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Universe Roulette - Chapter 9

Title: Universe Roulette


Summary: Kyon wakes up one day, and the world is just a tiny bit different.  Koizumi, annoyingly, continues to remain the same.

Rating: PG. 

Author’s Note: And things finally start to get a bit interesting.


Universe Roulette

Chapter 9


A very exhausted Kyon had gone to bed the night before with the squeals and laughter of children still ringing in his ears. The party had run later than he’d expected, and when he’d tried to call Koizumi, there was no answer. He was cranky at the delay, but too tired to try again, so went to bed. As such, he’d been expecting to do battle with the snooze button in the morning, but when his alarm started to beep insistently and he cracked open an eye to locate it, things were just off enough for him to be confused.
Part of the confusion could be immediately attributed to the fact that the room was much too dark. Was it still cloudy? Did his alarm go off too early? Thinking about it, the room was unusually cold and the bed was harder than it normally was. 
Drowsily, Kyon fumbled for the clock, hitting the snooze, and peered at the time. No, the time was right. His curtains were just too dark and blocking out the light, making it seem earlier than it actually was. Although… since when did he have dark curtains?
Wait... this wasn't his house.

Kyon bolted upright in bed, eyes darting about, taking in the unfamiliar surroundings. This bedroom was far, far smaller than the one he was used to.  The blinds – not the curtains he’d been expecting - were still closed, but in the dim light he could see an unfamiliar desk he didn’t recognise, piled high with books and paper.  The bed felt only slightly harder than the one he normally slept in, but the blankets were worn and frayed at the edges.  The lamp didn't have a shade on it either by the looks of it, and the 'curtains', he discovered, were actually Venetian blinds.

Something was very wrong.  Had he been kidnapped?

Before his imagination even had the chance to run away with that scenario, he shook it from his mind, scoffing to himself.  Preposterous.  There was no way he would sleep through something like that.  And what would be the motive, anyway?  It wasn't like his family was rich or anything.  Well, there were all the various parties interested in Haruhi, but most of those only ever wanted to talk to him, or in the odd rare case, kill him.  And realistically, in a kidnapping didn't they tie the victim up so that they couldn't escape?  And why the heck would they have brought his schoolbooks?

This logic should have been reassuring, but fear began to worm its way into his heart instead.  Apprehensively, he left the bed, padding over to the closet.  His school uniform in addition to an assortment of other clothes were hung up within. 
Almost mechanically, he dressed in the uniform, not particularly wanting to face whatever it was he would be facing in his pyjamas.  It struck him as odd that his jacket was slightly rumpled, as if it had only been half-ironed.  Even though he rarely wore his uniform properly, his mother was always very meticulous about the ironing.  Of course, if the kidnappers had just grabbed his clothes - which in itself didn't make any sense – it was natural that they would be a little creased.

That little detail bothered him though, as he hesitantly opened the door to the bedroom, steeling himself to face whatever nightmare might lie beyond.  It was like an itch at the back of his mind that wasn't quite willing to be ignored, even as it was dismissed as inconsequential.

The apartment beyond was empty.  No one was waiting for him.  Somehow more shocked than he might have been if he'd come across a giant cave cricket, Kyon warily ventured deeper into the room.  It was a small apartment, completely silent save for the droning hum of a small fridge.  There was an area that looked a little like a living room, though it was even smaller than the bedroom he'd just come from, and a cramped kitchenette in the corner.  Off to the side was a door that he figured must lead to the bathroom.  It very much reminded him of the sort of accommodations a university student might reside in.  There really was no one else in the apartment - there was nowhere they could even hide.  If anyone had kidnapped him, they'd done a rather poor job of it.

A little dazedly, Kyon ventured back into the bedroom, fiddling with the blinds so that he could see outside.  He was mildly alarmed to discover he was up several stories high, but slightly mollified when he recognised the area.  The train passed it on the way to school each day - a distant rattling rumble a moment later confirmed his suspicions that there was a track nearby.

Mechanically, he turned to his desk, only now noticing his school bag resting next to it.  He packed it with books, for lack of anything else to do, and headed into the kitchen.  The fridge was mostly empty, but there were some leftovers that would suffice for breakfast. 

That itch at the back of his head began to grow more fierce as he shuffled through the rest of his morning routine, intensifying as he found his toothbrush and the usual toothpaste in the cramped bathroom, then practically burning as he found a set of keys with his name and an unfamiliar address – likely his current location - hanging on a hook by the door.

He barely remembered to lock the door behind him as he left the apartment.  He was starting to feel physically ill as he put the clues together, not wanting to dwell on the sickening possibilities.  A part of him was still hoping for a bizarre kidnapping attempt, but intellectually he had to admit that this was probably a new universe. Haruhi did like to tick them over at midnight.  That was the only explanation he could arrive at for how he'd woken up in a completely different place with most of his stuff.

The real question then, was - why was he living alone?

That was the question he wasn't sure if he wanted the answer to.
It took him a few minutes to decide how it was he probably got to school – there were no bike keys on his keyring, and no rail card in his wallet, so he guessed he was walking.
The school buildings at least seemed to be the same as always. Haruhi was there when he arrived, but he didn’t much feel like making conversation, and just let her talk at him. The words washed over him like water. He made appropriate comments here and there, but honestly couldn’t remember what was said by the time Okabe-sensei arrived. 
Taniguchi and Kunikida were still gone. Classes were… he couldn’t remember what classes were like. He didn’t pay a whit of attention. In fact, the day itself didn’t really come into focus until sometime near lunch.
He checked a few different places – the library, the computer society, the clubroom – for Nagato, just in case. There wasn’t much hope, but it was better than doing nothing. When nothing panned out there he settled in to eating lunch alone in the Brigade clubroom as was the new standard. 
There were things he probably should be doing. Tracking Koizumi down for starters, setting the ball in motion for finding a solution again. And maybe finding someone who would be able to give him information about who he supposedly was in this universe and wouldn’t think him completely crazy for asking.
That was also probably Koizumi.
In the end, though, he didn’t much feel like doing anything at all. He ate lunch, then half-heartedly leafed through a couple of the dusty books lining the clubroom shelves – left over from the heyday of the literature club, no doubt. The bell rang and he returned to classes and proceeded to not pay attention again. Haruhi might have kicked his chair at one point. He didn’t really notice.
Classes ended, and Haruhi dragged him to club, flinging open the door with bang. “Alright, everyone, listen up! We’re making a drama!”
Kyon frowned. “A drama?”
“The movie was a hit, right? We’ll go into a serial next! A soap opera! It’s all the rage, and will give our club heaps of publicity!”
Kyon wanted to point out that their movie had been anything but a hit, but knew better than to do so and went straight on to dreading how much work it was going to be. 
“Sounds wonderful,” Koizumi said cheerfully. “What’s it going to be about?”
“The Brigade, of course! We’ll play ourselves! It’ll be easier that way, since not all of you can act.” Kyon suspected that last part was mostly directed at himself and Tsuruya. “We’ve got all the right players for a great drama! I’ll be the lead, of course. Asakura is the classic good girl, Tsuruya’s the rebel-” Since when was Tsuruya a teenage delinquent? “Koizumi’s the mysterious transfer student-” There was absolutely nothing mysterious about mid-year transfers! “-and Kyon fills the role of the tragic orphan who has been struggling his way through the world alone!”
It was as though the world stopped.
Koizumi sighed and shrugged with a smile. “That’s our great leader for you.”
Asakura giggled. “It sounds sort of fun.”
The esper’s grin faded slightly, and he sent a concerned glance in his direction. “Kyon, is something the matter?”
“I need to go to the bathroom,” he mumbled, turned on his heel, and practically ran from the room. Ignoring their surprised exclamations, he didn’t stop until he’d reached the sanctuary of the lavatories. 

Gasping, Kyon slammed the bathroom door behind him, pressing his back against it before sliding to the ground.

The possibility had been lingering there all day in the back of his mind like a foul odour, but to have it confirmed...

He was an orphan.  That was why he was living alone in that cramped apartment.  Haruhi had conjured a universe in which his entire family was dead.

The cynical high schooler had never considered himself the emotional type, but his throat was tight and he found himself suddenly fighting back tears all the same.  His mother, father, and little sister... none of them existed here.  As far as everyone else was concerned, they probably hadn't for years, but to him who had memories of celebrating his sister’s birthday only the night before it was as though they had suddenly died.

What was Haruhi doing?  Did she want him to be miserable?  His anguish was briefly supplanted by fury.  She'd stolen Asahina, Nagato, Taniguchi and Kunikida from him one by one, and now his family too?!  Was she really so selfish, really so jealous that she would conspire to strip him of everyone he knew so that she and her precious brigade would be the only things he'd have left in his life?

His anger burnt out quickly though, and he buried his head in his hands.  No, he knew that she wasn't doing it on purpose.  Haruhi didn't consciously remake the world, and even when she went on tirades wishing for dramatic or terrible or interesting things to happen, she'd never once wished for anyone to get hurt or become genuinely miserable.  Could he really hate her - as easy as it was right now - for getting jealous of Asahina and Nagato and even the attention he gave to his friends?

His family though... was it simply because he’d skipped club the day before?
He had the sudden urge to throw up.  Had this ever happened to anyone else?  But they wouldn't even know - everyone else was reborn into each of these worlds with the corresponding set of memories but him.
Maybe that wasn’t it. Haruhi was talking about a drama, after all – maybe she was just embellishing his situation to make it sound more interesting for the show. His parents might be living out in the country or something. There could be all sorts of explanations.
He didn’t want to go back to club. Couldn’t go back – not like this.
As though possessed, Kyon ran most of the way ‘home’, getting slightly lost on the way and having to backtrack. He fumbled with the keys getting into the apartment, then staggered about looking for a light switch. He started tearing through his closet, then his drawers. If it were true, if what Haruhi said was real, there would be proof.
His fingers stopped just shy of the black picture frame, and his breath caught in his throat.
Kyon slumped to the ground, and shoved the drawer closed.
It was true. It was all true.
He didn’t know how long he sat there in shock for, but it was getting dark when he was jerked from his trance by the trilling of his phone.
He didn’t want to talk to anyone. Couldn’t handle it. Kyon ignored the phone until it rang out, and the cold, dark apartment was silent once more.
He was so sick of this already.


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Nov. 9th, 2008 09:32 am (UTC)
I actually LOOKED for it. No evidence of her name anywhere. Also, you know the computer society president? His name is also unknown - though we at least know it starts with a 'ya'. (Or possibly Haruhi was about to extoll the virtues of yaoi, it could be either).
Sep. 14th, 2012 03:45 am (UTC)
Oh my God, Sinnatious, I had no idea you wrote Haruhi Suzumiya fanfic! It wasn't until I randomly noticed an ItsuKyon tag on your list that I was like, heeeey, that sounds promising.

And Jesus is this good. Like, I don't know why you were doubting yourself in chapter one, this is. Really good. I don't think I've read a Haruhi fic this emotionally charged. I thought I was gonna cry reading this chapter. Poor Kyon... I knew it was coming last chapter since I deduced before he did about the friendship thing leading to deletion. Yuki's disappearance surprised me just a bit, but definitely fits in with the theme. (I hadn't quite caught on to Asahina's vanishing at first but when he stated it was like Ohhhhhh. ...Gods poor Kyon.)

I'll assist you in a rewrite if you really, really want to rewrite it, but I think it's just fine as it is. Better than fine, perfect. This chapter? All my feels. I can't wait to read more.

How is this not a thousand times more popular than it is?!
Sep. 14th, 2012 11:40 am (UTC)
Thanks, I'm glad you're enjoying it even if I'm still not happy with how it came out overall. :) (It's a pretty old fic now, too! Like, four years old?) LOL at how you discovered it, I have a masterlist if that helps (considering this was back when I was supremely lazy about linking chapters, the masterlist has links to the individual chapters at least.)

But hey, if it managed to elicit even a brief emotional reaction, I guess it wasn't a complete loss of a fic! :) Thanks for reading/commenting.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )