Title: Inevitable Comparison

Series: Koukou Debut (High School Debut)

Pairing: Yoh x Haruna

AN: This was done as a gift fic for a friend. Her request was to show the truth of Yoh and Haruna's love. Hopefully I've done that. SPOILERS for the English release of this series. If you are only current with that, you will be spoiled. This takes place during events in vol. 6 of the manga.

Disclaimer: All characters and rights belong to Kawahara Kazune and various corporations. I am making no profit off this fanwork.

Yoh knew he liked Haruna. He knew he liked her quite a bit, despite—or maybe partially because of—all her strange quirks. He honestly hadn't suspected that he loved her until she'd started yelling at him.

After all, Haruna regularly drove him crazy, frustrated him, angered him, and confused him. He felt all kinds of things that didn't fit with the cool image he'd developed and maintained for himself since junior high. That hadn't necessarily meant he loved her.

Intellectually, he knew Haruna had none of the qualities he'd thought he wanted in a girlfriend. For that matter, Haruna had none of the qualities most guys wanted in a girlfriend. Her spazzy behavior and gung-ho attitude mildly freaked most people out at first. Add to that her complete social ineptitude, and Haruna possessed the trifecta of undateableness.

Kurihara did. Soft-spoken, mysteriously feminine and ladylike, slightly shy, sincerely sweet, Kurihara's qualities made her most men's ideal. She was delicately beautiful, even when crying.

She was everything Haruna wasn't, and she suffered in comparison to his lovely mess of a girlfriend.

Yoh saw Kurihara standing there at their "usual place," for a moment watched her waiting and deliberately forced himself to remember his feelings for her. She'd been his first love, his first girlfriend, his first kiss, and he couldn't help but compare that to what he had now.

He never wondered where he stood with Haruna; he didn't understand if her emotional fearlessness stemmed from strength or naiveté—he rather suspected the latter—but she was unshakable in her affection towards him. Her wholehearted puppy-like adoration couldn't help but make him laugh, but what dazzled him, stunned him, was the unconditional wish for his happiness even at the expense of her own, if necessary.

How had she known he'd been hiding all this time? Hiding, afraid to fully love her because the last time he'd felt anything similar it had been questioned and thrown back into his face.

In truth, he was just as awkward as Haruna, but emotionally rather than socially. The affection she voiced so readily, the feelings she shared so honestly were as hard for him as picking out the right outfit or kissing were for her.

That had been part of the downfall of his relationship with Kurihara, he supposed.

He'd been so unable to express his affection towards her that her doubt in him had been fueled into the destruction of their relationship.

There had been no security between them, no underlying thread of comfort that helped him know that even when things went wrong, even when they fought, the affection was still there.

Yoh knew he had all that with Haruna. Despite all the problems with their relationship, despite all their individual flaws, they made it work. He suspected that in some warped way they complemented each other perfectly, though he'd bite off his own tongue before he actually told anyone that.

He left his confrontation with Kurihara anxious to get back to Haruna, surer than ever that even with all the trouble she was sure to drag him into, he wouldn't want to be with anyone else.