Title: A Memory Like A Splinter
Theme/day: 9/17) splintering the night
Series: Ouran
Character/pairing: Kyouya/Haruhi
Rating: PG
Author's Note: comment_fic: Kyouya/Haruhi, Nightmares. The Gauntlet, 5. midnight has passed and she wakes

Mentions of character death.


She woke to a crash of lightning in the sky. The room was lit for a moment, and then it faded back to the dark that had once been there. He knew because he had already been awakened, his inner clock sent awry and still ticking to the time of other time zone's clocks. She stole a glance towards the picture on the bedside table of a smiling, golden haired boy they both once knew. That told it all, that the nightmare of her dream wasn't lightning, but death. Death, the thief who stole in the night and took away the brightest. Death who had spirited away first her mother, then Tamaki.

His hand was at her back, for what little comfort that could be offered. That was what truly bound them together, grief. There'd always been a spark between them, a certain chemistry. Still, Tamaki tended to draw energy away, like a lightning rod. It was Tamaki who with all his foolishness had changed both of their annoyances to reluctant fondness, and then a deeper kindling of friendship and love. Tamaki had that effect on people; no one resisted his charms. Often it had seemed less premeditated or manipulative as much as him simply being filled with such enthusiasm that bubbled out everywhere he went. It was so infectious that even the most stoic could never resist it.

"It's a silly fear to have," she said, "I should give it up already."

"I won't tell a soul," he said.

The storm raged outside, the rain beating against the glass. Everything was swallowed up in a storm like that. His hand reached for hers, and stroked the back of her palm.

They both remembered him. His smile, how he seemed to light up a room wherever he went. The world seemed a darker, cloudier place without him. When her fears had simply that of lightning he could give her scientific facts. He could obscure the ratio of death and injury from lightning strikes and review safety rules. But with a fear of death what could he offer? Death was not a thing of logic, it was not linear.

Kyouya never lingered on regrets. What was past was past. Still, this jagged part rubbed at him, left him raw. Had that plane not crashed on his way to meet his mother after his grandmother's death, had he returned well, then....

He had nightmares too, of drowning in the ocean and of burning wreckage. Of falling and Tamaki's face. His pain wasn't the same as hers, he would never think something as foolish as that, but they both understood the enormity of this loss. If the sun had been blocked out, it would not be a greater tragedy. He'd like to think that if Tamaki had known what would happen, he would have asked Kyouya personally to take care of her.

They lived in more than the light left behind by Tamaki, but his presence was always there. Kyouya would have banished his name and picture away to the deepest corner of himself, but Haruhi quietly put up an old snapshot on the bedside and brought his name up in conversation.

She was more accustomed to loss, having come upon it at a young age. This was Kyouya's first tragedy. But remembering was the balm, and the way his legacy lived on.

Books and film always purported the message that the dead lived on inside their loved ones. It was a cliche, a trite one no less. And yet when she spoke of him, over morning coffee or midday, midnight or evening there was exasperation and affection. Little treasures to be found among the dross.

She lived with the fears that gripped her. Even if she had nightmares, she wiped them away and kept living. She was strong like that, perhaps even stronger than his method of keeping pain close, as if it were something precious.

He stroked her arm in gentle motions. They were close now, and her breathing had evened. The crashing thunder had quieted until it was only the wind and beating rain.

When he looked at her he didn't just see the girl who almost became Tamaki's wife, but a girl he too loved. With all the fierce, guarded passion of an Ohtori, with all the secret longings and ghost whispers of broken leaves. He kissed her shoulder. It was the closest he'd ever get to saying what Tamaki could proclaim so easily.