Title: Three Days And Gone
Fandom: Ouran High School Host Club
Character(s)/Pairing: TamakixHaruhi, with cameos by the other club members.
Summary: Noble man, Suoh Tamaki, is on a quest to win back the love of his life, only to be thwarted by the woods and its enhabitants.
Theme: #051 - Fools Frightened
Warnings: Complete nonsense, with a lil' bit of character death and funky dialouge.
Author's Notes: I once heard a folk story about this same general thingy, only it was only the man on the horse and the boy--I added the others in just for fun, and I think it was pretty interesting to read back. I enjoyed it. ENJOY!! Done for/X-posted to 100_fairytales (the first Ouran one! I'm so proud of myself!!)
Three Days—And Gone
There was once a grand man, envied by everyone in the land for his estate, wealth and good looks. He was the sunshine child, brining light and happiness to all those who knew him. He was a bright young lad, and grew into a bright young man, by which time it was required that the young man marry a younger woman. Suoh Tamaki chose one Fujioka Haruhi as his wife, and the two were married on a bright summer day, sticky with heat and happiness.
It was soon there after that the newly wed wife discovered her new husband’s grand flaw: his narcissism. He was sick of self love, and she could not stomach it. And thus, their first marital spat began, lasting almost a year with harsh words, evil glares and not a kind moment between them. The two never fell out of love, per say, but they hated each other. And then, directly after the eleventh month of marriage, the fight reached a climactic ending.
“I will leave!” Tamaki declared, dressing. He pulled his warmest clothing on over his night cloths.
Haruhi glared at him, sprawled across a crimson fainting couch in a pale pink dressing gown. “If you leave, I will not stop you,” he replied back softly. “But you must come home in three days time, or else I will be lost forever.”
True to her word, Haruhi did not life a finger to stop her spouse as he breezed past her and into a barn to saddle a horse and ride into the night. Nor did Tamaki truly listen to his wife, and simply road and road, his money bag bouncing at his side and wind whipping through his coat.
Three days and two nights, Tamaki rode furiously, dismounting only to eat wild fruit or drink water from clear streams. He slept little, and did not groom; his behavior became erratic, but his fury calmed. He missed Haruhi, longer for her company and her telling him off for being stupid. He felt stupid, then, even without her telling him thus, and stopped before wielding his horse around, riding as hard and fast as he could back to his estate.
He’d ridden hard and fast for three days and two nights, leaving him only one night to make up the ground. He could feel his horse slowing underneath him, and knew it was in vain to attempt to ride along the path. He reined his steed off the path, kicking his sides to urge him through the underbrush and dirt alike.
The sun was setting behind the trees and mountains just as something stirred to the exact left of Tamaki’s galloping horse, causing the animal to rear violently and whinny. There was a scream, and once the Suoh regained control of his mount, he glanced off to the side to see what appeared to be a small child, with dirty face and hands, and matted brown hair. He had hungry golden eyes that looked up into Tamaki’s own violet orbs and plucked at the rider’s heartstrings.
He pulled his money bag from his belt line, holding it out to the boy, “All this shall be yours if you can point me whence home is.”
The child watched the pouch swing in the darkness, “That all depends whereas thou home is, high man.”
“Home, where my wife lies in wait for me.”
The child snatched greedily at the purse and clutched it to his chest. “That way, high man. Tread lightly.” And he took off back into the underbrush, vanishing quickly as he had appeared.
Tamaki pulled his horses’ head around again and began the mad dash again, feeling the chill of night setting into his bones. The woods seemed strangely loud without the ‘chink’ of coins at his side. And so the Suoh rode on until he encountered another obstacle—this one in the shape of a log balanced on a rock, too high to jump over and too low to climb under, with four figures seated upon it. Two women, both with flowing brown hair that glinted gold in the light from the two black haired men’s lamps. They leered at him.
“What do we have here?” asked one of the women childishly, giggling as the blond man stopped short. “Another lost soul come to wander our woods?”
“A, a lost lover, Renge,” a man with glasses informed her. “His eyes tell it all.”
“How noble, Kyouya!” She giggled garishly.
“What brings you this way, man?” demanded the other woman, pointing back the way he had come. “Most lost lovers travel that way, toward the cliffs, to cast their bodies over and end their suffering. Surely, you aren’t lost in direction, too.”
Tamaki was affronted. “I do not wish to end my life—simply to fix it, find my wife and lay with her. I have been a fool and this must be rectified.”
The lights swung in the dark, casting flickering shadows of sharp relief onto the figures features. They looked eerie, and the smiles that the two females favored him with were simply terrifying. Tamaki shivered.
And then the second man spoke in a deep baritone. “Aren’t you going to pass?” he indicated the log that the other three were seated on and he leaned against. The man shifted and Tamaki caught sight of the knives in his belt, glinting silver in the lamp; a fresh wave of fear spilled through him.
“I can’t,” the blond answered.
“Well, of course you can’t!” Cackled the Renge woman again, bucking over n a humor of poor taste. “You’re too tall on that pony of yours.”
“We didn’t mean with the horse,” the second woman told him frostily. “You must dismount.”
He was vexed. “I need this horse if I am to reach my wife before my third day is up and I lose her! I cannot make it on my own.”
The man with glasses shrugged. “Your horse is slowing you in your mad dash of poorly advised romance, and your destination is not that far away that you will be incapable of reaching on foot, especially if you run.” The light danced of his glasses. “Leave your horse with us.”
Tamaki considered it for a second before dismounting from his mount and proffering the reigns to the most silent of the bunch, who took them and drew the panting animal off to the side. The blond then slipped under the log and continued walking through the underbrush in his correctly assumed direction until Renge screamed, “RUN, FOOL! LEST YOU LOOSE HER!!” behind him, and then Tamaki was sprinting blindly through the dark.
He ran and ran and ran and felt he was getting nowhere in the suffocating shadows. Every crunch of twig and leaf was the same, and every indistinct animal growl ran together in a rumbling low sound. And then—
Tamaki’s foot hit muddy water and he froze until he spotted the reflective moonlight on the water’s surface. A marsh—and what with having no way to know its boundaries or depth, he was stuck. Dismayed, Tamaki ran a hand through his hair and kicked out violently at the water, sending droplets splattering into ripples. He had no hope of succeeding in returning to Haruhi now! Not with this swamp—
“Mister?” Two voices? No, one.
Tamaki whirled around, his boots mucking the water to sap at his pants hems. A small child, clad only in green sleepwear stood within the underbrush, arms wrapped around his frame. Moonlight danced along his red locks, making a figurative halo appear around his head.
“Mister, what are you doing?”
“I am returning home to requiest with my wife and lie with her once more,” he informed the child. He then pointed toward the expanse of water behind him. “Is the bottom of this marsh solid enough for me to touch?”
The child had large amber eyes. He nodded. “Yes.”
Hope returned to the freezing extremities of his body and Tamaki eagerly plodded into the water, feeling his feet stir up sand and dirt from the bottom until the water was up to his chest.
All he could think about was HaruhiHaruhiHaruhi. And then his feet dropped out from under him, connecting with nothing if he attempted to keep his head above water. He gasped, struggled and thrashed, attempting to step back onto solid ground with no suck luck. It was much like being smothered, and no matter how much he swam, he continued to sink deeper and deeper inevitably.
“I—I thought you said the bottom was solid enough to stand!!” he demanded, looking toward the bank where two boys—no, wait—one red headed boy stood, watching him with his green pants soaked from the knee down. Tamaki went under, and resurfaced to hear the ‘chink-chink’ of coins, whispered giggles and two lights that illuminated the shadowy figures of seven people—two men, two women, and three children—on the bank.
“But, Mister, it is. You simply are just not touching it yet.” Tamaki spluttered, went under, and was still.
Three miles away, Suoh Haruhi tapped her fingers on the wooden top of an elongated wooden table. She was impatient, now, unwilling to wait for her husband to return. She stood, bid her housemaids to have a dinner waiting for two in their bedchamber, and drew her dressing gown tightly around her frame and mounted a horse, urging the white mare along the path.
She was surrounded by trees in a matter of seconds, and turned her hair every which-way-and-whence as strange, animalistic sounds and odd lights flashed between the trees. The horse suddenly stopped, whinnied, and sprinted off the well trodden horse path, jumping over the plants before taking off in a quick canter. “Whoa!” the brunette demanded, but her mare only slowed down once she was completely lost.
Her horse was trotting in water, too, feeling restless and wheezing under her saddle. Haruhi ran a hand through the animal’s mane. I’m...lost...
Her horse whinnied again. Haruhi turned the white mare around, only to see a red haired child, dressed in dry green sleepwear, despite being situated in the shallow end of a swamp.
“Miss, where are you going?”
“To find my husband, to bring him home again,” she responded, calming her mount that seemed disconcerted by the child’s presence. She pointed backward at the swamp. “Tell me; is that marsh’s bottom solid enough for me to touch?”
Perhaps it was a trick of the moonlight, or just the angelic way that the child’s features were carved, but Haruhi could have sworn she noticed something akin to a smile dancing around his lips.
The child had large amber eyes. He nodded. “Of course.”