The Misfortune of Nagato Yuki
A Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi fanfic
Chapter 4: Desperation
Note: This story takes place after my other short story, "The Revision of Nagato Yuki". Please read that first.
Disclaimer: I do not own the Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi.
Nagato and I walked in silence down the hill that I have to climb every day to and from North High School. Even though the trip down is easier than the trip up, it still isn't pleasant. The incline is steep enough that you have to expend effort to keeping yourself from going down too fast. Who decided to place this school at the top of the hill anyway? Maybe I should write them an angry letter listing all of the deficiencies in their choice of location.
I shook my head to clear my thoughts and glanced over at the girl walking next to me. I wondered if she was as flustered as I was after our latest confrontation with Haruhi just a few minutes ago, but the pale alien girl showed no concern at all as she accompanied me. She hadn't let go of my hand, either, since we had left the Literature Club room. Normally walking home with a girl like that would be enough to brighten my mood considerably, but my HP and MP were still at an all time low from the damage inflicted by Haruhi.
I sighed loudly and muttered half to myself and half to Nagato, "Well, that didn't go too well..."
Nagato nodded and responded softly, "That is likely."
I looked over at her calm face again. Trying not to let my desperation creep into my voice, I asked Nagato, "Any ideas on what we should do?"
She shook her head, "The options that have a high probability of success have downsides that I would prefer to avoid."
Oh? Well what could be so bad?
Without looking at me, she answered quietly, "My disappearance from this world would end this situation immediately."
I shook my head vigorously, "You disappearing isn't an option, Yuki."
Nagato stopped dead in her tracks and turned to face me. She stated plainly, "If we were to end our relationship, that would end this situation as well."
Her eyes stared unblinkingly at me, waiting for an response. I blinked and replied, "That's not an option either. We'll have to find another way..."
"We will find another way," she agreed, like there was no question in her mind of our ultimate success. I wished that she could inject me with some of the confidence that she seemed to have.
We walked along in silence for several minutes while my mind churned. Why is it that I can never think of clever ideas when I need them the most? Does my brain hate me so much that it refuses to work like it's supposed to in times like these? Finally, I pushed off thinking about it for now and said, "Let's get home, and we can think about it. Hopefully, we can come up with some ideas before dinner..."
Nagato blinked and interjected, "I need to acquire additional clothing."
Eh? Oh right... the only clothes you have left are the ones you're wearing, aren't they?
She nodded and said, "This way."
Tugging me gently by the hand, she lead me away. As I accompanied Nagato, I kept getting the feeling that people were watching us. I prayed we weren't being jealously stalked by one of her secret fans out to do violence against me. After walking for quite awhile, we arrived at an unassuming clothing store tucked between a busy family restaurant and a rundown bookstore. I scanned the store nervously as we entered and hoped that nothing strange would happen while we were there. The last thing I needed was for the building to collapse while we were in it, or for a meteor to strike, or... I shook my head and tried to shove those thoughts out of my brain. I tried desperately to think of anything else, and as my eyes came across some of the colorful outfits on display, I couldn't help but wonder if I would get to see Nagato try on anything interesting.
"What would you define as interesting?" Nagato asked me.
I could feel my cheeks warm as I stammered a reply, "Ah... well... you usually just wear your school uniform so... I was just wondering what you were going to buy."
She cocked her head to the side and gave me a slightly quizzical look, "At a minimum, I will require addition school uniforms, pajamas, socks, and underwear."
I followed Nagato around the store, carrying the items that she intended to purchase in one of those small, plastic baskets that the store had provided for its customers. We traveled across the store methodically, stopping only to pick up the items that Nagato had listed. We hardly paused long enough for me to gawk at any of the other clothes on display even if I had wanted to. Not that I was picturing how she would look in some of the dresses hanging up in the store or anything. After half an hour of shopping, we picked up the last item and went to check out. The old lady at the cash register frowned disapprovingly at me as she was ringing up the underwear and pajamas, but chose not to make any comments. It's probably better that way since I don't know what rude words would have come out of my mouth if she had said anything. I breathed a sigh of relief when we left without any catastrophes, either physical or social, happening.
Eventually we made our way back to my house, where my little sister was waiting for us. She was sitting in the living room taunting my cat, Shamisen, with a ball of yarn that she had probably gotten from my mother's knitting supplies.
"Oh welcome back, Kyon! Haruhi-chan stopped by just a few minutes ago."
"What? Haruhi was here?" I asked stupidly.
She dangled a piece of yarn just out of Shamisen's reach as she replied, "Yup!!! I asked if she wanted to stay and study with you and Yuki-chan, but she said she had something else to do so she couldn't."
I winced and muttered, "That's not too surprising..."
My little sister frowned as Shamisen ignored her and the yarn and started waving it frantically in front of his face. She continued, "I even asked if she wanted to have a sleepover sometime with us and Yuki, but she didn't seem to like that idea at all!"
Why did Haruhi have to decide to come here now of all times? I hadn't even had any chances to come up with any brilliant ideas yet, either. I wished that for once she'd consider the position I was in and give me some time to think of a way to counter her madness. I resolved then to devote a considerable amount of time to brainstorming a solution with Nagato that evening.
It was a shame that my brainstorming wasn't particularly effective that night. I actually spent most of the evening listening to Nagato's attempts to explain to me what my math teacher actually meant by the terms derivative and integral. At least that's something that one of us understands well.
Dinner and the time after passed by in the blink of an eye. Every time I tried to think about Haruhi, I found my mind blanking on it, like a troublesome homework question that you don't even know where to start with. Can't I just put this off for one more day? When it came time to go to bed, I was sure that if I slept on it I'd think of something to do. Reassuring myself of this, I closed my eyes and drifted off to sleep for the night...
I opened my eyes to find myself standing in front of the train station that usually serves as the SOS Brigade's gathering place. I blinked and looked around, but the dark evening shadows hid my surroundings. A light mist seemed to cover the ground, and I couldn't see very far off into the distance. I swung my head back around just in time to see Haruhi walking up to me. Haruhi squinted at me as she came to a stop in front of me, and said, "Hmph.... And I expected you to be late like usual. Why can't you take our regular meetings this seriously?"
I gave her a confused look and said slowly, "Meeting? What are you talking about?"
Haruhi gave me an disapproving look, "Are you stupid? We had planned to meet here all along. Don't you remember?"
I gave a shrug. I hadn't remembered making any such promise, but with Haruhi it was probably better not to admit something like that unless you were looking for an extra serving of punishment. Since we were here anyway, I figured I might as well try to talk to her about Nagato. "Look, Haruhi... about Nagato and I..."
"Oh Nagato is it? Why aren't you calling her Yuki anymore?" Haruhi asked harshly.
"Uh... yeah, Yuki... You know who I meant."
She grimaced at me and said, "You mean that traitor that's trying to steal you away from the SOS Brigade?"
I winced and asked, "Don't you think that's a little harsh? She's just trying to..."
Haruhi cut me off quickly, "Just trying to what? Steal away one of the founding members of the SOS Brigade?"
Oh? When had I gotten enough experience points to level up to 'founding member' status?
Stomping her foot angrily against the ground, Haruhi said, "You've always been a founding member. It's just the lack of effort that you give to brigade activities means that everyone else has advanced past you."
I shook my head at her explanation, "Anyway, we're not here to talk about my poor advancement through the brigade ranks..."
Cutting in again, Haruhi said, "Oh? Would you rather talk about you abandoning the brigade to lead an indecent life with Yuki?"
I closed my eyes and rubbed my forehead where I could feel a large headache forming. Slowly, I said, "We haven't done anything indecent. Yuki's just trying to do some things that are part of a normal high school life. You might try it sometime."
Haruhi scrunched up her face and looked away saying, "Normal and ordinary are not virtues. It'd be easy to give up the Brigade to go chasing after guys, but that's not what I want at all!"
I retorted, "But that doesn't mean that other people can't be interested in normal things like that."
She glared at me and said sharply, "But I expect better from my brigade members! The brigade's purpose is find the extra-ordinary."
"So that's it? You're going to run away from everything in this world that you think is ordinary?"
"What are you talking about? I'm not running away!"
"Aren't you? Aren't we here because you're too afraid to face what might happen? Too afraid of Yuki or me finding happiness in something as normal as love? So afraid of getting hurt that you can't try to find happiness like a normal person?" I demanded of her, letting out a piece of anger I hadn't even known I held in my heart.
Haruhi shook her head violently in denial, "I am not afraid! Not of Yuki or any one or anything else!"
I crossed my arms and replied in my best taunting voice, "Oh? Prove it."
Haruhi quickly reached out and grabbed my shirt, pulling me suddenly down towards her. Time seemed to slow down as our heads came ever closer together, but I was too shocked to react at all. When we were less than 5 cm apart, Haruhi closed her eyes, and then my vision was blinded by a light brighter than any I had ever seen before.
The next thing I felt was my body slamming into the cold floor. It took me a few moments to realize that I was lying face-down on the floor of my own bedroom, my blanket twisted around me. I shook my head to try to clear it of the vivid dream that I had just woken up from, and cursed myself for thinking of Haruhi right before I went to bed. I was just starting to sit up when I noticed someone was sitting down next to me.
I blinked and looked over to see Nagato's small form sitting serenely on the floor next to me, wearing the pale blue pajamas that she had purchased earlier in the day. She moves so quietly, that sometimes I've wondered if she's actually a ninja in addition to being an alien humanoid interface. Hmmm... I have to remember never to mention that observation to Haruhi, or who knows what might happen. I gave a startled half-grunt before stopping myself, and asked in a rushed whisper, "What are you doing in my room in the middle of the night?"
Nagato blinked and replied evenly, "I sensed your departure from this world and came to investigate. It took me some time to locate you, even with the nano-machines that I had implanted in you."
You put what in me?
She nodded, "Nano-machines. From the time that you traveled to the past to ask for my assistance with the disappearance of Suzumiya-san."
I blinked a few times trying to gather my wits about me, "Ahh... those. I had forgotten you had done that. I didn't realize that you'd be able to track me with those..."
Nagato shook her head slightly, "They were not designed for it. Almost all of them have been overloaded in order to locate your relative position and transport you back here."
"Wait... you said 'departure'... you mean I was actually gone? For how long?"
She answered me calmly, "You were absent from this world for approximately 7 minutes, and 29 seconds. It took me approximately 4 minutes and 21 seconds to extrapolate your relative location, and the rest of the time was spent trying to force the execution of a program to safely return you to this space." The shadow of a worried frown crept onto Nagato face, as she continued, "The program made 25,659 attempts to extract you before succeeding."
I sat astonished at the number Nagato uttered so casually. I knew she wasn't one to give up easily, but I didn't think anyone had that kind of patience. "Uhh... Thank you for rescuing me, Yuki." I paused for a second, and then continued slowly, "Just curious, but if the first attempts failed, what made you able to finally get through?"
The pale girl gave me an inscrutable look before shifting her gaze to look away as if studying something far off in the distance. After several moments, she finally broke her silence and replied, "The defenses that Suzumiya-san erected around the closed dimension were formidable. I was initially unable to do anything more than establish a weak link despite all of my efforts. After some time, the barriers appeared to weaken from within, and it was only then that I was able to extract you."
"Weakened?" I mumbled, half to my self. "I wonder what caused that..."
Nagato turned her head back to stare at me with her unreadable face. A slight strain entered her voice as she said, "I believe she became distracted. By you."
I never thought I would ever hear anything close to jealousy coming from the quiet girl sitting next to me. I doubt that anyone else would have even noticed it. But for someone who has had the chance to closely study Nagato's calm manner for about a year now, it was as plain as day. I shrugged nervously and gave a weak grin, saying, "Yeah, I'm sure my nagging was really distracting Haruhi."
She just shook her head slightly in reply. Not wanting to dwell on that line of reasoning much, I hastily added, "So... I guess we really should figure out something to do about Haruhi."
"Yes. Steps must be taken to protect you from Suzumiya-san," Nagato said a firmness that I rarely ever see in her. "I would like to provide you with additional nano-machines in case another dangerous situation arises."
Uh... I don't really like the idea of having anything else injected in me. And no offense, but I'm not really used to having someone bite my wrist. I should probably be glad that Haruhi has never had a fixation on vampire stories.
The pale alien girl (who was probably not a vampire) cocked her head slightly to the side and gave me a curious look. The normally flat line of her lips seemed to curve upward slightly as she said, "I have devised a different method that you may find more acceptable. If you would allow me to demonstrate."
I gave her a half-suspicious glance before agreeing with a quick nod. Hanging around Haruhi really has made me a paranoid person. If there was anyone that I shouldn't be suspicious of it's Nagato. Maybe I should do some charity work to restore my faith in humanity. But that would probably involve too much time on top of...
My body froze as Nagato started to move closer to me, her face floating closer and closer to mine. My breath caught as her eyes closed, and my conscious thoughts disappeared as her soft lips pressed against mine. I don't know how long it lasted, but I remember her gentling biting my lower lip before our heads moved back apart. Maybe I should find some more excuses to be injected with nano-machines...
"Was that more enjoyable?" Nagato asked me calmly, the only change in her voice a slight breathless.
I nodded mutely, deciding that maybe I should be the silent one for once.
A hint of a small smile brightened her normally stoic face as she stood up and said, "I will let you get some rest. We can talk further in the morning."
I nodded reluctantly, but it was probably best to call it a night. There was no doubt in my mind that I would be killed if anyone were to find Nagato and I alone in my room at such a suspicious time. I silently watched her leave, and crawled back into bed. At first, sleep stayed annoyingly out of reach. As my mind wandered, I often thought of Nagato, but those thoughts were quickly chased away by disturbing visions of a rampaging Haruhi. Eventually exhaustion over took me, and my thoughts turned into dreams and nightmares.
A/N: Sorry for the long delay, but school has been busy. At least the end of the semester is almost here. A collapsing building and a meteor crash were both ideas that I had, but decided not to do because I thought it would be too extreme. This chapter was going to be longer, but given how slow I've been with writing, I figured you would hate me if I ended this chapter on a cliffhanger. So that part will be in the next chapter. Which might be the last. Or not. This story seems to get longer and longer as I write it...