AN: So, wow, that turned out longer than I expected it to. The idea was to write something that could concievably happen in canon, and while I don't know if I accomplished that, I still think Koizumi totally has the hots for Kyon, so. It's pretty rough and I apologize for that - I just wanted to finish it and put it out before 2008. Kyon's narrative voice is insanely fun and made writing a labour of love. Plug: this fanfic sponsored by Suzumiya Haruhi's Kyondar, the intuitive ability to know when someone has the hots for Kyon.
THE MELANCHOLY OF KOIZUMI ITSUKI
The person standing in front of me was not me. He looked exactly like me. He was wearing the North High uniform, the same as me. His voice was also the same as mine. So in other words, it would be completely understandable to mistake this person for me. But this person was not me, because the words coming out of his mouth are things that I absolutely, undoubtedly lack the capacity to think, let alone say.
This person -
grabbed Koizumi by the hand.
"I like you, so go out with me," said this person straightforwardly, as though the room was not filled with three surplus people, including yours truly.
...This is so not good.
Okay! Wait a minute! This is a very dramatic starting point, but I'm sure it's very confusing to those who have just arrived. In order to tell the story properly, I need to start it in a different place. So let's go all the way back to the beginning!
Having said that, the beginning is around the time about a week ago when Asahina-san recieved her new costume. Usually, as you probably already know, Asahina-san brightens the atmosphere of the S.O.S. Brigade clubroom by serving tea dressed as the cutest maid in existence. But change is inevitable, and Haruhi gets it into her head every so often to force Asahina-san into some new getup.
I wonder how she gets all these costumes? In particular, the costume Asahina-san was wearing that day, which was that of a chaste but nevertheless alluring nun. I mean, there's no way this tightly-fitting habit comes from an actual nunnery, right? So what kind of creepy specialty stores did Haruhi have to search to find it? Of course this is Haruhi we're talking about, so no specialty store would be creepy enough to intimidate her. She can out-creep the best of them.
"Well?" asked Haruhi brightly. "Good, right? Someone get the camera! Mikuru-chan, it's too late to turn back now! All systems are go!"
Tears appeared at the corners of Asahina-san's eyes. "No... not the camera, please, anything but that..."
Sorry, Asahina-san. I have learned to pick my battles.
Actually I didn't need to say anything anyhow, because help arrived from an unexpected source: Koizumi, who raised his hand diligently from his usual seat.
"Suzumiya-san, a question?"
This at least gave Asahina-san a chance to escape, and she retreated to a corner to fuss over the teapot. Haruhi's attention had been successfully been diverted. "Yes, Deputy Chief?"
"Why is Asahina-san always the only one in costume?"
"What are you getting at?" Haruhi frowned.
In return, Koizumi smiled his usual inscrutable smile. "Well, of course Asahina-san's costumes are very entertaining, but wouldn't it be more interesting if other members were also to wear costumes now and again?"
Don't tell me you're volunteering to play dress-up!
"You mean me? Or Nagato?" Haruhi looked to the corner, where Nagato was unsurprisingly immersed in a book. "Or are you thinking of volunteering yourself?"
"Actually, I was thinking more of Kyon-kun."
...Excuse me. Did you just say what I thought you said?
"Poor Asahina-san's had to bear all of the burden this far, but in utilizing her as our mascot, we only attract one demographic. Don't we need to appeal to a different target audience every so often? I think Kyon-kun would be perfect for recruiting, if he were to wear the right costume. After all, he's not unappealing, don't you think?"
I don't like this. It's creepy.
"Hmm." Worryingly, Haruhi seemed to be giving the matter some actual thought. "I guess he's not bad, but it's not really my area of expertise. Maybe a butler or something... Mikuru-chan! You're a normal high school girl when it comes to romantic activity, right? Any comment?"
Asahina blushed. "Well, I wouldn't want Kyon-kun to do anything he doesn't want to... but, well..." Even her awkwardness is cute. "I, I'm not sure!"
The aforementioned looked up from her book. "..."
"I'll take that as a yes."
Is there someone you're forgetting to consult about this? Someone perhaps very much involved in it? Well, it's not like Haruhi asks Asahina whether she wants to dress up, and like I said earlier, I don't complain about that too loudly. Turnabout is fair play. Up to a point.
"Very well!" Haruhi nodded her head decisively. "The motion will be taken into due consideration."
Koizumi smiled again. "That's all I can ask."
"Now, what's the next item on the agenda?"
If she wants to think about it, I guess it's her own business. Having settled this issue for now, therefore, the SOS Brigade turned to our normal activities: I played a couple games of Parcheesi with Koizumi, Nagato read her book, Asahina-san watched over us like a guardian angel, and Haruhi chattered about this and that. The creepy idea totally left my mind and it became an ordinary afternoon.
Later, when everyone was getting ready to go home for the day, Haruhi called out Koizumi. "Deputy Chief?"
"Hey, are you okay?"
For Haruhi, this obvious sort of questioning is the hight of diplomacy. Naturally I was curious and began listening. Hey, don't look at me like that! Nobody in this room, with the possible exception of the innocent Asahina-san, would ever shy away from eavesdropping on me.
"Why do you ask?"
"That suggestion of yours earlier. Was it for real?"
"That depends. How do we know anything is real? Isn't it true that we could all be just a dream?"
"That's a lousy answer."
"Sorry for that." Koizumi gave an odd little laugh.
To be frank, I'm not sure what sort of conversation this is, or why suddenly both Haruhi and Koizumi look rather solemn. I just hope this doesn't end in me wearing a strange costume.
"Are you seriously..."
Silence. Ah, and here comes the irritating smile again. There's no way of telling what weird stuff Koizumi is thinking when he wears that expression. "...Yes, I suppose I am."
Hearing his response, Haruhi's face twisted like she had bit into an apple and discovered that it tasted like a banana. Since I have had good reason to beware Haruhi's unusual facial expressions, I decided to be on guard against any strange plots or ideas. As it turned out, though, I had nothing much to worry about - for the time being.
The next day went completely as usual. In fact I was starting to forget the whole thing, and even to begin to relax in the SOS Brigade headquarters after school, except that about five minutes after I sat down Tsuraya-san burst into the room with an appalingly energetic scream.
"Everyone! There are two Kyons!" Having said her piece, she glanced around the room until her eyes lit on me. "Okay, yes, I was right! There are definately two Kyons!" Well, maybe you should have made sure of that before you starting shouting like an army general raising morale in a last ditch attempt at taking the enemy castle... Hold on...
"There are two Kyons?" asked Haruhi. Coincidently I had been about to ask this very same question. Way to beat me to the punch, as usual, Haruhi.
"That's what I just said!"
"Since when are there two of me?"
"This morning, another Kyon came to school! I swear!"
"There are two Kyon-kuns?"
"So there are two Kyons, huh..."
"He's in Class 1-9! I was running an errand and I saw him there!"
"I wonder why there would be two Kyon-kuns?"
"Hey, I asked a question!"
As usual, Nagato was the only point of silence in the room. Thank you, Nagato, there are times when I appreciate your stoicism almost as much as Asahina-san's significantly more lively charms. If only the other people in this club were all like you, maybe everything would be normal...
"Well, what are we waiting for?" Haruhi planted her hands on her hips. "Let's go investigate! SOS Brigade, move out!" And so, having given her command, she strode out of the room, as self-assured as if she were setting out with the Louis and Clark expedition.
Tsuraya-san displayed her tooth in a wide grin. "I'm heading home, but have fun, you guys." Yeah right. You've created this mess, it's the least you could do to come help with the clean up. Although it's not like that's expected of you.
Koizumi is in 1-9, right? Come to think about it, he isn't in the club room today.
With this innocent thought in my head, and against my better judgement, I followed the madding crowd to Class 1-9. There, Haruhi stood outside the door and listened for a moment to a voice which sounded eerily like my own.
"So you're interested in philosophy, huh. Is there a club for that here?"
"There may very well be." And that reply is without a doubt Koizumi. "But I'm afraid I wouldn't know. The club I'm in is slightly more... hands-on than a philosophy club would be..."
"Hey, Deputy Chief!" So saying, Haruhi ended her eavesdropping and rushed far too enthusiastically into the room. "What's going on in here? As second in command of the SOS Brigade, you're not allowed to go off and have fun by yourself without telling me first and signing a release form in triplicate...!"
Koizumi raised his hand in a wave. "Ah, Suzumiya-san. This is-"
"Kyon Number Two!"
As much as I hate to agree with Haruhi, I have to say that as far as nicknames go, this one is highly appropriate. I wonder if I had an identical twin and we were seperated at birth? That would be the only likely explaination for another human being who looks exactly like me existing in this world. But even then, there would surely be differences in our haircuts or something. Looking at this guy feels like I'm just staring in the mirror.
The second Kyon stared back at me, clearly just as puzzled as I was. "Who are you?"
"That's my line."
"If I'm Kyon Number Two, you must be Kyon Number One, huh?" The second Kyon shrugged his shoulders. "Well, it doesn't really matter, since I can't change it anyway. Call me what you want." Wow, what a surprisingly mature attitude.
"Kyon Number Two it is then, I suppose, if that's the Commander's decision." Koizumi, of course, only smiled.
"Koizumi, these are friends of yours?"
"You might say that."
Only at this time did it occur to me that Koizumi and Kyon Number Two were getting weirdly friendly for people who had only met that day. Not only was Koizumi definately in Kyon Number Two's personal space in that annoying way of his, the latter didn't seem to be bothered. If this guy was as much like me in personality as in appearence, he certainly wouldn't allow this to be the case. Maybe this should have alerted me to the idea that something was even more amiss than it seemed. But it didn't. What can I say? I have never claimed to be an expert in intererpreting strange phenomena.
Haruhi, clearly irritated that her presence in the room was being ignored, gave Kyon Number Two the once-over. "Well, there's no doubt that you look like Kyon. But hopefully you're more useful than he is!" She laughed as though she had made the most humourous comment imaginable. "I'm Suzumiya Haruhi the Great, subduer of the masses and Supreme Chieftain of the SOS Brigade. This girl is Mikuru and this one is Yuki. You've already met my other henchman."
Kyon Number Two looked unimpressed. "Nice to meet you. I guess." And with that underwhelming response, he turned back to Koizumi, who appeared to be far more interesting to him. "So, I'll see you tomorrow, right?"
"If you come to school, I'll be here." Koizumi gave a little laugh.
Kyon Number Two grinned at him before grabbing his bookbag and heading out the classroom door. "Wouldn't miss it." And then he was gone.
"What a boring guy." Haruhi continued to stare at the door for a moment after he left.
Poor Asahina-san looked so confused at that moment I had the understandable urge to take her in my arms and tell her everything would be fine. "But, but, isn't it strange?" Ever her innocent doe eyes were wider than usual. "Why are there two of Kyon-kun? That's definately weird, right?"
Haruhi the unflappable simply shook her head. "Why? The world is a strange place, after all. Mysterious coincidences like this are common these days. And besides, if you think about it, the human genome isn't infinite. It's not surprising for doppelgangers to exist in the world."
I'm glad that you have things all figured out, Haruhi. Unfortunately, the rest of us remain confused.
"Well, maybe..." Asahina-san looked like she was trying to rationalize this. Don't even try, it's bound to end in failure. Haruhi's convoluted logic can only be understood by Haruhi herself.
"In any case, Koizumi, what did you think of him?"
Koizumi glanced at Haruhi, then back at the desk where Kyon Number Two had been sitting. "He seems... nice enough." His voice was unusually hesitant. I guess it's about time something happened to upset that eternal calm of yours. But I must say, I wouldn't have expected it to be this in particular.
"Well." Haruhi looked satisfied, as if that settled that. "We can always use another errand boy. After all, Kyon Number One hasn't proven particularly satisfying in that regard."
And so, the Save the World By Overloading it With Fun Suzumiya Haruhi Brigade gained a new honourary member. By the end of the week, Kyon Number Two had become a reoccuring fixture in our lives at about the same as Tsuraya-san, not joining the club, but coming with us on our extracurricular excursions.
That Saturday found us trolling the park for signs of extraterrestrial phenomena. Although Kyon Number Two didn't appear to be very interested in this activity, he appeared to be game to bear it as long as he got to talk to Koizumi along the way. The two of them were speaking rather casually as we walked along.
"So have you lived in this city all your life?"
"No, I just moved here recently, actually."
"Yeah? Where are you from?"
"...You're sure asking a lot of questions, don't you think?"
"I want to know more about you."
Wow. That was smooth. I was trying with all my might, but it was getting harder and harder to ignore the fact that Kyon Number Two was treating Koizumi not as an irritating classmate, or even a friend, but rather, someone to be... wooed.
"They seem to be getting along well." Haruhi's observation interrupted my shudder. Yes, I can see that, thanks. "That Kyon Number Two, he's not too bad, actually."
Really? Is that supposed to be some sort of indirect compliment? Or do you like Kyon Number Two better than me now? "Yeah. I guess he's alright."
Gazing at the beauty of the park, Haruhi's eyes took on an expression of deep and profound disinterest. "Meanwhile, I guess our search has been fruitless again today. There's not an alien, time traveller, esper, or slider in sight. How dull." She turned to call out to those slacking behind us. "Hey, everyone! Let's all go get snacks! Naturally, it's Kyon's treat!"
Oh, Haruhi. You're searching the park for weird things, but the weirdest thing of all is you yourself. Or possibly Kyon Number Two. You know, although she explained it to herself rationally the other day, Haruhi would usually be far more interested in something like a doppelganger. The fact that she's treating this guy as normal is what's really strange.
And so we ended up at a local fast food place the name of which constantly escapes me. Of course, I ended up shelling out for everyone's food. Although, to be perfectly honest with myself, the sight of Asahina-san sipping delicately on the straw of her soft drink made up for the troubles of my poor wallet.
"Thanks for the food!" Haruhi stuffed her burger in her mouth as soon as she had said the words.
The rest of us followed suit. Whatever else you can say about hunting for paranormal phenomena, it certainly makes you hungry. Someone should market a diet plan based on this principle.
Looking around the table, we probably made quite a ridiculous sight. Here are six high school students who should be experiencing a normal student lifestyle: except that one isn't saying a word, one is too cute to be real, one is clearly out of her mind, and then there are two identical normal guys with an irritating pretty boy sandwiched between them. Not to mention that contained is this group are a time traveller, alien, esper, and the originator of these mysterious people, considered by some to be "God." In this case, truth is certainly stranger than fiction, because whatever story people could make up to explain this group to themselves wouldn't even begin to match the real thing.
Having thus depressed myself, I sipped my soft drink, unsatisfied by my meal. I paid way too much for these burgers. It's good to support local businesses, but at these prices, at least the food should be good...
"It was delicious." As she finished the last tiny bite of her french fries, Asahina-san turned to me with a shy smile. "Thank you very much, Kyon-kun."
Haruhi snorted and reached across the table to slap me on the shoulder. "Ah, Mikuru, it's just his job. He should be happily contributing to the well-being of the SOS Brigade without worrying about recieving thanks." Apparently Haruhi has become a communist. "Anyway, that was a good meal."
"It wasn't great." Kyon Number Two shared my thoughts on the subject. "My burger kind of sucked, but Koizumi, how was yours?"
Koizumi smiled. "Not too bad. Thank you."
Chuckling merrily, Haruhi surveyed the table. "Hey, isn't this kind of like a double date?"
What are you talking about? First of all, there are six people here, so it would be a triple date. Also, exactly who is dating who in this comparison of yours?
"Well, if it's a date, than I guess I should do this?" And without a pause, Kyon Number Two smoothly put his arm around Koizumi's shoulders.
Just when I think things can't get any weirder. Is Koizumi blushing? I've certainly never seen that happen before. Thinking that I don't even want to be bothered with all of this anymore, I just-as-smoothly removed Kyon Number Two's arm, allowing it to return to its rightful place. "Hey, you. That sort of thing should wait for the second date."
"Kyon-kun has a point." Koizumi shrugged his shoulders rather sheepishly. He's taking this very well.
Kyon Number Two nodded. "Sorry, Koizumi. I didn't mean to bother you." At least you accept admonishment with good grace, unlike certain other people at this table. But I notice that although you're apologizing, you didn't say that it was a joke. "I'll be more careful next time."
...Wait, next time?
Nothing that happened afterwards could possibly top the sheer awkwardness of that particular incident. Even Haruhi had been completely outclassed. And so, after the last drop of soda was gone from Nagato's cup, we all left the restaurant to say our goodbyes and head home our seperate ways. Or half of us did, because Koizumi, Asahina-san and I all ended up lingering for no good reason.
After a moment, Asahina-san turned shyly to Koizumi.
"Um, Koizumi-kun..." Asahina-san, you're so cute when you twiddle your thumbs like that! "About Kyon Number Two-kun... I don't understand very well, but... good luck!"
Koizumi responded to her weird comments with a little smile. "Thank you, Asahina-san. I appreciate it."
"Mm!" Asahina-san nodded, then waved to both of us as she cheerfully dashed off down the street. "Then, see you tomorrow, Kyon-kun, Koizumi-kun!"
Her disappearence left me alone with Koizumi. Usually this is not a situation I appreciate, but quite frankly, I needed someone to share my questions with, and he's the prime candidate for this type of discussion. "Koizumi. Do you know what's going on here? I mean, about this whole Kyon Number Two thing?"
"Now, that's a difficult question to answer." It shouldn't be. "To be honest, it seems likely that Suzumiya-san would be behind this, don't you think?"
"That's obvious. But why?"
Koizumi spread his arms in a gesture of futility. "I'm afraid your guess is as good as mine."
"But he seems to be especially interested in you, right? You really don't know?"
"...I have no idea."
You're lying, Koizumi. It's clear from the way you paused before you spoke that you at least have a suspicion. But what reason would you have to hide your suspicion from me? Come to think of it, although he certainly dodges around the truth enough to drive me crazy, I'm not sure Koizumi has lied to me before. Something is really going on.
"In any case, you don't need to worry." Koizumi smiled as he walked away. "I'm sure the problem will be resolved shortly, one way or another. See you tomorrow."
And so things continued until the day when Kyon Number Two came into the clubroom and without a word of explaination asked Koizumi out. Now we've caught up to the point at which the story began. Let's just continue on from that point, shall we?
As you can imagine, a silence more awkward than coming to school and realizing that you're not wearing pants ensued from Kyon Number Two's proposal. Haruhi looked as though she wasn't sure whether to laugh or run away, and Asahina-san turned so red she had to hide her face in her hands. Even Nagato turned away from her book.
Koizumi himself was staring at Kyon Number Two as though he couldn't quite believe what had just happened. Finally he shook his hand free and managed to respond. "If that was meant to be a joke, I'm afraid it's not very funny." That's a harsh thing to say, but actually, he spoke those words very gently.
"It's not a joke. I said I like you and I mean it."
"...But, we don't even know each other very well..."
"So?" Kyon Number Two only shrugged. "We'll get to know each other more. But I already know that I like you. In any case, you haven't said no, so you're not automatically opposed to it, isn't that right?" He looked awfully pleased with himself.
Koizumi didn't respond.
"So, anyway, I'll wait for your response." Kyon Number Two reached forward and touched Koizumi's arm. Ah, this would be creepy enough even if you didn't look like me, mister. "See you tomorrow." Without waiting for Koizumi to answer him, he headed out the door, seemingly oblivious to the disaster he had inflicted upon the SOS Brigade.
"Oh my," said Asahina-san quietly. Oh my is right.
Haruhi slammed her fist down authoritatively on the computer desk. "Order!" Then, noticing that Koizumi hadn't moved from his place, she raised her head high to address the troops. "This meeting of the SOS Brigade is officially called to a halt. Everybody, go home and get some rest!"
There's no arguing with an order like that.
After the group had mostly dispersed, though, I realized that Nagato was still in the club room. Well, it's not as though she has anyone to go home to, so I guess it's understandable for her to want to stay. Still, orders are orders. "Hey, Nagato, you're not going to leave?"
"I have requested to meet with Koizumi to discuss the situation." Nagato looked towards the door. "He should be coming back any minute."
Right as she spoke, the door of the club room began to open, and I reflexively jumped into the closet to hide. Even if you ask me why, I won't be able to tell you, so don't bother. I just felt as though Nagato was telling me to stay and listen. Well, if there is such a thing as fate, let's say that fate is what put me there and continue.
Koizumi shut the door carefully behind him and walked into the room to stand in front of Nagato. "So it seems that Suzumiya-san is up to her old tricks again." He laughed. "And just when we thought she was getting better."
"The Sentinent Intigrated Data Entity has determined that Suzumiya Haruhi's manipulations of her surrounding area, no matter how seemingly insignificant, will likely lead to undesirable repurcussions." Nagato launched into her technical explaination without forewarning. "In a worst case scenario, the fabric of reality as percived by all organic life forms could be permenantly altered."
"Yes. My organization has expressed concerns to me recently regarding this issue. And they're pretty much along those lines."
"This outcome is to be avoided at all costs. Stability is paramount."
"Therefore, if possible, this anomaly should be corrected immediately."
Koizumi hesitated for just a second. Then he nodded. "Oh, absolutely. Neither of our sides wants this type of thing to get out of hand."
He turned to the window. Although I can't see it, I'm sure his face right now is straight out of a Dostoyevsky novel, as this is the face he always has when philosophizing. "I must say I was a little surprised at first, but it makes sense. After all, between Asahina-san and myself there's no question as to who is the winner... Still, to be pitied by Suzumiya-san, I must say it's a little bit depressing."
Why are you always laughing at things that aren't funny?
Nagato looked at Koizumi for several moments without blinking. Then, finally, she spoke. "I think your situation is regrettable. For you to wish for the anomaly to continue functioning..."
"...is understandable. You are the one who must make the decision as to whether or not to terminate it by yourself."
"Of course. But I've already decided to speak to Suzumiya-san." Koizumi shook his head. "It was a nice dream. But that's all. Rest assured, I'm not so easily satisfied."
An uncharacteristically wistful expression appeared on his face as, waving to Nagato, he turned to leave the room. A milisecond later I gratefully slid out of the closet. Nagato regarded me calmly without saying a word.
Please say something! Give me a clue! I don't understand what's going on here... no, maybe it's something I shouldn't understand? Nevertheless, if something is giving Koizumi trouble, it concerns me too. Despite being an annoying guy, he has always helped me out when things came down to the wire. And the two of us are the only male members of the SOS Brigade. I owe him at least a little.
"Nagato. What can I do for Koizumi?"
Nagato let out a small breath that resembled the tiniest sigh of a hummingbird faced with salt water instead of nectar. "...Kyon. Over the course of our continued communication, you have proved yourself be unusually perceptive for an ordinary organic life form. But in the current situation..."
I interrupted her. "That's right. I have no idea what to do."
"Come here tomorrow after school."
"Come, and you'll understand."
Okay. There we go. If that's the only advice you can give me, I'll take it.
The next day of school passed with me racking my brains about the whole Kyon Number Two mess. Call me stupid, but I felt like a detective trying to put together a mystery, completely unable to decipher evidence that seems completely obvious. Eventually I decided to give up and just follow Nagato's instructions. Just in time, too, as the bell rang to signal the end of class, and I hurried away to the club room.
When I arrived there was nobody there, but in short order footsteps sounded in the hallway. Once more into the closet, my friends, once more! I'm spending far too much time in here these days.
"So what did you want to talk to me for, Deputy Chief?" Haruhi strode into the room as though she owned it - which she did, essentially. "Is it about Kyon Number Two? I've changed my mind about him. He has guts, that's for sure. He seems like a pretty good guy."
Koizumi chuckled nervously. "Well, yes, it does have something to do with that. Suzumiya-san-"
Haruhi cut him off. "If it's about you guys dating, you should go ahead. I don't have a problem with that or anything. In fact, it would probably be good for you. Human beings are born to take risks! Even if society condemns you, we'll stand by you! And besides, I'm sure it would drive Kyon nuts, and that's always good for a laugh. You know how he is-"
"Suzumiya-san, I'm not going to go out with him."
Interrupted in the middle of her moment of magnanimity, I couldn't tell whether Haruhi was more surprised or annoyed. "You're not?"
"But I thought-"
Koizumi gave her a wry smile. "No, it's not that. And it's not because he's not a good guy, either."
"Then, why?" Haruhi looked to be genuinely at a loss.
"Because the person I like isn't Kyon Number Two. That's just the way it is." Kyon shrugged his shoulders. "For instance, suppose there's something that you really want. Then, after wanting it for a long time, someone offers you an exact replica. There are many people who would settle for the copy, but Suzumiya-san, you aren't one of them, are you?"
Haruhi snorted. "Of course not! I'd hold out until I got the real deal."
"And so would I." Koizumi's smile faded slightly. "If it were possible."
Appearing to have grasped something about this conversation that I have missed, Haruhi nodded, slowly. You know, it's pretty sad that I'm still in the dark here. "...Yeah." She paused. "Listen, Koizumi? I really-"
But she was interrupted by a knock on the door. Without waiting for a response, Kyon Number Two strode boldly into the club room. "Koizumi?"
The aforementioned Koizumi looked like a revolutionary dictating a missive to his followers the night before his excecution. "Kyon Number Two."
"Well." Haruhi, caught in the midst of such tension, could do nothing but back away. "I guess I'll leave you two alone, then. See you tomorrow!" She waved and walked briskly from the room. How surprisingly tactful. I guess even Haruhi has enough sense of decorum to give these guys their privacy. I wonder if that says something about me.
Kyon Number Two cut right to the chase. "So. Have you decided?"
"And your answer?"
"I can't go out with you. I'm sorry."
At this moment, Kyon Number Two looks almost like Haruhi did just a moment ago - which is to say, shocked and confused. Poor guy. "But why?"
"I have someone else I like."
"But... but what makes that person better than me?" Kyon Number Two looked increasingly desperate. "I like you, Koizumi. We could go out. It would... I would never hurt you."
Koizumi only smiled, as always. "That's because you aren't real." But even that inscrutiable smile couldn't hold up, and it soon became coloured with sadness. "Goodbye, Kyon Number Two. For what it's worth, it was nice to meet you."
There was a sound like someone scattering glass dust off a five-story building, and Kyon Number Two began to fade away from the ground up, vanishing before our eyes. "Wait!" Within an instant, his feet were gone up to the tops of his shoes. The rest of him was following fast. "Koizumi!"
Koizumi closed his eyes, unable to watch. And Kyon Number Two took that last opportunity to lean forward and kiss Koizumi clean on the lips.
Ordinarily I would find this gross, but right now it's just... sad.
Kyon Number Two grinned. "Heh. See you around, Koizumi." And with that, his face disappeared, and he was gone for good. Wow, Kyon Number Two. You sure did like to make a dramatic exit, didn't you?
For a full five minutes, Koizumi stood glued to the spot, eyes fixed on the empty air where Kyon Number Two had been. Slowly he raised his fingers to his lips, as if he couldn't believe what had just happened. Then he dropped them back again, slumped into his chair, and sighed deeply. The expression on his face was one of utter defeat.
I hate to interrupt a serious moment like this, but if I don't do something soon I'm never going to get out of this closet. And I still don't really get it.
"Hey, Koizumi." I tried to be as casual as possible, but Koizumi still jumped as I appeared mysteriously from the closet. "What's up!"
Koizumi laughed weakly and tried to look as though he hadn't freaked out. Unfortunately, it didn't work at all. "Kyon-kun...?" Another laugh. I wonder if you're going to get hysterical, and if so, what I need to do about it. "Have you been there all this time?"
"So you heard everything, then."
"Yeah." I swallowed, somewhat nervously, and then said words I usually tried not to say. "Hey, Koizumi, tell me what's going on."
Instead of cheerfully answering my question with some red-herring rambling, Koizumi shook his head. "Sorry, but it's been a long day, and I'm very tired. Can we maybe not talk about this?" I shook my head. "I guess not, huh? Well then. As you've probably guessed, this all has to do with Suzumiya-san. She was the one who unconciously brought Kyon Number Two into being."
"But why would she do that? And why was he..." I trailed off, unable to think of an easy way to summarize Kyon Number Two's unusual personality. "...interested in you?"
"Kyon Number Two was most likely intended as... a sort of consolation prize for me."
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"You still don't understand?"
I won't understand until you say it clearly!
"Ah." Despite being shaken, Koizumi was holding up his facade as bravely as possible, still smiling as he continued. "What I mean is, Kyon Number Two existed because Suzumiya-san felt sorry for me. Because she realized that I like you."
"But you don't have to worry. The only reason for her to think that is because of the conversation we had the other day. If I can convince her that she was mistaken in the first place, my feelings for you will likely also disappear." His voice became very calm, as if he were only pondering a philosophical question. "In fact, looking at it from another perspective, maybe she really did misinterpret my words, and it's only for that reason that I like you now..."
That's enough, Koizumi!
I didn't realize that I had spoken until Koizumi stopped smiling. Instead, he stared at me, with eyes like a deer caught in the headlights of a dumptruck.
"That's enough. What kind of guy do you think I am? I would never want you to do that."
All of a sudden I felt a surge of empathy for Koizumi. He can smile until his face falls off, but to talk so frankly about liking someone in front of that person, it takes a lot of strength. I guess things aren't easy for him, either.
"For the record, you're a good guy, Koizumi. I know it sounds weird, but I don't dislike you."
With that, Koizumi's normal smile was utterly gone. In its place was a weird, mixed expression. He turned away from me. "Thank you." His voice was shaking almost inperceptively. "That means a lot to me. Now, if you'll excuse me... I'll see everyone tomorrow. Maybe we'll play a game or something."
"Of course. Don't we always?"
A small laugh. "Yeah."
After he left the room, I stood there for a while and just thought.
The truth is, on some level, I think I knew the whole time that this was about Koizumi liking me. And I think in the same way Haruhi knew that she was the one who created Kyon Number Two. But it's human nature to ignore the truth when you're not ready to face it. Someday I'll be able to talk to you seriously about this, Koizumi. But until then, I'm going to stop thinking about it, and hope that things remain as they always have in the SOS Brigade.
So for now just smile mysteriously whenever you please. I'll try not to be too annoyed.
Of course my resolution to be more stoic was shattered next week, when Haruhi brought in a catboy costume for me to wear... but in the words of every cliched serial story ever, that's a tale for another day.