[Haruhi Suzumiya] Rain and Demons: Part Nine
Fandom: The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya
Genre/Rating: General // PG
Characters/Pairings: Mild Koizumi/Kyon and some Kyon/Haruhi
Summary: Kyon and Nagato head towards the house, but their journey is far from safe. Along the path, something is waiting for them...
Notes: 'Haruhi Suzumiya' is the property of Nagaru Tanigawa.
Sorry it's been a while. Pesky teachers kept setting me essays XD Also, I think this fanfic is definitely turning into a horror. I might change the genre info...
A Camping Trip [Prologue], Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five, Part Six, Part Seven, Part Eight
Rain and Demons: Part Nine
Kyon knocked on the side of Haruhi’s tent, his arm shaking from both stress and the cold. He hadn’t been outside for an hour at least, but the night had fallen far too quickly and the air was much colder than it was. His breath flew out in white wisps, and even his trusted waterproof jacket wasn’t warm enough. He had considered borrowing Koizumi’s as well, to wear as a third layer, but the poor guy was sick, so it seemed a bit cruel to take it off him.
Nagato, however, didn’t seem cold at all. Could she even feel the cold? She just stood there neatly, her eyes locked onto the girls’ tent. Around them, the waves from the lake hissed softly in the wind, and the moon was hidden behind a thick layer of cloud.
There was someone watching them.
Kyon could feel it creep up the back of his neck, like an ice-cold finger running across his skin. Nagato was beside him, perfectly still, and he knew for a fact that the other Brigade members were inside their tents. He could even hear Haruhi and Asahina-san’s voices right now! Unless another walking group had been unfortunate enough to stroll into the area as well, the five of them should be all alone.
A twig snapped. Kyon caught his breath.
He knocked again.
“Kyon, stop it!”
The tent shook, and Haruhi pushed her head out of the flap. An involuntary shudder ran through her. “It’s freezing. How’s Koizumi-kun?”
Tell me about it; I’m turning into an ice cube here! “He’s fine. He wants you and Asahina-san to visit him,” Kyon took a deep breath. He was about to lie to Haruhi for the second time that day, and it didn’t feel any better than the first. “Nagato says that she saw a type of weed earlier that would help him heal faster, so we’re going to find it. We’ll only be a few minutes.”
Haruhi pulled a sour face. “Since when did I say you could start giving orders? I’m the chief around here.”
Don’t make this difficult, Haruhi! Please! Kyon thought he heard another twig snap nearby. His stomach lurched horribly and he felt a slither of panic run through him. “We had to take our initiative; Koizumi really is ill. You should visit him.” Just do it!
Haruhi’s expression muddled, and Kyon wondered if she’d mistaken his nervousness for concern. “Fine,” she snapped, turning away from him, “since this is an emergency situation, I’ll let you. Next time, ask for my permission before you wander off somewhere; it’s unsafe. And Kyon,” she turned back suddenly, glaring, “if anything happens to Yuki, I’m holding you responsible. Mikuru-chan!” and her head disappeared from the entrance, back into the depths of the tent.
“What about the garlic?” asked Kyon quietly to Nagato. In his panic, he’d forgotten to ask. “How are we going to persuade them to bring garlic into the tent with them?” If they had any. Kyon didn’t want to think about what would happen if they didn’t.
“There is no need,” said Nagato. “Traces of garlic were found in the meal pack consumed earlier. Although it is ineffective once digested and absorbed, it is an acceptable repellent when exposed to open air.”
Kyon thought back to Koizumi’s uneaten dinner. “So as long as they don’t eat it, it’ll keep the… things away from Koizumi’s tent?”
“But it won’t work for us, since we’ve already eaten it?”
“That is correct.”
Kyon tried to get his head around it. It was probably something to do with stomach acid neutralising the garlic… or some other freaky alien science fact. Koizumi would probably fill him in on the details later… providing that there was a later. Another snapping twig forced Kyon back into the present. Was it just him, or were the sounds getting closer?
“We’d better do it as quickly as possible,” he muttered to Nagato. His legs twitched, eager to get going, but Kyon didn’t want to leave without making sure Haruhi and Mikuru got to the other tent safely. It was only a few metres walk, but he wouldn’t risk it. Absolutely not.
Within moments both Haruhi and Asahina-san were outside their tent, wrapped up with extra gloves and scarves and shivering slightly. Asahina-san looked adorable in her pink scarf, while Haruhi just seemed annoyed. Kyon couldn’t help but detect a hint of concern from her though. “What are you waiting for?” she snapped, noticing Kyon’s gaze. “Go get that weed! Koizumi-kun’s health is the upmost priority at the moment, and he has to get better as soon as possible. And don’t do anything stupid; it’s dark!”
You’ve already said that; I’m not stupid! There’s no way I’ll let anything bad happen to Nagato.
Nagato began to walk. Kyon felt an overwhelming urge to say something to Haruhi, like ‘be careful’ or ‘take care of Asahina-san and Koizumi’ or just ‘don’t you dare eat Koizumi’s dinner! You need that to live!’
But the moment passed and the two girls were already unzipping Koizumi’s tent. Feeling the words fade away on the tip of his tongue, Kyon turned on his heel and began to walk, jogging slightly to catch up with Nagato and resisting the urge to look back. He pulled the torch out from his pocket and snapped it on, letting the dull yellow light outline the stony path around the lake.
They were still being watched.
Nagato was walking surprisingly fast, and Kyon had to take long strides to keep up with her. “Do you have a plan?” he asked.
She didn’t answer for a few moments. The sound of the gravel crunching under their feet seemed unusually loud. Eventually, she opened her mouth and said: “Yes.”
As they walked, Nagato gave him the outline of the plan. As it was too dangerous to go inside the building, they would reach the roof by using a ladder that Nagato noticed earlier in the garden. Once on the roof, she would deactivate the dimensional panel and return them to their original location.
Providing that they didn’t run into any ‘lifeforms’ along the way.
“It is strongly recommended that we avoid any contact with the livestock whenever possible,” explained Nagato calmly. So they’re ‘livestock’ now, huh? “I cannot predict what would occur if we were to encounter them at this moment. At the very least, there would be conflict.”
Kyon’s grip on the torch tightened. The night air was incredibly tense, and every shadow he saw out of the corner of his eye made him twitch nervously. It was horrible. His palms were sweaty, and he didn’t want to risk dropping the light and breaking it, so he held it carefully. The torch was also quite bulky, and he began to wonder if he could use it as a truncheon. Unfortunately, he lacked the foresight to bring anything even resembling a weapon along with him on the trip. Haruhi would’ve discovered it at some point anyway, and Kyon dreaded to think what she’d do with a large knife, or a steel bat, or even a flamethrower. Not that he could fit such a thing in his bag anyway – ah!
Kyon’s torchlight caught something and he jumped, almost crying out. His heart leapt out of his chest. What was that?! Oh god, what was that?!
“It is a boat,” said Nagato, and indeed it was. The tension quickly drained out of Kyon’s muscles, and he sighed quickly. Just a boat. It had a large, gaping hole in its side and the wood was discoloured in the torchlight, but it really was unmistakably a boat. For a few moments he felt incredibly stupid.
Kyon also noticed the large oar sticking out of the hull. If that wasn’t a makeshift weapon begging to be taken, then what was?
“Nagato,” he said, waving the torch at it. “I think we can use that oar as a weapon. Do you know if it’ll work against them?” By ‘them’, he was referring to the illusive creatures that Nagato referred to as ‘livestock’ and Asahina-san referred to as ‘demons’. Referred, referred, referred. Didn’t they have a proper name?
Nagato didn’t answer, the torchlight lighting up half of her face as she stared across the lake. Kyon wondered if she was trying to contact the Integrated Data Sentient Entity. Koizumi’s words about the slow communication speeds Asahina-san and Nagato were experiencing came back to him, and he found himself studying her face, trying to find an element of impatience or frustration in it. Surely in such a pressured environment, wouldn't someone like Nagato - who was used to instantaneous information - find even a slight delay extremely hard to cope with?
“Yes, a melee weapon is eight-five percent effective against the residing lifeforms,” she confirmed calmly, not showing any visible signs of stress. Kyon relaxed. “As for their names and physical weaknesses, I cannot confirm that until I receive visual evidence of their species.”
“Ah.” Kyon felt the tension crawl back into his stomach. So they had to actually see the damn things first. Stiffly, he stepped forward and grasped the oar with his free hand. It was cold and slimy from damp, but felt solid enough. A sudden rush of déjà vu brushed against him, and Kyon remembered the shovels that he and Koizumi had used earlier. Why the hell hadn’t he picked them up on his way out of the campsite? A metal shovel would be more than adequate in a situation like this!
Feeling incredibly stupid, Kyon kicked the side of the boat and turned around back towards the path, the oar held up in his hand like a spear. It felt disappointingly light and flimsy, and was far too big to hold properly. He considered snapping it in half for a moment, but decided against it.
Nagato hadn’t moved, and was staring at the brambles and trees behind them. Kyon opened his mouth to call out, “Nagato -”
“We are surrounded.”
Kyon froze, momentarily confused. “What?”
“We are surrounded by livestock on three sides. I am detecting at least twenty individual lifeforms.” She looked back at Kyon. “If we move from our current location, we will be attacked.”
A cold gust of wind flew across from the lake. Kyon shivered violently and tried to ebb away the rising panic in his chest. Now was not the time to panic. Now was definitely not the time to panic. He had to keep calm. He had to keep calm. Hand shaking, he pointed his torch at the bushes, the artificial light creating monstrous deformations across its surface. He stared at it madly for a few moments, but there was nothing there. It was perfectly still. How can there be nothing there? What the hell’s going on? Unnaturally still…
There was something behind him.
He was sure of it now; absolutely confident. There was something behind him, watching his every movement. Kyon’s limbs froze. He wanted to turn around. He had to turn around. His hands were shaking, his breath was rattling, he could hear the blood pumping in his ears as he fought back the urge to run…
“Nagato,” he said, his voice shaking slightly. “There’s something behind me, isn’t there?”
Nagato was out of his line of sight, but he heard her voice loud and clear.
Kyon took a sharp intake of breath and bit down on his lip. He mustn’t panic. He had to think.
“Can you see it?” he asked Nagato. His grip tightened on the oar. Perhaps if he moved fast enough, he’d be able to knock the thing down without it realising. God, why the hell was he even in this ridiculous situation? Now I know how it feels to be a game protagonist, at the mercy of the player’s control pad. I’ll never look at a games console in the same way again!
“I can see it,” confirmed Nagato. “It is standing approximately twenty centimetres behind you.”
“Do not panic.”
I’m trying! Really!
“I am trying to determine the lifeform’s species.”
That’s good. That’s good. “Tell me if it moves.”
“I will.” Nagato’s voice faded into silence, but Kyon’s head was filled with panicking voices. A thousand and one scenarios rushed through his head, each more absurd and horrific than the other. He had to turn around. He had to see what it looked like. He had to get rid of it!
Oh for God’s sake! Pull yourself together! Then, with a sudden surge of adrenaline, Kyon turned, swung the oar and struck. He had no idea why he did it; it was as if his body had hijacked his mind and had decided to take over. For several seconds, Kyon thought that he’d just committed suicide.
There was a sickening crack, a thump and silence. Horrible eerie silence. But there was no time to waste. Leaping over the dark lump on the ground, Kyon grabbed Nagato’s arm and ran.
“We’re going,” he shouted, feet pounding on the gravel path. He’d apologise to Nagato as soon as they got to the house. “We’re going to that house and we’re going to get rid of that dimensional panel!” He sounded hysterical. It was a damn good thing none of the other Brigade members were with them right now. He’d never live it down.
Nagato looked back at him calmly, and for a moment, Kyon wondered if she’d made him move. He knew for a fact that Nagato had the power to do so, and last time Kyon checked, he was fairly useless at Kendo and hitting things in general. Either he was extremely luckily, or the goddess Nagato had had a hand in things. Could she…?
No, now was not the time to ask! With one hand holding Nagato and the other holding Koizumi’s torch, it was obvious that he’d lost the oar. He had no other choice but to run. The gravel below their feet made a horrible scraping noise and the cold sweat on his forehead was trickling down his face. Behind him, the demons were running after them. He couldn’t hear them, or see them. He could just sense them, like cold patches that radiated through the air. That made things a lot worse.
He honestly didn’t know if they were going to make it.
- To Be Continued -