Golden Week ended without much in the way of incidents. Haruhi seemed depressed that she never did find that underground cloning facility, but when we left Tsuruya's mansion, she still had a smile on her face.
And then life returned to normal, or at least as normal as it gets when you're a member of the illicit school club the S.O.S. Brigade.
I knocked on the door to the literature club room, which we had illegally and forcibly commandeered, and waited for a response.
"Come in! It's all right."
Asahina's soothing voice beckoned me inside. When I opened the club door, I was greeted to a long awaited sight of the perfect girl in her maid costume, carrying a tray of tea cups.
"Oh, good day, Kyon. Here you go."
She handed me my daily cup of tea. Truly there must be a god if I could be so blessed to experience such a sight on a daily basis.
"Well, you certainly seem to be in a good mood."
On the other hand, I still had to deal with his smiling face.
Koizumi sat at the center table, honing his lackluster chess skills. But I suppose even this was a welcome sight, for now. It was just another sign that things were as they should be.
"Care for a game to pass the time?" Koizumi asked me.
I shook my head. "No thanks. I've something to take care of."
"Very well then, perhaps next time."
Instead, I dropped my bag in the corner and pulled up a chair next to Nagato who was as statuesque as ever.
"So, no one remembers anything, huh?"
She nodded gently as I watched Koizumi try to explain the finer details of chess to an enraptured Asahina. Good luck learning anything from him.
"That's probably for the best," I noted. I preferred everyone this way.
Nagato gave no response. Not that I really expected one. She's come a long way from when we first met, but I doubt she'll ever be much of a conversationalist. But that's also fine by me. In fact, seeing her back to her old self, reading alone, was therapeutic in a way that compared to Asahina's fine, fine tea.
"Any response from your superiors?"
"The consensus of the Integrated Data Sentient Entity is that several days ago, a burst of raw data from two worlds resulted in the return of the consciousness of the involved sentient beings to their respected physical forms. The root cause of the data transmission is unknown."
"Is that so?"
I didn't have the nerve to tell her that I knew the source of the "data burst."
At that moment, the door flew open.
"Heyo! Let's get ready! Everyone on your feet, right now!"
That loud, rude voice would belong to none other than Suzumiya Haruhi, making her usual subtle entrance.
"Eh? Where are we going?" asked a frightened Asahina.
"There are rumors of a UFO sighting across town. We're going to wait until dark and see if we can signal it!"
Haruhi looked over at me.
"Hey, what are you smiling at? Quit it. It makes you look like an idiot."
But I didn't stop.
"I said quit it! ...Oh, that does it. Penalty! Penalty! Kyon, you now have to pay for all the drinks we buy on the way over!"
As we all prepared to leave, Haruhi added more and more insane requests to my punishment, but I just smiled.
It was good to be home.