punkish furball – Hiya, guys! :3
Words to Ponder:
Pardon the delay, but this chapter underwent many rewrites before it was ready to post. I hope you enjoy it!
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Also, pardon the shameless plugs, but I recently updated my Yu-Gi-Oh!/InuYasha crossover, Fragmented Fate, and my Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012)/InuYasha crossover, Just a Little Kiss.
Chapter 13: Unforeseen Circumstances
Kyoya groaned as Tamaki continued to rave and gush about his date with Kagome, sitting upright on his bed and clutching one of his pillows. When he called to ask Tamaki for details about the outing, he certainly didn't expect him to drop by his house, barge into his room, and tell him all about it without hanging up his cell phone.
"It was complete and utter bliss, Kyoya! I never knew it could be so—!" Tamaki squealed and fell on his back, holding the pillow even tighter. Even though the date was long over, he was still on cloud nine. The memory of each and every one of Kagome's gentle kisses brought flutters to his tummy.
Kyoya groaned and placed a hand on his forehead. All of this prattle gave him a splitting headache.
"I'm glad you enjoyed yourself," he interjected before Tamaki could say anything else, "At least, you ended up succeeding. All that's left is for me to do the same." Soon after he spoke, he began to cough, jerking forward with the force of the action.
"Are you okay?" Tamaki asked as he sat up, worried, "You've been doing that a lot today. You're not getting sick, are you?"
"Of course not," Kyoya answered. Even so, he felt his forehead. It was a warm to the touch.
"I'll just take some painkillers. In a few days, I'll be well enough for my date with Kagome."
"Are you sure? If you're not feeling up to it, you could forfeit," Tamaki suggested, "Then the whole thing will be a draw."
"No way. That girl will never let me hear the end of it if I back out no matter what the reason."
Tamaki chuckled. "I don't think she'll tease you too badly.
"I'm not going to risk it," Kyoya replied with a shake of his head.
A knock at the door averted the two teen's attention from their conversation. Kyoya had a good idea who it was.
"Come in," he instructed. Within seconds, the door was opened and light footsteps trotted up to his bed.
"Kyoya-san!" Fuyumi cheerfully greeted her younger brother, "And hello to you too, Tamaki-san."
"Fuyumi-chan, you're looking as lovely as ever," he smoothly replied.
She giggled. "And you're just as charming. Will you be joining us for dinner?"
"But of course!" Tamaki answered with a nod.
The trio assembled and walked through the Ootori mansion until they convened in the informal dining room where Yoshio was waiting for them.
"Tamaki, good to see you," he said, nodding at the young Suou as soon as everyone took a seat and were served by the staff.
"Same here, Ootori-san," he answered with a charming smile, "It's always a pleasure to be here."
Yoshio nodded and addressed his son, "Your school holiday lasts for a few more days, correct? Akito will be visiting from medical school, and Yuuichi will be stopping by from the hospital."
"I see," Kyoya replied, "Before you tell me your plans, you should be aware I have a prior engagement two days from today."
Yoshio raised an eyebrow. "Really?"
"Yes, with Morinozuka-san's daughter."
"Ah! Is it a date? I can't believe it!" Fuyumi cried, "Tamaki-san, why didn't you tell me?"
"Well, the topic never came up," Tamaki quickly answered, his forced smile barely noticeable. Suddenly, the idea of Kagome going out with Kyoya left a bitter taste in his mouth.
"Be sure to treat this young lady with proper respect. And, if at all possible, bring her by the manor for a visit," Yoshio said, seemingly pleased. Kyoya knew he would be.
"Please do!" Fuyumi insisted, "I'd simply love to see the girl who's captured your eye. I didn't even know Morinozuka-san had a daughter your age."
"He does," Yoshio clarified, "An illegitimate child who Akira-san has taken into his home and enrolled in Ouran Academy."
"Oh! Does that mean she's a commoner? How interesting!" Fuyumi exclaimed, immediately intrigued, "Do you know, her, Tamaki-san?"
Tamaki fondly smiled. "I do. Kagome's an especially charming girl. I...and everyone else at the academy is very fond of her."
The dinner conversation continued with only a few more comments about Kagome before the topic changed. All the while, Kyoya maintained his usual countenance, tactful and stoic. However, as Yoshio spoke, he resolved to do one thing. He would never allow Kagome and his father to meet.
Kagome sighed as she tossed yet another top onto her bed, joining others in a steadily growing pile. Dressing for Kyoya was a lot harder than doing so for Tamaki. He wasn't as easy to catch off guard with exposed legs and a bare tummy.
She snorted. 'Knowing him, something like that would just provoke him.'
"You could always go as a ganguro girl."
Kagome turned to see Sota peeking in from the doorway and scowled. She still didn't forgive him for what he did during her date with Tamaki.
"You never know. He might like that," he continued with a sly grin.
Kagome rolled her eyes. "Even if I considered it, I'm all out of peroxide and bronzer."
"Well, maybe he's into the schoolgirl look," he suggested, "You still have your middle school uniform?"
Sota grinned and dodged when Kagome threw a balled up shirt at him.
Without her brother's interference, Kagome ended up unearthing a cream colored dress with a colorful floral print at the bottom of her closet and pair of dust pink flats. This selection should be just dressy enough for any destination Kyoya picked. She didn't want a repeat of the stares and whispers she received with Tamaki at the French restaurant.
She giggled softly to herself. 'I don't think there's anything I can do about jealous waitresses.'
When she thought of Tamaki, Kagome began to frown. Their date went much, much better than she expected, and she was beginning to have second thoughts about going to meet Kyoya.
'Come on, Higurashi,' she scolded herself, 'With Kyoya-senpai, this is simply business. For now, I'll put Tamaki-senpai in the back of mind and figure everything out after today.'
Kagome laid the dress out on her bed and went to the bathroom to wash. When she returned to her room, she dressed and put the finishing touches on her hair, clasping the top portion behind her head with a brown clip.
"Kagome!" her mother called from downstairs, "There's someone downstairs for you!"
With her shoes and purse in hand, Kagome went downstairs to meet Kyoya. A glance at her clock confirmed he arrived about a half hour or so early, something she expected him to do. But the sight that greeted her at the base of the stairs was completely unexpected. Her visitor was a lovely raven haired girl with a petite frame, a lightly made up face, beautiful smile, and shimmering grey eyes.
'Just like Kyoya-senpai's,' Kagome absently noted.
As soon as the unknown woman saw her, she squealed with glee.
"Just look at you!" she cried, "You're even cuter than I imagined. I always knew Kyoya-san had good taste."
"Excuse me," Kagome began, "But how do you know Kyoya-senpai?" That question seemed much less offensive than asking what the hell she was doing here.
"Oh, please excuse my rudeness. I am his older sister, Ootori Fuyumi," she answered.
"Pleased to meet you. I'm Higurashi Kagome," Kagome replied, "Not that I'm upset about seeing you, but why have you come to visit me? I was expecting to see Kyoya-senpai."
Fuyumi pouted. "I know. That's why I'm here. Unfortunately, Kyoya-san has come down with a terrible cold and won't be able to take you out today."
"You can't be serious!" Kagome shouted, angered. Startled by her outburst, Fuyumi jumped back.
'What a cheap shot!' Kagome mentally ranted. Then she smirked, an idea quickly coming to her.
'Well, he's not getting away from me that easily!'
"Fuyumi-chan," Kagome sweetly addressed her, "would it be at all possible for me to see Kyoya-senpai at his home? I was so looking forward to seeing him today, and perhaps I could help nurse him back to health." She added a charming smile at the end of her speech for good measure. It clearly won Fuyumi over.
"Of course you can!" she responded, "In fact, I insist! Kyoya-san would simply love to see you."
"Thank you, Fuyumi-chan. Just let me grab a few things then we can leave."
Fuyumi eagerly nodded and waited at the base of the stairs. Kagome rushed to her room and tore through her drawers, looking for her first aid kit. She stored several medicinal herbs and leaves inside along with the standard issued bandages, disinfectants, and ointments. Once she had it, she went into the kitchen and grabbed a brown paper bag from underneath the sink, placing the kit inside. She then fluttered about the kitchen, retrieving what she needed and packing it away. Her mother was already in there doing some light cleaning.
"Sounds like you have a change of plans," she nonchalantly commented.
"Yeah, but I'm making it work for me," Kagome replied as she packed her bag.
Nodoka shook her head. She wasn't entirely sure what Kagome was up to with those two boys and hoped she knew what she was doing.
"Just don't get in over your head, okay?"
Kagome nodded as she folded over the bag, picked it up, and left the kitchen.
"I've got it," she said while in the doorway, "I'll see you later, but I'm not sure when I'll be home."
"Don't worry about it. I hope your friend gets well soon," Nodoka said with a smile, "Have fun."
"I'll try. Goodbye, Kaa-san."
When Kagome rejoined Fuyumi, they exited the house and walked down the shrine steps where a luxurious town car was waiting.
"You have to tell me how you and Kyoya-san met!" Fuyumi insisted once the car was in motion.
"Oh, well, he and I are members of the same club," Kagome answered. She wasn't sure if Fuyumi knew exactly what type of club her brother was in and didn't want to give it away if he kept it a secret.
"Really? How did that happen?" she asked.
Kagome shrugged. "It's kind of a long story. I don't want to bore you with the details."
"Please tell me! We have a long way to go before we reach the mansion."
'It seems I have no choice. Fuyumi-chan is just as demanding as Kyoya-senpai,' Kagome thought before she began to speak.
For the remainder of the car ride, Kagome told Fuyumi a few of her adventures with the host club, trying to be as vague as possible. Then, with knowledge she was a commoner, Fuyumi asked her all kinds of questions about her life at the shrine and moving in with the Morinozuka family. Had she not been so accustomed to this line of questioning, Kagome would have been offended.
"Here we are!" Fuyumi announced and the two girls exited the car.
Kagome gaped at the sight of the Ootori family home. While the Morinozuka manor was equally immense in size, its architecture was far more traditional. The Ootori estate was exceedingly modern in design and took her by surprise.
"Oh!" Fuyumi exclaimed when she noticed two cars already parked alongside theirs, "It looks like Yuuichi-san and Akito-san are here."
"Pardon me, but who are they?" Kagome questioned.
"They are my and Kyoya-san's older brothers. Yuuichi-san works at one of our family hospitals with Otou-san, and Akito-san is currently attending medical school. Both of them are rarely home because of their busy schedules."
Kagome thoughtfully nodded; she didn't expect Kyoya to have such a large family. He rarely spoke of them beyond their various business ventures. And, based on the way Fuyumi addressed all of her brothers, they were remarkably formal.
"You don't have any other siblings I should worry about, right?" Kagome asked.
Fuyumi giggled. "Not at all, but I'm certain Otou-san will want to meet you after your business with Kyoya-san is concluded."
Kagome chuckled. "Me finished with Kyoya? If he had it his way, I doubt that will ever happen." She paused and changed the subject.
"Fuyumi-chan, could you please show me to your kitchens? There are a few things I need to prepare before I go to Kyoya-senpai."
"You plan to make it yourself? How sweet!" she exclaimed, "I'll lead the way."
Kagome followed behind Fuyumi until they reached the mansion's kitchens. A few quick words to the servants from her gave Kagome free reign of everything inside. Kagome placed her bag on the nearest counter and removed the first aid kit. She opened it and retrieved the herbs she needed along with a small mortar and pestle. After placing the oddly shaped leaves and stems in the mortar, she began to grind the mixture into a fine powder.
"What are you making?" Fuyumi asked, curiously peering over Kagome's shoulder.
"An old herbal remedy for fevers and colds," Kagome answered without stopping, "It's bitter so I'm going to dissolve it in something hot for Kyoya-senpai to drink."
"Tea?" Fuyumi helpfully suggested.
Kagome shook her head. "Hot lemonade with butter."
"Lemon and butter?"
"Uh-huh. Kaa-san makes it for us when we're sick all the time." Kagome grinned. "It'll even make someone as grumpy as Kyoya-senpai perk up once I wake him."
"You plan to wake him up yourself? You do know he has…a certain condition, right?"
"Oh, I know all about that. During our trip to Okinawa, Tamaki-senpai woke up first, and that woke up Kyoya-senpai, and that woke up me," Kagome explained, mindful not to mention the three of them were sharing the same bed at the time making the situation all the more hectic and, to the right spectator, hilarious. Curiously, Honey had the same grouchy disposition if suddenly roused from his sleep.
Kagome's brow furrowed as she continued to grind the mixture until she was satisfied with its composition. "Fuyumi-chan, I need a large saucepan. Do you know where I can find one?"
Fuyumi stiffened. "Not exactly. This is actually the first time I've been in the kitchens."
"It's okay," she responded with a comforting grin, "Then, if you don't mind, could you empty my bag and set everything on the counter? I'll look for the saucepan."
"Alright. I'll organize it for you!"
Kagome hummed as she left her mixture and started searching for the pan. After opening numerous cabinets and drawers, she found it on the top shelf of one of the cabinets, neatly arranged with countless others.
She groaned. 'They would be all the way up there.'
To reach the top shelf, Kagome climbed onto the counter and stood on the tips of her toes to reach for the pan.
"Kagome-chan, I'm finished!" Fuyumi cried happily just as Kagome's fingertips touched the saucepan. She looked at the younger girl with a frown.
"Kagome-chan, you don't need to strain yourself! I'll call someone to help you!"
"No need, Fuyumi-chan!" she retorted, "As soon as I get this, I'll only need a few more things before I can start."
Fuyumi fearfully watched as Kagome retrieved the saucepan, letting out an excited "Yosh". She let out a deep, relieved breath when she hopped off the counter, landing on the ground with a thud. However, at the sound of her name, she jumped.
"Fuyumi-san, what's going on here?" a young man in his late twenties asked as he stood in the kitchen entrance. Although he was addressing her, his inquiring gaze was trained on Kagome.
"Akito-san!" she cried, "What a lovely surprise! How is school?"
"Fine," Akito said and approached Kagome until he stood right behind her. The younger girl momentarily stiffened before calmly placing the saucepan down and turning to face Akito.
Before she could say a word, he asked, "Who are you?"
Kagome frowned and channeled the refined attitudes of Fumiko and Chie, the beautiful and proud family matriarchs. "It's rude to ask a lady her name without first introducing yourself."
She turned her back to him, facing the laid out the contents of her paper bag: a plain white apron, a handheld juicer, a grater, a measuring cup, and several lemons.
"All I need now is water, sugar, butter, and a knife," Kagome said to herself. She tied the apron around her waist and poked around the kitchen, retrieving everything she needed to make the warm drink and disregarding Fuyumi and Akito in the process.
Fuyumi giggled as she observed her. "Not only is she cute, Kagome-chan is strong-willed. Practically a domestic goddess! She's a perfect match for Kyoya-san. Don't you think so, Akito-san?"
"So this is the girl Otou-san mentioned, Morinozuka-san's daughter."
The two Ootori siblings continued to watch Kagome operate the stove and other kitchen appliances with great interest. As old as they were, they never bothered to watch anyone—servants or otherwise—perform household tasks with such care and precision.
After about fifteen minutes, Kagome hummed as she turned down the heat on the stove and called out over her shoulder, "Fuyumi-chan, do you know where I can find something to put this in?"
"Please allow me," Akito interjected and retrieved a tea set arranged on a silver serving tray from a china cabinet with clear glass doors.
"Forgive my earlier rudeness," he apologized as he handed Kagome the tray, "I am Ootori Akito, second son to the Ootori family."
Kagome smiled and briefly inspected the tea set; it was in need of a quick wash.
"Nice to meet you, Akito-san," she replied, "My name is Higurashi Kagome. I also apologize for how I reacted. I guess I'm still a little miffed at Kyoya-senpai for standing me up."
"He didn't do so on purpose," Akito retorted, "He also didn't mention how beautiful and…industrious you are."
"Thank you for the complement," Kagome said with sheepish smile.
She took the tray and walked over to the sink to wash the teacups, mindful not to damage the intricate details as Kyoya reminded her and Haruhi countless times. When she was finished, she carefully transferred the hot lemonade into four separate cups and placed them on the platter with the bowl of mixed herbs. Akito raised an eyebrow but didn't say anything.
"Looks like you're ready to see Kyoya-san. Would you like us to call someone to carry that for you?" Fuyumi asked.
"No need. I don't mind doing it."
Still clad in her apron, she lifted the tray and quietly followed Fuyumi with Akito taking the rear. As she walked, Kagome quietly regarded the second born Ootori son. He was very handsome like Kyoya with sharp, angled features, cool and intelligent eyes, and an impeccably groomed appearance. However, he scrutinized her intensely, boring holes in her back.
'He and Kyoya-senpai are definitely related,' she thought, 'Though Kyoya-senpai would be less conspicuous.'
"Here we are," Fuyumi announced and opened the door to Kyoya's room. Kagome quietly gasped when all three of them walked inside the bedroom, a two story section of the mansion that looked more like an upscale apartment.
'…And I thought my room was big!'
She managed to keep her composure when following Fuyumi and Akito up the stairs to Kyoya's bed.
"Just as I thought. He's still sleeping," Akito commented.
"At this hour?" Kagome asked with a smirk, "I believe it's time for a wakeup call." She set the serving tray on the end table beside Kyoya's bed before leaning over him as he slept.
"Strong-willed and bold," Akito mentioned.
"And cute!" Fuyumi added, playfully clasping her hands together.
Kagome curiously observed her senior, leaning so closely that her hair brushed over the covers. Kyoya didn't notice the intrusion and continued sleeping with his head underneath the comforter leaving only the top of his head visible.
'He looks so vulnerable. It almost makes me want to leave him in peace.' She grinned. 'Almost.'
"Kyoya-senpai," she sang. He grumbled and rolled away from her.
"Senpai," she repeated with a grin only to have the same results.
"Perhaps we could come back?" Fuyumi proposed.
"No need," Kagome said with a devious grin. Once she was standing at her full height, she fell forward and landed right on Kyoya's stomach. He jerked up from the impact, throwing the comforter on top of her in the process.
He wiped his eyes with a groan and a scowl, looking at Fuyumi and Akito with contempt. "What the hell are you two doing here?"
"Three!" a muffled voice corrected.
Kyoya paused and looked down at the pair of creamy white legs sticking from the side of his bed leading up to the weight resting on his thighs. He quickly pulled back his covers, completely surprised at the sight that greeted him.
"Hello, senpai!" Kagome said with a cheeky grin, spiritedly kicking up her foot. She then rolled over and shifted so that she was sitting at Kyoya's side with her legs draped over his lap.
"Kagome? What in the world are you doing here?"
Before she could answer, Kyoya fell back with a grunt, hitting his head on the headboard. Disregarding her mirth, Kagome reached up and felt his forehead. She grimaced at the warmth and slickness she felt.
"You really are sick," she assessed, "You're hot, sweaty, and overall gross."
Before Kyoya could respond, she slid off his bed and approached the tray she brought. Before handing him a cup, she spooned several doses of the medicinal herbs inside and stirred.
"Drink this while it's still hot," she instructed.
"As miserable as I look, you plan to poison me?" he asked halfheartedly even though he accepted it, "I'll feel as though I'll die soon enough without it."
"Kyoya-senpai, stop being a baby. It's just a fever," Kagome said with a grin and grabbed her own cup of warm lemonade. She took a seat on the unoccupied side of this bed. "And if I wanted to kill you, I'd use a method that's much more personal than a simple poisoning."
"I'm glad you think of me so fondly."
"Fuyumi-chan, Akito-san," Kagome called out, "I prepared cups for you too, so please help yourselves."
"Indeed," Akito said, taking a cup for himself and his sister.
Fuyumi sighed happily as she sipped the delightfully warm beverage. "This is delicious!"
Kagome smiled into her own cup. "Thank you. I'm glad I didn't make tamagozake. Make sure you finish all of yours, Kyoya-senpai."
Kyoya made a vague noise in the back of his throat and gingerly sipped his lemonade. Its warmth alone soothed his throat while the flavor was tart and tangy with the slightly bitter taste of herbs.
"Well, why don't we leave you two alone?" Fuyumi suggested with a coy grin. She placed a hand on Akito's forearm and began to walk to the stairs. "Come on, Akito-san."
By the time they were gone, Kyoya finished the lemonade and placed the teacup aside. He enjoyed it more than he expected and made a mental note to ask Kagome to prepare it for the host club.
"What are you intentions for being here?" he asked outright.
"Fuyumi-chan was the one who came to my house and told me you were sick, so I came to see for myself," Kagome clarified, "You were the one who didn't have the decency to call. Though on some level I knew you wouldn't take the easy way out." She reached up and brushed away his bangs. "But it's strange to see you looking so vulnerable."
"Indeed. I'm afraid I'm not very desirable company at the moment."
"Yeah. You're very sweaty." She wiped her hand on her apron.
"In that case, could you bring me a damp washcloth?" Kyoya asked, pointing across the room to his bathroom.
"Sure," Kagome responded then added, "Since you look especially pathetic."
Kyoya only appeared phased for a few seconds. "Thank you for your kindness. While you're been so charitable, I have another request."
"Go for it."
"Could you also remove the apron?"
Kagome defiantly crossed her arms over her chest. "And how would that help you exactly?"
"You clearly dressed so cutely for me. I would love to see you clearly," Kyoya explained.
Kagome blushed but stood and complied. She threw the rumpled apron aside and smoothed over the wrinkles on her dress.
"Well, what do you think?"
"Simply stunning," Kyoya said, charming grin on his face.
"You look like crap, you're not wearing your glasses, and you're still as smooth as silk," Kagome complained before walking to the bathroom, "You're definitely the cool type."
'Hell, even as an invalid, Kyoya-senpai's as handsome and charming as ever,' Kagome thought. Only he would successfully ruin the fun of teasing him. She quickly retrieved a cool, wet towel and rushed back to Kyoya's bedside, hoping she wouldn't have to go back and forth too many times.
"Here you go," she stated upon her return. She faltered when she saw Kyoya bare-chested with his pajama top rumpled on the floor by her apron.
"Well then," Kagome said, tossing the towel at his chest hitting him with a loud, wet smack, "I'll just leave you to it."
Kyoya chuckled. "Hold on. I need your help."
"What? I'm not going to wash you!" Kagome objected.
"I just need you to do my back since I can't reach," he clarified, "Do I look pathetic enough for you to do this invalid a favor?"
"I've already done too many," Kagome grumbled. Still, she reached out and plucked the towel from Kyoya's chest.
"Turn around," she instructed, unintentionally reminding herself of similar occasions when she said the same thing. If she recalled correctly, she was much less embarrassed than she was now.
"I can concede since you freely admitted you're pathetic," she added.
"Thank you," Kyoya said and turned around as he was told.
After taking a deep, calming breath, Kagome began to gently wipe his back in long, sweeping motions. She tried her best not to linger or the blush would be permanently etched on her face.
"There," she said as she pulled away, "I'll go rinse this off and come right back."
Kagome ended up making two more trips back to the bathroom: one for Kyoya's front, and the other for his lower body. As he washed, she brought him a change of pajamas then averted her eyes until Kyoya said he was finished. As soon as he did, she approached him and placed a hand on his forehead.
"Your fever seems to be breaking. You should get some rest."
"And what about you?"
"I'm sure I'll find something around here to entertain myself." She grinned and looked around. "I hope you don't mind me looking through your stuff."
Kyoya shrugged. "If that's what you want to do. One would think you'd want to comfort me in my time of need."
"I mixed you medicine, made you warm lemonade, and washed your back," Kagome stated, lifting a finger for each item she said, "What more could you possibly want me to do?"
Kyoya smirked, enjoying seeing Kagome so flustered despite his numbing headache.
"You know as well as I do how much I like to cuddle," he said, feigning innocence.
"Are you out of your mind?" Kagome exclaimed, vehemently shaking her head, "I came all this way, but I'm not getting sick for you."
"Didn't you say my fever was breaking? I doubt I'm still infectious."
"All the more reason I shouldn't do it!" she reasoned, "That means you're no longer vulnerable, and I'd be knowingly putting myself in your clutches."
Kyoya chuckled. He knew she should wouldn't go for it, but the look on her face was priceless. "Then perhaps you could stay by this invalid's side until he falls asleep?"
Kagome rolled her eyes but reluctantly pulled a chair to his bedside and sat down, folding her arms over her chest and crossing her legs at her ankles.
"If you insist."
Due to recent events, opening the door to the host club standing on her doorstep didn't surprise Haruhi at all. However, the noticeable absence of three members and the noticeable addition of two made her raise an eyebrow. Still, she let them inside and allowed them to assemble in her living room.
"So exactly what are you all doing here?" Haruhi finally asked.
"Come on, Fujioka-san. You couldn't have forgotten?" Satoshi exclaimed in disbelief, "You have a stake in this as well!" He raised his fist in the air. "Despite our efforts, Suou succeeded, but Ootori will not!"
Haruhi snorted. "Oh, that."
She intentionally put the wager and its condition in the back of her head, planning to ignore it until she returned to school after the holiday, possibly longer.
"So what do you want me to do about it?" she asked.
"I think by now—" Hikaru began.
"—the answer should be obvious," Kaoru finished.
Satoshi nodded. "Locate and sabotage. That is our mission."
"Don't you think that's going too—?" Haruhi began, but Mori unexpectedly cut her off with a single phrase.
Haruhi's breathe hitched in her throat. She forgot about that too.
"That's right, Haruhi," Hikaru added, sounding particularly devious, "All of your hard work could go to waste."
Kaoru nodded. "And it all hinges on Kyoya-senpai. Are you willing to leave your fate in his hands?"
"Kagome has it under control," Haruhi countered.
"You would think so, but Suou successfully seduced her!" Satoshi said, frustrated.
Haruhi scoffed. She was certain Tamaki didn't have it in him to genuinely seduce a wet paper bag let alone Kagome.
"You're not leaving until I say I'll help you," Haruhi quickly reasoned.
Hikaru and Kaoru beamed. "Now you're getting it!"
"Great to have you on board, Fujioka-san," Satoshi said with a nod.
"Yeah, yeah," Haruhi muttered, slouching in her seat.
"So here's the plan," Satoshi began, "We'll search for signs of Nee-chan and Ootori by surveying potential date destinations. Since this date was planned by Ootori, we can rule out any destinations frequented by commoners."
"So we're basically going to run around all day looking for them?" Haruhi asked incredulously.
"That doesn't seem too productive," Kaoru quipped.
"Or entertaining," Hikaru added.
"Let's split into teams!" Honey cried, "That way we can cover lots more ground!"
Satoshi agreed. "Good idea, Mitsukuni. Because there's an odd number of us, there will be two groups of two and one group of three."
"Okay!" Kaoru exclaimed, "Then it will be Mori-senpai and Honey-senpai, you and Chika-chan—"
"—and the two of us with Haruhi!" Hikaru declared with a wide grin. Haruhi remained indifferent to the declaration.
"Hmm…Formation denied," Satoshi said, clearly stating an ultimatum, "We have surveillance equipment on loan from the police academy, so each group needs a member who knows how to operate it properly."
"Surveillance equipment?" Haruhi repeated, her eyes widened, "Are you sure that's necessary? Just what do you expect Kyoya-senpai to do?"
Satoshi snapped, "Ootori is a thousand times more devious and cunning than Suou! That makes him all the more dangerous especially if we underestimate him!"
Haruhi stilled. "…I honestly have no argument for that."
He nodded and continued, "Our inside informant told me Nee-chan left the shrine approximately fifteen minutes ago in what we believe is one of the Ootori family cars. Unfortunately, he had to leave for soccer practice, so he didn't see what they were wearing or has any idea where they're going.
"But I don't think that will be a problem. We'll use our military grade equipment and intimate knowledge of both Nee-chan and Ootori to find them. With all those things considered, here are the teams. Mitsukuni and Kaoru-san, Taka and Fujioka-san, and Chika, Hikaru-san, and myself."
Hikaru immediately protested. "What's with those pairings? I didn't come along to babysit two middle school kids."
"Not negotiable," Satoshi said, shutting down all arguments, "Now let's move out! We will find and apprehend Ootori, dead or alive!"
"Dead or alive? Don't you think that's taking this a step too far?" Haruhi meekly questioned. Even though the statement was likely an exaggeration, she didn't want to get on the bad side of the Ootori group.
Chika, who brooded in silence throughout the entire exchange, shouted, "That's exactly what I've been saying this whole time! Every single one of them is absolutely crazy!"
At the conclusion of their bickering, Haruhi found herself split up and walking the sidewalks with Mori, a pair of binoculars around her neck and a borrowed Smartphone strapped to her hip. She, like all of the other members of this ragtag group, refused to wear Satoshi's disguises and went out in the clothes she was already wearing, a pair of khaki Bermuda shorts and plain red T-shirt. Mori was dressed as faultlessly and imposing as ever in designer jeans and a graphic T-shirt, drawing many appreciative stares from the passersby.
"Haruhi?" Mori suddenly addressed her.
"Where would you want to go?"
"Huh?" she uttered, "You mean for a date?"
When Mori nodded, she blushed.
'He's only asking so we can find Kagome,' she reminded herself.
"I don't think it matters," Haruhi finally answered, "Satoshi-san said Kyoya-senpai wouldn't take Kagome to any 'commoner' places like that, and I believe he's right."
Mori shook his head. "Kyoya will do what Kagome wants."
"How do you figure?" Haruhi asked, puzzled.
It seemed like a very bold and meaningful announcement to make so casually. Was it possible Mori saw something between the two host club members that she and the others didn't?
"It would not benefit him to do otherwise," Mori finally answered.
Haruhi's steps nearly faltered. "That explanation makes more sense."
"So?" he pressed.
Haruhi paused and thought of a few seconds, fully taking in Mori's reasoning.
"Well, I'm guessing the two things Kyoya-senpai arranged for this date are food and entertainment. If he decided to pick a destination that catered to Kagome's interests, I would say the two of them are somewhere outside like a public garden or park," she deduced.
Mori made a noncommittal noise in the back of his throat. Haruhi interpreted it as doubt.
"Think about it. More than once, Kagome mentioned liking the outdoors and being active. As for food, it would be easy to prepare a private picnic for the two of them to share," Haruhi explained, "The way I see it, taking Kagome to a park is a way for Kyoya to easily cover both entertainment and food."
Mori paused then took Haruhi's hands, making a complete U-turn.
"Wha?" she cried, "Where are we going?"
"The Ootori group operates several rehabilitation facilities with those characteristics. We'll have to check them all," he answered.
Haruhi could only nod and tried to remember the only date was between Kagome and Kyoya.
Kyoya awoke to a light weight sleeping soundly on his abdomen. When he sat up, he saw Kagome slumped over in her seat with her head resting over her folded arms, lightly snoring. He let out a snorting laugh and decided not to wake her just yet. As he reached for his glasses and put them on, he silently regarded the sleeping girl and their completely shot outing.
At first, he was completely annoyed with his illness and his slow, subsequent recovery. He'd never admit it aloud, but Tamaki's glaring success made him the slightest bit jealous. So, after he left his house, Kyoya planned his entire date with Kagome down to the last detail, ensuring his victory and her complete and utter satisfaction.
After picking her up, they would go for a pleasant stroll in one of his family's recovery facilities in Chiyoda, an open air garden teaming with exotic plants and wildlife. There they would enjoy a light, catered lunch. Then they'd go to a kabuki, the famed Sugawara Denju Tenarai Kagami, at National Theatre of Japan in a private viewing room. From there, they would go to dinner on a chartered boat on the Chidorigafuchi Moat Path near the Imperial Palace, enjoying their meal on the water. The only issue he had during the initial planning was that cherry blossom season was long over.
Kyoya planned everything according to Kagome's interest in nature and history. It also pleased him to be exceedingly lavish and indulgent of the raven haired girl.
'Now, it's all for naught."
As he continued looking at Kagome, Kyoya decided his thwarted plans didn't matter as much—expenses excluded. He reached out and gently nudged her awake. She did so and slowly lifted her head with a groan, leaving a wet spot on the covers.
She looked at Kyoya with a sleepy grin and said, "Good morning."
"It's nearly evening," he corrected.
"Same difference," she replied with a shrug, "Are you feeling any better?"
"Very," he answered, "Whatever you gave me worked quite well." He quickly glanced at his clock. "We actually have time to make our dinner reservations."
"If you like."
After a few seconds of thought, Kagome shook her head and replied, wearing a big grin, "Nah. Blame it on your sickness, but I'm feeling pretty lazy."
Kyoya's smile was strained. "As you wish."
"You don't plan on kicking me out now, do you?" Kagome asked with a raised eyebrow.
"And if I did?" he countered, his smile morphing into a smirk.
"Is that the thanks I get for taking care of you?" she asked with a huff.
"I thought my return to good health would be enough."
Kagome shook her head. "No way! I have you at my disposal until midnight and not a second before. Wasn't that what you said?"
"It is," Kyoya answered with a nod, "and still stands assuming our date does as well."
"Of course it does! Just because you had the sniffles doesn't mean you're off the hook."
Kyoya thoughtfully considered his options. Even if he had a 12:00 AM deadline, it was already 7:00 PM, and Kagome already vetoed his dinner arrangements. As irritating as it was, he had to cater to her whims to bring the odds in his favor.
'It's nearly time for the family meal,' he absently thought.
He knew it would be particularly extravagant with the presence of his entire family—his mother and brother-in-law aside. There was no doubt Yoshio knew of Kagome's arrival and prolonged stay in his bedroom. She would be expected to attend dinner if they remained in the mansion. As much as Kyoya didn't like it, there was no avoiding it.
'Especially since we've been in my room this entire time undisturbed.'
With a quiet sigh, he looked down at his pajamas and decided a shower was definitely in order. When he shifted his gaze to Kagome, he noted her hair was mussed but fixable. Her dress was slightly wrinkled and ended a few inches above her knees, too short in his father's opinion. Tamaki would have loved it.
"Since you don't want to adhere to my prior arrangements, my family is having dinner soon. Would you like to join us?" Kyoya asked.
Kagome eagerly nodded. "Sure. I already met Fuyumi-chan and Akito-san and would like to meet everyone else."
"My father, Ootori Yoshio, and my eldest brother, Yuuichi-san, will also be present. I can't say the same about Fuyumi-nee-chan's husband, Shido-san."
The family member Kagome was most anxious to meet was Yoshio. She wondered what kind of man Kyoya's father was, if he was doting like Akira and Yuzuru or more traditional like Yorihisa and if Kyoya resembled him physically and in manner.
'This is a very big step for a first date,' she thought and seriously reconsidered going to the dinner Kyoya arranged instead. The last thing she wanted was to make a bad impression with his father. She tried to run a hand through her hair but quickly found her fingers tangled in its strands.
"Ah!" she exclaimed, "I must look a mess."
Kyoya chuckled. "You're in good company. You can take the bathroom first."
Kagome rushed across the room and stepped inside the bathroom, closing the door behind her so she could fix her appearance. As soon as she was gone, Kyoya stood, walked to his closet, and began leafing through its contents. He decided to pick casually, a pair of heather grey trousers and a green polo. He didn't have to wait long before Kagome emerged with her face freshly washed and her hair untangled.
"All yours," she announced.
"I'll be out shortly."
"Not too shortly," she countered, comically scrunching up her nose, "You really need a good washing!"
Kyoya smirked. "Lend me a hand?"
He laughed as he dodged the pillow she threw at him and disappeared into the bathroom, leaving Kagome to her own devices. She merely looked around the large bedroom and refrained from going through Kyoya's things after migrating downstairs.
'Curiosity killed the cat.' She wouldn't put it past him to have the entire room video bugged and wiretapped for situations just like this. She would do the same if Tamaki, Hikaru, and Kaoru made regular visits.
"Inquisitive, aren't you?"
Kagome turned around to see a much older man dressed in an expensive suit with neatly combed hair and trimmed moustache and beard standing a few feet away. His thinly framed glasses and pointed features brought out the coldness of his eyes.
"Just a bit," she answered, "You must be Kyoya-senpai's father."
Kagome smiled brightly before she clasped her hands in front of her and bowed deeply at her waist. "I'm Higurashi Kagome. Douzo yoroshiku onegaishimasu."
For several tense seconds, she waited for her gesture to be returned. Eventually, Yoshio bent his head ever so slightly, and she stood, nervously tucking a lock of hair behind her ear.
"I came to speak with my son, but it seems he is indisposed," Yoshio stated, his gaze piercing.
"Yes. He's washing up right now."
"Then I assume the two of you will be joining the rest of the family for our evening meal, correct?"
Before Kagome could answer, Kyoya did so for her as he slowly descended the staircase. "Yes, we will. I apologize for the delay, Otou-san." The insincere smile on his face made Kagome feel ill at ease.
Yoshio turned and left the room. Kyoya obediently followed at some distance, guiding Kagome with a hand on the small of her back.
"Stop jumping, cricket," he whispered in Kagome's ear.
"I'm fine," she assured him. He never called her cricket before.
He smirked. "In that case, feel free to relax at any time."
"I would if you'd stop pestering me," she hissed, nervously looking ahead at Yoshio. He didn't seem to hear them.
Kyoya lightly chuckled as his arm snaked around Kagome's waist until his hand rested comfortably on her hip.
"I understand why you're nervous. Otou-san can be quite…difficult to bare at times. Just stay by my side, and everything will be alright."
"You're asking me to trust you?" Kagome wondered what this meal would entail to elicit such an uncharacteristically protective response from her senior.
So she did.
punkish furball – There we go. The Ootori family was definitely difficult to put into words, but I'd say I did a good job. Hopefully, Kagome can handle them! There will also be an update on Haruhi and Mori's little adventure. ^_~
Until next time, TCB! (≧∇≦)