Interlude 1

In this story, interludes will deal with what is going on that Harry is not seeing – so basically any other perspective – or things that aren't really important to his plot that I write for kicks. Not omake, as they are part of the story, but not the story itself either. You may either ignore them if you only want Harry's storyline, or you can read them. Your choice. They'll appear every two or three chapters... probably.

Watanuki had grown used to Harry's presence, unfortunately. The other boy, older than him by more than half a year, somehow fit into Yuuko's house, though considering Yuuko raised him it wasn't that odd. He held the same capability as Yuuko – and, indeed, Watanuki himself – to change his personality and outlook at the drop of a hat, going from benevolent crazy to seemingly normal, from pervert to melancholy...

Well, he fit in, and Watanuki would leave it at that.

To be fair, he was a lot more reliable and perhaps even likable than one would expect. Harry could cook and clean – with and without magic – and wasn't afraid to steal Yuuko's sake when she was overdoing it, but only if she seemed to literally be about to drown in liquor. If it weren't for the fact that he was obviously deranged, Watanuki could say Harry wasn't a bad guy.

But when he was doing this... well, sometimes Harry was so bad that Watanuki wondered if he wasn't Yuuko's son.

"I'm just saying you two would be a cute couple," Harry shrugged as if nothing was wrong with his insinuation that Watanuki and Doumeki should get together when Watanuki was obviously in love with Himawari.

He pointed that out in the most polite manner possible – dogs three kilometers away were cowering at the volume – but Harry didn't seem at all effected by his ranting. That was another thing that annoyed Watanuki; much like that bastard Doumeki, Harry was seemingly immune to his rants.

"And why the hell aren't you protesting, huh?!" Watanuki snapped at his stoic rival.

"You're protesting enough for both of us," Doumeki shrugged. Again, Watanuki protested loudly saying that if Doumeki disagreed shouldn't he be saying something too? But Doumeki didn't even respond to that one, and Watanuki was left fuming.

"Hm, I think someone agrees with me!" Harry chirped and actually started to skip ahead of them. The worst part was that Doumeki still wasn't denying anything and Watanuki could only shout at his stupid perverted year mate.

On the bright side, he was pretty sure Doumeki just wasn't saying anything because he felt there was no need to. After all, Watanuki knew that his rival was straight, or else they wouldn't be rivals to begin with.

Now if only he convince that damned Ichihara of that, then he wouldn't have to worry about such taunts anymore.

Haruhi couldn't help but be confused by a lot of things lately. Not in school of course – she hadn't been first in her year at Ouran because rich people were stupid – but more mundane things. Particularly why she had quit going to the school she had strived so hard to enter. That whole year seemed to have gone by in a blur, and she couldn't recall why she left.

Her exam results had been one hundred and three percent, she was well-liked, more popular than she had been in middle school, and she knew she had been happy there. It was her dream come true after all.

Mechanically, she chatted with her girlfriends about the archery event, not really paying attention. They had insisted on being early to get good seats, and while she knew that archery was popular, she had never really thought much of it. Karate and kendo had always seemed more impressive. Or was that just something that popped out to her in the past year? Again, she couldn't pinpoint the why of it, just that karate and kendo seemed somehow more elegant, exacting, and... but what was she thinking of anyway?

Watanuki (who insisted on being addressed by his family name) was there with Himawari, both to watch Doumeki in the tournament. Many of Haruhi's friends were there to watch Doumeki as well, but Haruhi had assented because of the notice that this competition would include her old school, and she wondered if she knew anyone who did archery. It wasn't likely, but certainly possible.

It was pretty obvious when the Ouran students started arriving. They were all brought in by fancy cars, limousines, Rolls Royces, a Porsche or two. Most were wearing their school uniforms – internally she knew it was because they didn't want to show of their wealth, despite the fact that she knew how expensive the suits were having masqueraded as a boy at Ouran and for some reason she wanted to mutter "rich bastards" – and stood out quite a lot, though a few wore casual clothes.

No one really caught her eye, and Haruhi decided that the only people present whom she knew were casual acquaintances, girls and boys who had been in her class at best, or she had seen them in the halls at some point. No one that really rang any bells.

Except that someone... well, she only saw him for a second before the tall boy in Ouran uniform was hugging her tightly exclaiming over her cute outfit, and asking why she left Ouran and half a dozen other questions that all went over her head for two reasons that she found rather important.

The first was "who is this person?"

The second was "why is this familiar?"

No answer came before her escape, and at that point the incident slipped out of her mind. Rich people were weird.

Takashi had only just arrived when Haruhi was running away. He knew she'd been hurt by Tamaki falling in love with Kanoya Megumi, everyone but Tamaki himself had, but finding out when he and Mitsukuni popped in to the Host Club the first day school came back and finding that Haruhi wasn't there... well, that had been a surprise.

She had said she needed some time to herself over Spring vacation, and they believed her. So the Hosts had butted out for three weeks and when school came back into session, she wasn't there. Kyouya was already trying to find her, but after two months they couldn't find anything, not through detectives or the gay bar that her father worked at – correction: had worked at – or anywhere.

Takashi hadn't realized entirely how worried he was until he saw Haruhi laughing with a group of girls and scanning the crowds, her eyes completely jumping over the Host Club as if they didn't bring the slightest bit of recognition. A knot of tension that he hadn't realized was there had released in his shoulders at the sight of his friend so obviously happy, only to come back double force when her gaze didn't even pause on the Host Club.

Towards the end of the archery meet – though, Takashi noted, none of his friends (or Megumi) were paying any attention to Saito Kiyoshi, the only freshman member of the Host Club – they managed to start making their way over to Haruhi... and they were stopped by the same person who had given Haruhi opportunity to escape. He was a slight boy, a bit on the short side, but not exactly young. He was in his late teen years definitely. Messy black hair fell into his eyes, the strangest shade of green, and silver oval-frame glasses didn't glare in the sun like Kyouya's drew even more attention to the intense hue...

And he was stopping them from going to Haruhi.

But he was gone thirty seconds later, and Takashi had the strange impulse to do what the note said and go to the requested meeting point. It was almost unnatural.

When they were ushered into the small apartment – completely vacant of any personal touches, like a living room from a magazine – Takashi was surprised at how large it seemed. The space outside didn't indicate anything more than Haruhi's apartment had been, and yet this was a relatively spacious area. A bit cramped to the rich sensibilities of the Hosts, but Takashi appreciated the volume compared to expectations.

And then the boy had opened his mouth and expounded on Haruhi's selective amnesia. Takashi could read between the lines well enough to know that despite Harry's warning, he did want them to help Haruhi... but he was likely as clueless as they were. After all, how could a boy a year younger than him have any great knowledge on this?

That that was niggling in the back of Takashi's mind after they left and for the time between that instance and when he found out about magic.

Of course, that had started simply. Well, not so much simply as... strangely? Yes, that seemed a better adverb. He had been walking home – an odd event, true, but there wasn't a huge distance between Tokyo University and the Morinozuka compound, especially after he had passed half the distance by bullet train. It was three minutes out from the train station that odd things started happening.

People were looking at him, past him, and then immediately making cell phone calls. Some were taking pictures with their phones. Takashi knew that he was picture-worthy – it was pretty much a requirement of joining the Host Club after all – but this was getting ridiculous.

Then he heard the sound of a hawk diving, the loud "TSEEER!" that accompanied its attempt to kill something, and then something more akin to a squawk from what was undoubtedly the same creature. Takashi looked back and could only blink at the creature responsible. It took a moment for him to recall what exactly the black quadruped was. A ratel, or honey badger. They lived in Africa, ate pretty much everything – up to and including crocodiles – and were known for attacking men where the sun doesn't shine.

And it was... stalking him. Which was just a little bit weird, considering it shouldn't have much of an attention span. Nor should it be in Japan to begin with, but that was just semantics.

Takashi noted that the badger went about its appointed task of stalking him without pause. It also didn't attack anything other than the hawk, which it left half-dead in the middle of the sidewalk instead of eating.


And gross. But still curious.

Takashi continued walking home, silently wondering what the hell was going on.

Author's Note: I actually meant to have this interlude out before the last chapter, but I just found it... and I'm going to write another interlude after I post chapter 4, so I decided not to add stuff from Chapter 3 into this one. (It'll mostly be things involving the wizards)

Um... yeah. So you see why I didn't bother putting these into the main part of the story?

I should be updating within the week. Depending on how social my first week off of school is, and how much else I'm writing. (I kind of have nothing to do...)