Snow Mountain Illusion

NOTE: This fic is a fanwork made solely for fun and not profit. I do not own the rights to the usage of the characters, setting, or alluded story. These rights belong solely to the author Tanigawa Nagaru and the publishing company Kadokawa.


ITSUKI

There was an odd feeling Itsuki often had but couldn't name. He couldn't pinpoint its location, its origin, not even its exact composition. It was merely a feeling that sometimes came at night as he lay in bed, in silence and in solitude. Sometimes it came in the clubroom as he played a game, in relative peace before Suzumiya came bursting in with her energy turned on and her brilliant smile lighting up the room. Sometimes it came in class, as his mind wandered from material the Agency had already covered at some point in his training to some misadventure Suzumiya had dragged the Brigade through.

Tonight, however, it came particularly strongly, as he watched the blizzard continue ferociously outside the windows. Perhaps it was the emptiness of the room itself that brought on the stirring within him, as he sat small and still on one side of his monster of a bed, leaning on the headboard. The emotion did seem to be provoked by such things, silly and stupid as they were. It was not so much the size of the bed itself. Years at the Agency had made him accustomed to empty luxuries like this one, which looked and felt highly impressive but were as cozy as nail-embedded wood. It was simply being alone in it, for some reason. The classroom, the clubroom, the bed - all things made for more than one person, or with a large group of people in mind.

Yet Itsuki was very much alone.

The fact that it bothered him was something he could never mention. The honest, sincere man was not the part he had been handed to play in this game. On the contrary, he had been allotted the mysterious man and the mysterious man he had to play, regardless of his own feelings in the matter.

Although as he shivered alone tonight with that feeling gnawing at him, making him squirm and sweat or at the very least making him feel like he was, he could not deny that he wished to be recasted.

Couldn't he make it so? Suzumiya was sleeping in the next room—well, in theory she was. It would be just like her to be scheming away at her window, excited at the mystery plot unfolding before her eyes yet again, and at that thought he smiled lightly, genuinely. How difficult would it be, he wondered. How difficult would it be to enter quietly, softly, like a gentle breeze wafting into the room. To whisper, just as gently, "I love you."

How difficult it would be.

His attention no longer even attempting to be on the whiteout effect of the snow, he stretched out his legs and let his head drop onto the pillows, massively proportioned to suit the bed. Did he love Suzumiya? Not too long ago he wouldn't have even considered the question worth thinking about. She was, quite simply, his life. She gave him this life, whether by creating this universe and all the people in it or by simply modifying those like him to suit her purposes: maintaining her needs and keeping her content. It was his duty, the one task he had to complete bar none. And while there were things such as work and the safety of the universe to consider, he could not deny that he honestly enjoyed seeing her happy, that sometimes it was actually foremost in his mind when he did or said the things he did.

Yet lately he had been wondering differently. He had always thought Kyon's inability to firmly choose Suzumiya among the girls a sign of unworthiness. Now, all things considered, was it just human to be wary? On that note, did he even care whether or not Kyon had her anymore?

Yes, Itsuki decided. There was definitely a small little twist in his stomach at the thought of them together. Did that mean he loved her? The hesitancy he had developed about saying so could merely be his own acceptance of his fate, his way of trying to dull the longing for someone he knew would never return his feelings. After all, by now he knew that she simply didn't see him that way, despite the fact that he fulfilled her one requirement for a boyfriend, (not that she knew that), an advantage he had once foolishly held over Kyon the ordinary boy. The chances of her suddenly switching her preference, always small, were now almost completely nonexistent. So, perhaps he did love her, and this was merely a sign of his maturing as a person.

Or, he thought, it means something else entirely.

But what? If he didn't love Suzumiya, why did Kyon having her, the one thing she did want and had to have, bother him so much? He certainly didn't hate Kyon. He was never sure how the boy felt about him, but personally, Itsuki enjoyed spending time with him. He would even go so far as to count him foremost among the Brigade, and when Kyon finally grew confident enough to accept his feelings for Suzumiya, he was objectively certain that the two were ultimately the best choices for one another.

So then, why did it pain him even to think of that day?

The door of the bedroom creaked open. It was done slowly but deliberately, and Itsuki turned knowing it was not a draft. He did not predict the culprit to be who it was. Kyon, merely watching him, stood in the doorway, the light from the hall only faintly illuminating his passive face as his mouth opened to speak.

"Hey," the boy finally said, casually shutting the door behind him, leaving only moonlight to dully light his features. Itsuki noticed he wasn't wearing a shirt, which set off the slightest of warnings in him. Kyon had never slept like that back at the island, and considering the slight chill in the air tonight, Itsuki hardly believed he had chosen now to start. Kyon, however, looked like he was expecting some sort of reply and so Itsuki put it from his mind.

"A bit late, don't you think?"

"Couldn't sleep."

Kyon walked around the bed and, disguising the determined nature of his actions with an air of indifference, collapsed on the other side. Itsuki began to move over to give him room, but then relaxed as he realized it wasn't necessary. The bed was large enough to easily support three people without discomforting any of them.

But then, why did Kyon feel so uncomfortably close?

"Are you nervous about what Suzumiya is imagining for this situation?"

"Not at all."

Hmm. Was he being sarcastic? "I see. Well, I'll admit that I find myself somewhat concerned."

"Don't be. If it happens, it happens. You shouldn't let yourself get all worked up about it," Kyon said, looking at Itsuki intently, sincerity radiating in his eyes and. . .was that concern on his face? It looked strange on him when directed at someone other than Asahina. Not comfortable with facing it, Itsuki began to study the ceiling, forcing himself to focus on the ornate golden edges of the ceiling tiles and not on the rising heat in his face, a pale apple-red mixture of embarrassment and pleasure.

"Besides," Kyon continued, his gaze not leaving Itsuki. "She'll at least have some fun for a while."

"I suppose that's true."

Silence. Kyon continued to look at Itsuki, while Itsuki continued attempting to stare down the ceiling. He shivered as a cold hand gently began to stroke his arm. Kyon, his eyes half-lidded, spoke again..

"And while she's having fun. . ." He nudged closer, but Itsuki didn't move. He couldn't. Not even when wet lips caressed his neck, or when one arm stretched across his chest possessively.

". . .Why don't we?"

"Kyon. . ." But then Kyon's mouth covered his and Itsuki's mind went blank.


Itsuki's thoughts:

Oh God.

I should stop this. I have to stop this.

If Suzumiya hears us. . .

Was that really the most pressing problem? Kyon was on top of him, his hands exploring forcefully yet innocently, having not yet decided to journey downwards, his kisses deep and passionate, and Itsuki shuddered, unable to stop himself from running his hands through Kyon's hair, desire wreaking havoc throughout his entire body. . .

One thought:

His neck. . .

He threw Kyon off in one quick movement, all of his strength put into it.

"What's wrong?"

"You're. . .not him." He was panting heavily, the words barely getting out of a throat not willing to cooperate.

"I want you. Not Haruhi. Is that so hard for you to get?"

". . .You're not him. . ." There was nothing else to say. There was nothing else to do for that matter, as Itsuki found his body unable to return to normalcy as immediately as he would have liked. He could only wait for some sort of response, as he realized that he wouldn't be able to stop this fake from continuing on where they had left off. After a few extremely tense moments passed, he even began to prepare himself for it, when the Kyon-look-a-like spoke into the silence:

"But this is what you want."

'Kyon' smiled then, a carefree, easy grin infinitely more malicious than any smirk or snarl could have been. With that, he left immediately, running into the hall as if from a threat, the door slamming open with an extraordinary bang, leaving a tight Itsuki on the over-sized bed, still hearing the fake's words spinning around in his head.

Was that what he wanted? All those times he had writhed with jealousy over the attention Suzumiya and Kyon paid each other, all his attempts to find out just how far the boy had gone with Suzumiya within closed space, all the yearning feelings that had struck him with an almost breathless intensity. He had always attributed it to Suzumiya. After all, she was a captivating person: bold, frank, with a mind that moved at impossible speeds and a smile that shone brighter than the sun, not to mention her fine, fresh figure and beautiful features. . .

Why was none of it able to distract him from the ordinary boy, the regular teenager, the average guy with a decades-old haircut?

He got up with some difficulty and rushed to the door, opening it with a an extraordinary bang that was far too loud for any one door.

Looking out into the hallway, he realized why it had sounded so unnaturally loud. The rest of the Brigade was standing in various positions, gawking awkwardly at everyone else, no one willing to be the first to talk until Suzumiya, as always, recovered her wits and confidently glared at Kyon.

"Kyon! You were in my room a minute ago. . .or were you?"

So the phenomenon had extended to everyone. A stray thought about who Kyon had seen wandered into Itsuki's mind, but almost immediately he knew it was Asahina as Kyon looked her way, his eyes trailing over her. Eventually, the boy wrenched his eyes away and glanced at Nagato, perhaps surprised to see that she had been affected as well, and spoke:

"What was that. . ."

No one answered. Itsuki, his discomfort mainly gone, finally ventured all the way into the hallway, knowing it was more or less expected on his part to say something enigmatic soon. Before he spoke, he sneaked a look at Kyon, who caught it.

There was nothing in his eyes to suggest that anything expressed by the fake had been real. Itsuki received this knowledge with some pain, yet a sort of happiness as well. He had, at last, discovered the source of his mystery feelings.

It's you I love, isn't it?

With an awkward smile, he touched the tip of his nose, putting on the mask of the character he had to play. He succeeded fairly well. He was casual, cool, collected. He spoke enigmatically, just as Suzumiya wished, throughout the entire conversation.

Perhaps it had not been right to imply so loosely to Kyon what had happened in the bedroom. As Itsuki took in the horrified gasp that both amused and hurt, however, he decided that there was really nothing wrong with a little ad-libbing.


Author's Note

Wow, this took forever. And it's only about five pages. Unbelievable. Then again, I only rewrote it a few hundred times. Perhaps that's it.

This was an odd fic for me, It was inspired by a comic that was a bit more explicit than this but I'm not comfortable with that sort of material. The visualization of something I had always more or less expected was interesting though, as well as the difference between book four Itsuki, who seems to like Haruhi, and "Snow Mountain Syndrome" Itsuki who instead of seeing her in the mansion sees Kyon, whom seemed to be the more likely crush based on other evidence The conclusion I therfore drew is this.

Major props and thank yous to Audley, my lovely and fantastic beta. The things she puts up with to keep me from looking stupid. . . Please look forward to seeing her work on other parts of this series.

Oh, and I have not forgotten "Teardrops of the River Lethe", for fans of that. This was written sometime in the midway of chapters three through five, and Audley in her excitement betaed this one before five. Five should be up shortly, as well as six, and seven is being written currently.

Until we meet again.