“Good morning, Kyoya! Happy birthday!” shouted Fuyumi excitedly, throwing open all of Kyoya’s bedroom windows.
Kyoya knew this was going to be a bad day. He grumbled and was about to snap at his sister about respecting him on this day of all days when she spoke again.
“Father wants to see you first thing this morning. You had better hurry if you’re going to be on time for breakfast.”
And just like that, Kyoya was up and moving, albeit groggily. Kyoya could guess why his father wanted to speak to him today, seeing as he was turning eighteen and in his last year of high school. College and adult life loomed ahead, his path yet uncertain.
Kyoya met his father for breakfast, who asked him to look outside. He did, and saw that a large crowd of girls from Ouran stood there with signs and were shouting. Kyoya wanted to groan.
“This is what happens you’re a part of this Host Club, Kyoya. This is your current path. If you’re going to make your bed with it, you must lie in it. Go outside, and meet those girls. Don’t return home until they’re all gone and not causing a disturbance to me or the rest of this house.”
With such words, Kyoya found himself being led to his private car and the outdoors, much against his wishes. He just wanted to stay home and work on his numbers, keeping a low-key birthday. He wanted his quiet; he would have to go somewhere else private to find it. But where?
Not Tamaki, as he would want to have a big party with cake and other distractions. With his luck, it was probably Tamaki he had to thank for his current predicament. He could not go to Hunny’s for similar reasons, mostly involving cake. Not Mori since he was spending the day with Hunny. Not the twins, as they were too much of a distraction. That left only one Host, Haruhi. To Haruhi’s home he went.
That debate in Kyoya’s head only lasted a few seconds, and small wonder. Kyoya knew his friends and was sure they had something planned. It also helped that Kyoya preferred Haruhi for certain reasons, especially since Haruhi had stopped dating Tamaki. Tamaki had taken it well, and Haruhi had not outwardly changed, as far as Kyoya had noticed. And Kyoya always noticed when it came to Haruhi.
When Haruhi first stumbled into Host Club, he noticed out of necessity to keep tabs on Haruhi and her grades so that she could stay in the Host Club. The longer Haruhi stayed in the Host Club, the more Kyoya noted things about her, though they were hardly important things related to her grades. It had turned into the little things, such as how she liked her coffee and tea, or how her face changed depending on whom she was speaking to. Kyoya had tried so hard to figure out Haruhi’s angle and had been unable to find one. Instead, he found himself becoming concerned about Haruhi, taking a sincere interest (albeit quietly) in her well-being, just as he had come to do with Tamaki. Tamaki had been his first real friend, one he valued greatly. He had pushed Haruhi at Tamaki for that reason, denying his feelings for Haruhi because of merit and Tamaki.
Now, things had changed. Haruhi was no longer attached to Tamaki, and his father had spoken to him of Haruhi, of how valuable she could be to the family. Some part of Kyoya wanted nothing more than to not date Haruhi so that he could forge his path outside of parental consent as he had been doing of late. But, another part of him very much wanted to pursue Haruhi. He could not deny that she was a good friend to have, and would be valuable later in life in his career. However, what took most of his attention was his fascination with her. That fascination had led to more discussions with her, and eventually turned into attraction. Haruhi was perfect for him, however oblivious, frank, and imperfect she may be. But should he pursue her? Was she interested in him?
Kyoya had argued that point for a month now, whether to confess his feelings to her. She seemed past Tamaki to the point that she was willing to date again, and no one else had come along to ask yet. He had a chance, but should he with him going off to college soon? They would be separated, and he did not want to put Haruhi through that.
Before he knew it, Kyoya was arriving at Haruhi’s home, still undecided about what to say to Haruhi. Since it was the weekend, he was sure that she would be there. He knocked at her door, and Haruhi appeared, surprised to see him.
“Kyoya-senpai! What brings you here, on today of all days?” she asked, a smile on her face.
Kyoya narrowed his eyes and scrutinized Haruhi. Did she know what today was, that he wanted to spend his special day with her on purpose? Would she even read anything into it? Probably not, given how oblivious she was.
“So you know what today is, Haruhi?”
“Sure, November 22, your birthday. It’s hard not to know when Tamaki’s telling the whole school.”
A smile creeps onto Kyoya’s face. “So he’s the one responsible for my posse?”
“Posse? I don’t understand,” says Haruhi, until she hears a dull roar, and cars start to drive by her street in large numbers. She raises her eyebrows, and Kyoya points to the cars as he speaks.
“That would be my posse. Someone told all those girls, and it seems like they’re following me. My father won’t let me stay at my home as long as the girls are there, making this racket. I’m looking for peace and quiet; can I find it here?”
Kyoya said the words, but his eyes told a different story to Haruhi. She saw the softness, the pleading quality. The underlying question was “Please, may I stay?” Just as Hunny understood Mori’s nods and grunts, Haruhi was slowly learning more about Kyoya and what he meant when he spoke. It was illuminating and made her want to know Kyoya more.
Haruhi backed away toward the door to make space before she spoke. She bowed and waved him in, saying, “My father’s out at work; you’ll find all the peace and quiet you need here. Please come in; you’re always welcome.”
Haruhi was sure that when Ranka came home, he would be pleased to see Kyoya. He may not be so pleased later, but he had already agreed to the arrangements before, so there was nothing to be done for it.
Once situated inside, Haruhi went and made tea for both of them. Kyoya set up his laptop and got to work right away, enjoying the small confines of the room, making it easier for him to concentrate. He gratefully accepted the tea from Haruhi when she brought it out, and for a time, both studied in an amicable quiet, Haruhi with her book, Kyoya with his laptop.
After a couple hours, Kyoya finished up all the homework he had. Now the only thing that remained to do was work on his Life Plans Datasheet. It was something he had started doing when he started middle school, to organize his life for school, as well as look ahead to all that he wanted to accomplish. All his hopes and dreams toward becoming heir got put into that datasheet, making intricate maps about how he would shine and be the best. He had made it a semiannual thing to do, on his birthday and half-birthday, his notes throughout the year in his black notebook making it a little easier for himself.
Last update, Kyoya had much to add and change in the datasheet. His world had changed and expanded because of Tamaki, and this update would be no different. But, it still presented even more challenges because of the crossroads that he was coming to in his life. What path was the best one to lead to his success? Should he become a doctor to learn more of that life to better succeed in his ultimate plan, or stay on his path to become a businessman? Should he stay with the goal of being heir, or should independence become his ultimate goal?
Buying his family’s zaibatsu under his father’s nose had been a triumph for Kyoya. It had proven just how clever and good with money he had become. Better yet, it had given him a taste of independence unlike anything he had felt before. He had felt true freedom, not dependent on his father in any way. He had gone above and beyond familial expectations, and he had liked it. Some part of him still wanted to prove himself and beat out his brothers (because he had a competitive nature), but that part did not hold as much sway now.
Either way, he would have to tailor his college curriculum accordingly, and start research about what instructors to take, so that he had the best connections and teachers. There was also the matter of internships, of whether he would go through his family or make a way for himself on his own to see more ideas on how to run a business.
And where did Haruhi fit into the picture? Did she? And what of his friends?
Upon thinking of Haruhi, Kyoya’s eyes drifted up to the object of his thoughts. That was when he realized that Haruhi was studying him intensely.
“Haruhi, is something wrong?” he asked, adjusting his glasses and looking for anything that might be off.
Haruhi shook her head before answering, “No, there’s nothing wrong that I’m aware of. You just seemed so deep in thought, that faraway look in your eyes.”
Haruhi paused a moment as she debated internally with herself. The curious side won, and she added on, “What are you thinking of? It seems to trouble you, whatever you’re thinking of. May I help? Sometimes it’s good to talk about it.”
Kyoya saw that Haruhi was genuinely curious and worried, and toward that end, he wanted to alleviate her concern. Granted, he could not say all that was on his mind, but perhaps a reality check from Haruhi would not hurt as he made his plans. He had always prided himself on being able to solve any problem on his own, but this problem was bigger. It was brought on because someone showed him another path, so perhaps, having someone else helping him would be best.
“It’s nothing too distressing, I promise. This situation has been on my mind for a long time, and I doubt it’ll ever go away. How far off have you planned your life?”
“Eh, my life? Not far, just that I want to go to law school and become a lawyer one day. Why?” asked Haruhi, getting up and joining Kyoya on his sofa.
“Every time I have a birthday, I like to evaluate my life, to see what I’ve done and how it’ll help with my long term goals in life. In the last year, I’ve had a lot of change in my life. But change brings uncertainty and doubt,” said Kyoya, carefully choosing his words as he turned toward Haruhi.
“And you’re confused about which way to go in life because of these changes,” stated Haruhi, making Kyoya sigh with frustration at how easy she understood, and with relief that he did not have to explain himself more in that respect. He did not want to admit out loud that he did not have all the answers, especially in his own life.
“Yes. Life’s full of hard choices. Graduation approaches, as does college. What classes I take as a freshman will affect my career choice further down the line, so a lot is dependent on this.”
“Is the choice that hard?” asked Haruhi, disbelief in her voice.
“Is it hard for you to give up on your dream of becoming a lawyer?” answered Kyoya matter-of-factly.
Haruhi looked away from Kyoya’s face for a moment to consider his question. Then, she said, “Yes, very. It’s all I’ve ever wanted.”
“Now you start to understand the pressure and desire I’ve had to become heir. The idea of giving that up for this new change, this freedom….”
Kyoya’s voice fell away as he bent his head down and massaged his forehead. There were such opportunities awaiting him no matter what path he chose, but he had to make a decision, and soon. But how?
Haruhi’s hand gripped Kyoya’s wrist, squeezing until his attention and face were toward her again.
“It’s your birthday, Kyoya-senpai. What do you wish for?”
It was hard to admit that he did not have everything perfectly planned out, that he was uncertain. It was harder to admit that he wanted more time, but when faced with Haruhi’s understanding eyes, Kyoya found himself admitting the truth. Somehow, he knew that she would not judge, and understand.
“I wish I didn’t have to make this decision right now,” sighed Kyoya. “I wish that I could have both, but I can’t.”
He wanted to become heir. He wanted to find the way to beat his brothers, and prove to himself and his father that he could do it. At the same time, he wanted to enjoy that freedom of thought that had recently become a part of his way of thinking. He wanted to do what he preferred, without thought of becoming heir, and just happen to become heir along the way. It was ridiculous and impossible.
“Both what? What can’t you have, and why not?” asked a frustrated Haruhi. “You have all the opportunities and power you could ask for. Why can’t you have both?”
Kyoya laughed without mirth for a moment before saying, “If I ever want to become heir, I’ve got expectations and rules to follow from my father. It has to be done his way; no other options allowed, especially if it means I might be allowed to pursue my own choices in life and have freedom. I can’t be free of familial expectations.”
“If that’s the case, then you’ve already broken that by buying your family’s company, correct? They would not have expected you to act like that,” replied Haruhi, tilting her head as she tried to understand.
“Yes, that’s true. I did in that instance, and it’s opened a veritable pandora’s box of possibility of how I could do things on my own. But just because I did that doesn’t mean that my father’s proud of me and wants me doing that always. He was surprised, but that’s it,” said Kyoya, resignation in his voice as his shoulders slumped.
“But the point that I’m trying to make is that you’ve done it once. Who says that insight won’t pay off again later? Maybe it’d be better if you did go on your own, doing your own thing. What if it brings something new to the Ootori name later in life, giving you the opportunity in to become heir? It’s possible,” said Haruhi, nudging Kyoya a little.
Kyoya gave a weak smile and said, “Perhaps, but it’s highly unlikely.”
“You already did unlikely. Try something bigger and better,” said Haruhi, nudging Kyoya again, this time with a smile. “You thought outside of the box, and maybe doing both is the way to approach life so you’re not resigned to your choices. You’re compromising by doing that, which isn’t like you at all. You’ve always had the power; why give it up and compromise?”
As Haruhi slammed a fist into an open palm, she gave Kyoya her most encouraging smile. She was rewarded by seeing Kyoya smile as well, a lightbulb going on in his head at last. In that moment, Kyoya found the clarity he had been seeking, ideas flowing at once.
“You’re right, Haruhi. Being resigned and compromising will never work. Thank you. I think I need to write that down, in case I ever forget.”
“I doubt you’ll forget that, Kyoya-senpai. You have it now, and you’ve never been one to need something said twice. You’re too smart and determined for that,” said Haruhi, pleased and amused by Kyoya’s response.
“All the same, what you’ve said has given me ideas, and I need to put this into my datasheet. I’m going to make your words a reality in my life, at some point in the future,” stated Kyoya, turning to his computer and typing rapidly.
Haruhi blushed at Kyoya’s words, and she, too, turned to face his laptop, curiosity overwhelming her. She watched as Kyoya typed words and phrases into certain slots, double clicking on others and bringing up other sheets and tables.
When her curiosity could take it no longer, Haruhi asked him, “What is all this? Is this really all a part of your long-term goals, even where you live in the next eight years?”
Kyoya chuckled before motioning to Haruhi to come closer. She leaned in, and he began to show her the main sheet, where the big plans were contained, and how each part contributed. After some time explaining, Kyoya got ready to begin his typing again until Haruhi looked at him uncertainly.
“Kyoya-senpai, where are your friends in all this? Where’s your enjoyment in life? Surely that has an important place, too.”
Kyoya laughed at the irony of Haruhi asking him such a question after her track record with school, but she was right. It was yet something else that he would have to include, later. In that moment, Kyoya made his decision about confessing his feelings for Haruhi. He had to have her now.
“I wish you wouldn’t call me that, Haruhi,” he said, steepling his hands before turning and taking her hands in his.
“Eh? I, I don’t understand you,” said Haruhi, confusion filling her eyes as her cheeks turned red.
Some part of Haruhi was jumping for joy, at the sudden contact between them. Her thoughts had been dwelling on Kyoya more of late, and she knew it was because she was starting to develop feelings for him.
“You asked me earlier what I wished for on my birthday. I’m revoking my earlier wish. I wish you’d not call me Kyoya-senpai anymore,” he said with more calmness than he felt, hands glued to his legs.
“But you don’t want to have something that important-“ started Haruhi until Kyoya stopped her with a knowing glance.
“What I wish for is, truthfully, to have you. To be with you, dating you if possible. If I have you, I’d figure everything else out eventually. Is that clear?” asked Kyoya, a hint of a smile on his face. He wanted to take her hand, but he needed to know first.
“Yes, I understand now. I’m honored you feel that way about me,” said Haruhi, a little uncomfortable with the compliment.
“But you never responded back about the original wish. Will you grant my birthday wish this year?” asked Kyoya, staring into Haruhi’s eyes, not letting her gaze escape his. He wanted an answer, no more dancing around.
Haruhi held Kyoya’s stare for several moments, and then she smiled, making Kyoya reach toward her. He was in the process of taking her hands when she held his hands down and leaned in, kissing Kyoya on the lips. It was short and sweet, but very deliberate.
“Yes, Kyoya, I will grant your wish, but not because it’s your birthday. I’m doing so because I also have feelings for you,” she said, squeezing his hands.
“I couldn’t think of a good time or way in which to say it to you, Haruhi,” replied Kyoya, taking her face in his hands. “I’ve wanted to say something, to say how much you mean to me, have meant to me for a year.”
“Happy birthday, Kyoya. I’m glad I get to share it with you,” said Haruhi as she leaned in to kiss him again.
This time, the two both kissed and enjoyed the moment. It was longer and tender, with hope of many things to come. No doubt the kiss would have lasted longer, but that was when someone interrupted by knocking on Haruhi’s door many times.
The two were not fast enough to break apart from the kiss as Tamaki burst in, saying, “Haruhi! Where’s that cake for Kyo? We need it now! We’ve got to start getting ready, especially since he’s not-“
It was at that moment that Tamaki realized where Kyoya had disappeared to, and that he had missed something important, not to mention messed up the surprise. He opened and closed his mouth many times, trying to put together words, but all he could do was point as the new couple slowly pulled away from one another. That was why the rest came in.
“Haru-chan! I’m so glad you found Kyo-chan! Congratulations!”
“Yeah, congrats,” added Mori after Hunny spoke with excitement and flowers dancing about.
The twins then appeared in front of Tamaki, snickering, “Way to ruin the surprise, Boss. But hey, at least you found him.”
Finally, Tamaki unfroze and yelled at Kyoya, “Why didn’t you answer your phone, and why aren’t you at home?”
Kyoya stood up, with Haruhi staying close to his side as he did so.
“I’m not home because someone chose to tell all the women in Host Club that today was my birthday. As a result, I was flocked by admirers who caused a ruckus and got me kicked out of my home until they left. Second, I didn’t answer my phone because I was in the middle of a very important conversation with Haruhi.”
“Sure, conversation,” mocked the twins. “So much conversing being done when your lips are touching one another’s.”
Kyoya gave one of his patented Shadow King glares to the twins, and Hunny cleared his voice, looking expectantly at Tamaki and the twins. Finally, all three gave their congratulations to the new couple.
“Well, now that awkwardness is done and we found Kyoya, why don’t we have that party we planned for him? I made two cakes,” said Haruhi, ever the peacemaker as she tugged at Kyoya to join her in the kitchen.
“Is there strawberry?” came the excited reply from a jumpy Hunny.
“You bet. Strawberry, and Kyoya’s favorite. Why don’t you guys bring in the gifts, while Kyoya helps me with the cakes?”
Tamaki spluttered and tried to say that Kyoya was not allowed to do anything on his special day, but Hunny dragged him away, telling him to go call Renge to get rid of the girls. Tamaki mutely went along with Hunny’s smiling, threatening face.
“How long has this party been planned?” asked Kyoya when he and Haruhi were alone.
“For a few months. We wanted to surprise you with a commoners party. I didn’t know what to give you, so I made you this cake-“
Kyoya stopped Haruhi’s hands from opening the fridge and kissed her on the forehead.
“You’ve already granted my birthday wish, Haruhi. That’s the best gift of all.”