"Haruhi-"

The door slams in my face before I can say another word. "Quit your griping! If that's how you're going to act, I don't want your help! Just stay out of the way!" Haruhi was up to no good, as per the norm. She clearly doesn't have a firm enough grasp on what's right from what's wrong. It's like she's still four years old in a teenager's body.

"Kyon," a wild Koizumi appears at the top of the stairs, with a look of concern on his face. At least he's not smiling creepily at me like he usually is. "What's wrong?" I scowl, eliciting an annoyed grunt.

"That girl! That halfwit of a girl is what's wrong!" I say quietly, trying not to let the aforementioned halfwit hear this conversation. As much as I do want to speak up, I'm not stupid, and therefore, I'm not going to let her hear me call her a halfwit. "She barricaded me out of the club room because I told her it was bad to steal and lie and treat people like her toys! Is that so terrible?"

"Well, you aren't wrong," Koizumi says with a chuckle, "but how exactly did you convey that to her?" And there's that stupid smile. There is nothing to smile about, you asshole!

Back to the topic at hand, I guess I didn't think about that... "Well, not rudely..." Koizumi raises an eyebrow, still giving me that plastic grin of his. "Okay," I admit, "so I may have been a little blunt, but something needed to be said! First, she stole the Kendo Club's keys so she could get into their room, next she stole some of their equipment, blackmailed the members to get them to turn a blind eye, and then beat up a random student with the gear she stole and tied him up in OUR club room! And why go to all that trouble? She said she saw him do something strange, so she wanted to interrogate him! The nonsensical reasoning that she gave for not just talking to him like a normal person was that he could be a hostile alien or an evil esper, and she needed the equipment to keep from being defeated! Yeah, like Kendo gear would help her against an alien or esper in the first place!"

Koizumi laughs, only making me angrier, "Well, that is pretty extreme, even for Miss Suzumiya!"

"What do you mean? This is exactly something Haruhi would do." She's got no restraint whatsoever. Sometimes it's not such a bad trait to have, but most of the time, it just screams trouble.

"Well I'm just surprised she thought to get the kendo equipment in the first place!" Koizumi explains with a laugh. "She usually takes a more passive approach to these sorts of things. I hope she didn't hurt him, or else we would be in real trouble with the school, and probably the boy's parents." You're not even worried that she actually did the deed, are you?! I really can't tell because you won't stop smiling.

"Just a few bruises and cuts, but still, she's out of her mind if she thinks she can pull a stunt like that and get away with it!" I shout. "Just who the hell does she think she is?!"

"Who do I think I am?"

... And I'm busted. Someone had better get a body bag, because I'm about to die.

Haruhi slowly opens the door. I stop my ranting immediately, swallowing hard. She does NOT look happy. "Uh... Hey. Haruhi."

"Ha! So I'm a halfwit am I?" she gave me an icy glare, her hair overshadowing her downcast face, and making her look... kind of scary. I wonder, should I start running now, or wait until she's finished monologuing about how stupid I am? I've got it, I'll leap through the window and just hope for Nagato to somehow catch me, then I can go back in time with Miss Asahina to make sure this never happens... Well it's not a fool-proof plan, I know. But anything's better than staying here.

Without me saying another word, Haruhi continues. "If I'm a halfwit, what does that make you, huh? You're the one who can't get higher than a C on any of his schoolwork!" As much as I hate to admit it, she's got a point... "I honestly just did this because I thought it would piss you off. And people say what they really want to say when they're angry. Well, it looks like we know exactly what Kyon thinks now, don't we?"

I shake my head, "That's not tr-"

"Shut up and let me finish!" Her voice is cold, and harsh. She barks me into submission, and I grow silent. "You think I'm a idiot. You've always thought that. You think I'm impulsive and rude and ridiculous. Well I don't care! You can't judge me or criticize me at all, because you're too stupid to understand anything! You're never going to understand anything! And I'm not going to waste time with people like you. In fact, I hate people like you. No, I HATE YOU."

W-what did she just say?!

"You're always saying you can't stand me. Well, that's fine, because I can't stand you either! If we're going to be blunt, then here's what I have to say: I wish you would just disappear! I wish you had never been born!" I can't believe it. I can't believe my ears. She even looks serious... When I hesitate, she gets even angrier. "Get out of here! Go!" Haruhi points to the stairs. I'm reluctant to move. No, I can't really move. She can't really hate me... We're friends, aren't we?Does she really feel that way? I AM constantly complaining and telling her to stop being so... Haruhi-esque, but I never thought she took me seriously, or that it ticked her off to this extent. Hell, I didn't even know she paid attention to me. She ignores me so much I kind of got used to the feeling, you know? I guess I just say things I really don't mean, and she hears more than I want her to. And I'm also worried about something else... It probably sounds stupid, but if she really wished for me to disappear... would I? Would I just cease to exist? It's impossible, it just can't be true...

"I said go!" A painful kick in my leg from Haruhi makes me clumsily stumble towards the stairwell; I realize what she's saying as I almost tumble headfirst down the stairs, and quickly start my descent, trying to process what just happened.

Haruhi... hates me?

/

"Hey, Kyon!" Taniguchi wraps his arm around my neck as he greets me, obnoxiously hanging off of me for a moment. I swear, he's like a leech; sucking the last remnants of energy from my tired soul. Taniguchi is the last person I want to see at this hour, especially after what happened yesterday.

"You're way too close," comes my irritated reply as I shove my (regrettable) friend away.

"Man, who crapped in your cereal? What's eatin' you?"

"It's nothing," I say with an exasperated breath. "I'm just... not feeling very well, alright?"

"Hey, if you're on your period, you can just tell me," Taniguchi jibes, which earns him a punch in the arm.

"Asshole." Taniguchi laughs at my statement, and shoves his hands back into his pockets.

"Seriously, Kyon, if something's bugging you, you can tell me about it. 'That's what friends are for' and stuff, right?"

"Yeah, sure." Like hell I will. We keep walking in oh-so-pleasant silence. Hoping to leave it unperturbed, I try to avoid looking anywhere but the ground.

This hill is such a pain...

It's only been a day since Haruhi had her little temper tantrum. She never let me back in the clubroom, and avoided me for the rest of the day, but nothing has happened to me so far. It almost worries me to see that nothing is happening. At least when other problems showed up, Koizumi would tell me about some kind of closed space appearing, or Miss Asahina would tell me about a time distortion of some sort, or Nagato would have to fight off giant crickets... But I haven't heard anything from anyone. And it worries me, because it's me we're talking about here. Either Haruhi really DOESN'T care about me, or someone's just not telling me something.

"... So?!"

"So what?" I growl, cocking an eyebrow at Taniguchi. I can't have an internal struggle for one second without this idiot barking up my tree. Just leave it, already!

"So, tell me what your problem is!"

"I don't have a problem," I lie through my teeth. Taniguchi is the last person I want to talk to regarding these sorts of paranormal issues. I can't believe it's gotten to the point where I think it's weird that something weird ISN'T happening. Agh, now I just sound like Haruhi. And if I tell that to Taniguchi, he'll just think I'm a nut-job.

"Okay, fine, whatever. If you don't want to talk about it, just say so."

"I don't have a problem!" I shout. At least he's off my back, though.

"Yeah, yeah, I believe you. Stop your whining. I just really don't have anything to talk about, so I was bored."

Ugh, he's so annoying. Well, considering what I said earlier, it almost relieves me to see Koizumi standing at the school gates, with his trademark "I don't have a care in the world" smile. He's probably here to tell me about some weird happening that occurred yesterday.

"Kyon!" Koizumi waves to me.

"Let me guess," I say once I get closer, "you want to talk."

"That's right," Koizumi said with a nod. "But, we don't have much time now, so how about during lunch?"

I shrug as I continue my walk. "Fine by me."

/

I enter the classroom almost nervously, kind of wondering what Haruhi is going to say, if she is going to say anything to me at all. She has one hand on her chin, the other on the desk, staring out the window with that blank look she gets sometimes, when she's in one of her moods. I wonder if she's forgotten about the whole thing? Not a chance; her expression distorts as soon as I put my bag down. "Hey," I say, reclining into my chair. She doesn't answer.

"Come on, Haruhi, you can't stay mad at me for something so stupid, right?" She hesitates.

"Is that what you think?" she answers, looking angry. Just my luck, I've incurred the wrath of God yet again... "That what matters to me is stupid?"

"That's not what I'm trying to say!"

"Then quit saying it, you idiot. That's exactly what you're saying." I rolled my eyes, sighing. "Well if you're going to act that way, I'm not even going to talk to you. In fact, I don't want to have anything to do with you. Don't even bother coming to the clubroom. Just go on home after school. Nobody's going to miss you anyways."

Now, it's my turn to be angry. "I don't care what you say, what about Miss Asahina, and Nagato? And Koizumi?" I tack him onto the end for good measure, "Don't they get a say in this?"

Haruhi finally takes a glance in my direction, her brow slightly furrowed. She almost looks... Worried. "You don't even care... Hmph." Haruhi turns away, furiously. She's such a child. I wish she would stop taking me at my word, I really don't mean at least half of what I say. "You never did care about me, did you? You were always with Mikuru, or Yuki, you never bothered to include me, did you? Don't think I haven't noticed you guys, always having these private talks behind my back. You're constantly leaving me out! What makes them so special, huh?! What makes them any more deserving than me?! Why do I always get stuck hearing you complain about everything?! Can't you just be friendly to me for once in your life?"

Noticing that Haruhi is starting to raise her voice, I start to lower my own, trying not to draw attention to us. "How am I supposed to be friendly to you when you're so unbearable?" I whisper.

"I'm not unbearable! You just have no tolerance!" Haruhi continues to raise her tone, despite my efforts. She begins to turn some heads.

"Tolerance?!" I also start to speak louder, figuring that I might as well. "I'm the one who decided to tolerate you and your weirdness in the first place! You have no room to talk about my tolerance!"

Haruhi looks down at the desk in front of her, avoiding eye contact and pursing her lips tightly. "Still..." she mumbles, reluctantly, looking back up towards the window, "you're lousy company. And a downright lousy person. Just leave me alone." She folds her arms, and turns to look out the window once more.

Ugh... why can't I just apologize?

/

"It's about what happened between you and Miss Suzumiya," Koizumi says, his plasticine smile missing from his features. This could be worse than I thought.

"Right. I had some questions about that too," I say, scratching the back of my head uncomfortably.

"You first, then," Koizumi says, waiting expectantly.

"Well..." I take a deep breath. "Do you think she meant what she said?"

"What do you mean?"

"When she said that... u-uh, never mind. It's not important," I shake my head. I don't even know if I'm asking the right person. Well, of course not; I should be asking Haruhi herself. She's the only one who could really answer that. But, thanks to our argument this morning, she's even more unresponsive than she was before. I don't think she'll talk to me even if I try to apologize.

"No." I furrow my brow in confusion. "To answer your question, no; I don't think Haruhi Suzumiya really hates you, or wishes for you to die. I don't think she would wish a thing like that on anyone, no matter what they've done, especially not for something so trivial." Koizumi laughs, "But, of course, I'm not Miss Suzumiya, so I still can't accurately answer your question!" As irritating as that chuckle of his was, I allow myself a sigh of relief. That's good, I think the same.

"But..." I look back up at Koizumi, prepared for the worst again. "If she really did wish for someone to die," Koizumi looks sternly at me, surprising me a bit. "... Logic dictates that it will be done. So if I were you, I would try to make things right with Miss Suzumiya. As much as she may think she dislikes you, I believe that deep down she knows that she's lucky to have you with her. Still, even if she does hold a special place for you in her heart, her emotions can get out of hand. She may end up wishing something on you that she really doesn't want to deep down. So, the best you can do is say you're sorry, and make sure she understands why you got angry in the first place."

"Ugh, Koizumi, nothing is going to change that way! I've told her this stuff before, and yet she still goes off the deep end and does crazy things like that! I'm not going to stand by anymore and watch as she does whatever the hell she wants to because she thinks the world revolves around her!"

"Well, I hate to break it to you, but it kind of does, remember?" Koizumi says with a smirk.

"I know, and I hate it! Why can't she just be a normal high school girl?! Maybe then I wouldn't have to worry about my life being threatened if I get her pissed off!" I shout, kicking the wall from frustration. She's such a pain, even if unconsciously so.

"Kyon, you can't change the reality of things. All you can do is work with what you have," Koizumi says with a shrug.

"Haruhi can," I say, gritting my teeth. "And it bugs the hell out of me. I won't apologize. I don't need to apologize to her. I said what needed to be said, and that's that. This isn't my idea of holding a grudge, it's just something that needs to happen. I'm not going to let her control me too. You guys can be her pawns if you want, but I'm my own person. She needs to learn not to take people for granted. One day, I may not be around. Not only that, but if I'm not there to hold her hand and make sure she doesn't do something absolutely stupid, someone else could be in danger!"

"Well you can't just ignore her." Koizumi put a hand on his chin. "Closed space is rapidly expanding. The celestials are appearing at an alarming rate. I can hardly spare the time to be here. The truth is... if things keep going on like this, the world isn't going to last two weeks. We don't have enough manpower to hold off all of them, and this morning, there was even another spike in the amount of closed space appearing." I guiltily lower my gaze. "You're going to need to do something about this, fast. Remember, Haruhi already thinks that you're one of the only things actually right in this world. Don't make her change her mind."

I'm actually kind of surprised to hear that. Sure, it was kind of obvious that that's what she meant when she brought just me into that closed space with her. When she'd given up on everything else, I was still there, wasn't I? I guess I just never thought about it like that. But if I'm the only thing in the entire world that she thinks is okay, why is she trying to get rid of me? "Yeah, well if that's the case, then why are we even having this conversation? Why does she say she hates me?" I voiced my concerns.

Koizumi shrugs. "Hah, dunno."

"Really? That's the best you can do?! Gee, aren't you the encouraging one!"

"Well, I have a few theories, but there isn't any way I can tell you a definite answer. Honestly, I think she's angrier at herself than at you. I think she's starting to have feelings she doesn't understand, and she's arguing with herself, because these feelings go completely against her ideals, as you know. And therefore, she had to pin her anger on someone. You just happened to do something wrong, in her opinion anyways. So technically, it ISN'T actually your fault. Nonetheless, you've got to do something about this. There's nothing any of us can do, since you are the source of the problem to begin with."

"So first you say it isn't my fault, and then you try to pin it on me anyways?!" And is he trying to say Haruhi's falling in love with someone? Or... something?

"I'm just joking," Koizumi laughs, putting up his hands defensively. "But I'm also kind of serious. You're the only one who can fix this. The fate of the world is literally dependent on what you decide to do."

"Again?" I groan, sitting back in my chair. This whole saving the world deal is starting to get a little grating. Haruhi's like my little sister; she plays around with her toys, makes a huge mess, and once she's done, she leaves them for me to clean up.

/

I knock on the door of the club room, hoping for the glorious maid Miss Asahina or, less hopefully, Nagato to answer, but instead I am answered with a quiet yet firm, "Who is it," from Haruhi. Damn, she'll never let me in.

I sigh. "It's the pizza guy."

"Liar."

"Come on, Haruhi, just let me in, please," I say with a groan.

"Traitors aren't allowed in the club room. Mikuru, step away from the door!" After a bit of rustling and a few small thumps from her feet hitting the floor, Haruhi leaves the door open a crack, peeking her head out. She still looks mad at me. And now, I know it's not even my fault. Well, it might not be, anyways. I can't even tell you how unfair this is. "What do you want?"

"We need to talk," I say, folding my arms. "May I please come in?"

"No, you may not," Haruhi glowers at me, "I have a very busy schedule, and 'make idle chit-chat with an ignorant loser' is not on the list."

"Haruhi-"

"We have somewhere to be, so get out of the way."

"W-we do?" Mikuru asks, as if she knows nothing of it. Haruhi doesn't even really have anything to do, does she...

"Yes, as of right now, we have to be somewhere else!" Haruhi declares. "It's too crowded here with Kyon and his stupidity. Let's go!" She scowls at me, adding, "Without you!"

"W-w-where are we going?"

"Anywhere but here!" Haruhi yells, pulling poor Miss Asahina along, closely followed by Koizumi and Nagato. You won't even let her change out of the maid costume first?!

They all brush past me, Miss Asahina and Koizumi giving me concerned looks. "Wait a minute!" But Haruhi leaves without saying another word. I take a deep breath, trying to resist the urge to say or do something I'm going to regret. Haruhi IS very angry about something. It's best not to upset her further. So I ended up simply standing there with a stupid look plastered on my face as they marched off, conflicted. I don't even know what I should say... Is there anything to say? I could say sorry, but then my time would have just been wasted. It probably wouldn't help much anyways, because that's not even why she's mad. Ugh, what do I do? I can't just let her leave. That's not an option. I don't have a lot of time left, after all. I need to say something. But... what?

I stood there, arguing with myself internally. And by the time I stopped my indecisive brain, the rest of the SOS Brigade was already long gone. I sigh out loud, looking down the empty hallway. I walk into the club room, sitting down in one of the chairs at the center table and looking around the room. I've got to do something about this. If not today, then tomorrow. I have to think of something. I make myself sit there for what feels like hours, trying to come up with something, anything to do. But everything I come up with just ends with her getting even more angry. I look at the clock. It's already 5:30. I still haven't thought of anything.

With a reluctant huff, I stood from my chair, ready to exit the room and begin my long trek down that God-forsaken hill. Sorry Koizumi, you must be working your ass off right now. I hope he doesn't get hurt in closed space. I wonder if it'll carry over into the real world as well. As weird as he is, he's still a friend, and I would hate for him to be-

Wait, that's it!

I whip out my cell phone and type in a familiar phone number at record breaking speed. After letting it ring once, someone answers. "This is Yuki Nagato," comes a monotonous voice.

"Nagato, I need a favor."