Author's Note:

I met Mike McFarland, woot. He was fair awesome. I went to SupaNova in Melbourne and it's got me totally back into anime/manga. Great motivation :) And it's rare when stuff like that comes to Australia ^ ^

Anyway: obviously a very late update, but hey, when you're feeling down and things aren't going the way you want them to, you get to have some time off, right?

Reviews are love!

Chapter Nine:

|| Time Away ||


Haruhi felt rather odd arriving at the Hitachiin manor.

The twins had offered to lend her a limo, but her father had insisted on taking her there himself as a last chance to see his daughter off. (Although really she wasn't far and she wouldn't be gone long.)

It wasn't exactly the fact that she had actually decided to stay with the twins, but that there weren't any Host members coming with her. Honey and Mori had decided last minute that they wanted to take a trip to the mountains, while Kyoya and Tamaki had already left for Hawaii. Granted she did a lot of things with the twins in class, but generally any activities she did outside of study now involved all six other Host members.

A smile tugged at her lips. How comfortable she felt around them all, compared to the strenuous relationship they began! In their eyes she had transitioned from servant to friend and in turn they weren't all so arrogant and oblivious as she first thought.

In each hand she had a bag, although only one was filled with her clothes for the week. The other had an array of things she deemed necessary, mostly being her school books.

She had been driven to the gate, with the gate keeper alerted of her presence.

Trudging up the stairs, she was only mildly surprised to find two men descended towards her, announcing that they were to take her bags. She gave them up without protest, simply because she had nothing in them that was worse tampering with, and it was part of her deal with the twins that they wouldn't touch her possessions.

The door was held open by an elderly butler who took her winter coat as she was led inside.

"Greetings Miss Fujioka, the young masters will be here shortly." She heard him say.

She found herself in a foyer, but one on a much grander scale. Off to each side were two massive hallways, while a large staircase stood before her. The architecture was amazing, but she had become so accustomed to large and overly-rich places that it passed her gaze.

"Hey Haruhi." The twins chorused.

Haruhi turned to find them coming towards her from the right hallway.

"Hey guys." She replied casually.

As they approached her, she had the familiar feeling that she was being scrutinized. Indeed, she was sure that if they didn't have a contract in place, they would've already found a way to make her change out of her winter clothes and into one of their own designs.

"Well, you're things have already been taken upstairs to your room, would you like to see it?" Kaoru asked.

She shrugged in response. "Sure, why not."

"Alright, right this way Haruhi." The younger twin voiced, using a hand to show her the direction they were headed.

It was an understatement to say Haruhi was impressed with her room.

She realised the twins had actually put some thought into which room would suit her the most, and had come to this conclusion:

It was spacious, but she didn't think any room in the mansion was anything short than the size of her actual home. To the side of the door entrance, her bags sat obediently. In the middle sat a large double bed, adorned with pillows and expensive looking blankets. One small bedside table rested on the left side near the window with a corded phone for her use. A large desk sat adjacent to the door, with one comfortable looking chair sitting with it. A part from a two-seated couch and some pretty-looking curtains, the room was very plain.

She loved it.

Not to say she didn't like being pampered, but she felt instantly comfortable in a room she knew she could study in properly.

"Where do those two doors lead?" She asked, pointing in the opposite direction to her bed.

"One leads to your walk in wardrobe, and before you say anything, almost all empty rooms and spaces have clothes lying inside. Our mother is a fashion designer after all. It's up to you whether you want to wear any of it or not." Hikaru answered promptly.

Flicking him a curious glance, Haruhi shrugged and went to investigate.

A few extra coat hangers lay around that she could use, and at least two of the five drawers were empty for her clothes. The rest was filled with various outfits, ranging from casual summer and winter items, to ridiculously frilly and sparkling garments. Some of the plainer shirts and skirts appealed to her, and she noticed with dry humour, that every item was in her size.

"Alright and the other door?" She asked as she retreated back.

"The bathroom. It has everything you need. Again, it's up to you whether you want to use everything or not." Kaoru replied.

With one hand on one hip, Haruhi casually flicked back her growing hair from her face as she assessed her surroundings.

"Well? Do you like it?" The twins asked in unison and she noted that there was a tinge of anxiousness in their tones.

"Actually, I do." The young girl turned around and smiled genuinely. "Thanks guys."

"So what do you want to do now?" Kaoru asked.

"I should probably unpack. I mean, I don't know how long I'm going to stay here for and I'd rather not live out of a suitcase." Haruhi replied thoughtfully.

"Would you like us to help?" Hikaru offered.

She eyed him suspiciously. "You won't touch anything unless I tell you to?"

In reply he rolled his eyes. "Of course, we signed that stupid rule list didn't we?" He drawled.

"Yeah and it will be much faster this way." Kaoru added.

Haruhi pursed her lips and then sighed, relenting. "Okay, you can both start with the second bag. It's mostly school stuff and for now it can all go on my desk."

"Right Haruhi!" They chorused cheerfully.

Almost fifteen minutes later Haruhi found her bags completely empty and put into logical and easy to find places. The twins had been surprisingly helpful, especially with her clothes. She had been sceptical since they were notorious for disrupting her wardrobe, but all she had to do was make sure she put away her underwear and the rest they had handled efficiently.

If only she could get them to agree to a rule list at Ouran, then she probably wouldn't get annoyed at them ever again.

"Thanks for the help guys."

Both twins simply shrugged in unison. "So what do you want to do now?" They both asked.

"Well I've been so busy with the Host Club and exams that I feel as if I've fallen behind for the tests coming up after holidays. I think I should do a bit of study, maybe for the next hour before lunch?"

"But Haruhi!" Hikaru whined.

Clearly unimpressed with his reaction, Haruhi shrugged and tucked a loose strand of hair behind her ear. "You agreed to let me study for a time every day, I'm taking that now. Besides, if I don't keep my GPA up, I could drop from 1-A to 1-B, or worse, lose my scholarship."

"You know if you ever did that, I'm sure the rest of the Host Club would gladly chip in to keep you there. Even if it meant for you to pay off a debt again." Kaoru observed mildly.

"Probably isn't certainly. And besides, I prefer being an equal member of the Host Club without a debt hanging over me. It means I can't get blackmailed into doing things I don't want to do." Haruhi responded swiftly.

"Ugh you can be such a nerd sometimes." Hikaru drawled. He sighed dramatically so Haruhi would realise he meant no ill against her. "Fine, we'll come get you for lunch in a little over an hour. Is that alright?"

Both Kaoru and Haruhi blinked owlishly at the elder twin.

"Uh sure, that should be fine." Haruhi answered.

"'Kay, see you then. Come on Kaoru."

Kaoru shook himself as his brother walked from the room, also offering a quick goodbye to Haruhi.

"Hikaru? I was sure you would put up a fight then." Kaoru voiced softly as they walked along the corridor that took them to their room. "Honestly it surprised me that you were the first to give in."

Hikaru glanced back with a confused expression. "Huh? Oh." He ran a hand through his hair as he exhaled quietly. "Haruhi's stubborn, so there wasn't much point pushing her. Especially with that stupid list."

"We agreed to follow it Hika, I won't let you do something that will ruin this for us." Kaoru warned him.

The elder Hitachiin eyed his brother for a moment, trying to determine why it was so important to Kaoru. "Moron." He chided gently in reply. "As if I would. I just don't like it, but I know the moment we do something against it, Haruhi will leave."

At this, Kaoru visibly relaxed. "Okay, so why did you give up so easily? It's not like you have before just because Haruhi is almost as stubborn as you." He pointed out.

A scowl briefly flittered across Hikaru's face, causing his brother to grin impishly.

"Come on, you know it's true." Kaoru laughed.

The scowl faded to be replaced by a thoughtful expression. "I've got something in mind. I've been thinking on it for a while."


"I know we can't do things on the list, like our usual pranks and things for fun. So I've been thinking of ways for us to have fun with Haruhi. But... I need your help."

"At school its fun, but outside, do we really have to always be playing pranks on her?" Kaoru asked seriously.

Hikaru's amber eyes gleamed. "Just because I'm the more mischievous of us, doesn't mean I always want to annoy our friend." He replied haughtily. His arrogance seemed to vanish and he sighed. "Kaoru in all honesty, we have fun with our friends by tricking them or following their ideas. I... I can't think of a way to spend time with her without annoying her."

"Idiot." Kaoru laughed. "We just suggest things she'll like. It's simple." Seeing his brother's sceptical expression, the younger twin reached forward and linked arms with his brother. "Well, what does Haru like to do in her free time?"


"Second option?"


"Okaaay... what's something that we will enjoy doing?"

Hikaru frowned while he thought. "She always gets angry at over spending, so that's one thing. She likes the beach, homemade food and sweets as well as strawberries. And the quiet." He answered promptly.

Kaoru blinked in surprise, he was impressed at how much his brother had absorbed.

"Well we have a starting point at least, now all we have to do is plan these holidays out." He told Hikaru enthusiastically.

"Providing she agrees with everything." Hikaru added.


The twins arrived at their room and went about grabbing some paper to sketch out their ideas.


"Yes Hika?"

"Do you know what movies Haruhi likes to watch?"


And I'm ending it there. Felt like a filler but really I guess it's helpful to understand more about the relationships between the three.

I'm trying to make some distinct points here; Hikaru is still rather oblivious but seems to know a bit about Haruhi, Kaoru may or may not like Haruhi as well, and at times there is supposed to be an underlay of tension between the brothers.

If I'm not really living up to my ideas let me know, cause that's how the plots working so far.

Thanks for all the support people :)

- Mae.