Disclaimer: I don't own Ouran.

This is my version of the manga's ending, though I doubt it'll really be this dramatic XD BEWARE OF SPOILERS.


Haruhi was, when it came right down to it, an expert at dealing with Tamaki. This skill came in quite useful now that she was in a relationship with the impractical blonde, and so when she turned from her suitcase to see him slumped on her bed and looking rather melancholy, she treated it as she would treat any instance of his childish behavior.

"What's wrong?" she asked him rather more casually than she meant to, folding a shirt and tucking it in among the others. He fixed her with a piteous kind of stare and then looked moodily away. It amazed her how childish he could be, even now that he had a deeper, more mature side he showed her in most facets of their relationship.

"Nothing," he grumped, mashing his face against his knees, which were pulled up against his chest. Haruhi didn't buy it for a second, but she wasn't one to pry.

"Okay," she said with a shrug, putting her attention back into her packing. This lasted for roughly three seconds before Tamaki lost patience with himself.

"I don't want you to go!" he blurted very suddenly, and this declaration was enough to stop her in her tracks. Tamaki had known for ages about the possibility that she would go to America as an exchange student and when she made the decision to go he had even encouraged her. She was a bit baffled now as to why he was showing her such a violently different reaction to his previous one.

"Say what?" she asked him, completely abandoning her packing for the moment. Instantly Tamaki's face reddened and he looked down before fixing her with a calmer expression.

"I mean… well… I don't know exactly what I mean. I know it's a great opportunity for you and I'm happy to see you take it but part of me… part of me doesn't want you to go." he placed a hand on his chest and fixed her with cheerless eyes. "Part of me hurts even thinking about how much I'm going to miss you."

Haruhi blinked for a moment and then took a seat beside him. "We'll still see each other," she reminded him after a moment. "You told me you were flying up every weekend… which I think is a little too much."

"Yes but… but…"

"And we'll talk on the phone."

"But that's not the same."

"Sure it is," Haruhi gave him a small smile. She was gaining her footing around him more and more lately, becoming less blushy and awkward and more like her old self, which felt good. His affect on her was startling, and she felt a bit guilty to think that part of the reason she was going was because she didn't want to become the kind of girl who focused all of their energy on their boyfriend. Being away from him, as cruel as it sounded in her own head, was what she truly wanted. She wanted to gain some perspective on their relationship from afar… and most of all, she just wanted to reassure herself that she could live without him.

"And everyone says that… that long-distance relationships never last…" his face fell even further as he spoke the words and he looked her squarely in the eye. His usually bright indigo eyes were glassy with sorrow and he wrung his hands. "What if we end up… breaking up?"

"If we're right for each other, then we won't, right?" Haruhi asked him.

"I suppose but… I never really even entertained… the possibility that we weren't right for each other." he sounded a little hollow with the thought crossing his mind.

Haruhi had entertained it time and time again. She loved him, and she was firm in her trust in that one fact. She also knew that he loved her and she doubted- in what she felt was her own conceited way- that his feelings for her were going to change. But she was beginning to see so many different angles and aspects of relationships now that she had an insider's perspective and she was not even sure if life was like it was in the movies, where love was all it took to stay together. In her still naïve but growing perspective, a relationship was like a many-faceted prism and if not all of the faces shone, it wasn't truly the perfect treasure that it was assumed to be. Tamaki was immature and he was impractical, and he still clung to fantasy like a life raft even without his chances for happiness crumbling around him. She loved his flaws the way a mother loves a hideous clay sculpture made for her by her child. She knew she loved him, but she was still not yet sure if she could see herself with him in the long term. He talked happily of marriage as casually as she talked about the weather, but she wasn't sure if that particular obstacle was one she wanted to pass with him. If he knew all of the doubts she had about their relationship, she knew it would break his heart.

"I'm glad…" Haruhi said awkwardly, and immediately Tamaki's eyes moistened. Even when he was calm, his theatrics were never far behind.

"And you didn't either, right?" he asked hopefully, tears close, and Haruhi hated herself for never being able to lie to him.

"I've… thought about it," she whispered, and almost instantly there were tears. It hurt her that rather than theatrical crocodile tears like he usually shed, they were silent, genuine tears that he seemed to be trying not to let fall.

"So you don't think… we're right for each other?"

"I don't know," she said honestly. It felt like bile was coming up her throat; she had the sinking feeling of ruining something beautiful. She recalled feeling it once before, when she heard the sound of blue renaissance pottery smashing on pale pink tile. But today she was breaking something much more than a vase. A vase doesn't take a tentative, maddening year of nurturing before it becomes whole. This was something worth much more than eight million yen.

"What, so here I am completely sure about where I stand with you, and you don't even know if you really want to be with me, is that what you're saying?" Tamaki asked, his voice unnaturally loud. He rarely raised his voice at her, and it was a bit disconcerting.

"Not… not in so many words. Look, Tamaki-senpai…" Haruhi felt sick and her eyes were burning… not from her contacts.

"I can't even believe you! And I felt so damn guilty for not being able to say 'I love you' straight to you at that airport and now you're coming with this? I can't… how could you, Haruhi? You can't just say you love someone and then drop a bomb like this!" he was crying softly and he was no longer shouting, but he looked more upset than she had ever seen him.

"Tamaki-senpai, I'm so sorry," she was crying now, and she didn't know how to stop crying or how to fix the mess she had just made. "I love you, I really do. Please know that. I just don't know… if we're right for each other. I'm sure I'll figure it out but for now just please be patient and… know that I love you." she had never been the best at emotional moments and she had little skill at articulating her feelings. The result was messy and she was sure made little sense. She felt like she was groping in circles with her words, trying to somehow justify her doubt.

"How can I be patient when I know that I'm the only one who feels… this right when we're together?" Tamaki asked, bordering on hysterical. "I thought we had something special… I thought we were perfect! That's… that's it. You can doubt us all you want, Haruhi, because you and I are finished!"

She swore everything moved in slow motion as she watched it fall apart as though she was a bystander. Tamaki had stayed with her through thunderstorms, through kidnapping scares, through laughter and tears and the pain of loss and the joy of the little bits of sunshine they shared together as friends and then as lovers. So it was more than a little unreal for Haruhi to sit on the edge of her bed and watch as that one special person, that one who had taught her how to love, how to trust more and doubt more and fear more and laugh more than anyone else, walked away from her for the first time. She was left alone in an empty apartment with her heavy heart sick and thudding over and over again when she felt it would stop. She sat alone in the silence for a few minutes. Sometime during the numb silence she paused in the bathroom to vomit, and then she dropped her dignity and let herself cry.

XXX

"You did what?"

Hikaru's voice shattered the silence of music room three and the two hosts not involved in the conversation, Kyouya and Kaoru, looked up in alarm. When Hikaru had asked Tamaki casually why he had not come to see Haruhi off at the airport the previous day, he had certainly not expected the answer he had received. "Why the hell would you break up with her!"

"Well…" Tamaki's voice sounded far more hollow than Hikaru had ever heard it, and it was actually a bit scary. He had known tono since middle school and never before had he seen this heavy fog of despair that hung over him. "She wasn't… even sure if she really wanted to be with me. So I ended it."

"Tono, you idiot!" Hikaru shouted, losing control of himself. "You're Haruhi's first boyfriend ever, AND she's out of the country she's lived in her whole life. Her whole life is changing, you moron! She's allowed to have some second thoughts or some doubts! I thought you of all people would be supportive of her!"

"You weren't there, Hikaru," Tamaki said firmly. "You don't understand."

"I understand that she probably was only unsure because she was nervous and if you can't then… you never deserved her in the first place!"

"Hey, you guys," Kaoru stepped in calmly, holding his hands up in a gesture of peace. "This sounds like a misunderstanding on everyone's part, okay? Let's try to sort this out. Tono, I think Hikaru is right about Haruhi's reasons. You'd be scared too, wouldn't you? You understand what it's like to go to a whole new country and have to live there."

"Well… yes," Tamaki said softly.

"And Hikaru, tono probably only broke up with her because he was scared and he felt hurt and confused. He mistook Haruhi's nervousness and uncertainty for her not wanting to be with him and he ended the relationship out of hurt."

"I guess," Hikaru sighed and crossed his arms. "But I just can't stand it… knowing we were all rooting for you two for so long and then seeing how happy you two were together… and now it ends like this. It's not fair."

"I was worried that a long-distance relationship wouldn't work out, and Haruhi said if we were right for each other, then it would work out. I guess that means it's probably better this way." Tamaki said resolutely, though a single tear found its way out of his eye and down his cheek. He wiped it away discreetly.

"It's about time for the customers to be arriving, you three," Kyouya said from his place at one of the tables. He looked purposefully up from his laptop. "So get in better spirits. All of you. Business is not going to suffer because of Tamaki's personal problems."

It was clear to Hikaru what Kyouya really meant, and he thought he saw a tiny flicker of a smile go through Tamaki's eyes because it was 'I'm worried about you'.

XXX

Haruhi knew that there was nothing conventional, wise, sensible, or sane about choosing to become a foreign exchange student and then requesting politely but very resolutely to be sent back to Japan. After only a month, no less.

"Ouran is what I really always wanted to have on my transcript anyway," she said aloud, trying to justify her own insanity. It was ridiculous. She had had the intention, as well as studying, of going to gain a little distance from Tamaki. Now he was only an ex and still he occupied her thoughts constantly in the strangest way. She still loved him, she knew; that kind of love doesn't simply go away in a month. The things she still felt for him didn't feel like puppy love as she had initially believed. And as little like herself as it was to be giving up a school year in America for some silly boy, she felt it was something she had to do. The fact that she had not enjoyed the American school system much at all had helped with her decision, and she tried to convince herself that it was her sole reason for returning. She found it nearly impossible to learn anything and though she was fluent in English, much, she found, was lost from the experience because she knew only foreigner's English; the slow kind that sounds broken when it isn't and sounds too formal to be natural.

It felt better than she had expected to be back in Japan, and she simply stood at the train station after getting off at her stop for a moment and luxuriated in the feeling of belonging somewhere once more. She was sore from the simultaneous plane and train rides, but she was happy to be home. Haruhi was the kind of person who always fit in easily and made friends without really trying, but it was harder than she had expected to be alone in a foreign country at the age of sixteen. For now, she supposed, Japan was going to have to be her exclusive country in which to study.

"I've always been too independent," she admitted out loud as she started walking for home. "So why is it that all of a sudden I fall in love and can't be away from that person?" maybe the hard truth, she thought to herself, was that that was what love was… true dependence on someone that came from the need to have the corresponding heart close to her own. She couldn't really be sure, but she was sure that something needed to be done. It was rash and childish and so unlike her usual self, but she had decided nearly a month ago that she didn't want to be more than a few hours away from Tamaki Suoh ever again and she was going to have to find some way to assure that she wouldn't have to. She would have to try. If he wouldn't have her than that was fine; as long as he knew her feelings. She would have to attempt to fit back together the pieces of their relationship. When a renaissance vase is smashed, the pieces can never be put perfectly back together again. All Haruhi could do was hope that relationships were nothing like vases.

The main Suoh mansion was not actually as far from her own home as she would have believed, and she only had only had to go one extra stop on the train to be near it. Now she walked toward it with a heart filled with apprehension. There was no guarantee that he would take her back, and she knew it. But she knew in her own clumsy, childish way that she loved him and probably would indefinitely. If he really wanted to get married, then she would do it if it meant keeping him. She would make any number of sacrifices at this point… though to be fair she really couldn't see marriage as a "sacrifice". In a way, she supposed she had gained the perspective on their relationship she had been hoping for by going so far away from him; her uncertainty about whether they were right for each other had diminished with the realization that somehow, some time, he had wormed his way so deeply into her heart that being away from him had hurt her as much as he had said being away from her would hurt him.

Shima let Haruhi in when she rang the doorbell, and she eyed her with some displeasure. Haruhi knew that Tamaki had undoubtedly told her about the inexcusable pain she had caused him and that this most likely made her an enemy for the time being in Shima's eyes. Nevertheless she escorted Haruhi to Tamaki's bedroom and then left her to stand fidgeting in front of the door, trying to work up her nerve to knock. By the time she had it, she didn't have time to knock before Tamaki came barreling through the door with a rather thick pile of sheet music in one hand. When they collided it went everywhere like grayscale rain.

"H-Haruhi?" he sounded more shocked to see her than she could have imagined. He simply stood in the doorway staring at her as the papers fluttered to the floor around them.

"Sorry I made you drop your music," she said lamely.

"What are you doing here?" suddenly Tamaki was less surprised and more businesslike.

"I came to say something to you. Will you… listen while I say it?" Haruhi asked tentatively, and Tamaki paused for a moment and then nodded.

"Sure," he said meekly.

"I couldn't do it."

"Sorry?" Tamaki cocked his head a bit, waiting for an explanation.

"I couldn't stay in America. I'm back for good. Because what it really was is that I can't stand being away from you. It's weird for me because I'm so used to never depending on anyone else, and so I'm not really sure how to react but… you're the first person I've ever really needed, senpai. I know I had doubts, and it was horrible of me, but I guess I was just a little afraid, when it comes down to it. I was afraid that if I loved you too much, I wouldn't be able to do anything else. It's true, though. Look at what an idiot I am right now, groveling at your feet now because I couldn't stand being in America without you."

"Haruhi…" Tamaki didn't seem to know what else to say.

"I love you, Tamaki-senpai. I'm sorry I wasn't sure about where I stood with you. But I'm sure now. I don't know if you still want this to work but… you're the right person for me, and I know that now. So, do or say whatever you want, and it's not going to change how I feel…" Haruhi stopped to take on long breath, and then she paused. "And… I'm so sorry."

For a moment, all Tamaki did was stare. Then he was moving toward her slowly, his hands outstretched to touch her face. "I love you, Haruhi…" somehow, four words were enough to say it all and before Haruhi knew what was happening he was embracing her and soft kisses were falling on her head. "To say all of that… you're very brave." he smiled. Haruhi stared at him, wide eyed, until he kissed her briefly and chased all thought from her head.

It was strange for Haruhi to think, years later, that such simple exchanges could have brought him back into her life. But looking at the sleeping blonde lying beside her, hair tousled and gleaming in the early morning sun, she supposed it didn't really matter. Her husband would wake and they would spend the warm and glowing Sunday together, making ramen and laughing about the old days in the host club. They would go through far more trials the rough patches together, but somehow love would always be enough to hold their bond together. No matter how many times they broke, it would be the thing that kept them sealed in their little world together.

In that warm sunlight, Haruhi pulled the blanket more securely over her bare chest and smiled in the bleary, sleepy indigo eyes that peered up at her from the nest of blankets and long, shapely limbs, reflected in the two spheres that she could safely call home. He pounced on her then and she fell with him, laughing, among the blankets.

Pressed here warm against his chest, it made her happy to think that love was nothing like a renaissance vase.

The End