Title: once upon a time

Started & finished: October 23rd 06

for: 31days community at lj

Summary: All stories have beginnings. This one starts like this. Shades of Mori x Haruhi.

a/n: the first finished Ouran fic I've done as of yet. It's a rather hard fandom to write for, given that the insanity is better suited to visual means than written, but it was fun.


i.

All stories have beginnings. This one starts like this.

Haruhi was practical even as a child, but she remembers them, when she was younger, sitting on her mother's lap as she spun tales of princesses and dragons, princes and knights. Haruhi would listen enraptured, not from the content of the stories, but simply by her mother's voice.

Haruhi always thought princesses were rather stupid, letting themselves be captured by any ogre or dragon that passed along the way. She'd far rather be a commoner, they never seemed to be of any interest to the monsters, just the vapid brocade-laden princesses who could only wait for someone else to save them.

When her mother died, so did the fairytales. She put away the glit-lined pages on a bookshelf in a backroom where they'd not be seen, the princesses in silks, the knights that served them all faded into all the other things which no longer belonged in her life anymore.

She remembers the very last fairytale, the one she told her father as he strained to not sob, his fingers trembling on the kitchen table, and how he tried so very hard to smile and explain to her that her mother would never be coming home, and she told the last bit of magic that night, which disappeared like fairydust while they clung to normality just to keep from breaking apart.

ii.

If someone were to tell her that she'd land in a club where insane was the standard and there were narcissists and twins and shadow kings, she have thought them well, not quite sane themselves.

Everyone is a jester in this court. Yesterday Tamaki had them dress up in velvet and silk brocade for an idealized setting in the Alps, the twins took great joy in sneaking up behind people and yodeling loud enough to wake the dead, then taking to dancing in a way more Russian-meets-Irish than Swiss, but Haruhi didn't voice that thought. The setting is perfect – from the grassy fields filled with wildflowers and the real-looking mountains in the distance – of course, this is to be expected as Kyouya did the decorating.

There was Swiss chocolate which was treasured by Hunny-senpai and presumably Usa-chan, Mori stood watch, his frame too large for the almost comically small table, his knees knocking against the table sides.

Tamaki called his 'children' and was still pouting that 'Mother' had a girl confess to him today.

Kyouya, with great tact, pointed out that he had turned down her request (with enough politeness – who knows when she might be a potential customer) which mollified Tamaki somewhat.

Before she knows it, she's pulled into the cyclone of the twins dancing around her, this time with ribbons turning her into some human maypole as they make up the traditions as they go along.

Through the chaos, she finds herself straining to hear Mori's silence.

iii.

At first he was just the strange quiet one, it took ten minutes before he even spoke, and that nothing more than a halting murmur.

It didn't take long for her understand, in soft moments between tea and getting better acquainted

with Usa-chan's tastes and Hunny, on the sly, pulling on Haruhi's sleeve and mentioning that Takashi is not quite what he seems.

With time she learned that they are more alike than would seem. They watch, noticing every little detail and idiosyncracy that can only be found in the quiet moments. The only difference was that Mori kept his own knowledge shut tight behind a stoic face which only added to his mystery.

A mystery which she wonders about sometimes, as an idle curiosity.

iv.

Haruhi takes this route home because it's the fastest, not because Mori practices there after school. His rhythm is smooth, precise. Each swing arcs in the same fluid curving motion, the folds of his robes fluttering with the wind, his concentration never wavering until she comes into view.

He only stops for a moment, nodding at her, with the hints of a smile.

v.

She is a commoner through and through, and has never wanted anything more. Even in expensive uniforms, she does not attain to be anything but herself.

If asked to be a princess she would refuse, the rituals are troublesome, even unnecessary, the outfits are stuffy and uncomfortable half the time. The stone walls surrounding the royalty are binding, the barriers they kept between others, segmenting off other people into lesser mythology.

She never needed anyone to save her from herself.

vi.

Mori's waiting by the school gates during the monsoon season, and every cloudy day giving half-formed excuses about a cake store halfway from her apartment. Hunny chatters away, pointing out scenery and filling the void of conversation between them.

When the first rumbles of thunder spread across the sky, and the first few droplets of rain fall, his hand is always tightly clasped around hers, Hunny's just as tight on the other side.

vii.

Haruhi's life has taken on the qualities of some fairytale, royal courts and kings and queens, topsy-turvy worlds and the never-ending cavalcade of customers.

Spending time with Mori is a breath a fresh air in a tomb, a grounding to the surreality that flashes around her. And she thinks there's something more to this, something she hasn't figured out yet but is coming close to. But not quite yet. There's no hurry to move beyond fleeting brushes of skin on skin, short snatches of conversation, meetings in hallways and the memorizing sidewalk cracks on the path home.

Bit by bit she's writing the tale of her life, and she's in no hurry to know how it ends just yet, though she has an idea to some of the finer plot points of the story.