XXx Aya xXX
The bell rings, breaking the stony silence of my classroom. I blink rapidly, rubbing my eyes with the heel of my palm.
"Remember to get this study guide turned in by Friday!" sensei reminds us as he begins to pack up his desk.
I yawn as I slide out of my chair and sling my bag over my shoulder. My neck cracks when I roll it, providing me with almost instant relief. Despite the odds, I managed to get through about four of the twenty six problems before I began to doze off. The music got me through nine in all. And I think that I actually did it right.
I just need Mitsukuni to check it so I know if I'm delusional or not.
By the time I actually start moving the classroom is already empty. I take one step outside my classroom before the storm hits.
Before I know it, I'm whisked off the floor as Hikaru and Kaoru come barreling down the hallway.
"Hey," I say as I try and keep my bag from slipping off my arms. "Where's the fire?"
They grin down at me as we turn the corner and up the staircase.
"Well…" Hikaru draws out. "We're anxious to dress up our toys today."
"Should I be worried?" I ask as I glance up at Kaoru.
He just mirrors Hikaru's smirk as they throw open the doors to the club room. All I see are a ridiculous amount of ornamental rugs before I'm shoved into the dressing room.
"Ready senpai?" Hikaru asks mischievously as he picks up a heavy looking package.
"Y-yeah," I sigh. "But I just don't understand why you don't do this to Haruhi as much as you used to. Why is it just me now?"
"Easy," Hikaru says as he tosses the tissue wrapped bundle to Kaoru. "One, we can actually dress you like a girl without raising suspicion."
"And two," Kaoru finishes. "We know you'll actually wear our more girlish costumes without protesting too much."
I frown as they begin laying out piles of clothes for the other hosts. They consist of mountains of brightly colored and patterned material and tons of accessories. Tamaki's pile alone looks like it weighs about thirty pounds.
"Maybe is should start protesting more just to keep things interesting," I grumble.
"Well go on," they say as they realize I'm still standing there.
"Pushy much?" I snort as I disappear behind the changing curtain.
Their statement has me a bit worried as I unwrap my costume. My jaw drops at the shocking amount of almost transparent midnight blue material that meets my eyes. I hold my breath as I pull out all the pieces for today's cosplay.
The first thing I pull out has all of the transparent material. It's a midnight blue tube top that's designed to look like it's knotted around my chest, and from it flow floor length, light weight, transparent, pale blue torrents of fabric lined with stunning and intricate gold needlework.
It's accompanied by a pair of billowy Princess Jasmine pants in the same shade as the top.
I gnaw on my lower lip and reluctantly begin to change. I had wanted to wear a costume like this since I first saw Aladdin as a kid. But now that I'm not a kid anymore, me wearing an outfit like this is, well…not so innocent looking.
I slip on the cute pair of bronze slippers and give my reflection a guilty smile. Childhood fantasy that can now be checked off the bucket list. I hope I will never revisit the rest of it.
"You done yet?" the twins call from the other side of the screen.
I turn away from the mirror, kicking my pile of cloths into the corner of the room. Impatient much?
"Yes," I sigh as I step out.
I jump a foot in the air as they pop out of nowhere. Their hands slip under the transparent fabric and begin wrapping my waist with rows of gold and sparkling glass beads.
"Now sit!" they command as they twirl me over to their favorite prep chair.
I flop into it and Hikaru gets started on combing my hair and pulling it back into a high ponytail. Kaoru slips gold bangles on my wrists and a matching necklace set with blue turquoise.
"Your make-up is fine," he mutters as he hands me a pair of heavy looking gold earrings. "Careful with those senpai."
He moves away from my face and Hikaru slips a transparent blue veil over the lower half of my face. I huff in annoyance as I take out one of my pairs of earrings and replace them with the gold ones.
Surprisingly, they aren't heavy. Just bulky.
"Is dress up time over yet?" I whine as Hikaru ties a blue sash around the base of my ponytail.
They wink and give me a thumbs up before pulling me out of the chair and shoving me out of the dressing room.
"OW!" I yell as I crash into something solid. "What the hell! That hurt you know!"
I round on them, attempting to give a good glare while clutching my nose with the tips of my fingers. They just stick out their tongues before slipping back into the dressing rooms.
I jump back around to see the solid object I crashed into was…Mitsukuni. He stares at me for a second before a smile breaks out across his face.
A strange smile that almost makes my heart stop…
"S-sorry…" I mumble through both my veil and fingers. "I need to stop knocking into you like that."
"You okay?" he asks.
I nod as my cheeks heat up and I force my gaze elsewhere. Man…why can't this veil be red?
I can feel my jaw slacken as Aya-chan looks up at me.
Her eyes are incredibly wide. The kind of wide you can only get from extreme embarrassment. I can see her blushing through the veil, and I can't help but smile.
She's so cute!
"W-well," she mumbles. "I'm just gonna go now."
She stalks off before I can respond, but she seems a bit distracted and almost trips over Tama-chan's throne. She picks herself back up before she falls and begins to walk again, but she doesn't get very far.
"Hey Aya-senpai you forgot this!" Hika-chan and Kao-chan sing as they pop out of nowhere.
They snare her in a sheer blue sash before running off, their speed and their arrangement of the scarf causing Aya to squeak as she tumbles to the floor.
She sputters as she lands on her back, accidently inhaling part of her veil. I crouch down next to her, avoiding her arms as she swats the sash and pulls herself into sitting position.
"Here," I say, taking it off for her.
"Thanks," she coughs as she clutches her throat.
I back away a bit so she has more room to breathe. She pulls the rest of the sash off of her and folds it in her lap.
"Stupid cosplay," she mutters. "I can't believe I used to make such a fuss about how much I wanted to wear this."
"I don't blame you," I say with a smile. "You look really pretty Aya-chan."
She blushes brightly and lowers her gaze. Her fingers fiddle nervously with the evil sash before she speaks up in a small voice.
"You don't think I look…slutty?"
"Why would you think that?" I ask as she looks down at her feet. "And why now? Why not when you were dressed as a Kitsune?"
"I dunno. I guess it is a pretty stupid question," she mutters. "Sorry I asked. I-I've just never worn something like this…ever."
She bows her head even lower, her hands resting limply in her lap. Without giving myself time to second guess myself, I grab her hand, giving it a reassuring squeeze.
"You're pretty ok? I won't lie to you," I insist.
She flushes again and tries to avoid looking at me. But she didn't do it fast enough, because for a full three seconds I saw a shy smile grace her lips.
"Thank you," she says. "You don't look too bad yourself."
Just as I'm about to reply Tama-chan bursts in from the dressing room. Aya feels like she's going to pull her hands away, but stops at the last minute and instead allows me to pull her to her feet.
"Places everyone!" Tama-chan yells as he collapses on his plush throne.
As we all crowd around him, I take the opportunity to stand close to Aya, giving her a reassuring smile as she tries to maneuver her sash and pick a good pose.
She nods back just as Kyo-chan gives the signal to release the rose petals and the doors fly open.
"Welcome," we chorus.
XXx Aya xXX
I'm drifting blissfully on a lovely rift when a loud crash has me yanking my headphones off. I twist in my seat and get a look at the mess behind me.
The guys are crowding Shiro and Haruhi with the shattered remains of a nice china tea set scattered around the floor between them.
"It's not my fault I dropped it," the little brat says to Haruhi. "It's your fault cuz you're the one who made me take it in the first place."
"Say what?" she asks as she looks down at the damage.
"Haruhi," Kyoya calls from the other side of the room. "That's another 100,000 yen."
"HUH?!" she gasps in horror.
As her debt spikes higher I feel s small tug of sympathy for her. Next time we have an event I'm going to see just how much of a debt reduction I can haggle for her. Honestly…sometimes I wonder if they keep tacking on extra fees just to keep her around longer. If that's the case then why can't they just ask politely like normal people?
"Hey you should make the cross-dresser do all your stupid chores!" the little brat snaps at the twins and Tamaki. "Or that worthless lay about!"
He jerks his thumb in my direction and I feel a vein pop out of my forehead. My grip on my teas spoon tightens and the thin piece of silver begins to bend against its will.
"What was that?" I ask menacingly.
I toss my phone and headset aside and set my face it's most intimidating stare. He gulps nervously and takes a step back as I stalk up to him. But he seems to recover quickly when he realizes I'm almost a whole head shorter than him.
"What exactly do you do other than lay around wasting time listening to music?" he asks, his voice dripping with scorn. "Why should I be forced to carry the tea sets? I'm only here to learn how to make women happy!"
"Why don't you start with losing the attitude kid?" I growl. "Here's a little hint from a reliable source. Hardly any girls like being pushed around or having a demanding boyfriend. You're natural girl repellant the way you act right now."
Surprisingly, he matches my stare. His grey blue eyes are hard as steel as he refuses to let me win this supposed staring contest.
"And who are you to tell me what to do?" he spits. "I don't tend to follow the demands of someone who can barely look me in the eye."
"I may be short but I'm a third year student," I say calmly. "So perhaps following my advice will do you some good in the long run, though I don't know what you've done to earn it. To be honest, with the way you've treated everyone in this room since the minute you walked in, it would have been much more satisfying to see you strike out miserably."
He looks at me with disbelief written all over his face. A grin spread across my face from having won our little battle, but the feeling is short lived since his jibe at my height doesn't sit well with me.
"And don't judge me on something as trivial as my height," I say in an acidic tone as I turn on heel, leaving him gawking at the back of my head.
"I will not let you disrespect Haruhi or Aya-senpai," Tamaki declares as I make my way over to my small table. "Put this brat in isolation!"
"You got it boss!" the twins yell a little too eagerly with a genuine salute.
I'm just putting my foot down as there's a loud crash and the ground trembles beneath me. The heel of my platform boots slips on the slick tile floor and I stumble backwards. A pair of hands gently grab my shoulders, and help me steady myself.
"You ok?" Mitsukuni asks.
"Yeah," I say nervously, hoping that my face isn't the million shades of red that it feels like. "Real smooth for a martial artist huh?"
He just smiles at me and I quickly avert my gaze. His hands drop from my shoulders, just barely grazing the length of my arms. It causes me to shiver slightly and my face to heat even more. I do my best to shake it off, and I turn around to see a giant cage in the middle of the room.
"Where the hell were they keeping that thing?" I ask in astonishment.
Mitsukuni just looks at me and points up, leaving me even more confused. Though I have to admit, seeing the brat trapped on the other side of the bars makes me happier than I should be. Now if only the bars were charged with electricity…
"This is no way to treat your loyal apprentice!" Shiro screams as he clutches the iron bars. "Now let me out of this cage!"
Tamaki just sips his tea calmly on the side, looking like this is just a normal occurrence. But then again this is the host club…so maybe this does happen more often than I am aware of. I guess I do spend a lot of time spaced out since I hardly ever get requests to join anyone.
"Not until you've learned your lesson," Tamaki says looking….oddly mature for himself. "I decided to make you my apprentice because I thought you were serious about becoming a host. But, I guess I was wrong."
"I am serious!" Shiro yells as he clutches the bars of the cage harder. "Totally serious! I want you to teach me how to make a woman happy!"
Tamaki goes on ignoring him while he sips tea, letting us all just observe as Shiro's knuckles go white from his intense grip.
"I'm gonna run out of time," Shiro whispers as he sinks to his knees. "Please won't you teach me?"
The room is silent for a moment before he speaks again.
Oh ho ho…I think this little brat might actually be in love. Well puppy love that is, because from what I've seen he doesn't look capable of real love yet.
"You're a host because you like girls," he continues. "You like bringing a smile to a girl's face. That's why you do it right?"
Tamaki's eyes flicker back to him quickly.
Oh god…he's going to cave. I can see it in his eyes. He's gonna give into the brat.
"Please won't you teach me to be like you?!" Shiro pleads. "You're a genius at it! You're…the king!"
I'm pretty sure all of us are more than just a little disappointed as Tamaki's breath catches at those words. His face goes all wonderstruck and we know we've lost. Damn it.
"Well you may be a brat," Tamaki says as he stands. "But I admire your desire to become a host, so I'll teach you."
Shiro looks up from the floor, newfound determination on his face. I gotta give it to him, he must be determined if his pride is allowing him to suck up to Tamaki.
That or he's just desperate. That has to be it.
"You know Shiro," Tamaki says with a stupid smile on his face. "You and I are a lot alike."
"You poor kid," Haruhi mutters.
"Actually it makes way too much sense," I groan.
"Then you'll teach me to be the kind of host that can make any woman happy?" Shiro asks as he pulls himself to his feet.
He does a good job of concealing it, but I can see his self-satisfaction for suckering Tamaki clear as day in his eyes. This kid is dangerous.
"Of course," Tamaki says matter-of-factly. "Making women happy is the sole purpose of being a host. If this is really what you want Shiro, you're going to have to figure out how to use the material you already have."
"What does that mean?" Shiro asks, confusion almost immediately dispelling his confidence.
"You see, our policy here at the Ouran Host Club is to use our individual personality traits to meet the needs of our guests," Kyoya explains as he steps up on the opposite side of the cage.
He pulls out his little black book and begins reciting information he has written there.
"For example there's Tamaki, who is the Princely Type. There's the Strong Silent Type, the Boy Lolita Type, the Little Devil Type, and the Cool Type. It's all about variety. And now our group is complete with the addition of Haruhi, the Natural Type."
Haruhi looks confused for a second, but no one really seems to notice or take the time to explain anything to her.
"It seems that right now we have the perfect blend of characteristics," Kyoya continues. "So it's going to be hard to find a new type for Shiro."
"If you go by his age he should be the Boy Lolita Type," Hikaru muses.
"But Honey-senpai's already got that covered," Kaoru adds.
"Is he gonna replace me?" Mitsukuni whimpers.
I hug him, which seems to shock him. But I'm just glad everyone's averted their attention back to Shiro.
"You're fine," I mutter. "That brat couldn't replace you if he stood on his head."
Mitsukuni's tears stop dead, and he looks up at me in surprise. I let him go and try to brush my actions off as no big deal, but I don't think he'll let this go. I think I might have just made him think its ok to hug me now.
"Oh come on, is that all you've got?" a high pitched voice breaks through my internal debate.
Oh crap. The sound of a motor running and that annoying high pitched laugh has my hair standing on end as the rig rises out of the floor.
"Sorry to interrupt gentlemen, but what's with the lack-luster character analysis?" Renge asks rhetorically. "I must say I'm quite disappointed, I thought I taught you better."
She looks down at us from atop of her pedestal, regarding us all with a half lidded stare.
"Alright then Miss Manager," Tamaki sighs as he faces her. "How would you work Shiro into our collection of characters?"
He takes Mitsukuni from my side, hoisting him up to face Renge. Tears are still running down his face, but they look more fake than the ones before.
"He can't be the Boy Lolita because Honey's already got that covered."
"You just don't get it do you?" Renge asks. "There are plenty of girls out there who have a thing for younger boys or boys with baby faces. These girls would be considered Shota fans. Now Shota is a fairly broad category, so it's important to know that the genera can be broken up into many different smaller sub-categories."
I take a seat, figuring this will be one of her hour-long lectures. Huh, I wonder if the tea's still warm.
"For example, Shota fans with an interest in Lolita boys would favor a boy like Haninozuka-senpai. But this little boy is different."
I look over the brim of my tea cup to see Shiro cowering against the back of the cage. I feel kind of bad admitting I feel next to no sympathy for him, but I just can't get past his pushy and bratty attitude. I also kinda feel a bit bad for this girl he likes.
I wonder if she's ever even seen this side of him before.
"If I had to pick a character for him…" Renge trails off. "Yes! He'd be the Naughty Boy Type without a doubt!"
"The Naughty Type?" Shiro echoes with true horror etched into his face.
Ok, it's safe to say I'm officially scared now. But at the same time I can't help the fact that my lips curl into a rather maniacal smile.
The kid can dish the name calling and demands. Let's see if he can take them too.
XXx Author's Notes xXX
I'm getting there…
Lotsa love, Krystal