Disclaimer: I do not own The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (© Nagaru Tanigawa, Noizo Ito, Member of SOS) or Death Note (© Tsugumi Ohba, Takeshi Obata)
Please Note: While this is a Death Note crossover, it is not necessary to have read, watched, or had any understanding of Death Note in order to understand and enjoy this fic. Additionally, this follows on from a one-shot I wrote some time ago (which you can find through my profile if you're curious) but you don't have to have read that to enjoy this fic either. Thanks for listening, and please, lead on!
The Melancholy of Shinigami Ryuk
It wasn't quite winter yet, but the weather was already getting cold, and the last of the leaves were falling from the trees. At the moment climbing up the hill to school was bearable, but soon it would be freezing cold every day, so much so that I'll be struggling to move like an old man with arthritis to walk to school every morning. But today the morning cool is quite pleasant. There's a taste of ice there, though, left over from last night; the days might be pleasant, but this week the temperatures have dropped so far that even in bed at night I can't quite get warm enough. No matter how cold it gets, my mother insists that since it's not technically winter until December, we can't use the heater yet, so I have to lie in bed and shiver. At least it's better than being outside, right?
Naturally, last weekend, on the first truly bone-chilling night of the season, Haruhi forced us all to meet at the school at night to investigate a rumour that there was a ghost of a former student haunting the school who only appeared on Sunday evenings. She ignored my complaints about the cold, of course, and Koizumi told me that I sound enough like an old man already without complaining about my bones. Nagato just stared at me and said nothing; perhaps she doesn't feel the cold. Only the beautiful Asahina Mikuru had any sympathy for me, and when she looked at me sadly with those wonderful brown eyes I thought she must feel the same way I do, and surely as a gentlemen I should go and hold her so as to warm her with my meagre body heat…
But I am forgetting myself.
Other than that, the SOS Brigade has been quiet lately. Haruhi seems to have been more subdued, a little more like her old melancholy self, and all our afternoons are spent sitting in the clubroom. Haruhi talks, but she sometimes becomes bored even with her own ideas – the only thing that keeps her interested is buying new costumes for Asahina-san. Where does she get the money for all these expensive cosplays? Surely she wouldn't get into anything so boring as a part-time job. Nagato does nothing but sit and read, and I, as always, spend my time beating Koizumi at board games. I would have thought that with the mental powers of an esper he would be excellent at strategy, but his skills are so bad that playing with him is utterly boring. In fact, the whole club is boring. As troublesome as Haruhi's ideas can be, they always keep us occupied, so I never thought it possible that the SOS Brigade could become dull. Yet that's exactly what is happening now. Even Asahina-san's tea doesn't make it worth going to the club room any more. It seems that Haruhi has simply run out of ridiculous things for our ridiculous club to do.
"Why do you sound so dejected about it? I would have thought that Kyon would be happy that Suzumiya-san is calming down."
Despite the steep incline of the hill, Koizumi doesn't break a sweat and still manages to smile widely. You're not even panting? Are you sure you're a human?
"Who knows? What is a human, anyway?" he asked, with that infuriating smile again. "But you are always so troubled both by Suzumiya's schemes and by the messes that her desires create without her knowledge. Aren't you more content now that you don't have to deal with them?"
Of course I don't want to be trapped in strange alternate dimensions or desert islands any more, nor waste time filming Haruhi's directionless movies and keeping her from changing the fabric of reality while she does it, but all the same, it can't been denied that those things were… interesting.
"But with nothing happening, Haruhi will become bored or depressed again, and that isn't good either, is it? Especially for you?"
Itsuki nodded seriously. "Indeed, the patterns of closed space…" But he stopped almost immediately and put on his best, most impenetrable smile. "Ah, but that is too grim a topic for so early in the morning. All the same, perhaps we should be making more of an effort to keep Suzumiya-san occupied."
Haruhi must be the most difficult person in the world. There is no way to keep the situation stable; either she creating supernatural impossibilities to keep herself happy, or she is depressed and making strange dimensions with her subconscious that could destroy the world anyway. Or at least create a new one. But I especially don't want to be trapped in one of THOSE again…
"Perhaps it would be helpful for you to take Suzumiya-san on a date?" Koizumi suggested, before darting through the school gates and disappearing. One day I'll learn to ignore him, but that guy really pisses me off. Or maybe one day I'll just decide to punch him.
Still, the truth was that we did need to try to cheer Haruhi up before she did something crazy. I had plenty of time to think about it while sitting at my desk during homeroom, and total peace and quiet, too – for the first time I could remember, Haruhi was late. Regardless of all her other eccentricities, Haruhi was never late to school, and yet this morning the desk behind me was empty.
I tried to use the time to think of some way to alleviate Haruhi's boredom. It had to be something normal, surely, otherwise it would just encourage her to acts of further unnatural chaos. No mysteries, no adventures, nothing that could lead to the sudden appearance of monsters or the slow disintegration of reality. Yet all the 'normal' entertainments that I could think of – a trip to the movies, or a day of shopping, or even a party – would be brushed off by Haruhi as 'boring', 'stupid', 'a waste of time'. Am I being too negative? I've never tried throwing a party before, so I don't know for certain that Haruhi would be irritated by the ordinariness of such an activity. And yet I was certain that she would be bored by it all the same. And why? Because even to me, these ideas seem boring now, and for some strange reason I find myself considering haunted houses, going on patrol in search of talking animals, or staying out all night watching the night sky for any sign of an alien space ship…
Ah, but it is easy to feel that ordinary life has become boring when one has been living it for long enough to forget all the trouble that Haruhi causes when she tries to make life more interesting. I'm always reminded, when I begin to feel melancholy myself, that Haruhi's idea of an interesting life is far more trouble than it is worth. And the moment that she strode through the classroom door (with no apology to Okabe-sensei as whatever she is doing is of course far more important) I realised that now was the time to stop thinking of ways to distract Haruhi and start worrying about how to control the damage.
"Where have you been?" She took her seat without bothering to apologise for her tardiness, because to Haruhi whatever she was doing was far more important than his inconsequential class. Why don't teachers understand this? Are they all retarded? This is definitely what Haruhi was thinking as she ignored the teacher's feeble attempts to reprimand her. He appeared flabbergasted and humiliated, but the rest of the class barely noticed, accustomed as we are, and as teachers are not, to Haruhi's strange behaviours. Compared to what we usually see of her, this is nothing!
"Where have you been?" I turned around and asked her again, once she was safe in her desk behind me and the rest of the class had turned their attention back to the teacher. If only I could be so attentive to such a mundane duty – but no, instead the duty that I have found myself landed with entirely against my will is the charge of minding this 'God' who has no idea of her own power, in the hope that I can stop her from inadvertently destroying the world or something equally disastrous. Who chose me for this duty, and why didn't I get a chance to say "no thanks"? If ever the opportunity arises to say these words I will not let it slip by!
"I was showing the newest member of the SOS Brigade to the club room," Haruhi said, as if this were the most obvious thing in the world and I was clearly a moron for not somehow telepathically knowing everything about the task so important that she had to skip homeroom for it.
A new member? I had thought that our club was already complete with all the characters you required.
"What are you, retarded? A club is never complete, there are always new members! If the SOS Brigade is to become successful we must recruit as many people as possible!"
I silently wondered who the new member could be. Naturally the reason I thought the club must be complete is because we already had an alien, a time traveller and an esper as members, the three main supernatural beings that Haruhi was searching for. And then there was me, the ordinary human who for some insane reason was chosen by God-knows-who as the person who is responsible for preventing disasters. So who could a new member be? Was this another weirdo hiding their identity from Suzumiya? A slider perhaps? Or maybe another hapless ordinary human like me, come to share my burden. Ha! Perhaps I can trick him into replacing me. Goodbye, Haruhi! Goodbye, stupid club!
"And besides," Haruhi continued, "This member is special."
Oh, really? Another 'mysterious' transfer student, I suppose? Although for a student to transfer this late in the year is not mysterious at all, merely stupid.
"No way, this person is much more special. He's a god of death."
Oh, of course it would be a god of death. I knew there was something missing from a club. A god of death is exactly what we need.
No, this is impossible! Of course there is every chance that a god of death could become a member of our club considering the other three people we already have as members, but how could Haruhi know his secret identity?
"That's… that can't be true!"
"Moron. Of course gods of death exist! Haven't you ever listened to anything I've said?" She stared dreamily out the window and down onto the sports field. "Kyon, you can't imagine how happy I am right now. This is what I've been waiting for! I've finally found one, someone who will be fun! And he chose me!"
Hmm, what does that mean for me, "the person chosen by Suzumiya"? Can that title coexist with "the person who chose Suzumiya"? Where Haruhi is concerned, I sometimes begin to question the existence of free choice. But that is an academic point; there are more important things at stake! Who the heck is this god of death person, and how does Haruhi know his true identity? It goes against everything that has happened before. As Koizumi said, because Haruhi wanted supernatural beings to exist, her desires created supernatural beings and events. However, even though her heart wanted these things to exist, her common sense was more powerful and she did not truly believe that these things were possible, and so she remained completely unaware of them. Of course, I have always found it difficult to believe that Haruhi has any common sense at all, let alone so much of it that it is powerful enough to outweigh her unlimited store of insanity.
But still, it seems to go against logic and past patterns to think that Suzumiya could become truly aware of the existence of a supernatural being. Perhaps this 'god of death' is really an ordinary human playing a hoax, and who happened to find the one person insane enough to believe everything he says. Yes, this must be what has happened. What a jerk! I feel the urge to punch him when I see him in the clubroom after school today. He has no idea how much trouble and stress such an immature and unimaginative prank will cause me!
Haruhi was still staring out the window at the sports field, even though it was empty. And then, quite strangely, she waved, as though there were really someone there, and then looked at me expectantly.
"Don't you see him?" she asked, with a frown.
"Him! The god of death!" She pointed stubbornly out the window. There was absolutely nobody on that field, and she was pointing at pure empty space. Has this girl gone totally mad at last?
But when I squinted my eyes, I could see something. A single red apple, which would appear to be suspended in mid-air – although surely that was merely some optical illusion due to the distance and the angle from which I saw it. And yet even though I could explain away its apparent antigravity, what happened next was bizarre enough to give me chills. At first I told myself that it was only the angle of the sunlight that made it appear that a bite had been taken out of the levitating apple. But as I watched, another bite-sized chunk disappeared, and then another, until what had been a full, round, red apple was merely a core. Finally, in two more bites, the remaining apple core vanished, presumably into the belly of this invisible beast.
This could not bode well for my peace of mind.
Feedback, including criticism is very welcome! The next chapter should be up soonish. (Incidentally, I'm not that fond of the title of this story, but someone who proofread the first draft suggested it and others seem to agree that it's appropriate, so for the moment it's staying.)