An Exchange of Few Words

Disclaimer: I do not own Ouran High School Host Club.
A/N: Wow! You guys are great. And just like I promised, here's chapter seven. This one is a little bit longer than usual, and it's much more "plot-ish" than the last chapter. I'll try to get chapter eight finished soon, but I've no idea when I'll be able to. (Hint: more reviews do equal quicker updates - I just can't make the same promise this time. Heh.) That chapter is another interlude, this time with the twins. Well, enjoy the sixth Kyo/Haru kiss! And thanks again for all the reviews.

Chapter Seven: Challenge


Their sixth kiss was a challenge.

Some girls might have swooned and handed their hearts over immediately after such a romantic date, but not Fujioka Haruhi. Her approach was much more... clinical.

"Kyoya-sempai, I think I'd like you to be my boyfriend."

Luckily, they were alone. He adjusted his glasses to give himself a moment to think - and regain the small measure of composure he had lost. "Your... boyfriend?"

She nodded, calm and completely serious. "Yes. I enjoyed our date, and I've realized that I'm attracted to you. It seems logical to start a relationship."

"Relationship?" He had no idea how to react; he wasn't even sure how he felt about the prospect. "Well, Haruhi, I..." He cleared his throat. "Isn't it more traditional for the man to first suggest such an arrangement?"

"Oh. I suppose so. I just wanted to let you know that I'd be perfectly happy with 'such an arrangment'..." She let herself smile. "If you ever care to suggest it."

He smirked in return. "Perhaps I'd care to now. If that means, of course, that I'd be receiving all the benefits of the position."

"Benefits? What kind of benefits?"

"You'll make wonderful Tamaki deterrent." He put his hands on her waist - she was so small. "And I'll be able to kiss you whenever I want to."

He was making no secret of his intentions. Haruhi's breath caught and she whispered, "Like... now?"

"Yes. Like now."

Their faces were inches apart when suddenly Hikaru's voice shouted, "No way, tono, we're seeing Haruhi first!"

"My darling daughter! Don't let those twins corrupt you. Daddy's coming!"

Kyoya stepped away as quickly as he could, grabbing his clipboard from a side table. A moment later, the other hosts came rushing in. Haruhi was bombarded by a tangle of twins and Tamaki.

"Our doll!" Hikaru and Kaoru said quickly, whisking her out of the grip of the club's president. They nuzzled their cheeks against Haruhi, keeping a firm grip on her upper arms.

Haruhi sighed in exasperation. "It's good to see you, too."

"We couldn't find your history book," Hikaru said with a pout. "I thought you said you had lost it at lunch."

Kyoya raised an eyebrow at her, and discreetly nudged said book under the couch with his foot.

"I did," Haruhi said. "That's the last place I can remember seeing it." She sighed in a very good show of disappointment. "Maybe someone will bring it in before class tomorrow."

"No!" Tamaki said, eyes blazing. "If we must, we shall call the company and get another copy delivered here this very afternoon. My darling Haruhi mustn't be made to wait."

"Tamaki-sempai..." She wriggled a little against the twins' grip, but had no luck breaking free. "Mori-sempai, would you - Ahh!" Before she had even finished her request, she was hoisted up in the air by two strong arms.

"There you go, Haruhi."

She smiled at him. "Thank you." Turning her attention back to a certain Suoh, she said "And I don't think calling the company will be necessary. I'm sure the book will show up eventually."

"B-but - "

Hunny giggled, a ring of frosting around his mouth. "Tamaki-kun loves Haruhi too, too much!"

Mori produced a handkerchief. "Mitsukuni..."

"Ahh! Thank you!" He wiped his mouth, then smiled proudly. "We all love Haru-chan," he said happily. He plopped down on the couch and somehow produced a cupcake. "But I think one person loves her the very, very most." Kyoya could have sworn the tiny senior's eyes shot towards him.

"Me, of course." Hikaru said, coming up behind her and playing with Haruhi's hair.

"I love my beautiful daughter the most! Mother!" Tamaki wailed. "Help rescue our daughter from the clutches of her wretched sibling!"

Kyoya sighed. Tamaki wailing, Hitachiin mischief, Hunny eating sweets...

Just another average, Host Club day.

Tamaki had to restrain himself from jumping up and down in excitement. As soon as Haruhi got there, he'd announce his big news.

"Tamaki," Kyoya sighed, "Could you concentrate for a moment, please? You were attempting to explain to me why dressing all the hosts as mermen would be a good way to make money."

Yes, his merpeople idea had been delightful! If only beautiful Haruhi were allowed to be as feminine as she so richly deserved...


He smiled sheepishly. "My apologies, Kyoya. I was - "

"Thinking dirty thoughts, no doubt." One of the twins said. Without Haruhi, no one could really be sure which was which.

The other twin grinned at his brother. "About our precious princess, too! Oh, Kaoru... It's too much for me."

"Don't worry Hikaru - I'll be here to hold and comfort you whenever you feel too weak to go on."

Haruhi arrived at the third music room just in time to see the Hitachiins drape themselves all over one another. She rolled her eyes. "Is that necessary?" she asked them. "There aren't any customers here."

Tamaki gasped. "You're here! You're here!" He stampeded towards her in a storm of giddiness. "My darling daughter, I have stupendous news!"

"I have nothing left of my debt to pay?"

Kyoya laughed. "Don't be ridiculous." She shot him a glare.

"As much as I wish that I could say as much, I'm afraid that's not the good news I bring." He clasped his hands together and spun around. "My father has allowed me the use of our wonderful vacation home! Tomorrrow I'll be whisking us all away for a fun, friend-filled vacation to - "

"I wanted to spend my holiday with my father." Tamaki's lip quivered and Haruhi's eyes narrowed. "My real father." He retreated quickly to his corner-of-woe.

"But it'll be fun!" Hikaru whined.

"Please, Haru-chan," Hunny begged.

Kyoya didn't look at her. "Debt reduced by a fourth."

"All right!" She sighed. "I'll go, but I want you all to know that I do it unwillingly."

The boys all exchanged a glance. "Fine with us!"

And that was how, the next day, Haruhi found herself on a plane to some island - that she had gathered could possibly be near the Mediterranean - that Tamaki's father actually owned. Her small duffel was stowed under her feet and two of her school books (including the history book that miraculously reappeared the next morning) were beside her.

"Enjoying the flight?" Kyoya asked, taking a seat in front of her.

"I suppose so." The rich, white leather the seats were made of was comfortable and smooth, and Kyoya looked unusually handsome and elegant against such a background. "Though honestly I'd rather be home."

"We won't interrupt your studying." She looked at him disbelievingly. He smirked. "Much."

"Well... I suppose this won't be too miserable." She put her hand over his.

"Oh, rest assured I'll see to that personally. But..." He leaned closer to her and lowered his voice. "We'll have to be discreet." He squeezed her hand and placed it back in her lap.

"At least you can be discreet," she said.

"What do you mean?"

Haruhi took a sip of her bottled water. "Well, since I spend so much time with the Host Club and you're all rich, handsome men, I expected that one day I might possibly have feelings for one of you. Honestly, I thought Mori-sempai was most likely. You and Hunny-sempai were the last on my list. Luckily, though, you're the sensible one." She smiled, almost in relief. "I don't think any of the others - save Mori-sempai, perhaps - could have handled a relationship with any sort of maturity."

Kyoya crossed his legs and settled more comfortably in his seat. He was intrigued. "Do I have competition? It seems that he has just as many attractive qualities as I do."

"I dare say he does. Actually, I was more physically attracted to him initially." Kyoya shifted his glasses; Haruhi didn't notice. "But it would take a long time to have the kind of link Hunny-sempai has with him. I can't communicate nonverbally with someone I don't know very very well. With you, I'm able to actually have a conversation that involves words. I like Mori-sempai, but... I think I made the best choice."

"Of course you did." Haruhi laughed at his ego. "We suit each other very well, Haruhi, and I am looking forward to this vacation for more reasons than just the luxurious Suoh mansion and the beautiful beach." He gave her an intense look.

She was, of course, oblivious. "I know! It's amazing that they own their own island."

He closed his eyes and sighed. "Haruhi..." He stood up and patted her head. "I'm going to go... talk to the others now. I'll try to arrange some time alone for us when we get there."

And though Kyoya was confident in his organizational abilities, his self-given task was much, much harder than he had anticipated.

A limo arrived to take them to the mansion, where Tamaki insisted on showing everyone to their room himself. And of course, Kyoya's room was last. "I hope you like it," Tamaki said eagerly, drawing aside the curtains to reveal a spectacular view. "This room has one of the best views out to the sea," he told his friend. "I thought you might like it if you stay in your room to do planning or work on your laptop or something."

"Thank you," Kyoya told him, opening his suitcase and beginning to unpack. "You planned this out rather well. The twins in joining rooms, Haruhi with a room near the kitchen, a rotating snack stand for Hunny-sempai..."

Tamaki looked smug. "I just wanted everyone to have the best time." He gave Kyoya a warm pat on the shoulder. "I'll see you later, then. I have to unpack, too!"

"Tamaki... Wait just a minute."

He turned back. "What is it?"

Kyoya unfolded a shirt and placed it on a hanger, looking away from his friend. "What exactly are your feelings for Haruhi?"

"She's my most precious daughter! I - "

"No. I mean... Honestly."

"I... I think I love her, Kyoya. Maybe not true love; perhaps only a silly, boyish fantasy." He shrugged and put on a rather sheepish grin. "But... She's really quite delightful. Fascinating and..." He laughed. "Indescribable." When Kyoya didn't respond, he said, "Well, I'll be going now. See you at dinner!"

"Right." Kyoya sighed, another shirt in his hands. He looked out his window, where the sky was growing darker. It really was a beautiful view. He threw down the shirt and sank down into a chair near his bed. "Damn it - that's just what I needed to hear."

Dinner that night passed without any trouble, but the next day brought with it plenty. Since there were no other students from Ouran there, Haruhi didn't have to hide her true gender. And that meant bathing suits. And bathing suit could possibly mean bikini. Everyone was anxious to see what she had packed. The twins were so anxious, in fact, that they switched the green one-piece she had brought with a frilly, pink - but still rather modest - bikini of their mother's own design.

All the boys were waiting outside on the flagstone patio, eager to see Haruhi in all her swimwear-clad glory.

To their immense displeasure (well... maybe not Hunny's), she was wearing a t-shirt and shorts.

"Haruhi!" the twins whined. "We got our mom to make that suit just for you."

"And luckily I have this shirt to cover it up. I didn't bring sunscreen; if that much of my skin is exposed - "

Three bottles were abruptly held out to her.

I..." She rolled her eyes. "Can we please just go down to the beach now?"

"Yes!" Tamaki said, pumping a fist in the air. "We march onward towards sea and sand!"

"Sea shells and sandcastles!" Hunny said merrily.

"Splashing in the waves!"

"Photographing everyone but Haruhi topless and selling the pictures on our website for profit."

Everyone stopped and turned to stare at Kyoya. He smiled enigmatically and pushed his glasses up. "Well?" He began walking down to the beach. "Are we going or not?"

They all followed him down, and soon beach chairs were set up and everyone was gaily frolicking in their respective play areas. Hunny and Mori were building a rather impressive sand fortress guarded by dubious looking bunnies; the Hitachiins were chasing Tamaki around with various things of the slimy or pinching variety; and Haruhi and Kyoya lounged - unobserved - under a large umbrella.

"If you take your t-shirt off," Kyoya said, his tone light, "I'll be more than happy to rub the sunscreen on your shoulders."

"Really? Thanks."

Without giving it a second thought, she pulled her shirt off and turned over in her chair. Kyoya stared at the pale expanse of her back. Did she not realize he'd have to touch every beautiful bit of exposed skin? "I'll... get the lotion." He squirted some out onto his palm and rubbed his hands together.

Haruhi really had far too much skin.

He gently rubbed it into her shoulders and back, guiltily enjoying the sensation of running his hands over her body. "Mmm," she said softly. "Thanks, Kyoya-sempai - that's nice."

His hands stopped.

She turned her head to look up at him. "What's the matter?"

"Haruhi... Do you remember when we talked about men and women?" She nodded. "This is one of those instances when that makes a very, very big difference." He leaned down, his lips at her ear. "And while I have no objections to running my hands over your barely-clothed body - " he let a single finger slip under the knot tying her top together " - those delicious little noises you make are very... very... distracting."

She turned herself around to face him, still laying in her chair. He blinked once before leaning closer to her. "Distracting?" she whispered.

"Yes." A hand came up to her face.

Her eyes darted away for half a moment. "Tamaki-sempai is coming back towards us."

Kyoya cursed under his breath. Then he said loudly, "Are you sure it's not an eyelash, Haruhi? I don't see any sand in your eye."

After another awkward second, she began to play along. "But it hurts - there's some sort of irritant."

Tamaki plopped down on Kyoya's chair, a towel draped around his neck and over his shoulders. "Are you hurt, my darling daughter? What is mother doing to you?"

Haruhi pulled away from Kyoya and blinked hard a few times. "I think there's a grain of sand in my eye. Kyoya-sempai was trying to see if he noticed it."

"Oh." Tamaki looked a little suspicious, but he decided to trust her word. "You... You could have asked me, Haruhi."

"You were in the water running away from a crab."

"She's right, you know," Kyoya added. "And... I've had enough sun for one day. I'm going inside to shower off, then perhaps grab a bite to eat." He grabbed his camera bag. "I got what I came out for."

The next day was even more difficult for them to find time alone. After breakfast: "Haru-chan! Want to play in the pool with me and Takashi?"

During lunch, there was a food fight.

After lunch: "Haruhi! Oh, my darling, beautiful daughter. I'll help you clean up!"

The afternoon was spend modeling summer dresses for the twins (in Haruhi's case), and convincing Tamaki that hermit crabs couldn't crawl out of the drain and pinch off his toes (a belief which, unsurprisingly, also linked back to the twins).

Dinner was a formal affair, and that evening they all went up on the big second-story balcony to do some stargazing. After that, Haruhi went to her room and promptly fell asleep.

The two days after that were much the same, and Kyoya's patience was wearing thin. He wanted one moment alone with her - one kiss at least, and he would be quite content.

That moment finally came on the night before the had to leave.

He had gotten up to get a glass of water from the kitchen, and on the return to his room, had run into Haruhi coming out of hers.

"Oh! Sorry, Kyoya-sempai. I didn't mean to run into you."

"It's quite all right. What are you doing up at this hour?"

"After the nap I had this afternoon, I just couldn't sleep. My mind's too full. I thought maybe a walk on the beach would help me clear my head."

The perfect opportunity. "May I join you?"

She smiled. "Of course."

They grabbed a flashlight and a towel and snuck outside onto the beach. There was a warm breeze and the sky was filled with stars. Haruhi sighed happily at looked up, trying to pick out any familiar constellations. "The night's beautiful," she said, her voice tinged with something approaching reverence. She grabbed Kyoya's hand. "I'm glad I have someone to share it with."

"And I'm glad I get to be that someone." He looked over at her as she stared up at the sky. They had stopped walking, and water lapped at their bare feet. Kyoya spread his towel and sat down a few feet further from the water's edge, pulling Haruhi into his lap.

She sighed again. "I think that for once, I'm glad I let all of you talk me into this. It hasn't been bad at all."

"Good." His fingers were itching to touch her. "I think I can make it even better."

Before she had even fully understood his words, he had turned her around and planted his mouth on hers. She responded enthusiastically, wrapping her arms around his neck and accidentally knocking him onto his back. His glasses were askew, and after a moment, Haruhi pulled them off. He let one hand slide just barely under her pajama top, touching the lower part of her back. She wasn't shy, but her touches were tempered with slight hesitation. He took control of the kiss, nudging open her mouth and showing her that she could take as active a role as he did.

When she finally pulled away, panting, he nuzzled her neck, kissing a line up to the lobe of her ear.


"What?" he murmured between kisses, his lips hot and soft on her suddenly too-sensitive skin.

"I think..." She struggled to find her words. "I... I think I just broke your glasses."

He stopped. "What?"

She looked off to one side and slid off him. "I took them off for you, and I set them beside me..." She reached over him and grabbed the slightly twisted frames, one lens cracked. Haruhi winced. "And I accidentally crunched them with my knee."

He sighed and took a few deep breaths. "That's all right, Haruhi - don't worry about it. I brought a pair of contacts for emergencies." He sat up as she scrambled to her feet beside him. She offered him a hand and he stood up as well.

Slipping his fingers through hers, he gave her a small smile. "Time to head back in, I think. Lead the way?"

Haruhi returned his smile. "My pleasure."

They headed back up the sandy beach towards the tall mansion standing alone by the shore. "The price to repair these is going to be added to your debt, you know."

She sighed defeatedly. "That's what I figured."

End A/N: All right! There we go. I hope everyone enjoyed it. Heh. About as long as chapter five, I think. To me, it's pretty good! Heh. I had fun writing it. Well... Whew! Till chapter eight then. Heh.

Review and Hunny will take you on a pastry-sampling tour of the country and luxury car of your choice, feeding you strawberries and letting you hold his Bun-Bun.