A/N: A friend of mine insisted it is impossible to write a KyouyaOC fanfic with an OC worthy of him, considering his ambition. I'm here to prove her wrong.

Ouran doesn't belong to me. Dur.

Seven Days

Prologue


=0. Activation=

Tamaki and Haruhi are going to get married in one week.

Kyouya grazed a hand across his face. It came away wet. The display of the cell phone clutched in his hand blacked out the text from Kaoru: "r u ok?"

Outside, the violent sun seemed to have locked downtown Minneapolis in a show of happy industry. A coffee cup tilted at matters of interest between a pair of soon-to-be-partner suits and ties, shades and gray pencil skirts and tight ponytails waiting for the WALK sign, bobbing backpacks overflowing with papers, I-pods and optimism, silver carts filling the streets with the odor of edible wares, the jackhammer pounding both concrete and the air senseless with anticipation. Beyond Kyouya's black-tinted world. A red double-decker pulled onto the street from the corner, with a young girl grasping for the white balloon that had broken free of her hand. Kyouya watched it rise past countless windows of 8-to-5 workers. He thought fleetingly about how unusually long the red light was when the balloon disappeared beyond the range of his window. Did it ever slip past the cage of skyscrapers?

Green light. The man in the fiber-optic mirrors that lined the inside of the back of the limousine had tears streaked down his face.

"Close the privacy," Kyouya called to the driver. Like an inverted guillotine, the mirrored wall emerged between them and cut off Kyouya's view of the driver's head, reflecting the busy crosswalk behind him. He watched the suits and gray pencil skirts and bobbing backpacks grow smaller and, were he in a better mood, would have laughed aloud at the woman whose stiletto heel caught and ripped off on the drain lid. He imagined they might had something in common, that woman and him; although he himself did not have much experience with the misfortune of a mutinous heel, he thought, for a moment, at the very same time, the two of them were experiencing the same all-engulfing despair.

Surely enough, the world was absolutely shattering, and right in his face. There was that unmistakable crash of glass, and a blast of heat akin to stepping out of an air-conditioned haven into one hundred percent humidity, and the momentary loss of gravity often connected to the peak of a roller coaster, that moment when you knew the engineers and mechanics did it wrong, that moment when you were certainly about to die. Kyouya found himself on the roof of the limo, shards of glass all about him, face-to-face with his own bloody face in the mirrored privacy wall. For a moment there was regret that he had asked the driver to close this. Now he was alone in a makeshift coffin, soon to be staring at his own dead body, dying angry that the driver could not attend to one final service: Kyouya's forbidden wish.

He knew what he would have said. If he could find his hands, if only his brain could make his hands work, then maybe he could have sent Kaoru a message:

Why couldn't this be Tamaki instead?


=25. The Long Haul=

Tamaki and Haruhi are going to get married in one week.

Kyouya grazed a hand across his face. It came away wet. The display of the cell phone clutched in his hand blacked out the text from Kaoru: "r u ok?"

Outside, the violent sun seemed to have locked downtown Osaka in a show of happy industry. A coffee cup tilted at matters of interest between soon-to-be-partners suits and ties, shades and gray pencil skirts and tight ponytails waiting for the WALK sign, bobbing backpacks overflowing with Latin, papers, I-pods and optimism, silver carts filling the streets with the odor of edible wares, the jackhammer of construction workers pounding the air senseless with anticipation. Beyond Kyouya's black-tinted world. A red double-decker pulled onto the street from the corner, with a young girl grasping for the white balloon that had broken free of her hand. Kyouya watched it rise past countless windows of 8-to-5 workers and thought fleetingly about how unusually long the red light was when it disappeared beyond the range of his window. Did it ever slip past the cage of skyscrapers?

Green light. The man he saw in the fiber-optic mirrors that lined the inside of the back of the limousine had tears streaked down his face. Kyouya opened his mouth to tell the driver to close the privacy window. The words were lost amidst the squealing of brakes and the crash of the wineglasses on the shelf to his right.

"What the hell?"

There was a woman in front of the limo, heaving with her hands planted on its hood, as if through sheer strength alone she had single-handedly brought to a halt the vehicle. Her dark hair was a mass of sweat and desperation lining her jaw and engulfing her neck, the flap of her shoulder-bag swerving up with the wind, her navy blouse jacket sliding down to rest at her elbows. She looked up not at the driver, but directly at him, and for a moment there was relief in her eyes. Automatically her left hand pulled out-not a gun, a cell phone.

The driver rapped at the horn, but she didn't move, instead surveying the large screen on the building to Kyouya's right. What was she looking at? 8:42 AM July 19th. A reporter talking about the Women's World Cup. Japan won, big fanfare. Interview with Kaihori and Kumagai coming in two minutes. From the other side of the street, where a truck had rammed into an SUV's side, a man Kyouya guessed to be one of the drivers came cussing at the woman. She must have run from across the street. He grabbed the woman's arm and wrenched her backwards. Her trance was broken and she looked at the man-only as a glance on her way to looking at her cell phone. She smiled, and in a manner instantly declaring her American or European, she happily pecked him on the lips thinking nothing of it.

Behind her, the red double-decker at the next stoplight exploded.

Then there was silence. Panic. Run towards the bus, the bus with that girl who lost her balloon, see if she was all right? Kyouya didn't realize he was opening his door until someone running away from the bus barreled into it and slammed him back in. But that's right-were there to be more explosions? Sound came back to him again in the form of blaring car horns-the jam on the other side of the street because of the collision with the truck and the SUV, the cars from the opposite side of the street wanted to get away from the bus. Was anyone calling the police? Kyouya pitched forward and felt something eat up his knuckles, the knee, he twisted his knee-the woman. He'd fallen over the woman, who was scrambling about people's feet in the middle of a near-stampede. She cried out when her ring finger was smashed flat into the ground by a large woman's heel, but continued on, searching for something. She found it, was kicked aside quite by accident-why was the woman just staring at the cell phone? What the hell did she think it was used for?

She picked herself up, muttering something to herself, and searched faces. Someone knocked into Kyouya's shoulder. There were questions, the obvious ones. Kyouya wasn't answering whoever it was, unable to tear his eyes away until at last she found him. Then he looked away. He couldn't tell why. She was the suspicious one; why did he look away as if he was the one acting improperly?

"Get in the car!" American accent.

Kyouya was opening the limousine door for her. She looked back at the screen again before jumping in.

"Tell Tamaki's driver to do his job," she said before he could close the door.

"Drive." Kyouya looked back at her. "How did you-?"

"I mistimed it." She was wiping the sweat off her hands onto her trousers. She looked at him expectantly, then reminded herself, "Oh, you don't know yet."

Kyouya watched the driver try to haggle his way through, alternating methods from horn to threatening to run people over to hand motions. Tamaki lets his driver give people the bird?

"No, whatever it is," he said, "I don't know it. I also do not know if I should thank-"

"Don't." She opened the cell phone with an irritated snap. It was one of the old kinds that folded closed, not a slide-out-mini-keyboard type. T-Mobile? "Guess they timed it after all."

"I don't understand."

"Yeah, yeah, when we get back to the hotel you'll explain everything. To you. Through this." She held up the phone.

"This is?"

"No, not gonna do that this time. You always say you won't laugh, and then you slide your arm back over that rest there and do that low laugh in your throat. The kind people can't hear but can see in your Adam's apple bobbing."

Kyouya raised a brow. "Well, now that you have mentioned a hotel, what makes you think I'll allow you to take me there? Let me guess, this is a setup, right? But instead of Tamaki, who you were expecting in this car, you got me. You do realize I'm-"

"Kyouya Ootori of the Ootori Medical zaibatsu, son of Yoshio Ootori and "Mother" of Ouran High School Host Club, with a private army of officers and detectives very capable of extorting whatever information I have on whomever I work for, yeah, I heard that spiel enough. Oh, and, friend of Kaoru and Tamaki and Haruhi, with a father that expects you to do better than your older brothers and a sister who is terrible at house-cleaning. And that belt's your older brother's."

Kyouya looked down at his belt.

"Here," she said, handing him the phone. "I forgot you let me have this. Should have just shown you this first instead of wasting all this time."

It was a photo of himself. With her. For an absurd moment he wondered if this was a repeat of Renge. No. He was standing with his tie loose. She was sitting pretzel-style on the bed behind him, a laptop on her lap and a Yoo-Hoo milk carton in her hand. There was a fish painting on the wall. He always hated that fish painting. Judging from the crooked angle, the bit of hand-his watch-he himself had taken the picture on this cell phone.

"That's your hotel suite at the Hilton Osaka. Look at the date."

July 23rd. Four days from now. What?

A set of blaring sirens drove past them. Then news crews in their vans. Terrorism in Japan! Maybe that reporter who was interviewing Kaihori and Kumagai should interview him instead.

"Oh!" said the woman. "Gotta call Mom before she floods my voicemail again."

Kyouya looked at the woman again. "What did you say your name was?"

"Your knuckles are bleeding, Kyouya."

They were. He didn't recall giving her permission to address him so personally. Before she could give him her name, however, her mother had already answered the phone.


The rapid flush from cold to hot water was what awoke him. He had paused the automatic procedure of washing his hands when his eyes fell upon the bobby pins resting next to the newly opened bar of soap. Who was she? What did she want? They were a burst of shine first, then a chain of black pins each inserted into another's eye. Was it her American ignorance or a claim to equality that drove her to address him so boldly? He'd picked them up without meaning to and lost them in soap suds in the palm of his hands, but the solid bars his hands closed upon blasted holes into his momentary reprieve from reality. The bus explosion was movie matter and the woman surfing the TV channels outside his bathroom could have been a hallucination if he wasn't clasping onto her hair pains right now.

"Well, this one certainly isn't going to make the cut," she said to him when he came out of the bathroom. "The collision resulted in more people backed up near the bus, so there were three more unnecessary deaths." She lounged atop the pillow of the king-sized bed massaging her wounded hand. With a jerk of her head, she indicated the menu from the hotel restaurant next to table lamp. "We're going to be doing a lot of talking, so I ordered your favorite. But 'til then, this should keep you busy."

Kyouya caught the phone in the hand that had been holding the hair pins, wincing for a moment at the thought of becoming infected by...something. Bad luck? Anything. She put the TV on mute and with a sigh leaned her head back on the headboard, underneath that hideous fish painting, and directed him to the phone's voicemail.

"You have...one...new messages."

"Press four to skip that for now. Take a seat."

"Skip new messages. You have...seven...saved messages. First saved message:

Fact 1: This is Ootori Kyouya speaking, and the woman that comes with this phone is Diana Reed.

Fact 2: At 8:42 a.m. on Saturday, July 16th, a red double-decker explodes on the Yuri-Cress intersection.

Fact 3: Your limo stops at the same red light as that bus. In that explosion, Kyouya, you die."

Knock knock knock. "Room service!"

Diana rose out of her reverie and disappeared into the suite hall, reappearing with a rolling cart with two silver platters. She had begun a magnanimous bow as she pulled up the bell-like covers, but with a cry she suddenly dropped an inch, the covers a silver outburst upon the gleaming linoleum.

"Damn heels."

Kyouya flipping closed the mobile phone. "What is this?"

"Mango Grilled Tilapia. You love it. Believe me."

"I was talking about the phone."

"Well then." Replacing the silver covers that now reflected the blue "Breaking News" banner of the voiceless TV, she wheeled it away to the dining room. "Today is the beginning of the end, but we should start from the beginning anyway."