AN: My hiatus is officially over!
Disclaimer: I don't own, please don't sue!
The Ouran Hostess
Kyouya watched as Kagome laughed while being twirled on the dance floor by Mori. She had been able to relax knowing that the other hosts were there and she wasn't alone. "Still hard to believe, huh?" Kaoru's voice spoke from beside him.
"What's that?" Kyouya replied while still watching the dancing couple.
"Aside from the fact that Kagome is the Taisho heir?" Kaoru paused as he watched another teen, an Ouran second year he believed, ask to cut in and dance with Kagome. Giving Kyouya a sidelong glance, he noticed the older boy was watching the pair with sharp eyes. "Who would have guessed that Mr. Taisho would hand everything over to a commoner?"
Kyouya hummed before finally turning to face Kaoru directly. "Who else would he have named as a successor? He has no children or siblings. If he didn't name someone that he knew and picked personally, everything would have likely gone to the next person in his chain of command."
"Got me," Kaoru shrugged. "But it makes you wonder how Kagome would know someone like Sesshoumaru Taisho."
A dark brow arched at the point. Looking back to where Kagome was being led through the steps of a waltz, Kyouya made a mental note to ask Kagome about her association with the reclusive business man later. But as the string quartet ended their song and Kagome separated from her partner, Kyouya dutifully stepped forward to meet her. He was, after all, her escort for the evening.
"You dance surprisingly well," Kyouya commented as Kagome took his arm and he set them at a steady pace around the perimeter of the room.
Smiling tightly, Kagome answered, "I'll focus on the compliment hidden in that statement; Sesshoumaru taught me a few basic dances that he knew I would eventually need."
"A wise decision," Kyouya nodded. "You'll no doubt need to learn even more steps within the next year. Everyone who wishes to do business with any of the Taisho group's many businesses will be inviting you to parties similar to this one."
"Yay," Kagome drawled less than enthusiastically.
"Do you not care for parties? You'll be attending your fair share as a club member," Kyouya pointed out.
"It's not that I don't like parties," Kagome clarified. "But between how much work goes into getting ready and how long they last and trying to remember all of the dos and don'ts of this social class, it's exhausting!"
Kyouya was about to reply when he caught his father's firm gaze and decided to change the topic for the moment. Stopping their easy walk, he stepped so that he was facing Kagome and asked, "May I have this dance?"
Kagome was surprised for a moment until she looked up and saw Mr. Ootori watching them. Even though she and Kyouya didn't always see eye to eye, she figured it wouldn't hurt to make his life a little easier and appease his father. "Sure," she answered with a bright smile before placing her hand in his.
They fell into the steps easily and glided across the dance floor with the other couples. Kyouya glanced up and saw several other members of the Host Club watching them. Seeing Hikaru and Kaoru giving Tamaki a hard time reminded him of his own conversation with Kaoru earlier. "Kagome," he spoke, "I have to admit that I'm quite curious as to how you came to know Sesshoumaru Taisho."
Kagome knew exactly what Kyouya wanted to know, but she wasn't exactly sure what to say. She chewed her bottom lip for a moment while she thought about what to say, but she was startled when she felt warm fingers on her face. She stared at Kyouya wide-eyed as he used his thumb to gently pull her lip from between her teeth.
"That is a bad habit that you need to work on, Kagome," he admonished. "You are part of high society now and have to realize that everyone will always be watching everything that you do."
Kagome swallowed thickly and tried her best not to blush. She wasn't used to people touching her face like that, and the fact that this time it was a handsome young man only made her cheeks want to color more. Yes, she thought that Kyouya was handsome, but it would be a cold day in hell before she told him that. His ego was big enough as it was.
"So," Kyouya said to draw Kagome out of her inner thoughts. "I believe you were about to explain how you know Mr. Taisho."
"Oh!" Kagome squeaked as she was brought back to the moment. "Yes, ummm…" She paused for just a moment before deciding to go with a very vague and slightly altered version of the truth. "I was…involved with his younger half-brother for a while. He had ties with my family's shrine, and I eventually met Sesshoumaru through him."
Kyouya's brows knitted together as he stated, "I wasn't aware that Mr. Taisho had a brother."
"Half-brother," Kagome corrected. "They weren't very close, and Sesshoumaru preferred for as few people as possible to know that he had a sibling."
"And where is this half-brother now?" Kyouya asked genuinely curious now. As often as the Taisho name was mentioned in the tabloids, he was surprised that a sibling had never been uncovered.
Kagome faltered for a moment before finding her voice again and saying, "He had a rare blood disorder. He died about a year ago."
Kyouya saw Kagome's eyes mist over with sadness before she quickly blinked it away. Now he felt like an ass. "I'm very sorry for your loss," he said quietly.
Putting on a soft smile, Kagome said, "It's okay. You had no way of knowing."
There was just one more question nagging him, and Kyouya slowly spoke, "If you don't mind my asking, why would one of Japan's top business men name the girlfriend of a brother he didn't care for as the successor of his many companies?"
Kagome opened her mouth to speak before closing it again. A few seconds later she opened her mouth to speak again, "Sesshoumaru told me that his brother made him promise to take care of me. I guess since he didn't have anyone else to name as an heir, he decided to kill two birds with one stone."
"That seems like quite the gamble," Kyouya commented.
Shrugging one shoulder, Kagome admitted, "Even though with didn't spend that much time together, I think through what interaction we did have, Sesshoumaru started to trust me. Our relationship isn't conventional in any sense, but sometimes I think he likes me more than he liked his brother." She frowned, the thought of someone preferring an almost stranger to their only family making her very sad.
Kyouya tried to imagine what it would be like to have one of his older brothers dislike him. The song they had been dancing to ended and Kyouya led Kagome back away from those that stayed on the dance floor. He was about to ask more about her guardian's mystery brother when they were approached by a young man. Putting on a genial smile, Kyouya greeted, "Good evening, senpai."
Turning to see who Kyouya was speaking to, Kagome blinked wide eyes at the person who stood before her. Kyouya had called him 'senpai' meaning that he was a third year, but she had no idea who the young man was. He was tall and lean, wearing a light cream colored three piece suit accented with gold buttons. Underneath his vest and jacket was a soft blue dress shirt that made his piercing blue eyes stand out. Light golden hair framed his pale face, and he smiled down at her kindly despite seeming slightly uncomfortable.
"Good evening to you, Ootori-san," the young man answered as he inclined his head. "I see that you've taken it upon yourself to be Higurashi-san's escort for the evening, but I was hoping that I might have the next dance," he finished as he looked to Kagome once more for her answer.
Kagome glanced over to Kyouya for any kind of hint as to who this person was or what she should do. Seeing that Kagome was clueless as to who was speaking to her, Kyouya smirked and decided to give her an out while helping her save face. "I see that you decided to forego your black cloak and wig for the night, Nekozawa-senpai."
Kagome whipped back around to face Nekozawa with a look of unmasked shock painted across her face. Nekozawa's smile tightened marginally as he said, "At my father's request, I assure you."
"Nekozawa-senpai," Kagome finally spoke. "I'm sorry, but I didn't recognize you without your cloak."
"It's fine, Higurashi-san," he reassured. "I'm aware of how drastic the change in appearance is. But getting back to the reason that I came over, would you care to dance?"
Smiling at the young man who seemed much less imposing than the person she had met just days before, Kagome smiled and placed her hand in Nekozawa's offered palm.
Nekozawa led Kagome into the crowd of dancing people and placed his free hand on her waist before falling into the proper steps and leading the dance. "When we first met I had no idea that it was Taisho's heir who had been braiding my sister's hair. She's very taken with you, you know."
"Kirimi-chan is so cute!" Kagome gushed. "And to be fair, the other club members found out that I was Sesshoumaru's heir at the same time that you did." Pausing to look at her dance partner, Kagome grew concerned when she was him grimace slightly as a light sheen of sweat dampened his forehead. "Nekozawa-senpai, are you alright? You don't look like you feel very well."
"I'm fine," he tried to reassure as he forced a smile. "I apologize, but I'm very sensitive to light. That's why I usually have my cloak and wig."
Kagome's heart went out to the older boy who was forcing a smile despite being clearly uncomfortable. Glancing around for a possible solution to his problem, Kagome smiled when she got an idea. "Here, come with me," she said as she slipped out of Nekozawa's grip and took his hand in hers.
Tugging the tall boy behind her and trying not to trip on her long dress, Kagome led Nekozawa over to a set of glass French doors that lead out to a large stone balcony. As soon as they were outside and the doors were shut behind them, Kagome turned to see if the fair-featured young man was fairing any better. Outside under the dark night sky with the half-moon being the only light source, Nekozawa looked much more at ease. "Is this better?" She asked as she walked to join him at the stone railing.
"Much better, thank you," Nekozawa answered with an easy smile.
Kagome watched him for a moment before she decided to fill the silence. "So Tamaki-senpai says that you're able to curse people," she said with a teasing smile.
"Yes, he is quite afraid of Beelzenef," Nekozawa said with a small smirk.
"Beelzenef?" Kagome questioned.
"My curse doll," Nekozawa clarified.
"Well," Kagome drawled, "I don't know why he's so afraid of."
Nekozawa turned towards the petite young woman beside him and arched a blond brow. "Why do you say that? I am president of the Black Magic Club, you know."
"Yes, but your soul isn't dark enough to place an effective curse. Having an interest and studying the dark arts is different from actually practicing them," she explained.
"And how would you know about all of that?" Nekozawa asked genuinely curious.
"I'm a trained miko," Kagome said as she lifted her chin a little higher out of pride. "My family has run a Shinto shrine for generations, and that's where I grew up."
Nekozawa leaned down and braced his elbows on the stone railing of the balcony. He wanted to be closer to eye level with Kagome now that he was fully engrossed with what she was saying. "Do you mean to tell me that you have the ability to sense and feel different magics?"
Kagome was just about to answer when the French doors that they had exited through earlier opened and a tall figure in a dark suit stepped out. "Kagome, Sesshoumaru sent me to bring you back inside. He said he would prefer it if you stayed in the ballroom."
"Hello Kouga," Kagome greeted. "My friend, Nekozawa-senpai, looked like he needed some air so we stepped out here for a little bit."
Kouga strode over to the two teens and sized up the fair boy who was looking at him expectantly. Finally, he extended his hand and introduced himself, "Kouga Yamauchi, head of Taisho's security."
"Umehito Nekozawa," the blond reciprocated.
Turning to face Kagome, Kouga placed a gentle hand on her shoulder only to frown. "You're freezing out here. Get back inside before Sesshoumaru decides to fire me…or worse." He smirked at the look that Kagome shot him. He had been so young when they had first met, and it was only now—five hundred years later—that he realized just how young she was. "But save me a dance, alright?" He teased with a wink.
"Fine, fine," Kagome agreed as she rolled her eyes at the wolf demon. Turning back to Nekozawa, she extended a hand and said, "Shall we, Nekozawa-senpai?"
"Certainly," he agreed and offered her his arm. "Though I would like to continue our conversation at a later date." "Well you know where to find me at school," Kagome laughed as they entered the ballroom once more, leaving Kouga to wonder what she had meant with her last statement.
Upon entering the ballroom, Kagome and Nekozawa were met by Sesshoumaru's tall form. "I would like to have a private word with Kagome," he announced sparing a glance at the young man who had Kagome on his arm.
Nekozawa bowed respectfully as he said, "Certainly." Looking to Kagome as he stepped away, he inclined his head and smiled as he said, "I will see you at school, Higurashi-san."
Kagome waved as the older boy walked away before turning back towards Sesshoumaru. "Come with me," the dog demon said. As they walked, he questioned, "What is this club that the Ootori boy mentioned before supper?"
She knew that this had been coming and had already prepared her answer. "It's a social club at school. We meet after school, host parties, and have tea and snacks. Other students who aren't part of the club are invited. I've met a lot of new friends from prominent families," she explained.
"Who are the members of this club?" Sesshoumaru questioned. The fact that Kagome hadn't specifically named the club was raising a red flag in his mind, but if she was in a position to make connections with the up-and-coming business leaders of the next generations he would allow it to slide for the moment.
"Tamaki Suoh is the club president," Kagome said as she began to keep tally on her fingers. "Kyouya Ootori is vice-president, and then the other members are Hikaru and Kaoru Hitachiin, Takashi Morinozuka, Mitsukuni Haninozuka, and the school's scholarship honor student Haruhi Fujioka."
Sesshoumaru hummed to himself and nodded once. "Those are very good names to associate yourself with, Kagome. Well done," he praised.
Kagome blinked a few times, taken back by having one of Sesshoumaru's rare compliments directed her way. "Umm…thank you," she said softly.
"Now," Sesshoumaru said as they came to a stop. "I believe that the youngest Ootori son was supposed to be your escort for the evening. I suggest that you return to him."
Kagome glanced around Sesshoumaru and saw Kyouya standing with the other hosts as they talked and joked with one another. Smiling at her guardian, Kagome stepped around the tall demon and made her way back over to her friends. Tamaki was the first to spot her heading their way and greeted her as enthusiastically as always. The night was going much better than she had ever dreamed it would.
As the party wound down and guests began to leave, Kagome took her place by Sesshoumaru's side once more as they bid their guests farewell. The Ootori family was one of the last to leave, and Yoshino stopped to have a word with Sesshoumaru beforehand.
"When will we start seeing the young Miss Higurashi at board meetings? She will need to start learn the ins and outs of your empire soon," the Ootori patriarch reminded jokingly.
Sesshoumaru made a small sound of annoyance before he answered, "I'm set to leave soon for a trip overseas. She will being accompanying me upon my return."
"Excellent," Yoshino said. "Since they appear to have gotten along so well tonight, perhaps Kyouya would be a good choice to help her understand what will be going on at the meetings; a tutor of sorts?"
"We will see," was all that Sesshoumaru would say on the matter. While the youngest Ootori had done nothing so far to earn his ire, his father was pushing Sesshoumaru's patience with all of his suggestions concerning Kagome.
Nodding, Yoshino announced to his family that it was time for them to head home, but not before giving Kyouya a pointed look. Having a good idea of the angle that his father was working at this point, Kyouya sighed softly and bowed after stepping forward to take Kagome's right hand in his own. "It was a pleasure to be your escort for the evening, Higurashi-san," he said smoothly before placing a chaste kiss on the back of Kagome's hand.
Kagome blushed lightly as Kyouya stood and smoothed his jacket before following his family to their limousine. Glancing up at Sesshoumaru, her eyes widened at the sharp look that he was giving her. "What?" She questioned defensively as she crossed her arms over her chest.
"You need to learn to control that blushing habit," Sesshoumaru said flatly before turning to enter his home.
Only blushing harder at the statement, Kagome made a face at Sesshoumaru's back before trailing after him. She was more than ready to get out of her dress and into her soft pajamas.
AN: Ta-da! I'm back! It feels good to write again. I want to give a special shout-out to demon's purity who kindly reminded me that my hiatus was over. Now that 'The Ouran Hostess' has been updated, 'True Legends' is next on my list! I hope to update as many of my stories as I can before I become a slave to the whim of inspiration once again. At that point there's no telling what will get updated in what order. Well, I hope that you all enjoyed the chapter, and I apologize if I'm a little out of practice. Let me know what you think, and (as always) thanks for reading!