Summary: This story is set when Tamaki is accepted into the main Suoh household. He quits the club on his grandmother's orders and hands the club's running over to Kyoya. Soon after, the club is ordered to disband by the chairman, Tamaki's father, and the members are ordered to clear out the music room by the end of the day. As evening falls, two hosts meet and are left questioning their feelings for each other as the club comes to an end and they are all forced to go their separate ways. Despite the differences between them, can these two find a common ground and accept their growing attraction? And can they all find a way to restore the club?
Note: Despite some interweaving attractions and relationships for other characters, this is mainly a Kyoya x Haruhi fic. Other stories and pairings develop and are discovered along the way.
As I'm a fan of both the Anime and the Manga, this is a story incorporating aspects of both storylines, so may have unfamiliar elements, if you only follow one storyline or the other. Feel free to ask questions.
AN: I don't own Ouran or its characters.
Chapter One: The End of the Host Club:
Kyoya stood alone in the middle of the third music room, watching the door as it slowly swung closed after the last of the hosts. The infectious laughter of the twins echoed back up the corridor and abruptly cut off as the door clicked shut behind them. For a moment he stood still, staring at that all-too-familiar doorway, before moving back to his chair in the corner and sinking down onto it. He slipped his fingers beneath his glasses, rubbing tiredly at his eyes before picking up his cup and taking a sip of the bitter coffee. It was almost cold now, but he needed something to ward off his weariness and settle his nerves.
Truthfully, he had been expecting this day for quite a while, but now that it had finally arrived - he had no idea how to proceed.
Two days ago, to the surprise and dismay of the other club members, Tamaki had handed the club's presidency entirely over to Kyoya, as he announced his formal acceptance into the Suoh household and his resignation from the host club. In the face of the others member's anger and concern, Tamaki had seemed optimistic that the club would continue successfully in his absence. However Kyoya had always known that when this day came, it would really mean the end of the host club itself, and Tamaki's complete ensnarement by the Suoh Matriarch.
It was hardly surprising then, that the morning after Tamaki's announcement and Haruhi's subsequent ill-advised confrontation with the Chairman, the order came from the Headmaster for the host club to be permanently suspended, and for the hosts to remove all their belongings from the music room by the end of the week.
The announcement had been met by the utter dismay and disbelief of the regular princesses that attended the club. The other hosts' reactions had been more severe and it had taken all of Kyoya's considerable skill to quell the more drastic retributions promised, after all, the headmaster's decree was absolute. Eventually, after many hours of angry discussion amongst themselves, the boys finally realised that there really was no way around the headmaster's order and they faced the inevitable. The Host Club had come to an end.
Honey and Mori had come earlier while Kyoya had been cataloguing inventory, and they were followed soon after by the twins. They had all worked in silence for the most part, but once the majority of the sorting was completed, they had all sat and shared coffee for old times' sake while reminiscing on some of their more memorable host club exploits. The time spent was bittersweet, while the stories brought smiles and laughter, Tamaki and Haruhi's absence was palpable and the conversation became stilted, the laughter forced, and the others soon wished to escape the increasingly miserable atmosphere; and so they had left in their usual pairs, and now only Kyoya remained.
He glanced about the room that had been the scene of many of their parties and escapades. It was unbearably empty now. The twins had removed all of the costumes, most of which they or their mother had made. Honey had cleared the little pantry of all cakes and sweets, which Mori had obliging carried home for him, along with a few costume weapons he wanted for himself. Now, all that was left of the club were various odds and ends; the numerous tea sets that Kyoya had ordered over the past two years to accommodate each guest's tastes; and, of course, copious amounts of that damned instant coffee that everyone had seemed so keen on. They were stacked neatly, compiled and organised throughout the room in Kyoya's own particular fashion.
And he had no idea what to do with any of it.
A slight sound roused him from his thoughts, he raised his head as the main door opened a crack and Haruhi peeked in. She didn't seem to notice him sitting there and entered the room slowly, easing the door quietly closed behind her. Kyoya said nothing as he watched her turn in a slow circle, looking around the darkening chamber. Like him, she hadn't bothered turning on the lights and now the setting sun's rays cast the room in dim amber shadows and hues.
He regarded her for a long moment, trying to imagine what she was thinking.
Was she relieved that her debt was gone? That she no longer had to play host for a club that she had made clear she thought was inane? Did she care that she was one of the reasons that Tamaki had been forced to leave the club, and that her interference was the reason the club had been suspended for good? That everything that Tamaki and Kyoya had built together, was now rendered meaningless? Kyoya felt an unfamiliar anger bubbling up inside him and set his cup back in its saucer with a loud clink that made Haruhi gasp. She whirled quickly to face him, her hands coming up to rest over her heart, but when she saw him sitting there she released a shaky sigh of relief and flashed him a brief sad smile that caused his anger to melt away as quickly as it had come.
Of course she knew, Kyoya sighed. Haruhi was the brightest girl he had ever met, and even if she hadn't been, Tamaki hadn't been exactly subtle. To tell someone, emphatically, that it had nothingto do with them. Twice. Well, that was pretty much guaranteed to tell them that it had everything to do with them.
It was hardly surprising then, that after Tamaki's announcement, Haruhi had almost immediately run to see the President of the Suoh Company, to discover what her reasoning was for removing Tamaki from the club he so loved. Nor was it surprising that neither Haruhi - nor the Twins who had tagged along with her - had ever got to see the Suoh Matriarch. Not when her son, the Chairman - Tamaki's father - was there to intercept them.
As foolish as Haruhi's impetuousness seemed at the time, in light of how easily her questions had been deflected, it had at least shown that she had wanted to help, and Kyoya had to admire her bravery as she had faced down the Chairman. Yet it had all come to nothing in the end, and had, in fact, hastened the end of the host club. Not that he could explain that to her, not with Tamaki's pleas to the contrary.
Now in the day's waning light, they stared at each other in silence for a long moment, then Kyoya leaned back in his chair, gesturing for Haruhi to join him at the table.
"You missed the others, they've just left." he said. She nodded as she made her way to the seat opposite him and sat, bringing her feet up and wrapping her arms around her knees, hugging them to her.
"I know. I waited till they were gone. I couldn't face them again, after what happened yesterday," She smiled, a grim parody of her usually bright grin. "I really didn't think you'd be here either. I thought you'd be with…" Her smile faltered and she nervously brushed an errant strand of hair behind her ear as she looked away.
"Tamaki's gone home. He's still required to return promptly after school, to attend his grandmother'straining in the Suoh business." Kyoya said, swallowing tightly at the mention of the Suoh Matriarch, "I doubt we will see much of him in a social capacity, at least for a while."
"I see." Haruhi said, resting her chin on her knees, "I thought that now she had gotten her way, he would at least be allowed visitors, or be allowed out to see his friends." She plucked absentmindedly at one of her shirt cuffs and then shook her head laughing softly, "I thought as long as I wasn't here, she'd at least let him out to play."
Kyoya smiled grimly at her bad joke, but Haruhi didn't notice; instead she stared out the window at the sun setting over the Ouran Academy grounds. Her fingers were still playing with her shirt cuff and Kyoya had the strange urge to still her hand, as her fidgeting was making him restless, but he restrained himself and merely watched her.
She had always been a bit of a conundrum, this common girl - obviously very intelligent to get past the Ouran entrance exams and win their rare scholarship. She was un-intimidated by the wealth of her class-mates and determined to excel in her studies so she could follow her dream of becoming a lawyer. Yet, she didn't seem bothered to try and fit in, or ingratiate herself with the rich and powerful students who could have helped her achieve her goal. She turned up to one of the best schools in the country, hair cropped horribly short, wearing hideous glasses and dressed in her father's old clothes, looking like a boy; and she was completely unfazed by the fact that she did not fit in here, and made absolutely no effort to try to do so. Until of course, she was pulled into the host club.
Kyoya had always been raised to look down on the lower classes, yet he couldn't help but admire Haruhi's quiet intelligence. She was consistently first in her class and had the courage to go after her dreams. Still, there was something more to Fujioka, Haruhi, something that anyone who took the time to get to know her soon discovered.
They had dubbed her The Natural when she joined their club, because she seemed to put people immediately at ease and seemed interested and caring towards everyone she met, even those that might not treat her with the same regard. The strange thing was that it was all genuine.
All the other members used aspects of their personalities in their host club personas, but it was all really an act, but, while Haruhi may have been hiding the biggest secret of them all, the way she treated those around her with respect and consideration - that was real. Kyoya could never understand it, why would she bother wasting true emotions on the guests? He had thought that she was merely trying to increase her number of designations so she could clear her debt quickly, but the more he watched her the more he realized that this was simply who Haruhi was.
She was brutally honest at times, but never with the intention of hurting anyone. She was observant, often the only one that could tell the twins apart, or the first to see when people were in trouble or trying to hide their pain. Her rare flashes of anger rivalled his own, and it had made him smirk to see the others quail before her, despite her tiny stature and lack of martial training, but those spells were soon to pass as she, unlike him, was quick to forgive. She was insightful seeing to the heart of problems, even when those closest to the issues couldn't. And though Kyoya was rarely bothered with philosophical musings, he had thought on occasion that if Tamaki was the obvious heart of the Host Club, Haruhi had quickly become its soul.
He shook his head to free it of these pointless thoughts, and came to his feet. Haruhi turned to face him, but he didn't look at her, instead he moved to the entrance to flick on the lights.
"I guess I'd better finish up here. Someone will be coming shortly to see if we've cleared the room." He said as he moved back to the table to clear the cups that they had used earlier. As he reached for one, he suddenly felt a small warm hand wrap around his wrist. His eyes snapped up to meet Haruhi's soft brown steady gaze.
"I want to help Kyoya-senpai." She said.
He looked at her, a frown creasing his forehead, "Well, I'll gather these, and you can wash them while I sort out the rest of the things, I have people coming to collect the -"
"That's not what I mean," she said, "I want to help fix the host club, to help Tamaki-senpai." Her fingers tightened their grip slightly, her gaze steadily holding his, "I need to fix this, Senpai." Her eyes seemed to bore into his and he was lost for words for a moment; he could plainly read the desperation in her eyes and for some reason it caused the anger that was simmering beneath his calm exterior to bubble up once more.
"It's not your problem to fix," he said, pulling his hand from her grasp, "It's done. The host club is finished, and unless Grandmother Suoh has a sudden personality transplant, that's the way it's going to stay." He grabbed some of the cups that lay on the table between them and made his way towards to door to the small kitchenette.
Then Haruhi laughed.
The sound brought him up short. He had never imagined a sound like that could come from Haruhi. Her laughter, normally light and pleasant, was now harsh and bitter. He turned to face her. She hadn't moved from where she had been sitting, but had dropped her feet back to the floor and was hunched forward, her head dipped so that her hair hung over her face and he was unable to see her expression.
"Of course, I should have known better. The Shadow King wouldn't put himself on the line, not unless there was something to gain." She said, shaking her head slowly, "I guess going against the Suoh's, even for the sake of Tamaki or your other friends, isn't worth it for you."
"Haruhi?" he said, staring at her incredulously. He placed the cups on a table and took a step towards her, "Haruhi, I…"
"No I understand, Kyoya-senpai," Haruhi finally raised her face to look at him, and he was startled by the tears in her eyes. "You've always been honest, Senpai. You've made it clear that you only act if there is merit in it for you." Kyoya remained silent, an icy chill washing over him as he saw the anguish and cold anger in her eyes, but Haruhi didn't look away, "So I'll make a deal with you Senpai. You can add anything you wish to my debt, if you help me fix this."
"Haruhi, your debt is cleared," He said faintly, unused to dealing with naked emotions like this, he had the sudden urge to leave the room and escape from this unnecessary drama. "You are not the cause of this. Tamaki's grandmother has never approved of the club, especially Tamaki's part in it. It was inevitable that she would find some way to get rid of it."
Feeling like a coward he turned his back on her, "Go home Haruhi, it's been a long couple of days for all of us. You'll feel better once you've had some rest."
He spun to face her once more. There by her feet, lay one of the cups that had been sitting on the table a moment before. She rubbed angrily at her eyes before looking at him once more.
"I'm sorry Kyoya-Senpai, I seem to have broken it, please feel free to add it to my debt." She said quietly.
"Don't be ridiculous, it's just a cup -" then as he watched, she reached out and swiped two more cups onto the floor, where they shattered, cold coffee seeping into the carpet and splashing her shoes.
"And now? Half a wedgewood tea-set is surely worth some debt?" Her voice was empty of emotion, but he could see she was trembling and her face was becoming steadily flushed.
He took a step towards her and she reached out again, picking up a saucer this time and dropping it on the floor where it smashed and merged with the other debris. He paused, not quiet able to believe that this was the same Haruhi he had known, the one that was always so calm and collected. Her eyes never left his as she wiped the rest of the rest of the porcelain from the table onto the floor. Only one of the saucers failed to shatter, it rolled a decreasing elliptical path around the other remnants, before teetering and falling over. Haruhi's gaze broke from his as she watched its circular route, and when it wobbled to a halt she moved without looking back up at him and raised her foot to step on it.
"Enough!" Kyoya said, and moved quickly towards her, grabbing her arm, "What the hell is wrong with you?" He pulled her away and she stumbled, grasping the lapels of his blazer to steady herself even as his arm wrapped instinctively around her, pulling her towards him.
They remained still for a long moment, Kyoya gazing down at her, while Haruhi stared fixedly at her own hands which were still clenched around the fabric of his blazer. He was about to step away from her grasp when he felt a tremor pass through her body and he saw her flushed skin suddenly drain of colour. Her knees buckled and his other arm came to wrap around her, holding her close to him and keeping her steady.
"Haruhi?" he said softly. Her face was now pressed against his chest, and he could feel her body shake with silent sobs as it moulded against his, the wetness of her tears seeping through his shirt and cooling his skin.
For once in his life, Kyoya was unsure of himself. He didn't know what to do to comfort this girl, his friend. If it had been Tamaki, he would just have pointed out how stupid he was being, whacked him on the back of his head and told him to snap out of it. Then again, Tamaki would have an emotional episode every couple of days and generally they were about nothing of any consequence. This was Haruhi, and what was upsetting her was a big deal and she was so desperate to fix it, so sure that if she only work hard enough, if only Kyoya would help, that they could do it.
He pulled her closer, one arm wrapped around her waist, his other hand cradling her head, trailing his fingers gently through her hair as he leaned down to murmur soothingly in her ear. He wasn't even sure what he said, merely concentrating on the sensation of her body pressed against his and the silky strands of her hair passing through his fingers as he tried to calm her and waited for the tremors to pass. He didn't notice her hands dropping from his jacket, until they suddenly wound around his waist. He smiled slightly as he felt them tighten around him and felt Haruhi's breathing settle into a calm rhythm, glad that the irrational moment between them had finally passed and things could return to normal.
He untangled his hand from her hair and brought it to her chin, tilting her face up towards his as he leaned back to look down and ask if she was ok. But the moment their eyes met, he stilled and couldn't seem to find the will to speak.
Her hair was dishevelled from his ministrations; her skin was blotchy from her tears, but her eyes - though red rimmed from her crying spell - her eyes were burning with emotion, and all he could do was stare at her. The sensation of her slim body pressed against his suddenly filled his awareness and set his pulse racing, yet he remained perfectly still. Her gaze was unwavering as it met his and he felt his skin grow hot under her scrutiny. Her dark eyes seemed to draw him in, requesting something from him that his mind couldn't make sense of and he felt himself sinking into that gaze.
A knock at the door brought him back to his senses. He drew a sharp breath, realizing that his lips were mere millimetres away from hers. He dropped his arms to his sides, stepping back suddenly, her arms letting him go at the same instant and he cursed under his breath and a second later cursed himself for that reaction.
"Come in." He said, turning towards the door, thankful that his voice remained steady even as he felt his heart thudding loudly in his chest.
One of his household maids stuck her head in the door, "We're here to collect the items you requested, Master Ootori." She said quietly.
He beckoned her forward and pointed towards the tea sets that lay waiting on a nearby table, "Package those for storage, until I figure out what to do with them." then he pointed towards the broken set that lay nearby, "Dispose of those and set any remaining pieces aside." He turned back to where Haruhi had been seconds before, unsure of what to say; but she was no longer there and he turned quickly to the exit, only to see her slight form slipping out the doorway.
He reached out a hand, about to call her back, but fell silent. His hand fell back to his side as his fingers seemed to burn with the sensation of holding her body against his.