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It's summer, and although it's only been since last season he transferred into this academy, it feels more like a decade.

For the most part, he doesn't feel ignored in the least. He has always been aware he's attractive, it's not like he does anything hide it. He likes how he looks, perhaps not the attention, but he's comfortable with his face, and his body, but he's most proud of his hands. He thinks hands are the most powerful part of the body. You can do so much with hands, and he thinks his own are quite nice - his mother said he inherited her own father's pianist hands.

And so, he's never really had someone not notice him before. He's never been the fly on the wall. When he was a child, the adults doted on him, pinched his cheeks, listened eagerly to his stories. His height and cheerful personality made him popular with his classmates. His parents spoiled him recklessly. As he grew up, that didn't really change - except for the cheek pinching. (Unless you were his grandmother, in which case, things really hadn't changed at all.)

It's probably because of how generous God has been to him, to give him such a good life, that this frustrates him so much. He works hard, every day, to have her notice him. Sometimes, he spends hours after school, just reading. Urban legends, cryptology, UFOs, hauntings, anything 'unnatural'... surely, he was so full of such information now that he could throw it up. Still, she doesn't notice him.

He recalls the first time he displayed such obsessive behavior actually had not been so long ago; she'd mentioned she liked some of Tchaikovsky's work and thought it had an interesting effect on music on the whole. He spent an entire week digesting anything related to composer. He didn't stop, not even for class. He thought he could sweat music notes by the weekend.

But his wealth of knowledge never impressed her.

And it frustrated him, the normal topics never kept her attention. He had asked, some time ago, what tv shows she followed, and her response was a simple, "I don't follow anything like that." What kind of music do you like? "Whatever I happen to be listening to." What's your favorite color? "Some colors aren't even worth the attention they get unless they're in combination with another color." Okay, what about food? "I'll eat anything as long as it's edible. It's just insulting to waste food." Ah, you're right, Miss Suzumiya.

He doesn't give up, but he knows when a conversation isn't going anywhere.

It is difficult to get to know her. He's learned there are different methods to get to know a person, though - now he knows listening is good enough.

Now he knows what tv shows she follows, she talks about a particular drama that frustrates her on their walks home. He knows what kind of music she likes - Top 40 and American Indie Rock. Her favorite colors are red and yellow, she loves food and will eat anything put in front of her, but prefers to make her own meals. He's learned her height, how to tell when she's in a bad mood, when she's in a good mood, and he's learned that on rainy days, she always makes her way to the diner by the train tracks, gets a cup of hot chocolate and makes him share his lemon cake with her. Of course, he always gets some of her chocolate cake.

It's a rainy day, and she reaches over with her fork to pick off a piece of lemon cake. She takes a bite, makes a pleased noise, and repeats the action.

"Koizumi-kun," she says with a full mouth and a chiding tone, "if you don't drink your coffee quickly, it'll get cold."

"Of course, Miss Suzumiya," he says with a big smile and a gulp of his coffee. He isn't completely invisible, at least.

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One day, she removes her blazer from her chair and starts buttoning it up. She gets to the second from the top button - only there isn't a button. It's gone. She looks on the floor, under her desk, in her book bag and in the end, she scratches her head and puts a hand on her hip. She can always buy another button but...

Then she sees the glint of another button, except it's not unattached to a piece of clothing.

"Koizumi-kun, take your coat off."

"... Miss Suzumiya?" Naturally, her friend is quite confused, but he does as she asks. Haruhi removes his second button from his coat, bites the loose string and hands his coat back to him. Itsuki makes a small o with his mouth, before putting it back on.

It's only when he buttons it up that he notices which button she took. She's already sewing it on, though.

The second button from the top of a male's uniform is often given away to a female he is in love with, and is considered a way of confession. The second button is the one closest to the heart and is said to contain the emotions from all three years attendance at the school.

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It frustrates her, sometimes. He's kind, caring, handsome - Itsuki Koizumi is nearly perfect. Haruhi sees why all the girls in class gossip about him. Haruhi sees why the teachers like him. He's a great conversationalist, he gets along with everyone for better or for worse. Perfect isn't normal, that's why it's perfect. Perfect is just perfect. It's not cool, beautiful, smart. It's perfect.

That's why he must be special.

That's why she picks out of his plate when he eats, makes him pay for everything, it is why she keeps tabs on him. He's an esper - must be. He has to be special. No one could be so perfect yet so disappointing, so she bides her times, bites her nails. She waits, eagerly, for the day he reveals his identity to her, the day she can say she's had fun with and hung out with a esper. Finally - something interesting.

(She thinks she might ask him to take her out amongst the stars, too, make him create a constellation just for her; he's Koizumi-kun. He'll do it, with a smile, and she'll be immortalized forever and ever. She'll be special, too.)

He's going to guide her to the path she's destined to. He just will.