Ouran High School Host Club Fan Fiction ❯ Sleeping In – Chapter Ten – Progress ( Chapter 10 )
[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
Disclaimer: I do not own Ouran High School Host Club. The original manga story, characters and plot belong to Bisco Hatori, Lala, English editions to Viz Media and the anime to Bones, .
Author’s Note: Once more I begin with apologies for the delay. This is a rather long chapter, and I hope you enjoy it. I am really looking forward to finally finishing this story after so long.
I do hope you enjoy this chapter, and as always I am grateful for the reviews. They are really inspiring.
Haruhi cleared the dining table of its contents hurriedly, unmindful of the guest still sitting there. He was, after all, unexpected and uninvited.
« Arigatou. » Kyouya muttered graciously, even as she practically snatched the teacup from his hands.
She was irritated and did not care to hide it.
She deposited the faux chinaware into the kitchen sink with a forcefulness that caused a loud clatter to echo throughout the house.
Yet the object of her annoyance was not the one sitting serenely in the living area.
It was the other member of the household. The one who had used his illness as leverage.
Her own father.
« Unbelievable. » She muttered under her breath.
Dealing with a visit from Kyouya in her own house was a lot easier than she thought. She was calm, adequately polite…and unfailingly indifferent.
Or at least she pretended to be.
Kyouya had proven himself to be far more serious than she had ever expected.
For a while she foolishly hoped, even as the thought of him using her in his games felt hurtful, surprisingly hurtful.
Though at first his words troubled her, his actions during the past days left her with barely a sliver of doubt as to his intentions.
The only thing I’m after is you.
She agonized over it, his words playing in her mind over and over. His face and his earnest expression as he spoke the words weaving constantly into her thoughts.
She was not entirely new to the business of courtship, though it was only in retrospect that she realized that she had on occasion been confessed to. She realized after the incident in Karuizawa that perhaps there was a part of her that realized what Arai-kun really wanted to tell her. And perhaps she chose to ignore it, to choose the safer path of ignorance.
Kyouya, however, was a completely different person. And she now knew very well that what troubled her most were her own feelings.
He was too smart, too perceptive, and as proven by his recent actions, too persistent.
Avoiding him barely worked. Somehow he would find ways to be with her – at lunch, during Club activities and even the occasional ‘chance’ meeting in the hallways of Ouran.
She was certain of the necessity to avoid him and pull herself away from whatever it was he was scheming.
She tried to return to the cold persona she had assumed in her first days at Ouran – before the incident of the vase, before her debt, before Kyouya had even acknowledged her existence.
She could not avoid him, but she could be indifferent to him. For a while it worked, and for a few days he seemed to have finally given up.
Yet now he was here, in her house and just minutes before sipping supermarket tea from an imitation teacup.
There seemed to be no stopping him.
Yet the harder she tried to pull away, the more her uncertainty grew.
Perhaps it was his constant and almost inescapable presence finally getting to her. Or maybe it was how he was becoming so familiar to her – his changeable smiles now a constant fixture of her days. Perhaps it was their strange conversations – the constant clash of her frankness and his wit.
Perhaps she was yet to get over the incident in his room; that she had never really gotten over that kiss.
Whatever the reason, she knew she was too vulnerable now, and what little of her rational mind still remained dictated that she tread to safer waters.
Whatever her fears were, there was still the matter of his latest plot. Even her own father was possibly conspiring with him.
It was her father who casually suggested that Kyouya join her in her errand. He reasoned that she would be safer with a friend along. When she politely resisted, he resorted to a fit of coughing. When she politely suggested that Kyouya would not enjoy a trip through the ‘commonest’ parts of Tokyo, she was politely countered.
When she not-so-politely explained that she did not need Kyouya to go with her, her father promptly staggered unto the tatami in a fit of violent coughing that would leave no doubt in anyone’s mind that he was in the performing arts.
He knew her weaknesses…and exploited it mercilessly. She had no choice but to agree or be rude and order Kyouya out of the house – though she doubted if even that would deter him.
The sooner she started, the sooner it would be over.
She left her thoughts with the teacups in the sink and strode back into the living room.
« I’m leaving soon. » She declared impatiently.
Kyouya rose from the tatami.
« I’ll go with you. »
« You don’t have to. »
« You said it was not too far away. Now I have nothing else to do. And I came all the way here. »
« It’s halfway across the city. » She countered. « Calling first would’ve spared you the inconvenience. »
He had given her the lame excuse of needing to give a schedule of her tasks for upcoming Club activities. She didn’t believe for one minute that it was all he had planned to do.
« It’s gratifying to know that my efforts are appreciated. »
Haurhi ignored the sarcasm and the other meanings it held. She went to doorway and slid on her shoes, picked up the bag of clothes she was supposed to deliver and marched to the door determinedly.
« Kyouya-san, you can go home now if you want. » She suggested politely as she opened the door, quite determined to lock him inside the house if that were even possible.
« I told your father I would go with you, I can’t break my word. » He countered, yet again.
She resisted the urge to glare at him. She left the door open and set a brisk pace through the hallway.
She was halfway down the flight of stairs when she sensed him catching up.
With a frustrated sigh she turned to him. « Is it too much to hope that you’ve been on a commuter train before? »
« No, though I’m sure I will enjoy it. »
The trip was uneventful – or as uneventful as an hour-long commute through the city could be.
He was expectedly composed throughout the trip. There were no loud exclamations of amazement that she had come to expect from the other Host Club members whenever they encountered the ‘commoner universe.’ Not once did he comment on the fact that they were commuting which, for any other Host Club member would be nothing short of a miracle.
She noticed how relatively at ease he was, despite the unfamiliar surroundings. He only once asked her about something – the price of the ticket – and everything else he navigated with very little hesitation. If she didn’t know any better he would think him a fraud, that he was a regular commoner disguised as the heir to one of the wealthiest and most powerful families in the country.
She also noticed that he kept his distance. Even inside the packed commuter train he did not get too close, even if it meant him swaying precariously into other passengers.
His face remained impassive, his eyes straying occasionally to the other passengers, though mostly he looked out the windows at the urban landscape speeding past.
Finally they stepped out into the sidewalk from their last station, breathing a sigh of relief.
« This is it, we’re here. » She announced as Kyouya joined her and kept pace.
She wanted to ask him how he felt about his first very first train ride, but she did not want to sound condescending.
« Why are you looking me like that? » He suddenly asked and she realized she was staring at him.
« Looking at you like what? »
« Like you’re surprised I survived my very first commute through the city. »
« I’m reserving judgment until the return trip. »
« Of course. » He replied, barely smirking.
The Yamada house was a modest house in one of the more upscale neighborhoods in that part of the city. A small iron gate broke the monotony of the low gray wall that spanned the length of the house. She found the doorbell set within an elaborately decorated niche on the gate.
Genrou Yamada was a co-worker of her father at the bar and apparently he needed a Heian-style costume that only her father had. Like her father, Genrou-san fell in love and married a woman. However she came from an old and wealthy family who didn’t approve of him at all. She was eventually disowned by the family and not even her own parents spoke to her anymore.
She thought of her own mother and father and how their own relationship must have shocked the people around them. They came from two different worlds and it must have been very difficult. Yet her mother made a choice, and stood by it.
She found herself wondering if she would be just as strong.
Her reverie was interrupted when the gate opened to reveal Genrou-san himself.
« Haruhi-chan! »
« Konnichiwa, Genrou-san. »
« Ara! Is this your boyfriend? » Genrou asked excitedly. Unlike her father, he barely looked like a woman without make-up.
« He’s not – » She wanted to declare firmly, but was interrupted.
« Hajimemashite, » Kyouya intoned politely as he introduced himself.
« You two make a cute couple!! » Genrou-san squeaked.
« We’re not a couple. He’s my classmate. »
« Ah! Gomennasai! » Genrou-san intoned apologetically.
Before he could say anything more, she handed him the bag of clothes. « Genrou-san, Otou-san said you needed this. He’s sorry he couldn’t give it to you himself. He suddenly felt sick this morning. »
« Arigatou! That’s so kind of you. I could have picked it up myself, Ranka shouldn’t have sent you all this way! »
« It’s okay, Genrou-san. It wasn’t an inconvenience. »
« Not at all. » Kyouya piped in.
« Please come in! » Came a woman’s voice.
A petite middle-aged woman in a traditional kimono emerged from the house.
« This is my wife, Fumiko. » Genrou-san supplied. « Please, come and have some snacks. »
They were ushered into the house – which proved to be quite spacious. The living room was big enough for a Western-style couch and a coffee table. Fumiko-san disappeared into the kitchen as her husband led them to sit. They were barely settled when she re-emerged from the kitchen, carrying a tray.
« You must be tired. Please have some tea. »
« Arigatou. » Haruhi replied graciously masking her reluctance. She had hoped to leave sooner.
« Before I forget, there is something I need to give your father too! If that is all right? Maybe you two are going somewhere else? » Genrou-san asked.
« It’s all right. We’re not going anywhere else. » Haruhi declared firmly.
« Oh I see. I should get it now and have it properly packed. » Genrou-san said as he hurried towards another part of the house.
Fumiko-san took her husband’s place and instantly asked what was probably the most pertinent question on her mind.
« So, how long have you two been together? » The woman asked excitedly.
Haruhi nearly choked on her tea.
« We’re just classmates. » She declared, suppressing a cough.
« Gommenasai! I thought I heard my husband say you were a couple. »
« I believe he said we would make a cute couple. » Kyouya opined with a smile.
« But we’re not. » She retorted, glaring at Kyouya.
« As you say. »
Haruhi could see the older woman smile unrestrainedly at both of them.
« Kyouya-san seems to disagree. » Fumiko-san smiled, almost teasingly. « Demo, it is Haruhi’s opinion that matters, ne? »
« Hai… » Haruhi replied faintly. She proceeded to sip her tea solemnly, grateful for any excuse to avoid the conversation.
Surprisingly, it was Kyouya who steered the conversation away from the topic and into actual inane small talk. Soon Genrou-san returned carrying a large plastic bag of miso that was to be a gift to her father. To her relief the conversation veered firmly towards safer topics and away from her supposed love life.
She noticed how Kyouya was polite and engaging with the Yamadas, despite her initial doubts about what his demeanor would be. There was none of his haughty indifference. If he had any other opinion of his current companions, nothing in his words of expression betrayed it.
She could almost believe he was actually enjoying it.
The visit ended not a moment too soon for her. She was saved by phone call for Genrou-san, during which she made an exaggerated show of checking her mobile phone for the time.
« Please tell your father I really appreciate this favor. I hope he enjoys the miso, it will help cure his cold. » Genrou-san enthused as they walked towards the gate.
« Arigatou, Genrou-san, Fumiko-san. »
« Please visit us again. Maybe then you will already be a couple. » Fumiko-san teased.
« I will look forward to that. » Kyouya replied.
As they walked towards the station, they fell once more into silence, the awkwardness of their impromptu tea party with the Yamadas now past.
« An interesting visit. » Kyouya remarked as they stepped once more into a train.
« You don’t need to lie to me. Feel free to admit you were bored to death. »
He was gazing towards the train windows but even in profile she could see his faint smile.
« I enjoyed it much more than you did. »
She didn’t say another word.
The commute back to their neighborhood seemed much longer. As they reached the street leading back to the apartment she noticed that the sun now hung low on the horizon.
They were passing through a deserted playground when Kyouya suddenly slowed his pace.
« What is it? » She asked, surprised.
A few more moments under her irritated glare passed before he answered.
« This commoner method of dating is not as bad as I thought it would be. »
« You think this is a date? » She asked, not a little sarcasm lacing her tone.
« And you would be an expert on the matter? »
She cringed inwardly but rallied. « I don’t think delivering a package counts as a date…in any level of society. »
He remained silent, his expression vaguely amused. He raised his hands to his glasses, adjusting them slightly before forming his lips into his trademark smirk.
Unceremoniously he strolled to a nearby bench and promptly took a seat.
« What would you consider a date, then? » He asked seriously, as if he were quizzing her on world politics.
She realized she could either stand foolishly in front of him, holding a giant bag of miso, or she could sit beside him on the bench.
« What would you consider a date? » She threw the question back at him as she reluctantly sat on the far end of the bench, the bag of miso placed firmly between them.
« Dinner at a five-star restaurant, a night at the conservatory, a play or an opera. Perhaps even a movie, but only if it’s a premiere. If possible, a trip to Paris by private jet. Better yet, a day on a private island. »
« Oh. » She asked, half-impressed. The ways of the rich never failed to amaze her.
« You don’t approve? »
« I guess rich people really do those things. » She replied cautiously.
« And you don’t like that? » He asked, noticing her reserve.
« I don’t know. It sounds a bit too much. Some people don’t even get to see Paris until they retire. Some people never do. »
« Have you ever been to Paris? »
« I don’t have a passport. »
« I told you I could get one for you. »
Somehow she sensed this offer was now a genuine one.
« No thank you. I don’t have plans to go abroad. »
« I see. »
He was smiling at her again. Just as suddenly he rose from the bench. She saw him glance slightly at the bag of miso as she stood and lifted it from the bench with some difficulty.
« So? » He asked as they resumed their pace.
She looked at him questioningly.
« If jetting to Paris is not your idea of a date, then what is? »
She realized that the honest answer would be that she had never really thought about it.
Yet somehow she felt like that was not the answer she needed to give him.
In the relative of silence of the street she could hear the muffled voices of the people in the neighborhood, the laughter of children chasing each other home, the jumbled noises of dozens of televisions tuned to myriad of channels, the muted roar of the now-distant train.
These were familiar sounds to her, the sounds of the neighborhood she grew up in. This was her world.
She could only wonder at how foreign this all was to him.
« Lineage comes first. Wealth, a close second. »
She had neither.
Yet he was here, walking with her.
« What is your idea of a date, Haruhi? » He asked her again, but this time he didn’t wait for an answer.
He simply took the heavy bag from her, picked up his pace and walked slightly ahead of her.
She watched him walk toward the apartment building, his silhouette bathed in the orange glow of sunset, the giant linen bag slung over his shoulder.
She found her answer.
« A walk. » She said softly.
She knew he didn’t hear her.
Yet a small voice inside her hoped that he did.
to be continued…