"Senpai, I think your piano is out of tune," Haruhi said bluntly, cutting through Tamaki's soft morning melody.
"Oh, you think so?" Tamaki paused, and he looked down at his piano keys curiously. He clucked his tongue and laughed. His fingers danced over the keys again, resuming the song. "Haruhi, my dear daughter, I think I would know if my piano was out of tune." He winked at her, and Haruhi gave him a sour look.
She was silent for a moment, and she listened carefully to the notes. "Ah! There it is again!"
"The key that's out of tune! Play it again, Senpai."
As she requested, Tamaki repeated the song, and Haruhi bent her ear close to the keys, awaiting the flaw so she could prove that she was right. Tamaki continued to play, glancing at her with interest.
Tamaki sighed, slightly exasperated. "I don't know what you mean. The song sounds perfect to me."
"Well, as lovely as it is," Haruhi replied, a challenging glint in her eye, "It's not perfect."
"Wah! Haruhi, you're so mean to Daddy!" Tamaki whined, and Haruhi rolled her eyes.
"Oh, stop that 'daddy' nonsense. Here." She plopped next to Tamaki on the piano stool, and automatically he slid over to give her more room. His eyes widened, and he stared at her, feeling the blood rush to his cheeks from their close proximity. Her soft arm brushed against his.
"I'll prove it to you," Haruhi said with determination. "I'll press each one of these keys and show you exactly which one needs fixing."
"Al—Alright, Haruhi. If you insist," Tamaki stuttered, watching as her dainty fingers pressed each key on his piano individually, searching out the culprit.
Methodically, Haruhi listened to each one of those keys by themselves. She repeated the gesture, only to come up with nothing for each one. As far as she could gather, the piano was in perfect working condition. So, did Tamaki just miss a note over and over again from lack of skill? She knew that couldn't be right. Tamaki was eccentric and frivolous at times, but one thing was certain, he was a brilliant piano player.
"See?" Tamaki chimed in. "They all work. Your ears must need cleaning, dear daughter. Want me to do that for you?"
"No!" Haruhi quickly answered in a huff, and Tamaki grinned sheepishly at her. He turned back to the piano and continued to play again. Haruhi crossed her arms, brow furrowed as she inspected the keys. Tamaki noticed that she was still sitting next to him, stubbornly intent on solving this mystery.
"Ha! You did it again! Maybe it's you," Haruhi announced blandly.
Tamaki chuckled, whisking his fingers over the keys and then leaning into her. He gave her a sidelong glance with a Cheshire smile and said, "Now we both know, that can't be."
Haruhi frowned at his obvious flirtatiousness, but she still couldn't fault him for messing up his notes. That just didn't sound like Tamaki. Did it?
"Give it a rest, Haruhi," Kaoru chimed in from the other side of the room. The twins looked over at the pair, watching them with a sympathetic expression.
"Yeah, don't be so gullible," Hikaru mused, giving Tamaki a warning look. The blonde merely met Hikaru's eyes, approaching his jealousy with a knowing smile. Tamaki continued to play, purposely leaning into Haruhi to rub against her arm.
"What are you talking about?" Haruhi asked with annoyance. Obviously, she didn't like being told she was gullible.
"Tono is messing up the notes on purpose. He's just playing around with you," Kaoru informed her as a matter-of-factly. Hikaru nodded in agreement next to his brother.
"Wha-?" Haruhi's eyes widened, and she jumped up hastily from the stool. She turned to Tamaki and gave him an accusing look. "Is that true? Are you just messing with me, Senpai?"
With a sheepish grin, Tamaki laughed it off and continued to play. "Don't be silly. Maybe you're right, Haruhi. I think your daddy is having an 'off day'. Come and sit next to me and make it better."
"Ugh!" Haruhi grunted. "You were playing with me! That piano is perfectly in tune and so are you!"
Grinning guiltily, Tamaki changed the song he was playing into something resembling Vaudeville, and the twins laughed as the room filtered with loud, eccentric tones. Apparently, Tamaki was admitting comedic defeat. He knew it was worth it though, judging by the cute angry look Haruhi was giving him.
Haruhi huffed loudly at him again, and then turned to leave. The twins grinned at the scene as Haruhi bolted, and Tamaki appeared morose at her abrupt departure. Glaring at anyone who stood in her way, Haruhi retreated to the bathroom. She made some excuse to customers that she didn't feel well. When she finally was alone, Tamaki's continuing Vaudeville melody filled her ears and she couldn't help smiling.
"Idiot," she murmured to herself, and she clutched her warm, crimson cheeks. She hoped her embarrassment would soon die away so she could return.
There's no way she would allow Tamaki the satisfaction to see her like this – to know that he actually had gotten to her.