A/N: Well, ladies and hosts(!) Here's the Christmas Ouran fanfic I had promised you . . . a year ago. (insert big smile)
I had a lot of fun writing this. Next to KyoHaru, HikaHaru is my favorite Ouran pairing. Hikaru's so adorably awkward and inept, don't you think? Though I do apologize to my KyoHaru fans. Sorry guys, but I really, REALLY wanted to write this. This idea has been stewing in my brain for a whole freakin' year after all.
Enjoy. And I don't own Ouran Host Club, by the way. I'm hoping one year Santa will stuff all the copyrights down my stocking . . . because I've definitely been a good girl, you know. ;D
When the doors to the Third Music room were opened, it transformed into Santa's workshop, and rose petals and snowflakes spilled outward in a spiral.
"Sorry I'm late," Haruhi apologized with a hasty bow as she walked in, stepping all over the paper snowflakes. Obliviously. Several of the hosts sagged in exasperation.
"Haruhi," Tamaki whined, adjusting his Santa hat. "I know you have a tendency of being tardy, but couldn't you at least come on time on Christmas?"
"Just because it's Christmas doesn't mean we don't have exams. We are Japanese." Haruhi dropped her load of heavy books on an unoccupied couch and stretched her aching arms. "I needed to study."
"Then you must take punishment!" Tamaki cried, dramatically pointing a finger at Haruhi. He ran off for a moment and then returned with a Santa girl outfit, complete with a low cut and very nearly non-existent skirt. "For being late, you must be my Mrs. Claus!"
"Not happening," Haruhi muttered, throwing a death glare at the reindeer twins, who obviously had fashioned the outfit. They grinned back at her without a shred of guilt.
"WAAHHHH! BUT HARUHI!"
"She obviously cannot wear that, Tamaki. Stop with the fantasizing," Kyouya sighed, readjusting his glasses. He seemed to be writing in his notebook with a higher level of aggression than usual. Probably because he had been given the demeaning role of head elf. Haruhi tried her best not to stare at his elf ears for too long.
"Haru-chan, Haru-chan!" Honey cried as he skipped over. He was also an elf, along with Mori. There's something wrong with that, Haruhi thought to herself as she looked up at her tall, stoic sempai.
"Haru-chan! Don't worry! We have an extra elf costume for you too," Honey reassured. Mori nodded and wordlessly handed her a costume.
Haruhi smiled in relief. "Thank you, Honey-sempai, Mori-sempai."
"Aww, but what's so wrong with our Santa girl design?" the twins protested, just to rile her up.
"I can't wear it!" she snapped.
"You can at least put it on before the customers get here," Kaoru said.
"Yeah, I'd like to see that. We could even take pictures," Hikaru added. He already had a camera ready, and he snapped a picture of Haruhi's angry face.
"No!" Haruhi exclaimed before locking herself in a dressing room.
"Hikaru, Kaoru! Now you've made her mad!" Tamaki wailed. He collapsed to his knees and bowed his head in grief. "This isn't the family Christmas spirit! I knew I shouldn't have let you talk me into the Santa girl costume!"
"What are you talking about? You're the one who begged us," the twins countered.
"HARUHIIIII, come back! I have a better plan! You can be Mary, and I can be your Joseph!"
Amidst the fighting, Kyouya walked over to the dressing room and knocked twice. "By the way, Haruhi," Kyouya said. "We'll only be entertaining customers for an hour this afternoon. After that, we start our host club-only Christmas party, and we'll do the Secret Santa then."
"Alright," Haruhi called as she pulled the elf tunic over her head. She wasn't particularly worried about the Secret Santa. She was lucky enough to draw Honey's name instead of a hard person, like Kyouya or Mori. Or Hikaru, Haruhi thought ruefully. She couldn't afford much in the way of presents this year. If Haruhi had been forced to draw Hikaru's name, she knew he would only make fun of whatever she got him. With Honey it had been simple. She bought as many sweets as she could get with twenty bucks (which had caused her physical pain, because it felt like such a waste) and an adorable blue rabbit that could go as a pair with his Usa-chan.
"Okay, I'm ready," Haruhi announced, and she stepped out of the dressing room.
Tamaki, Kaoru, and Hikaru took one look at her cutesy elf costume (which was still just a tad bit too feminine) and flashed a thumbs up. "Good!" they said in unison.
Shortly after, the customers came. The girls delighted in the Christmas theme, and they diligently searched to see if there was any mistletoe hanging around to be caught under.
"I'm afraid not, Miss Yamamoto," Tamaki said smoothly, sliding in closer and putting an arm around the brunette's shoulder. "All of our mistletoe mysteriously vanished just before we got here. But if you tell me that you've been a good little girl this year, maybe I can give you a present."
"Kyaaaa! I can't take it!" Yamamoto squealed.
Haruhi inwardly rolled her eyes. Tamaki would never really kiss someone. Surely the customers knew that. Why give into the tease? And what was so special about mistletoe anyway? It was a parasitic plant. Not romantic at all.
"But it's a shame," said Machi, one of Haruhi's customers. She sighed dreamily and said, "I wouldn't have minded being caught under the mistletoe with you, Haruhi-kun."
Haruhi suppressed the urge to laugh by drinking some of her peppermint tea. When she lowered the cup, she was all smiles. "Oh? Honestly, I don't see the big deal about that particular tradition. If you have someone who's special to you, why wait for an excuse to kiss her? Shouldn't you love her more than that?"
"Oh, Haruhi-kuuuuun!" the girls swooned.
A hand fell down on her shoulder. Haruhi looked up and saw Hikaru grinning down at her. She noticed with some curiosity that it wasn't his usual grin. This one seemed a little . . . nervous? Twitchy?
Hikaru glanced around for a moment, checking to make sure that the Shadow King was not watching. Then he bent down and mumbled in Haruhi's ear, but loud enough for the others to hear, "Can I borrow you for a moment?"
On cue, the girls started muttering behind their hands, but Haruhi disregarded them for a moment. "Hikaru, I'm busy. I can't just leave. That would be rude to my customers."
"Oh go on!" said one.
"Don't mind us!" said another.
Machi smiled shyly and waved. "We'll be waiting for you."
"Oh . . .okay," Haruhi said, standing up uncertainly. The nervousness in Hikaru's smile increased tenfold, and he grabbed her hand and dragged her away.
"So . . . what's the big deal?" Haruhi asked. "And where's Kaoru?"
"Kaoru! Kaoru?" Hikaru seemed to only just notice that Kaoru was not around. Actually, he was nowhere to be seen in the entire music room.
He must be really flustered if he didn't even realize that much, Haruhi mused to herself.
Trying to regain composure, Hikaru took a deep breath and explained, "I'm your Secret Santa."
"Huh?" She frowned at him. "Aren't you supposed to keep that, you know, a secret? We aren't exchanging gifts until later, Hikaru."
"I know. But I don't want Tamaki to see it." Hikaru turned on his heel and led Haruhi outside of the room and into the hallway. "So we have to go somewhere else."
A bad feeling manifested itself deep within Haruhi's gut. "Please, please tell me you didn't get me something ridiculous, like my own private jet or something," Haruhi pleaded.
"What? No, no, nothing like that," Hikaru insisted distractedly. He was looking around, searching for something.
"Then what?" Haruhi asked, feeling very clueless.
Hikaru flashed her another tight, nervous smile. "You'll see in a moment. I actually thought very long and hard about this one, and I—oh, here we are."
His hand was sweating in hers. Haruhi raised her eyebrows as she watched her friend swallow deeply and open a door.
"Here we are," Hikaru mumbled again, almost breathlessly.
Haruhi wandered inside a couple of steps. She scratched her head, seeing nothing all that grand or out-of-place in the first music room. "What exactly am I looking for?" When she turned back around, she caught Hikaru staring up at the ceiling in dismay, his mouth hanging completely open. "Hikaru? What's wrong?"
Hikaru snapped his mouth shut. "N-n-n-nothing!" he stammered, now twice as frantic. He snatched up Haruhi's hand again and dragged her to somewhere else. "I must have gotten the room wrong. Here!"
But there was nothing in the large art studio either, excluding the art easels and the still life of stockings. "Hika—?"
"No worries!" Hikaru half-shouted. "Maybe one of the janitorial staff moved it. I'll find it!"
But it wasn't in any of the four libraries, or by the fountain, or the cafeteria, or in numerous classrooms. Haruhi was starting to get worn out and exasperated as she trailed behind the energetic Hikaru.
"Look, Hikaru," Haruhi panted, trying to keep her temper in check as he dragged her up yet another set of stairs. "I get it. You forget to buy something, so you decided to play a practical joke on me. Or maybe you just didn't want to buy anything. I don't care. Just let me go already."
"No, wait!" Hikaru cried, panicking. "I know, I just know, that it's in by the roof top swimming pool. Just let me check one more place. Haruhi!"
But Haruhi had already turned her back and was wearily shuffling back down the stairs, wanting nothing more than to return to her customers and listen to their gossip.
"I told you I'm done."
"No, look! Look, there it is!"
"Huh?" Haruhi craned her neck up. There, hanging from the top of a grandfather clock, was her supposed present.
A clump of mistletoe.
"Hikaru, wha—?" But she could say no more as Hikaru pressed his lips to hers. It was a clumsy kiss, and it didn't last long before Hikaru got cold feet and pulled away.
"D-did . . . I mean . . . how d-do you like your present?" Hikaru stammered, looking about ready to die from embarrassment. Or explode, judging by the red hue of his face, which only intensified when Haruhi gaped blankly at him. "W-what?" he demanded, trying to cover up his mortification with his bad temper. "Just spit it out already."
Haruhi blinked at him. Once. Then twice. Then she narrowed her eyes in annoyance, and Hikaru flinched, ready for verbal abuse. "Of all the dumb, backwards ways—!" Haruhi shouted.
Without finishing, she kissed him back.
Hikaru didn't seem to believe it at first. He put his arms around her tentatively, as if expecting her to pull away. But Haruhi didn't, and, hesitating, Hikaru deepened the kiss.
Haruhi found her furrowed brow softening, her fists unclenching. Something was melting and draining away inside of her. Ah, she thought, though it was hard to think straight. That's why they all made such a big deal about the mistletoe . . .
Neither of them noticed the soft ringing of bells.
Kaoru walked in the third music room, chuckling and rolling his eyes at some private joke. Kyouya spotted him and adjusted his glasses coolly. "What's so funny?" he asked. "And just where have you been? It's almost time for the customers to leave."
"Oh nothing," Kaoru said a little too innocently. Next to Kyouya's laptop, Kaoru set down a bag he had been carrying. He puffed out his chest in pride. "By the way, I found all thirty nine of the stolen mistletoe."
Kyouya's face remained impassive as he stated, "There were forty total."
Kaoru waved it off, grinning from ear to ear. "Yeah, well, I had to leave at least one behind, didn't I? I'm not that cruel of a guy."
"I don't understand what you mean."
"Never mind then."
Kaoru skipped off, the bells in his reindeer antlers ringing. Something else occurred to Kyouya, and he called, "By the way, have you seen your brother around? Or maybe Haruhi? They've also disappeared, and I'm about to start adding on to Haruhi's debt for compensation."
"Nope!" Kaoru said a little too quickly before returning to his customers.
Kyouya stared at his laptop screen for several moments. Then he shook it off and let his fingers fly across the keyboard, taking notes. "Perhaps I don't want to know," he muttered to himself.