Tamaki-senpai seems to have developed a new fascination with the sea.
Not for the first time, Haruhi wonders just why Kyouya-senpai indulges Tamaki-senpai’s whims so much, to the point that he lets all of them use his family yacht this weekend, for no charge. Of course, if she asks him, he’ll probably tell her that it merits him because Tamaki is a Suoh and thus will be a useful connection in the future, or something similar.
That’s why Haruhi doesn’t ask; she watches.
Kyouya-senpai is leaning on the railing on the yacht, and the sun is being reflected off the sea into his glasses. His glasses gleam, hiding his eyes, but not the slight tilt of his lips. Not for the first time, Haruhi wonders why he wears glasses, when he can surely afford contact lenses. Is it because he wishes to hide? Kyouya-senpai had certainly mastered the art of tilting his head in certain directions so the light reflects off his glasses, hiding his eyes. But Kyouya-senpai’s eyes, even without his glasses, are always hooded, empty of any emotions that Haruhi can read. Why does he need glasses when he can already hide so… to borrow a word from the man himself, efficiently? Is it then because glasses are more convenient? Haruhi knows well of the inconvenience of contact lenses in the morning… but Kyouya-senpai isn’t the type who would be fazed by that, especially when contact lenses makes one seem more approachable.
Or perhaps, Haruhi thinks, wryly, he simply doesn’t like sticking things into his eyes.
A splash distracts Haruhi from her thoughts, and she turns her eyes downwards. Tamaki-senpai is swimming in the ocean, splashing in it like a child. Almost unnoticeably – she wouldn’t have noted it if she was slightly less observant – Kyouya-senpai’s gaze follows him.
“Haruhi,” an arm is slung across her shoulders, pulling her to her left.
“Haruhi,” an identical arm slings itself across her other shoulders, and now she is pulled to the right.
Haruhi scowls, looking upwards to see the twins grinning down to her. In their eyes she can recognize a very recognizable glint. The scowl deepens. What are they up to now, and must they always involve her in their plans? She tries to struggle out of their grip, but their arms turns vice-like on her shoulders.
“Tono, tono,” twin voices call out to the blond in the water. “You left Haruhi alone here! You didn’t even ask her if she wants to go for a swim before you jumped in! So selfish, tono, so selfish!”
“Wait, you two…” Haruhi tries to protest, struggling harder. The twins’ grins widen simultaneously.
“You didn’t ask any of us either!” Hikaru shouts, mock-indignant. Kaoru sniffs sadly at his side. “Tono, you have forgotten all of us!”
“And you call yourself Haruhi’s otou-san? Shame, shame!” Hikaru ‘comforts’ his brother, turning mock-angry eyes towards their ‘lord’.
Haruhi rolls her eyes. Really, do they have to do this without the girls around?
Tamaki-senpai is flailing in the water, splashing far more than he had before. “You, you bad twins, get your hands off my daughter! Stop hugging her so inappropriately! Haruhi, hold on! Daddy is coming to rescue you from the evil twins!”
“I don’t need you to rescue me, senpai.”
Tamaki-senpai seems to have gotten even more agitated at that, splashing in the water so much that he’s creating a min-tornado. The twins seem to be very pleased by this. “You’re so far away from us now, tono! Because you went swimming without us! So selfish, tono!”
Tamaki-senpai’s head drops under the water. The twins tighten their grip around her even further, and Haruhi pokes them both in the ribs with her elbows. They stop hugging her so tightly, to let her breathe. Haruhi prods them both again, trying to let them go even though she knows it will be in vain.
There is a sudden, very loud thud, and a softer click follows. Haruhi turns towards the noise, and sees Kyouya-senpai’s clipboard and pen, lying lifeless on the deck. She blinks.
“Kyouya-senpai?” Kaoru’s voice, sounding very much unsure now, comes from her left. Suddenly, Haruhi realizes that she hasn’t heard Tamaki-senpai’s voice for some time. For too long.
“Get the lifebelt!” Kyouya-senpai suddenly turns towards them, and Haruhi gasps at the sudden wild look in his eyes. There are so many emotions in his eyes, and his glasses don’t hide anything now. He blinks, and his eyes are as expressionless as always. Haruhi wonders if she had imagined it. Kyouya-senpai rips his glasses off his face (that is the only way she can describe it), dropping them onto the floor and, in one fluid motion, he manages to toe off his shoes and leap into the water.
The twins’ arms around her are loose, and she ducks under the circle, running to the railing. Kyouya-senpai is swimming towards where Tamaki-senpai had disappeared from. Haruhi’s heart is in her throat, and the twins’ faces are ashen.
‘I have to get the lifebelt,’ she thinks, dully. She can’t move; for some reason, her limbs had locked tight against her. She has to move, she needs to; Kyouya-senpai needs the lifebelt, to save Tamaki-senpai.
It’s like being caught in a thunderstorm, Haruhi thinks. When one fears so much, one body locks down, one stops thinking and starts reacting. It’s a fight or flight reaction, except it isn’t because Haruhi has no one to fight (one can’t fight the ocean) and she can’t run away. Both choices aren’t applicable, thus they aren’t doing anything at all. It’s all very clinical, she thinks.
There are footsteps on the deck again. Haruhi turns, feeling as if her body is made of lead. Mori-senpai throws the lifebelt downwards, grabbing onto the rope before it can spiral out of his grasp.
The lifebelt lands in the water with a plop, and Haruhi can only stare as Kyouya-senpai grabs hold on it with one arm, the other wrapped around an unnaturally still Tamaki-senpai. Hikaru and Kaoru moves behind him, grabbing the rope. They seem to have a direction now, and Haruhi can only follow, holding onto to the rope behind them and pulling even though she knows she isn’t as strong as the others.
For the first time, she feels something other than relief that Kyouya-senpai’s bodyguards aren’t with them.
Kyouya-senpai stumbles onto the deck, dripping wet, with Tamaki-senpai on his arm. Haruhi feels almost detached from the situation as she sinks down to the floor, hands stinging from pulling the rope. Kyouya-senpai lays Tamaki-senpai down on the deck, gently, like he’s handling something even more fragile, even more precious, than glass.
Haruhi can only watch, with the twins by her side, as Kyouya-senpai presses on Tamaki-senpai’s chest and blows into his mouth. Her mind is blank, even though she’s shouting at herself to do something and stop being so useless, help him but she can’t think of anything except please, please, please.
Haruhi cannot imagine a Host Club without Tamaki-senpai. She thinks that maybe it’s her fault, her fault and she should have tried harder to dissuade the twins from teasing Tamaki-senpai that way. Hikaru and Kaoru are frozen stiff on beside her, and Haruhi can see their linked hands from a corner of her eyes. She does not try to move her head, her eyes fixed on Kyouya-senpai.
She watches Kyouya-senpai, who is frantically trying to save Tamaki-senpai’s life. Kyouya-senpai, who is pressing his hands against Tamaki-senpai’s chest, his eyes never leaving Tamaki-senpai’s face - his eyes hide nothing now, Haruhi observes numbly. His emotions are raw and open, spread-eagled for the world to see; vulnerable. She watches Kyouya-senpai, who is pressing his mouth over Tamaki-senpai’s, blowing into his mouth, giving him the kiss of life, desperation tingeing every gasp.
There is something nagging at the back of her head, something that nudges her to open your eyes, see, see, see but she doesn’t want to; not now, not when Tamaki-senpai might die and Kyouya-senpai is trying so hard, so hard.
Haruhi doesn’t think that she’s making sense any more. Nothing makes sense when Tamaki-senpai is so still, and Kyouya-senpai is so desperate. Things shouldn’t be this way.
The balance is tilted; the timing gone askew; the lead actors have forgotten their lines. They are not acting any more, because the director-prima donna is unconscious, and his other male lead had thrown away his masks. Haruhi is the heroine of the Host Club drama, but yet she doesn’t feel very heroic at all. She can only watch, delegated to the audience’s seat.
She can only watch as Tamaki-senpai jerks a little. She can only watch as Kyouya-senpai’s eyes – the shields shattered beyond repair, the hoods ripped away – glimmer with hope as he turns Tamaki-senpai over. She can only watch as Tamaki-senpai throws up the seawater that he had swallowed; watch as the colour returns to his face; watch as he blinks in confusion at all of them.
“Ha-ru-hi?” Tamaki-senpai’s voice is barely a rasp, but his eyes are lucid and clear and they’re staring right into hers.
“Hikaru, Kaoru, be useful for once and get the idiot water. Don’t let him move from here. I’ll call the ship’s doctor,” a pause, and Haruhi isn’t surprised when she sees that Kyouya-senpai’s eyes are pieces of black ice again. Hikaru and Kaoru had run off, glad for something to do. “Why didn’t any of you think of that?”
“We didn’t want to leave Tama-chan and Kyou-chan,” Honey-senpai says, voice uncharacteristically subdued. Feeling as if she is on automaton, Haruhi turns towards him. The sharp, knowing gaze in those wide eyes surprise her, and she is reminded again that Honey-senpai is not a child, no matter how much he might look like one.
“Is that so?” Kyouya-senpai’s voice is measured, calm as he bends down, picking up his glasses. Tamaki-senpai looks so very confused. “Very well, then, I’ll get him. Haruhi, the idiot called for you.”
Haruhi blinks, turning to Tamaki-senpai. Tamaki-senpai looks so confused, and there is a hand stroking his throat absent-mindedly. He must be in pain.
The play has not resumed; the equilibrium is still out of her reach. But she does what she can to get it back – she takes the glass of water from Hikaru’s hand, kneels down beside Tamaki-senpai, and lets him sip him, slowly. Like a mother feeding her son.
Somehow, she thinks that Kyouya-senpai should be the one doing this; not her.
He’s actually feeling a lot better now. The doctor had given him something cooling to drink that had stopped the burning in his throat, and his lungs had stopped hurting hours ago.
He hasn’t seen Kyouya ever since his best friend rescued him from certain death.
Tamaki takes a deep breath, feeling unreasonably nervous. This is his best friend, and he shouldn’t be nervous. Not with Kyouya; never with Kyouya. He knocks on the door.
A beat. Tamaki shifts his weight on another foot, chewing on his lip. He raises his hand to knock on the door again when it swings open. Kyouya gives a flat stare – blank, so blank, and Tamaki feels a stab of sorrow that his friend had found it necessary to hide this way – and turns away from him, back to his laptop.
Tamaki steps into the cabin, closing the door behind him and leaning on it. He swallows.
Silence. Tamaki frowns, rubbing his chin. Is Kyouya angry at him?
“I just… you saved me, Kyouya,” he’s stumbling over his words. Prince Charming never does that. But he’s not Prince Charming now, is he? He’s just Tamaki now, with his best friend. They don’t act around each other – it’s an unspoken promise between them. “I… I want to…”
The silence is getting really oppressive now. Tamaki hates silences like these, so he speaks faster, wanting to fill it, to chase it away. “Prince Charming had to be rescued… how strange is that? How totally inappropriate!” His natural exuberance had caught up to him now, and he goes with the flow. He’ll talk and talk and talk for forever if he needs to, just so Kyouya will answer him; will talk to him. “Ah, but it was the Dark Prince who had rescued him! The Dark Prince, who has a heart of gold even though he might act evilly sometimes! Today, Kyouya, you have proven your true-“
Tamaki hasn’t even seen Kyouya move, but his best friend is right in front of him now. He had stopped talking not because Kyouya had moved, but because Kyouya had slammed him against the wall and knocked the wind of his still slightly-painful lungs. Tamaki gasps, but doesn’t complain.
Kyouya’s hands are clenched around the front of his shirt, and he’s doing the thing that Tamaki hates. He’s hiding his eyes again with his hair, just like the first time Tamaki had caused him to lose his temper.
“Why do you always… always take things so lightly?” Tamaki blinks; Kyouya’s shoulders are shaking.
Kyouya pulls him forward, with his fingers digging into Tamaki’s shirt so hard that Tamaki can hear the little rips in the cloth, “You nearly died, you moron! Why don’t you think before you act for once? You were in the water! You-” Kyouya cuts himself off, turning away, teeth gritted and shoulders shaking.
Perhaps he is slow, sometimes. Perhaps sometimes he simply doesn’t get some things. This is not one of those times.
Tamaki raises his hands, placing one gently on Kyouya’s shoulder. The other hand turns Kyouya’s face back to his, and he smiles, gently and as reassuring as he can. “A handsome man isn’t hurt by the water, Kyouya. I’m perfectly fine. You saved me.”
Kyouya closes his eyes, deliberately not looking Tamaki in the eye. The blond frowns. “What if I wasn’t there? What if I had reacted slower? What if I hadn’t known how to perform CPR? What then, Tamaki?” Kyouya’s eyes snap open, and Tamaki sees the intensity behind them. Ice cannot contain fire for long. “What would you do then?”
Kyouya’s hands pulls on his shirt again, knuckles white and contrasting baldly against Tamaki’s black shirt. Tamaki smiles at him, completely sincere as he says, “I won’t leave you.”
“Don’t be naïve.” Tamaki fights not to wince at the harsh, biting tone.
“I’m not,” and he isn’t being naïve – being honest isn’t being naïve or stupid, not here. “You won’t be rid of me so easily, Kyouya. Otou-san won’t leave okaa-san alone.”
“How do you explain today, then?” The anger in Kyouya’s voice had reached a crescendo now, and he’s almost visibly forcing each word through gritted teeth.
“I went swimming because I trust you, Kyouya. I trust you to not let me drown.”
“You shouldn’t trust me so much,” now Kyouya is looking away again. Tamaki frowns, tilting his head to meet Kyouya’s eyes straight on.
“Why shouldn’t I? You’re my best friend,” he smiles, bright and sincere.
“I can’t save you from everything…” Kyouya’s voice is so low that Tamaki has to strain his hearing to catch the words. A huge grin threatens to spread across his face – Kyouya isn’t denying that he does protect Tamaki and, by proxy, the Host Club, and Tamaki is so very happy about that – but he knows it isn’t appropriate now.
“I don’t need you to,” he states simply. “You don’t coddle anyone, okaa-san. Not Haruhi, not the twins, and certainly not me. You protect us from the things that we need to be protected from.” He pauses, half for dramatic effect and half so he can find the perfect words – he’s talking to Kyouya not as a host, but as his best friend. “I know you protect us as much as you can, Kyouya. I know that without you, we would have sunk a long time ago. I know, and I thank you for it.” He smiles.
Kyouya loosens his grip on Tamaki’s shirt, but he is still looking away. It is impossible to hide the light flush dusting his cheeks, though, especially as Kyouya is so pale. “You idiot…” strange, Kyouya always whispers the things that should be shouted to the world most. “Who do you think I have been doing it for?”
“I won’t leave you alone, Kyouya.” He catches dark grey eyes with his again, and, when he speaks, he is completely serious. “Not even if you want me to.” He then grins again, wrapping his arms around Kyouya’s neck and giving him a loose hug.
“Otou-san and okaa-san cannot be separated, after all!” He declares, sweeping an arm out to illustrate the point. “For the sake of our children, we must always stay together and let our family prosper!”
Kyouya is rolling his eyes at him, exasperated. But he is giving Tamaki his true smile – an almost invisible lopsided twist of the lips and crinkling at the corner of the eyes. Tamaki grins, bright and exuberant, opening his mouth to continue his soliloquy about the benefits of ‘mother’ and ‘father staying together when he feels hands pulling him forward and a mouth on his.
Tamaki kisses Kyouya back, eagerly but gently, and pretends not to notice the almost painful, desperate grip Kyouya has on his shoulders.
He hopes that his kiss can tell Kyouya I won’t disappear.