Haruhi Fujioka's Ten Ways to Pay Back Debt
#2: Reduce your interest rates.
"Hey, Kyoya-senpai?" Haruhi tapped the older boy's shoulder, unnoticed by the other hosts and their guests in the third Music Room. "Are you too busy now, or can I ask you a question?"
The bespectacled boy turned towards her with a blank, impassive expression on his face. "As long as it doesn't take too much time," he answered, and adjusted his glasses. "What is it, Haruhi?"
"It won't," she assured him, and smiled a small smile. "It isn't even that important. I just wanted to know how much I still have left to pay." The answer prompted the Shadow King to open his ledger and glance perfunctorily at a page.
"Approximately six million yen," he replied, and closed the black book. "Why are you asking?"
She wasn't sure why she'd asked, actually, but she was relieved she had. With all the additions to her debt over extended periods of time, she had begun to believe that instead of paying it back, she only kept adding to it. However, it still stung to think that she had been working at the host club for six months and she had only managed to pay off 2 million.
"Six million?" she asked, ignoring his question. "I've been here six months, shouldn't I have paid off more than that?"
"Well, Haruhi," Kyoya began, smirking slightly at her, "of course you know that breaking more valuables and causing the club to lose money also contribute as additions to your debt, so that it doesn't necessarily stay a fixed value but varies even within the period of a week."
"I know that much," she grumbled, inwardly cursing Tamaki's excitable nature and the twins' mischievous pranks.
"Also, over these six months, interest rates have been added to the debt's total."
"Interest?!" exclaimed Haruhi, suddenly outraged. She had thought she was paying a flat sum, and now interest was added too?
"Of course," Kyoya answered, his eyes glinting in amusement behind his glasses. "You didn't think I would make an exception, did you?"
"I didn't think anything at all!" she retorted, eyes wide. "You didn't tell me you would be charging interest!"
"You know very well this club is run like a business, Haruhi. Why would think this aspect would be any different?"
She sighed, resigned. "Can you at least tell me how high the rate is?"
"Twenty percent." He was hardly paying attention now, turning his attention back to his laptop. Haruhi's eyes looked like they would explode from her head.
"That's ridiculous!" she managed in indignation. "It's way too high!"
"What do you propose, then, Haruhi?"
"Five percent," she replied firmly. Kyoya couldn't suppress a chuckle.
"That's ridiculous," he said, looking at her again. "Much too low."
"It's a normal interest rate," she protested.
"Maybe for commoners, but it's insufficient to maintain our budget."
"Seven percent, then," she allowed, hands on her hips.
"Don't back down, Haruhi!" chorused the twins, appearing seemingly out of thin air at her side.
"You can do it, Haru-chan!" cheered Honey, flashing her the victory sign.
"Not a chance," responded Kyoya, shaking his head.
"Why not?" she challenged, and the twins gasped.
"Courageous!" breathed Hikaru.
"That's our Haruhi!" Kaoru beamed.
"It's not enough," he said blandly, and Haruhi sighed in frustration.
"Fifteen," countered Kyoya, his expression unreadable. She deliberated this for a moment – her onlookers waited for her reply with bated breath.
She knew that this was likely the most she would get him to bend – Kyoya could be remarkably stubborn and persistent when he wanted to be, especially relating to matters of business. It was obvious that he wouldn't budge further on the subject; while they waited for her answer, he had gone back to his laptop, typing something else, the clicking of the keys documenting the steady flow of his thoughts. He wasn't interested past this – she had no doubt that if she refused this offer, he would refuse to make another. And so, Haruhi decided, if she wanted to get anywhere in paying off her debt, saying yes to this suggestion would be in her best interest.
"Fine," she said, and, disappointed in the lack of action, the twins stuck their tongue out at her and skipped away arm in arm, to the squeals of several guests in the vicinity. "Fifteen percent it is."
"I'm glad we could agree on this," Kyoya spoke calmly, and made a small mark in his black ledger surreptitiously.
"It's to both our benefits, isn't it?" she shrugged, smiling at him. He deigned her with a slight smile of his own, albeit the veiled threat that the normally friendly expression concealed.
"Of course," he said, and tilted his head slightly. "But just to be clear, Haruhi, it's your quota that takes care of most of your debt. A miniscule change in interest rates will hardly affect the paying of your debt in the grand scheme of things." His smile grew larger. "Thank you for seeing things my way. Perhaps we could do more business together in the future?"
Way #2: FAILED.