[SHnY] The Score of Haruhi Suzumiya, chapter three. By Henry J. Cobb

[The Haruhi Suzumiya characters and situations are the creation of Nagaru Tanigawa. Other than that, he's blameless for the following.]

Monday evening I lay in my bed and stared at the ceiling as I tried to come to grips with what had happened that day and the past week.

Itsuki Koizumi had been the final straw. "My special power is dreaming." Who walks into a room and says that? Who asked him? Nobody. Nobody does such a thing, ever.

There is no such thing as special powers. It's all a lie. Somebody had told him to say that. They were all in on it.

As for Miss Asahina. What had she shown? The magical ability to speak French? Tell that to tens of millions of French people. Her cute helpless girl act was all an act. She had been briefed on what to say.

Perhaps Miss Nagato wasn't lying. Maybe she just suffered from auditory hallucinations from the grief of losing her parents. She was just being manipulated. By whom? By none other than Haruhi Suzumiya.

Even Miss Asakura had to be Suzumiya's pawn. She had been sent to Nagato's hospital bedside to shape the poor girl's delusions and then took her under her wing to prepare her.

Why was Suzumiya doing all of this? For some sort of sick enjoyment? Perhaps, but where would she get the resources to pull this off? She didn't seem all that rich and her parents wouldn't bankroll such a huge conspiracy, just for her amusement.

And then there was Asakura's wrist. Even if she was just faking the injury there would have to be a really big reward waiting for her. Where was the payoff? Some sort of drug deal? I wasn't in much of a position to deliver on that.

And the way Suzumiya had broken Asakura's wrist. If They were going to fake this, then she wouldn't have used my untrained body as a platform to make her attack. Yes, she claimed the knife before I could examine it, but the tip had been cold sharp metal against my neck and it certainly sounded like metal as it clattered on the floor. Nobody kicks a hand holding a real knife and certainly not while balancing on an untrained person.

Suzumiya had a one in a million, perhaps even one in a billion acrobatic talent. There was no way to fake that, but no reason to suggest that such a person could not or should not exist naturally. Logically there should be a half dozen people with a one in a billion talent across the world, and a good chance of finding such a person in Japan.

So Suzumiya was right. They, whoever They were, wanted to make use of her talent. She was an innocent victim of some sort of organization that was preying on her delusions of grandeur. Nagato, Asahina and Koizumi were all in on it. Perhaps Asakura was their manager.

And what was their plan? It must be as Suzumiya said. They intended to use me a hostage to force her to do their bidding. Suzumiya would make a perfect assassin. She was an ordinary looking Japanese girl who could kill dozens with her bare hands. They would sneak her into an embassy or some other protected place and use her talent with complete denability. Only Asakura need know the details while the others where simply hired as actors who didn't know the full script.

Who could I trust? Not the insane Suzumiya, and certainly not any of Asakura's gang. Taniguchi had spent the last three years spying on Suzumiya and was now hand feeding Asakura. Only Kunikida seemed innocent enough. He had followed me from middle school, but They had been using other hostages at that time. Even if Kunikida were innocent, what right did I have to pull him into this deadly game?

So even if I couldn't trust anybody, who could I rely on? If They were planning on abusing Suzumiya's insanity then I would also. I might be expendable, but she wasn't. They can't shoot her, and if I kept close to her, then They wouldn't have a clear shot at me. I just had to play along and be the boyfriend she imagined I was.

My mind resolved, I turned over and tried to sleep. There was something bothering me, I had overlooked somebody. I racked my brains, but couldn't figure it out before I finally drifted off.

"You're a little wobbly this morning. Something on your mind, Kyon?" Suzumiya readjusted her grip on my shoulders.

"I was up late thinking about you, Haruhi." I focused on my pedaling and let the spring morning air wash over me.

"That's sweet. What about?"

So she didn't react to my using her personal name. I decided to press further. "What kind of things you like. If it takes you long to walk to my house each morning. Stuff like that."

"It's not far."

"So when are you going to show me to your folks?"

"That's such a hassle. What happened to the last boy? Shall we visit his grave together, and such. But tell you what. Let's have a date on Friday, my treat. You just need to buy the refreshments. Is that okay with you, Kyon?"

"Sure." If she was treating, why was I buying refreshments? What kind of date was this?

That afternoon at the clubroom, Suzumiya gathered together the five application forms and the club approval form. "Just a few things to sort out. First, the club president is Kyon."

"What?" Nagato looked up from reading her book.

"Well, Yuki, do you want to run around dealing with the school bureaucracy or would you rather stay here and read books. It's your choice."

"Sorry." Nagato returned to her reading.

"Kyon, go find a faculty adviser."

"Anything you say, Haruhi." I accepted the papers from Suzumiya, who didn't seem bothered by my use of her personal name around others.

As I stepped out alone from the clubroom, I briefly worried for my life, but I soon dismissed the thought. They had worked so hard to build up the credibility of Nagato's alleged precognition. They wouldn't let doubt be cast on it so early.

Itsuki Koizumi, once again sleeping back in the clubroom, had also claimed precognitive dreams. Why would They double up on precognition? Perhaps the plot would involve Koizumi giving a vague outline to work from, followed up by last minute herding by Nagato? And that left Mikuru Asahina, serving tea in her maid outfit. She hadn't claimed any sort of special power at all. Perhaps she was just an innocent bystander that Suzumiya had delusively chosen? Something about her introduction did not add up.

I found our homeroom teacher Mr. Okabe at the handball court, as was usual for him after classes. He was astonished that I would apply for the Literature Club, much less be chosen as their president, but agreed to sponsor the club, if I'd keep Suzumiya from causing any further trouble.

I dropped the completed paperwork off at the student council offices then made my way back to the clubroom.

"So, when do we get the budget, Kyon?"

I took Suzumiya's greeting as an indication of trust that I had completed the task she had given me properly. "They'll consider our application at their meeting on Thursday."

"Very well. It can't be helped then." Suzumiya walked around the table to shake Koizumi's shoulder.

"Hmmm?" He woke up and looked at her. "What do you need the money for, Suzumiya?"

So he was only pretending to sleep so he could listen in?

"To get a computer."

"I can buy one." He stood and gathered his things. "Let's go."

"You don't need to."

"No, my father has done quite well as a day trader for the past three years. So I might as well repay the favor."

"Yuki, do you know anything about computers?"

Nagato shook her head at Suzumiya's question, then returned to reading her book.

"Mikuru needs to get to her job, so we'll just take Kyon." Suzumiya tapped me on the sholder.

Suzumiya quizzed Koizumi about what to look for in a computer as I followed the two of them down the hill from school.

Koizumi insisted on standing next to us on the train, rather than taking a seat, as he said this would help keep him awake.

I'd had about enough of his flimsy story, so I decided to take a poke at it. "Koizumi, you said your father was a day trader?"

"Yes, that is so."

"So that means he works at home, and you moved recently because of your mom's job?"

"No, she assists him. We haven't moved since I was born, though they did just pay off the mortgage."

"So, why did you have to transfer?"

"I didn't have to transfer, but I dreamed that I would."

"And your parents let you transfer on the basis of a dream?"

"They've come to see the value of my dreams." He covered his yawn as he looked at the station sign. "This is our stop."

Suzumiya pulled me out of my seat by my arm. "That is the sort of dedication I expect from you also, Kyon." We followed after the sleepy eyed boy, walking arm in arm like any other girlfriend/boyfriend pair, though perhaps in most such relationships, it would be the boyfriend who was leading.

Koizumi led us to the store where his father had purchased his latest computer, then took a seat while Suzumiya badgered the salesman about the choices. When she was looking at the desktops I asked if they'd deliver.

"Huh? Kyon, aren't you going to carry the computer home then bring it to school tomorrow?"

"And the monitor?"

"Very well, let's go look at laptops."

Suzumiya's eyes got all sparkly as she looked at the features of the high end laptops, but I pointed at the sleeping Koizumi. She selected a lower end, smaller model, then woke him up to pay for it.

When we got back to my house, she was distracted with setting up her new toy, but still found time to look over at my homework and berate my mistakes.

Wednesday at school, Suzumiya pulled her new toy out of her bookbag instead of running her usual patrols between classes. Fortunately the school wasn't overrun by ninjas, terrorists, or pandas. Perhaps they hadn't gotten the word yet?

"Kyon, what's the password to the school's wireless network?"

"How should I know that?"

She ran off somewhere with her new toy at lunch. When she came back she seemed more absorbed with it.

I waited until we had all gathered at the clubroom before asking. "So, did you beat the password out of the geeks?"

"Hmmm?" Suzumiya looked up from her laptop. "No, I could tell at a glance, that they'd melt for a ditsy clueless girl. Feminine attention is a rarity for them."

"That seems unusually humble for you, Haruhi."

"I used to not bother with the subtle uses of my power. Hindsight is perfect even without it. Come on, it's time for our study session." Suzumiya packed her schoolbag, then stood and shook Koizumi awake.

He yawned, looked up at her, said "six pm", and gave an address downtown.

Suzumiya looked over at Nagato, who nodded, then she grabbed my arm, "Come along, Kyon. There are lives at stake."

As she dragged me down the hill by her left hand, Suzumiya traced lines in the air with her right hand. "None of the bus or train lines will take us there in time, so we're on your bike."

"All the way downtown? You memorized the bus schedules?"

"I was bored and there was nothing else to read at the time."

Later she urged me on from the back of my bicycle, her hands clasped on my shoulders. "Hurry up, it's important."

"I'm worn out and can't go any faster."

"Very well. Kyon, stop here and we'll switch places. I'll peddle and you can do the fighting when we get there."

Somehow I found my second wind.

When we reached our destination I almost fell to the ground when she jumped off my bike. As I leaned against the bike, bent over and panting, I saw her stroll into an alleyway. Two high school age delinquents had a woman cornered. She may have been in her late twenties, but it was hard to tell. She dressed sloppily and life had been hard on her.

"Look, I don't want any trouble." The woman looked at the pair.

"Bitch, you got trouble right here." One of the delinquents grabbed at her tattered coat.

"Is this a private party, or can anybody join in?"

The delinquent released the woman and turned to Suzumiya. "Go away girl. This doesn't concern you."

"I think it does."

He pulled out and opened a switchblade. He walked towards Suzumiya. Suddenly he had a shocked expression as she put her hand on his and yanked him to the side. He stumbled forwards, flipped over his arm and then there was a loud crack. The knife dropped from his fingers as he held his broken wrist with his other hand.

His friend saw that Suzumiya hadn't even slowed down. He turned and ran.

Suzumiya reached down to grab the woman's arm, then twisted it behind her back, and pushed the woman against the wall. "Haruhi Suzumiya has a three point memo for your boss."

I stood up. "Haruhi? What are you doing?"

"Point one: Nishinomiya is Haruhi Suzumiya's town."

"Haruhi!" I leaned the bike against the alleyway wall and started walking towards them.

"Point two: Haruhi Suzumiya does not approve of selling drugs to minors."

I stopped. The situation had just done a blackflip in my head.

"Point three: Your boss can pick up the next messenger Haruhi Suzumiya sends to him at the morgue."

I stood there while Suzumiya had the woman repeat the points back to her. Tapping the woman on the head with her free hand when she got something wrong. Finally satisfied, she released the woman, who collapsed sobbing and begging for her life.

I picked up my bicycle. "What was that all about?"

"What did it look like?" Suzumiya walked towards me like nothing had happened. She might as well have been whistling.

"Like a drug deal gone wrong."

"I thought you said you didn't have any special perceptions?" She waited for me to mount the bike, then got on behind me.

I pedaled away, my fatigue forgotten in my haste to get away from that place.

On Thursday afternoon Suzumiya greeted my late arrival to the clubroom with, "How much did you get, Kyon?"

I sat down next to the ever sleeping Koizumi and looked over the room. Suzumiya had added a schooldesk to the end of the table nearest the window to rest her laptop on, and sat there in a swivel chair. Nagato was in her usual spot beside her, reading a book, and Asahina had just stood to get me tea.

I turned back to Suzumiya and finally replied. "They said they wanted to see a club budget first before they'd hand over any money. They need to see our plans for the year."

"So make one."

"I don't know anything about a club budget."

"Yuki."

"Yes?" Nagato looked up from her book and turned ever so slightly towards Suzumiya.

"Did the retiring seniors leave you their Literature club notes?"

"I think so."

"Hand those over to Kyon."

"Okay."

I watched Nagato search the bookshelf for a moment, then turned back to Suzumiya, "So Haruhi, what do you want in this budget?"

"Whatever, it doesn't matter. Just make it look good. It's all for show." She returned to whatever she was doing on her laptop and ignored the rest of us as Nagato and Asahina helped me sort through the old club notes.

After the study session at my house, my sister asked if she could bring a schoolfriend over on Friday for Suzumiya to help.

"Sorry, but I've got a date with Kyon on Friday."

"Oh, where are you going?"

"It's a secret, so don't tell anybody."

"Oh, okay."

I turned away from the door and saw my mother's beaming smile. I was half tempted to tell her everything, but instead I just walked past her to my room.

Friday afternoon we skipped the club session and went straight to the train station. Instead of getting my bike, Suzumiya had me follow her onto the train. We rode downtown, then walked to a run down commercial center, finally entering a movie theater that must have been older than my parents.

The man at the counter continued to read his newspaper as Suzumiya approached. He said, "Sorry, we're sold out."

"You don't have two tickets for Haruhi Suzumiya?"

He looked up. "Oh, hi Haruhi. Sure do." He reached under the counter and pulled out two tickets.

At the refreshment stand Suzumiya had me order a box of candies, a large tub of popcorn, and an extra large drink. She picked up napkins and two straws.

I couldn't complain about the prices. My mother had practically thrown an extra allowance at me that morning. I could easy afford to pay for a fast food dinner afterwards, should Suzumiya so desire.

Suzumiya had me hold the treats on the armrest between us so she could have both hands free to make gestures while we watched the Hong Kong kung fu flick with Japanese subtitles. The man at the counter hadn't been lying, the theater was packed and the ancient air conditioner couldn't keep up, especially with the obvious poor hygiene of most of the fans.

I was stunned at one scene. The actor on screen used exactly the throw that Suzumiya had used on that teenage punk.

After the movie Suzumiya met with some of the other movie goers outside the theater.

"Who's the new boy, Haruhi?"

"He's Kyon."

"A new boyfriend?"

"Yeah."

"Think he'll last longer that the other ones?"

"I hope."

On the train back to our station the question finally bubbled out of me. "Did you learn your martial arts by watching movies?"

"Yes."

I sat there for several seconds. She wasn't making a joke. She really meant it. "You know they fake the fight scenes in movies, right?"

"Yeah, so I have to make corrections. It's no big deal."

"No wonder you need money, if you're going out to watch movies all the time."

"No, the theater owner lets me watch for free."

"Why?"

"He used to have a son who was a drug addict."

-HJC