A/N: My first Ouran High School Host Club story! YAY! Is it sad that my first story for this fandom is Little!Characters? Because I kind of think so. Oh, well. I really hope you like it! I haven't seen very many little!host club stories... or any... Anyway, Haruhi is seven.
Title: Snow Days
Warnings: Unlikely circumstances
Summary: The Host Club's first meeting - before it was the Host Club.
Disclaimer: Sadly, OHSHC is not mine.
Ryoji clapped his hands together and beamed. "Haruhi!"
Haruhi glanced up at her father, whose face was lightly covered with makeup. This was a relatively recent development, but Haruhi found she didn't really mind. "Yes?"
"We're going to the park today! Doesn't that sound fun?"
Haruhi looked from her father, who appeared excited at the prospect of father-daughter bonding, to outside, which was snowing very slushily. "No," she replied bluntly. Ryoji deflated.
They went to the park anyway.
Of course, Ryoji's bonding plan still managed to go down the drain. Almost as soon as they got to the park – where it was still snowing, though it was now more fluffy than slushy – Ryoji was distracted by a friend of his from the trannie bar, who dragged him off.
Haruhi, though, now that she was here anyway, was perfectly content to wander the park alone. This, sadly, was also not to be.
Haruhi frowned. "Huh?" She peeked around the corner to find a blond-haired boy, maybe a year or so older than her, crouched in a corner, sniffling. His arms were wrapped around his knees, a few tears streaking down his face. She tilted her head and frowned at the boy. "Are you alright?" The boy looked up at her, eyes still watery, and she knelt beside him. "You have mushrooms in your hair," she informed him, reaching forward to pick one out.
"Maman is sick again," he told her quietly, looking upset. "But… she told me to go out and play today. I don't want to… I like to play piano for her when she's sick."
Haruhi looked at him blankly. "But she obviously wants you to have fun," she informed him, stating what, to her, seemed obvious. Also, he was already outside. Seeing his confused look, she continued "She sent you out, right? She must like it when you play for her, but she decided that she'd like it better if you were happy. So you should do as she says."
The boy started to smile and straightened up a little. "Yeah… Okay. I'll have fun!" He looked determined now, smiling widely. "I'll have the most fun in the world!" He beamed.
He recovered from that fast, Haruhi mused.
The boy held out his hand to her, smiling confidently. "I'm Réne, but you can call me Tamaki, since it sounds more Japanese."
Haruhi looked at him blankly for a moment before shrugging and shaking his hand once. "I'm Haruhi," she informed him. Then she turned to walk away, intent on going and continuing to wander alone.
"Wait!" Tamaki protested, grabbing her shoulder. "Won't you play with me, Haruhi? It's no fun playing by yourself!"
Haruhi looked over her shoulder and gave him a blank look. "Why not?"
"Because… because…" Tamaki seemed to fumble for his answer for a moment. Haruhi wondered if he even had a reason. "Because there are more people! Two heads are better than one, right?" He looked at her hopefully.
Haruhi tilted her head and considered him with wide eyes for a moment. Then she shrugged. "OK." She didn't really care either way, anyway.
He beamed and bounded over to her, excited. "Right! Then what should we do?" He looked at her expectantly.
Haruhi tipped her head to the side. "You didn't have anything in mind?" she questioned.
Tamaki deflated and tapped his forefingers together sheepishly. "Well… no…"
Haruhi sighed resignedly and pointed toward the field nearby. "There's a big field over there… we can make snowmen." She figured Tamaki could do that.
Tamaki perked up again, beaming. "Snowmen! I've heard of them! Isn't that something commoners make out of snow?"
Haruhi frowned at him. Oh. "Rich people…" she grumbled under her breath, exasperated. Louder, she stated flatly, "Yes."
"Sounds like fun!" Tamaki said, beaming brighter than ever. And he was the one who led the way to the field, to instantly start scooping snow together into a big pile.
"You don't do it like that," Haruhi informed him as she caught up. She reached down and scooped a pile of snow into a ball. "Here," she told him, giving him the ball and starting to push his hands so that he was rolling the ball around in the snow. "Do that until it's really big."
Tamaki gave her a slightly startled look for a moment, mouth open slightly, and then looked back down to the snowball. "Okay." And he started to push the ball around in the snow. Haruhi looked back down and made three balls of snow, then began to push one around herself.
She was on her second ball, the middle one, by the time Tamaki called over to her, "Haruhi! Is this big enough?"
She looked up and her mouth dropped open slightly. Beside Tamaki, who was looking at her hopefully, was a huge ball of snow, almost as tall as Tamaki.
She looked back down at her middle ball, then to her bottom one. Haruhi reached for her bottom one and picked it up. She looked back at Tamaki, who was wilting, then to the ball beside him. She looked back at hers. It needed to be bigger.
"It's too big," she told him bluntly.
He wilted, flying beside one of the trees to crouch and sulk. She sighed.
"Come help me make this bigger," she continued. "We'll use yours for the bottom. Mine can be the middle."
He perked up and, almost instantly, was next to her, helping her roll her ball around and scooping snow in its path to make it easier.
Before long, it was big enough for Haruhi to deem it 'the middle ball' and so came the next obstacle.
Getting it onto the bottom one.
Haruhi tilted her head and contemplated the spherical pile of snow, ignoring Tamaki, who was standing beside her, practically vibrating with excitement. Finally, she looked at Tamaki. "Help me push it up the side," she instructed him, bending down to pick up one side.
He ducked down and grabbed the other and between them, they just managed to shove it atop the other, thought it was easier for Tamaki then for Haruhi, as he was taller. Haruhi even had to stand on her tiptoes to push it up.
Finally, it was on, and they both looked up at the structure, which was now twice as tall as Haruhi. Tamaki was jumping up and down in excitement, grinning widely. "It's so big!" he exclaimed happily. Haruhi shrugged and returned to her former 'middle' ball, which was now the top one. Tamaki quickly realized that his new friend had vanished and hopped over to help again.
"How exactly do you intend to get the ball on top of that monstrous structure?" a voice inquired.
Both of them looked up to see a boy about Tamaki's age, pushing his glasses up his nose. A little black notebook was under his arm, and he was looking at them skeptically.
Haruhi shrugged. "Don't know."
"Haruhi can stand on my shoulders!" Tamaki declared proudly, ignoring the fact that he might not even be able to lift Haruhi on his shoulders, let alone keep her steady enough to push it up.
The boy sighed exasperatedly. "Honestly. You two obviously can't do it alone."
"Will you help, then?" Tamaki asked hopefully.
The boy looked at them for a moment, and then sighed again. "No."
Tamaki looked crushed, and flew beside a tree to sulk again. Haruhi looked after him and sighed. The boy glanced at the blond one and raised an eyebrow. Then he sighed, too.
"I suppose that I can go find something for its face." He glanced into the trees a ways away. "Tachibana, help me find something for the arms." As he walked away, followed by a man who emerged from the trees, he glanced over his shoulder and added, "I'm Kyoya Ootori." As he continued on out, he mumbled, "The accessories are going to need to be very large for a snowman of that size…"
Tamaki grinned triumphantly and patted the snowball, rounding it out a little more. They continued to push, packing more and more snow onto the little ball. It took longer than it had more the middle one, since Haruhi had barely started this one and there was hardly any snow left in the clearing.
Suddenly, a whole bunch of snow came falling down from one of the nearby trees onto Haruhi. As she pushed her way up, she looked up to see two redheaded boys snickering. One of them caught her looking and smirked down at her.
"We noticed that you were running out of snow," he informed her.
"So we decided to give you some," added the other, also smirking. Haruhi noted that his voice was slightly different.
Then together, "Because we've never seen a snowman that big before."
Tamaki grinned up at the pair. "Thanks, you two! But why did you dump it on Haruhi?"
They both laughed. "It's more fun that way!"
Both of them dropped down, one after the other, and walked up to them, grinning slyly. Haruhi dug herself the rest of the way out and then perched atop the pile of snow, looking at them curiously.
"I'm Hikaru," added one. Haruhi made note of his voice, seeing as that seemed to be the only way of distinguishing them easily.
"And I'm Kaoru," added the other. Haruhi made note of his voice, too. She figured that, since they were actually different people, there would be other differences, but since she didn't know them, she would have to stick with their voices.
"Why don't you come play with us?" asked Tamaki, undaunted. Haruhi looked at him, eyes wide and curious. He'd asked for Kyoya, too. He must really like talking to people, Haruhi realized. No wonder he hadn't wanted to play alone.
They looked at each other and shrugged.
"Got nothing better to do," decided Hikaru. "What do you want us to do?"
Haruhi looked down at the pile of snow around her, then back up at them and shrugged. "We have enough snow to finish the snowman now," she commented. She tilted her head and smiled brightly, making all three other boys stop and stare at her, open-mouthed. "Since there's so much, we can make him a pet, too. But we'd need more snow to make it big enough."
The three boys stared at her for a moment longer. So cute, they thought at the same the twins said together, "We can do that!"
Then they rushed off to shake more snow from the trees, causing it to come crashing down to the ground, creating large piles from which they could gather enough snow to make any pet they wanted.
Tamaki and Haruhi rolled the ball of snow around in the new pile.
"It's big enough," Haruhi finally decided, looking (down, finally) at the large ball of snow before them. Then she looked at the big, partially completed snowman and frowned. "How are we going to get it up, though?"
Tamaki looked over and considered. Then he pushed the ball toward the structure and crouched down. "You can stand on my shoulders," he offered.
Haruhi looked at him for a moment and then shrugged. Carefully, she climbed onto his shoulder. He rolled the ball up to her. She took it and rolled it up. He struggled to stand, and eventually managed to straighten up completely, with Haruhi on his shoulders. He decided he was glad that Haruhi was so light – he'd never actually managed to lift someone before. Haruhi, however, was still having trouble.
"I… can't… reach…" Haruhi grunted finally, frustrated.
"Here," a voice said beside her. Hikaru's. She looked beside her to see Hikaru, then down. That must be Kaoru, then. Hikaru reached forward a bit, pushing the ball a little farther, and they both pushed it up, hard, at the same time, managing to propel the ball fully on top of the structure.
She smiled at Hikaru. "Thanks, Hikaru."
He stared at her, open mouthed. Below him, so did Kaoru. "How'd you know?"
Haruhi shrugged. "Your voices are different," she explained. They just continued to stare at her. She shrugged again and looked back to the 'head' and her eyes widened suddenly.
Hikaru frowned, brought out of his shock. "What's wr-" He looked to where she was looking and froze.
The head was rolling off the other side of the body.
In unison, they reached forward, trying to stop it, but couldn't reach far enough without unbalancing. "No!"
Then two hands closed on either side of the ball and returned it to its former position, steadying it.
"Huh?" Hikaru managed.
Beneath Haruhi, Tamaki bounced impatiently. "What is it? What happened?" He was bouncing so hard that he unbalanced Haruhi, who yelped as she began to tumble off of him.
She was caught against a surprisingly large chest and looked up. A boy, probably about two years older than her, was looking down with a neutral expression, and on top of his head, another boy, small with blond hair and brown eyes, clung with hands that matched the ones that had steadied the ball.
"You should be more careful," rumbled the bigger boy.
"Yeah, you could have hurt yourself," worried the smaller one in agreement. Then he smiled warmly and added, "I'm Mitskuni Haninozuka, but you can call me Honey. Most people do." He tapped the other boy's head. "And this is Takashi Morinozuka; people call him Mori."
Mori set her down and patted her head once. She gave him a slightly puzzled look, then sighed resignedly. "I'm Haruhi." She glanced back at the others. Hikaru was no longer on Kaoru's shoulders, but since Kaoru was in the same place she could still tell who was who. "That's Tamaki, Hikaru, and Kaoru. Kyoya went to look for things to put on the snowman." She looked back to them, face mostly neutral but with her head tilted slightly and her expression a little curious. "Would you like to play with us?"
Honey beamed down at her. "We would love to!" he exclaimed. Mori nodded once, apparently agreeing. Haruhi nodded in return and then turned with a swoosh back to the others, heading back toward them. Mori and Honey followed.
Haruhi, as the only one with actual experience in building snowmen, stood back and looked at it thoughtfully. "It's good," she finally decided.
"It had better be," groused a voice behind her. She turned around.
"Hi, Kyoya," she greeted. She looked down and tilted her head, then smiled. "Those are really good."
At Kyoya's feet were a gathering of materials, each an appropriate size for the snowman in question. The man from before, Tachibana, held two very large sticks, which he set down at the snowman's feet before standing back, expression unchanged but somehow approving. There were two medium-sized rocks and a Carrot of Unusual Size.
Haruhi looked back to the others. "Let's put them on," she said. She picked up one of the rocks and returned to the snowman, then frowned. It was like putting the head on… but worse.
"How did you even get the head on?" asked Kyoya, frowning at her. Haruhi looked at him and shrugged.
"By standing on each others' shoulders," she answered matter-of-factly. She looked back to the head and then yelped. She was being lifted.
She quickly reach the same level as the snowman's face and looked down. Mori was looking up at her with the same neutral expression, but she thought she saw an excited glint in his eyes and a tiny smile tugging at his mouth. She gave him a tiny smile back and then placed one of the eyes on the face.
"Here," a voice said from below her. She looked down to see one of the twins holding up the other eye to her, standing on the others' shoulders, and she smiled again.
"Thanks, Kaoru," she told him, bending down slightly to retrieve the black rock and ignoring the twin's shocked expression. She'd gotten it right again.
She pushed the other 'eye' gently onto the snowman, then looked thoughtfully down. "Since Kyoya gathered the materials, he should get to put the nose on," she decided.
Kyoya pushed his glasses up his nose and then crossed his arms grumpily. "What makes you think I want to put the nose on?"
"Do you?" Haruhi asked, head tilted and chocolate brown eyes on Kyoya.
Mori let Haruhi down again and Kyoya, carrot in hand, walked up to the boy, giving him a slightly suspicious look. Then Mori lifted him and Kyoya, ever so carefully, inserted the carrot into the snowman's face, completing it.
Honey clapped his hands happily as Mori returned Kyoya to the ground. "Yay! It's almost finished!" Then he looked down to the ground and gave it a puzzled look. "Hey, where'd the sticks go?"
They looked back to the snowman and found the twins, once again with one on the other's shoulders, putting one stick into the snowman. The other lay at the bottom twin's feet.
The twins finished putting it in and turned to grin at the others, still precariously balanced.
Tamaki clapped his hands and grinned. "Great job, you two!" he cheered. "Now we just have to put the other on and it'll be finished!"
They both glared at him halfheartedly; they'd wanted a smile from Haruhi, not a cheer from him!
While the three of them were arguing, Haruhi picked up the stick and gave it to Tachibana. She tilted her head and looked up at him. "Since you helped to find the sticks, you should get to put one on too," she said logically.
He looked at her blankly for a moment, but found himself utterly unable to fault her logic. So he put the last arm in while Tamaki and the twins were arguing.
"It's finished," Haruhi informed them.
"Huh?" Tamaki yelped, whipping around and finding that everything was indeed in place. "But…!"
Haruhi frowned at him and then spun around. She tipped her head to the side and then smiled warmly. "It turned out well."
The arguments were forgotten.
Everyone else followed after her and stood back to view to monstrous snowman. Not a single one of them wasn't pleased by it; the twins high fived each other, Mori and Honey exchanged a small smile, Haruhi smiled at it, Tamaki jumped up and down happily, and Kyoya instructed Tachibana to take a picture.
"Haruhi!" a voice rang through the trees. Almost everyone jumped, but Haruhi just turned toward it with a questioningly.
"Daddy?" she called back, heading toward it.
Behind her, the boys deflated.
"Haruhi!" the voice called again. A man, face lightly coated in makeup, burst through and swept Haruhi up in a hug. "Haruhi, oh, Daddy was so worried about you! Why didn't you go home after Daddy went with his friend?"
Haruhi just looked at him. "I was already here," she stated flatly. "And I was playing." She gestured to the boys behind her.
Ryoji looked past Haruhi and nearly blanched at the gathering there. A Daddy's worst nightmare for his daughter. Six. Different. Boys. And a man! He looked down at Haruhi and asked, a little too sweetly, "Won't you tell Daddy what you were doing?"
Haruhi pointed at the humongous snowman on the other side of the clearing. "Building a snowman."
Ryoji relaxed. "Oh." He perked up again. "Well, it's time to go back home now!"
"Haruhi!" wailed Tamaki, upset.
The two twins looked at each other and then at Haruhi. "Will you be here again?" they wanted to know.
Mori looked at her expectantly, and Honey, back on his shoulders, pouted at her, eyes wide and teary.
She just gave them a puzzled look. Why were they so determined to see her again? They'd only played together one day.
Then Kyoya glanced up at her. "We could call you," he offered quietly, struggling to keep his voice even.
"Yes!" Tamaki pounced on the suggestion. "We could call you! What's your cell phone number?"
"I don't have a cell phone," Haruhi deadpanned. When the boys deflated, she sighed. "But I have a home phone." She started to look around for a piece of paper when a small notebook was pushed into her hand.
"Here," Kyoya said quietly. "Write it there."
She looked down at the blank page and then took the pen attached to the notebook, scribbling down the home phone number quickly. She handed the notebook back to Kyoya.
Kyoya scanned the number and then pulled the page off, tore it into five different pieces, and copied the number onto each one. Then he held four of them out to the other boys.
Each one of them took one, except Kaoru, who instantly peered down at the copy Hikaru had claimed.
Ryoji waited patiently as Haruhi said goodbye to her new friends, each one seeming more disappointed than he privately thought they had any right to be. From the way they were acting, you would think that they were fated to be friends forever or something…
"I'm only going to be here a week," muttered Tamaki suddenly, scuffing one foot in the snow. "Then Maman and I have to go back to France."
Each boy and Haruhi looked at him, disappointment echoed on each face. Then, finally…
"Then we'll have to make the best of the week we have, won't we?" said Honey brightly, clinging tighter to Mori with a smile.
"Yeah!" Tamaki agreed enthusiastically.
"Yes, I suppose so," Kyoya conceded, pushing his glasses up his nose.
The twins looked at each other and then grinned. "Sounds like fun!" they said together.
Haruhi gave them all a warm smile. "Goodbye!" she called, waving.
"Goodbye!" they chorused in return, waving back as Ryoji carried her away. From there, the group only deteriorated further, the twins' mother finding them and shooing them toward the car, Tachibana insisting that Kyoya return, and Tamaki deciding to return to his mother.
Mori and Honey lingered in the clearing, taking one last look at the snowman they'd built together.
Haruhi looked up at the great grandfather clock that stood over the city and thought that she'd never felt so at home among other people before.
The twins looked up at the clock and wondered just who Haruhi was, to tell the two of them apart so easily, as if it were no trouble at all.
Tamaki looked out the window from where he was once again playing the piano and smiled, thinking of the new friends he'd made that day.
Kyoya looked up to the clock and mused that he'd never felt so accepted by a group before, always beneath notice, always looked at but not seen.
Mori and Honey looked up at the clock above the city.
"They're gonna be real important to us someday, aren't they, Mori?" Honey asked the boy holding him on his shoulders.
"Yeah," agreed Mori.
Neither of them had a problem with that.
So there. Originally, this was going to be a oneshot, but then I started getting ideas and I just couldn't do it. This is a big enough oneshot by itself, much more (which it will be) would have been too much. So, more chapters on the way! Eventually. Please review!