It had only been about a couple months since Kyon arrived in this alternate version of the world he originally hailed from, but somehow, this reality began to feel much more comfortable and… dare it be said… normal to him?
After all, the boy had come from a world that had him surrounded with friends including a time traveler, an esper, an alien, and an unknowing god-like entity. A world that normally landed him in the most oddest of situations, sometimes life-threatening.
And yet, even though his life and everything he knew started in that world, this new world somehow seemed so much more easier to adapt to. Sure, it didn’t have all the insane chaos that ensued on a daily basis, but sometimes it was more enjoyable to have a quiet moment here and there, just as he was now.
As the winter snow continued to gently fall on the ground near the apartment complex of Kyon’s classmate Yuki Nagato, the two sat down to enjoy some hot tea after end of the school day.
How ironic… he thought to himself as he held his cup. Not too long ago, when I would come here, Nagato would always carry the same cold, emotionless expression anytime we hung out together. At times she either barely even talked and would only acknowledge my words with just a nod, or we’d end up in some crazy, albeit dangerous situation.
Looking up from his cup, Kyon made a small stare at the purple-haired girl sat opposite of him and thought, But this Nagato… she’s… something else. Or rather… someone else. She has emotions, she has desires, she even blushes when she’s embarrassed.
As if right on cue, Nagato noticed Kyon’s small stare and began to blush furiously as she quickly looked back down at her cup of tea. The boy couldn’t help but let a smile creep to his face at just how cute she was when she was embarrassed.
At that moment, Kyon had another thought, If only this Nagato knew exactly what she used to be. I don’t think she’d believe it. Heck, I still couldn’t believe it after all we went through together.
And yet, he continued. I can’t help but understand why she made the choice she did. She wanted a life free of being nothing more than a puppet of some higher power. She wanted to be a normal teenage girl.
Just as Kyon finished his thought, the boy heard Nagato’s shy voice say, “Um… Kyon…”
“Yeah Nagato?” he replied still keeping his eyes fixed on her.
“Well…” she began again with the same nervous tone she had all night. “Re… remember when… you said that… there was another… ‘me…’ from the world you came from.”
Curious to why she brought up the idea of her other self, Kyon said, “Oh… um, yeah. What about her?”
With peaked interest, the extremely shy teen girl asked, “Um… well… wh-what… what was she like? I mean… you said that… she looked like me. But… who exactly was she?”
Taken aback by her question, Kyon began to tell her about the other “Nagato” and her abilities endowed to her. Through recounting all the times she had saved him and the many hours of incomprehensible gibberish spoken by her, the more shyer Nagato in front of him was both amazed, and slightly frightened by the incredible things this other version of her could do from the world her classmate came from.
After having finished explaining everything, Nagato couldn’t help by say, “She sounds like she was your protector.”
Hearing her rather interesting statement, Kyon replied saying, “Well, yeah. I guess you could say she was.
“But still,” he continued. “Even after having been here in this world for a few months now, I can’t help but wonder what happened after I chose to stay here.”
“What do you mean?” she asked him feeling a little more anxious.
“Well,” he continued. “I mean, I know that I had been chosen to be surrounded by them all by some grand design by Haruhi. But, hopefully choosing to stay here, didn’t result in that whole world just vanishing or falling in on itself completely.”
The even more anxious Nagato sat silent with her head down for a few moments, pondering the idea of Kyon possibly regretting having chosen to stay in the world they were in now. What was worse, was she had begun to think he didn’t enjoy being with her at all.
But it was at that moment that the high school boy broke the silence saying, “Um… Nagato. Are you okay?”
After remaining silent for a few seconds more, Nagato asked with a slightly broken voice, “D-Does this mean… you… m-miss your original world?
“D-Does this mean,” she continued. “You miss… th-the other ‘me’ you… used to know?”
Realizing what she was fearing, Kyon moved closer to the slightly worried Nagato noticing her anxious state of mind. In that moment, the boy raised his hands and placed them on her fragile shoulders, causing the purple-haired girl to let out a slight squeak and stopping her frantic breathing.
With a gentle voice, Kyon looked into Nagato’s glistening amber eyes and said, “Hey, listen. I don’t regret making the choice to stay here at all.”
“R-Really?” she asked, tears still streaming down her porcelain face.
“Really,” he replied affirmatively. “Granted, I do think about them from time to time. But in all honesty, all that I went through in that world. All the situations I got dragged into, all the times I nearly got killed, and the constant stress of having to keep them all together, I had grown tired of dealing with it.
“And besides,” he continued. “If I did go back, it would mean we couldn’t enjoy the fun time we’re having together right now.”
Upon hearing his kind words, the once nervous Nagato suddenly did something that Kyon had never seen either Nagato (certainly not the old one) do before… she let out a smile on her face that made the boy’s heart skip a beat.
“K-Kyon-kun,” she said calmly, her nerves start to fade away.
“Yeah?” he asked, surprised she was saying his name differently.
“D-Do you really mean it?” she asked. “You know, when you said that… you enjoy having fun with me?”
Seeing her cheeks begin to turn pink again, Kyon smiled back at her and said, “You bet I do.”
Hearing his compliment, the shy bookworm began to smile even wider, as she wiped her tears off her face. Up until she had met Kyon, this other Nagato had never felt so close to anyone in her life, especially with a boy her own age. Aside from her close friendship with Asakura, she had always been alone and only found joy and comfort in the books she loved. But never did she consider the idea of finding joy in something different, (or perhaps someone different) in her life.
But she wasn’t the only one who thought the same thing. Even though he had been saved countless times by the other Nagato, and in many ways owed his life to her, he had never thought about the purple-haired alien girl as more than just a close friend and a protector. Yet when he was around this gentle, and more fragile Nagato, he began to understand that this was someone he could actually be friendly with. Someone who could express emotions and, in his mind, looked cute when she let out a smile, or was blushing profusely. Someone who could, by any stretch of the imagination, be someone he could fall in love with.
As Nagato removed her glasses to clean off her tears from them, Kyon suddenly said something that about made the intensely-shy girl’s heart flutter even more, “Hey Yuki-chan…”
It could’ve been the heat of the moment, or perhaps the shock of hearing him call her by her first name, but the shy girl suddenly felt her cheeks flush all over again and uttered, “Y-Yeah Kyon-kun?”
“You know,” he began again. “Y-You really look good without your glasses on.”
Feeling like her cheeks were on fire, Nagato’s face was now beet-red upon hearing her classmate’s compliment. Did he really mean it? Did this mean that Kyon actually thought she was attractive in his eyes?
“Y-You th-think so?” she asked tripping on her words.
Putting his hand on hers, Kyon replied, “I do. I mean, I really like them. But when you take them off… you look… well… you look really cute.”
It was at that moment that Nagato began feeling something stir up inside of her. Some newfound emotion she had never felt before. In one way, it made her feel like she was lighter than air, and yet somehow it made her heart feel more heavier than ever.
Coupled with this intense feeling, Nagato’s inner thoughts filled up with an intense joy and excitement, much like the kind she felt finishing a written masterpiece.
But just how was she supposed to express this feeling inside? Never having felt such excitement like this before in her heart, the hermit-like girl didn’t know what to do next.
After about ten seconds of awkward silence and noticing his classmate’s odd expression on her face, Kyon parroted his earlier question, “Yuki-chan, are you okay?”
Acting on impulse, Nagato scooted closer to the brown-haired boy and without any hesitation, placed her soft pink lips against his own, unlocking a whole new realm of wonder she had never knew existed until now.
But about a couple seconds later (though it felt longer to her), the shy girl quickly pulled away from Kyon, realizing what she had done. More embarrassed than ever, Nagato held her head down and didn’t say anything for about five seconds.
“Yu-Yuki-chan…” uttered Kyon, still reeling a bit by what just happened.
Finally, the girl lifted her head up and said with a smile and red cheeks, “Y-You’re pretty cute yourself Kyon-kun.”
While Kyon was slightly caught off guard by her sudden advancement on him, somehow this feeling he was experiencing for this Nagato felt more right than he could have ever imagined.
At that moment, the gap between them became closed once more, as Kyon placed his hand to Nagato’s warm cheek, and returned her quick kiss with one of his own. Wrapping her arms around him, the two let their tender moment last much longer than the first.
After human nature took it’s course and the two separated to let oxygen fill their lungs, Nagato gazed into Kyon’s sincere eyes and said, “I like you Kyon-kun.”
Equally mesmerized himself, the brown-haired boy looked deep into the infinite pools of amber that were Nagato’s spectacle-free eyes and replied, “I like you too Yuki-chan.”
Upon revealing their feelings to each other, Nagato got up from her seat and took a hold of the hand of the boy she liked, and had him follow her to the screen door of her apartment.
Seeing what she was hinting at, the two stood quietly at the window with Kyon wrapping his arms around Nagato, and the two gazed out at the falling snow, reveling in the afterglow of such a powerful moment for them both.
As Kyon held his purple-haired bookworm tightly and the two looked into the seemingly-infinite snow-filled sky, a thought came to the boy’s mind that ultimately encapsulated everything that just happened that night. All of it summed up in just four small words… I’m glad I stayed.