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Universe Roulette - Chapter 13

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: Today was epic bad.  Thus, this chapter is just perfect.  Quite short, though - next chapter is longer to make up for it.


Universe Roulette

Chapter 13


The sun rose, but Kyon didn’t come with it. Closed spaced had haunted his dreams the night before.
The apartment was as dark and empty as ever. It was always the same. He rolled over and drifted back to sleep.
He didn’t move until that afternoon. His phone trilled loudly, shattering the silence. He usually ignored it, but the number was different this time. 
“Kyon?! Kyon, you answered!”
Tsuruya? “What is it?”
“What do you mean, what is it? You haven’t been to school for so long!” She didn’t sound angry so much as scolding.
“So?! When are you coming back?”
Maybe never. What was the point? He was all alone. He didn’t have any friends.
“What are you talking about? You mean that the people in the SOS Brigade aren’t your friends?”
Oh. Apparently he said that part aloud. “No,” he replied dully, only now noticing how scratched and hoarse from disuse his voice sounded. “They were. But not anymore. They’re gone now.”
That clearly confused her. He was aware that she was communicating with someone there, but couldn’t bring himself to care enough to ask who. “Then… then make new friends!” she ordered, though her voice was wavering uncertainly. Clearly she was trying to dispense sage advice without really understanding what she was advising.
Kyon rolled his eyes back towards the ceiling. “There’s no point. She’ll just take them away again.”
“I don’t really get it, but you know, Kyon-”
He hung up. Tsuruya was a nice person, but he didn’t want to deal with her kindness. Even if she didn’t call him crazy, she wouldn’t be able to understand.
The sun set. He dreamt of closed space again that night. He’d been dreaming of it almost every second night lately. 
The sun rose again.
He managed to drag himself out of bed and have a bath – he was having trouble remembering how long it had been since the last one. He stayed in until the water grew cold and his skin grew wrinkled, then dragged himself out and sat against the wall of his room, staring at his bed and contemplating whether he should just go back to sleep. When he was asleep he wasn’t thinking about things.
Kyon hugged his knees to his chest and stared into space blankly.
There were thumps and thuds at the door, as well as a voice, but he drowned it out as he did everything else. It was unimportant. He refused to be swayed. He refused to have his hopes dashed again.
“….You really should have answered.”
Someone made it inside the apartment?
“…If it weren’t for Miss Suzumiya, I wouldn’t have thought anyone was home.”
Red high heels stepped into his line of vision. 
“Oh my. You’re not looking well at all. Do you need a doctor?”
“I’m fine,” he replied dully, turning his head slightly. That shock of orange hair looked familiar. 
Wait... Asahina?

Kyon turned his head properly and blinked.  His vision still felt a little blurry, but it was good enough to make out Asahina... or rather, the older version of Asahina. How did she get into his apartment?  The door was locked, and had held up even when Haruhi brought the entire Brigade around a couple of days ago to try and break it down. 

Oh, right.  Future.  A locked door might have stymied Younger Asahina, but he'd bet an older Asahina from the future possessed some means of getting around it.  Come to think of it, Asakura ought to have been able to get past the door too.  The Data Thought Integration Entity must have been getting oodles of interesting data from an irritated Haruhi.

"You haven't been coming to classes.  The school is very worried," she said softly, smiling gently at him.

A few months ago that smile would have turned him to butter, but now it just left a hollow ache in his chest.  The cogs in his mind turned slowly.  The universe obviously ticked over again - he normally assumed that it must have whenever he dreamt of closed space - and Asahina-sensei had made a reappearance.  Okabe-sensei had come twice before, but he hadn't seen her for a while.  It must have been Suzumiya's way of trying to get him back to club.

"Your friends have been worried, too," she added in a gentle voice.  "You should come back to school."

It was ridiculous.  It was nice to see Asahina-sensei again, but he knew that if he did go back to school, she would likely just vanish once more.  Even if she might believe him about the universe changing over and over again, it was rather hard to take comfort in even her fleeting presence.  She was his teacher in this world, not his friend.

Kyon didn't say anything.

She pursed her lips, then looked around the apartment worriedly.  "When the school asked me to look in on a student, I thought that they were a hikkokomori.  I wasn't aware you lived alone.  If I knew, I would have come sooner.  Is something bothering you?"
“You won’t believe me.”
“You won’t know until you try,” she said encouragingly.
“I already have tried.”
Her brow creased slightly. “Kyon, you’re not making any sense. You don’t look very well. Are you sure you don’t need a doctor?”
“Not something a doctor can fix,” he mumbled.
She crouched down next to him. “Would you maybe like to talk to me about it?”
He remained stubbornly silent. 
She sighed and placed a hand on his knee. Her nails were perfectly manicured. “At least consider coming back to school? You don’t even have to come for the whole day if you don’t want.”
Asahina was his teacher in this universe. An adult. She was completely disconnected from the Brigade – only watching and monitoring from a distance. “No. I’m not going back. Not yet.”
“Then when?”
“Not until everything’s back to normal,” he muttered.
“Back to normal?”
He didn’t clarify. She hadn’t believed him the first time, and this time wouldn’t be any different. 
Sighing again, she placed a manila folder on the ground next to him. “This is all the class work you’ve missed.”
“Thanks,” he replied dully. It would just disappear the next time the universe ticked over. 
“Are you sure you won’t even go to your club? The S.O.S Brigade, was it?”
He stiffened.
“Don’t you miss your friends?”
“I don’t have any friends.” The words tasted bitter in his mouth.
“You know that’s not true.”
God, Asahina being so teacherly was going to drive him mad. “My friends aren’t in that Brigade.”
If that statement confused her, she did a good job of hiding it. “I’ll be your friend then.”
Even handball freak Okabe-sensei said that. It must have been in the teacher’s handbook or something. “Whatever.” He just wanted her to leave already, but couldn’t summon the energy to force the issue.
"I will. I'll come visit again tomorrow," she said with an encouraging smile. 
It was wasted on someone who had lost hope.  "You won't."
"I will," she repeated, her expression turning stubborn.  "I definitely will.  I promise."
“Sure,” he agreed, simply so that she’d leave faster.
"I'll be back tomorrow," she said once more, voice firm.  "Even if you don't come to school, please eat something, at least. You look like you could use it."

Kyon grunted a response. 

He dreamed of closed space again that night.

Asahina didn't come back the next day like she promised.