Warnings: Pre-Slash, very AU, spoilers for Harry Potter books and Ouran manga, mentioned character death, coarse language, author note is full of excuses, finally complete
Disclaimers: Harry Potter belongs to JKR and associates, of which I am not one. Ouran High School Host Club belongs to Bisuko Hatori and associates, of which I am not one. I do not own the characters or settings in this story (but the situation is made-up by me). Set as an AU of HPatHC (it'll make sense as you read more).
Featuring: LovedButKindaEmo!Harry, SlightlyLessEvil!Kyouya, Hyperactive!Tamaki, Alive!Lily, and others
A Slight Alteration Part 4
Harry gritted his teeth against the pain and breathed in, then out, slowly. His thought pattern was mostly "ow fuck ow fuck ow fuck", but some variation snuck in (such as "fuck ow fuck ow fuck ow") from time to time. Wasn't he supposed to be past this? He was sure he was, but...
Hissing something that might have been parseltongue – he couldn't be arsed to notice – Harry sat up from bed clutching his forehead in agony. Voldemort was dead! Plenty of specialists had confirmed it, so why was his scar suddenly hurting again? Wasn't it supposed to be an alarm for Voldemort's proximity and mood? But no, Harry's scar was stinging, so something had to be up.
Now very agitated, Harry stumbled out of bed and searched through his first-aid kit for a headache relieving potion. They weren't perfect for curse-scar flares, but they did something at least, which was considerably better than nothing, or so he liked to think. Just as he found the potion that was the proper shade of do-not-ingest-this orange, the pain suddenly died.
Unfortunately, it was four am. He'd gone to bed at about one, because Neville had discovered the wonders of muggle video games and purchased a rather innocent dating sim – innocent in that it was ecchi but didn't include sex or anything more than kissing unlike most of the ones Harry had heard about – and kept asking Harry for advice on how to woo the girl despite Harry having never seriously dated anything on fewer than three legs (1).
Likewise, Hermione and Kyouya had been in some heated debate, about the morality of certain medical techniques (three guesses which side of the debate Hermione was on, and the first two don't count), which apparently ran extra late because at around two-thirty am Harry had to leave his room, throw silencing charms at them both, and tell them to go to bed before he hexed them.
Having been in the middle of a very good dream, the sort that leaves beds sticky, and pertaining to a certain someone he didn't want to have a crush on, he found himself very awake. And let's not forget the fact that pain was very good for waking someone up properly.
Some birthday, Harry grumbled internally. He'd drunk a glass of milk at midnight in honor of his newfound adulthood. Back in Britain, he would now be able to buy liquor at the store instead of just at a restaurant (2), and here he was just eighteen. But I'm heading home at the end of summer.
Despite the intent to reassure himself, the thought didn't make him terribly happy. Home also meant publicity and reporters and people shoving underwear in his pockets while he was on his way to the bank, which wasn't a terribly pleasant prospect to be honest. Especially when the "sexy underwear" was large enough to fit Professor Slughorn!
Shuddering at that thought – one should never include "sexy" or "underwear" in the same sentence as Slughorn – Harry pulled on a pajama top and left his room. The house was quiet, and would be for at least an hour before Ootori Yoshio and the elder Ootori sons (whose names Harry could never be arsed to learn because they were berks) got up for work. Neville had fallen asleep on the couch in the living room that had been usurped for his nefarious plot to woo "Midori-chan" and get her to go on a date with his character, Ken. Harry had told him that Machiko would be easier, or Ruri, but Neville said Ken wasn't interested in easy girls and kept on at it.
With the volume turned way down, Harry started a new game simply because he had nothing else to do and wouldn't be able to sleep. In the space of two hours he managed to get further with Chikako, the hardest girl in the game to please, according to the information booklet, than Neville did with "Midori-chan" after playing from six to... however late he ended up staying up.
When the game told him that he had won after Chikako said she was in love with Ken, Harry turned the system off and stared at a wall for a while, sighed, and returned to his room to change into real clothes. Just jeans and a t-shirt – designer of course – and set aside some leather-soled boots he'd been given by Charlie two months before... Harry stopped his mind, rewound, and realized he'd managed to think Charlie's name without being overwhelmed.
He frowned pensively. He was getting over Charlie far too quickly. Or was he? His policy was to mourn until he felt better and until he could move on with life – though a bit of his heart would be forever be dedicated to Charlie, just as a part was dedicated to Cedric – but it had taken him four months after Cedric's death before he was feeling at all himself again.
He had been in love with Charlie, there was no question about that. But... Harry sighed and picked up the boots, carrying them with him to the entryway of the house, where he set them next to the shoe cupboard. He had already made plans to hang out with René up until lunch, since René had things to do in the afternoon and wouldn't be able to celebrate Harry's birthday at that point.
Deciding that it was okay to leave early, Harry sent an SMS to Kyouya's phone explaining that he wasn't running away and he'd be back after lunch so there was no use in letting Hermione and Neville fret while he was out. Boots on and tied and his phone off in his pocket, Harry walked off the Ootori property, waving pleasantly to the security officer patrolling the garden as he did so. After walking far enough that he knew not even someone as paranoid as Kyouya would have cameras set up, he turned on a heal and apparated to approximately one mile away from the First Suou Mansion.
Getting in was a bit difficult, but Harry knew what to expect. Even a year after entering the mansion, René had complained several times about how strict his grandmother was. Not so strict as to restrain René from doing what he wanted – including taking literature as his minor and remaining active in the Host Club – but she ran a tight ship.
"Who is it?" Harry wasn't surprised that the guard was out of sight and said this before Harry actually reached the intercom button.
"Potter Harry, I'm here to see Re- er, Tamaki-sama," Harry corrected himself before he finished the name. While the Hosts were now accustomed to Harry addressing René by his first name, it was not what anyone else in Japan called him. "I'm a bit early..." If an hour was considered a bit.
"One moment." The line went dead and Harry waited patiently, scanning the grounds through the fence, catching sight of what might be the security office, since it was a rather bland looking building. "Go on." The gate opened without prompting, and Harry walked through. He was met by a guard who escorted him to the mansion. The grounds put even those at Kyouya's to shame, though Harry couldn't help but think that his mother's garden was better, and Neville's beat that by leaps and bounds.
Inside the mansion, Harry was escorted to a very stiff sitting room, where he spent two minutes waiting by trying to estimate how many tatami would fit there, since it was a Western style room. Apparently it was only two minutes for René to run full tilt through the mansion in his pajamas and, due to slipper-clad feet, catch Harry completely unaware before shouting "Harry!" and tackling the wizard to the ground.
"René, give some warning sometime!" Harry groaned. That hurt.
Completely unrepentant, René just grinned down at Harry from where he was straddling the younger teen's knees and crowed, "Happy birthday!"
A smile twitched into place on Harry's face, an expression that was becoming more common lately. Really, Japan was good for him. "Well, thanks for that, though Neville beat you to the position of 'first to wish me a happy birthday,'" Harry tried his best not to wince. Seriously, being tackled like that could not be good for his back. Suddenly, he felt sorry for Kyouya, since René was generally just as enthusiastic to greet him, though he also felt some sympathy for his friends since he was normally rather enthusiastic in his greetings.
Except lately, but Harry figured that when he got back as close to normal as he could after seeing the torture and murder of Charlie first hand, he would regain some modicum of enthusiasm.
… He was being far too optimistic, all things considered.
"That doesn't matter," René shrugged with a grin and sat back on Harry's heels, his butt resting again the tops of Harry's feet and his knees still level with the wizards. "I have you all to myself for the morning!"
"So Haruhi isn't joining us?" Nothing had been said of the matter, but Harry had assumed that René would include his girlfriend in whatever they were doing for the morning.
"Non, she's busy and I haven't had you to myself since we were children," René grinned more and them stood up, lending Harry a hand before dusting himself off. "I need to shower and dress for the day. You can wait in my room."
Harry was only halfway through dusting himself off when René grabbed his arm at the elbow and was dragging him along.
So much for his grandmother being strict, Harry sighed mentally, but he followed along behind his friend regardless as soon as he got his feet properly under him. As soon as he got to that point, it wasn't at all hard; unlike most wizards, Harry actually bothered to keep fit the muggle way, and the easiest way for him was running. He was good at running, so long as it wasn't from a fight.
The Suou mansion was truly beautiful, and even though Harry was just seeing things whoosh by, he could appreciate it. Soon, he was sequestered in René's room and given freedom to poke around while René got prepared for the day. The wizard had thought to content himself with just looking at things, but René took a long time to get ready.
It was only after Harry had turned three suits to rather stunning shades of purple that would do Dumbledore proud that the half-Frenchman returned, properly coifed.
Tropical Land was, apparently, the stop of the day, and Harry got to experience the amusement park for the first time. He had been to Disney World before, in Japan, Europe, and the States before, but Tropical Land was new to him, so it made for a fun day out.
"I'm glad," René chuckled when Harry intimated this. "I was afraid you would hate it." The reason of why Harry would hate it went unsaid, and instead René dragged Harry to a game booth where stuffed penguins were the main prize; he tried to win one "because it reminded him of Haruhi" (3) and, in the end, Harry took the toy gun from his friend, shot the bull's eye, and collected the penguin.
They left the park around eleven thirty and went to a conveyor belt sushi place, where Harry had fun picking dishes as they passed even though Sirius had dragged him to such places during their previous visit. Well, watching René was just as entertaining as Sirius in this instance, and so Harry found himself having a good time.
"Happy Birthday," René said again as they pulled up in front of the Ootori mansion. "I'll see you soon, alright?"
"Of course," Harry affirmed. He stepped out of the Rolls Royce and made his way back into the Ootori mansion, ready to change again (someone had spilled soda on his leg when he got off a roller coaster, and drying spells didn't get out orange stains).
The walk was quick and quiet; he surmised Neville was still asleep since he wasn't in the gardens, and judging by the fact that Hermione wasn't in the front lounge reading or anything, it was likely that she had gone out for a while, thinking Harry wouldn't be back for a few more hours.
"SURPRISE!" The lights flicked on as Harry was passing through the previously unlit ballroom on the way to the private areas of the house, and Harry found he wasn't too surprised.
Apparently René had just been keeping him busy that morning.
"Afternoon," Harry greeted, showing just how unsurprised he was. Well, no, he was surprised since he hadn't expected to be ambushed, for René to have beaten him here, or for his family to be present, but he wasn't startled or shocked. That seemed a fairer evaluation of the situation to him, and he settled on a suitably amused expression, since that was the most prominent emotion.
There was a bit of sadness that Charlie wasn't there, but it wasn't the stab that would have practically gutted him even so much as a week ago. There was also a bit of curiosity regarding the presence of Kingsley Shacklebolt – he had heard from Sirius that the interim Minister was flirting with his mother, but to see just how far that had progressed was a bit of a shock – and that of three Japanese adults who looked to be in their early forties.
"Happy birthday," Lily beamed at her son, her vivid emerald eyes meeting those of the exact same hue. She seemed to be searching him for something with that gaze, and upon finding it she relaxed; Harry chalked it up to a mom-thing. "And to think, it feels like-"
"Just yesterday that you were telling Sirius I was too small to ride around on his back," Harry recited from memory. It was a phrase his mom often used, though not in the way that most parents would since it was more to poke fun at him than to actually reminisce. Being only thirty-eight years old, quite young for having an eighteen year old son, she wasn't quite so sentimental, though empty-nest-syndrome was probably going to hit sometime after Harry started taking over more and more work with the Company.
"I was going to say that just yesterday it felt like July twenty-ninth," the redheaded woman smirked, "but that works too." Time zone jokes were never funny.
Harry exchanged greetings with the rest of the party guests, most of whom were members of the Host Club. Haruhi introduced him to the three mystery guests, who were apparently her parents. The woman of average height was Haruhi's mother, a prominent lawyer, who had brought her second husband along (their son was on a play date), who was the owner of a furniture boutique.
Before Harry could be introduced to the second woman – Haruhi's aunt maybe? – Sirius sauntered over.
"Hey good-lookin'," the canine animagus winked saucily at the woman, eyeing her figure up and down. "What's shaking?"
"I thought the line was 'what's cooking'?" One finely arched eyebrow was raised and crimson lips drew into a smirk.
"Yeah, but it's so… old-fashioned," Sirius waved it off. "Care to hook up sometime?" He had his best roguish grin on, the kind Harry recalled since childhood when Sirius had been known to use him to "pick up chicks" from time to time (usually, Harry got to go to the farm store and play with the newly-hatched chicks at these times). Despite being in his late thirties, it still had a certain effect on women.
"I dunno," the reply was flippant and only accentuated by the woman flicking her thick auburn hair over one shoulder. "Think you can handle me?" Sirius only grinned devilishly, but didn't get the chance to reply properly.
"Dad! Can you not hit on Harry's godfather when I'm trying to do introductions?" Haruhi looked a little miffed, and Harry was more than a little baffled. Dad? That was a guy?! "Gods, you can be so embarrassing sometimes!"
"But Haruhi~," the not-actually-a-woman pouted and wrapped his(?) arms around his(?) daughter's shoulders, "I can't help it! And I don't stop you from flirting with Tamaki…" Haruhi went crimson and grumbled something that sounded like "not anymore."
"You're a man?" Sirius raised one eyebrow and looked the not-a-woman up and down again, this time slower.
Shiftily, the apparent-man replied, "Yeah." Slowly, unsure.
Sirius' face lit up. "Wonderful! So, wanna get dinner on Wednesday?" Harry rolled his eyes at his father's antics as the man (who demurely introduced himself to Sirius as "Fujioka Ryoji, but you can call me Ranka if you like") exchanged information with Sirius for a date.
Deciding to give up on his godfather for the moment, Harry gave his goodbyes to Matsuda Kotoko (Haruhi's mother) and Matsuda Kano (Haruhi's stepfather who was an oyabaka on par with Ranka) before making his way back to his mother and Kingsley. He'd never gotten to know the man all that well and figured that if his mother was dating the guy then they should get to know one another.
The Boy-Who-Lived, Vanquisher-of-You-Know-Who, stopped in place roughly five steps from where his mother was seated demurely with a slice of cake, gesticulating in the air with a fork. It wasn't because of what she was talking about, it was just the differences between muggle and magical geography, but rather who she was giving a miniature lecture to. Morinozuka Takashi was seated on a chair nearby and listening with rapt attention.
Of course Harry's mother would make nice with the guy Harry was furiously trying to not have a crush on, and of course they would somehow get into an engaging conversation. By the end of it, Takashi even had a list of books that Lily wanted Harry to pick up for him so that the subject could be better studied.
But it was a good birthday, and even though Harry tried not to, he liked that his mother liked Takashi.
"Alright, put down your pencils, the test is over!"
Grateful, Takashi set down the pencil on his desk and used one hand to press on his head and crack his neck. His test was passed down the row, where one of the graduate students would come collect it, and the heir to the Morinozuka name had no problems with collecting his things (really just his bag) and leaving the classroom.
A history major had been set in Takashi's head for years, and his course selection showed it. The only classes he took that were not related to history or geography were those that were absolutely required – namely literature, calculus, and a course on advanced kanji – and even those he only had once a week. After this year he wouldn't even need to take those if he didn't want to, though he knew he'd sign up for economics anyway. He would be starting on law soon too, so he would be able to help Mitsukuni in starting up the toy department of the Haninozuka Group.
And maybe that will mean I'll deal more with Harry, thought the martial artist to himself, though his expression didn't change at the complete one-eighty his thoughts had taken. The Morinozuka family only dealt with one aspect of the Potter Company after all – their publication company – but the toy division of the Potter company would undoubtedly have dealings with Mitsukuni's new division.
Lately, a lot of thoughts had been leading to one Potter Harry. When Takashi had first met him a year and a half ago (give or take a few months), he had been impressed with the personable, down-to-earth boy who took pride in his family's company without being arrogant. He'd noticed the teen's lithe body and attractive features of course, but during the New Year's event it had been Harry's personality that drew his attention. There was attraction, but nothing overwhelming.
Then, broken, Harry had come to Japan once more, and Takashi was drawn in again. Not because he had a thing for the kicked puppy look, and not even because he wanted to help. Well, he did want to help, but that wasn't what drew him in. Harry had obviously undergone some trial since their last encounter – what, exactly, was not learned until a few days later – and he was actively trying to heal in a healthy manner.
Harry was... mature. Energetic when he wasn't emotionally wounded, but he was mature and thoughtful and Takashi could not deny that he had a crush on Harry. They hadn't spent much time together, which was understandable – according to Tamaki, the crush was reciprocated, and Harry was afraid that if he allowed himself to get to know Takashi very well, he'd land himself with another dead boyfriend – but there was still that little crush just sitting, simmering, waiting either to grow as he spent more time with Harry or die off into a "what if?" when Harry left to go back to the UK.
Of course, as days passed, the latter seemed more and more likely. After Harry's birthday, the wizard had been rather... scarce. He had shown his mother around Tokyo a bit the first couple of days, a "family only" thing where he simultaneously had some family time and got to know his mother's new beau. Potter Lily had to return home after only three days in Japan though, because of business – Shacklebolt because taking any vacation time when he was interim minister, even if he was building "political ties abroad" was a risky business – and even though Lord Black stayed around for an extra week before promising to make plans to return (he had a date to keep after all), Harry just sort of... vanished.
Not to say he'd stopped staying at Kyouya's or anything. But he woke before anyone else, left right after breakfast, alone as was noted by everyone, and didn't arrive back to the mansion until well after dinner was over. Takashi had seen Harry only once in the past two weeks, and no one could attest to seeing him much more than that unless they were staying in the same domicile. Even Tamaki had only seen Harry thrice!
Takashi's vaguely frustrated musings were broken by his phone buzzing. He held it up to his ear and didn't bother making any noise to confirm that, yes, he had picked up the phone, because he knew who was on the other end.
"Hi Mori-senpai!" It was Tamaki. Tamaki was the only one that Takashi had given a regular buzz to as a ring tone since he couldn't really think of anything and Tamaki didn't enforce a specific ringtone like Mitsukuni with his cake song. "It's the king! You didn't reply to my SMS message earlier, so I wasn't sure if you got it. Club is cancelled for today because Hikaru and Kaoru have a fashion show and Yasuchika said he has a martial arts demonstration which means that your brother is going too, and Mitsukuni-senpai said he had a date with Reiko-san."
"Aa," Takashi intoned. It was a good all-around answer, just a plain "yes". Yes he got the message, he just hadn't wanted to reply in the middle of class. Yes, he was aware of the fashion show, as he'd been invited to attend, but he wasn't going to since Kaoru had actually said it was a "courtesy invite" that people were supposed to say they were too busy for on such short notice or something like that. Yes, of course he knew about the demo, since it happened every year. And yes, he did know about Mitsukuni's date; who else would have sat up 'til all hours with the hyperactive college student trying to think of the best place to take the slightly-creepy girl for the date?
"Okay, well, just making sure you were aware!" Tamaki was chipper, though there was an undertone of concern not directed at Takashi. It was expected since Tamaki was a bonafide worrywart, and Harry was currently the subject of that and had been for a good while now. "Have a good day and I'll see you tomorrow! Oh, and I hope you did well on your test today!"
Takashi was tempted to tell Tamaki to say hi to Haruhi for him, but Tamaki still had one more class for the day, since it was a Thursday, and would forget by the time he saw Haruhi anyway, assuming that they would be together that day. And, really, if Takashi wanted to correspond with Haruhi, he could send her an SMS.
The sleek green phone was slipped easily into his pocket and Takashi exited the Ouran University grounds. He hadn't anticipated there being no club until he received the SMS, and he usually walked to the Host Club after school, so there was no car waiting for him. He wasn't terribly interested in calling for a car either, and it had been a while since he had just walked around Tokyo. Plus, it was around four, and he had worked through lunch on an essay after noticing a typo.
Food sounded good.
Properly decided on that, Takashi opted to mill around, find a restaurant that struck his fancy – nothing high end since he wanted to eat something filling that wouldn't take an hour to get to his table – and eventually eat. Preferably sooner rather than later.
"I told you already, I don't sign autographs as a matter of policy, it's nothing personal!" A rather snappish tenor lashed out in a frustrated manner; Takashi recognized the voice easily despite limited contact. He'd found Harry, it seemed. "I've really got nothing against you, it's just that if I signed things willy nilly I could get into some contracts I don't want, you understand?"
"It's not 'willy nilly' if it's just my chest, now is it?" That voice was male, and now Takashi was facing the proper direction, he could tell that it was a young man of Anglo-Saxon origins who was brandishing a sharpie at Harry and baring his chest.
"Look, I'm flattered, really, but I already had one person tattoo my signature and..." Harry stopped himself and, from the looks of things, was counting down from ten. "Right. Look. It's not personal, it's policy. My publicist –"
"What's your publicist know, anyway?" scoffed the apparent fan. "All I want is-" He broke off.
It was understandable. Most people would if Takashi grabbed their shoulder and turned them around rather forcibly. Really it was just logic.
"Go away." It was simple, quiet, and very straight forward. The man blanched and left, muttering something about body guards, and Takashi felt glad. Okay, so his only relation to Harry was Unofficial Bodyguard, but it was a bit closer than Acquaintance.
For his part, Harry wasn't too impressed, though he did look relieved. "Er... thanks," he shifted his feet a little. "He was really getting on my nerves..."
"Welcome," Takashi shrugged. It really hadn't been any effort, it was no big deal, and seeing that Harry wasn't being harassed (sexually? Or was that guy just a regular fan?) was a good thing. "Join me for lunch?"
Wait, where had that come from? Takashi didn't really think about it, but he supposed he'd been mulling the idea over somewhere in the back of his head without realizing it, and it was only polite. There were no ulterior motives here. Even though Harry was afraid, Takashi wanted to at least be a step above "random guy Harry kinda knows", and this might as well be a good opportunity for that. Even without the crush-like thing, Takashi found Harry to be an admirable person and if they could become acquainted well enough to be penpals, the martial artist would be well pleased.
Surprisingly, Harry didn't flat out refuse. "Lunch? At four pm?" He looked a little incredulous, but more amused than anything. "Alright, I suppose so. Where were you headed?" Takashi shrugged to indicate that he was meandering, and then recalled that Mitsukuni wasn't around to act as interpreter for his language of subtle movements. "Oh, okay... well, there's a good ramen place nearby; I found it a week ago, and they have the best miso in this part of town. Their salt ramen isn't half bad either."
Apparently, today, Takashi didn't need an interpreter. He nodded to show his assent; he knew the place Harry was talking about, assuming it was where he thought it was. Satoshi had a thing for ramen, and Takashi liked it too, so they frequented a place only a few blocks over. It was fairly large for a ramen shop, but only about the size of a conveyor belt sushi restaurant.
So Harry led him in what was, after a few blocks, undeniably the direction of the ramen shop that Takashi was thinking of. It wasn't a bad walk either; Harry seemed a lot less closed off than before – still guarded, but more open and a bit less emotional crippled – and was talking about whatever seemed to come to mind. It might have helped that, several times there were strangely dressed people, apparently wizards and witches, who seemed ready to confront Harry until they saw Takashi.
"My fans are... well, fanatics," Harry explained, slightly chagrined. "Sort of on par with an anime otaku, except instead of that fanaticism being spread through multiple genres, shows, and what have you, it's pretty much just focused on me. On the bright side, there is only a small percentage of wizards in the world, only about one or two percent of all adults – that's including squibs, half-breeds, and muggles with high affinities for magical arts mind you – and only about a third of them actually give a shit. One eighth of those wizards are actual fans and not just well-wishers and grateful. Only maybe one in a hundred of those wizards would just so happen to be in Asia, let alone Japan or Tokyo or in the same part of Tokyo as we are at the moment."
"And yet they find you," Takashi intoned, and Harry nodded.
"And yet they find me. I know there aren't any tracking charms on me, but it's amazing, really. No one has bothered to go to the press about it – whether they're being sensitive or want to keep it a secret out of greed I neither know nor care – but I'm still found by at least three fans a day, more if I'm in a group," Harry shrugged his shoulders. "But what can you do?"
Lacking an answer, Takashi shrugged.
They arrived at the ramen shop – exactly the one Takashi had thought – and waved to the waitress who knew them both by name. Harry pointedly made sure they sat at the counter rather than at a table; they both ordered large miso ramen with extra broth (4), though Harry asked for extra vegetables and Takashi for no naruto.
"This isn't a date," Harry clarified as they watched their food being cooked. His brow was furrowed ever so slightly, and he was rubbing his forehead like he had a headache. "Just so you know. That's why we're sitting at the counter, because we're just here as acquaintances who want to become friends, okay?" Takashi nodded, understanding. Friends was plenty. "Good. I don't mean to be standoffish, but..." he shrugged again. "I dunno. Anyway, Kyouya and René have mentioned a lot that you do kendo, but I don't know much about it. Care to explain?"
So Takashi did. Their food was set on the counter, and they "went dutch" (5) as Harry put it. Takashi explained the point system to kendo, a little about the kata, but mostly it was the history of the art, and that extended to a history of martial arts in general, like how karate actually had a different name but changed it when the island the art was from was declared Japanese territory.
Likewise, Harry explained about his family's companies and some history on magical secrecy to explain why the Potter-Evans Medical Company marketing to muggles was, in fact, such a huge step in the reintegration of both societies.
They weren't personal topics. Yes, kendo was a big part of Takashi's life, and yes, Harry would one day control the Company, but the subjects of their lunch conversation was far from anything really personal. Still, Takashi felt he had learned something about Harry and made a step to being more important than "some guy," or any of the other Hosts whom Harry had just met in the past month and a half since coming to Japan, so it was better than nothing.
The next day, when Takashi arrived at the Host Club, Harry was present, chatting with some of the girls who were waiting for their Host of choice to be free. A cluster immediately broke off to great Takashi and Mitsukuni, who greeted them with the usual levels of enthusiasm - that is, in Takashi's case, a nod of acknowledgement, and in Mitsukuni's he was on the verge of hugging each of them.
If there was one strange thing about the Host Club, nowadays, it was that Takashi was twenty and he felt rather awkward acting as a Host to high school girls. Most of his fans were seniors, thankfully, as most of the younger girls looked to his younger brother and the trainee "strong, silent type", but there were still a few girls who were five years younger than him who had joined the Mori Fan Club. Takashi only contented himself with the knowledge that he was gay and therefore it was completely innocent on his part.
Not on Hoshakuji Renge's of course, as she was still fawning over every potential yaoi couple she could get out of the Hosts even as a senior in high school, but that was just how the "Manager" of the club worked. It would probably be worse if Haruhi didn't temper her.
Though there was only an hour and a half left of Club time when the two oldest members arrived, that time flew by. One moment Takashi and Mitsukuni were sitting with their first cluster of guests, the next he was pouring tea for a different set, then cutting cake for a different set, and suddenly Kyouya was calling out the Club hours were almost over and that the girls should finish their good byes for the afternoon quickly.
The entire time, Takashi had been tracking Harry with his eyes. They were barely any closer than they had been before the late lunch/early dinner of the day before, but that seeming closeness gnawed at the kendo champion, trying to convince him that it was something, an important something.
With deliberate movements, Takashi cleared the table before him and brought the dishes to the kitchen where he set them aside for cleaning later. As the only Host who was both unafraid of cleaning dishes and capable of doing so without breaking them, it was considered Takashi's duty since hiring a cleaning service would, according to Kyouya, cut down on their Club funds, and the school's service didn't include Club affairs. Of course, it went unsaid that Kyouya was just as capable of washing dishes as Takashi.
When those same dishes were suddenly floating in the air and started cleaning themselves, Takashi decided he wasn't going to be surprised by anything anymore, even though he knew Harry was behind him and directing the dishes on what to do. So he turned around and wasn't surprised to see Harry brandishing his wand like the conductor of a concerto, his other hand waving in time.
"There's a spot of trouble," Harry explained without deviating his attention from the delicate china that was flying trough the air rather too quickly to be safe. "Nothing horrid mind you, but that bloke from yesterday, the Sharpie guy, he went to the press and now everyone thinks your my abusive secret lover who doesn't let me do anything and who I was cheating on Charlie with before he was kidnapped. Or my pimp. It depends on what magazine you pick up." His tone was flat and uncaring, mostly bored, though Takashi entertained the notion that Harry actually cared. "If I were you, I'd keep a low profile for a while, 'til it blows over, unless you want to get hit by a jelly-legs jinx - or worse."
"Aa," Takashi didn't quite agree, but he never went very high profile to begin with. He could deal with staying low profile if that was what Harry wanted.
Harry ended up finishing all the cleaning up after the Club about five minutes before Neville and Hermione apparated in; the three magical persons spent the rest of the afternoon and early evening with the Hosts, just having fun and eventually hitting a Karaoke Box for an hour where Hermione showed just how bad a singer she was, Kyouya refused to sing on the grounds that he was working on homework, and Takashi was tricked by his favorite cousin (no offense to Yasuchika) into singing some American pop song that was completely out of his vocal range in the first place.
It was worth it to see Harry fall of his chair laughing, even if everyone else did it too.
"Harry-chan, will you sing with me?" Mitsukuni had a devious glint in his eyes; he was probably intending to cute Harry into singing something embarrassing with him. Like... the Doraemon theme song or something. Takashi had been tricked into it before.
"I'd love to," Harry said with a very obvious "but..." tone to his statement. "But I have a headache right now. I'm fine just here."
Takashi mentally cataloged the symptoms he had seen of this, and wondered why it didn't occur to him before. Harry was sitting furthest from the speakers, had winced at off notes – not because they were bad, but because they were jarring – and had taken off his glasses an hour ago.
From that point, everyone sang a little softer, turned the machine a bit quieter, and chose songs that were a bit less jarring in their nature. Harry told them not to bother, but Takashi could see how much he eased up just from that little different. It was obviously a really bad headache, and he was going out of his way to play it down for everyone else's sake.
Everyone went home half an hour later; it was a week before Harry was seen again.
"Just a letter," snarled the bushy-haired witch known as Hermione Granger. "Again. If I didn't see his dishes in the sink each morning, I'd think he was kidnapped or something." She flopped back into a chair in the main reception room of the Hitachiin Mansion, which was the current base of actions in operation "figure out where the hell Harry's run off to this time".
The morning after karaoke, Harry hadn't been in the Ootori Mansion, which wasn't too strange, and had left a letter behind. His things were still in his room, so no one was too worried, since the letter explained he'd be back late and there was nothing to worry over.
In retrospect, they all knew they really really should have worried immediately. After the second time in a row that this happened, Hermione and Neville had started to fret and asked the Hosts to keep a weather eye open in hopes of finding Harry as Takashi had before. In Kyouya's case, that meant getting some of his family's hired men to keep an eye out. For the twins, it was posting "have you seen me?" posters. Tamaki added to that by tossing up a reward.
Mitsukuni was confident that Harry could take care of himself, and if he couldn't, Takashi would find him just in time, as he always managed to do. Takashi had no such faith and spent most of free time being driven around to keep an eye out for Harry, even going out of his way to ask random people on the street if they had seen the Brit.
A week had passed, and all they had to reassure them that Harry hadn't gotten himself killed were seven letters and some dirty dishes.
"It'll be okay, Hermione," Neville tried his best to reassure her, but even he sounded unsure. "Harry's Harry, y'know? Whatever it is that he's gotten into, he can get out of just as easily."
"Even blackmail?" Hermione scowled at her friend before slumping. "Sorry. No sleep."
"It's still a valid point," Kyouya shook his head. He'd skipped school yesterday (he called in "Swine Flu" (6), so he wasn't expected in for a while yet) and hadn't gone in today either. Takashi was tempted to do the same, but he figured that Harry would be madder at him for skipping class than trying to find him and opted against it. "If Harry was blackmailed about the article from last week, he would certainly do his best to keep away from anything that might exacerbate the matter."
He pointedly did not look at Takashi, the cause of that particular matter, but everyone else did, which rather ruined the effect that not looking at him should have had. But the swordsman didn't flinch under the half-accusatory gazes and sat in his chair as stiffly as he had upon his arrival.
They should be out looking for Harry, not talking about looking for Harry. Takashi didn't say this, but he wanted to.
"No, it really wasn't a valid point at all," Hermione shook her head and sent a thankful glance to Kyouya, probably for trying to make her seem as smart as she usually did. Or something. Takashi didn't quite understand her. "Harry's not really susceptible to blackmail. It's been tried before; he has no problem with slapping a lawsuit on someone, even if it means airing his own wrong doings to the public. And if it were out of concern for Takashi, Harry wouldn't go about it like this. He's like a mother bear when it comes to people he cares about, whether he wants to care about them or not."
"We got another fake call right before you all got here," the twins chimed in in unison. "So far the poster plan isn't working out too well."
"I had Dad call Black-san," Haruhi added, "but he didn't know anything. Apparently Harry has been calling him every day and helping him plan a date with my dad for when he gets back in the country, nothing strange at all." She made a bit of a face, alluding to how weird the thought of her dad dating – and completely twitterpated at that – was to her even six years after her parents' divorce.
"So, no new information then?" Hermione raised one eyebrow. There was a chorus of "no" from the group and the witch rolled her eyes. "Then why did we meet at all?"
"To see if there was anything new on today's letter," responded Ryuu. He had one ankle resting on his knee and looked rather petulant for it. "It's been a week; didn't you guys say that seven was a magically important number or something like that?"
"Only in Britain; in Japan the best numbers are 4 and 9, and in China it's 8 (7)," Neville corrected. "And the only difference written in today's letter is that Harry asked me to pick up some instant ramen for him to eat when he gets home tonight."
"No hints?" Ryuu added a pout to his look, which only increased at Neville's negative response. "Whatever. I had Dad check out his connections with the Potter Company, and since Harry's keeping up with his work, I think he's just being anti-social again. I have math homework to do, so... ta." He got up and left, the rest of the younger Hosts filtering out after him, even Yasuchika (though that might be because Mitsukuni was getting ready to dig into a cake) and Satoshi.
To most everyone's surprise, Takashi stood up as well.
When asked what he was doing, Takashi pointed out that it was approaching five and he didn't have lunch because he was looking for Harry, which he would resume after getting something to eat. To him, Harry had left a clue; it was just that no one else knew what it was.
By this time, Takashi was used to dodging the occasional harmless spell when he disembarked from his car while in the city. He'd taken the hit a couple times – a tickling charm had been the first, which gained him weird looks as he squirmed, and a jelly-legs jinx resulted in him going to the hospital – but he found spells very easy to dodge, especially since they had no effect on the solid surfaces they hit except for some discoloration to the paint of the car, which was easily overlooked.
This time, the dark purple light took a gouge out of the car roof.
Quite concerned, Takashi turned towards the source of the light, which happened to be the ramen shop that was Takashi's destination in the first place. The place seemed abandoned, dark beyond reason considering sunlight should be filtering through the windows, and only the occasional burst of light broke the monotony of blackness.
On one side, most were red and moved in a definite beam. A stunning spell, as Takashi had learned from the magical foreigners. On the other side, most lights were the same shade of green as Harry's eyes, and they were more spread out, like it unwound the further it got from the source.
As it just so happened, Takashi had been told quite definitely that, if he saw a spell that color, to get out of the way.
It wasn't hard to figure out who was throwing the red spells, and Takashi realized that he was lucky he hadn't arrived any later. Whether Harry had known this was going to happen or not, it really was just luck. It was not luck, however, that drove Takashi to run into the building that was currently being avoided like the plague by most pedestrians.
But the right word did begin with an L.
"Avada K- fuck!" The voice was gravelly and baritone, not Harry's tenor at all, and came from where Takashi remembered the ramen shop's counter was, and a clatter explained the expletive. It was impossible to see though, as everything was just black, black, and more black. The light of spellfire failed to illuminate anything.
A muttering arose in that same gravelly baritone, and the black was suddenly swept away by a snappish wind, leaving the shop properly illuminated; the overhead lights were on still, a fire was going under each of the ramen pots. A few dead bodies were strewn around, mostly teenagers or business men getting a quick bite after work or school.
It was disgusting.
Harry seemed to have been edging his way towards the door, as he was only about six feet away from Takashi, while the other man – his appearance was deceptively meek and he had deep-set, squinty black eyes – was leaning on the shop counter, a bowl overturned on the floor and still-steaming ramen spilled on his arm and left leg. The wisps of steam only helped the image of rage that the man portrayed.
Black eyes turned on Takashi, and another expletive was uttered before the wand was pointed at him and green light was rushing. Takashi hadn't ever heard a spell before, but it was, apparently, possible. He was already in the process of dodging when something far more solid than a spell hit him in the side and pushed him off his feet.
He didn't see what happened then, but it wasn't hard to figure it out. He heard rushing death and then he hit the tiled floor. Harry landed on top of him, unmoving.
Takashi didn't think. Well, he might have, but if so he didn't really know what he was thinking about, because he was busy consciously processing that Harry was dead. Harry had been hit by the Killing Curse, which killed without fail, and even though it had been for Takashi's sake it had been a useless sacrifice because Takashi would have been able to dodge it.
However, in that void of non-thought, Takashi's body was far more capable than his brain. The man – maybe he was a Death Eater, maybe he was just a man, Takashi did not and would never know – was sprawled on the floor, not dead but unconscious and sporting a broken wand-arm. His wand was snapped in half somewhere on the other side of the shop from his body, and Takashi was standing over him, breathing heavily, angrily.
Morinozuka Takashi was always very much in control, it was just something that was part of him. He did not lose control and kept himself in an iron grip. Not for an image, but because that was how he was comfortable; he'd make an exception this time.
As thoughts returned, Takashi thought immediately of Harry and how maybe three times really is the charm because as Harry had just started healing and trying not to like Takashi, he'd died this time.
Then, like it was one of those bad films that Satoshi was so fond of, just as Takashi was kneeling down next to Harry's corpse, one green eye peeked open, and the wizard muttered something and... fell asleep. Unlike most people might, Takashi did not dance around happily, shout, or faint in surprise. He called for an ambulance and the cops (asking for the aurors of course), sent Harry along with the ambulance, and patiently explained what he knew to the aurors.
By the time he got to the hospital, visiting hours were over, and Harry was apparently in good health but being kept overnight just to be safe. The rest of the Hosts and Harry's friends had been by, and so Takashi had no problem going home. Well, he had several, but he could visit Harry the next day. It could wait.
Harry Potter's ringtone on Takashi's phone was a simple sonar "ping". There was no reason behind this other than the fact that it was different from everyone else's.
When Takashi picked up his cell phone, the first thing he said was that Harry shouldn't have his phone on at the hospital in case it messed with the machines, because that was what his mother had taught him once, and surely Harry of all people should know that.
"I'm going to give you a chance," said Harry's slightly-garbled voice over the phone. "I'm staying in Japan for healer training and business school. But if you die on me, I'll learn necromancy, resurrect you, kill you, resurrect you again, and keep you locked up for the rest of your unnatural life, got it?"
There are very few responses that can be made to such a statement, especially when the one saying it could definitely back up the claim.
So Takashi said "Aa."
"Good. We'll have a date... Thursday night, I think. Night." The phone clicked.
Author's Note: Done. Le Fin. Owarimasu. Decided to condense Parts 4 and 5 into one Part, but the first bit had to happen 'cause... well, I promised KounetsuDeb the Sirius/Ranka flirty scene (I need to write a Sirius/Ranka fic at some point...), and I had to get the Kingsley/Lily mention and show the start of Kyouya/Hermione (after a fashion... I'm always very hinty with Hermione's relationships), and blahblahblah.
By the way, if the plotty-bits made no sense, in chapter 2 Harry listed every horcrux that had been destroyed - the Harry Potter horcrux was not on that list. After he turned 18, it started bugging him again, and he was trying to fix that, thus the antisocialness. When the man (I was thinking maybe Avery, but decided against it, so now we'll never know who he is!) "killed" him, it got the horcrux 'cause, if we follow JKR's logic from book 7 *shudders* then it was the fact that he sacrificed himself to die or something like that. I dunno, I tried to erase that travesty to the Harry Potter series from my brain.
I am SO sorry this is late. I really, really am. I started on it two weeks before I was going to post... and then everything went to hell in a handbasket. My dad's best friend and the friend's fiancé (they live 8 time zones away) came to visit and as it turns out, it's impossible to explain what I'm writing and not mention that it's slash, and I can't lie to my honorary-uncle, so I couldn't work on it 'til they left... which was a couple days before school started back up, and almost a week AFTER I was going to post this. Since then I've been busy having a life (I know, it's weird), school, clubs, being a pirate, celebrating my birthday, and being a good Samaritan.
Yes, I am making excuses, but they are valid excuses in my opinion. Real life popped up without me realizing. Please don't complain that I've been working on another crossover since then, because even though it's true, it's different. Inspector Auror I could explain and say "well, it's a murder mystery" and it would be better accepted than having them look over my shoulder and have to reply "it's romance". Have you ever tried NOT explaining a romance story to a Frenchwoman? It's difficult.
In other news, I'm 18 (9-19)! I feel old D: But I bought swords and got my ears pierced, so I'm taking advantage of it I guess. Is it bad that being a senior fills me with anxiety and some fear rather than excitement or relief?
(1) Yeah yeah, dirty comment, I know. I ran into it initially, probably through fanfic, when I was... what? 12? Something like that. If you don't get it then I probably shouldn't explain it to you.
(2) Sources I've found say that legal drinking age in Britain is 18, but in restaurants it's 16 (thus why, in book 6, it wasn't a big deal for Dumbledore and Slughorn to give mead to Harry and (in the case of the latter) Ron). If this is incorrect, please inform me and I will change it.
(3) In chapter... 44 I think (can't be arsed to remember which chapter right now; it's the Mei arc) the Hosts and Mei go to the zoo and decide that the penguins look like Haruhi. The Haruhi in this story is girlier, but I still imagine her as being penguin-ish.
(4) Harry Potter and the Host Club, Chapter 22 reference. When Harry bit through his tongue/got it healed/etc, they went to a ramen shop; it was the same one that Harry took the twins to, Satoshi took Harry too, and it was one that both Sirius and Harry, and Takashi and Satoshi frequented, so the waitress knew both Harry and Takashi by name, as well as their usual – large miso ramen with extra broth for both of them.
(5) If you aren't familiar with the phrase, a "Dutch treat" is when everyone pays for their own food.
(6) Mk, so on the HPatHC timeline, it was 2007 when... no, wait, I'm wrong... er, I'm bumping the real world back one year to fit with my fanfiction so that Swine flu happened in 2008. Sure. That works. *shifty eyes* (I just liked that excuse when I put it in and was halfway through writing why I was right before realizing I was wrong. Blame school.)
(7) Four and Nine are actually bad luck numbers, because their pronunciations (Shi and Ku) are also for Death and Evil respectively, but I figured that had some magical import. In China, 8 is a lucky number (the reason why the '08 Olympics were in Beijing), because 8 (fa) in Cantonese sounds the same as "wealthy" (thanks to AngelAriel for the information on 8!)
By the way, I have a new poll up. Please vote?