Wow... I feel like I stepped through a door and suddenly it was six months since I updated. I'm so sorry that I took so long. I really hope you all stick around, the story is not finished and I'm determine to get it all out. Thank you all so much for your reviews and your support, believe me when I say, it helps a lot. I hope you enjoy it.
Love Hunt Me Down
Haruhi was deeply engrossed in her book. She sat under the tree by the lake. The air was beginning to warm and the afternoon sun was pleasant on her face as she read.
"You're not at all like my rose. You're nothing at all yet. No one has tamed you and you haven't tamed anyone. You're the way my fox was. He was just a fox like a hundred thousand others. But I've made him my own and now he is unique in the world." The lines in the book made her heart swell and that made her laugh. She had found the little book on her bed with a note from Tamaki on it.
It read, "This book is the most precious book I have ever read. Everyone should get to read it."
Haruhi had eyed the book curiously it was large and flat with a cute illustration on it. It looked very much like a children's book and when she opened it and saw all the little pictures inside she felt very skeptical. Still, she took it with her down to the lake during free period. And since then, the book had become an amazing surprise, the meanings in the book, the story of the little alien boy; they were far more thought provoking and moving than she could have anticipated. It was a pleasant surprise, being moved by such an innocuous book and she smiled with chagrin as she looked out at the lake, at the trees and the grass, feeling as if it were the first time she was seeing them.
And then that peaceful moment was immediately over when a head popped out from behind the tree and she squealed like a rabbit.
"Hey," Zero grinned, dropping down beside her. She had her hand on her throat; her heartbeat still racing at his sudden appearance.
Haruhi did not respond, only glaring at him as she reached to retrieve her book from where she threw it. This made the boy laugh softly. He had felt her slow and steady heart from where she rested against the tree. He could tell she was wholly entwined in whatever it was she was doing and he just couldn't help himself.
At the look of the book she was holding, he tilted his head, "What are you doing out here?"
"Well you know, since I couldn't have possibly been out here trying to find a place to read," She gave him a pointed look to which he smiled at, "I was just wondering if I misjudged Ichiru."
That made his brows furrow and Haruhi smiled sweetly, trying not to laugh, "About being the evil twin."
Zero's mouth dropped open in surprise, his pale eyes wide with mock hurt. He looked incredibly cute and Haruhi couldn't hold her expression.
"That hurt," Zero pouted, "I even brought you an apple." And he produced a shiny green apple from the inside of his coat pocket, holding it out for her to see. But when she went to reach for it, he pulled it back to him, "But I don't think I'll give it to you now, seeing as I am the evil twin and all."
"Awe what?" She said gently, inching closer to him as Zero brought the apple to his mouth.
"Maybe I will just eat it myself."
"Now let's not get hasty," Haruhi tried to placate, "I was only wondering."
Zero scoffed, "Well you know what they say about women who start to wonder."
Haruhi's eyes widened, "I will hit you with this book." She threatened, even raising it for emphasis.
"They get overwhelmed," Zero counted off, "That makes them violent. Ow!" He yelped when she hit him in the arm with the book. "Alright, alright." He put his hands up in surrender.
With a satisfied huff, Haruhi fell back against the tree beside him, turning the pages of the book to find her place.
Silently he handed her the apple and Haruhi easily bit into it with a satisfying crunch. She grinned up at him, a mouth full of apple, "Thanks."
Zero rubbed his abused arm and snorted, "You're welcome." Then he leaned over her shoulder, studying the picture of a young boy and a wonky looking fox. "What are you reading?"
For a moment, Haruhi blushed, "Uh, Tamaki gave this book to me; he really wanted me to read it."
That made the prefect snort as he glanced over at the water, watching something make ripples in the lake. "Seems about his level," He said meanly.
"That wasn't very nice," Haruhi chastised, Zero gave her a charming smile. One that read, 'Well I am not very nice.' Haruhi ignored it.
"And actually," She added, scooting over more so that she rested on both Zero and the tree. She felt him shift closer, readily accepting her proximity. "It is a very insightful read. Here listen," Then she began to read the chapter of the little boy meeting the fox.
Zero listened carefully, unable to keep from smiling as he watched her. When she came to a line that she found weighty, her eyebrows would furrow thoughtfully and he felt that look pull at his heart.
It had been a week since Haruhi had found out that he was a vampire. He remembered how scared he had been about her finding out, the terrified expression she had worn before Kaname knocked her it. It was surreal the way things were now. It was surreal that they could have a moment like this, so ordinary and simple with the truth so open to them. To him, it was an unfathomable weight, pulling him down into the dark abyss of tragedy and despair. But Haruhi made the load seem light. For her, the truth was nothing more than that, it didn't change the way she felt about him or the way she looked at him. In her eyes, he was still Zero. And his unfathomable weight, the truth he had so desperately tried to keep from her, felt bearable in the clear open light of her eyes.
That's not to say things weren't different. Haruhi was a naturally curious and inquisitive person and sometimes she would ask him questions until he went cross eyed. Then she would move to interrogate Ichiru or Yuuki. It was strange; it wasn't as though it was against the law to tell humans about the supernatural world. It was more of a guideline to remain secretive for protection and safety. Being a part of the supernatural world usually set you apart from others in such a natural way that divulging secrets was just not normal. Nevertheless, with Haruhi and her open-minded, nonjudgmental heart, it was easy to give her whatever she asked for. She had learned a great deal in only a week, partly from her incessant questions but also because, after Ichiru had gotten particularly fed up with her, he had swiped a field guide from the Chairman's private book collection and given it to her (that was part of the reason why Zero knew he would find her here, she liked to read the book away from other curious eyes).
And that was only the tip of the iceberg. Everything Zero thought he knew about being a vampire was suddenly different. No longer did he suffer the excruciating bouts of bloodlust, no longer did he completely lose himself at the mere sight or smell of it. He was a full vampire now, stable, secure, and finally in control of his own body. He was able to take the blood tablets now and no longer needed the help of Kaname's powerful blood. For the first time in four years, he felt strangely human again and very much attached to the girl sitting next to him.
"Are you listening?" Her voice was a bit strained as she turned her head to look back at him.
"Yes," he said defensively, he had never listened to anyone more intently. "This little fox is trying to tell him what friendship is. But if you ask me his idea is a little warped."
Haruhi's brows furrowed thoughtfully, "What do you mean?"
He shrugged, reaching up to tug on her hair, "To compare friendship to taming, it seems like the connection a master would make, not a friend."
"Well what would friends say?"
He opened his mouth but only air came out and Haruhi laughed. Still she did not retract her question, she waited patiently as Zero tried to form a thought.
"I just don't like the word 'taming.' It sounds as though something was taken, but if I am your friend," he leaned closer to her, voice rising slightly, "then there is nothing to take that hasn't already been given." And here he tilted his head and sunk his teeth into the smooth skin of the apple she was holding up.
She laughed again, "I'm guessing I already offered you that."
He smiled, "Yep," the bite of apple in his cheek. She followed the curve of his lips. He was so close to her now, their noses brushing against each other and she could feel the feather light tickle of his lashes on her cheek. Her heart started to pound in her ears, and she felt an electric zing from where his breath ghosted over her lips.
Suddenly he huffed loudly, pulling back from her. Before she could ask what that was for, he looked over his shoulder just as Hikaru and Kaoru came around the tree. Haruhi felt a little guilty at her disappointment of seeing them. She grinned at Zero though, no doubt he heard them coming long before they were close, he must have secretly hoped the copper haired twins wouldn't find them.
"Here you guys are," Hikaru exclaimed as they both plopped down beside Haruhi and Zero, "it's nice out here, right?"
Haruhi sighed, leaning back against the tree, "It is."
"Hey Haruhi, what the heck are you reading?" Kaoru asked turning back curiously when Zero started laughing.
The cool air blew into the room from the partially opened window, giving a cool breeze to ease the slowly growing warmth of spring. It brushed along the shoulders of the sleeping girls in the room, making them pull their blankets snugly around them and slumber peacefully. But the cool, gentle breeze did not reach her fevered brow as sweat dripped down her chin and she heaved a choked breath.
You are the reason for all this suffering. The voice goaded cruelly, All those who love you, are tainted by your filthy touch.
Yuuki jerked in her sleep, somewhere in her mind she knew it was a dream, a horrible nightmare. She just had to make herself wake up. Suddenly, Kaname was standing beside her, giving her a sweet smile and the voice began again with new vehemence. Those that love you, that protect you, now Zero stood beside Kaname, tilting his head and giving her an exasperated grin, You will betray them, the voice continued.
"No!" She tried to scream back, but her voice would not work, all she could do was stand and watch them smile at her. The voice was screaming now, You're guilty desires will cause them suffering and they will come to hate you!
"No!" She cried again, feeling the leaden heaviness of sleep finally release her.
"No," she mumbled half awake, half asleep. She forced herself to sit up, forced herself to get away from the nightmare, nearly smacking face to face with a concerned Haruhi, just as the voice let out it's final taunt. They will die because of you.
"Yuuki?" Haruhi breathed softly, "It's okay, it was just a dream."
The other girl inhaled a shaky breath, shuddering slightly. She couldn't speak just yet, the last words of the voice sending her head spinning. What was happening to her, why did she keep having these awful dreams?
"You're alright, right?" Haruhi asked gently as she put a hand on Yuuki's shoulder.
The other girl nodded mutely, rubbing her eyes with the backs of her hands, she only just realized she had cried this time.
"Was it about Kaname again?"
Again Yuuki nodded. The nightmares had started after their accident on the mountain, the moment when the world seemed to tilt and become drenched in violent crimson. She had tried to let that vision go, put it behind her, but then the dreams had come. At first the voice would only whisper, showing her gruesome images of a woman she did not know. Kaname would be there, and he would smile and take her hand, and it seemed as though everything would be okay. And then whole world was drenched in blood and Kaname was dying and she was the monster that killed him.
Yuuki had startled awake, her body covered in a cold sweat. Still she had managed to keep the nightmares to herself, at least at first. But now the voice did more than whisper and the cruel things it would say were getting worse, the images of the woman more vivid. Each time, after the woman would finally fade, Kaname would appear and he would be perfect and then the voice would tell her ugly things, tell her how she would ruin him.
Haruhi had woken up the third time she had had a nightmare, hearing Yuuki moan and whine unhappily in her sleep. At first Yuuki had been reluctant to tell her about them, it felt as though if she didn't talk about them, they would somehow go away. Eventually she did tell her Kaname was in them and that in the end she would become a vampire. But she couldn't tell her she killed him, or even about the woman, who Yuuki was fairly certain she had killed too.
As Yuuki took deep breaths, Haruhi climbed up on the bed with her, throwing an arm over her friend's shoulder. "Yuuki, maybe you should tell the Chairman about them, maybe they have something to do with your past." she paused, watching Yuuki's face before saying, "Or maybe Kaname. You said he was the one that found you that night, maybe he knows something."
Yuuki shook her head, "If he did, why wouldn't he tell me? Why would he keep it from me?" She couldn't help but feel betrayed, Kaname knew how much she wanted to know about her past.
Haruhi bit her lip, "Maybe he is waiting for you to remember something. If it's something about your past… about that night, well… well he probably wouldn't want to be the one to remind you of it." Her shoulders lifted with a shrug. Kaname cared so much for Yuuki, he would never want to do something that would only hurt her. If you knew the truth about the most horrible thing that happened to someone you cared about, something so tragic and traumatizing the memory might only hurt them, would you want to be the one to take them back to it? She knew she wouldn't.
Yuuki didn't say anything. She had tried to get Kaname to tell her the truth, he had evaded her. Whatever it was, he very much wanted to avoid telling her. He kept protecting her, they all did. Kaname, Zero, Chairman Cross. They all protected her and she made them all suffer. Guiltily she thought of the moment she had asked Zero about becoming a vampire, she had hurt him deeply then. These dreams, or nightmares of becoming a vampire, especially this last one, she had no right to be protected by them.
"I'm glad you all could make it." Tamaki said gravely as he looked on into the faces of his host club. Most looked back wholly unamused and very much impatient. But, much like he always had, Tamaki didn't really notice.
He had gathered them all here on a Saturday, when the Day class members were free for an extra three hours and the Night class members didn't have to come till almost the dead of night. Both were incredibly annoyed with being demanded to attend a host club meeting at 3 o'clock in the afternoon.
"Does that mean we had a choice of coming?" Shiki suddenly perked up, sitting straight on the couch he was sharing with Rima and Takuma.
Takuma gave him an amused smile while Rima put a hand on his shoulder and shook her head solemnly. From their left, Hikaru and Kaoru snickered.
Tamaki turned a sharp look at the copper twins, "No, Shiki. This was a mandatory meeting and a very necessary one. I'm sure you are all aware of what happened two weeks ago at the Sweet Treats establishment." At that the twins looked contrite, shooting glances over at Zero where he sat on a couch with Haruhi, Mori and Honey. Tamaki continued as if he didn't need to explain further. "This host club is about bringing joy and merriment to people, and we Ouran students are guests here at Cross Academy. So you can imagine what a regrettable offense such an incident places on Headmaster Cross' hospitality as, not only Ouran students, but members of the host club took part in this unfortunate event."
Zero shifted in his seat, feeling more than just the twins' eyes on him now.
Ichiru was leaning against the wall with his arms crossed over his chest, gritting his teeth. "It's not like it was their fault," he piped up.
Tamaki looked at him a little stricken. "Of course not. I am completely aware of what happened."
Kyoya spoke up in their leader's defense, "No one is laying blame. Cross Academy is part of a prominent ring of schools, a stain is a stain no matter who is at fault." He added plainly. Ichiru glared at him.
"He's right." Tamaki picked up again with more authority, "This is about repairing the academy's reputation with both Sweet Treats and the community. Kaname and I have been talking and I think we have found a way to fix this." At this their attention drifted to the pureblood who gave a regal smile and a nod of his head. With that alone, the noble class members resigned themselves to do whatever Tamaki had in mind.
At the thought of retribution, Haruhi immediately perked up. Sora's words had been echoing in her head since the whole mess and she had been trying to come up with a way to make it up to the store. She didn't want to throw money at it and she knew if Tamaki was involved, that would be the last thing that they did.
With Kaname's support, Tamaki continued. "We have planned an event. The host club will work one full day at Sweet Treats, bringing in as many customers as we can." He lifted his voice to speak over the sudden murmur of voices, "On Sunday we will all go down to the shop and be trained on a few jobs while also setting up promotional material. And then the following Sunday, Hikaru be quiet and listen! The following Sunday, we will work a full day at the shop, everyone will participate."
The protests started long before he finished and only grew louder when he was done speaking.
"This is ridiculous, you want us to work there?!"
"I am not working at some rinky dink ice cream shop, do you know what my mother would say?"
"It sounds like fun!"
"Honey, you do know you can't eat the ice cream? You are going to be making it and then handing it over to someone else."
"Aww that doesn't sound like fun at all.."
"Guys we have to do something alright, we can't let them think of us a spoiled rich kids." Tamaki tried again.
At this Hikaru shrugged, "But we are spoiled rich kids, Haruhi says so all the time."
Haruhi glared at him, "Exactly, that's why we should do this."
Zero, who had not said anything, glaring forlornly ahead, turned to look at her inquisitively, "You want to?" Of course she wanted to, she loved doing these sort of things.
Haruhi nodded, "As a whole, the incident might not have been our fault, but we all had parts to play."
"We all?" Hanabusa repeated. As part of principle and their loyalty to Kaname, the nobles present had stayed quiet, giving each other suffering glances. But at this comment he could hold his tongue no more. Kain sighed as his cousin continued, "I didn't play any part in this, in fact most of us didn't."
"She wasn't talking to you." Zero defended with a sharp glare.
Aido made a face at him before turning to Tamaki, "Can't we just give them a check for the damages, maybe more for a remodel if they want?" There had to be another way to repent than unholy manual labor.
Both Tamaki and Haruhi glared at him but it was Kaname who spoke. He stood up and moved to stand beside Tamaki as he said, "We could, but that would be missing the point. We are trying to make them see that we are not spoiled rich kids," He said with a grin toward Haruhi. "This is a way that we can validate the store's right to feel wronged while still protecting both of our prides."
Zero scowled, "Look, I am all for an apology, but c'mon. A bunch of barely trained high school kids running their store, that seems more like a punishment than a peace offering."
Another voice spoke up, clinical and concise. "Maybe so, but the novelty of an event like this will bring in a lot of customers. Many of whom might enjoy the fumblings of an attractive cast." Kyoya, ever industrious, pointed out. He caught the doubtful look on the boy's face and frowned, "Don't tell me you don't agree, after everything you have witnessed so far?"
Tamaki grinned with intense pride, "You should never underestimate the power of the host club Zero."
At this point, Ichiru looked around from where he was leaning against the back wall, wondering if anyone else noticed how easily the three were trading in and out, handling their little host club with expert craftiness. A few months ago he looked at these kids like annoying little idiots he could add to his mix of unworthy classmates. But they had worked the way in, sucking him and the others into their insanity and here he stood contemplating yet another stunt with them.
Tamaki was still speaking, "We will master every job they throw at us and bring in so many loyal customers they will have to open another shop."
"Oh really? Cause I was there when you… 'mastered' fishing," The prefect muttered.
Tamaki practically wilted on the spot, "That was mean…"
Hikaru and Kaoru laughed loudly. "Meanie-head Zero, right Boss!"
The blonde leader sniffled slightly while Kyoya spoke, "Meanie-head Zero has got a point. But luckily there will be more appropriate jobs for those that struggle. I think it is pretty obvious that Tamaki would do well as a maître d'."
At that the blonde stood tall, "Hear that Meanie-head, there is a job that is perfect for me."
"What's a job that's perfect for a Meanie-head?" Kain asked Aido, quirking his eyebrow playfully.
"Maître d' at a competing restaurant." Aido quipped.
"Stop calling me that!" Zero growled, glaring at all of their smirking faces.
"Haruhi, tell your meanie-head to calm down. We will find him the perfect job too." Tamaki said commandingly.
Haruhi laughed, feeling her face heat slightly as she shook her head. That was the first time Tamaki had acknowledged what was going on with her and Zero and leave it to the flashy blonde to do it in the most obvious way possible. Zero glared at the boy indignantly but even as he did, he felt a strange zing in his heart at being called Haruhi's anything.
Ichiru pushed off the wall to stand at the front, "Well if it means two weeks of not having to sit around and here, 'Oh Ichiru-senpai, you hair looks so soft! Can I touch it?' I'm in."
The manager who would be on duty during their little event was a fairly young man, probably in his early twenties. Not that it was inherently obvious by looking at him, he wore a tired scowl on his face, along with pensive eyes and a frown wrinkled forehead.
Tamaki had made it seem as though the shop was grateful of their initiative for forgiveness, but if this guy was their spokesperson, their leader had lied to them. The manager, whose name was Tennouji, looked at them all with an intense level of disdain. When they asked questions about their jobs he would sigh heavily and roll his eyes, as if he had repeated himself for the millionth time. The Hitachiins instantly disliked him while Ichiru flat out hated him.
The silver haired boy could understand not being able to tell the copper twins apart, as it was their greatest mission. But he didn't even bother with he and Zero, who had very obvious differences. Golden boy and recently decided mild-mannered lamb Zero, did not hold it against Tennouji and didn't even bother correcting him when he called him by his brother's name. Ichiru on the other hand, had violently corrected him so many times, he was sure Tennouji was doing it on purpose. As result, Ichiru spent about five minutes learning how to be a waiter before walking off to help Haruhi put up posters, even as Tennouji called him back.
"You've ruined him," He said in greeting as he reached up to hold the poster still as she taped it down.
Haruhi glanced past his arm to Tennouji, who called to him one last time before turning and muttering about self-important little punks. "Ruined who?"
"You know who!" he said indignantly. Then he nodded toward Zero who was on the outside of the shop with Mori, hanging a large banner over the door. She followed his nod, watching as Zero scratched his shoulder, listening to Mori talk about something, probably the best way to secure the banner. The wind lifted a few strands of his silver hair as he nodded to the older boy. He must have felt her eyes on him, he looked in through the window, flashing her a charming smile that made her throat feel tight.
"Zero?" she asked, turning up to Ichiru and smiling, "How did I ruin him?"
He frowned, "What do you mean how? He is all nice and polite now, I can't stand it!" he whined, making her laugh.
Just then, Kaoru came into the store with huff, searching eyes finding Haruhi, "Haruhi, your meanie-head told me to go be useless somewhere else." It had become a running thing now to call Zero Haruhi's meanie-head, just about everyone in the host club had come up to her at least once since yesterday to tell her something her meanie-head said or did.
She looked out the window to find him looking at her, shrugging innocently and giving her another smile. "Well I wouldn't say you lost him yet," she said to Ichiru as she shook her head at Zero, completely unable to kill the giddy smile on her lips.
"Ugh," Ichiru groaned from beside her, "You two make me sick."
Kaname had just zipped up his bag when someone knocked on his door. "Come in."
He could hear Ichiru's quiet sigh as the door came open. The other boy's steps were hesitant as he made his way from Kaname's main room to the study, but as he came into view he had found his resolve. He didn't offer a greeting of any sort, only leaned against the doorway, pale eyes on the duffel.
This might have irritated someone who was as busy as Kaname was, who had somewhere he needed to be urgently, but Kaname Kuran had been born with an unhealthy level of patience. So he simply leaned his hip back into the desk, crossing his arms and watching Ichiru. He was fiddling with something in his pocket.
"So, you checking out on us or what?" Ichiru asked, nodding toward the bag.
Kaname gave him a wry smile, "I have some very important things that need to be taken care of."
"Uhuh," the silver haired boy said unconvinced, "I should have known you would set us up with these restaurant shenanigans and then leave us holding the bag."
The pureblood nodded placatingly, "How are you feeling Ichiru, I haven't noticed any sickness." He seemed fairly healthy but there was still a bit of that drained hue that had yet to leave his face since he made the transfer with Zero.
At this question, Ichiru stood up straight. "I'm fine, nothing that we didn't already expect would happen." Like the fact that he always seemed a little tired, and his body felt heavier than it had before. But these were all things he could learn to deal with, to adapt to. Then he snapped, "And that only makes it worse, leaving the weak little invalid to do all the labor while you, able-bodied and full of strength, run away. Thanks."
An elegant laughed sounded off as Kaname moved back behind the desk, grabbing some paperwork he had forgotten and shoving it in his bag.
Ichiru watched him for a moment, licking his dry lips. He resolution was still very steady as he crossed the study room, pulling out the thing he had been fiddling with and setting down on the desk in front of the pureblood.
Kaname eyes narrowed as he looked at the little glass vial, filled with a dark red liquid. The sight of it filled him with a surge of hatred and he had to grit his teeth to keep himself from shattering it into little pieces. He knew exactly what it was and who it had been for. He shifted his gaze warily up to Ichiru to find the boy still looking at the vial on the desk.
Ichiru's shoulders lifted half-heartedly, "I figured you might want that."
Kaname gave the disgraceful blood one more glance before looking back at Ichiru, "You do realize what this means? He is an evil of the lowest degradation, nothing is too petty for him."
Ichiru laughed at that, "You realize that he never intended for me to succeed."
"But he did intend for you to try." Kaname shot back. They both knew full well it had been a suicide mission.
But here was Ichiru, laughing at the thought of what would have been his untimely demise. "Doesn't matter anyway. I'm sure he will have far more important things on his mind than a useless little human he tried to have someone else deal with." Then he expression sobered, "But if I am the decoy, then the next attempt, the real one, can't be far off."
Kaname nodded, "Yes it would seem so."
Ichiru frowned, feeling frustrated by Kaname's easy remark. "Well, are you going to do something about it?"
The pureblood gave him a bemused look, "Yes."
Ichiru's eyes sharpened on the duffel. That's why he was leaving, Kaname was setting things into motion. He would need to be fast and certain, the arsenal on the other end was big and very powerful. But... But where could he possibly be going for so long? Something came into focus in Ichiru's mind and his heart quickened.
"Kaname the Vampire Council is-"
"The Vampire Council," Kaname interrupted, "was created by a pureblood king who believed that the good of vampire society should rest in the hands of more than just one man. They are the protectors of all vampires."
Ichiru shook his head, Kaname couldn't be thinking of asking them for help. "But-" his voice caught in his throat as something glinted in the pureblood's eyes.
"That is their job. If they cannot handle the responsibility of their job, then what use are they?"
"So, we are really okay with this?" Hikaru asked his friends as they rode in the travel bus toward their first and final day working at Sweet Treats.
"You said you were okay with it." Kaoru reminded his brother. The "it" he was referring to being Haruhi and Zero, who were currently talking across the aisle toward the front of the bus.
"Yeah, but that was before I knew Tamaki would be okay with it."
Honey turned around in his seat in front of the twins. "I like Zero." He had always liked Zero and so far had defended the prefect faithfully.
"You like everyone." Hikaru countered.
"I'm starting to not like you."
Hikaru stuck his tongue out in answer.
"They like each other. We are her friends, we should let her enjoy being with someone she likes." They all stopped to look at Mori. He shrugged, "We are hosts aren't we?"
"Mori-senpai is right." came Shiki's voice. He was sitting in front of the twins with Rima, half listening to conversations going on around him. "Happiness is hard enough to come by without having to worry about your friends plotting against you."
At this, all eyes slid back to Hikaru. He looked at each of them mutely. Then he sighed and pursed his lips, "Fine! We're okay with it."
The store was a frenzied chaos of movement. Haruhi grabbed at her server hat for stability as a customer repeated his order a second time.
"I want the double scoop combo with a milk tea. I want a scoop of coffee ice cream, and a scoop of vanilla. And I want toffee bites, and almonds on top. In a waffle cone with chocolate filling."
Haruhi nodded, "Okay," She had to repeat the order under her breath as she punched it into the computer, and then again as she looked over the wide counter top, filled with huge bins of assorted ice cream. The customer smiled at her bewildered expression as she scooped out some vanilla and coffee ice cream, mixing it with toffee bits. She was getting better at it, still not as quick handed as the manager had been when he showed her, but at least she didn't drop a full scoop of ice cream on the floor like she had the first time.
Tamaki had gone all out to promote the event, the signs and banners they'd hung from every conceivable place, painted the glass windows with bright colors. Each shouting out that the host club was working at Sweet Treats for one day only. They all wore bright, cotton candy blue shirts with the words, "Sweet Treats and Cross Academy present 'The Host Club'" scrawled across their chest and their name on the back. The signs alone had brought in a slough of customers, but on top of that, Ruka and Takuma were out on the street, handing out fliers and persuading passerbiers to stop by the shop. They wandered back and forth along the sidewalk, attracting others with their beautiful faces, cheeky smiles and gimmicks.
Or rather Takuma's cheeky smiles and gimmicks. Ruka did little of anything besides walk back and forth, shoving fliers into the hands of anyone she passed.
"Smile, Ruka- san." Takuma whined as he past her again, "Or at least say, thank you."
The blonde beauty scoffed and flipped her hair. A whistle sounded off down the way and three high school boys with red faces, pushed and shoved each other. Ruka smirked at Takuma before sauntering off and throwing a flier at the blushing boys. Anyone else might have frowned, but Takuma only smiled as he said, "I guess that works too."
Inside, Haruhi was manning the blender, making a smoothie. She huffed as she was mashed up against the counter for a third time as Hikaru and Kaoru maneuvered around in the small space behind the sundae bar. The manager had said usually only two people worked back here at a time and Haruhi could definitely see why. She awkwardly lifted the blender cup from the machine and tried to pour it into a medium size cup, whose rim suddenly seemed impossibly small. She gripped the cup with her other hand to help guide the thick liquid. From behind her, Kaoru moved to get pistachio ice cream and bumped her elbow. She gasped as cold smoothie splashed on her wrist and splattered onto the floor.
"Kaoru!" She exclaimed.
Luckily she had made most of it into the cup and only got a few lines of the sticky sweet mess onto the outside of the cup. Wiping it as best she could, she gave Kaoru a quick glare, receiving a shoulder shrug. Then she handed the drink to the customer with an apologetic smile and extra napkins.
"Sorry," she said as he took the cup carefully, he looked about their age.
"It's okay," he said with an easy smile, "Nothing a smile from a pretty girl won't fix."
From beside her, Hikaru scoffed and rolled his eyes and Haruhi shook her head as if to say, 'ignore him.'
"Ooh, what's that?" Honey suddenly butted in. He and Kyoya were supposed to be working the cash registers. The machines sat barely a foot away from the sundae bar, and Honey kept leaning on the Plexiglas divider to gawk at the ice cream.
"It's an orange cream smoothie," the boy answered with a smile as he pulled out a few bills from his wallet.
"Oh," Honey said dreamily, licking his lips, "I bet that tastes good."
"Uh," the boy's brow furrowed as he became a little uncomfortable, "It's pretty good, my favorite anyway..."
Kyoya's hand reached out, grabbing onto the back of Honey's pants as he leaned into the poor customer's drink. Gently, but firmly, he pulled the boy back to sit on the counter.
"Medium Orange Cream Smoothie, that will be $2.29, please." He took the boy's money and processed his change as he turned to another customer. "We have two banana splits, one no peanuts. A medium lemonade and a small water, that'll be $9.25." He handed the boy his change before taking the bills from the other customer. "Have a nice day sir." Then he proceeded to process the next receipt, a hand pulling Honey to sit once again.
"Hi, welcome to Sweet Treats!" Tamaki greeted a group of giggling girls coming in, "If you would like a table, it will be a thirty five minute wait. If you want it To-Go, you can cue up right here, the wait is fifteen minutes." They gave out a group giggle before accepting a table paddle.
Aido came back from showing a group to a table, a wide smile on his face, "Is it just me, or did Kyoya grow another set of arms?"
Tamaki laughed as he passed Ichiru, showing the group to a table. The silver haired boy balanced two ice cream dishes on a tray, scowling at the blonde boy.
"Okay, I have a strawberry freeze and a mocha chocolate sundae." Ichiru stated, setting the dishes down.
The girl in the booth snorted, eyeing the sundae, "I didn't order this." she said with disdain. Ichiru frowned as the girl continued snarkily, "I ordered a raspberry frozen yogurt."
He looked down at what he thought was a strawberry freeze, then at the guy sitting in front of it, "Did you order a mocha chocolate sundae?"
The guy shook his head. From the booth behind the guy, a girl peeked up over the edge. "I ordered a mocha chocolate sundae."
The silver haired boy grunted in frustration as he snatched up the ticket still laying on the tray. "I thought you were table two." He mumbled to himself. The grumbling continued as he loaded the dishes back on the tray and then deposited them in the other booth.
Zero served the table Ichiru had just left and the boy glared at his brother. He crumpled the ticket he still had in his hand and threw it at Zero, hitting him dead in the chest. Zero looked down in surprise, quick reflexes catching the paper when it bounced off his chest.
He looked up at Ichiru, "What?"
"I thought that was table three." Ichiru said accusingly.
Zero groaned, touching his head as if he had a headache. "No, that's table three," he explained for what felt like the millionth time. Then he placed the crumpled ticket on table three with an apology. As they walked back to get their next orders, Icniru continued to grumble.
From the sundae bar, another fiasco was well in the making. Haruhi's spilled smoothie had yet to be dealt with and it was making itself known by being in Hikaru's way as he went to restock the strawberry bin.
He had been running, well sort of, in the tiny space. His shoe found the slick wet surface and he felt the odd sensation of his feet sliding forward with out him. Hikaru yelped as his feet came out from under him and he fell flat on his back. The poor boy groaned painfully, trying to find the will to breathe again as he felt something cold seep through his shirt and stick it to his back. When he opened his eyes, Haruhi and Kaoru were leaning over him, gaping in shock. He groaned miserably, his head falling to the side and then jerking back in shock. It was not everyday you say fifteen faced pressed up against the glass, trying to see if you were okay.
Hikaru closed his eyes, gritting his teeth. "That's it!" he growled, shoving himself up, "I wanna new job! Someone trade me!"
"I'll trade you," Ichiru said almost instantly. He yanked the ticket paper from his apron pocket as he walked over to the sundae bar. The whole place seemed to stand still as everyone watched Hikaru meet him at the entrance, taking the notepad from him and handing Ichiru his hat.
Pale eyes peered down the line of ice cream tubs. "So how does this work?"
Hikaru sighed, reaching behind him and un sticking his shirt, "You mix the toppings into the ice cream on the cold bar. Mix the ice creams and THEN grab the cone." Then he cocked his head to the side, grinning slightly, "And watch for hurricane Kaoru."
Ichiru nodded even as Kaoru complained loudly, then he said, "Put the number of the table on the ticket before you turn it in, that way you can find the right table when you pick it up again." He moved to go behind the counter when Hikaru stopped him.
"Wait. How do I know what the table numbers are?"
The other boy shrugged, "Number them however you want. Zero's system is stupid."
The prefect's perfect hearing had him rolling his eyes from across the store. He shot his brother a look and the other boy grabbed onto Haruhi, shielding himself behind her little body and making her laugh as she slapped his hand away. But his attention, and the attention of everyone in the shop, had shifted to the high feminine voice, calling out in delight.
Ichiru still held onto Haruhi as he watched the scene unfold, as everyone watched. She was a very attractive girl after all. Her long, flowing blonde hair whipping out behind her as she dove at Zero, wrapping her arms tight around his waist. Her high heeled foot kicked up, showing off model legs and perfectly manicured toes. She had the brightest, greenest eyes that were as clear as emeralds and sparkled even brighter as she looked the boy over, a smile catching on her plush red lips.
Zero barely had time to do anything before he was engulfed by both the floral scent of her expensive perfume and her arms around him.
Wide pale eyes looked down to meet her as she took a step back and smiled at him. From behind her Haruhi felt Ichiru breath out an "oh no," just as Zero spoke.