Author's notes: Well, I'm finally back! How long has it been, almost EIGHT MONTHS? What the hell happened to me in all that time? Well, it's complicated.
First, I had started up a stay at home business that took up a lot of time and didn't really take off. Next, I came down with pneumonia, and was practically bedridden for two weeks. Then, I had computer problems that took me a while to fix. And all this was just within the first two month!
After that...well I don't have any excuses there. I guess that I had spent so much time not working on the fic that I found it difficult to want to work on it. It was a combination of writer's block and procrastination. I ended up spending a large amount of time watching YouTube videos and playing games like Skyrim and Star Wars: the Old Republic. I kept making excuses like "I need to reread the light novels first" or "I'm way too rusty now" or "I doubt anyone even cares anymore".
However, with every passing day, I realized that I was letting a great opportunity slip by. I knew I had a really good story to tell, and it would be a huge waste to not tell it. Finally one day, I got the inspiration I needed to continue. I'll explain what it is at the end of the chapter.
In any case, I suspect that a number of you have reread the last four chapters. If you haven't, I recommend that you do, as I'm sure you've forgotten a lot in the last eight months. Anyway, here it is, the next exciting chapter!
It was hot. Really, really hot. The kind of hot that sucks one's soul directly out of their mouth if they're not fortunate to have air conditioning. And lucky for me, my school lacked anything resembling an air conditioning system. It's times like this that I wished Cornelius Drebbel had managed to mass produce his idea for turning summer into winter. Air conditioning technology might have been advanced enough for this building to have it when it was built.
I turned around to look at Haruhi, who was also being beaten down by the heat. As I watched a drop of sweat roll down her head, I sighed as I took my notebook and started fanning her.
Haruhi blinked in surprise when she noticed the welcome feeling of a cooling breeze. Her expression was soon replaced with pure joy. "Yes! More! That feels so good!" She then raised an eyebrow. "Why aren't you fanning yourself?"
"It wasn't working for me," I said. "Besides, it's the least I could do after what you did last Friday and yesterday."
Haruhi looked away from me. "Well, it's not like I had a choice. What kind of Brigade Chief would I be to not take care of my members?"
"So you didn't just give me special treatment because I'm your boyfriend?" I felt a little disappointed.
"Of course not! If it had been anyone else, I would have done the same! That being said, you being sick was very inconvenient! I had planned to reveal some important information during our meeting that day!"
"Better get to it today then," I said with a smile.
"By the way, Kyon. I want you to bring those two idiots to the clubroom!"
What? Are you ordering them to come? What if they say no?
"They won't! I know I can count on them since they don't have any lives! They'll be bored and itching for something to do!"
That's kind of a low blow, Haruhi. I mean, I'm sure it's true for Taniguchi, but from what I understand Kunikida is likely to spend his summer break studying...okay, so he doesn't have a life either. "Whatever. I'll ask them during lunch."
"Good! I'll make sure Tsuruya-san also comes, too. We'll need everyone to make it for my upcoming plan to work out!"
"I look forward to it," I said. I could picture it now; the whole Brigadewould go off somewhere out in the middle of nowhere, just like that island from last year. Maybe we'll go to the Kirishima National Park, and spend a couple days enjoying the hot springs there. The thought of enjoying the beautiful scenery there combined with having all the alone time I could ever want with Haruhi? Amazing~! That would be my idea of a vacation...so long as there aren't any volcanic eruptions to ruin the trip. It would just be my luck if that happened.
Unfortunately, I couldn't enjoy my fantasy for long. At that moment, I was extremely stressed out, thanks to a certain announcement I got last Saturday evening. "I just hope that whatever your plans involve won't be ruined by what happens this weekend."
"Relax, I know you're worried about your parents visiting on Saturday. This won't be a problem."
"Aren't you worried about them coming over?"
"Why would I be? I've met your mom several times and got along with her fine." She then put a hand on her chin. "Now that I think about it, though, I've never met your dad. He was always working whenever I came to your old place."
"That's not a surprise. He's always been a bit of an absentee father, not that it ever really bothered me. I'm surprised that he's coming, too."
"Well, I'm sure he's worried about his son. He hasn't seen you in months, after all."
"I just hope they get along with your parents."
Haruhi appeared confused. "Why wouldn't they?"
...That's a good one, Haruhi. You almost had me there...except by now I should know better. You do realize that my parents are relatively normal people, right? They're the kind of normal that would probably be seriously put off by your family's bizarreness. I know you and your dad can fake normalcy for a short period of time, but I highly doubt your mom could. Saturday is going to be a disaster...
"I'm just glad I get to see your sister again," said Haruhi as she smiled brightly. "I miss her adorableness!"
And again, you ignore me. How do you do it? It's like some kind of super-power. Why are you the one who won the super-power lottery? So not fair...
It was now lunch, and I took my seat next to Taniguchi and Kunikida.
Taniguchi wasted no time in asking me annoying questions. "Where were you on Friday, man? You weren't skipping to get more study time, were you?"
"No, I got pretty sick," I said as I opened my obento."It's been a while since I felt so bad."
"Did you have to go to the doctor?" asked Kunikida.
"Thankfully, no. I got over it pretty quick. Too bad I probably bombed my make-up exam."
"What a waste," said Taniguchi as he stuffed some fried egg in his mouth. "If my dad wasn't such a hard-ass, I'd totally call in sick in order to get another day to study. How could you bomb it?"
"I just had trouble concentrating."
Taniguchi gave me a goofy grin. "I get it; you were missing your girlfriend, right?"
Dammit, I hate it when he sees through me. "It was just weird, okay?"
"Sure," said Taniguchi as he suddenly became serious. "Look, it's great that you two are getting along so well and all, but I feel I need to give you a little advice."
You are the last person on Earth I'd come to for advice on dating. I'd sooner ask a statue of Buddha than ask you anything related to the matter.
"Look, I know that things seem to be going pretty great between you and Suzumiya-san, but the one thing you shouldn't forget is that not very long ago, she dumped guys left and right. I'm impressed that you've managed to last as long as you have, but you shouldn't get complacent."
I swallowed some rice and smirked. "I'm not worried."
Taniguchi narrowed his eyes. "I'm serious, Kyon. Don't take what you have for granted. It could be taken away in an instant."
I continued to smile while I took another bite of my lunch. "After what happened yesterday, I'd say that things are just fine."
Taniguchi raised an eyebrow. "Why? What happened yesterday?"
Indeed, what didhappen yesterday? Haruhi and I went on a date, and it was awesome. First, Haruhi and I returned to that movie that we were at while we were spying on Nagato and her date. This was largely because neither of us actually paid the movie any attention the night before, and we felt that we missed out on what was actually a pretty good movie. It was pretty scary, and although I knew Haruhi was pretty good at dealing with fear, I did not complain when she squeezed my hand a bit too tightly during some of the more intense scenes.
However, the best part of the whole movie was the fact that I DIDN'T HAVE TO PAY FOR IT! It was a miracle!
Of course, if my date had ended there, I wouldn't have too much to brag about. After the movie ended, we went to a sushi restaurant where I was able to stuff my face to my heart's content. In hindsight, it was far from being the best sushi I've ever had, but since I still didn't have to pay for it, it was a million times better!
I would've been content to end the date there, but just as we had left the restaurant, Haruhi suddenly had a flash inspiration as she grabbed my arm and bolted up the street. At first I was completely confused and worried when I realized that she had that mischievous smile that always meant that she was up to something. However, when we arrived at the location, her intentions became clear. It was a hotel, one that had a mixed bath. Now I'm not too clear on this, but I think I had a similar smile to Haruhi's once I realized what was going on.
In typical Haruhi fashion, we ended up sneaking into the hotel. Whether this was because Haruhi was too cheap to pay or whether she didn't have any money, I couldn't say. Normally I would be against the idea of sneaking onto private property, but given the circumstances, I would've been insane to say no.
When I made it inside the changing room, I realized that I was about to be sitting next to my girlfriend with little more than a small towel to cover each of us up. I began to panic a little bit, as this was a lot further into our relationship than we had gone before. I started to wonder if there would be a lot of people in the bath, some of whom would be old perverts. The thought of them looking at my girlfriend really pissed me. I had almost decided to give up on the whole idea when I heard an enticing voice call out to me from behind the door.
To my surprise, the bath was empty with the exception of the two of us. I saw Haruhi sitting in the water on the other side, waiting for me. She had her hair tied up in a bun and was smiling coyly. I made my way towards her while doing my best to keep my towel on. I was both relieved and disappointed to find that she was still covered up with a towel under the water. However, both feelings quickly faded when I sat next to her.
After we both got over the awkwardness of the situation, we ended up having the best make-out session we'd had yet. No, I'm not going to tell you everything that happened, but I will say that we didn't go so far as doing "this or that". This was partly because we were caught by the staff of the hotel. However, I'm not really sure how far we would have gone had things happened differently. Even with the interruption, the experience was AWESOME, so much so that I really hated having it end.
Thanks to some fast talking by Haruhi, we were fortunate enough to not have the police called on us. Unfortunately, our date had come to an abrupt end. I would be lying if I said that we were both completely satisfied, but I was happynevertheless. It made me excited about the fact that I was going to have the whole summer vacation to spend with her. Sure I would probably have to spend a week or two with my family up north, but I'd still have nearly a month with her. I couldn't wait to find out what plans she had for our trip this summer. I feel like the luckiest man alive!
"You can say that again," grunted Taniguchi as he took another bite from some of his egg. "Fine, I guess you've made your point."
"I wish I had a girlfriend," said Kunikida with an unusually high amount of melancholy. "The best experience I've had would be that mud wrestling tournament earlier this year."
"Speaking of which," I said, "Haruhi wants the both of you at our clubroom after classes are over."
"Really?" said the both of them in unison.
Taniguchi's excitement quickly faded. "Wait a minute. She's not going to force us to do anything, is she?"
"I have no idea."
"Look, it was awesome when she chose us to judge that mud wrestling thing, but most of the time when she asks us to come along, it has something to do with helping with her hair-brained schemes. If she expects me to do any work, you can tell her over my dead body."
"Suit yourself," I said, not even looking up from my lunch. I knew him well enough to know that he was all talk.
"I'll probably go," said Kunikida. "I know I said I'd help you guys out if I could. Unfortunately, my parents are pushing me into taking some classes over the summer, so I don't know how much free time I'll have."
"Seriously?" said Taniguchi, "I can't believe your parents are making you do that. You already have some of the best grades in our class."
"They keep insisting that it's for my own good."
I couldn't help but notice a small amount of weariness in his voice when he said that. Can't say I envy him.
With that, we finished our lunches in time for the fourth period to start. Even though we were still testing, this would be the last period for the day. I remembered that first year students were allowed to leave after third period and felt gypped. No, I couldn't be satisfied that the day was still shorter than usual. Thankfully, I was able to concentrate better on my tests today, so I felt confident enough that I at least passed this portion of my tests.
When we finished, Haruhi and I split up so that she could track down Tsuruya-san. While on my way towards the clubroom, I noticed that both Kunikida and Taniguchi were following me. Ha, I knew it; that idiot could never fool me! Along the way, I overheard him complaining about how hard the tests were. Damn, he's annoying.
When we arrived, I knocked on the door. However, we were politely told to wait a minute by Asahina-san, who was obviously still changing. When Taniguchi realized what was happening, his face became flush and his mouth hung open.
"Y...you mean Mikuru Asahina is changing in there right now?" He then had a dreamy expression. "What I'd give to be able to peek..."
I understand; I too would be willing to pay to peek at her changing...at least I would if I were still single. Nevertheless, while I'm around, you are strictly forbidden from performing such actions. I will beat your ass if I catch you.
Before long we were given permission to enter. We found ourselves greeted by our beautiful glamorous maid, along with Nagato, who only looked up at us briefly before looking back at her book.
"Oh, we have guests? I'll make sure to brew up some extra tea."
"Thank you very much," said Kunikida with a bow.
"Yeah, thanks ma'am!" said Taniguchi with a goofy expression.
"Oh, no problem," said Asahina-san with a sweetness rivaling that of the sweetest brown sugar. "This is my job after all."
"Kyon," said Taniguchi after placing an hand on shoulder. "Why didn't I join this club?"
Probably because you suck, and Haruhi knows it.
He narrowed his eyes. "Someone's getting a swelled head. Just remember that you're not all that special yourself."
You know, a year ago I might have agreed, but after all the nonsense I've had to deal with over the course of my time here, I've come to realize that if I wasn't at least a little special, I'd have gone insane by now. Granted, I still don't really get what is so special about me, but there is something I'm sure.
"Ah, I see we have guests," said a certain annoying esper's voice from behind me. "I apologize for not arriving sooner. Was I supposed to bring someone as well?"
"No," I said. "Just these two and Tsuruya-san. Haruhi's bringing her here as we speak."
Koizumi quickly took his seat. "I take it that Suzumiya-san wishes them to be involved with whatever she has planned for the summer?"
"I'm sure that their assistance will be most helpful."
Before I could respond, the door burst open to reveal the last two missing party members.
"Hiyo!" said both Haruhi and Tsuruya-san almost simultaneously. It's scary how similar these two can be sometimes.
"Thank you for waiting, guys," said Haruhi as she gracefully marched towards the front of the room. As expected, her smile was gleaming with all of its million-watt brightness. "As I'm sure you can see, we have a few special guests here today. Thanks for coming on such short notice!"
"No problems!" said Tsuruya-san oddly. "I always have a blast when I hang out with you guys!"
"Great! Now that we got that out of the way, we can get down to business!" Haruhi then grabbed the conductor staff and pulled it all the way out. She then repositioned the whiteboard so everyone could see. "Okay, everyone. Listen up! As you all know, summer vacation is just around the corner. I'm sure some of you are already anticipating what activity has been planned for all of us to do. Last year, the Brigade all went to a lone island and solved a phony murder mystery."
Ah, the lone island. A wonderful getaway location, all provided to us by Koizumi and is esper organization. It was where I met Arakawa-san, Mori-san, and the Tamaru brothers. Good times. I wonder where we'll go this time. Man I really hope it's the Kirishima National Park! Come on~!
Haruhi continued. "While I admit that experience was a lot of fun, this summer I want to do something different. Instead of just going on a vacation, I thought we could do something more productive together!"
...Wait...what? You mean we're not traveling somewhere for our first week of summer break?
"Let me ask everyone. How free are all of you this summer?"
Everyone except me was looking at each other in confusion before answering.
"I might have to spend some time with my family abroad in early August," said Tsuruya-san, "but it should only be a couple weeks."
"I'm supposed to be taking classes in the evenings," said Kunikida, "but I should be available in the mornings and afternoon."
"I...I'm free," said Asahina-san.
"I'm expecting to see some relatives over the summer," said Koizumi, "however, since they'll be visiting my place, I should be available for whatever you need."
"I'm free," said Nagato without looking up from her book.
"Well," said Taniguchi, "I'd love to help you out with whatever you're planning, but I'm afraid my whole summer is totally booked."
"Good! You're free too then!" said Haruhi.
Taniguchi was left speechless for a moment before he frowned and looked away. Bullseye! Man, he's a bad liar.
"Great! That accounts for everyone!" said Haruhi.
Uh...I haven't answered you yet.
"Oh, quit it, Kyon! I already know that you don't have any plans!"
You don't know that! I could have lots of plans...maybe...
Haruhi slapped the whiteboard with the conductor staff. "It's settled then. This summer, we're all going to work together on the SOS Brigade's biggest project yet!"
PROJECT! You've got to be kidding me! Have you've lost your mind...again? I looked around the room, and with the exception of Tsuruya-san, everyone was looking less than excited. Clearly their reaction was no surprise. I mean, who would want to throw away their entire summer break on a project?
"May I ask what this project is?" said Koizumi.
"Excellent question, Koizumi-kun!" said Haruhi as she quickly opened up her bag and pulled out a large piece of folded up paper. After she unfolded it, I realized that it was actually a hand-drawn poster. She then taped the poster onto the whiteboard. Once she was out of the way, I read the message that was written in multiple colored markers:
"The Revenge of Nagato Yuki Episode 00"
...No...nonononononononono NO! This is a joke, right? One big elaborate joke that you came up with to mess with us. Yeah, that has to be it. It's not like she completely forgot how badly things went with the last movie. I'm sure she'll tell us "Fooled ya!" at any second now...
Haruhi slapped the poster with the staff. "We're going to be shooting the sequel to the movie we worked on last year!"
...any second now...
"I realized last year that it would be difficult to go through the whole summer without doing anything. There were some points where I started to feel like I wasted the whole summer doing nothing. However, I wanted to change that this year. By working on this movie now, we'll definitely be able to end our summer break with a real feeling of accomplishment!"
...she's not joking, is she?
Asahina-san nervously lifted her arm. "W...why are we going to work on it now instead of before the school festival?"
"Another good question! The main reason is because I realized that we didn't have enough time to do the shooting properly last year. We ended up having to rush the ending because we ran out of time. With the whole summer to work with, we'll have plenty of time to shoot all the scenes!"
I should have known better. Haruhi was always dead serious. My perfect summer was ruined!
Taniguchi raised his hand. "Hold on a second. I remember last year when you made me and Kunikida come along to work on your movie. We were only in one scene! Why'd you ask us if we're available all summer long? Are you giving us a bigger role?"
"Don't worry, you two will be given more screen time, along with some other responsibilities!"
"Wait, what responsibili-"
"Next question!" said Haruhi.
Asahina-san nervously raised her hand again. "W...will I have to wear that costume again?"
"Of course you will, Mikuru-chan" said Haruhi as she wrapped her arms around the petite maid. "It's a requirement for the character. Wouldn't you think it was weird if Sailor Moon fought crime without her sailor scout uniform?"
The main difference here is that...you know what, I'm too depressed to say anything. Forget it...
Tsuruya-san bounced up and down with her question. "Ooo, what's my role going to be?"
"Don't worry. You'll find out tomorrow. I'll have all the details by then! Anymore questions?"
Before anyone else could answer, there was a knock on the door. Who the heck could that be?
"Come in!" said Haruhi.
The door slowly opened to reveal a surprising sight. Standing at the doorway was none other than the extremely tall and imposing Student Council President. I also noticed behind him was the slim, fragile figure of the Student Council Secretary, Emiri Kimidori.
"I hope I'm not interrupting anything," said the SCP while pushing his glasses up to his face with two fingers.
"What do you want?" said Haruhi with a tiny amount of hostility. It should be noted that she was still holding onto Asahina-san.
"Is that any way to address your sempai?" said the SCP. "As always, your lack of manners is most embarrassing."
He then walked inside followed by Kimidori-san. I noticed immediately that Nagato's and Kimidori-san's eyes locked onto one another. This was no surprise as she was a human interface as well. I wondered what they were secretly telling one another.
"Who said you could come in?" said Haruhi.
The SCP scoffed. "As the Student Council President, I have the authority to enter any clubroom that I please. The Literary Club is no exception."
It was at this point that I turned towards Koizumi, who was happily smiling away as if enjoying a popular play at the theater. By now, I already knew that the SCP was nothing more than a pawn of Koizumi and his Organization. If the president's here, than that meant that Koizumi already knew why and what he was going to say. Just what the hell are you scheming, Koizumi?
"Well," said Haruhi, "you're obviously here for a reason. Spit it out already!"
"As you wish," said the SCP as he reached behind himself towards Kimidori-san. She removed a disk from a folder she was carrying and handed it to him. She never even took her eyes off of Nagato. Creepy.
He then held the disk up next to his head. "Do you know what this is?"
Haruhi raised an eyebrow. "No. What is it?"
"It may be in your best interests to find out," he said as he held it out.
Haruhi finally released her grip on Asahina-san and cautiously grabbed the disk. She eyed it carefully before looking back at the SCP. "What's on here?"
"Place it in your computer and find out."
Haruhi looked at the disk one last time before she made her way towards the computer. She placed the disk in the tray and closed it.
"You may wish to reposition the screen so that everyone can see," said the SCP. "Trust me when I say that it'll be of interest to them as well."
Haruhi narrowed her eyes at him before reluctantly complying. "If this is anything bad, I'll make sure you regret it."
"You'll see soon enough."
It took a few seconds for the computer to run the disk, but once it did, the video player quickly turned on, giving us a view of a recording from what appeared to be a camcorder. It didn't take long for any of us to realize what was being recorded. Right before our eyes was the whole field for our school, completely covered in mud.
It was footage of the mud wrestling tournament we held only a couple months back.
"Oh god!" said Taniguchi as he watched it. His expression was a mix of terror and excitement.
Kunikida wasn't doing much better. He was covering his mouth while staring at the screen.
Tsuruya-san started laughing hysterically. "You've got to be kidding me! I can't believe we all did that, nyoro!"
The SCP scowled at us. "What I cannot believe is that all of you would have the audacity to hold such a disgraceful and distasteful activity on school grounds. How you managed to hide it from the school officials is a mystery. Clearly, security needs to be stepped up here."
Haruhi was completely silent during the whole video. She watched like a hawk before it swooped down on its prey. The video itself zoomed in to show the action up closer, giving clear shots of everyone involved: the entire Brigade, Tsuruya-san, Taniguchi, Kunikida, even Sakanaka-san. Each of our faces could be seen in the recording, despite the picture quality being somewhat crappy. We were busted. Completely and totally screwed. If this was one of those visual novel games, then we were about to get the "Bad End" ... too bad I wasn't actually worried.
On the contrary, I was very much enjoying what was on the screen. It reminded me of all those pleasant memories of seeing four beautiful women battling it out and getting dirty in order find out who was the best of the best. Good times. And no, I do not remember when I was forced to dress like a girl and battle against Koizumi. That memory was completely deleted from my mind...except for the fact that I beat him!
"As you can see," said the SCP, "I have all the evidence I need in order to annihilate your pathetic Brigade once and for all. After I show this recording to the school officials, you'll be lucky if any of you escape expulsion."
Both Taniguchi and Kunikida screamed and backed into the wall, pale as a ghosts.
"Y...you wouldn't," said Taniguchi.
"M...my parents would kill me!" said Kunikida.
"You should have thought of that before you participated in such an act." said the SCP with absolute coldness.
Haruhi, without saying a word, stopped the video and removed the disk from the computer. Then in an explosion of anger, she snapped the disk in half in her hands, causing small fragment to fly all over the room. Careful with that! You'll take out someone's eye!
"You're wasting your time," said the SCP. "If you think that was my only copy of that footage, you're seriously underestimating me."
Haruhi dropped the pieces of the disk and rushed up towards the president, grabbing him by the jacket. "Where's the rest of it?"
The SCP smirked. "Like I would tell you. Why would I when I have you right where I want you."
Haruhi stared at the SCP intensely, as if hoping that her stare could intimidate him into doing her will. He didn't back down, however, and so she eventually calmed down and she closed her eyes. "Fine then. What are your demands?"
The SCP raised an eyebrow. "Demands?"
"Yes, demands! If your goal was to ruin my Brigade, you would have already turned this in! Obviously, you want something!"
"How very perceptive, Suzumiya-kun," said the SCP as he grabbed her wrists "Mind letting go?"
Haruhi reluctantly complied and backed away a couple steps.
"Indeed, I have a proposition," he said as he readjusted his jacket and tie. "By now you should know that I'm a man with many resources, and I know how to use those resources. As I'm sure you're aware, I enjoy the position that have as head of the Student Council. I have used my position to enact a number of policy decisions that I feel have improved the school environment for our students. However, it has recently come to my attention that my decisions have been...polarizing. While many students have agreed with my policies, other less...cooperative students have found my approach to be overbearing. They preferred the old council's policy of overlooking a number of violations of the school rules."
"What's your point?" said Haruhi, clearly unimpressed.
"My point is that I'm up for reelection this November during the next school festival, and while it's still perfectly possible for me to win, with such polarizing opinions coming from the students, my election campaign is still at risk. I prefer not to take any chances."
"So you want to use the Brigade's publicity to aid your campaign?" said Koizumi. "A clever plan you've come up with."
Liar! I'm quite sure that the one who came up with this plan is you.
"There is more," said the SCP. "You see, while our students are on break, they slowly become complacent. They become too used to a lifestyle without school, and so when they return, their moral is at an all-time low. I wish to do something about that."
I heard Tsuruya-san struggling to keep herself from laughing. Did she realize just how ridiculous this whole scenario was? I wouldn't doubt it. After all, it was like something out of a bad shoujo manga.
"My plan is relatively simple..." He then stood in a dramatic pose, like that of an evil villain revealing his evil plan. "I will hold a concert for the whole school the day before school break ends...and you will be the ones who will set it up!"
A concert? That was your whole plan? Really? I turned towards Koizumi, who continued to smile annoyingly. What the hell were you thinking? Why did you go through all the trouble to set this up when you knew Haruhi already had plans? Did he not know, or did he assume that her plans were different? Ugh, I don't get it.
"A concert, huh?" said Haruhi with a smirk. "Interesting idea."
"I'm glad you agree," said the SCP as he began to encircle the room. "I heard not long ago that several members of your Brigade had experience with musical instrument. Is that true?"
"So even you know about our musical talents, huh?" said Haruhi.
No doubt Koizumi already told him about the time when Haruhi tried to turn the Brigade into a band. I was reminded of that stupid interdimensional worm that made it so that we heard that one song Haruhi had composed over and over again. I'd love to have that happen again.
"Your talents will be adequate," he said. "I will also expect you to find a venue to hold your concert, as well as take care of the financing and promotions for it."
"In other words, you expect us to do everything," said Haruhi. "Why can't we just use the school auditorium?"
"The school would not allow me access to it over the summer. They also would not allow me to use school funds to pay for it. Even my authority has its limits. However, I still fully intend to overcome my current limitations."
Wait a minute, we have to pay for this concert, too? "Hold on! How do you expect us to pay for all this?"
"Is that a problem?" said the SCP. "I figured with your capacity for...fund-raising that you would have no difficulty coming up with the money to pay for everything."
Dammit, I should have known that stupid mud wrestling tournament was going to bite us in the ass.
"And what happens if we refuse?" asked Haruhi. "We already have plans for something to do over the summer, like shooting the sequel to the firm that we made for last year's school festival."
"Really?" said the SCP in a way that subtly showed that he wasn't expecting that response. He eyes quickly darted towards Koizumi, as if waiting for a line. Koizumi moved his head and lips so lightly, silently and quickly that no one would have noticed him if they weren't paying attention. However, the message was somehow conveyed, and the SCP regained his composure. "You're still intent on resisting me, even after I have you in this position? You are most stubborn, aren't you?"
"Of course. Six weeks is a lot of time. Maybe we could just hunt down all of your electronic devices and remove the video from all of them." She then pointed at Nagato. "Yuki-chan here is a master with computers. She could totally do it!"
"I'm well aware of the capabilities of Nagato-kun. Which is why I've already passed the file along to a number of other members of the Student Council. Even with your skills, you would never be able track them all down before summer was over. And even if you did, you'd still have to track down the original donor."
Haruhi got in his face. "Who is it? Who's the guy who gave you that footage?"
"The donor's name was anonymous. Even if I did know it, it would be strictly confidential. Seems to me that you have more enemies than you realize."
Haruhi had a look of deep thought, as if trying to figure out who it could be. I already had a pretty good idea as to who it was, if indeed it wasn't Koizumi himself.
"Face it, Suzumiya-kun. You have no choice but to comply with my wishes. It's either that, or you must face expulsion!" He then pulled out a business card from his jacket and handed it to Haruhi. "I expect to be informed of your progress over the course of the summer."
Haruhi stared at the card for a few seconds, as if studying every detail. She then placed that card in the pocket of her skirt.
The SCP turned around and headed for the door. "Have a wonderful summer break."
"Please!" screamed Taniguchi as he ran in front of him and got on his knees. "You can't tell anyone else about this! My dad will hang me if this got out!"
The SCP coldly ignored the idiot's plea and stepped around him. "Come, Kimidori-kun."
The human interface finally snapped out of whatever trace she was in with Nagato and followed the SCP out the door. She was even polite enough to close the door behind us.
A full minute passed by with no one saying a word. Finally, Haruhi moved swiftly towards the door, opening it with a great deal of force. I was sure to follow her.
"Where are you going?" I said.
"To meet with a certain someone."
It didn't take long for me to realize that she was heading right for the computer clubroom. Ah, so she figured it out too, huh?
A second later, the door swung open as the Brigade Chief marched right towards the president of the Computer Club. She immediately grabbed him by the collar. "Where is it?"
"Where is what?" said the club president, obvious feigning ignorance.
"Don't play dumb! I know it was you! You're the one who gave the Student Council President a video recording of the mud wrestling tournament, right?"
He turned away smugly. "I don't know what you're talking about?
"Lair!" said Haruhi as she pulled him closer.
"I don't know why you would think it was me. It could have been anyone. After all, it wasn't like the security there was any good."
Haruhi gritted her teeth. I could see her clenching her fist.
Worried that she could get violent, I placed a hand on her shoulder. "Let it go. If he did do it, then it's our fault for pushing him into it." He did say that he'd get us back for ruining his date, and we never did return the computer.
Haruhi looked at me before taking a deep breath and letting him go. She then darted out of the room. Worried about what she might do next, I quickly apologized to everyone for disturbing them before running back to the clubroom.
As I got there, I saw Haruhi grabbing her bag. "It seems that we've come across some complications everyone. I have some thinking to do, so I want everyone to return here tomorrow." She then bolted out of the room without even saying a word to me. She's not mad at me, is she? What did I do?
After Haruhi left, Taniguchi and Kunikida slowly made their way out of the room, looking like professional baseball players who just lost the World Series. I sure hope that this development doesn't prevent them from helping us out this summer. I could sure use the extra help.
After they were gone, I made a motion to Koizumi indicating that I wanted to speak to him privately. We made our way towards the roof of the school, an uncomfortable silence between us. When we finally made it, I turned around and grabbed him by the shoulders. "What were you thinking?"
Koizumi smiled at me as if he was expecting this reaction. So annoying! "I know what you must be thinking. If Suzumiya-san already had plans ready for the summer, then why did I come up with this elaborate plan involving the Student Council President? The answer has mostly to do with what happened at the end of last summer."
It didn't take me long to remember what he was talking about. The last two weeks of summer, we were stuck in an endless time loop, repeating the same activities over and over all because Haruhi was dissatisfied with how the summer ended.
"As you can imagine," said Koizumi, "it would be very problematic if such an event were to happen again this year. Surely you must realize that anything that could be done to prevent it from happening again would be the best for everyone."
If I recall correctly, you weren't a very big help back then.
"Yes, that is true," he said, rubbing the back of his head, "and I've regretted that fact greatly, knowing that my incompetence was a major reason why we repeated those events so many times. This is my way of rectifying that."
"So your plan is to make Haruhi so busy over the summer that she couldn't possibly reach the end of it without feeling satisfied?"
"What about the movie? Wouldn't that be enough to keep her busy and prevent her from screwing up time again?"
I noticed a small amount of embarrassment on his face. "True, it would be. To be honest, I wasn't expecting her to reveal plans to work on the movie all summer. I only expected her to announce a trip much like we did last summer."
That's understandable. I was thinking the exact same thing. Dammit, this sucks.
It was then that I heard some chuckling nearby. When I looked around a nearby corner, I spotted the Student Council President, his glasses nowhere to be seen and with a lit cigarette in his mouth.
"Sorry, did I interrupt you guys?" said the real SCP. The guy that came into our clubroom earlier was just a facade. He pretends to be a cold, calculating villain type in front of Haruhi in order for her to feel like she has a challenge. However, whenever she wasn't around, this guy would let his real personality shine through.
"That was quite a performance you gave," I said.
"Was it?" he said as he took a drag from his cigarette. "I think I'm getting better at it every day. Did you see how those two guys responded when I said I'd turn that video over? I almost busted out laughing!"
"You didn't look like it," I said. "Must say that I'm impressed."
"And did you see that pose I gave when I revealed my plan? How corny can you get?"
"I must admit," said Koizumi, "you had me going when you did that. I don't believe that part was rehearsed."
"I was in the moment," said the SCP as he finished his cigarette. "I still can't believe I did that. The only time I messed up was when that idiot-girl said that she might refuse. I wasn't expecting that."
"You recovered well enough," I said, feeling slightly annoyed at him calling my girlfriend an idiot. Only I'm allowed to do that!
"That's right! You two are dating now, right?" He then laughed out loud. "I can't believe it."
"I'm glad you think it's funny," I said.
He waved his hand at me. "I'm sorry, it's just funny how things work out."
"Speaking of which," I said as I turned towards Koizumi, "how do you expect things to work out with this whole concert thing? Seems to me that you guys just made things more complicated."
"I would disagree," said Koizumi. "I believe this situation will be beneficial for Suzumiya-san."
Koizumi place a finger on his nose and walked around me. "You see, by introducing this dilemma to her, we've given her the opportunity to test her leadership ability. Very rarely does she every have to make a difficult decision where she has to sacrifice one goal in order to accomplish another. This experience will allow her to grow as both a leader and a person."
"How do you know that this won't end in disaster?"
"I...don't really, but I've learned to never underestimate her. I'm sure that she'll come through for us."
Of course, no matter what decision is made, it means that I'm going to have to spend the entire summer working. I hate my life sometimes.
I then had another thought. "What if she chooses not to do the concert? What will you do then?"
"That'll be easy," said the SCP. "If I remember correctly, that movie you guys made had commercials in it, right? I'll just force her to put some kind of campaign commercial in there."
"Good idea," said Koizumi. "That way, we'll be prepared no matter what decision Suzumiya-san makes."
"One last thing," I said. "What happens if we fail to put this concert together, or fail to finish shooting the movie? Wouldn't that cause Haruhi to loop time again?"
"We'll be prepared for that contingency this time around. If worse comes to worst, I'll use the resources of the Organization to aid us in any way possible. I'm also sure that Nagato-san would gladly aid us this time. She's...nowhere near as cooperative with her superiors as she used to be, and I'm sure that she would not wish to go through that experience again."
I took a deep breath, feeling relieved that things were under control. "Good. Then I guess it's all up to Haruhi then."
"Indeed," said Koizumi as he started walking towards the door. "I'm sure that Suzumiya-san is wondering where you are, so you better get home soon."
"Yeah," I said as I started to follow.
"Me too," said the SCP as he got off from the wall. "Time to go back to work."
It was then that I had an idea. I turned towards the president. "Hold on a second. You don't happen to have another copy of video on you, do you?"
The tall, dark-haired man blinked for a second before smiling and grabbing something from his jacket. "As a matter of fact, I do? Want it?" He then pulled out a disk and handed it to me. "It's a back-up copy in case something happened to the first one."
ITEM GET! With this beauty, I'll be able to watch the girls mud wrestle whenever I want! I'll even be able to watch the match between Asahina-san and Tsuruya-san that I missed because Haruhi forced me to look away in order to put make-up on. Of course, I only want to watch it because of the action...yeah, that's what it was. In any case, I'd have to wait until no one was around before popping this baby into the computer at home...speaking of which...
After thanking the guy for the disk, I quickly made my way back to the clubroom. By now, the only one still left inside was Nagato, and she was about to leave.
"There you are," I said to her. "I wanted to talk to you."
She looked at me and nodded her head slightly.
"Yeah, I just wanted to apologize for what happened the other night. In hindsight, it was wrong of us to follow you two like that."
"I see," she said, as if she was not sure on how to respond.
I looked at the floor and rubbed my neck. "Look, if you want to keep going out with that guy, or anyone else, you're free to do so. You don't need my permission or anyone else's, especially Haruhi's."
It was hard to tell, but I think she might have been happy that I said that. Now came the really awkward part.
"N...Nagato, I'm afraid I have a favor to ask of you."
Man I felt bad asking her to do this after all that happened in the last couple days. "Could you come over to our place and help fix the computer? Haruhi's mom went and downloaded a few viruses the other day, and it hasn't worked right since."
Nagato nodded subtly. "I see. I will assist you."
I felt a huge amount of relief. Thank goodness that the Great Goddess Nagato was very forgiving. I'm not so sure if I would have done the same myself.
We both left the school and made our way towards my home. A part of me had wondered if maybe Haruhi would be standing outside waiting for me, but when I got outside, she wasn't there. Guess she really is mad at me. Can't wait to deal with that when I get back.
It didn't take long for the two of us to make it back to my house. When I did, I found Oruki and Naru-san sitting peacefully on the couch watching TV.
"Oh, we have a guest!" said Naru-san as she got up. "Nagato-chan, right?"
"Yep," I said. "I brought her over to fix the computer."
"Wonderful!" she said with her hands clasped together. "I'll go get you two something to drink."
While she went into the kitchen, I guided Nagato to the computer. It wasn't long before she was working away at the keyboard, typing at speeds no ordinary human would be capable of. It didn't take long for both Naru-san and Oruki to look intently at her as her fingers flew.
"What...what the hell am I looking at?" said Oruki before looking away in disbelief. Even after two months, he still couldn't get over the fact that I hung out with such weird friends on a daily basis.
"Wow!" said Naru-san. "She's awesome. Will I be able to do that someday?"
No. No you won't. What Nagato is doing is not normal. I doubt that even a savant could match her ability.
It only took about ten minutes before she was done. She probably could have done it in seconds if Haruhi wasn't here. "I have removed all traces of malicious software from this device. I have also installed a number of countermeasures that should ensure that security of this device in the future.
I sighed in relief. "Good." Now I can put that disk in later whenever I get the chance.
"Yay!" said Naru-san. "Now I can go anywhere I want on the interwebs!"
Naru-san, it's called the internet. Internet.
"Would you like to stay for dinner?" said Naru-san.
Nagato nodded lightly, accepting her offer. I was glad Naru-san asked. It was the least we could do.
I noticed Oruki looking back at us, especially Naru-san. After a few seconds, though, he turned away. I also noticed that Haruhi never once came down to see us.
"Did Haruhi make it home?"
"Yes she did," said Naru-san. "I think she's up in her room. Why do you ask?"
Yep, she's mad at me. "Don't worry about it. I'm going to get changed." I then went upstairs and into my room.
I was surprised with how exhausted I was when I started changing. A lot of it had to do with my disappointment over Haruhi's decision to do a Brigade activity all summer long. My dreams of sitting next to Haruhi in a hot spring down south were now crushed.
Just when I was about to put my shirt on, I noticed something out of the corner of my eye. It was outside my window. When I looked directly at it, it quickly moved back onto the roof. What the hell? I felt a small amount of fear when I realized there was something on the roof. I cautiously opened my window to investigate. I didn't get a good look at it, so I wasn't sure what it was. Half of me was screaming to go down and get Nagato, but for some reason, I convinced myself that if was serious, she would already be up here.
Just as I poked my head out, another head popped down from above.
I screamed and leaped back. It was only when the head in front of me started laughing that I realized who it was.
"That wasn't funny," I said.
"Yes it was," said Haruhi, her hair once again hanging cutely upside down.
It was then that I noticed something. "What a minute. How did you get up there?" If I remembered correctly, the block of wood we used as a step was no longer there thanks to your dad forcing me to remove it.
Haruhi pointed towards the door. "Take a look."
I stuck my head out the window to see. Sure enough, a new piece of wood was now in place of where the old one used to be.
"I went down into the basement when my father wasn't around and created a new one."
"And your father hasn't noticed?"
"Not yet," she said with a wink. "You want to come up here?"
I felt extremely relieved. I guess she wasn't mad at me after all. "Yeah, sure."
I left my room and snuck into Haruhi's. I then climbed out of the window and onto the roof before taking a seat next to my girlfriend. It sure was nice to be up here again.
"I was worried when you left without me," I said. "And also when you didn't come down."
"Sorry about that," said Haruhi. "I just needed some time by myself to think."
"I thought you were mad at me."
"Well, I'm not exactly happy with you. It was your fault that someone snuck a camcorder in."
How is it my fault? If I recall, you were also in charge of seating people at one point. How do you know he didn't sneak it past you?
"Whatever, it doesn't matter anyway," she said. "It's not like placing blame will solve anything."
"Yeah," I said before trying to change the subject. "Anyway, were you thinking about what we're going to do for the summer?"
"Why don't you just do the concert? It's not like we have a choice, right?"
Haruhi frowned. "I don't want to."
She sat up and looked at me directly. "Because I really want to make the sequel to our last film amazing! You know how it is where almost every movie sequel sucks compared to the original? I mean, why is that? How hard could it be to make the sequel better than the original?"
Is she saying that she could make a better sequel than most of Hollywood? Of course she is.
"I started doing a lot of research on how I could make our sequel the best movie ever. I realized that last year we were working with a skeleton crew, and that really limited our options for things like lighting, props, sound design, and all kinds of other stuff! Having Koizumi-kun hold the reflector board made it so that we couldn't use it whenever he was on camera. We didn't even have proper stunt doubles, so we ended up forcing Mikuru-chan to do her own stunts. In Hollywood, something like that is too dangerous. If she got hurt, the movie could be on hold for weeks, even months! It's not like she's Jackie Chan, you know?"
I was impressed. It sounded like she was really learning from the mistakes she made last time we did this. That would explain why she wanted the help of Tsuruya-san, Taniguchi and Kunikida. An actual film crew would make it infinitely easier for everyone, especially me.
"We'll even have a ton of time to work on post-production! I was really impressed with what you were able to do with only one night! Just imagine what you'll be able to do with more than two months! We'll be able to put effects into the film that will rival any big budget movie!"
Uh, yeah. Considering the fact that I didn't actually do the editing and special effects the last time, I'm pretty sure my attempts to create anything convincing on the computer will end in abysmal failure. Speaking of which, I never did find out who did the editing on the movie after I passed out. I hope they're able to help again...
"Besides," said Haruhi, her voice softening, "We're not going to get another chance to make this movie."
"Don't you remember? Mikuru-chan is a senior now. She graduates at the end of March of next year. I want to miss out on being able to do this with her. She's done so much to help the Brigade out, and I know that I'm going to miss her when she's gone. I want to have this movie as something really special that we all worked on together, so that we can all look back on it with pride and nostalgia."
I was really touched by what she said. It's so easy to forget that Asahina-san wasn't going to be with us during our last year of high school. I had already wondered what would happen to her when she graduated. Whether she would go back to her time, or move onto college, I had no idea. I guess I'd find out later. In the meantime, it would be nice to try and create some more fond memories while we still could. A year can pass by pretty quickly, after all.
"What do you think I should do?" she asked.
I was taken aback by her question. She almost never seriously asked for my opinion. It took me a few seconds to figure out what I wanted to say.
"Neither. You should instead plan a nice trip to Kirishima National Park for a week so that you and I can spend our time sharing a natural hot spring. Then for the rest of the summer, we should go out on dates every chance we could get and have a grand ol' time. That would be perfect."
...That was what I should have said. Unfortunately, I was feeling kinda stupid that day, so I actually said this:
"Whatever you want to do, I'm behind you one hundred percent."
"Okay," she said as she looked back up into the sky.
Why? Why did I say that? Am I really a glutton for punishment?
We both lied on the roof watching the clouds for a while. It was really nice, just the two of us. Moments like this were among my favorite.
However, the moment was broken when she spoke again. "By the way, don't think I don't know that Yuki-chan is here."
"Oh, yeah. I brought her down here to help fix our computer. Your mother asked her to stay for dinner, too."
"I figured as much. That's why I'm not mad. However..." She sat up and moved her face close to mine. "...the next time you bring a girl to this house without my permission, you'll be in big trouble, mister."
"Is that so?"
"Well, the same goes for you. You're not allowed to bring guys here without my permission, either."
She moved closer towards me. "Ha, what makes you think that I'm interested in ordinary men?"
"So you're only interested in extraordinary men?"
I moved in close enough to her to feel her breath on my lips. "What does that make me? Am I extraordinary?"
"Nope, I don't find you interesting at all."
"Liar," I said as I moved in to kiss her a passionately as I could. Our embrace lasted like this for a good two minutes before I released her. I'd even forgotten that we were outside where all the neighbors could see us.
That moment of intimacy reminded me about something. "Listen, there's something I wanted to talk about." I then felt my face getting warm. "You know...about us."
She put a finger to her lips. "We'll talk about that later."
"Are you sure?" I said, feeling confused. Does she know what I'm talking about?
"I'm sure. Right now, we should go and check on Yuki-chan. It's kinda rude of us to leave her alone. Besides, I'm sure dinner will be done soon."
We then both got off the roof and went through her window.
"You do realize that your dad will kill us when he finds out about that step."
"Not if I can help it," she said as I watched her remove the piece of wood from behind the drainage pipe. She then hid it under her bed. "Let's go."
We both snuck out of the room and made our way down the stairs. When I made it into the living room, I was surprised to find Nagato sitting next to Oruki on the couch watching television. Her eyes seemed glued to it, as if it was the first time she'd ever seen anything like it. Now that I think about it, I don't think I've ever seen her watch TV before. It was almost funny watching her sit so motionlessly towards the screen. I also noticed that Oruki was somewhat uncomfortable sitting next to the human interface. Don't worry. She doesn't bite … most of the time.
Dinner was ready a few minutes later and the five of us sat at the table and ate. With Nagato sitting with us, the speed in which our food disappeared increased to a record pace. Naru-san and I weren't even halfway done by the time the other three were finished. After Haruhi and I finished cleaning up, we bid Nagato farewell. It was nice having her over. I felt better about what happened last Saturday now that we spent some time with her.
The rest of the evening was uneventful, as Haruhi decided to spend the rest of the time in her room studying and thinking. I ended up doing some last minute cramming as well, since tomorrow was going to be the last day of tests. After I had enough, I changed into my pajamas and went to bed.
I still had no idea as to what we were going to do for the summer, and worse yet, I still had to contend with having my parents come over this Saturday. Not only that, but I still didn't hear anything about that weird thing that came out of my nose. Did Koizumi or Nagato find it already? No, they would have said something if they did. Nevertheless, I was starting to realize just what I was in for over the course of summer break.
Unfortunately, I had no idea how bad it could really get...
How was that? I hope it was worth the wait (I doubt it). Hopefully it won't be another eight months for the next update!
As for what finally got me off my ass to work on this again, I recently stumbled upon something awesome. There's a community forum site called the Voice Acting Alliance. While looking around there, I spotted a thread that was dedicated to my original fic, Meet the Suzumiyas. It turns out that a member named Hardharkoopa decided to create an audio version of the fanfic, and he even held auditions. Can you believe it? How awesome is that? I can't wait to hear each chapter finished!
While I can't type the web address here (as has a tendency to remove all web addresses), I recommend that you type "Meet the Suzumiyas" and "Radioplay" into Google. You should find it right away!
I also want to mention that the Meet the Suzumiyas fansite is no longer up. The content to the site was lost when the web host upgraded their servers, and Medz (the guy who built the site) couldn't find the backup. However, I have plans to hopefully have a new site up at some point. Sorry to everyone who tried to visit the old site. :(
Anyway, thanks for reading. It's been way too long. I hope you guys aren't mad at me. Adios~!