Since it's been so long since our last update, I think a little refresher for some people might be useful. So, the story thus far goes a little something like this. Haruhi was kidnapped (for real this time), and it was the guys' mission to save her. After several escapades, they stumbled upon her in a dirty old house, and for all of two seconds, it really looked like Kyoya had been the one who sent the goons to her house to kidnap her. However, the culprit was actually Hunny, who did the deed after "Commoner's Board Game Night," in hopes of creating a fun adventure scenario for everyone. Yet that didn't explain how Haruhi got from the old garrison, where Hunny's men had dropped her off, to the decrepit old house. Turns out that the old garrison was the hideout of a real gang, who (not knowing what else to do with her) brought Haruhi back to their base of operations, which was the old house. Upon realizing that, the Ouran crew enlisted the help of Kasanoda, who came up with the plan that they are currently attempting to execute. Basically, Kasanoda and Haruhi are supposed to go out and meet the representatives from the Kemuri Group, then bait them into incriminating themselves. Everything they say will be recorded via a Bluetooth headset on Kasanoda. Once enough evidence has been gathered, the police will swoop in. Simple, right?

"Gird your loins, men?" Kyoya's warm smile disappeared, and his gaze flicked from Haruhi to Tamaki. He arched his eyebrows in mild exasperation. Did Tamaki ever listen to himself talk? He sighed, habitually nudging his glasses back up the bridge of his nose.

Meanwhile, Haruhi had left Kyoya's side, slid down from her stack of boxes, skirted the jumble of cables and electrical surveillance equipment, and made her way to Kasanoda.

Kyoya's eyes followed her path, and he felt a strange tug in the left region of his chest. He paused for a moment in surprise. The left region . . . Wasn't that where his heart was?

Perturbed, Kyoya shifted his gaze back to Haruhi and Kasanoda. Tamaki had joined them now, and Kyoya noticed that Haruhi wore the same expression he often did when dealing with Tamaki. Kyoya chuckled inwardly at that. It was always the little things she did that always took him by surprise, though years of suppressing his emotions kept him stoic as always.

Kyoya could easily see why Tamaki fawned over her as he did. In fact, oddly enough, he himself often felt a strange twinge when Haruhi gazed at him with her penetrating, doelike eyes. It was unsettling. He closed his eyes for a moment, trying to clear his mind. Haruhi intrigued him. Yes, that was all.

Kyoya opened his eyes again and retrieved the Bluetooth earpiece from his pocket, hooking it around his ear. It matched the one Kasanoda was now wearing as he slid the handcuffs around Haruhi's slim wrists. Kyoya watched as the cuffs closed with a metallic chink, and calmly met Kasanoda's grim gaze as he turned to face him.

"Ready?" Kyoya asked him, working to maintain his customary air of disinterest.

Kasanoda seemed too petrified to reply.

Addressing the troops this time, one hand on his headset, Kyoya repeated: "Ready?"

From a floor above them, Hikaru and Kaoru grinned impishly and gave him an enthusiastic wave.

They were stationed on the two ends of the balcony that overlooked the gate where the plan was to take place. They were also extraordinarily well disguised in nondescript navy suits, having traded clothes with two of Kyoya's secret service men. Each twin was equipped with glasses that could zoom to about the same degree as a standard pair of binoculars, as well as take pictures with the touch of a button. Each had a Mont Blanc pen that contained a two minuscule bullets filled with a potent explosive, as well as an exploding backpack. Hikaru's, bag, when activated, would detonate a bomb that would fog the room with a smokescreen. Kaoru's would release a net.

Next, the Ohtori Secret Service, huddled around a set of glowing laptops, gave him a thumbs-up. The air around them was static with tension; if Kyoya hadn't known any better, he'd have said they were excited. He turned back to Kasanoda, eyeing him with slight apprehension. Even after going over the plans with him again and again, Kyoya still doubted the durability of Kasanoda's strained psyche. Kyoya arched an eyebrow in his direction.

Kasanoda gulped, trying to dislodge the thick, heavy lump of terror he felt lodged in his throat. Unable to speak, he nodded.

Kyoya stifled a sigh. He trusted Kasanoda's plan, his yakuza-bred instincts. But all the same, if Kasanoda didn't start showing some symptoms of having a spine, Kyoya might actually have to start . . . worrying. He glanced at one of the monitors clustered behind him. Three hardened-looking men were approaching, their gait like wiry street dogs, trying to be discreet but furtively glancing at every shadow that so much as twitched.

Kyoya shifted his gaze to meet Haruhi's eyes. She nodded resolutely, not even a milligram of fear apparent on her features. Kasanoda took her by the shoulders, gently guiding her out of the closet door.

Haruhi was just getting her game face on when she found herself stuck, unable to lift her feet without a Herculean effort, as though she was mired down in quicksand. However, she knew she wasn't trapped in quicksand, or suddenly a victim of random paralysis. Actually, quicksand would probably have been less sticky, and random paralysis would've given her a valid excuse to not be part of the proceedings.

No such luck. Haruhi looked down to see Tamaki clutching her legs for dear life, clinging to them miserably like a monkey to a coconut tree during a tsunami.

"Haruhi!" He sobbed, his violet eyes glistening. "Don't be a hero!" he pleaded, every nuance of his voice imploring her, his very being saturated with sincerity.

Rolling her eyes, Haruhi pried one leg free.

She tried unsuccessfully to liberate her second leg. Vainly, she dragged Tamaki a few paces, with him scooting around the floor on his butt, whining and keening like a kicked puppy. Finally, Haruhi gave in, stopping with a sigh.

Tamaki whimpered quietly, but his grasp loosened ever so slightly. "I'm sorry, Haruhi," he murmured almost inaudibly. He raised his eyes to meet hers. "It's just that . . . I don't want to lose you again."

As Haruhi gazed down at Tamaki, she tried to name the emotion that was clouding her mind, but a specific word eluded her. It was often like this with Tamaki, like mere language failed to describe him. She reached down to softly pat his tousled blond hair, smoothing it where it was ruffled. "You won't," she promised, equally quietly.

With this, Tamaki stood up and let go of Haruhi's leg, though he retained her cuffed hands in his grip. On impulse, emboldened by the adrenaline of the moment, or perhaps merely taking advantage of the fact that he was safely out of Hikaru's range of vision, Tamaki raised Haruhi's hands to his lips, and kissed them softly before letting them drop slowly back down.

Suddenly aware of the blood rushing to her cheeks, Haruhi whipped around quickly, almost violently nailing Kasanoda in the face with her cuffed hands. Strangely energized despite being so flustered, Haruhi squared her shoulders and began towards the yanki, determined to go through with the plan before she lost her resolve. Kasanoda followed suit, rushing slightly to catch up to his "prisoner."

The three yanki were all wearing reflective black sunglasses and dressed in identical black, tailored suits with white dress shirts, though no ties. The one in the middle was obviously the leader, his graying hair and lined face a testament to his seniority. He seemed more at ease than the two burly guards who flanked him, standing with his arms folded and the top two buttons on his white shirt left roguishly undone, exposing the head and snarling jaws of a serpentine black dragon tattooed on the side of his neck.

Standing before the three seasoned yanki, Kasanoda realized with sudden, overwhelming clarity just how lanky his frame was in comparison, how shabby his clothes were, how greasy his hair was, how childish he must seem. He just hoped they didn't start calling him young whippersnapper.

Haruhi, on the other hand, didn't register any of those details about the yanki. Later on, she wouldn't have been able to tell the police whether the suits were black or navy, or if the tattoo had been of a dragon, or an eel, or a sea cucumber. She focused on keeping her breathing even, her eyes downcast, and her face expressionless, hoping that her demeanor wouldn't betray Kasanoda and praying that her acting skills had improved to better than those of a daikon radish.

The man with the dragon tattoo smiled wickedly at Kasanoda, baring his teeth. Kasanoda kept his mouth set in a steely line, choosing instead to glower and nod curtly at all three of them, doing nothing more than acknowledging their presence.

As planned, the man with the dragon tattoo introduced himself first, in a voice that rumbled like thunder. "As you've probably guessed, I'm the leader of the Kemuri group. You may address me as Pinky."

Haruhi clamped her lips together to keep from laughing, but it was too late. Before she could regain her composure, a half-strangled giggle escaped her mouth.

Pinky's eyes flashed menacingly. "Is my name amusing to you?" he murmured, lacing his voice with venom.

Out of the corner of her eye, Haruhi was vaguely aware that the twins, too, were suffused with giggles. Clenching her fists and fighting to keep her face straight, she replied: "Relatively speaking, I've heard much crazier things. But aren't most yakuza named something like Scorpion or Cobra?"

"Insolent brat!" Pinky spat, flushing a vivid scarlet. "Pinky is my family name. As it happens, my given name is Python. But that is for the Younger Kasanoda to know. Your degenerate's tongue is not fit to pronounce my regal moniker." With that, Python Pinky rounded on Kasanoda. "And just who does your father think he is, sending a young whippersnapper like you to meet me?"

Darn it! Kasanoda winced internally. Rather than betray his trembling nerves, Kasanoda fixed Python with a glare he normally reserved for intimidating pit bulls.

"I am not a whippersnapper, young or otherwise." Kasanoda's eyes flashed. "Besides, I have what you want, and you don't," he added, mimicking the yakuza boss's venomous hiss perfectly.

Taken aback, Python gave a barking laugh. "Fair enough. But how did you net her after she managed to slip through our fingers?"

Kasanoda's smile disappeared. "That's for me to know, and you to wonder. Why her, anyway? She's just a commoner. She means nothing to any of the yakuza families."

The hard lines of Python's mouth tensed. "She may mean nothing to us, but we may very well mean something to her."

His frown deepening, Kasanoda asked, "What do you mean by that?"

Python paused. "Well, we discovered her in our favorite 'exchange site' sometime yesterday. Nobody knew why she was dumped there, so we assumed that it was a trap gone wrong, set by another gang. Thus, we grabbed her to try to hold her hostage. You know, for bargaining leverage to use in the future. It was only after these two dunderheads -" he shot a disgusted look at his two bodyguards, "had taken her back to our hideout when we realized she wasn't with the any gang. So, now she knows where both our drug cache and main hideout are. As you see," he told Kasanoda coldly, "we cannot possibly set her loose. The only way to ensure that she won't sing is to have her deported or killed."

At the word "killed," Tamaki spasmed, utter panic making common sense not quite so common. He threw himself at the door, Mori threw himself at Tamaki, and Hunny pounced both of them just for fun.

"Control yourselves!" Kyoya hissed.

"Seriously, Tama-chan!" Hunny admonished. "It's just getting good! Just look at how cool Bossa Nova looks!"

With what seemed like a herculean effort, Tamaki restrained himself and huddled as close to the door as Kyoya would allow, nervously alternating between watching the action and drawing hieroglyphs in the dust with his finger.

Just then, Kyoya's phone began to ring. Swiftly, his hand darted into his pocket and brought it to his ear.

"What?" he snapped impatiently.

"Sorry sir," the voice on the other line replied with a frantic urgency. "There was an accident with one of our vans; a head-on collision! I would've called earlier, but our cell phones and the rest of our equipment were lost in the wreckage - we just managed to commandeer some bikes, and we're on our way!"

It was as if Kyoya's insides had crystallized, then shattered into a million little bite-sized pieces. Like rock candy, made out of kryptonite. "Who is this?" he demanded.

"It's Hotta, sir. Again I apologize for the delay, but we're going as fast as we can, I swear!"

"But all fifteen of the men I requested were accounted for!" Kyoya replied in a harsh whisper.

"The new recruits, sir! This was to be their first mission, and they were traveling with me! They were fresh from the training facility, so it stands to reason that no one would recognize them yet. Someone must have set up the accident and replaced them with Kemuri men! Stay put, and don't do anything until we arrive!"

With that, Hotta hung up amid the sounds of furious pedaling. Woodenly, Kyoya closed his phone and buried his face in his hands, massaging his eyelids.

Oh, shit.

Meanwhile, completely unaware of the effect that the word "killed" had just had on Kasanoda, Python continued. "So it seems that with this bargain, we both win. You get the alliance you desire, and our secrets will stay secrets. Do you accept, whippersnapper?"

It would have been so easy for Kasanoda to nod and signal the Ohtori Secret Service now and nab Python and his bodyguards on counts of kidnapping, drug possession, and drug dealing. But that would leave the rest of his gang in the clear and free to exact their revenge on not only him and Haruhi, but the rest of Kasanoda's men. So, fighting down his very strong survival instinct and gulping down the effects of his equally strong gag reflex, Kasanoda stood his ground.

"Hang on. Before I agree to anything, I need to be completely certain that we understand each other. After I give you this girl -" he did his best to appear to shove Haruhi roughly while still exerting the least possible force on her " - and myself to your daughter in marriage, I will have the full services of all the men you have to offer?"

Python appeared to roll his eyes, but it was difficult to see his expression beneath the large sunglasses that seemed permanently fused to his face. "Yes, all my men. You will find a complete roster for your perusal in my office. Now, do we have a bargain?"

Kyoya's mind was racing, churning, trying to figure out a way to notify the others without initiating full on panic.

WTHOMFGBBQ. Duh. Text message!

He whipped out his phone again, and his fingers flew across the keypad. Just as he was about to hit send, something cold jutted into the back of his neck. He froze, sickeningly sure of what was happening.

Finally! Kasanoda struggled to control his breathing as he made the move to signal the Ohtori, his blood vessels so full of adrenaline he felt almost ready to burst. He had barely raised his hand to touch the Bluetooth headset when a rough cloth was clamped over his face, a sickly sweet smell filling his nostrils. He panicked and struggled for a mere moment before slumping to the floor, out cold.

Python chuckled hoarsely. "And that's how the Kemuri deal."

Immediately a swarm of men descended upon them, hog tying Kasanoda before tossing him unceremoniously onto their shoulders and setting off at the running equivalent of a synchronized march. Terror coursing through her, Haruhi made a move to bolt, but another yanki tackled her, snatched her up, and tossed her over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes. Her slight frame was no match for him. Yanki swarming all around her, she glanced around frantically for Hikaru and Kaoru.

However, the twins were nowhere to be found.

"Don't move, or I'll shoot," a voice said coldly.

Panic throbbed at the edge of Kyoya's consciousness, like the insistent tattoo of African war drums. But they didn't call him the Dark Lord of the Host Club for nothing. He called the gangster's bluff.

"You wouldn't dare shoot the youngest, handsomest, and most brilliant Ohtori son." He replied smoothly, as he turned to face his adversary. His eyes flashed over the other five imposters who had, by some strange hiccup of fate, managed to take out ten of the Ohtori's best and were now pointing guns at Tamaki, Mori, and Hunny as they sat hunched in a corner. "Impressive. If you don't mind me asking, how did you do that?"

"The Vulcan nerve pinch," spat the one closest to him, still training the gun at Kyoya's neck, though Kyoya noticed that his hand had begun to quiver.

It most certainly was an impressive job. Impressive in the sense that these five amateurs hadn't been killed yet by Mori or Hunny. Now that they'd lost the element of surprise, they would be no match for either of them. Kyoya noted, with gratitude, that the only reason Hunny hadn't ripped them to shreds yet was because Kyoya's gunman was at point blank range - by the time Hunny and Mori had disposed of the first four, Kyoya would be dead.

"I could pay you three times whatever that thug's paying," Kyoya whispered temptingly. "You would have a room in the mansion. All five of you would." He removed his glasses, as if to polish them, but as he did, one of the arms of his wire frames snapped. "Shoot," he muttered.

He glanced up. Then in one fluid movement, his arm shot out and upward, cobralike, lancing the jagged tip of the arm into his captor's neck. The man staggered, shock filling his eyes before they glazed over and he collapsed, splayed like a fallen scarecrow.

Seizing the moment, Hunny launched himself like a rocket, his fluffy blond head connecting with a gangster's chin at about 45 miles per hour.

Mori in turn lashed out with a swift kick to the backs of his opponent's knees, taking him down with a resounding crash. Before the man knew what was happening, Mori's elbow was in his stomach, squishing the breath from his lungs.

After slipping on a spare pair of glasses from his jacket, Kyoya wrested the gun from the goon's unconscious body, cast him one more disdainful look, and darted out the door in pursuit of Python's tram. Hunny and Mori, having made quick work of the remaining two, sprinted after him.

Out of nowhere, a thick black smoke erupted from midair, blinding them with its acrid, ashy stench.

"Shit!" Kyoya swore, realizing what the source of the smoke must be. "Hikaru and Kaoru! Hunny, Mori – You two head up to the second floor and help them. I'll –" He paused as he turned to Tamaki as though realizing for the first time that he was still there "We'll," he corrected himself, "take the tram and go after Haruhi and Kasanoda. If we can't catch them, we'll rendezvous back here in an hour."

Hunny and Mori nodded in agreement and sprinted off, shielding their eyes and nostrils as best they could.

With as much speed as he dared, Kyoya fumbled for the modified tram, Tamaki in tow, being infuriatingly clumsy and slow. "Would you hurry up?" Kyoya hissed through gritted teeth.

"Kyoya . . ." Tamaki began tentatively. "Did you really kill that guard?"

Kyoya blinked in surprise and replied, struggling not to choke: "What? Of course not. Elephant tranquilizer. All the Ohtoris carry it. I hide mine in small vials. Concealed along . . ." he gave a hacking cough, struggling to finish his sentence. "Concealed along the sides of my glasses."

"Oh." Tamaki processed this for a moment, then gripped Kyoya's arm with renewed vigor. "All right then, since the darkness has not completely consumed your soul and you have not yet devolved into a villain, we must act with the utmost swiftness." He tugged Kyoya firmly to the side. "The tram is this way!"

Kyoya shook his head in wonderment. What a strange prince, he mused. So worried about a life he'd never come into contact with before today, and furthermore one that might have killed him without a second thought.

But there was scarcely time for musing, as Tamaki clambered into the driver's seat on the tram and pulled Kyoya up beside him. Turning the key in the ignition, the engine roared to life before settling into a confident purr as Tamaki floored it.

In a little under ten seconds the tram burst free from the cloud of heavy smoke, and relatively fresh air flooded into Kyoya's lungs, clearing his head as well. Getting his bearings, he tugged on Tamaki's sleeve. "Slow down," he cautioned, as Tamaki gently shook him off. "We don't even know what direction they went."

"It's this way, I'm sure of it," Tamaki replied, a flinty determination in his eyes. "While you were busy staring at Casanova acting cool, I was drawing out and memorizing the floor plan of the airport. This is no doubt the most logical route for them to take."

Kyoya was about to open his mouth to challenge Tamaki when he caught a glimpse of a tailored black suit disappearing around a corner. But did it match what Python and his men had been wearing? he took inventory in his mind: Imitation Armani, cheap cotton interwoven with regular sheep's wool, maybe a thread or two of alpaca or cashmere for a taste of luxury. Thin, white dress shirt. Black leather shoes, made from rough cowhide, scuffed, with standard, mediocre rubber heels. Match.

"There!" Kyoya yelled, pointing down the corridor where he'd seen the man make his escape.

Jerking the steering wheel to the left and jamming his foot down on the brakes, Tamaki executed a perfect drift and shot after their quarry.

"Where," Kyoya gasped, "Did you learn how to do that?"

Tamaki shrugged sheepishly. "The twins introduced me to video games. I have an unnatural talent for racing simulations, which made me think that maybe if taking over the Suoh empire doesn't work out for me, I could move to America and become the next Jeff Danica Fitz-Patrick. Gordon."


"Never mind." Tamaki narrowed his gaze and urged the tram forward, delicately toying with the gas pedal, decelerating when he needed to, accelerating when he dared.

They were gaining ground slowly, not nearly quick enough for either of them. The yanki had shrewdly chosen a crowded hallway, taking advantage of their smaller size and agility to weave through the crowds of people that Tamaki could never just plow through – on good conscience anyway.

"This isn't working," Tamaki muttered through gritted teeth. "I NEED YOU TO MOVE, PLEASE!" he bellowed at crowds of tourists, frozen in place like petrified deer. "I keep losing sight of them," he growled in frustration.

"Just follow the path of people falling over in their wake," Kyoya quipped grimly. "Wait, what're they doing now? We're on the third floor! Oh, you've got to be kidding me."

To the horror of many unsuspecting commoners, a great blast from below had reduced a large, floor-to-ceiling window, several meters down the hall from where Tamaki and Kyoya were, to smithereens. A loud burst of air came from below, and something bulbous and yellow erupted forth. Someone had pilfered an inflatable landing slide, like the ones installed in airplane doors in case of an emergency water landing, and detonated it right underneath the window.

The yanki put on a burst of speed and leapt through the hole like a herd of wildebeests plunging into a river. One could only assume that they had a cavalcade of cars waiting for them at the bottom, ready to whisk them away to God only knew where.

Tamaki let loose an uncharacteristically vicious stream of expletives, to Kyoya's amazement (and slight bemusement) before flooring it, jerking the steering wheel right and left in a frantic effort to dodge innocents while gaining as much ground as possible.

Kyoya was never more convinced of Tamaki's insanity, and never more aware of his own feeble mortality than at that point.

In what seemed like milliseconds, they'd closed in on the hole in the wall, just as the last yanki disappeared down the yellow slide.

"No time to dismount," Tamaki said, to Kyoya's horror. He realized all too clearly what Tamaki meant to do. "We're going to FLY, Kyoya!"

Tamaki and Kyoya braced themselves as the tram lurched out the window and bounced sickeningly on the air-filled slide, swerving wildly as Tamaki tried desperately to keep control of it. "I can't steer!" he yelled almost hysterically. "I can't brake!"

"Screw the steering wheel, screw the brakes! Just HANG ON!" Kyoya screamed as they hurtled towards the ground.

They landed at the foot of the slide with a jarring thump, rattling their bones to the very core. From his seat, Kyoya quickly took inventory of their craft. Noting the absence of smoke, sparks, or flames, he quickly deemed it safe to move on.

"We good?" Tamaki asked breathlessly, anxiously.

Kyoya nodded tersely, scarcely having time to take a steadying breath before Tamaki punched it.

They were close on the tails of the yanki's five cars, mere yards behind them, but both Tamaki and Kyoya came to the bleak realization that on this straightaway, there was no way that their puny tram would be able to catch up to actual cars. Furthermore, the cars were driving in a diamond formation, with four guard cars forming a protective diamond around the center car, no doubt the one holding Kasanoda, Haruhi, and Python. Even if they could catch up, the diamond of cars would be impenetrable to two unarmed men.

If only there was a way to make the cars have to dodge and swerve, like we'd had to in the hallway . . . Tamaki thought in desperation. But there were only several hundred meters of runway stretched ahead of him, before an escape gate the yanki were aiming for. If the cars made it through that gate, all hope would be lost.

Then, without warning, one of the tires on the lead car blew out in a frenzy of shredded rubber, sending the vehicle spinning into the leftmost car, following just inches too closely, crashing both of them into a cluster of stacked crates.

"What? How?" Kyoya stammered in bewilderment. Suddenly, his Bluetooth alerted him to a call. "Hikaru? Kaoru?" he asked in amazement, hardly daring to believe it could be true.

"Hai!" It never occurred to Kyoya that he'd ever be so happy to hear those two nasal voices.

"Kyoya, we've got three shots left," Hikaru said hurriedly. "We'll do what we can about the other two guard cars, but after that, you're on your own!"

Kyoya quickly agreed and relayed this information to Tamaki, renewing the determination in his eyes as the twins' next shot lodged itself in the fuel tank of the rightmost car, exploding with a satisfying flare of flames and igniting the gasoline. Kyoya could hear gleeful giggles over his headset, as the yanki were forced to scramble away from their burning vehicle, nearly tripping over themselves in their panic, and could hardly control his laughter himself.

However, any sense of confidence was premature, as the twins' next two shots missed their targets, ricocheting wildly off the cars' front fenders and hubcaps. At this point, they were halfway down the runway and after slowing briefly while under fire from the twins, the two remaining cars were gaining speed.

"Now what?" Kyoya asked Tamaki.

Tamaki didn't know how to answer that, so he kept silent, while jamming his foot down harder on the gas pedal.

"Tama – HOY!" Kyoya yelped, as a crate came sailing out of nowhere, landing almost directly in front of the last guard car. It screeched almost to a halt and jerked to the right before jerking abruptly to the left again, to dodge yet another crate. Kyoya cast his eyes around to see where the crates were coming from, and happened to catch a glimpse of a tuft of blond hair and Mori's tall, strong silhouette atop a mountain of crates, just beyond their current position.

Tamaki cheered, whooping wildly out of sheer relief, while Kyoya (though definitely not the religious type) made a silent promise to visit the family shrine later if he came out of this with his nerves intact.

Tamaki, eyes glued to the road, asked Kyoya what Mori and Hunny were planning on doing next. However, his question was answered through the steady hail of crates that eventually not only forced the two cars to separate, but crushed the last guard car's engine.

Then, Kyoya saw the twins join Hunny and Mori atop their makeshift siege tower. Kaoru handed Hunny his backpack, and the little one took aim and fired. Through years of practice with shuriken, Hunny's aim was true, and the backpack's net soared above their heads and spread like a majestic, airborne octopus, before plummeting down onto the windshield of the remaining car.

This final distraction was all Tamaki needed to catch up to his quarry. Pulling up along the driver's side of the car, he motioned for Kyoya to take over the controls. Kyoya took the wheel and eased his foot onto the gas pedal, as Tamaki exchanged places with him and stood on the edge of the tram, clinging onto the passenger seat for what little support it offered. His eyes darted around the tram, searching for something, anything, that could be used as a weapon.

A tool kit lay half hidden under the passenger seat. Tamaki snatched it up and rifled through its contents before settling on a solid-looking steel wrench. Drawing his hand back, he slammed it as hard as he could against the glass of the driver's side window. The impact jarred him so hard that the reverberations traveled all the way up his arm and through his spine, rattling his teeth like a miniature earthquake in his skull – of course the windows were made of bulletproof glass.

Meanwhile, all Tamaki's valiant strike had done was alert Python to his presence. Snarling viciously, the yakuza boss pulled a gun out from the folds of his jacket.

Kyoya heard Tamaki's startled yelp and out of the corner of his eye, caught a glimpse of Python's livid face and a flash of dull grey as the sun reflected off his gun. Immediately, Kyoya knew that Python would shoot to kill without hesitation, and did the only thing he could think of. He simultaneously grabbed the back of Tamaki's jacket and yanked him back while jerking the steering wheel to the right, smashing the tram into the side of the car.

Python was completely unprepared for Kyoya's stroke of genius (or madness), and in the jolt from the impact, dropped the gun while fighting to regain control of the car.

Tamaki seized his opportunity. Clutching his wrench, Tamaki took a giant leap of faith onto the side of the moving vehicle and clambered up onto the roof.

Kyoya gulped and gave Tamaki one long, final look, trying to communicate everything with his eyes, as his vocal cords no longer seemed to be willing to cooperate with him. Tamaki nodded, and Kyoya peeled away, turning the tram around to meet Hunny, Mori, Hikaru and Kaoru as they ran up to meet him.

Tamaki's heart was thundering like a spastic machine gun, and he could have sworn that if only he could have used it as a jackhammer, he would've been able to stop the vehicle without the slightest problem. However, as it stood, Tamaki felt like its erratic thumping only threatened to throw him off balance to his death.

Then, with a start, Tamaki realized that he was actually lying on top of a sunroof. Could it be possible that the old boss Python was arrogant enough to believe that no one would ever get close enough to the top of his car to attempt to break in through his sunroof? It was worth a shot.

Tamaki slammed his wrench down and immediately, there was the gratifying sound of glass cracking and giving way. A few more strikes with the wrench, and Tamaki was able to kick in the flimsy shade beneath the glass of the sun roof. He swung his legs in . . . But by that time, Python had managed to recover his gun and was shooting madly up at the sky in random places.

Tamaki was unable (and unwilling) to lower the rest of his body into the car, so the best he could do was wrap his legs around Python's neck in an attempt to choke him into submission. He couldn't help but release a half-hysterical giggle at the idea of strangling a python. Oh, how the tables have turned, he thought morbidly.

But it would be unfair to think that, during all this time, Haruhi had merely been sitting idly, waiting to be rescued like some sort of weepy, worthless damsel in distress. In fact, she had been working tirelessly to squirm into an upright position, no easy feat when one considered that she was gagged, her hands bound behind her back, her feet bound together then bound to Kasanoda's wrists, which were also bound behind his back and hog-tied to his ankles.

But just as Tamaki's lower half had come crashing in through the roof, she'd succeeded. Haruhi rose up from the backseat like an angry rattlesnake, her eyes holding the same deathly calm as Kyoya's when he'd realized that Antoinette had mangled his glasses into oblivion.

Silently, she slithered forward so her head was just alongside Python's. Completely preoccupied with trying to gnaw off Tamaki's leg, Python was oblivious to Haruhi's presence. She stretched back as far as her spine would allow, then, with all the matter-of-factness of an exasperated goat, crashed her cranium into Python's skull.

Python went rigid for a second then toppled forward, his forehead bouncing off the steering wheel.

Shortly after, the rest of Tamaki dropped through the sunroof and he wiggled into the passenger seat, greeting Haruhi with an exuberant smile. "We won!" he cheered.

"HHHHRRRRNNNNGHH!" Haruhi answered, her eyes still wide with panic.

Confused, Tamaki realized after a second that the car was still in motion, and they were within several yards of the chain link gate at the end of the runway. Moreover, Python was woozily beginning to stir. Tamaki nonchalantly whacked him once more with the wrench. Then, he quickly shoved Python's legs and lolling head out of his way, braked as hard as he dared, and came skidding to a stop.

The car was swiftly surrounded by even more men in matching, nondescript black suits, just as Python came blinking back into consciousness. He came to just in time to be handcuffed by the Ohtori Secret Police, and to see all his men being dragged into custody amidst a riot of red and blue flashing lights and wailing sirens.

"We won!" Tamaki cheered again breathlessly, springing up into the air. This time, when he came down, he was joined by Haruhi and Kasanoda, and the three of them engulfed in hugs from the rest of the club members.

It was then, and only then, that Haruhi's brain began to release the torrent of emotions and stress that she'd lived through in the past couple of days. Much to Haruhi's frustration, those emotions, lacking a way out through her mouth, released themselves through a steady flow of tears from her doelike eyes. She wiped at them, utterly perplexed, but they kept streaming out of her eyes.

"Silly, why are you crying?" Tamaki laughed, pulling her into a hug.

Haruhi could only muster enough energy to mutter that she didn't know, and tried alternately pulling away and shoving ineffectually at Tamaki. Eventually though, exhaustion overcame her, and she settled, albeit unwillingly, into the crook of his arm as he led her and the rest of their group away from the chaotic scene, back to normalcy.

Or, at least, normalcy as far as Ouran was concerned.

And that's it, guys! If the desire so strikes, I might post a short little epilogue, but for all intents and purposes, this is the end, of both this fic and (probably) my fanfiction career. It was great while it lasted, and thanks SO MUCH for all your support and reviews. It really has meant a lot to me. So once again, arrigatou and ja ne!