Disclaimer: I do not own Ouran high school host club.
Chapter 40: Family and Closure
A/N: notes at the end
Part 1- Family
And as the world comes to an end
I'll be here to hold your hand
of Monsters and Men -'King & Lionheart'
Kyoya was falling.
His backside ached from the wooden bench.
The wind ruffled his hair.
The room was stifling.
The breeze was sweet.
Expensive perfume and cologne mingled.
It was refreshing.
The machine whirred.
His father went out of view.
He was falling.
Of course he couldn't find the cure for cancer.
Of course he couldn't save the day.
He couldn't be a fix-all forever.
"I'VE FUCKING FOUND IT!"
"KANI SAID A RUDE WORD!"
"YOU'VE FOUND IT? THANK THE LORD."
"AGE-CHAN, WHAT'RE YOU DOING IN HERE, GO TO SLEEP!"
"WHERE WAS THE BASTARD?"
"GET RID OF IT! KILL IT NOW!"
With around 10 people in one bedroom, after the first jubilant cry, the room erupted into noise, despite the fact that the majority of them had been half-asleep but seconds ago.
Pounding hard into the keyboard, Hikaru suddenly leaned in from the slouched pose he'd adopted in the last months. "HERE YOU GO YOU GODDAMN MOFO. I WILL FUDGING END YOU. AND. AND. AND. DE-LETE!"
"…did you get it?"
"Wait for it… wait… for… it…" There was a hesitant refreshing of a page.
The room waited with baited breath.
"YES! I GOT THE MOTHERFUCKER. I GOT THE MOTHERFUCKING THING HOLY- SHIT I DID IT, IT'S GONE IT'S- PRAISE ME. PRAISE YOUR ALMIGHTY GOD."
"IS IT OVER?"
"We've gone and goddamn won this thing."
"CHECK IT AGAIN!"
"NO IT'S DEFINITELY GONE IT'S DEFINITELY-"
Collectively, a tension over the whole room lifted and they couldn't help but let out the most heartfelt whoops and hurrahs.
"It sounds so cliché, but I can actually feel the weight being lifted off of my shoulders." Hikaru was rubbing the offended parts, rolling his arms back and forth to relieve the leftover stress. He all but fell back down into Mori's lap, receiving a well-deserved headpat for his work.
Adrian collapsed backwards into the foetal position, producing what looked like the biggest yawn in recorded history. "pSH, that was basically child's play. What it only took like, 4 months? Pah."
Somebody hit him.
Kyoya woke up late, excusing himself after all the late nights, early mornings and general insomnia he'd suffered for the last… god knows how long. He deserved a lie in. Yesterday… yesterday the weight of the world had felt like it had been on his shoulders. He knew he'd soon have to face the weight again but for now… for now he decided he could stretch out in bed and become a Kyoya taco of warmth and fluffiness to his heart's content. Unsurprisingly, Kaoru was already up and presumably about, probably at his brother's side- or… maybe not. Hikaru had seemed rather...busy the last he'd seem him and Mori. He let himself chuckle slightly in the pillow. It was nice.
After the relief of the victory, everyone had sort of let themselves be loved. Hugging had been inevitable all round, but there was also a lot of kissing and, well, he for one had the telling ache of sore hips to contend with this morning. Hey, maybe Natsume would get a long-desired sibling in 9 months time. He battled with another smile, wondering what the stupid prince and his princess wife would call their next child. Maybe a baby Fuyu to fit in with the seasons theme.
He let himself just be happy for a couple of minutes, not thinking about anything.
He imagined himself in a whole other world, a lime-green world of perpetual fragmenting light, of the air smelling like freshly cut grass, of earth after rain, of softness and… he sighed and for once he felt his stress dissipate with the breath. He imagined a world where he could be himself.
He slowly sobered up from his excitedness as the covers stopped feeling quite so comforting and a bit more… sticky. He laughed slightly as he took himself to the bathroom, allowing himself a rather luxurious bubblebath. He soaked every inch of himself to the bone, allowing the heat to mend the aches from last night and every rough night before. He found himself drifting off again so, to prevent himself from unwittingly drowning in the bathtub, he reluctantly drained it and rubbed himself down.
Warmed through and smelling like lavender and rose oil, his next task was to do the same to the bedding. He stripped the bed of its covers and chucked them into the laundry basket, remaking the bed with one of the many fresh replacements in the airing cupboard next to the wardrobe. Early on in their relationship they had decided that:
a) they would make their own bed to spare the poor maids and
b) they would have a private airing cupboard since neither of them particularly enjoyed sleeping in the aftermath and didn't particularly enjoy the walk of shame down the hall.
He made the bed and immediately after decided to coronate it with a quick nap. He'd already changed into a shirt and some freshly pressed trousers and Kaoru would kill him for it but- to hell with it, he was determined that today would be a good day.
It didn't take long for him to drift off.
He was awoken less than an hour later when someone's hand stroking his fringe from his forehead brought him up from the dreamworld. Feeling adequately rested, he decided not to slay the offender, but didn't feel like getting up quite yet.
"Mornin'", he managed to mumble. When there was no reply but the removal of said hand, Kyoya opened his eyes. He was greeted by the redhead he hoped it was, but not with a look he particularly enjoyed. "...W-"
He wasn't psychic, as the host club had enjoyed speculating he was but… he was observant. He was intelligent he was-
Kaoru nodded, his eyes fluttering shut and his lip drained of colour by a tight bite.
"-" the lack of a reply scared him the most, Kaoru decided. When Kyoya was lost for words, you knew it was bad.
Kaoru was determined not to cry. He'd watched as his Kyoya had awoken and had laughed to himself and he couldn't- he didn't want to ruin that. So he'd waited. He'd watched his most beloved man make himself a goddamn bubblebath, had watched him hum as he made their bed, wincing every once in a while when his body reminded him of the strain and- he'd left the room then to one of the obscure spare rooms nobody had used in years. He still didn't cry. He wouldn't. He was going to be the strong one. For once in his goddamn life he was going to be the pillar. So he just waited and calmed himself. He was going to be strong.
He climbed into the bed and resumed stroking as Kyoya smashed into the ground, shattering, shattering- and Kyoya cried. Pure, child-like crying. Crying for a parent, crying because he was lost in a massive world, crying because he'd lost his dad. He hid his eyes with one arm as he cried, using his sleeve to soak the tears, the snot, not caring about, well, anything. He just cried, and Kaoru let him. They said nothing. They demanded nothing. He just waited and stroked. He stroked until his hand tired so he started to pat instead, patted a regular rhythm, patted a heartbeat, patted until the sobbing stopped.
"Mmm?" he uttered, lightly pulling at Kyoya's sleeve, damp but still pressed to his face.
Kyoya let his arm be taken away, occasionally taken over by shaky intakes of breath.
Kaoru smiled at him, a slight smile, a warming one. He took out his handkerchief and started wiping his eyes, his nose, slowly, gently, more for the touch than for the action. He repeated the job as new tracks formed until they eventually dried.
He dropped the tissues for later removal and restarted the stroking. "Mm?"
Kyoya nodded. He shifted closer and closed his eyes, breathing slower, calmer.
"Y'know," Kaoru started, barely audible. "Whoever said tears were sexy was totally right."
Kyoya snorted a small laugh, his lips trembling in the direction of a smile. "I'm-"
"Shh," Kaoru hushed. "don't you dare be telling me you're sorry or I swear I'll make it a family reunion up in the heavens."
Kyoya grimaced but chuckled slightly. "Gallows humour? Really?"
"Best way to heal a broken heart."
"That's like saying the way to cure a zit is to poke it."
"...that's a surprisingly good analogy. Huh."
Kyoya was overcome with a fit of shallow giggles, muttering something about how he'd just compared death to a zit and about the morbidity and- Kaoru just smiled and continued stroking his hair. The giggle turned into a half-laugh, half-sob and was possibly the most heart-wrenching thing Kaoru had ever borne witness.
"Shhhh, at this rate, you'll wake the dead with your noise," he said into the raven feather hair.
This just worsened the man's reaction, his laugh part wail.
For a normal setting the volume of it would barely have carried out of the room but in the reverberating silence of the house-
It wasn't long until someone burst into the room, the air chilling palpably.
"Have you no respect," the voice scathed darkly. Kyoya silenced immediately. "Hmm!? You think this is a laughing matter?!"
Kaoru reacted first, jumping from the bed and rushing to his sister-in-law whilst making soothing hand-gestures. "I'm so sorry, it was my fault, I shouldn't have-"
The woman in head-to-toe black very visibly shrunk from his touch and refused to acknowledge his presence. "Kyoya. When I'm talking to you, I demand you at least show some respect and look at me!"
Kaoru redoubled his efforts with growing unease and impatience for the woman. "Hey, could you please keep your voice down, he's still grieving for god's sake. Just cut him some slack."
She turned to him then, looking like a viper who's just witnessed a maggot stand up for itself. "Oh, Kaoru. I am so sorry if I offended you, but some people consider raucous laughter inappropriate for a mourning period."
Kyoya sat up, wiping his eyes and putting on his glasses. He pulled the covers around him unconsciously, his mind desiring the comfort. "My deepest apologies, sister. Kaoru was merely trying to raise my spirits. It's been a hard year for us."
He must've channeled enough of his eldest brother's attitude for her to huff as she took a step back, rolling her eyes slightly. "Yes well see to it you are dressed and appropriate within the hour. You are needed for the preparation."
Kyoya nodded, prompting her to shuffle out, shooting one last haughty glance in Kaoru's direction.
Kaoru deflated his puffed out chest, a reaction to make himself more intimidating than he knew he was. "Oh god I'm so sorry, Kyo, I didn't- now she thinks-"
"It's fine, Kaoru, don't worry. She's just jealous."
"PFT. Her? Jealous? And pigs can fly. What's she got to be so jealous about, hm?"
"Her Ootori husband isn't as adorable as I am, obviously." He grinned lopsidedly, rubbing his now glasses-less eyes. They stung.
"Oh obviously. Her hatred has nothing at all to do with her long-running bigotry or ill ease at her husband having a and I quote, 'faggot brother'."
"Nope. Not at all."
"Well that's good then." Kaoru smiled as he returned to the bed but, seeing Kyoya's uneasiness, he stopped himself from sitting down on it again. Instead he crossed to Kyoya's side and took his hand. "He was a good man who'll be sorely missed."
Kyoya nodded solemnly.
He nodded again, looking up.
"It wasn't your fault."
Kyoya's tears returned.
There was a wake and two funerals. This had been Yuuichi's idea.
The wake and first funeral had been small and personal; Japanese-style, they had been housed in a local temple. Mantras were chanted, kimonos were worn. However, instead of then going to the crematorium as per standard, they then hosted a much larger, much more corporate funeral, in which hundreds of businessmen and women piled into a large gothic church-come-crematorium where hymns were sung and suits filled the pews.
Yuuichi's speech had been the least emotional experience many of the 'audience' had ever witnessed.
Strangely, Kyoya was not among this crowd of thought.
Knowing his brother perhaps the most in the church, maybe bar his sister and Yuuichi's wife, the speech was amazingly out of character. It was nearly human. It had been the first time he had heard his brother talk of his father about anything other than work. About his early childhood memories, about growing up with his family and- relating these with the occasional joke. Yuuichi was trying to make them laugh.
He'd sworn he wouldn't cry but he couldn't help it. It was physically stunning. He was actually glad, for the first time in his life, that he had such a strong brother. Being the most successful- being the eldest son. It was incredibly selfish of him but just this once he was glad that he would never have to do the 'honours' of arranging the funeral, of having to give the speech, of being the port of call for sympathy and condolences and for, well, picking up the pieces and gluing them back together.
Yuuichi was actually… an incredibly strong glue.
Kaoru seemed to have picked up on this miracle of character development too, and he was worried. A thousand thousand questions battled for first place in his mind but he pushed them down. This was not the time. He strengthened his grip on Kyoya's hand.
At the end of the ceremony, the coffin was rolled to the annex where the crematorium was lodged and Kyoya's heart dropped. It was suddenly way too real. He felt like he was falling a thousand times over, butterflies in the pit of his stomach churning and ripping his internal organs to shreds. But his brother's speech had made him come to a realisation.
He had initially been angry. Incomprehensibly angry. No matter what Kaoru had said, it had been his fault. He was a failure. He couldn't even find a cure for one of the most prevalent diseases in the human world he couldn't help his father he couldn't do anything. He hadn't slept to prevent the dreams he knew would come, he'd barely eaten for fear of it rising back up very soon after swallowing. It had been his fault.
But now- He had a family. He actually had a family.
When he was a teenager his family grew innumerably within months, from zero to impossible to count and all because of one stupid, blond frenchman. It had only taken him over a decade to realise that… His family wasn't as limited to begin with as he had thought. He had two brothers and a sister who, besides all better judgement might actually care for him. He had had better-than-some, encouraging (in their own way) parents. He loved his host-club family beyond words but his Ootori family… he now realised he could actually think to love them without having to back out of the words.
Of course he couldn't cure cancer. Of course he couldn't save the day. He couldn't be a fix-all forever, and no-one expected him to. He went from falling to flying within moments, his stomach unclenching to dispel the butterflies.
...He was accepted.
Part 2- Closure
"...and you think it was-"
"Nobody will believe us."
"They'll think it's a personal vendetta against her because of her intolerance of us, yes."
"But you still think-"
Kaoru nodded again. "Shit indeed."
"I'm not 100% sure, so don't- uh, outright accuse her, yo."
"You're not 100%?!"
"Well I'm like 98% sure, but-"
"But that's only 98%." Kyoya was used to working on figures much closer to the 100% mark.
"What's with all the loveydovey mumbling, hmm?" Hikaru returned from the kitchen with four precariously balanced mugs of coffee in one hand and a plate of cakes in the other.
"We own trays, Hikaru."
"We do?" Hikaru was actually surprised by this.
Mori watched him with poorly disguised laughter in one of the sofas, refusing to help him as he would do with probably anyone else. "Several in fact."
"Psh, trays are for losers anyway." Hikaru managed to make the coffee to the table without any burns or disasters and grinned. "See. Perfectly fine without-"
He was pulled onto the sofa by Mori, and made to shut up with a hand clamped firmly around his mouth. He nodded at Kaoru who rolled his eyes with a silent 'now look who's being loveydovey' and reiterated what he'd just said.
"I think it was Yuuichi's wife, the one who started the virus."
"Mmmbmmbmb-" He tapped the and on his mouth and Mori allowed his prisoner to speak. "Wait, what? But wasn't-"
"Yuuichi himself a prime suspect? Yes. But… we've crossed him off."
"Crossed him off?! But what about the letter! The shifty actions! The… attitude!"
"We think that was her."
"Right. ...and your evidence?"
"Right. Well. Have fun in prison guys, it was nice knowing you."
"Could you not, like-"
"Just find some evidence in the computer? Uh, no. What do you think I've been trying to do for the last however long?"
"Why is this so damned complicated."
"We could just ask her?"
"...oh yeah sure just 'Hi Mrs. Ootori, I noticed you didn't like us very much. Is that because you're trying to liquefy the company? Also, whilst we're on this topic, what exactly was the purpose of you doing this? If you could speak directly into the mic please.'"
Kaoru sighed into his coffee, inhaling the steam wafting off it. "I suppose we'll just have to settle with Yuuichi..."
"T-talking? To- to the devil incarnate? But- but-" Hikaru seemed to be the only startled on in the room, which only furthered his discomfort. "...what, you guys like him now?"
"Not exactly like, but… appreciate," Kaoru said with a sip.
"Appreciate?!" Hikaru scoffed.
"...I've recently rekindled a faith in family," Kyoya muttered in a tone that relayed that he could scarcely believe it himself. "I'll soon find out whether this is just was another failure in a long line of recent losses."
"Right… okay, so, who's being sacrificed for this noble deed? And before anyone can even think of mentioning it, shotgun not me."
Kaoru smiled, raising one hand. "I've volunteered."
"YOU?" Hikaru cried. "That's nearly as bad as me! It's like sending a caterpillar to fight a dragon!"
"Your faith is astounding, brother."
"But it's Yuuichi we're talking about here. I'm pretty sure he eats people alive."
"Don't be ridiculous. He's just a bit-"
"If you say misunderstood I swear to god i'll punch you."
Kaoru grinned as he finished his coffee.
"Well okay, if you're so hellbent on marching to your death, when's your execution scheduled?"
"In about 30 minutes?"
"30- YOU'RE DOING IT NOW?"
"No time like the present, is there Hikaru." He stretched as he stood, Kyoya following him up. "See you on the other side."
"Woahwoahwoah wait wait wait are you freaking kidding me? This is not advisable, Kao. Like, at all."
"...I know," Kaoru winked. "But we've gotta try something, right?"
"Well, well...maybe your adorable charms will help win him over." Hikaru huffed, knowing his defeat.
"We can but hope."
Kaoru froze as he stood in front of the fated door, one arm raised and ready to knock. He was suddenly very very aware of what he was about to do and it set his heart a-pounding. His arm gravitated from the door to the scar on his head, which he rubbed thoughtfully. Oh god i'm pathetic I can't even- just knock on the door, Kaoru, just knock alright i'm going to i'm going to- no but what if i'm interrupting something important like a phone call or a- no, nonono, I just need to knock I just need to- AGH you're such a fucking coward Kaoru- his thoughts were knocked clean off of his shoulders as the door in front of him swung open.
"You are late."
"Oh shit, I mean, oh, I'm really sorry I was-"
"Nevermind." Yuuichi opened the door wider, welcoming him in. Perhaps 'welcoming' was too strong a word. More like… dragging. With his aura. It was strange in that it both managed to freeze and compel Kaoru towards his goal. Once they were both sat, Yuuichi raised a questioning eyebrow. "So?" it seemed to be asking.
"AH. Uh. Uhh, okay, this may sound really strange but, uhm, and don't take this the wrong way it was just we noticed that maybe perhaps you might happen to-"
"Cut to the chase, Kaoru. I am busy."
"Oh, yeah, okay, sure. Uhm." Steel yourself. "You know the virus?"
"I am aware of it. Give my thanks to your brother for the timely disposal of it."
Kaoru nodded. "Uh, well, we were looking into who caused it and, well,"
"You think it was me." Yuuichi sat back in his chair, steepling his fingers. His glasses glared like there was no tomorrow. He didn't sound surprised.
"Well actually no. I mean, initially, we did, because of the letter and-"
"Now we think it might be… uh, someone related to you."
"Related? How so." He leant forwards again, his aura starting to spike slightly.
"Oh I don't know, maybe a uh, significant other, or a uh, work partner, or perhaps a significant other, I mean, y'know, completely hypothetically of course."
"You suspect… my wife?"
"Suspect is a harsh word..."
Yuuichi combed a hand through his hair, swivelling his chair so as to stare out of the floor to ceiling window view. "What motive do you imply she has?"
"Uh, well, that part we haven't quite-"
"Oh uh, well… uhm."
"So you're just fishing then."
"...Well, uh, Sir, I mean-"
"Please, Kaoru, Sir is too much."
Kaoru gulped. This was perhaps the most uncomfortable situations he'd ever been in. "...Yuuichi-sama?"
"Yuuichi is fine."
Kaoru clenched the arm rests of the chair, feeling like he'd just stepped into a bear-trap. His mind went blank so it went into autopilot. "Haha soon we'll be calling each other Kao-tan and Yuu-kun. Hah.. ha…" Shitshitshitsthitwhaatthefuckkareyoutalkingaboutshit.
Yuuichi frowned. It was obvious that his previous impressions of the boy were returning. Perhaps he'd been impressed by Kaoru's courageous summoning. But now that thought was completely over-run by… Yuu-kun. What the hell.
"We'll stick with Yuuichi for now."
Kaoru nodded enthusiastically, regretting everything he'd ever done in his whole life.
"'The boy was definitely an anomaly in my plans.'"
"Excuse me?" Kaoru said, shifting on his chair slightly.
"What was he planning, the scheming fag. It was atrocious. Kyoya was despicable enough; thinking that he could get away with acting like he ran the goddamn place, but then to marry in some half-bit family? The Hitachiins were hardly an Ootori level family."
Kaoru's heart stopped. "Wh-"
Yuuichi gave him a 'shut up and keep listening' look that intensified with Kaoru's struggling. "Perhaps, perhaps, it would've been slightly more… tasteful… had the Hitachiin been female, but a gay marriage? Unacceptable. And this was why the Ootori family was being dragged down. Its standards were sub-par because it allowed such scum to enter into it. To defile it."
Kaoru coloured with anger. The subtle dislike he could put up with but this, this outright affront to him, this was unacceptable.
"The announcement that Father had cancer had been a delightful addition to my plans. It served the old bastard right, really. It was karma. He was obviously not fit for the job anymore. But why let his unacceptable ways be left unpunished? No, Yoshio would have to die without a penny to his name, be disgraced and shamed beyond the grave before any thoughts of justice would be sated."
And just like that, Kaoru's face blanched again. He felt his whole body slump back down into the chair.
"You see," Yuuichi said, "I have all the evidence you need." Kaoru couldn't reply, and Yuuichi didn't want him to. "However those words were not my own."
"Wha-" Kaoru's head was swimming. He couldn't stomach this emotional roller-coaster at all.
"You would not understand, you see, what with your relationship and your… background. Or perhaps you would. As I understand, you mother is a very forthright person. She demands to be seen and to be heard."
Kaoru nodded, scared as to why his mother had been brought up.
"And your father?"
It seemed to be an open question. "He… stays in the shadows."
"He stays in the shadows. That is right. And yet, would you say he was powerless?"
Kaoru considered this. He shook his head. His father barely uttered a word but he still dealt with two Hitachiin twins, a Hitachiin wife and now a Hitachiin daughter. "Not at all." If anyone was to be considered powerful, it would be him.
Yuuichi nodded. "Do you know my wife's name?"
Kaoru started to reply, but stopped short. Wait. Wait, no no no, this couldn't- he- he was a businessman, he was an employer, he was a host but- "...Sachiko? No… Makiko? ...wait, wait no, no- Shiina. No, shit, wait-"
"I don't blame you, Kaoru." Yuuichi stood, collected a framed photo from a nearby coffee table and presented it to the younger man. "She's practically invisible. This is a family portrait taken the other month. Who is in the photo, Kaoru?"
"...you and… your son?"
"Ah ah ah…" Yuuichi extended a long, skeletal finger and stroked a shadow-like figure in the photograph. "My wife, Youko."
"You...ko… of course, Youko, how could I have-"
"She commands country-sized armies of people and yet people can never realise that she's there. And you know why?"
"True evil lurks in the shadows?"
Yuuichi nearly smiled, his lip stretching thinly. "Very close. Nobody can catch you if they don't know you exist."
"...but, what? No there's a thing called the police, I'm pretty sure like DNA testing and whatever-"
Yuuichi raised a sardonic eyebrow, indicating that he should be quiet. "And so I was surprised that, well, you of all people, the one person my wife openly despises, could even think of suspecting her. Thinking back on that statement I don't suppose I should be, hmm… she really did trip up, didn't she."
"...does this mean-"
"That i'm sacrificing her to the wolves? Well now, that really does all depend."
Yuuichi was standing behind Kaoru now, his aura seeping out like ooze from a ghibli monster. "..on?" Kaoru could barely manage to squeak.
"On whether or not you make this worth my while. You see- my wife didn't do this in order to become famous, or because she is particularly evil, she, well, like most people, wanted to see me succeed. And to think, my Father decided to put you and your darling husband above me in his Will."
Kaoru suddenly twisted to look up at the daunting figure.
"That's right! You really did worm your way into his affections, didn't you. Keeping a bedside vigil, hosting tea-parties for distinguished guests- honestly you're such a perfect housewife."
Oh god, this was starting to sound a little bit 'i'll give you evidence for sexual pleasures-y'... "Uh, so, what was it that you wanted-"
"My wife for my company."
"I'll give you my wife and sufficient evidence of her crimes if you hand over your and my darling brother's newfound ownership of the company."
"Wait, so, you'd sacrifice the one person who actually… cared for you in order to, what, take over a company? Continue being rich?"
"Cared? For me? Don't get me wrong, I loved my wife but she went about it all the wrong ways. I commended her subtlety, her anonymity, but… to ruin my father? No, no no all wrong, all wrong. My father was not the person she should have been attacking and for that I want to see her punished just as much as you do." He ruffled Kaoru's hair. "Oh don't give me that look, this world is dog eat dog and I am afraid I am a healthy cannibal. You cannot survive with that lax outlook you have."
Kaoru smiled as strongly as he could. "Well maybe you won't be thinking that way in a couple of days."
Yuuichi circled around him, eerily shark-like. "Hm, now you see, this is what ruins you, Kaoru. You were doing an almost perfect job but it's lines like that that really-" he dropped to a crouch in front of him, leaning in with the look of a scorpion. "prove disaster." He reached into Kaoru's pocket and held up his findings.
Kaoru grimaced. Ah. Shit.
"A microphone. Really? What are you, a TV detective? No I think not." He removed the SD card and returned the machine. "Oh, and if you would please empty the rest of them out onto my desk? I really wouldn't like to have to pat you down."
Kaoru sighed and removed the three hidden microphones from about his person. This had been a shit idea, and if he was punished, Hikaru was going to be in for a world of pain.
"What you don't understand is, Kaoru, that this isn't one of your fairtytales, or one of those hilarious plays you used to put on." Yuuichi smiled knowingly at him. He smiled. He Smiled. "This is a corporate world and I'm afraid this is how it works. There is no fix-all, no deus-ex-machina, no prince to come and save the day."
Kaoru didn't know what to expect.
And nothing happened.
Had they won?
...They hadn't lost anything, right?
They didn't want to take the Ootori business, they had damning evidence of the culprit, this was… a win. And overwhelming win.
He returned to Hikaru's house, unsure whether to smile or to frown.
The door opened before he could even ring the doorbell, ten faces all screaming "and?" "so?" "how'd it go?" He handed one of them a medium-sized paper folder, relinquishing it with a smile. "It's done."
There was an earful of jubilant cries, everyone battling to have just a glance at the folder's innards. Kaoru was encompassed in a strong hug, his raven-haired prince nearly lifting him off of the floor. "You did it you marvelous man, you did it."
Kaoru clung back, breathing him in. "...It doesn't feel like it."
It took a while for the group to settle down, but once they had, the air shifted. A solemn atmosphere settled around them as Kaoru recounted his adventure.
"So… what now?"
"We take her in?"
"What, and let Yuuichi take over?"
"We have to, I signed a contract."
"You signed a- god, Kaoru, I know you're not a lawyer but still, do you still own no common sense?" Haruhi gripped the folder, exasperated at the conditions in which were stated. "You don't just sign a contract without a lawyer!"
"I'm not stupid, Haru. I just- he said this was a once in a lifetime deal. He said he knew we were going to relinquish our rights anyway so he'd be able to take over any time he wanted but the information he was offering would be disposed of as soon as I left the room."
"Bloody- That's blackmail. We can get him for duress."
"Duress is a wrongful act or threat by one party that compels another party to perform some act, such as the signing of a contract, which he or she would not have done voluntarily. As a result, there is no true meeting of minds of the parties and, therefore, there is no legally enforceable contract," she related with text-book precision. "In most cases involving duress, the contract is voidable, and the person who was subjected to the duress may ask the court to declare the contract unenforceable."
"But this was a transaction of information," Mori input. "Will the court accept a claim of duress when our client received the information he wanted?"
"Well we'll- we'll get a judge who we know."
"Haruhi, you're starting to sound like the villain, here."
"I'm not! I'm just saying it wouldn't hurt having a little bit of extra help-" She stopped when Kyoya stood up.
"I think we should let him."
"No offence to you, Haruhi, or you, Mori, but… my brother has an army of veteran lawyers. Even two massively respected as yourselves would be ants under his boot."
Mori nodded. He'd faced a few of these opponents before and… it was not a battle worth facing.
Haruhi refused to give up. "But- but we have you! We have each other, we have-"
"We have hope, Haruhi, yes, but… what harm will come of letting my brother just… have the company? Nobody wanted to contend anyway. My other brother is quite content where he is and I for one want nothing to do with it."
"But then we're just letting his poor wife be that man's scapegoat-"
"Then we free her. We detain her with no fuss, no publicity, we file for divorce and off they go in their separate directions."
"Is that even… legal?"
"I'm sorry, who was the one willing to bribe the judge three minutes ago?"
Kaoru sighed. "I'm also in favour of this."
"Oh come on!" Haruhi cried. "Since when were you two so defeatist? We'll find a way, we'll-" she gave a strong look at Tamaki, who'd been silent the whole conversation. His gaze had never left the floor as his foot drummed against the carpet and his chin rested on the palm of one hand. His fingers tapped upon his lip.
"Kyoya," Tamaki started, slowly lifting his gaze to the man in question.
"Sell me your company."
There was a silence.
"You're kidding me," Hikaru said into the void. "You? Owning the Ootoris? I can't-"
Mori detained his red-head, pulling him out of the conversation with a shh-ing noise.
"I can't just- my brother-" Kyoya stammered, not knowing what to say.
"He can be branch head. We can be the Suoh-Ootori company."
"No fair! I wanna join in!" Hunny said, bouncing in his chair. "If you guys getta have a merger I wanna have a merger!" Nekozawa nodded next to him.
Mori's eyes widened as he stared at Hunny and his spouse. As his lawyer this was-
"Preposterous, we can't just- merge the largest companies in Japan just- because!"
"All in favour say aye-"
Hunny, Tamaki, Nekozawa raised their hands with quick ayes. Slowly Mori's, Hikaru's and Haruhi's followed. There was a bang as Renge and Adrian crashed through the door they'd obviously just been listening through, raising their hands wildly.
"AYE, AYE AYE AYE! PLEASE."
"PLEASE INCLUDE ME I THINK IT'S A MARVELOUS IDEA. PLEASE. AYE."
"We.. we can't just-" Kyoya said weakly, under the gaze of so many eyes.
He slowly turned as Kaoru started to raise his hand. "Aye, I think."
Kyoya turned to face every determined eye in the group.
This was sacrificing the names of every big family in the country, and abroad. This was sacrificing individuality, a name at the top of the list, they'd all be working under someone else, never reaching the top, never achieving the grand place, never- "You… all of you… would do this?"
They nodded, then looking to Tamaki. "We follow you unto the end, it seems."
Tamaki nodded, shaking slightly. He bit his lip to stop himself from crying.
"...Well then men and women, I suppose it's time to start talking about our latest venture."
Those standing sat down, forming a ring.
"...uhm, item one on the list is, I guess… picking a name? Unless we go for the Suoh-Ootori-Haninozuka-Nekozawa-Houshakuji-Green inc.?"
Someone laughed, but no-one had really gotten over what they were about to start, and their minds weren't really-
Renge stood and laughed. "Well? Isn't it obvious?"
"We're not going to call the most influential company in the world the Host Club, Renge."
==OURAN INCORPORATED TAKES BUSINESS WORLD BY STORM WITH REVOLUTIONARY MERGER==
A/N: Hooooooooly shit, surprise guys.
So I last updated on the 19th November 2012. Yes that's right, 2012. Hm. Yeah, I never was good at updating on time.
The reason I stopped was, well, because I realised that the fic was a coping mechanism for me and it just wasn't working. It- well, they always say 'write what you know', don't they and I needed somewhere to just splurge my feelings when my grandfather battled with, guess what, cancer. The majority of the scenes (minus the gay and the tecnovirus and- okay, some of the scenes) I used were based on things that were happening with me at the time. And then my grandpa died and the fic kind of went out of control. I lost all sense of plot and consistency because I was just writing for the sake of writing. I stopped to give myself a break and then, uh, yeah. 15 months passed.
I was honestly never going to finish the story, not knowing how my story would end. However I've recently been getting reviews again? Which was.. uh…. strange, and I was eventually guilt-tripped by my own consciousness into writing this, the final chapter of Revolution.
It has been a magnificent ride with you all. This was my first and longest fic, surpassing 80,000 words and I can't believe it happened. My spelling was appalling, my grammar non-existent and now- well, it's not all that much better but thank god for autocorrect.
If any of you guys care, I passed my A-levels with flying colours last summer and I actually got into uni (Royal Holloway, University of London), studying English and Classics, which I never could have done without the encouragement of some of you beautiful people.
If anyone wants to talk to me still, I do still check ff regularly, however my main haunting grounds are tumblr (ninjaninaiii) and I do have skype if you want to chat. (if so send me a pm sometime yo :))
Anyway. Thank you so much for reading thus far and I hope you've enjoyed the marvel that is and forever will be a Revolution.