Hello everyone! I started this story off of a random idea I had while attending an Ouran discussion panel the other night. I don't have a solid plot arc mapped out yet, just a series of lemon ideas that I want to somehow put into being. That means that any feedback you write will directly influence the story line (I retain the right to cringe and say no to something off the walls crazy), so if you have something you really want to read, let me know! I am not going to jump into a lemon in these first three chapters as I try to set the scene, but after that, free game. That being said, THIS IS NOT MY MAIN STORY, meaning I will only update after receiving feedback as to where you guys want it to go. Thanks for reading and hope to hear from you soon!
Haruhi was not surprised to find the waiting area outside airport security empty at this hour of morning. The other passengers from her red eye flight from Boston sleepily scattered to the wind as she paused for a moment to frown at the emptiness. Years ago she had stood in nearly this exact spot saying goodbye to her father and the host club boys. Yet somehow she now stood here alone, void of the boisterous reunion she had long expected waiting for her.
Gripping her carryon, Haruhi took off towards the baggage claim to find her luggage. She wasn't expecting to stay long and had packed to reflect that, but it should be enough to get her through the week. As a successful lawyer in Boston, Haruhi hadn't found time to come home (though her father did make the trip out to visit her several times a year) and even now she had not come back for pleasure. Ritsu Kasanoda, an old friend from her host club days, had called her out of the blue begging for her assistance on a case involving his syndicate. Declining to give her any details, he asked that she come immediately and told her that several people's lives depended on it. It was apparent to Haruhi that something had him scared and it was the first time she had ever heard him so worked up. Agreeing to come as soon as possible, she made the necessary arrangements to leave by the end of the week.
Watching the taxi pull away, Haruhi made her way up to the apartment she once shared with her father. Standing outside of the door, she took a deep breath and raised her hand to knock. She debated if she would be better off finding a café to sit in until a more reasonable hour. If her father was sleeping it would be incredibly rude to wake him. Before she could touch the door though, it sprung open and her father tackled her in a hug.
"Oh Haruhi! I thought you were never going to arrive. Welcome home!" Haruhi hugged her father back and smiled.
"It is good to be home." Pulling away, Ranka Fujioka held his daughter by the shoulders and looked her over. Haruhi's hair had grown fairly long since high school, and though her choice in wardrobe had not improved much, she wore clothes that accented her small feminine curves. Picking up her luggage, Ranka shooed her in and shut the door before their reunion could be crashed by the ever nosy neighbors. Haruhi slipped off her shoes and helped her father move the luggage into her old room before sitting down at their small table. Grabbing two tea cups, Ranka fixed two cups of tea as he asked Haruhi about the flight.
"The flight was good otou-san. I slept most of the way here so I should be fine to go to the meeting this afternoon."
"I didn't really have a chance to talk with you before the flight. What brings you home on such short notice? Is one of those host club boys getting married?"
"No, not that I've heard of. You know I haven't talked with the host club since Tamaki and I had that falling out the day after I arrived in Boston."
"Did you get into some sort of trouble then? I doubt it's from missing me terribly," Ranka replied with sarcastic spite. If that were the case she would have been back years ago when homesickness first struck her. His regular visits helped her feel better until she was on her feet and before long, Haruhi had adapted to the fast moving lifestyle of the United States.
"No trouble at all, just an old friend from high school wanting me to look over a case for him. Typically I would review a case after getting the contents sent to me, but he insisted I come in person to meet with him. It seems something big is going on."
"Well don't get caught up in too much drama and remember that I'll be here if you need me to kick anyone's butt." Haruhi laughed at his serious threat and took another sip of tea. "So how long will you be staying?"
"I took a week off from work, but they are on standby in case I need more time for this case. It's a good thing I finished the Burdett Case right before he called, otherwise it would have taken me quite some time to get over here."
"Yes I remember you telling me about that. I was so worried that their board of directors would retaliate given their known affiliations. Did the company president end up going to jail?"
"Yes, he got sentenced twenty five years for second degree murder," Haruhi finished her tea and stood up, "If you don't mind I'm going to take another nap until the meeting. He should be sending someone to pick me up around three this afternoon."
"Your futon is all made and ready for you. Do you need me to wake you around two so you have time to get ready?" Ranka stood up and took their cups to the sink. Haruhi shook her head no and followed her dad into the kitchen. Wrapping her up in a hug, Ranka let out a sigh, "I just hope you aren't getting into something over your head this time."
"Don't worry about it Dad. I will finish this case up quickly and we can spend the rest of the time together before I have to go back."
The black SUV pulled up to the Kasanoda Family Syndicate at three thirty on the dot. Letting the driver open the door for her, Haruhi stepped out and was surprised to see all of the yakuza lined up on either side of the walkway waiting for her. Passing through their aisle, she walked forward towards the main house. Under normal circumstances, Haruhi would not have thought twice about their greeting, but the air of tension and darting eyes left her uncomfortable. As she approached the entryway, Kasanoda came out to greet her.
"Welcome back, Haruhi. Thank you for coming on such short notice." Exchanging quick hugs, Haruhi removed her shoes and followed his lead into the household. Looking back over her shoulder, she saw the yakuza scattering form, returning to whatever it was they were supposed to be doing. The tension however, remained as people kept looking around on guard. There was no laughter in the syndicate household today.
"I wish it was under better terms Ritsu. How is your wife Mei doing? I am surprised she is not here with you." Ritsu frowned at the mention of his wife's name and slid open a door to an office. Taking a seat across from the desk, Haruhi watched one of his underlings quickly mutter something to him before disappearing. As soon as the door slid shut again, Ritsu let out a sigh and flopped into his chair.
"Mei is staying with her family in Hokkaido until this mess is over. Tetsuya is dead, Haruhi. According to my sources, he was murdered by members of the Sendo syndicate under orders from their new leadership, but I have no way to prove it at the moment. He was supposed to be representing us in the upcoming trial against the Hongo Mercantile Company. Their company embezzled the funds we gave them and used the money to import guns and drugs illegally from the Philippines."
"How much money did you give them?"
"Twenty billion yen." Haruhi let out a soft whistle at such an amount. Ritsu leaned across his desk and handed her a thick manilla folder. Flipping it open, Haurhi skimmed some of the documents.
"Tetsuya told me that he had reason to believe that the Hongo Mercantile Company might be a front for the Sendo syndicate and that we have enough to expose them in court. That was seconds before his head was blown in by a sniper round… I would like you to review the case files and see if you can find whatever it is that he found linking the Hongo Mercantile Company with the Sendo syndicate."
"Are you expecting me to take the case or just give you my professional opinion? I'm dual licensed in Japanese law and American law, but it's been a while since I've taken a Japanese case."
"I have already asked a few other lawyers to review this, but they have refused to take the case since yakuza syndicates are involved. If you would take the case-"
"I'll take it," Haruhi said without looking up from the file. Tetsuya had been a friend, and though not a very close friend, his death still meant something to her. She had played kick the can more than once with him and Ritsu under the blistering summer sun years ago. If there was anything here in his case file, she would find it. Ritsu got up from his seat and bowed deeply to her.
"Haruhi, I can't thank you enough for doing this. I know it will be dangerous, but I promise you we will take the precautions necessary to see that you and your father are safe."
"No need to thank me. Tetsuya was a friend of mine as well. If there is anything I can do to help catch his murderer I will do it," she replied as she closed the file and stood up. "May I take this file with me to review it? It may take me a while to work through all of this."
"Yes, but please keep a close watch on it. We can't have this information falling into the wrong hands." Haruhi nodded her head in agreement and stood up, tucking the file into the briefcase she had brought with her.
"Well now that that is done with, I hope you can take the time to have tea with me and catch up for old times' sake."
"Of course," Haruhi replied with a smile before following him out of the room.
Ritsu and Haruhi sipped on tea and ate sweets in a tatami room overlooking a garden. They spoke about what had happened in their lives since high school, including their romantic endeavors (particularly Haruhi's lack thereof) and his successful marriage. He was not surprised to find out that once Haruhi had left Japan and the host club, she had fallen into studying to the point of a nonexistent social life. Ritsu was curious as to what had separated her from the host club guys when he was certain that each of them had at one point been madly in love with her. Whatever it was, she had blatantly brushed past it gracefully and he was too considerate to ask point blank. He already had plans for her in those regards and nothing she would say could change them at this point. As they began to wrap up their visit, they slowly made their way back to the front entrance.
"Haruhi, I have made separate arrangements for your father's safety. In the meantime, I hope you will consent to staying with some of the strongest people I know."
"All of my luggage is back at my father's house and I don't think it's truly necessary to have me stay elsewhere," Haruhi started to argue. Even when taking high profile mob cases like the Burdett case, she had only suffered under a security detail, nothing more.
"I don't want to risk you ending up like Tetsuya. With the trial opening next Thursday, the safest option is to keep you hidden someplace only I know. The driver will take you to collect your luggage and then drive you to a nearby tunnel. Once inside the tunnel, you will change vehicles and drivers. The new driver will bring you to the safe location. I assure you that you will have all of the finest comforts there." Haruhi opened her mouth to argue, but decided against it at the worry lines etched into Kasanoda's face. He was truly concerned about her safety and if staying at a safe house until the trial was over would make him feel better than so be it.
"I will call you once I am finish sorting through all of these papers," she said softly while giving her briefcase a loving pat. If everything went smoothly, it would probably be a three day trial and a day at a later date for sentencing. She needed to call her firm back in Boston to adjust her schedule accordingly and notify her father of her change in living arrangements for her stay. Ritsu gave her a parting hug and watched her walk through the aisle of his men into the dark SUV waiting at the gate.
"I promise it will be fine, otou-san. As soon as the trial is done, I'll be back and we can spend a few days together," Haruhi called over her shoulder as she handed her luggage to the driver. Ranka wrapped her up in a bear hug and squeezed her tightly. He hated when she took high profile cases that required her to be put under security details. Secretly he wondered who had called upon her for assistance, and considered hunting through his address book for the Ootori boy's phone number. If she wasn't willing to discuss with him what was going on, maybe he knew something of the matter. Even if they weren't on speaking terms for whatever reason, Ranka had a feeling he probably still kept an eye on her. After all, he did fund the scholarship that got Haruhi through college and law school (not that she knew that). Watching Haruhi climb into the black SUV, Ranka waved as she departed before returning to the apartment with a sigh. Why did she have to be so much like her mother?
Haruhi felt her heart begin to race as the car approached the tunnel. For whatever reason, there seemed to be a good amount of traffic on the road. Wasn't there supposed to be no one around for this sort of thing? As they pulled into the tunnel, she spotted a black limo flashing its hazard lights on the side of the road. Her large chocolate eyes flashed with memories of her host club days and riding around with her friends in their limos. The driver had to clear his throat several times to catch her attention.
"Miss, I suggest you grab your bag now. I will pull up behind the limo and then partially cross back into the other lane to give you some coverage from the tunnel entrance. Please hurry into the limo. Your life depends on it." Muttering her thanks to the driver, she felt her palms begin to sweat. It would only take her three steps to get to the limo and take her however many seconds to walk between the vehicles, but his warning was already starting to weigh upon her. The seriousness of the driver and Kasanoda's concern suddenly hit her like a ton of bricks. She might have been playing with smoke on the Burdett case, but she was definitely playing with fire here.
Haruhi felt the shot of adrenaline hit her as they pulled into position. Throwing open the door, she nearly launched her luggage out before following after it. Letting the door slam shut behind her, Haruhi ran the three steps and grasped the limo door handle. A loud car honk sent her jumping, but luckily her grip on the handle and the motion were enough to yank it open. Stumbling in, she quickly pulled in her luggage and shut the door just as a loud bang reverberated nearby. Haruhi's breath came raggedly as she sat back against the cool leather seat. Looking towards the tinted glass, she wondered if everything was alright when the driver did not start driving. Feeling the hair rise on the back of her neck, the looming fear that this had been a set up began to gain momentum. Crawling forward Haruhi raised her arm to slide open the divider and see if there was even a driver there or if she was a sitting target. An abrupt, forward motion answered her unspoken question and her hand dropped as they pulled out of the tunnel.