A/N:

Someday I'm going to write a crack fic about where this story almost went… and it won't be rated "T" XD

But this one's safe… aside from the abundance of fluff

Still don't own OHSHC


Liquid Assets

The tiny brunette sat on the edge of the sparkling pool, enjoying the way the cool water lapped at her legs, refreshing her from the unrelenting heat of midday. Most of the other inhabitants of the pool were significantly younger and she enjoyed watching their carefree play. A slight breeze ruffled her dark hair, passing on to meander through the nearby trees.

In retrospect she blamed herself… for at that moment she had been thinking how lovely and peaceful it was to have a little bit of time away. But fate was not to be toyed with, and it was precisely then that her cell phone rang. She had only brought it with her in case Kisa's mom called… but a quick glance at the display confirmed it was not her on the other end.

Not even close.

With a sigh she picked it up on the fourth ring… knowing he would near meltdown stage if she didn't answer soon.

"Haruhi!!!" immediately she thrust the device away from her ear, lest the sheer volume cause permanent damage to her eardrums.

"I was so worried!!! I called your home and no-one answered –"

"I am allowed to leave my house aren't I?" she interrupted, sincerely wishing she were joking.

He continued on blithely, "- and when you didn't answer your cell phone right away –"

"Senpai, I'm talking to you right now."

That seemed to set him back a few paces. The phone was silent for a moment and she could picture him regaining his composure, long fingers flipping back pale blonde hair.

Nearby a couple of children got into a rather spirited water fight, their happy laughter and splashing loud enough to be heard on the other end.

A rather subdued Tamaki came back on the line, "Um, Haruhi, where are you anyways?"

"At the pool."

The line was once again silent; she could only image what those three words had set his mind onto.

She sighed, "My neighbor is a nurse and was called in early this morning due to an emergency. So I offered to watch her daughter until this evening."

"Ah, Haruhi – you are truly a benevolent person."

"It's just babysitting."

"No, no – if you hadn't stepped in many lives might have been lost if that brave nurse had not been able to get to work. Of course, that just shows that even heroes sometimes need help! Fear not, Haruhi – I shall be there shortly!"

She blinked at the now-quiet device resting in her palm, completely at a loss as to what had just happened. Shaking her head she only hoped he would forget what he was doing and go see someone else instead.

Not likely.

- - - - -

Within twenty minutes, she spotted the lanky teen weaving his way through a maze of lounge chairs and children as he approached her location. As was typical, he carried enough accessories for three people, completely laden down with towels, sun block, an umbrella, and various beach toys.

Reluctantly she got up to help, before he dropped everything or fell into the pool due to his obscured vision. Eyeing the various beach balls and water guns, she let her shoulders fall in defeat – at least the kids would have fun. Indeed, they had already come swarming over to see what was going on. With a brief admonishment to be sure to share, the teens sent them away with their new treasures.

Haruhi flopped down on her towel, amazed at how exhausted she was only a few minutes after his arrival. She glanced at the umbrella he had just placed on the ground, after an unsuccessful attempt to stand it up without the necessary sand.

"You do realize this is a public pool – not a beach…" she inquired.

Lost in his own intrigue, he held up a package of water balloons. "What exactly are these fo- -" his words were suddenly cut off as he had finally stopped moving long enough to fully take in Haruhi's appearance. Without a word, a hot blush quickly flared on his cheeks, rapidly spreading outward to encompass his entire face.

Haruhi glanced down at her swimsuit. It wasn't anything special – she'd had it for a number of years, not wearing it enough to warrant getting a new one since it still fit. It was a one-piece style, adorned with a simple blue-green floral print – she hadn't thought it was that badly out of fashion. And she especially liked how the top was cut in a low v style, with two strings that tied around her neck. It was certainly more revealing that her usual clothing but then again, it was a swimsuit, after all.

Tamaki had a few fleeting seconds to take in her appearance before becoming so overwhelmed that he had to turn away. As she unconsciously leaned back on her arms, her gentle curves were no longer hidden by baggy shorts or ill-fitting male school uniforms. Before looking away he managed to take in the subtle swell of her breasts, accentuated by the fabric clinging perfectly along her natural shape. He had barely glimpsed slender legs emphasized by a high-cut when he had been forced to avert his eyes.

She gazed innocently at Tamaki's brightly flushed face wondering what had gotten him so flustered. Surely it wasn't… Inwardly she gasped – that couldn't be it, could it? She thought back to the last time they had been at a pool together – when he had silently and blushingly handed her a pullover sweatshirt to wear. But that was impossible wasn't it? He constantly referred to himself as her father, for goodness sake. Unless… the little voice in the back of her head who had finally found its voice wasn't about to stay silent now. Unless he was in denial himself – and didn't realize it.

That denial marked one of the most significant differences between the two. Haruhi's strong-willed mind was at times so powerful that she was even able to forcibly fool herself. Immediately after the teasing flutters in her stomach had warned her of a possible attraction to this man, she had shut those pathways down and rerouted them into study, family and an outward appearance of annoyance. Though truthfully, the annoyance part was usually genuine, but it was more of an amused tolerance than one she sought to escape.

Tamaki on the other hand, suffered from a delusion just as powerful, but held in place subconsciously out of fear of change and of losing the close family unit he had created. A delusion that at the moment was rapidly deteriorating due to the extremely inappropriate fantasies he was having of his "daughter."

"Ano, Tamaki Senpai…?" she ventured tentatively.

Bright violet eyes flashing in the sunlight, Tamaki gathered his composure and stood hands on hips, a direct contrast to his bent over form just moments ago. "Haruhi, observe what the twins have taught me!"

Oh lord.

With no time to escape she shut her eyes tightly and awaited the inevitable.

"Cannonball!!!!!!"

Splooosh

A cascade of water engulfed her, leaving wet drops on the ends of her hair, her eyelashes – even her pert little nose. Emerging triumphant, Tamaki stopped short at the sight of the near-drowned girl sitting in the very spot Haruhi had been, with a vein twitching in the exact spot Haruhi had… one…

Oops.

Quick strokes brought him to the edge of the pool, eye level with her knees. "Gomen, Haruhi… I merely intended to demonstrate my improved technique."

Without thinking, analyzing or hesitating, the brunette launched herself at him. Her speedy movements took him completely off guard and she succeeded in thoroughly dunking the verbose lord in the crisp water, albeit sacrificing herself as well. Not that it particularly matter, as she was already thoroughly soaked.

They emerged in a tangle of limbs, both grinning as Tamaki always was a good sport – especially when it came to Haruhi.

As their eyes locked and his arms tightened around her waist, the intimacy of their current position effectively swept the grins away. Both of their eyes grew wide, but neither made a move to pull away, simply staring at the other.

Despite the cool temperature of the water, Haruhi's bare skin felt like fire everywhere it touched his. She watched his blush renew itself, knowing her face was surely mirroring his.

Somehow, her left leg had become entangled with his right and his hands were caressing her naked back as they held her afloat. As if being pulled together of their own will, their heads drew closer and closer. Haruhi's arms slowly encircled his neck, sending more sparks and tingles along her bare arms. She closed her eyes awaiting the feel of his lips on hers… her pulse sped up and an amazing fluttering in her stomach caused her to feel slightly dizzy.

Why had she fought this again? She couldn't seem to remember.

His arms tightened around her, pressing her swimsuit clad body in extremely close contact with his bare chest. All sense of location and propriety were abandoned and she gave in to the sensation of his breath against her lips…

SMACK!

For the second time in as many minutes, Haruhi suffered the indignation of water pouring over her head.

"Aw, gross - you're gonna get cooties like that!!" came a shout from a boy across the water.

From under sopping wet bangs, she deadpanned Tamaki who looked ready to grin but had wisely thought better of it. He plucked a piece of bright green balloon from her hair and his eyes lit up in wonder, "So that's what those are for!" She couldn't help but chuckle at the situation, reminding herself to later give the young child a warning abut aiming water balloons so as to avoid innocent bystanders.

Deciding to head back towards the shallow end, she managed one brief stroke before her wrist was captured in a firm hand. In shock, she realized that with the buoyancy of the water, she had been swept back into Tamaki's arms almost effortlessly. She had no time to think and her eyes grew immeasurably wide with surprise as he dipped his head down to capture her lips as effectively as he had captured her slender body.

Stunned, she was momentarily frozen in place, lost in wonder at her first experience of having a man's lips pressed against hers.

He pulled back, searching her dark eyes. "Haruhi, I don't think I'm your father." His voice sounded a little strained.

She nearly laughed, but simply shook her head, "No," she managed.

Tamaki gathered her close, deepening the kiss. Growing more comfortable, she was able to meet his kiss eagerly, so intent that she never even heard the loud chorus of "EEEEEWWWWWW" that surrounded their soggy embrace.

Why had she fought this?

Whatever the reasons had been, somehow they paled in comparison to the heady pleasure of being held in his embrace. With no small amount of amazement she realized that for the first time in her life, she was perfectly happy to surrender.