Hey, it's been a while. I want to let you know that I changed my username. "Arcane" is the name of my character in an original story. Because I don't want to use her name, I chose a username that I'm comfortable with ^^
Anyways, I want to thank my friend for beta reading this. They told me that the hosts often use female pronouns for Haruhi when they're around other guests, which isn't ideal if they're trying to keep her gender secret.
There are a few other things I'd like to address before you read:
1. In the last chapter, the fourth wall took huge hits, and obviously the characters realize they're in a revised version of their story. Why is that? Ok, think of it as New Game+ in a video game: only certain things you gained in your first save file will be carried into a new one. For example, Nozomi said that she remembers this story is a boy's love story, but she doesn't remember who the main characters are.
2. Using scenes from both the anime and the manga was my intention for this rewrite, and so far, it's going really well. At first, I used the dialogue from the sub version of the anime and a bit of dialogue from the manga, but then I changed to the dialogue from the dub version in Chapter 3. I feel bad for confusing you guys.
I'm not going to write entire episodes anymore, either. From now on, I'm going to write shorter chapters, which should make it easier for me to get updates out. Sorry for this T.T
I'm very proud of this story, and I still like Ouran to this day, so I want this story to keep going. It makes me very happy to see all of you still like my story, too.
Well, you guys, I hope you enjoy the chapter!
Susumu always felt nervous as he walked alone through the hallways, with no other people around to see or listen to the worrying things that could happen in a dark corner or in a secluded section of the school.
His old teachers often told the students that school was a safe place to speak, and that students were free to talk to a counselor or teacher if there was a problem at home.
Well, the trouble wasn't at home; it was here that some students have been targeting Susumu since the day he entered school last year. He had to watch his back wherever he went, in case the boys from his class ever decided to gang up on him. Lately they'd only been mocking him for being poor or knocked his books down, or finding other ways to humiliate him.
Susumu knew this one guy, Takeuchi Akihiko, who had a routine of criticizing his clothing, making himself feel good about being richer than those less fortunate. He'd insulted him just a while ago, and on the same day Susumu smacked his own face into his homeroom class's door. Akihiko and his friends had laughed at him. He had heard that other classmates were laughing, too. Even if neither Tamaki nor Kyoya had brought up the incident, Susumu had the impression that they thought it funny, sad or pathetic.
He recalled running, too, hiding in the bathroom while he cried, looking at his own reflection that he hated seeing so much.
Susumu stopped walking, shook his head to forget it, and turned right, taking a different route to the clubroom than his usual one.
The brunet looked nervously over his shoulder, believing he had heard footsteps behind him. Susumu recognized the dark-haired boy from his class, who also noticed him. He called over his friends.
Susumu bolted up a flight of stairs and raced to get away from the boys chasing him, yelling at him to stop running. Ducking into the nearest boy's bathroom, he hid in the stall, locked the door, and sat down on the toilet seat, lifting his legs up to hide his presence there. Susumu held his books close, gazing intently at the closed stall door, waiting for the boys to come in.
"He'd better be in here, Akihiko," the brunet heard a boy complaining. "Why the hell are we looking for him, anyway?"
"That little shit was with Eriko!" Susumu heard Akihiko grabbing the other boy by his shirt, shouting in his face.
Susumu met Miyano Eriko earlier. She was at the flower viewing reception with a black-haired girl. She was the one who he'd met with earlier to give her the drawing she'd requested. After, the brunet had been caught in an embrace of gratitude and strawberry-scented shampoo. Susumu had no idea Eriko was Akihiko's girlfriend!
Typically, Susumu didn't give guests requests outside the club, but Eriko had said she couldn't make it to the Host Club today. She'd asked Susumu to meet her directly. Had Akihiko been asking Eriko about their meeting?
"I saw them together," Akihiko shouted, kicking one of the stall doors open, "he's gonna get it for coming onto my girlfriend!"
"What- you think Fujioka made the moves on her?" the other boy asked Akihiko.
"Yeah, I don't see it," the second guy said.
Susumu could see Akihiko's feet from under the door of the stall he was in.
"Come on, man, he's not in here. Let's go."
Akihiko groaned, but he listened, stepping away from Susumu's stall. The boys left, allowing Susumu to exit the bathroom safely and head to the clubroom.
Susumu tried to concentrate on serving the guests who had been entertained by the other hosts, leaving him as the only person walking around with a trolley holding snacks and drinks.
Nothing much happened at the club today. It was a busy day that kept the brunet too busy to worry about Akihiko, or what his friends would do to him the next time they saw him.
"Hey Susumu!" The brunet's head snapped up when he heard his friend, Nozomi, calling him.
He moved the cart to the table where Nozomi was sitting.
"You're busier than usual," his friend said.
Susumu sighed. "Yeah, the others got requested. I'm the only one serving the guests." He set down the tray on the round table, and picked up the teapot, holding the lid as he poured Nozomi a cup.
"That's not fair," Nozomi complained, resting her cheeks on her palms, watching him pour the tea. "Why isn't Haruhi here?" She looked around for Susumu's sister.
"Haruhi has probably lost track of time." Susumu finally set the teapot on the tray. "She's in the library." With his back turned to her, he asked her about which cake she'd like to have today.
"Hmm, maybe chocolate."
"I'll get it for you."
He then served her a piece of chocolate strawberry cake.
"You know, Haruhi's a lot like Aki." Nozomi brought the fork to her mouth, savouring the delicious frosting that she'd chosen to eat first. She loved the cakes that they served at the club. She continued to speak with her mouth full, "Aki thinks studying is more important than fun, too. She's studying with her boyfriend, Tetsuya, right now. I didn't want her forcing me to sit through another math lesson so I left. This cake is so good. Did you make this, Susumu?"
Susumu had been organizing the dirty dishes piled on the trolley while he listened to her, making another pile for the new ones he'd picked up. He'd been washing the dishes, too, on top of the extra work he'd already been doing. "No, I didn't. Not this one, anyway. I can make you some cake next time."
"It would be amazing!" The brunette was very willing to try any new dish her friend made. Heck, she'd once volunteered to be a taste tester after finding out how good at baking he was. Nozomi was even more delighted that he was making it specially for her. What a great friend she had! "Can I get more of this one?"
While he served his guest more dessert, she started to discuss the latest shoujo manga she was reading, avoiding spoiling it for him. "I'll let you read it," Nozomi said right before she turned her focus to the twins, standing in front of the two ladies sitting on the sofas, putting on matching green caps as they told their guests, "Let's all play the 'Which One is Hikaru' Game!"
Curious about their little game, Nozomi got up from her seat and dragged Susumu over there, not urging him to participate but observe.
Susumu was not particularly interested in watching the twins play a game with their guests. He wouldn't call it stupid, but he didn't think it was fun to watch. His attention was drifting across the hosts and the many guests in the clubroom, landing on his sister as she finally entered.
Susumu greeted Haruhi with a smile, asking her about the time she spent in the library.
"It was loud, as usual," his sister grumbled, trying to ignore the chatter in the room. Haruhi looked at the twins playing the game with their guests. "What's going on here?"
"The twins made up a game. You have to tell them apart to win," Susumu told her.
"That's the dumbest game I've ever heard of," Haruhi said, rolling her eyes.
While the three kept talking, the twins' game had finished. The Hitachiin brothers approached the trio without the caps on. They'd apparently overheard their conversation.
"Apparently, you don't understand the merits of having a pair of twins as members of the host club," Hikaru said. "Listen up! Having a couple of good-looking guys with homosexual tendencies earns the club high points."
"Oh," Nozomi's eyes glinted, her attention latching onto the last thing Hikaru had said. "A lot of people like slash ships."
"Right, Nozomi-senpai," Koaru agreed. "And in our case, because we're twins, our relationship is taboo and therefore more intriguing."
"Hikaru, Kaoru!" Tamaki stomped over to them, holding a laptop. "When I gave you control of the club's website, I did so on the condition that you take it seriously!"
"We take our job very seriously, boss," Hikaru said.
"In fact, last night we worked on it till dawn," Koaru added.
"Is this what you worked so hard to create?!" Tamaki shouted, showing them the laptop with Haruhi on the screen, shirtless, her hands rested on her hips.
Haruhi gaped at the picture of her face photoshopped onto a shirtless man's body.
Nozomi shook her head, resting one hand on her right hip. "Tamaki, why are you so upset about this? You know this was photoshopped."
"I know it was!" the blond shouted. "They need to take their responsibilities more seriously!"
"We did a pretty good job, huh?"
"We've got some major photoshopping talent!"
"You idiots! That's a waste of your skills! Have you no shame?!"
"Cut it out, you guys," Haruhi snapped at the twins. "No more making weird pictures of me, got that?" She glared at the twins. "Just what do you guys take me for, anyway?"
"Isn't that obvious?" the twins smirked. "You're our toy."
"I'm not your toy!" she shouted.
"You want a toy?"
The gang glanced at the cloaked boy poking his head through a crack in the mysterious door. "If you like toys, then you should come and visit my black magic club. We've opened a marketplace that boasts black magic items from across the globe. We're also holding mass around the clock." He showed them a cat puppet. "If you visit right now, I'll even throw in a free curse doll. You could have Belzenef as your free gift."
"Why is he talking to us through a crack in the door?" Haruhi wondered.
Her brother was more curious about how that door suddenly appeared as if it was always there.
Kyoya, busy writing in his notebook, walked over to the group and explained to them to relieve any confusion. "Nekozawa-senpai likes to hide, he doesn't really care for brightly-lit places."
"Oh, so that's it," said Susumu, taking a step away from the dark-haired boy, closer to his sister.
"Don't get involved with that guy," Tamaki whispered in a ghostly tone from behind them, scaring Haruhi and her brother. "If you do, you'll end up being cursed."
"Do you have any basis for that?" Haruhi asked, shaking.
"It happened during final exams at the end of the last school year," Tamaki said, beginning his story. "Oooh, it's terrifying just to talk about it. On that fateful day, I accidentally stepped on that weirdo Nekozawa's cursed doll, Belzenef. Afterward, I took my exam and the entire test was written in some strange lettering. I looked at the others around me for help and I realized I knew none of them. I was all alone in a different dimension."
"Did that really happen to you?" Haruhi asked.
"It couldn't have happened, right?" Susumu asked, a little shaken up.
"That only happened because you were so scared you accidentally walked into the beginning Greek class and took their exam," Kyoya explained.
"No! It was a curse!" Tamaki shouted at his best friend. "I know because three days later, I woke up and my legs were as heavy as lead! Just how do you explain that?"
"Your legs were heavy because you ran a marathon the day before, remember?"
"You shouldn't underestimate the dark powers of Belzenef, the curse doll," Nekozawa said, sneaking up behind them. "All you have to do is write the name of someone you hate on his back, then that person is certain to come face to face with misfortune."
"Wow, this guy really is dark, in more ways than one," Hikaru said.
"Supposedly he hates bright lights. I wonder what he'll think of this," Koaru said, smirking deviously. He held up a flashlight, and flashed the light on Nekozawa.
"You murderers!" Nekozawa cried, running to the door, and into his club room.
"How on earth could you do such a thing?" Tamaki shrieked. "Obviously the two of you don't know the true terror of black magic!"
The twins walked past Tamaki. "I am so bored."
"Isn't there anything fun we can do around here?"
"My dignity as the club's leader is being ignored," Tamaki sulked, making Haruhi sigh.
"Hey Haruhi, Susumu-senpai, we've got a favor to ask," the twins called in a bored manner.
"What is it?" Haruhi asked, having had enough of their antics.
"The next time we get a day off-"
"-can we come over to your place to hang out?"
Susumu looked at them. "Why do you want to visit our place?"
"We're curious. We want to see where you live," the twins answered.
"No," Haruhi said.
"Aw, pretty please?"
"No way. You guys are just gonna make fun of us."
"No matter how much we beg you?"
"No. Way," Haruhi said firmly.
The twins looked at Susumu.
Susumu shook his head. "Haruhi already made up her mind."
"I too have been thinking that it's about time I pay my respects to our beloved Haruhi, and our sweet Susumu's family," Tamaki said.
"No way in hell, Senpai," Haruhi snapped.
"We can settle this with a game, Haruhi." The twins placed their green caps on their heads. "If you can't pick out which one of us is Hikaru, then your penalty will be the two of us coming to your house later tonight."
Before Haruhi could protest over playing their stupid game, the twins had already switched places many times before stopping. "Okay, so which one of us is Hikaru?"
Haruhi pointed to the twin on her left. "This one's Koaru." She pointed to the twin on her right. "And this one's Hikaru."
"Uh oh, you got it wrong!"
"No, I know I'm right," Haruhi said to them. "You guys may look alike, but you're very different."
The twins blinked in surprise.
"How did you do that, Haruhi-kun?" asked a guest.
"How can you tell them apart?" another guest asked.
"Well, how do I put it?" Haruhi thought it over, putting a finger under her chin. "It's kinda difficult to explain, but Hikaru's speech and actions make him come across a little more mischievous than Koaru."
Koaru burst into laughter. "I'm sorry, Hikaru, I don't mean to laugh!"
"Well, I don't see what's so funny. I'm honest, I speak my mind, and I don't hold back. It's sneaky people like Kaoru who are the troublemakers," Hikaru said, causing Koaru to stop laughing.
"Don't turn this on me, Hikaru," Koaru argued. "After all, I'm the one who's always going along with all of your selfish games."
"I may suggest them, but you are the one who really gets into them, Koaru," Hikaru shot back. "If you hate it so much, then why don't you just stop?"
"Because I'd hate to see you make an ass of yourself in front of everyone." Koaru glared at his brother. "It was your idea to call Haruhi our toy, but I noticed you were quick to make a pass at him. Admit it, Hikaru, you're actually in love with Haruhi, aren't you?"
Hikaru's face turned red, and he glanced at Haruhi.
"You've got it all wrong, Koaru!" Hikaru protested. "Man, you're such a freaking idiot! Why would I fall for her? I mean, she looks like a tanuki!"
"Don't call Haruhi a tanuki!"
"Awesome, this is just perfect." The motor sound erupting in the room drew people's attention onto Renge spinning on the platform. "Our beloved Haruhi is in the middle of a beautiful yet poignant four-sided romantic relationship. And to make it even more exciting, two of Haruhi's admirers are twins, torn apart by love."
"Yeah, but Haruhi isn't one of the main characters," Nozomi pointed out. "We know they're males, we just need to find out who they are!"
"Ah, yes," Renge agreed, "everyone wants to know which of the many handsome men in our story are the main characters. Just thinking about it could make me eat three bowls of rice!"
"Butt out Otaku and Fujoshi," the twins snapped.
"You guys are meanies!" Renge cried. "You shouldn't say that stuff to your manager!"
"But Renge, I thought you had feelings for Susumu?" Tamaki asked.
"Oh, I do," Renge said, glancing at the boy who claimed her heart. "No one is after Senpai, so I have a chance! Hi, Senpai!"
Susumu waved at her shyly, then he looked away.
"Cut it out, already!"
Everyone looked at the twins arguing.
"You're the one who's always crawling into my bed! Talk about annoying!" Hikaru shouted.
"I only do that 'cause you look lonely!" Koaru shouted back. "I wouldn't choose to sleep in your bed, you idiot!"
"Who are you calling an idiot?! You're the one who sucks at math!"
"Oh yeah?! Well, you're the one failing your foreign language class, you big dummy!"
"The way you grind your teeth is definitely-"
"At least I don't toss and turn so much that I fall out of bed!"
"Your Okaa-san wears too much make-up!" they shouted at the same time. "That's it! We're over!"
This isn't good, Susumu thought, watching the twins storm off in opposite directions.