Haruhi and Tamaki walked in silence for a few minutes, enjoying the crisp, clear air. Tamaki's arm stayed securely around her waist, so he noticed right away when her stride started to get wobbly.
Haruhi felt the dizziness coming back and she didn't want to repeat the embarrassing scene back in the gymnasium. "Tamaki? I think I need to sit for a few moments."
Tamaki, relieved that he wasn't going to have to force her to stop, spied a bench a little ways away and steered her towards it. She sat down carefully and tilted her head back towards the darkening sky, shutting her eyes.
Remembering he still had the juice from the blood drive, he pulled it out of his backpack. "Haruhi, here." She opened her eyes and turned to look at him before gratefully accepting the juice and taking a sip.
Tamaki watched her for a moment. "Haruhi? Can I ask you a question?"
Haruhi looked at him curiously. His tone of voice was serious, not his usual teasing or childishness. "Of course, senpai. What is it?"
"Why did you suggest a blood drive?"
Haruhi's eyebrows knit together in confusion. "What do you mean? It's a great cause. I thought it would be something good for the host club to do."
Tamaki was silent a moment before clarifying. "That's not what I mean. When Kyoya asked for ideas, you didn't even stop to think about it before suggesting the drive. And I could see it in your face...it was important to you. You are usually so apathetic about our events, so what makes this one so important? Why did you suggest a blood drive?"
Haruhi's gaze shifted to the sidewalk, contemplating how she should answer. "Because someone else's blood saved my life. Did you know I almost died once?"
Something in her voice saddened him, but curiosity won over. "Can you...tell me about it?" He waited with bated breath.
Haruhi drew in a deep breath. She put down her juice on the sidewalk and turned away from Tamaki so that her back was facing him. "Three years ago, I was stabbed." Haruhi tugged her shirt halfway up her back, revealing a jagged white scar to the right of her spine. She heard Tamaki's breath catch. She jumped a little when she felt gentle fingers trace around the scar, goosebumps rising on her skin. She felt his hand softly press against the scar, warm against her skin, before he pulled her shirt back down for her, protecting her against the cold air of the evening.
Haruhi took a deep breath before turning back to face Tamaki, his eyes fixed on her face. She was surprised at the intensity she saw there, his eyes wide in anticipation but tinged with sorrow and anger at the thought of someone hurting his Haruhi.
Haruhi met Tamaki's violet eyes before speaking, "To be honest Senpai, I don't really remember some the details. I was walking home after picking up some groceries from the market just before it closed, and I wasn't really paying attention to where I was going. I took a shortcut down an alley that I take all the time in daylight, but never at night…if I had been paying attention, I never would have taken that turn. It was probably around eleven at night, and I remember it was very, very dark." Haruhi shuddered, remembering the clouds that had hidden the light of the moon and the stars, the distant rumble of thunder.
Tamaki mistook this for a shiver, and shrugged out of his jacket so that he could lay it over her shoulders before smiling encouragingly at her. Haruhi offered grateful smile of her own before continuing the story.
"This is where things get fuzzy. It's really not a great story…I can remember walking down the alley, and it was so dark that I couldn't see more than a few feet in front of me. I remember hearing something to my right, very close to me, and then the most horrible pain I've ever felt in my life, and then nothing. Three days later I woke up in the hospital."
Haruhi shrugged, feigning indifference, but Tamaki could tell that it was still a painful memory for her. She breathed a little sigh before speaking again. "Dad told me that was the worst night of his life, the night he got the call from the police telling him I was in the hospital. He filled me in later on some of the details. It's actually pretty amazing that I am alive right now. Dad said that a man happened to walk by the moment I was being attacked and heard the commotion in the alleyway. He shouted out, spooking the crook, and found me lying unconscious in a pool of my own blood, knife still in my side and everything." Haruhi closed her eyes, her imagination taking her to places she didn't want to go. Tamaki noticed Haruhi's hands had started trembling so he scooted a little closer to her on the bench and gently covered her hands with his own.
Haruhi, too wrapped up in her own story to feel his steadying touch, went on, "He immediately called 911, and ten minutes later I was in the ambulance with the EMTs attempting to resuscitate me. I guess I had stopped breathing. I'm not really sure how all that stuff works, but I know they got my heart going again and from there I went through a surgery and two blood transfusions before I woke up."
Haruhi opened her eyes. She was a little startled to see Tamaki sitting so close to her, his gaze unwavering as he patiently listened to her story. She looked down at her lap where their hands lay. She could feel now that her hands were trembling underneath his, and willed them to stop. She was almost done.
"Someone else's blood saved my life that night. I'll never know who it was, but I am indebted to them and will always be grateful."
Tamaki let out a breath. "Haruhi…that's an incredible testimony. I am…so glad you are alive to tell me about it." He squeezed her hands briefly, then froze. Haruhi watched as Tamaki's faced morphed into one of dismay. Visibly upset, he released Haruhi's hands and launched to his feet. "I didn't give blood today!"
Haruhi didn't understand. "What? So? No one said you had to."
Tamaki looked down at Haruhi, horror evident in his princely features. "Oh, Haruhi! What if someone dies because I was too much of a coward to face a needle? What if it were you who needed blood and I failed you? Oh, I am a despicable sad excuse for a man!" Tamaki practically shriveled up in despair before Haruhi's exasperated eyes, sinking to the ground.
Haruhi rolled her eyes at his theatrics, but appreciated the sentiment behind them. "Senpai, you had no way of knowing any of this. This is just something that I personally feel strongly about; I certainly don't think less of you just because you didn't give blood. I realize that it can be a scary thing. If you really feel that way though, there are blood drives going on all the time. You can call around to find some and give blood then."
Tamaki perked up just slightly at that, sensing redemption. Haruhi grinned teasingly at him. "If you want, I'll even go with you to make sure you don't wimp out."
Tamaki's face lit up, successfully cheered up. He flashed a flirtatious smile. "Haruhi, will you hold my hand while they drain me of my life-blood? Soothe me as I drift off into nothingness, my life gallantly offered up for the unfortunate victims of violence?"
"Senpai, they only take a pint! They are not going to 'drain you of your life-blood'. Stop being so dramatic." Haruhi said this with a faint smile on her face, exasperated by his over-dramatic antics, but touched by the gesture all the same. "I'm feeling much better. Come on, walk me home. I'm sure you want to get home too."
"I will get you home safely, dearest Haruhi." With that, he gently helped her to her feet, wrapped his protective arm around her once again, and walked her the rest of the way home.