Chapter 3: The Madness Continues
Disclaimer: I do not own Ouran High School Host Club, nor do I claim rights to any of the affiliated characters, this is a non-profit story.
Warnings/Notes: Some characters may be OOC, hopefully much of that will be kept under control. I'm so sorry for the belated update, I really have no excuse aside from the typical "busy schedule, life got in the way" crap. The good news is, well, I'll shut up and let you read.
"HIKARU!" The blonde had turned on the twin faster than he could register the movement, causing both brothers to let out an odd squeak of surprise.
"It's not our fault boss!" The elder quickly countered, "We didn't brew the tea." For a moment Tamaki considered this: which servant would be cruel enough, even cunning enough, to lace another's drink?
"What's wrong with you?" The female burst out, struggling against her many blankets and the restricting attachment of the IV. "I can't even – Mori-senpai!" She pleaded, and pushing through Hunny gently, he obliged, ripping the white covers from around her body in one sweeping motion. "Honestly." The free hand moved from her aching stomach to her head as a sudden feeling of faintness overcame her. She wanted to tear the needle from her skin to make her voyage to the bathroom easier, but realized from her dizziness that she was obviously dehydrated.
"Don't move." Tamaki called, his arm suddenly strong and supportive around her shoulders, "Let me help you." The others cleared the way for he and Haruhi as they walked slowly, shakily from where she'd been laying, "I am not finished with you." He growled lowly as Hikaru and Kaoru made their way behind the pair.
"We're just trying to help!" They shouted in unison, obviously feeling guilty that their prank had found an innocent target.
"This is not helping." He fumed, arm still around Haruhi, who by this point had, had more than enough of their bickering.
"Neither is yelling." She pointed out, a bit more dejectedly than she originally intended. "I need a bathroom." She continued, shifting her weight from one foot to the other in a blatant emphasis of urgency.
"Right," the father-figure noted, now keenly focused, "it's the second door down on the left." The tug of his weight was a frustratingly constant force in the brief walk to the bathroom. Her short legs were unable to match his long strides, causing the arm, which never left her, to pull her tired body forward gracelessly.
"Thank you." She said dryly, IV hanging from a portable stand next to her, "I can handle the rest." Before Tamaki could protest she had slinked away from his hold and into the quiet privacy of the bathroom. She shut the door, drawing deep breaths before fumbling with the button of her uniform pants.
"Haru-chan, are you okay?" Hunny called, breaking the much needed silence.
"Yes, just give me a few minutes." She bit back a cry of pain as her stomach cramps intensified.
"Omocha-san." Came the flawless harmony of twin voices, "We're sorry about the mix-up."
"Really we were trying to help." Kaoru piped up, "Since the boss was being so overprotective while you were sick –"
"We figured we'd give him a taste of his own medicine." Hikaru finished; a note of smug triumph in his voice.
"Not to be rude." Haruhi cut in impatiently, "But couldn't we talk about this…later." For a moment all who had gathered in the hallway were silent, unable to grasp what could be inconvenient about the present time before, "I really need some privacy right now."
"Oh." It was Hikaru who first put two and two together, grabbing his brother by the hand to pull him away from the door, "We'll, ah, be in the other room." He replied nervously, while Mori grabbed a worried, angry, and pacing Tamaki by the arm to force him along as well.
"We should go." He said in the same monotone as usual.
"But, but, Haruhi –" The desperate father figure cried, "Mama tell him we need to stay with our daughter."
Kyoya responded by pushing his glasses further up on his nose, "For this? I don't think so." And just like that she was left with the fading sounds of Tamaki's argument and the relieving click of the guestroom door as it closed behind the rest of the host club members.
"Damn them." Haruhi grumbled to herself under her breath, doing her best to gather her wits and make her bathroom trauma as quiet as possible, "How am I supposed to explain this to dad? It'll be a pain for him to drive all the way here from work, and there's no way he'll leave me with Tamaki when I'm sick…."
She felt for the phone, which was in her left pocket, and though unusual for her, it was fortunate because this meant it was on the side of the arm without the IV, therefore easier, and more importantly quicker, to access. She would have to call home from the bathroom if she wanted to have any chance of a decent, uninterrupted conversation, but there was still the matter of what to say. She could always lie and say she was having a sleepover with old friends from middle school. No. She dismissed the thought with a shake of her head; it was too out of character.
She re-dressed, feeling a good amount of relief from Hikaru and Kaoru's unintentional torment, at least for now. The fever seemed to be lessening slightly with the introduction of fluids, but she knew from her fatigue and occasional chills that she should probably take something for it as well. But for now, she had a more pressing decision to make. She could tell her father the host club had plans and she was crashing with them tonight, at Kyoya's place or something…but she really, really wanted her own bed and her quiet house.
"Dad won't be put out if I'm sick." She reminded herself, still feeling a twinge of guilt at making him go out of his way for her, "I should just get it over with." She dreaded the thought of telling him she was sick, struggling for her hard earned independence and solitude from an early age, she had learned quickly to hide symptoms that would trigger his "doting father" moods. Since losing her mother, illness seemed to trigger an especially potent sense of guardianship in him, a need to obsess over her condition and periodic improvement.
The phone rang twice, "Hellooo." He sang into the receiver.
"Oh sweetie, Kyoya just called and told me all about your school's budgeting mishap, he was the nicest thing. You know he's all politeness but I told him I was putting in a complaint against that place, I meant really, scholarship or no scholarship an institution that expensive should be more on top of things. It's not fair for you kids to have to sort through this mess, oh I'm rambling, anyway you try not to work too hard with your friends-"
"Dad, wait!" She was seeing red, it hadn't even crossed her mind that Kyoya might've tried to contact her father, until a few minutes ago there had been no time for him to do so without her knowledge. That rich bastard. She cursed inwardly, trying to sort through her outrage to find the right words.
"Honey, what's wrong? Are you okay?"
Oh no. She could sense his anxiety through the phone, there was no hiding her discomfort from her father. Even if no one else could sense that something was wrong without looking at her, it seemed he knew from miles away.
"Where are you?" She could hear the rustling papers on the counter as he fumbled through bills and advertisements for his keys, "I'm coming." Firmness in his voice could only mean one of two things, anger at not being told of her illness sooner, because she was sure he was aware of it by now, or adamancy that she would not sway him from what had become a mission.
"I'm fine." She lied, "It's like Kyoya said, we're a little aggravated about the budget thing." She cursed herself for going along with this whole charade, she knew she'd probably recover faster, and marginally more peacefully at home, but she didn't want her father to go through the nights of worry on her behalf. It was easier to play it off and deal with Tamaki.
"Haruhi." His voice, still firm, seemed unconvinced.
"Really dad." She pressed, grabbing for the portable IV stand and moving in front of the large bathroom door, "I'll call you if we need anything." That part was probably a mistake, but when all else fails, change the subject.
"You do that, I'm very good with numbers and that sort of thing, you know before you came along I did the books for the fire hall banquets your mother attended and, well now you know how that can be but I wish you didn't, anyway I'll be in touch, love you!"
"Love you too, dad. Bye." She hung up the phone with a loud groan, letting her head flop forward against the white painted wood of the door. She wondered what it was like for normal people when they came down with a cold, she guessed they'd get a few thoughtful cards from friends, maybe a phone call and some homemade soup, all of this was overkill, and – at this point – it was killing her.
"Haruhi, are you sure you don't need daddy's –"
She swung the door open, determined to appear collected and chew Kyoya out despite the overall convenience of his lie, "I'm coming." She called, shuffling back the hall, "You worry too much."
He moved out of the doorway and she crossed the room to the bed, this time with no intention of lying down, "You." Her eyes met Kyoya's through a miraculous glare on the lenses of his glasses, which were in no view of sunlight, "I can't believe you'd lie to my father like that when I'm sick."
He seemed unfazed by the attempt at a guilt trip, "Well I couldn't tell him you were here, could I? As annoying as Tamaki can be at times like this I'm sure we'd all prefer him alive."
Speak for yourself. She inwardly griped, ignoring the blonde's plea for her to get under the covers and rest, "And what are we supposed to tell him if I'm not better before tomorrow, he knows how quick you are to resolve things." Almost as soon as she'd said this she regretted it. Arms wrapped around her in an uninvited heat wave, spewing Tamaki's worry across her skin.
"Leave that to me." Kyoya's voice was all complacency, and she noticed he had begun typing something again.
"Boss, give it a rest." Hikaru smacked the blonde with a rolled magazine he had retrieved to help pass the time, "You're gonna make her worse."
"Who's gonna make her worse?" Tamaki countered, "If you hadn't assaulted my daughter she would be the picture of health by now."
"If you hadn't been fawning over her so much we never would've put the laxative in anyone's tea." Kaoru chimed in, coming to his brother's rescue as the blonde straightened up.
"Yeah!" The twins exclaimed.
The argument escalated from there as Kyoya continued typing, occasionally quipping that it was enough and that none of this was productive. The weight of the bed shifted as Hunny plopped down, offering Usa-chan to Haruhi in hopes that it would cheer her up. She couldn't help but smile at the childish but thoughtful gesture, rejecting the sentiment.
"In case I'm contagious, I don't want to spread my germs." She explained, the elder pondered this for a few moments before withdrawing the bunny, "Where's Mori-senpai?"
"He went to get the doctor, so you'd have something for your fever."
As if on cue the raven haired teen entered, a white suited woman following on his heels, "Good afternoon, I'm Dr. Kimura and I'll be taking care of you through the night." She approached Haruhi, who still sat on the end of the bed. "Are you the one feeling ill?" She looked from the blonde to the brunette, hoping the obvious choice was the right one.
"Yes ma'am." Haruhi offered as Hunny slid from his spot and stood by Mori, out of the way.
"I can see you're perspiring a little young man, can you tell me exactly what's wrong?"
"It's mainly the fever, I've had some chills and weakness but it's probably just a cold."
The nurse nodded, her long, side swept ponytail following the motion of her head, "You're probably right, dehydration seems to be adding to the fatigue and achiness but you should still get plenty of rest for the next few days, be sure to let me know if anything changes or worsens." She pulled the same thermometer from earlier out of her pocket and slid it across Haruhi's sticky forehead, brow furrowing at the nearly instant reading. "This temperature is fairly accurate for the bug that's going around, but keep an eye on it."
"I will." Haruhi assured.
Once again the nurse nodded, "I'd like you to take these." She handed Haruhi two blue capsules and a small paper cup with water, which Tamaki seemed appalled by, "They'll help keep your temperature down and they'll also make you drowsy. Sleep is the best thing for you right now." Haruhi took a quick drink of water, holding the liquid in her mouth before adding the pills to swallow them.
"How often should I take them?"
"I'll be back to check on you in a few hours, if you're awake I can give you more then. For now you should try to relax." She stood in front of the bed, waiting expectantly for Haruhi to lie down. "I'll be back with a cool cloth for your forehead, even if it doesn't do much internally, it may make you a bit more comfortable."
"Thank you." Haruhi replied with a small smile as she grudgingly crawled beneath the flat sheet and the lighter of the two blankets, purposely leaving the thick comforter off.
The doctor came and went. Haruhi could make out bits and pieces of her conversation with Tamaki as she closed her eyes and tried to relax, sleep coming in waves of varying potency as her thoughts fluctuated from those about school to those of home and her father. Take the usual steps, Haruhi heard the nurse instructing. She almost chuckled at the basic, common sense course of action for addressing her illness, having never been convinced anything would need more serious attention.
"Re-soak and apply the cloth periodically. Make sure he's eating and drinking to keep his strength up, and when the fluid has emptied I can change the bag on the IV."
"Don't worry," Kyoya assured her with impeccable charm, "He's in capable hands."
"I'm sure he is, Mr. Ootori. I'll leave everything to you for now. Just remember what we discussed"
Something about the final sentence made Haruhi's stomach swell with a feeling of uneasiness. She hadn't noticed before, but the entire room was strangely too quiet, Tamaki was not throwing himself about in a hyperbolic display of concern, the twins were not bickering amongst themselves or their friends…it was as if she had missed something grave and unnerving. She blinked a few times, forcing her increasingly heavy eyes open. She wanted to ask what was going on, but the medicine had left her in a haze of almost consciousness that prevented her from forming coherent thoughts.
In her last moments of consciousness Haruhi wanted nothing more than to be home with her father, but forced such ideas from her mind. As she fell into sleep the nurse turned a final time, and was gone.
More to come, as always, thank you for reading.