I'm still wondering how exactly it was I'd got here.
The obvious answer is I went up the slight slope to get to the school. But this isn't a literal question, this is more philosophical. Quite frankly at this stage I'd be very happy to discover I'm a butterfly dreaming he's a man, because it couldn't get any weirder after that. No, how did I, Takeru "TK" Takaishi, wind up being press-ganged into a completely insane club? How did I wind up being unwillingly dragged along in my friend Hikari "Kari" Kamiya's wake once again? The answer is this started about four years ago at a costume party for Halloween. Not the one that was organised by Tai last year, we don't speak about that one... But this one was where it happened. Where Kari learned that she enjoyed cosplaying.
She'd always been a fan of the Pokemon games and stuff. Not an obsessive fan, of course, but she liked it. It was pretty confusing to Gatomon, who had an intense disliking for a certain yellow Mascot of the franchise. But the problem was there was a character in the anime now called Hikari. It wasn't a big stretch of the imagination to see what she dressed up as. And then two weeks later, she decided to go to a convention. Me and Davis, dragged along in confusion, her in the costume she'd worn at the party. Tricked into carrying her camera and everything she bought. We also discovered that as well as Pokemon, she had a liking for other manga and Anime. Well, she wasn't a full-blown Otaku at least, just an occasional cosplayer
Davis, in spite of his oft-proclaimed love for Kari and how he would be devoted to her forever etc, didn't even bother with an excuse and bluntly stated that he wasn't really happy to spend a whole day carrying bags for Kari. It helped that he had rather obviously been hamming up the whole "Kari is my one true love" angle since well before we beat MaloMyotismon, and it was just a running joke by the stage we were dragged as unwilling helpers. Kari was even convinced Davis was actually not saying his real reason for being worried, that his actual girlfriend at the time would have been annoyed to learn her boyfriend was carrying cameras and shopping for another girl.
I unfortunately had no girlfriend to use as an unspoken excuse, and really, what else would I have been doing on the days of most of those conventions? Basketball matches were always held in the evenings, the conventions were sundays or saturdays, and chances are I'd have wound up hanging around with the other Digidestined anyway. I also was unfortunate to have been raised as a nice guy, and therefore a friend in need was hard to say no to. And so, reluctantly, I would agree each time.
Now, at this point some of you will be thinking that because I'm a guy and Kari is a girl, I was only agreeing because I was attracted to her or something. That's not the case. Others did accuse me of that jokingly, but I knew they were joking then. But that's a strange thing too. During all that, as far as I know, Kari went out with four guys. It never lasted long, but she never had any messy breakups, none of her boyfriends accusing her of spending more time with another guy. But she never asked them along to these conventions where she dressed up as Sailor Moon or something. Still, her own attempts at making relationships at least got off the ground even if they had to land shortly after.
A strange double standard seemed to emerge as a result of the conventions. Though Kari hanging around with a boy other than her boyfriend didn't discourage boys asking her out, or even vice-versa, it seemed that me hanging around with a girl caused other girls to think I was taken, and more than one attempt on my part to ask a girl out had led to said girl thinking I'd broken up with, or was cheating on, Kari. This meant that confusingly, I was left agreeing to Kari's requests because I had no excuse such as a girlfriend who would be displeased, and I had no girlfriend to be displeased because they thought Kari already was my girlfriend. Even weirder, there were girls who didn't hide the fact they had crushes on me. But even they would turn me down if I asked them out because by and large they all liked Kari. Most of them even seriously tried to encourage me to just ask her out, but I have my reasons.
So, when High School rolled around I was thinking perhaps Kari might find something else to do, or that I might be able to finally ask out a girl who didn't think I was on the rebound or cheating. Little did I know that barely two weeks in, I'd find myself not only going still with Kari to the conventions, but also in a club that would on the weekends be demanding any other spare time I had...
It was the smart choice to go here. Everyone else had gone here. My older brother, Kari's brother Tai, all the older Digidestined. Even Ken was attending here with Yolei, in their second year, and Izzy was finishing off his third. Everyone else was now in college or university except me, Kari, Davis, and Cody, who was still down in middle school.
"So, how much do you know about the school? And I don't mean the stuff they put in those little brochures." Yolei asked, back a few months ago, just after we'd all finished our entrance exams. Us in our green Odaiba Junior High uniforms Me, Kari, Davis, and Yolei in her blue and white high school uniform.
I had to pause there. I knew it was a fairly respected school, decent grade averages, respectable sports competition, all the stuff your average high school had that was brought up to show how nice a school it was. But at the time, I'd overheard a few kids from the East Junior High had been talking about a former pupil of their school that now attended... Well, now it's our school, I guess, so this star pupil of East Junior is probably wandering around this high school as well.
"Well, a girl I spoke to from East Junior High had something to say I thought was interesting..." Kari spoke up first.
"Aha, I thought you'd have heard about that. Well, it's pretty much all true. Well, the more sane stuff at least. She's in the class next to mine..."
I'd made the mistake of blocking out their conversation, for I'm sure now if I'd listened there might have been clues in what they said that could have helped prevent what happened. I could have easily listened to the gossip mill, but instead I did something foolish.
I spoke to Davis instead, about "those little brochures" Yolei had mentioned
"Hey, was it me, or did they have too many clubs that did the same thing?"
"I thought that too. There's two Computer clubs, three book clubs, about seven anime clubs... I think the only club that didn't have something that did the same thing was the Calligraphy Club... " He replied.
"...And everyone but him sees it's pretty obvious. By the way, guys, the reason there's two Computer clubs is that ours is an actual working group of people who use real computers for real things, not just messing about making videogames and homebrew versions of Unix like the so-called Research Society. Anyway..." Yolei had said, interrupting herself to interrupt us, and then going straight back to her conversation. It was a skill most of us found unnerving. Well, most of us with a y-chromosome at any rate.
"Uh, okay... I guess she doesn't like the other computer club much..."
"You think?" I said.
Two seemingly idle conversations, but while we guys eventually started talking about the other random nonsense of the day, I was unaware of what Kari was hearing from Yolei. Eventually though we neared the first of our homes, Davis walking down a side street. Shortly after, Kari went her own way, and since Yolei and I lived in the same apartment complex we went the same way.
"So, you two were talking about the clubs yourself. Anything catch your eye?"
"Well, I saw a Basketball Society, but right now I don't see anything I'm really going to join. I'd noticed a Cosplay club though..." I said, hopefully. Yolei just smirked.
"Ah, poor little hopeful Takeru. You're thinking Kari will join that club, and your torture at the conventions is over... Well, the little promotional pamphlet doesn't tell you the other stuff about the school..."
She seemed about to speak, but her evil smirk stayed in place as she paused.
"Ah... Well, maybe you can learn later. And maybe you should have paid attention to the clubs Kari said she was interested in."
It wasn't long after we all learned we'd been accepted, though Davis insisted he'd failed under his own name but passed as "John Terry" and demanded we all pretended that was his real name now, a joke he forgot about by the time we were in the school. After the morning fuss that happens at every new school year. First a welcoming ceremony, then class assignments. Me, Davis, and Kari wound up in the same class and seated near each other, which led onto the whole class introducing ourselves.
We then had our first day as high school students, and it came to an end soon enough. At the end of the day, our teacher encouraged us to go around the various club rooms that would be in session right now, see what they did, and if we were interested, apply to join.
As it turned out, those clubs Kari had been interested in were the Photography Club, The Literary Club, and at first, The Cosplay Club, but when she'd learned that odds were she'd be the only girl in that club she seemed to lose interest. The Photography Club as it turned out, was set to close as all the previous members had left, and the last second year remaining desired to leave, so there was no one there to represent it. I'd considered the Literary Club myself, but to be honest, they didn't seem much like one from their apparent efforts to get people to join.
They had two of their five members, thankfully female, wearing some kind of Chinese dresses presumably to try and attract new members into the fold. A loud second year girl with yellow ribbons in her hair, and a nervous-looking third year. Not that they weren't bad to look at of course, but I found myself wondering what exactly the connection between that and books was. The other members were a guy who seemed to never stop smiling, a guy who seemed to be a little annoyed by his clubmates antics, and a quiet girl who simply sat reading all the while. It seemed that despite all the first years who wandered into that room over the day (Some girls too, including Kari of course), not that many applied to join. Still, the loudest girl of the club seemed pretty enthusiastic about whatever slim number of members she had applying for her group when I'd wandered past.
I was naturally trying out for the Basketball team again, though my reputation from Elementary and Middle School had preceded me and the minute I had entered their clubroom I'd been almost begged to join. The Basketball Club consisted of those who played for fun, and those who desired to compete for the school in official basketball games. Basically, you didn't have to be on the team to be in the club, but to be on the team, you had to officially be a member of the club, even if all you did was attend the team training sessions.
"So did anyone join any clubs?" Davis asked. He had correctly predicted the Basketball from me, and I had predicted correctly that he had joined the Soccer Club, which operated a similar policy. Ken of course was already in that club, to the delight of some of the other Soccer players, since Davis and Ken had both been pretty good players in their previous schools.
"I might be joining one. I'm to go to a meeting at lunchtime, me and some of the other possible new members, to see if we're still interested in applying." Kari said.
"So I guess you won't be having lunch with us then..." Davis sighed theatrically.
At the time, it seemed strange a club that would read books and write poetry or whatever would hold their own entrance exams, but I dismissed it then, for at the same time, the teacher entered and class began.
After Lunch, when Kari returned, she seemed pleased.
"Did you join that club?" Davis asked. She nodded.
"Well, I think so. The previous members have to approve, she said."
Democratic membership approval? What literature did they study, Dan Brown novels? It's a high school club, not a shadowy cabal that rules the universe! That question about what they were really doing was back.
"Only three people had applied to join, and the second year in charge had been prepared for people looking for similar clubs. She listened to the other two and figured they'd be better off in different clubs, and gave them the right information to apply. When she came to me she looked a little disappointed..." Kari continued.
"Wait, this sounds weird. Why would a club for literature go to all these lengths?" I asked.
Davis and Kari seemed to know a joke I didn't.
"...It's officially the Literary Club, but it's actually something else." Davis said.
"What is it then?" I asked. Kari paused for a little before she spoke.
"It's a little hard to explain right away."
Oh. Thank you, my oldest friend, for your prompt and detailed answer.
"But anyway, when I told her why I wanted to join, she brightened up. She asked if I believed in the supernatural, like ghosts and things, so, I said yes. I told her about... Well, Wizardmon. Edited of course, but the fact I'd told her I thought I may have seen a ghost seemed to get her really intrigued. Then she asked about my other hobbies, and I told her. I didn't tell her about the Digital World obviously, but she seemed pretty interested when I said about photography and cosplay. She asked a few other things and... Well, she said she thought I was suitable, and she'd consult the other members to finalise it."
Huh, one weird book club.
It seemed that the other members had accepted Kari, for the very next morning the loud second year girl with the yellow ribbons was standing by Kari's shoe locker waiting for her. She had the guy who had looked a little annoyed a couple of days ago. I didn't listen to the conversation as I put my own shoes away, and told Kari I'd go on ahead to class. For some reason, when I did that, the loud second year seemed to notice me for the first time as I was leaving.
"...Wow, that guy was pretty tall..."
Yes, I noticed. People keep joking and asking why a third-year is in the first year classrooms. Anyway, soon enough, Kari came into the class behind me, and we learned that she had indeed been accepted into the group. I made a mistake and misheard the name here, leading to this short exchange:
"You joined the SAS? Have you been playing Modern Warfare too much?"
"No, dummy, clean out your ears." Davis said, without telling me what she had really said.
Well, it wasn't important. So long as Kari was happy with her new club, and maybe, just maybe, she might convince one of those two second year guys to go with her to conventions, or one of those three girls. After all, I thought, Manga is literature isn't it? Those conventions have novelists and writers there too, right?
And so the school day went on. Nothing truly significant happened, all talk of Kari's club faded away to be replaced with education. A few other guys in the class seemed to want to talk to me and Davis about previous sporting achievements, and that was fine. However, come the end of the school day, I had to use a scanner to copy something. My own one at home was acting up, and so, I wondered if maybe a club in the school had one spare. It seemed that the computer labs here themselves had no scanners, and the photocopier was not for use by pupils.
There were two clubs that seemed an obvious place to start. The Yolei-Cursed Research Society, and the Yolei-Patronised Development Group. It seemed that the latter of these two had been the older, but the Research Society had been more academically successful somefhow, and was thus regarded by the school as the senior of the two groups and allowed to be given school funding. The Development Group by contrast, had to pay for it themselves. Bearing that in mind and the fact that Yolei would talk me to death while I was trying to use their scanner, I headed to the Research Society, where no one knew me and the scanner they had was a model that had first went on sale this century. The Society President didn't mind me borrowing it, but while I was scanning the first sheet, there was a loud noise from the room next door.
"A top basketball player?"
The Research Society glanced up from their screens, staring at the wall. They looked a little alarmed.
"This doesn't sound good for whoever she's talking about..." The President said. His subordinates nodded.
"Was he that guy this morning?" The voice said again, not as loud but still clear. There was presumably an unheard, less loud reply.
"Ah, good. He's quite cute too actually, that'll help add some more appeal too. We have our senior cosplay mascot of course, but the younger girls of the school won't be interested in the older males of the group we have. He'll be a good way for the schools girls to be more interested in our group and it's only fair that if we have cute women we should at least have one handsome guy!"
Someone else spoke, loud, but not really loud enough to hear.
"Hmm, good point, it's only fair we hear more about him and vote." The loud voice said. It sounded familiar. Another pause as someone with an indoor voice spoke.
There was another longer pause, the occasional sound of a louder-than-normal voice, but now down to levels that didn't come through the wall.
"What club is next door anyway?" I asked.
"The Literary Club." A Research Society member said.
"Also known as..." Another began, only for a loud voice next door to cut him off.
"His grandfather is French? Can he speak French too? Oh. Well, a little is better than none. Well, he gets my votes. A tall, blonde, handsome, French-speaking athletic underclassman."
The Society Members looked at me. They saw my height. They saw my hair.
"You said you were a first year?" One asked.
I felt a chill run up my spine. For some reason I was frozen in place like I'd just made eye contact with a Cockatrimon...
"Are you nearly finished with that?" The President asked when I had eventually nodded that yes, I may be the first year the wall is talking about. I nodded again.
"Good, because if she asks where you are right now I think it might be goodbye. It was nice meeting you."
I scanned and printed the last thing I needed done, just as the voice next door asked the dreaded question the farsighted Research Society President had predicted.
"Where is he just now?"
I looked at the window... It was only two or three floors... I'm sure I could have softened the blow with my legs and maybe crawl the rest of the way, but before I could try the voice spoke once more.
"Really? Well, let's see if he's still there..."
A door wrenched open from the next room. The door behind me slammed open. I turned around like a rabbit in the headlights.
The brunette second year with the yellow ribbons in her hair stood there, smiling like a serial killer or something.
"Are you Takeru Takaishi?" She asked. A second later, I don't know what my answer was, but it seemed the girl had heard yes, for I was dragged out of the room with surprising strength.
"Poor kid..." I heard someone mutter as I was dragged away.
As you may have guessed, Kari wasn't hiding her smirk at my fate. Here I was, a guy taller than some university students, being dragged around by a lightly built second year girl who seemed to think I was a perfect addition to her club. I was pulled into the room next door, where the Literary Club or whatever they were sat. The quiet girl glanced up from her book. The third year girl... was wearing a maid outfit? The two guys were playing chess against each other, and the disinterested one that had been following the yellow-ribboned girl around earlier seemed to be winning.
Oh, yeah, he's winning all right. Checkmate in two or three no matter what.
Wait a minute, maid outfit?
"Now, Takeru, I've already had Kari explain all about you..."
I hope not. Oh yeah, Kari's there as well of course, sitting there looking very innocent and sweet... Which means she's enjoying herself to see her evil schemes in action!
"...But I want to ask you directly if you are willing to join!"
At this, the second year guy who was about to win his game of chess spoke up.
"Wait, you never asked the rest of us!"
"Yes I did, every one of you could easily have said no. Besides, that was last year's recruitment rules, while we were a fledgling group. But now, as an established brigade we must ensure our recruits are the best of the best of the best!"
He stared at her, an exasperated look on his face. Kari was looking at me, still smiling a little, but there was a pleading look in her eyes.
Oh great. I don't have an actual choice here, do I?
"How would it affect any other clubs I'm in?" I said, knowing I was only in the Basketball club to be in the team, which meant I had to attend training on Wednesday and Friday, or Monday and Friday if there was a Wednesday game. Saturday was the chosen evening for most games just now though.
"Well, normally I ask for full dedication to the brigade, but in your case one of the reasons we think you're suitable to join is your athletic ability. The brigade needs to be seen in public, and having a member be a prominent member of the basketball team would do wonders! I've heard a lot of the new first years are interested in watching the basketball team this year..." Yellow-Ribbons said.
Kari stood and whispered something in Yellow-Ribbon's ears. The second year girl grinned, and headed to the computer.
"Aaah... Perfect! You're meeting requirements already! One final check though..."
What requirements were these, I wondered, and it seemed so did the winner of the chess game. He stood and looked at the screen too.
"Do you believe in the supernatural and the strange? In aliens and espers and time travellers and ghosts?" Ribbons continued.
I was puzzled by this, but I had an answer fast enough.
"Well... I'd say I've got an open mind on most of those things but I'm pretty sure half of all UFO's are just secret government projects..."
"What about the other half?"
"...Um, ghosts playing jokes on us."
What the hell, I thought, maybe she'd think I was crazy. But then, she smiled like I'd just told her she had won the lottery.
"An excellent theory! Real aliens would have stealth technology and cloaking abilities, so most unidentified objects in the sky must be just top-secret fighter planes and spy drones, but until now I thought the aliens must have been making mistakes and being seen for the rest of the times! But your theory is much more sensible, ghosts drawing attention away from themselves by having us look at the skies!"
How did she get to that conclusion? It does make an alarming amount of sense though.
"So, then, Takeru. You have all the necessary requirements. It falls to me to ask: do you want to join?"
People only ever call me Takeru when I'm in trouble, or they've got the upper hand over me with something. I didn't think it was a coincidence that this girl was using my full name.
I then made the mistake of looking at Kari, and her pleading eyes. I sighed.
"Well, so long as it's not going to clash with my Basketball training..."
"Excellent! Each member of the brigade has one or more roles. Kari for example is going to be Junior Member Number One, Cosplayer Semi-Professional and Part-Time Mascot..."
Wait, mascot? Is that why the third year is in the maid outfit? That maid outfit? Will Kari wear that? It's a little big around a certain area for Kari by the looks of it but... Ah, never mind. Anyway, Ribbons was still talking.
"...Brigade Photographer and Public Relations Agent! Your roles are Junior Member Number Two, Assistant Cosplayer Semi-Professional..."
I was a little dismayed to hear that, because I knew what it meant right away. She kept going though.
"...And High-Profile Sports Personality!"
"Wait, if Kamiya is to be our photographer does that mean she'll be holding the camera this time?" The second-year who had won his chess game said.
"Hmm... Possibly. We may need to test something. The previous film was well directed and well acted, but on occasion the camerawork was a little off, usually when tracking a moving object. Maybe Kari is better at that... " Yellow-Ribbons replied, still looking at the computer.
Hey, wait a minute... What was she looking at to tell Kari could track a moving object?
"I have a question though. I don't actually know what this group does, or even what it is. Or even what your names are."
"Oh no, here she goes again..." The victorious chess player said, holding his face in one palm. Yellow-Ribbons stood from the computer seat.
"Our mission is easy! To seek out the unusual, the supernatural and the strange!"
That was it. Well, simple plans are often the best.
"And as for names... We are the SOS Brigade, and I am the Brigade Chief, Haruhi Suzumiya!"
At the time, my though process went like this: 'I've heard that name before... Uh oh.'
"Itsuki Koizumi, Vice Commander!" She said, marching over to the smiling guy who sucked at chess.
"Pleased to meet you." He said, still smirking.
'Hmm, Itsuki Koizumi, Vice Commander. Sounds like a cop show...'
"Mikuru Asahina, Moe Mascot!" She said, standing by the third-year maid.
Well, if you ever see Mikuru Asahina, you can imagine my thought process at getting a proper look at her. Especially in that maid getup.
"H-Hello..." Mikuru said nervously.
"Yuki Nagato, Silent Character!"
The upperclasswoman in question glanced up from her book and nodded. 'Well, her role seems easy enough... Cute too...'
"Kari you of course know... And finally, Kyon." She motioned to the second year boy behind her.
"Just Kyon?" I asked, confused.
"Actually, that's a nickname, my real name is..."
And that was it. I was now a member of a group that did... I don't know what. It seemed that for today, we were just going to sit around and listen as Suzumiya planned the year ahead. Asahina served everyone tea, which wasn't really my preferred drink, but it wasn't bad and I wouldn't be rude enough to decline. Kyon interrupted Suzumiya occasionally, to question some of her crazier plans. Koizumi sat and agreed with everything. Nagato sat and read her book. Kari sat like me and listened.
"Oh, there's the issue of the camerawork for the sequel to The Adventures of Mikuru Asahina. I think we need to test the camera before. I have a perfect plan how! Since Kyon and Kari are the two candidates for the camera, we can test which of them is best for tracking motion and for less active shots."
"What do you plan to film in motion exactly?" Kyon asked. Suzumiya chuckled, then pointed at me.
"Our newest member is a skilled basketball player! We merely have him play a game against someone and the objective is to track the ball!"
"Who would be his opponent?" Koizumi asked.
"Hmm... Well, I'd need to watch the camera team to ensure they were doing their job properly... So I think the only real candidate is you. Have you played basketball before?"
"Not much, but I know the game." He said. I wondered at this time if he ever stopped smiling. I wish I could feel that cheery all the time.
"Excellent! We'll test the camera team tomorrow instead of a meeting here!" Suzumiya said enthusiastically, bringing the meeting to a close.
And sealing my fate for the next few years.
This story was first uploaded to my dA account one year ago, and so, I decided to use it to try test the waters and figure out the differences between the uploading systems.
As for the story itself, well, it was a random idea a year ago. The plan, such as it was, was to have interchanging chapters with narration from Takeru, and then from Kyon. Currently there's only a second chapter from Kyon's POV extra to this story other than a few snippets within story collections in my dA profile, but hopefully someone here enjoys this story. I'm not expecting a lot really, I just want to spread out my stories onto other places, and try and get other input into them if possible.
I'll probably try to avoid Authors Notes as a general rule though. Chances are they'd just be artists comments from dA repeated here in most cases, and I'd like to avoid trying to draw attention to specific things in stories or that I'm doing. If I use them it will be simply to fill in the history of a story where I think it's relevant. Certainly there will be no more author's notes in this one :)