Chapter Twelve. Have a good night!Title: Silent ChallengesSeries: Chapter Twelve, 900 wordsPairing/Character: Mori & HaruhiRating: TSummary: "Before long, she had been joined by Takashi, whose presence had been made known through an unusual bout of coughing. Taking a seat next to her, he gave Haruhi a weak smile and reached for his books. "Cross-posted to ouran_fanficsFF.net
Her breath came out in a rush as she swung open the doors to Music Room 3.
"Sorry I'm late, guys."
"That's okay, Haruhi. Next time we'll just say we're starting the meeting a half hour early. Then maybe you'll show up on time."
Somehow, the fact that Kyoya addressed her from a computer screen did nothing to lessen the upbeat sarcasm in his voice.
"That's fine, Senpai. It doesn't mean I'll be cutting out of my university classes any sooner to get here, though."
Taking a seat between Hikaru and Kaoru, Haruhi picked up one of the file folders Kyoya had supplied them with. Inside there lay a profile, statistic sheet, and a photograph for two of the newest recruits into the host club.
"What do you think, Haruhi?"
Sifting through the information, she found herself on the cusp of indifference.
"Either one would be fine, really. Akihiko draws in more clients, but Shiguru is pretty good at delegating and management."
Hikaru threw another photo into the mix before interjecting. "What we really need is someone who can keep the reins on Shiro if he decides to join the club next spring."
Kaoru nodded. "Oh, he definitely will. He likes the attention too much not to. That kid likes to think he's a mini-badass, but he really knows how to properly treat the ladies."
"Indeed. Shiguru it is, then?"
Receiving no argument otherwise, Kyoya declared that the next Host Club president had officially been decided. He had called their meeting from 30,000 feet while flying home from college for the holiday break. Despite having stayed in America for school, Kyoya had never retired as the shadow king of the host club. With only the twins and Haruhi being left, he'd made the three of them co-presidents during their last year, and the four of them sought to streamline the club's traditions and standards before the last of the original host club would need to depart.
Though the host club was indeed tinged with the beginning of Kyoya's real introduction to happiness, he also considered its legacy a memorable venture that his brothers had never bothered to claim.
As the four of them closed out their meeting, they said their goodbyes, and planned their next meeting for Chrismas Eve, at Suoh Mansion Number Two.
They had settled beneath the kotatsu only after decorating the mansion in its entirety.
Enveloped by classic host club loudness, and a familiar seasonal grandeur, Haruhi was pleased to see that despite leading separate lives, the familial makeup of their group remained the same. Doing his best to balance melding his family, learning the business side of Suoh living, and Ouran University, it came as no surprise to anyone that Tamaki still exuberantly set the mood during their gatherings.
"I hear that my only daughter has been bringing in the most customers at the club! Bravo, Haruhi!"
"Thanks, Senpai. Still not your daughter. I wouldn't say I'm bringing in so many new clients, though. They're more or less the same girls I hosted during my first year, who I've been maintaining. My dad sure is pleased at the notion of me now having girlfriends, though…"
"Uh huh." Noted the twins, "And what about the subtle influx of male clients, hm? What do you think about that, Mori-Senpai?"
"I don't think Takashi really cares. Haru-Chan can take care of herself, and if anyone ever tried to overextend themselves, Kao-Chan and Hika-Chan would step in, wouldn't you?"
"No worries, Senpai! If things get out of hand, we'll just play the 'Which One is Hikaru's Fist?' game!"
They spent the rest of the evening catching up, laughing, and planning. Relaying the past few years' holiday events, Haruhi felt secured and not saddened, that before long their busy schedules would once again take them away. Be it time or distance, when it really mattered, none of them were ever really out of reach. Recalling Takashi's absence the year before, she fingered the dove around her neck, and leaned into him, happily.
Nearing the end of their winter break, she was looking to move as far ahead of her already-brimming schedule as possible. Unloading the textbooks from her backpack, Haruhi decided not to wait on Takashi, and began studying. Unwilling to mess with a good thing, Saturday afternoons in the library had made the transition from Boston to Ouran University.
Before long, she had been joined by Takashi, whose presence had been made known through an unusual bout of coughing. Taking a seat next to her, he gave Haruhi a weak smile and reached for his books.
"Takashi, are you okay?"
"Yeah. I'm fine."
"You don't look fine. Come to think of it, I don't think I've ever known you to be sick."
He gave her a shrug before returning to his textbook.
Intending to keep an eye on him throughout the afternoon, Haruhi had seen enough after a mere ten minutes of studying. Barely able to keep his cough under control, Takashi had become pale and sweaty.
"Hey, at least let me take you back to your apartment."
She had already started to gather their things when he gave an approving nod.
By the time they had made it outside, Haruhi had become a makeshift crutch under his weight, while Takashi continued coughing. She could feel the sick feeling of her heart in her throat as he began violently spitting up blood.
Kneeling on the cold ground, Takashi spattered the new snow in red, while Haruhi called for help.