Suzumiya Haruhi no Barakeru no Koto

On the desk opposite her bed, Suzumiya Haruhi kept a precious photograph. She remembered Kyon's idiotic, prematurely gray goon of a friend with the camera, which was why it was at an off angle and slightly blurry, but that didn't matter so much when she woke. By the light of dawn, the picture of two girls and two young men flanking her, striking the same pose in unison, was everything she had hoped for from high school.

With the aid of her moe mascot, genius bookworm, clever vice-president and—by far her favorite—the mule-stubborn point man, she carried on her search for the extraordinary. Sure, it hadn't turned up any results yet, but then, it had only been a few months, and she could not deny they'd had their share of fun along the way.

Only one thing bothered her: sometimes … only sometimes, she would look at that picture and wonder if she had not met them all before somehow, if there was more to this than chance or her own whims. But she would dismiss those thoughts as morning grogginess clouding her reason. It was just the familiar feeling that exemplified her bonds with this, her S.O.S. Brigade.

It had to be, right?

What else could it be?

… do you want to know?

Chapter 1, Part 1

Certain days carry an irrefutable sense of destiny to them, something etched into the fabric of the universe that mere mortals, for all their power and pride, must simply bow down and accept. For today, Haruhi's destiny was to have a splitting headache.

At first, she was determined to face it stoically, maintaining her usual disaffected stare out the classroom window, answering a question when called upon with her trademark flippancy. The latter gesture had the added affect of grating at Kyon's nerves, yet another minor victory in her ongoing efforts to … well, if she were being honest, she didn't really know why she liked pestering him so much, perhaps because he was just so very Kyon all the time.

To her bitter disappointment, neither feigned disinterest nor any amount of Kyon drew the headache's attention from her. Instead, she felt worse for her efforts, having further filled her cramped skull with the necessary thoughts. Though she loathed it, she eventually capitulated to an honorable surrender and asked to be excused to the nurse's office. As if to mock her, the dull pain subsided the moment she set foot out of the classroom, only to surge back with a vengeance after her next step.

Her eyes followed the ground as she walked, palm pressed against her forehead in a vain massaging effort until she heard footsteps in the hallway. Looking up, she saw Koizumi Itsuki approaching her, a saggy-eyed pensiveness in place of his usual mysterious smile. For a moment, her brigade chief instincts rushed to the fore, and she vowed to restore his spirits. No sooner did she open her mouth to call him than he was gone.

She paused, looked over her shoulder, then ahead again. She was so certain she had just seen the boy not two meters away from her, sulking, where now there was only empty air. Her headache throbbed to remind her it was still there behind her eyes, and she felt a fool; her headache was distracting her and muddling her senses, surely that was all. The thought of a nurse's office bed grew more inviting by the second.