Shadows & Roses

Studying

I ran my fingers along the spines of the books the lined the shelves of the study of the Otori House trying to find just what I wanted. Kyoya was a few feet away already with a small stack in one arm as he inspected another shelf. Locating my book I pulled it from the shelf and rested it with the others under my arm.

Happy with my selections I walked over and sat the books down on the table before opening the top one and getting to work. Kyoya joined me a few minutes later and began to take similar notes from the books he had selected.

We had been working on our research paper for over two weeks now and the final draft was due the next week. Today was our day off and we were once again working at Kyoya's. We had started at my place but my sister had invited over a group of her friends to stay for a few days and the chattering was incessant. After being interrupted for the millionth time we had decided it was best to head to Kyoya's since it was quiet.

"Do you have the notes on the 18th century monarchy?" Kyoya asked suddenly.

"Um…I think so…" I said and began to shift through the papers that were stacked next to my laptop before locating the papers.

"Thank you." he said as I passed them to him.

"Welcome." I nodded.

A second later there was a knock on the door and a woman with dark hair and Kyoya's sister Fuyumi came in with a tray of food.

"Is there something you need Fuyumi?" Kyoya asked not looking up from his book.

"I thought I'd bring you and your friend some lunch. You've both been working so hard that I thought you deserved a break." she smiled.

"Thank you." Kyoya said giving his sister a smile.

"You're welcome Kyo." she replied and leaned over to look at our work.

"You're researching England?" she asked.

"We are. Sora attended at girl's school there and we thought that it would be the best course of study. She knows a great deal about the country's history but we've decided to expand out as far as we can." Kyoya replied.

"What school did you attend?" Fuyumi asked looking at me.

"St. Vincent's Girl's Academy." I replied.

"That's quite a school. Why did you decide to come to Ouran?"

I felt a lump rise in my throat but I swallowed it and answered, "My parents missed myself and my sister and preferred to have us closer." I said lying smoothly. I had gotten so used to not talking about the betrothal that I almost forgot about it sometimes.

"Well it must be nice to be able to see your family more. Are you enjoying it? Have you visited Kyoya's Host Club?"

"Very much so and several times. My family is close friends with the Haninozuka and Morinozuka families. I visit with Honey and Mori during their time there." I smiled.

"I'm glad that you're enjoying it so much. Anyhow I should probably leave you two to your studies." Fuyumi smiled and headed out.

"You're getting quite good at making up alternatives to the real reason you came to Ouran. That was the first time you didn't look as if you were about to burst into tears." Kyoya said once Fuyumi was gone.

"Well when you tell a lie long enough it kind of almost becomes a truth." I replied.

"So how do you feel about marrying Honey-Sempai?" Kyoya asked.

I looked at him. Usually we avoided the subject of my arranged marriage and he'd never asked me such a personal question before. It surprised me.

"I'm slowly coming to accept it. I mean I suppose we have it easier than some. We do know each other and we do care for the other. It's just that it's not in a romantic way." I said feeling my stomach churn.

"Now that was far less convincing." Kyoya replied.

I sighed, "I know."

After that we returned to our research, sipping the tea and eating the snacks that Fuyumi had brought us. I was writing a brief summery of England during the American Revolution when suddenly the door burst open.

"MOMMY! DADDY'S HOME!" Tamaki screamed running into the room with the rest of the Host Club following.

Both Kyoya and I jumped at the sudden noise, knocking over our tea which landed on the stacks of our notes.

"Damn it Tamaki!" Kyoya cursed as the two of us rushed to move our laptops and save the pages of notes from the spreading tea.

"Some of these are ruined." I frowned as I attempted to make out the smeared ink.

Kyoya sighed, "Just what are you all doing here? I told you that Sora and I would be working on our paper. Which, by the way, shouldn't you be working on your paper Tamaki?"

"I've already finished my portion of it. Besides we thought you could use a study break." Tamaki replied.

"Well now you've just ruined three days worth of notes!" Kyoya snapped.

"It's not really so bad Kyoya. I think all that was ruined was my notes on what I already knew. I can rewrite it tonight." I replied after looking at just what was missing.

"Are you sure?" he asked.

"Yes. I'm almost completely certain of it." I nodded.

He sighed, "Very well. I still would like to know just what you are all doing here."

"Haruhi was going to show us a new commoner's restaurant." Hikaru replied.

"We wanted to know if you and Sora wanted to come with us." Kaoru said leaning on his twin's shoulder.

Kyoya sighed and turned to me, "Would you like to take a break and get lunch?"

"Sounds fine to me." I replied.

"Very well then." Kyoya replied.

"Yay! Sora-Chan and Kyo-Chan are coming too!" Honey cheered.

Kyoya and I packed up our things so that we could come back to them later before I grabbed my bag and we headed out with the rest of the Host Club.

"So how was the project going?" Haruhi asked as we climbed into the back of the stretch Hummer that was waiting outside for us.

"Very well actually. All that really is left to do is organize the data and write the paper." I replied.

"How long does it have to be?" Haruhi asked.

"It can be as long as we want to make it. This one should be about 10 pages." Kyoya replied.

"That's a pretty long paper." Kaoru replied.

"Sora wanted to make a good impression here at Ouran and I refuse to present anything but my best to the teachers so it was quite simple to pull off." Kyoya said.

We pulled up to a small restaurant in one of the busier parts of town. As we got out people stared at us which I expected. It certainly was odd and out of place to see eight teenagers climb out of a huge limo in a more modest part of the city. However the only other person that seemed to notice or care was Haruhi.

"I knew we shouldn't have taken the limo." she sighed.

"I'm with you." I replied feeling my face heat up.

"I thought you would be used to taking limos." Haruhi replied.

I shrugged, "It draws attention. It's my sister and my parents that like those. If my mother would let me I'd get my license."

"She won't let you?" Kaoru asked and I realized for the first time that he and Hikaru were listening in.

"No. She thinks it isn't lady like and dangerous. She's afraid to even sit in the front seat of a car." I replied rolling my eyes.

"She's afraid to sit in a car? Really?" Hikaru asked.

"That's my mother for you. She's insane." I sighed.

"So Haruhi, you're the expert here. What do you suggest?" Kyoya asked.

"The soup is good here. So are the sandwiches." Haruhi replied.

I scanned the menu before deciding on the Miso Soup. The others ordered different things and soon our table was filled with commoner food. I had never tried anything of the sort but the soup was quite good.

Once we had eaten we paid for our food and left.

"I suppose that we should head back to my house and continue our research. Hopefully our notes have dried out since." Kyoya said as we walked out of the restaurant, his eyes glancing at Tamaki.

"Agreed. If we finish the notes I could start typing it up tonight and you could review it after I'm finished." I replied.

"That sounds agreeable." I nodded.

Soon the limo pulled up to Kyoya's and the two of us got out.

"Oh! Sora-Chan! Don't forget about tonight!" Honey called as I climbed out.

"Don't worry I won't." I smiled.

Honey smiled and waved as I shut the door. Kyoya was waiting for me on the steps so I hurried forward to join him. We started for the study when suddenly Kyoya stopped me by grabbing my wrist.

"What?" I asked.

"It sounds like my father is home. That means we won't be able to use the study. I'll get our things why don't you head upstairs to my room? It's the 3rd door on the left at the very end." he said.

"Okay." I said and headed upstairs, following his directions.

Kyoya's room was huge. A large glass window was one entire wall with his dressers against it. It was two levels with a living room type setting at the bottom complete with 2 white couches and a table between. Above me I guessed to be where his bed would be because I didn't see one at the bottom.

Walking over I looked at the few photographs that sat on top of his dressers. One was a photo of a younger Kyoya with a woman who looked very much like him and his sister. After that was a photo of Kyoya with who I guessed were his brothers and father.

Finally of the Host Club who were all dressed in 18th century outfits, all except for Haruhi who wore a white gown with white flats. Kaoru was in a sling and both Haruhi and Tamaki looked a little damp around the edges and had their arms around each other.

"That was taken at the last Ouran Fair."

I jumped and turned around to find Kyoya carrying our things into the room.

"Why are Haruhi and Tamaki wet?" I asked.

"Because they both dived off a bridge shortly before that was taken." he replied as he sat everything down on the table.

"Oh! When that girl convince Tamaki to go back to France with her in exchange for seeing his mother?" I asked.

"Indeed. I guess that Honey-Sempai filled you in on that day?" he asked.

"He did. And I'm guessing that these are you brothers and your father?"

He nodded and walked over, "They are. And before you ask that is my mother."

"She's beautiful. You look a lot like her." I smiled.

His smile turned sad, "So I've been told. She died in a car accident when I was five . After that I had nannies and of course Fuyumi when she wasn't at school or things like that, until I was old enough to take care of myself. My brothers were always too busy, as was my father. I can't lie and say I don't miss her. I know that I was young when she passed but I know that she was spectacular woman."

"I'm sorry. I know what it's like to not really have anyone." I replied.

Kyoya nodded and looked at the photo for a few more moments. I couldn't make out his expression because of the glare on his glasses. After a few moments though he turned and walked to the table.

"We should get started on this." he replied sitting cross legged on the floor.

"Right." I nodded and sat across from him pulling a stack of tea stained sheets of paper towards me to sort through.

3rd POV

Kyoya looked across the table at the girl sitting in front of him. She wore a dark purple top that hung slightly off one shoulder to show a black tank top strap and a silver chain that was tucked underneath. Her hair was pulled into a braid at the back of her head and she had a pair of black and purple glasses perched on her nose. The glasses had been a surprise. In all of his research he hadn't found a single thing in any research he had done on her that would confirm that.

What surprised him the most though about her was how comfortable he felt around her. In the 2 weeks since they had started the project she had been around nearly constantly. Not only did they have their classes together but due to her close friendship with Honey and Mori she was a frequent guest of the Host Club. Add to the time they spent on the research paper and she had become a frequent part of his life.

Perhaps that was the reason he had so easily divulged such intimate details of his life to her earlier. He had told her things he had only discussed with Tamaki. He never talked about his mother to anyone.

Why was this girl so different?

"I was right. The only notes that are ruined are ones that are easily replaced." she said holding up a stack of stained sheets of paper with ink blurs on them. They were so messy it was hard to tell that the lines of black ink had once been any sort of language at all. His hands were still itching to strangle that towheaded nincompoop he called his best friend for ruining hours of their hard work though.

"Then perhaps I don't have to actually KILL Tamaki." Kyoya smiled as he took the useable notes from Sora so he could arrange them in the proper order.

"So what? You're just going only going to assault him a little?" she asked looking up at him with a smile.

Her smile and words made his own smile stretch across his face, "Perhaps. Or I may get my family's security to do it."

"Oh because that couldn't be linked to you at all! I can imagine the story now…'Tamaki Suoh of the prominent Suoh family was mercilessly beat by Otori Family Security Force. Police have no leads as to who hired them." Sora smirked and a moment later Kyoya felt a laugh burst out of his mouth.

At first Sora looked a little startled but a moment later she too was laughing. Neither knew why her statement was so funny but both were rolling. Perhaps it was that it struck that cord that makes you laugh like crazy over nothing at all. Or maybe it was that they were cracking under the days of tedious work. Either way it was quite a few minutes before either could properly breathe or speak again.

When they had finally calmed down they exchanged smiles and got back to work.

Two hours later Sora's phone vibrated on the table. Reaching out she picked it up and looked at it.

"It looks like it's time for me to go. Honey sent a car for me." Sora sighed as she began to gather her things.

"It may be none of my business but why would Honey send the car for you?" Kyoya replied.

Sora's face turned a dark shade of crimson and her movements became clumsy, "We uh…we have a date tonight. We're trying to get used to the 'couple' thing you know? I have no idea what Mori is going to do tonight since he's not coming with us."

"Oh. Well you wouldn't want to be late." Kyoya replied as he began to gather his own papers.

"I'll take everything home tonight and type out a rough draft. I should have it for you to check by tomorrow or the next day at the latest." Sora replied tucking everything into her bag.

"Very well." Kyoya said.

"Great." Sora smiled and stood up, Kyoya standing with her.

Kyoya walked her to the door and sure enough waiting outside was one of the cars the Haninozuka family owned.

"I'll see you tomorrow I guess. Bye." she said turning around and before Kyoya knew what had happened Sora had wrapped her arms around him in a hug.

He hesitated for a moment before hugging her back briefly before she pulled away. She gave a small wave and hurried toward the car, pulling the chain that was hidden under her shirt out. As she climbed into the backseat of the car Kyoya saw her pull a ring from the chain and slip it on her wedding finger.

Sora didn't look up as the car pulled away but Kyoya stood at the door and watched until it disappeared through the gate of his family's estate. When it was out of sight he turned to head back inside.

Walking into his room he climbed the stairs to his bed in the loft. He was suddenly tired as he sunk down onto his bed, leaning back against the pillows. Taking off his glasses put his hand over his face, rubbing his eyes.

"Kyo?"

Without removing his hands from his face he sighed, "What is it Sis?"

"I just wanted to know how your study date went." she said and he felt his bed sink on one side.

"It wasn't a date." he replied.

"Oh. Well you could've fooled me." she replied.

Kyoya put his glasses back on and sat up, "How so?"

"Well you two seem to get along very well, you took her out to lunch, I overheard you telling her about Mom and then I heard you two laughing in your room and then I didn't hear anything…for two hours…" she replied.

"Fuyumi we-"

"Look I don't need to know what goes on in your room okay?" Fuyumi started.

"But-"

"I know you're 17 and I know you have needs and if you're going to have sex I at least insist that you use a condom. If you don't know how to use them I'm sure that Yuuichi or Akito would be more than happy to explain and if they don't I'm sure I-"

"FUYUMI FOR THE LOVE OF GOD STOP!" Kyoya yelled standing up and covering his ears.

"Kyoya you're old enough to hear this. Don't act like a child." Fuyumi scolded.

Kyoya took a deep breath and turned to his sister, his voice trying hard for calm but sill shaking a little.

"Sora is just a…just a friend. Yes we went to lunch but we did it with the rest of the Host Club. I find that she's not nearly as detestable as the other girls at my school who have nothing more to do than giggle and gossip. We were laughing because she said something funny. The last time I checked that was what humans did when things were funny. As for those two hours we were working on our notes. We're both determined to get a high grade. Besides it would be pointless for me to even consider liking her. She's already betrothed."

"Betrothed? To who?" Fuyumi asked.

"Mitsukuni Haninozuka." Kyoya replied matter-of-factly.

"I never saw the two of them as a couple."

"Neither did they. Their engagement was arranged by their parents. That is the only reason she's even attending Ouran." Kyoya said.

Fuyumi nodded and was quiet for a moment before standing up with a sigh.

"Fine. You're just friends. I understand."

"Thank you." Kyoya said.

"But Kyo?" she asked.

Kyoya sighed, "What is it Fuyumi?"

"When you like someone it's not something you consider. It's just something that happens. No matter if you want it to or not." she said and patted her younger brother's shoulder and gave him a kiss on the temple before heading out of the room.

Kyoya stood in the center of his room thinking about what his sister said for a few moments before finally walking back to his bed. Laying across the black silk sheets he closed his eyes.

There was no way that he could like Sora like that. She was meant for his friend. Not for him. Yes he thought her attractive and yes he found himself at ease around her however they were not meant to be. When he looked at the type of wife that would be suitable to produce his heir in the future Sora did not fit that picture.

Her family was much better suited for the Haninozuka family. Both were old marital arts families and there was no doubt that she was involved in them just as Mori and Honey were. In fact he had overheard Sora expressing interest in joining the Kendo club with Mori. Kyoya had never had an interest in any sort of marital arts.

However no matter how hard he tried to shake it he couldn't stop thinking about her smile as she had laughed earlier and how easy his laughs had come when she had been there.

No.

He couldn't do this.

Mentally he shook himself to stop his train of thoughts and rubbed his eyes again. Sighing he slowly closed his eyes and soon fell asleep.

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