Black consumed everything- from one end of the frame to the other. A few seconds passed and a blinking red dot appeared at the bottom center. The darkness gave away to blinding sun, the outline of foliage in the background. The camera dimmed, focused, and zoomed in on a group of oddly dressed young men in tye dye garments, peace sign jewelry, shaggy extensions and bell bottoms.
"Welcome," a boy dressed in a tan long-sleeved shirt and a fringed vest announced from the center. He stepped forward with a toss of his blond extensions, tiny braids intertwined throughout. "To the Host Club's Festival of Commoner Culture! A celebration of the simple joys that peasants find in their otherwise pitiful lives." He clenched his fist and pumped it upward. "The rebellion of an entire class cursed by God and condemned to abject misery." He gave a dramatic bow. "This is their story."
"You've got to be fucking kidding me." A little raccoon faced boy in a billowy tye dye tee and a matching head wrap rolled his eyes, unaware of the mics placed strategically through out the garden.
The twins toward the back snorted and the scene cut to black.
"Hippies led a massive commoner youth movement in the 1960s," Tamaki counseled from under the shade of a maple tree. They all sat in a circle upon a giant blanket with a hookah in the center, their legs folded. Mori strummed upon an acoustic guitar.
"They preached the symbols of love, friendship and peace until their message resounded through out the world! A true underdog tale of commoner courage!"
"That's interesting, Suou-san," Akira leaned into the frame from his side of the blanket, a thin silver mic in hand. "But shouldn't we talk more about-"
"Are you taking notes?!" Tamaki snapped around at him, extensions flying.
"W-We have a camera-"
"To keep their spirits high, hippies smoked copious amounts of marijuana everyday!" He turned to his left. "Isn't that right, Mori-senpai?"
"Mmm," Mori nodded with a grin, eyes closed under his rose colored shades, fingers moving over the guitar strings. Truthfully, he'd never played the thing in his entire life, but the Host King thought it might be nice to have him actually do something for once.
"So," Akira eyed the hookah suspiciously. "It wouldn't be a stretch to say that you not only endorse, but take part in the trading and use of narcotics?"
"The Host Club takes pride in its ability to replicate and capture time periods or themes," Kyouya replied before Tamaki could even process the question. "But this is all in good fun. To take it as advocation would be a gross misconception." He grinned into the camera, the sunlight beaming off of his glasses.
"Anyway," Tamaki started with a dismissive wave, completely oblivious to how close he'd come to yearbook 'Stoner of the Year'. "Hippies got along just fine without everyday necessities like personal swimming facilities, limo service and hair products shipped from Milan." He flipped his bangs. "Of course, my hair still looks perfect with this cheap conditioner Haruhi brought in for us today!" He held up a cream colored bottle marked 'Suave' and waved it about excitedly. "You're free to try it, but remember, my hair has natural bounce and sheen." He frowned at Akira. "You won't be so lucky."
The camera zoomed in just in time to catch a bulge ballooning at Akira's temple, his teeth clenched. There was a short snicker from one of the cameramen and then darkness.
A new scene opened on the courtyard where Kyouya Ootori sat on a bench facing the camera. Unlike the others, he'd dressed in his school uniform, most likely because the usual gaggle of fangirls wasn't around to cater to. In fact, he seemed insistent on keeping them away.
"Can you repeat the question?" he asked, adjusting his glasses for what seemed like the millionth time.
"What's it like working with Tamaki Suou?" Akira pushed from somewhere off screen.
"It's an honor," Kyouya replied with that artificial grin. "I greatly admire the Suou Corporation's leadership and drive."
"Oh come on," Akira groaned, dragging his hands roughly down his cheeks. "What's he really like? Does he boss you around? Make you do his laundry?"
A gasp sounded from behind the camera. "
Komatsuzawa-sama! I forgot to grab your whites-"
"I'll deal with you later," he growled before turning back to the Shadow King.
"I don't know what you mean," Kyouya shrugged before standing from the bench. "Why don't you ask our president?"
"W-Well, we thought we might get a better answer if we talked to you!" Akira lunged forward before he could turn away and grasped him by the shoulder. Kyouya tensed, stopping in his tracks.
"You don't have to cover up the truth," Akira's eyes wandered off toward the garden where the blond attempted to freestyle a hippie jig with Mori's accompaniment. "For someone else's agenda."
"Oh, don't worry," Kyouya turned around to face him, the sunlight momentarily shifting from his glasses. "I don't intend to." With that he walked away, leaving the three in silence.
"Shit," Akira croaked. "That was scary."
"… do you need me to take your pants, your gra-"
''Go get my fucking laundry!" a shoe went sailing past the frame and everything faded to black.
"This!" Tamaki announced, gesturing to a collection of at least one hundred black plastic trash bags scattered upon the grass. "Is a commoner's slip n' slide!"
"WOOOOO!" The Hitachiins had removed their tie dye shirts and currently hurtled down the endless trail of trash bags, splashing water in every direction.
"HEY! WATCH THE CAMERAS!" Akira warned.
"Commoners are too tragically poor to afford the real product let along actual water slides," Tamaki explained, eyes downcast. "So they use a water hose and plastic bags to create the illusion of a fun-filled water park!" He eyed the shorter host at side, his cheeks reddening. "Right, Haruhi?!"
Haruhi scowled back. "Well, you don't have to put it that way," she sighed before turning back to sea of drenched garbage bags. "But yeah." A soft smile curved over her lips. "My dad would do this on the side of our building sometimes…"
Suddenly, Tamaki disappeared from the screen and a voice started up from behind the camera.
"Just look at him," the voice cooed lovingly. "This is called commoner nostalgia! Zoom in!"
"Su-Sure, Suou-san," one of the cameramen agreed and the picture narrowed in on the commoner.
The camera zoomed in further and further until Haruhi's face consumed the entire frame, pores and all.
"Look at him," Tamaki whispered, his voice cracking. "He's so happy…" His voice thickened with tears. "So happy…"
Haruhi continued to smile out over the trash bag littered terrain. Her eyes drifted toward the camera and little by little her expression stiffened from warm to ice cold. "Are you filming me?"
Tamaki chuckled nervously, yanking the camera so roughly in the opposite direction that it whacked one of the cameramen upside the head. "No…"
"Are you crying?" She raised an eyebrow.
"Th-" he stammered, scrubbing at his face. "There's chlorine in my eyes!"
Her eyes travelled slowly toward the slip n' slide and then back to him. "We didn't use chlorine on these..."
"What's it like working with Tamaki Suou?"
The camera panned over the courtyard bench again, this time with the oldest of the crew as its subject. He still clung to the acoustic guitar, a full range of outlandish designs printed on his multi-colored suit from a humanized moon made up in scarlet lipstick and eyeliner to poodles high fiving one another.
"Mm," he shrugged.
"… is that all you have to say on the subject?" Akira asked, an edge in his tone.
"… Mm." Mori glanced nervously off camera.
"Sorry!" A new, high-pitched and irresistibly cute voice announced from somewhere across the way. "He can't talk right now!"
Akira groaned, his frustrated features bobbing in from the edge of the screen and then vanishing again. "Why not?!"
"We're playing a punishment game!" the voice giggled. "Why don't you interview me instead?"
The courtyard again. Mori still sat upon the bench, but with a partner this time- the adorable, vertically challenged cousin he seemed so inseparable from. The boy wore a full, pink tye dye suit complete with a flower crown.
"What do I really think of Tama-chan?" Hunny repeated cutely, his eyes trailing the sky, lips pursed. "Hm…"
Akira leaned into the frame, his mouth nearly salivating.
"Well," Hunny tapped at his chin. "Do you want to know what I really think?"
"Uh huh…" Akira nodded rapidly.
"Yes!" he snapped, fists clenched.
"I think," The hobbit leaned in. "Tama-chan and me like a lot of the same cakes!"
Akira's lips slackened at once, his glasses drooping toward the tip of his nose. "What?"
"Tama-chan likes Oreo cake," He started counting off on his fingers. "Red Velvet cake, Strawberry cake, Coconut cake…"
"Lime Cake, 7 Up Cake, Upside down Cake, Cheesecake…"
"Is there anything you can tell us," Akira started after a deep breath. "Besides his cake preferences?"
Hunny's child-like demeanor flipped like a switch, his lips tightening. "You don't want to hear about cake?"
They all gulped.
"M-Maybe not right now," Akira stammered. "Maybe later-"
"Well, which is it?" the hobbit demanded, eyes remorseless. "You call this a fucking interview?"
Awkward silence and then darkness.
A garbage can crackled and popped in the distance, flames licking from its insides where old, charred newspapers billowed in the wind. The twins stood by tossing new and unexpected objects in including a magic marker, a tin of commoner's coffee, and Tamaki's homework.
"This is a commoner bonfire," Tamaki informed the camera. "Commoners use these for rave parties and other exclusive commoner get togethers!"
"Actually," Haruhi stepped into the frame. "It's mostly just homeless people using these to keep warm in the winter and fall months. I let them use one of our building's sometimes." She turned to Tamaki. "But don't tell my landlady." Another, far more disturbing thought seemed to occur to her. "You don't still see her, do you?"
"Oh my God, Haruhi," Tamaki's hands flew to his lips, his eyes watering. "That's so kind of you!" He leaned over her, features twisted with sympathy. "I bet you do that because it reminds you of your own childhood struggles, doesn't it?"
Haruhi looked as if she might punch him when the garbage can began spouting streams of blue flame and tiny white sparks.
"Oops!" Hikaru started across the grass, latching on to his brother's hand.
"It's gonna blow!" Kaoru cried despite the mischievous grins stretched across both their faces.
"RUN!" they latched onto Tamaki and Haruhi so that they were all sprinting in a straight line, hands joined.
Tamaki threw a concerned look over his shoulder at the trembling, sputtering bin. "What the hell did you do?!"
"Probably the phone batteries."
"What?!" Akira- who had been frantically searching for his phone for the last ten minutes called just in time for the explosion to sound. The camera blitzed and fizzed to black.
"New camera?" the Hitachiins sneered as they strolled ahead of the frame, the fringed ends of their matching green vests splaying out in the wind. They'd refused to sit down in the courtyard, making this interview particularly difficult.
"Yeah, you destroyed the other one, remember?" Akira followed after them, his teeth gritted. He turned back to shoot a quick grin at the camera as if to cover for the sheer animosity in his tone. "Are you sure you haven't seen my phone?"
"No," Hikaru frowned, expression bored.
"Not since two minutes ago when you asked us the same question," they finished in unison.
"We're not sure what's more concerning," Kaoru sighed.
Your amnesia or complete lack of responsibility for your own shit."
"There's also his crap journalist skills," Hikaru threw in for good measure and they both exploded into cruel laughter.
Akira's shoulders trembled. "Just answer the first question!" he snapped with more frustration than he would have liked to show his audience. "What do you really think of Tamaki Suou?"
"This is what we really think of your mom," they jeered, turning away from the camera, their middle fingers raised high.
"My mother left when I was three!" he seethed with a sneer. That would teach them…
"Then you haven't heard from her in a while," Hikaru returned without missing a beat.
"Wait until you hear what she thinks of us." They winked before disappearing into the brush.
"All you need is love," a chorus of voices rose up from the circle of hippies sitting among a Cherry Blossom tree lined clearing in garden. They once again sat with their legs folded, hands linked. The two blonds' voices rose passionately above the rest, though the twins didn't linger far behind, their mocking, falsetto tones trembling with laughter. Mori nodded his head to the melody while Kyouya snapped pictures from afar. Haruhi mumbled along, missing every other word, her eyes trailing the print of a World History textbook.
Akira groaned from somewhere off camera.
"Spsssss!" Hikaru halted mid-song to address the commoner. "Hey Haruhi!"
"Hey!" Tamaki stopped singing to scowl in their direction. "You're supposed to be singing!"
"We are singing!" they both taunted, tongues wagging.
"Then stop looking at Haruhi!"
"What else are we supposed to look at?" Hikaru shrugged.
"We're sitting in a circle."
"Then look at me!" he snapped before clearing his throat. "I'm about to explain the importance of love in hippie subculture!"
"Oh, this'll be good." They leaned forward, lips curving upward, eyes glinting.
Tamaki paid them no mind. "No historical commoner group supported the idea of free love more than the hippie! Free love represented a commoner's basic right to love anyone-"
"And everyone," the twins put in.
Tamaki frowned, his lecturing finger shrinking a bit. "Everyone?"
Hikaru rolled his eyes. "Duh, Tono."
"Haven't you read about the sexual revolution?"
Tamaki's eyes darted curiously between the two.
They both exchanged wicked glances before parting their lips to tell him.
"Wait!" he cried, hands outstretched. "Do you want Haruhi to hear?!" He crawled toward them, breaking their ring. "Whisper it to me."
They grinned devilishly before cupping his ears from either side. His eyes widened slightly, his mouth slackening a bit.
"No way!" he cried, shoving them away. "You made that up!
"You can't argue with the truth, Tono," Kaoru said, pulling his phone from his vest pocket.
See?" Hikaru pointed to the phone where Kaoru had pulled up a webpage.
"It's on Wikipedia!" they announced together.
"Oh God…" Tamaki snatched the phone away, his eyes glued to the screen as he scrolled rapidly through each photo. "How can they even fit in there?!"
"That's Dickipedia," Haruhi groaned, noticing the considerably more raunchy URL at the top of the page. "And the hippies didn't have as much to do with the sexual revolution as people first thought," She motioned to her world history book. "There were actually lots of monoga-"
"Don't be a nerd, Haruhi," the twins cut in, their eyes lingering on her before creeping toward the Host King and back to her.
"So I guess we can make out with whoever we want now." Hikaru licked his lips.
"Don't you do that already?" Haruhi frowned, unfazed.
"N- No way!" Tamaki stammered, Kaoru's phone slipping from his fingers.
"But Tono..." Kaoru caught the phone.
"You support hippies," Hikaru reasoned.
"And hippies support free love, right?" they grinned from ear to ear, eyes glittering with malice.
Tamaki's mouth had twisted into a deadlock, lips trembling, eyes seething.
"It's okay." Kaoru wrapped an arm around his neck and Hikaru mirrored the action from the other side.
"You can join in if you want."
"Just don't be offended if we turn off the lights." They gave his shoulders two gentle pats.
"S-So," Akira appeared from screen right, his movements frenzied. "Did you just ask Suou-san and Fujioka-san to join you in sexual relations?" He turned to the camera with a crazed grin, his eyes that of a desperate man. "That's a surprise!"
The Hitachiins faced him, their expressions going cold. "A surprise?"
"I ask my own brother to 'join me in sexual relations' every day after school," Hikaru added.
"You're going to have to do better than that."
"Mori-senpai," Tamaki stood, his hair curtaining his eyes. "Turn that music off."
"All you need is…" the music came to an abrupt halt as Mori hit the power button on the speaker, his disappointment plain to see.
"Okay." Tamaki cleared his throat before facing the camera again with a smug grin. "So that hippie thing was just bad planning on Kyouya's part."
"Excuse me?" Kyouya asked, pressing his glasses harshly against his nose.
Tamaki ignored him. "Everyone knows true commoner courage lies with the Romans!"
Hikaru and Kaoru's eyes gleamed, their twisted grins rivaled only by the smiley faces etched on their bell bottom jeans.
"I didn't know that about the Romans," Tamaki explained, his eyes downcast as he sat upon the courtyard bench with his hands neatly folded. He had changed back into his school uniform, requiring that everyone- especially Haruhi- do the same. "I thought they just really enjoyed painting naked children."
"Yes, Suou-san," Akira groaned exasperatedly from his place at the edge of the frame. "Now can you please answer the-"
"What a scary world to raise a child in." He shuddered, hands clutching his shoulders. "A father can't help but fear for his daughter's safety."
Akira's brow furrowed. "Wait, wh-"
"Anyway…" Tamaki lifted his gaze and tossed his hair back, all the while flashing the camera a tempting grin. "You might want that in slow motion." He advised them.
"Just…" Akira's fists trembled. "… answer… the question."
"How would I describe myself…" Tamaki repeated the long neglected question, eyes shut in deep concentration as if they'd just asked him the meaning of life. Eventually, he broke out into a grin, his hands cradling his cheeks. "I think I'll be here all day," he cooed. "Brave. Intelligent. Heartbreakingly beautiful… I don't think words do me justice." Sighing, he raised his phone overhead and stared up into it with a come hither pout.
"… what are you doing?" Akira asked.
"Hm?" Tamaki murmured, completely enraptured in his phone. "Oh, sorry. I take at least 300 selfies a day." He beamed at his collection with pride. "Sometimes I forget just how sexy I am and I just reminded myself!" He flirted with the phone camera a bit more, experimenting with different angles and poses.
Akira's expression was still out of frame, but whatever possessed it proved formidable enough to sway Tamaki's attention.
"You don't have to be jealous," the blond advised with a frown as he pocketed the phone. "It's not as easy as I make it look, you know." He leaned back against the bench in wistful model mode. "My affliction has led to many a tragedy in my life."
"Tragedies?" Akira's vastly depleted energy boosted. "What kind of tragedies?"
"Well for one," Tamaki breathed dramatically and glanced off to his side as if segueing a soap opera flashback. "When I was in Kindergarten, all the girls wanted to share my cubby," he explained desolately. "Of course, I couldn't say no so I never had anywhere to put my Kuma-chan…"
"Your Kuma-chan?" Akira blinked, his features deflating.
Tamaki nodded. "But then the teacher gave me three extra cubbies." A smirk crept over his lips. "How could she resist? I was so adorable!" he squealed, going for his phone again. "I think I have some pictures…"
"Cut." Akira grunted, accompanied by the rustling of grass being trampled.
"But boss-" someone pleaded from behind the shot.
"Turn the fucking camera off!" More violent rustling.
"Ow!" A cameraman cried and the frame hinged sideways.
The scene opened anew on a row of sewer green compartments. Tamaki walked ahead of the camera, turning back every now and again to address the lens.
"As Komitsuzawa is temporarily indisposed..."
The shot panned over to zoom in on a heavily forested area where Akira paced erratically, expletives spilling from his lips, before focusing back on Tamaki.
"... It's up to me to lead the remainder of this project." He motioned to the compartments ahead. "Please direct your attention to Haruhi."
The camera zoomed in on the younger host where her back faced them. She approached one of the compartments, opened the plastic door and headed into the dark space.
"Quiet!" Tamaki hissed as he walked backwards, beckoning them to follow. "This is important, gentlemen. Haruhi is about to use a real, live, actual porta potty!" He stopped just before Haruhi's stall. "Let's get a closer look, shall we?"
"Suou-senpai," a nervous voice started from behind the camera. "Are you sure we should be doing this?"
Regardless, the camera zoomed in even tighter upon the porta potty and Tamaki pressed his ear against it, eyes narrowed. Suddenly, the door swung open, knocking into him.
"No toilet paper," Haruhi sighed before glancing straight into the camera. Her body tensed.
"H-" Tamaki stammered, a hand clutching his forehead. "Haruhi!"
She turned her shocked expression on him and it swiftly gave way to anger. "What the fuck are you doing?"
"I- I'm sorry, Haruhi! I- It's just-" He played nervously with his tie, fingers trembling. "I never used one before and-"
"Then record your own damn self!" she snapped before storming away. "Can't even take a shit around here anymore…"
"Haruhi!" he shrieked, his palms flying to his cheeks at the harsh realization that she actually defecated. He whimpered as she walked toward the nearest school building.
"Let me guess." Akira muttered derisively as he joined their party once again. "Your shit doesn't stink either."
"No," Tamaki acknowledged him, though his eyes still trailed after the commoner. "I use Poo Pourri."
"What do I really think about Tamaki-senpai?" Haruhi frowned into the camera. She sat upon the usual bench obediently, fortunately for the camera crew's splintering patience.
"Yeah," one of them pushed. "And be honest."
"If we don't get something in the next hour, he's gonna kill us," the other revealed.
"What?" Her eyes widened.
"Nothing…" The camera zoomed into a flower edged path where Akira had taken to kicking the shit out of a bed of white roses.
"I don't know," Haruhi shrugged. "He's okay."
A brief silence. "Is that all?"
"You can be totally honest," Camerman 1 reminded her.
"Didn't he just piss you off with that whole porta potty thing?" the other asked.
"Well, yeah," she groaned, rolling her eyes. "He can be annoying as hell."
The camera zoomed in.
But he doesn't mean anything by it," Haruhi added. "It's kind of like telling a kid not to climb into the washing machine," she finished, reminded herself never to let him into the laundry room at her apartment.
"So he doesn't use his authority as the chairman's son to boss you around?"
Haruhi eyed them both strangely. "No…" She shifted about in discomfort under their desperate gazes. "He never told me. I didn't find out until later."
"Well," the other began, his voice going raspy. "Doesn't he use the Host Club to take advantage of girls?"
"Nah," Haruhi shook her head, her arms crossed. "I think he's actually a virgin," she murmured absentmindedly, her gaze lingering somewhere above the courtyard. "He's just an attention whore."
"Hm." Both cameramen silenced in defeat.
"He sounds like a pretty cool dude actually."
"Can we join?" they asked, the pleading obvious in their tones.
Haruhi started to respond when a loud thunk sounded in the distance. The thunks continued and the camera took a jerky turn to zoom in on a rolling porta potty as it ambled down the grassy hill. It finally tumbled to a halt just a few yards away. The thunking silenced, but the anguished wails of misery continued long after.
The door busted open, one hinge tearing from the rest of the compartment. A flood of tye dye and other less colorful substances spewed out over the green clearing. One hand grasped the door tightly and from the wreckage emerged a rainbow splattered Akira, heaving and sticky, his eyes livid.
The rest of the Host Club stepped out from the foliage for his crowning moment save for the twins who appeared along the same route that the rolling porta potty had taken. They all stared in amusement as Akira raised his fists to the sky and let out an earth shattering wail. When God didn't respond, he tried it again.
"A-Akira-san…" Tamaki volunteered as God surrogate.
"Whose," Akira forced out between labored breaths and pure contempt. ", fucking bright idea was it to put the porta potties on a hill?"
"Oh!" He fell into a fit of crazed laughter. "Let me guess!"
"Eh…" Tamaki stepped back, surveying the boy's thoroughly sullied uniform in disgust. "I never… I didn't mean…"
"And I'm assuming," Akira growled as he approached him. "You put tye dye in the toilets too?!"
"... I thought it would be festive... " Tamaki squeaked as the tye dye sludge monster descended on him.
Akira started to continue his verbal assault when the twins stepped forward, their features officially locked in goon mode.
"You got your fucking interview," Hikaru started.
"Now go jack off to a pony. " Kaoru eyed him up and down.
Akira raised a trembling finger. "I know…" He took a painful breath. "I know it was you."
Their lips contorted upward. "Prove it."
"You fucking pushed me!"
"Prove it, prove it, prove it!" They danced about before him.
"Fuck you!" Akira roared after them as he stumbled toward the camera. "This is the stupidest shit I've ever had to deal with in my entire life!" His eyes narrowed in on the Host King who flinched accordingly.
"I'll get you for this Suou!" he warned. "You'll be sorry!"
"I'll get you for this, Suou!" Hikaru mocked, gesturing dramatically.
"You'll be sorry!" Kaoru added through cackles.
"Did you get that from that dumbass pony show?"
"IT'S 'MY LITTLE PONY'! INHALER!" Akira snapped around at the two behind the camera. "WHY THE FUCK AREN'T YOU HELPING ME?!"
"S-Sorry boss!" they both stammered, scrambling for the inhaler.
"First, turn that fucking camera off!" Akira grew larger and larger until his reddened, livid features filled the entire frame. "TURN IT OFF!"
I cant believe that asshole!" Akira snarled as they made their way across the grass, the sun hardening the tye dye quicker than his minions could wipe it away. "Embarrassing me when I was kind enough to display them in our feature comeback documentary!"
Chikage frowned as he dabbed at the paint with a wet towel. "I thought you were just trying to spread dirty rumors about Suou and ultimately destroy hi-"
SHUT THE FUCK UP!" Akira blared before violently sucking in a gust of propellant gas from the inhaler. "Now we have to find another way to destroy Suou..."
"Well," Tomochika volunteered. "Fujioka-san did say he was a virgin."
"So what?" Akira scoffed. "I'm a virgin..."
"Yeah, sir, but everyone expects that," Tomochika replied before being promptly slapped upside the head.
"Didn't he say he had a kid?" Chikage asked as they rounded the final corner toward the main school building's entrance. "And he seemed really obsessed with the commoner boy..."
"And he has something going on with his landlady..."
"Boring!" Akira rolled his eyes, approaching the vast marble steps of the main building. "Think of something better or my dad'll hit your parents' banks so hard, you'll be turning tricks by midnight!"
They swallowed hard.
They all turned to see an older gentleman in a sewer green uniform carrying a pile of rather large boxes. "Do you boys know how to get to the third music room?" he asked. "I got a shipment here for 'em."
"Uh, sure..." Tomochika started. "You just-"
"SHHH!" Akira hissed before turning back to the man. "Do you have a key?"
"Um," The man's eyes darted suspiciously between the three. "Yeah..."
Akira beamed, the gruesome smirk taking hold of his features once more. His cohorts looked away. The delivery man flinched. "Know what we should do?"
"Knock him out, take his clothes and pretend to deliver the package ourselves?" Chikage asked with much excitement.
"What?!" the man cried.
"No, dipshit!" Akira brought a fist down on his bowl cut. "What the fuck have you been watching?!" Shaking his anger off, he cleared his throat and attempted to bring his tye dyed grimace down a few notches on the grotesque meter. "Just follow us," He walked ahead of the throughly perturbed man. "We know the way."
"So did you really knock the porta potty over?" Haruhi asked.
"Hell yeah!" Hikaru raised his hand, palm open for a high five and Kaoru obliged with much enthusiasm.
Haruhi groaned, her eyes still lingering on the overturned porta potty, all breeds of tye dyed undesirables dribbling out onto the grass. The Host King sat atop the plastic on the side opposite the leaking doorway, head bowed, blunt smoking. "Was it really a good idea to upset the Journalism Club?"
The twins scoffed.
"No one actually calls them that, Haruhi, " Kaoru sighed.
"We hate rude assholes who make life difficult for other-"
"Okay, just shut up," Haruhi cut in and they exploded into laughter.
"I couldn't even finish," Hikaru guffawed.
"You know us so well," they teased pulling her into a group hug.
"Hikaru, Kaoru," Kyouya called from underneath a leaning maple tree, his back pressed against the bark. "We need to talk about how much I'm going to charge you for this."
"Aw, Kyouya-senpai," They whined, heading toward him.
"Just charge it to Haruhi's debt."
Haruhi scowled. Rich, stingy bastards. Sighing, she headed for the fallen porta potty. Another day. Another botched project. It was a wonder he had any motivation left at all.
"Doesn't the smell bother you?" she asked, resting her elbow against the plastic. But then, she supposed she couldn't smell much of anything save for the mild scent of daisies.
"I sprayed them with Poo Pourri," Tamaki revealed with a drag from his blunt. "I didn't want everyone's first porta potty experience to be gross." He eyed her sympathetically. "Or to bring up bad memories for you."
Her expression wilted. "Porta potties are gross, senpai. There's not much you can do about that."
He just shrugged.
And what bad memories would she have in a porta potty? Her imagination began to wander to frightful places that only his madness could inspire and she decided not to process the comment any further.
"Well, I guess it worked out for Akira-san." She pulled herself up onto the compartment beside him. "He might be covered in shit, but at least he won't smell like it."
A low snort escaped from Tamaki's throat and he grinned weakly in her direction before sinking back into his rut. "He'll never let me see his My Little Pony commoner cereal box collection now…"
"Maybe you should have just given a straight interview. " She shrugged. "He had a pretty firm outline."
Tamaki leaned back against the plastic, the clear sky reflecting in his eyes. "What's the point in covering anything if you already know what you're looking for?" The stick dangled from his lips. "Shouldn't it be about the experience?"
Haruhi followed his gaze to where two planes crossed overhead, leaving a great, white 'X' etched into the blue. "Experience?" She didn't think porta potties and garbage bag slip n' slides were much of an experience. Next he'd be telling her that washing dishes and making a sandwich were experiences as well. A small grin slipped over her lips. She supposed the latter wasn't so bad...
"One day," Tamaki tossed the blunt into the mysterious tye dyed liquid quite possibly blowing them all to smithereens. "I'm going to create a commoner theme park so amazing that journalists will come from all over to see!" He turned to flash her a confident smile and, somehow, she didn't doubt it.
"It'll be so huge, we'll need one thousand porta potties!"
Her lips drooped downward. "Why are you so obsessed with porta potties?"
He gaped at her as if she'd just asked why people enjoyed breathing so much. "It's a bathroom! But outside!"
Haruhi just blinked at him. Should she act impressed?
"When I was little," Tamaki began. "I'd watch the kids play in the commoner park across from my mother's job. Around noon, they'd wait in this long line to use the porta potties." His arms gestured widely. "They would play games and push each other in the mud. It looked like fun." His smile weakened as he bit at his thumb. "I had to use my mother's personal bathroom, but a porta potty would have been so cool…"
"I'm sure those kids would have loved a personal bathroom," Haruhi sighed. "Why didn't you just go play with them?" She frowned and suddenly the economic rift between them seemed blatant. Rare circumstances allowed them to associate, but she didn't imagine that her situation was incredibly common. "Were you allowed?"
"Hm?" He blinked. "I guess I could have, but my mom was sick so I helped her out at work most of the time," he explained. "Besides, most kids didn't really talk to me anyway."
Haruhi's eyes widened. That was a surprise. "Why?"
He paused briefly, a twitch in the corner of his mouth betraying a struggle, before managing a smug grin. "They were probably just jealous of how adorable I was." He winked, but her brow remained knitted, her lips curving downward.
He reached out to take her hand. "Don't feel sorry for me."
She glanced up to see him smiling at her, the vanity draining from his expression. "Now I can use as many porta potties as I want, right?"
She rolled her eyes, but her brow evened out and the grin returned.
He pulled away abruptly, his cheeks tinged with a soft pink. "Th-thanks for letting us borrow your commoner's knowledge for the slip n' slide today," He cleared his throat. "Did your ancestors teach you how to set it up?"
"I found it in an E-How article," she muttered.
"Whatever your ancestors call their records," he waved her off, cheeks still glowing.
"It's free to the general public, senpai." She raised an eyebrow. "There's like thousands of articles on stuff like that."
"WHAT?" he boomed, eyes ballooning and she giggled into her fist.
"There's no fucking way."
"No way?" he repeated, eyes narrowed.
She managed to quail her laughter before facing him with bright eyes. "The Journalism club kept trying to make it out like you were this badass with a dark secret or something."
"What?!" he gasped, completely taken back by this well- hidden revelation.
"They thought you were this shrewd genius," she snorted. "As if you could ever pull that off."
He flinched as if she'd slapped him. "E-Ever?" he squeaked, the rose in his cheeks deepening to crimson.
"I'd believe the twins were secret geniuses before I'd buy that."
He curled up into a ball, facing the other direction now, his arms hugging his knees.
"Haruhi!" he cried, his voice thick with tears.
"You don't have to be so mea-"
"Honest," she finished with a smile.
Tamaki's arms loosened around his knees as he turned to her, his skin shooting to the far end of the red spectrum and dipping into magenta. "Ah… Honest?" he breathed, staring straight into her.
She stared back, her grin faltering a bit at the sudden shift in atmosphere. How did he manage to do that? If she could bring lightening strikes at the drop of a moodometer or- in this case- compress the air so tightly that it felt as if it were closing in around them, she'd be hailed a deity. Or maybe this was all in her head. "Uh, yeah…" She scooted over a few inches. "Are you okay?" she squinted as he dipped into fuchsia. "That's a lot of blood. Can you feel your feet?"
"Not really," he croaked.
"Just drop the check off as soon as you can." A third voice entered. "School property isn't a joke."
They both looked up to see Kyouya standing with the Hitachiins.
"And don't forget this time."
"Fine," Kaoru sighed. "Why don't you just let us drive you home?"
Hikaru seemed hesitant, but he finally shrugged. "I guess we could stop at our place first and write it out."
Tamaki immediately moved forward despite his mostly numb limbs. "Kyouya! I thought we were going over expenses!"
"You mean me going over expenses while you sit around and do nothing?"
"But still!" he stammered. "Th- Thats like…"
"Tradition?" Kyouya jabbed, his eyebrow raised as he started back toward the school. "Another time, Tamaki."
The twins peered at the Host King's huddled form in concern and Haruhi placed a hand on his shoulder, noting his dramatic dip from plum to phantom pale. "You alright?"
"Yeah," he mustered a grin before leaping from the porta potty and onto his feet. Haruhi was promptly assailed by the Hitachiins who dragged her off after the Shadow King, inviting her to join them in the limo. They occasionally glanced back with taunting eyes to gauge Tamaki's reaction, but his scowling eyes stayed firmly rooted on Kyouya's shrinking form.
"Are you staring at Kyouya-senpai's ass?" the twins inquired.
"Huh?!" He blinked rapidly, averting his scorching glare to a random garden rock instead. The twins dissolved into laughter and his fists clenched. It was time Mommy and Daddy had a serious talk.