System: Glitch | Code: Nagato
Hey, people! I was just reading some Haruhi fanfiction lately, and got the inspiration for creating my own. So without further ado... I hope you enjoy.
Disclaimer: No, I don't have the world's most powerful female god under my control. Sad, isn't it?
It was a bright, crisp, beautiful winter day. Snow was drifting down in bright cloves all throughout the school grounds. Despite this, the sun was still shining overhead, oblivious to all routine weather patterns.
I looked outside the school windows as I passed them in the halls. Snowflakes were drizzling calmly, peacefully, covering everything with a fluffy, marshmallowy haze. School buildings' outlines were blurred, and the students unfortunate enough to be outside were merely speckled ants, pandering around. Their footprints transformed the landscape from a smooth, pillowing white to a battlefield of polka-dots. Looking away, I felt the sudden urge to smile, and shiver simultaneously.
These winters would be much more bearable if our winter uniforms were actually warm...
Sighing in resignation, I nevertheless plowed on to the SOS clubroom, intent on savoring some of Mikaru's warm, delicious tea before I froze to death. I paused at the door, then lifted my hand to knock, only to see the door swing open of its own accord.
"H-hi, Kyon!" exclaimed Asahina-san cheerfully, her chattering teeth dampening the effect slightly.
"Oh. Hello, Asahina-san." With eyebrow raised, I realized that Asahina-san was still wearing her maid outfit, a poor complement in this frosty weather.
"Say... Asahina-san... don't you think it would be warmer if you were wearing your winter uniform, instead of that costume?"
"That's a good idea, K-kyon... but I'm afraid Haruhi has ordered m-me to keep this on for the entire d-day."
I sighed in resignation. Haruhi wouldn't budge in her decision unless Asahina-san froze to death. And then she would probably use the poor girl as the club's official "Moe-statue", on display for all to marvel and gawk. Though admittedly, that wouldn't be half ba- slap yourself awake, Kyon. Mind out of the gutter.
"Very well, Asahina-san- just make sure to put something on if you get too cold, okay?"
"S-sure, Kyon!" Asahina-san beamed at me. Her smile was as lovely as always; I could feel the room getting ten times brighter, and twice as warm.
"You don't have to worry a-about me. This room's pretty well heated, and unless Haruhi feels the urge to-"
"MIKURUU!" Haruhi jumped into the room, almost knocking me over, with Koizumi in tow looking cheerfully ragged. Kind of like a bespectacled balloon , with a happy face painted on. If you get what I mean. No?
That's okay too.
I stole a glance towards the insatiable Haruhi, wondering what she would do next.
"Guess what? There's a whole bunch of students outside who really really REALLY like our movie, and want autographs of the cast and crew! You and Koizumi HAVE to go outside and sign like you've never signed before- it's a perfect opportunity to boost the reputation of the SOS Brigade even further!"
I swear, if Haruhi's smile got any bigger, it would smack me in the face.
"B-but... can I change out of my maid costume first? It's k-kind of cold out there," Asahina-san whimpered.
"Nonsense! The audience out there said specifically that they want to see the actors in costume. Oh, stop struggling. You won't freeze to death outside. Now come on!"
Something was a bit off here. Our movie didn't have that many fans, did it? And why would they be asking for the actors in costume at this late hour? This didn't make any sense at all... unless...
I turned to Haruhi, cogs in my mind turning.
"Say, Haruhi. Does our 'fan club' happen to be composed of... I don't know... mainly guys?"
Haruhi blinked, but didn't relinquish the hold she had on poor Asahina-san.
"Yeah- it is. There isn't a single girl who wanted autographs. I thought that was strange. I guess girls just don't appreciate the SOS Brigade's brand of fine art."
I rolled my eyes at this. They didn't appreciate something, alright. And as for fine art... that was mildly debatable.
By the time I had finished my internal monologue, Asahina-san and the ever-smiling yes-man had been inexorably dragged away by the tidal wave that was Haruhi Suzumiya.
I turned back around as Asahina-san's screams faded in the distance. Some days, I just wanted to crawl back into bed and forget about the my troubles for a few hours.
I hung up my blazer on one of the clothing hooks, then proceeded to dump my schoolbag unceremoniously on the floor, pulling out a chair with the same motion.
Then I slumped over on to the table, head resting on my folded arms.
Out of the crook of my elbow, I sneaked a peak at Nagato. There she was, silent throughout our entire drama, staring out the window.
Hmm. That's strange. No book this time.
Odd, but not entirely life-threatening. With this thought, I slumped over and began to doze off.
"It's snowing," Nagato stated quietly.
"Yes, it is..." I mumbled, half-asleep.
Suddenly, my head jerked up.
Did Nagato just initiate conversation? Is there yet another problem with the universe at large?
I turned toward Nagato, to find her staring at me, with, for all intents and purposes, a blank look. Her expressions remained the same throughout the day for all but the most observant people. Luckily, I probably had the most experience in the school with this kind of thing. Looking closer, I realized that her right eyebrow was raised a few millimeters, giving her a quizzical look.
Quizzical for Nagato, anyway.
"I'm sorry, Nagato..." I sweatdropped at this point, growing uncomfortable at being the recipient of such an intense gaze.
"I've just... never heard you actually start a conversation before. That's all."
She nodded once, a fraction of an inch down, then a fraction of an inch back up.
Then, gracefully, she turned her head back to her original position, and resumed looking out the window, at the snowflakes now drifting by. Lazily. Weightlessly.
Nagato put her nose to the glass, and stared.
The second day started out normally as well; after trudging from my classes, I arrived at the club room, rubbing my arms, and shivering uncontrollably. It was even colder than the day before, if that was possible. Once again, I bemoaned the thin, looks-over-practicality material of my winter uniform, and opened the door. Not the first time, I began debating with myself whether to call in sick and just leave, right now, and retreat the safety and warmth of my house. However, with the twin horrors of trudging through the snow storm raging outside, and the wrath of Haruhi over my head, I didn't dare. At least I could sit in the club room and wait until the storm let down a bit. With the handwritten SOS Brigade sign waving dimly over my head, I proceeded into the room.
Once again, I was met by a familiar sight. Misuku was brewing up some of her trademarked tea, and sniffling all the while- most likely the result of another dish of emotional trauma cooked up by Haruhi-, Haruhi herself was typing something on the club computer with an intense, slightly cute expression on her face, and Koizumi was playing chess with himself, two mirrored, smiling opponents, who were content with trading seats, as well as wins and losses.
Nagato, as usual, was sitting on the chair closest to the window, but, once again, she wasn't in possession of one of her trademarked ridiculously-long hardcover books. Instead, like yesterday, she was merely staring out the window, a common pastime of an average high school girl.
But Nagato was a far cry from being stereotypical. And average. She didn't turn her head when I walked in, but I somehow felt that her comment was directed towards me,
"There are many snowflakes today."
"Eh... yes. There are," I replied, confused.
Everyone else seemed too preoccupied to pay Nagato much attention, though, so I was the only one looking perplexed. She still hadn't moved her head. If I hadn't known better, I would have thought that I hallucinated the entire sentence she spoke.
Eventually, I sat down at the chair, and set my bag down on the ground. Our (stolen) heater was operating at full throttle, but it was a small device, and there was a blizzard outside. The warmth from the heater could barely be felt 6 inches from the pathetically small vents. Conveniently, that was just where Haruhi was located. Right in front of the heater.
Speaking of which, she spoke up right on cue.
"Okay, everyone. Mikuru seems to have caught..." Haruhi glanced over at Asahina-san at this point, narrowing her eyes slightly, "a slight case of the cold..."
So that's what her sniffling was about. Haruhi's attentions had finally brought some sort of punishment for the tortured Asahina-san.
"Due to this unfortunate (you only think so because it inconveniences you...) and completely unforeseeable (lies! All lies!) event, our scheduled... secret club surprise will be delayed until tomorrow. Haruhi looked crestfallen at this thought.
"I spent so much time on it too..."
I thought I heard Haruhi mumble. But it was none of my concern, so I just nodded an affirmative.
"That sounds wonderful, Ms. Suzumiya," Koizumi replied cheerfully, "I'll be waiting at the edge of my seat to see what you've prepared."
I glared at Koizumi, but he just smiled back.
I looked back at Nagato, still, and unmoving throughout our entire dialog, trying to figure her out. Her layered hair waved slightly in the draw from our heater.
In any case, Nagato's slight change of behavior, however atypical, could be analyzed later. Right now, I had to save Koizumi from the impending boredom of winning/losing against his smiling opponent: himself.
I plopped myself into a chair, and started setting up the pieces. Koizumi smiled at me, and began helping. There was no conversation. It was just too cold.
Ah... Friday. The end of the week had come at last. All of my classes seemed to rush by in a blur. Not even Haruhi disrupted my contentment, because all throughout our classes, she was scribbling madly on her notebook. The only time she even lifted her head was when I attempted to peer at her work- that got me a solid thrashing for "interrupting her creative flow".
And so, with a newly-formed bump on my head, I managed to keep my good mood at least partially aloft, and stumbled to the club room. There, I was hit, yet again, by the outward-moving door as Haruhi slammed through.
"Alright. Mikuru and Koizumi- listen up. Our audience absolutely loved the SOS Brigade's Official Autograph Signing Event, so we're moving on!"
Poor Asahina-san. She was, once again, in her maid outfit, and shivering so much that my eyes blurred trying to follow her. Despite this, when she saw me, she still gave me a smile that could brighten a Christmas tree.
She was probably the sweetest girl alive.
"Me, Mikuru, and Koizumi need to rehearse for our next big appearance- we're going to give all paying customers a bonus, live-action play!" Haruhi was giddy with excitement.
If there was anyone willing to actually pay to see this performance, I'd like to see who they are before knocking their brains back to working order.
"B-but, it's c-col-"
"SOS actors would never let the cold interfere with their all-important mission! So don't even think about backing out of this!"
"And you, Kyon. As the lowest-ranking member of our club, you will not get to participate in our grand premier- (whew) but you will still receive the honor of cleaning out the clubroom (… seriously, Haruhi?) before we get back. Now make it quick!"
With orders given, Haruhi nodded to Koizumi, and grabbed the hesitant Asahina-san.
Asahina-san whined helplessly as she was lifted up, like a potato sack, and carried to god-knows-where, with Koizumi in tow. Where does Haruhi get all of her energy? I'd like to buy some, please. Just name your price.
I entered the clubroom, once again, to meet Nagato, silent as a ghost, on her favorite window-seat chair. This time, I was sure that she would remain quiet, and it seemed my prediction was coming true for the first few minutes.
Then, Nagato turned her head, looking at me with her brilliant caramel eyes.
"There are many snowflakes, but the sun is still out."
Following this cryptic message, Nagato nodded towards the window, and I saw, indeed, that the sun was still shining ever so slightly in the raging snowstorm.
I nodded, still completely bewildered.
"I suppose it is..." I hesitated at this point. "But why are you telling me this?"
She stared at me. It wasn't a calculating stare, nor one that held any menace. She just looked like she was staring at me for the sake of staring- kind of like the window.
I stared back.
She broke eye contact, and turned back towards the window. There was an expression in her eyes, right before she turned away. I couldn't make out what it was though. Her mysterious (or, more mysterious than usual) persona aroused my curiosity. But there was no point in trying to get any more out of Nagato, if she considered the conversation finished.
After staring at the back of her head for another few seconds, I gave up and took Haruhi's heater, dragging it to my table. I glanced over at Nagato, wondering if I should offer this up to her, but thought better of it as soon as I looked up. She probably wasn't even feeling any discomfort from the cold. Might as well save the breath, and not interrupt her daydreams. With that thought, I put my head on the table. I vaguely remembered some kind of order from Haruhi about cleaning this dump up, but I was too tired to care. Besides, Nagato's perfect, synchronized breathing was like a lullaby, luring me to sleep.
I closed my eyes.
5:34 pm JST | MkyWy Sector (306,209) | Planet Delta
Deep within the multiplex data streams and encryption networks of the Integrated Data Sentient Entity, a movement was felt, and dimensions parted as Organization X assembled itself. Zettabytes (One zettabyte equals approximately 100 million terabytes, or 2^70 bytes) of information passed between its various entities, as they computed various scenarios faster than the speed of thought. Finally, a decision reached, the organization split and parted ways, pausing only to send a short command line to a particular Humanoid Interface.
5:35 pm JST | MkyWy Sector (124, 650) | Planet Delta
[message= code command line]
[priority= double red]
Hope you enjoyed that- I'll upload the next chapter as soon as the muse hits. Until then, thanks for reading.