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28 May 2009 @ 05:04 pm
Telegram from Ems [Kyouya x Éclair]  
Title: Telegram from Ems
Pairing: Kyouya x Éclair
Fandom: Ouran High School Host Club
Genre: Drama, Romance
Rating: PG
Word Count: 1,591



Telegram from Ems

He is Germany and she is France. And so, they begin their game. A tête-à-tête for her—the girl-cavalier—and him, Hamletesque and sordid with familial secrets drifting along graveyards. She is smart, wise, disenchanted: a snake. And he is too, but wilier and less enamored with using underhanded mirages, and so, he calls himself a fox.

She laughed when he first said that, asking her to dance.

"Monsieur, I cannot be so easily impressed," won.

"It seems you are the one trying to impress me," chérie, for all your airy, fairy tarries.

"Yet you are the one who requested my presence here tonight."

"Practical. Simple."

"So you say."

"Mademoiselle, I am a businessman."

"And I was raised by businessmen. I know how to play the part."

"Perhaps."

She scowls, he smirks. One-zero. France recedes (forfeits the Rhine). Charms fade, beauty diminished, Éclair is left excavated (Versailles is burnt, demolished—the queen waits at the guillotine). And so, she pursues through a different route.

Fingers, deft and cunning, roam down his face—trickling, tricky—she seeks to entice. He is unfazed, brushes her off (brusque). She pouts.

There is no laughter, no mirth. France refuses to surrender the Danube too. Old Blue Danube, where dreams return to be rest eternally—

"A dance, Monsieur O-o-tori?"

"Delighted."

The waltz begins. She lifts her dress, long and coiling behind her like a serpentine tail. They step in synchrony. Almost, she complements him and then remembers: she plays to win.

. . .

Tipsy, drowned in fine, crystal champagne and gorged on thick cream (éclairs and Napoleon cakes), she slips from her silks and tosses the garments aside. Hot and sinewy, she embraces him, slouched in a drunken torpor.

Kyouya freezes, thinking: she has gone mad.

But thinks again of an exceptional opening. A merger, hostile take-over, he couldn't care less. All Kyouya ever sees is the end. And how, always and forever, the world serves only as an amusement.

"You look great in a tux," Éclair slurs.

And you look great naked.

"But this bowtie is really nasty," she continues, peeling it off layer by layer. "You should loosen up some, MonsieurO-o-tori. Maybe we can play a game?"

"Of what?"

She straddles him, leans in, pushing his shoulders back (head against the board). He pauses, wanting to shake her off (gaining control).

"To see who has more wits unfettered, what you people would call equanimity."

"We never lose."

Éclair turns to kiss him, a long strand of honey-yellow hair falls from the chignon (slick and sleek). Her painted cat-mouth finds his, an inch away, and all of a sudden, she laughs and leaves. Her thin body vanishes with sidereal grace—a shooting star, meteor shower. The dazzles fizzle and fray into tattered, stardust robes and the ghost of a skeletal woman.

Fatigued and jaded, Kyouya sighs heavily and gulps down water, nursing the onslaught of a skull-splitting migraine.

. . .

She is a magician and he is the rabbit. She takes and transforms him into whatever she wants, a dove, a deck of flying cards. And when her show is finished, into the cage she stuffs him until she is ready for the next stage.

The audience claps, already in love.

Haunted by childhood memories (of a young boy from Japan, the mystic waters and hazy temple horizons), Éclair composes a letter. Gold-gilt pen at hand and velvety paper in sight, she sets to write.

And stops.

Thoughts sullen and sunken (tonight). Her mind bursts with animated speed, like a stallion on course in the Derby.

Monsieur Ootori,

I loathe being trifled with. Seeing as how I am to entertain you for another week, until your stay in Paris concludes, I warn you not to mock me. I can be infamously merciless should you test me further.

—Éclair Tonnerre

Sealed with a kiss, ruby-red Chanel (of French flair and descent), Éclair slams down her insignia ring into the semi-boiling wax.

. . .

"Kyouya Ootori, it is wonderful to meet you."

Kyouya eyes the stooped, wizened man skeptically, notes his lint-free Armani suit and dangling Hermès tie, and is hardly intimidated.

"The pleasure is mine, Monsieur Tonnerre."

"You are finding Parisian hospitality to be suitable?"

Kyouya smiles, ever the diplomat. "Of course. Your daughter has been a marvelous host."

"Excellent, excellent. I confess, Monsieur Ootori, that when your father first abdicated in favor of you, I was hesitant to continue with the deal. But you have proven yourself more competent than men twice your age."

Or thrice my age, Kyouya pictures the man toppled over, presumably from a "natural cause" (heart attack or some other banal medical abnormalities).

"I am glad to know I have not disappointed you."

"Then we will continue to sign?"

"One moment."

"Is there a problem?"

"Yes. I believe the situation has changed. And you are in no position to negotiate. Bankruptcy is a very grim fate, isn't it?"

. . .

Wry and humorously dry, Kyouya reexamines Éclair's letter. And with proper elegance and graciousness, he returns the favor.

Mademoiselle Éclair,

I believe it is you who should watch your words. The announcement must have been made by now (gossip travels fast). Your father is on the verge of being disgraced, and your family's esteemed, prestigious, august, illustrious, etc. name is to be no more very shortly. Therefore, I suggest you grovel for my mercy. But rest assured, it shall be attained with extreme difficulty.

—Kyouya Ootori

P.S. Agreement to dinner at seven, tomorrow night, might mitigate my wrath.

P.P.S. Your livid expression will be thanks enough.

"Dispatch this at once. And send three dozen roses along with the letter," he adds as a second thought.

Kyouya closes his eyes and dreams of autumn leaves and rushing waterfalls (and a small girl, la petite fille—et jolie—he met when he was young).

. . .

"This is blackmail," Éclair remarks acidly.

"I know. Are you ready to order?"

"I know the menu by heart."

"Well then, kindly convey your selection to the waiter."

"You're a cruel man, Kyouya O-o-tori."

"And you are a 'merciless' woman, I seem to recall."

"I do not force someone to go on a date against his will!"

"You should enjoy yourself. Tomorrow, you will see a drastic change in lifestyle."

Éclair gives him another withering, mordant look. He remains stoically cool, humming to an imaginary tune, cheery at her dreary pallor.

. . .

Before the month is through, Kyouya obtains the papers to the Tonnerre estates, businesses, everything. He issues them an ultimatum: serve obediently under him or be evicted. (Their choice, really, he was being quite generous.)

The father resigns (double-entendre, il a attendu) and is spared. The mother (dead) receives a wreathe of charily chosen funerary flowers. As for the daughter, Kyouya smiles insidiously, something grand, something thunderous.

Mademoiselle Éclair,

I thank you for your lovely company. You will be glad to know I no longer require your services as host.

—Kyouya Ootori

He declares war, knowing she is too prideful, too imperious to resist.

. . .

"Our family's situation is very….precarious," the father laments.

The daughter shrugs. "What can I do?"

"You should know."

"Father…"

"Please."

She sighs melodramatically and stares him down (upwards slanted eyes lined sharply for affected, theatrical glitz). "I'll try, Father. But that man is demonic."

Monsieur (Herr) Kyouya,

I am currently in Bad Ems, at that notorious resort. I hear you will be passing the region in five days' time. I would like your company for a drink on the night of September 19th.

—Éclair Tonnerre

P.S. The River Lahn is looking outstandingly miserable today.

. . .

"You actually showed up."

Kyouya sits down opposite her, deliberates over her plunging neckline and backless appeal and what sinister illusions she's alluding to. Desperate or exceedingly ingenious she is acting, he didn't care. She can play and bargain all she wants, but he has the advantage.

"I make promises to keep," Kyouya states calmly.

She smiles brilliantly. "Perfect. I've taken a great liking to you, Herr O-o-tori. I—"

"I propose a marriage."

She drops the pretenses. Mouth runs dry, neck sore, eyes frail and old. Éclair is finally caught off guard.

"Excuse me?" she says, finding a voice.

"A marriage. Between you and I. It will benefit you and your family significantly."

"But—"

"Why? I'm just being pragmatic, perceptive."

"But you're not the marrying type."

"Neither are you."

"Then why?"

He smirks, toys with the poison-dabbed garnish. "Stop with the schemes, Éclair. This arrangement is the best option for you. And you have run out of options."

She stares at him steadily, realizing he's not trying to corner her, realizing what his intentions are. And how they match hers, smooth and suave. "I will consider this carefully."

"Good." Kyouya props open a menu.

"I'm afraid I don't have this one memorized yet," Éclair admits and sips her wine (grimaces at the upstart German flavors).

. . .

They marry in March (haven't spoken in weeks or met in months). A Treaty is signed, both parties acknowledged. And now, I proclaim you: husband and wife.

She frowns but concedes to a dance. He holds her close, impassive and bored. She plans for a honeymoon disaster, him and her problems instantly eliminated. But she'll be kind. He's been a worthy opponent.

—Kyouya sidesteps, she falters—

Smiling, he catches her in the end and twirls her 'round.

Or maybe we'll grow to like each other, she thinks.

Just a bit.




 
 
 
A k i r a: arashihimehikari on May 29th, 2009 12:49 am (UTC)
♥ love this! Your way of writing is beautiful! I can't think of anything intelligent now but I love this tremendously! Het Kyouya fic always makes me happy *smiles*
Miaka Mouse: sleepy mori-mousemiakamouse on May 29th, 2009 12:54 am (UTC)
this was fun!! i love the back and forth.. it feels like watching a tennis match.. i have a feeling the married couple will provide much entertainment at cocktail parties ;) love the characterization of eclair as well, considering she is a lesser-known character.. you pulled this off very believably.. i'd be interested to know tamaki and haruhi's reaction to their engagement!
Crimson: Kyoyalifeless09 on May 29th, 2009 03:31 pm (UTC)
Wow! This was done very well and I love it. Good job.
The girl who's always unlucky in loveshalinilahiri on May 30th, 2009 01:49 am (UTC)

This was really lovely! :) Adore the writing style, and the quiet sparring between these two.
Y U no auto-translate?lye_tea on May 30th, 2009 01:54 am (UTC)
Thank you so much!

(Your icon is total win, nerds unite!)
The girl who's always unlucky in loveshalinilahiri on May 30th, 2009 01:51 pm (UTC)

Haha, thanks for the icon complement. :)

Your writing looks familiar...have we met before on LJ?
Y U no auto-translate?lye_tea on May 30th, 2009 07:38 pm (UTC)
I think we have but for a different fandom maybe? Could have been Inuyasha.
petite_inconnuepetite_inconnue on May 30th, 2009 01:17 pm (UTC)
Fantastic! I would have never thought of this pairing, but you manage to pull it off really well! <3
Y U no auto-translate?lye_tea on May 30th, 2009 07:40 pm (UTC)
Thanks BB!

It was a request fic. I honestly wouldn't have imagined these two together either.
(Deleted comment)
Y U no auto-translate?lye_tea on May 30th, 2009 07:36 pm (UTC)
Sorry about that. I meant for it to show how Eclair likes to mock Kyouya, even by stressing his name because to her, the double o's would be unfamiliar. ^^
treeflamingo: ouran: just kyouyatreeflamingo on June 2nd, 2009 03:46 am (UTC)
Ohhhh, I am so happy to read this from you. I only recently discovered KyouyaxEclair, and I do think it may be one of my very favorite pairings in any fandom. Because it is so excruciatingly miserable. What you have written here describes every last second ((of a minute)of a degree) of intelligence and cynicism this pairing deserves. I love this.
--

Typo: the queen wait weeping I think? Yeah, I'm pretty sure you need an 's' somewhere in there for grammatical correctitude.

Typo: a shoot star I could be wrong, but that particular phraseology does not exist in my lexicon. A shooting star, it would have to be. Or, perhaps, a shot star, depending on the connotation you're going for.

OK, I am officially getting stylistically nitpicky on you: nursing the onslaught - those two words are just too juxtaposed, I think. They strike against each other, and I am left thinking, "Wait, can you nurse an onslaught? What does nursing a headache actually mean? Does nursing require the malady to already by in full swing? At what point may one be said to begin 'nursing'? 'Onslaught' implies the opening move, does it not? I do think it's too early to be 'nursing,' if such a thing can really be done with onslaughts, but then perhaps..." ...and basically it's really distracting.

Stylistic nitpicking: I can be infamously merciless should you test me further. Sooooo nitpicky. I want a comma between 'merciless,' and 'should.' Because the second thought does not directly follow the first. A comma would imply the rest of the sentence, the part that Eclair has elegantly omitted.

Typo: more competent than man

Stylistic nitpicking: The announcement must have been made by now (gossip travels fast). This is *really* nitpicky, but parentheses seem out of place when Kyouya is doing the writing.

Typo: he didn’t care.
--

I could also list all the things I loved, but this comment is already monstrous, so I will tell you my two favorites: I love how you spell Kyouya's name the way Eclair says it. O-o-tori. It's so sensual, so derisive, the way she says it. And I love the rare, clean, black-line bits of pure narration you slip in among your meandering poetry!prose. Kyouya eyes the stooped, wizened man skeptically, notes his lint-free Armani suit and dangling Hermès tie, and is hardly intimidated. These serve a dual purpose: these are Kyouya, making sure you don't leave out anything important (because of course he can't trust you), and these highlight the lyrical, waltzing quality of the rest of the body of this piece much as a frame would. Which is especially impressive, when I think of it that way, because it's like we have the frame embedded in the painting. Fascinating indeed.
--

As per your usual, this is utterly marvelous. And I promise I will read your Mononoke pieces at some point, when I've seen a bit more of the anime. I only watched I think 2 episodes, and that was quite some time ago, so I fear I'd be lost if I jumped right into fic. But I've been meaning to pick it up again, and the fact that there is now lye_tea fic for it is an added incentive :)
Y U no auto-translate?lye_tea on June 2nd, 2009 04:09 am (UTC)
THANK YOU SO MUCH, BB! I really would not survive with you. Damn typos, damn them! I really appreciate your nitpicking and sorting them out. *big sigh* Seriously, otherwise, I'd still be sitting here thinking everything is just fine. Goodness, I feel very dumb.

As usual, I bow before your review. It's very nice and very constructive. ♥

(Isn't Monokoke an awesome show? xD I'm so obsessed with it right now. Only regret is that the series is so short. Did you watch Ayakashi too?)
treeflamingo: bride of the water godtreeflamingo on June 8th, 2009 02:10 am (UTC)
What?!? Why should you feel dumb? The fact that there are typos and places that can be nitpicked in no way diminishes the genius. :\

And yes, Mononoke is the shiz. It kind of blows my mind, and I am determined to finish it, now that it has been brought back to my attention.

But no, I've never seen Ayakashi. What's it about?
Y U no auto-translate?lye_tea on June 8th, 2009 04:54 am (UTC)
I have no idea. >.> I guess it just reminds me of when my lit teacher shakes her head sadly and says: this is really good analysis, but your grammar is atrocious.

You definitely should! *cheers on!* :)

Ayakashi is the prequel series to Mononoke. I think the translation is "Classical Japanese Horror Stories"? There are four arcs in all, and the last arc is the introduction of the Medicine Seller and Kayo. Plus, the art is absolutely gorgeous.
Y U no auto-translate?lye_tea on June 2nd, 2009 04:13 am (UTC)
P.S. I never thought of Kyouya/Eclair as a couple either, but it was a request fic for someone so I tried my best with it. :)
drilled a wire through my cheek: touyakahoblushingsigh on June 2nd, 2009 05:50 pm (UTC)
Wow, I wish I could give you a very eloquent review but I don't know how to. I really enjoyed the fic because there was something delightfully wicked about it. I loved the language and flow. And boy, do I hope that they will learn to love each other.
Very cool :).
(Deleted comment)
Y U no auto-translate?lye_tea on June 9th, 2009 04:32 am (UTC)
Thank you! :) (I'm not a big fan of them either, but it was a request!fic so what can I say? Hee hee.)
Cassi: Tamakiandsoshewrites on June 21st, 2009 04:20 am (UTC)
I love how you wrote this, and this style is very, very hard to pull off. You did an excellent job!