Thu Sep 15 00:39:08 PDT 2011
I wasn't really sure; my phone wouldn't get any reception, and for a
weekday morning, the streets seemed thin on people. It felt like
everyone I passed was looking at me, watching me. It gave me a shiver,
so I took my Tigers hat and pulled it down, over my eyes a little bit.
I just wanted some time to think is all. Kyon and Yuki were in on the
charade. Asakura had taken me halfway across the universe, and an old
woman had vanished right before my eyes. But you know what the worst
I think I must've accidentally taken Mikuru-chan's hat. Wearing the
instrument that'd stabbed Asakura--it sent a chill down my spine--but
the initials on the inside of the brim were clear.
More than anything, I was tired. Other than the trip to Rooter's
planet, I hadn't slept since Friday night. The best thing to do was get
home and sleep until morning.
"Mother, Father!" I called out. "I'm home!"
I slipped off my shoes, and the house was quiet. That was good. I
wouldn't want any commotion, not after such a long couple days.
"Haruhi?" Mother came down the stairs first, in her dark blue
nightgown. "What's with the commotion? Why are you dressed like that?"
"Sorry for not calling," I said. "I went away with Kyon and Yuki for a
day. I should've told you; I guess I just lost track of time."
"When was this?"
"You went to school yesterday."
Um, no Mother, I don't think there's been school on Sundays here ever,
"What's all this?" Father poked his head out from the top of the
staircase, rubbing his glasses on his sleeve. "What's going on? Are
you going to school early? Dressed like that?"
Mother, Father, this shouldn't be a surprise to you. Don't you two
remember? I left Saturday afternoon, dressed exactly as I am now (well,
minus one Tigers hat). I know I'm late getting back and maybe you're
worried or something--
No, that's not true, is it. That's not what I see on your faces. I see
confusion. I see bewilderment, but no worry. I don't know about anyone
else's family, but as strange as I may be, my family isn't that
heartless. I don't even see a hint anxiety on my parents' faces.
But what I do see are, aside from my own pair at the threshold, _three_
other pairs of shoes sitting there, waiting to be worn.
"Honestly," said another voice, one eerily familiar to me. A girl in a
pale yellow gown stepped out beside her father, yawning and stretching
her arms. "What's all this so early? Did someone get lost and knock at
She looked at me, and I looked at her. We were the same--same eyes,
same hair, same skin.
She was Suzumiya Haruhi in every way.
"Computer," said a clear, soothing voice, "freeze program."
Silence--utter, total silence. The image of me, that doppelganger, had
grabbed the staircase railing, leaning over to shout, but her face was
stuck in a twisted, accusatory expression. Mother and Father didn't
move. The only sound came from a person behind me, whose heels made a
_tap-tap-tap_ on the ground.
Someone else who knows my name. I turned. She wore a skirt and a
simple white buttoned-down shirt. Her hair was beautiful, amazing even.
How would you describe it? Light brown toward orange-ish, even? Kind
No, exactly like...
"Do you know where you are?" she asked.
I stepped back.
"This place looks like your hometown," she said, "but it's not. It's
merely our facsimile, so we can train time agents to know what old Japan
was like before we give them real access to a TPDD."
A what for who to do what?
She frowned. "I thought Kyon-kun would've told you all of this by now.
Suzumiya-san, this is the future."
And you--are you...?
She nodded once. Her lip quivered, and she balled her fists at her
sides. At last, she forced a smile to her face, and in her most
pleasant, child-like voice, one I've heard almost every day, she said
"Would you like some tea?"
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