Amidst the bustle of the busy street, a young woman confidently made her way past the rushing stream of pedestrians. The evening hours were fast encroaching with faint hues of gold and crimson, and she still had a massive to-do list that had needed completing precisely eight hours ago.
Haruhi Fujioka, despite her meticulous planning of every minute detail, had forgotten one specific problem. Or, more precisely, six person-shaped problems- three of which were so debatably insane that Haruhi wondered why she even allowed them to drag her around. Secretly, she marvelled at how Kyoya and Mori had managed to retain their sanity for so long, with all the crazy shenanigans that occurred on an almost daily basis.
Of course, there was also the possibility that, at this point, they were beyond the point of giving even the slightest fuck.
She only wished she could reach that level of impassiveness.
Unfortunately, she was apparently the aforementioned hell spawns favourite person to mess with, and there was only so much Haruhi- like any normal person- could take without snapping. The day she had wandered into the Third Music room and accidentally broke that vase had been utter Hell, as well as the first indication that the universe absolutely hated her. Surprisingly, she found herself unwilling to change that moment for the world. And no, by some miracle, she didn't have brain damage. She'd checked. Three times, to be exact.
A fly buzzed around her head. Absently, she batted it away, waiting for the traffic lights to turn red so she could cross. Beside her, a child was screeching. Blotting out the annoying sound, Haruhi turned her focus on something else.
The Host Club.
On many occasions, the members of had proved that they could be incredibly annoying.
Well, they could be beyond annoying, but there was no need to sweat the details.
They- by which she meant Tamaki and the twins, and on rare occasions, Honey- were constantly invading her privacy and imposing themselves on her. Not to mention the fact that she had never before met anyone who seemed to understand the concept of personal space less than those four. A lot of the time, it was frustrating. Unlike them, she didn't have an abundance of wealth, she remained in Ouran purely because of her intelligence alone. (Of course, if she had such intelligence she could just make other friends, but she figured that by now she was stuck with them. Resistance was futile.) If she didn't want to be expelled, she needed to continue getting perfect grades. Which totally wasn't stressful in the least.
Thankfully, Kyoya understood her struggle.
The two of them had forged an unlikely bond based on mutual exasperation of their friend's actions. Existence itself paled in comparison to the vibrancy of his desire to avoid unnecessary human contact. The only exceptions, it seems, were with Tamaki and herself. And, if he was feeling particularly kind, Fuyumi. So, if she reluctantly mentioned to him that she was falling behind in her studies and needed to be kept away from disturbances- which happened infrequently because Haruhi was prideful and greatly disliked asking for help- then Kyoya willingly offered his home up to her.
The first instance, she'd almost toppled off her chair in surprise.
It'd been after hosting hours. The others had already vacated the Third Music Room in favour of heading home. Kyoya remained behind purely for a peaceful and quiet environment to work in, Haruhi, because she took it upon herself to clean the room. Even though there were cleaners employed, the brunette didn't feel it was fair to leave behind such a mess. Kyoya had, on occasion, ordered her to stop working.
She ignored him, of course.
To his irritation, she was beginning to ignore him much more frequently.
Finally alone, he'd voiced his worries on her health. She had been looking rather pale and sickly, so it was of no surprise to her that the eagle-eyed Shadow King had noticed. It didn't stop him from bluntly blurting, "You look awful." If she had been any other girl at this school, the bespectacled boy probably would've been nailed in the head with some projectile.
Since it was Haruhi, she merely grimaced. "Thanks, Senpai. That's exactly the look I was going for today."
He rolled his eyes so hard they almost popped out their sockets.
"Sit down." he'd instructed, after seeing the subtle sway in her last step.
Too exhausted to argue, she'd settled down, trying to look as inconspicuous as possible.
Even Tamaki, junked up a mixture of Red bull and Crystal Meth- not that Kyoya especially knew what that looked like, though he figured it would likely involve him having to evacuate the surrounding area, change his name and move to America- would have noticed how her leg practically collapsed underneath her.
"Care to explain?"
She survived an impressive grand total of ten seconds under his fiercely disapproving gaze before she cracked. "It's not a big deal," she started, and then petered off when his eyebrows hitched up so high they receded into his hairline.
"You're asleep on your feet, Haruhi."
"I'm not that bad," She attempted to defend, a little pink in the cheeks. Receiving a blank, unconvinced stare in return, the brunette deflated. "I've been staying up later than usual to study. With Tamaki-senpai and the others constantly dragging me out, I'm falling a little behind." Kyoya's lips were pursed, the raven-haired boy coolly mulling this new information over. "It's nothing I can't handle and I won't let it get in the way of hosting," Haruhi quickly assured "So you don't need to worry-"
He cut her off, eyes narrowed and razor sharp as they studied her. "Your health is more important." That shocked her into silence. "The body needs a certain number of hours rest, Haruhi. Continuing this unhealthy pattern will cause problems."
Like a scolded child, the girl bowed her head. "I know, Senpai. I won't made a habit out of it."
"They won't be bothering you for a while," She lifted her gaze, confused. Behind his glasses, steel orbs gleamed determinedly. "I will make certain of it. Do you need to study at any point today or tomorrow?"
"Tomorrow," she confirmed. "I need to sleep early tonight... I am pretty tired."
Kyoya had nodded, accepting this with ease. "My driver will pick you up, around 10 o'clock." Ignoring her befuddled expression, he continued. "Tamaki wouldn't dare bother me at my own home. Study there. That way, you won't have someone breaking into your house at ungodly hours of the day and I can explain anything you're struggling with. If I'm not busy."
He spoke with such finality that she didn't even bother to protest.
It would be a useless endeavour, after all. She'd been around The Shadow King long enough to know that he could be just as stubborn as her, if not more, to the frustration of everyone around them. The rare times that they fought, sparks would fly. It also meant that the other club members would tip-toe around them until they mutually decided to call a cease-fire, so that was most definitely a plus. As mature, responsible young adults, they obviously never staged fights to get some peace and quiet... Okay, it had been once and admittedly, the twins were being little hell spawns and deserved every moment of fear.
And so, one time turned into two.
Two morphed to three, and soon enough, it became a regular occurrence.
They found themselves mutually enjoying the others company. Tucked away from the insanity of the Host Club, it was nice to sit back and relax. Sunday became a day of respite, where they were able to work without worry of interruption.
Aside from the several occasions when a panicked Tamaki or Hikari (with Kaoru in the background), had called Kyoya, voicing concerns over Haruhi's location. After his phone rang for the forth time in one day, an irritated Kyoya had threatened the caller with a visit from his private police force, before realising the recipient was his older sister, Fuyumi.
Other than that, they were left mostly at peace.
Due to their increasing bond it came to no surprise to them when, during the frequent escapades Tamaki conjured up, they began gravitate towards each other to provide a constant sarcastic commentary to keep each other entertained. They'd recently discovered that their sense of humour was remarkably similar and took every opportunity to exploit it, much to the confusion of their companions.
Just today, when The Host Club had arrived unannounced at her house to forcefully take her on another one of Tamaki's half-baked schemes, she and Kyoya had stuck together like glue. From his less than stellar appearance, something which she had privately teased him for, she wasn't the only one taken under duress.
In fact, Haruhi had originally been dressed in nightwear, a pair of ratty shorts and a faded plaid shirt, when she'd opened the door.
It had only been due to the combined efforts of Mori and Kyoya that she hadn't been dragged out in that state of dress. The bespectacled boy's swift intervention left enough time for her to slip back inside, and Mori's protective glare stopped any of the hosts (read; Tamaki, Hikaru or Kaoru) from following her.
The door had been opened ten minutes later by a half-asleep Ranka.
Unfortunately, the hosts had attracted the attention of the entire street and were reluctantly ushered inside. A freshly dressed Haruhi was discovered in the kitchen, one leg up on the counter, fully intending to climb out of the window to escape. She'd been accosted and reluctantly allowed herself to be taken to the carnival.
For the first hour or so, Honey had dragged her around in an excited haze. The small Senpai had been determined to visit every section of the carnival. They hadn't managed it, but his insistence was endearing, to say the least.
She chuckled at the memory, her coat flapping in the light breeze. It carried the sweet scent of flowers from the potted box situated in a nearby shop-front. Content, she pushed away the locks of hair that fluttered in her face.
She almost smiled again as she remembered how Tamaki had taken uncharacteristic joy in travelling on the subway. Kyoya, as expected, hadn't been all too pleased. He'd been in a far more pleasant mood on the return journey, thankfully, as she found herself crammed next to him. Then again, there was the fact that Kyoya seemed to genuinely like her far more than everyone else. (Tamaki was unfortunate enough to be his travel buddy on the journey up. He'd exited the train pale and shaking. Neither boy disclosed the events and everyone else had enough self-preservation not to ask.)
The boys had offered to escort her home from the train station. After trading a secret eye-roll with Kyoya, she had politely declined.
Which is why she found herself wandering the streets alone.
Pausing to take a peek in a nearby window, Haruhi was almost immediately knocked flat on her ass. Her bag sprawled next to her, phone clattering between her legs. A middle-aged man back-peddled, looking far more shocked than he was entitled to be, little mousy eyes widened comically. "S-Sorry!" He stuttered, flitting into the crowd without a backwards glance.
"Weird..." The girl murmured, brushing the dirt from her clothes, ochre orbs narrowing in thought.
She could've swore she recognised that man.
Wincing, the girl replaced her thankfully undamaged phone and continued walking, knee sore from where it'd slammed painfully into a nearby lamppost. It'd surely bruise in the morning, but that was a problem for another day.
The cogs in her mind abruptly stopped turning. A file from her memory was tossed out, contents free for her to peruse. If she recalled correctly, that man had been tying his shoelaces just a few meters away when she'd departed from the Host Club.
That, in itself, could have been a perfect coincidence.
But he'd also been sitting across from Kaoru on the train- she'd spotted him when the redheaded twin had leaned across compartments to offer her some gum. (She'd accepted, because who didn't love gum.) Before that, he'd been waiting in the line opposite as she and the Host Club had bought their tickets, Honey swinging from her arm like a hyper-active five-year-old. And, delving deeper, glimpses of him flashed throughout the day, most notably when she and Kyoya had lounged in the cool shade of a fountain, waiting for the rest of the group to find them, eating Taiyaki that he had bought in a rare act of kindness. That kindness didn't stretch to anyone else, apparently. Tamaki had sulked for a full ten minutes. As usual, nobody took much notice of him.
Presented with this new information, Haruhi stilled, fingering the phone in her pocket with trepidation.
Dread curled in her stomach.
She had an incredibly bad feeling about this and she was entitled to listen to it.
Darting forward, the girl swiftly weaved between the stream of people.
Her eyes were drawn to the wing mirror of a parked car. In the reflection, she saw her eyes, wide and flashing like a little frightened fae. Like a stone, her stomach sunk to her feet when she caught a familiar flash of black. The man was a couple of paces behind, easily keeping up with her. Furrowing her brows, the girl steadied her breathing. Her grip tightened around her phone, squeezing hard enough to hurt. Should she call someone? Was this really worth bothering someone over?
"This can't just be a coincidence." Quickening her pace, she made it an entire block before noticing him in the glare of a shop window.
As any intelligent, rational person would do, Haruhi calmed herself with a slow breath, looked both ways and crossed the street.
"Problem solved." She'd announced, pleased with herself.
She was sorely mistaken.
The same beady eyes followed her every move, once again from directly behind her.
Searching for absolutely anything else to do, the girl stepped on her laces, smirking in a self-satisfied way as she leisurely stooped down, taking her own sweet time to re-tie them. Elation soared in her heart as, upon rising, she initially failed to spot him. Cloaked in the shadows of an archway, he was casually flicking through his phone, very obviously peering over the top of the device at her.
Choking back a startled gasp, she merged with the crowd, weaving so erratically she hoped to lose him. No avail. Having at least a foot height advantage on her, he could follow the bobbing of her russet head with ease.
Breaking into a run, she bolted away, slipping with snake-like swiftness around other innocent pedestrians. In her haste, she'd almost bowled over a small child. In her defence, the little dumbass had continued skipping towards her, so she couldn't feel too sympathetic. Thankfully, the child's mother had pulled her out of the way just in time, so her conscience could be eased.
Ducking into the nearby convenience store, Haruhi hastily made her way to the back of the shop, hunkering down behind one of the largest shelves and hoping she didn't look too suspicious to security.
Now really wasn't the time to get thrown out of the store.
With trembling hands, which she glared at for a good few seconds as if it would magically stop them, Haruhi pulled out her phone, calling her home number. She was hoping that at least some deity out there would take pity on her, and that her father would answer. When she was greeted with the sweet tone of her answer machine, the brunette unloaded every curse in her extensive vocabulary, trying a further three times.
Her father's cell phone garnered exactly the same response.
She called twice.
The last call garnered a voicemail of swearing for a full five seconds, before Haruhi realised and hung up.
Blankly, she scrolled through her contacts, deciding it would be a cold day in Hell before she requested help from Tamaki. Despite him proving on several fleeting occasions his ability to be responsible at times, Haruhi didn't trust him to not immediately go and attempt to punch the guys lights out, possibly getting stabbed in the process.
No, the murder of her friend was not something she wanted to witness today, previous thoughts of intentionally carrying the same act out herself aside.
Now, with that in mind, the twins were certainly out of the question. Hikaru was far too hot-headed to act rationally, he'd blow up in exactly the same way, and Kaoru, while being far more mature than his brother, would certainly be just as furious. With him, there were certain lines that should never be crossed. This, likely, was one of them.
That left Honey, Mori and Kyoya.
The girl hesitated.
Honey and Mori lived considerably further away from her than Kyoya did. And how did she know this? As ever, there was a long story involving Tamaki and intense murderous urges, but that's for another time. Distance, of course, meant it would take longer for them to reach her. And, while they were both experts at martial arts, it would mean fuck all if she was already dead in a ditch at that point.
As attractive as that sounded, Haruhi wasn't actively seeking death.
Which, of course, was why she was planning on calling Kyoya, one of the Host Club's resident demons.
To hell with it, she thought, as she dialled Kyoya's number. It couldn't be any worse than what she was already facing. Oh, how fate loved to screw with her.
The Shadow King's muffled, long-suffering voice emerged over the line despite the hand he must have clasped over the receiver as he answered an unintelligible question. "I'll take a tall glass of Hemlock, thank you. No ice." He then promptly choked on his spit when he realised his blunder. "Water," he corrected, quickly. "I meant water."
(He didn't mean water. Water didn't even sound like what he meant. Pass it on.)
He recovered after a short breath. "Tamaki, I believe I've made it abundantly clear that you're not to call me during dinner for any reason short of death-"
"I'm not Tamaki-Senpai, if that helps."
A beat of pure, suffocating silence. Then a solemn, "What's happening?"
"Haruhi." The sternness of his tone almost made her giggle, and now really wasn't the appropriate time to be giggling.
"You sound so serious."
"Usually you only call me if it's an emergency," she didn't bother to comment on the fact that Tamaki and the twins appearing at her house apparently counted as an emergency. "So, what's wrong?"
"I'm being stalked by a creeper who may or may not be debating the best way to wear my skin as a dress." Kyoya awkwardly cleared his throat. She heard a click, and receding footsteps as he excused himself from the table. "Was I on speaker?"
"Nope," She didn't think she'd ever heard Kyoya say nope before, much less pop the p. The world certainly was strange. "Spoke loud enough that you might as well have been, though. Where are you?"
"In that big convenience store near my house. The one we all went to together- don't think I didn't notice you all. I did. I just have an amazing talent of ignoring absolutely everything that takes too much effort to deal with. Currently he's ghosting outside, waiting for me to come out."
Low murmurs emanated on the other end of the line. A few choice words later, Kyoya was back. "Stay inside."
"Oh, should I now? Because if you hadn't have said that, I was totally going to confront him."
"That was some industrial level sarcasm."
"Honestly, I think it's the only reason I'm not crying right now." Haruhi admitted, in a whisper. Poking her head around, she saw a familiar face enter the store. "Fuck me," she hissed, ignoring the resounding crash from the other line.
"Excuse me?" He barely managed to keep a measured tone.
"Sorry," she wasn't sincere in the slightest. "Pretty sure he's in the store."
"Perfect. Are you hiding?"
"Uh," Haruhi flushed at the strange looks she was earning from fellow shoppers. One woman blatantly pulled her child closer. "Yeah. But, not very well."
"Well, isn't that excellent." He muttered. "Can you see him?"
"He's hovering near the counter."
"Keep an eye out and tell me if he moves."
The brunette hummed in acknowledgement, doing as instructed. Several tense minutes passed before she found herself ducking back to safety. "The target is on the move," she reported, with her best spy-voice.
Kyoya sounded completely unamused. "Be serious."
"Hey," she protested, quietly. "If I'm being stalked I might as well enjoy it."
Haruhi imagined the boy was pinching the bridge of his nose, sighing wearily. "Is he coming towards you?"
She deliberated it for a long moment. "Somewhat."
"He hasn't seen me yet," she offered, to clarify. "He's just sort of wandering around the shelves near the entrance. He might be looking for me, I'm not too sure. There's no way in hell I'm checking, though. I've barely managed to stay hidden this long."
"Why don't you try the bathroom? At least you'll have a locked door between you." Kyoya would have called it a precaution, which coated the entire situation in so much sugar that Haruhi felt her pancreas kill itself. Despite that, she still followed his suggestion and found herself locked in the disabled cubicle.
"This is quite possibly the worst place to be at this current point in time."
"Doesn't matter, you won't be there for long. I'm almost there."
She breathed a sigh of relief, before baulking. "Wait, you're what- The hell you doing driving that thing like a freaking Hot Wheels?"
She could almost see Kyoya shrug with the epitome of nonchalance. "Blame my driver."
A cool voice replied, "I was informed that it was a matter of life and death."
She smirked like a cat who'd just caught a mouse. This information would be filed away for later, with the rest of her blackmail- er, gently persuasive material.
"Still alive," she replied, humorlessly. "For now, that is."
"Reassuring." A slamming door. "I'm outside. Be there in a second." She could hear the quiet din as he jogged through the store.
"You're going to walk into the women's toilets?"
"That is exactly what I'm planning."
She snorted, perfectly unconvinced. Until the door creaked open and Kyoya confidently strode his way past a gasping woman like he owned the place, rapping on the door of her cubicle. "Haruhi. Are you alright?"
Utterly amused, the girl was completely unabashed at the way his hands carefully cupped her cheeks, tilting her head side to side to search for any injuries. "I'm fine, Kyoya-senpai," she assured, brushing away his probing fingers. She took notice of the bag slug across his body, the bulk resting firmly over his hip. "Just shaken up. Did you see him on your way in?"
"To be perfectly honest, I was too busy mentally preparing myself to come across your mangled body to keep an eye out for some creeper. Why you thought going silent like that was an intelligent idea is completely beyond me. Come on, we're getting out of here."
Tentatively, she took the hand he offered her. His skin was smooth, unblemished- just like she'd expected, warm beneath her touch. Together, they stepped out of the bathroom. She unconsciously fisted her free hand in his sleeve upon catching sight of the beady-eyed man.
"That's him?" Kyoya murmured, under the guise of tucking a lock of her hair behind her ear.
She nodded frantically. He felt her flinch against him when the man noticed them and stepped out of the store, lingering near the exit. As they approached him, Kyoya didn't look nearly as alarmed as he should.
"Trust me," he whispered in what was probably the sweetest, most gentle tone she'd ever head from the boy.
Once they were outside, she didn't dare breathe.
"You're the one that's been bothering Haruhi, correct?" The bulk of Kyoya's body blocked her from the man, like a tall, unwavering shield. He smiled his typical, charming smile. Haruhi could feel frostiness of his glare from where she was standing. "Of course, you don't need to confirm anything. I'm already perfectly aware of the fact that you've been stalking her. Come near her again and I will personally rip your arms from your body."
"Go ahead and try," The man challenged, grinning darkly as he lunged-
Only to reel back, screaming his throat hoarse as Kyoya mercilessly unloaded a full bottle of pepper spray in his face. The bespectacled boy carefully untangled his hand from hers to turn her head into his chest, successfully shielding her from the sting of the spray as he returned the now empty bottle to his bag.
"That wasn't very smart, now, was it?" If his flaming eyes were any indication, The Shadow King had traversed past pissed off and settled comfortably on absolutely livid. Snapping a picture or two with his phone, Kyoya smiled coolly. "I'll be reporting this incident to the police. This picture will be spread around my own private police force for them to take immediate action should you appear within a five mile radius of Haruhi. I trust you'll see sense. If not, that lesson will be learned very quickly, I assure you."
With that, Kyoya carefully weaved his hand in hers and guided her to his car. In the safety of the back seat, a red faced Haruhi finally started breathing again.
"Did you just-"
"I did." He confirmed, with a cocky little nod.
"With pepper spray?"
"All of it."
She collapsed into hysterical laughter, halfway between tears of fear and mirth.
After watching her intently for a long time, concern marring his features, Kyoya lowered his head until he was only a moment away. "Are you okay?"
She tried to ignore the way his breath kissed her face warmly. "I was terrified. Still am, actually."
"That makes two of us, then."
"You were scared? That's hard to believe."
His expression softened. "I'm not made of steel."
"That's true. You're much softer than you let others believe." She piped up, smiling. "Thank you, Senpai."
He returned the pressure on his hand with a affectionate squeeze of his own. "Anytime."
A/N: Wow, my first ever Ouran story. This idea has been sitting around on my computer for a while and a had a sudden rush of inspiration (Read: I was fiercely procrastinating) so I thought, why not?
I find the relationship between Haruhi and Kyoya so interesting, especially the angle used in the Live-action drama, where Kyoya displays a far more caring, protective side. Saying that, both characters are extremely hard to write, so they may seem completely out of character. I tried my best to keep them true to their original personalities, but I'm open to constructive criticism for any ways I could improve my work.
This may or may not remain a one-shot, it depends on whether I find any inspiration to create a further story. For now, I'm satisfied for it to remain finished here.
UPDATE AS OF 14/05/18: A continuation is in the works! I have at least ten chapters outlined (and several more as simple ideas), two of which are complete. Writing is slow, with college and looming uni applications and whatnot, but I'm getting there. I won't post until I have about five fully written, because knowing me I'd procrastinate for months. But rest assured, Stalker will be continuing!