Hello, FF Readers! Welcome to another story about the Ouran High School Host Club! I love this series and am greatly anticipating the English-dubbed version of the second half of Season One, which comes out in January. In the meanwhile, while I adore every single one of the Host Club members, one of my favorites is Mori, so this is a story that focuses a lot around him. Another character I'm really interested in is Kyoya, so I'm thinking...a little drama...plenty of classic Host Club pranks...and a new girl thrown into the school who turns their world completely upside down! The Ouran Host Club will never be the same! Especially not Mori, who may finally find someone that understands him and loves him as unconditionally as Honey.
Episode One, Part One: Welcome to Ouran, Rini Ikumi!
A chilly wind swept through a cluster of cherry blossoms, abruptly sprinkling them onto the ground. A few feet away from the tree, Rini Ikumi shivered and clutched her worn, slightly threadbare jacket tight across her chest. She stared up at the stairs, her knees quaking with trepidation.
Though it was quite an accomplishment to be accepted into the prestigious Ouran High School halfway through the year, she couldn't help feeling terrified at the prospect of attending such a place. Only students from wealthy families went here…except for the occasional public school student who was bright enough to win a scholarship. There had been two available this year – one had already been taken when Rini applied, but fortunately, due to her financial circumstances and after much debate, the other had gone to her.
She took a deep breath, and then nodded her head firmly, as if she were giving herself a private pep talk. You can do this. For Papa – and for Yuki. After pressing the small charm on her necklace to her lips for extra strength, she tucked it into her shirt and hurried up the stairs. She grabbed the handle and opened the front door, and stepped into what felt like the beginning of a new chapter of her life.
The inside of the school was beautiful. Even though she'd seen it the day before when she'd checked in at the superintendent's office to receive her schedule, she still couldn't believe that kids actually attended high school here. It was like a mansion – or better yet, a palace.
She smiled to herself. I wonder if there are any knights in shining armor here. Then she sighed. Silly me – I must be dreaming again. She made a mental note not to wish for something so unrealistic in the future. She was here to study and work hard, so that she could have a good job and help out her Father and younger brother, Yuki. That was her number one priority – they were the most important people in her life right now, and she couldn't afford to get distracted.
As she walked through the hallway, clutching her schedule in her hand, she saw from the clock tower that the lunch hour was almost over. A spark of nervousness lit up inside her – she needed to find her class quickly, so that she could talk to the teacher beforehand and figure out what she needed to do to catch up with the rest of the class. She was already a semester behind, after all.
But the school was large and confusing. Soon, Rini found herself hopelessly lost. Wandering down a hallway, she tried her best to keep herself together. But she felt distraught that it was only her first day, and already, so many things had gone wrong.
This morning, she had been planning to wear her thick winter stockings, but then she'd found a huge hole behind the knee, and then she'd spent too much time worrying about getting dressed to grab a bite to eat…during the hour-long subway commute, she'd discovered that she didn't have enough money for the return ride home, so she'd left a message on her Father's cell phone that she needed a ride home after school.
To add to her humiliation, she'd tripped coming off of the subway and spilled her books and pencils everywhere. No one had stopped to help her pick them up, but she had been too embarrassed to want help from a stranger anyway. She was always extremely clumsy when she was nervous. She hadn't been when she was young – it had developed over time, getting worse and worse every year.
Her fingers trembled slightly as she took another deep breath, trying to pull herself together. She stared down at the piece of paper clutched in her hand. Was she directionally challenged? She could've sworn that the classroom was to the right –
"Hey, there…are you looking for something?"
Rini looked up, startled. She hadn't heard anyone coming. And yet, there was a boy – a very attractive, young-looking boy – walking over to her from down the hall. He was alone – immediately, Rini's breath caught in her throat.
The boy smiled encouragingly. "Are you new? I don't think I've seen you here before."
Rini, remembering her manners, fought down her nervousness and returned the smile as best she could. "Hai…um, I just arrived here yesterday. I'm Rini – Rini Ikumi. I-I'm here on scholarship from the school." She bowed low, clasping her hands in front of her as she'd been taught to do to make a good impression.
The boy's smile brightened. "You're a scholarship student here? So am I!"
"Oh!" Immediately, Rini felt relieved that the first student she'd met here wasn't someone rich and intimidating. This boy came from a regular background, just like her. Smiling more naturally, she bowed again and said, in her happiest, more cheerful voice, "It's very nice to meet you! Um…oh…" Rini's cheeks grew red as she realized she'd made a mistake. "I'm sorry…um, I don't know your…"
"That's all right." The boy beamed at her. "My name's Haruhi Fujioka – you're a first-year too, right?"
"Hai," Rini said, her face still flushed pink. "Um, I was wondering, do you think you could tell me…where this room is?" Ducking her head in embarrassment, she held the school map out to Haruhi and pointed a tentative finger at the room number.
Haruhi laughed. "That's my classroom – I was just on my way back. How about we walk there together? Lunch is almost over, and you'll probably want to talk to the teacher before class starts."
"Hai," Rini said, unable to believe her good luck. "Oh, uh, arigato gozaimasu, Haruhi-san."
"No problem." Haruhi gave Rini another encouraging smile. The two of them started walking down the lengthy hallway, and then turned into a classroom on the right. Rini scolded herself mentally for almost losing it earlier – it had been just a few steps away the entire time.
Haruhi led her over to the middle of the classroom and, with a gesture toward the desk that sat directly behind his, said to Rini, "You can sit here if you want – and the teacher's right up there talking to – oh, good grief-" Haruhi suddenly stopped, a frown creasing his otherwise flawless face, "-what are those morons up to now?" Confused, Rini turned to see who Haruhi was talking about.
It took Rini a moment – and a quick blink or two to make sure she wasn't seeing things – to realize that the two boys lounging against the teacher's desk were identical twins. From the number of buttons unbuttoned on their school uniforms, to the way their smiles curved upward into mischievous grins, they looked exactly the same. She'd never seen two boys that were so attuned to each other – they even spoke at the same time – as they were. However, as Rini tired to make sure she wasn't suffering from double vision, one of the boys suddenly caught Rini's eye. Embarrassed beyond belief – on account of the fact that the boys were also extremely attractive - she immediately looked down at the ground, and focused on setting her books on top of her new desk. In front of her, Haruhi let out a sigh.
"Well, I guess they'd have met her sooner or later," Haruhi grumbled, seemingly to himself. He turned back to Rini and said casually, "Don't let Hikaru and Kaoru scare you, okay? Once you get to know them, they're really not so bad."
"Oh, well, um…it's okay-"
An arm snaked its way around Haruhi's shoulders. At the same time, another arm crossed in the opposite direction. Each placing a hand on their hip, the twins crossed their legs and leaned their heads down conspiratorially toward Haruhi, the perfect image of two grinning Cheshire cats. Haruhi, who was trapped in the middle, rolled his eyes.
"Hey, Haruhi, who's your new friend?" they asked at the same time, grinning over at Rini. Rini noticed Haruhi's irritation, and immediately set to inconvenience him as little as possible by introducing herself. She spoke tentatively.
"Oh, um…I'm Rini…Rini Ikumi," she said, hurrying to bow even lower than she had before. Once again, she was incredibly nervous. The twin on Haruhi's left shoulder made a noise of approval.
"What a cute little blondie," he said, nudging his twin. "Don't you think so, Kaoru?"
"She is cute," the one on the right agreed. "And not full Japanese either, is she, Haruhi? Are you half-French, little blondie?"
"Guys, she just got here," Haruhi said though gritted teeth. He shot an apologetic glance at Rini, and then explained, "Rini's a transfer student who's on scholarship, like me."
"You mean she's another commoner?" one of them exclaimed. Haruhi grumbled incoherently.
"It's not like everyone who's not as rich as you guys is dirt poor, Hikaru," he said testily.
"But little blondie here definitely is," the one called Hikaru said. "Look at her jacket – it's worn out at the elbows."
"Seriously, knock it off," Haruhi complained.
"Aww, Haruhi, we're just teasing," Kaoru said, pinching Haruhi's cheek affectionately. Haruhi knocked his hand away and escaped out from under them. Hikaru and Kaoru straightened, and then, simultaneously, took a giant step toward Rini and began speaking to her directly.
"Welcome to our class, Rini Ikumi," Hikaru said. "I'm Hikaru, and this is Kaoru."
"We're the Hitachiin twins. Pleased to meet you," Kaoru said. Both of them were still grinning cleverly. "So how did you run into our friend Haruhi?"
Rini, flustered at their close proximity – they made her much more uncomfortable than Haruhi had – stuttered a little as she said, "Oh, I-I got lost trying to find my way to c-class."
Kaoru clucked his tongue, looking at Rini fondly. "Aww, look at her, Hikaru. Wouldn't she look adorable as a blonde Lolita?"
"She would," Hikaru agreed. "Or a French maid. Tell us, are you actually French, little blondie?"
"Um, no, actually I'm, uh, Swedish," Rini corrected. Her voice barely rose above a squeak. "From my Father's side. My mother was Japanese."
"Ahhh…" Hikaru said, smiling deviously, "That explains your pale skin-"
"-and your blue eyes," Kaoru added. "Still, you would look adorable in a French maid outfit."
"Oh, um…well…I don't know…" Rini met their eyes hesitantly. "Well, I mean…I can cook. And I do know how to make tea..."
Hikaru and Kaoru stared at her. Blushing furiously, Rini realized how stupid she'd sounded.
"I'm sorry!" she gasped, "I'm very sorry, I- oh!" Rini started as the bell suddenly rang, ending the period for lunch. She just remembered she had to go talk to the teacher. "Please excuse me!" With a whirl of blonde hair, she hurried past the dumbstruck twins and up to the front of the classroom.
Kaoru and Hikaru stared after her for a moment. Then Hikaru jumped over the desk in front of Haruhi so that he could sit on the other side of her, and Kaoru settled into his own seat. Both of them leaned in to address Haruhi. Haruhi was looking at Rini. Her expression was quite unreadable.
"Whatcha think, Haruhi?"
From what the twins knew about Haruhi, she was amazingly perceptive. She had a sort of quality that allowed to her look at people more closely than either Kaoru or Hikaru really did. It was partially due to her own effort – because despite her usual state of annoyance, she was extremely kind – that she could see beneath the surface of people, but it was also something that came naturally. It was what made it easy for her to talk to people, and to say things that would soothe them.
Haruhi was jolted out of her reverie. She glanced at the twins inhospitably. "About what?"
"About the new girl," Hikaru pressed.
"About little blondie," Kaoru insisted.
"Is that her nickname now or something?" Haruhi asked, rolling his eyes.
"So whataya think about Ri-chan?" they plowed on. Haruhi glanced up at her again. She was still talking to the teacher, and even from here, she could tell she was apologizing for something.
The twins watched Haruhi carefully. But to their slight disappointment, she ignored their request and began shuffling her note books and taking out a pencil. Hikaru snorted, and leaned away.
"Fine," he said.
"Be all secretive," Kaoru said. The two of them crossed their arms and legs and pouted. Haruhi ignored them.
Because at the moment, she couldn't care less what they were thinking. Her thoughts were on Rini. She was thinking about the moment that she had first seen Rini out in the hallway, just before she'd asked her if she was lost. She'd been framed against the tall window, the whitish sunlight pouring on her face…and she'd looked…
Very sad. Profoundly sad. So much so that Haruhi wondered if, at that moment, Rini had been remembering something tragic.
The last bell echoed throughout the school, signaling the end of the day. Rini was relieved. Even though she was confident she'd be able to catch up on her schoolwork, she knew she should get started right away. Quickly, she began to gather her things.
"Um, thank you so much for all your help, Haruhi-san," she ventured tentatively. Haruhi looked back over her shoulder and flashed her a smile.
"Don't worry about it," he said naturally.
"And, um, arigato, Hikaru and Kaoru," Rini added. The twins looked rather taken aback. It seemed that, given their harassment and teasing, they hadn't expected any thanks.
"What for?" they demanded.
"Well…" Rini blushed lightly. "…for making me feel so welcome." As the twins stared at her silently, Rini realized she must've sounded presumptuous. Maybe this was their normal behavior, and she'd assumed that they'd done something special for her. Ashamed, she flushed an even deeper hue. "Oh, I'm sorry-" she said, yet again. She scooped up her books and made to hurry past them. "Please excuse me-"
But her elbow accidentally knocked into the stack of books piled on Hikaru's desk, and sent them crashing to the floor. Papers flew everywhere, and a few pencils rolled off under Haruhi's desk.
Rini gasped. "I'm sorry!" she cried. "I'm so sorry!" She felt a burning sensation in her throat, and she flung her books onto another desk and immediately bent down and started to pick up.
Slowly, Hikaru joined her on the ground. "It's okay." He looked quite taken aback by her reaction. In his opinion, she looked positively traumatized. "It's not a big deal-"
"No, it's all my fault! I need to be more careful!" Rini's voice sounded like she was on the edge of tears. Above her, Kaoru and Haruhi looked just as shocked by her overreaction as Hikaru. As they watched her, she kept her head bent so low that her corn silk hair swung in her face and obstructed their view of her. Fumbling, she tried to gather up everything as quick as she could.
"I'm sorry," she gasped, finally pressing Hikaru's books into his confused hands. She turned away quickly before Hikaru could get a good look at her face and see if she actually was about to cry.
Rini gathered her things again and, with the air of someone escaping prison, flew out of the room. Haruhi and the twins stared after her.
"What was that all about?" Kaoru asked.
Hikaru shrugged uncomfortably. "I dunno."
"She looked really upset," Haruhi said. Her brow furrowed in concern.
"I told her it wasn't a big deal," Hikaru said defensively. Haruhi, seeing that Hikaru looked truly unnerved by this turn of events, sought to calm him down.
"It wasn't your fault. She didn't have any reason to be afraid. Unless…" But, as before, Haruhi didn't disclose her inner thoughts to the twins, and they were left to gawk at her as she finished packing her things. Finally, she noticed them staring, and said in a more normal, annoyed tone, "C'mon, guys, if you don't hurry we're going to be late for the Host Club."
In order to introduce all of the Host Club members, I've split the first "Episode" into three parts. If you read this first part and you like it, please send me a review! It is always so encouraging to get feedback from you readers, and I want to know if there's anything I can improve or if any of you have suggestions for furthering the plotline. If not, then I simply thank you for reading!
Till Episode One, Part Two,