Disclaimer: I don't own Host Club.
A/N: Hmm, just thought I should write a little oneshot. It's been a while.
"Haruhi… are you sure you're okay?" Fujioka Ryoji asked his five-year-old daughter, who was intently reading a picture book.
Haruhi blinked and looked up at her father. "Why wouldn't I be?" She laughed. "You're so silly sometimes, Daddy!"
"Never mind…" Ryoji shook his head, returning to his breakfast. It had been exactly three weeks, two days, nine hours, twenty minutes, and thirty seconds since Fujioka Kotoko had passed away. Though he found himself counting every breath since his wife had breathed her last, his five-year-old daughter had not shed a tear since. He realized that she probably didn't understand, but he was still unnerved by it.
"I can't see Mom anymore?"
When she had asked him this the day of the funeral, he shook his head and hugged her tight, expecting her to overflow with tears. She did no such thing. Instead, she had patted him on the head and told him in a very steady voice "Don't cry Daddy, you still have me!"
The irony of it all was enough to drive him insane. If he could afford it, he would have sent her to as many psychiatrists as possible to see if there was something he was missing. He was just beginning to realize how little he understood the daughter he had always doted over.
About a week ago, he had finally plucked the courage to ask her directly.
"Haruhi, if you want to cry, it's okay. We're all sad that Mom is gone."
Haruhi had done her usual moments of blinking and staring before she scooted closer to him with a smile.
"Mommy told me that she was leaving. She told me that you would be sad and cry like a baby, and she was right! But she told me that I have to be a big girl and hug you when you do. She said not to be sad, 'cause she was going somewhere nice and happy. So, I'm going to listen to what Mommy said. If she's okay now, then I'm okay too!"
She then hugged him, just as her mother had instructed, because he had started crying, just as her mother had predicted.
Ryoji brought his thoughts back to earth as he realized that he had to drop Haruhi off to kindergarten and get to work. As he cleared the table, he noticed some food had gone untouched.
"Haruhi, you're not going to eat breakfast again?" He sighed, growing slowly more worried. Breakfast had always been the one meal the three of them ate together, since Kotoko would often be at work until late.
"Mm, no thanks, Daddy. I'm just not hungry in the morning." She answered with a dismissive grin. "Now come on, we're going to be late!!"
The two of them ran around in a relatively cheerful mood, considering the circumstances. Haruhi chased her father with his shoes as he washed the dishes and they left the apartment laughing.
Ryoji and Haruhi walked side-by-side, the latter of the two humming idly to herself. They had almost reached the school when Haruhi's humming trailed off. Her pace slowed as her eyes focused in on something not too far from where they were.
Before Ryoji could react, Haruhi released his hand and sprinted down the sidewalk. "Haruhi!!" He immediately ran after her, catching up easily to her tiny legs.
"Mommy! Mommy!" She chased a woman with long dark brown hair tied into the same ponytail Kotoko used to wear. She finally grabbed a hold of the woman's skirt, but the woman's face revealed to be someone entirely different. Haruhi released her instantly.
Ryoji caught up and apologized, and the woman assured him it was okay and continued onwards. He looked down at Haruhi, who was still frozen, watching the woman walk away.
"Mommy!!" She tried to run after her again, but Ryoji kneeled down and grabbed her around the waist.
"That's not Kotoko, Haruhi!" He said into her ear.
"Mommy! Why won't she come back?? Mommy!!"
When Haruhi's calls had turned to screams and when those screams had turned to sobs, Ryoji wasn't really sure. All he knew was that on that sidewalk, as he held her tightly, Haruhi cried the hardest she ever had and ever would.