Haruhi and the twins headed to the Hitachiin town car that was waiting at the curb. Once inside they headed to the grocery store where Haruhi would be picking up the grocery's that she would need to prep for the next day, and the twins where positive that their staff wouldn't mind her using the kitchen because they had already informed them that she would need to use it. Once they were done and Haruhi had had the chance to get the twins away from the "commoners market" long enough to check out and go to the car. Once everything was loaded and they were headed to the mansion Haruhi pulled out her book hoping to get a bit of studying in before they got there already knowing she wouldn't have time to do so later. Hikaru was sitting on the seat opposite her and Kaoru was sitting next to her and each had his head bent over a sketch pad doodling designs she was only able to hope had nothing to do with her. She cared about them as they were her best friends. That didn't mean however that she had to put on every design they said they had made for her. It was embarrassing and often not even appropriate attire. If she wanted to look like a girl all the time she would. But her gender wasn't nearly as important to her as it seemed to be to them and to Tamaki. Maybe that was why she found it hard to feel feelings for them like what she had for Honey and Mori. They were always interested in doing things that made her who they wanted to be and not who she wanted to be. And she could not see her self with someone that made her feel like she had to change for them. She liked who she was and wanted to stay that way. Sure its only clothes now. But who knew what it would turn into later. Her hair? How she put her room together? The host club already had a lot of control and pull over her life and it wasn't that she minded, even she had to admit that she didn't feel as lonely as she once had, even if those lonesome feelings were few and far between. And she was having new experiences all the time that she would not normally have. But sometimes they bordered on the side of overbearing and it frustrated her because should she refuse, or decline it was not so much the possible debt that would be added but the idea that she would be disappointing them. And if she couldn't find a way past it at those times, she wasn't about to during the times when they wanted her to do something that would require going against the person that she wanted to be, even if that meant her clothes. They could give them to her but she didn't have to wear them except for when her dad found them in boxes in her closet and under her bed and would repack her over night bags for her when she had host missions to attend. She shuddered. Those were times that she was even mad at her dad for trying to change her.
A shuffling of papers and the snap of a note book brought her out of her thoughts and to the mansion waiting outside the window. It was truly magnificent, but was very western compared to Honey's mix of modern and traditional Japanese. It was only to be expected seeing as their mother was a fashion designer, and the gardens outside were truly breath taking, but somehow it just didn't feel quite right, not quite like home, and she found her self wishing that her stay would be short lived. No that she didn't care for the twins she did. They just didn't seem to understand her.
Shuffling her books back into her bag and sitting forward in her seat she waited for the door to be opened as she had been taught in the past. Both boys let her out first, and the driver was careful to help her out and see her safely to the entry steps.
"Fujioka-san, I will take the car around to the kitchen, and the staff will unload your purchase. Hitachiin-sama has given us instructions, everything will be ready when you come to the kitchen." the driver told her. Haruhi nodded with a smile;
"thank you so much for your help, I appreciate it, I just hope I am not too much trouble." she told him. The man shook his head;
"not at all Fujioka-san, we are happy to help!" the man told her cheerily, and with that he turned and went back to the car, to do as he said.
The twins came up beside her and took her at the elbow on each side.
"What do you want to do?" the twins asked her in their alternating speech.
"I don't know I hadn't really thought about it, though I really need to finish up my homework get started with some planning stuff. I had hoped I could get your opinions on costumes and decor for the Nekozawa banquet and for the coming weeks. You know just take a look at what I have, see if there is anything in the store room that we have I might have missed." she told them hopefully. At first she thought that maybe the idea of having to do work after school would upset them. However the more she talked the more she could see the wheels turning in their heads, steadily speeding up as she continued to talk about decoration and clothes.
"Well, I guess we could help you..." Kaoru started in a nonchalant tone,
"Since your willing to admit that you need us." Hikaru said, their devilish grins matching.
"Okay guys, just remember I really want to keep it to just the things we have." she reminded them thinking of how happy Kyouya was about their budget receiving barley a scratch. She liked that he was happy about her thrifty ways, and wanted to keep showing improvement.
"Of course Haruhi."
"But there is nothing that doesn't say we can't take something old and make it something new!" they told her chuckling. Distantly Haruhi felt ice run in her veins at the prospect of what they would do except that once said, things were pretty much out of her hands and she would get little choice in that matter, well at least not with out a fight.
"Thank you guys." she told them. They had placed their bags in their rooms, and had managed to make it to the kitchen. This was a smaller kitchen that was used by those in the house who enjoyed cooking. There was a larger one in back but this would provide her everything she needed, with out having to deal with such a large space. There were two cooks standing there waiting patiently when they arrived. On was holding an apron and the other what looked to be a binder with paper in it and a writing utensil.
"Haruhi this is Ketsu, and Reha, they offered to help out today. We'll sit at the table and stay out of the way." Hikaru told her.
"And we can get started on the decor and costumes." Kaoru said holding a portable hard drive, and a laptop indicating their intent. Haruhi nodded and turned to the man and women standing there.
"Thanks for your help guys. This should go pretty quickly its mostly odds and ends and some fillers." she explained. Ketsu and Reha nodded.
"If you would like Fujioka-san we can take a look at your list of ingredients and recipes. We can prep all of the items based on those, and make a list so that we can work more efficiently." Ketsu explained.
"That sounds like it will work really well this way we are not bumping in to each other. But if we are going to work together please just call me Haruhi, it would be much easier." Haruhi told them.
"As you wish Haruhi." they said together.
They all got to work, and the twins started theirs. While Haruhi prepped one item Ketsu and Reha would then work on other things and Haruhi would talk to the twins about their ideas. Things were going quite well. When Haruhi decided that Ketsu and Reha could handle the other things, she decided to put together a snack for them all for their hard work, and set to making a few things she was sure that most if not all would enjoy. When she had finished things she placed them on the other end of the table by the twins and turned to go get plates and cups.
"I made some snacks for everyone if you guys would like to join us." Haruhi called to the two still in the kitchen. The twins smiled and pushed their things to the side ready to eat. Ketsu and Reha looked at Haruhi strangely for a moment.
"Haruhi, do you think that is really appropriate?" Ketsu asked timidly looking at the twins who didn't seem displaced by the offer at all.
"Well why not you guys have helped me so much." Haruhi told him confused.
"If I may Haruhi, I think what Ketsu is trying to say is that normally the staff does not sit to a meal with the members of the household, not that we can't just that it simply is not normally done." Reha volunteered, fighting with her fingers a bit showing how nervous she was about speaking up.
"Hm, well I assume it is also not normal for those of their status to make friends with commoners, and as a commoner I sit to eat with any one. Boys any objections?" she asked the twins who were stuffing their faces with bits of dip and chips. Kaoru looked up surprised that she would ask. "Of course not, to day we are equals you two, helping Haruhi is important to us too, and if its time to sit and eat there is no reason you two can't sit as well." Kaoru told them pointedly. Hikaru nodded his agreement unable to speak around the mouthful of cheese.
Ketsu and Reha sensing no hostility or lies about what the twins were saying. Ketsu caught him self realizing just how much the friendship with Haruhi had changed them, because in the past they would have never thought of being in the same room as them unless they were being served by them. Ketsu chose to keep his mouth shut however and instead removed his apron signaling the shocked Reha to do the same thing. Once they were all seated Haruhi distributed the rest of the snacks so the twins would not eat them all, and they settled down to eat.
The twins kept her busy by talking to her about the upcoming events, but they seemed to be having some trouble putting something decent together for the Nekozawa banquet, because it was supposed to be a religious evening and they had no idea about what the religion itself that made it harder to come up with things to serve, seeing as she didn't want to offend anyone by the decor or by the food. While they knew that some religions were particular about what foods they could and could not eat on what they called a holy day, it was hard to tell for sure if this would be the same case, it was during this conversation that Reha decided to help out.
"Haruhi, young masters, I believe I may be able to help you in this matter if I may." she told them a bit hesitant. Haruhi looked up at her surprised but happy that she made the offer and the twins sat patiently waiting for what she would say.
"Please by all means, I would appreciate the help immensely." she told the young women, pulling up a blank page to jot down notes.
"Well you see I am only half Japanese, my mother is actually an American, who is a generational practitioner of Paganism. This being the case she has taught me much about their beliefs and practices. I believe I may be of use in planning this event, but I will need to speak with my mother to get some specifics. But as far as I know you can rest easy that practitioners of magic do not typically have food specifications as all food eventually comes from mother earth. If you would like I can speak with my mother about some recipes and such that may prove useful to you and help you find the proper decorations for the event by looking in some of her books. I will bring everything with me tomorrow if you would like." Reha explained. Haruhi, and Kaoru nodded enthusiastically but Hikaru seemed confused.
"Wait I have herd about Paganism before, but I believe Nekozawa-sempai practices black magic. Is it the same?" He asked her. She shook her head vigorously.
"Well I believe that your friend uses the words dark magic to play into a stereo type that has been developed by people who do not understand the practice. According to my mother no magic is good nor evil, black nor white, it is up to the person practicing to choose what they wish to be. Mostly how ever Pagan's are the basis for most of this religion so the traditions should be the same. If you use magic for evil your not necessarily a black magic user only someone who wishes to cause harm, someone who takes the practice to another level it was never meant for. Black magic is not evil only a different way to do things." she explained. Hikaru nodded seeming to understand and they all set a time for them to meet with her when it was convenient and would not interfere with her work. With that accomplished and only a minimal amount of clean up left they were soon in search of something else to do, with Ketsu and Reha going back to their own duties.