Sympathy

A 'Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi' fanfiction

Epilogue - A Power No One Can Contain

Disclaimer: The novel series of Suzumiya Haruhi that began with 'The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi' is the creation of Nagaru Tanigawa. No disrespect is intended by the posting of this fanfiction, as I do not own the characters or settings involved. I'm merely dabbling with another set of paints.


Kyon said I'd remember everything if I took the hand of that other copy of me. He also said we were the same person. And both an alternate dimension version of me and a time traveler.

Somehow, after our hands touched and everything went dark, he was right, though. I remembered everything from our time together - the good and the bad - right up until Kyon's irritation and my frustration met head-on.

But- I also remember being a weaker, less capable version of me, going through a much crappier and weirder take on my first few months of high school. Setting that all aside, it's kind of painful actually, remembering everything she-

No... Everything I did, there.

She was me.

Still - why were things harder for me? Why did so much just not go my way that time around? Why was Kyon so much more adept at things that time?

...the answer is pretty obvious, once I put everything together and take my last clear memory in the, I guess, original timeline into consideration. Specifically, what he said when I was in the clubroom with him. Once I take that into account, it's pretty damn obvious.

So ... he went through that? And ... I had some crazy power? Evidently I accidentally gave it to him-

I am really, really pissed off at this; there's so much just wrong and messed up about this entire situation! I thought Kyon was kind of a nice guy - but I slip up and give him a chance, and he pulls this on me?

My eyes fly open and I realize I must have fallen or tipped over after me and... After I took my own hand, I guess. Kyon must have caught me; I guess it took a while for me to sort everything out. So there I am, cradled in his arms and looking up at him. And now, what, now he thinks he can take advantage of me?

What a bastard!

"So ... you thought it was funny to watch me the entire time, remembering everything and playing dumb?" I growl at him.

Well - fine then! Before he has a chance to answer me, since his arms are still supporting me, he has no ability to protect himself when I swing my arm toward him. The angle's not that great, considering where I'm held, and I don't have that much practice hitting people, so I can't put much force into it - but I slap him across the face hard enough my palm stings a little.

He grunts slightly in surprise, and his head turns with the blow - not even close to what he'd hit Asakura with - without dropping me. After that, he slumps in resignation, like I just burst a seal and let the air out of him. He stands there almost listlessly, only supporting me in his arms, his face turned slightly away.

"No," he says, his voice a little rough. "I didn't... What Asakura did tripped a ... failsafe. I didn't ... think about that part specifically, but I didn't want you to be hurt, so my memories came back to me right before then so that I could..." He trails off, just looking the same way, not meeting my eyes.

That catches me- So, he didn't play with the powers he had at all? He set up that stupid stunt ... but then put himself into it, too?

It's pretty much impossible to be mad at Kyon when I think he's already mad at himself. It seems pretty clear that events went way past what he expected. Looking at things more critically, it wasn't that I thought Kyon was 'kind of a nice guy.' Going through it twice... Well, I know what I feel now; that second start, it didn't get a whole lot further than a crush ... but it was absolutely headed in that direction.

I'd be lying to myself at this point if I claimed I didn't know how I felt, and I've just been through way too much to keep that up.

If there's symmetry between our situations, then I know exactly why he's so upset with himself. And I think ... I would be, too. Hell, if he went through that same crap... And then, at the end of last Spring, didn't he try to tell me? And what did I do?

Cursed him out and made him pay for the bill.

No wonder he didn't press harder afterwards!

I move my hand toward his head again, and his eyes shut, but he doesn't even try and flinch away.

...I can't hit him. I shouldn't have hit him the first time- Stupid knee-jerk reaction! So - a power that makes your desires reality? And what did I really want, anyway? To understand him better - to think he'd learn to understand me better!

And then when I get that, the first moment I get a chance to face him afterward, I blow it all by slapping him? Really smooth, Suzumiya.

I don't like to screw up- No one does.

No way in hell am I going to do it twice in a row!

With his eyes closed, he doesn't react when my hand slows, tracing across the side of his head before I reach up a little further and grab the back of his head, my fingers going through his hair. Considering what he was expecting, he's totally bewildered when I pull him in for a kiss.

This time the clumsy guy does drop me - or would if I weren't hanging onto him by that point. That doesn't stop me from pressing my lips against his, though, and judging by the surprised sound he makes, and him belatedly putting his arms around me, I got that part spot on.

So ... sorry about that, Kyon. That feels right, somehow- Or at least better. And it's not like he doesn't kiss me back, so I don't think things have gotten to a point where we can't fix them.

When I let him come up for air, his face is red - except for the discoloration where I slapped him. I regret that. He might have deserved it a little, but probably not that much.

Still- I cough and step away after recovering my footing. There's a hell of a lot going on right now, and as much fun as it might be, trying to go straight into make-outs after that... Really, we need to talk.

"S...so," I say, turning around, looking about the clubroom. Outside it's dim, and there's no sign of other people. Now that I think about it, there's no real visible source of light, just kind of a general illumination all around us.

"So- What's going on with the world, then?"

"Uh," Kyon manages, sounding as unbalanced as I think he ought to. "Um. Thi...this is a kind of ... a halfway point between our world, and the one I made when ... I was..."

Man, Kyon - sometimes you're just impossible. You get an amazing power and use it to, what, give yourself the most epic guilt trip in the history of amazing things?

"So, those are two separate worlds? How can that make sense, if both me and you were also in both of them?" I press. "The Yuki that showed up to fight Asakura- She's not from our original world?"

"I... I didn't really think everything out," Kyon says slowly. "But ... I guess you don't have to with this power. It just didn't do things I didn't want ... so, I didn't want to destroy or erase a world. It made a new one, and both of us got moved over to it, with our memories reset... Everyone... Everyone else is a copy, based on a divergence in the past of our old world, and not ... the people we actually know."

"So, you're telling me that Mikuru isn't some terrifying manipulative bitch?" I ask warily, unable to tack on a '-chan' for the time traveler after seeing that horrible other version of her.

He cringes at that. "I... I don't think so," he mumbles. "Koizumi once said she might be ... to try and manipulate me to..." He trails off, but I follow the implications really well by this point!

There's just so much to go over here, though!

"And Koizumi-kun, then? I'm guessing it was the same deal, since you wanted our situations swapped?"

"He... Kind of," Kyon says morosely, still looking completely off-balance. At least that kiss seems to have cleared some of his depression. And I can't say it didn't make me feel a little better, too. "The whole plan was to help you settle and calm down, and he ... uh, he really spent a lot of time trying to push me to spend more time with you..."

I can follow that implication, too. "Well, forget about that- We can make that decision on our own," I tell him.

He shakes slightly, eyes widening. It's kind of nice to see him off-balance, but too much is too much.

"I don't even know where to begin, but we need to talk about this," I say, taking Kyon's hand and pulling him to the table. He doesn't resist, and as anxious and confused as I am by this, I pace back and forth on the other side of the table from him once he's seated.

Even though I still want to hit Kyon with a barrage of questions, I can't help but think about another time we were in this room, when the lighting was similar. I'm tempted to order Kyon to make tea again, but for one thing, his tea tastes awful, and for another- There's a solution, though!

"Stay there," I order, waving a hand at him and moving to the tea set myself. There's water already, so I keep myself busy with that. Where do we even start to deal with this? Wait! I think I know what I need to hear.

"Kyon, tell me about everything- From the beginning," I order, setting a cup of tea in front of him and then taking the seat opposite from him. "And ... be as honest as you always tried to be since that one day, before... A...anyway- It's pretty clear I don't really know the other members of my Brigade, so ... tell me about them? If they're better than the versions I found here..."

"O...okay," Kyon says. He shakes his head and offers a really weak, somewhat rueful smile. "I ... used to think about how I'd tell you these things a lot, kind of writing a story in my head, really. Um, so, from the very beginning, for me... Alright, please bear with me - there's rather a lot to tell."

I give him a solid nod of confirmation, setting my own teacup down.

He clears his throat, and seems to recover a tiny bit of lost confidence as he starts, a bit further back than I expected: "When did I stop believing in Santa Claus? In truth, this sort of silly question holds no real significance for me. However..."


Kyon's story takes a surprising amount of time to tell. When it gets too heavy, I waste some time keeping our tea refreshed. We break a few times to use the washroom down the hall.

When we get hungry, there's a stack of boxed lunches and small cartons of milk in the fridge that reappear every time the door is closed - they were probably pretty good, but I was processing way too much to really taste them. We don't get tired at all, which right now is just fine by me.

Some of it ... I'll probably need days to entirely figure out. Mostly, I listen to how he went through meeting the other Brigade members. I'm really glad he's being totally honest, but he is not making it easy for me to keep from disliking the face I saw on Mikuru in the alternate world. Especially that part about her opening her shirt to show him that mole, or how her older self was as manipulative (to her younger self, no less!) as I suspected based on the alternate one-

Anyway, I keep it together, and don't say anything except to ask questions. It probably goes without saying that the hardest part of the explanation to deal with is filming that movie... Ugh.

After that, and everything else going on with Mikuru, I'm pretty sure I'm done with the entire idea of a sequel.

Some of it's not that scary - it sounds like somewhere in there, he had some fun, too. I can't feel totally awful about the things I did with my power ... when I had it. I don't feel great, but at least having had to go through the first part of something similar, I can understand where he's coming from.

...I guess, in a way, that power really did give me exactly what I wanted, didn't it? And with Kyon acting like this instead of being his typical snarky self, it's pretty clear he's at least trying to understand me better, too. Though ... being honest ... he really doesn't do that poor a job of it. It's a bit embarassing, listening to his insights into me from back then.

I'm kind of ticked off he didn't tell me right away when he time traveled, but I understand his reasons. At this point, him telling me he was John Smith is just a tiny surprise on the huge pile. But - it really does make sense.

I feel about as depressed as he sounds when he tells me about an alternate world from December - the one before the one he made ... just for me, I guess. I'm not sure how I like the implication of erasing entire worlds. I wanted more out of summer vacation, but that much?

That's ... just too much to deal with, though, so I set it aside for later. We have all the time we need to sort things out, here, so we might as well do that - one thing at a time.

The whole story does give me a good idea of how he's feeling about what he did, though. Even if it was in one of those extraordinarily rare fits of temper that Kyon almost never actually gets...

That's not my entire takeaway. I do catch the way he doesn't quite admit it directly, but he does explain his reasons for coming back from that world. It gets a bit more obvious when he admits he flirted with me near last Valentine's day - like I missed that! - but after that kiss, I think I'd probably be pretty upset with him if he didn't admit something.

It's actually kind of amazing, reading between the lines, how he admits that he was attracted to me physically ... but then put effort into learning who I really was. Being honest, I always liked that he actually put effort into getting to know me. Now, I would be annoyed if he just liked my looks, but what girl doesn't want to be told she's pretty by the guy she likes? Especially when he follows it up with how much he learned and...

Yeah, I know I've got some rough spots, but his throwaway comment that he thinks I'd be 'just as lovely as Asahina-san if I could smile more gently' - it may sound kind of backhanded, but the honest way he says it and the glint in his eyes makes my knees a little weak. It also means that if I show him a gentler smile once in a while, I probably don't need to worry about Mikuru manipulating him...

Give the boy some credit - he can be surprisingly- Er, but-

That's all getting distracted, and as much fun as it might be, there are bigger issues looming. He's more vague when he gets to the end, about the thing that made him angry at his middle-school friend's associates, but given everything else, I can see plenty of reasons to let that slide.

Once he finishes, his voice a little rough, he reaches for his cup of tea.

"Well, it's a pretty screwed up way of doing things, but I'll take it over being asked out over the phone," I decide. "Um ... and ... sorry about smacking you," I manage, trying to smile. I mean, Kyon's an easy-going guy ... is it alright? "I wish I hadn't, so... I really am sorry.

"I mean, I want to have fun, and I want adventures - but ... it sounds like in the past, I've caused a lot of damage by being careless. Such a power ... no matter how much fun it is, it's not a toy, is it?" I realize aloud. "If we can set things right... Saving the world by overloading it with fun is great - but some of the things that I put you through without realizing it are terrifying - and I didn't much enjoy the parts I went through myself!

"So ... I think I'm glad I never realized what I could do with that power. I've done enough harm on accident, if I had learned about my power and used it irresponsibly..." He starts at that, eyes widening, and I try my best to give him a hopeful smile. I think if anyone could be trusted with that power, knowing what it could do, it'd be him, honestly.

"T...that's the smile," he starts, before cutting off. He looks a tiny bit abashed - absolutely, he's recovering from things. And that's a reassurance to me, too. If I don't really know the Brigade that well, at least I can believe that I really do know Kyon. Much better now than before we got into that stupid argument that eventually brought us here, too.

"Okay," he says, after a breath, giving me one of his rare, knee-wobbling smiles. Guess that's a two-way street, too! "I think... I think that right there proves that you're the one who should have these powers, not me."

I bite my tongue at that; personally, I've come to the conclusion that ... really, unless it's someone who just doesn't care about other people at all... Well, I don't say anything, because if what he's doing is what I think he's doing, this would be a terrible time to distract him.

He doesn't say anything or make a gesture beyond bowing his head slightly. "Haruhi ... thank you for being so reasonable about all of this. And I really am sorry..." Then, he looks a little off balance, putting his hands on the table.

At the same time, I feel a tingling in the back of my head and become a bit dizzy myself. I also feel like my senses just got a bit sharper. Seems reasonable, though; the power comes with some fringe benefits.

"I can't ... quite like that I only really did so much better because I had an unfair advantage," I say slowly. "And I'm not trying to say you're wrong, but seeing things now ... this isn't a good power at all, really. It's just ... too dangerous. Even with the best of intentions- I've figured out something about this."

"W...what?" Kyon asks, shaking his head, looking concerned.

"I'm not going to do anything stupid," I assure him, trying that smile again- He settles almost instantly. Yeah ... stupid power. I bet without it clearing so many obstacles from my path, I would have learned that all it really took to reach him was just being freaking nice about things much sooner! Come to think of it - that's exactly what I was starting to realize just before running into Asakura.

Ugh!

"O...okay, then what did you figure out?" he asks, breaking me out of my distraction.

"This kind of power needs to be handled carefully," I say slowly. I'm not ... really sure how to consciously control it, but I figure it does what I want. And what I want most of all right now is to not screw up and use it on accident, or let my subconscious do something really stupid with it. "And ... even if you were pissed off and had a knee-jerk reaction, I learned something important. Actually, a lot of important things.

"The big thing about this power is ... I don't believe that, no matter what someone intends, that anyone should have this power."

His eyes widen, and he looks nervous, uncertain. "Y...you're going to get rid of it?" he asks in surprise.

"Dummy," I chastize him. "I think both of us have been careless with our power, and there's some things we still need to fix with what we've done- But that's aside from the point.

"One other thing about this power that's bothering me is ... the fringe benefits alone make it really ... well, unfair! I...if we're going to start going out," and then I fix him with a sharp, challenging look, because as far as I can tell, we are, "how the hell would that work as a relationship if the one who held the power was just always automatically better at things?"

He doesn't say anything, but I can tell from his face he's had thoughts like that of his own. It wasn't like I particularly enjoyed those memories of the alternate world where I had to slave away just to keep up with Kyon. Even from his story, there were tiny hints of things I could easily see leading to resentment for how hard he had to work ... and couldn't keep up at all. If he weren't so much of an easy-going slacker...

But even that has finite limits!

Anyway, talk about stealing all of the meaning from trying to impress him - or anything else I ever tried! It's nice to win, and it's great to be good at the game - but if you're always going to win no matter what just because of who you are, why bother? Looking at it that way, the fight Kyon put up the entire time I've known him ... honestly ... makes me feel like my connection with him is one of the very few things I really earned.

"Anyway, the other thing about this is, for all that we want to try and fix things up with the Brigade, how can I really get to know them, when they're worried about what I might do with it? There has to be a limiter or failsafe - and both of us, I think want to go undo some other damage we might have done, too."

I can't help but think about what he said about erasing that other world to be with me, or his mumbled, guilty mention of nightmares about it. Then again, there's some things I did I'm not happy about. We may not be able to change what happened, according to Kyon's understanding of time travel, but we can at least work together to make sure nothing else goes wrong.

Right?

"I- I trust you, though," he answers, shaking his head. "I know you don't want ... bad things to happen-"

"But they did anyway!" I cut him off. "You know what path they say is paved with good intentions! Really, I should be happy that things weren't worse! No, the thing about this is ... no one should have this power."

He blinks at me, and I finish figuring out what the best answer is. What I really want. Sympathy? Symmetry? If there's going to be any kind of balance between us, he needs to be on some kind of equal footing, right?

"So- For us to fix things ... from now on, it's going to be our power, and we'll work together to use it- And if we don't agree, then nothing will happen." I feel a much milder sense of dizziness and tingling as the power does exactly what I want, and I can see from his slight wobble that it must have worked for him, too.

He looks astounded, and I can't help but grin. There's a lot of work left, probably - and we've got to talk about a hell of a lot more, as well. But this feels like a good start!

...right up until I realize I'm suddenly sitting in his lap, anyway. "Eh," I manage.

He looks incredibly embarrassed, suddenly, and turns his head away, his face reddening. That, that- That insufferable-

...okay. Calm down, Suzumiya! Admit to yourself that you wanted it too, or it wouldn't have happened! That is what I decided we should do, right?

And it's not like we haven't kissed - twice before - anyway.

"Obviously, we're going to need some practice," I add as dryly as I can, imitating him even as my own face warms up.

Hey, thinking about those kisses- He started one, I started the other... Third time's the charm, right?

So I let my eyes drift shut and tilt my face up, feeling that smile come to my lips - before his touch mine. Yeah, I thought he might have the same idea; the others were already pretty good, but a mutual kiss is better by far.

After a few minutes of that, we both break off for air. Even if it's just the two of us in the room, both of us blush, and I climb off his lap the old-fashioned way.

"T...that was a whole lot of fun," I say, unable to stop grinning, "but let's not get too distracted just yet!"

"Y...yeah," Kyon agrees, sounding somewhat dazed still. "U...um, we should go back to the others, and ... figure out how we're going to sort things out from here."

Even if I screwed up and blew her off, Yuki's probably our best friend in the Brigade. At least, the most honest one. From what I can tell, I want to learn more about her and see if I can really be her friend, too - like Kyon is! Hey, he got to be friends with an alien, right? How cool is that!

I don't know about Koizumi-kun, but I'd like to know who he really is, too. At least, I can't like that he shows us a facade; if he wants to be our friend, well... I guess we need to be able to show him he can be honest with us - maybe just me, really. How else will we get to know him?

And ... Mikuru. Mikuru's absolutely getting her personal space from me, from now on- I want to learn more about who our Mikuru really is, just like the others. With her, though... With her it's probably going to be hard to be friends, considering that even Kyon admits it's hard to trust her future self.

Thinking of what her older self told Kyon, I guess she doesn't hang around us much in the future. I'm not really thrilled with the prospects, but if we can part on good terms, that'll be good, at least. I can't be happy about predetermination suggesting we don't part on good terms...

On the idea of timelines, I'm not thrilled about the idea of talking with Mikuru so soon ... but running from that won't get us anywhere. It'd be unreasonable not to try and give her the same chance that I want to give Koizumi-kun and Yuki, anyway.

"We'll go back," I agree. "And we'll fix things up with the rest of the Brigade- Maybe tell their bosses to screw off, too!"

"That's fine by me," he agrees, looking really reassured for the first time since before this whole thing started.

Still - after all we've been through, for just a bit before we return and confuse the hell out of everyone with this new situation... I haven't moved that far from him anyway, so I lean in again. Kyon's kiss is a bit more energetic, and I'm not going to complain about that too much as his arms go around me and-

Well!

Anyway- Once we finish catching our breath, I look into Kyon's eyes and smile, allowing a final, "Together."


Author's notes: Special thanks to everyone on Soulriders who helped with their feedback! :)