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Third Year

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Tamaki waved his hand, seemingly not hearing what I’d just said – or at least not really understanding and comprehending the fact that I had just come out to him. Nope, the man was too focused on the last part of my statement. “Well of course you’re not playing prince. That’s my role, I was more thinking like bad bo–” he cut himself off, suddenly seeming to realize just what I’d said. I suppressed my own loud guffaws as I saw his face twist into a comical expression as he squatted and pointed at me like an idiot.

“Wait, you’re gay?!”

 


 

Karma P.O.V

Fuck, that was pretty loud. The courtyard hadn’t yet been cleared of people, and with how loud Tamaki was, there was no doubt that at least one of the stragglers had heard Tamaki’s rather damning exclamation. I’d just have to roll with this and hope that whoever heard wasn’t fucking homophobic because that would suck. There’s so few students here; news travels fast.

 

I arch an eyebrow at him as if asking ‘are you serious right now?’ He just had this awestruck look on his face as he just ogled at me. I didn’t think it was all that worth being ogled at? I mean, from what I’ve heard the twins have their little twincest fan service thing going on, so it wasn’t like it was the first time he’d seen something gay. Heck, I wasn’t even acting overtly gay, but he was still looking at me like I was a space alien with four butts.

It was kind off ridiculous.

“Yeah, that is kind of what I said. You have a problem with that?” I challenge, actually beginning to get a bit annoyed with his reaction. None of the others in the Host Club dared to interrupt, although I saw Kyoya shift uneasily. He had never explicitly said anything, but he wasn’t as straight as his family wanted him to be. He made a point of keeping me out of his relationships, and since he was always incredibly discreet enough that I saw no need to intervene. He hadn’t gotten in the middle of my singular relationship (he’d actually treated Ga- him really well) so I would return the favour by not being a dick about Kyoya’s sexuality.

He definitely handled my gay crisis when I was 11.

Tamaki was surprisingly quick to wave his hands in denial and backpedal. “No, no, no! I assure you that your sexuality will never be an issue with us!” he said hurriedly, smiling awkwardly as his eyes darted over to the Host Club as if warning them to not say anything if they did have a problem. Heh. He really does want me to join his club, and he’s willing to risk his reputation to do it.

I’m under no illusions that everyone is as accepting of my sexuality as Class E or even the students at True Cross. If this information gets out, I’m going to end up facing some serious backlash from people. Probably Asano.

“All the same, do you really think that’ll work out?” I ask curiously, wondering if he had just charged into this without a plan as was his typical go-to technique. “Not only am I not into girls, but there’s also the fact that I’m not exactly… nice.” I say, beating around the brush only a little bit. Saying that I wasn’t nice was kind of a major understatement. I had been straight up sadistic back at Kunugikaoka, and I wasn’t about to stop now. Here, things weren’t life and death like with the Cram school. Here, I can be whoever the fuck I want, and the only casualties will be someone’s feelings. The only reasons I was even bothering to try and be top dog is because I knew it would annoy Asano (and I live to annoy people) and I have this thing where I need to feel important.

There’s no harm in giving into those wants every now and then. It’s certainly far from the worst thing that I’ve ever done.

“Yeah, I was kind of wondering that too,” Haruhi says conversationally, interrupting my train of thought and turning to look at the blond. “You didn’t exactly explain your reasoning to any of us.”

I cock my head to the side. “So you didn’t tell your girlfriend about your plans? How foolish.” I say, only a little bit snidely. “Oh wait, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t say girlfriend – which pronouns do you prefer, Fujioka? You do appear to be going by a more masculine appearance at school.”

Haruhi raised an eyebrow at me, ignoring her boyfriend’s spluttering just like I was. “I’m a girl, although I’m curious to know how you found out. As far as the students here know though, I’m a boy, and I’d prefer if the information that I’m dating Tamaki doesn’t leave this group of people.” Her large expressive eyes were impressively neutral as she stared at me. She was perceptive and observant, creating a nice duality with her incredibly oblivious partner.

Tamaki continues to splutter in the background.

I cock my head to the side and deliberately give her a once over. “It’s really in your posture and the way that you speak; it’s really not that hard to tell if you know what to look for.” I wink at her slightly and cross my arms over my chest. “And you and Tamaki aren’t as subtle as you think you are. Didn’t you know? The whole school’s betting on when you two get together – even not knowing about your gender.”

Haruhi looks a bit taken aback by my assessment, but she remains silent and doesn’t offer up any other comments. This, of course, allows Tamaki to sweep in and try to take over the situation once more. “You seem to know an awful lot about us. May I enquire about your own past? Quid pro quo, if you will.”

Nagisa sniffs behind me. “It would be more of a quid pro quo if he simply offered you the chance to figure it out on your own.” He grumbled under his breath causing me to snort a bit.

“Well, I’m not that deep,” I joke, “you’ve probably heard about me! I’m a transfer student and I’m in your year. Other than that, I’m not all that interesting – just your average studious guy.” I paste an innocent expression on my face. Tamaki looked like he wanted to respond but he sort of just stood there for a moment.

The two twins, of course, took this opportunity to be sassy little shits. “Yeah, you’re completely normal!” Kaoru scoffed, posing in a mirror image of his twin as they stood slightly in front of Haruhi as if they were moving to protect her. Ohhh, did one of the twins still have a crush on little Miss Fujioka? How cute.

“If you ignore how the first years are completely terrified of you and the fact that you’re getting away with breaking like 10 rules concerning dress code.” The other twin adds, glaring at me just like his brother was.

(Ew, it was weird to think that we were the same age.)

Haruhi shoved her way past the two twins, knowing what they were doing and wholeheartedly disagreeing with what they were doing – which I could respect – and planning on standing up for herself. She obviously didn’t agree with Tamaki’s idea to try and get me to join the club. She had good reasons to not want me in the club, however it would seem that what Tamaki wants, Tamaki gets. It didn’t hurt that they were short two members already. This was hilarious.

“You aren’t exactly what people would call a model student, and Asano-san seems to have an issue with you. As much as we don’t support him, we don’t want to draw his ire either. You’re in the public eye, and you draw a lot of potentially negative attention.”

This comment seemed to backfire on her though, because Tamaki proceeded to leap off of that comment only to take it in the exact opposite direction. “But he’d also be an opportunity to take the Host Club in a new direction!” he said excitedly, flapping his arms around, seemingly uncaring about the stragglers that still in the courtyard, although out of earshot of the quiet conversation we’d been having. Well, up until Tamaki began to rant, slowly getting louder. “Akabane-chan is new and interesting, and with our support, people are sure to love him! Plus, if Akabane-chan is making enemies like you said, then surely we’re good allies to have! No one attacks us,” Tamaki pointed out so helpfully.

“It’s not a bad deal,” I grudgingly admit, “but there’s still my concern about my sexuality. Not only did you just out me to those still in the courtyard – and don’t lie; you’re loud enough that people heard – but as I said before, I refuse to hide even if I’m not overt now.”

Tamaki waved his hand again. “And like I said, it’s not an issue. What the heck! It’s a bonus! We’ll be able to open the club to a whole new demographic. Men may visit the Host Club if they so wish to, and I have no doubt if no men wish to that there are plenty of girls that would love to spend some time having tea and getting advice from someone who shares in their interests.”

I resisted the urge to jump to conclusions and immediately assume that he was talking about "girly" shit. I would give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that he meant liking dudes. It was a thing that unfortunately affected the perception of the interaction between gay men and females. The myth that every girl wants a gay best friend, and that obviously gay men and women got along. Obviously.

At the end of the day, this decision was a gamble. I didn’t know how this would end up turning out, but the pros seem to outweigh the cons. I would be playing nice with Kyoya’s friends and I would be making strong allies in the school’s most popular kids. With the eyes on me, I would be getting the publicity that I wanted, it might just not give me the end result that I am interested in. The cons are that I’ll be out to the entire school’s population. I’ve been assured by Suoh Senior that my sexuality isn’t an issue at this establishment, but there will always be assholes. This is still a high school, and rich kids are often more skilled with their rumours than your average public-school child.

“Fine. I’ll join your club – but I’ll be discussing my terms with Kyoya.”

Tamaki’s face lights up and he twirls around, practically sparkling like what I imagine the awful lovechild between Naruto and Sasuke to be like. “Alright! We’ll have our first gay host!!! I can’t wait to show you around the club room.”

 


 

Haruhi P.O.V

“Wait, Akabane-san! There was something that I wanted to ask you,” I asked, quickening my pace to catch up with the red head as we walked back to the club room with Akabane and Friends™. I honestly can’t believe that getting Akabane to join was that simple, it was almost like the (very valid) protests that he offered were just token. Like hallway through the song, he’d accepted that he’d inevitably joined us and just wanted to know how much we were willing to deal with.

I’m vaguely reminded of a scene from the Scottish Play.

Huh.

I shake my head and continue to scurry to match Akabane’s long strides. He was walking in step with Kyoya-sempai, and the two of them were whispering quietly to each other, however they stopped right before I fell in step with them. Akabane raised an eyebrow for like the 60th time as he looked at me expectantly. I flushed slightly but pushed ahead; this would continue to bug me until I knew. “Kyoya-sempai wasn’t all that specific, so I was wondering if you would explain how you know Kyoya-sempai?”

Akabane and the third Otori exchanged an odd look before Akabane gave me an assessing look. I met his eyes with the best of my ability, trying really hard to not show that he was more intimidating than I’d previously thought. From a distance, he had been a striking figure, but up close, it was much easier to see all the ‘flaws’ in his features.

His hair seemed a lot spikier than it should be, and the colour of it was so blatantly unnatural that he looked like some anime protagonist. How more people weren’t a little… concerned about how him and his two friends were getting away with the brilliant hair colours astounded me. We had plenty of eccentric people at this school – rich bastards had to get their kicks somehow, right? – but the teachers were pretty strict about hair colour. We had some international students as well as many mixed kids, so blonds weren’t exactly odd to see, but nobody dyed it a colour. From what I’ve heard, they’ve claimed that their hair is natural, but I didn’t quite believe it?

All the same, that colour was pretty impressive either way. It wasn’t blood red, but not fire truck red either. It was just a really rich in between colour. I want to say that it looks fucking dumb, but Asano’s hair – which is a weird orangey rust colour – was still worse and Akabane actually managed to wear it with confidence.

The way that he moved was already comparable to Mori-sempai’s graceful prowl, but it was the odd head movements that made it seem… stiffer? He cocked his head a lot like some shitty movie villain going with his ‘I don’t give a shit’ attitude. He didn’t quite jerk his head, but it was a close thing. With those kind of angles, I wondered if his neck hurt or not. Did he ever regret doing his subtle dramatic thing? I know that after a full day Tamaki would often complain about pulling something and then promptly pout when I pointed out that he didn’t have to do the splits during club.

I think that what made that little bit of unnaturalness that just a bit worse and more noticeable is the fact that his features were almost fae-like. The proximity to his person allowed me to see the tips of his pierced ears, and they were pointed almost like an elf’s. Every time he moved his mouth it was obvious that his canines were sharper. I don’t know who he thinks that he’s fooling, but those teeth do not look human. Calling him inhuman would be silly, but there was no denying how fucking unnatural he looked. Is he a full-time cosplayer or something?

Then his fucking eyes. He stared at me like he could see my very soul. In some lights, his eyes look amber – a natural colour – but as soon as you’re caught in his gaze, they suddenly look a lot closer to molten gold. Once again, pretty freaky. So yeah, I was a little freaked out by meeting his gaze, but people like him didn’t respect people who were afraid of them, so I did the only logical thing and challenged him with my eyes.

He looked a little impressed, but almost like he knew that I wouldn’t back down. And then, he answered me.

“Well Fujioka, since you asked so nicely,” he grinned showing off those fang-like teeth like he knew about the observations that I’d made. He totally believed he knew what I was thinking – he had the same cocky look that Kyoya-sempai did. “I met Kyoya when I was really young – I think the first time we really got acquainted was when I was 10. I had been getting more involved in some business and was attending a business gala. Kyoya saw the only other person that was close to his age – and of course I stuck out like a sore thumb with this hair and my first piercing – so he approached me thinking that I was lost. After finding out that I was decidedly not lost, he struck up a conversation, and as they say, the rest was history.”

His words felt sincere, although it was pretty obvious that he wasn’t telling the story quite like how it happened. However, it was more information than Kyoya-sempai offered so I guess that was a win?

I decided to press for more. “What kind of business? Isn’t Kyoya-sempai’s family a medical based one? I know that they also dabble in other sectors…” I trail off slightly as Akabane’s eyes fill with mirth. “You don’t have to answer, it’s just as a new member of the club I thought it would be smart to get to know you better.”

“Well I can’t blame you for being curious, Fujioka.” Akabane laughed, exchanging another more amused look with Kyoya. “As for the business, well I was getting more involved in… the family business. My foster parents were killed in a car accident, and I’d been making my way up in the world.”

 

“Woah! You were a foster kid?! Does that mean that you’re secretly Kyoya-kun’s long lost half-brother?” Hikaru said suddenly, popping up behind me and causing me to jump out of my skin. I shoot a glare over at Akabane who had clearly seen the twins but didn’t bother warning me.

Kaoru then chose to follow in his brother’s footsteps and popped up on my other side. “Yeah Kyoya-sempai! Is there secretly a fourth Ootori???” His eyes were filled with stars as he stared down at the new red head.

There was a pause for approximately 2.3 seconds before something absolutely phenomenal happened. Kyoya-sempai doubled over in laughter. I didn’t even think that that was fucking possible. His laughter was a catalyst for Akabane’s own laughter, and soon the two of them were crouching on the ground and laughing uproariously. This of course, caught the other’s attention.

Tamaki whirled around to look at us, confused. Kyoya-sempai and Akabane were rolling around on the ground (well, their equivalent of rolling around on the ground) while the twins and I stood looking down at them with confused expressions. Tamaki’s eyes widened comically.

“What did I miss?”