Cold Comfort

An Ouran High School Host Club Fanfiction by SilentCynara

Warnings: Mature content. Spoilers up to chapter 76 of the manga, so please don't read this if you haven't followed the manga that far. Follows manga canon, so there is no Éclair here, and the last two episodes of the anime aren't part of the storyline (not because I don't like it, but because the manga events fit the story better).

Disclaimer: I'm just playing in Bisco Hatori's wonderful world using her lovely characters. Some quotes are taken from the Ouran translations on onemanga for chapters after 71; the others are taken from the Chuangyi English version of the manga, volume 15 (with Kyoya on the cover!). No challenge is intended towards the author, translator and publisher.

Summary: Kyoya never paid attention to thunderstorms before, but if it's the only way she can be his, then let the rain pour.

Note: Please don't flame if you don't like the pairing. I like Haruhi x Tamaki, and Haruhi x (one of the twins), but this is what I finished writing. Thank you!

0-0-0 before the storm

She hears his footsteps and wordlessly opens the door. Outside, the sky is dark and void of stars: a thunderstorm is due soon. She looks up at him; his eyes are stormy instead of the inscrutable black they normally are.

It's like the first time, just about a year ago. The setting may have changed—they are now in the United States—but the actors are still the same. He stands in the doorway, saying nothing, looking at her with those intense eyes of his. She says nothing as well. They watch each other, quietly, then she quietly beckons him in. He removes his shoes, careful to make sure they face outward—a habit he's never broken, not even here in 'the land of the free'—and enters her apartment.

Kyoya Ootori has grown taller—now standing just a shade under six feet—and he's filled out. The boy he was, the 'scary goblin king,' as Tamaki used to call him, has long been left behind, in more ways than one. The fading light limns his fine facial bone structure. He's still arrogantly handsome, and the glasses make him look remote, magisterial, dark, and older than his nineteen years.

Haruhi Fujioka is still small, standing barely five foot three, but her hair now falls past her shoulders once more, making her look younger than her eighteen years. She was removed from Ouran a short while into her second year of high school, after Tamaki's grandmother stepped in and made sure she was expelled and exposed as a girl pretending to be a boy. Now, not having to hide who and what she is, she is the girl the boys of the Host Club all wanted her to be.

How long ago was it?

It was yesterday.

It was a month ago.

It was a year ago. Kyoya's sure, because his notes tell him so. Not that he needs them to remember the first time.

0-0-0 interlude: haruhi thinks of kyoya

Haruhi does not see Kyoya as being beautiful the way Tamaki Suoh was—is. Perhaps, she thinks, the best word for Kyoya is charismatic. You could watch him for hours and never discover the true face behind his charming, poised mask.

She forces the thought of Tamaki away, something she's gotten good at in the past year, and focuses on Kyoya's fine features. He's tall for a Japanese male, and his high cheekbones, large thickly lashed eyes, smooth skin, and slender yet muscular frame have drawn him offers to model here, in the land of blue eyes and blond hair; here, he is exotic, a curiosity, a mystery.

But Kyoya has refused them all, choosing to focus instead on his fast-track BS and MBA program at Harvard. As he did in Japan, he outstripped everyone in his class, without causing undue jealousy; he incites admiration and adoration in his peers and his classmates. His last paper won him the Entrepreneur Incubator Idea award, and he's entered in the international business plan competition next month.

She knows he will win. He always does.

0-0-0 how did we end up here? one year ago, in tokyo

The only thing that matters to Kyoya is that things have twisted in such a way that he has ended up with Haruhi somehow. It would have made more sense had Hikaru or Kaoru been the one—or ones, Kyoya wryly thinks—to comfort Haruhi. And yet here he is, and there she is. In a world of crazy endings and insane twists, here they are now, together, so to speak.

He is in truth a lonely person; the void in his heart had been filled by Tamaki and all the others in the Host Club. His world was even smaller than that of the twins until the Host Club was established: there was only him, and those he could and could not use or benefit from. No one else was a person; everyone was an asset or a liability, filed away on the positive or negative side of Kyoya's ledger.

And he thought he was happy that way. Kyoya surrounded his heart with ice on purpose. Ice preserves. Ice keeps things pristine. Ice keeps the cold constant; in a constant environment, things stay the same, and things can progress at a controlled rate.

Haruhi was warmth.

Oh, she was definitely not a sweet person; in fact, she was always a bit odd. But she was calm and controlled, someone for whom excessive displays of emotion were alien. She easily put up with her father's exuberant nature, and tolerated Tamaki as well as any person close to him could. But she was such a real person, not overly concerned with what others thought of her, doing just exactly what she wanted or needed to do, and never putting on pretenses for the benefit of others.

And that was why Kyoya was, in truth, the first to fall in love with her—as early as when he'd tested her by asking her to 'pay for damages with her body' back at the beach house in Osaka.

"Kyoya-senpai is not that kind of person," she had said calmly as he'd pinned her down in a sexually suggestive position. He'd laughed then, not because she had seen right through him but because the force of his logic had told him he was, irretrievably and irrevocably, in love with this smart girl.

Haruhi was not, at first glance, as beautiful as the girls in Ouran. But if you looked at her often enough—and behind his glasses, Kyoya had become very, very good at that—you saw the attraction of her pixie-like face, her big eyes, her small slender body. Once you got to know her—and it was Kyoya's business to know as much as he could about everyone in Ouran, even the applicants—you discovered that she was a strange mix of the endearing and infuriating, vulnerable and self-reliant. Her mind and favors move like butterflies; Kyoya relished the challenge of figuring out what she thinks, and was secretly thrilled whenever he earns a "How did you know what I was thinking?" from her.

And there's the knife edge of danger: on one hand, she would make a brilliant partner for one such as him, and yet there is the distraction that she poses to men: can you figure her out? Can she truly belong to you? Plus his father probably wouldn't approve of her as his wife. And neither, Kyoya ruefully thinks, would she.

From the start he had known he loved her; that first day she set foot in Ouran to take the entrance exam, he saw her and knew that she was a girl who would always have that elusive quality; she would never be completely anyone's. She was like a butterfly you couldn't really grasp without hurting it—and you didn't want to do that because then she would be ruined. And Ootori Kyoya has always loved mysteries, to unravel them with his logic and expose their inner workings. He's never unraveled her, not even in bed, when she dissolves into quivering female flesh when he makes love to her—making him love her more.

All the time she was learning the ropes in the Host Club, he loved her. He watched her; he soon learned that the way to insert himself into her consciousness was to send her stinging little verbal barbs about her lack of money, the need to pay rent for costumes—he would smile a little every time she frowned. He knew she called him the Shadow King Goblin Lord behind his back along with the twins. Ever since then, Kyoya has collected artwork and statues of goblins and dark kings.

Life was good for them; they were a family. Tamaki was Daddy; Kyoya was Mommy, Haruhi was the daughter, the twins were Haruhi's brothers, and Honey-senpai and Mori-senpai were part of the family, if as undefined members of it. Kyoya nursed the little hope that perhaps he could get closer to Haruhi as Mommy; weren't mothers closer to daughters? But Kyoya held himself aloof from her, challenging himself to stay strong and to maintain his distance. It would not do for him to hand over his heart and soul to her; love gave someone else power over you, and Kyoya refuses to let anyone own any part of him.

Of course it's too late, but the distance he maintained between them allowed him and his feelings to remain undetected. Though Honey-senpai did make noises to Mori about "Kyo-chan hasn't realized his feelings yet…" to this day, they believe he is simply watching over Haruhi as he conquers the land of the Americans.

Kyoya was the first to notice that Kaoru had also fallen in love with Haruhi; it was with a sad amusement that he watched Kaoru fight his feelings in order to give way to his older, yet less mature twin Hikaru. Had they been more assertive, perhaps they could have swept Haruhi away together, in their inimitable style, but fear of hurting each other and confusion over their feelings kept the twins from using their advantage with Haruhi.

Then Tamaki realized that he was in love with her. That changed everything, because Kyoya knew he would never win against someone who aroused such violent emotions in Haruhi. She vacillated between annoyance and affection with him; she thought of him constantly, and she spoke of nothing but him to Kyoya, not that she realized it.

Sometimes Kyoya wishes he weren't so smart and observant. An old proverb had it that the dense and ignorant had life easier, because they weren't sensitive enough to be hurt.

Kyoya simply buried his emotions deep inside, as he always did; the scene his only sister saw, of him losing control and punching his couch as though it were Tamaki, it will never be repeated. Emotions are a vulnerability, and this is why he has never told Haruhi he loves her. He enjoys treading the edge of the blade; Kyoya knows he will lose, someday, and so his game is to see how long he can last in this strange affair before he finally lets the fatal words escape his iron control: I love you, Haruhi.

He's done very well so far: three years of silence is quite a feat for anyone in love, after all.

0-0-0 redux: one year ago

It all started the night after Tamaki had said the words that shattered Haruhi:

"I don't really think you would understand." "This is no concern of yours." "Shut up, I said, and leave!" "You're being a burden!"

Haruhi angrily packed the picnic things she'd brought in a rare display of temper. Kyoya had followed Haruhi home; he'd seen the weather report that day (Kyoya kept an eye on the weather ever since he learned from Tamaki that Haruhi was scared of thunder) and had wanted to make sure she wouldn't be home alone when the storm struck. He has a file in his head of things about everyone; it wouldn't be a stretch to say that he knows too much for his own good at times.

On the day Tamaki broke her heart, Haruhi had walked home quietly; it was then he realized that she truly loved Tamaki, because she was feeling the pain of his rejection, never mind if it was a false one meant to protect her. She needed Tamaki, wanted to be with Tamaki.

But she couldn't be with him. And that was what was tearing at her.

All there was, was him.

He was by the door to their tiny apartment, having just confirmed to his dismay that Ranka-san was not coming home tonight (of all nights!) when the first rumbles of thunder began. He heard her whimper.

Kyoya knew the door would be open; in her upset state, Haruhi forgot details like that. The doorknob yielded to his touch; he locked it behind him on reflex.

Once inside the tiny apartment barely half the size of his own sumptuous bathroom at home, it was easy to find her; she's under the table, wrapped in a blanket with earplugs in her ears. She once told Kyoya, in one of those offhand conversations he loves, that wrapping herself in a blanket—the way Hikaru did to her in Karuizawa—and using earplugs—the ones Tamaki gave her when they were at the beach house of Nekozawa-senpai in Osaka—worked on nights when she was alone and storms struck.

This time it wasn't enough. She raised great brown tear-filled eyes to him, and he was at once shocked by her lack of fear at seeing someone else in the house, and saddened that she is more scared of the thunder than she is of someone breaking

He saw her disappointment at seeing him and Kyoya found, to his horror, that he wished, for once, he was Tamaki. That way he would be enough for her. He would be whom she needed to calm her fears and take away her tears. He almost chuckled; weren't those corny song lyrics?

She tried to hide her disappointment, tried to express her gratitude, but as she opened her mouth, there was a large crash of thunder, and he held her as she cried.

Haruhi was warm and she felt like she fit just right into his arms. She calmed down in his awkward embrace. Outside the storm spent its fury against the city, and she jumped a bit at every crash of thunder.

As Kyoya held Haruhi he knew that if for this moment he could tell himself that she was his, just as he has always been hers. For this moment, he could pretend.

When the lights went out in a rare power break, it was like the world had gone away; the noise of the storm faded, and suddenly he is the only boy in the world, and she is the only girl.

He can't remember who kissed whom first. It's all a blur to him; somehow their lips were touching, somehow his tongue was in her mouth and he was exploring it hungrily; somehow his hands found their way under her shirt, cupping the barely-there breasts in their small sports bra (fine quality, cost approximately thirty thousand yen, Kyoya finds himself thinking; he forced Haruhi to buy them with the proceeds from the sale of her photobook). Haruhi closed her eyes throughout the whole thing; in the darkness, Kyoya feels her shiver, and she whispers, "Tamaki."

His mind screamed at him to stop: he was taking advantage of her sorrow, of her pain. But when Kyoya withdrew his hand from where he had been fondling Haruhi's tiny nipples, murmuring a rare apology, she held his arms in place.

"Don't stop," she said, her eyes still tightly shut. "Please… senpai."

Not that he could have resisted; Kyoya continued his ministrations, his logical mind taunting him that the reason why she said nothing else, save for tiny gasps of pleasure, was because in her mind, he is Tamaki. But he ignored his intellect for once, and gave in to the sensations of the moment.

Somehow, they were naked; sports bra, shirt, panties, boxer, school ties, socks strewn across the living room-slash dining room of the Fujioka apartment. Kyoya almost stopped the moment he felt her naked body against his; he'd always imagined his first time to have sex to be on silk sheets, or Egyptian cotton with a thread count into the high hundreds, somewhere with champagne, scented candles, an experienced woman bought for the night, expensive and discreet.

The neighbors in the next apartment began to argue about rice; Kyoya's mouth was on Haruhi's left nipple as he fondled the other one gently between thumb and index finger. Another apartment echoed with the sounds of an inane game show as Kyoya parted her folds and touched Haruhi's clitoris; her gasp was swallowed up by canned applause. He did not hear the neighbors below start up their karaoke machine, as he was between her thighs, licking at her womanhood and savoring his first taste of her most intimate place.

Dimly Kyoya realized he was touching her in places no other Host Club member had ever seen; somehow he was marveling at finding, despite Hikaru's mockery of her 'ironing board' chest, he was attracted to and fascinated by the small mounds of flesh; somehow, he was inside her; somehow, they had wound up comforting each other, because the act had not been making love nor just having sex.

He remembers how warm she was, how soft and yielding, and he realizes, without false emotion, that had things been different, she would never have let him in. But there he is—and now, Kyoya supposes, he is Haruhi's lover. If not in the sense of the word he wanted when he first set out to manipulate her into joining the club.

Kyoya remembers her tears. They were tears of pain, not from his first clumsy thrust into her, drawing the blood of her maidenhood, but because at that moment she closed her eyes and saw someone else holding her, joining himself to her, someone with lavender eyes and blond hair and a disposition like sunshine, so unlike his own.

And he remembers his own tears, because he could not, would not stop. If she saw Tamaki above her, so intimately joined to her in the darkness, Kyoya knew he would not min—much. They kissed frantically as he tentatively pushed himself into her, trying to find a rhythm that would please them both; once Kyoya got the hang of it, he had to kiss Haruhi to muffle the sounds she made because her moans had risen in volume and throatiness.

Had he finally unraveled her? No, Kyoya realized as he raised himself on his elbows and moved her hips higher to meet his, she was pretending he was Tamaki, and was deriving pleasure from it.

Not that he wasn't enjoying himself; the friction of his flesh buried in hers was a new pleasure, and one he could not master or control. She was the first to come despite the pain of his intrusion into her; he felt her insides contract on him, and soon, he felt his own completion approaching.

When he almost spilled his seed into Haruhi, he knew a momentary frisson of fear as he scrambled to pull out of her; somehow he managed to make it out before he climaxed. His mind went briefly, deliciously blank as he came in several spasms.

By the time the act was over, neither had said a word.

Kyoya was annoyed to find himself worried about the chances he had gotten Haruhi pregnant; for once he wishes his mind would stop working, but it refuses to do so. A child would have destroyed both of them, and Kyoya panted as he collapsed beside her, not only from the effort of their first time, but also at the close shave. He knew there was a small chance she was pregnant from the unprotected sex, and tomorrow he would make sure she took a morning-after pill.

She nestled against him; she was so small, and he was like a large blanket that kept away the thunder she hated so much. He pulled her against him, and watched as she sleeps in his arms for the first time, just as he'd always dreamed.

But this time Kyoya's dream was real. Haruhi was his, if only for now.

0-0-0 aftermath, afterglow

In that breathless space between the first rainfall and the next is an ineffable silence, one that is always unique. Every time that Ranka-san was out for the night and a thunderstorm threatened—and it happened more often these days—Kyoya came over by unspoken agreement. Haruhi always waited for him, and when he arrived, they repeated the first time they came together, refining it with new touches: Haruhi learned that her lips on Kyoya's erection drove him insane, and Kyoya learned that Haruhi preferred to have the lights out once she was completely naked.

At school they acted as they always have: he was Kyoya-senpai, and she was the little scholarship student he deigned to notice and occasionally speak to.

It's a miracle none of the other Host Club members noticed; Haruhi's mania for privacy, Kyoya's traditional refusal to discuss what he did in his own time, and Tamaki's personal troubles distracted everyone.

Then one day, despite staying away from Tamaki as ordered, Haruhi was expelled and exposed—just like that. The Host Club—or more rightfully, its remnants—was in a frenzy, but Haruhi asked them to leave her alone, just as she did the day Tamaki rejected her. Kyoya herded the others away, not even bothering to exchange a look with Haruhi—but an hour later he was at her apartment, and he was inside her.

That night was the first night Haruhi was the one to mount Kyoya, impaling herself on his hardness, riding him desperately, her tears flowing into his mouth as she kissed him on her way to her climax. He released his own climax inside her; he'd provided her with birth control pills after the first time, and though they never talked about what they had—and indeed, they never talked as they shared physical intimacies—they seemed to understand that each fulfilled a need of the other.

They always slept together after having sex, even if for a while. Kyoya discovered that he needed less sleep after his sessions with Haruhi. His time entangled with Haruhi refreshed him, and in school, he pulled away from Tamaki in the academic standings by an incredible five rating points.

Meanwhile, on Kyoya's advice, Haruhi took the high school equivalency examination, and passed; she worked at various odd jobs, waiting for her US visa, and Kyoya, upon passing the finals for high school coursework early in his final year, put in a request to validate his college credits so that he could use them in Harvard.

They also learned things outside school: Haruhi learned to keep a box of tissues in handy reach for cleaning up afterwards. Kyoya learned how to sneak out of his own home unobserved; not even his loyal bodyguards know of his secret rendezvouses with Haruhi. He was, after all, a fast learner, and he knew how to keep his door locked, and how to get back without rousing the rest of the house.

His father was immensely proud when Kyoya got his Harvard acceptance letter. When Haruhi won her own pre-law scholarship there, Kyoya allowed the twins to persuade him to hold a celebratory going-away party for them both. The two threatened to follow them to the US as soon as they are done with high school; Kyoya had no doubts that they would follow through on that promise.

But for that moment, all there was, was him… and Haruhi.

0-0-0 today

Kyoya finds that on days of rain, he is aroused by thunder; they rarely share their intimacies, Haruhi and he, when it is not raining.

Sex. Kyoya shakes his head and corrects himself as he drives his discreet gray Volvo to Haruhi's apartment. What they do isn't love, at least not for her, and even he's not sure about what they do. It is mutually pleasurable, and neither of them is lonely here in a country of mixed whites and blacks and Asians like themselves. He tells himself he doesn't mind their strange relationship.

He parks in front of the white apartment with the neatly kept flowerboxes at the windows. Haruhi found separate lodgings, and in typical fashion, she made arrangements of her own. Kyoya himself lives in an expensive high rise; his minimalist yet large condominium often sees discreet cocktail parties where he hosts his peers and their parents, making the connections he needs to break into the US financial market. And he's succeeding.

She opens the door to him, and for a moment, they look at each other. Then Kyoya breaks the spell and reaches for her chin. There is no tenderness in his touch; he grabs her and takes what he wants, smashing his mouth against hers. They fall into her apartment.

He struggles out of his jacket; she helps him tear his shirt off. Lately their couplings have turned into frenzied matings, rushes towards physical release. Kyoya supposes it's a phase; when they started their strange affair, they explored each other shyly, almost tentatively. But now here, strangers in a strange land, they have learned the sensual abandon of repeated sex in a single day.

Outside the rain falls hard, sheeting gray over the entire world. Inside Kyoya kisses, licks, and sucks at Haruhi, who gives back as good as she gets. We're like animals, he muses, as he pauses to sheathe himself in her.

Only this time she hesitates.

He raises a curious eyebrow; this has never happened before. But when she snaps on the bedside light, he cannot contain his confusion.

"What is it?" he asks.

"Kyoya," Haruhi says softly.

His name. She has said his name.

"What is it, Haruhi?" he repeats.

"Let's keep the light on this time," she says.

Wordlessly Kyoya plunges into her; she meets his lips with her own, and moves against him, thrusting her hips back at him as he moves in her. Now he can see her as they do this: her flushed cheeks, her half-closed eyes, the sheen of perspiration on her skin mixing with the sweat on his. He looks down to where they are joined, and sees Haruhi's gaze follow his; he sees himself moving in and out of her, how the hair down there disappears into a single thatch when he pushes himself into her to the hilt. It's a most arousing sight, and with a moan, Kyoya speeds up the pace, then comes.

He pulls himself out then pulls Haruhi towards him. Instead of spooning against him with her back to him, Haruhi turns around and faces Kyoya.

"Next time, I want to see you when we make love," she says, her large dark eyes looking steadily into his.

Kyoya wants to smile but he can't.

"Why?" he asks.

She does not answer, and he knows it's because she is trying to 'be fair,' trying desperately to force herself to feel for him the way she did for Tamaki. Don't, he thinks to her. Don't do this. This cold comfort is all I have of you. If you try to force yourself to care about me, the way you did about Tamaki, then it will all be over.

He can just imagine the questions if they bring their relationship out in the open. The members of the Host Club will want to know how it happened, and neither of them can answer that question, not without shattering the little world away from the world they have created together.

Please, don't, he begs Haruhi silently.

"Why indeed." Haruhi turns away from him, but keeps his arms where they always are: one serving as a pillow for her head, the other wrapped around her small waist.

And Kyoya finally smiles. They are safe; this strange relationship will continue, and they will probably find a way to keep it going when the twins, freshly out of high school, arrive in a few months.

He will have her; she will be his, truly his, if only for a little while longer.

The end.

My first Ouran fanfic! In truth the original male character here was Kaoru, but after revisiting the manga and the anime, I settled on Kyoya as a better candidate. Please read and review?