As promised, here's the epilogue! Please enjoy! :D
The sun was on its way to setting when…
Ding dong, the doorbell rang. And Hikaru rang it a couple more times, which was quite a feat, considering the fact that he had an armful of gift boxes and bags that were in danger of toppling over at any second.
"Coming!" a voice called.
A young woman with shoulder length, dark brown hair opened the door for him, her husband right behind her. At the sight of Hikaru, the pair brightened.
"Finally!" Kaoru exclaimed, taking his twin's burden and momentarily placing them on the floor. He then proceeded to embrace his brother.
"It's getting dark… We thought you'd never get here," Haruhi said, hugging Hikaru after Kaoru was done. He embraced her tightly.
"It took a while to get from the airport to this place!" he said, pulling away before gesturing to the presents. "Having all those in tow didn't make it any easier, either."
Haruhi shook her head incredulously. "Seriously, that's too much—"
But Hikaru had a finger up to silence her. "I wanted to make up for all the birthdays I missed! I've only seen then through pictures—what kind of uncle am I? Speaking of which, where are the angels?"
Haruhi rolled her eyes at this, but she was smiling. "The angels are in the back with the rest. Everyone's been waiting for you to get here, but they've been the most excited. They won't stop talking about you; the way they do, you'd think you were Santa Claus or something. They've never seen you in person and they love you. It worries me; you've influenced them this much already. What kind of stories have you been telling them over the phone?"
"Nothing bad, I swear!"
"I find that hard to believe," Haruhi laughed, raising an eyebrow.
"Tch, I just got back from Europe after five years," Hikaru pouted. "If I had known I was gonna get a sermon the moment I stepped into my sister-in-law's house, I wouldn't have come back to Japan."
"How was studying in Europe?" Kaoru asked, picking up the presents again and beginning to walk.
Hikaru and Haruhi followed.
"Eh, it was fine," Hikaru replied, ears turning a bit pink.
"Fine? Five years in another country and all you can say about it is it was fine?"
"And what's with the blush?" Haruhi questioned, suspicious of the color spreading on the older twin's face. Then she grinned knowingly. "Aaah, you met someone special there, didn't you?"
"No, I didn't!" he denied. "I didn't meet… There's no one new, okay?"
"Really now, Hikaru," Kaoru said. "That's not like you at all. You didn't meet anybody? You're lying."
"No…" Hikaru turned a deeper shade of crimson. "I said there's no one new. Guess who went to the same school during my third year."
"Who?" Haruhi asked curiously.
All was silent for a split second, then Kaoru burst into hysterics. "Not Houshakuji? What, she popped up there one day on that spinning rig of hers?"
"No really, she changed a lot. I didn't even think it was her. Renge matured. I know, right? Anyway, well… We've been going out, and it's been pretty steady," Hikaru confessed.
"What! Since when?"
"About half a year ago."
"Is she coming back to Japan too?"
"Not for another month."
"…And to think you could have had the decency to tell this to your own twin."
"Sorry," Hikaru apologized, smiling sheepishly.
"At any rate," Haruhi said, placing a hand on his arm. "I'm happy for you both."
The trio had reached the party area by then; the backyard. How lucky for the couple to have a beach right outside their house… The same beach from so many years ago. Hikaru couldn't help but smile. A gentle, salty sea breeze filled his lungs as he stepped outside, but he didn't have time to enjoy it before something collided with his body from all sides. Voices from somewhere around his waist cried in unison before tackling him to the ground.
"Not too rough, girls; you don't want to ruin the dresses grandma made for you," Kaoru said as he walked over to a table holding gaily wrapped boxes and various other gifts to add his twin's presents there.
Hikaru was singing.
"Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you! Happy birthday, happy birthday~" Hikaru exaggerated the length of the word playfully, earning a few giggles from his audience who were still busy clambering all over him. "Happy birthday to you, and you, and you!"
The identical triplets beamed up at him, clapping and laughing.
"Occhan," they said all together. "You look just like Papa!"
"Oh," one said. "We've been trying out the game you taught us."
Watching them on the sidelines, Haruhi gave a sigh. "So you told them to try that. I should have known."
"Mama and Papa are really good at it though," another one of the triplets said. "Even though we try super hard, they can always tell which one of us is which!"
"I'm not surprised," Tamaki said, suddenly appearing behind Haruhi along with the rest of the ex-Host Club. "Just as Haruhi's always been able to tell the two of you apart, she doesn't have trouble with her own daughters."
Hikaru scoffed. "I bet I could tell them apart easily."
The blonde made a 'be-my-guest' movement as the triplets eagerly took the cue. The little girls let go of their uncle and lined up in front of him, mischief twinkling in their eye.
"Okay! Can you guess which one of us is Miwa?"
Hikaru knelt so that he was at eye level with them. After five seconds, he gave them his signature Cheshire smile.
"This is Miwa," he said, pointing to the middle one. "The one on her right is Minori, and the one on her left is Miyuki!"
Before the girls could stick their tongues out at him to tell him he was wrong, Hikaru waggled his index finger at them. "It's no use, I know I'm right."
"Wow, occhan, you're just as good as Mama and Papa are!"
"Of course I am."
"That's it," Tamaki said, lifting both hands into the air in surrender. "I don't know how they do it! Guess I'll just have to practice."
"Tama-nii-chan always has a hard time," Miyuki said.
"It's because the three princesses are all so equally pretty!" the blonde said, picking her up and swinging her around, causing a cacophony of "Me next, me next, me next!" to ring around through the air. Luckily, Mori was there and was able to swing two at a time while Hani added the sound effects that his cousin couldn't make.
What Tamaki said was true, though, Hikaru thought. The triplets were the perfect combination of Kaoru and Haruhi. Their short, chocolate-colored hair flipped at the ends and barely brushed their shoulders, half of the sides tied up playfully in ribbons. They inherited that from their mother, but their eyes were unmistakably Hitachiin—liquid amber and graced by that trademark sparkle that always tiptoed the fine line between good humor and trouble.
"Looks aren't the only thing they inherited from their parents," Kyoya said out loud for Hikaru, a smile tugging at the corner of his lips as he saw his best friend being treated like a jungle gym.
"Which means they'll turn out just as fine," Kaoru said, coming back from the gift table. "Look at us. Ne, Hikaru, we were so much trouble back in the day—"
"You still are," Haruhi muttered.
"—and the triplets have just turned five, so they haven't gotten in any trouble anyway. Besides, they're girls. It can't be that bad. I'm not worried."
"Don't count your chicks yet."
"Always have your hands full, don't you?" Hikaru snickered, finding hilarity at Haruhi's motherly attitude. "How can you and Haruhi get your time alone? I was almost sure there's been plenty of that… I'm surprised they don't have a baby brother coming along already—"
Haruhi elbowed him. "You know I'm busy with law school, and Kaoru has to learn the ropes from his mother if he wants to join you in the fashion business."
Kaoru pouted. "That's already a given! You're just making excuses…" He purred in his wife's ear. "Please? You know you want to…"
He earned a swift hand to the back of his head.
"Three is more than we can properly manage. Fortunately," Haruhi continued as if nothing had happened. "Tamaki-senpai and the others come around often to babysit, though I think those guys influence my kids as bad as you d—ooph!"
The little trio had attached themselves to her waist.
"Mama, can we have cake?" Miwa begged.
Miwa and Minori took up their sister's call.
"Tama-nii-chan is starting the games! Can we play?"
"Then can we open our presents right after?"
"We have to hurry for the grand finale!" all three said together.
"Grand finale? Now what could that be?" Kaoru asked Haruhi as he watched the little ones scamper off. "…I take back what I said. I'm a little worried."
It was nighttime, the stars were out, and all the catching up was done. The adults were just lounging around under the canopy that had been set up outdoors and after watching the triplets hold a fashion show with their new clothes, there was just some idle chitchat going around. The girls were playing with their new toys.
"Miyuki, what time is it?" Miwa asked in a low voice.
She checked her glow-in-the-dark wrist watch. "Almost time."
"Let's go," Minori whispered.
The three crept over to their uncle. Hikaru looked at their expectant faces and laughed.
"What are you all here for?"
"Occhan, you promised… On the phone you said—"
"Haha, I know. Ready to surprise everyone?"
"Yes!" Three eager voices said.
Hikaru dialed a number swiftly on his phone, and a minute later—
"Kaoru!" Haruhi clung onto his shirt as a bright flash of light and a loud sound rent the still atmosphere.
He held her tightly as another flash lit up the night sky… Then a thought occurred to him; lightning wasn't usually pink, was it?
Kaoru gently pried her loose. "No, Haruhi, look!"
The triplets were screaming with joy as the fireworks exploded overhead, and they were obviously the ones who had planned it all out.
"You three," Kaoru yelled to get their attention. "Care to explain?"
"Well, we did ask for fireworks at our birthday," Miyuki explained. "But Mama said it would be too much!"
"But we couldn't get them on our own—"
"—so we asked someone else…"
All eyes were on Hikaru, who was grinning. "Guilty."
"We couldn't let our best birthday yet end without a bang!" the girls chorused before continuing to watch the show.
"Unbelievable," Mori voiced out for all of them, and they all laughed.
We might as well enjoy it too, Haruhi thought. Kaoru's mind seemed to be going around those lines as well.
"It's another milestone for them," he joked. "Fireworks at their fifth birthday party. Gotta give them props."
"…What did you and Hikaru do on your fifth birthday? No, wait, forget I asked. I don't want to know."
"Well, this is a fair warning," Kaoru said thoughtfully. "It's telling us what they're currently capable of. We'll have to keep a sharper eye on them from now on."
"Mm hmm. I doubt Hikaru will help out with that. He'll probably side with them."
Everyone was already looking up at the fireworks by now, and the triplets were hugging Hikaru and showering him in kisses of fervent thanks.
Kaoru draped an arm around Haruhi's shoulders, and she laced hers around his waist. The couple looked on at the sight that was their family, brimming with happiness. The young man kissed his wife's hair, and she leaned in to his touch contentedly.
Dear mother in heaven... Can you see this?
"Say, Haruhi. About what Hikaru said…"
She snorted. "No."
"What if the triplets are getting lonely?"
"Really?" he pouted. "But we need another man in the family…"
"No, we really don't. You're more than enough for me," Haruhi said, reaching up to kiss him.
Kaoru smiled into the kiss. Pulling away a few seconds later, he sighed.
"Alright then, you win. I guess having a girl again won't be so bad—"
"Don't push it, Kaoru."
A/N:I hope you guys enjoyed that, because I love writing epilogues and this one was no exception.
A few tidbits I'd like to throw out there, for clarification or just because I want to:
-Yeah, Hikaru went off to Europe for five years instead of Kaoru.
-Yes, he fell for Renge. She changed! LOL, don't ask.
-IDENTICAL triplets. Yup. This can actually happen, but the odds are one out of 500,000. Come on, let me have my fun. Besides, Ouran always defies the odds anyway. xD
-I struggled with the girls' names because I wanted them to mean something special like Hikaru and Kaoru's names (radiance and fragrance). So here are the triplets' meanings arranged by oldest to youngest:
Minori = truth
Miyuki = happiness
Miwa = three, harmony
...And it's really, truly done. x]
But don't worry, I already have another something-something planned for all of you. ;]
Once again, thank you all SO much for reading, for the reviews, and for all the support. I can't tell you all how much you rock!
Hope you hang on for more stories coming soon!
Thank you. :D