and Haruhi.
They share him because they both need him with the same sort of loving selfishness…not that Haruhi would ever put it in that particular way.
That would be the part that he would laugh nervously at and trail off into nonsensical mumblings or a whole verbal torrent of irrelevant extravagance (at least that is what Kyouya said he had a tendency to do…) when people ask him about it.
After all, when he was rejected by his own grandmother in the worst of ways – although when asked he will still call her a lovely woman and Kyouya and Haruhi's smiles freeze just a little, for just a moment every time he does so - it was Kyouya who gave him his own room with his own kotatsu.
He does not, however, see how such an arrangement might cause gossip only stilled by many bills changing hands at opportune times. Tamaki has figured out everyone's weaknesses and strengths but he still hasn't figured out that there is a dark side to all of the glitter made up of closed door deals and flatteringly horrific words.
But Tamaki cannot see – or perhaps will not see – how love can be divided up, split into segments, limited either by malice or choice.
He sees nothing but love in the world, perhaps to his detriment.
He loves them both and anything else would be to the exclusion of one of them.
Haruhi sometimes looked up at the door, and the maids, and the immaculately cleaned lamps complete with dusted light bulbs and wondered what had gone so horribly awry with her life just around high school or when had her aspirations of a 3LDK and a good job become this without her permission...?
Pursing her lips as she looked over the legal brief for yet another fruitless lawsuit – some people's idiocy far surpassed what she thought was warranted – her mind meandered back to her days at college.
Tamaki had followed her there like a puppy dog. Kyouya had followed him – although he would probably rather die than ever admit it – him because puppies always need someone to be their keeper.
She and Tamaki had dated. There had been the normal fare of roses and tactless, inadvertent insults against her background, wooing that she had seen in bad romance novels that her father used to read her as bedtime stories.
And even though she could definitely level a criticism against most of his rather impractical charades – really, where did he get all of that energy? – she couldn't say that she wanted to run screaming in the other direction.
But there was too much of him for her to deal with, sometimes.
This was something even he acknowledged. Rather, he did it in the form of a proposal. He was, of course, always choosing inopportune times to be honest.
For a moment she didn't know what to do with his proposal.
It was something that it didn't seem right to accept…although, if she saw the point in such sentiments, she might have also told Tamaki she loved him.
But Haruhi lived a life that was fully premised on moderation. Something was missing in order to achieve that.
Tamaki took all semblance of moderation and buried it under sentences so long and shining that one might have to wade through the combined word count of a dozen Russian novelists before finding it again.
She didn't want to let Tamaki go. Despite his troublesome personality, there was a certain virtue in the inconvenience that he always brought with him. It didn't make logical sense, she realized, and that was more than enough reason not to actually explain to anyone.
In college she had seen that Kyouya was the only one who acted to dilute his personality somewhat.
And, it was only in relation to Tamaki that Kyouya's own personality opened up to her. Only when they sat around her kotatsu together did the walls of eloquence and mannerism that always surrounded Kyouya fully drop.
He was ruthless, purposefully rude, irritable, and a general force to be reckoned with.
Haruhi had laughed the first time she had seen him behave like that, causing him to almost immediately push his glasses up his nose and restrain himself again.
Slowly, however, he stopped and remained just Kyouya long after even Tamaki had fallen asleep under the influence of hot pot and the warmth of their combined heat under the table.
A year after it was made, Haruhi suggested that Tamaki revise the proposal.
Knowing better, she sent Tamaki to wheedle Kyouya in the way only Tamaki could ever wheedle anyone…she knew from first hand experience. She also knew that there was just enough merit between them to entice him.
The merit was in being understood.
As the party ends, the three of them linger on getting increasingly drunk on heady zinfandels and merlots and the relief that they are once again alone in the innermost study of the massive building.
In the morning they will be a strange tableau for the maids to find as they disentangle Kyouya's Waterford glasses from the entanglement of limbs that the combination of wine and mutual comfort has produced.
Tamaki will be languidly asleep in Kyouya's lap while Kyouya's head has drooped onto Haruhi's shoulder. They will be like a set of strange dominos, leaning interdependently on the rest, removing one causing the rest to fall.
The household staff has orders not to be awoken until very late into the afternoon.
Even if the others wake up before him, they will simply go back to sleep knowing that Kyouya objects to anyone – even them – waking him up before the time he specifies.
They might smile to themselves, despite arms that have fallen asleep and send tingling sensations due to awkward positions, because sleeping in just makes for a late night.
Between everything else, then they will waltz again, dancing to the music of symbiosis.
A/N: I have no idea if any of this worked at all….;; Dream! If you hate it tell me so I can write something not horrid!
But oh is it hard to put Kyouya in the middle…if that ended up happening at all, really. He keeps grumbling at me and saying that if I put Tamaki there is will make much more sense. But what I think ended up happening is that they seem more like a matched set than Kyouya-in the middle as I set out to do…although there is a number of reasons why both Haruhi and Tamaki must depend on Kyouya as well as both of the others. A lot of it I didn't (in typical me fashion) want to go "hey, you! Look at this!" so they are just undertones…
Here's hoping that I actually did that somewhere.
And the important part, happy birthday, Dream!