Disclaimer: Ouran is not mine.
Summary: Something that never happened. (onesided Haruhi/Tamaki)
Author's note: Something disturbing now means something silly is most likely to be next.
Haruhi had figured it all out.
In fact, the girl was familiar with every member of the Host Club.
So, there were some things she understood with absolute certainty.
For instance, for all their virtues (they had some, really), all of them could be quite spoiled if the mood hit them (and it did, most of the time).
They also never took no for an answer.
And that was exactly what brought her to her current predicament.
"No, Tamaki-sempai," she told the boy outside the room she was in, "I don't think this is such a good time."
"Are you sure?" His voice sounded muffled to her ears. "It's really important."
Haruhi looked at the clothes in her hands and considered the amount of frills, fastenings and straps she had entirely no idea how to put on. (This week's Host Club cosplay motto was Swashbuckling, to the delight of the squealing girls attending and to the displeasure of one groaning girl dressing.)
"Yes, I am pretty sure," she said as she tried to figure out if she was supposed to put her arms or legs through that frilly hole thing. "I am still half-naked in here."
There was a sound of something hitting the floor, hard.
The moment of silence following made her hope that for once, Tamaki had just given up and left her to dress by herself.
Then, noise (and the despairing of hope) happened.
There was groaning and shuffling and finally something leaned against the door heavily.
"My precious daughter…" Tamaki rasped and she heard him shifting his weight against the wood of the door. "…Couldn't you have just said 'still half-dressed'?"
At that, Haruhi blinked, while she settled on fighting her way through the frills to the hole with her arms.
"Look," she said at the same time she realized said hole was actually supposed to go over her head. "Do we have to talk through a door? Can't it wait?"
"NO!" Tamaki half-screamed and Haruhi, not quite startled, let a lot of fabric, frills and darkness descend on her own head.
Obviously realizing his volume, Tamaki coughed and continued just a tone more quietly:
"A good daughter should always have time for her daddy!"
And while Haruhi forced her head to climb the path to light through a cave made of very soft material and yet more scratchy fastenings, she could have sworn she heard a mutter of:
"And it's easier this way, too."
Even as Haruhi, after quite some time and struggling, finally reached the top of the frill cave and went through the hole ceiling, Tamaki's shuffling and shifting presence was still at the door.
It took a moment for her eyes to adjust to the light in the room again, before she asked: "You are not going to go away, are you?"
"It's really, really important, please, I swear," he insisted.
'Spoiled', Haruhi thought, sighed and gave in.
"Fine, sempai, tell me what precisely is so important," she said while she began to fasten the army of buttons stationed at a base of frills.
"Oh, okay… um…" The shuffling and shifting got more intense. "Eh…Right now?"
Haruhi's fingers slipped.
"No, no, of course right now!" Tamaki quickly amended and let out a rather high-pitched laugh. "You see, there is… There is this girl I think I like."
"You think?" Haruhi asked without pause, distracted by the fact that there seemed to even be buttons where they couldn't possibly be used to button anything up.
"No!" Tamaki's voice cried through the door. "I mean not no! Eh…"
For the fastening of three additional buttons, there was a pause and some stuttering.
Then, Tamaki picked up again, his voice quickly gaining in speed.
"…I mean not no, not as in not liking her. It's a no, as in no, I like her. Really. I mean, I know I like her… Okay, there is this girl I know I like. And-""
"Tamaki-sempai," Haruhi interrupted him, her fingers fastening button after button. "Rambling there."
"Oh, yes. Sorry." For seven buttons more, Haruhi listened to Tamaki making an attempt at taking deep, steady breaths (with doubtful effects, by the sounds of it).
"Okay," he repeated in the end, breathing still just a little on the shaky side, "There is this girl I know I like."
"So, what's the problem? Go up to her and tell her," Haruhi advised him, experimentally moving her stiff left side, now all buttoned up, and started on the right one.
"Yes… er." Another two breaths; this time without even the pretence of steadiness. "It's… not as easy. I think. I believe. It's complicated."
"What is?" Haruhi asked and fumbled with a particular tricky strap.
For the longest time measured by the fastening of the rest of her attire, the only response she got was an almost silence, composed of breathing in, not talking, and breathing out.
Finally, there was a whisper, so soft and unlike Tamaki's regular volume, she had to strain her ears to catch it.
His lips pressed against the door, he exhaled words with a mouthful of air.
"I don't know," he breathed, "I don't know."
Haruhi was tempted to roll her eyes at the point of the door where she supposed his face was. "Honestly, Tamaki-sempai, which girl, in or out of this school, would reject you?"
At that moment, something occurred to her.
While she was hunting for the boots of the costume on the floor, the expression on her face turned an edge softer. "Or… does she have a boyfriend?"
"No, I would never allow it!" came the instant firm reply and a not so firm addition of, "At least… I don't think so."
Haruhi mulled over the way least likely to permanently damage her feet when she pulled on those leather boots looking two sizes too small. "She attends the Host Club?"
Something suspiciously sounding like a snort mingled with Tamaki's breathing. "You could say that."
"Then what is stopping you from telling her?" Haruhi asked and decided to simply get it over with and just yanked the boots onto her feet. (It hurt. A lot.)
"If I were to tell her… it's…" There was a sound, deep and dark in pitch, as if Tamaki had dragged his knuckles across the door in a mock-knock. "…to tell her… Haruhi…"
"Just tell her, "she uttered, rubbing her still smarting feet through rigid leather.
Outside the room, only a door away from Haruhi, Tamaki stopped his shuffling, ended his shifting, forgot breathing and just told.
"I have fallen in love with you!"
Seven words hung in the air.
Five breaths were taken.
Three buttons became lose.
A pair of lips was twisted into a smile.
"That's nice, Tamaki-sempai," Haruhi said. "Now you just have to tell her."
And one misunderstanding occurred.
Outside the room, a whole door away from Haruhi, Tamaki remembered breathing, (in, out, in) and felt every inch of the thick wooden door.
"Oh," he heard himself mutter at some point.
"Yes," Haruhi said, oblivious to everything but her uncomfortable clothes. "Don't worry; if she is interested, she will surely give you some sign. If I was in love, I would."
Two breaths, another lose button, a lost something else and a question shot through the door:
"You like the Host Club, don't you, Haruhi?"
"I am here because of my debt," she answered without thinking, stretching in her attire to work out its stiffness. After thinking, she added, almost contemplative, "But, I also think you are my friends."
After a long pause, Tamaki asked: "You think?"
Haruhi gave a small nod to herself, while she fastened the replica of a rapier at her belt.
"I know you are my friends."
"Okay," he answered, and she wasn't so sure it was her he talked to, "Okay, that is enough."
A moment later, when Haruhi crossed the distance from one room to the other, only a door thick and a whole door thick, she found that Tamaki had already gone.
Amid a throng of squealing girls, she saw him again.
He said something that was drowned out by the noise all around her, but must have been to the girls' liking, since the squealing got louder and one of them actually fainted.
Tamaki's gaze met hers.
Haruhi gave him a small smile and knew he would answer with a wide one of his own.
Tamaki, she thought, was probably the Host she understood best.
So, after the Host Club had been closed, the costumes had been packed away and most Host themselves had already left, Tamaki caught Haruhi at the threshold of a door.
"My precious daughter," he cried and hugged her close, "The Host Club will be having a most adventurous travelling adventure this weekend, and you are invited along!"
"But…" she began to say and extracted herself from his grip, "…I can't."
"We will be stop by you on Friday evening to make sure there are no problems!" Tamaki continued as if she hadn't said a thing.
Haruhi sighed, because she knew he would never accept a no; none of them did, and her gaze went to spot where, just an hour earlier, a girl had fainted.
"You are not very subtle, Tamaki-sempai," she just told him.
"Then I will try to be more so from now on," Tamaki said to her while he remembered the feeling of wood against skin and he breathed in, out, in.
For a second, nearly a breath and half the fastening of a button long, Haruhi wondered at the strange expression on his face.
Then she shrugged, stepped over the threshold, went home and never wondered again, because, as you can see, Haruhi had figured it all out.