"Haruhi," whispered Tamaki urgently.
Haruhi clung to sleep until the shaking became too insistent to ignore. Then she opened her right eye. The numbers on the display screen of her bedside clock blinked greenly at her. It was 3:12 a. m.
She sighed. "You can take your hand off my shoulder, I'm awake. What is it?"
"Haruhi," said Tamaki, speaking as one does who passes on news of great import. "I love you."
Haruhi blinked. "You woke me up at three in the morning to tell me that?"
"I love you," said Tamaki. His voice was ragged, damp with tears. He pressed his face against her back, a tuft of hair tickling the back of her neck -- and he had been crying, his face was warm and wet like a child's. "IloveyouIloveyouIloveyou."
"Hold on, I'll get you a tissue," said Haruhi. Tamaki flung alarmed arms around her.
"Don't go away!"
"Well, don't get snot on my pajamas!"
"Sometimes I think about what it'd be like if you died."
"Just the thought hurts so much I can't breathe -- "
"Then you should probably stop thinking about it."
"I would be so lonely. How did I live before I met you? Haruhi, if you left me I think I would tear my hair and wear sackcloth and throw ashes on my head, like the commoners do -- "
"I don't know anybody who does that," said Haruhi, puzzled.
"I would tear at my own silver skin and pour my golden blood on your grave -- "
"If you left me I wouldn't care about anything," whispered Tamaki. "Not about beauty or pleasure or happiness or life or, or commoners' ramen or anything. I don't think I would die, I think that would be too merciful. I think I would fade out, like a lost memory. Haruhi. Haruhi."
"Don't leave me."
Haruhi wriggled around so that she was facing him. Tamaki's eyes were wet, his face scrunched in distress. The painful thing, of course, was that he meant all of it. Haruhi put her hand on his chest, as if she could somehow thus keep the shards of his heart inside where they belonged, safe from terror and loss.
"I don't see the point of thinking about these things if they haven't happened," she said. "You'll only upset yourself. Go to sleep."
Tamaki snuggled close to her, responding as always to the slightest sign of affection with sloppy gratitude. "Haruhi, promise me -- "
"No," said Haruhi.
"But if you left me -- "
Haruhi had rolled over. She closed her eyes.
"It'd be stupid to try to make promises like that," she murmured, already on the way to sleep. "Nobody knows what will happen."
Tamaki spooned up against her shyly, his knees bumping the back of her legs. His breathing was still uneven, trembling on the edge of tears. Haruhi wondered if it was tiring to be so excitable. Didn't he ever consider whether it would be easier to let things go without kicking up a fuss about them?
She doubted it. Probably rich people just weren't brought up to be normal. That seemed to be the case with all the rich people she knew, anyway.
"I love you," said Tamaki against the shell of her ear, still sounding amazed, even after all this time. He was crazy, of course, but nearly everyone Haruhi knew was crazy. She'd decided long ago that it didn't matter. They seemed to get along fine all the same.
"I know," said Haruhi.
"If I died -- "
"I'd bury you," said Haruhi. "Good night."