[A/N: I posted this story about a year ago but pulled it down after it turned into a mess. I'm posting it again since fencer29 asked about it and I kind of felt like reviving it.]

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The Jump Rope Challenge of Haruhi Suzumiya

by Dizog

Chapter One - The Challenge

Haruhi Suzumiya broadcast her eccentricity to the world the moment she opened her mouth. On the first day of classes, homeroom teacher Mr. Otabe asked us to introduce ourselves. Row by row, front to back, we stood and shared some words. Most of my classmates did their duty in a bland but friendly manner.

Haruhi took a different approach. "First off, I'm not interested in ordinary people. But if any of you are aliens, time travelers, espers, or sliders, please come see me. That is all."

Our mouths dropped open. Breaking the awkward silence, my buddy Taniguchi took his turn.

Later that day during Physical Education class, Taniguchi, Kunikida and I sat on the bleachers overlooking the running track. Down below, Haruhi Suzumiya raced hundred meter sprints against unwilling competitors.

"That girl is one hell of an athlete," Taniguchi said. "Always has been. When we were at East Junior High, nobody could beat her at any sport, not even the guys."

"She's pretty easy on the eyes, too," I said.

Taniguchi nodded. "No doubt. The girl's got an awesome rack, a sweet round backside, and legs that don't quit. Which is a bonus when you're racing her. She's a pleasure to follow."

"You're such a pervert," Kunikida said. "Get your mind out of the gutter."

"He's crude, but he's honest," I said. "Though it's not always smart to belch out every word you're thinking." I scanned my surroundings. "You never know who's listening."

Taniguchi lowered his voice and we huddled together. "Up until second year," he said, "she used to go out with anyone that asked her. For a while there, she dated every joker in our school, anyone that had the guts to step up. None of the relationships lasted more than a week. She shot down one guy five minutes after she agreed to go out with him."

As he spoke, another sprint commenced. Haruhi left her classmates in the dust.

Kunikida furled his brow. "You said she used to go out with anyone that asked her. What changed?"

"My theory is she got bored. It takes a lot to keep her interested in something. For Suzumiya, dating got old. But the girl is hot, so the guys kept asking."

"So she started shooting guys down?" Kunikida asked. "I thought you said she respected their courage."

"She did, I suppose. That's why she never really shot anyone down. She switched things around and gave them a challenge. If a guy met her challenge, she'd date him."

"Let me guess," I said. "She presented them with an impossible riddle."

"Not even close. Suzumiya came up with something far more interesting. We called it the Jump Rope Challenge. It started when a guy asked her out during P.E. while Suzumiya was jumping rope. When he asked her out between hops, she stopped dead, handed the guy her jump rope, and offered him her wrists crossed behind her back. 'Tie me up with this,' she said, 'and If I don't free myself in five minutes, I'll go out with you.'"

"No kidding?" I said. "That's unique. What happened?"

"The guy tied her up with the jump rope, of course. Suzumiya was totally compliant. She didn't fight the guy or anything. Didn't complain about tight knots or pinched skin. Didn't care who was watching."

"I bet it drew a crowd," Kunikida said.

"She let him tie her up the best he could. By the time he finished, everyone in the class was watching."

"She got away, of course," I said.

Taniguchi nodded. "Of course. Easily. And that's how she fended off all her suitors her entire last year of junior high. If a guy couldn't win her jump rope challenge, he was out."

"I'm finding this kind of hard to believe," Kunikida said. "Are you telling me this girl let random guys tie her up during gym class for the fun of it?"

"They weren't random guys," Taniguchi said. "They were guys she took classes with and nobody got a second shot. As for having fun, no doubt she did. The girl is hyper-competitive. She got a rush out of winning. Eventually, it became a regular P.E. activity. Even the faculty got involved. Whenever a challenger stepped up, our gym teacher allotted the last ten minutes of class to the contest. We'd all gather around in a circle on the grass in the center of the track. Mr. Hokabi played referee, telling all the contenders the rules." Taniguchi mimicked his gruff voice. "One jump rope, five minutes, and no funny business!"

"And nobody beat her?" I asked.

"Nobody. She usually got free in less than thirty seconds."

I glanced down at the track. Suzumiya was doing stretches by the soccer net. "Did these guys know what they were doing?"

"At first, I guess not. But after a while, they started doing research on the Internet and a few of them got really, really good at tying up women."

"How do you know," I asked, "if she always escaped?"

"A few girls volunteered to be guinea pigs for the challengers so they could hone their skills. Sometimes two or three cuties struggled helplessly at the center of the track while the rest of us ran laps around them. But when these experts got their turn with Suzumiya, they all went down in flames." Taniguchi chuckled. "You know, there was one guy who managed to keep her bound for over a minute. He got creative and tied her to a flagpole. But she slipped out of that one, too."

Down below, Suzumiya shifted from stretches to abdominal crunches.

"And I bet she made it look easy," Kunikida said.

"Are you kidding?" Taniguchi's eyes widened. "She made it look hot! The way she contorted her body and wiggled her hips to get free. She put on a hell of a performance. It got all the guys wound up. Some girls, too, though most of them were jealous."

Kunikida pointed to the track. "Has Suzumiya been listening to our conversation?"

Our eccentric classmate had graduated from doing abdominal crunches on the soccer field to jumping rope in the shot put circle across from our elevated seats. Her full bouncing breasts synced perfectly with her hopping rhythm. "Damn." My mouth dropped open. "That is sweet."

"She probably noticed us watching her," Taniguchi said. "I wouldn't be surprised if she's trying to tease us."

I smiled. "That means she's interested."

He patted my back. "Take my advice, buddy. Stay away."

I stood. "Do you think she's still honoring the Jump Rope Challenge?"

Taniguchi frowned. "Do you seriously want to take a shot at it, Kyon?"

"Hell, yeah, if she's inviting us. Those boobs are amazing."

"Keep in mind," Kunikida said. "If you succeed, you might get stuck with Haruhi Suzumiya as your girlfriend."

"Don't worry about that," Taniguchi said. "He won't beat her. More than likely, he'll be humiliated. She didn't earn the nickname Haru-Houdini for nothing."

I laughed. That was pretty good. But Harry Houdini was a professional escapologist. Haruhi Suzumiya was just an incredibly beautiful high school girl.

I placed my fists on my hips in my best macho man pose. "Nothing ventured, nothing gained." I trotted down the bleacher steps and across the track to the shot put circle.

Haruhi ignored me as I approached. She continued jumping rope, her eyes focused on the horizon.

I motioned toward the clouds. "It's a beautiful day, isn't it? A perfect day for taking a ride in a flying saucer."

Haruhi glanced angrily in my direction. "Not funny. Now get to the point. You're wasting my time."

"Three words," I said, holding up three fingers. "Jump Rope Challenge."

"I don't do that anymore." She continued hopping. "That was an East Junior High thing."

"Coward."

Suzumiya's eyes widened. She stopped jumping rope and turned to me. "A few hundred guys have tried tying me up with this jump rope and none of them succeeded. You couldn't do any better. I'm not going to waste my time now that I'm a high schooler."

"If you're afraid of starting a trend, I'll tie you up somewhere private." I pointed downfield. "How about the amphitheater?" Located at the edge of the school grounds, the outdoor amphitheater rarely got any visitors. Once in a blue moon, the guitar club used it for concerts.

"I told you. Stop wasting my time."

"I promise I'll come back after classes to untie you. Then I'll take you out to tea for our first date."

Haruhi shook her head, but her expression softened. "You're one of those guys that doesn't quit, aren't you?" She sighed. "That's why I developed the Jump Rope Challenge in the first place. To get rid of losers like you." She tossed me the jump rope and jogged toward the amphitheater. "Come on then," she said over her shoulder. "We don't have much time."

With jump rope in hand, I chased behind her. Taniguchi was right — she was a pleasure to follow. When we got to the amphitheater stage, she stopped and turned full circle. "Okay, these are the rules. You get five minutes to do your best using only that jump rope. No funny stuff."

"What do you mean?"

"Don't be an idiot. No touching except for what's necessary to tie me. No accidentally feeling me up or anything like that or you'll regret it." She extended her arms and offered me her crossed wrists. "So how are you going to do me?"

"After I tie you?" I chuckled. "How about I do you doggy style?"

Haruhi's face muscles tightened as she did her best to suppress a smile. "Aren't you the comedian?"

"I don't know," I said, getting back to business. "What would you prefer?"

"I don't care. Guys have tied my wrists in front and they've tied my wrists behind my back. They've tied me up into a ball and they've tied me to flag poles. Everything's been tried. Nothing's worked."

"To be honest, I've never tied anyone up before. But I like the way ninjas tie up geisha girls in those Karate pictures. Why don't you get on your belly and we'll start there?"

"Fine." Haruhi found a comfortable spot on the grass stage, lay face down, and intertwined her fingers behind her back.

I paused to appreciate the view — toned shapely legs lead to a firm round bottom encased in skintight blue fabric, full t-shirt-stretching breasts pressed into the ground, and that beautiful face... damn...

Haruhi rolled her eyes. "Wake up. The clock is running."

I tightened my grip on the jump rope. "Yes, right."

I straddled the girl, placed a knee at each hip, and examined her wrists. It seemed like the logical place to start.

When I reached down, a little voice interrupted, "Start at the shoulders."

Huh?

The voice did not repeat itself.

Okay.

I lay the midpoint of the jump rope over the back of her neck and pulled the ends forward over her shoulders and back through her armpits. I tied my first square knot between her shoulder blades near her elbows.

I get it, I told the little voice. If I anchor the rope at her shoulders, the knot can't slide down off her arms when she struggles.

I examined her elbows.

"Tie them together."

What? Wouldn't that hurt?

The voice did not reply.

A girl as athletic as Suzumiya had to be flexible. I trusted the voice. I looped the rope around her upper arms and tugged until her elbows touched. A second square knot kept everything snug.

I dropped ends of the rope along her forearms, tied a stop knot above her wrists, and looped the rope around them. Again, I pulled it taut, pressing her pulse points together, and knotted it.

"She can handle tighter."

All right. If you say so.

Haruhi fluttered her fingers when I made the wrist loops extra tight.

Now what?

I still had a couple feet of rope left.

"Ankles."

I rolled off, knelt at her side, and studied her ankles. The lengths of rope would never reach, even if I bent her legs at the knees.

It won't reach.

"Cross her ankles."

Aha!

I crossed Haruhi's ankles and spread her knees.

"Hey," she said, a little panicked as her body formed a very sexy 'Y'. "No funny business, remember?"

"I won't touch a thing. I promise."

Haruhi groaned and pressed her cheek into the grass as I proceeded. "Hurry up. Your time is almost finished."

"I've still got a minute," I replied confidently. Thanks to the little voice, I'd worked without a hitch or hesitation. I probably had two minutes to spare.

I moved behind her and pushed her crossed ankles forward until they topped her wrists. To my surprise, the flexible girl's knees accommodated the position with little resistance. Two extra-tight loops and a triple square knot welded her wrists and ankles together.

"There, I'm done."

Haruhi looked back over her shoulder. "Are you sure?"

"I think so."

"You're not the first guy that's tried to hogtie me." Her fingers gripped the jump rope's dangling handles. "Are you sure this is this all you've got?"

I examined my rope work, amazed at the design. Slip-proof knots tied miles from probing fingers kept tight binding loops in place. The girl's extreme, spread-kneed, arrow-shaped pose made rolling impossible. In fact, she could barely move anything but her head and fingers.

"Yep. This is all I've got. What do you think?"

As I spoke, the class warning bell rang, signaling the end of P.E. We had ten minutes to change and shower before regular classes commenced.

Haruhi flicked her head in the direction of the school buildings. "I think you should go on back. No need for you to get into trouble. Besides, it may not look good if we both return at the same time."

"Understood." I got to my feet. "How about I come back to untie you in a couple hours, after our Japanese History class?"

"In your dreams. I'll be chasing you to the lockers in about five minutes. See you in Algebra."

"As you wish."

I ran off toward the gym. Twenty yards out, I stopped and turned. Though I heard some grunts and groans, Haruhi's struggles remained invisible, hidden in the pit of the amphitheater's bowl. My mind's eye imagined the view from one of the theater's audience ledges. The bound beauty no doubt put on one hell of a show.

I considered sneaking back to take a peek but thought better of it. As a gentleman (who didn't want to be late for Algebra), I respected the girl's wishes and jogged away. When I got to the locker room, most everyone had cleared out. I threw on my school clothes and sprinted to math class. My butt hit the seat as the bell rang.

The seat behind me remained empty for the duration of Algebra. This didn't surprise me. Haruhi wasn't going to shed my knots that easily.

When the seat behind me remained empty for Japanese History class, I got a little worried.