Yang-chan: I can't stop writing, so I won't stop until I finish this story. To all readers, new and returning! I have found a wonderful BETA for my story. May I introduce you all to the kind IceDevine! Please be kind to both of us.
Byouki: Our Time is Running Out
A Yang Production
Prologue: Full Bloom
The woman sat in her wheelchair, gazing only at the blooming flowers on the tree. She lifted her hand to catch a falling petal and laughed softly as the wind caused the tree to cascade her in a blizzard of petals.
"So lovely," she whispered in a tired voice. "Even more than the day we first planted it."
Looking down at the hospital ID bracelet attached to the back of her hand, she could only smile sadly at her situation. It was true that her illness had spread quickly, but what made it worse was that the disease that was running rampant through her body had claimed the life of a precious person: her mother.
Fujioka Haruhi turned to look over her shoulder when she heard the snapping of twigs. Several handsome men were looking at her with sad, tired eyes. Haruhi raised a hand to her nurse, signaling that these were the people she was waiting for.
"I'm glad you could make it." She smiled the best she could at the other members of the Host Club. Trembling, she griped the sides of her wheelchair and got up on her shaky legs. Slowly, she began to walk to them. Haruhi wanted them to see her once more, like that day so long ago, when they parted ways here at the tree.
"Haruhi!" Tamaki hurried to her side as the others looked on in worry. "You're not strong enough!"
"Gomen, senpai." She smiled wistfully at Tamaki as he set her in the wheel chair. "I just wanted things to be the same."
Everyone gathered around Haruhi. They had missed her terribly since she was admitted to the hospital. But, it had started long before that. Everyone exchanged a look. It had started at this tree, when their worlds were devastated by the sickness of their beloved friend.
"Hikaru, Kaoru, Tamaki, Kyōya, Hani, Mori," she said their names in turn. "I'm glad to see you all."
"How are you doing, Haruhi?" Ohtori Kyōya asked. Even after several years, he still had the cool air around him, adding to his already handsome features.
"I am better today." Haruhi smiled, her shoulder length hair pulled back by a soft red ribbon.
"That's good news." The Hitachiin twins said in unison. They had never given up their old tendency of speaking as one.
Haruhi could only giggle at their habit. "It's good to know you both are still close to each other."
The group began to catch up on the past, asking everyone about family, and, if it applied, business as they journeyed to the third music room. If anyone passed by the school property, they would have sworn that a pocket to the past existed. The whole Host Club was together, chatting away as if they were in the music room from many years ago. The faded echoes of pleased young girls seemed to fill the room. Haruhi watched in amazement as the others pulled out a tea set and poured out the steaming liquid. She laughed as Hani gave her a cake with a little white rabbit on top. Everyone enjoyed the moments they were sharing. Mori presented her with a new hair ribbon. Time was wonderful to them.
Crash. A teacup fell and silence reined over the members. Haruhi smiled sadly and looked up with silent tears in her eyes.
Their time had run out and the nurse verbally announced what they had known. Everyone gathered under the blossoming tree once more. Exchanging goodbyes and a see-you-soon, Haruhi was wheeled away by her nurse.
As Haruhi faded away, the other member of the Host Club lingered around the large tree. It had grown so fast they couldn't believe it at first. Planted when they found out, the tree contained seven wishes.
"If I could do anything, I would only want to save her."
The group parted, heading back to their lives for the time being. That night their dreams were plagued with visions of the past, starting with that fateful day they decided to ignore what happened.
"Welcome to the Host Club…" They greeted three young ladies.
"Haruhi, please." they requested, giggling.
"Of course." Kyōya called over Haruhi.
Haruhi smiled her natural smile and led the girls over to a table and proceed to pour tea.
Things were perfect and nothing could destroy the moment. Kyōya was busy writing in his ledger, Tamaki was charming a girl off her feet, Karou and Hikaru were working the twincest angle; and Mori and Hani were entertaining two girls at once.
"Haruhi!" the three girls cried as Haruhi looked at the broken teacup. It had fallen from her hand. But she had never broken a cup before this.
"Clean it up," Kyōya stated as the others turned their attention back to their clients.
Something so simple was overlooked, cleaned up, and forgotten. Haruhi went back to her duties and smiled.
It had began simply with a broken tea cup, but it had escalated to something that would only happen in their nightmares. Slowly, that event would haunt the lives of the Host Club members for the years to come. It would be burned in their memories and painfully recalled years later when they would meet Haruhi at that tree. They too would become infected with their own disease: reality.