Monday evening while Yuki was making dinner I borrowed her phone and called up my doppelganger, the native Kyon.
"Oh, it's you."
"Got a minute to hear me out?"
"I suppose. My homework wasn't going to get done anyway."
"Well don't ask me to help you figure out problems that you can't. I'm you remember, just one chromosome over."
"Yeah, yeah, so what did you want to talk about?"
"I'm just calling up to apologize for tossing you under the Haruhi bus, but we both know that's how things would have ended up anyway."
"In the mind of a Suzumiya all mysteries are explained by it being all stupid Kyon's fault. And here you're the Kyon. So because it's your fault, the mystery of my sudden appearance is explained."
"That sounds like something I'd have to come up with."
"It's good practice. She's going to be at least a dozen times more upset when she finds you've knocked her up, unless it's the other way around in this universe?"
"If she is, it wasn't by me."
"You used proper protection every time?"
"I've only kissed her once. In a dream, more or less, nothing further."
"Yeah, that was a while back. So we've got a point of divergence somewhere. Well other than everybody being swapped around like this."
"And that one incident that changed everything will be some sort of a clue, no doubt."
"That seems to be the way these things work. Okay, were you confronted by Fujiwara's Anti-SOS Brigade?"
"And did that end up in that strange closed space?"
"Yeah, with the striped sky."
"Okay, I exited the closed space with a time toss that ended in Suzumiya's bed, where he took my virginity. And then when I was returned to the proper point of the timeline I took his virginity in order to even up the timeline. Where were you tossed?"
"I landed in Haruhi's bed, but we didn't do anything. I just arranged to have the brigade assemble to give her a gift, once I got back in time."
"Well in my case, the gift was me. I met with the brigade after leaving Suzumiya's house that morning. Okay, I think we see the problem here. It's that you're a wimp."
"No, the problem is that you're a slut. Little sister."
"Who are you calling little?"
"No, my little sister. What are you doing in my room?"
"Hand the phone to her and I'll explain things."
"As you wish."
I could hear some fumbling and then a young girl's voice spoke. "Hello."
"Hello again, little sister."
"You're that girl that Kyon had in his room. Why did he call you a slut?"
"No it's not me. You see it's a literature club project we're working on at school. It's got some grown-up language in it. I'm sorry you had to hear that. Please don't think badly of your brother."
"So, how's your life been?"
As she told me of her modest adventures that were so much like those of my little brother, I felt a great heaviness in my heart. He had always been such a miserable brat and a pain, and now I'd never see him again.
"Lady, are you crying?"
"No, no. I'm fine. Just hand the phone back to your brother please. We'll talk later."
"Of course I will." Kyon's family was the closest I'd ever have to my own. I would find a way to be a part of it.
"Hi again, she's gone."
"Did she seem mollified?"
"Yeah. I guess she does like you."
"Only natural. I'm the big sister she never had, after all. Well Yuki's finished dinner. We'll figure out what the difference means later."
"This is not brigade material."
"As you wish. It's your universe after all. Just remember that they've got all the superpowers."
I managed to hold it together through dinner, but that night as I curled up against Yuki's back in her bed I suddenly started crying on her shoulder.
She didn't respond, but simply flipped the page of the book she was reading (in the dark no less).
It was so unfair. She was so above it all, with no concerns for the fates of ordinary human beings. I leaned my head forwards and whispered in her ear, "Send me home."
She froze for a moment, then responded softly, "I cannot."
"Can't or won't?"
"Your placement here was done with great care. The average margin of error would have destroyed both worlds, and yet your sleep was undisturbed."
"Then you're wrong about my Suzumiya being the one behind this then. He's never careful about anything. That's how I wound up in this mess in the first place."
Yuki put her book on her nightstand and turned over to face me. "I cannot risk your lives on such a faint hope."
"Is that what you want, or what you've been ordered?"
"Both." Nobody else, except possibly this other Kyon, would have seen the sincerity in Yuki's eyes, but I did. I turned over away from her.
After a minute she wrapped her thin arms around my body. I froze for a moment myself, then put my hands over hers.
Yuki started to sing softly in an unearthly language. It wasn't a spell like my Nagato had used, but something softer, like an alien lullaby. It proved effective and I was soon fast asleep in her arms.
I awoke the next morning to the sound of her putting out the breakfast dishes. I was considerably refreshed, but still depressed.
Tuesday morning my father grilled me about what had happened to Kyonko. After he left my mother stopped me at the door to express her hopes that we could work things out.
So that bitch had gotten her parents to call mine and get them all worked up? That was taking the joke way too far.
Once again Haruhi met us at Yuki's apartment for the walk to North High, but this time she said nothing. She simply stepped up and matched my pace, with Yuki dropping behind us, hiding behind a book again.
If Haruhi lived at the same house in this world that my Suzumiya did in mine, then this would be quite a bit out of her way, but if she was half the athlete he was it shouldn't be that much effort. I caught her studying me from time to time, to quickly look away whenever I noticed.
Finally when we got to the point where we'd merge with my usual path to school, she grabbed my arm. I looked at her, then followed her gaze to the street.
Haruhi stood there silently while Kyon walked up the hill. He didn't notice us, with his head bowed in concentration. Was I ever that much of a dork?
Finally Haruhi turned to the girl behind us. "Yuki, go on ahead."
This world's Nagato nodded her head ever so slightly, then passed by us, still reading.
Haruhi then turned and studied me. Unable to turn away I looked back up at her. She was only a centimeter taller than me, but that was much less than the height advantage my Suzumiya had over me.
Finally she spoke to me for the first time that morning. "What does he think of me?"
"Huh?" I hit the mental brakes before I accidentally spoke about my he, rather than hers.
"Kyon." Haruhi nodded in the direction he had gone.
"He doesn't know what to think about you."
"There isn't anybody else like you." At least not on this world.
"Don't you start on that too. You don't know me."
"He doesn't know you either. At least he doesn't know how you feel."
"And why not?"
"Because you haven't told him."
"Don't give me advice." Haruhi turned and walked away.
I followed a few seconds later. I didn't have much choice. We were both headed towards the same school and class was about to start.
Kyon looked up puzzled as I walked into the classroom behind Haruhi. But then the bell sounded and I had to rush to my seat.
That was the day the whispers started in the classroom. The furtive glances towards the empty chair in front of mine. They pretended to be hiding it from me, and that made it worse. Well that was it, I had enough. I dropped by our clubroom to tell Nagato and Asahina the meeting was off today. I locked up and left a note on the door for Koizumi, who had been dragging her heels more than usual lately.
Alone with my thoughts on my bike, I set course not for my house, but for her's. I was going to get the truth out of her this time. No more of her lies and petty excuses. It was time for her to come clean.
After classes Haruhi set off at a usual Suzumiya pace, leaving Kyon and me behind. He walked silently next to me and then after he held open the door of the clubroom building for me he said, "It's rare for Haruhi to come to class after me."
"I waited until we were almost to the stairs before I replied. "She's stalking you." I took a bit too much glee in his reaction as I smiled at him.
"Don't make such jokes."
"Oh, there's no profit in my lying to you, 'Kyon'. Are you ready to talk to her about your relationship?"
"No, I'm a boy. We don't talk about relationships. And my life is dangerous enough already."
"As for that. Well my boyfriend settled down a bit, after we got together. For a while at least."
"And then he threw you out. I like my life just were it is."
I looked up to the top of the stairs. A girl with long green hair was standing there. It couldn't be. She bounded down the stairs and gave a one-fanged smile as she grabbed my hands. It was.
"So you are this mysterious Kyonko?" She stood back and looked back and forth between Kyon and myself. "Yes, very funny!" She ran back up the stairs laughing.
Well that was one lingering question answered. His laugh wasn't any less annoying on a girl. I turned to Kyon. "That was Tsuruya?"
"That was Tsuruya. Any different?"
"Not really. What does she know, about anything? Everything?"
"I'm afraid to ask."