Author's Note: Yeah, hi guys. This is my first Fanfic. So please go easy on me! ^.^' I've actually been writing this for a few months now, and it's taken up about 44 or so pages in my notebook, if you can believe that. I love the anime Ghost Hunt, and hated the way the manga ended things between Mai and Naru! So with that, I decided to write this Fic. I'll try to upload at least once a week, if not sooner. I set this AU in the 1700's/1800's-ish era (so Victorian, i guess), because…I thought it would be the easiest world to convert Ghost Hunt over to where Mai and Naru have at least a chance to be more romantic together. Please read and review!

Rated T for later chapters ;) you're welcome!

Disclaimer: I do NOT own Ghost Hunt, or any of the characters except my own!


Beyond the Horizon

A Mai x Naru Fanfic

Mai had always dreamed of the sea.

Being a woman and a noble meant Mai had little opportunity to travel, and had spent her childhood scouring the rolling hills of the countryside to sate her craving for adventure. But it was hardly enough for her. Mai longed for towering mountains that pierced the azure sky. She dreamed of the full light of the stars at night, which seemed to hide behind the smoke of her village. She longed for what lay beyond the horizon – whatever and wherever that may be.

Everything Mai dreamed of came from stories told to her by her father, Duke Taniyama of Rosenwood. Being the daughter of a Duke, Mai was often left behind for weeks at a time while her father journeyed to far away lands. The Duke was a kind man, who hated to leave his daughter for any reason, but had to attend to his duties as a noble. The Duke always made sure to bring his beloved daughter souvenirs, and tales of his travels. Duke Taniyama would smile every time his daughter's big round eyes lit up with the telling of each and every story, though nothing captivated her nearly as much as mention of the sea. Mai especially favored tales concerning the sea; a salty expanse of water the color of sapphire that stretched on seemingly forever, whose waves of water crashed upon the shores like thunder, sending powerful sprays of mist into the air.

And although his daughter was sixteen and at last of marital age, Duke Taniyama had promptly turned down any and all men who wished for her hand. Mai took after her late mother, and was just as if not even more beautiful than she had been. Mai was short and slender, her skin was as milky as it was white, and her cheeks as rosey as her lips. Yes, Duke Taniyama was well aware of his daughter's tender age, and her beauty. But as he told her of his adventures, all he could see was his little girl, eyes shining, smiling like she had heard each story for the first time, though many of his tales had indeed been retold.

"Tell it to me again, father! The story about the sea," Mai pleaded one night as she began to clear the table after dinner.

"Oh, that one again?" the Duke drawled on, trying to add some suspense to the worn old tale.

"Yes! Oh please, father, will you?" Mai pressed.

"Have you truly not tired of it? Why, I have many a story to tell you of, my dear…" he trailed on.

"Father!" Mai exclaimed in annoyance, her hands on her hips. "I will not beg you like a dog! Now will you tell me of the sea, or shall I simply retire for the evening?"

The Duke winced sarcastically, feigning hurt. "You wound me, my dear. To leave your father so readily when I have only just returned home from my latest voyage after being away for so long," he teased jokingly.

His daughter was onto him though, and she would have her way no matter what. "Well, the next time you venture off for a journey, be sure to leave your lip and wit behind, so that your tongue may speak more freely of your adventures that I wish to hear," Mai retorted boldly, having played this game with her father many times before. She would allow no man, whosoever he may be, to have the upper hand whilst she was present.

Her dearest friend, John Brown, the successor to his father's parish, had long ago given up any hopes of ever winning an argument with Mai, no matter how trivial. Not that John was at all much of a fighter, being a rather passive, gentle at heart. John was a kind soul, always looking out for others, putting their needs before his own. He was a handsome young man, who was two years older than Mai, making him nineteen years old. He was a handsome young man, who no doubt would by now be happily married off had he not taken a vow of chastity. He had short, curly blond hair, sky blue eyes, and fair skin. He was protective of Mai, but in an elder brother sort of way. Their relationship was that of childhood friends, nothing more, nothing less. John, by nature, had always been more docile. However Mai, in sharp contrast, was naturally defensive, welcoming a challenge when one presented itself.

Because of this trait, Mai no longer lost to any verbal skirmishes with anyone, especially not to her own father, whom she knew all too well.

Giving in, Duke Taniyama finally caved, and told his daughter what she craved the most. Thrilling descriptions of the ocean she had never seen, but had so dreamed of seeing since first hearing mention of its majesty, as well as its beauty.

The following morning, Duke Taniyama had a few errands to run around town. He needed to gather any tools and supplies he may need for his next voyage, which would be exceedingly long, as the destination was weeks away, in a country called Azmaria. Knowing Mai would miss him terribly, the Duke had invited his daughter to come along with him to the village market. If not simply to spend much needed quality time with his daughter, he had hoped that bringing her along would at least keep her out of trouble at home.

And although they were nobles, their family was not by any means "rolling in riches." They dressed little better than ordinary townsfolk. They had few servants in their estate, and treated each with dignity and like family, as most practically raised Mai. Two servants in particular were Ayako Matsizaki and Hosho Takegawa. Ayako, the head maid at their estate, was a few inches taller than Mai, though not at towering as Takegawa. Ayako had pale skin, dark eyes, and long, straight, deep brown hair which at times seemed almost red in color, depending on the light. Takegawa was much tanner, due to his long days hard at work in the garden of the Taniyama estate. His hair was bronze, and neatly tied back in a low ponytail, ignoring protests from the women in the household. Takegawa insisted on wearing it long, in attempt to mimic Mai's father, the Duke, whom he idolized very much.

Both Ayako and Takegawa bickered like an old married couple, and although each were well into their thirties, neither of them were promised to anyone. Takegawa often started many of these arguments, only to lose to either Ayako or to Mai. He did his best to be a good father figure for Mai and act as a sort of "man of the house" whilst the Duke was away. He knew in his heart that he could never replace Mai's father, but took on the fatherly role all the same, if only to make the women feel more secure.

Ayako attributed greatly to Mai's demeanor, as the woman had a rather sharp tongue herself, and a wicked temper. Yet although she, like Mai was quick to join a battle of words, she was very attentive when it came to the Duke's daughter, and was sure that all her wants and needs were met. Ayako played many a role in Mai's life. She was watchful and gentle, like a mother. True she would often fought with Takegawa, but also with Mai. However, most of these arguments were petty, as any small disagreements between an older and younger sister would be.

With such a lively home, Mai was never at all lonely. True, she never felt whole again until her father returned from his journeys, and missed him deeply, but she always got along well enough without him. Their servants made sure of that. Apart from Mai's late mother, the only daughter of the Taniyama family appeared to have it all. Maybe not jewels, an abundance of flowing dresses, or a prestigious mansion to match, but they had little need of it. They had each other, and for the longest time, that had been enough for Mai.

It was not as if Mai was ungrateful, but like her father, she hungered for more. Adventure. Seeing new places and meeting new people. Only once she had sated her appetite, she would think about finally settling down, and having a family of her own, happy that her father had not forced her to marry already.

As Mai looked upon the satchel slung across her father's shoulder, she made decision.