Disclaimer: Ouran belongs to Bisco Hatori, Lala, Shoujo Beat, and whoever else holds any copyright over it. Not me.

This is a giftfic fic for the wonderful Yurecia. Yay! 8D Please note that it contains spoilers for chapter 74 of the manga.

There's also a lemony version of this fic available, where it goes beyond the awkward cutoff ending of this one XD There's a link to it in the links section of my bio if anyone wants to read it.

The first call Haruhi made was after dinner, and it disturbed her that it was not Tamaki who answered. Not by a long shot.

"Hello?" asked the bored, dry drawl of an elderly woman who had seen far too much in her years of life to be much bothered by answering the personal calls of a teenage boy. "Young Master Tamaki isn't available at the moment. May I ask who is calling so I can inform him the next time we meet?"

A flash of recognition hit Haruhi. "Shima-san?" she inquired, to which the voice on the other end made a sound of confirmation. "Why aren't you with Tamaki at the main house?"

"I've retired," Shima informed her with a bit of resentment in her tone. "Apparently Suoh-san has no use for me at the main house, so I've handed Tamaki over to the care of those employed there."

"I thought Tamaki was bringing his servants along..." Haruhi mused aloud, at which Shima clucked her tongue.

"It's no good for a young lady to be so nosy," she chided, not gently. "Master Tamaki will be fine in the care of the main house. He certainly doesn't need me. Now, may I take a message so I can tell him who called if he is ever permitted use of his cell phone in that house?"

"He isn't allowed to have a cell phone?" Haruhi asked, to which Shima made a rather impatient noise. "Oh, sorry. This is Fujioka... Fujioka Haruhi."

"I assumed as much," Shima said with an air of amusement. "He never stops talking about you. Alright, Fujioka-chan. I'll let him know you called. Have a pleasant evening," though Shima sounded polite and relaxed enough, Haruhi could have sworn she heard a bit of worry beneath it all, and it was this that made her grab her jacket after muttering a quick 'you too' and hanging up.

"Dad, I'm going out for a bit," she told the redheaded man who was already balancing finances at the kitchen table, despite the fact that Haruhi had barely just finished clearing the evidence of dinner away.

"But it's nearly seven, Haruhi!" he protested with a rather feminine gasp, his hand fluttering up to his mouth and making her roll her eyes. "Where could you possibly be going at this time of night?"

Haruhi's mind scrambled, searching for a straw to grasp at. "I'm going over to Mei's for a bit," she said. "I... forgot that there was a manga she wanted me to borrow." it was a ridiculous lie, and she felt lucky for a moment that she had such a gullible man for a father. This was part of the reason she couldn't shake this worry for Tamaki; he and her father were impossibly alike. There was no telling what the blonde would do in a situation like his present one. "I shouldn't be gone too long. Is that okay?"

"Of course, dear," her father said, flapping his hands slightly. "It's lovely that you're spending time with girl friends these days. I still don't like the influence those boys are having on my poor, innocent daughter!"

"I'll see you later, dad," Haruhi replied, biting back a surprising urge to defend the boys and zipping her jacket. "If I'm going to be gone late, I'll call." it wasn't that she didn't feel guilty for lying to her father... it was just that at the moment Tamaki's situation seemed a lot more important than the worries of the paranoid transvestite, who was much harder to take seriously now when he was still dressed up from work.

"Alright, Haruhi! Love you!"

"Love you too..." her father's singsong voice escorted her out the door and into the rather mild spring night. It wasn't dark yet, and Haruhi was grateful for this as she pocketed the cell phone that had previously belonged to the twins and headed off on her journey. Tamaki had described the location of the main Suoh mansion many times to her in the course of his excited ramblings about his hopes that he would someday be allowed to live there, and she followed those old, spastic directions as best she could. As always, Tamaki had been vague, but it was not far at all (certainly closer than the second Suoh mansion was), and she was rather confident in her ability to find her way. Onward she moved, steadfast in her journey, and as she passed on through her own modest neighborhood and the houses became gradually more and more elegant, she knew her journey was coming to a close.

She knew the Suoh residence the moment she saw it; it was an impossibly large, impossibly elegant building. It was tall, white, and slightly foreboding, and it carried the same sense of grandeur as Tamaki himself. Haruhi had to stand and stare for a moment at the trimmed hedges, the huge wrought-iron gate, the innumerable gleaming windows. During her year at Ouran, she had experienced elegance like this before, but not on such an impressive level. She spent several stupid moments in front of the huge black gate before gingerly pressing the talk button on the small box beside the gate and clearing her throat with a sense of purpose.

"Can I help you?" asked a staunch male voice, and Haruhi gathered her bearings.

"Yes, I'm here to see Suoh Tamaki," she said with as much refinement as she could muster; something told her this man was not going to let her in easily.

"Suoh-san has advised me that Master Tamaki is not to have any visitors at the present time. If you like, I can relay a message to him for you..." the elegant voice trailed off. Haruhi had it in her mind to do just that, but then suddenly the sound of music met her ears: a piano playing softly. In her sixteen years of life, she had not met someone who played the piano with the same measure of grace as Tamaki, and the music that seemed to be issuing from a third floor window that she could see standing open on the west side of the house exuded just that. Slowly, she backed away from the gate.

"No, thank you," she said politely. "I'll come by another time." with that she let go of the button and walked with-- what she hoped was-- utmost nonchalance along the front of the house before turning the corner to the west side. She only paused for a moment to think of scruples before, like a reckless idiot, she was scaling the perfectly manicured hedge with all the grace of a three-legged blind horse. The inappropriateness of crawling over the hedge of one of Japan's most prolific families didn't mean a thing to her now. Despite how he acted at school, there was no guarantee that Tamaki was alright. She was determined to make sure that he was. It was a very awkward climb, and she was thankful that she had worn pants under her dress on this particular day.

It was with a thump that she landed on the other side of the hedge on her bottom, slightly scratched from the climb but fully unharmed. Climbing to her feet, she allowed herself a moment of triumph at scaling the precarious hedge and then stared up at that open window. Haruhi had to stop and wonder when exactly she had stooped to breaking and entering, all for the sake of the idiot blonde she had inexplicably fallen in love with. This was not the time for thinking about such foolish things, she reminded herself, and she stepped forward, puzzling for a moment over how exactly she was going to get to him. There was thick ivy hanging down the wall around the window. Maybe if she could jump up and grab the dangling end...

All thought was cut off by the sound of growling. With the hairs on the back of her neck prickling, Haruhi turned around to be met by the sight of two snarling Dobermans advancing slowly on her, their teeth gleaming in the fading light. For a moment, Haruhi panicked. It felt like her blood was frozen. As calmly as she could, she took several slow steps backward.

"Um... hey there," she said with a forced smile at the dogs, holding up her hands as though to show them she meant no harm. She had never been particularly good with animals, and she cursed this fact as she backed up a bit more, starting to become internally frantic. The way she saw it, there were two options (not counting the one where she allowed herself to be mauled): she could either a) run back the way she came and attempt to get back over that daunting hedge with two snapping dogs at her heels or b) make a run for the dangling ivy. B seemed like a much better choice, particularly since she didn't have to attempt to get past the dogs with it. Breath coming slow and shallow, Haruhi turned slowly away from the dogs, who were still advancing, and then, tensing her entire body, she made a run for it. Haruhi had never ran so fast as she streaked across the perfect grass of the yard, sidestepping a garden.

As she neared the impressive house, Haruhi made a jump for the ivy and there it was, the thick, dark plants entwined within her fingers. With adrenaline rushing through her veins she began to hoist herself up with what she would later swear was a secret reservoir of superhuman strength, shimmying up the ivy and trying to ignore the sound of the dogs still barking below. She passed windows on the way up, passed the chatter of servants and dark, empty rooms. As she climbed, the music grew louder, and she silently hoped it really was Tamaki playing it as finally she clawed her way up to the window and grabbed the sill, pulling herself up so that her chin rested on it. She no longer had the strength to pull herself into the room, and so she settled for peering inside for the moment. Tamaki sat at the bench of a piano on the opposite of the room, playing furiously and with a kind of detached melancholy about him. Relief flooded Haruhi at the sight of him.

"Tamaki-sempai..." she called softly, and watched him jump in surprise, stopping in the middle of his playing and turning to face the source of her voice. Immediately, his eyes widened as he caught sight of her.

"Haruhi!" the blonde boy gasped, and he was already across the room almost before Haruhi had time to blink, and he was grabbing her hands and pulling her up onto the windowsill. With his arms carefully under her armpits, he hoisted her into the room and she inadvertently fell against him as her feet hit the floor. Despite how winded she still was from the climb, it did nothing to stop her from blushing slightly. "What are you... why in the world are you climbing in my window?" he was blushing as well, and Haruhi carefully gained her balance and stepped away from him.

"I just came to see if you were alright..." Haruhi realized at that precise moment how stupid it all sounded, and, feeling like a spectacular moron, looked at her sneakers. She felt ridiculous for worrying so much now, mussed up from climbing hedges and ivy and evading ferocious dogs, standing before this man who didn't seem to have a care in the world.

"Are you alright?" Tamaki asked, looking concerned. "You just... was that you the dogs were barking at? Why didn't you just..." he seemed genuinely at loss for words, and Haruhi would have found it fascinating if she wasn't busy feeling ridiculous.

"Well, I called your cell phone, and Shima-san answered and said you weren't allowed to have it and... so I came here but they wouldn't let me in. So I... climbed over the hedge," Haruhi sighed heavily and avoided looking at the half amused, half shocked look on his face. They were in a large, airy bedroom with buttercup-colored walls. She guessed it had to be Tamaki's by the large white grand piano that stood against the far wall and the teddy bear that lay on the fluffy bed.

"You went to all that trouble just to see me, Haruhi?" Tamaki asked, and his entire air changed. An excited, almost childlike smile burst across his face, and his indigo eyes glittered with the intensity of dark diamonds.

"Yes..." Haruhi admitted somewhat reluctantly, brushing an ivy leaf out of her short brown hair. "I had to make sure you were okay."

"You were worried about me?" Tamaki smiled again, and for a moment Haruhi wanted to hit him for not grasping the gravity of his current situation. Instead, she busied herself by removing her shoes so she wouldn't get dirt on the immaculate carpet. "Why?"

"Well, it just seems like things aren't going very well for you here," she explained. "And you've been so preoccupied at school--"

"Is this because I haven't been eating with you at lunch!?" Tamaki interrupted immediately, launching himself forward and grabbing Haruhi in a tight embrace that nearly threatened her ability to breathe. "Oh, I'm sorry Haruhi! I knew it was horrible of me to abandon you so frivolously in your time of need! I apologize endlessly from the very bottom of my--"

"No," Haruhi told him forcefully, pushing her way out of his arms, remembering why it was so exhausting dealing with him all over again. It didn't help that this was their first time really alone together since their awkward kiss; that fact alone was enough to make her cheeks pinken all over again. She reached up a hand to touch her mouth instinctively, and Tamaki went red as a beet at that, realizing the implications behind it. She ignored his soft 'oh' and pressed onward, refusing to let the awkwardness set in. "That has nothing to do with it. You can eat lunch with whoever you want, sempai. This is about your coming to live here. Things just seem really restricted for you and I wanted to make sure you're alright here."

"Oh! Oh that!" Tamaki nodded and waved his hand dismissively. "Things are fine here, Haruhi! I get to see Grandmother and Father nearly ever day and my room is much bigger and... the gardens are lovely!" he was repeating the same nonsense he had told the girls at school, and Haruhi shook her head slightly. "So everything is fine here, just fine!" he gave her a fake, bright smile and she could sense the little tremble that passed through his body. "Thank you for worrying about me, though."

Haruhi gave him a piercing look that made it quite clear she didn't buy it. He faltered, and she kept staring, cocking her head slightly. "Tamaki-sempai..." she said softly, and that did it. The smile disappeared and suddenly he was distressed.

"Oh Haruhi, it's been terrible! I'm not allowed to see or call any of you, and I wasn't allowed to bring Antionette or any of the servants along when I'd promised I would! I just keep hoping that Grandmother will accept me or love me or at least call me 'grandson', but she never does! No matter how hard I try to be wonderful, it never makes any difference, and now she says I have to quit the Host Club for good and--"

"What?" Haruhi asked, and Tamaki's hands flew up to cover his mouth.

"Oops! I didn't mean to tell you that!" he gasped, and Haruhi gaped at him incredulously.

"So you just weren't planning to tell us?" she asked, indignant, and Tamaki looked wounded.

"Oh, Haruhi, I was going to tell you, just not so soon! I was hoping perhaps there was some chance that I could reason with her, but... you don't know how hard all of this is!" Tamaki leaned over to embrace her again, and this time Haruhi let him, though whether she did it out of pity or yearning she was not entirely sure. There was wetness on her neck, she realized, and it became clear then that Tamaki was crying. She was stunned out of action, and all she could do was pat him gingerly on the back and try to ignore the soft scent of violets emanating from his hair. "Back in France, I always used to dream that my family could be close and big and always be there to support each other. That never did happen, but then it did because the Host Club became my family and... I don't know how in the world I'm going to give it up, Haruhi!" he pulled back slightly, and Haruhi was ashamed that what she noticed most clearly was how his lashes looked even longer and darker up close. His smooth face was streaked with tears. "I don't know how I'm going to give all of you up!"

"We can still see each other at lunch..." Haruhi tried feebly, and Tamaki nodded, though he did not look much comforted.

"I've been trying for all of these years to get her to accept me, and even this, even giving up the most important thing in the world just to please her, doesn't seem to be helping!" tearful, Tamaki seemed much more pitiful than when he was merely crouching in the corner whimpering over some inane thing. Haruhi had only seen him cry in earnest once before, and this time it was infinitely more painful knowing that there was nothing she could do. The previous time, he had been crying out of relief that she was alright after the botched kidnapping, but this time there was no relief. There was only pure sadness and hopelessness that she had never, ever seen him display before. She knew that it was inappropriate at the time, but she had to say it.

"How far are you really going to go to get her to accept you, Tamaki?" she asked, and something, either in the words or the fact that she had dropped the formal honorific, seemed to speak to him.

"I don't... I don't know..." he said softly, burying his face back against her hair. "I never thought it would get this far, never."

"Do you really think it's worth it?" Haruhi's voice came out far gentler than she had anticipated, as though she had no say in the matter.

"Losing you isn't worth it," he said forcefully and with such earnest that she could feel her cheeks beginning to burn. It hadn't been until that moment that she realized exactly how close he was to her, how warm his body was, and how he was holding onto her as desperately as if she was a life preserver thrown out to a dying man. "Nothing is worth that."

"Tamaki..." she wasn't entirely sure of what to say, so she simply let the words trail off and stared off into space, concentrating on the strange way their breathing seemed to sync up. She had seen him behave seriously before, but never quite to this degree. It was actually more touching than it was odd.

"I don't know if there is any way I can go against the wishes of revered Grandmother," Tamaki said finally. "But I promise, Haruhi, that I'll do my best. Tomorrow, I will talk to her. Maybe there's still some way..."

"I'll come with you..." Haruhi said without thinking, and then her insides seemed to freeze when Tamaki's warm lips pressed feather-light against her temple.

"No, but thank you. I think it's something I should handle on my own..." it was then that Tamaki seemed to grasp what he had just done, and pulled back slightly, covering his mouth with one hand and looking horrified. "Haruhi I... I'm sorry! I wasn't thinking!" his face was a violent shade of cherry and he was alternating between biting his lip and gasping. The sight was positively comical, and though Haruhi's face was hot with blush, she actually laughed, at which her sempai relaxed slightly.

"You've already kissed my mouth," Haruhi said, half joking and half serious, shocked and horrified by her own boldness. "So a kiss on the temple is no big deal, right?"

"R--Right," Tamaki said, swallowing. Both of them had silently sworn off speaking of the kiss, and so he seemed just as surprised as she was at her words, at her bringing up such a sensitive topic. "I suppose it's a bit of a step backward, isn't it?" he laughed softly, though he blushed even deeper. "Haruhi, that kiss--"

"Was an accident," Haruhi said quickly, stepping backward out of his embrace (she was surprised she had allowed it to go on for as long as it did) because she was afraid of what he was going to say. If the things he felt were different than the ones she did, she didn't know if she could handle it. If he felt the things she did, however, and if he felt them as strongly as she did, that might be even harder. She had never been in this kind of situation, had never had feelings for anyone before, let alone been in love before, and knowing how to react was impossible. She hadn't expected him to pursue the discussion of the kiss further, and now that he was, it made her feel naked, vulnerable.

"The kiss may have been an accident, but the way it felt..." Tamaki's blush had started to go down, but now it returned at full force. Haruhi had never seen anyone blush quite this much, and it was mildly fascinating. "...was no accident."

Haruhi swallowed the lump in her throat and looked at anything but him as he reached out and grabbed her hand, though he wasn't looking at her either. His fingers were long and warm, and they clasped around hers easily. "Haruhi..."

She expected him to stammer then, to go redder than red and change the subject. She expected him to start yammering on about some inane thing and leave this whole thing behind in a cloud of shimmering dust. She certainly did not expect what happened next, which was that he grabbed her and pulled her flush against him, faltering for only a moment before he pressed his lips to hers for the second time ever. Haruhi's eyes widened and she did not know whether to panic and push him away, to respond, or to simply stand there like an idiot and leave him hanging. The third option happened because it was the one she was so naturally accustomed to in awkward situations, and as Tamaki poured his heart and soul into the kiss she simply stood wide-eyed and stared at his closed lids, felt his trembling body against hers. Finally, he finished, releasing her and stepping back, pink in the face and shaking but otherwise impressively composed.

"Haruhi... how did that make you feel?" he asked, and she instinctively froze.

"Um..." she said softly, inept and blushing and far, far too ridiculous to be taken seriously by someone who had so much emotion thundering out of those uniquely colored eyes. "I..." her face was too hot, her knees too shaky, and she just wished he would stop and let her have a moment to breathe. Breathing around him had been difficult lately, but it was unspeakably more so with the memory of his desperate lips searching her own pulling at her.

"Because it made me feel amazing," some of Tamaki's embarrassment lifted now as he carefully took her hand once more. "Better than I've ever felt, in fact." Haruhi was impressed; she had not expected him to ever have the guts to say something so open in a situation like this. She simply stood and stared as Tamaki fumbled for words, lost and nervous and far more adorable than she would readily admit. "I felt like I was was flying."

"Well..." it seemed appropriate for Haruhi to say something at this time, but she had no idea what to say, and so the solitary word stood in the air between them. She tried to smile at him, but much to her own annoyance she was shaking far too much.

"Haruhi did you..." he seemed mildly afraid to continue, and he peered at her with far more timidness than she would have expected. "...did you feel something too?"

Now that he had made answering his question so much simpler, Haruhi found it much easier. She took several breaths before nodding. "Yes," she said quietly, clutching the fabric of her dress to hide the tiny tremor that passed through her body. She finally felt brave enough to add "of course I did."

Tamaki seemed to have gained quite a bit of confidence at this, and he smiled warmly at her. "That's so good to know because... Haruhi I... I think-- no, I know!-- I'm in love with you..."

Haruhi had never been able to grasp those fluttery moments with the flying hearts in shoujo manga, had never really understood why the girls reacted the way they did, with swoons and cries and flying sparkles, but at this moment it was perfectly clear to her. She was dangerously close to all of these reactions herself, embarrassingly enough. However, she kept her dignity and simply smiled, wondering when it was going to stop feeling like her heart was exploding in her chest.

"...me too," was all she could manage to squeeze out past the barrier of her own stubbornness, but it seemed to be enough for him. Suddenly she was in his arms again and he was kissing her, but it was nothing like that awkward first kiss or that tentative, experimental second kiss. This, she decided, was what a kiss was really supposed to feel like. All earlier inhibitions were gone on Tamaki's part, and he kissed her as though he had wanted to his entire life. It was so honestly romantic that it was ridiculous. Tamaki's hands were in her hair, stroking her as gently as if she might break, and as odd as she found it, being touched this way didn't make her feel awkward or vulnerable... just good. Finally she remembered to kiss him back, and at this Tamaki squeezed her and kissed her more fervently, making her shake all over again and lose her composure completely. Not that she minded.

It wasn't really clear to Haruhi who instigated it, but suddenly they were pressed closer against each other than she could even comprehend, and Tamaki's lips were parted just a sliver, giving her a clear opportunity to reach for more if she wanted. He was not going to rush her, that much was clear, and it instilled in her a kind of bravery that she had not expected to feel. Acting on this sudden impulse, she held onto Tamaki to steady herself and opened her mouth, slightly awkward but trusting Tamaki was just as inexperienced as she was. She was rewarded with a soft gasp from Tamaki, muffled against her mouth, and he returned the movement with surprising fervor. He was moving now, and his kisses were deep and somehow still sweet.

Haruhi's knees were beginning to feel weak, and reluctantly she pulled away and took Tamaki by the hand, leading him over to the large bed with its powder blue quilts, her heart beating faster at the implication behind the action. It was somewhat risque, she knew, but she was unsure how much longer her legs would support her if they carried on like this. She took a seat on the edge of the bed, and Tamaki immediately took a spot beside her, kissing her deeply again for a moment and then arranging himself into a more comfortable position, sliding his arms around her waist. Looping her arms around his neck seemed only natural. Haruhi was glad that they both seemed to be getting the hang of this, as the awkwardness of before was melting away and now there was nothing left behind but the stiflingly intense feeling left behind by each one of his kisses. The kisses he lavished on her deepened, and when finally his tongue reached out to stroke her bottom lip, she actually moaned in spite of herself.

"Do you want me to slow down?" Tamaki asked, pulling back to lock his immorally lovely indigo eyes with her brown ones. For a moment, Haruhi paused and allowed herself to weigh the options. The heavy feeling that was beginning to take over her body and the fluttering of her heart, surprisingly, won over the fact that she should not be here with him right now and that she should get home as soon as she could. For one of the few times in her life (though they seemed to be increasing since she had come to Ouran), the practical decision was not the right decision. She shook her head.

"No," she said firmly, at which Tamaki smiled. "If I want you to stop, I'll let you know," the amused glitter to his eyes let her know that he expected nothing less. He fell back to her then, allowing his tongue to pass her lips and waiting timidly for a response. Hers pressed back against it, and this brought forth a whole new mass of jitters, of shaking hands that still hung onto him for dear life. She had not expected her head to swim this way, had not expected her heart to pound, had not expected the flare of heat that lit suddenly between her legs. More surely this time, she went back for more, and as her heart continued to race Tamaki's tongue caressed hers more insistently. She reciprocated his actions, fanning the flames, and before she was even aware that they had moved her hands were touching Tamaki's chest through his shirt. This was thoroughly embarrassing, but she refused to allow herself to back down, and carefully, as though she was touching a bird egg, she touched the surprisingly muscular blonde. Undoing the buttons of his shirt seemed only natural at that moment, and her shaking fingers finished slowly (and none to gracefully without the luxury of being able to look at what she was doing) before sliding to touch bare, hot flesh and draw out soft sounds from his mouth that only exacerbated the problem of her arousal, but she was past the point of caring now. She had been keeping her feelings buried for far too long now, and finally confiding them in Mei was not enough. Acting on them was.

That's all for this place XD you can read the other version if you want the lemony bits.