Another Ouran fic that, at the moment, has no ending in sight. This is the first installment of an x number of chapters which will hopefully not escalate to ridiculous proportions since it's centered around a single event and perhaps a short time after it, depending. If it does, I hope it's exciting enough and does not turn out to be The Day of Our Ouran Lives. Urg.

As yet, there is no definite pairing, although there will be one at some point or hints of one. Maybe more. O.o'

This is set before Kyouya announces Haruhi's debtless status in Episode 26. At this point, I'm guided mostly by the anime.

Usual disclaimer applies. Shomin means commoner (in case you were wondering).

Chapter 1 // The Impeccable Plan

There were a precious few things Fujioka Haruhi enjoyed doing which did not include the denizens of the accursed Host Club to which she was indebted. On any given day, when there was free time to be had, post-housekeeping and studying, she would retrieve her mother's recipes that were stored on the shelf beneath the shrine. The precious slips of paper were then removed carefully from the thick waterproof folder, each individually wrapped with a thin piece of plastic to retain integrity. Haruhi had decided, after accruing that 8 million yen debt, that she was not going to take any chances. Then, she would sit in the hall safely mulling over the recipes, trying to improve them or add to the already prolific repertoire.

Haruhi was brilliant in the kitchen according to her father. He had loved his wife's cooking and it was only natural that he consumed the fruits of his daughter's culinary efforts with great relish. She was Fujioka Kotoko and more. Her extended Host Club family had had the privilege of partaking Haruhi's cooking during their first visit, much to the delight of one Suou Tamaki, and had stopped by on more than one occasion for seconds.

Today, however, was a special day, if one could call it that. Haruhi was decidedly more reserved about it since the Host Club, including the troublesome Tamaki-senpai, was going to be in attendance this evening at 6pm. She sincerely hoped he would stay out of the linen closet. It had taken her a whole week to remove the funky smell of mould and mushrooms that clung to her bedding the last time.

She would have begged off under normal circumstances and requested that they visit someone else's home or some other exotic locale instead. However, it was Tamaki's birthday and Ootori Kyouya had dangled the reduction of her debt by a fifth for tonight like the proverbial carrot since the King had intimated that he would absolutely love a commoner's birthday party with only the Host Club in attendance. He had pleaded with Kyouya to convince Haruhi that she had to host it at her home for the purpose of complete authenticity. She would have done it solely to please Tamaki since it was his birthday, but Kyouya-senpai had offered another incentive and she had decided that she would be out of her mind to refuse it since her debt did not seem to be diminishing significantly. It was probably due to the costume rentals and occasional accidents she had had which made her feel like she was working to pay off a non-existent interest.

Therefore, Haruhi arose this morning with a sense of foreboding and had reminded her father once more before he left for work that there was an event that night and under no circumstances should he crush Tamaki-senpai underfoot like a detestable bug. She would do it herself if it was required. However, she was feeling rather charitable this morning, with the cool weather and sun shining brilliantly which meant a nice comfortable walk to the café and then the supermarket where she was to meet both Morinozuka Takashi and Haninozuka Mitsukuni. She had planned a four-course menu, which was much less troublesome than an outdoor barbeque and would bake the birthday cake, much to Hani's delight.

The plan that had been outlined for today, according to Kyouya, was relatively simple. Haruhi, along with Mori and Hani, would meet at the supermarket to purchase the groceries required before returning back to her home. Kyouya would retrieve the decorations his sister, Fuyumi, had graciously prepared because was "Tamaki not Kyouya-san's best friend after all?" and would deliver them an hour past noon. He would then assist with the décor before escorting Tamaki, who had decided to take public transportation to Haruhi's so that he would be in perfect shomin mood, to ensure that he did not unwittingly wander astray. The Hitachiin twins, Hikaru and Kaoru, would then arrive promptly two hours before Tamaki was scheduled to appear, with the cutest outfit for Haruhi so that Tono would be suitably gratified. It was the perfect arrangement, brought about with the aid of finances from the Host Club funds since the cost was relatively low compared to last year's party where Tamaki had insisted on a Thai theme, including a parade with the Host Club riding in on luxuriously bedecked elephants. Kyouya had been exceedingly relieved when their regular customers had paid good money for tickets to the event, otherwise the club's funds would have halved the moment payment cheques were cashed in.

The Shadow King, in a rare display of monetary kindness, had given her a ridiculous sum of money for grocery shopping. He had also insisted that she partake of a decent breakfast, although she wondered what breakfast it was that he had in mind with her purse bulging with notes. Airflown strawberries, cream and perhaps the odd Australian cow for fresh milk perhaps, served on a gold platter? Those rich bastards, she thought. Even practical Kyouya was not exempt from such ludicrous behaviour. But, Haruhi was ultimately a true shomin while the others played at being one on occasion. She did, however, appreciate the roll of notes in her slingbag as it gave delightful cushioned thumps on her thigh as she walked. This, she believed, was her only chance at decadent grocery shopping, where specials and discount coupons would not feature and she would seize her opportunity with gusto.

She grinned to no one in particular as she marched rather happily down the street. It was going to be a really good day.

Author's Note(s):

A practically dialogue-less introductory chapter. It's really there to frame the entire story. I had to provide a decent setting as well as establish where the characters are at -- obviously I'm trying to keep to Bisco's characterisation as much as possible.

I trust it wasn't too slow moving for you. I tried to keep it succinct, with enough details to whet the appetite. Even I have no idea what's going to happen in Chapter 2 (!!).

Also, I hope you enjoyed it. Do give me your comments as they really inspire me in writing. Feel free to suggest your favourite pairing(s) -- not a yaoi fan though, so you can forget about those (I don't mind reading them, but writing them is MOE-overload for me). I can't say I will cater to your suggestion as it depends on how the story develops, but I'd like to know what you enjoy as well.