D/C: I don't own Ouran High School Host Club.
Well, this is new for me. I never thought I'd write a story about Mori; his character is quite difficult for me, because I like to keep a dialogue going around, and if I get him to do that, he'll be quite OOC. But I was speculating with my friend about the person who's going to end up with Haruhi, and she said, "Imagine if it's Mori!", and really...why not? It's cute! Anyway, I hope you like it!
Students milled about, laughing and chatting amongst each other. They dashed between corridors to get to their classes, and gave each other high-fives down the halls, or gossiped in packs in the corners. Everyone looked in fairly good spirits, and they were all oblivious to the sole person who wasn't joining in anything. He was earning a few confused looks, for he just stood there in front of the front Oak doors of Ouran High School, staring at it with a vacant expression, as if debating whether he should go in or not.
Morinodzuka Takashi felt lost.
No, this wasn't by any means his first day here, and no, he wasn't suffering from temporary loss of memory. And there wasn't an angry mob waiting inside, ready to attack him. Rather, it was the absence of the short, blond boy at his side that made him feel so awkward. Already, Mori was tempted to turn on his heels and return home, because going through a day in school without Hunny seemed altogether rather pointless, but...
Mori felt rather worried. This was the first time he'd seen Hunny quite so ill. His cheeks were flushed and beads of sweat were forming on his forehead. He was breathing heavily and his voice was rather raspy. He tentatively placed a hand on his forehead, but pulled it back immediately; he was burning up.
"Mitskuni," he murmured. "I'll stay here with you today. I don't need to go to school."
Hunny let out a shaky laugh. "Don't be silly, Takashi," he chided him gently. "You must go to school. You'll miss out on your classes! I will be very sad if you miss out on your classes. And you must help Tama-chan and the others in the club! They need you!"
"No, I'll stay here and look after you," Mori insisted.
"The maids can look after me, Takashi; and you're not a nurse!" Hunny said, giggling.
"I'll keep you company then," Mori offered.
"Ta-ka-shi," Hunny whined, sounding a little bit exasperated. "I'll be fine. I don't want you to be stuck at home just because I'm sick. Besides, if you stay with me, you may get sick, too! Oh, oh, and who will tell me what homework we've got if you don't go to class, eh?"
That last point did it. Mori was worried about Hunny's health, but he was also worried about Hunny's studies. Hunny was right; if he stayed with him, he wouldn't be of much use to him, but if he went to school, then he could be useful and get Hunny his home work and the day's lessons. Yes, he could do that. But now that he arrived on the school's grounds, he felt that he really didn't know what he should be doing. Mori hated this.
"Mori-senpai," said a voice next to him.
Mori's fists clenched - his way of being surprised. But when he looked to his side, his fist unclenched and he managed a tiny smile. "Haruhi," he said.
The scholarship student looked mildly puzzled. She peered around Mori, and looked behind him, but when she couldn't find what she was after, she upturned her face towards him. "Mori-senpai, where's Hunny-senpai?" she asked.
"Hunny is sick," Mori answered shortly.
Haruhi's expression fell. "Oh," she said. "Is he quite ill?"
"Are you worried?"
Haruhi touched her hand to his forearm and smiled reassuringly at him. "Hunny is tough; he'll get better soon," she told him, and Mori slowly nodded his head. She dropped her hand back to her side. "Shall we go inside?"
"Okay," he agreed. She walked ahead of him and he watched her back for a moment before trailing after her and falling in step with her. Thank you, Haruhi.
Without Hunny at his side or on his shoulders, Mori was feeling rather...abnormal. Unbalanced. He didn't know what to do with himself; Hunny was always there to tell him what to do and without him he was pretty aimless. His name was always associated with Hunny, but now he was just...Mori. It sounded rather foreboding. Rather naked. He didn't like it. He also didn't like that he felt so helpless without him.
Class was dismissed, and everyone scampered off to get to the dining hall. Mori took his time to pack his books back in his bag; he wasn't looking forward to go to dining hall. He always had lunch with Hunny, and they always sat together at the table. Who was going to sit with him today? Maybe he won't go and have lunch; he wasn't feeling that hungry...but then his stomach rumbled and he sighed heavily. He got up from his seat and made his way out of the classroom and down the corridor leading to the dining hall with heavy footsteps.
When he came around the door, he felt a lump rise in his throat. Students clustered together in groups around tables, eating and chatting happily. No one paid attention to him; it was as if they didn't recognize him without Hunny. He trudged over to the counter and order a lunch set. While he waited to be served, his eyes scanned the hall, looking for someone he knew or an empty table to sit at. He was fretting so much over it that he didn't notice when a slim figure stepped up next to him.
"Mori-senpai, hello," the figure said, startling him for the second time that day.
"Haruhi," he said, acknowledging her with a slight nod.
"How were your classes today?" she asked him. "Did your teachers give you a lot of homework? I had a quiz today; it was very easy."
"What about you?" she pressed on.
"I copied down some notes for Hunny," he answered shortly.
"Oh," she murmured. They stood in silence for a few moments, with Mori looking stoically ahead of him, and Haruhi knotting and unknotting her hands behind her back. She spoke up again when Mori's lunch tray arrived. "Hey, would you like to sit with me today?"
Mori didn't say anything.
Haruhi smiled at him. "It's always more fun if you sit and eat with someone; I always have dinner with my father, no matter how late he comes back from work, I wait for him so we can sit and eat together," she said cheerfully. "I sit with Hikaru and Kaoru sometimes here, but I don't know where they are now. Do you?"
"No," he replied.
"Hmm. I wonder..." she said, folding her arms and tapping her chin. She smiled at him again. "Well, will you join me?"
Mori regarded her quietly for a moment, before finally nodding his head. He didn't think there was anything wrong with that; at least he wouldn't have to sit alone then. He was sure Hunny wouldn't mind. Picking up his tray, he followed Haruhi to the small round table at which she had been sitting, judging from the open obento box lying on the polished wooden surface. She sat down and he took the seat across from her.
He chanced a look at her obento, and saw that it contained rice and miso. Then he looked back at his tray. He had ordered the Set F meal - capellini and roasted Barbary duck breasts. Then he looked back at her obento. He swallowed. He felt bad eating such a luxurious meal while Haruhi settled for that commoner meal. He gently shoved his tray towards her.
Haruhi blinked. "Mori-senpai, what's wrong?" she asked.
"You can have my lunch," he told her.
She frowned. "Why would I want to have your lunch?" she asked, confused.
Mori paused. Would he offend her if he said he thought her lunch was less tasty than his? And what if she had been the one to have cooked the meal in her box; wouldn't he be insulting her cooking then? His thumb and index finger were still holding on to the edge of the tray - should he pull it back towards him, or should he just leave it in front of Haruhi? He gave himself a mental kick. What was wrong with him today? He was being so dysfunctional. Hunny would've known how to diffuse the situation.
"Mori-senpai?" Haruhi said cautiously.
"I meant...would you like to share?" he asked quietly.
Haruhi studied him for a moment. "Sure, why not?" she agreed. She poked at a dish with her spoon. "What's that?"
"Barbary duck," he told her.
"I never tasted duck before; is it good?" she questioned.
"Better than chicken," he replied. She gave him a bemused look and he hurriedly pointed at the other dish. "This is capellini."
"Looks like pasta to me," she insisted, and he shook his head. She grabbed a fork and twisted it around in the plate, scooping up some of the pasta. She slurped them into her mouth, causing the sauce to dribble down her chin. She chewed. "Hmm..."
Impulsively, Mori had picked up a napkin and reached forward to dab at her chin. Only when Haruhi stopped chewing did he realize what he was doing. He froze in alarm, and wondered anxiously if he had somehow offended her. However, Haruhi laughed and took the napkin from him.
"I'm such a messy eater. Thank you, Mori-senpai," she said, wiping the sauce off of her chin. "And this is some pasta!"
"It's not pasta," he said, secretly relieved that the moment has passed without repercussions.
"Yes, but it looks like pasta, doesn't it?" she retorted, and Mori's thin lips curved into a little smile. "Let's try the duck now, shall we?"
The day was almost over.
Mori was unbelievably relieved. He didn't know how he had managed to get through the whole day - it had been so nightmarish. The Host Club would've been an absolute disaster if it hadn't been for Haruhi. He had been so awkward with the girls who had designated him for the day. He wasn't really sure of how to keep them entertained. Usually, they just lapped up the adorable-kid-and-strict-guardian act, but since the adorable kid wasn't there, the strict guardian didn't know what to do with him self.
The girls had been starting to get bored, and Kyoya had been starting to shoot him death glares from the corner, and things would've gone downhill if Haruhi hadn't appeared at his side for the third time that day and said, "Please excuse Mori-senpai. He's just too worried about Hunny-senpai's health, and that's why he's so distracted."
Needless to say, the girls had found that incredibly sweet, and they were squealing in delight and saying things like, "Aww, Mori-kun, don't worry; Hunny-kun will be alright!", and "Mori-kun, we didn't know! That's really so cute!" and of course, "Kya! Kya!"
What had been left of the two hours proceeded in that fashion, with Haruhi occasionally dropping by to give an encouraging comment, which made all the girls quite happy. Now, he proceeded to show the girls to the door. "Give Hunny-kun our regards!" they told him before leaving, to which he nodded politely.
Kyoya came up to him as he was preparing to leave as well. "You have Haruhi to thank for your performance today," he said, tapping his clipboard.
"Sorry," Mori muttered.
"Oh, come on, Kyoya-senpai - he was worried about Hunny-senpai; you really can't blame him for that," Haruhi said reproachfully. Kyoya raised an eyebrow. Haruhi just tugged at Mori's sleeve. "Shall we go?"
"Haruhi, I thought we're going to the movies later on," Hikaru piped up.
"Maybe some other time, Hikaru," Haruhi brushed him off. She slipped her fingers into Mori's hand and started to drag him to the door, amidst the curious and confused stares of the other host club members. "We'll see you all tomorrow. Good bye."
As soon as they left the music room, Tamaki was heard shouting, "Mother! Did you see that? What does that mean? What is my daughter doing with Mori-senpai?" Mori, on the other hand, was rather surprised. Still, he thought he liked the feel of Haruhi's hand in his. To his disappointment, she pulled away when they were further away from the room.
"Well..." she said, and grinned at him."We're finally away from them all."
Mori blinked in confusion. "What do you mean?" he asked.
She continued to smile. "I know you wanted to get out of there so you could go and see Hunny-senpai," she said warmly. "I know you wanted an exit. You were so fretful the whole time in the Host Club session. You're free to go and see him now."
Mori faltered. "Haruhi, thank you," he murmured.
She beamed at him. "I want to come and check up on Hunny-senpai with you, can I?" she asked, and he nodded in agreement. They started to walk down the corridor again. "Oh, how about we get him a Get Well present? Maybe some cake, with strawberries on top?"
Mori found he liked that idea very much. "Sure," he said with a smile.
The ride to the bakery which Hunny usually bought all his favorite cakes from was a quiet one, but it was the comfortable sort of quiet. Mori had a hint of a smile still plastered to his lips. In truth, he thought Haruhi was the only one, aside from Hunny, who could make him smile so often, and she did it with little or no effort at all. He glanced at her, sitting next to him on the seat in the limo, and smiled. The mere sight of her made him smile.
"Haruhi..." he started.
"Oh, are we here already?" she said, because the limo chose that moment to stop in front of the bakery. She stared out the window. "Wow, that's a fancy looking bakery!"
Mori never thought he'd see anyone having a good time in a bakery more than Hunny, but Haruhi seemed delighted. She was scrutinizing every array of cakes and cookies and biscuits and other exquisite looking sweets with pure excitement. He knew she didn't have Hunny's love for sweets, but she apparently had a love for checking out new things. She hurried from display to display, wondering out-loud about how to pick a type of cake for Hunny.
"The strawberry ones are many! I don't know which one to pick!" she exclaimed.
"Why don't we pick them all? Hunny's going to eat them in one sitting, anyway," he said quietly, and she chuckled. "And you like strawberries, don't you?"
She was still staring, starry-eyed, at the box of assorted cakes when they got back in the car. Mori thought it was amusing and sad - amusing to see how she was reacting and sad because he knew that she deserved so much better than what she had, and yet she couldn't, or rather wouldn't, have anything outside her own walls.
Mori took her face between his hands and leaned down to kiss her soft lips. It was a brief kiss, albeit being a sweet one, and that wasn't because Haruhi had pushed him away. It was the fact that she had looked so surprised, and that she hadn't returned the kiss, that made him release her. Haruhi mouthed soundlessly for a moment, before clasping her hands in her lap and looking down.
He felt slightly apprehensive. He didn't know what had made him kiss her; it was just an impulse. He wanted to touch her shoulder and apologize, but he was worried she might lash out at him. Those few moments in which she continued to look down into her lap weighed heavily on him. She only looked up when the limo screeched to a halt in front of Hunny's house.
She smiled at Mori. "Thank you," she whispered.
And he was rejected...just like that. Mori couldn't help it; he started to laugh. He doubled over his knees from laughing too hard, causing Haruhi to look at him in alarm. She gripped his arm and said worriedly, "Mori-senpai, are you okay? I'm sorry; I didn't mean-"
He wiped the tears of mirth from the corners of his eyes and ruffled her hair gently. "No, thank you, Haruhi," he replied, smiling. Thank you for being who you are, for making me smile.
Haruhi was perplexed. "Um...you're welcome?" she said uncertainly.
"Do you want a piggy back ride?" he asked her.
"A piggy back ride?" she repeated, and he nodded in affirmation. She looked bemusedly at him. "Sure. I don't see why not."
When they got out of the car, he picked her up easily and placed her on his shoulders. She wrapped her thin arms around his neck and nestled her chin in his hair, and he gripped the lower part of her legs. They made their way in silence to the house. But the Mori who entered the house was considerably more different than the Mori who left it earlier in the morning.
Thank you, Haruhi.
A/N: Done! squee What did you think? I rather enjoyed writing this story; I thought it was too cute! And yes, that's it - adding anything else would just be pointless. Anyway, I hope you liked it! Reviews will be much appreciated, too! Thanks for reading!
- S. N. B.