This is a Ghost Hunt/KHR cross where Mai is a fem Tsuna.
Mai was choking, suffocating on the fumes from the broken jars. She could feel her vision fading, her mind going blank.
She didn't want to die. She wouldn't die if she had any say about it.
There was a pulse, deep in her soul. Resonating with the desire to live, even if it killed her. To get out of this place or die trying.
That desire caused a roaring sensation in her mind. Almost like a dragon struggling against unseen bonds. Hearing the awful giggling of those children, something snapped.
Brown eyes shifted to amber as the roar of an inferno burst from her soul and through her body. She sent the children running, as an orange shape slammed out of the barricade and past the windows. She wouldn't know this until after, but a massive beast made of orange fire flowed past the windows and caused all of them to shatter just from proximity to it. Fortunately one of the cameras was aimed in the general direction of the now shattered windows, so she at least got a good look at what it was.
Mai was beyond anything at the moment. The second the beast chased off the children and the door slammed open, she blacked out.
It wasn't a question. Naru was openly pissed that Mai was unconscious and that the thing clearly originated from the room she was in. Worse, he could clearly feel her fever spiking any time they went anywhere near the infirmary, which meant Ayako had to treat her in the base.
Even he was at a loss to explain what the hell that thing was, or where it came from. Because it definitely wasn't part of the haunting they were supposed to be investigating.
"I don't know! One minute we're about to investigate one of the areas, the next there's this roaring sound from the other side of the building and the entire place shook!" said Ayako.
"It was quite startling, and it felt nothing like the spirits around us... it was almost alive," said Masako, quite shaken.
John came back with a camera that had evidently fallen over and broken...but Naru could care less about that. They immediately reviewed the footage and all of them stared.
"...Is that a dragon made of fire?" said Monk, in disbelief.
Rushing past the windows was a creature that could only be identified as a dragon. Though it seemed closer to the Eastern variants, as opposed to their winged cousins. There were clearly defined scales, massive talons and sharp fangs. The entire thing was made up of orange flames...though it almost looked like there was something indigo near the center of it.
Whatever it was melted the windows to the point they shattered outward.
Sensing movement, Naru turned to Mai. She was blinking slowly, as if she wasn't fully awake. He pressed a hand on her forehead, and found it was still warm...but had gone down considerably since they rescued her from the room.
"Nngh... Where am I?" she groaned.
"Easy. You inhaled a lot of those fumes, so you're going to be dizzy for a while. Just rest," said Ayako firmly.
Mai blinked from her spot, before holding her head with a puzzled look on her face.
"What is it?" asked Naru.
"I don't feel that headache anymore."
"Headache?" repeated Ayako.
"Ever since I started working for SPR, I've had this constant migraine. I thought it was from trying to read the books you let me borrow... but it's gone. And it always got worse around spirits."
Naru knew Mai was at least trying to fill the gaps in her knowledge about the spiritual and supernatural. She would borrow some of his reference books and attempt to translate them during work whenever they weren't being pestered by thrill seekers or idiots.
For some reason she always gained nasty migraines for her efforts though she was learning some. It was only bits and pieces, but she was definitely retaining some of it. Naru quizzed her whenever he was bored and would gently (for him anyway) correct her. And she took good care of the books she borrowed, so he didn't mind.
"How many fingers am I holding up?" asked Ayako slowly.
Naru knew about Mai's migraines. They only ever showed up when she was actively trying to learn for some reason and got progressively worse the more difficult the material was.
He was honestly baffled as to why that was, because Mai wasn't an idiot like some of the people he had been forced to be nice to in the past. She did have a brain, but the migraines made it very hard for her to retain anything or use it outside of dangerous situations. There was also the fact she was openly clumsy, but she had learned to cope by moving in a slow and deliberate manner.
Mai rolled her eyes.
"Four," she replied annoyed.
Ayako looked relieved.
"You are going to stay right here until morning. Until then we're going to have to find a way to explain what happened to all the windows."
"...Why am I here anyway? I would have thought you'd take me to the nurse's office."
"We would have, if your fever didn't spike every time we came close to it," said Naru flatly.
John had an odd look on his face.
"Wasn't there supposed to be a ghost that frequented that office?" he asked.
"You don't think she was instinctively reacting to that, do you?" asked Monk.
"Well what other explanation for why her fever spikes near that office, but not when we brought her here?" demanded Ayako.
Because that was the only logical explanation she could think of for why Mai reacted like that when she wasn't even awake.
Mai's Dream POV...
Almost immediately upon realizing she was in a dream, she felt steel bands around her shoulders. It took her a second to realize it was the weird Naru double that always showed up on a case...and rarely outside it.
"Are you alright?" he asked, looking openly concerned.
"I'm fine. Exhausted and still groggy from the fumes, but fine."
He looked relieved.
"Hey Naru... what was that dragon the others saw? Masako said it didn't feel anything like the spirits in the school."
Naru looked openly amused.
"That was your power, set free from a barrier that was forcibly keeping it in check."
"Have you ever wondered why you were always so clumsy or had such bad migraines?"
Mai's eyes widened.
"Someone put a seal on your powers... How, I have no idea because I didn't know that was possible. But it's the reason why we had to be at just the right frequency for us to talk, which for some reason only ever happens during a case. Now though... now I can use your soul as a beacon to find you every time," said the Naru double, looking very pleased at this fact. "With that seal broken, you should be able to use your powers properly, instead of just 'receiving' signals."
"The seal was keeping you from astral walking on your own. Once I find you, I'll show you the trick to it so you don't end up collapsing out of nowhere and freaking everyone out."
Mai blinked, before she really looked at the Naru double. She had always thought it weird that Naru never commented on the fact that she kept running into him in her dreams. In fact he was rather baffled as to why she kept getting such awful migraines in the first place.
That, and he was still hugging her rather tightly, as if worried she might wander off.
Now that she was properly looking at him, she noticed something even more odd.
He had a thick indigo/blue/yellow haze, as opposed to the odd green/red/purple haze that Naru always had.
"You're not Naru are you?"
He smiled and it made her heart do a funny little flip.
"No, I'm his brother. Don't say anything to him just yet, because he won't be able to find me with the way he's been looking... the vision had too few details for him to find me. But I might be able to find you instead... though I have the feeling I'm not exactly going to be much for visitors once I do."
"So what should I call you then?"
"Yuujin? Who on earth would name their son 'friend'? From now on I'm just going to call you Yuu-chan, because that's far less embarrassing," she said flatly. "... You're not going to tell Naru are you?"
"About the fact you like him? If that idiot scientist hasn't picked it up by now I'd be surprised. Then again, he always was a bit thick headed when it came to his emotions. I was always the more empathetic one," said the newly named Yuu-chan cheerfully. He hugged her a little tighter. "Of course if he hasn't picked it up, I know the perfect way to get him to figure it out for himself."
Mai had a bad feeling about this. Not the "I'm about to be in great danger" kind of way, but more of the "My life is about to become needlessly complicated and vexing".
Pretty much the same feeling she got every time she even remotely considered admitting her feelings for Naru, right before she remembered Masako liked him as well. Though perhaps infatuation was a better way of describing it.
Masako clearly didn't see Naru... all she saw was a cute boy she could blackmail into dates.
That had never ceased to piss Mai off, but she wasn't about to interfere because she knew Naru wouldn't appreciate it.
Besides...right now it just felt nice being held while she felt so sick. It had been a long time since anyone stayed with her like that.
Mai woke up and felt a thousand times better...if a bit stiff. That's when she saw what was right next to her and a monumental blush was on her face. She barely registered Lin passing by with a cup of fresh tea.
Naru was leaning against the lone couch in the room, and it was very clear he had been there the entire night. Someone (likely Lin) had put a blanket over him.
Lin eyed the two and inwardly sighed.
He knew perfectly well Naru happened to like Mai, and not in a "friends" sense or in the coldly professional way he was with Ms. Hara. Honestly that foolish medium had no sense.
However the two of them were firmly in a 'holding' position because while Mai clearly liked him as well, she wasn't going to provoke Masako. And considering they occasionally needed a medium, the two were stuck.
At least until that idiot girl got it through her head that Naru had zero romantic interest in her. He was only humoring her because Madoka and his parents would never let him hear the end of it for being openly rude.
There were times like this though, that Naru actually let his guard down around her.
Hence why he said nothing, though he did take a few pictures for blackmail and sent a couple to Naru's parents.
Needless to say they were openly thrilled and demanded details.
He was almost to the computer when he realized something.
Normally, his shiki lazily drifted around him and occasionally went near Mai out of curiosity. As if they sensed something about her that was like catnip to them.
Now they looked torn between drifting much closer than normal, or avoiding her completely. As if they were afraid of something.
Seeing Naru stir, Lin smirked. He wondered when the boy would notice that Mai was hugging him from behind...or if she'd remove her arms before he was fully awake. Naru wasn't much of a morning person.
He discreetly took a picture of the scene, and was rather pleased at the wide eyed look Naru had very briefly when he registered what was going on. The Davis were going to love this one.
"Well it's about time!" said Ayako loudly.
Thankfully Masako wasn't quite up yet and was still brushing her teeth. However Ayako had woken up early to check on Mai.
Mai blushed red like a tomato, and Naru just blinked. He wasn't entirely awake, though if he were he'd still be able to keep his blush off his face.
"Ayako!" hissed Mai.
"Come on, anyone with eyes could tell you like him. I'm just glad I got to see it before Masako blows up about it," said Ayako grinning.
He really shouldn't do this...but Naru gave him enough headaches and this was a harmless bit of payback.
"I have pictures," said Lin. Ayako's eyes gleamed with glee. Naru glared at him. "I'm sure his parents are going to enjoy them as well."
And unfortunately for Naru, Lin had already sent it to his computer a few moments before Ayako walked in.
"Can you keep it down? I still have a headache," said Mai.
Ayako went straight into doctor mode, though she was openly amused. She was waiting for one of them to make a move on the other for months now. Hell, even John and the monk picked it up, and from the way Masako sometimes glared at Mai when Naru was being nice to her, it was pretty obvious she suspected something but didn't dare confirm it.
"I'm just saying it's about time you admitted you like him," she said grinning, checking the younger girl over.
"Well until he admits it himself or he gets rid of Masako's infatuation with him..." she muttered. Ayako patted Mai on the head with sympathy.
Yeah, she could absolutely understand Mai not wanting to get between a pissed off fan girl and her prey. While she might have admitted she had a thing for Naru sooner, right now they were better off keeping it quiet.
Especially since they were still on a case.
Didn't mean Ayako was planning to give up teasing her though. She had to have some fun.
A few hours later...
Matsuyama-sensei (he really didn't deserve that title, in their opinion) was absolutely livid about the broken windows and the lock.
Surprisingly it was Mai who shut him up rather fast, and without any powers to boot.
"Really. So it's our fault that YOUR school has a faulty gas pipe and doesn't bother to secure their shelves properly? All of our liability forms cover supernatural incidents and standard job-site accidents. It does NOT cover preexisting conditions to the buildings or locations we're investigating, especially when it could have very easily been one of your students that could have gotten hurt! By all rights I could very easily sue you and this school for having an unsafe environment! I'm sure the students would love to have an excuse to go after you!" said Mai angrily.
Everyone stared at Mai for a second, before Naru spoke up.
"She's right. The insurance forms the principal signed only cover job-related injuries or standard accidents, not something caused by negligence and unsecured shelves. Legally she would have more than enough cause to take you to court and from the way the students react they'd almost certainly join in on a heartbeat if they knew it was possible," said Naru, glaring at him.
"For all we know you set up the lab so that anyone who walked in there after hours would end up dead from suffocation," said Mai vindictively.
It was no secret that Matsuyama-sensei hated the SPR team and would have been glad to be rid of them.
Seeing the man pale at the mere thought they might accuse him of attempting to kill Mai was rather satisfying. Though not as much as the speculative look on Yasuharu's face when he spoke to Mai after the 'teacher' ran with his tail between his legs.
"Were you serious about that? The gas leak I mean."
"Well I did smell gas, and there was an explosion of sorts, but I'm pretty sure most of that was from the broken jars. I wasn't kidding about the part where I'd sue him if he annoyed me any more though."
"Uh, actually Mai..." said Monk sheepishly. She looked at him. "There is a faulty gas line in that room. Though it could have been caused by that explosion, but it looks old. This was a disaster waiting to happen from the start."
"So we really are hallucinating these things?" asked Yasu, almost disappointed.
"No way would a gas leak explain those dog bites in a class halfway across the school."
"Or the broken floor in the nurse's office," said Monk without thinking.
"Ayako was getting some more medical supplies just in case your concussion got any worse, and the floor suddenly caved in. She barely made it out of there before she fell with it," said Monk.
Mai was really pale now.
"Guess it's a good thing your fever kept spiking whenever we tried to bring you near it. If you had been in one of those beds you could have been seriously hurt or worse," he finished.
"Right, I think the students should all stage a boycott of attending any more classes until this is over... or that complete ass is fired," said Mai flatly, very pale.
"Boycott?" asked Yasu, almost looking interested in the idea.
"Well it's pretty clear the teachers don't actually care about their students, or they've given up on caring. So until they get the message that something is wrong with this school or their behavior, I say boycott. It's not illegal to skip school and having so many students missing is really bad publicity for it...especially if the reporters get wind of why you're doing it. At the very least it'll force them to realize you mean business."
Yasuhara openly seemed to like this idea. They had mostly been tolerating it with resignation...it had never occurred to them that skipping school en masse would force the teachers to do something or deal with the inevitable publicity and rumors from the media.
"I think we should try that. At the very least we can organize study groups for the younger students until they get the hint or we transfer to a new school," said Yasuhara.
And the best part was that the teachers couldn't really retaliate. It was a peaceful protest by the students who were affected, though they would need the majority of them for it to work.
Yasuhara was already making a note of who to talk to in order to get everyone on board with the idea.