This was inspired by one of the anime episodes, when the host club was dealing with the newspaper club. I would like to mention that this is a friendship fic; friendship between two of the hosts, with one being more of an…older sibling, or protector, of sorts. If that makes any sense!
Hehe, well, on with the story, I suppose. Hope you enjoy it!
Disclaimer: I own nothing to do with Ouran High School Host Club; it all belongs to the awesome Bisco Hatori-sensei.
Of Loyalty and Watching Over Kings
Morinozuka Takashi, the heir to the Morinozuka Clan, was not a cold person. Nor was he unfeeling, or lacking emotion and there were people who agreed; Satoshi (regardless of the fact that he was his brother and adored him), Mitsukuni (regardless of the fact that he was his cousin and therefore somewhat biased), Kasanoda (…he seemed to think that he was some kind of – heaven forbid it – god), Kyoya (well…it was a bit difficult with that one…), Tamaki (he doubted if the half-Japanese boy found anyone to be lacking emotion), Hikaru and Kaoru (they seemed to like him well enough) and finally, Haruhi (who seemed to see right through everyone).
Sadly, a rather vast group thought otherwise.
In any case, there were things that surprised the stoic, 'wild-type' host. And stepping into the 3rd Music room at seven-forty-five p.m. to retrieve a much needed book that he had left behind, only to find the room already occupied was one of those things.
Especially when the person occupying the room happened to be the pale-golden haired 'king' of the Host Club.
So he stood in the doorway for a long moment, watching as the younger boy randomly flipped through books and paused to write something down before continuing with the flipping.
Finally deciding that it wasn't right, he moved further into the room. His fellow host didn't notice his presence until he stood beside the table and his long shadow was cast over the many books that were spread out on said table.
"Mori-sempai!" The male placed a hand on his chest as he took in deep breaths. "You scared me."
Mori merely shrugged as he took a moment to glance around the room. Ah, there was his geography exercise book on the low coffee table. With the locating done, he turned back to the 2nd year host.
"Tamaki." There was a slight pause. "What are you doing here?" Suspicions arose in the tall, dark-haired boy's head as he watched his companion shifting uneasily in his seat.
"I…eeto…" he lowered his eyes to the table. "I had some work to do," he said, finally.
Mori raised his eyebrows at that. He wondered what kind of 'work' it was, especially since it seemed to require the boy's presence in school.
Well, there was no point pushing him into talking, especially when it was obvious that he didn't want to, was there?
Seeming to realize that he was being let off the hook – without further questioning – Suoh Tamaki perked up ever so slightly.
"What're you doing here, sempai?"
"Left a book here," muttered the 'wild-type' host, nodding in the direction of the coffee table. Tamaki nodded absently.
"Ahh, I see." In the silence that followed, the Host club's 'king' stared absently at the line of windows on the wall opposite him whilst his senior took a moment or two to observe him. Carefully.
The usually clear purple eyes were shadowed; that was something that he noticed almost immediately. And he knew that it was rare to find those eyes shadowed. Apart from that, there was nothing else out-of-the-ordinary about the younger male's appearance.
But then again, it was very rare to find his eyes shadowed in such a manner.
"-Do you think there will be a storm tonight, sempai?" The question made him think for a moment or two. Why would he be thinking about the weather?
"A storm was forecast on the news this morning," he replied, turning his attention to the opened windows as well. The evening sky didn't look as though it was stormy…but then again, nature was unpredictable, wasn't it?
"If there is a storm…" Tamaki's voice trailed off. "I hope today is Ranka-san's day off…"
And it struck the stoic man then; Tamaki was worried. He was worried about Haruhi and her fear of thunder – which, unfortunately, usually accompanied storms.
"Aa," was all he said. What else could he say anyway? He glanced quickly at the younger male's face, wondering if he would ever realize what his feelings for the girl were – and subsequently discard that…somewhat ridiculous notion of being the girl's 'father'.
With a soft sigh, Tamaki turned his attention away from the windows and to his senior.
"Well, sempai, don't mind me," he said, forcing a smile onto his face. (And it was here that Mori concluded that something was wrong. For when did Suoh Tamaki force a smile onto his face?) "Don't let me keep you from heading back home. Perhaps you should get back before the storm breaks out. Did you walk here or come by car?"
"Ah, that's good then. But still, please don't let me keep you from heading back. It was nice bumping into you, sempai. I'll see you tomorrow!" The forced smile appeared once more.
To Mori's surprise, it…almost hurt, to notice that fake smile.
"It's almost eight o'clock, Tamaki. Shouldn't you be…leaving?" He tactfully left out saying 'shouldn't you be going back home?' having a feeling that maybe, just maybe the 'king' didn't need to hear that.
The forced smile turned into a saddened one, and that hurt just as much as the forced smile.
"No," said Tamaki softly, as he shook his head. "I think I'll stay here for…a while longer…" He suddenly gestured at the books that were on the table before him. "Besides, we're having a Japanese history test tomorrow, and I don't seem able to understand a few concepts behind the battles we're supposed to know…"
Mori's grey eyes shifted to the many books that were laid out on the table. He guessed that the younger student had taken things out of the library in an attempt to clarify things further.
He glanced ever-so-quickly at his companion once more, before turning to the opened windows, through which a chilly breeze was blowing into the room.
"Have you had dinner?"
The questioned earned him a surprised glance from Tamaki; a surprised glance that quickly turned into a guilty one.
"Ehehe…about that…well, you see, I was…caught up with work and-"
"That's a 'no' then?" The pale-golden haired male nodded sheepishly. "Right. I'll be back."
"Hai! I'll see you tomorrow – eh? What do you mean you'll be…sempai where are you going?" But Mori had shut the door to the Music room behind him, intent on speaking to his chauffer about places where they could purchase food.
Twenty five minutes later:
Tamaki kept on shooting his senior apologetic glances, which were quickly followed by grateful ones, before the apologetic ones returned.
"-It was nothing."
"You didn't have to-"
"-No, really, you-"
"-I was hungry."
"But – oh." There was a moment or two of silence as the two of them continued to eat their noodles. "Thank you, sempai," said Tamaki, quietly.
Mori shrugged. It was nothing, really. Besides, did his companion really believe that he would let him get away with missing dinner, especially when he knew that that was what he was doing?
Glancing at the younger student, he noticed that he had almost finished the food in the small take-away pack. He himself was nearly finished as well.
"You said you were struggling with…Japanese history?"
"Mm-hmm," said Tamaki, through a mouthful of noodles. "I like the subject a lot, but…somehow I never seem to really understand the conflicts that caused the major battles…" He pouted as he glanced mournfully at the books that he had pushed to the side to make room for the food.
Mori glanced at the books as well as he finished his last mouthful of noodles.
"And you will be tested on that tomorrow…?"
"Hai," affirmed the 'king', looking even more mournful. "And if we don't pass that test, we'll have to attend make-up classes and such…"
"Are you done?"
"Eh? Oh. Yes, I'm done." Tamaki watched as his senior grabbed both empty boxes of food before stuffing them in the plastic bag he had purchased them in. Mori tied the ends of the bag up before placing it on the ground.
"Show me what you don't understand," he said, as another cool breeze blew into the room. Tamaki's eyes widened.
Mori gestured towards the books on the table.
"I can help you."
The purple eyes widened some more.
"But…sempai…you should go-" But Mori waved a hand dismissively, before reaching out and pulling the main Japanese history text book towards him. It was, after all, one of his favorite subjects.
"What do you have to know, for tomorrow?"
"Sempai, really, you don't have to-"
"What do you have to know?"
Hesitantly, almost shyly, the pale-golden haired male pulled the textbook towards him and flipped it to the appropriate page.
Mori sighed inwardly in relief; he had sort of expected the younger male to put up more of a fight, being the stubborn person that he was known to be.
A few minutes later, the history lessons began.
The pale-golden haired figure stirred, mumbling something incoherent under his breath before burrowing further into his 'pillow'. At this action, the hand that was on his shoulder paused in its shaking, and there was an impassive expression on Mori's face as he stared down at his younger…friend.
"…It's late. You should go home," he said, as quietly as usual, but he might as well have been talking to himself, for the boy wasn't listening. "Tamaki."
"Mmm…non, je préfère l'autre, maman…l'autre biscuit…avec de la confiture…mmm…oui…" The dark-haired senior was slightly confused as he watched his companion; he had not taken French as his language option in his first year, although Mitsukuni had (wanting to do something 'different' for a change), so he did recognize the mumbling as being done in French.
He may not have understood what the boy had said, but he did understand and recognize the word 'maman'. The boy was dreaming of his mother…? The grey eyes softened somewhat.
"Tamaki," he continued, "get up. It's eleven o'clock. We need to leave the school grounds-" He stopped abruptly when the boy shook his head, his eyes still very much closed.
"We can't do that Tamaki. As it is, they have probably secured the grounds already, so we will have to-"
Is he arguing in his sleep, or is he at least partially awake?
"Tamaki-" With a soft sigh, Mori decided to give up. For some reason, the younger boy seemed adamant on not returning to his home – that is, if he called the Second Suoh Mansion his 'home'. He stood where he was, weighing his options for a moment, before sighing once more. "Will you at least move away from the table?"
He only got a muffled mumble in reply. Shaking his head inwardly at how very much like a child the Suoh boy was, Mori all but hauled him to his feet, earning a few sleepy mumbles of protest. Deciding that it was not necessary to reply to those sleepy mumbles, he supported the still half-asleep figure of the host club's 'king' as he made his way over to one of the many couches in the large room.
"Aa." The dark haired senior set the boy down on the couch and could not help the amused glint in his eyes as he watched him snuggle immediately into the lush piece of furniture, curling on his side with his knees drawn up. He bore a somewhat…uncanny resemblance to his cousin at that moment.
"…Sleep," he said, not really understanding what the boy had mumbled, as he bent down to pry his shoes off, placing them neatly and quietly on the ground when they were free of his feet. With that done, the stoic senior moved away from the couch, intent on letting someone at home know that he would not be returning that night – lest they panic at his disappearance and jump to the conclusion that he was kidnapped or something of the sort.
He couldn't just leave the obviously troubled boy on his own after all, could he?
But he couldn't exactly call home at this hour…his brother would be the ideal person to speak to, but as he did not have a phone of his own, he would have to call home to talk to him – and thus wake the entire household up.
Who would be up at this time of night…? He smiled at the name that popped into his head.
He flipped open his cellphone and dialed the first number that he had put on speed-dial; he didn't have to wait long for the cheery voice to answer.
"Mitsukuni, it's me." He nodded unconsciously. "Aa. I had to pick up a book. Hnn? Aa, I do believe that I have leftovers of that strawberry cake –" he fought the urge to hold the phone away from his ear. "No – feel free to ask Okaasan or anyone else for it, but, Mitsukuni, isn't it a bit late to be going anywhere? It's eleven o'clock. No, I am not at home." There was a pause. "Ouran. Aa. I bumped into Tamaki-" again, the dark-haired senior fought the urge to hold the phone away from his ear at the loud exclamation of 'Tama-chan???!'
"Aa, we're still at Ouran. Hnn? He doesn't want to go back home. No, I don't know why. Aa that is for the best, I know" a mild, affronted expression appeared on his face, although he did not know it, "I wouldn't leave him here alone, Mitsukuni. You know that." He smiled slightly. "Aa. I know. Will you tell someone at home for me? If they start looking for me, that is? Arigato. Hnn. I will see you tomorrow. Good night."
He flipped the phone shut again and replaced it in his jeans pocket.
"Sem…pai?" Hoping that his conversation over the phone didn't wake the boy up, Mori strode towards him.
"Hai, Tamaki?" One eyelid cracked open, revealing a hazy purple eye.
"Kuma-chan…?" There was a – sleepy – look of worry on the boy's face as he gazed at the stoic senior.
"What – ah." Partly amused, the senior nodded. "Wait here," he cautioned, before heading towards the room where all the host club's supplies were kept – ranging from food and drink, to cutlery and crockery, to bits and pieces of paper and cloth, to blankets and pillows…and finally, to a certain precious stuffed bear. Taking the bear from its spot in the second cupboard to the left of the room, Mori stared at its frowning, impassive face for a moment, before shaking his head and closing the cupboard.
Grabbing one of the blankets and two pillows from a different cupboard, he walked out of the room. "Here." He could not help the corners of his lips twitching upward as the stuffed bear was snatched from his arms almost immediately, before the pale-golden head snuggled into its face.
Shaking his head slightly at the childish behavior – which, ironically seemed to suit the 'king' – Mori proceeded to position one of the pillows under the boy's head before draping the blanket around him, tucking it in under his chin. He mumbled something incoherent once more, which the senior took to be a 'thank you'. "Now go back to sleep Tamaki," he said, quietly, as he turned, aiming to move over to the couch opposite the one that was now occupied.
He didn't get very far, as a hand quickly grabbed his.
"Don't go…" Grey eyes met the slightly opened purple pair.
"I'm just going to the other-" the grip on his hand tightened, surprising him just as much as the panicked expression that crossed the younger boy's face.
"Please?" he whispered, his voice slurred with sleep. "Don't leave. Everyone leaves…" The grey eyes lost their startled edge as the boy's words registered in Mori's head.
"Tamaki. I am not going anywhere. I just need to-"
If he thought the seventeen year old was acting very much like a frightened five year old, the dark-haired senior didn't mention it.
"I promise," he said, honestly, causing a sleepy smile to brighten the boy's face.
"'Rigato…sem…pai…" The eyes drifted shut once again, and the grip on his hand slackened somewhat, but Mori stood where he was for a moment, a thoughtful expression on his face. He glanced towards the couch he had been intent on occupying, before glancing back at his younger friend.
He really didn't take long in deciding what to do.
Calmly taking off his shoes and placing them next to the other pair already on the ground, he grabbed the second pillow he had taken out of the store room cupboards. Careful not to disturb his companion, who still held on lightly to his wrist, he sat down on the ground with his back leaning against the front of the couch. Placing the pillow between his back and the front of the couch made it less uncomfortable. And besides, he had been in positions that were far less comfortable than this one during his martial arts training.
Letting out a soft sigh, he closed his eyes. Who would have thought that a simple excursion to pick up a Geography book would turn into an impromptu sleepover at school? He heard another sleepy murmur from his companion and could not help but wonder what had caused him to…act out of character, to want to stay at school as opposed to returning to his family's second residence. As the image of an elderly lady popped into his head, the stoic senior quickly shook his head. He did not want to think of that…not very well-liked Suoh matriarch. Not now, and not ever.
Whatever the problem is, I hope it is solved soon. He cannot take to spending his nights here, at the school. It's not right.
Maybe he should have a word with Kyoya…and hence, possibly the other hosts…just in case something was quite wrong. The 'king' of the club would never fill them in on what was going on in his life, not feeling the need to burden them or cause them to be sad.
But still. They were his friends, and therefore had the right to be burdened and sad at what was happening to the one person who had the most pure heart that they could ever imagine.
There would have been a point in time, in the past, when he would have wondered at this…fierce loyalty. Especially when it was directed at someone who was not a member of the Haninozuka family – or rather, who was not his much loved cousin, Mitsukuni. But the development of this fierce loyalty…of these feelings of protectiveness was inevitable. There was something about the pale-golden haired, purple-eyed 2nd year that just…evoked such feelings. In everyone; would the likes of Ootori Kyoya be going to such (not really obvious) lengths to keep the boy happy, if this was not the case?
And the dark-haired boy remembered not being surprised when he had realized his protectiveness and loyalty towards the club's 'king'. He doubted if anyone could come across the eternally optimistic and overly sensitive boy and leave with negative feelings towards him.
And if they do have negative feelings, he thought, frowning mentally, then that is because there is something wrong with them; because they are blind…to not realize his value.
He sighed, deciding that it was time to stop thinking and instead, to give in to his body's demands of sleep.
"Good night, Tamaki," he murmured, as he felt his body relax, readily welcoming the sleep that threatened to overpower him.
Alright…I know. That was long wasn't it? Sigh. I just didn't want to divide it into two, or maybe more chapters. I would have loved to cut some more bits out…but I couldn't bring myself to do more than I've already done.
Sorry about the length!
And, as I mentioned at the beginning, this is a friendship piece, because, ever since I watched that episode with the newspaper club and how they wanted to 'reveal the real Suoh Tamaki', and when the rest of the host club confronts the club, speaking of their love and loyalty towards Tamaki. That struck me as being rather sweet.
Hehe, well, anyway, that's enough from me! Hope you enjoyed it!