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19 June 2012 @ 05:11 am
Russian Roulette Ch 3 [Studies in Methodology]  
Title: Russian Roulette -- Chapter 3
Pairing: Kyouya/Haruhi; Tamaki/Haruhi
Fandom: Ouran High School Host Club
Genre: Drama
Rating: PG
Summary: In a high-stakes game, the revolver points at the most lethal player.

A/N: I'm sort of on a "cleaning spree" with some of my older fics. This one caught my eye, so I decided to finish it. Two chapters left.

Chapter 2



Studies in Methodology

There are strategies to every game. Some good, some bad. But no strategy is without its merits. It all depends upon the individual player.

To win a game of monumental risks, the optimal move is a feint. A turn-around, a blinded, side-gained entrance. The key (Kyouya's father explains) is waiting for the enemy to choke himself. And then, when he's gagging on his own cleverness, only then do you attack.

. . .

Tamaki writes her letters stamped from Paris. She cherishes them as small tokens and sad mementos (moments she steals away just for herself). She is so busy now, so exhausted and numb. She diligently attends school day after day and works hard night by night. Gradually, she loses count on the forsaken hours of sleep.

Kaoru tells her that she needs to eat, that it's unhealthy continuing like this. She barely hears, registers what he says. The integral of the square root of five times x divided by…

"Our mother's having a party this weekend," says Hikaru.

"You should come," Kaoru finishes.

Haruhi looks up. The twins wince in fright. She looks like a total mess, a deranged, bedraggled, and decidedly not-hot mess.

"What? Sorry. I wasn't paying attention. I need to figure out this problem…"

They sigh in unison and quietly watch her fade into oblivion. Her body fades and sinks into a stream of mathematical equations and fanciful equitation. Soon, she will dissolve altogether.

They wait patiently for her to fall asleep before closing the textbook.

. . .

In Paris, the summers are brutal. They are unforgiving in their blazing treachery.

Tamaki takes note and dutifully reports back to Kyouya.

. . .

One day, Kyouya will make him pay. He will make him regret and plead. He will teach him the fallacies of mercy and the truth in triumph (when nothing else matters). But for now, Kyouya replies back to Tamaki's letters, answering his little questions and assuaging his guilt. Because he is a good friend, the best friend.

She is fine.

Kyouya signs his name with a special extravagance.

P.S. Make hearts but not demands.

. . .

Hunni slices his blade through the hair, beheading wisterias and vanquishing daffodils. He is elegant, volant, and ungracious in losing.

"For Usa-chan," Hunni cries his declaration of war and lunges forth. He is defiant and determined.

Mori smiles (proud and tall) and easily evades. "You are being too rash. You allow your emotions to consume you. Focus."

Swift and sudden, Mori lands the ending blow. Hunni inhales sharp and full (dreams of violet crowns glistening from dew) and cheerfully accepts his loss. The game stops, and they are spent.

"So who d'you think will win?" Hunni asks.

Mori shrugs, following into step.

"I bet it's Tono."

Mori studies him carefully, catching each inflection of voice and every hesitating quirk of chin. He does not respond (Hunni understands). They will wait.

It is futile to bet on a losing game.

. . .

Tamaki's tactic is easily unveiled, so readily dissolved into a benign dilution. He is so predictable, so unworthy of being lauded as opponent.

Kyouya thinks through oceans of methods and maneuvers and endgames.

In the end…

He knows he will win. Unlike Tamaki, he does not doubt himself.

. . .

Kyouya always (preventatively) sets his standards low. It is a purposeful attack, a low-guarding, slow-abiding offense that is guaranteed to succeed. It is not pessimism but wisdom. And time and time again, he triumphs.

"Check—mate."

Haruhi stares at the chessboard, confused. She had it down, so sure, so perfect. But the pieces (in mutiny) are punctured from demolition.

Slyly, he usurps her king with his queen. On her wooden, white, marmoreal dais, she gloats. Her head is shorn of light (noonday sun) and smugly, she takes the throne.

"But…how," Haruhi says.

"Simple. You raised your expectations too much. Never seek victory, for surely you will fail. Anticipate defeat, and you will flourish."

She nods, pretending to understand.

Kyouya is so odd, an enigma that can't be surfaced.

. . .

- Mon femme, elle aime causer (ou comme elle dit). Elle n'aime pas communiquer.

Elle ne sait pas. Elle sait…elle avait—au moins, il n'est pas naïf plus.

- C'est difficile. Excusez-moi, je suis en retard.

. . .

When Tamaki calls, she always answers on the third ring. It is a ritual of theirs. Not one ring sooner, not one later. It is precise and expected. And she has forsaken surprises now and forever.

Sometimes, he quizzes her on her schoolwork. She gets the questions right, every time. Occasionally, she inquires about his travels, his preparations in becoming the next Suoh president, CEO, Lord and Emperor. He would deflect her arrows, goes off rambling on a ventose sojourn about Antoinette.

As he talks, Haruhi lets her mind drift elsewhere. Soon (he promises) he will visit her or bring her to France (you'll love it there). He is effusive, unrelenting in his charm, cheery bliss, and all things bright. But she doesn't have the heart to tell him—

Tell me what?

—That you, well…

"Haruhi?"

She knows he wants an answer, demands for it immediately. He tries to guilt her with childlike, guileless antics. But she just couldn't muster up the courage, the words (master the emotions churning in her belly).

And so, for now, she replies with a vague maybe.

In the morning, she calls Kyouya and humbly requests for a lesson in chess.

. . .

Tamaki recounts his Parisian escapades with religious zeal. Amused, Kyouya skims the heart-dotted pages and tries to decipher the message. Communicating with Tamaki is always a chore.

It's difficult to talk to someone who thinks he's a fairy.

But Kyouya respects him—just a little. Because Tamaki is truly kind, and that is something Kyouya can appreciate. Kindness, he learned long ago, can be a powerful explosive if wired properly.

Tamaki had the magical ability of willing impossibilities into existence.

He had a heart large enough to carry continents. He simply loved too damn much.

. . .

On Fridays, Kyouya brings her on a date. He picks her up at seven pm sharp in a shady black car with the windows rolled tightly shut. He waits for the driver to open the door, steps out, and invites Haruhi into the crypt.

And together, they descend (down the path of madness) the roads of Tokyo.

It has become a fine, well-tuned display between two old friends.

Today, he breaks the structure, the familiar taste of impasse separating them. He shows up on her porch early in the morning, bearing two golden cups of steaming coffee.

"So, where to this time, Kyouya-senpai?" she says, continuing their endless charade.

"A kabuki play. Surprised?"

"Frankly, yes." She wonders what demonic joke he will reveal this time.

"Since you started classes—and my new schedule with the business—we've hardly had the time to see each other. So I thought it would be a good idea for us to spend the day together, Haruhi."

"What're you plotting?"

"Nothing. I am not as devious as you make me to be."

Haruhi scrutinizes him for subversive clues. His face is a high wall of cordial impassivity. Impressed, she concedes him this match.

. . .

Kyouya's kisses are abrupt, sharp, and perfunctory. His gestures (hands gliding down her back for the tricksy laceys) are mechanical.

Pushing away, Haruhi looks up and confronts his gaze. Where his glasses meet his nose, there engraved is a permanent slash of red. Like blood on alabaster, it is kind of pretty and kind of tragic. Haruhi reaches to touch it, but he catches her hand. Smirking, Kyouya presses her palm against his cheek. She is startled but doesn't release hold.

He is amused (thinks he's trapped her with the battalion of amazement).

He makes a mental footnote to inform Tamaki, to raise the wager and the stakes.