[Misc] Makeovers

Ichigo’s initial fears are coming to life. Ootori is certainly the devil and Ishida has turned himself into the devil’s apprentice.

“Very well,” Ootori announces. “Into the music room with you.”

“Don’t dawdle,” Ishida snap, shoving them both toward the opulent school and its spic-and-span atmosphere that make Ichigo feel about two feet tall and covered in dirt.

“It’ll take both of our not inconsiderable intellect to make this work, you realize,” Ootori says, still in that high-handed tone and only addressing Ishida.

The Quincy snorts, his grip on the back of Ichigo and Renji’s neck unrelenting and surprisingly unbreakable for how tiny he is. “Oh, believe me. I know. I’ve had to work with these louts for years. Damn near useless.”

Ichigo opens his mouth to protest, but Ishida’s fingers grip even stronger, and he winces. Oh, but the Quincy will pay for that later. Pay in full. Yes, he will.

“Nearly but not completely,” Ootori agrees with another assessing look at the two Shinigami. “Hmm. I’ll let Tamaki decide their types. The twins will be in charge of makeovers. I’ll work on crafting a legitimate cover story.”

“And I’ll make sure they cooperate,” Ishida finishes with what Ichigo can only assume is a shark-like smirk, though he can’t see the Quincy’s face right now.

Ichigo looks over at Renji, who’s looking back at him with a distinct air of “kill me now. Please.” Ichigo’s pretty sure the same expression is on his face.

The music room, which apparently doubles as their club headquarters, is even more intimidating than the school itself. Ichigo absolutely does not inch a step closer to Renji.

“Mori-senpai can handle teaching them manners,” Ootori adds, scribbling something in his notebook. “And Honey-senpai will try and inject some charm into them.”

Ishida finally releases his death grip on the Shinigami’s necks, not that there is anywhere to escape. “Good luck to him. I’ve been trying for years.”

Indignity wraps itself around Ichigo like a heavy cloak. “Oy. We aren’t here to be insulted.” He doesn’t think it’s such a good idea that Ootori and Ishida have made such good friends with each other. Their mutual agreements can’t be good for anyone’s sanity.

Ootori smirks in terrifying concert with Ishida. “Don’t worry. We’re going to take care of everything.”


[Misc] Afternoon Tea

It takes every ounce of his self-control – what little of it he has – to not grin like a fool. It feels like the situation has fallen right into his hands and Shinji is filled with glee.

Kyouya-kun, however, doesn’t seem to share his enthusiasm.

“Cease looking at me like that,” he says from behind his tea cup, eyebrow twitching.

“Like what?” Shinji asks with his most wide-eyed, innocent expression.

Lowering his cup, Kyouya-kun fixes Shinji with a stare that would make Byakuya proud. “You know precisely what I’m talking about.”

“You’ll have to be more specific,” Shinji says. “I can’t read minds.”

Dark eyes glitter with barely concealed irritation. Whether it’s because of the footsie Shinji has been engaging him with beneath the table, or Shinji’s not so subtle groping, Shinji can’t be sure. Likely, it’s both of them that Kyouya-kun doesn’t approve of.

Kyouya-kun works his jaw for a long moment. “Remove your hand,” he says tightly.

Shinji grins. “Why?”

“Excuse me,” Kisuke interrupts. “Perhaps you two could… ah… get a room?”

Kyouya-kun’s entire body twitches. “That’s why,” he near-growls.

“Like having an audience has stopped me before,” Shinji scoffs.

On the other side of the table, Ichigo groans, his forehead hitting the polished surface with a solid thunk. “TMI, Shinji,” he mutters, flushing red to the tips of his ears. “So, yeah, get a room. Before Ootori wallops you over the head.”

“I’d pay to see that.” Kisuke grins.

“I’m here for business,” Kyouya-kun reminds all of them, lips pressing firmly together.

“Oh, is that what they’re calling it these days?” Kisuke asks cheekily.

Shinji smirks. “Don’t let him fool ya,” he replies, unashamedly squeezing Kyouya-kun’s thigh and relishing in the glare immediately tossed his direction. “He likes it.”

“Hardly,” Kyouya-kun sniffs, but the slight shudder to his frame proves his words a lie. Shinji, for his part, considers this a rousing success.

[Misc] Good Better Best

“What the hell is he doing?” Ichigo demands of Renji, who looks equally perplexed.

The redhead grunts. “How the hell should know?”

Ichigo huffs. Renji is being no help. But then, Ishida isn’t either. He’s just standing there, staring at the bespectacled kid across from him. He hasn’t drawn his bow or anything.

Behind the other guy – who had introduced himself earlier as Ootori Kyouya, second in command of the Host Club, whatever the hell that is – are an array of similarly dressed teenagers looking just as baffled as Ichigo feels. Though the twins are whispering to each other as they glance at Renji, who doesn’t seem to notice they’ve been ogling him for the last fifteen minutes.

Which is how long Ishida has been staring at Ootori. Ichigo’s got the weirdest feeling that they are somehow duking things out on a mental battlefield. And that their polite words are really just euphemisms for the intent to rip out entrails and cause bloody mayhem.

“While your suggestion has its merits,” Ootori says with a cold tone, an inclination of his chin that proves how superior he thinks he is, “I fail to see how it benefits the host club.”

Ishida, too, lifts his chin, eyes flashing. Of course, that trick really doesn’t work on Ootori because he has glasses, too, but old habits die hard. “If our enemies are indeed hiding themselves in your esteemed school, then it is in your best interest to have us around as protection. After all, you can’t earn a profit if there’s no one around to pay, now can you?”

Ootori looks momentarily thoughtful at this, consulting the notebook clutched in one arm. “Hmm,” he says. “You will have to be put to work.”

“As a matter of course,” Ishida says, tilting his head and gesturing over his shoulder to Renji and Ichigo. “See my brainless bodyguards? That’s what they’re here for.”

“Hey!” Ichigo replies, indignant, in the same moment that Renji bristles, “Oy!”

Ootori has the audacity to smirk as he glances past Ishida and looks over Ichigo and Renji from top to bottom, as though weighing and assessing their usefulness in a single glance. “They might prove some worth.”

Ichigo feels insulted, and judging by the way Renji vibrates with fury, so does he. Ishida, however, doesn’t care. “Then we’re agreed?”

Ootori snaps his book shut and nods sharply. “We’re agreed.”

And somehow, Ichigo feels like they’ve just struck a deal with the devil.

[Misc] Host Club Zuko

He doesn’t know how he got here, but frankly, Zuko’s never been so terrified in his entire life. Not even when facing down his father before defecting or standing against Azula.

“What do you think? A little foundation?”

“No, no. We should enhance the scar. Women find scars sexy.”

Twin faces peer down at Zuko, arguing amongst themselves as they take liberty with his person, gripping his chin turning his face this way and that. Fingers flicking over Zuko’s hair. Lips frowning at his state of dress. The two faces circling around him like hungry sharks, their expressions a mix of challenged glee.

“Just a trim for the hair. Don’t you think, Kaoru?”

One of the twins nods approvingly. “Yes. Just a trim. He can be our rugged type. Like Mori-senpai, but not as wild.” He snaps his fingers. “Perfect!”

Zuko sinks down in the overly fluffy and decorated chair beneath him, hoping that if he slumps low enough he’ll escape their notice. He turns his pleading gaze to the rest of the teenagers gathered around him – all dressed the same, even that girl over there who is dressed like the dudes – hoping to be rescued.

The bespectacled one adjusts his glasses. “If you can improve upon his appearance, I anticipate a twenty percent increase in our profits in the first quarter alone.”

“And you know Kyouya-senpai,” the girl dressed as a guy remarks in a dry tone. “Anything for the bottom line.”

The blond, tall one with vivid blue eyes – almost purple really – does a spinning pirouette of all things, clasping his hands together happily. “Another host! This is wonderful!”

“I like cake!” the short one, who looks more like a kid than anything else, announces.

The tall, silent one next to the kid grunts some kind of wordless agreement.

Clearly, there is no hope to be found for poor Zuko. Instead, he has to meet his doom head first, as this matching set of crazies poke and prod at him, critiquing his clothes and his haircut and whether or not he’s suitably rugged.

It’s a fate worse than death, and Zuko bemoans whatever crazy Avatar event – because this as to be Aang’s fault in some way – sent him here. He sincerely hopes that Aang will be able to retrieve him soon, because Zuko doesn’t like the look in the twins’ eyes as they approach him with scissors and barely hidden devilish glee.

[Ouran] Cruel Joke

The world is going to end tonight.

The words dance back and forth in Tamaki’s head. It sounds absurd. Surely they would have heard something about this before, on the national news, or on the internet. Somewhere.

Governments everywhere don’t want the people to worry, Kyouya had claimed with a serious tone and dark, frightened eyes. It’s coming too fast for them to do anything about it and panic would help no one.

So they just lie?
Tamaki had asked, with wide eyes and betrayal pouring over him.

Governments lie all the time. Kyouya had shrugged, all dismissively, and then gave Tamaki a queer look. Twenty four hours left to live. What are you going to do with that time?

He hadn’t had an answer. He’d fled from Kyouya in horror, unwilling to even contemplate such a terrible future. Everything, everyone, gone. In the blink of an eye. Nothing would be left but dust. Nothing would survive. Like what killed the dinosaurs.

Twenty-four hours. No, now he has less than ten. Tamaki had tried to resist sleeping, but a few hours nap had taken him by surprise. He had even less time than he thought.

So much left to do, so little time.

He wishes he could see his mother again. He wishes he could make his grandmother understand, but there’s simply not enough words.

It’s not fair, he thinks. There’s so much potential, so many things he had hoped to see and accomplish.

He wants to see what Haruhi will make of herself. He wants to see the twins open up to someone else. He wants to see Mori-senpai stand on his own two feet, and Hunny-senpai finally get along with his brother. And he wants to see Kyouya finally get everything he’s fighting for, prove to his father who the real successor should be.

Tamaki wants a lot more than that, too.

He’s been waiting. For what? The perfect time? The perfect place? For the feelings to go away? He’s not sure. It can’t be normal, to want these things, no matter what games Kaoru and Hikaru play. It just can’t.

He’s not supposed to look at his best friend and imagine what it would be like to kiss him. Kyouya’s so confident, self-assured, certain of everything. He seems to know everything about everyone. He probably knows all the perfect places to touch, all the best ways to kiss.

No. Bad Tamaki.

But time is short.

Confession has always been on the distant edge of Tamaki’s mind. Shoved there, as far from action as he can possibly keep it. He never intended to act on his crush, never intended to so much as hint to Kyouya that he wanted more. It was safer, better, smarter just to pretend and keep on acting out a ruse.

He thought he had all the years in the world. But not, it seems, anymore.

Tamaki gnaws on his bottom lip, wringing his hands together indecisively as he waits.

Kyouya might laugh at him, might even hit him. This isn’t normal. But if they’re all going to die soon what does that humiliation matter?

“Tamaki? What are you doing here?” Kyouya doesn’t really sound surprised, more casual really, as he strolls into the room.

Tamaki stares, his brain stuttering and completely forgetting all of his carefully planned speech. “Only a few hours left, right?” he jokes weekly, and runs a nervous hand through his hair. He probably looks like a wreck but he’s been running around like crazy trying to figure out what to do.

Kyouya gives him a strange look, coming closer. “I would have thought you’d be trying to fly to France.”

“Not enough time,” Tamaki admits. “And there’s something else I wanted to say. Or do.” Nope, it’s not getting any easier. And he’s starting to sound like a moron.

Kyouya arches an eyebrow. “Oh?”

Tamaki hesitates, looks at his best friend, and courage wars with fear wars with the constant reminder that there’s not enough time.

He can’t say that what he does next is really planned. It’s pretty much a spontaneous action he doesn’t think about.

He grabs Kyouya by the shoulders and kisses him, pressing their lips together without so much as a prelude, a request, or an invitation. Kyouya makes a startled sound into the kiss, but he doesn’t pull away. Perhaps he’s too surprised.

Tamaki keeps the kiss chaste and draws back, though his hands refuse to let go of Kyouya’s shoulders. To keep Kyouya from punching him perhaps. He peeks at Kyouya, a bit hesitant, and is alarmed by the slow smile curving his best friend’s lips.

The smile of the shadow king really.

“Well then,” Kyouya says, tilting his head. “Took you long enough.”

Tamaki’s jaw drops. “… What?”

Kyouya’s smile widens. “And it only took the threat of the end of the world for you to notice.”

Tamaki doesn’t really get where Kyouya’s going with this. “You mean, you’ve…?”

“–been waiting for you to realize your own feelings, yes. But I was getting impatient.” Kyouya’s eyes flash, his hands resting on Tamaki’s waist. “I had to do something.”

A clash of emotions bombard Tamaki. Surprise. Horror. Betrayal. Disbelief. Relief. Joy. He can’t untangle them, but what he can do is take a jerking step back, his hands snapping away from Kyouya and dislodging his best friend’s grip.

“You… lied?” He doesn’t know why he’s surprised. Kyouya likes to manipulate people. He does it all the time.

Why should Tamaki be different or special? Was he arrogant in thinking he actually was?

Kyouya’s smile starts to melt away. “I did what I had to do.” He arches a brow. “You didn’t really think we were about to get pummeled by an asteroid, did you?”

But he had.

Tamaki takes another step backward, his face twisting with what he can only describe as hurt. That’s just… cruel.

Again, Tamaki is struck without words. He feels betrayed, his honest affection twisted now. He can’t do this.

He works his jaw, swallows thickly. No.


He turns on a heel and runs, knowing by rote the quickest route to the front door and his waiting limousine. Kyouya shouts his name, but Tamaki ignores him, ignores his sister, ignores the staring servants.

He flees to the limousine and chokes out a request to go home and buries his face in his hands. He’s not crying, but he is shaking.

The world’s not going to end, but for some reason, it feels like it already has.

[Ouran] Surprises

It’s been five years since high school and the host club. Tamaki still can’t tell them apart. He doesn’t bother to try anymore. He loves them separately as he loves them together.

He doesn’t know them by sight, but there are other truths. Other details. Other ways of distinguishing one from the other that doesn’t rely on his eyes.

Hikaru’s hands are always warmer, more eager. Clutching hungrily at Tamaki when he crawls into bed between them after a long, long day at the office.

Kaoru sleeps like a rock. In the wee hours of the night, Tamaki has Hikaru all to himself. Intense Hikaru whose touches are soft and certain, who treats Tamaki like something delicate and fragile. Whose kisses are fresh with mint toothpaste and the chocolates he can’t help sneaking afterward.

Hikaru likes to sleep wrapped around Tamaki, his face tucked into the nape of Tamaki’s neck, nose pressed to fine blond hairs. He also prefers to be nude, bare skin pressed to bare skin, clinging as though he fears Tamaki will slip away into the shadows if he loosens his grip.

They have maids and butlers and cooks, but Hikaru still likes to spend time in the kitchen. Whipping up culinary masterpieces just to surprise Tamaki and his brother. He prefers lukewarm showers and late night television and face to face conversation rather than a phone call.

Kaoru is, at once, like his brother and altogether different. He likes to surprise Tamaki at random times. In the shower. Over morning coffee. In between changing clothes in the closet. Cornering him in the garage before he can get into the car.

The entire reason Tamaki is often late to work or late for anything really rests solely in Kaoru’s clever hands. He’s eager, hurried, more likely to leave marks behind. Claiming marks. He likes to dress Tamaki, too. Picking out his suits and ties and cufflinks.

He has a habit of pushing Tamaki up against the nearest surface, devouring with lips and teeth and tongue. Mapping every inch of Tamaki’s body as though he fears he’ll forget sometime soon.

Kaoru likes to leave little notes, in the condensation on the bathroom mirror, tucked into Tamaki’s wallet, text messages throughout the day, an e-mail in his inbox by the time he arrives at work. Nonsensical quotations, cute jokes, playful words of endearment.

It’s little details like that which helps Tamaki know that they are different. He loves them for the things that make them unique. And he loves them for all the ways that they are identical.

How they can talk to each other without needing words. How sometimes, what one forgets the other remembers. And how wonderful it is to be comforted by not one, but two lovers. Life, for Tamaki, is great.

[Ouran] A Little Bit

“He looks stressed,” Kaoru says, or purrs rather.

“He always looks stressed,” Hikaru corrects.

The twins slink into the room in concert and Kyouya feels his hackles rise. He hunches a bit closer to his laptop, trying to ignore their distracting presence. It’s a futile effort, but if he can at least finish this page of calculations, he can allow himself to be distracted.

“We should fix that,” Kaoru says.

“What do you propose we do?” Hikaru asks.

Kyouya catches their reflection in the corner of his laptop screen. He’s hyper-aware, prepared for the moment they pounce. Investment options waver in front of him.

“I have something in mind.”

“Oh? Do tell.”

Kaoru chuckles, throaty and enticing. “Follow my lead.”

Hands land on either of Kyouya’s shoulders in stereo, thumbs brushing the tender skin of his neck before the caresses slide down his arms. A subtle weight leans down on both sides of him, trapping him between the Hitachiin twins.

“You’re working too hard, we think,” Kaoru says into Kyouya’s left ear, mouthing the soft shell and sending a telltale shiver down Kyouya’s spine.

“You should take a break,” Hikaru adds, his lips tracing a scorching path down the sensitive lines of Kyouya’s throat. “Come join us.”

Kyouya stares with great intent at his computer screen and the blinking cursor. “I have work to do.”

Hikaru’s hand slides around, fingers nimbly undoing button after button on his shirt. “You have time enough to take a break, don’t you?”

“Of course he does,” Kaoru purrs, tongue warm and wet on Kyouya’s ear. “After all, a pair of bored twins is a pair of dangerous twins.”

Hmm, Kaoru does make a point.

Kyouya hits the button to save and suspend his work. “I can spare ten minutes,” he says, and removes his glasses, folding them onto the table. “Better make it worth my while.”

Kaoru’s hand settles over Kyouya’s groin, fingers kneading the rigid flesh. “Don’t we always?”

Hikaru snorts amusement. “Ignore him, Kaoru. He’s trying to pretend he’s not affected.” He nuzzles against Kyouya’s right ear, free hand drifting down to Kyouya’s belt and zipper. “Even though we’ve got him right where we want him.”

Kyouya smirks. “We’ll see about that,” he promises, and gives himself up to their lusty advances. It’s hardly a battle.