Disclaimer: I do not own Ouran High School Host Club, nor do I own any of its members. They belong to Bisco Hatori, without whom this fic wouldn't even be possible because I would have never been introduced to the wonderful characters she has given to us. : )
Warning! Spoilers if you have not read up to Volume 15 of the manga, my story follows the manga NOT the anime, so Haruhi was never revealed to be a female at the fair.
Hello all! Haruhi and Mori are my favorite pairing from this particular anime/manga, I think they complement each other fairly well. Hopefully I do them justice with this story. Please review if you feel inclined to do so, I hope you enjoy!
Not many thoughts were running through the mind of one, Haruhi Fujioka, as she walked… trudged, was more like it, towards the dojo at Ouran University. The last thing she wanted to do at the end of her long days of cramming legal jargon into her head was to exercise. She had always been a lazy person, by nature, never looking to do more than loaf about her house in her sweats, do some laundry, or read quietly. Physical activity didn't exactly agree with her nor did getting covered in sweat and she found herself becoming more irritable lately. Her notoriously short span of patience was now at an all time low and those around her were suffering for it.
She stopped in front of the dressing room at the gym labeled, "womens". She chuckled quietly to herself as she entered, not too long ago, everyone except the members of the host club and Kasanoda-kun had believed she was a boy. Haruhi had somehow managed to make it through her entire high school career without being discovered, though there had been a few close calls along the way.
On graduation day, she had asked the Chairman to announce her as "Ms." Haruhi Fujioka. She no longer had to fake her gender, since she would no longer be a member of the host club and had long since paid off her debt. In fact, she found out that she had paid off her debt halfway through her second year, though Kyoya had conveniently forgotten to share that bit of information with her. Even after she had discovered this discrepancy, she did not leave the host club, choosing instead to continue on with everyone. After Tamaki and Kyoya graduated they left the club in Haruhi and the twins hands, to carry it on and manage it however they saw fit. She had never defined herself by her gender anyway, so she didn't mind if everyone around her thought she was a male, never looking to correct the others perception of her. What was really important was the person behind the gender.
Though she wouldn't dare admit it aloud, she truly cherished the time she spent with the boys while they were all in school and the relationships she forged with them. She did, however, regret one of the relationships that took on a different shape later on down the line…
She shook her head, willing images of a certain spastic blonde to leave her. She didn't have time to think of him right now, she was already late as it was, and if she knew Mori-senpai, which she did, it would mean several extra drills for her.
She swept her hair, which was now able to reach her shoulder blades, into a ponytail, she pinned her bangs back so they wouldn't hang in her face while she worked. She dressed quickly, tying off the belt to her gi and tying her hakama before she quickly padded down the hallway and into the dojo.
She crept into the room silently, all of the other students were kneeling in their places, their eyes closed and heads bowed as they waited for their sensei's to enter the room and for their lesson to begin. Upon seeing their instructors had yet to arrive, she scrambled to take her seat next to her favorite blonde haired candy fanatic.
"Haru-chan…" Honey whispered to her, in his usual sing song voice, though it had become a tad bit deeper in the years since he had graduated high school. This was his usual way of greeting her but today his tone held a very distinct hint of mockery.
Haruhi ignored him until she was in the exact same position he was, she wanted to make sure she was in the correct pose for when their sensei entered the room.
"What is it?" she asked, her question coming out a tad more scathing than she had meant it to. She got the distinct feeling he was up to something.
It seemed since the years that he graduated he also began to adopt a more mischevious attitude as well, though nowhere near as bad as Hikaru and Kaoru.
"He's gonna know…" He said, again in his angelic voice as a cheeky smile graced his lips, finally opening his eyes and giving her a sidelong glance.
"Not if you keep your mouth shut. If you don't say anything I'll make sure to buy you some cakes after class today, deal?" she told him in a hushed tone.
She peeked out the corner of her eyes at the clock on the wall, then back at her friend to see his reaction. Any second now…
"Deal!" the smaller of the two squeaked, a little too loudly, jumping up triumphantly from his place on the floor.
"Honey-kun, be quiet." she hissed, sending him an icy glare that immediately sent him into a fit of hysterics. Large crocodile tears rolled down his face and he sniffled a bit, other students in the room were now starting to look in their direction. Some faces held looks of amusement, while others just looked plain irritated.
"Waaaaaaaaaah! Haru-chan, you're so mean!" he wailed, throwing himself on to his back and kicking his legs.
Haruhi wondered how, at the age of twenty, Honey could put most toddlers to shame with the temper tantrums he threw. She crawled over to him trying in vain to get the small man to calm down.
After another second or two of wailing, Honey sat straight up and resumed his kneeling position just in time for Mori-senpai to walk through the doors, the assistant instructor, Katsu, in tow a few steps behind him. Haruhi, however, had not been able to correct her position and she had to scramble back to it.
'What the hell? Does he have some sort of family radar in that fuzzy little head of his?'
Mori, of course, took note of the fact that Haruhi was not prepared as she had been instructed to be several times before. He caught her gaze, raising his eyebrows, letting her know that he would revisit her discrepancy when he was finished addressing the class.
After the greetings and announcements were made he set everyone up in pairs for the opening drills. Though he was a man of few words, he took his position as sensei very seriously so he made sure to be clear and concise when he did speak. Letting everyone know exactly what he expected of them so there would be no margin for error.
For the most part he stuck to the curriculum that was set out for him to teach but every once in a while he would take it upon himself to conduct a different sort of lesson. Mori had always been encouraged by his own instructors to use the knowledge he learned in class in his everyday life and that always struck a chord with him. He felt he should apply that same wisdom to his own teaching sessions. The last thing he wanted was for his students to get bored with redundant exercises and monotonous moral lessons. So, every now and again he would pair students up against someone they wouldn't normally fight in a regulated judo match. In reality, you didn't get the luxury of fighting someone you actually had a chance of winning against. You went up against people of all shapes and sizes so he made sure to pair up students who wouldn't necessarily face each other in a regulated judo match, but could very well meet each other in a street fight.
There was, of course, one exception to this, Haruhi. Mori didn't allow her to spar with anyone besides Mitskuni or himself. It was for her own protection, really. Now that she had been exposed as a female, her male suitors had increased tenfold, far more than she ever had in middle school. No longer was it just the members of the host club that loved her and vied for her affections. He was unable to discern just how many confessions she got per week, but she always refused. Most men had taken it in stride and gracefully accepted her gentle rejection, happy enough to remain on good enough terms with her to be friends. Though Haruhi was still fairly oblivious when it came to people's feelings, especially when they concerned her but she was getting better. She had at least learned the finesse needed when letting someone down easy. She knew a confession when she heard one, she didn't want to repeat the same mistake she had made with Arai all those years ago, he assumed.
However, some men were unable to leave her alone, even after they had been politely declined by her. One very stupid or very lucky man depending on how you looked at it had even used force against her. That particular man was exactly where he belonged now, in the psychiatric ward of a maximum security prison. Probably for longer than necessary on the charges he faced but when the Ootori private police force gets involved, as they did in this case, punishment was rarely minor.
That incident was what had finally convinced Haruhi that she absolutely had to take self defense classes and she had finally accepted the offer that Mistkuni and Mori offered to her several times before in the past. All of the host members urged her to do so as well, so she eventually relented.
So, to avoid any sort of altercation with anyone Mitskuni and he decided that Haruhi would only learn judo from the two of them. This was expressed and understood by the entire class, which outside of her, was entirely male. Funny enough, they all formed a mini task force to keep Haruhi out of harms way while she was on campus, all without her knowledge of course. They knew she didn't relish the idea of feeling weak. Everyone cared for her, it was funny how even with a slightly standoffish personality, she was able to invoke such devotion from those around her. Himself included.
Haruhi wasn't enrolled in the class for any sort of college credits so she didn't follow the curriculum the way the others did. She was, however, required to follow the same rules and disciplines as the others, which included getting to class on time. Mori knew without being told that she was late to class again today, for the split second their eyes had met in his silent chastisement of her posture he had seen it. She gave herself away, without ever speaking a word.
After walking around the room to ensure that all of his pupils were performing their judo correctly he sauntered over to Haruhi and Mitskuni, both were now standing waiting for his instruction. Mitskuni had a wide smile plastered on his face and as Mori drew closer he launched himself at the taller of the pair. Mori caught with him ease before swinging the blonde around and perching him atop his shoulders. Mori tried gently to break his cousin of some of his childish behaviors since they had begun to go to University, knowing that in the business world people would not take him seriously if he acted on his childish impulses, but he found things were easier said than done.
Mitskuni, however, had made some dramatic strides toward adulthood. He had reduced the amount of sweets he ingested a great deal, but that still put him at about 50% more than any normal human being could conceivably consume. He no longer carried Usa-chan to school unless he was feeling under the weather, an agreement they came to together. The one habit he had been unsuccessful in curbing was his climbing and need to be carried. Truth be told, Mori didn't really want that to stop. He'd lived most of his life with the smaller man perched atop his shoulders or on his back and it was a great comfort to him that this was something Mitskuni couldn't seem to stop either.
All in all it seemed that Mitskuni was thriving in his business studies, hoping to fulfill his dream of bringing the Haninozuka family into the toy making industry. The only thing that Mori thought might suit the petite man more would be to own a bakery… but you couldn't do business if none of the cakes actually made it to the shelf for sale so it was just as well that he was looking to enter the toy industry.
"Takashi!" Honey squealed as he nuzzled his cheek into the hair on his cousin's head.
Mori simply grunted his greeting before staring down into the large, chocolate brown eyes of his favorite pupil. She didn't know that of course, he kept that his little secret.
"You were late." He said, his monotone voice held no malice or trace of irritation. Just simply stating a fact.
Haruhi resisted the urge to grumble or fidget. Mori-senpai was a man of few words but she had known him long enough to hear the words he didn't speak. For someone who rarely spoke his words carried far more weight then what he had vocalized. What he meant to say was "You were late and you are going to spend every second that you were tardy sweating."
Mori-senpai was surprisingly firm when it came to teaching, in a way that he wasn't in any other facet of his life that she knew of. He took his job as sensei seriously, she knew, and because of that he made sure she understood the weight of the consequences for when she did anything wrong.
"Um… I'm sorry Mori-senpai. I got caught up studying in the library again. It won't happen again."
Mori resisted the urge to sigh heavily… He understood if she was sorry but she didn't have to lie. It would happen again, he knew that. It happened at least once a week, she would get caught up in a text that had an interesting case in it and she would be unable to put it down until she dissected every last aspect of the event. It was difficult to be angry with her for that, her devotion to becoming a great lawyer. She had an amazing drive, he just wished she put some of that enthusiasm that she had for law into her self defense classes. As soon as he felt confident enough in her abilities he would let her know it wasn't necessary for her to continue but he could tell that her heart wasn't really in it. That upset him, didn't she have any sense of self preservation? After all, he and Mitskuni were doing this for her sake.
"What will we teach her today Takashi? More defense? Or maybe… maybe we can teach her some offense, ne?" Honey chirped, eager to get started with their lesson. This happened to be his favorite part of the day when he was able to spend time with the two people he loved the most.
"Defense" came the simple reply. Until she mastered her defense, he wouldn't teach her any offense.
He would be teaching her something new today and he wasn't sure just how she would react to it. He wanted to teach her how to disarm an attacker who had a weapon. He was fully intending on letting Mitskuni handle this lesson because he knew she would be less intimidated by his stature. Mori didn't want Haruhi to be frightened of him, he couldn't bring himself to attack her in this sort of fashion.
Mori moved towards the wall that held the various props they used in self defense class and pulled down a wooden object, meant to represent a knife and handed it to Honey.
"Today Haruhi needs to learn how to disarm an attacker." His cool voice commanded.
Honey's eyes met his cousins for just a moment, then flashed with understanding, he would be the one teaching today's lesson. Takashi would just be watching and critiquing.
Haruhi had not said a word but they could both read the apprehension and anxiety in her eyes. She didn't want to do this, they could tell, but she had to. They couldn't be with her 24 hours a day to protect her if something were to go wrong again, last time had been too close.
"It'll be okay Haru-chan. Takashi and I will teach you how. If it gets to be too much just tell us, okay?"
"O-okay, Honey-kun. Thank you." She replied, her voice a little more shaky than she intended it to be.
After a quick tutorial from Mori and Honey, Haruhi was thrown against Honey to try to defend herself. Several attempts were made on her part to disarm Honey but all to no avail. The three had stayed long after the rest of the class had been dismissed for the day but they stopped when Haruhi made it known that she was at her limit, unable to continue. She was too exhausted both physically and mentally from this current assignment.
Haruhi felt like a complete and utter failure. Not once had she been able to properly disarm her attacker… at this rate she could easily be mugged or worse, she knew full well what could be worse, she already lived through that once. Feeling dejected and absolutely exhausted she bowed to both boys before she headed back to the locker room. She dressed mechanically, not bothering to shower, she would do that once she got home. All she really wanted now was a hot bath, something to eat and to go to bed and forget about the rotten day she'd had.
Exiting the locker room she saw both Honey and Mori-senpai speaking to one another, the taller of the two had his brow furrowed, a slight frown on his face. Haruhi was disturbed to see her senpai have such an expression gracing his features so she walked towards them, hoping to determine what was wrong.
Upon noticing her presence the men ceased their conversation and Mori's face slipped back into the mask of indifference that he usually wore while Honey's bright smile lit up his face, his eyes sparkling as he looked at her.
"Is everything alright, senpai?" she asked, concern shining in her bright eyes.
He nodded once at her, placing his large hand on her head "Aa. You did well today."
She felt her cheeks burn at his praise, the corners of her mouth quirking up in a ghost of a smile. She certainly didn't feel she deserved his words of adoration. She had not been able to do anything right today, it seemed, but his approval seemed to wash a little of that insufficient feeling away.
His eyes softened a bit as he saw her smile. He could tell something was off today, something was bothering her, but they would try again next week. He knew that until she got this right she would continue to try. Haruhi, when it came to her friends, would do anything.
"Are you heading home now, Haru-chan? Can I walk you there? You know, maybe we can stop by that sweets shop and get some cakes!" Honey shouted, while putting his very best puppy dog eyes in place, looking more innocent and adorable than any man had a right to.
"Okay, I suppose there is no harm in that. I do owe you a cake anyway since you didn't tell senpai I was late, even though he found out anyway." Her eyes narrowed a fraction as the words left her mouth. She just had to know.
"Mori-senpai, how did you know that I was late today?" she inquired, genuinely curious as to how he could have known since he had not actually entered the dojo for a handful of minutes after she had.
He shrugged, refusing to meet her gaze, as if saying 'I have my ways'. Haruhi quirked a slender eyebrow at him that very clearly relayed the message that this answer would not suffice and someday she would find out exactly how he knew.
He smiled at her then, his perfect white teeth showing a little from between his lips, one of his genuine smiles that he only gave to Honey and Haruhi.
Haruhi could not contain the smile that blossomed on her face as well, almost the mirror image of his own. It always warmed her heart to be on the receiving end of one of Mori-senpai's smiles. They were rare, elusive, which made them all the more beautiful. She could count on one hand the number of times she had been able to gaze upon his smiling face, they were her precious little treasures.
Honey watched silently as the two spoke without ever opening their mouths. He couldn't help but be astonished by the silent conversations the two were now able to have. He never thought anyone other than himself would know Takashi the way he did. He never thought anyone would ever be able to understand their stoic giant the way he did, but somehow, when he wasn't looking, Haruhi had learned his silent language and had begun to strengthen their relationship.
The thought delighted him, that Takashi was becoming closer to others outside of their immediate family, finding other people that were important to him. People that he cherished.
His eyes moved to the sky as he noticed a few grey clouds blocking out the sun, casting eerie shadows upon the campus just outside the building. He couldn't be sure if It would rain or not but he didn't necessarily want to get caught in it. He grabbed Haruhi's arm, tugging lightly. "Let's go, Haru-chan! I'm feeling a bit peckish…"
She smiled at her friends antics, 'peckish' meant he was hungry and she couldn't help it as the image of Mori-senpai's beloved chick, Piyo-chan popped into her head. Her little friend was very much like senpai's chick had been.
"Alright, alright, we'll go. Will you be joining us senpai?" she asked, half hoping that he would say yes. As much as she enjoyed Honey's company, he could be overwhelming and restless at times and the only person who could get him under control was Mori-senpai. That was part of the reason she wished to have him accompany the, the other, stronger desire was for him to be close to her, though she quashed the feeling as soon as it arose.
The taller man shook his head from side to side, indicating that he would not be joining them for the time being. There were a few things he needed to straighten up around the dojo before he was able to leave for the day.
"I see. Well then, I'll be taking Honey-kun with me. If you'd like, feel free to stop by on your way home." She said before turning with Honey to walk towards the little sweets shop that was just a block away from her apartment.
"Hey, Hey, Haru-chan! Let's hold hands on the way home!" he said, not waiting for her to agree before taking her hand in his own and that was how they stayed until they reached their destination.