DISCLAIMER: I do not own OHSHC.
I've just finished reading volume 12 (?) of the manga, and if KyoHaru isn't going to be possible there, I guess I just have to content myself with writing more about them. :) On a lighter note, this is my first AU oneshot about them (yey!) and it's pretty long too. So anyway. XD
SUMMARY: Money and power can't always buy you everything. But Kyoya learned that it does still help to get what you want. KyoHaru, AU oneshot.
Coffee and Gangsters
The thing about being an Ootori was that Kyoya could do anything he wanted and get everything that he wished. It was an accepted, albeit unspoken story that an Ootori never accepts the word 'no'. The fact that his father Ootori Yoshio, a prominent businessman during morning and a leader of the Triad Mafia in underground Tokyo at night, doesn't hurt either when dealing with people who dared stood up to him. Kyoya had been raised in a way that most people would find intimidating and, perhaps, sinful. But Kyoya, being Kyoya, had always found ways to take advantage of every opportunity presented to him.
Their first meeting was an accident. Kyoya and his longtime bodyguard drove by in that small, no-heard neighborhood one Sunday morning. He was supposed to have a meeting with one of his father's associate, a contact from Hong Kong, and Tachibana had chosen to take that route as to avoid traffic in the highway. Everything was going along well. Almost.
There was a loud bursting sound before the limo gave a lurch and stopped. Tachibana glanced at the side mirror and frowned.
"Kyoya-sama, I think we have a flat tire."
Kyoya barely looked up from the newspaper on his hands. "I though you said we'd get to the hotel earlier if we take this route."
Tachibana swallowed. "I'm really sorry. Something must have pricked the tire. I'll go fix it right now."
"Excellent idea," Kyoya agreed. He glanced at him. "And make it fast." Tachibana nodded and quickly got out. Kyoya took the opportunity to pick up his phone and dialed his father's number.
"Father, it's me… yes, something came up and we'll probably be going to be a little late…" Kyoya frowned, listening. "Yes, of course, I understand… I'm sorry father, but I'll make sure we'll be able to catch up with him. Yes, I know. Right."
He was still frowning as he shut the phone. He glanced at his watch, feeling suddenly impatient. This was his chance to impress his father. He sure wasn't going to let this thing screw up right in front of him. He got out of the car.
"Tachibana, is this going to take long?" Kyoya asked as he watched the older man opening a toolbox and getting a wrench.
"I just have to change this tire sir," Tachibana gestured at it. "This will just take a few minutes."
"Few minutes," Kyoya echoed. He pursed his lips. "Very well. Just do it fast." Tachibana nodded and went back to work. Kyoya watched him for a moment before he gave a sigh and started to walk away.
Kyoya wasn't sure where the hell he was headed but he thought he saw some kind of a shop when they passed by earlier. A few moments later and he finally caught sight of a small, barely noticeable coffee shop on the corner of the street. He glimpsed inside and saw that it was empty, having no customers. Perfect.
The small bell at the top of the door jingled as Kyoya entered, and he momentarily enjoyed the warm ambiance that greeted him when he stepped inside. He took a look around, taking in with fond amusement the simple furnishings around him. It was like that feel-good show on TV he saw a long time ago.
How quaint, he mused.
He purposely walked towards the seemingly empty counter, wondering who will be taking his order when he caught sight of a bob of short brown hair sitting behind the register. He cleared his throat.
A young woman with wide brown eyes looked up from the book she was reading and stared at him. For a moment, there was silence as Kyoya also stared back at her.
"Your order, sir?" she finally asked, as she stood and settling the book on the table beside the cash register. Kyoya glanced around, searching for a menu.
"What do you serve?" he asked when he saw none.
"Coffee. Tea. Juice. Snacks." She blinked at him, waiting.
"A black coffee then," he decided. "And no sugar."
The girl nodded and turned around as she began to prepare his drink. Kyoya sat down on the chair in front of the register, resting his arms on the counter. Not a moment later, she returned with his mug.
"So," he began as the girl sat down behind the register and picked up her book. "Is this place always this… quiet?"
The girl eyed him. "Well, mostly people go here during mornings or afternoon. You just missed some of them."
"Ah." Kyoya nodded and took a sip. She stared at him longer.
"Are you new here?" she asked. "I haven't seen you around before."
He flashed her an easy smile. "Just passing by. My car broke down and I'm waiting for my driver to fix it." He glanced at his watch. "We'll be late for a meeting, actually, if he doesn't hurry up."
"Oh. Right." She paused. "So, why don't you help him then? Makes the work faster."
He also paused. "Why should I?"
"Why shouldn't you?" She asked, forehead furrowing.
"Because that's part of his job. I'm paying him to serve me," he replied pleasantly.
"Hnn." She blinked her eyes at him. "So you're that kind," she said distractedly, returning her attention to her book.
He raised an eyebrow. "What do you mean?"
"You're probably some rich bastard, aren't you?" she asked, not bothering to look up. "Think you're all that."
Clearly, this girl has no idea who she is talking to, Kyoya thought amusedly. "Rich, yes. A bastard," he smiled. "I definitely hope not."
She glanced at him for a moment before shrugging. "Well," she said distantly, turning the page of her book, "not that I particularly care at all."
Kyoya stared. He wondered if she could still be this casual if she ever knew who she was dealing with right now. He took a calm sip of his coffee. And why not? He decided, putting the mug down. He was bored and there was obviously nothing else to do but be entertained by this strange creature.
"I'm Kyoya by the way," he said, looking at her reaction intently. "Ootori Kyoya."
She nodded. "Hnn. Nice to meet you," she murmured, nodding again as she turned the page of her book.
Maybe she didn't hear him correctly. Kyoya blinked. He tried again.
"You must have heard about me," he began, "I'm the – "
"No," she said, not bothering to look up. "I haven't heard anything about you."
Well. This was certainly something unusual. This was the first time in Kyoya's memory that the Ootori name failed to scare the daylights out of someone. He stared at her, as if seeing her for the first time. It didn't take long for her to notice his gaze on her. She glanced at him.
"Why?" She finally asked. "Are you supposed to be famous?"
He adjusted his glasses. Infamous was probably the more appropriate term. "Something like that."
She frowned, squinting at him. "I don't know you," she said after a minute of scrutiny. "Are you a superstar? Because honestly, you don't look like one."
And now she was insulting him too? Kyoya was torn between amusement and dismay. "Do I look that ugly?"
"No. It's just that, you don't look like someone who enjoys being in the spotlight." She paused. "I think you'd do better behind the scene."
"What makes you say that?" Kyoya asked, blinking.
She shrugged. "Just felt like it," she said, turning a page. Kyoya's gaze fell on the title of the book she's reading.
"You're a lawyer," he observed, gesturing slightly at the law book on her hands. She glanced at him.
"Yes, I am."
"Why are you stuck in this shop then? Don't you have any case to handle?"
She frowned. "No. I don't have work today, as you can see. And I do try to help around here so my dad can take a break."
He nodded. "I see. And where is your father?"
"I don't know," she answered, sounding bored. "Probably visiting his friends."
"Right." He paused and eyed her critically. "So I suppose you're one of those people who want to get rich too. Law is a lucrative business, isn't it?"
"I'm a civil lawyer," she replied, almost caustically. She straightened up.
"Civil lawyer? From what I've heard, they don't earn that much. Your clients are probably those who can't afford real lawyers and have to content themselves with just about anyone who are willing to take their case."
"Excuse me?" She stared at him.
"Well, you have to admit, the best lawyers are those from big law firms," Kyoya said conversationally. "I know a lot of acquaintances who are really famous now – "
"People who can't afford good and expensive lawyers are the ones who need to be protected by the law the most," she cut in, meeting his gaze. "And that is why I want to help them."
"Ah," he said, calmly taking a sip of his coffee. "So, you're that kind."
She narrowed her eyes. "What do you mean?"
He looked at her solemnly. "You're probably some humanitarian who thinks only about the good of others, aren't you?"
"And I suppose you're the type who thinks that being in a mafia is one grave sin," Kyoya continued, raising an eyebrow. "And that anyone who does not follow the law deserves to be punished, and all that crap?"
She blinked again, her lips curling in a frown. "Isn't that just the right thing to do? That is why we have laws to follow. To have order," she finally answered.
He smiled at her. "Of course," he said, nodding seriously. "You're absolutely right."
Her frown deepened. "Why do I get the feeling that you are mocking me?" she asked, narrowing her eyes.
"I have no idea." He smiled again before drinking the last of his coffee.
The bell jingled again and both glanced at the front of the store.
"Kyoya-sama," Tachibana said as he walked towards his young master. "We can go now."
"Very well." Kyoya stood up and reached for his wallet. He paused and got a big amount of money. "Here," he said, handing her the payment. She cashed it in and was about to count his change, when he stopped her.
"Keep the change," he told her. She looked at him.
"Okay, thanks," she said blinking, pressing some buttons on the register. Kyoya nodded at Tachibana, who went outside the shop.
"You know," he began and she glanced at him, "you were really interesting."
She paused. "I suppose you were interesting too," she said slowly. "In an annoying kind of way," she added under her breath.
His lips tugged into a smirk. "Thank you," he said. "I'll take that as a compliment."
She shrugged. He walked to the door and stopped just as the bell on top jingled again.
"What's your name?" he asked.
"Haruhi." She blinked. "Fujioka Haruhi."
He gave her a vague smile. "I'll remember that," he said before closing the door behind him.
It was closing time. Haruhi was putting up the last of the chairs on top of the table when the door of the shop opened. She glanced at it.
"Welcome back, dad," she greeted.
"Hello, Haruhi," Ranka beamed at her. "I hope you weren't too tired? Did you have fun watching the store?"
"Eh?" Ranka looked aghast and began biting his nails. "If you weren't enjoying this, you shouldn't have offered to look after it and forcing me to leave. I could have –"
"I was joking," she straight-faced. "You deserve a break, dad. Besides, it was fine." She went to the register and began arranging the money inside it. "Did you had fun at Misuzu-san's house?"
He immediately brightened. "Oh yes. We had fun wearing the dresses Mei-chan made," he confided her excitedly. He paused. "Although… it would be a wise idea not to mention that to her."
"Hnn," she replied, counting the money. "That's good."
"And we baked cookies, just like the old days," he continued. "We almost burned all of them, but luckily we managed to save the last batch. I'm sorry I didn't bring anything for you, Haruhi. But they really taste awful. You wouldn't like it, anyway."
"That's okay," she said, locking the register and leaving the key on the counter.
"So," Ranka looked at her and smiled widely. "Did anything happen while I was gone?"
"Nothing much," she said. "Just a nutcase customer but nothing grave."
She shrugged. "Have you eaten dinner yet, dad?"
"No. I wanted to eat your homemade, love-filled food, Haruhi," Ranka told her, grinning. He paused. "What do you mean by a nutcase?"
"I don't know," she replied, starting to walk towards the back door, which connects to their house upstairs. "I wasn't able to buy –"
"Did he hurt you?" Ranka wanted to know. "Gosh, I didn't know there was such person in our neighborhood. Maybe I should tell the police."
Haruhi waved his comment dismissively. "It was all right, dad. He was just some random guy with delusions of grandeur."
"Really?" Ranka cocked his head thoughtfully. "What happened?"
Haruhi thought about it. "He had this strange notion that he's famous," she said, remembering. "Really arrogant too, that guy."
"Poor man," Ranka said sympathetically. "Some people just aren't too lucky with their lives."
She nodded. "He even introduced himself as –" She paused. "What was his name again?" She wondered, as she placed a finger on her cheek.
Ranka coughed. "You know, Haruhi," he began gently, "most people would really find it rude if you keep forgetting their names so easily."
"Ah," Haruhi said, not listening. "Kyoya. That's right. He introduced himself as Ootori Kyoya."
"That's nice," Ranka replied. "Now as I was saying, Haruhi, you shouldn't really – did you say Ootori Kyoya?"
She glanced at him. "Ah. So you have met him," she said bemusedly.
"Ha-Haruhi," Ranka stuttered.
"He was insulting my profession too," she continued, frowning. "I bet he -"
"You didn't say anything bad to him, did you?" Ranka interrupted anxiously.
Haruhi stared. "Of course not. I have never said anything bad about anyone."
"Oh, Haruhi. This is bad," Ranka wailed. "That wasn't a nutcase. That was Ootori Kyoya!"
"I know," she said, looking confused. "The nutcase was Ootori Kyoya."
"Ootori, Haruhi! He is the son of Ootori Yoshio." Ranka inhaled dramatically. "You've just met the son of the Mafia leader!"
"Mafia?" Haruhi echoed blankly. For a whole minute she stood there, staring at him. Then, her brain twirled as she tried to remember their conversation. She swallowed hard. "Dad, is calling him a rich bastard something bad?" she asked fearfully.
Ranka paled. "He's going to kill us!" Ranka squeaked. "He's going to tell his father and they're going to send their men here –" Ranka looked around in panic. "Can you hear them? They're here! They're surrounding our house!"
Haruhi blinked as she strained her ears. "I can't hear anything."
"I'm going to get our things," he whispered as he pulled her behind the counter, away from the window's view. "Stay here. We're going to hide and run as far as we can."
"Dad, I –"
And Ranka was gone before she could protest further. She stared at the floor as she crouched, wondering if she really placed their lives in grave danger.
There was a sudden, loud knock on the door. Haruhi stiffened.
The knocking continued, before the bell jingled, indicating that it was pushed open and Haruhi felt her heart beat faster. If they were going to die because of her, she's never going to forgive herself –
"Excuse me? Is anyone here?"
The nutcase's voice! Haruhi recognized it immediately. It was Ootori Kyoya. She crouched lower, hugging her knees to her chest. What should she do? If she's going to shout for help, her father might panic and run here to save her. But what if the nutcase's men were just waiting for them? For all she knew, they could all be standing around her, their firearms ready, aiming at her heart –
A dark shadow fell over her.
"Fujioka-san?" came a dry voice. She froze for a moment before she slowly glanced upward. Kyoya was leaning on the counter and was looking down at her, his eyebrow raised. "Is this a civil lawyer's way of having fun while you don't have a case?" He pushed his glasses up. "It's pretty pathetic, to tell you honestly."
Somehow, despite the fear and pounding of her heart, she found herself twitching at his comment. "No," she muttered. "No. I was… I was looking for my key."
"A key?" Kyoya repeated. He glanced at the counter and gingerly lifted a small key that was lying in front him. "You mean this?"
She gritted her teeth. "Thank you," she said as she snatched it from his hand. Haruhi bravely stood. She took a deep breath before glancing around and saw that the shop was empty. Kyoya was alone.
"Are you all right? You look like you've seen a ghost," Kyoya observed.
She straightened up. "I'm fine." She took a few, steady breath to calm herself. When she did so, she looked at him. "What are you doing here? We're closed."
"Ah." Kyoya adjusted his glasses. "We were on our way home and I had a sudden craving for coffee."
"You returned… for coffee?" Haruhi echoed.
"Yes. Preferably a black one, no sugar and please put it in a cup. I'm going to take it on the go," he told her.
She blinked. "Coffee. You came back for coffee."
"I think I already mentioned that," he said, raising an eyebrow.
"Right." She turned around and began to prepare his order, making sure that his reflection was on the glass in front her. She just wanted to be sure he wouldn't be shooting her from behind. After putting the lid on the cup, she faced him and handed him his coffee. "Here."
"Thank you." He paid her and he waited as she unlocked the register to get his change. "I hope I wasn't intruding much."
"Oh no," she said quickly. "We are always ready to accept… customers."
"I'm lucky then." He gave her a look. "You know, you really look pale."
"Just the lights," she muttered, handing him the coins. He pocketed it. "Ootori-san, about our conversation earlier…"
He glanced at her.
"It wasn't personal," she quickly assured him. "I didn't mean anything I said."
He paused. "About the rich bastard thing?"
She twitched. "Yes."
"And," he asked thoughtfully, "that part about how I think I'm all that?"
She twitched again. "About that too."
Kyoya pushed his glasses. "Well, I suppose it's all right then."
"HARUHI!!" came Ranka's harassed voice. He suddenly appeared panting on the back door, and Kyoya and Haruhi stared at him as he held two outrageously large suitcases on his hands. "I can't find your underwear. Where did you – "
Ranka squeaked as his gaze fell on Kyoya.
"O-Ootori-san," he sputtered. He stared at him wildly. For a while, his mouth worked furiously, opening and closing, not a sound coming out. Then he gulped. "Can't you at least give us a head start?" he whispered.
Kyoya stared at him.
"Please?" Ranka croaked.
Kyoya glanced at the suitcases on Ranka's hand, at the panicked expression on his face, and at the pale face of Haruhi.
"I take it my cover's blown," Kyoya deadpanned. Ranka squeaked and fell on the floor.
Haruhi gave a weak smile. "It's not like you were trying to keep it a secret in the first place."
"True," he admitted. He glanced at Ranka who looked like he was ready to throw up. "I just bought coffee," Kyoya told him, lifting his cup.
Ranka nodded mutely.
Kyoya paused. "Right. Well. I suppose I should get going. Wouldn't want to get caught late at night on the street."
Ranka nodded again.
Kyoya adjusted his glasses and gave Haruhi a curt nod. Then, he turned and left the shop, the bell jingling at his wake.
Ranka looked at Haruhi from his position on the floor, his eyes still wide. "We're… alive," he whispered.
"Yes we are," Haruhi confirmed.
"He… didn't kill us," Ranka continued dazedly.
"That's right," she agreed.
"And… he's not going to kill us?" he asked anxiously.
"I think so," she said.
Ranka let out a relieved sigh. Haruhi managed to glance out the glass window, just as a black limo pulled out of sight.
He did not return the next day. For three weeks, there was no sign of Ootori Kyoya going back in the shop. Tachibana, on the other hand, was the one who regularly stop by to buy his young master a cup of coffee for him to start his day.
"Maybe you should come with me sometime, Kyoya-sama," Tachibana said one day. "I'm sure Fujioka-san would like to see you again."
"You of all people know what a busy man I am," Kyoya replied, not bothering to look up from his computer. "And besides, why would I waste my time going to that unknown coffee shop? It's not going to give me any merits."
"But you still keep ordering me to go and buy from them every single day," Tachibana muttered.
"Pardon?" Kyoya asked pleasantly.
Tachibana bowed. "I was talking to myself, sir. I'm sorry. I'll be outside if there's anything you need."
Kyoya nodded dismissively.
Their second meeting was coincidence, and yet, not really. Haruhi was going home from work when it started to rain. She forgot her umbrella and there was no one left in the office for her to ask for a lift. And so she stayed under a nearby marquee, thinking that at least, there wasn't any thunder, and for that she was grateful. She glanced at her watch frowning, just as her stomach gave a loud rumble.
She was just deciding to run under the rain when a sleek, black car stopped in front of her marquee. The window rolled down.
"Fujioka-san," Kyoya greeted loudly over the pounding of the rain. "Are you all right?"
Haruhi frowned at him. "Yes, I'm perfectly fine. I'm soaking wet and I'm cold. I haven't eaten dinner too, but yes, I'm perfectly fine," she shouted as she tried to make herself heard.
Kyoya's lips twitched. "Very well. I was just asking," he said as he closed the window. Haruhi stared.
"Ootori-san," she shouted again, waving her hand to get his attention. Kyoya rolled down the window. "Could I take a ride with you?"
"Of course," he said. And Tachibana was out of the car with an umbrella on his hand and led Haruhi inside the limo.
"I'm sorry I got your seats wet," Haruhi said as she dried her hair with the towel Kyoya had given her.
"That's all right. It's nothing a car cleaning can't fix."
Haruhi put down the towel beside her and stared at him. He was wearing an expensive formal suit and looked like he was going to a party. "Am I disturbing you, Ootori-san?" she asked tentatively. "I mean you don't have to drive me to my house."
Kyoya looked at her over his phone and paused thoughtfully. "Actually Fujioka-san, if you don't mind, would you be willing to come with me tonight?"
"Eh? For what?"
"My father is throwing a small dinner party at one of our rest houses, and my sister can't come with me. It would be a pleasure to bring you there as my guest," he said.
Haruhi looked down at her still-wet office clothes. "I don't think I'm fit to come to any party, actually," she said with a grimace.
"Speaking of which," Kyoya said, his glasses clouding. He reached out behind him and got a white box. He handed it to her. She stared at it for a moment before she gingerly opened the box. She saw a silky, white dress and she hesitatingly got it out. It was beautiful, she thought.
"I hope it fits you well," he said blankly.
Haruhi gave him an odd look before putting it over her. It was the perfect size. "How did –"
"I always come prepared," he answered.
"By knowing some random stranger's body measurements?" she asked.
Kyoya paused. "Something like that."
Haruhi frowned at him but returned her attention to the dress. "I suppose I could come," she said slowly. Kyoya smiled at her.
"I was hoping you'd say that."
"Ootori-san?" Haruhi whispered as she and Kyoya walked down the hallway a while later, feeling suddenly conscious of the curious look people gave them. "I thought this is a simple dinner party."
"It is simple," he told her. Haruhi glanced at the orchestra on the stage, at the giant water fountain in the middle of the room, at the tinkering diamond-filled chandeliers on the ceiling and at the guests around them all of which Haruhi recognized as politicians, famous international artists, and businessmen. She swallowed hard.
"This isn't simple," she whispered hoarsely as the Prime Minister of Japan smiled at them. "This is a feast."
Kyoya gave her a look. "It isn't a feast," he said patiently. "We would need a bigger space for that. And more prominent guests too."
"These," she began as she gestured at an Ambassador, "these are not prominent?"
"Of course." Kyoya led her to a table and they sat down. "What do you want to eat, Fujioka-san?"
Haruhi eyed him hopefully. "Do you have ootoro?" she asked. Kyoya frowned.
"That isn't in the menu. But I'll ask the chef to cook it for you," he said as he gestured at a waiter. Haruhi's eyes widened.
"No need," she said quickly. "I'll just eat whatever you have."
"It's protocol in our family to provide our guests what they like," Kyoya told her before giving the young waiter Haruhi's order. Haruhi gulped.
"Fujioka-san," Kyoya began as the waiter left, "the truth is I have something to ask of you."
Haruhi tore her gaze from the opera singer that came on the stage and looked at him. "What is it?"
"I've been reading a lot of news about you. And I learned that you are an excellent lawyer."
She paused. "Thank you," she said slowly.
Kyoya pushed his glasses. "And I was wondering whether you would like to be part of the Ootori law team."
"The salary would, I assure you, be very satisfying. We already have the best team in the world and I would like to have you on our side," he continued. "You could also –"
"I'm sorry," Haruhi suddenly said. "I'm sorry Ootori-san but I have to refuse the offer."
"Maybe you would like to hear how much you would get?"
"No," she replied. "Not to be rude, but I don't handle cases that I know came from illegal ventures."
Pause. "Illegal ventures?" he repeated slowly.
"Let's not pretend we don't know who you really are, Ootori-san," she said. "I can't possibly keep a closed eye when I know what you are doing is against the law."
He raised an eyebrow. "I see," he said after a moment.
"If I could help you in any other way, I would. But as a matter of principle, I would have to say no."
She blinked. "So, I'm sorry."
He waved his hand dismissively. "That's all right. I wasn't sure if you would say yes anyway," he told her. A politician on the other table gestured for him. "Fujioka-san, would you wait for me? I just need to talk to our guests."
"So you just refused his offer?" Ranka asked on a bright Sunday morning, the day after Kyoya had invited her for a dinner party. Haruhi shrugged as she handed a customer his change. They were in the coffee shop and it was practically empty. The bell jingled as the last customer exited the shop.
Haruhi began to count the money on the register. "He's part of the Mafia, dad."
"People like him don't accept rejections, Haruhi," Ranka said cautiously. "Maybe you should just say yes."
"He didn't mentioned it anymore. I think he was fine with my answer."
"Really?" Ranka looked doubtful. Then, "Ha-Haruhi?"
"It doesn't matter anymore," she said. "And dad –"
"-we're running out of milk," she continued. "We better buy cream and sugar too, just in case. People nowadays like to take their coffee with a lot of sweets and -"
Ranka tugged at her sleeve. "Haruhi," he squealed.
Ranka pointed outside the window and Haruhi followed his gaze. A dozen sleek black limos parked right outside their shop. Then, as if someone signaled them, the door of each driver's seat opened simultaneously, and men in black suits went out of the car and opened the back door of each limo. Even more formal-looking men stepped out. Ranka gave a croaking sound as they began to enter the shop one by one.
"I told you, you should have just said yes," Ranka whispered hoarsely. Haruhi stared at them, gulping. A burly man wearing a suit and golden accessories on his hand and neck walked up to them. They saw the butt of a gun hidden inside his suit.
"Is this the Fujioka coffee shop?" he asked in a gruff voice.
Haruhi and Ranka nodded mutely. The man signaled for the rest to enter the shop. The burly man looked at Haruhi.
"Are you Fujioka Haruhi?" he asked.
Haruhi nodded mutely again. The man looked satisfied.
"Well then, Fujioka-san, could you make me a cappuccino?" he inquired, as the other men in suits sat down, and began to talk to each other. Haruhi blinked.
"Ca-cappuccino?" she echoed blankly. The man looked confused.
"You do serve cappuccino here, right?" he wanted to know.
"O-Of course, sir," Haruhi said quickly. "And… are all your – friends going to order coffee too?"
"Oh yes," the man replied. He turned to them. "Oi! Give the lady your orders!"
"I would like a cappuccino too."
"Black coffee please. Make it strong."
"I like milk."
"You're a freaking ex-CIA agent and you want to order milk?" the burly man asked in disbelief.
"Hey, I need the calcium," came the affronted reply. The burly man muttered something in annoyance before glancing at her.
"Whatever. Just take their damn orders."
"Right, sir." And Haruhi took the next five minutes getting all their orders (as Ranka finally got his wit back and started to prepare them) and another fifteen to finally give to each customer their orders.
"No wonder Kyoya-kun recommended this shop," the burly man said as he took a sip of his coffee. "It really tastes delicious."
Kyoya-kun? "Ootori-san recommended us?" Haruhi blinked.
"Oh yes. He said if we want to taste the most delicious coffee we should go here." The burly man frowned. "Although we got lost along the way. He didn't tell us your shop was practically hidden. And the people that we asked for directions kept on running away."
"Ah." She twitched.
"But anyway," he continued, "he wanted me to ask you if you changed your mind about his offer."
So, this is about that, she thought. The man looked at her and she sucked in her breath.
"You know, Kyoya-kun doesn't really make offers this big," he told her. "If he took the effort of giving all of us a free day just so we could come here, you must be someone he really wants to have in his team."
"What team?" she asked before she could stop herself.
The man gave her a knowing smile. "Fujioka-san, ask us no questions and we don't have to lie to you. Once you get inside the circle, there's no turning back."
She blinked. "I –"
"Anyway, he said that if you still refuse his offer, could you please meet him here," the man gave Haruhi a piece of paper. She squinted at it and saw that it was the address of a nearby convenience store. "He's going to wait for you tomorrow after work."
She stared at the paper again as the ex-CIA agent gestured at Ranka for another cup of milk. This time, he also ordered a plate of cookies.
The third time they met was a planned one, but in a way, it wasn't. Haruhi walked inside the convenience store, looking around. It wasn't hard to find him. There weren't any customers around and the manager was busy reading a newspaper behind the counter. She finally caught sight of a tall bespectacled man standing in the corner, reading a magazine. She walked up to him. "Ootori-san?"
Kyoya glanced at her. "Fujioka-san," he greeted, putting the magazine back on the rack. "I'm glad you came."
"Yes. Your… friend convinced me to."
His lips twitched. "Ah. You mean Shinji-kun? Yes, he is quite gifted in persuading people."
She took a deep breath. "I'm not going to change my mind, you know. I'm not going to accept - "
"I know that but you see, Fujioka-san," he smiled at her. "I really don't accept rejection easily."
"There's always the first time."
His smile grew wide. "Well, you were always a challenge to crack. I suppose I could always try again until you say yes."
She stared at him. "I already decided."
"A lot of my people right now also said no the first time. Somewhere along the way, they changed their mind."
"Somewhere along the way," she repeated. "Does this include threatening those same people?"
Pause. "Perhaps. I don't really recall the details," he said vaguely. She frowned at him.
"You know, I thought you were pretty decent, but you're just like the others," she said, looking disappointed.
"Excuse me," said a soft, frail voice behind them. They turned around and saw an old, stooping woman looking at them. "Is this the post office?"
Haruhi blinked. "No, ma'm. It's on the other side," she said gently, pointing across the street. The old woman glanced at the letter on her hand and sighed.
"I know I shouldn't have gone out on my own," she said weakly. She gave them a small smile. "Thank you, kids." And she started to walk towards the door. Haruhi opened her mouth but Kyoya beat her into it.
"Ma'm," Kyoya said as he walked beside the old woman, "why don't I mail it for you instead?"
The old woman shook her head. "No thank you. But I want to mail it personally." She smiled at him. "It's for my grandson, see. And he's sick so he can't come visit me this weekend. Poor child."
Kyoya smiled at her. "I'll walk you there, anyway," he offered as he opened the door for her. The old woman smiled back.
"Thank you child," she said as they left the store. Haruhi watched them through the glass window, feeling surprised at what had happened. Then, as Kyoya opened the post office's door for the old woman, a small smile crept on Haruhi's face.
The silence in the shop shattered as a crazed-looking man pushed the convenience store open with a bang. He plucked a gun from his pants and pointed it at the manager.
"You!" The man barked. "Give me the money!"
The manager stood frozen for a while, staring at the gun in horror and the man gave a warning shot directed to the floor to prove that he was not joking. "I said give me the damn money!" he repeated, waving the gun dangerously. The manager stumbled towards the back door to his safe and the man turned around, glaring at the only customer left – Haruhi. "You, on your knees. Now!"
Haruhi crouched on the floor. She risked a glance at the shop across the street, hoping against hope that the old woman was safety inside the post office.
"What the hell are you doing out there?" The man barked at the manager. "Make it quick or I swear I'll -"
The door of the convenience store pushed open and all of them stared at it. Ootori Kyoya looked around and when he saw Haruhi on the floor, he raised an eyebrow.
"There you are," he said as he walked towards her, ignoring the dumbfounded look of the robber and the manager. "I thought you were gone."
Stupid, stupid rich bastard, was the one thought that entered Haruhi's mind as she gaped at him from the floor. He squatted beside her.
"What are you doing down here?" he asked. "Did you lose your marbles?"
"What are you doing here?" she hissed. The man managed to gather his bearings at exactly the same time.
"What the hell are you –" The man suddenly stopped and stared at Kyoya. "You," he whispered. Kyoya blinked and stared back at him.
"Did I interrupt something?" Kyoya muttered at Haruhi. If only a gun wasn't pointing at them, she would have loved to smack him in the head.
"You," the man breathed heavily. "Ootori Kyoya. Your family owes me a lot, boy. Because of your father, my parents are now dead."
Kyoya didn't respond.
The man cocked the gun, "What do you think old man Yoshio would say if his beloved son died at my hands?" he asked in a deathly whisper.
"I doubt he would be very happy," Kyoya calmly replied.
"Ootori-san," Haruhi hissed again. "Don't provoke him!"
"You're the same arrogant asshole as your father," the man said, narrowing his eyes, directing the gun at Kyoya.
"No," Haruhi suddenly said loudly. The man and Kyoya looked at her. "He's… he's not Ootori Kyoya. He just looks a lot like that man," she said weakly, "but really, he's a – look-alike. Yes. Exactly. A look-alike. His name is… Kyoshi." She nodded vigorously.
"You know, you're not very good at lying," Kyoya murmured. She glared at him.
"I'm trying to save your life in case you haven't noticed," she whispered back hotly.
"I don't believe you," the man snapped at her, brandishing the gun around.
"Your plan to save me is not working very well," Kyoya observed. Haruhi gritted her teeth.
"It's true," she continued. "See, his mother is a big fan of the Ootori and when he was born they - "
The man aimed the gun at her. "Why don't I kill you first? You're really noisy."
Haruhi sucked in her breath. Kyoya suddenly straightened up.
"Hey," Kyoya said and the man glared at him. "I am Ootori Kyoya. So don't bother trying to scare this lady. She's just a nutcase. She's not important."
Nutcase? Haruhi twitched. That arrogant, ungrateful bastard –
"I know who you are," the man snapped and Kyoya cocked his head politely. There was a loud crash from the back of the store and the man twirled around. "What the hell was that?" he shouted. "What the hell are you trying to do?" And he stormed towards the back of the store.
"Ootori-san," Haruhi began, "I think we should help him." She gestured at the shaking manager at the back with the robber.
"What?" She glanced at him.
"We're about to die anyway, so let's drop the formalities… Haruhi. You can call me Kyoya."
Haruhi paused. "Kyoya," she echoed slowly. He nodded. "Let's help him."
Kyoya adjusted his glasses. "Actually, all we have to do is keep his attention on me and he'll forget the manager sooner or later."
"Right," Haruhi agreed, thinking hard. "So let's just tell him to get you and then he can leave."
"I don't want to die," she said seriously. "I still have a case to win. They are counting on me. Why can't you just give yourself to him?"
"It makes me feel so better to know that your case is more valuable than my life right now."
"Hey, you two!" the man shouted, as he returned to the counter. "Shut up!"
Haruhi leaned over Kyoya. "What are we going to do?" she muttered under her breath.
"We go with plan B," Kyoya told her as he glanced at the man who was barking orders at the manager.
"Plan B?" Haruhi whispered in alarm. "What's plan B? We don't even have a plan A."
Kyoya gave her a look. "Of course we do. We're still alive right now, aren't we?"
She really couldn't comprehend the logic behind his answer. But since they were going to die anytime soon, and it looked like Ootori Kyoya was probably going to be the last person she's going to talk to, she decided not to argue with him anymore.
"So what's plan B?"
Kyoya stared at her for a moment. He took her hand firmly on his and began to pull her towards the door, crouching as far as they could.
"Kyoya?" Haruhi started nervously, eyeing the gun on the man's hand. "What are you doing?"
"We're going with plan B," he repeated as they neared the door.
"I'm sure that's really nice. But what exactly is that?" she asked in near hysterics.
"Hey!" The man suddenly caught sight of them, and raised his gun. "Stop right there or I'll shoot!"
But Kyoya ignored him and instead, stood right up and pulled her along with him as they darted towards the door.
"I said stop!"
"Are you ready?" Kyoya asked.
"What is plan B?" Haruhi shrilled.
"We run," was Kyoya's reply as he pushed her outside the door, just as the man fired his gun.
Haruhi gave a yelp as the bullet hit the concrete just inches away from her heel. She glared at Kyoya as they ran, thinking that if they ever get away alive from this situation, she's going to kill him. And yes, she doesn't care if he's the son of a Mafia leader. Damn those rich arrogant bastards who got their money from illegal ventures. She's a lawyer and she can sue him and she's going to make sure he's going to stay in prison for a very long time.
That is, of course, after she kill him.
"Come back here," the man shouted as he fired again, missing her hair.
She shrieked as Kyoya pulled at her hand, making her ran even faster. "We're going to die," she shouted at him.
"No, we're not," he shouted back.
A bullet hit the wall beside her.
"Why does he keep aiming at me," she shouted. "You're the one he's after!"
"I must be a lucky man," Kyoya yelled back.
"I hate you," she yelled.
"Yes, I can feel that," he replied loudly as he pushed her inside a junkyard. He quickly led her, zigzagging here and there until they've reached the heart of the junkyard shop and he pulled her with him, crouching behind a giant heap of old TV sets.
"This is not the way I wanted to die," she muttered as they leaned back on the old gears behind them. They could hear the man's voice shouting for them to come out.
"Oh? What exactly do you have in mind, Haruhi?" Kyoya asked conversationally, pushing his glasses.
She glared at him. "You sound so calm. You do realize that I am hiding and running for my life because you are with me?"
"If I leave you, they are going to get you as hostage," he told her. "And frankly, that would give me a lot more trouble that I'm having right now."
"You should just give yourself up," she retorted darkly.
"And get myself killed? No thanks. I still have a lot of work to do."
She gave an exasperated moan. She brought her knees to her chest and buried her face on her hands. "I can't believe this is happening to me."
"I don't," Kyoya muttered.
Haruhi slowly took her hand off her face and looked at him for a moment. "You… are used to this, aren't you?" she asked, more softly than she intended.
"If you mean running for my life and escaping from certain death, then yes. That's part of my everyday routine." He smiled at her wryly. "Keeps me fit."
Haruhi stared at him. "You should get away from this life," she finally said. "You're not meant for this."
Kyoya met her gaze. "What makes you say that?"
She blinked at him. "You saved me," she said slowly. "And you helped that old woman before. I think you can change your life if you wanted."
He fell silent for a moment. "Are you," he began slowly, his face grave, "getting all soft on me?"
She twitched. "Remind me not to talk to you about serious matters ever again," she said, rolling her eyes.
Kyoya's lips twitched upward. "Haruhi, I was joking. In fact –"
"There you are," came a loud, sneering voice that caused Kyoya and Haruhi to freeze. The man suddenly appeared beside Kyoya, his gun at the ready.
"Made me ran after you, you naughty brats," he derided as he pointed the gun at Haruhi. "Why don't we start with the pretty lady first?"
And before she could even process what was happening, he pressed the trigger.
Haruhi could only shut her eyes, hoping against hope that death would not be as painful as she had seen on TV. But as the loud sound of a gunshot echoed in the air, she couldn't feel any pain and instead, felt a heavy weight over her. She heard Kyoya grunt in her ear.
"Trying to keep her alive, Ootori? Do you think I won't kill her after I kill you?" the man mocked.
Keep her alive? Haruhi's mind echoed blankly. She slowly opened her eyes and saw black. She blinked, trying to clear her view. It was then that she realized that Kyoya's head was on her face and he had shielded her from the bullet by using his own body. She blinked as she saw the dark red stain on the back on his shirt.
"Kyoya," she gasped. "You – you're hit!"
"Very," he grunted, panting for breath, and he clutched at her wrist, "smart observation."
The man pointed the gun at Kyoya, directly at the back of his head. "Bye-bye," he said and pulled the trigger.
Or so Haruhi thought.
Before the man's finger could connect on the trigger, there was a resounding gunshot that filled the air but not from the direction she was expecting. Haruhi's head whipped around and saw more than a dozen men in black suits surrounding them, their weapons aimed at the man. The man fell on the ground, screaming for pain as his leg began to gush blood.
"Help," Haruhi gasped. Three men in black quickly went over to the man and restrained him. One man got a radio and made reports on it. The rest surrounded Haruhi and Kyoya.
"Kyoya-sama," Tachibana said worriedly as he kneeled beside them. He saw the wound on Kyoya's back and barked an order to a couple of men who quickly ran off to get help. "Kyoya-sama," Tachibana said again.
"You're late," Kyoya grunted as he tried to sit up. Haruhi stopped him. "I'm fine," he told her.
"You are not fine. You just got shot," she retorted. "Don't move."
"I'm fine," Kyoya repeated. "I'm not going to die from this. He barely missed my spine. And –"
"Will you shut up for a moment and listen to me when I say don't move," Haruhi snapped. "Geez, what is wrong with you? You think you're invincible? You try to move and I swear I'm going to hit you hard."
"On your wound too," she added threateningly. "That's going to be painful. Trust me."
The rest of the men in black stared at her in silence.
"Good," Haruhi said satisfied, as Kyoya was too stunned to actually say or do anything. "See. You can be submissive if you really want to."
The men kept on staring at her.
Haruhi glanced at Tachibana. "Did you call for an ambulance?"
Tachibana blinked. "Y-Yes. They'll be here real soon."
The men kept on staring at her.
"That's great." Haruhi sighed in relief. "You're going to be fine, Kyoya."
"That's what I've been trying to tell you," he said dryly, finally gaining back his wit.
The men kept on staring at her.
The sound of an incoming helicopter made all of them look up. Haruhi squinted and saw the Ootori mark on its side. Her mouth dropped open. "Is that the ambulance that you called?"
"It's faster," Kyoya informed her, wincing at the pain as he tried to stand. Haruhi and Tachibana quickly helped him up.
"Is that thing safe?" Haruhi asked, trying to keep her voice steady. Kyoya glanced at her.
"Why do you sound worried?" Kyoya asked, and if he wasn't hurt, she could have sworn he almost sound amused.
"I – I've never ridden a helicopter before," she said, her face turning pale. A smile tugged in Kyoya's lips.
"Looks like I won't be the one who's going to have an uncomfortable ride," Kyoya said lightly, then wincing as he felt the pain of his wounds again. Haruhi licked her lips nervously.
Haruhi cautiously stepped inside Room 512 and blinked when she saw Kyoya sitting on his bed and reading a newspaper. She cleared her throat and he looked up.
"Ah, Haruhi. I was expecting you," he said as he folded the newspaper and placed it on a nearby table. He gestured at the seat beside his bed. "Sit down."
She crossed the room and sat on the chair he had offered. She handed him a cup. "I brought you coffee," she said.
Kyoya gave a small smile as he took it. "Thank you," he said, taking a sip before placing it on the table. "My favorite too."
"What brings you here?"
"I thought you were expecting me," she said, raising an eyebrow.
"I know. But it is still polite to ask first before assuming anything," Kyoya said shrewdly.
Haruhi took a deep breath. "I wanted to thank you for saving me. Twice. You got hurt because of me, so I wanted to apologize for that too." She looked at him. "You are okay now, right?"
Kyoya nodded. "It's nothing I can't handle," he replied. "And besides, saving you wasn't all that troublesome as I thought it would."
She blinked at him. "Why?"
An almost ominous smile crossed his face. "Because if I think about what happened carefully, it would seem Fujioka-san, that you owe me your life," he said softly.
She knew she shouldn't have come to the hospital. She should have run the moment Kyoya was shot and never come back. She knew she should never have let her compassion for a fellow human to take over her better judgment. But really, who would have thought that Kyoya wasn't a fellow human? He was a monster. Haruhi swallowed hard.
"Well," she said brightly, ignoring the furious pounding of her heart, "on second thought, it wasn't like I asked you to save me –"
"And," Kyoya continued cheerfully, "I do recall how you complained about having to live because of an upcoming case. How is it, by the way?"
"Fine. And Kyoya, it wasn't like –"
"Do you know Haruhi, an Ootori never forgets a debt owe to him," Kyoya graciously informed her. "I wonder why."
Haruhi stared at him as she sucked in a deep breath. "Well," she finally said. "What do you want me to do? Join your Mafia group and jump out of the building and kill myself? Or do you want me to kill the nurses around here?"
He gave her an indulgent smile. "Let's not get overboard. Besides, this is my father's hospital. It wouldn't be good for business if we ran out of nurses."
"Right. I forgot," Haruhi said, gritting her teeth.
"I was wondering whether you've given that offer a thought."
"Offer?" Haruhi paused. "You mean getting my services as your lawyer?"
Haruhi breathed heavily. "I thought I told you Kyoya, I don't want to get involved with illegal activities –"
"I was also giving what you said to me yesterday some thought, Haruhi," Kyoya cut in. "About changing my life and all that stupid crap."
She blinked at him. "And?"
"And I still wanted to get your services," he said slowly. "So I thought… why not put up my own law firm and get you as a partner?"
"Law firm? Partner?"
"Of course I would not stop you if you still want to continue with your civil cases and all that, but in exchange, you would also be accepting cases from some of my associates." He paused. "All those cases would be legal, I promise."
"You're going to get me as a partner in a law firm?" she asked again in disbelief.
"Yes. In that way, you could help more people as much as you like. And you're going to have a brilliant team under you, of course. Most people would not refuse this offer. I suggest you think about this carefully." Kyoya raised an eyebrow. "And besides, I don't know how to take a second rejection kindly, so…"
She's going to have a law firm that she could use to help people? Haruhi blinked. This was something she never expected. Well, not until ten years in the business, and even then, there was no assurance that she would reach that status. But now… A small smile crossed her face.
"Well?" Kyoya asked.
"That would be wonderful," she said softly. She paused and eyed him warily. "I will take on legal cases only, Kyoya."
"I suppose it wouldn't hurt to say yes. It is a tempting offer."
"Yes," Haruhi replied.
"Well," Kyoya adjusted his glasses. "I can feel this is going to be a start of an interesting partnership," he deadpanned.
Haruhi could not help but smile back at him. "I think so too," she said gently.
Kyoya got the cup from the table and took a calm sip of coffee.
A/N: (edited: Nov. '08) Reviews and reviewers are loved.