Sunday morning I woke up alone and looked around an unfamilar room for a moment, until I remembered sleeping over with Nagato. Well, not my Nagato, but this strange girl Yuki, who both was and wasn't the alien I knew.
I heard a sound and so got out of bed and went to Yuki's living room and saw that she had just placed some trays on her kotatsu.
"Good morning, Yuki."
She nodded at this and sat next to her setting. I sat down across from her and tried the breakfast she had prepared for me. Then I stopped.
"Is there some problem?" Her face was as expressionless as always, but I could see the concern hidden there.
"It's a little bland."
"This meal provides for your essential nutrition, with reduced sodium. Hypertension is a common problem during pregnancies."
"Beggers can't be choosers, I suppose. Why the concern for my sake, Yuki? Aren't I a foreign element, outside of your responsibilities?"
"That makes you a most interesting data point."
"Thanks for the meal, anyway." We both ate quietly until Yuki's phone rang.
As I watched her walk over to her phone, I wondered why she didn't magic it into her hand, or just interface with the cellar network directly, without a device.
Yuki made few responses during the call. Afterwards looked over to me. "Suzumiya and the others are coming over here."
"Your Suzumiya, Haruhi, not mine?"
"Then we'd best get dressed."
Yuki nodded and I followed her back to her bedroom. Her underwear was a good fit on me, as we were both a-cups of almost the same height and weight, and I wasn't too surprised to find only North High school uniforms in her closet.
As I adjusted the jacket I felt her reach behind me to gather my hair into a ponytail. "That's a familar sensation."
"In what way?"
"At the start of our freshmen year, even before I had spoken to Suzumiya, he'd reach from behind me at the start of first period and tie my hair in various patterns each morning. I was mortified and the teachers tried to trip him up by asking extra difficult questions, but he'd just keep fiddling as he answered them all. Finally one day I predicted his next pattern and showed up to class already in it. The next day he brought scissors, but I insisted on keeping my ponytail. He said it suited me, because it was boring."
"It is best for you to maintain the first hairstyle you arrived with, so that Haruhi Suzumiya associates it with you, rather than herself."
"Yes, of course."
I sat down next to Yuki at her kotatsu. She took out a book and read and I found myself studying her. Then I noticed the fainest signs that I was making her nervous so I looked away and studied the bare walls of her living room. I tried to remember the additional details my Nagato had added during that strange parallel time he had been human. I guess I should ask this world's Kyon if his Yuki had done the same thing. If I added those things, would she see it as a friendly touch, or just a painful reminder of her 'sin'?
Yuki put her book down and started to rise.
"I'll get it."
"As you wish." She picked up her book again.
The doorbell rang as I was walking towards it. I opened the door and said, "Welcome."
The other three members of the SOS Brigade stood behind Haruhi as she studied me. "There's something about you, Kyonko. I'm sure I've seen you someplace before."
"Do come in."
"Yes, sorry." She shook her head and marched in, with the others following.
As we all sat around the kotatsu, Yuki rose. "I shall make tea."
"I'll help." Mikuru Asahina also stood.
I tried to stiffle a giggle as I considered this Mikuru in the same maid outfit that my Asahina wore. It certaintly would need to be let out a bit in the chest, but otherwise it would be a good fit, and a better match for her gender.
Haruhi returned her laser-like focus to me. "What's with the North High outfit?"
My humor evaporated as I came up with a snap answer to placate her. "Well you know Yuki, this is all she had available."
"Kyonko will also be attending North High." Yuki paused for a moment to deliver her comment, then vanished into her kitchen.
"Still, that's no excuse to wear your school uniform on your day off." Haruhi bowed her head in thought.
Her expression was so much like his, that I reflexively started my own mental gears into action. The key to survival in this universe, as it was in mine, was to keep ahead of the Suzumiyas.
"I just remembered something." Itsuki Koizumi waited the practiced half a second for the local Suzumiya to focus her attention on him, then continued. "An aunt of mine is closing her maternity and young ladies shop. She failed to account for the decline in the nation's birth rate. Present company excluded of course. Kyonko, are your measurements ..."
His information was as uncannily accurate as my Koizumi has always been. I risked a glance at my twin brother from another universe. This Kyon seemed as used to this Koizumi's sudden remembrances as I was. Strange how the Suzumiyas never caught on.
Itsuki made a quick call and a truck soon arrived with several boxes of clothes, along with some consumer electronics. There was even a laptop in the pile, but Haruhi ignored this and instead spent the rest of the morning undressing, redressing, and parading me in front of the others.
As she ran her hands over my my body for what seemed the hundredth time that day, I began to understand what my Asahina had suffered under the hands of my Suzumiya. Of course my Suzumiya had rarely touched me, until we became lovers. For one moment I pondered again which of us had initiated the relationship and quickly rejected the thought. There were too many time travel paradoxes wrapped around my life. Then my stomach growled.
Haruhi backed up a step, yanked out her phone and hardly glancing at it said, "Oh, it's that late?" She turned and opened the door leading to Yuki's living room. "Kyon, why didn't you tell me it was getting this late? Okay, we're going to the fast food restaurant. Kyon's treating, cause it's all his fault." Then she turned back towards me. "We'll go as soon as Kyonko puts some clothes on." And closed the door, leaving just the two of us in Yuki's bedroom.
Fonrtunately I had been wearing underwear.
Monday morning when I got to the classroom the chair in front of me was empty. Well that wasn't that big a deal, she was always running late. She wasn't there when the bell rang. She wasn't there when the teacher arrived and she wasn't there when roll was called.
When I returned to the classroom after eating in the cafeteria, her seat was still empty. She didn't show for any of the afternoon classes either.
I made my way to the clubroom after classes. Nagato was sitting in his corner, reading another book, while Asahina was standing in his maid outfit and making tea. Kyonko's nurse outfit was hanging on the clothing rack, but she wasn't there.
A half hour later Koizumi showed up and silently took her seat.
The entire room was left lifeless, just because she seemed to have better things to do. I had enough of that. I took out my phone and called her again.
After two rings her mother answered. "Hello?"
"Hi, it's me, Suzumiya. Are you with Kyonko?"
"No, I haven't seen her at all. She vanished Friday night. She was there for dinner, and then in the morning she was gone. It's the strangest thing. She didn't take her cellphone, purse or even her shoes. You haven't seen her since then?"
"No, the last time I saw her was Friday afternoon." When I hit her.
"Please call us, as soon as you get word about our daughter."
I assured her I would, then sat there looking at my phone after the call. "Where is she?"
"She is not here."
I turned to Nagato. He had put his book down and was watching me intently.
"Yeah, thanks for stating the obvious." I stood and took a step over to him. "So where is she?"
"Someplace I cannot see."
I stood there looking down at him. That look in his eyes, was that finally a tiny show of emotion? Was he blaming me? Who was he to judge me?
"Please, Mr. Nagato." Asahina ran over to us. "Don't make such jokes."
I walked out of the clubroom.
Monday morning I awoke to the smell of Yuki's breakfast, which was as bland as the day before. I washed with her and we got dressed together. I turned to her door, but she reached out and grabbed my arm.
"What is it?" I asked her.
"Wait." She stood motionless for half a minute then nodded and released me.
I matched Yuki's deliberate pace to her apartment building elevator. Then glanced over and studied her as we rode down to the ground floor.
As we stepped outside the building I almost jumped when I heard Haruhi shout "Yoo-Hoo!". At least it wasn't the "Hey You!" of my Suzumiya.
"Good morning, Haruhi."
"I just came by to show you the way to the school."
"Huh? I -" I stopped myself from saying I'd been there hundreds of times before. I hadn't, not to this version of North High. "I'm with Yuki."
"Well you know Yuki. She's always reading. Some day she'll get lost on the way to school."
I glanced over at Yuki, who had indeed adopted the Nagato defensive posture of hiding her face behind a book.
"Come on." Haruhi grabbed my free hand that wasn't holding my book bag. "North High isn't a really fancy school, but I've had all sorts of adventures there."
I walked hand in hand with Haruhi to the completely familar school, as she related adventures that almost exactly mirrored mine. Then she lead me to the school offices and waited while the clerks found the transfer papers that Yuki had magicked there. Haruhi was delighted to find that I had been assigned to the same classroom as her and continued talking about her great adventures (in which her Kyon had apparently kept all the mysteries safe from her discovery).
I nodded along and moved to take my seat.
"That seat's taken."
I looked back at Haruhi. "Oh, that's right. It's Kyon's seat." I turned to the door, "Hi, Kyon. Sorry about that." I sat down in the seat to the right of Haruhi, which my Suzumiya had chased everybody from and looked around the classroom. "Oh my gosh. You two have got to be Taniguchi and Kunikida."
"Hello, you must be new here, Miss?" Taniguchi came over, looked me over and seemed to quickly lose interest. "My name is indeed Taniguchi."
Haruhi jumped from her seat. "How do you know all of this?"
Kyon's face went white as a sheet, but I had already thought of an out. "I've been pen palls with Kyon since we were in elementary school together. That's when we gave each other matching nicknames. Just call me Kyonko." I turned back to Haruhi and asked as innocently as I could manage, "What, hasn't Kyon told you all about me?"
"No he hasn't." Haruhi returned to her seat and turned a cold gaze on Kyon.
I was only a tiny bit surprised when our first period teacher turned out to be a Mr. Okabe, instead of a Ms. I wondered briefly how far the flip extended, but couldn't even recall the first name of the prime minister, from back in my version of Japan.