Tamaki's Greatest Dilemma is part of the Zit Series with other zit-related fanfiction from From Spark to Flame, larrythestapler, asianangelgirl, and kasplosion. If you like Harry Potter, Twilight, Naruto, or Avatar, please go check out their stories as well! Links to the rest of this weird series is in my profile.
Warning: Lazy writing ahead, ahoy!
And P.S., you might have to reread a bit of the beginning of chapter 2 if you end up being confused with Yuzuru and Tamaki's late-night discussion. (Or what he was trying to tell his son anyway.)
Disclaimer: I do not own Ouran.
Last time on T.G.D. Part 2: Running out of options, Tamaki was desperate enough to try "commoner homemade remedies" to cure his zit. But no matter what valiant stunts he pulled, from shoving egg yolk to his face to drinking goat milk, nothing could clear away the poor king's skin. The other host club member's attempts were not much help either, and later on Tamaki's friends harshly told him they never cared for any of his problems – something the boy had been suspecting all this time. But what he doesn't know is that they're actually planning a huge act on picture day to save their king from becoming ashamed of his second-year in Ouran Academy forever!
Will Tamaki ever be able to get rid of his zit in time? And what exactly is the host club planning?
TAMAKI'S GREATEST DILEMMA
Whenever Tamaki reflected back to this week, perhaps one of the most memorable parts besides picture day was Tuesday night. It was probably memorable, he considered, because his father's words were right – though he would not realize this until weeks from now.
Yuzuru had come home late from work, taking off his shoes right when he noticed his son sitting on the front steps of the staircase. Everyone in the mansion should have been sleeping already, but the man found this the perfect opportunity to address his concerns to the boy.
"Ah, just the person I've been looking for," he said, and sat on the steps next to Tamaki once the blonde snapped his head up and noticed his father. "Son, we need to talk. I don't know how to tell you this…"
Tamaki blinked. "Huh?"
The conversation following afterwards was a strange one. Yuzuru frowned with his eyebrows, fitting his fingertips together. He began talking about women and their feminine tastes for clothing and facial accessories, and then, he progressed to men with feminine tastes. It all led to awkward mumblings and gauche coaxes, and he stared at Tamaki very seriously as he reassured the boy he'd love him either way, whether he dressed like a man or—
"Wait a minute," Tamaki interrupted, "I don't do any of those things!"
Yuzuru stared back at his son. "You mean you don't enjoy wearing make-up?"
"No! That was only to cover up my zit, which didn't work anyway!" He wrinkled his nose and prodded the pimple gingerly with a finger. "It just made things itchier. I wonder how Ranka does it…"
He turned to his father, who was now in an unusual position, his back slumped over the staircase in utter relief.
"You had me worrying all day at work," he breathed deeply, massaging his forehead. Tamaki blinked back at him confused. Yuzuru's eyes then casted over to his son's hands and noticed a book he had been holding all this time.
"You stayed up late at this hour looking through last year's yearbook?" he asked curiously, observing the smiling students and then recognizing they were Tamaki and his friends in the host club. It had been a year since the members had been together – the twins were in their middle school uniforms in this picture –but even their first photo visibly illustrated their tightly-knit bond.
Tamaki nodded, his fingers pressing the crease of the page in-between, as if he had been meaning to turn to the next page but couldn't tear his eyes away.
"I wonder if it's all just in my mind."
"That what was in your mind?" Yuzuru asked. His son's eyes flitted towards each smile of the host club members.
"That we're friends, good friends," he explained. "I think of us as a family, but I've noticed we don't act that way. I can't remember the last time they actually supported me, that is, if they ever did."
"Tamaki, families argue and make fun of each other too. Not everyone admits how they feel, and some don't even realize they care for you," Yuzuru interjected. He leaned his face closer to the yearbook, humming a 'hmm' sound from his throat.
"And from what I see, your friends all look like they mean their smiles."
The blonde snorted softly. "I wouldn't trust you too much, your eyes are getting old!"
His father tossed a hand in a slapdash fashion and stood up. "You can insult your old man all you want, but I am positive you're making a fuss over nothing. If anything, you should be worrying about that zit of yours." The comment quickly gave Tamaki the impulse to clamp his hands over his nose again. Before Yuzuru proceeded to leave, a faint smile etched on his lips and he turned to the boy with a confident air.
"In fact, I'm certain once the new yearbook comes out, you'll see the friendship the seven of you really have!"
Tamaki didn't take his father's words too seriously that night.
Now, it seemed like the man was all wrong.
"That's the thing! We don't care about you and your stupid problems! All you are is a big nuisance to us! Why don't you just get out of here and go home already?"
Thursday afternoon was much worse than any other day this week. His friends had, surprisingly and yet not so surprisingly, revealed the truth of where he really stood in their worlds – a pesky, airheaded nuisance who was only in the way. (Except this time and probably for the rest of his life it was a nuisance who still had a big fat zit on his nose.)
On the front steps of Ouran Academy was a slouched king, one in a familiar position he was a few days ago. Tamaki folded his arms over his knees, and the wait for his limo seemed like forever to leave him alone with his thoughts. He didn't want to think about the recent events. He didn't even want to think about tomorrow – yearbook pictures were going to be bad enough with his zit, but what about his friends? Would the picture be full of phony smiles just like last year's? The thought of that was too terrible to imagine.
Luckily, a familiar voice had interrupted the blonde from his reverie. Tamaki turned his head to see Haruhi, the scholarship student closing the building door behind her before approaching closer. She stepped beside him and joined him on the marble floors.
"Hey, are you okay? I don't know why everyone acted like that, they wouldn't say things that malicious…"
The second-year shook his head. "It's fine. I had been expecting this anyway."
"They didn't mean it," the girl insisted.
Not wishing to discuss this any further, Tamaki faced himself away from his partner. "Please, don't look at me, Haruhi. I can't bear you to see me in this monstrous form…"
"You know you just have a zit, right?"
The boy whipped his head back and raised his voice higher like a child's. "It's not just a zit!" he cried. "This inflammation is the very thing that will send me to a straightway road of shame from tomorrow onwards! Nobody would understand my pain!"
"Senpai," Haruhi said with a tinge of annoyance, regretting ever deciding to make sure he was okay in the first place, "everyone gets zits. It's virtually one of the most common things every teenager has. As farfetched as this may sound considering your eccentrics, it actually shows you're a normal person."
Tamaki continued moping and ignoring the girl's words despite her reasoning. He tuned out of her lecture until he caught something that made his breath stop:
"… and besides, even I get them too."
Spinning his entire body round to her direction, Tamaki gawked at the girl with the widest azure eyes, as if she had just claimed the world was flat.
"No way! Anyone but you, Haruhi!" he sputtered. "Even your clients compliment how smooth your skin is!"
"You know, I'm not made out of silk," the female host said dryly. "Nobody really notices because I can always get rid of them."
Tamaki leaned forward and pressed closer to the freshman, waiting to hear Haruhi's biggest, darkest secret.
"Tell me how."
She nodded, and he waited for the revelation of the answer to life to be uttered from Haruhi Fujioka's lips. Her teeth parted. Her tongue rolled. Her mouth made way for the ultimate secret to every teenager's quest for a cure to acne vulgaris.
Tamaki blinked. Did he hear that right?
The girl nodded once more. "I don't use any acne products. I don't even touch the thing. Pretty soon the pimple just disappears… probably because I don't mess around with it all the time like you do."
Tamaki stared back at Haruhi, who returned the look guiltless. How did he not see that answer coming? The girl was practical to the point of being pointless.
And pointless that piece of advice was. Obviously from the enormous size of his zit, it was far too late for Tamaki to just ignore the acne. For the past several days he had been clamping and poking his zit, not to mention performing those series of ridiculous home remedies suggested by Haruhi's fellow commoner friends. Of all days, she decided to tell him this now?
"That's some great timing. Did you ever think you could've told me this a little bit sooner?"
His comment was dull and anything but enthusiastic, but for some reason, his words immediately sparked a great flame inside of Haruhi. A vein popped at the side of her head as she pulled herself up, fingers clenched into tight fists.
"What do you THINK I've been trying to tell you all this time?!" Her sudden shouting sent a shocked and cowering Tamaki tripping over two steps off the stairway. He slightly trembled over her now towering figure. What was she so angry about?
"H-Huh?!" he managed to sputter out.
"For the past two chapters I've been trying to tell you to just leave your stupid zit alone and it'll be gone on its own, but all you and the other host club members do is interrupt me with some other ridiculous idea like popping it with a plier or drinking goat milk! GOAT MILK, of all things! How could you even have the sense to possibly consider THAT?!
Tamaki thought he might as well cry at this moment. The poor guy had no idea women could be so scary, and he was utterly confused by the words of the fuming student.
"That is exactly why it's your own fault you think none of us care about you! We really do, senpai! But you never tell us your real problems and only share the trivial things like some little zit…" This time, her face relaxed into a more serious expression as Haruhi stared dejectedly at the host club president. "You mistrust our reliabilities because you can't take a good look at us, and listen when it's important."
It was perplexing, trying to find the reason for his distress and tracing the line between his friendships and just some silly zit. Somehow, through Haruhi's snappish words, that line became slightly clearer.
So they really did care for him? But last time, Tamaki heard very clearly Hikaru's biting words, and they hardly had any compassion. He had listened, but that didn't make Haruhi's words true at all.
He was afraid. If he took a good look at the host club, he was afraid what he might see.
"Hey, don't stay too close, Haruhi! You might get infected!"
Both heads spun around to the two voices in unison. Hikaru and Kaoru had sat perched on top of the railings above them.
"You know that doesn't happen," remarked Haruhi wryly, and gave a last huff from her recent outburst.
"Yeah, but we still need you," Kaoru said, tilting his head slightly over to the direction of the third music room where the other host club members were. "Come on, we're having a meeting and everyone is waiting."
"Everyone's supposed to be there," Hikaru noted, but then added, "Well, except for you, Boss."
It was that comment that made Haruhi frown and suspect something was up, but Tamaki found this behavior to be redundant already. Of course they didn't care; Haruhi was just trying to snap him out of his reverie. Fortunately, he saw his limo pull up in time for him to take his departure. The boy heaved a sigh and stepped inside the car, leaving the two without as much as a single word or backwards glance.
He already knew his friends weren't interested in him lingering around. He didn't need to 'listen' or 'take a good look' to know.
Still, that didn't ease the aching in his heart when he sat quietly in the car as much as he wished it would.
Today was the moment of truth.
… And what a pleasantly, superbly, fantastic day it was!
Tamaki ran a comb through his soft locks of blonde hair and flashed a toothy grin at a hand-mirror before tucking it pack in his pocket. Hair gel kept his strands perfectly in place and his teeth whitening made sure the pearls in his mouth shined bright. The boy brushed his hands over the iron-pressed blazer and strutted confidently through the school's hallways, basking the attention of many female students.
Today was a very wonderful day to take a picture.
"Tamaki, you look so handsome today!"
"Why thank you, my lovely ladies!"
After many praises and thank yous, Tamaki approached the door before accidentally bumping into a yellow-clad girl. Her face snapped up, eyes widened. Though she was not a classmate of his, she recognized him for his popularity and her frequent requests for the host at his club.
"My apologies, fair maiden," he replied with a gentle smile. "What seems to be the problem?"
"The h-host club… they're…"
She pointed a finger behind her weakly, but then clamped her mouth shut before speaking any more. Straightening her back up, the girl tried to remain composed and respond as normally as she could.
"I-I suggest you take the pictures quickly. The photographer is in a rather bad mood today." Her eyebrows furrowed after finishing her sentence and she wrinkled her nose. "And also… the smell…"
Pressing her hands over her nose, the frenzied student started running down the hallway, leaving a confused Tamaki standing in front of the door. He was then slightly afraid of the contents hiding in that room.
Was it the grumpy photographer? Was there something wrong with the sets? … Did something happen to the host club?!
The thought of anything terrible happening to his friends frightened him. The door creaked as Tamaki immediately rattled the knob and pushed it open, only to be struck by the most foul odor. As waves of stink flourished under his nose, he attempted to open his eyes uncertainly to see an even more horrific sight.
He thought he was witnessing piles of goop at first.
Then he realized it was the host club.
"What took you so long?" Kaoru asked in the most normal tone, hair dripping with grease. Honey waved and exclaimed "Hi, Tama-chan!", oblivious his hand had just flung a sticky, purplish oil around as if it was hitting a fan.
Tamaki's face turned pale. "A-All of you look like you've just rolled yourself in mud…!"
Though he couldn't see Haruhi's expression clearly behind the dirty stains on her face, her tone evidently showed she was grimacing. "I really, really wish we did…"
"Wait a minute," Hikaru, who was sported with a torn up school uniform, asked, "what happened to your zit?"
All the host club members' eyes were set upon Tamaki.
But before the single sanitary high school student could open his mouth, several assistants came over and rushed the seven hosts onto the set. After they organized the boys and one girl into ordered seating arrangements, third-years on top row and first-years on bottom, Tamaki's face turned even paler when one of the helpers apologized in her hastiness and explained the pictures must be taken immediately.
"Immediately? As in now?!" he cried, and then turned to his members. "Is the photographer really in such a bad mood? We're everything but ready! Why are you guys all like this?!"
The assistants hushed the boy's outcries, and the only tidying up they could do in the small amount of time they had for the host club's picture was to simply straighten Tamaki's tie before the cameraman barged open through the backdoor.
Tamaki didn't care how angry the man walking behind the camera was. He needed to know why his friends looked like they just went dumpster diving, and how they acted so calmly about this. It wasn't because he was embarrassed standing next to them. He was afraid something terrible had happened to them to have caused this mess.
Why, why, why?
In the rushed pace of the photoshoot with the changing background sets and the hurrying assistants running to and fro, somehow, Tamaki heard Mori's voice behind him. His eyes rolled to the side, trying to catch a glimpse of the tall senior.
"What?" he whispered.
Though Kyouya's glasses were flecked with paint that also decorated his mucked-up hair and clothes (and they were always, always organized!), out of tendency he tilted his glasses as he spoke.
"Just this once, I won't charge you anything for these damages. We've all agreed on going out like to distract attention from your zit. No one will even notice it was there when they look at our yearbook picture."
Tamaki swiveled his head at spectacled student next to him in shock. He wasn't sure if he had heard it right, that the host club went to such extremes only to cover up a zit that, he now figured, wasn't all that big of a deal anyway. "You did all of this for me…?"
"Well yeah, we'd do anything for you," Hikaru said, and then clarified, "To shut you up, I mean." The six others who surrounded the host king all nodded their heads, but once Tamaki stared more closely at them, their grins – ones that were actually smiles – spoke volumes otherwise.
His throat felt like closing up as tears formed into Tamaki's eyes. The suave, handsome blonde started turning into his usual routine of crybaby. He couldn't help it; the boy was so touched he didn't even care that his friends stunk like expired milk left out on a hot, sunny day.
"Th-Thank you," he uttered, his lip quivering as the others tossed a hand and mumbled various condolences casually.
What felt like a long, heartwarming scene actually turned out to be only half a minute when the cameraman interrupted Tamaki's sniffles.
"Alright, stand still!" he snapped, and bent down slightly to fix an eye through the camera lens. "I'm only going to take this picture once. Our schedule can't possibly afford any time-wasting since someone stole all the food being served today. Most importantly, that mousse I was saving…"
His grumblings faded out were replaced by suspicious whistling from the twins in the first row. Tamaki did remember smelling chocolate standing next to them.
They stood there waiting for the photographer to adjust the camera direction, until Haruhi spoke up absentmindedly from a sudden realization.
"… Wait, so what ever happened to Tamaki's zit?"
Tamaki's face was the only one smiling and staring at the camera when all other heads turned to look at his face. The area on the tip of his nose was completely flat, with a complexion as smooth and pastel as the other features on his face.
His curse was broken. His zit was gone.
"Oh… that. It's a really funny story, actually, I'm sure when we look back at this we're all going to laugh together!" The now perfectly flawless man was chuckling nervously, and the intimidating stares of the other hosts heightened.
"You see, I found out the reason why I had such a big zit was because I kept on messing around with the pimple! So yesterday, I stopped touching it completely and overnight it just disappeared. I guess my complexion really is flawless; all I had to do was ignore the zit and it would vanish on its own!" His laughter grew uncomfortably louder.
The photographer shot a hand up and held three fingers on the air, ignoring the distraction of the host club members. "On three!" he shouted.
"Talk about irony! You and I went through so many troubles for the past four days because of this thing—today was the biggest nuisance for you all, definitely—and all I had to do was leave the little zit alone! Hahaha, really funny, right?"
The host club's photo was voted one of the most bizarre pictures in the yearbook in the history of Ouran.
The students of Ouran Academy had no idea what was going on in the snapshot, for it was clearly not any normal posed print and it was most definitely not fanservice – so in the end, the school concluded the picture must have contained some obscure, abstract message that only ones who analyzed deeply enough could possibly have the slightest hint.
The host club would just roll their eyes and mutter "that idiot" under their breath every time it was mentioned. But Honey and Mori did agree the picture was a keeper for their last year of high school, and it was a good way to remember their precious club so candidly.
Yuzuru wasn't sure what to comment when he laid his eyes on that picture. It did anything but confirm whether he was right or wrong from those words he spoke that Tuesday night. But Tamaki insisted he was right, that the picture displayed the beautiful and honest friendship the seven of them possessed, to which Yuzuru merely replied, "You look like you're being socked in the face."
But despite his father's words, Tamaki knew the picture meant much more than just a beating (even if it did bruise a little the next day). Tamaki knew that if he took a good look at the photo, that split second the camera lens shuttered, it caught six boys and one boyish girl having a good time having him around. The smiles behind the mud, stains, or whatever that goop was (to this day he still didn't figure it out) was more real than any other posed picture in the yearbook. Tamaki kept a bookmark tucked to that page for future reference every time the boy was feeling sappy.
To others, it was just a silly blooper picture taken at the wrong time.
To him, it was a display of true friendship, and that spoke more than any form of action or words could prove.
And so, in the end, Tamaki's zit was forever gone, the host club members made sure to scrub hard and shower every day, and life went on. Tamaki's greatest dilemma was resolved, and the host club members all lived happily ever after.
Except for the twins, who showed up to school the next week with a familiar bump on their faces.
Author's Note: A bad ending, I know. My writing has degraded much more than usual. I lost inspiration a long time ago and had to rush writing it just to get it over with… in short, I don't really like this story at all, so I don't blame you if you don't either. :-\
Go ahead, throw your tomatoes of disappointment! –weeps-