"Hello, Mr. Fujioka. Is Haruhi home?" Ryoji's ruby red lips split into a smile.
"Oh, are you Kyouya's sister? She said you'd be coming by!"
"I'm Otori Fuyumi, and she has told me a lot about her father. It's a pleasure to finally meet you."
"Oh, you're here." Haruhi peeked out from behind her father. "Let me serve my father breakfast and we'll go."
"Dear, you go on with your friend and let me finish breakfast." Ryoji kissed her forehead and basically pushed her out the door. "And take pictures. I'm still not used to the way you can convince her to dress up all girly. She fights me tooth and nail whenever I try."
Fuyumi laughed and winked at Ryoji. "Who says she doesn't fight me tooth and nail. We should compare battle scars sometime."
Haruhi rolled her eyes and walked down the stairs and climbed into the waiting limo. The front seat, of course. "Good morning Tachibana."
"Good morning miss. Aren't you going to sit with Mrs. Shido?"
"I'm punishing her in advance for whatever frilly thing she'll try to get me to put on today for Mori and Hunny's graduation. She's probably going to force me to wear heels too."
Tachibana's chuckle was warm. He was a first hand witness at how Kyouya and Haruhi worked best with each other. He drove them home and saw the way she leaned against him for no other reason than comfort. He seemed to work amazingly hard during the rest of the day so that he could finish early and spend at least several minutes talking to her in the back seat before walking her to her apartment door. He smiled more honest smiles than Tachibana could remember him ever having smiled, and Haruhi seemed as relaxed and witty as ever.
"Well, I won't lie and say that I don't think it's worth it. You look amazing in those outfits."
"Ah, the curse of being a rich kid's girlfriend." She said with typical sarcasm.
"Oh, is that why you kiss him? I thought the idea of Prince Charming's kiss breaking curses was just a fairy tale."
Haruhi turned a becoming shade of crimson and muttered under her breath. "I though his secret police were supposed to be good at keeping secrets. Remind me to buy you a decent pair of sunglasses. Ones that can't see too well in the dark."
Tachibana just ruffled her short hair and chuckled again.
"Congratulations!" Haruhi smiled up at Mori, who in turn patted her on the head with his free hand. The other hand held the graduation diploma he had received only some twenty minutes ago during the ceremony. Haruhi pulled out a cupcake from her bag and tossed it up to the blond sitting on Mori's shoulders. "I made you something to keep you busy until the cake back at the third music room." Hunny's eyes lit up at the promise of cake as well as the goodbyes that would fill the room. Kyouya had somehow coerced them to celebrate back in the third music room as a farewell (and a hefty profit from all who wished to say goodbye to the unusual pair).
"Soooo…. What do you plan on doing now that you won't be coming back?" A pair of identical faced peeked out from behind Mori.
Hunny started to sob. "What do they mean, Takashi? We aren't ever going to come back?" Mori glared at the pair enough to make them pale.
"No...no hunny, that's not what we meant." Hikaru stuttered, trying to placate the Kendo champion's ire.
"What we meant was that now that you won't be coming to take classes here. You'll come back to visit!" Kaoru corrected.
"Takashi, are you going to come back with me to visit often?" Hunny peeked down to look at his cousin.
"Ah." Came the calm response.
Haruhi shook her head at the normalcy of the scene and leaned against a column.
"Don't cry Haruhi! Father won't let you miss them too much. I'll let you borrow my phone and call them as much as you'd like!"
"She already has a phone, remember Tono? The one that we gave her?" Kaoru smirked, having sneaked up on the dramatic leader.
"Yes, Tono. And I think that you're still not listed as friend in her contacts."
"That's because you did something to her phone; I'm sure! How can a daughter not have her father listed as a friend…" He heard the contradiction and caught the smug look on the twin visages. "Stop trying to confuse me!" He scolded and chased them around the graduates. Kyouya appeared by Haruhi's side, silently sharing in the moment of easy camaraderie amongst the members.
The school party went smoothly. The clients cried their goodbyes and an hour later the host club was heading out to a fine French restaurant Tamaki had picked out. It would be the real post-graduation dinner, with all their families gathered, as well as some of Hunny's and Mori's friends who had graduated as well. Fuyumi had managed to get Haruhi into a silky white dress with pale pink and green floral accents that morning before the graduation, and so despite her discomfort at the utter lavish quality of the restaurant she fit right into the scene. It was amazingly the first time she had met some of the host club's parents and she made a good impression, as always. Not that all of them hadn't heard of her due to the engagement scandal. When asked if Kyouya and her were still only "friends" she just smiled.
Tono tried to order ootoro for Haruhi, despite the French menu, only to be mocked by the twins. Hunny in his mature wisdom (despite what a cursory glance might dismiss as childishness) suggested that Tamaki help her pick what were the best dishes, since he was the French one after all. Dignity assuaged he proceeded to talk on and on about the wonders of French food. Kyouya just leaned over and whispered that the Le Canard A L'Orange was one of the specialties and that was the best advice she received before ordering.
It had been Haruhi's idea to bring Kyouya's sister out to dinner and Kyouya had seen no reason to oppose since she had been staying alone at home since Shindou was away on business. Fuyumi sat next to her brother, and the three ate the meal with light conversation that sometimes included the rest of the table, and sometimes just included the siblings and Haruhi (which Fuyumi already thought of as a sibling).
"We'll be back from mom's fashion show in Italy in a week. How about we all go to the beach?" The twins were already making plans for the next weekend together and they were only just leaving the restaurant. Haruhi didn't know that their bags had been left packed so that they wouldn't have to worry about leaving the restaurant late since they would be meeting their mother the next day after a long plane ride.
"As long as Haurhi promises not to get pushed off a cliff again, of course." Kaoru added. Tamaki paled and started lecturing his daughter on not scaring them all like that again. Hunny smiled and told her not to eat so much crab either, at which Kyouya smiled evilly and taunted, "And try not to run into anyone's bedroom to throw up. It was amusing, but still quite rude."
The rest of the host club stared at Haruhi, not aware of that anecdote. Fuyumi just laughed and told them all she should get going. Some more goodbyes later and each had climbed into their respective limos. Haruhi sighed and leaned against Kyouya, who typed quickly on his laptop, apparently having discovered something urgent waiting for him. He paused to look at her, silently asking if he should stop and listen to her. She had her eyes shut but shook her head when she heard the typing stop, knowing that Kyouya would put her first even when there was something else he should be doing.
There was nothing too important to discuss anyway. She was just happy at how smoothly the evening had gone. How much like the old times it had seemed. Even though the presence of the graduation gowns and Fuyumi spoke of how much was still changing, the general feel was that of belonging. Of a strange web of friendships that had been created that allowed for change without falling apart. It hadn't been the same as before, but in a way it had been better. It was all the same friends except now she got to go home in the comfortable silence of Kyouya's presence instead of the noisy bustle of public transportation.
Yoshio sat back and glanced at the last of his reports. He clicked the laptop off with his usual stoicism and moved to his quarters. The house was too big without his wife, the rooms too cold. He knew that part of the reason he was so closed off and inhumane was because he had never been able to get over the loss. He was never suited to raise a family, but she had insisted that they should not only have heirs, but children to teach him to love more freely. But she had left him alone with four children whom he didn't know how to treat, and he never did learn how to show his affections the way his wife seemed to wear on her sleeve.
He did what he could and made the best he could of them. He was proud of them, to be sure, and loved them as best as his heart could manage after having been so broken by her death. But his youngest, Kyouya, had surprised him recently by throwing his company back in his face and using ¨K.O.¨ as the name of the benefactor. He realized that his son had discovered that there was more to life than money and power and he wanted to be sure that the one responsible would not be lost to him the way his own motivation to be human had been lost. Seeing them together had been enough to convince him that they were meant for each other.
His announcement was a way to force them to acknowledge it, but it hadn't worked out as planned. Except somehow they had worked through the barrage of media attacks and ended up together anyway, and he wondered if he had anything to with it at all or if they'd have come to the same conclusion had he not interfered. No matter. His son would get the wife he needed to be the best he could possibly be and would not only be an amazing business mind but be fulfilled with the wealth he earned. His son would have the fairy tale ending that was stolen from him and that helped sooth his own loneliness. He settled into bed and dreamed of a laughing dark haired woman.
A story never truly ends. Too many lives intertwine and at best we can store snippets of relationships. Friends, family, inside jokes, and memories live on. And so every story continues, though most unwritten.