Disclaimer: If I owned OHSHC, there would have been just a few more girls in it; just sayin'.
Hello, again! c: I know it has been quite some time since I first posted this, and I'm not going to give you any excuses. I'm going to tell it to you straight: I had 98% of this written back in February, and then I just didn't feel like messing with it until I finished my spring semester of college. So, yeah, you waited nearly four months for me to write all of twenty-three sentences in fifteen minutes. But hey, at least it's here, and I'm out for summer. Now you lot need to hope I don't get lazy again (which is a possibility but not very probable).
There is one more thing I want to tell you, though. The Host Club is not in this chapter (as I said before). But fret not; you get to learn a bit about Tsuki. Enjoy! C:
"How can you read these things?" Emiko questioned, and I imagined her nose scrunching up to match the tone in her voice that was obviously disgust.
I blinked, turning around to look at her, and asked, "Read what th—hey! Put that back!" I felt my face heat up, and I was sure my face was dark enough for people to notice it in the town over.
Emiko giggled, immediately dropping the book so that she could hug me. "You're so cute, Kiko-chan!" she squealed, and I pushed her off of me, dashed to the book she had dropped, and put it back in the box she had gotten it out of. "I seriously can't believe you read those, though. I always took you to be the innocent one of our group."
This caused me to snort since I definitely was the most innocent one in our group, but I was hardly as innocent as she wanted to believe. "Don't worry, Mimi – I'm still a virgin, if that's what you're fretting over," I retorted.
Emiko blinked at me, surprised. "Is that why you read those books?"
"What – no! I just like the plotlines, all right? Jeez. Stop making it sound so horrible. So I like romance novels; it's not that uncommon in America for teenagers to read them (1). Besides, my mom was the one who gave them to me," I sighed, picking up the box of books and moving it aside. "Now, can we please get off this subject? You're making it sound like I read those scientific books about how to...well, you know." I couldn't even think about it without blushing, mainly because anything sexual was still an awkward topic for me, especially when talking to Emiko.
"Aww. And here I thought you were going to say it," Emiko pouted, causing me to roll my eyes. She suddenly became serious, though, as she came to stand in front of me. "But your book selection aside, I'm worried about you staying here, Tsukiko." I cocked my head in question, considering she very rarely used my full first name. "Not only is it on the opposite end of town, but you're here because your father asked you to come home. Don't you think that means he wants you to stay with him at his house?"
I smiled sadly, pushing my brown locks back from my face. "Actually... I know he does. But my mom paid for this place, and I'm not going to reject her offer. Besides, you know I wouldn't be comfortable there. I haven't even been allowed to see the man for seven years; I know we've talked on the phone, but it's not the same thing." I paused, trying to remember the other problem she had voiced. "And what does being on the opposite end of town have to do with anything? I know I'm not in the mansion area where my father lives, but it's not like I have a lack of space here. This place is big enough for me to have you guys over, easily."
"I'm not that shallow!" Emiko exclaimed, sighing heavily. "I was talking about how far you would be walking to get home. None of us live this way, so if we weren't going to come over, you wouldn't let us take you home – and you're a teenage girl. You don't need to walk home alone; something could happen to you."
I couldn't help but smile. If no one else, I could always count on Emiko to voice her opinions on my safety – even if her worry was totally unneeded. "Might I remind you of my karate lessons, Mimi? I didn't stop taking them when I moved to America, though I will say their pace was a bit too slow for my liking. I'm going to be so far behind when I go to class. I bet my friends would be able to teach my class; that's how bad it was."
This made Emiko laugh and shake her head. "The Americans can't help that they underestimated you, Kiko-chan. You are only roughly 152 centimeters tall, after all."
"Hey, I'm five-one-and-a-half, thank you!" I retorted, crossing my arms over my chest. I saw Emiko frown and furrow her brows as she tried to convert my height to the metric system, and I rubbed the bridge of my nose. "Sorry, Mimi. I forget not everyone can do the calculations like that. It's roughly 156 centimeters."
Emiko shrugged it off and grinned as she teased, "Please excuse my horrible action of depleting your height by four centimeters, princess."
"Ugh, don't call me that. I already have to deal with Suoh-kun saying it; I don't need you to do it, too," I groaned, massaging my temple.
"Yes, I noticed him calling you that," Emiko replied, sounding thoughtful even though I knew she didn't like it - especially since her tone of voice gave it away.
"Don't be angry about it. He doesn't know my name. I realized that at the end of the day," I told her, smiling. "Besides, he's just doing it because I'm the new girl, and he wants to see if he can spark a reaction out of me by treating me like those other girls. He'll get tired of it eventually."
"Wait, did you just say he doesn't know your name? How can he not?" Emiko queried, quirking a brow.
"I just don't think it's occurred to him that I'm the famous singer everyone's talking about, and no one's said my name in proximity to him. At least, not when he was listening," I murmured, smiling wryly as I thought about the state we had left Tamaki in at lunch.
"So...you're telling me that you let an idiot – who is the president of the school's Host Club – call you 'princess' because he couldn't figure out who you were and therefore didn't know your name...?" Emiko asked incredulously.
"Yes, that about sums it up," I agreed, nodding. "Besides, it's harmless. He calls every girl 'princess' at some point."
Emiko frowned, cocking her head as she studied me. "I don't know, Kiko-chan. You may want to be careful. Tamaki could easily fall for you."
I snorted, rolling my eyes as I headed for the door of my room. "You're just biased, Emiko. And cut the jealousy, please; I've already 'friend-zoned' him. Granted, I didn't say it directly to his face, but I figured I could save that for a later date."
"We both know that just because you 'friend-zoned' him that it doesn't mean he doesn't have a possibility of getting out of it. If I remember correctly, that's what you said about—"
"That was different!" I cut her off, feeling heat creep up my neck and into my face as I left my room and headed toward the living area of my penthouse.
Emiko followed easily, closing the door to my room after she left. "Different or not, it still happened, and it could happen again. The only people you can really 'friend-zone,' Kiko-chan, are me and Tamotsu. You can do it to me because, well, I'm a girl, and I know you won't ever like me in that way. And you can do it to Tamotsu because he likes boys, even though he thinks he likes you – which I never understood. Did you?"
"At first, I thought it was just because you liked me and he wanted you two to be even more alike than you already were, if I'm being honest. But then I realized it wasn't that. I actually have a theory about it right now, but I'm not letting you in on it because you'll go and ruin it." I looked over my shoulder as I spoke, giving her a look when she tried to protest so that she could get her way and find out.
Sighing, Emiko dropped that particular subject but continued with the one she'd started out with, "Anyway, what I was saying is that if the whole thing with T—"
"That was different!" I repeated, knowing I was blushing yet again.
"What was different?" Hiroshi asked as Emiko and I entered the living room. I groaned and fell onto the couch, covering my blood-red face with a pillow. "What'd you do now, Mimi? You better not have molested her again."
"Hardly. She won't let me close enough to do anything like that. I can barely hug her without being pushed away. I don't like how much America changed her," Emiko whined, and I heard Hiroshi and Tamotsu chuckle.
"Maybe it's because you're approaching it the wrong way. She has no problem with letting me hug her or anything," Hiroshi gloated, and I felt my head being picked up before being set back down onto a lap. I knew it was Hiroshi, and it really didn't bother me since Hiroshi was the one out of the three that I was closest to. Granted, he was the only one who had come to visit me in America – which I will admit had a lot to do with why I let him treat me like normal. I hadn't really heard from Emiko and Tamotsu while I was gone, and it kind of annoyed me that they would act like there hadn't been seven years' absence.
"Yeah, yeah, no need to boast about it," Tamotsu muttered.
I moved the pillow covering my face down to my stomach, cradling it there like it would protect me somehow. I suddenly didn't feel like putting up with Tamotsu and Emiko; their antics were a lot to deal with when they had been absent from my life for so long. "Momo, Mimi, don't take this the wrong way, but I think I've had all I can take for one day. You seem to have forgotten that I know every slight nuance to your voices, and I seriously don't like hearing the jealousy or the animosity towards Hiroshi that you two have been exhibiting since lunch. And Emiko, I don't want to hear your jealousy about whatever Suoh-kun might call me." I sat up to look at the two siblings, my voice level, even though I was angry and hurt all in one package. "I haven't seen or heard from you two for seven years – and don't say you guys called me because once every year doesn't count when Hiroshi called me once a day and visited me throughout the year, and don't say I never tried to get in touch with you guys because I wrote letters and sent emails and even tried to come visit during one of my tours! So you don't deserve to be jealous over anyone. And before I have to hear you guys get jealous about someone else for some stupid reason, I just want you to go home."
Though both Emiko and Tamotsu looked like they wanted to say something, they must have remembered that it wouldn't have mattered what they said or promised me, I would have just kept telling them to go home. Thus, the two left (albeit grudgingly) with a glance at Hiroshi as I laid back down, letting my head rest in his lap again. After the door closed, I sighed and closed my eyes. I didn't enjoy telling my friends stuff like that, but it would have come out at some point, and I was never one for pushing those thoughts away. That was one thing that people either liked or hated about me – if I wanted someone to know something, I didn't beat around the bush; I simply told them. Especially if it was someone I was interested in romantically – I just came right out and said it rather than dancing around the whole ordeal to try and figure out if the other person liked me or not. The way I saw it was that it was easier to get it off my chest and deal with the repercussions than to worry about it for months and then be crushed when the person I liked moved onto someone else without me ever telling them how I felt. But that was neither here nor there at that moment.
"Shi-bear?" I murmured, not opening my eyes.
"Hm?" my friend hummed, brushing his fingers through my hair.
"Was I too harsh?" I opened my eyes to see his expression.
Hiroshi smiled, continuing to play with my hair. I felt him braiding a part of it loosely as he thought about how he wanted to word his answer to me. "I wouldn't say that, though if you had addressed the situation earlier like I had told you, you wouldn't be feeling bad for how you snapped at them and then ordered them to go home."
"I didn't know they were going to act like nothing had changed in the past seven years," I murmured, closing my eyes against the pain. "And I didn't know it was going to bother me this much."
"Of course it was going to upset you, Tsuki. We were all close, and you became so closed up that last year you were with us – when your parents had that custody battle over you. I think you ended up only hanging out with five (2) of us by the time it was said and done with." Hiroshi's voice was soft, and I knew he was upset about everything that had happened since my parents first told me they were divorcing; that was the domino effect for everything else, after all. I didn't even create close bonds with people in America – but it was hard to make friends since I ended up becoming a singer and did tours while learning from private tutors – and Hiroshi knew about all of it. He was the only friend I'd had throughout everything, and for that I was grateful. I don't know if I could have made it this far without someone like him.
"All right, get up. We're getting out of this place and going out somewhere until you have to go eat dinner with your dad," Hiroshi suddenly stated, brushing my hair with his fingers to get rid of the braid. I sat up and blinked over at him in confusion. "Don't look at me like that; we're going because if we don't get out of here, we'll end up crying, and then we'll be mad at ourselves for crying over something that was in the past and that we can't change. Therefore, we're going to go out and do something. Oh, I know!" Hiroshi grinned, snapping his fingers. "We can go to our favorite bakery and eat too many sweets and ruin your appetite."
I didn't even get the chance to protest before Hiroshi had grabbed my hand and pulled me out of my penthouse and into the elevator. He didn't release my hand, and I knew it was more for his sake than mine. That was why I squeezed his hand lightly, smiling softly at him when he looked at me curiously before smiling back and starting to swing our clasped hands. "You wanna take a picture and send it to Momo and Mimi?" he suggested, wagging his brows at me.
I laughed, shaking my head. "You're so mean sometimes, Shi-bear," I reprimanded lightly, but even so I was pulling my cell phone out of my pocket.
"Oh, man, that definitely hit the spot," Hiroshi sighed, leaning back in his seat and closing his eyes as he rubbed his stomach.
I giggled, forking another bite of my chocolate cake with buttercream frosting. "Looks to me like it may have hit the spot a bit too hard," I spoke after I swallowed, picking up my cup and taking a sip of the peppermint hot chocolate.
Hiroshi opened one eye to look at me, groaning as he noticed I was still eating. "How do you manage it? It's unnatural for a girl of your stature to eat so much, and yet you're not fazed by it at all," the black-haired boy muttered, dropping his head back against the booth.
I shrugged, continuing to eat my piece of cake. "What can I say – I have very high metabolism. Actually, I probably don't eat as often throughout the day as I should," I mused aloud, tapping my fork against my lips as I thought it over.
"What do you mean you don't eat as often as you should?" Hiroshi queried, picking his head up to look at me as if I'd grown an extra head.
"My doctor told me I needed to eat more throughout the day to make my intake match the rate of metabolism because I'm losing some substances that are necessary for proper health," I answered, forking off another bite of my cake.
"So your metabolism is too fast?" Hiroshi asked, trying to make sense of my words.
I paused for a moment before replying, "Before I continue this explanation, do you even know what I mean by metabolism? Because most people do not."
Hiroshi frowned. "I'm not sure. I always thought it was part of the digestive system."
I laughed and took another bite of my cake as I thought of how best to explain it. "All right, metabolism would be part of the digestive system, I suppose, but it's not an organ or anything like most people try to make it out to be. If you didn't notice earlier, I simply said I 'have very high metabolism,' not 'a very high metabolism.' There is a stark difference. In lay-man's terms, metabolism is when your body's physical and chemical reactions are performed to produce specific substances that are necessary for survival. Therefore, when someone says he or she has high metabolism, that really means the reactions that take place in his or her body are processing a lot more quickly than the food or energy can be put into the body. It's the exact opposite for someone with low metabolism."
"That makes so much more sense now. I've always wondered why I didn't understand how such an important organ could be left out of those diagrams of the digestive system," Hiroshi muttered, admitting something aloud that most people wouldn't admit to themselves in their own minds.
I sighed, feeling an urge to let my head slam against the table in front of me. As it were, my head did slump down quite a bit. "Shi-bear, you really shouldn't admit stuff like that to other people. Even if it doesn't embarrass you, other people are embarrassed for you."
Hiroshi blinked at me. "What do you mean?"
"Mah, forget it," I answered, waving my fork in the air dismissively before I finished off my piece of cake. I looked up at Hiroshi as I drank some more of my peppermint hot chocolate and sighed. "You know, it's sad, but I could still eat dinner with my dad and not feel sick in the slightest."
"Ugh, don't talk about food," Hiroshi groaned, rubbing his face. "I don't think I could eat anything else for days."
"You wanna challenge that statement?" I inquired, and he gave me a look I knew all too well. I snickered, and he reached up to turn my face away from him.
"Brat," he muttered affectionately, and I grinned at him as we let silence fall over us.
I broke it first. "Shi-bear?"
I sighed, knowing it was time for me to go. "I have to be at the mansion in about fifteen minutes." Hiroshi opened his eyes to look at me. "Will you drop me off?"
A knowing yet soft smile formed on Hiroshi's face, and he stood up so that he could bow. "Of course, m'lady; after you."
I rolled my eyes and pushed past him with a snort before looking back at him over my shoulder with a warm smile. "Dork."
I took in a deep breath before letting it out, but I didn't move from the spot I was standing in. This was going to be the first time I had been in the same room with my father in seven years, and as odd as it sounds, I was a nervous wreck. I didn't know what he would think of me and what I was wearing, and I didn't know if he would approve of my being a singer. Though I had spoken to my father in the last seven years, it was rather generically – we exchanged greetings and then awkwardly spoke about how we felt about how our days had gone or were going before we both made our excuses to stop talking with one another, whether it be his work (which was almost always a reality) or my studying (which was almost always a lie). And then we had spoken on birthdays and other holidays when opening gifts so we could thank each other or request a different size or color of a particular item – that kind of thing.
But none of that really told me anything about my father or how well we would get along, considering when he was on the phone, he only heard what I said and knew nothing else about me or my thoughts and vice versa. And it was because of that, that I was caught staring at the door, standing in the same place I had been when I waved to Hiroshi as he left. That had been about five or ten minutes prior to a brunette man opening the door.
I startled him – that much was apparent when he looked at me in surprise, so that told me the man had been leaving the place and not just opening the door. Judging by the clothing he wore, it wasn't someone who worked for my father – the material was too nice and was tailored. The man also had a calculating look in his brown eyes as he stared at me, and of course the fact that he had shown his surprise in the first place gave away that he was not a servant, either (3).
I relaxed and smiled politely at him before bowing my head to him – even though he was a superior, I felt that bowing at the waist would be awkward since I was a "young girl" and the customs here were a stark contrast to America's, where everyone just shook hands. "Good evening, sir. I apologize for startling you," I told him sincerely.
The man inclined his head, and I saw the brief sneer on his face as he looked me over once more. "Do you know who I am?" His tone held anger, and I frowned as I tried to figure out what would cause such a response.
"I am sorry, sir, but I do not. I just returned home from being in the United States and am here to see my father," I answered softly, trying to gauge his response. However, the man had no chance to reply because another man appeared in the doorway, this one roughly the same age but with black hair and deep blue eyes.
"Ah, Miss Tsukiko, Master Miyamoto Shirou has been wondering where you were. Please, do come in," he spoke directly to me, ignoring the other man's presence for the time being.
I glanced at the angry brunette and decided to curtsy this time since it seemed like the safest thing to do and get away with. "It was a pleasure to meet you, sir," I lied easily, figuring I could tell him what I really thought of him at a later date. If he was one of my father's clients – prospective or not – it would not be good for me to ruin it for him. I then quickly slipped into the mansion's foyer so that the black-haired man could close it. "I don't like that man," I confided to the man after the door had closed.
I could tell that the black-haired man was trying not to smile about the statement and was surprised when he suddenly bowed. "Tanaka Nobuyuki at your service, Miss Tsukiko. I am your father's butler, assistant, and bodyguard."
"Oh my gosh, I feel like I'm in an episode of Kuroshitsuji," I mused aloud, grinning. "I don't guess you happen to be a demon who has a contract to fulfill with my father, are you?"
Nobuyuki looked at me for a moment before he chuckled. "I am afraid not, Miss Tsukiko. I am simply one hell of a butler(4)."
I gasped, and I swear I could have hugged that man. "I take it that means you're married."
"Yes, Miss Tsukiko, I am married with two teenage girls who happen to love your music and enjoy that show," Nobuyuki answered, smiling warmly.
"I simply must meet these lucky women, but I guess we can discuss when at a later date. I'm sure my father must be getting anxious by now, if not irritated, with how much time has passed since I was supposed to be here," I sighed, fighting the urge to play with a lock of my hair.
"If anything, Mister Shirou is as nervous about this dinner as you are, Miss Tsukiko," Nobuyuki corrected, starting to lead the way to the dining hall.
"Tanaka, if it is all right, I prefer Tsuki," I told Nobuyuki as I followed him. I was almost positive that if I tried to say his first name, I would butcher it; as it was I managed to mess up his last name as well, mainly because it made me think of the old human butler's name on Kuroshitsuji. If it bothered Nobuyuki, though, he said nothing about it.
"Of course, Miss Tsuki." After a short moment, Nobuyuki turned and knocked on a door before he opened it and announced, "Nakamura Tsukiko, Mister Shirou." I saw him bow low before I took in a deep breath and walked past him to set eyes on my flesh-and-blood father for the first time in seven years.
To be honest, I don't know what I was expecting when I walked into that room, but I wound up extremely surprised. The moment my gaze landed on the face of the red-haired man with the green eyes, I found my composure slipping. And then my father smiled warmly but sadly at me, the emotions reaching his eyes, and I let my composure slip between my fingers.
I ran to him and flung my arms around him, burying my face into his shoulder as I felt the tears well up in my eyes and start to fall. "I missed you so much, Daddy," I whispered as he hugged me tightly, his familiar smell of aftershave hitting my nose as he rested his chin on the top of my head.
"I missed you, too, Sook," my father answered, his voice breaking slightly. Even if it hadn't, I still would have been able to place the sound in his voice as tears. I picked my head up to look at him, sniffling slightly and taking a step back from him so that I could wipe away my tears with my hands.
"I'm sorry. I'm not usually like this," I murmured, feeling embarrassed. Granted, it was probably a given that I was going to cry when I saw him again, but I hadn't known I would do it immediately – and I hadn't expected anyone to be with me when I cried. I seriously hated crying, probably to a point that it was considered weird or abnormal, and I only hated it more when others were there to witness it. But if I were being honest with myself, I felt a lot better and the fact that my father was crying as well made it a bit easier to bear, since I knew he hated being emotional in front of others, considering I received most of those "stiff upper lip" talks from him when I was younger.
My father chuckled. "Great way to start our reunion dinner, is it not? Two people who hate crying in front of others are crying in front of each other." I found myself laughing softly and nodding to show I agreed with him. He cleared his throat and changed the subject. "You have grown up into a beautiful young woman, Tsukiko. I know you sent pictures, but they do not give you your full due."
I detected the note of pride in his voice, and I almost started crying again—though this time in pure relief. "I am glad to hear you say that, Dad. I half expected you to be disappointed in how America had altered me or something." I had always been quite radically honest with my father, and the lapse in time had done nothing to change that.
He laughed heartily, shaking his head. "Tsuki, I could not begin to think of any way you could truly disappoint me." He studied me momentarily before adding, "But that sounds like you believe someone else thought such a thing."
"It was just something Emiko had said, but that's not important right now. Hiroshi took me to our favorite bakery in order to make me not hungry, but it seems that I am still quite famished," I answered, laughing softly.
My father smiled warmly, his eyes twinkling. "At least that is one thing I know I can always count on: your endless pit that people unknowingly believe is a stomach."
I scowled lightly at him, earning another warm laugh. It felt nice to actually be here with my father; conversation seemed to come a lot easier when in his presence than when on the phone.
And with that worry settled, I could safely say that it was great to be back in Japan, the one place that would always be my true home.
(1) If any Americans are offended by this, I apologize, but where I live, this is seriously very common, and with some discussions I have had with others via the internet, it just seemed like it was too much of a coincidence. Again, this is not meant to offend anyone, considering I've been reading them for years.
(2) Yes, five people. You'll find out what I meant in the next chapter.
(3) This man is no one right now. I'm not sure who he's going to be, but more than likely he's an OC. He will make an appearance at least one more time, but I'm unsure of his role right now. Just thought you should know.
(4) For those of you unfamiliar with Kuroshitsuji or, in English, Black Butler, this is a phrase that is typically said at least once per episode by Sebastian Michaelis, the demonic butler.
And that wraps up the second chapter! c: I hope you enjoyed it, even though Tsuki seems to be angsty right now. She'll get better; she just needs to readjust. I would love to have some feedback, even if it's only criticism.
Thank you for reading! The third chapter will, hopefully, be out soon! C: