Y'know that period during the school year when time seems to be going at a normal pace, but before you know it, the end of the school year is upon you? I always think "Where did the year go, I can't seem to remember it passing so fast." It's that time that is seemingly in between the crawling clip of the start of the year and the similar slothful celerity of the end of the year. Somewhere, it picks up without my knowing. There is a time when I stop thinking "I wish this year was over" and only start thinking about what I have to do tomorrow. It sure does make it seem like the year flew by.
Of course, I can only realize this when I'm sitting quietly in the clubroom playing board games with Koizumi, quietly sipping on Asahina-san's tea. My mind, coupled with my eyes, wanders around the room at various times until I arrive at something that can keep my captious attention from wavering anymore.
Sometimes I stop on the ever-still alien reading her book in the corner. Today it looks like she's reading a French novel, "L'Étranger". I can't help but think back on picturing Nagato's various emotions, however little thought I had to expel to do it was enough.
Nagato suddenly realized my eyes had stumbled upon her. The only way I knew this was because her own lavender eyes had darted toward me, and instantaneously darted back to the pages of her book. It was imperceptible, but, having hung around Nagato for at least a year and a half, I feel I can almost sense these things about her. Huh. I'd never seen her trademark concentration broken like that.
Just then, my random musings on the staggered pace of the year and the stagnate state of the clubroom were suddenly broken by the one person who brought us all together.
Her trademark overbearing voice blasted as she slammed the door open. Asahina-san cutely squealed as she made sure all her preparations for Haruhi's enter were complete, running to get our Brigade Commander her Oolong tea.
She tossed her bag in the corner and plopped down on the Commander's chair, in front of the commander's desk and the computer we extorted from those poor computer club members.
"Kyon! What is something every group of friends needs to experience?"
You not coming up with dumb ideas? I don't know, I give up.
"Stupid. We all need to go to a movie together, and have a sleep over!"
What? Are we little 4th grade girls now?
"It doesn't matter Kyon, if we have fun that will be all that counts. Since we all know where Yuki's place is and we know her parents are never there for some reason, let's have it there tomorrow night!"
Don't just go making plans at someone else's house for a party!
I looked at Nagato. She had stopped reading and was now intently staring at Haruhi.
"Sounds like it will be a fun time."
Koizumi's stupid smile and ever agreeing face only made these ideas more acceptable in Haruhi's mind.
"A-a sleep over?"
Asahina-san held the tea tray to her chest as she posed this meaningless question.
Haruhi jumped out of her seat with the quickness of a gymnast. She latched onto Asahina-san with her arms as a small sound could be heard
"Of course a sleep over Mikuru! Won't it be fun? We can stay up and tell ghost stories and play games all night. Hey, maybe even something mysterious will happen! Boy that would be great! Let's have a talent contest too! Everyone has to do something tomorrow night to entertain the rest!"
Wait a sec. Isn't this kind of inappropriate? A sleep over with 5 high school students, not to mention one with both sexes. Plus, how are we supposed to come up with a show this quickly? At least for me, I'm not like anyone here, I'm untalented.
"I already said it doesn't matter as long as we have fun! I won't let anything funny happen as Brigade Chief, so you'd better not try anything Kyon! You hear me?"
How could I not hear you when you're yelling right into my face?
"Okay then! It's settled! Let's meet at the usual spot tomorrow at 6 PM for the movie! Afterward we'll head to Yuki's place."
And just like that my Saturday night was decided. Sigh. Looks like I'll have to lie to my mother again about my whereabouts. I'll have to tell Kunikida to remember that I told her I was sleeping at his house.
"I want everyone to get a good night's sleep tonight because tomorrow night is going to be a lot of fun! I don't think any of us will get any sleep! Dismissed!"
Haruhi quickly said those words as she grabbed her bag, and with one hand up in the air waving, she darted from the room. That girl. How does she have such incredible mood swings. At times like these it's hard to remember the melancholy Haruhi that sits behind me in class sighing. Actually, no it's not. That quiet Haruhi is my favorite one.
The rest of the people in the room did not move after Haruhi had gone. Nagato continued to look at the spot where Haruhi used to be. Koizumi just smiled as he turned his attention to cleaning up the board game. Asahina-san was still completely baffled.
"...s-sleep over. I-i-is that okay? I'll need to get clearance"
She was mumbling to herself again, as she seemed deep in thought but at the same time extremely worried. It's the same Asahina-san I had the pleasure of walking around town with that day I saved the spectacled boy from the van.
"I'm sure it will be alright Asahina-san, at least, if Haruhi doesn't do anything wild."
I tried to console her, as my insides seemed to melt when her emotions turned sour. Those tears that welled up in her eyes every so often were like the tears of my heart crying.
Whoa, I need to get a grip. We're not in some soap opera here. After that Koizumi put the board game away and left, while Asahina-san asked me to leave the room to change. I waited outside to retrieve my bag from inside after she was done. I thought we had gotten through another day without something out of the ordinary happening.
After I said goodbye to Asahina-san, I went in to retrieve my bag. Nagato was still there. Usually she has closed her book by this time. I grabbed my bag and headed towards the door.
"See ya Nagato." I said without turning around.
Just then I felt a familiar tug on my arm. I reminisced to the last time this tug had happened. Back when we were in the world where Haruhi had disappeared. Back when Nagato was not an alien, back when she had nothing to do with the Integrated Data Entity. Back when she was just a normal girl...
I followed with my eyes down my arm to the disturbance, and there indeed was her hand, silently begging me to stay. Her face looked toward my shoes, bashfully, it seemed.
"Eh? Is something wrong Nagato?"
There was a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach every time I thought about uttering these words. If Nagato were to think something is the matter, then something most definitely is the matter.
Nagato slowly nodded her head. She let go of my sleeve and walked toward the back of the clubroom. Her bag and open novel were on the table. She continued to face away from me, with her head still focused on the floor.
"Well, what is it? Is something wrong with Haruhi?"
She shook her head an inch to either side.
"Is there a disturbance or something?"
She nodded the same slow nod as before.
"Who's in trouble?"
"Me." She answered. Needless to say I was shocked. Not just because Nagato has never been in trouble since I've known her, but because I heard a twinge in her voice, the first time I've ever heard her monotone slip.
"You? What's wrong?"
She waited at least a 20 seconds to answer me. I couldn't tell if she was thinking or struggling to say what she wanted to say.
She finally quietly let out an answer: "I am not myself."
What? You not yourself? You're never not yourself! You're an alien.
"Lately there have been disturbances in my data correlation abilities. I cannot process the data I used to process easily. The Entity is non-responsive."
Now it was my turn for silence. I waited for her to go on but she stopped there, and turned toward the side of the room, now looking down at her open book with her bag next to it.
"Um... how long has this been happening?"
A week huh. I haven't noticed anything. Actually, the only thing I've noticed was the glance she made at me today as I was staring at her. It was a normal reaction, but not for someone as abnormal as her.
"Do you know what's wrong? What is causing this? Can you fix it?"
This time I was sure she was struggling to find the words. I thought perhaps I saw her flinch a little bit. C'mon Nagato, this is not like you at all. Don't scare me, you're the one I can trust the most.
"I don't know."
Don't know what. I asked three questions.
"I... don't know how to fix it. I do know what is wrong and what caused it. There has been a disturbance in my existence. Something has been altered inside of me. It has been altered by... a person."
Who Nagato? Who did this to you?
She stayed silent for a couple beats. She then raised her index finger. As it elevated, I saw it come to a stop, pointing directly at...
"You." She said.
Okay… what? Now I'm really confused. What did I do? I haven't done anything weird in the past month, let alone a week!
"...Nagato" I barely managed to helplessly squeak her name out before I saw something I am sure I'll never forget.
Nagato was slightly shivering. I could not see her face under her bangs as she still had her head down. I turned my attention to where she was looking, her book.
And there I saw 3 separate dots of moisture on the page.
Nagato was... crying.
"...Nagato" This time I said it with more force. What is going on? I'm really alarmed. Did I make Nagato cry? What is this? This certainly is not Nagato. Is it?
She stood there, silently sobbing, wetting the pages of her book. I took a couple steps toward her. I really wanted to console her. It's the same feeling to protect as I get with Asahina-san. But it felt stronger right now. This was Nagato, my protector. Not the other way around.
By now I was a couple feet from her, the both of us alone in the clubroom. The sun was low in the distance, and a wave of amber flowed over the room. It seemed like a dream. It must be a dream. I'm imagining this. She looked so helpless, so small and fragile.
I reached my hand out to touch her. She suddenly backed away, the whole time not allowing me to see her face. She put her sleeve over her eyes as she hurriedly stuffed her book into her bad and ran out of the room carrying it. I could hear her faint sobs as she ran past me. I was too speechless to move.
I noticed as she turned the corner that she had dropped her book. What am I doing standing here? If anyone just saw this whole scene, please, agree with me, this is way too out of the ordinary.
I unfroze, and, noticing my hand was still shoulder height in the position to touch Nagato, lowered it. I stared at the book. It looked less thick than the one she was reading.
I walked over to it, and upon further inspection, realized it was not Nagato's novel. It was much thinner. A ribbon was protruding out of the top. It was a diary. It was Nagato's diary.
Wait, Nagato's diary? What could an Alien Humanoid Interface need with a diary? Could she actually write about her... her thoughts, her emotions? My mind flashed back to the Disappearance world, back to when I asked to use the computer in the Literature Club room. Was Nagato hiding what she had written from me? Was she embarrassed? Was she... lonely?
I picked up the small binding. It was a black book, with a black ribbon and pages as white as newly fallen snow.
...newly fallen snow...
I realize the implications of reading someone else's personal thoughts, and the breaking of moral code by opening someone else's diary, but something was seriously wrong with Nagato. Besides, I thought, there is no way in hell I can pass up this chance.
I flipped through the pages, realizing most all of them were empty. I had better start at the beginning.
I closed the cover and then opened the front to the first page. It was dated 6 days ago.
I do not know what is happening. I do not understand. I am usually able to understand anything this world has to offer. But not now. Now I have these thoughts. There is jumbled data. Corrupted. I am using you to get the data I can remember out. It seems I am at my limit, and am losing my ability to process knowledge. I hope to be able to recognize the disturbance soon, and correct it."
It was not a diary of happenings, but a diary of thoughts. Nagato's thoughts. The things I have always been puzzled by, I've always wondered if they were there. I've always wondered if Nagato had human thoughts. It is now apparent she does.
On to the next page. My heart is pounding, for some reason. Maybe reading into the enigma of a girl's inner most thoughts is scary. Yeah that's it.
It has now been 3 days since this thing has happened to me, but I can safely say I know the reason. I can also say that it is possible to reverse this."
I let out an involuntary sigh as I read this line.
"But I cannot do it. This disturbance, taking affect on me 3 days ago. It is him. Kyon-kun. I have spent too long observing these organic lifeforms, and now I am feeling what they feel. I have pinpointed the one emotion that transformed my abilities and my own inner feelings. There is only one emotion among these organic lifeforms that can do it."
Now I stopped reading. I lifted my eyes to gaze out the window. I was met by the same blinding amber color that was there before. The same color that was in the classroom when... when Nagato saved me from Asakura. Nagato... loves... me? No. Nope. Can't happen. No way. How is this possible? Even though I have come to know Nagato and her emotions, and have always regarded her as kind of cute, I never once thought that she felt anything like that. In fact, I didn't know she felt that much until now. Until me, and something 7 days ago. I thought about the time with Nakamura. Was she at least a little disappointed?
she had said.
I would have looked really idiotic to anyone who would have seen me at that moment. Kneeling on the floor with a diary in my hands, gazing out the window, my bag on the floor a couple feet away from me. Not moving.
Wait. That is 5 days ago. What else could she have written? I turned to the next page carefully, as if I were to turn too fast Nagato's thoughts and words would fly off the page.
Now it is even harder for me to act so emotionless, and it seems it is going to get harder. I can not manipulate the data I need to anymore. I cannot do anything about my current state. All because of him. The only thing I can do is tell him. But I feel I can't do that.
Today I stared at him in the clubroom for some time. I studied him. I long to call to him. To speak to him. Kyon. To hear the words leave my mouth and reach his ears. But this is forbidden, and only a dream for me now. These are the thoughts that swim in my head now. They circle like sharks, with my body, my mind, helplessly in the middle. I want someone to save me, but at the same time, I want to be eaten by these sharks."
She is so poetic. This is really wrenching my heart. And to think, she just sits there while I ogle Asahina-san all the time, while Haruhi makes subtle advances on me, and she does nothing. Even Koizumi. Nah never mind.
I didn't want to think about this, but my hand autonomously started turning to the next page. My image of Nagato was fading, and the blushing, smiling Nagato from last December is replacing it.
I am slowly becoming just so powerless. I am becoming more like them. The lifeforms. But I can never be like them. All I want... is to be liked... by him. I had a dream last night. I was in this same apartment. It was as bare as it is now. I was cold, colder than I had ever felt. I tried to move, but I was frozen in the middle of the room. I started to cry. For the first time, I realized I had no control over what I controlled the most throughout my whole existence: myself. My tears slid off my cheeks, and hit the floor, each one hitting louder and louder until they disappeared into snowflakes. The snowflakes filled the room, matching my coldness. I cried for a while, not knowing what to do, not knowing what was wrong. Only knowing one thing. I needed him at that moment. I cried out 'Kyon-kun!' And then he appeared in my doorway. 'What's wrong Yuki-rin, we're going to be late.' He took my hand, and the gentle white flakes flushed past my face. I began to move with him, in synch with him, as he led me one step at a time to the door. 'Kyon-kun' I murmured. He stopped us right in the doorway and turned to me. 'Yuki-rin' he said quietly as he placed his hands on my shoulders. 'It will all be alright.' He said this as he pulled my body close to his, and embraced me. I then woke up out of my fairy tale, and the same snowflakes began welling in my eyes, as I stared through the blur at the barren apartment. My barren apartment with no life. My barren life, with no meaning. What is happening to me?
I was now held speechless by a book for the first time in my life. Well, not a book, but by Nagato. Her thoughts. Her dream. A dream about... me. She had signed it Yuki-rin.
I can't read anymore. Or else I might start to cry.
I took the diary and placed it in my bag, and headed out the door of the clubroom. I had to go to see her. Not for any reason, but… for clarification. This is just too much.
My bike came to a screeching halt outside of Nagato's apartment building. I waited for someone to come out of the door, and then headed on inside, leaving my bag with the manager at the front. My bag... except for one thing that was in it.
As I headed up to her room in the elevator, a wave of fear came over me. There is no last line of defense anymore. I can't keep having these weird things happen to me. What if another Asakura comes along. I'll be dead, that's what.
I stood facing her door. I thought perhaps I heard the faint sound of a violin.
I knocked twice softly, and the faint noise stopped.
An answer. Nagato never answers, or rather, she answers with silence. Needless to say, it threw me off a little.
"Nagato... it's... me, Kyon."
Now there was the silence.
"Can I come in?"
I waited for about thirty seconds before I heard her.
She timidly opened the door, and once again, for like the thirtieth time today, I was surprised by what I saw. Nagato, in casual clothes, standing in front of an apartment more furnished than the one I had visited before. There were chairs and rugs and curtains and bookshelf's and all sorts of things you'd think a human being would have.
And Nagato herself, clad in a sleeveless white top with a ribbon tie, capri pants and sandals of the same color. Her head was again focused on my feet.
Speechless. Surprised. Flabbergasted. All things that could describe me. We must have stood there like that for another minute or so before I regained thought and remembered why I came here.
"Nagato." I said, raising my hand, and with it, the object it held.
Nagato raised her head up, and her eyes widened a little as she read the words on the front of the object.
"Diary of Nagato Yuki."
She stood there looking at it. Her hands were at her sides. At least it was a trademark Nagato pose, sans the face.
She spoke suddenly, taking her gaze away from the diary, and back to my feet.
"Did you read it?"
I didn't know how to answer. I really wish I hadn't so I didn't have to lie to her. Or do I want to lie to her at all, this humanoid interface who suddenly has, unbeknownst to her, confessed her love for me?
I could only manage to stutter out an "uh..." before she put her hand out, palm up.
She said. Now her eyes were on mine, the first time I had looked at these eyes straight on since she tugged at my shirt back at school. She sure was not freaking out like Asahina-san or Haruhi would. Of course, they would freak out in different ways, the latter of which would probably result in my face getting kicked.
I slowly placed the diary in her hand. Her fingers curled around the black leather and ribbon as her other hand joined the first on the book. She opened it to the first page, and then closed it, and clutched it to her chest. A cute pose I might have enjoyed if I weren't so scared right now.
Both her and my eyes darted away as we stood in awkward silence, the kind that reminded me of the first time I had met Nagato. I decided I needed to break this silence before I went crazy.
"Nagato, what did you mean... when you said... I-i was the disturbance?"
I knew the answer already.
But she did not answer. And contrary to the usual, it didn't seem like she was going to. In fact, I didn't really expect an answer now, as she closed her eyes.
"Nagato, please. Don't cry again." I meant this. I did not want to have my conscience wrenched again. I could see tears forming, seeping out of her eyelids. It seemed like she was trying to stop, but couldn't. She couldn't control herself anymore.
She opened her eyes to look at mine. The tears were now welled up, as she took her hand away from her diary and placed it on my chest, over my heart. The tears began to fall down her cheeks.
She said this as her face lowered, and she began to shake again, just like before. I saw a glimmer come from a falling crystal, a teardrop of immense meaning.
"Nagato, I can't... not if you're..."
She took her hand off of me and returned it to her diary on her chest. She turned, and slowly started to close her door.
"Nagato! Please!" I wanted so badly to talk to her, just to help her sort things out. I didn't want her to be like this, dreaming, stuck in a blizzard.
"...please..." She said this with an even fainter tone as she sobbed. The door then closed over her, as I was again left out in the hallway.
Alone, staring at the number 708.