New Game +
A Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi fanfiction
By Brian Randall
Disclaimer: The series begun with the light novel 'The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi'/'Suzumiya Haruhi no Yutsuu' is the creation of Nagaru Tanigawa. No disrespect is intended with the creation of this work.
Note: May contain spoilers up through book nine. Also, meant to be humor, but due to value dissonance, I can honestly see people seeing it as horror. I really can. I think you call this a crack fic? Be warned! Some stylistic effects borrowed from Rai Shu, base idea shamelessly stolen from my impression of what Mr. Cobb was going for with the first part of 'The Pillar of Haruhi Suzumiya' (he actually went a different way).
High school, when I walked through the door of my new classroom on my first day, truly lacked the sense of importance that I thought it should have. Effectively, the last days of middle school were a terrible, mind-numbing abyss of cram-school and late-night study sessions. I cannot help the abiding feeling of abandonment from it, though.
I did bring my grades up enough to earn my diploma and get into this school, as painful as it was to learn those new study habits alone. Somehow, it felt like the kind of trial that would have been much more endurable with some closer companion than the few acquaintances I had made. A girlfriend, perhaps...
Sadly, it seemed no one emerged from my acquaintances to become a closer friend after all, leaving me feeling vaguely discontent, but with no one to blame.
My hope was to become an average student, and not one that had to panic and struggle for passing grades. Unremarkable, just another member of the crowd ... and maybe, as I feel I failed to in middle school, I could form some closer friendships. Those thoughts in mind, when it was my turn to introduce myself to the class, I gave my personal information and a short, but technically satisfactory explanation of who I was and what my interests were.
At that point, I sat down, confident that today, at least, would pose no true challenges.
The seat at the desk behind me scraped across the floor as the student there rose, and I turned halfway around to glance at her.
Behind me stood the proud figure of an attractive female classmate - she had fair skin, long, dark hair done up in a ponytail, and a smile that seemed more than just friendly... As I studied her, I had the distinct impression she gave me a wink before announcing:
"From East Middle School, I am Suzumiya Haruhi!" She paused to allow an obviously fake cough out. "Despite my past, I no longer have much interest in the supernatural. I plan to spend my time in high school studying, playing video games, and scoring the world's most awesome boyfriend ever before we go to college together and get married."
Another pause as she glanced across the stock-silent classroom, everyone absorbing this somewhat unusual message in surprise.
"I like my guys hot, thoughtful, and at least a little bit snarky." Leaning forward, her dark eyes locked onto mine, and her lovely lips quirked into a deeper, almost menacing smile. "So, hot stuff! Wanna hook up?" she prompted, waggling her eyebrows with a hungry grin.
Completely overwhelmed, realizing the entire classroom's attention had somehow shifted magically from beautiful, psychotic girl to me, I turned slowly to face forward, tearing myself from her heavy gaze. This did nothing to lessen my awareness of the amazed shock everyone else in the classroom stared at us with.
"Hehe," she chuckled. "Cute."
Truly, I was not prepared.
Whatever other eccentricities she had, Suzumiya ran off immediately after the first break, without anything more than a leering grin before she dashed through the door.
Feeling able to breathe again, I looked around at my classmates for some sign of an explanation for this prank - if any of them were in on it.
Almost immediately my view filled with the wide-eyed and awed expression of the boy who sat behind Suzumiya. "How did you do that?" he screeched at me. "This is the legendary beast-girl of East Middle School! The Ice Queen! The Eccentric Undatable! She hates everyone, and especially men!"
Hello to you, too.
He was jerked to one side, and thankfully away from my face as the long-haired soft-spoken girl - Asakura, I thought - said, "Now, now... But, still ... this is a bit strange, isn't it?"
"It's strange," Kunikida, one of my middle school acquaintances agreed. "Kyon never attracted the attention of any girls, before. What's going on here?"
My hated nickname was thus introduced into the minds of my classmates.
"Hmm," Asakura mused, shaking her head. "And on the first day... Taniguchi-kun, did you say that you knew her? I hope she isn't playing a joke at Kyon-kun's expense!"
"Well, she's done crazy things, and tends to dismiss most people as not worth her time - I've never seen her interested in anyone, and believe me, a lot of guys tried asking her out in middle school! I'd know, I've been consigned to the hell of sha ring a class with her for three years already!" the energetic boy replied, his gaze locked firmly on Ryouko's face, smoothly dropping to her chest the instant her attention returned to me.
It doesn't take a genius to guess that he tried and was shot down, too. But, why me?
What was special about me? Just because we had adjacent seats?
No one else could answer that question, either.
At lunch, since she produced a bento and sat behind me, staring intently at me the entire time she ate, I attempted to start a conversation.
I decided to ignore her earlier suggestion to me as a joke for the time being anyway, and asked, "You believe you'll meet the person you'll marry here, at this school?"
"Wouldn't have come to this school otherwise," she confirmed without hesitation, dismissing the girls who were flocking around us like circling buzzards, waiting for a chance to strike.
Shaking her head slightly, she said, "So, tell me about your hobbies! I bet you like video games, too, huh? RPGs especially?"
I ... guess. I mean, I'm not an otaku, or anything, but I've played a few just like anyone else...
"Did you think Dragon Quest Nine was kind of short?" she mused.
Hmm, maybe a little. I thought the end-game was too much of a grind, really... I couldn't bother with it.
"Me, too," she complained. "Hey, what about the Chrono Trigger remake?"
Well, I never played the original, but it was pretty fun... I really liked the 'new game plus' feature - I hadn't really seen that in as many games as I would have liked before.
"Yeah!" she agreed with remarkable enthusiasm, lighting up with energy. "Starting all over with all of your power-ups, going through, smashing through all of those things that you couldn't beat last time... Maybe even take out the final boss before she can start the first phase of her evil plan! You know, all of the little things you need to do to get an S rank victory and the best ending!"
I could agree with that, though. It's almost a pity that the real world doesn't have such an option...
She found that thought incredibly amusing, and spent several minutes laughing, for some reason.
Well ... I decided she was even crazier than my first guess, but somehow, it was kind of charming, in an unsettling, far-too-hyper kind of way.
Opening ceremonies were mostly not worth commenting on... Mostly.
During the athletic competitions, Suzumiya put on a remarkable demonstration, and Taniguchi took that opportunity to expand slightly more on Suzumiya's history. Throughout her middle school career she'd done such strange things as left a giant symbol across the lawn to communicate with aliens, plastered the walls with shinto mandalas, and generally ignored every human around her for being 'dull'. Most especially, he reminded me, she scorned every boy who dared to ask her out ... and right as he pointed that out, Suzumiya paused mid-run to look towards our group and blow a kiss at me.
In a surreal moment of dazed stupidity, I simply sat there, while Taniguchi and Kunikida exploded away as though I were about to be struck with a grenade.
Yet again, I had the strange certainty that everyone there had seen what had just transpired, as though some giant celestial focus had zeroed in on this event.
Some moments later, drawing as close as they dared, Taniguchi and Kunikida began to compare notes as though I weren't there.
"Kyon's never had any luck with girls..."
"...Suzumiya's always hated boys..."
And together, the pair of geniuses produced a formula that would have caused Einstein himself to stare in awe. Not, admittedly, for its brilliance:
"Opposites must truly attract!"
First of all, who said anything about me being attracted to her?
"Eh," Taniguchi mused, rubbing his chin, "I don't have a good basis to judge, here - Kunikida, do you think Kyon could do better?"
"Absolutely not," my acquaintance answered without hesitation.
"Leaves Asakura free for us, then!"
And for that reason, I did not consider Taniguchi to truly be my friend.
After all of the ceremonies ended and school let out, I hurried to the shoe lockers to escape and clear my head.
Somehow, not terribly surprisingly, Suzumiya stepped out of the same doorway just behind me. "Hey, cutie!" she called, sidling up to me and using her strange power to draw all attention in the vicinity onto me. "Have you played The World Ends With You?"
No? It sounded interesting, but I never got a hold of it.
"Sweet! Bring something after the weekend to swap me for it - I think you'll get a kick out of it," she enthused. "What do you have?"
"Well," I admitted, "I have Okami-den, that's my newest game..."
"Hey, we'll be getting our first assignments after the weekend - so, Monday, why don't we hang out after school and finish our homework together, so we can have more time to play?" she suggested, still cheerful. "I'll bring my DS games over!"
You'll bring your games over? So it's already decided that this will be at my place?
She smacks my shoulder, a blush springing to her cheeks as the attention on us, just reaching the school's main gate feels like it intensifies. "Damn, you're bold!" she calls in a loud, cheerful voice. "But, okay - you're just hot enough to sweet-talk me into it- See you on Monday, honey-buns~!"
With that, giggling hysterically, Suzumiya zooms down the street at a breakneck pace, pausing only to shoot me a few dozen glances and accompanying winks. This, incidentally, caused her long, dark ponytail to sway behind her hypnotically, like a lithe dancer, undulating, twisting, always hinting and...
What the hell just happened?
"Okay!" Taniguchi declared, reaching a hand out to grab my shoulder and halt my mindless march forward, towards the last vanishing glimpse of Suzumiya's ponytail. The heavy lens of the other students' attention seemed to magically shift off me once more. "You, Kyon, are either just incredibly lucky, or the greatest player that the world has ever known - either way, let the merest fraction of your glory shift onto me!"
...and that is why the moment I was outside of Suzumiya's presence, an unwanted male attached himself to me.
I enjoyed a relaxing weekend, unwinding and dusting off my small video game library. The vast majority of my games were for the console my sister and I share, so I suppose it would have been more accurate to call them 'our' games. But the hand-held game system was mine, and I had five games for it. A meager collection, and my allowance too paltry to bolster it anytime in the near future...
Mostly, though, I spent the weekend staring at the game cards and pondering what this amazingly strange girl saw in me. And it did seem pretty specific to me ... though, I wondered if her attention could just as easily shift away?
Monday suggested that this was less likely than my initial guess suggested:
I sat at my desk, having arrived a bit early ... earlier than Suzumiya, at any rate. I felt a lot of unwanted eyes on me, and wondered what sort of reputation I had garnered just by being the subject of Suzumiya's interest. That same Asakura - probably equal in loveliness to Suzumiya, if only her hair were to be done up in a ponytail - approached me.
"Ah ... Kyon-kun," she began, smiling awkwardly. "I know I already spoke with you about this, but I wonder ... Suzumiya has utterly ignored everyone else who tried to pay attention to her, so, might it be possi-"
And then, quite abruptly - so quickly I didn't even see her arrive - Suzumiya was there, incidentally bumping into the blue-haired girl and sending her stumbling away with a yelp mid-word.
"Back off, space-bimbo!" she cried inexplicably with her usual manic energy, her eyes on Asakura. "Kyon's my man!" And at that, she dropped a possessive hand to my shoulder.
...this was news to me, though I confess a forming suspicion that Suzumiya felt that way. I wasn't sure which part of her statements to be more confused by.
"Oh," she said, almost as an afterthought, as all attention once again seemed to fall onto me. "Unless Kyon thinks you'll be fun in a three-way, but I expect you'll be too boring for me. Instead, I think you should spend your time trying to improve the lot of a problem-child like Yamane."
"...um?" Asakura managed, accurately summing up everyone's thoughts on that as I felt that strange shift in focus move away from me and to the quiet, unremarkable boy near the back of the class, wearing spectacles and holding a camera in his hands. Come to think of it, he'd taken a lot of photographs during the ceremonies, hadn't he?
"He's probably going to be some creepy voyeur or stalker," Suzumiya explained, shrugging, causing the boy to wilt, flinching in on himself. "Since you've got such an overload of positive energy, you should turn his life around! Teach him how to harness his inner photographer in a productive and healthy way! It'll also kick-start your modeling career!
"Most importantly, it'll keep you away from my Kyon - because if you don't watch it around him, you may find yourself moving to Canada!" Done, Suzumiya released my shoulder, dropped herself into her seat, and beamed me a smile.
In almost a daze, with a flinching backwards glance at Suzumiya, Asakura stumbled her way to Yamane's desk, almost looking confused as she suggested, "Um, Yamane-kun, do you think I could be a model?"
The flinching boy worked his jaw a few times and managed a raspy, "Absolutely!"
"Um ... then ... w...we should work together for that, shouldn't we?"
"Yes!" Yamane yelped, sitting bolt upright, his eyes wide behind his spectacles. "I'll be your cameraman as long as you need! From here until the end of time!"
"There," Suzumiya pronounced in satisfaction, as though she had engineered the entire thing. "Aren't they cute?"
Yamane looked delighted, and Asakura, for her part... Well, she seemed kind of strangely amused, for some reason. I've said this before, but it bears reiterating:
What the hell just happened?
Suzumiya's smile deepened. "Do you think we'll make as cute a couple~?"
Once again somewhat shaky, I turned to face forward. I admit ... I drew some small amount of satisfaction from Taniguchi's crestfallen expression at that time.
Somehow, without being able to think of a good reason to refuse her, it came out that I walked Suzumiya to my home. This time, instead of parting from my side at the gate, in full view of our classmates, she seized my arm and clasped it to her chest as though trying to make it an integral part of her blouse. Not a wholly unwelcome sensation, in point of fact, but it seemed clear at this point that she would only become more confusing to me, not less.
Despite that, I was able to keep a clear head as we chatted about various games we had both played. Pleasant conversation, surprisingly, and her views on games matched mine more often than not - or were things I could at least understand.
Which lead me to believe if I was making sense of any part of her, things were about to become much more confusing very, very quickly.
"Oh," she remarked as I pointed out my house and we walked down the last stretch of road, "I'm going to start playing a game with you as soon as we step inside!"
"Which game is that?" I wondered, starting to actually look forward to it a little.
"Well, your goal is to defend yourself, naturally," she explained. "My goal is to steal your clothes and have my way with you!"
I stumbled forward, unable to find words in response.
"It'll be way more fun than you expect," she assured me as I opened the door to my house. "But we really can't have any fun until our homework is done."
Ah, I see.
Still, even for Suzumiya, that joke seemed a bit much...
After we got inside my mother and sister met Suzumiya - and they all got along unreasonably well. Shortly after that, we retreated to my room, which may, perhaps, somewhat have been feverishly cleaned at some point over the weekend in anticipation of having a girl over.
What of it?
"Not too shabby," she opined, nodding. Glancing at the television, she added, "Too bad your parents don't let you have a console in here, huh?"
"Well ... I can move it upstairs from time-to-time, but the screen downstairs is much larger," I offered.
She grinned, then dropped onto my bed. "That's okay, we'll head over to my friend's place sometime to play," she decided. "For now, homework is important - without good grades here, we'll never get into good colleges, right?"
There are much worse things than some crazy girl throwing herself at you and helping bring your grades up. She was light-years ahead of me on ... everything except for grammar, but she had an easygoing way of explaining things, and was so friendly about it that before I realized it, we were finishing the last assignments for the week - and it was still only Monday!
"There!" she declared triumphantly. "Now we've got the entire week to play!" She gave me a grin, just before she leaped on me.
The supremely athletic girl plowed me effortlessly down onto my own mattress, her fingers going lightning fast to the tie at my throat-
And that was when I realized that Suzumiya was not at all joking about her game. Due to my surprise, I didn't even think to resist until she'd defeated my coat, tie, and half the buttons on my shirt. My protests didn't slow her down, of course, but salvation came along anyway.
"Kyon-kun~!" my sister chirped, slamming my door open explosively. "Haru-nee~! Dinner- Oh, are you two wrestling?"
...it was a form of salvation, at any rate.
"So ... I don't want to come off as super-bitter or anything, but I'm just going to point out that if you already slept with her, you're kind of a man-slut," Taniguchi greeted me the next morning.
"Oh, shut your mouth," Suzumiya retorted, before I could say anything. "He's too much of a prude for that."
Somehow, I wasn't sure that improved the situation.
"Just because you'd jump all over the first girl that gives you a smile doesn't mean that there are no such things as gentlemen, Tani-baka!"
The class snickered at him as he sulked into his seat, and Suzumiya gave a small sniff.
Well ... somehow, I guess, thanks for that, Suzumiya.
"I'm 'Haruhi' to you now," she corrected me. "Or, 'you sexy thing, you'."
A change of subject:
"So, tell me about this friend of yours, S... Haruhi?"
"She's totally awesome," Suzumiya said insistently. "You'll love her! We should join her club - she can join us in playing video games and studying!"
A club? I wasn't really convinced... But then, with someone else around, it would be much harder for Suzumiya to win at her 'game'.
Or so I thought.
My introduction to Suzumiya's friend went like this:
We approached the door to the literature club as a pair, and she opened it before abruptly shoving me through forcefully, one hand in the middle of my back.
Not expecting such a violent action (though in retrospect, I most certainly should have), I stumbled forward and tripped, crashing into the soft, yelping form of a female student as we toppled to the floor. Embarrassingly, she somehow managed to practically wrap herself entirely around me by the time we struck, though I took most of the force on my shoulder.
Suzumiya's laughter began to sound immediately.
The pair of us were tangled together completely, this person who I could see nothing more of than a mop of light purple hair squirming against me, making absolutely no progress in getting away. In fact, when I tried to extricate myself from the situation, her movements countered my efforts - was this girl secretly on the wrestling team?
As if that weren't enough, she began to make the most... Well, she began making noises. Interesting ones, and her breath was on my neck, so I was rapidly becoming ... distracted.
Only the slam - and subsequent locking - of the club door gave me the presence of mind to heroically pull one arm free, finding the edge of a table overhead and levering myself upright. Beneath me, her face flushed, panting like the heroine of an ero manga- Or, so I hear, anyway- was the face of a smaller girl in our year, her glasses slightly out of position, her hair just long enough to hang past her shoulders in a light purple curtain.
Her lips were a space apart, as though prepared for a kiss, and her eyes shimmered with unspoken emotion as another of those tiny noises escaped her, and her eyebrows rose, giving her the most eerily hopeful and expectant expression.
I somehow found the strength to look away and stand mostly upright before offering her a hand up, Suzumiya still chortling to one side. "S...sorry," I managed, bowing deeply.
"I... It's okay," the girl said shyly, her expression amazingly cute. "Yuki-chan doesn't mind ... though ... i...if Yuki-chan is somehow no longer good for marriage, will this nii-sama take care of Yuki-chan?"
I realized this was a refrain that I felt I'd already overused, but it was slowly becoming my lifeline to sanity, to remind myself just how mad life was around Suzumiya:
What the hell just happened?
"Of course he will, my darling little Moegato~!" Suzumiya answered for me. "He swears!
"By the way, Kyon, I'm 'Haruhi' to you, though," she reminded me. "Or maybe 'my pet'."
"Anyway, we're a package deal. And trust me, you won't find any manipulative busty time-traveler nearly as cute or moe as her!"
"I'm so happy!" the little meganekko cried, reaching forward to take my hand before she tripped, sprawling headlong into an unexpected embrace with me. "O...oops!" Well, unexpected on my part, anyway...
I... What? I spoke too soon- It's quite obviously still happening!
"You may not think so, but the glasses will grow on you.
Anyway, she'll fall down and knock herself out, or get an attack of anemia if we don't join her club and watch out for her!" Suzumiya exclaimed, reaching town and tugging the ribbon from the smaller girl's hair. It took her only a few seconds to smoothly gather all of the loose hairs up into a cute little ponytail while the girl blushes adorably.
"Now, my little Moegato, let's double-team him!"
"Hang on!" I protested, only to be saved by a sudden knock at the door.
We all froze for a moment, and Suzumiya frowned, looking annoyed. Shaking her head, she marched to the door, unlocking it and wrenching it open, looking completely unimpressed to see the boy standing on the other side - an unfamiliar figure to me, with fair hair and an annoying pretty-boy complexion with what I immediately took to be a plastic smile.
"Oh," Suzumiya said, nodding before the boy could speak. "New transfer student, right? Joining the first day of classes after opening ceremonies?"
"Yes, that's me!" he agreed. "Ah, I was hoping-"
"Yeah, I overheard in the office there was an error with your paperwork," she overrode him. "Somehow, they accidentally transfered you to Kouyouen."
"I-" He blinked, his smile stationary, as the hope in his eyes was overtaken by total confusion. "What? But- That's an all-girl's school!"
"Koizumi-kun!" a teacher called, running in from the hallway, huffing for breath and holding a clothes hanger with a girl's uniform on it. "Koizumi-kun!" she repeated, before pausing to gasp a few times. "So sorry! There's been a horribly confusing error, and you're simply going to have to attend another school for a week before we'll be able to sort the paperwork out!"
"I... But, that's an all-girl's school!" Koizumi protested, shaking his head. "I can't-"
"Well, due to obscure laws I can't recall specifically, but am positive are real, I'm afraid you'll have to," the teacher apologized.
"Mm, well, anyway," Suzumiya decided, as the boy stares at his new girls' school uniform in utter confusion, "I'll help get this straightened out - my little Moegato, I want you and my Kyon to get along with one-another now~!"
And with that, she stepped into the hallway and slammed the door behind her.
I caught one last iteration of, "But, that's an all-girl's school!"
Almost immediately, I heard Suzumiya reply, "Suck it up, you wuss!" A moment later, in a softer tone, she added, "Don't worry, Sensei, I'll help you get him properly dressed before we send him off."
"Um," I manage, staring at the door, then turning to the girl that's still clinging to me, staring up at me with shining eyes. "I, uh... S...should we have proper introductions?"
"Yuki-chan is called Nagato Yuki, Nii-sama!" she chirped in a sweet, warbling voice, rich in tonality.
I am unable to deny that having a cute girl clinging to you and calling you such a name in such way is ... a pleasant feeling. Not being related by blood made it much better than I would previously have expected, I confess.
I gave her my name, but in response, she just blushed and reiterated, "Nii-sama is Nii-sama to Yuki-chan ... is that okay?"
Um ... I suppose so, Nagato...
"Mou~! Yuki-chan is Yuki-chan, Nii-sama!" she protested, breaking away and stamping one foot angrily, almost unbalancing herself as she did so, one hand going to my arm to support herself before she blushed again.
...very well, Yuki-chan.
"Yay!" she cheered, jumping up and down before - of course - tripping, sprawling straight into me.
Did she practice?
"Heeheee~!" she giggled. "Haru-nee-sama taught Yuki-chan!" She shook her head, beaming me an unreasonably cute smile before moving over to where an electric teakettle was already resting. "Would Nii-sama like some tea?"
I took a seat at the table and looked around. It seemed to be a very normal literature club room, except for the electric kettle, and the presence of a small refrigerator... Left over from last year, I'd have to guess. Who really knows?
There were some bookshelves filled with books, the table I was sitting at, and a trio of chairs. That was it, really.
"So," I asked, trying to fill the silence, "how did you and Suzumiya meet?"
"Yuki-chan met Haru-nee-sama ... um ... the first day Yuki-chan moved into her new apartment!" she answered brightly. "Tanabata, three years ago!"
I have no idea why Tanabata could have been considered an important date. Except, I suppose, it was the only holiday that technically occurred on that date.
"So ... you met her at a festival?"
"Nope! Haru-nee-sama came into Yuki-chan's apartment and said we were friends! And she helped Yuki-chan get away from the people who used to be in charge of Yuki-chan, because they were jerks!"
...where to even begin with that...
"She came into your apartment?" I wondered. "You left your door unlocked?"
"Nope! Haru-nee-sama just came in-"
The door exploded open with a fierce kick from Suzumiya, letting her slip through before it rebounded and slammed itself shut, miraculously undamaged. "Oh, man," she said, shaking her head, her hands in fists on her hips as she grinned. "The you tube video of that guy in a Kouyouen uniform is going to get so many hits!"
"-like that!" Yuki-chan concluded. "Hooray! Haru-nee-sama!"
"That's right!" Suzumiya cheered in response. "Anyway, Kyon, we should probably let Moegato get us properly signed up in her club - if we don't help her out, then her club could be shut down for insufficient members - or she could be edged out of her room and comfort zone by a raging tsundere with boundary issues!"
...I can't tell where that came from, or honestly imagine Suzumiya allowing that.
"Aw, thanks!" she chirps. "But I told you, to you, I'm Haruhi," she reminded me. "Or maybe 'Kyon's girl'."
After that we settled into a relatively calmer pattern of doing our homework, and then club activities. Thankfully, though she was liable to start her game up again at a moment's notice, she seemed somewhat deterred - or at least distracted - by Yuki-chan's presence. And it was actually quite fun, spending our time chatting about books and video games.
Yuki-chan wasn't nearly as skilled as Suzumiya or I, but was surprisingly much better versed, and familiar with more games. After a full week of club attendance, enjoying Yuki-chan's tea, amazed at how dojiko a girl can be in real life, I'd started to really enjoy the club. It was probably a small miracle Yuki-chan managed not to trip and spill anything anywhere but the floor.
"We should get together this weekend!" Suzumiya declared, as we left the club room, and Yuki-chan took her customary few minutes to fumble at the door before managing to lock it. "We can hang out, order a pizza, and watch some anime in a marathon!"
That doesn't sound too bad...
"We'll have it at Moegato's place!" she added.
"Tomorrow?" I wondered.
"Yeah!" Suzumiya agreed. "Oh, it's going to be an overnight, though, so bring your things!"
"Please, please, come along, Nii-sama!" Yuki-chan begged, tugging on one of my arms, her eyes glittering with emotion. "Yuki-chan doesn't have any family to stay with her...
What, really? Well... A brilliant scheme to bring my sister along, uninvited, hatched in the back of my mind.
Sure, why not?
"Okay! In that case, I'm going to go help Moegato clean up for tomorrow!" Suzumiya decided. "We'll pick you up at your place then - take care, my sexy little Kyon!"
...I didn't understand what compelled her to speak to me so.
After the pair of them were gone, I sighed, stepping outside of the school building. "Why are you hiding there?" I heard someone cry, before the sound of cloth tearing. "Oh, no! How embarrassing, nyoro! Quick, put this on!" followed by the most uproarious laughter I'd ever heard.
"Look out!" someone else called, before I heard the sound of a moist splash.
Compelled by my curiosity, I rounded the edge of the school building, finding a pair of female upperclassmen. The laughing one was a pretty girl with very long hair, who managed to hold her camera-phone up perfectly steady despite how vigorously her laughter was making her shake.
The other was a poor girl that evidently tore her uniform practically to shreds in a bush right at the corner of the club-building, and wrapped up in an extremely unflattering old coat before someone accidentally splashed her with a full bottle of ink. Her features were hard to make out through the ink, but her eyes looked bewildered, more than anything else. I think her hair might have been brown, but most of it was black at the time, dripping thickly onto her bulky over-sized man's coat.
"It's a good thing I was carrying that coat for the drama club supplies!" the green-haired girl chortled. "Haha! Mikuru-chan, what were you even doing crawling around, peeking underneath that bush, nyoro?"
"I- This," the mysterious ink-covered 'Mikuru' whimpered before subsiding into sobs.
"Sorry!" someone called from inside the building. "It slipped from my hands, honest!"
The green-haired girl cackled again, before putting her phone in her pocket. "Let's get you cleaned up!" she cheered. "Don't worry, I edited out the parts where your face could be seen before I put it on the web!"
Wailing, the ink-stained upperclassman allowed herself to be led away by her chortling friend.
I was working on a catchphrase, at some point. I was leaning towards 'good grief', or 'oh, brother'. Maybe even something classic, like, 'yare, yare'. For the moment, I had relied on my standby, the stalwart combination of words that had stood me in good stead for so long:
What the hell just happened?
I would like to set aside this space to explain to the world how dear my sister is to me. Oh, we'd drifted apart through the years, but her newly discovered protective influence is more precious to me than oxygen.
I have no doubts what would have happened to me at Yuki-chan's place did I not bring a guard-sibling along with me to deter Suzumiya's quest to steal my pants.
But my little sister was there, so it thankfully did not happen.
Though, there were some close calls...
...admittedly, it was a very nice weekend. The details will simply have to remain in your imagination for the time being.
The following Monday, we returned to class, to a day I was slowly starting to set myself in the mindset of being 'the one day I will have to do homework' a week. I didn't really see that coming, but it didn't seem too bad...
So we sat down at the table and worked on our homework, interrupted by a knock at the door not long after we began.
"Hello," the pale-haired pretty-boy from the previous week said once the door opened. "I-"
"Yeah, heard they screwed up your paperwork again," Suzumiya remarked, cutting him off. "Looks like you're going to Hikami Gakuen, the delinquent capital of our city. Oh, hey! I wonder how many uniforms we're going to see you in before the end of the year? I'm going to make a catalog!" She whipped out her cell phone and grinned expectantly.
"That's," he started, his expression slipping slightly, allowing the tiniest hints of dismay through. "W...we checked the paperwork quite thoroughly..."
"Koizumi-kun!" a familiar teacher huffed, running into view carrying a uniform on a hangar.
Wasn't this the textbook definition of a running gag? Did things like this actually happen in real life?
For reasons I can't really quite explain, it was somewhat amusing to watch that poor boy get handed another outfit - male, at least, this time - and herded away. Suzumiya ran off with him to get her pictures, and returned less than ten minutes later, looking amused and pleased with herself.
"Don't feel too bad for that guy," she encouraged me, before I could wonder aloud. "When the stress gets to him and he drops out to go into veterinary college, it'll be the best decision of his life! It seems harsh, but the twin-tailed girl of his dreams is waiting there - and will like him a lot more if he's friendly to dogs!"
Suzumiya had an odd amount of confidence to be saying such things...
"Feminine intuition and boundless optimism," she said dismissively, slamming and locking the door. "Playtime~!"
"Yay~! I'll help!" Yuki-chan cried, stumbling into me and wrapping her arms around my torso as our attacker loomed overhead, grinning wickedly.
I'm not sure that's helping!
"She didn't say she was helping you," Suzumiya remarks.
Through trials man was not meant to know, I miraculously preserved my virtue.
Some days later, after Suzumiya advertised to the class that I was still resisting (and belatedly, thanks, Taniguchi, for polling her once a week), I had a strange encounter. Typically, Suzumiya would attach herself to my arm the moment class ended, and drag/lead me to the clubroom. Today, she evidently had a surprise and ran ahead, pausing only to blow me a kiss and remind Asakura that I was still off-limits.
Not that Asakura seemed to care, at that point, since her universe had collapsed to a point just past Yamane. For him, it was difficult to say his universe extended beyond her in the first place. The pair of them made eyes at one-another all day, and he constantly took pictures of her while the pair of them discussed cameras, composition, lighting...
It said very bad things about me that I was coming to simply expect such things. It also worried me that it seemed to suggest that Suzumiya's observations were right more often than not. In some ways, it was strangely frustrating, too...
While I was alone, thinking such things, I heard a whisper from the open door of a classroom I was passing. "Kyon!" someone hissed. "In he-"
Whatever else was about to be said was cut off with the solid-sounding impact of something against the floor, and a huge, billowing cloud of white dust. I stepped back from the doorway that disgorged the obscuring dust, realizing that this was the Home EC class, and most logically, a bag of flour was dropped.
"Is everyone okay in there?" I asked worriedly, peering into the white fog.
"I'm fine," the same voice coughed, a figure stepping from the cloud and rasping, difficult to make out beneath the caked-on white powder that seems to have been poured straight on her head. Her hair is uniformly powdered, even her eyebrows and eyelashes, her outfit and skin almost indistinguishable... It's impossible to place her age, and most of her figure is a mystery.
"Uuee," she moaned, "I'm all messy now!"
A protective group of my classmates - three girls - promptly broke from the other students watching this spectacle, circling the woman and leading her away. "Come on, Sensei," one of them insisted, "let's get you cleaned up properly!"
"Really, we have to at least make sure your eyes are cleaned properly," another added, taking her flour-coated wrist and leading her down the hall.
"You've done plenty of work today, Sensei, let your students help you out in return!" the third completed, propelling the resisting teacher from behind, even as the second pulled.
...that actually made a small degree of sense, except for the part about wanting to talk to me.
Probably, still not worth worrying about.
When I got to the clubroom, Suzumiya and Yuki-chan were both happily going through the small pile of notes we had collected on what we've read over the year so far. "Okay!" Suzumiya cheered on seeing me. "Moegato has a project for our club~!"
While Yuki-chan played along without hesitation, she was not quite as eager to take the initiative, so-to-speak, so hoping that this was harmless, and not a mad dash to steal my pants, I nodded and took my seat. "What's the project?" I wondered.
"This is the part where you actually earn the two hot chicks that are throwing themselves at you," she explained. "We're going to give you the outline for a story, and you'll make a brilliant novelization! I'll be your thematic editor, and Yuki-chan will be your technical editor!"
...but a whole novel? This did make some sense, as this was a literature club, but isn't it strange to put so much burden on me, suddenly?
"What are you talking about?" Suzumiya wondered. "You've been able to slack off the entire time so far! Let's put your awesomeness to use and start writing! The first one will be a light novel, anyway, since more might be really hard." She nodded at that, handing me a scrap of paper.
"Nii-sama, Yuki-chan believes in you!" Yuki-chan cheered. "Give it your best!"
And ... well ... it wasn't like I didn't have a good deal of free time already, thanks to Suzumiya's amazing studying. Plus, this could give me something to use as an excuse to fend off her more active assaults.
"Books are adventures!" Yuki-chan said, nodding eagerly.
"That's right!" Suzumiya agreed. "You should really be a writer- If the real world is safe and boring, make a more dangerous exciting one ... in a safe way! All of the reward, none of the risk - writing is the ultimate career. How can you ever get bored? Just switch genres to whatever sounds more exciting!"
I couldn't think of a good counter argument, and honestly ... it sounded more appealing than any of my own career ideas. Why not give it a shot? In a worst case scenario, I'd determine it was a bad idea for me before I even got into college.
Sure, Suzumiya, this actually sounded like fun.
"Epic! Except, I'm 'Haruhi' to you," she scolds me with an eager grin. "Or maybe 'hot editor number one'!"
Spending most of the weekend with my head buzzing with ideas for the story that Suzumiya and Yuki-chan wanted me to write - a strange take on a boy who meets a girl with the powers to shape reality... Well, I thought they were angling for romance, though I couldn't help but think that given Suzumiya's approach to that, I'd be best off toning that aspect down ... a lot.
An awful lot.
Still, it was an interesting weekend, and the idea grew on me. By the time we reached the clubroom after school, I was back in a mood to be annoyed about my homework, I was so eager to begin.
Then again, it was Monday, so pretty much exactly as I expected, there was a knock on the door.
"Transfer paperwork came in this morning," Haruhi answered Koizumi apologetically.
"No," he said with a confident shake of his head, "we were very careful to make sure not to send me to the wrong school in our district, this time."
"Well, 'Brooklyn' is an entirely different district," she agreed.
His confident smile shifted to raw confusion. Even I had to wonder how this happened.
"Evidently they misfiled your paperwork so badly the first time it's just only now gotten through the overseas transfer student process," she explained, shrugging. "Crazy, huh? Too bad that school doesn't have a uniform - totally destroyed my idea of a uniform catalog."
"...um," he managed.
"Koizumi-kun!" a familiar teacher called, as Suzumiya closed the door again.
"So!" she cheered, how's your homework going, my little Moegato?"
"Yay! Nii-sama's grammar is the best!" Yuki-chan returned. "Nii-sama won't need Yuki-chan to edit his writing at all~!"
...I must admit it's somewhat nice to hear that.
Some days later, when my first chapter was complete, Suzumiya and I traded notes on what I'd written so far.
"I think the heroine's likable attributes aren't really visible yet," she mused. "She seems kind of bitchy, mostly. Then again, I get the sense you're going to make her grow over the course of the story. She's certainly got a lot of energy - I like that part!"
"I can't give it all away in the first chapter," I agreed. "Did I overdo it? I wanted her to be kind of like you, um ... but needing further to go before she was as friendly as you..." Well, that might have been overdoing it, in retrospect, but in the balance ... Suzumiya is probably one of the most interesting characters I've ever met, and is exceedingly likable, outside of her unsettling fixation on getting into my pants.
"Mm, I don't want to bias you too much," she said with a huge grin, fanning her face. "I do like it, though; it's got that very familiar feeling of a really epic story! Like it resonates, you know?"
Writing by hand is a bit of a pain, though.
"We'll just use the proceeds from your first light-novel to buy a laptop," she suggested.
"Yuki-chan thinks it will make more than enough!" the meganekko agreed, before tripping into the pair of us.
We paused in the entry way with the shoe-lockers as we looked outside.
"Oooh," Yuki-chan moaned, looking at the sudden storm that's blown in, flooding the streets around us and providing the sounds of distant thunder. "Nii-sama, Haru-nee-sama," she whimpered, "Yuki-chan forgot an umbrella!"
"No worries!" Haruhi cheered, pointing to a poor blubbering upperclassman that tripped in a mud-puddle not far outside of the doors, being helped to her feet by a familiar laughing green-haired figure with an umbrella and a towel in one hand. "We'll just stick together and share! We'll have to be close to stay dry, but Kyon's hot enough to keep us warm the entire walk back to your place!"
I nodded, unable to pick any real features out of the mud-coated girl.
"It's lucky for her she's got a close friend to take care of her," Haruhi remarked, unfolding her umbrella and practically attaching herself to my side. "Well, let's go~!"
"Yay~!" Yuki-chan cheered, attaching herself to my other side.
"We're all going to Yuki-chan's?" I wondered.
"My parents are nosy, your sister's nosy, and her place is the only one that has a bath big enough to fit all three of us comfortably."
Oh, well, that made a certain-
I cut off and realized that a great deal of students are crowded into the vestibule around us, presumably waiting for parents or others to provide rides and avoid the rain. All of them seemed interested but ... no longer really surprised by Suzumiya's remarks.
Then again, I wasn't either.
My narrow escapes had been getting narrower as I focused on the first light novel. I admit, this was more because I was putting less effort into evasion, not because Haruhi or Yuki-chan were putting more effort into capture.
But I digress.
We enjoyed several quiet weeks before I finally finished, turning it over to Suzumiya for the first official edit.
This took about a week, during which time I enjoyed full access to her video game library with Yuki-chan, which was actually quite a reward. While I had gone to pains to point out that I wasn't an otaku ('lying', according to Haruhi), her collection would put all but the most hardcore to shame.
The only larger collection I'd seen in person belonged to Yuki-chan.
After that, two weeks revising it and discussing her points before we found something we agreed we liked, and then it was handed over to Yuki-chan, who somehow went through the entire thing in just one day. She found five grammar errors, and I admit I was both impressed and embarrassed by her, considering she frequently asked me for help with her homework.
Haruhi assured me that she merely had the benefit of an outsider's perspective - then she took the bundled paperwork and suggested that we focus on the end-of-term tests, since those were coming up soon.
Many people wouldn't bother ramping up their study schedules quite as early as we had, and if they did, they'dgo to a proper cram-school instead. Still, Haruhi insisted we had to stay sharp, and with her help it was so easy I would have to have been an idiot to refuse it.
That was also the next time we had an encounter with the enigmatic Koizumi. I had determined at this point he was just an odd character - the kind of which you find more of as you go through life. Haruhi herself was pretty energetic in a crazy way. Yuki-chan was almost unrealistically cute. There was that girl (and that teacher, come to think of it) that both seemed to have a habit of getting themselves covered with messy things... That green-haired girl with the laugh...
Those kinds of characters were starting to inspire me to write more, though.
A familiar knock at the door sounded, heralding his arrival, and Suzumiya went to open it nonchalantly.
Arrayed behind the fair-haired pretty-boy, though his smile had weakened, were the principal, the same teacher who had run up to Koizumi to notify him of the error, and the school's head guidance councilor. "Hello," Koizumi began weakly.
"Yeah?" Haruhi wondered, glancing across the adults behind the boy.
"Um ... I'm interested in joining this club - and don't you need more members? You have to have at least five to avoid being shut down..."
"What did you need these guys here for, though?"
"Oh, they're just here to verify that I attend this school," he offered.
"Koizumi is a wonderful student!" the principal agreed.
"He's got a bright future!" the teacher chimed in.
"With an education here, he's going to have amazing opportunities!" the guidance counselor finished.
"Cool - postal service accidentally delivered this for you to my house by mistake," Haruhi answered, pulling a thick envelope from her blouse. "Looks like you were offered a scholarship at some other place in America! Some guy named Professor Xavier thinks you're a gifted youngster, or something?"
The principal blinked. The teacher cocked her head to one side. The guidance counselor, however, emitted a piercing squeal before rounding on Koizumi as though herded by the flames of Hades, snatching the envelope from Haruhi's fingers. "Drop out of our school! We can offer you nothing! You waste your life in such a menial institution! If Xavier calls, you must go!"
The teacher agreed, and between the two of them they seize the boy and drag him away.
"But- But-" Koizumi weakly protested, before he vanishes from view.
Somehow, I just wasn't surprised anymore.
The principal adjusted his tie, ducking his head slightly. "Still," he warned, "we do need to see that you find two more members, and show some proof that you're doing literary club exercises."
"No problem, Sakanaka and Kunikida will join tomorrow," Haruhi replied. "And Kyon-kun's first light novel hits the shelves next week - it's already at five-hundred thousand pre-sales. If that's not good enough, then we'll just find a more easygoing club."
The principal nodded at that, somewhat taken aback. "That ... should take care of everything then," he reluctantly agreed, before leaving.
I laughed softly at that. A successful novelist before college?
"I guess that practically obligates you for a language major, huh?" Haruhi wondered.
"Nii-sama is the best~!" Yuki-chan agreed.
Ah, but I didn't believe for a minute that Haruhi had really published it.
"Oh, yeah, I forgot to give you your cut of the royalties!" she remarked, producing another envelope, and handing me something I took a very long time to believe was real.
...I had enough presence of mind to wonder if my book was properly dedicated.
"What's 'properly' mean?"
It did seem, somehow, that I should thank Haruhi for coming into my life as she has... And Yuki-chan, too for her help-
"No problem!" she cheered. "The dedication reads 'to my two best editors'. I wanted 'sexiest', but they insisted that 'best' would be better. How's that work for you?"
"Cool! By the way, you can thank me by... Well, you'll see. Just so you know, I don't plan on getting pregnant until we're almost done with college, but our first baby will be a girl named Sasaki - I'm positive you can raise her right!"
I had learned not to even bother trying to understand what that meant, just offering a smile and a nod.
She's still crazy.
But I haven't yet seen her to be wrong.
Author's notes: My humor writing is still weak, so here's another shot at it. As stated before, wholly inspired by where I thought Mr. Cobb was going with Pillars initially. Hope you enjoyed!