DISCLAIMER: Ouran High School Host Club and its characters belong to Bisco Hatori.
If there was one thing Haruhi learned from being in the Host Club, it was that she should always expect the unexpected.
After several life-changing (some even life-threatening!) fiascos that had occurred because of one of Tamaki's 'ingenious plans', the twins' various set-ups or even Kyoya's fiendish brainpower, Haruhi knew there was no safety. Whatever peaceful life she might have had if she had not stepped into the Third Music Room so long ago was long gone, though when Haruhi would try and visualize such a life she would find it oddly dull.
At times like these, Haruhi felt like she could take on the Host Club. Yes, if she could stand those guys she was ready for anything to come out of nowhere.
Of course, the unexpected always came. If not, what would become the unexpected to expect?
The day began normally, like any other Host Club day. There was the standard twins-doubling-on-her, the Tamaki-trying-to-save-her and the ever-increasing debt. She didn't care about the debt anymore – it would be like trying to pay back a bottomless hole.
Rich people… never satisfied…
However, the first abnormality of the day presented itself pretty quickly.
"Eh?" Tamaki looked up from yet another book on the study of the proletariat, conjuring up plans for yet another land-of-the-common-folk adventure for the club. "Hunny-senpai isn't here? Mori-senpai, where is he?"
"… Mitsukuni is ill."
The gravity of that statement sent the group into silence. The twins stopped fidgeting with their victim, Kyoya lifted his eyes up from his PineApple laptop (currently checking the Host Club auction) and Haruhi looked at the tall, taciturn senior sitting across from her. The most physically imposing character of the seven (save perhaps the Demon Overlord), Morinozuka Takashi now had such a face of gloomy remorse that Haruhi feared he would begin punishing himself again.
"Well, what's he caught, Mori-senpai?" Hikaru asked.
Hikaru and Kaoru resisted the urge to laugh. For the most part, the Host Club could not understand why Mori punished himself so hard whenever something mild beset his cousin. They could not fathom how pampered Hunny must be if Mori attended to him so faithfully. Tamaki approached the gloomy third-year, trying to lift his spirits.
"I'm sure Hunny-senpai will be fine in a few days," he said reassuringly. "As long as he stays in bed and takes his medicine, he could be back tomorrow!"
A sudden thought of a bedridden Hunny screaming "Takashiiiiii! I don't wanna eat the yucky medicine!" and getting a spoonful of red liquid being forced into his mouth passed by Haruhi's mind. Haruhi quickly buried the thought.
"In fact," Tamaki continued, feeling particularly sympathetic today, "let's make Hunny a get-well basket!" With this statement, Tamaki galvanized himself into action. Rummaging around in his treasure chest where he stored his beloved blown-up Haruhi picture, he pulled out a large basket.
"We'll get the flowers!" the twins called in unison, and immediately pulled out cell phones.
"How about you, Kyoya?" Tamaki asked. "Surely your family makes some sort of tasty medicine?"
"Are you sure you want to be using all this time, Tamaki?" Kyoya asked. "Our recent expenditures have skyrocketed and with Hunny-senpai gone we can expect a twenty percent loss in attendance. How do you suppose we tackle this problem?" He returned to perusing the computer.
Tamaki blinked. Then he gasped, with a rare spurt of realization.
"Oh no!" he exclaimed in horror. "That's right – with Hunny-senpai gone, Mori-senpai has no lovely item! Now he will look like some mean street gangster!"
"I-I thought you guys were doing that just to get Casanova-kun off of your hands," Haruhi said. "Sure, it was mean and unnecessary of you guys, but I thought you guys were kidding about that stuff… don't tell me the other girls actually take this seriously?" Of course, the answer was obvious – at Ouran, everything was to be taken seriously.
"Milord, you're not just going to kick Mori-senpai out for three days, right?" Kaoru asked. "Because that would just be stupid."
"But-but – then what should we do?" Tamaki wailed. "Mori-senpai with no lovely item is like Kyoya without his glasses! It just isn't the SAME!"
Kyoya's bespectacled glare turned again away from the computer, but this time to Tamaki.
"The solution is simple, is it not?" he said plainly. "If we do not have our usual lovely item, we simply need another."
Indeed, it was simple solution, but Haruhi didn't like the feeling she was getting. Just where was this lovely item coming from? Rather, who would it be? It would only be sensible for it to be someone who acted well in a group and alone, so the twins were out of the question. Tamaki was mostly a one-on-one guy and Kyoya was… well, Kyoya.
So when Haruhi felt the Hitachiin brothers grab her by her arms, she was practically surrendering. Why is it always me?
"Mori-kun, where's Hunny-kun today?" the girls asked, swarming around Mori and Haruhi at their table. Even the ones that usually flocked to Tamaki had come over, making the situation much graver than the actual problem.
"Hunny-senpai's sick," Haruhi dutifully supplied. A look at Mori told her that he was in no shape to answer. He sat there, staring very intently at the wall. He didn't cast a look at the girls, but he also didn't look at Haruhi.
Haruhi felt like he was intentionally diverting his gaze.
"Sick?" the girls gasped, almost in unison. "That's horrible!" They continued to gush and squeal for Mori, who was looking as impassive as ever. Haruhi was pretty sure that she was the only one to notice that his right hand was much tenser than usual.
She knew he overreacted to these things, but today Mori looked… especially lonely.
With their customers over with Mori and Haruhi, the other hosts walked over to the congregation. In a dramatic fashion, Tamaki parted the crowd to join his fellow hosts in the middle. He put one arm around Mori's shoulder and the other around Haruhi's, drawing them together. In the process, Mori's and Haruhi's arms bumped into each other.
It was the slightest bristle, but Haruhi still sensed Mori's reaction.
What was going on?
"It's at a time like this that the Host Club has to support each other!" Tamaki declared. "We are all family! We'll see this through!" With that, he motioned for the others to come. The girls screamed with joy, some asking to join in. Tamaki welcomed them with open arms, of course.
Haruhi wouldn't admit it, but she did like the supportive atmosphere.
"By the way," Kyoya said, "the Host Club is arranging a collective get-well basket for Hunny-senpai. If you are willing to join, we'd be glad to accept your generosity."
A bunch of girls immediately ran for cell phones and wallets.
Haruhi felt the atmosphere crash.
"Kyoya!" Tamaki yelled accusingly after the Host Club hours were over.
"What is it, Tamaki?" the person in question said in response. "I'm trying to organize this mass of gifts." Haruhi saw the table at which Kyoya sat; there was a mountain of chocolate, assorted stuffed animals and sugary confections. Sometimes she really wanted to tell those rich people to put their money to good use. Not that Hunny was a bad use…
"That's my point exactly!" the passionate blond yelled again. "It was my idea you shot down and then took for yourself!"
"He just knew when to use it, Tamaki," Haruhi sighed. "Just because he has a little more insight than you…" She didn't finish, though, as she saw Tamaki enter the fetal position in a corner and began to mumble to himself. At this stage the point had been made.
"Kyoya-senpai," Haruhi turned to the Shadow King, "why did you go along with Tamaki's… act today?" She could have sworn Tamaki mumbled "It wasn't an act…" but chose to ignore it.
"To be blunt, it only helped set the atmosphere for the gift basket," Kyoya began, and Haruhi saw Tamaki's shoulders droop lower. "But it really was quite intelligent. Revenues went up ten percent today." Kyoya sounded pleasantly surprised. This was definitely not normal.
On the other hand, Tamaki's reaction, which was to jump up and run to Kyoya and give him a big hug, was perfectly expected.
"I knew it!" the blond exclaimed. "I'm a genius! Thank you, Kyoya!" Kyoya took his free hand and smacked himself in the forehead. Abnormality, indeed.
With that happily resolved, Haruhi turned to the twins and Mori. Hikaru and Kaoru watched Mori with interest, as he continued to sit on the same sofa had been sitting on all day.
"Is he going to be like this for the rest of the day?" Hikaru turned to Kaoru, who shrugged. "He needs to learn how to take a hit or two."
"He probably doesn't want to see Hunny squirming away from the medicine or something," Kaoru reasoned. The twins nodded sagely, as though they were playing the psychologists.
With that, the two proceeded to become reflexive doctors; Mori remained motionless.
"Milord, milord!" they cried. "Mori-senpai's not moving!"
Tamaki immediately let go of Kyoya (who seemed a little relieved) and came to the trio. Hikaru was waving his hands in Mori's face, while Kaoru had pulled out the instrument to test reflexes, though he was just poking Mori in various places.
"Mori-senpai?" Tamaki said. Mori didn't so much as blink. "Shouldn't you go home?" But even that couldn't seem to move the tacit third-year. Something was definitely off with Mori today, Haruhi decided. He was never this unresponsive.
"It's getting late," Kyoya said as he dialled a number on his phone. "I'll take care of delivering the basket." No sooner than he said that did a horde of Ohtori family staff rush into the room, grab the huge basket of presents and leave.
Slowly, the other members of the club left – the twins convinced Mori had turned to stone, Tamaki telling the remaining people to lock the door if they were last, please and thank you. Eventually, Mori and Haruhi were the only two left in the Third Music Room.
Even after the departure of everyone else, Mori didn't move. Haruhi went to go sit next to him.
"Mori-senpai, are you worried about Hunny-senpai?" she asked, almost expecting no response. But Mori, without turning, nodded once, slowly.
"Mitsukuni hates medicine," he said. "Even spoonfuls of sugar don't help." Did Mori just make a reference to popular culture?
"Then shouldn't you go back and help him out?"
Mori didn't reply for a while. Finally, he said, "I'm afraid."
The surprises just didn't stop. "Afraid?"
"I'm afraid to see Mitsukuni squirming in fear away from the medicine." Mori turned away to look at the wall. "Every time I am there, I turn away. It's for his own good, but I don't want to be the one to inflict the pain on him."
Pain? Fear? Medicine? Mori being selfish? The twins were right?
"… is this true, Mori-senpai?"
"Mitsukuni told me that if I dared to feed him the medicine today, he would hate me forever."
Well, that was… explainable. On Mori's part. But that statement… felt like it was shielding the truth. That there was another reason Mori did not return home.
"Mori-senpai," Haruhi started, "I'm sure that Hunny-senpai understands it's for his own good. And that you do it because you care about him, right? If you two understand that, then you'll be fine." She smiled, as sincerely as she could without exposing her opinion that something was afoot.
Mori turned to look at her again. For what seemed like the longest time, the two of them just stared at each other - Mori rather blankly, Haruhi somewhat inquisitively. Slowly, Haruhi pieced the events together. Hunny's absence made Mori worried, but about himself. Something else threatened to take that devotion to Hunny away from him.
Why had he been so tense without Hunny there?
Without Hunny there, there was nothing to stop him.
He bent down, slowly but surely, and kissed Haruhi chastely.
The brief moment over, Mori straightened and whispered, "Thank you, Haruhi." With that, he stood up, walked to the door and left.
It was so unexpected that Haruhi almost forgot to lock the door after she left in a daze – and she never forgot.
One Mitsukuni Haninozuka snuggled with his many animals in bed, happily munching candies and introducing his new stuffed friends on his large four-poster to the regulars. He took a bottle from a large basket on the ground next to him, poured some liquid out from it onto a spoon and jammed it eagerly into his mouth.
After all, the new Ohtori medicine line was nastiness-free, guaranteed.
"Hmm…" the small blond said to his favourite stuffed rabbit as he licked off the spoon. "Usa-chan, I wonder how Takashi is doing today?" He giggled.
This is something I started a year ago and never finished. I found it quite difficult to write Mori – as much as I love this pairing, it was hard to find something to justify his actions.
Then again, the theme of this was supposed to be 'the unexpected'…