The Death of Haruhi Suzumiya
Twenty years later
I closed my laptop, another day of work having gone by effortlessly. It was almost not worth going into the office any more, when I knew I could just get things done at home, but appearances were everything in the corporate world. My boss would probably sack me if I didn't pay him much respect, though he knows that to me this isn't really something I must do.
I'm just your average 36 year old salaryman, working in a dead end job for some mindless, soulless business. It's not like I need to work any more, but I'll feel guilty if I don't at least contribute to society in some form.
However, I've been writing in the meantime, mostly freelance for some newspapers and magazines. Some are genuine articles, but I have contract for columns that I comment on daily or weekly events. Somehow my sense of dry humour is appealing to many, so why not let them have it for a price?
I got up from the study and went downstairs to my living room, picking up a magazine that I rarely read, apart from looking at the front cover. The malicious grin was gone, replaced with a stern but neutral line where her lips were, yet her eyes still held animosity within them, which apparently was the reason for her success. The deadly beauty, or as some called her, the definition of the femme fatale...
Asakura Ryouko had gone up in the world after graduating from North High. She went to university, and passed an advanced physics degree with outstanding grades. Being a former Terminal, she had knowledge way above normal humans, though I believe that she lost a great deal of information when she was downgraded.
She was spotted by some scout as she refused yet another invitation to join a modelling contest there. Having thrown several bouquets at the man, she shunned his attention constantly until one day, she just showed up at his studio on a whim. A few photos here or there using her natural charm, nobody thought anything more of it. Within weeks she was signed up by his agency and had begun full length photo shoots with pay. It became abundantly clear that she wouldn't smile for the camera, or do anything slightly positive in terms of expressing herself emotionally.
That earned her the reputation, and her popularity soared because of it. Soon she was headhunted by larger firms, but she rejected all of them. The major fashion designers then wanted her to wear their outfits. The strange thing was that she accepted them all on one condition. That she stay with her current firm, and that she would not be tied to any one designer in particular, favouring all of them equally. At one point, even Interflora was interested in sponsoring her frequent floral assaults.
Yuki told me that having already killed her twice before, and trying it a third time reached a mental block she hadn't come across before. It wasn't coded in, nor was it something to do with the Entity. I saw it as guilt for essentially deleting her own sister, and that she couldn't live with doing it once more. Having compromised by making her human and placing those limitations on her, she probably didn't feel any more since then.
We still see Asakura Ryouko every year, as we have an annual reunion date with everyone. She was still angry at me, but at least I didn't have any flowers land on or near me for over a decade or so... I guess that she's mellowed, and even now when she was angry toward my person, it seemed to be mostly for show. For all I know, she could be happy with her life now.
I checked the financial papers, and could only smirk as Koizumi's firm had their shares go up again for the tenth month in a row. Whether it was the influence of the Organisation, I couldn't tell, though I'm sure they had a hand in its success. Most of the members were working in profitable places, whilst the rest did charity and voluntary work. Somehow the esper powers gave them the intelligence to recognise what was a good job or not.
Then again, the employees loved Koizumi's blank smiling face, no different to the one I was exposed to on a daily basis. He was reportedly a popular boss, no doubt because he knew how to prevent people from getting upset, having been around Haruhi for so long. With Kyoko-san by his side, as his wife and co-partner in the firm, he seemed to be happy with his new life. As much as I despised his smarmy ploy to being Haruhi's 'yes man', I didn't begrudge him his success, nor did I wish for him to fail.
Their daughter was around eleven now, and I think was also an esper, not exactly mindblowing given the genealogy of her parents. From what I gathered from the few conversations I had with her, it was like talking to a miniature, female version of Koizumi, clever and yet hiding it well beneath her innocent face. She resembled her mother a lot.
I glanced at the clock, seeing that it was almost midday, before recalling someone else.
Asahina-san came by occasionally. Time had caught up and one day, she suddenly became Asahina-san (Big), speaking with us as if things were normal. Of course, by that time there was little physical difference between the two, but she informed me so that there would be no more confusion or private matters that I couldn't talk about with the younger version. I could see her sadness inside, because despite being the leader of the time travelling community, she could not just violate protocol and live in the past all the time. I could sympathise with her, since one day we would be too old, and she would still be her young self, it would shatter her fragile heart.
Nevertheless, when she came to visit, it was for about a week at a time, and she'd stay at Tsuruya-san's mansion free of charge. The green-haired girl was living there alone with her maids and butlers, and relished the chance to see the time traveller again. At this moment, she was here, and I could tell the telltale signs of something being hidden, as Tsuruya-san had a twinkle in her eye, and Asahina-san was just blushing more each day.
It's not like it would shock me to know that they were a couple, it was already a badly kept secret in our group... Only Asahina-san was blissfully unaware of everyone else noticing it. I just felt for both of them since they had a lot in common, from having experienced and seen terrible things in their lives. The important thing was that they were both happy around each other, and I suppose that's what matters in the end. I wished them the best, though I couldn't see a way for Asahina-san to stay here permanently.
I glanced at a picture beside the television, and felt a sense of nostalgia after seeing the face of my sister.
She'd obviously changed quite a bit and was just slightly shorter than me. Having taken care of Shamisen for so long, she chose to go into veterinary school, and had her own practice in our city. The cat was still alive, even I thought that at 22 years it was fairly remarkable, if not unheard of, for cats to live that long. She took him to work with her to calm down wilder animals. Whenever Shamisen walked about the reception area, all the cries of the animals in pain or because they were in their cages stopped as he sat there. Telepathic communication maybe, or just another coincidence? It didn't matter anyway, since both were alive and well.
I flicked the large television on and saw a news broadcast, as allegations of corruption and cronyism were shouted down with a passion, refuted completely, and making the accuser seem ridiculous. The figurehead was powerful and always one step ahead of detractors, and had a comeback reply for every comment made.
Haruhi of course lit the world alight, not literally thank goodness, her brains and natural intuition got her to the highest position one can possibly get. Prime Minister Haruhi Suzumiya was hard to get hold of these days, though it was perfectly understandable given her status. Entering the Diet directly into the House of Representatives and immediately gaining popularity both inside the chambers and outside with the public, she became the youngest ever Prime Minister at the age of thirty, already re-elected once, and the first female one in Japan. Her ratings stayed high as she countered any attempts from the opposition, which consisted of all the other parties. Not having liked the policies of any of the current ones, she created her own, the SOS Brigade party...
As if the world couldn't get any crazier... She hand picked her party members, which included Sasaki as her second in command, to filter out any spies or poor politicians. As such it was impossible to join unless she liked you for a particular reason; no amount of bribery or blackmail would work against her. Given that she also exposed those who tried either method to all the media, publicly naming and shaming them, it made others less eager to apply lest she turn her attention to their shadier techniques.
Somehow, she stayed in office by improving the economy, the relations with other countries, and even solving the falling birth rate. Japan was currently booming thanks to her machinations. On a world scale, Japan was impressing other governments in the UN, and obviously due to the current leader's vigour and youthfulness, giving vague impressions of Junichiro openness and casual attitude.
And yes, she still wore that silly armband, although now it says 'Prime Minister'.
I found it hilarious that she ended up with that guy though; it threw me for a start, until she explained it began back at school. I accepted her word for it. Their ten year old son also scared me, those eyes were far too observant in everything he saw, and I'm positive odd things have happened around him…
As for me, well...
A hand on my shoulder startled me for a second, before I held it briefly.
"Lunch is ready, Kyon."
I looked up to my wife and smiled warmly, "Thanks, Yuki."
I got up to look at her, still hardly believing I was with her. Her height hadn't changed, though she wore her hair a little longer, letting it grow to change her hairstyle whenever she wanted, and it reached the shoulders now. She even put it in a ponytail some days. Her face was age defying, still looking as she had been back when I first met her. Her expressions were still neutral when she wasn't being directly spoken to, but otherwise she did form small smiles and frowns rarely when she was upset.
Though she kept her school uniform, I reminded her a while ago that it wouldn't be suitable for going out normally, so I encouraged her to buy some clothing. She never took to formal suit-like clothing; though she did wear trousers or jeans sometimes, she preferred kimonos and dresses instead. She was currently wearing the former, a pale blue to offset her violet hair, with patterns of flowers strewn around on it.
I didn't object to her wearing the uniform on occasion though...
Yuki was the strangest of all of us. She didn't have a job anywhere, and stayed at home, though her method of housekeeping was a little more extreme and I doubted there was a single particle of dust in our home environment that survived for longer than a second. Every atom of our home was controlled by her powers, and our garden seemed to survive the winter months, still blooming despite snow falling one year. She never displayed any desire to work, despite being most likely the most intelligent person on the planet. I suppose it never occurred to her that it was normal for people to work daily, but she didn't seem to be bothered by this notion. Like I mentioned earlier, there was no point to working if Yuki could just conjure up something from nowhere, even money. I believed it was immoral though, and would only allow us the use of her powers for things only we use or need to fix, such as transport, electrical goods and so on.
That's not to say she didn't go out. She liked to walk the neighbourhood and see new places. By new places, I meant that most days, she'd just materialise herself in another part of the world and simply take in the view, visit the sights, or sit in a foreign park reading her favourite books. Souvenirs from every continent, including Antarctica, were placed in our home; holidays certainly were cheap with her powers!
In spite of being able to access or read anything at will, she did have one hobby, and that was books. If a new science fiction book was being released, she was always at the front of the queue, no matter where the first release would take place, and she would converse in the correct language perfectly. This unfortunately happened too frequently that one magazine caught on, so she settled for going a day later, after having reserved a copy beforehand.
She sometimes dropped in on the Computer Research Society President. He ran a small computer chain store, the main one coincidentally located in the mall where we filmed the adverts for the summer festival movie. He sells games and computer parts and even services faulty ones, not liking the whole industry and instead choosing to do something that made him happy.
Yuki would help him diagnose problems with certain troublesome PCs within seconds. He always paid her for each one she worked on, knowing that it would have taken him longer to do them on his own, and she even worked by phone, using the data manipulation skills through the phone line. He never asked questions about her abilities, nor did she declare them to him, he just knew that she was special, and was happy to be included in her circle of friends. He was invited to our reunions too, though Haruhi did scare him a little too much, perhaps even more now.
I sat down to the Western style table and waited patiently as Yuki brought in the lunch, which turned out to be katsudon, the meat atop the rice appeared to be juicy and well done at the same time. I had to leave a bit of room in my stomach since she still poured a lot of tea for me after my meal, but I was used to it by now.
As Yuki sat down to the table, I picked up my chopsticks, looking forward to the meal. Since she was still the Entity, she cooked amazing meals from all corners of the globe, as if they were all made by the professional who first came up with the idea. My taste buds thanked me daily.
I was about to pick up a small strip of meat, only to pause and frown at my chopsticks, which were now two pencils. Staring at the person opposite me, I raised my eyebrow and sent a stern gaze in that direction. A subtle change in the material in my hand restored the original pair.
I lowered my chopsticks to their resting place.
"Haruki..." My voice was serious, "What have I told you about doing that when we're about to eat?"
The boy pouted and muttered under his breath, changing something else on the table that I couldn't see back to normal.
"I told you Kyon would notice!" A raspberry sound came from the girl next to me.
"Ameko, don't tease your brother like that, and don't call me Kyon either..." I scolded her lightly, and she too quietened down, not used to hearing me raise my voice at her.
I suppose by now I should have introduced my two children, huh?
Haruki is the elder of the two, he's twelve years old and is active for his age. His hair is slate grey and he shares my natural style, though a few tufts do stick up in various places. His eyes are deep grey, and he's more intelligent than other kids his age, so he's mostly average in every way.
Apart from his data manipulation ability, which he inherited from his mother.
While nowhere near as powerful as Yuki, he can do simple replacement techniques, such as just now swapping my chopsticks for his pencils upstairs, and another day changing the rice into grit from outside. It only applies for small things for now, though inevitably it will grow stronger. He can't delete items, though I hope he won't learn it any time soon.
Yuki instructs him almost daily on the proper conduct of the data manipulation, and if he does use it too often for his own benefit or to torment someone, then she locks down his abilities for a week, a form of grounding. She has control over him, in allowing or disallowing it, though she can't prevent him for becoming for skilled at it on his own. If Haruki is the computer, becoming better by training, experience or just growing up, Yuki is the power supply, so she can shut his powers down any time it is necessary.
As I'm unable to stop him if he does something, I get him to change it back, and if he can't or won't do it, then Yuki does for me, and punishes him in her own way.
Meanwhile, my other child Ameko is an energetic nine year old girl, and has two pigtails either side of her head. Her hair is a light brown, and so are her eyes. She's inherited her brains from me, which entails lower test results and my having to go to the school often to ask why she's not doing so well. I do try to help her with her homework though, and sometimes Yuki comes also, though simplifying her talk can confuse Ameko.
Though I ask Yuki often to check, it's a fact. Ameko is one hundred percent human, with no trace of data manipulation or anything else in her blood. However, I'm still left with a nervous feeling when I see her staring at a random object when we go out together, or looking around the area as if she could hear a voice calling her. I get the impression that she knows more than what she's letting on, and I'm not referring to data related matters. She does seem quite witty though, and likes to tell dry jokes with a wry sense of sarcasm.
The first word she uttered is one she still says to this day, and that word is my nickname, 'Kyon'. She never called me 'father', 'dad', or even 'daddy' when she was younger. I couldn't break that habit of hers, which is why she reminds me of that energetic girl in the past. Despite my fears, I love her very much, and perhaps I spoil her too much at times, although Yuki also does the same in her own way.
The two pregnancies were curious in the sense that they were textbook in every way. Yuki converted the necessary parts to be human, with her DNA and genetic structure when we wanted to have the kids, and she allowed her bump to grow over the nine months. Thankfully, there was no need to explain why she wasn't in any pain despite having no epidural, since we went to Koizumi's hospital, the ever reliable Mori-san acting as midwife this time. Though I'm sure Yuki knew how to do it herself, it was another way to get closer to the others, and she didn't object in any way.
They grew up healthy, and I'm pretty positive that they never caught a cold once, perhaps they inherited some special antibodies in their blood, or maybe Yuki protects them from germs. I hope that in the future they won't be hypersensitive when or if this shield vanishes.
I was shunted out of my reverie by Ameko whining.
"Haruki-niisan is lucky... He can do those things..." She folded her arms and sulked at the table.
Yuki and I looked at each other, knowing that this was a growing problem; her jealousy of his powers was becoming more obvious by the day. I looked at her, forgoing my meal for now.
"Ameko, you need to know something about Haruki. He can change things, but no one else in the world can do them..." I looked to Yuki, as it didn't seem to come out right from my mouth.
"Your father is correct. In this world, only two people can change things like that, and that is me and Haruki." Yuki smiled lightly and patted Haruki on his back, "To have this power means to control it all the time, otherwise you will forget how to live normally."
Haruki nodded, "That's right, Ame-chan... I need to learn how to hold it in all the time... It's just so easy, to change grades, to get money..." He shook his head and frowned, "It's cool sometimes, but I forget how not to use it..."
Ameko stared at him curiously, and then looked at me, "Does that mean I'm boring?"
I ruffled her hair, making her giggle in response, "No, it just means you're human, and therefore special in your own way. You just need to discover how."
I swore to myself that I saw a spark flare up in her eyes, one that extinguished within a blink of hers. She beamed, "Okay Kyon, I'll become special! I'll make you proud of me!"
My stomach churned once, a queer sense of dread flooding my capillaries, accompanied by a large serving of déjà vu.
Is this how Haruhi...?
"I-It's okay, I'm already proud of you, Ameko." I patted her head once again, hoping that would be enough to stave away her intrigue. "Now, let's finish lunch okay? It's going to be a big day today..."
Silently we ate our meal together, savouring the taste of traditional Japanese cooking for once, whilst I saw Yuki's eyes turn a little sadder at the edges.
An hour later
I picked up my laptop, taking it with me downstairs, having saved all the necessary documents. I had a folder that held other important things, and a suitcase with some clothes in it, as well as a few mementos.
My family was waiting for me downstairs, Yuki stood between our children, who both had tears in their eyes.
I knelt down to look at them face to face, "Hey now, I won't be gone for long, I'll be back before you know it!"
"But dad... I'll miss you..." Haruki tried to be strong, but failed.
"I know, son... Your mother will take care of you; just remember that I'm not going to stay there forever."
Ameko sniffed once, then folded her arms angrily, "I'm not happy." She stated.
"Ameko, promise me you'll try hard with your school work."
She looked away, the tear globules at the edge of her eyes shaking, "Fine." She faced me again, "You'd better bring me back something good, Kyon!"
Grinning, I nodded, "That's a fair bargain..." I looked up at my loving wife, "Yuki..."
Her child-like face bore down-turned lips and a tiny crease between her eyebrows. Her eyes were shimmering slightly.
"Kyon... I just want to remind you that I can only fix the details once when you arrive, and then you are on your own until you choose to return. The dangers are numerous, as is any reality, although I, nor the Organisation or the other agencies will be able to help you there."
"I was prepared for this, Yuki..." I moved closer to her and held my hands out to her arms, holding them softly, "Perhaps it's selfish of me to do this on my own, but I've wanted to do it for a while, it's something I feel people should know about..."
She lowered her head, "I understand, but at the same time, I don't want you to go alone..."
I pulled her in for a hug, as the kids giggled and stepped back at another display of affection, "I'll be careful, Yuki. I won't take any unnecessary risks. Besides, I'll have your picture with me, as well as the others, for inspiration and courage."
She sniffed and as she looked up I saw tears in her eyes for the first time in my life. I had no idea how much this affected her, so I was about to pull back and stop my journey, but she saw this dramatic change in me and shook her head, keeping me in her arms.
"No, I won't let you stop now. Go, Kyon, and do what makes you happy. You deserve one little extravagance in your life. You've earned it."
I nodded and leaned in to kiss her, savouring the taste and feel of her supple lips for the last time in a long while.
I moved back to my belongings and picked them up, feeling tears welling up in my own eyes, but persevered in keeping them there.
Yuki took a step closer and moved her arms back, before returning them to her sides, keeping the children behind them.
"I have confirmed that Asahina Mikuru has initiated the necessary temporal field in this proximity, and will be active until all communications have ceased with you. Do you have the Control Timer?"
I pulled it out of my pocket, holding it tenderly.
"When you fire the sliding portal, it will detect an area devoid of people in an urban location. It will be open for one minute allowing me to insert your presence into the world's systems."
I nodded, already knowing this, but knew that Yuki was secretly worrying inside, and trying to delay the push of the button.
"After the portal closes, there will be no contact back to this universe, or a return to this time period. The only way home is for you to reopen the portal, which will automatically be detected by me. You will not be able to return to that place after coming back here. Having been temporarily granted access to the Master TPDD, I will ensure that the temporal state will be stable enough for you to return. When you receive a command on the timer, jump into the portal."
"Thank you, Yuki." I whispered, smiling for her, as she gave a shy one in return. I spoke louder, "I'll miss you all, but I'll be back, no doubt about that!"
I aimed the timer into the centre of the living room where a gap was prepared, firing so that the silver portal emerged, and then was surrounded by an electrical field on the ring.
"Temporal coordinates established, approximate date, April 2003. Target reality locked, U1, Earth1." She looked into my eyes, as a sole stream left her eyes for one moment before vanishing, "Good luck, Kyon."
"Bye dad! Have fun!" Haruki smiled for me.
"Remember Kyon, something good, okay?" Ameko cried out, also crying quietly.
Waving to them, and sending one last sardonic grin, I jumped into the vortex.
One second later
Nagato started glowing and upgraded herself to the Entity level, and began her hyperspeech after linking to that world's computers, forging papers for Kyon, even going to the extent of changing the savings he had on him to the currency in use at the time.
For the latter, Kyon had insisted on using the money he had been saving up, instead of simply having some created for him there. Whilst not overly wealthy, he had a healthy balance to tide over and one in which Nagato could use while was gone, given that it was a joint account.
She adjusted the laptop he carried on him to conform to the design of that time, although it was far too complex even for this time, seeing as Nagato constructed it using her own abilities. As such, it ran for ten hours without power, recharged instantly using the sun, had a custom operating system and would never be prone to viruses. It was also tagged so that Kyon would never lose it, always teleporting back to him if it went missing, and only his DNA signature would switch it on.
Finding a suitable furnished location for him to live in, she automated the first month's rent and deposit, moving the keys into his pocket as well as the address on a piece of paper with instructions. Altering the minds of a few people, namely his new landlord and some neighbours, she had finished the job in less than ten seconds.
She recalled his instructions not to make things easier for what he was about to do. If it didn't work out, he would come back, but if it did, he would stay there until it was done. She felt for his person, and found him in Tokyo, in a car park where a security camera wasn't working, at around nine at night. She detected that no one could see the portal, nor that anyone was arriving at his insertion point, and was thankful for that.
Realising that the connection would terminate in a second, she sent one last message as the portal fizzled away. Having dried up her tears, she looked down at her children to see them both wiping their faces, only for more tears to come. She smiled and placed an arm around both of them, and they hugged her back.
"Haruki, Ameko." They looked up at her when she to spoke a minute later when their sobs had died down, "What would you like to do for Golden Week?"
Haruki piped up immediately, "I want to go to see the Coliseum in Rome!"
"Boring!" Ameko countered, "I want to go to EuroDisney!"
"No! Even having New York cheesecake is better than that!"
"The Sydney Opera House then, it's a lot cooler!"
"Okay..." She patted both their heads, "We'll go to every place you want. Until your father returns we can eat in a different city each night. There's no limit."
Their smiles widened as they ran upstairs to pack their bags, Yuki had already packed her own lightweight one whilst she was speaking to them.
Sitting down silently on the sofa, she placed her hands in her lap and changed clothing to something more suitable for walking around outside, opting for a comfortable pair of trousers and a warm top. Tightening her hands into the folds of the trousers around the thigh level, she closed her eyes.
"Take care and have fun, husband."
I breathed the air, feeling refreshed despite it being the middle of Tokyo. I looked at the timer once more, and the message was still there, glowing for me.
"I'll miss you. I'll be waiting. I love you, Kyon."
I doubted it would leave the timer any time soon, so I pocketed it again. It was triple locked, so that I couldn't accidentally reopen the portal home again by bumping it on the way to my new home.
The apartment was compact, but perfectly habitable for someone like me with few desires. Placing the laptop on the desk and counting my money, I found that I had enough to pay the rent for at least four years, and had enough to buy food, pay bills and spend some on a few luxuries. I suppose that Haruhi improved my Japan so much that the currency must've deflated quite a bit to make my savings look to be huge here.
I placed the photo frames out, having brought two that were very close to me.
The personal one of my family and I smiling whilst standing in front of the Parthenon in Greece during the height of summer was put on the floor beside where the futon would go. The children were two years younger than now, and both were beaming brightly. Yuki had erected a subtle field effect behind and around us to prevent people getting in the way of the large ancient temple, giving the rare image in my hands. Despite being of Japanese origin, she didn't tan easily unless she allowed it so; therefore she didn't carry a parasol with her. Her soft smile was genuine, and I knew it was guaranteed to keep me warm while I was away.
The other photo of all of us at our last reunion sat next to my laptop. It was all of us on two levels, the front row sitting, the back standing, and it was rather entertaining to watch.
Haruhi of course was in the centre, she had ordered her bodyguards out of the photo since all of them would've doubled the number in the picture. She had her arms folded and grinned madly, her armband in full display over her black suit. She wore a ponytail that day too I recall.
To the left of her was Koizumi and Kyoko-san, resting their hands on the lap of their daughter, Hiromi, who was between them. She was quite cute for a twelve year old, getting her girly looks from Kyoko-san, and her maturity from Koizumi. She left her brown hair long, and it settled halfway down her back. They were all respectfully dressed in suits, even Hiromi, and bore similar shaped smiles. The parents seemed happy, perhaps at the prospect of their second child, seeing as Kyoko-san was heavily pregnant, her other hand draped over her belly.
To Haruhi's right was a bright red and half squealing Asahina-san. She wore a semi-formal white top and skirt, though her cause of embarrassment came from Tsuruya-san next to her who was hugging her waist tightly, and most likely tickling her somewhere we couldn't see. She wore an expensive kimono and was laughing loudly, her fang glinting faintly with the flash.
To the right of Tsuruya-san was the person that I feared greatly. The boy had a look that could curdle milk from twenty paces. He contained all the malevolence that the Sneering Bastard combined with the cruel efficiency of a death dealing Asakura Ryouko (when she was bad, that is), finally with a touch of volatility that was Psychotic Tsuruya. Shin, the son of Haruhi and her somewhat tortured husband, had everything Haruhi did when she was 'unstable', and more. I haven't yet seen anything strange happen, but I get the feeling it's only a matter of time. His arms crossed, he had ink black hair, deep eyes that gave you the impression that nothing good lay there, and that smirk makes me shudder. He wore a suit, which for an eleven year old was not entirely suitable, but to him it seemed like he was born with it.
He gives me the creeps…
Above and behind Haruhi was a very weary looking me. I had just had a tough day from being chewed out by my boss for slacking, though we both knew he made a mistake with the ordering... Well enough about that, I'm still annoyed at it...
To my immediate right was a grinning Asakura Ryouko, and my eyes were diverted to her face as she placed on hand on my head, her fingers splayed like trying to pick up a DVD at the edges. Her teeth were visible, as was some of her fury, but by now it had become a mask of her own happiness. She had on the latest dress from one of the top designers, I didn't particularly care to find out, nor did she tell us, since here, business was forgotten and only friends mattered.
To her right was my sister, oblivious to the blue-haired girl's antics, smiling politely with her arms on her legs. Shamisen was also there, having coming straight from her work, he was peacefully asleep, curled up in her arms.
After her was Sasaki, her smile was in contrast to Haruhi's in that it was wise and yet as if she knew a great secret, her half-lidded eyes also reflecting this. I knew there was some rivalry in their political life, but I wasn't sure of how much it was real or not. After the small 'incidents', shall we say, when they first met, things had settled down between them and they became fast friends, if at times it turned out to be tentative. They both trusted and suspected each other at the same time, which was a delicate balance that often shifted from both extremes. Yet, despite all that, I feet that they would always be there for each other and have each other's back.
Back to the middle, to my left I had Ameko followed by Haruki, who were both enjoying themselves, arms raised in the air. Yuki was next to my son, smiling gently, wearing a light pink kimono, subdued in its appearance compared to Tsuruya-san's busy dragon designs on her blaring red one.
The Computer Research Society President was the last in line, and he was looking down our row to look at someone in mild awe, and it wasn't Yuki, which makes me wonder who it could be.
Next to Sasaki was supposed to be one more person, but he was only vaguely in the image on the right as a large blurry object. He set the timer wrong on the camera, so he was too close to the lens, not having reached the seat and still in mid run. Haruhi's husband was mocked lightly after the photo, since it was the last amount of space he had on the memory card. Everyone agreed though that it was a good picture anyway, and no one wanted to redo it, much to his chagrin.
This was one of my treasured pictures, Yuki and I would always keep the most recent group photo hanging in the living room, as a reminder of the past. Of course there would be many more photos of everyone else during each reunion, and we had several albums devoted to those days.
I yawned suddenly. There wasn't really any jetlag to speak of, but suddenly I found my body wishing to sleep, even though it was lunchtime two hours ago. I assumed that Yuki must've fast-forwarded my body clock to help me acclimatise to the new time. Thanking her, I unrolled the futon from the cupboard and lay down, not wanting to change clothes just yet.
I lay awake for a short time before kissing the photo of my family and turning over to sleep.
The next day
Wide awake and feeling energised, I held my manuscript in hand and walked through the streets of Tokyo, searching for a particular type of company.
This world was exactly like my own, except without any paranormal things like espers, time travellers, sliders or aliens, the latter of which we can't tell because of the standard conspiracy theories. Tsuruya-san had scoured the worlds and came across this one, which to me was perfect for my needs, so she had it pre-programmed into the Control Timer for my benefit. To me, it felt no different, though I already had a pang of homesickness and was missing my family already.
I found one place quickly and went in to speak to the editor, wanting to show him a new story for his magazine. Not giving it a second glance, I left to find another place.
Four companies later, I found someone who had enough time to read through the first chapter. I got the reaction I was waiting for, widened eyes, a smile curling up and even slight annoyance at the end of it.
"Where's the rest of it?"
"I have more if you wish to see it; I already have enough material for a few books." The editor began to drool, having found a great story that even he was interested in. Knowing that I whet his appetite for the remainder, I smirked inside, but acted casual on the outside, "So, do you want to take it?"
"Fine, in the June issue it'll appear... But I get the first look at your work, okay?"
I smiled, this was going well.
One month later
The new issue came out, so I went to pick it up, and my smile only grew as a familiar face stared back at me from the front page. The descriptions and sample drawings I gave were perfect, and it thrilled me to see it in print finally.
Skipping all the other writers, I saw the page with my work on it, and began to read it through.
"The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya
When did I stop believing in Santa Claus? In truth, this sort of silly question holds no real significance for me. However, if you were to ask me when I stopped believing that the old man wearing the red costume was Santa, then I can confidently say: I have never believed in Santa, ever……"
Once I was done, I laid back and stared at the picture on my desk, grinning widely.
One year later
I had created a monster.
Never before in my wildest dreams did I imagine that the popularity of this would soar to such extremes. My third novel was already released and it became a phenomenon, not just in Japan either.
I guess you really are popular Haruhi...
Five years later
I was glad, it was finally finished. All I had to do was to finish off the epilogue...
"And so, this concludes my adventures with the person known as Haruhi Suzumiya. Who would've expected it to come to such a conclusion?
No matter what, she'll always be a part of my life, wherever she goes, whatever she does, somehow she'll affect me.
The SOS Brigade will forever remain as the group that made my life what it is now, and what it will become in the future.
I haven't got any regrets, nor do I have any more wishes left. My life has been fulfilled in the most satisfying of fashions leaving me content with my choices, and happy knowing that I still have a long life left ahead of me to spend with the person I care most in the world.
Of course, I doubt any of you who read this will have any inkling of what I'm talking about, and that's okay, I'll understand. It's better if none of you knew the truth anyway, it might scare you more than you could possibly imagine.
So, remember, enjoy your lives for what they are, and don't always think about what you're going to do in the future. Try to have fun in the present, and you'll all become special in your own way.
This is me, saying goodbye to you all now. Don't let it sadden you, as I'm going to a better place.
I saved the file and proofread it all, as a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders. I switched off the laptop and went straight to bed.
The next day
Kadokawa Shoten Publishing
"Are you sure?! It can't end like this!"
"I'm sorry, but it has, and there'll be no more stories from me." I smiled at the editor, his eyes bugging out somewhat, "Today, I'm leaving, forever, and I'm not coming back. Do what you want with the story, continue it if you think you can. My earnings you can pass to some charity or keep it for yourself, it's up to you." I stood up and bowed deeply, "Thank you for this chance, it has been fun."
The editor stood up too, sensing this would be the time he sees me again, "There's nothing I can do to convince you otherwise?"
I shook my head, "No, I have a beautiful wife, a wonderful family, and lifelong friends that want to see me again, and to be honest, so do I." I pulled out one photo frame from my bag and showed it to him, "As you can see, and I'm sure you'll understand, they are all precious to me."
His glasses fell to the ground as he saw my group photo, and analysed it for a full ten seconds, taking in every detail, as tears built up in his eyes.
"I... I'm sorry..." He bowed to me, "It's been an honour... Please go with my blessings and best wishes."
I left the office immediately, and looked around Tokyo. I had lived here for six years, so I would be sorry to say goodbye to it. I pulled out my list of things I had to do, most of them were ticked, including packing up my apartment, which only consisted of some clothes and my first belongings, informing the landlord I was leaving and giving him the last month's rent, quitting the job, and closing my bank account to take it out in cash.
Knowing that there was still one last thing to do, I went straight to Akihabara, and strode into the largest store there.
Despite having written one of the most famous series in recent times that had spanned the world and spawned three anime series, my face was relatively unknown, so I liked the anonymity.
Picking up some DVD box sets, packaged novels and a few of the expensive models, I paid for them at the till, stuffing them into two large plastic bags, before exiting quickly.
I stared up at the sky as I prepared myself, having done some research beforehand and retreated to an abandoned building that was scheduled for demolition later that week. I pulled out the timer, which still bore that same message, and activated it.
The portal expanded, and I waited until it began to crackle at the edges. The timer vibrated and I saw the message change.
"Temporal adjustments complete. Initiate transfer."
Not waiting a second longer, I did so, jumping into the silver pool carrying everything I own in with me.
Ten seconds later
I landed on my feet and dropped my bags to take in two bundles of heat in the form of my children, smiling and crying.
As the portal vanished behind me, the room lit up with natural sunlight once more.
I released them from the intense hug and opened up the bag to pull out a model for my son, "Here you go Haruki..."
"Wow, mum looks so cool!"
The Yuki model was wearing a witch's robe and hat, a magic wand on one hand, but interchangeable for a book, and even spare glasses inside. I handed another one to Ameko.
"Since you like my nickname so much, how about me?"
I handed her my model, the uniform replicated perfectly, and my cynical, tired expression also copied well.
"Well, it'll have to do, Kyon..." She sounded let down, but I could see her eyes light up.
They ran upstairs to play and customise the models, and probably put them on a shelf, when I walked up to Yuki.
"How long was I gone for?" I asked.
"Six weeks approximately, what was the time dilation period for you?"
"Six years..." I closed my eyes, letting out a sad breath, "I changed the plot a bit, but almost lost it trying to write the tenth novel, I was this close to coming back home..." I held out my hand, showing my index finger and thumb millimetres apart.
She smiled as she momentarily ascended into Entity level and muttered under her breath. I felt my body grow a tiny bit more lively and healthier.
"I have removed those six years of aging from you, so you have not changed." She came in for a hug, "Welcome back, Kyon."
"I'm home..." I pulled her in and stroked her violet hair, missing the scent of her aroma. Moving down to kiss those lips I hadn't pressed against for six years revived me, "Nagato Yuki ..." This brought her attention, "I believe it's time we go on another trip, what do you say we try London this time?"
She smiled fully, greater than her normal smiles; the only other time this happened was at our wedding, "Tanigawa Nagaru, I would love that."
Not even packing our bags, Yuki whisked us away that moment to the centre of Hyde Park in Kensington, disturbing flocks of wood pigeons in their grazing.
We hugged and kissed again beneath an old oak tree, as the sun rose from the East to signal a new day.
As my name suggests, I am like a flowing mountain stream, starting from high up in the clouds, trickling down through valleys, underground crevasses and glaciers to form a small tributary, meandering through the rocks and pebbles to be joined by other smaller similar streams, only to combine with a huge violent river. I am then carried down rushing torrents of water, rapids and eventually, the current slows as we reach the open sea, where I could truly be free.
Though she would never know, Haruhi's wish was fulfilled.
I had spread excitement all over the world, saving it by overloading it with fun, giving generations of people a reason to dream that the impossible can happen.
This might be a love it/hate it type of chapter. Some of you might not like my intense data dumps and reaching into the realms of the crackfic. I can understand that completely. As with the whole 'Kyon is in fact a self insertion by Tanigawa Nagaru, who is actually Kyon in the first place' theory I created. Again, I know this would probably annoy people even further.
I had this planned from the very beginning, and no, there were no hints of it, aside from the 'Haruhiism' mention in the previous chapter. This is a reference that the whole metaverse was in fact truth, and written from the point of view by someone who had lived through it all. Tanigawa's stories are so well written, it's hard to imagine that he just came up with it spontaneously sometimes, so I just decided to make this ridiculous notion reality.
Before any of you say, I know that I wrote Haruhi Suzumiya (western order) but the others I used Japanese order, as my title was written in the former.
I'll admit, Prime Minister Haruhi was a bit of a stretch, but I just liked the sound of it so much. If any of you are that put off by this chapter, ignore it and take the previous one to be the end. Any comments or questions you wish to make that aren't suitable for reviews, I'll happily accept private messages and respond accordingly. If I haven't ruined the entire story with this chapter, then please let me know that too, as positive reinforcement is useful.
I don't intend there to be a sequel to the previous chapter, at least, not a full epic, but I might fill in the 20 year gap with some information, such as the beginnings of the relationships, weddings, babies, etc. The few alternate endings will also appear first, but don't quote me on a time frame for this to appear, as I deserve a little break from the Haruhi fandom for at least one week.
If anyone is a decent artist, I'd love for that group picture to be drawn; it would be awesome to see.
Still, I hope you liked the ending. To be honest, this story was written during the second most worst year of my life (the most worst year I wrote my Love Hina: 28 Days Later zombie story...), and thusly brought out a lot of emotions in me as I was writing the epilogue (the Kyon/Yuki family was a very personal feeling I had inside me). Any words, reviews, flames, are accepted and encouraged.
Until next time...
P.S. Sorry, I meant: