Well, here we were. Four long years, just for this. We, the SOS Brigade were up on the stage, on graduation day. And by the entire SOS Brigade, I really do mean that. Haruhi managed to get Mikuru to come for our graduation, even though she had already been out of school for a year. For a miraculous reason, Haruhi was on the podium as valedictorian, giving a speech the the entire student body. Half of them looked completely confused, while the other half—in which I was included—was dozing off.
To everyone's "surprise", Haruhi had the highest grade average of her whole grade, so she was asked to do the graduation speech for her whole school. Of course, what the faculty didn't know was that this would turn out to be a bad idea. It was Haruhi, though, what did they expect?
First of all, Haruhi had insisted on stretching her speech time from the usual five minutes to unlimited. The faculty wouldn't budge, but here they were, ten minutes into her speech, showing no signs of stopping any time soon. I wish she would though, I'm dying of boredom, and I'm catching some of the strangest parts of her speech.
"—four years have been full of excitement and cheer for the entire student body, just as the SOS Brigade had planned!"
Yeah, for you, maybe, but I'm so sure about the rest of us.
"With all the—Kyon, did you say something?"
Note to self: don't accidentally say things out loud.
But continuing with Haruhi and her effective manipulative ways, she had insisted on taking her whole brigade up with her onto the stage. All of us. What were we, anyway, just for show? Mikuru was probably only up there for that reason, she wasn't even supposed to be "graduating"… again.
Apparently, the faculty was beginning to change their mind, but, Haruhi being Haruhi, she managed to secure her position as valedictorian. I was the only person who was actively protesting going up on the stage itself, but Koizumi had managed to convince everyone to go on the stage "to offer her some support". Bastard.
It didn't seem so bad being up here, however, so as long as I didn't have to say anything. All that hope went away as soon as Koizumi turned to me and mumbled, "If Haruhi makes you get up on the podium, what will you say?"
"Don't say that, or it'll actually happen." I then looked at Haruhi, just to make sure she didn't hear anything to get any ideas, just to see her turn around and make eye contact. She then said, "Now! Now that I've finished my speech, I believe Kyon here has something to say! How about you come up now, talk to all these lovely people!"
Oh, God, help me now. "They look half asleep..." The implications of that hope didn't even sink in until Haruhi pushed me onto the podium anyway.
I looked over at Koizumi. This is all your fault, and you should be ashamed. Koizumi just smiled and shrugged. At least he wouldn't have to be saying anything, the lucky bastard.
Mikuru gave me a small smile for good luck. Bless her for doing this for Haruhi. Yuki was just there, reading. She would look up at me and Haruhi occasionally, however, and I swear her eyes were a slight shade brighter. Great, even our quiet little good-girl alien wasn't thinking of helping me.
I finally turned around to face the crowd, who had been watching me for the minute or so I had been looking at everyone behind me.
After the horrific "speech" I made, we all made our way back to our old clubroom, just for old times. It obviously wasn't the same, however; the blackboards were erased, the tables and chairs were packed up, the room was looking neater than ever before, the costumes and outfits were no longer on a rack, but rather stored in a basket by the door, all of the books were placed neatly into a box with the name "Yuki Nagato" printed on the side.
Weren't those books the property of the school? I don't think it matters, we haven't had a literary club in over four years anyway.
"So, what are your plans for after... all this? During the summer, I mean."
Haruhi attempted to be as enthusiastic as usual, but the falter in her sentence made us more aware of how this badly this split this was affecting her. Naturally, we all exchanged their contact information—phones numbers, addresses, e-mails—again, seeing as this time it was all of us leaving, and not just Mikuru. We all knew that not being able to see each other everyday would be a huge impact on all of us, even if all we really did was sit around. Take last year. Despite her trying her best to visit after schools, we had missed a crucial part of our SOS Brigade with Mikuru gone.
According to Koizumi, that event caused enough closed spaces for him for a week.
God, I miss her tea. Haruhi tried to fill the role of a cute, bumbling, tea-making maid for a week. Don't tell anyone, but she looks amazing in the maid outfit. She got frustrated after realizing that her tea was not obviously as good as Mikuru's. Ah well, I appreciated the effort anyway.
Just to fill the awkward silence and to keep up his stupid appearance, Koizumi smiled a small smile and said, "I was thinking of maybe going to visit my cousins and extended family I haven't seen in a while. I'm aware that they miss me quite a bit, I'd be lying if I said the feeling wasn't mutual. I'll actually be leaving to visit them in an hour or so; I'll be back, though, don't worry." The end of his sentence was punctuated with a small laugh.
Liar. He's probably going to go to a closed space soon. The quicker you leave, the bigger you'll make them, you know? Haruhi wants to keep everyone here for as long as possible.
"Well, I hope you have fun, Itsuki! How about you, Mikuru? And that café you started last year?" Wait, Mikuru started a café? I've really got to visit that. Was I told that? I would have visited earlier if I knew. Tsuruya was in it, too, and I've got to admit, I missed her a bit too. Her energy matched Haruhi's, but most of the time it wasn't overbearing.
Haruhi turned to Yuki, and asked her what she was planning to do. Yuki stared at her like she didn't understand the question. Ah, Yuki... make something up. Quickly. "I am not able to answer that question at this moment." That works too, I guess.
"Well, if you want, you can always travel the world with me!" Haruhi grabbed Yuki's hands and thrust it up into the air. Yuki looked confused, then said, "Perhaps." That answer seemed satisfying to her, at least.
Haruhi then turned to me. Oh boy, how do I answer this. I could say I'm going to... I don't know, play with my sister, or with Shamisen. Hang out with Taniguchi and Kunikada, or go to the beach, or—
"Kyon, you wanna go with me?"
—go to Mikuru's café or wait, what?
"Wait, what?" Haruhi looked frustrated. "Do you or do you not?" Can you just tell me already? You're not making this any easier. "Do I or do I not what?"
"You know fully well what I'm talking about! Don't play dumb to your Brigade Chief!" Koizumi glanced at his cellphone, probably waiting for it to ring at any minute. Sucks for you, Koizumi. Hahaha.
But, about Haruhi...Time of month? "Sorry, I was... uh..." What am I supposed to say, Oh, hi Haruhi, I'm sorry I didn't listen very well. I was thinking about pretending to tell you I was going to playing with my annoying little sister and a talking calico cat over the summer? Really.
Haruhi hit me on the head, rather lightly than what I was used to however. I looked up and saw a genuine, nice smile on her face. Well. This was unusual. "Travel the world. Duh." She said that like I was supposed to know this.
I didn't really know how to answer this. On one hand, I would have loved to go. I wanted to get out of this place anyway, and see the world in a fresh new the other hand, Haruhi. And that argument was double-sided too—there was the "Yes-I'd-love-to-go-with-Haruhi-because-I-may-have-been-in-denial-for-the-past-four-years" (if you know what I mean), and the No-because-Haruhi-can-do-disturbing-things-to-a-man's-pride".
The yes side was winning. I looked over to Mikuru, Yuki, and Koizumi. They were all telling me to say yes, because regrettably, my choice could save or destroy the world. Of course.
Not that I really needed any sort of prompt. I was willing to go on this trip with her, anyway, believe it or not. So I weighed out all the pros and cons as quick as I honestly could. Well, for one thing, there'd be the chance to see the world. And I'd spend a month or two with Haruhi. And I could brag about seeing the world. But then again, my parents might make me take a "parent supervisor" with me. Or my little sister. And then I'd be with Haruhi.
So basically, the pros outweigh the cons. According to Haruhi, however, I was taking too long to decide, because right there and then she hit me on the head. "Now are you gonna answer me, or do you need another hit?!"
Or not. "Yeah, sure, why not?"
"I don't care, you're coming anyway!" Thank you for listening to me, Haruhi, I appreciate it. After this little scene was over, Mikuru claps a little bit, and Yuki seems as stoic as ever. Koizumi, who has been flipping his phone open and closed nervously throughout this whole exchange, finally gets a call and almost misses it. "What? Oh, hi, sorrry for the delay... Just here, with some of my friends. I'll be coming, don't worry. Things are okay there? Okay. That's good." He flips the phone again, and tells all of us that his "extended family was getting worried that he wasn't able to come".
I take it that the closed space is getting under control?
Koizumi seemed to sense my question and nodded slightly. I turn back to Haruhi, who stares at Koizumi weirdly and opens her mouth, as if she was about to ask him something. She probably decided against it, so she turned back to me.
"You hear me, Kyon?! You're coming with me, whether you like it or not!"
I gave up. "And if I do like it?" Her enthusiasm rose more with this. "I'll make you like it more!"
Oh, boy. What will my parents think if I tell them I spontaneously decided to take a world-wide trip with a girl my age?
"We'll explain, don't worry." We? Don't you mean you'll be explaining all this? "We'll figure out all the kinks and fine print later on, it'll be fine!" My parents might not think that, considering the circumstances.
Wait a second.
"Hey, aren't you bringing the rest of the Brigade along?" I avoided saying names. Koizumi's name was probably going to end up said with annoyance, compared to the other two. "It could be a Brigade trip. To enjoy our last summer together?"
Yes, let's quickly make up semi-false reasons to keep Haruhi in check.
Her face lit up. "Good idea, Kyon! For once. You get an extra two points for that marvelous idea!" Gee. Two points. That's an awful lot, compared to Koizumi's ten million. What are all these points for, anyway?
She turned to the rest of them. Yuki had opened the box and taken a book and had started to read. She probably got tired of observing this whole scene. Koizumi was leaning on the window, flipping his phone again. He needs to stop that, it's annoying as hell. Mikuru was sleeping. She looks absolutely adorable, but wasn't she clapping a few minutes ago? How can someone tire out that easily?
"Congratulations, everyone!" Mikuru's head snappen up with a squeal. "We're going on a world-wide trip this summer! You're all going, no exceptions!"
Haruhi smiled at me, and I felt genuinely excited. This could actually be a fun trip, with Haruhi, Mikuru, and Yuki. And Koizumi. Unfortunately, you can't forget him...
"So, Haruhi, when are we leaving?"
She scoffed at me. "Tomorrow. Duh."
I glanced at Koizumi out of the corner of my eye and looked at the phone. I think I'll be needing that soon to call my parents to explain why I'll be missing tomorrow. And the next two months. They'd cave in, I know it, even if it means I have to sneak out in the middle of the night with a suitcase, a passport, clothes, and money before they wake up the next morning.
I can't exactly turn down Haruhi on this offer, anyway. She wouldn't want me to.
I don't think I'd want to either.
AN: I hate how this ends. I honestly had no clue how to end it, sorry... it sort of just drags on, doesn't it? I couldn't think of a good title either :$ I'm not very good with naming, am I? Well, I've just joined here, and this is my first fic. So constructive crit is really appreciated here. :)