Courtship - Chapter Seven: "Tamaki's Return"
An Ouran High School Host Club fan-fiction
By: Saadia Mirage
Disclaimer: I do not own Ouran High School Host Club or any of it's characters. They belong to the original mangaka Bisco Hatori and Studio Bones. This is a fan story, for amusement purposes only.
Author's note: The drama "serious business" continues somewhat in this chapter, but things start looking a little brighter. :) The scene with Tamaki and Honey is probably one of my favorites from this story. You really don't get to see those two characters interact much one-on-one in the series, so it was really fun to write.
The next day Tamaki came back to school and it was if he had been missing for weeks instead of a single day. The teachers went easy on him when he was spacing out and girls doted on him like an ill child, pushing their meals on him and encouraging to drink their juice at lunch. To his credit, Tamaki tried to rebuff these attempts, but he looked so dangerously pale and his smile was so frail-looking, most people couldn't help themselves. Even Kyouya, of all people, seemed to be treating him gently. It was surreal.
Haruhi was able to easily avoid him during the day thanks to the way their classrooms were separated, but when it came time for after-school activities it would be a completely different story. She tried desperately to come up with an excuse to skip the host club that afternoon, but she realized somewhere in the back of her head that putting it off it would just be delaying the inevitable. She had to see him and deal with him sometime. There was also the sneaking suspicion that if she suddenly was absent the day after Tamaki she would never hear the end of it from the girls. They would definitely start putting two and two together, causing even more trouble for Tamaki and the host club itself. If that happened Kyouya really would be angry at her for disrupting club business instead of just being awkwardly, surprisingly envious of Tamaki's feelings towards her.
Things had just gotten way out of hand. This is why she never read shoujo manga. Things just got too complicated and awkward.
When she finally was able to bring herself to enter the club room she wasn't surprised to find a flock of girls surrounding the couch Tamaki was sitting on. He looked up at her, big blue eyes wide and bottomless. She tried to school her expression into something unreadable, but before she could think of anything casual to say he looked away and the moment was lost. She stared at him for a moment longer, feeling suddenly hollow.
Thankfully Renge jumped up from the other end of the room and grabbed her arm. "Haruhi-kun," She quipped louder than necessary, "Won't you play cards again with us today?!"
Startled, Haruhi nodded and allowed herself to be dragged away to the other side of the room and another group of girls who were sitting by the window.
Haruhi sighed a little as she was dealt her cards. She turned to the other girl with the big bow in her hair. "Thanks, Renge-chan." She said softly.
Renge blushed, looking strangely guilty. "Eh… Ehh," She mumbled, "Nothing to thank me for Haruhi-kun. Really! Uh… Do you have any twos?"
Haruhi shook her head, smiling sadly and hiding behind her cards. "Go fish!"
Tamaki started and turned around to find Honey standing behind him with a worried look on his face."Oh, hi Honey-sempai... I was..." He said, then paused and looked around him as if trying to refresh his memory. He was in the storage room behind music room three. A few minutes after Haruhi had come into the meeting room he had excused himself to go get some cakes for the girls. "I was just getting the snacks." He said finally, remembering.
Honey stared at him for a moment, blank. "...You were staring at the cabinet for the last five minutes."
Tamaki reddened and ran a hand through his hair. "Ah, sorry...! I'll just--" He started began to reach for the handle of the nearest cabinet, but he felt a tug at the tail of his blazer. He turned around and looked down at the smaller boy.
Honey's eyes were big and watery. "Tama-chan... I'm sorry... About Haru-chan."
Tamaki slumped a little. "Y-yeah. Me too."
"It seemed like everything was going so well with you two." Honey sniffled.
"That's what I thought, too." Tamaki said miserably, shrugging.
"So what happened?"
Only Honey would be tactless (or brave?) enough to ask straight out. It was almost refreshing, really, with everyone else walking on eggshells around him. Tamaki sighed and sat down on the floor, tracing a pattern in the tile with his finger dejectedly. "I really don't know, Honey-sempai. I thought everything was perfect. Apparently, she didn't think so."
Honey squatted down beside him, arms around his knees. "Did anything happen right before...?"
"Well," Tamaki said slowly, "I went over to her house the night before. Earlier that day she seemed a little upset, so I... I brought her roses."
Honey nodded. "And...?"
"And," Tamaki said blushing again, his voice went soft. "I told her that I was in love with her."
Honey blinked, and looked thoughtful for a moment. "What was her reaction?"
Tamaki sighed. "Well, she seemed really embarrassed and... And she cried a little. So I left and went back home, saying that she could think about it."
"I thought everything would be great!" He said, voice gaining volume. "I mean, earlier that day we had gone out to lunch and ... Everything was wonderful! We... we kissed! She even kissed me first! So I thought she liked me too and was just a little shy about it. Then the next day she broke up with me! And…"
Tamaki paused to wonder if Honey had actually followed anything he had said, or was just making thoughtful noises.
"Y'know, Tama-chan," Honey said suddenly, startling him a bit. "Talking with Takashi can sometimes be pretty difficult."
Tamaki squinted at him in confusion at the abrupt change of subject. "Wha..?"
"I mean, he doesn't talk much, you know?"
"Well, yeah... But what about--"
"My point is," Honey interrupted, "Is that a lot of the time, I end up having to listen to his actions instead of his words."
Tamaki stared. "Uh…O-okay...?"
Honey looked up at him, eyes determined. "Haru-chan... She kissed you, right?"
Tamaki leaned back a little, intimidated. "Yeah."
"Did she smile?"
"Yeah," Tamaki nodded, "…At first."
Honey frowned. "At first?"
Tamaki felt sweat rolling down his forhead. "Then she looked... kind of worried."
Honey's frown fell away, and he smiled a little and Tamaki relaxed. "Why would a kiss worry her, you think?" Honey asked.
Tamaki looked back down at the tile flooring. "I... I don't know."
Honey stood up and put his hands on his hips. "I think it sounds like Haru-chan doesn't know either."
Tamaki cocked his head to the side. "What do you mean?"
Honey was nodding sagely to himself. "She might not know what she's feeling. Maybe it's a little scary for her."
The angle of the tilt of Tamaki's head increased. "Scary?"
"New things... Sometimes they can be scary." Honey said slowly, with grin. "When I first met Takashi, I was a little scared. 'Cause he's big and a bit grumpy looking. But I wasn't scared for long. You know?"
Tamaki nodded slowly, taking this in and staring ahead with a stern expression.
Honey patted him on the back, a little too enthusiastically. "So don't give up yet, Tama-chan! I'm cheering for you!"
Tamaki recovered from the blow and smiled for what felt like the first time in days. "Thanks Honey-sempai. I won't give up." He said.
"Great! Now let's eat cake!" Honey exclaimed, throwing up his arms.
"Yeah!" Tamaki agreed.
The next morning at school Haruhi still couldn't keep her thoughts on her work. She sighed and retuned to her desk from the short venture to the class chalk board. She had solved the equation effortlessly, as was usual, but even that did not lift her grim mood. The girls around her whispered their concern - they could tell she was upset no matter how she tried to hide it. Women's intuition wasn't exactly her friend this week. She was trying to pretend nothing was wrong, but it must have been plain as day on her face for everyone to be acting like this around her.
"Haruhi-kun, hang in there!" A small note attached to a tiny bag of cookies that had been on her desk that morning had read. There was no name on the note, but she suspected it was a communal gift from her regular 'customers' at the the host club. They, maybe especially after yesterday's card game, could tell something was up.
She glanced over to her side to find Hikaru in the desk to her right regarding her with a serious expression. Their eyes met for a moment, and then he broke away, looking embarrassed.
Even he and Kaoru were going easy on her this week.
'This is all such a headache.' She thought sourly, 'Why did things end up like this? Why did I ever agree to go out with Tamaki in the first place? I should of know it would just end up like this.'
She felt her throat tighten and her hand shake a little.
'Seriously, what was I thinking? It's like I wanted my life to turn into a soap opera!'
She turned a page in her notebook and took out a pencil from her bag, intending to doodle a bit to get her mind off things. Instead she found herself staring at the item in her hand in surprise.
It was Tamaki's treasured bear pencil that he had tried to foist off on her all those months ago after the club had sold one of her own pencils on an online auction (without her permission, of course). How had it gotten into her pencil case? Had he put it there? And when? Had it been in there for weeks and she never noticed or was it some sort of recent attempt at reconciliation? Then she remembered.
The day she had agreed to go out with him for a second time he had walked her to the train station and had insisted on carrying her bag like a real gentleman. Carrying two bags he looked a bit silly and they got a few curious looks since both of them were wearing boys uniforms. She was still not sure how they had dodged the rumor mill that time.
That must have been when he slipped in in her bag.
She smiled a little.
'That's right,' She thought, 'He would do something like that. That's why I went out with him.'
Had it really been that bad, being with him? Did she seriously think that all his attention had been on her just because she was different than the other girls at Ouran? And… even if it was, why did it matter?
He had stood before her in the middle of the night with an armful of roses and told her he loved her.
Something inside of her had been afraid to believe him. Another had screamed for her to abandon ship and head for the hills to get away from this boy who was crazy enough to love her. And another part… wanted nothing more than to return his feelings.
Haruhi Fujioka had never really relied on any one. Since the day she could walk to the grocery store by herself, she was all she needed to get her where she wanted to go. She had gotten into Ouran High School with only her own wits and determination to thank. She didn't need silly things like love and host clubs to mess up her perfectly planned high school career. Those things didn't fit into the future she had imagined for herself. After high school there was college, and law school, and graduate studies. Not to mention studying abroad or testing into a top firm. There were so many things ahead of her and she didn't know where he would fit.
She wanted him there.
She was suddenly aware of how lonely all of her future sounded, without him or her friends. Where did they fit? It wouldn't work, she told herself. After a while, they were destined to drift apart and go back to living in their separate worlds. Realistically, she didn't need them. She didn't need him.
She suddenly thought of the way his arms had felt around her during the storm that night at the beach. She had been so mad at him before that moment. She had thought he was a sexist egomaniac who lived for saving 'helpless' women when he had yelled at her for taking on those bullies all by herself. She had resented his chivalrous rescue. She hadn't recognized how scared he had been, how he and the rest of the club had worried about her and been frustrated by how she never asked for their help.
But she had buried her face in his shirt and clung to him like a little girl when the thunder came. It was embarrassing and frustrating, but… It hadn't been so bad in those arms. Maybe it wasn't so bad to need that a little bit.
And… Maybe if it was him, she could need him a little and it would be okay.
She looked down at the pencil in her hand again, and to her surprise felt a tear slide down her cheek.
When it was time for lunch, Haruhi stood up and sort of drifted away out the door, a ghost of her normal self. Kaoru stood and began gathering his things, but Hikaru stayed slumped in his seat, looking exhausted. Kaoru came up beside his desk and waited silently.
"This is not working." Hikaru grumbled finally, when all the other students had slowly filed out of the room leaving them alone.
"What's not working?" Kaoru asked softly, though he actually knew the answer all ready.
"She's supposed to get over him. She's not supposed to be CRYING over his goddamn pencil in the middle of class."
Kaoru sighed, frowning solemnly. "… Yeah."
"This… this sucks." Hikaru grumbled, leaning forward and resting the side of his face on the desk.
"Yeah." Kaoru agreed.
"I mean, this REALLY sucks!" Hikaru groaned emphatically.
Hikaru sat up in his chair, looking determined. "We gotta do something."
"L-like what?" Kaoru asked, a little startled.
Hikaru stared at the blackboard at the front of the class, looking stern and thoughtful. Then he sighed and seemed to crumple again, looking thoroughly annoyed. He suddenly cursed so colorfully even Kaoru was shocked. What he said next, however, shocked him even more.
"We gotta get them back together."
Kaoru was so dumbstruck he didn't even notice when someone else entered the room and stood behind them.
"I agree," said Kyouya.
To be continued...