"We, the jury, find the defendant, Yukata Akito, guilty..."
She was unable to hear the rest of the jury's decision due to the explosion of cheers and applause that erupted from the back of the courtroom. She supposed whatever the speaker had left to say was highly irrelevant now that she had just learned of her victory. The follow up was more or less for tradition's sake than anything else.
"Yay! Haruhi won! Haruhi won!"
"Good job, Haruhi!"
"Daddy's so proud of his darling daughter!"
Haruhi Fujioka was, at the time, twenty-two years of age and fresh out of Ouran University where she had studied law after completing her four years of high school at Ouran Academy. Her scholarship – or rather, previously-paid tuition to Ouran University had been a graduation gift from the rest of the Host Club (all of which attended/were going to attend) Ouran University.
While the "commoner" had already been offered scholarships to Yale and Harvard and any other location she had decided to apply to, she had wondered if she could truly part with her dear friends who had more or less plagued her entire existence ever since she had first walked through the doors of the third music room. Finally, after wondering as to whether or not she could part with the former-Host Club, she wondered if they would actually allow her to part from them.
So, after seeing the flash of light that bounced across Kyoya's spectacles in a rather foreboding manner the night of her and the twin's graduation party, Haruhi made her decision and was guaranteed another four years of being surrounded by her six friends.
At the front of the room, the judge merely massaged his temples and shook his head. He was getting too old for this type of thing. His hair was graying faster than it had ever done so before, and he had counted three new wrinkles since his forty-ninth birthday last month.
Deciding it was finally time to intervene, the judge lifted his gavel and tapped it against the sound block, requesting, "Order, order in the courtroom."
The noise in the back quickly died down and the judge instructed the rather distraught-looking speaker to continue with the jury's decision.
Takashi let his large hand rest on top of her head while Mitsukini wrapped his arms around her tightly, drawing her into a hug. The blonde had just barely surpassed her in height over the years, while Takashi had more or less remained the same somber giant that she had always known him as. The two cousins were just as successful (if not more so) than everyone expected them to be. Their family's business was now offering its services to over thirty-seven countries (compared to the previous twenty-three) and, if the deal Mitsukini had landed with Finland during the Yukata trial pulled through, it'd be thirty-eight within the week.
"Let's go buy a big cake to celebrate Haru-chan's victory! We can order from that one bakery in Switzerland," Mitsukini suggested with a wide grin. His obsession for sugary sweets was the one thing that had remained constant over the years.
"Hunny-kun," Haruhi said calmly, trying to persuade her friend to choose something more reasonable, "why don't we go to the bakery near the house – the one that everyone likes? Their strawberry shortcake is always very nice and we can get Kyoya-kun a slice of lemon pie while we're at it."
"Kyoya said he wouldn't be back until tomorrow," Tamaki stated as he tucked his cellphone away into the pocket of his designer suit; he had just ended a not-so-important call from one of his secretaries, "he sent me an e-mail during the trial. There's some urgent business at one of the hospitals in California that is delaying his return to Japan."
"Ah," Haruhi nodded her head understandingly, "well, the pie won't go bad overnight. He can have it tomorrow when he returns home."
"Aren't we going out to dinner tomorrow?" Kaoru asked as he leaned against Haruhi's shoulder.
"After all, Saturday is what we agreed on as 'family night'," Hikaru said, propping himself against her other side.
"What's Sunday again?" Haruhi inquired, not completely used to the elaborate schedule that Kyoya had planned for them.
"That's Haruhi's Home Cooking night," the twins replied simultaneously before being roughly tugged away by Tamaki.
"If I didn't want to die at such a young age from food poisoning, I'd make you two cook so my darling daughter wouldn't have to act like your slave," the blonde gallantly proclaimed; however, he really did love the girl's cooking. He loved her baking, and the way she made instant coffee, and even how she placed the sprinkles on his ice cream...
"It's alright, Tamaki-kun," Haruhi said with a naturally charming smile, "I enjoy cooking."
Tamaki felt his eyes tear up in his traditional 'daddy-loves-his-only-daughter-so-very-much' way and embraced her tightly.
When Haruhi had first entered Ouran Academy as a fifteen-year-old freshmen, she had thought she'd had her future planned out. She'd finish high school, go to college, get a law degree, and become a lawyer like her mother. Now, at the age of twenty-two and having completed her dream of becoming a lawyer, the woman discovered that she was in dire need of some new aspirations.
Mitsukini tugged on the sleeve of her suit (a Hitachiin creation, of course) and stared at her with wide eyes.
"Huh?" Haruhi questioned, having missed out on the conversation while she briefly reminisced on her high school days.
"We were wondering if you wanted to go to that restaurant in Italy to celebrate," Tamaki said, looking at her with his wide, innocent violet-eyes. He was referring to the restaurant that they had gone to two years ago in order to celebrate the launch of the Hitachiin twin's new fashion magazine.
Haruhi, who had never (and probably would never) understand the "rich bastards" that she called her best friends, shook her head and suggested a nice restaurant that was within a ten mile radius of their residence.
After all, she couldn't exactly celebrate yet. There was still a stack of paperwork in her study that had been calling her to complete it since last week.
Haruhi Fujioka was involved in a somewhat scandalous and somewhat unrealistic situation that had first started when she turned nineteen.
On the night of Haruhi's nineteenth birthday, the former-Host Club had taken her out to a restaurant (elegant and extravagant, of course) and wined and dined her to her heart's content. Perhaps it was part of their master plan to impair her judgment by refilling her wine glass every time it fell below halfway, or perhaps she was just a bit paranoid due to her lack of tolerance for alcohol (a bit ironic, seeing as her father was a heavy drinker,) but whatever it was, Haruhi assumed that Kyoya was the one who had ordered the waiters to constantly hover around their table that night with a bottle of the most expensive wine available.
After dinner had ended and her vision had started to blur and her legs had begun to feel like jelly, Takashi had lifted her up bridal-style and carried her to the limousine (at least, that's how she recalled the night's events; she was a bit lightheaded, but if she had not been wearing those stupid stilettos that the twins had forced her into, she would have been walking just fine – thank you very much!) which proceeded to drag her across town until finally stopping in front of a mansion larger than the Ootori and Suoh manors combined.
"What...?" Haruhi questioned aloud in somewhat drunken stupor as she gazed at the heavily lighted mansion. Her cheek, at the time, had been pressed against Hikaru's shoulder while Kaoru had held her hand in his.
Tamaki, finding it his duty to represent the Host Club, explained his 'daughter's' gift, "We, the former-Host Club, present you, Fujioka Haruhi, the opportunity to join us in the Morinozuka-Ootori-Suoh-Hitachiin-Haninozuka mansion free of charge for however long you choose to stay."
Haruhi looked at her blonde-haired friend, and then at the rest of the men surrounding her, taking in their serious expressions. She finally concluded that they really weren't joking, that her alcohol-induced-mind wasn't playing a trick on her, and that she really did have to give them an answer.
"Thanks," Haruhi replied with a 'what-am-I-getting-myself-into' smile, "I was looking to move to a location closer to campus."
Actually, the mansion was several miles farther away from campus than the apartment her and her father lived in. Kyoya, having easily seen through her response, had pulled her aside (with her leaning heavily against his body for support) afterwards and promised that, if she chose to accept their offer, they would provide transportation to and from school and wherever else she sought fit to travel.
Haruhi already knew; after all, the twins had been driving her around in their various sport cars ever since they had turned seventeen, but was grateful that Kyoya had been considerate enough to remedy such an obstacle had it actually been a problem.
And so, the following day, after Ranka Fujioka had threatened Tamaki with painful torture and eternal suffering if he so much laid a finger on his only child, Haruhi Fujioka began her stay at the MOSHH (lovingly dubbed by the Hitachiin twins) mansion.
(She also swore off drinking alcoholic beverages in the presence of the former-Host Club.)
Of course, with six well sought after bachelors living under the same roof with only one female amongst them, the newspapers, tabloids, and magazines couldn't seem to get enough of them. The MOSHH mansion was constantly surrounded by reporters and screaming fan girls. People started writing fan-fiction about them, designing video games, and there were even rumors that some company was producing a movie based on their lives.
Kyoya Ootori, ever the mastermind, found the MOSHH fad to be a perfectly reasonable solution to earn some extra pocket money. He purchased some nearby land and constructed a five-star hotel, turning the area into a vacation-like resort that supposedly rivaled Karuizawa.
Haruhi merely shook her head at all of the nonsense. She had better things to do with her time than sorting through the guy's fan mail and gifts.
"To Haruhi!"/"To Haru-chan!"
Haruhi took a sip of her water as her companions drank their wine. Staying true to her promise of not drinking alcoholic beverages around the guys, she merely smiled against her glass before placing it back on the table.
The guys had successfully managed to ease the stress and tension that she had been suffering from for the past few weeks due to the Yukata trial. They had even managed to distract her from the paperwork that she would undoubtedly spend the rest of the night finishing up with a cup of coffee and Antoinette as her only companions.
Tamaki's lovable dog had taken an extreme liking to her ever since she had taken up residence at the MOSHH mansion. Being one of the only female residents in the house (there were a few live-in maids), Antoinette thought it was only fair to monopolize Haruhi's time. The retriever would sleep at the end of her queen-sized bed rather than in Tamaki's king-sized bed (much to the despair of the distraught blonde) and would constantly hover around the woman's side with her long tail wagging and a canine-like smile gracing her furry features.
"Hey Haruhi," Hikaru said, looking at her with his amber-colored eyes.
"Hm?" Haruhi inquired.
"You know," he started, "the magazine received great ratings when we used you for the 'what's hot' section last month."
Haruhi sensed a bit of deja vu coming on. Somehow, the twins had managed to 'persuade' (kidnapped, blindfolded, and bribed with ootoro) her into posing with them for the cover of their first release, claiming that the readers should be able to see who it was they were reading about. She had asked the twins how they thought she fit in, but they had merely grinned, wagged their fingers in front of her face, and told her if she didn't know, they "weren't gonna tell!"
And then, after claiming that the magazine had received great press because of the cute "doll-like girl" on the cover, Hikaru and Kaoru launched Haruhi as their new, special model.
"So we were wondering," Kaoru continued nonchalantly.
"No thanks," Haruhi said, breaking off a piece of the complementary bread and picking up her butter knife.
"But Haruhi," the twins whined.
"Stop harassing my daughter," Tamaki sulked; he was sitting across the table from the twins and Haruhi with Takashi and Mitsukini, and was therefore unable to intervene as usual (much to the twin's delight.)
"Tono," the twins said – old habits do tend to die hard, "it's a swimsuit edition."
Immediately going into inner-mind-theater mode, the rest of the group attempted to ignore the bit of blood that was beginning to trickle out of the blonde's nose from the image he had formed in his mind.
"Tamaki-pervert!" Mitsukini proclaimed in delight while Takashi finished off the rest of his wine.
"I've got another case coming up, so I don't think it'd be possible for me to help out," Haruhi said, putting the conversation back on track.
"Ne, Haruhi," Mitsukini interrupted with a sweet smile, "you always look so cute in a bikini!"
The twins nodded deviously, glad that older blonde had practically guaranteed the female's agreement with his cherub-like looks.
True to her nature, she gave the older boy an awkward smile and took a bite of the bread that she had just finished buttering.
The twins grinned at each other and gave Mitsukini a thumb's up.
They made a mental note to order the cake from Switzerland later – just as a thank-you, anyways.
Managing to get home with relatively few problems, Haruhi had watched her friends part ways around the mansion as they headed off to complete various tasks. Since the two cousins had an early training session at the dojo the next morning, Mitsukini and Takashi had headed off to bed, bidding the rest of them goodnight.
Hikaru and Kaoru, had excused themselves to go work on some new designs that they had thought up during the Yukata trial. The two had briefly mentioned something about the color orange. Or maybe they had been talking about stripes.
Tamaki, on the other hand, had managed to drag his ecstatic dog away from Haruhi long enough to put a leash around the retriever's fuzzy neck, claiming that he was going to take Antoinette out for a walk around the estate. Haruhi had absently nodded her head at his declaration; her mind was already focused on the task at hand: paperwork. So, after she had heard the front door shut, she had made her way towards her study to begin her long night of busywork.
And that's how her violet-eyed roommate had found her when he had come back twenty minutes later, panting alongside a beaming Antoinette.
"Do you have a lot of work to do?" Tamaki inquired as he sat down in one of the two leather chairs on the other side of her desk.
"Mmhmm," Haruhi replied through pursed lips as she perused the remainder of the page in front of her. She wondered if the text was shrinking in size or if her mind was playing tricks on her, but whatever it was, she could already tell that a headache was forming.
"Do you want me to make you some coffee?" the blonde helpfully inquired.
Pulling her self away from the page in front of her long enough to look at the blonde's sparkling eyes, she managed to recall the Suoh heir's previous attempts at making the hot beverage.
"No," the chocolate-eyed woman responded with a tired smile, "I'll get some later if I need it." She really did need that caffeine boost, but she'd rather not spend an extra two hours cleaning up whatever mess Tamaki would make from trying to fix her a cup of coffee.
"Well," the Suoh-heir replied, stretching a bit in his seat across from her; Haruhi had already resumed her paperwork, "I'm going to sleep. Conference call tomorrow with some people from Seoul."
Haruhi placed the tip of her pen against the word that she was on, and looked up to smile at the blonde.
"Good night," she said, "and I hope your meeting goes well."
The blonde blushed a bit; whether it was from her kind smile or calming words, he didn't know, but he did know that anything his 'daughter' did made his heart soar with joy.
After five minutes had passed since the blonde had departed from her study, Haruhi stood up from her comfortable seat and made her way towards the kitchen with the intention of making three cups of coffee for herself.
Kyoya Ootori slipped into the MOSHH mansion with a stealth that even the members of his father's private army envied. Shutting the door silently behind him, he dropped his briefcase at his side and kicked off his shoes. He slipped into his house-slippers and rolled his shoulders, wishing for nothing more than to change into something even relatively comfortable. He had been in a suit for more than twenty-hours straight, having boarded his private jet as soon as he possibly could. In other words, he had quickly and efficiently solved the slight issue at the California hospital, and had then proceeded towards the airport for a speedy takeoff.
He had never been happier to be home.
Peeking down the north wing's hall, he noticed that the light in Haruhi's study was still on. He supposed she had probably passed out on top of her paperwork like she was prone to doing, a bit of drool forming on top of some of her more pressing documents.
He headed down the hall with the intention of rousing her from her sleep and forcing her to retire to her bed; after all, it was nearly four in the morning, and even though he knew she didn't have work later, he was aware of the fact that she'd have a very sore neck if he left her where she was.
Fortunately, his sole female roommate had left the door to her study open, and he did not have to interrupt her slumber with such a crude disturbance. However, the woman was not in the position he had thought her to be in. Instead of sleeping upon her desk like she had done so many nights prior, Kyoya was met with a pair of wide chocolate-colored eyes and a typical, Haruhi-like smile.
"Kyoya-kun," she said in greeting; there was no trace of exhaustion to be found on her being, "none of us were expecting you back until tomorrow."
"Technically, it's already 'tomorrow,' in case you haven't noticed," he replied, letting his gaze fall onto the sleeping Antoinette; the retriever was curled up on the doggy-bed that Haruhi had considerately placed next to her desk.
"I suppose it is," she mused aloud after a quick glance at the clock hanging above the door of her study, "you must be tired."
"Indeed," the raven-haired man responded, "you must be as well."
"No, no," she said, reassuring him that she was perfectly fine.
It was then that he finally noticed the five coffee mugs littering her desk. He assumed that she had finished at least one of them.
"Did you get into Tamaki's instant coffee supply?"
She looked at him from across her paper-filled desk and finally took in his image. He looked like a tired business man that had just returned from a long trip. The wrinkled suit, the slightly tousled hair, the tie hanging loose from his neck were all indicators of a long flight home.
"Yes," she replied, taking another sip of her fourteenth cup of coffee that night, "would you like some?"
He gazed at the Minnie Mouse coffee mug that she was drinking from; it was a souvenir from the trip that they had taken to Tokyo Disneyland for Tamaki's birthday a few months ago.
She placed the cartoon-character mug back onto her desk and pushed forward a green, ceramic mug, urging him to take it.
"I'm fine," Kyoya replied, watching her pull the mug back to her after he had declined.
"You should go to bed," she supplied, picking up a piece of paper work from her (thankfully) dwindling stack and began to read through the words.
"Although I would recommend the same, I am already aware that such wisdom would be wasted on you," he retorted, moving to sit down in the chair across from her.
Briefly acknowledging his words with a glance, she noticed that he had chosen the same seat that Tamaki had hours earlier.
"Need any help?" Kyoya inquired, deciding to take the green mug anyways. He took a sip, and was grateful that it was still warm.
He might as well have announced that there was a sale at the supermarket by the way her eyes lighted up at his question.
"Would you proofread this document for me?" she asked, opening her laptop, and tapping the keyboard in order to prod the device out of sleep-mode. When the desktop had appeared, she passed her companion the laptop and turned back to her paperwork, feeling slightly encouraged to do her best because of the generous offer.
So, twenty minutes later, when Kyoya had finally finished proofreading the eleven-paged document with only a few errors scattered here and there (nothing but the best from the busy little bee sitting across from him,) he stood up and told her to go to sleep soon, because, if he found her awake still by the time he woke up, he was going to ban her from her study for a week.
"I doubt that even I could stay up until three in the afternoon," she teased, referring to his low blood pressure.
Kyoya, deciding not to comment, turned away and made his way towards his bedroom. He'd set his alarm for two forty-five just to humor her.
I'm not quitting Toy, I just always thought this idea would be fun to tamper with during my off-time; afterall, it's been floating around in my head for the longest time now. Besides, Haruhi x Host Club pairings are my absolute favorite with Haruhi x Twins as a close second.