in july's starry gaze.

The muggy, ill heat of summer drowned out all of the little reasoning Haruhi Suzumiya had left to offer. Sweat made her shirt clutch at her chest and under her arms, and her shorts felt prickly against her soft legs. A determined scowl was messily sewn across her face as she cursed not herself, but the world for making her stoop to such lows in order to gain recognition.

Though, if she could've talked to an alien at a local supermarket, they wouldn't be interesting, would they?

She had already gathered all the necessary equipment in order to write her message to the heavens. It was a pretty clever idea, she had to say – using the school's line marker to draw a message for Orihime and Hikoboshi. It would take a lot of work, though – but she could muster the endurance if she tried hard enough.

With a small sigh, Haruhi approached the gate that led to the school's sports field. It was pitifully easy to climb – she didn't see why the school bothered having those things—

"Hey!"

A jolt of panic shook Haruhi's mind as she heard the voice. Oh no, was it a guard? Somebody who worked for the school? She whipped her head around, her dark hair lashing against her face.

In the humid darkness was the figure of a man – no, more like boy – carrying someone on his back. A dead body, Haruhi thought? No, it was breathing… and it was a girl, too… a pretty one. She couldn't make out most of their facial features in the dark.

"What? Who are you?" she asked, eyes narrowing as her grip on the gate unconsciously tightened. She would never admit it, but she might've been a bit scared – a young girl being approached by a shady boy with a girl on his back didn't seem like an occurrence that would end well. "Are you gonna tell me who you are or not? Pervert? Kidnapper?" She knew she could put up a fight, but the boy was definitely bigger than she.

But, for some reason, he didn't seem like he had any malicious intent. By the way he was standing, she could see that he was making no move to attack. In fact, he was slouching as if bored or annoyed.

"What do you think you're doing over there?" the boy asked in a deep, incredulous tone. Yeah, that could be the voice of a serial killer… so deep, but not very memorable.

Haruhi relaxed a bit, although the look she was giving the boy was all glare and spit. "Isn't it obvious? Breaking and entering!" She didn't want to deal with the guy anymore; he was probably just like everyone else and prepared to shoot down her ideas.

But, she bet that he had more energy than she did, being older and more muscular and all….

"I don't know who you are, and I really don't care, but just give me a hand. 'Cause if you don't, I'll call the cops." She tried to sound threatening, just like how she talked to her peers.

She jumped down from the gate and unhinged the lock. "This way," she commanded, although she doubted the boy would follow her. They never did. Nobody ever did.

But, to her surprise, she heard the sound of lazy footsteps matching her own.

He wasn't very artistically inclined, that's for sure.

Haruhi looked out onto the grassy field, now adorned with a large, white symbol that gleamed in the light of the moon. It wasn't perfect, but it would do. She was sure that Orihime and Hikoboshi wouldn't mind it if the handwriting was a bit messy – after all, she was new to their language.

She glanced down at the boy, now panting and sweating on the steps below her. She still couldn't make out his face, but she didn't particularly care. In the few glimpses she had gotten of it, she could tell that he wasn't very handsome or outstanding. An annoyingly boring person, probably just there so he could snatch her up later and use her for perverted games.

"So do you think aliens are real, or not?" Haruhi inquired in a snappy sort of way, arms crossed and expression firm.

"That's sort of random."

"Just answer the question."

And he did – and he answered all of her questions with such coolness that he could've been talking about the weather. With each answer, Haruhi's eyes widened with wonder and curiosity.

Who… was he? That was definitely a North High uniform… a lame school, no doubt.

"It's John Smith."

And he was using an alias, too. She tried to suppress her excitement, but she was having a difficult time. Nobody had ever responded to her lust for the extraterrestrial in such a manner. People had humored her, but only in mocking, jeering ways….

And, as they continued to talk, he amazed her even more – he obviously lied about the girl, he spoke of Hikoboshi like an old friend, and he knew someone….

Someone like her.

The boy intrigued her. Nobody had ever done that before, either. He was an oddity in itself – a blemish against the normality of society that she was pressed into against her will.

He was a neon light in a stadium of thousands.

"North High, huh?" she said wondrously to herself, looking up to the stars. They sparkled down at her, blinking their little eyes and beaming so joyously on their festival day. She had no plans on applying there, as it didn't suit her academic abilities, but….

John Smith.

She'd remember that name.

It was getting too late. With a twitch of her brow, Haruhi ran down the steps, not giving John Smith a second glance. "I'm done. I'm going home now." She paused for a fraction of a moment. "See ya."

Before she could even make it halfway home, the same voice called out to her, a light bounce of happiness in the tone.

"Hey!" She stopped her stride, letting her golden ribbons catch the night's breath on their bows. "John Smith wishes you the best of luck in making the world more exciting!"

Haruhi stood there for a moment, a glare still printed on her face.

John Smith, North High….

"Hmph."

She turned her back on the voice and continued on her way. However, even the most pessimistic of thoughts couldn't stop the smile from crawling onto her face.

She didn't know it, but scattered throughout space and time were others, all appreciating the starlight on a warm summer night. A boy with his little sister, jaded and lonesome; a girl in her apartment, waiting for not very much longer; a boy who had powers to master and strings to pull; and a girl preparing for one of the most crucial missions of her lifetime.

Small words escaped her lips, and they sailed across the wind towards dimensions beyond.

"Happy Tanabata…."