Rewind / Rewrite
Disclaimer: Eerie Queerie is not mine. I had this idea, however, that I wanted to write about even in the midst of toxic week. Vacation in a month, and I cannot wait.
Getting used to things.
Mikuni's gaze didn't bother him anymore. Red eyes would always look him over thoughtfully, calculatingly, lecherously. It made Kanau uncomfortable, at first, unused to being seen by mortals due to the fact that he was a ghost. After the second week, he stopped thinking on it in favor of keeping his wits about as he did various household chores for the albino priest. There would always be something to do; a commotion with Mitsuo and his friends, the Shrine director fussing over one thing or another that would lead to Kanau playing pranks to get rid of him, Ichi unsuccessfully staring at where he's supposed to be, one of the rich brothers popping up….
Kanau mopped the last of the mess in the bathroom, straightening up to survey his work. His eyes passed over the mirror on the way, and he smiled half-heartedly at the reflection of the mop standing on its own. Sometimes, Kanau wished he could see his face in the mirror again, even if to just see how the silly outfits Mikuni made him wear fit. He knew his face hadn't changed – sixteen years as a sixteen-year old. He was a joke.
It wasn't fair that the priest could stare at him for hours on end, when Kanau couldn't glance at his own face for even just a split second. Sometimes, it became easy for him to entertain thoughts of forcing his way out of the sanctuary just so it would kill him a second time and he wouldn't have to suffer the indignity of dressing up as a cat-maid.
He never did try it. Not even once. It brought a blush to his face whenever he thought of his current situation, but everyone had become important to him as his life once had. He had been a recluse as a child, too, much like Mitsuo.
"The heat is getting to you?"
"I don't know what you're talking about," Kanau replied, marching past the taller man and out of the bathroom. He wouldn't, really. It wasn't like he could see himself blushing. Kanau wasn't even sure if he could remember how he looked like. The mop went back to the storage closet, and he made his way to the kitchen. Solidity was such a lovely thing – he had to thank Mikuni for that.
A big hand touched him by the shoulder and turned him around in one fluid motion. Kanau looked up, startled, as the priest touched his face gently with the other hand.
Sometimes, though, he wondered what else the priest had planned for him when he gave him a new 'body' of sorts.
"You like working hard, don't you?" There was a smirk that normal people would mistake for a smile, and then the hand trailed down his cheek, fingertips lightly touching his lips and chin. It went lower, to his neck, before the other hand lifted from Kanau's shoulder and joined its partner. "But you must always remember to keep your clothes straight and clean, Kanau."
Kanau could only blink his docile grey eyes as Mikuni straightened what he guessed was his ribbon, patted him between the cat-ears, and slid the door to the bathroom shut. He was struck with the sense of déjà vu, but he brushed it off and made his way to the kitchen instead. Mikuni had a habit of wandering around naked after baths.
Mitsuo and Hasunuma and Ichi were in kitchen, when Kanau stepped in. Kanau hardly took notice of Ichi jumping in surprise as the pot Kanau took from the shelf seemingly 'floated' without reason. That got Mitsuo and his lover's attention, which promptly explained the whole thing.
"Ichi, you're such a wimp. How many times has this happened? Ten? Twenty?" Kanau had to hand it to Hasunuma – he knew how to aggravate people. There was a clattering sound as Ichi did something to react and dropped some other things. Kanau didn't care as long as they cleaned it up.
"What's for dinner, Kanau?" He glanced at the blond peering up at him by his elbow, and flashed a small smile.
"Miso soup and ebi tempura."
"Do you need help?" Mitsuo was always just so helpful. If he hadn't been so dense, Kanau would have said they had a lot in common. He brushed the offer off and gestured to the other pair in the room. Mitsuo happily skipped off to whack Ichi one, sending the soccer player flying away from the death grip he had on Hasunuma's collar, smoking eyes and all. Kanau had never been like that with his Senpai either.
"You guys, do your thing in the other room, please?"
"Oh! Right! Kanau, we brought something for you!" Before Kanau knew it, Mitsuo was dragging him to what they had dubbed as the 'playroom' and seating him in front of the television. Not most shrines had them, but Mikuni wasn't like most priests.
"It's a Playstation. I'm sure you've seen this around. Since you must get bored at times, we thought we'd bring you this. So we can play it too, when we hang around!" The blond's enthusiasm nearly blinded him, for a while, but he ignored that and stared at the controller being shoved into his hand instead. He blinked, and looked at Mitsuo and his bright green eyes and the television screen.
Hasunuma and Ichi were wrestling for the remaining controller, and Mitsuo rummaged around for the games.
"Thanks, guys, but I don't really—"
"Nonsense!" Hasunuma butted in, triumphantly holding the controller away from the shorter Ichi and pushing him by the face with the other hand. "You must get bored, stuck with that pervert all day. Unless he occupies your time far more than what we think…?"
The ghost blinked once, twice, before he got what was being implied. He fancied he felt his face burn. "I—no, of course not. But I've never been one for games." He wasn't. He preferred extra curricular activities, like the Drama club, for time consumption.
Hasunuma's eyebrow lowered and its partner quirked. "I see. Still, there's no harm in trying it out."
"...Fine." It wasn't as if Kanau had any choice in the matter. At best, they would pester him until he agreed, and at worst, Mikuni himself would pop out of nowhere and chide him into joining his fellow 'kids.' If Kanau didn't know better, he'd claim that he was older than Mikuni.
Sometime during the conversation, Mitsuo and Hasunuma had disappeared to the kitchen; presumably to finish the cooking Kanau had started. Ichi grumbled about how his usual antagonist shouldn't have fought him for the controller before when he was going to leave anyway. The ghost thought riling him up was the point, but couldn't really voice out his comments anyway.
"So, Kanau." There was a pause before the name, as if Ichi found it alien. It probably was, considering that to normal eyes, he looked like he was talking to a floating controller and he had never been left alone with Kanau before. At least not to his knowledge. Sometimes, Ichi would come upon the perpetual youth, walk right through him, and not notice it. Kanau never thought to make his presence known.
Ichi was saying something that the ghost had missed. Kanau shook his controller a bit to signal that he had not understood. Thankfully, Ichi understood.
"I was asking you if you'd like to play. Mitsuo didn't really teach you how, and it would be a shame if we wasted our time here."
Kanau didn't want to, really. There were several things he thought he'd rather do than drop his IQ down the drain with computer-generated games. Before he could figure out a way to say no, Ichi had started up the console.
"This is King of Fighters," Ichi offered, pointing at the screen and then tapping at Kanau's console. "If you press these buttons, the character you choose move according to what the buttons stand for. If you press them according to a series, your character does a combo or a special move."
Kanau could only sigh and settle down to play. It wasn't particularly difficult to get the hang of it – old as Kanau may be, he was still physically a teenager. And he liked doing things with his hand, seeing it had been fifteen years since he had mundane tasks to work on. Floating around wasn't too fun.
Half an hour into the game, Kanau practically felt the hair at the back of his neck prickle. He turned around, grey eyes meeting red.
Mikuni was by the door, looking him over with a gaze Kanau decided was somewhere between contempt, curiosity, and apathy.
To be continued.
Uneditted. If I edit, you will see this message change, along with the date of edit.
Completion: February 28, 2005.