Summary: No one knows how important Fujioka Haruhi is to the members of the Host Club, not even Haruhi herself. However, when she is inexplicably absent, they each learn just how much they care for her as they search to find her before the thunderstorm breaks.
Dedicated to: IceQueenRex, for her encouragement and awesomeness 3
Disclaimer: I don't own any of this, I don't get money for this, I didn't mean to pee on any copyrights, the usual.
Author's Note: This is my second OHSHC fic, and it's a bit of a gamble. The chapters following the prologue will take the viewpoint of each respective character as they search for Haruhi, but the prologue is short, because... it's just a prologue. Concrit is love, flames keep my heating bills down, feedback is appreciated.
"Where is she?"
"She's late, obviously."
"Very late, by the way Kyoya-senpai keeps looking at his watch-"
"- Not that he's worried, of course -"
" - Just concerned with punctuality. A late Host -"
"- Might decrease customers, right, Kyoya-senpai?"
Suou Tamaki, having asked the question that had led to the Hitachiin twins' amusement, paused. He had been pacing the luxuriously carpeted music room floor for fifteen minutes, and the movement had begun to grate on the nerves of the other Host Club members. Ootori Kyoya had indeed been monitoring his watch remarkably closely, if only to escape the sight of the Club's distressed leader; Honey had been clutching Usa-chan tightly since the pangs of uncertainty had set in, and Mori had been staring silently out the window ever since Haruhi's absence had been noticed. Only the twins were looking relaxed, watching the growing consternation of the others and smirking about it. Tamaki turned to them, red-faced, and opened his mouth to reprimand their light-hearted comments, but the Shadow King beat him to it.
"Exactly, Hikaru," he said, calmly. "While Haruhi has been late for meetings before, she has never been this late. As our guests will be arriving soon, it's only practical that I look at the loss of custom from those designated to her for the day."
"Hai, hai," Kaoru answered, sarcasm ringing in his tone of voice. "You'll have the police looking for her in no time."
"Unless tono goes out looking for her himself," added Kaoru's twin, his wicked grin directed at the blond student. Both brothers turned to watch Tamaki's reaction.
"Mori," Tamaki said, seeming not to have heard the twins at all.
Turning from the window, the older student raised an eyebrow, the slightest hint of curiosity evident in his impassive face.
"What... is the weather like?" The Club leader continued, looking contemplative. He either missed the surprised expression on the twins' faces or chose to ignore them completely.
"Cloudy," answered Mori, breaking his monosyllabic habit. "Looks like rain."
The members of the Host Club were all looking at their leader curiously, some with tilted heads, others with an inquisitve frown. Honey was the first to try interrupting Tamaki's brooding silence.
There was a pause for so long that they were certain their foolish President had ignored the smallest member, or simply not heard him. Then -
"Because it's been warm the last few days."
The Hitachiin twins gaped at Tamaki, before bursting into peals of laughter.
"Tono must be afraid Haruhi hasn't brought a sweater!" Hikaru cried, placing his hand on his forehead dramatically.
"Stop being such an idiot, Hikaru!" Shouted Tamaki, evidently losing his temper. He glared at the twin until Hikaru nodded slightly, relenting. "I think there's going to be a thunderstorm. And I'm sure Haruhi thought so too - so why didn't she come here? She wouldn't be caught outside if she thought so. She wouldn't be late voluntarily."
It was then, at last, that the twins finally understood the King's tension. Both faces sobered, and Hikaru reached for Kaoru's hand, remembering all too vividly how Haruhi reacted to thunder and lightning.
"I'm sure there's nothing to worry about," Kyoya said, clearly trying to inspire calm in the rest of the Club. "But perhaps it would be best if we were to look for Haruhi. We have half an hour left until the guests arrive-"
Without a word, Tamaki had taken off, running toward the door. Slightly alarmed, Kyoya stood up, turning to see the Hitachiin brothers were in hot pursuit.
"It would be more efficient to split up -" the door was slammed back by Tamaki as he hurtled through, interrupting Kyoya without care, "- and you must return in half an hour!" He had to raise his voice as the twins barrelled through the doorway.
"Kyoya," Honey said, only his widened eyes visible over the stuffed bunny's head. "Aren't you coming to look, too?"
Mori stepped forward to linger behind Honey, waiting to follow him wherever he thought to look.
"No," the Shadow King answered unhesitatingly. "Someone must be present in case our guests arrive early."
"Okay! Takashi, let's go!"
As the pair took off with Honey in the enthusiastic lead, Kyoya adjusted his glasses and peered down at his notebook. Someone had to be there... in case Haruhi arrived.