Ouran High School Host Club Fan Fiction ❯ Stalemate ( Chapter 9 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

 
Sleeping In
by Palatyne
 
 
Chapter Nine
Stalemate
 
 
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, et.al.
 
Author’s Note: I apologize for the delay. Thank you so much to all those who read and gave reviews. I would like to apologize for not being able to reply to each one as I really don’t have the time. But please know that I do read them all and I’m very grateful for them.
 
 
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Kyouya walked the streets of the unfamiliar neighborhood as if he had been doing such a thing all his life – or at least that’s how he felt. He had never been out of a car whenever there was a need to travel through such places: `commoner neighborhoods’ as some people of his class would call them. What he knew of them was rife with stereotypes, of medium-rise buildings within which Tokyo’s lower-income populace lived in varying degrees of gloom and misery.
 
Surprisingly enough, as he walked the street leading to the building where the Fujiokas lived, it was strangely empty, save for a few odd cars and people hurriedly rushing past him. The street may be empty yet from within most of the houses he passed he could hear the sounds of television, music, chatter and laughter. It was the weekend after all, and people were enjoying it in the comfort of their homes and with their families.
 
“How fascinating.” He muttered, but with less sarcasm than he felt was due. It was unexpectedly not as bad as he thought it would be.
 
Indeed, the past weeks had been full of the unexpected.
 
The o-bento plan was a marginal success. He had managed to spend over an hour with Haruhi without her accidentally getting injured, without him kissing her senseless and more importantly, without her running away from him.
 
Several times in the last two weeks he had managed to get the twins out of the way so he could spend the lunch hour with her. He had belatedly realized how horribly `common’ a tactic it was – like something straight out of a manga. If he had any wit left he would laugh at himself.
 
If only it continued to be successful, he would laugh at himself everyday.
 
But it had not.
 
The past two weeks had been all about spending as much time with her (and with her alone) as possible. He tried his best but could only do so much without arousing the suspicion of the others. He did everything short of walking her to and from her classroom each day.
 
To no avail.
 
Certainly, Haruhi no longer avoided him. For a while it seemed to him that everything had gone back to normal. Too normal. She acted as if nothing significant had happened to them.
 
On the one hand he was relieved that she no longer avoided him like the plague. On the other hand, she was no warmer to him than she was with any other member of the Host Club.
 
And she still had a look in her eyes, the same one he saw in her during that lunch. The same puzzled expression whenever she was with him, like she was solving something. Then afterwards she would look at him with her usual nonchalance, her usual half-disinterested self.
 
It infuriated him. It was a maddening situation, a veritable impasse.
 
His reaction was to pursue her even further – or as `further’ as he could manage under the circumstances. He thought he was being discreet in his suit.
 
But he was wrong, someone was bound to notice. And someone unexpected did notice.
 
It was during a busy Friday for the Host Club. He had gone into the Music Room, after having searched the classrooms in vain for Haruhi.
 
The rest of the hosts were in the gardens assembled in their makeshift tent-city, for the theme that week was Arabian Nights. It was for him, the tail-end of a chaotic week. He had managed to import several hundred sacks of fine, desert sand from his contacts abroad, but not without much haggling and difficulty through customs.
 
He made the mistake of leaving the rest of the trappings for the twins and Tamaki to arrange. As usual, everything was over-the-top and over-budget. Several camels and a pair of tamed leopards were even brought in, causing a furor among the students of Ouran. His efforts at haggling for the sand had been wasted.
 
Tamaki had dressed himself as the Persian king and predictably, he had wanted Haruhi to dress as Scheherazade. He persuaded, cajoled her to no end. She refused and stormed off into the campus buildings.
 
He went in search of her. But not after berating Tamaki slightly which left him in his trademark guilt-induced catatonic state.
 
 
He reached the Music Room. At first he thought no one else was in as it was dim, the lights all turned-off. But as he was turning towards the door, a voice he heard so rarely that it was almost unfamiliar echoed in the room:
 
“She is not here.”
 
He turned to see Mori-sempai walking out of the pantry, a tray laden with pastries on his hands.
 
Belatedly he remembered that Hunny-sempai had nearly thrown a fit in the gardens. He did not like the Middle-Eastern sweetbreads the caterer prepared for the occasion. He had fidgeted and frowned until all the girls around him were nearly fainting. Fortunately, Mori-sempai offered to get him some cakes – which explained his presence in the Music Room, but not his words.
 
“Who is?” He asked his senior, confused but already suspicious.
 
“Haruhi. She came here but left right away.”
 
“I see. But I wasn’t looking for her.” He replied evenly, not a hint of evasion in his voice.
 
“You’ve been around her a lot lately.” Mori-sempai remarked impassively, and then wordlessly he turned towards the door and out into the hallway.
 
It was a while before he realized the gravity of what had transpired between them. Mori-sempai‘s remark could have meant a lot of things, or none at all. Whatever he meant, his words made it clear that his pursuit of Haruhi was not going unnoticed.
 
He remembered the words he said to Haruhi during that first lunch. He had all but confessed to her. He had never been more honest or more earnest in his life. He felt then as if he had bared his soul.
 
Yet obviously, it still was not enough. Haruhi was either terribly naïve to the point of irrationality or terribly naïve to believe that she could feign a lack of awareness forever.
 
After the encounter with Mori-sempai he realized that there was nothing much he could do at Ouran. If he wanted to things to move accordingly, as per his plans, he needed to raise the stakes. If discretion was a necessity within Ouran, outside it was not.
 
It was Ranka who gave him the break he needed. He was still not certain how much or how little the man knew about his intentions. He had certainly never indicated suspicion. If anything, he was as accommodating to him as ever.
 
It was during one of his regular calls to him, calls which were mostly Ranka asking about Haruhi’s activities in school. He had sensed early on just how protective the older man was, but also how aware he was of Haruhi’s fierce independence. It seemed to Kyouya that Ranka dealt with it through a strange mix of cunning and feigned ignorance.
 
As he listened to the older man’s chatter he discovered an opportunity he could not miss. He had tried to sound as nonchalantly as possible, casually offering his help. If Ranka suspected anything, he did not speak of it.
 
Either way, he was grateful.
 
So now to his current location, smack in the middle of commoner territory without a car or bodyguards – though knowing them, they were probably perched with binoculars in a building nearby, training their sights on his every movement.
 
On his arm were a stack of envelopes filled with useless school-related documents – his props.
 
He already knew his way around the building. He reached the Fujioka’s door, and within moments often the doorbell ringing he heard the scuffle of feet from within, followed by muffled footsteps and movement against the door.
 
A moment of silence, then the door all but flew open.
 
“Ohayou, Haruhi.”
 
Haruhi’s expression was that of utter dismay.
 
He smiled a friendly, innocent smile.
 
“Kyouya-sempai, what are you doing here?” She asked with irritation.
 
Inwardly, he sighed.
 
He had a long way to go.
 
 
to be continued…
 
The O-bento
Sleeping In – Chapter Ten – Progress