Hikaru didn't open the closet door until the thundering stopped. The good thing about storms was that, usually, they didn't last too long; no more than twenty minutes or so. Today's storm wasn't any different, thankfully. Once Hikaru was sure that the last of the thunder had rumbled, he looked down at Haruhi, trying his best to see her in the dark closet. No such luck. Her breath was still a bit shaky, but he was sure she'd stopped crying. He raised one of his hands to stroke her hair, ever so lightly. He didn't want to seem too…forward, since she'd made it abundantly clear weeks and weeks ago that she was not interested.

But, it was to comfort her, and…she could change her mind on that, right? Hikaru hoped she could, and would.

"…You okay?" he asked quietly, letting his head dip down ever so slightly so that his cheek was resting against the top of her head. He felt a nod, and smiled a little. Good; he wanted her to be okay. "Then let's leave this closet, nnn?"

Letting go of her (despite wanting to continue hugging Haruhi; she was so small and easy to hug, fitting perfectly into his arms), Hikaru pushed open the door. Kaoru was leaning against the wall next to the door; he straightened up as they came out. Hikaru glanced at Haruhi, as she wiped away the remnants of tears. Yeah, she was fine now.

Hikaru felt Kaoru's eyes on him and looked over at him. He was asking what had gone on in there; nothing, he told Kaoru silently. Kaoru nodded, smiling a little; not a true smile, almost a forced smile. He knew how disappointed Hikaru was that all that happened was hugging.

But, it was for Haruhi, so it was all right.

Looking away from him, Kaoru said to Haruhi, "Want a ride home?"

She looked down at her wrist, pushing the sleeve of her dress back to look at her watch. "Yeah, my bus already left." Haruhi sighed.

Kaoru looked to Hikaru, smiling a bit, and Hikaru knew what Kaoru was planning. Simultaneously, the two of them slipped their arms around Haruhi's shoulders just like they used to, and said, "Let's go!"

Haruhi looked from one to the other, a surprised look on her face. Then, slowly, she smiled. "Okay," she said.

And, that had been Kaoru's plan; to get her smiling. Hikaru smiled at his brother. He owed him one for that.


I'M SORRY.

A ridiculously short chapter, I know. I'm sorry. And after such a long wait, too; I'm so, so sorry. I'm trying to get myself back into writing, and it's taking baby steps. And, something is better than nothing, right?

I'll try to update sooner, and with longer chapters again.

Please leave constructive criticisms.