Basket of Fruit
It had been 5 years since high school. It seemed so long ago and yet at the same time the memories were still as clear as if they had just happened moments before.
Haruhi looked down at the letter in her hand and then back up at the street sign in front of her. She appeared to be heading in the right direction, even if the directions in the letter had been a little cryptic to follow. According to them, the small café she was looking for would just be down the road.
She walked down the crowded sidewalk and enjoyed the many familiar sights and sounds of the city around her. Having spent the last several years in America studying at the Harvard School of Law, it was nice to finally be back in Japan. It was nice to finally be back home.
It had been thanks to her good grades, and she suspected her friends, that she had been given a full scholarship to any University of her choosing. Just last week she had passed her bar exam with flying colours, beating her late mother's exam score and coming out on top of her graduating class. She knew her mother would have been proud and her father was too. Haruhi could still hear her dad's excited voice at the news that his lovely daughter would soon be coming home.
Stopping at corner of the street, she waited for the crosswalk sign to change so she could cross. "Cat's Café... should be right across the street." She murmured to herself as she once again checked the name written in the letter before putting it back into her bag.
After they graduated from Ouron High, they had all gone their own ways. She had gone over seas, while Tamaki schooled with Kyouya in Japan. Hunny and Mori went to be school in the defense field to help in their family's businesses and Hikaru and Kaoru had decided to head over to Europe to learn more about fashion industry.
Haruhi shifted her bag higher on her shoulder and moved a long strand of hair from her eyes. Upon hearing of her return to Japan, it had been Tamaki who thought it would be a great time for the Host Club to get together for it's first reunion since graduation. It would be the first time in five years that everyone would gathered together in the same room and she was looking forward to seeing everyone again. Not that she hadn't seen anyone since she had left. No, there was no avoiding the random visits. Although as time went on and life asked more and more of the other hosts, the visits had turned to phone calls and then just the occasional email.
She had thought that going over seas to study would be peaceful and relaxing but she found herself far more lonely then she expected. Life without the Host Club and her dad just seemed dull. Yes, she had found them tiresome and a bother at times but they were her friends and it wasn't until she was apart from them that she discovered just how much they had meant to her and how much they are grown on her. Even when it felt like she was alone in the world, she knew that they would be waiting for her when she returned. Even if it might only be in spirit... They were all so successful now and held so much power. Like real princes hanging out with a peasant, she didn't hold any disillusions that they would be able to drop everything just to talk with her. She sighed.
The café was quite small with a pastel blue painted door and a silhouette of a cat painted on its narrow glass window. Tucked in between a hat shop and a fruit market, the quant little shop somehow still managed to have a little room out front for three small metal table and chairs which were currently fill of happy chatting customers. As she pushed the door open to the café and the little bell above the door rang, she had to admit that she was nervous… but only a little bit. After all, it had been so long since all the Host members had been together, some she hasn't seen since she had boarded the plane to America.
Haruhi was greeted with a warm smile from the café's greeter as she entered. "Welcome." The young girl in a pale blue maid costume chirped. It didn't surprise Haruhi at all that they would choose a maiden café to meet at, if anything she should have suspected it. She also had a feeling that it had been Tamaki's idea.
Haruhi smiled back at the greeter. "Hello," Her chocolate brown eyes moved about the people seated within the long room of the café. "I'm supposed to be meeting some people here..." She stated a little timidly, having not seen any of the other club members seated around the café.
"Oh!" The girl brightened up and glanced down at her notepad she had been clutching to her chest. "Are you part of the…Ootori, party?"
Some things just never changed, she mused. Kyouya, was ever the one in charge of all things planning. "Yes." The girl nodded then lead her through the tables to a door set at the very back of the café, passed the display counter filled with all the cakes and pastries and the few groups of happily chatting school girls. The greeter blushed as she informed her that they were all waiting upstairs on the second floor, just through the door. She told Haruhi that if they needed anything to ring the bell at the top of the steps and someone would come up.
Haruhi thanked the greeter and slowly opened the door. Taking a deep breath to calm the butterflies in her tummy she walked up the narrow stairs to the second floor. At the top of the stairs sat a white door with a large golden handle. The small gold plaque centered on the door read "V.I.P." So a maiden cafe with it's own private room? Maybe Kyouya had more of a hand in the choice of venue then she had first thought.
"Ok, This is it." Hand on the handle, she took a few deep breaths trying calm her now racing heart. She wasn't sure why she was so nervous. Given, she hadn't seen some of the guys since high school but that shouldn't make her heart race so much. Was it just the excitement? She had been looking forward to this since she got the message a few days before moving back and now she was finally going to be able to see all her old friends again. She wonder how much things had changed and how much she had misses. She turned the golden handle on the door.
She let the door swing back and her eyes adjust to the sudden brightness coming in from the rooms large windows. Sitting at the table directly across from the door sat two figures. Their backs were too her and both seemed to be deep in discussion with each other with several pieces of china between them.
The man on the right was defiantly Tamaki. No doubting it. He was dressed in a white dress suit; his blond hair seemed shorter and neater then before. He talked in a quite but, none the less, animated tone with the man next to him who she knew to be none other then Kyouya himself. Figures, she smiled to herself. Those two were always together. Kyouya had let his black hair grow much longer since the last time they had seen each other. The low pony tail hung down the back of his well tailored black suit and she noted by the set of his shoulders that he was well aware of her entrance into the room. Slowly she walked closer to her long time friends.
Kyouya started to rise from his seat as she neared, causing Tamaki to give him a questioning look but he soon realized that they had another guest in the room jumped to his feet and turned to greet her. "Haruhi!" He turned to her with one of his bright smiles. Some things never change and her heart leaped at the sight of it after all these years. Her brown eyes moved to the darker of the two. Where Tamaki was the blazing sun, Kyouya was the cool moon and her heart leap again at his warm, welcoming smile.
She stopped short of the striking pair and gave them a small bow. "It's been a long time." She returned their happy smiles but suddenly felt a little unsure of what to do or say next. Seeing her hesitation, Tamaki opened his arms to her. Slowly Haruhi closed the distance and gave him a much overdo hug.
"It's good to have you back. I've missed you." He said into her hair, his eyes closed for a brief moment as he took in the light smell of her hair and the feel of her before releasing her.
She couldn't help the small blush that dusted her cheeks from the contact. "Thanks, Tamaki. I've missed you too." Haruhi then turned to Kyouya. Although not waiting with open arms, he did happily welcome the hug has she wrapped her arms around his waist for a brief moment. Which that affected him far more then he would have liked anyone else to have noticed.
"It's been too long." Kyouya agreed stepping back. He pushing his glasses back up his nose to hide his eyes and strengthen his tie carefully before pulling out a chair for Haruhi and gesturing for her to sit down.
Sitting, she watched them return back to their seats, her eyes moving between the two, but settling on Tamaki. "Is something wrong?" She asked, her head slightly tilted to the side.
The sound of her voice seemed to bring him back to his senses, his mouth snapping closed. She watched a bunch of different thoughts flow across his face before he seemed to find the one he was looking for. A slow smiled moved across his lips. "Haruhi… These years have been wonderful to you." He said at last.
"Yes." Kyouya nodded. "You look very lovely."
She blushed lightly at their compliments. 5 years was a long time. She had grown up, they all had. Her brown hair was below her shoulders in small waves and her once boyish figure was no more. She was happy that her once flat chest now sported a small pair of breasts. She fussed with the folds in her skirt. Since she had only just came back into town and had a business meeting later that night, she had worn a long black skirt and white blouse. She felt a little uncomfortable since she was used her jeans she had grown used to wearing daily during time in America.
"When is everyone else going to be coming?" She asked, changing the topic away from herself. She still wasn't used to men noticing her. After all, she had been all but invisible to the opposite sex throughout high school and then suddenly during her time overseas guys started to approach her. She still wasn't sure how to handle the attention, but given her time as a host she felt like she should have developed more of a knack for dealing with men but she tended to feel a little bit lost when it came to romance and love. Not that she had turned down all their approaches, she had had a few boyfriends during her time in university, they had never lasted very long and had ever been very serious. She also didn't like the distraction from her studies it tended to cause.
Kyouya looked down at his notebook sitting on the table in front of him, trying to keep his eyes off the beautiful woman next to her. For that was what she had turned into, a beautiful and he knew, a smart woman with a lot of wonderful potential. He had to admit to himself though that it was a little bit of a stock to see her and he regretted now not going to visit her like the others had. Now that didn't mean there had been no contact between the two. They had exchanged frequent emails and the occasional phone call when he had desired it but it wasn't the same as seeing her. He would have also been better prepared for the sight that greeted him. He never enjoyed being caught off guard. The hug hadn't helped either. Kyouya cleared his throat. "Well, they should have been here already but as you can see they are not." He sighed, one hand rubbing his forehead. He lifted his cell phone off the table and began to dial numbers.
Haruhi watched the Shadow King. She took note of his tired expression and the dark lines under his eyes that should not yet be seen on a man so young. He worked so hard and never seemed to let himself slow down. Even in all their messages to each other, she could also hear the under note of stress. The only times she had seen him relax is guard had been during their time in the club but even those moments had been rare.
"Haruhi, how was your flight? You just returned correct?" Tamaki rested his cheek in the palm of his hand, leaning closer to her.
He was still, if not more, striking as before. Haruhi decided as she turned her brown eyes to Tamaki. His eyes were still a soft violet blue that could steal many hearts and he still had a warm air to him. His face was more defined and she had heard he had taken up the modeling job from time to time.
She nodded. "Yes, I got back two days ago. I wasn't sure -" Interrupted, she thanked the server who set down a cup in front of her and replaced their teapot with a fresh one. Tamaki flashed the server a bright smile and dismissed her before turning back to quickly filled Haruhi's cup.
He seemed much quieter then before and a lot more reserved but she mused that they had all grown up or maybe something was on his mind or after all this time he didn't know what to say to her. It had been about four years since they had seen each other and even then calls between them at been few and far between. She often wondered what had changed to cause him to be so distant but she had never had a chance to ask him and time seemed to move so fast that she hadn't even realized that sometimes months would pasts without a word between them. She lifted her cup to her lips and carefully blew on the warm nectar inside. "So, Tamaki, what have you been up to?"
He was having a hard time concentrating on her words. He had been watching her movements and her full lips. In fact, he was almost not sure how to act. This creature that sat before him actually made him nervous. Haruhi had grown so much since they had last seen each other.
He jumped, realizing that he had not been paying attention. He flashed her a quick smile and leaned back in his chair, hoping she hadn't noticed. "Well, after high school, I went to college for business and now I'm currently working for my father, managing some of our smaller but growing companies."
"Oh, I'm happy to hear that." It had saddened her that they had lost contact over the years. It was not like she hadn't tried to keep in close contact with Tamaki. Between school and their lives, seems like they had slowly moved apart. "So he did name you successor?" She asked without thinking, realizing that maybe it wasn't such a good question to ask but she had been dying to know, since last they talked Tamaki had hinted that his father was leaning towards a decision.
He paused a moment moment before answering. "Yes, he did." His smile was true and she let out the breath she had been holding. Haruhi knew it had meant a lot to him to finally be recognized by his father and she was happy he was finally able to have that acceptance that he had always wanted.
Kyouya snapped his cell phone closed and set it back down onto the table. Haruhi looked over with a questioning look but he kept his eyes hidden behind his glasses. "Haninozuka and Morinozuka should be here shortly. Seems that a security meeting held them longer then they had expected."
"Security meeting? Did something happen?" Haruhi asked, setting her cup back down. The Haninozuka family all but ran the nation's military. Their troops and operatives were the best and were always highly desired. They also had some of the best rescue and disaster relief teams in the world. If something happened in Japan, they were normally the first to be called.
When she thought of the collection of men she had befriended during her time in the host club, she sometimes thought she was no more then a character in a book. She didn't belong with these men. So rich and so powerful. What was she? Poor. A commoner as they had titled her throughout high school but it seemed that for that very reason was why like liked her so much. She wasn't like them and they enjoyed that, but even still, she was lucky these powerful men were some of her best friends and not her enemy. She shivered at the thought and pitied those who got on their bad sides.
Tamaki shrugged. "I'm sure it was nothing. Besides it's not like they would be able to tell us even if it was." He laughed. "National security and all." He waved his hand like it was no big deal and returned to drinking his tea.
The door was opened with a little more force then needed, causing it to bounce back into the door jam with a bang and Haruhi to jump a little in her seat. The small group at the table to turn at the noise to see a very broad and wide back of a black suit move slowly into the room.
It was Mori holding a very long box. Hunny, smiled at the group from the other side of the long package. "Welcome back!" He called cheerfully over at Haruhi as he helped Mori place the large box on a near by table.
Hunny had grown taller. Though still much shorter then the other men. He was at least taller then herself now. He was dressed in a white dress shirt and black dress pants. His blond hair, like Tamaki's, was cut short. It was a little odd to see him... looking so grown up.
Relieved of his burden, Mori smiled and nodded in greeting. To Haruhi he seemed to have changed little over the last years. His black hair was still short and his suit was fitting perfectly to his large frame. Even the addition of a pair of black glasses on the top of his head did little to hide the amount of raw strength he processed but the warm look in his eyes showed her how happy he was to see her again.
Tamaki jumped from his chair to see what they had brought, followed by Haruhi and Kyouya. "Let me guess." Kyouya looking down at the box.
The smaller blond smiled. "Yep. It is! But first.." Hunny wrapped his arms around Haruhi and gave her a big hug. "It's been far too long, Haruhi." It took her a moment to hug him back although he had come to visit her during her time away it was still felt a little weird to hug him now that he was so much taller but she happily returned it. Her chin rested easily on his shoulder as he tightened the hug slightly before pulling back from her a little, not fully releasing his hold.
"Wow, you've really grown." She laughed lightly. She even had to look up a little to meet his bright blue eyes. Hunny beamed a bright smile and found herself grinning back just as brightly. "I have missed you guys."
With one last quick hug he let her go and spun her towards his much larger cousin. She stumbled a little but Mori's large hand easily steaded her. His fingers felt soft against the bare skin on her arm. She smiled shyly as she wrapped her arms around his wide waist and gave him a hug also.
Mori bowed his large frame as he wrapped his arms around the smaller body against him. He did his best to not notice how nice she felt against him or how sweet she smelled. He did admit to himself that he had missed her while she had been gone and was happy to see her again.
There was a commotion coming up the stairs as Mori released her from his hug. Two men burst through the door panting, having raced each other up the stairs. Hikaru and Kaoru Hitachiin. Their eyes moved through the crowd and signaled out the only female of the group. "Haruhi!" Both smiled and rushed forward. Together they hugged her tightly, even lifting her feet off the floor with the force of their hug. She found herself laughing with the joy of seeing them all again. Together the twins pressing their cheeks to either of hers before both giving her a soft kiss in greeting, something they had picked up along their travels.
Out of everyone in the group, it had been the twins that she had seen the most of. Their quest for the best fashions of the world often landed them in America and they always made sure that they set time aside to come see her.
Tamaki frown deepened. 'Not fair.' He mouthed and crosses his arms, looking away from them. Why wasn't he allowed to give her a kiss also? Wait.. was he?
Kyouya only rolled his eyes at his long time friend, knowing all too well what he was thinking.
The brothers pulled back a little but still kept her tightly between them. "Haruhi, you look…" Hikaru started.
"So lovely." Kaoru finished with a smile.
She couldn't help by smile at the twins. "Same to both of you." She looked between the two. Their orange hair was much longer, with a surprising amount of wave to it. They had left it loose over top of their cotton sweaters and torn jeans. Still mirror images of each other, they looked like models or even big name actors. She remember seeing them in a fashion magazine once and had surprised at how attractive they both were. Or maybe she was only just noticing it now that she was older.
At the sound of Kyouya's cough she realized that she had been staring. The twins smirked, giving her a sidelong glance with their golden cat eyes.
"Haruhi, I got something for us!" Hunny excitedly started to open the big box he had brought up.
She tore he gaze from the men around her and looked over at the package. "Let me guess…"
The box fell open to display a very large cake. On it written in icing was 'Welcome back, Haruhi!' with lots of little hearts and stars around it.
The guys moved to stand behind the cake, all smiling.
Tamaki spread his hands. "Welcome to the first reunion of the Host Club." He held out a single red rose to her. She looked up from the offered rose and met his eyes.
It was as if she was opening the doors to the third music room all over again.
Please R&R and let me know what you think!