Thanks to everyone that has reviewed, and/or added me to your alerts and favorites! I really appreciate it. And so, I present to you this next argument filled chapter.
"The image isn't edited," Ayanokoji said, almost giddily. Kyouya raised his eyebrows at her and she continued, now finding that maybe having this irritating snoop around wouldn't foil her plans after all. "This really happened. Right, Tamaki?"
"Yes…but we know that it isn't what it looks like," Tamaki replied.
"Of course," she nodded, "So, there should be no big deal about it."
"That's where you're wrong," Kyouya said. "The article is all about how he's dating both you and Haruhi and how he's a 'commoner that likes rich heiresses' which is completely slandering his name and therefore slandering the host club."
"What are you getting at?"
"We need to put a stop to these articles and such before things get out of hand," the Shadow King explained. "And you're going to help us do so."
Ayanokoji let out a chuckle, shaking her head. "I see nothing wrong with these articles. Let the public believe and decide what they want. If you have a problem with this, then you fix it. I've already been hurt enough," she looked at Tamaki purposefully, as if he had broken her heart a thousand times in one day.
"In retaliation to our paper's latest gossip column, Hitachiin Hikaru, eldest of the 'Little Devil Type' pairing in the school's newest club (the Host Club) savagely attacked President of the Ouran High Newspaper Club, Komatsuzawa Akira, in his office.
The enraged host transferred into Ouran Academy just a few months ago on a scholarship. It seems that his true colors are now showing; he is very instinctive, his mannerisms are not up to part and he does not think before he acts." -Akira "The Newspaper Club"
"Due to the fact that Komatsuzawa-kun has not reported you and that this section of the paper is based off of gossip, you won't be suspended. But if there are any more signs that you've laid a hand on any students then you will be suspended or possibly expelled. Do I make myself clear, Hitachiin-kun?" Mr. Houshakuji, the Superintendent/Renge's father said sternly. He leaned forward, almost daring Hikaru to say anything out of line.
Hikaru nodded. "Hai, Houshakuji-san."
"You are dismissed."
Hikaru stood up and walked out of the office, fists clenched in anger. 'That idiot. I can't believe this…if the host club sees that paper…"
"Your going to have to make a formal apology."
The room was silent except for the grand clock ticking somewhere in the background. It seemed to match Hikaru's heartbeat; slow and loud…almost frozen in time. He stared at Kyouya with large, unbelieving eyes. "What?" he asked, barely recognizing his own voice.
The host club was closed for the day. From the time Hikaru had walked into his first period class, there had been nothing but pandemonium surrounding him. Not only girls, but boys had also bum-rushed him with questions and accusations. Some of the bolder kids had even called him a savage that needed to learn manners.
"Ch. The headmasters should've known not to give anyone like that a scholarship. I knew they wouldn't fit in." The words of a classmate's whisperings rung in Hikaru's ears. In his barely suppressed anger, he was practically trembling now standing across from Kyouya and the others.
"Hikaru," Kyouya said sternly, snapping him out of his thoughts. "If you decide not to do this the club's reputation will soon decrease exponentially. Do you understand? This is what Komatsuzawa Akira and Ayanokoji wants. You'll let them win if you fail to fix this."
Hikaru bit his lip and hung his head. They had worked so hard…all of them…to get the club started, to stitch their small family together. But he couldn't see how a family that would always be together anyways…was worth this kind of humiliation. "I'm…still selfish," he said more to himself than the five people staring at him. He looked up at them, teary eyes blurring his vision. "I won't apologize. I did nothing wrong to that jackass and you guys know it. I was protecting Haruhi. That's it. I won't take that back."
"Hika-" Kaoru tried but Hikaru cut him off immediately.
"I won't apologize!" he yelled, causing nearly everyone to jump. He let out an almost animalistic growl and stormed out of the room, slamming the door behind him.
"I'll go talk to him." Kaoru said immediately, moving towards the door.
Kaoru blinked and turned around, finding Haruhi grab his wrist. "I'll go talk to him," she stated firmly, looking him in the eyes.
"But…" Kaoru started but stopped when he saw Tamaki shake his head solemnly.
"Hikaru has to know that you won't always be there to chase after him…and that maybe other people will," Tamaki explained. Kaoru's eyes widened as Takashi and Honey nodded in agreement.
Haruhi nodded as well and dashed out of the room. It did not take her long to find Hikaru, who was walking slowly out of the main doors of the school. "Hikaru!" she called, running up to him. "Geez…really…" she looked up at him. He did not look down on her, instead staring out at the distant sunset. Haruhi sighed and ran a hand through her hair.
"Hikaru, don't you think your being a little dramatic?"
He frowned and looked down at her. "Ne, Haruhi…if I quit…I'll have to dye my hair."
Haruhi scrunched up her face in confusion, honestly not knowing what he was talking about. "What?"
"When we first joined the host club…we had a bet that if Kaoru or I quit we'd have to make ourselves look different from each other. If you quit, you'd have to do our homework for a year." Hikaru laughed bitterly and shook his head. "None of this would have ever happened if you had just went to Lobelia like you wanted…"
"Alright," Haruhi shook her head. "You're being ridiculous, Hikaru. Why don't-"
"You want to go to Lobelia, right?" he suddenly shouted, causing Haruhi to step back a bit. He swung around, glaring down at her. "Then why don't you just go? Why did you have to stay here?!"
…But she remembered looking at the photographs of her mother going to Lobelia. Haruhi remembered always wanting to feel just as happy as her mother looked in those pictures. After her mother died, she wanted to go to Lobelia even more, but her father would hear none of it.
She'd always been told what to do and how to do it; how to talk around important people, how to hold her silverware, how to do this how to do that.
Why shouldn't she go to Lobelia?
She had tried her best not to think about it over the last couple of days. With all of the drama going on, it had been easy not to. But there had always been that thought in the back of her mind. Whenever she passed her mother's picture…
But this was not about that. It was not about her. "Hikaru, though I'm glad that you care enough about me to go and almost beat up Komatsuzawa-san…it really wasn't necessary. I just think it'd be a good idea to apologize. For everyone. They can write all of the lies they want about me. It won't make a difference in the end."
"Yes, it will. And I already said that I won't apologize," he replied, pushing past her.
He did not turn back and Haruhi did not bother catching up to him or calling his name. She could no longer deny it. She really had been considering leaving the host club…leaving the school…leaving them…leaving him. But that did not mean that she was prepared to leave just yet, and it certainly did not mean that she would allow their club to crumble so easily.
Turning around, Haruhi went back into the school, now confident in her resolve. Though she was a bit confused about the whole situation, she would not be like Hikaru.
She was a Fujioka. For once, she would not run away from that name.
She most certainly would not run away from this situation.
Slamming into the room, Haruhi searched the face of Komatsuzawa Akira and his two friends. She glared at the two henchman, throwing as much feriousness into her eyes as she could muster, and said between clenched teeth, "Get. Out."
They did not even wait for Akira's consent; the two shared a nervous glance before nodding and practically jogged out of there. The door closing seemed to created a resounding thump in the room.
Akira stared at her blankly, watching her clench and unclench her fists. "Ah, Fujioka. I hope you aren't here to retaliate against my papers in the same fashion that Hitachiin-san did." He let out a simple chuckle, leaning back in her brown leather chair. "That wouldn't be very Fujioka-like at all."
"Don't talk to me as if you are above me."
Akira visibly stiffened. Haruhi could see his throat move as he swallowed nervously. She imagined that he had just realized he has been a little too cocky and comfortable. She moved forward, placing both of her palms on the top of his cherry-oak made desk and leaning forward. "Where's Ayanokoji?"
He paled and shook his head, rolling back against the windows he was sitting in front of. "H-how would I know?"
Haruhi sighed and flipped her hair to the side. "Fine." she said, inwardly blanching at her horrible acting skills. Even with all of the people her father had hired, she had never been good at pretending to be flaunty. But this was called for. She would have to do something she hated to do.
Make a threat based off of her family's lineage. 'But since he likes to get other people into trouble…' Haruhi swallowed.
"I wonder…what your father would say about you publishing such nonsense…" she paused to see his reaction. Finding that his eyes grew considerably larger, she continued, "We wouldn't want to give him a call, now would we?"
"N-now wait Fujioka-san!" he said, slamming his palms on the desk and standing up. "The only things said about your club was published in the gossip section! The gossip section means that it's only rumors!"
"But you published pictures and failed to say that they were so called rumors! You got Hikaru in trouble and you know it."
"You have no proof," he replied sternly, trying desperately to turn the tables back around on her.
"And you have no business continuing publishing things about us."
They shared a spiteful glare before Akira looked away. Satisfied, Haruhi turned and left the room, closing it gently behind her. She walked back towards the club room, but did not reach it. Tears blurred her vision and her heart was pumping madly in her chest.
'I can't believe I just did that…threatening someone like that…no one deserves to have something held over their head. Now every time he looks at me he'll be afraid all because I might tell his parents all because I can do that. I promised myself I'd never-'
The sounds of Kaoru's voice cut off her thoughts and Haruhi immediately began wiping away her tears. But before she could do anymore, he grabbed her wrists and stared down at her, eyes searching her face. "What happened? Did Hikaru make you cry? Are you alright?"
"I…I just…" her voice was trembling and she shook her head, angry that she was being so weak over such a trivial matter. Such a matter that she could barely understand herself…
Kaoru frowned and pulled her into him. With the combination of him slowly stroking her hair and whispering comforting words, Haruhi found she could not hold back her tears. She clutched his shirt and for once, willingly cried in front of someone.
Kaoru couldn't help but smile slightly, happy that he was the only one sharing this moment with Haruhi.
"Hikaru, are you angry at Haruhi?"
"Are you going to come back to the host club? It's been three days…" A crooked smile. "The girls miss you."
Silence. He turns in the opposite direction, pulling the covers over his head. "Goodnight Kaoru."
"Milord's worried about you…everyone is. You could at least talk to them." Biting his lip, he whispered, "You could at least talk to me."
"…Is it true? That Haruhi applied to Lobelia?"
"…Yeah. But she says she's not planning on attending."
"Why else would she apply?"
"Thank you so much Kaoru." She said, turning around, smiling. Kaoru smiled back and nodded.
"Anything for little Haruhi-chan," he teased, ruffling her hair.
She turned to go back to her limo, expecting Kaoru to go inside of his house. But he snatched her wrist. She turned around and looked at him curiously. "Kaoru?"
"You…wanted to go to Lobelia, right?"
"…yeah," she replied, softly.
"If you think it's best…if we're causing you too much trouble or even if you just want to see what it's like over there…no one can stop you."
They left it at that.
A/N: Ah, yes. Drama, drama, drama. But I have added in a bit of HaruKao, no? X3 And I really wanted to show where Haruhi stands in the little reverse of the plot I have going here. So...until next time, I hope this will hold you over. Tell me if you like? Any suggestions?