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Big Sister Fujioka

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A short haired brunette peeked into a crowded library with a grimace. It was filled to the brim with students who were grouped up in twos and threes, discussing anything but education and schoolwork. Haruhi groaned and shut the door before resting her head against the cool wood. She's been hunting for a quiet space to study for what felt like hours. Her usual study spot, which was her classroom, was currently holding a session for the debate club while their usual room was stolen for the use of a school board meeting. Nothing Haruhi could do about it.

So, now she was standing outside the fourth library she'd found, only to discover all of them were in different stages of fullness.

You know, if Nēchan were here, she'd have an absolute fit over how loud these libraries are. She might actually write a letter of complaint once she gets here.

At the random thought of her sister, the brunette's grimace eased into a small smile. A voice different than her own echoed across her mind until the tension melted out of Haruhi's shoulders. In less than a month, her sister would be back home and Haruhi would be be able to hear her voice not coming out of a phone or replaying in her mind. Backing away from the door in a better mood, Haruhi adjusted her grip on her school bag before setting off again in search of a quiet place to study. But where else could she possibly look?

As she continued walking down the north hallway, Haruhi saw a flock of birds flying past the window. She stopped to watch, remember how her mother had enjoyed pointing out different birds during their outings, telling Haruhi and Jin what type they were.

Haruhi sighed before continuing on her way, praying casually as she did so. Hi, Mom. How are things in heaven? How long has it been since I last saw you? Nine... ten years? I can hardly believe it. Well, things are doing okay down here, I guess. This rich school might not actual be all we've heard about. It's like rich kids only come to school to have a good time... and it's a little hard doing this without Nēchan by my side. I guess all I can ask is for you to keep watching over her, Mom, until she comes back home.

Haruhi zoned back in just before she walked face-first into another pair of grand looking doors. They were such an anomaly that Haruhi could only stare at them for a moment. Because... well... there was nothing but silence coming from behind the door. Every other place she had walked past had at least a few whispers leaking out through the cracks, but this one seemed complete abandoned. A sign above her head read "Music Room 3".

Huh... of all the luck.

She opened the door and was blinded by bright white light. Wincing, Haruhi inched further into the room. Who the heck puts such bright lights in a music room! Where's the light switch? Thankfully before she had to thrust the room into complete darkness the light died down into a more natural brightness. Haruhi squinted to get her first look around the room and found-

"Welcome."

-a group of six boys, posing around a chair. Surprise made her whole body seized up and the door handle slipped from her fingers, letting the large door fall shut. Haruhi didn't react until the door let out a soft 'boom' as it shut. She jumped slightly and backed up against the door.

"S-sorry! I-I didn't know this room was taken..." her hands frantically scrabbled for the handle behind her, "I'll just get going. Sorry again..." Where is that stupid handle?!

At least she wasn't the only one who was confused. The boys she was staring at were either staring back or having whispered conversations with each other. Haruhi caught a few words such as 'boy', 'shy', and 'sociably', but just then a puzzle piece fit into place in her head. She recognized two of them. The twins. They were in her class. Oh boy. Time to leave!

She spun around and grasped at the door handle just as a voice called out, "Welcome to the Ouran Host Club... Mr. Honor Student."

A second voice followed, "What? You must be Haruhi Fujioka!" More words followed that statement, but they didn't register for Haruhi. Because how did he know my name? She slowly turned back around to look at the boys and decided to ask. The first voice answered her, coming from the boy who was wearing glasses.

"Why, you're infamous. It's not every day a commoner gains entrance into our academy."

Aaaaaaaaand... I don't like him very much. Haruhi drew her lips into a half-pout, keeping herself from saying anything she'd regret. After all, she's only been at this school for a short while, where as the rest of the student body had mostly known each other since Preschool. No need to give herself the title as the-

"You must have an audacious nerve to work hard enough to fight your way into this school as an honor student, Mr. Fujioka."

Audacious? Haruhi scowled and almost responded with some "well-chosen" words herself, but she stopped herself just in time. Instead, she muscled out a 'thank you', though it obviously sounded painful to get out.

"You're welcome!"

Or, perhaps not to everyone.

"You're a hero to other poor people, Fujioka! You've shown the world that even a poor person can excel at an elite private academy!" Haruhi quickly scooted away, biting her tongue. However, the idiot followed her, continuing with his speech.

As they made a full back and forth across the front of the room she managed to squeeze in a few words of her own, "Hey, do you think you can tone down the whole 'poor' thing? I'm only middle class." The blond didn't listen. Clearly he lacked some essential social reading skills, because instead of backing off he grabbed Haruhi's shoulder and made a grand gesture towards her. She stared at him as he welcomed her to the world of the rich, wondering if he was making fun of her.

Deciding not the stick around and try to figure it out, she turned around and walked to the doors. While she might still be feeling a sort of drive to sass the boy into next week, she decided it would do more harm than good at the moment. And besides, Nēchan would be proud of Haruhi for hanging back this time. If she had been in Haruhi's place, this guy would probably have a broken ego. Of course, that wasn't to say that her sister liked being mean, but she could definitely put a person in their place if she needed to.

"Hey! Come back here, Haru-chan!" A pair of strong arms wrapped themselves around Haruhi's right arm and tugged her backwards, "You must be like a superhero or something, that's so cool!"

Haruhi yanked her arm back, small licks of anger tinging her voice, "I'm not a hero, I'm an honor student! How did you even get into the High School?" The small blonde merely giggled and pranced back to the rest of the group, pleased about something. Haruhi shook her head and started making her way back to the door when another sentence interrupted her.

"I never would've imagined the famous scholar... would be so openly gay." Haruhi stopped. Processed. Considered. Then turned.

"Hold on. Openly... what?" Is he joking? He has to be joking. He's not really... is he-

"So tell me what kind of guys you're into!"

The blond started gesturing to each of the boys, listing what 'type' they were. Haruhi's jaw dropped lower and lower as he continued. This accident was slowly spirally further down into an outright social tragedy.

"Okay! Time for me to go now!" Her voice sounded unusually weak as Haruhi backed up against the door, away from the blond boy who was clearly out of his mind. He calls me a poor boy and a commoner and now he's trying to throw me at all these other guys? What is with this school?!

"Or maybe..." The boy slipped his hand under Haruhi's jaw, stroking her from neck to chin. An embarrassing high noise chirped out of her mouth as he leaned in really close to her face. "...you're into a guy like me. Whaddaya say?" Haruhi felt his fingers gently stroking her jaw line.

NOPE! Nope nope nope nope nope!

Equal parts flustered and terrified, Haruhi jerked away, "It's not like that! Oof!"

That little 'oof' came from her bumping into something. A sharp pain exploded from the small of her back and for a moment Haruhi wondered if she'd backed up into one of the couches. But no, she'd hit something harder. It tilted behind her… and a strange weight imbalance told her something had been resting on whatever she had hit. With a gasp, Haruhi turned to see a very expensive and beautiful vase falling to the floor. The world moved in slow motion as she twisted her body around, throwing an arm out in an attempt to catch it. Her fingertips brushed at the edge of the ceramic… before the vase shattered into a million pieces.

Haruhi stood still, shocked and horrified and frozen in a bent position over the stand. That vase had been beautiful… and she'd damaged it beyond repair. Oh no… Oh no...

"Awww." Haruhi heard the twin groan behind her. As if this couldn't get any worse...

"We were going to feature that Renascence vase in an upcoming school auction!"

"Oh, now you've done it commoner; the bidding on that vase was supposed to start at 8 million yen!"

Oh. I guess it can.

"WhAT!? 8 MILLION YEN!?" Haruhi groaned and collapsed her upper body onto the now vacant pedestal, muttering to herself, and attempting to do the calculations in her head. The tiny calculator she 'kept' up there exploded soon enough.

She propped herself up onto her elbows and gave the twins, who were the closest to her, her best 'I'm-so-sorry' face, "Uhrm… I'm going to have to pay you back."

"What what money? You can't even afford a school uniform." Haruhi felt her heart stop at the twin's statement. It was true… her family didn't have that much money to begin with. She might be able to pay it off in a few years… but what was going to happen if these rich boys didn't accept 'IOU's'? Would they take the money anyways? Had Haruhi just sent her family into bankruptcy!? Her heart pounded solidly in her chest, terror making her body shake violently.

"Well, what do you think we should do, Tamaki?" Haruhi let out a terrified noise. When did he get back there?

"There's a famous saying you may have heard, Fujioka." Haruhi turned to see the blond, Tamaki apparently, back in his chair. He crossed his legs and pointed an accusing finger at her, "When in Rome, you should do as the Romans do. Since you have no money, you can pay with your body." Haruhi's body grew cold as if her soul just left her body.

"That means starting today… you're the host club's dog."

Haruhi's jaw dropped as Tamaki's words processed in her brain.

Nope.

She toppled over in a dead faint.


 Haruhi woke up a few minutes later in the nurses office, and for a split second after waking up everything was fine again.

Then she remembered why she had fainted and she almost passed out again. Unfortunately she didn't and was quickly sent on her way back to class. Normally she'd be grateful that she wasn't being sent home, because her admittance at this school solely relied on her grades in class, but now her classroom was the last place in the world she wanted to be. Mostly because she was suddenly hyper sensitive to the fact that the twins from the Host Club sat beside her. It didn't help that they kept making creepy faces at her and smiling maliciously throughout her lessons.

And low and behold, when the final bell rang, those two devils grabbed her under her armpits and dragged her back to Music Room 3 before she could even think the word 'wait'. Haruhi didn't bother struggling. There wouldn't have been any point to that at all, but she did make a few extra prayers to her mom in the hopes that she would at least make it through today with her dignity intact.

Thankfully, the very first thing she was instructed to do? Go shopping. Kyoya handed over the credit card and the shopping list and she was sent on her way even before any girls showed up. For a moment Haruhi wondered how much trouble she'd get into if she took her time with the shopping and 'unfortunately' only made it back to the club once activities were over, but the honest part of her turned down the idea as soon as it came to her.

That didn't stop Haruhi muttered about the club under her breath the entire time, however. But really, who would blame her? She had much better things to do than be these boy's errand boy! Or, technically, errand girl.

Despite everything, Haruhi was slightly amused that the boys thought she was a boy too. Sure, it wasn't like it bothered her at all, she didn't really care about being identified by her gender. It was just the way she had grown up: Your gender doesn't define you as a person, your personality does. Being genderqueer just came naturally to her.

Her good mood didn't last long. 20 minutes later she was sneaking back into the music room, and a loud voice called out to her.

"Thanks for doing the shopping, little piglet! Did you get everything on our list?"
Haruhi stopped walking and stared incredulously at the blond. Was that an insult? I feel insulted right now. Did he even mean to insult me? I don't think his tree goes all the way to the top branch so maybe not, but still... The name calling actually disoriented Haruhi enough that she didn't notice Tamaki plucking a coffee tin out of her bag and sitting back down. He started at it, confusion all over his face.

After tilting it this way and that, he finally looked up at Haruhi, "What is this?"

"Just what it looks like. Coffee." Or can't you read?

"I've never seen this brand before. Has it already been ground? I've never tried it before..."

"What are you- never mind. Look, it's just instant coffee. Not exactly rocket science."

"In...stant?" The pair of girls sitting across from Tamaki tilted their heads.

"Whoa! I've heard of this before! It's commoner's coffee!" Tamaki seemed surprisingly excited about the coffee. Enough so that his voice had jumped in volume and attracted other guests and hosts alike. Every single one of them seemed to have something to say about the tin. Price, the reason behind it, heck even it's existence was questioned. Haruhi felt like she was about to grab the tin back just to smack Tamaki over the head with it.

"Fine! You know what? Fine, I'll just go back to the store and get you your expensive coffee."

"No... that's okay, Haruhi," Tamaki held his hand up to keep Haruhi from going anywhere.

The crowd gasped.

He stood up, "I'm going to give it a try."

They gasped louder.

"I'm going to drink this coffee!" He exclaimed as if he were declaring a dangerous quest. And the group applauded him as if that was what he had actually done. Haruhi's eyes followed the group as they walked towards a table by the window, Tamaki ordering her to follow and make some. I wonder if jumping out one of those windows would kill me...

"Oh, Tamaki, you're taking the joke a little too far now." Haruhi blinked and turned to see a redheaded girl still seated on the couch beside her. Tamaki's no where near her. Why is she- "Your palate won't be able to stomach that crap. You don't have to drink it just because he didn't know any better." Whoa, okay, that really sounded like an insult.

Haruhi slowly backed away from the couch and scurried after the group. Not gonna mention it. Not gonna mention it. Not gonna mention it...

A few moments later she was pouring hot water into teacups with the instant coffee powder, if only to shut the blond up. She offered the tray up, "Here. Go nuts." As Tamaki and his collection of clients picked at their instant coffee, Haruhi managed to slip away unnoticed. While she didn't want to admit it out loud, she felt a hint of curiosity at what the Host Club did during service hours. First up, the Hitachiin twins.

Haruhi slipped over and leaned against a pillar to watch. The twins seemed to be sharing a funny story with their guests, and now one of them (Kaoru, if memory served correctly) was a little upset at what had been shared, and now their faces were a bit too close to each others than some might deem 'normal'. Haruhi wasn't fazed by it much. She and Jin had a similarly close relationship. The girls didn't seem to mind either, but they were squirming around in their chairs as if there were invisible ants climbing up their legs. What are they getting so excited about?

Not wanting to watch any longer, Haruhi looked around to see who to watch next. She drifted towards the middle of the room and saw three girls sitting alone with an empty couch in front of them. It looked like someone was running late. But who-

Her thoughts were cut short by Honey-senpai and Mori-senpai walking through the doors, the small blond on the taller boy's back. Haruhi watched for a while, not quite believing that they were both 3rd year students.

"Honey-senpai may seem young and childish, but he's a prodigy." Haruhi turned her head to see Kyoya-senpai standing beside her. Again, she repressed the natural instinct to shudder. He's like a ghost. I can never hear him sneaking up behind me!

"Uh…"

"HARU-CHAN!" Honey-senpai's sweet yet loud voice was the only warning Haruhi received before the boy grabbed her right arm and swung her around. The world suddenly blurred before her eyes before coming to an abrupt stop.

"Hey Haru-chan, do you wanna have some cake? We've got lots of yummy flavors for you to try!"

"Thanks… but I don't really want any… cake." Sure, maybe she was a bit hungry from the small lunch she had packed earlier, but at the moment Haruhi was more concerned about stopping the world from tilting beneath her feet. She pressed her lips closed with her fingertips. Haruhi, listen very, very closely. You are not going to throw up in this Music Room in front of everyone.

"Then how would you like to hold my bunny, Usa-chan?"

"Um... I'm not really into stuffed animals."

"You mean... you don't like Usa-chan? But he likes you!" He held up the stuffed pink bunny and Haruhi instantly knew she was a goner. She had seen 'Usa-chan' earlier that day, but she hadn't been given the opportunity to view him close up before. His little face...

"I guess he is kinda cute, huh?" Honey lowered the bunny, gasping a bit before suddenly putting the stuffed animal into Haruhi's arms and running back towards his guest with a giggle. The short-haired brunette looked down at the bunny then back up at the two 3rd years sitting down on the couch in front of her. There was something... some memory tickling her brain when she looked at the two of them. But, for the life of her, she could not remember what it was.

Kyoya-senpai hummed beside her before opening a tall black journal he had been holding underneath his arm, "You might notice, Mr. Fujioka, that our club utilizes each man's unique characteristics to cater to the desires of our guests. Just so you know, Tamaki is number one around here. He's the King of this club with a request rate of 70%."

Haruhi couldn't do anything but scoff. The 'King'? Really? That guy's ego does not need any more inflating.

"In order for you to pay off your 8 million yen debt with us, you will act as the Ouran Host Club's dog until you graduate." Kyoya-senpai turned fully with a fairly unnerving smile and chuckled, "Terribly sorry, I meant our errand boy. You can try to run away if you want to, Haruhi, but just so you know my family employs a private police force of over 100 officers." His cold smile never falters as he turns away again, adjusting his glasses, "On a completely unrelated note… do you have a passport?"

"Um, no…"

A puff of cold air on her neck caused Haruhi to gasp and jerk away from Tamaki, who had suddenly appeared right behind her. Is every boy in this club a ninja or something? Should I invest in a couple bell collars? Once she caught her breath, Haruhi rubbed a hand over the still prickling spot, "Don't do that again. Ever."

Seemingly unfazed by what he had just done, Tamaki straightened up and rested his fists on his hips, "You need a makeover or no girl's going to look twice at you."

"Well, it's not like that's what I'm aiming for. I just don't think it's all that important. Why should I care about appearances and labels anyway? I mean, all that really matters is what's on the inside, right? I've never understood the allure of Host Clubs..."

"It's a cruel reality, isn't it?" Haruhi groans and glares up at her senpai. Does he never listen? Sure, maybe reality isn't quite ready to give up on the impression of physical beauty yet, but by promoting it like he is we'll never get past it!

Tamaki begins striking his usual poses and Haruhi stopped listening to his ongoing speech. I feel like there's a word to describe people like him. Hm… what was it again? It's on the tip of my tongue. She stared at the flailing blond for another moment before shutting her eyes. It's not a pain in the neck, even if he is one. Nope... it's definitely one word I'm thinking of. Moronic doesn't really fit either. Come on, I know there is one.

Tamaki sauntered closer and got right down next to her face, talking about a glance to the side. Suddenly, everything clicked.

"Huh! That's it!"

"Oh, has my lesson rea-"

"Obnoxious."

Immediately following that word, Tamaki is hunched over beside a table, drained of all his healthy color, clearly not taking Haruhi's view on him very well. Whoops, that came out meaner than I intended.

The twins suddenly materialized at her sides, patting her head and calling her a hero. At this point, Haruhi has already added '6 bell collars' to her next shopping list. Still… making people upset wasn't Haruhi's favorite thing in the world to do, so, "I'm sorry Senpai. Er, your lesson did strike a small chord with me, I guess."

The moping boy slowly stood up… then spun around with a charismatic smile on his face, "Really, it did? Let me teach you more…Friend."

"Well you got over that quick."

"Boss?"

"Call me King!" King? There goes his ego again.

"You can teach him all the basics of hosting and everything if you really want to-"

"-but he's not going to get very far looking like that, you know. I mean, he's not exactly the best-looking guy around, but," Haruhi let out a small gasp as her glasses were slowly removed, "perhaps if we took off his glasses..."

"Hey, give those back! I need them!" Haruhi reached out blindly, as her vision was now horribly blurred to the point where she couldn't tell which twin was holding her glasses. "I used to have contacts but I ripped one of them on the first day of school! I haven't had any time to order more yet!" No one answered her, but suddenly the redheads were pushed to the sides of her vision and blond replaced them.

Tamaki's blurred hand came back into her vision and she heard him snap his fingers, "Hikaru! Kaoru!"

"Got it!"

By the time Haruhi understood that now would be a good time to run, it was too late. Two hands gripped her forearms tightly and pulled her, screaming, towards the back of the room. Being as she couldn't see a damn thing, Haruhi continued to scream until the three of them stopped abruptly. The two hands gripping her arms shoved her past some yellow curtains.

"Stay here." And then they left. Haruhi took a moment to catch her breath and regain her bearings as best as she could. For a moment she contemplated running away, but didn't Kyoya-senpai say something about… a police force of 100 officers? She sweatdropped and made her way further into the curtained off area, her hands outstretched so as to not bump into anything. Her fingers eventually came into contact with a cool, smooth surface. Squinting a bit, Haruhi saw that it was a mirror.

Is this a changing room?

The curtain behind her moved and Haruhi turned around quickly, "Here, change into this."

"... What is it?"

"A school uniform."

Uniform? "Why?"

Instead of answering like normal people, the twins lunged at her. Four hands were now trying to pull off her sweater and her shoes and whatnot, chanting the word 'change' over and over and over again.

"Hey! Let go of me! Seriously, this is harassment!" When the boys didn't stop, Haruhi shouted, "Okay, fine I'll change but you two have to get out!" She grabbed the uniform and pushed the boys away as best as she could. They tumbled out of the changing room and after a few more seconds she heard them walking away. Good.

It didn't take long to change or put her new contacts in, but the hairstylist that came in took at least half an hour trimming her hair! Seriously, her hair didn't even look that different! Still, at the end of it all, Haruhi guessed she did look pretty good. The uniform fit well and everything. Speaking of...

"Um, Senpai? You out there?"

"Yes. Have you finished changing?"

Haruhi pushed the curtain to one side and looked out at the group of boys waiting for her, "To get this straight, you're gonna let me keep this uniform?"

Tamaki was immediately idiotic, holding his face and gushing about how cute and pretty she was, and how much she looked like a girl. That's because I am a girl, idiot! But apparently, he wasn't the only one who thought that. The rest of the boys chipped in their two cents on Haruhi's new look. Kyoya rounded it off by wondering if she'd draw in some customers looking like she did now.

Tamaki perked up, "You know, that's just what I was thinking." Bullcrap. I call bullcrap.

He pointed a finger right in Haruhi's face, "Starting today, our little errand boy is an official member of the Host Club! I will personally train Haruhi to be a first rate host. If you can get 100 customers to request your service, we will completely forget about your debt to us."

Haruhi felt like passing out again, "A host?"

"Let's go! The guests are waiting!" Haruhi let out another scream as the twins pulled her back to Music Room #3. Not even a prayer to her mother would save her now...


Two minutes later, Haruhi found herself in the hot seat. Why did she already have three girls to talk too!?

"So… tell me, Haruhi, do you have any hobbies? What do you like to do?"

"I'm curious, what kind of products do you use on your skin?"

"Yes, it's so pretty!"

Haruhi did her best to not scream. I can't do this! What am I supposed to do? You'd think me being a first timer they'd give me some help! How am I supposed to answer their questions?

Without waiting for a response, all three girls leaned forward and asked in unison, "So why'd you join the host club, Haruhi?"

"Uh…" She licked her lips. Okay, think this through. All I need is to get 100 guests to request me and the host club will forget about my debt. But how to get the girls to like me? How about… oh... I know just the story.

Haruhi took a breath and gave the girls her saddest smile, "Well, ladies, I suppose I joined because I was lonely. My home just feels so empty and since I'm new at this school I don't have many friends, yet."

The three girls let out little gasps, "Oh! Haruhi, why does your home feel empty?"

"Well…" she told them about her mother, how she'd gotten very sick and passed away 10 years back. Sadness nearly overwhelmed her, weighing down her heart, but she didn't cry. She'd already cried out all her tears years beforehand.

"I see… I'm so sorry, Haruhi."

"Yeah, I hardly remember her now, but my childhood was still hard, like you'd expect after losing a parent. I can only image how it must've been for Nēchan."

The three girls tilted their heads, "You have an... older sister?" Instantly, Haruhi brightened up. Finally, a happy topic. This is just what I've needed after a long day.

"Yeah, her name is Jin, and she's amazing!"

"Wow… how did she take it when you got accepted into Ouran?"

"Did she try to get in too?"

"Are you smarter?"

Haruhi actually laughed, "Under no circumstances am I more intelligent than Nēchan! She's consistently been at the top of her class ever since she started school, and the only reason she didn't come to Ouran last year was because she's been studying abroad in America since last July. Actually… she's coming home in a month, and I'm really excited. She's also been accepted into Ouran Academy."

The girls stared at Haruhi's excited grin with hearts in their eyes. Another Fujioka? More sibling love? A more open Haruhi?

"We can't wait to meet her!"

"Really? I bet she'd love to meet you girls, too!"

The girls sitting directly opposite of Haruhi leaned forward, "You must really miss her, huh?"

"Yeah… I do. But, I just need to look on the positive side of things, you know?"
The three girls are now completely captured by Haruhi's devotion to his sister. So much, in fact, that-

"Um, so it okay if tomorrow-"

"-we request to sit with you again?"

Haruhi's face lit up again, "Y-yeah! I'd really appreciate that, ladies!" Three off my quota! Little did she know, only a little ways away a certain blond host king was staring at her.

"How did he manage that so quickly?"

"He's a natural," Kyoya responding, hiding his amused smirk behind his black journal.

"No training needed," Kaoru followed up.

"We didn't even have to teach him how to pull the 'sibling love' card." Hikaru actually sounded a little impressed.

"Speaking of... Kyoya, did you know about Haruhi having a sister?"

"Not until a moment ago. Haruhi was never a client and I've never needed to research him before, but I do recall hearing about a second Honor Student who will be joining later in the year, due to conflicts with the school in America she was attending. Unfortunately, until she arrives I won't be able to research much of Miss Jin Fujioka."

A small, annoyed sounding cough caused Tamaki to whip his head to the side, "Hm? Oh, I'm so sorry, princess, I'm just a little bit concerned about our newest host."

The redhead chuckled without humor, "Well that's obvious, Tamaki."

"Is it? I don't mean for it to be, but I have to keep my eye on him. After all, I'm training him to be a gentleman like me. His actions will reflect direction onto me as a host." Thinking his regular customer might be feeling a little left out, Tamaki snapped his fingers, "Haruhi?" The incessant giggling from the table behind him stopped, so he made a beckoning gesture, "Come here for a minute."

Haruhi excused herself from her guests, stood up, and walked over to the other couch, a little curious about why her senpai wanted to talk to her again.

"I'd like you to meet my regular guest, Princess Ayankoji." Tamaki gestured to the redhead sitting beside him and Haruhi felt her lungs seize up a bit. It's that girl from earlier. The one who called the coffee I bought 'crap'. Well, might as well be polite.

"Miss, it's a pleasure to meet you."

The next thing she knew Tamaki was squeezing her in the tightest headlock she'd ever experienced! She struggled against his vice grip, attempting to breathe, but it was no use. Tamaki continued to ramble even though not a single word reached the brunette's ears. She couldn't breath! Haruhi pushed at his chest and managed to gasp for air, but he squeezed around her middle as she attempted to escape. Mori-senpai and Honey-senpai were seated only a little ways away and she called out in blind hope.

"Mori-senpai! H-Help!"

The tall boy moved faster than Haruhi thought possible and lifted her out of Tamaki's arms and into the air. Her head lolled forward as she caught her breath. Once she did Haruhi was set back down on her feet, but she stepped closer to the 3rd year as Tamaki clearly still wants to cho... er, hug her.

"Come on, little one, let Daddy give you a big hug!"

She rolled her eyes, "I've already got one Dad, I don't need another one."

Slipping away to get back to her guests, she spoke about random things for the next ten minutes. After that, a client rotation is called and Haruhi's first ever customers wave goodbye as they leave the room. She leaned further back into her chair and sighed.

Well, that was an adventure. And since I don't have any more customers at the moment, I can study now! Haruhi walked over to the far corner of the room where the host's left their book bags during hosting hours. She paused a few steps away as she counted the bags. Hers had been put down furthest from everyone else's… but now the only ones left belonged to the boys.

Hey, what happened to my bag?

Haruhi got a bad feeling in the pit of her stomach as she turned and looked out an open window that had been closed a few minutes ago. No... no way. Her school bag, with everything from her classes and everything she needed for when she went home, was in the fountain. "But... but how did-?"

Once she got feeling back in her legs she ran out of the club room and down the hallway without hesitation. I didn't think there were bullies at this school. Her frown deepened as she remembered her sister coming home some days with tears in her eyes. Hm, guess they're everywhere.

She brushed past a girl and would've kept going... if she didn't recognize the voice that spoke up afterwards.

"Oh, you again." Ayankoji kept her back to Haruhi, but she had a feeling the red-headed girl was smiling to herself, "I bet you love having Tamaki giving you that makeover and fawning all over you. I hope he realizes it's useless soon, though. No matter how he dresses you up, you're always going to be a second-class citizen."

Haruhi didn't move as the redhead walked away, like she did nothing wrong. Tears threatened her and she blinked rapidly to restrain them. What did Nēchan say to do again? Breath in...2...3…4... Hold...2...3...4... Out...2...3…4... Hold...2...3...4... Calmed down a bit, she continued her way to the fountain, blinking the tears away. Okay, Haruhi, relax. You don't have an older sister around right now to wipe away your tears. You've been strong for this long, you can handle another month.

Two minutes later Haruhi was fishing around in the fountain, pulling out her soaking wet books and school bag. She set them on the dry concrete and assessed the damage. Her books were all but ruined, and her notepad was now just a collection of smeared ink running down the pages. The prospect of tears threatened again, and Haruhi performed the same breathing exercise. I'm not going to be some weird kid crying in the pond water.

She climbed back into the fountain, unsure whether she was angry or just worn down. I kind of want to tell someone that she threw my bag in the pond, but that won't solve anything. Besides, which one of us would they believe? Ugh, I wish I could just find my wallet! Come on… where is it? If I can't find it I won't have any money to go shopping tonight!

The Fujioka's were always pretty good at keeping to a budget. Every week when their food pantry was running low, the girls would go grocery shopping after they got home from school. And besides, Jin had always been a stickler for Haruhi getting enough food to eat, considering how often she herself went without either a breakfast or a lunch during her middle school years. By eating healthy and not skipping meals Haruhi always felt a little closer to her.

The thought of her sister brought another small smile to the short girl's face. It was like a warm feeling was growing in the center of her chest, wiping away the bad thoughts and emotions.

Then her hand touched something slimy.

"Ick!" Haruhi quickly withdrew her hand from the water and eyed the area around her again. Was she positive that there was nothing living in here?

"Hey, Commoner!" Haruhi gasped and straightened up fully as Tamaki called out to her, droplets of water splashing against her new uniform in her haste, "You've got some nerve skipping out on the club like that." He glanced down to his right, probably trying to look cool, but his eyes narrowed in confusion as he noticed her bag, "Why is your bag all wet? Are those your books?"

Haruhi turned around again, refocusing on searching the fountain, "Uh, it's no big deal. Just an accident. I've got it." Yeah, it's all peachy keen and whatever, I just can't find my food money.

She figured that Tamaki would watch her search for a bit to make sure she didn't actually skip out on the club, or even just up and walk away, so she tried to pay him no mind. However, a few seconds later something made a splashing noise to her right. Haruhi looked over to see Tamaki actually in the water with her. Why… is he helping me?

"Hey, you don't have to do that, you'll get wet!"

"A little water never hurt anyone. Oh, hello?" Tamaki straightened up and held out her wallet, "Aha! This what you're looking for?" Haruhi could help but stare as he walked a little closer, taking a second glance at the blond boy. Okay. New information. He's actually a nice guy on the inside, I guess. He was mad at first, but when he realized I had lost something he helped me look for it. He even got into this filthy fountain water. I guess, he can be a pretty cool guy when he wants to.

"What's the matter, you're staring off into space. Hold on... you're not falling for me, are you?"

Haruhi jolted out of her thoughts and swiped the wallet out of his hands, "No way!" Geez, he might've done one nice thing to me, but he can be a real snob sometimes.

"How did your bag end up in the pond anyway?"

"Uh…" I can't tell him it was Ms. Ayankoji… I don't have any proof. And I doubt he'll just take my word for it. "Well, uh, I guess I accidentally dropped it out the window at some point." Weak. Weak, weak, weak, that was a freaking lame excuse, Haruhi. She could actually see her older sister in her mind's eye face-palming and shaking her head in disappointment.

Before she could be called on her obvious bluff, Haruhi quickly exited the water, "Uh… well, thanks for helping me find my wallet. We should probably get back to the club, right? The girls are probably waiting!"

"Oh, yeah. Let's go."


"Tamaki. Haruhi. There you two are, I've been looking for you!" Kyoya was on them the moment the doors opened. His face was calm and neutral looking as ever, but his voice had underlying tones of relief and annoyance.

"Sorry, Kyoya. There was an incident. It's taken care of now."

"Good. Well Tamaki, I've extended your current client's allotted time by five minutes due to your absence, so you'd best head over there now." The blond nodded and took off in the direction of his table, not once casting another look in the new host's direction.

Kyoya narrowed his eyes slightly at the brunette, "Haruhi, I would normally add to your debt for leaving the club before our hours ended without instruction, but you didn't have any clients at the time, so I'll let this incident slide. However, someone just requested you for a one-on-one segment." Kyoya walked away, gesturing to a two person table where a certain redhead watched Haruhi with cold grey eyes.

Heart in her throat, she approached Ayankoji and sat down, "Hello."

"Hello, Haruhi." Silence enveloped the two and the new host found herself extremely uncomfortable.

"Uh… tea?"

"Yes, please." Haruhi nodded, glad to have something to do with her hands as Ayankoji leaned forward, "I merely wished to know why you left the host club so suddenly earlier."

Haruhi froze. She wants to know if I'm going to tell them the truth. Swallowing thickly, she handed over the filled tea cup, "I accidentally dropped my bag out the window and into the pond without knowing it."

"Oh, really? That must've been terrible. I can't imagine what I would do if my bag fell into the pond." Haruhi worked hard to keep her face blank. "And you actually made Tamaki search that dirty old pond with you, how astonishing! And extremely big-headed. You do realize he's a blue blood and not a commoner, don't you? The only reason he's paying attention to you is because he's trying to turn you into a gentleman, no matter that it's a lost cause. Don't start thinking he cares about you just because he's doting on you. It would be a waste of your time, and his."

"You... you were watching." Haruhi straightened her shoulders and gave the girl her best 'haha, caught you' glare, "Now I understand. You're jealous."

Ayankoji's jaw dropped and her eyes went wide. The look was actually a bit frightening on her, like a cornered wild animal ready to rip the danger apart. Suddenly, her arm shot forward and grabbed a hold of Haruhi's jacket, pulling her forward. The table was knocked to the side and she heard the sound of shattering tea cups beneath Ayankoji's screams. Something hit her left hip and she winced in pain. By the time the world stopped moving she found herself propped up above the redhead who was screaming at the top of her lungs.

"No, Haruhi, leave me alone! Somebody help, he just attacked me! The commoner attacked me!"

Haruhi froze, now terrified of the situation she was in. Here she was, surrounded by rich kids who had no reason to take her word for what had happened, and if they believed Ayankoji, then what would they do to her?

"Someone do something, teach this commoner a lesson!"

*Splash!*

Water dripped down her face and back, soaking her new uniform in uncomfortable ways. But the shock of the cold water reminded Haruhi she could move. Leaning back, she looked up at the blank expressions of the twins who had empty vases in their hands.

"Why did you do that?" Is she asking me or the twins?

Haruhi clenched her hands as Tamaki lifted the other girl to her feet. Instantly, Ayankoji lost the hard, scary look and went back to her weak appearance, like she truly was the victim in this situation. "Do something, Tamaki, Haruhi just assaulted me. Get rid of him!"

Tamaki paused in his stroking of her hair, face looking oddly muted, "I'm very disappointed in you. You threw his bag into the pond, didn't you?" All the air left the room.

Ayankoji's eyes grew wide again, "You don't know that. Do you have any proof that I did? How could you even say that I'd-"

"You know, you may be a beautiful girl, but you are not classy enough to be our guests. To frame one of our hosts is to frame the entire club. And besides, if there's one thing I know at this school... is Haruhi is not that kind of a man. And I'm afraid we must now ask you to leave, for good."

For a moment, Ayankoji can't seem to find her words before she suddenly shoved past Tamaki and ran for the doors, wailing at the top of her lungs. As soon as the doors shut behind her, Tamaki turned back to Haruhi with his usual carefree air, "Hm… now how am I going to punish you, because it is your fault after all."

MY FAULT!? IS HE- "Your quota is now 1,000!"

An embarrassing squeaking sound fell past Haruhi's lips, "One… thous-and…"

"Come on," Haruhi looked in surprise at the hand being held out to her. She took it and was pulled to her feet, "I've got high expectations for you, little Haruhi. Hope you're ready." He winked at her, which confused the poor girl even more. What is with this guy?

Pulling her hand free, she turned to see Kyoya holding out a pink bag towards her that had a spare uniform for her to change into. Haruhi took it and peeked inside. It was yellow. The girl's uniform. Well, won't they be surprised.

"Thanks guys, I'm going to go change." She walked to the back of the room, passing by clients who were walking towards the front doors of the room and gossiping about the drama that just went on. Club activities must be over. Good. I just want to go home.

She slipped into a changing room, thankful that there were already a few towels waiting for her. Sighing in relief, she pulled the wet clothes off of her, dropping them to the floor. I'll fold them when I'm no longer cold and wet. At once, Haruhi started to quickly towel dry her underclothes. She didn't have any extra on her or anything, but she'd be heading home in a bit anyways.

"Haruhi? I brought you some more towels if you need them." The familiar shink of the changing room curtains sounded behind her and she gasped as a wave of cold air hit her bare, wet shoulders. Haruhi looked around, hoping against hope that she wouldn't see what she thought she'd see.

Tamaki stood there with a blank, yet horrified expression on his face, staring at her very exposed form. For another two seconds they just stared at each other.

"Drop the curtain, Senpai."

He did and Haruhi made quick work of changing, working on keeping the blush from her cheeks. After a moment, he finally spoke from the other side of the curtain.

"Haruhi?"

"Yeah?"

"So, you're a girl?"

Haruhi smirked and chuckled a bit, "Biologically speaking, yeah, I am." She pushed aside the curtain and stepped out in the pale yellow dress. She didn't especially like this one as much as the other uniform, but beggars can't be choosers. Still, it was pretty hilarious when Tamaki literally freaked the flip out.

"AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!"

Haruhi bit back a smile and readjusted the red bow on her neck, "Listen, Senpai, you guys can address me as a boy or a girl or even as an it. I'm not all that picky. In my opinion it's much more important for a person to be recognized for who they are, not for what's between their legs. What really matters is what is on the inside." And again, it looked like nothing Haruhi had said had gotten into Tamaki's rather thick head. He was still gaping in complete shock.

Kyoya-senpai looked down at his journal with obvious disinterest, "Well, isn't this an interesting development." The four other boys stood to Tamaki's right while the twins shared a look with each other, calling out agreement with their Vice-President. Haruhi glanced at the other boys. I have a feeling they all figured it out before now. Huh. Guess they're not all hopeless. She returned her gaze to the blond boy in front of her with a slight smirk. You know, they're not that bad, I suppose.

"Hey, Senpai, I just thought you should know, I thought you were pretty cool earlier when you helped me out. That was real nice of you."

Tamaki's eyes grew impossibly wide and he shrunk back a bit, his entire face growing red, probably from embarrassment considering Haruhi was also mentioning him bringing her towels while she was only wearing a singlet.

"Well, I guess since I'm going to be a host for a while, I might as well get used to it. Besides, being fussed over by a bunch a girls might not be so bad… I'm used to Nēchan doing it when I was a lot younger, so it won't be much of a difference, I suppose. But how am I going to pull it off?" She tapped her foot and bit her lower lip, two thinking habits she had learned from her sister.

"Oh, I got it! I'll just call everyone dude and bro, now!" Wow, now I really sounded like a host. With that thought, Haruhi started laughing. It felt good.

Well, Nēchan, this will certainly make our high school years interesting. Hope you're up for it!

Chapter Text

Haruhi's head felt like it was being compressed. She wasn't sure whether she should take some Tylenol or just go to bed, but whatever it was she needed to do it quick or she may very well flip the table she was sitting at. Her brand new history textbook (an apology from the Host Club for the damages done by one of their guests) was laid out in front of her, innocently enough, but the brunette couldn't force herself to actually read the questions she was supposed to be answering. How could it be that it only took a single day in the company of the host club to ruin her entire study schedule?

Scowling, Haruhi dropped her pencil and fell onto her back, pulling a pillow over her face to muffle her screams. She needed to keep ahead in her studies or her scholarship would be revoked, but it was so hard to focus with the memories of her day running around in her head! And really, how exactly was she supposed to work knowing that she'd be dealing with those boys for possibly the next three years?

Ring! Ring! Ring!

Haruhi gasped and sat up, her homework and studying problems almost completely forgotten as she scurried to her feet. The brunette rushed over to the telephone residing on the wall and answered it, knowing exactly who was calling.

"Nēchan!"

"Hey, Haru!"

Haruhi laughed and leaned her left side against the counter, grinning like a fool, "You called early!"

"Well, yeah. I have an hour before school starts, so I figured I'd use it to call you! And I felt like it was needed. Is Dad home?"

"No, he isn't. He'll be working until 8 for the rest of the week, too."

"Bummer. Oh well! Tell me how school went today! Have you made any friends yet? How's the homework load? Anything I have to watch out for?"

Haruhi bit her lip. How much should she tell her Onēsan? If Nēchan found out she was a member of the host club, let alone he finding out just how she'd been roped into that circus… how would she react? Yes, Jin would want to know everything and she'd help out in any way that she could, but Haruhi felt like it was her responsibility to fix this. She was the one who broke the vase, she should be the only one who had to pay for it. It wouldn't be fair or right to drop an 8 million yen debt on her sister's shoulders while she's over 6,000 miles away.

"Haru? Is everything okay over there? Did something happen?"

"Hm? Ah, no. I'm just trying to find the right words to describe the place. First of all, everyone there is rich, and it's kind of scary. Honestly, they're all idiots." Jin giggled on the other side of the phone. "They have four huge library rooms with about every book you can imagine, but they don't take the 'no talking' rule very seriously, so that makes studying a little hard during the school day. The homework load is decent, I guess. Pretty much what you'd expect from high school, I would think."

"And have you made friends? Even idiots can be fun to hang around with every once in a while. Just take a look at all the people we hang out with now!"

"Er… well, the thing is… they all think I'm a boy."

She was answered with silence on the other end. Then:

"HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAA!"

Haruhi pulls the phone away from her ear as her sister laughs. She smiles, glad to have humored her, and waits patiently for her Onēsan to catch her breath long enough to speak. It takes a few minutes.

"W-wait. They seriously can't tell?"

"Well, remember when I told you that Eiichi got gum in my hair last week? And I chose to get it cut off?"

"Yeah... But you refused to send me a picture, so exactly how short of a haircut are we talking about here?"

"You're coming back in about a month, so you'll see it for yourself soon enough. Anyways, with my short hair, Ojiisan's glasses, and my brown sweater, they all think I'm a boy. I didn't feel bothered to correct them."

"Huh. Sounds like you. Anyways, back to my original question: have you made any friends?"

"Not yet, but I'm a part of a club now. They're the only ones who know I'm a girl and I think they want to keep it that way."

"Really? That's kind of weird. But are they nice?" Haruhi thought about it. Were they nice?

Tamaki-senpai was certainly kind when my bag was thrown into the pond and when Ayankoji attempted to accuse me of assaulting her. He's still an idiot, but yeah, he's nice. Kyoya-senpai… I'm not so sure about him yet. But if someone becomes Tamaki-senpai's friend, there must be some good in him. Hikaru and Kaoru are definitely troublemakers, and a little overbearing at times, but again, they can't be all bad. Honey-senpai is really nice to everyone, so there's no contest there. And Mori-senpai seems like a good guy. He did rescue me from Senpai's hug-of-death…

"Haru… Earth to Haru… You still there?"

"Yeah. Yeah, I'm still here. I was just thinking. The guys at the club are nice. They're probably the biggest idiots of them all, but they are nice. In their own way. But they all drive me up the wall, and I've only known them for a day! Honestly, they take the simplest things and come up with ridiculously big plans to solve them!"

"Wow, that sounds fun! Just don't shut them out too soon, okay? The people who can make an ordinary day into an adventure are the best kinds of people in my opinion!"

"That's because you haven't met these guys yet."

"Uh huh. I guess I'll just have to decide for myself when I come home."

"Uwah… h-hey, you don't have to meet them I mean they really aren't that big of a deal and I doubt they're your type of friends anyways I mean they're kind of boring and yet over the top at the same time why would you want to-"

"Hey, hey, hey, relax . Haru, are you sure you're okay?"

"Yes! I'm fine!"

Haruhi's chest was rapidly rising and falling. While she didn't think Jin would have a problem with the host club, she wouldn't put it past the boys to attempt to woo her sister. Not only would that be weird, but it could end up embarrassing and making a bad situation worse. Haruhi knew it wasn't like she could keep them separated permanently, but perhaps she could make the transition smoother. Introduce one host at a time.

"Haru, if you really don't want me to meet them right now, then that's okay. I'll keep my distance if that's what you want, but I do want to hear more about these club members when I get back home, alright?"

And therein lies the reason Haruhi can tell her sister anything. No matter how obvious she made her discomfort or how clearly it appeared she was hiding something, Jin always knew when to back off of a problem and negotiate. She could always tell where to draw the line and when to start being an understanding role model.

"Thanks."

"No problem. Well, I have to make myself some breakfast and get to school, so I'm going to hang up now, okay?"

"Okay. Have a good day, Nēchan!"

"Goodnight, Haru!"

Boop. Boop.

Haruhi hung up the phone and let out a big sigh. An even bigger smile spread across her face as she headed back to the table and homework pile. She sat down, feeling as though her entire hectic day had never happen. There wasn't a single point of tension in her body and it felt great. Sure, tomorrow could be even crazier for all she knew, but until that happened she was just going to focus on her homework.

After all, it wouldn't be any good if she was kicked out of the Academy before her sister even arrived!

Chapter Text

The loud chiming of the clock tower echoed through the school, perking the ears of Ouran Academy's student body until it reached an unsuspecting Haruhi Fujioka. The female student dressed in the male uniform gasped.

Crap! Is it already that late?

Groaning, Haruhi flipped the cover of her notebook shut. She packed away the rest of her stuff quickly, put the books she no longer required on the reshelving pile, and hoofed it out of the library. Figures that the only library she could find room to study in was the one furthest away from the Music Room. It was after school hours, so she wasn't worried about being stopped by the teachers for running in the halls. It seemed that once school was over with, the students could rid themselves of every rule the school imposed and no one would stop them.

Maybe that's why the Host Club seems to get away with a lot of things...

Slowing to a stop, Haruhi paused in front of Music Room 3. Gritting her teeth, knowing what was about to happen, she grasped the handle and pulled down. Surprisingly, instead of the rose petals that usually rained down on her, Haruhi was met with a wave of pleasantly warm air, making the chilly host shiver in appreciation. However…

"What? Where?" The music room had changed. Instead of the usual couches and tables, the room looked like an exotic hotel paradise. Palm trees, colorful flowers, a few toucans… the works. "How…"

"Oh, never mind, its just Haruhi."

"At least she finally made it."

Ignoring the twin's jab, Haruhi pulled out her pocket sized calendar and made a show of looking at the date closely, "Now, I could be wrong, but my calendar still says it's early spring…" She craned her head back and peered out the large windows at the crystal blue sky and budding cherry blossoms, "And would you look at that? Spring."

Tamaki smirked and began his usual tirade, "Shivering in misery and fearing the cold is no way to enjoy the first days of spring! Why put our chilly little kittens through such nonsense when we have the best heating system in the world? We've turned this place into Nirvana. A balmy tropical island of evERLASTING SUMMER!"

"That's funny, because I'm feeling a massive chill right now."

Hurt by her comment, the host king fell away and curled up in some far off corner of the room. However, he only had a few moments to wallow in self pity before the guests arrived and he was forced back into his happy smile. Fourteen minutes later, the Host Club was in full swing. At the moment, it was Haruhi's turn to go around and clear off any dirty tea cups from the other host's tables or refill their tea pots as needed. As always, she went to Tamaki's table first, just to get it out of the way.

Unfortunately, she also got a full face of his hosting.

She caught the tail end of his whispered devotions before letting the girl's chin slide off his palm. Tamaki's other guests weren't acting jealous, though. Princess Ayankoji must've been a fluke.

Tamaki straightened up, not in the least bit flustered by his previous actions, "Oh, I almost forgot to mention! Next week, the Ouran Host Club is sponsoring a party."

Haruhi's eyebrows crinkled in confusion and she turned back towards Tamaki's table. We're throwing a party? Are we allowed to do that? Exactly what goes on at a rich person's party?

In the other direction, another guest was asking the same kind of questions buzzing in her head. It was one of the twin's guests, so Haruhi drifted over and pulled the empty tea pot off of the table while they answered.

"We've rented the school's largest hall for the big evening."

"It's the perfect place for dancing, especially with all the people we're inviting."

Haruhi backed away from the table as Hikaru reached over and tilted his brother's face uncomfortably close, his voice dropping to a husky whisper. The two girls sitting right across from them dissolved into a pile of screams while Haruhi simply watched it all with a blank face. It was odd how quickly she was growing used to these acts of weirdness.

The brunette slowly made her rounds before coming to a stop in front of a bar-like pavilion. Kyoya leaned up against the countertop beside her and for a moment they watched the proceedings in silence.

"Hey, Kyoya-senpai? I've been meaning to ask about the outfits you guys are wearing."

"Well, let it never be said that the Host Club does not take theme days lightly. And besides, showing some skin proves popular with the ladies."

"Huh. Makes sense. Were you the one who came up with this tropical paradise idea?"

"I have no decision making authority. That power remains with Tamaki, as the club's president. All of our policies are dictated by him as well. But," he adjusted his glasses with a small evil smile playing on his face, "I guess there's no harm in admitting to casually slipping a Bali photo book onto his desk."

Haruhi quickly looked away so he couldn't see the fearful look on her face. So he's the real brains behind the operation. Like a shadow of 'King' Tamaki. I wonder if anyone else has made the connection… or if he uses it to his advantage more than we know.

Filled with a sudden urge to get as far away from the "Shadow King" as possible, Haruhi quickly moved across the room and found herself seated with a few girls herself. Another table off to her left side, Honey was showing off his flower lei. He threw a few lei's onto his guests before climbing up Mori-senpai's torso to do the same.

And there it was again. The little itching in the back of Haruhi's head. I swear I recognize them! But from where? Ugh, it's driving me insane!

"Uh, Haruhi?" One of her guests gained her attention, "Aren't you going to wear a tropical outfit like the other boys?"

"I'd like to see that!"

Oh crap! "Oh, well, no. I, um, I just don't think it's appropriate to wear anything but early spring attire in early spring, you know?" And like hell they're going to put me in one of those monkey suits! Besides, it's not like I can be walking around with a bare chest like the others…

Thankfully, the girls bought it. They quickly began to practically entertain themselves, coming up with little scenarios involving the host club and early spring cherry blossoms.

"Excuse me. I hate to disturb but I think it's time for the hosts to switch clients."

The brunette jumped slightly at the new voice, "Oh, I'm sorry, you must be my next appointment Miss…" Haruhi trailed off as she saw the girl standing next to her. What…

"My name is Kanako. Kanako Kasugazaki."

Haruhi's chin was tilted up until she was face to face with the girl, "You're even cuter than I expected." She watched as Kanako's lips continued moving, but all Haruhi could hear was white noise. That is, until Kanako sat down and started sipping tea. Haruhi gave her head a minute shake and went back to hosting, a little embarrassed with her actions.

*Timeskip*

Two hours later, the Music Room was empty of all guests. A brilliant sunset shone through the window as the hosts planned out the party taking place next week. Until the night of the party, the hosts would be spending an extra hour at the school making arrangements. Everyone had to help pitch in their own ideas and assistance, and it was non-negotiable.

Well… except for Tamaki, apparently.

"Hey boss! How about you stop stuffing your face with ramen and actually help us with the party planning?"

"Does it really bother you that Princess Kasuga has taken a liking to Haruhi? She's had the Host-hopping disease for a while now, why are you so surprised?"

Haruhi blinked, "The host... what?"

"Host-hopping disease."

"AKA the Never-the-Same-Boy-Twice disease."

"Usually our customers chose a favorite host then see them regularly, however, Princess Kanako tends to changes her favorites… on a regular basis. Just last week she switched from Mori-senpai to Tamaki, and now she's fixed her sight on you."

Tamaki's stranger-than-usual behavior now made sense. Haruhi's face fell back to her 'I'm not impressed' look. I seem to be wearing this look more and more often now.

"So he's upset that I took her from him?"

"SHUT UP! THAT'S NOT WHAT BOTHERS ME AT ALL! I COULDN'T CARE LESS!"

"You know, shouting in my face isn't going to make me like you any better…"

Tamaki ignored Haruhi's comment, "I'm running out of patience, Haruhi! It's time you started dressing like a girl!"

Haruhi leaned back a bit, "That is not the direction I thought you were heading…"

"I just don't understand it! How can you can be so popular with the ladies when you yourself are a lady! And how are we the only ones who know of it? "

The twins appeared behind him, "Well, it's actually pretty easy, Boss."

"She opted out of gym class and the attendance numbers are all mixed together."

"So unless she outright tells them, with her looks Haruhi does look like a boy."

Tamaki wailed, "Why!? Why would you make yourself look like a boy, Haruhi? You probably looked so cute before..."

The other boys murmured their curiosity as well, so Haruhi explained, "One of the kids from my neighborhood stuck some gum in my hair as a joke the day before school started. It's a real pain to get gum out of long hair, so I decided to cut it all off and not deal with it anymore. I didn't care if I looked like a dude, you know? It doesn't bother me at all."

"Ah! A girl should never refer to herself as a dude or cut their hair without care! MOMMA! Haruhi's using those dirty boy words again…" Momma?

"Okay, addressing the elephant in the room. Who's Momma?"

"Based on club position, I assume he means me…"

Haruhi let a small snort slip through at the resigned tone of Kyoya's voice before walking away from the sobbing boy, "Well, as long as we know he's not going to be of any use, can we call it a day? I have homework to do."

"Yeah. Just one question though. We usually have dance practices before we host a party. Have you had formal dancing experience?"

She nodded, "It's been a really long time, but yeah, I know a few dances. Kind of. But I'm honestly not interested in going to a party, so if it doesn't have anything to do with my quota I'd much rather be excused from attending..." she stopped speaking. The crying behind her had stopped.

As if on cue, Tamaki spoke again as if he hadn't been weeping like a toddler experiencing a tantrum a few seconds ago, "Definitely not. If you want to be a host that badly, you going to have to show us how far you're willing to go, Haruhi! I order you to master dancing the waltz in one week, and you will demonstrate your skills at the party. If you don't reach our expectations I'll tell the entire school that you're a girl and knock you back down to errand boy!"

Haruhi gasped and took a step back. Of course it's the waltz. The one dance I have trouble with… Mom, please send me some help. Help would be nice...


 

"Quick, quick, slow… Quick, quick, slow…" Haruhi stared at her feet with a concentration that would only be rivaled by her taking a math test. Still, she and Princess Kanako glided somewhat smoothly across the tiled floor, music and Honey's delighted squeals in their ears.

"Very good, Haruhi. But be sure to look the lady in the eye when you're dancing."

"Uh, right. Sorry." Haruhi took a deep breath and looked up. Her gaze met Kanako's… and the next moment the two were on the ground.

"I'm so sorry, Miss Kasugazaki! Ah…" the girl beneath her had just looped her arms around Haruhi's neck and pulled her down closer. Oh god. Oh god. Oh god.

"It's okay, Haruhi." For a second, all Haruhi could do was stare into her client's eyes, before forcing her gaze on the tile floor instead.

"Uh… Can I help you up?"

"Thank you." Once the two were out of the awkward position, Kanako gripped Haruhi's hand and pulled her closer, "Haruhi, you never meet my eyes for more than a few seconds. Is something wrong?"

Haruhi glanced over and saw that the other hosts were too busy with each other to pay much attention to the dancing girls, "Well, it's just… your eyes look a lot like my sister's."

"Oh, really? You must miss her terribly."

"Yeah. Whenever I see your eyes I get a terrible pang of homesickness in my stomach. She would always look at me like I was the light of her world. Even if I got on her nerves or said something stupid, there would always be a small twinkle in her gaze that told me she'd always be by my side, no matter who I was for or against. I know it might be a little strange for us to be that close, but we've been this way since I was born. I dunno... I just miss her a lot."

Kanako moved the two into a dancing position again, "Haruhi? Did your sister teach you how to dance?"

"Um, yes, she did."

"Well, why don't you pretend I'm her for a few minutes. Pretend you're back with your sister when she was teaching you the waltz." Haruhi blinked for a bit, then sucked in a breath and looked at Kanako's eyes. They're almost exactly the same. Same shape. Same kindness. The only difference is the shade of brown… but then again Nēchan's eyes would always turn golden in the sunlight…

Haruhi's feet moved on automatic, her sister's words of advice drifting through her head.

' Dancing is like singing or reciting poetry with your body, Haru. Keep the music's tempo in your chest. Let it pulse there for a moment, then let it flow through your movements. Each pulse is a checkpoint now. Move your feet in time with the pulse. If you're especially nervous, breathing in and out every four beats keeps your body relaxed. You don't want to be dancing too stiffly, or your partner will be able to tell you're uncomfortable. Let your body breathe. '

"Wow, Haru-chan! You're really good!"

"Huh?" Haruhi came to a stop and noticed all the boys looking at her. Even Kanako had a slightly surprised look on her face. "What?"

"Well… you were stumbling over your own two feet a few seconds ago."

"But just now you were twirling Princess Kasugazaki around the room like it was second nature to you."

Haruhi smiled softly and led her dancing partner to a table, "Thank you so much for allowing me to practice with you, I really appreciate it. Your tidbit about pretending my sister was teaching me really helped. Sorry... if that was weird for you."

Kanako giggled and leaned forward, "Oh, it was no trouble! I'm just glad I got to spend some alone time with you." Haruhi could only stare. Well, there's no real way to carry on that conversation… is there?

Thankfully for Haruhi, she didn't need too, for the very next moment Kanako looked down at her tea cup and started complimenting it. She even knew the name. Ginori? Now that sounds like an actual illness. Kyoya drifted over to continue the conversation with Kanako, probably well aware that Haruhi was out of her depth. She just let him do the talking. She must really be into tableware. I wonder how she's learned all of this stuff?

From behind her, the Music room doors opened, "Hello? I'm here with the new tea cups you ordered!" Haruhi looked around as the door fell shut. A tall brunet boy stood in the doorway, lugging a large yellow box. He was wearing an Ouran uniform without the blue jacket, instead replacing it with a yellow sweater, but he had an easy going smile.

"Ah, thank you very much. Every item that you've chosen for us has been extremely popular with the ladies. I'm quite impressed." Woah, woah. Kyoya is impressed? Who is this guy? Jesus?

Wanting to know more about the person who Kyoya admitted to being impressed by, Haruhi walked over to the other boys, "So, you sell tea sets?"

"No, I'm just a regular student." He handed the box over to Haruhi, who took it without complaint, "Can't you tell by the uniform? I'm delivering these from my family's business. Just trying to help out where I can, you know!"

"Oh, Haruhi, you're so funny! But I can't really blame you for not knowing he's the heir of a first class company," Haruhi and the boys looked over at Princess Kasuka with confusion, "After all… he doesn't really look the part, does he?"

The room filled up with awkwardness faster than if Kanako had started yodeling. Kyoya tried to relieve it by sharing as many details about the Suzushima trading company he knew, but no one paid him much attention. Suzushima was staring at Kanako, who'd turned back around in her seat to stare into her tea cup, and Haruhi watched the two of them. Is there a backstory here I don't know about?

"...He has a great eye for fine china, don't you Suzushima?"

At being addressed, Suzushima managed to tune himself back into the conversation, "You think? I've still got a lot to learn, but thank you."

"I've heard you were leaving soon to study abroad. Is that true?"

"Yes, next month I'm heading over to England. Don't worry, I'll still be able to recommend what tea sets to send your way while I'm gone. Speaking of which, I'd better go now." And just like that, he left. The mood he left behind wasn't very pleasant either. Haruhi looked over at Princess Kasuka. She was hunched over her table, hands still clasped around her full tea cup. Tamaki walked over and muttered something to the girl, who looked up at him in confusion.

"So," Haruhi drew the word out, "It looked like you knew that guy-"

Kanako jolted in her seat, scrambling up from her chair frantically and spitting out denials like it was her job. A few high-pitched well wishes later and she'd made a beeline out the door.

"Hm…"

"Haru-chan!" Honey-senpai took a flying leap landed on her back, "Guess what, you were right! They do know each other! Suzushima is Kasuga-chan's fiancé! How did you guess?"

"Kyoya?

"How long have I known about the two of them being engaged?" The glasses wearing host pulled out his black journal, "Well, as I conduct general searches on all of our customers, I've known since Princess Kasuka became a client of ours. I didn't think the information would benefit us so I didn't feel the need to share it. But from what I can discern from it now, having witnessed that episode... Let's see, Toru Suzushima. Outstanding grades, fair social status, reliable. Unfortunately-"

"-he doesn't have much presence-"

"-and he's faint hearted."

"So, in other words, he's boring." Snap! went the journal. Haruhi felt a couple beads of sweat appearing on her face. If they're so judgmental of other guys, how on Earth are they so popular throughout the entire school? Haruhi was liking her fellow club members less and less.

"Suzushima is a good boy, right?"

"Yeah." Well, at least some of them are kinder than others.

"Alright everyone, we'll have to work on our strategy."

"Which one?"

Tamaki flipped his hair out of his face, "Men, it is our responsibility, as members of the elite Ouran host club, to make every girl happy! "


*One week later*

"It is so good to see you here tonight, my little lambs. The Ouran Host Club would like to bid you...welcome!"

The entire hall was suddenly ablaze with light. Magnificent chandeliers hung from the grand ceiling, the crystals glittering enchantingly. A string ensemble began their first piece as background music to the beginning of the night's festivities. The girls in the audience applauded as the host club straightened up in sync.

Kyoya's voice rung out across the hall, giving out what sounded like a well practiced speech. He welcomed the ladies to dance with the hosts to their hearts content, and that at the end of the night one of them would be crowned as 'Queen'. The reward? A passionate kiss on the cheek from Tamaki. As the girls fell over themselves at the idea of being kissed on the cheek, Haruhi felt her fake smile dipping lower and lower.

"Haruhi!" The twins moved to her side, "Show some enthusiasm!"

"Sorry you guys, but I'm not really feeling it tonight. I'm not exactly used to events like this. The only parties I ever went to were the festivals held in my neighborhood park and whenever Nēchan invited her friends over."

"I don't know if you could really consider those "parties" or not. Well, perhaps until you're feeling up to dancing you should get yourself something to eat. We have quite a spread tonight."

Haruhi stopped scowling, " A… spread? " The brunette nibbled at her lower lip. Nēchan used to bring fancy stuff home on occasion, but for the past year… there was one treat Haruhi had been missing. "Um… do you have fancy tuna?"

The boys gasped around her.

Uh oh.

Tamaki flipped off of the top balcony down to where the twins were cuddling Haruhi, demanding Kyoya to order fancy tuna even as he was dialing a number on his phone. Haruhi felt her face grow red with a mixture of anger and embarrassment, doing her best to block out the twins repeating the words 'you poor little thing'. Damn these rich jerks. Why did I even say anything? Damn it. Damn it all.

After a few more seconds, she wriggled out of the tight embrace, "Okay, that's enough! Now, go attend to the guests before we have a riot on our hands!" Before the boys could protest, she turned on her heel and marched down the steps. The girls squealed and Haruhi found herself being hauled onto the dance floor.

The first half hour passed by in a blur. Haruhi only danced with two girls before she managed to sneak away to the side. The other boys didn't have that luxury, but they didn't seem to mind it. They were probably used to dancing for hours at a time at fancy dinner parties, so Haruhi wasn't very surprised. Jin used to be able to dance for an hour straight before needing to take a break.

Haruhi felt her smile do a funky dip and rise as she recalled her sister. Almost. Almost time. Less than a month.

"Hello, Haruhi."

"Hm?" She turned her head and saw none other than Princess Kanako.

"I've been looking for you. Do you think maybe you could give me my first dance of the night?"

"Yeah, of course." While Haruhi would deny it until her dying day, she was actually having a bit of fun being asked to dance by the girls. It was nice to know that her presence was actually desired. Of course, as the two were making their way onto the dance floor, everything had to go sideways. Haruhi felt as though she'd been hit in the stomach by a freight train.

"WOAH!" The scenery passed by too fast for her to understand where she was being taken. All Haruhi knew was that whoever was carrying her away was tall with long arms. Three seconds later, they exited the dance hall and slowed down to a walking pace.

"Okay, Haru-chan! Let's hurry and find the others!" Honey-senpai. Which means the person carrying me is-

"Takashi! I think this is the room!" The three walked in through another door and Mori-senpai set her down. Her first order of business on her own two feet? Giving her Senpai the best glare she could muster.

"What was that? I thought the point of this whole operation was to do it without drawing attention to ourselves! Why didn't you just come over and politely ask if I could talk with you guys for a few minutes! Princess Kasuka wouldn't have noticed anything suspicious about it! And then we wouldn't have been seen running out of the dance hall like the devil was at our heels! Can't you guys do anything normal ?"

The other boys seemed unaffected by Haruhi's outburst. Hikaru simply shoved a bag into her arms, and pushed her past a pair of curtains, telling her to get changed. She stayed in that spot for a moment to reel in her anger. Screaming at them won't fix anything. I'm on the clock. Might as well get this thing over with. With one last deep breath, Haruhi began undressing and Kyoya went over the details of their plan again.

Haruhi rolled her eyes, she knew the plan forwards and backwards already. Making a final adjustment to her wig, she stepped out of the changing room with her mouth set in a straight line. Mom, I know you can see this. If there is anything you can do to help me out, I'd greatly appreciate it. Please just… ask for a favor or something. Haruhi sat down in the makeup chair without making a fuss, knowing it wouldn't have helped anything even if she had.

The twins began piling cosmetics onto her face, muttering about how it was somewhat unsettling. She resisted the urge to roll her eyes again. From personal experience, she knew that fixing makeup that had already been applied was ten times harder than just putting it on right the first time.

Behind her, the door slammed open, "Gentlemen, here you all are! What are you doing? The guests are-!" Tamaki stopped in his rant as the twins gave Haruhi the thumbs up and she stood from the chair. Immediately Haruhi felt unbalanced and clutched the back of the chair to steady herself. Stupid heels. Stupid hosts. I swear I'm going to face plant any minute now.

"Wow, you look so cute!"

"My face feels heavy and it's hard to walk in these shoes. Do not speak to me."

"Good luck, Haruhi!" She was too busy using her arms to balance to create a scathing retort. Instead, Haruhi just stumbled to the classroom the hosts had chosen the day before to have her meet with Suzushima.

Thankfully, she made it without injury, though her pride was a bit bruised. Taking a breath, she opened the door and peered inside. There was Toru Suzushima. He was staring out the window at the cherry blossoms with a face of someone who was lost in thought. At the sound of the door creaking open, he turned at gave Haruhi a good look.

He lifted a few pieces of paper in front of him, "Wait... are you the one who wrote this letter? Wow, you're not at all like I imagined."

"Letter?" Without a word, Suzushima handed it over, probably thinking she wanted to clarify that it was her letter they were talking about. Haruhi took one look and almost threw up. 'I'm in love-love...' 'I want to rendezvous with you on Noah's Ark…' What the heck is this?! Who could've written such a stupid letter? Haruhi almost felt personally insulted as she continued to read the "love letter". Honestly, as members of a host club, you would think the boys would be able to portray a secret admirer better.

I'm going to be sick if I have to pretend I'm actually like the girl who wrote this letter.

"Excuse me, but have we met somewhere before?"

Haruhi jumped, "Ah! No! Not at all!"

Suzushima went very quiet for a moment before speaking again, "I'm sorry. I'm flattered by your letter but, I'm afraid I don't feel the same way. You see… another girl already has my heart."

"Oh. You have a girlfriend."

His lips twitched upward in a humorless smile, "Unfortunately, no. Once upon a time, maybe, but I bet she's completely over me." He looked back at the cherry blossoms, "In all honesty, I'm glad. She'd be much happier with someone more self confident than me." Haruhi stayed silent. This was going better than she thought it would. It seems like his feelings were so strong it only took someone willing to listen for his true feelings about Kanako to come out. It's a little heartbreaking that these kids have absolutely no one to talk to about their real feelings…

"We're supposed to marry, and I would love to if only she felt the same way. So, if she's been doomed to spend the rest of her life by my side, then maybe by traveling the world I'll become the confident man she needs. I know it sounds a little selfish, but I wonder if she'll wait for me..."

"That is selfish of you." Suzushima made a noise like someone had punched him in the stomach, but Haruhi kept the heat on, "Does she know that you feel this strongly about her? Maybe she would wait if she knows you're doing it for her. You'll never know if you don't tell her how you feel, so that's what you need to do. You said you were trying to become a confident man, right? Why not start by telling the girl you love how much she means to you? After all, once you've decided to change then you've already begun your transformation."

Suzushima stared at her in wonder and lifted his hand. Perhaps to hug her, or maybe even just touch her face to see if she was real, but at that moment the sound of the door opening captured both of their attentions.

And there stood Kanako.

"Uh, I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to interrupt, I just…" tears trickled down her cheeks as she turned and ran.

Suzushima brushed past Haruhi and hurried out the door, "Kanako. Kanako!"

Due to her heels, Haruhi was only able to wobble slowly after him. She stared after them, her heart compressing. The soft thuds of footsteps behind her brought Haruhi back to reality.

"Why did I let you talk me into this? Did you see her face…"

A warm hand gently rested on her shoulder, "But he ran after her."

Oh...

Haruhi let her mouth slide into a small smile, "Maybe… maybe we did alright."

"Come on. Let's get you out of that get up. We'll need to be on the balcony in a few minutes."

*Timeskip*

It only took about seven minutes to quickly scrub off her makeup and pull Haruhi's tuxedo back on, which was about the time Kanako and Suzushima made it out into the courtyard. They watched as Suzushima grabbed her wrist and the couple stumbled to a stop.

Four separate spotlights flicked on, focused on the two, as the balcony doors were opened, "Ladies and Gentlemen…" the guests flooded out as Tamaki made his announcement, "It's time for the final dance of this evening's festivities. The last waltz of the night has been chosen by the host club for... this couple."

For a second, nothing happened. Suzushima released Kanako's wrist and she took a step backwards. They faced each other in heavy silence before he pulled his right hand up to his chest. Apparently steeling his nerve, he paused before performing a deep bow.

"Princess Kasuka? May I have this dance?"

For another second, Haruhi worries that Kanako would reject him.

But she needn't have worried.

"Yes. "

The two danced seamlessly together, like they had been born for nothing more than this moment. It didn't look like Kanako was touching the ground at all. The other guests around them were cooing at the tender scene while the host club watched in satisfaction. Another happy guest. Another happy couple. Two more happy lives. If this is what it means to be a host… I suppose there were plenty of worse clubs I could be a part of.

The blissful moment was interrupted abruptly as Haruhi quickly ducked to avoid being hit by Tamaki's flailing arms, "May this awkward couple be forever blessed!" Whoever you end up with you is going to be in the most awkward couple of the century. I pity the poor soul.

The twins slipped up behind her and Tamaki, announcing Princess Kanako Kasugazaki as the queen of the ball. And while Haruhi found it sweet to give the girl the best night of her life, should couldn't help but wonder, When did they get microphones?

Still, she joined the others in applauding for dumbstruck girl in the courtyard. The twins named her prize. A kiss on the cheek from-

"Haruhi Fujioka will stand in for Tamaki!"

The brunette let out a strangled sort of sound as the redheads cackled. Suzushima spoke a few calming words to Kanako, probably telling her it wouldn't really mean anything, but Haruhi had a very different train of thought, "There is no way you can make me kiss her. I'm not doing it."

"We'll cut your debt by one-third." The tally marker in her head quickly did the calculations. A whole one-third?! Well... I guess if it is just a kiss on the cheek it's not that big of a deal.

Sucking in a breath, Haruhi made her descent. A kiss on the cheek. Just a small little kiss on the cheek. That's all it is. Nēchan has kissed my cheek many times, and vice versa. It's not a big deal. I can do this. She and Kanako were right in front of each other now. I can do this. She guided the other girl's face into the proper position, leaning in. I can d-

Suddenly she was lip-locking with Kanako. They stared at each other for two more seconds before jumping apart, hands to their mouths. The guests above them screamed, someone collapsed behind Haruhi, and Kanako quickly looked at her fiancé to see if he was angry. Thankfully, he wasn't. Haruhi took a few seconds to recollect her thoughts. The kiss hadn't been... horrible, but still...

I never would've thought that I'd end up giving my first to another girl. But it was such an amazing night… She saw the smile come back on Kanako's face as Suzushima took her hand in his... so I guess it's just as well!

Chapter Text

Click!

Click!

Click!

Tamaki glanced over his shoulder as the clicking noise continued. He'd been hearing it almost since the party had ended, and it was making him more than a little twitchy with curiosity. At the moment, he and Kyoya were standing at the front doors, gesturing the party guests out of the hall. Mori-senpai and Honey-senpai were separating the extra food from the buffet to either be moved into storage or be disposed of. The twins were overseeing the decorations being taken down. And Haruhi...

Haruhi was roaming around the untouched parts of the hall with a camera she had recently pulled from her pocket, snapping away photo after photo. That was the source of all the clicking and Tamaki's curiosity.

"I had such a great time dancing with you, Tamaki. I'll see you at school next Monday!"

Pulled away from his new favorite pastime of 'Haruhi watching', he quickly replied to the leaving girl, "I'll count every second we spend apart until I can once again lay my eyes on your beautiful face, my darling." The ravenette squealed and stumbled out the doors that boomed shut behind her.

"Well, that was the last one. I suppose we should assist the others in th-"

"Yeah, sure. I'll be there in a moment, Kyoya. There's something I want to do first."

Before his best friend could stop him, Tamaki quickly snuck over to Haruhi. The newest host was now making her way out to the balcony and he followed. Tamaki watched as she took a few pictures of the courtyard, trying to figure out what the heck she was doing.

Haruhi went through all her previous photographs as she made her way down the stairs.

"Hey, Haruhi?"

"Wah!" The brunette jumped and almost dropped her camera.

"Oh, sorry. I didn't mean to startle you."

She took a few breaths before turning to him, her face scrunched up in annoyance, "What do you need, Senpai?"

Not put out by her cold attitude, he shrugged, "I wanted to know what you were doing. You're not helping us tear down, so I was curious about all the photographs you were taking." Haruhi blinked and held her camera a little tighter to her chest, as if he might steal it from her. At a closer look, Tamaki noticed it wasn't a very good camera. It looked like one of those cheap disposable ones he'd seen tourists buy back in France.

"I'm taking pictures for my sister. Nēchan would've loved a setup like this."

Tamaki blinked, "Really?"

The brunette nodded and continued her way down to the courtyard. Tamaki followed. They made it to the cherry trees before he attempted a conversation again.

"I, uh, I'm an only child."

"Mm."

"So… what's it like to have a sibling?"

Haruhi almost drops her camera again, "What? Where did that question come from?"

Tamaki shrugged, but wet his lower lip at the same time. Talking to Haruhi was harder than he had anticipated. She asked questions instead of answering them, as if she needed to be convinced to give up any information at all. It was hard work, but for some reason Tamaki never liked giving up on talking to people like that. As he's found out with his previously made friendships, if someone is hard on the outside and you push for long enough, they end up having the softest centers.

Haruhi, he was positive, would be no different.

"I guess, I want to know what it's like. You always talk about your sister, and it's pretty clear that she's a very important person in your life. I've never had anyone like that for me, so I was just curious. Anyone who can change you from someone with two left feet to an impressive waltz dancer just by being mentioned sounds like someone worth knowing about."

Haruhi narrows her eyes, as if trying to decide whether he just took a jab at her pride, before softening her features, "Well, it's a little hard to explain. Not all siblings are created equal, you know. Some don't get along well at all, but Jin and I… we've always had a bit of a special relationship. After all, I was born the day before her first birthday. She's always said that I was the best birthday present she's ever gotten..." She trails off and smiles at the ground.

Tamaki waits patiently for Haruhi to return from wherever her mind had fluttered off to. She does with a small, minute shake of her head.

"Anyways, being an older or a younger sibling changes for different families and different people. There's no real way for me to explain-"

"Just… what's it like for you?"

"For me?" Haruhi thinks about the question as she returns to taking pictures of the cherry blossoms, "Well, as the younger sibling, I see Nēchan as someone to rely on. She's like my shield but she's also my sword and I never feel uncomfortable talking to her about anything. She can always tell when I've had a bad day and makes sure to give me really warm hugs when I do. She knows everything about me, and not in the creepy way that Kyoya does. She didn't have to research anything, she just picked up on stuff from spending so much time with me. My Nēchan is like having a best friend, a mother, a twin, and a soulmate all rolled into one."

Unannounced to her, Tamaki was subtly writhing behind Haruhi. While it was heartwarming to see her speak so lovingly about someone, Tamaki wanted to know what if felt like to be on the receiving end of that warm spiel. Why doesn't she ever give Daddy that kind of affection? Am I not someone she can rely on? I'll give her all the hugs she requires!

"You know… I really, really miss her right now." Blinking his way out of his mental movie theater (where Haruhi was currently hugging him tightly after a bad day) Tamaki noticed a faint shimmering in the brunette's eyes. Immediately, he panicked.

"I'M SORRY, HARUHI! I DIDN'T MEAN TO MAKE YOU CRY!"

"S-s-senpai! It's okay! I just miss her a lot. I'll call her tomorrow morning. Besides, she's coming home in only a few weeks." Haruhi gently lay a hand on Tamaki's head, "I just want to thank you. Remembering all the great things Nēchan does for me while she's away is just going to make me appreciate her behind home all that much more. Come on, I think I have enough pictures. Let's go see if we need to help the others."

The blond let the short brunette lead the way back to the party hall in complete silence. But in his head, a new idea was beginning to form.

If she wants an older sibling…

The next Monday

"Hey, Haruhi?"

" No. "

"What?"

"You don't even know what we were going to ask."

"Yes I do, and the answer is no."

The twins trailed after their brunette classmate and continued to pester her, "Then what do you think we were going to ask?"

"I'm not doing your homework for you."

"Aww… pretty please?"

"Not happening. How else are you supposed to learn?"

The trio opened the club doors, continuing to bicker back and forth. Haruhi knew Hikaru and Kaoru weren't being really serious. They were actually pretty smart, albeit lazy at times, and in the end they'd do their own homework so she wasn't actually annoyed.

Until a blond and blue blur shot at them and scooped up the small host.

"ARE THE TWINS GIVING YOU A BAD DAY? DON'T WORRY, I'LL HUG THE SADNESS AWAY!"

"AHHH!" Haruhi flailed around in Tamaki's death grip. How is he so strong? His arms are so skinny!

"Whoa! Boss!"

"We were only teasing!"

With the combined efforts of the twins and Haruhi herself, they managed to free her from the King's "death-hug". At least the blond had the sense to look a little embarrassed.

"I thought you were having a bad day, so I wanted to cheer you up."

"Uh… while that's very kind of you, Senpai, maybe you should ask if I've had a bad day first."

He opened his mouth to respond, but at that moment the clock tower chimed in the distance.

Kyoya stood up from his couch, "Club activities will begin in one minute. Places, everyone."

The new arrivals quickly placed their bags along with the other's and raced back to the center of the room. Tamaki took his usual spot on the single chair facing the doors with his legs crossed and his head leaning on his fist, his elbow resting on the armrest. Mori-senpai was standing on the far left of the group, his back almost completely facing the door which he gazed at over his left shoulder. By his side was Honey-senpai, holding Usa-chan to his chest with his cute smile. Kyoya was almost directly behind Tamaki, standing just enough to the side to not be blocked by the chair. He had his black journal tucked under his arm, as per usual. To the other side of Tamaki's chair, the twins stood side by side with their arms linked, and Haruhi was just barely in front of them.

The moment the seven froze in their position, the doors to the club room squeaked open.

Countdown four… three… two… one…

"Welcome, ladies!"

It had taken Haruhi three days to correctly time the silence between the first opening of the host club doors to the verbal welcome, but she was glad that she finally got it. It was almost just as embarrassing to not welcome the guests as it was to be half a second off. Still, it was always a breath of relief when the welcoming was over.

As the hosts -other than Kyoya- split away from the center floor to their assigned tables for the day, their guests quickly filed into the room, eager to start another day of hosting. Haruhi took a moment to collect herself before the first wave. Okay, I was given a window table today. Large enough for three to four guests at a time. I have one couch appointment today as well as three duos, but I'll be mostly around this window all day. The weather is now a safe topic.

She looked out the window at the brightly sunlit day. Maybe we could crack the windows open just a bit… it's warm enough to let a slight breeze in. Does the host club hold outdoor events? Do we ever host outside on the commons?

"Haruhi? You look like you're thinking hard about something!"

"Ack!" The brunette jumped in her chair, making a slight squeaking noise on the tile floor. She took in a few deep breaths before facing her senpai, "Tamaki-senpai… please don't sneak up on me again!"

To his credit, the blond looked a little sorry for startling her, "I'm sorry, but you looked so deeply in thought I figured you wouldn't hear me anyways."

"Uh…" How am I supposed to respond to that?

"So, is something troubling you?"

"Troubling? No. I was just wondering something about club activities. I was planning on asking you guys about it later."

"Okay! Well, feel free to talk to me about anything! I won't judge you at all and I'll help you no matter what you don't understand!"

Haruhi couldn't do anything but blink, "Well… thank you, Senpai… Shouldn't you be getting back to your table?"

The blond jolted a bit and quickly took a few steps back, "Oh, right, thanks for the reminder! Bye, Haruhi!"

The brunette watched him leave. Something's off with him today… but what is it?

"Haruhi!" She straightened up and turned back towards the table. Her firsts guests were already sitting down.

"Hi, ladies! Sorry about that, Tamaki just need to have a word with me."

"That's alright, Haruhi!"

"It's so nice to see you getting along with everyone!"

"Are you enjoying yourself at the host club, Haruhi?"

"W-well, the guys are a little… much at times… but I do like talking to you ladies everyday."

Three identical gasps and blushes. And the hosting begins.


"Hey, Mommy? I have a favor to ask of you."

Kyoya's pen stopped dead in the middle of a word before he sighed, "Please don't call me that. Or at least not during hosting hours."

Tamaki continued on as if he'd agreed, "Listen, this might sound a little weird, but I need all the information on Haruhi that you have."

At his request, the ravenet actually look up at the blond, "And what use would you have of that? Furthermore, why do you need it in the first place?"

"Well… it's a little hard to explain. I just want to know more about her."

Kyoya didn't move, just quirked an eyebrow.

"It's kind of like, well, I want to be… closer to her?"

"Was that an answer or a question?"

"...I think the second one. Ugh!" Tamaki threw his hands through his hair, ruffling it up out of it's neatly combed style, "Why is it so hard to explain? I want to know Haruhi better so I figured if I read whatever information you had on her-"

"Information on who? "

Tamaki stiffened and slowly looked over his shoulder. You know the type. The horror-movie-character-just-heard-a-floorboard-creak kind of turn. Standing directly behind him was none other than Haruhi, her hands tightly clenched around a teapot, and it looked like she was considering chucking it at his head.

"H-haruhi! How long have you been...standing there?"

"Long enough."

The blond jerked back to facing forward and spoke in a quick monotone, "Well, thank you very much for your help Kyoya but now I need to go," before speed walking over to the other side of the room.

Haruhi glared off after him, "What was that all about?"

"No idea."

The brunette breathed in deeply through her nose and closed her eyes. Why couldn't I have gotten stuck in a club filled with normal people?


 

"Haruhi! Come on, club activities are done for the day!"

The girl rolled her eyes and snapped her school bag shut, "I'm well aware of that, Senpai. You don't have to wait for me, you know."

"I don't want you getting lost!"

"I won't get lost! I can navigate this school just as well as anyone else!" Now Haruhi was angry. I'm a capable person! He doesn't have to treat me like I'm some little kid who can't do anything for myself!

It only made her more furious when the boy continued to smile as he spoke, "But I'd be worried about you!"

"I didn't ask you to be!"

"You don't have too! It's just something I'll do anyways." Tamaki laughed airily, "I guess you could just call me Niichan!"

Haruhi blinked, her anger surprisingly dissipating, "Niichan?" Why on Earth is he calling himself my big brother… oh.

"Haruhi? Are you okay? You're staring off into space again."

"Oh."

"Oh? Oh, what?"

" Oh… "

"Haru-" Tamaki's questions died in his throat as Haruhi smiled warmly at him. She reached up and gave him a single pat on the head.

"Tamaki, you're my Senpai. You're not Nēchan. Thank you for… trying to fill in her shoes, but she's supposed to be back in two more weeks, so I'll be okay without an older sibling until then." A bigger smile, "I was really sweet of you to try and make me feel better, though. See you tomorrow, Senpai."

And with that, she walked out of the room, leaving a surprisingly red Tamaki in her wake.

 

Chapter Text

 

A warm breeze ruffled Haruhi's bangs, simultaneously brushing a few cherry blossoms against her cheek. She sighed softly and looked around at the trees. The entire courtyard was colored light pink as the falling petals danced in the sunlit air. Even the air was sweet in her lungs.

"Haruhi? Are you enjoying the cherry blossoms?"

"Hm?" Haruhi quickly looked back at her two guests, "Oh, yes, I am. I just wish I had remembered my camera. My nēchan loves it when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom. It's her favorite thing about spring."

As per usual, Haruhi's deep affection for her sister made her guests squeal and clutch at their hearts. Haruhi smiled. Entertaining the guests was easy when all she had to do was talk about her favorite person.

While her guests attempted to pull themselves together for the last couple minutes of their allotted time together, she let her gaze sweep around to the others. She noticed that the hosts were mainly focusing on the tea sets they had. Probably because, as a thank you for giving him and Kasugazaki a push into their relationship, Suzushima had brought over about a dozen new tea sets three days ago before flying off for England. Haruhi felt her lips quirk up in a small smile. It was nice to see young love in all its glory.

Call her a sucker for romance. Which was entirely Jin's fault, by the way.

Haruhi tugged lightly at the bottom of her shirt. While this costume change wasn't as… dramatic as the clothes they had donned for the Tropical Paradise theme last week, she still felt a little weird wearing such expensive clothing. She had a feeling that this single outfit cost more than half her wardrobe back home.

"Haru-chan!"

The brunette had two seconds to whip around before Honey-senpai grabbed her left wrist, "Come watch me make green tea! I've been practicing all day!"

"Uh… sur-AH!" No sooner had Haruhi agreed Honey-senpai started dragging her away to a secluded corner where Mori-senpai and two guests waited for them. Haruhi took a seat across from Honey as he gathered all the items he needed to make the tea. The girls noticed their new company and were quick to give her a smile.

"Hello, Haruhi!"

"Are you going to watch Honey make tea as well?"

"Yeah, I thought it would be relaxing. Besides, Honey-senpai was so excited about wanting to show me, I didn't want to say no."

"Awwww…" The girls cooed and leaned against each other just as Honey was ready to start mixing. He gave Haruhi a big smile before focusing exclusively on the bowl in front of him. His cheery face fell away to one of absolute concentration as he began to mix. And mix. For the following three minutes, the five sat in silence, save for the steady trickling of water and the constant mixing of the tea.

Haruhi stared at her Senpai with a racing heart. He's overdoing it…Should I tell him? But the blond boy's expression was so hard and concentrating that she didn't dare. The girls to her left were making soft noises of worry. So they've noticed it too. Somebody has to say it-

"Mitsukuni." Mori-senpai leaned down and spoke directly by his cousin's ear, "You overdid it."

He told him!

Honey slowly pulled his tool out from the bowl and stared into the emptiness of overdone tea. After a moment his lower lip began to tremble. A faint shimmering of unshed tears covered his brown eyes and Haruhi felt her heartstrings clench up.

"Honey, I'll take it! I bet it's perfect!" The girl closest to the small host quickly snatched up the cup and started drinking what was left of the tea.

The other picked up the thread just as quickly, "It's just the right amount for both of us, any more would be too much! You never cease to amaze me!"

"Really?"

Haruhi turned around and let out a sigh. These damn rich kids. Well, at least Honey isn't crying, so I suppose it's okay for them to make fools out of themselves.

After the tea incident, Haruhi quickly excused herself and made her way into an even more secluded area. The brunette shut her eyes and took a deep breath. The sweet smell of the flowers tickled her nose, but the corners of her mouth lifted all the same. Nēchan had talked about her missing the cherry blossoms in full bloom at least once a phone call, so Haruhi figured she'd just take some extra time to appreciate them for her.

"Haruhi?"

"Huh?" She looked over her shoulder to see Tamaki. No surprise there, but she wondered how he had slipped away from his guests long enough to speak with her alone.

"How are you doing?"

"Tamaki-senpai, if you're still trying to act like my older brother, I assure you it's not necessary." Haruhi's smile shifted into more a smirk. She still wasn't quite sure what to make of the boy's sudden desire to be like a family member to her, but Haruhi was at least 85% sure that her senpai didn't hold any malicious intent behind it.

"Heh, no. I just wanted to say that the flower viewing reception is going over quite well. But even so… it's rather daunting to spend more time being admired than doing the admiring."

His meaning suddenly clicked in Haruhi's mind and she sweatdropped, her eyes squinting a bit, " Oh wow , Senpai… you're blooming in more ways than one."

"You noticed! Yes, it would appear that I am in full bloom!" Haruhi felt her slight fondness of the soft-headed boy dissipate into smoke. I swear... one of these days.

"So, Haruhi," the scowling girl suddenly found herself in what could only be described as a headlock by the twins, "have you decided your elective courses for this term?"

"How about Conversational French?" Kaoru suggested. Haruhi mulled it over. She'd been thinking about taking Introduction to Law or picking up another language like Jin had, but the boys didn't need to know her life plans…

"Well…"

Hikaru spoke up next, "I think the three of us should take it together. It makes perfect sense."

" We are in the same class. "

Not liking the way the boys had spoken that last sentence, Haruhi quickly disentangled herself from the twins, "Look, I already had a couple ideas for my elective courses, and I highly doubt that you two would enjoy them. Conversational French just… isn't my thing. I need to go clear away my table now."

And that she did. Haruhi knew that her solitude from the other boys wouldn't last very long, but she was still glad that the guests had already left. Time seems to fly at the host club.

Some distance across the reception area, Haruhi could see Tamaki alternating between sulking and freaking out, but she was too far away to see the source of his "turmoil".

It's probably something idiotic. Or something to do with me. Please don't have something to do with me...

Of course, two seconds after she thought that, Tamaki was booking it over to grab her shoulders. Bent backwards just a bit, Tamaki used his 'serious' voice, staring directly into Haruhi's eyes. She'd be lying if she said she didn't feel at least slightly uncomfortable. Their noses were almost touching!

"Listen, Haruhi! I want you to stop hanging out with those shady twins from now on!"

The twins were quick to defend themselves, shouting out across the courtyard that if anyone among them was behaving shady-like, it was him. Tamaki looked like his world had just been shattered and then set on fire as he stumbled backwards. Haruhi straightened up before moving to duck behind a chair.

"Alright then! We can't go on hiding the fact that you're a girl from everyone in the school any longer! A-all Daddy wants is for you to go back to being the girl you used to be! For you to surround yourself with girlfriends and circle your wholesome life!"

"Who are you calling 'Daddy'?"

Tamaki jumped over the table to grab Haruhi's shoulders again, this time shaking her back and forth, "So do it now! Change back! Change back now! Become Daddy's little girl!"

"H-hey! Let go of me, you weirdo! This is harassment! Let go!"

"Yeah, Boss, you can calm down you know? It's not like she'll be able to hide it for much longer."

"Physical exams are the day after tomorrow."

Haruhi slowly looked over to the boys, wondering if she'd heard them correctly, "Physical… exams?"


Haruhi had thought the problem over in her head between heading home until early morning. There's really no way for me to be excused from the physical exam, and even binding my chest would make it obvious. Nēchan hadn't had any ideas, either. She'd suggested a private room, but Haruhi shot it down saying it would look suspicious.

But one thought was nagging at the back of Haruhi's mind. Would it really be so bad to be kicked out of the host club?

Sure, she'd have to find another way to pay them back, but at the same time, she wouldn't have to keep her real gender a secret. While she didn't care about being viewed as either gender, this "undercover" thing was starting to pile on just a little bit more stress than she wanted. Having to remain at the top of her class was one thing. Making sure to not slip up and reveal that she was a girl was another. It was just time-consuming. Though, she had to admit, she liked the boy's uniform better than the girl's.

Still, if I'm not in the host club… then that's just one more way to keep them away from Nēchan! She doesn't need to be pulled into their craziness! And I'd rather not be embarrassed in front of her.

It wasn't until the school day was over that Haruhi came to a decision. I'll just let them know that it's not a big deal. I'll stop being a host and pay them some other way. I hope they don't freak out.

She walked to the club room and opened the doors, "Hey, guys. Sorry I'm late but we need to tal-ACK!" Tamaki had her by the shoulders again. What is it with this guy and personal space?

"Don't you worry Haruhi! We're determined to keep your secret safe! No one will find out you're really a girl during tomorrow's physical exams! So please, promise you'll stay our secret princess!"

Haruhi blinked twice, "Actually, that's what I came in here to talk to you guys about…"

"You know what? I think both of us would be a little peeved if we had to watch all the guys flirt with her."

"Then that settles it."

Haruhi wriggled in Tamaki's grip, "Guys…"

No one paid her any attention as they quickly drew up a "battle strategy". Letting out a deep sigh, Haruhi walked over to the windows and waited for them to slow down in their craziness. It took a few minutes, but eventually Tamaki rounded off their plans.

Well, it's now or never.

"Guys, I think I'd be okay with everyone finding out my true gender."

That sure got their attention. As the boys gaped at her she continued, "Look, I really need to focus on my studies to stay in this school. I can find some other way to pay you back but it's not like we can really hide the fact I'm a girl tomorrow. There's nothing we can do that won't look suspicious or just confuse everyone, so what's the point?"

The twins quickly turned to Tamaki, "Do something! The subject doesn't have any motivation!"

The blond growled lightly, pointing at Haruhi accusingly, "Are you saying you hate being a host?! That you hate this club?!" Haruhi chuckled. Well, that's an easy question.

"To be completely honest, I kind of do," Tamaki sort of fell backwards, which made Haruhi laugh harder, "Well, okay, you guys aren't completely terrible, but I honestly have better things to do with my time! And it's not like we can do anything about it if they find out the truth, right?"

"She doesn't seem to care at all!"

"We have to find a way to motivate her…"

"Fancy tuna."

It was like lightning suddenly cracked across the room at Mori-senpai's words. There certainly was enough tension to do so. Haruhi sucked in a quick breath and tried to not actively drool at the thought of… fancy tuna~

"Oh that's right… you didn't get the chance to eat any during the party… did you…? "

"Did you hear that? She's never eaten fancy tuna before, how terrible!"

"Wow, talk about a difficult childhood."

She swallowed harshly, "H-hey now, I've had it before…"

"If only Haru-chan could stay in the Host Club, she'd have the chance to eat all kinds of yummy things whenever she wants!"

Haruhi shut her eyes and pretended to wave the accusations off, "What are you guys talking about? Don't be ridiculous! Just because I haven't had my favorite food in a few years doesn't mean I'd fool everyone about my gender just to have some… and… and…" she sighed and looked at the floor, " Will I really get to have some? "

The boy's happy laughter made her stomach sink.

* The next morning *

'We will begin conducting physical examinations shortly. All students please proceed to the clinic in your respective school building.'

As one, the students of class 1-A stood up and filed out of the classroom. Students from other first year classes soon joined them and a pleasant level of noise filled the hallway. Not one of them seemed to notice the small aura of nervousness emanating from a certain Haruhi Fujioka. Sure, the boys had claimed to have come up with a fool-proof plan, but even so, Haruhi still had a few questions.

"So, since I'm going in blind here, what do they do during physical exams here at Ouran?"

"It's no different than a physical exam you'd get at any other school."

"Yeah, why would a physical exam be any different for us just because we're rich?" Haruhi was a little surprised at being answered plainly and not being laughed at.

And actually, their explanation helped her to relax a little, "Heh, you're right. I didn't really think about it that way." She was still smiling as she reached up to open the infirmary doors, "I guess I'm just so used to this school throwing everything out of-" she was abruptly cut off by the sight of no less than fifty or so doctors and nurses waiting for them on the other side of the door.

"Welcome, students!"

" ...proportion. " That last word came out more of a squeak than Haruhi had planned for, "What… what is all this?"

The twins walked past her, clearly not bothered by the… excessive number of medical staff currently staring at them from the infirmary, "Just a physical exam."

"The usual."

The usual? How could something so… unnecessary be 'the usual' for them? There can't be more students here than in any other school! Why do these damn rich people have to be so extravagant with their money? Why not use it instead on something important!?

The three walked no more than twenty steps into the room before two nurses showed up to lead the twins away. It took every ounce of Haruhi's patience to not turn around and walk right back out again. I've been here for two minutes and I'm already tired of it. Maybe I should've just stayed home today, called in sick. That would've solved everything...

"Mister Fujioka?" Haruhi jumped and turned to see another smiling nurse, "I'm your nurse for the physical exams this afternoon. Please come this way." The nurse then took Haruhi's hand and started pulling her along. Gently, of course. Nothing that she'd ever experienced being in the host club so far...

As they walked along, Haruhi took in as much of the room as she could. Has the infirmary always been this big? What is it with rich buildings always having such large rooms? Exactly how much space do they need?

"Why are Honey and Mori dressed as doctors?"

What?

Sure enough, standing a few yards away her two senpai's stood rod-ram straight in actual lab coats and glasses, both of them sticking out like sore thumbs. The nurse that had been holding onto her hand let her go, and as soon as she was out of hearing range-

"Honey-senpai? Mori-senpai?"

"Shh…" The boys were quick to shush her, and she almost wanted to laugh at how poorly they blended in.

"I've got those two for backup just in case anything happens…"

Haruhi looked over her shoulder, no longer surprised by how the boys, especially Kyoya, seemed to appear out of thin air, "But why are they in doctor disguises?"

"To set the mood. Disguises make our operation feel like a real espionage mission."

"Er…" Should I tell them that we're not shooting a movie? Wait… they don't actually shoot movies, right? Better not give them any ideas either way…

Looking around to distract herself so she didn't blurt out something that would get her in more trouble, Haruhi's eyes and ears landed on another student in the middle of her physical exams. The doctor was telling the student how much weight she had lost during the past year, and while it was heartwarming to see the girl smile in relief-

"Don't you think it's weird that these doctors are all so nice?"

"They're chosen by the school's chairman. This may be a school, but it's also a business. Therefore he wants to keep the students happy. After all, most of the students that attend Ouran Academy come from prominent families that have their own private doctors at home. So this… is just a formality."

Haruhi couldn't think of a single thing to say, so she settled for walking after her nurse again. These damn rich people…


"Hitachiin brothers, would you please come with me? We're ready to do your chest measurements." Haruhi paused for a moment, because it almost looked like the girls watching the twins were… waiting for something.

"You can use the area behind this curtain to undress."

Much to Haruhi's complete and absolute shock, the boys began undressing where they stood. In front of everyone! It took a few moments for anyone to really react, but when they did…

"AAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!"

"See, Haruhi? A rather impressive turnout today! Physical exam day is quite popular with the ladies..."

What's wrong with the girls at this school? Doesn't anyone here know the meaning of shame? Or perhaps modesty? I knew I should've stayed home today…

The twins began their usual twincest act, and that, apparently, was the cue. Honey and Mori quickly grabbed her upper arms and hurried her towards another curtained off area. Since everyone else was paying attention to the shirtless brothers, no one noticed the high school students in doctor's outfits shoving another student away.

The two pushed her backwards through the curtains, making her almost topple over. Except she was caught by a pair of strong arms.

"I've been waiting for you, my princess." Tamaki. Quickly, Haruhi pushed herself out of his grip, but only ended up on the floor anyways.

"Tamaki-senpai…"

"Ha ha! You're so cute when you're surprised!" I'm not sure if 'surprised' is the word I'd go with. More like… annoyed. Or confused.

From the other side of the curtain, Haruhi could faintly hear a nurse instructing 'Mr. Fujioka' to come out for 'his' chest measurements. And there seemed to be some girls out there, too. Instantly, all the blood drained into her feet.

Tamaki stood up, "This is it."

"But what are you going to do?" Haruhi was slowly becoming more and more annoyed with all this secrecy going around. Why wouldn't they just tell her? And then he puts his finger on her lips! What the heck!?

"Don't you worry. I'll protect you." Haruhi's chest did a weird tightening thing at Tamaki's words. He walked past her, a strange set to his jaw, steeling himself up fro whatever he was about to do.. for her. Maybe I shouldn't sell them short. They just… want to protect me. Haruhi's eyes followed her senpai as he walked towards the curtain. What was that he just pulled out of his pocket?

Tamaki situated the thing onto his head before pushing open the curtain, "Yes. I'm Haruhi… Fujioka."

No. Way.

The girl slumped forward and rested her face against the linoleum floor, contemplating smacking her head against it a few times. How could someone be so stupid? Honestly?

From the other side of the curtain, everyone started laughing loudly. Some of the chuckles even sounded like the adults were finding the scene amusing. Tamaki was yelling something at someone, and Haruhi could only assume it was one of the twins or both of them. Did they set him up for this? But how on Earth could anyone fall for that?

"I'm sorry. They… figured it out." Haruhi couldn't even speak. She just gave him her best 'No shit Sherlock' look over her shoulder, hoping that it, combined with a soft growl, would give him the hint. It did, if his high pitched scream said anything.

Once she was back alone with her thoughts, Haruhi sighed. Just as I thought. Tamaki-senpai lives in his own carefree little world where he thinks everything is going to happen as easily as a snap of the fingers.

Someone lightly tapped her shoulder.

"Haruhi? I went ahead and set up a separate room for you. There's a doctor standing by, sworn to secrecy."

"It turns out the doctors here today are all on staff at one of Kyoya-senpai's family's hospitals."

"Would've been nice if he had said something to us earlier." The twins gave identical shrugs, indicating in that they were a tad bit more upset than they were letting on, but Kyoya appeared almost… smug.

"I had to get my revenge too. I'm sorry, I just don't think I'm supporting cast. Homosexual or otherwise." … What?

Before Haruhi could verbally question whatever they were talking about, Kyoya gave her a quick run down of directions to the clinic. Since she wanted to get this whole fiasco over with as soon as possible, Haruhi just up and left the boys. The walk was short, thankfully, and no one stopped her to ask where she was going. They all assumed she had finished with her examinations.

Knock knock knock!

"Come in!"

Haruhi pushed the door open and saw a female doctor sitting at a desk. The sight made her smile a bit, considering that all the other doctors she had seen today have been male.

"Hello, Mr. Fujioka. I have been made aware of your situation. If you wouldn't mind could you please disrobe for me over there." Haruhi leaned her head into the room a bit to look at the curtained off area the doctor was referring too.

"Sure. Thank you."

The doctor gave her a warm smile, "There's no need to thank me, Mr. Fujioka. I'm just glad to help." Haruhi decided that she liked this doctor as she shut the door behind her.

Now that she wasn't in a rush or in a highly uncomfortable situation, Haruhi felt her body fall into a bit of fatigue. If this is how the rest of the school year is going to be for me, I'm going to need a few extra hours of sleep every night. This club sure wears me out. Undressing was taking a little longer than it normally would've because of how heavy her limbs felt, but it wasn't like anyone was going to-

Shink…

Haruhi's back straightened at the sound of the curtain moving and she turned around. Someone dressed in a lab coat was closing the curtain as quietly as they could… but it wasn't her doctor.

"Excuse me… but what are you-"

The man turned around quickly and clasped a hand over her mouth. Terror shot down Haruhi's spine as a million and one scenarios raced through her mental theater. None of them were good. From behind the large hand she tried to scream out her sister's name, even though it wouldn't have helped her any.

"No it's not what you think, please just keep quiet!"

"HARUHI!"

It was in that moment that Haruhi realized how nice Tamaki-senpai's voice sounded.

The man turned around just in time to receive Tamaki's 'Tama-chan kick' right in the jaw, knocking him into the wall. Haruhi gripped her shirt to her chest, trying to even out her slight hyperventilating as one by one, the other boys stepped out of the shadows.

"One: Good looks that attract the public eye."

"Two: More wealth than you can imagine."

"Three: Chivalry that will never be able to overlook-"

"-the hideous wickedness of this world."

Haruhi felt something drop onto her head as Tamaki walked past her to deliver his own line, "That's what makes up the Ouran Host Club!" A white sleeve fell into her view. Well, that explains why he's suddenly shirtless.

The boys congregated around Haruhi, "We are here! Watch out!"

Now, Haruhi knew she should probably still be feeling terrified, but she couldn't get a question out of her head. Did they practice that?

The man screamed and bowed low, begging for his life.

"Mr. Fujioka? What's going on in there?"

"Uh…" Haruhi looked at the doctor on his knees in front of them, "How about we discuss this in the other room?" The boys exchanged looks before nodding and walking out of the dressing area. Her private doctor didn't look especially happy about the disruption of Haruhi's physical exam, but she agreed to let the man tell his story. He introduced himself as a Doctor Yabu.

"Wait, his name is 'Yabu'?"

"What a terrible name for a doctor!"

Haruhi rolled her eyes.

"I didn't mean to make such a fuss, honest! I'm here because I was hoping to find my daughter and talk to her. My wife left me last month and took my daughter with her. But I know that she attends school here!"

Haruhi walked closer to the man and knelt down, "Hey, I don't mean to pry or anything, but why did your wife and daughter leave you? Maybe we could help you make it up to them." Yabu looked up at Haruhi with wide eyes before he started explaining his backstory. She could feel the boy's staring at her back with probably wide eyes, but she ignored them. This is exactly what Jin would've done, which was good enough of a reason for Haruhi to want to try to help this man.

"Once I entered I was mistaken for a doctor here to examine students!"

"Well, of course they did."

" You're wearing a lab coat… " Haruhi couldn't help but agree with the twins a little. This man clearly never thinks things through. Still, of all the rotten luck…

"And then it happened. I walked up to a girl to ask her if she knew where my daughter was… but when I tried to ask her the girl started screaming! And before I knew it there were all kinds of people chasing after me!"

Haruhi was roughly pushed past by a teary Tamaki, who looked like he wanted to hug the man but didn't know where to put his hands, "That's so tragic!" Of course he'd be deeply moved by this. Still, at least he cares.

"Doctor Yabu…are you looking for Ouran public high school?" The man nodded and Kyoya sighed, "I figured that might be the case. This is Ouran Academy , a private institution. Your daughter doesn't go to school here." The whole room filled up with tension and embarrassment before Haruhi could blink.

"Man, that's pretty sad. You don't even know what school your daughter goes to?"

"I bet your relationship is messed up because you don't pay attention to her, not because of some stupid debt."

"Wow, Kyo-chan! How did you figure out he had the wrong school?"

"Well, there's no way that the daughter of such a small time doctor would ever be able to afford Ouran Academy without a scholarship. And since Haruhi is the only Honor Student here, it was obvious." Haruhi narrowed her eyes at her senpai and growled lightly from the back of her throat. What a pretentious-

"Kyoya, would you please find a map of all the public schools in this area? I'd like to help this man find his daughter."

There was a slight pause after Tamaki spoke.

"Whatever you say."

Haruhi watched as Doctor Yabu hastily stood up from the floor with a shocked look on his face as Kyoya called up a map and Tamaki began straightening out his lab coat. Not even five minutes later, he was back outside, nodding his wordless thanks before hurrying off to the front gates. The hosts watched from the window.

"Are you sure about this?"

"After all, even if he does find his daughter, she might not even wanna speak to him."

"Well then… that's something he'll have to find out for himself." Haruhi sucked in a breath. Maybe… maybe Tamaki isn't that bad after all. He really does have a kind heart, and he might not be a complete idiot either. However… there's still something that has to be taken care of today.

"Well now that that's over, could you guys please leave?" The gasps she received in response almost caused her to laugh out loud. God, they're all so thick.

"Haruhi…are you still angry? You're not thinking of quitting the host club, are you?"

"Not even close, Senpai. I just have to finish my physical exam... as a male student. But let me explain; I'm not doing this because you're bribing me with food." Haruhi shot the boys a sly glance, "I'm doing it because I still have a debt with you guys. Besides, hosting can be fun on occasion."

Tamaki gave her maybe two seconds before he jumped at her, squeezing her in another one of his famous tight hugs, "YOU'RE SO CUTE, HARUHI! I can see right through you! I know you're just after that fancy tuna! But it's so cute how-"

"Stop that, Senpai! Let go of me; I'm only half-dressed!"

"Looks like Tamaki-senpai-"

"-is the real pervert in this school!"

"NO I'M NOT!"

"Would you guys just get out of here?!"

"Excuse me, Mr. Fujioka?"

"WHAT?!"


Instantly, Haruhi covered her mouth with both hands, "I-I'm so sorry, Doctor… uh…"

"Hamasaki. And it's quite alright, you've had a trying day. Your father has directed a phone call to you though the school's number." She held out the phone to her, "He states it's of utmost importance to speak with you right now."

If question marks could appear above her head, Haruhi was positive that there would be at least five of them floating around. The boys watched her reach out for the phone and put it up to her ear. The twins moved closer to try and listen in, but she moved away.

"Dad? Why are you calling-" she yanked the phone away as a loud voice screamed from the earpiece. Haruhi held the phone at arm's length until the voice stopped speaking. She pulled the mouthpiece closer, "Dad, I can't understand you when you're shouting. Say that again… slowly… "

The voice spoke again at a noticeably lower volume, so Haruhi pulled it closer. Suddenly, she gasped, "Wait…wait, wait, wait are you serious? No kidding?! Really?! Oh my gosh! " She started bouncing up and down, making Tamaki's shirt sleeves flop around, " OH MY GOSH OH MY GOSH I CAN'T BELIEVE IT YES YES YES! "

"Haruhi? What happened!?"

She turned back to them, her eyes shining and grinning from ear to ear, "My sister! Her flight was bumped up! Nēchan's coming home tomorrow!"

 

Chapter Text

 

Haruhi tapped her fingertips against the tabletop, grinning so widely her cheeks were beginning to hurt. I can't believe it! It's happening today!

The brunette had woken up this morning with a smile and an unusual amount of pep in her step. She had somehow remained focused in her classes throughout the school day, but now that she was sitting in Music Room 3, counting down her last hour before going home, the restlessness had returned. Even her guests were being affected by her good mood, so much so that the main topic of conversation for the day was Jin.

This group was proving to be no different.

"So, your sister is coming home today?"

"Yeah, she is! I can't wait to go home and see her!"

"Is she going to start attending Ouran tomorrow, too?"

"Mhm. She told me that she's really excited, but I can tell she's nervous about it too."

"Awww…"

One of the girls leaned forward slightly, "Haruhi, do you and Jin look similar?"

Haruhi tilted her head to the right side, thinking it over, "Kind of. I mean, we have the same eyes, hair color, and nose, but she takes more after my father's side of the family while I look more like my mother's side. Nēchan is taller than I am, but I like to think we look alike. She's very beautiful."

"Really? What does she normally like to wear?"

"Um, Nēchan prefers to wear pants and t-shirts, but I think she looks good in anything."

"Do you and Jin do anything together?"

"Of course! Nēchan is the one who helped teach me how to cook; she's amazing at it!"

"What else is she good at?"

"Ha, if I told you everything we'd be here all day! She's just one of those people who just… excels at whatever you throw at her."

"What's her favorite subject?"

"Probably maths."

"She's good with maths? That's so cool!"

"I think it's neat how both you and your sister are so smart! She must've taught you a lot!"

"Ha ha, yeah, I was her regular tutoring session! Whenever she came home from school she'd tell me all about what she learned in class. Honestly, I've pretty much been a grade ahead ever since she started Preschool."

"Do you always call her Nēchan? Does she have a nickname for you?"

Haruhi laughed, "I've called her Nēchan since I would speak. It was actually my first word! Oh man, my dad couldn't decide whether that fact was cute or just hurtful, but Nēchan smiles every time someone brings it up. And yeah, she calls me Haru unless she's being serious. Then she uses my full first name."

"You must really love her!"

Haruhi paused for a moment, and gave her guests a very sincere, warm smile, "Yes. I love her a lot. She's my role model, my constant… she means the world to me. I can't believe it's been almost a full year since I've seen her… it seems like so much longer."

"AHHHHH!"

As the two girls fangirled over Haruhi's cute attachment to 'his' sister, the rest of the hosts were listening carefully. And, truthfully, they were all kind of jealous. If Haruhi just wanted to spend time with her older sister when she came to Ouran, then what if she never hung out with the host club ever again? They'd worked so hard to keep Haruhi in their club during physical exams, and now this Jin was going to ruin everything!

As they entered the last hour before closing time, Haruhi's excitement escalated and Tamaki couldn't take it any longer. He rounded up the other hosts before calling out to her.

"Haruhi? May we speak with you for a moment?"

"Hm? Oh, sure thing, Senpai!" She stood up and apologized to her guests before walking over, a smile still on her face, "What's up, guys?"

Instantly, she's surrounded by everyone in a tight-knit circle, "Guys?"

"Promise us you won't ignore use when your sister comes back, my precious Haruhi!"

She blinked in confusion at the tear-streaked face of her senpai, "Huh?"

"You can't leave us, Haru-chan!"

"Leave… you?"

"What we're saying is you can't just forget about us when Jin comes to Ouran."

"Got it?"

"And don't think about skipping out of the Host Club, either. You still have a debt to pay off, don't forget."

Haruhi frowned, "How could I? You remind me about it almost every day."

"But you still have to prom-"

The doors opened and a new voice called out, "Wow, this school is huge! I'm surprised no one's gotten lost in here before." The hosts froze for a moment before Haruhi shoved the twins to the side and ran out of the circle.

" Nēchan!"  She tackle hugged the person who had opened the door and knocked them both backwards into the hallway.

The hosts stare in shock for a moment. They just went from being Haruhi's center of attention to being brushed aside in a matter of seconds! Tamaki and the twins raced for the door, chasing after the sisters, followed closely by Mori and Honey.

Knowing he had to say something, Kyoya turned around and announced, "Please excuse us, ladies, as we greet the Host Club's newest, special guest." He exited the room and closed the door before joining the surprised looks of the other hosts.

They watched a blue and brown blur in the middle of the hallway as the two girls spun around and around in a tight circle. Haruhi's delighted laughter bounced off the walls, mingling with a similar, yet higher pitched laugh.

Once the two finally stopped spinning, Jin's back facing the host club, they were finally able to note a few things about her. First, she was much taller than her little sister; somewhere around the twin's height, if not a little taller. Her straight hair was the same chocolate brown color as Haruhi's, stopping just an inch past her shoulders with the ends coming up in a slight flip.

The hosts watched in silent shock as Haruhi's older sister cupped her cheeks, "Let me look at you… Oh, you've grown so much!" She pressed a quick kiss to Haruhi's forehead before pulling back again, "And your hair! It's super short!"

"Yeah!" Haruhi's smile was wider than the boy's had ever seen it, "Do you like it?"

"I love it! Oh, it's so cute, Haru!"

"Thank you! I love your hair too, Nēchan! It's much longer than the last time I saw it!"

Jin laughed, a full laugh, filled with joy, "Why, thank you, Haru! I'm glad you like it."

Haruhi wrapped her arms around her sister again and squeezed her tightly, nuzzling her shoulder a bit, "I missed you so much, Nēchan."

"I missed you too, Haruhi."

For a moment, the two sisters stood still for a moment, breathing in each other's scents, which was like a cup of hot tea for each other. They had missed their other halves so much…

"A hem ."

Haruhi's eyes opened immediately, the peaceful moment now gone. She peeked over her sister's shoulder (by standing on her toes) and mentally groaned. The host club had followed her out and had probably been staring at her and Jin the whole time. Figures. I can't even reunite with my sister in peace.

She sighed and pulled out of Jin's embrace, "Sorry guys, I kind of forgot you were here. Meet my older sister, Jin Fujioka." The taller female finally turned to face the hosts and they got their first look at the eldest Fujioka.

Jin was exactly as Haruhi had described. The two of them had the same exact eyes and nose, but other than that and their hair color, the two looked quite a bit different. Unlike Haruhi, Jin was curvy and had more defined muscles, her face not as rounded with more pronounced cheekbones.

Yet, despite how the two girl's body's contrasted, there was something about Jin that just screamed Fujioka . Maybe it was because, instead of a skirt or a dress, Jin was decked out in black skinny jeans, a loose t-shirt with a blue sweatshirt over it, and a pair of red & green plaid converse. Or perhaps it was while Haruhi was busy glaring at the club members, Jin's expression was more open. Friendly and warm and looking generally interested in the boys she was meeting for the first time. She had the same smile that Haruhi used when she spoke to her clients. It was a sincere smile, which made sense if Jin preferred showing her true emotions like her younger sister.

And, like Haruhi had described, she was most definitely beautiful.

"Well, you're definitely Haruhi's sister."

Jin's smile widened a bit and she laughed, her eyes shutting for a moment, "Why, thank you. And hello!"

Tamaki stepped forward, "Jin Fujioka! We, the Ouran High School Host Club, wish to bid you welcome to our school!" He whipped out a white rose from his pocket and offered the flower to the girl. For a moment, she stared at the boy and the rose, before she smirked and looked at Haruhi out of the corner of her eye.

"Oh… a host club. I don't recall Haru ever mentioning what kind of club she had been forced into."

The sister in question shrugged, "You never asked."

"Mhm," Jin turned her attention back to the blond, gently accepting the rose before gently gripping his hand and giving it a firm shake, "Well, it's nice to officially meet you all. Haru has told me quite a bit about you. But, uh, who's who?"

Haruhi stepped up and attached herself to Jin's right elbow before she gestured to each boy in turn, "Those two are Tamaki Suoh and Kyoya Ootori, 2nd year students and the club's president and vice president, respectively. The twins are Hikaru and Kaoru Hitachiin, 1st year students like me. And our 3rd year students are Mitsukuni Haninozuka and Takashi Morinozuka, but we all call them Honey and Mori."

Jin's eyes rested on the last two boys for a moment or two, her smile wider, "Well, you all obviously already know my name. I'm going to be a 2nd year student starting tomorrow in class 2-A."

"Really? That's our class as well!"

She turned to look at Tamaki, who had thrown an arm around a disgruntled-looking Kyoya, "Guess I'll see you two in class, then."

Honey finally spoke up from his position atop Mori's shoulders, "It's really nice to meet Haru-chan's sister! You're... not what we expected!" He and Mori were still staring at Jin, Honey with an extremely excited look on his face, and Mori with a surprisingly warm look.

Jin giggled and looked at the cousins before Kyoya cleared his throat, "In case you've all forgotten, we should probably head back into the club room. Our guests will be wondering where we've gone."

Haruhi frowned and held onto her sister's arm a little tighter, but Jin gently detached herself, "Hey, I'll see you in less than an hour! Besides, I should probably go home and unpack before Dad gets home." The boys watched as Haruhi's aura of happiness slowly dissipated until it was almost nonexistent. She nodded mutely before accepted another kiss on the forehead and walking back to the doors.

She's greeted by all the guests gathered by the door, trying to peer around the host club and into the hallway.

"Is Jin out there?"

"Is that her?"

"Haruhi's sister?"

Completely caught off guard, the hosts turn back around. Jin looks just as surprised as they do, but when the boys part to allow the guests to view her she smiles at them and waves a bit.

"Uh, hello! I take it you've heard about me?"

The girls let out a unanimous squeal and pulled the two brunettes inside the club room. The boys quickly followed and watched in surprise as the Fujioka's were sat down on a couch and bombarded with questions.

"It's so great to finally meet you! Haruhi's told us a lot about you!"

"You're so pretty! You and Haruhi look so much alike, Jin!"

"Oh! What's your type?"

"What class are you going to be in?"

"Haruhi, were you planning on doing something special with Jin now that she's back?"

"Jin, are you joining the host club? I think that would be great!"

The taller brunette blinked once before counting off her fingers, "Thank you for the compliment, I'm so happy that you think I look like Haru. I'm not sure what you mean by 'type'. I'm going to be in class 2-A. In all honesty I'd just like to relax and be with my family once we get home, and I hope that's all we do. And-"

"She's not joining the host club."

Jin looked over at Haruhi with a smirk, "I'm not?"

"No."

The older sister laughed out loud, throwing her head backwards before shooting Haruhi the warmest grin they'd ever seen on anybody, "Alright, if you say so. I can't see myself as a host, anyways. You've nothing to worry about, Haru." The two siblings smiled at each other for a moment before the guests started talking again.

"Haruhi talks about you all the time, Jin-senpai! I feel like I already know you!"

"Yeah, we were just talking about you before you came in, too!"

"Oh! You don't know what we mean by 'type'! We mean which host are you going to meet with!"

The last comment was the one that caught Jin's attention, and she cocked an eyebrow at the guests, "Meet with?"

"She's not going to be a client!"

Jin laughed again, "Well, I dunno, Haru. Maybe I'd like to come watch you everyday." She turned to the girls, "What exactly are my choices?"

"There's the Princely Type."

"The Mischievous Type."

"The Strong and Silent Type."

"The Boy Lolita."

"The Cool Type."

"And the Natural Type!"

Jin smirked, "Hm… well, I'd normally go with the Natural Type, but I assume that's my brother, so I should probably go with-"

"Nēchan!"

More laughter, "Okay! Okay, Haru, I won't be a guest." Jin reached into her right jacket pocket and pulled out a small wrapped candy. She pulled the purple hard candy out and popped it into her mouth.

"Any more questions?"

"Oh! Oh! Jin, has Haruhi changed much since you've been away?"

"Well, he's certainly grown. I remember when he gave me one last hug at the airport… the top of his head barely reached my shoulders!" The girls suddenly had a picture of a smaller Haruhi giving his older sister a teary hug, looking a bit like a lost toddler, and they squealed. How cute!

"I have a question." The group parted to let the 3rd year forward from the back of the congregation. She had long black hair pulled into a high ponytail and a fairly sharp face, which made her look as though she were almost glaring at the brunette girl in front of her.

"Jin, if you love Haruhi as much as you claim, then why did you go to America for a whole year and leave him behind?"

Jin's smile faded, "Well, Haru and I are both our own separate people, who want different things. It just so happened that there was a school in America that was taking students interested in Accounting from the school I was attending, and I wanted to go. Haru understood. We messaged each other as often as we could, even though working around the different time zones was a bit of a hassle. And I meant to come home during winter break, but the town I was staying at got hit by a huge blizzard and all the planes were grounded. It wasn't for lack of trying."

"That's so tragic!"

Haruhi smiled and leaned over to hug her sister, "It's alright, Nēchan. I'm just glad that I get to hug you in person now."

Ding! Dong! Ding! Dong! Ding!

A hush fell over the room at the sound of the Ouran clock tower chiming. Kyoya stepped forward until he stood between the Fujioka's and the guests, "And that, ladies, marks the end of another day of hosting."

"Aww…"

"Will we get to talk to you tomorrow?" It took them all a moment to realize that the question had been directed to Jin, who looked a little lost.

"Um… maybe. I mean, if that'd be okay with everyone."

The girls looked over at the hosts with wide eyes and hands clasped tightly in front of their chests. Which gave the boys only one possible response.

"Yes."

After that, the guests left happily, calling out their goodbyes until the doors echoed shut. As it did, the sisters fell backwards into the couch. Haruhi leaned to the left until she fell against Jin, the two sighing in unison.

"Jet-lagged, Nēchan?"

"Yup. Emotionally exhausted?"

"Of course. I just can't believe you're home."

"Ha, well, I'm not home just yet."

Tamaki inched himself closer, "Um, Jin? Would you mind answering some of our questions before you leave? We've also heard a lot about you…"

The girl smiled and sat back up, ignoring her sister's groan, "Sure. What would you like to know?"

"Well…" Tamaki looked like he was exploding with so many questions he had no idea what to ask first, "Why did you call Haruhi your brother just now?"

Jin smirked, "Haru's told me all about how everyone at this school thinks she's a boy and how you all want to keep it that way."

Honey picked up the string next, "What's that candy you're eating?"

"Oh," Jin pulled out another candy from her pocket, only this one was blue, "This is a Jolly Rancher. It's a candy I got addicted to in America. It's just a fruit flavored hard-candy. Sort of a sucker without the stick, and it's a great mix between sweet and sour."

"I have a question." Kyoya pushed his glasses further up his nose, "If you don't mind me asking, exactly how were you accepted into Ouran Academy? I was only aware of one full tuition being offered."

"Because there was only one. I'm here on a half tuition, and we're paying for the other half. I only need to be in the top five of my class to keep the scholarship, whereas Haruhi needs to be number 1."

"Yeah, yeah, but how can you afford it?"

"You and Haruhi can't even afford uniforms on your own."

"First off, we didn't have to pay for my first year of High school at all because school in America is free. Secondly, with her scholarship Haruhi's education is also free. Basically, between the two of us, we only have to pay the amount of one year stretched out between two. And besides, I've pitched in a bit of my own money. I worked two jobs the whole time I was in America, one at a restaurant and one as a bank teller. They both paid me a good deal over minimum wage and I actually have enough money saved up to pay for this year all by myself. Dad is saving up for my final year as we speak."

"Really? That's so cool!"

Jin clasped her hands together and pushed them between her knees with a grin, "Yeah. Not only that, but I was also able to purchase a few things for my family." She suddenly poked at her sister's side, "We have a laptop now~"

Haruhi grinned, but playfully batted at Jin's hands all the same, "I hope you didn't waste any money."

"Have you ever known me to be loose with it before?"

Haruhi giggled and pushed at her sister who was now leaning heavily into her side, "No… I suppose not. Anyways, we should go home, Nēchan. Dad's going to want to see you!"

Jin smiled and pushed herself up onto her feet, "Let's go, then!" She offered Haruhi a hand and quickly pulled her sister up so she could collect her school bag. The other boys dispersed to grab their own bags, each other wrapped up in their own thoughts, except for Honey and Mori. They stayed still as Jin waited for the others to be distracted before rushing over and wrapping the two boys up in a big hug, which they reciprocated gladly.

"I haven't seen you guys in forever! I honestly didn't recognize you at first!" The three pulled apart with big smiles on their faces.

"It's okay, Jin-chan, we didn't realize you were Haru-chan's sister!"

"Well, that was kind of the point."

"Nēchan? Are you ready to go?" Jin looked over to see Haruhi standing by the door.

"Oh, I have to go, bye you two! See you tomorrow!"

"Bye-bye!"

Jin lifted her right leg in a sort of half skip before running over to her little sister. Haruhi looked at her oddly when she bounded to a stop just beside her. However, she didn't say a thing until they were both out the door and walking down the hallway.

"Nēchan, what did you say to Honey-senpai and Mori-senpai?"

"Oh, nothing too important. I'll tell you on the train ride home. Come on, we'd better get home or Dad's going to have a fit." Haruhi pushed her lower lip outward in disapproval over having to wait, but she didn't push the subject. She could wait for the train ride.


"Alright class, could I have everyone's attention?" The class of 2-A swiftly cut off any conversation they might've been having and turned to face the front of the room, where their first teacher stood with Jin Fujioka at her side.

"We have a new student who will be joining us for the rest of your time here at Ouran." Sokai-sensei gestured for Jin to step forward, which she did. The brunette was pretty much wearing the same outfit she had had on the day before: the same sweatshirt, a pair of light blue skinny jeans, a pink t-shirt with a small pocket above her left breast, and cameo converse shoes. Immediately everyone's eyes were boring into her, but she seemed very relaxed and bowed respectfully to her new classmates.

"Kon'nichiwa. My name is Jin Fujioka and I look forward to studying with you all here. Please take care of me." The brunette lifted her head back up and flashed a sparkling grin at everyone. Tamaki, who was sitting a little ways in the back, looked around at the other students for their reactions. The boys were staring intently at the new student, most of them with blushes or smiles of their own. And the girls were acting very similarly, except there were fewer blushes. Instantly, an idea popped into the blond's head.

"Alright, Ms. Fujioka. Please take the empty seat on Mr. Suohs left side. Mr. Suoh? Please raise your hand." Tamaki did so, even though they both knew it was pointless. Nevertheless, Jin smiled broadly at both the blond and the ravenet as she sat down near them.

"I guess we're desk neighbors."

"Yeah!"

"Could everyone pass up last night's homework then turn to page 47 in their textbooks?"

The host and the new girl looked away and began moving their items across their respective desks, but the blond's mind was still running wildly. If she's just as good at conversation as her sister…

The rest of the school day passed in a surprisingly normal function. While the news of the new girl in school had spread like wildfire, most of the girls had already met her at the club yesterday. On the other hand, most of the boys had not. They were clearly anxious to catch a glimpse of her during the lunch period, causing more than one overly crowded hallway that forced said girl and her two host classmates to practically swim to the cafeteria. Or, at least the boys did. Jin got separated from them in the crowd and they didn't see her again until the following class period.

Inside the classroom, Jin proved herself to be worthy of her scholarship thrice over. Kyoya had once wondered how she had been accepted into their school so late into the semester with a half scholarship, but no longer. First off, during their math segment, it almost looked as though she already knew the new equations and she always finished the practice problems before anyone else.

Secondly, her English was perfect . She almost sounded native! And the thing was, she could pick up two different accents along with it. One, she could sound British, but not in the drastically-over-doing-it kind of way. The second apparently came from the state she had spent her time in America, which was Michigan. According to her, it was a Chicago accent. And it was nearly flawless.

And thirdly, when they split off to their respective extracurricular classes, Tamaki asked her if she was taking a language class. Jin just laughed, and explained that Ouran didn't teach any language that she didn't already know, and she was currently teaching herself her seventh language in her spare time. She then walked away, leaving a shell-shocked Tamaki and an equally surprised Kyoya.

By the end of the day, Jin was officially the most interesting person on campus. To no one's surprise… but hers.

"I just don't get it. Why do people keep following me? It is because I'm the new kid?"

Tamaki looked at the brunette and blinked, "They want to talk to you. Everyone in class thinks you're wonderful and incredibly intelligent, so why wouldn't they follow you?"

Jin cocked her left eyebrow as well as the left corner of her mouth, "Everyone? Wow, don't I feel special."

The three entered the club room and Jin immediately bee-lined it for her sister, "Hey, Haru."

"Nēchan! How was your first day?"

She shrugged, "Oh, the usual. Class was pretty easy, especially since I'm so ahead in Maths and what not. Advanced Art was a lot of fun, though. What about you?"

"Well, I scored a perfect 100 on all of last week's homework assignments."

"Oh wow, Haru! That's incredible!"

"Haruhi, we need you over here for the welcoming."

"Coming, Senpai," the shorter brunette called over her shoulder. She took three steps before stopping and looking back at her sister, "Tamaki-senpai? Where should Nēchan stand?"

The boys looked around, "Well…"

"It's alright, Haru. I'll just sit over here. It's only for today, anyways."

"Okay, Nēchan."

Tamaki squirmed in his seat. Haruhi sounded so cute when she said that! But... it's all because of Jin. He bit his lip. If he did anything to Haruhi that Jin didn't approve of, then who's to say that Jin wouldn't find some way to pull her sister out of the club? Didn't she say something about working two jobs while in America? Exactly how much money was she talking about?

The doors creaked open and Tamaki was pulled away from his unnerving thoughts, opting instead for a warm smile.

"Welcome ladies!"

The greeting was met by the same exact enthusiasm as any other day, but this time when the guests flooded into Music Room #3, nearly half of them requested Haruhi, a new record for any of the hosts. And the moment that they reached Haruhi's couch?

"So, Jin, do you like your classes so far?"

"Is it hard for you to readjust to the curriculum? You missed about a month of school!"

Haruhi didn't appear bothered by the fact that all of "his" guests were more interested in speaking to Jin. She simply sat beside her and smiled as Jin blushed lightly from all of the attention she was getting.

"Well, I've always been a little above and beyond regarding a few subjects, such as Math and English, but it's still a little disorienting. Still, I think I'm doing just fine here. I like your school."

A redhead spoke up next, "Do you style your hair?"

"Yeah, I love the little flip at the end!"

Jin giggled and tugged at a lock of her hair, twirling the very slight flip around her finger, "I don't really do anything special with my hair, it just does this, but only at this length. Probably because the ends of it press up against my shoulders. Not that I'm complaining, of course!"

"Jin?" Everyone turned their heads when Kyoya spoke up, "The hosts wish to offer a proposition for you."

Jin blinked, "Oh, sure. What is it?"

"Would you mind becoming our waitress for the day? We'd only require you to provide tea and cakes to each host table, and this way you could speak to every guest one at a time."

"That sounds perfect!" Jin quickly stood up, her shoulders deflating in relief, "Where would you have me start?"

Ignoring the equal amounts of disappointed sighs and excited chatter behind them, Kyoya steers Jin to the storage room and gave her a quick rundown of all of their supplies. Five minutes later, the host club was in full swing, properly. Each of the hosts had their usual guests again, and Jin was able to answer a question or two for each guest she encountered.

Everything ran smoothly for perhaps an hour.

Then, Kaoru gently bumped his hip against a table. He let out an exaggerated shout of pain and his twin quickly swooped in, gently caressing the spot of pain through his twin's uniform.

"Kaoru! Does it hurt when I do this?"

"No… Hikaru, don't… i-it's inappropriate for you to touch me like this in public…"

Hikaru smirked and pulled his brother's face incredibly close, their noses nearly brushing, "Let the others stare… I don't care what they think."

"H-Hikaru… you're so brave."

Their two guests started squealing almost immediately, which was fortunate, because that was when Jin started giggling. She quickly set down her empty tray on an unused table and clapped a hand over her mouth, trying to stifle her laughter. Because of the loud praises for the "brotherly love" package, no one noticed the new girl's odd behavior except her sister.

Haruhi excused herself from her clients and laid a hand on Jin's shoulder, "What's so funny?"

It took her a moment to respond, but when she did it was a little difficult for Haruhi to translate through her laughter, "I… I do-hon't kno-o-ow! But somethin' about their act is makin' me laugh!"

By that point, some of the other girls had noticed that the Fujioka siblings were standing together again, and they all stared at Jin. The girl had a light pink dusting her cheekbones, which were even more pronounced with her wide grin and the way her eyes were squeezed shut. Her upper body bounced with each laugh and her face radiated complete and utter enjoyment and happiness.

Discovering that all of the attention of their clients was once again on Jin, Hikaru and Kaoru exchanged a glance. As usual, they were sharing the exact same thought. They knew what their guests wanted… so they might as well give it to them.

Hikaru struck first, sliding up onto Jin's left side, "You know Jin, we've been meaning to ask. What do you look for in a guy?"

"Yeah," Kaoru added from her other side, brushing Haruhi out of the way, "Do you look for someone intelligent? Or perhaps they have to be involved in a sport?"

"Or…" the two leaned in, their breath tickling Jin's ears, "Would you rather be in a relationship that's more than a little rebellious? Say… a taboo thre-"

"STOP RIGHT THERE!" Tamaki tackled the twins to the ground behind two shocked Fujioka's. They watched as the three boys tussled on the floor for a few moments. Tamaki continued to shout about inappropriate behavior in a club setting while the twins started taking sharp jabs at the blond.

It continued on for a few seconds before the redheads escaped and took off, calling out, "You're only upset because you didn't think of it first!"

"DEVILS! TWINS! DEVIL TWINS!" Tamaki gave chase, pulling a metal bat out of nowhere and wielding it over his head. The twins, laughing loudly, raced around the edges of the club room, jumping couches and tables. The guests only laughed and watched the show, shouting out encouragement to their new found entertainment. Honey was laughing as well as he jumped onto Mori's shoulders, instructing him to give chase of the redheads as well.

Suddenly, Jin let out a huge gasp. She stared at the running boys for a few seconds, mouth in a wide, open smile and her eyes sparkling.

"Nēchan?"

"They're dorks !"

"What?"

"Haru… they're dorks! " The girls looked over at the boys again, then looked back at each other, sharing identical smiles.

"You're right! "

Just then, Kyoya stepped out from his own corner, "Tamaki, I believe that's enough. As for the rest of you, don't you all have guests to entertain?" The chase slowed down until the boys were walking back to their respective couches, panting a little heavily. Haruhi and Jin were still grinning at each other, so Kyoya approached them next.

"Haruhi, your guests are waiting. As for you, Ms. Fujioka…" he inspected her for a moment. Her face was still a little flushed from all of her laughing earlier, and her eyes were sparkling clearly up at his. "Perhaps… for the rest of the day, you can remain at this table and serve your own guests. Would that be alright? It's just for the day, mind you."

Jin's smile dimmed into a playful smirk, "Oh, absolutely not, Mr. Ootori. That's the most terrible idea I've heard all day. Oh no, talking to guests, how will I ever survive?"

When she was done with the sarcasm, Jin agreed willingly and with a large smile. And, if Kyoya were to be completely honest, he was smiling a bit too. Jin Fujioka was turning out to be a very interesting person.


Jin wiggled her fingers at her retreating guests, "Goodbye! I hope to see you again, ladies! It was great talking to you!" The brunette sighed and sat back in her chair, grabbing her tea cup again. Who knew hosting would be this easy, yet this tiring? Ever since Kyoya had offered Jin as a one-day-only host to the other guests, she had had a steady stream of girls coming over to her table for tea and a million and one questions about her.

In a word, she was exhausted.

Still, if it meant spending more time with Haruhi, then it would be worth it. Only one more guest today, and then I get to go home and sleep for ten hours. I wonder who my last client is going to be?

"You're nothing special."

Jin's hand stilled, her fingers pinching at the handle of her tea cup so hard that her fingertips grew white, "Excuse me?"

The girl who had spoken stepped around the table and sat directly across from her. Jin recognized her instantly. It was the girl from yesterday. The one who had asked why she had stayed in America for a full year without coming home to visit. And she was still glaring at Jin.

"Exactly what I just said. You're nothing special. I just wanted to clarify that before we began."

For a moment, Jin said nothing. Only when she was completely sure that, yes, this was her final guest of the day, she gently replaced her teacup onto its saucer and sat back in her cushy chair.

"And what, pray tell, makes you say something so rude? I've never once said that I was special in any way, shape, or form, so what brought this on?"

"You walk around this room looking so pleased with yourself. Almost like you've won everyone's attention or something. I merely wished to inform you that the only reason everyone is interested in you is because you're Haruhi's sister. In a week, no one will even remember your name, so stop acting so high and mighty and like the hosts are going to pay attention to you at all after this week."

Jin, again, said nothing at first. Nothing but a mildly amused look flickered in her eyes as the other girl glared right on back. After nearly a full 15 seconds, the brunette shifted in her seat and picked up her teacup once again, a small smile curving at her lips.

"Well, thank you for being honest with me. I had a feeling that all the attention upon my arrival at this school couldn't be completely by my doing, so I'm glad someone has clarified the true reason to me. Although…" she took a small sip before narrowing her eyes slightly at the other girl, "I also have a small nagging suspicion that you only said those things in an attempt to hurt my feelings or elicit some sort of rise from me. I hate to say it, dear, but you've failed miserably."

She set the teacup down with a sharp click, followed by an even sharper voice, "In case it's unclear to you, I have no intention of being the center of attention at this school. I simply do not care what others think of me, something which, I think, other people should try to strive for. The one thing I do care about at this school, other than maintaining my grades, is spending as much time with my brother as possible. If this displeases you, then I'm so sorry but nothing is going to change that."

The girl spluttered for a few moments before she stumbled up out of her chair, "How dare you speak to me like that! My wardrobe probably costs more than your home! You have no right ! You're just being a menace by being here ! Why don't you just get lost!"

"Excuse me, Miss Asato?"

The girl, Miss Asato apparently, whipped herself around to find herself under the scrutiny of the entire host club. And they didn't appear especially pleased.

"I-I… I was just… I-"

"You were being a meanie, is what."

"Jin-senpai hasn't done anything to you-"

"-that could warrant such unladylike behavior."

"We had planned on limiting Ms. Fujioka's visits to the host club to once a week, but now I believe she has earned the right to come as often as she pleases. To repay her for the unkind words she has experienced while in our presence." Kyoya swiveled his eyes to meet Jin's, "Does that sound fair, Miss?"

The brunette hid a small smile behind her teacup, "Undeniably. And please, call me Jin."

Kyoya smirked, impressed by her cool head, "Jin it is, then."

"B-but… that's not fair! "

"Oh, you are right, Princess Asato," Tamaki stepped forward this time, gently cupping the girl's chin, "It truly is unfair to allow someone so disrespectful unlimited access to our host club, where they could have negative effects on our other guests and their time here."

Asato's eyes filled with hope.

"So, it is only fitting to ban you from the host club. Forever. I am sorry, Princess, but I must ask you to leave now."

Asato blinked once. Twice. Three times fast. Then she let out a wail and pushed Tamaki aside, racing for the doors.

Soft conversation floated from all around the room, and Tamaki quickly turned around to face the remaining guests, "Ladies, I'm afraid today's final hosting hour will have to be cut short. But don't you fret, my darlings, as tomorrow we will be back on schedule!" The girls nodded their understanding before quietly walking out the doors. They were probably more surprised than the hosts at the sudden hostile act against Jin.

After the girls were all gone, Tamaki spun around and held his chin, observing the brunette who was sadly staring into her teacup, the drink having gone cold by now, "Hm... now, since this was all your fault how do you propose we punish you?"

Jin's eyes snapped up to stare directly into Tamaki's, a hint of anger shining through, " My fault? Please, explain to me how being disliked is my fault."

Tamaki ignored the question, "Well, you're not a client, so we can't cut down your hosting time. And you're not a host, so we can't give you a debt… Well, I guess we'll just add onto Haruhi's debt."

" WHAAAT?"

"Debt? Haru, what is he talking about?"

Her little sister froze in place, disbelief suddenly replaced with panic. Her entire body tensed up and she licked her lips, "I, uh, I was going to tell you eventually, but I might've accidentally knocked over a vase when I first came here… and now I owe them some money… which I pay off by being a host."

Jin's eyes narrowed a bit, "Uh huh... And, exactly how much money are we talking about owing here?"

"... mbby... eght mllen yn… " Haruhi ducked her head as Jin slowly stood up from her chair, placing her teacup down.

"Maybe... what?"

"I said maybe eight miln yn… "

Jin stepped closer to her sister, her face showing a hint of fear now, "Haru… Eight what…?"

"Eight… mill-i-on?"

The sisters froze, just staring at each other.

"Haruhi…"

"Yeah, Nēchan?"

"You broke a vase.. that cost eight MILLION yen?"

"... A bit, yeah."

"…Oh."

"Yeah… just a little bit."

"And now you're a host… to pay it off?"

"That's how it works."

"Uh huh." Jin sucked in a deep breath, letting her eyelids fall shut before speaking again, slowly, "So, to clarify, you are up to your neck in debt, and you didn't tell me or Dad, huh?"

The shorter of the girls looked down at her toes, "I didn't want you to worry. And… I almost forced our family into bankruptcy. I just wanted to fix it."

Jin took in and let out another breath, "Haruhi… honestly, when are you going to figure out that it's okay to ask for help every once in awhile?"

"Nēchan, I-"

"No, Haruhi. We'll talk more once we get home, alright? For now," she looked over at the boys, who had been watching the scene with as much fascination as observing a car wreck, "I'm joining the host club to help pay off Haruhi's debt. I don't care if I'm hosting alongside her or by myself or if I'm not hosting at all, but everything I do goes to paying off Haru's debt."

Tamaki and Kyoya looked at each other. Tamaki nodded once and Kyoya pulled out his black journal, scribbling down on an empty page, "You will become something akin to a waitress, providing new tea sets and refilling empty tea pots for each host between their clients, exactly as you were doing today. Should a guest request you, you will take a break from your duties until you have done so. You will take part in whatever cosplay we select and now require a school uniform, which we will provide for you, but will be added onto your debt."

Jin pressed her lips together, "I have one demand, and one question."

There was a very pregnant pause before Kyoya responded, "People in debt do not lay down demands."

"Well, this one just did. I refuse to wear the girl's uniform. Instead, I request one similar to the male uniform of Ouran. I will only require the blazer, the white shirt, and the tie, and will use my own black skirt and heels. This choice should cut down on the amount being added onto our newly shared debt."

She and Kyoya were suddenly locked in an intense staring contest. The others slid a few inches away. Never, in the history of the host club, had anyone ever dared to suggest something be handled in a way differently than Kyoya's decision (besides Tamaki, of course) and get away with it.

It took perhaps a full minute before Kyoya looked back at his journal, "Agreed. Any other demands , Ms. Fujioka?" All the air came rushing out of the other's lungs, but they all noticed how he referred to her as Ms. Fujioka, and not Jin, like she had asked for a few minutes prior.

"No, just a question." Jin smirked, "Do I get my own rose color?"

Haruhi stepped up to her sister's side, gently gripping the sleeve of her sweatshirt, still looking well chewed out "I think she should be green. Technically, it's on the opposite side of the color wheel as my rose color, but they still compliment each other very well."

Jin gave Haruhi a soft look as Kyoya scribbled a single word on the opened page, "Green it is. Well, Ms. Jin Fujioka… welcome to the Host Club."

 

Chapter Text

 

Haruhi looked around the music room as she waited for her next customers, looking for her sister. She wasn't over by Tamaki, who was being his usual overdramatic self, or any of the other hosts that she could tell. She must be in the back. Kyoya sure works her hard.

The thought made her pout. Ever since Kyoya and Jin had had their little spat a week ago, there had been a slight amount of tension in the air at the host club. Of course, the guests were either ignoring it or they were completely unaware, but the hosts could tell that those two were clashing just a tad, especially Tamaki who had them both in class. Apparently, during school hours the two ignored each other except to spout out a quip or two against the other. Haruhi could easily understand it, as Kyoya-senpai and her onēchan were very different people. But then again, they were also a bit alike. Enough alike, perhaps, that they could become friends later on.

If only Kyoya would stop adding money to our debt for every little thing. He's going to get punched in the jaw if he keeps that up!

"Haruhi!"

Two girls scurried over to their host, "Sorry for running a little late!"

"You look so cute in your kimono!"

"Really? Thanks."

"Haruhi?" Kyoya called over from his spot just beside her, "I've just finished recalculating how long it should take for you and your sister to pay off your debt. By the looks of things, if your popularity continues to climb at its current rate your debt should be completely paid off before Jin graduates in two years. That is... if nothing else is added to your debt from now on."

A sudden cold wave washed over Haruhi's entire body. How on Earth do so many girls at this school like him? He's heartless! As soon as she thought that, however, two of Kyoya's own guests appeared between them.

With the shadow king now occupied, Haruhi turned her attention back to her customers, "Well, ladies, thanks for coming over to talk to me. Would you like some tea?"

"Yes, please!"

Haruhi poured out two tea cups and saw out of the corner of her eye a few empty plates she had had to set to the side earlier. And empty plates meant-

"Hello, Jin!"

Haruhi quickly spun around and saw her older sister walking up with an empty tray balanced expertly against the right hip of her green, white, and blue kimono. A green rose was tucked behind her left ear, a signature accessory that Tamaki had first insisted on and had the precise endearment effect he'd been hoping for.

The elder Fujioka sibling smiled and waved at the guests before ruffling her sister's hair affectionately, "Hey girls, are you enjoying yourselves today?"

"Mhm!"

Jin looked down at Haruhi, "And you?"

"Never better, Nēchan."

"That's great! How have your days been?" Jin expertly bent down and scooped up empty plates, never fumbling with the tray or wrinkling the kimono for even a moment. She lifted the teapot to see if it needed a refill as the girls took turns discussing the significant highlights of their day. Haruhi took the time to admire her older sister while her customers were distracted. Only a week after she had come to Ouran and she was already used to how the Host Club worked and operated, and the guests just loved her.

"What about your day, Jin? How are your classes going now that you're back in school?"

Soft brown eyes shifted from the mat to the guest, twinkling slightly in the light as she smiled, "I'm doing very well. Thank you for asking, Princess Kiyomi." The girl squeaked and covered her face with her hands, trying (and failing) to hide her sudden blush.

"I hear you're almost at the top of your class! Tamaki said that your grades even surpassed his!" Jin's gaze flicked to the other guest, except now they held the sheen of mischievousness in them.

"You've heard right, Princess Hiromi, all except for one thing. If you can keep a secret…" she looked to her left and right before leaning in close, " I'm actually tied with Mr. Ootori for the top of the class. " Jin backed away with a wink and walked away as the girls giggled together. Even Haruhi was smiling softly.

Maybe the reason Nēchan and Kyoya are clashing so much is because he sees her as an academic threat? Could that be it?

"H-H-Haru-ch-chan!" Haruhi quickly lost her train of thought when Honey-senpai shuffling closer with his bare feet, voice thick with unshed tears, "I - sniff - I lost one of my sandals!" She quickly stood up and walked over to the crying boy. She reached him just as Jin re-appeared and pulled the blond into a hug, her tray of dishes gone.

"Shhh… don't cry Honey-senpai. It's alright."

"But you were just wearing them, weren't you?" Honey didn't respond, only crying harder into Jin's shoulder.

"Mitsukuni."

Mori-senpai padded over to the group of three and slipped Honey-senpai's missing sandal onto his right foot. The smaller boy's whimpers quieted and he looked away from Jin.

" Takashi? "

"I noticed that you dropped it."

"Takashi!" Honey quickly jumped from Jin's arms and into Mori's, rubbing his tearstained face against his cousin's chest.

Jin stood up and assessed the damage done to her outfit. "Mmm… just some tear stains. It'll dry, at least."

Haruhi slipped up to her sister's side, "Speaking of tears, haven't you noticed that most of the boys are crying today?"

"Yeah, a bit. You think it's on purpose?"

"Maybe. I just don't know how they do it so easily."

"Well, it doesn't matter anyways. You should go back to your guests. I left the other dishes on an empty table. We don't need Kyoya to see that, now do we?"

Haruhi merely nodded as she walked away, still staring at the third years that were embracing on the floor behind her. And it was for that reason that she bumped right into Kaoru, startling him into dropping whatever he'd had in his hand. She quickly went down to pick it up, an apology on her lips, when she noticed exactly what it was.

Well, this certainly explains a lot.

"Oh, please, Haruhi. No need to act so insulted."

"I didn't even say anything."

"It's all over your face. But think about it; no woman alive could resist a man on the brink of tears! It's a common tool for Host Clubs for that reason."

"It's cheating."

"Oh, please. Fake tears are props for us, just like..." A candy was suddenly placed into her hands, "this."

"Uh... why-"

"Ooh! I didn't know you liked sweets, Haruhi!" The heart eyes she was getting from the girls answered her unspoken question. Ugh.

"Well, to be honest with you I'm not the biggest fan of these store bought candies. But…" an idea clicked, "I think this would be a nice memorial offering to my mother." The girls let out quiet little gasps or clasped their hands over their mouths. Haruhi couldn't help but smile. I may not be willing to use eye-drops, but I suppose a "tragic backstory" works here too.

"Such devotion to your mother's memory!" Haruhi leaned backwards before Tamaki was able to get too close to her face like he did during the physical exam snafu. He started piling sweets into her hands. "Please, take as many as-"

"Tamaki, we won't be able to fit all of those in our school bags to take home." Jin swooped in and laid a restraining hand against the blond's shoulder, "One will be just enough, but thank you." A quick smile later, and Haruhi once again had only one sweet in her cupped hands. Nēchan saves me again.

"Thanks, Nēchan. I wasn't sure how to tell him."

"Well, it's for Mom." Jin pressed a kiss to Haruhi's forehead, "I don't blame you one bit."

The guests stumbled away to different sides of the room, cooing about the adorable sibling love. Even if it wasn't like the twin's usual standards, Haruhi and Jin were always cute together without even trying. Something of which Tamaki seemed to like.

"Incredible! Both Jin and our beloved Haruhi are such masters at the art of hosting! No training ever required! It's always a pleasure to watch your sibling love at its height!"

"Let me take a guess and say that those tears of yours are fake?"

Tamaki sucked in a breath, "H-how could you! My tears are always genuine, Haruhi. Being able to cry without the use of eye-drops is the mark of a true host!" He spun around, accidentally brushing Jin a little further away from her sister, "Tell me, do I impress you? Have you fallen for me yet?"

"You wish."

As Tamaki continued to ramble along to himself, Jin snorted softly and tapped her sister's shoulder, "Uh, Haru? What does he mean by fallen for him ?"

A deep red blush darkened the short brunette's cheeks, "He doesn't mean anything by it, Nēchan."

Jin had a hand pressed against her mouth, her entire body quivering, "Are… are you sure? " If possible, Haruhi's blush darkened and she looked away. Her eyes landed on the doorway, where a lone figure stood, peeking out into the room shyly. Haruhi reached back and touched her Nēchan's arm, which drew both her attention as well as Tamaki's to the door. Soon, every host had noticed the strange girl.

"Looks like the host club has a brand new guest." The twins zipped over to the doorway, roses outstretched.

Noting the way the girl was quick to withdraw from their advances, Haruhi tugged at her sister's arm again, " They're scaring her. Nēchan, go- "

But it was too late, Tamaki was already over there with a rose of his own. Jin smiled and whispered back, " It's alright, Haru. This is Tamaki's element. " Despite Haruhi's gut feeling that Jin should be the one speaking to the shy girl, she couldn't help but agree with her. Tamaki was a bit more used to comforting nervous or shy girls. Perhaps he was-

"No! Don't touch me! You're phony!"

The whole group gasped as Tamaki stumbled backwards, holding one of his hands to his face where a red mark was starting to show, "What do you mean… I'm phony?!"

"Just what I said, you're phony! I find it hard to believe that someone like you is the prince character of this Host Club!" The entire host club went silent as the girl continued verbally bashing Tamaki until he fell flat on his back. Once he was lying still, the others looked up at the girl with the annoying voice. She was panting a bit, apparently a little winded by her screaming, but seemed pleased with herself. Haruhi could feel Jin tense up behind her.

Uh oh.

"Excuse me, but... you are..?"

At Kyoya's words, the girl's attitude made a complete one-eighty, "It's you~! Kyoya~!" Without further preamble, she wrapped her arms around his middle and clung on for dear life, "Oh, how I've longed to meet you! My one and only prince charming!"

The other hosts and their waitress stared at the vice president.

What?


"Kyoya-senpai-"

"-is your fiancé?"

"Of course!" The girl was now seated on a couch, acting perfectly calm as she introduced herself, "My name is Renge Houshakuji and I'm transferring into Ouran Academy's Class 1-A tomorrow." Haruhi felt a bead of sweat appear on her neck. She wasn't nearly this calm when we tried to pry her off of Kyoya-senpai a few minutes ago. And now she's in my class? This school just gets more terrifying by the day!

"Tamaki-senpai, you can stop sulking now."

"Yeah, we get you're upset, now come on out."

Jin frowned at the sight of Tamaki wallowing by himself in the far corner of the room and walked over, beckoning her sister to follow. She knew Haru would. The sisters always helped each other out, no matter what. Crouching down by his side, Jin poked Tamaki's shoulder until he finally looked up at them. The girls noted the pink mark still on his right cheek from where Renge had hit him.

"Tamaki… is Renge really Kyoya's fiancée?"

"I... What? Jin, it seems a little obvious that she- why are you- why are you asking me ?"

Jin sighed and tucked her legs underneath her, gathering her thoughts. Her black skirt was spread out around her on the floor, covering up the black sandal wedges she had put on when they had changed into their usual uniforms for the rest of the day. Jin had certainly raised a few eyebrows from the rest of the student body at Ouran with her strange uniform, but no one could deny the fact that she could pull the blazer off well.

"Well, Kyoya looks really uncomfortable sitting over there by her and he didn't even recognize her when she came into the room. That doesn't seem like a happy couple to me."

Haruhi looks over at the French girl who was now babbling on about her romance with Kyoya, who seemed just as lost as the others, "You have a point, Nēchan…"

Jin rested both of her hands on Tamaki's shoulders, "Think real hard about it. Does Renge seem like the kind of girl Kyoya would actually propose to? You're his best friend, so be honest."

The blond looks at the ground for a moment, appearing to be in deep thought until, "You're right, Jin. She really isn't the type of girl Kyoya would be-"

"He looks like the star of the popular dating sim 'Uki-Doki Memorial'! You're my real life Ichijo Miyabi!"

The entire room grew quiet.

"Uki-"

"-Doki?"

"OTAKU!"

While Renge started flailing about the room, jabbering about getting married to Kyoya, the host club regrouped by a set of couches. Haruhi watched the French girl in confusion. While she'd never say it out loud, Haruhi couldn't understand why Renge was so excited about the idea of marrying Kyoya.

"Does that mean she made the whole thing up?" Tamaki looked over at Jin in awe, "How on Earth did you call that?"

"I notice the details. That's where the story is."

Kyoya looks at the brunette girl, "You knew?"

"From the moment you didn't immediately recognize her when she walked through the doors."

"What are you guys talking about?" Renge hopped down and sat on the couch, as close to Kyoya as she could. The others, noticing just how uncomfortable the ravenet actually looked, stayed close. The twins sat down on the opposing couch and Jin moved around to sit on the arm of the same couch as Kyoya and Renge. The rest were content with standing.

"Kyoya? I did do a little research on my way down from France, is it true you're the manager of this club?"

"Well, Kyo-chan is more like our director-"

"You're the club's director? That's perfect! I can help advertise your business, maybe even wear a sandwich board! Ah! It's going to be so exciting!"

"We don't advertise."

"And you actually want to wear a sandwich board? That's one of the most boring positions in a business I would think." Jin popped a pink jolly rancher into her mouth with a shrug, "Well, to each his own, I guess."

"But I'll need a title if I'm going to help my precious Kyoya run this business! Oh, I've got it! From now on I'm the manager of this host club!"

Haruhi grimanced at the thought of seeing this girl not only in her classes, but also in her club. She leaned down by her sister's ear and whispered, " How long do you think she's going to be here? "

" I honestly don't know. There's not much here she can manage… but I'm worried about what she plans to do to this club. Especially since she ignores everything she doesn't want to hear... "

"Well boys, I can't wait to work with you!"

One look at the others and Haruhi knew it was time to go home, "Come on, Nēchan. Let's go home and start dinner."

Jin stood up and suddenly Renge called out, "Wait!" The sisters froze as their new lady manager walked up to them. She was a little shorter that Jin, and the difference in height was even more pronounced when they stood in front of each other. Renge was staring at Jin, as if just now realizing that she was there.

"Who are you?"

"Jin Fujioka. Haru's older sister, the only waitress and part-time hostess in this club."

Renge blinked, "Hostess? Do you serve to boys?"

"No, just other clients if they want a nice girl chat."

"What's with the uniform?"

Jin looked down at her clothes, tugging at the fabric of her black skirt, "No real reason, I just like the boy's uniform better. I figured I probably wouldn't get away with wearing both the top and bottom, though that's what I would prefer, so I just went with the top and my own skirt as a bottom. I'm still technically wearing the uniform, so I'm not breaking any rules."

"Hm."

The two girls stared at each other for a little longer, tension starting to rise between them, though no one could figure out why. Haruhi reached out and touched her sister's hand, "Nēchan, we should go home."

The two long-haired brunettes eyed each other for another second before turning away at the same time. Renge marched off to corner Kyoya again while Jin faced her sister.

"Yeah, let's go."

Jin's face was scrunched up slightly as they walked out of the music room with their school bags, like she usually looked when she was trying to work through a word problem. Haruhi knew better than to disturb her sister's thoughts now. And she had a feeling that her Nēchan was trying to answer the same question she had.

Does Renge have a problem with Jin?

*The next day*

"So… Tamaki wants a meeting with everyone before Renge shows up today."

"Yeah."

Haruhi shifted her bag in her grip a little, "Do we still have some of those cookies you made at home?"

"Mhm."

"Good. Maybe we could have them for dessert tonight."

Jin smiled softly at her before looking forward again, her eyes shifting back into a far off gaze. Haruhi watched her sister in concern as they walked down the school hallway. Ever since they had left the host club the day before, Jin had been oddly quiet, thinking hard about what Renge had said to her the day before. So had Haruhi, but neither of them could come up with a reason behind it.

Rich people are weird.

The girls opened the club doors and walked in. The boys had already gathered and they were waved over. Since there was only one seat left open, Jin remained standing and leaned her arms on the back of Haruhi's chair.

"Okay, now that everyone's here, I'd like to begin. I thought about it a lot last night, and maybe having a lady manager isn't such a bad idea. After all, Renge just transferred into the same class as Haruhi. So, maybe if Haruhi has a girl friend around it could bring out the female within her!"

"Good grief."

"But Haru-chan's got Jin-chan!"

Tamaki waved off Honey's comment, "If Haruhi is this out of touch with her feminine side, even with an older sister, then it's likely that Jin needs the same help as her." Jin let out a puff of air through her nose, but kept her mouth shut.

Just then, the doors creaked open and a now familiar face poked inside, "Hey everyone! As a gift for welcoming me as your new manager, I've baked you all some cookies!"

Understandably, Honey-senpai was the first to jump off his couch at the prospect of sweets, but Renge passed over him in order to appeal to her 'fiancé'. She murmured something about burning a few of them, but quickly disappeared off into her fantasy land. Kyoya took one look at the pile of cookies in his hands before promptly handing them off to Honey-senpai. The blond boy nibbled the edge and almost immediately spat the crumbs back out.

"She wasn't kidding, these cookies really are burnt."

"Don't eat those, Mitsukuni! It's bad for you!"

The girl froze before letting out a loud shriek of fury. She started chasing Honey-senpai and Mori-senpai around the room, the small blond crying out in the taller boy's arms. Jin, who had remained in her original position behind the chair until then, suddenly pushed herself up and took off after the three. She easily passed the other girl, even in her wedges, and plucked Honey-senpai from Mori's grasp. The two then split off into different directions, which made Renge pause and look heatedly in both directions, not knowing who to chase.

The other hosts had been watching the scene with what could only be described as contempt and Haruhi looked down at the cookies that had been thrown into her hands. She plucked one out to inspect. It didn't look too burnt. Okay, well, it wouldn't be winning any cooking show anytime soon, but only the edges were dark. The center looked pretty golden brown.

She took a bite big enough to get some of the soft center and chewed it slowly, "You know… these aren't half bad. I mean, they're a little burnt around the edges, but the center is pretty good. Not super soft, but not bad all the same."

The cookie was suddenly plucked from her fingertips and pushed past her lips. Haruhi tried to jerk her head backwards, but her chin was being held tightly as it was tilted upwards. Taken by surprise, Haruhi couldn't do anything other than watch as Hikaru leaned in close to her face.

" May I try? " He then took the other end of the cookie in his own mouth and broke off a piece. What…

"Uh oh, Haruhi. You've got crumbs on your face." The next thing she knew, something warm and wet was touching her face. It was Kaoru's tongue. Haruhi felt a shudder trickle down her spine. Eeeeeeeheheheeeew.

The twins smiled at the reaction they'd pulled from their classmate, but the feeling was short lived. One second they were grinning smugly, the next they were being tugged harshly backwards, being forced to lean back to avoid falling down. Turning their heads around, the redheads looked up at a certain Fujioka who had their shirt collars clenched up in her fists.

"Excuse me… what was that? "

The word 'oops' was written all over their faces.

Haruhi rubbed her cheek off calmly, "It's alright, Nēchan, you can let them go. I'm sure they were just trying to get a reaction from me. Where did Honey-senpai go?"

The brunette girl released her captives with a warning glance and took a step back, "I sent him into the kitchen to get some milk. He needed to calm down."

Tamaki suddenly grasped Haruhi and spun her around, "That's not the way you're supposed to react, Haruhi! You have to stay strong and reject them, then casually brush them to the side!"

"This is sexual harassment, in case you were unaware."

The only thing louder than Tamaki's sudden shouts of denial and disapproval was Jin's laughter as she slung an arm around her sister's shoulder, "Haru, your bluntness never ceases to disappoint!"

"Every single one of you!"

"Hm?" The group looked over and saw Renge having another one of her little "fits". This time, however, she was upset and shrieking about their 'characters'. Haruhi found herself confused, yet again, by rich people. Characters? Does she not understand that we're not acting? We are literally behaving exactly as we would anywhere else... Unfortunately, it looked as though Renge didn't understand this.

"As your manager it's my duty to change your character background, starting with you! " Honey-senpai nearly dropped his cup of milk as Renge thrust her finger into his face, but she ignored his discomfort, "If all you are is cute inside and outside, then you're no different than a baby ! Therefore, from now on you're the 'Baby-faced thug'!"

"WHAAAAAAA!"

"And Mori-senpai, you're his childhood friend, the drop-out! The twins will be basketball players who feel exorcised by the world because they look identical! Haruhi, you're the new-kid honor-student who is constantly being bullied!" The hosts stood frozen in place, completely baffled as Renge turned her cold gaze to her next victim.

"And as for you, Tamaki, you're the school idol who is admired for your good looks but you actually have an inferiority complex! The Lonely Prince!"

"You'd better stop there." Renge stiffened and turned her head to meet Jin's stare.

"Whatever do you mean, Fujioka-senpai? You've already got a troubled backstory, so there's no need."

Jin cocked an eyebrow, " I have a tragic backstory? Alright, do tell."

"I did some digging last night and came across an interesting piece of information. Both you and Haruhi received scholarships to this school, but only Haruhi received a full scholarship. Your story is obvious. You're the older sister who is constantly being outshined by your younger brother, who was always loved more than you were by friends and family because he was smarter, kinder, and more attractive. So you use your only weapon at your dispense to cope, which is to act as the perfect older sister in the hopes that you'll be noticed due to your brother's praise, but deep inside you're insanely jealous and wish to be half as great as him!"

The room went silent. Even the twins and Kyoya, who had been in the middle of a quiet, yet intense conversation a short ways away were watching the two girls in a mixture of shock and surprise. Half of them were expecting a fist fight to break out.

What they weren't expecting was for Jin to smile sweetly at the French girl, "Oh, silly Renge, you've obviously done your research wrong. Yes, I only got a half scholarship, but did you ever read what my scholarship would've been if I hadn't studied abroad in America last year and instead came directly to Ouran?"

Renge fidgeted.

"Hm, I'm gonna take that as a no. I sort of figured. Well, what about the actual exam scores? Did you read those?"

The other girl adverted her eyes.

"Again, that was fairly obvious," Jin walked forward and bent down so they were face to face, "For your information, Haru and I both scored 100% on the entrance exam. And when I told the school that I would be studying abroad, they offered me a half scholarship if I came back to Ouran for the last two years. "

The brunette straightened up, "Well, I think I've made my point. I'll be in the kitchen if you need me." And with that, she walked off, her steps echoing off the tile floor.

"Uh… Renge, do you think these poses work for a lonely prince?"

The girl tore her glare from the waitresses' back and watched Tamaki strike a few movements. Instantly, her mood flipped, "Wow, you're good at that!"

With the new girl distracted, Haruhi turned around and looked at her senpai, "Kyoya-senpai, don't you think we should do something about those two? If Renge has an issue with Nēchan-"

"Let's just see how things play out."

"But-"

"Shouldn't you go check on your sister? I'm sure she's upset." Not satisfied, but not willing to start an argument, Haruhi turned around and followed her sister into the kitchen. One way or another, someone is going to snap. And I sure hope it's not Nēchan.


Screams echoed around the gymnasium as Ouran Academy's star basketball team regained possession of the ball. One of the team's best players, Hikaru Hitachiin, was dribbling back down the court towards the hoop. Not that any of the fans would know that it was him and not his twin brother. Then again, it wasn't like they cared either. The screams intensified as he shot the ball at the hoop.

Swish!

He grinned, despite the fact that the fans were refraining from shouting out a name, for fear of saying the wrong one. Hikaru tried to laugh it off, tried to feel some pride for scoring, but there was a notable absence from his side. Where was the hand that always clapped his shoulder after every perfect toss?

The screams died down and were replaced with a gasp just as Hikaru saw the medical team rushing onto the court. There was a player lying down on the wooden slabs. Someone from his team. A teammate with red hair that stood up in every direction.

"Get a stretcher! Take him to the infirmary, immediately!"

"K-Kaoru? Kaoru!" The med team lifted his brother onto a stretcher just as he was able to push past the stupid people blocking his way. Hikaru threw himself down next to his injured brother, "Kaoru!" A hand touched his shoulder, but it didn't belong to his brother.

Therefore, it didn't matter.

"You've got to get back in the game, Hikaru! We need you!"

"Shut up!" Hikaru swatted the hand away. The only reason you know I'm Hikaru is because I was just calling out my brother's name a few seconds ago! He probably would've said that out loud too, if it wasn't for a softer voice speaking to him.

"Hikaru? Listen..." He looked down at his brother, whose eyes had opened again, thankfully, "Please don't worry, there's nothing you can do. You can't share my pain." Kaoru cupped his older brother's face, "You're not the one who got hurt…now go on..."

Hikaru felt the tears start, so he squeezed his eyes shut and gripped his brother's hand, "I can't! It hurts! It hurts, Kaoru!"

Your pain is my pain. It doesn't matter to me if no one else understands. As long as we have each other, we can go on living.

" Hikaru? Hika ru! Hikaru, are you alright?"

The boy's eyes snapped open as large drops of water struck the back of his skull. He looked up at his twin's face just as all the right memories fell into place. It was just… a memory. That's right.

"Hikaru." Kaoru cupped his face, eerily similar to Hikaru's previous memory, "Where are we, right now?"

"We...we're on the school's outdoor basketball court."

"Right. Now, why are we out here?"

"Practicing. For next week's game."

"And what happened just a few seconds ago?"

"It started to rain… and the ball slipped out of your hands so you went after it… and you tripped. I don't… I don't remember much of what happened next."

Only then did Kaoru sigh and drop his hands back onto his lap, "Hikaru, you've got to stop doing that. That injury happened last year. This can't go on."

"But you got hurt. And I couldn't help you! How am I supposed to forget that?!" Hikaru was pulled into a tight embrace and he buried his face into his brother's shoulder, letting the angry tears roll down his cheeks, disguised by the rain that had soaked the brothers through.

" As long as I'm here, you can forget about the rest of the world. The past, and the future. And as long as you're here, I'll do the same. " Kaoru pulled away enough to look at his brother, " Think we can manage that? "

"I... I..."

" Hikaru? "

A low, humorless chuckle interrupted their moment and the boys quickly looked towards the edge of the court. The darkness and the sudden heaviness of the rain made it hard to make out exactly who it was, but the next moment the figure spoke.

"I'm terribly sorry for interrupting your moment, but... I have to say, I'm envious. The way the two of you support each other like that? I can only imagine…"

Hikaru squinted at the figure as the rain let up a little, "Suoh-senpai?" Yup, it was Ouran Academy's number 1 pretty boy. He was devoid of his school jacket and looked drenched from head to toe. He must've been out in this rain for as long as they had been. It took a moment for what he said to register in the redhead's brains.

"How would you be envious of... us ?"

"Yeah, basketball players are one thing, but to be the school's idol..."

The blond chuckled, the sad look never leaving his eyes, making them look more grey than their usual bright purple, "An idol, right. I hate that they all worship me for something as superficial as my appearance. If only they would just leave me alone-"

"Oof!"

The three boys look back at the edge of the court to see yet another boy out in the storm. It took less time for them to recognize this person, as the rain was growing lighter by the second. It was the new honor student, Fujioka-san. He was on his knees, probably from tripping over a tree root or something, and for two seconds, the brunet boy stared up at them all. His big, brown, girlish eyes seemed to be pleading with them.

But if Fujioka-san was out here, then that could only mean one thing.

"I'd suggest you keep running, little one. He won't hold back, even if there are others present."

The honor student's shoulders deflated before he scrambled back to his feet and took off again, heading deeper into the woods. What he didn't know was that Suoh remained still, watching him take off into the trees. And what Suoh was unaware of, was that Fujioka had heard everything he said when he had been hiding behind that tree, only to slip and fall onto the ground when he had leaned closer to hear better.

One lonely heart meets another. They pass each other, wounding one another. What are the hearts of these young men made of?

Haruhi's shoes slapped the muddy ground. His legs were so weak, and his uniform was weighted down with the cold rain that was clinging to his body tightly, restricting his movements greatly. There were mud stains on his knees and the palms of his hands, but he dare not stop. Not stop. Not stop. Not…

The brunette had to stop. He stumbled to a drier piece of dirt and pressed his hands against a tree, taking in deep breaths and trying to not hack up a lung.

"You can't run away forever." Haruhi spun around, ready to run, only to have his legs slide out from under him. He had no energy left. The last of it had been spent when he'd silently begged for help from the star basketball players and the school's idol… only to be turned away and left to fend for himself. There was no point in running any longer. This… this was inevitable.

"I'm gonna show you what happens to anyone who crosses me." Haruhi fought the urge to scream at the small blond boy. To argue that he had only bumped into his shoulder when they had both attempted to enter the bathroom at the same time. But there was no point.

"Don't do it, Mitsukuni." Haruhi sucked in a quick breath as Mori-senpai came up from behind them. He must've followed us. It was known by everyone that Hani-senpai's only childhood friend, who had flunked out right before high school, was the only person in the this world who could hold back the boy's rage every once in awhile. Please, let this be one of those times.

"You should've realized by now that whenever you hurt others… you're only hurting yourself."

"I didn't ask for any advice. You want me to put you over my knee again?" The tall boy looked away, not answering, but Haruhi knew that he'd get no more help from the flunkie. His fate… was sealed.

Will it be the light of salvation that ultimately awaits these boys? Or will it be something else?

"You know… it really pisses me off when people don't know their place." Haruhi swallowed and stared up in fear at the eyes that mirrored his own so very well… Until they teared up and the serious face fell away to fear and sorrow.

"Wahhhh! I can't do this anymore!"

And just like that, the scene was broken.

" CUUUUUT! CUT CUT CUT! What is wrong with you? You've got to stick to the script! Do you want this movie to fail? In competent little- "

"I can't do it! Stop yelling at me!"

Renge growled, "Stop rolling already! We'll be taking a short ten minute break, or until someone can keep themselves together long enough to actually do their job !" And with one last glare in Honey-senpai's direction, she moved on to the other men around the set, shouting things about the scene.

Honey whimpered in Haruhi's arms for a moment before Mori scooped him up and escorted him to the buffet table, where there were thankfully a lot of sweets. Someone handed Haruhi a towel as she walked off set towards the twins and Kyoya.

"How did we go from changing our characters to shooting a movie about them?"

"Yeah, and why is there an entire film crew here to shoot it?" What happened to a plain old handheld video?

"Apparently, she flew them in from Hollywood. Don't you recognize the director? He directed the number 1 grossing box office hit in America last year."

Damn these rich people.

"Hey guys, how's the movie going?" Haruhi turned and gave her sister a smile. Despite the obvious tension going on with Renge, Jin had still turned up to help out with the movie. Of course, Renge hadn't given her a part. She was merely mentioned in passing about two thirds of the way through. Even so, it was clear that Jin didn't mind.

"Hey, Nēchan, where'd you go? Last I saw, you were talking to one of the camera men after you finished putting up the last tree for the forest set."

Jin grabbed Haruhi's towel and started rubbing her sister's hair with it, "I was. Turns out, he didn't get a lunch break earlier so I took over his position for a while so he could grab a bite to eat. I even filmed one of the angles for the twin's basketball flashback scene." She flashed the twins a thumb's up, "Nice acting, by the way. I was impressed."

"Thanks!" The twins attempted a smile, but it was short lived as Hikaru thumbed through his script.

"It's alright, but this stupid thing portrays Kaoru as the 'pitcher'! What's the deal with that?"

"Yeah, I was wondering the same thing. I mean, sure, I'm a little flattered I guess, but on the other hand..."

Jin shook her head, "I did some research last night on the dating sim Renge was talking about. Turns out, all of your "characters" are the mirror image of the characters in the game, with Haru being the exception. She's trying to turn Ouran Academy into her own real version of Oki-Doki Memorial. This script is a pile of her own fantasies, nothing more."

"Wait, what does 'pitcher' mean?"

The twins snickered, "If you don't know, nevermind."

Jin hides her smile by kissing her sister's damp hair, "Oh, little Haru. Still so innocent."

Haruhi narrowed her eyes, "Wait… it's something dirty?"

"Ms. Fujioka? I'd like to point out that if Ms. Houshakuji had overheard your little comment about playing out her own fantasies, she would've been quite upset with you."

"More than she already is? I highly doubt that's possible." The twins nodded in agreement, but that just reminded Haruhi of the question that had been on her mind since the french girl had arrived.

"Exactly why is Renge acting like this?"

"No idea."

"She's acting almost threatened by me, but I'm not sure why."

"Maybe it's because she thinks you're going to steal Kyoya from her." Hikaru mused. He, Jin, Haruhi, and Kaoru all made eye contact with each other before bursting into loud laughter. They laughed so hard some of them even had tears in their eyes, and they didn't stop until the ravenet behind the twin's chairs cleared his throat.

"And why is that so hilarious? I understand it's ridiculous, but why is it funny?"

Jin gasped for air, "Number 1, Renge would need to think I'm interested in you. Number 2, she'd then need to think there was a possibility of you being interested in me in return. Number 3, you have to remember that she's under the delusion that you're Ichijo Miyabi, who would never do something like that. And if any of this is true, then she's more deluded than we originally thought!"

The four started laughing again until a cameraman walked up, "Excuse me, Ms. Fujioka?"

"Yes?"

"The rest of the camera crew would like to discuss where to cut in your angle for the scene you shot, since Ms. Houshakuji has extended our break for another half an hour."

"Alright." She ruffled her sister's hair, "I'll be back in about ten to fifteen minutes, okay, Haru?"

"Yeah, just go impress them already!"

The girl walked away and Haruhi turned back around to face the boys, only to have them looking at her intensely, "What?"

"We've been curious about something."

"It's about what Renge said about Jin's 'character'."

The redheads leaned forward, "Is any of what she said true?"

Haruhi blinked and tried to recall everything that had been said the previous day, "Um, well… not that I know of. I've never really been better at Jin in anything. There are a lot of things where we're equal, as well as a few areas where I'm equal to where she was my age, but… no. There's nothing I can think of that I'm better at than her. Except, of course, looking like a boy. I think Renge was just trying to spite her."

After that explanation, Haruhi walked away to find a chair to sit in. Even though she hadn't really been running for half an hour, she still wasn't a very good runner. Or actress. She needed a break.

A break that was cut short five minutes later by Tamaki running up to her, "Haruhi! Haruhi! So, what did you think? Do you think I nailed it?"

Haruhi smiled up at the blond, "It was very well done, Senpai. I'm surprised you had it in you! But that last line… I didn't think you had a line there?"

"I didn't, I just had a feeling that if I only looked away it wouldn't have truly captured how withdrawn my character was supposed to be, so I improvised!"

"Very impressive. Your performance made your character really believable. I'm surprised you're able to get into your character so easily."

"Ha, I'm discovering a new, darker side of myself. Maybe we should keep these characters up for awhile?"

Haruhi tilted her head in confusion, "You think so? I'm sure the girls will like this movie just fine but… if we keep up these characters, wouldn't your character hate having the girls fawn over him? If the clients come to that conclusion, they could stop coming to the Host Club." The blond stopped rubbing his wet hair.

"Oh, I never thought of it that way. Perhaps… a happy medium could be reached?"

"Maybe. But clients aside, I think you're fine just the way your are right now, Senpai, without all the pageantry of being all lonely and sad. If you 'explore' your character too much, you might just lose yourself along the way."

"Uh… really? Well, if you say so, Haruhi."

The brunette quickly looked to the side, hiding her smirk. As if the Tamaki right now isn't so much trouble already. None of us need to see a 'darker side'.

"Haruhi! You're on!" What?

Renge was waving at her from around the corner of a building, away from the cameras, confusing the brunette even more, "But we still have twenty minutes left in our break!"

"Just get over here!"

Sighing, she dropped her towel back onto her chair and walked around the corner as Renge shouted at someone else, "Where'd my cameraman go?"

"He's with the others discussing the angles for the first scene of the movie."

"Well get someone else, then! It's time to shoot the first big conflict scene with Haruhi!"

"Yes, Boss!"

"Hmph. Oh, Haruhi, here you are! Come on, this way!" Renge walked around the corner with Haruhi in tow. For a moment, Haruhi was completely confused. Why are we back here? There's nothing but some extra planks, some lights, and-

The death glares she was receiving from the two boys she just noticed cut Haruhi's thoughts short. Renge, however…

"These two gentlemen have just agreed to make a special appearance in our film!"

"In your film?"

"What are you talking about?"

"After all, we're going to need some tough guys for the big climax!" At the words 'tough guys', the boys made surprised noises. Tough guys? What do we need tough guys for? And why do these guys sound just as lost as I am?

"What sort of climax are we talking about?"

"Didn't you read the script? We're going to have all of the club members come together to fight off the real villains in their school! According to the script, these two are from a wealthy family that got their wealth by being a part of the Japanese Mafia! This makes having these two gentlemen a brilliant casting choice!"

The boys shifted into defensive poses, "H-hey! That's not fair! Whatever my dad does has nothing to do with me!"

Haruhi's eyes grew wide, "Renge, hold on a second!"

Of course, Renge ignored her and grabbed one of the boys by his shirt sleeve. She dragged him towards the camera with a smile, talking about cue's and lines, unaware of the look of agitation the boy was sporting.

He ripped himself out of her grip, "Let go of me, psycho! You think you can order me around? You don't even know me!" And he struck, shoving Renge away with all his strength towards the extra wood planks and metal poles.

"WATCH OUT!" Haruhi jumped behind Renge and stopped her from hitting the wall at full force. Unfortunately, the power behind the shove still pushed her against the poles leaning on the wall. The impact knocked the breath out of her for a moment as pain erupted in her back. Nothing… too bad. But it certainly didn't feel good . And ohmygoshwhatgotinmyeye?!

The girl in front of her stood up on her own, giving Haruhi a chance to pull away from the wall. She took a deep breath and crouched down to her knees, holding a hand to her face as her eye watered in pain.

"Are you okay, Haruhi?"

Whimpering around the pain, she tried to explain, "That guy was right, Renge. You're stereotyping. That's not who he is! None of this is who we really are!"

"Haruhi!"

"Haru! I was told to come video something but then I heard-"

Haruhi turned her head when she heard both Tamaki and her sister's voices. Both of them were a little blurry, which answered the reason behind her eye hurting so badly. But she can see just enough to watch their faces change. Tamaki's eyes narrowed and he shot forward…

But Jin was faster.

Haruhi's eye gave a painful twinge and she shut them just as she heard a foot connecting with someone's gut. A few grunts and shouts later, Haruhi managed to call out around the ache, "Nēchan, stop! They were provoked!"

Her right eye flickered open to survey the damage. Tamaki and Renge were standing to her left, mouths agape and eyes wide. Jin was standing directly above the two boys, who were curled up in little balls on the concrete. There didn't appear to be any blood or major damage, and Jin wasn't even winded. Her hair was a little disheveled, but that was it. Jin looked up from her adversaries and stared right into Haruhi's eyes, the soft glow in them all but completely gone. In its place was something cold and hard. When she spoke, it was in a short, demanding tone.

"Why? What for?"

Haruhi stood up, holding one hand to her left eye still, "They were brought into the movie to play the bad guys, but they didn't want to. It got physical when Renge tried to force them into it."

Jin watched her sister for another moment or two, her eyes softening before growing hard again as she looked back down at the boys, "Get out of here." She nudged them with her toe and they took off at full speed to the front gates. Haruhi rubbed at her left eye until she felt something in the corner. A pair of hands cupped her cheeks.

"Haru? What hurts?"

"Ugh, this thing," she pulled out her contact, "Must've gotten knocked out of place when I hit the wall. Other than that, I'm fine."

The two second year students stared at the contact perched on her finger before her sister huffed a laugh and leaned up against the wall, "You scared me to death, you little jerk!"

Tamaki also started laughing, "Well, what do you know? You are a full-fledged host! Crying without eye-drops...hilarious." Haruhi thought it over a bit, and couldn't help but join in on the humor. Wow. That conversation was from before this whole craziness even started. How about that?

"You… you… please tell me you got that, cameraman! "

"Yes, Boss!"

"Other than Haruhi's contact falling out and Jin-senpai rescuing him instead of one of the boys, that was the perfect final scene! All we need to do now is photoshop Tamaki in Jin's place! After all, we can't have a girl saving a boy, can we?" Jin's eyes darkened again as Renge started laughing along with the camera crew. Haruhi felt all the blood rush to her feet. Oh boy .

In one smooth motion Jin swooped down, grabbed a rock about the size of her fist, turned around, and flung it towards the group of cameramen who had been shooting the scene. It zipped between Renge and the boom mic guy before shattering the camera lens that had taped the fight. And standing not ten centimeters away was Kyoya, who had his own rock in hand that looked ready to swing.

For a brief moment, everyone was quiet save for a quick simultaneous intake of breath.

" W-what… what was that for? You nearly hit me! "

Jin dusted off her hands, "This is starting to become more that just annoying, Renge. So I'm going to put a stop to it."

"... Annoying? "

She stalked over to the girl and didn't stop until they were no more than a centimeter apart, her neck craning to stare her down, " You've been nothing but trouble since you've arrived at this school, Renge, and I think it's high time that you realized that. You know nothing of these boys and have about as much of a right to tell them how to act as I do which is why I haven't said anything until now, but your last comment crossed a line. My brother was put in danger, and I reacted as I should've. Telling me and telling your viewers that women are not allowed to be strong and be able to defend their family is about as wrong as you could go, and you will never see me not stand up for my brother. Just keep that in mind from now on. "

Jin took one step back, breathed deeply in and out, and turned on her heel and walked around the corner of the building. Everyone watched her go, none of them daring to make a sound until she had been out of view for at least ten seconds. Tamaki broke the silence.

"Haruhi… should you go after her?"

"No, she'll be fine. She just has to calm down for a bit. She'll probably get a drink of water then jog around the set."

"I… I didn't realize that your sister could be so… so…"

"Tough?"

"Yeah."

Haruhi felt the barest trace of a smile fight its way onto her lips, "Hell hath no fury like a raging Fujioka."

Renge took a few more deep breaths before whirling around to face Kyoya, "Kyoya… why are you holding that rock?"

*Several days later*

"Alright, gents! It's time to invite the guests in for the day. We're going to start out with everyone around this couch, so make yourselves comfortable!" The hosts pulled close and settled down into their opening pose. Jin was with them, standing on Mori-senpai's right side. The girl had returned to her naturally calm appearance, but Tamaki would still sneak the occasional glance at the older Fujioka girl, searching for traces of-

Creak!

The blond whipped his head around to face forward, "Hello, ladies. Come on in!"

"I bought the video of that film you made!"

"I bought it, too!"

"And so did I!"

The host's collectively stiffened, "You… did? Ho-"

"That scene in the rain was just phenomenal!"

"I loved the lonely prince!"

"And the loving relationship between Hikaru and Kaoru was so sweet!"

As the guests continued to gush over the movie, the hosts watched in silence, every single one of them coming to the same conclusion.

"Kyoya…"

"Ms. Fujioka may have broken the camera's lens, but the film inside of it remained unharmed along with everything we had already shot and put together. After some editing and removing all traces of violence, I was able to put together a final product. It seemed a waste to put a whole afternoon of our time in the garbage. Sales have been pretty good so far. That Hollywood film crew did a fantastic job, but then I guess that's to be expected. I might even consider hiring them again to produce a sequel someday."

"Renge and Jin-senpai nearly tore each other's heads off!" The twins caught a certain brunette watching them with a quirked eyebrow, "No offence, Jin-senpai."

The girl smirked and shook her head, "None taken. I probably could've handled that better than getting all up in her face about it. So much for being the mature one. But Kyoya, exactly when did you start calculating all of this?"

The ravenet leveled a cool gaze at his classmate, "Early on enough to deal with the girl hanging off my elbow every second of every day telling me what kind of flowers she wanted in her wedding bouquet."

Jin chuckled, "If you were willing to suffer like that, then do whatever you want with that footage. But I doubt you'll be getting a sequel out of these guys."

Kyoya opened his mouth again, probably to deliver some sort of rebuke, but another voice interrupted, "Good day, everyone."

The hosts were quick to look at the new arrival, "Renge? But, I thought that you were going back to France?"

In per Renge style, the girl completely ignored Tamaki's question, "I can't believe I didn't realize it sooner! The chivalry when you risked your life to protect me. The love when you lectured me about judging people. When you told me it was fun to get to know people little by little!"

"Uh…"

"Woah! Woah, woah, I know what you're heading with this! Not happening!"

"And Jin-senpai," Renge rested her right hand on the taller brunette's shoulder, "I'm so sorry for how cruelly I acted towards you. I simply didn't understand how much pain you were enduring when I made my mistake! But the way you put all that aside for other people's happiness has shown me a different way of living! I'll never forget your lesson!"

"Um… good?"

"From now on, I'll stay out of your way! I hope we can become good friends later!" The Fujioka's exchanged a glance. Doubtful.

"Come on, Haruhi!" Renge pulled the smaller of the two away towards the door, "Let's go to my house! I think it's time you got to know me better!"

"What?"

Jin's jaw dropped before she started to follow, but Honey grabbed onto her uniform sleeve, "Jin-chan, what did she mean by you being in pain?"

"I… have no clue, Honey-senpai."

"NO IT ISN'T!" Tamaki's shout caused both of them to jump in place.

"But I thought you were the one who wanted here to have a female friend-"

"Yeah, a female companion , NOT A GIRLFRIEND!"

"Come on, Haruhi, let's go play together!"

"Wait! Don't take Haruhi from me!"

"Haru!"

"Nēchan, help!"

 

Chapter Text

 

' Don't wake me up~! Don't wake me up~! Don't wake me up, up, up, up, up, up~ '

"Ugh…" Haruhi lifted her right hand and swatted at her nightstand, searching for the device that was playing the American song. However, it wasn't until the chorus had looped twice that Haruhi was able to scoop up the phone and swipe at the lock screen, effectively cutting off the alarm.

The brunette scowled at her sister's iPhone in her hands. Her own alarm clock had broken yesterday (after nine years of service) so Jin had offered to loan her new phone as a replacement until they could buy another one. It had been a very sweet gesture, but that didn't change the fact that Haruhi was now awake. The Fujioka's had never been known for being early risers. Well, except for Jin, but that's a different story.

Still, seven a.m. Time to get up.

Wriggling herself out from under her sheets, Haruhi stood up and padded over to her closet, setting the phone back down on the nightstand. Once she was standing next her bedroom door, she realized that she could smell something. Something… good .

Knowing that could only mean one thing, she quickly grabbed her school uniform and pulled it on. She opened her bedroom door and stumbled out into the kitchen, her left foot stuck just before the opening at the bottom of the pant leg. Since she didn't have either her contacts in or her glasses on, everything was really a big blur, but she could still see someone moving around the kitchen with a big stack of pancakes piled high on the counter. She could hear her father's light snores from his own bedroom. Seriously, that man could sleep like the dead.

"I know you're there, Haru. Go finish getting ready for school and then come eat, okay?"

Haruhi attempted to answer, but a huge yawn slipped through instead, so she turned back around and disappeared into the bathroom. The mirror was steamed up a bit around the edges and the shower cubicle was wet. Haruhi shook her head in disbelief.

To think, there used to be a time where Jin would sleep until noon if they allowed her to. Now however, ever since she went to America where she had to wake up at 6 every morning, it seemed as though her internal clock had placed a lock. Every day, with or without an alarm, Jin always woke up between 6 and 7 in the morning. 8 if she had been exhausted the previous night.

Just thinking about it makes me tired.

Once Haruhi was done with her morning rituals, she went back into the kitchen and saw a plate of pancakes awaiting her on the table. She passed by her sister who gave her a fleeting kiss on the forehead and a murmured 'Morning, Haru' before returning to the dishes.

She sat down and started digging in. The pancakes were warm and fluffy, melting in her mouth a little bit. They didn't have anything else on them except for some butter, but that was all that was needed.

"Mmm… Nēchan, how do you make these so good?"

Her sister shook her head with a smile, wiping her hands dry before joining Haruhi at the table, "You know where, Haru."

She hummed, "Yeah, I suppose I do. So, what are your plans for today? Anything big?"

Jin chewed her first pancake bite slowly as she thought about it, "It's Friday, right? Well, I have a math test today, but that's about it for school. My boss wants me to go in from six to eight to cover for him, and then I'm going to bed early because I've been invited to give a demonstration at 8 tomorrow to celebrate my return and then I have to babysit Eiichi between 6 and 11:30 tomorrow night."

Haruhi shook her head and took a sip of milk, "Sometimes I think you work yourself too hard, Nēchan."

Jin reached across the table to ruffle her sister's hair, "Yeah, me too. So, do you have anything planned?"

Haruhi shrugged, "Renge wanted me to go over to her house again sometime this weekend to play some more video games, but then her dad showed up from France and now she has a few dinner parties to attend, so I'm just going to study." This made her sister chuckle and shake her head.

"Haruhi, there's more to life than studying, you know."

"I know, but all my fun times left when you did, Nēchan."

Jin suddenly pressed her hands against the tabletop, leaning forward with a bright twinkle in her eyes, "Do you know what? You're right. We haven't done any of the fun things that we used to do back in the old days since I got back home. So… what if we finish these pancakes as quick as we can and ride my bike to school?"

Haruhi grinned, the sparkle having now spread to her eyes as well, "That... sounds awesome , Nēchan."

Their eyes twinkled identically as Jin swallowed another bite, "I sure hope you remember how to hang on."

*1 hour later*

Tamaki crawled out of the backseat of his limo, "Thank you, Aoi. I'll be waiting for you when I finish my school day."

"Yes, Master Tamaki. Have a great day." And with that, his chaffeur drove off. The blond smiled up at the pink school in front of him. Another day at Ouran. Another day being a host. And another day with Haruhi!

He walked up the lawn, greeting the girls along the way until he reached one of the bike racks for the school. It was a bit of a mystery as to why the school even had bike racks. No one biked to Ouran. Still, they were always kept in perfect condition just in case of the off chance. Tamaki leaned against the polished metal and waited. This was generally the place he'd meet up with Kyoya before school started the year before, and now it was where he waited for Haruhi to arrive from her train ride so he could be the first person to greet her in the morning. Of course, he knew he wasn't really the first. She had Jin.

His smile faltered.

Okay, wait, he did like Jin. She was a really great person. Intelligent and tough, yet caring and compassionate, and everything Haruhi deserved as an older sister! But still, she was a little frightening. During the movie shoot she had those two boys on the ground in a matter of seconds!

"You look like you're in deep thought. Is it Haruhi or Jin this time?"

The blond jolted slightly as Kyoya walked up to his side, "What?"

"I said that you looked like you were in deep thought. Were you thinking about Haruhi or Jin this time?"

"How did you know I was thinking about-"

"You tend to follow a very strict pattern. If you meet someone who doesn't fit where you want them to, you think about how to change their minds. And right now you are stuck on both Fujioka's, so which one of them is it now?"

Tamaki blinked, "Jin. And how frightening she was last week."

"Ah, yes, so I've heard. It was rather impressive I've been told."

"But it was scary! Where did she learn to fight like that?"

The other boy shrugged, "I do not know."

The blond leaned more heavily against the bike rack, "Kyoya… exactly how much do you know about Jin? She's a student here now, have you looked in on her school record?"

Kyoya pulled his black journal out of his school bag and flipped a few pages, "Yes, I have. And again, I'm a bit impressed."

Tamaki crossed his arms, "You continue to say that you're impressed, but whenever you and Jin are in the same room you both take cheap shots at each other. Why?"

"She's the one who starts it."

"Now you're sounding defensive."

"Do you want to hear this or not?" Tamaki lifted his hands in defeat, but they both knew that the topic was going to come up again soon. That's just how things worked with them.

Kyoya cleared his throat, "Let's start at the beginning. Jin Fujioka… she's been the number one student in her class ever since she started school. She began to take piano lessons at the age of 4, quit before she turned 6, and then started again when she was 11 under the instruction of Kagome-sensei, who is Ouran's most prominent music teacher, and she taught herself guitar at the age of 8. By the time she was 14 she won 3rd place in a national essay competition, 2nd place in a national art competition, and performed her final piano recital in Tokyo Opera City Concert Hall. She knows seven languages including Japanese, English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, and is teaching herself Swedish, despite only ever taking English and French classes in school."

Tamaki's mouth was agape again as Kyoya snapped his journal shut, "How did she meet-"

"I do not know."

"Is she a robot? How is all that possible for one person?"

Kyoya slipped the journal back into his bag, "Unclear, but it's all true. And that's only what she told the school academic-wise. She might have-"

Loud laughter coming from the gates interrupted the ravenet. All of the students still waiting outside on the school grounds turned to watch as two people on bikes pedaled through the school gates at top speed. Tamaki squinted at the figures before his eyes snapped wide open. Wait a second… that's Haruhi and Jin!

Tamaki straightened up as the two girls moved closer. But it wasn't until they were halfway between the gates and the bike racks that he noticed something even stranger. There was only one bike. Jin was on the seat, smoothly pedaling her and her sister down the stone pathway, but Haruhi was standing up behind her with her arms wrapped around Jin's chest.

There was no second seat. There were just two bars sticking out from the bike frame near the center of the back tire where Haruhi's feet were planted. The sight of it almost gave Tamaki a heart attack if it wasn't for Haruhi grinning from ear to ear and her laughter as the wind blew at her hair.

The siblings zipped along the path. As they drew closer to the bike rack, Jin stopped pedaling. But she didn't brake.

"Ready, Haru?"

"Ready!"

"3, 2, 1!"

When they reached '1', Jin turned to the left, riding alongside the bike racks and Haruhi let go of her sister, jumping off of the bike. She stumbled an inch or two when her feet hit the pavement, but other than that she landed smoothly. Haruhi removed her helmet and finger combed her short hair.

"Hey, Senpai."

"J-j-j...j-j-j… juST WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU'RE DOING?!"

The short girl patted her school bag which had been fastened securely to her side, "I'm not sure why you're shouting, Senpai. I just rode my sister's bike to school. It's no big deal-"

"YES IT'S A BIG DEAL! HOW COULD YOU BE SO IRRESPONSIBLE! THAT WAS INCREDIBLY DANGEROUS!"

"What are you talking about? Nēchan and I do that all the time!"

Tamaki's head jerked back, " All… the time..? "

The poor blond was trembling from head to toe as Jin pedaled back. She climbed off the bike and wheeled it onto the rack one handed while she unhooked her own helmet. Haruhi fastened her helmet onto the right handlebar while her Nēchan chained up the bike. It was painted lime green with a few chips in, but it was still a nice bike.

"Maybe we should've practiced the dismount a couple times before we headed here, Nēchan. I stumbled a bit."

Jin attached her own helmet to the other handle, "Yeah, I was thinking that too. The bike shook something awful when you jumped off. I just figured that since getting on the bike went so well, the dismount would be fine too. Oh well, I suppose that counts as practice."

The girls grinned at each other and Jin threw an arm around Haruhi's shoulder, "Let's head to class."

They walked up the steps, but Kyoya and Tamaki remained immobile. Tamaki was about fifteen seconds away from hyperventilating while Kyoya simply stared off after them. A few seconds later the twins ran up.

"Boss! Did you see that?"

"That was so cool! I didn't know Haruhi had that in her!"

And with that, Tamaki crumbled to his knees rocking back and forth on the cement, " My precious daughter… so dangerous… how could they… "

Kyoya looked down at the blond, "Quit being so overly dramatic, Tamaki. Yes, it was surprising, but clearly those girls have practiced that move before. It's no use crying over it."

"Tama-chan! Why are you crying?" Honey and Mori appeared at the side of the group, having just missed the Fujioka's stunt.

"Honey-senpai! You're not going to believe what Jin and Haruhi just did!"

"Hm?"

Kaoru opened his mouth, but Tamaki jumped up to his feet and interrupted, "I've made a decision! We have to increase Jin's femininity! Only when we do that will we ever make any progress with Haruhi!"

The boys stared at their club's president with dry looks.

"Hey, Boss-"

"-we know you're very sold on the idea of making Haruhi act more girly-"

"-but in case you've forgotten, we know even less about Jin than we do about Haruhi."

"Tama-chan, don't you think you should get to know Jin first before you try to change her?"

The blond boy gripped his chin and started pacing, muttering under his breath, "What if… what if we try to classify her? Yeah! We find out what kind of personality she has, and if the girls notice it we can tell them that we're trying to give Jin a type for the club!"

Kyoya cocked an eyebrow, "Must we all take part in this?"

"Yes! It is a requirement! We're going to need all the manpower we can get! Operation Classify Jin Fujioka is now underway!"

* 3 hours later *

"Can anyone provide the answer to question one?"

The class of 2-A didn't even bother to raise their hands. Instead, they just watched as Jin Fujioka and Kyoya Ootori instantly shot their hands up in the air at the same exact time, leveling less than friendly stares at each other. Their math teacher waited for a few moments before sighing.

"Ms. Fujioka? I saw your hand first."

The brunette nodded with a smile and stood up from her seat, "The answer is X=25. There are no other solutions."

"Correct."

The brunette shot the ravenet behind her an unreadable look before going back to scribbling numbers on her page. Kyoya didn't even need to look to know what she was doing. He'd seen it before. Completing tonight's homework assignment during class time. Ridiculous!

" I believe that is one more point to me. "

Kyoya scowled and hissed back, " It's not a competition. "

Jin merely smiled sweetly, her eyes never leaving her book, " Is that why you keep tabs on my test scores? "

The boy clenched his fingers tightly around his pencil, but chose not to answer. She's winding me up. If I don't pay attention in class she will pass me. Kyoya didn't know what to think of the elder Fujioka anymore. At first, he thought she would be a good asset to have. She was very intelligent, socially skilled, and had a bright future ahead of her.

Now, however, he saw a more sarcastic side of her. One that was a tad bit headstrong and even, on occasion, smug. What was worse was that she was perhaps the kindest person at this school. Perhaps even honestly... Just not to him. Of course, he knew it was partially his own fault for goading her on. For example? Most of the time he only said he was adding onto Haruhi and Jin's debt, just to get back at her for "innocently" asking for his score on a test she did better at.

So much for dealing with this in a mature fashion.

"When dealing with radicals in the denominator-"

" Psst! Jin! "

Kyoya kept his head facing forward, but his eyes flicked down to Tamaki. The blond was crouched low over his desk, leaning so far over to the left he was about to fall off his chair. The brunette he was trying to talk to peeked out at him out of the corner of her eye.

" What? "

" I was just wondering. What's your favorite type of music? "

This time, both Jin and Kyoya physically turned their heads to stare at the other boy.

" ...Can I tell you after class? "

" No. Just tell me. Is it K-pop? "

Jin's mouth fell open for a split second before she shut it again. She quickly turned back to her desk, pulled out another sheet of lined paper and started scribbling frantically on it. Kyoya returned his attention back to the front of the classroom, but found it hard to focus when he could hear Jin's pencil scratching at the paper and Tamaki kicking Jin's shoe underneath her desk, trying to regain her attention.

Ten minutes of that nonsense later, she folded up the paper into halves. Then fourths. Then eights. Sixteenths. And finally thirty-seconds before tossing the paper onto Tamaki's desk. In his surprise, the blond nearly swatted the paper onto the floor. Kyoya tried to keep himself focused on the lesson, but was finding it difficult with his friend squirming in front of him as he quickly unfolded the paper.

Could he just stop already?

Almost like he said the magic word, Tamaki froze. And deflated. He folded the paper back up and stuck it in his jacket pocket as the teacher continued with his lesson. Kyoya was finally able to focus for the final twenty minutes of class time, relieved that their lunch period followed the lesson. He needed to get away from the two in front of him. Unfortunately he knew Tamaki would stick to his side like glue, but at least Jin never ate in the cafeteria.

Ring! Ring! Ring! Ring~!

"Class dismissed."

There was a great shuffling of chairs as the students began chattering away amicably. Kyoya packed away his textbook and notes but remained seated, not wanting to be bothered with the initial rush of students out the door. He had tried perhaps once to get out of the classroom ahead of the crowd only to be jostled from every which way by the mad rush. Now, he was plenty comfortable with waiting out the tide of bodies.

Tamaki, though he liked to be in the throng of things, had decided some time last year that he would accompany his friend in waiting. Jin, however, had no such qualms. She packed away her things, stood up, and skillfully slipped through the crowd of her other classmates. She was usually the third or fourth student out in the hallway, and today was no different.

As soon as she was gone, Tamaki slumped back in his seat until his head was resting on the back of the chair, nearly sliding off altogether. Kyoya cast an unamused glance at the blond.

"What exactly was that?" Tamaki let out a groan and pulled the paper back out of his pocket, holding it up for his friend to take.

Kyoya unfolded the paper as Tamaki explained, "I wanted to know what kind of music Jin liked to help classify her, but she only made me more confused." And Kyoya could see why. The paper Jin had given Tamaki had a very long list of song genres, ranging from Classical to Pop to Jazz to Punk Rock to Acapella to Rock N' Roll. At the very bottom she had scribbled, 'I listen to whatever songs I like. The genre, time period, or artist really doesn't matter to me.' Kyoya rolled his eyes and handed the paper back.

"I'm not exactly sure what you were expecting, but I'll have you know that if those are the types of questions you're going to ask her you'll find out nothing."

Tamaki pushed himself up and whipped around in his seat, staring straight into Kyoya's eyes, "So, you'll help me?"

"I never said that."

"But do you know the right kind of questions to ask?"

"Perhaps, but that doesn't mean-"

"To the lunchroom! We have to start planning our attack!"

Kyoya frowned but allowed himself to be yanked harshly out of his seat and out into the hallway. It wasn't like this was an odd occurrence anyways. Besides, this could prove to be interesting. It always is.

*In Music Room 3*

"Alright men, you're all aware of the question you're supposed to answer, correct?"

"Yes, Sir!" The five boys nodded, Honey and the twins saluting their "king".

"Good! Now, divide and conquer!"

"Yes, Sir!" they responded once again before splitting off in different directions around the music room. No reason to make the girls suspicious the second they arrived at the host club. Tamaki nodded to himself. It's only three classifications. Surely with the six of us we can find the correct one before club activities are over.

Still, he felt a bit nervous. What if Haruhi or Jin found out what they were trying to do and got angry again? Tamaki didn't want Haruhi mad at him and Jin still frightened him a bit. How could she not? She nearly kicked those boy's heads in!

"Hey, guys. Sorry we're late, I forgot my pencil in the library and we had to go back for it." The brunettes of the host club entered through the double doors. Haruhi was looking around the room like she couldn't care less about being there, but Jin was wearing her usual smile as she flicked a wave at the boys she hadn't been in class with all day. The twins were quick to approach the girls and start chatting.

Tamaki flicked his gaze back and forth between the group of four and his table for the day that he was supposed to be preparing. For a strange reason, he felt nervous. Jin was unlike anything they had seen before (except for Haruhi, in a sense) so when they had come up with possible classifications during lunch, they could only come up with three likely candidates.

The serious one, the bookworm... or the Yandere.

Tamaki really hoped it wasn't the last one.

"One minute, everyone. Positions, please." The hosts quickly regrouped at the front of the room. There was no chair set up, so they all stood in their signature poses. From left to right it was Kyoya, Kaoru, Hikaru, Tamaki, Haruhi, Jin, Honey, and Mori.

Just before the doors creaked open to allow the guests in, Tamaki snuck one last glance at his target for the day. Jin was leaning slightly against her sister, her elbow planted on Haruhi's shoulder so she could rest her chin on her palm. She looked calm and collected and just plain ol' pleasant, but Tamaki still couldn't figure her out.

Maybe she could be the mysterious type... but then again Kyoya and Mori cover that area fairly well.

The front doors opened and Tamaki had to redirect his thoughts back to his guests.

"Welcome ladies!"


"Jin, what's your favorite book?"

The brunette pursed her lips as she scooped up the empty tea cup and set it on her tray, really thinking it over. She read so much that asking for her favorite book was like asking which of her fingers she liked best. Deep inside, she felt the oncoming feeling of embarrassment. Only half an hour to go and now they give me the hard questions! Will they think I'm weird if I don't answer right away?

Thank goodness she always had a signature answer for this question in case she wasn't given the proper time to think them all over.

"Well, I've never finished a book I didn't like so it's almost impossible for me to even consider choosing a favorite. But if I really have too… it's probably the Harry Potter series, and don't ask for me to pick a favorite one from that!"

The two girls giggled away at her (severely lame) attempt at a joke and Jin glanced at Kyoya to see if he wanted her to continue with the conversation or go away. But, as usual, he was refusing to look at her, and had been ever since she had appeared at his side. Probably so that he doesn't accidentally snark at me in front of his guests.

She sighed internally. Jin wished that they could be friends. Kyoya seemed like a cool guy, if not for his taxcollector-like attitude when it came to Haruhi's (and now her own) debt, and she'd hoped that some friendly banter would get him to relax a bit around her.

But nooo … instead he had to be a ja-

"Are fiction books your favorite?"

Jin shifted from one foot to the other, knowing that at least one person at this table wanted her gone, "Well, I mostly read fiction books for joy reads, but I also love reading about mythology. Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Norse, you name it, it's all incredibly interesting to me. As for the fiction books, I prefer ones with action and perhaps some humor."

She tilted her head to the side as a random memory resurfaced, "Well, except for one."

The three girls leaned in, eyes shining and completely ignoring the host sitting at their table. Jin regarded Kyoya to see if he was sending out any 'go-away-or-so-help-me' signs, but all he did was pull out his black journal and scribble something out on one of the pages. Oh, fine then. Might as well.

She pinned the tray between her left hip and her left wrist, leaving her right hand free to emphasis her words, "I read it while I was in America. It's called World War Z. Yes, it's about zombies and all that fuss, but it's actually really interesting. I only liked it because it had a different way of looking at the zombie apocalypse. There were more psychological aspects in it and spoke more about the humans than the zombies. It dealt with religion, instincts, society, class, mindsets, and morals and was pretty serious for a fiction book. World War Z is just a very serious and deep way to think about a zombie apocalypse in a very real way. With a dash of humor I suppose."

The girls were positively shivering with interest, and Jin noticed a small frown working its way onto Kyoya's lips. He was finally displaying his inner emotions. Aaaand that's my cue.

"Well ladies, I should probably get back to my work. Maybe you should check out the book for yourselves if you're interested. Kyoya, any other books you think these ladies would enjoy?"

The ravenet lifted his head from his black journal, fake smile back in place, "Of course! I was just reading one myself a few days ago that I found rather interesting..." With the host back on the center stage, Jin flicked away back into the kitchen. Once she was able to slip into the other room, she let out a big sigh and leaned against the door. The emptiness of the room swept over her and her nerves calmed down greatly.

I wonder if they can tell I have a little public speaking anxiety?

Jin thought about it, then started giggling. The giggles became loud laughter as she pushed away from the door and further into the kitchen-like room. Of course they can't tell. I'm so used to pushing it down when in public sometimes even Dad can't see it! Her laughter dies down as she sets the dirty dishes down by the sink. She had already washed the last round of dishes, so Jin decided to wait before filling the sink up again to wash just 3 little cups and saucers.

I should probably put the clean ones away now then send out another round of cake for Honey. Jin nodded once to herself before she started scooping up all the matching Foley tea cups. She skillfully opened one cabinet door with her chin, set everything back where it belonged, and bumped the door shut again with her hip. Hips don't lie.

She giggled slightly at her own mental joke, but stopped quickly when her phone began ringing from in her jacket pocket. A quick glance at the screen told her it was Mrs. Inoue. Eiichi's mother.

'Hedwig's Theme' was abruptly cut off as she answered, "Ello?"

"Hello, Jin?"

"That's me. Is there a problem, Mrs. Inoue?"

"I'm afraid so, Jin. Eiichi's teacher called me at work today because he wasn't feeling well. I think he has a stomach bug."

"Oh no..." Jin let her lower lip push out a bit, "Is he going to be okay?"

"Yes, but I'm going to stay home and take care of him, so I don't need you to babysit tomorrow. Is that going to mess anything up for you?"

Jin smiled understandingly and shook her head, even though she knew Mrs. Inoue couldn't see it, "It's not a problem, Mrs. Inoue. But if you need any help just give me a call. And tell Eiichi I hope he feels better soon, alright?"

"Of course. Thank you, Jin. Have a good day."

"You too."

*Click*

Jin slipped her phone back into her pocket. Huh. Now I have 6 and a half hours of free time tomorrow. Don't we need to go shopping soon? I should ask Haru if she wants to go shopping with me tomorrow after my demonstration.

The brunette poked her head out into the main room again and scanned it for her sister. It was easy, considering Tamaki was currently pulling her into a more remote corner of the room. Jin smirked and shook her head. It was pretty clear that Tamaki felt something for her sister. In all honesty, she couldn't wait to see where that led them.

Still, she remained silent as she slipped over to them, listening closely to their conversation.

"Thank you for agreeing to meet with me, Haruhi!"

" You didn't really give me much choice on the matter, Senpai... "

Tamaki waved the comment off, "Details, details. So, Haruhi, I've been meaning to ask you about Jin. What are her hobbies? What does she like? I've decided to make Jin a 'type', similar to me being the Princely type, and figured you'd be the best candidate to help me discover it." Jin smirked and silently crept even closer until she was standing about a foot behind the boy. Haruhi saw her and cocked an eyebrow.

"Why don't you ask her this yourself?"

Tamaki sighed dramatically and pressed his fingers delicately against his brow, and Jin mirrored the move behind him, " Because , Haruhi, I want to surprise your sister. Technically, she's not an official host, so she wouldn't be expecting us to put a lot of thought into making her a type! Don't you see that by talking to you instead of Jin, she will have no idea of our plan until the grand revelation? But that will never happen if you don't help us... what's with the face?"

Now, Tamaki had been completely unaware of Jin standing directly behind him the entire time, mimicking every flail of his arms and flick of his bangs, but Haruhi hadn't. She was squeezing her lips as tightly together as she could to muffle her laughs. Closing her eyes had only created a very vivid mental image of Tamaki's face once he discovered what was going on, which hadn't helped her case at all, and the scene was nearly enough to bring her to her knees.

At Tamaki's question, however, she couldn't hold it in any longer.

"HAHAHAHAAAAAA!" Haruhi dropped to her knees, clutching at her stomach. Tamaki jumped back in surprise, only to run right into Jin. He whipped around and saw her grinning too, as well as the twins who were laughing behind a pillar.

"Jin! W-what's going on?"

The taller brunette threw an arm around the blond's shoulder, "I was just making Haru laugh, Tamaki. Nothing to worry about."

The boy looked around at everyone still laughing, "What?"

The twins waved him off and Haruhi quickly stood up, a few laughs still slipping through now and then, "It was nothing, Senpai. We -hehehe- should probably get back to our guests now." The girls linked their arms together and walked back to Haruhi's guests, still giggling every few steps. As they walked away, the twins stumbled over.

"Well..."

"I guess she isn't the serious type."

"But... what was she doing?"

The twins shared a look before turning away, "Nothing at all, Boss."

Tamaki stared after them, now with rampant curiosity. Maybe Kyoya will tell me. Still, there's one personality down... and it's not the one I wanted.

"So, Jin? Do you have any hobbies other than reading?" Tamaki froze to the floor before bolting after the girls. They were now seated together on a couch talking to Haruhi's guests. The guests who had just asked the question Tamaki had assigned to himself and Kyoya. He dove behind a pillar just to the left of the group and pressed his ear against the cold marble. Please be the bookworm. Please be the bookworm...

"Well, actually there are a lot of other things I like to do, such as gymnastics, drawing, writing, cycling, biking-"

"Uh, Jin? Aren't biking and cycling the same thing?"

There was a bit of a pause before she responded, "Actually, cycling refers to a bike. Biking refers to motorcycles."

All at once the girls let out matching squeals, "You can ride a motorcycle?!"

"Yeah! I was taught when I went to America. I can drive motorcycles and snowmobiles. It's pretty much the same thing."

The clients began asking question after question about her biking ability. Meanwhile, Tamaki was leaning his back against the pillar, staring off into space with an exceedingly dead look. Motorcycles. Of all the things, why a motorcycle? Tamaki was at war with himself. On one hand, he wanted to jump out and lecture Jin on the dangers of riding a motorcycle, yet at the same time he wanted to keep hidden from her. She wasn't the serious type, nor the bookworm, which left only one option left.

"Do you ever wonder if you're overthinking things, Tamaki?"

The blond didn't even look up from his knees, "Not at all, Kyoya. We've exhausted all other options. Clearly, we are dealing with a Yandere. Now we must plan on how to approach Haruhi. If we don't convince her immediately, she will never believe any accusations in the future. And we have to do so without Jin discovering-"

"That you think I'm a Yandere?"

Tamaki screamed.

Straight up, high pitched, screamed . His hair even stood up on end.

The poor blond boy bolted from his hiding spot and cowered behind Kyoya's legs, peeking out at the tall brunette girl leaning up against the pillar. She was giving him her usual soft smile, but that did nothing for Tamaki's nerves.

"J-J-Jin! I d-didn't know you were th-there!"

Jin rolled her eyes, "Mind telling me exactly what's going on? All day you've been acting weird around me, Tamaki. Did I say something? Was it the bike ride earlier?"

Kyoya responded before Tamaki could, "You frightened him last week after the movie shooting, which is why he's been acting strange around you, but today he was making the attempt to get to know you better so that he could bring out your feminine side, followed by Haruhi."

Jin's smile disappeared in the blink of an eye to be replaced by a heartbroken one. She crouched down low and stared at the other boy.

"Tamaki? Are you really scared of me?"

He twiddled his thumbs together, "Not…extremely. I just feel a slight nervousness whenever you get angry."

The elder Fujioka sat down fully on her feet. When she spoke, it was in the same tone of voice she had used with Haruhi when she had first learned of her debt.

"Tamaki, I want to make this very clear to you right now. I am not a danger to you. This is exactly the reason I don't broadcast my fighting abilities. I hate it when people are afraid of me, even when I would never do anything to hurt them. You're my friend, Tamaki, and I promise I won't go on a rampage anytime soon, alright? Please don't be afraid."

To absolutely no one's surprise, Tamaki was in tears when she finished. He jumped out from behind Kyoya and held Jin in the tightest hug he could manage.

"I'M SO SORRY, JIN! I WAS UNFAIR TO YOU! I PROMISE TO NEVER THINK NEGATIVELY OF YOU EVER AGAIN! WE'LL BE THE BEST OF FRIENDS FROM NOW ON!" Jin, also unsurprisingly, simply laughed and squeezed the boy back, a smile back on her face. Kyoya rolled his eyes and walked away. I should be getting paid for dealing with these idiots every day.

Jin waited until she and Tamaki were alone before whispering, " Well, I'm glad we got that cleared up. And now that we have, I'm going to tell you straight up to stop trying to stereotype me. "

Tamaki withdrew from the hug as if he'd been burned, "What are you talking about?"

Jin scoffed and pushed herself back up onto her feet, "Oh please. 'Making the attempt to get to know me better'? If you'd been trying to do that, you should've come right to me. Instead you went to Haruhi and told her you were trying to give me a 'type'. And you were just freaking out a minute ago because you thought I was a Yandere. You're trying to make me fit in a box." She patted his head lightly, "I know I can't convince you to stop trying, so I'll just leave you with my opinion and a question. Why deal with labels? No one is ever just one thing."

Tamaki remained frozen as she walked away, turning the question over in his head. He was still thinking about it as Kyoya declared the club's closure for the day and all the host's gathered their things to go home.

In fact, it wasn't until everyone was outside and only Tamaki and the girls were left that he spoke again.

"Jin?"

"Yeah?" She asked as she unlocked her bike from the rack.

"I think you might have a point. From now on, I won't label anyone just one thing! I mean, I should know, shouldn't I? After all… I am both kind and beautiful!"

The girls gave each other the same leveled kind of look, "Right. Haru? Are you ready to go home?"

Haruhi snapped her helmet on, nice and tight, "Absolutely, Nēchan."

"Good, I'm just going to warm up, alright?"

"No problem. Take your time."

The girls nodded at each other before Jin took off down the bike racks. She pedaled around in a few circles before swerving to a stop and wound up facing back the way she came. The long haired brunette grinned suddenly and started pedaling fast. She quickly picked up speed, her eyes drilling into Haruhi who was flexing her hands and bouncing on her toes.

Tamaki was looking between each sister in growing concern, "Wait… Haruhi…"

Just then, Jin rushed by the two. Haruhi stuck out her left hand and grabbed onto her sister, jumping up onto the bike in the process. Her feet landed on the pegs perfectly, and Jin hadn't slowed down for even a second. The two girls whooped at the perfect mount and didn't even notice the blond crying out after them.

"Just because I said you had a point doesn't mean you can do something as dangerous as that! Noooo! Jiiiiin! HA-RU-HIIIIII!"

 

Chapter Text

 

Do you remember the first time we played that game? It was so long ago...

...

"Let's all play the which one is Hikaru game!" Soft, excited giggles greeted the twin's announcement. Even some applause was heard. Once the girls quieted down a bit, the redheads leaned forward, giving the girls teasing looks. They made sure to speak in unison for the entire game, not about to let their different voices give them away.

"So..? Can you tell which one of us is Hikaru?"

" That's the dumbest game I've ever heard of. "

Haruhi hadn't meant for the twins to hear her. She had just wanted to hand off her completed essay to Jin for a final editing (seriously, she's like a walking spell check) when she had passed behind the twins playing their game with their guests. Honestly, they aren't that hard to tell apart.

Unfortunately, they did hear her.

"What, have you got a problem with it, Haruhi?" Haruhi smirked. No need to sound so defensive of it.

"No, I'm just confused as to why the two of you are so popular, especially when you mainly just play games like this."

The twins gasped in mock hurt, "That's not very nice, Haruhi! Didn't Jin ever teach you manners?" They slipped over to her and leaned up on her shoulders, finally stopping with the unison talk. They probably gave up on the round.

"I'm disappointed in you."

"Apparently you don't understand the merits of having a pair of twins as members of the host club."

"Listen up," Hikaru held up a finger and started gesturing, acting almost like Tamaki but with less 'spaz', "Having a couple of good looking guys with homosexual tendencies earns the club high points. It also helps if the two guys struggle between their attraction and their friendship."

"And in our case, because we're twins our relationship is taboo. And therefore, more intriguing."

Haruhi rolled her eyes and shook their elbows off, "I didn't ask for a lecture. I need to get to Jin now. Nice talking to you guys." And with that, she spun around only to walk face-first into her sister's torso.

Jin laughed and took the opportunity to wrap her sister in a hug, "Hey! Watch where you're going, Haru!"

The other brunette smiled back as she was released and her hair was ruffled, "I will when you stop being so quiet, Nēchan. I thought you were in the kitchen?"

"I was, but then I came out to see what all the commotion was about."

"Hikaru! Kaoru!"

"Hm?" Jin and Haruhi looked over as Tamaki started shouting about the club's website and something the twins had done on it. And if his shouts, angry expression, and a shimmer of unshed tears in his eyes were any indicator, it wasn't anything good. The girls gave each other significant glances.

This club has a website now?

I guess. What do you think he's shouting about now?

I don't know, but it's probably not important.

Jin shrugged, "Fair enough. So, why were you looking for me?"

"Oh yeah! I finished my essay that's due in class tomorrow, so I wanted you to read it over and see if I made any mistakes!"

Jin accepted the booklet and skimmed the first couple lines, "No problem, Haru. Is this a professional paper or a free write?"

"Professional."

"Okay. I'll have it looked over before dinner."

"Thanks, Nēchan. You're the best."

Jin smirked, "If you say so, Haru."

"Wow, Haru-chan! You look great!" The two sister looked over at the other boys and saw a large crowd of guests staring at the laptop Tamaki had brought over. They exchanged a glance before peering over the girl's shoulders at…

Topless photos of Haruhi!?

The sisters paled and couldn't do anything but stare as the girls flicked through photo after photo. There were even a few with Jin in it, the two siblings clinging to each other similarly to how the twins posed.

" Hey… Haru? "

" Yeah? "

" Do you remember when any of these happened? "

" No… can't say that I do… "

The Fujioka siblings were both so out of it, they didn't even notice Tamaki creeping up behind them with a dress that was creepily already in Haruhi's size. They didn't even react to him whispering huskily into Haruhi's ear. In fact, it wasn't until the girls still holding the laptop started agreeing with the suggestion of Haruhi wearing a dress that she and Jin snapped out of their funk. First item of business? Glare at Tamaki until he went away. Jin left that up to Haruhi. No use scaring him again after I told him to not be afraid of me.

Once the idiot was gone, they both turned their glares to the twins.

"I'm only going to say this once: No more making weird pictures of me and Nēchan, got it?"

"What do you boys take us for anyways?"

"Hm. Isn't it obvious? You're our new toys!"

Jin's jaw dropped before she threw her hands up into the air, "Done. Forget it. I'm out. I need some cake."

"Cake? Can I have some cake too, Jin-chan? We can eat chocolate cake together!"

Jin smirked, "Sure Honey. I just have to go grab some, alright? Meet you at your table in a bit." And with that, she walked away, patting her sister on the head before scurrying off to the kitchen. Haruhi watched her senpai's walking towards their table for a few moments. I keep on forgetting to talk to Honey and Mori-senpai... I need to do that one of these days.

"As we were saying, in order to entertain oneself in this otherwise boring life-"

"-one must find himself stimulating toys."

"WE ARE NOT YOUR TOYS, OKAY!?"

As soon as Haruhi spoke, there was the sound of a door creaking open. It was very similar to the sound you'd hear during a horror film. And the voice that followed was very much like that too.

" You want a toy? " Haruhi and the twins looked over to the wall and saw a cloaked figure peeking out from a black door, " If you like toys you should come visit my black magic club. We've opened a marketplace that sells black magic items from across the globe! If you visit right now, I'll even throw in a free Beelzenef curse doll! "

Haruhi blinked, "Why is he talking to us through a crack in the door? Who is that anyways?" This place just gets weirder and weirder by the minute. And has there always been a door there? I don't remember it being there before...

"To answer your question, Haruhi, that is Nekozawa-senpai, third year student. He likes to hide and doesn't really care for brightly lit places." Kyoya-senpai just knows everything about everyone at this school, doesn't he? I wonder if he's ever done anything malicious with his information before...

"Don't get involved with that guy, Haruhi…"

"Ah!" Haruhi jumped and spun around, far more frightened by Tamaki's strange ability to appear out of nowhere than the guy with the cat puppet.

Tamaki, however, paid no mind, "If you do, you'll end up being cursed!"

"Do you have any proof of that?" In all honesty, Haruhi was getting pretty tired of Tamaki's constant tendency to over-complicate things with his dramatic ways, but he seemed oddly serious this time.

"Yes. It happened during final exams at the end of the last school year!" He shuddered, "It's terrifying just to talk about it. I was walking down the hallway, heading off to my English exam. Greeting the ladies and doing my best to spread happiness wherever I went. When suddenly… I felt myself step on something. On that fateful day, I accidentally stepped on Nekozawa's cursed doll, Beelzenef. Afterward, I took my exam and the entire test was written in some strange lettering! I looked to the others for help and realized I knew none of them! I was all alone in a different dimension!"

Haruhi felt herself growing faint, "Did that really happen to you? H-how did you get back, then?"

"That only happened because you were so scared you accidentally walked into the beginning Greek class and took their exam."

"No! It was a curse!" Tamaki ran up to Kyoya and started shouting more "proof", which the ravenet shot down just a quickly as Haruhi calmed down. I should've known better than to actually believe Tamaki's story.

" You shouldn't underestimate the dark powers of Beelzenef. All you have to do is write the name of someone you hate on his back, then that person is certain to come face to face with... misfortune. " Haruhi rolled her eyes and started walking back to her table of guests. Everyone at this school is ridiculous. But at the sound of Hikaru talking again, she paused.

"Wow, this guy really is dark, in more ways that one."

"Supposedly he hates bright lights. I wonder what he'll think of this…" Kaoru held up a flashlight and Haruhi felt a sick sort of feeling in her stomach.

"Guys… wait."

They shined the bright light directly into Nekozawa's face, which would've hurt anyone's eyes regardless, and the robed student let out a loud scream before running away, " YOU MURDERERS! " Haruhi stared at the twins with an open mouth. They knew that he doesn't like those… why did they do that?! What did he do to them?! Tamaki started chewing the redheads out, but seemed more concerned with saving his own skin from being "cursed" than the twins accidentally hurting someone else.

Suddenly, another door in the room burst open. The kitchen, "What happened? Is anyone hurt? Who screamed?"

Haruhi quickly made her way over to Jin, "It's okay, Nēchan. Just some guy who came in. The twins shined a flashlight at him and he ran away."

Her sister tilted her head, "A flashlight?"

"Yeah, I know. Weird, huh? I just can't believe they would do something like that even though they knew he wouldn't like it."

"But…" Jin looked over her sister's head and narrowed her eyes, "What's Tamaki doing in the corner this time?"

"I don't know. Maybe-"

"Hey, Haruhi. Jin. We've got a favor to ask of you." The girls rolled their eyes and faced the twins again.

"Oh yeah? What is it?"

"The next time we get a day off-"

"-can we come over to your place to hang out?"

The sisters shared a confused glance.

"Uh… why would you want to do that? There's nothing really special about our place…"

"We're curious about where you live! We've never seen a commoner's home before."

"No way." Haruhi quickly turned to the side.

"Aww, pretty please?"

Jin answered this time, "Not happening."

"No matter how much we beg you?"

"Never."

The twins paused for a moment in their pestering, probably from the surprise of the girls responding in unison much like themselves. The silence gave Tamaki an opportunity to speak up himself. A soft breeze flowed through the room as Tamaki stood from the corner, "I too, have been thinking that-"

"No way in hell, Senpai."

The girls were about to walk away when the twins appeared at their sides, green caps now in place. "Hey, why don't we settle this with a game? If you can't pick out which one of us is Hikaru, then you have to let us come over to your house later tonight. No arguments."

Jin shrugged, "If you want."

"Doesn't matter, I guess."

The twins quickly spun themselves around, thoroughly mixing themselves up.

"Okay, so which one of us is Hikaru?"

The girls shared a look, "Haru, you point to Kaoru, and I'll point to Hikaru?"

"Absolutely."

The girls pointed at their target and answered in perfect unison again, "Kaoru is on the left, Hikaru is on the right."

"Uh oh! Looks like you got it wrong!"

For a moment, Haruhi and Jin said nothing, then they smiled, "Uh, no, we didn't. I know we're right."

"You guys may look alike, but you're actually very different."

Now, it was the twin's turn to gasp. They peeked at each other as if trying to not-so-subtly find the difference Haruhi was talking about. A few girls started to gather around, staring at the Fujioka's in awe.

"That was incredible, Jin!"

"Haruhi, how can you two tell them apart? It's almost impossible to do that with their hair covered up!" Every eye was on Haruhi, including Jin's. Despite the fact that she could tell the boys apart too, it was clear who the more popular Fujioka was. Jin didn't seem to mind whatsoever though. She just watched her sister with a small smile playing across her face.

"Hm, how to put it… I guess the big different, at least to me, is that Hikaru's speech and actions make him seem more mischievous that Kaoru. If you notice, Hikaru takes more risks than his twin."

"Wow, I never thought about it like that before!"

"Jin-senpai? Is it the same way with you?"

The taller girl's smile curled into more of a smirk as everyone looked at her, "In a sense, but also in a completely different way altogether." The other girls whispered among themselves. Jin was acting very mysterious all of the sudden, and it was highly intriguing. But Kaoru's laughter from behind them caught their attention before they could ask what she was talking about.

"I'm sorry, Hikaru, I don't mean to laugh, but...*snicker* you gotta admit it's a little funny!"

"Well, I don't see what's so funny. I'm honest and I speak my mind! It's sneaky people like you who are the troublemakers, Kaoru!"

Kaoru's laugh was cut short. His face fell flat, voice low and dangerous as he spoke again, refusing to face his brother as he rebuked him. Hikaru matched Kaoru's expression with his response. The smiles and laughter of the crowd surrounding them fell lower at every word, the true gravity of the situation showing itself as Kaoru's face slowly morphed into a more sinister appearance.

"Face it, Hikaru, if I didn't go along with your games you'd make an ass of yourself in front of everyone in a heartbeat. I'm probably the only thing that's kept you away from public humiliation or jail time. And I couldn't help but notice... even though it was your idea to call Haruhi our toy, you were really quick to make a pass at her. You're actually in love with Haruhi... aren't you?"

Finally, one of the twins showed some emotion. Hikaru gasped and looked at his brother in apparent horror. Haruhi glanced up at her sister, wondering if she'd heard Kaoru right, but Jin was staring intently at the twins, her eyes going very clear. Knowing what would happen if she broke her concentration now, Haruhi decided to go back to watching the twins.

"You've got it all wrong, Kaoru! Man, you're such a freaking idiot! I mean, come one, she looks like a tanuki!"

At the insult, Jin muttered under her breath, " Take it back, you moron. Haru's the cutest shit you'll ever see in your life. " Haruhi was incredibly thankful that everyone else was so enraptured with the escalating fight that they didn't hear Jin's swears, but that didn't mean she didn't laugh. Still, since it had been whispered Haruhi knew that Jin was still deep in thought, speaking in Haruhi's defense only on reflex.

But what is she so focused on?

Out of nowhere, the floor started to rumble.

"How wonderful! It's so perfect! Our beloved Haruhi is in the middle of a beautiful yet painful four sided romantic relationship while he struggles to maintain as close to his sister as he can! And to make it even more exciting, two of Haruhi's admirers are twins, torn apart by love! Just the thought of it could make me eat three bowls of rice!"

Tamaki walked over to the crying girl, "But, Renge, I thought you had feelings for Haruhi as well?"

"Oh, I do! But I have no problem with Haruhi having a homosexual relationship on the side or struggling with a taboo relationship with Jin."

Haruhi also slipped over to try and cut off the conversation, leaving Jin where she was, "Wait, I thought you had decided to go back home to France, Renge? What changed?" And how can we change it back?

"CUT IT OUT, ALREADY! YOU'RE THE ONE WHO'S ALWAYS CRAWLING INTO MY BED! TALK ABOUT ANNOYING!"

"I ONLY DO THAT BECAUSE YOU LOOK LONELY! I WOULDN'T CHOOSE TO SLEEP IN YOUR BED, YOU IDIOT!"

"WHO ARE YOU CALLING AN IDIOT? YOU'RE THE ONE WHO SUCKS AT MATH!"

"OH YEAH? WELL YOU'RE FAILING YOUR FOREIGN LANGUAGE CLASS YOU BIG DUMMY!"

Haruhi quickly walked back to her sister, "Jin? Jin, shouldn't we do something? They're really getting into it…"

Jin, however remained frozen. She squinted her eyes really hard at the twins, watching their movements and listening to their insults closely. This doesn't make any sense… why would Kaoru… and now the guests… wait a moment... Her eyes widened exponentially just as the twins roughly shoved at each other's chests at the same time, falling away from each other.

"THAT'S IT! WE'RE OVER!"

The entire room gasped, save for the tall brunette girl standing just behind Haruhi.

They're faking it… but why? Should I stop it?

A quick scan of the other faces in the room showed that no one else appeared to have noticed the bluff. Haruhi turned around as the twins stormed out of the room in opposite directions, prompting everyone else to start discussing the newest piece of Ouran gossip. Jin quickly fixed her face into a look of surprise.

"Nēchan, should you step in?"

Jin looked away again, thinking about it, "Do you know what? Let's let this play out. Hopefully they'll make up by themselves in the end, but perhaps we should say something if it grows out of hand. One fight over something like this shouldn't become too serious, I would think." Besides, waiting this out will give me time to work out why they're doing this in the first place.

Haruhi nodded, accepting her sister's logic, "Guess all we can do now is wait, huh?"

"Yeah… I guess so."


The next morning, Jin and Haruhi walked into Ouran in silence. The quiet had been going on for long enough that Haruhi was starting to grow concerned. Ever since we came to Ouran, Jin has been forced to think deeply about a lot of things. First it was my debt, then Renge, and now the twins fighting. Even their dad had noticed her unusual behavior, considering she almost forgot to go over Haruhi's paper until after dinner the night before.

Haruhi sighed. I really shouldn't be jealous, especially since they're fighting, but I wish Jin would focus more on me now that she's back.

"Hey, Haru?"

As if Jin had heard her thoughts, Haruhi looked up and saw her older sister smiling down at her, "Want me to walk with you to your classroom? We got here early enough. I could even give you a piggy-back ride, if you want."

The shorter sister nodded, "Yeah, that would be nice, Nēchan." She moved behind her sister and jumped onto her back. Jin hefted her up and a few seconds later, they were moving again. Haruhi leaned her head against her sister's shoulder and watched the people they passed by. They attracted some strange glances, but Haruhi couldn't find the motivation to care. She was tired.

This must be what Honey feels like all the time. I can't remember the last time I got a piggy-back ride from Nēchan. Must've been… awhile ago. I can't... quite remember. Her eyes drifted shut as Jin's vanilla scented shampoo lulled her into a relaxed mood. Why'd we ever stop doing this? A lock of hair brushed against Haruhi's cheek and she realized something.

"Nēchan, did you condition your hair this morning?"

"Yes."

"Awesome."

Haruhi turned her head so that her cheek was pressed fully against her sister's hair. So soft...

...

"Haru? Wake up, this is your classroom."

Haruhi forced her eyes open and slid down off of her sister's back, rubbing at her eyes as her contacts started bugging her. All the girls around them were cooing softly at the cute scene.

"Thanks, Nēchan. I'll see you at lunch, alright?"

Jin straightened her back just a smidgen, and Haruhi noticed, "Yeah. See you then, Haru." With one last kiss pressed to her forehead, Haruhi walked inside. Why did she stiffen when I mentioned lunch? As she sat down, the answer came to her.

Oh… damn.

Just outside of Haruhi's classroom, Jin smacked her own forehead. Stupid, stupid, stupid. Come on, Jin, get it together! You haven't even been at this school for over a month and you already forgot-

A brief flash of hot pink appeared in her vision, cutting off her thoughts. When it appeared again, Jin's jaw dropped. Hikaru?

Yup, it was Hikaru Hitachiin, with vibrant pink hair styled in a way that it stuck straight up. As he drew closer, Jin stepped to the side of the doorway and gave the twin a smile and a wave of hello, hoping her shocked surprise didn't show too much. But if Hikaru thought it was strange for Jin to be there when her classroom was quite a ways away, he didn't show it. Instead, he returned the smile and the wave before disappearing into Class 1-A's classroom as well.

Jin stared off after him as he went over to talk to her sister. All around her, other students were chatting about Hikaru's new hairdo as well.

"Was that Hikaru? Or Kaoru?"

"Is this because of the fight?"

"Look, down the hall! Is that Kaoru!?"

Jin turned and saw that, yes, it was indeed Kaoru walking down the hallway. And his hair was dyed a light blue. She blinked rapidly before smiling in greeting and flicking him a wave, just like with his twin.

The younger twin smiled as well, his gloomy expression diminishing, "Good morning, Jin-senpai! Did you walk Haruhi to class today?"

"Yeah…"

Hikaru's voice suddenly sounded from the open doorway, "Because pink suits me! Don't you think it's cute?"

Kaoru's smile dropped and he continued walking towards his class, "Excuse me, Jin-senpai. I have to get to class now. It was nice talking to you." Jin stared off after him as well. Huh. I guess it's no secret who the friendlier twin is…

"Jin-chan~"

"Huh?"

Jin turned around just as Honey wrapped her up in a hug, "I didn't expect to see you here! Let me guess, you walked Haru-chan to class today, didn't you!"

It took her a moment to respond to the hug, but she did with a grin, "I never could fool you, could I, Honey-senpai?" She looked up at his tall companion, "Good morning, Mori-senpai!"

"Morning."

"Hey, did you see Hika-chan and Kao-chan's hair this morning? We saw them when they got out of their limos!"

"Limos? As in, plural?"

Honey slipped to the floor and walked over to Class 1-A's doorway, looking in, "Yeah, they came to school in different cars today. Kao-chan looked so sad…" He looked back at Jin, "Did they say anything to-"

A hand reached over and pulled Usa-chan right out of Honey's arms. The small boy was so surprised at first that he didn't even react. Of course, that didn't last long.

"Usa-chan!" Honey ran into the room, closely followed by Jin and Mori, and for a second the two taller students just stared at the carnage the twins were creating. They were throwing chairs, school bags, vases… anything within reach. And Usa-chan was now in the mix.

Honey spotted his precious bunny quickly and ran after it. He caught the stuffed pet before it could hit the ground, but just then Hikaru grabbed the back of his uniform and tossed him at his brother. The blond didn't seem to be very bothered by it, contently holding his Usa-chan.

Jin grabbed Mori's arm and shook him, "Lift me up, quick!" The black haired boy grabbed her hips and hoisted her high up in the air with the help of her jumping a bit at the start. With their timing and holding Jin up at the correct height, Honey was thrown straight into her awaiting arms, not a scratch on him. Mori, seeing that Honey's momentum was about to knock the three of them over, quickly let go of Jin, twisting her body as he did so so that she fell bridal style into his arms before he set her down on her feet.

She and Honey stumbled for three seconds before regaining their bearings, but Honey was quick to hug both of them after his dizzy spell wore off, "Thanks Takashi! Thanks Jin-chan."

The girl huffed a laugh, "No problem. But we should probably head to our own classes." She gave her sister a fleeting look, "I wish we could take Haruhi with us…"

Honey started pushing at the back of Jin's legs, "She'll be alright. Come on, you'll see her at lunch time and you don't want to be late to class, right?"

At the word 'lunch', Jin remembered what she had been worrying about before the hair-dying incident.

"Oh, yeah. Let's go, then."

*Noontime recess in the refectory*

"Haru? Are you sure you want to do this?"

"Come on, I saw them both heading down to the refectory. You said you were going to step in if it got too bad, so we might as well."

Jin didn't argue the point any further, but followed her sister down the hallway and through the doors. The school's lunch room was just as big and grand as every other room in the school. The two girls, having never been in this portion of the school before, thought the same thing. These damn rich people.

"Haruhi, there they are, by the school lunch line."

They looked over and saw both a pink haired and a blue haired boy standing side by side, trying to order their lunch from the two cafeteria workers waiting.

"I'll have the A lunch." The room fell silent as the twins stiffened. "No, give me the B pasta and the D salad! I'll take the F Cappellini with the Barbary duck! Hold on, make that a foie-gras poêlé sauce!" As their unison shouts increased in volume, everyone around them slowly pulled away.

Finally, the two boys faced each other and snarled in each other's faces, "Stop copying me! Why don't you just leave me alone?!" A good couple meters behind them, the Fujioka siblings watched the fight.

"Amazing. Perfect unison even when fighting…"

Jin rested her chin on her fist, staring hard at the twins again, "Yeah. They're so close it's probably second nature to them to order the same thing by now. They sure do think a lot alike…"

Just then Haruhi noticed the rest of the club walking into the cafeteria. She docked Jin's hip with her own before jerking her head towards the rest of the host club. They walked over to the other members as everyone else in the room started gushing over how the entire host club was in the same room.

But one comment really caught Haruhi's attention.

"I've never seen them all together like this!"

Do they really not hang out outside of the host club? I thought that they were all pretty close with each other, considering they've all seen each other half-naked and stuff for some of their cosplays. But if they don't hang out with each other outside of the host club… then who do they spend their free time with?

"We've had enough of this!"

Honey marched straight over to the twins and Haruhi tugged at her sister's sleeve, "Nēchan, do you think he'll be alright?"

"Yeah, Honey-senpai can look after himself…"

"Jin, where is your lunch?"

"Hm?" The remaining hosts turn to look at Kyoya, who was staring at Jin (or, as near as they could figure, the glare on his glasses made it a little hard to tell) with a small frown. It took Jin a moment to realize he was waiting for her response.

"Oh, I forgot to make one last night."

It was true. While Haruhi was holding onto a small boxed lunch, Jin had nothing in her hand but her school bag.

"And what were you planning on doing with yourself during this lunch period, then?"

Jin hefted up her bag, "I was going to work on some projects on my laptop. It's what I normally do if I forget a lunch. I don't exactly have any extra money for a lunch from this place, now do I?" She ended her explanation with a smile, but Kyoya was looking at her oddly, like he didn't quite believe her.

Actually, Jin was very confused. It was rare for Kyoya to initiate any sort of conversation with her that wasn't a snippy comment or a reminder about the debt she shared with Haruhi. The other hosts seemed to share her confusion.

"I'll buy you a lunch."

The others have a sort of collective jaw drop (Mori had already left to grab Honey away from the twins) so he readjusted his glasses and explained, "You've brought in 23 new customers after being at this school for two and a half weeks. Think of it as a way to say thank you. Just be less careless about your health from now on, Jin. We don't need you passing out while carrying our expensive tea sets."

Without another word, he walks away, leaving Jin no other option but to follow. She and Haruhi shared a look before Tamaki jumped over to Haruhi's side like an excited puppy. Jin smirked and walked up to the ordering counter. Ever since the twins had been there, none of the other students had worked up the courage to come back and order, so there was no line at all.

Kyoya waited for Jin to join him at the counter before placing his order first, "The A lunch, please."

"And I'll take the C lunch."

"Wait," Kyoya holds a hand up before the (still shaky) cafeteria worker could calculate the total cost and turned to face Jin, "Money's no object."

"Hm?"

"You just attempted to order the cheapest item on the menu. There is no need, I assure you. I can pay for whatever you want."

The brunette cocked an eyebrow and motioned to the worker to ring it up, "I know, I just happen to like what comes with the C lunch. Don't forget, you're the host that keeps adding extra money to our debt for every little thing and you haven't exactly been very nice to me ever since I came to Ouran. If the A lunch had food I liked, I would've ordered it without a second thought. Now please, I think you should pay before the other students deem it safe enough to order their own meals."

Kyoya stares for a moment before smirking and handing over his credit card to the shaking cafeteria worker, "You are an interesting woman, Jin Fujioka."

"And you are just as strange, Kyoya Ootori."

"I DON'T CARE IF MY BOXED LUNCH IS IN AN EMBARRASSING HEART SHAPE! I WILL EAT IT!"

Jin eyed the blond for a moment before deciding to sneak past him with her new lunch. From behind her, Kyoya was making a comment about Tamaki's fantasies being 'completely incoherent'. Jin felt her lips twitch. That comment was actually pretty funny. Maybe we can be friends.

She spotted her sister and Hikaru sitting down at a fairly empty table and made a beeline for them. In truth, all she wanted to do during this lunch period was eat this yummy food and think over the reason for the twin's fake fight. Again, she wondered why she hadn't told Haruhi about the fight being fake… but then the memory of Haruhi's acting skills popped up and she knew she made the proper decision. Still, it was difficult hiding the truth from her sister.

As it was, Hikaru had just traded lunches with Haruhi. Jin stopped and watched as Haruhi took a small bite of the food. And, just like last time, her face changed in an instant as the rich flavors hit her mouth. Jin grinned as Haruhi's eyes sparkled. Some things never change.

Ignoring Tamaki crying behind her, Jin continued to walk towards her cute-as-all-get-out sister. She was perhaps ten steps away when Kaoru appeared from the other side of the table and took the seat she was planning on.

Uh oh.

Thankfully, Jin was smart enough to notice the impending explosion and backed away. Welp, Haru and I are going to need a new place to sit once the twins start fighting. She scanned the room for any familiar faces, and she saw Kyoya, Honey-senpai, and Mori-senpai sitting down at a nearby table, close enough to keep an eye on the twins but far enough to not be an accidental victim of their fight.

Jin followed them over and set her lunch down beside Honey, who looked up at her in surprise. In fact, they all did.

"Jin-chan, why aren't you sitting with Haru-chan?

"Wait for it." The four of them watched as Kaoru attempted to feed Haruhi a bite of his own lunch, only to have it eaten by his brother. Slowly, with a blank face, Kaoru reached down to his tray and grabbed a dish.

Splat!

The twins start another throwing match, Tamaki now the one caught in the middle.

Honey jumped out of his chair, "Don't worry, Jin-chan, I'll go get Haru-chan!" Jin shook her head as he was sucked up into the items being thrown again. Seriously, he was almost too small. Mori was quick to grab him and land safely on the floor. Unfortunately, Tamaki wasn't so lucky. With a deep sigh, Jin calmly walked over to the fight. Haruhi saw her sister approaching and stood up from her seat, grabbing her lunch as she went. They passed by each other and exchanged a high five. Tag in.

Jin stood on Kaoru's side of the fight and watched as Tamaki was grabbed by Hikaru and thrown for all he was worth. She planted one foot behind her and held up her hands. The blond was caught by the front of his jacket and quickly dragged away from the fight.

"Tamaki? Can you stand up by yourself?" Jin grunted as she continued to drag him across the floor towards the other table, "You're not light, dude."

If Tamaki heard anything she just said, he didn't show it. Jin growled and gave him one final pull before she was bumping into her chair. Honey was now seated in Mori's lap, trembling slightly, so Jin hooked her arms underneath the taller blond's armpits and heaved him up onto the now empty chair beside her.

Haruhi took a bite out of her boxed lunch, "Is he going to be like this all day?"

Jin sat down with a huff, "Probably not. I mean, this is Tamaki we're talking about. Now," she took a small bite of her potatoes, "Does anyone have any napkins they're willing to share?" The others passed their napkins over to Jin, who started wiping Tamaki's face clean in between bites of her lunch.

"Nēchan, does this count as too far yet?"

Jin glanced at the twins, who had grown tired and had now retreated to separate corners of the dining hall, "No, not yet. Trust me, when they go too far, we'll know."


Tamaki sighed and collapsed his upper half onto the table. It was now after school hours. Due to the current… situation with two of the hosts, they had put up a sign to let the guests know that they wouldn't be opening today, but everyone had still met up in the music room. It was quiet. Jin stared out the window with her head in her arms, sucking on a cherry jolly rancher while Haruhi ran her fingers through her sister's soft hair. Hey, she conditioned it. It felt like silk. And running her fingers through it calmed Haruhi down.

"According to the numbers, if this situation isn't resolved I'm afraid we'll have to stop offering our 'Brotherly Love' package. We're down one pair of loving brothers." Jin huffed a short laugh. No shit, Sherlock.

"Unless, of course, we happen to find a pair of loving siblings to fill in for the brothers until this conflict is resolved…"

"No way, Kyoya. Besides, it probably wouldn't give us the same results."

The ravenet frowned and punched in the next number a little harder, "Oh, Haruhi. I just want you to know that there's no reason for you to feel responsible or anything. Even though it was your tactless comment that started this whole feud between the twins in the first place. Right?"

Haruhi sweatdropped and looked away. Well, clearly he thinks I'm to blame for this whole mess. Maybe I am.

Jin pushed herself up into a sitting position and pulled Haruhi close, stroking her short hair and glaring at Kyoya, "No… It's not your fault, Haru. Your comment wasn't mean or anything, the boys just blew it out of proportion. Right, boys? "

Kyoya was the only person who didn't mumble a half-agreement, deciding to keep a level glare at the long haired brunette.

"It's weird for Hika-chan and Kao-chan to be fighting like this. It's never happened before."

The sisters looked over at Honey, who was sadly playing with his bunny, "They've never fought before? Ever?"

A small, bittersweet smile pulled at the small blond's lips, "I've known Hika-chan and Kao-chan since they were in Preschool. We weren't in the same year so I never got to talk to them, but I remember that the two of them always played together, but not with anyone else."

"Yeah, that's true. I mean, I've only known the twins for about a year but... it seemed like they kept everyone at a distance except each other. When you stop and think about it, maybe this fight is a good thing for them. Maybe it means that the twins are expanding their horizons a bit! We should just let them work it out themselves." Haruhi looked up at her sister, who didn't seem to agree.

She poked at Jin hands which were still wrapped around her, "Hey, who knows what will happen, right? Maybe it is a turn for the better."

Jin shakes her head and looks out the window again at the sunset, "Maybe… but maybe, since they've never fought before, it means they won't know how to make up. We've fought before, Haru, but we also know how to make up from a fight. The twins… they don't even know when to call it quits."

The room grew quiet once again, but it was a more frosty kind of quiet.

Boom!

The doors slammed open and the twins of the hour walked in, shouting at each other so loudly that the others couldn't even tell what they were saying. The surprise of their entrance caused Tamaki to fall out of his chair, which was then used to start yet another throwing match.

And in less than 10 minutes, the twins had thrown enough objects at each other to create a huge mountain of crap, both broken and magically undamaged, in the center of the music room. Honey had, once again, been a victim of the twin's fight and was now bouncing by himself at the very top of the pile.

Tamaki was the first one to speak as the twins ran out of steam, "Don't you guys think that it's time to stop with all of this fighting? It's driving me insane. "

"What'd you say? It's driving you- gah, you've got to be kidding me, how do you think I feel? I can't even look in the mirror without seeing his face! I'm sick and tired of constantly being mistaken for you, Kaoru! The truth is I hate your guts!" Jin pressed her fingers to her mouth, more than a little shocked at all the anger in his words. They are faking it… right?

"You took the words right out of my mouth. In fact I hate you so much that I bought a Beelzenef curse doll!" Tamaki screeched and withdrew to the far corner of the room, watching in horror as Kaoru pulled out a black pen from his jacket pocket, "I'm going to complete the curse, Hikaru! I'm going to write your name on his back! From this day forward you're going to experience nothing but misfortune and sorrow!"

Haruhi and Jin whipped their heads to look at each other before rushing forward. Haruhi punched Hikaru in the head while Jin mirrored the move on Kaoru, simultaneously yanking the wooden cat out of his hand.

"Knock it off, already!" The two spoke in unison, making their angry voices seem that much more powerful.

Jin held the curse doll in front of her, "Are you two being serious right now? You never bring something like this into a fight, let alone over something as petty as this! There's never any reason to do something that will hurt another for the rest of their life!"

"Both of you are at fault here, but what's worse is that you've dragged everyone around you down into it too!"

And, one last time, they screamed together, "Now, apologize!"

The twins remained seated on the floor, gaping at the two girls. Haruhi took another step forward, "Do it! Or else we're never letting you two come over to our place, have I made myself clear?!"

As soon as Haruhi spoke, Jin felt all the puzzle pieces click into place. The twins started to smile. Oh no… Haruhi… what have you done?

"Hm…" the twins stood up, identical smiles back in place, "So, what you're saying, Haruhi, is that if we make up we can come over to your place?"

The twins slipped up next to each other and peered down at the small brunette girl between them. Jin looked down at the curse doll in her hands and rolled it over to read the back. She then lifted it up to show the rest of the boys.

'Blank'.

Haruhi let out a scream.

As the twins wrapped themselves around each other, wailing about how sorry they were and how difficult the day had been, even following their "script", Jin looked down at the doll in her hands. She regarded it for a few seconds before tossing it into a nearby trash can, despite the cat thing looking faintly familiar. But for the life of her she just couldn't place it...

"YOU'VE GOT TO BE KIDDING! YOU MEAN YOU GUYS WERE FAKING IT THIS WHOLE TIME?!"

"Duh. What else was there to do?"

"We were bored!"

Haruhi and Tamaki were on their hands and knees, but Jin simply crossed her arms and scowled at the twins, "You two are b-loody ri-dic-u-lous . All that so you could come over to our home? You realize we're still not letting you come over, right? God, you're both idiots if you think that solved anything."

They all look at her, "Why don't you sound surprised?"

"Are you kidding? The fighting was too random for it to be real. Kaoru, you should've been upset at not being called the more mischievous twin. Isn't mischievousness kind of your thing? Sounded to me like Haru was saying Hikaru was better at being a Hitachiin twin then Kaoru was. It was nothing to laugh at. I didn't say anything because I wanted to know why you'd even do that. Only to find out it was because you were bored . Dear lord, you're all lunatics!"

The twins stared at her in surprise, "You know… you never told us outright, Jin-senpai."

"How did you tell us apart yesterday?"

"Well, I can tell you apart the way Haruhi tells you apart," Jin smirks, looks at the others before saying, "But I'm not sure if any of the others want to hear the easier way."

Honey bounced over and grabbed onto her leg, "There's an easier way?"

"Yeah."

"Well then, tell us."

"Are you sure that you really want to know? It'll make all of you feel stupid."

"Come on, Nēchan. There's no use in drawing it out. Just tell them."

"Fine." Jin pointed at the twins, "It's your hair that gives it away."

The twins frown, "We're being serious here, Jin."

"When we're wearing the hats they cover up the way we part our hair-"

"But your bangs still point in opposite directions."

All of the boys in the room thought it over for a few seconds before they started trailing out of the room to go home. Even Kyoya was staring at the floor in disbelief. It wasn't until it was only the Fujioka's left in the room that they started laughing.

"How is it that everyone else in this school misses that?"

*The Next Day*

Jin leaned up against a pillar, watching the hosts go about their usual business. It seemed that after one day being closed, their clients were just that much more desperate to talk to the boys. The room was full of girls, especially for the twins. It was them she was watching at the moment, and they were really working the whole making up thing. They even played the "Which one of us is Hikaru" game, which was, of course, stupidly easy with their hair still dyed.

Or, at least it would be.

Haruhi walked over to Jin and nudged her side, "Hey, has anyone else figured it out?"

"What do you think? They don't have a clue." They watched as a girl was declared a winner of the game, "Want to go have some fun?"

Haruhi smirked, "Absolutely."

They started walking towards the twins, where a girl was asking, "So are you two going to keep your wild hair color even though you made up? It's much easier to tell the two of you apart now!"

"Ha, no it isn't."

"Hm?" The twins turned their heads to look at the sisters, who turned around with matching teasing smiles.

"Today the pink one is Kaoru, and the blue one is Hikaru."

"You guys switched colors for the day, huh?"

The girls hummed before linking arms and walking away.

The twins reached out and gripped each other's hands as they watched the two head to the other side of the room. Hikaru glanced to the side at Kaoru before turning his gaze back to the girls.

...

Do you realize what's happened, Hikaru? Until now, there were only two groups of people. Us, and everyone else. But for the first time… others have crossed into our world.

Chapter Text

Just because they can tell us apart, it doesn't mean we're changing. It means they're different. We don't change. There's no need.

...

"Wait. Wai-wai-wai-wai- wait. Are you telling me that we cosplay?"

"Yeah."

"That's awesome!"

Tamaki looked up from adjusting his toga, "You like cosplay?"

"Of course!" Jin pulled her own cosplay out of the box, "It's like Halloween, just on different days! So, who am I?"

Kyoya pulled his black journal out from a hidden pocket in his own costume, "Let's see… you are Demeter today." Jin quickly gathered up the rest of her cosplay into her arms and bounded off to the changing rooms, remaining on the balls of her feet until she was all but prancing.

Haruhi smirked and pulled her own cosplay out of its box, "Greek Gods and Goddesses? You've just made her year. And who am I?"

"Athena."

Instantly, the boys froze.

"Athena!? You're dressing Haruhi up like a girl? Are you crazy? You'll blow her cover!"

Kyoya rolled his eyes and continued to scribble in his journal, "Haruhi won't be the only one. There is a pair of twins in Greek Mythology, and one of them is a girl, so Kaoru will be dressed up as Artemis while Hikaru is Apollo. Additionally, do you not recall how Tamaki asked Haruhi to wear a dress in front of the other clients? They will simply assume that we dressed him up as a girl to play on that. And since Athena rarely appears in anything but battle armor, everything will be hidden easily from the guests."

Haruhi shrugged and walked to the changing rooms in the back, "Works for me."

Just as she pushed the curtain aside, her sister jumped out, "This is amazing! I absolutely love this! Can we do this all the time?" As she continued with the praise, Jin spun around in circles making her green toga fan out around her legs. Her brown hair was accented with golden strands that caught the light as it cascaded down to her shoulders. Tendrils of golden "wheat stalks" were wound around her wrists and above her hips, dotted with the occasional green rose. Her black heels had been switched out for golden color sandal heels that gave her another inch and she even had a pair of wheat earrings.

"Nēchan… you look great!"

"Awww… thanks Haru! Go on and get dressed! I can't wait to see what yours looks like!" Jin walked over to where Honey was tugging at his helmet while Haruhi pulled the curtain shut behind her.

"Honey-senpai? You look like you're having some trouble."

Honey looked up at the brunette with tears developing in his eyes, "Jin-chan… my helmet won't stay on right!"

"Oh no! Here, let me see if I can fix it." She knelt down to where the clasp was situated by his left ear and started fiddling with it. The chin strap was hanging way too loose around Honey's chin, but for some reason it wouldn't tighten.

"Wait a minute… oh! I see what the problem is!" Jin nimbly pulled a tiny feather from where it had gotten stuck within the clasp, "It was this little thing! Must've come from one of the wings. Okay, try to tighten it now."

Honey pulled at the strap and it tighten easily, "Thank you, Jin-chan! You're the best!" He gave her one quick hug before running off towards Mori to compare his cadeaus to Mori's hammer.

Jin tilted her head, "How come the Hermes and the Hephaestus costumes come with props but the Demeter one doesn't?"

Kyoya answered from directly behind her, "Actually, it does, but I decided against ordering it. As you'll be carrying around a tray for today's activities, holding a basket of plastic fruits would most likely have not gone over well." The brunette stuck her bottom lip out, but in truth she did see the reasoning behind it. Probably good planning on Kyoya's part.

"Fine, that makes sense. And what about you? Where's your trident?"

"It's over by my table." Jin peered over her shoulder and saw it. Immediately, she sniffed in distaste.

" That thing is supposed to be Poseidon's trident?" At the jab, Kyoya looked his prop over again. It was a very grand looking item, shining in the sunlight coming in through the windows. It wasn't crafted of actual gold, obviously, but it sure looked the part. The prongs on the outside were shorter than the center prong, which was shaped more like an arrow than the other two, and looked wickedly sharp (though they would realistically have a problem with cutting paper). And the final pieces were the rings of sapphire implanted at both the base and below the prongs. There didn't appear to be anything wrong with it...

"Yes, it is. Is there a problem?"

"Well… it's certainly pretty, but not very historically accurate. I mean, in the myths, the trident was described very plainly. Normal iron would've worked just as well." Jin adjusted the fake wheat around her wrists as she continued, "The trident isn't supposed to sparkle , it should look like it radiates power. Something that reflects everything the ocean can be. Cold and unyielding, yet it can be used as a way to provide food or safe passage through dangerous waters."

All at once, Jin flushed a light pink and locked her fingers together, "Sorry. I'm just really into mythology."

Kyoya blinked, "I take it you're very passionate about it, too."

The brunette laughed lightly, "Yeah…"

She peered up at the ravenet with a sheepish smile for a moment before a blond tackled her in the side. The two ended up sprawled out on the ground, Tamaki's arms wrapped tightly around Jin's shoulders.

"Jin! This is perfect!"

"Uh, do you know what would be even more perfect? If you got off of me."

Tamaki jumped up and started pacing back and forth by her feet, "Don't you see? If we're going to channel our characters perfectly, we have to know them with historical accuracy! And Jin, if you have such extensive knowledge, then who else should we turn to for advice! Additionally, during your rounds you can share you mythology knowledge with the guests, your brilliant mind on display for everyone!"

Jin was now propped up on her elbows, "Just when I thought you couldn't be any more flamboyant."

"You have no idea." Kyoya watched as Tamaki continued with his tirade, something about more female friends for the Fujioka girls before looking down at the brunette on the floor, "Are you going to lay there all day?"

Jin flashed him a soft glare and pushed herself into a sitting position, planting her feet flat against the floor. With a huff and a small smirk, Kyoya offered her a hand. No use being rude.

However, it seemed as though Jin had her own plans. She brushed his hand away before pushing herself off the floor, leading with her hips, and rolling her upper body up into a standing position. More than one notable crack could be heard as she did so.

"Wow, haven't done that it a while." The brunette stretched her arms over her head as she rolled her neck, her joints crinkling in protest.

"That's… an abnormal amount of-"

"Joint popping? I know. Part hereditary, part overuse of my limbs." Jin shot a smile at the boy again, "Don't freak out, Ootori, I'm perfectly fine. No reason to rush me off to one of your family's hospitals just yet."

"Well, that's a relief. If that happened we'd have to add a rather large amount of yen to your debt. My family's hospitals aren't exactly cheap, you know."

Jin's smile disappeared, "Perhaps you should've cosplayed as Hades. You sure fit the profile. Black hair, is the reason people fear the dark, god of the underworld and wealth, and he kidnapped Persephone, Demeter's daughter, to be his bride. It would definitely explain why I can't stand you."

And with that final snap, Jin spun around and marched off towards Haruhi.

"Kyoya, you alright?"

The ravenet shrugged, "She said nothing of importance. There would be no reason for me to be upset."

Tamaki tilted his head, "You know what, Kyoya? I have a feeling that if you two would stop trying to find flaws in each other, you would get along just fine."

"Tamaki, finding a flaw in Jin Fujioka is incredibly easy, and no doubt it's just as simple for her to find something that I'm not perfect at, so that's not the issue between us. Unfortunately, Jin and I simply do not work very well with people of equal intelligence."

" And sarcasm. "

"What was that, Tamaki?"

"Nothing. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go gain some insight on my character." The blond walked after the brunette, who was now straightening out Haruhi's armor (she'd accidentally criss-crossed the straps on the sides), leaving his friend alone with his historically inaccurate trident.


"My my, what do we have here?" The three girls who had just sat down at their host's table looked up in anticipation. And, as usual, Tamaki didn't disappoint. He reached out to the girl on his right and gently tipped her head back, "A goddess in disguise? Perhaps… the lovely Aphrodite?"

The brunette flushed a very deep red and looked away, "Oh… you're too much!" Despite the denying, the girl looked very pleased. The other two giggled, but trailed off when they noticed a very pretty "goddess" approaching them.

"Hi, Jin! Oh! I mean… Demeter!" The three girls regressed into another fit of giggles. Calling the hosts by the name of their God/Goddess was all a part of the fun today, pretending that actual deities were flirting with them. The hosts just played along, and it worked out very well.

The girl in green smiled broadly at the tables occupants and scooped up the empty teapot, quickly replacing it with a full one, "What's this I'm hearing about Aphrodite? Is it you?" She rounded the table and observed the girl keen interest for a few moments.

"Zeus, I must say your hypothesis may be correct. She certainly is beautiful enough. But then again, all three of them are." She let out a playful sigh, "I suppose we'll just have to wait for her to reveal herself. She's always changing her appearance, that one."

Jin went to walk away, but paused for a moment to pinch Tamaki's cheek, "And you … be on the lookout for Hera. If she saw you here with all these dazzling creatures," she paused to send a conspiring wink at the guests, "she would be quite displeased."

The guests were half curled-in on themselves, their hands trying halfheartedly to cover their blushes. Tamaki nodded approvingly at Jin before she actually left. He felt a swell of pride in his chest. They grow up so fast.

"Ah, Ji-erm… Demeter?"

Jin spun around when a guest tapped on her shoulder, "Yes, Princess?"

The blonde scuffed her shoe on the ground, "I was wondering… are you taking clients today? I heard that you know a lot about mythology, and I was wondering if we could talk about that for a while."

The brunette grinned widely, "But of course. Please wait at the empty table in the corner between the twins and Athena. I have to deposit this in the kitchen and alert Poseidon of my shift." She pouted and leaned in close, " Just because he's the ruler of all water he thinks he can rule all of Japan, too. " Another sneaky wink, " I had to remind him that land is my domain. "

The guest giggled for a bit and walked away. A few other guests noticed the interaction and started to debate with themselves whether they'd sit with 'Demeter' as well. Despite the obvious fact that Haruhi's sister was… well… a girl, it was just as fun to sit and talk and be low-key flirted with by the pretty second year student.

By the time Jin sat down with her guest, ten other girls had scheduled appointments with her in the next half-hour.

"So, what would you like to talk about?"

"I just have one really big question. How did you all choose your God or Goddess? Was there any big thought that went into it?"

Jin sat back in her seat, "Well, to be honest with you, we didn't exactly sit down and discuss everything in detail. Poseidon over there is the real mastermind behind everyone's specific cosplay, but assuming that he didn't just select the costumes at random, I have to guess that he first pulled out every God that would be easily recognizable.

"Let's start with Tamaki. Clearly, Zeus. Without a question. King of the Gods, king of the Host Club. Besides, Zeus's domain is the sky, kind of the overseer of everything and doles out the punishments, which is what Tamaki does as well. And besides, Zeus's main plot point in all the great myths is that he repeatedly went down to Earth and fell in love with beautiful mortal women.

"Next is Kyoya, himself. Second in command, for both him and Poseidon. And, if you think about it, Kyoya shares a lot of personality similarities with the ocean. They're both mysterious, can look friendly and daunting at the same time, and they're both definitely cool .

"The twins's cosplay was a toss up between Apollo and his sister Artemis, and Hypnos and Thanatos. So... either the gods of the sun and the moon, or the gods of sleep and death. I think you can figure out how that went down. Anyways, there is a bit more to it than that. See, if they had just been playing as any other brother and sister, twin or not, the lack of a homosexual relationship might've damaged the amount of clients they'd receive today. But since the Goddess Artemis swore off ever getting married... well, let's take a look."

The two girls looked around at the table nearest them, where the twins were talking to their guests. Hikaru, who was all decked out in bright golden robes and other accents, slowly reached over to touch Kaoru's thigh. But his "sister" smacked his hand away. The following smugness-vs-pouty lip contest left the guests in a serious conversation about "mixed signals" and how they could help poor "Apollo".

"It's an interesting take on it, for sure."

"Demeter, what about Honey-senpai? Shouldn't he be Cupid?"

Jin gestured to her guest with her palm up, "And that there is exactly why he isn't. See, the Greeks shared their mythology with the Romans. During that transaction, the gods were tweaked in such a way that they upheld more Roman-type views. Additionally, they changed names. Cupid is the Roman name for Eros, the Greek God of Love. There would be too much confusion for the guests, so Kyoya picked Hermes. Besides, he probably wanted to stick with the Big Twelve."

"The Big Twelve?"

"Yes, the twelve Gods and Goddesses that have thrones on Olympus. Seven boys, five girls. There's Zeus, Poseidon, Ares, Hermes, Apollo, Hephaestus, Dionysus, Hera, Artemis, Athena, Aphrodite, and Demeter. The most popular Gods and Goddesses of the myths. Except, of course, for Hades, but that's another story. Anyways, with Honey-senpai, it's actually very interesting how similar he is to Hermes, especially in the myth about Hermes birth. He was born, a son of Zeus by the way, and only a few short hours later he crawled out of his crib, left the cave where he had been born in, stole some cattle that were sacred to Apollo, and cooked them. He also created two musical instruments... all within 24 hours of his birth! If you think about it, Honey-senpai does look very young to be so talented." The hostess and the guests simultaneously glanced at the blond boy on the other side of the room before looking back at each other and laughing.

"Okay, and what about Mori-senpai?"

"Big, strong, very direct moral sense, especially when it comes to faithfulness, how could he not be Hephaestus? Just... not in the physical sense. Then again, both are very strong. Um... not in the physical appearance way? And with Haru, it's no contest. Incredibly intelligent, incredibly beautiful, and a very beloved Goddess who thinks instead of fighting her way out. Haru and Athena are an easy match."

"Well... what about you, Demeter? "

Jin smirked, "Probably because we both have brown hair."

" AAAHHH! "

The girls jumped in their seats and Jin scrambled over to where the twins were situated for the day. Kaoru was shouting in his chair, his head thrown back in obvious pain and his right leg stretched straight out.

"Kaoru! KAORU! WHAT'S WRONG?!" Hikaru was trying to hold onto his brother, in near hysterics as Jin finally reached them. The guests they had been attending to were standing a little ways off, crying in fear as more people arrived.

Jin grabbed Hikaru's arm to force him to look at her, "What happened!?"

"I don't know! He was just stretching and suddenly he's like this!" Jin blinked once before looking down to stare at Kaoru's right leg, which was still stretched out in front of him. She pursed her lip and took a step to her right, gently moving Hikaru away. Kaoru was huffing in an attempt to stop screaming, but when Jin pressed her toes against his right foot and bent it backwards he shouted again, clenching hard at his arm rests. Hikaru panicked.

"Jin! What are you doing!?" Hikaru rushed forward, pushing her away so their feet disconnected, "You're hurting him!"

"No! Wait..." Hikaru turned back to see his twin straightening up. A clear sign of relief on his face. "The pain... it's gone! "

Gently, Hikaru knelt down by his twin's side, "Kaoru... what was that? You had me so scared..."

"It was a cramp." A few of the girls gasped as Jin sat up from the floor, rubbing at her left arm. Her green robe was very wrinkled and her hair was mused up as she slowly stood, "An involuntary contraction of the muscles. Probably in your calf, right? You were stretching it too much, making it strain and lock in place. I bent your foot back to stop the muscles from stretching."

"Wow. Thank you, Jin-senpai-"

But Jin was already walking away. Her face was downcast and she was still rubbing at her left arm.

"Uh... Jin?"

Tamaki tried to grab her shoulder, but she just brushed him off, continuing until she disappeared into the kitchen.

The guests were still whispering among themselves as Kyoya situated himself in the center of the commotion, "Ladies, I'm afraid that we'll have to cut our hosting hours short. Please come visit us tomorrow." The girls quickly filtered out of the room, whispering concerns to each other until the doors boomed shut behind them. Instantly, Haruhi was in Hikaru's face.

"What was that all about? Jin was just helping! Why'd you go and push her?"

Hikaru glared and turned away, "It's not my fault! She should've told me what she was doing to Kaoru so I wouldn't be worried! She bent his foot back, he screamed, and I pushed her away. I don't see what's wrong with it, I didn't mean for her to end up on the floor!"

"Hika-chan, just tell Jin you're sorry for hurting her."

"No! Not until she apologizes for trying to act like a hero! If it was just a stupid cramp then why act so secretive about how to fix it? Why not just say, 'Hey, Kaoru has a muscle cramp, so I'm going to fix it.'?"

Tamaki sighed and rubbed at his forehead, "Please, Hikaru, we don't need another fight between two hosts after last week... I'm still trying to heal from that fiasco."

" HA~ hahahaha! Ahahahaha! " The remaining hosts in the room watched as Renge's generator powered up, pushing her pedestal into their music room.

Hikaru spoke first, "Well, Otaku? I assume you have some sort of valuable input on this matter that the rest of us can't wait to hear."

The French girl pouted, "You're still a meanie, Hikaru! I just came to say that this is going to be a completely different kind of fight than what Tamaki was talking about. While the fight between the twins was proved to be faked, this one is going to be the real deal! No script, no excessive throwing of objects, no fangirl moments, just a good old fashioned brawl between two separate parties! Each of them feels wronged by the other and each wants an apology first! And what makes this story even more interesting is that the fight is including our very own waitress! Finally she gets some action around here! Her potential romantic interests are all over the map, with no clear indication of who likes who and how much, and there is just so little of her actual personality that has been discovered! This might be our chance to really dig deep into Jin's dark character!"

Haruhi was the only one who actively ignored Renge's ridiculous speech. Potential romantic interests. Pfft, please. As Renge continued to try and rally the other boys to her "cause", Haruhi had slipped away to the kitchen. Jin was still there, her hair back to normal and her cosplay replaced by her Ouran uniform. She was washing the pile of silverware that had accumulated during hosting hours, staring straight into the water, but Haruhi was 100% positive that Jin's mind was anywhere but here.

She clanked over to her sister, mentally cursing at her costume. Stupid, stupid metal cosplay. Once she made it over, Haruhi lay her head on Jin's shoulder. She could feel her onēchan stiffen beneath her cheek, but Jin didn't pull away. They stood like that for a moment, just breathing in sync as the bubbles popped beneath Jin's hands.

" Nēchan? " Haruhi's voice came out in a whisper as she nuzzled her cheek against Jin's shoulder.

" Mmm? "

" I think we should go home. "

" Yeah. I think so, too. "

Haruhi collected her sister's cosplay (that was folded neatly on one of the tables in the kitchen) before venturing back out into the main room. The others hosts had all dispersed, and the twins were already gone. The others were all out of their cosplay, so Haruhi had the changing room to herself again. In less than 10 minutes, she was all changed, the cosplays were put away, and she met up with Jin at the doors with their school bags.

"Let's go home, Nēchan."

"Yeah."

As they walked out into the hallway, Haruhi had a very unsettling thought. If the host club keeps breaking out into fights like this, how long are they expecting it to last?

*The Next Day*

"Hey, did you hear? Hikaru Hitachiin and Jin Fujioka are fighting! "

"Woah, really? What happened?"

" I heard that it was Kaoru's fault!"

"No, it happened during the host club! Jin hurt Kaoru. I saw it!"

"Something about a cramp, I thought."

"Do you think that the host club will be closed today?"

" Ohh... I hope they make up fast! "

It seems like every single person in the school is talking about the fight! Haruhi couldn't take three steps without hearing another student's opinion about it. Some were even questioning whether it was because the twins had a crush on Jin! Still, despite how absurd some of the rumors were, Haruhi was doing her best to keep them out of Jin's ears. She was acting like everything was fine, but Haruhi could tell that she was still somewhat upset about yesterday's events. She could see it in her eyes. It's hard work when you can see someone's soul.

Okay, sure, some people doubt that it's possible to know a person that well, but Haruhi and Jin could read each other like a book. It had been this way almost since the day Haruhi had been born. Sure, it cut the time down during arguments and other types of conversation, but it was a little heartbreaking knowing all the times your sister was sad. It was almost impossible for the two of them to hide anything from each other; even surprise birthday parties were a bust if the other knew about it!

"Hey, Haruhi!"

"Mm?" Haruhi looked up as a boy walked up to her. He was in her class but, for the life of her, she could not remember his name.

"I was wondering if you could set the record straight. What happened between Hitachiin and your sister? I heard it was messy."

Haruhi frowned and started walking again, "It really isn't any of your business. What's going on between Hikaru and-"

"So it is Hikaru! Someone was talking about Kaoru!"

"Well, glad to clarify for you. Good day."

"Wait, Fujioka-"

"Good day ."

The short haired brunette stalked away, seething internally. It's none of their business! Why do they need to gossip anyways?

She came to a stop outside of the classroom for Class 2-A and peeked inside. The room was empty save for three people. Three guesses who.

"Jin, come on, let's head to the music room now. School is over for today."

"I'm well aware of that, Tamaki. But Haru and I walk to the host club together every day. On Wednesdays she and I meet here instead of at one of the libraries. You two don't have to wait for me, you know." Jin was sitting tightly in her chair as Tamaki attempted to move her along. And Kyoya, surprisingly, was calmly waiting for the two of them.

Haruhi sighed internally before entering the room herself, "Nēchan?"

At her sister's voice, Jin stood up and started walking out of the room, causing Tamaki to fall over her chair and face-plant the floor, "Hey, Haru. About time you got here. I was worried that any longer and Tamaki would've carried me to the club himself."

"It's because of what happened yesterday! I thought you were going to try to avoid the club to stay away from Hikaru!"

Jin calmly pressed her hand onto the top of Tamaki's head, "Hey... slow down there, Assumption Man. I'm not avoiding Hikaru. He had a very valid point yesterday. I should've warned both him and Kaoru that what I was about to do was going to hurt a bit. If something like that had happened to Haru I probably would've done the same thing."

"You wouldn't have shoved anyone to the ground, Nēchan."

Jin switched her school bag from her right hand to her left so she could swing an arm around her sister's shoulders, "And you know that how? I can be very strong when I want to be, Haru. Especially when it involves you. Really, I don't blame Hikaru at all."

The two sisters stared at each other for about ten seconds before Haruhi looked away in a huff. Jin just hummed, "So, we're in agreement then."

"Wait, what?"

"Oh, Haru just thought that, even though I've forgiven Hikaru he should still apologize. I agree with that wholeheartedly, but I'm also not going to try to force an apology out of him either. Haru, on the other hand, wanted to see if she could talk to him about giving an apology. I shot it down. She agreed, though not happily." Jin scratched at the back of her head, "Sorry, sometimes I forget that Haru and I do that."

Tamaki's jaw dropped as the group made it to the club room. Jin and Haruhi pushed through and separated, Haruhi taking both of their school bags over to the far corner while her sister dashed off to the kitchen to start preparing everyone's tables.

"Kyoya? Did we just witness mind-reading?"

"Don't be such an idiot."


Hikaru was going insane.

"So, Hikaru! I heard that you and Jin aren't fighting anymore, I'm so happy!"

"I'm glad that you guys are friends again! I love it when a guy apologizes, it's so manly!"

He did his best impression of a sheepish smile, "Thanks lad-"

"He didn't apologize." The girls jumped as Renge stuck her face in between their heads. And there in lies the reason for Hikaru's approaching headache. Renge must've been expecting some month-long wrestling match with the way she's behaving.

See, as soon as Hikaru and Kaoru had entered the music room that day, Jin had been quick to apologize for how things went down yesterday. Hikaru had been impressed with how quickly he had received the apology and how fast she seemed to forget about his accidental over-surge of strength. She hadn't even asked for an apology in return.

And he thought that would've been the end of it. The girls would spread out the rumor that the fight was over and everyone would forget about it by the weekend. But no... Renge was not satisfied. She still thought that Hikaru should apologize as well, even though it was none of her business. And now, she was telling every client that came in how the fight actually ended, even though some would say it hadn't even begun in the first place.

"Jin apologized, but Hikaru did not. I don't understand why Jin is behaving so calmly! It's almost like she doesn't want an apology!"

The girls were listening with rapt attention as Renge went on and on about Hikaru's lack of an apology while Kaoru stared his twin down. Hikaru didn't understand it. The only person in the room who should be upset about not getting an apology is also the only one who isn't asking for one. Even Kaoru suggested doing it just to calm everyone down! What is going on?

And the truth was that the guilt was eating him alive.

But why didn't she ask for an apology? I mean, she didn't even want one despite being pushed to the floor? Does she understand I didn't mean for that to happen? Or does she think it was completely in my rights? I mean, it... kind of was, but still. And Haruhi hasn't talked to me much today. Does Jin have any bruises? Ah, what am I thinking about this for?

" Hikaru? Hikaru!"

"Ah, what?" The older twin jolted in his seat to see a certain Fujioka standing beside his table.

"I asked if you were done with your tea cup."

Hikaru looked down to see an empty cup in his grip. When did I pick this up?

"Oh, yes. Thanks, Jin."

The brunette smiled and nodded before taking the cup and going to walk away. He looked back towards the table he was sharing with his brother, trying his best to avoid how his guests were now whispering with each other. Renge was long gone, probably standing outside the club doors handing out flyers that read 'Hikaru Hitachiin is a horrible human being'.

"So, ladies. Would you like some more tea?"

"Okay."

The girls were very quiet as Kaoru filled their cups, but Hikaru was still grateful that they didn't just up and leave after Renge's interruption. No use making him feel any worse. I'm not wrong though. I thought she was hurting Kaoru, so I pushed her away. She ended up on the floor, but I didn't mean for that to happen. So... I am sorry that I pushed her onto the floor but- Hikaru squeezed his eyes shut, Oh man... But I wasn't wrong! So... damn it. What now?

"Hey, Hikaru?"

"Mm?"

Kaoru was watching him still, but his gaze had softened just a tad from earlier, "Maybe you should apologize. Jin just went into the kitchen. You can talk to her by yourself in there."

"But I wasn't wrong. I thought she was hurting you."

"And you don't have to apologize for that. Just for what you're sorry for. I'm sure that would make her feel a lot better." Kaoru smiled, "Don't you think she deserves at least that?"

It took him a few seconds, but Hikaru did stand up, "I'll be right back."

He was well aware that all eyes were on him as he snaked his way across the room. By the time he reached the kitchen, that was an odd vibe in the air. They know what I'm going to do. He screwed up his courage and pushed the door open. At least the girls think that a guy apologizing is manly, or whatever.

"Hey, Jin?"

"Hm? Oh, hi, Hikaru! Is there something you need?"

"Um, no. Just... can I talk to you for a second?" Jin slowed in the middle of opening one of the cake cupboards. She gave him an extended glance to the side before carrying on.

"Sure."

The redhead nodded and slipped fully into the room. He had no idea how to start, so instead he started looking around. He'd never really been in the kitchen for extended periods of time. More often than not he'd run in, grab some more tea, and head back out. Now, however, he actually looked. The tea sets were far more organized than they'd ever been. The dishes weren't piled high for the night maids to take care of. And Jin was currently slicing up two cakes so they'd be ready by the time the next guests came through. She had truly systematized the room, which was pretty impressive.

Jin was plating the pieces of chocolate cake, calmly waiting for him to say something instead of pushing for an answer. For this, Hikaru was thankful, though he shouldn't be surprised. After all, he was an older sibling, too.

That's the thought that caused him to open his mouth, "So, I know you said that I don't need to apologize."

"Yeah. I know."

"And... I know that everyone else in the world would disagree with you."

Jin sighed and straightened up, "Hikaru, just because-"

"Wait, let me finish. I'm not doing this because of everyone else. Or, at least that not the main reason. I wanted to say... I'm sorry for pushing you onto the floor. From one older sibling to another. You helped Kaoru... and I should've been more grateful." Hikaru waited. Was that enough of an apology? And why is my chest pounding so hard? This wasn't exactly a common occurrence for the twin.

Jin slowly smiled and walked over to him, "Thank you. It means a lot to me that you still apologized. I know that it can be hard to do that." She crossed her arms across her chest, "And just so you know, I did have a reason to not ask you for an apology. It's because I didn't want to make you feel forced to give me one. If you were going to apologize, I wanted you to mean it."

Hikaru thought about that for a moment, before he shook his head is disbelief, "So, in other words, you played me?" At that, the two started to laugh. Not super hard, but enough to release the serious tension that had been hovering over their heads.

"Eh... I wouldn't use the word played. More like... shaped." She patted the top of his head lightly, "You're a cool kid, Hikaru. I think we'll get along just fine. Now, get back to work."

The first year playfully batted her hand away with another laugh, "Fine. See you later." And Hikaru turned to leave, a very important thought struck him.

When was the last time I ever even considered apologizing to anyone? He gave Jin a glance over his shoulder. What is it about Haruhi and Jin that makes us... act like everyone else? And if this is how we're acting now... what are they going to change us into in the future?

 

Chapter Text

 

The Ouran High School Host Club is now open for business…

...or, at least it will be in 15 minutes.

At the moment, the hosts were milling around the room, making last minute adjustments to their cosplays or just talking to each other. But then again, it's never exactly the host club unless someone is pulling a rise out of another.

"Hey, Jin?"

"Why do you have a coloring book in your bag?"

Jin jolted a bit in her chair before scrambling to her feet. She rushed over to the twins who were carefully scrutinizing a children's coloring book. There was a cartoon lion on the front cover that looked partially colored in with scribbled lines, and about half of the drawings inside looked very similar. A few pages here and there looked to have been torn out.

The redheads got perhaps a full minute to really look it over before she pulled it out of their hands, "H-hey! What are you doing in my bag anyways?"

"We weren't in your bag! It fell over and the book fell out!"

"Uh huh, yeah, and how'd it fall over in the first place?"

"Fair point."

Jin rolled her eyes and stuck the coloring book back in, "I have this coloring book because I'm going to be babysitting from the moment I get off our train. One of our neighbors owns their own café, and on the rare occasion that they can't have either one of them leave to stay with their son after he gets home from school, they call me. Today I'm babysitting for about three to four hours."

The twins shared a glance, "Babysitting…"

"You mean… like a nanny?"

"Um… sort of. Babysitting is like being a temporary nanny."

Haruhi walked over, a confused look all over her face, "Do you guys really not know what a babysitter is?"

"Haru? Different lives, remember?"

The shorter brunette shrugged, "Alright. I just thought it was weird."

"You're weird."

"Hey!"

Jin laughed at the disgruntled look on her sister's face, "Oh, Haru, you're so cute!"

"Shut up, Nēchan."

"10 minutes, everyone!"

The four students began drifting back to the center of the room as Jin explained, "There are a lot of younger kids that live near us, and I've been the oldest kid around for about five or six years, so whenever one of our neighbors needs a babysitter, they call me and see if I can step in. They usually pay me for it or owe me a favor themselves, but it honestly doesn't feel like a job to me at all. I'm good with kids."

Haruhi smirked as she messed with her cosplay's headpiece, "And you have me to thank, you know."

"Yeah, I know, Haru. If I can take care of you for ten years I can handle anything ."

"Nēchan?"

"Almost anything."

The girls giggled and lightly shoved each other. The twins just shared a glance and slipped into their beginning spot. Commoners are the weird ones.

Jin wrapped her right arm around Haruhi's shoulder and planted her free hand on her hip. Her fingers brushed at the tiny sliver of skin that showed above her slightly see-through pants and she squirmed. At least my entire belly doesn't show. That would be embarrassing.

No, she liked her cosplay today. It's title had frightened her just a tad, but it had proved to be more modest than it claimed.

She was, in the loosest term, a "belly dancer". The outfit was a dark kind of pink color, and it sparkled every time her body shifted even a centimeter. There were hints of golden accents around her hips and shoulders, meant to draw people's eyes to the bare skin of her waist and collar bone. And the piece de resistance: A pink fez that was pinned to her hair. She was very… pink. With the exception of the green rose corsage on her right wrist.

Chunk!

The eight hosts snapped to attention at the sound of the doorknob being twisted. Do we already have a guest? I didn't think we were open yet...

Nevertheless, as soon as the door opened, the hosts were all smiles, "Welcome to the Ouran Host Club." But instead of greeting a crowd of giggling girls...

"Oh, it's just a kid."

"Not only that, it's just a boy."

Jin and Haruhi shared a glance.

What's a boy doing here at the host club?

Is he lost?

Could be. But… why is he sitting on the floor?

No clue.

"What's wrong, little boy? Did you come to my palace in search of something?"

The kids eyes locked in on Tamaki and he stood up, "Uh… are you… the king of this place?"

Jin pressed her free hand against her cheek, " Oh... no~ "

Tamaki didn't respond at first, so the kid asked again.

"Come closer, lost one. What was it you just called me?" The elementary student came to a stop just a few steps away from where they were grouped. He was eyeing Tamaki a little oddly, but he still answered.

"The King?"

"Ahh! The King! Yes, I am the King of the Ouran Host Club! Long live the Host King!"

Jin rolled her eyes and looked at the kid, "Hello! Welcome to the Ouran Host Club. What's your name?"

"I'm an elementary 5th year. Shiro Takaoji!" The kid squared his shoulders and pointed dramatically at the blond, "I want the host club king to take me on as an apprentice!"

Seven heads tilted in confusion while Tamaki lightly touched his rosy cheeks. It took them all a moment to process exactly what had just been said.

"Oh yes! I will take you on as an apprentice, Shiro! I would love to have you around and teach you everything I know!"

"Tamaki? Would you mind terribly getting back into position? We open soon. And besides, we are not prepared to have another host included into today's activities. Perhaps Shiro can begin his apprenticeship tomorrow?" The girls snuck a glance at the vice president before looking back at each other.

Why is he always so calm about everything that goes on?

He's probably used to it, hanging around Tamaki so much.

It took a few more seconds of coaxing and bickering, but the hosts managed to convince Tamaki to dismiss Shiro for the day and be back in position by the time the first guests of the day walked in.

The next day, Shiro showed up right as school got out, apparently eager to begin his training. And it took all of twenty-nine minutes for the kid to become a complete menace.

Haruhi watched from a short distance as Shiro leaned even further forward towards Tamaki and the girl's face, whom were unnervingly close as well. It almost looked like how a third-wheel feels on a date. The other two are being all romantic, while the third person wants attention but feels like the romance is in his face. Don't ask why Haruhi knew what that felt like.

"Don't you think it's weird he's making Shiro observe him up close like that?"

"Tamaki seems to live his life by the theory that people are more beautiful the closer they are viewed. He appears to be focusing on that particular lesson with his new apprentice."

Haruhi frowned and turned around to look for her sister. Jin was flitting around the tables, chit chatting with the girls and giving the boys a short break to regroup their thoughts. Haruhi smiled. While she was still positive that if Jin had never met the hosts her life would've had a more definite feeling of control, it was nice knowing that her favorite person was only a word away.

Wow, that was cheesy even for me.

"You look more like the carp that swim in my pond at home. I'd never give such false compliments like that!"

Jin and Haruhi whipped their heads around. Oh… my...

The poor girl was sobbing hysterically in her seat while Tamaki tried (in idiotic vain) to salvage the situation. Of course, that ended up with her fleeing the room calling him an idiot. Which, to be honest, was completely true.

"Wow, that was rough."

Jin slipped up to Haruhi's side and passed over her empty tray, "I know. But what was he supposed to say to her in that type of situation? Here, can you take this tray and clear off the tea sets from the empty table by Tamaki? I have a girl to calm down."

"No problem, Nēchan. I'll call for you if it gets any worse."

"I have no doubt that it will."

And with that, Jin ran after the crying girl. Haruhi watched her exit through the doors before sneaking closer to the gradually growing "battlefield". It was, to put it bluntly, a verbal train wreck.

Haruhi scooped up the cups as, one after the other, the other hosts accumulated around Tamaki's table, throwing Shiro through a loop. First, it was the twins and their usual twincest. Then Honey and his appearance not matching his age. And finally Mori coming to Honey's rescue.

They're all morons.

Unfortunately, if Haruhi thought she was going to be able to get away without a few problems herself, she had another thing coming. Shiro backed into her as she attempted to carry the tea set away.

Once the glassware was steady again, she glanced down at the boy, "You okay? Don't worry if the guys are acting really strange right now, you'll get used to it. I'm new around here too, and so is my onēchan. It took us a while to grow used to the weirdos around here."

The kid was staring at her.

"Is something wrong?"

"Are you a crossdresser?"

Haruhi blinked; her mind a blank sheet of paper. She couldn't think of a single thing to say in response. Thankfully, Tamaki came to her rescue.

Wow, never thought I'd ever say that.

The blond quickly covered Shiro's eyes, "Okay! That's enough! I think Shiro should take care of the tea set for you, Haruhi."

The twins were quick to pick up on their "king's" plan and started patting her head, commenting on how 'manly' she looked today. As the three boys continued to laugh nervously, Haruhi rolled her eyes and moved her head away from the twin's hands. The doors to the host club opened behind them and she turned around to see her sister walking back into the room. Jin nodded in Haruhi's direction. Damage control: Complete.

The brunette turned back around, "Actually, Shiro, if you don't mind I'd like to go talk to my onēchan for a moment, so could you take the tray?" The 5th year didn't say a word. He just frowned up at them all and held out his hands. Geez, this kid is acting just downright unpleasant. How long are we going to have him hanging around, again?

"Alright," she passed the tray over and waited for Shiro to get a good grip on the handles, "Be careful now, it's pretty heavy." She pulled her hands away and Shiro kept the tray perfectly steady.

Then he dropped it.

The high schoolers gasped as glass shards scattered across the floor, sugar and the last couple dregs of tea erupting into a big mess. Haruhi didn't dare move lest she stepped on some and made more pieces to pick up later.

"It's not my fault I dropped it. It's your fault because you're the one who made me take it in the first place."

"... Say what? "

"Haruhi, that's another 100,000 yen."

" HUH!? " It was only when Haruhi spun around that she saw Jin again. Her sister had clearly been on her way over to the group as soon as the tray fell, but now she was frozen in place about halfway across the room. Her jaw was clenched as were her fists, and her eyes sparkled with an icy tinge to them.

And then Shiro spotted her.

"Hey! You should make the girl do all your stupid chores, she's not doing anything else! I'm not here to carry tea sets I'm here to learn how to make women happEEEEEE!"

That last little bit came out in a high-pitched squeak as Jin had appeared behind the little brat and hoisted him up into the air. The other hosts watched in astonishment as the 2nd year marched to the wall with her right hand clenched around the back of the boy's uniform. She stopped in front of a pretty painting depicting the cherry blossoms on a windy day. It was very lovely and one of Jin's favorite things about the music room, but today she didn't bother to admire the colors. Instead she plucked the frame off of it's hook and replaced it with Shiro. The boy was screaming and kicking frantically at the wall, but he couldn't find enough purchase to push himself up and off of the hook.

Jin didn't seem even remotely bothered by the shouts and complaints coming from elementary student. She casually leaned the painting against the wall for the time being and made her way back to the others, who recalled that the only other time Jin had looked this angry was when Renge had arrived a couple weeks ago.

The long haired brunette stopped directly in front of Kyoya, "The broken tea set was not Haru's fault. Make Shiro pay for it. Or Tamaki. I don't care, but making Haru and I pay for something that wasn't our fault is not fair."

Now, usually Kyoya would've wanted to argue how billing a elementary student wouldn't be as easy as it sounded, but there was something dangerous about Jin's voice when she spoke. A sort of 'Do-not-fuck-with-me' kind of vibe, and Kyoya decided that an argument right now would not go over well, especially in front of their guests who were just starting to leave.

As a group, the hosts walked back over to Shiro, who's struggling had not toned down in the slightest.

"What are you doing? I didn't do anything! Let me down NOW!"

"Not until you learn some manners." Jin rested her fists on her hips and drilled her gaze into Shiro's eyes, "If you want to make girls happy, the first thing you need to do is get a handle on that mouth of yours. In case you weren't aware of it, most people don't appreciate being called names, being blamed for your faults, or being judged for who their friends are. So, rule number one for making girls happy: Be nice to others."

The brunet, who had been quiet for a moment while Jin spoke, flailed around again, "This is no way to let your loyal apprentice be treated, now let me down!"

"Not until you've learned your lesson," Tamaki took a seat at a nearby table and doled out tea for the other hosts, who all began enjoying a warm drink after the hectic activities, "I took you on as my apprentice because I thought you were serious about becoming a host, but I guess I was mistaken. The other alternative to Jin's actions would be to put you in isolation, so if you would prefer that instead…"

"But I am serious! Totally completely serious! I want you to teach me how to make a woman happy!" Shiro squirmed around his spot on the wall three more times before slumping down in defeat, head tucked into his chest. "I'm gonna run out of time…please won't you teach me?" The sisters straightened up in their chairs and looked at each other.

Did you hear that?

Yup. That certainly brings a new perspective to the playing field...

"Please! Give me a second chance! Teach me to be like you? You're a genius at hosting! You're the king!"

The others looked up from their own tea, unamused. Aaaaand… he's got him.

Tamaki stood up and folded his arms, smug smile in place, "Well, you may be a brat, but I admire your desire to become a host, so I'll teach you. You know, Shiro, you and I are so much alike!"

"You poor kid," Haruhi hummed. Jin snorted into her tea cup.

"Then you'll help me become the kind of host that can make any woman happy?"

"Of course. Making women happy is the sole purpose of being a host. If this is what you really want, Shiro, then you'll have to figure out how to use the material you already have."

"What?"

"You see, Shiro, here at the Ouran Host Club we use our individual personality traits to meet the needs of our guests. For example, Tamaki is the princely type for women who wish to be doted upon as royalty, for example. We also have an additional selection of the Stoic type, the Boy Lolita, the Little-Devil type, and the Cool type." As Kyoya listed the other host's off, they gathered in a little group in front of where Shiro was hung up, holding their signature rose colors up in a little pose.

"And now our group is complete with the addition of Haruhi, the Natural type, and Jin… the Nurturing type."

Finally, all eight of the hosts were grouped in front of the dangling kid, and Jin hummed softly. The Nurturing type? Not bad... I suppose that explains the Demeter cosplay...

"It would seem that right now we have a perfect blend of characteristics, so it's going to be difficult to find where Shiro fits in." Said boy was pressing himself against the wall, as far away from the hosts as possible. He seemed almost frightened, and Haruhi couldn't blame him. Kyoya did give off that sort of vibe.

"Technically, with his age, he should be the Boy Lolita-"

"-but that's Honey-senpai area."

Jin felt something tug on her skirt and looked down to see a sniffling blond boy, "Is he going to replace me, Jin-chan?"

The brunette was quick to scoop the small boy into her arms and cradle the back of his head, "Oh, no, Sweetie. We could never replace you, I promise. Mori-senpai and I wouldn't let them."

" Oh, come on. Is that the best you can do? "

A certain powerful motor powered up and the music room floor rumbled as Renge spiraled up out of the ground. She hadn't even finished spinning around on her pedestal before she began complaining. Calling their characterizations 'boring' and 'lackluster'.

"Alright then, Ms. Manager , where do you think Shiro belongs in our collection of characters?" Tamaki gestured to the crying boy in Jin's arms, "He can't be the Boy Lolita because Honey-senpai-"

"You're just not getting it, are you?" The blonds gasped at Renge's harsh tone. She cleared her throat before launching into a long winded detailing of 'Shota' and 'Shota Fans'. Jin fuzzed out a little ways into it, only zoning back in when she began winding down.

"If I had to pick a character for him… yes! He's the Naughty Type! Jin-senpai? Could you please place Shiro back on the floor so we can begin his training?"

She shrugged, but did as Renge asked. Besides, Shiro had probably learned his lesson. For now, at least. And, even if he hadn't, Renge was sure to make him learn another one anyways. As the hosts watched their "Manager" slip slightly back into her characterization methods again, Jin heard a simultaneous throat clearing.

"Yes?"

"Those were some A+ babysitting skills there, Jin-senpai."

The girl scoffed, "I'm not babysitting Shiro at the moment, nor have I ever had a previous connection with him or his family. He was behaving rudely to his peers, speaking out of line, and damaging property. It is my belief that when children are behaving poorly, they deserve a time-out or some other form of punishment. Normally, I don't do something as drastic as hanging them up on a wall, but I had a feeling he wasn't going to sit quietly in the corner for fifteen minutes. Besides, weren't you going to put him in isolation?"

"True."

"But you hung him from the wall."

"That I did. Think he'll forget that anytime soon?"

The redheads looked at each other and smirked, "Probably not."

The three of them returned their attention to the elementary student just as he tripped and face-planted the tile floor.

Renge crouched down beside him, "Are you okay, little one?" The seemingly caring tone was dampened by a sharp whistle blast, "Your catchphrase!"

"No big deal. It was nothing."

And that seemed to do it for Renge. She pressed her palms against her face and let out a sound akin to that of a newborn kitten. The rest of the hosts exchanged glances, some of them a little bit impressed by the short amount of time it had taken to "train" their new little host. Tamaki even applauded.

"That was outstanding. I never knew you were such a great coach, Renge." The auburn-haired girl let out her signature shriek-laughter and the sisters exchanged another significant glance. Impressive time crunch? Perhaps. Outstanding? Er…

"AaaaaAAAAI'VE HAD ENOUGH OF YOU WEIRDOS!" Everyone turned at Shiro's outburst. The poor boy was still on his hands and knees, looking to be on the verge of tears.

" This is so stupid, none of this is ever going to help me make her happy. "

Haruhi and Jin deflated simultaneously.

" But who- "

" -is 'her'? "

Unfortunately, none of them could do anything as Shiro ran from the room, ignoring Tamaki's cries of 'Wait' and 'Come back, Shiro!'

As the doors boomed shut, Renge climbed back onto her pedestal, "I swear, younger boys are good for nothing. I went through all that trouble to coach him, and he quits." It took a lot of patience for Jin to not walk over and try to knock some sense into the other girl's head. These damn rich people, I swear…

"I can't believe he ditched us because he didn't like the lesson!" The Fujioka's shook their heads.

"Senpai, there are very few people in this world who would remotely enjoy that kind of lesson, but weren't you listening earlier?"

"He said he was going to run out of time, and just now he said that none of this was going to make 'her' happy."

The girls spoke in quiet unison, "Which means this has all been about a girl."


Half an hour later, the host club had migrated to another section of Ouran Academy; the elementary buildings. Except, there had been a quick sort of costume change before they left...

" How did we let them talk us into this? "

" It'll be okay, Haru-chan! It was so easy to sneak in, especially by wearing this uniform! I really look like I'm in elementary school! "

" Yeah, I totally understand why they had to wear that uniform, Senpai. It helps you blend it, at least, but why did they stuff me in a middle school uniform? It doesn't make any sense!"

*/Flashback to 30 min ago\*

Tamaki spoke in a low voice, " Alright men, it's time to begin. " The twins and Mori were wearing creepy grins, which was mind blowing considering Mori was smiling at all, but those three, Kyoya, and Tamaki all looked a little too pleased with themselves for anything good to happen in the next couple minutes.

Haruhi tilted her head, "What are you talking about?"

Honey inched forward in his seat, "What mission?"

"Yeah," Jin crossed her arms from the sidelines, "And how come you haven't told the three of us anything?"

" Our mission: to infiltrate the elementary school… and the two of you are going in. "

Jin's eyes narrowed, "I've got a bad feeling about this…"

*\End Flashback/*

Honey suddenly grabbed Haruhi's arm and started pulling her down the hallway, "This way, Haru-chan! If Shiro-chan is in the A-class, then his room isn't that far!"

Tamaki watched the two smaller members of the host club from an empty computer lab a short ways down the hallway, "Look at her in that miniskirt! Haruhi looks like a little doll!" Even the dark, the boy's dark blush was easy to see, as was the steady line of drool dripping down his chin.

Jin leaned up against the wall and leveled a solid gaze at Tamaki, "This was all just so you could see my little sister in a short skirt?" Tamaki's face somehow grew even redder.

"Of course not!"

"Uh huh. Well, you're lucky she looks so cute, not that she doesn't always, or else I'd be making her change back into her regular uniform right now." Tamaki held up his hands with a shaky laugh, but Jin just pushed past him and peered out into the hallway. "They're gone. Which way do you think they went? I have a feeling our 'leader' wasn't paying attention."

"Shiro is in Class-A. Take a right."

The six high school students slipped out into the hallway and hurried after their fellow club members. They were always a hallway behind, just barely seeing Haruhi's brown skirt before it slipped around a corner. The twins took the lead soon enough, happily dashing around and looking at all the things that had changed since they had left for the middle school. A full minute of this sneaking around passed before the twins went to round a corner only to quickly fall backwards. They ran back to the others with a look of panic.

" There's a teacher coming! "

" Hide! "

The six dashed to the sides of the hallway. Mori ducked behind a curtain, the twins tucked and rolled under a bench, Tamaki slid in between a potted plant and a pillar before ducking down to the floor, and Jin pulled open a door that read 'Janitor's closet' and slipped inside. Kyoya was right on her heels and shut the door behind him.

The first thing they noticed was that the room was small.

Like… really, really small.

The two couldn't hear anything except the hum of the cooling unit rumbling alongside the walls, so they figured no one would hear them as long as they whispered. Which meant the first words out were:

" Find your own hiding spot! "

The two frowned at each other and tried to wiggle around in an attempt to put space between them, but they were pressed up tightly between the walls and each other.

" I can't believe you followed me in here! "

" Where did you expect me to do? Jump out a window? Hide behind a plant like Tamaki? "

" Better than in here! It's too small for two people! "

" Look, I like this no more that you, but there were no other places. We fit just fine, so be quiet and wait it out. "

" Kyoya, if 'we fit just fine' means 'I can't move an inch without touching the other person' to you, then yeah, we fit just fine."

" Stop talking or we'll be caught! "

" They won't hear us over the fans, but you're right, I don't want to risk being found by some teacher with your hands on my hips. "

Kyoya quickly lifted his hands away, but frowned down at the girl pressed to his chest, " Well, if you're going to insist on talking so that we are caught, how about we give our captors a show? "

Jin's face felt warm, but she responded quickly, " I swear to god, Kyoya, one more word from you and I'll knee you where the sun doesn't shine. "

Now both parties were pink faced, but they only waited for two more seconds before the door opened. For a split second, they felt a jolt of fear and embarrassment from being caught in a janitor's closet by a teacher like they were a pair of horny teenagers; what could they possibly say to explain themselves? But at the sight of Mori's blank face they sighed and wriggled out of the cramped space, taking the extra energy needed to shove at each other more than necessary.

The twins snickered, "Nice hiding place, you two."

"I hope we didn't distract you from anything."

Jin glared at the boys, "Where do we go from here?"

"Around the corner."

The group scampered around to Shiro's classroom doors just as Haruhi's voice called out from inside.

"It's empty."

Well, the boys didn't need any further encouragement. They walked straight in, which gave Jin no choice but to follow. Sure, being caught by a teacher by herself was better than being caught with a boy, but still. She gave the hallway one more up and down before turning back to the interior of the room. The hosts were roaming around the classroom, making offhand comments about how it had changed since they were 5th years.

Haruhi was looking more irritated by the second, "Hey, if you're just going to barge in like that then why'd we wear these stupid disguises? And what took you so long anyways? One minute you were following us, then you disappeared!"

Jin slid up to her sister's side, "A teacher was walking down the hallway, so we had to hide." Her sister jolted.

"You mean there are still teachers roaming around? "

"Relax, Haruhi, we haven't been caught yet. Were you expecting the teachers to just leave all these elementary kids alone by themselves after school hours?"

"And besides, even if another teacher did come along, I'm sure we could find some hiding places again… "

The twins grinned dangerously at Jin, who glared right back, but Haruhi's following question died in her throat at the sound of shoes hitting tile. They all looked around at the doors before dropping to the floor. Of course, Hikaru and Kaoru just had to sneak a joke in.

" Hey, Jin and Kyoya… "

" Want to find another closet to hide in? "

The older brunette looked ready to jump up and throttle the redheads, but a small restraining hand on her shoulder kept her steady.

" Shhh...Shut up, guys! "

The girls pretended to zip their lips shut, " Keep your lips zipped! " The twins and Tamaki went completely red faced, staring intently at Haruhi. It was enough to make Jin smirk. Sometimes the twins forgot how much teasing material they gave up before they tried to take the mickey out of her.

The footsteps were starting to retreat, so Jin silently stood up. She gracefully slid over a desk and scurried to the doorframe. Peeking out, she watched as the adult continued to walk away from the classroom they were hiding in, intently reading some papers in his hand.

"It's alright everyone, he's gone."

The boys stood up and dusted themselves off while Haruhi snuck her own glance out into the hallway, "Nēchan? Doesn't that teacher seem… familiar to you?"

Jin's eyebrows came together and she poked her head out the door once more. It took a few seconds, but eventually the girl gasped.

"Oh my goodness! I didn't even notice!"

"Well, I found something of interest as well."

The others looked over to see Honey and Kyoya staring at a large collection of photos on the wall. Jin looked at each one she passed. They seemed to be a collection of all the kids in the classroom. Smiling, playing, or just plain ol' cute ones. There was even an adorable picture of some kids chasing cherry blossoms through the air.

But the one Kyoya was pointing at was focused on… Shiro. Shiro smiling, in fact. Sitting at a magnificent grand piano with a cute little girl at his side. He looked happier than the hosts had ever seen him before.

"It looks like our Shiro is in the classical music club."

"He looks like he's having a good time. It's nice to see him smiling."

Jin met her sister's eyes.

So what happened to make him so upset?

Think this might have to do with the girl in the picture?

Well, he's upset because of something to do with a girl, and he's happy with that girl in the picture. Makes sense at least.

Good thing he's in the classical music club then.

The older Fujioka smirked and nodded.

Tamaki murmured a small 'yeah' before asking Kyoya how to get to the music room. It took less than ten minutes to find it.

Honey pointed through a window, "There he is! There's Shiro-chan!" The hosts followed the small blond's gaze until they saw a certain brunet boy sitting on the ledge of another window, one that looked outside. He looked so solemn, a complete and drastic change from the picture in his classroom. Speaking of that picture, the girl walked up to him. The two started talking, and the hosts were watching them so intently they didn't notice as their group of eight had dwindled to seven.

"Hey… where's Jin-chan?" The six boys looked around the hallway, but there was no sign of the older Fujioka sibling.

"Where did she go?"

"She was just here!"

Haruhi sighed before pointing back into the classroom, "She's in there, you guys."

"What?!" The hosts went back to peering into the elementary music room and watched as Jin approached the music teacher who was assisting a young girl with her viola.

"What is she doing?!"

Inside the music room, Jin was having a hard time containing her grin. Kagome-sensei was tightening the girl's viola string with so much concentration his neck was just a tinge red. The little girl was staring at her with confusion and interest, so Jin held up a finger to her lips and winked. The girl smiled and nodded happily before looking back at her teacher just as he plucked a perfectly tuned note.

"Aha! There we are, good as new!"

Jin clapped her hands, "Amazing work, Sensei! Your cheeks didn't even turn pink this time!"

The older man spun around in surprise before his face broke out into a grin, "Ms. Fujioka! I see you've returned from America safe and sound."

"That I did. And I see you're still cranking out the young protegees." She spared the group of little kids that had accumulated around them a grin before walking closer to her old piano teacher.

"Yes, it seems there's more of them every year, each of them more talented than the last! At this rate I'll never retire; I'm going to want to teach them all!"

The two laughed lightly before Jin cleared her throat, "Actually, Kagome-sensei, I'm not here just to visit."

"Oh? Shame. For a moment I felt special."

The brunette smiled kindly, "It's great to see you again, and I would've visited eventually, but I've actually been in recent touch with one of your current students." Her teacher noted the more serious tone.

"Really? Which one of them was it?"

"Shiro Takaoji. He came to the club I'm a member of and after a while he stormed out, saying he was going to run out of time and something about a girl. Would you happen to know what he was talking about? My friends and I would like to help."

Jin's old teacher sighed and placed a hand on her right shoulder, "I don't think this is a problem you can fix, Ms. Fujioka. Do you see the young lady over by the grand piano?" Jin looked over her shoulder and saw the same girl who had been talking with Shiro a moment ago. She was playing Mozart's Sonata in D major. It was supposed to be played by two pianos really, but she was performing well on her own. And Shiro was listening to her calmly, eyes closed and a small smile on his face.

"Yes."

"That is Hina Kamishiro. She's one of my star pupils, perhaps Shiro's closest friend, and she is moving away in a little less than two weeks from now. Her father was just offered a new job in Germany, and Hina is going with him."

Jin looks back at the boy, this time with sympathy in her eyes. No wonder he's been acting so upset. Having a close friend go from being nearby all the time to far away felt worse than being stabbed, at least in Jin's personal experience. And if Shiro also had a crush on Hina…

"Mr. Takaoji has been nearly inconsolable. He started skipping out on the club, and just yesterday he informed me that he was going to seek help. I assume he meant your club."

"Yeah, I think he did."

Just then Shiro opened his eyes and stared at Hina. The girl played a few more bars before glancing over at her friend as well. The boy blushed lightly and turned away.

And saw Jin.

His eyes went wide as Jin quickly turned back to her old teacher, "Well, it's been nice catching up, but I should probably go now."

Kagome-sensei nodded, "Very well. Do come see me some other time. I still think you'd do wonderfully as a professional pianist. World renown even!"

Jin couldn't help but laugh a bit, "I'm sure you do. Goodbye!"

The brunette hurried out of the room, only to come face-to-face with the other hosts.

"What was that?"

Jin held up her hands, "Guys, really, I know some of you are mad or confused but we have some more pressing matters to deal with right now. The girl Shiro is watching is named Hina Kamishiro. She's one of his closest friends but she's moving to Germany in about two weeks."

Tamaki quickly shut up and looked back through the window, "Really? That… hey, where did Shiro-"

"What do you think you're doing here?" The high schoolers looked over by the entrance of the music room, where Shiro was glaring at them. Tamaki's face darkened and he wordlessly grabbed the salty boy, throwing him over his shoulder.

Shiro immediately started thrashing in Tamaki's grip, "Hey! Put me down! What are you doing? Ah! Let me go! Just put me down!"

"It's time to go, gentlemen."

As one, the host club turned around and started walking down the hallway, Shiro screaming at them the whole way.


When the group reached their own music room, Shiro was dropped unceremoniously on one of the couches.

"What is your problem, you big idiot?!"

"I'm sorry, but you're the idiot!" Shiro looked taken aback. It must've been a while since someone shouted back at him.

"You said that you wanted me to teach you how to make women happy, but that's not it, is it? You're not concerned with the happiness of just any woman. You've got your sights set on one woman in particular. You only care about Ms. Hina Kamishiro!" Tamaki's shoulders sank a little, "But I'm afraid there's nothing I can do to help you with that. Listen, Shiro, I know that I told you it's the job of a host to make women happy, but when you care for someone you must find the courage to express what is in your heart! You have to tell her how you feel about her!"

The small boy stared up at his former mentor before letting his head fall into his chest, "It doesn't matter any more. I've run out of time. I just…" his voice was on the cusp of breaking, "...I wanted to hear her play. Before she left for good. That's all…"

"That piece she played. It's Mozart's Sonata in D major for two pianos, isn't it?" Shiro's head perked up, surprised that Tamaki knew the name of the piece. The tall blond walked over to a curtained off area. He grabbed a fistfull of the cloth and pulled.

Revealing an absolutely beautiful grand piano.

"Wait a minute… since when was there a grand piano in here?"

"Well, this is a music room after all-"

"-so why wouldn't it have a grand piano?"

Haruhi felt her fingers twitch and looked over to see what Jin thought of it all, but her sister was staring intently at the piano instead. Her eyes had lit up and there was the faintest smile curving her lips.

Tamaki took a seat on the piano bench. He lifted his hands for a moment before bringing them down to pull forth an absolutely wonderful piece of music. The melody was bouncy and reminded the sisters of springtime in the park. Later, once Tamaki finished his piece, he told Shiro to come to the music room every morning, lunch, recess, and during his free time after school for piano lessons for the next week. Because it was pretty clear that the one thing that would make Hina happy would be to play the piano with Shiro.

*One week later*

Hina Kamishiro looked between the name above the door and the note in her hand, making sure that she wasn't reading the elegant scrawl incorrectly. No, she was in the right place. Music Room #3.

The little one mustered up her courage before opening the large doors. They opened surprisingly easily and revealed a room that shone with white. Seven handsome boys and a pretty girl also dressed in white tuxes and, in the girl's case, a white blouse and skirt combo, were standing by the door to greet her.

"Welcome Princess!"

"We present to you: Shiro Takaoji's… piano recital."

Hina gasped as she saw her friend sitting at a magnificent grand piano. Tamaki walked over and pulled out a chair for the second piano beside Shiro's.

"If you please, Princess." Hina stared at the empty chair before a bubble of hope started forming in her stomach. She smiled as Shiro looked over at her.

"Let's play together, Hina."

It took her approximately a half second to respond.

Not even a minute later, the two were playing the Mozart piece. Their parts fit together like puzzle pieces. And the hosts had never seen two elementary students look so happy before.

"We did a good thing."

Jin smiled and laid a hand on her classmate's shoulder, "Yes… you did."

Haruhi leaned backwards against her sister's chest, "He loves with all his heart. So I guess that's one way Shiro takes after you, Senpai." Haruhi smiled and Jin hugged her sister from behind.

*5 days later*

Shiro was visiting the host club again. He had come to formally thank them for all their help last week, but the guests had asked him to stay for the rest of the afternoon. He was a big hit with the girls, but his favorite topic was telling them all about Hina and how the two of them were going to be staying in touch, even if he pretended it wasn't a big deal.

"So, you've been exchanging emails with Hina every day?" Haruhi couldn't help but find that impressive. Maybe there's some truth to the idea of soul mates? How else would two 5th year elementary students be so devoted to each other?

"Yeah, more or less. We're going to make it more daily once she actually moves, but for now it's mainly just making sure it works and that we're 'comfortable' with communicating that way, or whatever."

The large group of girls around him were fawning over his cuteness, which put a few of the others hosts on edge, especially when the girls started kissing his cheeks.

" You brat. Those are my guests! "

Shiro glanced over his shoulder playfully, "Heh, well I guess they found someone they like better. I think maybe there's a new host king in town." That did it. Tamaki shouted and lunged for the boy, only being held down by the twins who had tightly wrapped themselves around his lower half.

Haruhi watched the scene with a blank face, "Shiro really does have a lot in common with Tamaki-senpai. I get the feeling Senpai was also a spoiled brat when he was a little kid." Jin shook her head good-naturedly, amused by Tamaki's overreaction.

"I was not a spoiled brat! I was nothing like him! I was a sweet, innocent, precious, adorable child!"

The others couldn't help but smile.

 

Chapter Text

 

How does it feel to talk to a person who doesn't realize they're beautiful? Who doesn't realize that they are the highlight of someone's day?

How does it feel to learn that the person you aspire to be doesn't believe they are worthy enough to be a proper role model? Or flat out refuses to understand how important and inspiring they are?

How does it feel to love a person who doesn't love herself?

How does it feel?

It feels like failure.

...

Haruhi had a feeling this was going to be a rough day from the moment she woke up. There was just this sort of… groggy feeling to the morning. She could tell that Jin could feel it too by the way her sister yawned throughout breakfast and when they decided to take the train instead of biking to school.

Yeah… this was going to be a long day.

Class was boring, even more so than usual. Haruhi could feel her brain struggling to make the connections between the new work and what she learned last week, which made her tired, which made it even more difficult to think. Even the twins seemed to notice something was off. They kept poking Haruhi in the side with their pencils to help keep her eyes open, and for once she didn't get mad at them for it.

What she couldn't figure out was why she was so exhausted. She didn't do anything different with her sleep schedule, so it couldn't be that. Maybe it was just the day letting her know that she should've stayed home instead of coming to school.

Not like that would ever happen, but still.

And then there was Jin, who was clearly worried about her little sister. Throughout lunch Jin had been checking and double checking Haruhi's temperature and how she was feeling, debating whether or not she should send her home. Haruhi refused. She had a quiz today.

Her exhaustion didn't get any better when she arrived at the host club, but ten minutes into the activities of the day she finally understood. It was like her body knew something like this was coming and decided to save up her energy. Perhaps that was it. Since the host club takes up so much mental and physical activity, normally for "outside reasons", her body was now saving up all its energy for after school fiascoes.

And this certainly qualified.

The twins were the ones who started the whole thing, which was actually not a big surprise if you think about it. The other hosts knew to prepare for something big when the two redheads stood up and proceeded to the center of the room.

"Can we have everyone's attention?"

Slowly the conversations around the room quieted down.

"We have an important announcement to make for the ladies of the host club."

"Our mother is currently designing a new line of outfits for high school girls and she's in need of some models for adjustments and photo-shoots."

"And she would like to invite all of the host club girls for try outs for these positions!"

There was a large, unanimous squeal that echoed around the music room, followed by a flurry of yellow dresses as each and every girl flocked to Hikaru and Kaoru for more information. The other hosts took this time to gather together and discuss the new turn of events.

"Wow, that was incredibly generous of her."

"Really?" Haruhi looked over at the twins being buried with questions, "Why is it generous? It sounds more like cheap labor to me."

"It is, but Mrs. Hitachiin also appears to have some ulterior motives. Using the daughters of wealthy business owners and prominent families will give her more ties into corporations that she didn't have before and will strengthen others. Also, it's good PR. Not using actual models makes her fashion line more inclusive to different body types. And, as a final note, receiving comments by her customers first hand might help with future design ideas."

Haruhi looked ready to pack up and leave by the time Kyoya finished with, "So, in short, an impressive business move."

These goddamn rich people.

Jin tilted her head and smiled softly, "I think it's sweet. Mrs. Hitachiin's offer probably just gave these girls a big confidence boost. Sure, it'll help her business out a lot, but it'll give these girls something to smile about for years."

Honey bounded up to the brunette and tugged on her skirt, "Jin-chan, are you going to try out? I'm sure you'd get a position!"

Jin looked at the small boy strangely before smiling and patting his head, "Why would I do that? Nah, I'm far too busy to do any silly little try out. But thanks for the compliment, Honey-senpai." Before her hand even retracted from his blond head, two arms wrap around her torso and two familiar voices whispered in her ear.

" Of course it would be silly for you to try out, Jin-senpai. "

" Considering we've already put you on the roster. "

If they were expecting Jin to blush slightly and swat at their hands and call them idiots, they'd be wrong.

"WHAT?!" The brunette spun around and grabbed the twins by their jackets, "Why would you do that!? Are you joking!? Tell me you're joking!" The redheads stared at their senpai in confusion and nervously held up their hands.

"It was a joke! We didn't sign you up, promise!"

"But we do want you to try-out! You'd be perfect!"

Jin stopped moving and stared at the twins, like someone had pressed the 'pause' button on her remote.

"Why would I be perfect for it?"

The twins looked at each other, then at the other girls in the room before looking back at Jin, "Well, we're pretty sure everyone here would agree that you're one of the prettiest girl in this room." The girl in question blinked and glanced around the rest of the room. The other guests were nodding their heads, some rapidly while others a little slower, giving the statement quite a bit of thought.

She looked back at the twins and smiled a little. Then bigger. Until finally she started snickering. Like she was more amused by a funny comment than actually humored by it. She released the boys and straightened out their jackets.

"Okay, I get it now! You guys are pretty funny, you know?"

She seemed to be oblivious to the fact that everyone else in the room was looking around with either concern or confusion. One very confused girl in the back corner of the room let out a few weak laughs but stopped quickly.

However, Jin Fujioka is never out of the loop for long. She stopped her light laughter as her gaze swept around the room. She ended up with her gaze back on the twins.

"You're not kidding?"

The twins shook their heads.

"Then let me laugh harder. HAHAHAHA!" The tall brunette continued to laugh -actually laughing this time- as she walked off towards the kitchen, holding her stomach with her left arm. The entire congregation watched in silence until the doors boomed shut.

Then everyone began talking at once.

"What was she laughing at?"

"Does that mean she doesn't want to model?"

"Do you think it was an inside joke?"

"Haruhi?"

The short Fujioka was staring at the kitchen doors solemnly, "Yeah, Senpai?"

"What just happened?"

Haruhi look at the floor and scuffed it with her shoe, "Nēchan doesn't think she's pretty. At all. And I'm sorry you guys, but you're not going to get very far with her on this topic." She turned around and went back to her guests, "If you want my advice, I'd just let it go."

*The Next Day*

Of course they weren't just going to let it go. Haruhi should've suspected that the moment they sent Jin out on a shopping run for coffee. They never send their hosts (or waitress) out to shop in the middle of the week if they can help it. Usually, they do their shopping on Monday and send Haruhi with her sister.

Figures the'd want to talk about it immediately.

"Alright men, in order to properly begin our planning, we have to know all the variables. Haruhi!"

The brunette gave her Senpai her best 'you've got to be kidding me' look, "What?"

"Tell us everything you know about Jin's condition!"

"There is no condition , Senpai. Nēchan just doesn't think she's pretty!"

"But that can't be all! What caused this? How long has it been going on? We have to know everything if we're going to help her! Or have you already forgotten the job of a high school host?"

Haruhi's shoulders slumped, "...To make every girl happy. I know, Senpai. I just…fine, then. Nēchan is very self conscious. It started around when she was 8, though she's had a shy side forever. But it's not just in her looks, she's never been very accepting of compliments of any kind. That started earlier, when she was about 4 and started taking piano lessons." Haruhi's expression darkened, "She had a horrible teacher."

There were a few seconds of silence before she continued, "Anyways, Nēchan's been like this for years. It's like everyone wants to be like her but herself. She doesn't think she's very talented with, well, anything."

Honey gasped, sounding like someone just insulted his grandmother, "But Jin-chan is super talented! She's even great at-" Honey cut himself short, "Um, I mean, didn't she teach herself all those languages?"

The other hosts gave their shortest member a collection of odd looks.

"Honey-senpai?"

"What else were you about to say?"

"Nothing, I just started the sentence wrong. Didn't think it through."

Haruhi watched her senpai for another two seconds before continuing, "To answer your question, yes, she did teach herself most of the languages she knows. She only took classes for English and French and taught herself German, Spanish, Italian, and is now working on Swedish. She even taught herself higher maths so that she's a year beyond where her classmates are and learned piano and guitar without much instruction. Kagome-sensei only became her teacher after she learned the basics and a few songs by herself."

The boys took it all in, "And… she doesn't think she's talented?"

"Oh, did I say that? Sorry, I meant she doesn't think she's very talented. Nēchan knows that not many people can do what she does, but she doesn't think very much of it. In fact…" her lips twitched in the slight semblance of a smile, "while most people think she's an amazing person, she likes to say that I'm the most perfect person in the world. Actually, the last time someone tried to convince her that she was better than me, she laughed."

Tamaki sighed, "Well then, this just became far more complicated. We've dealt with girls who don't recognize their beauty but-"

"Hey guys! I've got the stuff!" The hosts part ways, Haruhi running off to help her sister unpack the coffee and distract her from the frowns the boys were sporting. The twins were discussing something with their heads bent down near each other's, Honey was fiddling with Usa-chan while Mori looked on, Tamaki had migrated to his hosting station, clearly thinking hard, and Kyoya found himself by the windows.

He didn't recall making the conscious decision to walk over here, but decided to admire the view for a while. As he did so, a memory resurfaced from last week, the day after Shido finished his after school lessons with Tamaki.

*/ Flashback \*

Kyoya was walking down the hallway after the school day had ended. There was still a faint gleam of the sunset shining through the large windows, proof for everyone that summer was on it's way back. The black haired male continued down the corridor, running his after school 'To-Do' list through his head one last time. He had a feeling he was forgetting something.

Although, there really wasn't much for him to do. The janitors still had to come through, and they'd clean up anything that was left behind. All the extra cake slices had been put away-

Kyoya stopped and smacked his hand against his forehead. Of course that's what I forgot. He spun on his heel and marched back to the music room. Of all the things to forget, why did it have to be locking the cake cabinets? Sure, it might not be a big deal for most people, but with Honey-senpai in the club if Kyoya didn't want any extra pieces of inventory "disappearing" he had to lock the storage. And he had the only key.

Well, it isn't as if anyone else can be trusted with it. Or like any of them would remember to lock the door every night.

A sigh escaped him. This was cutting into his homework time. And no doubt his driver was waiting in the parking lot, wondering where he was. Hopefully his security guards wouldn't believe he'd been kidnapped or there would be a few pairs of ruined doors his family would have to repay the school for.

A louder sigh passed his lips as Kyoya turned the final corner. The music room's doors were at the very end of the hallway, staring him in the face as he got closer. There were no other sounds besides his shoes tapping against the tile floor, his clothes shifting against each other, and…

He stopped walking.

A piano. Someone was playing a piano nearby, and there was only one that he knew of.

Oddly enough, it didn't sound like Tamaki's usual song. There was one song he played almost every time he sat at a piano, but this one was different. And to top it all off, Kyoya instantly recognized it. It was an American Disney song.

How'd he know that? Because Fuyumi had always enjoyed American culture when she lived at the Ootori mansion and liked to play Disney songs all the time. And while Kyoya would never admit it, now that she was living far away he had a few of her favorite songs on his iPod in case he ever missed her.

Again, not like he'd ever admit that.

But this song was very familiar. It was 'I can go the distance' from the extremely inaccurate Hercules movie. But Fuyumi had loved the musical numbers from it, so Kyoya instantly recognized it anyways.

The piano version he was hearing at the moment was definitely a variation, but it was lovely all the same. The melody and harmony were perfect. Kyoya felt his feet move forward towards the doors again. There was a strange tugging in his chest, the same one he felt the very first time he had heard Tamaki play at his house. The notes held so much emotion, he couldn't help himself.

He quietly pushed open the door and peeked in.

The room was at half light, and Kyoya could see only the backs of two heads, both sitting at the piano. One was on the bench, the other was sitting on a chair that had been pulled over from a nearby table.

It took Kyoya perhaps ten seconds to realize that it was Jin who was playing the piano like that, with Haruhi at her side and enjoying the song.

He knew that he couldn't let the girls catch him. This sort of information would be useful in the future after he had some time to think it over, but at the same time he didn't want to leave while Jin was still playing. Sure, with a teacher like Kagome-sensei, Kyoya had a feeling that she'd be a remarkable player, but he hadn't realized how remarkable.

The notes were flying all over the place, pulling the original song apart and pushing it back together at the same time. Kyoya felt in awe of the piece and of the talent that Jin must possess to play it correctly. But to say the boy felt a little conflicted was an understatement.

Jin was far more talented and interesting and intelligent than she let on, and that was saying something. So why didn't she use it? Why not pursue music? Her father didn't seem to be one to hold his daughters back from where they wanted to go, so how come she didn't take music classes while at Ouran? Or join a music-based club?

Kyoya continued to watch for a minute, his mind racing with the possibilities of this information. Could he have Jin play for the guests? That might cut into hosting times, but would it bring in more customers who want to hear her music? This sort of talent wasn't exactly blackmail material either. Perhaps she could play a piece for their next dance? That would work.

He closed the door as soon as she hit the final notes. A missing slice or two wouldn't be that difficult to calculate.

*\ End Flashback /*

Kyoya shook his head to escape the memory. He had yet to approach Jin about her talent, not being able to find the right time. And what exactly was he supposed to say about it? It was unlikely that knowing Jin's reasoning behind not pursuing music would be beneficial to him, but perhaps Tamaki would be interested in it to help discover Jin's inability to see talent within herself?

So... how to pursue it?

* The Next Day *

Haruhi wasn't exactly sure what she had expected. Sure, Tamaki wasn't like the kind of person to give up, but still, Haruhi had tried everything she could have to make Jin think she was pretty and talented and she had failed every time.

Still, Tamaki was determined to try, and it wasn't like Haruhi wasn't willing to take the chance.

"Alright men, Stage 1 is now in motion! Hand me your roses!" Each host held out a red rose to the blond, a slip of paper dangling from the stems. Haruhi got a glimpse of a few of the words written on them. Your eyes sparkle in the sunlight. Your hair looks like melted chocolate. Mainly cheesy stuff that Haruhi knew wasn't going to have the effect they wanted.

"Right then!" Tamaki hastily bound the flowers with a white ribbon, "I will personally place this bouquet on Jin's chair after lunch. When she finds and reads all the wonderful things we've written she's no longer be able to doubt how beautiful she is!"

"Hold up, Boss."

"How come you get the deliver the flowers?"

The blond scoffed, "I sit right beside her in class. It's only obvious."

"Are you sure it's not because you like her?"

Tamaki began to grow red, "You both know very well that Jin and I are simply good friends! She's more like… like a sister to me! Yeah! I love Haruhi like my daughter and Jin like my sister! Your perverted minds simply can't understand that!"

"So now my Nēchan is also my aunt? Tamaki-senpai, I think you have a problem with your brain being missing."

This, of course, just caused Tamaki to shout about how it made more sense than they thought (it didn't) and why couldn't the twins just agree that he was the best candidate to deliver the flowers (they wouldn't) and eventually Kyoya just plucked the roses out of Tamaki's hands and walked into the classroom. He placed the flowers on the girl's chair as the bell rang.

Tamaki followed, pouting, and a few minutes later the rest of the class of 2-A filtered into the room. Quite a few people glanced at the flowers placed in Jin's seat, so by the time she actually walked in the first thing she heard was 'there's something for you on your chair'.

The brunette blinked and walked over to her desk. After staring at the roses for a few seconds, she picked them up and sat down, reading the notes tied to each flower. Tamaki tried not to stare, but he was so excited about seeing her reaction he couldn't sit still.

The girl was quiet as she read the notes, but she was smiling warmly. Once she finished reading each and every one, she pulled the notes off and stuck them into her bag before gently rearranging the flowers to stick out of the top flap.

The last student walked in just as Jin leaned over and whispered, "Thank you for the flowers, you guys."

Tamaki blinked, trying to play innocent, "Those flowers weren't from us! Clearly you have a secret admirer!"

"Tamaki, not a single other living soul in this school would write 'Your skin is as fair and delicate as a falling cherry blossom, drifting along in the breeze' and attach the note to a bouquet of roses." She smirked at the way Kyoya pinched the bridge of his nose while Tamaki stuttered, "But it was really sweet of you all to write those nice things. What's the occasion?"

The blond looked to be on the verge of panicking, so Kyoya decided to come clean. It wasn't like she wouldn't figure it out on her own anyways. Like he thought before; Intelligent.

"Tamaki had this idea that we could-"

"Have a Compliment the Waitress day at the Host Club!" The rest of their classmates turned in their seats, wondering why Tamaki had suddenly shouted. Kyoya and Jin were wondering the same thing.

"Compliment… the Waitress day? Aren't I supposed to do the complimenting?"

Tamaki slowly started to nod, "Yes, exactly, but you are still a girl!"

"Last I checked."

"So, why should you be deprived of hearing nice things about you during club activities? Having a Compliment the Waitress day, everyone can tell you nice things and show how much we all appreciate your work!"

Jin glanced around at the other girls in the classroom while Kyoya attempted to pretend that this wasn't a new idea with him. Thank god it seemed like their clients agreed with Tamaki's idea.

"It's true, she might be a part-time host, but she should still have people say something nice to her every once in awhile."

"Telling her how much we appreciate her will probably make her day!"

"Oh, Tamaki is so nice to do something like this for her!"

Kyoya sighed, "I suppose that settles it then." I'll have to make a post on our site. Tamaki better not screw this up.


"Guys… this is really unnecessary." Jin flipped the page of the magazine in her hands, warily eyeing the pages and fidgeting in her seat, "I mean, sure, it's a little flattering to have the girls compliment me during the host club activities, but do I really have to do this?"

The twins leaned over the girl's shoulders and looked at the hairstyles the page she was reading displayed, "Of course. It is your day, after all."

"How could we not get your hair done?"

Jin scrunched up her nose and pinched a lock of her hair between her fingers, "Well, maybe I have a few split ends I wouldn't mind getting snipped, but do we have to have my makeup done too?"

"Yes."

The girl groaned and leaned back in her seat, "Why me?"

Haruhi patted her sister's head, "If I do recall, I tried to warn you away from the host club when you first arrived?"

Jin swatted at the hand, "Shut up."

Just then, a short 40-something year old stepped out from one of the changing areas, "I'm all set up back here. Is she ready?" The brunette groaned as the twins physically lifted her out of her chair.

"She's all set!" Jin grabbed Haruhi's wrist before walking into the curtained area.

As soon as the girls disappeared from sight, the redheads ran out into the main room. A few hired hands were still buzzing around the room, decking it out with green roses in artful designs. The other hosts were setting up their areas, as Jin was a little too preoccupied to bring out the tea and cakes.

"Wow, I forgot how long it takes to heat up the water. Jin seems to set us up in half the time!"

"Boss, Jin just started her appointment. She should be finished in less than ten minutes."

"Well, I sure hope the end result is worth it. A private hairdresser and makeup artist is not cheap. But… I suppose I can only add half of the charge to the Fujioka's debt."

Honey looked over from his couch, pausing in swinging his legs back and forth while Mori continued to set up their table himself, "I'm not sure if that's going to make Jin-chan like you any better, Kyo-chan."

The ravenet boy didn't even look up from his journal, "And why should I care if Jin likes me or not? It wouldn't matter one way or the other."

The twins smirked, "Say that you don't care about being her friend all you want, Kyoya-senpai."

"But that doesn't change the fact that you're calling her Jin instead of Ms. Fujioka now."

Kyoya stopped writing in his journal, "A slip of the tongue."

"Many slips it seems like."

"And what about when you and Jin hid in the janitor's closet at the elementary school?" If Kyoya had ever felt like the need to throttle the blond boy who called himself Kyoya's best friend, now would be the best time.

"Exactly how long are the rest of you going to read too deeply into that? We happened to hide in the same spot that was smaller than I originally calculated. Nothing happened, and I have no romantic interest in Jin Fujioka. I am coming to respect her, however."

"Whatever you say."

The ravenet had a feeling he hadn't fully gotten the stupid idea out of the other boy's heads, but decided to save that argument for another time, "Now, on to a more concrete subject. Has someone completed the survey questions?"

"I have them right here!" Tamaki quickly handed the paper over to his friend and let him read over them.

"... Tamaki?"

"Yes?"

"These are pointless questions."

"What!?" Tamaki grabbed the paper back, "But look at this one! 'What sort of flowers would you present to Jin Fujioka, given the chance?'"

"Exactly, pointless. We should be asking questions such as, 'In 250 words or less, give your best description on Jin Fujioka's beauty'."

"Or maybe you should ask 'Is a survey really worth anything to the person who will be reading it?'" The boys turned their heads and saw Haruhi standing with her arms crossed near the edge of the group.

"Why wouldn't it mean anything?"

Haruhi rolled her eyes, "I'm saying, none of you are doing anything different than what I've been doing for years. It doesn't matter from whom or how many times Nēchan hears a compliment. She never believes them."

Tamaki straightens his back, "That doesn't mean we can't try again! Is Jin almost done with her appointment?"

"Yeah. She made the hairstylist go for the minimalist look, but I think Nēchan looks very pretty with it."

"Minimalist? Minimalist how ?"

A shrug, "A trim, some curling, bobby pins, a little hairspray, some foundation, eyeliner, and eye shadow."

The twins shared a surprised look, " Very minimalist, then."

"You know, I can hear you." Jin smiled as she walked towards the boys, "I wear contacts. Not hearing aids." The boys didn't respond. They were too busy taking in the girl's new appearance. Like Haruhi said, she had gone with the minimalist approached. But, also like Haruhi said, Jin looked very pretty.

Her hair had been left hanging straight down, like normal, save for a lock of hair on either side of her face that had been curled and pinned to neatly frame her face. The rest of her hair lightly brushed at the tops of her shoulders as she walked, the bottom two inches gone. As for the very slight addition of makeup, it seemed like the perfect amount. Her eyes seemed to pop and showed off a hint of blue eye shadow that matched her uniform every time she blinked.

"Jin-chan, you're so cute!"

"Wow, minimalist looks good on you."

" You look like a porcelain doll! "

Jin scoffed at Tamaki's compliment, "I am way too tan to be porcelain, Tamaki. But thanks for the compliments. Now, shouldn't we be getting ready for the guests?"

As the tall brunette walked away to double check the boy's tables, Haruhi and the other's shared sad looks. She didn't sound very flattered by their compliments. Tamaki folded up his survey questions and tossed the paper into the recycling can.

"Let's not give up hope men. We still have the guests. In two hours, Jin will be unable to deny that she is beautiful and talented. One last charge!"

As Hikaru, Kaoru, and Honey cheered with new resolve, Kyoya thumbed the pages of his journal. Not to mention that we have one last trick up our sleeves. Perhaps my information will become useful after all...


Two hours.

Jin was complimented left and right for two hours, and she had no idea what to think of it. When Tamaki had first told her -and everyone else in their classroom for that matter- that today was going to be 'Compliment the Waitress' day she'd been… flattered wasn't the word. No, she was more wary.

Hearing the odd compliment on her abilities or perhaps even her appearance, she could handle. But constantly being told how nice and pretty and funny and smart she was... well, it was kinda starting to drive her up the wall. Sure, the girls seemed to mean it, but at the same time it was like they were being forced to compliment her. And that didn't sit too well with Jin.

Every so often Jin would disappear into the kitchen and calm herself down before going back out into the fray. She would nod and smile and giggle on occasion whenever someone said something nice to her, but inside the words were bouncing off like rubber balls. And in all honesty, waiting for the girls to come up with compliments -they wouldn't let her leave a table without one from each girl- was making her job that much more stressful. More than once she had to sprint across the room to refill an empty teapot because some compliments slowed her down.

By the time the last guests left for the day, Jin was exhausted. She flopped down onto the closest couch she could find and almost fell asleep.

"Nēchan? You okay?"

Jin waved her arm, "Tired." Though she couldn't see her sister with her eyes closed, Jin knew that Haruhi was smiling softly in understanding before she turned and walked away to gather their things. The eldest Fujioka groaned lightly as she stretched her legs. The bobby pins were digging uncomfortably into her scalp and the makeup around her eyes was starting to bug her.

The corners of my eyes are itchy, dammit!

"Jin?"

At Tamaki's voice, Jin cracked her left eye open. The tall blond of the host club was staring down at her, looking almost hopeful.

"Yeah?"

"How was your day?"

"Tiring. Can we please only make 'Compliment the Waitress Day' a once a year thing?"

At her words, Tamaki deflated, "I thought you'd be flattered."

The girl shrugged, "Eh."

The two of them were silent for a few seconds and Jin closed her eyes again. Man, she couldn't wait to go home and turn on some music. Maybe play a game on her phone for a few minutes before starting on her homework…

The couch she was sitting on shifted. Jin lifted her head and saw that Tamaki had taken a seat beside her. The boy looked beaten down.

"You okay? I didn't say anything, right?"

He didn't answer at first. Then, he glanced up at her, "Jin… why are you so determined to not believe you're pretty?" For a moment, Jin was struck dumb. He knew about that? How could he tell? Especially considering how long it took for him to realize that her sister was actually a girl.

"Why do you say that?"

"Haruhi told us. She said that you don't believe you're pretty, or very talented, despite what everyone else in the world would say. Even Kyoya thinks you're talented!"

At that, Jin raised an eyebrow, "Are you messing with me?"

The blond hit his palm against his forehead, "You're the number one student in our class, ahead of Kyoya! How could you not think he'd be impressed by that? He might not be pleased, but he's impressed. And besides, he told me about last week. You and Haruhi stayed behind after the host club ended so you could play the piano."

Jin's mouth fell open, "How on Earth could he know-"

"He heard you and watched. In fact, I believe that his exact words were 'At the time, I was in awe of her talent, just as I was when I first heard you play, Tamaki.' Or, something along those lines."

Tamaki stared at the girl, having said his piece. She looked confused and a little… upset?

"You guys did all of this to make me think I'm pretty?"

"Well… and talented, too."

Jin nodded slowly, letting out a smile at the same speed, "Okay. You want to know why your compliments don't seem to stick with me? I kind of trained myself to do that. I had this piano teacher when I was young, before Kagome-sensei. She… well… she wanted me to learn at her pace. Whenever I tried to do something new, she would smack the back of my hands and tell me off. And when I was 8, I started teaching myself upper maths. A few girls a grade above me thought that was weird and felt stupid knowing an 8-year-old could do the math they were struggling with… so they bullied me. I guess I was taught at a young age that being better isn't always a good thing."

Tamaki put a comforting hand on Jin's shoulder, and she continued, "But, it's not all bad. I mean, not always accepting compliments keeps me from getting a big head. I guess I am pretty good at a lot of things, but when I'm told I'm good I won't become arrogant about it. Also… I may not think I'm pretty. But, I do believe that other people think I am. That's enough for now."

The blond watched in silence as the girl stood up and patted the top of his head, "I'll see you tomorrow, Tamaki. Thank you. And tell the others I say 'thank you' to them as well. But tell Kyoya that the next time he creeps on me and my sister I will report him." The two laughed at her joke before she walked away with a wave.

As the Fujioka's walked out of the music room, a certain ravenet walked over to his friend.

"So, did you convince her that she's pretty?"

"You know what, Kyoya? I don't think we need too."

...

How does it feel to love everyone else with all your heart?

To hold someone's beauty and talents above your own and be proud of them no matter what, even if you have to get rid of the pride in your own achievements to make room?

How does it feel to know that by being kind and loving you're making someone's life shine like a million suns? Knowing that you'll never purposefully bring someone down like others did to you?

How does it feel?

It feels like a life well lived.

 

Chapter Text

 

Water gently lapped at sandy colored cement. The sun beat down warmly, palm trees thankfully providing a few dotted areas of shade. Tropical birds chirped in said trees while insects buzzed all around. Haruhi's eyes roamed the beautiful scenery, confusion flickering in them. She glanced up at her sister, but Jin looked just as awestruck as she was.

Tamaki slipped up behind the two and lay a hand on Haruhi's covered shoulder, "Behold, Haruhi! Bask in the beauty of the tropics!"

"Yeah, it's nice. Where's the exit?" Haruhi glanced around as best as she could while simultaneously holding onto Jin's arm to keep her from wandering away. Tamaki chuckled and sat down in a nearby lawn chair, hefting a tropical looking drink up and deftly sticking a straw between the ice cubes.

"Oh, Haruhi, always the downer. Try to enjoy this little vacation while we're on it! Maybe relax. "

Haruhi rolled her eyes, securing her grip on her sister's arm, "Personally, I think this is a big waste of time. Nēchan and I should be studying right now, not to mention all the laundry waiting to be done at home!"

She snapped her fingers close to Jin's ear, making the taller girl shake her head as if coming out of a trance. She tried to remember all the events that had lead her up to this situation, wondering if someone had already told her where she was, but nothing turned up. She recalled walking with her sister near the south entrance around 3:30. They had just seen the sign on the Music Room doors that said the host club had been cancelled for the day…

*/ Flashback\ *

Just as the sisters exited the school grounds, the twins zipped up to Haruhi's side and looped their arms under her armpits. Jin rolled her eyes and smiled slightly. Let it never be said that being in the host club was boring. She attempted to move forward and free her sister, but quickly found herself in Mori-senpai's grip, her arms pinned to her side. Uh, okay? So... this wasn't just normal teasing then.

"Targets-"

"-captured."

"Mmm."

A limo rolled up in front of the five students and the back window lowered, revealing Tamaki with a… flower lei around his neck? The sisters exchanged a glance.

What's with the flower lei?

More than that, what's with us being targets?

Tamaki eyed the five members of his club, "Good work. Advance to stage two."

"Roger." The blond smirked and rolled his window up again.

The boys ignored the girl's cries as they were carried to two other awaiting limos. Haruhi disappeared into the one with the twins while Jin was carefully placed into the other, Honey smiling and giggling as his friend was sat down beside him.

"I bet we surprised you, huh, Jin-chan?"

"Yeah… yeah you could say that."

*\ End Flashback/ *

"Hey, this might sound like a stupid question, but where are we?"

"This place is a brand new theme park that my family, the Ootori group, runs. It's called the 'Tropical Aqua Garden'."

"I don't understand, I thought that the Ootori group ran hospitals?"

"And that they're focused mainly in the medical business?"

Kyoya smirked, "Yes, but my family likes to diversify and try different things. Besides, this place could be classified as a healing facility… to an extent." He drilled his gaze into the tall brunette who was still looking around the park, though the light glaze that had settled over her eyes earlier was now dispersed.

"I suppose…" she hummed, "that if someone were in need of a few 'mental health' days and couldn't afford or had the time to travel outside of the country… they could come here. The pools could also be great for physical therapy."

"Of course. The Ootori group's primary concern has always been for the good health and well-being of the general public. Though, I have to say no one has mentioned the pools being used for physical therapy before. Nice catch." Haruhi groaned, a little fed up with the boys and their 'higher-than-thou' attitudes. At least Kyoya sort of halfway complimented her sister instead of being at odds with her. It was a nice change from the past few weeks. Maybe this place is truly therapeutic. Even if it sounds a little suspicious...

"The park doesn't officially open until next month, but the host club was given a special advance invitation."

"I wonder why-"

"Haru-chan! Jin-chan!" The small blond hopped up onto Jin's back and playfully batted at Haruhi's shoulder, "Wanna share some coconut juice with me? Or do you want to try a piece of the mango cake!"

Haruhi shrugged, "Sure, why not?"

"I'm good for now, Honey-senpai." Jin lifted the small boy off and set him back down on his own two feet, "But I'll still hang out by you two."

Before they could follow the boy anywhere, though, the twins called out from behind them, "Hey Haruhi, Jin-senpai, wanna go check out the water slides in this place?"

"Hang on. Haruhi, what's the deal with that pullover you're wearing? Jin-senpai, are you making her wear that?"

Jin shook her head and held up her hands, "Don't look at me, you two. I had nothing to do with it."

*/ Flashback\ *

Haruhi and Jin didn't see each other again until they arrived in front of the changing room. Haruhi had to be dragged inside, while Jin eagerly followed Mori and Honey's directions. She'd been given a brochure of the place during the drive, which made her all the more excited. They were deposited in front of two twin maids, who were in turn told to, essentially, 'go nuts'.

Haruhi tried to back up away from the other girls, but was pulled into the changing rooms by her sister. Damn you Nēchan for being stronger than me! The girls were quickly rid of their clothes and presented to a large amount of swimsuits. Every kind of design you could imagine!

The twins called to them from the outside, "We've brought all of our mother's latest designs for you two to try!"

"Just pick whichever ones you want!"

Haruhi sighed, not in the mood to go swimming or play dress up with these girls she didn't know. Jin however, was roaming the many miles of hangers, occasionally pausing to stare at one before moving on. The maids seemed content to let her be; at least she was interested in finding one.

One of the maids held up a bikini with white and purple flowers decorating it, "How about this one?"

Haruhi blushed red, "No, not that one! I don't want a bikini. "

The girl pouted, "But you'd look so good in this one…"

"No, wait. What about this one?" The other maid smiled evilly and held up a bikini bottom. Or, at least it looked vaguely in the shape of a bikini bottom. It was really just a couple of red strings. Haruhi felt herself growing faint.

"B-but… that's just nothing more than a couple of strings…"

Just as she thought she was going to have a heart attack, a comforting hand rested on her shoulder. Jin smiled down at her little sister, "Haru, I think I found a good swimsuit for you." Haruhi glanced at the pink one-piece in her sister's hand. It came with a cap and the bottom had a white skirt over it and it wasn't exactly her style, but it was a lot less revealing than anything else she'd been show.

Before she even touched the hanger, Haruhi took a look at the swimsuit her sister was wearing, "Wow, Nēchan. You look good."

Jin was wearing a green and blue swimsuit that had white swirling patterns all over it. It had a short skirt with a similar pattern covering the bottom and a bikini-like top that tied around the back of her neck. Thankfully it didn't show too much cleavage, though it did clearly accent what her school uniform diluted on a daily basis. The top also had some extra fabric that dangled down to her waistline, leaving only a small strip of her stomach uncovered.

The tall brunette smiled kindly, "Thanks, Haru. Now, go get changed. I still have to take out my contacts, and pull my hair up."

"How do you have your-"

"The boys and I swung by our place and I picked up my glasses. I'm meet up with you outside the changing rooms, alright?"

"Alright."

Haruhi finished up before her sister and was quick to escape the nightmare that was the changing room… only to find Tamaki waiting for her. He walked over, looking away with his eyes closed until they were standing directly in front of each other. But as soon as he opened his eyes, Haruhi noted how a chill seemed to travel up his spine.

Before she could ask about it, the boy thrusted a yellow pullover into her face.

"Senpai?"

"Just… hurry up and put it on." Haruhi lifted an eyebrow, but did as Tamaki asked. Not like she planned on swimming today anyways, even if her sister had picked the suit out for her.

Jin came out just as Haruhi finished with the pullover and gave her sister an odd look, but dismissed it. The older Fujioka was now sporting a pair of small golden colored glasses that reminded Haruhi oddly of the shape of Kyoya's glasses… except smaller and a little more roundish. Her sister had also pulled the two locks of hair by her face back into a 'crown', ensuring that most of it wouldn't fly into her face, but the bottom inch of her hair was already starting to curl due to the humidity of the building.

"Ready to go, Haru?"

"I guess so."

*\ End Flashback/ *

"So… you're not going to swim?"

"Hold on, you do swim, don't you?"

Haruhi rolled her eyes, "I can swim just as well as the next guy, but it's not exactly my idea of fun. I'm not that big on water parks. Nēchan loves them, but I'd much rather be at home."

"She doesn't get out much, if you couldn't tell." Haruhi playfully pushed her sister's arm.

"You don't need a huge park to play in the water, Nēchan. A plastic pool works just as well, you know that."

The twins, however, looked incredibly confused, "A plastic pool? What's that?"

Haruhi tilted her head back, trying to think, "Let's see… it's about as wide as my arm span, so it's not that big and mostly for little kids to splash around in. They're normally round in shape and to use it you have to pump the plastic full of air."

"...That's an inflatable boat, dummy."

The sisters looked at each other and laughed lightly, "I keep forgetting. Different worlds."

"One of these days we'll get used to it." The girls looked over at the twins just as Tamaki grabbed them around their necks and pulled them away. He started whispering about not hurting the girl's feelings and that it wasn't their fault for being 'ignorant commoners'.

"I feel like we should be highly offended by that comment."

"I already am."

At their words, Tamaki scrambled back over, "I'm so sorry, Haruhi! I didn't mean to offend you or your sister! Jin, can you forgive me-" he stopped talking immediately, eyes fixed on Jin.

"Tamaki?"

Slowly, Tamaki pointed a shaking finger at Jin's left ear, "J-jin...W-what is th-that?"

"Hm?" The girl reached up and felt around her ear, "What are you talking about?" Just then, her fingers stopped at a spot just underneath her ear. A spot usually covered by her long hair. Oh.

"A tattoo." The boy looked like he'd just been shot in the heart, so Jin held her hands out in front of her, "Before you freak out, it's my mother's name. Dad agreed to let me get it on my 16th birthday, alright? It's nothing bad."

"Oh… oh…" Before the blond could say anything else, the twins spun him around and started grilling him about putting Haruhi in the pullover. He attempted to defend himself, but the twins weren't having it. To say the least, it didn't take long for Tamaki to start wigging out and flailing is arms around in the air.

"I was just trying to protect her innocence as any father would! It is not decent for a lady to be walking around half naked in front of boys!"

"But Jin-senpai-"

"I trust Jin to make her own decisions in regards to her body! If she can chose to have a tattoo then she can chose to show off a little skin!"

The girls were staring at the three arguing boys when Honey came back to them, "Haru-chan! Jin-chan! Is there where you two have been hiding?"

Jin smiled at the small boy now half dangling off of her sister's arm, "Sorry, we got a little distracted."

"That's okay! Let's play! Do you wanna go swim in the current pool with me?"

Haruhi shook her head, "Nah, I'm not gonna swim today. Not really feeling like it and my contacts are still in. You go enjoy yourself."

Jin suddenly snapped her fingers and pointed at Honey, "That's it! I knew something was off! Honey-senpai, you know how to swim, so what's with the floatie?"

The small blond suddenly smiled really big, "It just looks cuter this way, you know? I don't really need it! So, Jin-chan, are you gonna come swim with me?"

The tall girl pretended to wave off the question, "Not today. I don't need to swim. I'll just hang around here with Haru, alright? You go have fun without me."

"Okay!" The small boy turned and headed towards the current pool. Jin smiled off after the boy. He does look really adorable with that floatie. Still, it's a little sad that he still feels like his position is threatened. Her thoughts were cut short by a finger poking at her exposed belly.

"Haru? What are you doing?"

Haruhi was smiling as she continued to poke her, "Don't be stupid, Nēchan, I know how much you want to swim. You go have fun."

Jin's smile faltered, "Haru, I don't want to leave you alone and-"

Another poke, "Go."

She didn't need any more encouragement. Immediately the girl started running off along the current pool, "I saw something about a surfing modulator in the brochure! If you need me, find that!" And then she was gone. Haruhi laughed.

"Honey-senpai and Nēchan are too cute for their own good."

"Yeah, but Honey-senpai's got the innocent factor," the twins chimed in.

" No, you've got it all wrong! " Something started shaking the floor as a certain circular podium rose up from the ground. Renge stepped down onto level ground, oblivious to the gapes she was receiving and giving the hosts a good look at her pretty skimpy black bikini. She even had a long purple tattoo all the way down her stomach and an umbrella the same color in her grip.

"Well... even if your rig follows us like some creepy stalker, that outfit's really something."

"What's with the tattoo on your stomach? It doesn't look real, like the one Jin-senpai has."

"That's because it's not real, dummy! Don't you recognize it? I'm cosplaying!"

"As?"

Renge tilted her head to the left, "La-La~ Her petite and slender frame! Her blue eyes that light up young men's faces! Her singing voice! I am Quon Kisaragi! But enough about me, it's time for another lesson, boys! You obviously need help understanding Haninozuka's hidden motives! Look!" The group turned and watched as Honey took a huge running leap into the water, calling out for Mori-senpai's attention.

"What are you talking about?"

"When Honey-senpai said having the float on was cuter, he's not being as sweet and innocent as you think!"

"I agree," Kyoya finally stood up and joined the others, "Try putting the word 'I' in front of that sentence."

' I just look cuter this way, you know? '

Renge laughed, just as screechy as the first time they'd all heard it, "That's Haninozuka for you! He recently felt threatened by another Loli-boy type so he's taking steps to keep his rank!" Haruhi was having a hard time wrapping her head around the idea of Honey-senpai actually thinking of something so… so… underhanded.

I wonder if Nēchan knows about Honey-senpai's thoughts...

"Hey, look at this everybody!" The boys (and Haruhi) turned at the sound of Honey's voice and saw Mori-senpai swimming briskly against the current with Honey on his back. The two weren't even moving.

"Check it out, look! Even though we're swimming really fast we never go any further than where we are now!" Haruhi felt like the world was tipping beneath her feet. Is he really that smart?

* With Jin *

"Whoo!"

Jin felt water spraying all around her, splashing at her face and just drenching her from head to foot. Man, I'm glad I left my glasses at the table. With all this water I wouldn't have been able to see out of them anyways! The tall girl twisted her lower body and moved to the left side of the surfing modulator. Another twist and she was on the right side.

Another loud laugh bubbled up from her throat. The board beneath her feet was tiny and shook with every gallon of water that hit it from underneath, but she felt in control of the situation. The rush never faded. But still… her mouth was going dry. And fast.

Well, that's what happens when a bunch of chlorine water ends up in your mouth. Jin straightened up on the board. Now would be a good time to take a break. My legs are getting tired anyways. Yeah… a break now, and then later I'll go check out the water slides with Hikaru and Kaoru. Maybe I'll even teach them how to surf!

With that in mind, the tall girl bent back down and fell sideways off the board. Immediately the rushing water pushed her back up to the top, her foam board following her. By the time she got her footing back and stood up, she was soaked and dripping with cold water. Her hair was now a dark brown color, almost black, and her swimsuit weighed an additional ten pounds from when she put it on earlier.

Still, she was laughing as she grabbed her glasses and started walking back. Maybe someone could point her to where the coconut juice was...

* With the others *

Haruhi happily sucked down the ice water, ignoring the raging water gun fight going on a few feet to her right. As soon as the twins had started talking about getting married to her… she decided to find herself a lone table and sit there for a while. Of course, only a minute later someone came walking up to her chair. It was Mori-senpai, hitting the side of his head. Haruhi winced in sympathy. Water in the ear. Ouch. Over in the current pool, Honey was swimming against the current by himself. Looked like he was working up a sweat doing it, too.

"Taking a break, huh? Want something to drink?" Haruhi handed over her water.

"Yeah, thanks."

"Oh, and it looks like Nēchan is coming in, too." Haruhi waved happily at Jin, who smiled and waved back. Of course, Haruhi couldn't see the smile from the distance, but she knew that's what her sister was doing. Mori-senpai hummed and waved at the far-away girl as well.

Haruhi glanced up at the tall boy, "You know… Nēchan told me about how you, Honey-senpai, and her all know each other."

"Hm?"

"I've been meaning to say this for a long time, but thank you. You really helped her through a lot, and I've meant to thank you two ever since I found out what you did for her."

The tall boy smiled and looked away to watch the progressing water gun fight.

* With Jin *

Jin smiled at the sight of Mori and Haru talking. It was nice to know that her little sis was making friends with these boys. They weren't half bad, and Mori was a really cool guy.

Just as the brunette was about to start jogging over, she felt something. It was kind of like… a tremor that shook the floor. Not really an 'earthquake' kind of shake, but it definitely wasn't 'Renge's pedestal' either. She stumbled to a stop and looked over her left shoulder. Her eyes widened in disbelief. There was a huge wave heading down the current pool. How does something like that happen in a water park?

Her eyes jerked to the right, following the path of the wave all the way to Honey-senpai, where he was paddling in the pool all by himself. It was purely instinct what she did next, in all honesty. Jin wasn't even thinking as she raced towards the edge of the pool.

"Honey! Get out of the water! Swim!"

The small boy looked at her, then looked at the huge wave heading towards him. With a scream of terror, Honey started paddling frantically towards his friend. His floatie was making it difficult to paddle with both his arms and legs, and it was clear that he wasn't going to make it to the edge of the pool in time. Still, Jin crouched down at the edge, reaching out as far as she could and beckoned him towards her.

"You can make it! Come on, Honey!"

"Jin-chan!"

Her eyes grow wide as the wave bears down on them, then they narrow as she stood up and jumped out into the water.

* Honey's P.O.V. *

I was scared.

No, more than scared. I was terrified. More than I've ever been before. This wasn't something I could walk away from. This wasn't something I could fight either. I was going to be washed away. And from the tension in Jin's voice as she shouted my name, she knew that too.

Just as the wave was about to reach me, I saw Jin stand up. Her legs tensed and she jumped out towards me. I was still a good four or so meters away from the edge of the pool, but Jin had jumped similarly to a dive, with her hands outstretched for me. It was like everything was happening in slow motion.

I realized that she was jumping in to make sure I didn't disappear by myself.

Even though I wished she hadn't, I was glad that she wasn't going to leave me alone wherever the wave was going to take me.

Jin grabbed my right wrist with her right hand, her left hand coming up to hold the middle of my right forearm. A tight and strong grip, something we had learned together.

Then I felt her tug on me. My body dragged itself through the water as Jin's momentum and pulling forced us to switch positions.

I understood what she was really doing.

The word "No!" tears itself out of my throat as my body is launched out of the water.

I land on the pavement and roll a few times, my floatie coming off just as I hear my friend's body splash into the water.

Haruhi's scream of terror filled my ears as Jin was swept down the current pool.

* No one's P.O.V. *

" NĒCHAN! NO! " Haruhi ran towards the current pool, only to be caught around the waist. Mori-senpai lifted the screaming girl off the ground, her legs still working furiously as she attempted to reach her sister.

" WHAT ARE YOU DOING? LET ME GO! NĒCHAN! "

"Haruhi, calm down! Gentlemen, we're going after Jin!" Haruhi relaxed a bit in Mori's arms, so he set her down on her own two feet again while Tamaki pointed towards another river-like pool, which was running quickly in the same direction Jin had been washed away, "That pool looks like the quickest way! Charge!"

Tamaki, Mori, Honey, Haruhi, and the twins booked it to the pool, Kyoya calling out from behind them, "Wait, I wouldn't go-"

Five terrified screams could be heard before the six ran the other way, a few gators nipping disinterestedly at their heels.

"-that way."

Once the hosts were a "safe" distance from the reptiles, Haruhi muscled out the words, "What's with the alligators?"

Kyoya leaned up against a palm tree and started scribbling in his notebook, "They belong to the park's tropical animals exhibit. I guess it is kind of dangerous to let them run wild. Though, the cause of our present situation seems to be the location of the switch for the current pool. I'll have to have a little chat with our designers… Thanks a lot, you guys! You were perfect guinea pigs and I got some great data today!"

" AAAAHHHH! " Kyoya took a frantic step backwards as Haruhi leapt forward to apparently tackle him, only to be held back by the twins, " Let me go! Lemme at him! Just one punch! "

"H-haruhi… relax please."

" No! I will not relax! Nēchan is gone and all he cares about is his stupid family's business! " Kyoya blinked, a little hurt by the comment, but outwardly ignored it as well as the glares he was receiving from the others. He gestured for them to follow him and, surprisingly, they did. A few seconds later they were standing in front of a large map just outside of the changing rooms.

"Right. To put some perspective to our situation, this ," he pointed to an 'X' at the top center, "is our current location. We need to get here ," he pointed to a spot almost three-fourths down and all the way to the left of the map, "I have a feeling that's where Jin probably ended up. It might be tough because we'll have to make it through this jungle area here . We're talking about 800 meters or so."

Honey reached up and pointed at the question marks on the map, "What are these areas, Kyo-chan?"

"Under-developed areas. I'm afraid even I don't know what might be out in the jungle."

Haruhi pulled her shoulders back with a serious expression plastered to her face and started marching to the jungle, "Let's get moving everyone. The sooner we start the sooner we find Nēchan."


The seven hosts walked through the jungle with complete silence between them, each member wrapped up in their own thoughts about Jin. Where she could be. If she was hurt. How long it would take to find her… or if something had already found her instead. But what was almost worse than being left alone with their worried thoughts, was how shaken up Haruhi seemed to be.

The short girl was stumbling through the foliage, her gaze unmoving from its forward position. She'd already almost run into a few trees, she was so out of it. Haruhi's character switch was way more than just unnerving, even worse than the seriousness she'd expressed at the beginning of this adventure. That phase had lasted maybe five minutes before she sunk into... this.

"Wow… this place is just like a real jungle, huh?" Tamaki's voice was a lot quieter than it normally was, but he just couldn't take the silence any more. It was like with Jin missing, their ability to make conversation disappeared. So, small talk it was.

"Yeah, and I keep hearing scary animal sounds." Honey was gripping onto his cousin's shoulders, his expression looking weighted down.

"You don't think those animal sounds-"

"-could belong to the real thing… do you?"

"To be honest, I'm not quite sure, but I do know that my family always strives for authenticity."

Haruhi let out a huff of air, but kept her straight face. She hadn't said a word since they started walking. The boys thought that over.

I've never seen Haru-chan look so straight-faced before.

She's almost acting like Mori-senpai.

Surely she knows Jin can handle herself out here, no matter what she might've run into?

How did Haruhi handle being away from her sister for a full school year if this is how she's acting after only 15 minutes of separation?

Suddenly, the sky above them darkened.

Kyoya looked down at his watch, "Uh oh. It's about time for the squall." No sooner had the words left his mouth that Mori felt a raindrop on his head. A few more dripped down until the hosts were in the middle of a full on rain-shower.

Thankfully, there was a gazebo not twenty steps away in a nearby clearing, so they managed to not get too wet. Tamaki ruffled his short hair to get the couple drops of water off, but kept an eye on Haruhi. She was resting her forearms on the railing and staring out into the storm in the direction they were supposed to be traveling. The boys quickly huddled in the far corner.

"Wow, Haruhi is really taking Jin's disappearance hard."

"I bet Jin is out in the jungle somewhere acting just as out of it."

The boys heard a sniffle and looked down in surprise to see a few tears leaking down Honey-senpai's face.

"Honey-senpai, what-"

"I-It's a-all m-my f-f-fault! I-If I ha-hadn't needed to be r-rescued th-then J-Jin-chan wouldn't be all a-alone in this s-storm!"

"If Nēchan hadn't pulled you out of the water then we'd all be out here looking for you instead, Honey-senpai." The hosts whipped around at the sound of Haruhi's voice. Her gaze still hadn't left the jungle up ahead, but her posture was no longer as stiff. "It's not your fault, Honey-senpai. You didn't start the wave, and you didn't make Nēchan save you. That was her choice, and I bet that wherever she is, she's glad the wave got her and not you."

The girl sighed and rested her chin on her arms, "Actually, Nēchan's probably thrilled that you're safe here with us instead of her. If she hadn't saved you… she'd still be marching forward during this storm instead of waiting it out like we are."

Tamaki inched closer, "So… Jin likes to be the hero, huh?"

"Yeah, it started when Mom died. Jin was holding her hand as she passed, and wouldn't come out of her room for days afterwards, upset that she couldn't do anything to save her. It wasn't until… until I was all alone and scared that she came out to protect me. She's been my guard ever since, like how Mori-senpai protects Honey-senpai. Dad even likes calling her my 'Guardian Angel'. And something happened a few years ago that…" Haruhi stops talking suddenly and pulled her jacket hood up, "Never mind. That's not really important."

Tamaki opened his mouth, but was cut short by Mori-senpai resting a hand on his shoulder. The tall 3rd year shook his head. No. Not quite understanding why, but not willing to argue, the blond shut his mouth and let the brunette be.

Honey, however, walked over to his friend and touched her elbow gently, "Hey, Haru-chan, don't worry about Jin-chan too much, okay? She's smart and tough. She'll be just fine, and we all know it."

"Yeah."

Haruhi looked at the 3rd years, her face still blank and now darkened with the shadows from her yellow hood. The four other boys were watching with interest and slight apprehension. Just what were Mori and Honey doing?

Then Haruhi's face softened. Back to her normal calm look. Slowly, she rested her hand on the one Honey had on her elbow.

"Yeah, you two are right. I'm just being silly, I suppose. And I guess you two would know."

Finally, the twins and Tamaki's curiosity was too much to take. The twins crept closer, the blond hiding behind them.

"Hey... so, not to intrude or anything-"

"But Mori-senpai and Honey-senpai would know… what, exactly?"

Haruhi turned her head and gave the three boys a curious stare, "Well, they are cousins. Of course they'd understand what it would be like to be separated from each other."

Tamaki peeked out from behind the redheads, "You know about that?"

"Nēchan told me."

"And how did she know?"

Mori leaned against the wall of the gazebo, "We told her a long time ago."

"Yeah, Takashi and I have known Jin for almost nine years now. We met when we were all still in elementary school." Tamaki's jaw dropped, followed by Hikaru and Kaoru's. Even Kyoya looked stunned.

For a moment, the two groups did nothing but stare at each other, one side stunned into silence, the other somewhat amused. It wasn't until Kyoya's phone rang sharply that everyone broke out of their trance. He quickly answered it while the twins and Tamaki started talking among themselves about all the signs and hints they missed, as well as theories about how the three had met. Honey started laughing and went over to hear their funny, made-up stories.

Haruhi looked back out to the forest and noticed the rain was starting to let up, "Hey, check it out!"

Mori smirked, "We'll find her soon. She's probably coming towards us, too. Less distance to cover."

Suddenly, Haruhi grips his arm in a panic, "Oh no… Nēchan probably is trying to come back to us on her own! She'll follow the current pool! She's heading straight for the alligators!"

Without another word, the two bolted off into the woods. Knowing that time was of the essence, they left the others behind, though it was a bit of a surprise to them that the other five members of their club didn't notice them running out in a frenzy, but soon they both forgot about that. Haruhi because she was too focused on finding her sister, and Mori because he was soon preoccupied with keeping Haruhi from injuring herself.

He was put through a very time consuming task. Years of following his cousin around and keeping him out of trouble was a mountain of good credit, but Haruhi had tunnel-vision. She ran past a pair of snakes, narrowly avoiding stepping on them, and almost fell into a pool of swamp water before he managed to grab onto the back of her pullover.

And, there was also the fact that she was an incredibly slow runner. The boy couldn't help but wonder exactly how were Haruhi and Jin related? Mori finally just scooped her up into his arms to not only move faster, but keep her from breaking a limb or two. Haruhi seemed to understand and kept her mouth shut about it, just keeping her eyes peeled for her sister.

Noticing her vigilance, Mori's mouth quirked at the left corner. Or, maybe they're just more similar on the inside than the outside. The two made their way through the thick foliage.

* At the Gazebo *

"Yes, at once please." Kyoya hung up his phone and turned to look at the four boys who were arguing about the theory that Jin was secretly a princess who was there to arrange a marriage with Honey or Mori (which Honey denied with a vengeance) and cleared this throat for some attention.

"My family's police force is sending out a search and rescue party as we speak. They're better equipped to look for Jin and know the park's layout like the back of their hands. The head of force suggests that we go back to the main gate and wait for them to deliver Jin there. So, let's head back and... wait... where are Haruhi and Mori-senpai?" The four others looked around the gazebo.

"They… they're gone!"


* Tropical Aqua Garden General Administration Headquarters *

Sirens wailed down the hallways, red flashing lights illuminating every square inch of the place. Fifty men ran in an orderly fashion down the grey hallways, suiting up as their instructions repeated on the loudspeakers.

" Immediate emergency mobilization order! I repeat, immediate emergency mobilization order! Master Kyoya's friend has gone missing near the wave pool! Our search target is a tall brunette girl with golden glasses in a blue and green swimsuit! Orders are to eliminate any suspicious characters! Show them no mercy! Repeat! Eliminate any suspicious characters! Show them no mercy! "

* With Haruhi and Mori *

The forest was quiet, save for a few bird caws. The two had been walking for about five minutes and Haruhi was feeling restless. She wanted Mori to let her walk on her own to burn off some of that energy, but at the same time she didn't want to slow their search down. After all, they had to cut her sister off before she reached the alligators further along the wave pool.

Assuming she hasn't run into anything more dangerous already.

The girl shook her head to get rid of the thought. No reason to think negatively. Besides, Jin was really smart and had survival skills that rivaled Robinson Crusoe.

Mori stopped in his tracks at the edge of a small clearing, causing Haruhi to feel a bit of a jolt. The space was hardly the size of the gazebo they'd left a little while ago, but the tall boy was looking around it like he was trying to find something.

"Mori-senpai? Is something wrong?"

The boy shook his head and set the girl down, "I heard something."

Haruhi blinked before turning around and shouting, "Nēchan! Nēchan, are you out there!?" Three seconds later, Haruhi heard the sound of leaves being pushed aside and the sound of running feet.

"Haru!"

"Nēchan!" Haruhi ran across the cleared space and tackled her sister in a hug. Immediately she felt warmth in her limbs and the tired feeling in her legs from walking so far was gone.

"I'm so glad you're safe, Nēchan!"

"I'm glad I'm safe, too, but Haru what are you doing out here? Who knows what's loose in that jungle! I was on my way back and-"

"But that was the problem, Nēchan! You're heading straight for some alligators! Besides, Mori-senpai was here to keep me safe, and so were the others until we split up." Jin looked up at the gentle giant who had walked over as soon as Jin emerged from the trees. She smiled widely and set her sister back down on the ground to give her childhood friend a tight hug, which he gladly returned. She pulled back and pushed her glasses further up the bridge of her nose with her middle finger.

"How did you not lose those?"

"I was lucky. And my hand never let go of them for a second."

"Ha, so you were really lucky. Alright, so, we need to head back to the gazebo and-"

"FREEZE!" Out of nowhere, a group of nine men dressed head to toe in black armor dropped from the treetops, pointing machine guns at the three. Jin quickly grabbed Haruhi's wrist and pulled her between her and Mori, eyes going narrow.

"Target confirmed! The target and a small boy have been captured by a suspicious man. We will take the target and child into custody. You there! Take your hands off the boy! If you refuse, we will remove him forcefully!" Jin glanced behind her and saw that Mori had his right hand on Haruhi's shoulder, probably so he could scoop her up and run if the opening presented itself. She approved.

But while Jin's head was turned, one of the guards had inched forward until he could harshly grab onto Jin's upper arm. He yanked her away from the 'suspicious man', but Mori's free left hand swung upwards and knocked the guy clear off his feet. Jin hissed as his rough glove was ripped free of her bare skin, but other than that ignored the pain.

She was more concerned with the fact that the remaining eight guards had guns aiming at Mori and Haruhi. Her sister turned and hugged Mori in terror, and Jin saw a flicker of fear in Mori's eyes.

Hell to the no.

As the two men on either side of her reached to grab her arms, she charged at the one on her right. Before the man could react, she grabbed his gun with her left hand and knocked the guy's head to the side with her right elbow. His helmet went flying and he crumbled to the ground. Jin pulled his weapon out of his loose grip and turned to face the man coming up behind her, smacking him in the face with the butt of the rifle. Leaping over the downed man, she watched as the others turned towards her, screaming at each other what to do since their target was now attacking them. Jin rushed the next guy, punching him in the stomach to make him double over before spinning around and kicking the back of his head so he face-planted. The five remaining were taken care of just as quickly. Once the last guy was sent sprawling into the dirt with a roundhouse kick, she straightened up.

"Right, I think you all have learned your lesson. Don't point guns at the good guys."

The men simply groaned in response, or at least the ones that were conscious. Haruhi stared at her sister in awe. It had been a while since she'd seen her in action like that.

Jin looked over her shoulder, "You two okay?"

Haruhi and Mori nodded just as Tamaki's voice cut through the trees, "Haruhi! Haruhi! Are you alright?"

The twins and Kyoya stopped just short of the ring of downed guards.

"Oh… wow."

"What happened here?"

"HARUHI!" Tamaki sprinted past everyone else and enveloped the small girl in a hug, "I was so worried."

"Wow, Tamaki. Feeling the love over here," Jin comments drily. Haruhi rolled her eyes and pinched the back of Tamaki's hand, forcing him to release his hold on her. She inched her way towards one of the soldiers and poked his side with her toes, drawing out a groan.

"Still alive, but I guess that's to be expected." She smirked at Jin, "You grew soft in America, Nēchan. Normally a group this size would've been taken care of in half the time."

Jin wrinkled her nose at her little sister, "Oh, please. What were you doing during that fight?"

"Wait a second. Are you saying-"

"-that Jin-senpai was the one who did this?"

"Of course. Did you think Nēchan knew Honey-senpai and Mori-senpai from knitting club? She joined the Haninozuka dojo when she was seven."

Honey jumped onto Jin's back in a hug, "Yeah. Jin-chan is really good, too. She's even an honorary Haninozuka!"

The brunette waved at the boy's stunned faces, "I know, it's a little hard to take in at first, but it's true. In the Haninozuka owned dojos, I am recognized as Worthy Matron Fujioka."

"We humbly apologize!"

"Hm?" The group looked down to see six of the men on their knees in a deep bow, facing Jin. The teenagers could see the sweat shining along their necks, and their backs heaved with every breath.

"I am a second generation student of the Ishizuka Dojo!"

"I'm a student of the Todoroki Dojo!"

"I'm from the Otake Dojo! We are in your debt!"

Jin tilted her head, "Explain your actions."

"We're so sorry, Miss! We were unaware that we were searching for Worthy Matron Fujioka! I apologize for this confrontation! My dojo will be so excited to hear that I've come face to face with you and the great Haninozuka!"

The girl shrugged and leaned her weight onto her left leg, helping Honey slide down from her back, "Alright, alright, no need for all of that. It's really okay, I guess. You probably weren't told that there were others in the park… you were just doing your job. Well, men, return to your posts. You are dismissed."

"Yes, Worthy Matron Fujioka!" She nodded as they left, carrying their unconscious comrades away. Haruhi gave her sister another hug.

"Takashi! You did an amazing job of protecting Haru-chan!" Jin smirked as Honey patted his cousin's head.

"Yes, Honey-senpai. He did great, but we should probably head back now before it gets too late."

The eight nodded and started walking towards the entrance, exchanging their own versions of what had happened that day. Haruhi tried to walk by Jin's side, but Tamaki was adamant that the short brunette not leave his sight until they were out of the jungle. And, considering Jin was bringing up the back of the pack, she was walking by herself.

She didn't mind being the caboose. This way, everyone was in her line of sight, and she got to chose whether to listen to a conversation or just be alone with her thoughts. In her mind, the back of a group was the prime real estate.

However, she knew that there was still one conversation left to be had. But the person Jin was waiting for to start it didn't say a thing until they were almost back to the front of the building. The windows above them were a nice light orange color by the time Kyoya slowed his pace to walk beside Jin.

He eyed her with curiosity, "Nowhere in your file says that you are an honorary Haninozuka."

Jin smirked and readjusted her glasses, "That's because we kept it out of the official records. Also, it's not like I was adopted or married in or I signed a contract. The whole process was very informal. In the family and in their dojos, I am recognized as a member of the Haninozuka family, and I guess that makes me an honorary Morinozuka as well. But outside of those places? I'm just normal, everyday Jin Fujioka."

"Well, that certainly is interesting." Kyoya glanced down and his smirk vanished, "You have a bruise on your arm."

"Hm?" Jin looked down at the developing darkness that circled her upper arm like a thick band, "Oh, right. That. One of the guards tried to pull me away from Mori-senpai and Haru. He wasn't very gentle." She noticed Kyoya's eyebrow twitch so she gently bumped into his side, "Hey, relax. It's just a silly bruise. No need to fire anyone over it. Besides, Mori-senpai knocked him really good in the face after that. He probably learned his lesson."

Kyoya pulled out his journal, "Be that as it may, I can not have anyone under my family's employ be this casual with rough-handling civilians. I'll have to order extra policies regarding civilian and police interactions within the park be added to the men's training regiment…"

Jin rolled her eyes and let him disappear into his mind of calculations. If he wanted to be a workaholic, then let him be. At least he showed a bit of concern that she was hurt. That, she felt, was very good progress.

"You know, maybe we should go to the beach next." Jin looked around Mori's large frame. The twins were in the front of the pack, and were the first to emerge from the jungle area. They were back by the changing rooms.

"Yeah! The beach would be nice!"

Tamaki scoffed, strolling along casually behind the redheads, "You idiots. Haruhi's not interested in anything like that."

Jin speaks up, "Actually, Haru likes the beach."

The group stops and looks around, "She-"

"-does?"

Haruhi shifted her weight onto her left foot and looked over the darkening water park, "Well, yeah. I like the ocean. It'd be nice to go to the beach and just watch the sun set over the waves. It's really pretty..." Ding! Ding! Ding! Tamaki was sold .

As the boys went into the changing rooms, discussing plans to visit the beach next weekend, Haruhi grabs Jin's wrist, "Nēchan…"

"Hey, it's fine." The brunettes stared at each other for a few more seconds before Haruhi released her.

"Okay then, if you're sure."

The taller girl smiled and threw an arm around her sister, "Hey, we'll be with the host club the entire time. What could happen?" They glanced at each other out of the corners of their eyes before bursting into loud laughter.

 

Chapter Text

 

How do we always end up in these messes?

...

*/ Flashback\ *

"Hey, guys? Haru and I won't be able to attend the host club this Friday."

You know... you'd think that by now Jin would know better than to announce something like that in front of the entire host club. I mean, when you consider that their usual response is to fly off the handle at even the tiniest change to their schedule, then you'd think that the people who hung out with them so much would start finding roundabout ways to share such news.

But, you'd be wrong. She was quickly tackled in a tight hug by none other than Tamaki Suoh who proceeded to bawl into her school jacket. "Why, Jin?! Why must you leave us?! Was it something I did? Or those devil twins? Whatever we did to offend you we didn't mean it!"

"Tamaki!" Jin pushed the blond away as best as she could, "You did nothing! Haru and I are just going to be very busy tomorrow and this weekend!"

The twins were the next to approach, "Doing what?"

"We-"

"We're not telling you," Haruhi quickly interrupted her sister. The two girls shared a long stare before Jin rolled her eyes and Haruhi smiled smugly.

"Awww…"

"Why not?"

Haruhi went back to organizing her table, still looking smug about winning the silent discussion, "Because if we tell you what we're doing, you'll just follow us anyways and that's something I would rather avoid."

The twins draped themselves over Haruhi's head, almost making her to fall over, "Oh… come on! Don't you trust us yet?"

"Not even remotely."

The group looked at the elder Fujioka who simply shrugged in response, "If Haru doesn't want you there, then I'm not going to argue. Sorry, looks like you're on your own."

*\ End Flashback/ *

* Saturday *

" Jin! Front desk! ASAP! "

"On my way." She hooked her walkie-talkie back onto her jeans before taking a left, deviating from her original route, and flipped over another paper that was clipped to her notepad. She read the document as she continued walking down the hallway. The page was solely dedicated to the design of a backyard of a house about a half hour drive from her current location, and she examined every detail.

Five foot tall fence, grassy, and a Weeping Pagoda tree. That'll provide plenty of shade… mmm, the Lily pond might be an issue…

"Excuse me!"

The tall brunette stepped to the left and pressed her back to the wall as a boy hurried past, toting a red bucket filled to the brim with soapy water as fast as he could. Which, in order to keep the water in the bucket, wasn't that impressive of a speed.

Jin spoke up as he passed her, without even looking away from the clipboard, "Don't forget that Kimi tries to eat the bubbles. We don't need her sick today."

"Right. And you'd better hurry, Jin. Hayashi-san seemed stressed."

"More than usual? However could that happen?"

The boy and girl parted ways quickly and Jin began scribbling her thoughts on the last paper in the stack. It certainly seemed like a good candidate, but at the same time they'd need to do something about their Lily pond before Akihiro could be placed in the home. She sighed.

The joys of working in an animal shelter.

That wasn't to say she didn't enjoy volunteering, because she really did. Jin had always loved animals, and since she wasn't allowed to have pets of her own, spending her time helping out at the local shelter was the next best step.

But of all of her years here, this was always her least favorite day.

" Fujioka! " Her boss shouted through her walkie talkie again as she was about to enter the lobby.

"I'm coming ! Geez! What do you-" Her mouth fell open at the sight.

The front lobby was completely crowded. There were roughly fifty or sixty people standing or sitting around the room. Now, considering that today was Hōmusuītohōmu Animal Shelter's Annual Adoption/Siblings day, this wasn't an unusual number. It was the one day of the year that the number of volunteers and employees was upped from 19 to 36 and prices were down. They even went as far as to advertise the day for a month ahead of time. Which is why the extra 17 people wasn't nearly enough to smoothly handle everything.

Most of the people around the room were small families, but a fair few were just by themselves or just with their significant other. However, there was one big group who was dominating the most attention.

" Guys? "

"Hi, Jin-chan! I bet you're surprised to see us!"

Jin's mouth remained slack as her "boss", Hayashi-san, rubbed his forehead, "Jin… these boys claim to be friends of you and your sister and were adamant about meeting with at least one of you." Jin looked at her boss and felt her annoyance at the hosts increase.

Aki Hayashi was a 34 years old man, nearly 35, and had been running Hōmusuītohōmu Animal Shelter for 13 years. It had been his and his father's dream, his passion, and the place where he met his wife. Jin held a huge amount of respect for the man despite the two treating each other like cousins. And he was actually another reason for her to hate this particular day. Every year on Adoption day, without fail, his normally bright green eyes dimmed to the color of seaweed and his russet color hair looked more grey as his already stressful job became nearly concerning for his mental health.

And now the host club was here, stirring up trouble.

For another couple seconds, Jin stared at the six boys in the lobby before slowly pulling her walkie-talkie up to her mouth, "Haru? Do you copy?"

" I'm here. What's the problem, Nēchan? "

"They're here."

" They? Who they? "

"You know damn well which 'they' I'm talking about."

There was a brief moment of silence before Haruhi growled lowly out the speaker, " I'll be right there. "

Jin placed the radio back on her belt loop, "I'm not speaking to any of you until Haru gets here, or else she may never forgive me." She leveled a dark stare at each boy before spinning on her heels to face the front of the lobby, "Could Mr. Sousuke Ueno please come forward?" As soon as she spoke, a man walked away from his partner and two children and approached her.

Jin offered her right hand and the man shook it, "Jin Fujioka. I've just finished going over your submitted online files. From what I've seen so far, your house is a very good candidate for Akihiro, but I do have a few concerns."

The man pressed his lips together tightly before letting go of her hand, "Is there a problem?"

Jin flipped the papers to the very back, where the handwritten notes were scribbled down, "I'm afraid so. It says here that you have a lily pond in your backyard? Lily's are very poisonous for dogs, so if you do go through with the adoption, we'll need you to either fence or block off the pond, substitute another flower for the lilies, or get rid of the pond completely."

Mr. Ueno nodded, "I understand, and I'm sure we can put up a fence to keep Akihiro out."

Jin smiled and nodded back before flipping back to the very first page, marking a check in a box near the top, "Well, we've gotten that taken care of. Would you like to meet with Akihiro still?"

He nodded, "Of course."

"Very well. I'll alert Kisumi to prepare Akihiro for a meet-and-greet before coming to fetch you and your family. It shouldn't be more than a five to seven minute wait."

The tall man smiled and performed a short bow, "Thank you."

Jin smiled, "You're welcome." As the man went back to his husband and kids, Haruhi came out from the back. She wasted no time in marching up to the hosts.

"What are you doing here?"

Jin took a step back and let Haruhi force the boys to explain themselves while she radioed Kisumi.

"Hey, can you get Akihiro ready for a meet-and-greet?"

" Of course. Papers? "

"They'll be on the front desk with Hayashi. I think I have another… issue to take care of."

" Uh oh. I know that tone. Good luck. "

"I'll need it."

Jin put her walkie-talkie back on her belt loop just as Hikaru started to put out the fires Tamaki was lighting, "Look, what he means is that we were curious about what you two were doing today and yesterday."

"Yeah, we couldn't exactly follow you yesterday because Kyoya wouldn't let us skip out on the host club like you two."

Kyoya spoke from the far wall where he was reading a brochure about the building, "We closed the club not three days ago to go to the Aqua Garden, and next Friday we shall be leaving early to travel to the beach. If we continue to cancel the club regularly, eventually we'll have a full scale riot on our hands."

The twins waved him off, "Anyways, after he finished lecturing us Kyoya looked through Jin's school files."

"Since she told the School Board about her volunteer work everything was in her files."

Honey bounced forward, "We looked up what you two would be doing here, and decided that we wanted to help!" Haruhi opened her mouth, probably to point-blank tell them to leave, but Jin spoke first.

"Do you even know what you're getting into? Working in a shelter is a lot of hard work. There are many things that need to be done properly or you could risk injuring someone or ruining a potential adoption. It's serious work."

"We're ready!"

Jin turned her gaze to her "boss", "The final decision is yours…"

Aki brought his hand down his face, pulling at his chin while he stared at the boys sharply. Tamaki was starting to twitch before he finally spoke.

"They will be your responsibility, Jin. Find them all appropriate jobs and keep them on it."

"I will."

"Good. Now, off you go."

Jin gestured for the boys to step through a nearby doorway. As they did, Haruhi scowled darkly, " I hate you so much, Nēchan. "

"No you don't." The girls followed the boys into the hallway and gave them all a look.

"Well… the cat kennels need another pair of hands…"

"What about general maintenance?"

"Kyoya's probably better suited for a less physical job and more organization..."

"Wait a moment," the twins held up their hands, "We have a quick question. Do we have to wear uniforms like what Haruhi is wearing?" Haruhi looked down at her clothes. It wasn't anything bad. Just a pair of jeans and a green shirt with the words 'Hōmusuītohōmu Animal Shelter' on the front, and the word 'Volunteer' on the back.

Jin raised an eyebrow, "Yes. We'll get you your shirts after figuring out where you'll be working."

"But why aren't you wearing one of those shirts, Jin-chan?"

The girl smirked a bit, "I kind of out-rank everyone but Aki. I can wear what I please so long as I have my name tag." She propped up the green clip that read, 'Hello, My Name is Jin Fujioka'. It was pinned neatly to her green and white checkered shirt, which was unbuttoned a little at the top to show off the white tank-top underneath. For pants she had donned a pair of skinny jeans that had a few drawings on it. Some of them looked painted, while the rest looked like marker drawings. And her feet were fit snuggly inside her red and green plaid converse.

The girl propped her fists against her hips, and with her sleeves rolled up to her elbows, the stance just made her forearms that much more pronounced. Clearly, training at the Haninozuka dojo for over ten years had its physical perks.

"Let's get to work, boys."


"Perhaps I could stand outside and encourage buyers-"

"No good. Buying an animal is different than buying a pair of shoes," Jin mumbled around her apple flavored jolly rancher, "You have to really commit to buying, caring, and loving the animal for a long time."

"Well then, I can help Haruhi-"

"No. I'm doing just fine by myself thank you."

Tamaki looked around frantically, "Well… there must be something for me to do!" Jin sighed and stretched her back. It was no surprise that Tamaki was the hardest one to find a job for. The others were already settled into their various position, but Tamaki just wasn't a good fit for anything.

There were enough helpers in the cat section now, thanks to the twin's addition, and Honey was more than enough help for the small animal department. Tamaki had run screaming from the reptile cages after he witnessed a snake snap up a small mouse, and two birds had already attempted to nest in his hair.

Jin sighed and began leading them through the dog kennels again, double checking that they'd all been fed properly, "I'm sorry, Tamaki, but I'm not sure what you can help with that needs the help. There's just no-"

She was cut off as a dog jumped up against it's cage side, barking and wagging its tail at the three. The Spitz barked a few more times before running around its cage in a circle, scooping up a rope toy in its mouth and carrying it back to the cage gate. She stared up at the humans expectantly, bushy tail wagging something fierce.

Jin laughed and crouched down, reaching her fingers through the cage wires and gently tugged on the toy, making the dog start a tug-o-war with her, "I'm sorry, Kenta, but I'm too busy to play! Though, if you keep up this playfulness then I'm sure… someone… will…" The tall girl trailed off and let the dog pull the toy from her fingertips. As the white dog whipped the rope around in victory, she turned her head to face Tamaki.

"How do you feel about dogs?"

The blond brightened, "I love dogs! They're so much fun and so fluffy!" His classmate nodded slowly, a small smile beginning to grow on her face.

"I think I found a position for you."

* Timeskip *

A few minutes later, Tamaki found himself standing on a green, fenced in lawn. It was fairly big, perhaps not the size of his own backyard, but still a decent size. And, standing in front of him, were five dogs of different sizes and breeds. All of them staring intently at the bright green tennis ball in his right hand.

Tamaki looked over at the back of the Animal Shelter, where he could faintly see Jin and Haruhi watching from the window. Not wanting to disappoint his 'sister' and 'daughter', he turned back to the dogs and threw the ball as far away as he could. Instantly, the animals took off after it, barking madly.

The ball sailed across maybe half the yard and bounced once, twice, before being snagged out of the air by a big brown dog. He remembered Jin had called him… Dai. Which made sense, given his size.

As the dogs run back, Dai dropping the ball at Tamaki's feet for round 2, he noticed that a few people had joined the girls at the window. He remembered the second reason Jin had given him this position. So that not only would some of the more excited dogs get their energy out, but should a family be looking to adopt a more active dog they could watch them in action.

He smiled and threw the slightly slimy ball again.

Inside, Jin was mirroring Tamaki's smile, "Finally. Something we've all been needing."

Haruhi nodded her head, "Agreed. It's nice to see Senpai playing with the dogs. And it looks like they're all having fun."

"Be that as it may, you might want to keep an eye on the adoption papers." The girls looked to their left as Kyoya approached them, also watching his friend out the window. He smirked as Tamaki took off running in the opposite direction the next time he threw, so the five dogs chased after the ball, then started chasing the blond. "If you're not careful he's going to try to adopt every single animal in here."

Jin snorted, "You came here with him, so I think he should be your responsibility."

Her sister rolled her eyes, "Besides, I don't have the time to read over every adoption paper before I deliver it, and I doubt anyone else here is going to see the amusement of Tamaki adopting twenty dogs at once."

Kyoya looked out the window again just as Tamaki was tripped by the smallest dog, leading to a 'lick-fest', "I'll try to contain him as best as I can, but no promises." The girls nodded and the three watched the playfulness for another few moments.

As they watched Tamaki be nuzzled and stepped on by multiple dogs, Kyoya cast a wary look towards the shorter of the two girls. The briefest of memories flashed before his eyes: Haruhi lunging towards him with a snarl and eyes narrowed dangerously, threats of punching on her lips. The actions had surprised and shocked him then, and they still do now.

Sure, she had apologized for her actions the next time they'd seen each other, but he couldn't quite forget how willing she seemed to attack him. And, if Kyoya were to be completely honest with himself, he was still vaguely frightened of the sheer ferocity that the two siblings loved each other. Sure, the twins were a little twisted and their bond occasionally caused one of them to lash out, but with the Fujioka girls it was just plain unexpected.

"We should probably get back to work."

Kyoya quickly pulled up the clipboard in his hands, "Indeed. There are a few adoptions that I need to finish recording."

He walked away as Jin kissed her sister's forehead, "And I should probably check on the other boys anyways. Can't let them mess up, or else I'll pay for it."

Haruhi nodded in agreement and hummed, "That does seem to be the common case, doesn't it," before heading back towards the front lobby. Jin stared out the window again as Tamaki tossed the ball again, sending it even further across the yard.

Well, he seems to be okay there for a while. And… I think Mori was supposed to be at the aviary last I heard. The brunette straightened out her checkered shirt as best as she could before turning around and walking past a few children who were watching the dogs playing with big grins on their faces.

The aviary Jin was heading towards was actually no different from any other room in the building. The only thing that set it apart from the others was the fact that you had to enter a small, empty room first and close the first door before entering the aviary itself. This was to ensure that if a bird ever escaped its confinements, it would be harder for the tiny animal to escape to the rest of the building.

"Ahh!"

At the sound of the loud shout, Jin took off running. She came to a stop just outside of the aviary and was quick to run through the first door. Once she had it shut firmly behind her, Jin looked in through the window. Sure enough, it looked like something was wreaking havoc in there.

The brunette slipped into the room and watched for a moment as the three young teenagers in green shirts ran around, once in awhile crashing into a counter but careful to steer clear of the cages filled with birds waiting to be adopted out. The air was filled with shrill chirps and the volunteers shouting at each other.

"Go to the left! No, the left! "

"Do you think I should climb onto the counter?"

"You will do no such thing." The three young teens stumbled to a stop at the sound of Jin's voice and spun to face her.

"F-Fujioka-san! What are you doing in here?"

"I couldn't help but overhear what was going on, so I came to see what was up."

The three looked at each other almost embarrassed, "Well… one of the birds got out of their cage. We've been trying to catch it."

Jin looked around the room and saw a Long-Tailed Tit perched on top of one of the cabinets. She smiled and shook her head, snickering, "Um, I assume that you're all family of one of the year-round volunteers?"

The three kids nodded, so she laughed lightly and held out her right hand, palm facing upwards, and whistled three times. The little white bird quickly fluttered down into her palm and hopped around a bit before settling down comfortably into her hand, its head nestled in the crook of her thumb and palm.

The boys stared at the bird and girl in surprise, so she explained, "This little guy isn't here to be adopted. He's like… Hōmusuītohōmu's mascot. He's a wild bird who flew in here about two years ago, and he's never left. We named him Sora once we realized he wasn't going to leave."

She moved the bird onto her shoulder, "He doesn't have a cage."

The kids shuffled their feet, cheeks red in embarrassment, so she hummed gently, "Hey, no reason to be upset. It was just a misunderstanding. How about I help you all clean up?"

With the four of them, it only took about ten minutes to get everything straightened out once again. The volume of the chirps was halved by the time they finished. Jin sighed and rolled her shoulders back, careful not to dislodge the tiny animal still perched on her.

"There, that wasn't so hard! Now, have any of you boys seen a really tall, dark haired boy around? Last I heard he was helping out in here."

The tallest boy nodded from where he was topping off the feeders, "Yeah. He finished fixing the automatic feeders just a few minutes before you came in and left for the small animal department."

Jin nodded, "That seems likely. And it's almost feeding time there too… Thanks boys!" She spun around and cast a wave over her shoulder, "Sora's coming with me, by the way!" And she left.

As she walked down the hallway (thankfully it wasn't a long walk between the aviary and the small animal room) Sora chirped happily in her ear, occasionally pecking at her shirt or hair. Jin reached up and stroked the bird's head.

"You were just being a little stinker in there, weren't you? Letting those boys chase you around for no reason!" Sora chirped and hopped around on her shoulder.

Jin chuckled and pushed open the door that lead to the small animal room. The first thing she noticed was the number of people who were standing around. It surprised her. Sure, the rabbits, ferrets, and hamsters were always a big hit for young children when their parents didn't wish to purchase a dog or a cat, but this amount of people was almost too much for the room.

Thankfully, Jin spotted Mori a little ways into the crowd by a counter top and started sneaking her way towards him.

"Mori-senpai, I've been looking for you!"

The tall boy hummed at her, which probably meant, Oh? What for?

Jin merely rolled her eyes, "I'm kind of in charge of you boys. Aki will want a report on your actions every once in awhile, I would imagine. So, what are you doing in here?"

Mori lifted a small stainless steel bowl for her to see. Jin looked around her friend to see a bag of ferret food waiting to be emptied into the five or so bowls spread out on the counter and the one in his hand.

She smirked, "I guess not giving you a single job was a good idea, huh?"

Her friend let his lips twitch in a small smile before patting her head, "Yeah."

Jin playfully smacked his hand away, "Don't mess up my hair! And where is your cousin?" Mori pointed towards the approximate center of the large crowd. She cocked an eyebrow before gently pushing her way through the crowd. Why is Honey the center of attention? I thought I told him to- Oh.

Honey was dangling halfway in the rabbit cage, his arms and face being assaulted by little bunny noses as the small boy squeaked with laughter. Everyone else in the room seemed to have made a little ring around the cage, cooing at the young volunteer so overjoyed by the "bunny kisses". Jin noticed another volunteer watching from the other side of the cage and cocked an eyebrow. The other girl shrugged in response as if saying, Hey, if it's not broken, don't fix it.

Jin couldn't think of an argument, considering the small pile of filled out adoption papers the other volunteer was holding. She shot a glance at the large clock on the wall and noted the time. 12:29.

Clearing her throat, Jin announced, "If we could have every non-employee or volunteer please step out of the room for ten minutes so we can feed the animals? Thank you." There was a large amount of shuffling feet as the thirty or so adopters walked out of the room, on occasion dragging their small children out behind them.

Once the door finally boomed shut, Jin pushed her rolled up sleeves past her elbows and smiled at the volunteers, "Who's ready for feeding?"

Hanan, the volunteer who had been holding the adoption papers, looked at her curiously, "You're helping us out today, Jin-san?"

"Why not?"

Hanan smiled and passed a filled bowl over to her, "No reason. And thanks." Jin smiled back before taking the food to the ferret side of the room. Honey bounded up to Hanan for his own dish and regarded her curiously.

"Why did you sound so surprised when Jin-chan said she'd help? What does Jin-chan normally do around here?"

"Well… it's a little hard to explain. Jin-san sort of helps out wherever she can, but she doesn't usually do the small jobs, like feeding or cleaning. She's more our supervisor and damage control. Jin does the big stuff. Actual adoptions, supply ordering, she even helps Hayashi-san with the financing. But on occasion she does help us out with the every-day kind of issues, especially on adoption day." Honey nodded, feeling more than a little proud of how well his childhood friend was doing in her life. A stark difference from how her future had looked when they first met…

"Hanan?" The girl quickly handed the feeding bowl to the short boy before facing her supervisor.

"Yes, Jin-san?"

"Are these forms completely filled out?" Jin thumbed through the three stacks of papers, the same ones Hanan had been holding when the brunette first came in.

"Yeah. I was told to hold onto them until either Haruhi or someone named Kyoya Ootori came in to collect them."

Jin smiled slightly and tucked the papers into the crook of her arm, "No need. I can take them to Kyoya. Besides, I have to check on how he's doing anyways and you seem to have enough hands to finish with feeding."

Hanan's eyes widened, "Oh! He's another one of your charges?"

"Yes, he is. I just have to check on him and the twins before reporting back to Aki." She sighed, "Only five more hours of this!" The blonde and brunette snickered before they separated to do their jobs. But before she left, Jin snuck up behind the two cousins.

"Try to stay out of trouble until I come back around?"

Honey giggled as one of the more friendlier ferrets, Kuu, climbed onto his shoulder and started sniffing his neck, "Okay, Jin-chan! I'll be here!" His cousin grunted his response and lightly patted Sora's head from where he was still perched on Jin's shoulder. The brunette nodded, satisfied that the tall ravenet would keep the small boy out of any peril, and left the room to go hunt for the club's vice-president.

Whom she almost ran into the second she opened the door.

"Ah!"

"Oof!"

The 2nd years both quickly took a step back, Sora chirping shrilly after almost being knocked off his perch. Jin let out a breath to calm herself before reaching up to stroke the small bird.

"Sorry, Kyoya. I didn't know you were there."

The boy readjusted his glasses, "It's quite alright. Besides, it was partially my fault as well." He looked up and stilled, "What's with the bird?"

"Hm? Oh, this is Sora. He's like our mascot. Sora flew in about two years ago and hasn't left since. He likes to hang out on people's shoulders, mine especially."

Kyoya blinked before shrugging it off. The small white bird on Jin's shoulder wasn't the strangest thing he'd seen today. No, that award went to whenever he looked in a mirror and saw himself wearing the same green volunteer shirt as about half of the staff at the shelter. But the tame, yet wild bird was still odd in its own right. He adjusted his glasses once more, "That's interesting. But, if you'll excuse me, I..."

Jin held the stack of papers out in front of Kyoya's chest, making him trail off, "I was just in there and decided to give them to you the next time I ran into you. But if I'd known you were already on your way, I wouldn't have bothered."

Kyoya blinked once before taking the papers, "Thank you. You just saved me another tedious conversation where I have to prove that I'm allowed to take these papers."

Jin's eyes narrowed, "You have to prove to the others you're allowed to collect the adoption papers?" The girl glanced behind her at the room she'd just left, "That's... weird."

The boy let her think to herself for a moment before hooking the papers to his own clipboard, "It doesn't matter now. I've made my rounds often enough that the other volunteers are starting to remember me. All I have left for the rest of the lunch hour is one cat adoption…" Kyoya ran his finger down the list he'd hooked to his clipboard earlier.

Jin peered at the paper and let out a little gasp, "Chi was adopted? That's wonderful! She's been here longer than I have!"

Kyoya smirked, "If she had had any chance, it would be today."

"Well, since you're heading to collect Chi's papers, I might as well tag along. I need to check on the twins so I can give Aki a report of you boys."

"Very well. But might I suggest rotating the dogs that Tamaki plays with soon? I just passed by the back of the building and a few of them have grown tired."

Jin smacked her forehead, "Of course! What was I thinking? Thanks, Kyoya. Do you happen to have a pen?"

The boy handed over the pen he had in his hand just as the two started walking through the dog kennels. Kyoya didn't exactly understand why the room with the cats was by the front of the building while all the other separate rooms were in the back with the dog kennels in between. It didn't make much sense to him, but it didn't matter enough to actually ask about it.

"You're wondering why our rooms are arranged the way they are, right?"

The ravenet looked down at his walking partner who was scribbling a few names onto the palm of her left hand. He cocked an eyebrow, "I was, but now I'm more curious as to why you're writing on your skin instead of a piece of paper like a normal person."

"I don't exactly have any scrap paper on me, in case you haven't noticed! Besides, you'd be surprised how often just writing on your hands helps with remembering short term things. And this way I can just wash the ink off later instead of wasting paper!"

Kyoya shook his head, deciding not to argue to point, "Back to the previous topic. Building arrangement."

"Oh, that? That's easy. Say a cat gets out of their kennel; If they snuck into the aviary or the reptile room or with the small animals, we'd have a bit of a problem on our hands. So, what better barrier between them all than the kennels?"

Jin wrote down the name of a puppy that was barking up a storm as Kyoya processed her reasoning, "I suppose that makes sense."

The girl chuckled, "Why do I have a feeling that you have another question?"

"I suppose… it's not really a question. More of a curiosity."

"Oh?"

"How were you able to tell that I was wondering about the building arrangement?"

Jin tapped the end of the pen against her lips, eyeing each dog they passed in turn, "I'm not sure. Probably something to do with how well I can read Haru. You had a crinkle between your eyebrows, similar to the one Haru gets when she's curious or confused about something. Considering we were passing through these kennels towards the cat room, I just took a guess."

Kyoya stared at his classmate, "Are you saying that the way you and Haruhi can always tell what's on each other's minds is pure guessing?"

The girl laughed, "Oh, hell no! I know my little sister better than that I'll have you know."

"Then how-"

"Looks like something exciting is going on here…"

Kyoya, though a little miffed at being cut off, stopped next to Jin as they came up to the door. There appeared to be a loud commotion inside from what they could see through the window, but Jin calmly proceeded into the room after a few seconds, Kyoya right behind her. The two stood just inside the door as at least six volunteers jogged around the room, one by one disappearing into the back, the twins nowhere in sight.

Sora remained resolutely on Jin's shoulder, despite the many cats suddenly staring at him. Kyoya could almost respect the fearlessness of the bird, but he quickly caught himself. He may be wearing a green volunteer shirt and be spending his day in a commoners animal shelter, but he was not about to start thinking that Long-Tailed Tits were brave.

Jin finally spoke up as the noise level spiraled downward, "What's going on?"

A lady who looked to be in her young 30's speed walked by them with a pile of warm towels in her arms, "Mai went into labor. She's giving birth to her kittens right now."

Jin's face changed in an instant and began walking after the other volunteer, tugging her rolled up sleeves a little more, "Do you need any help?"

The lady shot a smile over her shoulder, "No need! We have plenty of hands now that your two friends are helping us out!" Jin's walking slowed down until she was standing still again. When the lady disappeared around the corner, she and Kyoya exchanged a glance.

"Hikaru and Kaoru are helping to deliver kittens," Jin couldn't help but smile somewhat evilly, "What I wouldn't give for a video camera right now…"

Kyoya matched the look on her face as he pulled a small handheld camera from his jacket pocket, "It's a good thing I have this then, hm?"

"Why do you have a camera?"

"Photobooks. I figured having pictures of the hosts cuddling with helpless animals would make for a very good 'Special Edition', don't you think?"

Jin kept a blank face for perhaps a split second before she defaulted back into a smirk, "Workaholic."

At that, the two snuck towards the back, where another doorway was opened to let out the sounds of quiet but tense instructions being exchanged between volunteers and employees alike. Jin slipped through first, followed closely by the boy and his camera.

The twins were easy to spot with their bright red hair, but it was their faces that were the actual show. The two were holding the warm towels and staring wide eyed at the swollen cat on the bench in front of them.

They leaned back quickly as the Bobtail yowled loudly and one of the volunteers shouted out, "One!" Jin snickered at the looks of disgust on the boys faces as the slimy lump was placed tenderly into Hikaru's hands and looked to see if Kyoya was recording it as he said he would. He wasn't, but was instead snapping photo after photo of the scene. Perhaps their clients would like a laugh in the photobook? Or maybe just blackmail?

Jin toned down her faint laughter after the second kitten was delivered, " Okay, I think I've seen enough. We should probably get back to work. "

The ravenet whispered back, " I agree. "

They walked out of the room as 'Three!' was called out behind them. Jin split away from her classmate and approached another volunteer who was scooping out the cat's lunches, still snickering a bit. As she began asking for the girl's opinion on Hikaru and Kaoru's assistance, Kyoya looked around for the adoption papers he was supposed to be collecting. Thankfully, after handling the same pile of colored papers for the past hour or so, they were easy to find. They were hanging from the wall of an empty kennel, held together by a single metal ring in the upper left corner. He walked over and quickly compared the name on the front page to his own clipboard.

"Excuse me, but are you Mr. Ootori?"

Kyoya looked to his right and saw that the volunteer Jin had been speaking to was now at his elbow, "Yes, I am."

The blonde smiled broadly and quickly took the papers off the wall and handed them over, "Hayashi-san told me that you'd be here soon to get these, though I didn't quite believe him when he said you'd be here so soon after little Chi was taken home! He said you kept up with bookkeeping even faster than he could!" Kyoya was as uninterested as he could be with that useless information, but chuckled and pressed the palm of his right hand against his chest all the same.

"I'm quite honored that he feels that way. But I am only trying to do my part." The young lady stared up at him with obvious attraction, which both amused and bore him.

"Mm, yes, he does well with those kinds of things. But, in my opinion, I think he would be better served with the reptiles. I think he'd work well with them..." Kyoya's eyes snapped over to level a glare at the brunette, a scathing retort on the tip of his tongue. However, something stopped him. He noticed that Jin was smiling kindly, brown eyes dancing with jest and playfulness. He blinked a few times as a realization suddenly came to mind.

Jin was… teasing him. Similar to how she teased Haruhi and the others. There was no need to respond with fire because this was how she showed friendship. She was treating him like she treated the others.

His glare softened as a small smirk played across his face, "Well, at least I'm doing my job, Ms. Fujioka. Why aren't you assisting your charges with delivering the kittens?"

Jin's eyes sparkled as he played along, "Easy. I outrank them."

The other volunteer giggled and looked like she was about to say something as well, when she was knocked to the side by two teens rushing out of the back room with their hands held out in front of them.

"SOAP! SOAPSOAPSOAPWENEEDSOAP!"

The twins faces reflected pure and utter disgust, fingers splayed wide in clear need to keep any part of them from touching another part. From the room they just burst from, peals of laughter could be heard from the others volunteers.

As the redheads bolted past Jin in their search for a sink, or perhaps just some hand sanitizer, she spared them a glance, "Please don't run in here. I don't need either of you slipping and hurting yourselves."

The other girl pushed away from the wall she'd been shoved against and stared after the two identical boys, "Your friends are strange."

It took Kyoya a moment to realize she was talking to him.

"Oh? How so?"

The girl wrung her hands together, "We don't normally get people of your… status in here. Either volunteering or buying." She smiled again, "I bet this setting is very strange for you all."

"I don't believe the others have ever attempted labor like this before."

"Well, we're all glad you're here! I guess not all rich people are snobs after all!" The blonde continued to smile, as if she hadn't just insulted the boy she was trying to flirt with.

As if Jin could tell her fellow volunteer's last sentence had irritated her classmate to some degree, she zipped over to her side, "Hey, Agano-san? Maybe the cats should be fed sometime in the near future?"

The blonde, though clearly older than Jin, even if by only a handful of years, flushed at the realization that she was neglecting her duties in front of her work superior and rushed back to the counter. As soon as she grabbed the first two bowls she could, she was gone around the corner. The brunette sighed and leaned against the same wall the blonde had abandoned a moment ago.

"I'm sorry about that. Sometimes I don't think Agano-san thinks before she speaks."

Kyoya didn't get a chance to respond because the twins raced past them again, still searching for some cleaning material, and Jin shouted after them, "One of you is going to fall and die and I am not cleaning it up!"

Kyoya couldn't help but smirk in amusement as the twins disappeared around another corner, "That's one way to say it, I suppose."

"Yeah, it's a line from one of my favorite television shows. Shame they cancelled it after one season... Anyways, I should probably go rotate Tamaki's dogs and give Aki my first report of you boys." She took a few steps towards the door before Kyoya followed her.

"Try to not make the others sound like the absolute idiots they are. If they're kicked out, I'm the one who's going to have to listen to their complaining for the next few hours."

"I'll keep that in mind! Now get back to work!"

* Timeskip *

"Agano-san told me that Hikaru and Kaoru are handling the cats well. They seem to be getting along with the animals and even assisted with the birth of Mai's kittens."

The brown haired man chuckled in good-natured humor, "I suppose that was a sight to see."

Jin couldn't help but smile back at her friend and boss, "It was."

Her boss shook his head before scratching the back of it, "Well, Jin, I must say your boys have surprised me so far. Make sure they keep up the good work."

"Can do, Aki." She went to leave the small office, but her boss wasn't quite done yet.

"Actually... I have a question."

"Hm? Go ahead."

"Exactly where did you find these guys?"

The brunette blinked, "Um… it's kind of a long story, but it's Haru's fault… sort of."

"Her fault?"

"Yeah, remember how she and I are now attending Ouran Academy?"

"Yeah, I remember. That rich pompous school, right?"

Jin chucked, "Yeah, the rich pompous school. Apparently, before I came home, Haru accidentally stumbled into their club room and knocked an expensive vase off it's pedestal. So now she's a member of their club to pay off the damage. I joined when I came home to help pay off the damages."

Aki sat up a little straighter, "So… you're in debt to these boys?"

"Yeah."

"How deep in the hole are you?"

Jin frowned and tapped the floor with her foot, "I think the last time we checked… about 4,835,700¥."

If her boss had been drinking some water, he would've spit it out.

"Almost 5 million!? You girls are almost 5 million yen in the hole with these rich boys?"

"Yeah. We should pay it off sometime before I graduate."

Aki shakes his head, "Oh my goodness...How are you so calm about this?"

"Oh, I was plenty freaked out at first, don't get me wrong. Especially because Haru didn't tell me about it outright. She was actually pushed into telling me. But now... I've just come to accept it. We'll pay it off soon enough."

Her boss sat back in her seat, "At least there's that, I suppose. And as long as you all get along I guess there's no real issue." He cast her a glance, "These boys seem like a handful… but eager to be with you two."

"Well," Jin rubbed at her left arm, "I've actually known Mori-senpai and Honey-senpai from when I was little. The twins are in Haru's grade, and they aren't really friends with anyone else. The other two boys are in my grade and it's a similar situation, but Tamaki is just friendly with everyone, and he kind of drags Kyoya along."

Her boss smirks, "Well, if you fall in love with any of them, please let me know. The other employees and I have started a betting pool on which one will snag you and your sister."

Jin's jaw dropped open, "You... you started a... c-come again?"

"Betting pool. For Haruhi I placed a bet on that tall blond. For you my money's on none of them, but now that I think about it…"

" What?! Wait. No. Stop. I don't want to hear another word." Jin felt her face heat up as she scrambled for the doorknob, "God... why would you even think that-"

"Top money is between the two black haired boys."

" Aki! "

 

Chapter Text

 

"Haruhi! Jin! Are you ready for the beach?"

The sisters looked up from their homework. Jin frowned a bit and scribbled one final answer down on her paper. Damn. Just as I was making headway...

"The beach? You guys were serious about that?

"Of course!" The twins smiled in mock innocence before parting to show off the plethora of swimsuits. How they'd managed to move all the mannequins into the room without the two girls noticing was beyond them. Jin gave the selection a once over before she smirked and looked back down at her opened book. All of the swimsuits, mostly bikinis if anyone cared to notice, were in Haruhi's size. Jin couldn't help but chuckle slightly at the fact that the twins were going to make sure they actually saw her little sister in a swimsuit.

That wasn't to say she was going to let them shove Haruhi into two bunches of yarn strung together in the barest form of actual clothing. Nope. Drawing a line, as it were. However, as she ran her gaze over the many different choices again, she deemed that most of them weren't leaning too close to the pervy side. Perhaps she'd let the twins have their fun. Just this once.

"Pick whichever one you like!" Jin noted how Haruhi hadn't even attempted to leave her seat and let her smirk widen a bit.

"What about this one, Haru-chan? It looks like our uniform!"

"No way, Honey-senpai. That one would only emphasize how Haruhi is about as flat as a cutting board."

Haruhi glanced behind at her sister, but Jin was only watching with amusement and offered a shrug.

Well? Aren't you going to help?

I'm not going to come to your rescue every time the boys do something... extravagant.

You're having fun with this, aren't you?

Her sister adopted a mock hurt face and shook her head side to side once, twice... then nodded with a smug smile, Little bit.

Haruhi stuck out her tongue before the redheads picked her up by the armpits and started steering her towards a pink… frilly… thing, "Nēchan…"

Jin sighed and stood up, "Alrighty boys, I think Haru has had enough. Why not let her chose-"

"But we selected this one already!"

"It's perfect!"

Whack!

A baseball bat came out of nowhere, bearing down on the twins, forcing them to release their grip on the girl between them in order to dodge the oncoming concussions. Haruhi quickly stumbled over to her sister as Tamaki began telling the redheads off and shoved her sister's arm. It barely made the taller girl shift, let alone wipe the stupid teasing look off of her face.

"Some rescue."

"Well, it was a good show. Besides, I'm sure it'll be my turn soon enough."

A pair of arms slid over her shoulders, and Jin found herself sandwiched between the Hitachiins, "Oh, no, Jin-senpai."

"You see, we've also carefully selected your swimsuit."

Their unison voice sounded even creepier when they whispered in her ear, " And it's going to be a surprise. "

"...You know what? You're right, Nēchan. This is a good show."

"Shut up, Haru."

* Timeskip *

"I'm going to murder them in their sleep."

"Oh come on, Nēchan, it looks good on you. A little too good I guess, but still."

Despite her sister's words, Jin couldn't help but stare in disgust at the mirror, "You're only saying that because you don't have to wear it."

Haruhi rubbed some more sunscreen into her arms as she looked her sister over again, "No, I mean it. And that top would probably look silly on me, so there'd be no reason for me to wear it in the first place."

Jin ignored Haruhi's chance at a joke, "That's because you're an A-cup while I've been cursed with freaking double D's." Jin tugged her bikini's right cup up once more, "I'm going to fall out of this freaking thing!"

Haruhi sighed but felt bad for her sister, knowing her insecurities better than anyone else, and went up behind her, "Here, I'll tighten the straps to keep it held up."

Jin sighed in relief, "Thanks, Haru."

As the younger sister tightened the right strap, then the left for good measure, she looked her sister up and down again. The twins had surprised the girls with their pick of Jin's swimsuit. For one, it was an actual bikini that showed off plenty of cleavage and almost hung lower than her hips. Jet black, no special accents, but just dead sexy looking. Which both grossed Haruhi out (the twins wanted her sister to look sexy? Eew!) and mortified her sister.

The bruise was still on her upper left arm, now a sickly yellow color instead of the dark purple it had been a week ago. It wasn't enough to offset the swimsuit, but still noticeable.

"Are you sure I can't murder them?"

"I am very sure. 96% sure. 95. Or, at least not in public."

Jin frowned, "Do you think I could, like, grab a cover or something?"

The girls looked around the changing room for anything that Jin could use to cover up, but it was pretty bare. Haruhi bit her lip.

"Maybe we can loan one from the girls? They're bound to have something."

Jin sighed, but nodded, "Okay. Let's head on out." The brunettes scooped up their school uniforms, stuffed them into the bag Jin's swimsuit had come in, and stepped out of the little tent-like changing room.

The boys were waiting, overlooking the steps leading down to the beach, already changed into their own swimsuits.

"But why couldn't we have gone to Fiji?"

"Or the Caribbean?"

"Do you think it's likely that Haruhi has a passport? I'm surprised her family was able to afford one for Jin."

"You do realize we can hear you, right?"

The six boys turned around, and their eyes instantly went to Jin's swimsuit.

"Hey, looking go-Ack!"

"JUST WHAT KIND OF SICK JOKE IS THIS? DRESSING HER LIKE THAT, HOW DO YOU SLEEP AT NIGHT? YOU PERVERTS!"

Honey bounced over to the girl, eyes wide, "Wow, Jin-chan! You look good!"

"Thanks, but I'd feel a lot more comfortable if I had a beach cover or something. Still…" Jin reached up and wiped at her forehead, casting her gaze down to the water, "it is rather hot today, and I suppose this thing should keep me cooled down enough to stay comfortable. I'm not sure how Haru can stand the t-shirt she's in."

Haruhi was fanning her face, sweat already soaking her collar, "Trust me, I'm not exactly loving it. Can we head down now? It might be cooler by the water."

"Yeah!" The twins cheered and danced away from Tamaki's continuing lecture, "Let's go!"

The eight hosts headed down the stairs, the twins and Honey leading, Tamaki not far behind and dragging Haruhi with him, followed by Mori, Jin, and Kyoya. The girls called out and waved from the beach as they watched their hosts head down to join them.

Jin tossed her turquoise and green beach towel over her left shoulder to fish through the bag she was carrying. She pulled out a pair of sunglasses and slipped them over her head, not needing them quite yet, before reaching back into her bag. After searching for a bit, and not finding whatever she was looking for, Jin scowled and held the bag closer to her face. Of course, afterwards she nearly tripped down the stairs.

Mori grabbed her arm to keep her upright while Kyoya held out a hand for her bag, "What are you looking for?"

The brunette sighed and handed her bag over, "My hairbrush. It should have a black ponytail holder around the handle too." Kyoya stuck his hand into the small bag and quickly pulled out the item.

"This?"

Jin nodded and took the brush, "Yeah. Thanks." She put the ponytail around her wrist, replaced her sunglasses onto her face, and began running the brush through her hair. Kyoya peeked into the bag yet again once the owner was busy, because unless he was mistaken Jin had packed something similar to a textbook along with a small handful of mechanical pencils… which confused him. Jin, while ahead in her studies, did not seem like the type of person to do her homework while vacationing.

But, not wanting to seem nosy, he stayed silent as she tossed the brush back into the bag and started braiding her hair. By the time the hosts reached the base of the stairs, Jin had her hair up in a French braid, which, combined with her sunglasses, bikini, and beach bag, made her look like she was a famous model preparing for paparazzi photos at the beach.

"Vol-ley-ball! Vol-ley-ball!" The twins chanted as they scooped up a beach ball and high-tailed it to a net that had been set up. Tamaki was quickly surrounded by a large group of girls, so Kyoya peeled away to regulate the situation. Mori and Honey had… disappeared somewhere, so Jin tapped her sister on her shoulder.

"How about we set up underneath that umbrella?"

"Perfect."

The two girls spread out their towels, Haruhi's towel matching her sister's except it was orange with a red stripe down the center, and situated themselves in the shade. Haruhi gauged her sister's new look.

"You look rich."

Jin flinched in mock hurt, "You wound me, Haru!"

They stared at each other for a second before breaking out in light laughter. Jin pressed her hands behind her to lean back a little and dropped her head back.

"Look, all joking aside, I'm glad we came here. It's a good beach day."

Haruhi turned her attention towards the water, but was soon distracted by the twins chasing after their beach ball down the shoreline, "Are you sure, Nēchan? You're not going to be able to do much…"

"Hey, it's fine! You don't like water parks, which I love, and I don't like the beach, which you love. Fair is fair! And it looks like the boys and guests are having a good time so far."

Haruhi rolled her eyes, "They only look that way because we're hosting."

"The boys or the girls?"

"Both." Her face fell into more of a scowl, "I thought coming to the beach meant we could take another day off…"

Jin shrugged and laid back on her towel completely, shutting her eyes in clear relaxation, "Hey, anything that keeps their attention off of us, right? Besides, Kyoya must've thought another day off wouldn't have gone over well with the clients."

Her sister unwound her arms from her knees and stared down at her sister, "You know, you and Kyoya-senpai have been getting along better lately. What happened?"

The tall girl shrugged, "I dunno. Maybe he realized I wasn't interested in picking fights? Or he finally decided to not be a di-"

"Um, Haruhi? Jin?"

Jin's eyes opened and she peered, upside down, at the three girls who had approached their umbrella, "Hey ladies! I love the swimsuits."

"Thanks!"

"We just wanted to know if you were going to go swimming?"

"We'd love to swim with you!"

Haruhi picked up the thread, "No thanks, girls. We were just going to sit out for the day. The water looks a little chilly." Her sister nodded, but was staring up at the umbrella instead of the girls now, grateful Haruhi had come to the beach with an excuse prepared.

"Well, then… could we sit and talk with you then?"

Identical cute smirks pulled at the Fujioka's faces, "Why would you want to do that?"

"Yeah, you ladies should go enjoy yourselves! Don't let us stick-in-the-mud's stop you from having fun."

"Like Nēchan said, your swimsuits are super cute, so you should definitely show them off!"

The three girls sighed in obvious admiration, little hearts floating above their heads. That is, until one of them seemed to snap out of it.

"Oh, I almost forgot to say it. Jin, I really like your swimsuit, too!"

"Yeah, it fits you really well!"

"I wish I could pull off something like that!"

Jin blinked, "Um... thanks! I wasn't too sure about it before, so your compliments mean a lot to me." Bright, shiny smile. The girls looked ready to melt into little puddles. Haruhi chuckled. Her sister was getting good at this.

She stood up, "I'm going to take a walk, alright Nēchan?"

"Alright, Haru. I'll find something entertaining to do, I guess." They shot each other little teasing looks before the shorter brunette took off. The three girls were quick to wander away as well, still cooing to each other about cute sibling love.

Jin, now alone, sat up and began digging through her bag. Now's probably the only time I'm going to have to myself…

"Hey! Jin-senpai!" Or not.

The brunette looked up to see the twins crouched by her feet, "Yeah?"

"We meant to ask you at the water park last week."

"What's with the anklet?"

"Hm? Oh! This old thing?" Jin stuck her right leg out to show off the braided brown string tied around the ankle. There were a few colorful fake stones dotting the string and a single book-shaped charm hung from the approximate center. It looked old and clumsily made, like a child had put it all together.

"I've had this anklet since I was 7. Haru made it for me at school, and I've worn it since. I don't think I've ever taken it off…" The girl smiled fondly at the string so the twins decided they should leave, bored, but their curiosity not quite spent.

Jin sighed before curling her leg back in again. Okay, maybe now I'll get some peace and quiet. She pulled out a purple mechanical pencil and her sketchpad and flipped to the first empty page she could find.

Most of her sketches were of people, Haru dominating a majority of the pages. Jin's style varied, but she mainly alternating between cartoons and completely realistic sketches. Some were shaded, very few actually colored, and occasionally she just dotted her pages with things like flowers or cute little animals. Jin tapped the eraser end against the blank page and looked around. A lot of the guests were playing in the water by themselves at the moment. Jin couldn't see her sister or the other hosts other than the twins. After some debate, she focused on them.

She liked to start with the face first, since that's usually a good place to start if you want to plan ahead on how big the head would be. As Jin sketched out Hikaru's nose, she smirked and contemplated playing around with her drawing to show off their 'big-heads', but in the end decided against it. This was her first time drawing a host. Best to keep to the basics.

About ten or fifteen minutes later, Jin had a pretty good outline of the Hitachiin twins on her page. There were no facial features besides their noses and eyebrows and the hair wasn't very detailed yet, but it was a very good start for the short amount of time she'd been working.

"It's a major haul!"

The brunette's head lifted at the sound of Haruhi's voice. Major haul? She stood and dropped her pencil back in her bag before following the sound of her sister's voice. Jin didn't really trust the twin's curiosity to leave her sketchbook alone should they spot it, whether in the bag or not, so she simply took it with her.

Soon enough, Jin was standing a little ways away as Haruhi shouted about the various shellfish she and Honey-senpai had found. The tall girl scrunched her face up in confusion. This doesn't seem like the kind of beach you'd find sea urchins on… or crabs... or clams... or anything Haru has in her pail... what?

"The shellfish were an apology from my family's police force." Jin jumped a bit as Kyoya spoke from behind her, but recovered quickly and turned around to face him.

"An apology?"

"For attacking you and your sister at the water park. They figured surprising your sister with a fun activity to take part in would be the best way to appeal to you."

"That was nice of them."

Kyoya glanced down at the pad of paper in her arms, recognizing the cover, "What is that? A textbook?"

"What? No, it's for my drawings. A sketchbook." Her face turned doubtful, "You have seen a sketchbook before, right?"

"Of course I have," Kyoya held out a hand, "May I?"

The girl handed it over, "Sure. I'm not quite done with the last one though." As soon as she said that, Kyoya quickly flipped to the final drawing and stared at it for a few moments.

"This is a drawing of Hikaru and Kaoru?"

"Yeah."

The boy nodded before flipping backwards in the sketchbook, pausing every so often to look over the drawings in detail. It wasn't until he got more than halfway back to the front that he spoke at all.

"These are all... quite amazing! I'm impressed! Did you draw each of these freehanded? You have incredible skill!" Jin blinked and managed a quick nod, rendered speechless at the sudden onslaught of compliments. Sure, she'd received an award or two and her family found her sketches impressive, but having Kyoya compliment her so sincerely... it felt different. Something strange seemed to be fluttering in her chest as Kyoya flipped through the rest of the book.

"Would you allow me to sell your drawings of the hosts to our clients?"

The fluttering stopped.

Jin smiled and shook her head slightly, "I stand by what I said on Saturday. You are a workaholic." Before Kyoya could respond, she waved a hand in front of her face, "That's not a 'No', by the way. I'd be completely fine with you selling my drawings. However, I don't do copies and I don't work under a time frame."

The boy smirked, "Completely original drawings. For some reason, I believe that will work just fine."

"Cen-"

"-ti-"

"-pede!"

Before the two could react, all of the girls and even the twins were running as fast as they could from Tamaki and Haruhi. Jin was nearly knocked over in the process, barely managing to grab Kyoya's arm before she was sent down. Once everyone had fled and Haruhi was in the process of getting rid of the bug, Kyoya helped the girl stand back up, which is mildly difficult when you have a sketchbook in one hand and a girl dangling off your other arm.

Kyoya winced as she let go of his arm, quickly handing back her sketchbook so he could rub at it, "You know, next time that happens, would you mind not grabbing my arm so hard you bruise me?"

The brunette huffed a light laugh, "Sorry. I didn't realize how fragile you were, Glasses." Her teasing smile was then replaced by one a little more sincere, "But seriously, I'm sorry about that."

Kyoya didn't respond. Did she just call me… 'Glasses'?

"Hey, Boss, listen up! We just thought up a new game to play while we're here!"

Jin's smile vanished and she looked at the twins from over her shoulder, "I don't think I like the sound of that…"

"It's called the 'Who Can Find Out Haruhi's Weakness' Game!"

"Yup, don't like it." Ignoring her, Kyoya walked closer to the three boys, as did Mori and Honey, all looking somewhat interested. Jin felt her jaw drop a little in disbelief. They were really going to play this game? Were they kidding?

"Eh? T-that game sounds terrible!"

Jin sighed. Finally, Tamaki proves he's not a-

"Eh, I guess you're right."

"Besides, she'd probably only share her weakness with someone she was really close too. Jin is probably the only person who knows it or will ever know!"

Jin closed her eyes in a suffering kind of look. I really hate them sometimes. She glared at the group as the redheads set the rules down. Sunset was the deadline. Winner was whoever found out first and got confirmation from either Haruhi or Jin. Not a single rule about being safe or not triggering any accidental heart attacks, Jin noted with a frown.

"And I have the perfect prize for the game's lucky winner." Kyoya smiled deviously as he revealed three photos of Haruhi in her younger years. There was even a volleyball shot. He'd had a feeling that these photos would come in handy at some point. And judging by how Tamaki was following the photographs with his face, his gut feeling had been right.

Except… the other boys are glancing behind him with worried expressions. And he recalled just who had been standing behind him this whole time, listening to the conversation.

Slowly, Kyoya turned around to face Jin. To say that she looked angry with him would be an understatement. She was glaring daggers, arms at her side and her free hand clenched in a fist. There was a green aura flaring up around her, threatening to consume everything in its path.

Kyoya nearly took a step back.

" Where did you get those photos and why did you have them in the first place? "

Let it never be said that Kyoya Ootori lost his nerve around pretty girls who looked ready to drop-kick him into next week, because his voice was completely steady as he replied, "That's of no consequence."

"We'll see about that."

And she stalked away towards her sister.

The twins groaned, "Aww! Now she's going to spoil our game!"

"No, she won't…" Kyoya's eyes narrowed as he regarded the siblings, "Jin isn't like her sister. She disapproves of the photos and of the game… but she won't interfere unless someone is going to get hurt, like how she didn't call the twin's bluff when they pretended to fight. In the meantime, however…"

The ravenet held up three photos of Jin, flashing them at the other boys over his shoulder. In the first one she looked to be a little younger than ten and was smiling up at the camera, some cookie batter on her cheek and her long hair up in pigtails. The second photo was from when she was a little older. She was curled up in a chair with a pillow and blanket, her nose buried in a book with a pair of black glasses perched on her nose. And the third one showed her older still, without glasses, and painting on a canvas. It looked like she was painting a field of flowers, but she was smiling at the camera again so they could see the blue paint splattered on her cheek and the green across her forehead like someone had painted on her.

"Whoever discovers Jin's fear, will receive these photos." Kyoya smirked and tucked Jin's photos into his shirt pocket, along with Haruhi's, and smiled, "If everyone is satisfied with the rules and the prizes… I suggest we get started."


"This is the place. The most haunted spot in Okinawa." Jin and Haruhi shared dubious looks before following the twins into the large cave. "They say that the only time you can even find this cave is at low tide, and anyone who doesn't make it out before the tide comes back in drowns, doomed to haunt this dwelling for the rest of eternity."

The two guests who'd come with them were shaking in fright, so Jin gently touched their shoulders, "Hey, I doubt any ghosts would be interesting in hurting us. If there were any, they'd probably be just as scared as we are." She sighs and looks around the cave, "It's a little sad if you think about it. I'd want to help them… if I could."

Thankfully, that did the trick. The girls calmed down and looked around the cavern, "Do you… do you really think that's all ghosts are?"

"Frightened souls? Yeah. Just people who got lost along the way..."

The redheads frowned at each other. Guess Jin was out. Kaoru grabbed the fake skeleton hand he'd hidden a while ago and snuck up behind Haruhi. He inched forward… then grabbed the short girl's shoulder.

Haruhi didn't even flinch. She looked down behind her, "What the… are you guys trying to freak us out or something?"

Kaoru couldn't even speak. What's with these girls?

Jin chuckles and starts leading the clients out, "It's alright now, ladies. No one is haunting this cave except for a pair of teenage boys." The two girls giggled, now thoroughly amused. The twins groaned as Haruhi followed the others out.

Paranormal fear strategy… failed.

"Haru-chan! Jin-chan! Come check this out!"

Jin looked up over the small rock pile where Honey-senpai was waving down at them, "I'll be there in a second!" She turned back to the guests, "Are you sure you two are okay?"

"Yeah."

"We're fine. Go see what Honey wants."

The brunette nodded with a smile, "Alright. You two go back to the beach now."

As the girls walked along the shoreline, Jin and Haruhi climbed up the rock pile. Or, more like Haruhi was the one climbing. Jin sort of bounded up, rock by rock. She and Honey had to wait a full minute at the top rock for Haruhi to reach them.

"I swear... you must have studied with mountain goats while at the Dojo."

"No. You're just slow."

"Shut up, Nēchan. What did you want to show us, Honey-senpai?"

The small boy smiled up at them before turning around and heading down the other side of hill, "This way!" Not really given much choice, the two girls followed the blond down the hill and a little further down the beach. In the end, they came across… Kyoya's police force?

"Uh… Honey-"

"Come on up, you guys!" Honey was now in the back of the big truck, gesturing for them to join him. Jin cast a glance at the group of officers watching.

"Is it really okay for us to use the truck?"

"Yes, Worthy Matron Fujioka!"

Jin shrugged, "Okay then, I'll bite." She climbed up into the bed of the truck and helped her sister inside. The second they were standing upright, Honey addressed the squad.

"Please lower the door, Private Police People!"

The group shouted in response, "Yes, sir!"

The back door shut with a snap, throwing the three into complete darkness. Jin frowned, her suspicions now confirmed. There are probably a million and one ways for this game to turn sour. Thank goodness Haru is hard to scare. The tall brunette blinked a bit, trying to adjust her eyes to the darkness as a shiver ran down her bare spine. Me… a little less so… but still, I doubt they're going to discover our phobias by tonight. Anyways, back to the problem at hand, exactly how long are we going to be in this truck-

"IT'S DARK AND SCARY IN HERE I CAN'T BREATHE SOMEBODY GET ME OUT OF HERE I CAN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE!"

"H-Honey-senpai!"

"Calm down!"

"AAAAAHHHHHHHH!"

Claustrophobia attack strategy…. Failed.

Once the three were back in the light and Honey finally released his death-grip on Jin's leg, the sisters walked back up the beach…

Only to be stopped by a harpoon pointed at Haruhi's face. Her eyes got really big really fast, but then she noticed who was holding the weapon.

"Mori? Um… you're my senpai. Not a sentai."

Jin's lips twitched at the play on words before the harpoon was shifted to point at her. An action to which she responded by shooting the tall boy a look. Really? You've known me for how long and you think I might be afraid of a sharp object? Mori let the harpoon tip point towards the ground, looking disappointed.

Fear of sharp objects strategy… Failed.

Jin looped an arm around her sister's shoulder and steered her away, "So, Haru, what do you want to do now? The sun's starting to set… anything in mind?"

Haruhi saw a bucket and shovel still by their towels and umbrella, so she ran over to scoop them up, "I think I'll go hunting for more shellfish for dinner."

Her sister smiled a bit, "Alright. Any that have escaped your earlier hunt are probably hanging out in the shallows right about now."

The shorter girl frowned slightly, "Oh… right. Well, what are you going to do?" Jin shrugged and placed her hands on her hips, looking down the beach. Just a little ways away was a large pile of rocks, jutting out a little over the water.

"Maybe a little rock climbing. I'm sure the sunset would look even prettier from higher up."

Haruhi followed her sister's gaze before nodding in approval, "How about I hunt somewhere near there? Then we can keep an eye on each other?"

Jin smiled and tossed the sunglasses that were still perched atop her head onto her beach towel, "Sounds great. Make sure to get some more sea urchins for me, okay?" She ruffled Haruhi's hair before the two continued walking, Haruhi sometimes drifting towards the shallows to kick up a spray of water. Whenever she did so, Jin risked a glance up and down the beach. It looks like the boys have given up. Maybe they're bored? No… wait. Tamaki hasn't tried anything yet. Neither has Kyoya. But… I can't see either of them around. Where are they?

Jin's thoughts were put on hold when the two reached the rock pile. She shook away her thoughts and started climbing up the side, skipping the little worn down path just because she could. A few handholds later, and Jin found herself on a little outcropping. It wasn't all that big, and she was maybe another ten seconds from the very top, but she decided this was high enough for now.

Gently sitting down so her feet dangled over the side, Jin looked to the right and saw Haruhi picking up a clam from between her feet. She hummed contently before looking out to the horizon.

Well… I may not like the beach all that much, but this is still an awesome view. The sun was setting even lower now, painting the waves orange and white before they crashed onto the rock below her. That, plus the gentle breeze that sent the smell of salt over her created a calming scene… even if Jin still felt slightly uncomfortable.

"Hey, Jin! Up here!" Jin tilted her head back and saw three clients waving at her from the top, "We saw you climbing up, and thought it looked like a lot of fun!"

"Really? Glad you like it, but please be careful!"

"We will! Do you want to join us up here? The view's amazing this high up!"

Jin nodded, "Sure! Give me a minute." She reached behind her and gripped the rock wall tightly before pulling her legs back over the edge. Carefully she stood back up and turned to face the wall, securing her first grip to start her upward climb.

"Hey, there are chicks up there, man!"

Jin froze, her eyes widening as a gruff voice fell from the top of the cliff.

"Aren't we lucky? You girls wanna hang with a couple of locals?" Quickly, Jin began climbing up the rock face. The guy's slurred speech could only mean one thing, which meant the girls were in danger.

In about seven seconds, Jin was hauling herself over the side of the cliff and planting herself between the girls and the "locals". Leveling her coldest glare at them, she snarls, "This is a private beach. Please leave immediately and we won't call the police."

The long haired boy tossed aside his empty beer can and eyed the top of her swimsuit, "Private beach you say? So does that mean we're all alone, Doll?"

"Come on…" the other boy moved forward and attempted to grab her wrist, "We just wanna show you girls a good-"

Jin grabbed the boy's wrist and squeezed, cutting him off with his own shout of pain, "No thank you. Like I said, you should probably leave if you know what's good for you ." Watching the boy drop to his knees in pain made guilt swish around in her stomach, but if she had to use her scary face to get these drunks to leave, then so be it.

"Nēchan!" The six looked at the path just in time to watch Haruhi empty her newly filled bucket of sea creatures on the other boy. "How about you boys quite bothering them? You're not allowed to be here, weren't you listening?" Jin dropped the boy's wrist and ran to try and pull her sister to safety behind her.

"Haruhi, no! Why didn't you go get the others?!"

"Jin!"

The brunette spun around. The boy she'd just released had grabbed one of the girls by her waist. She growled, but couldn't even take a step before Haruhi was crying out for her as well. Jin twisted her head back around and saw Haruhi being held by her wrists. Only now did her sister seem to understand the danger she was in. Jin had to think fast. She grabbed one of the girls and pushed her towards the path leading down the other side of the hill.

"Go! Get the hosts!"

She took off running and Jin turned back towards the others. Haruhi was grappling with the boy who now had her shirt in his hands, but the other girls were just crying out, trying to hide their chests from the boy with grabby hands.

She focused on him first.

Jin pressed her palms to the girl's shoulders, the ones that were touching each other, and pushed them apart. The hoodie-boy looked confused for a split second before the brunette's head shot forward and knocked into his. He dropped to his knees in a daze while a few stars danced across Jin's vision. She pulled the two girls away from the boy and started pushing them towards the trail when one of them pointed over her shoulder.

"Jin! Help Haruhi!"

Her sister was now being held closer to the edge of the cliff, the water crashing below her. Jin's head was still aching from her little stunt, but she jogged across the rock, reaching out, "Haruhi!"

"I hope you can swim! "

It was like she was watching it in slow motion. The boy released his grip on Haruhi's shirt and shoved her backwards. The girls locked eyes for a brief moment before Haru was was gone over the edge.

" Haruhi! " Jin grabbed the boy's shirt collar and ripped him away from the edge, simultaneously choking him a bit. She bent her knees, ready to dive in after her sister's shrinking form…

But didn't move. It was like some solid metal anchor was keeping her feet pinned down. It didn't matter that Haruhi was currently falling into the ocean, where she could be knocked out or even killed from this height… Jin couldn't force herself to move.

"Haruhi!"

A blond blur passed Jin's right side as Tamaki dove over the edge of the cliff.

But Jin could do nothing but stare as Haruhi screamed until she hit the water.

Her hands shook. Bitter disappointment and rage bubbled up inside her chest, tainting her vision red. A cruel, mocking voice echoed in her head, Some Guardian Angel. You're supposed to protect her! If you can't even brave the ocean, then what use are you as a sister?

"Jin!"

The brunette spun around and saw the two local boys slowly recovering from her headbutt and the accidental choking.

Her vision tunneled. Charging forward, Jin nails the long-haired boy in the nose with her elbow. As his head jerks back, she spins around to kick him in the chest, knocking the wind out of him and sending him flying.

The second boy seems to be smarter, because he tried to run. Jin catches up to him easily, as he was still slightly dazed after the beer and headbutt combination. She fists her left hand in his shirt and pulls him backwards. He spins around, probably to try and fight her off, but she sends her right fist straight into his face. He face plants the ground in a knockout.

The other boy groaned in pain from across the rock but didn't seem like he was getting up any time soon, so Jin faced the girls.

"You okay?" They nodded, staring at her in admiration. "Good… back to the beach, then. The police will get them."

Unknown to the three girls, there was another boy peeking out at them from behind the rocks. He clenched his hand around his empty beer bottle and eyed the really hot chick in the black bikini. Oh, the things he could do to her body… but he couldn't think about that. He'd just witnessed that little bitch take down his two best buddies without so much of a fight! Pissed off didn't even come close to how he felt.

As the girls slowly made their way down to the beach, he looked down at his bottle and formed an act of revenge. Sure, if he'd been sober, he might've stopped and thought about it a little more. Probably let everything go and focus on helping his friends recover from their wounded pride and facial injuries, but unfortunately he was drunk.

And so he put his "plan" in motion.


Jin was silent as the three made it to the bottom of the hill. The whole way down she'd heard nothing but praise and thank-you's and questions about Haruhi's health. She nodded and shrugged with her responses, but all she could think about was Haruhi. Why she'd gone up to face the boys. And Jin's utter failure in protecting her.

"Jin, look!"

The brunette looked up from the sand and saw three familiar looking forms running towards them. It looked to be Hikaru, Kaoru, and Kyoya. She raised a hand to wave just as something hard cracked against her skull. A high-pitched scream ripped out of her throat as she heard the sound of shattering glass and felt something cut into her head. Pain exploded in her mind and she reacted without thinking.

Before the two girls were even finished screaming in surprise, Jin spun around and knocked her attacker down with a roundhouse kick. The remaining bottle tumbled out of his grasp as the boy hit the sand, unconscious.

She panted, the pain in her head growing into a substantial headache. Reaching up, she tenderly ran her fingers through her hair to pull out any large glass bits. There weren't any, probably because she'd braided it so tightly. But... she felt something wet and sticky in her hair.

Beer?

She pulled her fingertips away red.

Nope.

Jin stumbled as the girls screamed in terror. From behind her, two arms wrapped around her chest just before her legs crumbled beneath her. Slowly her body was eased downwards until her legs were stretched out in the sand, her upper body leaning backwards against someone's chest. Long fingers tenderly cupped the pain filled side of her head as a deep voice next to her ear barked out an order to… subdue? Some canoe? The glue? The ringing in her ear was too loud to really hear him correctly.

Her vision darkened and Jin was barely aware that it was because her eyelids were closing. The same voice spoke again, softer this time. It said her name. Something about… staying awake. Yeah... there it was again. Stay awake. Jin, stay awake.

That's right. I have to stay awake. Haru is scared… she doesn't like it when I fall asleep before her when she's scared.

Haru…

Haruhi!

Jin forced her eyes open and grabbed one of the arms around her. Kyoya's face swum in front of her eyes, looking very concerned for once.

"Jin?"

She struggled to make her mouth form the right words, " Haruhi… safe? "

"Yes."

Jin nodded once before her head fell forward and the world dissolved.

* Kyoya's P.O.V. *

" Haruhi… safe? "

"Yes."

The girl nodded before her eyes shut and her head lolled forward. A foreign feeling filled my chest, making it tighten. Was this… panic? I re-secured my left arm's grip around her waist and looped my right arm under her knees, standing up with her in a bridal carry. The two clients, Asa Himura and Midori Kato if memory served correctly, were staring at Jin's limp body in horror.

I stare at them, "Run to my family's villa on the hill! Tell any staff you find to call for a doctor! You'll be escorted to your hotel afterwards!"

They nodded frantically and took off, leaving me behind to carry the girl. I adjusted my grip a little more and noticed a small trickle of blood starting to trickle down the right side of her face. Her hair was all but soaked with it, making her head stick to my shoulder, and my left hand was coated with it. I felt sick. And I'd felt even worse when I lied to her about her sister's condition. I didn't know anything about where Haruhi was, or why Jin didn't think she was safe, but I had to say something .

"Assailant subdued, sir!"

The twins had finished tying the boy up with a piece of rope I don't recall them having a moment ago. They were staring hungrily at him still, like they wanted to pay back the favor for him making Jin bleed.

"Good, my police force will collect him later." That was all I said before the three of us hurried back towards the center of the private beach, where the stairs that lead to my family's villa were. My heart pounded, and I was sure the 1st years beside me felt the same. The girl in my arms could be bleeding out for all we knew, and the knowledge that her attacker would be charged with assault and battery on top of trespassing was very a poor substitute. It didn't help that I couldn't run very fast with the heavy girl in my arms. My muscles strained in ways I didn't know they could, but I refused to slow down.

That being said, it took us almost two minutes to reach Mori and Honey-senpai. They were standing by the water with a drenched Tamaki and Haruhi. Despite Jin's condition, I felt some relief knowing at least that I hadn't lied to her about her sister.

We drew closer and I heard Tamaki shouting at the small girl about something. Honey interrupted him once he saw us, seeing his old friend in my arms and shouting her name in cautious panic. The other three hosts turned in our direction soon after.

They saw Jin.

Haruhi's face changed from annoyance to fear in an instant, "Nēchan? Nēchan?! "

"There should be a doctor either standing by at the house or on his way," I handed the hurt girl to Mori who quickly scooped her up securely in his arms. For a second he simply stared at his childhood friend, worry flooding his face. As strange as it was to see Mori-senpai showing any sort of emotion, we didn't have the time for him to absorb the situation. I grabbed his forearm to make him look at me.

"You're stronger and faster than I am! Go!" The tall boy clenched his jaw and nodded in abrupt understanding before racing up the sand, the six of us right behind them.

* Timeskip *

I sat very still in the plush chair, not feeling any of its comfort. In front of me was a hospital bed. White sheets, beeping monitors, the works. Jin Fujioka was laying on her back in the center of it, white bandages wrapped around her head and a few wires connected here and there along her body.

My mouth felt uncomfortably dry as I watched her. It was too quiet in the room, despite the irritating beeps from the machines. The others were somewhere else in the villa, each of them having left at one point or another. While I'd been explaining to the others what had happened, Haruhi had burst into tears and needed to be escorted down the hallway by the twins. That lead to Honey-senpai walking away without a word, which took Mori-senpai with him. Tamaki was obviously still troubled by his fight with Haruhi and left soon after them.

I had to stay behind, by myself. After all, someone needed to explain to Jin what had happened once she woke up. Dr. Nakahara had assured us that she probably wouldn't wake up for a few hours, but even so…if she woke up sooner I didn't want to leave her alone in this strange room where she might try to stand up and hurt herself further.

My eyes dipped to look at my left arm. I had changed out of my white t-shirt and washed my hands between explaining the accident and the doctor finishing up with Jin's bandages, but it was like I could still see the blood stains. My left hand looked darker in color than my right one. The sick feeling in my stomach returned with a vengeance. I've never seen someone I know that injured before, bleeding and passed out, let alone touched them. And she just looks so pale .

" Hey, Glasses. " My head jerked up with a start.  Jin was watching me from the bed with a small smile, " You gonna tell me where I am? "

For a moment I couldn't speak. It felt like a wave of relief had just washed over my entire body, so I simply relished in the calming feeling. She was awake.

The moment passed and I remembered she'd asked a question, "You're in my family's Villa's emergency medical clinic. Dr. Nakahara just left, but he says you'll be fine. The cuts on your head didn't require any stitching and you should be fully healed in less than a week."

Jin hums in amusement, " Emergency medical clinic. You guys have an arcade in here too? "

She made a move as to sit up and I jumped from my seat, lightly grabbing her arms to keep her from moving more, "Don't over-exert yourself!" Jin stared at me, determination in her eyes.

"Will you help me sit up, then?"

I sighed and nodded, releasing her in order to pile her pillows up around her back and sides, "Really, what use is wrapping bandages around your head if you're just going to accidentally pull them off? Do you know how the rest of the club would react if you hurt yourself further?"

Jin sighed and dropped her head lightly onto my right shoulder. I paused before dismissing it. She was probably exhausted and I did just tell her not to move.

"Let me guess. Honey cries. Tamaki blames the twins. Haru freaks out. And you get a headache, right?"

I couldn't help but chuckle softly and continue adjusting the pillows around her, "Correct."

Quickly finishing with the pillows, I pulled away and helped her lean back against them. She was now sitting upright, but still relined backwards a bit.

"Thanks, Kyoya." She spared me a soft smile of gratitude before pointing at her head, "So, what's the damage?"

A quick decision made me sit down on her bed, near her knees, "In a word, you were lucky. Your assailant hit you hard enough to break the bottle, but despite knocking you out there wasn't much damage where the broken glass was concerned. Most likely due to how intoxicated he was at the time and your french braid. You simply have a few minor cuts. You will have to apply some anti-bacterial spray twice a day for the next week, you are not to stand for too long or participate in any strenuous activity or you risk blacking out again for that same time frame. And Dr. Nakahara had to completely shave the back of your head to tend to your wounds."

Jin's eyes widened so fast it was comical, nearly flying out of her bed, " WhAT?! "

I struggled to keep a blank face while she panicked, but not even a few seconds later the girl scowled at me, leaning back into her pillows, "I suppose you think you're some comedic genius?"

I smirked, "Quite. Your face was priceless."

My classmate grabbed the pillow that I'd stuffed by her left side and swatted me with it, "Since when did you stop acting like a stuck-up prick?"

"Unclear. Perhaps I'm just tired. Or relieved."

Jin hit me lightly a few more times before she grew tired and leaned back again, a smile playing on her lips, "You're a jerk, Kyoya Ootori."

I shake my head. Her words of endearment were something to get used too. I stood up again, ready to leave her and tell the others that she was awake, but stopped. A question revisited me. Actually, two did, but I was thinking of one that was far more important.

Jin noticed.

"Kyo-"

"Why did you confront them by yourself?"

The following silence stretched between the two of us for a long time. Jin held my gaze, and I wasn't about to back down either. A strange anger was now taking over. Jin didn't look like she was looking forward to answering my question, but I needed one. I needed to hear her reasoning for being so… so… calm about this entire situation.

"I confronted them because there was no one else nearby who could have. I knew I could fight them off and I wasn't just going to stand by and watch and wait for reinforcements."

My anger grew and began spilling over the edge, "You might be an honorary Haninozuka, but clearly you were not prepared for this , so why?! " As I continued to glare at the girl, I noticed that the rage I felt at this moment wasn't at the inconvenience of the flower baskets or even at the knowledge that a handful of damn locals (I'd been informed recently that there had been more than one) could enter my family's private beach while drunk . I was furious at the idea that this girl, whom I was beginning to grow comfortable with enough for verbal banter, was dumb enough to put herself in so much danger that she ended up on a hospital bed ! It didn't even look like she cared!

But Jin looked like she was growing pissed herself, leaning forward and practically spitting out her words, "I handled the two boys I was facing just fine , thank you very much! And in case you didn't notice, I did send one of the girls down to you guys for help! If things had happened like I'd planned, I might not have even needed to lift a finger against those idiots!"

"But they didn't! "

Jin snapped her jaw shut and looked down at her hands, suddenly subdued, "Haruhi… she came up. I tried to protect her, told her to turn the other way and get you boys for help, but she was too far away. And she wouldn't listen to me. I couldn't protect her and the girls at the same time and..."

I sat on her bed suddenly, surprise making my legs feel a little weak, "So...are you blaming… Haruhi for your injury?" The mere thought of that accusation coming from Jin was mindblowing, let alone the fact that she'd just called her sister by her full name instead of 'Haru'.

"No!" Jin looked back up quickly, which probably made her head ache, "She didn't mean to get me or anyone else hurt and she just wanted to help! Besides," she tangled her fingers together in her lap, "I do take a lot of the blame for why she did it." Now I was beyond confused.

"Why? With the way you two behave I would've assumed that she'd go for help once she knew you were protecting the guests."

Jin sighed and tucked her feet up until she was sitting in the butterfly position under the covers, "I… I left her alone last year. It was hard, for the both of us, to go from having a constant companion to being all alone after all these years. I handled it better than her because it was me who did the leaving and I have a few more "life-experiences" than her. But Haru...she thinks she can handle everything on her own now, even when she can't. I won't always be around but I won't always be far away either… and I wish she knew that."

There was silence after her explanation. I didn't know exactly what to think of it. So, Haruhi was the one who was really at fault here, and Jin knew it. I was still upset at Jin for some reason, one I couldn't quite place yet, so I made to stand up. Perhaps some fresh air would clear up my thoughts.

"I'm sorry."

"Hm?"

"For making you all worry," Jin lifted her left hand, pulled back a little, before reaching forward to lightly rest her fingers on the back of my hand, "I didn't mean to do that, and I feel bad." Her fingers wrapped around mine and gave them a light squeeze. I looked down at where she was touching me. Normally, physical contact isn't exactly my favorite thing in the world, but this time it felt nice. Reassuring, even. Like she was proving that she was here, and awake, and well. The Nurturing Type at her best...

I spared her a small quirk of the lips, "You didn't do anything. It was the boy who hurt you that made us worry about anything at all… but apology accepted." I went to pull away again, but she tugged on my hand before I could.

"Kyoya?"

"Yes?"

"Is Haru really okay?" Aaaaaand, she's back to normal.

I smiled and stood up, giving her hand an experimental squeeze in return, "You can see for yourself at dinner."

Jin smiled and leaned back in her bed, letting go of my hand and taking the warmth with her, "Okay."

* No One's P.O.V. *

Well, this looks like the place.

Jin checked the small, impromptu map in her hand that Kyoya had left with her before leaving. If she'd followed all of his directions correctly, then this should be the dining room. A sharp pain stabbed above her right eye and she let out a quick breath, pressing her hand against the wood. She turned her head and stared out the window, the darkness doing wonders for the pain.

Only… it looked like a storm was rolling in. She hadn't done any weather checks before coming, so she hoped it wouldn't be a thunderstorm. Hopefully just a small rain shower. That would be nice, especially after how this day went.

Once the headache passed, she straightened back up and decided to just go for it. Pushing the doors open, Jin looked in and saw the rest of the host club. They seemed to be admiring her sister, who was in a pink dress. Jin smiled.

"Well, at least I wasn't the only one." The others turned at Jin's voice and their faces lit up.

"Jin-chan!"

"Wow, Jin! Nice dress!"

" Nēchan! "

Haruhi leaped forward and hugged her sister tightly, a few spare tears leaking out in relief, because there was a big difference between hearing your sister was okay, and seeing it.

Jin squeezed Haruhi's shoulders quickly before pulling away, "Sorry, Haru… but I get light headed easily with this thing." She gestured up to her bandaged head before bringing her hands back down to rest on her sister's shoulders. "We have a few things to talk about later, but for now, how about we eat some dinner?" Haruhi didn't really like the sound of this promised discussion, but she smiled anyways.

"Alright, Nēchan. And I like your dress, by the way." Jin cast another look down at her outfit. Her father must've snuck the dark blue evening dress into her suitcase without her knowing about it… which was sort of impressive on his part.

"Jin-chan, are you going to be okay?"

The tall girl smiled at her friend, "Yes, I will be. And I'm sorry you guys, for making you worry about me."

Honey hurried over and hugged Jin around her waist, "It's okay, Jin-chan! We forgive you!"

"Yeah, it was all that idiot boy's fault anyways!"

"We're just happy you're safe!"

"Mmm."

"Yeah. I'm glad you're safe, too."

Jin pulled away from the multiple hugs and spotted Tamaki sulking behind a column. She noted how Haruhi wasn't looking at the blond either, so she had a feeling they'd had an argument of some kind. Haru wouldn't meet her eyes, so she couldn't find out that way either. The boys were looking at her sister expectantly, but Haruhi didn't seem like she was about to speak again.

The dinner that followed was, if possible, even more awkward and uncomfortable. Jin's mouth was salivating at the thought of crab-legs and sea-urchin, one of her favorite meals, but the tension made it hard to enjoy it or strike up a conversation. And Haruhi stuffing her face with any shell she could get her hands on was not helping in the slightest.

Jin cast a nervous gaze at her sister. Is she trying to make herself sick? It wasn't like she could ignore the strange behavior either. She was sitting directly across from her sister, probably because her seat was the closest to the bathroom should her head injury make her nauseous or something, and the person beside her was one of the few who could lead her to said bathroom.

Everyone else was uncomfortable as well. Before they'd all dug in, Kyoya had been scribbling nonsense sentences in his journal, just to look like he was doing something. Honey was fidgeting in his seat. The twins were silent for once. Tamaki was flinching every time Haruhi cast aside an empty shell. Jin rolled these actions in her mind for most of dinner before something clicked.

Does Haruhi… not realize she should've gone for help? A sick twist in her stomach made her set down her crab. Or perhaps that was from Haruhi finishing up her twenty-seventh crab leg.

"Don't you think you've had enough? Give it a rest!" Tamaki weakly tried to point out.

"Excuse me?" Jin buried her head in her hands as Haruhi continued to stuff her face, "I thought that you weren't speaking to me."

One more snap of a leg and Tamaki had had enough. He roughly pushed his chair back and stood up, "Fine. Be a child. Kyoya, would you mind showing me to my room?"

The ravenet to Jin's left patted his lips with his cloth napkin, "Very well. Excuse me, everyone." The two boys walked silently out of the room. The doors banged shut and Haruhi's head dropped.

"Maybe he's right… I should learn how to protect myself."

The remaining five teenagers at the table relaxed into their chairs, "So he finally got to you, huh?"

"Yeah… I guess so." The shorter girl peeked up across the table, "Nēchan, maybe you could give me some lessons?"

Jin poked at the small pile of empty crabs on her plate, "I suppose I wouldn't mind… but that's not really the point, Haruhi." At that word, Haruhi felt something akin to being punched in the gut and swiftly looked back down at the tabletop, fiddling with the corner of her napkin. Nēchan said my full name. Did I really mess up that badly?

"To be honest, we were all worried about how recklessly you acted."

"The boss and your sister especially. Jin-senpai even refused to black out until Kyoya-senpai told her you were okay."

Haruhi gasped softly, "But… I didn't cause you any trouble."

"Haru-chan, you fell off a cliff. Jin-chan might have gotten hit in the head with a glass bottle, but that was a fluke and she's also trained in martial arts. We were all worried about you… because you went up even though you could've gotten really hurt. I think you should just apologize, kay?"

Haruhi blinked, "You guys… were worried about me?" She looked back over the table, "Nēchan?"

Jin sighed and looked her sister in the eyes, "Haruhi, you needlessly put yourself in danger. I'm sorry, but… I would've been able to fend the boys off long enough for the proper authorities to be called without getting violent if… What I mean to say is, I'd feel much better about going off to college or wherever in the world I may end up in if I knew you had figured out when to fight and when to go get help." She smiled gently, "You don't need to handle everything on your own, and I'm not the only person you can depend on either. We're all here to help each other."

The younger Fujioka stared at her sister for another few moments before reaching up to rub at her bare arms, "Guys… I'm really sorry."

Instantly everyone was hugging Haruhi, cooing over how cute she was and forgiving her immediately. Jin, of course, had to hang back a little, but was comfortable just watching from her chair.

Until Haruhi's stomach made a weird gurgling sound.

"Uh… is something wrong?"

"I'm not feeling too good…"

Jin's eyes widened, "You ate too much crab. Come on, let's get her to the nearest bathroom!" The brunette jumped to her feet and grabbed her sister's arm, pulling her and the other boys out of the dining room.

They got maybe twenty paces away before Jin slowed down and dropped to her knees, clutching at her head with a groan of pain. Thank goodness the boys acted as quickly as they did. The twins each grabbed one of Haruhi's arms and continued steering her to a restroom while Mori gently scooped up his friend, cradling her in a similar way to how he'd carried her off the beach earlier. It was just his imagination, but he felt like he could still see blood dripping down her face and making her hair sticky.

Honey raced ahead of the two, opening and closing doors until he located her suitcase and beach bag, "Here's Jin-chan's room, Takashi!"

Mori hummed and carried the whimpering girl inside, laying her down on her bed and offering her the glass of water and pair of pills waiting on the bedside table. Jin carefully clutched the water and took a sip of it first before swallowing the pills, one by one. Once she finished, Mori put the empty glass on the nightstand and tucked the girl in under the covers.

"Thank, Mori-senpai."

The boy hummed and gave her right hand a gentle squeeze before leaving. Jin closed her eyes, but the harsh pounding in her head wouldn't let her sleep, despite it dulling ever so slightly. She knew it wasn't the pills just yet, but they probably wouldn't hurt either.

Three minutes later Jin couldn't take it anymore. It was like she could feel something wrong. It wasn't in her head. More like a gut reaction. And it was bugging her like mad.

Knock knock

"Hey, Jin? Do you have some lotion? I got a pretty bad sunburn… what happened? Why are you already in bed?" Jin sat up slowly and Tamaki was quick to rush to her side and help her. For a moment Jin ponders whether Tamaki had subconsciously influenced Kyoya to do the same for her earlier.

"Haru got sick from all the crab she ate, and I stood up too fast to help her and got a really bad headache."

"Haruhi is sick?"

"Yeah. My headache is mostly gone now, but I don't know where Haru is. Could you help me find her? I know I'm probably just paranoid, but I'm getting worried." Tamaki hesitates for a moment before nodding and sitting beside Jin.

"I'm afraid the lotion is going to have to wait…"

"It's no big deal, I'm sure Kyoya has some. Put your right arm around my neck and shoulder. We don't want you hurting yourself again." Jin did as he instructed and soon the two were steadily walking towards the door. She tried to walk a little faster, but Tamaki's grip around her waist kept her at a moderate pace, "Hey, don't get too worked up, Jin. I'm sure Haruhi is safe and sound."

Jin nodded, keeping quiet. No need to tell Tamaki about the uneasy feeling she had in the pit of her stomach. Something was... off. And she had a feeling Haruhi was smack-dab in the center of it.

* With Kyoya and Haruhi *

Haruhi stared up at the boy hovering over her body. Kyoya's eyes were narrowed, hair hanging down to give him a more wild expression... but at the same time she could see the discomfort flickering in his eyes. Suddenly she understood. He was doing this to prove a point. Exactly how much danger she could've been in. If the boys had figured out she was a girl. And then... then there was the whole idea of Kyoya doing something like this. Which gave her the advantage.

"You won't do it. It wouldn't do you any good, or give you a benefit..."

Kyoya regarded her for a moment before smiling, holding back his laughter and sitting up, "I suppose you're right, in your own way."

"-and you wouldn't want to upset my sister, either."

Of course, at that, he couldn't help but chuckle, "Now, why do you assume that I care about upsetting her?"

Haruhi sat up on his bed, smiling again, "Um, other than the fact that she could easily put you and the rest of your police force in the hospital?"

Her words sent a hint of fear to the base of Kyoya's spine. Forget actually going through with his fake threat, just being in that previous position most likely would've angered Jin enough to break every bone in his body and leave him for dead. It was an odd feeling to know you could imagine the same person with a white picket fence and two children bouncing around and as the bringer of the apocalypse.

The brunette tilted her head and leaned to her right, trying to look her senpai in the face, "Look, it's pretty obvious that you respect her a lot, especially now that you two are finally starting to get past your annoyance with each other. And since a friendship with Nēchan might help you in the future, you wouldn't do anything bad to me because it would make Nēchan lose all respect for you. But all business matters aside… I have a feeling that you want to be friends with Nēchan anyways, no matter the benefits."

Kyoya doesn't say anything. He can't think of a response. Did he want to be friends with Jin Fujioka? Having friends wasn't exactly something he was known for, but before he can consider it further they hear a voice from the hallway.

"Haru? Haru, where are you?"

Haruhi quickly stands up and hurries over to the door, opening it, "I'm right here, Nēchan. Kyoya let me use his bathroom."

Tamaki, with Jin hooked over his shoulder, slowly walked into the room. The taller girl smiled at Kyoya, "Well, that was nice of him."

Everyone in the room quickly notes that Jin is leaning very heavily on Tamaki. Kyoya even felt a twinge of concern. Does she really care so much about her sister that she'd work herself to blacking out to find her?

He answers his own question quickly, Duh.

"Nēchan, are you feeling alright?"

"Um, not really," the taller brunette loops her other arm around the front of Tamaki's chest, gripping onto his left shoulder with both hands and making him hold her around the waist to keep her upright, "I-I kind of… I think I need to sit down. Tamaki, could you…"

The blond moves the girl across the room and into the chair Kyoya had been sitting in a little while ago.

"Well, it looks like you're in good hands now, Jin. Kyoya, I'm going to borrow your lotion. Have a good night everyone." And he left. Haruhi visibly deflated, so Jin waved her off.

"Go apologize. It's not like you don't know where I am."

Haruhi nodded and hurried out of the room, calling her senpai's name. The door shut softly behind her, which was a gift to Jin's softly pounding head. She closed her eyes and panted slightly, feeling slightly annoyed at how breathless she was. She had literally been walking for maybe two minutes. Tops.

Hearing the sounds of shifting fabric, Jin peeked through her eyelids and saw a shirtless Kyoya holding a bottle of water out for her. She smiled gratefully and took it, "Thanks. Do you think you could put a shirt on, now?"

"First, it's no problem. Second, no, I will not. Are you going to tell me what happened?"

Jin goes for a smirk, but it looks pretty half-hearted, and took a sip before answering, "I got hit in the head with a glass bottle. I thought we covered that already?"

Kyoya doesn't look amused, so she takes another quick sip and follows up, "A hit on the head mixed with a small surge of adrenaline. Not the best combination, I must say." Another sip, "And by the way, about you lying to me earlier? I'll let it slide. For now."

Finally Kyoya's lips quirked up in a smile, "Noted. Well, since you're here, I must admit that I am curious about something and would like a few answers. If you can provide them."

Jin takes another drink and gestures for him to continue with her other hand.

"I couldn't help but notice that you didn't jump into the ocean after Haruhi when she fell. Why?" The bottle was slowly lowered from her lips. Jin nibbled on the inside of her bottom lip before answering.

"...Tamaki was-"

"I highly doubt you were even aware that Tamaki was behind you. Why didn't you jump?" When the girl didn't respond, Kyoya crouched down in front of her, looking at her face, "Are you afraid of the ocean, Jin? Is that why you don't like the beach?"

"No… not really. I just… IhaveGaleophobiaalright? "

It takes a moment for Kyoya to register her words, since the last sentence had come out all at once, "Galeophobia?" She nodded slowly. "And that is the fear of…"

"Sharks. Look it up."

Kyoya regarded his classmate before standing back up, walking over to his own suitcase, pulling his laptop out of the front pouch, and quickly powering it up. Jin drained the last of her water and watched as he took a seat across from her and started typing.

Less than a minute into his search, Kyoya looked back up, "Well, that explains a lot, I suppose."

"Suppose it does. Just… don't tell the others. I don't need them trying to test if I'm really afraid of sharks just so you can win some stupid pictures."

Kyoya looks at her in surprise, "Pictures… I don't-"

"Oh please, you have photos of my sister. Of course you would have some of me too. By the way, I don't appreciate how you boys went about the contest. You tried to scare us. What if Haruhi really was afraid of enclosed spaces and had a panic attack? How would you have felt then?"

Kyoya had the decency to look a tad concerned, "It says on the website some people who suffer from Galeophobia have panic attacks. Do you-"

"Yes, I do, and it's not pretty. Last time it happened it went on for hours." She leaned forward, "How would you boys have liked to experience that in person?"

"I am...glad that we didn't. I apologize."

Jin stands up and smirks, eyes growing soft, "Apology accepted, Kyoya." She waved at him before walking out of the bedroom, "Good night."

Shutting the door softly behind her, Jin remained still for a while. I just shared my deepest, darkest fear with Kyoya Ootori. She let out a puff of air that almost resembled a laugh. I must be losing my mind…

The window at the end of the hallway lit up with a bright light just before a low rumble echoed through the house. Jin felt her chest tighten up as any trace of amusement vanished. Shit.

She wanted to run… but her legs simply refused to put one foot in front of the other faster than a light jog. Thank goodness Kyoya's room wasn't that far from Haru's. Jin opened the door and nearly fell into the bedroom.

"Haruhi!"

No one was there, but she heard a faint 'Nēchan' coming through the left wall. Her bedroom. Jin didn't even bother shutting the door before stumbling next door.

As soon as she opened the door a quivering lump underneath the comforter cried out, "Nēchan!" Tamaki was sitting beside the lump and seemed to be trying to pull the blanket off, so Jin stumbled forward and pushed his hands away.

"Haru? Haruhi, I'm here!" The blanket fell away and the small girl hiding beneath it quickly latched herself around her sister. Kind of like a koala. Tamaki would've found the action adorable if said girl wasn't also whimpering and shaking like a leaf.

Jin starting rubbing Haruhi's back and stroking her short hair, making shushing noises by her ear and rocking back and forth, " Shhh… shhh… it's okay, Haru. I've go you. " The small girl seemed to relax in her arms, but the tension returned as another roll of thunder shook the villa.

"Jin, what's wrong with her?"

She raised her voice slightly, "Haru is afraid of thunder and lightning. I need you to go into Haru's room, go through her bag, find her headphones and music player, and bring them back here. Quick!" Tamaki was out like a shot, leaving the door open as he went, so Jin returned her attention to her sister.

Scooting backwards so she could sit cross-legged on the bed with Haruhi seated in her lap, Jin continued to pet and rock her baby sister. Haruhi's shivering would ease up, but each boom of thunder would freak her out again.

Jin sucked in a deep breath and leaned her head down so her mouth was right beside Haruhi's ear, an English song rolling off her tongue.

" Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens… " Haruhi took in a shuddering breath, but her shakes stopped completely.

" Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens… " Jin smiled as the arms wrapped around her neck didn't tighten as the thunder rolled overhead again.

" Brown paper packages tied up with strings, these are a few of my favorite things… " Haruhi sighed and moved her head so she was pressing her ear against Jin's chest, right above her heart.

"Nēchan? Where's Tamaki-senpai? Wasn't he here?"

Jin nodded and kept stroking her sister's hair, "He went to get your music. He'll be right back, and then we can get you to bed."

Haruhi nodded mutely and curled up in Jin's embrace, who continued to sing the next verse.

" Cream colored ponies and crisp apple strudels

Doorbells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles

Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings

These are a few of my favorite things… "

Haruhi jumped a bit when the next thunder hit shook the house, but didn't go back to choking her sister out. Jin sighed and cradled her sister close, "I'm sorry, Haruhi."

"Hm? Nēchan? Sorry? What for?"

"I… I wasn't there for you. I left you all alone and because of that-"

"Hey!" Haruhi hugged her sister, nuzzling her shoulder gently, "You and I both know that's not true. Or did you already forget what really convinced you to go to America?" Jin fell silent, so Haruhi kept going, "I get it now. I do. I guess I'm just not used to being able to depend on anyone else besides you and Dad. And, I wanted to help you for a change. I thought I could help, but I just made a mess of things."

For another few moments, the two were silent. Then Jin smiled and kissed her sister's forehead, "Well, there's nothing wrong with wanting to be a hero and help those in need. Just try not to throw me off my game next time, okay?"

Haruhi scoffed and lightly shoved her sister's chest, "Oh please, it was you who threw off my game."

Jin snorted in response, "Haru, the only thing you did was splash a guy with sea urchins and fall of a cliff."

"Yeah, but didn't you see the motive I had for falling off that cliff? I distracted the boys to let the girls get away!"

"Haruhi, their was a second boy who would've just held the girls while his friend pushed you over."

"He didn't."

"Because I headbutted him."

The small girl laughed lightly, "Okay, maybe I shouldn't laugh… but I saw that happen and it was perfect payback." Jin smiled, but it was short lived as another peal of thunder rumbled across the sky and Haruhi stiffened.

She slowly fell backwards, taking her sister with her and laying her down by her side, "Hey, let's get some shut eye. Sound good?"

Haruhi nodded silently and shut her eyes as Jin resumed singing

" Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes

Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes

Silver white winters that melt into spring

These are a few of my favorite things… "

* With Tamaki *

" Oh, come on! It's gotta be in here! " Tamaki frantically pushed aside pajamas, shirts, pants, and even a plastic bag that seemed to hold Haruhi's wet clothes. He frowned deeper and tossed it out of the case to keep looking. Why can't I find it?

He unzipped the front pocket of the suitcase and stuck his hand in all the way to his elbow, but he couldn't find anything that might resemble headphones or a music player. Groaning in frustration, he went back to her clothes. Trying not to unfold anything or touch something… delicate, made the whole process slow, which made Tamaki uptight.

She was miserable! And she's probably in tears right now, waiting on me and my incompetence! His mental movie theater looped through the scene he'd left back in Jin's bedroom. Haruhi sobbing in Jin's arms, calling out for her prince while Jin cried with her, cursing Tamaki's name for being late.

In desperation, he lifted a pile of what seemed to be white, frilly tank-tops, and nearly cheered. The headphones! And the music player was plugged into them already!

"Hey… boss?"

Tamaki's body froze in place, but his head whipped around to see the entire host club, save for Jin and Haruhi, watching him from the doorway.

His voice was weak and squeaky when he spoke, " What are you guys doing here? "

"Well, we wanted to check up on Haruhi. You know… since the last time we saw her she was about to redecorated the floor with crab meat."

"But, I guess she's not here."

"Tama-chan, why are you holding Haru-chan's singlets?"

Tamaki paled and dropped the offending fabric, "It's not what it looks like!"

"You nasty pervert!"

"A panty thief! In our club!"

"I said it's not what it looks like!"

"Haruhi!" The twins took off towards Jin's room, "The boss is going through your-" They cut themselves off and stared into the bedroom. Tamaki felt like all the blood in his body drained to his toes. What if Haruhi doesn't want the others to know about her fear? What if they make fun of her? What if they use it against her? WHAT IF KYOYA GIVES THEM HER PICTURES?!

Honey, Mori, and Kyoya all walked over to stand by the twins as well while Tamaki panicked internally.

"Awww… Jin-chan and Haru-chan are so cute!"

"What?" Tamaki peeked his head into the doorway. His heart skipped a beat.

The sisters were lying down side by side, fast asleep. Jin was on her back, her left arm wrapped around Haruhi's shoulders and pulling her close so she was tucked into her side, head on Jin's shoulder. The girls were breathing deeply, chests rising and falling in time with each other. Thunder boomed in the distance and Haruhi shifted a bit, her left eyelid twitching, and Jin responded by holding the small girl closer to her, pressing her face into the top of Haruhi's head. The girl instantly quieted.

"So… so precious." Tamaki could feel himself tearing up. This was sibling love at its finest.

"First digging through her laundry-"

"-now watching her sleep."

"Is there no line you won't cross?"

The following thunder covered up the blond's sudden scream. The girls only shifted again as the bedroom door was shut for the last time that night.


"You'd better watch your back, Haruhi."

"It looks like the boss' perverted mind is after you. I wouldn't put a panty raid past him."

Tamaki felt like he could shoot beams of heat out of his eyes, he was so mad, "HOW MANY TIMES MUST I TELL YOU THAT IT WASN'T WHAT IT LOOKED LIKE?!"

Haruhi ducked her head to hide her smile as she slid into the car. Jin just laughed out loud, tossing their bags in her sister. Tamaki turned his glare towards her.

"What are you laughing at? You know that what I'm saying is true!"

The girl regarded him with her big brown eyes, "Of course I do, stupid. But I also know that whether the others take my word for it or not, they're not going to ease up on the name calling." She grins and slips into the car, "It's just too much fun to rile you up!"

Tamaki gaped at her, but quickly snapped out of it as the limo drove away, "Hey! What are you doing! You can't leave me here!"

Jin and Haruhi only laughed harder.

 

Chapter Text

This story is so much fun! I'm glad I can finally start mixing up the story lines. Only one problem now… I have so many ideas for the in-between episodes I don't know how I'm going to fit everything in!

 

"Alright men! Are we ready for our trip?" Tamaki's announcement was met with a few cheers, but a certain glare was the one that caught his attention, "Kyoya! Mon ami, lighten up!"

The boy in question did not lighten up, "This is incredibly pointless and you're going to upset both girls at once if we go through with this."

Tamaki gasped and pressed his hand against his chest, "How could you call this pointless?"

"Easily. I'm positive that you all still have homework to complete or something to study. We have no reason to go on this… trip, and it is unlikely that either girl will want us coming along."

The twins laughed, "But that makes it more fun!"

Honey bounced in place, "Besides, we all finished our weekend homework and brought a few books so we can study in the car! We're okay, Kyo-chan!"

Tamaki looked a little too smug for Kyoya's taste, "See, Kyoya? It'll all work out."

"But you're forgetting that we weren't invited."

"That's not important! We need to go with them!"

At that, the ravenet cocked an eyebrow, "We need to? Please, enlighten me as to why we are needed on this trip."

The blond seemed to realize he had trapped himself and started stammering, "I… I didn't exactly mean 'need', it was more like… what I mean to say is… ah…" A glance at the smile on Kyoya's face was his breaking point, "WHAT IF THEY GET INTO A CRASH? OR WHAT IF THEY GET STOPPED BY THE POLICE? WE HAVE TO BE THERE TO HELP THEM!"

The five other boys sighed in unison and glanced away from their insane 'president'. Of course that would be the whole reason behind this adventure. In fact, they'd all had a sneaking suspicion ever since they'd overheard the girl's plan two days ago while cleaning up the club room for the weekend that Tamaki would have one of his freak-outs over it.

"Tama-chan, there's no need to be worried. Jin-chan knows what she's doing."

"She got her driver's license in America! She's never driven in Japan before, so how can we know if she'll drive right?"

"Boss, really-"

"-we know it would be out of character for you to not question Jin-senpai's abilities, even after all this time-"

"-but couldn't you at least try to understand she can handle herself?"

"I'M NOT DOUBTING!" Tamaki frantically waved his hands around, somehow reigning in his voice as well, "I'm merely concerned about the fact that she'll be making an almost 8 hour round-trip on the weekend! I can not believe that her father is sending her to Koriyama by herself after she sustained such an injury only a week ago! I'm only acting as concern as a good brother should!" The twins exchanged a glance. Now he was just repeating things he's already said about Haruhi.

"That's not true, Tama-chan! She's not by herself because Haru-chan is with her!"

"But that makes it worse!"

Kyoya rolls his eyes before pinching the bridge of his nose, "There's no way we can convince you otherwise, is there?"

"I'm glad you finally understand, Kyoya!"

The others fight back their groans.

"Well… it's not like we had anything better to do today, anyways."

"It might be fun to take a road trip with Jin-chan. I mean, it's not like we've really talked to her since she came home, right, Takashi?"

"Don't blame me if we can't last for 8 hours in a car together without killing someone off."

Tamaki smiled widely, "That's the spirit, men! Now, let's go!"

* Timeskip *

The six boys had been in the limo for perhaps fifteen or so minutes and they were bored already. The twins were staring out the window, eyes glazed slightly as they critiqued the clothes of the pedestrians passing their window. Kyoya was busy running through his list of study subjects for the day. Just because Jin was taking a break from their little race for top placement in class did not mean he was going to.

Tamaki noticed how the small amount of enthusiasm for the trip was waning already and tapped the floor with his foot, attempting to think of something to entertain the boys.

"So… does anyone know why Jin and Haruhi are going down to Koriyama?"

Kyoya, of course, was the one to answer, "They're driving some supplies down to a bar that works in close relation to the bar their father works at. It would seem as though there was a problem during shipping and the supplies for both establishments were delivered to the Bunkyo bar. But, as Sundays are one of the more busy days of the week for both businesses, neither one of them can spare the extra hands to drive one way or the other. So, it would seem that Mr. Fujioka mentioned the issue to his eldest daughter who took it upon herself to help out."

"Yep."

"That sure sounds like Jin-senpai."

Suddenly, the twins straightened up in their seats and pressed their faces to the window, "And that sure looks like Jin-senpai!"

" What? " Tamaki unbuckled his seatbelt and launched himself to the window opposite him. He stared in shock as a rather large vehicle passed by the limo, two familiar brunettes in the front seats.

"I thought you said they were leaving at 11:30!?"

"They were!"

"Well, it would appear that they decided to head out a little earlier."

Tamaki jumped back into his seat, "Yamez! Follow that black car!"

"Yes, sir." After a probably somewhat illegal u-turn, the hosts found themselves a part of what would become a 4-hour car chase.

* With Jin and Haruhi *

"Okay, Haru, ready for this?"

The younger sibling looked over the center console, "Are you?"

Jin's smile shrunk into more of a quirk of her lips, "Will you stop worrying already? I told you that I'm fine. I've been fine for days."

"Yeah, I know, but I still worry."

"Hey! I thought I was the older sister? You're supposed to let me worry!"

Haruhi only laughed in response and rooted around in the large bag at her feet, "I'm going check our stuff one more time to make sure we didn't forget anything."

"Better hurry, Haru. We're coming up on the exit for the Tohoku expressway. No turning back once we hit the toll booth."

"Okay, okay, I'm hurrying!" The short haired girl patted the very front pocket, feeling the shapes pressed against in, "First aid kit for small injuries. Car charger for our phones." She unzipped the main pocket, "For me, two textbooks and The Lightning Thief and for you, one beginners book on the Swedish language. An aux cord. Two water bottles. Cheez-it bags for me and Jolly Ranchers for you."

"Hey, can you hand me one of those while you're at it?" Haruhi smiled and pulled one of the candies out at random. It was red, but that wasn't surprising considering Jin had ordered a "red" bag, which meant that she could've handed her sister a cherry, watermelon, fruit punch or-

"Strawberry." Her older sister tucked the hard candy into the side of her mouth, "These new flavors are pretty awesome."

"If you say so." Haruhi wasn't sure what it was, maybe the strange combination of sweet and shiver-inducing sour, but she just hadn't been able to develope a taste for her sister's favorite candy. "Anyways, as I was saying, we have everything plus a camera so we can 'document' anything interesting that happens for Dad."

Jin shook her head, "I'm both a little upset that he can't come and a little glad."

"Why? Because all three of us wouldn't have been able to fit?" Haruhi glanced into the back of the car as she spoke. The large company vehicle the girls had borrowed for the day was supposed to seat 8 people comfortably, but at the moment the middle and back seats were piled high with boxes full of frozen fruits, meats, olives, and cleaning supplies.

"Well, kind of. But mostly because I really wanted to drive. If I don't keep doing it, eventually I'll forget how. And besides," they came up to another red light and Jin threw her left arm around her sister's shoulders, pulling her into a side hug, "I wanted to spend some one-on-one time with little Haru."

Haruhi smiled and rested her head on Jin's shoulder, "Yeah yeah, you just need someone to keep you awake while you drive."

"Ouch, Haru. Words can hurt, you know." The light turned green, so Jin pressed a quick kiss to her sister's forehead and moved the car forward. Haruhi looked at the clock on the dash. 11:22. They had originally planned on leaving a few minutes later in the day, but they'd gotten everything packed up sooner than expected and decided to take off.

If the trip went according to plan, the two would reach Koriyama by 3:30ish. Unloading would take perhaps half an hour, so they'd be back on the road by 4 and dropping the car off at their father's work at 8. That way Jin wouldn't have to drive for so long in the dark on the expressway, and they'd be able to get some sleep for school the next day.

Jin flicked on her turn signal and went up the ramp that lead to the expressway, "Haru, card?" The short-haired girl ducked back down to her bag and reached into an inside zipper pocket. She pulled out a blue credit card and handed it over to her sister's outstretched hand. They pulled up to the toll booth and Haru glanced around.

Since the car they were using didn't have an ETC (Electronic Toll Collection), the girls had to pay with their father's company's credit card. The ETC lanes were clear, as per usual, and any car that approached went under the arch without even slowing down. Thankfully the girls seemed to have hit a lull in the traffic at the moment, because there was only one car ahead of them for the credit card payment line. The monetary transaction line was empty as well, but that was because almost no one used it any more.

The girl's car moved forward and Jin reached out of her window. She slid the card in and out of the ATM-like machine, punched in the PIN number, and they were good to go. ( AN: I don't really know how they do it. There's only so much research I'm willing to put into this thing. Sue me. )

Jin handed the card back to her sister with a smile, then moved out from under the gates, quickly speeding up to match the traffic. Haruhi zipped the pocket back up before she leaned back in her seat and rolled her window down. As Jin picked up speed, the wind blew harder and harder in Haruhi's face, but she welcomed it. Today's weather was predicted to be an even 22° and sunny, not a cloud in the sky. The perfect day to roll down your window on the expressway.

"Hey! Out of curiosity, how much are we going to be charged for toll this trip?" She had to shout a little to be heard over the wind, but her sister seemed to hear just fine.

"12,170¥, and half is being reimbursed by the shipping company!"

"Good!" The girls lapsed into silence for another few moments, just letting the wind blast their hair back and enjoying the nice weather.

* With the hosts *

"There! I think I see them!"

"Tamaki, not every black car on this expressway is going to be their car! We've been on this road for an entire hour with no sign of them! Why won't you give up? We should go back home and forget this whole 'adventure'."

The blond huffed in his seat, but didn't make any move that might suggest he'd given up, "We already went through the toll. The ETC was scanned. If we've paid for this trip, then I suggest we take it. If you don't like it, then go ahead and walk home." Kyoya willed up all his internal strength to not launch himself at the idiot and make him turn this limousine around.

"Could you two just shut up already? Kaoru is about a pothole away from giving into carsickness and your arguing is not helping!"

"Hika-chan, don't shout at Tama-chan and Kyo-chan! And Kyo-chan stop shouting at Tama-chan! Maybe it is their car, we don't know!"

" I didn't even want to come on this stupid drive! "

The other red head who was hunched over in his seat let out a humorless chuckle, "But you did~ Probably because no matter what you say you were excited to see your-"

"If you make another idiotic wisecrack about the completely non existent and mythical idea that Jin Fujioka and I might ever even come close to the possibility of becoming a couple for even a second , I will physically throw you out of this moving vehicle, Hitachiin ."

The red-heads just laughed, sounding more malicious by the second.

" See, I told you he was in denial! "

" It's all over his face! How stupid can you get? "

Kyoya's hands were at his seat belt buckle by the time Tamaki started smacking at his right shoulder, "It is them! I can see Jin!"

Kyoya turned his head and looked out the window behind him. True to Tamaki's word, Jin was sitting at the steering wheel of the black car they were currently driving by. Her eyes were staring straight ahead, but she seemed to be speaking.

"I knew we'd find them!" The blond's friend was about a heartbeat away from responding with 'Because you're a moron', but just then the girl they were staring at happened to glance out at the passing lane. Her eye's went wide and her jaw dropped.

Kyoya couldn't help but smirk and flick a wave. Despite how he'd been ready to violently attack the twins seated across from him, he couldn't help but admit that things were starting to become a little more interesting.

* With Jin and Haruhi *

Their day had been going so well…

After finishing her math homework (with maybe a tiny bit of assistance from the mathematician in the driver's seat), and having Jin run through a few Swedish phrases, Haruhi had pulled The Lightning Thief out of the bag. One requirement for her English lessons was to read at least three English books, cover to cover, by the end of the school year. She had asked her sister if she'd found any recommendations while overseas, and boy did she ever.

Haruhi was perhaps a little more than halfway done with the first Percy Jackson novel, and Haruhi knew, deep down, that she was hooked. Jin was already done with the first series, now waiting patiently for her school workload to shrink before running out to find The Lost Hero .

And, as per her sister's request, Haruhi was reading the book out loud, the windows rolled back up so she wouldn't have to shout.

"The snake lady made a hissing noise that might've been laughter. 'Be honored, Percy Jackson. Lord Zeus rarely allows me to test a hero with one of my brood. For I am the Mother of Monsters, the terrible...Echidna?'"

Haruhi paused, waiting for her sister to provide her with the proper pronunciation. Because, on top of absolutely everything else that her sister was good at or did in her spare time, she was also a big mythology buff. Norse, Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Hindu, you name it, Jin probably knew a fair few of the myths and gods (since it was almost impossible to remember them all).

But her sister remained silent.

Haruhi looked over and saw her sister staring out the window to her right, "Nēchan?"

Her sister looked back out to the road, "Haru… they've found us."

The short-haired girl was confused. Normally, as a joke, whenever the two saw a police car driving down the same road they were, one of them would say, 'They found me!' and pretend to hide from the cops. But Jin looked far too serious for her to be teasing about that. And besides, Haruhi couldn't see any police cars nearby.

"Nēchan, what are you talking about?"

"The host club." Jin started snickering, "They… they're in the limo next to our car…" she started laughing out loud, releasing the steering wheel with her left hand to cradle her forehead. "Oh my god! I can't believe them sometimes! Hahaha!"

"Are you kidding me?" Haruhi pulled at her seat belt until it loosened enough for her to tuck her legs onto her seat and kneel, giving her a better angle to look out her sister's window.

And there they were. Tamaki, Hikaru, Kaoru, and Honey had their faces pressed against the windows of the limousine driving alongside their car, and if Haruhi squinted, she could make out Kyoya and Mori as well. The boys were all smiling, a few waving and trying to motion for Jin to roll down her window, probably so they could talk.

Haruhi wrapped her right arm around the headrest of her seat and laughed into it. Normally she'd be a bit angry that the hosts were butting in on a day that was supposed to be just between her and Jin, but the idea that the boys had put so much effort into following them was simply too ridiculous to be upset about. At the moment.

Suddenly, an idea surfaced in Haruhi's mind.

"Nēchan… how fast are you going right now?"

The long-haired girl flicked her gaze down and back up, "Same as usual, Haru."

Haruhi smiled mischievously, "Care to step on it?" With the smile on her sister's face, she figured that Jin didn't mind at all.

She flicked the cruise control off and placed her foot back on the gas pedal, keeping them at 105 kph for another few seconds before picking up speed. Haruhi was still on her knees and she watched the boy's faces as the girl's speedometer inched its way up.

Tamaki was the first to notice that they were falling behind. He tapped at the glass of the window and stared at Haruhi questionably. She laughed harder and waved. Then all the boy's faces changed. Mostly they looked surprised or shocked, but Tamaki (of course) seemed to be falling into a full-blown panic. He pulled away from the window only to pop his torso out of the sunroof a second later, calling after them.

The girl's merely laughed harder.

Haruhi looked down at the speedometer as Jin started to level out. 115 kph. 15 over the limit. Not really a big problem, as they were actually now going the same speed as a lot of cars that had passed them earlier in the hour, but it was still faster than their dad would've appreciated.

"Hey, Haru, keep an eye out for Toyota Crowns for me, will you?" The two laughed again and Haruhi sat back down in her seat properly.

"If you want, but I don't think there'll be a big problem, Nēchan."

"Yeah," Jin looked out her side mirror with a big smile, "I'd be more worried for the boys, because I think they're trying to catch up to us."

Haruhi whipped herself around in her seat and looked out the back window over all the boxes. Sure enough, a black limo was picking up speed behind them. Tamaki was no longer hanging out of the sunroof, but Haruhi had no doubt it was the same car.

She smack the center armrest rapidly, "We've gotta lose them, Nēchan!"

"We can try!" A thrill of excitement was pulsing through the girls. This little chase was actually a lot of fun, and it was only funnier when they tried to imagine how the boys were reacting in their car.

* With the hosts *

"Yamez, can't you go faster?"

"I'm already pushing 115, sir. Being stopped by police would only slow us down, sir."

Tamaki pouted and bounced his knees, "Why would they run?"

His friend beside him readjusted his glasses, doing a poor job at hiding his small smile, "Perhaps it could be that they don't want to see us today. But that's only a possibility, of course."

"But why? We're a pleasure to be with, right gentlemen?" His uplifting smile was short lived as he viewed the other boys.

"Kaoru! You kicked me!"

"I didn't mean to! Maybe you should stop sprawling over seats that aren't yours! "

"Hika-chan! Kao-chan! You're being-"

"Shut up, Honey-senpai!"

"Hey!"

"Takashi, don't get mad!"

"My back is getting sore!"

The blond refused to look his friend in the eye, "We're probably just tired of being cramped in this car together. Outside of a moving vehicle, anyone would want to be around us."

Kyoya leaned back in his seat, a little too uncomfortable to be completely satisfied, "Except for the Fujioka girls, it would seem. And don't forget the original plan was for us to be in the same car as them, which would've been even more cramped. Face it, Tamaki, you didn't think this 'trip' all the way through."

"Kyoya, I'm going to politely tell you to shut up."

"Sir, I've lost them! We're trapped behind a pair of semi-trucks going 100!"

There was silence in the car after Yamez's announcement and Tamaki blatantly ignored Kyoya's smug smirk.


"Nēchan, we need to take the upcoming exit, okay?" The older girl nodded and swung safely into the left lane, her blinker flashing at a gentle pulse. She glanced at the time and smiled. 3:04. After their little run in with the hosts and speeding up, they'd managed to shave a couple minutes off of their driving time. And speaking of the hosts, the girls hadn't seen the limo in over two hours. Haruhi assumed they'd lost them for the rest of the day, which was a good thing for her mood.

"Alright, Haru, do you have the map ready?"

"All set, Nēchan." Haruhi held the hand-drawn map in her hand. It was scribbled on a napkin from the bar, so it was a little messy, but on the other side were written instructions that told them exactly what streets to take to get to their destination.

"Alright, once we get through the toll, you're going to take the fourth left we come across."

"Got it."

For the following ten minutes, the girls repeated this trend. Haruhi would read the instructions to her older sister, and once Jin completed it, she'd read the next one. And at 3:15, the two pulled into the back of the bar and waved at the two employees waiting for them.

Jin turned the car off and they hopped out of the vehicle, "Hello! We've got your things!"

The two trannies ran forward, smiling widely and hugging the girls, "Thank you both so much for doing this!"

"You have no idea how much this means to everyone here!"

"Oh, and you're both so cute! I just want to wrap you up and take you home myself! And you're wearing matching shirts! That's adorable! "

Jin and Haruhi took it in stride. Their father and a good half of his co-workers behaved this way as well, so it was nothing new to them. And they'd both received the same treatment while packing up the car back in Bunkyo, shirt comment and everything. The two simply waited until the cross-dressers released them and got started on the job. It took them all four trips between the car and the bar to move everything inside. The other employees were just as equally grateful for the girl's help and asked often if they were sure they didn't want to be paid for the job.

"No thanks. It's kind of against our school's policies, especially as scholarship students."

"Besides, our dad is treating us to a dinner out this week to repay us, but thank you."

The girls were, obviously, a big hit, and they ended up not leaving the establishment until around 3:48. All the employees wanted to hug them both just one last time .

The girls sighed in relief once they finally got to walk out of the doors, "Okay, Haru. Do you still want to grab a quick bite to eat or just head on home? We've got another four hours to drive and-"

"Haruhi! Jin!"

The girls stopped short as Tamaki came flying out at them out of nowhere. The girl's were quickly wrapped up in a pair of arms that didn't seem willing to let go. Over his shoulder Jin could see the five other host club boys climbing out of the limo and stretching their legs, and they appeared to be scowling at each other.

"T-Tamaki-senpai?"

"How'd you guys find us?"

The blond was still holding them tightly as he explained, "Kyoya knew which bar you were heading to, so you weren't hard to find! But why did you run? Do you not like us?"

"Well, to be perfectly honest-"

"Sir!" Finally, Tamaki released his hold on the girls and faced his driver, who looked nervous about something, "I performed a check on the car and, it would seem as though we have a flat tire."

Tamaki paled and staggered over to the limo. Sure enough, the back left tire was flat.

"When did that happen?"

"I believe we ran over something sharp during the last half hour on the expressway and it's been slowly leaking since then." The driver ducked his head slightly, "Sir."

The blond nodded, "Well, it's okay. I mean, we have a spare tire in the trunk, yes?"

His driver looked away nervously, "Yes, but I'm afraid I don't know how to change a tire..."

Honey finally spoke up, though his smile seemed a little lack-luster, "That's okay, Yamez. I'm sure Jin-chan can help you!"

The boys all turned to face the tall girl, expectant looks on their faces. Jin, however, bit at her lower lip and scratched the back on her head, "Um… well, there's a… about that. I-uh… I'm afraid I get a little lost around cars… and car maintenance."

She gave the group a sheepish smile, and they responded with complete disbelief.

"Jin-senpai-"

"-can't fix a car?"

The girl shook her head with a side smile, "Mm-mm." The boys continued to stare, and she couldn't help but laugh lightly, "Okay, I'm flattered by how shocked you all look, but come on, no one is great at everything."

Haruhi pressed her hands to her hips, "Now if you could stop making Nēchan feel bad about not being able to help, how about we figure out how you boys are going to get home?"

At that, Yamez, which was apparently the name of their driver, looked back down at the popped tire, "I believe I can call to have the car taken to a shop nearby, but I'm unsure how long it may take to replace the tire or how busy they may be at this time of day."

Honey suddenly started bouncing on his toes, "Does that mean we get to ride with Haru-chan and Jin-chan like we planned to?"

Haruhi blanched and took a step back, "Ride? With us? Wh-why?" She looked to her sister for some backup. However, Jin was nodding thoughtfully.

"It does look that way, Honey-senpai. We can fit all of you in the car, but it'll be a bit of a squeeze." The boys who had started to look excited suddenly looked at their shoes.

"Well, we don't really need to head home just yet."

"Yeah, wouldn't want to step in on your sister-time."

"Koriyama might be an interesting little town."

Jin frowned and crossed her arms, "Do you boys just not want to ride with us? Is that it?"

Tamaki jumped forward, "No! No no no, that's not it at all, right gentlemen?" The other boys were quick to agree, so the long-haired brunette smiled and stuck her hands into her jean pockets.

"Well, that's good. And since you boys probably don't want to get home around midnight, especially since we have school tomorrow, piling into our car would probably be the best option, right?"

The hosts exchanged glances.

"Well… if you put it that way…"

*Timeskip*

Haruhi wasn't sure exactly how her sister had managed to convince the boys to squeeze into their car, but she was very sure that this was the most awkward road trip she'd ever taken.

To make sure that everyone fit inside the 8-seat car without wanting to strangle anyone else too badly, Jin had been quick to arrange a seating chart, of sorts. The two sisters would keep their seats in the front, obviously. Tamaki was behind Jin, Mori-senpai was behind Haruhi, and Honey-senpai was on the 'hump' seat between them. And in the back was Hikaru, Kaoru, and Kyoya. Kyoya was behind Tamaki, probably to make sure that the redheads didn't antagonize the blond too much.

The seating worked, but it had been a very quiet and tense half hour. The boys didn't speak and seemed to be trying their best not to touch each other (though it was hard when their sides were squeezed together) and neither Jin nor Haruhi could think of anything to say.

Until Jin's cell phone went off.

The gentle chimes make everyone jump in their seats, the tension putting everyone's nerves on edge. Haruhi grabbed the iPhone going off from the empty cup holder in the center console and answered it.

"Hello? Hi Dad."

Jin gave her sister a side glance before returning her attention back to the road.

"Uh huh. Yes, we just left." The short-haired girl was silent for a longer moment before looking at the back seat, "Um… nope. Nothing terribly interesting to report. We're still on time and what not." Jin snorted from her chair, but otherwise said nothing.

"Yeah. Okay, then. See you tonight. Love you."

Jin leaned over the center console and Haruhi held the phone up to her ear, "I love you, too, Dad." She paused before laughing a bit, "Fine, if I have too. Okay. Bye!"

Haruhi pulled the phone back onto her side and hung up, "So, what did Dad tell you?"

"To not kill us in a fiery explosion."

The short-haired girl laughed and leaned back in her seat, finally feeling a bit relaxed. In turn, the boys started subconsciously relaxing as well. She looked down at the iPhone in her hands and turned it over a few times.

"Hey, do you guys mind if we listen to some music?" Jin visibly perked up in her seat at Haruhi's suggestion, which the others noticed.

Tamaki leaned forward, wrapping an arm around Jin's headrest, "Of course not, Haruhi! We'd all love to hear your commoner's music! What are we going to listen to first?"

Jin laughed and reached back with her left hand to pat the blond on the head, "Tamaki, we're going to be listening to some music my friends from America sent me."

"Really?" Honey leaned forward this time, eyes wide with curiosity, "Do they still talk to you?"

"Oh, yeah! I get emails and messages from them all the time. About half of them are lists of songs they think I should listen to."

"Why? Do you send them Japanese songs in return?"

Haruhi started plugging the aux cord into the car, "Nēchan tends to favor English songs. It's pretty much all we listen to, so she asked her friends back in America to send her songs that she might like."

The boys watched as Haruhi scrolled through the music list. Or more like, shift down a bit before smirking at the screen.

"Haru? Have you found one?"

"Yeah… but I'm not sure if the boys are going to appreciate it."

Jin turned her head a bit, "Oh? How so?"

"I want to go through our mixed favorites... alphabetically."

The long-haired brunette smiled and chuckled, "Go ahead. It's not like I'm going to say no." With one last smirk towards the back of the car, Haruhi pressed her thumb to the screen. The speakers softly let out a few notes. Like how a music box in a horror movie might sound. A dog barked, and it sounded so realistic Tamaki jumped and looked out the window.

Then the lyrics began without so much as a warning: " She's an American beauty! I'm an American Psycho! She's an American beauty! I'm an American- I'm an American- American Psycho! Woah! Woah! Woah! "

The boy's felt their jaws drop as Haruhi and Jin started jamming out in the front seats. The song was fast paced and the English words came and went so fast the boys hardly had any time to translate them mentally. Haruhi was mouthing the words like a professional lip-syncer, but Jin was actually singing aloud, matching the words note for note. They didn't even skip over the sex references!

The hosts had a feeling this was going to be an… interesting ride.


'American Beauty/American Psycho' was the first song of many the group listened to, and there were a few different ways the guys were dealing with it. Tamaki recognized a few of the songs, as he used to visit the UK often when he lived in France, so he had been introduced to a lot of English artists. He sang along, sometimes stumbling over a word or two, but he had a good voice.

The twins bounced to the rhythms, as most of them were dance tunes. Occasionally they requested a song they'd already heard just so they could dance again. Honey joined in with them. 'American Beauty/American Psycho' was actually played twice again after it's debut. Mori would bob his head to the music and tap his foot, but he would only watch the others with their dances. Sometimes he'd find himself humming along to the tune.

Kyoya wasn't sure what to think. He actually liked the songs, which was surprising. He tried to keep his mind off of that fact by finding a general thread in all the songs. But it was hard. Sure, most of them were songs to dance to, but some of them were the exact opposite. And the genres bounced all over the place. There were even a few instrumental pieces and Acapella groups sprinkled into the selection.

But the fun ended right after they finished a duet with the car beside them. Their windows had been rolled down to let in some much needed breeze when Haruhi had selected 'All Star'. As they reached the second chorus, Tamaki noticed that the car on their right had started singing along. Soon, the passengers of each car were singing to each other, smiling and laughing and genuinely having a good time.

At the end of the song, Haruhi touched the phone and quickly withdrew her hand, "Woah, this thing is getting hot. Maybe we should let it cool down for a while."

Jin nodded, "Sounds like a good idea." The boys whined as Haruhi unplugged the phone.

"Now what are we going to do? We have almost another 3 hours!"

"How about we play a car game I learned in America?"

The twins leaned forward, their eyes gleaming at the idea of a 'game', "What's it called?"

"Easy, you two. It's not meant to embarrass anyone. It's called 'Don't get me Started'. Basically, you give someone a random topic and they have to go on a minute long rant about it."

"That sounds stupid."

"Hey! Don't knock it til you try it!"

The boys offered each other shrugs before consenting to the game. Oddly enough, the previous tension they'd been holding between each other had dispersed over the past hour. No one was complaining about how cramped the car was, or how the leather seats were uncomfortably warm with their body heat. A few of the hosts didn't even notice it.

"How about I start us off? Haru, give me a topic."

"Hm…" Haruhi stared out the window, eyes narrowing in concentration, "How about… trees?"

The driver immediately straightened up in her seat, "Oh, my, gosh, don't get me started ! Where do I begin? I mean, look at them? Why do they all look different? How are we supposed to know what they're called? And their leaves ! What, they show up for about half the year, change color, and then just fall ! All over the place! Ugg! It's such a pain to rake them up! And yeah, they give us air to breathe but at what cost? "

The boys couldn't help but stare. As Jin continued with her complaints, they could almost imagine that, yes, this girl absolutely hated trees with a burning passion.

"Time!" Jin shut up and smiled as Haruhi spun around in her seat, "Who wants to go next?"

"Me! I want to go!"

Jin laughed, "Okay, Honey! Your topic... is ants."

Honey's excited face vanished quickly, "Oh. Okay. Um... Ants. They're... there's always a lot of them. And they, uh, eat your picnic! Yeah! And some of them bite! They can hurt! Um... uh, and, uh, they..." the blond boy's face scrunched up as he tried to think of something else to say on the fly. It didn't help that the twins were cracking up behind him. "They-"

"Time!"

The redheads kept laughing, "You couldn't think of anything for ants? Really?"

"Why don't you try it? It's harder than it looks!"

Kaoru shrugged, "Alright. Give me a topic."

Haruhi waved a hand, "I've got one! Kaoru, your topic is women's bathrooms."

The redhead leaned back, confused, "Women's... bathrooms?" The others laughed at the subtle hint of horror in the boy's question.

"Yup! Go!"

"Uh... well.. I'm not, I don't really... I-I can't believe how much time women spend in the bathroom!" The other boys couldn't hold their laughter in as the younger twin blushed at the words that came out of his mouth, "I mean... um, they do everything in there it seems. Makeup, hair, socialize, it's a bathroom for goodness sake! Even in movies the girl's bathroom is used for meeting places or they're shown to have a long line-"

"Time. Nice job, Kaoru."

Hikaru snickered, "Yeah... nice job. You sure know a bit about women's bathrooms, then, huh?"

His brother narrowed his eyes, "Then how about I give you a topic?"

"Aww! But I wanted to go next!" The redhead shrugged and turned to Tamaki.

"You sure?"

"Yeah!"

"Your topic is... chimneys."

Tamaki's smile fell flat, "Oh. Right. Chimneys... let's see. Um, how dare they get so dirty?" At the blank looks the others are giving him, Tamaki finds himself oddly grasping for words, "I mean, uh, who even has a chimney any more? All they do is get dirty and sooty and are a fire hazard! Good riddance is all I can say!" He smiled, obviously pleased at his argument. The others were snickering.

"30 more seconds, Tamaki."

The blond blinked, "30 more? Oh... um, what else is there to say? They're, ah, a waste of brick? And they might make a house look... rustic, but they're too much hassle to actually use and... and... who wants an actual fire in their house? So... what would be the point of a chimney?"

"Time!"

"Wow, Tama-chan! That was actually pretty good!"

The taller blond rubbed at his forehead, "The timing was the only problem!"

"Okay, now it's my turn-"

Screech!

"AHH!" The car braked really hard and the eight occupants were sent forward, being caught by their seat belts. They screamed and clutched at each other or various parts of the car interior. Kyoya's glasses slipped off the end of his nose and fell onto the floor before he could snag them.

" Merde! "

The car stopped braking and everyone was sent back into their seats with racing heartbeats. Kyoya reached down and felt around for his glasses. Thankfully they hadn't fallen beneath the seat in front of him, and he quickly jammed them onto his face. He looked towards the front of the car. Jin had her left arm swung out in front of Haruhi, but retracted it as soon as Kyoya saw and placed both hands back on the steering wheel.

She snarled at the car in front of them and slammed her hand on the horn for two seconds, " Salaud! Enule! Va te faire voir! "

Tamaki lets out a strangled gasp and stares at the girl, horrified, "JIN FUJIOKA!"

Everyone but the two girls look at Tamaki in surprise. Haruhi is now trying to muffle her laughs while Jin's shoulders tense up.

"Oops… sorry, Tamaki."

"MY MOTHER WOULD'VE THROWN ME INTO MY ROOM WITHOUT FOOD FOR A DAY IF I'D SAID THOSE WORDS!"

"He cut us off! We could've been in a crash-"

"MY PRECIOUS SISTER, HOW COULD YOU?

"Wait, what did Jin-chan say?"

"WHERE DID YOU EVEN LEARN THOSE WORDS?"

"Um… I took a French class… and excelled at it… so I'd take extra lessons and, um, check out books? And there was this tiny little book I'd picked up while doing so that read… um… swears around the world?"

Tamaki looked like he was about to have a stroke and Haruhi couldn't hold her laughter in anymore. She was joined by the twins who were cracking up in the backseat.

"Oh man! You should see your face, boss!"

"I can't take it! Who would've thought Jin-senpai would know how to swear in French?"

Haruhi turned around to face the boys, "It's a bad habit of hers. She swears in a lot of different languages, actually."

"Haru…"

"What? All I'm saying is you probably should've stuck to Swedish or Italian while Tamaki-senpai was in the car, Nēchan."

Jin cleared her throat, "Okay! How about we continue with the game? Mori, your turn!"

* Timeskip *

If you had asked Kyoya yesterday what he normally likes to do during a car trip, he probably would've said studying or catching up on all the sleep he misses during the week. And if you'd asked him to come up with minute long 'rants' about pens, straws, curtains, or vending machines, he'd think you were insane or a child. And yet, he'd done just that in the past hour and a half. Though, he had to admit it was much more fun and amusing than a game of I Spy or trivia pursuit. He even found himself laughing along as Mori-senpai came up with a very serious list of complaints about kittens.

Still, he kept an eye on the clock. The leather seat he was using was now almost uncomfortably warm. The open windows were nice and all, but it wasn't much help for the lower half of his body. And they still had another hour and a half. It was only 6:29. He sighed and tuned back into the game as Haruhi threw her hands around.

"How can they even call it art? It's literally a lump of metal twisted in a spiral shape! Modern art is not art !"

The twins were cracking up beside Kyoya, leaning up against each other as per usual. Kyoya could almost imagine that they'd never had a single moment today where they'd been at each other's throats. He looked back towards the front of the car and found his eyes drawn to the back of Jin's head. She was certainly a very interesting woman. Skilled, intelligent... a real renaissance woman. There weren't many girls like her at their school, in fact there definitely weren't, so it was almost no wonder that she fit in well with the host club. The other seven were all strange in their own ways, enough so that they always stood out in a crowd, and not just for their looks.

Jin turned her head all of the sudden and Kyoya pretended he was still paying attention to Haruhi's turn.

"Hey, guys, Sky appreciation moment." The six boys blinked and looked at each other. Was this another game? What did she mean?

Haruhi, however, was quick to turn and look out the window. She gasped as her eyes grew wide. One glance at her big smile and five of the hosts pressed close to the windows to the left of the car. Tamaki, being on the right, partially climbed over Honey and stared out over Mori's shoulders. Kyoya didn't move at first. He was stuck in the back seat, far right corner. Everyone was looking out of the left side of the car (except Jin, of course, she had to watch the road) and he didn't feel like fighting with the twins over a spot to look outside.

But then he turned his head anyway to see his friend's reactions, and the view from the back window caught his attention. Turning his body, Kyoya felt the air in his lungs rush out.

It was the sunset.

The sky was lit up with beautiful pinks, oranges, yellows, blues, and purples. A few clouds dotted the sky, making it look like a watercolor painting. Kyoya knew he shouldn't be staring like this, but it was hard. He couldn't remember ever seeing something as beautiful. Watching the sunset wasn't exactly something he did regularly. Sure, the photos and paintings were lovely, but now he knew that those recreations would never be able to hold a candle to the real thing.

The others seemed to agree.

For about two whole minutes, the boys do nothing but stare in silence. Eventually Haruhi went back to facing the front, but the rest of the host club was content to watch the changing colors of the sky. Eventually Jin's voice hummed softly from the driver's seat.

" A little different than the ones you see in the city, huh? "

Tamaki whispered in return, " We don't really look at those either… "

Kyoya can't see her face, but he assumes that Jin is smiling.

* Timeskip *

" Haruhi, get the camera out! "

"Hm?" The short-haired girl pulls her eyes away from the dark passing landscape to face her sister, "Why?"

" Take a look behind us. " Haruhi blinked, but turned around in her seat and looked at the boys. They were all fast asleep. Most of them leaning on each other and letting out soft sleep noises. Despite the underlying feeling of her day out with her sister being intruded on, Haruhi had to admit that she'd still had a lot of fun during the ride. After the sing-along and game playing portion of the ride, the last hour of their drive had been surprisingly mellow.

The boys had watched the sun set until the stars started coming out. Then they stared at those for a while. Honey had spotted a couple deer hanging out in a field with the help of the moon light, and it was easy to tell that most of the hosts had been more excited about that than they'd care to admit. It was kind of funny.

And speaking of funny, at some point during the last half hour Jin had shared some stories from her time in America. All of them funny occurrences when she was a part of the school's marching band. Haruhi had already heard most of them, but even she was laughing to the point of tears at Jin's stories. The boys seemed to have had a fun time and while she didn't really want to admit it out loud... Haruhi had enjoyed the boy's company. Yes, even Tamaki and Kyoya's.

" Okay, so they're sleeping. Why a camera? "

" Can you take a picture for me? I think this is adorable of them. "

Haruhi rolled her eyes, but did it anyways. Even with the flash on, the six hosts remained dead to the world. Tamaki's head fell sideways off of his headrest and smacked onto the window, but his eyes stayed closed. Haru couldn't help but snort with laughter. I guess there's no denying his thick skull now.

" This trip turned out better than I expected. "

" Even with the boys hitching a ride? "

Jin smiled, " No. Because the boys hitched a ride. "

Her sister's comment caught Haruhi off guard, " So... you're glad they came with us in the end? "

" Yeah... a little bit. You do notice how they don't hang out together outside of the host club, right? Well, I looked into it a little more and, they don't really hang out with anyone but each other, but only at the club or for club activities. And I think they're too important to each other to only see those sides. With this trip, they were actually allowed to relax and be themselves for each other. So, yeah, I'm happy they came with us. "

Haruhi gave the backseats another look, " Maybe... but they're still annoying, possessive idiots. "

Jin laughed and ruffled her sister's hair, " Yeah, but they're our annoying, possessive idiots. "

 

Chapter Text

 

Jin sighed and leaned back in her chair, stretching out her back as the other students starting packing away their things. Finally! Lunch time! She leaned forward over her desk and stretched again. A few joints popped here and there and she let out another sigh, her eyelids flickering shut.

Until the past week or so, Jin would normally be already packed up and out the door, on her way to Haruhi's classroom to eat with her sister. But now she was content to hang around with Tamaki and Kyoya until most of the other students were out of the way. The boys were actually pretty cool to hang around nowadays. She enjoyed their company.

Something that Haruhi couldn't understand for the life of her.

"Jin, are you ready to head to the club room?"

The brunette cracked one eye open, "Hm? What are you talking about? Do we have another lunch meeting today?"

"I suppose you could say that.” Kyoya flipped his bag closed, “All afternoon classes have been cancelled for the day, so we're taking this extra time to extend our hosting hours."

"Wait, the afternoon classes were cancelled? Why?"

Tamaki bounced up from his chair, "No one told you? It's been on the bulletin board for weeks!"

"I kind of skim it when I pass by in the hallways… but no, no one's told me anything." Kyoya let out a little hum before he pulled out a flyer from his bag and handed it over to her.

"Ouran hosts an exposition for the cultural clubs annually. It will take place over the next two days, during which classes will be cancelled to allow students to partake in the activities and free up the classrooms as temporary prep rooms for all the performers. Considering the drama and choir clubs from other prestigious schools from around the country have been invited, Ouran needs all the practice rooms it can possibly have."

"Wow…" Jin read the flyer. It seemed like 40 or so schools were sending over their finest performers. For the entirety of Thursday and Friday there would be concerts and plays and skits going on around the school. In hallways, some of the larger classrooms, the gym, the refractory, and there would even be a musical in the auditorium. It looked like that one was being put on by some really popular group or something.

"Since the host club will be cancelled for the next two days, we've decided to extend our hours during the cancelled class time. Hopefully this will tide over our guests for the following two days and the weekend."

Jin cocked an eyebrow and handed the flyer back to the ravenet, standing up with the other two, "So… we're hosting right after lunch?"

"Of course not, silly! Lunch first, then we go get set up for the next hour or two, and then we host! We're only adding in about two hours to our usual time frame."

"Alright."

The three 2nd years walked along down the hallway, discussing what expositions might be interesting to go see for the following two days, not having a clue as to what was really coming.

* Timeskip *

Jin frowned at the double doors, "This isn't right. Haru should've been back by now…"

"Maybe she got stuck around the renovators! They've probably started changing around the classrooms by now, so she could've gotten redirected around the hallways they're working on." Jin hummed, but didn't comment. Honey noticed how his friend was still worrying, so he hugged her leg tightly, which was a little difficult with his bulky armor.

"Don't worry about Haru-chan too much, okay Jin-chan? I'm sure she's learned her lesson from when we went to the beach."

The brunette blinked at the small blond before patting his head, "Okay, I won't."

"Good! Now you should probably go get into your cosplay! Kyo-chan said we need to make sure everything fits!"

"I will once you let go of my leg, Honey-senpai!" The girl began staggering to the back of the room, her friend holding on tightly and laughing playfully. Jin laughed as well, knowing they probably looked utterly ridiculous right now. A teenage girl dragging a small boy in pink medieval-style armor who was clinging onto her leg, which made her skirt tighten around her free leg, so they only shifted about an inch along at a time.

Again, ridiculous.

"Honey-senpai, could I please request you release Jin so she can go change? We might have a few hours to prepare, but that doesn't mean we can slack off."

The short blond pouted but did as he was told. Jin made a show of straightening out her skirt before flashing a smile at her classmate, "Thanks, Glasses." Kyoya smiled slightly back before turning to face his journal again. He, along with the other boys, were already clad in their cosplay for the day, so he was taking some of this free time to calculate the club’s financial stance after it’s most recent cosplay purchase.

"Hey… Kyoya-senpai?"

"Did Jin-senpai just call you 'Glasses'?"

Kyoya didn't look up at the twins, knowing exactly how smug their faces probably looked, "Yes, she did."

"Aww… she's got a nickname for you!"

He didn't even bother responding. For whatever reason the redheads were clearly going to continue with that joke, no matter that no one else found it funny, and he wasn't going to waste his time trying to correct them. They were arguing for the sake of arguing, and he wasn't going to play into their game.

And, thankfully, before they could say anything else, the doors opened.

"Welcome, ladies!"

It was a gut reaction from them all. The doors open, and you greet the guests. But the guests weren't supposed to arrive for another two hours…

And then he noticed the uniforms they were wearing. Oh… my.

* With Jin *

Jin was putting on the finishing touches when she heard the doors open. Her head perked up. About time Haru got here. It wasn't like her sister to get lost and the tardiness had been more than a little concerning.

Yeah, yeah, she'd told Honey that she wouldn't worry, but it wasn't exactly something she could stop. The sun rose every morning. The sky was blue. And Jin worried over Haruhi. It was just nature, and wouldn't stop unless something apocalyptic occurred.

Reasoning she could stay in the back room for a little longer, Jin continued to fiddle with the knife hanging at her hip. It wasn't real, of course, but the effect was perfect. She was all decked out in a green and black medieval dress, and with the fake hunting knife and the way the large hood hid her eyes, her ensemble gave her a very mysterious appearance. There were a few other accessories for her to play with as well, including a black cloak that was even longer than her dress, and a bow should she have decided against the knife. But she liked how it gave her a more dark and dangerous kind of look than the bow. So… knife it was.

Tamaki's voice then drifted out from the music room, "Well, I see you ladies are from another school."

Jin's head lifted. Another school? So Haru's not here yet? The panic that had previously left her came back full force, but at the same time she felt a sort of interest. If Haru wasn't here… then who was? Tamaki said 'ladies', so they were girls, but there was no squealing. Maybe they got lost and were looking for directions?

She listened as Tamaki made his usual grand proclamations of devotion. Her eyes rolled. Does Tamaki never consider that some people who come in here might not have sought them out? Yes, she did enjoy his company at times, but more often than not Tamaki was just an idiot. Jin's hand touched the doorknob of the changing rooms when a different voice spoke up.

"Oh my, do you really think you'd be able to protect us? That's awfully arrogant of you, wouldn't you agree? You think that's what a woman wants to hear? Well, you're wrong."

"Come on, give him a break, Sister Suzuran! Men are just lowly life forms who don't care about anything other than perpetuating their testosterone laden image! By 'protecting' us, he is actually attempting to disguise the fact that he is weak and unable of even protecting himself!"

Jin's mouth fell open at the cruel comments. That was uncalled for! I mean, sure, Tamaki can be a bit much on occasion, but calling all men lowly life forms just goes too far! She could feel her mouth twist into a sneer. There wasn't anything Jin hated more than self-righteous, arrogant bullies.

She stalked over to the cloak and yanked it off the wall, throwing the thick fabric over her cosplay. After clasping the billowing fabric in the front and lifting the large hood over her head, she gave herself one final look in the mirror.

The dress she had on was very tight in the torso, and combined with the way the large cloak hid her body, her feminine figure was actually hidden very well. Her smirk grew into a large, evil looking smile as she reached underneath the hood and tucked a few stray hairs into the shadows.

She threw open the door and stepped out into the open just as a third voice sounded from the front of the room.

"Maybe something like, I would never leave my lover alone…"

Jin tilted her head up slightly and her vision tinted red.

There were three girls standing at the doors to the club room in uniforms she sort of recognized. They were students from the school putting on the big musical tomorrow afternoon, which means they had taken the time out of their rehearsal schedule to seek out the Host Club and insult them. But that wasn't what angered her…

The tallest of the girls was standing just outside the music room, her left arm wrapped tightly around Jin's baby sister. Haruhi looked completely lost, clutching at the paper bag full of instant coffee like it was a lifeline. Jin's steps became faster paced.

The tall Lobelia girl began swinging Haruhi around like a ragdoll, "If we fight, it'll be together! If we fail, we fail together! Even if I were to die, I promise you that I will never leave your side, my love…" Her mouth tilted down to press a kiss to the back of Haruhi's hand-

-and that's when Jin struck.

She shot forward and snatched Haruhi away, pulling her close against her chest and out of sight. The others were probably staring at her in complete shock, but she kept her hood down. Her large, feminine eyes would most likely be a dead giveaway, so she had to hide them for now.

If you want to be hateful of men, let's see how well you fair with this.

Purposefully deepening her voice, she growled, "Please refrain from touching my sister, thank you. " Haruhi let out a light gasp, and Jin automatically knew that Haruhi understood. She'd play along.

It wasn't until Jin had steered Haruhi back into the club room that the girl snapped out of her surprise. "Don't touch her, you barbarian!" She tried to grab Haruhi yet again, but Jin pulls her sister behind her, out of reach.

"No, you will not touch her." A fist flew at her face before she even finished speaking, and she grabbed it with her own hand. Purely on reflex, but it got the point across. There were a few callouses on her palm, mostly from Jin rejoining Honey and Mori for practices at the Dojo, and now the brunette found herself thanking them. It wouldn't be any fun if these girls found out she wasn't a male sooner than she wanted.

Still, the others in the room gasped at the contact and the Lobelia girl's eyes widened. Jin pushed the fist away, making her adversary stagger back a few paces.

"So I suppose we can add 'violent' to your list of lovely traits, huh?"

The other girls came to their classmate's aid, "Sister Benibara is not nearly as violent as you men! It's cruel, evil males such as you who are the real horrors of this world!"

"You'd take your own sister and decide her life! This poor maiden should be allowed to escape this horrific testosterone infested land if she wishes to, not if her brother has any say in it!"

For a moment, there is nothing but silence in the music room. Then Jin starts chuckling, "Oh… Hun. " Her voice slowly rises back to normal as her right hand comes up to pull her hood back, "Now this is just embarrassing."

Instantly the girl's jaws drop. They stare as the newly revealed girl laughs at the trick she just pulled. She turns her gaze to Haruhi and gently touched her shoulder.

"You alright?"

"Yeah, I'm fine. She ambushed me in the front of the school." Jin nodded and gently lead Haruhi over to the boys. They were watching her as well, though they looked more impressed than scarred for life.

"My fair maiden… what has become of you?"

"Hm?" Jin didn’t even bother looking around, shucking off her heavy cloak to drape across the couch, "Nothing has become of me. I just simply didn't like the way you were touching and tossing around my baby sister. Or the rude way you were speaking to my friends."

The tall girl in the center straightened up, "Well then, I suppose the rumors we heard were true. How disappointing." She looked at the hosts, ignoring the two sisters for a moment, "You boys are just some weak little punks who enjoy toying around with young lady's feelings. Even tricking these two maidens to fight your battles… is there no limit to your twisted practice?"

Kyoya pushed his glasses further up the bridge of his nose, "Those uniforms…"

"Lobelia, in case you guys were wondering." Jin confirmed, glaring daggers at the girls.

The tall girl, who Jin assumed was the leader of the group, smirked gently, "That is correct, my intelligent maiden."

Suddenly, the three girls threw off their uniforms, revealing one tux and two frilly dresses. The hosts club leaned away as they introduced themselves... by singing.

"Lobelia~!"

"Lobelia~!"

"Lobelia~!"

"Saint Lobelia Academy 2nd year… Benio Amakusa."

"Lobelia~!"

"2nd year student, Chizuru Maihara."

"Lobelia~!"

"1st year student, Hinako Tsuwabuki!"

"Lobelia~!"

Benio stepped forward, a determined look in her eyes, "We are the members of the Saint Lobelia Academy's White Lily League! Also known as…" she tossed her hat away flamboyantly as they threw off their clothes again to reveal even frillier get-ups.

Feathers and ruffles and sequins... oh my...

All three girls were grinning madly, arms outstretched as they delivered their last line in unison:

"The Zuka Club!"

Fanfair of trumpets.


The host club gaped for maybe ten or fifteen seconds before four of their members collapsed in a fit of giggles. Hikaru and Kaoru were laughing so hard they could hardly stand while Jin and Haruhi tried holding back as much as they could.

"The Zuka club?! That's what they came up with?"

"Oh man, what a stupid name!"

"They look so proud of it too!" Jin snorted through her fingers, squeezing her eyes shut as Hikaru leaned up against her, trying to remain upright.

"The Zuka club?! My stomach hurts!"

"That was priceless! "

"How did they manage to hide all those different clothes underneath their outfits?" The four continued laughing until a screechy voice echoed from underneath their feet.

"You shouldn't underestimate the Zuka club!"

Jin froze and her good mood fell through the floorboards. Oh great. Now what?

Renge's pedestal pushed her up into the music room, "I may not know much about instant coffee, but I'm fascinated with girls' school." The girl took a sip of her coffee and almost spit it back out again. As she swallowed the drink with a shudder Jin raised an eyebrow in Haruhi's direction.

What was that about instant coffee?

I'll tell you about it later.

The sound of shattering china returned their attention back to Renge who clasped her hands together, "Saint Lobelia Academy, it is truly a woman's world there! The Zuka club is a group of strong young maidens who consider women to be superior in every way! It's a society of maidens, by maidens, for maidens! Zuka club activities include maiden tea parties, the maiden debate forum, and most importantly, widely-acclaimed musicals performed by the society's top members!"

Jin shifted her weight to rest on one leg, crossing her arms, "Okay, those sound fun or whatever, but consider this: Their blatant misandry is really getting on my nerves.”

Renge cracked an eye open, peeking at the brunette, "Um… I'm not quite familiar with that term."

"Misandry. Noun. A hatred for men. Which makes these three,” she jerked her head towards the Lobelia girls, “misandrists. Another noun. People who dislike, despise, or are strongly prejudiced against men.”

"Ah…" the French girl pondered the terms, "I'm not… I'm sure not all of them hate men. There must be a few of them who... uh... well, just because they believe women are superior doesn't mean... ah..."

Kyoya cleared his throat from across the room where he had finished taking off his armor, "You seem to have quite an extensive knowledge on Lobelia, Ms. Renge."

"Er, well I've always admired girls' schools, but I wouldn't go to someplace like that. After all, how could I live without any boys around?" Renge was fiddling with her fingers as her pedestal sunk back into the floor. Jin wasn't sure whether to be sad or somewhat pleased with Renge's reaction, but another voice broke through her thoughts.

"Young maiden, I'm afraid you don't quite understand what it is we do at Lobelia." Chizuru stepped forward and gently ran a hand through Jin's hair. The girl jolted and spun around, taking a few steps away. Chizuru simply smiled lightly and threaded her fingers together.

"A maiden's beauty… it means possessing a spirit pure enough to not give into power or to lust."

"We've had quite enough of the oppressive male contempt for women kind!"

"And our pride comes from having meaningful relationships based on equality… because we're the same sex. Including relationships of love..."

At that, the three Lobelia girls looked up at the boys, smirking and waiting for someone to explode on them. There was nothing more hilarious than a man's face after he hears that beautiful women have no interest in him. But instead, the only hosts paying any real attention to them are the girls.

"Yeah, that's nice. Whatever."

"Look, maybe you girls should just scram already."

Chizuru blinked rapidly before turning up her nose, "Oh really? Is that all you have to say? I must say, it's interesting to find a group of men who are so disturbed by our maidenly love for each other that they outright ignore it."

"Nope, that's not it, I'm afraid." Jin crossed her arms over her chest with a smirk, "They're just smart and kind enough to know that it doesn't matter what your sexual orientation is, if you're a jerk, you're a jerk. End of story."

Benio clenched her hands, "Maiden… you are truly trying our patience."

"Oh, patience? Is that what I've been seeing lately?"

The short-haired girl marched forward a few paces, letting her arms fall away from her fellow students, "Why are you so defensive of these heathens? Exactly what drives you to turn against your own kind? I must know."

Jin sneered, " Excuse you , but did we come over to your school and insult you without even announcing our names? And unless I'm mistaken, every single person in this room is the same species! We're all human, and it's not right to treat others like they're not! Besides, despite all of your petty insults and the stuck-up attitude you're throwing around the place, none of these boys have responded to your bitterness. Remind me again who you think has more maturity here?"

"Do you really want to go down this road with me, maiden?"

"Only if it's to someplace with candlelight~"

Benio's mouth fell open for a few seconds, so her followers had to come to her rescue, "Don't take her words to heart, Beni-bara~ She's merely been brainwashed by this notorious Host Club."

"It'll be alright, Benio. We can still save her and her sister."

Haruhi tilted her head and gave her sister a look, "Nēchan, are they really notorious?"

Jin shrugged, "Yeah. That's one way to put it." Her attention went back to the Lobelia girls as Benio regained her composure.

"Of course, you're right, we can save them still. Not even the Host Club's pretty little Halfer of a president can brainwash these girls forever! Listen well, men . I promise you, we will not rest until we see the end to your club! The Ouran Host Club will be abolished!" Again, the host club was silent, but Jin was not.

"Hey, guys, we have the Zuka Club as our arch-enemy." The twins snorted and she cracked a smile.

Benio's lower eyelid twitched, "I… will no longer… listen to your displaced mockery! You've been tricked by these-"

"-teenage boys who wish to make young girls feel liked and pretty and confident in themselves?"

"That's not even close to what they are!"

The older Fujioka girl gestured to the music room they were standing in, "Look around you! That's exactly what they're trying to do! This isn't some prostitution activity! What the host club does with its clients is nothing that either side feels uncomfortable with! The only thing they have done to bring your "wrath" down upon them is by being male, which isn't exactly something they can control, if you can imagine! A hatred of the male sex is not going to change how society looks at women or men, and if you truly cared about changing how we are looked at you'd start by treating men and women as equal as they can be!"

"But men are not equal to women!"

"No, they're not! And women aren't equal to men! We have biological differences and mental differences as well. We will never be perfectly equal, but that doesn't mean one side is better than the other! Hate is never the answer! You don’t have to put down one side to build up the other! That’s not how this works!"

The hosts, who had moved to tend to Tamaki's current dosage of culture shock, were staring at Jin in awe. They seem to do that quite often, as it turns out.

She was... defending them. Normally, if they had been left to their own devices, they would've just ignored the girls until they went away. It wasn't uncommon for them to hear the occasional complaint about their practices, so this wasn't exactly anything new… but the defense program Jin was lying down was almost heartwarming.

"She really does care about us…"

"I can't believe Jin-chan feels so strongly about this stuff."

"I've never even heard of misandry. And can you believe the comebacks she has?"

"I'm surprised by how calmly she's handling this. She's not shouting, but is certainly emphasizing her point."

"Hey… do you see that way that Chizuru girl is looking at her? And the way she stroked her hair earlier?"

"Well, that Benio has some sort of crush on Haruhi, so I guess it wouldn't be that far of a stretch-"

Hikaru was cut off as Tamaki suddenly jumped out from underneath his blanket and charged the Lobelia students, "You girls have it all wrong! Can't you see there's nothing to be gained in a romantic relationship between two women?! If that were the case then why did God create Adam and Eve?!"

If peace could shatter, the silence that followed his shouts would be the sound. Jin's entire body seized up as Tamaki tripped over his own two feet and face-planted the floor right in front of her. She didn't even make a move to catch him.

And then she was gone. The boom of the music room doors was the only indicator of where she'd disappeared to, and the hosts felt like their heads were spinning. Had Jin just... abandoned them?

Tamaki lifted his face from the floor, "Hey, where did Jin go? I thought she was right here?" He looked up at Haruhi and jolted. She was glaring heatedly at her senpai.

"She was here... until you offended her. Now you're in real trouble."

A dark chuckle turned everyone's attention back to the Lobelia girls, "Well, well… it looks like our point has finally gotten across to the young lady. And now that we know what is going on, we can not allow for her younger sister to remain here either!"

Benio stepped over the blond to gather Haruhi in her arms, "We shall be forced to take this lovely maiden and her confused sibling with us back to Saint Lobelia, where they can learn and grow properly without the poisonous influence and control of man! Their papers will be completed by tomorrow morning and they shall be transferred out of this accursed academy by next week! The Zuka club will welcome them with open arms!"

Immediately Haruhi began pushing back against the taller girl, "H-hey! Woah! Woah! Who said I wanted to go anywhere?"

Benio smirked and tilted Haruhi's chin up, "If you were to ask your sister her opinion on whether you should stay or not right now… would she agree with you? The halfer… what he said to her. How do you think that made her feel? Haven't you encountered your fair share of those demeaning phrases during your time here? If I am correct… your choice of hairstyle was not received as well by these men as... say… by your own sister?"

The shorter girl turned her head away, "Look, lady, that's just… culture shock."

"Is it? After all this time that these men have known you and they still do not believe in equality?"

"Well, maybe… but Nēchan was still right, because neither do you! So how could you be any better?"

Benio stepped backwards, heading towards the doors, "We believe women are superior because of how long we've been pushed into the shadows of history. Perhaps it's time for men to understand that feeling. Still, we will give you some time to think our offer over. We will return in two hours for you and your sister's response." With one last smug smile, she asked, "Were these boys as considerate when you first joined?"

Boom!

The music room was silent.

Haruhi kept her gaze trained on the floor, her bangs covering her eyes. Benio's parting words still echoed in her ears and her chest felt like a food processor.

"Haru-chan..?"

"I need to go… think for a while." Haruhi took slow, measured steps towards the doors. In...2...3...4… Hold...2...3...4… Out...2...3...4… Hold...2...3…4... Man, I wish I could find Nēchan. I'll do that in a bit, though. Right now, I think I need someplace quiet.

As she wallowed within her own thoughts, behind the closed music room doors the host club began panicking.

"Wahhhh! What are we gonna do?!"

"What are we gonna do, boss?"

"Nuh-uh! It should be you fixing this mess! You put us here in the first place when you insulted Jin-senpai!"

"How was I supposed to know she felt so strongly about females being in romantic relationships!? I was just tired and shocked, I didn't really mean it!"

"Well, what if Jin-senpai is a lesbian, did you ever think about that? I mean she hangs out with us all the time without reacting and has never even mentioned having a boyfriend before! What if she's homosexual? You've just made her hate you!"

"How could I have figured that out? She didn't give any signs! "

"Get a hold of yourself, Tama-chan! Maybe you can fix this!"

"Maybe… but-" The taller blond dragged his feet over to the window and pressed a hand to the clear glass, "Just think about it for a moment. Haruhi might be basically indifferent, but if she had to chose, we know that she tends to favor men's clothing. And besides, when Haruhi first joined the host club, didn't she tell us that she wouldn't mind having girls fussing over her? Perhaps… they would be a better match for Haruhi…"

"But what about Jin-chan?"

Kyoya spoke up this time, "Jin would have a couple reasons to transfer as well. After Tamaki's latest comment, it's unclear who she's more upset with at the moment. And the only time we've ever seen her in a skirt is here, in the school uniform. She obviously has some very liberal views, and while she wouldn't join the Zuka club… the overall atmosphere that men are not superior to women might appeal to her." He thumbed the lip of his journal, but didn't open it up, "On another note, should Haruhi decide to transfer, Jin would follow her regardless, and vice versa."

Honey burst into tears, "Haru-chan and Jin-chan are gonna transfer away?! No, they can't! I c-couldn't take it! T-Takashi and I j-just got Jin-chan back! "

The twins grabbed at each other, "What are we going to do?"

"We can't just let them leave without a fight!"

"They're both smart enough to breeze through Lobelia's entrance and scholarship exams!"

"Could we hide their transfer papers somehow?"

"Lobelia has the money to pay off their debt if they do transfer, as well. I'd even be willing to bet the Zuka club could cover all the expenses themselves if they wanted to.” Kyoya's toes tapped at the tile floor. He felt oddly concerned that the Fujioka girls might possibly be leaving. If anything, he should've felt content with being repaid the large sum of debt in cash, but instead it was like a gaping hole in his chest was opening up. And he had a feeling the others felt the same. Call it intuition.

"Calm down, gentlemen! We still might have a chance! If I can patch things up with Jin, then perhaps Haruhi will decide to stay and we'll keep both girls! So that means the first item of business is to find Jin! And I'm going to need your help!"

"You got it, Boss! We'll take the libraries and her classroom!"

"Takashi and I will look around the expo fair to see if she's browsing any of the exhibits that have already been set up!"

"Perfect! That leaves the school grounds for Kyoya and I! If you see Haruhi, do not engage! Our sole purpose for this mission is to locate Jin first! If you find her, text me the location! Now, forward march! "

"Sir, yes sir!"


"Jin? Jin, I'd like to talk to you! If you can hear me please come out?"

"Tamaki, she is not a dog." Kyoya walked along the stone pathway behind his friend, "Besides, if Jin truly does not wish to speak to you, then I highly doubt calling her name will help us find her."

The blond currently digging through a clump of bushes straightened up with a frown, "Well, we're not finding her very quickly, so do you have any other suggestions?"

He didn't.

Kyoya sighed, looking around the area, "We should search the maze next. Perhaps she found one of the gardens?" Tamaki nodded and the two entered through a gap in the hedge.

The green, bushy shrubbery towered above the boy's heads as they wandered the maze. A few flowers dotted it here and there, throwing little sparks of color among the dark green. Knowing the maze like the back of their hands, the two second year students found the first miniature garden in under three minutes. There was a ring of water circling the small clearing with four bridges, each leading from one maze opening to the clearing. The clearing itself didn't have anything incredibly noteworthy. A few groups of colorful flowers bloomed around the space, but there wasn't much else.

"Let's start with the one to the left."

Kyoya nodded and the two walked over the bridge in front of them. They were rounding a collection of tiger-lillies when Tamaki cleared his throat.

"So, uh… do you think Jin is… you know..?"

"Lesbian? Bisexual? Pansexual? Queer in general? Unclear. It isn't as though she has a sign on her back telling us one way or another."

"Yes, but… what do you think? "

The ravenet crossed the second bridge before turning to face his friend again, "I recognize that tone of voice, Tamaki. Are you truly that concerned over Jin's sexuality? It shouldn't concern you or how you look at her from today onwards."

"I know, I know…" Tamaki crossed the bridge and the two continued walking, "It's just… I'd be surprised if she was. I thought for sure she liked, or at least used to like-"

"If you dare end that sentence with my name I swear I will push you through the hedge. Now is not the time for jokes."

"What?" The blond whipped his head around in surprise, "Of course, not, Kyoya. I was going to say Mori-senpai! The twins and I teasing you about Jin… that was it. Teasing!"

Now it was Kyoya's turn to look surprised, "Oh?"

"Yeah. It was strange and a little funny to see you display so much emotion whenever we brought it up, which is why we did it so often. But, no, we never actually considered it to be possible. That would just be..." Tamaki made a vague motion with his hand, "...highly improbable. If not completely impossible. Not to mention weird."

"Hmm."

The two friends walked in silence until the next garden. Again, it was devoid of students. There was a small fountain in the center that had water splashing down its sides to pool in a small koi pond. A few stone benches were placed strategically around the pool for optimal viewing of the fish.

Tamaki sighed, " Jin, where are you? "

The two walked to the right this time, pausing only for a moment to watch the fish swim around. It was relaxing, even in their current situation.

"When you say highly improbable, what do you mean by that?"

Kyoya didn't think it would be that odd of a question. Jin was a very admirable young lady, not to mention pretty, so he was simply curious as to why Tamaki didn't think the two of them would be a good match. Kyoya knew they wouldn't be, but he wanted his friend's explanation as well. It wasn't like he knew what he was thinking all the time, so what was it?

Tamaki, however, made a sound as if he was choking on imaginative water, "Wha? Why are you so curious about it?"

Kyoya hummed lightly and continued walking, "No real reason, I suppose. She's simply a beautiful, talented, and intelligent woman, and being told we wouldn't be a good match doesn't seem to reflect positively on me. And, as a side question, why Mori-senpai?"

A gape was all he received as a response at first. Then, "Well, it's not an insult to either of you. It's more that your personalities tend to clash. For example, you look at situations in a very practical sense, even if it means someone has to enter or leave the playing field with uneven odds, while Jin seems to strive for equality between everyone. And while you both may be very passionate in what you pursue and your activities, when everything simmers down, you tend to look out for yourself first while Jin would care for everyone else in the world before giving herself a thought."

Tamaki stuffed his hands in his pockets, "That's also why I feel like Jin must've felt something for Mori-senpai at some point, even if she somehow doesn't now. They're both so similar in how they feel and care… it just makes sense."

It took a few seconds before Kyoya felt the need to point out, "You and Haruhi don't share many personality traits. Is that why you try so hard to push your views onto her?"

The blond jolted, "That's different! Haruhi is my daughter, not my… my g-girlfriend! I'm merely trying to raise her and prepare her for the world after high school! Why are you so defensive about it anyways? I thought you hated it when we said things like that!"

"I'm not defending anything. I was simply curious as to why you continuously brought it up if you truly didn't think it had any value."

"I know you two are there." The boys jumped a bit at the sudden voice coming from the clearing in front of them. Tamaki rushed forward, his friend trailing along behind him, and jumped into the garden. A single cherry tree stood in the exact center, providing shade to the surrounding grassy area. Along one side of the garden’s edge a slab of stone was propped up against the hedge, a continuous sheet of water flowing down the rock. The sound of trickling water rushing into another small lily pond set out a peaceful atmosphere.

Sitting down on the marble bench that faced said pond was a girl in a green and black medieval dress.

"So...are you here to lecture me on the wickedness of my morals?"

Tamaki visibly flinched at the cold, harsh tone of Jin's voice. It had a faint robotic tang to it, like she couldn't be bothered to put emotion behind it. Taking a deep breath, he walked forward until he could take a seat beside her. Kyoya hung back, deciding to allow Tamaki a moment to try and fix the issue on his own. But as Jin shifted to the very edge of the bench once the blond sat down, Kyoya had a feeling it might take a miracle to keep the Fujioka's at Ouran.

Tamaki wasn't feeling very optimistic either. He twiddled his thumbs and stared at the rock for a moment. The water running down the rock face was interesting and calming to watch. The sunlight flickered sporadically across the sheet, and while he knew that the water was flowing along the rock, it almost looked like the liquid was suspended against the wall. And the way the water splashed into pool at the base of the rock sounded eerily similar to a rain shower. He understood why Jin had chosen this particular spot.

"Well? Let's get this over with. Where do you want to start?"

Tamaki glanced at Jin from the corner of his eye, "I'm not angry." The girl scoffed so he was quick to follow up, "I'm not, Jin. Promise. I didn't mean to hurt you. I just… I… I don’t really know what to say right now except sorry."

"Tamaki, listen. You're not the first homophobe I've met, and you won't be the last-"

"I'm not…" Tamaki felt like his throat was drying up, "I'm not homophobic, I swear it. I was just… tired. And upset. And angry at those Lobelia girls. They surprised me."

Jin's eyes closed, "Tamaki, really, you don't have to lie."

"I'm not! Didn't Haruhi tell you about how I thought she was a boy when we first met?" The girl beside him didn't speak, so he continued, "When she first walked through the door and I thought I was dealing with a boy, I offered our service to 'him'. It didn't even cross my mind that 'he' had wandered in by accident, and I was ready to host 'him'. I'm not homophobic, Jin, I promise."

The brunette was now staring forward at the rock again, but the tension was leaking out of her shoulders.

"Really?"

"Yeah," Tamaki tried for a small laugh, "I do believe in love, Jin. Between any gender. Truly. I just… wanted to hurt the Lobelia girls. It was wrong… both what I said and why I said it." Jin slowly turned her head to face him, tentative belief surfacing in her brown eyes. Deciding now would be the best time, he addressed the elephant in the garden.

"Jin, are you a lesbian?"

Emotion sprung up in the brunette's body. Her head tilted left as her upper body shifted away. Her face contorted into a confused look as she and her classmate continued staring at each other. Immediately, Tamaki regretted his decision. Does she think I'm judging her? Or making fun of her? Oh no, oh no, oh no!

But, instead of reverting back into her original cold-shoulder attitude, Jin threw her head back and laughed, "Oh my… way to be subtle, Tamaki! Oh, wow , you don’t beat around the bush, huh? And, as far as I’m aware, no, I’m not. You don't have to be gay to be an ally, you know? I mean, I’m not gonna rule anything out, but I’m pretty sure I’m straight." At that, her eyes softened into a more serious look, "But I do have a lot of friends and a few family members who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans, asexual, and everything else under the rainbow. You realize that Haruhi is Nonbinary, right?"

Tamaki blinked, "She's… what?"

"Haruhi told me all about your first days together. If I remember correctly… she said that she doesn't care about what gender she's recognized as, right? Well, she wasn't kidding. Yes, she's biologically a girl, and she tends to prefer female pronouns, but she doesn't really feel like she's a girl or a boy, and it has nothing to do with her flat chest. A few years ago she decided Nonbinary was the best term for her, but she kept the female pronouns because that’s what she’d grown up with and made it easier for everyone she met." Noticing the confused look on her friend's face, Jin held up a finger, "Another commonly used term is genderqueer. Have you heard of that?"

"Oh!" Tamaki nodded, "Yeah, that one I've heard of! I just, never connected Haruhi with that term."

Jin shrugged, "We don't make that big of a deal about it, really. I love Haru no matter what sort of gender she, or they, technically, feels like on the inside."

The blond looked back at the water-rock again, filing away that new information away to look at later, "Alright, but why did you leave so suddenly? If you'd stuck around you could've just told me-"

"Because that's not what I was mad about!" Jin's eyes grew cold once more and Tamaki almost fell off the bench with the force of her anger, "I was mad because you put the bible into it! I hate it when people use a religion that is supposed to support peace and love to say two people cannot be in love with each other! That's just being a backwards thinker, and it's ridiculous!"

"...so you're upset over my religion?"

Jin closed her eyes before pulling her feet up on the bench, "Not at all, Tamaki. Sorry, I shouldn't have said it like that. You can have whatever religion you want, and follow the bible down to the last letter if that's what you truly believe. However, it doesn't seem right to me for someone to take their belief and use it to dictate other people's lives, especially if they don't believe it. I mean, you're not going to change who they are, no matter how often someone preaches to them. It's not like changing a shirt, someone's sexuality isn't 'reversible' or 'evil' or anything. If someone believes that Gay Marriage isn't Christian, then fine, they don't have to get married to someone of the same sex. But telling someone else that their love isn't valid because they're LGBTQ? Because their religion says so? It seems unfair. Just because one person decides to become a Vegan doesn't mean the rest of the world has to stop eating meat. It's their choice, but it shouldn't given them the right to make it everyone else's."

"Oh. Are you... Christian?"

"Eh, not really. I’m not really religious at all, not strongly at least, but my host family in America was Catholic. I went to church with them sometimes, and there was a lot of love that was preached. That was my take on it; that Christians were all about love. And I talked with a lot of people at that church, who were good people, and even a few LGBTQ church-goers. It was a very accepting atmosphere. So when someone says because they believe in a religion that's purely about loving one another no matter what, and then say that two people can't be in love because of what's in their pants? It's... I jump on the defense really quickly. I should probably learn to not do that… it’ll get me in trouble one day.”

"Jin… I'm sorry for hurting your feelings. Really."

She sighed and bowed her head, "I'm sorry too, for biting your head off and making it seem like I was attacking your religion. I guess I just get so touchy about it because… sometimes it's rough for me and Haru. We just get so much bashing, from both sides. So when my friends..." She cut herself off, sucking in a deep breath.

“...Bashing?” He prompted.

Giving Tamaki another emotion filled look, Jin gripped her elbows, "There are a lot of people out there, both in and out of the LGBTQ community, who don't even think people like me and Haru exist. Gender-neutral, bisexuals, agenders… those people exist! It's not pleading for attention or making a joke, and sometimes it's hard when you feel like the entire world wants to deny you as a person."

"Wait… didn't you just say that you're straight? How are you in the LGBTQ community?"

"I'm demi-sexual."

Tamaki leaned closer, resting a hand on his classmate's shoulder, "And what's that?"

"It's kind of like the middle ground between sexual and asexual. A bit of a grey area, since you can lean more towards either end. Basically, I don't feel sexually attracted to people unless I have an emotional bond with them. Sure, I can appreciate someone's attractiveness, but nothing past that, really." She shrugged, but didn't dislodge his hand from her shoulder, "I just… don't feel the need for it, or at least not towards anyone."

"Huh." The blond dropped his hand and leaned back on the bench, tilting his gaze up towards the sky. It was such a pretty, light-tinted blue today. Not exactly what you'd expect a heavy discussion to occur under.

"You seem very informed about all of this, Jin."

The girl shrugged, looking at the sky as well, "I've had a few years of experience with these conversations. Picked up a few tips."

"Were they all this quick?"

"Not even remotely. Some of them were nice and I was given tips on how to try and not offend anyone while stating my own views… still working on that, though. I also talked with a lot of my friends who thought the same way as me and a few who didn't, and we had a very calm talk about it. I've heard a few coming-out stories where the parents weren't exactly accepting and one where she was asked to leave her church because of it. My best friend is gay, however, and there was one person who attempted to bully him about it."

"...Again, I apologize for offending you, Jin. Could you, maybe, talk to me later in more depth and help educate me? I'd like to understand more thoroughly why you feel so strongly on the matter."

He couldn't see it, because he was still staring at the sky, but Kyoya noticed the kind smile spreading across Jin's lips. "Sure, Tamaki. Just give me some time to become more comfortable to talk about it with you."

"Okay." Tamaki stood back up, "Are you ready to come back to the club room?"

The girl shook her head, "I'm enjoying the scenery too much right now. I'll come back some time before we open for the day, I promise."

He nodded and passed by behind her. Kyoya walked out of the courtyard with him and said nothing until Tamaki suddenly folded in half, breathing heavily.

"I've never * gasp * felt so * gasp * stressed * gasp… * * cough * * cough * in my life!" The ravenet beside him watched the show, unimpressed, but waited for his friend to at least stop gasping obnoxiously.

"You do know that you are overreacting, right?"

His friend waved him off, "Well, do you think that did it?"

"I'd say so," Kyoya peeled open his journal and flipped to the last page that had been written on, "I managed to capture the main points she gave, and if I had to draw a final conclusion, I would certainly call this mission a success. Jin won't be the one to bow down to the Lobelia girls."

Tamaki grimaced, "Half the battle has been won, then, but we have to ensure we don't lose the war!" He stood up straight, pointing forwards in his signature 'I-am-determined-and-driven-and-have-an-insane-plan' gesture, "Even if Jin would prefer to remain in the Ouran Host Club, we must ensure that Haruhi wishes to do so as well!"

He turned to his friend, "Have our costume orders arrived yet?"

"They should be delivered any moment now. Thankfully they were cheap...ish. If we call everyone back now, we should have enough time to prepare everything before Ms. Amakusa and her fellow club members return for their answers."

"Perfect! I shall rally the troops!" Tamaki whipped his phone out and started texting the other hosts. He was so absorbed in his task (no doubt imagining himself as a war commander) that he didn't notice the slight grimace on Kyoya's face.

Why do I encourage him?

* Timeskip *

"I thought practice went amazingly well, don't you think Beni-bara?"

"Indeed. There's no doubt in my mind that tomorrow's performance will be just as incredible. But…" Benio's eyes flashed with predetermined victory, "Our true success is just around the corner."

The girls laughed at the joke, because just at that moment they rounded the final corner and saw the doors to Music Room #3 at the end of the hallway. But what made the joke even sweeter was the fact that little Ms. Haruhi Fujioka was standing in front of said doors.

"Ah! Young maiden, you nearly beat us here!"

The short-haired girl jumped in surprise and spun around, her raised hand falling to her side, "O-oh! Hello, there." She was quickly scooped up into the tall girl's arms again.

"We are here for you, my dear!"

"Those Ouran idiots won't know what hit them!"

"As soon as we set the record straight we can finish filling out your papers and have you officially transferred to Lobelia!"

Haruhi's eyes grew wide, "B-but… I'm not-"

"Don't you worry, young maiden, we will not let them harm you! Now," Benio grabbed one handle while maintaining her hold on Haruhi with the other, "Let's get this over with, shall we?"

Creaaaaaaaak…

The four girls' faces fell into confusion. The room was dark. Pitch black, actually. Haruhi couldn't see a thing past the faint glow of light shining into the room from the hallway.

" Guys? " Two shadows moved from further into the room and, one after the other, sang:

"Ouran~!"

"Ouran~!"

Haruhi blinked. What the...

"Ouran~!" Was that… Mori-senpai?

"Ouran~!" At that particular voice, Haruhi felt her spit go down the wrong tube and started coughing horribly. Kyoya-senpai?!

"Ouran~!" H-Honey-senpai?!

The lights flashed to life above the mass of bodies that… sounded like the Ouran host club… but definitely did not look like the hosts. Am I dreaming? Or did someone sneak something into the tea I had this morning?

"Ouran~!"

"Host Club~ Welcomes you!"

Haruhi's mouth fell open.

Tamaki sort of daintily shuffled forward, "Oh, Haruhi… you've returned!"

" Senpai… you... heels? " It was like Haruhi couldn't use the proper amount of air to push all the words out. The host club was dressed up… like women. Like stereotypical women, no less. Makeup and dresses… long hair… boobs… Haruhi felt like she was going to pass out.

"Why yes, I am! The pain might be nearly imaginable, but they make my posture so perfect!"

"Look, Haru-chan!" Honey twirled around, his long hair splaying out around his head, "I look just like a princess, now! Aren't I cute?"

From behind her, Benio snarled, " What is the meaning of this? Are you men so insensitive that you'd outright mock us? Even for you poor excuses for human beings, this is low! How dare you?"

"Why that's not it at all, madam! This is merely our strategy to keep Haruhi in the club with us. You had your turn, now it is ours! And it would seem as though we have an advantage, because we know something that you do not: Commoner's are all equipped with one weakness, and that is free things! So how about it, Haruhi? It's a buy one, get one free deal! Have a host club full of brothers, and you'll get sisters as well! Two in one! A bundle! No way you can resist! After all, I got the idea from how Jin behaved as your brother earlier!"

Tamaki was shoved to the side and the twins took his place, speaking in a unison high-pitched voices, "We're the Hitachiin sisters! Which one of us do you think is prettier?"

Honey was next, "Just think about it, Haru-chan, now you can call me Nēchan as well! Isn't that great?"

"Why… I've never seen anything so half-brained in my entire life! Do you really believe a noble woman such as this maiden can be fooled by-"

"HAHAHAHAHAA!"

Her enraged outburst was cut off by a strange sound, one no person in the room had ever heard before. Benio's anger fell away as she turned her head to see Haruhi laughing just as hard as the twins had been earlier. The girl had dropped to her knees, gripping at her stomach like it was about to fall out. Tears were squeezed out as she continued laughing.

The doors behind them creaked again, "Haru? What are you laughing a-" Jin took two steps into the room before she took in the full scene. Immediately she spun around and placed one hand across her mouth, bracing her body against the closed door with the other.

"Uh * snort * Is this a bad time? " Jin's body is shaking in clearly restrained laughter, so the twins twirl over and forcibly spin the girl around. She opened her eyes, took in their heavy makeup and burst out laughing, " Pfffffhahahahaha! Oh my goahahaha! "

" This is too much, you guys! What are you even trahahahahang to dohoohoahaha? "

The twins leaned forward into Haruhi's face while Honey grabs Jin in a hug, "Are we really that funny?"

The girls shrieked. Haruhi frantically tried to crawl away from her classmates. Jin shoved her friend off and held her upper body up with one hand, on the cusp of hyperventilating with tears streaking down her face.

"Call us Nēchan! Come on, do it! Call us Nēchan! You know you want too~ Pretty please~!"

" No! Oh my gosh! I * gasp * need * gasp * AIR!" Jin scrambled to the door and practically threw herself into the hallway. Even as the doors shut behind her, they could all hear her laughter bouncing off the walls.

Haruhi managed to shake off the twins and lay back on the floor, gasping, "You… are all… such idiots … hee hee…" she pushed herself up into a sitting position and smiled at the boys, "I know why you did this * snicker * but it was really unnecessary."

"Maiden?" The brunette looked up at the Lobelia girls, "Does that mean you've made a decision?"

"Yeah. Honestly, I made it ten minutes after you offered." Haruhi stood up and brushed off her pants, "I think I'm going to stick around, if you can believe it. The idea of a girls' school is interesting and all that, but your club's not for me, or Nēchan. We came here to Ouran as a plan for our future, and I can't always speak for her, but I know I'd rather remain here and stick to that plan."

The doors opened once more and all eyes returned to Jin. She was leaning up against the doorframe, but clearly not looking at the hosts. Still, she was smiling.

"Oh, Haru. You should know me well enough by now to answer for me, too."

"Maiden-"

Jin held up a hand, "Girls, you are barking up the wrong tree. Because, you see, I believe men, women, and everything in between are equal . Here, at Ouran, I have a club, friends, and a future. Joining your club and attending your school was never even a consideration." She pushed the door further open with her back and made a jerking motion towards the hallway with her head, "After you, ladies." She smiled brighter, "Don't bother coming back."

Benio stared at Jin for a few more moments before facing Haruhi once more, "Know this, maiden. Your sister may be a lost hope, but I still have faith in you. We will not give up until you've decided to reject this male banter and come with us to where you belong. Keep this in mind the next time you have doubts."

Haruhi crossed her arms and took three steps backwards, towards the hosts, "Right. See you gals around."

Frowning, but not looking like they'd given up any less, the three girls spun out of the room. Chizuru brushed her fingers across Jin's cheek before departing. To give the girl some credit, she didn't even flinch.

Instead, she watched them all the way until they reached the banana peels strategically placed down the hallway. Almost as if someone had told someone else how the Lobelia girls tended to leave the club room, which caused the second someone to walk into a room later than planned because they were setting down said banana peels.

Jin smirked as she closed the doors once more.

But she didn't turn around.

"Hey, I have a question."

"Oh?"

"Yeah… it's for Kyoya."

As soon as she said his name, Kyoya felt his mind race in a strange form of panic. Not quite how he felt when she was bleeding in his arms... but similar, and he didn't know why. Did she hear something in the maze? Tamaki wasn't exactly keeping his voice down, so does she know that they used to tease me about us getting together? Did it make her uncomfortable? Does she think I like her? Does she like me?

Of course, on the outside he only said, "Yes?"

The girl shook with poorly restrained laughter, barely able to muscle out the words, " How on Earth did Tamaki convince you to wear that? "

And then the girls collapsed into fits of laughter again.

"I can't breathe! "

"Hahaha! My stomach hurts! "

Jin took in several deep breaths and managed to work her laughs down to heavy giggles, "M-maybe you guys should go get changed."

"Yeah, just… don't expect us to take any of you seriously for a few days!" The girls continue laughing as the hosts quickly shuffled into the changing rooms. Noticing the heavy glare he was receiving from a certain black-haired boy in a purple dress, Tamaki chuckled nervously.

"Well… at least the plan worked? We get to keep the girls! Isn't that worth a little embarrassment?"

Kyoya couldn't help but mentally agree. But that didn't stop him from whacking the blond upside the head with his fan.

 

Chapter Text

 

" Bonjour , my dears… The Ouran Host Club bids you… beinvenue !"

The girls giggled with glee as they were ushered into the room. The large windows along the left side of the room were cracked open just enough to let in a gentle breeze. The petals of the red roses scattered around the room fluttered in the wind, their scent mixing with the hint of warm, baking bread. But the icing on the cake was how the hosts were dressed for the day.

Tamaki was front and center, as always, in a white button down shirt with a grey overcoat thrown over it, matching his grey pants and loafers perfectly. And, also as always, Kyoya was his polar opposite. While Tamaki had light colors, Kyoya was mainly in black save for his dulled-purple t-shirt. His jacket, pants, watch, shoes, and even the scarf wrapped loosely around his neck were black as night.

Hikaru and Kaoru were matching with black crew-neck long sleeve shirts and navy jackets and pants. They both also had on black fedoras, which made their almost bright orange hair stand out that much more.

Honey had on a grey sweater and brown leather coat that surprisingly went well with his black, almost blue, pants. The only bright color was the rose-pink collar peeking out from beneath the sweater. Mori was standing behind him, looking a bit more rugged than the rest of the group in a white t-shirt and a dark-blue button down with the sleeves rolled up. For pants, he just had a simple pair of jeans.

Haruhi was wearing a pair of tan pants that fit well with her grey sweater and the white shirt underneath that peeked out around the collar and bottom hem of said sweater. For the first time in a long while, she felt at ease in a cosplay and it was definitely obvious in the way she set her shoulders.

But if the guests were having any trouble with figuring out today's theme, Jin's outfit gave it all away. She was wearing a white, low-collared dress with a grey sweater over it. The pencil skirt of said dress went down to just above her knees, revealing her black tight-covered legs from there down to her sleek black heels. And, daintily placed on the top of her head, was a bright red beret.

"Welcome to Paris, ladies!"

The responding mixture of gasps and squeals and giggling made Jin grin wider. It was particularly important to her that today's cosplay was received well by the guests. Especially since she had been the one to suggest it in the first place. After the fiasco with the Lobelia girls, Jin and Tamaki had had their chat about sexuality and it's various types. During said conversation, she'd asked Tamaki what Benio had meant by calling him a "Halfer". About eight minutes later, Jin tossed out the idea of having a French themed day at the Host Club, and Tamaki had jumped on it.

The tall brunette grinned wider as the girls practically melted into their shoes from either the set-up, the scent of the baking bread wafting from the kitchen (another one of Jin's suggestions), or just the aesthetics of the boy's "French commoner" clothes. Sure, a few of the boys had voiced their doubts about dressing up in "everyday" clothes for the Host Club, but they sure didn't seem to be doubting it now.

Standing up from her perch on the arm of the chair the hosts were surrounding, Jin sparked movement from both sides of the room. The girls filed in an orderly fashion in front of Kyoya while the other boys headed to their respective tables to wait for them. The elder Fujioka observed the scene for a few moments before making her way to the kitchen.

Once inside, she let out a puff of air and looked around. There were a few loaves of freshly baked bread set out on the tables and counter space, and where there wasn't bread, there were piles of éclairs. In the oven there were two more loaves of bread, and the warm smell was making her mouth water.

Savoring the moment for another beat or two, Jin shook her head and dove into action. She piled a few small plates of chocolate éclairs and a basket or two of bread that she'd already cut into thick slices onto a tray. The bread was still soft and warm and more than once Jin had been tempted to try a few pieces on her own.

She did, but that wasn't the point.

Readjusting her beret once last time, Jin smiled and knocked her hip against the kitchen doors, making them swing outwards for her. The moment she did, someone started talking to her.

"I'm still positive your original outfit would've been just as well received as your current one."

"Were you waiting for me out here this whole time, Glasses? Nevermind, not important." Jin chuckled and continued walking towards the nearest host table, which happened to be Haruhi's today, "And really, while I appreciate your… compliments?... you boys originally had me as a French maid in a skimpy little outfit. Feather duster and all. You would've been forced to kill me in order to get me into that dress."

Kyoya smirked at her over the lip of his black journal, "I see. Perhaps we should try to avoid that."

The girl rolled her eyes and patted Haruhi's head gently before walking towards the twin's table. The boy followed her, still scribbling in his journal. Internally, Jin was grinning at how close she was growing to the Shadow King. Looks like she had been correct in thinking that they could be good friends once he stopped being a jerk. And he was fun to talk to and poke and sass at.

"Oh, really? Is that the only reason? And here I thought I pulled off being a French teenaged girl pretty well."

The twins were quick to snag a piece of bread each and start feeding each other as soon as Jin set the basket down on their table. Since they were entertaining their guests well enough by themselves, she turned around immediately and headed back to the kitchen, tray empty again.

Kyoya hummed and walked beside her, "I suppose you are correct. It's not as though your current cosplay doesn't suit you well. Honey-senpai was momentarily worried that he had another rival for his position as the 'cute' host."

Jin can't help but blush slightly, "You guys give me too much credit."

" Au contraire, mademoiselle. We do not compliment you enough."

Scoffing, Jin gently shoved Kyoya away even as her blush burned brighter, "You stupid- You're hosting the wrong person. Go back to your guests, Glasses!"

The ravenet rolled his eyes, but walked away with a small smile. His friend was smiling too as she walked back into the kitchen, the both of them unaware of the pair of eyes trained on Jin as she disappeared behind another pair of doors.


Koji Abe couldn't believe how he'd stayed away for this long.

It had been one thing to know that most of Ouran's eligible female population congregated in this single room everyday after school without fail, save for the occasional day off. But with the most recent addition to the good-looking group… well, the teenage boy's willpower had been stretched unfairly thin.

It had been a simple fluke that wound up setting him just outside of the music room's door, a simple run from the library to his Chemistry teacher's office. It wasn't his fault that he noticed his shoe was untied when he passed in front of the music room. And it certainly wasn't his fault that the loud giggles coming from inside said room captured his attention.

He'd been locked in a very intense mental battle within himself; to look, or not to look. Koji didn't want to be caught by the host club boys, or be thought of as a pervert… but then again he hadn't seen the eldest Honor student since the Battle of the Refractory the Hitachiin twins had put on. And she didn't exactly have the sort of face you forgot about quickly.

After about four minutes standing frozen outside the doors, Koji clasped the handle and inched the large door open as quietly as he could manage. Peeking through the crack he just made, the green-eyed boy found his target almost immediately.

Jin was walking away from her brother's table with a tray filled with goodies perched on her left hip and oh goodness he'd forgotten they cosplayed. She was wearing similar clothes to the ones he'd seen on his last trip to Paris. Beret and black tights and everything . As she walked, she chatted with Ootori-san, and the two were surprisingly speaking civil with each other if their matching soft expressions said anything.

The longer Koji stared at the girl, the more jealous he felt of the host club. Why do they get to hoard all of her attention? Who do they think they are to keep her smile to themselves? Just because her brother is in the club doesn't mean she has to be!

Without conscious decision, the boy began leaning more and more of his weight against the door, unknowingly opening it up a little more. He didn't seem to notice that his view of the Music Room was growing wider. But some people from inside the room had noticed. And two of them stood up.

Koji was too wrapped up in his thoughts to see the two redheads approaching him from the sides. His entire head was now showing from the opened doors as he stared intently at the kitchen doors, where Jin Fujioka had just disappeared behind. Maybe I could talk to her somehow. If she's going to be in the host club, then why doesn't she host? Cater to guys?

"Why don't you take a picture? It'll last longer!"

"Or better yet, how about you not creep on girls in your spare time?"

There wasn't even an opportunity for him to jump in surprise before the 2nd-year student from class C was yanked harshly inside the room by his arms. The following yelp was very manly, no matter what anyone else said, and he did not wince in slight pain as he was tossed into an empty chair. By the time the world slowed down to its regular pace, the ravenet found himself staring up at two angry-looking hosts. And, to make it worse, it was the twins.

In a word, he was screwed.

After a few intense moments just staring at each other, Koji attempted a weak laugh, "H-hey… the Hitachiin twins, right?" The red-heads just stared at him, and it looked like Tamaki had now noticed the commotion.

"What's going on?"

"Boss, you might want to come over here."

Needing no further prompting, the blond stood up and, after a quick apology to his collection of guests, hurried over to the three boys, "Hikaru, Kaoru, who is this?"

"No clue, boss."

"Never seen him before today."

"We just found him peeking in through the door at our guests."

Tamaki's expression hardened before facing the boy who was trying to shrink down in his chair, "Is that so?"

"No… Suoh-san. I wasn't looking at your… clients."

The twins leaned closer and hissed, " Liar, liar… "

"No, I'm serious! I was… I was looking at Jin Fujioka. " And wow, if Koji thought that his previous accusation was a bad mark by the hosts. It was like he'd flipped a secret, deadly switch. Two pairs of hands slammed down and locked onto both armrests of his chair, one on each side.

" What was that? "

" Did you just… "

Two more voices joined from behind his chair.

"You were watching Jin-chan… is that what we just heard?"

"Hmm… perhaps you should've stuck with the twin's original accusations."

Koji whipped his head around and saw Mori-senpai glaring down at him like he wanted to pull his lungs from his throat, Honey-senpai and Ootori-san flanking the tall boy with equally angry expressions.

"Mr. Koji Abe, we as a host club have had a few experiences with hormonal boys such as yourself watching our guests from the doorway. Such an act usually ends with a verbal and written warning, and is a mere wrist slap compared to spying on one of our own. For you see," he readjusted his glasses deftly, showing his unforgiving grey eyes, "this incidence just became personal."

The boy gulped, "Wait, wait, wait, can I just explain myself?"

"No need. We know of your actions, and it's unlikely Jin invited you here or else she would've informed us of this little meeting. Which means you were watching her without consent. "

The twins smiled evilly, "Also known as stalking."

"Now, we can't just let someone stalk our friend, now can we?"

"H-hey! I-I'm not the only one!"

The six boys froze, and their stares seemed to grow harder, " What? "

Koji swallowed thickly, "W-well… what I mean is I'm not the only one who's considered it. A lot of boys at this school want to talk to her, you know… see what she's really like instead of just seeing a glimpse of her in the refractory."

"So you turned to stalking?"

"Not stalking! Or, at least that wasn't the intension. I kind of wanted to ask if… you know… she'd host me?" Alright then, not a total lie. I didn't mean to watch for as long as I did… and having Jin host me isn't such a bad idea-

"Not going to happen."

"What's not going to happen?"

Seven heads whipped around to see the very topic of the current conversation walking towards them with another tray of goodies. When she didn't receive an answer straight away, Jin narrowed her eyes in confusion and set the metal tray down on a nearby table.

"Guys, what's going on? Who's that?"

Jin was standing amongst the group of boys before anyone could say anything else. Koji stared at her again, he couldn't help it. She was observing him with interest and a little concern. The mere thought that she was worried about him made the ravenet sink deeper into the chair, relaxing a bit.

"He's no one, Jin-senpai."

"Nothing to worry about, just a peeping Tom."

Jin raised an eyebrow and regarded Koji with a harder stare, "A what?"

The boy blushed and sat back up, "I wasn't staring at the other girls, I promise, Jin-san. I was just… too curious about you to stay away for long." The brunette's head tilted to the side while the other boys scowled in his direction.

"What are you talking about?"

Koji shrugged, attempting to act indifferent regarding the murderous looks being sent his way, "I just wanted to talk to you, so… I was wondering if maybe you'd host me?"

Jin's mouth fell open as the Hitachiin's leaned over him again, " She doesn't cater to guys. "

Summoning up as much courage as he could possibly possess, he leaned towards them as well, "Why don't you let her decide that for herself?"

Suoh's left lower eyelid was twitching, "Fine. Jin?"

"Yeah?"

"How would you feel about hosting a male client?"

Her bright red cheeks were so endearing Koji nearly missed her flustered response, "I'm… I'm not really sure… but I suppose we can't really, um, rule it out without a, ah… trial run?"

The six hosts stared at their friend with wide eyes as Koji leaned forward, smiling brightly, "When can I sign up?"

*The Next Day*

Jin sucked in a deep breath and closed her eyes. Peeking out at the front of the room, the tight feeling in her abdomen ramped itself up. Still there.

Standing among the normal group of girls waiting for Kyoya to sign them in were a little more than twenty guys either staring at her or giving each other "shifty eyes". One of them noticed she was watching them and puffed out his chest, winking with what he thought was a winning smile. The other boys noticed his actions and performed similar behaviors.

The brunette quickly ducked her head and tried to control her breathing. Looking anywhere except the boys eyeing her like a piece of candy, Jin was caught in plenty of worried looks. Haruhi looked like she was debating staying still or walking over to sit by her sister's side. A quick silent conversation later and Haruhi unhappily sat further back in her seat.

The twins were the only boys not sending her encouraging or concerned glaces. They were too busy glaring daggers at the group of guys in the front of the room. Jin couldn't help but feel a little better at that. If any of those boys say or do something I'm not comfortable with, I have seven people as instant backup.

It had been a little hard for that boy yesterday to truly convince the Host Club to at least have a trial run with catering to males. It seemed like every host was against it save for the Fujioka's, who were only half interested. But after Renge popped up and rambled along some lines about really getting into Jin's potential romantic interest , the deal had been made.

One day of male hosting and any further dates would be decided at the end of the club hours.

Of course, that didn't mean the hosts had agreed without adding 900 or so pages of strict rules and regulations.

Every male client had to sign up on the single sign-up sheet in the main office, and only the first 24 would be allowed in on the first day. There would be a client shift every fifteen minutes for the two hours they were open, and only three male guests were allowed to sit with Jin at a time. No one-on-one appointments, and she'd be sitting in a chair while the others would share a couch.

There would be no touching of any part of her unless she initiated the contact, but the client was not allowed to advance said contact in any way. Innuendos were forbidden and could result in ejection from the club room. Any action or phrase that made Jin uncomfortable would receive a similar punishment. Jin could chose whether or not to answer a question, should she deem it too personal or not for public knowledge.

Or, at least that was the basic gist of it. Honestly, Jin was just hoping for today to go smoothly. And at the end of the day, she'd either have an additional chore that she was comfortable with, or she'd never have to do it again. Right now, she was fine with either outcome.

And it was honestly sort of cute how the boys were so protective of her. Tamaki's table was to her right, Kyoya's to the left, and the cousins were behind her. Basically, if any boy stepped out of line, she had the president to order an ejection, the vice-president to second the order, and the muscle to carry it out. It was nice to have that feeling of safety.

"Hello!"

Jin's head jerked up from its bent position and she stared at her first group of the day. It was the same boy from yesterday, Koji Abe, and two others. They were smiling pleasantly at her, so she did her best to return the favor.

"Hi. I guess you're my first group today?"

"Yes, Ma'am. May we sit?"

The brunette nodded, "Of course." As her very first male clients took their seats, she sucked in another steadying breath, "So, would you like some tea?"

The two on the ends nodded, but the guy in the middle shook his head and leaned back into the cushions instead. Jin reached across the table top to grab the kettle, but the moment her hands touched china another pair of large, warmer hands clasped over hers. In her shock, she tried to pull away, but the grip was too strong for her in her surprised state.

Looking up, she saw one of the boys she didn't know partially standing up so his face was hovering a little over the tea kettle, smiling teasingly at her, "No, no… I'll get it. We wouldn't want to burden you with such a menial task."

"Ah…"

"No touching." Jin slipped her hands out from under the boy's and clasped them in her lap as Tamaki towered over her table. However, none of the three boys across from her looked all that worried at the fact that Tamaki was glaring dangerously at them.

"It was an accident, Suoh. Won't happen again." Tamaki opened his mouth, probably to call for Mori and Honey-senpai, but Jin had managed to work her heart rate back down and she tapped his arm.

"Tamaki? It's okay. If it doesn't happen again… they can stay." The blond eyed her incredulously as her client smirked and poured two cups of tea. For a moment there's no sound at the table other than liquid splashing into the tea cups. Then Tamaki nods stiffly and walks back to his own table, but not before patting his friend's shoulder in a consoling way.

She watched him walk away, worried she'd made the wrong call, when her guests speak up again, "Jin? Would you like some tea yourself?"

"Oh, um… No thank you. I'm not thirsty." In reality, Jin was dying for a drink to quench her suddenly dry mouth, but right now the boys were acting like they were hosting her . She noticed movement behind her and gave her head a minute shake, discouraging Honey-senpai from getting up.

Once the boys were settled with their tea, the boy in the middle sat back up straight, "Would you like for us to introduce ourselves?" Before Jin could answer, he grinned and pressed a hand to his chest, "Toshi Iwasaki, Class 3-B."

The boy on Jin's right pulled his teacup down from his lips so quickly he almost spilled, "Yuudai Nakano, Class 1-A." He smiled bashfully, "I sit behind your brother in class. Haruhi is a very bright student."

Jin managed a small smile in return and nodded, "I will be sure to pass on the compliment." Okay, Yuudai seems nice. The other two...

The third boy continued to sip at his tea until Toshi elbowed him a little roughly, "Don't be rude. Introduce yourself."

The ravenet smirked and looked up into Jin's eyes, "We've already been acquainted, haven't we, Ms. Fujioka?" The girl squirmed slightly as the two other boys started looked between the two of them, as if the truth would be written on their faces. He smirked deeper and looked at his "host" smugly, clearly waiting for her to confirm his claim.

Jin suddenly understood what he was doing. He was trying to act like he had the upper hand over these boys with getting close to her. Were these boys expecting a relationship out of this? Was this their version of speed dating ?

Adopting a confused look, Jin tilted her head slightly, "Um… your face is familiar, but I don't recall your name."

Koji's face went beet red and the other boys relaxed a bit into their spots on the couch. The ravenet ducked his head a bit a muttered, "Koji Abe, Class 2-C. We met yesterday? I'm the one who convinced the hosts to do this?"

Jin nodded and wriggled deeper into her chair, "Okay… so do you have any questions?"

The three boys sat up straighter and Jin's stomach dropped to her toes.


By the time 4:40 rolled around, the entire host club was on edge.

Tamaki was sure he was developing a nervous twitch due to the number of times he whipped his head sideways to check up on Jin. His guests didn't seem to think he was overstepping anything, however, as they were also casting wary glances at the male clients. In clearly unnerved everyone that all of the boys were still in the room. Instead of coming and going around their appointment time, all the boys had arrived in the club room at the beginning of the day and stuck around afterwards, save for the few that had been thrown out. Tamaki had nearly exploded in a ball of rage when he caught one of the boys flirting with some of the other female clients.

Jin wasn't looking much better. After every 15 minute shift the elder Fujioka looked more run down and nervous than the last time. She was tucked so far into her chair it was only a matter of time before she became one with the upholstery. What made it worse was the fact that her clients either didn't notice her discomfort in the slightest or found it endearing and tried to get more of those types of reactions out of her.

Tamaki didn't think he'd seen her pull her hands from her lap at all in the past hour.

He wasn't the only one who was growing tired of today's activities. The twins were completely gung-ho for physically dragging the boys out of the room and pretending like this day had never happened.

Haruhi had lost count of the number of times she and Jin had locked eyes and she saw all of Jin's anxiety on display for her. It had been a long, long time since she had seen that amount of nervousness in her sister.

Mori and Honey were also having their own quiet debates on how to help their friend. Every time they made a move to get up and start towards the boys, Jin waved them off. Kyoya noted every time that she did so, Jin attempted to sit up straight and act as if nothing was wrong. And while he admired the fact she was willing to keep her word to try it for a day, there was an unsettling feeling in his gut every time Jin sank deeper into her chair cushions. Perhaps the club should have been a little more picky in their selection.

Still, it came as a breath of relief for everyone as the second to last shift started drawing to a close. This had been the worse group yet for Jin, and it was all because of one boy.

Her previous 20 clients had nothing on Atsushi Inaba. He didn't find ways to "accidentally" brush their hands together or keep up a continuous stream of questions that he "didn't know were personal". And he certainly didn't actually do as he was told in a way that made Jin comfortable chatting with him like a small handful of the others.

No… he just stared at her. And it was just the two of them. Alone at the table.

The other two boys had been thrown out already. One of them for almost tackling Jin over the table and the other for having a huge collection of photos of her cut out from the Host Club's magazines in his bag that spilled all over the floor. The two had sworn up and down that 'I tripped! I swear it!' and 'Those aren't mine!', but the hosts were so on edge already that they didn't want to hear it.

So now there was one, and Jin was secretly hoping he would do something similar and be forced to leave. It had been a long time since she had felt this uncomfortable in her own skin, and it was not a pleasant experience. Already Jin was preparing her verdict for these additional duties for her as a host club member.

No, freaking, way.

After today, this was done . She was not going to lose her enjoyment of being in the club because of some stupid boys. Maybe those Lobelia girls did have a vague idea of how some boys acted around girls…

A shift from Atsushi brought her attention back to him. Jin regretted it immediately. His eyes were drilling holes into her, and she had a feeling that when she wasn't looking at him Atsushi's eyes drifted around the rest of her.

Coughing lightly, Jin tried to get comfortable in her chair, "So… our time is almost up. Is there, uh, anything you want to ask before you have to leave?"

Surprisingly, Atsushi straightened up, "Yes, I do." His young, oddly soft voice didn't match up at all to his appearance. With dark brown hair that was almost black and eyes that were the same color, he gave off the expression that he could, and was willing, to take whatever he wanted whenever he wanted. The large muscles and his broad shoulders he gained from the weight-lifting club only helped that look.

Jin nodded, trying not to look intimidated, "Really? Like what?"

"When can I see you again?"

Never, Jin was screaming in her head, but she managed to just shake her head, "I'm afraid I don't know the answer. This might be the only time I host male clients-"

"That's not what I meant."

There was a brief moment of silence before Jin spoke up again, "Then what do you mean?"

"How about next time, we meet up at a coffee shop in town? Just the two of us so the host club won't be around to interfere."

There was a strange choking sensation in Jin's throat, and she was having a hard time breathing properly. It had been an exceptionally long time since she had experienced a panic attack… she just hoped her asthma inhaler was still in her bag where she'd left it.

"Um… I'm not very comfortable with that. And even if I do keep hosting, I shouldn't show favorites."

"Why not? Then the others would leave you alone."

"But that's not the point of a host club. I'm supposed to flirt with everyone , not just one person. This isn't speed dating or a season of The Bachelorette !" Jin caught herself before her voice jumped up in volume or even pitch, but it was clear that at least some of her argument caught Atsushi's attention.

Unfortunately…

"It can be!" He leaned forward over the table, gripping the sides with his hands, "If you left the host club and became my girlfriend-"

Jin interrupted him this time and stood up, getting out of her seat and moving to stand behind it, "No. You flatter me, but no. I'm staying in the host club, and I don't think I wish to host you any longer."

Atsushi's face pinched, a flicker of anger showing in his eyes as he lunged forward and grabbed her right upper arm. Squeezing tightly, he tried to growl, "Listen to me-"

But that was all he got out before a pained scream left his lips. His chest was now pressed up against a pillar that dug roughly into his cheek while his right arm was pinned behind his back. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Jin glaring at him. Her face showed no emotion other than anger as she effortlessly kept his 200+ pound body pinned to the pillar.

Well aware that everyone eyes were now on them, Jin growled out lowly, "Do not ever try to force yourself on a girl ever again . I may be your host, but I am not an object that you can manhandle. Now, if I let you go, are you going to leave quietly?"

The boy hesitated before nodding stiffly, but that wasn't enough for Jin. She lifted his right fist further up until it rested between his shoulder blades, "I said , are you going to leave quietly and not come back?"

"Yes."

"Good." Jin's hands fell away and Atsushi quickly ran towards the exit. She watched him go until her eyes fell on the remaining 17 boys watching her from the front of the room. Placing one hand on her hip, she pointed at the door with her right hand.

"You guys, too."

There was a great deal of complaining, but the other hosts were quick to stand up and start herding the group.

"You heard the lady, out! "

"And stay out!"

Jin watched the progression for a while before she found herself leaning up against the pillar for additional support. She let out a deep sigh and shut her eyes. I can't believe I agreed to this. What was I thinking? No more. I hated this so much, I'm such an idiot. I really, really hated this I never wanna do anything like this again. Never ever never.

"You alright, Jin?"

"I'm not sure any more." Opening her eyes, Jin found herself looking at the vice-president of the club. Kyoya was watching her with something that resembled concern. And if Kyoya himself visibly looked concerned over something…

"I don't think having male clients is going to work out."

The ravenet smirked gently, but the hint of concern was still there, "I couldn't agree more. I'll make the announcement on the website later."

Letting out a grateful breath of air, Jin smiled honestly for the first time since the hosting hours began, "Thank you."

"You don't have to thank me," Kyoya reassured her. He gestured towards Honey and Mori's table, "Why don't you go and have a slice of cake. You look like you need it."

Laughing lightly, Jin reached forward and gave Kyoya a grateful hand squeeze, "Thanks." She walked away from the pillar and sat down on the empty couch just as the doors boomed shut. The two girls sitting in front of her gently poured her some tea and handed it to her. Jin sipped quietly until Honey and Mori sat down on either side of her.

Honey hugged her tightly, "It's okay, Jin-chan. You tried it, but it didn't work out. You never have to host a boy ever again, okay?"

"Okay. Thanks for being my back-up."

"No problem, Jin-chan!"

A large hand gently patted her head and she gave her other friend a smile. Mori smiled back before leaning towards the table and cutting a piece of chocolate cake for her. Jin took in another deep breath before setting her tea down and accepting the plate of cake in its place.

"Takashi, can I have a slice, too?" The small blond blinked cutely at his cousin who nodded as the girls across from them squealed in joy. Jin found herself smiling, too. Honey was almost too cute for his own good.

"Oh, that reminds me! Honey-senpai?"

"Hm?" Her friend looked up at her with curiosity and Jin smiled fully.

"I meant to tell you yesterday but got a little sidetracked. You really don't have to worry, no one could out-cute you."

Honey tilted his head, "Huh? What do you mean?"

Jin took a small bite of her cake before answering, the chocolate soothing her nerves down and away from her previous anxiety, "Yesterday. I heard that you mentioned my french cosplay was really cute and that you now had some competition."

She took another bite and Honey narrowed his eyes in thought. He stared off at nothing for a few moments before looking back at his friend, "I didn't say that, Jin-chan." The four other students fully turned to look at him as the small boy poked at his plate of cake, "Or, at least I didn't say it out-loud. You did look super cute yesterday… but I didn't say it. Who told you I did?"

Jin blinked, "Ah… Kyoya."

If it were possible, Honey looked even more confused, "Kyo-chan said that?" The small boy thought that new piece of information over a little more before smiling at his friend, "I'm glad to see him making some more friends, especially with people like you, Jin-chan!"

"Yeah…" Jin looked over her shoulder at the shadow king who was typing frantically on his laptop, "That was really nice of him." She smiled and took another large bite of cake.

 

Chapter Text

 

The house, if it could even be called a house, looked like a decent gust of wind would reduce the rotting wood into tinder any second now. It was leaning dangerously to the left, most of the roof singles were either rusted or dangling off by a single nail, and there were thorn bushes creeping across the brown grass on either side of the cracked walkway. The six handsome and well-dressed boys standing in front of said house couldn't have looked more out of place if they tried.

They stood very still on the uneven pavement, gaping in disbelief.

" Are… are we in the right place? "

" No. Not possible. "

" This can't be- "

An opening door interrupted the twins whispers and made the male members of the Ouran Host Club jump in surprise. A single, watery brown eye stared at them from the crack in the door before pulling it open a little more.

Haruhi smiled brightly, "Hey guys! We were wondering when you'd get here! C-come on in!" The small girl shook slightly as she withdrew from the doorway and held the door open. Tamaki wasted no time in running inside, setting his gift down and gently reaching out to cup Haruhi's face.

"Haruhi… what happened?"

The small, dirty girl only smiled wider, "Nothing happened, Senpai. You're just being weird is all!"

"Haru? Are they here?"

Haruhi turned her head and sucked in a breath to call out, but was cut off by a cough. The other boys had entered the house by now and were looking around the shack in dismay. The inside looked even worse than the outside.

"Jin-chan? Where are you?"

A soft voice called out from the adjacent room again, "I'm in here, Honey-senpai."

Haruhi's coughing didn't last long, and she was quick to go back to smiling. Grabbing Tamaki's hand, she lead the six boys through another doorway, "Come on, you guys. Nēchan's waiting for us in the kitchen."

They walked into another dirty room and saw Jin sitting down on the floor. A ratty, torn up pillow was beneath her and she was leaning against the wall, but a bright smile was on her face regardless. She looked even dirtier and more exhausted than her little sister, and her clothes were so small Tamaki could see bumps down her side where her ribs were showing.

"Jin?"

"Hi, gu-" the girl broke off into a big coughing fit, her entire body spasming with the force of it. Haruhi quickly moved down beside her sister and rubbed on her back. Finally the smile she'd been sporting faded a bit.

"Don't worry, Nēchan. You can have the larger piece of tuna from our share today, okay?"

"No, H- cough -aru. You- cough -'ve been talking about that slice for weeks. Cough. You have it."

The rest of the host club knelt down in a semi-circle around the girls. Kyoya, who was sitting the closest, reached out and gently laid a hand on the older girl's shoulder which was still bouncing with the last few coughs.

"Jin, are you alright? You don't sound well."

The girl waved off her friend's concern with another faint smile, "'m fine, boys. Sorry for not greeting you at the door, but my legs are being stupid…"

Tamaki felt like his insides were encased in ice, "Can… you can't stand up?"

She shrugged, "It happens from time to time. Nothing to worry about, really." Before anyone could inform Jin that it was, indeed, something to worry about, she turned to face her sister. "Haru, do you want to get lunch out? I'm sure our friends are hungry by now."

"Okay, Nēchan." The short-haired girl struggled back to her feet and stumbled slightly along the wall towards the other side of the 'kitchen'. Tamaki watched until he felt two fingers poking at his back.

" Hey, Boss… this can't be where they live. "

" Maybe they're pranking us? "

" I hope so… " Tamaki's eyes raked the room they were in, trying to find something that would prove this was a set of some sort.

Haruhi knelt next to a cabinet, and turned back to face the club members, "Thank you guys so much for giving us a heads-up you were coming. We don't usually have the kind of food you're used to, so to save up we've been fasting for two days. Or, Dad and I have. Jin started five days ago."

"Y-you really didn't have to…"

"We could've bought something..."

"It wouldn't have been any trouble..."

Jin smiled even as her chest tightened up in obvious pain, "No way. You're our guests. It's fine."

"Jin… you starved yourself."

The girl shrugged and settled back against the wall like it was a temper-pedic mattress, her eyes fluttering closed, "Well, Haru and Dad still needed to eat something. I can handle a little less food now and again." Kyoya shook her shoulder and she pried her eyes open again, humming at the ravenet. Tamaki noted the worried look on his best friend's face.

"Jin, I've been in too many hospitals and seen too many of their patients to count, so take my word as gospel and don't fall asleep . Not until you've had some food." All he received was another hum.

"So, I guess that's the cue to dig in, huh?" Haruhi opened a cabinet and reached in, "Here we go… ta-da!" Seven small sushi samplers were placed on the table, "What do you think? These took up most of our savings, but they sure look good! I'm so glad we found that sale..."

Tamaki couldn't seem to use his tongue, but Honey appeared to be on the verge of tears as he looked up at the 1st-year, "H-Haru-chan… there's only seven."

"Nēchan and I usually share our meals. We'll both get half of one while you boys get one for each of you!" Haruhi was drooling slightly and she quickly wiped at the corner of her mouth, "Well, let's eat!"

The twins shakily broke their chopsticks apart and each took a small bite. Immediately afterwards Hikaru grabbed a napkin and quietly spit his fish out. Kaoru was clearly struggling with his own and murmured into Tamaki's ear, " It tastes like rubbery cardboard! I don't think it's real fish! "

Tamaki felt like his world was slipping out from underneath him. The twins were poking at their samplers in disgust. Haruhi was slowly savoring her half of the meal piece by piece, drooling more obviously as she did. And Mori, Honey, and Kyoya were trying to coax Jin into eating something.

Mori was gently keeping her head upright while Honey knelt beside them, encouraging Jin as Kyoya gently placed a small sushi roll in her mouth, "Jin-chan, you have to eat this now or you could get super sick! Okay? Can you chew that up now?"

It was like pulling teeth. Jin was slowly chewing the fake-fish, clearly running out of strength, and the boy's attempts to remain calm are replaced by panicked looks.

She all of the sudden ceased movement and slumped sideways against Kyoya's chest. The chopsticks clattered into the dirt on the ground as he grabbed at her shoulders and shook her frantically, "Jin?!"

"NO!" Tamaki burst upright in his own bed, screaming at the top of his lungs.

* Timeskip *

"When do you think you'll be back home, Nēchan?" Haruhi pressed the iPhone between her right ear and shoulder as she shifted her grip on the grocery bags once more. Tucking the heavier one into the crook of her left arm, she reached back up to grip her phone as Jin's voice came through the receiver.

" Not long. I just finished my last rounds so I shouldn't be more than five minutes. Did you get everything for dinner? "

"Yup. On sale, too!"

" Wow, it's not like anyone planned that or anything. "

Haruhi smiled, "Yeah, yeah. I'll get started on lunch as soon as I get home. Salad for you, right?"

" Haru, I can't survive on that rabbit food! I'm a warrior! " The brunette laughed at the fake-serious tone. The two had started watching a show from America some of Jin's friends recommended, and they were slowly becoming hooked. And since Jin already wasn't the biggest fan of salads, having her favorite character agree with her only spiked that dislike. Haruhi found it hilarious.

"Okay, Warrior. How about we just figure it out when you get home?"

" Sounds good. I'm walking home as we speak. See you in a few. Love you! "

"Love you, too, Nēchan."

Haruhi hung up with a smile and slipped her phone into her pocket. Okay… what am I feeling for lunch? Sushi? Or rice balls? Or maybe I could try my hand at one of those recipes Jin brought back home? Anything would be good, right now, actually. Then after lunch, we can work on the laundry and maybe watch another episode of Supernatural as we clean the living room. Her face scrunched up in a big smile. Today was going to be a good day, she could tell!

Rounding the last corner to her street, Haruhi stuttered to a stop at the sight of the crowd in front of the apartments. What is this? Did someone get hurt? Was there a fire? Moving closer, Haruhi noticed that the large crowd was gathered because they were looking at something in the street. There was a car parked along the sidewalk as well. Was someone hit? Was there an accident?

The sound of a car door clicking made her stop and stare as the Host Club climbed out of the car to stare at her apartment building.

There were no words. Haruhi just stared, open mouthed, as the hosts exchanged their opinions about the large building in front of them. It was probably a miracle that the groceries didn't just tumble out of her arms.

" No… " Her groan perked the ears of the hosts and they turned around.

"Haru-chan! There you are!" Honey bounced over and hugged her tightly, "We were looking for you! Were you just out shopping? Did you buy cake?"

The brunette felt her eyelid twitch, "What… are… you… doing… here?" It took all her willpower to not grind her teeth. Why couldn't they leave me alone on the weekends? It's one thing to never leave me alone at school, but now they're invading my home as well? You've got to be kidding me!

"You're not happy to see us, Haruhi?"

"Aww… our feelings are hurt!"

The brunette roughly shoved the twin's arms off of her shoulders as Kyoya readjusted his glasses, "Tamaki had another episode and insisted we come make sure you weren't living in squalor. I apologize on the club's behalf; most of us didn't have a say in whether we came or not."

"Kyoya! That's not what happened at all!" Tamaki started pacing back and forth in front of Haruhi, starting to spin the tale of his nightmare that he apparently had to take seriously because what happened in his warped imagination somehow had a direct cause-and-effect on reality.

"Okay, that's enough! I don't care why you came but you need to leave, now!"

Tamaki stumbled backwards, face twisted in horror, "You… you want us to leave? Why-"

"Because I get fed up with you all just by being in the same club as you! I can't change that, but I should be allowed to relax at my own home with just my family without you butting in! Do you really have to follow me around everywhere I go?" Haruhi felt her hands shake while the boys stared dumbly at her. When was the last time she'd outright shouted at anyone?

Unfortunately, now her neighbors were watching her, too. Calming down, Haruhi spoke again though she still kept the scowl on her face, "Just tell me why you came here so I can nip whatever insane idea you have in the bud and you guys can leave."

"B-but Haruhi…"

The brunette rubbed at her forehead, feeling the beginnings of a nasty headache starting up, when out of the corner of her eye she noticed a familiar figure with a purple shirt walking down the sidewalk. The person paused. Stood still for a moment. Then turned around and started walking back the way they had come.

Tilting her head to the side a bit, Haruhi called out after the person, "Not so fast, Nēchan! Get back here!"

A loud groan answers her, but soon enough Jin is walking back to them and standing beside her sister with her arms crossed, "What are you guys doing here?"

"They're creeping on us at our home, Nēchan."

"No!" Tamaki held up his hands, "That's not the reason at all! I had a nightmare about the state of your living space and wanted to ease my worries! That's all!"

As the blond continued rambling to whoever would listen to him, Honey bounced over to give his friend a hug, "I'm just happy I get to see you on the weekend, Jin-chan! And your outfit is really cute! Were you working at the animal shelter again, is that why you didn't go shopping with Haru-chan?"

The taller brunette attempted to glare, but couldn't find the fire to do so. Honey-senpai was one of the three least-annoying boys in their club, not to mention an old friend. She couldn't get mad at him for wanting to see her and Haru. So she sighed in defeat and patted the small boy's head with her left hand, as her right hand was holding her "work bag" on her shoulder.

"Yeah, I was working. And thanks for the compliment." She glanced down at her outfit, wondering what she had worn today.

Oh, right.

Jin was wearing a pair of brown capri's and a purple blouse that went with a purple owl necklace and the pair of white sandals she had changed into before leaving the shelter. Since it was so warm out she had forgone her usual blue sweatshirt and the bottom half of her hair had curled ever so slightly in the heat. She hadn't really been aiming for cute, but if it worked that way she wasn't going to argue.

"Okay, with that out of the way, I really think you guys should leave before Haru explodes. Her face is looking a little too red for it to be good."

Honey stuck his lower lip out in a pout and went to open his mouth when two blurs of yellow and blue shot past the group and right into Jin. The girl let out a soft 'oof' and quickly placed her bag on the cement, but otherwise didn't seem hurt.

"Nēchan!"

"You're back!"

The host club watched in shock as the blurs turned out to be a twin boy and girl who looked no older than seven. Haruhi was the only one who wasn't surprised and smiled at the little scene. Jin's hands were grabbed and shaken up and down in time with the children's bounces, all three of them beaming at each other.

"Nēchan, my teacher said I got the lead for my class play!"

"Nēchan! Nēchan! I got an A on my math quiz!"

"Wow, I'm so proud of you two! What play is it, Kei?"

"Nēchaaaaaaan!" Before Kei could answer the question, three more children ran over to Jin hugging at her legs. Soon the five children were talking simultaneously, attempting to be the one to tell Jin about their achievements first. The girl just smiled and listened to each one to the best of her ability.

Tamaki leaning closer to Haruhi, eyes glued to the six people in front of him, "Um, Haruhi? Why are they all calling Jin 'Nēchan'?"

Haruhi smiled and shook her head, "Because she is their Nēchan. Sort of. Nēchan is the big sister of the apartment complex. She's babysat every kid here at least three times and everyone loves her. She helps the kids with their homework and extracurricular activities. She goes to school plays and sports games and is an expert at encouraging them to do their best no matter what it is." She smiled as her sister was coerced into hefting Gina onto her back before turning back to the group.

"Come on, you guys. I'll let you guys have a peek at the apartment, but then you have to leave, okay?"

"Hold on, Haruhi."

"We want to watch this for a little longer." Haruhi scowled, but couldn't blame the boys. Watching Nēchan interact with the other tenants at the apartment complex was always enjoyable and sometimes awe-inspiring. The children had now finished talking about their achievements and were now working through their questions.

"Hey Nēchan, can you help me study for my history quiz next Friday?"

"Can you come to the play, Nēchan? It's in three weeks and it doesn't cost anything!"

"Nēchan, what's the answer to life?"

Jin didn't look very confused by the onslaught of questions. Instead, she shook whichever limb the child she was answering was on and said, "I can help you study on Wednesday and Thursday night after I come home from school. Three weeks? Mmm… I can probably make it. And the answer to life is 42."

The children squealed in laughter and clung tighter to the brunette who grinned.

"Gina! Kei! Come along now, Fujioka-san would probably like to go home at some point and we still have some shopping to do."

The twins whined and tried to keep their grip on Jin, but the brunette simply swung the girl off her back and looped her other arm around the boy. The twins complained, but they were still grinning as Jin carried them over to their mother. As she did so, the two other boys latched more firmly onto her legs and sat on her feet, making the walking slow going, while the girl took a flying leap and managed to replace Gina on Jin's back. The adults that had gathered outside to watch laughed, but soon enough the other three children were called away by their parents. By the time Jin was dropping the two twins off in front of their mother, she was child-free.

She exchanged a few words with the lady before turning around and walking back to her sister and the hosts, straightening out her pants as she went. The children who were being herded away waved and called out their goodbyes, which she responded to with a smile.

It was clear to the boys that the Fujioka's moods had taken a swing, and they weren't going to let this opportunity go to waste.

"So…" the twins began, "About checking out your place..?"

Jin and Haruhi shared a glance before sighing, "Alright…"


The eight teenagers stood outside of Room 208. It was set on the corner of the second level of the complex, and underneath the window to the right side of the door was a flower box that was lit up with red and yellow marigolds. Tamaki was staring intently at the key Haruhi was holding in her hand. While the outside didn't look as shabby as his dream had depicted, the inside could be just as bare and tarnished as he feared.

He had a vaguest idea that Haruhi was saying something, but he wasn't really listening. His worry wasn't letting him focus.

The door in front of him swung open and Tamaki let his eyes dart over as much of the room as they could. No newspaper floors. Clean and well-kept appliances. Rather small…

A sigh escaped his lips and Tamaki felt his shoulders finally relax.

"What a-" His hand shot out to cover Hikaru's mouth. Thankfully, Haruhi didn't seem to notice. The boys poked their heads in through the door frame while the sisters slid inside and removed their shoes.

Kyoya hummed, "Wood built. Three bedrooms. The usual living space of a commoner family of three…"

"It's super cute! I feel bigger just by being in here!"

Haruhi huffed but didn't say anything, opting instead to rummage through the cabinets for tea leaves. Jin waited patiently for the boys to walk in and tilted her head when they didn't.

"Um, you boys can come in now. Just please take your shoes off before you walk on the wood, if you don't mind."

Now it was their turn to look confused, "Do you have house slippers for us?"

"No…"

"Oh! Never mind, you have those commoner mats!" After that, the boys quickly slid their shoes off and trekked into the apartment, thanking the girls as they passed by. They piled themselves into the living room, but were clearly having a few, ah, issues in regards to finding places to sit. Jin giggles at Mori accidentally hits his head on the hanging light. Not because her friend's pain is funny or whatever, but he verbally said the word 'Ow'. Just like that. Monotone. Hence, she giggled.

"Okay, boys. I'm going to quickly put my stuff away and then Haru and I can start making some tea to go along with those cakes you brought. Don't act surprised, Honey-senpai, we both know that's exactly what you brought over in that little box of yours."

With one last smile, the brunette disappeared through the door on the right side of the bathroom. Kyoya couldn't help but watch as she did so, questions rolling around in his head without any perfect answers. He was still unsure whether Tamaki had a point and Jin might have a crush on Mori-senpai. He just… couldn't tell. She didn't appear overly attached to the tall male, but at the same time the two clearly had a close history and she did just giggle like one of their clients at Mori's speech patterns.

Kyoya shook his head, coming to terms with where his thoughts were heading. Deciding against joining the other idiots on the floor for the time being, he drifted over to the Fujioka's bookshelf. He didn't understand exactly why he couldn't shake that train of thought away for long, considering it didn't affect him in any way, shape, or form… but he did wonder at times.

"YOU LITTLE SNEAK!"

The hosts jumped in their spots and simultaneously dove for the living room entrance, landing in an uncomfortable looking pile. Kyoya managed to step over their heads and joined Haruhi in knocking on the bedroom door.

"Nēchan? Are you alright?"

The door opened revealing Jin's pout and a familiar bird perched on her right shoulder. Kyoya stared at it for a moment. Wasn't that the bird from the shelter?

"Sora?"

"He snuck into my bag! Again!"

Jin continued to pout, but there was an odd lift at the corner of her mouth that let them know she wasn't incredibly upset at the fact. And if there was any possible way for birds to look smug, then it was however Sora was looking right now.

A few moments later the small white bird was happily zipping around the apartment, occasionally fluttering into a 'temporary bird cage' to peck at some food or water before flying out again. Jin watched him for a moment before going back into her room.

"Haru? You should probably start the tea without me," were her last words before she shut the door once more.

"Alright, do you guys mind what kind I make? We don't have that big of a selection but if there's one type you know you don't like-"

"Well, how about you just make some of this Black tea? Our father bought it for us from his last oversees trip and we haven't had a chance to try it yet, so we figured maybe we could have it here."

"According to our dad it's best served as milk tea."

"Hm…" Haruhi got a thoughtful look on her face before she walked over to Jin's door and knocked, "Hey, Nēchan?"

"Yeah?"

"Do we still have milk?"

"Uh… I think so! It wasn't on your list for today, right?"

Haruhi almost smacked her own forehead, "Oh, right. Duh. Thanks, Nēcha-"

"ARE YOU JOKING?!"

The brunette blinked at the sudden increase of volume before leaned closer to the door, "Nēchan? Everything okay in there?"

Silence met her question and for a moment Haruhi was tempted to open the door, but it opened itself before she could decide. Jin was now full on scowling, but there was still a hint of amusement in her eyes.

"Haru? Get the hutch and the cage."

"Are you serious?"

"Unfortunately, yes." Rolling her eyes, Haruhi tossed the pack of tea onto the counter before hauling a modestly sized hutch and cage out from their front closet. She didn't answer any of the boy's questions as she set them up in the corner of the living room. Thankfully, Haruhi had a knack for it, and they were ready by the time Jin walked back out of her room, a small white bunny in her arms and a ferret perched on her shoulder.

"Well boys, meet Mimi and Kuu. Escape artists extraordinaire."

"You're too good with animals, Nēchan."

"Shut up, Haru."

Haruhi laughs as she walks back towards the kitchen part of their home, making sure to wash her hands thoroughly before starting the tea (finally). Jin gave the fuzzy animals a few strokes before situating them in their Fujioka-temporary-homes. With a sigh, she pulled out her cell phone and tapped in a quick series of numbers. While it rang, she washed her hands in the kitchen sink and gave the strange bag of black tea a questioning look. Haruhi jerked her head back towards the boys and Jin nodded.

Suddenly the long-haired girl looks away, holding the phone a little closer, "Hey, Aki. No, I didn't forget anything, I just-" She paused for a beat, "Yeah… yeah… yes, all three this time. Yeah, we have enough. Okay, thank you."

She pulled the phone away and looked up to see the rest of the host club staring at her. She grinned sheepishly, "It's happened before…"

Haruhi snorted and dodged her sister's playful swipe before the girls focused in on tea making. They didn't usually have this many guests over, so they had to pull down two different sets of tea cups. They complimented each other well enough, though, being blue and white, so hopefully the boys wouldn't complain.

"Alright, tea's done." Jin balanced the tea tray on her hip with practiced ease as she served the boys, "Sorry they're in different cups, but whatever works, right?"

There were dulled affirming noises from the hosts as they all took a few sips. Honey managed to drain half of his tea before he couldn't take it any more, "So, can we serve the cake now?"

The others chuckled at his obvious eagerness and Jin nodded, making the small boy cheer, "Yay! Haru-chan, Jin-chan, you can chose your cakes first!"

"Uh, really? Okay, then, I'd like the strawberry cake, please."

Jin smiled but sipped her tea again before answering, "I'm grateful for the offer, Honey-senpai, but I think I'm just going to stick with tea today."

"Wah? But Jin-chan I thought you loved cake? Look, there's even double chocolate!"

"I know, sweetie, but I already had a small cake today. One of my coworkers had a birthday and brought sweets to share, so, polite pass."

"Oh… okay, Jin-chan. I guess that makes sense."

"I wish to decline your offer as well, Honey-senpai."

The small boy laughed, "Well, I knew you wouldn't want some, Kyo-chan! It's okay! What about the rest of you?"

As Honey doled out the rest of the cake slices, Kyoya pulled his journal out and flipped a few pages, "Jin, I was hoping to spend some of this time discussing the future sales of your drawings. Have you come up with any more new creations? I'd like to start selling them as soon as possible, if you wouldn't mind."

The girl on his right smirked into her tea cup and glanced up at her sister. The two smiled deviously at each other before looking away, "I'm not so sure you want to see some of my new personal creations, but I do have a few more you can sell. I can bring them to school tomorrow if you want, they're not completely finished yet. I still have some- HEY!"

While Jin had been talking, Kyoya noticed a sketch pad resting next to the television. It was the same one she brought to the beach a few weeks ago. Curious as to what she meant by 'personal creations', he went for it. Jin saw what he was reaching for and spun around, wrapping her arms around his chest to pull him back even as he grabbed it and started flipping through the new drawings. When he landed on the last page, he stilled.

Sighing, Jin released him and pulled away but still keeping her legs thrown over his. He pushed himself into a sitting position as he flipped between the last two pages of the book. On said pages were renditions of the hosts… as girls. There were a few similarities between the drawings and how the hosts had looked like when the Lobelia girls came by, but these sketches were far more realistic and natural looking. He looked up at Jin for an explanation.

"I was just wondering how you all would've looked like if you'd really been born as the opposite gender. I think I did okay, and I wasn't going to make you sell it either. And before you get mad, notice I did one of Haru and I, too."

Kyoya glanced back down at his female counterpart and smirked, "Well, you did a much better job than Tamaki when he dressed us up." The sketchbook made a small loop around the table, letting the other hosts have a good laugh before going back to their cakes.

"Well, if we're going to start selling my drawings, what do you have in mind money wise?"

"Hm. Let's see… I was hoping you and I could discuss the selling prices based on the different variables, such as if it were a realistic sketch or a cartoon rendition or how many hosts are in each drawing. Do you have any thoughts on this?"

Jin shrugged and popped a strawberry in her mouth. As she chewed, Kyoya's eyes trailed to her tea cup saucer. There was a tiny pile of strawberries there, and another quick glance confirmed they came from Mori-senpai's cake.

"Auctioning."

"Hm?" Kyoya looked away from his Senpai's strawberry-less cake, "What did you say?"

"Auctioning. Since my drawings are all going to be different, how about we hold online auctions for them like everything else we sell? Make them all 24 hours or so… and whenever someone wins they have to wait a certain period of time before they can auction again, which should give all the girls an opportunity to win instead of just the extremely rich. Oh, and also by auctioning we won't run out of my drawings faster than I can make them."

The two stared at each other for a long while. Long enough that the others around them noticed the staring contest and were starting to grow uncomfortable.

"Jin?"

"Yeah?"

"Would you mind helping me with the club's finances from here on out? Giving my work a second pair of eyes might help save me some precious time." The hosts gaped as Jin grinned broadly.

"Absolutely."

"Excellent. However, before you make your final decision, if you could take a quick look at this page?" Kyoya flipped back in his journal until the words 'Cake financials' were scrawled at the top of the page. Jin leaned over and ran her eyes down the page until they hit the bottom. Her eyes widened.

"...Ah. Yeah, I think may be able to help out a little." She glanced up at the ravenet before laughing and shaking her head, "No wonder you don't care for sweets. Looking at these numbers, anyone would get sick to their stomach."

Kyoya smiled and closed his journal just as Honey set down his fork, "Ah! That cake was so yummy! But it was kinda small…"

"Yeah, it is almost noon, anyways."

"So, Haruhi, what did you have planned for lunch?"

The brunette stared at the boys for a moment before turning to her sister pleadingly, "Hey, Nēchan?"

"Nuh, uh, Haru. I'm cooking dinner, so you're doing lunch. Besides, I'm sure these boys would prefer a more Japanese styled meal rather than my new Americanized diet."

Kyoya's eyes dipped to the girl by his side one last time before standing up, "It's alright, we'll take care of it. You two were gracious enough to invite us in without much forewarning we were coming, so how about we pay for lunch? You can order some of your favorite sushi and have it delivered."

"Wow, that was actually nice of you Kyoya! Are there some underhand motives that we're not aware of? Perhaps you'll make us pay for it later?"

"Not at all. We can just use the money from the photographs of you two we've already auctioned off."

Jin smiled and looked away, "Damn it. You were so close. "

"Heh, well if you guys want sushi Jin has a friend who runs a shop nearby. They don't deliver yet but it's not that far of a walk. I think you guys would like it, it's pretty high-quality for such a small place. She's done well for herself."

Tamaki had some sort of a spasm and yanked Kyoya's pen away to start scribbling a message on his napkin. Jin watched him curiously for a moment or two before a small tugging on her shirt refocused her attention.

"Why can't Haru-chan just make us something for lunch? I'm sure we'd like it no matter what she made!"

"It's not that she couldn't, but it would take her some time. Haru's not especially gifted in making quick meals."

"That's okay, we could wait!"

Shaking her head, the brunette's exchanged a look, "Well, Haru? What do you think?"

"I guess I could make something, but I'd have to make another run to the supermarket-"

"Can we come? Can we come?"

"No."

"We're coming anyways!"

Jin laughed as she stood up, the twins bolting out the door with Honey and Mori right behind them. She followed them quickly. If some of her neighbors were still out and about she wanted to be there to explain her friend's behavior. Thankfully she noticed the four of them happily waiting around at the bottom of the stairs for the others to join them.

"Jin, what did you mean by an 'Americanized diet'?"

"Hm? Oh, that. I kind of got a taste for American foods while I was gone considering my host father was a very popular caterer and owned his own restaurant."

Kyoya smirks, amused, "I suppose that would do the trick."

"Yeah. He sent me home with a book that had copies of a lot of his recipes, so I've been making them all one by one for Haru and Dad. They've turned out well so far."

"Really? Are you planning on opening your own restaurant after high school? Or perhaps becoming a famous chef?"

The girl laughed again and leaned against the side of the staircase, "Not at all. I plan to pursue Accounting."

"How brave of you."

"If I was given a yen every time I heard that phrase I wouldn't need my scholarship for Ouran. Besides, I'm good with numbers. I took a year-round accounting class in America and did really well."

"Do you enjoy it?"

"Of course. I wouldn't go into it if I didn't. Besides, it pays well no matter where I go."

"Are you looking into-

"Hey, that lady looks a bit like Jin."

"Yeah, she kind of does. That's weird."

Jin jerked away from the wall and bolted up the stairs.

"Jin? What are-"

"Haru and Tamaki! They're not out here yet!" There's the sounds of pounding feet behind her, but Jin ignores them for favor of running back to her home. She dives into her apartment, "Dad! Stop!"

A long-haired woman whipped her head to the side, staring at Jin while holding Tamaki off the floor by his shirt collar. The brunette rushed forward and pulled the blond away. He sank to the floor with a whimper and cowered behind Jin's legs as she stared at the lady. The other five boys, having followed the brunette when she raced up the steps very suddenly, looked into the apartment to see Jin standing firm with her arms outstretched and her face determined between Tamaki and the lady they'd seen earlier. Oddly enough, the two did look like each other.

"Jin? What is going on here?"

"Dad, this is our friend, Tamaki Suoh. I don't know what you saw to attack him, but I promise you that if Haru wasn't screaming at him when you entered, then it wasn't what you thought it was." Dad? So this lady is Mr. Fujioka?

"...Fine. Haruhi, darling, please explain why I found this young man pinning you to the floor a few seconds ago?"

"W-we were on our way to the supermarket, but Tamaki hadn't left the apartment yet, so I went to check on him. He was paying respects to Mom. We talked for a bit, then got up to join the others when he slipped and fell on me. It was an accident, Dad."

The transvestite's eyes softened a tad and he looked down at the blond on the floor, "You were paying respects to Kotoko?"

"Y-yes, sir. I promise I would n-never disrespect either of your daughters, s-sir."

"Alright then, I apologize for the misunderstanding."

Jin relaxed her stance and smiled at her dad, who quickly pulled her into a spontaneous hug, "Oh! My daughter is so smart and kind! If you wanted to be a lawyer I'm sure you'd be a fantastic one!"

"Yeah, Dad, thanks. But, I think I'm going to stick to Accounting."

Wriggling out of her father's tight embrace, Jin noticed the others hanging out by the doorway, "Dad? This is the Host Club we've told you about."

Her father smiled, "Really? Come in, come in, boys. It's so nice to finally meet you, I've heard so much about you!" The host club was frantically ushered back into the apartment. They sat down around the table (except for Jin, who was making a splash of tea for her father) as Ranka introduced himself. The twins tilted their heads to the side and stared at him for a few moments.

"You know, I have to say Ranka-"

"-I'm surprised that we didn't recognize who you were sooner."

"Oh, and why do you say that? Have my daughters told you all about me?"

"Not really, sir. Your daughters are a little tight-lipped about their personal life."

"No, what we meant was that you three look oddly alike…"

Jin came back and set a teacup in front of her father before kneeling between him and Kyoya. The boys were finally allowed to do a side-by-side compare/contrast between the three Fujioka's, and they were a little caught off guard by it.

"You know… you two do have a point…"

"Haru-chan and Jin-chan have the same eyes and hair color… Haru-chan and her dad have the same mouths… Jin-chan and her dad have similar body types… and all three of them have the same nose! That's so cool that you share traits with each other!"

"Oh, you're just as sweet as they described Mitsukuni!"

"Hold on… you know my name?"

"Of course! Jin has showed me a few of her drawings before, but I also recognize you and Takashi from when I picked Jin up from the Dojo on occasion. I always saw the three of you talking and playing together, so I just put two and two together. I'm so happy the three of you found each other so soon after Jin came home! Oops! I got sidetracked! Anyways, you two are the Hitachiin brothers, Hikaru and Kaoru. I'll try not to confuse you, but hopefully I'll continue to remember which way you two part your hair! And last but not least you two are Tamaki Suoh and Kyoya Ootori, the boys in Jin's class!"

"So, wait… Haruhi and Jin-senpai talk about us at home?"

Ranka grinned, "Not at first! When Jin was away I had to depend on Kyoya calling me with updates! But once my eldest daughter returned they was quick to start telling me all about the club."

He gave his daughters a beaming smile, but they responded with gaping mouths, "Dad…"

"Did you just say-"

"- Kyoya used to call you? "

Ranka tilted his head, "Did I forget to tell you? Kyoya called me the day after Haruhi joined the host club. He wanted to check in and make sure she didn't have any allergies or what not and it quickly turned into him being my updater. But once you girls started telling me about the club I told him I didn't need the calls any longer!"

"I had a feeling that was the reason." Kyoya turned to Jin, "Exactly what have you told your father about the club, if I may inquire?"

"No, you may not."

The ravenet is surprised by the glare she's giving him, "You… are upset?"

"Brilliant deduction, Sherlock. Come on, Haru, let's go shopping."

The brunettes stand up and stiffly walk towards the door, ignoring the boy's shouting behind them. Sighing, Ranka leaned back a little and looked up at Sora who was preening in his cage at the moment.

"You'd best leave them alone for a while, boys, I doubt you'll get much of a conversation from them at the moment. My girls have always had incredibly independent spirits… except for each other. However, now that we're alone, I have to tell you boys a few things. First off, I am grateful that you have become Haruhi's friends and have accepted Jin into your group. My daughters are much happier now, even more so than before Jin went to America.

"But still, be forewarned. My two daughters are very close, as they've only ever had each other, despite being very opposite. Jin is highly protective of Haruhi, something you're probably aware of by now. You've won my eldest daughter's favor, she is a very kind person after all, but I wouldn't push your luck or test her trust in you. Should you lose that trust for any reason, it quickly becomes the hardest thing for you to get back. And believe me... you'd want it back."

Ranka gave each paling boy a lingering glance. Kyoya was the only one who wasn't staring at him in fear of his words, but the ravenet was clenching his pen fairly tightly. Hmm...

Anyways… since I got that out of the way, would you gentlemen care to play a little game with me?"

"A game?"

"What kind of game?"


Ten minutes later the group of seven were peeking around a sidewalk corner, watching two brunettes walking into a market store together. The taller girl held the door open for the shorter one and they disappeared behind the panels of glass.

"Alright, in we go!"

Like ill-trained assassins, the group rushed down the sidewalk and into the supermarket. It wasn't hard to find the girls, the store wasn't extremely large, and Ranka knew his daughters.

"If lunch is still undecided, the two are going to go through the boxed meals first and take a look around. If nothing sounds particularly good, they'll separate. Jin will go to the fresh fruits while Haruhi tackles the vegetables. They'll roam alone for a bit before one of them comes up with an idea and meet up with the other. It may seem like an odd tradition, but at least it's predictable and gets us healthy, fresh food into the house."

Like clockwork, the two girls do just that. After slowly drifting down the boxed dinner aisle, they shake their heads and walk away from each other, clearly deep in thought. The twins, easily bored by nature, turn around and start looking up and down the end aisles. Honey must've noticed the bakery sign at the opposite end of the store because he suddenly took off running, his cousin close behind.

Noticing Tamaki was slowly following Haruhi, Ranka went after him. An accident it may have been, but the image of that blond boy pinning his youngest daughter to the floor was still etched firmly in his head. When a third set of footfalls didn't reach his ears, Ranka briefly looked behind him. Wasn't Kyoya just by his side? Nope. The ravenet was actually moving away from the other two, his eyes fixed on Jin's retreating back.

Ranka's lips pursed. Hmm.

* Kyoya's P.O.V. *

Why am I even doing this? This is beneath me. I could be at home, studying, but instead I'm stalking a classmate through a commoner's supermarket? Is this what my life is becoming?

Despite all of his mental reprimanding, Kyoya wasn't walking away. He remained tucked against the side of a wall of sliced bread, watching as Jin Fujioka strolled up and down the piles of fruit by herself. Occasionally she's stop and look at a price-tag or two before moving on, at one point plucking a bag of green grapes for her basket.

It was oddly fascinating to watch her. There were times when he knew exactly what she was going to turn to next, and times when her choice completely surprised him. Jin wasn't predictable; there was no telling what she might say or do, and it was strangely exciting for him. Kyoya had always prided himself on being able to see and diagnose others, yet Jin Fujioka was a new thing entirely. She didn't fit into 'Kyoya Ootori's Guide to People', where everyone did everything in accordance to their self interest.

Just trying to fit her into a box in his mind was a one-way ticket to headache city. She was selfless except when she wasn't. She was kind and helpful except when she told people to 'f' off. She encouraged Haruhi to live her own life and learn how to deal with what it threw at her, but never failed to help her sister work through every problem she managed to have. Even her insults and teasing and affectionate terms were constantly overlapping.

Jin was confusing and strange and headache inducing and yet simply-

"Amazing."

Kyoya was surprised to see Ranka by his side. That last he'd seen of Mr. Fujioka he had been following Haruhi with Tamaki, probably to ensure the blond wouldn't act like a fool around his youngest daughter. Perhaps he realized it was a lost cause?

The older man peeked out at Jin and watched as she sighed at the price for a container of raspberries, "Watching my daughters is always an interesting experience, wouldn't you agree? Jin because she is so hard to describe, and Haruhi because you can see her subconsciously attempting to be like her big sister." Sideways glance. "I assume you've noticed?"

"Yes." Kyoya smirked as Jin finally walked away from the treat and look over a few apples, "It's nothing I've ever seen before."

"Mm. You're a very observational person, Kyoya. I am, too." The two were silent for a few moments as Jin chewed her lower lip while eyeballing a kiwi stand.

"You sound as if there's more you wish to say."

"Hm, observational. Very well, I wished to go into further detail as to how I learned to observe others just as you do. This won't come as any shock, I suppose, but I learned it from them." Haruhi suddenly appeared beside her sister and gently paced three kiwi in Jin's basket. The taller girl didn't even flinch at the arrival.

"How so?"

"The two of them read and react to each other so well, of course I would try to pick up a few signals. While I'm not nearly as fluent in nonverbal communication as they are, I have grown to learn a few hints and signs. For example, I can tell when two people care deeply for each other."

"Understandable, especially with Haruhi and Jin as close to each other as they are."

"Agreed. But that is not where I was going, Mr. Ootori." Kyoya turned his head and found himself locked in an intense staring contest with Mr. Fujioka.

"Pardon?"

"What I'm trying to say, Kyoya, is that I know that you care deeply about my eldest daughter. You shifted closer to Jin once she sat down beside you. When the two girls went off in different directions you followed her without even giving Haruhi a glance. And as I explained the consequences for toying around with Jin's trust, you might not have showing it very physically, but I could tell the idea of being cast away by her terrified you. And it's clear that even as you feel and do these things, they are slowly beginning to frighten you.

"The only reason I am speaking with you about this now, instead of waiting for you to come to terms with your feelings on your own, is because Jin cares for you, too. Unfortunately, being the person she is, I can not tell how much or if it will ever be more. I simply wished to warn you against taking advantage of her feelings, for I will never, ever forgive you if you do."

Kyoya felt like most of his appendages had fallen asleep. This most likely was a result of his heart pounding madly in his chest. For the first time in a long while, he was at a loss for words.

"I… I don't… but Mori-senpai?"

"Brotherly. Don't change the subject, Kyoya. Your calls may have helped me during Haruhi's first month in your little club, but from now on, when it comes to Jin, do not consider yourself to be my friend." Ranka's face softened a tad, "You are an intelligent, handsome young man with a bright future, but as of this moment on you are now no more than a boy who may take one of my beloved daughters away from me. I won't count you as an enemy, but know that you will have to work hard in order to gain my trust. Good luck with that."

Just like that, Kyoya is left all alone by the bread again. His face felt unnaturally warm and he struggled to cool down. Why did he say that? What possessed him to-why did he say all of that? It's not true… it can't be. Ranka is merely a romantic, much like Tamaki. I most certainly do NOT have feelings for Jin Fujioka. And besides, even if I did, I wouldn't even have the time or patience to really think about it. No! No, stop thinking about that! I don't-

"Kyoya?" The ravenet experienced a full-bodied jolt at the sound of Jin saying his name. Clearing his throat and hoping that his face wasn't an absurd red color, he faced the girl marching up to him.

"You too? Did the entire host club follow us here?"

"We - ahem - we were invited by your father. There wasn't much opposition."

Jin rolls her eyes, but there's the beginnings of a smile on her face, "Well, as long as you're here, you might as well help me with the shopping. Tamaki asked for a stew pot for lunch, so I'm heading towards the deli. Let's go, Glasses." She held out a hand, clearly for him to take. Kyoya stares at it, Ranka's speech still echoing around his head as he slowly reached out.

Because Jin cares for you, too-they are slowing beginning to frighten you-if it will ever be more-Jin cares for you, too-never, ever forgive-Mori-senpai? Brotherly-Jin cares for you-take my beloved daughter-Jin cares for-Jin cares-Jin cares-Jin cares-Jin...

His palm settled snugly against hers and she lead him away, "Sorry if this makes you uncomfortable, but knowing this store it's going to get pretty crowded in here soon. I don't want to lose you in here since you don't know where you're going."

"...It's alright. It doesn't bother me." And the truth was, it didn't. What bothered him was how he could almost feel Ranka's eyes burning into his head for the rest of the shopping trip and throughout lunch. Even when Kyoya gently pushed the bunny back into Jin's lap again and again while it tried to crawl into his, he could feel the parental rage being aimed at him.

And yet, when Ranka would turn away to give Tamaki the same treatment and Kyoya could relax, he continued keeping his eyes on Jin. The way she smiled up at him and happily carried a conversation over the strangest topics. She stole various pieces of meat from his plate, claiming the pot was too far away, and laughed every time the bunny tried to swap laps. Then she's look out across the table and the smile would be replaced by a content look and hum. Her left hand would gently stroke the rabbit's ears and she'd chew almost thoughtfully. She'd let Kyoya take the lead in the conversation and listen through a full topic without a single word.

Kyoya had never felt more confused or off balanced around another person before, and yet she was still constant and a complete pleasure to be around. He found himself smiling and laughing throughout the meal, finally consenting to have his lap be occupied as Jin asked for his opinion on Solar Energy.

Feelings? Maybe.

 

Chapter Text

 

"Jin-chan? Can I hold Mimi?" Without even a sideways glance, Jin plucked one of the uncooked carrots piled by her plate and tossed it into Honey's lap. The white fuzzball currently residing comfortably in Kyoya's crossed legs took off like a shot, launching himself at Honey to scarf down his treat. Unfortunately…

"Oof!"

"Ah... oops? Sorry, Kyoya…"

Ignoring the twin's poorly hidden snickers, the ravenet slowly unfurled himself from a bent over position, "It's alright, Jin. I know you didn't..." He trailed off into a steady glare once he realized the twins weren't the only ones laughing.

"I'm really sorry, Kyoya, I just-"

"Yes, ha ha, it's hilarious. I'm glad my pain is funny to you."

"Oh, don't be like that, you killjoy! You have to admit it's kind of funny!"

"Oddly enough, no , I do not."

Jin just looked away, smiling, shoulders bouncing with muffled laughter. She watched as Honey stroked Mimi's ears, cooing softly at the small white rabbit still chowing down on the orange veggie. Kuu, her escape partner, was contently curled up around Mori's neck like a small (living) grey scarf. And Sora was in his open cage, preening. Despite how their multiple attempts to come live with Jin will probably end up getting her in trouble one day, she couldn't be upset with them. The animals were too cute for their own good. And oddly intelligent.

Knock knock knock

"I'll get it." Before Ranka or Haruhi could argue, Jin was walking towards the front door. Sora, noticing new movement from his favorite person, fluttered back out of his cage and rested on her shoulder. She hummed and stroked his head before pulling the door open. A man wearing a delivery uniform bowed quickly from the other side.

"Hello, is this the Fujioka residence?"

"Yes it is, may I help you?"

The man held out a brown package, "I am delivering a book for a Ms. Jin Fujioka."

Jin quickly opened the door further, reaching for the parcel, "That would be me! Do I need to sign anything?"

"No, that is not necessary. I-"

"Jin-chan! Catch him!"

Jin and the man looked back into the apartment just as they felt something small and furry scuttle over their feet. The brunette's heart froze as she turned back around to see Kuu's tail disappear around the corner.

"Kuu! No! Bad ferret! Get back here!"

The brunette slammed the brown package on the counter space and ran out the door, quickly followed by the others. They raced around the corner of the complex and down the stairs, Kuu staying a good twenty meters ahead of the group. Mori and Jin quickly took the front of the pack, taking two steps at a time all the way down to the concrete. But by then the small animal was gone.

Haruhi went up to her sister, white sandals in her hand, "Nēchan? Your shoes. You forgot-"

"Did you see where he went, Haru? I think he went into the bushes but what if he runs into the road-"

"Nēchan, put on your shoes."

"We need to go get ferret food and try to lure him out! Have you seen the stray cat around today? Oh no, what if-"

"Nēchan, breathe!"

Jin sucked in a deep breath before doubling over, suddenly out of air. Sora was launched off and chirped shrilly, but quickly relocated to Tamaki's shoulder. He then went back to preening, keeping one beady eye locked onto Jin's bent form. She gasped for a few more moments before straightening up, "I'm good. I'm good…"

"Put on your shoes then. We'll find him, but only if you don't panic." Jin nodded mutely and took the sandals as Haruhi faced the others, "Teams of two, everyone. Dad, see if any of our neighbors saw Kuu. They might've spotted him out their windows if they checked out our shouting. Since we'll have four groups, we'll have four locations; both halves of the road and both sides of the complex. Let's find a ferret, boys!"

Ranka nodded and turned back towards the apartments. The twins and the cousins took off towards the road, fanning out to maximize the search area. However, curious by nature, the redheads peeked over their shoulders to see if their boss had somehow stolen Haruhi from Jin. First of all, they figured the girls' reactions would be hilarious as well as Tamaki's frantic and nonsense based explanation, but secretly they were hoping for more material to taunt Kyoya with. Who knew having Haruhi have a sister would be the key to getting under Kyoya's skin?

They weren't completely disappointed, as Tamaki had reached for Haruhi while she reached for her sister, as expected. But, weirdly, Kyoya had reached for Jin instead of Tamaki to pull him away from the opportunity to embarrass himself, and Jin had taken his hand instead of Haruhi's. But, then again, Jin looked like she was about to faint at any given time, so she might not even know she was holding anyone's hand. Still, the remaining three seemed surprised by the turn of events, even as Tamaki grinned and hauled Haruhi away to the left side of the building, her complaints trailing after him the whole way and Sora tweeting in agreement. Once those two were gone, Kyoya released Jin's hand and gestured towards the remaining search area. Jin blinked and nodded, following after her search partner.

Hikaru raised an eyebrow at Kaoru, but his brother only shrugged, "Kyoya-senpai has to get sick of the Boss every once in awhile. He's probably thrilled he can use another friend as an excuse to take a break from him."

"Just as long as the Boss doesn't catch on, that's fine by me."

"Agreed. Heeeere ferret, ferret, ferret~ "

* 5 minutes later *

"Kuu? Kuu, where are you, sweetheart? Come on out, please?"

If it were anyone else (read: Tamaki), Kyoya might've made a passing comment that they were looking for a ferret, so attempting to reason with it was pointless and perhaps they should try something like food to lure it out. However, it was Jin, and she looked to be on the verge of tears, so he kept his mouth shut. Still, as previously stated it looked like she was about to cry, and he felt as though he should say something . She was his friend, after all.

"I doubt he'll go far. He's very attached to you, so he'll come back eventually."

"We don't know that!" Jin suddenly stiffened, her hands still buried in the shrubs as her breathing grew heavier. As he had a sister of his own, Kyoya noticed the warning signs of a tear-fest approaching and felt a seed of panic take root.

"Jin? Don't cry, please? We'll find him, I promise, just don't cry. If your father or sister comes along and sees you crying with me, I may not live long enough for you to explain I'm not the cause of your tears!"

The brunette choked out a small laugh and palmed at her eyes, "I'm sorry. I just… I'm in charge of the animals when they sneak into my home. It's my fault Kuu was here in the first place, and if I hadn't opened the door all the way when my book was delivered… it's really all my fault he's out here. And if he gets hurt or lost or-" The rest of her sentence trailed away, a tear trickling down her face. "I-It's all my f-fault..."

Kyoya was at a loss. He'd comforted his fair share of girls in the past; guests who were accidentally offended or were stressed about something and vented about it to their host, but the words he recycled for those speeches sounded hollow when he imagined saying them to Jin. Is this what caring for someone does to a person? If so, Kyoya wasn't sure if he liked the feeling.

"K-Kyoya?" Well, I might as well be honest.

"I'm sorry, Jin, but I don't know what to say to comfort you."

The girl had another hiccup-like laugh and gave him a watery smile, "I know that, Glasses, 'm not stupid. And, 'm sorry to make you uncomfortable like this, 'n… I know you're not big on physical contact but…" her lower lip trembled as she raised her arms up a little. The gesture was so meek and cute and sad Kyoya didn't hesitate to wrap the girl up in his arms.

The hug felt sort of... strange. Or, more accurately, it wasn't like Tamaki's hugs. He didn't feel like his ribs were being crushed as Jin's arms came up to squeeze him back, and the warmth that grew from their shared body heat was oddly comforting. The girl buried her face in his shoulder, and even as he felt a few wet spots forming on the fabric, he didn't comment.

For a few moments, the two stand there quietly, Kyoya rubbing calming circles on her back like Fuyumi used to do for him. Jin's breathing eventually evened out and she turned her head, forehead now resting in the crook of Kyoya's neck. Having a feeling she was waiting for a little more reassurance, the boy took a leap of faith and squeezed her a little tighter.

"You don't have to worry about a thing, Jin. The rest of the club won't rest until we find him. It's not your fault, no one is blaming you for this, and Kuu will be back in the safety of his cage in no time. You'll see."

He felt the girl shift in his arms and loosened his grip. Sure enough, she pulled away just enough to lift her head and face him. Thankfully, her lips were upturned in a smile, but Kyoya found himself soon distracted by the feel of little warm puffs of air against his chin.

"Thanks, Kyoya… And by the way? You give really good hugs."

Kyoya's vision narrowed, focusing in on the face that was far too close to his. Jin stared back with that small sad smile of hers, eyelashes dark with the remains of her silent tears. There was the faint sound of something heavy pounding on the ground nearby in a fast rhythm, and it took him a moment to realize he was hearing his heart beating wildly in his chest. Kyoya didn't know what to do, which unnerved him more than anything else.

After all, he was the 'cool' type. Kyoya didn't get shaken up, by anyone or anything. Everything always played out like he imagined it, people reacted like he expected them to, and he most certainly didn't blush around girls! And yet, that's exactly what was happening now, as he was pressed up against Jin Fujioka along the side of her apartment complex in search of a ferret only a mere half hour or so after her father had warned him away.

A million and one movie scenarios flashed before his eyes where the lead roles were placed in this exact same position and all that was missing was the rain and oh god isn't this the part where they lean in an-

"We got him!"

The twins shout seemed to have activated some sort of restart button in the two 2nd years. They jumped apart instantly before racing to the front of the complex, following the twin's continued shouts of victory. And sure enough, the two red heads were parading around the concrete with a long fuzzy grey creature in Hikaru's hands. Kuu himself didn't appear too upset about being caught. It was more like he was saying, 'Yeah, you got me. What do you want, a medal?'

Jin let out a sob of relief before gently accepting the animal from Hikaru, hugging him gently against her chest. The ferret nuzzled her t-shirt in an apologetic sort of way as she mockingly berated him for "giving her a heart attack". Once the others arrived the group made their way back up to the Fujioka residence. As they did so, the boys were starting to get the feeling they were overstaying their welcome and began saying their goodbyes once Kuu was back in his cage.

But, of course…

"So... d o we get a reward for catching Kuu?"

"Yeah? A medal of honor would be appreciated, you know?"

Tamaki scowled at the twins, looking ready to start berating them for asking more of their hosts while on their doorstep, but Jin merely smiled and laughed, "You know what? Sure." The girl walked over to the two red heads and kissed their cheeks, one after the other. "For being my heroes~"

Hikaru face reddened while his younger brother started stuttering out his thanks, also growing red. Most of the others started laughing at their reactions, Jin ruffling the boy's hair before steering them out, a few final goodbyes thrown across the threshold before the door to 208 finally shut between them. The six boys stood still on the doorstep for a few moments, not really wanting to leave just yet. They'd had fun today...

Kyoya was the first to turn and walk away, quickly followed by the others as they recounted their opinions on the day out. Unanimously, they declared the day a success and started making "plans" for next time. They made it all the way to the car before Hikaru reached up to rub at his cheek, the one Jin had kissed.

"Hey, Kaoru?"

"Yeah?"

"Does your 'reward' feel a little sticky?"

"Uh..." the other twin swiped at his face, "A little, I guess?"

"I didn't think Jin was wearing lipstick?"

"Chapstick?"

"Are you two really going to complain about Jin thanking you?"

Tamaki's question was answered with devilish smiles, "We weren't planning too..."

"But it did seem like a good opportunity to rub the kisses into Kyoya's face."

The three smirked and looked over to see how flustered the vice president would be, funny even when he attempted to be scary, only to watch as the limo suddenly took off. They blinked once. Twice. Then started running after it.

"HEY! COME BACK HERE!"

"WE DIDN'T REALLY MEAN IT! DON'T LEAVE US!"

"KYOOOOOOYAAAAAAAAA!"

 

Chapter Text

 

"Hey, Tamaki? Could you come back here for a hot second?"

At the sound of his name, the blond host king came running to the changing room, "Yes, Jin? Is there something wrong with your cosplay?"

"Well... I wouldn't exactly call it something wrong , but," Jin Fujioka pushed aside the curtain she'd been changing behind, "Can I request for Kyoya to no longer be allowed to order my cosplay without adult supervision?" There was a brief pause during which Tamaki stared in disbelief at his classmate's outfit before he was running full speed out into the music room, screaming for his vice president. As his angry shouting echoed through the changing rooms, Jin turned back towards the mirror and cocked her head at the cop cosplay that had been assigned to her.

It wasn't bad , per-say. Just… unexpected. Like, if you knew Jin and you knew what sort of clothes she normally wore, you'd have to do a double-take at her outfit. This situation was actually quite similar to when the twins had given her that black bikini to wear to the beach. It looked good… but what had been the incentive?

"Nēchan? Tamaki is screaming at Kyoya out here. Everything alright? Are you decent?"

Jin tucked the remaining sliver of a cherry jolly rancher to the side of her mouth and mumbled out, "You can come on in, Haru."

Creak

At the sound of the door being pushed open again, Jin turned around and spread her hands, "Well?"

Haruhi tilted her head, moving her eyes up and down the "cop" outfit. Working from the bottom up, she noted that Jin had slipped her feet into some black leather boots that went up to her mid-calf. From the lip of her boots to the bottom of her black skirt, which started around her mid-thigh, you could see the fishnet stockings that clung tightly to her legs.

The top was a deep blue button down, the buttons stopping right between her breasts cutting the shirt into a deep 'V'. Thankfully there was a little white triangle of fabric that covered up most of her cleavage, but her collarbone was very much visible. And, like icing on a cake, there was a matching blue police cap perched atop of her hair, which now hung in ringlets to the tops of her shoulders. She looked really pretty, but on the other hand-

"Very dominatrix of you, Nēchan."

Jin laughed, reaching up to fiddle with the lip of her hat, "Yeah, I was thinking the same thing! I wonder if there's a riding crop hidden somewhere in the box this came in?"

"Let's not find out!" The two sisters giggled with each other for a while before Haruhi turned back around, "Come on out when you finish, Nēchan! Kyoya-senpai wants to have everything set up a half hour early. That is, if he's still alive once Tamaki-senpai's finished with him."

"Got it!"

Jin turned back to the mirror and pulled experimentally at the white fabric. Nope, sewn in with the rest of the shirt. The brunette abandoned that project and moved up to her hair. It was cute, sure, but the way the hat was sitting on top of her head made her feel like it was going to fall off any moment. Sighing, Jin pushes it back a little, entertaining the idea of bobby-pinning it.

Honestly, what was Kyoya thinking when he ordered this?

The girl stopped fiddling with the hat.

Kyoya.

She watched as her face slowly morphed into a pink-ish color in the mirror and turned away, feeling even more embarrassed now that she knew she actually blushed at the thought of the vice-president. This wasn't exactly what she'd had in mind when she said she wanted to be closer to her classmate. And while that may be the case, she was finding it harder and harder to deny the fact that she really really liked the Ootori boy.

First of all, he was a big softie underneath his cold exterior, and Jin enjoyed being able to pull that part out of him. Sure, she didn't want to change Kyoya's personality, but she did like the privileged feeling of seeing beneath the surface. The boy was interesting, smart, and Jin enjoyed being around him. It also made her feel warm inside when he showed interest in her hobbies and achievements, like what she was good at was worth something to him.

And, if she was being fully honest, Kyoya was eye candy. Sure, the entire host club was attractive, it was one of the requirements for being a host after all, but there was something about the ravenet that made Jin's knees go weak. Really, how is it possible for a person to have a voice that makes history lessons sound dead sexy?

Jin liked to think that she hid her attraction well beneath the teasing tones and eye rolls, but there were still times she knew she had almost slipped up. Just this weekend, for example, she not only initiated unnecessary hand holding with her crush in a very public place, but she'd wrung a hug out from him and almost kissed him! Thank goodness the twins had found Kuu when they did! Jin almost didn't go to school the next day out of embarrassment and worry that Kyoya had somehow realized what she had been thinking about doing.

Thankfully it hadn't come to that, and the two of them had only grown closer since last Sunday. Since they went over the club's financials together every day during the lunch period, they had ample time to chit-chat with each other and work in close quarters. Kyoya hadn't even playfully pushed her away when she rested her chin on his shoulder just this afternoon.

Shaking herself out of her memories, Jin lifted a hand to her warm cheek and looked back into the mirror. Her pink face was now a deep red, like all the blood in her body had migrated upwards. Worried for a moment that Haru would come back in and start asking questions (that she wasn't quite ready to answer just yet) Jin frantically threw her mind out to different topics. It took her a few moments to finally settle on the lyrics for P!NK's new song, 'Just like Fire'.

By the time the first chorus was ringing through her head, Jin's face had returned to an acceptable rosy hue.

Deciding her outfit wasn't going to become any more comfortable by staying shut up in the changing room, Jin bit the bullet and walked out into the music room. To say the scene waiting for her was surprising would be an understatement. The host club was staring at a little blond girl who was clinging to Tamaki, squealing about him being her big brother while the boy denied any relationship to the little cutie.

"You know, the two of you do look alike! Especially with your blond hair!"

"Yeah, but the boss's eyes are a more purple color-"

"-while this little girl's eyes are just blue."

Jin blinked as a fragment of a memory resurfaced in her mind. Of a darkened house and equally dark bedrooms that hid two pairs of the brightest blue eyes Jin had ever seen in her life. And of a cute little blond girl who's name was-

"Kirimi-chan?" The large group turned at once, but didn't have a chance to comment on their friend's police outfit before the little blond girl was gasping and launching herself across the room and into Jin's arms.

"Nēchan! You're here with Niichan! I knew you'd keep your promise! I've missed you so much, Nēchan! So, so, so much!"

Jin's face broke out into a grin and she squeezed the small girl tightly, "I've missed you too, Kirimi-chan! Oh, you've gotten so big since I saw you last year!"

The host club had finally broken out of their shock and hurried over to the two girls. Haruhi looked at Kirimi with interest, attempting to place her with a memory, "Wait… Nēchan, is this the 'Kirimi' you used to babysit that you told me about? The one from that really rich family who found out about you at your recital and hired you because their entire staff was sick with the flu?"

"Yeah… what are the odds, huh?" Jin looks down at the girl she was cuddling, smiling widely at her cute little face and big blue puppy-dog eyes. "What are you doing at the high school, little cinnamon bun?"

"I was looking for my Niichan! Are you the one running the reverse harem, Nēchan?"

The room went silent again. Jins' face had frozen with her smile still in place, but it looked fairly forced now.

" What? "

"It's your reverse harem, right? These boys are your love slaves!"

Ever so slowly, Jin set the girl down on her own two feet, turned around, and walked over to the corner of the room. From there, she curled up into a little ball and began rocking back and forth, mumbling to herself in a language that sounded vaguely Italian.

"Is Jin-senpai going to be okay?"

"Yeah...she's acting like the Boss-" The doors creaked, making the group rotate themselves yet again to see someone new entering the room. This time it was a guy with extremely bright blond hair and crystal blue eyes.

"Kirimi? There you are!"

Noticing the little girl's fearful way of looking at the newcomer, the twins slid in between the line of sight of her and the newcomer.

"Uh, excuse us-"

"But who are you?"

Unnoticed by everyone else, Jin chose that moment to lift her head up out of her arms.

I know that voice…

She looked around just as a pair of tall, dark clothed staff-looking adults walked in behind the strange boy and quickly shoved him in a black wig and full body cloak. By the time they were done, Umehito Nekozawa was standing before them, creepy smile and all. Most of the club members felt their mouths pop open in shock.

"Ume-kun? Is that really you?"

Blue eyes peeked out from underneath the dark hood, mouth set in a confused tilt. "Jin...chan?"

"That would be me!" Jin ran over to Nekozawa and hugged the dark boy. He squeezed her tightly in return, propping his chin on her shoulder showing off a grin to the boys of the host club. Tamaki felt like his brain had been tossed in a washing machine set on 'high', and most of his friends would have agreed with him. All except for Kyoya, who felt more like his torso was being tightly compressed. Watching Jin hug Nekozawa-senpai like that… he didn't like it.

Finally, Jin pulled away and smiled at the three people in front of her, "It's good to see you, Ume-kun. And now that our pleasantries are out of the way, WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR CORRUPTING MY PRECIOUS CINNAMON BUN!?" Jin's voice tripled in volume and nearly shook the windows out of place. Haruhi and the members of the Nekozawa household were the only ones who didn't flinch or fling themselves to the ground and cover their heads.

"Miss Fujioka, I'd like to say on behalf of the Nekozawa family that we are glad to see you have returned from America safe and sound."

"And we are incredibly grateful that you located our young mistress before she strayed into harm's way."

"Thank you, Kuretake-san, Kadomatsu-san. I'm glad to see the both of you again, and must apologize for not announcing my arrival sooner. But I shall ask again, WHO TAUGHT KIRIMI THOSE WORDS?"

The maid pursed her lips, "Once you left for America, we didn't have anyone to paint, or sing, or read to Mistress Kirimi, so we began reading her stories with princely characters like her brother, in order to bring the two siblings together."

"But I was already working on that! I had a plan! What happened to that? "

"We had no means of continuing that plan once you left! All we could do was find as many princely characters as we could, and soon all we had left were Shoujo manga!" Jin pales and face-palms.

Tamaki noticed she was moving her lips silently against her palm and called up to Haruhi, whom he was cowering behind, "Haruhi? What is your sister doing?"

"Counting to ten. To collect her thoughts and calm down."

They watched as her lips finally shaped the word 'ten' before her head fell backwards, "Please tell me you've been practicing at least?"

Umehito nodded with utmost sincerity, "Of course, Jin-chan. Every day."

Kuretake puffed her chest out a bit and smiled at the boy, "Master Umehito has become quite talented. Master Nekozawa has considered paying you for all those lessons you offered to his son last year."

"That won't be necessary, but it's a good thing you've kept going Ume-kun. I'm proud of you."

The butler, Kadomatsu, moved again, walking towards Kirimi, "While catching up with you is always a delight, Miss Fujioka, I'm afraid it is time for Mistress Kirimi to be taken back home where she belongs."

"No!" The small girl ducked around the man's outstretched arms and wrapped herself tightly around Jin's right leg, "I wanna stay with Nēchan and Niichan! Nēchan don't let them take meeeeeee!"

The brunette sighed, "Maybe Kirimi could stick around for a little while longer? I'll look after her until she's ready to be sent home, if that's alright with you? I won't charge."

The butler nodded, "Very well, if Mistress Kirimi wishes to remain here, then she may. Master Umehito will be able to contact us when she is ready to return home."

The girl nodded and bent down to scoop up the cheering girl who waved and thanked her servants as they left the room. The doors shut and Nekozawa cleared his throat, "Kirimi? As much as I am happy to see Jin returned to us, you cannot ask her to-"

Unfortunately, at that moment Kirimi suddenly decided that her older brother's appearance was scary and started crying, "N-Nēchan! N-Niichan! S-save me from the scary monster!" Umehito's expression dropped, his free hand coming up to clutch the fabric above his heart as the rest of the club members slowly came to understand the stakes between the siblings. The twins offered to change his outfit, to make it less 'scary', but were shot down by both Umehito and Jin. Honey tried to darken the room a little, which only made Kirimi cry harder.

"Nēchan? What's going on with these two? They're such polar opposites…"

"Yeah," Jin bounced the small girl in her arms, "It gets a little sad at times. I spent a majority of the year I babysat Kirimi trying to help get these two into a situation where they could actually meet each other, but nothing panned out. Kirimi-chan here is afraid of the dark, and Ume-kun can't be in brightly lit places without hiding under that garb or being subjected to pain, so it's been difficult. I tried to help out, came up with a plan and everything, but it would see as though that's been screwed royally."

"What plan?"

"Yeah, Jin-senpai. Maybe you could still use it?"

"Oh, well, not only was I Kirimi-chan's babysitter, I also-"

"Nēchan, can you please sing for me? I wanna hear you sing again! Those recordings you gave me were so pretty but I wanna hear you sing now! Pwease, Nēchan? Niichan, tell her she has to sing again! Nēchan has such a pretty voice! Could you two sing together for me?"

Umehito turned around, shoulders trembling, and Jin reached out to touch his shoulder, "Ume-kun? Are you-"

"I'm fine, Jin-chan. I just… Kirimi deserves to have a princely big brother like Suoh-san. As long as she's happy, right? I… I should go."

Now it was Jin's turn to purse her lips. She passed the small child off to Tamaki, caught up to Umehito as he walked dejectedly to the doors, and smacked him upside the head. "Stop being a moron. You can't just decide one day to not be related to Kirimi, it doesn't work like that. You don't get to pick and choose who you're related to, you just have to make do with what you have. I'm not giving up on you, idiot, so stop moping."

The dark-robed boy stared at his friend for a heartbeat before turning away again, "Maybe you should give up… after all, there's no guarantee that your plan will even work."

"You should listen to Jin, Senpai." Tamaki set Kirimi on the floor and lifted his chin definantly, "After all, once Kirimi-chan stepped foot into this room she became a guest of the Host Club, and it's our job to make every guests happy! Kirimi-chan wants her real big brother, and we will not rest until that has been achieved!"

Haruhi and Jin looked at each other from across the room.

I have a feeling this isn't going to end well for someone.

Patience… maybe Tamaki isn't going down the road we think he is. Benefit of the doubt, right?

"Therefore, Operation: Nekozawa-Senpai's-Character-Reform is underway!"

Or not.

"Senpai… please don't tell me you're going to ask her. "

"Tamaki, I'm warning you-"

Too late. Renge slowly spiraled up from the floor, cackling as per usual. She grinned down at the group watching her, looking cute and innocent to the two siblings who didn't know any better. Nekozawa was even staring at the French girl with something similar to hope.

Jin sighed and dropped her chin down into her chest, "This is going to be a long day…"


* Twenty minutes later *

"I feel really bad for him, you know?" Haruhi winced as Renge smacked Nekozawa around for using another occult term. The poor boy was trembling on the tile floor while he was screamed at. It was hard to imagine that it was Nekozawa-senpai cowering in front of them, especially with his black robe and wig stowed away in a garbage bag for later disposal. The twins closed their eyes at the following hit across Nekozawa's cheek.

"Yeah… Renge can be a little rough with her character reformation program."

"Let's just hope this blows over quickly, for all our sakes."

"At least Jin-senpai doesn't have to watch her friend get beat upon."

Honey looked over from his perch on Mori's shoulders, hand covered in chalk dust, "Hey, where is Jin-chan? I thought she wanted to be here and support Nekozawa? And wasn't Kyo-chan in here a moment ago?"

"I'm right here." Kyoya closed the doors behind him as he re-entered the science room, "Jin, on the other hand, I managed to convince to stay behind with Kirimi in the club room and entertain her. After all, she does need to be watched while we condition her brother, and Jin is the best babysitter candidate. I just finished checking up on the two of them. Jin is truly a phenomenal sitter."

Haruhi was about to agree when a pair of fingers poked at her back. Hikaru's voice hissed into her right ear, " I bet that's not the real reason. Kyoya-senpai probably just doesn't want Jin-senpai and Nekozawa-senpai to contact each other any more than necessary. "

Kaoru leaned down on her other side, " He does seem like the jealous type, doesn't he? "

The brunette groaned and swatted at the twins, " Would you two cut it out? That joke is really getting old and if you're not careful you're going to start to believe it yourselves. Kyoya-senpai and Nēchan are becoming really good friends, and I think it's a good thing for the both of them so stop trying to ruin it! "

Lifting their hands in a placating gesture, the boys backed away, "Fine, whatever you say."

"We were just having a bit of fun, Haruhi."

"We'll stop if you really want us to."

She nodded once, the three of them forgetting the conversation almost immediately as they went back to "Renge Watching". None of them noticed how Kyoya's grip on his black journal had tightened until the topic had changed. Kyoya Ootori does not get jealous of anyone … visibly.

The seven club members watched as Renge continued to tear poor Nekozawa and his complaints to pieces, wincing whenever he was smacked around. Tamaki looked over at Haruhi, wondering if watching all of this violence was good for her or if he should send her out into the hallway. Instead, he found her watching the scene almost… sadly.

"Haruhi? Are you alright? This isn't too much for you, is it?"

"Huh? Oh, yeah, I'm fine Senpai. I guess I just never really fully appreciated how lucky I got with Nēchan. Just looking at Nekozawa-senpai and Kirimi-chan really makes me think. Nēchan and I could've easily turned out just like them; we are different enough. This whole experience is making me glad that we didn't. I just want to help these two."

The blond regarded her for a moment. As an only child, he'd never experienced having any sort of sibling relationship. At first, he'd been upset by the fact he didn't have someone to always look up to or to have look up to him, but when he met Kyoya and his family some of his views had switched. Then came the twins. Then the Fujioka's. And now the Nekozawa's. Why were sibling relationships always so different? Did it depend on the whole family or only the children? What caused adoration in one pair and hatred in another?

Did he still wish that he had a sibling? The jury was out.

"Please! Please, just ten minutes! Just one break with Jin-chan, please!"

Renge paused mid-smackdown, "Wait… Jin-senpai? What do you want with her?"

"She's my friend! When she first began babysitting Kirimi, we met up in the hallway and started talking to each other! She's been trying to help me for over a year, but it was thanks to my cowardice that it hasn't been fixed yet!"

"Your... cowardice?"

The blond stared up at the hosts, "Jin-chan was more than my friend… she was my music teacher. She heard me chanting while in the middle of an occult prayer and said I had a great voice and would teach me what she knew if I wanted. I decided to accept. She taught me guitar, and eventually taught me one song to eventually sing for Kirimi. She recorded my playing and gave it to Kirimi, telling her it was her brother and that one day I'd play for her in person. We were supposed to perform for Kirimi right before Jin-chan left for America… but I was afraid of being rejected and having to deal with that by myself while my only friend was thousands of miles away! Forgive my fear of rejection, but I don't know if I could've handled a failure like that all by myself."

Renge tilted her head, " So she was using the musical character reform. Risky… but can be effective if done correctly. Wow, I never would've attempted something like that, not even if I had a year like she did. Jin-senpai deserves more credit. You know what? I agree with her. I'll go fetch Jin-senpai and a guitar for you, and you can play for Kirimi-chan right now! Let's see if this works."

"WhAT?" Before Umehito could argue, Renge was out the door.

Haruhi groaned, "I should probably follow her. I don't think Renge will be able to entertain Kirimi properly until Nekozawa-senpai has had time to practice."

"You sound upset, Haruhi. Do you not like children?"

The brunette shrugged, "I like them plenty, but Nēchan has always been so much better at babysitting than me. She's taught me a few of the finer points, but I have a bad feeling Kirimi's version of entertainment and mine are going to be impossibly different." As she walked out of the room, still grumbling under her breath, Umehito had moved up to sit on a stool, bending his head in defeat.

"Neko-chan? What's wrong?"

"This is pointless. I can't do it. I can't perform for Kirimi..."

"Sure you can, Nekozawa-senpai! Kirimi-chan won't even be in here while you practice the first few times! I'm sure a little more practicing will put your skills back into tip-top shape!"

"NO! You don't understand!" The other blond jumped to his feet and began pacing, "I've completely memorized that song and my practice song and play my guitar daily , but I can't play for Kirimi! I've attempted to pretend I was playing for her and could never do it! I mess up and panic each and every time! I can't play for Kirimi! Not even in my imagination!"

"Well, that's just a load of bull." Jin suddenly appeared leaning up against the open door, silhouetted by the hallway lights, "You've done it before, and you can do it again. When I recorded you that one time you knew Kirimi would be hearing it later, and yet you played perfectly. And no one is leaving this school building before you play for your baby sister."

Umehito swallowed harshly as she pulled a very nice looking acoustic guitar out from behind her back, but held his hands out for it anyways. The boy ran his long, thin fingers over the polished wood before strumming out a C major chord. The notes echoed beautifully in the darkened room, lingering for a moment before dispersing into a memory.

"How long did Renge give us?"

"10 minutes. Then she, Haru, and Kirimi-chan are coming in."

Umehito clutched at the instrument, "I'm not sure if I-"

"Hey… hey, hey…" Jin gently gripped his upper arm, sitting down on the stool beside him, "One minute at a time. Practice song first, right?"

The blond relaxed under her touch, fingers plucking out another note, "You'll sing, won't you, Jin-chan?"

"Have I ever not?"

Umehito smiled before reaching up to tune the guitar. He quickly went through each string methodically, and by the time half of their 10 minutes was up he was slowly strumming a plucky kind of tune.

Jin swayed to the beat, keeping her eyes trained on the guitarist.

" Baby, can't you see

I'm calling

A guy like you

Should wear a warning

It's dangerous

I'm fallin...' "

It was like all the air had been sucked out of the room. The host club had already known that Jin could sing (in English no less) but they'd never heard her voice all alone and not being covered up by the actual artist. Her singing was incredible, as was Nekozawa's playing.

" There's no escape

I can't wait

I need a hit

Baby, give me it

You're dangerous

I'm lovin' it...

Too high, can't come down

Losing my head, spinning 'round and 'round

Do you feel me now?"

The two performers looked to be growing more comfortable with each passing moment. Nekozawa was pulsing to the hits in the music. Jin's eyelids slid shut as the corners of her mouth curled up into a smile.

" With a taste of your lips, I'm on a ride

You're toxic and I'm slipping under

Taste of a poison paradise

I'm addicted to you

Don't you know that you're toxic?

And I love what you do

Don't you know that you're toxic?

It's getting late

To give you up

I took a sip

From my devil cup

Slowly...

It's taking over me...

Too high, can't come down

It's in the air, and it's all around

Can you feel me now?

With a taste of your lips, I'm on a ride

You're toxic, and I'm slipping under

Taste of a poison paradise

I'm addicted to you

Don't you know that you're toxic?

And I love what you do

Don't you know that you're toxic?

Intoxicate me now

With your lovin' now

I think I'm ready now

I think I'm ready now!

Intoxicate me now...

With your lovin' now...

I think I'm ready now…

Don't you know you're toxic? "

The final notes hung heavy in the air before Jin and Nekozawa relaxed. The girl lightly shoved her performance partner in the shoulder, non-verbally berating him for doubting himself.

"That... was... amazing." Tamaki applauded the duo softly, prompting the others to follow in his steed.

Jin smirked, "Wait until it's Ume-kun's turn... which isn't too far away anymore." She turned back to her friend, expression softening, "Are you ready?"

The occult worshiper sucked in a deep breath before nodding, "Even if Kirimi doesn't accept me... thank you for trying to help, Jin-chan."

"No problem. What are friends for?"

Creeeeeeeak.

The doors opened slowly, shining a thick band of yellow light inside the dark room. Three shadows interrupted the glow, the one in the center much shorter than the outer two. Kirimi looked left and right in the room before whimpering softly. Jin, noticing the impending meltdown, jumped down from her stool and raced towards the little girl.

"Shhhh... shhhh, it's okay, Kirimi-chan. I know it's dark, but I'm going to have to ask you to be very brave for us right now, okay? Are you ready to have your big brother play for you in person?" Her question got the desired answer she was looking for, thankfully. Kirimi quieted down and stared into the dark room again over Jin's shoulder, but this time curiosity and hope shined in her blue eyes.

Hoping that the sudden paleness of his face was hidden by the nonexistent lighting of the room, Umehito clutched his guitar tightly before re-positioning the instrument in his lap.

The room tapered off into expectant silence as he plucked out a few low notes. Swallowing, he inhaled before letting the words flow out.

" Edelweiss…

Edelweiss...

Every morning you greet... me...

Small and white...

Clean and bright...

You look happy to meet... me...

Blossom of snow may you bloom and grow...

Bloom and grow forever...

Edelweiss…

Edelweiss...

Bless my homeland forever… "

Jin slowly edged further into the room, Kirimi so absorbed in staring at Umehito that she didn't notice the darkness. It wasn't until the two girls were sitting down beside the blond boy that Kirimi turned to look at her old babysitter. The brunette smiled widely before adding in her own voice to Nekozawa's song.

" Edelweiss… (Edelweiss)

Edelweiss… (Edelweiss)

Every morning you greet... me...

Small and white… (Small and white)

Clean and bright… (Clean and bright)

You look happy to meet... me...

Blossom of snow may you bloom and grow...

Bloom and grow forever...

Edelweiss...

Edelweiss...

Bless my homeland forever... "

There was nothing but silence as Umehito strummed out the final chord.

Nothing.

Until...

" Niichan? "

Umehito gasped before grinning down at his sister.

"Niichan!"

The small blond girl jumped out of Jin's arms and into her brother's, the two hugging each other tightly. Their audience applauded, all smiles and cheers. Renge and Tamaki were, as expected, near tears and taking credit for the reunion. Haruhi and the twins finding time between their applause to correct them. And Honey-senpai and Mori-senpai just enjoying the cute scene.

Jin slid away from her stool to give the siblings some space, shaking her head from side to side, "I cannot believe that actually worked."

"You shouldn't be, you were his teacher." The brunette scoffed and swatted at Kyoya, who dodged the smack, "What do you expect to happen now?"

"Well, it's not going to be perfect, for sure, but at least now Ume-kun can explain to Kirimi-chan why he doesn't go out into the light. From then on, it'll be up to them."

"Sounds like those two have their work cut out for them. But I must say, I'm impressed with how well you handle children. Not many of us could have been able to convince Kirimi-chan to brave the dark like that. Your skills are fairly amazing."

"Not with all children." At the sound of Jin's voice dropping to a resentful tone, Kyoya couldn't help but be intrigued. If not also irritated with himself for somehow spoiling her celebration of a job well done.

"What do you mean by that?"

Jin's face screws up into a sour kind of look, "My dad called me a few minutes ago before Renge came to get me. My cousin, Eiko, is going to be down at our place for a week."

"Is that going to be a problem?"

"For me? Yes, it will. A big problem."

Chapter Text

 

"You ready for this, Nēchan?"

"Absolutely not."

Jin's foot tapped at the tile lining the train station, crossing her arms in an attempt to not appear too restless. Haruhi didn't feel the need to tell her sister that she was failing. She just sighed and watched the train times change on the call board. If nothing changed in the near future, Eiko Fujioka would be walking out onto the platform in the next two minutes. Haruhi sighed again, but for a different reason. Why was Eiko going to stay at their place for an entire week?

Oh, right, because Obasan and Ojisan are going to a festival up in Sapporo… and Obasan wouldn't let Eiko stay home all by herself.

Biting down a groan, Haruhi wondered if it was bad that she hoped Ojisan had convinced his wife otherwise and Nēchan was about to get a phone call from their father saying they could go home?

' The 2 pm train from Nagasaki to Tokyo will be arriving in less than one minute. Please stay behind the yellow line until all passengers have disembarked. '

Jin upper lip twitched with displeasure, "We could dump her at a hotel for a week."

"Nēchan, she's nine."

"I don't see your point."

The sound of the bullet train approaching took their attention away from each other. They watched with increasing distaste and nervousness as the train pulled into the station. It hissed to a stop just as Jin elbowed her sister.

"Last chance. If you turn and run I'll follow you and take all the blame."

Ding!

The doors to the train slid open and everyone on board piled out. Most were in three-piece suits and talking on their phones, but a few looked like everyday travelers. Including one black haired little girl pulling a bright pink suitcase behind her and sporting the most icy glare anyone had ever witnessed on a child's face. The girl stalked her way over to the Fujioka's, keeping her glare drilling through them. However, being only 4 feet tall, she didn't exactly strike fear into their hearts.

Eiko Fujioka didn't look very different from the last time the sisters had seen her. She still had glossy black hair that reached her middle back, parted straight along the top of her head as if it had been set by a ruler, and bangs that stopped just above her eyebrows. Through the angry slits of her eyelids, you could just barely see the dull grey/hazel color of her eyes, and her nose was so scrunched up it seem to turn up at the end even more than it actually did. Her thin lips were pressed even thinner until they were almost straight lines, making the light pink lip gloss she had applied an absolute waste.

But there were still a few traits here and there that detailed her relation to the girls in front of her. For example, when her eyes weren't squeezed in a squint they matched the same shape as her cousin's, and her face was a slightly chubbier copy of Haruhi's. She even had Jin's eyebrows.

Or... she would if she hadn't thrown a fit for half an hour until her mother agreed to get them "done" at the neighborhood salon a few years back.

For a long while, nothing was said. It was a stand-off in the middle of the crowded train station, with both sides refusing to back down. A few by-passers noticed the mounting tension and skirted around the three girls, wondering what could have possibly been said between them to promote such angry faces. It wasn't until the bullet train had been re-loaded with passengers and sped off that Haruhi attempted some sort of conversation.

"Hey, Eiko. You've grown."

"Yeah, that's something that happens to humans."

If Eiko had hoped that the ice in her voice would make her older cousin's react, they didn't. Jin's returning stare just grew harder.

"Oh… yes, I suppose so."

"I see you've cut your hair short."

"Oh, yeah. Funny story actually. Basically, some gum got stuck in it and I decided-"

"I don't care."

Silence wrapped itself back around the group, only more awkward now. As more people walked around them, even the ones who didn't actually notice the tension between them were steering clear, like the anger was physically driving other people away.

Haruhi glanced around the platform and noticed a security guard glancing their way, "Okay, look. None of us want to be here right now and we all know it. So how about we take one step at a time, starting with getting out before security arrives?"

Eiko nodded, but smirked darkly at Jin, "Looks like Haruhi is more mature than you, huh? So much for being the wonderful big sister."

The brunette's eyes flashed as she stepped even closer, " I'd watch my tone if I were you. You are very lucky I'm even here at all and didn't leave you alone to fend for yourself in the city. I have given you years of my patience, but now? " She let the threat hang in the air for a moment, eliciting a shiver down the small girl's spine. Eiko angrily looked away, finally breaking their staring contest.

Jin drilled her gaze into the side of her head for a moment longer, " Knaw on the scraps of my affection, cousin. That's all you're going to get. "

Then she turned around and marched towards the exit, leaving the others little to do but follow. Eiko was hissing indiscernible words under her breath and Haruhi watched her older sister's back. It was always strange and never fun to see this side of Jin, and it didn't help knowing that they would be in close quarters with Eiko for the next week.

Haruhi shuddered at the sudden mental pictures in her brain from that reminder. Hopefully she and her father would be able to keep the two apart from each other for a majority of the time.

"Aren't you going to tell me what fun happy times we're going to have later or do I have to wait until we see your dad to hear that?"

Jin's shoulders stiffened, so Haruhi answered, "Dad is working overtime tonight so he can come home earlier than usual for the rest of the week. Have you eaten?"

"Yes."

"Then… I guess we're just going to go home and get you settled in."

"I'm taking your room again?"

"Yeah. I've moved most of my stuff to Nēchan's bedroom already. I shouldn't need anything else."

"Fine."

"Um…right. Uh, after we do all that... is there anything you want to do first?"

The group arrived at the next platform, where they were going to board the train that could take them close to the Fujioka's apartment complex, and Eiko smirked.

"Ice skating."


"Here, Nēchan, I've got your skates." Jin smiled weakly and gave her a soft thank you. Handing the white ice skates to her sister, Haruhi sat down on her left and began pulling her own skates on over her fuzzy socks.

"Where's Eiko?"

"The Devil reincarnated? On the ice already. Probably carving the words 'I HATE JIN' into the sides of the rink with her fingernails." Jin pulled the laces as tightly as she could, worrying her lower lip between her teeth. A tell if Haruhi ever knew one.

"Nēchan, is there something else going on that you're not telling me?"

"Um… look, don't get mad or anything, but… I might've asked for a little… back-up?"

Haruhi tilted her head, "Back-up?"

"With Eiko going to be around all week and with the skating starting up already… I just needed a little extra moral support. So, I might have... made a call?"

"No... no, Nēchan, please don't tell me you called-"

"Haruhi! Jin! We're here!"

The brunette's jaw dropped at her sister as Jin raised a hand to the Ouran Host Club in greeting, "Hi, guys. Thanks for coming on such short notice."

"Jin-chan, you invited us to go ice skating! How could we say no?" Honey jumped into his friend's lap to squeeze her in a tight hug. Haruhi didn't even move when he turned and hugged her as well. The other five boys crowded around the girls on the bench, all smiles. Even Mori-senpai had excitement dancing in his eyes.

"We brought our own skates-"

"-if that's okay with this place."

Jin shrugged, "A lot of people bring their own stuff. I'm sure you're fine."

The host club nodded and sat down on the bench as well, pulling their own high-priced ice skates out of their equally high-priced bags and chatting amicably with each other. Jin felt her upper body flush with warmth as Kyoya quickly claimed the open seat to her right. The two exchanged smiles (one smaller than the other, though no less sincere) before turning back to pulling on their ice skates.

"Hey, Kyoya. How're you?"

"Very well. And you?"

"Good."

"Hm, that's good to hear. Now with that out of the way, why am I getting the feeling you didn't invite us here because you missed our presence?"

Jin ducked her head, "Sometimes I hate how well you read motives. Nice black skates by the way. Suits you."

"I'll take that as a compliment." Kyoya pulled the laces loose, "I purchased them on a trip to the United Kingdom during Christmas break a few years ago. The business partner we were meeting with invited my family to the ice rink at the Somerset House. It was quite lovely. You should visit it sometime."

"Only if you're paying, Glasses."

For a moment, Kyoya was knocked off balance by the almost blatant request for a date before he remembers his original question. "Perhaps I will if you tell me why you invited us out tonight."

Jin sighed and leaned back against the wall behind them, eyes sliding shut, "Remember how I told you about our cousin, Eiko?"

"Yes. Isn't she visiting you this week?"

A nod, "We picked her up from the train station about an hour ago. She insisted we come here."

"I see... but I still fail to understand why we are needed."

"You'll see."

"Nēchan? Are you ready?"

"Not really." Despite her obvious discomfort, Jin pushed herself up off the bench and immediately started wobbling. Haruhi darted forward and caught her older sister before she face planted the ground.

"I hate this."

"I know you do."

The girls began their slow shuffling to the ice rink doors, other teens and families passing them quickly this way and that. Jin continued leaning heavily on her baby sister the whole way. She wished she didn't have to, but Eiko could be watching from the windows for all she knew.

At least one good thing did come out of her painfully slow shuffling. By the time the Fujioka's made it to the doors, the rest of the host club had finished putting on their own ice skates and joined them. (Okay, only Jin saw it as a good thing, but that was probably obvious.)

"Jin-senpai, if you're this off balanced with your skates on carpet-"

"-are you sure you want to get on the ice?"

The tall girl huffed, "I don't have much of a choice, unfortunately. Eiko would throw a fit if I didn't."

Tamaki smiled at the brunette, "Jin, it always warms my heart when I see how far you are willing to go for your family. Your generosity is so-"

"Nice try, Tamaki, but that's not what this is about. Now, could someone help me into the rink besides Haru? I think I'm about to crush her."

Takashi shifted forwards and offered his left arm out. Jin shakily pushed herself away from her sister and wrapped her arms around Takashi instead. With probably more patience than a nun, the tall boy waited for his old friend to regain her pitiful balance against him before shuffling her through the doors.

The cold air hit them like a brick wall, sending the host club into shivers. Jin buried her nose into her black and yellow striped scarf before continuing to shift closer to the rink. Peeking out beneath her eyelashes, she saw a good handful of other skaters already in the rink. Some were fumbling just as badly as she was or zipping around the ice like it was second nature.

Two guesses as to which category Eiko fit into.

"Ouch!" The ravenette girl crashed against the wall before sliding to the ice. She had attempted to turn her skates and stop, but that hadn't exactly worked out. Cursing under her breath with words a nine year old probably shouldn't know, Eiko pulled herself shakily back to her feet. However, spying how miserable Jin looked at the moment, she smiled again.

"About time you got out here." She suddenly tilted her head, spying the boys surrounding her cousins. "Who are these guys?"

Jin did her best to straighten up, "They're all in the club Haru and I are a part of. Hikaru and Kaoru Hitachiin, Mitsukuni Haninozuka, Kyoya Ootori, Tamaki Suoh, and Takashi Morinozuka."

"Why are they here?"

The boys blinked at the harsh accusatory tone this little nine year old was using, like her entire year was now a pile of rubbish because she had been introduced to them. Jin could hardly contain her smile.

"Happy coincidence."

The girl sneered, "Don't let them trip me up, or I'll tell your dad you pushed me down."

"Honey, you don't need anyone's help to trip you up."

Eiko smacked her hand on the glass, hard, "Why don't you get out here, then, huh? Let's see who's the better skater!" And with that, she fumbled past the entrance, trying to pick up a controllable speed. Once she was nearing the first corner, the group let out a collective breath. That had been a surprisingly tense conversation with a nine year old.

"Nēchan, why do you rile her up like that? It doesn't help."

"It helps me. And if she didn't want me to talk back she shouldn't make it so easy! We might want to get on the ice before she inches her way back around, though."

The others cast wary eyes around before moving through the small opening to the rink and taking off. Haruhi attempted to wait around for Jin, but she was waved off. Shrugging, the short haired girl started skating, her blue dress skirt fluttering around the black leggings she had pulled on after they got home from picking Eiko up. As she went around the rink with ease, other skaters called out compliments on her Ravenclaw sweater and cute white hat, which she responded with a wave of her blue gloves and a smile. The twins and Tamaki were quick to follow after her; Haruhi was just too cute to resist!

Jin, however, was having a much harder time. After Takashi had pulled her onto the ice, she immediately latched her arms around his chest to avoid falling on her face. After a pretty rough start, and with one hand clutching tightly to Mori and Honey each, the two boys were now pulling her slowly around the rink. Kyoya created a sort of rhythm for himself, skating easily around the rink once before slowing down and taking Jin's hand for a moment to let the cousins skate around themselves.

And if Honey tended to dawdle, twirling around the rink and taking a much longer time than Kyoya would have? Well, he somehow couldn't find it in himself to care all that much.

All in all, the host club was actually enjoying themselves quite a lot on this impromptu day out together. The only thing that ruined the picture?

"Ha! That's the second time I've looped you!"

Jin tucked her chin back into her scarf, which Kyoya had now learned was a 'Hufflepuff' scarf she had gotten for her birthday last year, and mumbled, " It's not a race. " Eiko either couldn't hear her or wasn't listening, because she continued to laugh and drag herself further along the ice via the rim of the rink.

Kyoya frowned and opened his mouth, but Jin tightened her grip on his upper arm and shook her head. Once again, he didn't say anything, but he wished he could. A quick glance around the ice told him the same could be said by the rest of the club. After all, Eiko's voice sort of carried. Tamaki was watching the small child with a pinched mouth, obviously torn between his soft heart around girls and young children and the direct unpleasantness that came from close quarters with Eiko. The twins were grilling Haruhi with questions like 'Why can't we push her down again?'. Honey-senpai and Mori-senpai were out of his line of sight, but Kyoya was sure they looked displeased as well.

Eiko pulled herself a little more ahead of them, so Kyoya slowed himself and his friend to a stop along the edge. Jin didn't protest as she was shuffled through to the hockey bench and sat down. Her skates had been starting to push her fuzzy socks away from the hem of her skinny jeans, and she was happy to have the opportunity to fix them. Even if it meant being grilled by her crush.

"Would you mind explaining why we must entertain such an egotistical little brat?"

Jin sighed against her knees, "We can't leave her alone at our home because I might return to find all of my possessions burned to ash, and she refuses to go anywhere else. This just seemed like the least of many evils."

"Then maybe you could explain why all of her anger is being aimed at you? "

"You know what? The moment my patience with the world comes back, I will answer any question you have about my family that you can't Google, alright?"

Kyoya's head jerked back, face rippling with vaguely raw looking emotions. Shock and hurt to name a few. Jin sighed and rubbed at her face, the guilt already eating her from the inside out.

"I'm sorry, Kyoya… that came out meaner than I intended. But… Eiko is just sucking all of my patience out and this is only the beginning. I'm really sorry I'm such a jerk right now."

Kyoya wanted to be mad. Really. All he had wanted to do was help and understand her problem better and he'd nearly gotten his head bitten off. But one look at the brunette girl in the long sleeve Hogwarts shirt that was a size too big so it almost covered her hands, black winter hat pulled down to cover her reddening ears, and pitiful brown puppy-dog eyes… he couldn't pull up the emotion.

Instead, he reached out a hand and pulled the girl back to her feet, "Fine. But the moment your cousin isn't around, I am getting some answers from you."

Jin sighed and pressed her forehead to his shoulder, nodding against his green sweater, "Yeah… okay. That's fair."

Shortly after, the two stepped back out onto the ice, Jin grabbing Kyoya's hand so tightly in hers he could hardly feel his fingertips. Eiko was now almost at the opposite end of the rink, still fumbling along. She came to the entrance/exit for the rink and stopped. After a slight hesitation on her part, she stepped off the ice.

Haruhi noticed and slowed to a stop before she passed it. The two girls exchanged a few words before the brunette nodded her consent and Eiko shakily waddled back out into the lobby. Jin and Kyoya stopped shuffling forward and waiting for Haruhi to skate around to them. Jin saw the smile on her sister's face and loosened her grip on the boy beside her.

"Haru?"

"She's gone. She said she was tired and was taking the train back to our apartment whether we liked it or not. Dad should be home by now, so I said okay!"

Jin sighed, but there was a grin on her face. Pulling her hand free of Kyoya's, she turned her smile to him, "Thanks for putting up with me. And, uh, sorry about holding your hand so tight."

"What do you mean?"

He didn't receive a verbal answer. Instead, the brunette's brown eyes twinkled before she pushed off on her skates. With ease, she gained speed until she was cruising along with the other occupants of the rink. The girl weaved around her fellow skaters, laugh bouncing off the windows surrounding them all. As she approached the second short end of the rink, Jin swung herself around so that she took the fourth turn backwards, head turned to let her look over her shoulder.

Once she came up to her sister and Kyoya again, she reached out and grabbed Haruhi's hands, pulling her along in a motion that looked somewhat similar to a waltz. The two girls spun and "danced" around the edge of the rink, all smiles. The other occupants watched them with similar pleasure weaved into their expressions, all except for one blond boy whose eyes widened before he quickly exited the ice rink.

The other hosts were too absorbed in watching Jin with complete and utter confusion they didn't even notice who was missing from their pack.

As the girls made another loop, the boys tried to skate beside them and ask questions, only to have Jin release her sister and grab Kaoru's hands instead. The redhead quickly gripped her tightly in return, but craned his head frantically over both of his shoulders in rapid succession, knees starting to gravitate towards each other.

"J-Jin-senpai? I-I'm not super comfortable skating b-backwards!"

"Oh, sorry, Kaoru! I'm just so happy I can actually skate now!" She released Kaoru and grabbed Honey's hands next. The blond was less nervous about the backward skating and trusted his friend to not let him bump into anything or anyone, even though her back was now bent over to keep their hands clasped. He actually began laughing along at the thrill it gave him.

"Jin-chan! Can you do a jump? Or a spin? Like in the Olympics, can you do that?"

"Nope! This is as exciting as my skating gets Honey-senpai! Now, I've gotta let go or my back will kill me tomorrow!" The blond giggled as he was released and Jin straightened her back, groaning as the pressure eased quickly. She reached behind her to press the palm of her right hand against the small of her back, only to have it snagged into a chilled hand and used to spin her around.

"I believe it's my turn to cut in, yes?"

Kyoya took her skating dance to a more refined level, with proper hand placement and everything. He didn't even flinch when it was his turn to face backwards. Jin cocked an eyebrow and he smirked, "Just because I was too busy dragging you along the ice does not mean I don't know a few skating tricks of my own."

The brunette huffed and looked away, "Again… I'm sorry about that."

"Tell me why and you can stop apologizing."

"You drive a hard bargain, Ootori."

"I try."

Jin laughed, throwing her head back and nearly sending her hat flying, "Fine, ruin a good mood, why don't you? Well, I had to pretend I sucked at skating because of Eiko. She believes she's better at skating than me, and I plan to keep that image in her head as long as possible… even if it means embarrassing myself on the ice for the next six days."

"But why?" Kyoya spun the two of them around in a full 360-degree turn before continuing to push Jin backwards around the ice, "I don't often think this, but perhaps Eiko doesn't deserve to believe she's better than you."

His partner's face darkened, "If you tell her, I won't forgive you. This secret is as much for my benefit as it is for her. I don't see Eiko that often, which I am grateful for, but I will gladly suffer through this next week with her thinking I suck at something than dealing with her if she found out I didn't."

Kyoya looked away, not understanding why Jin couldn't just pull the wool off of her cousin's eyes and be done with it. He saw a pair walk into the rink. A blond boy, and a black-haired girl.

"You may not have a say in that, anymore."

Jin turned to face his line of sight and the two skidded to a halt right outside of the ice rink entrance/exit. Tamaki stood behind Eiko, a proud smile etched on his face while the small girl stared at her cousin, mouth open.

"See? Didn't I tell you your cousin cared for you? She pretended to be bad at ice skating to make you feel-"

"YOU'RE A LIAR! I HATE YOU JIN! YOU'RE A LIAR AND I HATE YOU! I HATE YOU SO MUCH! " Tamaki fumbled to a wide-eyed stop as Eiko stomps herself back out the door, screaming how much she hates Jin at the top of her lungs.

"What… have… you… done? "

* The Next Day *

"Okay, Jin. We've waited as you've asked. Now, why does your cousin hate you?"

"Is this some sort of rivalry?"

Jin sighed, readjusting her book bag on her shoulder. Tamaki was on her left, Kyoya to her right, and there was no way she was escaping this 'classmate-sandwich' without divulging some answers.

"Couldn't we wait until the others join up? I don't want to have this discussion more than once."

"We're already here, Jin-chan!"

Honey-senpai and Mori-senpai emerged from the intersection just in front of the three, the 1st year students right behind them.

"Fine. Yeah, there's sort of a rivalry between Eiko and myself, unfortunately. She's always had a problem with me being good at stuff. Or, at least always being better than her."

"So, this is jealousy at work?"

"Sounds more like an inferiority complex."

"I'm afraid it's a little worse than that, you two. Eiko is… ruthless. I don't think she'll stop at anything until she finds something she's better at than me."

"...which is why you made her believe that skill was ice skating."

The two brunettes nodded, "I've been playing that card for over a year, but now that Tamaki messed it up, we're back to square one. And it'll be harder to convince Eiko that she's honestly the best at something this time around."

"Jin, I'm sorry for ruining your trick," Tamaki patted his friend's shoulder, relieved she wasn't so upset that she brushed him off immediately, "but is it really so bad that Eiko is back to looking for something she's better at? It's something that drives her to do better, right?"

"Oh, trust me, it's bad." Jin pushed open the music room doors and a red blur quickly catches her attention.

Good thing, too, considering it was flying directly towards her face.

She squeaked and batted it away with the back of her hand. Whatever it was, it was heavy, and the spot on her hand that had smacked it now ached. The object, thrown off its original course, went sailing to the right. It bounced off the tile once, twice, before smacking into a pillar with a solid thud .

"You've got to be kidding! " Jin's mouth dropped open at the sight of Eiko stomping her feet in a circle, "I should've thrown it lower! Then she wouldn't have seen it so quickly! Augh! "

"Seen… what?"

Honey bounced his way to the red object and picked it up, "It's a ball, Jin-chan."

"Honey-senpai? Let me see that for a moment?"

The blond raced back and placed the object in her hand. She stared at it in disbelief, "Is… is this a racquet ball? Did you just throw a racquet ball at my face?"

Eiko sniffed, "Duh. A tennis ball would've been too bright for you not to notice, and I couldn't find a baseball." Jin's jaw popped open and Haruhi snatched the ball from her before she did something rash.

"Why'd you do that, Eiko?"

"To test her reflexes. See if mine are better."

"And?"

The small girl frowned and kicked the couch beside her, "I hate you, Jin! So-"

"Yeah, I get it. You hate me s o so much . We've all witnessed the Eiko-tantrum parade. Now, why don't you tell us what you're doing here? Why aren't you at your own school?"

The little girl flopped down on the couch she was previously kicking, "Well, you dropped me off at that stupid public school, and I got bored once the day finished. So I took the train here. I must say... for a private school, it's not that impressive. Security sucks, too, consider I walked right in and no one stopped me."

"Our school does not require security, but most of the students here are under almost constant surveillance from their family's private police force."

Eiko cocked an eyebrow, "And who are you, exactly? Some high-priced rich guy, I assume? And the rest of you as well? So... you're all wealthy, smart, and handsome? That's why you're all in the same club?"

"Well, if you wish to generalize it to the surface, then perhaps."

"Then why are you hanging out with my cousin?"

Tamaki made a breathy sound as if he'd been kicked in the gut. His reaction was easily mirrored in the other's faces. Kyoya finally leveled a light glare at the small girl again, "Are you suggesting that Jin, your cousin, is undeserving of having the attention of wealthy, smart, and handsome students as you've so labeled us as, or that she is neither wealthy, intelligent, nor physically attractive?"

"Mmm..." Eiko flattened her hand out, palm down, in the air and tilted it to the left and right a few times, "A little of both, really. I mean, the non-wealthy thing is a bit obvious I think, so 'suggesting' is almost a moot-point. And undeserving of your attention?" She raked her eyes around the boys once more, "Who knows? Maybe you're all assholes?"

Tamaki was now laying flat on his back, mouth gasping like a fish out of water. Surprisingly, Jin and Haruhi seemed to be taking this conversation in stride. The older Fujioka pinched the bridge of her nose, letting out a long breath of air.

"Look, tomorrow, you stay at the public school until we come get you. Got it?"

Eiko blew a raspberry, "You can't control me, Freak ."

Jin stalked forward, bearing down on her cousin who unhappily withdrew further into the couch cushions, "Wanna bet? "

"Nēchan! I thought we talked about this!"

"We never discussed her showing up at Ouran! God, she's like a curse that's following us around!"

Eiko snarled, "Don't call me a curse!"

"Don't call me a freak!"

"But that's what you are!"

"Right back at you!"

"Oh, what a brilliant come-back! I'm so scared now! "

"ENOUGH!" Haruhi pushed herself between the two girls, shoving her back against her sister to move her away, "You guys are going to end up either killing each other or starting World War 3! So, while we have an outside party to help us, we're going to settle this feud once and for all. This week, we are going to find something that Eiko is better at than Nēchan and we can all get on with our lives! "

"Yeah, right! Like I'm just going to sit around and listen to some stuck up-" Jin made a small sound in the back of her throat that sounded oddly like a growl, and Eiko looked away, "Fine! Whatever."

Kyoya opened his mouth, ready to make it clear that the Host Club would not be spending their week entertaining a monstrous brat, but Tamaki quickly announced his consent. The rest of the boys groaned, and the ravenet pushed his glasses further up, digging the nose piece deeper into his skin than was pleasant.

"Tamaki... while your usual plans are almost parallel to how moronic and unnecessary this request is, I admit I'm having difficulties trying to find the reason that it appeals to you in any way."

"Really? I thought it was obvious?"

In response to the blank stares he was receiving, Tamaki gestured for the rest of the hosts to gather around in a tight circle.

" Look, Jin is miserable with Eiko hanging around her and Haruhi all the time, and it's obvious that Eiko plans to keep it that way. Perhaps we can not only find a way to ease this feud, but also distract Eiko from ruining Jin's week? We'd be doing her a great service!"

The blond's head was immediately filled with scenes of Jin showing her appreciation with more old photographs of Haruhi (and Haruhi professing her love after seeing the way he mightily defended her sister) while the others whispered among themselves.

Kyoya contemplated his reasoning. Entertain Eiko and find her a personal talent... make everyone happy in the process... good PR... doing Jin a service... being thanked afterwards, perhaps?

"Hm... perhaps I was too quick on my judgement. Very well..." he turned around to the three Fujioka's, "Miss Eiko? It would seem as though you are our new project."

The small girl looked around at the high schoolers surrounding her, dark smiles plastered on their faces. Even Jin was looking far too pleased with herself.

"I'm going to regret ever coming up here, aren't I?"

"Oh, sweetie... you have no idea."


"Alright, men! Operation: Find-Something-Eiko-Is-Better-At-Than-Jin-Before-She-Hurts-Someone is now underway!"

"...Boss?"

"We need to have a serious talk about coming up with Operation names."

Before the blond could dissolve into a mountain of angry defensive rants about his brilliant ideas, Jin clapped her hands together, " So... how are we going to start? Because if I'm totally honest, I'm a little excited about getting this show on the road."

"Nobody says 'getting this show on the road', anymore. It's just stupid."

"Senpai? The sooner we start..?"

"Right!" Tamaki quickly wheeled out a large white board and started writing along the very top with a red marker, "We'll start by making three lists. One of things Jin is good at, one of talents she's never attempted before, and one of things she is bad at."

Eiko scowled from her spot on the couch. She had the whole piece of furniture to herself, which she didn't mind one bit. "You guys are idiots! Don't you think I've done this a million times?"

"We actually did think that, but tell us exactly how well you know your cousin in comparison to us?" The girl scowled even deeper, but gestured for them to continue.

"Let's see... Jin can drive, play piano, teach guitar, sing, fight, ice skate, and babysit like a professional. Anything else?"

Instantly the whole room looked at Haruhi, who hummed and leaned her head back, "Nēchan's writing is very good. She's won a few awards with it, after all. She's also a very good cook and a bit of an actress. Not to mention her class placement and the seven languages she taught herself."

" Seven... languages... Alright, what else?"

"She can tell the two of us apart even when our hair is covered up!"

"One of her drawings just sold for over 30,000 yen on our website."

"She can surf."

"Jin-chan's good with animals!"

Eiko crossed her arms so tightly it looked like she was trying to knot herself together, "See? Freaking perfect! It's unnatural! And don't forget that creepy thing where she can look at her sister and instantly know what she's thinking! Why do you think I call he-"

"ON To the next list! We can add more to the first one later. So, things Jin doesn't know if she's good at or not!"

"Oh, gosh...um, I've never flown a plane or a helicopter, but I wish I could. I've never scuba dived before and I never want to. I've never para-sailed. I don't know if I can roller-blade. Um, I've never tried to build anything from scratch before, either."

Tamaki quickly added 'building' to the list before moving to the right side, "That should be okay for now. How about things you're bad at?"

Jin straightened her back, "Now, those are easy! I can't fix a car to save my life. High-ropes or high-wire courses I can't do, at all. Sewing is also a no go, for me. I've stuck my thumb with a needle one too many times. And while I'm okay at freehand drawing, I'm shit at tracing. It's awful and always looks bad! Let's see... being a waitress is a hard job for me because I'm pretty sure I'm going deaf and it's hard to catch everyone's orders and write them down legible enough for the cook to read I'm a really big procrastinator and have wrecked my health before with the stress of it I can't help anyone else with applying makeup or doing their hair and I've killed every plant I've ever owned same goes for goldfish and-"

Jin stumbled to a stop when she saw that Tamaki was no longer at the white board. Instead, Haruhi stood there with the red marker in hand and a long list of hastily scribbled words behind her. Her face flushed pink.

"Oh... was I talking too fast?"

"A little. It's alright, Nēchan, I think I got everything you said down. Anything else?"

"Um... not that I can think of?"

"Good. Well, I think this is enough for now, so, Eiko?" The hosts turned to look at the short black-haired girl, "How about we get started?"

* Three days later *

"This isn't working."

"No kidding..."

Tamaki leaned back against the wall of the changing room, frowning up at the ceiling. For the past three days, the hosts had tried to find something that Eiko was better at than her oldest cousin... to no luck. The girl just had no talent. And everything she was even somewhat decent at? Jin was just good enough at it for Eiko to not be satisfied.

And not only that, but apparently Eiko was still trying to take matters into her own hands when they left the school. Every morning they were told a new horror story from the Fujioka household, and it seemed like they were just getting worse each day.

"Eiko poured a whole container of chili powder into the soup pot to see which of us could handle spicy foods better and we had to order sushi!"

"Nēchan had to pull Eiko out of the way of a bus this morning! She tried to jump farther than her and ended up off the sidewalk!"

"I swear, if our Dad hadn't been there she would've chopped her fingers off!"

"How would that have even proved anything?"

"Oh, my, gosh, I feel like I'm in a Chuckie movie!"

" She tried to switch out my water for wine to see which of us got drunk faster! "

There was no doubt in Tamaki's mind now. That girl was a menace. And even though he wasn't the type of person to give up easily, this situation seemed pretty hopeless. At the moment, Eiko, Jin, and Haruhi were in the main room, and all the boy could think was that he was glad he wasn't out there with them. Eiko had taken to throwing insults at anyone who seemed to be Jin's friend, so the Host Club had heard the words "snobs", "trust-fund babies", and "silver-spoon suckers" more than five times a day.

And everyone was sick of it.

"Boss... I think we're in over our heads here."

"Jin-senpai's just good at things. And Eiko sucks."

"Besides, we're sick of being insulted every day."

"Yeah! She's a meanie!"

Tamaki sighed, "I know, gentlemen, but we must remain strong. And think of it this way: How could things possible get any worse?"

" EEEEEEEEEEEEIIIIIIIIIIIIIII! "

A bloodcurdling shriek bounced off the walls of the music room, shifting the host club into action. They bolted out of the back room just as Jin ripped a piece of paper away from her bleeding arm. Eiko, of course, was nearby and holding something black in her hands, but the boys couldn't tell what it was from this distance. The two girls were staring at each other, one in disbelief, the other in anger and disappointment. Haruhi was nowhere in sight.

"Jin? What happened?"

"We heard you scream, are you alright?"

"Where's Haruhi? I thought she said she'd help you watch Eiko?"

The brunette was speechless. She simply raised a hand and pointed at the object her cousin was holding. Kyoya snatched the item away quickly, before it could hurt someone else, and got a good look at it.

It was a stapler.

"Eiko... what did you do with this?"

"I stapled a piece of paper to her arm to see which of us handles pain better."

The ravenet spun around and stared at his friend, "'How could things possibly get any worse' you say. 'Remain strong' you say." Before he could get a response, the doors burst open and Haruhi came running in, a man carting a few boxes on a trolley right behind her.

"Nēchan? What happened? I leave for two seconds and the next thing I know you're screaming bloody murder!"

"She stapled a piece of paper to my arm." Jin pulled her hand away and looked at the wound, "It's stopped bleeding at least. I take it those are our cosplay for the day?" The uniform clad man nodded and set the boxes down, bowed, and left the drama-infested scene in a hurry. No one could blame him either.

"Cosplay? Man, you guys are bigger losers than I thought you were."

Tamaki's left eyelid twitched, "If it's not your cup of tea, then I suggest you leave . We don't have any more time to entertain you today."

Eiko didn't listen. She just strolled over to the boxes and looked at the labels, "Tennis uniform... Volleyball uniform... Basketball uniforms... What, are you guys finally splitting up your stupid club for more fulfilling activities?"

"No. Sport-related pick-up lines. Work more than you might think."

"Right, keep telling yourself that. The only reason your pick-up lines work are because those girls want to get into your- ack! "

The small ravenette was cut off by Jin grabbing the back of her shirt collar and yanking her backwards. The second she was moved out of the way, the cosplay boxes tumbled to the ground, crashing down on the tiles where she was once standing. Hikaru was revealed as they fell, his left hip jutted out in a seemingly casual stance.

"Oops."

For a moment the room is quiet, before Eiko whipped herself around and kicked Jin's legs, "Stupid! I don't want your help! You almost choked me to death! Don't touch me again, you hear me? I hate it when you do that! Stop trying to be a freaking superhero! Just because you're a freak doesn't mean you have superpowers, you... you... Freak! "

The tall brunette didn't even respond. She just scooped up the only cosplay with a skirt (the tennis one) and walked to the changing rooms. Eiko stomped her foot one final time before spinning around and walking out the doors, slamming them shut behind her.

Haruhi sighed and ruffled her own hair, not looking forward to the tension that was sure to still be there when she and Jin got home. Thank goodness Dad's already home by now or Eiko would probably take a knife to Nēchan's mattress the moment she walked through the door.

"Hikaru, while I do realize that Eiko is grating on everyone's nerves, we can not allow physical harm to come to her while she is in our care at the Host Club ."

"What? You're defending her? She would've deserved it!"

"Hika-chan!"

"Oh, come on! They only had clothes in them! They wouldn't have hurt her that much. Maybe a bruise or two, nothing serious!"

"Actually... he might've just done us all a favor." Tamaki continued to gaze towards the back of the room where Jin had disappeared, unaware of the stares he was receiving.

"Senpai? What are you talking about?"

The blond turned back to face his club members and finally smiled, for the first time all day.

"I have a plan."


"This is stupid."

"Yeah, yeah, we heard you the first seventy-two times you've said that, brat. Now shut up."

Eiko opened her mouth again, clearly not about to take orders from anyone who was friends with her cousins, but just then the doors opened. Said cousins walked in and their faces fell even further at the sight of her on the couch, waiting for them.

"About time you showed up. These jerks refused to let me get up and do anything."

Jin rolled her eyes, "With all the hell you've been putting me through? I have no problems with making you wait in boredom." Before the two could commence in another verbal battle, Tamaki strode forward and took Jin's school bag from her, gently pushing her further into the room.

"Jin? Could you sit on the couch beside your cousin for a moment?"

"What? Whose side are you on?"

The blond continued to gesture her forward, "Call it a hunch, but I wish to try something."

The brunette squinted her eyes a hair, hearing an odd somberness in her friend's tone she wasn't quite used to, but in the end decided to trust his judgement. A few seconds later, Eiko and Jin were sitting on the far opposite sides of the couch from each other.

Tamaki himself collapsed down on the one cushioned chair facing the girls. The rest of the club stood behind him, flicking their gazes between the two. Eiko received a number of hard stares, but most of them kept sending Jin encouraging, if not small, smiles and nods. The nine year old twisted her lips into a very familiar scowl when she noticed one of the boys in particular never sparing her a glance, preferring to send Jin flirty eyes. What was his name again? Kyoya something? He was in the same class as her, and it was clear they had a thing