The final banquet of the year was one of the largest anticipated events that Ouran Academy had waited for, and it had finally arrived. Like the school festival, it was completely formed by the student body as they all honed their leadership abilities with planning, budget management and deal communication, as several clubs and organizations within the school had to communicate and work together on the same area: food, entertainment, decoration.
The Host Club, perchance, had what could be considered the easiest task of the evening: hosting. The Host Club would run the even smoothly, carrying out the evening's schedule as directed while also satisfying the guests and blooming the wallflowers to join the party. Since it was basically a given, Kyouya was left with his pile of work to manage everything on his own—as he preferred—and the rest of the Host Club went on worrying about other, more important things in their lives.
"No." Haruhi said sternly. She folded her arms and frowned at the blonde before her, on his knees in a groveling beg.
"Please Haruhi? You had no problem putting on a dress for the other events! Do it for Daddy!" Tamaki pleaded, inching closer to her on his knees in an animated pout, clinging to her blazer.
"Had no problem? Thanks to those twins over there," Haruhi jolted a stabbing finger in the direction of the two boys in question. "I was dragged away against my will and forced into a dress and wig. I had absolutely no say at all!"
"But you did it! Please do it again tonight! You looked so cute!" Tamaki exclaimed. "You'll be able to live as a normal girl and dance!"
"I don't dance." Haruhi said firmly. She pried his fingers off of her blazer and stomped away as he crawled after her.
"Haruhi, please! Kyouya, do something!" Tamaki whined, turning teary-eyed to the spectacled boy in front of his computer.
Kyouya paused in his work, only for a moment, to look at the data on his clipboard before returning back to typing. He sighed, and quickly pushed his glasses further up the bridge of his nose.
"I'll deduct from the amount you owe by ten percent." He said simply.
That was all it took. Haruhi stopped in her tracks and looked at Kyouya in an appalled glance, frustrated with how he could seemingly blackmail her so easily, and she would just give in.
She gave a defeated sigh.
"Fine. I'll wear the stupid dress."
"Great! Hikaru, Kaoru?" Tamaki said, grinning gleefully in a bipolar switch of emotion. The twins, instantly at his side, looked at Haruhi with deviously sparkling eyes.
"We already have some gown designs available."
Frozen, frightened in place like a deer with headlights, Haruhi stood as the Hitachiin brothers grasped onto her arms and dragged her away into the next room.
"Good luck! Find the most gorgeous thing that you can!" Tamaki called after, waving at their retreating forms.
No sooner had the door shut behind the three first years had Tamaki rushed over and leaned on Kyouya's desk, gazing up at the darker haired student. He grinned triumphantly and batted his eyelashes with glee.
"Great thinking, Kyouya! I'm sure now that she'll have a chance to wear a dress for the evening and enjoy herself! She'll look stunning, and we'll each get to dance with her without anything weird going wrong." Tamaki fantasized about the night further, standing straighter and holding out his arms as if he were holding onto his waltzing partner as he began to spin about the room around Kyouya.
"You do realize that this also means that other boys can have free reign to ask her to dance themselves, right?" Kyouya inquired.
Tamaki stopped dancing.
"What? No! I would never allow such a thing! She'll only dance for the last few songs, and that will keep her plenty occupied with dancing with the five of us."
"Five?" Kyouya stopped typing. The light reflected sharply off of his glasses.
"Well, yeah. You've never danced before, Kyouya, so I figured that, well, you would mingle with everyone else or stand off to the side with your clip board…as usual." Tamaki said, rubbing his neck awkwardly as he sensed the tension he had caused.
"I see." Kyouya resumed typing.
He had never realized in his lack of taste for dancing at the events before then. Sure, he would go about his business, please the girls who enjoyed the cool type with his casual pose, holding his clipboard close. Of course, he never really considered himself the dancing type; he was the authoritative person. He ran the events, made sure everything flowed smoothly, and watched the others enjoy his hard work.
However, he had seen a few sketches of the designs the Hitachiin twins had in mind for Haruhi's physique, and he couldn't help but admit that he wouldn't mind watching her eyes sparkle while she was wearing one of those…
"M'Lord!" Kaoru called out from behind the changing curtain, bringing Kyouya back from his thoughts.
The host club gathered around outside of the changing curtain in anticipation, while Kaoru and Hikaru slipped out from inside. They grinned eagerly, wiggling their eyebrows in a suggestive manner as they each grabbed a fist full of curtain. Hikaru inhaled deeply.
"Presenting: the amazing—"
"…Ravenous?" Kaoru couldn't help but pause at the absurd misuse of the word his brother had made.
"Oh, that's not right, is it?" Hikaru muttered sheepishly.
"Whatever. The beautiful…"
"HARUHI!" The brothers exclaimed her name in unison, and quickly pulled the curtains back to show Haruhi standing there fiddling with her fingers awkwardly.
Haruhi wore a deep blue, strapless gown. The waist was fitted to her with a thick ribbon that wrapped around under her breasts and tied into a simple, hanging bow in front. The skirting hung loosely and went down to below her ankles, where she wore silver high heels. The twins completed her look with earrings and a long, straight wig—without the razor straight bangs this time.
Kyouya stood there, gripping tighter onto his clipboard. He had known that she would be beautiful wearing a dress, but he hadn't known how much.
"Haru-chan! You're so pretty!" Hunny chirped, and raced up to hug her, causing her to spin in place with him in a tight embrace.
"Um, thank you, Hunny-senpai."
"Are you excited for tonight?" Hunny let go and hugged his stuffed rabbit instead, turning Haruhi to face at the mirror behind her.
Haruhi looked at her reflection, gripping onto the skirting of the dress, and swaying back and forth. Despite her previous arguments, she was quite impressed with Hikaru and Kaoru's handiwork this time. She didn't look fake at all, she felt natural this way.
Turning her gaze away from herself, Haruhi looked at the figures standing around her. The twins stood to the side behind her and looked at her in the mirror, smug grins on their faces as they admired their work. Mori was as stoic as ever, and Hunny was beaming with satisfaction as he continued compliment how cute and pretty she looked. Tamaki seemed to beam from behind her, his eyes sparkling with admiration as he grinned ear to ear.
"Oh, you look stunning, Haruhi! That dress is perfect for you, wouldn't you agree, Kyouya?" Tamaki asked, his hands clasped together as he turned to look at his friend.
Kyouya was pulled from his daze of awe. He quickly pushed his glasses further up the bridge of his nose as Haruhi turned to face him, a faint smile of shyness on her face as she looked expectantly at him.
"Do…Do you like it, Kyouya-senpai?" She asked hesitantly.
Kyouya's thoughts spun as he raced for a proper response. All eyes turned to look at him as he went through the different possibilities of things for him to say without letting on any of his… feelings toward Haruhi. I mean, just because everyone else was complimenting her on how beautiful she is when he had always thought so, the meaning might come off differently if he said it, right? His secret might be spoiled, right?
"It… suits you." He said simply, and turned to walk back to his laptop before he could see her face fall.
"Oh, thank you, Kyouya-senpai!" She called happily after him.
Taken back, Kyouya stopped and looked at her once again, over the rims of his glasses. Much to his surprise, she was indeed smiling up at him in the cutest way.
"You're welcome." He said, turning back and continuing to walk over to where his laptop awaited him.
The day had proceeded into the evening, and the main banquet hall was filled with students and their workers rushing to get the last minute things ready. The caterers rushed in with dish after dish, while the live orchestra prepared their seats in the far corner. The last of the decorations were being pinned up, and the inside fountain was turned on once again from being cleaned earlier.
The Host Club had prepared their evening's events carefully. Kyouya would welcome everyone and their families to the banquet, direct people to commodities, and announce the orchestra. After a few songs, the rest of the host club, with Haruhi playing her male counterpart, would enter the scene and flatter those who have yet to dance, and dance with those who desired so. Toward the end of the evening, awards would be given out, and Haruhi would change into her female attire in time to arrive as the last five songs were being played so she could dance with each of the members available, while Kyouya spent the entire night running the schedule and monitoring everything, remaining busy for the entire night.
As the other guests began to arrive, Ouran Academy would like to cordially invite you to Ouran's final dinner banquet of the school year.
Haruhi stood by the door beside Kyouya, looking up at him fondly as he awaited the time for him to officially announce the evening's events. He had noticed, and looked over at her curiously and confused.
"Yes, Haruhi?" He asked, hoping that he didn't seem too nervous. Her closeness seemed to throw him completely off balance—not that he would let anyone else know, especially Haruhi herself. His feelings toward her were his own, and he didn't find it appropriate to convey them so openly whenever he had the chance. Besides, the probability of Haruhi actually returning such fleeting feelings was beyond his calculations.
"I just wanted to wish you good luck, Kyouya-senpai." Haruhi said, leaning against the wall behind her.
Kyouya awkwardly adjusted his tie, tightening it.
"Thanks for the thought, but I don't believe that luck has much to do with the situation, Haruhi." He said, looking forward.
"Then," he watched tentatively as she bit her lip in thought. Her seductive ways just had to be on purpose.
"Yes?" He prompted.
"Break a leg? No, maybe I should say, 'Have fun?' I'm not sure, but I feel like I should say something…"
Kyouya let out a soft chuckle as she drifted off, and surprised himself when he had patted her head, ruffling it slightly.
"Thank you, all the same, Haruhi." He said, a small smile on his face.
Haruhi smiled and he waved as he opened the doors and retrieved a microphone.
"Welcome, everyone, to the final banquet of this school year at Ouran Academy. It is with great pleasure that we all welcome you to enjoy yourselves to the music of the professional orchestra flown in from Italy, and help yourselves to the food located on the long buffet tables along the side walls. Now, without further adieu, I must ask the orchestra to please commence this evening's festivities. Good night."
The people quietly applauded as the orchestra began to play, and dancing pairs formed, spotting the dance floor.
Haruhi watched through a crack in the door as Kyouya mingled along the edges of the room with those who were not dancing. He smiled sweetly to the elderly, warmly to the parents, alluringly to the young girls, and friendly to her. She jumped, startled and shut the door quickly as he turned in her direction. She hadn't realized how far open the "crack" in the door had opened until that point.
"Oi, Haruhi!" Hikaru called from the back of the room, waving her over to the rest of the Host Club members all gathered into a group huddle.
Forcing herself to leave the door, she walked over to the others, where the twins each put an arm on either shoulder. The others all stood there seriously.
"What's the matter, guys?" She asked.
"Well, it's just that all day today, Kyouya has been kind of angry. We're trying to figure out why." Kaoru said.
"It must have been my fault! I drove him into this mood because I threw all the work onto him, isn't that right?" Tamaki whined.
"I haven't noticed a difference. He seemed nice to me." Haruhi said, wondering why she hadn't noticed him being angry at all.
"To you, being key. Of course he wouldn't be mean to you, Haruhi! We all know that!" Hikaru said.
"Kyouya wouldn't ever be mean to you on purpose, Haru-chan! That's just the way he is!" Hunny chimed in from the chair he sat in. His legs kicked back and forth happily.
"Yeah." Agreed Mori.
"I don't understand. What makes me so special?" Haruhi asked, her eyebrows furrowing.
Her confusion was starting to take on an entirely new level with Kyouya involved.
"You mean, you don't know?" The twins asked.
"It's just so obvious, but I guess Haru-chan wouldn't have noticed since she's the main one involved…"
"Guys, I don't—"
"I don't care what you guys say! I honestly refuse to believe that Kyouya has those types of feelings toward my daughter! He's the mommy after all!"
Breaking the chaos, a knock abruptly came to the door. Stepping in was another working student who they recognized to be one of those managing the schedule of the evening.
"Excuse me, Host Club? It's almost time for your entrances." He said sheepishly.
"Oh, we'll be right there!" Haruhi called.
The door shut promptly after the boy, and the group fell into a disappointed silence. It was clear that they wanted to discuss the matters about Kyouya and his feelings and whatever they had to do with Haruhi further, but that moment was simply not the time. Not to mention each of them knew what sort of wrath from Kyouya would turn onto them should they be late.
One by one, the Host Club gathered at the door where they quickly exited as the song ended. They lined up along the wall, and Kyouya took his place in the center of them, slightly forward. He retrieved a microphone once again, and turned it on.
"I hope all of you have enjoyed the evening so far, and if, by some chance you haven't, you now have the chance to enjoy it further. Hosting this event is the Ouran Host Club, which I am a member of myself. We'll be available for personal services as well as being available to dance. Thank you, and please continue."
The cries of young girls swept through the room as several rushed up and grabbed some of the club members by their wrists, pulling them away onto the dance floor as the orchestra began to perform another song.
The members left over, mainly Haruhi, Hunny and Mori, decided to set off. Hunny and Mori set off to the buffet table where girls swooned at Hunny's growing sweet tooth, and Haruhi took a seat off to the side where she could entertain others and catch glances of Kyouya off in the corner making small talk with the girls that approached him while he furiously scratched away at his clipboard.
For the Host Club members, the night proceeded in a long, unbearable stride. The twins had resorted to performing their "brotherly love" skits while sitting. Hunny was two bites of shortcake away from being dragged off by Mori to a stomach pump and a dentist, and Tamaki had given away so many flowers to the "most beautiful lady of the evening," that the decorating students had to rush off to call for more shipments. Haruhi had managed to escape by assisting one shock-stricken mother to the back terrace for fresh air after witnessing a bit of a risqué move made by Hikaru.
"Would you like some water, ma'am?" Haruhi asked.
"Boys… brothers… so close… their hands… their lips…" The woman droned on, hardly making something more than bits and pieces of sentences.
"Um… ma'am?" Haruhi pressed a cold cloth to the woman's cheek, hoping to soothe.
"That was beautiful!" The woman suddenly cried out. Haruhi jumped back in alarm, only to bump into someone's chest.
"Oh, sorry! Ah, Kyouya-senpai!" She exclaimed. Kyouya held onto one of her shoulders to help her stabilize her balance before she stepped away from him.
"It's quite all right, Haruhi." He said, and cleared his throat before kneeling down to the woman's height. "I was just checking in on our guest, and thought that a bit of water would do some good."
The woman wasted no time in taking the cup from him, and took the entire thing as a shot. She huffed and smiled at the two gratefully.
"Thank you." She managed. "I'll be fine, just fine. Run along, now."
"It's all right, Haruhi." Kyouya said softly. "I'll stay with her a while longer, but it's about time for you to get dressed."
Haruhi glanced up at the school's clock tower. The evening was running late, and even as she was assisting the woman, she noticed the host club slowly diminish in size as they all returned to the back room from whence they came.
"Are you sure?" Haruhi asked.
"Don't worry about it. Go."
Haruhi hesitantly nodded and brushed past him, smiling at the faintness of butterflies she received in return. Walking back into the main room, Haruhi followed the walls around until she made it to the door and squeezed herself inside where the rest of the Host Club, with the exception of Kyouya of course, was waiting.
"All right! We have the dress in the back. Get ready, Haruhi!" Tamaki began, and clapped his hand quickly as he took off his formal blazer and taking off another suit from a rack nearby.
Haruhi rushed through the group of undressing boys and into the back room where her dress and wig awaited her. Quickly pulling off her clothes, she replaced her formal suit for the elegant blue dress. With a knock at the door, Tamaki's personal stylist entered the room, and without hesitation, began assisting her in applying her makeup and setting up her wig properly to last the evening.
Quickly exiting her back room, Haruhi watched as the last of the host club made their way back out into the crowd. Stumbling over her heels, she rushed up to the door and waited a minute before making her way into the crowd, hoping she didn't catch the wrong attention.
Sighing, she made her way over to a buffet table and picked at the rich cuisine. She had tried to make subtle glances in Kyouya's direction all night, hoping to see him smile, but her position was always at the wrong angle; someone's head would be in the way, or his back would be to him. She just hoped that dressed in a dress that he approved of, he might notice her a little more as a woman and a little less as the host that owed the club money. Behind his cool and calm expression he always held, however, her hopes of even trying to guess what he was thinking was simply hopeless.
"Excuse me, but I will now be presenting the awards for the evening, so if I could have your attention for just a few moments…" Kyouya began, and a tray of small awards were carted over to him.
Haruhi squeezed through the crowd until she had the perfect view of Kyouya. His broad shoulders, his soft voice, his sharp features… it all made her heart pound. His brilliance made up for any scare tactics he used, and although it was clearly considered to be blackmail by deducting her debt, Haruhi knew that she just couldn't deny him anything.
He had her in the palm of his hand, wrapped around his fingers and he didn't even notice.
When the awards were all given out, the final applause faded away and everyone dispersed, the only thing pulling Haruhi away from admiring Kyouya being a loud, emphasized chord from the orchestra. Jumping, Haruhi jumped aside, and moved to a nearby wall where she leaned against it.
"A wallflower now, are we?" Came a voice beside her.
"Kyouya-senpai!" She exclaimed, completely unawares as to how he managed to sneak up beside her so silently.
"The last few songs are coming up soon, you know." Kyouya said, looking straight ahead with his clipboard held close to him. "Are you willing to dance? That's what Tamaki has been looking forward to all evening, you know."
"Yeah, I know. I'll dance." Haruhi said softly. "What about you? Will you still be working for the rest of the evening or will you take a break to dance, too?"
"I doubt it. I have quite a large amount on my plate tonight, especially with Tamaki simply giving away our decorations. I've had to manage the rushed imports since he got here." Kyouya said, taking the time to check off something on his clipboard.
"Oh, I see."
The song came to a soft ending, and Haruhi glanced out the window behind her at the clock tower. The night was almost over. These were the last of the songs.
"Haru-chan!" Hunny called from across the room. "You dance with Mori first!"
The little blonde rushed forward, Mori following closely behind him.
"I guess I need to go." Haruhi said, and rubbed her arm awkwardly.
"Do me a favor tonight?" Kyouya asked, pushing his glasses up his nose and turning his head away from her slightly.
Kyouya turned and brought his upper half down closer to her. His lips softly touched her cheek in a peck, and his breath tickled her ear as he whispered, "Save the last dance for me?"
"Haru-chan! Let's go, the song started!" Hunny exclaimed.
Before Haruhi had a chance to react any other way than to blush profusely, Hunny came up and grabbed her hands, pulling her away from the wall and into Mori's arms. Mori wasted no time in taking one of her hands in his and placing his other hand on her waste, spinning them away from the spot in an elegant dance to the music.
Haruhi could only get dragged along with it, and look at where Kyouya stood as he pressed his glasses up further and quickly walked away. Had her senpai really said that? What did it mean?
"You're good at this." Mori said softly.
Haruhi tore her eyes away from Kyouya to look up at Mori. His eyes were warm and all-knowing, and the way he maneuvered the two of them through the crowd showed his patience and grace.
"Thank you." She said, uncertain of how to respond. "You're… good at this too."
"I've had practice."
As the song ended, Mori turned and bowed gracefully to her, resulting in her giving a small curtsey out of courtesy. Mori lifted his head and smiled at her, then turned and looked pointedly behind her. Haruhi turned to see Hunny, who was just moments away from simply crying with excitement and impatience.
"Your turn, Hunny-senpai?" Haruhi asked, and held out her arms as the next song began.
"YAY!" Hunny cheered.
The small boy rushed up to Haruhi, grabbing both of her hands and pulling her off, further into the dance floor as the two proceeded to spin at arm's length in circles to the point where Haruhi grew dizzy.
"Isn't this fun, Haru-chan?"
"It's a shame Kyouya can't enjoy it. He'd love to dance with you."
"Nevermind! Tee hee!"
She swayed in place as the song ended and Hunny left her for the new cake on display. Just before she collapsed in dizziness, a pair of hands grasped onto her, catching her. They steadied her as she stood, and turned her around to face the owner.
"Kaoru, thank you." She said.
"No problem." Kaoru said simply, shrugging.
The redhead took the two of them into a steady sway to the music, and as the song made a quick transition, he spun her into the arms of his brother who grinned broadly and danced traditionally to the faster paced song.
After the twins' songs completed, Haruhi stood there a moment before an arm wrapped around her waist and pulled her around to face none other than Tamaki. He smiled down at her, a faint blush on his cheeks as the two waltzed.
"Did you have fun tonight, Haruhi?" Tamaki asked.
"Yeah, it was really nice." Haruhi said. "Everyone, especially Kyouya-senpai, did a really good job."
"I see. I'm glad you enjoyed it then." Tamaki smiled.
Not long after, the song ended, and everyone turned to Kyouya at the head of the room by the orchestra. He wasted no time in thanking everyone for coming, re-congratulating the winners of the awards, acknowledging all of those that put in their efforts, and then wished everyone a safe ride home that night.
The crowd slowly died out as they all left, and the cleaning crews hired began crowding the room. Haruhi decided to move out of their way by moving out onto the terrace where she had brought the woman out earlier.
Leaning against the edge, she sighed and looked out at the stars that touched the horizon. She had been so hopeful the entire time that she was dancing with the others that maybe, just maybe there would be another song that would be playing for her to dance to with her senpai, Kyouya, but it was no use. She seemed to have daydreamed what he whispered to her, and perhaps even daydreamed his peck on her cheek. She still wanted to tell herself that she didn't, however.
"Aren't you cold?" A voice called.
Excited, Haruhi turned to see Tamaki standing there.
"Oh, well, just a little. I'm fine though." She said.
"Nonsense." Tamaki said, and removed his blazer, wrapping it around her shoulders. "A lady should never be cold, and a gentleman should always offer her jacket when she is cold."
"Well, I still need to go speak with my father before he leaves. See you tomorrow?"
She watched as Tamaki left, pulling his blazer closer as the wind cut through her skin. Then, to her satisfaction, watched as the twins and Hunny and Mori-senpai left, waving goodbye through the doorway. She gave a soft goodbye in return.
"Is that, by any chance, Suoh's blazer?" Kyouya asked from beside her.
"Oh! Kyouya-senpai!" Haruhi asked, jumping. He really needed to stop appearing out of nowhere. "Um, yes, it is."
"That won't do, at all." Kyouya said, and removed his blazer. In a few swift movements, Kyouya had thrown Tamaki's blazer onto the ground and wrapped his own around her, pulling the edges together which jolted her closer to him.
"Yes?" He asked, making a gesture with one of his arms. Haruhi watched as a few members of the orchestra joined them out on the terrace.
"What—what is this?" Haruhi asked, a nervous laugh escaping her lips.
"You did promise me the last dance of the evening, didn't you?"
Haruhi paused. The emotions seemed to overpower her at the same time as she realize that she hadn't dreamed it up at all. He had really said that…
"Of course. I'd never forget." She said, smiling broadly with as much happiness as she could convey.
"Glad to hear it." Kyouya said, and took a step away from her and bowing. "Now, may I have this dance, beautiful maiden?"
"You may." Haruhi asked, giggling.
Kyouya straightened his posture and pulled her to him, dancing with her as close as their bodies would allow as they swayed with the music, his lips lowered to her ear.
"Haruhi, I need to tell you something."
"Please don't feel threatened in any way, I mean this entirely…within pure context." He began, speaking a little louder.
"It's fine, Kyouya-senpai. What do you need to say?" She asked, prompting him by wrapping her arms around his neck. His arms wasted no time in wrapping themselves around her waist.
"I love you, Haruhi." He whispered. Haruhi held him out to her, watching his his face deepened into a dark crimson blush.
She felt the Haruhi inside of her fleeting with joy, jumping around excitedly as she ran among the butterflies that pestered her so frequently.
Instead of saying anything in return, however, Haruhi looked up at Kyouya with a warm smile, and pulled him down closer as she pressed her lips against his, her heart pounding her face flushing red as well. She hoped that her daring action would earn her the results she wanted.
Kyouya lifted her off the ground and spun her in a circle around him before setting her down and kissing her back. She had received something better than that.