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Unread 12-15-2009, 05:12 PM
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Default The Arrogance of Darian Hunter - Vol. 1 (Haruhi Suzumiya fan-novel)

(( Forgive the length. This is the first part of a full-length story in progress.

Note: All characters, concepts, places, etc. are copyright their respective owners. Challenge to these copyrights is not intended nor should be implied. (That should cover everything.) ))

The SOS Brigade meeting ended, as it usually did, with a loud slam as the tome Yuki Nagato was reading is slammed shut. Kyon jumped up and left quickly, as he didn't want to be accused of trying to sneak a peek at Mikuru changing. Mikuru went to the hanger and pulled her school uniform off the rack. Koizumi stood up, gave the women a grin and a salute and walked out the door. Yuki was up in a flash and left behind him, closing the door behind her.

“Koizumi, I must talk with you.” Yuki walked alongside him down the hall of the Old Building.

Koizumi turned to her with his trademark grin. “What do you need, Ms. Nagato?”

Yuki shook her head. “Not here. My apartment. Tonight. 7 pm.”

Koizumi grinned. “I'll be there.”

Yuki slowed her pace to normal and the two of them separated.

Later that night, Koizumi stepped out of one of the Organization's black cabs in front of the apartment building where Yuki Nagato lived. He walked up to the phone and dialed her apartment.

“...”

“It's Koizumi.”

“... Come up.”

The door buzzed and Koizumi let himself in. He rode the elevator up to Yuki's apartment and knocked at the door.

“Enter.”

Koizumi walked in, closing the door behind him. Yuki sat at her table, reading, a steaming pot of tea at the ready, two cups poured already.

“Have a seat. We have much to discuss.”

Koizumi sat at the table in front of the other tea cup and began to drink. “This is an odd request that you have made.”

“It is an odd situation.”

Koizumi tilted his head. “Do tell.”

“I have been in contact with another Data Collection Unit from a parallel universe known only as the Three Galaxies.”

Koizumi stopped in mid-drink. “So there are parallel universes. Is this Suzumiya's doing?”

Yuki shook her head. “Just as the Overmind has always existed, parallel universes have also existed. However, millennia before the incident with Suzumiya, the potential for travel to them was broken off.”

Koizumi nodded and took another sip. “So, these “Three Galaxies”: they are also interested in Suzumiya?”

“Only a select group. They wish to send a representative here to observe.”

“I see. So why did you need my help?”

“You are to be the primary contact with this group.” She holds out her hand. “Your cell phone, please.”

Koizumi appeared confused, but shrugged and handed her his phone. She placed her other hand over it and appeared to concentrate. After a few seconds, she opened her eyes. “I have altered the data of your phone to allow you contact with parallel worlds. I will send your contact information to the Unit I have been in touch with.”

Koizumi took the phone back. “Out of curiosity: why do they need a third party for contact when you seem to be communicating fine without me?”

Yuki looked up. “The leader of this group requested as such. I will be managing the connection for the dimensional link, so I will be unable to be in contact.

“As the most... charismatic member of our group, and one who is most able to maintain a level of secrecy, I specifically chose you for this.”

Koizumi grinned. “I must admit, I am confused, but rather flattered that you think so.”

“Communicate this information to your superiors in your Organization. Once this group contacts you, the plans will be made. Make sure their representative is treated well.”

“I will.” Koizumi finished his cup of tea and got up to leave. “Take care, Yuki.”

“...” she had already gone back to her book.

***

Koizumi sat in a cab, slumped back, frustrated with the lack of cooperation. He discussed the situation revealed to him by Yuki, but they stated they were unable to assist him; that there wasn't enough “compelling interest” in doing so.

He was about to call Yuki to tell her the bad news, when his phone rang. He looked at the caller ID and it came up unreadable. He flipped open the phone and answered. “Yes?”

“Itsuki Koizumi”?

“This is he.”

“My name is John. I am to understand you are the contact for this mission?”

“So I have been told.”

“Good. I represent a group that wishes to observe the goings-on in your group.”

“As it pertains to Suzumiya?”

“It is very important to our overall purpose to have an observer there.”

“And what is that purpose?”

“I'm sorry, I cannot disclose that; not that you'd be able to understand even if I did.”

“Well, I'm not much of a contact so far. I discussed this situation with my superiors and they are unable to offer any assistance.”

A pause. Then, “That is unfortunate.” Koizumi then thought he heard, muffled through the phone “I guess they ignored that part of the deal…”

“I'm sorry?”

“Nothing; just sorting a few things out. Let me make a few more calls, and then I will get back with you.”

“I'll be here.”

“Thank you” and the call disconnected.

Koizumi was deep in thought regarding this whole issue. The legitimacy of this venture was vouched for by Yuki, but something about it sat wrong.

Just as he was contemplating that, his phone went off again. It was one of his superiors. “Yes?”

“Koizumi. We went over your proposal again, and reconsidered a few things. We will be able to assist in some ways, falsifying identification and whatnot, but we are unable to supply other needs like lodging; our resources in that area are insufficient. You will need to find another solution.”

Koizumi nodded with a frustrated scowl, knowing that such facial reactions would not be visible by phone. “I will send you information on our target once I have it so you can start the work you can do.”

“Thank you, and we are truly sorry that we were unable to do more.”

“It is understandable. Take care.”

Koizumi slapped the phone closed with a slight groan. No sooner than the phone closed, it rang again. Same unreadable number. He answered. “Back so soon?”

“Koizumi, I believe I have a solution that is both workable and expedient. Where are you headed?”

“I was going to return to my place and call it a day.”

“Go back to Nagato's apartment. Call me when you get there. Just dial from the caller ID list.” A slight click, then silence once again.

Koizumi closed his phone and put it back in his pocket. He asked the driver “Can you take me back to Nagato's place? I apparently need to hammer out a few details with her.”

The driver wordlessly turned around and headed toward their new destination.

***

Friday evening, Koizumi sat on the couch in the living room of Yuki's apartment. There was not a couch there prior, but one was added due to the new addition that was coming soon. Yuki Nagato stood in the center of the room, eyes closed, making last-minute adjustments.

She referred to the being she was communicating with as a “Promethean.” He had never heard that term used before, but its origin was obvious: Prometheus the fire-bringer, sentenced to an eternity of torment for bringing fire to the humans.

He quietly wondered what these Prometheans brought to their people.

Suddenly, Yuki Nagato's eyelids opened, revealing two piercing-white orbs of light where her eyes used to be. “The connection is in process.”

Koizumi began to feel strange in his skin, like the world was being rewritten around him. Yuki's uniform seemed to flutter backward as though blown by an unseen wind. He thought he could hear, faintly, the high-pitched whine of computer machine language in the background.

After a minute or so of this, everything stopped. Yuki's uniform stopped moving, her eyes went dark, and Koizumi felt more comfortable in his skin.

She turned and sat back at the table, picking up her book and starting to read. “The link is complete. He should arrive soon.”

Koizumi nodded. “You're sure you're okay with this arrangement?”

Yuki nodded, not looking up from her book. “I have already made appropriate arrangements here and at the school through data manipulation. His arrival and integration will be seamless.”

“I meant the living arrangements.”

Yuki said nothing.

Koizumi nodded, allowing her silence to be her response. “My organization has his identification ready and sitting on the dresser. I am just wondering what he'll look like. Will he be human enough to fit in? I don't know what denizens of these “Three Galaxies” look like.” He looked up at Yuki. “Have you been given a description?”

Yuki shook her head.

Koizumi shrugged. “I guess we'll know him when we see him.”

Suddenly, the center of the room erupted in a deep, otherworldly blue light. The light radiated out from a central point in the room, creating a ripple in reality itself. Through it stepped a mid-sized person wearing robes that completely covered his body, including a hood. The designs on the cloak seemed to be words in an unknown language.

When the cloaked figure stepped through, the blue light winked out. He removed the hood of the cloak, revealing an elfin-faced male with short, light-purple hair, pale skin, and soft brown eyes. His facial shape seems like he should be wearing glasses, but he did not.

He looked around at his surroundings, then removed his cloak. His build was very slight, like it would be a challenge for him to gain weight in any location.

Although the cloak he wore seemed to radiate power and importance, once the cloak was removed, he seemed extremely casual: black jeans, a T-shirt that read “Who needs compassion when you have sarcasm?” and black slip-on tennis shoes. He carried a large gym bag over his shoulder, apparently his only luggage.


He looked like he was here to serve lattes. Koizumi couldn't shake that feeling.

Last edited by JackPowerX; 12-20-2009 at 09:57 AM. Reason: Updating title to show what the crap it is
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Unread 12-16-2009, 03:42 AM
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Default Re: The Arrogance of Darian Hunter - Vol. 1

He nodded to the two other presences in the room, acknowledging them: “Itsuki Koizumi, Yuki Nagato, I bid you greetings. As you no doubt have guessed, I am Darian Hunter.”

Koizumi stood, flashed his trademark grin, and extended his hand. “A pleasure to finally meet you Mr. Hunter.”

Darian took his hand and shook it. Koizumi noticed that he was not a strong person by any means. He had a very slight build, but appeared to be rather lithe. “Interesting attire.”

Darian smirked. “I know you're trying to make conversation, Koizumi. It's okay. Let's just get down to business.”

Koizumi smiled. “Very well. My organization has been kind enough to manufacture you an identity. From your appearance, it will not be difficult to integrate you as a first-year high school student, but you will need some “proof” of existence. This proof is on top of the dresser.”

Darian cocked his head. “Dresser? I thought I was getting quartered.”

Yuki stood up. “You are to stay here. Given the difficulty of locating adequate and deniable housing, it was decided between myself, Koizumi, and your brother that for expediency, the most logical choice would be making residence here.”

“Well, I don't want to impose.”

“Not at all. It will be... different.”

“I'll try not to get on your nerves too much. I'll probably fail, but I'll still try.”

“Is that so...”

Koizumi interrupted. “Isn't there more you need to tell him regarding his integration?”

Yuki nodded. “You are a member of the Journalism Club. Being a recent addition, as well as an American transfer student, you are given a job that nobody else wanted: you are to write an article on the SOS Brigade.”

Darian placed his hand by his mouth, flicking an invisible cigar as Groucho Marx. “Talk about your cover stories...”

She went on, ignoring the comment. “You are to be embedded within the Brigade to write your article. You will not be a full member of the Brigade, but that distinction usually does not matter to Suzumiya.”

“So I've heard.”

Koizumi stood up. “Well, if I'm no longer needed, I will take my leave. I have a long night ahead of me.”

“Celestials?” Darian asked.

Koizumi cocked his head, confused. “How do you...”

“Our intelligence gathering is top-shelf.”

“So it would appear.”

“If you need any help, let me know. As a psychic myself, I can enter a closed space fairly easily.”

Koizumi grinned. “Interesting. Although I appreciate the offer, I doubt you would be able to assist.”

Darian grinned back. “You'd be surprised what I could offer. Take me along one night, and I'll show you.”

Koizumi nodded. “I may just do that. Well, I must go.” He extended his hand to Darian again, who took it and shook.

Darian waved and said, “Take care of yourself,” as Koizumi exited the apartment.

Darian picked up his bag and went into the hallway. He looked back, and saw her already pointing in the direction he was going, not looking up from her book.

He opened up the door to the room, and saw a simple set-up: a Twin-sized bed in the center of the room, a six-drawer dresser on his left and a closet to the right. A lamp by the bed on the right, and a chair on the left for... some reason.

He set the bag on the bed and opened. The bag was actually a dimensional space, much deeper than the bag it was placed in. He opened the drawers and started packing clothes away: jeans, t-shirts, some formal-wear, but mostly casual. He was made aware that he would be required to wear a uniform for class.

In the top drawer, amidst the socks and underwear, he placed two wooden boxes. Within these boxes were special weapons: phase-beamers. They attacked living matter with raw phase energy, bypassing any protective coverings, save for magic and psychic barriers and force fields.

He was betting he would not be seeing any of those here, but he didn't want to use these unless absolutely necessary.

He closed the drawers and set a plate-sized half-sphere on top of the dresser. This was an alarm clock and lamp that operates on voice command. Seamlessly hidden on the top of the sphere are slots which fit two energy clips. The “alarm clock” operates on a micronuclear power source with a life of 10 years of regular use, making it ideal for recharging the clips for his phase beamers.

He turned to hang up his other clothes when he saw Yuki standing in the doorway, holding his robes.

“Oh, thanks. I almost forgot this.”

She nodded. “The closet has five uniforms. The laundry room is on the first floor.”

“Thanks.” He opened the closet door and hung up his robes next to the uniforms. He then returned to his bag and pulled out more clothes to hang up.

“Your robe.” Yuki seemed to be making conversation. “What does it signify?”

“Oh, those are my phase mystic robes. Back on Center, they carry great weight and even greater responsibility. Here, they just look funny. I brought them anyway, because sometimes you just have to look funny.”

Yuki cocked her head. “What is “Center”?”

Dariam smiled. “Center is basically the Hong Kong of the Three Galaxies. It's a multi-level super-arcology set on a planet called Phase World. Anything is available there, no questions asked.”

“What is a “Phase Mystic”?”

“The Prometheans choose special individuals and teach them the mysteries of phase power. It is an energy that exists outside of normal three-dimensional space, and has interesting effects. Those who master its use can pull some amazing tricks with 3D space.”

“Is that so?”

Darian nodded. “I shall show you. Keep your eye on me.” After two seconds, he vanished.

Yuki scanned every conceivable frequency of light and sound trying to locate him. She stepped to where he was and reached out her hand, only to find nothing.

“Impressed yet?” Yuki jumped and turned with a start. Darian stood there, hands on his hips. “Oh, I didn't mean to scare you. Here. Shake.” He extended his hand.

She reached out to take his hand, but grabbed nothing. She could see him, but he was completely intangible. She looked at her hand.

Darian shook his head. “Just phased out. I apologize for the “crash course” but I just wanted to let you know what I was capable of, should it come into play.

“If you'll accompany my into the hallway, I'll show you one more trick.”

He looked into the hallway, looking both ways to see if there were any witnesses, then stepped out. Yuki followed.

“Now, walk that way until we are ten feet apart.”

Yuki, without reaction, traveled down the hall and stopped. He wouldn't be surprised if she went exactly ten feet, without variation.

Darian concentrated, then said, “Take a step toward me.”

Yuki complied, and space contracted around her. The feeling was a bit awkward, but when the step was complete, she re-evaluated the distance between them: one foot. The distance between them was shrunk by a factor of ten.

Yuki shook her head quickly. “That is... impressive.”

“I know. I dislike using parlor tricks, but I figured an extreme demonstration was better than just taking me at my word. Shall we?” he indicated the door.

They both re-entered the apartment. Yuki went toward the table and sat down. Darian went toward his room to rest, but stopped and turned around. “Miss Nagato?”

She looked up. “Call me “Yuki”.”

Darian nodded. “Very well, Yuki. I know this kinda goes without saying, but I wouldn't feel right if I didn't say it: if we're going to be staying together without any drama, we need to set and enforce boundaries. I mean, it shouldn't be any problem, right, since this is just business.”

Yuki cocked her head. “Is that so?”

Darian furrowed his eyebrows. He wasn't sure what to make of that reaction. He shrugged and retired to the bedroom. “We have plenty of time to sort that out. It's late, and I need to sleep. Good night, Yuki.”

“…”

The stress of the trip, along with the expenditure of inner strength in his demonstration made Darian sufficiently tired to sleep almost immediately after getting undressed and hitting the pillow. It was a very deep sleep, so he was unaware of the presence at the bedroom door, watching him for hours as he slept.
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Unread 12-20-2009, 08:48 AM
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Default Re: The Arrogance of Darian Hunter - Vol. 1

Darian and Yuki discussed the school arrangements throughout the weekend. There was little time for light conversation as their days and nights were dominated by his expectations, what was expected of him, and how to keep their arrangements a secret for as long as possible.

They agreed to stagger and randomize when they left the apartment and arrive at school, in addition to Darian randomizing his route, to avoid any uncomfortable questions. If all else failed, he could lose any tails with his phase powers, but he would rather leave that as a last resort.

As expected, he was placed in the same homeroom as Kyon and Suzumiya. This was done so that he could be able to watch Suzumiya in a natural setting, something the other Brigade members were unable to do.

They agreed that only the “special” members of the Brigade would be aware of his true nature: Mikuru would be told at the first available opportunity.

Kyon was to be kept in the dark. There really was no compelling reason to bring him into this latest wrinkle in the Brigade. Besides, he had enough to worry about.

Darian decided to play the role of the exuberant American student, eager to please, quick with a witty remark. He decided on his own to add a touch of the horny 16-year-old into his “character”. He had plenty of experience with that just being around Shi'adow.

When they weren't discussing his integration, they were quiet. She would usually read, while he settled into his new surroundings. Part of the time he would meditate to clear his mind, other times he would just lie on the couch and read the holographic computer built into his cell phone, keeping up with his mission parameters.

Occasionally, he would get the feeling he was being watched and would look up, only to see Yuki reading. After noticing this a few times, he finally looked over to her. “Did you need something?”

She just looked up and shook her head, then resumed reading.

The evenings that weekend were casual affairs, each having to fend for him and herself. Darian went out to do his nightly Tai Chi exercises in the park and grabbed some tempura on the way back. Then bathe and sleep.

Sunday night, he stayed up later than normal, a bit nervous about going back to high school. He thought back to Shi'adow and his semi-successful infiltration of high school in the cosm of Lucky Star. Of course, Shi'adow was there hunting a demon, whereas he was here to observe, so he should have a much easier time of it.

Right?

Of course, the cynic in him believed that nothing could be that easy. At least Shi'adow had Kagami to distract him. What does he have?

Yuki?

Yeah, right
, he thought to himself. Like that'll never happen.

He sighed in frustration and fell asleep, unaware of the irony standing in the doorway.

***

Darian arrived early on his first day and stood in the back of the classroom. He observed each member of the class as they sat down, standing in the back of the room. He recognized Haruhi Suzumiya immediately when she walked in the room. He observed her more closely than everyone else as she moved to her seat.

She was obviously aware of the attention she was getting and glared back. Darian just grinned and waved back.

Not long after she took her seat, Kyon entered and sat in front of her. He also was aware of Darian's presence and looked back at him. Same reaction: smile and wave.

Suzumiya began to speak at Kyon, who turned to continue the conversation. He subtly nudged his way into Kyon's mind so that he could overhear.

“Who's that guy in the back? He's been eying me since I walked in.”

Kyon shrugged. “Not sure. He looks harmless, though. I did hear a rumor that there was going to be a transfer student coming here.”

“Really...” Suzumiya looked back. “A shame. He looks so... ordinary.”

Darian grinned and winked at her before diverting his eyes and whistling.

Suzumiya's brow furrowed and she stood abruptly. “I'll go see what his problem is.”

Kyon facepalmed himself. Darian could hear Kyon thinking, “God, no! Don't do this...” He lowered his head, stifling a giggle.

Suzumiya stormed up to Darian and got right in his face. “You got something to say to me? Hm?”

Darian looked up slowly, a wicked smirk on his face. “Does “Hello” count?”

Suzumiya was taken aback at the casualness of his response. Then, she cocked her head, looking at him as though she were trying to recall something. “Have we met?”

Darian knocked away several responses before settling on “Anything's possible.”

Syzymiya snorted and stormed away. “Whatever...”

After she sat down, Darian scanned the room and took the first empty seat, which just happened to be diagonally back from Suzumiya's seat. She looked back at him, scowling. He just smiled.

After a while, the teacher finally came in, starting class late. He never did get around to introducing Darian to the class. He tried to get the teacher's attention several times, but the class went on rapid-fire until lunch. Once the lunch bell rang, everybody but Darian got up to go. Suzumiya, who had shot him several skeptical glances throughout class, scowled at him one more time before pushing past Kyon and out the door.

Kyon looked back and shook his head, then sat down in front of Darian. “Don't let her get to you. She can be a bit of a bitch, but it's all show.”

“Not what I heard. I heard she dropkicked the president of the Computer Science club. Right in the face.”

“...well, yeah, but mostly she's just talk. So you've heard the reputation of the great Haruhi Suzumiya.”

Darian chuckled. “Hard to miss. You must be Kyon.”

Kyon cringed at the mention of his hated, but forever attached nickname. “Yeah.”

Darian extended his hand. “Darian Hunter.” They shook. “I wasn't intending to be antagonistic. I was just waiting to find which seat would be mine. Plus, of course, Miss Suzumiya's reputation was too much to ignore.”

“Yeah, she sure didn't do anything to dispute it, did she?”

“Not a thing.” He stood up. “Come on; we're going to miss lunch.”

They walked out of the room toward the lunchroom. Darian continued. “So, tell me about the SOS Brigade.”

Kyon sighed and rubbed his temples. “Kinda hard to miss the Brigade's reputation as well, I guess.”

Darian shrugged. “I'm very observant.”

“Well, there isn't much to tell. We meet in the Literature Club room in the Old Building every night after school and do pretty much whatever Suzumiya wants us to.”

They were approaching the lunchroom. They got in line for food. “You said “We”. Who else is a part of the Brigade?”

“You sure are curious about this.”

Darian shrugged. “I'm on the lookout for the interesting. It's one of my quirks.”

Kyon nodded, not really understanding. “Well, besides myself and Suzumiya, we have Yuki Nagato, a quiet, very patient girl who is the only remaining member of the Literature Club whose room we occupy, giving us a sliver of legitimacy.

“Then there's Mikuru Asahina. She's our... “ Darian could tell that Kyon was having difficulty getting this word out. “... “mascot”. She usually spends the meeting dressed in a maid outfit serving us tea. She hates it, but she does it anyway.”

Darian blanched. “That's terrible! Treating another human being that way! I guess your initial assessment of her was pretty much spot-on.”

Kyon nodded. “Let me put it this way: she has an entire rack of costumes that she can force on her at any time.”

Darian shook his head. “Man's inhumanity to man, laid bare within those four walls.”

“She may have the physiology of a human girl, but she's something totally inhuman underneath.”

Darian nodded., thinking to himself, You have no idea...
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Default Re: The Arrogance of Darian Hunter - Vol. 1

They reached the counter and placed their lunch orders.

Kyon continued. “And the final member of our little group is Itsuki Koizumi. He, like you, was a transfer student. ...and that's pretty much the only reason he's in the group.”

“That and the dominating personality of Haruhi Suzumiya, I'm guessing.”

“Yeah. She got it into her head that because he was transferring in the middle of the year, that must be strange, which, of course, means she should shanghai him into our little circle.”

“Is she aware that I'm a transfer student?”

Kyon nodded. “We pretty much guessed you were based on the rumors.”

“Then I'm curious: Did she say anything about me?” Knowing full well that she did.

“Yeah. She was all, “It's a shame... he's so... ordinary!” I'm beginning to think that nothing is good enough for her.”

They sat down at an empty table. “So, she thinks I'm ordinary, huh? I suppose that would be a blessing. At least she won't be stalking me thinking I'm some kind of dimensional traveler or something. Although, given her attention to me in class, she may be stalking me for completely different reasons.”

Kyon said nothing, just ate, all the while stealing glances over Darian's shoulder, as though he was seeing something disturbing.

Darian caught on immediately, but rather than stop, his eyes narrowed and he didn't try to suppress an evil grin. “In fact, if she wants to ask me out, or even for a romp behind the bleachers or something, all she has to do is say so. My door's always open.”

Kyon almost choked on his noodles. His eyes locked behind Darian, as though saying “She's right behind you, moron!”

Darian simply put his finger in front of his lips with a light “Sh!” and winked. Then raising his voice a little more, “I mean, what kind of sick weirdo just follows people around for no reason? She must have a pretty big hard on for me, otherwise she wouldn't be standing right behind me...” He then turned his head back, not really looking. “...would she?” He then calmly went back to eating his noodles.

Kyon just sat there, noodles hanging out of his mouth, watching as footfalls stormed away from behind where Darian was sitting.

After a couple minutes, Darian finished up his bowl, while Kyon's still was hanging out of his mouth. Darian handed him a napkin. “You got something hanging out of your mouth.”

Kyon finally swallowed. “Are you crazy!? You're playing with fire!”

“I'm not worried. I can defend myself fairly well. Besides, I recall you saying she's mostly talk anyway.”

“That's not what I mean! She's not an ordinary girl!”

Darian became somber. “I disagree. You see, I'm a lay student of psychology. And my observations about her based on her reputation, coupled with what I've seen from her so far, would seem to indicate that she is afraid to accept the ordinary world she lives in. She is seeking aliens, time travelers, psychics, and dimensional travelers because she thinks they can save her from a world she already knows is ordinary.

“Deep down, though, she knows that it's a fool's errand, and that she'll never actually find any such things. So, rather than surrender her quest, she hijacks your and your group's lives so that she doesn't feel alone in her fruitless quest to avoid the ordinary. Her little jab at me today was nothing more than projection. “Oh, he's the one that's ordinary, not me! I'm nowhere near ordinary! Really!” Fairly transparent, if you ask me.”

After that line of bullshit, Kyon just stared at him. “You really believe that, don't you?”

Darian nodded. “Don't you? I mean, you seriously don't believe in aliens, time travelers, psychics or dimensional travelers, do you?”

Kyon said nothing.

Darian nodded. “I see. Sounds like Stockholm Syndrome. You know you can't escape from her domination, so you've convinced yourself that her quest has some merit so that you don't rock the boat and risk her wrath. Are you really so cowed by this delusional, sad little girl that you're willing to barter away your sanity for her?”

Kyon shook his head and stood up. “There's more going on than you realize. You shouldn't talk about things that you know nothing about. Excuse me.” He turned and left.

Darian shouted after him. “You're making it sound mysterious to mask your delusion!” But he was gone.

After a few seconds, Darian slumped onto the table. This act was getting old quickly. Sometimes he wonders if emulating his little brother was going to be more trouble than it was worth. However, it is part of his cover story, and he can be himself back at the apartment with someone who can respect it.

He knew that Yuki was in the Literature Club room now, reading rather than socializing. He began to think that joining her wouldn't a bad idea, save that it would be dangerous for their cover. Shrugging, he pushed himself out from the table and stood up, returning the bowl to the dishwasher, and made his way out of the lunch room.

He contemplated going outside, but he's not the physical type. He's no slouch, but he's not physically built like Shi'adow or Jack, nor did he want to be. His mind was all he needed.

For lack of a better option, he decided to go back to the classroom. He stepped in and who should be sitting there but Haruhi Suzumiya, glaring out the window. Knowing her true nature, he was quite surprised not to find her outside working out the new-found aggression he had given her, being the awesome physical specimen she is.

Instead, it seems she decided to mope.

Savoring the irony, he strode in and took his seat, not even looking at her the whole time.

They sat in silence for what seemed like hours, she refusing to look at him, he content to just look straight ahead.

Finally, she spoke. “That was rude.”

Darian smirked. “So is sneaking up behind someone.”

No other words were said. Before either of them knew it, class started back up.

Class passed slowly, inexorably. Mercifully, the final bell rang. Suzumiya stood up immediately, grabbing Kyon's arm and literally dragging him out the door, heading for the Brigade meeting.

He set his watch for ten minutes. Twenty minutes was the agreed-upon delay from the meeting time to his arrival, and he made sure to allow for ten minutes' travel time.

He knew the shitstorm that was going to commence once he showed up, especially given the events of the day, and he was prepared for it... he hoped. He hoped that establishing his and Suzumiya's relationship from the beginning, making it clear that he wouldn't be fucked with, would pay out in a mutual respect later on. Not likely, but it was worth a shot.

Ultimately, though, he knew that it wouldn't matter. He was going to make her an offer she couldn't refuse.

After five minutes' wait, he got up and slung his backpack onto the desk, pulling out his pencil, notebook, and a brand new orange-colored sketchbook.

In the fifteen years he spent in the Astral Plane training in the ways of the Phase Mystic, he had a lot of free time. He spent a good portion of that time learning to draw. He had become quite talented, making very detailed sketches in the span of a minute. He would use this in place of a camera for his “story”.

The alarm on his watch went off Ten minutes to go. He slung the backpack on his back and headed out toward the Old Building at a leisurely pace.
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Unread 12-20-2009, 08:51 AM
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Default Re: The Arrogance of Darian Hunter - Vol. 1

Fifteen minutes into the meeting, the tension was palpable. Kyon kept to himself, tossing around Darian's words in his head about projection and delusion and Stockholm Syndrome. Haruhi sat at the computer, surfing the web, stewing. Mikuru was serving tea as usual. Koizumi was seemingly the only one who kept a level head throughout the whole process.

Unnoticed in the corner was Yuki Nagato, who, while everyone else save Koizumi was stuck in their own little world, pulled the curtain to the window back and looked out. She saw Darian trudging down the path to the Old Building, right on schedule. She released the curtain and looked at Koizumi. Once he met her glance, she nodded, then resumed reading.

Koizumi cleared his throat. “Brigade Leader, as second in command, I would like to make a suggestion.”

Suzumiya looked up abruptly, the scowl not leaving her face.

Koizumi continued as though nothing were amiss. “I believe we should try reaching out to the rest of the student body. We do, admittedly, have a bit of a negative reputation, and if we're to be taken seriously, we should have a bit of positive spin put on us.”

Suzumiya stood, hands on her hips. “What do you suggest, Koizumi?”

“A story about us in the school newspaper. I suggest we contact the Journalism Club immediately.”

Suzumiya scoffed. “Those hacks? I'd rather show up in the tabloids than prostitute myself to that rag.”

Kyon stood up. “He's right, Haruhi. Right now, we're the laughingstock of the school! If you don't want the misconceptions about us to remain, you have to take the effort to correct them! I mean, it isn't as if they're going to come knocking on our door...”

*knock, knock, knock*

Mikuru, shocked, tripped on her own feet and spilled the rest of the tea on the floor. Everyone else in the room froze and slowly turned their heads toward the door.

Suzumiya, more curious than anything else, walked up to the door and opened it... and froze!

Him!

He smiled, as if meeting her for the first time, and extended his hand. “Haruhi Suzumiya? Hi; my name is Darian Hunter. I'm from the Journalism Club. I'm here to do a story on the SOS Brigade.”

Kyon, hearing the voice behind the door, froze as well.

Koizumi and Yuki, already knowing what was happening, kept to themselves.

Mikuru, if she had any idea at all what was happening, was too busy cleaning up tea from the floor for it to make any difference.

After about a minute standoff, Darian finally broke the silence. “May I come in?”

Suzumiya's face scrunched into a frown. She stormed into the room, grabbed Kyon by the arm and dragged him toward the door. Looking sternly at Darian, she said simply, “Don't go anywhere.” She then dragged Kyon down the hall, likely toward the Journalism Club room to check his story.

After giving them sufficient time to be out of earshot, Koizumi went to the door. “Come in, Darian; we likely don't have a lot of time, so we should fill Mikuru in as much as we can.”

Mikuru blinked at the mention of her name as Darian entered the room, closing the door behind him.

Koizumi started in immediately once he had her attention. “Darian is a dimensional traveler. He is also here to observe Suzumiya. For now, Kyon is also to be kept in the dark. Understood?”

Mikuru blinked. “Um, what?”

Darian smiled and walked up to Mikuru, then pointed at Yuki, her, and Koizumi, while saying, in turn, “Alien, time traveler, psychic. I've been briefed already. I'm here to observe, as all of you are.”

Mikuru nodded. “But why is Kyon not to be told?”

“My mission is on a need-to-know basis. And at this time, he, well, doesn't need to know. For all I have allowed him to be aware of, he believes that I believe Suzumiya to be a delusional little girl who is keeping you all hostage to avoid feeling ordinary, and he's going along with it because he's starting to identify with his kidnapper. And that's how I want it to stay for now.”

Koizumi grinned. “If the word going around the school is true, you've been busy with Suzumiya as well.”

Darian shrugged. “I figure if I show her that I won't be pushed around, she may respect me more in the long run.”

“I hope you're right. Otherwise, I may have my hands full tonight.”

“My offer still stands. Take me with you tonight if you need me.”

Koizumi nodded. “Given the potential result your ribbing may have had, I may have to take you up on that.”

Mikuru interrupted. “Would you like tea?”

Darian looked at her, then looked at the floor where she spilled the tea kettle, then back at her with a half-grin. “You must be joking.”

Mikuru giggled. “I'll make fresh.” Without waiting for an answer, she retired to the back room.

Darian cocked his head toward the door. “They're returning. Back into character.”

The door swung open with a bang and Suzumiya walked in with the largest smile on her face. Kyon followed her in, very confused.

Suzumiya walked right up to Darian, extending her hand. “Darian! I must apologize if we got off on the wrong foot. I was feeling kind of, well, vulnerable this morning, and I apologize if I took it out on you.”

Darian grinned and took her hand, shaking it firmly. “Not a problem. Happens all the time. And I also must apologize for “fanning the fire,” shall we say. I misinterpreted your actions and your words and only made things worse. For that, I am very sorry, and I hope we can put this behind us.”

Suzumiya nodded. “Agreed. We start again right now.”

Kyon coughed “*kissup*!”, then cleared his throat properly to cover.

She announces to the rest of the Brigade, as though they weren't paying rapt attention to what was just happening, “Okay, people, listen up! This is Darian Hunter!”

Kyon facepalmed himself. “We know, Haruhi.”

Ignoring Kyon, she continued. “And he's going to be doing a story on us for the school newspaper.”

“We heard him the first time.”

“Now I want you all to put your best face on for this, and show this school what we're really made of!” She turned to Darian. “The floor is yours.”

He responded, “Thank you,” gracious as anything. He turned to the rest of the group and started in. “Now, here's how I see this happening. I believe that interviews should be given either at the interviewee's home, where they feel safe and able to talk about anything, or at a neutral third-party location, where both can feel at ease.

“Obviously,” nodding to Mikuru and Suzumiya, “having a strange person, especially a strange male person, go to certain persons' addresses may be misconstrued by some and cause nasty rumors to surface, not to mention being downright unsafe. So, for the most part, we should do this at a neutral site.”

He turned to Suzumiya. “Do you have an organizational chart showing your hierarchy?”

Suzumiya grinned. “I can make one up real quick. Keep going.”

“Sure.” Then to the group again: “Here's how I propose we do this: I will interview each member of the Brigade, in turn, from top to bottom,” indicating Suzumiya, “starting with her. The order for the rest of you will be determined shortly. This is an extended assignment for me, so there really is no hurry. We can schedule the interviews for when it is convenient for each of you.

“Then,” Suzumiya had completed the chart and handed it to Darian. “Thank you. Then, I will do a group interview, again at a neutral site, to cover anything I missed in the individual interviews, to ask questions to the Brigade as a whole, and to get a feel for how you interact with each other.”

Kyon looked skeptical. “No camera? How will you get pictures of us into your story?”

Darian smiled and pulled out his sketchbook. “I fancy myself an artist. I can draw you rather than take a picture.”

Kyon shook his head. “Very professional.”

Darian nodded. “I assure you that my work is of professional quality. I will do preliminary sketches during the interview process, while recording your answers on my voice recorder. I'll finish up the drawings afterward when I'm not too pressed for time.

“Anyway, in between this time, I will be embedding myself within your group as an observer. I'll watch you doing anything, everything, and even nothing, whatever you do. Don't play it up on my account. I'd like this to be as accurate as possible, but, I assure you, I will give you the best possible face.”

Darian looked at the org chart. “Now let's see here...” It had her at top, of course, listed as “Brigade Leader,” followed by Koizumi as [st]“Major Domo” “Club Advisor”[/st] “Second in Command”, then Yuki, “Librarian”, then Mikuru, “Mascot”, as expected, then a name he pretended not to be familiar with: “Tusurya”, listed as a “Consultant”, then at the bottom was Kyon. Kyon wasn't given a title.

Darian turned to Suzumiya. “Where is the one called “Tsuruya”? Is he or she absent today”

“Oh, she's not an official member; she's a non-member consultant.”

“...and yet, she's ranked above Kyon?”

Kyon stood up angrily, “What?!”

Suzumiya stood up and pointed at Kyon. “Sit down, Kyon. What have you done for the group lately?”

Kyon muttered to himself, “I think the fact that I show up at all should be a bonus.”

“What was that?”

Kyon sighed. “Nothing, Brigade Leader.”

Last edited by JackPowerX; 12-28-2009 at 03:00 PM.
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Default Re: The Arrogance of Darian Hunter - Vol. 1

Darian smiled inwardly at the interplay, but pressed on. “Okay, Haruhi, looks like you're first. When and where?”

Haruhi thought for a second. “Friday 5 pm at the cafe downtown.”

Darian nodded. “I have to tell you that they didn't give me a massive budget, so you'll have to pay for our own stuff.”

Haruhi pouted. “Well, that's no fun! *sigh* Oh, well.”

Darian pulled out his notepad and wrote down the time, then looked up. “Koizumi, you're up.”

Koizumi thought for a second, then, “Wednesday of next week. I'll let you know the location at a later time.”

He knew what that meant, but nodded all the same. “Miss Nagato?”

Yuki did not even look up. “Next Friday, after class. I consent to being interviewed at home.” As expected.

“If you're okay with it, then I am as well. Miss Asahina?”

Mikuru, who was pouring Darian a fresh cup of tea at that moment, froze. “Um, can I get back to you on that?”

Darian grinned and took the tea cup in his free hand. “Certainly. You have a couple weeks to decide, and thank you.” He looked at Suzumiya. “So, is interviewing Miss Tsuruya necessary since she's a non-member?”

Haruhi thought. “I don't know. Let me contact her, and I'll get back with you.”

Darian nodded. “Well, since the latter half of the interview schedule is up in the air, I'll get back with you later as well, Kyon. Then, after we get everyone's interview in, we can schedule the group interview.” He turns back to Haruhi. “Well, I believe I've covered anything. Anything you wish to add?” He sipped at the tea.

Haruhi grinned. “Not now. I'll let you know if I do. For now, we'll just call it here and get ready for you to observe the best club in school tomorrow Dismissed!”

A large “thud” is heard in the corner as Yuki's book closed, signifying the official end to the SOS Brigade meeting. Mikuru retired to the back to change. Haruhi shoved the three guys out of the room unceremoniously. Darian calmly finished his tea and handed the cup to Haruhi just before she slammed the door shut.

Kyon simply glared at Darian, then turned and stormed down the hallway..

Koizumi turned to follow, but leaned in close to Darian just before leaving and whispered “Watch your phone. You may receive a call later tonight.”

Darian nodded. Koizumi grinned and waved, heading town the hallway after Kyon.

Darian left school and took a roundabout path back to the apartment, as expected. He took his time, going over what went on today. He had pissed off, then offended, then angered, then befriended Haruhi Suzumiya in the course of eight hours. He went from befriending to alienating Kyon in a much shorter amount of time, but that relationship never quite recovered.

He half-expected to see a black taxi waiting for him when he reached the apartment building, but none arrived. In fact, his phone was silent all night.

He entered the apartment to find it empty. He was sure he had given Yuki enough time to return. Shrugging, he decided to make the most of his time.

About an hour later, he was in the center of the main area, doing his Tai Chi exercises, when the door opened. Yuki came in carrying two full sacks of groceries.

He grinned, understanding why she was so late. “Ah, you're home. Here, let me help you with those.”

“That is... unnecessary.”

“Yes, but polite. I don't want to be one of those guests who smell after three days.”

Yuki cocked her head, confused, and pointed toward the bathroom.

Darian turned his head and, realizing, laughed. “No, no. I mean the saying, “Fish and guests smell after three days”? I want to be an active participant in this arrangement. If I'm going to be inconveniencing you by being here, I might as well try to make up for it.”

Yuki shook her head. “It is... no problem.”

Without another word, Darian took both bags and headed into the kitchen. Yuki followed behind and put her hand on his as he was about to put the first can into the cupboard. “Please. Relax. I will do this.”

He looked down at her and met her eyes. He was about to say something when he looked deeper into her eyes and saw something... odd. He couldn't quite place the look, but it fascinated him. After realizing he was staring at her for a half minute, he pulled his eyes away and mumbled an apology, then headed out of the kitchen..

After contemplating his next move, he decided to head toward the bathroom. Jokes and/or idiom confusion aside, a bath did sound good right about now.

Darian closed the door and started the bath water. He took his cell phone out of his pocket and set it, open, on the sink. The Holographic Personal Computer that was built into it sprang to life. As he started to undress, he started issuing voice commands.

“Play bath playlist, silent mode, random play, repeat all.”

A chime sounded in his head to verify that the player was on silent mode, where the music was beamed directly to his inner ear, with no ambient sound. Once the bath was almost full, he turned it off and slunk in, the sounds of his music playing right into his head. The music changed, at times abruptly, between smooth and hard. The warm water combined with the constantly changing rhythm soothed him into a state of mindless relaxation.

Without opening his eyes, he began to wash himself, lathering his hair, lathering his body, not leaving out any parts, then dipping his head underwater. As he did, the music became choppy as the signal was interrupted by the ceramic of the bathtub and the water, momentarily interrupting his reverie. He slowly raised his head to avoid splashing the tile floor. He squeezed the extra water out of his hair and wiped the water from his eyes. He rested on the back of the tub again, his music returning to full volume.

He was just about to return to his relaxed state when he caught something in the corner of his eye. He turned his head and saw...

Yuki, standing right in the door, a towel in hand.

A piercing scream followed by a splash was heard emanating from the bathroom after that. Water had spilled over the edge of the tub as Darian submerged. After a couple seconds, he peeked over the edge of the tub, heaving breaths. He said “Pause playback” to the phone, his voice cracking.

Yuki stood there, unresponsive.

His first reaction was to ask how long she was standing there, but he held back when he realized that he probably didn't want to know the answer.

Darian stammered out “C-can I help you?”

“I brought you a towel.” She extended the towel toward him.

“G-good. Set it...” then, catching himself, held out his hand. “No! Just toss it. Toss it in here.”

Tilting her head in confusion, she obediently tossed the towel into the center of the room. ”Dinner will be ready soon.”

Darian waved her off. “Good. Go... go to it... please... just go.”

After lingering for another second, she turned and left, forgetting to close the door. Darian reached out and telekinetically closed the door, being careful not to slam it. Once the door latched, he slumped into the tub, thinking to himself, Why can't my life ever be easy?

After lingering a few more minutes, he drained the tub and dried off, drying off the floor as well where he splashed water onto it. Realizing that he forgot to get clothes, he decided, rather than go out into the hall, he would take the direct route. He hung up the towel and willed himself out of phase . Since he was not going into any visible area, he decided being naked wasn't a big deal. He walked toward his room, making sure it was empty and that he didn't have any surprises standing in the hallway. Satisfied, he returned to normal space and closing the door quietly.

Alone at last, he started getting dressed. Just as he slipped his shirt on, he heard a faint knocking. It sounded like Yuki was knocking on the bathroom door, obviously assuming he was still in there.

Darian opened the bedroom door and casually said “Yes?”

Yuki stiffened a bit. That seems to be the closest she gets to getting scared. She slowly turned toward him, a confused look on her face.

Darian shrugged. “I apologize. I forgot to get some clothes, and rather than cause another interdimensional incident, I took the shortcut.”

Yuki 's brow furrowed in confusion, but she nodded. “Dinner is ready.” She turned and walked toward the table. Darian followed, trying to relax.
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Unread 12-20-2009, 08:53 AM
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Default Re: The Arrogance of Darian Hunter - Vol. 1

Dinner was very well-prepared. Darian ate, trying to maintain decorum, but he was so hungry that decorum slipped at times. When he caught himself slipping, he slumped his head between his shoulders and continued to eat sheepishly. Yuki did not seem to notice either way, simply eating at a deliberate pace.

After dinner was complete, Darian started a conversation. “Thank you very much, Yuki. Just so you know, I don't expect you to do this every night... or any night, for that matter.”

“It was... no problem.”

“You keep saying that, but I know better. I'm more than capable of feeding myself. In fact, I insist on making dinner sometime for us.”

“That would be... acceptable.”

Darian rolled his eyes. “Your confidence in me is overwhelming.”

Yuki stood and began to clear the table. Darian held up his hand. “No. I insist.” He then stood and cleared up the dishes and carried them to the kitchen. He placed them in the sink and began to wash them.

He barely noticed her standing in the kitchen doorway. “I... apologize if I frightened you.”

“You mean in the bath? You see, that's what I was talking about earlier. You know, about setting and keeping boundaries? I mean, we both have jobs to do, and that's difficult enough to do without this kind of drama getting in the way. Do you understand what I mean?”

“...”

He sighed and continued to wash and rinse the dishes. “Look, regardless of who and/or what you and I are, the fact cannot be denied that there are, within these walls, a male and a female sharing the same space. As such, the potential for tension, in particular, the *ahem* wrong kind of tension will always exist. If we don't put a tight reign on these unexpected interactions, ones like the one we had earlier, we run the risk of increasing the tension, that tension in particular, and that would make it more difficult for either of us to do our jobs effectively.”

“Is that so?” He cringed every time he heard that answer.

Needing to keep his hands busy, he grabbed a dish towel and began to dry and put away the dishes he just washed. “I appreciate you accepting this living arrangement, but with that acceptance should come an expectation that we respect each other's limits. Part of that respect is knowing where the lines are and keeping a fair distance from them. I'm trying my best to do that, and I ask, out of respect for this position we find ourselves in, that you do the same.”

“...”

Darian hoped that that was an assenting silence, as opposed to a silence silence as he began to put the plates away. He shook his head and said in mild exasperation, “Look, if you have anything to say about this, say it. I'm open to anything you have to say. I welcome any suggestions you may have, because I don't want there to be any problems down the line.”

After a short pause, this question came out: “Are you not... interested in me?”

And just like that, the Nagato kitchen was minus one plate, as it slipped out of his hand and fell on the floor when his entire body froze, wondering where in the hell that reaction came from.

Eager to avoid, he sprung to his knees and began to pick up the pieces of plate that he could get his hands on. “Sorry. I just got taken aback by your question. I mean, why did you ask that just now?”

Yuki cocked her head. “Curiosity.”

“I got that part; I mean what in our conversation led you to ask that?”

“Your speaking style, how you insert large words into the conversation where normal ones would suffice; the length of each of your statements; the nervous, disinterested tone with which you present them All these together reflect... avoidance.”

He threw away the chunks of former plate and got a broom and dustpan to pick up the remnants. “Yeah, can we table this topic for now?” realizing after he said it that he just validated her point.

“If you say so.”

Curious, he did an empathy read on her. Very faint, but he could read a twinge of... disappointment? He decided not to read too much into that assessment, as it could be a misunderstanding based on the low level of emotion present.

After finishing the cleanup, he put the broom away and started to head toward the bed. “Well, I've been given a lot to think about today. I need to turn in. I'll sort it all out later. G'night.” He almost literally ran to the bedroom, happy to be anywhere but where he was.

Yuki did not react, except to say to nobody, “Sleep well.”

Darian lie in bed for a few minutes before sleep could claim him. He thought about what just happened, retracing the steps in his head to see what he could possibly have done to avoid that from happening. Frustrated, in more than one way, he clutched his pillow tightly and fell asleep.

Once again, he was unaware of a stoic figure at his doorway, watching him for hours as he slept.
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Default Re: The Arrogance of Darian Hunter - Vol. 1

Great story and it doesnt matter about the length it was a excellent read hope to see more by you
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Default (Haurhi Suzumiya Fan Novel) The Arrogance of Darian Hunter Part 2

( Note: All characters, places, concepts, etc. are property of their respective owners. No challenge to these copyrights is intended nor should be implied)

The next several days were uneventful. Class was boring, as 95% of the material Darian could do in his sleep, and the rest could be faked with little difficulty. As a result, his sketchbook was his friend during this time. He was able to complete his first full drawing on Thursday afternoon: a drawing of Suzumiya, head resting on her hand, dour expression, staring out the window. On that, he had plenty of source material.

After lunch one day, Suzumiya returned to her desk to see a piece of paper on it. She picked it up and turned it over to reveal a photocopy of the aforementioned sketch with the signature, “Please accept this peace offering. -D” Her eyes got big as she read the signature. She looked back at Darian, who just gave a two-finger salute and a smile. She cocked her head and stared at the drawing, as well as the signature, for a while.

Prior to that, Suzumiya did not go out of her way to talk with him outside of Brigade meetings, but neither did she go out of her way to avoid him.. Kyon, however, seemed to be avoiding him like he was a carrier of a grave disease. He began to wonder if he wasn't going too over-the-top with this skeptic schtick.

The meetings themselves were rather casual affairs, with Suzumiya surfing the web looking for strange and unusual things for the group to investigate, and coming up empty every time. He started his next sketch of Mikuru in her maid outfit. He got a full-body outline started, but couldn't resist making a chibi sketch in the margins: Mikuru spilling tea all over Kyon, Suzumiya drooling with heart-eyes staring at her, Koizumi grinning, and Yuki sitting down with a “...” bubble over her head..

The rest of the week at the apartment was rather quiet as well; it was as though they had used their quota of interaction in the first two days. More accurately, Darian was keeping her at arm's length, trying to minimize any impact from a wrong move.

Thursday night, he finally got the call he was waiting for all week.

Yuki was at the table reading while he was eating some tempura he picked up on the way home. A friendly female voice issued from his phone. “Incoming call. Caller ID verified: Koizumi, Itsuki. Answer?”

Darian swallowed quickly. “Yes. Speakerphone.”

“Caller online.”

“Yeah?”

“Darian, hi. We have some fairly heavy activity tonight, and I was hoping you could join us.”

“Not a problem. How soon can you get here.”

A second's pause. “How does now sound?”

“Just a sec.” He quietly wolfed down the rest of his tempura, then, after swallowing, “I'll be right down.”

“See you then.”

The female voice verified, “Call disconnected.”

Darian headed out the door. “Don't wait up!”

“...”

He wasn't sure what kind of response he was expecting, but he just waved it off.

He reached the ground floor and entered the waiting cab. Koizumi was already inside.

“Welcome.”

“Good to be here.” And they were on their way.

“So, Darian. How has your first week quartered with Miss Nagato been?”

Darian slumped onto the seat and groaned, “Awkward!”

Koizumi grinned. “That's to be expected. When you put two different people into the same space, there's a lot to get used to.”

“Yeah, especially if they're a male people and a female people.”

Koizumi cocked his head. “Do I detect a bit of... tension?”

Darian shook his head. “Honestly, I'm not sure what's going on. Our profiling system is flawless. It's never wrong. And by “Never”, I mean “Never”. It's wrong now. Yuki has done a few things outside of the given profile, and I have a feeling that she's done more that I'm not aware of. I know that made no sense...”

“No, it didn't. Perhaps there's a flaw in your profiling system; no system is foolproof. Perhaps something outside of the parameters of normal observation that your profile did not consider. Or, perhaps, it's a case of Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle.”

“I see: the fact that she's being observed is causing the changes in behavior.”

“Precisely.”

“All valid points, Koizumi. I guess I shouldn't worry about it too much.”

Koizumi nodded. “If there are any issues, they will work themselves out, I'm sure. Speaking of “issues”, I must commend you on your misdirection tactics on Kyon. He truly thinks you think he's insane.”

Darian nodded. “That was the idea. I haven't spoken with him lately, but I've been tossing around what I plan to say when it reaches the next level, which I'm sure it will. He's going to try to tell me about you guys eventually, just to “prove” he's not insane.”

Koizumi grinned. “That would make sense. And I'm sure you have a rational explanation at the ready.”

“That I do.”

The cab came to a stop. “Well, we're here. Any last-minute preparations you need to make.”

“I will when I exit the cab.”

Koizumi looked at him oddly, but exited the cab along with Darian. They both went to the spot where the Space was detected. “Are you ready?”

“Just a moment.” He opened his hands and seemed to concentrate. After a few seconds, a strange looking pistol appeared in his right hand, then after a few more, a similar one appeared in his left.

Koizumi looked at the newly-appearing weaponry. “Nice trick, Darian, but our experience shows that conventional weaponry has no effect on Celestials.”

Darian grinned. “Trust me, Koizumi: these are not conventional weapons.”

Koizumi grinned. “We shall see. Let's go.”

After a moment's concentration, Koizumi and Darian emerged within the Closed Space. As expected, there were many Celestials wreaking havoc.

Koizumi turned to Darian. “What manner of weaponry are those anyway?”

“Phase weaponry. It attacks the being at its core, outside of normal three-dimensional space. It hurts anything, as long as it isn't protected by a barrier, be it magical, psychic, or technological.”

“You believe these will hurt the Celestials?”

“If they don't, then I have a whole new level of respect for you and yours, Koizumi.”

Koizumi grinned. “There's one by itself. Do you wish to give it a test fire?”

Darian nodded, already taking aim for a head shot. After a second to focus, he pulled both triggers. In the strange physics of the Closed Space, the phase blasts trailed toward the Celestial's head with an eerie dark wake. Both shots impacted the being's head. It screamed in pain: a sick, pathetic sound.

Darian turned to Koizumi. “Carry on.”

The Celestial Darian struck looked down at him, released a primal scream, and charged at him.

Darian began to panic a little. “Um, a little help here?” He squeezed two more shots at the beast's head, which caused it to release another scream of agony, and strike at him even angrier than before. Darian barely dodged out of the way.

Two red balls of light descended on the Celestial as it focused on Darian. It only took a couple strikes from them before it faded into oblivion.

Darian looked up, out of breath. “That went well.”

Another Celestial screamed in agony to his left, and he got up to rejoin the fray.

Darian and the Organization's finest took down the remaining Celestials one by one, with Darian bravely making himself a distraction while the red dots carved then up one by one. At last, one Celestial remained, but it seemed larger than the others, and was able to resist even the combined efforts of all of the Organization's espers.

Darian pointed his beamers at the Celestial's head and pulled the triggers. Nothing. He had spent his E-clips.

Despite the overwhelming numbers against it, this one seemed to be fighting back gamely, and indeed appeared to be overpowering all of them.. They had backed it up to a partially destroyed building but were unable to finish it off.

Darian grinned. He had a plan.

He focused his attention inward, concentrating for a short time. As he did so, an energy blade, seemingly forged of pure darkness, erupted into his hands. He stood, leaving his beamers on the ground and ran toward the building.

As he reached the building, he shifted his perspective, forcing space to obey his wishes. Without breaking his stride, he began to run full-speed up the side of the building alongside the remaining Celestial.

Once he became head-level to it, he turned and leaped off the building, reassuming normal spatial perspective. He raised the blade over his head and cleaved it down the Celestial's shoulder.

It screamed in pain and began to fade into nothingness, defeated.

Darian grinned at his victory...

...until he realized that he was in free-fall.

Screaming, he quickly willed himself to support his own body weight telekinetically, stopping impact inches above the ground. His breath came out in heaves as he barely suppressed his panic reflex.

As the last Celestial disappeared, cracks start to appear in the sky above him. The Closed Space was collapsing.

As normal space was resumed, Koizumi stood beside the horizontal, hovering, nearly panicking form of Darian Hunter. He put his hand on Darian's shoulder. “Relax. It's over.”

Darian's pants began to take on words: “I'm a dumbass! I'm a dumbass!”

Koizumi grinned. “You struck the fatal blow. That one was giving all of us fits as I'm sure you could tell.”

Darian began to calm himself down and set himself safely on the ground. He sat and hugged his knees for a couple seconds, suppressing a shudder. “Oh, I should tell you: I tend to act before I think.”

Koizumi grinned. “No harm done, right? Just try to be more careful in the future.”

Darian nodded. “I'll try my best.”
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Default Re: (Haurhi Suzumiya Fan Novel) The Arrogance of Darian Hunter Part 2

He stood up and went back to where he left his beamers. They weren't there; they must have been left in the Closed Space. He summoned what remained of his inner strength and pulled them from nowhere. “Can't lose these. John'll filet me.”

At that moment, a familiar black cab pulled up and opened its door. Koizumi held open the door for Darian, who entered it happily. Koizumi entered after him and closed the door. The cab revved its engine and they were on their way.

Koizumi broke the silence. “So, what did you think of your first Celestial hunting session?”

“Need to bring my spare E-clips. Also need to not jump off of buildings again.”

Koizumi grinned. “Always good advice. Now, let's get you home.”

Darian sighed. “Good. I think interpersonal drama will be a breeze compared to almost killing myself.”

Halfway through the trip, Koizumi pulled out his cell and made a call.

“Yes, I'm on my way. … Thanks.”

Darian turned his head. “Calling back to headquarters?”

Koizumi grinned. “You might say that.”

“That's rather cryptic, but at the moment, I'm too tired to care.”

The rest of the trip was uneventful and quiet until the cab pulled up in front of the apartment. The door opened on Darian's side.

“Good luck with the interview tomorrow. It seems that Suzumiya's worrying about what you're going to ask her, considering the friction between you and her when you first met.”

Darian sighed. “Well then it was a good thing I came along, considering this whole mess was my fault.”

Koizumi shook his head. “Not at all. You can't control Haruhi Suzumiya. No one can, not even herself.”

Darian nodded, although he knew, and knew that Koizumi knew as well, that that was not true. She had been controlled in the past. Hell, he could control Haruhi Suzumiya if he wanted to. He thanked whichever gods were listening that he didn't.

Darian stepped out of the cab. The cab door closed behind him and it drove away into the darkness. His body rebelled with every step as he made his way to the elevator, and he found himself being thankful that he didn't have to take the stairs.

He entered the door of the apartment to find Yuki sitting at the table reading. “I told you not to wait up.”

“...”

He chuckled. “That was a joke, by the way.”

“...”

Too tired to pursue the conversation any further, he went into the bedroom and popped his E-clips out of his phase beamers. He put them in the charger, and placed the beamers back into their boxes. He remembered to get a change of clothes this time before heading down the hall.

As he crossed the hall, he shouted out to nobody in particular, “I'm going to run a bath.” He opened the door to the bath and paused in the doorway, staring.

The bath had already been drawn, and it was still warm.

He was about to ask how, but then he recalled Koizumi's cryptic phone call on the way back.

He sighed and closed the door behind him. He wasn't in the mood to argue the point, and he knew that he wouldn't win anyway.

He opted for a quiet bath this time, content to let the warm water soothe his aching muscles and his racing mind. He kept a paranoid eye on the door the whole time. Thankfully, it was not disturbed.

He completed his bath, lingering long enough to wring the last bit of tension from his body and drained the tub. He dried off and put his night clothes on. It was getting late, so he decided to turn in.

He went to open the door, but hesitated, afraid who might be standing on the other side. He steeled himself and slowly opened the door.

Nobody there.

He sighed in relief and walked out into the hall. He looked out into the main area and saw Yuki still reading.

He figured he should say something. “Yuki?”

She stopped reading and lifted her head.

“You didn't have to do that...” As Yuki went to lower her head again, he completed his thought: “...but thanks. I appreciate that you thought of me.”

Their eyes met and lingered for a while. He did a quick empathy read on her. He noticed that the intensity was slightly higher than his previous read, and he could pinpoint feelings of gratitude and relief.

He found himself getting an uneasy feeling inside, and forcefully broke off eye contact. Too much, too soon, he thought to himself. “Good night.” Without waiting for a response that never came, he went into the bedroom and closed the door behind him. He turned toward the bed, then, paranoia seizing him suddenly, turned back and locked the door before slumping onto the bed.

As he lie on the bed awake, he thought to himself, If this is going to be how it is after only a week, not even a week, how is the rest of the year going to pan out? He decided to leave that question for later and fell asleep.

The next morning, fully rested, he put on the last uniform of the week, got his backpack together, and opened the door, stepping confidently into the hallway. Two steps toward the front door he paused, remembering something: I locked that door last night. Why was it unlocked?

He quickly looked around the apartment. Yuki had apparently already left for school. He sighed and ran out, taking one of his favorite scenic routes, ending up on the near-vertical uphill to East High School. On the way up, he saw a familiar sight trudging up the hill: Kyon. Kyon had been completely avoiding him, and he was curious how he was managing.

“Kyon!”

Kyon seemed to cringe at hearing his name, especially considering who was calling it. It was far too late to avoid contact, so he slowed up his pace to allow Darian to catch up.

Darian pulled up next to him and started to match his pace. “Did I catch the Plague or something without being told?”

“You really think I want to talk to you after our last conversation?”

“Just because I think you're delusional doesn't mean we can't hang out.”

Kyon thought for a second. “You want to talk? Fine. We'll talk. Lunch. Same table.”

Darian smiled, knowing what this conversation would entail. “I'll be there.”

Darian sped up and left Kyon in his wake. Cursing people with too much energy, Kyon trudged on.

Class passed too slowly. Darian simply watched Suzumiya staring out the window. Suzumiya didn't seem to have too much to say or do or care about. Kyon tried several times to start a conversation with her before class and during study time, but to no avail.

The lunch bell rang. Kyon stayed behind and tried in vain to talk to Suzumiya. Darian went right to lunch and sat at the appointed table. After about ten minutes, Kyon walked up and sat next to him.

Darian swallowed the bite he was chewing on and started the ball rolling. “Glad you could make it, Kyon. How have things been since we last talked?”

Kyon took a bite and swallowed, looking grim. “Look, Darian: if you're going to be hanging out with the SOS Brigade for any length of time, there are some things you need to know.”

Darian, already completing his next bite, nodded.

Kyon shook his head. “I know this is going to be difficult to believe, but you need to trust me.” He took another bite, then, as serious as he could muster, “Other than you and me, there are no normal humans in the SOS Brigade.”

Darian cocked his head slightly, but nodded, inwardly savoring the irony.

“Yuki Nagato is, basically, an alien; she is a biological interface for an entity called the Data Overmind. She was created about three years ago to observe Haruhi Suzumiya.

“Mikuru Asahina is a time traveler from the far future, also sent here to observe Suzumiya.

“Itsuki Koizumi is, basically, a psychic: he is a member of a secret Organization dedicated to observing Suzumiya and keeping the world intact when she goes through her mood swings.

“And Suzumiya herself, as I suggested before, is the one who made all this possible. Up to three or so years ago, there were no aliens, time travelers, or psychics. Then in one moment, that all changed. She altered the world to make all this possible. Nobody knows how or why she is able to do this, but she is able to change the world at a whim, but is completely unaware of it.”

Darian, of course, knew all this to be true, and even knew some facts that even the “aware” Brigadeers were unaware of (save one), but, of course, he couldn't let Kyon know that.

In fact, the fact that Kyon decided to escalate this gave him a chance to escalate things himself. Adopting a look of sadness and concern, he lowered his head and shook it sadly, issuing a deep sigh.

Kyon looked at him. “Is there a problem?”

Darian looked up slowly and met his eyes with a gaze of sadness and near-panic. “It's worse than I thought.”

Kyon pulled back. “What do you mean?”

“Kyon, I don't know how to tell you this: you've undergone a psychotic break.”

“What?!”

“This goes beyond merely a case of Stockholm Syndrome: you don't just identify with your kidnapper, you've created a fantasy world in which everything she says is true so your mind doesn't collapse under the conflict between her reality and yours.”
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