A/N: So, this is gonna be my first published fic on here in a long time. It's been a while - almost two years I think? That's a hell of a long time. This is an OC I made for the Ouran universe that took a very long time for me to approve of. The twins and Mori and Honey reserve a very special place in my heart, and they all need more screen time, period. I'm not sure I've caught their characters as well as some, but I hope they aren't too OOC for you guys. I've done my best to avoid any Mary-Sueism and trust me, this is in no way a self-insert. But if you still want to attack my authorial competence or there lack of, feel free to not read my story. But for everyone else, I thank you for giving my little fic a read and stopping by my corner of the internet. Enjoy.
Ouran High School Host Club and all it's characters, places, and events are not mine. They all belong to the creator, the very wonderful and talented Bisco Hatori! This piece of fiction does not profit from anyone and I do not receive anything but happiness that my fic may be read by y'all.
The early morning sun rose over the lands of the esteemed Nakamura estate, casting its watery, honey-colored light over the many grazing pastures and outer buildings that housed guests of the family. A sliver of the light peeked through the drawn curtains of Aiko Nakamura, only daughter of Manabu Nakamura, one of the most prominent men in the management business world-wide. He owned many, if not most of all the largest hotel and resort chains that spanned across the globe. A busy man, short and stout, but dependable, and not one that was lenient on people who cross him; but a loving father to his daughter and heiress, even though he was not always around her to watch her grow up.
That very morning was one of those instances when Manabu had a pile of paperwork to look over and several important meetings with clients and managers of various estates, although what he most wanted to do was see Aiko off on her first day of high school at Ouran Private High School as a first year. But all he could do was make sure that the maids prepared a spectacular and energizing breakfast for his precious little girl.
By the time Manabu had gotten into his office and had work thrown at him left and right, Aiko was just being woken up by her personal maid, Yumi.
"Come along, young miss," the middle-aged maid said cheerfully, pulling back the curtains to let in more of the diluted sun light as it broke through the overhang of ivy that clung to the top of Aiko's window. "A very big day for you, Aiko-sama. The master sends his wishes that you'll have a very productive day, and says for me to tell you that he'll see you later on this evening."
Aiko grumbled something, stuffing her head deeper underneath the tundra of pillows on her bed.
Yumi crossed over to the bed and drew back the covers that cocooned the young woman. "Aiko-sama," she said a bit more sternly. "We have readied your breakfast and the driver is ready to take you to school. Get up, now."
"Who died and made you queen?" came the muffled reply from the figure on the bed. She was teasing, and of course Yumi knew that; Aiko was not an early riser, under any circumstance. Sitting up into a crumpled place at the end of the bed, Aiko yawned and stretched her back. "Alright, alright, I'm up, Yumi. You can go now."
The maid gave a near-snort, not believing the young woman in the least bit. "And don't think I won't know whether you go back to sleep again once I leave out of this room, Aiko-sama. This is your first and only warning: if you're not up and presentable in the next twenty minutes, I'll come in here with reinforcements." And with that said, Yumi left out of the room, closing the door softly behind her.
Groaning because she knew that Yumi was not one to test, Aiko managed to shuffle from her bed to her personal en suite bathroom and turn on the shower. After a quick, refreshing shower, Aiko stepped out of the bathroom with a towel wrapped snugly around her frame, allowing her hair to air dry-it frizzed less that way. She eyed the canary yellow dress that would be her uniform at Ouran with distaste.
Whoever designed this dress must have been screwy in the mind, she thought to herself, slipping it on anyways. Only to please Father would I wear such a hideous thing.
Once the dress was on, along with the stockings and black kitten-heeled shoes, Aiko turned to appraise the ensemble in the full-length mirror in her closet. She wrinkled her nose at the image; yellow was never her color to begin with, and having to wear this dress made her complexion look washed out, her hair lank and eyes — which were still foggy with sleep — dull. Not that Aiko considered herself very pretty anyways ― this dress just brought more attention to her unexciting features.
"This is as good as it's going to get," she murmured quietly to herself. With a last glance in the mirror, Aiko walked out of the closet, grabbing her bag from her desk along the way, and left the room. She traveled down the hallways until she found the back staircase into the kitchens, preferring to make little excitement from the staff as possible.
As it was, the second she entered the kitchen, various cooks and maids swarming around Aiko, all of them cooing and calling to her affectionately, saying such things like "the young miss looks so refined in her school attire" and "all grown up, she is". Waving off their compliments, Aiko sat herself at the small breakfast table, where servants were piling toast and waffles on plates, along with jam and biscuits, a glass of orange juice, and scrambled eggs.
"Personally requested by the master," one of the younger servants, Hana, told Aiko. "He wanted to have everything perfect for your first day, miss."
"Thank you, Hana," Aiko said, giving the woman a small smile. Hana returned the smile and disappeared out the door to attend to her other morning chores.
Aiko did not spend much time on her breakfast; her stomach was too knotted with nerves, and she felt faintly sick. The cooks urged her, however, to take the bento box they had prepared for her lunch, which Aiko took graciously. Who knew what that snob school served their students? No, Aiko much preferred the taste of her own cooks' meals.
Walking down the drive after bidding everyone goodbye, Aiko struggled to keep one foot in front of the other, and not trip on her way to the town car awaiting her at the end of the drive. It would be just her luck to go sprawling on the concrete because she wasn't paying attention to any loose stone. But she made it to the car without incident, which was a small disappointment, actually; a fall down that driveway would have meant a trip to the hospital, and then Aiko wouldn't need to bother with going to school. On the other hand, it would also mean that her father would feel entitled to take off work to make sure she recovered, and that wasn't something Aiko would allow him to do. So, with a resigned sigh, Aiko allowed Mako, the driver, to help her into the backseat of the pristine black town car before getting into the driver's seat himself, and setting off to Ouran.
All through the drive, Aiko attempted to calm herself by looking out the window of the town car and watch the scenery roll past, but she always zoned back out after just a few minutes. The entire car ride was mostly a big blur, and before she knew what was happening, Mako had pulled up in front of the monstrous pink clock tower of Ouran and offered her a hand out of the seat. "Miss?"
Aiko looked at Mako's hand without seeing it, and tried keeping her breathing steady. This was it. She was actually here.
Just last year she'd been an extremely sheltered young woman at a private boarding school off in the country-side, an all girl's school, with only a limited number of students at a time. Aiko had never been great with crowds or extremely noisy places, so boarding school seemed like her best bet. But just that year, her father had said it was time she begun to learn the techniques that an heir to a company such as the Nakamura Comp. would need.
And that meant coming to Ouran.
It wasn't that Aiko resented her father's wishes. She loved her father with all her heart, and knew he was just looking out for her best interest. But because of the distance his work forced between them, he wasn't very aware of Aiko's extreme dislike for large numbers of people.
Even so, Aiko knew how much going to Ouran would please her father, so she'd agreed to it. Now that she was here, however, Aiko was beginning to regret her decision. But a promise was a promise, Aiko reminded herself. So, taking a final, steadying breath, she reached out and grasped Mako's hand and slid out of the seat as gracefully as she could manage. "Thank you, Mako. You may go now," she dismissed him.
Mako bowed and, after promising to be waiting right after school, got back into the car and drove off. Aiko watched him go regretfully, and played with the idea of calling him back, but shook the thought off. The clock tower said that she had about thirty or so minutes before school officially began, though she wished that it was longer. Half an hour was not enough time to gather what little nerve Aiko had and face her new classmates. This might be her own first day at school, but it was already a month into the semester for the other students, meaning Aiko would have a lot of make-up work to take care of. Her father had to pull a few strings to get her enrolled this late into the year, and had instructed Aiko that she could not get below a certain average, or she would be bumped down from her 1-A class to 1-B, or possibly lower.
"But no pressure," Aiko muttered under her breath now, when she wasn't within earshot of the man.
Plucking up her lacking courage, Aiko forced herself to walk up the wide marble steps, not meeting any of the curious looks she was getting from the other students loitering around. Already, she could feel a hot flush beginning to creep up her neck at the whispers she heard that were most likely about her.
Because her head was down and she wasn't looking at anything but her feet, Aiko didn't see the tall, dark presence blocking her path until it was too late. Crashing into a hard chest, Aiko let out a small gasp as she bounced backwards, beginning what would most likely be a rather painful and humiliating fall down the stairs. But before Aiko could go further than a foot, a strong, ropy arm wrapped around her waist, stopping her fall immediately.
Aiko sucked in a shocked breath, clutching at her savior's ― extremely defined ― biceps while her bag and all of its contents fell around them haphazardly. The students around them had fallen into a tense silence, and she knew all eyes were on her for causing such a commotion. But all she could see was the uniform-clad chest of the man (it was the uniform for the men at Ouran, anyway, so her savior was probably a man), and when she allowed her eyes to travel upwards, the dark eyes and cool expression of one of the most ruggedly handsome men she'd ever laid eyes on. Aiko's face must have been tomato red by that time.
Opening her mouth to say something ― anything ― to this dashing stranger, Aiko was interrupted by a blonde head popping up from behind her savior's shoulder, his big brown eyes looking down at her worriedly. "You really need to be more careful walking up these steps; it would hurt really badly if Takashi hadn't caught you. Huh, Takashi?" This little blonde stranger (who looked ten at the oldest, and definitely too young to be wearing a high school uniform) turned to look at the older.
"Yeah," Aiko's savior ― who she assumed was Takashi the blonde boy spoke of ― said in a deep, rumbling voice that made her jump slightly. He straightened up, bringing Aiko to a standing position as well, and steadied her with a large hand on the shoulder.
The little blonde boy, who was holding a large stuffed pink bunny, smiled down at Aiko from his perch on his friend's shoulders. "Are you okay? Do you need something? I can give you cake!"
Aiko opened up her mouth again to say something. The most that came out of her dry throat was, "Um . . . uh . . . nah . . ." Swallowing the lump in her throat, Aiko managed to form a more complete sentence. "I-I mean . . . y-yes I feel fine . . . thank you, and I'm so, so sorry for b-bumping into you . . . I wasn't l-looking where I w-was stepping, see, and . . ."
Blondie cut Aiko off with a cute little giggle, small pink flowers suddenly popping up around his head. What the . . . ? "You're funny! I like you! And it's not your fault, right, Takashi? He should've been watching, too."
"Yeah." Takashi bent down and the blonde boy scrambled off of his shoulders as they both began to pick up the papers that had fallen from Aiko's bag.
"Oh, no!" she said. "You don't have to do . . . let me get this . . ." But the two of them were already straightening up, Aiko's bag in Takashi's large hand, and the assorted supplies and papers in the blonde boy's arms. He put them in the bag and then handed it to Aiko with a large grin. "There you go! All better now!"
Taking the bag, Aiko blushed again and bowed respectfully to the two boys in front of her. "T-thank you, very much . . ."
"Haninozuka Mitsukini!" the blonde boy said, pointing to himself. "You can call me Honey! And this is my cousin, Morinozuka Takashi, but people call him 'Mori' for short!"
"Thank you, Honey-sempai; thank you, Mori-sempai," Aiko said, bowing again to hide her frazzled state. "I am Nakamura Aiko."
Honey grinned and threw his arms around Aiko's neck, exclaiming, "Aiko-chan!" and giggling as he did so. Aiko nearly lost her balance as Honey spun them around on the steps. When he let go, Aiko's face was flaming once again and she was a bit dizzy. "You must be new here if you don't know Takashi and me, Aiko-chan."
"Um, yes, I am new," she murmured, ducking her head. Already with the nicknames? Aiko didn't particularly have any problem with it, but it was still very sudden. Replacing her bag to her shoulder, she became aware that the other students were no longer silent. Raising her head a bit, Aiko saw that they were back to whispering in their little groups, but still watching her and the other two intently. Face flaming, Aiko hid her face behind a curtain of hair. "I-Is it that obvious, Honey-sempai?"
The small boy laughed again and hugged the stuffed bunny closer to him. "Not really, Aiko-chan. But Usa-chan and I don't mind! We love meeting new people and making friends! Huh, Takashi?"
Instead of replying with another "Yeah" this time, Mori simply nodded, gazing down at Honey coolly. Aiko wondered how two such different people could be friends.
Honey had said something and was now looking up at Aiko with a hopeful look, those flowers floating around his head again. Blushing again, Aiko realized that he'd asked her something and was now waiting for a reply. "I-I'm sorry . . . what was that, Honey . . .?"
"Silly, Aiko-chan! I asked you if you'd like to come visit me and Takashi at our club after school. Please say yes ― and when you come, we can play with Usa-chan and eat lots of yummy cake. Do you like cake? I love cake, and so does Usa-chan."
Aiko blinked. "Um . . . I d-don't know, Honey-sempai . . . I really wouldn't want to impose on your club―"
Shaking his head firmly, Honey said, "You wouldn't! Tama-chan and Haru-chan would love you! And so would Hika-chan and Kao-chan and Kyo-chan! Right, Takashi?" The tall, stoic companion of Honey's nodded again, a faint smile on his lips. "See? So please say you'll come!"
For a long minute, Aiko was extremely flabbergasted. Here was this boy ― though he wore the high school uniform and was probably older than he looked, those big eyes and childish tendencies made Honey look like a small child that should have been in elementary school ― and his cool companion inviting her to an after school club when they'd only just met, and all because Aiko was a klutz. She opened and closed her mouth several times before she was able to answer. "Um . . . I-I'll see if I can, Honey-sempai."
"Yay!" Honey cried, throwing his arms around Aiko's neck again, spinning them around wildly once again. If that was how he greeted her each time, Aiko needed to make sure she hadn't eaten anything right before.
And then the bell rang, signaling the start of another school day. In a great mass, the students began to make their way inside the buildings, still muttering and casting glances Aiko's way. "C'mon, Aiko-chan!" Honey called from a few steps up, hanging from Mori's shoulder's once again. "Takashi and I can walk you to class!"
Blinking stupidly up at them, Aiko followed behind the two as they led her into the school building. She was so dazed that the flawless architecture of the various hallways almost slipped past her. Honey asked which homeroom she had, and Aiko told him quietly. The news that she was on the 1-A track seemed to please him immensely.
"You have the same homeroom as Haru-chan, Hika-chan, and Kao-chan!" he exclaimed happily.
"Ah," Mori grunted coming to a stop in front of a door.
"Well, bye, Aiko-chan," Honey said cheerfully. "Have a good day!"
Aiko waved at their retreating figures until the two turned a corner, and she was left alone in the hallway. When she turned to face the door and put a hand on the door knob, Aiko could feel a lump beginning to close up her throat. I can do this, she thought. I can do this. She turned the handle and opened the door, stepping into a classroom with large floor-to-ceiling windows, expensive decorations, and many eyes looking back at her. Aiko froze right inside the door, unable to go any further.
"Ah," said a man who must have been the teacher. "You must be Nakamura Aiko. Welcome to Ouran." He held out a hand for Aiko to shake, which she did, trying to keep her hand from trembling noticeably. "Class, this is our new student, Aiko, and I expect you to welcome her warmly. Miss Nakamura? You may have that seat right over there, right behind Mr. Fujioka."
The teacher (which Aiko remembered was Mr. Sasumi) pointed to an empty desk near the back of the class and close to the windows, which was behind a boy with short brown hair and large, surprisingly feminine brown eyes. As Aiko sat down, he turned around in his desk and greeted her with a smile. "Hello," he said. "I'm Haruhi Fujioka. Nice to meet you."
Even his voice sounded faintly girl-like, though deeper than most girls Aiko knew. She smiled shyly at him. "I'm Aiko. The pleasure's all mine." They shook hands, and Aiko noted that Haruhi's were also very feminine, small and delicate.
"Is this your first time at Ouran, Nakamura-san?" Haruhi asked. Class had yet to start, and everyone else was still conversing quietly among themselves. Only a handful was still glancing at Aiko, but she tried to ignore them in favor of speaking to Haruhi. His calm voice and open nature put Aiko strangely at ease.
Aiko nodded, giving a small, rueful chuckle. "You don't need to call me 'Nakamura-san', Haruhi-san. Aiko is fine."
Haruhi laughed as well, and the sound reminded Aiko of a bubbling brook that ran through her family's estate. "Alright then, Aiko," he corrected. "But this means that you're allowed to call me Haruhi."
"Okay, Haruhi. And, yes, this is my first time at Ouran. Or any school that's not a boarding school, really."
"Oh?" Haruhi asked, raising his eyebrows. "Where did you go before?"
Just as Aiko opened her mouth to respond, the majority of the girls in the classroom erupted into fits of giggling and squealing. Turning her head to see what they were all fussing about, she gave startled squeak when she came face to face with a good-looking redheaded boy, smirk clear and his topaz eyes glittering with mischief. It didn't seem fair that someone could be so handsome without even trying. As it was, Aiko's cheeks pooled with blood at the closeness the boy pushed upon her; their noses were barely a few inches apart.
"Well, Haruhi," the strange boy said slyly, smirk widening. "Did you bring us a new toy to play with?"
"You're too kind, Haruhi," another voice purred from behind Aiko. She jumped and spun around, only to find herself with the same boy . . . but no. This boy's hair had been parted to a different side than the other's. She glanced back at the other boy, trying to make sense of it all.
"Hikaru, Kaoru," Haruhi chided. "Cut that out. Can't you see you're scaring the poor girl?"
One of the twins (Aiko didn't know which one) turned to Haruhi and pouted. "Oh, don't be such a party pooper, Haruhi. You're always ruining our fun."
"Yeah," said the other twin. "Lighten up a little, would you?"
Haruhi rolled his eyes and put his face into his hands in defeat; the twins turned back to Aiko, who looked down at her desk, extremely flustered. She didn't know whether to feel excited that two very attractive boys ― four, counting Honey and Mori ― had decided to pay attention to her, or nervous. "Aw, look at the poor thing, Hikaru," said the twin on the left, grinning slyly.
"She's blushing, Kaoru," said the twin on the right, Hikaru. He reached out and put a finger underneath Aiko's chin, lifting it so that her face was to him. Gazing at her through half-lidded eyes, he purred, "Such an interesting little toy isn't she?"
Aiko looked into Hikaru's eyes, more than a little mesmerized. But after a few moments, her eyes narrowed, causing his to widen in surprise. Gripping his hand, she thrust it away from her, pushing him just a bit as well. She head Kaoru gasp from behind her, and saw more than a few of the girls in class turn her way with looks of horror. Ignoring them, she continued to glare at Hikaru. "I am not your toy," she replied quietly, but still firm; her voice barely rose above a whisper. "Not yours, or anyone else's."
Hikaru stared at her, open-mouthed, as did most other students in the classroom. All conversation had died off, and everyone's attention was riveted on the two people involved in the stare down. Aiko was the first to break eye contact and look down at her hands, which clenched tightly on her desk. "That was rude of me," she admitted. "I'm not saying it wasn't true ― but it was still rude for me to push you. And for that, only, I apologize."
It was deathly quiet in the room. Aiko wasn't brave enough to look up at Hikaru or Kaoru, but she could feel their eyes burning into the sides of her head. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, she heard Hikaru walk to his seat next to Haruhi and pull the chair out roughly, then sit down. She glanced up hesitantly from underneath her bangs, to meet the eyes of Haruhi and Kaoru. The latter just looked at her calmly, with a slight twitching going on at his lip . . . possibly a smile? Before Aiko could really look, he'd gone to sit down on the other side of Haruhi. The feminine-looking boy gave her a little shrug, then turned around as well.
Aiko ducked her head again, a bit ashamed of her actions. But she needed to make it clear: she was not anyone's toy. Never again.
The lesson started, with Aiko paying only a bit of attention; for most of the class she just stared out of the window. It was a surprising thing: the girl didn't tend to pay any attention in class if it didn't interest her, yet she seemed to absorb the information with incredible speed and accuracy, mostly passing her tests and quizzes. But she didn't try, really. Just . . . answered correctly. That was all.
So when the bell (more like wind chimes than a regular bell, though) rang, signaling the start of the lunch hour, Aiko had only half-heard what the teacher talked about, mostly writing in her journal. Hikaru and Kaoru were one of the first to leave, dragging Haruhi along after them, despite his protests. A small chuckle escaped Aiko's mouth. She waited until the classroom was empty before slinging her bag over her shoulder and walking out. There was no one to wait for or meet up with, so Aiko took her time walking out of the building. Passing by the slightly opened doors of the refectory, she heard the loud chattering of many students, and made her way to the far side of the hall, continuing her way out.
Outside in the garden there weren't very many people, which was perfect for Aiko. She settled herself underneath one of the trees, enjoying the way the sun shining down through the blossoms, tinting her skin a delicate pink color.
Aiko took out her box lunch, which consisted of a few egg rolls, some sushi, and rice smothered in sauce. Settling down, she started eating, making sure not to spill anything on her dress. She looked out across the vast expanse of grounds and wondered what she ever did to end up here. "I'm not like these people," she sighed. "Not really. I'm the outcast. The freak." Aiko gave a dry laugh. "Always will be."
"Hikaru, Kaoru!" Haruhi cried out. "Would you both quit pulling me? You're hurting my arm!"
The twins didn't reply, but they let Haruhi go, who fell to the floor. Kaoru and Hikaru stopped walking and turned to look down at their friend. "What's your problem anyway?" the girl mumbled into the floor. Sighing, she picked herself up and brushed the front of her blazer of. "I mean, yeah, Aiko-san shouldn't have pushed you, Hikaru, but―"
"There's no 'buts' about it, Haruhi!" Hikaru shouted angrily. "We were only messing with her anyways. Right, Kaoru?"
Kaoru nodded his head, but didn't completely agree with his twin. Although both twins were known for being rather touchy-feely with other people, Kaoru knew when it was time to back off from someone, especially when that person was new. He'd been slightly impressed at Aiko's ability to stand up for herself, even more so when she'd realized that her own actions weren't exactly kind in return. She seemed like an interesting girl ― and he knew that Hikaru probably felt the same; his twin was just too embarrassed at being rebuffed in front of everyone to admit it.
Glancing over at Hikaru, he saw that his brother was glaring off blindly into the crowd, not even listening to Haruhi. But there was thoughtfulness to his brother's gaze that Kaoru found encouraging.
"Well?" Haruhi demanded finally.
Kaoru glanced at her. "Well, what?"
She sighed and shook her head. "Never mind. Can we just go to lunch?"
Nodding, he motioned for her to take the lead, then went to nudge his brother. "Hey, Hikaru?" Kaoru said quietly. "Are you okay?"
Hikaru looked at his brother for a long moment. "I'm fine," he replied. "Why wouldn't I be? She was just a silly girl; doesn't matter to me." And he went walking after Haruhi, leaving Kaoru to stare after him sadly. Maybe he'd just imagined he'd seen the little quirk in Hikaru's expression?
Sighing, Kaoru tucked his hands into his pants pocket and walked after his brother and friend and into the noisy refectory.
Aiko returned to the building, ignoring the many whispers and stares she felt directed at her. It seemed that it would always be like that; this time, though, she could definitely hear some names interposed that wasn't her name.
"So she's the one-?
"Yes. That girl pushed Hikaru in class today."
"-the nerve of her!"
"And to one of the Host Club members, too!"
"-lucky she's new-"
"They wouldn't take that sitting down if she'd been here longer."
If only Father could see me now, she thought dryly, gaze avoiding that of anyone else's. First day and already the talk of the school—he'll be so proud.
But something in those whispers nagged at the back of Aiko's mind, along with what Honey had said when they'd met earlier that very day:
"I asked you if you'd like to come visit me and Takashi at our club after school." . . . Tama-chan and Haru-chan would love you! And so would Hika-chan and Kao-chan and Kyo-chan …"
Aiko had no idea who these Tama-chan and Kyo-chan were, but the others sounded extremely familiar. And hadn't she just heard the whispers from down the hallways that Hikaru was in a club? The Host Club—whatever that was. It seemed like a long shot that Honey and Mori would know Haruhi and the twins and she herself would run into all of them her first day there.
Rubbing at her temples, Aiko heaved a great sigh. "This is just turning out to be a crazy day," she grumbled to herself.
She didn't even have time to look up before Honey had taken it upon himself to jump into Aiko's surprised arms, spinning her around—again. Only this time she'd just finished eating, and twirling didn't exactly sit well on a digesting stomach.
"H-Honey-senpai," she choked out. For such a small kid, the boy's grip was just as strong as Mori's. Speaking of which, the dark and brooding bloke was standing very near them, almost like a bodyguard. Aiko was able to give him a detached smile before turning her attention to what the blond-haired boy was yammering on about. He hadn't even paused in what he was saying to realize Aiko hadn't been paying attention.
"-and then Haru-chan kept trying to defend you from Hika-chan. He was really upset because you pushed him, Aiko-chan. That wasn't very nice, you know. But Haru-chan said you apologized, so now it's just Hika-chan being a big baby is all. And then-"
Throughout all this, Aiko had been trying to interrupt as politely as she could, but enough was enough. "Honey-senpai."
The sternness in her voice made the younger-looking boy pause mid-sentence, gaze wide and fixed upon her face. Mori simply looked down at both, impassive.
She took a deep breath, regaining her composure. "I'm sorry I snapped at you, Honey-senpai," she apologized, bowing her head slightly. Aiko usually wasn't so rude when talking to anyone, but the stress of it being her first day and already having a bad rep was really weighing on her mind. "You just—wouldn't listen."
When she thought Honey would get upset and stomp away, he simply beamed up at her, those little pink flowers blossoming around his head again. Aiko was bewildered—where had they come from?
"No, it's okay, Aiko-chan. I know I talk a lot sometimes. Right, Takashi?" A grunt came from his stoic companion, which probably meant yes. Honey turned back to her. "But enough about that. I really came looking for you to ask if you were still coming to our club after school."
Aiko blinked. He'd been serious about that offer? "Honey-senpai," she started, but couldn't find her words for a few moments. "Thank you for the offer, really, but I don't really think I'd be a welcome addition to this...club of yours."
"But Aiko-chan!" Honey had whipped out the puppy dog eyes and pout, a truly deadly weapon if one knew how to wield them. And boy, did Honey know how to. "You'd be perfect! Just because Hika-chan's a little upset about this morning shouldn't keep you from coming to meet everyone else!"
"Wait-" She held up a hand to stop Honey, brow furrowed in confusion. "Hika-chan? Am I right to guess that that's Hikaru?"
Honey nodded enthusiastically. "That's right! And so is Karou and Haruhi! They're all part of the Host club with us and Tama- and Kyo-chan. Like one big happy family!" Again with those silly pink flowers dancing around his head. And quite suddenly, Usa-chan, his bunny, was cuddled in his arms as well. "So please say you'll come, Aiko-chan. Hikaru won't be too mean; we promise. Takashi?"
The two of them turned to look up at Mori: Honey with a pleading face and Aiko with a skeptical one. The dark-haired young man glanced between them before nodding his head. As an added bonus, he lifted his hand and placed it on top of Aiko's head, giving it a few pats. "Promise."
Now her face was pink and she was once again flustered by the surprise affection. Somehow she managed to stammer out a quick "Maybe" before the chimes rang across the campus, signaling the end of the lunch period.
Honey scrambled on top of Mori's shoulders as the older boy started to walk down the hall towards their next class. "Hope to see you after school, Aiko-chan!" he called over his shoulder, waving. Aiko managed a small wave back, and then they were gone, leaving her alone to deal with the passing stares and whispers of the other students. As she walked towards her next class, Aiko tried to think over everything that Honey had said.
A Host Club? She pondered over that. Why would a high school have a Host Club? And what exactly would they be hosting in there...?
And so it ends! I hope you guys liked the first chapter.
Reviews and constructive-criticism is always welcome.