Disclaimer: I do not own The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, much to the chagrin of my tortured fangirl heart…

This fic was betaed by the lovely miss Rein Petals.

Foreshadow

Unit 734 trekked up the mountain, long locks floating on the drifts of wind. There were no signs of physical exhaustion shown on her youthful countenance. And why should she? She barely noticed the cold, could manipulate the surrounding snow away, and was a thousand times stronger than the average girl, which was the form she was taking on now.

Stopping exactly 25.3 inches away from the arrival pad, she waited. Her soft breath formed white puffs of air. To the casual observer, there was something strangely wrong with the scene: a snow-covered field with a motionless child in the center, face young and devoid of blemishes, but with a look as old as the galaxy in the depth of her eyes.

She closed her eyes. Her internal clock read 11:32:29. Precise down to the last millisecond. At exactly 12:00:00, it would happen. The newest unit would be transported here via ionic technology, a complex procedure lightyears ahead of the current technology on this planet. The people were still using landlines, for goodness sake!

Suddenly, an amused giggle escaped her pale lips. Recently, she had been applying her knowledge of her lexicon of new words learned from her friends at school. Masquerading as a seventh grader had been the most amusing experience. One year ago, she arrived on this curious blue planet looking exactly as she did now, with curves no student supposedly in middle school should have. She hoped that the data she had collected for the Integrated Data Entity on the measurements of Japanese girls ranging from ages 12 to 18 had been used. It would be easier to conduct observation without being ogled at every 10.2 minutes.

Unit 734 had been sent to Japan to observe the social hierarchy of middle school-aged girls. After making a few adjustments in the program :/personality_2.8, she was eagerly accepted by these children and established a comfortable place high up in their social ranking.
Now, her mission had changed. Several new units had been created for the POTENTIAL Project, a top secret mission whose details were only available to those with Level 5 Alpha Clearance. To her pride, her hard work and steadfast loyalty to her superiors had been noted: her master had transferred her to this project. She was now to be the back-up unit for No. 777, surname to be Nagato.

Unit 777 was somewhat of a special case. Unlike all the other Interfaces, she had not "graduated" from the Sim-Earth, a complex simulation of the real Earth based on the data gathered here by past agents. Shaking her head, she briefly wondered what the Integrated Data Entity was coming to. She herself had spent three Earth years in the simulation, surviving on instincts, wit, and barely any data manipulation all on her own. There, she had learned how to blend in with the humans, who would instantly be afraid or suspicious of anything different or unlike them.

How narrow-minded.

Unit 777 would be ionized to this planet with only the briefest inkling of human behavior and psychology. Worse, the superiors have decided to downgrade her emotion and personality programs to version 1.4, a far cry from her own program version 5.3.

Her sole objective is to observe the subject. Humanoid emotions would only cloud and contaminate the purest forms of data…The silent character will be indispensible to the subject of the POTENTIAL Project.

She frowned. Still...

What would it feel like to be "born," created, however you want to phrase it, and then transported to a distant world in the space of 20 Earth hours?

Unit 777 would be on standby mode for three years until the subject of the POTENTIAL Project entered North High, enough time for her to learn all the basic human motions and routines of everyday life. At least, that's what they said.

Her internal musing was interrupted by a soft ping in the recesses of her powerful, terrifyingly quick mind.

12:00:00.

As usual, the IDE was precise down to the last millisecond. Unit 777—Nagato seemingly flickered into reality 25.3 inches away from her. She wavered like an unclear image for a couple of seconds, and then stayed solidly grounded in reality.

Unit 734, known as Ryoko Asakura, widened her eyes in surprise as she took in Nagato's unearthly beauty. Her closed eyelids seemed almost translucent while spidery eyelashes brushed against her pale cheeks. Slender torso and delicate limbs, unobstructed by clothing, glowed in the moonlight with a healthy radiance.

Examining Unit 777 in a purely professional way, Ryoko felt "happy," "pleased," "glad," and "joyful" (as identified by her emotion program) when she realized her observational data was taken into serious account by the Data Integration Thought Entity. Short, dark hair increased efficiency by 2 percent while decreasing chances of standing out in a crowd. Hips, bust, and waist were relatively uncurvy, ideal on a still-developing high schooler. However, there would always be imperfections, no matter how faultless the IDE insisted they were. After taking note of the skin and hair tone—off by 2.4 percent and 16.8 percent respectively— Ryoko decided it was time to "awaken" her "sleeping" comrade.

Touching her forehead to the motionless Data Entity, she closed her eyes in concentration as she sent a sharp jolt of mental energy to kick-start Nagato's brain. She flinched slightly as the warmth of a mental probe poked her back gently. Leaning back, Ryoko smiled as Unit 777's semi-transparent eyelids fluttered and opened, revealing startling gold eyes.

Imperfection No. 3: Hue of irises. 33.9 percent off from the standard dark brown. But I guess everybody has their own quirky charms, ne?

"Here you go," Ryoko murmured, pulling out a white cotton sheet and five safety pins. "Sorry about the lack of suitable clothing—had to rush to meet you here on time..."

The "older" Data Entity's voice trailed off as she realized her companion was not paying attention at all; instead, she opted to stare at the snowflakes drifting lazily down to the ground, swooping in large, slow spirals.

Even though Unit 777 looked physically older, Ryoko was the mental adult on this team. So she smiled indulgently as a big sister would, and draped the sheet over Nagato's nude form, taking care to pin it securely in strategic places.

"You have to decide on a first name soon, you know," she murmured softly as she tossed the remaining swaths of fabric over her partner's slim shoulders.

Large, questioning eyes turned towards her.

"The Integrated Data Entity has already chosen your surname, Nagato-san. It is up to you to choose your own first name."

Those lovely golden orbs blinked at her, then their gaze turned upwards to the heavens again.

Ryoko wondered why there was no response. Typically, it only took a few moments for the Language program to activate…perhaps there was something inaccurate with the transmission of data. Was Unit 777 defective?

"Yuki."

The soft, almost monotonous voice suited her personality quite well, she decided.

"Yuki…it can mean 'snow,' but in kanji, it also means 'a reason to hope.' It's a very agreeable choice, Nagato Yuki-san."

There was no reply as Unit 734 smoothed out the creases of her impromptu dress, then smiled and stated, "I hope we can coexist peacefully and efficiently."

Unit 777 gave no reply as they started down the mountain.


A/N: First TMoHS fic! :D

I just always wondered about Ryoko's age, since she's so much more emotionally mature than Yuki. My brilliant brain came to the conclusion that she must be older/have more experience with Earth! -nodnod-

This will be a series of drabbles on the unique relationship between Yuki Nagato and Ryoko Asakura, so stay tuned for the next chapter, coming NEXT WEEK!

I have a few ideas, but when I run out eventually, I'll be counting on you guys to feed me prompts! -yumyumyum- (lol i is a freak.)

ja ne!

mimi-chan