IN THE RAIN
An Ouran High School Host Club Ficlet

Written by Miyu, Vampire Princess

AUTHOR'S NOTES: This was inspired by a recent rain storm. Lasted all of five minutes. But, a lot can happen in five minutes. Tamaki + Haruhi pairing. Sorry, no lemon here. Just a touch of romance and drama. A Standard Disclaimer appears at the end of the story.

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Rain.

It beat slow and steady against the window pane. Such a peaceful sight, especially in the early hours of evening. The sun was trying to make a come back, lighting up part of the sky over the horizon.

Tamaki Suoh smiled as he watched the rain fall against the window before him. Truly peaceful, he thought with a sigh. He felt as light as the rain outside the window. One finger gently traced several drops as they slid down the glass. He was at peace for the first time since...since he left France to live with his father in Japan.

And all because of the rain.

But this was no ordinary storm. Oh no. Though the rain was gentle now, it had been pouring earlier. The wind was gusty and howling. Lightning filled the dark gray sky as thunder rolled. It had been torrential.

He'd been caught in the storm on his way home. That's when he came upon a classmate seeking protection near a bench at the entrance to the school grounds. A fellow Host Club member who was deathly afraid of thunderstorms.

"Haruhi?"

He was quick to offer his assistance, holding out his hand. It was accepted with an embarrassed smile. He pulled her as close as he could to his side, trying to shield her from the downpour as they moved towards the headmaster's building not far away.

Once inside, his classmate apologized profusely. But he ignored her in favor of getting her dried off. He grabbed a towel from a nearby closet and wrapped her shivering form in it.

"I'm sorry..."

"It's all right. Let's get you dried off, okay?"

She clenched at the towel, pulling it tighter around her. "Okay."

Normally, Tamaki couldn't be this close to Haruhi Fujioka. He'd blush. Say something stupid. Overcompensate for...well everything. In total, make a complete ass of himself. But he was focused now. Focused on her shivering, her coughing, and overall state of wellbeing. He turned to another closet in hopes of finding a blanket, or a change of clothes.

It wasn't until a loud rumble of thunder made her jump into his back, practically pushing both of them into the closet, that he became acutely aware of her presence.

"Haruhi?"

"S-sorry, sempai. I...guess I'm not over my fear of thunderstorms."

With a reassuring glance, he replied, "Don't worry about it."

Grabbing a blanket, he backed out of the closet. Haruhi was close behind him, more rumbling growing louder outside. His heart beat in his ears now, his focus diminished and his overwhelming feelings slowly taking its place.

Until he reminded himself of the situation.

They were alone in the Headmaster's residence. They were safe from the rain. But Haruhi was still drenched, as was he. The need to make sure she was okay overrode all else.

"Let's go upstairs. There should be a change of clothes for both of us."

He ushered Haruhi upstairs, still dripping and wrapped in a towel. She offered little complaint, taking in every bit of decor as they walked up the stairs and down a long hallway. Her shoes squealed with each movement, hitting home that she was soaking wet. Occasionally she'd use the towel around her shoulders to dry her hair or keep her shoulders warm.

But she was slightly more fascinated by Tamaki's calm behavior. He was calm, focused. Something so unusual for him, yet it was interesting to behold.

She watched as he walked into a room on the left. Following quickly, she saw him open a door and walk inside. A walk-in closet. That's when she noticed they were in a bedroom. A very sparsely decorated room and not at all what she considered a rich person's room. But it made some sense since this was owned specifically by the school and not the Suoh family.

Sitting on the edge of the bed, she watched Tamaki sort through shelves and hangers. He pulled several things from the racks and threw them over his arm. He carried several different articles of clothing with him as he reentered the room. He laid several of them on the bed behind Haruhi, and set the rest aside in a pile.

"Sorry, there wasn't much in the way of woman's clothing," he said, motioning to the items. "But I think these few may fit."

"Fit?"

"You need to get out of your wet uniform," he replied, taking off his own jacket. Then he indicated the other pile. "We both do."

"Oh."

"There's a bathroom to you right. You can change in there."

"Ok."

Tamaki watched as she searched the items available and selected two of them. Still huddled in the towel, she sloshed towards the bathroom. Once the door was closed, he quickly removed his own clothing, including his underwear. Slipping into a clean, dry pair of jeans and a plain t-shirt, he kept his eyes on the bathroom door.

He knew he was being a bit forward, but he was still overly concerned for her health and safety.

'Isn't that what a father does for his daughter,' he reasoned.

'But she's more to you than that,' his mind replied.

And it was correct. He felt more for her than the simple, unconditional love between a father and daughter. He wanted her the way men have historically wanted women.

But at the same time, he was afraid -- terrified, really -- of scarying her away.

Trying to refocus on the task at hand, he went back into the closet and pulled out two blankets. He wrapped one around himself and placed the second one on the bed for Haruhi.

"Are you all right, Haruhi," he called.

"Just a minute!"

Haruhi emerged from the bathroom wearing a dark t-shirt two sizes too big. The gym shorts, however, fit much better. Her hair was drier and she felt slightly better. She smiled as Tamaki held up a blanket for her.

And went running to him when another crash of thunder boomed outside the window.

Tamaki tried not to laugh, catching Haruhi in the blanket as she launched herself at him. His heart beat wildly as he held her close, wrapping her in the cotton material. He uttered words of comfort, encouraged her to be calm. Yet it was all he could do to hold himself back. To keep from being a complete fool.

To keep from losing her forever.

As the storm settled for the moment, he pulled away from her, rubbing her upper arms in encouragement.

"Why don't you lie down and rest. The storm's going to last a bit longer."

"My dad--?"

"I'll take care of it. I promise."

She seemed to think about it and Tamaki bit his bottom lip realizing now what his suggestion could imply. His motives, while usually not of a sexual nature, were usually construed that way by many in the Host Club. He turned a bright shade of red, preparing for a retort. Instead, she sat on the bed.

Then she laid down.

Haruhi told herself that this was unnecessary. She wasn't really tired. Just wet. And cold. The blanket was a big help, and the bed sheets looked very warm and comfy. Still, she should have turned him down and simply left.

CRACK! CRASH!

But she was too terrified to deal with the storm.

Besides, his presence was like a security blanket. And he wasn't making fun of her fear. He understood, and said nothing. So staying a little while longer wasn't going to hurt. And he looked too frightened himself to cause trouble. He really did mean well.

But if he did anything perverted, she wouldn't hesitate to leave.

Like any father would, he tucked Haruhi into bed. She complained only a little, the warmth of the blankets making her blink sleepily. Then she settled against the sheets, her head resting against the pillow.

"Comfortable?"

She only nodded.

"Good."

Then he crawled onto the bed beside her.

He expected an angry retort or some kind of comment from her. But she just stared at him as he settled on top of the sheets next to her in bed. He remained fully clothed, pulling a separate blanket up over his tall frame.

Silence loomed over them as the rain continued to pour outside. They watched each other, waiting. Just waiting. Then a bright flash of lightening came through the tall windows, followed by a loud crash of thunder. The walls vibrated and the windows rattled.

Haruhi's face scrunched into and ugly expression, pulling the covers tighter around her. Tamaki immediately responded by settling closer to her on the bed. Without words, he gathered her as close as possible. And with no argument, she snuggled close.

"It's all right," he said, lightly stroking her covered back with his fingertips. "It'll be over shortly."

"Tamaki?"

He didn't stop caressing her, resting his chin on the top of her head. "Hmm?"

She smiled, snuggling closer still. "Thank you."

There was more silence as the rain continued to beat against the outside of the building. It sounded almost like music. Tamaki wondered if a rain forest sounded so beautiful. If a typhoon were as whimsical.

It seemed like the perfect moment. The perfect time.

For a confession.

Holding Haruhi close, he whispered in her ear, "I love you."

The only response he received was a small snore.

She was sound asleep.

He laughed to himself. The one time he has the courage to say how he feels, and she's asleep.

'No matter,' he thought. 'There's always next time.'

He remained still for nearly an hour before disengaging himself from Haruhi. He crawled from the bed, careful not to wake her. There was a telephone on a stand across the room. He picked it up and dialed. First he called his father and explained the situation. A car would be on its way soon.

Then he called Haruhi's dad.

He surprisingly understood. Normally he teased Tamaki mercilessly. To a point where the young man was convinced the older man hated him. But he wasn't surprised by the ordeal. He knew of his daughter's fear, and was quite grateful to receive a phone call.

"Thank you for taking care of her," he said. "I'll be there to pick her up in about an hour."

Sighing in relief, Tamaki made his way to the windows. Sitting on a cushioned chair, he watched the rain, getting lost in his own thoughts about his chance meeting with Haruhi.

And his confession.

CREEK! CREEK! CRACK!

Startled from his reverie, Tamaki turned away from the window. There was movement across the room, a dark lump moving on the bed. He sat quietly, waiting. When the lump settled down, no longer moving, he stood and walked over to the bed.

Haruhi was still sleeping soundly, the blankets pulled tightly around her shoulder. She looked peaceful. The smile on her lips made her look almost happy. Her breathing was steady and he was loathe to have to wake her up.

As carefully as he crawled out, Tamaki rejoined Haruhi on the bed. As if drawn to his warmth, she snuggled closer on her own, making Tamaki smile. Unhesitant, he wrapped an arm around her. To keep her close and show his support.

"Tamaki?" Her voice was barely a whisper.

"Yeah?"

"I... Thank you..."

No, this was no ordinary storm.

"You're welcome, Haruhi."

And for that, he was grateful.

--OWARI--

DISCLAIMER:
Ouran High School Host Club is a brilliant piece of work by creator Bisco Hatori. Originally published in 2003 by HAKUSENSHA, Inc., Tokyo, Japan, this masterpiece is being translated and published by VIZ Media for fans in America and Canada. I do not own a single piece of the characters used in this story. They were kidnapped and used here without permission.