Notes and Disclaimer: Probably not as necessary at this point, but I just want to emphasize that Ouran and its characters are not mine. They are Hatori-sensei's. Again, thank you for not suing.
CHAPTER 13: TEARS
"Are you sure about this, Tachibana-san?"
"Positive, sir. The investigators showed me themselves, and I have no reason to doubt them."
Kyouya sighed and pushed his glasses up his face again. He was standing with his servant and both men were surrounded by members of the Ohtori Private Police Force as they surveyed the metal object in front of them.
A burned-out air conditioning unit of all things.
"I'm still having trouble believing that's what really caused the fire." Kyouya replied and opened his notebook to write down a few more entries. He wanted to absorb as much information as he could about this unexpected twist.
"The investigators and fire fighters checked over the remains, and were able to determine that this ground-floor air conditioning unit shorted out and set the apartment on fire, and that fire spread through the wiring in the apartment from that unit." Tachibana gestured to the destroyed metal in front of him and noted his employer's subtle bafflement.
"What about those boxes of explosives found in the landlady's apartment?" Kyouya asked while the expensive pen rolled across the paper in his black leather binder.
"None of the explosives or fuses were used, sir. My men triple-checked the manifests against the contents of each box and found that the numbers all match."
Kyouya remained dubious.
"That still doesn't explain why she had them in the first place." And it makes my work that much more complicated.
"We have members of the family staff conducting an investigation, and we're still trying to pinpoint exactly where the explosives came from. From the name of the delivery company that shipped them, and the person who actually brought them—"
"I don't need all the details right now, Tachibana-san," Kyouya curtly stated as he shut the notebook. Then after a pause, he looked at his right-hand man. "I apologize. It's been a long day for me, and there have been some…complications that have arisen which involve Haruhi Fujioka's father."
Tachibana nodded in understanding. Years of working with the Ohtori family had taught him to pick up on silent signals from each family member he served. Although Kyouya had yet to inform him of any details about Ryoji Fujioka's condition, he knew he would learn the details when his employer was ready to do so.
For now, Tachibana could only wait and concentrate on his job in the meantime.
"Keep me posted. I expect daily reports on every aspect of this investigation. I want to know names, companies, amounts of money spent, motives and nothing is to be left out of any of these reports. Understand?"
"Yes sir." Tachibana replied.
Kyouya nodded to the older man, indicating that he was dismissed, and as soon as he knew he was alone, he started looking at the list of people he was going to investigate.
The first person on the list… the landlady's niece.
At the hospital…
Ryoji Fujioka lay under the veil of anesthesia in the intensive care unit at the Ohtori Hospital. The operation had been successful, but he wasn't waking up, which made the doctors worry. For the moment, however, he was at least stable, and they allowed Haruhi to be by his side after the long night she spent waiting and fearing for her father's life.
"Papa…" Haruhi held her father's hand and whispered the name she had called him when she was old enough to talk. She had called him that all the way up until her mother had passed away and she felt she had to address him in a more grownup way in order to accommodate the absence of her mother.
But now her childhood habit was coming back, mostly because of how small she felt as she listened to the hissing sound of her father's breathing through a respirator.
No response came from the otherwise motionless figure on the bed.
Haruhi looked intently at her father's bandaged head. The doctors had thoroughly wrapped it so that the bandages remained pristine except for a few minor red spots which marked where the surgery took place. She had never seen him so fragile, so helpless. Was he even going to survive the night?
A glance out the window on the other side of the room made Haruhi's stomach flutter nervously. Dark clouds were covering the otherwise starlit sky and were blocking out the light of the moon. Inexorable shadows loomed higher and higher as Haruhi couldn't help but stare at the now-threatening sky…
She braced herself as she had many times before as every one of her nerves went on high alert just before that first crash of thunder.
As she shut her eyes and squeezed her father's hand, another sound, different but no less-threatening, squealed in her ears.
Ryoji Fujioka was flat lining.
Nurses and doctors scrambled into the room and tore Haruhi away from the bed, hustling her completely out of the room despite her screams for her father. They didn't even notice how terrified the young girl was as they huddled around the crossdresser's bed and worked frantically to try and stabilize him.
Then the first peel of thunder crashed outside.
It's happening again! Mother in Heaven, don't let me lose Papa! Please don't!
Haruhi crouched on the floor outside the ICU and covered her ears, hoping to shut out the flood of noise and memories. This was almost the same as when her mother was dying, except the cause of death was different. It was on a night like this that Kotoko Fujioka lay in a small white hospital bed and gave up her battle with cancer. The thunder had sounded just as the older woman had allowed her eyes to close, never to see the light of day again.
And now history was repeating itself!
The shock of memories made Haruhi tremble all over even though the thunder was much more muffled. "Please…no…no…no…"
A soft pink blanket somehow found its way over Haruhi's shaking shoulders and she felt herself being picked up in a set of large, well-muscled arms and carried over to a nearby couch. Haruhi opened her eyes to see Mori placing her down on the couch between the twins, who wrapped the blanket around her and held her hands. Hani set Usa-chan on her lap and got as close to her as possible, taking care not to crowd out Kaoru too much. The three hosts helped her cover her ears and rubbed her arms as comfortingly as they could, but the tears wouldn't stop coming from their princess.
Tamaki took out a freshly-washed handkerchief (that Shima had insisted that he keep on him at all times) and dabbed at the tears coming out of Haruhi's eyes. Seeing her cry made his heart shatter, but he knew there was little else he could do. He recalled how angry she had been with Kyouya, and how her relationship with the host club would irrevocably change if she lost her beloved father. Would she ever speak to them again?
The blond man then shoved that thought away and made a silent pledge to always watch out for her regardless of what it cost him. Although he didn't say it out loud, it solidified in his mind and his heart. He didn't care about what his grandmother thought of him associating with the commoner girl. He was himself first, and a Suoh second. He would confront his grandmother and destroy all his ties to the Suoh family if he had to in order to make his feelings known to the world.
Nothing else mattered.
Nothing but her.
Mori's deep voice interrupted Tamaki's ministrations on Haruhi, and the half-French blond turned his head toward the tall dark senior who remained on guard.
Mori silently gestured toward the door of the ICU as a tired-looking doctor exited and made his way toward the group.
Haruhi looked up through the sea of hosts crowded around her and she swallowed hard as the man in the white coat came to her side. She steeled herself for the inevitable news that the salt-and-pepper haired man who had worked on her father drew ever closer.
New tears were starting as she awaited the sound of his voice. But there was no way to block out the emotion like she had blocked out the still-rumbling thunder. Bracing for the worst, Haruhi faced the man and held her friends' hands tightly.
"Fujioka-san. Your father…"
This was it. She wasn't ready for what came next.
"We saved him. It was close, but somehow…we saved him."
Haruhi smiled a little bit and allowed the tears to fall, in relief instead of sadness. She collapsed against Hikaru and gave herself a chance to breathe again.
Thank you, Mother.
Author's note: First, let me just say thank you to all those who are still with me even though I totally suck at updating and time management. You know who you are, and I am touched immensely by your words of encouragement even though I am so slow. I am still in the midst of working on this story, as well as another story which serves as a sequel to "The Solution" by BlackRosary. This story is called "Resolutions" and I am still grappling with direction on that particular story. If you get a chance, please read it and review.
Again, thank you for all your support, even though my time management skills aren't worthy of the name.