The Lost Child

Family Bonds

Thursday
SOS Brigade Clubroom

Man, Koizumi must either be monumentally stupid, his esper powers and intelligence only applying to where it matters, or he thinks that by pandering to my ego he can prevent me from feeling useless.

Another game I had utterly demolished him at, and this time I only read the rules at that moment...

His pathetic shrug behind that plastered smile on his face frustrated me as he packed the game away, before holding out another one. I waved my hand in a negative fashion, not wishing to play another one immediately after.

I opened the laptop generously donated to us via the computer research society and just opened a web browser to check out the news.

Ever since we solved the problem with the dogs being scared of that haunted path, we've been doing the same old boring things day by day, going to the train station to find weird things, only to come back and for me to get shouted at by Haruhi. Lately, we're just sitting in the clubroom and thankfully having a quiet time lately.

The clink of a cup alerted me to the arrival of a fresh brew of tea.

"Thank you, Asahina-san." I smiled at the maid.

"Please tell me what you think of it, Kyon-kun. It's a new brand I'm trying."

I'm sure anything you make would taste good not matter what leaf it came from, even if it was nettles or poison ivy.

Her blush was cute as she tiptoed around me to give another give cup to Koizumi. There's no need for that really, he can just get up and grab it himself.

Nagato was reading a book which had a large spaceship on the cover, and very small writing from what I could gather thank to my straining vision. She turned a page and didn't move for a few more minutes after that.

Haruhi was typing like mad on the main computer; I dreaded to think what she was doing.

Having posted on a popular bulletin board asking about strange experiences with aliens and whatnot led to hundreds of naturally fake posts. Her excitement took us days to calm down. Koizumi reported a lot of Closed Space that week from her disappointment and anger at being lied to.

From what I heard from Nagato, that website had all the data wiped from it in a catastrophic combination of lightning striking the server building, followed by an inferno from a stray cigarette, and water sprinklers going off in the computer room, when halon should have been installed there.

Given that their backups were foolishly stored in the same location, it would take weeks to bring back that site.

She finished her typing with a flourish, her hand in mid-air. I stared at her for a moment before she noticed and became all huffy with me.

"What?" She grew redder and lowered her hand fast, "Staring at the Chief for too long will result in punishment!"

Huh? What kind of ridiculous rule is that?

"It's one that has been stated in the unsaid rulebook, Kyon..." She narrowed her eyes, "So why are you still looking at me?"

I shrugged, guessing that maybe she was in one of her moods again, "Perhaps because when someone is talking to me, I can't help but feel it would be impolite to not look at that person..."

Haruhi glared at me more and folded her arms, leaning back, "Oh, so now you're being cheeky, this calls for a big penalty."

I sighed, this was turning out to be a bad day. I could see Koizumi's smile straining as he sweatdropped, Asahina-san was whimpering, and Nagato was in mid page-flip.

This wasn't worth risking the planet again...

"I'm sorry, Haruhi..." I told the truth for once since she always saw through every lie told to her, though she didn't necessarily know what the truth was, "I'm just a bit stressed recently, what with the exams and my sister getting ill."

Her mood transformed immediately to one of mild interest, her antagonism evaporating, "Your sister's ill, what with?"

She couldn't tell if this was the real truth, but as it was I had no qualms in sharing it with her, "She has a stomach infection, nothing too serious, but she has to stay a home for a few days having medicine and eating liquid meals. "

I wasn't really worried about her safety, but she did complain about the pain and cried a few times. Not being completely heartless to her, it did tug at my emotions for a short time as I sat next to her bed reading a book to her.

"I see... Okay, you're forgiven, Kyon. I'm sure she'll be up and about in no time."

Haruhi scratched her cheek while looking up at the ceiling, and she lowered her hand, her mood suddenly reaching a new low point, though it was through sadness, and not anger this time.

"Haruhi..." I had to comment, it was quite bizarre to see her so sullen, "What's wrong?"

"Well, I don't have any siblings, so I can't really understand the feeling of having someone related to me as a brother or sister, nor even the fact that they could be sick."

I nodded, it was perfectly understandable. The same could be said for me, as I have no concept of what it would be like to be brought up as an only child.

"It's not hard really, it's just somebody who has the same genes as you, given the same parents, and so you feel a bond with that person. If he or she isn't well, then you also are affected whether you like it or not."

Koizumi rattled off that speech with his smile.

Haruhi then looked at him, "Do you have any brothers or sisters?"

He shook his head, "Sadly, no, I was an only child."

As Haruhi looked at Asahina-san, she thought about it a little too long, "No, I don't have any either..." She seemed a little sad at this point.

As our leader directed the same question to Nagato, she turned a page, saying a few words whilst not changing her appearance, "I do not have any family through genetic bonds."

Well, that goes without saying... Nagato's an alien, and a data-based lifeform at that, so she probably has no genes to speak of.

"Yuki... You're an orphan?"

This sudden question halted our thoughts. Whilst four of us knew the truth, Nagato also did not take into account the fact that Haruhi would've gone slightly further in questioning something she said. Koizumi opened his eyes for a moment as Asahina-san hovered near the kettle.

Understanding the need for damage control, given that it was too late to backtrack on what she said, but also having to reassure Haruhi lest more data explosions take place, Nagato looked up from her book and stared at her.

"Yes, my parents died in a car accident two years ago. I was currently residing at my aunt's house at the time, so I was unhurt. She took care of me until she too passed away a month before I commenced at this school. Fortunately, my family were very successful and thus held a great deal of savings stored away, which were all passed to me, being the last of their kin. The place where I stay now is a flat they rented, although I took it upon myself to remove the majority of the unnecessary furniture into storage. I am at present living off those funds to pay for my education."

Despite no physical or emotional change in the method of speaking, Nagato's monotone whisper remaining the same throughout, Haruhi seemed moved in some form. To be honest, I also felt sad for Nagato, despite knowing about her non-human origins, it was a very convincing story and surprising given that she came up with it in a second. I almost forgot about what I knew about her past, and wanted to protect her somehow.

I had to pinch myself to remember that Nagato was Nagato, and that she would be fine. I would later have to congratulate her though for stirring up such feelings within me from that tragic story.

"That's..." Haruhi didn't show tears very often, and this wasn't one of those times either, but she was definitely choked up, "I... had no idea, Yuki."

Nagato kept looking at Haruhi, "The details of my life are inconsequential and insignificant." She paused, as if to change the subject and end the line of conversation, "I've adapted well to the lack of family, and I'm functioning normally on my own. There is no reason to worry for my well-being."

She looked down at her book and began reading again, signalling that it was the last time she would talk about this.

Haruhi nodded mutely and went back to her computer screen, but I could tell by the wrinkles on her forehead over her monitor that she was still deep in thought.

Closing her book fifteen minutes later, we prepared to leave, shutting down computers, unplugging kettles and putting away board games.

As we were leaving the building, I sidled up to Nagato as Haruhi laughed away with teasing Asahina-san.

"That was a great story, Nagato. Even I felt sorry for you."

Nagato replied immediately, "It was a simple application of appealing to Suzumiya Haruhi's emotions by way of generating empathy through sadness. In order to stem further excitation, I was required to halt any further line of investigation by her."

"But, even so, how did you come up with such a complete story?"

Nagato looked at me, "I collated information from various media sources, and found daytime soaps to be dramatic enough to emulate in this instance."

I see, no wonder it was such a tear jerker and mildly melodramatic... I hope Nagato wasn't corrupted by such mind rotting influences.

"I merely used them as research for this purpose, not as a base to further my communications with humans. The procedures I have in place are already sufficient."

Thank goodness, well done to you Nagato.

She just nodded silently and kept walking.

Friday
Homeroom

I was getting worried, Haruhi still had a pensive look on her face whilst staring out of the window.

She didn't seem to respond, and there was a hint of something hidden beneath her mild frown.

"Kyon... "

Oops, I must have been staring at her again.

"Have you ever wondered what it would be like to not have a sister?"

Huh, are we still on that topic after yesterday? I assumed we were given that she was glaring at my not responding in the way she wanted.

"Not really, nor do I want to. She's my sister, and while she may get on my nerves every once in a while, I wouldn't want her to be suddenly gone either."

"That's not what I asked, Kyon..." She grinned at me wryly.

"Well, I thought I made it clear last night, I don't know, maybe my parents would give me more attention, maybe I wouldn't have any problems related to her. I haven't the faintest idea, Haruhi, why do you ask?"

She nodded to herself, satisfied by my answer I guess, "No reason... But just one more thing, do you think you're luckier to have a sister than people without one?"

I could count the six bullets in the chamber, that's how loaded this question was, seeing as the interviewer had no siblings to speak of.

"I honestly can't say, Haruhi. Some people with a brother or sister hold feelings of jealously because one is favoured over the other. Some only children might be loved more than two different siblings combined." I sighed, having already gotten bored over the subject so early in the morning, "From my biased viewpoint, in the sense that I have a sister, I think I'm lucky to have her, though I'm sure other people might not be so lucky to have my sister as a sister."

Haruhi made an impressed sound, "Looks like you thought of this a lot, Kyon!"

Not really, I just rambled on about my normal thoughts, and gave the only opinion I could.

I wondered if this was the start of the following chain of events, by just giving a new direction in which Haruhi's muse could travel.


Author's Notes

Yes, another new story for the Haruhi section, and it will deal with something yet to be covered in the novels.

It will also feature a canon insertion, but more on that later...

- J