Another Mori/Haruhi, because I can't get enough of them. Hope y'all enjoy! (This was inspired by the manga side-story about Mori acting strange when he's sleepy. XD)
He tasted like mint, she realized, and a hint of something else, something…earthy. Maybe, under different circumstances, she'd recognize that other flavor, but right now, she was lucky to be on her feet still.
Part of her believed this wasn't happening. The other part, the sane part, heightened the feel of his open mouth against hers, the weight of his hands on her shoulders, the proximity of their bodies.
"You're adorable, you know that?" He'd said, his eyes slightly hooded, and completely un-Mori-like. "A little pixie doll…"
She had blinked, unable to think of anything else to do. They had both been running late to club activities, and she stumbled across him on the way to the Third Music Room. He looked livelier than usual, his cheeks ruddy, and he beamed when he saw her.
"We had a meeting about the next kendo tournament," he explained animatedly as they walked. "I'd like it if you came, Haruhi."
"Oh…oh, of course, Mori-senpai," she said, smiling back. "I'd love to." Though unnerved by his forwardness, she refused to show him that. And anyway, she'd never been to a kendo tournament before, so it wasn't as if she didn't want to go.
He inclined his head, and then asked, "What held you up?"
Haruhi readjusted her bag—the strap was sliding. "I stayed too long in the library," she admitted sheepishly. "There were so many books…I guess I lost track of time."
"Well, it is a library," Mori pointed out in a straightforward sort of way, rather like Haruhi's own manner of addressing things, and relieved her of the bag. He raised his eyebrows. "This is heavy."
Haruhi reached for it. "You don't have to carry that, Mori-senpai—"
"No, no, I insist," he said, and she looked at him helplessly.
What was going on? Mori had clearly taken leave of his senses, because, on top of being talkative, he was…cheerful. Chivalrous. Not that normal Mori was moody and inconsiderate, quite the contrary, but this was extreme for him, and Haruhi had no idea how to react.
And that was when he halted, gazing at her with his half-hooded eyes, and told her she was adorable.
Dumbstruck, Haruhi stared at him, and she didn't move an inch when he leaned down, hands resting on her shoulders, and kissed her.
Prior to this, Haruhi had been kissed only once, by accident, and by another girl, no less, so she had no real experience to draw from. She wondered, briefly, where Mori learned to kiss, how he knew that gliding his hand down the side of her neck would make her heart pound and her lips part, but her curiosity faded quickly as her knees started wobbling, and she bunched her fingers in his jacket to keep herself aloft.
After a few long moments—they seemed like an eternity—he ended the kiss by running his tongue along her bottom lip, and then drew back, cupping her face.
"Are you okay?"
She closed her eyes, breathing deep. Her mouth tingled, and she was lightheaded.
Mori kissed her. Mori. Hunny's faithful protector, his strong, silent shadow, who rarely, if ever, acted on impulse, who guarded his emotions so thoroughly that nobody could be certain what he was thinking or feeling.
She supposed it was possible that he liked her—why else would he have kissed her?—but he hadn't gone out of his way to act any differently toward her until now.
Her eyes opened, and they met his.
"I'm fine!" She forced a laugh, and mentally winced at how fake it sounded. "Just fine…" What should she call him? Saying "Mori-senpai" after they'd kissed seemed weird, but leaving it at "Mori" or even "Takashi" was weirder.
He smiled, and her stomach dropped. "Come on. The others must be wondering where we are." Straightening a lock of her hair, he winked and motioned for her to follow him.
Too much…this was too much. Haruhi trailed along behind him without being conscious of doing it, as if her legs were moving of their own accord.
The door to the music room swung open with such force it banged against the wall.
"Haruhi!" Tamaki raced past Mori and swept her into a hug. "Where have you been? You should've said you were going to be late! You know Daddy worries about you!"
"Sorry, senpai," Haruhi said, secretly grateful for Tamaki's exuberance. At least she could depend on him to be consistent. "I got distracted in the library."
And by Mori, but she wouldn't tell Tamaki that.
"Haruhi has customers waiting, tousan," Kyoya's voice called from inside. "Quit fussing, if you please."
"Hello, everyone," Mori said as he, Haruhi, and Tamaki entered. "Haruhi and I apologize for our tardiness."
Tamaki and the twins gawped.
"He's malfunctioning again," Hikaru whispered loudly to Kaoru.
"Where's that hammer?" Kaoru whispered back. "We've gotta fix him!"
Mori grinned, and made his way to Hunny's table. "Mitsukuni, ladies," he said, nodding to each.
Starry eyed, the girls sighed longingly, and Hunny studied Mori with as serious an expression as he could muster.
"Take a nap, Takashi," he suggested. "You're tired, aren't you?"
Mori's brow furrowed. "Now that you mention it…I guess I am," he said.
Hunny vacated his seat and took Mori by the sleeve, leading him to a spare couch in the far corner of the room and waited for him to situate himself. "See you in an hour. Sweet dreams!"
So that was it…he's sleepy. That's why he was acting so strange.
That was why he kissed her. It had to be.
"Is something wrong, Haruhi?" Tamaki asked, sounding concerned.
"No," she replied quickly, composing herself enough to smile at Tamaki. "I'm going to make some coffee, I think."
"Instant?" Tamaki appeared quite excited, and her smile this time was genuine.
"What other kind do I buy?"
She didn't mind that the kiss meant nothing. She didn't. It was silly, anyway. There was nothing like that between her and Mori, and she would just forget this entire incident, because there was no point holding on to it…
But it still hurt. Try as she might, she couldn't get around that.
Stop. You have work to do.
She poured steaming water over the coffee mix, fixing her eyes on the cups when all they wanted was to stray to Mori's couch.
An hour later, Mori rejoined the Host Club, his old self restored. He went immediately to Hunny, and spent what was left of the afternoon beside him.
Haruhi focused on her patrons and drank six cups of coffee, probably not the smartest move, since she was completely wired by the end of the day and her hands shook.
"You look like a drug addict," Hikaru informed her while they were preparing to vacate the music room. "I watched you down all that coffee."
"Caffeine overdose," Kaoru remarked.
"I drink eight when I'm cramming," Haruhi said airily. "This is a piece of cake." Which wasn't exactly true. She felt as if someone pumped her full of helium.
"Are you dizzy? Feverish?" Tamaki appeared out of nowhere, and he laid a hand across her forehead.
"I'm not sick, senpai," she said blandly.
"But you're warm! Kasan, come here and feel her forehead."
Kyoya ignored him and flicked the lights off, herding everyone out. "Pardon my inattention, Haruhi," he said somewhat mockingly, "but I have an exam tomorrow, and it's rather important I do well on it."
"Good luck, Kyo-chan!" Hunny said.
"Thank you," Kyoya replied, giving Tamaki an arch look, which he cringed under. "You ought to study as well, and I need a quiz partner."
"Awww, Kyoya! I studied already—"
"You stared at the book for two minutes, and then you started doodling in the margins."
Tamaki flushed. "Meanie."
Kyoya did not dignify that with a response. Instead, he gave Tamaki another arch look, and, cowed, the blonde boy hung his head. "Oh, all right."
"Well, we don't have to study," Hikaru said mischievously once Tamaki and Kyoya left. "Let's go get some ice cream."
"Ice cream…" Hunny's expression was euphoric.
"Although Haruhi shouldn't have any, because she's strung out," Kaoru said.
"I am not!"
The twins laughed, and Hunny ran to catch up with them, chanting "ice cream, ice cream, ice cream."
Haruhi grew tense. She knew he was behind her, and she was uncomfortable. The fact that she was uncomfortable made her even more uncomfortable. The kiss shouldn't have changed anything. It didn't change anything.
Except that it did.
Who was she fooling? She couldn't forget…
She bit her lip. "Mm?"
He brought his face at a level with her ear and said softly, "I didn't kiss you because I was tired."
Her eyes went wide, and she spun around, but he was already setting off in the direction of the twins and Hunny.
"Mori…" Her voice was so small…
He glanced over his shoulder. "Are you coming?" And he smiled.
Haruhi couldn't say when that fluttering sensation in her stomach became familiar, but it was now.
She'd deal with it later.
"Yeah. Wait up!"
She had a lot of things to deal with later. Like that earthy taste. Someday, she hoped she'd realize what it was.