Disclaimer: If I owned Host Club, Kyoya would be the main character
I should have never agreed to show Rin where it was. I should have said, 'Find your own bloody host club', or something like that. She was able to find it fine, I'm sure. She could have at least followed one of them too, I mean, she knew each one by name. She was like a Santa Claus or something. For hosts. Whatever. Considering the consequences, I think I would have far better enjoyed skipping the entire experience. And all the other ones too. Then again, if I hadn't come, I would have nothing to tell about, would I?
I shot Rin a look. The sign proclaiming 'Third Music Room' protruded proudly before the door, as innocent as can be. Yeah, innocent. Remember that word. It'll be disproved later.
"You're on your own," I informed her, "I'm not following you in there. The last thing I need is to be reported for 'ignoring the uniform when it's available'." I mimed sarcastic quotation marks.
Rin smiled, "Humor me. I need information on this club to infer their potential for opposition if an espionage club was ever formed."
"Your club, your problem," I said bluntly.
"I'll pay you."
"Always glad to help." I smiled winningly.
What can I say? We were in class C for a reason, and that is that our parents are divorced. Rin gets the benefits being heir to the Westing toy empire, but a large publishing company owned by Taylor Harding (IV) doesn't get the pocket money perks that she gets. To put it simply, I, Taylor Harding the Fifth, am flat broke.
I opened the door to the third music room grudgingly, that replacement moped I've wanted since I totaled my own on a tree in mind. Rin followed, and not a moment too soon. The door slammed shut behind me as I was assaulted with a sight I really should have been prepared for.
Hot! It was unbelievable. I've been briefed a billion times by other students the basic looks and complete beauty of the seven hosts, but they were gorgeous! Like gods or something.
And they were all looking at us. All of them.
I presumed the one in the middle was Tamaki by that blond, blond hair and those really weird eyes. He's supposed to be French or something I think.
"Oh look," he said surprised, "those two are twins as well, though they seem fraternal."
I looked between Rin and myself and realized what he meant. There was Rin, whose perfect mahogany waves had been daintily tied up with ribbons away from her face, and there was me, a ragged dirty brown dust mop, bangs too long before my eyes, and falling in uneven clumps to my shoulders from long periods of neglected grooming. There was Rin, yellow uniform clean and pristine, and me, who shunned the frills against policy and wore my customary cargo shorts and oversized red and white hoodie that no one wants to know the last time I washed. There was Rin, kind smile and soft russet eyes looking benignly upon all who was graced by her presence, and the other one, me, with sneer and defiant mud-brown glare slapped across my partially hidden features, looking like I was about to vandalize the place.
It was a shock that they realized we were related to begin with. I had to look like a guy to them.
This is my chance, I thought and readied to turn around and march out right as the twin brothers slid up to Rin and me.
"Yep, definitely twins, milord," one said, scrutinizing our faces, "I wonder if this one is like Bossa Nova-san? You know," the twins straightened in tandem and wiggled their hands (and eyebrows) in unison, "wavy."
Gay. I thought, they mean I'm gay.
I was really getting tired of this situation really fast. I blame lack of breakfast.
"Shut up," I spat disgustedly, slapping away their hands, "As if I would care what kind of crap you completely asinine organization thought I was. I'm deeply sorry I even had the very notion of escorting Rin to this place. Besides, is this place open?" I challenged, "No one is here. Is the almighty Host Club not as wanted as it's advertised?"
Too late, I clapped my hand over my mouth. I was destined to be mobbed by their adoring customers now, I was sure of it.
I was surprised, of course, when the first words spoken were not, as I expected, 'Sic 'im!', but rather, "Kyo-kun, what does 'asinine' mean?" the cute jester cocked his head at me. That had to be Hunny. No question about it.
"It means utterly stupid," replied the nobleman dryly, pushing up his glasses, evidently Kyoya, "He seems to not like our little club that much, wouldn't you say?" He looked calmly over his glasses at me, "Apparently not enough to know we aren't open during class hours."
Did I mention I was cutting last period? 'Cause I was. Another reason why I shouldn't have walked into a room full of people willing to report me. Ah, the things money will make one gloss over.
I turned, only to find Rin was gone. A note she couldn't possibly have had time to write was taped to the door. 'I have collected all that I needed'. Then why the hell desert me?!
I turned back around, to find Hunny was staring incredibly cutely at, and standing incredibly closer to, me, "You don't mean what you said, do you?"
It wasn't fair. He shouldn't be that cute. I nervously backed up. The squire, who was probably Haruhi, moved to stand by the statue near my elbow. I didn't know at the time it was only to prevent its breaking. To me it looked nothing less than I was being surrounded.
"If you are not homo," Tamaki stated quite simply, "then you are obviously not here as a customer. Your twin ran away, so you can't be an escort."
"You must be here for the job," he smiled sweetly. Please don't say he meant that job.
I stared in disbelief and Haruhi sighed and shook his head. Of course I was thinking more like, Huh?!
"Taylor Harding, Class 1-C," Kyoya read briskly from a ledger, "Parents are the toy store tycoon heiress Jasmine Westing and publishing giant Taylor Harding. Twin sister Rin Westing," he snapped it closed decisively, "It is clear Taylor Harding has no intention of becoming a host, but the position of Host Club's dog is now vacant, so welcome to the team, Harding-san." He gave me a chilly smile.
My jaw dropped as the twins muttered, "Shadow King." Bastard, however, is the only word on my mind, this Kyoya's an evil bastard.
This knowledge is far less reassuring to me than it would be to any other person.
"Well then, Harding-kun, since you are now our dog, I guess you need a name."
"I already have a name! And I never agreed to work for you!"
"Puppy-chan, then!" Tamaki smiled.
"Ty-Ty!" Hunny cried happily.
The two twins exchanged mischievous looks, "Peppermint!" They said in unison.
I was still in shock with the fact those stupid posters were for real when Kyoya presented me with a paper with a lot of really small type.
"Your contract," he said with a smile. My what?!
"…so now I'm the Host Club's dog!" I moaned later to Rin, telling my story without my usual flair, "they even made take down a bunch of spoof wanted ads posted around the school for a servant!"
"Kyoya Ootori," she said slowly after a pause, "is he…?"
"Yes!" I moaned, "Yes. He's a clever, evil, shadow bastard and he drew up this contract that is totally one-sided and I have to practically write my name in blood or else he threatened me with his black-op force and oh what am I going to do, Rin?" I collapsed beside her, out of breath, "Of all the clubs to be drafted into, it has to be the one with the manipulative bastard in it, running my employment!" I groaned, aggravated.
"Oh dear," Rin pondered, "and that odd attraction of yours."
"Yes," I cried, "That thing I have for snarky guys. This bites! However,… there some things in my favor," I realized, straightening and began ticking them off on my fingers, "Other than that annoying power that I curse the heavens for bestowing that bastards like Kyoya-teme have over me," I shook my fist dramatically to the ceiling to make my point, "I fortunately feel almost no true attraction for any of them at all. Nothing more than hormones initially reacting to their looks, their personalities are far too hard to like," Except Haruhi. But it's not like he seems to really like the whole host thing, "They still don't know I'm a girl, so I can build up immunity against their charms if the secret ever does get out." Because obviously, I don't do well in the situations that most girls excel at; acting like a girl, in this case, a flattered girl.
"Except for Kyoya-san."
"Except for Kyoya-san," I agreed, then cursed, "Damn, he's smart too. My thing for snarks can never get out, especially to him. If I remain under the guise of a guy long enough, I may be able to erect some barriers to him. Maybe. I won't let him get the best of me. I will not be Host Club's dog," I finished in decisive determination.
"Positive thinking, good. Though," Rin added thoughtfully, "judging by your descriptions, I doubt you ever will be used that easily. They obviously don't know you as I."
"For now," I decided, smiling at her comment, "I'll just avoid being alone with Kyoya-teme. Luckily they don't know my talent either. If I should ever be in a situation where it could show through, I'm royally screwed."
I looked down at my hands, "What's that, three things? Better than two."
I looked up, and to my dismay, saw Hikaru heading our way. I grimaced.
"Peppermint, will you go fetch us more commoners' coffee?"
"They named you?" Rin whispered disbelievingly.
"Hunny calls me Ty-Ty, Tamaki calls me Puppy-chan, and the twins call me Peppermint for my hoodie," I gritted out, standing to fetch their damn coffee.
"Be quick about it, Peppermint!" Dark thoughts indeed ran through my mind when Hikaru said this. Mostly involving where he could shove that coffee.
I was too far away to know that, hidden from our view by a column, Kyoya said quietly, "So Harding's really a girl, huh. That's useful to know."
If I had known this, I would have punched the smirk off his face and incinerated it on the spot.
Growling about pet names, I returned soon with the coffee and thrust it at Tamaki, "Here take it."
I stormed off without waiting for a response, cursing the fact that linage instead of wealth was more important at Ouran. With my broken heritage from the divorce of my parents, I was truly relegated to C class. Rin, though, fared better than me despite. She was already well ahead of the class and I caught one teacher saying how she belonged in B. About time they figured it out.
"…And as I came back, I know I heard the girls giggle 'Peppermint'! I felt like I could punch some one." I told my tale to my sister with my usual flair, holding up a fist for emphasis, "Or just all of them."
My sister may have inherited the skills of a reporter, okay, a spy, from my father, but I had gotten the natural dramatic storytelling from my mother, the irony, you see lies in the custody to the contrary; I being my father's heir (in looks too, just not as handsome. Or at all), and Rin my mother's (likewise, lucky for her).
Rin laughed, "Oh dear, and you signed that contract too. Maybe I can gather some further information. Possibly find some loopholes?" she proposed.
"Yes, good idea," I agreed, "use those super spy skills or whatever, but get me out of here!" I snatched her hands pleadingly, puppy eyes gleaming, desperation in my voice.
Rin laughed as she stood and walked to Haruhi's table and sat down with a smile. I sighed as she engaged in pleasant conversation. So far, I had survived only a day of this, and I was already exhausted of it. I sighed again and sat up.
"Slacking on duty, Harding-san?"
I fell out of the chair in shock with a yelp. Of course I cracked my head on the couch leg, which left me dazed for a few seconds. I finally managed to pull myself up, rubbing my head, doing some quick thinking.
"No, senpai. I simply had a pause in service. Besides," I glared at Kyoya, "I have a feeling I'm not being paid."
"No," he acknowledged, glancing at his ledger, "But you are using host club property, and that would fine any pay that may or may not have been in your future."
"What?!" I stared. Damn, I can't think of anything, I thought, scrambling for a response and just thought of one in time, "Technically I'm not under any orders at the moment," I pointed out, "Unless you have anything." Too late the words left my traitorous mouth. Too late to snatch them from the air. Too late to install that mouth filter I've been meaning to get.
"Hm, now that you mention it…" he said thoughtfully. Oh crap. "No. I don't have anything in mind." I let out a really big exhale.
"However, I'm sure we can find something for you to do." Only to suck all the air back in.
Crap, crap, crap.
"We're a bit shorthanded at the moment," he smiled, "so could you keep the other guests busy while we make time to wait on them?"
"Are you asking me or telling me?" I scowled. He looked at me straight in the eye, "Don't ask questions you already know the answer to."
That. That threat right there. It froze me where I stood. If it wasn't apparent until that point, it was then. I was really attracted to these kinds of things, thus attracted to this guy.
"They're waiting over there," he nodded to where several girls were looking around curiously, like he hadn't just struck what seemed to be fear into a poor boy, "Introduce them to the club."
I was finally able to connect brain to my face and rolled my eyes, walking, nonetheless, where he had gestured. Like a freaking robot at his command. Crap it.
"Hello," I said dryly to the girls, "I do hope you did not find this place in search of the restroom, as I can assure you that we have no toi–"
Something small and hard bounced off the back of my head and I whipped around, to see Hikaru hiding his next peppermint innocently. I glowered at the back of his head.
"Fine. We have no facilities. However," I turned back to the girls, "I must inquire if you actually went in search of this-"
Another peppermint, but different direction. Apparently the club was determined to keep me on track.
"-place. Never mind. Welcome to the Host Club. Wonder of your fantasies, and the epitome of your dreams; if you simply step inside, I'm sure you'll see what I mean."
My sarcasm either went unnoticed or was simply ignored.
"Oooh! A poem!" one giggled.
Dear gods, they're mad, I thought pokerfaced, with a tinge of disgust.
I tried to suppress the urge to roll my eyes. I'm not sure I succeeded, because I instantly added, "Yes, a poem it seems I've made, but I don't think you understood what I said. Oh well, I guess, I might as well, the different types, I guess I'll tell."
I recited it with perfect deadpan. The girls squealed at this apparently new form of introduction.
Rin told me later all the hosts and patrons actually turned to watch me at this point, which I certainly knew nothing about; I was so far into my element I didn't even notice the lack of projectile-peppermints I most certainly deserved to be bombarded with.
"First we have Haruhi, the natural so blunt and so sweet, next we have the adorable Hunny, the cutest Lolita you'll ever meet. Hikaru, Kaoru, the homo little demons, clever and oh so gay, Kyoya, the cool type, cunning and full of brains," I probably spat that line, possibly with a lot of sarcastic sweetness, "Next is Tamaki, the most favored of them all, the one for whom I'm sure you'll all fall, and finally Mori, the quiet, wild type, and thus ends this pathetic type tripe. To put it in simple terms, these are what I mean, natural, cute, wild, demon, cool and prince, pick according to your need."
I finished indifferently, gesturing (false) dramatically behind me where the hosts were supposed to be entertaining guests, apparently they were all staring. The girls were too busy clapping happily to notice my tattered-veil insults. Or the sarcasm from my words pooling at my feet. They giggled past me to the table of their choice, and I released a 'tsk', rolling my eyes. I turned around, expecting to be ignored, only to come face-to-ledger with the cool type himself.
"You're quite the poet," he commented, in a way that made it clear he didn't miss a single undertone. I was so surprised, I had no answer. So much for the unstoppable mouth.
"Just don't do it again," he said, turning slowly to attend to the guests, "You'll be fined if you scare away any customers."
It wasn't a threat. He was making fun of me. I clenched my fist, not sure if I was angry, embarrassed, or falling deeper into that attraction hole, then the implication of his words sunk in.
"Fined?!" I said disbelievingly.
He turned back and bent to bring his eyes level to mine, "So you won't do it again?"
Crap, crap, crap.
"…No," I finally managed to squeeze out and took a step back to grab my nerves back in line, "I'll just make sure you don't hear."
He chuckled and walked back to his laptop. I glared at his back and huffily walked off to see if I could find a way to escape. I had opened one of the doors when Kaoru shouted, "Peppermint! Come here!"
I stalked over, fully prepared for a brutal massacre.
"Refill our cups, Peppermint," Kaoru ordered. Maybe it was only in my mind that I held a butter knife above my head like a B-movie serial killer.
"What are you, crippled?" I glared daggers at them both.
"No, it's just if Kaoru tried," Hikaru took his brother's hand dramatically. Or should I say sickeningly, "he might hurt himself!" The fangirls squealed and I felt a bit nauseous.
"Okay, fine!" I faked dry-heaved, stopping them before it got worse, "I get it! Cut the act."
I poured their tea, utterly disgusted. As a twin myself, their performance was just repulsive. They probably knew this already though. That's why they had done it.
After I survived that encounter, I tried to escape once again, but Tamaki said, "No, no, Puppy! Mom!" he traipsed over to Kyoya.
"Our new pet isn't properly trained! Please house-break him for us. He only listens to you!"
"Certainly," Kyoya said. I didn't realize at the time, but this is what gave him a reason to ruin my life from hence forward. My mind was more focused on the whole 'Mom' thing. Too bad he didn't mind it. I very nearly had counter-blackmail.
Author's Notes: Yea, I finally got it up! So whatcha think? Don't be misled into thinking this is another fanfic where they fall in love in an unrealistic amount of time, I assure you, Taylor only feels mild attraction, she doesn't even like Kyoya. (Actually she hates him) And Kyoya is definitely not gonna be falling in love any time soon.
In case you were wondering why I don't show Taylor's stories with Rin, it's because she basically tells the same story you read, with more hand gestures and what not. And just so you know, the club thinks she's a girl not solely by her appearance, but how she reacts. Notice how she instantly gets angry and rebels at some of the spoken implications. Later, you'll find she's very violent, but whatever.
Any questions, go ahead and ask and don't forget to review while you're at it!