First Impressions

by karinarios

Prologue: Kyouya Knows Best

[31 March 2011] I wanted to do something light, just to balance my crazy RL. And since I think we'll all agree Ouran is the anime to write something fun for… Haven't seen it in a while though, so this might be a bit off. Still, hope you like it. [Please read in ½.]

Just a warning though. I'm trying to experiment with the POV. Meshing that with my naturally warped writing style might be a bit difficult to swallow for readers who read only good writing. AND! I'm sort of writing this as I go. Ha. ::P

Disclaimer:

I do not own Ouran High School Host Club; the whole concept belongs to Hatori Bisuko-sensei.

This fanfic is based on the anime.

Summary:

Suou Tamaki is rich, handsome and brilliant, but he has the misfortune of always dating women he can't handle. When his resolves to set his standards lower, he aims his target on a seemingly simple-minded waitress at Ouran Corner. But Fujioka Haruhi is not who he thinks she is.

Prologue: Kyouya Knows Best

16 July

Saturday

The Ouran Tea and Coffee Corner had debuted to rave reviews the previous week, causing the deluge of customers that was now mildly chattering in 300 sq meters worth of prime commercial space, meticulously sampling the cappuccino that was rumored to be the best in all of Shibuya. Couples in varying degrees of compatibility were strategically scattered across the establishment – the braver ones joining hands over tables by the door, the pairs preferring privacy whispering sweet nothings in secluded booths near the back of the shop. Even Tokyo celebrities had come to confirm the validity of the delicious rumors brewing around the Ouran name. It could be sworn the man with the austere all-black outfit, seated on a corner table and hiding behind the latest issue of Newsweek, was the infamous psychic researcher, Oliver Davis. And the famous leading lady Mogami Kyouko was paparazzi-shot squealing over a slice of tiramisu, betraying her enforced rabbit food diet of five years, as her on- and off-screen partner Tsuruga Ren smiled at her antics most contentedly.

It could be argued, however, that the most conspicuous customers of the shop at the moment were two dashing young men seated by the bay window on the far left corner of the room. Clothed in elegant silk dress shirts, their dark trousers spotless, leather shoes reflective, they magnetized the stares of the female customers and even some of the staff, much to the irritation of some competitive males in the immediate vicinity. Though both seemed aware of the appreciation they were being paid, however, they merely went on with their conversation as though only the two of them existed. This did not, in any way, lessen the volume of the attention they were receiving – quite the contrary.

The blond seemed the more congenial of the two, as proven by his twinkling cornflower blue eyes, which adequately completed the rather comical figures he drew in the air while speaking. His bespectacled, dark-haired companion, the image of a typical Japanese gentleman with the freebie of the enigmatic aura of danger he emanated, was merely sipping his chrysanthemum tea in silence, a perpetual faint smile plastered on his smooth, even features. Putting his teacup down, the pale china clinking pleasantly, Ootori Kyouya sighed imperceptibly and sneaked a glance at the downtown intersection beyond the window. He had a hunch he knew exactly why Suou Tamaki had brought him here, of all places… and the prospect did not please him.

"You're not even listening to me."

Kyouya blinked, shoulders tensing, as he smoothly turned to meet his companion's gaze. Tamaki was looking at him with his version of a glare, pouting almost childishly, his eyelids drooping in an angle calculated to induce pity. "And I was just getting to the good part…"

Eyebrows twitching, Kyouya evenly replied, "Tamaki. Do you seriously expect me to believe you're interested in sky diving? Because in case you've forgotten, you once refused to get on that roller coaster in Hong Kong-"

"It was on the edge of a mountain, Kyouya!" Tamaki rebutted passionately, leaning forward in his haste. "And besides, I'm not joking about this. I'm even planning to have the plane out next weekend so I can test dive-"

"What I mean to say is," Kyouya interrupted calmly, "do you really expect me to believe you called me all the way here just to talk to me about sky diving?" He cocked his head. "Sky diving. Seriously?"

Tamaki's nostrils flared. Muttering unintelligibly under his breath, he appeared to be mouthing a sentence with the words 'smart' and 'good'. Watching his friend struggle, Kyouya smiled blandly.

"Just talk, Tamaki." The smile widened, not brightening. "Why are you wasting my time?"

Holding his breath for a second, Tamaki shut his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose. Making a show of clearing his throat, he casually stated, "So I broke up with Sonoko last night." A brief flick of his eyes confirmed Kyouya's expectedly controlled reaction. "I ended things over dinner." A pause. "She tried to cook shrimps."

Reaching over for his tea, Kyouya almost vacantly asked his friend, "Why? She was… enthusiastic."

Raising a skeptical eyebrow, Tamaki turned to his side and flung an arm over his seat. "She just went on and on about product branding. Wouldn't quit talking about snakes and ladders-"

"Snakes and ladders?"

"She's trying to improve it," Tamaki sighed. "Their zaibatsu's collaborating with Phantomhive Games – it's her latest item-"

"Must be hard."

"It was. She's a crocodile."

Kyouya didn't know what to say that, so for a moment of surprised silence, he took a sip of his tea. Drinking calmly, observing the frowning Tamaki over the rim of his cup, Kyouya allowed himself the smallest twinge of worry. Suzuki Sonoko had been the latest of five casualties in an alarmingly short span of three and a half months. Even for Tamaki's fickle fancies, things weren't looking good.

"Still, she was more tolerable than your last girlfriend," Kyouya ventured, setting his cup down. "What's-her-name? Hanakomachi-san?"

"Chris," Tamaki supplied dully. "And no, Chris was the one who did woodwork landscaping. You're talking about Ume-chan-"

"This is Kurumizawa-san, right? The Lancome model?"

"Yep. That's the one."

Kyouya repressed the urge sigh, merely settling for pushing his glasses higher. A dull ache was beginning to throb at the base of his skull, and he was sorely tempted to bury his face in his palms and auto-massage his temples. "Tamaki-"

"The truth is, I actually know what my problem is."

Kyouya froze, expression an automatic blank effortlessly summoned through years of unrelenting practice. "You do?"

Tamaki had assumed a grave air, shoulders straight, eyebrows furrowed in rapt attention. Leaning forward ever so slightly, as though he planned to let slip one of the Diet's state secrets, he admitted in a whisper, "I do."

Turning to stare through the window for effect, knowing full well Kyouya was watching, waiting for him to talk – together with a healthy 40% of the people in the café – he continued, "I keep getting bored with the women I date because I always date the same types."

Kyouya frowned overtly. "No, you don't. There was Busujima-san, that swordswoman-"

"I keep dating women with high standards." Tamaki went on as though he had not heard the interruption. "Dragon ladies." He met Kyouya's skeptical gaze head-on, passionately insisting, "Kyouya, I keep dating dragon ladies. I'm breaking the cardinal rule of dating-"

"Which is-?"

"If you want to have a girlfriend who'll look up to you, date someone beneath you."

There was a moment of suspended silence. "Of course," Kyouya acknowledged after a full six seconds. "And what fresh addiction, pray tell, influenced you to come up with that stupendously warped conclusion-?"

"If I can find a normal person to be with," Tamaki plowed on relentlessly, raising his hands to his face in enlightened agitation, "just someone to have a fling with, maybe things won't be so difficult for both of us-"

Groaning, Kyouya surrendered to his primal instincts and gracelessly plonked onto the smooth wood of the table. "I cannot believe I am currently having this conversation." Suddenly, he raised his head, his glasses glinting pensively in the late afternoon sunlight. "Though considering I am talking to you-"

"What about her?" Tamaki suggested suddenly, all perky, eyes targeted at one of the few females within a 50 m radius who hadn't bothered giving him a once-over. "She looks ordinary enough – commoner clothes, rather ill-chosen bag and too-tiny shoes… pharmacy-dyed hair-"

"Will you keep your voice down!" Kyouya hissed, manually swatting Tamaki's enthusiasm back to the table, as the woman in question turned a beady eye at the pair of them. "Can't you see the ring on her finger? For Chrissake, have you started developing partiality for married women-?"

"Oh, right." Bouncing back disturbingly quickly, Tamaki scanned the room one more time. "How about her? The woman with the large hat. Wait. That's Mogami Kyouko, right?"

Blanching despite himself, Kyouya clenched his fists. "Tamaki. Don't tell me you haven't heard about her relationship with Tsuruga Ren-?"

"Of course, I have," Tamaki pouted, taking offense. "I get around, too, you know. I just think it might be a fun challenge, dating a superstar."

Praying for divine intervention, Kyouya slowly closed his eyes and counted to five. "Weren't you just saying that you needed to date someone normal?" he verbally recalled as evenly as he could.

Starting, Tamaki blinked several times in succession, eyebrows furrowing deeper and deeper. "I'd forgotten about that."

It was Kyouya's turn to pinch the bridge of his nose. Grimacing at the full-fledged pulsation of his head, he blinked to clear his muddled, murky thoughts, exhaling slowly as his psychiatrist had instructed him to. Looking away from the idiot who often possessed his best friend, his wandering gaze eventually fell on a petite, brown-haired waitress serving cake from a silver tray two tables down. She was smiling gently at her customers – a quintet of dignified elderly ladies wearing traditional Japanese attire – and offering a small joke that made the guests chuckle pleasantly. Kyouya watched the dark strands falling softly over her pale forehead, the orbs of light dancing in her warm brown eyes-

"She's pretty."

Kyouya snapped back to Tamaki, amazed to see the latter observing the same waitress most intently. His lips were parted slightly in curiosity, a faint wrinkle washing over his forehead. Kyouya had seen that expression several times before – and it never boded well. "And she works here…"

It was not a question.

"I would assume so," Kyouya answered lightly, gaze skittering back to the tabletop. His teacup had finally ceased emitting steam, half-empty with a thin, pale liquid. Glaring at it, Kyouya began, "Tamaki. I know I normally give way to your mad ideas, no matter the costs and consequences, but this latest scheme is different. I'm of half a mind to set you up on an omiai, right now-"

He paused, blinking. "Tamaki?"

The seat before him was empty. Frowning with his trademark lord-of-the-manor displeasure, Kyouya showered shuriken glares in the direction where he estimated Tamaki would be. True enough, the capricious blond was leaning over the café's marble counter, attempting to strike a thriving conversation with the highly bemused waitress. Taking note of the hand gestures he knew so well – the index finger beneath the chin, the palm extending slightly forward with fingers flat – Kyouya's displeasure rose to a higher degree. Grabbing a handful of his normally un-mussed dark hair, he cursed inwardly.

On his own head be it.

A/N:

[31 March 2011] I had too much fun with the references here – sorry!

Oliver Davis is from Ghost Hunt; Mogami Kyouko and Tsuruga Ren are from Skip Beat; Suzuki Sonoko is from Meitantei Conan; Hanakomachi Christine is from UFO Baby; Kurumizawa Ume is from Kimi ni Todoke; Busujima Saeko is from High School of the Dead. Phantomhive Games is from Kuroshitsuji.

A zaibatsu is a Japanese conglomerate controlled by an influential family. An omiai is sort of a blind date between a man and a woman who have a potential compatibility for marriage.

Thanks for reading! ::D It's only going to get crazier from here on out.

Edited: [4 April 2011]