*1st Place in Ouran_Contest* Sometimes she couldn't help but think that the universe was out to get her. And, no matter how much she loved her father, he was one of the prime examples of such a thing.
Theme: "Cross Dressing"
Of Fathers and Daughters
Sometimes she couldn't help but think that the universe was out to get her. Or rather, that no matter where she fled, no matter the circumstance, situation, place, or time, the universe had condemned her to forever deal with the absurd and ludicrous. And, no matter how much she loved her father, he was one of the prime examples of such a thing.
She had returned home to the apartment to find it trashed. Well, not exactly trashed, but not really clean either. It was more like a fabric store had thrown up in the apartment leaving both remnants and full spindles lying about everywhere. The hum of a sewing machine could be heard in the main room just a few feet away.
"I'm home," Haruhi called flatly.
She took off her shoes and entered the apartment. There was no reply to her greeting. Walking into the other room she looked to see her dad slumped over his sewing machine. He had a look of fierce concentration on his face as he carefully guided the needle through the blue and yellow fabric he was working with.
Knowing he wasn't going to acknowledge her yet, she moved her school things to the adjoining room before setting out to make dinner. The sewing machine continue to hum in the background.
Almost an hour later, when the food was almost done and the mouth watering smell had overtaken the apartment, Fujioka Ranka finally made his way out of the main room. "Haruhi," he exclaimed. "Have you missed your papa?"
She looked at him with blank eyes. "Dinner's ready," she said.
Grabbing a few of the dishes, she side stepped her exuberant dad and walked into the other room. While obnoxious at times, he was considerate. He had already cleared off the table of his things and placed them in a neat pile in a corner of the room. Haruhi set down the dishes, her dad following moments later with the rest.
"As always, you are such a wonderful cook," he gushed. "You treat your papa so well. What would I ever do without you?"
Haruhi said nothing as she sat down on one side of the table. Her dad sat the opposite.
"Haruhi," he said between bites.
He watched his daughter carefully as she ate her meal. "Aren't you going to ask papa what he was doing?"
With a hand brought to his forehead in mock suffering, Ranka bemoaned his boring daughter.
"I don't care."
"But Haruhi, it's important. It involves you too."
This received her attention and the short brunette looked up. She met her dad's smiling face. "Well?" he said.
"Aren't you going to ask me?"
She sighed, putting down her chopsticks. "What are you doing?"
"Oh," he moaned, standing up in a dramatic pose. "How wonderful for you to ask my Haruhi. I am making lovely kimonos for both you and I."
Haruhi watched as he held up one of the completed kimonos. It had been the one he had been working on earlier. A dazzling royal blue fabric had been embellished with a light yellow pattern of flowers and butterflies. The inside of the outfit matched the yellow thread and peaked out just a bit from around all the edges.
"Isn't it pretty Haruhi?"
"Yes," she said.
Ranka beamed with pride. He walked over to her, kimono still in hand, and urged her to stand. Once she had, however unwillingly, he held it up to her frame. He bit his lip as he measured up the fit, eyeing the bottom critically. "I may have made it too long, but that is an easy fix. What do you think?"
"Why did you make me a kimono?"
"Well you'll need to wear one for the festival next week, of course."
"I have something I can wear already."
"Well yes," he said. "But it won't be suitable for the contest."
He slunk away from her, folding the kimono again and placing it back to the corner. The fabric for his own lying right next to it. Sitting back down at the table, he took up his chopsticks and tried to ignore his daughter's angry glare.
"Are you going to explain to me what contest?"
"Aren't you going to eat? You're food will get cold."
"Stop changing the subject!" she yelled.
He grinned sheepishly, looking over at his daughter through his long hair. "Well, there's a contest," he began.
"We've already established that," she said. "What does it have to do with me."
"I have to enter it with you, it has to be a pair."
"And why not ask one of the guys you work with? I'm sure they'd love to show off with you?"
Ranka looked to his side at the small cabinet that held his late wife's memorial. "It's a mother, daughter competition. It has to be you."
Haruhi followed his gaze over to the cabinet. Her anger quickly dispersing. "You're not my mother," she said softly, without any hint of callousness.
"But it would be fun, and there are rarely any daddy, daughter competitions that I can do. It'll be something the two of us can enjoy together."
"What does it involve?" she asked after a brief pause.
It was rare to find such a calm, thoughtful expression on the cross-dresser. He, like Tamaki, was a person whose very essence depended on his charismatic personality. It made them seem shallow and self-centered; but that didn't mean they were. In actuality, there was a lot of depth hidden under their drama-filled masks. Lots of pain, as it were, and a lot of hope. It was why, when it came to such things as this, she found it hard to say no to her father. (She was suspecting that was why she allowed herself to be manipulated into the hair-brain schemes that Tamaki thought up.) Both Ranka and Tamaki were shallow to the shallow, only those who looked beyond saw who they really were.
"It's just a fashion contest. Homemade outfits worn by both mother and daughter," Ranka explained.
"And there are no rules about cross dressing?"
He shook his head. "Nope, I checked first. I guess they figured no one would try it, so they didn't include it."
"They probably will next year," Haruhi mumbled.
"Exactly," he exclaimed. "Which is why you and I have to win it this year. It'll be our only chance."
Haruhi sighed. She slumped over to lean against the table. She mumbled her consent to the idea, much to her father's delight, and listened during the rest of the meal as he babbled on and on about his choice of fabric and patterns. Haruhi didn't really care, she actually didn't understand half of the things he was mentioning; however, it made her dad happy and she was willing to put up with a silly little contest for that.
The "silly little contests" ended up being a lot bigger than she had originally thought; but that was mostly the cause of Ranka and Kyoya's constant communication. Haruhi made a mental note to stop that immediately when she saw the entire Host Club and a plethora of expensive, professional photographers lined up on the sides of the makeshift runway.
"Smile Haruhi," Ranka said.
She looked up from glaring at Kyoya to see her dad's glowing face. He was adoring the attention he--no, they--were getting. She couldn't help but smile in return. Ranka's eyes teared up and he hugged his daughter to him, for once a calm, drama-free act.
They walked in front of the judges at the end of the walkway. Their faces look surprised as they read the card, one of them recognizing Ranka for who he really was, or rather, what he wasn't. He whispered to the other judges and they nodded.
"I think you've been found out," Haruhi whispered.
Ranka nodded. "Yes, well even so, they have to acknowledge my beautiful kimonos and the beauty of the two models."
Haruhi laughed at him, though she would freely admit that he had done a wonderful job with their outfits. They were mirror images of each other, she in her blue kimono with yellow accents. Ranka had allowed her to go with her usual hair style, with a few butterfly decorated hair clips to match.
In contrast, Ranka had made his kimono out of the same pale yellow that decorated Haruhi's. The same pattern adorned his outfit as did Haruhi's but he had used a royal blue thread for the accent. His long hair was swept up into an elaborate, braided knot.
While it may have been odd to others, Haruhi had no qualms with admitting that her father was beautiful, especially like this. His skin glowed from the attention and his eyes sparkled. He was melodramatic cross-dresser who overly doted on his only daughter. And she loved him, unconditionally.
He smiled down at her when he noticed her staring. "My beautiful daughter," he sighed. "Kotoko would be so happy on how you've turned out."
Tears formed slightly around her eyes, a slight blush staining her cheeks. She was grateful when they turned to walk back down the walkway. She ignored the yells of her classmates as she passed them, shooting a glare at Tamaki when he threatened to climb up on the raised platform.
"And wouldn't Kotoko just be so jealous of how pretty I look!" Ranka began to rant after they passed the Host Club.
Haruhi laughed lightly, a smile still on her face as she walked hand in hand with her dad, back behind the scenes.
In the end, they had only come in at second place but Ranka didn't seem to mind. The Host Club, courtesy of Tamaki, had given Ranka all sized copies of the best of the pictures that were taken. The cross-dresser smiled at the picture of he and his daughter. They were walking away from the camera, their backs to the lens. They were looking at each other, smiling, their joined hands held tightly between them.
He looked in the open cabinet to the picture of his late wife. "Oh Kotoko," he sighed. "Isn't she beautiful?"
There was no answer, nor was he expecting one, but he continued to smile. "You really would be so very proud of her."
He sighed and closed the cabinet doors.
No, Ranka didn't mind coming in at second place at all, not if he got to see that face on his daughter.