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Escape with Me

Chapter Text

(Y/N) sighed. The posters were on the wall and the final box was unpacked. Her parents said she seemed to be settling in rather nicely. Never mind the fact that she missed her friends desperately. It was time to look forward to new beginnings. New year. New school. Everything was going to be great.

That’s what she kept telling herself anyway. 

(Y/N)’s dad had just gotten a new job in Tokyo working in the government. It was a modest job with a modest raise. It was enough money to move to a nicer area.

On top of it all, (Y/N) had just gotten a full ride scholarship to the prestigious Ouran Academy. It was a stroke of luck and good timing. The school offers one slot in each class for the children of civil servants. She had written a great essay. Most importantly, she was interested in radio broadcasting, a professional opportunity the school offered but under utilized. This sweet combination made (Y/N) the perfect candidate.

Tomorrow was her first day. She had written a lengthy petition about how she could not possibly afford the uniform. It wasn’t that it was hideous (even though it was) – it was purely economical. The administration, with its desperate attempt to please its charity case students, said she could wear something different as long as it was business attire.

(Y/N) didn’t care that she would stick out like a sore thumb. She wasn’t going to fit in anyway, what did a costume change have to do with anything? She didn’t even want to go. Her parents asked her to apply; going to Ouran was basically a guarantee of a scholarship to a top university. She agreed it was worth it, but she didn’t have to like it. It was like taking her medicine, for three year, with stuck-up assholes.

She groaned before turning off the light and curling into bed. She was going to need all of her strength to make it through the day.

~~~

(Y/N) waited at the front entrance of the school, watching all of the chauffeured limos drive by. She was waiting for her welcome buddy, another scholarship student by the name of Haruhi Fujioka. The letter said Haruhi was in a position to “better understand" her situation. 

“Hey, are you (Y/N)?” 

You turned and to see a student with short brown hair. They were wearing a boy’s uniform but had very effeminate features. But hey, gender is fluid so what does it matter?

“Yep, that’s me. And you’re Haruhi right?”

“That’s right! Welcome to Ouran. It’s kind of crazy here, but eventually you get used to it.” 

(Y/N) raised an eyebrow. “Level with me Haruhi, is that really true?” 

Haruhi laughed. “You got me there.”

Haruhi gave (Y/N) an early morning tour of the school. It was extravagant cafeterias, state-of-the-art classrooms, and libraries full of first edition books. The place was like something out of a dream.

Lots of passersby stared at (Y/N). She got it, a new kid with new clothes that were obviously not brand. It was very clear that you were a scholarship kid. Whether they were judging her harshly or merely commenting on the new face, she couldn’t tell.

“Wow, this place is really fancy,” (Y/N) said.

“Well, I heard the next part of the trip will probably make you the most excited.”

Haruhi opened a door revealing a beautiful radio station, equipped with the latest technology. It looked like a professional space, with everything shiny and new. 

“This is the most beautiful thing I've seen in my life,” (Y/N) said. “You can play vinyl, CDs, MP3s! I think I might cry. I can’t believe this is all mine!”

(Y/N) was scheduled to run a show from 7am to 10am every morning during the working week. She was told to play an hour of classical and an hour of jazz that would broadcast throughout the school. The first hour when the fewest people were wandering the halls you could play whatever you wanted with one rule: Keep it classy.

“I’m glad you like the station!”

“Like it? I love it!”

“Anyway,” Haruhi said, “I think its about time for us to get to class!”

“Yeah, you’re probably right.”

~~~

Class here was much easier than expected, and the teachers assigned barely any homework. The other students were the most challenging part of her day. The girls in her class made rude comments and the boys shied away from her. She heard people talk about her commoner clothes and bold makeup, always with a level of scorn in their voices. 

She was mystified. Haruhi came from the same background and she did, and people loved him! Haruhi's friends were both abundant and very popular. Meanwhile, (Y/N) barely made it to the end of the day! She spent every second that she could with earbuds in, music blasting or hiding away in the mostly abandoned radio station.

Tomorrow was a new day. She had her first broadcast at Ouran bright and early in the morning. Maybe there was a silver lining at this crappy school. 

 

Chapter Text

“Hey there guys and girls, faculty and students, friends and countrymen. This is Ouran in the Morning, Ouran Academy’s premiere – and only – radio show. Whether you like jazz, classical, or folk music, we have it here for you. I’m DJ Scholarship spinning sweet tunes from room 4-C. Swing by, say hi, and enjoy the show.”

(Y/N) switched off her mic and began her music set with one of Bach’s cello suites. While she preferred more contemporary music, classical songs were one of her more refined pleasures. She had a particularly soft spot for strings.

If this was going to be most mornings, it was definitely going to be the best part of everyday. From the window at the station she watched the day grow progressively brighter with coffee in hand.

~~~

Morning music seemed to put the campus in much better spirits. Teachers grumbled less audibly. Rich students complained less to their butlers about the upcoming day. People commented on the pleasantness of the songs.

Ouran’s Host Club sat in Music Room 3 drinking a morning cup of tea. It was a weekly ritual for everyone to meet in the morning and listen to Kyouya’s expense reports for the week before splitting off for their respective classes. Usually it was an early morning chore, but the music flowing throughout the school made the day’s start much more pleasant.

“This is DJ Scholarship, announcing that we’ll now be changing gears to our jazz hour. Jazz is a funny genre with so many different subsets that it’s difficult to keep track. Today we’ll start off with the standards, move through smooth jazz, and maybe throw in some more experimental stuff now and again. I’ll guide you through the next music break, but first here’s the Girl from Ipanema.”

The members paused to listen to the soft guitar riff and accompanying lyrics.

“Kyouya, who is DJ Scholarship?” Tamaki demanded.

Kyouya pushed up his glasses. “Her name is (Y/F/N) (Y/L/N). She’s a second year student in Haruhi’s class. The school brought her on as a scholarship student because she was interested in broadcasting.”

“Well, she certainly has a talent for it.” Tamaki made his thinking face, the other hosts could almost hear the gears grinding.

“Oh no, the boss is thinking again,” Hikaru said.

“That’s never a good sign,” Kaoru said.

“I’ve got it! We need to have (Y/N) join the host club as a DJ! She can play all of our events and cater the music for our different themes…” Tamaki continued to ramble.

“I hate to burst your bubble, boss but (Y/N) isn’t exactly friendly,” Hikaru said.

“She’s really not popular, people don’t seem to like her much, and the only person she talks to is well…Haruhi,” Kaoru added.

“A rough radio DJ in need of an image lift sounds like a perfect project for our club,” Tamaki said. “Kyouya, draw up an invitation!”

~~~

An abandoned music room? (Y/N) looked at the card. This had to be it. While the students largely ignored her, today’s broadcast was the talk of the halls – receiving overwhelmingly glowing reviews.

After her show was over, (Y/N) made her way to the classroom, finding a note placed on her desk. It instructed her to come to Music Room 3 for a special radio related opportunity. She was intrigued. “

Well, here we go.” (Y/N) pulled on the door handles and rose petals floated around her.

“Welcome to the Ouran Host Club,” said a group of seven boys in unison. They sat in formation looking polished and perfected.

This was a lot to take in.

“Um, I’m here for the radio opportunity…”

“Of course, but first let me introduce myself, princess.” A blonde boy came closer and put a finger under (Y/N)’s chin getting uncomfortably close to her face. “I’m Tamaki Suoh, King of the Host club.”

“Okay,” (Y/N) said backing away.

“Oh, so I see princely’s not your type,” a redheaded boy said. “I think something a little more devilish may suit you, (Y/N).”

“Hikaru,” his twin said, wrapping his arms and legs around his brother. They were dangerously close – close enough to kiss. “Does that mean your trying to leave me?”

“Kaoru, there’s no way I ever could,” the twin named Hikaru said, pressing his forehead against his brother's.

They looked familiar. They were probably in one of (Y/N)’s classes. She would overhear girls squealing about their brotherly love routine.

“You know, if you guys are fucking that’s totally illegal, like pretty much everywhere,” she said with a completely straight face. “Oh, hey Haruhi. I didn’t realize that you were in this club. So, what is this place?”

“It’s the Host Club, I know it can be a lot but…” Haruhi started.

“I know, I’ll get used to it,” (Y/N) said. “Look, I don’t really care who you guys are if we’re being completely honest. I’m here for more info on whatever radio opportunity you have. So someone explain what this place is and why you need me.”

“This is the Host Club. We entertain girls at the school and our goal is to fulfill all of their romantic fantasies,” Tamaki said while twirling. Rose petals surrounded him.

“Each host plays a different archetype of the ideal man,” a dark haired boy with glasses said. “Tamaki is the princely type. The twins, Hikaru and Kaoru, are the devilish type with a forbidden brotherly love. You know Haruhi, the natural type. I’m Kyouya Ootari, the cool type.” He extended his hand, and she shook it.

“And I’m Hunny and this is Mori,” said a little boy with blonde hair. A tall dark haired boy towered behind him.

“Nice to meet you little boy,” you said shaking his hand. You always tried to be nice to kids. “You must be a prodigy to already be in high school!”

“Hunny is actually 18 years old,” Kyouya said.

Wait how was that even possible? He must have been the little boy type and his friend – who hadn’t said a word since she arrived – must have been the silent type.

“Okay awesome, so let’s pretend that this weird quasi-escort service makes any level of sense,” (Y/N) said turning to Kyouya. “Where do I fit in to the equation? You know I have no money right? I can’t afford to be a customer, even if I was remotely interested.”

“Oh, princess,” Tamaki said, taking your hand.

“Back it up, man,” she said. “Personal space.”

“My dear, (Y/N), we want you to be our clubs personal DJ!” Tamaki said. “We need music at all of our events. You can make playlists to match our different themes. It will make for the most magical atmosphere. We can dress you up to match us! It’ll be perfect!”

They stared at you, waiting for an easy yes.

“What’s in it for me?” (Y/N) asked.

“What do you mean?” Tamaki asked.

“Well, I already get to DJ a three hour show in the morning. Why should I DJ here after school everyday?”

“Well, what do you want out of it?”

“First, no one gets to dress me up. Secondly, I want compensation of the financial variety. Being here would limit my ability to take a part time job, and I need the money,” (Y/N) said.

The club wasn’t her style, but being able to play music and make money would make a huge difference. It would beat a job bagging groceries down the street.

“We can pay you, but you have to dress up to theme,” Tamaki bargained.

“I’ll match the theme, but I get to pick the outfit. And I get to pitch theme ideas,” (Y/N) said.

“Then we have a deal,” Tamaki said. “Kyouya, figure out a reasonable amount that we can pay her. I’ll get you acquainted with tomorrow’s theme, (Y/N).”

(Y/N) smiled. Looks like high school just got a little more interesting.

Chapter Text

(Y/N) looked at herself in the mirror, and damn she looked good. It’s amazing what money could buy.

They made a real effort to make her comfortable, and – as much as she hated to admit it – they were doing a great job. She got along well enough with all of the hosts. They were friendly, asked her questions about what music she enjoyed and what her life was like. It wasn’t exactly a normal friendship. You usually don’t call your friends commoners. However, if she wasn’t going to make any real friends, this was close enough.

Now it was time to get along with everyone else.

Today was her big “debut” as the host club’s DJ, and they wanted to completely rebrand her image. Right now she was seen as standoff-ish, distant, and tragically simple. Now she was going to be seen as cool and rebellious.

That’s why, according to Kyouya, her debut was punk theme.

The girls trickled in slowly to hosts dressed in denim, leather, black, and red. Guests had the opportunity to get temporary tattoos that would mildly worry their parents upon first glance. Everyone played their part perfectly. Bad boys with a soft side, bad boys with a forbidden love, bad boys who like to play hard to get.

It was tacky, but the soundtrack slapped. That was the only thing that mattered.

“So ladies, the reason we did this very special theme is to introduce a new member of the Host Club family,” Tamaki said to the crowds of adoring fans. “This is (Y/F/N) (Y/L/N), our new in house musical expert.”

A spotlight that seemingly came out of nowhere landed on (Y/N). She had just spun a track and was in the middle of fiddling with a record player.

“Uh, hey?” She said.

“Now, I’m sure you’ve heard her voice broadcasted across the school in the morning. However there’s more to our DJ then just classical and jazz,” Tamaki said. “She’s a punk from the wrong side of the tracks, with impeccable musical tastes.”

Wrong side of the tracks? I’m literally an honors student, (Y/N) thought. A frown tugged at her lips.

“Now, (Y/N), to formally kick off your time here, will you play us one of your favorites?” Tamaki asked.

All eyes were on (Y/N). She wasn’t used to this level of attention. She preferred the anonymity of the sound booth. She wasn’t smooth under pressure, so she would let the music speak for itself. She let the simple, yet angsty, buzzing of the Ramones’ Teenage Lobotomy blast through the speakers.

Loud guitars filled the room. (Y/N) wondered how many people in the crowd actually listened to this type of music at home.

After the two-minute song ended, guests and hosts paired off again chatting and flirting. Rich kids dressing up like punks was profoundly ironic.

Guests came over and complimented her music choices. Some girls even took the time out to have a conversation, asking all sorts of questions. Where did she go shopping? How did she get her makeup to look that way? Where did she learn about so many musical genres?

(Y/N) found herself warming up to the conversation. Talking about music and fashion was almost like being with a friend back home.

Then she was asked the inevitable question: “(Y/N), which of the hosts do you like?”

“Well,” she paused for a second. “None of them in particular. Not romantically anyway.”

When she gave her response, the room fell quiet. All of the hosts looked at her. Did no one manage to charm you?

“None of them?” Tomoko a girl in your class asked.

“Nope,” you went back to fiddling with the sound board in front of you. “Tell them that if they want to wow me, they’re going to have to try a lot harder.”

Challenge accepted.

Chapter Text

Well, today was exhausting. (Y/N) was ready to head home, eat dinner with her family (katsudon, her favorite), then settle in bed. Those boys sure knew how to tire her out. The end of the day was especially strange, but it was best not to think about it. She did, after all, have to come back the next day. Better to pretend that they didn’t just attempt to turn her into a fan girl.

~Earlier that Day~

“Gentlemen, today’s mission is to get (Y/N) into the spirit of the host club,” Tamaki said pointing to a black board. “(Y/N) says she finds none of us charming and isn’t interested in any of us. That’s completely unacceptable. How can she work for our club if she doesn’t understand our appeal?”

“I don’t understand why everybody has to like us, senpai,” Haruhi said. “I think its better not to meddle.”

“It’s not meddling Haruhi, its more like employee training,” Tamaki said. “I think that for (Y/N) we have to zero-in on what type of guy that she likes.” 

“That’s not exactly easy with a person like, (Y/N),” Kyouya noted. “But, I think I have some ideas.”

~~~ 

(Y/N) walked into Music Room 3, dressed casually. She took off her headphones and was greeted by an unusually silent club.

“Hey, guys?” (Y/N) called out. “What’s the theme for today? No one told me what music to prepare.” 

“No music today, (Y/N).” It was Tamaki who greeted her with his usual charming smile. “Today, we’ll be focusing on getting you acquainted with the club and what we do.” 

“Tamaki, look. I was hired on to play music at your events not to – ”

Tamaki shook his finger. “Think of this as mandatory job training.” 

“Okay, fine. I guess I don’t have a choice,” she sighed. “So what’s on the agenda?”

“You my dear get to sit down with every one of us so we can tell you about what we do for the club,” Tamaki said. “Starting with yours truly!” 

And so the sessions progressed. Tamaki talked endlessly about the role he played as the club’s leader – choosing themes and acting as the hosts' father. Haruhi – who you recently found out identifies as a girl – talked about being an errand monkey. (Y/N) did not envy her job in the slightest. And Hunny spent twenty minutes just talking about cake.

That was pretty run of the mill. Her suspicions arose with her next encounters. 

She sat down with Mori for tea and cookies in a sectioned off portion of the room, housing a velvet settee and coffee table. The lights were dimmer there, creating a more intimate setting.

“Hey, Mori-senpai, what do you do here?”

Silence.

“Cool, cool,” (Y/N) said. “I was hoping you’d drop the quiet type act since its just me, but I get it. It must not be an act after all.”

More silence.

“Let me grab my phone, and I’ll play us some music. We can find something we both like? Maybe something to match the cozy atmosphere.”

(Y/N) got up from the couch and started to walk away, but Mori grabbed her wrist. She paused.

Then in one swift motion he pulled her back on to the settee, so she was laying down. He was on top of her, his face rapidly approaching hers. Their lips were so close, only centimeters apart.

Then, Mori froze. (Y/N) had placed a single finger on the center of his forehead and was pushing him back. He took the signal and got off of her, sitting beside her in the same position as before.

“Mori-senpai, you seem like a really nice guy. But I don’t really know you well enough to kiss you,” she paused. “I get that you’re a quiet guy, but I’d want to chat with someone at least a little before we lock lips.”

She stood up, faced him, and bowed before spinning on her heels and moving to the next person. 

(Y/N) then sat down at Kyouya’s table. When she took her seat, the shadow king stopped writing in his notebook. He folded his hands and put them under his chin, a smirk slowly appearing on his face.

(Y/N) mimicked his actions, intrigued. 

“So I’m assuming we’re not actually going to talk about expense reports?” (Y/N) said. 

“No, you’re a smart girl. Aren’t you?”

“Well, I am a scholarship student.”

Kyouya laughed. “(Y/N), I hate to beat around the bush. I find you extremely attractive.”

“Really now?” She raised an eyebrow. 

“That’s right. I know we don’t know each other well but maybe we can start something?” He stood up and leaned over the table placing a finger on her neck and slowly sliding it up the underside of her chin. “Even if its only physical.”

“Cut the crap, Ootori-senpai,” (Y/N) said.

Kyouya backed away.

“We both know that isn’t true. If you had real feelings for me, you wouldn’t pull this type of stunt. You’re a quiet guy who bottles up his emotions,” she said. “Every time you’re this brash, it’s an act. I have some level of emotional intelligence, and I can tell the difference.”

“Am I really that obvious?” He said pushing up his glasses. 

“No, I’ve just been here long enough to see beyond some of the smoke and mirrors,” she smiled back. “But, I really do admire your analytical skills. And the work you do, from a business standpoint, is very cool. Do you think we could try to be actual friends?”

Kyouya smiled – a genuine smile. “I think I’d like that.”

Well, five down. She had one more “meeting” to make it through. It was with the twins, the act she found the least bearable. They seemed like nice people, but the fake brotherly love rubbed her the wrong way. 

“Hikaru, why would tell her that story?”

“Why, Kaoru are you embarrassed?”

(Y/N) had originally decided to just sit and humor the two boys. However, after five minutes that was no longer possible. Twincest was ridiculous. And she had tolerated enough nonsense today.

“Hey, guys. I’m really sorry but it’s been a really long day, and I just want to go home,” she said. “I hope you’re not too offended, but could we wrap this up?”

The twins stopped, arms still tangled around one another.

“I know you guys are just playing me to see if I’ll fall for any of the host club tropes,” she said, more softly. The accusing tone of her voice melted into something both mellow and stern. “I won’t.” 

“So then (Y/N),” Kaoru said, “What do you look for in a guy?”

“I guess I would want someone I can talk to and get to know,” she paused for a moment, searching for a more thoughtful answer. “We would share the things we care about and build our own little world. We would form a bond that only we could understand.” 

Silence fell between the three.

“And I don’t really think that two for one would fly. I know that you sell yourselves as a unit, but every person is unique. There are things that make you distinctly Hikaru,” she pointed at one twin. “And you distinctly Kaoru.” She pointed at the other. 

“Outside of the madness of this place, I’d love to get to know you both better as individuals,” (Y/N) said while gathering her things. “But that’s for another day. See you both tomorrow.”

She walked out leaving the twins to think.

“I’m still trying to decide if I like her or hate her,” Hikaru said.

Kaoru nodded. He tried to agree with his brother, but inside he could feel his heart beating a bit faster.

~~~ 

After a walk home, (Y/N) settled at the dinner table with her family. Her head was still reeling from her interactions at the host club.

“How was your day, honey?” Your mother asked.

“Well, you know … Just more of the usual.”

Chapter Text

“Okay, so before we tackle the content in this unit let’s talk about study techniques,” (Y/N) said. “The key to these equations is lots of practice, so I’m going to write some sample problems – Kaoru? Are you even paying attention?”

“Yeah, definitely,” he said back, still looking dazed.

(Y/N) sighed. This was going to be a challenge.

(Y/N) had grown more accustomed to life at the host club as weeks passed. She had the rare opportunity to watch the group – both with guests and behind the scenes. Everyone was a little in love with Haruhi. Well, Tamaki was very in love with her. So was Hikaru. The rest of the club watched with some level of repressed longing.

(Y/N) observed everything, watching silently as the scenes unfolded in front of her. She spun songs, complained on occasion, but tried to keep an overall positive attitude. She had even started to develop something akin to friendship with some of the hosts, including Kaoru.

So naturally, when Kaoru began to struggle in math class she became the obvious choice for a tutor. If he didn’t raise his grades, he would be banned from participating in extracurriculars. Kyouya, Tamaki, Hunny, and Mori were upper classmen, studying different material. Hikaru was barely passing and didn’t know enough of the subject to teach it. Haruhi was too busy with her job paying back her host club debt.

(Y/N) did well in school and her study techniques were impeccable. She could whip even the most unmotivated student into shape. If there were fewer distractions, that is.

Why Tamaki suggested that they have tutoring session during host club hours was a mystery.

The other boys flirted with their customers, filling the room with feminine squeals. Tamaki danced around the room yelling about something, causing a general commotion. Hikaru, incomplete without his twin, popped in every other second to ask how the studying was going along – delaying the studying process.

(Y/N) could almost feel the vein in her head throbbing.

“Enough!” She slammed her hands on the table. “We cannot study here! It is too damn noisy! Kaoru, get your things we’re going.”

“Hey, where are you taking him?” Hikaru called after her.

“Don’t worry about it! I’ll have him back here in an hour after we make some actual progress,” (Y/N) yelled. “See you then!”

She stormed to the door with Kaoru right behind her. As soon as they were outside, (Y/N) grabbed Kaoru’s wrist. She took off, dragging him along.

“Let’s run before they try to follow us. I want to get this done efficiently, no distractions.”

They finally stopped at the door of the radio station.

“We’ll study in here from now on,” (Y/N) said while opening the door. “Settle in and get comfortable.”

Kaoru looked around, eyes jumping from the different concert and movie posters that lined the walls. (Y/N) had added twinkling fairy lights to add a more homey touch. She had plants set up by the window and a blanket draped over one of the chairs. It was cozy and personal. He felt as if he were looking at an intimate slice of her life. He could imagine her wrapped in a blanket early in the morning starting off her radio show.

“You did a great job with the place,” Kaoru said. “Are these all of your things?”

“I’m glad you like it,” she beamed. “I picked out everything in here. Some of it came from home, some of it I bought with money from the radio’s budget. This place is where I spend most of my mornings.”

“I can imagine you in action up here that’s for sure,” he said while pulling out his things.

“Yeah,” she said. “You should swing by one time, maybe we can even do a broadcast together? Anyway, let’s get moving on this problem.”

She pointed to a problem in the book, grazing his hand in the process. Kaoru felt sparks – a short jolt of electricity ran through him. He listened intently to her explanations, hanging on every work. He leaned in, sitting as close to her as possible. He wasn’t exactly flirting, he told himself, rather demonstrating all of the subtle textbook signs of attraction. You would only see it if you squinted.

Kaoru was disappointed that he was struggling in math, but at least spending time with (Y/N) was a silver lining. He had been thinking about her ever since she called out his twin act. She said she wanted to know them both as individuals.

Hikaru was slowly but surely letting Haruhi into their world. Through growing closer to her, he was becoming more independent, developing a life outside of their sibling relationship. Hikaru imagined a life with a girl, not just a life with his sibling. Kaoru was happy for his brother, but something bothered him. A longing that he couldn’t quite place his finger on. Maybe he wanted romantic love, or a new confidant, or a new plaything? Whatever it was, he felt that soft ache subside when he was around (Y/N), however briefly.

So for now he would relish the alone time, even if there was math.

Chapter Text

“Hey Kaoru, I need to talk to you today, do you have a couple moments during lunch?” (Y/N) asked in between classes.

“Sure, (Y/N). Is it about tutoring?”

“Yeah, I just talked to Koide-senpai, and I just wanted to give you an overall assessment of your progress.”

“Yeah, sounds good to me,” he turned to Hikaru. “Do you think you’ll be able to survive without me?”

“Oh, Kaoru! I’ll be counting down the minutes,” Hikaru cooed. Roses filed the air out of nowhere and girls gathered around to scream.

There was never a dull moment at Ouran Academy, especially when the Host Club was a part of your world.

(Y/N) had been tutoring Kaoru in math for three weeks, during which he saw a dramatic rise in his performance. The toughest part of the course had already passed, and Kaoru’s improvement showed promise. It was to the point where the teacher believed that he was able to work independently. The issue, according to the instructor, was utilizing the proper studying techniques not necessarily Kaoru’s ability to understand math.

At lunch Kaoru and (Y/N) sat in a courtyard under a plum tree, eating their respective lunches. Kaoru had gotten something to-go in the cafeteria. (Y/N) ate onigiri she had made with yesterday’s leftover rice.

“So, I heard that you’re not only going to pass, but your grade is basically going to shoot up,” (Y/N) said as they ate. “Which is fantastic!”

“Well, I only learned because I had a great teacher,” Kaoru said with a smile.

He appreciated (Y/N)’s patience as a tutor and sitting down for an uninterrupted hour just to doing math forced him to work hard. He was even willing to study on his own time, hoping that he would improve and make (Y/N) proud.

“Koide-senpai doesn’t even think that you need tutoring anymore,” (Y/N) said.

Kaoru couldn’t help but feel a frown tug on the corner of his lips. That hour had provided him a strange solace. Yes, he was working. But it was the only time he had away from his brothers and the host club. The radio station had become a key point of his burgeoning identity. There was something special about going to a place none of his other friends had been – not even his brother.

“So, what do you say we celebrate tonight? We can go out for a dinner after the host club, if you want that is,” her voice trailed.

Kaoru leaned in and bumped against her.

“Are you asking me out, (Y/N)?” He asked playfully.

“It’s a student and tutor celebrating,” she laughed a little. “We can grab a bite? There’s a place not far from here, its not fancy or anything but—”

“That sounds perfect, I’d love to!” Kaoru could feel his heart pounding. Even if this wasn’t a date, he could feel color rising to his cheeks. The thought of what to tell his friends lingered in the back of his mind. He hadn’t told Hikaru yet about any feelings he had for (Y/N), mostly because he hadn’t quite figured it out yet himself.

“And we can tell everyone that we had to add one last review session. Let’s meet at the radio station, and we can head out from there,” (Y/N) said. She always seemed to know the answer even if the question hadn’t yet been asked.

“Let’s do that,” Kaoru agreed.

~~~

“See you guys tomorrow! I’ll be in the usual study spot, Kaoru.” (Y/N) walked out of the room first with the intention of changing then grabbing a bite. She put on a lighter summer dress, shedding her uncomfortable business clothes.

She wanted to dress to impress. She liked Kaoru. If their time studying had taught her anything, they had a special connection. (Y/N) could talk to him about anything with ease, from the host club to music to equations on a page. And the strangest part? Whenever their fingers brushed against each other accidentally, she could swear she felt sparks.

When she finished changing, Kaoru was already waiting outside, dressed in a white tee shirt and pastel shorts.

“Ready to go?” He asked.

“Yeah! Let’s head out!”

They walked down the street in the heavy summer heat. Karou wasn’t sure if he was imagining, but he could swear she was walking close, leaning towards him. They talked as they usually would, pleasantly discussing the club and school on their way to the restaurant.

The restaurant was small, four tables and a few seats at the bar. It looked like a run of the mill place with no frills and good food. The waitress sat the pair at a table by the window. After they placed an order, the hostess brought tea.

(Y/N) and Kaoru reached for the teapot at the same time, their fingers touching. Kaoru, let his touch linger and looked up at her face, her cheeks tinted pink with blush.

When their food arrived, Kaoru didn’t make any comments. He complimented the food and talked about how glad he was the tutoring paid off. When he was with (Y/N), he was nonjudgmental and could easily put a smile on her face.

“Hey, Kaoru?”

“What’s up?”

“Thanks so much for celebrating with me and being cool with coming here.”

“It’s a nice place,” he smiled. “And I’m with you, do it doesn’t really matter where we are. I just enjoy spending time together, I guess.”

She smiled back. “I feel the same.”

At the end of the meal, the pair made their way outside, walking back towards the general direction of the school. Kaoru felt a drop on his nose. That quickly turned to the sky opening up and water pouring from the heavens. (Y/N) pulled over to the side under an awning then opened up an umbrella. They both huddled underneath it, walking with their arms pressed close together.

“Is it okay if we head toward my house?” (Y/N) asked. “It’s right around the corner, and from there you can keep my umbrella. And wait until a car gets you!”

“Yeah, that works for me.”

They waited in front of (Y/N)’s apartment complex, snug under the umbrella that was just large enough for two. A black limo rolled into view, sticking out like a sore thumb among the commuter cars and bicycles of the area.

“Thanks so much for celebrating with me, Kaoru! And congratulations on getting your grade up!”

“I should be thanking you, (Y/N). Without you, I would probably be failing.”

“Anyway—“

Next thing he knew, she hugged him, wrapping her arms around his frame. He hugged back, shocked by her closeness. He wished the hug could last forever. When she pulled away it felt like too soon.

“I’ll see you tomorrow, Kaoru!” She dashed towards the door, braving the rains of the monsoon.

“I’ll see you soon,” he called out behind her, still holding her umbrella.

Well, if he was unsure before he knew now: He was hopelessly falling for (Y/F/N) (Y/L/N).

Chapter Text

(Y/N)’s sat in her bed watching television on her computer when her phone buzzed.

Hey, what’re you up to?

She smiled and typed back immediately. Not much. Watching a stupid tv show. How about you?

Oh, just thinking about you ;)

Really now?

Three weeks in and they were still sending cute text messages. She wondered how long the honeymooning would last and when the ball would drop. She and Kaoru had been sneaking around.

At first they spent time together as friends, twice a week telling everyone they were studying. It was just spending time together as friends. Things progressed from there.

She thought about it everyday. 

~~~

They always went to areas that were out of the way, places they wouldn’t bump into classmates. They agreed that dealing with classmates would lead to rumors, which they didn’t need. They were only friends. 

After a stop for snacks in a local café, Kaoru decided to walk (Y/N) back home. As (Y/N) walked by, a group of three men began calling after her.

“Hey, honey! Nice ass you got there.”

“Hey, babe. Let’s chat. Where're you going?”

“Let’s go, (Y/N),” Kaoru said grabbing her hand as he spend forward.

Even when the men were far out of sight, their hands remained linked. And the next day, when she reached for his hand again, he never pulled away.

~~~

“Why is it cold? It’s practically the summer!”

Kaoru and (Y/N) decided today was the day for a stroll in the park. The weather was brisk, but perfect in the sun. After sunset, it was a different story.

“Oh, (Y/N). It’s too early in the year to abandon the jacket!” 

“Well, I didn’t really think about it until now…”

Kaoru let go of her hand and began to take off his jacket – a denim jacket with an attached hood. 

“Kaoru, it’s totally okay! We’re almost back at my place, so I don’t really need it.”

“We’re at least a half mile away! I’m wearing a long sleeve, and I want you to be warm.”

“Okay then,” she said, blushing. The jacket was warm and comfy. The best part it smelled like he did. She found the scent comforting. Walking while wearing his jacket and holding hands? It felt like the best thing in the world.

Crap. She had already fallen for him. 

“Hey, (Y/N)?”

“Yeah?”

“You can keep the jacket,” he said, as color rushed to his cheeks. “It looks really cute on you.” 

~~~ 

Another day at another park. This time they had decided to picnic. After a few onigiri, they on a blanket observing nearby dog walkers and children. She would watch the park, then look back at him. His sparkling eyes and ginger hair. Sometimes she would catch him looking at her. The day felt perfect. 

They had settled into a comfortable silence, a phenomenon that was not unusual. She scooted closer to him, leaned over, and kissed his cheek.

“(Y/N)?”

“Yeah?”

 Then she felt a pair of lips crash on to her. She closed her eyes and kissed back. Then he pulled back, a huge smile on his face.

“Wow,” he said.

“Wow is right.” 

~~~

And now they were texting back and forth, living in limbo. They weren’t dating. But they were sneaking around. They didn’t have labels. But they did make out in her room when her parents were at work. He wasn’t her boyfriend. But she wanted him to be.

Hey, I’m heading to bed. Good night~ She typed into her phone.

Sleep well, (Y/N)-chan <3