Disclaimer: I do not own Ouran High School Host Club or any of its characters; they belong to Bisco Hatori.
A/N: This fic contains a tiny bit of Tamaki/Haruhi, as well as a tiny bit of OOC on Haruhi's part.
They're mine too, you know. I know that they always refer to me as 'their Haruhi', their toy, the thing they cling to tighter than Tamaki clings to his teddy bear. They'd never acknowledge that the door swings both ways. But as much as I belong to them, they belong to me. They're mine.
It was instinct at first. The urge to protect the female has been there since before mankind left the trees. And I am a girl. Not only that, but I'm a girl with a dead mother and a secret determination. In their eyes, that makes me all the more fragile. Never mind that I clawed my way into Ouran Academy on my own, without anyone's help, even my father's. Never mind that I spent the majority of my first year studying, and cruising my way to the top of the class.
Nope. They looked at me, and all they saw was how small I was, and how alone I was in this world full of soft and shining things. They lost their minds completely, and regressed back to knuckle-dragging cavemen.
Girl. Girl pretty. Soft. Smells good. She no leave cave.
They drew the line, just barely, at dragging me around by the hair. I wouldn't have put it past them, but I think they knew how horrifically I would have killed them if they tried.
So, first they protected. But they didn't know me, not really. And our worlds were so far removed that I thought they never would. I misjudged them a lot in those first few weeks. Tamaki most of all. I categorized him as a glorified ladies man with a gilded tongue. I thought that his head was filled with nothing but sawdust and his own painfully swollen ego.
It's a little embarrassing for an honor student to get something so completely wrong. But I was; about all of them.
As a new host, I watched them carefully at first; purely for survival purposes. I never knew what I wanted, so how was I supposed to understand the needs of other girls? And by watching, I began to see. Mori doesn't hang around with Hunni just because they make a cute contrast; his silent watchfulness reveals how deeply he actually cares for the smaller boy. Hikaru and Kaoru may play up their brotherly affection to make the ladies squirm, but the bond between them is very real, and very sweet in its honesty. Kyoya attempts to portray the uber-cool, ever-charming, opportunistic penny pincher, but when it comes down to defending a member of the Host Club, he always has a plan. And Tamaki doesn't whisper the same sweet nothing into the ear of every guest in hopes of getting lucky. Tamaki looks at every girl that visits him and sees true beauty that is always unique, even if it isn't always apparent.
I was so pissed when it hit me that I could no longer hate them for holding me captive. But I'm human, and it's just not in my nature to resent people who so obviously care about others. I resigned myself to liking them, and told myself that I would keep them at a distance, and at least they'd keep me entertained. But because of that protective instinct they still harbored, they inserted themselves completely into my life. They blurred the lines between my school life and my life at home. They mixed themselves in so thoroughly that the picture fused, and there were no seams for me to separate.
And by doing so, they closed the gaps, gaps in my life I hadn't even been aware of. They filled up the holes with light, and laughter, and crazy adventures. The independence I'd lived by since my mother's death began to slip away from me. Suddenly, I couldn't go to the supermarket without one of them tagging along. Not one weekend passed without one of them knocking down my apartment door. Instead of spending stormy nights shut up in my closet, I'd spend them on the phone, or wrapped in a pair of comforting arms. Someone was always there to make the tea for me, or carry the groceries, or help me fold the laundry.
I got used to them. I started to like them. And slowly, I began to depend on them. We became a unit, a team, the family Tamaki always spoke of. They circled me like wagons; I could command their attention with a single word. They became my boys.
I walked into Music Room 3 with that knowledge. It put a spring in my step, and a big smile on my face. I was assaulted by rose petals as soon as I opened the door, something I ignored. I still couldn't figure out how they pulled that off, and they said they weren't going to stop doing it until I did. Typical.
The Host Club wasn't entertaining today, so everyone was lounging. Hunni was eating cake at his favorite table, with Usa-chan balanced carefully in his lap. Mori sat opposite of him, his arms folded and his lips curved into a tiny smile as he watched the smaller boy stuff his face. Hikaru and Kaoru were plotting. They were sitting side by side on the sofa, and they weren't speaking, but they were plotting all the same. Those two don't need words to communicate. Kyoya was tapping away at his computer, transcribing notes from his trusty black book. And Tamaki was at the piano in the back of the room, coaxing a soft melody from the black and white keys. There was a small smile on his face, and his violet eyes were at half-mast.
There was a sudden upsurge of affection in my chest. I'm the most emotionally stunted member of the club, so I'd never say it out loud, but I loved them all so much, and especially in that moment.
I'd never say it. But I finally felt comfortable enough, after all this time with them, that I could show it.
I started with Hikaru, because I understand how he works. Hikaru is selfish with me; he needs my attention first or he thinks that I care for him less. It can get a little annoying, and it bugged me a lot in the beginning, but I've started to accept that its just the way Hikaru is wired.
The twins were waiting for my approach. But before Hikaru could do more than give me his Cheshire cat smirk, I planted my hands on the sofa behind his head and touched my mouth to his. He went absolutely still beneath me, and I felt a small shiver of regret. Hikaru wants more from me than just affection. But he knows that I can't give it to him. I wanted to show him just how much I cared, but I didn't want to hurt him. So I kept it light, and quick, and when I pulled back, he had the look of someone who'd been pole axed in the face.
I heard a sharp, ugly sound issue from the piano, and I grinned. If Tamaki was melting down already, he was going to be a puddle of despair by the time I was done.
I turned to Kaoru next, and I don't think he saw me coming. He was gaping, and trying not to laugh, at the absolute shock on his brother's face. I didn't let it register. I caught his face in my hands and pressed our lips together. I wasn't careful with Kaoru, because I didn't have to be. He loved me, but not like his brother.
I left the twins sitting like statues on the couch. The room was completely silent as I crossed it, and all eyes were on me. Hunni even stopped shoveling cake into his face as I approached him. I leaned over and kissed him three times, once on each cheek and once on the forehead, ending each kiss with a loud smack. I kissed Usa-chan too, just because Hunni was clinging to him so sweetly.
Mori looked thoroughly alarmed when I turned in his direction, which is a big deal for him. He tends to keep his face blank, except when he's with Hunni. I learned that to gauge Mori's feelings, you have to watch his eyes. Even though he was sitting and I was standing, I still had to grab his shirt and jerk him towards me. He's just too tall. He kept his eyes wide open when I kissed him, and I'm fairly certain that he didn't breathe until I broke contact.
There was a soft whimpering noise coming from the back of the room now. I ignored it as I walked towards Kyoya. He was waiting for me, his hands politely folded. I leaned towards him, bumping his little laptop, and I knew the only reason that he didn't pull away was because he never missed an opportunity to make Tamaki crazy. Kyoya's all about benefiting from everything he does, and needling Tamaki always seems to satisfy him. There was a sound like a teapot releasing steam, and Kyoya's lips curved under mine when I touched them.
Finally, I turned to look at Tamaki. Ever the drama king, he was perched on top of the piano, his hands curled into claws and his face a bright, tomato red. I was a little surprised that he hadn't retreated to his corner of doom and despair. He leaped down as I approached him, and sucked in a deep breath to deliver a thundering tirade.
I never gave him the chance.
I bounced upwards, planting my hands on Tamaki's shoulders. I trusted that he would catch me; Tamaki's way too chivalrous to drop a lady butt-first onto the floor. His violet eyes widened impossibly, and he managed a soft sputtering noise before I crushed my mouth to his. I wrapped myself around him and poured myself into it, into the sweet smell of his hair and the soft rasp of his lips on mine. He responded with zero hesitation, which I hoped would open his eyes a little. He could be amazingly dense sometimes.
It was more with Tamaki. I'd known it would be. And I knew that everyone else knew, which was part of the reason for my sudden extroversion. A little part of my heart ached for Hikaru, but I knew that he'd be okay. Kaoru was there, and besides, he didn't love me like he thought, not really. I was just the only person other than Kaoru that he'd allowed in.
For one wild, glorious moment, I let myself melt into Tamaki's arms, and the feel of his hands, pressed so tentatively against my back. Then I unwound myself and dropped back to my feet. Tamaki's eyes were wide and wondering. His tirade seemed forgotten.
I patted his cheek, and looked around. Everyone was watching me with their jaws scraping the floorboards. Well, except for Kyoya. He's much too dignified to gape. I laughed, and dusted my hands together.
As I walked out the door, giddy and grinning and feeling like eight million yen, voices floated after me.
"Kyoya-sempai," Hikaru said, his voice soft and stunned. "How the hell could you be scowling right now?"
Kyoya's voice was cool and clipped, as ever. Apparently, I'd barely ruffled his feathers.
"While I appreciate Haruhi's affectionate display, I wish she would have saved it. Can you imagine how much our guests would pay to see what we just saw?"
I laughed my way out of the building. I didn't stop until I couldn't catch my breath and tears rolled down my cheeks.