Disclaimer: This story is not intended to be used for profit. All creative rights belong to the original author, Nagaru Tanigawa.
Something was wrong.
Something was off about the way I went about my lazy summer morning. It was already halfway through August, and given the amount of time I spent at home, the days leading up to today felt like a single blur.
I watched the baseball game on television while sprawled out across the couch, and the score was a lopsided 7-0 between two schools that I didn’t really care much about. I mustered some support for the losing team, since there was something about underdogs that made me want to cheer for them. It was when the other team extended their lead with a home run that my phone started to rumble on the coffee table in front of me.
“Kyon,” my sister said, sitting on the floor in front of the couch, “your phone is ringing.”
I reached out over her towards my cell phone on the table, and Haruhi’s name appeared on the call display. What in the world was this girl up to now?
“Hello?” I lazily responded.
“Kyon! You’re free today, right? Meet up in front of the station at two o’clock sharp! Don’t be late!”
She quickly hung up, leaving me with dial tone.
I stared at my phone, and illogically concluded that she would call back. She did.
“And don’t forget to bring swimming trunks and your bike!”
I packed the items that she listed, ignoring the giant pile of homework on my desk in my room. I’d have time to finish it later, so I wasn’t concerned. When I stepped out of my home, the insufferable summer heat blasted me in the face. I could have just stayed home in the comfort of my air conditioner on full blast, but instead I had to attend to whatever crazy plan Haruhi was up to.
And then, a voice.
Another one of Haruhi’s schemes, isn’t it?
It came from within and from everywhere at once, as if someone was speaking to me telepathically. It couldn’t have been Koizumi due to his voice being different from this one, though I wouldn’t be surprised. He is an esper after all.
I’m sure you’ll cope. You always do, after all.
The voice disappeared, and I stopped in my tracks to gather myself again. It certainly wasn’t Koizumi, so whose voice was it then? Great, it looks like I’m going crazy again. Maybe it’s for the best that I commit myself to the loony bin. At least they have good air conditioning.
“Kyon, you’re late!” Haruhi scolded with the same disapproving face I’ve come to know too well. I arrived at least fifteen minutes earlier than the meeting time, yet I was the last one to arrive. I wasn’t really surprised at this, actually. Unlike Koizumi, Nagato, or Asahina, I actually had stuff to do other than look after Haruhi. Well, not really, but my point still stands.
“You’re late, and as a penalty for being late, our bill is on you when we eat out later, got it?” Haruhi said, still fuming. I ignored her tirade and turned to the other three Brigade members.
The alien, time-traveler, and esper all greeted me back in their respective ways. Asahina politely bowed with her oh-so-cute smile, while Koizumi waved back with a smug grin and a “Why hello there.” Yuki said nothing, as was the norm for her. Why was she still in her school uniform when it’s almost the end of summer?
The group broke out into a small conversation about what everyone had been doing since the last SOS Brigade activity at the beginning of the summer. Haruhi interrupted when she felt that she heard enough banter.
“Enough babbling, guys! We can’t just sit around here doing nothing all day, we have to make the most out of the rest of the summer! Once it’s gone, we’ll never get it back. We can’t go wasting our only summer as tenth graders.”
“Excuse me,” I said, trying to get a word in edgewise, “but what exactly are we going to do today?”
“Go swimming of course! There’s a public pool just a few minutes from here if we go by bike. There’s only two available, so Mikuru will ride with Itsuki on his bike, while Yuki and myself will ride with you on yours. Got it? Let’s go already!”
Just like that, we were on our way. I pumped my legs as furiously as if I were Lance Armstrong trying to win the Tour de France, except Lance Armstrong didn’t have an alien and a reality warper riding tandem on his bike. I barely lost the race, and even though I nearly collapsed at the bike rack, Haruhi had the audacity to continue spurring me on.
“Hurry up and park your bike, Kyon! There’s plenty of time to rest when we hit the pool! Come on! Stop pretending to be tired!”
Brushing off my supposedly fake fatigue, we all hurried into our swimming attire and when we met outside the changing rooms, the pool area came into view. It was massively crowded, as if the people there were a bunch of goldfish crammed into a pet store aquarium. Haruhi, in her usual gung-ho attitude, ran ahead of us and did a cannonball right into the water. Didn’t she see the “No Diving” sign set up right in front of her when she did that?
The other two girls followed suit and made their way poolside, while Koizumi stood behind me, and I could almost hear him breathing down my neck. I swear that guy has no sense of personal space.
“It seems like she’s having a good time, and in a normal fashion too. Quite a charming scene, wouldn’t you think?”
I didn’t turn back to him as I responded. “I suppose, though she definitely could have given us notice in advance. I don’t think charming is the right term here.”
Koizumi sighed in relief, walking past me and brushing off some of his bangs to the side as he smiled. “I can take comfort that as long as Haruhi is enjoying herself like she is now, there’s a significantly lowered chance that an earth-shattering event can take place, am I right?”
I let that question dangle, unanswered. We reached the pool area, and Koizumi’s smile dissolved into an unfamiliar facial expression, uncharacteristic of him and his cocky way. Not that I cared or anything, I simply had to ask him to fill in the silence.
Koizumi turned back to me, finally noticing that I had caught him staring off wistfully. “Oh,” he replied. “Nothing. I guess it’s just something in my imagination. It probably has something to do with me worrying so much due to everything that’s happened recently. You can say I’m being a bit paranoid.”
We discussed nothing further, but mention of the word paranoid set off something in me, probably paranoia of my own.
Haruhi continued to play around, challenging the other two girls to a swimming race, from one end to the pool to the other, with the large crowd as its obstacles. Koizumi and I took part in several underwater breath-holding contests, and I lost repeatedly. Eventually we had a poolside lunch, prepared by the lovely Asahina.
I let out a relaxing “ahh” as I took in her immaculate brew of tea. It was perfect and sparkling, just as expected of her.
Haruhi went back to the pool with Asahina, and played underwater dodgeball with a few girls who seemed young enough to be in elementary school. I sat in the shade, nearby a tanning Koizumi. Nagato distanced herself from the rest of us, and staring off into space with a familiar disinterested look. The strange feelings of déjà vu returned, though they weren’t the only thing that returned.
It’s almost as if you’ve done all of this before, haven’t you?
It was that voice again. “Koizumi?” I asked, but the Koizumi I knew dozed off in the sun.
No, not this isn’t Itsuki Koizumi, but someone else. I need to tell you something, but it’s best that you see for yourself. See Haruhi over there?
I instinctively looked towards to the other end of the pool, as if I already knew where she was coming from. With the two elementary school girls following her, the three of them quickly approached Koizumi and me.
You know what she’s going to say, right? Just blurt it out!
“These two are my brigade member,” I mumbled to myself, which were the exact same words that Haruhi said to me. “They’ll do whatever I say, so feel free to ask for anything.”
How did I know? Who was this voice, and what did it want with me?
‘Who I am’ is not important, nor is it you who I am concerned about. It’s the girl in front of you. It’s Haruhi Suzumiya. She is the only one who can change things back to normal, but she’ll need my help!
After the pool, we went to the local café. I was freaked out about what had happened at the pool and earlier this morning, but I kept my comments to myself. Somehow, this individual who was trying to speak to me, through whatever psychic network he used, was trying to get to Haruhi. What was it that he wanted?
There were too many things rushing in my head that I couldn’t pay attention to what was going on. Haruhi mentioned something about making a list of things to do for the rest of the summer.
“Is there anything else that should be on this list that any of you would be interested in?” Haruhi asked.
“Um,” Asahina responded timidly, sitting across from Haruhi, “I think I would like to try out goldfish scooping.” Haruhi scribbled it down on a sheet of paper with the list of activities.
“Excuse me for a second,” Koizumi said, grabbing the paper from the table. He inspected the list thoroughly, and passed it back to the brigade chief. “Thank you.”
Nagato sipped on her drink through a straw. She looked distant as usual.
Haruhi discussed some details with Koizumi about finding a bon festival, and quickly finished her beverage. “I’m counting on you, Koizumi, to help find a nice festival, particularly something with fireworks and goldfish scooping for Mikuru!”
Haruhi pranced off, Koizumi and Asahina trailing behind. I was left with the bill as expected. After I paid it off, I managed to see Nagato, who stayed behind, not too far away from the café’s entrance. She stood around, observing the space around her, particularly the walls of the building. I caught up with her, having yelled out her name loud enough for her to notice.
“Hey, Nagato. Uh…”
“…” It was Nagato’s standard response, along with her nonchalant, emotionless facial expression. Though, despite how long it’s been since we first met, I could have sworn she would develop some extent of liveliness. It was summer after all.
“Um, it’s nothing. How are things? Is everything okay?”
She said nothing else, and though it was natural that her silence would leave a hanging awkwardness, I couldn’t help but wonder why I approached her at all. Before I knew it, she was gone, but I noticed something strange on the ground; perhaps it was something that Nagato left behind.
It was small enough to hold in the palm of my hand, and it was shaped almost like a jewel. It was rounded a bit on top, yet it kept perfect balance on a thin metallic point that jutted out of the bezel in which the jewel was contained.
I crouched towards it to get a closer look. The orbed portion had an inner glow, but it quickly dimmed out to black, and the jewel tipped over, making a clank with the pavement when it fell. It was sudden, and it gave me a jolt. How the thing could balance so perfectly, I didn’t want to know. It was like witchcraft or something. Freaked out somewhat, I pedaled back home as fast as I could on my bike.
The following day, Koizumi managed to find a bon dance festival for the SOS brigade to attend, and after a trip to mall so that the girls could shop for summer kimonos, we found ourselves at the main festival grounds in the evening. The place was crowded, even more than yesterday, with all the people at the public pool. Everyone else stood back in awe as well, aside from Nagato, who didn’t react at all.
I suddenly got that feeling again. It was like some sort of pressure bearing down on my chest, especially my head. It was that strange déjà vu, as if I were here before many times, which didn’t make sense; I haven’t been to a bon dance in several years. Everything looked familiar: the stage in the center of the festival, the tower scaffolding, even the booths selling candied apple and grilled octopus.
Just as quickly, the heavy feeling disappeared, and before I could get my bearings on reality again, Haruhi had already run off with Asahina to go goldfish scooping, and I was left with Koizumi and Nagato. I declined Koizumi’s challenge to one of the festival games, but Nagato casually hovered towards a mask vendor. I’m not sure why she would want a mask in the first place, but I figured I could treat her to one as thanks for everything she’s done for us ever since the club was formed.
“Hey Nagato, want me to-”
She picked out and paid for the mask herself. It was a strange looking one, of a monster with a white face with yellow blush circles on the cheeks, multi-colored eyes, flowery nose, sharp-looking teeth, and something that resembled wings sticking out of each side; one red, and one blue. It was a bit disturbing. Nagato wore the mask in a way that it looked like the monster was going to bite her head off. You never fail to creep me out sometimes, Nagato.
Haruhi and Asahina soon returned, each with a goldfish bag in one hand, the former with a small dish of grilled octopus balls on the other.
“What a haul!” Haruhi said as she approached us, “I managed to get ten goldfish, but I only kept two, one for each of Mikuru and myself.” She turned to Nagato, who kept silent the entire time, “Hey Yuki, what’s with the mask?”
“I bought it.”
Haruhi stared somewhat blankly at her, but turned her attention to me right after, and offered me one of her octopus balls.
“You can have one if you’d like, Kyon. But only one.”
I accepted without hesitation. We continued about the grounds, sampling from various food stalls, and trying out different activities, but made particular efforts to purchase some fireworks from one of the vendors; we might as well get that activity out of the way as well.
When the bon dance festival died down, we used up our fireworks at the riverbank nearby. Asahina and Haruhi waved around sparklers in the air as if they were magic wands, Haruhi in particular trying to teach Asahina to wave it as if she were a magician of sorts.
Nagato was huddled up off to the side, watching her firework snake wriggle across the ground. She still wore that mask, and somehow watching the snake slither out in a roundabout fashion, I pictured a giant version of the snake, except with a face resembling yuki’s mask. It was a pretty gruesome picture indeed.
As for me, I played around in a goofy fashion, pretending that my fireworks were projectiles fired from flintlock pistols. I set off the largest rocket we had, one that I initially thought was illegal to purchase inJapan. It soared into the air majestically, and I yelled ‘Tiro Finale!’ at the top of my lungs. I don’t know what got over me at the time, but it sounded cool to say, so why not?
As the SOS brigade ran out of things to blow up, we settled together with the last bunch of firecrackers, which set off a conversation from Haruhi whose summer kimono glowed in the light of the purple sparkler in her hand.
“Summer vacation is far from over, so we’re going to make the most of it,” Haruhi said, “and tomorrow, we’re going cicada hunting! The member who can catch the most cicadas gets to be brigade chief for an entire day, so-“
“Haruhi, there’s nothing wrong with having fun,” I interrupted, “but haven’t you finished your summer homework yet?”
“Oh, that part was easy. It only takes three days to do it anyways.”
“I finished mine when vacation started, so I could spend the rest of the summer doing whatever I wanted to do. Isn’t that the correct way of doing it?”
I couldn’t help but sigh at her remark. This girl is just too smart to think much of homework. If life were an RPG, God definitely did a half-assed job in distributing the stat points.
The cicada hunt took place the next day at the bluffs close to North High. Despite Koizumi’s spirited attempts, Asahina’s hopeless inability to catch anything, and Nagato’s tendency to catch Hercules beetles amongst other bugs that were definitely not ciadas, Haruhi ended up winning the contest anyways. We gathered at the top of the bluffs with our clear plastic containers, which housed the poor creatures.
“You have to follow the spirit of catch and release,” Haruhi said. “After all, if we let them go now, they might return the favor in the future.”
Because I haven’t heard from that voice in a while, I was beginning to feel more comfortable with the SOS brigade’s activities for the next stretch of the week, even the following day, when we were forced to work outside of a mall, handing out balloons while wearing swelteringly hot giant frog costumes. As long as the rest of the summer went by without incident, I would have no complaints.
Boy was I wrong. Later on in the middle of the night, I was woken up by my phone.
I could tell by the muffled sobs that it was Asahina’s voice.
“Asahina! What’s wrong?”
“Something…hic…terrible has…hic…happened.” She sobbed again. Koizumi’s voice appeared on her end of the phone.
“Kyon, it seems that we have a situation on our hands. It would be appreciated if you could come down to the park in front of the station as soon as you can. Nagato is already here.”
I didn’t find the time to admonish him for getting so close to Asahina, but she was in trouble. I was out the door much quicker than I expected.
I arrived at the scene just as quickly. Sitting down on one of the benches, or more appropriately, nearly curdled up in a ball and sulking, was Asahina, whose face looked like that of a droopy portrait whose paint was running down the canvas. Flanked on both sides were Nagato in her school uniform, and Koizumi, in a graphic t-shirt and summer shorts. She turned to face me.
“Ungh, Kyon…” Asahina blubbered out, then finally straightening up her expression into a more serious one. Upon closer inspection, it seemed that Asahina’s clothes were far more…well, different, than the other two. It was something that I would never imagine Asahina wearing.
“…you see,” she said, “I’ve become a magical girl.”
Asahina stood up, and despite the darkness of the late hour of our gathering, her outfit was in full view when she stepped into the spotlight of one of the park’s lamp posts. She was clad in a short, yet frilly dress. It looked like a waitress uniform, but more like one that would be worn at a cosplay café. It looked so cute on her, that I wouldn’t be surprised if Haruhi forced her to wear it at the clubroom every day.
Asahina sniffled, “I, um, it started when I realized I couldn’t go back to the future anymore.” She noticed that her uniform was revealed, and in her embarrassment, scampered back to the park bench beside Nagato. Wait, did she say magical girl just a minute ago?
“Allow me to summarize.” Koizumi added as Asahina sat down. “It seems that we are experiencing an infinite recursion of time.”
It was a ludicrous explanation, especially coming from a smug smile like Koizumi’s. Does he hear what he’s saying?
“Of course, I’m quite aware of what this situation means. I was about to discuss this with Miss Asahina earlier tonight, but before she could confirm my suspicion that we were experiencing the same summer over and over again, something rather strange happened.”
Next time you plan on meeting Asahina, I better be there too..
“It was something that was similar to closed space, but I had very different feeling about it. It was similar to that time when we visited the computer club president’s apartment, but this space carried a scent of hopelessness and despair. In this other type of closed space, a monster-like creature appeared. I tried to protect Asahina from harm, but I couldn’t hold it off by myself. Nagato had to come in and help, but even with our combined strength, it ended up as a stalemate.”
Asahina blubbered out something, interrupting Koizumi. She finally chimed in with her take on the situation.
“I normally use <classified information> to contact the future, but after a week without <classified information>, I was starting to wonder if something was wrong, and then <classified information>…when Koizumi and Nagato came to help, I was thinking that maybe I could use <classified information>, but it failed. I had been speaking to someone who said he could help me with <classified information>, and when things got worse, I accepted his terms and was able to <classified information> again.”
Even if she took out the <classified information> censors, I still wouldn’t understand any of it.
I can explain. You see, Asahina made a contract with me and became a Puella magi!
That voice appeared again, but this time, the individual who had been talking to me and now Asahina as well finally appeared in his physical form. It had white coat of what appeared to be fur. It looked like a cat, or maybe a fox. It could have been both, actually, but it was rather small, and had an innocent, yet monotonous and creepy facial expression like the Cheshire cat.
“Allow me to introduce myself.” It said. “My name is Kyubey, and my job is to make contracts with girls and turn them into Puella magi.”
Koizumi smiled with a hint of concern. Asahina cringed in fear. Nagato observed without objection.
“I grant wishes to girls, and in return, they become powerful Puella magi, just like that girl over there.” Kyubey turned Asahina, whose costume was revealed to be that of a Puella magi. “She wished that she could help Koizumi and Nagato, and I granted her that wish. Now she’s a Puella magi, and she can hunt witches, just like the one she killed just now, but I can’t imagine that her power will be enough to survive Walpurgis Night.”
Walpurgis? You mean like Walpurgisnacht, the German witch festival? What do you mean by witches anyways? What the hell is going on here?
“Witches are fallen magical girls, and Walpurgis is the strongest one. It will arrive at this city on August thirty. It will destroy everything within forty-eight hours, and when September comes, it’ll reset time back to the seventeenth, and all of this will happen again, and everyone’s memories will be wiped out.”
“So that means,” Koizumi butted in, “This witch has closed off a sector of time, and the world only consists of these two weeks. It explains why I’ve been getting this strange déjà vu. Exactly how many times have we experienced these two weeks?”
Nagato finally spoke. “This will be the fifteen thousand four hundred and ninety-ninth time.”
Fifteen thousand four hundred and ninety-nine? How is that even possible? Nagato, don’t tell me you actually experienced every single one of those iterations. If it were me, I’d have gone crazy. No wonder the Integrated Data Sentient Entity programmed you to not have emotions. It explains your boredom this entire time. My apologies, Nagato.
Asahina fell silent. If magical girls eventually turn into witches, then she could certainly become one later. What kind of deal was that? Kyubey, you rotten cheapskate con artist!
“It’s part of saving the world, Kyon.” Kyubey said. “Girls make wishes to save the world, but it’s really the energy from becoming witches that restore the balance of thermodynamics in the universe. But with each loop, the universe falls further into chaos due to the amount of energy it takes to perform such a feat. It will only be a matter of time before there is no amount of energy left in the universe to balance the entropy. All of reality will cease to exist.”
I asked, “What does all of this have to do with Haruhi?”
“Haruhi has the potential to be the most powerful magical girl that has ever lived. And believe me, I’ve already seen one that was so powerful that she rewrote the laws of physics three years ago.”
It’s that phrase again. Three years ago. Makes me wonder if what Kyubey says is really true, or if all of this was just Haruhi’s doing. She could very well have gotten the idea from some anime that she watched back then.
“Walpurgis is drawn to Haruhi’s potential,” Kyubey concluded. “However, whenever it arrives, time seems to stop, and the loop happens. All I need to do is make a contract with Haruhi, and as a Puella magi, she’ll be able to break time loop, and by becoming a witch afterwards, the limitless energy gained by her sacrifice will ultimately save the universe.”
Either that or she will destroy us all in the process. That’s just great; as if we had enough people interested in Haruhi Suzumiya already.
The next evening, the SOS brigade went stargazing. We had barely spent an hour on the balcony of Nagato’s apartment when Haruhi grew tired suddenly, falling asleep with Asahina where they sat.
“Nagato,” I asked, “was everything that Kyubey said correct, regarding the Puella magi, witches, and heat death of the universe?”
“Yes,” she said. “The entity called Kyubey is one of many ancient data organisms that the Overmind classifies as a Galactic Equilibrium Restoration Species. They detect energy data explosions and harness them to restore thermodynamic balance in the universe. Puella magi transformation is an archaic method of data manipulation in females, resulting in thermodynamic restoration. It is in the Overmind’s best interests to allow continued equilibrium maintenance, yet Haruhi Suzumiya’s potential for autoevolution has drawn too much attention from the restoration species. I have been ordered to prevent the latent energy data in Haruhi Suzumiya from being harvested.”
Come to think of it, if this galactic restoration species retains all memory of the time loops like Nagato apparently has, that means that they have been pursuing Haruhi for almost 600 years, and Nagato was there each time to prevent them from doing so, or at least try to. Was Kyubey seriously involved with our summer vacation all this time?
“Over the course of the previous fifteen thousand four hundred and ninety eight iterations,” she replied, “there were two instances where we didn’t go to the Bon Dance due to appearances of witch barriers: the two thousand three hundred and ninety-first time and the eleven thousand fifty-fourth time. There were nine thousand twenty-five instances of Mikuru Asahina becoming a Puella magi, but there have been six different variations in her powers. Aside from the combat waitress with firearm manipulation, she’s been a bunny girl with a battle guitar, a frog princess with water elemental mastery, a maid with flight capabilities, a shrine maiden with a hyper-dimensional portal access, and-”
Despite my mind filling with glee at all of the costume images, I had to stop Nagato due to the overwhelming amount of information that she revealed. It was a lot to wrap our collective heads around, but all that mattered now was Haruhi’s involvement in all of this.
“For the most part,” Koizumi said, joining in on our conversation around the telescope, “Haruhi is completely oblivious of what’s going on. In addition, I can’t fully trust what that Kyubey creature said about the time recursion. After speaking with the higher ups at the Organization, we decided that our primary goal is to not only prevent Haruhi from becoming a magical girl, but also to make her break the time loop herself without having to form a contract by making a wish.”
Koizumi paused. “Also, I’m convinced that there’s something in Haruhi’s subconscious that doesn’t want summer vacation to end.”
Dammit, Koizumi. If the organization was right, and Haruhi was indeed a god of sorts, what the hell would happen if she were allowed to make a wish? What kind of wish would a god make in the first place?
“Maybe if we grant her wish ourselves, then she wouldn’t need to make the contract, and that we could end this endless summer vacation. What if her wish was to get a boyfriend? Maybe you could embrace Suzumiya from behind without warning and whisper ‘I love you’ into her ear.”
Nope. Veto. Not going to happen.
Koizumi chuckled. “I’m just kidding of course. But we need to do something fast. August 30th is coming up soon, and if Kyubey is right in his prediction, then Walpurgis Night will arrive.”
We’ve been going over the same summer for nearly six hundred years. I can’t fathom the possibility that Walpurgis leveled the entire city in a few days, and did it at the end of every time loop. How could Nagato even manage to survive that trauma? How could anyone have? Like the fifteen thousand Kyons before me, it was my responsibility to stop it.
Chalk up yet another ridiculous conversation.
The rest of the summer went in a flash, as did the other events that Haruhi planned out. We went to the batting cage, to a real fireworks display, and even participated in a goby fishing contest. There was also a test of courage, bowling, hanging out at the beach, at the movie theatres, and even karaoke. We were constantly doing things, and all the while, we never heard from that Kyubey again. The threat of Walpurgis loomed, and the growing magnitude of its arrival bore down on the rest of the brigade, yet we still couldn’t figure out what to do.
We took our lumps and waited for summer to end, and for the witch to come. Before I knew it, it was August 30th, and we were at the café again. Haruhi crossed off the final item on the list from before.
“It looks like that’s the last one.” She said, sipping her drink and longingly staring at the paper held in her hand. “We did a lot these past two weeks, but I’m starting to wonder if we did enough.”
Are you sure it’s enough?
“Oh well. I guess we did do enough. Unless there’s something that someone else wants to do. Anyone?”
Asahina stared at the floor, almost on the brink of tears. Koizumi faked a grin. Nagato said nothing.
And there I was, slouching in my seat, my hands gripping my chair so hard that I would probably have broken it if I were the Incredible Hulk. Can’t you feel the pent-up rage here, Haruhi?
“Well, alright. We ended up doing everything we wanted to do on the list, so that should be enough.”
She folded the paper, as if there was nothing else that needed to be done. No, Haruhi, that’s not enough. You’re still not satisfied!
Haruhi slid the bill over to me and smiled. “That’ll be it for today. I had the 31st saved just in case, but the rest of you can take it easy. See you in the club room in two days!”
Haruhi walked away from the table, which made me jump up from my chair, yet in slow motion. Haruhi inched even closer to the door, and in that particular moment in time, the worst ever case of déjà vu came over me, and it finally dawned on me that I’ve done this over fifteen thousand times now. This one scene. This one moment where I just had to do something.
There was something wrong with what she said. “I’m starting to wonder if we did enough.”
No. There’s something that I still needed to do. But it just eluded me right there. This was my only moment. I had to say it.
“Haruhi!” I yelled.
As she stepped through the automatic doors, the earth shook. A blasting wind swept through the town outside the café, kicking up dust and debris all around. The feeling of slow motion disappeared as Haruhi was instantly knocked back to the ground by the sudden shake. I ran to her. It was here, above us. Walpurgis.
“Kyon, what’s going on?” Haruhi said, her eyes white with shock. Walpurgis shot out a shockwave towards a building, slicing it into two, the top half falling down towards us, towards our doom.
The other brigade members rushed to our side, and Nagato, like the big damn hero she is, raised her hand up in the air like she’d done this a million times. Her mouth moved as if she were reciting an entire epic poem within a span of seconds, and the top half of the building that came crashing towards us collided with a blue force field, bouncing off it like it was a child’s toy, and landing on the café complex. It was leveled completely.
Walpurgis let out a massive shriek, shattering windows of buildings that had yet been destroyed in its wake.
“The surrounding space-time data has been distorted.” Yuki said. “Koizumi. Your assistance.”
Koizumi nodded firmly. “Right.”
His body glowed red, and he shot out into the air like a rocket. His esper form zoomed around the giant floating witch, which looked like the top half of an hourglass, with the torso of a monstrous woman hanging upside-down from the bottom of it. On the streets below, a horde of minions appeared out of nowhere, each shaped like circus animals and other deranged festival forms, making their way towards our group.
Beside me, Mikuru fought back a sniffle. “Kyon, I know what I have to do now. Please take care of Suzumiya.”
She ran forward away from Haruhi and I, and in an instant transformation of radiant lights, changed from her normal clothes into her combat waitress uniform. She willed a pair of Desert Eagles into existence in each hand, and blasted away at the first wave. When the second wave came, she threw down her guns and made a hand gesture towards her eyes.
“M-Mikuru Beam!” She yelled, and a giant multicolored thunderbolt shot out each of her eyes, disintegrating the entire wave at once. More waves kept coming.
Yuki disappeared without notice, and re-appeared up in the air with Koizumi. She floated and fired off her own energy blasts. Since when did the SOS brigade turn into a sentai squadron?
“Kyon.” Haruhi said, terrified, yet a bit excited. “What’s going on here?” I couldn’t find the words to explain to her what was happening, but another individual came out of nowhere and did it for me.
“It’s Walpurgis Night.” Kyubey said, appearing out of the kicked up dust from the battle in front of us. “It’s a witch that will destroy everything, including your friends.”
It was exactly like that one time when Haruhi and I were trapped in closed space at school. I had to convince her to not reconstruct the world. Was Walpurgis Night not the same thing?
“You can help them, Haruhi Suzumiya.” Kyubey continued. “All you have to do is make a wish and form a contract with me, and you’ll be a Puella Magi just like your friend Mikuru Asahina. In fact, you will be the most powerful Puella Magi ever!”
Haruhi’s eyes widened. “Me? A magical girl?”
She disregarded the oddity of everything going on around her. Was this the excitement that she wanted this vacation? Was she willing to reset summer every time just to relive this one moment?
Kyubey’s expression remained as blank as ever. “Have you decided on your wish, Haruhi? Wouldn’t you like for summer to last forever?”
Haruhi’s reaction was like that of a kid on Santa’s lap, being asked what he wanted for Christmas, except that this particular kid had the power to wish for anything and make it true, even if she didn’t actually mean to make it true. In fact, she could do all of that without the help of the Galactic Equilibrium Restoration Species. Wait a minute. That would mean…
“Haruhi! You can’t make that wish!” I blurted out to her.
Yuki reflected an energy blast from Walpurgis. Koizumi fired a red beam, yelling “Helvetica Standard!” Mikuru fended off minions with a minigun.
“What now, Kyon?” Haruhi said. “Why are you interrupting me when I’m about to get my wish granted? I can now get anything I want!”
“You just can’t! I can’t explain this to you, but you have to listen. You may not remember this, but you were in this exact same position not too long ago, and you wanted to change the world. But I told you that there were people who were interested in you, who felt that the world was already revolving around you. They’re your friends, Haruhi, and they’re all up there, fighting god knows what, all to protect you, as well as your power to do anything that you could ever imagine.”
“What do you mean, I have the power?”
“It’s hard to explain, but if there’s something that you want, you’ll get it. That’s the Haruhi I know. And ever since all of us first met, you’ve come to let us into your world too, and the world that once revolved around only you now revolves around us, too. Just once, fix the world for our sake and for the sake of countless others that tried but failed. Make that decision.”
“What decision are you talking about, Kyon? Try making some sense!”
“What I’m saying is that there was something truly missing after everything that happened this summer. You know what it was? Our homework. You finished your homework, Haruhi, but not us. Your friends are up there trying to prevent a giant monster because, well, we’re not done our homework. It sounds so ridiculous that I’d slap myself for saying such a thing, but dammit, you have to stop all of this and help us finish our homework!”
Haruhi’s eyes narrowed with a tinge of regret. Did she get the message? Was this really what she wanted all along?
“Yes! Just say to yourself right here and right now, I want to help my friends finish their summer homework! I want everyone to come over to my house so they can help each other and have fun and finish what they needed! Come on, just say it! Stop this destruction, stop this insanity! I want to finish my homewor-”
And then she punched me in the nose and grabbed me by the collar.
“S-Shut up Kyon! How dare you give me orders! Telling a Brigade chief what to do is a serious violation of the club rules! Who do you think you are, arranging all of this without my permission? I’m the one who’s supposed to call the shots. I’m the one who makes all the decisions. And as the leader…”
Haruhi paused, blushing in the cutest way imaginable.
“…I’ve decided that we’ll finish our homework at your house!”
I have no idea what happened afterwards. It was like all of reality was sucked into a giant vacuum and suddenly, it was the 31st, and everyone was over at my house working together to complete their summer homework.
It was a miracle beyond miracles.
Yuki sat in the corner, reading a book from my bookshelf. Goethe’s Faust. I’ve never read the thing before; it was a birthday present from a relative, and up until now, it just sat in my room collecting dust. Asahina played video games with my sister during breaks, and when she finished her homework, she passed out in the living room with my sister on the couch. Koizumi said something about Asahina losing her Puella magi powers, how everything that happened yesterday turned out just like that time before, at school. It seemed that Haruhi was the only one who had no memory of what happened yesterday.
“Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go to the bathroom.” He said, and left without ever returning.
And here I was, almost done with my homework. It was eleven-fifty eight, and there was school tomorrow. Like hell I was going to leave it unfinished.
Haruhi hit me on the back of my head with a rolled up notebook.
“Focus, you dummy. You can finish before midnight if you write fast enough.”
As long as we lived to see September first, it didn’t matter.
Haruhi leaned in closer over me as I scrambled for those last words. She brushed up against my arm, and it felt a bit strange, yet comforting. Whether or not it was an accident, I’ll leave it up to the fifteen thousand jealous Kyons before me to decide.
As for this Kyon, right here and now, I’d bet it was, but as the clock struck twelve, it was the best time to believe in the miniscule chance that it wasn’t.