No, she was not going to cry about this. Absolutely not. Angrily she rubbed at her eyes, slowing her pace to a halt. She just simply was not.
"A-are you okay? Well I-I mean you don't look okay but still, I-" The breathless voice of Hikaru went unheard as he hesitantly approached her. Not daring to touch her, yet still wanting to.
Her hands were clenched into fists. It doesn't matter. Haruhi closed her eyes, not responding. I don't care.
Kaoru joined them then, having been left behind when Hikaru outran him. "Haruhi," He said calmly. Haruhi made no move as to if she was listening, but Kaoru continued anyways, "I want to know what's happening. What's going on between you and Kyoya?" Hikaru looked up at Kaoru in shock, disbelieving his brother's apathy.
Haruhi cringed for an instant, but slowly unclenched her fists and visibly forced herself to relax. "Nothing, there's nothing going on between us," She answered, her words surprisingly firm. She sounded almost casual, "What makes you think that there is?"
"-Of course there isn't. All we did was have dinner together. It meant nothing, really. We're just friends,"
"W-wait, you what-"
"-Besides, it's not like I could compare to the Kameko. I'm sure she would have given him something worthwhile for his troubles besides that stupid tie I got him as thanks,"
"Haruhi, look, you're not-" "Kameko? You mean-"
"Oh I'm fine, you guys. I'm just a little tired. There's not need to joke that there's something big going on. Quite troublesome if you ask me. Not to mention highly implausible. Well, I think I should be getting home now before I miss the train. Bye Hikaru, Kaoru. See you guys tomorrow." Haruhi concluded in a short breath, making sure not to give either of them room to protest. By then she sounded half-normal, almost like the whole thing in the clubroom was nothing.
Hikaru made to pursue her when she abruptly dashed down the hall, but was stopped short by his brother's hand on his shoulder. "Kaoru! Why are you stopping me? Don't you care?"
Sighing and shaking his head, Kaoru grabbed hold of his collar, forcibly dragging his brother back the way they came. "Yes, I do," He replied hotly, his expression unusually serious, "But right now it's best if we let her be. If we bother her she's just going to brush us off again. Besides, there's something I need to discuss with milord and you need to hear me out as well."
With that, the two made their way back to the clubroom, Hikaru only reluctantly giving in because of his brother's scary expression. There, they were greeted by an excited Tamaki, "Hikaru, Kaoru! Glad you finally decided to join us! How's my precious daughter? Is she okay...? No, wait, tell me later. Right now I have something to share with you concerning our two quarreling members!"
"As do I, Tamaki," Kaoru replied before listening to what the foolish king had to tell him.
Damn it all! Kyoya growled, kicking the leg of his desk. He was now at home, in the privacy of his own bedroom where he could fume all he liked.
It was unbelievable how everything went from bad to worse. First he finds her in the company of Tamaki, then gets discovered himself, in a rather intimate confrontation with Kameko he could not, nor would, explain to Haruhi. And then today they go off at each other, just making the whole situation worse. What's next? They start at each other's throats?
Kyoya fell into his chair, sighing. No, no, he would never raise his hand against Haruhi. But, still...! He kicked the desk again for good measure. This whole situation was completely aggravating and to just make matters even more worse, for the first time in quite a while, maybe even in his whole life, Kyoya did not have a back-up plan.
What was he to do? He had even snapped at Tamaki, who might have been at least somewhat helpful in a situation like th-Wait, no! What was he thinking? Kyoya Ootori would not stoop so low as to ask help from a rival! His competition! That was hardly the trait of an Ootori.
Then the phone rang, the sudden noise almost throwing Kyoya off the chair. As he recollected himself, the ringing stopped and a servant shortly appeared with a phone in hand. "Master Kyoya, a Miss Hayata wishes to speak with you, she says it's important," The servant explained, offering the phone politely to Kyoya, who once again sighed. It would probably do him no good to ignore her call, even though he would love nothing better than to chuck it out the window.
Reluctantly, he accepted the phone and waved off the servant before bringing it to his ear. "What do you want, Kameko?" He said icily, hoping it would intimidate Kameko out of talking to him. When there was no answer, he hesitated. That really shouldn't have worked. "Hello?" He tried again in a softer tone, but still, all he received in return was more silence. Kyoya was about to simply hang up when finally, he heard a response,
"I'm leaving for America."
Kyoya leaned back in his chair, eyes closed. Out of all the things he imagined her saying, that was the last thing on his mind. "Is that so?" Was all he could say.
There was a pause, then a soft laugh. It almost sounded self-loathing. "Why did I know you were going to say something like that?" On the other end, he heard her take a breathe, "Yes, I'm leaving for America. I don't think I'll ever return to Japan."
"Too many Asians for your liking?" He couldn't help but tease her again, recalling a few times she complained about it when they were dating.
When she replied, he could just tell she was biting back a smile. "Oh yes, much too many. There's only one I don't mind though," She retorted, using the same lines they used to exchange. "It's sad though, that he now prefers another." Well, that part was new.
Kyoya clenched his teeth together, refraining from lashing out at her. He rested his forehead in one hand, he did not want to replay the scene they made yesterday. "Kameko..." He said instead, hoping to put enough warning into it.
She was probably frowning, shaking her head. "I know Kyoya, and I'm sorry. I truly am. I didn't, okay maybe a little, did I want to meddle between you and her. You should at least know that I still...Well...Never mind, I just want you to know that yes, I am jealous, but you won't ever see me again. I just don't want to leave like this, leaving with you angry at me."
His hand dropped and he only stared dumbly ahead. Kameko was really a nice person deep down somewhere, not all of her was an act. It was one of the qualities that Kyoya had liked about her, which is why he could open up a little to her. But now...Well he would have to admit he would miss her (at least somewhat), but she would never live up to how much he, dare he think it, liked Haruhi.
"How long does your father expect you to stay in the States?" Kyoya asked instead, immediately taking on a lighter tone. It was not an outright acceptance, but at least he was talking to her civilly.
Kameko laughed again, this time it was not as melancholy. She knew him enough to understand."I don't know, honestly. A year, two at most. Then he said I'll be returning to Europe, learning the business trade he said, maybe even heading back to the states eventually. My brother was officially bed ridden this week."
Growing quiet, he expressed his condolences, but Kameko only chided him, "Oh there's no need to be like that, it doesn't suit you. We all knew that the illness was going to get worse anyways, it would be too taxing if he had to worry about the family business as well. Ah, I must be on my way. Got to pack, you know, my plane leaves tomorrow. And Kyoya,"
A pause. "Tell the girl I'm sorry. You better have a good life, Kyoya, I don't expect anything less from you," and then the line went dead.
Kyoya placed the receiver on the desk and held his face in his hands, chuckling humorlessly, "I'm so glad you have such high standards for me, but some things are easier said than done." One problem had been solved, but there was still one more he didn't seem to have a solution to.
He was already dreading the next day.
Classes went by like a blur for Kaoru. Haruhi appeared to be fine when he addressed her that morning. She talked, laughed, looked utterly unimpressed when he started flirting with Hikaru, and even let them have some of her rice cake when lunch swung around. To anyone, it seemed like yesterday never happened. Even Hikaru dismissed the whole situation by the time classes were over.
However, Kaoru knew better of course. Haruhi always had a knack of hiding what she was really thinking and she was not the type of person to allow personal relationships mess with her school work. Hiding in the library was the exception, though, but he just assumed she didn't have adequate time to calm herself.
Oh boy, did he sure hope the plan would work.
"Hey Haruhi, Hikaru and I need your help with the cosplay for next week. We're designing the costumes ourselves for once, we thought it would be useful for, you know, the future." Kaoru said, leaning over her desk as she packed up for the day. He was referring to their family's business.
Hikaru nodded in agreement with his brother, "We need to take your measurements and make adjustments if necessary. There's no club today, but we left the designs and stuff in the music room to work on it today. So what do you say?"
Haruhi placed the last folder into her bag. "We don't have club today and Tamaki's not complaining? That's strange. Uh, sure, why not," She slung it over her shoulders and gestured for them to lead.
As the three of them walked down the hall, Hikaru was the one to offer the explanation, "Tamaki had to attend to some business at the last minute. He really couldn't avoid it, you should have seen him! He was tearing up like a baby as he was dragged away into his limo!" He started to snicker, Kaoru joining him. Haruhi nodded, but gave no response.
Once they reached the third floor, they walked past the main room and headed for one of the side rooms. Already laid out on top of a couch was a long lacy dress, accompanied by doublets and stockings scattered from one chair to the next.
Looking none too happy, Haruhi gestured to the dress with one hand as she placed her bag on the floor, "I'm guessing that one is mine?" The twins nodded enthusiastically, only deepening the frown on her face, "The theme next week is medieval fashion? Didn't we already...?"
Kaoru cut her off, shaking his head, "Yes we did, but this time we're portraying a version of the children's fairytale, what was it called? Cinderella! That's it. Oh don't look so grumpy, Haruhi, we're going to give you a choice of either this," He picked up the dress, showing it's size and the little details trailing down from the neck line to the waist. Along the arm were cuts and slashes here and there, made to reveal the under dress and tied up with string. It looked rather fancy and shimmered a little in the light. Haruhi assumed this was Cinderella's ball gown. "We mixed up a little Renaissance fashion into it as well."
"Or you could wear this," Supplied Hikaru, producing another and less elegant dress which was a simple surcoat over what looked like a loose white under dress, "We raised the neckline (Medieval women liked to reveal...Well, pretty much everything) and you don't need a corset for this." As he added the last part, his face turned a little red.
It really wasn't a hard decision, in the matter of which dress Haruhi chose. Both Hikaru and Kaoru were a little disappointed that they weren't going to see Haruhi in such a beautiful dress they worked so hard in making, so they eventually forced her into dressing up for them. Not in front of them, of course.
Haruhi groaned, looking at herself in the mirror of the make-shift dressing room they left her in. She looked utterly ridiculous, if she thought so herself. Her hair was too short and she didn't have the boob size to even fill in the dress correctly. If anything, she looked like a guy in a dress...Oh how embarrassing. A single nasty thought crossed her mind, Kameko would look nice in this, but immediately she shoved the image into the back of her thoughts and stormed out of the curtains.
"Hikaru, Kaoru, I put the darn thing on. The lace is rather itchy and I don't think I can fit in this nicely. Can I take it off now?" She said sulkily, pulling at the lace that lined the skirt.
"I do hope you don't mean right there," A voice answered, one that belonged to neither Hikaru nor Kaoru.
As soon as he was out of the little side room, Kaoru clapped his hands together in prayer, please, please let this work. After a moment of willful thinking he rushed to catch up with his brother who was already searching for Hunny and Mori (They had cleared out the customers).
Haruhi looked up, her eyes wide in horror. "Kyoya," Her voice was all breath. The twins must have asked him to come try on his outfit too, since he was not in his usual school uniform, but already in a rather loose fitted tunic over trousers that must have been buried somewhere among the other clothes. (All she saw for guys were stockings, but somehow she could not really imagine the club members in..Well, tights).
Nonchalantly, Kyoya picked up the doublet that was slung over the couch to the side of him. "Good afternoon, Haruhi," He said coolly, attempting to pretend there was no awkwardness between them at that moment. He was also pretending he was not staring. Thank God, she was too befuddled by his presence to notice.
After a moment or two of silence and more staring, Haruhi shook her head and made to enter the curtained off dressing room again, playing along with their game of pretend. She didn't care. Nope, not at all. But then again, she just had to ask something. "Where are the twins?" Normal question, nothing out of the ordinary.
"They went out to borrow Mori's sewing kit, they had to fix something on my coat," Kyoya replied, slipping on the doublet and reaching for the nearby belt.
Haruhi nodded, making some noise of understanding,"Oh, I see. Well, I'm not going to wait for them. I'm just going to change then..."
"No, wait!" He suddenly exclaimed before he could stop himself, his hand out stretched in her direction. He didn't want to watch her walk away again. When she stopped and glanced over her shoulder, his arm lowered as he struggled to gain control of his mouth, "...I-I meant...We need to talk, Haruhi." The last words were firm and determined.
A mirthless laugh escaped Haruhi, despite the efforts she had made to keep herself composed, "Talk? What is left to be talked about, Kyoya?" She turned around, face contorted in suppressed emotion, "I think we have both said enough for each other's lifetimes."
Kyoya almost slapped a hand to his forehead. "Fine, not talk, but at least let me explain. There, is that more appropriate?" He snapped, immediately regretting it when she glared at him. At least she didn't make to turn around again.
"I..." He started, hoping to sort his thoughts into comprehensible sentences. There was too much he wanted to tell her, too much he didn't want to tell her, and too much he should tell her. Sighing, he pinched the bridge of his nose. Haruhi crossed her arms, head tilted to a side as she waited patiently enough for him.
Kameko. Tell her about Kameko first, he thought to himself. "Whatever you might think, Kameko is not my girlfriend. In actuality we are not in a relationship at all at this moment," He forced himself to say, using every ounce of public speaking skills he obtained over the years. However, it was one thing to address a crowd of people you do not know nor cared about, it was another to speak to, well, Haruhi.
Kyoya allowed himself a small breath, that was a good start. No, wait- but too late did he realize his mistake.
"'At this moment'? That would explain the intimacy between you two," Haruhi pointed out bluntly, frowning.
Anger surged through Kyoya and he had to ball up his hand into a fist to keep his rising temper in check. She was making this all the more frustrating. "No!" He hissed, taking a step forward, then he paused, shaking his head, "Well, yes. It is true that Kameko and I had been in a relationship together, but that is over. It has been for the past three months. What you saw Sunday was a show of her trying to convince me to take her back, however unlike her I am quite past that."
Haruhi bit down on the inside of her cheek. So that was it, huh? The two of them did date, but in the end it didn't work out. Somehow this new information gave her both a fluttering feeling and a sharp pain. When Kyoya was finally through with a girl, he just forgets about her...?
Still frowning, Haruhi shook her head, "Alright, so the two of you had a past. That would explain the whole 'old friends' thing between you guys and I will admit that I was bothered by the fact that you would take me to dinner, though it had seemed you were dating her," Kyoya looked like it was about to protest, but Haruhi made sure to cut him off sharply, "However! It does not explain what was wrong with me hanging out with Tamaki if you're free to hang out with your ex. Tamaki and I are just friends!"
Kyoya scoffed, "Friends? Do you think me blind? It's obvious..." Once his brain caught up with his mouth, he nearly chomped off his tongue. No, he was not going to point out the feelings she definitely had for Tamaki, that would count against him if the dense Haruhi suddenly figured it out. The thought fueled him with rage. How easily he could lose to such a fool! His presence is not even required for his victory. No, right now was his chance to gain the upper hand. Dammit Kyoya, there's no backing down now! You're an Ootori for crying out loud!
"Alright, fine" He said finally, breaking his own reverie, "You want to know the real reason, Haruhi? Why it gets me so upset to see you with Tamaki?"
"That's what I've been asking, hasn't it?" She shot back, not missing a beat.
He swallowed, both his pride and anxiety. He was going to do this.
"It's because I..."
Tamaki frowned into his hand, huffing a little as he stared out the window of the conference room. It was so completely unfair that his brilliance had to be locked up in such a dull meeting, but alas, there was no avoiding it. However, he found it quite difficult to concentrate on what the opposing party was saying. Something about new policies and setting up branches somewhere in America. Bah, he had already heard about this prior to the meeting via phone.
It was such a shame that his plan couldn't have been put to work. How lovely it would have been to see the look on Kyoya's and Haruhi's faces when they received a letter addressed by the other apologizing for all what they've done and that they should retain their happy mother-daughter relationship. Though, he had to give Kaoru some credit. His plan was rather advance for someone of his childish thinking. Not to mention, he gave Tamaki quite a bit to think about.
The other day, the older twin went on about something funny going on between Kyoya and Haruhi. Really! Such an absurd idea made Tamaki's heart pound a little harder than normal. Yet Kaoru had said it so seriously.
"The thing going on between Kyoya and Haruhi is simple, but they keep making it much more complicated then it is. Not to mention someone," At this Kaoru gave Tamaki a funny stare, "Keeps getting in the way."
Partially offended by the stare, Tamaki placed a hand to his chest and scoffed, "Me? Why, I have nothing to do with this!"
And much to Tamaki's disbelief, Kaoru covered his face as if were actually annoyed! The nerve! But what he said next had completely unsettled him, "Tamaki, do you like Haruhi? As in, you like-like her, that you would date her."
The very thought...He would...Want to date his daughter...It disturbed him very much. Of course he answered he liked Haruhi, parental love only though. Tamaki made a mental nod of agreement. Yes, yes, Haruhi was his darling little daughter, why wouldn't he like her? But no good father wanted to date their daughter, as in creating that kind of relationship with her. That's just incest and if Tamaki knew one thing, it was that he did not do incest. That was reserved solely for Kaoru and Hikaru.
He had firmly made the decision that he did not like Haruhi in that way and if Kyoya did, well, that's Kyoya and like a good friend, Tamaki must cheer his best friend on.
Though he thought it absolute, why did his heart beat erratically? Well...Nah, it must be nothing but his poor nerves worrying over whether Kaoru's plan worked or not to path the hole between Kyoya and Haruhi.
Tamaki was to never realize the feelings he had just disbanded, nor the potential that he had just crushed with that single resolution, but then again, it's hard to miss what never was. The next day he would only see Haruhi as a daughter, nothing more, nothing less.
The results of Kaoru's plan changed it not.
"It's because I like you!" Kyoya exclaimed, almost to the point of shouting. He soon realized that once he started, he couldn't stop himself, "And it bothers me to see you conversing with him when I wanted you to be with me!"
The abrupt confession threw Haruhi aback. Wait, what? All anger drained from her face, blush quickly replacing it. "B-but the dinner! W-wasn't that as friends...?" She stuttered out what she already knew to be a weak argument. It was just so hard to wrap her mind around the fact that the great Ootori...Oh, God, she didn't even dare to think it.
Suddenly uneasy, Kyoya retreated back to the side of the couch, running a hand through his hair as he smiled a small smile, "You and I both know you wouldn't have agreed if I said otherwise, even if you thought I was gay. Please believe me when I say that I had wished it differently." He cleared his throat, recollecting himself, "Yesterday you mentioned that Saturday meant nothing to me. That is not true, quite far from it actually."
Haruhi shook her head, her mind swarming with thoughts. Is that how he feels? Really? But...Just...It was quite different than what she had guessed before! However, by then she should have figured out that her guessing skills were lacking. First she thought he was gay, obviously false. Then she thought him taken, also proven false. Now...He's single and likes her? What. Why did this make her feel so...So oddly happy? This was not the first time someone's confessed to her so why did it affect her so? This was Kyoya for gosh sakes! A guy she thought cold and detached, not to mention cruel.
A small voice in the back of her head offered an explanation, you like him too. She wanted to do nothing more but push the little voice aside and brush this whole situation off as nonsense, yet, if what the voice proposed was true then everything made sense. It would explain the reason why Kameko had bothered her so, why Kyoya having a girlfriend in the first place caused her to lose sleep, why he caused her to get so emotional...
"I didn't expect you to return my feelings, but you could at least grace me with a response," Kyoya said as he watched Haruhi with ever growing discomfort. He wasn't sure how to judge her reaction just by the color of her cheeks. It was never good to assume things, not when he's gotten so far.
Haruhi, to his surprise, jumped a little at the sudden intrusion of her inner meltdown. She looked up at Kyoya as if seeing him for the first time. "I...You...You're straight then?" She blurted the first thing that came to mind.
The edges of Kyoya's lips twitched. Was that really her reply when he just bared his feelings to her? Jeez this- Oh to hell with prudence.
He closed the distance between them and wrapped his arm around her small waist. "Here, let me show you," He said, smiling as he pecked her lightly on the cheek.
As preoccupied as they were, neither Haruhi nor Kyoya noticed the door to the room opened just a crack, four pairs of eyes watching them silently. One in particular crying in the inside as his brother patted him on the back in sympathy.
Despite Hikaru's loss, Kaoru couldn't help but smile a little in the inside. Knowing Haruhi, a simple kiss was not going to put them into a relationship. It might take even longer for those two to officially get together, but at least they're talking to each other now.
Oh don't worry Hikaru, I'm sure you'll find someone. In the meantime, I don't plan on going anywhere, he thought to himself as he continued to wordlessly console his brother.
Hunny and Mori exchanged knowing glances to each other, Hunny grinning broadly. He just loved it when a plan worked.
Epilogue – Ten years later:
"Madam," Yuki gently shook the sleeping figure of her mistress, who had fallen asleep on her writing desk, "Madam, please wake up, it's almost evening."
Slowly, Haruhi came to, mumbling something or another as she rubbed the sleep from her eyes. "Huh? Yuki? Hmm, I had the strangest dream..." She said drowsily. The maid only nodded in response, a hairbrush in hand.
"Was it like Wonderland*?" Yuki asked, already starting to fuss over Haruhi's long hair and frowning when Haruhi shook her head in response.
"No, it wasn't as crazy as that one, but it did involve the host club," She chuckled softly, memories of high school slowly coming to mind. "It resembled more of Medieval Europe, strangely reminding me of that cosplay Hikaru and Kaoru sewed themselves that one time. Tamaki, of course, was the king. Mori was a guard, I believe, to little Lord Hunny. Hikaru and Kaoru were the royal tailors. And..." Haruhi's voice trailed off and her cheeks reddened a bit.
Yuki couldn't see, but she could already guess by the silence that the next part was rather embarrassing to tell. It didn't stop the maid from inquiring further though, "And what about you and Kyoya?"
Haruhi cleared her throat, sitting up, "Well he was the loyal advisor to the king and I-" A knocking on the door of her room shortly cut her off.
"Are you awake, Haruhi?" The voice of Kyoya called out from the other side.
Getting to her feet, Haruhi went to open the door, Yuki though, beat her to it. "Master Kyoya, your wife is ready to attend dinner now." Behind her, Haruhi huffed, mumbling under her breath that she wasn't lazy enough to not even open a door. The maid, seeming like she hadn't heard only bowed and shortly left them alone.
At Haruhi's reaction, Kyoya couldn't help but smile as he kissed her on the forehead, "There's no need to bother yourself with such small things, my dear. You're an Ootori now."
Haruhi laughed, a little sarcastically, "And who knew I would end up as one?" The two started to walk down the hall towards the dining room.
"Well, it seems your father had some sort of idea of it. He had the gifts and cards all ready by the time I visited him," Kyoya replied in a mildly amused tone.
She rolled her eyes, "Why am I not surprised to hear this?"
"He is your father, Haruhi. I believe you know him better than anyone." He pointed out, teasingly.
"Yes, yes, I know, but he somehow manages to surprise me now and then. Oh, speaking of fathers, how's Tamaki in the states? I hear the branches out there are doing rather good."
Nodding his head, Kyoya confirmed it, "His business is doing quite well when I spoke to him yesterday (that fool never fails to call every day). Apparently he has also formed a rather close relationship with the new owner of Hayata Hotels."
Haruhi's pace slowed to a halt. "Hayata?" She repeated, the name striking a chord.
Then she smiled and started to walk again, "So that's where she ended up at. Hmm, I'm sure that Tamaki will treat her like a princess."
Kyoya scoffed, as if offended by Haruhi's remark, "You don't think I had? By personal experience, I thought you would have assume differently."
Lightly, Haruhi punched Kyoya in the arm, "I never said you didn't, you jerk." As they made their way into the dining room, Haruhi turned to Kyoya again, "Hey, let's invite them over. It'd be nice to have a reunion, don't you think?"
"As long as you're fine with me talking to Kameko again," He replied.
"As long as you're fine with me conversing with Tamaki," She shot back.
He sighed, "Alright, fine. Let's both agree to not get jealous. No misunderstandings whatsoever, are we clear?"
"I can't make any promises," She teased, grinning childishly, but added, "I'm kidding, I'm kidding, we're clear, Master Ootori" at the scary look that had crossed Kyoya's features.
Seems like some things never change.
*Referring to the episode 13 of the anime, where Ouran undergoes a Wonderland crossover in Haruhi's dream
A/N: And that's the end! Yaaaay~ Aren't you happy that you finally got through with that horrible business?
Would you believe this is the first time I ever wrote the ending to a story? Yeah, I'm pretty horrible at these finishing-what-I-started kind of things.
Well enough of me blabbing, who reads this anyhow, thank you for reading and all those wonderful reviews!