Tamaki knows how to appreciate the important things in life, and so it is that he finds himself in love. Tamaki x Kyouya.
Notes: I've read far too much sad, unrequited Kyouya x Tamaki fic, and I wanted to try showing the pairing from Tamaki's point of view. I've been really interested in 2nd person POV lately, and though I've seen it done really well for Kyouya, I thought I'd try my hand with Tamaki as well. It can be difficult to get inside his head, but his subconscious might be a bit more perceptive than he outwardly shows.
One year for Maman's birthday you brought her a bouquet of wild flowers, all wrapped with a green bow. You clutched them in your tiny palms, pressing the bright mismatched petals under her nose. She sneezed, and the maid hurriedly took them out of your hands.
"I'm sorry, mon petit, but I'm terribly allergic," Maman said, wrapping you in her soft, comfortable arms. She wore no perfume, but the scent of her hair was the sweetest thing in the world. You clutched at the edges of her shawl, tears trickling down your face.
"I just wanted to get you the perfect present. Your paintings of flowers are always so pretty--" You sobbed, and she gently drew you away from her to look at your face. Her hand brushed your cheek, softer and lighter than silk or music or whipped cream melting on your tongue.
"It's enough for you to be here with me," she said, and her blue eyes were smiling. "Love is the best gift anyone can receive."
Your tears are forgotten as you laugh. "Maman, I want to make everyone happy!" You snuggled against her golden hair. "Don't tell, but I love you the best."
She smoothed your hair, which is just a shade darker than her own. "Ah, one day, cherie, you'll grow up, and find someone else you love even more than your mama, and you'll go to be with them."
"Never!" You shook your head, firmly, mussing the tresses she'd fixed into place. "I'll never leave you. Promise."
You're thinking about this as you sit in first class and the plane is high above the clouds. It's late and they said the jetlag is terrible, but you can't sleep.
The staff at your mansion in Japan are so nice, and they even buy a puppy for you. Shima-san is stern but you can tell that she's a good person. Somehow you can't find it in yourself to be too sad. You're disappointed that there isn't a kotatsu, but later you find your way to the piano room. The grand piano is so beautiful you're almost afraid to touch it. It's bigger than the one in your mother's house, but the same notes sound when the keys are pressed, and for the first time you feel that you can truly call this place home. Without even thinking about it, you start to play Debussy's "Clair de Lune." It was one of Maman's favorites, and the image of her gentle hands playing the song on the days when she felt well enough for music is clear in your mind.
"I see you found the piano, bocchama," Shima-san says from the doorway. You stand up and carefully push the bench into place before walking to her. She doesn't seem displeased. "I see you play as well as I've heard that your mother does." There is something like a smile to the lines around her eyes. For once you can't even think of anything to say.
"Tomorrow we will go to get you fitted for your school uniforms," Shima-san says, revealing the reason she was apparently looking for you. "You'll be attending the academy where your father is chairman, of course."
"School?" You've never been to a real school before, since you always had a private tutor. You hadn't been able to bear the time spent away from Maman.
Shima-san gives you a look of slight exasperation as she responds, "Yes, your tutor wrote and informed me that your studies have been excellent, and that your knowledge of written Japanese is enough that you should have no trouble in a school here."
You're nervous the first day, but you look forward to meeting kids your own age. With your charm and intelligence, you're sure they'll like you.
"Tamaki-bocchama does indeed have an unforgettable personality," Shima-san agrees, when you mention this to her.
Otou-san was worried about how well you'd adjust to a Japanese school, but you can't imagine why. The junior high administrator takes you into the staffroom and explains how it's an honor to have the chairman's son attending the school. You're about to say something in reply, but the door opens and two students walk in. They look so different from you, but they're as beautiful as the Asian prints that Otou-san brought for you one day when he visited in France. They're the class representative and vice rep, the top students in the class, and they both wear glasses. You greet the girl first, since that is the proper way to treat a lady. She blushes charmingly at your words, as pretty as the flower she's named after. But you mean everything you say.
You catch a glimpse of dark gray eyes behind the boy's glasses before he closes them in a smile.
"Why don't I give you a tour?" he asks. You're touched by his kindness, so you forget your initial thought that there is something frozen about his smile. His hand is cool and dry as he firmly accepts your handshake. It's not at all like Maman's touch, and you don't know why the thought crosses your mind. But you'd heard that you can tell a lot about a person by their handshake, and you're sure that Ohtori Kyouya will be a trustworthy friend.
As he shows you around the halls, you both make pleasant, idle conversation. You remember the way the iR/i's rolled clumsily off your tongue the first few days in Japan, so different from the throaty purr of your native language. But your companion doesn't seem to have any trouble understanding you, and you can't imagine his clear, composed voice in anything but Japanese. You're enjoying talking to him so much that you nearly forget the first question you wanted to ask until you're almost at the school's west wing.
"Do you have a kotatsu in your house?"
You're stunned, shocked when he says he doesn't. But your distress disappears when he suggests that he would have a kotatsu put in his home. Just for you! His shoulders are tense as you pull him into a hug, and you forget all the things Shima-san told you about the Japanese being a reserved people. But you're so happy at finding such a considerate friend.
You call him by his first name, and the foreign syllables are like a new musical piece that you've just discovered, strange but delightful to the ear. Your rambling drifts off into French with your excitement.
"Kyouya! Mon ami, mon bon ami!" You've only been at the school a few hours, and already you've found a best friend. He seems a bit flustered as he gives you the rest of the tour, but you're so delighted to find out that you have several classes together. Everyone seems so curious about you, that you neglect him just a bit to meet all these new people. Japanese girls are terribly cute, and the boys take to you as well. He's not in French with you, but the teacher stares at you in overwhelmed silence as you tell him about your native country in a perfect accent.
French is right before lunch, and you look for a pair of glasses and side-swept bangs among all the dark-haired heads and pale yellow uniforms. He sees you coming, but with your lighter hair and skin, it probably isn't difficult. As you sit down across from him, his smile looks like when you first met in the staffroom, a little too perfect to be real. His lunch is simple and traditional, while you packed your tray with each of the essential food groups and dessert. You get hungry when you're excited.
"Did you enjoy your French class, Suoh-kun?" he asks politely. You lean forward in your chair and clasp him on the shoulder.
"You don't have to be overly formal with me, Kyouya!" you exclaim, brandishing a pointer finger for emphasis. "As best friends, we must affirm the close and intimate connection between us with the use of casual language and first names!" You go back to buttering your croissant, humming happily and ignoring the whispers of students around you, while he slouches lower in his chair. Perhaps he has back problems, you observe.
That night, Otou-san calls to ask how your first day went. He apologizes for not being able to see you in person, but you excitedly tell him about the new friends you made already.
"And I met the wonderful Kyouya-kun, who promised to put a kotatsu in his house for me! A kotatsu, Tou-san! I can't wait to play mahjong--!"
"Kyouya-kun, you say?" Otou-san asks, interrupting you with his smooth voice. "What is his full name?"
"Ohtori Kyouya~!" You accentuate the syllables, stretching his first name to three. "He's a perfect gentleman, Tou-san! Except he takes German instead of French, which is unfortunately not as refined of a language, not quite as romantic."
"Ohtori-kun, eh." Once again your father ignores your rambling. "Well, I hope he will be a good friend for you. If he is as much of a gentleman as you say he is, perhaps he will keep my silly son in line."
In response to your annoyed protests, he laughs and hangs up.
Kyouya does indeed to turn out to be the most fantastic, caring, wonderful friend a guy could ask for. Or at least, this is what you tell him as his chauffeur drives you both to Kyoto on the weekend. You're trembling with excitement as you go from temple to temple, the dark-haired boy obediently following and answering your numerous questions with his native expertise. He seems to always be a few steps behind, yet you always check to be sure he's not too far away. The best things in life are meant to be shared.
The next few months almost make you forget your sadness at leaving France. There are so many places to explore and charmingly traditional foods to try, plays to see and anime shows to carefully scrutinize and then call Kyouya at ten at night to sob into the phone and leave him to figure out from your shaking voice the reason the dashing hero and the gracious but fragile heroine could not be together due to some tragic circumstance.
Eventually finals week approaches, and you start carefully studying your class notes. You've managed to do very well so far, second in your class only after Kyouya, without too much effort, but you understand the virtues of diligent effort and intellectual achievements. You tend to shift priorities fairly quickly and your attention span is short at best, so when Kyouya asks about your plans for visiting Hokkaido, you don't remember what he's talking about. It's only when you're on your way home, when Kyouya's shocked face and strained expression appears in your mind, do you understand.
You hurry through the entranceway of the mansion and skid against the floor as you turn into the kitchen. The second mansion personal chef looks at you in surprise, but you hurriedly tell him to prepare an abundance of confectionary treats. According to your highly specialized and thorough research (which consists of dramas, Japanese literature, and anime), Japanese families tend to be very large, so you think enough for twenty is probably a safe estimate. Before he can answer, you spin around and rush to your bedroom, taking the stairs two at a time. Antoinette was napping on your bed and barks happily as you head to your dressing room. You stop for a moment to scratch her behind the ears and murmur distractedly to her in French--you can't resist those lovely brown eyes for very long--but you quickly apologize and pick out the first decent outfit you can find in your closet.
"I must make amends with Kyouya for neglecting our plans!" you call to the puppy as you pull off your school uniform and get into jeans, a sleeveless graphic tee, and a pale blue hooded vest. "Friendships last a lifetime, while school is only a decade and a half!"
You take the package of cakes and tell the chauffeur to take you to the Ohtori home with the greatest haste legally possible. Although you're used to grand mansions and elegant Victorian architecture, the sleek modernity of the Ohtori compound seems more like an office building than a residence. Sitting on a lawn chair in front of the home reading a book is a woman with the same black hair and deep gray eyes as Kyouya. You bow and introduce yourself, taking her hand in your own. "It is delightful to meet one of Kyouya's esteemed and radiant siblings," you say. She giggles appreciatively.
"Oh, so you're Kyouya-kun's new friend," she says. "My name is Fuyumi, Kyouya-kun's older sister. I'm very pleased to meet you, Suoh-kun."
"Please, call me Tamaki-kun." If all of Kyouya's family members are as lovely and kind as Fuyumi-san, you can see why he would develop such gracious manners and considerate personality.
"You brought a present, how thoughtful!" Fuyumi-san says, taking your arm. "Please do come inside. I'll show you to Kyouya-kun's room. He's probably studying right now."
The house is just as sleek on the inside. The walls are white, and you turn your head at a glimpse of color to see a painting of a purple flower within an intricate, gilded frame. You can't get a closer look because Fuyumi-san touches you on the hand to indicate you're in front of Kyouya's bedroom. As she reaches for the knob, you hear a crash coming from inside.
"Oh my," Fuyumi-san says quietly, then knocks and opens the door.
"Kyouya-kun, are you all right?" she asks. You hear an angry response in Kyouya's voice, though you're sure you must be mistaken about either the voice or the tone.
"Your friend is here." She pulls the door open all the way, and you're already grinning and saying a hello in French before you see his face. His eyes are wide, and he looks as if he's just been dunked in ice water. His face is utterly still as you apologize for the unexpected visit, and Fuyumi calls a maid to bring tea for the both of you.
"I'll leave you boys to chat, then," Fuyumi-san says and closes the door behind her. Kyouya's face doesn't change as he accepts the package of cake. He seats himself on the couch in the center of the room, as white as the walls. You take the opportunity to examine his room. It has two levels, a lower sitting area which contains a sofa and table, and an upper level which he probably sleeps in. The windows reach from the floor to the ceiling and let in the late afternoon sunlight, casting half of the room in shadow. It feels impossibly large, this house, and if you sit still you might just lose yourself. The two of you make quite a contrast--Kyouya, sitting still on the sofa and leaving his tea untouched in his hand, and you, a splash of color in that cold monochrome room, constantly moving across the room.
He laughs, but the sound is hollow. "I'm sure the Suoh mansion is much bigger."
You stop, just a moment, to look at him. "I've never been to the main house," you say. He doesn't reply, but finally lifts the teacup to his mouth. A photograph--oh, you do love photographs--sits on a shelf among potted plants and various metal sculptures. You bring the photograph with you to the couch and sit down on the opposite side of Kyouya. He doesn't say anything as you look at the picture. It shows the Ohtori family. A stern, dignified looking father, two pleasant and intelligent-looking but forgettable older brothers, Fuyumi the older sister, and Kyouya, the youngest. His smile in the picture is like it was the day you met, almost too symmetrical to be real. You can see his eyes clearly in the photo, and they are as cold as his smile. Something clicks into place, and you understand.
You lean towards him slightly. "So will you be the heir to your family's business?" He looks up and ahead of him, his face half in light and half shaded. "Of course not. I'll be working under my two older brothers."
"Oh, that's surprising. I thought you wanted more." You look at his face in the photo, and then up at his real one, which seems surprised. His eyes are darker behind his glasses than you've ever seen them, but you look directly into them, noting the wary crease in his brow. "Because your eyes don't show any satisfaction now." They widen, just slightly, and you know you're right.
First student in his class, the one who made your first year at Ouran so enjoyable. You realize that he was never quite what you thought he was, but you can't help poking, trying to understand. "You give up easier than I thought you would."
"Giving up isn't the problem," he responds, looking away from you again. His hand is clenched where it lies against his knee. "It's already been decided." You know what hopelessness sounds like, and you want him to realize there is more to life than this, more than this competition over entitlements. Self-worth shouldn't be measured by birth order.
"Someone like you who will be the natural heir couldn't possibly understand." It comes out of his mouth in a rush, and he immediately covers his mouth in shock. But it might be the first genuine thing he's ever said to you.
As you explain that your status isn't yet decided, and surprise yourself at the frankness of how you talk about your situation, you quickly get carried away with all the opportunities in life that are open to you even without your grandmother's blessing.
And then he's turning over the table with a curse, and you're pushed roughly to the floor. "Why don't you make an effort to be appreciated?" He's yelling at you now, and his voice is harsh, bitter, so different from the way you've always heard it. Why are you giving up so easily?" His hands are warm and shaking as he grips your shoulders, the fingertips digging in painfully.
"You're not like me!" There's an angry red flush to his face, and all you can do is stare at him at he lets out his bitterness, his disappointment. "You can go to the top if you try hard enough!" You've never had someone's feelings flung in your face like this, from a person who seemed so calm and unaffected, and even though you realize the sham of his kindness to you, you want to reach out and help him overcome his hardship.
"You're the one giving up without trying." Your voice is more serious than it's perhaps ever been, as if with the sheer force of your words you can lift away his burdens. He can only stare at you in silence as if seeing you for the first time, lips slightly parted, while the thin carpet presses into your back. His hand rests lightly against your neck.
You can see the understanding dawn in his eyes, and you know that somehow you managed to get through to him.
"By the way, Kyouya, where's your kotatsu?" You can pretend that was the real reason you came. "I thought you might have it ready by now."
And suddenly he's laughing, trying in vain to contain it beneath his hand. "Oh, do you have it hidden somewhere?"
He hits you in the back of the head, and grins at you. "A kotatsu is only used in winter, baka." There's something scary about his smile, but it's perhaps the most wonderful thing you've ever seen in this country.
"So that's what your real face looks like," you say, and smile in return. Without even really meaning to, you managed to find the cracks in his mask and push it away. He later assures you that he won't give up, not as long as he has the chance to succeed. There's no mistaking the passion that awoke in those dark grays, and you find yourself drawn to him, even moreso this time now that you know his true self. You hope to be real friends this time, and once you've made your decision, you'll never let him fall.