It's been nearly a year, but it's finally finished. There were times when I thought I'd never finish it, but thanks to a little motivation care of the DVD release of Haruhi Season 2, my creative inspiration was back! I apologize profusely for taking so long, but at one point, I'd temporarily lost interest in the series and needed to recharge my batteries. Anyway, I'm sure you guys have been eager for the conclusion of my omake.
Well, here it is. Enjoy!
A Meet the Suzumiyas Omake: There's Something About Naru (Part 2)
I placed a hand on my face the moment I heard those words leaving Oruki's mouth. I refused to believe that such a coincidence was possible. What were the odds that Haruhi's parents would get together under circumstances so amazingly similar to the circumstances the lead me to meet with Haruhi? Is this some kind of cruel joke? Perhaps the Suzumiyas are cursed to fall into some kind of weird pattern where they're obligated to fall for their high school sweetheart. After all that I've learned in the last year, I could believe just about anything.
Naru-san giggled lightly. "He looks so cute in a gakuran. You should wear one again sometime!"
"Like hell I will!" said Oruki.
"So is that the end of it?" I said. "Did you get together after that?"
"That ain't the end!" said Oruki. "There's a lot more. It's...just a bit embarrassing to talk about."
"Is thinking about me in a schoolgirl outfit making you uncomfortable?" asked Naru-san as she wrapped her arms around her husband.
"That has nothing to do with it!"
"Will you hurry up with the story, already?" said Haruhi.
Oruki narrowed his eyes at his daughter. "Watch your mouth! You should know better than to be rude with me!"
After Haruhi turned her head away, Oruki took a deep breath and continued the story.
After staring dumbfounded at the girl in front of her for several seconds, Oruki became annoyed. "Idiot girl! What the hell are you doing here? Get out of my class!"
Naru blinked in surprise. "But...this is my class, too."
Oruki placed his face in his hands upon hearing this. "You never told me we were in the same class!"
Naru rubbed the back of her head in embarrassment. "I didn't know."
"How could you not know? Don't they call attendance every morning?"
"I never paid attention to that, so I had no idea that 'you-kun's' name was being called every time."
"Stop calling me 'you-kun!'"
Naru became extremely confused. "But 'you-kun' told me told to call him that."
"I did not! I told you to stop calling me Oruki-kun! And when I said to use 'you' I didn't mean it that way!"
"What does he want to be called?"
Oruki sighed deeply as he fought his increasing exasperation. "Try Oruki-san..."
Naru frowned. "Oruki-san is boring..."
Oruki looked away from Naru, uncomfortable with her frown. After giving a small sigh, he relents. "Fine, call me Oruki-kun. Just don't say it in public."
"Yay! Oruki-kun and I are friends now!" She then wraps her arms around his head.
"Let go of my head, you idiot!" said Oruki as he fought to get her off of him. He then noticed several people around him smiling and giggling that him and Naru, all of them getting the wrong idea. It didn't help that half of his face was buried in her ample chest. He got out of her grip and pointed towards the only empty desk. "Go sit down and leave me alone!"
After Naru complied, Oruki spent the remainder of the time before class giving the people looking at him an evil stare. It didn't take long for people to stop staring back.
"This is sounding like some lame, romance manga," said Haruhi.
"Well, they say that truth is stranger than fiction," said Naru-san. "That why I believe that the stranger a story is, the most likely it is to be true!"
That doesn't even begin to make sense. So if I told you a story where I was abducted by sock people from Mars, would you believe it?
Naru-san's eyes lit up. "Did that really happen? I bet it did! With all the adventures you've been on, it wouldn't surprise me!"
Dammit, Naru-san! Quiet! Your daughter is sitting right next to me! What part of "don't talk about my exploits in saving the world" don't you understand?
Oruki was quick to save the day. "What kind of crap have you been telling my wife? You should know by now how easily influenced she is!"
Haruhi berated me as well. "Didn't I tell you already to stop messing with my mom? It's not funny! Cut it out!"
I sighed deeply, half relieved that Haruhi didn't suspect anything and half annoyed that I was yelled at again. I looked at Naru-san, who appeared apologetic. I swear sometimes that you're going to be the death of the universe.
Oruki cleared his throat in order to get our attention again...
It was lunch time. Oruki had planned to buy his lunch at the cafeteria, but before he could go, a hand grabbed him by his collar and pulled him out the classroom door. He scowled when he realized that it was Naru.
"Let go of me!"
"Oruki-kun can eat lunch with me."
"I don't have a lunch yet, let go!"
"Oruki-kun can share mine. I have extra food to share!"
Oruki sighed deeply and gave up. He allowed himself to be dragged upstairs and onto the roof of the school. He remembered how tasty her food was the last time he ate it. Surely it was better than anything the cafeteria offered, and it was free! Free food was always nice.
Naru opened up her obento and portioned out her food with Oruki. Neither of them said anything for a few minutes while they ate. Oruki then noticed that Naru appeared to want to say something to him. "What's on your mind?"
Naru paused a bit before swallowing her food. "I bet that Oruki-kun is very far behind on his schoolwork. Will he be alright?"
"Don't worry about me," said Oruki as he placed a piece of shrimp in his mouth. "I'll get it done."
"I...could help," said Naru a bit nervously.
Oruki couldn't help but find her expression extremely cute. He turned away to hide his face. "Why would I want your help?"
"I want Oruki-kun to pass so he won't get expelled."
Oruki picked up the bento box to finish the rice. "I don't want to be some charity case."
It was then that an idea came to Naru. She crawled up to him, moving her face a bit too close to his. "Then Oruki-kun can help me in return! I have a lot of other places I want to explore, but they're too dangerous to go there alone. If Oruki-kun comes with me, though, I should be okay!"
"Forget it! No deal!" yelled Oruki after swallowing the last of the rice.
Naru's expression sank after he said that. "Okay..."
Her look of disappointment got to Oruki. As much as he didn't want to admit it, she was starting to rub off on him. "Tell you what. If you help me with my homework and feed me lunch everyday, you've got yourself a deal."
Naru looked at him and beamed. "Deal!" Her million-watt smile did not go unnoticed.
A few minutes later, they finished their lunch and went back downstairs. Along the way, Oruki began to wonder if perhaps he had made a mistake.
"And for the next month, Naru-chan and I would go to whatever strange place she would find to see if she could find ghosts and stuff, and as she promised, I was given some help catching up on my schoolwork and received free lunches. What was great was the fact that my mother gave me lunch money every school day, never even knowing that I didn't need it. That money sure came in handy."
I looked at Naru-san, feeling a bit baffled at the idea that she was the one helping him with his homework. How could someone so dense sometimes be any good at schoolwork?
"Hey, I resent that!" said Oruki. "It maybe true that she has her head in the clouds half the time, but she's actually rather book smart. She probably could have went to nearly any college she wanted..." His voice trailed off after that, as if some small amount of regret had hit him. "Never mind. After that month, things seemed to be going well for us. However, something happened that would change everything.
Oruki was sitting in his seat at school, looking towards the windows in disinterest. It was then that a hand slammed down onto his desk with great force. At first he thought it was Naru giving some kind of annoying greeting again, but instead he discovered that it was his long time friend, Shino.
"Wow, who'd have thought I'd see you so soon?" asked Shino.
Oruki scowled at him. "What the hell are you doing here? This ain't your school!"
"That's where you're wrong," said Shino as he wagged his finger. "You see, my parents made me transfer schools thinking that it was our other buddies that were dragging my grades down. What they didn't know was that you were at this school."
Oruki sighed when hearing this. He had mixed feeling about having his friend at this school. He did like the fact that he had someone other than Naru to keep him company. However, he was also a bit embarrassed about his reputation. Since he started coming here, everyone had been convinced that he and Naru were dating, and he didn't want his friend to get the wrong idea.
It wasn't long before Shino spotted another familiar face. "Hey, I recognize her." He turned towards Oruki and elbowed him lightly. "I see why you haven't been hanging out with us much lately. Your sweetheart is here too, huh?"
"We're not going out with each other," said Oruki gruffly.
"Sure you're not."
"We're not! She's been a pain in my ass since I started coming here!"
Shino narrowed his eyes and studied his friend for a few seconds. He then grinned. "So she's still single?"
"What do you mean by that?" asked Oruki.
Shino didn't answer, instead walking over to Naru's desk. He placed his hands onto her desk and gave her his best smile. "Hey there! Remember me?"
"Nope," said Naru without a moment of hesitation.
Shino was taken aback by this, but he recovered quickly. "We met before about a month ago, when you were trying to give that lunch to Oruki."
Naru placed a finger on her chin to try and remember him. Her eyes suddenly widened. "Oh! You must be Shikoku of the Silly Fist!"
An loud chuckle came from Oruki upon hearing that. Shino ignored his own embarrassment. "That's Shino of the Searing Fist."
"Oh I apologize then, Shino-chan," said Naru.
"-chan!" exclaimed Shino. "I'm not a child!"
"Shino-chan has such a youthful spirit that I thought it would be appropriate."
By this point, Oruki had completely cracked up. It always amused him greatly when his best friend made a fool of himself.
After giving his friend a sharp look, Shino gritted his teeth and banged his fist onto her desk. "Enough introductions! I have a question. Are you available this weekend?"
"Nope," said Naru. "I have plans."
Shino felt a great deal of disappointment. "Oh...doing what?"
"I'm visiting a graveyard with Oruki-kun this weekend."
Shino looked back at Oruki in confusion, but before Shino could reach the wrong conclusion, Naru spoke some more. "He's there to protect me from any ghosts and evil spirits that might attack me! In return, I feed him lunch and help with his schoolwork!"
Shino nodded, slightly relieved that it wasn't an actual date. He then had a great idea that caused him to grin widely. "Say, you know what? It would probably be even safer for you to have another guy around to protect you. Maybe I can help, too."
"That's a really good idea!" said Naru as she hit her fist on the palm of her hand.
"In exchange, you can be my tutor as well. I was forced to transfer because my grades sucked. Maybe you can help turn that around for me."
"Deal!" said Naru, smiling sweetly. "Since you're friends with Oruki-kun, I know I can trust you."
"Great! I'll see you guys then!" said Shino, feeling somewhat smug.
Oruki was no longer laughing.
"So for the next month or so, Shino would tag along on our trips all over the city looking for supernatural weirdness."
That couldn't have possibly been awkward.
"Yeah, yeah I know," said Oruki. "In hindsight, I probably should have said something, but I was in a bit of denial at the time and was afraid that if I said something, I would look bad." He took a deep breath before he continued. "Anyway, things between the three of us seemed alright for a while, but then one day changed all of that...
One day, Oruki and Naru were walking together towards a local cafe that they and Shino would often go to work on schoolwork. Shino wasn't with then because he had cleaning duty. Oruki was silent during the walk there, patiently listening to Naru talking about whatever silliness she had on her mind. However, he was feeling a bit nervous at that moment.
"Hey, Naru-san...there's something I've been wanting to ask you."
"Yes?" chirped Naru.
Oruki looked away, pausing briefly. "What do you think of...Shino?"
"Shino-chan is a good person, and he's very funny."
Oruki smirked mildly at that statement, knowing most of the time he was funny was unintentional. That smirk would be short lived, however.
"I like him."
Oruki stopped in his tracks upon hearing that. He could feel his heart sinking. He didn't want to admit it, but those words were devastating to hear. Clenching his fists and teeth, he marched forward at a brisk pace. "I'm going home."
Naru responded with some surprise. "Why's that, Oruki-kun? Don't you want to work on your homework?"
"I'll do it at home!" said Oruki before he darted away, wanting to put as much distance as possible between them.
Naru stood there, completely confused by Oruki's behavior.
Oruki was sitting at his kitchen table, his head in one of his textbooks. He had intended to do his homework in order to forget about what Naru had said earlier, but he failed. He tried to convince himself that it wasn't a big deal if she liked his best friend, but it was no use. Thinking about it made him feel wretched. Why did he feel this way? Could it be that he liked her? He'd told himself before that wasn't the case, but part of him knew he was lying. This train of thought ended when he heard the phone ring. He answered it, wondering who it might be.
"We've got her."
Oruki felt an enormous alarm when he heard this. "Who the hell is this?"
"If you want to get her back, come to the Alley Monkey's hideout...and come alone."
The person on the other line hung up. Feeling a large amount of panic and rage, Oruki spent no time hesitating. He bolted out the door towards the location where the voice said she was.
"How could you not tell that it was an obvious trap?" asked Haruhi sourly.
I was about to ask that myself. The only way it would have been more obvious is if the person on the other line had said "Hey, we've set up a trap. Want to come down here so we can spring it on you?"
"Have I not already said more than once that I was a stupid kid. That, and I wasn't thinking too clearly after what had happened earlier."
Oruki had arrived at an abandoned warehouse. As is traditional with all traps of this nature, it was dark inside. Oruki slowly walked in, wondering where everyone was. The door behind him was slammed shut, and the lights in the building turned on, revealing that he was surrounded by a dozen other high school aged kids. Oruki looked around the building for a sign of Naru.
"Where is she?"
It was then that all of the others laughed heartily. A familiar looking large and fat young man answered. "I can't believe it was this easy to draw you out."
"Answer me, Kazishima!"
"I have no idea," said Kazishima. "Truth is, we never bothered to kidnap anyone. Would have drawn too much attention. No, what we wanted was to get you here alone."
Oruki's blatant stupidity became obvious to himself. He was tricked and was about to be attacked from all sides. How could he be so stupid?
"Get him!" screamed Kazishima while pointing directly as his enemy.
Oruki tried his best to fight back, but he was hopelessly outnumbered. It wasn't long before he received a severe beating and lost consciousness.
When he woke up, he was in the hospital. Despite the medication he was hooked up to, the extent of injuries were still painful. When he became aware enough to realize what had happened, he cursed himself for his lack of judgment. The Oruki of a few months ago would not have gotten himself into that kind of situation, at least not without some back up. He wondered if being around Naru was making himself weaker. He was then reminded of what she said earlier about Shino, and he felt even more miserable. He believed that this was all her fault. She had made him pathetic. Having her around was the worst thing that had ever happened to him. She had to go. There was no way around it.
Shorty after his mother came back to check on him, both Naru and Shino showed up. Seeing the two of them together made his heart ache even more. He didn't even bother to acknowledge their arrival.
"Oruki-kun!" said Naru with both relief and distress. "What happened to you?"
"I heard you were found near the Alley Monkey's hideout," said Shino. "What would make you want to go there alone? I mean, that's crazy! You're tough, but you're not that tough!"
Shino's words only angered Oruki further. He looked towards Naru with fiery eyes. "I don't want to be your friend anymore."
Naru was taken aback by his statement. "Wh...why?"
"I don't have to explain myself! We're done! I don't need your help anymore! Leave me alone!"
Naru felt a mixture of pain and confusion. She couldn't imagine why Oruki would say such a thing.
Shino quickly stood up to Oruki. "What the hell are you saying? What has she done to you?"
"Shut up! I wasn't talking to you! I want her gone because she's ruined my life!"
Even Shino was shocked to hear this. Before he could say something back, Naru ran out of the room with tears rolling down her eyes. Seeing her so upset made Shino incredibly pissed. He grabbed Oruki by the collar and raised his fist.
"Give me one good reason why I shouldn't pummel you into a coma!"
Oruki didn't answer him right away. Instead he looked away from his friend, the fire in his eyes dissipating. "You like her right?"
The question caught Shino off guard. "What?"
"I already know that you like her. You've been around her all this time, so it's kinda obvious. Why don't you two just be happy together and leave me alone."
Shino now had some understanding as to why Oruki was acting this way. He sighed deeply and slowly let go of his friend's collar. "So that's what this is all about."
He turned and walked towards the door. Before he left, he narrowed his eyes at Oruki. "I suppose I should thank you. You've always been a real pal." The last word of that statement dripped with venom. Shino immediately left the room.
Despite doing what he'd told himself needed to be done, Oruki couldn't help but feel horribly remorseful. He thought back to the last two months, reliving every moment he'd been with Naru and all of the crazy times they had together. His memory had saved moments where her eyes would glow as they traveled through some mysterious location. Then, when they were finished searching some place, he recalled how incredible her smile looked as she waved goodbye for the night. It was at this moment that he realized that he'd fallen in love with her, but now she'd probably never talk to him again.
That last realization was too much for him. He quickly pulled his bed sheets over his face and wept as silently as he could.
"You have a real problem with thinking things through," I said.
"Not one of my proudest moments," Oruki said.
"How could you forgive him for that, mom?" said Haruhi.
"It wasn't easy, to be honest. I'm just easy going that way, though."
Oruki continued. "The first day that I returned to school obviously wasn't going to be a good day."
A week had past since the event at the hospital. Oruki was back in class, although he was still pretty injured. He desperately didn't want to be back in school, it was not because of his body. He deplored being in the same classroom and Naru and Shino. He almost couldn't bring himself to look at them, and whenever his did, he noticed that neither of them looked at him. He debated whether or not he would make up with them. He had no idea if they would forgive him. He decided it was best to wait until lunch to do so.
After several agonizing hours, the time had come. Oruki watched as the two of them got up and made their way out the door. He followed them, being sure not to be noticed. When they made it to the stairs, Oruki waited a minute just to make sure that they didn't notice him. He wasn't sure what he was going to say, and he had hoped that the extra time would be helpful. It wasn't. Eventually, he gave up and went up to the roof.
As soon as he opened the door, he was spotted by both of them. Shino stood up and stared him down while Naru turned away from him.
"What do you want?" asked Shino harshly.
Oruki didn't respond right away. He had planned to apologize to the both of them, but his pride got in the way. He had hoped that if he pretended that nothing had happened, everything would be okay. "I...I was thinking that since I wasn't in school a while that I'd fallen behind my quite a bit so I could use some help."
"I was wrong," said Naru almost too quietly.
"Huh?" responded Oruki.
Naru stood up while still facing away from him. "I was wrong. You are a mean person." Before Oruki could respond, she turned around with tears welling up in her eyes. "I hate you, Oruki-kun!" She then ran past him and through the door. She was followed closely by Shino, who gave a nasty glare at his former friend before leaving.
Oruki was stunned for a moment. He looked down at his hands only to realize that they were clenched in a super tight fist. A single drop of water landed on one of them. It took a moment for him to figure out that it was his tears. His despair soon turned into extreme rage as he beat his already injured fist into the floor. He hit it over and over again until his knuckles started to bleed. Once he got to the point where he couldn't punch it again, he collapsed onto his back and wailed away in sorrow. He didn't move from that spot for the rest of the school day. It didn't matter that he was missing his classes. All he wanted to do was disappear so that he couldn't feel this way anymore.
Oruki didn't bother to show up for class the next day. Instead, he spent it at his old hideout with the remainder of his buddies. He had hoped that being around other guys would snap him out of his melancholy, but it wasn't working. It was bad enough that the others tried to get him out of it.
"What's with you, Oruki?" asked Toshi. "You're acting worse than when you found out you were transferring schools."
"I heard that him and Shino got into a fight or something," said Murasaki. "Something about a girl, right?"
"I don't want to talk about," said Oruki.
"Wait a minute," said Toshi. "Are you talking about that one girl that came over here a few months back?"
"No way," answered Murazaki. "It can't be her...right? Please tell me you're not fighting over Shikamoto-san." When Oruki didn't respond, Murazaki place a hand on his face. "You've got to be kidding me. It figures that only you two would be crazy enough to go after her."
That last statement irked Oruki immensely. He got up and lunged at Murazaki and pinned him against the wall. "Take that back!"
Toshi and Hideki immediately responded by trying to restrain Oruki. It took some doing, but the two of them were able to pull him off and pin him to the ground.
"You need to go cool off somewhere else," said Hideki.
After he was let go, Oruki got up and left, his temper still boiling.
"I am I missing something here?" I asked. "If things had gotten this bad, how did you two make up?"
"I'm getting to that!" said Oruki. "I'll admit that things looked pretty bleak at this point. In fact, if Naru-chan hadn't gone missing, it's possible that we might not have made up."
"You went missing?" I asked Naru-san. "Where were you?"
"I'll get to that," answered Oruki. "Anyway, I avoided class for two more days before I finally came back."
Oruki finally returned to school after his extended absence. When questioned about why he left school early the other day and didn't return until now, he told the teachers that his injuries were getting the better of him and that he needed more time to recover. They seemed to buy into it. He was hopelessly behind on his schoolwork now, but that was the furthest thing from his mind. Instead, he was thinking about a certain empty desk, the one Naru usually sat at. He also noticed that Shino was looking a bit worried. Did something happen to Naru? An answer was definitely needed.
Oruki waited until lunch to approach Shino. When Shino noticed him, he looked down at his book bag, pretending to grab something. "What is it?"
"I've noticed that you're looking worried."
"Don't worry. It's none of your business."
Oruki swallowed his pride a bit. "Look, I know I've been an a#$%&* lately."
"Yes, you have."
Oruki grunted briefly before continuing. "I just want to say that...I take back what I said."
"Man, you really suck at apologizing," said Shino, finally looking directly at him. "Not that I'm really the one you should apologize to."
"Speaking of which, where is Naru-chan?"
Shino became distressed again. "I really don't know. That's why I've been worried. She wasn't here yesterday, either."
"What?" yelled Oruki.
"I didn't think anything of it yesterday. I figured that she might have been sick or something, but now that she not here again, I'm wondering if it's something worse."
"I still remember her number," said Oruki while leaning on the desk. "We'll call her when school is out."
The two young men spent the rest of the school day feeling concerned. They had hoped that perhaps she just had the flu and need more than one day to recover. Neither of them wanted to imagine that she was in danger.
When classes ended, the two of them made it to the nearest payphone. Shino stopped Oruki before he could make the call. "Hold on. Let me do the talking."
"Why should I do that?"
"Simple. Naru isn't upset with me, so if she happened to answer the phone, she'll probably tell me what is going on."
After deeply sighing, Oruki dialed the number and handed the phone to his friend. After a few seconds of silence, someone answered on the other line.
"Hello," said Shino. "Is Naru-chan there? She hasn't been at school lately, and we were worried." After a second, Shino's eyes widened in surprise. "Really? Do you know where she could be?" It wasn't long before his surprised turned into alarm. "You've got to be kidding me!"
The words coming out of Shino's mouth did little to encourage Oruki. There was no doubt in his mind now that something was terribly wrong.
Shino finally said goodbye and hung up. His face was mildly paler than before. "She's been missing for the last two days. Her parents have no idea where she went."
"Are the police looking for her?"
"They are, but they have no idea where to look. She didn't leave a message stating where she could be."
Oruki gritted his teeth and began to march off. "I'm going to look for her! If she's been missing this long, she could be in danger!"
"Are you serious? How do you expect to find her if the police can't?"
"I have a few places that I want to look. If you want to leave it to the police, go on ahead."
Shino grunted and paused reluctantly before taking off to catch up to Oruki. "Wait up!"
"This is starting to get really interesting," I said. A love triangle combined with a damsel with distress? Almost sounds like the plot of some movie. Heck, even Haruhi was showing interest now. Perhaps this was her favorite part of the story.
Oruki smiled a bit, perhaps enjoying the compliment. "As I was saying, Shino and I had spent the next few hours looking all over the city for Naru-chan. We looked at abandoned buildings, graveyards, alleyways, even the sewers. Unfortunately, we were making no progress..."
Oruki and Shino were sitting down at a street corner, looking exhausted. There wasn't a single sign that Naru was at any of the locations they searched, at least not recently. They'd hoped that she might be at these places looking for unusual stuff, but they had given up on that idea. Oruki was thinking hard on where else she might be. There were a number of places that they could still check, but he was thinking that it was pointless to go to any of them. He was suspecting foul play.
"I have an idea," said Oruki.
"Really," responded Shino depressingly. "I pray it's a good one. I'm starting to think it's hopeless."
"The Alley Monkeys already knew that you and I spent a lot of time around her. I'm wondering if they did something to her."
"That's crazy. Why would they want to do something to her?"
"I don't know, but I bet they might at least know something." Oruki stood up and began to walk. "I'm going over there."
Shino got up and grabbed him by the shoulder. "You want to get creamed again? If you going to go over there, use your head!"
"What do you suggest we do?"
Shino smirked confidently. "Leave it to me."
It was about an hour later that the both of them arrived at the Alley Monkeys hideout. They were spotted immediately by the same dozen guys that attacked Oruki earlier.
"Well, looky here," said Kazishima. "If it isn't the 'Lighting Demon' and the 'Wimpy Fist'. Did you two come here for an extra helping of pain?"
"Where is Naru-chan?" yelled Oruki. "We know you did something to her!"
"Like we'd tell you anything," laughed Kazishima. "Get'em!"
As the group descended on Oruki and Shino, the door flew open to reveal three more individuals. It was the remainder of their friends, Toshi, Murazaki, and Hideki. They all appeared eager to fight.
"It's been way too long since we last did this," said Murazaki.
"You guys are in trouble now," said Toshi. "I just ate dinner, and now I'm full of pent up energy!"
Hideki said nothing, grinning evilly instead.
Shino looked at the Alley Monkeys smugly. "I figured we could use a little back-up."
Kazishima became noticeably worried at the sight of all five of them. "It...it doesn't matter that all five of you are here! We can still kick your ass!"
Oruki cracked his knuckles in anticipation. "Think of this as payback for what you did to me earlier."
The five of them charged the Alley Monkeys in an all-out assault. The Monkeys did have the advantage in numbers, but it wasn't enough. When the five of them were together, they were nearly unbeatable. Within minutes, their enemies were defeated. Those who weren't beaten down had fled in terror.
Oruki grabbed the defeated Kazishima by his collar. "Where is she?"
"I don't know," said the fat man fearfully.
"Liar!" said Oruki as he raised his fist. "I know that you know something! Tell me where Naru-chan is!"
Kazishima shook his head desperately, tear down his eyes. "I swear it! I swear it! I really don't know! Please don't hurt me!"
Shino grabbed Oruki's arm before his could strike. "I don't think he knows, man!"
"Let go! I know he's lying!"
It was then that Murazaki interrupted. "Hold on a second. Are you saying that Shikamoto-san is missing?"
"Yeah," said Shino. "She's been gone for two days. We'd hoped that these guys would know something."
Murazaki started thinking. "I see. Have you guys looked around for her?"
"We've already been all over the city," said Oruki, still holding onto the collar.
"Have you looked in the mountains west of here?"
The question caught Shino and Oruki off guard. "No!" they both answered.
Murazaki scratched the side of his head. "I remember hearing a rumor that whenever a guy dumped her, she would go off into the mountains. Not really sure why, but my guess would be that she went there because she was upset with what happened with you two and wanted to get away."
"If she's been there that long," said Shino, "she might be hurt."
"We're going!" said Oruki as he let go of his enemy.
"How do you expect to find her out there?" asked Shino.
"I don't know," he said before stopping. He then turned towards the others, realizing that there was one more thing he needed to do before he left. "Thanks a lot, guys." He then looked away from them. "About the other day...I didn't mean to freak out on you guys like that."
"Don't worry about it," said Toshi with a grin. "You wouldn't be a 'Demon' if you were a nice guy."
Oruki smiled weakly before walking out the door. "See ya!"
"Wait for me!" said Shino as he bolted after him.
"So how were you expecting to find Naru-san in the mountains?" I asked. It would be like finding a needle in a haystack.
Oruki smirked as if he was expecting the question. "Luckily, we knew of a hiking trail that was often used by people in the area. We figured that since Naru-chan wasn't very athletic, she would probably stick to the trail or be nearby. That's where we started our search."
"Shouldn't it have been dark by then?" asked Haruhi.
Oruki scratched his chin. "Now that I think about it, I do remember it starting to get dark. I think it might have been June by then, so the days were pretty long." He appeared to have a flash of insight. "That's right! I remember stopping briefly at Shino's house to grab some flashlights before we went, just in case. We were maybe on the trail for fifteen minutes before he and I had this conversation with Shino..."
It was now dusk, and with the trees in the area, it was difficult to see anything too far away. The two boys had pulled out their flashlights and searched around for anything suspicious. The both of them knew that this was their last hope. If this failed, then finding Naru would be impossible.
After about five more minutes of searching, Shino decided to speak up. "Listen, about that question you asked me when we were at the hospital."
"What about it?"
"You asked me if I liked Naru-chan. Well, to be honest, I don't like her." He stopped and looked directly at his friend. "I love her."
Oruki stopped as well and looked back at his friend. He wasn't sure how do respond. A part of him knew that this was the case. Shino had always held his heart on his sleeve. However, hearing him say it was like having a wrench hit his chest.
"You love her too, don't you?" asked Shino.
Oruki couldn't answer the question. "What difference does it make? She already told me that she likes you."
Shino became confused when he heard this. "That can't be right."
"Why not?" asked Oruki.
Shino look away slightly. "Because...she already told me how she felt about me."
It was Oruki's turn to be confused. "What are you talking about?"
"Two weeks ago, I...I confessed to her." His face darkened with sadness. "She told me that she only liked me as a friend. Apparently, she already had feelings for someone else. It didn't take a rocket scientist to figure out who she was talking about."
Oruki's eyes widened upon hearing this revelation. It was now clear to him that he had misunderstood what Naru had said on that day. He was kicking himself for being so stupid.
"I was kinda happy at first when you decided not to be around her anymore. I had hoped that with you out of the way that I would have a chance to slip into her heart, but it wasn't long before I realized that there was no room in there for me." Shino looked at his friend with mild anger. "She was devastated when you said all those terrible things to her. She barely talked to me at all in that time. I wanted to console her, but nothing I said helped."
Shino's words increased Oruki's remorse tenfold. It was all his fault. All of this grief in the last week and a half was over some mistake. No, it was more than that. His pride was also to blame. He blamed her for his own mistakes and lashed out at her when she did nothing to deserve it. It's no wonder why she told him she hated him.
Shino closed his eyes tightly and gritted his teeth, clearing fighting back tears. "It's not fair! You don't deserve her! Half the time that you two were together, you acted like you hated her! It doesn't make any sense! Why would she pick a jerk like you over me?" By now, his tears spilled over and down his face. "I've always been second to you, Oruki, no matter how hard I tried."
Oruki could not respond. If he had been a weaker man, he would have collapsed and burst into tears as well. He felt bad for his friend, but also knew that there was nothing he could do to make this right for him.
Shino pointed a finger at Oruki. "You're planning on apologizing to her, right?" After receiving a nod from Oruki, he grabbed him by the collar. "Then you better promise me this! If we ever find her, you will treat her like an angel, You hear me? If you ever hurt her again, I will personally beat the piss out of you!"
Oruki nodded. It was a lot to take in, and most of it was really bad. However, there was one glimmer of hope. He knew now that Naru had feelings for him. What he had to do now was obvious. Before he could even think about being anything more than her friend, he had to make things right. However, he and Shino would have to find her first.
Oruki and Shino reluctantly ended the conversation and continued their search. Unfortunately, it had become dark at this point, and the only thing they had to guide them were their flashlights. After crying earlier, Shino's eyesight had suffered a bit, and he was unable to see the cliff next to the path. He lost his foot and began to fall. Luckily, Oruki was able to grab a hold of him before he fell. To his dismay, however, Shino dropped his flashlight. It tumbled down and hit the ground hard enough to break it.
"Dammit!" said Shino while looking down.
Oruki shined his flashlight down the cliff to check the condition the other one. However, he suddenly spotted something else. "Hey, what that down there?"
"I don't know. We should find a way down and find out."
The two of them were able to find a safe path down the cliff and toward the mystery object. When they finally reached it, they discovered that it was a backpack.
"Holy crap! This is hers!" said Shino. "This is the backpack she always brings with her whenever we went out on our searches!"
"I don't see anything else. Maybe she not too far from here!"
The two of them searched around the area, and to their relief, they managed to find Naru. The bad news was that she was on the ground and not moving. They rushed to her aid immediately. Fortunately, she was still alive, but she was clearly in bad condition. Oruki began to shake her in a desperate hope to awaken her.
"Naru-chan! Wake up! Wake up! It's okay! We're here to save you!"
Naru slowly open her eyes and looked at the two men, who were barely visible in the dark. "O...Oruki-kun? Shino-chan?"
"Yes, it's me. Are you okay?"
She winced in pain before answering. "I fell down the cliff on accident. I think I hurt my leg."
It's okay, Naru-chan!" said Shino. "We'll get you to a hospital right away!"
The two boys picked her up and made their way out of the mountain. When they made it to a pay phone, they immediately called for an ambulance. Before long, Naru was taken to the hospital for immediate treatment. It seemed for now that the nightmare was over.
"I had suffered a broken leg when I fell from the cliff as well as some dehydration for being out in the woods for so long," said Naru-san. "I was lucky that I wasn't in worse condition. The drop must have been at least four meters. It was so scary being alone like that for two days straight. I was starting to think I was going to die."
Uh, Naru-san? The next time you talk about nearly dying, could you not do it with a smile? It's kinda disturbing.
"When the police found out that it was us that rescued her," said Oruki, "they were suspicious. After all, the two of us did have a reputation for trouble-making. Luckily, Naru-chan was able to vouch for us. It's kind of a weird feeling being a hero."
"So I'm assuming you eventually apologized," I said.
"He better have," said Haruhi before pointing at me. "If you even said anything like that to me, the consequences would be earth-shattering!"
You have no idea, Haruhi. Noooooooo idea at all...
Oruki sighed deeply before finishing his story.
It was two days after Naru had been brought to the hospital. She was feeling much better than before, although she had a cast around her right leg. After that terrible ordeal, she was happy to be in a nice warm bed.
Oruki appeared at the door. After quickly scanning her to see how she was doing, he slowly and nervously approached. Naru saw him coming closer but didn't say anything. She was a bit nervous as well, as she was not sure if things were okay between him and her.
"Hey," said Oruki softly.
"Hi," responded Naru apprehensively.
Oruki spoke again after a brief pause. "I...need to talk to you."
Oruki scratched the back of his head. He had gone over what he was going to say a hundred times in his head, but it wasn't enough to prepare him for the real thing. "Look...I'm not very good at saying these things, but...about what happened when you visited me when I was recovering here. I...I was confused about a lot of things. Not only that, but when I got beat up, it hurt my pride really bad, and I took it out on you. You did nothing to deserve that, and I was lying about you ruining my life. If anything, you've done a lot to make it better. W...what I'm trying to say is..." He took a deep breath before saying his line. It took every last bit of will power to tear past the barrier of his pride.
Oruki felt incredibly vulnerable at this moment. It was a feeling that he loathed greatly, but he hoped that Naru would be the one person who wouldn't take advantage of it. "I understand if you aren't willing to forgive me. After all, I said some pretty mean..." He was interrupted by Naru's giggles. "What's so funny?"
Naru hid half of her face under the blanket. "Oruki-kun is cute when he's apologizing." She then slowly removed the blanket to reveal her smile. "I might be able to forgive him, but only under one condition."
"Oruki-kun has to start bringing me lunch for the next month."
Oruki smiled back, feeling relieved that things were okay between the two of them. He had no idea how to cook, but he figured he could think of something. See her smile again made him feel wonderful. He leaned towards her and, without thinking, kissed her gently on the lips. Naru's blush became many shade redder after the kiss ended. Oruki was shocked at what he did and wondered if it was a bad idea.
Naru eased his worries. "Kisses like that count as one day off your punishment."
Oruki chuckled lightly before leaning for another kiss. Unfortunately, Naru pushed him back.
"No more until you serve your punishment. I can't let you take away all of those days."
Oruki sighed and settled on holding her hand. The two of them stayed together like this for the rest of the day.
"So were you two dating then?" I asked.
"Sort of," said Oruki. "The truth is that I didn't feel right about asking her out officially until I was sure that she'd really forgiven me. It' just wouldn't have been right. After that, though, the rest is history."
"I worked him doubly hard on our searches as well," said Naru-san cutely. "I loved how eager he was to help me with everything. It was like he was a different person."
Funny. He seems like the same jerk now as he was in the story. Is he only like that when only you are around?
Naru-san hugged her husband tightly. "Well, he is tsundere."
"I am not!" said Oruki with some embarrassment."
"Yes you are! Tsundere, tsundere, tsundere!"
Hate to admit it, but she's right. It's another wonderful trait you passed down to your daughter.
It was then that I remembered my question about his friends. "So what happened to your high school buddies?"
Oruki became sullen when asked that question. "None of them are around any more. Shino moved to the United States after high school and married some chick there. He later inherited much of his parents fortune, so he's living comfortably. He calls me every once in a while, though. Toshi and Hideki both ended up in prison. Hideki had been robbing convenience stores at around that time, which is how he had that money that one day he bought us dinner. He never said a word about it to us. Perhaps he didn't want us to be involved. As for Toshi, he got into a bar fight a couple years later and was charged with aggravated assault. I haven't heard from either of them since they were sentenced. Lastly, Murazaki...passed away when he was 24. He had leukemia, and there was nothing the doctors could do to save him. The last few months of his life were terrible..." He trailed off after that.
The reality of hearing about what happened to his friend made me think of what might happen to the people I consider friends today. How many of them will I still know years from now? Will all of us drift apart? Will only a small handful keep in touch? It was impossible to know, and I didn't like how it made me feel to think about it.
"It's getting late," said Oruki. "You two should go to bed."
Haruhi and I nodded, said goodnight and got up to go to our rooms. When we were both upstairs, Haruhi stopped and turned towards me. "I should apologize for that. My parents can be so embarrassing sometimes."
"It's okay. I actually liked the story."
"I guess it's alright, although I'm sure my dad exaggerated some parts of it. I just hope we don't bore our kids with..." She stopped herself when she realized what she said. Are we thinking a little too far ahead?
"S...shut up!" she said with a gorgeous blush. "And stop giving me that goofy grin! I know what you're thinking about."
Apparently I'm not the only one thinking about that.
She huffed at me and walked towards her room. However, just as she opened the door, she stopped and looked at me. As if realizing that she forgot something, she darted back to me and grabbed me by the collar. After brushing each others' nose for a bit, we kissed sweetly for a few seconds. With a smile on her face, Haruhi let me go and walked into her room. God, I wish we could have our own place.
With a heavy sigh, I walked into my room and went to bed. Life was good, and I was sure the best was yet to come...
I can't believe it's finally over. Over 240,000 words and 1,300 reviews. I can't believe how awesome this ride has been. You guys have been great throughout all of it! Thank you!
And I have some good news for you. Remember when I mentioned possibly doing a sequel? Well, I'm making it official. Yes, there will be a sequel to Meet the Suzumiyas! The title of that story will be called Life with the Suzumiyas: the Darker Half. I have a ton of great ideas for it, and I'm planning on making it better than the first one. I hope you all look forward to it!
I want to give a shout out to Hejin57, Superstarultra, Nukerjsr, BKE, GladiatorBeastMCK, Rick Controversy, Grahf, Nagatoismylover, and everyone else who helped support my fic with ideas and criticism. I also want to give a shout out to the nearly dozen people who used Oruki and Naru in their fics. I love you guys!
Anyway, this is the end of this fanfic. I hope you guys enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Bye!