"…thusly ending up with two spheres, even though we started off with only one. So that's essentially the Banach-Tarski paradox in a nutshell."
I can't believe I listened to Koizumi talk about something so absolutely irrelevant with such intent for an hour. Even though there was nothing else to do, this was a new low. Nagato hadn't shown up yet, Mikuru was still at that competition, and Haruhi was just late, as always.
Koizumi looked up at the clock and shrugged. "I know I should be accustomed to it by now, but still, can't help but wonder what she's doing…"
"Don't know, and for the sake of my mental health, kinda want it to stay that way." I yawned loudly, not caring how rude I appeared, especially not to Koizumi. I swear he loves hearing himself talk. If he'd gone on for another few minutes, I'd probably be asleep, even though I slept all the way through class today.
Now why was I so tired, you may ask? Well, let me fill you in. In short, I went shopping for a mouse. Easy, right? I wish. This is Haruhi we're talking about, so of course she wanted the most up-to-date, high tech, needlessly complicated gadget she could possibly find. We cross-shopped, cross-browsed, crossed the street, cross-dressed. And if you think I'm lying about that last one, believe me, I wish I was too. It felt like nine months before she finally settled on one that nearly broke my bank.
"Haruhi took you through a ringer yesterday, I assume?" My silence gave him his answer. "You looked so exhausted when you walked in, I'm surprised you even made it to school. But surprisingly, I'm finding myself quite envious. As much trouble handling the brigade is, it gives me something to do. I've actually been rather bored being sedentary all day."
Koizumi chuckled, shaking his head. "I can't help but think you're over-exaggerating your discontent. I know deep down inside, some part of you enjoy this as much as the rest of us."
I prop my head up with my arm. "Well, how about revealing where this part of me is so I can tell it to buzz off."
Koizumi merely shook his head. "If anything, I'm glad you haven't abandoned us, otherwise there'd be no way to control Haruhi."
"Like I said, I don't control her."
BAM "Dammit, Kyon!"
"Case in point. What did I do this time?" I stated more than asked.
Haruhi looked extra annoyed today. "Making decisions like this without me around! How dare you! I was gonna have Tsu take Mikuru's spot so we could do some actual filming today, but you set her up with that ugly-haired friend of yours! Did I give you permission to do that? What did I say about inter-brigade relationships!?"
I let my head fall to the table. Guess Tsuruya's in the brigade as well. She's going to be the death of me. Haruhi beelined for her seat and immediately turned on the computer. She looked up again, this time in confusion. "Where's Yuki?"
"She hasn't shown up yet. I thought she'd be with you." Koizumi said, making his presence known.
Haruhi looked a bit startled at the sound of his voice. "Koizumi? What are you doing here? Didn't I say you didn't have to come until Mikuru came back?"
Koizumi smiled sheepishly. "Well, yes, but I'd like to be present just in case any new developments arise in which case you'd need all the help you can get."
"Don't count on it." I said, almost knowing exactly what was about to happen. "Let me paint a familiar picture. Since her preferred torture victim isn't here, she'll try to evoke a response out of Yuki. But with her being absent as well, she won't have any outlet for her insanity, lest she settle on just berating me for mild inconveniences. And that'll get old pretty quick, so after about 30 minutes, she'll have nothing to do, get bored, and then leave abruptly, after stating her intent, of course. Am I missing anything?"
Haruhi chuckled. "A brain, for starters. If that was an attempt at a clairvoyance, you need to give it up. I'm gonna learn how to use this baby!" She reached inside her bag and pulled out the new mouse, which looked more like a phone than a mouse. Seriously, why the numbers? "In fact, I'll probably be having so much fun with this that I won't even have any use for you! Not that you were of much use to begin with."
"If that's the case, then you wouldn't mind if we just leave?"
I could feel her gaze without even seeing it. Why do I even try?
"If we keep losing track of our members like this, we're gonna have to suspend the brigade. At least until that Mikuru gets back." She tossed her head back and groaned.
I was a bit relieved, but with Asahina missing in action, that left a very pent-up Haruhi with us. "We still haven't got any posters with Koizumi on them, and he is the love interest. Wouldn't it make sense we have him in at least one of our advertisements?" I offered.
"Hmm…nah. I'm thinking about reworking that anyway. Tsu said she's willing to take his place. Well, she was willing until someone made an executive decision on my behalf."
Ignoring the last part, I sat up completely now. "Oh, you're actually going to have it be that kind of story now? Well, it looks like last Saturday opened your mind up to new avenues of thinking. You have my absolute support, just say the word and I-"
Haruhi tried to give me a death glare, but the slight pink in her cheeks betrayed her expression. "This isn't for your viewing pleasure, it's just for a more interesting relationship that attracts a wider audience."
"Whatever way makes it sound acceptable to you. So, when's Nagato gonna get in on the action? Or is she reserved for you only?"
"Pervert. Keep at it and I'll give you a punishment that'll make world history." I couldn't see Haruhi's face from behind the computer, but I could practically hear her smile.
Looks like today's shaping up to be pretty uneventful. Or was at least. For about five minutes, Haruhi began practicing with her new cell phone of a mouse while listening to some fast rock music. Then I realized something about the role shifts didn't quite make sense. "Wait, didn't you say Tsuru was gonna sub-in as the magical nurse girl?"
She paused the music. "What's that? Oh, yeah. Why?"
"But she's also gonna be the new love interest…"
"That's the ticket." I waited a couple seconds for her to see the fault in this plan, but instead she simply continued singing along again. "Yeah! Yeah! Oki-Doki Morning! Super…"
"Is she supposed to date herself?"
"Bouke-Ugh, what? Why would she do that?" She growled, having to pause her music again. Her brow was furrowed in confusion before it finally dawned on her. "Oh, right! I suppose we just won't use the scenes we shoot for now."
Koizumi meagerly raised his hand. "If you don't mind my asking, what about the scenes Ms. Asahina and I have already filmed?"
"We'll just delete them." Haruhi stated flatly.
Taken aback by her quick, harsh response, he laughed awkwardly. "I see. Of course."
"If we're not going to use the scenes we shoot without Asahina, then why shoot them in the first place?"
"Because, stupid! It's just a rehearsal shoot right now, so we'll be able to see how we want the scene to be shot and with what emotions and all that! That way, we won't just be improvising on the day we record the real thing!"
"That's a terr…wouldn't…huh, that actually makes a whole lot of sense." I dare say she was just making that sentence up as she said it, but I was thoroughly impressed.
She grit her teeth in frustration and violently brushed through her hair. "None of this would even be a problem, if only Mikuru hadn't skimped out on us! How exciting can calligraphy be that it warrants an entire club? And competitions? Seriously?! We haven't even entered one of those since that baseball game, and we barely had enough players to participate!"
Haruhi groaned with her head on the desk until she finally threw her head back in the chair and stood up. "Alright. You two do what you want. I'll be back."
And with that, she stormed off in a child-like rage out the door. How dare things not go her way? Absolutely unacceptable. I smirked as the door closed. "See, what did I say? Not even a half hour and already she's gone."
"Oh dear." Koizumi whined.
"Oh dear what?"
"Remember our friend, the closed space?"
"You're kidding. It's just a few days of hiatus."
He shook his head, straightening out his uniform. "It's not that that she's upset about. While it is definitely a small part of her frustration, it appears that Ms. Asahina's absence is especially getting under her skin. I've got to go, but I'll be back. Just wait here a sec." He opened the door to leave, but was surprised to see who else but Nagato, dressed up in her witch outfit, no less.
"Ms. Nagato! What a surprise! Mind if I ask where you were today?"
She remained silent, shifting her gaze towards me. Koizumi followed. "I understand. Please excuse me." He went off down the hallway, leaving me with Nagato.
She sat down in front of me, still silent. I started.
"Of all people to be late, I'd have thought that'd be impossible for you."
"I was busy."
"Is it a taboo to ask what you were busy with?"
"…okay?" I motion for her to continue.
"I was scanning myself for defects."
"Defects? Do your powers not work or something?"
She shook her head. "Allow me to explain. Haruhi Suzumiya and her feelings concerning you."
I interrupt, not wanting a repeat of yesterday's conversation. "I get it. She kinda digs me. I put that much together yesterday, and you also said the Data thing wasn't exactly the biggest of fans?"
Nagato looked downwards before continuing.
"I did tell you that the Entity was against her partaking in sexual activities due to her offspring gaining her powers. An error in my software made me tell you this information, when in reality the information I gave to you was not of absolute truth or an opinion of the Entity, but that made by the error that stemmed from my own software. The reasoning for this information error is not related to my code, nor is it explainable-"
"In human speak, please?"
"If we were using common terms, you would call it a bug."
"A bug? Is it an attack? Are you sick? Do you even get sick?"
"Yes. No. No. It is possible, though highly unlikely."
"Well, regardless, what was the wrong information you gave me again?"
"When I spoke of the Entity's unwillingness to allow Haruhi to commence in any romantic relationship, it was only partially true. I apologize for any trouble I may have caused relating to this. The Entity, while cautious of Haruhi's actions, do not believe the powers she has to be genetic and are most likely completely unique to her. The chance of her children garnering the same power is infinitesimal, and if they did, they would be of a lesser capacity that would be far less significant, assuming they can tap into their powers at all."
"Good news for me, then."
Nagato tilted her head, which was the third cutest thing I'd ever seen in my life. She blinked. "Why do you consider it good?"
Momentarily caught off-guard, I fumbled a bit before finding a reason. "Uh, not good per se- well it…it'd be bad if more than one of her existed. She's a handful enough as it is. Am I right?"
"Oh." She turned away from me and stared out the door, which in turn caused me to wait as well. Almost waiting for something to happen.
"So, about this bug. Is it still messing with stuff? Causing errors and whatnot?"
"Huh. So, it's just gone?"
"The scan showed no sign of the bug within my programming. Everything is working properly according to my data sets. It seems to have been a temporary anomaly that caused the malfunction. It is no longer present within me. Therefore, it was not an error."
At least it's gone now, but a bug that can cause a malfunction inside a powerful person like Nagato. The fact it even exists is scary enough, but now it leaves just as quickly as it came? Something's not adding up. "Could this bug perhaps be contagious?"
"You are at no risk of receiving said anomaly."
"Not talking about myself. I mean others like you. Could it infect one of them? Who's to say it won't crawl inside some other powerful alien and then they decide Haruhi's not giving enough information for them to study? It could be another Asakura waiting to happen, and I'd prefer the life-threatening situations to remain few and far between."
"Your life will never be threatened."
"Well, for now, but once that thing gets someone else-"
"There is no need for you to be alarmed. I have taken it upon myself to provide adequate protection for you against all threats. Even if another interface were to become infused with the error, because of my presence they would have no chance of bringing harm to you. I will ensure that the chances of your demise will always be at a constant 0%."
"…" I'm left almost speechless at her declaration. I don't think I've ever heard her speak with such conviction about anything.
"Heh, you'll make me blush. The amount of times you've saved us from ourselves, I don't think I'll ever be able to pay you back."
"There is no payment necessary. My services are not for sale."
In the silence that followed, we heard the distant chimes of clock tower telling us the 5th our was upon us. I also noticed the barely audible singing coming from the computer. Haruhi must have left the music on. I got up to turn it off completely, as that particular song had been prevalent for a while now, when I heard something that made me freeze.
"You know it? You a fan, Nagato?"
"It is a well-known piece of music that has been stored in my databanks for approximately one month. I do listen to it on occasion. Is it not good to want to hear it?"
I was somewhat in awe of how cute it somehow sounded in monotone.
"Not really. Just more surprising you know about it at all."
She pulled out a phone, fairly small in size. "By way of a world-wide connection hub, I am able to find, see, and hear any type of information not in my database I please using this device. Instead of having information synced into my base, I have begun accessing the information in a more organic, human fashion, closer to how a one of you would acquire data."
"Be careful with what you see on there. A lot of stuff people say is fake, so you can't use it as a reliable source for most things."
Nagato stared blankly at her phone. "Interesting. To use such an advanced technology for the sole purpose of spreading misinformation."
"It's true. I got duped into believing a creepy doll was gonna haunt me unless I showed it to three other people. It's completely untrustworthy."
She shook her head once. "I believe that is a special case where your gullibility is at fault. It is without doubt very informative and helpful. In fact, I recently found that there is a vast array of compilations showing the many variations of the human reproductive ritual. I saved some videos as study examples on my mobile unit. See for yourself."
"Say what you want, I still think that-Gah! Nagato! Put that away! You can't show that...wait, how does that even work?"
At that moment, the door swung open and immediately green filled my peripherals. I subsequently got out of my chair and tried to get as far away as possible.
"Alright! What are we working with? Kyon!?" I had already begun my retreat towards the other side of the clubroom, but she was already locked on to me like a guided missile, and in a few short seconds, she had tackled me onto the floor.
"It feels like forever since we've last talked! Though it was literally only yesterday! By the way, that Tomiyachuga guy? Exactly what I'd thought he'd be like! What a loser! But he's so irresistibly cocky it's kinda a charm! Why are you always on the floor when I talk to you? Yuki! Is that por-"
"Yuki?!" Came a voice from outside the room. A second later, Haruhi peeked her head inside, confirming what she'd heard.
"Yuki! Where in the world were you?!" She marched up to the cosplaying witch, who still hadn't put away her phone, which Haruhi snatched in an instant. "Playing hooky and trying to sugar up to Kyon while I'm not looking, huh?! Trying to rise the ranks with personal favors? Well, it ain't happening sister! What were you two watching?"
Haruhi examined the image on the screen silently while I regained my senses from Tsuruya's attack. Haruhi looked at me not in contempt, but instead seemed mostly intigued by what she was seeing.
"How does that even work?"
"That's what I said."
"That's what she said." inserted another voice from outside the clubroom, this one easily recognizable. Taniguchi walked in with Koizumi at his side, no doubt bragging about his latest score with a certain green haired girl.
"Eugh, your hair really is ugly." Haruhi immediately stated, this time with actual contempt.
"Sticks and stones, baby doll." He replied calmly, as if he'd never had a better day in his life. "Anything you say doesn't even matter. I'm hot off the heels of a sweet date with…Tsu-ya! Baby! You said you loved me!" Taniguchi panicked as I noticed I hadn't even attempted to get her off me. Guess I've become used to being violently shoved and tackled lately.
"What's with this situation, Kyon!? Is Haruhi not enough for you anymore? You already have a great harem as it is, but now you're stealing the very girl you set me up with?!"
"I'm sure it's not like that. Probably her greeting was a bit, let's say, enthusiastic as usual?" Koizumi said coolly. Wait, did I just describe Koizumi as cool? Well, around Taniguchi, I guess anyone's 'cool'.
"Enthusiasm or not, non-brigade members aren't allowed in!" Haruhi exclaimed as she pushed him out the door.
"But Tsu-ya's not even part of your weirdo book club! If Tsu-ya's gonna be here, then I'm gonna be here t -"
Haruhi gave Yuki back her phone, then promptly grabbed Tsuru and took her to the front of the clubroom.
"Ahem! Now that we're all here, largely due to my efforts, we can finally proceed with today's plans! Tsu's gonna be taking Mikuru's spot for a while, meaning we can start shooting again! Come on, Tsu! I've got a wig based on Mikuru's hair that's just ready for you to wear!"
"Actually, Haru, you see…I can't." Tsuru said, rubbing a sudden itch on the back of her head.
"What? Why? Is it too small? We can go back and get a size up if you need it. I should've figured my head wouldn't be a good measure to go off of."
She gulped before continuing. "It's not that. So, you know how Mikuru's in that calligraphy competition at Kouyouen Academy? Well, I kinda sorta maybe promised her I'd help her in any way I can, since the calligraphy club has been in a bit of a rough patch lately, not to mention Mikuru's falling behind on some of her work in there. So I'm gonna be there with her to provide her a boost of confidence."
"Ah, I see." Her disposition downed slightly, but perked back up after a second. "Well, it's no biggie! We can continue after Wednesday! That way you won't have any-"
"Mikuru needs me to take care of her until Saturday, since she's gonna be sick afterwards as well."
Haruhi now looked completely defeated, limply holding the wig in her hands.
I tried to give some comfort to her. I mean, she needs something to get her hopes up for. "Listen, we can just have practicing editing again for this week and learn how to use that abomination of a mouse, and once Asahina's back, we'll continue next week. That way, not-"
"The art festival is all next week. I wouldn't be able to help you guys out." Tsuru's voice was barely audible now, growing quieter after each refutation.
"And since she wants to participate as well, neither would Mikuru."
Haruhi said nothing, merely sighing as she put the wig back in her bag.
"Sorry Haru!" She exclaimed, bowing apologetically. "I thought I mentioned it to Kyon before, but I guess I forgot what with the preparations and all!" Her excuse died out, sensing a need to stop talking.
The room got a bit smaller, the limited space now making itself known.
"I'm really sorry! Believe me, Haru, if there was any way I could help you guys right now, I totally would! It's not that I don't li-"
"I said, it's fine." Haruhi re-affirmed. It was, in fact, not fine. "We can find other stuff to do until she decides to come back from her little contest." She emphasized the last word with spite coming through. She slumped into her chair and huffed, sitting there in the silence that ticked by ever so painfully slowly. In the end, she just opened the computer up and started drawing on the Mikuru pictures again.
"Well…" Tsuru looked between me, Koizumi, and Nagato, nervously giggling to fill the way-too-quiet clubroom, unsure of what to say, before she instinctively settled on another "Sorry.", much to the further irritation of Haruhi.
"I already told you, it's fine! It's just-Ugh!"
Koizumi stepped in to ease relations. "I suppose it's true she has an obligation to fulfill in the calligraphy club, so it only makes sense she make good on it."
"She has an obligation to this one as well." She snarled. Well, at least you tried. Thanks Koizumi.
Tsuru had effectively shrunk into the corner, pushing her fingers together as she thought of a way to resolve the situation. "Haru, it's only two weeks. She really wants to do this, and the heart wants what the heart wants, right? You can think of other stuff to until then. Just be a little patient, and I promise you'll be back filming before you know it." She put a smile on, but there was no soul behind it. And once Haruhi gave her a sidelong glance, it disappeared again.
Haruhi inhaled sharply, before uttering a breathy "Shut up."
Okay, enough of these dramatics. "Like Tsuru said, we can find another activity to do until Mikuru comes back. Haruhi, me and you can just talk about other stuff we can do with the club in class tomorrow."
Haruhi looked at me as if she were a tiger ready to strike. "Don't you start patronizing me! You still haven't figured out what we're going to do about this!"
"I'm not patronizing you; you're just being immature. And why would figuring that out be up to me?" I kept my voice at a level volume, hoping to de-escalate her thoroughly stirred up temperament.
She forcefully mashed her hands in her face. "You're part of this brigade, aren't you?"
"Which is why I'm offering my advice. You just need to accept it."
Haruhi pouted, not replying to my suggestion. Why must she be so difficult sometimes? "You say you're not patronizing me, but here you are talking down to me like I'm a child! Am I not allowed into the 'adults' conversation?"
"What are you talking about? Stop sulking and start trying to think rationally."
Koizumi tapped on my shoulder and lowered his voice to a whisper. "I think it'd be best if we just left for now. She'll calm down on her own. Best to let it resolve itself."
Hate to say it, but he's right. This isn't going anywhere, and I'd like to avoid repeating history.
"Koizumi. Sit down." Haruhi rather forcefully muttered.
Koizumi turned around, somewhat taken aback, but quickly recovering as he simply waved a hand to her in friendliness. "No worries! We're just going out to talk for a second. We'll be back-"
"I said sit down!"
Now his shock was seen by everyone. He looked at me expectantly, as if it's my job to reign her in. How many times did I have to tell him? It's getting annoying how much he's sticking to that idea.
"What're you looking at him for? I just gave you an order! And just what do you need to say that can't be said in front of everyone here? Is it one of those 'private moments' again? Talking behind my back all the time! I bet you're just laughing it up about this, huh? Boy, that Haruhi sure is dense! Let's make fun of her right when she's not here!"
It's also getting annoying how childish she's acting. I spoke up for Koizumi, who'd lost the ability to say anything in response to her outlandish claims. "Of course he's not doing that! Why would you think he'd do something like that? With all the time we've spent together, you should know him better."
She turned her seat towards the window, hands balled into a fist, taking a deep breath that slowly turned into a moan. "You're right. I shouldn't have gotten mad at you, Koizumi." Then, she slammed her fist down onto the table, making everyone except Nagato flinch.
"It's that damned stupid Mikuru's fault for putting her dumb art class over us! Does she have no respect for this brigade? After everything we've done, she has the audacity to leave us for such a trivial activity? She's so stupid sometimes!"
Tsuru had stayed on the sidelines this whole time, but became protective once her friend was thrown into the mix. "Haru! That's not the case at all! Mikuru values both these clubs! She just wanted to participate in the other this time!"
"Who said you were a part of this conversation? I don't remember asking for your input! And she shouldn't want to participate in such a stupid club so much! Not that it makes much of a difference, she's been nothing but useless this whole time anyway!"
"Useless? She does basically everything you say, even against her will! You have to give her some credit for that!"
"I decide whether or not anyone in this brigade gets credit or not, not you. She's so cowardly that even if we get her to agree with anything, her personality just drags it all down anyway!"
"Then get a different actress! After you basically kidnapped her, groped her, and brought her to the point of tears because you almost forced her to quit something she's built up for probably years, you think she wants any part in anything you do? No wonder she wants to get away from you!" It became clear to everyone that Tsuru was quickly becoming enraged, now raising her voice to match Haruhi's.
"You seem pretty uppity about this. Why didn't you stop it before? Some friend you are."
Tsuru looked away from Haruhi, from what I thought was anger, but I saw her wipe away some water from around her eyes.
"Because I thought you were the right person to entrust her to! I thought you could help her become more outgoing and social! Kyon was right about you before…"
"You better be careful what you say next!"
She's treading on thin ice now. Ice that won't hold up under the rapidly rising fire at this rate. I have to stop this. I need to stop this! I'm a bit afraid what will happen if I do. Especially after what Tsuru just said. But I can't stand here idly! I could…no. After Tsuruya said that, it's impossible for me to say anything without adding fuel. I can't do anything. If there was a chance before, I missed it. But someone else could do something! Koizumi! No, Haruhi already shot him down, and he's too timid to go against her again. Nagato? I shot her a look that she returned in kind. Not her either. Without a direct command, she's lost, or worse, she'd misinterpret. Maybe if she tackled someone and gave us some comic relief? No, that would just postpone everything and leave us with a terrible conclusion. If we left it unresolved, Mikuru and Tsuruya would never set foot in here again.
"You know, now that I think about it, you aren't an official member of this club, are you? Maybe you should see your way out. You're about as useless as Mikuru anyway."
I felt the wind before I saw the cause. One second she was by me, the next thing I know, Nagato had already whisked by and tackled Tsuru from getting any closer to the brown-haired girl, except somehow Tsuru stayed on her feet, even putting up a struggle against the over-powered alien. It gave me serious de-ja vu seeing it from the outside. It was similar to when Koizumi had to hold me back not long ago.
More importantly, I had to do something now, regardless of whether or not they ever spoke again. "Haruhi, you know you didn't mean any of that. How about we just leave for a sec and come back when things have cooled down? Nothing's being accomplished by just insulting Asahina like that. You're not acting like yourself. You know it. You'd never say that about-"
"Tsuruya, you're dismissed. Nagato, if you could show her the door."
"Tsuruya, I think it's best if…" I called out before glancing over to Tsuru, who's face had now begun welling up with tears.
Koizumi looked as if he wanted to help, but he held back at the sight of Tsuruya. Surely, she couldn't best him if he was at his strongest. He restrained me, so why was he so hesitant now?
Tsuru stopped trying to wrestle herself out of Nagato's grip, who still refused to let go. "Fine. Have it your way." She said much more calmly, getting a handle on her emotions. Good thing someone's mature here. And it's surprisingly the crazy one. Or crazier one, perhaps?
I grabbed Nagato's arms, compelling her to release her iron hold. "Sorry, Tsuru. She's just a bit riled up."
"I know. I was too. I know it can't be easy when one of your friends drops you cold." She straightened herself out and began walking towards the door, mumbling under her breath, "Even if you deserve it."
"Tsuruya." Haruhi called out before her hand touched the doorknob. Though she didn't turn around, she stopped, allowing Haruhi to speak one last time. Haruhi faced the door as well, momentarily looking at me not quite in guilt, but far from pride. She turned to gaze towards the back of Tsuruya's head, almost dead-set on not making eye contact with me.
"When you get the chance, tell that whiny bitch her membership is terminated as well."
Fast. Lightning fast. I'd only seen a similar speed from Koizumi when he was attacking the giants. Tsuruya shoved Koizumi out of her way, who had tried to hold her back. Into the wall I went as she deftly went around Nagato and advanced upon Haruhi, now absolutely livid. Haruhi had clearly anticipated this, though it seems she was not ready for the sheer speed Tsuruya had. Immediately Nagato began chanting under her breath. Not good. Very not good.
"Tsuruya! Nagato!" Damn! I tried, but I knew. Nagato was already shooting out, closing the distance in an instant. I saw a metallic light coming from Nagato's hands as Haruhi pushed the chair into Tsuruya's knee, though she managed to grab Haruhi's shirt and rear back her left hand.
"Wanna rephrase whatever the hell you just-"
"BAHAHA! THE THINGS PEOPLE WILL DO! GAHAHA!"
At that second, the door opened up, with Taniguchi laughing his head off at something.
"Tsu-ya! Everyone! Come quick! You've gotta see! There's some dude in an alien costume on the street dancing like a maniac!"
Yuki immediately cast away any thoughts about the previous events and dashed out to attack the offender, uttering one single sentence: "All your base are belong to us."
Taniguchi was nearly knocked down by the sheer speed. "Someone's excited! Well, what are you all waiting for? Come on, before you miss it!"
Koizumi turned towards Haruhi, who had viciously shoved Tsuru off of her and was now facing the window away from everyone. He shrugged at me and went with him, with Tsuru close behind, who made a point to not look at anyone on her way out.
Guess someone's gotta pull Nagato back in when all's said and done. Seriously, Taniguchi? This is the worst possible time to barge in with your stupidity-laden- "Oof!"
I looked down to see his hand blocking me from leaving the doorway. Now I'm pissed off. "Could you have chosen a worse time?" I half-whispered, half-spat.
"In fact, I think I chose the perfect time. I love a catfight as much as the next guy, but I'd like to keep Tsu-ya to myself as long as possible. And I think you share the feeling with her." He said, pointing right at me, and then back into the clubroom, where Haruhi still stood.
My eyes lit up with realization.
"…you slimy octopus."
"Seriously, save it for the bedroom, I could hear you guys out here! Go get your girl." Taniguchi joked, slapping my back and pushing me into the room once again.
I smiled at him, my unexpected savior. "Thanks!"
I watched as he ran after the others, making a mental note to tell him about Tsuruya's love for obscure, foreign instruments. I closed the door behind me, with just me and Haruhi inside, who I was still fairly miffed at.
"Kyon, why does that dumb calligraphy contest even exist? Why's Mikuru so interested in such a pitiful hobby in the first place?"
I saw where Nagato stood a pair of handcuffs ready to be used. I tossed them from the floor at her head, which collided squarely with its target, subsequently bouncing on the floor. "You really have a way of pissing people off in absurd ways, you know that? Don't insult other people's hobbies, you moron. Don't insult other people period. Did you hear what you were saying back there? Not exactly a stellar performance, if I'm allowed to say."
"Ow! Tch, didn't even know we had props like these, and why does it matter? Mikuru should see that this club is far better than just writing a bunch of lines and making them look pretty. Any idiot can do that."
"Isn't that what everyone thought about you when you first started looking for supernatural beings? What if people called you an idiot for that? How would you feel if someone said 'Hey, this club is stupid. It doesn't have a purpose that's realistic, and it's leader probably never had marbles to lose in the first place. She's delusional, crazy, and just a huge hassle to deal with. It's best to not try at all with her.'"
Haruhi blew out from the side of her mouth before answering. "I wouldn't listen to them, duh. They don't understand what it's actually like. If they understood how much work I put into this, they wouldn't be saying all that."
"Right. And isn't it fair that Asahina feel the same way? No way she was gonna just up and quit the thing she's spent a lot of time developing and learning just because some thick-headed coconut told her to."
"Yeah well…She-Ugh! Why do you have to make so much sense? Don't make me empathize with her. Who's side are you on, anyway?" She let her head fall onto the desk, nearly bashing the mouse in. I saw the water coming forth in her eyes, so it was probably an excuse to not let me see her break, and I don't plan to see that anyway.
"The side who uses their brains. And how thick is that skull of yours? Do it again and that desk's gonna be reduced to atoms, and I'm gonna be reduced to cents if you break another one of these. You know how much this thing cost? Just because you wanted it to be wireless. Jeez." I held the mouse in my hands, the weight catching me off guard. This thing's almost as heavy as the monitor! What's inside this thing? "This thing really does look like a phone. What's the purpose of all the numbers and buttons?"
"Right here." Haruhi took the mouse away from me, lifting her head up after some aggressive wiping. I turned my attention towards the screen, at this point noticing a very warped picture of Asahina, definitely made in her anger. I swear, Haruhi's such a child.
"Watch this." Haruhi then instantly undid everything to the picture without even using a button or the hotkeys.
"Whoa, how'd you do that?"
"Well, if you read the manual, these side buttons go forward and back, meaning if I mess-up, I can undo it, and if I delete something, I can just as easily re-do it."
"Okay, that's a feature found on a lot of mice that are way cheaper. Not that impressive." I slightly egged her on to try and amaze me with this overpriced contraption.
Haruhi started smiling again, the natural enthusiasm in her voice slowly returning now that she was becoming passionate with the device. "See these numbers you were talking about?"
"The completely unnecessary ones, yes?"
"I've assigned each number a different color so that you have all the colors you want to use the most on speed dial, and that's not even the crazy part. Say I want to turn the bottom part of her hair a different color for effect, but we don't have any dye. Well, I outline her hair completely, then when you hold the outline tool as well as a color-assigned number…"
"You instantly ruin the hair and turn it all purple."
"Or so you'd think! Hold the outlined shape, press a number, drag, and!" Slowly, she colored in only the dragged parts of the outline purple, while the rest of it stayed the same. She moved the cursor up and down, the color moving with it. It was essentially a shaped gradient tool. That's some advanced technology right there. To be honest, I was impressed with the number-color assignments, but this blew me away.
"What? Gimme that!" I snatched it away, and did the same, and as she said, it worked flawlessly. Too flawlessly. This doesn't belong in a high school club, it belongs in a design studio.
"I take it you're impressed with it, huh? And you wanted the cheap wired one! Gimme this, gimme that, so rude!" Haruhi playfully teased.
"Hey, I think the mouse should stay at my house, since I bought it and everything. It only seems fair that it-"
"Hands off, you crustaceous cheapskate! This was bought of, by and for the servation of the S.O.S. Brigade's own purposes! I dare those computer chumps to ever mess with us again now that we have this on our side!"
Withholding the fact servation isn't a word and that Yuki is more than enough against small fry like them, that thing's definitely worth it's money. "Y'know, maybe I'll start staying late just to see what else it can do. Tsu's gonna freak when she sees this!"
She smiled to herself, looking at the picture of Asahina with a much happier expression. Then it turned more solemn as time went on. She turned towards me as if to say something, but the words got caught in her throat.
"Did you want to say something?"
She began playing with her hair, twirling it around her finger until it wound tightly around her digit. "I'm gonna have to apologize to them later…"
"Absolutely. Only makes sense, considering you antagonized both Tsuru and Asahina. And one towards Koizumi wouldn't hurt either. That was pretty rough what you were saying to him. I'm starting to think your head really is a coconut and half of your brain is just milk." I chastised her as I lightly bopped her again.
She cringed at the sound of Tsuru's name. "Ugh, Especially Tsu…I really screwed up with her."
"Tsuru was pretty understanding of how you felt, even considering what you said at the end. I assume she's more eager to right things with you than hold a grudge."
"Mikuru...could've at least told me something in advance." She clumped her hands around her head. "Still, why did I say that stuff? I didn't even mean any-"
I bump her with a fist, then give a smile once she peeks out from behind her hand cave. "Hey, if you want to apologize to anyone, I've been quite stressed with the workload you've been working me with lately, so an apology to me would also be accepted as well."
She guffawed. "Apologize? To you? Nah! You deserve everything you get! This mouse doesn't even begin to cover the cost of all the late penalties you've racked up!"
She gave a sigh and looked at her lap. I wondered what it was she was staring at until I realized some blush was becoming apparent.
"Thinking about Nagato?"
It intensified. Cute! "No! Stop looking at me like that, creep! You make it so hard to be nice to you. I just…wanted to say thanks is all. You helped a lot, and I…appreciate it. And you, I guess." She played with her hair again, this time tugging on small masses of it repeatedly.
"What was that? You appreciate who? I? Well, it's about time I get my due recognition around here." Though I do have to give half the credit to Taniguchi as well. What a solid I owe that guy.
She groaned, but this time out of exasperation. Her mood had definitely taken an upswing. She bared her teeth in a wide grin. "I retract my previous statement. You're an idiot."
With her mirth being contagious, we started laughing together for a while. After all the previous events, it felt good to be able to do that again.
"Say Haruhi, since I still have some penalties to clean up, how about we go out and get lunch together sometime this week? Just you and me? I'd rather not hear about Koizumi's theories on God-knows-what."
Haruhi sparked up, but tried to hide it, though the reddening of her face all but betrayed her. "As long as you're paying, I suppose a private meeting discussing your rather flippant conduct is in need. I'll allow it."
Now, I know that this may seem like I'm going easy on her, but knowing Haruhi, this is gonna eat at her for weeks after. I don't like kicking a dog while it's down, so I'll give her a little respite out of this.
And I'm admittedly a little smitten with her for now.
"I'm free this Saturday. We'll set the date for then. Sound good?"
"You're lucky my schedule happens to be open that day." She blushed even harder now, her pale cheeks now similar in color to that of a tomato. She started stroking the mouse for the sake of having something to fidget with.
"Wanna bring it along?" I said teasingly. "You seem more interested in it than me. Remember, I need to use that too. If your relationship with it gets serious, at least buy your own if you plan to-"
"Get your mind out of the gutter, Caligula."
"Ah, I do remember that man saying it had a vibration motor inside."
"Shut up! Stupid! Insufferable! You're worse than that ugly-haired kid! Speaking of which, where are they?
"AHHH! SHE'S CRAZY!"
As if on cue, a piercing scream prompted me and Haruhi to open the window outside, being treated to the sight of Koizumi and Taniguchi struggling to get Yuki off a middle-aged man in a frog costume. Tsuru had, of course, been reduced to a giggle factory, rolling around laughing at the scene.
"Resistance is futile. Your species is equivalent to that of mollusks."
"Yuki! That's gold!" Haruhi shouted out the window. "I wish I had a camera right now!"
"Kyon! A little help?" Koizumi yelled from down below, being shrugged off onto the ground by Nagato as if he was a fly.
I shook my head in amusement. Some things never change. Honestly, I'm not complaining. "I'll be right down!" I yelled back.
"If we showed this mouse to Mikuru, I bet she'd fall in love with it at first sight." Haruhi had begun calligraphing on a blank canvas. Quite well, I must say. "You know what that character means?" She asked.
"Uh, let me think. It represents the will to live, a never-ending, impervious, inextinguishable desire that trumps all others."
Haruhi smirked. "No, it means pervert. Which is what you are. Pervert." I rolled my eyes, to which she stuck her tongue out in response.
"Truth be told, it ain't half-bad. Not even a fourth-bad. I bet you'd win at least 3rd place with just this in that competition they're having. How's that for showing them up?" I laughed to myself, by myself.
"Haruhi?" I look at her, only to see a smile I hadn't seen in a while, a smile I knew all too well. A very exhaustive, tiring, 'I shouldn't have said that' smile.
"That's not a bad idea, Kyon."
"…may I retract my previous statement?"
"WE'RE ENTERING THE COMPETITION!"
Haruhi yelled as she practically burst into Kouyouen Gymnasium, which was where most of the clubs had taken purchase. At least a hundred students were in here, with even more art supplies to account for that.
A collective "SHHHHH!" came from the gym, to which Haruhi took up arms against.
"Silence? In an art contest!? What kind of environment is this that stifles creativity? Silence in an artists' presence is a sign that they're not an artist! Well, you know what they say, failure is the mother of intervention!"
Haruhi leapt toward a stage near the front, where she then grabbed a mic out of an adult's hand. "Thank you, sir!" The man had no idea what to say, though he didn't seem too troubled.
Needless to say, the rest of us tried to look as inconspicuous as could be, even though Nagato's outfit made that almost impossible. Thank God Haruhi knows how to steal a show. Literally.
"So, why'd you come again?" I whispered to Taniguchi, who'd decided he was a part of the club, though not if I had anything to say about it.
"Well, Kyon, considering it was thanks to me that you and Suzumiya got back together, I realized how nice it was to see my best friend so happy. It inspired me to get into this whole art thing and express my true gratitude towards you as a friend in the form of the ancient Chinese artwork, calligraphy!"
I looked at him with a deadpan expression.
"That, and Tsu-ya's here, so…"
"Oh, that reminds me. There's a store by the electronics store that Tsuru frequents with obscure instruments. Her birthday's Dec 6th…"
I was nearly crushed to death by the strength of his hug. "Thank you Thank you Thank you! Kyon, you're gonna be my best man at our wedding!"
"Tch! Like it'll happen."
Koizumi had been ordered to pack any items necessary and bring them here, meaning he wouldn't be here for half an hour. Which means one of our voices of reason was gone. With Tsuru and Taniguchi here as well, these were indeed turbulent times.
"MIKURU!" Haruhi's voice boomed out over the loud speaker. "PLEASE RAISE YOUR HAND NOW!"
Yeah, great idea. Ask the timid, shy girl who can barely speak to her own friends, to single herself out in front of hundreds of people. That'll work.
An old woman probably in her 50's walked towards the stage. "Young woman! Give me that this instant! This is an institution of learning and we will not be distracted by your shenanigans!"
"Hmm? Aw I'm sure it's fine! I'll only be in your hair for a minute!"
The woman got up on stage and attempted to coax the mic away from Haruhi. "I appreciate your honesty, but that's unfortunately a minute we can't spare, so if you'd please just…give that here." I saw her whisper say something into a walkie talkie.
Taniguchi whispered in my ear. "This looks like it's getting bad."
"As in, she needs help?"
"Kyon, I really think you-"
"Nuh-uh." And jeopardize my anonymity? No thanks. I've done my fill of work for today.
Tsuru tried to pull Haruhi away. "C'mon Haru! We don't need it, anyway! I know exactly where-"
"No, Tsu! I have my rights! They won't be taken away from me!"
The other male teacher looked like he wanted to help, but I also saw a slight grin appearing. The older woman was starting to become a little more forceful in her attempts to grab the mic out of Haruhi's hands. By now the entire gymnasium had stopped working to watch the ongoing spectacle. Some were even taking Haruhi's side. Wrongfully so, but still.
The woman nearly managed to grab the mic out of her hands. "Okay! That's enough! You'll hand me that right now, or else you'll be escorted off the premises!"
Taniguchi whispered again. "Looks like they plan to do that anyway. Look over there." He pointed out at an officer coming for the stage. "I really think you should put an end to this."
He's right. At this rate, nothing will be gained from this besides a restraining order. But at the same time, I'm kinda interested in where this is headed.
"Okay, young woman, I've had it! You'll give me that microphone or else there will be severe consequences for this!"
"Shut up, you old bag!" Haruhi finally shook the woman off and ran across the gym.
The officer began picking up speed at the sight of the teacher being shoved away. "Halt! Stop your actions at once!"
"Hey, how did it turn off? Miku- THERE WE GO! MIKURU! MIKUR- THERE YOU ARE!"
"eep!" A very frightened Asahina was sitting with a slightly worried looking Tsuru, who had found her long before Haruhi.
Haruhi beelined toward the red-haired girl with conviction rivaling that of even those who'd wish to reform society.
She tensed up, waiting for Haruhi's onslaught.
"Why didn't you say something! If we knew how much it meant to you, of course we would've supported your artistic endeavors!" Haruhi embraced the busty- I mean small girl in an almost motherly hug, though Asahina tried to no avail to push her away.
Tsuru chimed in. "Totally! We could've helped out from the beginning, though this is gonna be a problem." She pointed towards the rest of Mikuru's classmates. "Sorry, can we steal Mikuru from you guys? I know it's sudden but it's still only the second day! Tell you what! You can have me as her substitute!"
Haruhi immediately voiced her opposition. "What! No way! The whole brigade's in this, or we're not in this at all!" Once again, they're close as if nothing ever happened. I figured as much, though Tsuru being a permanent member's gonna take some getting used to. I hear back brace prices have dropped recently.
Haruhi continued on. "This isn't some fun little side project you just use to waste time with. This is a devotion! A devotion that we in the club will absolutely see through with you!" Is she making this up? This isn't making any sense whatsoever.
Mikuru's classmates started to stand up for her, but she kept them back, a look of understanding being shared between them. Mikuru walked towards Haruhi, determination etched onto her face. Heh, etched. I apologize, I've got art on the mind.
"Haruhi. I-uh…I love art…uh especially calligraphy! Or, you know…I don't care if you don't! It matters to me, and if y-you don't like it, then go ahead and drop me out of the brigade!"
Wait, but wouldn't that jeopardize your mission to study her? I suppose she could work from afar. Most likely she's talking on emotions.
The old woman had had enough of this. She tapped the officer on his badge. "What are you doing? She's over there! Get her out of here!"
The male teacher from before had other plans. "Wait, don't you see what's going on?"
"Words that needed to be said finally being put on the forefront! The misunderstanding between friends being cleared. Never have I seen such beautiful chemistry even in the works of Shakespeare himself! Surely you can excuse her for just using a PA system, and let this glorious moment play out?" The man was clearly one for theatre, and had been enthralled in the drama unfolding before him.
The woman was still ruffled. "Mr. Doramako, if you think I'm going to let her get away with insulting me, you're quite mistaken!"
Haruhi's exclamation came to the front of my mind.
Shut up, you old bag!
"Kyon, you okay?"
I held back my laughter, not wanting to draw attention to myself. "Yeah, just fine."
Meanwhile, Haruhi was still debating with Mikuru. "I'm sorry, Haruhi, but…" She looked around at her classmates, who gave her reaffirming nods. "The calligraphy club are my friends, too. And they actually listen to me! And uh…support me, and everything else! Which you haven't really done that much! Oh, goodness. Sorry for yelling."
"But I'd love to support y-"
"NOOOOO!" a shriek from behind Haruhi made her jolt. It came from another girl who was from Mikuru's class.
After she regained her breath, Haruhi berated the distressed girl. "What's wrong with you? You almost gave me a heart attack!"
"That creepy witch girl is standing on my drawings! Specifically, my bases for next week's art festival!"
Yuki suddenly looked towards the girl speaking about her. "Bases."
Bases? Why would she be interested- Wait! Crap! Double crap! I tried to speed-walk over so as not to draw attention to myself, but it was too late.
Asahina turned towards me at the sound of my voice. "Kyon? What are you-" She was cut off from the rest of her question by the ruffling of papers. Nagato had repossessed all the offending drawings and held them out in front of her.
"All your bases…belong to us."
The girl on the ground began to rise from her sitting position, but upon seeing the blank stare upon Nagato's face, immediately aborted her operation.
"You know what? I didn't need those anyway. Go on, they're yours."
"I've seen enough! Let's go!" The officer grabbed Haruhi and tried to shove her out the gymnasium. "You two as well!"
Taniguchi and I looked up in shock. "Us?" We said simultaneously. "What did we do?"
"I saw you enter with her. You're a part of her gang, aren't you? Here to cause trouble and ruin the art festival!"
"MIKURU!" Haruhi's voice boomed around the gym. Forgot she still had that. Why did she have that? Was it necessary? She pulled out a sheet of paper and began reading from it.
"Let me go! Mikuru…I made the brigade to hang out with supernatural beings, and not to be crass, but those breasts are definitely supernatural! I'm sorry I made you quit your club, but I didn't know how much it mattered to you! We're not trying to drive you away from what you love! We want to be a part of it! Ugh, this is so cheesy out loud, Kyon! What was it that one king said! Ask not what you can do for your brigade, but ask what your brigade can do for you!"
Asahina stood there for a moment, either not knowing what to say, or just in fear that the entire gym was waiting for her response, especially the Doramako teacher, who was now leaning forward with apt attention on them. Finally, a meek response came.
"Even if you…say all that…still." Either at Haruhi's declaration or her completely broken misquote that was wrong on all levels, a smile began to creep onto her face.
The officer was now at his wits end. "Enough! Someone, call a teacher!" What do you mean 'call a teacher'!? You're a policeman!
"What was that, young man? So you are in on this!"
Oops. Guess I said that out loud. How come I can't monologue in peace?
Meanwhile, Mikuru still hadn't said anything else, which Haruhi took for a no. She turned to us for backup. " Koizu- wait…" She looked at me and Taniguchi, but made a mocking disgusted expression. "Yuki! Show her your stuff!"
Nagato looked at Haruhi, then towards me. As if I had any idea what she wanted.
Nagato then looked towards the rest of Mikuru's friends. Still holding the sketches, she repeated:
"Your bases belong to us. We have taken what we want. Do not oppose us. We may have come in peace, but we will leave you in pieces."
Absolute silence. And terror. And confusion. And exhaustion. That last one's probably just me.
"Told ya. You should've stepped in."
Koizumi released a huge breath of exhaustion as he released all the heavy baggage he'd been carrying.
"I was almost… to the school as well. It's gotta be…half a kilometer from here." He said, panting with every sentence.
"Welcome to the club." I replied, not feeling an ounce of sympathy. You know how many times I've had to lug Haruhi's stuff around, usually much heavier than that?
Haruhi ruffled her hair with vigor. "That hag! We wouldn't be back here if she was able to take criticism well!"
"You caused a ruckus and started what we're lucky doesn't constitute as assault. Pretty sure she's in the right on this one."
"I don't care how 'right' she is! When I'm done with her there won't be any part of her that's left!"
"Once again, pretty sure that would be assault."
"I apologize for losing possession of the bases." Nagato looked genuinely disappointed as she stared downwards at the floor in her seat.
I chuckled inwardly at Nagato's apprehension of the girl's pictures. She's starting to really take to this alien-witch persona. Almost makes me want to start filming again just so we can get some of these amazing moments on tape.
Haruhi had gone back to drawing with the mouse, though with much less energy this time. "It doesn't matter. That officer forced us to leave anyway, so not much we could do. I don't know what that women's problem was."
I could think of several of those woman's problems. All of them beginning with H- and ending with -aruhi. "In any case, let's count our blessings and be grateful we're not in detention or something." I looked around the clubroom, noticing an absence. "Where's Tsuruya?"
Haruhi sighed. "She did say she'd be supporting Mikuru in the contest."
Talk about back at square one. At least I know where she is. I'd like to know her location as much as I possibly can. I'm not exactly a football player and I prefer to stay upright.
The sound of the door being opened drew our attention, and we saw a proud Tsuru standing there beside Taniguchi, who looked like he'd won a participation trophy in a race.
Tsuru called out to someone else. "C'mon, she's waiting for ya!"
A few seconds later, a nervous Asahina appeared in the doorway. She looked at Haruhi, whom she quickly looked away from afterwards. "Uhm…h-hi everyone…uh…" She glanced towards Tsuru, begging for help.
"The paper!" Tsuru loudly whispered.
"Oh! Yes!" Asahina quickly removed an envelope from her pocket, then tried to enter the room. I say tried, because she made several attempts, but failed every time, almost wanting to run away after each one.
"Mikuru." Haruhi's stern voice called out to her, and once her gaze was met, Haruhi simply nodded at her, as if confirming her permission to enter.
The shy girl stood open-mouth for a second, then returned the gesture, finally stepping foot into the clubroom after nearly a week. She payed none of us any mind, her main target clearly being the girl at the head of the table.
Once she reached her destination beside Haruhi, she bent down and thrust the envelope towards her. "Here, for you!"
Haruhi looked somewhat surprised, but then smirked at the girl. "That forwardness. I like it!" She took paper out of her hands and opened it up, her facial expression immediately falling.
"Hmm. A withdrawal. I understand your decision, then."
"Mm-Hmm!" Mikuru stood straight up smiling, then suddenly opened her eyes in alarm. "Wait what? Nonononono! That wasn't the one!" She took the paper out of Haruhi's hands and reached in her other pocket, this time pulling out a purple document.
Mikuru giggled to herself, then presented this letter to her. "This one! For real, this time!"
Haruhi opened it, her face now brightening up. She stood to her feet and read the note out loud. "Ahem! We have discussed this internally amongst the board and, in spite of the trouble you caused this evening, we have decided to accept the S.O.S brigade's-That's us! –late entry into the 7th annual calligraphy competition! Your station is room 77 on floor 2. Enjoy your stay, and let the art flow through you!"
Tsuru practically jumped for joy. "Isn't it great!? Mikuru even convinced that old woman to give us a second chance! She's such a sweetie, even crabapples like her can't resist!" She rushed in to give Asahina a hug, which could double as a chokehold.
Haruhi beamed at me. Oh no. "Get ready luggage boy! We're taking this outfit to Kouyouen Academy!"
"What? Me? Didn't Koizumi bri-" I looked for any sign of him before noticing him walking out the door, briskly I might add. Lazy snob.
"Ugh, fine. Let's get this over with."
"Hey, Mikuru!" After she had to practically pry Tsuru off of the poor little girl, Haruhi started untying her ribbon. "I want you to wear this, as thanks for this! It sucks that you're stuck in your team, but you've done more than enough!" She handed the yellow cloth to her. "Think of it as a truce between same-school teams!"
"That's nice and all, but, I actually…uh don't really…have a team right now." She gave the ribbon back to Haruhi.
Now I was a bit lost. "What? You had a team." I said, perplexed. "With the calligraphy club. Weren't you with them?"
"Remember that withdrawal?" Taniguchi tauntingly said.
"What about it? That wasn't for-oh…Oh!" It hit me. I looked at Asahina in amazement. "You…"
She turned towards me and smiled. "Don't keep me waiting, alright?"