"Otousan has to go on this business meeting, dear, and won't come back until tomorrow night. I can't take you to the library…So make sure you come home by your curfew."
That was what all she heard when the cross-dressing man left the door with a smile on his face. Fujioka Haruhi looked up at the door; she knew it was for her father's job. The brunette can't complain that she couldn't visit the library with her dad.
She could do it herself if she wanted. And so…the eight year old girl planned to go to the nearest library to enjoy her time reading.
Upon arrival, Haruhi could see many books. Shelves upon shelves upon shelves towered over her small frame. However the large brown eyed girl was already used to it. She quietly walked over to the children books. There were not many kids who actually spent time at the library, only Haruhi was that studious to go.
She immediately skipped the picture books and tried to pick out ones that were all text and didn't spare any space for pictures. Those books were for babies, she reasoned.
And so, taking out a medium sized length book, she began to read. Haruhi was only eight; therefore some words were hard to comprehend. She brushed a stray strand of hair behind her ears only to have it fall back into her face.
Reading the whole morning and afternoon, has knocked Haruhi out of her senses. She was propped against a shelf, a book in her lap, her eyes wandering the words on the pages. Haruhi was engrossed in the book and hadn't noticed the absence of people.
By the time, the library lights had shut, Haruhi had accidentally been lulled to sleep. Her small fingers were pointing at the word in which she had left off. As the last of the sunlight illuminated through the window above her, the word in which she was pointing at glowed eerily.
And small balls of light started to assemble next to her.
The time when Haruhi had finally woken out of her sleep, was when her head rolled around slightly, causing great discomfort to her. That was when she snapped awake. The brunette wasn't in the best of senses until her mind registered at where she was.
That was what her mind could click with. And then the pieces came flooding back to her. Haruhi was reading, Haruhi had stopped reading, Haruhi..somehow fell asleep…?
She cast her large eyes around the dark shadows, little light escaped through the windows, allowing her some vision. Everything suddenly looked more intimidating…
The small girl shook her head to clear herself of the thought of anything paranoid. That's right, she fell asleep trying to comprehend what the words were saying. Her eyes wandered down to the word, and she opened her mouth to sound it out, until something beat her to it.
"Anniversary," a voice said besides her. Startled, Haruhi tossed a glance at the teenager sitting next to her. He had been staring lifelessly at the bookshelves in front of him, before he looked down at Haruhi. "Is that the word you fell asleep on?"
"Yes…" she said slowly, still staring at the teen. She swore that she was all by herself when she was reading. But having company…Haruhi felt a little safe. "And why are you here…mister…?"
"That should be said to you also, little girl," it cooed, a large smile on his face. Haruhi swore she saw his shoulder fade for a while. "Why is a kid doing here? Locked in?"
"I think…so…" she muttered, every so often giving a glance at the blonde teen. "And you are…?"
"Tamaki," he replied simply, blue eyes studying his surroundings. "The library has always been quite an extraordinary place, is it not?"
She could only nod silently, as the book on her lap was left unnoticed. The gentle smile on Tamaki's face widened slightly as he caught what Haruhi was reading in her lap. "Ah, so young yet you aim to read harder books. I applaud you."
Haruhi then cocked her head at him. "Why are you here? Aren't you old enough to leave the library when it closes?" The sentence seemed to whack him critically but he recovered.
"Well, I can't leave," he said with great understanding. Her inquiring gaze pestered him to tell more. "I, well, died here. Long time ago. No point of leaving though. This is the first night in ten years when there's such a cute girl keeping me company."
Haruhi gulped. Ah. A ghost. Why wasn't she surprised at the least? Shouldn't she be screaming her head out like a normal little girl? But, Haruhi wasn't a normal girl, so instead of screaming…
"Aw, come on! Don't get freaked out! Just for tonight and you won't see me again for another ten years," he exclaimed, a nervous smile on his face. Haruhi relaxed slightly, it must be just an illusion. Tamaki couldn't seriously be a dead teenager talking to her. "Anyways, your name, little girl?"
"Mm, Haruhi-chan, eh?" Tamaki said, smiling merrily. He chuckled. "What a cute name."
She turned pink, and stared down at the floor. Having a teenager ghost complimenting her name was…strange. All she ever could say was, "Thanks."
"Don't worry, I don't do rape-"
This earned him a stare. Tamaki's pale face had the slightest tint of pink on. "Never mind. I'm of no harm, Haruhi-chan. I can hardly touch anything except…books, I guess."
The ghost laughed as he leaned back against the wall, arm propped up by a knee. "Well. I had a connection with books you know. Died in the library, yada yada. Can't remember how though. I don't think that's the real reason how I can touch things."
He nodded to the air as he picked up Haruhi's book from her lap. He stared down at it longingly and muttered. "Been a long time since I touch books. I used to spend nights of my anniversary reading the books that I haven't read."
"You spend nights alone?"
Tamaki's smile seemed to show more than just happiness, something like…loneliness and sadness. He gazed up at the ceiling; his blond hair was now in his face. "Well. It doesn't bother me much. It has been long since I had interaction with people."
"Don't you get lonely?"
"What happened to your parents? Have you got any? Don't they visit you?"
"My parents…they haven't found me here. This is my grave, apparently…I can't get out of here," he said somberly. Tamaki gazed at her with a smile. "But now since I have gotten my very first visitor, I shall spend it with my utmost effort!"
Haruhi didn't understand what the teenager had said, but just nodded slowly. "Tamaki-niisan-"
He interrupted her by clenching the book in which she had been reading. "Ah, so you're reading this? Such a very beautiful novel I say. I have read this a lot of times over the long period of a night." His eyes sparkled. "I really liked this tale. Romantic, adventurous, and dramatic. Very beautiful."
Haruhi stayed silent as she moved closer in order to see the words. "I haven't gotten that far into it."
"Why of course! This book is meant for preteens!" he exclaimed. "Quite surprising that a little eight year old picked this up."
"Kid books are getting old…" she said, accidentally seeping her arm into his side. She immediately pulled back after feeling a cold tingling feeling from it. Tamaki hadn't noticed the contact. Instead he cleared his voice and began to read out loud.
"The moonlight pelted against the stone hard surface casting an eerie glow. Sachiki couldn't resist but shiver at the sight of the memorial rock in the courtyard," he said, his eyes half-lidded as he read everything in a hazed over voice. "Anniversary…how long has she been here? Five years? Ten?"
As he read on, Haruhi felt herself being drawn into the book again, this time with a companion. Occasionally, she would ask some questions of some words. Tamaki had the patience to take time and explain it to her. And then…
Many hours later…
"What happened to him?" Haruhi asked, as Tamaki closed the book and gently laid it in his lap. "Did he return to her?"
He looked up thoughtfully and then muttered, "Well…despite the hardships, the promise that he had made…was still kept. But it was quite crude of the author to not include the ending." He sighed. "Well, there's no helping it. This piece of fiction was written long ago, and probably the author is dead."
Haruhi couldn't help but ask him. "How long have you been...dead?"
Tamaki only laughed lightly. "Gosh, I think I haunted these parts for decades already. I'm not really sure, you know?"
"Ah...I get it," she muttered. "Were you always alone?"
"Does that really matter?" he asked, eyes kept staring at the shelves ahead of him. "Books...books...they're all the same. Kind of sad if you have to talk to them."
She leaned lightly against him, quite shocked that her skin met...someting fleshy and cloth-like. Haruhi noted it...that thing she was touching was his arm. Strange...Haruhi swore when she first touched him that she immediately sunk into his skin and felt cold chills.
This sensation...was fuzzy.
"Did you have any friends?"
"Tried to. They always seemed to fake though...Fake friends. And then I had another friend. He was cold...very cold...but I was his friend," Tamaki continued on, as he closed his eyes knowingly. "The day I died as an accident...when I first turned into a ghost...I can remember it so clearly."
"That guy...was so worried about me. The first time I saw real emotion on his usual stoic face," he inhaled deeply and exhaled. "Man...he was so desperately looking for me..."
The two of them sat in silence as the night started to escape from the windows. Light slowly poured in, sending off a goldenrod glow. Haruhi looked up at the window, and shielded her eyes from the sun. "Ah, Tamaki-nissan. The sun's coming up."
Tamaki smiled as he stood up from his spot, while placing the book on the shelf. "Is that so? Your father must really be afraid for you then…having to be locked up in the library," he said sympathetically. Haruhi turned, her long hair swaying against her back.
"It's fine, really," she said, the small smile on her face. "Otousan doesn't come back home until tonight."
A rattling of the doors opening startled them, and they quickly looked at the source. "It's the librarian! Does she come this early?" Haruhi asked her ghost companion. Tamaki only blinked as he wafted to hide behind her.
"Always. To check up on stuff. She won't come to this section though," he whispered, ducking down with Haruhi. Tamaki watched the woman walk to the back of the library and disappear from sight. "She's practically the only one who comes in the morning."
The eight year old nodded understandingly, as she crawled on her knees towards the exit. Giving Tamaki a last look she muttered, "Then…I'll have to go before she comes out."
"Mm. Sure," he murmured. "Thank you so much, Haruhi-chan."
She only nodded. "Thanks for keeping me company."
"No problemo," he said, giving a toothy grin. He unknowingly patted Haruhi's back."Now go. Slip out of here and go on home!"
Haruhi's eyes wandered to the direction of the exit. "Oh wait, Tamaki-..." When she turned, the ghost was hardly there anymore. Just a bundle of empty space. She stood up and stared blankly at the place where he once sat.
"Ah…Goodbye…" she whispered.
-Ten years later…
Every day…well…not EVERY day, but every day that she had time to go to the library…
Haruhi would bring a small flower. Something that wasn't noticeable…maybe a tiny rose, daisy, and whatnot. Hiding the small vegetation underneath her bag, the eighteen year old made her way towards the section where the bookcase ghost had inhabited.
There, in the corner where Tamaki had first appeared, was a shrine. Just a small vase of water and a flower placed in there. Everyday, Haruhi would renew the flower, change the water…and not be seen at all by anyone.
The teenager brunette stood alone in the section.
Today was the anniversary of that night in which the ghost had appeared to her. And she would just pay her respects and see if there could be yet another encounter. Haruhi knelt down next to the vase, and placed a single rose into the glass.
Maybe she'd stay behind in the library, get purposely locked in…
For a good cause, she persuaded herself.
Standing up, Haruhi ventured to a near bookshelf. Although these books were the type that she can breeze over, Haruhi picked them up. She sat down next to the vase and began to read. The book was long…quite boring…
And Haruhi had just come from a tiring day of school. Therefore…she purposely slipped into sleep. She knew that she'd fall asleep in the library…but didn't bother to get up. No one would find her here. It was their little hideout.
And so when something came poking her in the arm…
"My…my…you've grown, Haruhi-chan."
Haruhi greeted it with a smile.