The guilt from the previous day came crashing back tenfold after he caught a glimpse of her bruised wrists while helping her clean up. In an attempt to make up for his previous failure to help her, Takashi had decided he would help her clean up after club hours. But when he saw the bruises on her wrists, the feeling of failure had nearly overwhelmed him. He could have prevented the pain that the three had carelessly caused her. It would have hardly taken a minute for him to remove Haruhi from their clutches and set her a safe distance away. But instead he had left her there. Even though her eyes clearly had called out for his help. But he had been doing his duty to Mitsukuni like expected of him. His cousin was the one he was supposed to watch over and protect, even if the small cake fanatic didn't actually need his protection. It was his duty; he was bound by honor and tradition. Except, Mitsukuni would have been fine for the split second it would have taken him to rescue Haruhi from the devious twins and the over exuberant Host Club King. He let out a growl at his inability to quell the turmoil in his mind. Why was he so torn?
Takashi huffed and closed his textbook, knowing he wasn't retaining a single word he read. No matter how hard he tried, he couldn't seem to get Haruhi out of his thoughts. Those wide chocolate eyes haunted him not only in his waking hours, but had invaded his dreams recently as well. Takashi was a practical man. He had very little needs and even fewer desires. After all, he was brought up in a manner that dissuaded frivoulous pursuits of pleasure and unnecessary wants. His purpose was to observe and protect. He trained relentlessly and took pride in his Kendo achievements. But those same skills also served him well in his duties to Mitsukuni. He strived to bring honor to his family and make sure his cousin was satisfied and safe. That was what he always did. Thoughts of Haruhi banished for the time being, Takashi drifted off into a restless sleep.
As Haruhi walked to school, she reminded herself of the decision she had reached the night before. After standing in the prep room for a humiliating amount of time in shock, Haruhi had headed home for the day and taken care of all her chores and homework. But that night in bed, her thoughts couldn't help but turn to the wild type member of the Host Club. Frustrated with herself for letting him invade her thoughts once again, she had done her best to think of something else, anything else. But to no avail. He had taken her by surprise when he had helped her clean up and had caught her completely off guard when he tended to her bruises. The gentleness of his actions had done nothing to lessen her crush on him. A crush that was quickly developing into something much more. No... she couldn't be falling for him. Could she?
Turning over in her bed, Haruhi dismissed such a silly notion. She was in her first year of high school. She had dreams and aspirations that needed to be achieved and only would be through extreme dedication to her studies. She had no room for a relationship, no room for love in her meticulously planned out life. Not to mention she had a father to take care of and a debt owed to the Host Club. She had sworn to herself that she would keep her father comfortable when he got older and pay him back for all the hours he had to work to keep them afloat. She really couldn't afford anything else on her plate. Besides, she was confident he held no such affections for her. Mind made up, she promised herself that starting the next day, she would slowly but surely distance herself from Mori-senpai. No more calling out to him for aid, no more furtive glances from across the room, and no more daydreams of him in class.
She had done the best she could to stick to the rules she had established for herself. The only distractions that plagued her in class came from the twins, but she had long since become proficient at blocking them out. And when they tried to drag her out of the classroom for lunch to sit with them at the Host Club's usual table, she had dug her heels in and told them she had work to catch up on. Sensing her stubbornness, they had shrugged and slunk off - most likely to cause mayhem elsewhere. Lunch passed quickly and Haruhi actually got some work done without the twins there to nag her or Tamaki there to comment on how sad it was that she couldn't afford the cafeteria (if you could even call it that) food. She ate her packed bento in peace, something she had not managed to do since she had relented to Kaoru and Hikaru's pleas to join the rest of the guys at the Host Club's lunch table.
The rest of the day passed without a hitch and before she knew it, she was making her way to the Third Music Room. For once she managed to make it there on time, getting the necessary things settled before they opened. The club hours flew by, filled with the incessant chatter of the girls and the usual acts from the Host Club members. After hours she attended to her cleaning duties swiftly. Thankfully, Mori-senpai did not join her in the clean up. Before she knew it, Kyoya dismissed her for the evening and she escaped out the doors without being ensnared by Tamaki or the twins. As she opened the door to her silent apartment, she thought to herself, "Maybe I can actually pull this off."