Prologue

It's times like these that I really have the time to look at my life and myself. Ah, how peaceful it is!

It's this ambience that gives me the strength to endure even one of Koizumi's long winded speeches.

No, today isn't really a special day. But something happened a while ago that most certainly made my day.

After consecutive days of running senseless errands for Haruhi, I felt extremely overworked. Thus, when she barged in earlier and said that she had to go home and take care of things at home, I, needless to say, felt extremely elated and relieved. Finally, I get a break, albeit a short one.

"Everyone, I'm going to dismiss you all early. I'm the one preparing dinner tonight at our house, so I have to leave you guys early. Dismissed!" she had said not more than fifteen minutes ago.

However, none of the three other brigade members left the room.

And so here I remained in the clubroom, playing yet another game of Othello with Koizumi. As usual, he was losing, but he still kept that annoying fake smile on his face. His smile honestly gives me the creeps.

"My apologies for that, Kyon-kun," he said cheerfully.

"Couldn't it hurt for you to be less fake than usual? Haruhi isn't even around!"

"Yes, but as the saying goes, practice makes perfect!" He smiled, flashing white teeth at me.

I sighed. Some things just really won't change no?

Koizumi being my opponent, I could afford to think of and look at other things. There was Asahina-san by the stove, brewing some more of her heavenly tea. I'll be damned if I don't say this, but even if canal-water has been boiled and prepared by the glorious hands of Asahina-san, I'd prefer that to Evian drinking water.

Ah, speak of the devil. More like speak of the angel, so to speak.

"Here's your tea, Kyon-kun," Asahina-san said. She gave me a short bow, and smiled.

Ah, that smile of hers. Everytime I see it, it makes being with Haruhi much more bearable than it usually is. She distributed some more of her wonderful tea to Koizumi, and to the other person in the room.

"Here, Yuki-san," Asahina-san said courteously.

I was expecting the usual reply from Nagato, that being the absence of such, but, to my surprise, she gave Asahina-san a short nod so unnoticeable that a man looking at Nagato from more than three meters away would have missed it.

Glorious as usual, Asahina-san, in her striking maid costume, began to clean the bookshelf where most of Nagato's books were located.

As I flipped another piece on the Othello board, I began to eye Asahina-san. Koizumi noticed this, and he indicated that by suddenly leaning over the table and getting in my face. Damn it Koizumi, can't you respect my personal space?

"My apologies Kyon, but I just want to remind you to not do that while Suzumiya-san is around. We don't want another repeat of that incident, right?"

Yare Yare. "Why do you think I'm ogling her now, while Haruhi isn't here," I hissed.

"Point there, Kyon," said Koizumi. He then flipped another piece on the board and we proceeded with the game, albeit my mind was only half focused on it.

Strangely enough, something was troubling me, but I couldn't seem to pinpoint the exact source. I knew that the source of my discomfort resided in this room, and it obviously isn't Koizumi, since I was so used to his eccentric fake behavior.

I then deduced it involved either Nagato or Asahina-san.