Hey everybody! NaNoWriMo is up, and I've finally had time to make enough progress on this thing to post it. A few quick things; The premise of this fanfic is based on my one-shot Uncertainty, (yeah, that makes this chapter title really uncreative. Sue me) so parts of this first chapter will bear resemblance to it, except being told from Kyon's perspective rather than Yuki's. It may or may not match up with Uncertainty's ending, so it's not required that you read it, but it's a quick read, so you may want to check it out in my profile if it so interests you. I'm setting this after book 8 of the novel series, so there will be references to events from the books in here, but nothing important. Really, as long as you've seen up to the movie (or read up to book 4), you should be fine as far as spoilers go. Other than that, enjoy!
Prologue: The Uncertainty of Yuki Nagato
Well, here I am. My first year at North High School is drawing to a close, and it looks like I may be in for some time to relax. I mean, I've dealt with all of the crazy time travel plaguing July 7th, December 18th and the week leading up to Valentine's Day. Furthermore, the Student Council has failed to disband the SOS Brigade (at least for the moment...) and Koizumi says the number of Closed Spaces popping up have decreased significantly. Yes, all is right with the world.
Yeah, right. If there's one thing I know about Haruhi Suzumiya, she won't let the SOS Brigade rest for long. No, that's just not her style. And, true to form, Haruhi was already cooking up a new plan. A particularly ridiculous one, if I say so myself.
"Hey Kyon!" Haruhi said, poking me in the back. I turned to face the girl who was sitting behind me. What is it now?
"Did you ever watch any of those sentai shows?"
Those kids shows about the monster fighting team with the giant robots and the spandex suits? Yeah, when I was in primary school. And that's a bit of a non-sequitur, isn't it? I mean, we're in the middle of class right now! How did sentai shows worm their way into your mind? Shouldn't you be, I don't know, learning?
"That doesn't matter!" Haruhi said, brushing my complaint aside. Typical. "Besides, I get good grades, so don't tell me how to behave during class." Well, she's got me there. Not that I would tell her that. "Anyway, I was thinking, there's five members on most sentai teams, and there's five of us in the SOS Brigade, right?"
You've got to be kidding me. Look, the school day's almost over. Could you talk to me about it then?
"I've got cleaning duty today, so I'm going to be a little late to the clubroom."
Oh, right. I almost forgot. Maybe now Koizumi and I could finish that game of Othello in peace...
"Anyways, as I was saying, imagine if we made a sentai team! I would be SOS Red of course, and Mikuru-chan could be SOS Pink. That would leave Yuki to be Yellow, and you and Koizumi-kun could be whatever the other two colors are."
You're not even going to give us colors? You can't possibly be bored already!
"Of course not! But there's more important things to think about! Just imagine it: think of the publicity the SOS Brigade would get then! And who knows? A real-life monster might even show up!"
Sigh. Once Haruhi Suzumiya gets started, there's no stopping her. I guess she saw an episode of whatever the latest sentai show is last night and got inspired. Great, if I can't talk her out of this, it'll be a bigger hassle than the filming of our 'movie.'
After class, I strolled casually to the clubroom. Sure, Haruhi might have a weird idea in her head right now, but odds are, she'll be bored of it in a day or two. Besides, compared to avoiding a killer classmate or fighting giant cave crickets, putting up with Haruhi's sentai team fantasy wouldn't be that big of a problem. This should still be a relatively easy week.
How wrong I was. I didn't know it yet, but I was about to get dragged into the most dangerous experience I'd ever had. Something that made my experiences on December 18th seem almost fun.
"Yo." I waved, entering the clubroom. Asahina-san was already brewing tea in her angelic maid outfit, while Nagato was reading. Before I could sit down, however, Nagato had approached me. That was different.
"Kyon." She said quietly, as if she didn't want Asahina-san to hear. Asahina-san was busy making tea, so I doubt she did.
Wait a second, did she just call me Kyon? She never does that! "Yeah Nagato?" I muttered back.
"I would like to speak with you after the meeting."
That was surprisingly forward. No note or anything this time? Is something wrong? Something about Haruhi?
Nagato shook her head. "No, it is-" She stopped, staring at me wordlessly, her mouth slightly moving. This wasn't normal.
"Nagato?" She blinked, apparently breaking out of whatever trance she'd been in. "You just stopped talking there. Is something wrong?"
She shook her head again. ""No, it is for... a different reason."
Well... okay, then, I guess. I nodded and moved to my usual seat, but I resolved to keep an eye on her.
The majority of the meeting passed uneventfully. Haruhi and Koizumi eventually showed up, and Haruhi once again subjected us to her ridiculous superhero team idea. Koizumi of course smiled and said it sounded like fun, but I think I was still able to convince her to sleep on it, at least.
"Well, I guess that's it for today." Haruhi said, gathering her bag. Huh. The brigade meeting ended relatively early today. Normally, we don't leave until Nagato closes her-
We all started and turned to Nagato, who had ripped the book she'd been reading in half. This wasn't a small book either; It was a thick tome, almost like a phone book! She seemed to notice we were staring at her, because Nagato stammered "M-my apologies. I do not seem to be at my peak at this moment. Please, continue." Wait... Nagato stammered? I inadvertently thought of the shy bespectacled Nagato who timidly gave me the Literature Club sign-up form, but I quickly dispelled it. I still sometimes had nightmares about the pleading look on her face as a pointed that gun at her...
"Actually, we just finished up." Haruhi said, rising to her feet. "Weren't you listening, Yuki?"
"It seems she is not feeling well." Koizumi pointed out, displaying his usual smile, but it was clear he was worried. Just what would put Nagato in such a state? "You all can leave and I'll take her home." Obviously he wanted to ask her about it.
However, I too had something I needed to talk to Nagato about, and at her own request. Therefore I said, "Actually I can take Nagato home. I remember where she lives and there was something I need to talk to her about anyway."
Haruhi raised an eyebrow, but shrugged. Sometimes I wonder how this girl who started a brigade to search for unexplained phenomena is so accepting of our lamest lies. "Make sure not to get sick, Yuki!" She commanded. "You're a necessary member of the SOS Brigade and we'll need you at tip-top shape for any situation!"
Just what sort of situations are you planning on getting in?
Haruhi left the room, as did Koizumi and myself. After all, we needed to give Asahina-san the opportunity to change, right? Of course, I probably wouldn't have minded if she decided to wear that maid costume everywhere, but I suppose I'd miss the privilege that is reserved solely for the SOS Brigade.
Once Haruhi was out of earshot, Koizumi turned to me.
"It seems there is something amiss with Nagato-san."
"Okay, okay, there's no need for the attitude. I'm just curious as to why you were so insistent on taking her home yourself."
I'm worried about her. Isn't that enough?
"I don't think that's it. After all, you said you wanted to speak with her about something. If you don't mind me asking, just what do you want to talk to her about?"
Actually, I do mind. You're a very nosey person, you know that?
Koizumi laughed and elegantly ran his hand through his hair. "Yes, well I suppose that comes with the territory, me being an agent of the Organization after all. Besides that, though, I actually am very curious about what was bothering Nagato-san today."
Now, Koizumi is annoying as hell, but I had to concede the point to him. After all, I was very curious as well. "Actually, Nagato is the one who wanted to talk to me after everyone left."
The esper nodded knowingly. "I see. In that case, you should be careful. Remember, Nagato-san is still working for the Data Integration Thought Entity, and therefore we must always be wary of any strange behavior. You especially, after that incident with Ryoko Asakura."
Are you saying we can't trust Nagato of all people?
"Alright, calm down, calm down. I'm just saying that her strange behavior today could be the result of a particularly divisive order she may have received. If you like, I can stay as well in case you need any help. I could remain outside the clubroom so you two could still talk in peace."
Thanks, but no thanks, esper boy. If anything bad happens, you're powerless outside of Closed Space, and Nagato is freaking superhuman. If we can trust her (which we can!), she can protect me, and if we can't... well, you wouldn't be much help anyways.
"Ouch, those are some very hurtful words." Koizumi said, not looking hurt in the least. "I was only joking, of course." He started to leave, but called back over his shoulder. "Tell Nagato-san I hope she makes a full recovery!"
"Yeah, sure." I lied. We can't trust Nagato? Did Koizumi remember anything from December? Nagato has proven time and again that she is trustworthy, while all Koizumi did is make some vague promise back on that snowy mountain. If anyone, he's the one we need to be wary of!
At that point Asahina-san exited the clubroom in her school uniform. She leaned over to me, and softly said, "I'm worried about Nagato-san; She spent the whole time just staring out the clubroom window. Also, she seems worried about something..." Asahina-san trailed off, but I could forgive her for that. After all, I was touched by her concern. Asahina-san is such a saint!
"I see." I responded. "Thank you for letting me know. I'll try to figure out what's troubling her."
Asahina-san left, and I stepped into the clubroom. Nagato turned to face me, holding both of her hands behind her back. I reflexively flashed back to the first time Ryoko Asakura tried to kill me but that thought vanished as soon as it appeared. This is Nagato we're talking about here! So what if she's standing a little differently than usual? "Hey, Nagato, are you all right?"
"I am fine." Nagato said in a monotone. However, it seemed different than her usual emotionless way of speaking. I take pride in my ability to notice shifts in Nagato's mood based on what little she shows, and something was definitely off here.
"You sure? You were looking pretty stressed today."
"I am fine." Nagato repeated. "I wished to speak with you about-"
She stopped again, continuing to move her lips, but not saying anything. This wasn't like those incomprehensible spells she would occasionally use, but rather the action a regular person would perform when speechless. She was looking me straight in the eye like usual, but for the first time, I got the feeling she wasn't actually seeing me. "Nagato?" I asked. She didn't respond."Nagato!" I said again, louder this time. To my surprise, Nagato started to shake, her mouth spewing random gibberish. Okay, something is seriously wrong with her! I grabbed her shoulders and tried to stop the shaking. "Nagato!" I yelled again. To my surprise, she stopped. Nagato blinked once, and I got the impression she was really looking at me again.
Nagato, what happened there? Are you all right?
She continued to stare me directly in the eyes. "I am fine. Now." A heard something clatter to the floor behind her. I looked over the short girl's shoulder and a feeling of cold dread swept over my body. Laying on the floor was a very familiar hunting knife. Just seeing the knife made me think back to the time Ryoko Asakura unsuccessfully assaulted me with an identical one. I also thought back to the time she succeeded. I could still remember the harsh, searing pain in my back...
I released Nagato and stumbled backwards, bumping into the clubroom table rather unceremoniously in the process. "W-what are you doing with that?"
"The Data Integration Thought Entity ordered me to kill you." Nagato explained calmly, causing me to feel a huge pit in my stomach.
It did what? Why?
"To observe the reaction the event would have on Haruhi Suzumiya."
The pit got deeper. It was happening again? And if the Entity ordered it, Nagato wouldn't be saving me. In fact, she'd be the one doing the stabbing!
No, wait, that's wrong. Nagato isn't just some puppet or doll. I've learned that many times already. I glanced at the doorframe, absolutely terrified of what I might, or might not see. To my relief, the door was still there. At least she didn't seem to be pulling an Asakura. Nagato, I don't understand... if you were ordered to kill me, why didn't you stab me a few seconds ago, when you had the chance?
"I do not wish for you to die."
And your boss would just be okay with that? I find that hard to believe.
"No. I had to sever all connection with the Data Integration Thought Entity." Her hand darted out quickly and grabbed my wrist. "We must leave."
W-what? What do you mean?
"The Data Integration Thought Entity is already aware of my betrayal. Any humanoid interfaces in the area will converge on my last known location in order to delete me and to terminate you. We need to leave now."
O-okay, I understand. I started to move towards the doorway, but Nagato held my arm tight and moved towards the window instead. Wait, are we gonna jump? Nagato, this is the second story remember? Besides, the window is still closed... I blinked. Wait a second, the glass was missing! When did...?
Nagato lept out of the window, pulling me along after her. She, of course, landed gracefully, almost like a cat, and caught me. She didn't bother to set me down, and just started running. At an inhuman pace, too. In any other situation, I'd be embarrassed that such a small girl was carrying me around like I was a rescued princess from one of those RPGs, but I was far too confused at the moment. Did we have to jump?
"Yes." Nagato said, speeding down the hill I would walk up every morning. I can't imagine what this must look like to any onlooker. Hopefully Taniguchi or Kunikida weren't anywhere nearby to experience this strange phenomena. "There were other humanoid interfaces stationed at North High School." Nagato continued, "There was no guarantee I would be able to get you safely out of the building in any conventional way."
I gulped. This wasn't an average SOS Brigade misadventure. Things were serious, deadly serious. What are we supposed to do when we get to my house? Tell my parents I'm being chased by aliens, and only this short bookish girl could protect me?
"It would be inadvisable to go to your house." Nagato said matter-of-factly. "It would not be safe to return to either of our homes. The Data Integration Thought Entity is already aware of both of those locations. We need to relocate to somewhere it would not initially expect us to be."
"Nagato." I said. She looked at me. "I think I know a place."
Ugh... writing in the novels' style is tough. For those of you who have already read Uncertainty, this chapter probably wasn't that interesting. Don't worry, the next one will be up in a few days and will actually continue the story. Review please! I love me some reviews!