Suzumiya Haruhi:Volume6 Live A Live

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Live A Live

This happened in my first year in high school.

The year when the humanoid climatic anomaly known as Suzumiya Haruhi began her rampage, and also the most eventful year in my life. A year that gives me enough to fret about just by thinking back on all the troublesome events. When looking through my memory photo album, I found all sorts of jaw dropping things that had happened. One of these little events still makes a deep impression in the back of my mind, so allow me to share it with everyone.

It was a time when the remnant summer heat refuses to leave the islands, making one suspect that someone had accidentally triggered a weather changing mechanism, since the calendar was already pointing to an autumn season.

It was the day of the school festival.

From declaring the making of the movie all the way to completing all the editing works, the ever insane director and executive producer had created a mess more confusing than any of the special effects added for the actors and crew involved.

In the end, it was thanks to me that the movie can be sorted out properly.

Today was the first day of the school festival, and also the premiere of the movie. I don't know whether this movie titled "The Adventures of Asahina Mikuru Episode 00" should be classified as a movie or a personal advertisement for Asahina-san. I suppose it's now being shown with great reviews.

Why did I say "suppose"? That's because I no longer want to see my name associated with that crap movie that literally challenges the laws of physics. So after handing the tape to the Movie Study Group, I decided to take a stroll around and relax.

Fortunately, when it comes to taking care of the small details and the diplomatic duty of promoting the movie, Haruhi becomes even more energetic as usual, ever leading the way as the commander.

She probably doesn't give a damn about the teachers and students, who by now have gotten used to her antics, but she should at least give some consideration for the parents and people from out of school who would be visiting today, because right now she's wearing her bunny costume that was last worn earlier this spring! But thanks to this, Asahina-san, Nagato and Koizumi can now concentrate on preparing for their classes' festival activities, which weren't as boring as mine and Haruhi's class 1-5.

So right now I feel like the storm has finally subsided, my mind as clear as the mirror surface of a calm lake. Once the digital editing of the movie was done, my work was complete. I shook my sleepy head and decided to take a look at Nagato's divinations, and maybe laugh at Koizumi's crap acting for his class theatre. It may be a generic school festival by a lowly prefectural high school, but it is a festival after all, so it's not a bad thing to go out and experience something you don't get to see every day.

Besides, today I have a duty that I must attend to, and that duty is now being clutched in my hand as a piece of paper.

Of course, that piece of paper is none other than a discount coupon for Asahina-san's class' noodle stall.

No matter how cheap the tea leaves, once brewed by the hands of Asahina-san, would turn into a heavenly elixir. So I'm sure a dish of fried noodles made by the same pair of hands would rival the best a top-class Chinese restaurant has to offer. As I walked up the stairs, my expectation for how my stomach would grumble at the scent of it was constantly rising, while my footsteps were so light I felt like flying.

As I began my ascent into heaven in excitement, someone doused a cold bucket of water over my head,

"It could have been better if they had offered us a coupon where we can eat for free."

The only person in this world who would complain so much was none other than Taniguchi. I only decided to invite him seeing how pitiful he was after falling into the pond when helping out as a movie extra, plus this was an opportunity of a lifetime. Otherwise I wouldn't even consider him at all. What more could he ask for?

"I gave my all helping you guys out, and I'm still waiting for my pay! You should at least invited me to the movie premiere. Don't tell me you've cut out all my scenes. A 30% discount coupon just for nearly getting drowned is too cheap a reward!"

Stop picking on the small details. Asahina-san has given us these coupons out of kindness so we could come to her class' noodle stall! Besides, the most underpaid actress was Asahina-san herself. I even wanted to call up the Selection Committee for the Academy Awards and persuade them to give her an Oscar.

"If you don't feel like coming, hurry up and get lost!"

Hearing me say that, the other person that came along decided to mediate,

"Come on, Taniguchi, let's go together. Since you had just wanted to stroll around on your own. It's better sitting together than walking all alone."

That was my classmate Kunikida, who unlike Taniguchi had the looks of a bright student.

"Besides, since we're going with Kyon, we may even receive more offers. Like offering us more Kimchi, don't you always like Korean food, Taniguchi?"

"Well, sort of."

Taniguchi replied swiftly.

"That would have to depend on how it tastes. Kyon, Asahina-san's not cooking, is she?"

Hearing that question, I remembered Asahina-san telling me she was only in charge of serving food and drinks. So what about it?

"Oh nothing, I was just thinking Asahina-san's probably crap at cooking. I wouldn't be surprised even if she put in sugar instead of salt for flavouring."

It's not that I want to complain, but just what are you and Haruhi treating Asahina-san as? Though she may be good at being a mascot and a maid, in this day and age, you would only find people who mistake sugar for salt in a fantasy world. Asahina-san would only panic when losing her time-travelling device, though that fact alone was enough to make me wonder if she's really from the future.

"I'm really looking forward to this," said Kunikida, "I hear their class is going to have a cosplay cafe. Asahina-san's waitress costume in the movie and the bunny girl costume the other day were all stunning, I wonder what she'll be wearing this time?"

"I can't wait to see."

Taniguchi agreed soundly. These two were unlike me, who had gotten used to seeing Asahina-san in her maid costume every day. I suddenly felt pity for them.

Coming out from the stairs and into the corridor, I too began to visualize what I would see. Speaking of waitresses, all my dirty mind could think of was that tight uniform she wore in the movie, giving me a great urge to want to molest her. Though today she would be wearing an adorable elegant waitress uniform, gracefully serving food and drinks. With such scenery to cleanse the eyes and soul, what more could one ask for? I always thought Haruhi's preferred costumes were too complicated, after all, she was insane enough to stand at the school entrance dressing up as a bunny girl. These thick, steel-like nerves would probably suit a rough girl like her, but not everyone possesses nerves of steel.

Asahina-san wearing the waitress costumes hand-made by her classmates......

Only on this matter was I able to agree enthusiastically with Taniguchi: I'm very much looking forward to this. Very.

Today the school corridors were laid with green grass mats that were no different from those inexpensive red carpets.

Normally students have to change into their indoor shoes when entering the school, but for the visitors' convenience, for today and tomorrow the school allowed people to enter wearing shoes for the duration of the school festival. All sorts of people appeared in the school as a result. This was especially true for those from the arts clubs, whose families have come to see their various performances. The school became a place for the local neighbourhood to kill time. There were also the students' old junior high classmates, who came to visit from their various high schools, especially those from the girls' school at the base of the hill. This became a once-in-a-year opportunity for the guys here to try their luck with them; certainly, that included Taniguchi.

On the corridor where anything but a North High uniform would draw attention, the three of us were like sardines swimming towards a bait, and wandered along the corridor where the second year classrooms were, finally stopping before the classroom, which was between one that held mole-bashing games and one that provided balloons to visitors.

The scent of burnt teriyaki travelled out from the entrance, which had a sign that read "NoodleAhs and Drinks Stall". The queue outside this classroom was longer than any other classroom. Before we came to this meandering queue, a voice shouted,

"Ah! Kyon-kun, you came with your friends as well! Welcome! Come this way!"

That was a crispy clear voice and beaming smile that I would recognize even from ten yards away. Besides the troublesome Haruhi, I know only one other person who could smile so happily.

It was none other than Tsuruya-san, and here she was dressed up in her waitress costume.

Standing by the tables outside on the corridors and waving at us, Tsuruya-san seems to be in charge of selling tickets, as well as attracting customers.

"Well? What you think of this costume? It looks great, doesn't it?"

Tsuruya-san moved with agility through the crowd and towards us.

"Of course it does."

I adopted a low profile approach when looking at Tsuruya-san.

I was so busy visualizing Asahina-san in her maid costume that I've forgotten that Tsuruya-san was in the same class as she was. Taniguchi and Kunikida had the look of a fisher that fished a flatfish, but found out that it comes along with a guppy biting its tail, and just looked astonished at this long-haired sempai. Couldn't really blame them, really. I don't know who designed this costume, but there must definitely be an expert fashion designer in their class. It was of a different style to the strange costumes Asahina-san was forced to wear for the movie. It wasn't too extravagant, nor was it too generic. It gave elegance to whoever wears it, yet not overshadowing any glamor from the wearer herself, bringing the charm of the wearer to the maximum. It could easily be the best fashion design of the year.

Anyway, the costume was so good it can only be described in such abstract terms. If Tsuruya-san was already so stunning in this costume, I think I would probably be paralysed by the sight of Asahina-san wearing it.

"Business sure is good."

Hearing me say that,

"Nya ha ha ha......Come on in then!"

Ignoring the glares from the other people, Tsuruya-san elegantly lifted her apron and said,

"We used the cheapest ingredients to fry our noodles, and it tastes terrible. Yet we still get so many customers, we're making so much money that I can't stop smiling!"

Tsuruya-san sure looked really happy. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out why everyone queueing up for this noodle stall were all guys. Tsuruya-san's smiles carried a certain magic in them, even I was infected by her cheerfulness. After all, it's men that are more easily deceived.

We stood at the end of the long queue, Tsuruya-san continued serving her smile for free,

"Please pay first! We only have fried noodles and water! One plate costs 300 yen, while you can drink all the tap water for free!"

I gave her the discount coupons.

"Hmm, three is it? Then that'll be 500 yen for the three of you. A great discount!"

She stuffed the coins into her apron pocket, then gave us three fried noodle vouchers.

"Alright then, please wait a moment! It'll be your turn soon!"

Having said that, Tsuruya-san turned and returned to the table by the entrance. The coins in her apron pocket rang soundly as she disappeared within the queueing crowd.

"She sure is energetic. How come she never gets tired?"

Kunikida said looking impressed, while Taniguchi lowered his voice and said,

"Kyon, I've been thinking about this for some time now. Who is that anyway? One of you and Suzumiya's accomplices?"


Just like you guys, Tsuruya-san is not of our club. She's mainly used to make up the numbers whenever it was necessary, it's just that she always seems to appear at the right time.

For Tsuruya-san, "a moment" probably meant a little over half an hour, because we had to wait for about thirty minutes before we finally arrived at the front of the queue and was let in the classroom. While we were waiting, the queues behind us never stopped growing, and they were all was an unbelievable scene. Though we're not qualified to say anything about them since we were part of the queue as well.

The classroom was divided into two halves, one as a makeshift kitchen and the other as a seating area. The frying pans made loud sizzling noises from the frying of the noodles. The cooks were girls wearing white Japanese-style aprons, chopping up the ingredients with their knives were also girls. This made me wonder, where did all the guys in this class go? And what were they doing?

I later learnt from Tsuruya-san that all the poor guys were basically serving as slaves for the girls, either being sent out to buy any insufficient ingredients and utensils, or to get water and wash the dishes. I guess it couldn't be helped, the "Age of Aquarius" has truly arrived. Tsuruya-san brought us to our seats and said,

"Here's your table. Three drinks for the customers here!"

An adorable voice replied at the sempai's calling,

"Coming~~. Ah, welcome."

Even if I didn't mention, I'm sure most of you must have guessed who it was coming over, carrying a tray with cups of water on it.

After handing out our drinks, she carried the tray with her arms and bowed politely to us,

"Welcome! Thank you for coming to our little food stall!"

She smiled gently at us,

"Hi, Kyon-kun, and your, you were the movie extras......"

The two people besides me said at the same time,

"I'm Taniguchi!"

"I'm Kunikida."

"Hee hee, I'm Asahina Mikuru."

There hanging on the classroom wall was a poster that read "No photos!" That move was understandable, since if photos were allowed, the room would fall into chaos, and not a lot of business would be made.

It's natural for the adorable Asahina-san to be able to charm the whole school. As expected, my consciousness flew into the air at the sight of her costume, there was no need for any words to further describe her cuteness. Asahina-san and Tsuruya-san were just so beautiful standing together that I wanted to award them with a best waitress costume design award. I guess heaven would be some place full with sceneries like that.

Asahina-san put the tray under her arm and tore the noodle coupons into two halves, returning one half to us, she said,

"Please wait a moment."

Under the watchful eyes of all the guys, she ran quickly to the makeshift kitchen. Tsuruya-san smiled and explained,

"Mikuru is only in charge of receiving vouchers, collecting dishes and serving water. That's all she does! What would we do if she accidentally trips over and burns herself with sizzling hot noodles? This is why we need to give our cover girl the best protection possible!"

You're absolutely right, Tsuruya-san.

Serving us with our noodles was another second year waitress. The price of having more Kimchi was that we now have less meat, the noodles were normal at best, all we could taste was the sauce, it wasn't really that great. Like a humming bird, Asahina-san now jumped from table to table serving water for the new customers and receiving vouchers. She would occasionally come and pour some cold water for us, which wasn't really that cold. That was the best she could do. Tsuruya-san was also busy coming in and out of the entrance receiving customers. It just didn't feel good for us to sit too long.

It took only five minutes for us to finish our noodles, and besides leaving quickly, there was nothing else we could do. Yet we were not quite full.

"Now what should we do?"

Kunikida asked,

"I want to go see the movie Kyon made, just to make sure I'm in it. What about you, Taniguchi?"

"I'm not going to waste my time watching such a movie!"

Taniguchi refused stubbornly and took out an itinerary flyer for the school festival from his pocket.

"There wasn't that much to eat at that noodle stall, I'm going to the Science Club's barbecue party! But before that......"

He gave an evil grin,

"I must make good use of this great opportunity, I'm going to go hook up with some girls! All my targets today are girls in casual wear. If you look carefully you would find three girls walking happily together. Surprisingly, if you flirt with those, half of them would actually agree to go out with you. These all came from my past experience of flirting with girls."

To hell with your flirting experiences, so far your success rate has been close to zero, what use can I have with such experiences?

I quickly shook my head,

"I'm not going. You two can go ahead."


Taniguchi gave a cold smile, while Kunikida nodded his head as though understanding something. Now that pissed me off, yet I could not find a way to argue back. It's not that I'm afraid I would bump into someone when flirting with other girls, it's just that......I just think it's better to be safe.

"It's OK, Kyon. We understand you're that sort of person. There's no need to explain. We're friends after all, right?"

Taniguchi pretended to make a sigh, Kunikida quickly came and mediated,

"Say, Taniguchi, I don't think I'll be flirting with girls as well today. Sorry about that. If you do happen to hook up with one, would you mind introducing her friend to me? We're friends after all, right?"

After mimicking Taniguchi's pattern of speech, Kunikida then said,

"Well, see you guys later."

And he left cooly. I decided to follow Kunikida and leave Taniguchi standing alone with his eyes wide open like an idiot,

"Well, see ya later, Taniguchi. I'll ask you what your success rate is later this evening, if you're successful, that is."

Hmm......where should I go next?

If I go back to the classroom, I'll probably bump into Haruhi all alone inside. If I walked around the school with that girl, something's bound to happen that'll damage my reputation greatly. Once I thought of that, my feet automatically went the opposite direction. I was thinking that if she had kept on handing out flyers at the school entrance dressed in her bunny girl suit, someone should have stopped her by now, and she would be sulking all alone in the classroom. Please, just for today, allow me to have some free time to myself. Tomorrow my mom and sister would be coming to visit, I don't want them getting caught up with Haruhi's antics.

I once again examined the festival itinerary, there weren't many interesting activities around. I wasn't interested in learning the results for the school's questionnaire reports or the research on the distribution of local and foreign species of bauhinias. Each grade seems to have made more than two or more movies, I have no intention of watching any one of them. Neither was I interested in study groups discussing what they've learned so far at school, or maze houses made out of aluminium foil. Was recruiting members from other schools to form a handball club really a good idea? Only our homeroom teacher Okabe was enthusiastic about it.

"That leaves us with......"

My eyes stopped on the biggest event held during the school festival, the only people practising day and night for this event would only be those guys - I suddenly thought of the annoying trumpet noise that could be heard every night for the past few weeks.

"The concert by the Trumpet Orchestra."

I took up the itinerary and reconfirmed again, unfortunately, they won't be playing till tomorrow. There sure were a lot of clubs booking the assembly hall. The Theatre Club and Choir would also perform tomorrow, then what's on today......

"Live concerts by the Pop Music Society and bands that have registered."

Now that's quite common. Though most of the bands would play the most popular songs of the day by various pop singers, it's not too bad to listen to some live music once in a while. The passion and effort these bands put into their performance far exceeds what I put into the making of the movie by a hundred times. I might as well go compare the results. I could go listen to their music and relax while I daydream, and during this time, I could put this indie movie I personally made at the back of my mind.

"It's necessary to spend some time alone as well."

As a result, I had no idea my plan to relax and listen to some music was about to be shattered completely by surprise.

I was too naive, always believing everything in this world has a limit. I keep on forgetting that these limits are there to be ignored and broken eventually by someone. It was because of this that I fell into an infinite whirlpool of chaos that is literally beyond the scope of anyone's comprehension. It was after experiencing one strange event after another that I realized how shallow I was. I must make this a lesson for my descendants to learn from, as for whether my descendants would even pay attention to such a rule, that's not for me to worry about now.

The assembly entrance was wide open, a loud noise boomed from the inside, it was so loud it's as though even the gods were having a concert as well. While this soul rock concert was a bit low in terms of quality, but as long as you pour your heart into it, it doesn't matter much on how good or bad you are, it's just like not adding any flavouring to your Miso soup wouldn't affect it too much. Though it'll taste much better if flavourings were added, but the main dish is the Miso soup itself, not the flavouring. If only flavourings were served, then it won't do the Miso soup any justice.

I looked around the hall, the place looked really small. The steel chairs were only about sixty percent full, the hall was about eighty percent full at the beginning of the concert. The amateur bands on the stage played a number of familiar pop songs, though it's still going to be some time before they make it big, the Broadcast Club's remixing skills were partly responsible for their performance as well.

As all the lights were focused on the stage, the surrounding areas became dark. I found a row full of empty seats and sat by the side.

According to the itinerary, this concert is divided into two parts, one by the Pop Music Society, and the rest by other amateur bands who have registered to perform. Right now it's the students from the Pop Music Society performing. There was a standing area in front of the first row of steel chairs, where some people danced to the rhythm. Based on my deductions, these people are either the performers' families or are being paid to dance around. At any rate, the amplifiers here were just too loud for an audience who wants to daydream.

A while after I placed my hand behind my head, as the last tune was being played, the lead singer begun to introduce his entourage while following the rhythms. I found out that they were the Friendly Five, a second year band from the Pop Music Society. I'll probably forget this information in about three days time.

I don't know music that much to be able to appreciate what it means, and I have no interest in further understanding who the performers are. This was the best occasion to kill time.

I began to relax my nerves.

As a result, when the Friendly Five exited the stage on one side waving their hands at the sporadic applause from the audience, followed by another band entering the stage from the other end......

I started to rub my eyes.


The mood in the hall quickly changed. Everyone's mental state slid ten metres down, and the sound effect of them murmuring was now knocking in my head.

The bunny ears on her head swung forward and back and she stood on the stage. Even if her eyes were replaced by someone else's, I would still recognize who she is.
The bunny ears on her head swung forward and back and she stood on the stage. Even if her eyes were replaced by someone else's, I would still recognize who she is.

"What on earth does that girl think she's doing?"

I was already amazed at seeing her carrying a notestand and microphone onto the stage, yet she has to stand in the limelight with that familiar face and figure, wearing that familiar bunny girl costume.

The bunny ears on her head swung forward and back and she stood on the stage. Even if her eyes were replaced by someone else's, I would still recognize who she is.

Suzumiya Haruhi.

For some reason, Haruhi stood in the center of the stage with a very serious expression.

But, it would have been fine if it was just her alone.


That was the sound I made when all the air in my lungs left me at once after noticing the second person who came on a second later.

Sometimes an evil alien magician, sometimes a dark-cloaked fortune teller carrying a crystal ball.


Speechless, I truly was speechless.

Wearing her black hat and cloak which I was used to seeing these past few weeks, Nagato Yuki walked onto the stage carrying an electric guitar, with the strap over her shoulder. Just what were they up to?

If Asahina-san and Koizumi had followed, I would've breathed a sigh of relief. Yet the third and fourth person were both girls that I've never seen before. Their modest uniform look gave an aura of dignity about them, I guess they must be sempais from the third year. One was carrying a bass guitar, while the other carried a set of drums onto the stage. There doesn't seem to be any other band members.

Why? The sight of Haruhi and Nagato in her school festival outfit made me want to close my eyes. Why were those two in a Pop Music Society band? And why was Haruhi standing in the most prominent position, carrying a microphone?

As my mind was trying to ponder these questions, the mysterious four-person band looked ready to go. The audience continued their murmuring, while I remained speechless and continued to stare at them. The bassist and drummer nervously started testing out their instruments, Nagato's face was calm as usual, placing her fingers on the guitar strings and standing by.

Next Haruhi put what looked like sheet music onto the notestand and looked around the hall. The seating area was very dark, so I don't think she saw me then. Haruhi tapped the microphone to make sure it was on, then turned to say something to the drummer.

Without any introduction, notification, or even a word from the host, the band began playing as soon as the drummer started the rhythm. Just listening to that prelude alone was enough to make me fall from my seat. Nagato's guitar skills had reached the levels of the likes of Mark Knopfler and Brian May. And they were playing a song I've never heard before. What's this?

What on earth is this?......Just as I was thinking, as if trying to hit me further, Haruhi began singing.

It was a very clear voice, so crisp it could travel all the way to the Moon.

It's just that she was reading the sheet music as she sang along.

For the whole duration of the first song, I never managed to recover from my stunned state. I was probably like one of those RPG monsters being cast with the "Silence" spell.

Haruhi didn't make any body movements, she just stood there and concentrated on singing. I suppose it wasn't easy trying to dance as you read and sing along the notes.

I was still in shock when the first song finished. Normally, it was an occasion for a standing ovation and widespread applause, but right now the audience was as petrified as I was.

Now what? I was already astonished at Haruhi coming up to perform, but I was even more amazed at Nagato's superb skills on the electric guitar. I'm sure the other members from the Pop Music Club had the same questions as I did. As for the other visitors from out of school, they were probably thinking, "Why is the lead singer dressed in a bunny girl suit?"

The hall was as silent as a trench that just suffered a carpet aerial bombing.

We were as silent as sailors who were ensnared by the sound of Siren's singing. When I looked carefully, I noticed the girls playing the bass and drums were also looking at Haruhi and Nagato with the same expression. It wasn't just the audience that was stunned.

Haruhi looked ahead and waited for something, then she knitted her brows and turned around. The drummer frantically began hitting her drums and started playing the second song.

Putting aside the amazement of the audience, the mysterious band was already playing their third song.

Perhaps I'm getting used to it, as my ears begun to appreciate the rhythm and lyrics of the song. This was a fast paced R&B song, this is the first time I've heard it, yet it sounded very pleasant. I thought it was a very good song. Maybe it's due to the amazing skills of the guitarist, as well as Haruhi's impeccable voice......Hmm, how should I say this? Though I was used to hearing her scream and shout, I must admit that she's a very good singer.

The audience also began to recover from their petrified state and turned their attention towards the stage.

I casually turned around and noticed that the number of audience has increased. And I spotted someone I knew as well, who walked towards me, wearing a Danish knight costume.

"Hi there."

Maybe he was afraid his voice would be buried within the loud speakers, he said this into my ear,

"May I please ask what's going on here?"

It was none other than Koizumi.

How the hell should I know? I shouted back, and stared at Koizumi's strange costume. How come you're walking around the school in your school festival costume as well?

"It's too bothersome getting changed all the time, so I decided to just come out wearing this."

And why did you come here?

Koizumi looked gently at the stage where Haruhi was singing, then flicked his hair,

"I heard some rumours."

So it's become a rumour now?

"Yes. To go up the stage and perform in such an outfit, the news is bound to spread. You can't keep a person's mouth shut forever."

The proudest troublemaker of North High, Suzumiya Haruhi, is up to something again......I've heard this sort of news spreading around the school many times already. I don't really mind if that girl added a new case to her X-File folder, but it just wouldn't be reasonable if my name and the SOS Brigade were involved as well.

"Suzumiya-san sure is amazing, so is Nagato-san."

Koizumi smiled and closed his eyes as if to enjoy the music. I once again turned towards the stage and observed Haruhi, trying to make out what she was really up to.

Both me and Koizumi had the same opinions about their singing and performance, besides the strange fact that the lead singer had to sing reading from her sheet music from the notestand.

Yet for some reason, I felt moved by something. What was this trembling in my heart about?

As if to change the pace of the performance to make the show more diversified, the next song was a slow melancholic tune. As the fourth song approached its end, I became deeply impressed with its rhythm and lyrics. I haven't heard such a moving tune for a long time now. I wasn't alone in thinking like that, the audience around me were also immersed in their enjoyment, there wasn't even a sound of anyone clearing their throats. Once the fourth song was over, the hall fell into silence once again.

Finally......facing the now fully-seated hall, Haruhi spoke her first sentence,

"Um......Hello everybody."

Haruhi said with a stiff expression......

"I think it's time I introduced the members of the band. Actually, I and......"

She pointed to Nagato.

"Yuki and I aren't members of this band. We're only stand-ins. The original lead singer and main guitarist was absent due to some unforseen events. Oh, and the lead singer is the main guitarist as well. So there are only three members in this band."

The audience listened intently.

Haruhi walked around from the notestand and towards the bassist, handing the microphone to her. The girl then looked frantically at Haruhi and asked Haruhi quietly, "Yes?" Before finally introducing herself emotionally.

Haruhi then walked towards the drums and allowed the drummer to introduce herself as well, then quickly returned to the center of the stage.

"These two and the absent leader are the real band members. That's all, and I'm sorry. I wasn't sure if I could perform well as a stand-in, but as there was only an hour left before the show started, I just had to give it a try."

Haruhi shook her head, her bunny ears shook along as well.

"So, if anyone wanted to listen to the real thing being performed by the lead singer and main guitarist, please come and register later. Oh, and we would provide a free copy to anyone who's brought an audio recorder or MD player with them, right?"

The bassist stiffly nodded her head at Haruhi's question.

"Right, then it's decided."

Haruhi showed her first smile since coming onto stage, so that girl can get nervous sometimes as well. As if finally free from her shackles, she now revealed a bright smile that's usually seen in the club room - well, not as bright as usual, but the brightness of the smile was at least 50 Watts.

Haruhi turned and smiled at Nagato, who remained expressionless, then screamed towards the microphone at the top of her voice,

"And now, the final song!"

It was later on that I found out from Haruhi herself.

"After I was done giving out the flyers at the school entrance, and on my way back towards the classroom......"

Haruhi said,

"I found someone arguing by the shoe lockers. Yes, it was the members of that band arguing with the people from the Student Council's School Festival Executive Committee. I felt a bit curious, so I decided hear what they were fighting about."

Wearing your bunny girl costume?

"What I was wearing then isn't important. After hearing what was being argued, I found out that the Executive Committee wasn't allowing the band to perform."

They didn't have to make a ruckus by the shoe lockers of all places.

"That was because of the band the three sempais from the Pop Music Society formed, their leader, who was the lead singer and main guitarist, suddenly fell into a fever. I hear she's suffering from tonsillitis, she could hardly speak, and she looked exhausted as she struggled to stand."

She sure was unlucky.

"Exactly. Not to mention she accidentally tripped and twisted her right wrist at home. It was impossible for her to perform."

If it was impossible, why did she come to school then?

"Um, she cried and begged to be allowed on the stage. But she looked as though she would faint if she didn't receive any medical treatment soon, so the Executive Committee people carried this, and dragged her away as though carrying a little green man. Both sides pulled and pushed, and eventually came to the shoe lockers."

But, how was that lead singer and guitarist going to perform when she was sick and injured at the same time?

"By sheer determination."

I actually believe only you could do that if it was just you.

"They worked so hard for this day! It wasn't much if your own efforts went down the drain, but you can't just throw away the efforts of your companions as well. I really hate seeing such situations."

You sounded as though you've worked hard yourself.

"And the songs as well. They weren't going to play some half-assed pop song, but an original song with the tune composed and lyrics written all by themselves! Of course they wanted to perform at all costs. If the song could speak, it would probably shout, 'Play me! Play me now!'"

So you decided to roll up your sleeves and help them out?

"My costume didn't have any sleeves then. The guys from the School Festival Executive Committee in this school are all imbecile yes-men appointed by the teachers, there's no way one can listen to whatever they say. But......though I may be at loggerheads with the Student Council, when I saw the band leader looking so terrible, even I thought she couldn't make it. And so I said, 'Why not let me take over for you?'"

And that leader, bassist and and drummer actually agreed?

"If it was just the singing, it wasn't too hard. The sick band leader stared at me for a while, then said, 'Alright. If it's you, then you can do it.' She then gave me a gentle smile while looking very tired."

Everybody in North High now knows who Haruhi is and what she looks like. They probably have guessed what sort of girl she is as well.

"I didn't think much, after I pushed her into the teacher's car as she was driven off to the ambulance, I then concentrated on memorizing the tunes and lyrics from listening to the demo tapes and reading the sheet music, since we only had one hour left."

Then, what about Nagato?

"Um, it's not that much of a problem for me to play the guitar as well, but we already had no time as I was already busy memorizing the rhythms. So I decided to ask Yuki to help out on the guitar part. Do you know? That girl's good at everything!"

Of course I know that, better than you in fact.

"When I found her, she was busy telling the fortunes of her customers. When I explained everything to her, she agreed to help right away. I'm so amazed that she can memorize the notes instantly after reading it just once, and then play them all out so accurately. I wonder where Yuki learnt her guitar skills from."

She probably only started learning the moment you came asking her to help out.

On the following Monday, two days after that incident.

It was on the first Monday after the school festival, during the recess before the fourth session.

Haruhi sat behind me, happily writing something on her notebook. I don't want to know what it was, but I could pretty much guess the details. Haruhi was pleased that the SOS Brigade's first indie movie did surprisingly well, and already she was busy conceptualizing on its sequel. Just thinking of how to banish these thoughts from Haruhi's mind was already tiring enough for me.

"Someone's here!"

Kunikida said after returning from the bathroom,

"They're looking for Suzumiya-san."

Haruhi lifted her head, Kunikida then pointed towards the door. Finishing his role as the messenger, he hurriedly returned to his seat.

Outside the open sliding doors stood three solemn looking girls. One of them wore a sling over one of her shoulders. I remembered seeing the other two......they were the band members from last time.


I pointed to the door with my chin.

"They seem to be looking for you."


Surprisingly, Haruhi looked hesitant. She slowly stood up, but had no intention of moving. In the end she even said,

"Kyon, come with me."

Why should I have to go with you? I never had a chance to argue, as Haruhi pulled me by my collar with her incredible strength towards the classroom door. The three sempais instantly giggled at the sight of this.

Haruhi then forcefully had me stand beside her.

"Has your tonsillitis got any better?"

She said to the third year girl that I only met for the first time.

"Yes, it's much better now."

She gently caressed her throat and said in a weak voice,

"We're forever indebted to you, Suzumiya-san."

She then bowed deeply to Haruhi. Her band members did the same as well.

I later found out from them that the whole school (especially the girls) have rushed to the Pop Music Society and requested copies of the original demo recordings. Right now they're visiting every class distributing the MD copies.

"There were so many orders that it's amazing."

When I heard how many orders were made, I was amazed as well. Because people weren't ordering the version which Haruhi and Nagato stood-in, but the original version instead. It was an unexpected ripple effect.

"This is really all thanks to you."

The three of them all gave the same graceful smile to their helpful lower classman.

"As a result of that, all our hard work didn't go to waste. We're so grateful of your help. Suzumiya-san, you truly are amazing. This year's school festival was our last chance of performing for the Pop Music Society, I would have performed myself if it were possible, but it was better to find a stand-in than to give up completely. We are simply eternally grateful for your generosity."

It was embarassing enough to be thanked so sincerely by three sempais, even though I wasn't the one being thanked. Why should I stand with Haruhi and be embarassed together with her?

"We'd like to offer you a gift as a token of our gratitude."

When the band leader said that, Haruhi quickly shook her hands.

"There's no need for that, no, really. I had a fun time singing, the songs were really pleasant. It's like having a karaoke but with free live band playing for you instead. So I'll feel bad if I accept any gifts from you."

I felt Haruhi sounded strange. As though she had prepared this speech beforehand. Although talking to her sempais so casually sure suited her image well.

"There's no need to be too concerned about it. If you want to thank someone, go thank Yuki. She was the one that I had to turn to for help."

The three of them all said they've already gone to Nagato-san's class to thank her.

After expressing their gratitude, Nagato simply nodded without changing her expression and then silently pointed towards Haruhi's classroom. That wasn't too hard to visualize.

"Well then......"

The leader sempai finally said,

"We plan to hold another concert just before our graduation, so feel free to come along, and......"

She looked at me carefully.

"Don't forget to bring your friend along."

But, how was it that their original recorded version became so popular in demand?

The answer was later solved by someone. It's only during this time that this chatterbox would come to explain in detail the answer to this minor mystery. Sometimes this esper-boy can be useful as well.

"Have you noticed any difference between Suzumiya-san's voice with the rest of the rhythm sections? Or to be more precise, the difference between the rhythm sections of Suzumiya-san's melody, Nagato-san's guitar riff and that of the bass and drums."

Koizumi continued,

"The difference was so small it was near impossible to notice. Their jamming was so perfect no one would have thought they were a temporary band. Suzumiya-san sure has an amazing sense of rhythm, she only needed to listen to the original tape three times before going on to perform."

Nagato too was pretty amazing, with her guitar skills reaching professional levels. But for our ever reliable goddess Nagato, that sort of trick was easy for her.

"However, that sort of singing wasn't exactly perfect. After all, those were all original composed songs. The musical foundation over the songs of the band members, who had practiced day and night over their own created songs, and that of Haruhi, who only came on after listening to the tape three times, were drastically different."

That was pretty obvious.

"Exactly. In other words, no matter how hard the bassist and drummer try to match up with the singing of Suzumiya-san, who had hastily memorized the rhythms and made her own interpretations, and the guitar riffs of Nagato-san, who would be trying to follow the singing rhythms, there would still be some discrepancies between their various rhythm sections. The audience would feel some sort of disharmony within the song, yet they don't know where the disharmony comes from, since that was based on a subconscious feeling."

He's always like that, explaining things as though they really mean something. Must you explain everything from a psychological point of view?

"This is based on my analysis, you'll understand once I finish my explanation. As the second song and third song followed, that disharmonious feeling within the audience grew larger and larger without them realizing it, until the final song was played......Think about it, what did Suzumiya-san do before performing the last song?"

She explained to the audience that the lead singer as well as main guitarist was absent, and she had to stand-in together with Nagato. She then stuffed the microphone to the band members for them to introduce themselves. That was it.

"And that was enough. The mystery was answered, and the doubts of the audience were all cleared at once. 'Ah~. So that's why we had that strange feeling of disharmony.'......and all their questions were answered."

Since you say that, I guess I have to agree. Yet I still wasn't convinced.

"Suzumiya-san's singing and Nagato-san's guitar skills were far above the levels a high school Pop Music Society could reach. The audience would probably think, 'If the stand-in artists was already this great, then wouldn't the original members be superb?'"

So that's why many people requested MD copied of their original recordings?

"Suzumiya-san's singing is so good that it's close to perfection. Yet her near perfect performance has created something good out of it, Suzumiya-san sure is incredible."

Maybe. For those three third-year band members, Haruhi was like a saviour.

But......what was she to us?

"To us? What do you mean?"

I mean what was Haruhi to the members of the SOS Brigade, the constant victims of Haruhi's ideas! Don't tell me you expect her to create "something good" from her ideas.

"Then I wouldn't know the answer. These things are best left till the end to find out. Yes, if till the very end, we still feel it wasn't a bad thing to have met her, then it's probably a blessing."

The three third-year sempais left just as the bell for the end of the fourth session began to ring.

Haruhi returned to her seat with an expression that was complex and hard to describe. She spent the whole fourth session daydreaming and carrying the same expression. When lunch break came, she disappeared at once.

I spent the lunch break sitting with Kunikida and listening to Taniguchi making his excuses, "It's true. There were no hot girls at all during the school festival, I think this has to do with our school's geographic position. As the school is situated on a hill, the romantic path becomes an uphill struggle as well." I think I let that babble enter my left ear and out of my right, as I was too busy eating. I finished my boxed lunch in no time and got off my seat.

For no reason at all, I suddenly felt like having a walk after lunch.

After walking aimlessly for a while, for some reason my legs automatically turned to the central courtyard, and towards the patchy grass fields just beside the corridor leading to the club room building, and it was there I saw Haruhi lying on the grassy knoll.

Placing her hand behind her back as a pillow, she seemed concentrated on the movement of the clouds above.


I said,

I decided to follow suit and silently look at the sky.
I decided to follow suit and silently look at the sky.

"What's with you? You've had that face since the last recess."

"What now?"

Haruhi gave me an incomprehensible reply, and continued looking at the clouds. I decided to follow suit and silently looked at the sky.

I don't know how long we kept silent for. I don't suppose it was more than three minutes, but I don't have much confidence with my internal clock anyway.

At the end of this meaningless silent marathon, Haruhi finally spoke. She sounded very stiff, as if struggling to find a topic to talk about.

"Um......I just can't remain calm, I wonder why?"

Hearing Haruhi's tone I could tell she was troubled, I half-smiled,

"How should I know?"

It's because you're not used to being thanked by other people, and especially to being thanked personally by someone you've never met before. And you never have done anything others would say "thank-you" for face-to-face. You're probably wondering whether you were being intrusive when you decided to help them. After all, if it had been you, even if your vocal cords and arms were broken, you would probably had dragged yourself onto the stage with your sheer determination, no matter how people tried to talk you out of it. Never once would you have thought of getting anyone to help.

In the end, you not only saved the day, but you managed to raise the popularity of the sempais' band, all thanks to your effort in standing up against the Executive Committee. Their gratitude was genuine and came from the bottom of their hearts. So the decision you made was probably the second best, if not the best, choice. How does it feel, Haruhi? Now you know the importance of helping people in need. Why don't you make an oath to help others for the rest of your life?

......I never said any of the above to Haruhi, only keeping it in my mind. Since all I was doing was standing besides Haruhi and looking at the sky. Since the school festival ended, the autumn season really kicked into gear, and the mountain breeze began chasing away the thin clouds.

Haruhi remained silent as well. Her scowling face was probably deliberate just to spite me. She must be having another expression inside her mind.


Laying flat on the grass, Haruhi turned her sharp gaze towards me,

"You have something to say? Hurry up and say it! Though it's probably some unimportant nonsense, but you'll go crazy eventually if you keep things to yourself for too long."

"No, nothing really." I said.

Haruhi sat up and clutched the grass on the knoll with her hands, she gathered them up and threw them towards me. But it seemed even the weather gods were on my side, as a wind suddenly came and blew the green grass straight into Haruhi's face.

"Damn it!"

After spitting out all the grass that flew into her mouth, she lay flat again.

I lifted my head and looked towards the club building, I could see the Literature Club's window. I thought I would see a slim short haired figure looking down at us, but in the end I could see nothing. It was normal for me not to see anything anyway.

After another moment's of silence, a voice began to talk to herself,

"It didn't feel bad at all singing live. Though for a moment I was concerned with how well I could sing......but it was fun. How should I say this? I felt very immersed with it."

If dressing up in a bunny girl costume and singing from the notes as a stand-in singer makes you happy, then it means you have an unlimited amount of enthusiasm, though I knew that for a long time already.

"And it was because it was so much fun that the injured sempai had to argue with the Executive Committee to allow her on the stage."


Hearing this heart-felt confession, I felt moved somehow. This girl never fails to amaze me.


Remaining solemn all the time until now, Haruhi suddenly leaped forward and stood near my face. I instinctively backed off, but mistimed my step. And right now this ever moody drama queen now showed a deluxe smile and raised her voice,

"Kyon, what instrument can you play?"

A particularly ominous feeling swiftly crept into my consciousness, I quickly shook my head.

"I don't know any."

"Let's form a band for the school festival next year. Even if we don't join the Pop Music Society, we can still go on stage to perform after passing the audition. We'll get through with ease. I'll do the singing, Yuki's the guitarist, while Mikuru-chan can shake the tambourine and make the stage lively. Good idea, huh?"

No, it's not a good idea!

"Of course, we must work on the sequel to the movie as well. Yup! We'll be quite busy next year. We ought to have more goals for the new year than previous years!"

Now just wait a moment.

"Let's go, Kyon."

Wait, hold it. Where're we going? And what're we doing?

"To get some instruments! We'll probably find something good if we go to the Pop Music Society's place, besides I want to ask that third-year band tips on how to compose a song. Good things ought to be done quickly!"

It may be a good thing for you, but not for me! But Haruhi ignored my doubts and grabbed my hand, she then began to drag me along......

In very large strides.

"Don't you worry, I'll take care of the music and lyrics. Of course, I'll be in charge of the editing and dance choreography as well!"

Sigh. The secret switch that only exists in Haruhi's has been switched on and was generating strange ideas once again. Even if I was abducted by aliens, I still wouldn't be dragged so strongly as this. I looked up again for someone who could save me.

There was still no sign of anyone by the club room window. The guitar maestro and alien magician was probably deeply immersed in her world of books right now, since autumn was the season for reading, after all.

"Can't you walk with your own legs? C'mon, let's leap through every three steps and we'll climb the stairs in no time!"

Haruhi turned, her eyes glittering with all sorts of entertaining stuff, she hastened her footsteps and soon began running.

I had no choice but to run along as well.

Why you ask?

Because it was still some time before Haruhi could let go of my hand.

(Live A Live End)

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