Title: A New Era
Series: Chapter 4 of ?, 1219 words
Pairing/Character: Kyoya & Haruhi
Summary: Kyouya finds away to meld familial piety with personal happiness.
Cross-posted to ouran_fanfics
She walked through her bedroom door, for what would be the last time. Weighed down by a tired body that had become crippled with age, Akane Hisayo had no intention of spending the remainder of her days away from the place that for more than fifty years she had called home.
Hisayo had entered her marriage bed little more than a girl whose family had given her in the name of old wealth and pure cultural refinement. Now she would be leaving this world as one of the wealthiest women in Japan; a widower gone to reunite with the husband who had gone before her. It had taken decades to secure both that man's love and trust. Finally obliging his wife's affections, his own final days were blessed with friendship and memories of a life spent building empires and lineage. It was sad to say that the latter had been a minimal presence where comfort and familial support were concerned.
Slipping beneath the covers, Hisayo turned her attention to a light knock at the door. Hisayo was relieved to find that on the other side stood two young women.
"Miyoko, and Ohtori Haruhi, come in!"
The professional young woman smiled, and offered a bow of respect.
"Good morning, Madam Akane. I understand you've requested my services?"
"Yes, it seems I have!"
Despite her outward frailty, the older woman possessed a vigor that had not been lost on Haruhi.
"You see, Ms. Ohtori, I am dying." Hisayo gave a harrowing, all-knowing grin. "Thank God for the clarity I have now, but that is not always the case. It took a while to get at me, but I've recently been informed of my rapid-onset Alzeimers. On top of that, my old body seems just about ready to throw it all in, anyway."
Albeit quietly, a deep and heavy sigh came from the young woman standing alongside Haruhi.
"Miyoko is one of my several beloved grandchildren. Though one of many, she is also one of the very few in our family worth trusting and embracing. She is my granddaughter, my advocate, and the executor of my final wishes."
A feeling of sadness had come over the room. "I am going to miss her terribly… Ms. Ohtori, I have asked you here to oversee my final arrangements, and to back Miyoko up once the vultures begin circling."
"Good afternoon, sir. We appreciate your visting today."
The man nodded politely while being led further into the lavish home. Standing out among the backdrop of faces, he was watched by several middle-aged men. Surveying the stranger in front of them, they were unsure what to make of him. Upon noticing the stethoscope tucked behind the lapel of his three-piece suit, they realized he was there not for them, but their mother. Not bothering to acknowledge them, the doctor allowed himself to be ushered toward the bedroom.
Engaging in business dealings in the home of their ailing mother. They may be incredibly rich, but these men are beneath the filthiest pariah…
Reaching the bedroom, he opened the door and was greeted by a forced smile upon a young woman's face.
"Hello, Miyoko. How are you today?"
"Tired, but I am well. Grandmother, on the other hand, has been… In delicate shape these past few days."
"I see." Looking around, the bedroom was noticeably different since the last time Kyouya had been there. "Miyoko, there are far fewer personal items here than before."
She shook her head, sighing. "The last time I left, my aunts and uncles came in and collected several heirlooms. As they put it, the items were 'essential pieces to their fond memories.' While it's not the point, when she's awake Grandmother doesn't even notice."
Miyoko smoothed down the older woman's hair before picking up a photo nestled in an antique frame. "She smiles at this, though." Inside the frame were Akane Hisayo and her husband, some ten or so years earlier. Dressed in fine silk kimonos, the wheelchair-bound man smiled big while holding the hand of his wife. Her other hand rested on his shoulder.
"Indeed. Please do me a favor and send an itemized list of the missing belongings to your grandmother's lawyer. Also, may I acquire a copy of your grandmother's photo?"
The young woman smiled. "Certainly."
With a gentle smile, Kyouya made his way toward the older woman's bed.
Hisayo smiled and enjoyed the breeze blowing through her open window. Everything had gone just as she had predicted. While part of this knowledge saddened her, she found peace in knowing that each member of her family would be afforded more than what they needed.
Turning to catch a glimpse of her beloved photo, Hisayo noticed something sitting just beyond it. With a deep breath, she found surprising ease in sitting up to reach for the curious object. Upon reaching it, she let out a heartfelt gasp.
In her hands she held two porcelain dolls, whose faces and expressions must have been handcrafted with an ethereal precision. Draped around their small bodies were kimonos fashioned from a silk she had not seen in years. Inspecting the garment, it was obvious someone would have had to scour to find the material. Monogrammed onto the underside of the hem were the initials HK.H. Lightly etched into one porcelain foot was the name Haninozuka.
Hisayo smiled while tears slid down her face. She wiped a stray tear from the male doll's face, and held them close to her chest. Laying back down, she whispered, "I Love You," to her family and fell asleep for the last time.
"We're not done."
Once Miyoko had read out the inheritance of the final member of the Akane family, Haruhi found herself disheartened at how quickly some of these people readied themselves to leave.
"We're not done. Ms. Akane is not finished reading, and you would do well to sit back down."
Clearing her throat, Miyoko continued reading. "In regards to the ancestral heirlooms that will undoubtedly go missing before I have officially passed on from this world: their absence will be noted, and their value deducted from the inheritances of those who sought to make said items their own. All deductions will be donated in lieu of the missing items to the charities and organizations previously set to receive them into their collections."
Haruhi offered Miyoko a supportive pat on the back before standing up to go. With a subtle smirk, she made sure to look certain men in the eye as she took her leave.
Businessmen twice her age stared after her, and could now understand why some of their daughters had been passed over in favor of this woman.
With a sigh of relief, Miyoko and her father left soon after their lawyer. She would miss her grandmother, but was thankful to have known such a strong woman, who had found a way to keep her family in control long after she was unable to oversee matters herself. Miyoko prayed that the finality of the will would be the end of it. Still, she felt secure in knowing that should the need arise, her grandmother had retained the Akane legacy a lawyer whose personal caliber and connections were not only unprecedented, but could not be swayed by ulterior resources or finances.