Note: Back to Hikaru's POV

Chapter 17: The Eye of the Storm

What does the day bring today? More boredom, more games, more nothing. It's always the light in the morning that shakes me awake from the slumbers of sleep. It's no different this time. I don't want to wake up.

"Hikaru!"

It's not Kaoru's voice. Where am I? Everything inside my mind is black. If Kaoru's trying some new trick to get me out of bed faster, he should know how lazy I can be.

"Hikaru!"

Kaoru waking me up every morning feels like centuries ago. Wait. I remember something awful happening for a week. What could possibly make me feel that tormented? Nothing shocks me. Usually it's the other way around. Oh! I know what this day could bring! I can brave the sharp lights and the horrible coldness. It's worth mixing up some mischief that annoys the hell out of Haruhi. I love poking fun at her. I want to see her face again- Yes Kaoru, you win, I think grudgingly. I flick my eyes open. Someone is shining a strong beam of light into my face. I flinch. My eyes start watering.

"Milord," I blink stupidly. Tamaki's face is swimming in swirls above me. "What are you doing here?"

His face sort of relaxes. I think he looks pathetic like that. "You're awake," he sinks into the chair. I never knew we had a green chair like that in our bedroom. Why is Tamaki in my bedroom anyway? For some reason he doesn't look like his normal idiotic self. His face is pale. I want to throw some sarcastic comment at him but I can't. The room doesn't allow for jovialness.

"This isn't my room," the moment I say it, I know with a startling zap of shock that it is true. I wonder how I worked it out. I had based my off comment on the dim atmosphere, but now looking around me, everything is utterly foreign. I am lying on a single bed. The covers are a plain normal white. The walls are white. The light bulb is economical. The room is so tiny like a toilet cubicle. The only other person in the room with me is Tamaki sitting on a chair. Toilet cubicle? A bizarre image flashes through my mind. It must be from my dream because I remembered climbing through a trap door in a toilet cubicle. My thoughts continue flowing in a calm manner. Being somewhere without knowing why you are there is enough to make anyone sweat and shake with ill thoughts. Something weird has happened. Tamaki must know. Ask him.

"Don't you remember?" Tamaki's face is twisted with unease.

"Remember what?" I ask with a sinking heart. My naive words hang in the air like it does not belong there, like it will be imminently consumed by something terrible. The door bangs open. Both Tamaki and I look up. The painful moment is interrupted.

"Haruhi!" I yelp and scramble up from my bed. Why is she here? I'm still in bed. My hand automatically drifts to my hair to pat it neat.

"It's like Kyouya said, Kaoru," Tamaki murmurs in a low voice.

I'm sure I heard Tamaki calling Haruhi Kaoru wrong. "What?" I look from Tamaki to Haruhi. "What did Kyouya say? He's here too? Where are we anyway? What happened?" No one looks at me. No one says anything. I feel frustrated. I want answers!

"Take off your shirt."

Huh?! I grin sheepishly. I tug my shirt down firmly. Something must be wrong with my hearing.

"Take your shirt off Hikaru!" Haruhi demands fiercely. My heart is stuttering in shock. She wants me to take my shirt off? In front of her? I-I-I don't want to do that! Haruhi frowns. She walks over. I don't know why, but I shrink back to my bed post as she advances on me. I don't have the time to react. She yanks off my shirt like I'm a kid and her eyes critically assesses my chest in a few milliseconds. She nods grimly towards Tamaki.

"Please!" I yell. My dignity has been stripped. "Someone tell me what is going on!" My face feels uncomfortably hot. I try to swallow my heart back to where it was before.

Then Kyouya enters the room. "TOM had another machine gun that does exactly the same thing," he reports grimly. I see Haruhi groan.

"So that beam of light was him aiming it at Hikaru and Haruhi in the cupboard?" Tamaki asks anxiously.

"Yes," Kyouya frowns. He looks upset with himself. "I planned to get captured by Tom so that we could get to the meeting place on time. However once Tom figured that we had tricked him, he shot both Hikaru and Haruhi as payback."

"But how did he know they were hiding in there?" Haruhi cries. "I made sure they were hidden well."

"It's a well established place despite the cave appearance. They saw you guys on the security cameras," Kyouya replies.

"What do we do now?" Tamaki asks slowly.

"Body switching," Kyouya says promptly. "I've still got the other machine."

"What about Tom and his machine?" Haruhi queried.

"No idea," Kyouya frowned. "I'm still tracking him. But the majority of people have been dealt with accordingly."

"One other thing," Tamaki says as if to move the grim situation to another if not worse situation. He points a shaking finger at me. "He's lost his memory."

"Unfortunate side effect of every switch," Kyouya says calmly. "It says so on the instructions booklet."

"Wait," I interrupt, my head spinning. I only caught the words of one phrase in the midst of that jargon. "I've lost my memory?"

Silence follows at my incredulous response. I glance around. Everyone seems dead serious. "Er…" I try to sound light. "What happened to me?"

"I'll tell you," Kyouya decides swiftly. He dot points each of his statements. "Kaoru and Haruhi swapped bodies for a week because of a WWI machine. You realized you love Haruhi during that time. Then both Haruhi and Kaoru got kidnapped. You went to save them but in the process you and Haruhi swapped bodies because there was another WWI machine. This means currently you are in Kaoru's body, Kaoru is on Haruhi's body and Haruhi is in your body."

"I'm dreaming," I say abruptly. "Go away. Ow!" Kyouya has just bashed my head painfully with his pen.

"It doesn't matter whether you believe it or not, but hurry up and come with me because we need to perform some body switching to return things back to normal. Maybe you might get your memory back as well."

The tiny teeth of reality began sinking in. My thoughts flew calmly earlier on because I was using Kaoru's brain. I was forced to take my hospital t-shirt off to confirm I was in Kaoru's body because only Kaoru had that particular tiny scar. After pain, comes numbness. Kyouya started setting me up in a specific position. I let him do it while my thought chugged along randomly. I was climbing through a trapdoor of the toilet cubicle because it was part of the mystery in rescuing my beloved twin and- I discovered I love Haruhi?! My body grows all hot.

"Don't fidget!" Kyouya says sharply. "Unlike the original process, the reverse is much more complex."

Wait! But I'm in Kaoru's body! This body is reacting! Does that mean Kaoru loves Haruhi too? No! He can't. He told me-! And where is Haruhi anyway? In my body? In the far corner where Kyouya is moving towards is a hospital bed. Something long is lying on top of it under a white sheet. "Haruhi!"

"Stop moving!" Kyouya's glasses flash furiously. "Yes it is Haruhi. And yes she is just knocked out. And yes she will be fine." He shuts me up.

"Do I-" I swallow. It's hard to say. Kyouya has come back to me again to fix up the equipment again. "Do I love Haruhi?"

Kyouya gives me a funny look. "That's a rhetoric question." I swallow again.

"Did Haruhi love me?"

No answer.

"Did you say this," I gesture at the machine in the corner. "Will fix up things?"

Again Kyouya gives me a funny look but he gives an answer this time. "Nothing comes with 100 guarantee."

Not in the least reassured, I nod. "Let's do this then." My heart is feeling like it will sink any moment. It's the type of feeling that predisposes tragedy.

"Alright," Kyouya leaves the tiny operation room. "Let's return you to the right body."

There is a flash like the world began. Then I lost consciousness.

--

It will reassure you to know that I remembered everything when I returned back to my own body. It's funny when memory floods back to you. It comes like a huge tidal wave and you're scared shitless as all the moments –both tormenting ones and happy ones – are relived painfully in your mind in exact detail. It was awful. But I am glad my memory returned.

I'm washed out now. I feel like I'm floating wearily on top of water and my body is being gently lapped by the sun warmed waves. I've exerted myself emotionally too much in the past week – it's incredible thinking about the up and downs. But now the hurricane is over.

"Look, airplane," Haruhi murmurs softly.

We're sitting on a secluded spot of soft grass waiting together. Kyouya and the others are setting up the machine again for Haruhi and Kaoru's body swap to normal. It will take a long time. Haruhi's still in Kaoru's body. That makes no difference to how I feel.

I thought I would be more panicking, more stuttering, more overreacting especially since my memory about the events of last week returned. A lot happened. The weight of all the events should make me feel different. But I'm feeling calm and serene. This doesn't feel like me.

I know that she is also lying here with me sharing this sense of calm. Our time feels special. It feels secluded from the rest of the world. We can forget the tragedies before. We can just be together. This moment is beautiful and still. It is the eye of the hurricane.

Those three words. You know what? I don't need her to say them. Even if she never says them to me, I somehow don't mind. It's because she's laying here and forgetting the world with me. Those three words could never capture the emotions of this moment.

Haruhi catches my hand. I can see the brown eyes in her expression. "I-" She struggles. "Thank you."

I know she substituted that for something less. I realize what had changed about me: I am now more mature. Haruhi looks like she is still struggling. She glances up at me. Very quickly she presses her lips on mine before fluttering away.

"Haruhi-" I'm staggering back. I never thought I would be the type to be affected this much by a closed mouth kiss. What's more, she kissed me when she was in Kaoru's body! Time overtakes us. Before I could respond, the others had arrived to take Haruhi away for her body switching appointment. "I want to tell you something," I manage to say hoarsely before she leaves. She doesn't look back. But I don't feel like our world, our perfect moment had ended. Obstacles, be it catastrophes, distance, time, death, soul swapping or amnesia will not tear us apart. Even if we are apart, we will inevitably drift together again. That kiss had lifted my heart up because it was saying "forever, I promise you."

It is impossible for something bad to happen.

--

It doesn't take long before she comes out from the room again. My heart leaps joyfully. It's Haruhi! My heart beats a little faster. She's in her own body!

"It worked," Kyouya reports. "How-"

"Haruhi!" I take her hands warmly. Finally! She smiles at me. I drag her away until we are standing together alone. "I'm really glad it went well."

"Yes," She says simply.

I've never appreciated her beauty more. Haruhi's soul is precious and beautiful, but when it resides in her own body, something sparks more brightly. I've always liked Haruhi as a wonderful best friend. She was the one to bring me out from my world and make me realize there was more to life. I have so much to thank her. Then those awkward feelings arose. I fell in love. Truly, madly, deeply. Last week was horrific in the dramas it created. But despite them I still fell in love with Haruhi's pure essence. Now that coupled with her physical form, my feelings have doubled in strength.

"Umm…" it's warm here. There are dappled shadows and the indoor plant is swaying its leaves like to music. I can't believe this moment in time has arrived. Who knew this conclusion when Haruhi and Kaoru had first swapped bodies? I was hysterical back then. I thought it was the end of the world. Who wouldn't? It's funny thinking about all that week. I'm glad everything happened. I mean I wouldn't want to relive last week, but if none of it had happened, this beautiful ending wouldn't be possible.

The best bit was Haruhi's kiss. I remember it vividly. Something starts aching inside. I want to touch her hair and her skin. I want to feel her against me. I feel a shiver pass through me as I realize. There is absolutely no reserve now because Haruhi is in her own body.

"What I wanted to say before…" I murmur. Haruhi looks up at me with bright eyes. "Let's spend the weekend together."

She blinks slowly. "Why?"

I hesitate just a little. "Come on Haruhi," I whine. "You know why." I nudge at her. I'm waiting for her to overcome her bluntness – her biggest flaw. She might take a while to get what I'm saying, but that's okay because I know she reciprocates my feelings.

"I don't." My stomach drops. Nightmares unfurl like bats.

"I-" I grab Haruhi agitatedly. "I want to spend some time with you." I love you!

"The others are calling," she says abruptly. "Let's go back." She leaves before I can respond from my shock.

"Wait!" My voice contains pure agony, but it is nothing like the whirlwind inside. Don't you remember?! Are you playing around with me? The beautiful moment begins to crack.

Kyouya's loud voice interrupts my thoughts. "I did mention side effects of the body switch right?"

"Huh?" I demand. Things are dying inside of me.

"Haruhi's lost her memory about what happened last week."

That means she can't remember falling in love with me. NOOOOOOOOOOO!!

The hurricane returns – full blast.

"Hikaru!" Kaoru bursts into the room, a truly frightening look on his face. "I just remembered. It's not just me who has the chest scar. You've got it too."

WHHHAAAAATTT?? Then whose body, brain and mindset do I really have?

Kyouya looks at me again. "We can't reverse this. The machine has self destructed."

This is the tragedy of Hikaru Hitachiin.

THE END

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A/N: Umm….so the title did say this was going to be a tragedy…hehe. The finale below might make you feel better btw xp.

I've decided I'm not making any continuations to the plot even if there is potential.

I am making one more chapter- about the making of this story – all the cut scenes, ideas and potential plot bunnies- and to properly thank everyone who got involved in this story. Cheers! xD

--

Finale

"She doesn't look back. But I don't feel that our world, our perfect moment had ended."

Obstacles, be it catastrophes, distance, time, death, soul swapping or amnesia will not tear man and woman apart. Even if apart, two halves of a whole will inevitably drift together again.

"Forever, I promise you."

((insert my HitachinxHaru picture (just remove the spaces))): http : /y annay. deviantart. com/ art/ OHSHC- Beauty- and-t he- Beast- 77180523