DISCLAIMER: I do not own the Haruhi Suzumiya series nor is this work done for any sort of profit. I am merely dabbling for fun. All rights belong to the original author and various corporations.
"No Other Way"
To Itsuki, there was no other way.
Suzumiya liked Kyon. This was clear to the Organization, to everyone other than Suzumiya and Kyon themselves. It was a pairing taken straight out of fiction, yet somehow unique to them in that way things tended to be once she got her hands on it. It also made her happy, even though the times it made her upset were what initially made her interest in the boy apparent.
Suzumiya liked having what she liked. This was also very clear to the Organization. Anything to the contrary would quite simply end the world, and while it had become the job of espers such as himself to manage such dangerous situations, anything that can be done to prevent the situation from occurring at all was to be done.
Itsuki's job was therefore very simple. There was no other way.
He made, in no uncertain terms, a nuisance of himself. He implored and prodded at Kyon, sensing the boy's denial about the events that took place in closed space, the events that firmly established Suzumiya's status as the walking time bomb who pouts unknowingly as the world explodes. Itsuki hoped that his questions, as aggravating as Kyon found them and as painful as it was to ask them so continuously, eventually would lead Kyon to accept what had happened and his own feelings, should they exist. And Itsuki was very certain they did exist. They had to exist.
Otherwise. . .
Ah, well, no need to think of what wasn't true.
He made, in every sense of the term, a loudmouth out of himself. There were times where even he grew weary of his psychoanalytical ramblings, his pseudo-philosophical rants. However, there was no other way. Eventually, through his confirmation of Suzumiya's feelings, through his noticing Kyon's behavior, Itsuki felt Kyon would come to realize his feelings behind the behavior.
And if there are none?
Itsuki, sitting alone in the clubroom after having arrived early for once, slowly raised one finger to the tip of his nose (a nervous habit he seemed to have picked up from nowhere) as he tried to push such thoughts out of his mind. He had enough concerns to deal with without adding his own petty fears. Kyon liked Suzumiya back, he was sure of that. On the off-chance that he did not, there was no other way.
Kyon would simply have to learn to like Suzumiya.
The door of the clubroom swung open with a bang, and Itsuki hardly had to turn around to identify the person who had opened it.
"Huh. Only you, Koizumi?" asked Suzumiya, the surprise in her voice far from hidden.
"At your service, Your Excellency. It seems like the others will be a little late today."
She hesitated before entering, throwing her bag into a corner carelessly and heading over to the computer. Frustrated, she mumbled, more to herself than for conversational purposes, "Hmph. Well, Yuki has cleaning duty so I guess she's off the hook, but Kyon and Mikuru have no excuse. They better not be doing anything stupid together, or I swear. . ."
Itsuki waited for her to continue but she never did, at least not aloud. Privately, he was sure even as she fiddled with the mouse to their ill-begotten computer she was pondering the matter for herself, and possibly even creating a rash of closed space somewhere that he would have to deal with later. Pulling out a deck of cards from his pocket, he thought to himself that if he had succeeded by now, he wouldn't be facing this problem. There really was no other way.
However, he also thought, shuffling the cards, there are other reasons as well, aren't there?
Time passed in silence, broken only by two knocks on the door: quick in succession, strong, and steady. Suzumiya instantly looked up from the monitor, as her hand left the mouse to join the other in crossing her chest. Itsuki was similarly certain of who it was, as he turned with a smile to face the opening door.
"Hey," Kyon simply with a wave. Whether he was ignoring Suzumiya's glare or simply was not aware of it was unclear. With Kyon, it really could easily be either one. The boy, Itsuki had come to learn, had a very odd way of looking at the world. While naturally observant, some things simply failed to penetrate his mind, especially if they were in any way connected with himself.
"Where were you, Kyon? You should have been here by now!" Suzumiya fumed, although Itsuki could see that she was already starting to calm by the end of her sentence. It was obvious why, what with Asahina not having walked in beside Kyon. Itsuki himself sighed a small sigh of relief, although it was barely noticeable underneath the smiling mask.
Although, he supposed, is there any real need of it right now? It's not as if either of them were paying any attention to him.
"Taniguchi held me up."
They were far too busy, wrapped up in each other as they argued nonsense, and Itsuki couldn't contain the small flame of jealousy that lit up inside him.
"That's no excuse!
Almost as soon as it ignited, however, it shrank down as guilt cut off its fuel. He had no reason to feel such things. This was how things should be and how they had to be. There was no other way.
"Hey, where's Miss Asahina?"
Yet, Kyon refused to let things be that way.
"I don't know. I haven't seen her. I came here straight from class."
Kyon simply had to make the situation more complicated. Despite the feelings he had for Suzumiya, he had to wander.
"What about Nagato?"
He had to complain. He had to sigh, groan, fret, moan about his situation and about Suzumiya's very presence in his life.
"Cleaning duty, duh."
And it was those moments that Itsuki hated him.
He collected the cards into a neat deck, and held it up to Kyon, taking a seat across from him. "Want to play a game?" He watched Kyon consider it, then nod. "Is war all right?"
"Fine by me," came the reply, and Itsuki shuffled the cards quickly, perhaps a bit more showily than necessary, and passed them out.
Hate, he now thought to himself, as they played in relative silence with Suzumiya having returned to her computer but still absently watching out of the corner of her eye, was a rather strong word. Very little could make him hate Kyon, if there existed such a thing at all. Itsuki had slowly become aware of this fact as he came to realize Kyon's negative qualities, his obliviousness only one of the more dangerous one of many. He was stubborn, yet lazy. He complained incessantly about things thrust on him but would be terribly upset if they were taken away. He refused to have fun, even as he was grinning, and he refused to take a stand, even when he was hurting.
And most importantly, he refused what he wanted to have, had to have without any regards to the consequences.
"Hmm?" Itsuki looked up, hand already outstretched to push his card to Kyon, who was already turning out to be the clear victor in the game.
Kyon gestured with his own deck. "Two queens," he said simply, and drew three cards and a new opposing one.
Itsuki smiled. "Ah, I see," he said with a bit of a laugh, and he did the same.
The day when Itsuki had come to this school, a sudden transfer put together by the Organization to quickly appease Suzumiya's need of a mysterious new student, he had been told three things. One was to not get too pleased with himself. Age was the reason they were entrusting some low level kid to observe someone of such critical importance as Haruhi Suzumiya, and luck was the reason they had chosen him. Two was to not get too comfortable. Suzumiya was likely to change her mind at any moment, especially when her desires did not yield the responses she hoped they would.
Three had been the only actual command. Get close to Kyon. He was the key to Suzumiya. The others were useless, likely to become opponents at any moment, and they would all be interested in him as well. Itsuki had to make the biggest impression he could so late in the game, and he had accepted this fairly easily. Even if the boy was a bore or a horror, Itsuki would be able to pretend otherwise. Pretending was what he did.
He had not been prepared to like him, however.
Itsuki sighed, deeply and regretfully. "It would appear you've won again."
"At least I know it's for real this time," Kyon grunted, and taking Itsuki's deck he began to shuffle them again for another game. "Half the time I don't know if you're really bad or just letting me win."
Considering it's always the latter, that's somewhat surprising. He said nothing of the sort however, feeling a smile would be sufficient mix of vague and definite for an answer.
Precisely when the attraction had started was difficult to pinpoint. Possibly as long as Itsuki had been letting Kyon win in these little games. Possibly when they had first met, as he shook Kyon's hand and congenially smiled, surprised at how cute he was but not stupid enough to show it. It had been just that small of a moment, easily slipping from memory with time. It had been innocent, silly, something he thought he would easily mature out of. There were plenty of beautiful girls around, and more than a few of them had expressed interest relatively soon after the transfer. He couldn't have them either, of course; a mysterious transfer student had no one. But they could easily be distractions for a day or a night.
However, things did not work out that way. Kyon proved to be far from the average boy, even if he didn't have any powers. He was. . .cool, for lack of a better word. He said what he wanted to say, did what he wanted to do, and while he was bowled over by Suzumiya just as everyone else was he still was the one most able to fight back. It was the last that Itsuki admired most of all. The weak, he decided, had to admire the strong.
It was in this way, slow and steady and as they came to know one another better, that attraction turned to something infinitely more dangerous. He was not blind; his feelings would never go anywhere. There were times when Itsuki wasn't even sure that Kyon liked him at all. However, the Organization wouldn't see it that way. It had been by luck alone that Koizumi had been granted this duty. While Suzumiya wouldn't be pleased to see him suddenly removed, the Organization would much prefer to have her temporarily frustrated until a substitute could be found than allow a little boy to do something as foolish as admit he has a crush on their god's chosen one.
There had already been inquiries. They thought he hadn't understood what they were about, but he was not the child they saw him as. Other members checking up on him unawares had apparently been confused by what they found. "Different", one had marked his behavior. "Curious" and "Overly content" were the comments of two others. These were only the ones he had managed to unearth; there were likely more. It was his own fault, really. He had become a danger to himself. He had allowed slight moments with Kyon where he wasn't the mysterious transfer student. He hadn't quite been Itsuki Koizumi either, since he couldn't really remember who that was anymore, so perhaps it didn't count.
Then there were those thoughts, those terrible, nagging thoughts that dared to cross his mind in dark hours. Thoughts that came particularly strongly on days like this, where Kyon hadn't once looked over to meet Suzumiya's gaze. Kyon had to like Suzumiya. She, Itsuki suspected, was his first kiss. She controlled the universe and could destroy it at a moment's notice. She liked him. It should have been quite clear to anyone what the next logical step was in that equation.
Yet, he thought, taking Kyon's six after drawing a nine, what if Kyon didn't care about the logistics?
There were some signs that for anyone else would suggest that Kyon didn't like Suzumiya. His total adulation for Asahina, his inexplicable bond with Nagato, his utter denial and refusal to discuss the events of the closed space incident back in late spring. However, this was Kyon, which meant it was not nearly so simple. What he didn't seem to want could be what he couldn't live without and what he did seem to want could be what could make him utterly and completely miserable. He seemed willing to be with Suzumiya, but a romance is an entirely different matter.
Then again; there was no other way. Although not for the reasons decided by the Organization, Itsuki had realized. This was his last and final mistake. The mistake that if he was caught for would cost him more than his job, although it certainly would mean that as well. A messy situation had been created within him of these concerns that lay within him: his unceasing feelings for Kyon, his anger at Kyon's inability to choose, his anxiousness over Kyon's inability to choose, his fear that Kyon did not get to choose.
Strand by strand, these concerns spun together, connecting and growing and tangling, slowly, slowly, ever so slowly. . .Until finally one day Itsuki looked inside him to see a dark, unbelievably strong web. He could not spot the spider in the web itself, although in mirrors and glasses and ponds he saw it smugly smiling out at him. It whispered things, not all the time or even all that often. Just in moments like this when he was reminded all of once at why the web existed.
And if there are none? Itsuki continued on as normal, humbly accepting the win as Kyon lost his final card. If he has no feelings for her at all, or nothing romantic anyway, could you really stand to see him like you? Forced to live a lie for everyone else?
Itsuki asked for another game. Kyon declined, professing homework.
But that isn't even your real problem. You have never been noble, even if you do look the part of the prince.
Haruhi spoke up at that, but Itsuki wasn't able to catch the specifics, drowned out by the spider's low voice.
You're as selfish as they come, because the only thing that truly kills you is the idea that you can't have what you want and maybe there's no reason you shouldn't even be able to try. Because if Kyon doesn't love her, why should you have to suffer? For her, so she can be happy? That's all your life has ever been since the day you received your powers.
You want him to be happy, because then you can at least pretend to be happy. In the end, it is all about you. There is no other way to put it, to remove your shame.
In the end though, you could never be happy, you realize. Even if you threw it all to hell and took a chance, jumped up and grabbed him by the tie or shoved him out of that chair onto the floor, let your mouths meet and saliva string from writhing tongues -
- Even if you could do more, he doesn't love you. He barely even likes you sometimes. He's used to you, more than anything. Which only makes it worse, after all, because while part of you wants him to want her, you still want to hear it, those words "I don't love Haruhi," so all your actions could be justified, meant to save him.
What an odd request, telling yourself to shut -
Itsuki stood up suddenly, unnoticed at first by Kyon and Haruhi who had apparently struck up another conversation. He gathered his things and waited for a break in the conversation, which came when Suzumiya saw him slide his chair back into place under the table.
"Where are you going, Koizumi? We haven't even started the meeting yet."
He offered a smile even less realistic than usual, and before departing the room, said softly, "Ah, please excuse me today, Suzumiya. I'm afraid I must be going."
To Itsuki, there was no other way.
Suzumiya liked Kyon, and Kyon, for all his hesitancies, liked her as well. At least, this is what Itsuki told himself, because he could not afford the alternative. If there was any hint, ever, that the boy couldn't be happy with her, the temptation would simply be too great. And in the end, the temptation to snatch some happiness for himself could only end in grief. A forced resignation, biting insult, a terrified stare, or worse, all combined and the nothing at all, ever again.
You could stop loving him.
Could it really be that easy? He had once thought so. It was simply a matter of taking a girl out. A few smiles, some charming remarks, and it was not difficult to bury his feelings in her through kisses that cut at the flesh, eventually more that dug at the soul.
But even then, you weren't with them.
He smirked to himself. True.
No, he supposed he couldn't stop. In fact, Itsuki felt oddly certain that Kyon's face would always be there at the edge of his mind, years from now when they went their separate ways, if Suzumiya allowed it.
A thought shared by both sides of him passed through his mind:
'No other way.'
Major thank yous as always to Audley, my beta. It took a while, but it got done, and I am eternally grateful for what you do.
Until we meet again.