OMG! I'm alive! After almost a 2-year absence, I'm tying up the loose ends I've left unfinished here one by one, starting with my personal favorite, A Matter of Time. For those of you still reading this fic, I'm really sorry that it's taken forever for me to update. Life and general disinterest kept me from doing anything with this story until now.

Anyway, I plan to finish this fic soon and I do hope that you'll stay with me until the end!

That's about it for now. :) Thanks and hope you enjoy this jump-start into reviving this little baby of mine!

Haruhi trailed fingers along the silken sheets on the king-sized bed that dominated the center of the room, and let her eyes wander around. Despite the fact that she was weary and bone-tired, she couldn't seem to settle down.

In fact, she was becoming more and more restless with each passing second.

Not to mention utterly frustrated as well, she thought darkly. She had pestered Tachibana-san with a million and one questions about what she was doing here, and where in the world that dark-haired bastard (the devil who had her kidnapped, which was the foremost thing on her mind) had run off to but had been unable to pry out an answer from the tight-lipped driver.

"I would have been better off talking to a corpse", Haruhi muttered to herself crossly.

Unable to keep still any longer, she stood up and walked towards the window and pushed it open. Immediately the balmy scent of the ocean tickled her nostrils. She inhaled deeply, breathing in the salty breeze. Haruhi closed her eyes briefly, simply enjoying the cool evening wind that ruffled the loose tendrils of hair framing her face.

After a few moments, her eyelids fluttered open and she took in the sight before her. The ocean's surface was calm, like a mirror reflecting the silvery moon. Only the tiny ripples in the water marred the glass-like stillness.

Which was exactly how she was feeling. The events of the whole day were suddenly becoming alarmingly surreal. No matter how she looked at it, she could barely make heads or tails of the uncharacteristic (ok— scratch that, maybe strange and downright bizarre was a better description) way Kyouya had acted. While it was normal for him to boss her around and confuse her with his convoluted ways and sinister plots, it was definitely out of the ordinary for him to single her out and actually spend time alone with her.

Come to think of it, she had never been truly alone with Kyouya before. Ever.

This was definitely a first.

Haruhi sighed dismally, still nowhere near solving the mystery that was her dark-haired captor. She moseyed on back towards the bed and fell on top of it with a plop. She was staring blankly at the ceiling when a frisson of awareness shimmied up her spine.

Haruhi blinked. The delicate arches and darkly crafted wood seemed vaguely familiar. She suddenly bolted upright and took in the room once more with narrowed eyes.

Haruhi let her gaze skim over each and every piece of furniture that adorned the living area. Parts of the puzzle started clicking into place as she catalogued each and every piece of furniture and knick-knack that were gracefully arranged around the ornate room.

Haruhi barely smothered a gasp as the reason for the niggling sense of discomfort she had felt ever since she stepped into the chambers finally dawned on her.

This was where IT had happened.

She hastily scrambled off the bed and gave it a venomous glare for good measure. This was where that ill-fated encounter with Kyouya several months past had occurred.

This was the same bed wherein he had effortlessly pinned her down and ruthlessly demonstrated the difference in strength between boys and girls.

Haruhi flushed with embarrassment as she recalled her naïve response, and her greater shame when he had pointed out how her thoughtlessness had affected everyone— placing great emphasis on how her actions had inconvenienced him in particular.

She had almost forgotten it. Now though, it was all rushing back with a blazing clarity that she couldn't possibly ignore.

Haruhi bit her lip in consternation. What merit could Kyouya gain by bringing her here? A thousand-and-one possibilities raced through her brain, but not a single thought came close to explaining why the Ootori heir had acted the way he had.


Haruhi picked at the idea forming in her mind almost hesitantly, tentatively tasting it on her tongue as she voiced her inner musings out loud.

"Could it possibly be… that Kyouya wanted to spend time with me?" Haruhi whispered in shock. "But that, that's absurd!" She exploded in a rush.

And yet he kissed you, her traitorous mind taunted back.

Haruhi suddenly went pale at the unspoken rejoinder, alternating between cold spells and hot flashes.

What's so absurd about that, her inner voice pointed out in a reasonable tone. You of all people know that that person never does anything without cause; and much as he protests, Kyouya is motivated solely by the merits he receives from his actions. Whatever they may be is irrelevant, what matters is that he deems they are valuable and of use to him.

Haruhi chewed on her bottom lip disconcertedly. In what universe was it even possible that Kyouya Ootori, the one and only Shadow King and Low Blood Pressure Demon of the Ouran High School Host Club could actually like her?

The idea alone was mind-boggling, crazy and downright preposterous!

Really now, her inner voice snickered in an amusement. After everything that's happened today, can you deny that such a thing could be true? Need I remind you about that kiss? Furthermore, not only did you allow him to kiss you— you kissed him back. If that's not a clear indication of his feelings— or yours for that matter, I don't know what is, the voice ended mockingly.

"Oh shut it!" She muttered irritably.

Not only was it impossible, it was highly improbable.

It was too ridiculous to even contemplate. The probability of Kyouya being as attracted to her, as she was to him was as likely as hell freezing over.

Wait a minute, she thought in protest. Whoever said she was attracted to him anyway? Attracted to that dark-eyed demon? Sure, and pigs fly!

And yet, why was it that she felt a tiny kernel of self-doubt when she thought about him. Haruhi's lips flattened as she replayed the events of the day in her mind.

While it was true that Kyouya had acted in an unusual way, it could be argued that so had she. It was very rare for any of the Host Club members to get a rise out of her, as she steadfastly clung to the idea that expending energy for anything that involved them was a waste of time. So Haruhi spent her days merely coasting and going with the flow that Tamaki-senpai and the rest usually dictated.

And yet she had allowed Kyouya to get her senses riled up too many times today— far more than she cared to admit. Which was completely uncharacteristic of her; and now that she had finally found the time to seriously take stock of the situation, she was greatly disturbed.

You're thinking about that kiss again aren't you? An insidious voice broke through her turbulent thoughts.

Despite your protests to the contrary, you actually enjoyed it— immensely. The sooner you admit it, the better off you'll be. After all, you wouldn't be in this predicament if you didn't really want to. In your hear of hearts, you know that Kyouya would have taken you home had you REALLY demanded it. The voice continued knowingly.

The truth is, you wanted this. You, Fujioka Haruhi WANTED this— the voice emphasized mercilessly.

It's high time you took responsibility for your actions.

She felt as if she'd been sucker punched. Haruhi stiffened as the realization crashed over her in waves.

"I'm in love with Kyouya Ootori," she whispered in horror.