The Search for the Perfect Pencil
"Oh, look at this, Haruhi."
The winning bid for the mechanical pencil that you threw away sold for thirty thousand yen. Nice, huh?"
"I THOUGHT I LOST THAT!"
I NEVER KNEW ANY OF THIS BEFORE?! No one told me we received money this way!"
"You didn't think that we go through all this as just some sort of community service, did you? Event expenses plus costume expenses plus all the food, etcetera... We only have a 1% profit rate on average."
"That doesn't give you the right to steal someone else's things and sell them! You thieves!"
"We didn't steal it. You dropped it."
"I'm so sorry Haruhi! We didn't mean to hide this from you! Here! I'll give you my mechanical pencil instead! It has a teddy bear on it!"
"No, I don't want it."
"Then how about I'll tell you the secrets to my success and my fondest childhood memories?"
"I don't need to be rude, senpai, but I'm not interested in hearing about that."
Tamaki was holding his pencil tightly again. The lead of his kuma-chan mechanical pencil snapped the second he tried writing his name on his homework. Oh, I can't bear it any longer! He thought, putting his right hand over his heart. His face looked as if it was about to be sodden with melodramatic tears. Haruhi must be sooo depressed at the thought of never seeing her easy-to-write-with pencil ever again! Even if she's staying at Ouran instead of Lobelia, she must be sooo lonely during tests without her special pencil! His fantasy mind theater started running; it featured an extremely shoujo Haruhi taking a test. Or at least, she was supposed to be taking it. She looked frightened of the paper. "Oh Tamaki," now she looked like she was on the edge of tears. Her hands covered her cheeks. "Why did you sell my only pencil in the world? How am I ever to take this super duper hard test? Why? Whyyyy?"
I am such a cruel human being, I don't deserve to live! He grimaced to himself. Little did he know that other people were giving him odd looks. I must make it up to Haruhi somehow. I must! I shall go through penance in order to be forgiven! Forgetting his homework entirely, he put his right hand to his chin and began thinking. Hmmm…
"Ah! I got it!" Tamaki snapped his fingers. His expression changed to a polar opposite. His eyes were bright, filled with opportunity. "Hey, Kyouya, I got this idea just now…" Tamaki turned to his right. Kyouya didn't seem to be paying attention. He was writing in his notebook, obediently working.
"Don't you always?" Kyouya sounded amused. He continued writing, not even passing a glance at Tamaki.
"Yes, but this is the plan of all plans! Just-"
"You always say that, too."
"Regardless, listen to this." For no apparent reason, Tamaki stood up next to Kyouya, bent down, and whispered something in his ear.
Tamaki stood up, his arms crossed across his chest proudly. "What do you think?" He looked down at Kyouya. Tamaki was grinning; he was proud of his latest concoction.
Kyouya sighed. He closed his notebook. "You're still fixated on that? Of all things? Very well. It sounds doable. Might be quite profitable as well."
"OK!" Tamaki fist pumped both his hands. "We'll have to wake up early tomorrow, but I'll make sure you won't be inconvenienced. I know how you hate the mornings and all. 'K then, I'll meet you tomorrow morning! See ya!" He packed everything and ran out the door.
Kyouya looked at the door. Too late. Tamaki was already gone. "Wait," Kyouya said softly, "what?"
The digital clock next to Kyouya's bed read 7:00. There was a small AM sign right after it, colored in a brighter red than the PM sign below it. Kyouya covered his head with the blanket so that only a small portion of his messy black hair was uncovered. A shadow darkened the blanket's light blue cover. "Kyouya?" Tamaki whispered, slowly inching a pointer finger at his head in an attempt to wake him up.
"That's too dangerous, Tono! Don't do that!" Kaoru and Hikaru hissed. "Actually," Kaoru started, "it might be fun to watch." The two looked at each other and shrugged. They stood at a wise distance; they were standing right in front of the door. Honey and Mori were sitting at a small table near the door; Honey, as usual, was participating in his morning cake ritual. Mori, with his arms crossed, looked passively at Tamaki.
Tamaki's finger touched Kyouya's head. No reaction. Tamaki crept closer. Kaoru and Hikaru leaned forward as well, intrigued by the suspense. Honey continued devouring his cake, watching what was going on. Mori still looked passive.
Tamaki's finger prodded Kyouya's head. "Kyouya? Kyouuuyyyaaaaa. Wake up. Rise and shine...please? It's time to go. Surely this time isn't imposing upon you? Kyouya? Kyouyaaaaaa."
"He's dead." Hikaru whispered. The four boys nodded.
Still no response from Kyouya.
"Hmph." Tamaki crossed his arms again. "There has to be some way to wake him up."
"Maybe, Tama-chan, it's best that we leave him asleep. Remember what happened the last time we took Kyouya against his will…" The twins and Tamaki gulped.
"He made you pay compensation ten times over, remember that Tono?" Kaoru and Hikaru said in unison.
"Well, that was only a miniscule drain on what small cash I had in my wallet at the time, but…" Tamaki gulped again. He looked sideways towards the nightstand. There was a nearly-full glass of water on the stand. "Ah…m-maybe t-this…" He slowly raised the glass, trying hard not to shake the water out of the glass out of nervousness.
"HE WANTS TO DIE." Hikaru tried to whisper, but he was too loud.
"INDEED HE DOES." Kaoru replied in the same manner. The two were beginning to look terrified.
"I'll give Kyouya one more chance," Tamaki replied to them, "Kyouya? Kyouyyaaaaa? Time to goooo! Come on!" Tamaki sounded more urgent. "We don't have much more time! We must away in order to enact our master plan!" He poked Kyouya with his free pointer finger again.
A hand jumped out from under the covers and grabbed Tamaki's hand tightly. Tamaki girlishly screamed. He would have tripped backwards if it wasn't for the hand clasping onto his. The four by the door jumped, frightened. Hikaru and Kaoru moved to the corner where Honey and Mori were. All were cowering in fear.
"I'm dead I'm dead I'm dead I'm dead I'm dead I'm dead I'm dead I'm dead I'm dead I'm dead I'm dead-" Tamaki whimpered.
"Why the hell are you guys here? I went to bed at 3 last night…" Kyouya let go of Tamaki's hand and sat up in bed. His face was dark, his eyes demonic. This only made the four in the corner cower more violently. "Who the hell gave you the damn right to wake me up…."
"U-u-uh. But Kyouya….Eeek!" Tamaki screeched as Kyouya slowly turned to him. Kyouya looked even more demonic to Tamaki when he was look right at him. "W-we agreed that we would have to wake up early in the morning..."
"Be more specific next time. You never said anything about early equaling seven in the freaking morning…"
"G-go-gomennasai! Eee!" Now Tamaki tripped backwards. The water spilled out of the glass, soaking Kyouya's face. The glass fell to the floor and shattered.
"You…broke…my…gla-" Kyouya plopped back onto the bed, completely knocked out.
The Hitachiin brothers looked at each other. "Who would have expected Tono to do that?" They shrugged. "It's just like a manga!"
Tamaki immediately stood up. He brushed himself off and snapped his fingers. Honey, Mori, Kaoru, and Hikaru came to his side. "Boys, let's get him dressed up! And someone call a servant to clean up the glass and to fill up a new one as a replacement so he doesn't make me pay for that glass a thousand times over!"
"Roger!" They saluted.
"'K, I'm leaving now, dad!" Haruhi called out. She closed the door and locked it. She adjusted the tote bag on her shoulder and put the keys in her pocket.
Dear mother in heaven, today's Saturday. Today, I have a break from the Host Club, and I plan to go shopping for groceries today. Haruhi took a deep breath. She started humming as she descended the stairs and walked further and further from her home. She exhaled. Today is a nice day. A little warm, sure. But relaxing nonetheless. Although, that may be because I'm finally by myself.
She heard a car behind her, but thought nothing of it. Even though not many people had cars in her area, she was used to the occasional car passing by.
This wasn't just a normal car. Haruhi heard it screech to a halt right next to her. She saw, through her peripheral vision, that it was a big, sleek black car for around her home area. Oh no. It can't be... the door closest to her opened, a hand shot out. It wrapped itself around her, covering her mouth, and pulled her inside.
"Pah!" Haruhi exhaled as the hand uncovered her mouth. It was Hikaru who was at her side. His arm was still wrapped around her, and the pull had made her lean against him. The second thing Haruhi noticed was Tamaki's red face. Tamaki was shaking in anger, his hands clenched into fists. Haruhi was surprised that he hadn't said anything yet.
"Eh, where am I? Are you guys abducting me? Why? I was supposed to go grocery shopping today! They always have the best deals on Saturday…" Haruhi looked around the car. There were eight seats in total. Four seats were across four other seats. Kyouya was in front of Haruhi, and Tamaki, Mori, and Honey were next to him. Kyouya was looking at her groggily, which disconcerted her, not to mention that he had his trusty pad in his lap and he wasn't writing on it. Hikaru slowly took his arm off of her. Kaoru was on his other side. There was a space between the two; Kaoru was preoccupied with the "commoner's setting" outside of the window.
"YEAH! THAT'S RIGHT! RETRACT YOUR ARM FROM MY DAUGHTER!" Tamaki burst out at Hikaru. As usually, Hikaru looked apathetic.
Tamaki coughed purposefully. "Well, Haruhi. We know this is sudden, but I- we- wanted to make you feel better!"
"Huh?" Haruhi looked confused.
"Your beloved pencil was sold off! So, I have found a way to make you feel better. We'll be arriving there soon, so-"
"Wait, you're abducting me…because of a pencil that I lost about a while back?" Haruhi sounded perplexed.
"Yes," Tamaki knelt down to her and put his hands on her knees caringly. Now it was the twin's turn to look perturbed. "I know how much that pencil meant to you, so I worked hard to make it up to you. I won't be at peace until- oh look, we're here." He turned to a window
Haruhi looked through the same window. Huh? Is this…
Everyone got out of the car. "Like it, dear Haruhi?" Tamaki said eloquently.
"EH?! YOU BROUGHT ME TO A STATIONERY STORE?!" Haruhi yelled.
"Why did you bring to a stationery store today, of all the days in the week!" Haruhi looked at the host club alarmingly. "I can't spend my time here! I'm missing the deal of 50 yen off the eggs and milk!"
Kyouya adjusted his glasses, gaining more of his sanity every second. "For someone that said he would try his best to not be an inconvenience to anybody..." Tamaki gulped when he heard Kyouya, "you're sure doing a terrible job at it."
"Oh come on Haruhi." Hikaru pointed at the store. "What's so interesting about commoner's eggs? You'll like it here better. There's stuff here you can use for school. You like studying, don't you? You study nearly 24/7! And you, what? Only eat three times a day?"
"Yeah Haruhi, stay with us. my family can send you some of our eggs later if you want." Kaoru walked to her other side. "Or, if you prefer, one of our chickens-"
"Argh, thanks but no thanks! I have to go!" She turned around, frustrated that she was wasting time here.
"Wait!" Kaoru and Hikaru each grabbed one of her arms. "We'll let you leave when we're all done here! I'm sure that the deal won't be so popular that you have to go at, like, 9 in the morning!" They said together.
"Yes, yes, Haruhi!" Tamaki vigorously nodded his head. "Your time will be well compensated here."
Haruhi sighed. "Seeing how I can't get free," she tried to wrench herself away from the twin's grasp in vain, "and that I can't outrun a car, fine." She turned back to face the shop, but the grasp on her hands did not loosen. It was a modern-looking shop. It was tall and narrow; Haruhi noticed that there were four stories to the building, the outside built beige and light pink bricks. Each story had three glass windows with the classic inside plus support side by side. There was a display window on the bottom story, the glass a contrasting light blue. A banner hung above the display and the glass door: GRAND OPENING. The name of the store was right above the banner and right below the three windows of the second story: Ouran Host Club's Kawaii Stationery Store!
Haruhi was shocked. You…can't…be…serious, she thought."You guys…MADE A STATIONERY STORE!?"
"Yup! I came up with the name! Do you like it, Haru-chan?" Honey asked.
"It'll be a lot of fun to run a shop, too." Kaoru and Hikaru said.
"I-we- made it for you, Haruhi!" Tamaki said affectionately to her. "Your father made this store for you!"
"It'll create some profit for us as well." Kyouya added his two cents in.
"Yeah." Mori said.
My head hurts. Haruhi held her head.
"My dear daughter, are you okay?" Tamaki was now in front of her. "Is the awesomeness of our lovely store too much for you? Ah, now that I think about it…" he clenched one hand and hit his open palm with it. "Kyouya and I created this store, so this store must be our child...Family, meet our newest addition!" Tamaki turned and pointed at the store. "Haruhi. Mori. Honey. Kaoru. Hikaru. Meet your newest sibling!"
"Tono's lost the last of his marbles. What makes him think we can be siblings with a store?" Hikaru looked to Kaoru.
"Is your mind always this warped, idiot?" Kyouya asked.
"My head still hurts." Haruhi groaned. How much longer of this? She wondered.
"Now now, don't be like that, Mother!" Tamaki shook his finger at Kyouya. Kyouya was looking less and less groggy by the minute. Soon he would be back to his old calculating self. "Now, let's all go inside!"
"Fine. But I hope you guys know that there was a sale on instant coffee, too." Haruhi muttered.
"Shimatta, well, win some, lose some, I guess." Kaoru replied. Hikaru looked stricken at Haruhi's words.
"I wanted some coffee..." Hikaru trailed off.
"Damn these rich people." Haruhi muttered again.
"I'm sorry, Haruhi," Kyouya said cooly. "Did you say something?"
"Eh? No, nothing. Nothing at all."
As they escaped the warm and humid air from outside, the gang felt the AC gently blow cool air at them. A checkout counter was to their immediate right. Haruhi was expecting more than one. She was about to say something about that when the sight in front of her made her stop.
There were all kinds of pens in front of her. A staircase was to the far left. A wall border separated the stairs from the three light blue walls that were covered with protective glass covering. The floors were pure white tiles. Behind the paneling were pens of several colors, neatly arranged by color on their very own stands. Not to mention the fact that there were separate lights that respectively shone on every single pen. Even the common ballpoint pens had stands; all in all, the scene of it all seemed to worship common stationery to Haruhi.
"Fountain pens, ballpoint pens, gel pens, you name it." Kyouya yawned. Didn't take too long to gather, I suppose."
Haruhi noticed that each wall featured pens that were in an array of 20 by 20. I can't even reach the top shelves! She thought. She looked to the corner of the left and middle walls; there was a stool there. Figures. Should've known they'd plan ahead if they thought of all this so far. There were three light green backbone-less benches- one right before the walls- as if the customers would sit on them and contemplate the pens. "Light green velvet." Kyouya said, noticing where Haruhi's gaze was. "Surely commoners use such benches for their customers? If not, it's merely for our own customers' convenience. I've also put a pad of paper on each bench so people can try out pens when they call our workers to bring them. The pens behind the glass are merely for display." When Haruhi looked closer at the pens, there were small price tags and design numbers.
"What? Even the normal ballpoint pens are expensive? 50,000 yen?" Haruhi sounded astonished.
Kyouya shrugged. "Commoner items are collectibles among most Ouran students."
Damn these rich people!
"Take your pick, Haruhi! Any piece of stationery in this building, any amount, all free of charge! I've scoured for months looking for stationery that could even bother to be looked at by you! We'll charge our customers," Tamaki took Haruhi's hands into his. Haruhi was immediately repelled from his overly-dramatic teary face, "but not you, Haruhi. Think of it as a way that we're paying you back. Anything here can be yours! Just say the word!"
"Come this way, Haruhi!" Kaoru and Hikaru grabbed each of her hands and dashed away with Haruhi straight up the stairs to the next floor. As Haruhi was pulled away, she could hear Tamaki grrr in irritation. She could hear Honey giggle, too.
The first floor was plainer than the ground floor, but it was filled with mechanical pencils. The carpet floor was a dark grey, the ceiling a light grey. The lighting was bright enough, but…
"Did you guys really design this place. I mean, no offense, but it seems a little…" Haruhi trailed off.
"Drab?" Kaoru finished her sentence.
"Yeah, we didn't design the room. Tono did. He called us last night and asked us to immediately choose stationery that would fit the dimensions of this room." Hikaru squeezed her hand. "It makes me so mad….HE COLORED THIS ROOM THIS BORINGLY ON PURPOSE!"
"YEAH!" Kaoru answered back.
"How you guys have so much energy this early in the morning is beyond me…" Haruhi muttered. She took a look around. The room had a similarity to the downstairs pen display. There were stairs in the far left, there were longer benches (although these had a shade of grey that was between the walls' shade and the floors' shade). The three windows were behind Haruhi, just appearing on the front wall right on top of the main door and display glass. They were too high up, even for any of the other host club members, and the top of the stairs were too far away from the windows.
"There's more pencils here than pens downstairs." She observed, looking around at the wall to the right.
"Well, yeah. Tono wanted pencils specifically for you." Kaoru said, right behind her. "Plus this room is bigger."
"I see." Haruhi looked around. Wow, they really have all kinds of pencils. Plain black mechanical pencils, pencils that have the button on the grip….wait, are these….gold mechanical pencils? They actually make those? Who on earth buys those?
"Like any on this side?" Kaoru came up to her left side. He widened his arms. "I came up with all the pencils on this side. Hikaru came up with all of those pencils behind us, and," he pointed to the wall that had the stairs, "that's where we collaborated. Of course, there weren't many problems on that front, but Tono thought we should try it like that."
"Tamaki thinking all of this is kind of irksome…" Haruhi sighed. "I don't really want anything. I just bought another pencil to replace it…"
"You what?" Hikaru and Kaoru hugged her tightly. "You poor thing, spending your life savings for a pencil. Poor, poor, pitiable thing…" They said together.
"Suddenly, Tamaki's planning isn't as irksome as you two…" She murmured again.
"YOU TWO, WHAT ARE YOU TWO DOING TO MY DAUGHTER?" Haruhi felt Tamaki jerk her away from the twins. "Come, daughter, we shall go upstairs to my room." For such a strong jerk, Haruhi was gently lead upstairs.
"That didn't sound wrong at all." The twins said.
If only I had three tote bags instead of one, and if I could stuff one into each of their mouths…Haruhi thought violently.
The second floor had more color to it. The floor was tiled with a pale-brown color. Let me guess, she hypothesized, marble. The walls were bright green, and the benches were a dark green. Haruhi noticed classical pencils behind the glass. There were even different kinds of erasers and sharpeners. Only the wall that had the stairs featured mechanical pencils; the amount of them was nothing compared to the twin's drab room. The center of the room featured four columns of notebooks with cute "kawaii" covers. The four notebooks on the top of the columns had some type of teddy bear on them. Haruhi sighed, although Tamaki didn't notice. How many times have I sighed already? Funny, he was going on and on about replacing a mechanical pencil, but most of his room is filled with normal pencils.
"Do you adore my room, daughter? Marble tiling, bright green walls… I did some research and found out that green is perceived as a 'relaxing' color. Commoners frequently use 'green' rooms to calm themselves before performances and the like. So, dear Haruhi, I would like to relax and choose whatever you want-"
"Come, Haru-chan! See the room Mori and I came up with!" Honey yanked her away, his bunny in the crook of his other arm. Mori was right behind her, ushering her up the stairs with the fact that Haruhi was sandwiched between the two.
"NOT AGAIN! WHY MUST ALL OF YOU CUT ME OFF FROM MY PRECIOUS DAUGHTER!"
"The floorings aren't entirely in synch when it comes to their wall paint and flooring, huh?" Haruhi observed the fourth and final floor of the building. The floors had light green and light pink "wooden" flooring. The walls were a different bright pink.
"Yeah, Haru-chan. Tama-chan asked each of us to design our own floor. We weren't talking with the others at the time, see? It's like each floor features one- or sometimes two- personalities of the host club! Unique, huh, Takashi?"
"Yeah." Mori agreed.
This floor featured even more cute notebooks than Tamaki's floor. They lined the right wall in nearly-even columns. And, to Haruhi's surprise, it was more refreshing that there were more than kuma-chan notebooks. There were even notepads that featured pastry designs. Ah well, some things just can't be helped. The left wall featured pencils- both mechanical and normal- that had matching designs to the notebooks. The wall straight ahead featured keshigomu- Japanese erasers- and specifically, keshigomu that were in the shape of foods.
"And there's a table in the middle to eat snacks…" Haruhi tear-dropped.
"Yup!" Honey cheerfully replied.
Haruhi looked at the pink, circular table. She could already see that a slice of cake was almost finished. Wait a minute, Honey-senpai was downstairs the whole time, right? How did he eat so fast?! Ah...I guess this can't be helped either.
"Come back downstairs, Haruhi!" The twins and Tamaki were suddenly behind her. They pulled her down all the stairs before she could argue. They stopped pulling her when she reached the cash register. "First, look around here!" They commanded in sync.
As Haruhi was being pulled away, Kaoru discreetly let go of Haruhi's shoulder and pulled back. He stayed on his floor- the first floor- and looked to the right wall. Once he found what he was looking for, he walked downstairs to join everyone.
"Yes, take a look around the ground floor first, Haruhi." Kyouya came up to her. "If you feel like buying anything past the first pen…Hmm, it might have to go onto your debt." He said innocently.
Even now he's trying to make money? Should've known… "Fine," she said. "I'll look at your rooms in order from the ground up. And- when I do pick something- I can leave, right?" When the group nodded, she went to look around.
"Although...We would like to spend the rest of the day with you, and maybe eat your handmade lunch-ow!" Kyouya jabbed Tamaki in the hips.
"Don't ask for more." Kyouya said bluntly.
"T-that hurt, Mama…" Tamaki was starting to become all melodramatic and teary-eyed again.
Kyouya rolled his eyes.
"Oh Haruhi!" Tamaki called out, his mood suddenly changing. "The shop was supposed to open today, but I told everyone personally to not come until tomorrow! I did it so you could see my store alone-"
"Our store!" everyone else corrected him.
"Yes, yes, our store! How could I have ever forgotten my family? I should be ashamed of myself!"
"Yes, you should…" Haruhi trailed off. She was sounding grumpier by the minute. She put her hand on the glass, moving her hand as she looked at each pen.
"…We might have to have the cleaners come and clean the glass again." Kyouya said.
The twins look frightened as they saw Haruhi's free hand clench, making her fingers crack.
"I'll go look upstairs. I wasn't originally looking for a pen anyway," she grumbled.
"Fair enough," Kyouya responded.
"Yes! Now it's our turn!" The Hitachiin brothers fist pumped.
"Nu-uh! Haruhi's coming with me first! She's barely seen my floor compared to yours or Honey-senpai's!"
"As your seniors, we request that Haru-chan sees our floor first!" Honey said.
"Yeah." Mori concurred.
"I refuse to let my daughter see your room first!"
"My head's hurting again..." Haruhi clutched her head as she went up the steps.
"How about this, Haruhi? Is this suiting to your tastes?" Tamaki had, shockingly, won the fight over Haruhi. He showed her the umpteenth mechanical pencil with a teddy bear top.
"No thanks, senpai, I'm not interested in that…"
"You'd think he'd learn his lesson the first time." Hikaru and Kaoru shrugged. "Guess our Tono really is an idiot."
"Well," Hikaru wrapped his arm around Haruhi, "since nothing of Tono's is satisfying Haruhi, perhaps we shall go downstairs with her. What do you say, Kaoru?"
"I say that's a great idea."
"No it isn't!" Tamaki became teary eyed. "Don't separate me from her! Please, I beg of you! Don't separate me from my daughter!" He knelt to the ground and clasped his hands pleadingly.
"I swear, loud king, stop whining and let her go downstairs. You're giving everyone- especially Haruhi- an even larger headache." Kyouya called from downstairs. "Actually, Haruhi, why don't you look upstairs at Mori-senpai and Honey-senpai's room? So as to not bother you, I'll ask all the group members to come downstairs to me."
"…Thank…you, senpai?" Haruhi wasn't sure what Kyouya's motive was, but she went upstairs by herself.
"So, what's your plan, Kyouya?" Kaoru asked. The group was huddled together near the cash register. "You obviously have something up your sleeve."
"I do, in fact, have something up my sleeve," Kyouya responded, "three somethings, as a matter of fact. "In order to make this more interesting, I propose we have a little game." He took something out of his jeans' pocket: three pictures. The first picture was familiar to all: it was the picture Kyouya took of Haruhi when the Lobelia girls had first come to Ouran and left, correcting Haruhi's misconceptions about Ouran. Her face was darkened in what seemed to be anger at the time. The second one showed her wearing some sort of middle school uniform; her back was turned to the camera and she was looking up to Ouran's clock tower. The picture was taken with a slight worm eye's view. The third was her in her pink swimsuit at Kyouya's tropical resort. "Whoever gets Haruhi to keep the most of his items will win these."
Suddenly, everyone looked serious (with the exception of Kyouya- he was looked amused).
"Work hard." Kyouya said.
Everything became a frenzy. Everybody- sans Kyouya- sped up the stairs. "HARUHI!" They called out.
They were about to climb the stairs to the top when they saw Haruhi descending. "Sorry Honey-senpai, Mori-senpai, I just didn't think I could write with any of the pencils. I mean, they're cute and all," Haruhi quickly added when she saw Honey's face scrunch up, "but-"
"Then it's my turn!" Tamaki waved his arms. He quickly opened the glass and took out yet another teddy bear mechanical pencil. He touched it to Haruhi's cheek, and Haruhi was looking apathetic again. "Haruhi, how about-"
"Nope," Haruhi cut him off, "sorry senpai, but I think it'll be best if I go downstairs. Hikaru and Kaoru are the only ones that still have a chance." She said bluntly, walking off as the twins stuck their tongues out at Tamaki. Tamaki, needless to say, was mindblown.
"Ta-ma-chan?" Honey poked Tamaki in the stomach. No response.
"Well," the twins said, sounding smug, "I think we should go downstairs and see what pencils Haruhi wants from our section."
"NOOOOOO!" Tamaki bawled, paralyzed no more.
"COME ON, COME ON, HARUHIII! ANYTHING YOU WANT, ANYTHING! TAKE THEM ALL, IF YOU WANT!" The twins cried.
"Will you guys shut up? You're too loud for me." Haruhi tear-dropped.
"Ah, she's choosing from my side, Kaoru!"
"Oh come on, Haruhi. Aren't any of my pencils interesting to you?" Kaoru pleaded.
Haruhi slowly turned to the twins, glaring at them. The twins immediately quieted themselves.
"Tono's downstairs, right?" Hikaru asked Kaoru.
Kaoru continued looking at Haruhi. "Yeah, I think Mori-senpai and Honey-senpai are restraining him." Kaoru looked to him. "Our senpais took the loss pretty well, I'd say."
"Huh, whatever. I'm not losing to you, you know."
"Hikaru, I'm hurt. Has all our brotherly love amounted to nothing in the face of Haruhi's cuteness?"
"You guys aren't in the host club right now. Why are you acting like this now?…Anyway," Haruhi turned around and went down the stairs, "I'm done. I'm going now. Bye."
"WAIT WAIT WAIT, HARUHI!" The twins called. Haruhi was about to open the door when she was pulled backwards by everybody.
"Wait, Haruhi." Kyouya called out. He was standing behind a cash register in pieces, a screwdriver in his hand."We need to see which item- or what items- you've picked. Just…for general knowledge."
"I highly doubt that's the case, but here." Haruhi opened her hand. It was a single mechanical pencil.
"It's…It's…" Tamaki was at a loss for words. They all were.
"It's just like the pencil we sold off." Kyouya noted. "Huh." The pencil was black and dark grey. It was completely ordinary, and it had a small logo on the side: "B's デンキ".
"Yeah. I hope it'll write as well as the other one did. It should, though, once I write with it enough. You guys certainly have the collection if you went out of your way to go to an electronics' store to ask for a pencil that was given months ago for a promotion."
Tamaki was shocked once more. He robotically took the pencil, handed it to Kyouya, who took off the small security tag, and he gave it back to Haruhi without a word.
"Well, I'm going now. Thank you. Now, please, I would like to get to the store in time!" Haruhi took off, not even waiting to hear Tamaki's offer of dropping her off.
"So, whose pencil was that anyway?" Kyouya said as he locked the store. The group had decided to walk to a restaurant nearby. "I need to know, or no one will get his photos…"
"It was on Hikaru's side! Damn it!" Kaoru yelled. "Damn…Haruhi looks so cute in those photos…Wish I could've won…" Kaoru looked like he was on the brink of pouting. His arms were crossed and he refused to look at an astonished Hikaru.
"Me? Well, okay! Then yes, it was me! Although, I don't remember choosing that pencil for my side…" Hikaru added softly. Kyouya duly handed the pictures over without a second thought. Hikaru smiled when he saw the pictures.
"Don't you dare look at your sister like that!" Tamaki roared.
"Gyoh!" Tamaki chocked as Kyouya jabbed him in the ribs again.
"That's enough from you," Kyouya said.
Mori looked at the photos behind Hikaru's shoulder. Honey looked up enviously at Hikaru. "You're so lucky, Hika-chan!"
"Come, let's go." Kyouya started walking away to the right. "Now that I think about it, Tamaki…having a stationery store might be hard to maintain with the host club about 15 minutes away. We might have to scrap it by tomorrow and pretend like one never existed to the others. I've already dismantled that infernal register. I don't know how commoners deal with those things."
Tamaki was too busy sobbing to pay attention to what Kyouya was actually saying, but Tamaki nodded anyway.
Everyone was starting to walk away.
Except for Kaoru. Kaoru stood still. He stared at Hikaru's back, his expression completely somber.
Kyouya stopped moving, the group not noticing him either. The group was talking, but not as they usually would; most of them were too dejected. Tamaki was crying, asking Hikaru to rip up the "scandalous" photos of his "daughter". Every plea made Hikaru grin even wider, and he kept the pictures away from Tono's grasp.
Kyouya turned around, meeting Kaoru's eyes. Kyouya smiled ever so slightly, and Kaoru faintly smiled back. Kaoru walked towards him, and they caught up with the group together.
"That was sneaky of you." Kyouya said.
"You noticed, huh? I expected that."
"It didn't take much effort to get one, really."
"I'm surprised, though. I somewhat expected you to take credit."
"Yeah, but…" Kaoru shrugged, "It's Hikaru that likes her, even though he's clueless about it."
"Hey, Kyouya! Can you make this big baby stop crying?" Hikaru called; he was clearly referring to their bawling king. He turned around and started walking backwards.
"Tamaki, Haruhi's happy now. Isn't that what you wanted?" Kyouya reasoned with the "big baby".
"Hey now…His pencils were still rejected by Haruhi, and you made things worse by issuing that challenge." Kaoru said. Kyouya ignored him.
"You're…You're right Kyouya!" Tamaki rebounded. "I should be happy…" he started bawling again. "But…Haruhi didn't like any of my pencils! Why, Haruhi, why?"
"Maybe she doesn't like teddy bears as much as rabbits." Honey hypothesized.
"Hmm…How about…" Hikaru trailed off, turning around. Kyouya and Kaoru caught up with the group.
"Some things never change." Kyouya sighed. "Idiots will remain idiots."
"Yeah," Kaoru faintly smiled again, "I guess so."