Well, here's the second part to this (it was supposed to be a brief) piece! I hope it fits with the last chapter. Even though I introduce two other characters here, the main part of it is still based on Mori's point-of-view.
Thank you 'bazoo' for the review. I'm glad that you didn't think the length was too much! Heh, and that you liked it in general. I hope you enjoy this second part as well!
Chapter Two: Concerning Honey, Softie No. 1 and Softie No. 2
"Ne, Takashi, wake up. Ta-ka-shi! Wake up!"
The dark-haired man cracked an eye open, paused for a moment, before opening the other one. He took a moment to blink the sleep out of his eyes.
My back hurts...
"Takashi!" Mori looked up hurriedly, recognizing the urgent note in the usually cheerful voice.
"Mitsukuni...? What-" But that was as far as he got, for his cousin threw himself on him. The stoic host really didn't mind such behaviour from his childish cousin – of course not; he was more than used to it by now – but he really had to protest when the boy started squeezing his cheeks and ruffling his somewhat spiky hair in an affectionate manner.
"Takashi is so very kind!" explained the heir to the Haninozuka clan, a wide smile on his face as he continued to pull at his taller, more serious cousin's cheeks.
Said taller, more serious cousin grimaced before he gently but firmly pried the small hands off his head and face. It was then that he noticed the slight tug on his left hand. Startled, he forgot about what he had been intending to do as he turned his head behind him.
Despite his stoic nature, he could not stop his features from softening as he caught sight of the peaceful face behind him; the peaceful face belonging to the still sleeping pale-golden haired 2nd year.
It seemed that he had held onto his hand the whole time, his fear of being left behind seemingly overpowering any feelings of embarrassment and such.
...At least he looks peaceful, he could not help but think, as his eyes took in the tight grip the stuffed bear was held with.
But whether he is at peace deep down...
"Tama-chan looks so kawaii doesn't he?"
The dark-haired senior turned back around to face his cousin, not surprised at all when he saw the soft smile on the boy's face as he too stared at the still asleep 2nd Year student.
"You'll wake him up Mitsukuni," he reprimanded, quietly, shifting his position on the ground slightly and cringing as his stiff back protested. A contrite expression immediately appeared on the yellow haired senior's face.
"Gomen, Takashi," he whispered, as he stepped away from his cousin. His warm brown eyes, however, continued to rest on the sleeping student. "Ah! That reminds me! I brought this along for you..." Mori watched as his cousin turned around and held out a bag to him.
Mori raised his eyebrows, wondering if the bag would contain some kind of sweet food – this was Haninozuka Mitsukuni, or rather, Honey-sempai that he was talking about after all.
Mitsukuni smiled at the expression on the wild-type host's face. "It's your school uniform. I had Satoshi bring one along to school," he explained, as the dark-haired boy took the bag with his free hand. "As popular as you are with the girls, I don't think the school would like it very much if you attended your lessons in jeans and a t-shirt, Takashi."
"Aa." He smiled faintly at his cousin, in thanks. "What time is it?" Mitsukuni smiled.
"It's almost seven o'clock," he said. "You still have three quarters of an hour before school starts. Well, before people start arriving, anyway."
"Aa." Mori glanced sideways at the tuft of pale-golden hair that he could see of the sleeping boy behind him. He was still in the uniform he had been wearing yesterday, minus the jacket and tie, of course.
If they still had three quarters of an hour...no, there was no time for the boy to return to the second Suoh residence and get changed. Besides, if he hadn't wanted to return last night, he doubted if he would want to now. A sudden thought popped into his head. "Mitsukuni," he started, turning his head but not taking his eyes away from the younger boy, "do you know if-"
"-Yes, Kyo-chan keeps a few spare uniforms in the storeroom. Remember?" Mori turned around to see his cousin beaming at him. "It's easy to tell what you're thinking, Ta-ka-shi," he replied, in answer to his unvoiced question, as he waggled a finger in his face.
Mori, on the other hand, thought otherwise. For who, apart from his cousin, could honestly say that it was easy to guess what he was thinking?
Well, he thought, except for Haruhi too, I suppose...
"Good," he said, instead, as he glanced down at the bag he held in his hands. Now would be the best time to change...or perhaps to head off to the showers and then change. But he glanced at his captive wrist for a moment.
"We should wake Tama-chan up too," commented Mitsukuni, being the observant boy he was. "Then he'll have time to change, or perhaps to shower and then change."
"Aa..." Mori knew that there was some sense in what his cousin was saying, but...well, he didn't really want to have to wake the boy up.
He looks peaceful, he thought, I don't feel right...disrupting that peace...
"Ne, Takashi, did you find out why Tama-chan didn't go back home yesterday?" Mori shook his head.
"No," he said, gently prying apart the fingers that grasped his wrist, before sliding the limb to freedom. "He didn't mention it. And I didn't ask."
The shorter boy nodded, a thoughtful expression on his face.
"It must have been something...serious," he commented, softly. "For Tama-chan to actually want to stay away from that place."
And that was exactly what had been bothering his cousin throughout the previous night. What had been troubling the host club's 'king'? He had not dropped any hints as to the answer to that particular question...but then again, he had not bothered to ask.
He frowned as a thought hit him. Turning to his cousin, he opened his mouth, but quickly closed it when he saw the suddenly saddened smile on the boy's face.
The boy sighed softly.
"I just realized..." he paused, clutching the pale stuffed rabbit tightly, "...we don't know much about Tama-chan, do we?"
There was a somewhat drawn out pause.
"We do..." protested Mori, albeit rather feebly. "We know about-" a somewhat dark expression crossed his face, "-his grandmother, and therefore, about his mother and father..."
Mitsukuni nodded, still looking saddened.
"Yes, we know that much," he said, "but it's not everything is it?" He shook his head at the look he was getting from his cousin. "We know the basic outline of what happens, of what has happened in his life, but that's about it, Takashi. Surely there is more than that? For example, the fact that Suoh-san plays a large role in the family, as its head, must mean that she...does have some contact with Tama-chan..."
Mori nodded after half a moment of thought. "The times we have seen her with Tama-chan, she hasn't been very...pleasant, has she?"
"That's a nice way of putting it," muttered the wild-type host. His cousin nodded, sadly.
"What about the times she interacts with Tama-chan when we're not around? Who knows what she says to him, what she gets him to do?" He stopped there, and the two seniors were engulfed in a rather...thoughtful silence. "I'm sure that there's a lot going on in Tama-chan's life. But he keeps it from us, and therefore suffers on his own..."
Aa...I see. Mori glanced behind him once more. But still...
"Are you sure about that?" he questioned, catching his cousin by surprise. "About the fact that he suffers on his own? Yes, logic says that that has to be right, but..." he paused, struggling somewhat to put his thoughts into words. "But...he is happy...no, he is happiest when those around him are...happy. When those around him are having a good time..."
He looked his cousin in the eye. "We have both...enjoyed our time here, in the Host Club. Don't you think that makes him happy?"
Mitsukuni nodded after a while.
"Yes," he said, slowly, "but Takashi, what does that have to do with him suffering on his own?" Mori sighed. He had had a feeling that he wouldn't be able to express what he had wanted to say properly. That was one of the drawbacks of not being someone who was very...verbal.
"He does deal with things on his own," he agreed, "too much for his own good too," he added. "But he...forgets them when he is having fun. He forgets them when he is...involved, when others are having fun and he can see that with his own eyes..."
"Ah!" The large brown eyes had an understanding gleam in them. "You mean he leaves his problems behind when he is distracted!" Mori thought for a moment, before nodding. "Like when he's with us, when he's actively participating in the host club..."
"Aa." That was exactly what he had been trying to say.
Mitsukuni laughed softly, mindful of the fact that the topic of their conversation was still asleep.
"Mou, Takashi! You could have just said so!" he said, amused. "Instead of giving me that long explanation." His dark-haired cousin ducked his head, a tad bit embarrassed.
"Hnn," was all he said in his defence, for he knew his cousin was right. It's not my fault, he thought, somewhat petulantly, that I don't talk as much as...people like Tamaki do.
"You should learn from Tama-chan, Takashi! I'm sure he'll have you speaking like him in a couple of days!" Mori grimaced at his cousin's teasing.
"I'd rather not," he muttered, dryly, earning another quiet laugh from his cousin, before he sobered.
"All the same, we're his friends. He shouldn't have to feel bad about telling us whenever something's bothering him," he said, quietly.
"Aa," agreed Mori, who had been thinking the same thing last night, "but isn't that the way he is?"
"-it's still no excuse, is it?"
"No, it's not," affirmed Mitsukuni, shaking his head fervently. "And about whatever it is that's bothering him now...I'm worried, Takashi..." His stuffed rabbit fell out of his grip, but he didn't seem to notice – and that alerted his cousin to the fact that something was very wrong.
"The last time he was troubled, he...disbanded the Host Club, even it if was just for a short while," whispered Haninozuka Mitsukuni. "He was ready to leave Japan, because he...thought he was being a burden to us. To all of us." He turned troubled brown eyes to his cousin's grey ones. "We were lucky that time, Takashi, to find out what exactly was going on. But...what if that doesn't happen this time? What if we really do lose him? Maybe not now, but...sometime in the future?"
For a moment, Morinozuka Takashi was unsure as to what he should say. If he were to actually think about what his cousin had said...well, it made sense. Losing the pure-hearted, impossibly kind and cheerful 'king' was certainly a future possibility...
"We will lose him eventually, Mitsukuni. This is our last year at Ouran. At the end of the year we will graduate. And-"
"-But we'll still have Tama-chan," protested Mitsukuni, interrupting him. "We'll know that we can always pay the club a visit, and see Tama-chan...and...watch Hika-chan and Kao-chan tease him, and Haru-chan avoid him, and Kyo-chan reprimand him and-" A hand fell on top of his head, cutting off his panicked rant. Looking up, he found his cousin smiling softly at him.
"Then we are going to have to do our best to not lose him, aren't we?"
Mitsukuni glanced from his cousin to the still sleeping boy for a long moment, before he finally nodded.
"Hai! We're going to have to do our very best!" he agreed, the usual happy smile appearing on his lips. It was when he picked his Usa-chan up that Mori knew that his troubled thoughts had been...dealt with. Somewhat. "Arigato, Takashi."
Mori simply shook his head, not really thinking that he did anything to deserve a 'thank you'. With a sigh, he stood up, wincing once more as his stiff back protested. Ignoring it, he picked up the pillow he had been resting against, before impulsively turning around and placing it with the sleeping boy.
"I should...go and change," he muttered, still torn over the idea of waking him up or not. Mitsukuni nodded.
"Maybe...we could let him rest for a while longer...?" he suggested. "After all...registration starts at eight o'clock...so we do have time..."
Mori smiled. It seemed that he was just as torn as he was.
"Aa, but he needs to change too. And he'd probably like to have a shower."
"But he looks so...peaceful..."
The soft smile widened slightly as the dark-haired senior listened to his cousin's half-hearted protests.
"He'll be late for registration if we let him sleep in any longer."
"Yes...but Tama-chan has never been late. Not once. So maybe he'll be excused...?"
"Mitsukuni. You're making excuses."
"I...iie, I'm not – well so are you! I don't see you making a move to wake him up."
"Aa..." Sometimes, Mori felt the slightest twinge of annoyance when his cousin was right.
"You're just a big softie, Ta-ka-shi!"
What? Right, he had to draw the line there.
"Hnn," he grunted, noncommittally, knowing that any attempt at voicing his different opinion would probably backfire given his talent – or lack thereof – in the verbal communication sector. He knew his cousin was smiling gleefully, but he ignored it.
He was not a big softie, and that was that.
Everyone who knew him knew the truth in that statement.
...But he couldn't quite stop himself from reaching out and tugging at the blanket covering the sleeping 'king', drawing it up and gently tucking it in, once more, underneath the boy's chin.
"Nope, not a big softie indeed," whispered Mitsukuni, his brown eyes dancing with mirth even as his cousin stepped back hurriedly, averting his gaze.
He was prevented from having to attempt to save face – not that he would have succeeded anyway – when the doors to the third music room were opened once more. Both he and his cousin turned around, warnings ready on their lips, when they saw the dark-haired 2nd Year stepping into the room, quietly closing the doors behind him.
"Mori-sempai. Honey-sempai," he greeted, sounding a little surprised, "this is a surprise..."
"Kyo-chan!" greeted Honey, cheerfully. "You look tired...do you always come to school this early?"
The bespectacled 'Shadow King' shook his head.
"Iie," he said, with a sigh. "I received a phone call early this morning from—" The dark eyes behind the glasses widened ever so slightly when they noticed the figure sleeping on the couch. Honey watched him carefully for a moment, and was able to notice the softening of said pair of dark eyes.
His smile widened; this was another one who liked to pretend that he was not a 'big softie'.
Ootori Kyoya's face suddenly darkened. "That idiot. I am going to kill him when he wakes up; I really am."
Honey's smile wavered somewhat. Well, he was usually a big softie when it came to his best friend.
But...maybe not at this early hour in the morning...?
Regaining his composure, the 'shadow king' coughed slightly, before the usual (eerie) polite smile was back on his face.
"I received a phone call from Shima-san – the Head of the 2nd Suoh residence – at five o'clock this morning," he explained, his dark eyes drifting back to the pale-golden haired boy as he mumbled something under his breath and pulled the stuffed bear closer to him. "The household was in a panic when they realized that their 'young master' had not returned home last night..."
As he said that, his eyes drifted to the taller, dark-haired senior – or rather, to the jeans and t-shirt that he still wore, before his gaze shifted momentarily to his best-friend. "I see," he said. "So he did spend the night here?"
"Mattaku..." he muttered under his breath, "he really is a troublesome fellow..." Honey merely smiled widely at the exclamation, whilst Mori said and did nothing.
There was really no need to after all, for he had heard the mild (well, very, very, very mild) note of affection in the 'shadow king's' voice as he voiced his exasperation at the club's 'king'.
And that reminded Mori...
"Kyoya, do you know what-" He stopped abruptly when he heard the incoherent mumbles from behind him. Both he and Honey turned around as one, as Kyoya's eyes drifted once more to the boy.
Honey's smile widened into a silly grin as the pale-golden haired boy moved so that he was lying on his back, pulling his Kuma-chan with him as he kicked the blanket off him.
Kyoya's glasses lost their glinting ability for once, showing the softened dark eyes as the pale-golden haired boy stretched his arms above his head, still mumbling incoherently under his breath.
Mori's lips twitched upward as the pale-golden haired boy turned to his left – only to grunt when he met the back of the couch – before rolling over to his right side.
And all three of them winced when the fair-haired boy promptly fell off the couch, landing with a rather loud 'thud' along with a muffled yelp.
"Owww..." moaned the host club's king as he sat up, sleepily rubbing his head. "That hurt..." A panicked expression suddenly appeared on his face as he glanced around him. A moment later, hazy purple eyes widened sleepily when he caught sight of the three figures standing a short distance away from him.
He blinked once and then rubbed his eyes vigorously, before repeating the process again. "Honey-sempai, Mori-sempai, Kyoya!" he exclaimed, joyfully.
Mori was not very surprised at the wave of relief that washed over him when he saw the bright smile that lit up the 2nd Year student's face; much like a lantern in the dark.
That was much, much better than the forced smile he had seen last night.
"Ohayo, Tama-chan!" greet Honey, joyfully, as he returned the bright smile.
"Ohayo, everyone," greeted the 'king', cheerily. He noticed Mori's jeans and t-shirt, which contrasted sharply with Kyoya and Honey's uniform. "Eh? What time is it?"
"Seven twenty-six," answered Kyoya, in his usual clipped tone. "In the morning."
"Ehhhhhh?!" The purple eyes were as wide as saucers. "That means – I – ah! Mori-sempai, I'm so, so sorry! I didn't – you didn't have to – I-"
Mori raised a hand, stopping the flow of apologies.
"Never mind," he said.
"-It really doesn't-"
"-Did you stay the whole time?"
"Sempai, your family! They must be-"
"-As interesting as this early morning spectacle is, I suggest you grab the spare uniform from the storeroom, Tamaki, and hurry to the showers," cut in Kyoya, smoothly, drawing all the hosts' attention to him. "We do have a Japanese history test first-period. Or have you forgotten?"
"ARGH! The test! What am I going to –" Tamaki stopped suddenly. His three friends watched as he thought about something for a moment, before he turned to the stoic, wild-type host. "I'll do my best, Mori-sempai! In honour of your wonderful, amazing, clear teaching!!"
With a last dazzling beam, he jumped swiftly to his feet and dashed over towards the storeroom. A moment later, he breezed past his companions and was soon out of the music room, slamming the doors shut behind him.
Feeling the two pairs of eyes on him, Mori shifted uncomfortably.
"Teaching?" echoed Kyoya, quirking an eyebrow. "Then does that mean-" The doors to the music room opened once more, revealing the teary-eyed and embarrassed face of the host club's 'king'.
"Kyoya," he started, pouting petulantly.
"You've been in this school all this time and still don't know where the showers are?"
"I thought they'd be in the normal bathrooms...but they're not..."
"Kyoya..." The teary eyes soon turned into puppy-dog ones.
The 'shadow king' sighed as he pushed his glasses back up his nose.
"Hai, hai," he muttered, as he nodded at his two seniors before walking out of the room, closing the doors behind him.
As his and Tamaki's voices faded, Honey glanced at his cousin with a cheeky smile on his face.
"Softie," he teased, fighting the urge to giggle when he saw the pale flush that spread across the usually impassive face.
"I'll see you in class," mumbled Mori, as he stalked out of the room, following the two 2nd year students' path.
He was glad that the younger boy seemed – seemed being the key word – to be his usual self...but then again, the entire school knew that he was very, very good at acting.
It was a pity that he had woken up before he had the chance to ask Kyoya if he knew what had happened to cause his overnight stay at the school.
Aa, there will be other opportunities to ask him. And that was right; he'd probably be able to speak to the bespectacled boy, privately, some time during the host club's working hours.
If all else fails, he thought, morosely, we might just have to confront Tamaki. Mitsukuni was right; he cannot keep on shouldering these things on his own.
We wouldn't deserve the title of 'friends' – yes, the hosts were his friends – if we did nothing.
With an almost inaudible sigh, he quickened his pace slightly, hoping that not all the showers were ---
---He had been at the school last night to retrieve his Geography exercise book, which he needed to complete his homework in.
He hadn't so much as spared the book a second glance after locating it on the coffee table.
Ah well, what was one black mark in his thus far perfect school record?
That was longer than the previous chapter! Ah well. I hope that it was alright. If Mori seemed to be saying quite a lot at the beginning, in Honey-sempai's presence, that's only because I picture him as being more...open with his cousin. And I imagine that it has something to do with them growing up together, trusting each other and always being together. I apologize if you disagree and feel that I did it all wrong.
I might leave it at this, but there is this one part – hopefully shorter part – that I would like to add in, as the last chapter. Concerning the hosts, with Mori playing a larger role than some of the hosts would have expected - trying to get Tamaki to see that he is not alone and that it's not wrong to burden them with his troubles. But...I don't know...I'll have to see about that.
Anyways, that's it from me here! I hope you enjoyed it!