Kanoi: HA! Possibly the fastest update to ever come from me! –does a victory dance-

Kaoru: -raises eyebrow- What are you on?

Kanoi: Three to four cups of coffee! I can't remember how much I've had today.

Hikaru: -rolls eyes- Of course.

Kanoi: So I love my dear beta/possible seme scissorsnstrife! She is the bee's knees! …Is that even the proper terminology?

Kaoru: How should we know? You're the old hag here.

Kanoi: EXCUSE ME!?

Hikaru: You're not excused.

Kanoi: I'll murder you both! –is restrained by Haruhi-

Kanoi: -stares at Haruhi in confusion- Where did you come from?

Haruhi: -blinks and looks around- Not sure…

Hikaru: Kanoi doesn't own Ouran!

Kaoru: -singing- Celebrate good times, come on!

Twins: It's a celebration!

Kanoi: -still being restrained- I hate you doppelgangers!!!

Hikaru: I think she's been hanging out with Tono too much.

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Haruhi was captivated by the violet eyes in front of her as she spooned another mouthful of soup into her mouth. She knew she shouldn't trust this man; he was after all a vampire, but something deep inside her told her that he would not hurt her.

"Are you enjoying your soup?" Tamaki questioned pleasantly.

"Very much, thank you," Haruhi replied before helping herself to another spoonful of soup.

"It is not me you should thank, but Éclair instead," the vampire corrected.

"Right…" After a moment Haruhi politely asked, "Would you like some soup?"

"No thank you. I do not eat soup, and besides that I am full," Tamaki replied without a second thought.

The woman's brown eyes widened like those of an injured canary who has just spotted a cat.

Realizing his folly, Tamaki quickly amended, "I have not partaken of human blood, do not worry."

After a moment's pause, Haruhi posed another question, "Is that usual? I thought vampires lived off human blood."

Seeming extremely proud to be able to share his knowledge of his kind, the vampire informed, "Human blood is preferable to most, but we members of the Vampiric Council do not often partake of human blood. We usually feed off animal blood, though the type of animal varies from vampire to vampire depending upon each one's personal tastes. The only time we here in the Kingdom of Ouran drink human blood is when we are given criminals who are sentenced to death."

"Can I ask why?" Haruhi inquired.

"Of course!" Tamaki answered. "In exchange for not harming the kingdom's citizens we are ensured our safety. If a vampire harms a human the vampire will be slain; like wise, if a human harms a vampire the human will be sentenced to death. It is a mutual treaty."

"Wow…" Haruhi breathed in wonder.

"It is such an effective treaty that the high lords, such as myself, and the high ladies, such as Éclair, often work very closely with the governments of the lands they live in," Tamaki continued.

During Haruhi's impressed silence Tamaki glanced out the window. The sky was changing from the pitch black of night to the gray pallor of dawn. This taken into account, Tamaki offered a dazzling smile to Haruhi.

"Well, he began, "it has been a long night. Perhaps it is time we got to sleep."

Haruhi smiled back a beautiful smile that made her vampiric companion's knees weak.

"You go on ahead. I think I will stay here a little longer and clean up," the woman answered.

"Will you be able to find your way back?"

Haruhi nodded resolutely.

"Very well then." That said, the vampire lord left the kitchen to return to his room and neglected lover.

!#$&()

Captainess of the Guard Amakusa Benio looked up from her mountain of paper work when she heard the click of her office door being opened. Her russet eyes narrowed when Éclair walked into the room.

"What do you want?" Benio spat.

Éclair did not acknowledge Benio's presence until she had shut the door securely behind her and had sat down comfortably in the chair in front of Benio's desk.

After a moment Éclair spoke.

"I have a very important matter to speak with you about."

"Why don't you just bring it up with the prince?" the captainess growled.

"I already have, but he will not tell me what I wish to know," Éclair answered calmly.

"Then what makes you think that I would discuss this matter?" Benio questioned with a scoff.

"Because whether or not this is a matter you are allowed to speak on, I know it is a matter on which you wish to speak on," the vampiress explained.

"Oh yeah? Try me," the mortal woman challenged.

The left corner of Éclair's cranberry-red lips twitched upward in a smirk.

"I have come to speak to you about the disappearance of our dear Duchess Fujioka Haruhi," Éclair announced.

The color in Benio's face melted away until she was left a sickly, pale green color. The color, Éclair noted in mild amusement, was something akin to sun-bleached celery.

"I- I don't know much," Benio stuttered.

"But you know some, and that is enough," the vampiress assured the woman.

Benio took a calming breath before she continued speaking.

"Prince Arai has not mentioned much about the disappearance, though I found it odd that as far as I know he has yet to send anyone to search for her," Benio explained.

"What do you think that means?" Éclair asked.

"I…" Benio cast her eyes downward, clearly not comfortable with speaking against her prince.

"Yes?" the vampiress pushed.

"I believe he is trying to cover something up…" Benio admitted dejectedly.

Éclair nodded. "Thank you, I know this can not be easy for you. I will be in touch with you soon." Éclair stood and smoothed imaginary wrinkles from her skirt.

Benio's eyes widened in surprise when she realized Éclair was about to leave.

"But… That can't be all you need!" the captainess exclaimed.

"It is all I need for today, but I will return soon. Please, if you can, find out more. Your help is much appreciated."

When Éclair left the office, Benio returned to her work with a new resolve. She would do what she could to help find Haruhi.

!#$&()

"Perhaps you are just being jealous," Éclair offered.

"I know I'm being jealous, Éclair, but I have a reason to be," Kyoya growled.

"I hardly think escorting her to the kitchen gives you a legitimate reason to be jealous," the vampiress scoffed. "You are probably just upset that he left you in the middle of foreplay."

"That's not it!" Kyoya yelled.

Éclair stared at Kyoya critically for a moment.

"Perhaps you are right," she conceded. "It is very possible she is his mate. I had always thought that was you, but then I suppose there can be a difference between lover and mate."

Both vampires remained in silent contemplation for a moment.

Éclair once more looked at Kyoya with critical eyes and abruptly asked, "Do you hate her?"

Kyoya met Éclair's eyes and answered, "No."

"Then I suppose we return to the matter of finding out what has happened to her," Éclair announced. "Benio also believes Arai is covering something up. I am hoping she can find out more, but in the mean time I have a few more people I wish to speak with."

"I was under the impression you and Benio hated each other," said Kyoya.

"We do, very much so at that," the vampiress clarified.

"Then how did you get her to speak about Haruhi's disappearance?"

"Simple," Éclair replied. "A woman is likely to do anything for the one she loves."

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Kanoi: I promise more twins soon!

Hikaru: Good! You've been neglectful of us.

Kaoru: Oh the cruelty.

Kanoi: Stop your whining!

Twins: -pouting- Dun wanna.

Kanoi: -mutters- Babies… ANYWAY! This is getting so difficult to write! It completely and totally sucks me in, but it wants to be written out too fast. I'm constantly fighting to not rush everything, but at the same time keep it interesting. I keep repeating in my head "MUST. DEVELOP. PLOT!" It's not easy. Usually I'm very happy when a fic writes itself, but not when it wants to go too quickly!