from otousan to otomodachi… one step closer
Disclaimer: I, of course, do not own Ouran High School Host Club and its characters – Hatori Bisco, that super-awesome mangaka does.
This story was originally written for Azayana/Akeyana (a very special friend of mine) for her 13th birthday, but I sort of changed it.
"Oh," was Haruhi's overly-delayed reaction, five minutes after Tamaki announced that he would soon be graduating. Tomorrow would be the official Ouran Academy Graduation Ceremony, and he had told everyone they must come to watch him, because he prepared a speech.
GRADUATION. Up until now, it had never occurred to her that the overenthusiastic, optimistic, hyperactive and foolishly obnoxious host club president, also self-proclaimed "father" could ever leave her alone, but soon he would. Relief was what she wanted to feel, but something was bothering her.
She sat in her stoned position, staring wide-eyed at the expensive tiled floor of the third music room, quietly recalling all the times the club members had spent together in the room; all the different costumes- from police to pirates and more, and all the times they had joked and laughed together. Although had she never told anyone, she thought she was pretty happy, but something was definitely bothering her.
Mori and Honey had long gone and Haruhi had said her goodbyes. That was no problem for her. She had smiled at waved, as they went their ways at the end of the last school year. The club had managed to get two new members from the new first-year-students as replacements, and everything in the past year had been fine, but this time it was Tamaki. And Kyouya. The founder/president… and evil shadow president- both leaving in one go.
"Hikaru! Kaoru!" cried Tamaki, tears overflowing from his eyes, "my time has finally come- I am about to leave this place in your hands, so please… please take care of all that I have left at this school, and look after Haruhi for me- treat her like you would to a precious fragment of your own heart!!!" He clutched witheringly at his chest, fell to his knees, and continued shedding his never-ending tears of grief, wailing like crazy.
"Tono…" grumbled Hikaru, rolling his eyes, "Stop talking to us in that manner- you sound like a sick-and-dying old man passing his life's savings and property on to his sons. How stupid. It's no big deal."
Haruhi wanted to agree with Hikaru's remark, but something didn't feel right. She wondered what it was. Although she had sat there thinking about it the whole time, she couldn't figure out anything. Just then, she felt a gentle hand on her shoulder and she turned around. It was Kaoru.
"Haruhi," Kaoru smiled kindly. "Is something wrong? You look like there's something's bothering you."
"Oh," said Haruhi, again. It seemed that "oh" was the only sound she was capable of making at that moment.
Kaoru's face changed- he looked a little more serious this time, but still showed sincerity and concern. "Are you upset because tono is leaving?"
"Heh, impossible," Kyouya cut in looking up from his clipboard and calculator, "After her extensive distress ensnared in the tenacious clutches of the sinister fiend, she should be overjoyed." He turned back to do the last of his financial planning, before retiring from his title as the shadow king. This was immediately disrupted again by Tamaki, who was now wailing about how "mummy" was bitching about "daddy", using complicated vocabulary, and how he only understood the word fiend.
Hikaru added oil to the fire, pointing and mocking, and laughing just like he always did and Tamaki was reacting in all the wrong ways, adding to Hikaru's entertainment. Haruhi ignored them, and tried to consider Kaoru's question. Was she upset because Tamaki was graduating? Not exactly - she was happy for him - and Kyouya too. Kaoru, who had also been teasing Tamaki with Hikaru, returned, and sat down next to her.
"Since they're all busy, why don't we talk for a while? Just tell me what's on your mind?"
"I'd really like to tell you what's on my mind…"
"Then go ahead, I'm waiting."
"…but…I don't know what's on my mind."
Kaoru covered his mouth and tried not to laugh. It was so typical of Haruhi.
Hikaru got frustrated and scolded her. "No-one can help you if you don't say anything!" Then he walked off.
"I know," Kaoru began, "I'll ask you a few questions - just tell me anything that comes up okay? Let's start with this graduation. How do you feel about tono and Kyouya-senpai leaving?"
"Well… I wish them the best of luck in university. They should study hard in university and…"
"No, no, that's not what I mean," Kaoru sighed, "What emotions are you feeling?"
She found it a little difficult to talk to Kaoru - he had the best of intentions, but she couldn't really open her heart to him - not that she knew clearly what was in it.
"I'm not sure…" said Haruhi softly, "It's not sadness, more like awkwardness. I feel slightly guilty… But I don't know…"
Tamaki heard and ran over to her, arms wide. "Haruhiiiii, my daughterrrr, don't worry, whenever daddy's around, you have no need to feel guilty about anything!!!"
"But you're graduating tomorrow," Hikaru sneered, "So you won't be around anymore." finished Kaoru. "Then we can have Haruhi all to ourselves!!!" they cheered in unison.
For once, Tamaki ignored them. "Look Haruhi! I was shopping like a commoner at the commoner market the other day, when I came across this commoner sale, and I saw this really, really cute commoner's diary..."
"Stop saying 'commoner' before every single noun, baka-senpai!" Haruhi really hated that word.
"Oh sorry… You can have the diary Haruhi! It's a goodbye-present from daddy!!!"
Tamaki held it up, beaming with pride. It was a pink-striped daily planner diary, and came with a fluffy feathery pink pen with a light-up smiley-face on the end. At the bottom-right corner of the diary, Haruhi spotted something that made her eye twitch. "2006".
"Ano… senpai…" Haruhi pointed to the four numbers. "It says 2006 here, but this year is 2007."
"Wahhhhhh!!!" cried Tamaki, "How come I didn't notice it before!!!" Tamaki went and hid in a dark corner, sobbing and sulking, in his depressed and lonely pose.
No wonder he got it at a sale, Haruhi thought. "But thanks anyway, Tamaki-senpai. I still like it."…If I say I don't like it he will surely cry an ocean, she reasoned. But she couldn't help smiling a little.
"Souuu kaaa!" Tamaki leaped back to life, completely refreshed from his previous half-disintegrated state.
I'm feeling déjà vu, she laughed, remembering that that was what he said the first time she got him out of his lonely pose. Her worries were completely forgotten… for the moment.
The next day was the day of the graduation, and Haruhi's uneasiness returned. For some reason, it was worse than the day before. She barely slept the previous night, and now she had no appetite.
"Haruhi, you're not eating breakfast again?" her dad asked.
Ranka got up from the table and hugged her at the door. She felt déjà vu again.
"Haruhi… I know you well, and I know that you don't like telling people your true inner feelings, but Dad will always be here, if you need to someone to talk to. It must be hard, not having Mum here, but I am, and I hope that's enough for you... Don't worry, whenever daddy's around, you have no need to feel shy about anything!!!"
"Thanks Dad, but I honestly don't have anything I want to say, so I'll be going now."
"Oh all right. But before you go, will you give Daddy a hug? It is important for love to be returned when it is given."
She knew he was right. After a quick cuddle, Haruhi left the house, with a warm and fuzzy feeling in her heart.
"Remember," Rankaadded, as she ran down the stairs in front of their flat, "Above all, a father is a very special friend!"
The graduation ceremony was the last event of the day, held on top of the club-activities time. Haruhi sat in the extravagantly large hall, between Hikaru and Kaoru, and the troubled feeling inside her just continued to worsen.
"We'll start our ceremony with a short speech by Suou Tamaki, a valued member of our third grade," announced the chairman, who had walked onto the stage with his son. Then he chuckled and added, "Doesn't he look so silly when he's serious?"
"AHEM! Beautiful ladies and handsome gentlemen," said Tamaki, in his special host king voice, "I stand here today, for the sake of those who acknowledge me, those who admire me, and most of all, for those who adore me." He winked and a couple of girls in the second row, and they squealed with delight.
"Nyaaa, Tamaki-kun is looking this way!!!"
Then he continued. "We part today, and it is with triumph and with sorrow as well, that I leave this academy, and to all of you, I wish nothing but happiness."
Haruhi's throat stirred. Happiness. Happiness? That's right, but where is my happiness? Why don't I feel any? Something is wrong…She felt her throat tighten, and she couldn't breathe. Why? Her eyes started to water. But why? She couldn't understand what her emotions were making her feel. She felt like she was about to cry out in pain. Not now. Not now! Hikaru and Kaoru are this close. Tamaki is on stage. What do I do!?
Left with no options, Haruhi stood up and ran. Along the row where some people who looked at her weirdly, down the aisle where a whole bunch of people looked at her weirdly, and out the door. By that time, the whole school had turned and were looking at her very weirdly indeed.
"Haruhi!!!" shouted Tamaki. He desperately jumped down from the stage, and ran after her.
"Haruhi!!!" shouted Hikaru and Kaoru, standing up.
"Meh," said Kyouya backstage, as he pushed his glasses up.
Hikaru began making his way through the people, to try and follow her as well, when Kaoru grabbed hold of his hand. "Hikaru," he said, in despair, "Are you going to…leave me behind?"…Was the horse carriage about to crash? Kaoru thought.
"Kaoru…" Hikaru sighed, and sat back down, defeated by his twin's miserable plea.
The two of them exchanged glances, and nodded understandingly. Sometimes you had to know when to let go, when to turn around, and when to recognise those you don't want to leave behind, and know the right thing to do. And this time, Kaoru needed Hikaru, and Hikaru was there. This was a pleasant feeling of shared bliss between the brothers… This was their happiness.
Haruhi, however, was still wondering where hers went, as she ran through the school grounds and into the garden. She felt really horrible, and really embarrassed, for interrupting the graduation ceremony. Tears were just about to flood from her eyes, but she held them in, and sat down to rest at a bench.
"Haruhi!!!" called Tamaki, who finally caught up to her, and was now standing and panting in front of her, overshadowing her tiny figure crouched on the seat.
"Haruhiii, what's wrong?" Tamaki asked worriedly. Then he saw the tears in her eyes. Before Haruhi could say anything, Tamaki put his hand to his mouth in shock and gasped. "Oh my gosh, is my speech that moving? You liked my speech so much that it brought you to tears!? I'm so sugoi ne? Ne?"
Haruhi blinked them back and exhaled. "Senpai you really are tiring. Don't jump to such conclusions." This time, Tamaki looked depressed.
"So that means… you didn't like it? B-but it took me five weeks to write those few lines!"
"Listen, senpai, that's not what I was upset about."
"What then? Daddy will listen! Tell me everything!"
"Hehehe… have you fallen for me?"
"Not exactly… I…"
"I don't want you to be my father anymore."
That was quite a heavy blow for Tamaki.
"What!? You don't want me to be your father? Why? What did I do wrong? Tell me tell me tell me!"
"Tamaki-senpai I... I don't know why, it's not you, but I really don't exactly think like being your daughter all the time."
"Then…" Tamaki widened his eyes with astonishment, "You want to be my SON!?"
"No!" Then Haruhi remembered her own dad's words, and had an idea.
"Let's forget the father-daughter thing, and be friends. In the end, a father is just a special friend, right?"
"In the end…" Tamaki grinned. "I understand. I'm leaving soon, so we won't get to see each other much. The fatherly figure will be useless, ne… Okay then. Let's be friends."
"And senpai, I also want to thank you for all the things you've done for me up until now…"
Haruhi rummaged through her bag and brought out the pink diary and pen. She put the diary on the table, opened it to the first page, and began to write. Tamaki looked curiously over her shoulder at what she was writing. On the top of the page she had written:
Otomodachi Risuto (Friend List)
須王 環 Suou Tamaki
"See, senpai? Now you can be on my friends list, even if I can't add you on my mobile."
Tamaki pulled her up and held her tightly in his arms. "Thank you, Haruhi. I'm really happy."
Haruhi looked up, to see tears of joy trickling down Tamaki's face, and she felt tears escape from her own eyes as well. She felt peculiar, but she didn't hate it.
"Senpai…I think…I'll miss you when you leave. I think." …For once she was sure that was how she felt.
"I will miss you as well, Haruhi, but don't worry, I'll come back to visit of course! I mean, my dad is still here so…"
The two of them smiled, as they shared each others' warmth. Tamaki spent the last few moments of his high school life with Haruhi. And as the ringing of final bell echoed through the courtyard, they parted and went their separate ways… but definitely not forever.
"Haruhi-kun, Haruhi-kun!" Haruhi's regular clients ran excitedly up to her.
Classes had ended for the day, and Haruhi was in the third music room for the first time, as a third-year student. The host club's first session had just begun and Hikaru and Kaoru had become co-presidents. Everything was running smoothly.
"Haruhi-kun! Tamaki-sama has returned to visit us!"
Haruhi got up slowly but surely, and walked towards the door. She saw him and smiled. A handsome young man with neatly-combed light brown hair came in, holding a bunch of roses... Her happiness was back.
Happiness is different for everyone,
To find your own is like a dream come true.