A/N: This is a part prequel to Destiny's Number.
Disclaimer: I don't own Ouran High School Host Club, Bisco Hatori does.
The Hidden Lily
There was nothing out of the ordinary, when a brunette first year girl stepped into the abandoned music room, to meet with Haruhi. Out of all the hosts, Haruhi always stood out most, whenever Akari looked at them. All of the other boys were nice, and good looking, but she didn't feel quite the same way as she did for Haruhi. Of course, Haruhi was always nice to her, and talked to her about her hobbies, the same as she did any other guest.
"I went to see a lovely play at the weekend," Akari told Haruhi, as the host poured her a cup of commoner's coffee.
"What was this one about?" Haruhi asked, like she was genuinely interested in what she had to say. Knowing Haruhi, she genuinely was, Akari knew that she wouldn't pretend to be interested if she wasn't.
"A beautiful woman, that had to hide her identity, to avoid capture. She dressed as her own brother, while he was away at war," Akari explained. Her brown eyes filled with the love she felt, discussing such a lovely play. "There was this moment, were she meets this man, that is on the run from the law, he instantly falls in love with her, but he is confused of his own feelings, because he believes her to be a man."
"Sounds very interesting," Haruhi replied, as she cut a slice of cake. "I couldn't imagine anything happening like that in real life," Haruhi added, with just a touch of awkwardness. "Where did you see that?"
"At Lobelia Academy, Benio sent me some tickets for the show, because she knew I would enjoy it," Akari replied. "The man that falls for the girl in disguise was played by Benio, I admire her as an actress."
"Well, they are very passionate about their club activities," Haruhi said. That was all she could force herself to say on the subject, without revealing her secret to Akari.
Once their time was up, and the club was closed for the day, Akari left, happily thinking about her conversation with Haruhi. She felt like Haruhi really did understand her, unlike some of the boys in this school. The family limo was waiting for her outside the school, as she climbed in, she wondered if Haruhi would come with her to the next play. Benio did always send her two tickets after all.
The mansion was empty, when Akari got home, like always. Her father was always busy working, the only time he spent with her, is when she got tickets to a play, because he believed he was taking an interest in her 'passion.' There was an envelope waiting for her, on a table in the entrance hall, judging by the size of it, Benio had sent her some tickets again.
"The Hidden Maiden," Akari muttered, as she read the name of the play off the tickets. "Sounds wonderful."
In class the following day, Akari glanced out the window, her desk was near the window. She had realised, that slowly, as her first year of high school went on, she had stopped noticing boys, just Haruhi. Maybe she was in love with Haruhi, and not realised it. There were so many possibilities to what it could be. At lunch, when she left class 1B, Akari wondered if Haruhi would come to the play with her, like their first date or something. But, that might be against the rules of the host club, for Haruhi to date one of her guests.
Akari passed classroom 1A, and peeked inside, Haruhi was sat at her desk, eating a box lunch. She knocked gently on the door, as she entered the classroom. The tickets were sticking out the top of the book she was carrying.
"Oh, hey, Akari," Haruhi said, as she glanced up to see the chestnut brown haired girl enter the classroom.
"Hi, Haruhi," Akari said. She sat down on the chair in front of Haruhi's desk. "I was wondering, if you weren't doing anything this weekend, I have two tickets for another play, maybe we could go together."
"I'm actually really busy," Haruhi lied. She didn't like the idea of going to Lobelia Academy, especially when a certain group of girls would most likely mob her, the moment she stepped foot in the school grounds. "I have to go shopping, then clean the apartment."
Disappointment claimed Akari's pretty features. "I do keep forgetting that you don't have maids to do all that for you," Akari said. "Maybe next time..."
Akari left the classroom in a hurry, so she wouldn't feel the sting of rejection for any longer. In the lunch room, Akari looked around at the other students, all of them talking away like nothing was wrong. None of the boys seemed to catch her eye. It didn't make sense to her at all. All the other girls often talked about how handsome all the other hosts were, even the ones that liked Haruhi to. But, Akari just couldn't see it.
Akari returned home, not only to an empty mansion, but to a letter from her father. 'Dearest Akari, I will be home late. I know how much you love that performing arts school, soon I hope to arrange for you to attend there. With all my love. X'
Attend Lobelia Academy? That seemed like a good idea, when she first thought about it. It would help her interest in writing plays, and Benio had promised her a place in the Zuka Club, if she ever chose to attend Lobelia. But, that would mean she wouldn't get to see Haruhi anymore.
There was so much to think about, and so few people to talk to that would understand. She had no friends at Ouran, just Haruhi, so she had no one to call, to ask for advice. Then she saw the tickets sticking out of her book. She decided to call Benio. Akari dialled the number they had given her, but it was the answer phone.
Benio, Chizuru & Hinako: Lobelia!
Benio: St. Lobelia Acadmey, high school, second year, Benio Amakusa.
Benio, Chizuru & Hinako: Lobelia!
Chizuru: Second year, Chizuru Maihara.
Benio, Chizuru & Hinako: Lobelia!
Hinako: And, first year, Hinako Tsuwabuki.
Benio: Together we form the illustrious white lily league, also known as...
Benio, Chizuru & Hinako: The Zuka Club! Leave a message!
Akari was tempted to laugh at the fact they had not only rehearsed that, but used it as their answer phone message.
"Hi, it's Akari... I just need someone to talk to. You're probably rehearsing for The Hidden Maiden, and here I am, calling and going on and on like this..." Akari said. She remained silent for half a second. "I look forward to the play." Akari hung up, regretting calling them.
For over an hour Akari lay on her bed, starring up at the ceiling, wondering what was wrong with her. Most people made friends, even dated a few boys, and just enjoyed attending school. She didn't. She wasn't happy, but she was when Haruhi was around.
The phone rang, startling Akari. She grabbed the phone receiver, her heart racing. "Hello?" she said.
"Akari, it's Benio," Benio replied. "You called earlier?"
"Yes, I'm sorry about that.." Akari replied, her sadness leaking into her voice. "But, it doesn't matter, I'm sure you're very busy..."
"Not that much," Benio admitted. "Just whipping some new girls into shape, they never do learn just how hard the rest of us work. They must work with the up most perfection. But, you know I will always make time for you, my dear. Now, what is troubling you?"
"It's school, sort of. I always feel so alone, like everyone is completely different from me. I have no friends at all, and the only time I'm happy, is when I spend time with Haruhi in the host club," Akari confided. "I don't even notice any other boys, in the way everyone else does."
Benio remained silent for a few seconds. "Akari, come visit me. Two hours before the curtains go up for The Hidden Maiden," Benio said. "I'll help you to see what you do not."
"I'll be there..." Akari said. "Good bye."
"Adieu," Benio said, before they both put the phone receiver down.
On Saturday, on the open day for Lobelia Academy, the play The Hidden Maiden was going to performed for the first time. Akari was waiting outside the dance studio, that the Zuka Club often rehearsed in, she had been there only once before, when Chizuru and Hinako had brought her back, so she could meet the cast of one of the many plays she'd seen them perform. Just thinking about them made her smile, it was strange that all the ones she's seen, were of a girl that had to hide her identity and dress as a boy.
The door opened, and Benio peeked out. "Ah, there you are," Benio said, with a smile. She opened the door wider, to allow Akari to enter. "You are probably wondering why I invited you here," Benio said, as they took a walk around the room. "You see, in this room, we keep posters for all of our more well received plays, or ones that were most memorable. It is a widely accepted tradition with in Zuka Club, never to make the poster until the last minute. During the build up, there will be a few words, maybe a sentence to summarise. But, the one with the pictures of the leading couple are put up on opening night."
They came to stop in front of a poster, for a play entitled 'A Senorita's Love.' Akari had her back turned to it. "Why are you telling me all this?" Akari asked.
"Because, there is a reason why you feel so out of place at Ouran, and why you feel you can't relate to anyone," Benio said, looking at the poster behind Akari. "And, the reason you are so drawn to Haruhi most of all." Benio placed her hands on Akari's shoulders, and turned her around to face the poster behind her.
Akari's eyes focused on the names of the leading roles. 'Benio Amakusa & Haruhi Fujioka.'
"Haruhi Fujioka..." Akari muttered. "But, you only allow girls to be part of your cast..."
"Yes, that is one of Zuka Club's core rules," Benio said, her hands still on Akari's shoulders.
Akari looked right at the picture of Haruhi, in a dress and make up. "Haruhi... is a girl," Akari realised.
"You're not alone. There are others out there, just like you," Benio said, smiling at Akari. "The reason you felt so out of place, was because you hadn't come to terms with your own feelings."
Akari turned and looked into Benio's eyes. She understood everything now. Why she enjoyed the attention that Benio, Chizuru and Hinako gave her, more than when Tamaki would flirt with her. Why Benio kept sending her tickets for shows of maidens disguising their gender. Even why she was attracted to Haruhi. They had seen it all along, and were trying to help her realise it.
Akari finally broke the silence. "My father wants to transfer me to here," Akari said. That was the first time she had told anyone, since she found out a week ago.
"Do you want to transfer here?" Benio asked.
"I don't know," Akari admitted.
"Well, only you can decide that," Benio said. "There is nothing I can say to you, that should influence you." Benio rested her hand under Akari's chin. "I think you would make a lovely addition to Zuka Club. But, you should follow your heart."
"But, I don't know anyone out there like me," Akari said, not realising that someone who understood exactly what she was going though, was stood right next to her.
"There are plenty of maidens out there that go through the same thing," Benio said, knowing that she would probably need a push to see what was right in front of her face. "Even closer than you think, my dear."
Akari's eyes widened, when she realised what Benio was getting at. "You!" Akari said, with complete surprise. "You're like me."
"That is correct," Benio said, with smile and a hair flip. "You didn't think I would take an interest in something as boorish as men, did you?"
Akari shook her head. She couldn't picture it. As long as she's known Benio, she knew that Benio would always flirt with the girls, even Akari.
The doors opened, Benio and Akari turned to see Chizuru and Hinako stood in the door way.
"It's almost show time!" Hinako said, enthusiastically.
"I see our guest of honor is here already," Chizuru said, glancing in Akari's direction.
Benio took Akari by the hand, and twirled out of the room, with Chizuru and Hinako following in a similar pattern, the three of them surrounding Akari. When Benio let go of her hand, Akari managed to twirl on her own. After all, she had to get some practice, if she decided to transfer here.
A/N: The reason behind this one is; While I was writing Destiny's Number, I started thinking about all the characters, what they've been doing, and how they got to where they are in Destiny's Number. First one sprang to mind, was Benibara and Akari, how they came to live with each other.
I also realise, that Akari chose Haruhi as her host, but in Destiny's Number, Haruhi hasn't got a clue who she is. We'll just say Haruhi forgot about her or something. XP
I haven't stopped writing Destiny's Number, I'm just taking a break from it, to explore what happened to the rest of the characters prior to it.
This was also intended to be a one-shot, but I might write more. Until my next story, adieu! :D