The Love Affair of Nagato Yuki.
Disclaimer: I do not own any of the Suzumiya Haruhi novels, TV series, characters, etc. This work is purely fan-made.
Note: This chapter was last edited on April 20, 2009. Many more details were added to the story.
Chapter 1. The wishes and fears of Nagato Yuki.
It was a Friday. For a normal student, Friday would mean freedom from school activities. But I am not a normal student. Why? Because the sad fate brought me to the attention of Suzumiya Haruhi.
Today our brigade commander honored her status and commanded us to search for mysteries in the city... using random searches.
Having read detective novels, science fiction and mystery when I was younger, I knew that the most rational way to search for mysteries would be by making a city-wide census, writing publicity - and with the advent of social networking sites on the internet, we could dedicate a whole forum to discuss any weird and mysterious events.
To my dismay, Suzumiya Haruhi is anything but rational, and her source for inspiration is more random than the high frequency electromagnetic noise coming from the most remote corners of outer space. Let me put it this way: If a modern art critic had to compare a painting made by Suzumiya Haruhi, against one made by an untrained monkey, the art critic would praise the monkey.
Today's mystery search would end around 6PM. As usual, Haruhi let luck decide the outcome of how the teams would be formed. But I have learned from experience, that whenever Suzumiya Haruhi is involved, there is no such thing as luck. Or, as Einstein would say, "God does not play dice". If there's one person in the world to whom this phrase applies, it is indeed Suzumiya Haruhi.
So, the "divine will" of Haruhi got me to team up with Nagato Yuki. I thanked my "luck", as lately I've been more interested in Nagato as a person rather than an Integrated Data humanoid interface. Perhaps it was fate that bestowed me with the powers to distinguish Nagato's emotions by analyzing with critical eye the tiniest of changes in her facial expressions. Perhaps it was just that she got subconsciously connected to me, so that I would know whenever she was angry, sad, or happy.
But I still wished... I still wished that one day she could smile.
As I was saying, Haruhi got the idea of randomly determining the start locations for every team.
"Because It's more fun this way!"
So she purchased a city map (actually she made ME purchase it), closed her eyes and let her finger take the decision for her. What is this, the Ouija board?
Not being able to break free from my fate, I accepted having to walk the greatest distance from the meeting point with Nagato. But I thanked for that, as it would give me more time to talk with her. Nagato was a mystery. Not because she was an alien humanoid, but because I had the feeling that she trusted me to share her thoughts, as if there was a sea of emotions inside that opaque (but cute) shell, but only allowed me to see glimpses of it. Oh, Nagato, how much I want you to be happy and smile.
My first thought was to invite her an ice cream. Yes, you could say this was a date. As we approached our destination, I asked Nagato if she knew of any places Haruhi would find "interesting".
"There is an antique book library five blocks away."
Food is not allowed in libraries, so there goes the idea of inviting Nagato an ice cream.
Before reaching the library, we saw a wedding dresses store. I would have never thought that Nagato would stop by the store and stare at the groom suit and the bride dress.
"Nagato, what are you looking at?"
But she didn't answer. Nagato, this is weird of you. Wait, perhaps you noticed something dangerous?
"No, no danger detected."
Before Nagato would turn around and continue the search for mysteries, our presence attracted the attention of a greedy salesman, but I repeat myself.
"Oh, are you two fellas planning to get married?" he said, anxiously rubbing his hands.
"Eh? Oh no, sorry, we were going to the library next block. Perhaps the dress attracted the curiosity of my friend here, it's very pretty!"
"Ah, yes!" said the salesman, showing a smile comparable to Koizumi's. "But it wouldn't match the beauty of her. Is she your girlfriend?"
What? Nagato? My girlfriend?
"Oh, no, sorry. We're just schoolmates."
"So the girl's not your girlfriend? Oh, what a pity, you make a nice couple."
"Let's go, Nagato. If Haruhi finds us here, who knows what might happen to the world as we know it."
Why would Nagato stop without reason in there? Had I been more analytic, I would have realized the truth. But I was too hard headed at the time. And little I knew, that this seemingly random event would trigger a series of stronger events which would end up changing the shape of world. Or at least, my world. Was this what Chaos Theory calls "The Butterfly Effect"? Or maybe it was something else?
We arrived to the library, and Nagato began searching for mysterious books.
After a while of searching, realizing I wouldn't find anything good, I decided to get out.
"Found anything mysterious?"
Nagato, while staring at me with her obsidian eyes, raised a book she had been reading.
"Very mysterious", she told me. The cover said: "Mysteries of the Human Mind. A treatise on modern psychology".
I sighed. I doubt that was the kind of mysteries that Haruhi wanted.
"Well, let's call it a day. We still have 15 minutes until the return time".
Nagato did not respond. But that book made me wonder. Is the human mind a mystery for you, Nagato? That reminded me of something I wanted to ask her for a long time.
Still walking, she tilted her head and looked at me, with an inquisitive look. Not showing the slightest expression, her eyes just told me that she was interested in what I had to say. I got a bit nervous. But why would I get nervous? Nevermind, Kyon, just say what you got in that head of yours.
"Nagato, I wanted to ask you this for a while, but I never got the chance. I've been thinking of that December 18th."
"I would like to know more about it. Have you experienced any stress or any problems with... how did you call it? Erroneous data?"
Nagato tilted her head to look at the sidewalk again.
"Noise or Corrupted data appearing in my system. The noise quantity has decreased significantly since the restriction was held in place. Still, some days there are peaks in noise quantity, and I can't determine the reason."
Now it's the time.
"Have you considered that this 'corrupted data' could be related to your own emotions?"
She looked at me again, and stared for around three seconds without saying a word. Then, she asked:
"Why do you think so?"
"Why not?" I asked.
"There is no logical reason to assume so." she said, looking at the road again.
"But then again, nothing is logical in Haruhi. And there are many illogical things in the human mind, don't you think? Perhaps the human mind contains data that can't be interpreted with logic."
"In the past I have analysed several brainwave patterns in human beings, and the correlation to the noise in my system is negligible."
"Well, that may be because you're not fully human. Who knows if emotions manifest themselves differently between ordinary humans and human interfaces like you? Who knows if Haruhi altered your interface, or even your mind, so that you could have all kinds of human emotions, and you haven't even realized?"
Nagato stopped, and looked at me.
After pausing for around 5 seconds, she spoke again.
"I had not considered that possibility."
"Nagato, can I ask you another question?"
Why is it that suddenly, when Nagato looks at me, sometimes I feel weird? I began thinking about the Nagato Yuki that I met in the alternate world that she had built for me. But I wonder if it would be too painful for her if I asked her about showing emotions. After all, I don't want to make her feel less of a person just because she can't express her emotions. I better take the safer route.
"Have you considered... reading works that talk about human emotions? Romantic novels, psychology works, I don't know."
"Yes, I have. In fact, now that you mentioned this possibility, I am very curious."
We didn't have any more time for chit-chat, because my cellphone began ringing again. Knowing who it was, I feared both answering and NOT answering. When I clicked on the 'answer' button, the cellphone yelled at me so hard that made the people around look at me with a curious and surprised gaze.
"Kyon, where are you? You're late!"
"What do you mean I'm late! We still have ten minutes left!"
"Everyone's at the meeting point! You have ONE minute to arrive!"
I hung up the phone.
"Time to run again", I told Nagato.
Having exhausted all of my physical energy to avoid punishment, I managed to get to the meeting point, panting and gasping for air.
"Kyon, you should make more exercise! How can you be so tired when Yuki barely sweated? And as usual, you're late, where were you?"
Having recovered some of my breath, I could finally speak.
"We were investigating mysterious books in an antique library. Satisfied?"
"Did you find anything interesting?"
"The only mysterious book we could find was one entitled 'Mysteries of the Human mind', but all it was about was psychology. Right Nagato?"
Nagato nodded without saying a word.
"Oh, well." said Haruhi, disappointed. "End of activities for today. DISMISSED!"
We all returned home.
The next two weeks were more normal than usual. In fact, they were abnormally normal. And with 'abnormally normal', I mean boring, in Haruhi's terms. Haruhi had been busy helping a neighbor with his school duties. This was no common boy, but as I had learned earlier, this would be the same genius that would discover the science behind time travel. I wondered if it was Haruhi helping him, or if it was him teaching Haruhi. Nevermind.
I was able to rest for at least 5 days without Haruhi bothering us to do something exciting and mysterious. And helping people would put her in a good mood, so we didn't need to worry about closed spaces either.
During that week, I found Nagato playing dating sims on her laptop. She was wearing a pair of white rabbit-shaped headphones. Watching the little pokerface wearing those mega-kawaii headphones would make any man the psychological need to hug that girl. She just looked too cute.
I wondered where she got the idea to buy those headphones.
"Hey, Nagato. What are you doing?"
"Hmmm... that's interesting. Is this the first time you play?"
"I have seen gameplays and fan videos online, so I got curious."
"Ah, I see. What side are you playing, male, or female?"
"Male. This game doesn't allow you to play as a female. But it also helps me to have a better understanding of male adolescent humans, specifically, their libido."
"I see. And the headphones?"
She looked at me with her poker face, and showed me a box of a dating-sim game that included the headphones for free.
"It was a gift from the Computer Research Society."
"Ah, now I understand. Well, good luck, and try getting the happy ending!"
She stared at me for a few seconds, and answered.
The next week, it was a tuesday, I remember well, I was doing my homework when the phone rang. It was around 6PM. I remember because the sun was setting.
My little sister answered the phone.
"Hello? Who is this? Hmm... weird."
I continued with the homework, when the phone rang again. And my little sister answered again. "Hello? Hello?"
"Brother... I think someone's playing a prank on us!"
"I'm doing my homework..."
Little sister knocked the door.
"Kyon... I'm not going to answer the phone the next time. All I hear is silence and then the phone hangs up."
Silence? Could it be Nagato? Nah, she wouldn't do that. If she called, why didn't she ask for me? Wait! Does this mean it could be a problem?
I grabbed my cellphone and entered Nagato's number. But before I hit the "call" button, my phone rang again.
"Nagato, is that you?"
"Was it you the past two calls?"
"Yes. Sorry for not answering, I'm in serious trouble."
"Trouble? Serious! Is it an enemy?"
"Not enemies... I'm becoming unstable again."
"Wait, what do you mean unstable?"
"Where are you?"
"Wait for me. I'll be RIGHT THERE!"
I quickly got out of the house with my bike. After a few minutes of pedaling as fast as I could, I finally arrived at Nagato's appartment, and rang.
"It's me", I said.
"Hurry", she said, before making the door buzz.
If Nagato asked me to hurry, I knew she was in deep trouble. I nearly panicked. I got in the elevator, hoping she would be fine. When I got to the floor, she was already there, waiting for me. That's strange. Normally I have to knock and she opens. What was it different this time, that she was waiting for me?
"Thank you for coming", she said.
"Is it serious?"
"Serious, but it is not critical yet. We have all night to talk. Please sit down."
I sighed in relief. If Nagato said we had all night, i could be much more relaxed. Nagato had the tea cups ready for us, so I sat down.
"What happened, Nagato?"
"... it's complicated to explain. Would you like some tea?"
Nagato, I'm more interested in your problems, I really don't want you to waste your time on serving me tea.
Nagato was ready to serve, and the cup was on my side of the table. I felt guilty for originally rejecting her offer, so I accepted.
She sat down. I really wanted to know what was going on with her.
"Sorry for calling you."
"Nagato, you can call me at any time."
"Well, what happened?"
"I have become unstable again."
"You mean... like that night?"
"Yes", she said, lowering her gaze. "The apparently-random data intruding my system has accumulated beyond the acceptable level. It has not reached the same levels of... that night, but I'm still afraid of what I might do if things get worse."
This sounded serious, indeed.
"Did you try asking for backup?"
"None of my coleagues is able to decipher the data noise in my system. At first we thought it could be some enemy virus infecting my system, but when we identified the source of the noise, it turned out to be myself."
So it is your emotions after all.
"Did you consider the possibility I mentioned the other day?"
"Yes. I have been reading psychology books as you suggested. There is no way to calculate any probability of your theory being correct. But if it is, then there must be a correlation between the noise and my own emotions."
"Part of the noise... includes audiovisual information of events that could take place in the next few minutes or hours - as if I had synchronized with other differential temporal variations of myself, but no exchange actually takes place, and the events don't take place at all in at least 99% of the cases."
"You could call it dreams, and daydreams."
"You mean you dream regularly?"
"You could interpret it as that. But recently, the 'dreams' have been more aggressive, and the events depicted in them are usually worst cases. The data also includes theoretical status of the danger levels in those situations, and suggested immediate actions to take in such cases. But the combined data is not logical at all."
I didn't quite understand what she was talking about. But the words "worst cases," "danger" and "suggested immediate actions" told me that they weren't common dreams. Maybe...
"You mean these dreams are actually nightmares?"
"Yes. When the theoretical danger levels reach their peak, I often find myself unable to avoid the depicted danger in those theoretical situations. Then, I suffer a partial and temporary system shutdown. After each reboot, the noise levels drop to an acceptable level, but they never drop to zero. I have not been able to purge the audiovisual data, either, nor the basic human emotions related to them."
Aw, poor Nagato. You've been having nightmares. It began to make sense. For a human being, a nightmare is a pretty natural event. It helps us survive. Cavemen had nightmares about beasts running after them, so that when they would find one, they knew exactly what to do. But Nagato wasn't a human being - she was a humanoid alien interface. It could be shocking for her to have nightmares. But why did she have nightmares? What did she fear? I didn't understand.
Perhaps noticing my hesitation and my worried face, Nagato stood up slowly, before saying:
She turned around, and walked to the bookcase, taking out a book. She opened the book, and took out a piece of paper. She sat down.
"I tried to interpret my daydreams and emotions before the events of December 18th, when I lost control of myself. The amount of information extracted is minimal, as it is only a low-resolution approximation."
"Oh?" Hey, what else could you answer to that? I said nothing else and awaited for her response.
"After I wrote the 'Untitled' pieces for the Literature Club, you told me to write more poems when I felt like it. I considered this would be a good chance to do it."
"Good. May I take a look at it?"
She held the piece of paper with her both hands, staring at it (not me), and paused for two or three seconds.
"... I'm not so sure."
"I'm not sure if I want you to read it."
"Well, if you want to share it any other day, you're all welcome. I can wait."
Nagato, you're not like this. What's going on with you? You're getting me scared.
"Yes?" I answered instantly.
"Here.", she said, giving me a folded piece of paper.
The top page (folded) read:
by Nagato Yuki.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT AND ACCEPTANCE OF TERMS."
What is this, a Software License Agreement?
I kept reading.
"Please abstain from reading this work until I explicitly approve it.
Failure to comply will result in my immediate and irrevocable resignation from the SOS brigade."
Wow. You're serious about it, aren't you? Well, that's fine, it means you really appreciate your privacy, and I do think it's a sign of you beginning to get in touch with your own feelings.
"Are you sure you want me to read this?"
I was still unfolding the paper, when Nagato's words chilled my spine.
"... before I change my mind."
Nagato was really feeling insecure today. Nagato, this isn't like you. What's going on in your head?
by Nagato Yuki.
Infecting my system
high entropy seen,
perhaps it's encrypted
and I lack the key.
Helpless to stop it
I can only observe
how noise keeps intruding
my wishes, myself.
I try to locate
the source, I need help.
The source is myself?
[Check is not OK.]
So, this is just as she told me. About her feelings and the analysis done on her. I kept reading.
The code's now infected,
I can't find a cure.
There's only one constant,
the thought: "I want you".
Wait. What's that supposed to mean? Who is "you"? And what do you want "you" for? Or maybe... just maybe... nah. It can't be possible.
Was I made defective?
Confused, I stand.
Is it human nature?
[The system has crashed.]
This is unexpected,
did not go as planned.
[The system has crashed.]
Poor Nagato. She must have been feeling helpless about it. But I had always thought that what she did was related to her being sick tired of Haruhi. What does "I want you" have to do with this? It doesn't make sense. I had to really know what this was about.
"After you lost control of yourself, and before you changed the world..."
If someone heard me saying that, they would be thinking I was crazy. Am I so twisted that I consider "changing the world" a rare, but still normal event to talk about?
"... do you think you could describe what you experienced during that period of time?"
"Let me think how I could put that into words."
"I remember my actions and my reasons to do them. But while I was doing it, I was unable to stop. As if something else had taken total control of my body and my mind. But, at the same time, that something else was myself. I feared the consequences of not doing it more than the consequences of doing it."
"Hmm... I think I'm beginning to understand."
"At the same time, I feel very sorry -"
Now I had to interrupt her.
"Don't say that", I remarked, raising my index finger. "You know I already forgave you for it."
"Anything else you want to say?"
"I... wasn't exactly sure of the actual reason for my actions. But the emotions and... images... in my mind... they were intolerable."
"Perhaps you could say they were... painful."
I sighed. "I understand." As soon as I continued to read the poem, I noticed that Nagato began looking at the floor (or the table, whatever). Perhaps she was being shy about it? Perhaps she felt embarrassed?
If I try to acquire it,
vanish it will;
If I remain silent,
away it will drift.
Acquire? Acquire what? This was the most cryptic part of the poem. If she tries to acquire it, it will vanish. But why would it vanish? The third part gave a hint. Remaining silent... so acquiring 'it' means that she will speak about something. Just what is 'it'?
[Request: Abort mission]
What the - Was she really planning to leave us?
Message not sent.
I had made a promise,
is this called pain?
Yes, Nagato. It is pain. I kept reading.
I want to speak out,
But fears made me weak.
I want to shut up,
but then I feel sick.
The code's now infected,
I can't find a cure.
There's only one constant,
the thought: "I want you".
I think I read that before... yes, it's duplicated. So why the need to repeat it? Is it that important? And again, what does "I want you" mean? Who, or what are you talking to?
Was I made defective?
Confused, I stand.
Is it human nature?
[The system has crashed.]
No matter how confusing some parts were, I was still amazed. Since Nagato wrote that other poem for the Literature Club, she has been more able to express her feelings.
"December the 18th, huh?"
I read the poem again. Those two phrases stood over the others: "I want you", and "Request: Abort mission". Does that mean Nagato wanted to leave the SOS brigade and return with her boss? Nagato, why didn't you tell me? Then the poem began to actually make sense. "I want to speak out, but fears made me weak." Nagato tried to tell me, but for some reason she just couldn't. She was having a crisis, alright...
"Yes, I'm beginning to understand. May I share my opinion?"
Her silence told me that perhaps she was afraid of what I was going to say, but at the same time, she accepted it. So I spoke.
"That day, or night... you had a nervous breakdown. Nagato, it's normal, you don't have to feel ashamed for it."
I read the poem yet another time, and this part got me curious. "If I try to acquire it, vanish it will; If I remain silent, away it will drift." What does it mean? I hadn't realized before that this was written just before the part about aborting the mission.
"Nagato, did you really want to abort your mission?"
Nagato took some time to answer. "I was tempted."
"I could not keep going on."
"Why? What was so painful? Was it some enemy? Your boss? Haruhi? What?"
Nagato didn't answer that question. Why didn't she answer? Perhaps she was trying to find the right words?
"It is still difficult for me to say it..."
"Does the text before 'Request: Abort mission" have anything to do with it?"
Nagato remained silent, looking at the floor. Then she nodded.
"What does it mean?"
"... I can't tell you right now."
It seems I'm beginning to get closer to the "X" in the map. "Nagato, are you forbidden to tell me, or there's another reason you can't tell me?"
She started a sentence but didn't finish it.
"I... it is very difficult for me to say this."
I noticed a lot of tension in the air. What Nagato was going to tell me was very important. Pay attention, Kyon, pay attention to every movement of her. Here eyebrows, her blinking, any movement in her mouth, hesitation... pay attention!
"It's... the other reason I called you. The correlation between this and my system unstability is exceedingly large, and I need advise. I'm just not sure if you're the right person I should ask."
What? Anything! Nagato, you know you can count on me. Just... say it.
Nagato began looking at the floor again.
Nagato finished her sentence.
"I think... I'm in love."
My jaw dropped in both shock and disbelief. Wait, what?
(end of chapter 1)