The Dilemma of Mitsuru Asahina
Mitsuru Asahina knew he wasn't stereotypically attractive like other men. He wasn't tall with narrowed eyes and muscular legs and athletic prowess. In fact, it was quite the contrary. He was short, with a face so deceptively feminine- large eyes and lashes long, with very full lips like a Disney princess- that he was frequently mistaken for a girl.
Mitsuru did not mind this too much. His world was a rather tolerant one, where men and women were regarded as equals. Whilst it was an almost universally held stereotype that it was more 'manly' to kick a soccer ball around in the mud than darn socks, girls could be just as- if not more- skilled at sports than men, and this was normal. Nobody batted an eyelid when the young Mitsuru, rather than opting to play outside in the dirt, preferred to stay inside and help his mother with the baking.
Mitsuru Asahina lived a fairly happy life, all things considered.
At least, he did- until he was chosen by his superiors (whose names were strictly confidential; so much so he hardly dared to think of them, lest he let classified information slip) to go and investigate a large time quake.
At the centre of that time quake- an unprecedented explosion of data that caused a rift in time and space large enough to swallow a beluga whale- was none other than one Haruhi Suzumiya.
Mitsuru was chosen to observe Haruhi from a distance, as he was one of the youngest time travellers who could blend in easily with a high school situation. A few other agents were deployed, but it was Mitsuru's job to observe Haruhi more closely than anyone else.
It was a great honour being selected to monitor such an important person. Although Mitsuru was a little clumsy- a little scatter-brained- he vowed to try his best. He had to. Mitsuru was, despite his fragile looks and shy nature, rather competent at his job.
When Mitsuru had been selected to observe Haruhi Suzumiya, he had felt… flattered. Honoured. Perhaps it did not matter that he hated sports and preferred cooking and calligraphy.
He had been chosen.
…However, Mitsuru's initial joy soon faded a mere few weeks after he arrived in the past to survey Haruhi. The past was, Mitsuru soon learnt, completely alien from his home. Well, that was only to be expected- it was a tad silly (he was such an airhead sometimes) of him not to have realized. At the back of his mind, Mitsuru had known the world of the past would be a little different; but he mainly expected the differences to be based on technology, not human nature. He thought the medicine would be less advanced, the buildings a little smaller. Both those assumptions were true- but the past was more different to his home than Mitsuru could ever have known.
The humans of the past were proud to have progressed so far from ancient times. Mitsuru frequently heard comments on television and in the newspapers about new rights were being created in new law and there were attempts to crack down on lingering racist views that filtered through the society.
But the people of the past weren't as 'modern' as they thought they were.
Perhaps it was unfair of Mitsuru to think this, given he had the ability of hindsight, and he knew what the worlds of the future- vast cities with skyscrapers and lots of water; water everywhere- was like. Nobody else did, and so they did not know how laughable their claims of 'change' and 'better times' were.
But Mitsuru did.
He enrolled at a middle school in the area which was close to East Junior High where Haruhi attended. Mitsuru fully expected to fade into the background; a quiet, studious boy who kept his head down and didn't interact with many people. It would not do to draw attention to himself- at least, not until the day he had to make direct contact with Haruhi.
Unfortunately, Mitsuru was not able to distance himself from the rest of his peers. The students- mostly the boys, the girls (generally) didn't like to get involved in such things- would poke fun at Mitsuru's short stature, his wide eyes, his long lashes. They would trip him in the corridors, steal his indoor shoes- and once, a self-proclaimed 'comedian' of a student put Mitsuru's math book in the paper shredder, just to see if he would 'cry like a girl'.
The other students though it was hilarious.
Gym class was the worst; especially when Mitsuru had to change in front of the other boys. They would jeer and cat call or make lewd comments- calling him 'princess', and one thousand other things besides that were even worse. Just thinking about the insults made Mitsuru's face turn red and angry tears well up in the corners of his eyes.
Mitsuru always tried to hide his tears- but it didn't work.
He was too weak; and he wasn't accustomed to being insulted in such ways.
Mitsuru knew he was more powerful than any of his bullies; not physically, but his intelligence surpassed theirs. He knew secrets of another generation that they could never hope to understand. Although Mitsuru could not kick a soccer ball in a straight line to save his life, he understood the concept of time travel perfectly, and was more proficient at physics then any of the leading scientists in the age.
Mitsuru might not have been a typical male, with the muscular figure or the love for sports, but he was still a human being. He…
He still mattered, didn't he?
Mitsuru soon had that concept beaten into him by the other students- males, they were always males. The girls would sometimes look at him pityingly- or, on occasions, they would ask him if he was alright… but never when any of the stronger, bigger boys were around.
Some of the girls made comments, too. Mitsuru heard them; laughing about what shampoo he used, and how were her nails even nicer than theirs? They were fairly light-hearted jibes, but they still dug at Mitsuru.
They thought he was funny.
Technically, he was- but he had never felt more unwelcome or unwanted before, and it was a shock.
Some of the boys weren't that bad, and Mitsuru saw concern in their eyes when they looked at him- but their gazes never lingered. They were afraid. Nobody wanted to help a marked man. Maybe they all knew it was too late.
Mitsuru tried to drive through it. He told himself it did not matter; he existed in this time frame to observe Haruhi Suzumiya, and he had to do his job. He could not lose focus on his job- he could not allow himself to be distracted. It did not matter whether he could play sports; that was irrelevant.
Everybody except Haruhi was irrelevant.
Their opinions were meaningless.
Mitsuru just needed to remain quiet and try to deflect the blows when they came. It did not matter, because Mitsuru knew- even though those in his class did not, could not have known- in the future this would be different. Men would not be expected to adhere to a strict code, and they would not be persecuted when they could not follow these rules.
And this century thought they were 'enlightened'.
Somehow, Mitsuru managed to brave the storm without acquiring too many scrapes and bruises- save the knocks to his pride. That was just collateral damage. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will not hurt me. The names did not matter. Mitsuru knew he was better than all of them. He had to keep telling himself his.
…That still didn't explain why he tried going to the gym, though.
If he truly didn't care about others' opinions, why did he try to meet their expectations? Why did he try so hard?
Even after strenuous exercise an hour every day his body still remained weak and fragile; it wouldn't change at all. In the end, Mitsuru gave up in despair.
It didn't help.
He didn't know why he was bothering- after all, he had never worried about his stature before. He would not need to worry about it when he returned home, either. He just had to affix that thought in his mind, and he would be fine.
When Mitsuru entered high school (the same high school Haruhi would be attending in a year) his life seemed to take a turn for the better. Though several of the boys from his middle school were in his class, Mitsuru soon managed to befriend a friendly girl with an infectious laugh called Tsuraya. Tsuraya was not like the other girls Mitsuru knew; not at all. She found Mitsuru cowering from a group of intimidating boys, and managed to scare them off, hurling choice insults at them that made Mitsuru flush.
"T-t-thank you…" Mitsuru stammered, looking up at Tsuraya with wide eyes and a red face. He had never been saved before (wasn't it boys who were meant to save girls?), but he knew from the faint stammer in his voice and the beat of his heart he was feeling gratitude; such intense gratitude his knees felt week.
"No problem~" Tsuraya had beamed, flipping her long hair back behind her shoulder. "I'm always here to look out for the little guys!~ No pun intended, haha! Although, I must say, that was pretty good! Hahahaha!"
Although Tsuraya was- albeit gently- poking fun at Mitsuru's short stature, he knew there was no real malice in her words. After a while, Mitsuru found he was laughing, too.
Tsuraya and Mitsuru soon became firm friends. She was the first real friend in the past Mitsuru had met. Tsuraya said she knew what it was like to be bullied; people had teased her because she had little interest in make-up and her hair was a constant mess.
"I mean, I don't get what the omegas big deal is, you know?" Tsuraya had said. "I just wanna be me, right? People shouldn't beat me down for it."
Mitsuru soon became more optimistic, thanks to Tsuraya. Tsuraya encouraged him to join the calligraphy club even though he was embarrassed to. He had protested, saying it wasn't very 'manly', but Tsuraya had merely rolled her eyes and shoved him through the double doors. Tsuraya helped Mitsuru open up his eyes- and he saw there was more than cruelty in the past. There was kindness, too.
Thankfully, Mitsuru managed to make a few friends with various members of the calligraphy club; a kind girl called Miki with red hair, and another clumsy boy like him who constantly wore a scarf round his neck, even in summer.
Mitsuru was happy.
At least, until the day he met Haruhi Suzumiya.
Mitsuru had been daydreaming in the courtyard, looking up at interesting cloud shapes in the sky. A cool can of milkshake had been in his hand, and he intended to drink it whilst waiting for Miki and Tsuraya so they could eat lunch together. He knew, by this point, Haruhi Suzumiya was at the school- but he also knew Haruhi would find him, rather than him seeking out her.
He hadn't expected Haruhi to find him so very quickly, though. Or so suddenly.
Without a word of explanation, Mitsuru felt something tug the back of his shirt; a girl with the strength of an ox. Mitsuru was dragged through a maze of corridors- and, once more, he felt like a small, helpless child. He swore the people he passed were laughing at him. How pathetic; a boy who couldn't defend himself from a girl. The people who knew the girl was Haruhi Suzumiya gave him more sympathetic looks, but in his panicked state Mitsuru hardly noticed.
Haruhi threw her captive into the clubroom and locked the door. Then, with a wide smile on her face, she circled her prey like a vulture hovered about a carcass.
"Everybody, I would like to introduce you to the newest member of my club!~ This is Mitsuru!" Haruhi declared, pointing a finger at the trembling boy who was backed against a corner.
"So where did you kidnap him?" asked a boy with brown hair sat at the table. He had an irritated look on his face; eyes narrowed, lips pursed.
"I caught this little kid daydreaming his brains out by the vending machine, and I snagged him pretty quick! Hehe~" Haruhi giggled, seemingly proud of herself. "It's a wonder nobody else got to him first, though!"
"Why is he here?" asked the brown-haired boy. "When you said you were going to make him join our club- that was a joke, right? Haruhi, he looks petrified."
"Uh-uh!" said Haruhi, shaking her head. "I don't joke about things like this!"
"Why, of all people, did you choose him?"
A mischievous smirk flittered across Haruhi's face. Then, quicker than blinking, Haruhi Suzumiya had her arms round Mitsuru's back, holding him in place. Haruhi was a few inches taller than Mitsuru, and she was stronger, too. Mitsuru couldn't escape. Then again, he wasn't supposed to escape; he was meant to let Haruhi catch him.
"Look at him!" Haruhi squealed. "He's such an adorable little shota!"
The brown-haired boy raised a brow. "Shota…? Do I even want to know?"
"I mean, he's a year older than you, Kyon- can you believe it? But he looks like an adorable little kid!" Haruhi squealed. "I thought he was a girl when I first saw him! I know this body type is pretty pathetic for a man, but it's really popular in yaoi stories… A small, defenceless boy who gets cornered by the big, looming man and then-"
Mitsuru flinched, as he felt Haruhi's hands grab his crotch- a part where no person really should have grabbed; but this girl seemed to have no shame.
"Oh my gosh! He's so adorable! I could do this alllll day and he couldn't even break free!~ Hehe!~" Haruhi giggled cheerfully; lost in her own little world. "The girls will love him! He'll bring a whole bunch of people flocking to our club, I swear! He can be our new mascot!"
By this point, the boy at the table had had enough. He marched over towards Haruhi, his face burning red, as he tried to prize Haruhi's fingers away from her new 'toy'.
"H-haruhi, let go! You can't do that to people!"
"What, are you jealous?" Haruhi asked, glaring up at the boy. "Do you want a feel too, Kyon? I didn't know you swung that way… But that could attract some more female customers, too!"
"I don't know what you're talking about!" Kyon snapped. "What customers? We don't even know what we're doing or what the club is called! And no, I'm not 'jealous'- I just want you to get off this poor person! You'll get arrested doing things like that, Haruhi!"
"Humph… How boring."
And, with those words, Haruhi Suzumiya- the great time distortion, and the one Mitsuru's superiors were so in awe of- let go of her captive 'shota'. Mitsuru's body crumpled, and he fell to the floor with nothing to support him. His body felt light and his head was reeling.
Haruhi Suzumiya was the reason he was in this time period at all. It was his duty to observe her. It was his duty to make her like him. He could not argue back with her. Her word was absolute.
And yet, all the same…
It didn't seem worth it.
Mitsuru's first introduction to Haruhi was an indication of worse things to come.
As Haruhi's ambitions grew more lofty so, too, did the humiliations that befell Mitsuru- one after the other after the other, like a string of dominoes. First of all, Haruhi used Mitsuru as a puppet to steal a computer from the computer club. This elaborate scheme involved dressing Mitsuru up in a girls' uniform ("you look just like the real deal! I'd never know you were a guy!") and forcing him to pose in embarrassing photographs. The dressing up did not end there, however. Haruhi forced Mitsuru into a whole host of embarrassing outfits; a bunny girl, a nurse and- Haruhi's personal favourite- a maid. Haruhi would never let Mitsuru change his own clothes, either. Rather, she would pin him down and strip him, forcing the garments over his head until it felt like he couldn't breathe. His screams of distress would only make Haruhi coo about how cute he was.
The situation really came to a head, however, when Haruhi forced Mitsuru to act as a the 'lead star' in a movie of her own invention. She dressed Mitsuru up as a 'battle waitress' in a pink dress with puff sleeves, and claimed, in her movie, Mitsuru was a 'young boy forced to act as a girl, but what happens when he must reveal his secret to save the man he loves from an evil alien witch?' Wearing the dress was embarrassing enough, given how indecently short the hem was, but being forced to kiss Itsuki Koizumi was even worse; and the fact Koizumi never stopped smiling left Mitsuru feeling backed into a corner.
The worst part was Tsuraya had known- and Tsuraya had helped. She said she thought it was only a joke, a piece of fun; she didn't realize Haruhi would seriously show it everyone, and anyway, she was just happy Mitsuru had made some new friends…
But it didn't make Mitsuru feel any better. Instead, he felt betrayed. Betrayed by his best friend.
Maybe Haruhi had some kind of magnetic power about her that made people bend to her will. Perhaps Tsuraya was not truly Tsuraya at all, but another agent by another company determined to observe Haruhi Suzumiya. Either way, Mitsuru still felt terrible about the ordeal- as though he'd been stabbed in the back.
When the movie was screened to the whole school, Mitsuru thought he would die. The comments soon started again after this; sniggers and whispers in the corridors and strange looks, which made Mitsuru flush and his fingers tremble. And yet, despite all this, Haruhi did not seem to realize- or, failing that, she simply did not care.
Mitsuru had always felt self-conscious of his body, but the abuse he suffered at Haruhi's hands only escalated his previous fears. And the worst part was, he couldn't escape.
It was Mitsuru's job to follow Haruhi, and he could not disobey his commanders.
Haruhi was the distortion in time that had drawn Mitsuru to the past.
Haruhi was the reason Mitsuru had suffered one miserable year in middle school- and, now, was being forced into embarrassing outfits and made to star in embarrassing videos.
Haruhi was the reason Mitsuru had not seen his family in three years.
Haruhi was the reason why Mitsuru had to stay off school for a week because a bully had given him a black eye.
Haruhi was fast becoming the reason why Mitsuru, whenever he looked in the mirror, shuddered and had to look away.
Haruhi was the reason Mitsuru hated himself.
But sometimes, when he looked at the smiling face of his Brigade Chief…
He hated her more.
A lot more.
And there was nothing he could do about it.
a/n: A lot of people really like gender-bendering the Haruhi cast, and this works /reasonably/ well for Kyon and Haruhi and Yuki and Itsuki. However, genderbending Mikuru would be a little more difficult. I mean, Mikuru exists mainly to showcase the aspects typically found attractive in women, such as being fairly domesticated, soft-spoken, fragile-looking, etc, etc. However, if you transfer those qualities into a man, you do /not/ get a 'dream guy'- whilst Mikuru was meant to be a 'dream girl'. You get a guy who is most likely going to be bullied because he does not fit with society's perceptions of what is 'acceptably manly'. Therefore, whilst Haruhi's treatment of Mikuru in the original series was… well, quite frankly, it was horrible, doing the same thing to a person like Mitsuru (who would probably have self-esteem issues by this point anyway) would most likely be worse and have greater repercussions. Haruhi might have seemed like a bit of a demon in this, and I suppose I might have written her a little less tactfully than I usually do (I mean, despite her faults and flaws, I like to think she's a nice girl with a few shreds of human decency), but Haruhi's whole 'NO! MIKURU'S MY TOY!' thing from 'Sigh' shows… yeah. She can quite a cruel person, and maybe she's a bit naïve because she doesn't realize what she's doing, or she doesn't understand other people's suffering.
Now I want to hug poor Mitsuru ;A;
Oh & yes, I promise to update my other Haruhi fics at some point. I just needed to get this out of my system XD