Kyoya sat on his bed, wearing a worn gray t-shirt and black sweatpants. His head was beginning to ache slightly, so he stopped typing and instead looked up at the storm clouds brewing in the dark night sky. It seemed that a thunderstorm was coming, which was not all too uncommon in late March. It was likely that the storm would last for most of the night, which meant that he would soon no longer have much peace and quiet to work in. His mind suddenly wandered to a certain brunette that had a severe phobia of lightning and thunder. Cursing himself for thinking of her, he went back to analyzing the spreadsheet he had pulled up on his Pineapple laptop.
It was seven in the afternoon when the first clap of thunder rang across the sky. His phone chimed. It was Ranka, calling to tell him that Haruhi was alone. Haruhi was alone, which meant that she was probably somewhere shivering and crying. Without a second thought, he put on a maroon sweatshirt and packed his laptop, phone, and homework in his school bag. If the situation had been different, he might have worn less casual clothes, but he didn't have the time. Calling for Hotta, he ran out of the mansion. The Ootori black Mercedes roared towards him.
"Where to, master?" Hotta asked obediently as Kyoya scrambled into the backseat.
"Fujioka residence, and quickly," he said to Hotta, who nodded and started the car. When they arrived, Kyoya sprung out of the car and bolted to the door leading to Haruhi's apartment, Hotta close behind. "Tell Father when he comes back that I will be spending the night at Suoh's. School project." Hotta nodded once again and went back down to the car. Kyoya was about to knock on the door when he remembered that it would be useless to do so. He took out a set of keys, picked one, and unlocked the door.
"Haruhi," he called out gently, as to not scare the already frightened tanuki. "It's me, Kyoya. Where are you?" He heard whimpering coming over from the kitchen. The aroma of freshly-cooked food filled the small two-bedroom apartment. She must have been cooking when the storm hit and sent her running for cover. It was dark, but he knew the place well enough to make his way to the kitchen. As he had predicted, there was a pot of miso soup sitting on the stove. However, Haruhi was nowhere in sight. "Haruhi?" he called out again. The whimpers grew louder, and he realized that he must be close. He looked under the small wooden table, and just barely made out her silhouette.
He has heard about her fear of thunderstorms from both Ranka and Tamaki, but he never realized that it was that intense. It pained him slightly to see her like this, to see her so scared that she was turned into an immobile, sobbing mass. It was so unlike her usual confident, fearless self. He bit his lower lip and thought of what to do. Obviously, she would need some comfort. He wasn't the best at that, but any attempt would be better than doing nothing at all, right? It would be nice if he could find something to block out the sound of thunder as well.
He sat next to her and pulled her close so that her head was resting on his shoulder. Haruhi melted into his side, and he realized that it felt nice to be next to her. Cursing himself for thinking of her again, he focused on her breathing. It was still a bit shallow, but he could tell that she was much less frightened than she had been before. "It's okay, Haruhi. You're not alone anymore," he said, barely loud enough for her to hear. He couldn't be sure, but he thought that he heard her mumble a "thanks." He relaxed and pulled out his laptop, taking care not to jar Haruhi's head. Soon he was back to working on the spreadsheet.
It is well-known that rhythmic sounds are perceived as relaxing, and indeed it seemed that the sound of his typing relaxed her. Her breathing slowly returned to normal. As a while passed by, he grew tired. He finished the task and set his laptop, which was still on, on the floor next to him. Ever so slowly, he rested his head on hers. Thunder continued to boom angrily outside, but he felt comfortable.
"Haruhi," he said suddenly, breaking the silence when he was sure Haruhi was back to normal. He wanted to express how upset it made him to see her like this, but he couldn't find a way to put it into words.
"Yes?" she replied, sitting back up. He wished that she hadn't, and almost immediately missed her weight on his shoulder. Her large doe eyes looked up at him expectantly. Still a little unsure of what to say, he stalled by trying to wipe the tears on her cheeks. He felt her flush under his touch.
He finally settled on what to say. "I am so sorry that you were alone." Haruhi looked blankly at him, as if his words had made no sense, but then she smiled.
"No, don't be sorry. Just...Thank you for coming, senpai. I feel better now. I think I'll manage the rest of the night. You can leave if you'd like. It's been a while." She must have finally realized that a few hours passed since Kyoya had first found her. He certainly didn't care how long he had stayed there, though. It was fine as long as she wasn't alone. When he didn't reply, she restated what she had said. "Thanks for staying with me, senpai, but shouldn't you be going?"
Jolted out of his reverie, he replied. "No, I brought my laptop and my schoolwork. If you and Ranka don't mind, I'll stay over for tonight. I told my father that I had a school project to work on with Tamaki." Haruhi deadpanned as he flashed an "innocent" smile.
"But you didn't have to do that, Kyoya-senpai."
"Please call me Kyoya. I'd rather leave the formalities behind." he boldly requested. He almost bit the inside of his cheek due to the immediate disapproval of what was coming out of his mouth.
"Alright then, Kyoya..." she said, testing it out. It felt weird to hear her say his name by itself, but in a good way. She again rested her head on his shoulder, and he continued working. They sat in silence as he worked on his essay for English that was due next week. "Hamlet," she said suddenly, breaking the quiet atmosphere.
"Yes. That is what we are reading in class. It's one of my favorites, actually." When he had first read the play when he was much younger, he had hated it; however, when he got older, he rather enjoyed reading it. Expecially in its original English. Something about the tragic characters and plot appealed to his sentimentalities, as did the play's introspective nature.
"Oh." This seemed to be all she wanted to say, as she again became quiet. When he was done with the essay, he closed the laptop and once again set it to the side.
"Was there a thunderstorm when your mother died or during her funeral?" Haruhi looked a bit confused by the question but decided to answer.
"I remember that there was a thunderstorm the night before she died. I only remember because she told me that the sky was weeping and raging for all those that had been lost. It stuck with me, and the very next day...she was gone."
"I'm sorry for making you remember the awful event. I was just wondering because I...because I read something about phobias." His momentary stutter surprised her, and even himself. Was he really going to be upset about having reminded her of the night her mother died? The sky was weeping and raging for all those that had been lost. That's an interesting way to put it, he mused.
"What do you mean?"
"Fear is a natural reaction to all that could potentially harm you. A phobia, on the other hand, is a debilitating fear of a thing, something that is usually not feared. In fact, the people with the phobia themselves believe that the thing poses no harm, but still get very, very frightened. It sometimes stems from a highly negative experience related to that thing. The thing itself doesn't have to cause the experience, it just has to be connected to the experience somehow. For instance, you connected thunderstorms to the night your mother died, so you developed a phobia of thunderstorms, also known as brontophobia." Haruhi listened to this long statement thoughtfully. It seemed to please her to see him so open and willing to talk.
"Umm, sen...Kyoya, if...if you don't mind me asking, what are you afraid of?" Kyoya stayed silent, unwilling to say the truth.
"I don't have a phobia." It was well-known that the vice president of the host club was intelligent and entirely unemotional, mainly due to the airs he put on to suit his purposes.
"Don't be ridiculous. You have the most intense emotions out of anyone in the Host Club."
"You think so?" He was curious. He found it surprising to hear that she disagreed with something he had successfully tried to get others to believe. His facade was built on charm and emotional detachment, something which she didn't seem to buy.
"I haven't met a more passionate person in my life. Tamaki may seem more passionate, but he acts emotionally for the sake of drama, attention, or for others. You, on the other hand, hide your passion. You are very driven and will do anything to please the ones you care about." Kyoya stared at her for a while, shocked by her analysis of him. Besides Tamaki, and now her, nobody had probably come even close to understanding him.
No point in lying. "I have a fear of being seen as imperfect — atelophobia," he said hesitantly and quietly. "I also have thanatophobia, or a fear of death and losing the ones I care about."
"Oh. I think that makes sense. How do you think you got those phobias?" Her large doe eyes stared at him as she waited for an answer.
He regained his composure. "My father. I'm sure you realize that I strive to be the very best. As for my thanatophobia...I've visited different hospitals since I was four. My father does run a medical zaibatsu, after all. There I learned the hard way that life is transient, and that things can change in a sudden moment. I think anyone would fear death after that." Haruhi didn't seem to believe that that was the entire truth, but she didn't press him to go into further detail. He felt something click in her mind.
"You know, I hate your father." This decisive, bold statement momentarily rendered him speechless. For what seemed like the hundredth time, her confidence and bluntness shocked him.
"I-I do, too," he whispered, scared of the truth behind the statement. He hated his father for pretty much everything he had to deal with. I cannot wait to get out of my father's grasp. "I can't do anything about it."
She simply nodded. "I get it. I hope you realize that you are more than good enough, though. In fact, there were times when I forgot that you were human. You are so talented and diligent. Not to mention that your lack of obvious emotion is outstanding." He started snickering. He couldn't help it.
"I don't seem human sometimes? That's an interesting thought." He continued snickering as Haruhi's eyes widened ever so slightly. Soon his snickers turned into loud laughter.
"You're-you're laughing?" she said in awe. "You can laugh!" This made him laugh harder, and soon she joined him. Both of them forgot that only a few hours ago, Haruhi had been hiding underneath the table and shivering with fear. The storm was long forgotten.
Kyoya suddenly remembered that it was late and that Haruhi would have usually been asleep by now. "Hey, Haruhi. Shouldn't we eat and go to bed?"
"Hmm, you are right." Something seemed to dawn on her. A slight blush tinged her cheeks. "We don't have an extra mattress for you to sleep on, and Dad locks his bedroom before leaving for work." Kyoya understood the situation immediately and tried to dissipate the awkwardness. What is this, a two-people-one-bed romantic comedy scene?
"That's not an issue. I was going to sit on the couch and work." He did not sleep that much, anyway. He wasn't so keen on having Haruhi deal with demon-lord Kyoya in the morning, either. She frowned and narrowed her eyes.
"No way in hell, Kyoya. You are sleeping." He considered himself to be very obstinate, but Haruhi's brand of stubbornness was not for the faint-hearted. Besides, he had to admit that sleeping on the same bed as Haruhi didn't sound too bad.
Before he could curse himself for acting like Tamaki, a warm bowl of miso soup was handed to him. Realizing for the first time this evening how hungry he was, he took large spoonfuls of the salty broth. Both of them eagerly finished their bowls of soup. "Haruhi, you are as good of a cook as your father says you are. It was delicious." Haruhi blushed slightly and put the bowls in the sink to wash later.
"It's just miso soup, but thanks, sen-Kyoya. Sorry that I didn't have time to make anything else." He assured her that it was fine and grabbed his bag. They headed to her bedroom. The bed, as he had expected, was small but comfortable-looking. Haruhi seemed more nervous now that it was time for them to actually sleep. Seeing this, he once again tried to avoid having to sleep on the same bed.
"You sure you don't mind if I sleep on the couch instead?" Haruhi huffed, taking a look at the bed and realizing that he had a point.
"Fine. Promise that I won't find you awake at four in the morning?"
"Okay, I'll sleep." Haruhi smiled and tossed a blanket and a large pillow at him.
She went and got ready for bed, and he went back to the living room. He took off his glasses and sweatshirt and placed them on the coffee table nearby. After fluffing the pillow to his liking, he plopped down on the couch and put the thin cotton blanket over him. He smiled as the light turned off in Haruhi's bedroom, and he imagined her sleeping peacefully, her body wrapped in a fluffy comforter.
At first, he found it impossible to sleep. His mind kept racing as it rushed to process everything that had happened that evening. He just couldn't stop thinking of her. He lay on his back and stared at the ceiling, wondering if it was even worth having these feelings towards a commoner. Finally, he began to grow tired.
Suddenly, the light turned on in her bedroom, and Haruhi stepped into the living room. "Kyoya? Are you sleeping?" Kyoya turned and faced her, rubbing the fatigue from his eyes.
"I was about to fall asleep, but I'm awake," he said sleepily. Otherwise things would not have been pretty. "You scared?" She flushed scarlet and nodded.
"Could I...Could I sleep with you? On the couch? Dad isn't back yet." He stared at her and barely kept his cool facade.
"Why not?" She nodded gratefully. Wondering how Haruhi could possibly be so naive, he watched as she ran to turn off the light in her bedroom. He nervously ran his fingers through his hair and sighed, but figured that he should be glad that she was finally willing to ask for help.
She then joined him on the couch, laying practically on top of him. He shifted slightly, and felt warmth rise to his cheeks when she wrapped her arms around him. She was small enough that it wasn't uncomfortable to have her lay on him. Though he would never admit it, it felt strangely good to have her arms around him. He ran his fingers through her soft hair.
"You know, Kyoya…" she started hesitantly, trying not to move and disturb him. "Your heart is beating really fast right now." Kyoya felt himself flush pink.
"Umm...I don't know why."
"Oh, okay. I was just wondering if you are uncomfortable or something." Quiet returned to the room, and Kyoya again marveled at how naive she was.
Even though it was rather late, he wished she would talk some more so he would not have the time to think, because he couldn't stop thinking about her. Sure, it was a stretch to believe that hearing her speak would not affect him, but it certainly was better than getting lost in various thoughts about her.
Not even five minutes had passed before the silence was broken. It was as if Haruhi had heard his plea. "You know..." she began rather nervously. "I think I might like you." His eyes widened. Trust her to say something like that so suddenly, even though her feelings were certainly anything but sudden. Playing Tamaki's wingman had taught him that. I never though she would be able to work out romantic feelings without a whole lot of intervention. After dating Tamaki, she is more self-aware, I guess. But me? Did she just say that she might like me? That's impossible.
"You like me? Me? Are you sure?" Haruhi guffawed softly. "What?"
"I said that I might, and we've talked about this before. You are amazing, Kyoya. You are so passionate and can be so kind. Sure you are arrogant and sadistic, but that's part of who you are."
Kyoya grinned. Might as well tell her how I feel, even though I can't believe that she likes me. "I never expected you to like me. I think I love you. I finally realized that I had fallen for you when we were in Okinawa, though I was in denial for a long time."
"Love...me?" she spluttered. He was sure that if the light had been on, he would see that Haruhi had turned beetroot red. For some reason, that thought pleased him. "You...ah...um...I...um...I..." He wondered how simply liking someone could possibly make the usually deadpan and somewhat callous natural host so flustered. She did the same thing when she realized she had feelings for Tamaki. Oh my god, she does like me. How is this even happening?
"For the first time, I realized that if you died…I was so upset when it happened that I..." He couldn't get himself to finish the thought. "...I didn't — still don't — want to see you hurt, that's all." His vision clouded a bit, and he hoped that he wasn't going to end up crying in front of her. It would be rather bad for his image, after all. Careful not to accidentally hit her, he lightly dabbed his eyes with a fist as a small toddler would do. He cursed himself for losing his cool. Suddenly, he felt her tighten her grip on him.
"Kyoya, I…Is that why you came here?"
"Thank you." The corners of his mouth curved into a smile. He had done a lot of uncharacteristic things so far that evening, but he was thankful for the chance Haruhi had given him. The girl was more than special, and as he felt her drift off to sleep, he felt happier than he had in a long time. Soon, he too fell asleep. Neither of them noticed when Ranka came back from work.