A/N: I've finally managed to write this chapter. I've planned out the story fully now and there's only a few more chapters left. Honestly I thank all of you who are still reading this (seriously, it's been going on for more than 2 years) and encouraging me to continue.
Special thanks to Dizog, who proofread this chapter and provided extremely helpful criticism. Thank you.
A week and a half later, by the end of exams
The exam period has come to an end and I've barely seen, let alone met, Haruhi throughout the week. That's not surprising since we have separate exam rooms, but I still half-expected us to make some form of small talk. Then again, I know how things are when it comes to us.
My results come out at the end of the week and it's Wednesday today, so I know I can relax for another four days. I plan to approach Haruhi and finally know where I am with her. Like I've said before, I'm not particular on making first moves, but I know that I'll have to make up for what I did since I was an asshole (only partially, to be honest), and I'll have to confront her about her reluctance.
I haven't exactly thought about how I'm going to go about doing that, and even worse, I haven't even considered the fact that we will both be going to college in less than a month. I don't even know what I'll be doing, let alone what she's planning to do. I'll focus on that later, though. First, Haruhi and I need to have a proper talk about what the hell's going on. Koizumi's told me that his organization is handling closed spaces and he didn't involve me because of my exams. I'm not sure he can keep it up any longer, though, so I must sort everything out soon.
I send her a text asking if we can meet sometime tomorrow. I'm not really expecting a reply, but that doesn't stop me from waiting for one.
It's almost the end of the day, and I've almost given up on getting a response, but my phone chimes with a notification. I pick it up and read the reply.
Fine. But you're paying.
The message sounds exactly like our Brigade days when she used to swipe my wallet clean without even asking me and I'd go to bed feeling light.
Since she didn't state where we're going to meet, I get ready and leave for her house by noon. I carry an umbrella with me – the weather's overcast – and I can't help but remember what I did last time I was in the rain. It wasn't my first kiss, but it felt different from the other ones. I find myself wanting to do that again. I try to shake those thoughts out of my head, and instead, focus on what I'm going to say. I do not like this one bit. Am I really the kind of guy who cares about that kind of stuff?
I guess when it comes to Haruhi, I am.
It starts raining halfway to her place. She better appreciate me walking in the rain and drenching my feet. The rain turns into a downpour and I walk as fast as I can without getting wet.
I reach her porch and try to shake as much water out of my shoes as I can. The last thing I want is to get her floor wet and have another reason for her to be mad at me. I ring her intercom. She lets me in without a glance, her signature scowl on her face.
No one else seems to be home. I think her parents are perpetually overseas.
I quickly change into the slippers she provides and follow her into her living room. I seem to be doing that a lot lately. Hopefully this time, I won't end up leaving for a bad reason. There's no way we'll be going out, considering the weather, so I might as well do what I want to here.
It's clear she doesn't want to start, so I break the silence with a pathetic attempt at small talk.
She's still scowling. I take a deep breath and decide to address the elephant in the room.
"I'm sorry if I upset you by not giving you any straight answers. I was a dick, I guess." I never thought that sentence would leave my mouth. Jesus Christ.
"Yeah, you were." Gee, thanks Haruhi. Completely not helping my case here.
"I just wanted you to be honest with yourself."
She visibly tenses. As soon as she's about to say something, I cut her off.
"Hear me out first. I just wanted you to be comfortable with me. I don't understand why you think liking people is a fourth-grade concept. The only reason things are dramatic is because you're refusing to let this go anywhere." I mentally punch myself for being cliché and sappy, but I pat myself for successfully putting things out there.
She stays silent.
I add, "I'm not accusing you, Haruhi."
After what seems like ages, she stops staring out her window and speaks up. "Things like this are periodic."
"I've been feeling this way for a long time," I say. I actually have. I just never paid any attention to it.
"I did all of this back in Junior high. I'm not doing it again unless you're an alien, which you clearly aren't." She's playing the alien card, but I know she's come to accept the fact that she can't find any aliens in our town, so she's bluffing.
"I'm not an alien. But you clearly feel something for me. You even kissed me first and said so." I feel out of place saying this, but someone has to put it out there.
"That was a spur of the moment thing."
"Haruhi Suzumiya does not do spur of the moment things."
She's getting annoyed now, and while that does mean I'm getting somewhere, I don't want to push her buttons again.
"Well, it happened," she says. "Get over it. I don't like you."
I'd be lying if I said that doesn't sting, and I can feel my patience wearing thin as well.
"Why are you so hellbent on avoiding this?"
She whips her head back and looks at me, or rather, scowls at me. "There's nothing to avoid – you just keep making things up!"
"You're lying to me and yourself, Haruhi." I internally cringe, because honestly, what the hell am I saying?
"What are you, my therapist?"
"Well, I sure feel like it right now!" We're almost at the point of yelling each other.
She points an accusatory finger at me. "I'm not asking you to! You can simply stop. I told you, relationships are for middle schoolers!"
Really? Because from what I've heard you were quite the heartbreaker in junior high. And technically, she did lead me on that day when she kissed me.
"Just tell me why and I'll back off."
My anger has subsided and so has hers. She looks away and takes her time to reply.
"I don't like feeling all these things for you. I'm not supposed to find someone like you interesting. You're probably the most boring boy I've ever met." The last part isn't a lie, but she really shouldn't use that as an excuse.
"You can't help the way you feel, Haruhi. That's what I've been trying to tell you."
"Yeah? Well, I don't like it."
There's no point in reasoning with her now and whatever resolve I'd built to sort things out is gone. I decide to let this slide – what's done is done. I've made a fool of myself. She can use that as an excuse as much as she wants. I don't care about her anymore.
"Okay, then. I'll be leaving. Thanks for having me over." I turn and walk out her living room, feeling tired. Things clearly didn't go as I planned, but I can now put this behind me. I admit, I haven't liked a girl as much as I have Haruhi, but I'll get over it. I'm not the kind of person to take it personally. I push it to the back of my mind and concentrate on taking off the slippers and putting on my shoes. I pick up my umbrella and take my leave without a second glance.
The storm is so windy that, despite the umbrella, I'll still get drenched. I use it anyway since I can see better and maybe I can save my phone from getting any wetter than it already is. The wind and the rain both make me feel cold right now, similar to what I feel inside.
What bothers me is not the rejection – if it was even that. It's her stubbornness to accept what's there. I tried to convince her and failed, and I don't have it in me to try any longer. But then again, she wouldn't be Haruhi Suzumiya if she wasn't stubborn. I know for a fact she's her own person, so if she wants to do anything she'll do it.
I reach home, quickly change into dry clothes, and warm myself up with a cup of tea. I clean up the water I've dragged in with me. I plan to game the rest of the day away, so I set up my console and begin gaming.
Sometime in the evening my phone rings. The moment I look at the caller ID, I know what the conversation will be about.
"Another closed space?" I ask Koizumi, not even bothering to sound interested.
"No, actually the opposite. They suddenly disappeared. There were quite a few of them, big ones even, and then, like a switch, they're gone."
"I see." So I was essentially causing her closed spaces? I will never understand this girl. Not that I'll have much to do with her anymore.
"That's not a good sign, Kyon."
"What the heck? Why?"
He sighs. I can hear his exhaustion. If only Haruhi knew the prices others pay for her goddess-like powers. I used to do plenty of physical labor when she ordered me around, but I also know how much the Organization fought in closed spaces, how hard Nagato worked to keep data in check, and how Miss Asahina always kept the future in mind.
"Listen closely. The celestials were created out of her frustrations and anger with what she saw. Closed spaces occurred when she morphed reality into something she wanted. They were also a sign that she was feeling something. The celestials meant low moods and no closed spaces meant she was satisfied. However, even when she was satisfied, there was a faint underlying... basically, there was always something resembling a closed space. It caused no harm, did not alter the world, and was a light place matching Suzumiya-san's moods. Right now we can't detect anything – it's radio silent."
I processed the information. So basically, she's feeling nothing right now? She's extremely temperamental with her moods, which is why I'm confident things will go back to normal.
"It's probably just something she's going through right now. You know Haruhi. Melancholic one second. Chaotic and eccentric the next."
"Did you do something? Again?"
"Why do you always assume it's something I did?"
"Answer the question, Kyon." Koizumi is never this frank with me. This showed me just how tired and frustrated he is as well. For the first time since I've known him, I feel bad for him, despite the fact that he went along with everything Haruhi asked.
"I just spoke to her regarding something. We're still friends." The last part might as well be a lie because, like so many things, it depended entirely on Haruhi.
"Right." He doesn't sound convinced and I don't blame him. "I'll call you if anything changes. Oyasumi, Kyon."
I can't help but wonder if Koizumi is finally fed up with all the shit he takes. I know that Nagato, even if she's not a "humanoid", has had corruptions in her data, and Asahina-san is probably too damn polite to let us know when she's tired. But Koizumi was the kind of guy who'd do anything and everything for Haruhi. Sometimes I even wondered if he liked her. He must have been putting up with a lot of closed spaces if he's tired.
I go to bed pondering just how much effort it took to keep Haruhi satisfied. And what's going to happen now?
A/N 2: Haruhi's quite a handful, isn't she? Please review if you can, I'd love to see thoughts on where this story is going. Constructive criticism is always welcome! Thanks for reading.