CHAPTER 1
I AM NUMB

Haruhi Fujioka had long since dubbed today – the day her mother had died – an unfortunate slip of nature. This morning, in her mind, was not even supposed to have been created, let alone left standing on the calendar as if it were taking enjoyment out of mocking her. She could have done without the looks her father kept giving as she sat down at their little table, scooping food into her mouth and trying to ignore him. Every twitch of his face sent a wave of depression over her head, threatening to drown her in its depths.

Haruhi sighed with relief when she had finished her breakfast, grabbing her book bag and running out the door before any words of condolences could be given by the neighbors or her own parent. If she could erase the feeling in the pit of her stomach – the feeling that something bad was going to happen – then she would have a long time ago. But every year this day came, mercilessly making her stick it out for twenty four hours.

Twenty four hours. I've gotten through one third of it already, so surely I can make it for the rest, right? It can't be all that hard! Haruhi thought to herself, pulling her lips up into a determined smile. Maybe she did feel a little like crying every time this day rolled around, but she wasn't about to start bawling in front of the Host Club. It would just give them a reason to pity her and she didn't want that in the slightest.

"Haru-chan!" Honey shouted immediately as the brunette walked in. He was practically jumping off the walls in excitement. "You want some cake!"

"Not right now, Honey-sempai. Thank you for the offer, though…" Haruhi answered quickly, forcing a grin in his direction. The small blond stopped to stare at her, his face drawn in a frown. Something was not right about the expression on the newest club members' face. Usually Haruhi's smiles were happy, resigned maybe, but still happy enough on most occasions. This grin she was giving him was not like her at all. No, it had an underlying factor to it that made him want to order it off her face.

Because… underneath it all, her eyes rejected any happiness. In fact, to Honey, they looked quite sad in comparison to other days he had seen her. Mori stopped behind his charge and frowned as well (though he was always frowning anyway). "You noticed it too, Mitsukuni?"

"Mhm. Not great! Maybe she needs some cupcakes instead of cake-"

"The problem has nothing to do with sweets," the voice of Kyoya jolted the two out of their thoughts. Turning, Mori only slightly lifted his eyebrows but didn't comment. Honey, however, was more of the jumpy and cute type, so he had no care about talking too much.

"What do you mean?" he asked, his big eyes becoming big with curiosity. "What's wrong with her, then?"

"Apparently, Haruhi's mother died on this day."

"Died? That's so sad! How did you know…?"

"Hm? Oh, I have my sources," Kyoya answered absently, waving away the question with his free hand since the other was holding a clipboard in a business-like fashion. He was staring at Haruhi's back, his eyes narrowed. "She was probably going to tell us sometime today. Or not. It is hard to predict her actions."

"Predicting whose actions?" Tamaki appeared as if out of nowhere, his blond hair every bit as light as Honey's. He leaned over Kyoya's shoulder to look at the clipboard. It had a few notes scribbled here and there, but the most prominent made his teeth clench.

"What… the…"

"Yes yes, idiot," Kyoya sighed. "Why not shout it to the whole world while you're standing there?"

"This… says…"

Kyoya gave him an exasperated look. "Haruhi's mother officially died on this day, t-o-d-a-y. Yes. It is what it looks like."

Before Tamaki could explode in outrage that Kyoya hadn't told him sooner, Honey's voice made them stop. "Let's do something fun!" he said. "We could visit her favorite place or… or something! It'll make her sad if we stay around here all day. Maybe we can go eat cake too-"

"Hmm… that sounds a lot like we're avoiding the problem here –" Kyoya started to say, but Tamaki interrupted with a flourish of his hand.

"Let's do it!"

xXx

The trip had started off well enough. Since Haruhi had expressed interest in going to the beach again like they had done a few months before, the Club decided that it was the best place to try out. So after explaining the situation to the twins (who, in turn, promised not to tell Haruhi that they knew) the boys made sure their friend was all ready for a great day at the ocean. Even though her smile still felt a little forced, they figured they were making the situation better anyway.

Unfortunately, Haruhi fell again.

This fall wasn't like the one before. In fact, everything started out normally from the beginning, working its way up to the point where you didn't feel as if it was a cursed ledge or anything. No, the twins had decided to play ball up there, stubbornly saying that it would be more of a challenge if there was a scary heights issue to deal with. So, with grins plastered to their face, they had dragged their female friend up and began the game.

The first few times, the ball was easy to catch. The twins were careful to direct it away from the edge – especially Kaoru, who had always been more cautious than his brother – and everything went fine for a while because of this. Unfortunately, this didn't last forever.

Looking back, Haruhi would see it as an accident on Hikaru's part. She would forcefully tell him that it hadn't been his fault, that the wind had carried the ball farther than was normal – and maybe all of that was true… but it didn't stop the consequences. Haruhi hadn't thought, she hadn't been thinking at all. In fact, her eyes hadn't been looking downwards; instead they had been searching out the ball in the air. She could vaguely hear Hikaru and Kaoru shouting at her to stop, to leave it be, but at that point the girls' body seemed to have a mind of its own.

Oh, she caught the ball alright. However, not before twisting to the side in the air and crashing nearer to the beach than before. Here, there were only a few small rocks and about chest length water. Unfortunately, these rocks were just big enough to make her gasp as she hit, back first. For a moment, everything was very still and she continued to feel her heart beating in her chest, pain filling her arms and legs for a split second before… nothing. Absolutely nothing. There wasn't a hint of pain, not one hint of what had just transpired. That wasn't what scared her and made her eyes widen in realization.

Haruhi Fujioka was numb. Painless, but numb, and not just in one part of her body either. The numbness snapped into her legs, dove its way through her hands and back muscles, and completely snapped off the switch of movement in every limb from her chest, downwards.

The worst part of it all was that she couldn't move. In any other situation, Haruhi wouldn't have panicked. She would have calmly buried her anxiety somewhere in her brain, vowing to come back to it later when her nerves weren't jumping around. Unfortunately, any other situation was not this situation. She was at a beach, in the water, and…

…drowning.

She tried to lift her face, but it was impossible. The voices of the twins seemed far off, too far to help. Mori and Honey were closer, but still not close enough. Tamaki was sleeping under a large umbrella, completely out and with no idea what was happening around him. But… there was one more person. He was right there, suddenly, helping her out of the water – grabbing her arms and pulling her foreword so she could cough and clear her lungs of the offending liquid. "Are you alright?" He asked with irritation in his voice. This little escapade had completely ruined his concentration. There were documents to write up, papers to sign, and so much work to do…

"I can't f-feel anything," Haruhi answered slowly, her voice shuddering. It was as though she were slipping into unconsciousness, and fast. Kyoya adjusted his glasses, completely caught off guard.

"What?"

"I said I can't… I… can't feel anything."

Behind his glasses, Haruhi could see his eyes narrow in that way that they did when he was frustrated with someone or something, or… nervous, maybe? She couldn't figure out the expressions hidden there, especially not while black spots were dancing in front of her vision. Moving to her side, Kyoya tried to help her stand up without a word, but she just fell back down into a sitting position again, with him holding her up. Kyoya pressed her shoulder with his finger. "Can you feel that?"

"N-no…"

"Ah," Kyoya said. He looked… worried, almost. This jolted Haruhi a bit, but she still felt as if she were slipping from reality. The twins were coming closer now and Honey and Mori stepped out to stand behind Kyoya. Tamaki was rubbing his eyes, but immediately ran over to squeeze through the group when he saw them all standing there. If there was any doubt in Haruhi's mind that Kyoya wasn't worried, then she definitely didn't have to fear about the others. Their eyes were wide with concern, especially Tamaki, who looked as if he were about to call an ambulance that second if they didn't say something.

"Can you feel this?" Kyouy asked again, moving to dig his fingernails into the bottom of her foot just a little. Not enough to hurt much, but enough that she would be able to feel it if she could.

"No!" Haruhi was getting more and more freaked out by the second. She was usually a very calm and collected person, but this was getting on her nerves and she felt very panicky indeed. "No, I can't! I can't feel it… and… do you guys see those black things too… or is it just me..?" Her voice was low and kind of out-of-this-world, as if she were only half awake at this point. Hikaru and Kaoru looked to eachother worriedly, and Mori's frown deepened.

Kyoya, as usual, wasted no time in getting the group together. "Mori and Honey," he said, using the nicknames given to the boys in his haste. "Bring her to the car. Tamaki, call the nearest hospital and tell them to meet us halfway – and you two!" The last couple words were directed at the twins. "I expect a full report on our way there. Now go!"

Everyone scrambled to do what they had been ordered. Even Tamaki, who's fingers were shaking, managed to dial the number and bark out the address to where they would meet the ambulance. From then on, everything was a blur for Haruhi. She felt herself being scooped up into Mori's arms, holding her tightly and securely, careful not to put too much pressure on her spine even if she couldn't feel it.

The girl slipped into and out of consciousness, unable to even lift her arms or legs to steady herself against the backseat. Honey, Mori, and the twins helped to keep her steady so that she wouldn't roll off. "Almost… there…" Kyoya muttered under his breath. Hikaru flinched, trying not to remember the fact that all this was because of his lousy throw.

xXx

Yay! New story! Please R & R, okay? It really helps my muses when people review my stories (though I do love all of you favoriters too!). Thanks for reading, and keep checking back for more. The next chapter should be coming soon.