Author's Note: This was a little one-shot that came to mind and wouldn't leave me alone. I'm rather happy with the way it turned out. No, I have not abandoned my other works...but with everything else going on in my life right now the other projects are a bit too big to tackle as often as I'd like. This, however, wouldn't let me alone until I gave it words.
Watching him eat cake or sweets, no one would doubt the word. Innocent, charming, quick with a smile and always there to support his friends, Haruhi sometimes marveled at the bouncing ball of energy that was one Haninozuka Mitsukuni. She loved all her friends - weirdos that they were at times – but she had a special soft spot for Honey. And though she would never have said it out loud she found herself completely entertained by his sugar-devouring antics. Sometimes, when she was frustrated or angry, simply watching the serious expression on his face as he debated over which type of cake to eat first (followed by the wide grin when he chose – more often than not deciding to eat them simultaneously) would make her chuckle and dispel some of her bad mood.
'Haru-chan!' The shout was all the warning she got before he launched himself onto her lap, arms around her neck and smelling like strawberries and cream. These periods before the host club opened its doors to clients were rarely peaceful, and she could always count on either the twins or Tamaki to break whatever calm she'd managed to impose on herself, but the other guarantee was that Honey would pounce on her and drag her into one of his hugs. He never seemed to get enough of hugging her, and she had to admit she didn't mind it that much.
A day spent with each host as a side project for the club (Tamaki's idea, of course – project 'Walk a Mile in Another Host's Shoes', and oh how that made her roll her eyes) opened her eyes to things about her friends she hadn't quite understood before. Watching the diminutive host practicing in his family dojo, the smoothness of his movements, the fluidity of his strikes and the enjoyment in his eyes, she realized that regardless of the fact that he was never permitted to fight in public again, he truly did enjoy martial arts. And the smile he graced her with when he grabbed her by the hand and dragged her over onto the mats, showing her the proper position to stand and how to move, small hands occasionally resting on her arms or legs to make adjustments to her posture, was pure sunshine, warming her from the inside out.
'…Hon…Honey-senpai?' she asked, once she was able to breathe properly once more. The oldest host simply smiled at her, a smile she hadn't yet realized was different than the ones he showed to the rest of the world.
'Why did you…kiss me? Just now?' That smile again, innocence in his voice when he replied, innocence that wasn't matched in his eyes.
'Today is graduation. And I didn't want to leave Ouran without a final helping of…something sweet.' He was gone with a wink, and Haruhi sat there watching him walk away, stunned to silence, with only two things running through her mind. The first? That for someone so seemingly cute and adorable, he could kiss like a god. The second?
That she wished she had known that fact sooner.
Her graduation from college and acceptance as the newest lawyer in an up-and-coming firm (not surprisingly recently acquired by the Ootori group, though she wasn't aware of that little tidbit yet) necessitated not only a surprise party, but a wonderfully amazingly superb surprise party (not surprisingly put together by Tamaki) that consisted of all of the hosts coming together again for the first time since Mori-senpai and Honey-senpai's graduation day. Sure, she'd stayed in touch with the twins – Hikaru and Kaoru wouldn't give up their toy that easily, after all. And she still occasionally talked to Tamaki-senpai and Kyouya-senpai. But when she walked into her quiet apartment after the graduation ceremony thinking of nothing more involved than a hot bath and some dinner delivery only to be swept up in a five-man embrace punctuated with squeals (some of them hers, though she'd never own up to that) she was far more pleased than she could have ever imagined.
'Oh my god – what are you all doing here?' she exclaimed.
'We wanted to celebrate with you!' the twins said happily, not relinquishing their hold on her arms.
'You have definitely fulfilled every scholastic expectation we had of you,' interjected Kyouya.
'And we had to be here to share this with you!' cried Tamaki, trying – unsuccessfully – to pry Haruhi from the devilish duo's grasp and only managing to end up embroiled in a tug-of-war reminiscent of their Host Club days. After struggling in vain to release herself, she felt strong hands lift her up, up, and away from the three disappointed young men. The only difference was the grin that graced his lips when Mori set her down. She gave him his own hug, grinning back.
'Still my savior, Mori-senpai? Some things never change,' she laughed. His quiet chuckle was all the agreement she needed. But still…something was missing…
'Where's Honey-senpai?' she asked, trying to keep her voice even. She hadn't seen him since that day, after his graduation…since that kiss…
'He'll be along shortly. He was…delayed,' Hikaru said without much of a pause. She picked up a slight hesitation from the rest of them, but didn't think anything of it. Soon enough the group was sitting around, talking, laughing as though no time had passed. Haruhi excused herself to change out of her day clothes and into something more comfortable, and as she was in her bedroom switching from her formal graduation wear to a pair of well-worn jeans and a t-shirt she couldn't stop thinking about the one person who wasn't there. He was the one person she hadn't spoken with since…that day, though her mind often insisted on replaying their last meeting. Resolving to put her self-doubt on the back burner for now, she ran a brush through her shoulder-length hair and wandered back out to the living room.
'No one would ever mistake you for a boy now, Haruhi,' Kyouya quipped as she reentered the room, and the hosts were delighted to see a pale pink blush race across her cheeks.
'That is definitely the truth,' came a smooth, playful voice from the direction of the door. Haruhi looked over to see a gorgeous blonde man standing there, a large box in one hand and a bouquet of wildflowers in the other. She paused as her brain caught up to the situation, staring in shock, entirely missing the smiles, whispers, and chuckles from her friends. And then the young man smiled and Haruhi felt her heart stop.
'…Hon…Honey-senpai?' She was frozen, rooted to the spot as he advanced slowly, barely noticing as he handed the box to someone else and stepped directly in front of her.
'And I didn't even have to kiss you to hear you stammer this time,' he joked quietly. Staring into his eyes, she realized he was actually an inch or two taller than she was now. But his smile was still sunshine, his eyes still full of warmth as he handed her the flowers.
'Congratulations on your graduation, Haru-chan,' he murmured.
'Mitsukuni. Please.' For some reason that caused her to blush even more deeply, and his fingers brushed her cheek.
'Mitsukuni,' she whispered. Without saying a word, he wrapped his arms around her, and she felt the strength and affection in his embrace. She never could get enough of his hugs in the past. It seemed some things never changed.
'I brought cake.'
And just like that, the tension faded and she began to laugh. All was right with her world. She had them all back again. More importantly, Honey-senpai – pardon, Mitsukuni – was back.
They began to file out as dawn was pinking the sky. Kyouya was first, leaving with a rare hug, a kiss on the cheek, and an admonition to make sure she proved that the faith the law offices placed in her by hiring her straight out of school was not in vain. She just laughed, by now recognizing the way the Ootori successor couched his affection in terms of business. Tamaki was next, his farewell much more effusive and flowery, but Haruhi couldn't bring herself to be frustrated with his extravagance. Mori-senpai…no, Takashi now, she'd have to remember…gave her a strong hug and ruffled her hair like he used to, inviting her to join him for lunch later in the week as he had a legal matter he'd like her opinion on. She smiled and agreed gladly. Hikaru and Kaoru swept her up between them again as they usually did.
'Don't make him wait any longer,' they whispered, laughing at her gobstruck expression as they walked out the door. And then she turned to face the only remaining guest who was lounging insolently on her armchair with a soft smile on his face. And she finally recognized it, the difference in that smile.
'I've been so blind,' she whispered.
'It's okay, Haruhi,' he murmured in response, standing and crossing the room to stand before her. 'I knew you didn't know how I felt.'
'Why didn't you tell me?'
'Because I knew how important college was to you. I resolved to let you go, to let you grow and learn and achieve on your own. You see, I'm a very…greedy man, you might say.' He reached for her hand and she noticed how perfect it felt nestled in his own. 'I want to know that when I'm with a woman, it's me she's thinking of. Not upcoming tests or things to study for. Me.' The look he was giving her was nothing like the pristine boy Lolita persona he used to wear so easily, though there were hints of the playful side of his personality in his eyes.
'But…what if I had found somebody else?' she wondered aloud. He sighed, his other hand coming up to caress her hair.
'Then I would have made sure you were happy with them. And that would have made me content.'
'Let me put it this way. I would have hated whoever you chose because they were not me, but I would have loved them for bringing a smile to your face.' The hand in her hair moved to cup her jaw. 'Now, I believe this time I'll actually ask first.'
'Ask…what?' she said, still partially stunned.
'May I kiss you, Haruhi?' She blinked, blushed, and nodded, not trusting her voice in the least. But he smiled again, that secret smile just for her, and brought his lips to hers, and for the first time since the last time, Haruhi understood the meaning behind the offerings of cake, behind the hugs, and the training. She understood. And that understanding loosened the bands she had around herself, the bands that had kept her from dating, from intimacy with other guys. It set her free, and she dove into that freedom with both feet.
Clothing flew, gasps and sighs filling the air as she learned exactly what he had felt all those years ago. She whimpered, he grinned. She gasped his name, he caught it with his lips. And when she felt as though she would explode he moved, over her, in her, joining them like pieces of a puzzle she'd never before realized went together, showing her with his body and his words, with actions and caresses, just how much he loved sweet things.
Some things never would change. Others…she sighed against her lover's shoulder and he nestled her in the embrace she now understood was meant just for her. Other things did change. And this was a good one. Catching her eyes, he pulled her underneath him and proceeded to drive her out of her mind once more. They both learned lessons that night.
He'd taught her the true meaning of insatiable.
She taught him that he wasn't the only one.