A/N: Hey there. I've never done an Ouran fic before, but I've decided the time is now and place is this . . . er, story, to get it done. I'd be ingratiated to any and all nice wonderful people who would place a review—don't hold back, I'm a big beleiver in constructive critixism.
Discalimer: I do not own anything but my love of Ouran.
Preface (of sorts): The Library
The library at Ouran Academy was colossal. There were Little Reading Rooms the size of the most privileged of national libraries, there were bookshelves scaling the walls of Study Halls and classrooms—but the library was truly the last word in books. Tall, stately bookshelves that each were affixed with a gliding ladder to reach the books higher than even Takashi could reach formed curving, labyrinth patterns, leaving winding corridors of endless plush carpet and leather-bound books. If you walked far and long enough, you might find, bubbled in on all sides by shelves, clusters of plush chairs and tables and desks, giving you the feeling of a forest clearing. The heavy presence of ancient books seemed to absorb any amount of clamor made by anything—it was silent, comfortable, and just a touch eerie, another reason why so many ghost stories took place in the school.
It scaled a quarter of a mile worth of space—on all of it's three floors. Sometimes, if you were just below the small coffee bar, you could hear the hush-hush, hush-hush of feet on soft carpeting and of whipped cream being sprayed into hot chocolates.
It was here that Fujioka Haruhi searched for solace from clamor, noise, and people—and the Host Club, which encompassed all three in spades. She wandered through the aisles, running appreciative fingers over book spines, inhaling the pleasant smell of old paper, ink, paste and dust that was the very smell of old that no amount of dutiful librarians could keep at bay, quite lost in the pensive, tomblike embrace of the library. A fictitious book taking place in the European Renaissance was held loosely with one hand despite its' size—holding up heavy tea trays and being pulled around all the time by people that could be defined in no other way than with the word schoolboys had not made her capable of running faster, but had certainly strengthened her arm muscles. Generally, she wasn't a large fan of reading for leisure—quite, she never found time—but it was a soundly relaxing thing to do, and she felt that after a day of almost being molested by an overenthusiastic client, arguing with Tamaki over her plans for the summer break, and getting two hours of sleep in spite of that, she was going to spend her study period curled up in a chair, reading a book recommended by a middle-school friend, and scan through letters and words and sentences until her eyes ached.
She stumbled into one of the comfortable reading areas, relieved to see it empty—the last thing she needed was a class D crammer shoving her into a bookcase or a fan girl trying to seduce her. She stumbled, feet aching (only Ouran Academy could provide a library in which she could fall into a chair with exhaustion on her way back from the fiction section) from her hike (and the same for making her think of a library trip as a hike).
She made herself comfortable on one of the overstuffed armchairs, leaning her head against the plush side-panels and letting her legs half-dangle from where they were hooked over the arm. Feeling a deep sense of contentment, she began to read . . .
"Do you realize what we are seeing, Lo?"
"Something we are going to walk away from, I hope."
"Not a chance. Look at him! He's so cute I could scream!"
"You shouldn't, Renge-san, I read somewhere screaming is both proved effective in waking people and frowned upon in libraries."
"Shut up!" Renge said, but she giggled, whipping a slim, modern phone out of her pocket and sliding the top section back to access the keyboard. She quickly switched into picture mode, snapping a picture carefully set to 'no flash' of the sleeping Host Club member.
"Renge-san, come on!" Lo said quietly, but gazing at the sleeping Haruhi with as much adoration as Renge.
"Let's just get a few more pictures," she said, moving as silent as a wraith from her spot behind a bookshelf where the two had been observing Haruhi sleep for a good ten minutes, searching for the perfect shot, watching different angles on the phone screen with a critical eye. "We could print them out and sell them for pocket money."
"But Kyoya already does that," Lo said, moving forward hesitantly, cautiously.
"Yes, but those pictures have no personality. They're amazing, but they're so staged. Look, see, this is a good one. He's drooling a little but. How cute. How real. And who better to play the adorably flawed than Haruhi?"
"Ladies." The new voice was cool, polite, reasonable, and extremely familiar as Kyoya Ootori stepped out from behind the bookshelves. His eyes zeroed in on the camera, the sleeping Haruhi, and quickly assessed the situation, donning an easy, clients-only smile. "What, is our little prince sleeping?"
"Yes. Lo and I walked over and saw him here and—isn't he so cute?" Renge lied easily, whipping the phone up her skirt and slipping it into the secret pocket secured with a garter of sorts. Cell phones were far from prohibited in class due to all the students who more or less juggled a business on their own, but Renge did things like this all the time. She felt that it lent her the air of 'an old time assassin.'
"Isn't it a bit of an invasion of privacy to take pictures of someone fast asleep?" He gave another smile, and his aura went from reasonable to vaguely menacing in the blink of an eye, proof of his deserving the nickname 'Demon Lord'. Lo started backing away subtly, shooting a look at Renge. Her hip caught a table and she stumbled, falling over the arm of a chair and into Haruhi's lap. The boy-pretender started awake, looking first sleepy then more than a little surprised to find a girl in her lap, but not shocked, unfortunately, hanging out with the Host Club banished any wish she had that this sort of thing would be out of the ordinary.
"Um, Hello, Miss—." she began courteously, and Renge looked put out.
"Not fair!" she bawled, stabbing an accusing finger at her friend, who was scrambling to her feet, blushing profusely—she was clearly not a Host Club regular."You planned that! You planned that!"
"Renge?" Haruhi asked bewilderedly, running her fingers through her mussed hair.
"Please, Ladies," Kyoya said smoothly. "It is a library, and poor Haruhi has to study or she'll lose her scholarship."
"You're right!" Lo said, seeming to grab at any chance to leave. "Come on, Renge, let's go."
"But, but," Renge protested, shooting a scowl at her friend and giving a small fight before allowing herself to be dragged off.
"I'll know if you publish those photos," Kyoya informed Renge in a friendly tone as she was being towed away by her friend. "But feel free to send them to me to be published in our photo books. I'll be sure to cite you as photographer."
"Kyoya," Haruhi said, ever the sleepy but cheerful morning person. "What just happened?"
"Renge happened," he said, suddenly similarly weary. Indelicate footfalls were coming from behind him, a few shelves down, and Haruhi wondered if it was Renge trying her hand at sneaking.
"Kyoya, is that—." she began, still sleepy, to voice her concern, but he cut her off, something Kyoya never did, ever.
"Prepare yourself for twins in 3. 2--."
"Haruhiiiii!" Hikaru and Kaoru bounded out from behind a shelf, looking enormously pleased with themselves. "Are you surprised?"
"Not really," she said blearily, yawning delicately and knuckling her eyes that felt thick and painful with contacts that certainly weren't supposed to be worn overnight. When she opened her eyes, Tamakui had somehow entered as well, and Hunny and Mori were ghosting down the aisle, the former waving enthusiastically.
"We've never seen Haruhi tired before," Tamaki said, indigo eyes wide, marveling at new, sleepy Haruhi.
"How did you all manage to find me?" she asked, irritated, but her words weren't heeded.
"You're so cute!" Tamaki enthused, bearing down on the not-so-surprised Haruhi, who blushed slightly as one of the famous(infamous, she thought they should be re-dubbed) Host Club group hugs that she was so often treated to enveloped her.
"Please let me go," she muttered, but once again her words were ignored.
"Haruhi, we found you for a reason," Kyoya said briskly.
"Of course you did," she muttered, trying to wriggle out of the collective embrace and ending up nose-to-nose with Hunny, who, ever unfazable, smiled beatifically and blinked with his yard-long eyelashes in his typical 'lovely item' fashion.
"It's almost summer break," the beglassesed boy continued, flipping open the ever-present covered clipboard, as Tamaki grabbed her by the collar and jerked her upright, muttering about his daughters' virgin lips while Haruhi rolled her eyes.
"Not again. Look, I'm not going to go on vacation with you guys this time. Tamaki, let me go!Like Hunny would—." she began to scold, but Kyoya cut her off for a second time.
"l—and since working at Misuzu's Pensione isn't an option due to her illness—."
"What? What illness?"
"—the Host Club as a whole would like to extend an invitation to the Caribbean islands over the summer break."
"No, for a second time, no," Haruhi said with finality, managing to escape the hug-happy crowd and lifting up the cushion on the chair and kneeling on the floor to see where her book had slipped off to.
"But-but-but! Haruhi!" Tamaki protested, looking earnest. "We planned it all out! We'll go with you to get a passport tonight and tomorrow we'll take you shopping for suitable clothes—."
"If you get scared in the changing rooms don't hesitate to call us," the Hitachiins said in unison, smiling slyly at Haruhi's deadpan.
"Perverts! It's indecent for brothers to think of sisters that way! We'll leave on Friday—."
"No, Tamaki," Haruhi repeated firmly, rummaging in her suit pocket for a mint, which she popped into her mouth to banish the taste of sleep. "Dad will take some taking care of this break, he's got the flu. I was going to visit my middle school friends and I have to shop—on top of all of that, my grandparents are expecting me."
This hardly seemed to faze Tamaki, who bravely soldiered on.
"We'll send one of our maids to your house for the break, then—we sold an old shirt of yours, that more than pays the bill for that and the food she'll purchase."
"But I'm his daughter, Tamaki," she parried. "I'm honor-bound to take care of him until he feels better."
"Influenza wouldn't take long to fight off," Kyoya said reasonably. "Stay with him until he feels better, visit your friends while your at it, and pay your grandparents a visit when we return."
Haruhi glowered at Kyoya for predictably siding with Tamaki, but the blond grinned, happy to have the voice of reason by his side.
"Yes! Exactly! We'll do that! And meanwhile the finest doctors will be—."
"No!" Haruhi protested. "No, you all go on your trip and have fun without me." Spotting the incredulous looks on the faces of the entire club excluding Mori and Kyoya, she scoffed. "What? You managed it fine before I showed up. Whats the problem?"
She felt a little tug-tug on the tails of her jacket, and looked down to fine a little, earnest face looking back at her.
"Haruhi," he said, and Hunny looked like he might cry if she said she wasn't going to come, a state in which she had never found little Mitsukuni, even when he verified that yes, his brother probably hated him. "It just won't be the same without you, Haru-chan."
"He's using the Hunny eyes," Hikaru and Kaoru whispered reverently to each other, and Haruhi felt herself crumbling for those liquid, watery eyes and she could hear the growing scream of joy in Tamaki's throat.
" . . . I'll think about it," she said finally, and with loud squeaks of happiness she was drawn into another embrace.