2/2

Kyoya stared at Haruhi worriedly as she downed her fifth glass of beer...for the past half hour. She never drank this much; hell if he could remember a time during their drinking sessions when she had more than two pints of lager. Not since she got madly drunk and proceeded to bet that she would ski down the highest point in the mountain tomorrow morning and ended up nearly breaking her neck.

"Tamaki, don't you think we should stop Haruhi before she gets admitted in the ER for alcohol poisoning?" asked Kyoya, trying to keep his interest at a minimum. Just another friend looking out for a buddy, that's all it was.

Tamaki just squinted at him before collapsing on the floor. Kyoya sighed. Maybe Tamaki would need the medical attention more than Haruhi.

Speaking of Haruhi, what the hell happened to her? She joined all the drinking competitions, challenged the village drunkard with tequila shots and won, and just a few moment ago, was wondering what would happen if you mixed beer, vodka, whisky, gin, wine, and champagne.

Maybe she was doing this so that she could forget the embarrassment he caused her a few hours ago, thinking why would a friend do that to another friend.

Kyoya suppressed a snort. Nobody with a lucid mind could say that his attraction for the girl wasn't blatantly obvious as he ground into her like a rabbit in heat. He didn't know where that came from, really. All he knew was that it was time that Haruhi got to know a little bit of the torture every freaking time he was with her.

And what torture it was. He had grown...attracted to the girl ever since their days at high school. She was undeniably cute, and more than pretty when she took the time to take care of herself. But more than that, what really drew her to him was her personality. She was real, there was nothing fake about the way she acted, the way she talked, the way she thought. She wasn't like any other girls he had met before. They were all simpering, boring girls with no other motive than to prostrate themselves before him in the name of love, money, and business connections. His life had always been revolving around his family's business; he doubted that there will ever be a time in his life where he could just simply say fuck it all and bugger off for a pint. But Haruhi proved to be a welcome relief from all that. He could be just as he is when he was with her, with nobody else telling him what to do and he knew that she accepted him for that. Mind, that it was the same with the other members but it was really different with her.

Really different.

Different, like he wanted to be with her all the time, hold hands, hug, kiss, the whole shebang. Hell, while he was thinking so forward, why not dream about copulating and procreating as well?

Pause, shudder, and vomit at the thought.

And he knew that it was insanity, feeling this way for a girl when he had more things to think of. Yes, he should focus more on the family business and such.

Who was he kidding? He already owned nearly thirty percent of the company, a feat he managed by the time he was seventeen. His father owned fifty percent, and the rest to various stock holders and investors, so really, the only thing he could do now is either buy more shares or hope that his father would croak and hand him his shares.

Right. Knock on wood and spit three times.

Back to the situation at hand. Haruhi and his feelings.

Ah, might as well just get over it. Bottom line, no matter how much he tried to avoid it was this: his feelings for Haruhi were so crazy, there was a ninety percent chance they were real. Therefore, following that logic, it meant that he cared for the girl more than he wanted to admit.

So continuing those premises, it therefore concludes that Kyoya Ootori may be in love with one Haruhi Fujioka.

Logic was such a pain the ass.

--

Kyoya found Haruhi by the poolside, giggling uncontrollably while swigging from a bottle of whisky. By instinct, he grabbed the bottle from her while helping her to stand up.

"Whussa? Dun do dat!" she slurred heavily, attempting to take back the precious liquid but the monster held it up high with his other hand so she couldn't reach.

It made her want to surgically implant sticks in her legs so she would get taller, or failing that, beat him with the sticks instead.

"Haruhi," his tone was condescending. "Stop it. You're already too drunk to even form coherent words. We need to get you back to your dorm, then to bed. Come on; you have legs for a reason."

"Shuddhup!" yelled Haruhi, snatching her arm away from his vice-like grip but the bastard was too strong. "'S your fault that I'm -hic- drunk off -hic- my arsh! You, with that stoopid dance and your sexy pants, and your sexy shirt, and your pants, and your dance, and…what the hell was I sayin' again?"

Kyoya tried not to roll his eyes. "You were saying something about my trousers."

"Yes! Those stoooopid trousers. I say it again: stooooopid!" While she swayed, her legs finally decided it had had enough and no longer wanted to carry her weight. She staggered and was gracefully caught by Kyoya. She leaned on him heavily, unconsciously inhaling him. Her foggy, alcohol-addled brain registered that he smelled really, really nice. So nice that she just wanted to bury her face in his chest and just smell him forever.

"Why do you smell so nice?" she said, sobbing. "'S not fair! You stink! You stink!" She said, still crying.

Great, she just passed the irrational anger phase to the emotional level. Kyoya calculated that she still had about a minute of consciousness before the increased alcohol in her system would knock her out.

Kyoya set down the bottle at one of the nearby lounges to embrace her fully.

"Haruhi, are you okay?" he said softly, running his hands up and down her back in an effort to get her to calm down somewhat.

But he was answered with a soft snooze and for the first time that night, Kyoya praised whoever invented liquor.

--

Twenty trumpets, twelve cymbals, and three drums.

That's how many instruments were making noise inside Haruhi's head. With impressive force, she managed to crack her eyes open. Blearily, she tried to move, just to realize that she was tucked in under the covers rather tightly but cozily.

I need water, was the immediate command her body sent to her pounding brain.

Painfully putting herself up to a sitting position, she noticed that there was a glass of water and pills by her bedside. A note accompanied it that said:

These are great hangover pills that should clear up the pain you must be feeling right now. Take them, then go back to sleep.

Kyoya

Haruhi eyed the pills warily. Ah, damn. The pain was too much. She swiped the pills and downed them with water. Settling back under the covers, she slept.

--

Where am I?

For the second time that day, Haruhi hung between reality and the dream world. The pain she experienced what seemed like a while ago was now but a dull pain the back of her head. She got up gingerly, settling her feet down the cold floor. She checked her watch: it read four p.m.

She staggered to the closet, trying to grab some of her clothes so she could take a long, hot shower. She reeked of alcohol and God knows what else. She eyed her bed distastefully. Yup, she needed to change her sheets as well.

She slung her towel on her shoulder, took out a pair of shorts, a shirt and underwear. The bottle of expensive, never used sweet-smelling liquid soap Tamaki brought back for her from France was wedged at the back of the closet. Without much deliberation, she took it as well, thinking that it would take more than her regular soap to take out the foul odor from her body.

Grimacing slightly, she made for the door to the communal showers on their floor.

--

"Oh, crap," said Haruhi, holding the shirt by two fingers, well away from her as if it were radioactive. She had just stripped her mattress down and was surprised to see Kyoya's black shirt wedged in between her pillows. She thought she had thrown it away last night but Mei or somebody else must have picked it up and thought that she wanted it.

Memories of the past night blurred her vision and angrily, she stuffed the shirt in the laundry bag, deciding that she would wash it first before returning it to Kyoya through messenger service, of course. Like hell she could show her face to him again after that display.

As she headed downstairs for the laundry service across the street from their building, she couldn't help but think again and again what had happened last night. It was totally uncharacteristic of him to do that, and even if it was a dare, he would have just blackmailed Mei into making her ask him to do something else. Yes, that would be more Kyoya-like.

Failing that, he could have just walked away without a second thought.

So why did he do it? Was the unending question that floated in her brain.

As she reached the lobby, she was absolute in her belief that the heavens had hated her with a passion of ten thousand fiery suns for it was none other than her source of misery sitting down in one of the armchairs supplied around the room, flicking through an old magazine with the indifferent air as afforded by his status.

But more importantly, Haruhi couldn't help but feel that it was just so wrong that she thought he still looked just as sexy as he did last night.

Maybe she could pull out from uni this semester on the grounds that she needed immediate psychiatric care. She was becoming as insane as one of his groupies.

"Haruhi, good afternoon," Kyoya said, noticing her standing like an idiot, gaping at him. He stood up and made his way over to her with an uneasy, adorable smile on his face.

Damn it, she was a groupie!

"Good afternoon, Kyoya-senpai," she replied, taking a hold of herself. She skirted past him towards the glass double doors. "Good-bye."

"Wait, I need to talk to you," he said, running after her.

"What's there to talk about?" Haruhi tried to make herself sound as apathetic as she could while fumbling for the door handle with a large sack of laundry in her arms. Kyoya reached out to open the door for her. Haruhi mumbled her thanks.

"A lot," answered Kyoya, still not giving up even though Haruhi quickened her pace to the laundry shop.

"Such as?" she said, setting down the sack in one of the large chrome tables. There were only a few people in there, good. Less witnesses in case she bludgeoned him to death with a bottle of fabric conditioner.

"The weather, maybe. They said that it was going to rain today, strange at this time of year." Kyoya managed not to roll his eyes in exasperation. God, she was difficult. Now he could understand why Tamaki had more or less given up on her years ago. "No, I meant about what happened last night."

"What's to talk about there?" piped up the girl, inserting some coins in the slot of a washing machine. She pressed the button and watched her laundry tumble around the machine. "We went to a party, you got dared to dance, I got drunk and we went home. That's all. Oh, did you know who sent me home? I need to thank them. I couldn't have gotten home by myself in the state I was in." Her laugh was hollow and reverberated in both their ears.

"I brought you back home. Mei changed your clothes. Seriously, what made you drink that much? It was so unlike you. Was something wrong?"

Haruhi shook her head, still not looking at him. "No, nothing's wrong. I just decided that I needed to let loose sometime, and it was the perfect opportunity." Not to mention it was the only way I knew how to forget what you did to me, though it didn't help much. "Thanks as well for the pills. They were quite helpful."

"Oh, yes," drawled Kyoya sarcastically, leaning on the table and crossing his arms, brushing off her gratitude. "Getting shit-faced was just another way to tell the world that you could rebel too. That you're not some sweet little girl who hides behind her books all day, dreaming of her great future."

Haruhi faced him angrily. "What the hell's the matter with you? You asked, and I answered, and when you didn't like my answer, you proceed to insult me. That's it, I had it! You're always like that to me!"

"That's because you don't tell me the truth!" Kyoya exploded back, not caring that this was his first public outburst. The people around the room were staring but he paid them no heed. Realizing his mistake when Haruhi looked away again, he calmed down, raking his hand through his hair.

"That was way out of line," he said softly. "I'm sorry, Haruhi. We're all entitled to our privacy and I didn't respect that enough." Hesitantly, he reached for her and was relieved when she made no effort to slap him away. He squeezed her hand before giving her a small embrace. "I guess that there are just some things we could never say out loud, no matter the consequences. How about some coffee after you do your laundry, my treat?"

Haruhi wanted to scream at him, hit him with a trolley, and push him off a cliff for all the things he'd done to her but couldn't summon the strength to do it. She just nodded dumbly in his chest, biting her lip to stop pouting.

"Are we good?" asked Kyoya, holding her at arm's length and using commoner colloquialism in an effort to look humorous. Haruhi smiled at the feeble attempt, then nodded.

"And next time I'm being too pushy, just tell me, okay? I don't want us to ever fight again."

"I don't as well, Kyoya. I don't."

--

Haruhi had just pulled out her laundry from the dryer and was set to folding it at the table when Kyoya noticed something sticking out from the blue sheets.

"Is that my shirt?" he asked, pulling it out.

"Yeah," said Haruhi, fighting the blush from creeping up her cheeks. "I wanted to wash it first before giving it back to you."

"But I said that it was yours, to keep as a souvenir," Kyoya frowned.

"Oh, please. As if we both need a reminder of that horrible night." She went about to folding her duvet cover and enlisting his help to fold the others.

"I guess you're right." But he made no move to take it.

--

The next few weeks passed by without incident and the two remained as close as ever, whiling away the free periods they had in the coffee shops or at the university gardens, chatting about random topics from music (Italian versus Parisian opera), to politics (Hilary Clinton versus Barrack Obama). They never talked about the eventful night at the frat party again though Haruhi was amused when she found his shirt neatly folded among her bed sheets and afterwards took to using it as a nightshirt. It was very comfortable and still held the lingering scent of his cologne even after the washing. Haruhi had exacted her revenge on Mei by 'accidentally' giving the guy she had had to kiss on that truth or dare game her class schedule so that he stalked her for days until she agreed on having some coffee with him. Afterwards, she shot him down so horribly he was crying in the café while Mei hunted down Haruhi for blood.

"How are you holding up to studying for the midterms?" asked Kyoya as he stared at his friend, looking hangdog among piles of textbooks and notes. They were in a secluded part of the gardens, well away from the eyes of other people. Large hedges and tall trees blocked the small area where a stone bench sat. They had found it during one of their strolls and had used it as a place to escape everybody else, especially Kyoya's new fan club.

Haruhi had spread a blanket over the grass and was using the bench as a table while she worked on her accountancy lessons. Kyoya sat down beside her and handed her a cup of coffee from the nearest Starbucks.

Haruhi took the beverage gratefully, sighing deeply after taking a large gulp of hot relief.

"It's been murder," she answered, now digging into the pastry bag. She selected a cinnamon roll and bit into it. She swore she just tasted heaven right then and there. Of course, that could only be her brain suffering from low blood sugar but the reaction seemed appropriate.

"When have you last taken a break?" asked Kyoya worriedly. She had large circles under her eyes and looked too pale.

"I dunno. I was up late last night after I got off from work. No, wait a minute, I don't think I even slept. Then, Mei came in with her loud friends and I had to decamp if I wanted some quiet to even hear myself think."

Kyoya sighed. Haruhi was overworking herself again. He admired that drive in her but sometimes she took things too excessively. He was afraid she might be heading for an early grave if she continued this way.

"What about you? How are you holding up?" she asked, starting to pick up her pen again.

"I'm fine, don't worry about me." He sighed. "I guess it was a good thing that our professor cancelled today so I could check up on you. You look like hell, Haruhi."

"Nah, I'm fine. I just need to fine tune some things, that's all." She attempted a grin but it was weak and exhausted.

Kyoya raised and eyebrow, moving behind her. He placed strong hands on her shoulders and kneaded them hard, his thumbs circling in between her scapula. Haruhi moaned in delight.

"Better?" he said, taking in her mewls.

"Much better but what are you doing?" She unconsciously put down her pen and was leaning into him.

"Helping you relax a little bit. You've overworked yourself, Haruhi. This isn't healthy."

Haruhi rubbed her eyes tiredly. "No, I'm fine. I'll just finish this account and I'll take a break, I promise." She tried to wriggle out of his grasp but he wouldn't let go.

"No," said Kyoya, wounding his arms around her waist and pulling her to him. Haruhi gave up, leaning her head on the crook of his shoulder, enjoying herself. "You're taking a break now." His fingers were slowly sliding up and down her sides, melting her.

"I feel as if I'm being forced here," Haruhi half-pouted. She closed her eyes, basking in the warmth of the sun on her face and his heat at her back.

"Well, it's okay being forced if it's for your own good," said Kyoya, his voiced deepening as his arms tightened about her. "Now, sleep. I'll be here."

It was the first time Haruhi had slept soundly like that in days.

--

Haruhi awoke with a jolt, wondering where the hell she was. It was beginning to darken around her.

"Where am I?" she asked, glancing around.

"Relax, Haruhi, we're in the university gardens," answered Kyoya from above her. He was looking down at her smiling. She noticed their position with her in his arms while he leaned on the bench for support. Fragments of what happened earlier assaulted her memory and she blushed. Had she really fallen asleep like this, and in his arms, no less? Oh god, he would never live this down.

But instead of wriggling free, she said, "What time is it?"

"A little after six but don't worry, you didn't miss any classes. A classmate of yours called a few hours ago and said that your Psych class with Mr. Ibarashi was cancelled. Seems that there are a lot of professors cancelling lately."

Haruhi was relieved. For a minute there, she was afraid that she missed out on a very important lecture.

"Did you sleep, too?" she asked. He must be sore from holding her like that all this time.

"No, I was content just staring at you while you slept," he answered lightly.

Haruhi smiled. This wasn't the first time she had slept on the boys while they held her. In fact, every one of them had done it one time or the other but she found that it was Kyoya who was the most comfortable of them all and the thought made her redden.

"You must be stiff and everything then," said Haruhi, trying to get up and was a little disappointed when he let go. She stood, stretching while Kyoya stared at the wonderful arc her body made. "I'm afraid that I'm a heavy teddy bear."

"But cuddly none the less," he replied, accepting her proffered hand to stand up as well. "It's late and I'm hungry. What do you want to eat?"

"Some Chinese might be good," mused Haruhi, picking up her books and bag. "I have a hankering for some shrimp dumplings and noodles."

"Chinese it is, then."

Kyoya folded up the blanket while she rounded up her papers and stuffed them in an overflowing plastic case.

"Shall we go?" said Haruhi, finally set to go.

Her smile made something in him snap. He dropped the blanket in the ground, his arm encircling her small waist as he pulled her close to him. His other hand went to her face, caressing her jaw as she stuttered incoherently, trying to ask what he was doing.

"Doing something I should have done long ago," he mumbled before crushing his lips to hers.

To say that Haruhi was shocked beyond her senses was an understatement. His lips on hers felt so wonderful and electrifying, and damn it if she ever felt anything more amazing before. Her eyes closed as she took in the kiss, tilting her head up instinctively to deepen it.

Kyoya, meanwhile, was having an internal battle. He had wanted to do this for so long he no longer kept tabs on how many times he just wanted to be with her like this, not as a friend but as a lover, so many times he thought he was clinically insane for thinking like that in the first place. He even willed himself not to do anything to her while she slept a moment ago, thinking that he couldn't take advantage of a sleeping girl. Now that she was awake, cute and tousled, he just couldn't stop himself. He needed to taste her, be with her even if it maddened him to no end that this could be the only time he would get to do this.

The need for oxygen made him reluctantly stop his attention to her lips and he stared languidly at her, noticing her still closed eyes and lips that were searching for his own.

"Haruhi," he breathed heavily, not wanting to break the spell.

Haruhi slowly opened her eyes, confused at first then realizing with a blow what they had just done. She jumped from him, a hand on her chest and breathing hard.

"You…we…I…did we?" she blubbered, looking at everywhere except him.

"Yes, we did," he confirmed quietly. "Haruhi, look I'm sorry it happened but I just couldn't help myself. Since we entered university, I had grown attracted to you at such a rate it scared me. I just didn't know what to do and pegged it down to hormones or some such nonsense." He was babbling and he knew it but couldn't stop.

Haruhi stared at him. Is he saying what she thought he was saying? Was this actually a confession? Mind, Haruhi was still foreign to the concept even after years of men falling themselves at her feet. And now the Kyoya Ootori was doing the same. Inconceivable!

Then Kyoya frowned, straightening. He pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose, now positively scowling.

He stared at her halfway between irritation and confusion.

"I think I might be in love with you," he absolutely growled. "How annoying."

Haruhi's confusion cleared and she had to laugh. Who wouldn't?

"Kyoya, you might be the only person in the world to make the girl you love annoyed and amused at that confession." But she didn't tell him that it made her heart pound.

"Hey, I said might, okay? It wasn't an outward confession."

Haruhi was in stitches. Kyoya was unexpectedly a very hilarious person. She threw her arms around him, surprising the Ootori but he returned the embrace, not wanting to let go.

"I don't know what I feel myself, and I think I know enough that this isn't love," she explained softly, making his stomach plummet. But her next words gave him hope. "I know that I love you in the way a sister would her brother or a friend might do to another friend. But this isn't the kind of love you might see in lovers." She raised her face to him, giving him a quirky smile that held a promise. "So what do you think that we should take things slow, see where we're heading. Have a few dates, you know that kind of stuff. And in a few months, or even years and we feel that we belong together and all that stuff that they say about falling in love, then maybe we have stepped that boundary and see things seriously."

It wasn't much, but it was a lot, considering the circumstances. Kyoya nodded, bending down for a small kiss.

"I think we should give it a shot."

--

They lay on the bed, exhausted and sweaty yet sated and fulfilled. Kyoya and Haruhi had been dating on and off for the past year and a half, always bordering on that thin line of love and like. They had never said their feelings outright for one another, but they felt that they were nearing being in love more and more as each day passed.

It was sheer stubbornness that made their mouths shut into actually saying it out loud, relying more on their actions to say what they wanted to say.

But it wasn't enough. It would never be enough.

And as Haruhi lay, entangled in her lover's body, she knew that what she felt for this man had long ago stepped over that boundary they talked about all those years ago. However, sheer terror of rejection prevented her from saying anything.

Inevitably, the truth must be brought out. It had to happen sometime, didn't it?

"Kyoya?" she said affectionately, stroking his arm.

"Hmm?" said Kyoya, his breath fanning her neck as he nuzzled on a particularly sensitive spot.

"I think I love you," she continued, awe in her voice, as if she couldn't believe it herself. Kyoya untangled himself to hover above her, staring at her in the eye.

"Say that again." he demanded, his nose touching hers, breathing heavily in anticipation.

"I retract my earlier statement. I know that I love you…I'm sure that I'm in love with you. Come to think of it, I've only started becoming aware of my growing attraction to you when you gave me that striptease."

Kyoya smiled, grinned, then laughed outright. He held in her in a bone-crushing hug, and while she tried to breathe and laugh along with him at the same time, he muttered, "I'm also in love with you, Haruhi. I love you more than I could ever say in words."

And as they sealed their newfound love with the most tender and loving kiss, Kyoya said, "Well, you better think of a new story to tell our kids, because like hell I'll tell them we fell in love while I was giving you a lap dance."

End

A/N: Crappy ending, but I hope you liked it. My brain's fried, so it's not up to much. Still, I'm fairly happy with this ending. Also, thanks to the lovely support, encouragement, and loving this story got from all you wonderful people who were generous enough to read and leave a review as well. And oh yes, please be reminded that this is fan fiction that was mainly started as a respite for my inner fan girl-ness and an ardent wish that this would happen in the series. Yes, I know that love goes deeper than that, but like many things, it has to start somewhere. The premise of their affections might be too shallow for some, but marriages happen for even more ridiculous reasons and I'm amazed that in most of the people I've known, the marriages that tend to stick are usually the ones founded by a drunken night of sex or something more insane and the ones that head for the divorce courts are those we initially thought would last given its beginnings. There. I've said my piece and I hope that I didn't offend anybody. Again, this is just fan fiction and all views are appreciated, be it criticizing or not. Many thanks as well to Kalachuchi for the beta (I hope you're still alive and if you ever need a blood transfusion, I'm a type A).

Disclaimer: Kyoya eloped with Haruhi, not me. I just finished my fifth tub of ice cream over it.