A/N: Here's another oneshot I kept promising myself I'd write one of these days. It's probably got a bit of a cliched plot, but I like it...and the dancing. But that's just me. Besides, it's hard for me to write a KaoruXHaruhi story, so you should cut me a little slack on this one. Anyway, I couldn't ignore the title when it hit me, and Kaoru, after his analysis of the pumpkin carriage, was perfect for this concept. I hope you enjoy! Ah, and any grammatical errors you find, please ignore because I just wrote this and wanted to post it like crazy.

Disclaimer: Nothing owned, nothing earned. Entertainment purposes only! Thanks!

Smashing Pumpkins, A Kaoru Story

By: Rae

-An "Ouran High School Host Club" Fanfic-

From the moment his twin didn't meet his eyes, Kaoru knew. He knew Hikaru would fall--had fallen--for Haruhi, and he knew he would give her up peacefully. It was only right anyways; Hikaru was the oldest and therefore destined to get what he wanted.

Besides, Kaoru reasoned, he only wanted the best for his brother, his twin, and his best friend. That was why he told Haruhi he could step aside for Hikaru. That was why he admitted to himself that his love for Haruhi and his brother would allow him to let them be together while he nursed a broken heart.

Hikaru was never the most perceptive of people, but even he didn't realize his own feelings. And Kaoru was getting rather annoyed with him. Haruhi had been with the club for so long now that he knew both Hikaru and Tamaki were affected. They'd both fallen for her, and Kaoru would be angry if Hikaru didn't realize his feelings and act on them first.

While he loved Milord for bringing them out of their own twisted, little world, Kaoru felt Hikaru deserved to have Haruhi. Not in a "because we're the friendly classmate trio" way or even in a "because he's my loving brother" way, but in a "because I can't stand it if she gets away from both of us" way. Kaoru wouldn't admit it for all the world, but he wanted--no, needed--Haruhi to be a part of his and Hikaru's world forever.

Haruhi was the only person they'd ever met who could tell them apart with just a glance. She didn't even need to see the way they parted their hair to recognize them. All she had to do was watch them, listen to them, and suddenly she knew exactly which of them was Kaoru and which was Hikaru. Kaoru shook his head; no, she knew which was Hikaru and which was Kaoru. There, that sounded better.

As long as he could keep telling himself that Hikaru deserved to be put first, that Hikaru would someday wake up and smell the disgustingly love-scented roses, that Hikaru would pursue and win Haruhi's heart...as long as he could do that, Kaoru reasoned, he would be okay.

So he watched the hosts daily. He was always the quieter of the two, so no one really noticed when he went quieter to study those in the Third Music Room. He could admit to being more devious in his mind because he was always the one to invent their games, to push Hikaru to some cruel torture of Milord, to finagle a way to leave Haruhi and his brother alone.

That last one nearly killed him when he left them in Karuizawa. Kaoru wanted more than anything to go on that date with the beautiful hostess. He desired her more than any toy he or his brother had ever had. And watching Hikaru botch the date in so many ways had incensed Kaoru to the point of nearly boiling over. Yes, he'd insisted the hosts leave the couple alone to finish their date, but he'd only barely concealed his fury at his twin's incompetence. Haruhi, he knew, was the one to rescue the crumbling afternoon, and Kaoru thought the world of her for doing just that.

Then there was Tamaki. Kaoru had listened to the host king talk on and on about their 'family.' He'd listened to Tamaki declare himself the 'father' to Kyouya's 'mother' while Haruhi was the 'precious daughter.' And, Kaoru realized, it was like Cinderella in the pumpkin carriage. The whole relationship was a fragile exercise in distorting reality to comfortably fit the confines of one person's twisted mind.

When the clock struck midnight, the hostess would be firmly planted with one host or another, and the rest would be left in the dust, just looking at the now pumpkin-carriage-turned-pumpkin-again. Kaoru scowled at the thought and couldn't rid himself of the bad taste in his mouth. He hated losing. And he hated realizing that he did want to have Haruhi for himself.

Perhaps that was why it happened. Because he recognized his desire for Haruhi, a desire great enough to compete for her, Kaoru made a choice that none of the others expected.

When Tamaki and Hikaru showed only ignorance towards their obvious emotions time after time, Kaoru finally got fed up. The blasted carriage was traveling at nearly 90 miles per hour, and the two still hadn't figured it out. They'd danced at the ball with the beautiful princess and not been able to handle their changing emotions. So what did they do? They ignored it.

Milord hid his feelings by clinging to his pitiful familial ties. It was pathetic, Kaoru thought, because Tamaki now had the biggest chance of winning the fair hostess. If the blond would just admit his own feelings, perhaps he would be able to show Haruhi that she wasn't just amused by him but that she truly was attracted to his goofy sense of humor and crazy antics. Kaoru didn't know if he felt sorry for Milord or just disgusted. Sometimes it was both.

Hikaru, on the other hand, was still so stuck in his juvenile comparisons and tendencies that he handled his growing emotions by joking, poking fun at Milord, and basically flirting like a love-struck middle school boy. Haruhi took all of his gestures and touches in stride, not really reacting to Hikaru's painfully obvious attempts at getting her attentions, and that made him work even harder. But, because he hadn't admitted to himself that he liked her, Hikaru only ended up looking more foolish. At least, Kaoru thought he did.

When the day came that Kaoru decided to get out of the carriage, he knew it would change things forever. That's why he kept his date a secret. He asked Haruhi in private if she'd accompany him to dinner; he'd said nothing about a date, but he did ask that she dress nicely. He was shocked when she agreed. He honestly didn't expect her to give in so easily. But what she said next took him by pleasant surprise.

"You were sick the day you asked me on that date in Karuizawa, so this will be a nice way to make up for that," she said simply. Then she smiled at him innocently.

Kaoru wanted to jump for joy and run around screaming out the news all at the same time. He reined in his response and settled on grinning happily before asking her not to mention it to anyone else.

Haruhi agreed, knowing it would cause problems among the hosts if they found out she'd accepted a date with Kaoru. She didn't know for sure what the others thought of her; for that matter, she didn't know what Kaoru thought of her either, but she knew instinctively that it would create chaos in the host club if they knew she was going to dinner with the younger Hitachiin twin.

The weekend approached quickly, and Kaoru found himself nervous for the first time. He'd never really asked a girl out that he truly liked before, and with Haruhi it was so much more important to make the most of every moment that he had. He wasn't sure how she felt about him, and he knew it would be hard to persuade her if she didn't like him. However, he was prepared to woo her in the best way he knew how: food.

The two went to one of the Hitachiin's favorite restaurants. Kaoru had successfully blackmailed his brother into doing his homework for him and knew Hikaru wouldn't be able to search for him for several hours since he wasn't the best at English and some of the other subjects they had homework in. So Kaoru gave himself the time to relax and enjoy dinner at the excellent restaurant, an upper-scale one that Haruhi had never even imagined visiting before.

Conversation between the two was abundant though stilted at times. Kaoru had never realized just how nice it was to have a twin around to offer input. Perhaps this awkwardness was what Hikaru felt on his Karuizawa date with the brunette? Kaoru banished the thought, knowing it would only make him feel worse.

He ordered for Haruhi after she asked what was good. He surprised and delighted her with his appetizer choice: ootoro. It was his plan from the beginning. He'd watched Haruhi eat before and knew she relished the excellent food she'd rarely had the opportunity to eat since attending Ouran. Since they'd always had difficulties getting her ootoro, Kaoru made sure the restaurant would have some by calling several days in advance to place his order. They'd been pleased to serve the young Hitachiin and promised to have the highest quality ootoro waiting for his date.

Haruhi was nearly blindsided by the amazing food. Kaoru loved watching her and grinned throughout the entire meal, enjoying the blissful look on her face as she ate. He'd never seen anyone eat with such relish before, and no rich girls ever looked as happy about eating as Haruhi did with just a small bite of ootoro.

While they waited for their entrees, Kaoru discreetly signaled the waiter, and moments later, a violinist walked into the room, playing a lively waltz. He stood and gallantly offered his hand to her. She blushed, and he tucked away the joy he felt at seeing her look so beautiful. Pulling her to the middle of the dance floor, he took her hand in his and smiled encouragingly as she stepped into his embrace.

They waltzed. It was the most wonderful dance he'd ever shared with someone, and Kaoru was floating in air. The steady beats--1-2-3, 1-2-3--gave him the courage to pull her closer, grinning somewhere above her head at the small gasp she emitted when he did so.

He moved in a circle, twirled, moved his hand into position, and she stepped through the spin as gracefully as if she'd been dancing all her life. Another circle, and the music died off; Kaoru took a step back, allowing Haruhi to finish out the steps, and gave her a low bow, winking up at her through his bangs. She blushed again, and he felt his heart pound in his chest.

The violinist returned to the other room as the background music came back on like magic. Kaoru looked around at the other couples who had come onto the dance floor at some point or another. They were walking back to their tables, and he offered his arm to Haruhi to do the same when he recognized the next song.

It was a foxtrot, Kaoru's favorite dance. Hikaru loved the tango with its sultry undertones, but Kaoru, surprisingly enough. enjoyed the lilting tones and lively steps of the foxtrot.

"One more dance?" He pleadingly asked Haruhi, stopping her as she tried to step off the floor. He gave her the Hitachiin's patented puppy dog eyes, and was thrilled when she offered him her hand once again.

"They haven't given us our food yet," she offered in subdued explanation when he cocked a brow at her. He laughed loudly at that.

The two set off into the foxtrot. While Haruhi knew the waltz, this was a new dance to her, and Kaoru delighted in teaching her the steps. He thought it to be simple, with four basic steps and only two basic directions. One, two back, step to the side and close. One, two back, step to the side and close. Slow, slow, quick, quick.

He chanted the melody of 'slow, slow, quick, quick' in her ear, holding her close so she could hear. His heart was racing now, and Kaoru was more than excited about having her dance his favorite dance with him. She moved so well with him, he thought; it was like she was made to dance in his arms.

Yes, she stepped on his feet, but Kaoru was experienced in such things. Every time she tried to apologize, he simply waved it away, saying, "It's always the man's fault, Haruhi."

She smiled and just concentrated on her steps when he said that. It made him happy to realize she was allowing him to take the lead.

They finished the dance, Haruhi laughing as he bowed low to her once more. Then he led her back to her chair, making sure to pull it out for her in true gentleman style. By this time their food had arrived, and Kaoru once again got the joy of watching her eat. Haruhi ate everything with a beatific smile on her face, gracing him with her sparkling eyes as they talked. It was truly one of the best meals he'd ever had, but if asked, Kaoru couldn't tell what he'd eaten. He only had eyes for the hostess who had given him her time and company and allowed him to take her out on a date.

Dessert was a similar affair of chocolate-covered goodness wrapped in a comfortable layer of conversation. After the initial awkwardness of trying to find something to fill in the conversational gaps, Kaoru realized how truly nice it was to simply enjoy the silence with someone. And since Haruhi already seemed to understand, it was all the sweeter when she smiled at him as they looked at one another across the quiet table.

He dropped her off at her apartment, walking her to her door with her hand tucked sweetly in his. She laughed as he cracked a joke about the host club and grinned at his antics when he knelt down to gallantly kiss her hand good night.

"Thank you, Kaoru," she said softly, looking at him where he knelt. "I'm so glad you asked me to come with you tonight."

His chest swelled with pride at her words. "No, it's me who should thank you, Haruhi," he replied, his voice a little deeper with emotion. "I'm honored that you accepted my request."

She put her key in the lock and, before walking into the apartment, said, "I really enjoyed tonight. You made it very...special." This was said so quietly he almost didn't hear it. Then, before he could reply, she walked inside and closed the door, leaving him to contemplate her last words.

Kaoru spent the rest of the weekend pondering his date. He'd smiled all the way home and had to endure his twin's interrogations. Luckily Hikaru gave up when he realized Kaoru wasn't going to spill the beans, and Kaoru was able to get some sleep.

The following week was going smoothly as usual. Kaoru didn't speak to Haruhi about their date, but for some strange reason, he caught her eyes on his at the strangest times. When he entertained patrons and grinned his devilish grin, he glanced over to see her eyes on him. She blushed lightly before turning away to deal with the questions of her own patrons. When he sat in class working out a translation, she was watching him write; she only looked up at him when his pen stopped moving, and once more she blushed at being caught.

By Thursday, Kaoru decided enough was enough. He'd waited to see if Haruhi was going to tell anyone about their date, to see if either Milord or Hikaru came to senses, to see if he could stand not having her after one date. What he found surprised him.

Being with Haruhi was addictive, and Kaoru knew he wanted to be around her. But sitting in class with her after having had such intriguing conversation with her at dinner was near torturous. Being in the host club across the room from her after pulling her into his embrace made him want to tear his hear out in frustration. He wanted more than anything to be able to pull her into his arms and hold her forever.

What's more, the two idiots hadn't wised up. Haruhi had been blushing randomly the entire week. Only Kyouya and the cousins seemed to have noticed that her blushes were usually in his direction. No one had asked about it, but Kaoru could feel Kyouya's speculative gaze, Mori's solid appraisal, and Hunny's anxious glances on him at regular intervals. Now that he had spent a week trying to be normal, Kaoru knew he couldn't ignore his own desires; even if Hikaru did wise up to his own emotions, Kaoru knew it would be worse torture to see Haruhi with his twin after having had her in his arms.

So he decided to go for broke.

After club hours on Thursday, he snuck away from his brother, who was picking up teacups to take to the back room for cleaning. Kaoru made his way over to Haruhi, who was in her little corner collecting the cups left over from her patrons.

Placing a hand over the one that was reaching for a cup, Kaoru watched her still. She looked at him and smiled a little, her cheeks tinted a rosy hue. He knew it was now or never. Tamaki had just gone off with a load of dishes of his own, and the two wouldn't bother him if he wanted to talk to Haruhi. And though he knew they watched him surreptitiously, Kaoru wasn't going to let Kyouya or the cousins interfere with his plans.

"Haruhi?" He asked, suddenly feeling the need to swallow a lump in his throat that hadn't been there before.

She looked up at him and said simply, "Yes, Kaoru?"

He gulped. This hadn't been so hard the first time. Perhaps it was because he was asking her on a real date and not on a replacement date for one he'd missed. He took a breath and then opened his mouth once more.

"Would you like to go out with me tomorrow?"

Now he held the same breath he'd taken. Kaoru was terrified. If she rejected him, he would be completely heart broken, but he needed to know where he stood. He realized suddenly that she hadn't answered, and taking it as a rejection, he turned to walk away, eyes downcast.

Tamaki and Hikaru were coming out of the back room now, laughing about something or other. The two stopped when they noticed the stillness in the room and saw Kaoru's saddened eyes.

He moved away but was stopped before he could take another step. Haruhi had his arm in her small hand and was tugging him back around to look at her. He wouldn't meet her gaze but found himself shocked when she used her other hand to gently tip his chin to look into her eyes. She was smiling.

"Yes, Kaoru," she said, "I would love to go out with you tomorrow."

And with that, Kaoru smashed Cinderella's pumpkin.

-The End-

...

A/N: Awww...a happy ending! Isn't it wonderful? To quote from Thumbelina, "I love love stories, don't you?" And, I know this ignores the canon, but that's the point. I wanted to ignore the canon, so I deliberately refrained from giving it a time that coincided with the manga or anime timeline. I do like this pair, but I find Kaoru incredibly difficult to write for some reason, so I don't know if I'll do anymore of these...we'll just have to see.

Since it's my first KaoHaru fic, please be kind in reviews. I have no problem with criticism should you want to give it, and I do appreciate honesty. So, just let me know what you think if you feel so inclined. And thank you for reading my story!

-Rae-