Disclaimer: Since I'm writing fanfiction you can bet I don't own anything. Unless I actually am Bisco Hatori and am cleverly trying out plot lines on you. But I'm not.
Spoilers: Mentions of details up through chapter 44 of the manga, nothing major for the most recent chapters, but major spoilers for chapter 40.
This follows the manga's plot not the anime's. Also, to avoid confusion, although I think I have explained it fairly well, in part 1, the conversation going on in italics is occurring at a different time than the actual narrative plot. Blame vanguard narratives in Spanish lit.
Dedicated to both elvaron simply because she is awesome and also celesg to cheer her up. Hearts for both of you!
I. Letters to Home
It was because of the conversation that had taken place with his housekeeper last night that he found himself here.
"Suou-sama," came the grave voice over the speaker of the telephone.
Shima had to be relied upon for any information regarding Tamaki, so it was fortunate that she was, in many ways, like the grandmother the boy should have had. The woman was certainly capable of putting up with all of his silliness and melodrama and scattered brained brilliance and meeting it with a very strict sense of caring austerity.
They spoke twice a week and, despite the housekeeper's constant reminders to her young charge that the eyes of his father did not reach Suou Mansion #2, she made quite certain that his ears did.
"I assume he is not being too much of a difficulty for you as of late, Shima-san."
It was she who had first informed him that Tamaki had, quite surprisingly, taken sick. Shima had also seen it fit to tell him about his initial friendship with Ootori Yoshio's third son and his interest in a Scholarship student who, for inexplicable and most likely improper reasons that he should be lectured for, dressed like a girl.
Phone calls to Shima always occurred at 11:00 at night, well after Tamaki had gone to sleep and he could not hear the conversations occurring. In many ways, these conversations were Yuzuru's only way to stay close to his cherished and foolish son when the lunch dates they shared seemed very few and far between.
"The young master will always be a little difficult, but I can't say that I would complain. There are worse ways to be 'difficult,' as you say."
However, with an intuition that only a father could possess, Yuzuru knew that there were details about his son that Shima would not tell him or did not think proper or important enough to relate. Perhaps there were even some she herself did not realize.
When he had noticed how he clutched the picture of his mother as he slept, the flush of fever brightly covering his cheeks, he had inquired whether he did things like this often.
It was a painful inquiry. But, they all were a tad bit painful to make, if he allowed himself to think about it. Yuzuru considered himself a person who would rather have first hand knowledge than data gathered for second hand sources.
"So what has my silly boy been up to? He seems very busy. He left a note saying that he would be periodically visiting with his friends during the week in preparation for some grand event. Doesn't even take my lunch invitations seriously."
But he wanted to know and there was, for the time being, only one way to do that.
She had informed him that sometimes, after he had undergone one of those moods, he called for stationary and writing implements (this she said with some sarcasm as to his word choice). Shima went on to suggest that, perhaps he was writing letters to someone.
However, Tamaki never asked anyone to send any of these letters and, to the best of her knowledge, Shima didn't know that Tamaki knew how to send them even if he wanted to do so himself…nor, she had informed him, did he ask for any envelopes…and he certainly did not know where things of that sort were kept.
"I believe he wrote a letter again today. The young master called for his stationary and since then, he has been acting rather calm in comparison to his normal self…at least calmer than his moods in the past few days….I forgot to mention, a few weeks ago that girl – Fujioka-san – went with him on one of his expeditions, to Karuizawa, I believe. You asked me to tell you if such a thing occurred..."
Indeed, Yuzuru had found himself curious about his son's relationship with the girl ever since he had kissed her on the forehead immediately following a question about parental affection. Because it was during his sickness, he hadn't known if it was merely some confused notion further encouraged by his fever. He had even tried to tease his darling son about the strange event the last time he had seen him…but he just blinked at him in supreme confusion and didn't launch into his normal hysterics.
It was odd to say the least.
He had been receiving updates - the most recent being the phone call he had had with Shima the night before - about the issue ever since.
The news about the letter, however, was also odd. Suddenly, a thought had hit him…perhaps Tamaki was writing love letters to this girl that he was adorably afraid to send.
The thought was very appealing.
The combined force of all of this news prompted Yuzuru to clear this afternoon's schedule to drop in for a surprise lunch with his son at Suou Mansion #2 in order to talk to Tamaki at least once before the summer break was over.
And, somewhere over hors d'ouvres, Tamaki had been scandalized when his father had innocently asked about how his work with Fujioka-san had gone in Karuizawa. In fact, he couldn't remember a time when the foolish boy had turned that particular shade or had been at such a loss for his usual expansive rhetorical flourishes.
That was, however, all the reaction he was able to wheedle out of him during the entire duration of lunch. Afterwards he quickly excused himself and left, citing an appointment with Kyouya. Yuzuru saw it fit to nettle him one last time and ask him if he intended to meet with Haruhi-chan at a later time.
Tamaki had sputtered and slammed the foyer door a tad too exuberantly, causing the echo to reverberate. Shima clucked loudly in distaste before remarking, "Sometimes I wish that boy would learn to take your teasing more in stride."
At this Yuzuru chuckled and responded, exuding fatherly pride, "But when he is flustered he is so adorable!"
Shima gave an entirely characteristic sigh at his behavior. Thinking that perhaps one needed to account for genetics when considering her young charge's behavior.
"Suou-san," she said, coughing delicately to bring her employer out of his son-induced ectasty, "I believe you wanted to know about his letters?"
Yuzuru looked slyly at her, "I want to know what things that boy has been saying to all of his female admirers!"
A sound akin to a small "tsk!" emerged from the housekeeper. She turned towards the broad staircase and began walking up them with a polite, but curt gesture to him to follow. They arrived at the door of the house's master suite.
She turned to him, a severe and serious expression upon her face
"If I were to want to find things that Tamaki-bocchama thinks he keeps hidden I might look in the drawer of his bedside table underneath his photo album,"
Yuzuru raised an eyebrow at this, a small smile on his face.
"…or so the maids have informed me. Now Suou-sama," she said bowing, "I have the evening's meal to discuss with the chef, should you need me please alert one of the other servants."
Turning to leave, he might have sworn he saw something akin to amusement on her usually serious face. However, he might merely have imagined it.
Chuckling slightly and wondering if this was how Commoner's parents with teenage children did things, he entered the room and strolled towards the bedside table. He smiled at the framed picture of his mother that Tamaki kept on the table above it and imagined that he had put her there as an angelic guardian of all his treasures.
The word of the maids proved to be extraordinarily accurate. He pulled out the photo album, filled with pictures of his son's rather eccentric club. Flipping through the pages, Yuzuru chuckled noticing that somehow Tamaki was always placed next to this Haruhi-chan that he was so embarrassed about.
He wondered, briefly, if Tamaki had anything to do with it or it was merely Kyouya's signature upon his son's life. Ah, he mused, his son's personality and charisma must be truly responsible for the excellent friends he possessed.
But, setting the photo album aside and setting a few miscellaneous papers on top of it, he discovered that the maids in Suou #2 were every bit as thorough as Shima had hinted they were. Perhaps they were due for a small raise.
Yuzuru had uncovered neat stacks of what could have been letters – they were simply bound into three piles, each tied with a red, satin ribbon. It seemed, just by glancing at them, as if each sheet of stationary was written on in Tamaki's loopy and flamboyant handwriting from front to back. There was, however, one that was still loose and appeared to be handled more than the others.
Feeling a bit guilty, Yuzuru picked this stray one up and noted with surprise that it wasn't written in Japanese, but French. These were not, as he had expected, love letters at all. They were something that was much more personal and much more guilt inducing.
Far different from the rest of the letters, this one contained yesterday's date and read simply:
I love her.
Your loving son,
Yuzuru couldn't help but smile at his son's uncharacteristically simple sentiment.
It was good he had finally told someone…and, this really was her domain anyways.
Thinking carefully for a moment, he put the contents back in the drawer without so much as replacing the loose slip of paper. He hoped, in retrospect, that Tamaki would merely think he had misplaced it…and go through certain dramatics and than recover his usual sparkle.
He walked out of the room and inquired after an envelope, which he promptly received. He put in the letter, sealed it, and wrote an address on it from the depths of his memory. There was no return address, simply one thing written where it should have been.
Yuzuru wondered briefly if she would recognize that it was his handwriting that their son's name was written in. And, since it was likely that she would indeed recognize it, he hoped that she still would open it.
On the way out of the mansion, he safely deposited it in the care of Shima, not trusting any one else's discretion.
He mused to himself about the kiss he had witnessed and now knew, from what he had just read, what it meant.
It meant simply that his son was truly a very silly boy.
II. The Art of Annoyance
There had been a note on the table when he had arrived in his apartment.
He sighed when he saw that it was not even in his own daughter's handwriting. Ranka looked at the polite, but direct, sentence structure and immaculately neat and straight penmanship that in no way resembled Haruhi's bluntness and slightly slanted lettering.
At least someone had thought to leave him a note, as Haruhi usually went off without considering that her dearest father might actually worry about her. But then again, Ranka understood that his precious daughter usually had neither time nor ability to realize that such things as notes were useful for other people.
No, this was unmistakably left by Kyouya-kun, the person who informed him about the majority of Haruhi's school life.
Ranka smiled. At least that girl would be having some fun for once in her young life. A few weeks ago she had even gotten out her kimono to go to a festival with all of her handsome, young friends. It had come to the point that people were forcing Haruhi to have fun and, in most cases, they seemed to have been succeeding.
As her father, he had always been aware that she had a goal in life – that girl wanted more than anything to be like her mother. She studied so hard for that reason and that reason alone. However his cute little girl found no real joy in academics besides the fact that her schoolwork was practical and had future uses.
Studying was, in her terms, only a means to an end and whether it was fun or not did not work into the equation. Until high school, Haruhi had found nothing that could qualify as "fun" for a girl of her age, who should, in Ranka's opinion, definitely be enjoying the blossom of her maidenly youth.
And chief among those who forced her from her schoolwork - although it was definitely Kyouya-kun who took care of the details of the events that his daughter was often dragged out of her apathy - was that idiotic president of her club.
And annoyingly she seemed to actually be responding to his erratic overtures.
There were few people he found more irritating than this friend of his daughter.
Even before the day when he had actually been introduced to all of his daughter's sinfully good-looking club members, there had been something about that particular one. Ranka knew this simply by virtue of the fact that he had heard about this "Tamaki-senpai" prior to the Host Club's initial visit.
It had taken his darling daughter years to so much as mention Arai-kun or any other of her school friends when he had asked her. He at least tried to ask her about her new high school, or why she wanted to hide her girlish figure under such shapeless clothes, or about any friends she might have made, but she usually mumbled something to him about how school was as normal as it could be, all things considering, and would then stubbornly retreat to a supermarket sale if he pressed further.
Kyouya-kun's introductory e-mail and phone calls had been a surprising gift that had made Haruhi ask him why he had been so happy lately.
Ranka had simply responded with an, "I'm just as happy as usual Haruhi-chan because I have a cute daughter like you!" to which she always responded with a doubting frown. Only the facts concerning her own self escaped that girl. She was exactly like Kotoko in that way.
Observant to a fault of everything that didn't directly involve her.
Ranka looked indulgently at the photo of his deceased wife, the only woman he would ever love, before noticing that on the counter there was a box containing one of those light and delicate western style cakes that the boys of the club always brought when they dropped by – usually unannounced and at the whim of their idiotic leader. The box had yet another note on it, with different handwriting from the first that was still decidedly not his daughter's. It simply said, in rather flamboyant script: "For Ranka-san!" and was signed only with a crown. It pissed Ranka off considerably knowing that it was not Kyouya-kun alone that had gone out with his daughter.
That annoying idiot was with her as well.
Fuming a bit, he cut a piece of the cake, and brought it to his late wife's altar while mumbling quietly to the photo, "This comes from that idiot and the rest of Haruhi's club of attractive men. Please ignore its annoying origins, Kotoko."
The plate was not at all set down delicately and, had Haruhi been there, Ranka was quite certain that she would have lectured him seriously and told him that dishware was too expensive to be used so roughly.
But she looked so cute whenever she tried to lecture him sternly. Really, to have such an intelligent and cute daughter…Ranka must be the luckiest person in the world. But then, as always, she would become annoyed with him and begin to complain.
Ah, yes, complaining. Complaints from his daughter were what annoyed Ranka the most.
"Kotoko!" he exclaimed suddenly, flipping his hair behind one ear dramatically with well-manicured fingernails, "He was here again! That pretty boy who refers to my precious and adorable daughter so casually by her first name and tries to usurp my position as her father!"
He flung a pillow, the only available object that would not harm anything else in the room and that happened to be in his grasp, to the far side of the room.
"Haruhi, my cute but very dense daughter has the nerve to complain about that idiotic president of hers! Kotoko! Haruhi-chan is complaining!"
When she had first entered Ouran academy after filling out the admission forms all by herself without ever so much as consulting him on any detail, he had heard next to nothing about the experience.
But, even before Kyouya-kun had contacted him regarding Haruhi's participation in the Host Club, his daughter's normal dialogue coming home from school had changed.
He had asked her simply if she had met any handsome and rich friends in her new school. Much to his surprise, Haruhi actually stopped and contemplated this question for a moment and responded with something other than an "I'm going to study."
"I met an annoying and rather troublesome person…who knows several other annoying people who are various degrees of troublesome."
Ranka could remember being filled with such happiness that he had hugged her very tightly while spilling out lovely compliments and exclamations.
"And," he had said, his voice light with playful banter, "Is this annoying person your friend now?"
Haruhi had blinked up at him blankly, as if the question didn't register whatsoever and finally responded, "Tamaki-senpai thought that I was a boy…not that it matters to me. But he helped me find my food money."
It was…an annoying male.
An annoying male who had mistaken his incredibly cute daughter for a boy…and rather than finding more ways in which such a person was wholly inadequate to make his daughter's acquaintance, suddenly Ranka realized that his lovely daughter was dressed in a decidedly undaughterly fashion.
"Haruhi-chan…" he had said, angry suspicion creeping into his voice, "Why are you dressed like a boy."
"It doesn't matter to me what clothes I wear and…I never ask why you dress like a woman."
Mulling over that statement for some sort of flaw in her logic, Ranka discovered that he could not argue with that statement whatsoever. However, he made up his mind to blame this "Tamaki-senpai" for the change in his daughter's dressing habits. Until this day he had kept up the same line of thought with no qualms whatsoever.
Ranka had never been able to find out how she had lost her food money in the first place nor did he hear anything else whatsoever about most of the other "annoying" people until they clomped through his door one weekend. He also could never figure out what had caused his daughter to join the club in the first place…and on this point, Kyouya-kun was always intentionally vague.
In fact, in the period between that first mention of her school life and the appearance of six gorgeous males in his apartment, Haruhi had given him very few indications about her daily life when she was at school. Sometimes, when his fatherly inquiries caused her to go from the cute face she made when she was irritated with his questions to the face she made when she was going to stubbornly refuse to answer any of his questions on principle, he sent a casual sounding e-mail off to Kyouya-kun to get a report as to her activities.
Ranka used what resources he could.
However, when she draped herself over her desk and Ranka casually mentioned that she was working too hard, she would sometimes mumble variations on, "Tamaki-senpai really is troublesome."
It was rare to hear his daughter talk about someone from her school life, but it was rarer still to hear her complain about them to him. Repeatedly.
Because of this and all of the implications that he saw in the few scattered words that he caught her saying, he decided long before he had witnessed the boy lying in a very compromising position on top of his daughter that Suou Tamaki would be his mortal enemy.
That scene, even though Haruhi had explained to him much later that he had only tripped, had sealed his fate.
He might be a likable idiot, a kind boy, and incredibly handsome even by Ranka's refined standards…but Haruhi complained about him. Even though Haruhi didn't understand why she did that, as her father, it was his duty to understand his daughter's personality quirks.
And Ranka knew very well what the act meant and it never ceased to annoy him.
Recently, it had only gotten worse. One day, when Haruhi had returned home rather later than usual, and with a noticeable air of confusion that seemed out of place on her face, he had actually asked her where she had been.
She had been that idiot's house. He had apparently been ill. She had even brought home an entire box of strange toys that he had given her.
And for the entire evening she had not had the usual intensity with which she studied her textbooks. Many times he found her merely staring at them - rather than poring over them – in distracted and annoyed silence.
And he had no doubt about whom it was that had annoyed her even though he had no clear idea as to why.
Since the first weeks she had gone to Ouran High School, only one person had managed to fully crack his daughter's apathetic shell.
If only his cute daughter would just figure it out so he could righteously beat up his mortal enemy, Suou Tamaki, for stealing her.
A/N: This has been nibbling on my brain for quite some time and I have finally gotten around to actually writing it up. But Yuzuru and Ranka both own my fangirly soul for their fatherly love. Although, anime!Yoshio is quite tempting to write now, as well. Someone truly needs to write a cracktastic fatherly OT3…I don't have the skillz for that, sadly. As for the second part, the random comment about Ranka having already known about Tamaki prior to the Host Club's visit was quite tantalizing. It sent my mind off so that now you have this.
Now I will go back to writing the fic that is breaking my head that I took a break from (i.e. I ran away from pulling my hair out) in order to write this one.
As always comments will be greeted with appreciation and review replies…that said, thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed it!