The Haruhi franchise was created by Nagaru Tanigawa. This piece of fiction is in no way connected to his canon. I just write things.

o o o

"It's impossible for Nagato to watch you all of the time, Kyon. Eventually, a window of opportunity will appear, and I will be able to kill you."

o o o

It was bewildering, the way Asakura acted--as if nothing had ever happened. As if she had never tried to harm him.

"Now, now, Kyon--there's really no need to act that way. Couldn't we be civil to one another, at the very least?"

Civil? How in the world could he be civil? You couldn't be civil towards someone who had tried--was still trying to kill you--

Asakura smiled, warmly. "Just because I'm going to kill you, Kyon, it doesn't mean I have to be your enemy."

o o o

"Well, it's certainly a possibility." Asakura tapped her chin thoughtfully. "Yes--I suppose it is possible that if I hadn't spent so many recursions killing you, Kyon, we would have been able to escape from the loop much sooner. But in the end, conjecture is useless, isn't it?"

He couldn't think of a proper reply to that. It was one thing to protest your imminent death, but to hear that it was too late--that he had died already, and had come back and died and come back and died again and again and again--

She must have seen his expression, because she laughed, and in a voice that sounded as if it were meant to reassure him: "Don't worry, Kyon. I didn't kill you all the time, after all. Or even half the time, for that matter."

"Thank you," he said.

Even the most simple-minded of people wouldn't have missed the sarcastic tone in his voice--but Asakura smiled at him anyway, as if his thanks had actually been sincere, and Kyon spent the rest of the day wondering why he felt almost guilty.

o o o

The words spilled from his mouth before he could stop himself--

"Why didn't you kill me?"

--and he felt, rather than saw, Asakura become very still.

"The reprogramming was incomplete," she finally said. Her voice was a whisper, but he could hear it clearly in the sterile air of the hospital room.

The reprogramming--he already knew that, that was the reason he was even asking at all--

Feeling almost frantic, he tried again.

"But if you were acting under your own free will, why didn't you--"

"Nagato never bothered to eliminate the preexisting processes. Even though she introduced new ones, I was able to circumvent them."

There was none of her usual cheerfulness. Only a flat, lifeless reply, and then Kyon heard her open the door and she was gone.

His stomach twisted. He ignored it, and closed his eyes against the glare of the fluorescent lights.

o o o

"Ironic, isn't it?" she said, and laughed. It was a harsh, mocking sound, unlike anything Kyon had ever heard from her before, and suddenly Kyon couldn't help but feel that something was very, very wrong.

"The only reason I'm still able to move is because the majority of my programs are locked down. I'm virtually a spectator here…" Her voice was rambling, and that feeling of wrongness increased, multiplied.

Asakura didn't ramble--

He understood suddenly, and the guilt hit him like a physical blow. How had he missed this?

Nagato had become ill, so surely Asakura as well--

But at some point, he had stopped thinking of her as a "humanoid interface" and started thinking of her as just Asakura.

"Are you alright?" It was a stupid, obvious question--no, of course she wasn't alright, she wasn't alright at all, but Kyon couldn't think of anything else to say.

Asakura smiled and began to walk unsteadily towards him. "Really, Kyon…you shouldn't worry about me." Still talking as if nothing was wrong. Still smiling that terrible false smile.

"Rather, it's Nagato who's..."

And then her sentence trailed off into nothingness, and she frowned, her face twisting into a strange mix of disappointment and annoyance.

"Oh," she said, and fell.


He caught her against his chest before she could hit the ground, the foolishness of what he was doing only occurring to him a second later: she'd said, before--she said she would kill him--she was still dangerous--

But he couldn't let go of her. There was something inside him, something that ignored common sense and rationality and self-preservation, and that something was shutting out the rest of the world, turning his mind blank until all he could do was stand there and look down at her face--

o o o

Late at night, and Kyon could only stare up at the shadowed ceiling and contemplate how utterly mortal he was.

This reprieve was only temporary, he knew. Someday, next week or next month or next year or the year after that--someday, he would no longer be useful to the extremists within the Integrated Data Entity. And when that day came…

The sound of Asakura mumbling in her sleep distracted him from that unsavory thought.

Kyon turned his head to the side. She was there, asleep--or as close to asleep as Living Humanoid Interfaces got. He'd asked Asakura once, and she had instantly launched into a long, overly complicated explanation, the gist of which was that she did sleep--just not the same way human beings did.

It was hard for him to believe that, though--she certainly looked like she was sleeping, with her eyes closed, her lips slightly parted, her breathing even and soft.

She was beautiful, and she was going to kill him, and--

Kyon closed his eyes, and dreamt of impossible happy endings.