The Genderbending of Haruhi Suzumiya [Spoilers Aplenty]
View Single Post
Join Date: Mar 2008
The Setsubun of Suzumiya Haruki, part 2.
Haruki -- who I noted had bothered to bring neither beans, sushi nor a lunch box -- proceeded to whip a crumpled newspaper out of his jacket.
"This year's lucky direction is east-by-northeast," he declared. "Alright, who brought the compass?"
"That would be I," Koizumi said, smiling as always, and extracted an item of that description from her pocket. She handed it over to Haruki and sidled over to me. "I see you managed to procure a nice stock of beans," she said, nodding to the plastic bag I'd carried from home with me. "Did you get a bargain?"
Don't get so close. "You could say that," I replied, stifling a yawn. "Mom decided to teach me how to roast my own beans this year. Then my little brother wanted in on the whole thing, and we wound up with more beans than we really need for our own
. Dad can only throw so many before it gets ridiculous, and -- hey!"
Haruki just snatched my bag away from me and upended it over the table. "Don't stand there dilly-dallying!" he told us all. "Present your supplies!" You could have asked me to hand it over, you know ...
After everyone had presented their 'supplies', we had maybe twelve sushi rolls, three small bags of beans and four lunch boxes. Haruki, it was needless to say, found fault with this: "Look at this! Why didn't you bring any beans, Mitsuuru-kun?!"
Asahina-sempai looked like a child kept up past his bedtime and subjected to a house visit from Dr. Namahage ... Seriously, how is it possible for him to look even cuter when he's trembling and shrinking in on himself? ... I'd better stop this line of thought right now.
"Oi, Haruki," I protested. "Asahina-sempai probably doesn't celebrate
at home. Isn't that right, Asahina-san?"
Asahina-san nodded eagerly, giving me a puppy dog-eyed look of gratitude. It's too early for such palpitation-provoking looks, Asahina-san, calm down.
"Hmph," Haruki snorted, casting another glare at Asahina-sempai, then turned that baleful gaze on Nagato. "Hey, Yuuki! What about you, why didn't you bring any beans?"
Nagato returned Haruki's gaze unblinkingly, and finally replied: "The store had run out."
"Aaaargh, Yuuki!" Haruki yelled, pulling at his own hair for a moment. "Look at this! These aren't even enough beans to drive out a
demon! Look!" From another pocket, Haruki extracted a wad of folded printouts, which he smoothed out over the table. "Look at these," he said, showing us pictures of the most horrible creatures with weird English words next to them. "I copied these from the
last week. Demons like these won't go away for just a handful of beans!"
You went this far in preparation for
? And aren't these Western demons? Shouldn't you have prepared something for
"This is the SOS-dan's headquarters, after all!" Haruki boasted. "Any demon that dares to enter here would have to be exceptional, no slack-jawed local boy. A demon would have to be mighty enough to enter foreign territory, to dare and enter this place. Don't you agree, Mitsuuru?" He proceeded to put Asahina-san in a headlock and choked him a little, ignoring our small sempai's breathless attempts to agree.
"Well," Koizumi said, still smiling, "the
is a ritual, after all. I am certain that as such, it is the gesture that is required. If we throw the beans and speak the words while putting our hearts into it, I am sure the supernatural world will be satisfied."
"As expected of the second-in-command!" Haruki bellowed, releasing Asahina-san so suddenly that he wound up falling on his backside. He then strode over to me and -- hey, don't get all in my face like that! What do you want?
"Listen up, Kyon! Tradition is important to observe, but ritual is fluid, you got that? It is the intention that matters!"
Yes ...? What are you talking about ...? Without waiting for a reply, he dragged me over to the window and called to the others: "Get over here, get over here, quick!"
The other members of the SOS-dan crossed over to us, but when Koizumi started to reach for our pitiful offering of beans ... "Leave it there!" Haruki commanded. "I have decided not to throw beans to cleanse our HQ of bad luck. If a demon managed to make it this far, it wouldn't be impressed by beans anyway. As you said, it is important to put our hearts into this!"
I was starting to wonder what he was going on about, when suddenly one of his hands seized my ponytail and -- Hey, give that back! That is not your ribbon! Easily ignoring my attempts to snatch back my prized ribbon, Haruki heartily bellowed:
"Oni wa soto! Fuku wa uchi!"
The next moment, that lout wadded up my precious ribbon and tossed it out the window!
"Quick, everyone give me something personal!" he ordered, ignoring the fact that I just kicked his shin. "This is a far more powerful gesture than tossing some store-bought beans!" In fairness, he then whipped off his own headband and hurled it out the window while shouting the traditional
"Oni wa soto! Fuku wa uchi!"
"Per ... perhaps the maid uniform?" Asahina-san suggested, looking hopeful, but this was immediately shot down by Haruki.
"How is that a personal item? That is the property of the SOS-dan and part of your training equipment! No, I know. We'll throw out your boxers. Take off your trousers, Mitsuuru!" He proceeded to seize Asahina-san, who wrestled with all his might and squealed like a piglet.
My face can't ever have been this red before ... Ceasing my unnoticed assault on Haruki, I clapped my hands over my eyes and tried to find my way to the door blindly, but Koizumi stopped me. "Perhaps," she suggested in a kindly manner, "Asahina-san might toss out something a bit less ... private? I notice he always carries a little sewing kit. Might that not serve?"
"Excellent idea, Koizumi-chan!" Haruki declared. "Give it here!" He just reached into Asahina-san's trouser pocket and whipped out the little kit, along with Asahina-san's wallet and some other small items. Ignoring all items but the kit and allowing them to fall to the ground, Haruki crossed back over to the window.
"Oni wa soto! Fuku wa uchi!"
-- and off the little kit flew. Asahina-san, kneeling on the floor and scrabbling for his possessions, looked to be experiencing mixed feelings. Relief that he hadn't been forced to part with his underwear, combined with humiliation at what had just happened. I feel for you, Asahina-san, I really do. But look on the bright side, will you?
"Yuuki, Koizumi-chan, your turn!" Haruki yelled, turning to his last two victims.
"In my case," Koizumi said in a genteel fashion, "perhaps this handkerchief...?" She presented a slightly faded, but very well-kept item of that description, which she handed over to Haruki with a faint air of melancholy.
Nagato gave Haruki a blank, emotionless look, like an automaton who has stalled because it can not process its instructions. "No personal item was brought," he finally said.
"Oh, come on!" Haruki demanded. "Something personal you don't really need. Your glasses! You switched to contacts anyway, so hand 'em over if you have them on you!"
Haruki, you idiot. Who would continue to carry their glasses with them after switching to contacts?
"Who are you calling an idiot, Kyon? Yuuki's the diligent sort, he'd definitely keep a backup item in case he lost his lenses."
Then doesn't that make them necessary items, too important to throw away? Why can't Nagato just hand over his handkerchief like that cheapskate Koizumi did ...?
"Oh, but I beg to differ," Koizumi said, smilingly wrapping my arm in both of hers. "That was a prized item, a treasure of mine. It was a gift from my dear friend."
Get off me! Respect my personal space, damn you! I was so busy disentangling myself from Koizumi, that I almost missed seeing Nagato woodenly reaching into his vest pocket and pulling out ... a pair of glasses. They looked brand new, and I imagine they must have been. Nagato's magic is quick and subtle as always. I'm sure he 'called up the data', or whatever he calls it, and compiled some glasses for Haruki to throw, right here and now.
"Excellent, excellent!" Haruki said, taking both items and chucking them out the window without further ceremony. I waited to hear glass shatter, but Haruki's voice drowned it out: "Alright, let's eat! Like I said, the lucky direction is east-by-northeast! Also, we shouldn't stay too long after performing the cleansing ritual, in case someone should notice us here. Therefore, it is time to eat!"
If I had wondered what he intended to eat, when he hadn't brought his own lunch box, I would have completely failed to learn from the past. Haruki used Koizumi's compass to determine this year's lucky direction, sat down while facing that direction and commenced to wolf down half the sushi rolls. The rest of us scrambled to get in position, and each managed to get our hands on a roll -- I stood corrected. Haruki snatched the one I'd grabbed from my fingers and snapped it in two, tossing me the smaller piece. Is your stomach a bottomless pit? When the rest of us opened our lunch -- breakfast? -- boxes, our SOS-dan tyrant started to stalk around the table, commenting on our food while helping himself to it. I'm a growing girl, damn you, stop stealing my protein!
"What's this about stealing?" he said, pompous as ever. "I am sharing my skills with you to allow the whole brigade to enjoy
at our beloved headquarters, so it's only natural that you share your supplies with me."
I suppose every burglar wants a payoff at the end of his crime spree ... But how does that explain you eating the beans I brought?! Hey!
"Well, we don't need to throw them out anymore, do we?" Haruki replied with infuriating self-confidence. He plopped himself down in the chair he'd aligned with the lucky direction again, and proceeded to toss down my beans as if they were peanuts. Why not eat Koizumi's beans, then, or your own?
"Shut up and eat your veggies," he ordered me. "You're too skinny, you should at least take in three square meals a day."
You're the one stealing my meat and eggs! ... But oh well. We finished our breakfast/lunch in record time, chatting a little between bites, and then Haruki ordered us to pack up. He closed the window, stating a desire to keep out burglars. The irony is staggering ...
Koizumi walked next to me as we headed back to the exit, with Haruki trailing behind for once so he could reset the locks he'd picked.
"Suzumiya-san seems in good spirits today, doesn't he?" she said. No,
. The shadows under her eyes had deepened; I hadn't noticed before, but she looked more weary now than when we'd first gathered this morning. While she was still smiling, there was a tone of ... strain ... in her voice.
"Is something wrong?" I asked. "Maybe you didn't get enough sleep." I promptly stifled a yawn.
"I did have to stay up rather late," Koizumi confided in me, again tangling herself around my arm so she could whisper in my ear. Ugh, the dreaded octopus high schooler returns ...! I would have shaken her off, but she actually seemed to be leaning on me, and I noticed her footsteps faltering ever so slightly. Much as it galled me, I gave her a
support. It's the proper thing to do.
"Arranging it so no security guard would interrupt this celebration took a bit of effort," Koizumi went on, "as did hoodwinking the school's security system. But that is not why ... I have this odd feeling, and have had it all morning."
So your Organization is the reason why Haruki hasn't landed us in jail with his breaking and entering? Alright, I'll support your weight a little more to show my appreciation.
"Thank you, but I doubt it was actually necessary. Suzumiya-san is a master at everything he turns his hand to, it is not inconceivable that he could be a master thief if that were where his fancy took him. I am only too glad that it isn't; imagine having to be an accomplice to the global crime wave he would undoubtedly unleash!"
She managed to giggle at that thought, and it even made me smile a little. In the end, Haruki would no doubt give up crime, not due to any fear of being caught, but because he wouldn't see the point in collecting items and money that he doesn't care about.
"No doubt you are correct," Koizumi chuckled. The next moment, her smile faded and she winced. "Oooh," she moaned. "I have such a headache ..." Her feet stopped moving, and with a hollow clatter, the bag containing her lunch box fell to the floor.
"Oi, Haruki," I said, the need to support Koizumi's full weight stopping me in my tracks. "Something's wrong with Koizumi, get over here!"
"What's this?" Haruki asked, looking up from the lock he was mistreating. He walked over to us and put his hand to the wilting Koizumi's forehead. "You're running a fever," he said, his own brow creasing. "Let's get you home. Why didn't you tell me you had a cold over the phone last night?"
He proceeded to lift Koizumi up in his arms and strode down the hallway, ordering Yuuki to 'take care of the locks'. As gratifying as it is to see that ogre give someone else the 'princess hug'-treatment sometime, I felt a niggling worry. Was it just a cold? You may call me paranoid if you like, but after the experiences I've had, I'd rather be paranoid than cut in two with a katana or devoured by a giant cave cricket.
We left the school building in short order. 'In the name of caution', Haruki had us head out by a different route than we'd come in by. He said we should head across the sports field and cross the gate there. "There's a bus stop nearby," he justified his decision as he surged ahead of us. "And the bus stops near Itsuko's house."
Well, how convenient. Wait, you've been to Koizumi's house? I'd ask for an explanation, but by now, Koizumi looks really bad. Her skin is pale and glistening with sweat, and she looks barely conscious. She looks like ...
... like ...
... I ...
I feel strange.
You know those nightmares, where you're running away from something horrible, trying to reach a point of safety? The point of safety seems to recede in the distance, no matter how hard you run for it, and the feeling of terror draws ever closer.
Haruki, with Koizumi in his arms, is in the lead, heading over the sports field. I remember the dream of the end of the world, when we ... I don't want to say it.
Behind him is Asahina-sempai, struggling to carry Koizumi's things as well as his own. And my own? Ah yes, I dropped them when Koizumi complained about her headache and I had to take her full weight, didn't I?
Behind Asahina-san is Nagato, his back straight as an iron piling. Nagato-san ... I think I want you to look back to see what's happened to me. You always notice things, Nagato-san, why don't you notice what's happening now?
My feet are dragging as if I'm trying to walk through quicksand. They're drawing away from me, don't notice I'm not with them. The air ... The air is jelly-like, tingling oddly. I remember this sensation from somewhere. What is this? Why do I remember ...?
I turn without meaning to, as if a huge hand has just seized me and turned me around. I see it spreading across the sky from behind the school: darkness and stillness sweeping over the world like a huge dome. Out of instinct, I cross my arms in front of my face as if that could protect me, but of course it can't. There's a dull 'THUMP'-noise ... No, not a noise. A feeling. A dull thump at the height of the sternum. And when I lower my arms and look around, I can move freely again, but I find myself alone on school grounds, and the sky is black as night.
Closed Space. How and why did I end up in Closed Space?
Opinions so far?
Last edited by Aebliss; 2009-05-11 at
View Public Profile
Send a private message to Aebliss
Visit Aebliss's homepage!
Find More Posts by Aebliss