Note: Written by author before having read past Volume 6 of the novel series, so please ignore any inconsistencies or contradictions that may appear concerning later novels.
The Error of Nagato Yuki
Any emotion, if it is sincere, is involuntary.
– Mark Twain
It was a normal day, how else could I describe it? It's how stories of this sort always begin. In any case, here's how it started: It was a normal day, as previously indicated. Lessons had ended early for me and Haruhi that day for some reason (I hadn't really been paying attention, just being glad I could skip some of the more mind-numbing lessons we would have had). She once again ran off to some undisclosed location, while I slowly dragged my feet to our clubroom. Like I said earlier, totally, perfectly, completely normal day, or so it was until…
Nagato was the only person in the room, sitting in her chair, reading a large, hardcover book. Once again I was forced to wonder whether she even had lessons. Maybe her lessons had also ended early.
Oh, well that explains it, I guess.
I took a seat at the table in the middle of the room, relaxing for a moment in the gentle silence before the usual madness of our afternoons would begin. Only the distant, muffled sounds of the outside world and the methodical page turning from Nagato broke my meditations on the current tranquillity I was experiencing. I swear, you could probably keep time better according to the rate at which Nagato turns pages than one of those atomic clocks with a 0.000000001 second error ever could.
It must have been several minutes until I noticed it. I had been lulled to an almost drowsy state of mind by the steady scratching of pages, so I guess that would be why it took me a while to notice its absence. The turning of a page that normally happened at – and this is purely an estimation on my part – every ten seconds had stopped.
I jerked my head up from the cool table against which I had laid my head to rest. I turned my head around rapidly, wondering if I had fallen asleep and been left alone, while everyone else had gone home. As soon as my wits returned I realized that was silly. Haruhi would certainly have woken me up, loudly and with plenty of painful pokes I might add. Then again, this wouldn't have been the first time she had skipped coming.
Nagato was still sitting in her chair with her big book, yet there was something fundamentally wrong with that familiar image. It sent shivers down my spine for some odd reason. Nagato was certainly still there with her book, but her normally inclined head wasn't looking down at her book, but up, towards the opposite wall.
I followed her silent gaze, immensely curious to find what might have stopped the little bookworm from reading. But apparently, she was merely staring at an empty spot on the wall. Deeply perplexed, my gaze shifted between the empty spot on the wall and Nagato's frozen frame, desperately trying to figure out what was happening. This wasn't normal Nagato behaviour, and whenever she wasn't behaving normally (i.e. reading or reading some more), something bad was either going to happen or already happening.
What the hell was going on?!
Did she see something I couldn't? It wouldn't surprise me the least, after all the crazy space-magic she's done. Maybe she'd switched to infrared or ultraviolet or something? I saw no reason why she couldn't change her eyes to perceive an alternate wavelength of the electromagnetic spectrum with relative ease.
Suddenly she moved. Well, not really, but seeing as this was Nagato, any movement came as a rather big surprise, especially if she was holding a book. Her head once again declined. Apparently she'd gone back to reading. To support this hypothesis, soon she was back to turning her book's pages.
What had just happened? If I didn't know any better, it had almost looked like she had stopped to contemplate whatever she had been reading. But she'd never done anything like that before! But could she? Why not?
Seeing as there weren't any crazy schoolgirls with knifes coming at me, it was becoming a more likely explanation than her seeing something I hadn't. What was this mysterious book that had appeared to capture the imagination of our all-knowing data being? What deep revelation did it contain that would make even Nagato stop and consider things?
Maybe I'm just imagining things…
Forget that! I need to find out!
Slyly, I slowly let the hand against which my head was resting slide so I could get a glimpse at the title. Alas, it was some foreign book with very long words on it. I think I knew a few of the words, but none that could help me in putting together the pieces of this odd puzzle. At least the letters were from the Latin alphabet. If I could just burn those letters into my memory, I might be able to enter them in a search engine later on and get a translation.
As I was slowly but steadily working my way through the first word, Haruhi barged in with a mighty kick.
Like a typhoon, she stormed in, knocking me on the head with a plastic bag. Thankfully whatever was inside it wasn't hard.
"Oi, what the hell?"
"No sleeping on duty, Kyon!" Haruhi shouted with a determined smile. Then her expression changed into a deep frown as she gave the clubroom a proper inspection. "Where's Mikuru-chan?"
"Not here yet, I guess."
"This just won't do…" Haruhi scratched at her chin with her free hand, eyes scrunched up as she focused all her energy to solve a problem only she could see as one. Then again, Asahina deficiency is a severe problem that I'm suffering from as well at the moment.
"Hhmm, hey! Yuki!"
As Haruhi marched over to the silent girl, she slowly raised her gaze from her book to look at Haruhi's excited face.
"I know this isn't the typical M.O. for us, but today, you get to be the one to try on an outfit!"
Nagato stared blankly at Haruhi, who was leaning down so the pair could be face to face, and blinked a couple of times.
"I have no idea why we haven't done this before!" Haruhi squeaked ecstatically as she skipped around Nagato's chair and grabbed Nagato's shoulders from behind, and then starting to snake her hands under the other girl's uniform.
I stood up as if to voice an objection, and froze in place. How exactly could I object? What little protests I'd given in Asahina-san's defence had never worked, and thinking back now on the myriads of cute and sexy things she'd worn, I can't understand why I'd ever objected in the first place. And this really could be a once in a lifetime opportunity with Nagato involved.
Well, you see, Haruhi, it's just that… you don't dress Nagato up like you do with Asahina-san… except in group events… it's just that… well, it's not normal!
"I already said it wasn't typical, idiot!"
"But what does Nagato think?"
Both of us turned to look at Nagato, who had silently been observing our conversation. She turned her head around and gave Haruhi a brief look before she turned to me and blinked.
"It is all right."
"Great! It's funny how well this costume will actually go with your looks!"
What's that supposed to mean?
"It's a surprise! You'll find out later, until then, no peeking!" Haruhi grabbed me by the collar with blinding speed and dragged me out of the clubroom.
Before she slammed the door in my face, a sneaky smirk on her face was the last thing I saw.