Disclaimer: I don't own Ouran. That's Bisco Hatori's department.
WARNING: this fic contains spoilers for the end of the manga. If you don't want the ending ruined for yourself, don't read it. ^^;
"Haruhiiiiii! Are you almost ready!"
Tamaki paced the length of the hallway in his mother's home, his brow furrowed and his feet racing along the wood of the floor. He knew he was being impatient but somehow he couldn't bring himself to care. Excitement and nervousness were not a good combination and he couldn't help wringing his hands. Behind him, Antoinette and Hachibei chased each other around the living room.
"Yeah," Haruhi called feebly from behind the bathroom door. "I'm going as fast as I can."
Worried, Tamaki pressed his hands against the door. Haruhi had been acting strange since the two of them had arrived in France, and he could tell that something was off. Maybe it was just the fact that she had had to come all the way from America to France and give up three days of studying to come on this trip. "Are you okay?"
"Yeah, I'm fine," Haruhi assured him. "Don't worry, I'll be out in a minute."
"Okay…" Tamaki went back to pacing nervously. This would be Haruhi and his mother's first introduction, and he wanted, more than anything, for his mother to approve of his girlfriend. It had been long enough, he figured. The school year was nearly half over already and this was the first trip they had taken to France, despite his promises to his mother that he would visit as often as possible. Doing his schoolwork in English and balancing living on his own with giving attention to his relationship with Haruhi had him constantly busy, and he felt a little guilty to have been to busy to see his mother until now. So this first impression had to be everything. His mother had still been at the market when he and Haruhi had arrived at her home, and she was due back any minute.
Tamaki paced the hallway a few more times and then hurried back to the door, pressing his ear against the wood. "Haruhi?" he asked when he heard retching. Immediately he felt guilty for putting so much pressure on her today; she had been feeling ill on the plane this morning and he had barely noticed, so great was his excitement. "Do you need me in there?"
"No," Haruhi replied bluntly, and he heard the toilet flush. Haruhi miraculously appeared at the door seconds later, wearing the blue dotted sundress that he had bought for her at the mall in Boston and a tired expression.
"You look so cute!" Tamaki exclaimed, charging forward to embrace her. Haruhi held out her hands and they came uselessly up against his chest, not really stopping him.
"Cut it out," she scolded. "I just finished throwing up. You'll make me do it again if you jostle me."
"I'm sorry, Haruhi," Tamaki wailed. "I didn't forget you got airsick. I figured you'd feel better by now, though!"
"It's fine," Haruhi muttered, blushing a little as he drew her closer, gentle this time, and simply stared into her eyes. She had eyes like a doe and they watched him with just as much innocent curiosity as those of the animal they resembled.
"You look really cute," he told her, leaning down a bit to kiss her lips. Haruhi recoiled slightly, which he was sure was due to her current queasiness, and then she slowly returned the press of his lips in a quick, soft kiss that tasted like her strawberry chapstick. Tamaki wanted to melt. Resting his hands tenderly on her waist, he smiled down at her. "I really hope you feel better soon." he wanted to kiss her hungrily, wanted to taste and savor her at that moment, but he supposed that kind of kissing would have to wait.
"Thank you," Haruhi said softly, managing a weak smile at him. Her hands resting comfortably on his shoulders were relaxing and her fingertips very lightly squeezed him, kneading nervously. Her large brown eyes darted to the left, then to the right, and she sighed softly. "Senpai… we need to talk."
At that moment, the sound of the front door opening startled them both into a skittish little backward jump, ending their embrace prematurely. Anne-Sophie closed the front door behind her, arms dull of groceries, and Tamaki forgot about everything else for the moment and ran to her. She saw him coming and paused to set the bags down on the ground so that when he reached her they could embrace fiercely. Tamaki lifted his mother just a bit off the ground with the force of his embrace. It was nice to hear her laugh softly at his enthusiasm and not pause to cough.
"Maman!" he said happily, pulling back a big and giving her an enormous smile. "It's so good to see you again!"
"It's nice to see you too, Tamaki," the woman said with one of her dazzling smiles, reaching up to ruffle his hair in a way she hadn't done since he was a child. "We didn't get enough time together last time."
"We would have if I hadn't been so stubborn," Tamaki admitted, head drooping a bit. "I'm sorry."
"Don't waste time being sorry," Anne-Sophie scolded, putting her hand under his chin and making him lift his head back up. "We'll make up for it this time. Now, where is this girl you've told me so much about in your letters, Tamaki?"
"Oh!" Tamaki had forgotten everything for a moment, and it was then that he remembered Haruhi and turned to see her standing in the entrance to the hallway, looking very small and just a little shy. Quickly Tamaki hurried to her side and took her hand, feeling the comforting warmth of her fingers lacing through his. Gently, he led her into the living room, and she followed him meekly, somehow humbled. "Haruhi, this is my mother, Anne-Sophie. Maman, this is Haruhi."
It was clear how nervous Haruhi was, and Tamaki squeezed her hand for support. He watched as his mother and girlfriend stared at each other for a moment and then Haruhi bowed, seeming to forget they weren't in Japan anymore.
"It's nice to meet you," she said politely. "Tamaki-senpai has told me a lot about you."
"It's nice to meet you too," Anne-Sophie stepped forward and kissed Haruhi once on each cheek. Tamaki wanted to giggle at how bewildered she looked. "Tamaki has told me quite about you, too." he was relieved that his mother could speak Japanese at the moment, because Haruhi understood very little French. Most of the phrases she knew she knew only because he said them to her so much, and they were the sappy, romantic kinds of things that would be useless while she was talking to his mother. "It's nice to finally meet his girlfriend. You seem to make him very happy."
Haruhi looked more pleased than he had expected. "I love your son a lot," she said earnestly, smiling a bit awkwardly in a way that made Tamaki want to tackle her to the floor. "He makes me really happy, too."
Hearing her say things like this to someone else was even more touching to Tamaki than when she said them to him, and he could not resist embracing her, much to his mother's obvious amusement. He placed several gentle kisses on her temple and felt her skin warm a bit beneath his lips. It was obvious to him that Haruhi felt awkward having his mother see them this way, but Tamaki really couldn't help himself. Haruhi seemed to draw the line at kissing on the lips in front of her, judging from the way she pecked him back and then ducked out of his arms.
"It's wonderful to see young love like this," Anne-Sophie said with a smile. Her French accent was even more pronounced than Tamaki's, and it was nice not to feel out of place. "I'll get started on dinner and we can eat. I'm sure you two are hungry from your flight."
"I'll help you cook," Haruhi said, following Anne-Sophie in the direction of the kitchen as Tamaki rushed to grab the grocery bags for them and then followed them. During the course of the three of them making dinner, Haruhi gradually seemed to get less awkward around Anne-Sophie until the two of them were chatting like old friends. Haruhi always had been good at connecting with people, and it was nice for Tamaki to see them getting along. He was grateful for the fact that even though Haruhi didn't feel well, she was making an effort. Over his plate of goulash he smiled and watched the two most important women in his life getting acquainted. It was nice, for once in his life, to have everything going so smoothly. Usually there was some kind of stress or drama that made thing difficult, but sitting here eating dinner with these two people that he loved dearly, he could simply smile. Things were finally going right.
After a warm hour of chatting beside the fire, Haruhi excused herself muttering something about jet lag and headed off to the guest bedroom to sleep. Tamaki was left alone with his mother before the roaring fire and for a moment they simply sat and enjoyed each other's silent company. Then, at long last, Anne-Sophie spoke as he knew she would.
"You love her very much, don't you?"
Tamaki nodded, smiling into the fire. "Yes, I do," he said. "More than I had ever imagined I could." it was interesting to think that a year before, Haruhi had merely been a daughter to him, and now she was the center of his whole world.
"I want you to make me a promise, Tamaki," Anne-Sophie said carefully, and Tamaki nodded.
"Promise that you'll never let things force you to stay apart," she said, and he knew that she was expressing her wish that he and Haruhi not end up like she and his father. Things were different between them now, better; Yuzuru spent about half his time here with her now and was making plans to move her to Japan with him. Still, the past hurt.
"I promise," Tamaki said enthusiastically, making a 'cross your heart' motion. "I would never, ever let anything separate Haruhi from me. No matter what it takes, I'm going to keep us together."
"So you intend to marry her?" Anne-Sophie asked, and Tamaki blushed just a bit, twiddling his thumbs.
"I do," he admitted.
"Marriage is a big commitment, Tamaki," Anne-Sophie reminded him, and he nodded vigorously, smiling.
"I know, but I'm willing to do everything it takes to make our marriage work. I love Haruhi, Maman, and I always want to be with her. I know sometimes it might be rough, but we'll make it work."
"I'm sure you will," his mother smiled and ruffled his hair, standing from the sofa and yawning. "Well, it's been quite a day. I think I'll go to bed."
"Goodnight, Maman," Tamaki kissed her cheek and watched her head for her own bedroom, soft and silent as a ghost. After she had closed her door behind her, he unfolded the blanket from the back of the sofa and lay down on what would be his bed for the duration of the trip. The sofa was comfortable and he was cozy with the fire still burning in the hearth, but sleep didn't seem to be willing to surrender to him just yet. He could not stop thinking of Haruhi, and part of him wanted to creep into the guest bedroom and be with her, but he was dimly aware that it was probably disrespectful to do so in his mother's house.
"There's nothing wrong with wanting to spend time with my girlfriend at night," he told himself, blushing a bit at the implications, and he was nearly ready to get up and see how she was feeling when there was a creak from down the hall. He froze at the sound of feet padding down the hallway, and he smiled when he saw Haruhi poke her head into the living room, wearing a striped nightgown and worn slippers. When she saw him awake she blushed a bit, and he wanted to laugh at how skittish she could be even this far into their relationship. Grinning, Tamaki sat up and patted the space beside him on the sofa.
"Hi, Haruhi," he said softly. "Come and sit."
"Hi," Haruhi came to him on tiptoe, and she climbed onto the sofa beside him and directly onto his lap, where she sat and stared into the fire. This surprised him, but he made himself comfortable anyway and gathered her into his arms. She looked beautiful in the firelight and the way the nightgown clung to her tiny waist was ridiculously appealing to him. Moving to kiss her, he had to smile at the way she retuned the gesture and trembled just a bit against him.
"You're so beautiful, Haruhi," he told her in a whisper against her lips, and she blinked into his eyes, looking small and a little worried. He wondered what was going through that impossibly complicated mind of hers.
"I need to tell you something," she whispered, just loud enough for him to hear. "I was going to wait until we got back to Boston, but I don't think it can wait."
"What is it?" Tamaki asked, and Haruhi fidgeted on his lap. She crossed and uncrossed her legs, twiddled her thumbs, bit her lip a few times. It seemed she was trying to find the courage to say what she needed to say, and Tamaki waited patiently.
"I think I might be pregnant," Haruhi said finally, so blunt that for a moment Tamaki didn't register the reality of the statement. When he did, his eyes widened, his mouth dropped open, and he stared at her.
"What?" he asked, hoping maybe if she said the words again, they would be something different.
"I'm not sure," Haruhi said nervously. "But I think I could be pregnant."
"Wh-why do you think that?" Tamaki asked, hoping to reason that it couldn't be true. This was almost too much for him to grasp, and he simply wanted to go to sleep. Just when everything had been going to well, too. It never failed; if something could go wrong, it would. Tamaki loved children and wanted to have them with Haruhi someday, but at the moment he was not at all prepared to be a father.
"Well," Haruhi made the thoughtful face she always made when she was going back to something. "I've been throwing up a lot lately, and my period is late."
"But you're not sure," Tamaki was starting to panic. "You might not be, right?"
"Chances are, I am," Haruhi said, looking scared. "I have a lot of symptoms and I can't imagine what else it could be. But senpai… if I am pregnant, I'm going to keep the baby. If you're not up for being a parent, you don't have to stay in the picture, but…" she trailed off, and Tamaki knew she was trying to be brave, but right then she needed him. Probably without her even realizing it, those eyes were pleading him.
"I could never let you do something like this on your own," he rested his forehead against hers. "I love you, Haruhi. I need you. I plan to stay with you forever, and if there's a baby in that equation, then so be it. We'll raise the baby together."
Tamaki had never seen Haruhi look as grateful as she did at that moment, and she embraced him fiercely, burying her face in his neck in a very vulnerable gesture he wasn't used to. "I love you," she told him passionately. "Thank you." it was strange and endearing to see her so defenseless and he cradled her against his chest despite his fear.
"I love you too," he whispered gently, pushing back the terror and nervousness to make room for the all-encompassing love for her that filled his heart at that moment. On that night on the balcony before they left for Boston, Tamaki had looked at Haruhi and said "let's go together." He hadn't known at the time that when he said it, he would be leading them forward down such an uncharted, scary path, that it wasn't just to Boston that they would be going together. Somehow, though, if they were together, no path was as scary. The future was for figuring things out. This moment was for ignoring his own fear and comforting his princess with gentle whispers, knowing that the challenges that lay ahead were no match for this feeling.
Whatever road they had to take, they would go together.