A Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu fanfiction
by Brian Randall
Disclaimer: The light novel series begun with the novel 'The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi'/'Suzumiya Haruhi not Yuuutsu' is the property of Tanigwawa Nagaru. No disrespect is intended with the use of his paints; I'm just a peasant with an easel.
Notes: Experimental - very. As per some advice (much paraphrased): "Too much time writing from the head; don't forget to write from the heart once in a while." Let's see if I can pull this off. :)
There is a quiet, dusty room. The walls are unadorned, outside of a single faded poster from long ago, worn, but sternly advocating workplace safety. Around a large, rectangular table are a number of similar-looking men in respectable but worn suits - and a single distraught woman in more casual attire. The lights are dimmed, and the projection screen at one end shows stark white-
All eyes go to the display as it abruptly shifts to heavily artifacted static, hints of sky, and bright light. Another flicker, and with the same suddenness, the picture snaps into perfectly sharp clarity.
The screen shows a low point of view, almost resting on the ground - except, on closer examination it's not the ground, it's the rooftop of a flat building. Filling most of the screen is a pair of toned, pale legs- They shift back silently a half-step, showing the fringe of a powder blue skirt. The legs shift back another half-step, and more of a figure is revealed before it bends down, a pretty face creased in annoyance as she silently barks some order. Her armband marks her as a director of unparalleled prowess, and she holds a bright yellow megaphone in one hand.
The lack of sound is underscored by a noise in the room, a muffled clearing of breath from one of the men at the table. All attention remains on the screen.
Whatever her command, the camera's view shifts, edging in one direction and swinging to remove the annoyed high school girl from the frame, instead showing another pair of girls. Briefly, while the camera is being oriented, it's shifted to one side, showing a drop of at least four stories - the auto-focus is not able to compensate before the two girls are centered in the screen once more.
One is slight, wearing a cloak and a witch's cap over her school uniform, staring at the camera impassively. The other has a fuller figure, her face marked with shame as she struggles to somehow pull the hem of her too-short skirt down for modesty.
The older-looking girl turns to look in the direction of the director, then looks aghast, shaking her head furiously. The camera abruptly shifts to one side, jittering unexpectedly- Not long after that, the view is almost completely filled with the heel of one shoe, some previously concealed figure now standing directly before the camera.
Auto-focus struggles to film something that's too close, a glimpse of the characters suggesting a last name - 'Tada...' the first character might read, just before the camera spins, showing a streaking blur, marred with large squares of artifacting. Like pictures from an ancient, damaged mural, bits of clarity come through the next few moments:
The 'director', empty-handed and horrified, standing next to the older girl- The slighter figure is missing, now.
A yellow megaphone, spinning through what looks like empty air, meters and meters over the ground.
The clear, spring sky, fleeced with only the faintest clouds, and the warm, glowing sun.
For the briefest moment, next to the spinning megaphone, there is the glimpse of a young man's panicked face before-
The screen goes dark.
Around the table, an uncomfortable, indistinct muttering sounds, broken only by the strained sobs of the lone woman in attendance. The suited man next to her wears a stunned expression, one arm around her back, his other across his chest to hold one of her hands. Her eyes filled with tears, she shakes her head sharply, and reaches her free hand toward the paper that waits on the table, a pen across it.
The solemn men in the room nod slowly in understanding.
Outside of the automatic glass doors leading to a hospital, a stern, unhappy looking man shakes his head sadly at the dark-haired girl with the gold ribbon who stands before him, her expression stricken. She opens her mouth to protest, but falls short when the older girl at her side takes her hand and shakes her head sadly, tears running down her cheeks.
The man sighs, glancing over his shoulder, where a woman in casual dress speaks quietly into her phone, distracted from looking at the others. At her side is a small girl with a side-tail, her expression wan and stunned, her gaze fixed on the floor beneath her.
Turning back to the pair of girls before him, the man offers an apologetic shrug. The dark-haired girl's eyes narrow, and she opens her mouth to complain, letting it slowly close when the older girl shakes her head again, this time pointing at the small girl, and then holding a single finger up across her own lips.
Swallowing, the dark-haired girl grudgingly nods, turning one last questioning gaze at the man.
While his expression remains apologetic, he gives a curt shake of his head in response, his eyes darkening as he turns his back to her and moves through the doors to join with the woman and child waiting within.
He doesn't see the way the dark-haired girl is caught by her older companion, saved from collapsing to the ground in a sobbing pile.
Neither does the next figure to arrive - another girl, this one in a casual clothing with shorter brown hair, and no ribbon. She closes the phone in her hand and waves at the woman standing inside the glass doors.
The dark-haired girl outside watches as the smallest girl turns to the new arrival, crying out in elation at a familiar face. The girl with brown hair gives a weak smile to the child before turning an inquisitive gaze to the woman.
Outside, the dark-haired girl watches them speak animatedly - but silently - on the other side of the glass doors. Only when they're out of sight does she stop resisting her weeping companion's attempts to gently usher her away.
There is a quiet room in a hospital. A young man lies in a comfortable bed, bandages wrapped around the top of his head. The open window allows the light curtains to flutter and dance in the slight breeze.
Sitting in an uncomfortable chair at one side of the bed, her expression solemn, marred with worry, a young woman stares intently at the paper before her. After a moment, she shifts the small table to one side, glancing at the slumbering young man before touching her pencil to the page, pausing on occasion to reference something in a textbook.
For a long while, the only sounds are the breeze, and the scratch of writing, or the soft rustle of paper. As the light outside begins to dim, the young woman sighs, setting her pencil down and rubbing her eyes.
The young man in the bed stirs, very slightly.
A few heartbeats pass while the young woman abandons her work, focusing entirely on him, and carefully rising from her seat to move to his side. He stirs again, a pained, inarticulate groan escaping his lips as his eyes flutter open - before squeezing tightly shut.
Eyes widening, the girl hits a button on the wall to summon help, quickly placing her hands on his shoulders and trying to soothe him, even as she offers a comforting, worried smile.
He is confused, and his eyes are reluctant to open - before she can even ask him proper questions, a blue-haired nurse with pronounced eyebrows is gently ushering her away, and back into her seat. A small crew of other nurses, doctors, and attendants bustle into the room. The young man is helped to sit up, looking around in confusion, his questions ignored.
She tries to answer, but is hushed by the nurse-
Instead, they ask him questions.
He answers to the best of his ability, and the jubilant atmosphere quickly becomes muted with concern.
The girl raises one hand to her mouth in stunned realization as her eyes glisten with unvoiced emotion; his answers would all have been correct, a year and a half earlier.
Outside the hospital, the young man shifts his shoulders in the new school uniform he has been given - brown, and starkly military in theme. He tries to smile, but can't, instead looking back over his shoulder at the building he has spent the last weeks in. He sighs, starting when the young woman who was at his side when he awoke puts one hand on his arm.
He studies her for a moment, taking in her uniform, which matches his own. She ducks her head slightly, giving him an apologetic, hopeful smile before she gently adjusts the Hanshin Tigers baseball cap he wears to hide the very short stubble that covers his head.
He shakes his head and manages a smile in return, shrugging, then hefting a bag stuffed with schoolbooks and paperwork.
She sees the way his smile reaches his eyes and stays at his side as they slowly walk toward a waiting bus, pausing only to brush her brown hair back behind one ear and almost turning around ... but shaking her head and moving forward with him as though deciding against that backward glance at the last moment.
The area is not empty, though.
Another girl, this one in blue and white sailor uniform, a gold ribbon in her dark hair but now missing the 'director' armband, steps out from behind the hospital's bulky entrance sign. Her eyes are watery, her expression grim. She tilts her face up to the sky, not allowing her tears to fall just yet.
Only when a slight figure with light purple hair moves to her side does some tension fade from the distraught girl's expression. Her hand is caught up by the smaller girl - and then she whirls, hugging the smaller girl tightly, letting the moisture spill after all.
The violet-haired figure turns her eyes after the departed young man for a heartbeat before shifting back to the hospital, locking gazes with a very distant blue-haired nurse. The nurse gives a single slight shake of her head before vanishing from the top-story window she peered down from.
Silently, the slight girl's eyes also fill with tears.
A quiet room with a kotatsu has two figures in it - a tired-eyed young woman with brown hair, and a more alert young man with short, dark hair, marked with a single stark white streak. Both of them are in casual dress, save concessions for the cold of the season. Scowling at the paper before him, the young man abruptly crumples it up into a ball, startling his partner.
He shakes his head at her worried look, giving her a reassuring shrug before she can speak, then climbing out from beneath the kotatsu and picking up the empty tea pot, ambling toward the kitchen as she settles back down. The room's television is currently off, a video game console sitting beneath it, trapped in a massive tangle of wires - but the clock on one of the devices connected to it still shows the time and the date.
The young man's voice calls something, indistinct from the distance, and she wordlessly climbs to her feet, going to the door- She is almost beaten there by a much younger girl with her hair up in a side-tail, but sends the smaller girl to the kitchen with a smile and a shake of her head.
Her smile vanishes when she opens the door, seeing a quartet of figures.
At the fore is a girl with dark hair and a gold ribbon, her expression falling the instant she sees her greeter. Behind her is a much slighter girl with muted eyes, and an older girl with tears on her face. Further back, as though setting himself aside to better watch over them protectively, is a solemn but handsome young man with a troubled gaze.
All are dressed in red and white, marked with bells and adorned with other symbols of the season. The girl with the gold ribbon starts to say something - but catches herself, offering a pained, obviously false smile. Eyes glistening, she produces an envelope and presents it to the young woman in casual dress.
Before she can refuse, an indistinct question is called from inside, and she bites her lip. When she hesitates, the costumed girl pushes the gift into her hands- And then pushes her inside the house and pulls the door closed, shutting herself and her costumed companions outside.
When the young man returns, carrying a full pot of tea, he gives her a curious, questioning look.
Uncertain, she offers the strongest smile she can, handing him the envelope.
After setting the kettle down, he accepts it, his expression mystified as he pulls a pair of tickets out, blinking in consternation. He stares for a moment, eyeing the hearts and stars drawn across the paper, then points at the tickets in doubt, offering a questioning look at the young woman.
She hesitates only a heartbeat before offering a smaller, genuine smile, and nodding her head. He stares at her for a moment, seemingly in disbelief before she steels herself, stepping forward, one hand reaching up to gently cup the back of his head and pull him close.
A muted gasp escapes the younger girl as she peeks in from the kitchen, but the young woman doesn't let that stop her.
The last of winter's chill is fading, and a mass of eager students stands in attendance, only occasionally shivering as they are presented their awards and recognized, one-by-one. Already having collected their certificates, a young man with a streak of white hair and his brown-haired companion stroll along the outskirts of the crowd, exchanging a warm smile.
He glances to one side, nodding at a girl with a gold ribbon in her hair, obviously come from a distant school on behalf of a friend.
He doesn't recognize her, but he pauses anyway, and the young woman at his side freezes. Smiling softly, the girl with the gold ribbon shakes her head, pulling it from her hair. She wordlessly points between the young man and the woman, raising one eyebrow in question.
Having seen that unspoken question often enough, the young man offers a somewhat abashed shrug and nods, scratching behind his head nervously as he grins. His companion looks somehow both guilty and happy, unable to keep from blushing as she pulls herself slightly closer to him.
The girl beams at the pair, nodding in real happiness before presenting her ribbon to the young woman. While surprised, she accepts, her other hand caught in his, even as the young man looks mystified at the exchange.
Together, they watch the dark-haired young woman sigh, smiling as though she were finally able to set down a great burden before she turns and walks away, vanishing into the crowd.
Author's notes: Special thanks to the Soulriders fanfiction crew for commentary: Panda, Halbarad, Sarsaparilla, Arakawa, and Muphrid - your insight was of substantial value, and I thank you for your suggestions and corrections.