I'm telling you, this is sick.
You know, I've never even thought of why exactly do I dress like your typical attention-seeker, but I guess this is just one of the many things that I've kept hidden from myself. The perfect scenario would have me say, I'm not an attention seeker, but I enjoy being looked at and putting on a show for everyone because this makes life more fun.But you already know that I'm not one for perfect scenarios. I dress like that because I want to, and anyone who would think that attracting their attention, them, the stupid, the silly, the oh so incredibly boring would be worth the effort is not any different than they are.
And yet, here I am.
I'm wearing a pair of jean shorts and a simple yellow top, nothing too sparkly or uncommon, but the high heels- they're unusual for me. I practiced walking on them until I got it right, which wasn't actually that difficult. I got rid of my usual headband and put my hair up in an improvised ponytail.
You would like that, if that dream from a long time ago was worth anything.
But it's been a while, and there hasn't been any sight of you around. I know that we live in different parts of the city now and that the brigade is nothing more than a memory to look back in melancholy at- even though we're not the type, we never were, you're too apathetic and I'm too bored and nostalgia is for the weak, for the feeling- but I can't put my finger on what it was that separated us.
Mikuru, Nagato and Koizumi went to different cities and we remained here, but I grew up and grew bitter and for once quit dragging you around in search of aliens, time travellers or espers. I still believe they exist- how could they not? But perhaps I don't have to find them, or maybe not yet. Either way, you must have been grateful for your newly found free time when I stopped calling you for random town sprees in search of fun and mystery.
I got bored. Even of that.
I guess that it just wasn't the same with just the two of us around. It was natural- one day, you stopped calling and after a while I stopped, too, and you being busy with school couldn't be a valid excuse neither in this nor in any other universe. But everything was fine. Things change, people change… and all that jazz. I didn't grow up much, but at least I got thatfigured out.
And yet, days go by one after another so slowly that it makes me want to climb walls sometimes, there's nothing interesting to do and nowhere to go and I feel like I have the entire world within my reach, but what use would it be to try and touch it when I'd deem it uninteresting from the first second?
There was nothing interesting or special about you, not in the way that I wanted it to be.
But I think I miss you.
I thought of escaping tonight, so I came to this place where the music is too loud and obnoxious and the lights too dim for anything to be the same as outside, in the real world. I dance my hours away, free from everyone and everything and even while I feel that there is no place that I'd rather be right now, your presence hangs heavy above my eyelids, leaving me without any room to breathe.
Sometimes they try to approach me and I let them, we dance almost together and they think they got it right until they see the look in my eyes, something that I can't see for myself but that feels like burning fire mixed with sourness and an endless disgust for everything that has ever existed.
I think nothing; I really do miss you.
You're standing there, at the bar and you're alone. Your shoulders are slightly hunched and there's some kind of resignation in your posture, or perhaps I forgot how to know you and it's just boredom tonight. You can't see me, so I take the luxury of stopping still for a few seconds and I stare at your back, wondering what next.
Then I step forward and say hello.
'Haruhi,' you say and I can read amazement on your face, because it's been a while and because this was probably the last place where you thought I would be on a Friday night. You're the same as always, if not for the small tentatives of bags under your eyes, something more like fine lines of dust. You scan me head to toe in one look. You smile.
I take a seat next to you and arrange an erratic strand of hair back into my ponytail, noticing your gaze lingering on. Did I miss that?
'Kyon. It's been a while,' I say, subtle reproach crawling its way into my tone. You probably expected an outburst or an order, because you seem a bit puzzled at my words- but not enough, of course. After a brief moment, your features relax again into what I came to know.
'What are you doing here? This place is far from fitting your definition of fun,' he says casually.
'Same goes for you. Why are you alone?' I answer inquiringly, suppressing the words that burn on my tongue.
(You have no idea what fits my definition of fun. Not anymore.)
'There was no one interesting available tonight,' you shrug with an apologetic air and some twisted kind of jealousy hums in my veins in silent waves. ' There rarely is, actually.'
(…that's better, I think)
It's really no surprise that I'd rather have him depressed than having fun with somebody else, as if fun was a privilege that he'd silently vowed to share with me since I dragged him into the whole brigade business.
'Hm. I see,' I answer and there's not much else that I have to say, not now. There's a moment of silence and he suggests that we get out of here; there's nothing I'd like more, so we go for a walk on the chilly mid-spring evening in the almost obscurity of the park. Kyon plus dance club just didn't fit in my mind; this place felt more like how things used to be, even though now that feeling is sour more than anything else. It bites, it creeps beneath what's left of my optimistic show. Damn it, I'm tired of this. I should know what happened, why did we stop talking and going out, if you just couldn't stand me anymore you could've at least tell me! I should- I should know everything! I clench my fists and I feel like screaming a thousand screams of annoyance, of frustration, of how losing hope in extraordinary things is even more pathetic than having it in the first place.
Of how I thought that he, at least, would always be here.
'Okay, now tell me what happened,' I say and my sharp voice cuts through the air.
'I… what are you talking about, Haruhi? I don't think…'
'Shut up! You know exactly what I'm talking about! I haven't seen you in a year! You could've at least called and told me that you just want to forget about my existence on this earth, you could've at least been honest!' I shout and the words come out clear and sharp and cutting like a knife, even though I feel like I'm drowning.
Of course I don't hate him. I would've hated him if he'd called and told me that he never wanted to see me again. But this, I'm just trying to convince both of us that there was a reason to our divide, that we didn't just separate because… that's just how things work, time changes everything, people get tired of one another and they stop talking even if they live a few miles distance one from another.
This couldn't have possibly happened with us.
'No, that's not what happened!' he shakes his head in a slow gesture that contrasts with my fury. 'I wasn't overwhelmed by a sudden repulsion to you. Hell, if that'd been the case, do you think that I would've put up with all your antics for that long? This was…different.'
'Tell me!' I demand without any more patience, now that I know that there really is something to be told, even though it's probably just more of his nonsense.
'I guess I have to, don't I?' he says to himself and I just feel like grabbing his usual dilatory self by the collar and shoving him into the nearest tree until he confesses everything. Instead, I take a deep breath and sit down on a bench right beside him, trying to be calm and almost failing at it.
He looks at me with a gaze that I can't read into, something like warmth with an ounce of sadness and a fleeting spark that looks an awful lot like fear and that sends shivers of uncertainty down my spine.
'Okay. It'd be nice if you were quiet while I explain. I mean… just try to. Please,' he adds when I give him a bitter look. 'Now, five years ago…'
'… closed spaces had begun getting more frequent and Koizumi was worried. He thought this happened because your were becoming more powerful every day and because you weren't aware of it, it could lead to disastres. If enough time passed, even one minute of your annoyance could generate a closed space the size of Japan. Soon enough, the entire world would've been replaced with gray area, just like the one we were trapped in when…'
'Mhm,' I nod, anxious to hear the rest of the story. It's a story, one that incidentally has me implied in it, a tale where I happen to be God and my whims affect the entire planet, where aliens, time travellers and espers exist simply because I want them to and where, for some reason, Kyon is the only normal person in the brigade.
I don't know what I believe and what I don't. After he first told me the supposed truth, I wanted to punch him in the face and leave him there for all eternity while I went back to the normal world, the one where dissolved friendships didn't have a science-fiction scenario as an alibi. But after a while, I started believing.
I must be incredibly bored to believe that such nonsense. Bored or absolutely insane.
But the world was suddenly becoming an interesting place, even if only in a half-dream half-reality haze that I was trapped in. There's nothing bad in believing in stories and lullabies and fairies for a little while. I know that soon enough, this evening will shatter to pieces into another series of agonizingly tedious days of doing nothing memorable. Why not indulge for a while?
'Koizumi said we shouldn't tell you the truth,you weren't ready for it. Who knows what you would've used your powers for. I mean- I didn't think for one minute that you could possibly do harm to humanity', he rapidly adds when I frown in annoyance and I know that he really does mean it. 'I've always trusted you, Haruhi. But… having the power that you have is not an easy thing. We were still kids, we still are, and dealing with such a responsibility is dangerous.'
'When did you become so interested in responsibility and other adult nonsense?' I sniff, crossing my arms on my chest, a gesture that earns one typical understanding-Kyon smile from him. That kind of satisfied smile that he displayed after first telling me about Asahina, Koizumi and Nagato a few years ago, thinking that I'd believe him.
'Well, I guess people ch…'
'Change, yeah, yeah, I know,' I mumble. 'Now tell me what happened.'
'I was just doing that. Since telling you the truth would've hardly been a solution, we decided that… we should part. You see, this story began when we first met and I gave you the idea of starting a club. Miss Asahina, Nagato and Koizumi had already been around for a while because you'd wished for aliens, time-travellers and espers, but your powers truly started manifesting when you got into highschool and consequently met me.'
'Aren't you giving yourself too much credit here? You're talking as if you were the most important person for me or something,' I say without fully realising what my words meant.
He widens his eyes for a brief second and gives me a long look, after which his lips curl in a small smile.
'Don't tell me you haven't realized it yet.'
'Realized what?' I snap.
'Haruhi, I really am… was the most important person for you. Remember when you turned the world into closed space and we were the only ones inhabiting the new universe? You chose me because I mattered for you. That's…that's why I left. In my absence, there was a great chance of your powers fading away. The other option would've been you completely changing the world because you were angry at me, but thank God, that wasn't the case. I didn't want to do this, but I had to. For saving the world and all that,' he rolls his eyes. 'They almost dragged me into doing it. I missed you like hell, you know?'
'Shut up with that!' I shout, not wanting to hear any sentimental rambling. 'Are you telling me that my powers of creation depend on your presence?'
I don't believe this.
'Yes, it seems that they do. We were inclined to think that they also depend on Asahina, Nagato and Koizumi's presence, but yeah, mostly me.'
Not a single bit.
'And that this all went to hell because you had to save the world from me and my expanding powers?'
Why am I playing along, then?
At least 'I had to save the world' is a pretty valid excuse for someone completely vanishing for an entire year.
But it's. Not. Good. Enough.
Not from him.
He looks at me understandingly, waiting for a confirmation of sorts. Maybe he's expecting forgiveness or other godly virtue to dawn upon him, now that he finally told me what happened. Instead, the only thing that happens is my palm meeting his left cheek with a loud slap.
'Don't EVER leave on me again, you bastard.' I shout, even though my anger is starting to fade away. He looks at me in amazement, as if he didn't know me well enough to know this is what I'd do next.
There are other things than anger now- melancholy and sadness and the happiness of seeing him again, maybe even the excitement at the fabulous story that he told me and that I most certainly don't believe in. His features slowly compose themselves into something warmer and more human as mine melt into endless despair at how stupid this all is and undefined joy for the exact same reason.
I bury my face into his shoulder, sobbing quietly for the first time in what seems to feel like ages.
'So, do I get my powers back now?' I ask some moments later, when we're walking through the eerie-lightened park as if we were two normal teenagers with more important things to do than saving the world.
'I don't know. You've never really felt that you could change the world around you, did you?' he answers.
'I guess you won't notice if they're back, then. But now that you know, you could try focus on yourself more, maybe you'll notice a change.'
I was going to tell him that this whole thing seems so surreal that I can barely focus on anything without being aware of the endless quantity of questions and uncertainty behind it, but my pride decided against it. What if he was right, in the end?
'You're still calling me like that,' he points out without any resentment, almost as if he had missed it. 'Yes?'
'What makes you think that I could get my powers back?'
He looks unsure of himself for a fraction of a second.
'Well, I'm back now and I'm sure that the others will be back too in no time. If us leaving was the reason that you lost your abilities, then things should come to normal when we return, right?'
'What makes you think that I still care about all of this the way I did before? I've grown up, you know,' I murmur, looking down. He stops walking for a second, looking at me persistently.
'Cut it off with this 'growing up' nonsense, will you? Yeah, you've changed, but you're still the same Haruhi I always knew. Don't tell me that you don't believe in aliens, time travelers and espers anymore, or that you're content with a normal, boring life. You want something different, I know that,' his voice soothens. 'I'm not saying that the club should reunite or something, but maybe we could get together sometime. And…' his voice falters for a bit, 'as for me, you know better what you think or not. But I feel the same as before, you know.'
'You mean…' I start, surprised by how openly we're discussing things that couldn't even be mentioned before, but my words are cut off by his lips meeting mine; I expected this, but I didn't and all coherent thought gets cut off by the time he embraces me as if I were the only thing in the world, or the world itself. I'm breathless and I realize exactly how much I'd missed him, repressed emotions and scenarios and all that; I'd only wanted him to come back, not because I was bored, but because I really, really care about him.
I remember the tingling sensation from that dream when we were the only ones left in the world, and he woke us up by kissing me. It's the same now, still intense, making up for years of denial, and more meaningful than any kiss that I'd ever had. From the outside, it must seem like the picture-perfect scenario of two lovers finally reuniting and the strange thing is that, even though I never believed in this sentimental nonsense, it feels the same on the inside, too. Warm and comfortable, but more full of life than anything else, as if I'd been waiting for him to come and chase the dullness away.
Well, that's just stupid.
Does this make him more powerful than God?
After we part, he's still embracing me tightly and it feels as safe as home. I bury my face in his jacket without a care in the world.
For a few seconds, at least. Then, I remember.
'You do realize that if my powers come back, the world will go to hell, won't you?' I ask and a mischievous smile appears on my lips out of nowhere, at the perspective of imminent apocalypse and things happening, happening, happening. I even chuckle with excitement despite myself and Kyon, who's looking at me like a long-lost friend looks at his significant other when he finds out that after all that time, things haven't changed.
'As much as you think hell is fun, we'll stop that from happening,' he replies and he takes my hand in his. I surprise myself genuinely smiling, still trapped in a reality-dream realm, unsure of what to believe and what to dismiss, but completely oblivious to it and happy nevertheless.
After all, absolutely everything is possible, isn't it?