Disclaimer: I still don't own Ouran. That would be Bisco Hatori. No matter what. If I did own it, Haruhi wouldn't have taken 80 chapters to realize it was time to confess her love to Tamaki XD
Well, this is the last chapter, and I hope you all enjoy it (: Thanks so much to all of you that have been reading. Feel free to drop a review to let me know what you thought of the story now that it's finished!
Haruhi was not entirely sure why she expected Tamaki to be in music room three, but she followed the gut feeling anyway… mostly because she had no idea where Suoh mansion number 2 was located, and so her feet naturally carried her in the direction of the place where they had spent the most time together. She barely made it onto the train before it departed, leaping at the last moment and making it into a compartment. She dodged strange looks because of her method of entrance all the way to her seat and sat a little out of breath on the familiar route to the academy.
'Please be there, Tamaki-senpai…' she thought desperately, fumbling with the ticket stub in her hands. 'I'm not even sure how else to reach you, and honestly I don't know if I'll still have the courage to do this if I wait until tomorrow…'
It was nearly noon when Haruhi reached Ouran, jogging all the way there from the train station. Despite the fact that it was Sunday, the school grounds were still bustling with activity. The Ouran Festival was a weeklong event, and this was only the fourth day. Since classes were not in session and so most of the routine students were not expected to be there today, only the outdoor portion of the festival was going on, and Haruhi, still in her dress, received several strange looks from proprietors of the outdoor booths that she had classes with.
"Isn't that Fujioka-kun?" she heard one of her classmates ask.
"He sure does like to crossdress. Even when we have the day off he's doing it!" was the reply, and she had to cover her mouth a little to keep from laughing. She made her way through the bright noon sunshine and past the booths to the school's front doors. The halls were as empty as to be expected for a Sunday, and Haruhi was so distracted that she did not even notice another presence and nearly ran straight into a very solid figure.
"Pardon me," said a rather familiar voice. Haruhi looked up to be met by the sight of the face of none other than Yuzuru Suoh. She was suddenly a little embarrassed to be in such a hurry, and she bowed low.
"Chairman Suoh! Um… excuse me. I'm sorry… I was just in such a hurry that I didn't notice you were--"
"Please, the fault was all mine, Haruhi-chan," Yuzuru took her hand in a very European gesture and kissed it tenderly. "And if you're looking for my hapless son, he's in music room three. He just finished a shift of helping the newspaper club run their booth outside."
"Thank you, Suoh-sama," Haruhi bowed again, overcompensating for the fact that she had nearly bowled him over before. "But how did you know I was looking for him?"
Yuzuru winked. "I know these things," he said. "I wish you the best of luck on your venture." he was gone before Haruhi could ask him to elaborate, which, she mused in hindsight, was probably for the best. She resumed the familiar trek to the third music room, and she could not help but realize she had made countless times, but she had never been quite this nervous in the process. Even that first time, upon opening those doors, she had not felt such a sense of anxiety. The doors opened just as naturally under her hands this time, and she stepped into that familiar room and was met by the soothing sound of Tamaki playing the piano. Letting it wash over her, Haruhi closed the doors behind her and leaned against them, trying to catch her breath.
'Can I really do this?'
Tamaki looked relaxed sitting at the piano. The apron he had been wearing to work the booth was sitting beside him on the bench, and his hair was still slightly disheveled from the customary paper hat that seemed to come with the job in Haruhi's experience. His body flowed with the music, as though it was not only his arms and fingers playing but his entire being. The song was one she did not recognize, but the melody was soft and passionate and rather relaxing, and Haruhi moved to stand beside the window and closed her eyes as she let it surround her, not wanting to interrupt. The notes flowed and surged like a turbulent sea, fast and slow, light and hard, until a crashingly passionate crescendo crushed over her and drowned her with its power.
"Tamaki-senpai?" she asked softly as the song died, and Tamaki jumped, clearly thinking himself alone in the room. He turned in her direction, and immediately a smile broke out over his face, replacing the serene expression that had inhabited it before.
"Haruhi!" instantly he was on his feet, moving over to her. His face and voice were confident, but his posture betrayed a tiny ray of nervousness, and it made her a bit more confident in her endeavor knowing she was not the only one afraid. "What are you doing here? Did you come just to see me?"
"Yes, I did," Haruhi swallowed her nervousness and what was left of her pride. "I came to… give you my answer. You said not to hesitate."
"Really?" Tamaki covered his mouth with his hands in a very characteristically Tamaki gesture of excitement, and Haruhi smiled.
"Yes, really…" it was getting harder and harder to squeeze the words out, and she had to swallow several times. "I really thought about it and… I guess what I need to tell you is that I… like you too, senpai. I really, really like you, I guess. And not as your daughter, or as your kouhai. As something a lot more."
"R--really!?" Tamaki asked, his eyes glittering in a way that made Haruhi nearly one hundred percent sure she was about to have the life crushed out of her. She nodded faintly. "Oh, Haruhi, do you mean it!?"
"Of course I mean it," Haruhi kept smiling at him, ignoring the fact that her legs were shaking slightly. "I would never say it if I didn't mean it."
Tamaki was on her before she could think, and this time when he kissed her, there was no nervousness on his part. The force of the kiss and the embrace knocked Haruhi slightly against the window, but she could not find it in her heart to complain. Tamaki wrapped his arms around her and kissed her wholeheartedly and happily with a passion she hadn't expected even from him, smiling rather obviously against her mouth. This time, Haruhi was comforted in the fact that she knew exactly what the kiss meant, and she squeezed her eyes shut and kissed him back clumsily, not knowing exactly how to react when he treaded his fingers tenderly through her hair and lifted her off of the ground, holding her in his arms as he kept kissing her. Haruhi was awkward and inexperienced, but Tamaki did not seem to mind in the least; he kissed her as though it was the last time they would ever see each other.
"I love you, Haruhi," Tamaki whispered, barely parting their lips, and Haruhi was left so starstruck that she could barely think. From what Éclair had said, the concept was certainly not new, but she had never expected that in a million years he would ever actually come out and say those words to her. It was more than enough to make her wonder if this was even reality.
"Tamaki-senpai…" Haruhi whispered, her face hot. "I… really… I really like you. A lot. I don't know if I… love you but… I guess we'll figure this all out as we go, right?"
"Right, right, of course!" Tamaki was beaming his lips still barely a centimeter away from hers. It wasn't as disconcerting as she would have imagined. His breath fluttered warm against her lips. He smelled faintly of fresh apples. "Does this mean we can… go on a date?"
"Uh… yeah," Haruhi smiled rather nervously at him. "Sure. We can go on as many dates as you want, senpai."
"Splendid!" Tamaki squeezed her a little, and Haruhi wheezed, squirming. Her feet still weren't on the floor. "We can go on a date to the festival! We can hold hands and sample the many culinary and artistic fruits of our fellow student's labors! And we can… we can kiss beneath the cherry blossoms!"
"The cherry blossoms aren't blooming at this time of year…"
"And we can stroll together in the warm sunlight, delighting in each other's wonderful company! Oh, Haruhi, can you picture it!?" glitter flew from Tamaki in all directions. He released his tight hold on her and went back to holding her tenderly against him, and Haruhi relaxed slightly, happy to be able to breathe normally once more.
"That actually sounds like fun," she smiled at him slightly. "Were you wanting to go right now?"
"Actually…" Tamaki blushed a little, which made Haruhi more than a little curious. "I think I'd rather stay here for a bit and… kiss you?" he sounded so timid that Haruhi had to smile again. She brought their foreheads together nervously, blushing a bit herself and nodding.
"Sure, senpai. I think… I'd like that," she said softly, and Tamaki shook a bit from the sudden surge of joy and then gave her a winning smile, not the kind that he gave his customers but the one she had never seen him give anyone but her, come to think of it. It was a look full of tenderness and possibilities, and Haruhi, for the first time, was really able to appreciate it.
"I'd like it too," Tamaki whispered, cradling her a little closer and leaning in to kiss her again. Haruhi closed her eyes, slowly falling into the chaste kiss and letting her emotions carry her to a place that she was unfamiliar with, but she did not find entirely unpleasant. She supposed that in time, these feelings, if nurtured, would grow. It was a rather comforting feeling to know that she had all the time in the world to fall in love with the man who held her so steadfastly in his arms and kissed her with the delicate tenderness and love that one would show to a kitten. She knew she had all the time in the world, she mused with a smile, because Tamaki was holding her in a way she had never been held before; in a way that told her he never wanted to let go.
Down in the front courtyard, Éclair Tonnerre raised a pair of cracked golden opera glasses to her eyes and peered up at the spectacle in the window of the third music room. Without a word to the chauffer who stood beside her, she slowly leaned down and set the glasses in the grass, nestled among the emerald green blades.
"You're leaving those?" her chauffer asked her politely, shading his eyes in the sun. "Do you want them to pick them up for you before we go?"
"No, thank you," Éclair shook her head and gave one last rather fond glance to the two people kissing so innocently and so clumsily up in the window above. "I don't think… I'll need them anymore."
Then, with the sun to her face, she turned and walked away from Ouran Academy and away from her resentment toward the couple (it was amusing to refer to the two clueless and endearing fools as a "couple" after everything that had happened). She walked back toward her waiting car, leaving it all behind in favor of what was certainly, she hoped, the best future she could possibly hope for and leaving Tamaki and Haruhi with their own happy future to contend with.
And she did it with a smile.