Author's Notes: This chapter is the last one I will be posting of this story until I have finished writing Heart of Glass, Heart of Stone, as this story takes place after that one. Also, if you are reading that story, you may want to hold off on reading this chapter because there are spoilers in it for the end of that story. I simply wanted to get this chapter out there so readers are aware of a certain important aspect of this story's plot. Consider yourself warned.
"Welcome back, everyone!" Tamaki greeted his fellow Host Club members as he entered the Third Music Room, arms outstretched as if expecting them all to run to him and hug him. When he received no reply, he cracked open a single blue eye to survey his surroundings. Kyouya was standing over by one of the windows at the far end of the room, quietly talking on his cell phone. Meanwhile, the twins had Haruhi seated between them on one of the sofas, showing her all the souvenirs they had purchased during their trip to Tahiti.
Haruhi was the first of them to notice his presence, her face lighting up with a smile as she waved to him in greeting. Tamaki felt his heart start racing the way it always did when she smiled at him, and raised his hand to return the gesture just as someone came up behind him.
"Tama-chan, you're blocking the doorway," scolded a childlike voice.
Tamaki turned around and blinked in surprise at the sight before him: Honey and Mori were both there, dressed in their old high school uniforms. Honey giggled at the confused expression on the Host King's face, hugging his pink bunny tightly to his chest, while Mori simply stared, as stoic as ever.
"M-Mori-senpai? Honey-senpai? What are you two doing here?" he asked, taking a step backward when Honey began skipping past him into the room.
"We came to have cake!" Honey announced as he plopped himself down into a chair next to the sofa where the twins and Haurhi were sitting, with Mori taking a standing position behind his chair.
"Why are you wearing those uniforms, though?" Hikaru asked.
"You two already graduated," Kaoru pointed out.
Honey pouted and looked down at his outfit. "I like this uniform. Besides, it wouldn't be fair to the rest of you if we were to wear whatever we want when you all have to wear your uniforms. Right, Takashi?"
"Un," came Mori's reply.
"But," Haurhi interjected, "don't you two have other things to do? Like studying for your classes or participating in various university clubs or activities?" She just couldn't understand why they would want to come back to the Host Club day after day now that they were finally able to put it behind them.
"The classes of the first-year university curriculum are mostly just general education courses," Kyouya stated, tucking his phone away in the inside pocket of his blazer as he walked over to where they were all sitting. "It would be no great stretch for Honey-senpai and Mori-senpai to keep up with the rest of their classmates, even if they spend a few hours a day here. Besides, our customer base would shrink by nearly thirty-five percent if they were to stop coming."
Haruhi rolled her eyes a bit before turning her attention back to the various gifts the twins had brought for her. Leave it to Kyouya to only be concerned with the bottom line. She had a feeling, though, that he hadn't actually been the one to convince them to keep coming to the Host Club. Tamaki had thrown a particularly large tantrum at the end of the previous term, lamenting the loss of two of their 'most precious family members.' She was a bit annoyed that his antics had worked in convincing them to keep coming, but part of her was also secretly happy because they were all friends and she otherwise would have never gotten a chance to see them.
"Are you done talking to your girlfriend already, Kyouya-senpai?" the twins asked in a teasing tone of voice, pulling Haruhi's attention back to the Shadow King.
Kyouya quietly cleared his throat and averted his gaze from the twins, who were grinning at him like a pair of Cheshire cats. Haruhi noticed the faintest of blushes coloring his cheeks, and bit her lip to keep from laughing.
"I don't know what you're talking about," he said as he pretended to brush some lint from his jacket, denying the fact that he even had a girlfriend.
"Oh, come now, Kyouya," Tamaki said, going over and putting an arm around his shoulders. "We all know you spent the last week in California with Miku."
"You... What... How?" Kyouya stammered, his grey eyes going wide behind his glasses. The twins snickered.
"We have our ways," Hikaru said, he and his brother both craning their necks to look at Kyouya over the back of the sofa.
"You're not the only one with connections, you know," Kaoru added.
"Alright, fine," Kyouya conceded, pushing his glasses up the bridge of his nose. "Yes, I spent the last week with Miku. Yes, I was just on the phone with her. And yes, she is my girlfriend – but I do not want a word of that to get out to our customers. Understood?"
He cast a rather pointed look at the twins, who nodded in understanding, before turning to glare at Tamaki. The blonde merely grinned at him.
"Tamaki?" he prompted.
"Yes?" Tamaki replied, oblivious to the threat in his best friend's voice.
"Promise me you won't go blabbing to the customers about my relationship with Miku," he requested, the sincerity in his voice taking them all by surprise.
"Why don't you want them to know?" Haruhi asked quietly. "Are you afraid it will affect the club's bottom line, or are you ashamed to admit you're dating someone who used to be a commoner?"
Kyouya sighed deeply and pinched the bridge of his nose between two fingers.
"I'm going to pay for that comment for the rest of my life, aren't I?" he said under his breath, recalling the show he'd put on the first time Miku had visited the Host Club in an attempt to keep her from getting her hopes up about him. Unfortunately, it had backfired – in more ways than one – and over the months following that incident he ended up falling in love with her.
"While I admit that our bottom line is of great import to me," he told them, "I'm actually more concerned about her. You know how obsessive some of our customers can be. If they were to find out one of us was dating, the significant other might end up becoming the target of harassment. She's been through enough hardship lately without having to worry about that."
"Hmm," the twins hummed thoughtfully.
"Who'd have ever thought we'd see the day," Kaoru mused.
"Kyouya-senpai actually caring about someone else, for a change," Hikaru added.
"I promise I won't say anything, Kyouya," Tamaki said, smiling and patting him on the back.
"Good," Kyouya said, his tone turning business-like once more. "Our customer should start coming soon, so everyone should begin preparations for their arrival."
"Yes, sir!" cried the twins and Honey, jumping to their feet and saluting him before rushing off to prepare the various refreshments they would offer to their first customers of the new term.
Haruhi sighed and began picking up the mess the twins had left behind, placing each of the numerous gifts they had brought for her back into the large shopping bag they had been presented to her in. Tamaki joined her and she started slightly in surprise at his sudden presence.
"Sorry," he apologized with a small smile. "I didn't mean to startle you."
"It's okay," she said, then went back to silently packing the souvenirs away.
"Did you have a pleasant break?" he asked her after a moment, casting a glance in her direction.
"It was fine," she told him.
"Did you do anything fun?" he asked, in reply.
"I guess," she said, shrugging. She hoped he didn't ask for details. After all, she had spent the greater part of her break at home, missing the Host Club – especially him. Not that she would ever admit that to him, even if he did ask for details.
Luckily, she was spared any further questioning by the sound of the double doors of the music room opening. It was still a bit early, but since it was the first day of the new term she supposed that the regular customers would be especially eager to patronize the Host Club once more. However, when she looked up to see who had entered the room, she didn't find a familiar face.
"Ah!" she heard the twins gasp behind her, and looked over her shoulder to find them standing with their eyes wide and mouths hanging open in shock.
Two pairs of footsteps sounded in unison as the first customers of the new term entered the room. Hikaru and Kaoru remained frozen in place as they observed the owners of the footsteps who were now approaching them: Two girls, both with long blonde hair, fair skin, and hazel eyes – just as identical as they were.
"Do you know each other?" Haruhi asked Hikaru and Kaoru, looking from them to the twin girls and back again.
"We've met," Hikaru and Kaoru replied.
"Welcome," Kyouya greeted the two girls, walking up to them before they reached Hikaru and Kaoru. "You must be the Murai sisters."
"You knew about them?" Hikaru asked, annoyed.
"Of course," Kyouya told him, looking at him over his shoulder before opening his notebook and reading an entry from the page. "Sara and Lia Murai-Granier. Their mother is Tomoko Murai, current head of the Murai tea dynasty, and their father is Jean-Pierre Granier, owner of several resorts along the French Riviera and the Mediterranean coast. They grew up in France, but their mother decided to send them to Japan for high school in order to give them a better understanding of the culture and their own Japanese heritage."
"Why didn't you tell us this before?" Kaoru asked.
"How was I to know they would become our customers?" Kyouya asked, snapping his notebook shut in one hand and turning his head to look at them. "Furthermore, how was I to know you had previously met one another?"
"Well," Kaoru said, crossing his arms over his chest. "I guess it makes sense now."
"But which one is the sweet one, and which one is the bitch?" Hikaru asked, his posture mirroring his twin's.
"Excuse me?" one of the girls asked indignantly, taking them by surprise. They knew the girls must both speak fluent French, but they hadn't expected either of them to be very fluent in Japanese.
"Lia, calm down, please," the other girl begged her sister, resting a hand gently upon her arm.
"Calm down?" Lia repeated, the volume of her voice steadily increasing. "He called me a bitch, Sara!"
"I'm sure he didn't mean it-"
"I knew it was a bad idea to come here," Lia cut her off, turning to her and shaking a finger in her face. "I only agreed to do it because you wanted to come see the one you met on the beach."
Sara's face immediately turned a deep shade of pink and she quietly glanced right at Kaoru before averting her gaze downward, allowing her long hair to hide her face from him. She reached out with one hand and grabbed her sister's hand, pulling her close and whispering something to her which caused Lia to sigh heavily before nodding and turning to face Hikaru and Kaoru.
"I apologize for my outburst. I realize I probably came across as a bit... bad-tempered, the last time we met. I apologize for that, as well."
"I accept your apology," Hikaru told her, his arms still crossed over his chest. Kaoru jabbed him in the side with his elbow, and he looked over to find him nodding toward the girl as he mouthed, 'Apologize to her.' With an annoyed sigh, he turned back and put on his best smile.
"I would also like to apologize," he said, reluctantly. "I have a habit of being a bit pushy. If I made you feel uncomfortable the last time we met... I'm sorry."
"Well, now!" Tamaki said, coming up behind the girls and putting an arm around each of their shoulders. "Since we've all made nice, why don't you princesses stay and be our guests this afternoon? We have many varieties of tea and cake, of you can have coffee if you prefer."
"What do you say, Lia?" Sara asked, giving her sister a hopeful look. "Shall we stay for a bit?"
Lia turned to her Sara, her mouth set in a deep scowl, but the way she was silently pleading with her eyes to stay made her give in. With another heavy sigh, she closed her eyes and nodded in agreement.
"Wonderful!" Tamaki exclaimed, clapping his hands together and grinning. "Welcome to the Ouran Host Club!"