Disclaimer: Bisco Hatori's genius. Leslie's ah… um.

Warning: P-O-L-Y-A-M-O-R-Y. One day.

The rating is M, R.

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TESSELLATION

6 of ?

Chapter Six

Patterns

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There are patterns to life: distinct forms to follow. Sometimes, the knowledge of this pattern is purely innate. Sometimes this pattern is enforced by rules, unspoken rules.

Of all people in Ouran High School, Fujioka Haruhi understands the way.

One plus one is two, two plus one is three, three plus two is five…

Sn equals a outside of one plus r to the power of n, over one plus n…

She understands that she is a commoner.

They are not.

They are irreprehensible.

She is not.

She understands that money may not be 'important', but it can buy practically anything save immortality, sincerity.

It can buy silence. It can buy ignorance. It is the commodity of selfishness.

She understands that when the patterns of life are broken, the consequences can be damning.

She knows they can afford such consequences.

She cannot.

-

Watching the sun sink further and further beneath the horizon is an experience like no other. In those moments, while she pauses mid-step to peer outside the windows of Ouran High School, Haruhi feels an aching hollowness at her heart.

A movement at the corner of her eye makes her turn, startled.

There is a rustle amidst the shadows. There is a figure in black. His robes are shades darker than the emerging night, but eventually through much squinting, Haruhi recognises him.

"Nekozawa-senpai?" she says, surprised. "Why are you here at school so late?"

"Why are you here?" Nekozawa's voice emerges belligerently from black swathes of cloth.

"It is Valentines Day tomorrow," she explains, "and there is a lot to do."

"Valentines Day." The words are hesitant. "Valentines Day."

Haruhi nods. "We ran out of red paint, so I had fetch some," she says. "I should get back," she adds, gesturing to the darkness beyond. She begins to walk.

"I bet you'll be getting a lot of Valentines chocolate." Nekozawa is trailing beside her glumly, clutching Bereznoff.

Haruhi quickens her pace. For some reason, she dislikes this subject. "Perhaps," she says vaguely.

"But…" Here, Nekozawa runs in front of her, stopping her progress. "I think that even a male like you could do with a little assistance from the Black Magic Club!"

Haruhi blinks at the suddenness of his pitch. Recovering, she shakes her head and continues walking. "I don't think so."

"Now, Haruhi-kun," Nekozawa crab-walks backwards. "I have spells here that will make you desirable to your one true love!" He holds up a black object radiating waves of ominous promise.

"I don't think so," Haruhi says again slowly, not pausing.

"Then perhaps, a spell to help you find your one true love!" Nekozawa nods, and proffers Bereznoff, who holds onto a strangely innocent looking white badge. "This is a bargain, at just 100 yen. What do you say?"

Haruhi is firm, but wary. "I'm sorry, Nekozawa-senpai, but no."

But try as she might, she simply cannot shake off Nekozawa. As she enters the Third Music Room, Nekozawa waltzes in after her. Finally, he detaches from Haruhi to coerce new victims, namely the other members of the Host Club, who prove strangely susceptible.

Haruhi mentally hammers her head against the wall as the Host Club members, even Kyouya, gather around Nekozawa as he hawks his wares.

"So how does the badge work, Neko-chan?" Hunny chirps, as he considers the white badge with a wide-eyed gaze.

Nekozawa is eager to demonstrate. "You pin it to your blazer pocket, like so," he says, carefully exaggerating your movements. "And when you're around your true love, the badge will become hot, and it will turn red."

"It is white," observes Mori.

"Of course." Nekozawa nods. "My true love is not nearby."

A chorus of ooohs and aaahhs greet this statement.

"One hundred yen is a small price to pay for self realisation," Nekozawa continues very solemnly.

Tamaki sweeps into the inner circle in one grand step. "I agree," he declares in extravagant tones. "Which is why I, for one, believe that we should all own this miraculous device."

Haruhi chokes.

The rest of the host club is strangely silent.

The twins are first to extend their money, and receive shiny plastic-wrapped badges in return. These badges are unwrapped and pinned on in simultaneous movements. They lie docile and white against the maroon material of their blazer.

Haruhi finds just enough change in her school satchel. She reluctantly tears the plastic wrapping from her new badge.

Meanwhile, Nekozawa is too overcome with the joy of actually making sales to notice the odd hum of tension in the music room.

Kyouya is last to pin his badge on.

There is a silence as everyone considers one another. Haruhi is the one to break the silence. "We still have half the room to paint," she says, her voice flat in the quiet. "If we don't finish soon, we'll be stuck here all night."

The badges are starkly, starkly white.

"I forgot to say," Nekozawa emerges from his elated state. "The badges take a few hours to activate; to familiarise with your soul essence."

For a long moment, it seems as though everyone is frozen. Nekozawa, finally sensitive to the strained vibes hovering in the air, quickly excuses himself. He darts out of the music room, cackling.

"Paint, you said," says Mori, his voice soft.

"Let's all help Haru-chan!" Hunny bounces over to Haruhi, paintbrush in hand.

For now, the disaster is temporarily diverted.

Kyouya's brow is furrowed.

-

Kasanoda Ritsu wakes at dawn to serenade one Fujioka Haruhi on Valentines Day. He barely concludes his first heart-felt verse when the apartment door flings open. A bleary, barely awake middle-aged man glowers from the doorway.

"Who are you?" he growls.

"Kasanoda Ritsu," Kasanoda stammers. "I'm here for…"

"My daughter." The man rakes a hand tipped with red talons through his hair. "I heard." He grimaces. "You're another one."

Baffled by the man's manicure, Kasanoda can only stare.

"Call me Ranka," the man mutters. "Come in. Haruhi is getting ready for school."

Kasanoda shuffles in hesitantly, clutching his bouquet of a dozen fragrant red roses, bobbling heads as big as a fist. Ranka ushers him to the small table at the centre of the room just nearby the doorway.

"You do know that Valentines Day is a day when girls are meant to give presents to boys, not the other way around?" Ranka says gruffly, after a long silence.

Kasanoda nods.

"Then why the roses and the song?"

Everything had made sense to Kasanoda a month ago, when he began to plan for this day. Now he is utterly at loss for words. However, his hopeless expression seems to be telling to Ranka, who nods and sips his tea.

"Every day is a special day, sir," Kasanoda finally manages to say weakly.

"You don't sing half badly," Ranka says dryly, "and you look like a decent type of man."

Kasanoda allows himself a little optimism.

"Don't think I approve," Ranka continues. His severe tone dashes Kasanoda's hopes. "I don't. I just happen to like the brand of chocolates you bought." With that said, he extends an arm to pluck the box of chocolates beside Kasanoda. Opening the box in one swift moment, he happily helps himself to the biggest chocolate inside.

Haruhi emerges from the small bathroom not long afterwards, running a brush through her hair while shouldering her satchel. She considers Kasanoda absently as she gulps down a mouthful of bread and a swallow of tea. Her gaze turns to her father, who is happily devouring a fourth chocolate.

"He likes that brand," she says to Kasanoda, who looks as though he's swallowed a toad.

Fed and ready, Haruhi politely offers to walk with Kasanoda to school. Kasanoda accepts. When he proffers the bouquet of roses to her, she immediately hands them over to Ranka.

"He likes roses, too," she says.

Kasanoda fidgets. After several garbled, incoherent attempts, he finally manages to link words into a sentence. "They're for you."

She blinks. "It's Valentines Day," she says slowly. "Shouldn't it be the other way around?"

Kasanoda purples so rapidly that even Ranka spares a pause from gobbling chocolates to look slightly concerned. Haruhi, though at her most stoic, is hit with a pang of guilt.

"In that case, I've got something for you," she mutters hastily. Shaking out her satchel, she produces two boxes: one light brown, one dark brown. To Ranka, she gives the dark brown box. To Kasanoda, she gives the light brown box.

Ranka's box, Kasanoda notes dismally, is substantially bigger than his own. Upon untying the white plastic ribbon, Kasanoda uncovers the chocolates inside.

He turns to Haruhi, who is stacking six identical light brown boxes neatly into a sack. This, she places into her satchel. Catching his gaze, she shoulders her satchel. "Happy Valentines Day," she says.

"Thank you," Kasanoda mumbles.

Haruhi shrugs her satchel higher. "We should start walking to school," she says.

-

At approximately two fifty, Haruhi staggers through the door of the Third Music Room. She totes a large box overfull with rainbow boxes of chocolate, plush hearts, flowers, singing cards…

Tamaki stares at the overflowing box. How many Valentines are there in that box, he wonders. Ten… sixteen… twenty five…

As for Tamaki, he has…

Less.

He instantly flees to the corner of woe.

"That isn't all mine," Haruhi says flatly, following Tamaki's expressively doleful step-by-step realisation.

Tamaki perks up. "Oh?"

"Most of it belongs to the twins." Haruhi carefully begins to lift out items one by one, sorting things into two piles. "They weren't in class today."

Tamaki instantly becomes more interested a particular spot on the wall. "How strange," he says blandly.

Haruhi continues to sort the items. Who is supposed to receive what is fairly clear. The twins' Valentines come in sets of identical two.

"Haruhi!" Tamaki suddenly bounces up.

Haruhi considers him warily.

"Guess what? My badge just turned red!" Tamaki unbuttons his blazer partially to reveal the badge, which he has pinned on his shirt pocket.

"It reacts to heat," Haruhi says. "I stuck mine in hot water last night." She pulls the said badge from her pocket. The little circle is fire-truck red. "It has been like that ever since."

Tamaki wibbles. His bottom lip begins to quiver.

Haruhi's head tilts ever so slightly as she examines Tamaki's badge. Her brow furrows slightly before she comes to a conclusion. "You've contaminated your results, Tamaki-senpai."

Guilty as charged, Tamaki retreats back into his corner of woe.

Haruhi returns back to methodically sorting out the presents.

Nearby, Mori and Hunny are confronted with a canned something. The gossamer and satin wrappings, as well as the little pink card addressed to 'Dearest, dearest Hunny-senpai' lay scattered on the floor.

"It sounds like cake," says Hunny as he experimentally shakes it.

Mori sits in a somewhat agreeable silence.

"It is cake." Hunny's eyes glaze over. He clutches Usa-chan. "And it must be a special cake," he murmurs in revelatory tones, "If it comes in a can."

And so, one thing leads to another, and that other thing leads to Mori wandering over to the storeroom with the aim of retrieving a can-opener. The door is locked. Mori looks down to find the storeroom keys on the floor nearby.

Mori opens to door to be barrelled over by a pair of twins. Their eyes gleam green with indescribable vindictiveness.

He stares after them, flabbergasted.

The twins stroll over to Haruhi, hands in pockets.

"Happy Valentines Day, Haruhi," they chorus in flat unison.

Haruhi places the last parcel in the box and pushes it towards them. "These are yours."

"Yes," they say. "We weren't in class."

Their eyes swivel towards a cowering Tamaki, and then to the expressionless Haruhi. They smile ferociously.

"No matter," Hikaru says smoothly, waving away the boxes of presents. He fixes an intent gaze upon Haruhi. "What is important is… what have you got for us?"

"Presents? From Haru-chan?" Hunny bounces over at once, his can of cake forgotten. "You've got presents, Haru-chan?" His little-boy eyes laugh up at her.

Haruhi, however, is implacable today. "Of course," she says calmly. "I got presents for everyone… including my father, Kasanoda-kun…"

"Kasanoda-kun?" Hunny chirrups, a pucker in his brow.

"He came over this morning." Haruhi shrugs. She doles out the presents with flat efficiency. Her timing is so exact, that the moment the last box is given to Kyouya, it is time to open the Host Club. Everyone rushes to dress up in their costumes – today, the theme is fairytale prince, complete with brandishing swords, heartfelt lyre-accompanied warbling and fantastically slain dragons.

The doors fling open.

The onslaught begins.

-

Haruhi is starting to lose track of all the girls.

There are girls everywhere in the Third Music Room. Laughing, shrieking, swooning, sighing, staring, glaring, bawling…

Somehow, she's stuck with the bawling one. Aoyama Yuki cries copiously amidst floods of tissue. She has recently broken up with her boyfriend. She is wanting for company and inconsolable. Haruhi can't get a word in amidst Yuki's sobs. Instead, she silently hands tissue after tissue. Occasionally, she makes a comforting noise.

Oh, Valentine's Day.

Nearby, the twins enact their prelude to a very smutty Valentine. Gazes locked, Hikaru wordlessly brushes a luridly red rose across Kaoru's cheek. As for Kaoru, he is flushed and bright-eyed, trembling theatrically in his brother's rapt attention.

Around them, their observers are also trembling. They quiver of expectant tippy toes, hands touched to tremulous mouths.

"They are so…"

"…. Moe…"

At the front, a girl with a big red bow in her hair faints.

No one notices.

Elsewhere, Hunny eats cake.

A lot of cake.

Usa-chan flops.

Mori is attentive.

The shota fans hover around, bearing enormous pink cake boxes radiating with sweet aroma.

Honey receives each one with an icing-sticky smile, his eyes shimmering with delight. "I LOVE Valentines Day," he proclaims blissfully, upon beholding the tower of cake before him.

Not far away, by the window looking out to the school gardens, Tamaki bathes in the radiance of the mid-afternoon sun. A longhaired lovely is captured in his rapturous embrace, melting under the beauty of his Princely gaze.

He proffers to her a long-stemmed red rose. She accepts dazedly, overwhelmed.

"Oh, Tamaki-kun," she breathes, inhaling its sweet scent. "It is beautiful."

"Yet no rose can compare to your incandescent beauty," Tamaki murmurs in her ear.

She blushes prettily pink and swoons in his arms.

Kyouya, who lurks nearby, scribbles in his notepad. He is absorbed in his work, but not even the Shadow King can deter intent hearts on Valentines Day.

A pig-tailed girl approaches, bearing a pink box of chocolates. She considers him with lovesick eyes, and hesitantly edges closer.

"K-k-kyouya-senpai," she stutters.

He looks up from his notepad and automatically smiles. "Hello."

"Happy Valentines Day, Kyouya-senpai!" She proffers her chocolate and bows at the same time.

He looks at the box. He looks to her. "Thank you," he says.

"Thank you!" she replies at once, tomato red.

Weak at knees, she wobbles away.

Kyouya returns to his notepad. The chocolates are forgotten.

Haruhi is still comforting the traumatised Aoyama Yuki. The routine has not changed.

Yuki weeps.

Haruhi hands her a tissue.

Yuki hiccups and blows her nose.

And so ends the pristine life of yet another piece of tissue…

Perhaps Haruhi should have foreseen the situation that was to inevitably happen. Upon digging into the tissue box for the umpteenth time, her fingers scrape upon cardboard and empty air.

Haruhi freezes.

Yuki sobs.

Haruhi bites her bottom lip. Inadvertently, her eyes wander to the storeroom door.

Fate is cruel, she decides, as she dismally clutches on the empty tissue box. Her mind is lurching at what to do next.

"Haruhi-kun?" Yuki's tear-blurred voice wavers.

Haruhi wonders momentarily at the sudden onslaught of queasy illness. Her palms are damp, and her cheeks have become pink. Her throat is dry. It could be a cold, she thinks.

"Tissues, of course," she says blankly. "I must go get some. Will you be alright by yourself, Aoyama-san?"

"I—don't—know…" Yuki mumbles.

Clearly, the task cannot be avoided. Haruhi is determined to be as blasé as possible. In a normal pace, with a normal countenance, she heads over to the storeroom.

(There are patterns in life)

She already knows what will happen.

Just seconds after she enters the room, the door slams shut.

Haruhi is greeted by the earth-shattering sound of fifty plates breaking.

-

The twins enticed in the darkness, Tamaki charmed with fairy lights; and Mori and Hunny seduced in torchlight.

It would be Kyouya's turn.

The lights flood on.

"Fujioka," he sighs, "I should have known it was you."

She watches as he scribbles on his notepad, torn between mortification, irritation and bemusement. "What did I do?" she asks warily.

"Heritage Wedgwood," he says matter-of-factly, "Circa 1920. That little accident just added a further 600000 yen to your debt."

"Six hundred thousand?" Haruhi feels faint. Anger is beginning to overwhelm her sense. Damn rich bastards, she thought to herself.

It occurs to her that the entire situation is most likely a set up.

She grits her teeth.

"This is a pity," Kyouya murmurs. "The grand total for your debt had almost reached five figures."

Haruhi closes her eyes and breathes deeply to calm herself. "Tissue," she says tonelessly, upon recovering her composure. "I came here for tissue."

"You really shouldn't be coming here at all," he replies.

"And you made me break all those plates to prove that point?" Haruhi snaps at him. "I don't come here by choice. I tried to avoid it."

"If it wasn't me here," Kyouya begins to say.

"I wouldn't have broken these plates." Haruhi finishes. She is angry. Her movements are halted as she takes a box of tissues from the middle shelf.

When she turns around, she finds herself pinned. Kyouya leans into her, their lips a whisper apart. One hand is palm-down against a shelf edge. The other grips her arm a little tighter than necessary.

"Our profits are down," he tells her lowly. "Everyone's under performing, and we both know why."

She turns her head to face away from him. "Well," she says evenly. "You clearly have a preferred solution in mind."

His lips brush her ear. "You're a very greedy girl, to want us all."

"You're disgusting," she says coldly. "I don't want to lose our friendship." She adds a correction.

His hand spans at her waist, his fingers slightly caress the vertical curve. "Does this feel very friendly?" he drawls in velvet tones.

She wrenches his hand away. "When you're not being an idiot, we are friends," she says sharply. "We're good friends, and you are a good person."

There is a plea to her tone: be a good person now.

And he ignores it. He presses closer. He traces the down the knobs of her spine, the little linear bumps, one by one. He does it ever so slowly. She shivers in his embrace. His breath warms her ear.

She is warm, already; too warm, perhaps.

"Problems exist, and persist, until they are solved," he murmurs. His fingers linger at the small of her back. "Let's not harbour delusions, Fujioka. There is only one solution here. You have to choose among us. One, or two, as some of us come in pairs."

She stills.

Life operates in patterns.

She thinks.

Conformity is a pattern.

"But you're a conformist, aren't you, Fujioka?"

And the heptagon…

"I'd say you're monogamous."

Does not tessellate.

"You would choose… Tamaki."

And of all the polygons…

"Perhaps, you already have."

It is an anomaly.

"Don't be so presumptuous," she says very harshly, immediately. Her tone is harsher, perhaps, because she hates being thought of as so predictable.

She now knows she is.

"I don't want to be forced into hasty decisions," she continues (not defensively) "I don't want choose wrongly, because this will change everything, you know. Have you ever thought of what would happen if everything just went wrong?"

"You're old enough to handle the consequences of your decisions," he replies. "All decisions have consequences. And you can't avoid making decisions. You've already made the wrong one, trying to maintain the status quo."

He is right, she thinks bitterly, but she has to refuse to admit it. She avoids his eyes, and moves her arm to block his torso and push him away.

"I know certainly I wouldn't choose you," she says with deliberate spite.

His smile at this is very dark.

She knows this, because she is compelled to look up and catch his reaction. And he catches her gaze. His eyes lock on hers. He extends a languid finger and gently tilts her chin upwards. "Who says I'm even giving you a choice?" he whispers.

"You said," she begins heatedly. He silences her with a kiss.

It is an open-mouthed kiss, and he tastes of orange and pepper. He is so warm, and his touches are even warmer. One arm is wrapped around her waist, and the other trails down her side slowly. The stiff material of his jacket sleeve rasps against the cotton of her shirt. The sound is so strangely loud, she thinks.

And just as abruptly as it begins, it ends. He lets her go. They both are breathless.

She recovers quickly. Her stoic farce falls in place, and it would seem as though she is unfazed—save a lingering gesture where she tucks stray short strands of hair behind her ear, as though she is reminiscing over times of greater femininity.

"You want to force me," she says flatly.

"Persuade," he corrects. "I can be very persuasive," he says.

"Presumptuous," she counters. "I'd hardly be deciding now, on the spot. Now is too soon."

"Not soon enough," he says. "You must already see how things are changing."

Her mind drifts to the twins stalking out of the storeroom just over an hour ago, and Tamaki's guiltily smug reaction to their glowering. Her mind jumps to Kyouya, standing silently before. The Shadow King to Tamaki's self-appointed Overlord to All, she realises that their relationship has changed. Though they had always been individuals in the Host Club, there had always existed a sort of inexplicable, compulsive relationship that drew the two together like opposite magnetic poles.

In his own way, Tamaki depended so much on Kyouya. Lately, that was happening a lot less. Haruhi missed the frequent reference to the Host Club family: Tamaki's wails for 'Mother' help all the time. It still happened, but less.

When and how did this all change?

Haruhi cannot think herself out of the problem, so she decides to ignore it altogether. "If," she begins in steadier tones. Kyouya looks to her grimly. "If we all tried to stay at the same place, nothing would have to change," she says.

"That's impossible," he says simply, bluntly.

Haruhi doesn't exactly understand why this statement is so alarming. Perhaps it is Kyouya's implacable expression, or the immediate delivery of his response. But something inside her churns at once. A queasiness crawls through her, She feels herself pale—the blood just rushes from her head—and she finds herself saying in frustrated hopelessness: "This is hugely your fault."

Kyouya replies, "I know."

Stunned by his admittance, Haruhi does the only thing she can. She clutches to the box of tissues and makes a hasty exit from the storeroom.

-

A regular heptagon has seven sides, seven corners and fourteen diagonals.

And that is all. Any more or less of one and it would no longer be a heptagon.

Kyouya, the Shadow King, understands well.

Calculation is to mathematics, as ruthlessness is to winning.

-

A/N: This is after more than half a year. I apologise. I've recently started university, and things have been really hectic. I was working on Tessellation on and off, but nothing I wrote sounded right.

Just a question, am I the only one who thinks continuing someone else's supposedly abandoned fanfic, without explicit permission—said fanfic is abandoned—is completely not okay? The wtf-ery is here: net/s/1743952/1/AsDeclaredByFate (the original, just add the usual www.fanfiction to it) and this: .net/s/4385900/1/AsDeclaredByFate. The latter doesn't even mention that the work isn't original until chapter 4, and doesn't mention who originally wrote it until chapter 9. The original was one of my favourite guilty-pleasure fanfics; so I got kinda, um, mad. But according to the latter's readers, I'm an evil fun-buster.

In reflection, a month later, I suspect I was a tad too forceful in trying to lay down exactly why I found the latter work to be highly offensive and improper. But I will state now, bluntly, the latter writer is a plagiariser. I would be grateful if some of you guys with a cooler head than me could try explaining to the latter writer why doing what she has done is unacceptable, and report the story if necessary. This site's admin is terrible when it comes to processing complaints, but if more people report, there's more attention to the matter, right?

Thanks! This chapter was difficult to write. I hope the next chapter comes more easily, but I can't guarantee much. Thank you to everyone who left such encouraging reviews for chapter 5.

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