Beginning Note: I had to give this favorite character of mine some love. That's all I'm saying, not that the title won't give it away…
Disclaimer: I don't own these characters. Hatori Bisco does. Go her!
More Than Words
He remembers that she tasted of strawberries the first time he kissed her. He remembers the smell of the sea and sunscreen. The gentle burn of the sun and the feel of the sand between his toes.
The memory makes him smile and he turns to gaze at the woman he loves.
"Mommy, look at me!" his dark-haired son calls, splashing in the surf.
She waves at him and tells him to be careful. He laughs and makes friends with the other children playing along the shoreline.
She turns to him and smiles, shaking her head.
"At least he'll sleep on the car ride home," she says.
He nods, eyes crinkling in humor. His young son must get his energy from his cousin's side of the family because he was never this excitable when he was a toddler and he doubted his wife was either.
A hiss makes him look at her in concern.
"Are you okay?"
"Oh, I'm fine. This one is going to be as strong as his daddy," she says, resting her hands on her pregnant belly.
He chuckles and lays one of his large hands over her small ones. He turns his face to the sun and sighs contentedly.
"I know that sigh," she says, moving around with difficulty to face the love of her life.
"I was thinking about our first date," he tells her.
"Hmm," she hums with a small smile, the sun reflecting prisms from her engagement ring and wedding band. "You tasted like strawberries."
He starts, surprised at her words. She treats him with a shy grin and a blush.
"Takashi!" she admonishes, whacking him playfully. "You know I should have seen how you felt the day you put all your strawberries on my plate."
"Do you remember that day at my house?"
There was no way he couldn't remember that day. The Host Club had inadvertently created a fuss outside her apartment and she flatly told them to go home, frustrated at their arrogance. She eventually relented, as she normally did when it came to them and they intruded into her small world. He liked to think that it was one of the best bad decisions he had ever made, listening to his group of unpredictable friends.
"I knew you loved strawberries. Hanii told me," she confesses, twining her fingers around his. "And when you gave up yours to me, I just should have understood."
"You did eventually," he points out, earning an exasperated look.
"How long were you waiting for it to go badly with Kyouya?" she asks suddenly.
He turns red and gives her a sheepish grin.
"Since the moment it started. You were never right for each other," he says, reaching out a hand to touch Haruhi's cheek. "It was so hard to watch you be with someone so wrong for you."
"We suited each other for a while," she protests.
He shakes his head.
"He had too much darkness for someone like you," he tells her. "You were never meant to be with someone weighted down by so much expectation. You would have never been free."
"Well, he and I eventually figured out we were better friends than lovers. Plus, your family is much easier to deal with," she says with a grin, thinking of her husband's still rambunctious younger brother, Satoshi.
Takashi's family had been much more welcoming than Kyouya's ever had. The Ootori's were stiff and formal and very interested in bloodlines, something she never had. Kyouya's father was a cold, unfeeling man, showing no affection for his third son and making no attempt at welcoming her. When she looks at it, it seems that she and Kyouya were doomed from the start.
The Morinozuka's had accepted her without hesitation and without complaint, uncaring of her commoner status or her bizarre father. In fact, they adored Ranka and his weird habits, something Haruhi could never understand. Even the Haninozuka family was beyond welcoming.
"It must have been hard to see that," she says.
He smiles at his wife.
"I am a patient man, Haruhi. Kyouya has always been openly calculating. I just take it slow. I've always been a behind the scenes sort of person."
"I'm glad or else I'd be married into a family that doesn't know how to smile. Well, except Fuyumi, Kyouya's sister. She was the only one who wasn't formal," she says, turning her eyes back to their son.
"Mommy! Daddy!" he cries, running up to them, holding out his hand. "I found something."
The tall man stands and picks up his son. Haruhi, with a groan, gets up as well.
"What do you have?" he asks the boy in his deep voice.
"I found the prettiest shell on the whole beach!" the child says, emphasizing the world 'whole.' "And it's for Mommy."
"The prettiest shell for the prettiest mommy ever," her husband says, causing her to blush.
The toddler hands the scallop shell to Haruhi, who takes it with a smile.
"Why thank you, Kazuhiko," she says, taking the gift. "Ready to go home?"
"I'm getting sleepy," he pouts, looking very much like Hanii. Someone was spending too much time with the tall, silent man's cousin.
"Well then, time to go home," Takashi says, as Haruhi finishes packing their beach towels and chairs.
As they drive home, the car falls silent from Kazuhiko's chatter. She turns in her seat and smiles. He has fallen asleep in his car seat.
"That was fun today," she says. "I'm glad we went, especially since that's where we had our first date."
"Of course! It's one of my favorite dates."
He smiles widely at her. He may not be a man of many words, but she was one of the only people who understood his looks and silences.
"Me too," he says, pulling into the driveway of the Morinozuka vacation home in Okinawa.
The cricket cheap as he pulls his sleeping son out of his car seat. Haruhi follows him as he quietly pads to Kazuhiko's bedroom and lays him down gently. They kiss their exhausted son goodnight and head over to their room across the hall. She flops onto the bed with a groan, massaging her lower back.
"Oh, the bed feels so nice," she moans, kicking off her shoes.
"Kazuhiko is bushed," he notes, sitting next to her and taking over massaging her back.
"It's from all that running around and sun," she says, closing her eyes.
He leans over and nuzzles her neck, trailing open-mouthed kisses as he goes. Her skin is salty from the sea air and she smells like sunscreen. She grips his shirt in her fist, pulling him towards her. She devours his lips hungrily, tasting the sun. He eases his large body over her pregnant one and begins to undress her slowly, dark eyes burning into hers.
He shuts Kazuhiko's door quietly before heading back to their bedroom. A soft sigh draws his gaze to his slumbering wife. As he watches Haruhi sleep, a gentle smile spreads across his face. He loves this girl. More than words could say, not that he uses them often. But this girl gave him courage he never knew he had. She helped him find his voice when it was most important.
If not for her, he maybe would have never found the words he needed and he would have lost her forever.