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01 March 2008 @ 06:37 pm
A View from Nowhere  
Title: A View from Nowhere
Pairing: Kyouya x Haruhi
Fandom: Ouran High School Host Club
Genre: Introspection, General, Family, Angst
Rating: PG-13
Word Count: 1,435

Author's Note: HUGE thanks to yamikinoko for all her help. Also, dedicated to empath_eia for her gift!fic; hc_flashfic -- August 2007 round.

A View from Nowhere
i. it’s just good business
profits gained, profits made
 (like any contract deal)
“The fourth,” the father said, “that was it. Just four.”
And the mother agreed.
And so, there was a daughter and sons (and The Fourth).
The last to be born, the last to prosper and be remembered—so it seemed and began.
Once, when he was young and brilliant, and the fourth child in their family to achieve, his father announced: there are two things that matter most in this world, business and profit.
That, Kyouya learned, inculcated into his brain (ate, drank, and flushed down his throat).
Business & Profit.
Uncomplicated, unemotional, nothing tentative, and nothing nebulous. Essential and easy, Kyouya lived through life, like a hurricane. Crashing down (crashing hard), with the wind always whipping his face raw.
But he learned, money earned, and that was all that mattered. For the Ohtori family, other things (extrinsic things) did not exist. Cold, beautiful, like ice floating with nothing underneath.
“You sold my pen.”
“So?” Kyouya asked, raised up his eyebrows. Nonchalance, that was crucial and ingrained down to heart.
“You sold my pen. I paid for that pen,” Haruhi emphasized—again, as if that made the difference (as if that would make him care).
“It’s just a pen.”
Just a pen. Just an issue of life or death.
Kyouya smirked, complacent and countered—at last.
Graduation came, came fast and bloated, like a sickened crowd in the middle of June. Their faces turned green, and skin pale like ash, and all the parents shouted, screamed, jumped with joy and tears.
And Kyouya was there too, half-hidden behind a maple tree, leaves gone—bare and diseased.
“Today we…” she started, stopped, and stared on.
And continued on, smiling too and half-hiding herself too (behind too-bright teeth and faked-happy laughs).
Today was the day: graduation, culmination. When nothing went right, and your head was flying over cloud nine.
A facsimile.
Flagrant, dolled up to her neck, and strangulation reverberating through her brain.
Mirror on the wall: Am I?—
False. A mendacity, a veneer painted and laced up within an inch of her life. All for him, that man (child, boy), Haruhi bathed, still and sullen, in puddles of this: morass of feminine charm and raiment.
A date, she thought. That was what it will be. And nothing more and nothing less. Just a date (just her first). But that was beside the point.
If only—
Something that was a thousand years ago, three lifetimes gone, and there was no turning back. There was no reincarnation for romance or dreams.
Haruhi smiled and fractured her jaws.
Her father’s face was a cloak, mask and veil and brocades of livid and red, anger, indignation, betrayal, and rejection. And Haruhi ignored, to the best she could. Because it was hard, seeing her father like that. Mad. At her. On her wedding day.
“To the bride and groom,” Tamaki declared, raising up his glass, dizzy with champagne and slight remorse (drunk with something called hate).
Do you love him, do you even like him?
—Shut up.
“Did you say something, Haruhi?”
“No.” She beamed, crinkling her eyes like an old, wizened grandmother crow.
Love him, love him more. Love him really, true and far.
Yeah, right.
“To the bride and groom, to us,” she repeated (and mocked).
To a life never lived, a life never will. Pragmatism, her husband, lover, child one and all.
Like any good contractor, Kyouya knew the stakes through and through, and knew how to manipulate the other to suit him best.
And by marrying Haruhi, he made a good deal. An excellent deal. She got the money, all that she wanted. And he obtained a successful woman in the bargain, one who could hold her own.
And knew how to enchant, ensnare men too.
Business partners, rivals, and so on.
Kyouya gripped her hand (checking to see she was actually there, tangible and not a nightmarish fantasy).
Twenty-six, acrimony, irony and hot-blood curdled. Kyouya could feel his life slipping past, down a landside (or promontory or the ice-filled heart).
“Congratulations, little brother. You are now the heir.”
“Thank you,” Kyouya replied, detached and polite, like he always was (is).
And so, the brothers left, in defeat, wet and soaked in wine and years of worry-sweat—all for nothing, in vain. In vain, Kyouya thought. How he hated that word. Like honor or integrity. Ideas that no one cared. Vantage point and preemptive strikes, transparent and dangling in the air. For him to catch and stroke, make his own,
“You are most kind and judicious, Father.”
“It has nothing to do with wisdom or kindness.”
“Then why?”
“Proud, I guess. Proud of you most,” the father said (and the mother cried, behind his back, enshrouded in shadows—her entire life).
And it was only when he was stepping into the car that Kyouya realized: sarcasm blew around him tipsy-turvy (and his father’s cruel smirk etched on the inside walls of his skull).
ii. all work, no play made jack a dull boy
win and loss sometimes came
Some years later, when the last brandy drop had been drunk, and the cigarettes were no longer sweet but a dull aching pain buried under too-thick mucus and too-scarred tissue, Kyouya thought way, way back.
Back to when he (and she, The Wife) were still part of the Host Club, and the antics they shared. Engaged. Or rather, she did.
And he was thinking (why was there never enough liqueur?), wondering if he really missed out on something. Something paramount, irrefutable, and needed to make him whole.
But tonight was like any other night, and Kyouya drew nothing from memory, but learned—again & again—that memory was a perfidious lover. A paramour. Who never loved you back.
And he was thinking, this one too, what did he have left that was really left. And not a façade. And not a blank, eye-swirling wall.
He was late. And so, she sighed.
As was expected, as was the perfunctory response. Irritation, Haruhi no longer employed, but faineance. None of that wily, womanish chicanery. This was genuine, this was the Real Deal.
Their dinner had gone cold, but she didn’t care. She’d long since eaten, and this waiting (eternally) was all out of habit. And habits took a long time to die.
Perdurable, like diamonds.
And equally worthless too.
“Are you…?”
“I’m fine.”
“Okay. Not like, you’re trapped, right?”
“Trapped in what?”
“Nothing, Kyouya-senpai.”
In March, in the Year of Our Lord…
She had a daughter—a daughter who knew five fathers. And none of them her mother’s husband.
Tamaki (the pretentious fool) fawned and cooed, and resembled a hen. A fat, doting one that would be good served with sauce. He bought her presents and love. And caught Haruhi’s eye, and watched her mouth taut and grim, and nodding like approving.
“She is adorable. A born fashion starlet,” Kaoru joked.
“Oh yes, I can just see it. Wearing our designs and no one else’s, of course. Her name, Ohtori ----- in every single magazine. Can’t you just see it, Haruhi?”
“Yes. A born…”
A born child-whore.
“A born star,” she finished lamely. Without good grace or any of that. That what? —Shut up.
“Haru-chan, will ---- have a new brother? Boys are just as cute you know.”
“No, I don’t think so.”
And for some strange reason, Mori looked at her sad and empathetic. Almost like: the obvious thing being pointed out, what she should’ve gotten long before now.
Tossed and turned, a tempest smothered in a teacup.
Haruhi tossed, and Haruhi turned, but Haruhi was no brewing storm, and so she woke. Flicked on the light and said loud and clear: I can’t sleep.
“Well, that is evident,” Kyouya murmured.
“And what?”
“And nothing.”
Outside, the night turned itself into a drain and drowned out all noise. Summer was coming and there was no escape. Inside the drapes and willow-like curtains, Kyouya continued on sleeping.
Past the Ohtori mansion there was a pond, burnt with white light (in the summer) and reflected back all the colors in the world like a looking-glass. (Mirror, mirror.)
Haruhi, rubbing her belly—slightly swollen under her dress—stepped into the water lightly and withdrew her foot, laughing.
“What’s wrong?”
She turned to look at him and reached for him, opening her eyes wide like a fish.
“Nothing,” she said, “nothing at all.”
Above them, a bird looked down, looked down into nowhere.