AN: This is a oneshot and will not be continued.
The More Things Change
Summer comes, and she isn't surprised when he says he'll still wait for her at that same place next to her apartment, even though school is over for her and has been over for him for a year. And in that past year, he's watched her and, in her words, 'bugged' her during her final high school year.
She knows he just cares; too much, she has to add.
But the year goes by as if nothing has changed. She keeps the club going with a few other students, old and new, and with Tamaki popping in to check on her, it hardly seems like he's no longer a student.
When she graduates and school is over, she feels like everything is going to change. Then, Tamaki says that he's leaving for France, and she knows that everything will.
He doesn't expect her reaction. As usual, Haruhi surprises him – sometimes for the better. But this time Tamaki is saddened by the unexpected expression on her face that he causes.
"Good news, Haruhi! I am finally allowed to see my mother!" He doesn't realize how happily he says this; however, at the last second, he does realize how selfish he sounds.
Haruhi's expression is a mixture of emotions. First, she's happy and elated for him. Then, she appears calm and offers her smooth tidings and wisdom. In the end when she realizes he'll be in France and she'll still be in Tokyo, she frowns.
He never expects such words to come out of her mouth.
"Hmm, it's going to feel strange not seeing you wait for me in the morning by this light pole." She turns her head to look at the pole he's leaning on, and he wonders if she's imagining him gone already, trying to subdue the jarring of change.
He's never thought she's felt such a way before. But Haruhi's emotions are subtle, just like always, but as long as Tamaki's known her, he's been able to pick up on them.
At first he's called it Daddy's intuition, but meeting her this afternoon changes his mind.
He's no longer the father that wants to kiss Haruhi's head when she's being cute or sad. He's the man that wants to hold her when she's being cute and sad and never let go.
He looks down at her with a sad smile and says, "I'll tell my mother all about you. Don't worry, Haruhi; Daddy'll come back. I'll have the twins come meet you here in the morning if you like."
Haruhi shakes her head and looks at her feet.
Both of them know it's just not the same.
Haruhi stares out the apartment window where Tamaki used to stand when they were in school. She can't believe only five months have gone by; it feels more to her like five days.
Tamaki is returning with his mother to visit family on the holidays. He insists she and her father come to the airport to greet him with the others from Ouran. After that, they'll part ways again.
(Tamaki wants to invite them to Christmas dinner, but his grandmother refuses.)
Despite this, Haruhi smiles to herself. She's going to see him and suddenly her changing world comes to a halt. She ruffles a hand through her medium length hair, finally growing out like it was in middle school.
She wonders if Tamaki has changed much also, as well as everyone else.
The light on their street pole flickers on and illuminates the ground below.
Her eyes widen when she recognizes the figure.
She smiles and shakes her head. It is definitely something he would do.
"Senpai, you ruined your own surprise for tomorrow," Haruhi chides him, jogging up to him. Automatically, he wraps his hands around her bare upper arms. He yearns for a hug, but he knows Haruhi isn't the hugging type.
She surprises him when she leans into his chest, and her arms snake around him. He embraces her back, tightly as if he's lost her all this time rather than left her willingly.
She feels the wind pick up and rain splatter on her head. Haruhi freezes in his arms, and he leans closer to whisper, "You want to go inside?"
She nods and lets him go. She looks back at him as he stands under the light pole, and she's already up the stairs to her apartment. "Come on and tell me all about your mother."
"First off, what are you doing here, Senpai? Doesn't your flight come in tomorrow?"
"We took an earlier one," he answers, and his eyes look down at the tea she's put in front of him. Ah, commoner tea from Haruhi. How he's missed it! Yet, he frowns. "Why do you still call me Senpai?" He wags a finger at her. "Tamaki is just fine."
Her face goes blank as if he's said something wrong.
She smiles softly. "Okay… Tamaki." She taps her chin and looks into space. "Sounds weird."
Tamaki chuckles. "I don't know. I like the sound of it." He takes a sip of tea, and he looks around the house. "Is your father out?"
"Uh, yeah, he's working tonight. I had just planned on doing homework," she says conversationally. Tamaki suddenly gets excited.
"Ah! How's the university? Are you taking classes on law yet?"
Haruhi shakes her head. "It's good, but I'm only doing general courses for now." She takes a sip of her own tea. "But it's definitely different than Ouran – harder." She meets him with her deep brown eyes. "Are you… going to school too?"
The way she looks at him stirs his anxiety. Idly, he scratches his head. "I have been taking a couple business courses that my grandmother has requested, but most of the time, I'm just spending time with my mother." Haruhi nods, and he rests his chin on the tops of his hands. He looks away from Haruhi's rich eyes and stares into memory. "She's more amazing than I remembered."
Haruhi hates that she feels just a little jealous of Tamaki's mother. More than anything, she's happy for Tamaki's reunion with her. She's even happier that his grandmother has let up on the restrictions.
It's almost selfish of her to spend time with Tamaki as his old friend, when she knows how his grandmother feels about her.
She watches Tamaki with interest and lets him continue with his stories.
From the sound of Tamaki's painterly words, even she's starting to think his mother is amazing, and she hasn't met the woman yet.
She sighs when she sees how late it is. Tamaki moves to leave.
"I suppose you don't need us to come to the airport tomorrow," Haruhi says bluntly. Tamaki is stunned, but then his expression turns soft.
"My grandmother will be there too, with my mother," he replies. Suddenly, Haruhi gets the picture. Tamaki has had to sacrifice many things to be with his mother.
Coming over here the night before tells Haruhi quite a lot.
"I see. My dad and I will come visit you some other time then," she says and drops her hands to her lap. They start shaking to how angry she's becoming. How dare that woman stifle Tamaki from his friends? How dare she act as a tourniquet around him and his mother?
When the rage finally subsides into a dull placidity, Haruhi rises from her seat to show Tamaki out the door. Before she can turn away from him, he grabs her.
"You can still come tomorrow, Haruhi," he pleads, and she looks up at him with shock. Didn't he just say…?
He gives her a sheepish smile. "I was warning you. I know grandmother puts everyone on edge, even the others."
She feels his hands tighten around her shoulders. "I want you to meet my mother."
She studies his expression, and Haruhi can feel the energy pouring off of him. She wonders if he's planning something epic, having his grandmother there with his mother to meet his friends, most of them in which she disapproves.
Haruhi being the one she disapproves of the most.
And she remembers when she tells Mei this in confidence, and then her friend suggests that maybe the old woman is threatened by her, that's why she acts the way she does.
At the time, Haruhi brushes the thought aside, but she realizes many times later how intuitive Mei really is.
When Tamaki's grip around her loosens and transforms into a lengthy embrace, she closes her eyes and soaks in his alluring scent that she's never noticed before.
Then, her life begins to change again.
"I can't believe you did that!" she says to him in a huff. His mother has gone onto the plane without him, but he's got five minutes or so left before boarding.
She feels oddly privileged he spends those last minutes with her.
Everyone else has left too.
Tamaki chuckles good-naturedly. Haruhi continues to give him her sourest look. She hates how he seems to like that about her anyway.
"My mother likes you," he says, and he ignores her annoyance.
Haruhi rolls her eyes. "Still, saying such a thing to your mother while your grandmother is there." Her face feels hot. She inwardly groans because it seems as though he can see right through to her feelings. "It's not even true," she adds brusquely. Tamaki laughs again.
He waves his hand in the air nonchalantly. "I've told my mother so much about you." He taps his chin playfully, and she crosses her arms, still trying to signal that she is not pleased with him.
"She wouldn't know if it's true or not." He clasps his hands behind his back and tilts his body back and forth in a playful motion. As usual, Tamaki cannot sit still and his excitement fills the entire waiting room.
"You shouldn't do that to her anyway, to either of them," Haruhi drives the point further. Tamaki, instead, takes her hand.
He brings the top of her hand to his lips and closes his eyes. She feels the soft press of his kiss, and when he draws away, she slowly pulls her hand out of his grasp. Her skin still feels warm.
She looks into his gaze, and the last call for his plane jars them out of an unpredictable moment. In his deep blue eyes, she can tell he's done a lot of thinking, and there's something on his mind.
He sighs heavily and picks up his carry-on bag. He flashes her one last smile before saying, "Things have a way of changing, my Haruhi."
She rewards him with her usual mixed expression and lifts up a hand to wave goodbye. He disappears onto the plane, and she drops her hand to her side. She looks down at the ring finger of her left hand and lightly scoffs in defeat when she knows that Tamaki's recent words of jest have a way of becoming something more.
He promises to come back for her Spring break, and now his inevitable return is certain to change things for her more than ever.
But strangely enough for Haruhi, such changes don't seem so daunting.