Haruhi let Kirimi pull her along reluctantly. She told herself that it was because she didn't want to upset the young girl, but she knew it was more for Nekozawa. He was practically beaming, his grin open and honest. She didn't see him act so care free often, so she pushed aside all disgusted thoughts and focused on Nekozawa.
"Come on, let's play out scenes in shoujo manga!" Kirimi excitedly chirped. Haruhi paled dramatically.
Nekozawa butted in. "How about a simple game of hide and go seek instead?" he suggested.
Kirimi frowned in thought while Haruhi shouted Please pick that instead! in her mind.
"Okay," Kirimi complied. She clapped her hands together, and then addressed the rest of the party. "Come on, let's play a game of hide and go seek!"
The rest of the children clapped along, happy with the change of scene. Mingling could be entertaining for only so long.
"Who's it?" a boy asked, adjusting his red and black tie.
Haruhi slumped forward when she heard Kirimi say, "Nissan and the nerd are it!"
I was hoping to get some food while everyone else was hiding, she thought. She shrugged apathetically. "Fine."
Next to her, Haruhi could tell Nekozawa was perking up. He was smiling and with his hands on his hips, he gladly announced, "You have ten minutes to hide. Don't get in my room, you little buggers." The children laughed at his mock-serious voice and he grinned at Haruhi while they scampered off. "I'm assuming you would like to catch some food before we start chasing after the little rug rats?"
Haruhi could have kissed him she was so ecstatic. "If you wouldn't mind," she said graciously. Her stomach growled like a bear and she blushed lightly.
"Not at all." He offered her his arm and she took it courteously.
Haruhi felt herself drool when she walked up to the table laden with food. She wiped the small trickle of spit away and Nekozawa's arm dropped back to his own side.
She picked up a chocolate cupcake. It had red frosting and there were cut up strawberries on top. She took a bite out of it and groaned in pleasure. The cupcake was deliciously sweet and she took her time chewing. She took another bite and then realized that Nekozawa was staring at her. The faint spark in his eyes was unreadable.
"Oh." She finished off her suguray treat and then reached over the table and plucked a similiar cupcake, this time with blueberries on the top. "Would you like some food too?" she asked, eyes shining.
Nekozawa sighed. "Sure." He took the treat from her hand, his fingers brushing along hers. She fixed her dress while he consumed the treat hungrily, his demeanor changing slightly. His eyes were shinier and brighter, his shoulders slumped forward.
"Are you sure that hide and seek is a good idea?" Haruhi finally asked, licking frosting off of her dainty fingers.
"Why do you ask?" Nekozawa polished off a glass of apple juice and wiped his chin.
"Your house is fairly large. It could take hours to find all of the," Haruhi said, voice robotic.
Nekozawa smirked. "That's alright. More time with you."
Nekozawa raked his fingers through his hair, his face red as a fire engine. He suddenly reached past her and stuffed a muffin in his mouth, chewing rapidly. Haruhi watched in morbid fascination as he struggled to chew the large portion. He managed, and swallowed, gasping for breath.
"Let's-go-find-the-kids," Nekozawa panted. He grabbed her hand and tugged her behind him.
That was interesting.
Nekozawa could feel Haruhi's large brown eyes on the back of his head. His face was flushed, and his breathing was erratic. Calming himself down, his face paled to its normal white shade and his hand stopped shaking. "Let's check the kitchens first," he told her over his shoulder. "Whenever I wanted to play hide and seek, that's where I went."
Haruhi dropped his hand again. It felt cold. She walked faster to match his longer stride and said, "You really played hide and seek, Nekozawa-senpai?"
He nodded. "When my cousins would come it was all we ever played."
They came to large doors, with black rounded handles. Nekozawa easily grasped the metal and pulled, allowing Haruhi to pass first.
Nekozawa found Haruhi's widening face amusing. She was staring at the rows of chefs preparing desserts. He shrugged at her. "Come on. I think I can see the corner of someone's shiny little crown," Nekozawa whispered.
A faint giggle alerted the pair to the hiders. Smilng, Nekozawa pounced.
"AH!" the girls wailed.
"AH!" Nekozawa screamed, covering his ears with his hands. Haruhi followed suit.
The girls started giggling some more after they got over the shock. "Ah, we lose," the smaller girl said, adjusting her crown. "What do we do now?"
Nekozawa pointed to the door. "You can go back to the hall and get some desserts if you would like. Or you can help us find some of the kids."
The girls' faces perked up. "Let's find the other kids," the curly haired one said. She was dressed like a high school girl, complete with the short skirt and blazer.
"Alright. Just follow us."
The girls trotted faithfully after Haruhi and Nekozawa. "Are you two dating?" asked the smaller one.
Nekozawa chocked on air. "W-why would you say that?!" he stuttered loudly. Haruhi thumped him on the back non too gently.
The girls shrugged. "A prince and a princess usually end up together in shoujo manga," they replied easily.
Note to self: burn all shoujo manga. Replace with shonen manga and all will be right with the world.
"Just because something happens in shoujo manga, doesn't mean it will happen in everyday life." Ah, it was Haruhi's blunt logic. The youngest's face started to scrunch up and Nekozawa knew from experience that she would start bawling if he didn't do something.
Backpedaling, Nekozawa butted in. "But you never know, it could happen." He patted the girl's head, taking care to avoid her crown.
The older girl wrapped her arms around the other girl protectively. "I think we should go back and wait with the maids," shes said coldly, her glare cutting over to Haruhi, who was staring at the master chef.
"Oh..um, if that is what you want," Nekozawa said, watching Haruhi out of the corner of his eyes. She was focused on the sushi that the chef was preparing for dinner later.
The girls left and Nekozawa let out a large sigh. He liked kids, they were cute, but he couldn't handle too many emotional problems at one time.
"You're really good with kids," Haruhi said calmly.
"Um...thanks," he said, feeling his insides twist. She turned back to face him, her face lit with a small smile.
"You should smile more often," she commented. "You look more approachable and fun to be around."
Nekozawa felt like he was floating. "Thanks," he finally managed to stutter out, tugging on his costume.
Haruhi shrugged. "Come on, let's go find the other kids."
Nekozawa followed her out.
In the end, Kirmi won the game. Since she knew more of the nooks and crannies of the house, she was given a major advantage. She had hid out in the attic, in a corner, behind a large trunk under some blankets (with a flashlight and her oversized kitty plushie).
After opening gifts and having dinner the small guests decided to call it quits and go home. Haruhi couldn't have agreed more. Even though she was used to the hyperactive ways of the Host Club she was exhausted. Nekozawa's home was even larger than she had first estimated.
In the car, Haruhi shifted, her hand coming up to cup her chin. She felt Nekozawa staring at her from next to her. Turning she sleepily asked, "Yes?"
A soft blush crept up Nekozawa's pale face. "Did...did you have fun?" he asked timidly.
Haruhi smiled. "I did," she said truthfully. "You know, I haven't ever seen you so happy before."
Nekozawa shrugged off her comment and stared out the window. The rest of the ride went by in comfortable silence until they reached Haruhi's home.
"You don't have to walk me to the door," Haruhi said, already outside of the car.
Nekozawa grinned. "You're right. I don't have to walk you to the door."
Haruhi nodded. "Then I will see you later senp-"
Nekozawa got out of the car and ruffled Haruhi's hair lovingly. "However, I never said that I didn't want to walk you to your door."
Haruhi pouted, but she admitted that he was correct. She lead him up the stairs to her apartment, while he curiously looked around. The neighbor, watering a plant hanging next to her doorway, waved to him and he waved back with a small shy smile.
Haruhi unlocked the door and stood in the doorway. "I guess I will be seeing you around senpai."
Nekozawa started fidgeting. Haruhi raised an eyebrow at him. "Is there something you would like to say?"
He nodded. "I-I like..."
Haruhi waited for him but the end of the sentence never came. Instead, Nekozawa waved at her, and then quickly bounded down the stairs and into his car.
That was weird.
AN/ It's been a long time since I updated huh? Oh well.
Not much of the host club crew but yeah.
Taiki: Kita-chan has been awfully lazy lately.
Kita: glares Maybe if a certain muse would stay put instead of running away I would be able to do more work...
Kita: Anyways, I hope you enjoyed the story. Please read and review!