"Are you kidding me? Love is a disease! Almost everyone seems to be getting it, and there's no cure in sight. I swear, the day they find a serum to cure love will be the same exact day the world finds peace eternal."
-An excerpt from God Knows, I Lost Music (written by Suzumiya Haruhi)
Loafing into his office chair as if his spine had suddenly evaporated, an overwhelming lack of importance continued to smother Tanigawa's president. His endeavors were worthless and the rewards for completing such menial tasks far outbalanced the genuine effort put in.
Fumio always found a way to do it all for him. No effort was required.
The walls of his fictitious duties commenced closing in around him. The overwhelming sense of claustrophobia built, making Kyon's yearning spirit thump desperately against his breast. His longing escalated with every wasted minute.
There was someplace he knew he would rather be. Somewhere he could flourish.
His introspection drifted to the woman he had left alone. The hours that crept by without her presence took on a gravity he could not entirely comprehend. For once, he had something outside of work that was worth his attention.
Steamy fantasies overtook him, as he pictured her in the most deviant of situations.
They were taking a steaming hot shower while lathering his back with soap. She rubbed herself against him, her skin grinding against his own. He soon found himself aroused with lust. He returned the favor by washing her back, receiving a sultry sigh for his efforts. They gently caressed one another, leading to a prolonged session of love making as the water rushed down their naked forms.
He shook himself out of such deluded thoughts, for fear that they might pervert his judgment. He strived to envision the true Haruhi. The Haruhi he knew, and not the fantastical seductress who had previously invaded his peace of mind.
A daydream of her resting alone on the floor arose. A shimmering smile traced her face. She had lost her muse, but had acquired a new one. A muse for embracing life, rather than escaping it. It was a smile that encompassed all of her negative and positive attributes.
Her deviousness. Her assertive attitude. Her warped sense of reality.
The smile represented everything that made her beautiful.
Fumio entered the office with a stern look upon his face, as if to intentionally awaken Kyon from his brilliant fabrications.
"The financial reports are done," Fumio said. "We checked with some advertisers."
"Another marketing blitz?"
Kyon rubbed his eyes wearily as a colossal index of major corporations came reverberating through his cranium. "How many zeroes are going to be at the end of the paycheck?"
"We got Bandai," Fumio stated with a slight tweak in his voice. "Bandai is interested in merchandising."
Kyon picked up the lone pencil which laid isolated on the table. Twisting it diagonally between his index finger and his thumb, a thought struck him.
"Wait a minute," Kyon groaned as he continued to run the numbers through his mind. "Why would Bandai be talking to us about this? Shouldn't this be something for the marketing guys at KyoAni to deal with?"
"I'm currently having contacts with the marketing division at Kyoto Animation. One of the girls called up Bandai. We're in business."
The rapid influx of new information made Kyon feel even more confined. The numbers did nothing but disturb him and his sloth-like state.
"They haven't signed a contract yet," Fumio continued. "But that will change when we have some finished scripts."
"Fumio, what would you think of a man who has fallen in love with a childhood friend he barely knows anymore?"
Despite Kyon's best efforts, he could not eliminate the effigy of Suzumiya Haruhi from his mind. He needed to tell someone about her. He desperately needed someone to understand him.
Fumio stared at him with an innuendo of surprise. "You want a real answer?"
"How long have you been seeing her?"
Kyon gently scored his eyebrows, hoping to evade the question. "We were really close in high school."
"Close to twenty four hours now."
Fumio stood motionless. His eyes appeared to be deliberately appraising Kyon's every gesture and facial tick. After a few moments of uncomfortable silence, he simply blinked.
"You truly like this girl?"
Kyon grinned oafishly. "Well... I don't know."
"Yes or no?"
He should have assumed that Fumio would be so cold. He began to wonder if he was even capable of love.
Fumio fell silent.
"Just forget it," Kyon infringed.
He gradually rose from his chair, though the action had no true purpose. He had no place to go. It was his duty to carry on the burden at hand. What meaningful chores he could accomplish had yet to reveal themselves.
He desperately desired an escape.
"What's her name?"
She only had the most beautiful name in the world. "Suzumiya Haruhi."
Fumio's verbalization abruptly shifted from total apathy to sudden curiosity. While the subtle changes in his delivery and posture would be disregarded by most, Kyon knew that the name had captured his interest.
"Suzumiya Haruhi," Kyon repeated.
"Suzuimya Haruhi? The Suzumiya Haruhi? As in the author?"
Kyon slumped back down into his chair. "You've read her books?"
Fumio seated himself on the opposite side of Kyon's desk, conveying an acceleration that Kyon had never seen before. An adolescent energy suddenly took Fumio over, as he clutched the sides of the chair energetically.
"She's written some of the most underrated pieces of literature I've ever encountered," Fumio ranted. "The fact that she isn't even famous makes her even more alluring." It was just as if his thoughts were spewing from his mouth without a single censor. "The woman is simply fascinating. Not to mention the fact that her figure is to die for. How anyone can manage to pull that young girl look off at her age and get away with it, I have no idea."
Fumio stilly restrained himself with a blink. Kyon couldn't help but wonder whether a fly had landed on his off switch. "You were childhood friends with Suzumiya?"
"I guess you could say that."
"Trust me, there was nothing impressive about it at the time."
Fumio bubbled with questions, even as he attempted to subdue his evident enthusiasm. "What was she like?"
"Bitchy and bossy."
Kyon's eyebrows tilted curiously. "Why?"
"I always pictured her as the silent contemplative type."
"Your type, you mean?"
Fumio shrugged with guilt. "I guess."
It was outside of Kyon's social abilities to approach such an awkward chat unscathed. He always felt a tad uncouth when it came to discussing women with this assistant. No matter what he said, feelings were disturbed somewhere along the way.
This wasn't the first time he had snatched up a girl which his poor assistant had a fascination with. Though most of these supposed relationships never lasted more than a date or two, Kyon still worried. He always worried what his underling might think of him.
The old him would have found a creative way to get out of such a mess. The old him always had some clever way of stepping around such circumstances.
Ever since he had received his high school diploma, he felt his social skills slowly decline. There was never any reason to polish them. As long as he was able to speak clearly and present himself in a decent manner, there was no reason to spend too much time conversing.
Fumio's feelings were shimmering through his expression, which seemed to be lost somewhere between a smirk and a blush.
"You're jealous, huh?"
Fumio straightened himself casually. "No."
Kyon chuckled. "You're too easy to read."
Fumio returned to his customary persona. His posture seemed to echo an irritated tone, though this could only be inferred.
"For pete's sake," Kyon said in frustration. "It was just a joke."
"Oh. I know."
"Then why do you always have to be like this?"
His eyes stared into Kyon's coldly. "Like what?"
"Anytime you show any emotion outside of the line of duty, it's like your programming seems to automatically dispose of it. It's like talking to a bi-polar robot."
Fumio adjusted his sleeves.
"The truth is that I do become a little agitated," Fumio confessed blandly. "I do get agitated when beautiful women practically throw themselves at you. I get agitated when they don't even bother to look at me. I get agitated when I have to spend the night imagining how great it must be to touch someone. I ge-"
"Women do not throw themselves at me," Kyon interrupted.
Kyon remained still. He briefly contemplated if it would be alright to tell him, whether disclosing his secret would make him any less of a man.
"T-They may," Kyon stuttered. "But it isn't like I do anything with them."
He gulped as the words gestated in his throat. "They try to... but I, uhhhh, I don't let them."
Fumio stayed silent as he waited for Kyon to finish.
"I'm a virgin," Kyon let out casually. "Of sorts."
Fumio blinked. "Truly?"
As Kyon mentally orchestrated a piece of lengthy exposition, Fumio continued to study him silently. At first, he didn't believe Kyon's reveal. Most of the women that he had gone home with were not of a classy variety, and he couldn't imagine any man fending them off once within a private vicinity. It was hard to swallow that Kyon had such integrity.
After several moments, Fumio distinguished a particular expression upon Kyon's face.
Fumio had seen the face before.
It was the face that longed.
It was the face Fumio struggled to hide more than any.
"Sorry," Fumio said. "Didn't mean to get personal."
Kyon continued to struggle with the concept. It wasn't a state to be ashamed of, yet every time he dwelled on it, he couldn't help but feel inadequate. There was no woman that he felt a deep enough connection with to make such an action worthwhile.
Even when snared into the bowels of lust, he felt guilt. He felt as if he were cheating on a life partner that wasn't there.
As the girls stripped and teased, there was only one person on his mind. As he inched closer and closer to intercourse, it was if the eyes of Suzumiya Haruhi were watching.
They both sat in silence for a moment. Kyon never wanted his secret to get out. It wasn't anything to be ashamed of, yet he felt guilty for some reason. A man his age having never been intimate with someone of the opposite gender did seem a little odd.
"You know," Kyon smiled with some effort. "I'm not all that different from you. I've never had a serious relationship or anything of the like. I've never been close with a woman before."
"Suzumiya. Are you going out with her?"
The suggestion made Kyon's skin leap. Just yesterday, he would have thought the concept of dating completely out of the realm of possibility. However, that was only because none of the women he knew measured up to his standards. The standards which had been previously warped by a teenage girl with a god complex.
"I suppose you could say that," Kyon said.
"Planning to make it to forty-eight hours?"
Kyon chuckled at the dry delivery of Fumio's statement. "Actually, we have a date later tonight."
"Does she have anything planned for the next few hours?"
Kyon thought for a moment. He had nothing left to do. All of his duties as the supposed head of Tanigawa Productions had been completely finished. There was no reason for him to loaf about when there was an opportunity for more personal time with Haruhi.
"Do you think that is such a good idea?"
"You aren't accomplishing anything here," Fumio stated. "I'm sure she won't mind."
"I would like to," Kyon nodded to himself. "But doesn't that seem a little desperate?"
Fumio shook his head. "There's a fine line between romantic and desperate."
Kyon rose from his chair, glad to have some excuse to leave the restrictions of his office. "And there's always the chance that I might be a little of both."
Making his way to the door, he stopped as his hand rested on the door knob.
"Fumio, thanks. For everything."
"Don't thank me. Go lose your virginity."
"I don't believe it," Haruhi laughed. "You mean to tell me that he took care of everything?"
Haruhi sat comfortably in her computer chair, twirling around in circles as she spoke. "You know, this could quite possibly be the best set-up in the history of set-ups?" She let her feet drag across the floor, bringing the spinning to a sudden stop. "You're super rich, and you never have to work. You just have your lackeys do everything for you."
"It may sound great to you," Kyon sighed. "But I have to live with the guilt. I'm using him."
Haruhi looked at him with a confused stare. "Nah-ah. You aren't using him. He's asking you to use him. Hell, he's practically asking you to abuse him! The fact that you're just using him rather than abusing him shows that you have an excellent moral character."
He laid on the floor as her feet dangled mere inches away from his face. Unlike his own, Haruhi's had no odor.
"So," Kyon grumbled. "Do you want to make your way over now? Or would you rather hang out here for a bit?"
"Are you kidding me." Haruhi pointed around the room. "Do you think I want to stay in roachville any longer?"
"Good point." He stretched forward, quickly twisting his torso into an upright position. "What happened to your little friends anyways? I haven't seen any of them."
"Now that you mention it, I haven't seen them around today." Haruhi quickly leapt from her chair and forcefully slipped her feet into her shoes. She was clearly excited to be leaving her apartment behind. "I haven't spotted any of them for quite a while."
He got to his feet, trying to stretch out all of the muscles which he had failed to exert.
'God, I need some exercise.'
"I'm ready," Haruhi announced.
Kyon opened the door, letting in the freezing winter air into the previously stuffy apartment. He stepped outside, being reminded of where he stood that morning. He was in the same position as before, except now he was leaving with the girl.
"Ahem," Haruhi pseudo-cleared her throat.
Kyon turned around, to see Haruhi's arms crossed around her chest.
Haruhi grinned. "Didn't you promise that you were going to carry me?"
'I didn't mean this kind of exercise.'
Haruhi had been forceful in her demands before, but Kyon had yet to adjust to her using such tactics for flirtatious gains. It was a new kind of game for him.
"You want to ride on my back?"
She shook her head. "Bridal style."
That could be a problem. Even though Haruhi was as light as a feather, carrying anyone down a flight of stairs was dangerous. He didn't want the nearly paper thin floor to collapse with their combined weight.
He stretched his arms forward, prepared for the worst.
Backing up slowly, Haruhi observed her surroundings, making sure there was nothing in the way of her flight path.
'Oh dear god... she isn't?!'
He was barely able to catch his breath as she came rushing towards him. Kyon noted her near Olympian form before grunting from the sudden weight which came down upon his arms.
"What the hell," he moaned. "You don't just leap into someone who is offering you a free ride."
Her face sparkled with innocence as Haruhi played up all of her girly features to her advantage. She laid across his arms like a damsel in distress swooning over her prince charming. Laying her head back on his shoulder with a phony reluctance, she gleamed with achievement.
"But I just did. And you're the first guy not to have dropped me."
The meaning struck Kyon funny. He never truly considered the fact that his dear friend might have actually had some flings during all of these years. That she may have found some nice incredibly nice guy who was willing to put up with all of her nonsense.
He began walking, attempting not to tilt them both over. The stairs seemed even more perilous than they had been before. Second thoughts were roaring from every microbe. This wasn't a good idea.
"Have you seen a lot of other guys?" He soon realized that it may not have been the best conversation choice to distract him from impending doom.
"If you can call one date seeing someone. I did try going out with a girl once, but it didn't really work out." Haruhi closed her eyes, blocking out a flood of hurt feelings. "She said that I was a cruel manipulative bitch. After that, you just sort of figure that things aren't going to work out."
It had been a long time since he had last came into question with Haruhi's sexuality. Not that it had ever bothered him, but more because he had convinced himself that it was none of his concern since they were never going to date. Now that they were technically dating, he could conform it.
The first time they met, she declared that her ideal partner would be someone unique. Her ideal partners would have been aliens, time travelers, or espers. As like as they were to fit that criteria, she could care less what gender they were.
Kyon was none of those things. Kyon was just Kyon.
Her weight was beginning to become too much for his arms to handle. Kyon's lack of physical activity began to show as he was barely able to carry such a light load to the tip of the stairs. Looking down them with morbid curiosity, he could feel his heart sink into despair.
"I'm not sure I can do this," he confessed.
"Oh come on! You are a man, aren't you?"
"I'm not. I'm a little boy trapped in a middle-aged man's body."
Taking his first step down the staircase, he watched from the corner of his eye as Haruhi continued to smile infectiously. Apparently, watching him struggle with every single step seemed to be enough to drive her into a wall of bliss.
After much struggle, and a moment where Kyon could have sworn that he had seen his entire life flash right before his very eyes, they reached the bottom of the stairs. No small feat considering that his arms were occupied carrying his beauty.
"Wow," Haruhi sighed. "You must really be out of shape, huh?"
The last thing Kyon needed was for the very definition of heavenly beauty to start making fun of his belly. He was self-conscious enough.
"It's okay," she said apologetically. "I don't mind cushioning. It could come in handy someday."
It was upon this enchanted afternoon, when everything seemed far more vibrant and alive than ever before, that there was a man preaching on the corner.
His history remained relatively unknown, but numerous an onlooker stopped by to here his prayers and gospels. This man had helped to spread the word of his lord more than anyone he had known, and for that he was grateful. His life was filled with joy because of it.
Every life he could enrich made him a better man. Every life he saved made him that much closer to God.
Kyon continued to carry Haruhi as he had for the last half an hour. His arms were beginning to feel the strain of such an endeavor, but whenever he thought to open his mouth in protest, her eyes stopped him. There was something truly spectacular about having her face that close to his own for such an extended period of time.
As they passed by the man with his bible, Haruhi's interest suddenly drifted.
"Wait a moment," Haruhi commanded.
Kyon halted his movement, though he was confused for what reason he had done so. For the last several minutes, he had been so swept up in the sensual nirvana which carrying Haruhi had provided that the motor function of speech had practically left him.
Haruhi wiggled around in his arms, obviously giving a signal that she finally wanted to be set down.
Kyon chose to ignore some of the people staring at them. It looked as if he was robbing cradle.
As her feet firmly placed themselves down upon the ground, she listened with great interest. Her eyes didn't move from the preacher.
"Salvation lies in each and every one of you," the main said as he moved his arms in wide sweeping motions. "But how many of you choose to seek it? How many of you actually choose to embrace the gift that God has laid down for you?!"
Kyon merely stood motionless, not quite sure what to say or do given the circumstance. He certainly wasn't a religious man, and neither did he expect Haruhi to ever have a passing interest in Christianity.
He couldn't help but be impressed by the sermon of the preacher. For a street gospel, he certainly knew how to rally up a crowd.
"God has a special plan for each and every one of you. You are all a cog within his great machine. You all have the potential to be so much more than what you are!"
Haruhi's head nodded along almost rhythmically.
"I'm not going to preach to you about the pains of Hell nor the deception of the Devil. It's clear to me that so many of you have witnessed this already in your everyday lives. I feel that it isn't my duty to preach to you about pain. No! It is my duty to preach to you about how to live your life for The Lord's cause! For his is more righteous than that of anyone else in the world."
Haruhi raised her hand, eagerly waving it back and forth. Kyon felt his heart sank.
'Please god, don't embarrass me like this.'
The preacher turned, acknowledging the outstretched hand.
"It seems we have a curious sheep within our flock," he chuckled. "Tell me, what is your name?"
Her arm flopped to her side. "Suzumiya Haruhi."
He stepped towards her, giving her his full attention.
"Well then, Ms. Suzumiya. Tell me what's on your mind."
'That isn't a good idea. That really isn't a good idea. Just continue with your sermon and we'll be on our way.'
"I used to be Christian," Haruhi stated proudly. "But I suppose, as you might say, I had lost my way."
The preacher smiled. He knew exactly how to deal with skeptics, and had prepared numerous comebacks for any unnecessarily scathing questions.
"And what is your question, my child?"
Kyon watched as Haruhi briefly hesitated. He never would have expected that Haruhi might have found religion at any point in her life.
"The world doesn't always revolve around me, and I know that." She bit her lip. "But when I believed, nothing good seemed to come from it. I saw my life slowly fall in around me just the same as it had before. I never found love, and those relationships I was rewarded with were brief. So I suppose my question is that..."
She went silent for a moment, continuing to nibble on her bottom lip. "Why wasn't I saved from that? Was it because I didn't believe enough?"
Haruhi stature changed, as her once confident stature melted to reveal a more sensitive center. Her loosely crossed arms and wandering eyes clearly emoted her embarrassment.
"Questions are good," the preacher smiled. "You shouldn't be afraid of asking questions."
He moved back slightly, taking to the center of the crowd where he had previously preached.
"We all experience unhappiness in our lives. We have all felt it. We all know of it. We all know what being unhappy feels like."
He flipped around, smiling at Haruhi once again. "I can practically read your thoughts, my child."
Despite his formal use of language, the preacher displayed a rather casual indifference towards her. He seemed more interested in spreading the message across rather than straight out converting his followers. It was a clever tactic.
"Even us believers experience depression," the preacher continued. "For many days and nights I have questioned my own faith, since God's plan had chosen to take my wife from me at such an early age. She was only thirty years old. She was only thirty years old when she was defeated by cancer."
The eyes of the preacher scorched into Haruhi's mind.
"Tell me, what kind of suffering did you experience at the hands of fate?" The preacher stared at her.
"Loneliness," she responded. "I felt alone."
Once again, he just smiled. "There are those who achieve happiness, or so I have heard, without the guiding hand of Jesus. It is my duty, as a preacher, to enlighten you of his divine path. To open your eyes to your potential. Yet, I can't simply whip you into submission. It is your choice whether to take the path of the righteous or not."
"I had taken the path of the righteous once," Haruhi retorted. "I felt the same."
"Then perhaps you have already come to your conclusion." The preacher walked towards his box of bibles, pulling out a slim paperback copy. "Usually I would charge a hundred yen for one of these, but since your case has peaked my interest so greatly, I'll let you take this one for free."
"You really don't have t-"
"I insist," the preacher said as he held the book in front of her. "Something tells me you haven't touched one of these in a long time."
Haruhi looked embarrassed as her face lit up to a slightly redder color. This was her punishment for drawing so much attention to herself.
"Thank you very much," she bowed while taking the bible in hand. "It is very generous of you."
"Eh. What's a hundred yen worth, anyways?"
"Thank you again!"
She ran up to Kyon. "Lift please."
"Didn't you already have a lift," he mumbled.
Haruhi didn't budge, cementing her feet deeply into the snow.
Not wanting to start a confrontation in the middle of a sermon, Kyon reluctantly swept her into his arms once again. Just as soon as he had, the euphoria took him.
Maybe carrying her around wasn't such a bad thing.
They walked out of talking distance from the crowd, whose eyes followed Kyon suspiciously. This was going to be an obstacle in the relationship he had never even considered.
'How many people are going to give me looks like that?'
He looked down towards the creature who had practically curled herself up into his chest. Suzumiya Haruhi was cuddling up to him while holding a copy of The Bible. Kyon laughed.
"What's so funny," she asked.
"Nothing," he chuckled. "It's just that the image of you with a Bible was never something that had crossed my mind."
"You never seemed like the church going type."
Haruhi choosing any sort of belief that didn't involve the most obscure sort of science fiction premise was quite a surprise. Christianity was a common belief among people world-wide, so to think that someone as deliberately eccentric as Haruhi were to adopt it made his thoughts do somersaults.
Little differences in perspective and character were beginning to fill in the blanks that were left empty from time. The excitement of rediscovering Suzumiya Haruhi was beginning to latch hold of him.
"When we feel empty," Haruhi began. "It is hard to fill the void. At one point, I figured that religion might help. Sort of figured it would be enough to occupy my time, you know?"
Kyon made sure to keep his walking pace even. The sooner they were home, the sooner his arms could take a much deserved break.
"Nothing happened. I felt even more depressed than I had before."
They both became silent. Kyon focused desperately on the road ahead, while Haruhi was thinking over her next statement.
"It was like," she continued. "It was like someone gave me a beautiful gift that I couldn't possibly understand. I pretended like the gift was as beautiful as they said, even though I didn't understand why it was. It had nothing to offer me."
"I was never much into religion myself. I think I'm a little more venomous towards it than you are."
"I choose to believe things people think are stupid. Why should I pass judgment unto those that choose to believe things I think are stupid? It isn't my place to do so, and neither is it yours."
Her calmness and maturity were taking him by surprise. He had never had a religious discussion with her before. It was never a topic that was desirable to have.
She curled up against him, trying her best to enjoy the rest of the ride over to his place. Kyon's mind was no longer so peaceful.
It was a dangerous thing to get re involved with a woman like her. Her powers were beyond that of comprehension. Any wrong step down the path of romance might inevitably lead to a miserable existence.
"Why are you being so quiet?"
She relaxed again, closing her eyes and allowing her consciousness to drift away into his warmth.
'I love her.'
The thought laid in his mind, cleansing everything else.
'I don't care what happens. There's no way my life could get anymore miserable than it already is.'
Well, that certainly wasn't two weeks... but I do have a new chapter. Finnnaaaally.
I've come to the conclusion, after some careful consideration, that this story should probably be considered AU, mostly due to my lack of knowledge concerning the Haruhi novels and universe. This is basically a fan-fiction that is an off-shoot of the anime, and so is told with the knowledge of someone who has only watched the anime. So, yes, there is bound to be some loop-holes and plot-holes and continuity errors. I hope that doesn't bother anyone too much though.
For those of you who have come this far into the story, this is about as quick as the pace is going to be. The plot is going to develop quite a bit more in coming chapters, but the majority of this is slice-of-life kind of stuff.
I hope you continue enjoying this little story. Leave your 'Honest to Suzumiya' opinions. If you've got a bone to pick, I want to see it. Also, grammar corrections would be much appreciated. I'm actually going to try and go back and fix stuff that's broken this time. HOPEFULLY!
P.S. Next chapter we're introducing a new character. You know… the one I promised so long ago in that one chapter months ago.