Disclaimer: Don't sue me 'cuz I swear I don't own a single thing of Get Backers. Promise!
The moon was out tonight. A perfect circle, irregularly misty clouds blocked its silver beams from emanating a luminous glow to the quiet neighborhood of Shinjuku. Grateful for the adequate light that originated from one of God's spatial creations, the boys stared with silent apprehension at the sight that loomed straight ahead.
Weeds sprouted everywhere, unwilling to permit a single bloom to color the long, unkempt grass, naked trees hovered above these flower-killers, an occasional hoot from a night-loving creature sounded somewhere in the distance. A breeze blew their hair, causing chills to climb up their trembling spines.
Koji wanted to leave so badly. An owl indicated its nightly presence that nearly made him wet his trousers. "Bro, let's go. It's getting really dark and cold, and we might get into trouble." He unconsciously clutched his crotch and bopped the pee-pee-dance.
Kagami glared at his brother, said without pity as he shoved his brother, "You'll be in big trouble if you dare wet your pants 'cuz I ain't changing it for ya after ya do your little accident. Now c'mon, unless you want to flee and scream all the way home."
Fudou stifled a laugh and amusingly looked at the two brothers. They definitely didn't look or act like they were siblings. Kagami's silky blonde locks and rare violet orbs often dazzled ladies, while Koji's muddy brown hair was styled downwards, shielding his gray, warm eyes that strangely repulsed girls from him. But their looks weren't the only features that made them look different. Kagami was a rude, aloof, and sly sixteen-year-old, whereas Koji, six years down, was inherently polite, shy, and sweet.
Kagami's qualities have amused Fudou, making their bond as friends closer. They had one thing in common, a favorite hobby, an instinctive rush that frequently excited the both of them. Just like Kagami, he enjoyed teasing, mocking other people and their businesses.
"Sorry. I'm going." Koji held his breath and fought not to cry. He urged his wobbly legs to move on, to show his brother and Fudou that he wasn't as scared as a chicken. He didn't even know how he got himself into this mess in the first place.
Fudou crossed the rusted gate's seemingly hostile entrance and shook his head. "You had to bring the shrimp."
Kagami brushed his fair locks from his eyes, said impassively, "Babysitting. No choice. Plus ten bucks if I do it. Now stop complaining."
"Whatever. He's a pain."
"I know. Now let's go." As they walked along the rugged and wide walkway, Koji felt his bladder reaching explosion as they approached the huge house. No light signaled a living being's presence, unattended mosses strangled the gray walls and dusty windows, creaky boards protested against no solid foot but the wind's chilling breath.
When Fudou cautiously set foot on the noisy porch, the door involuntarily swung open. Koji choked a scream—causing him to drop his flashlight—and stumbled on the crisp grass. Slightly taken aback, Kagami rolled his eyes and looked irritatingly at his brother. "Get up, you wimp. You go on ahead, Fudou."
"Sure thing, boss." Fudou theatrically saluted and made his way to the pitch-black foyer that waited patiently before them. Kagami hurriedly pulled his brother to a standing position and practically dragged him through the cracked threshold. As soon as they were safely inside, the door slammed shut and the lock was magically engaged. The trio looked wearily behind them, and Koji involuntarily held his brother's shirt, whimpered through shaking, pale lips, "Bro, please. Let's get out of here."
Fudou rushed past them and tried to open the door. "Damn! We're locked in." He went to one of the windows and tried to pry it open. "It's jammed. Dude! Help me out here."
But Kagami didn't pay any attention to them. He scanned the grimy floor, the shattered chandelier lying in the corner, wilted flowers sagged in a pot on an old mahogany table beside him, and a broken mirror, reflecting a disfigured image of himself, hung above them. He wasn't superstitious, but he felt rather uneasy. He suddenly remembered the past, the time when he used to come here, the time when he stood on this same floor—only without dust coating his sneakers—waiting for long minutes till she gawkily stomped toward him and more bickering would surface between them.
He sighed, yelled at Fudou, "Stop your panicky state and let's finish this." He shifted his flashlight from the floor to the door at his right. As he took two steps forward, a troubling sound was heard from above. Creeeeeaaaak. Creeeeeeaaaaak. Floorboards screeched toward their direction, making its way along the second-floor-hallway. Slowly, very slowly, uneven steps made cold sweat ooze down their shoulder blades. Unable to move, too scared to budge an inch, Koji hid his face in his brother's shirt and sobbed.
Kagami was too preoccupied by the noise to notice his soaked shirt. He anxiously waited till whoever attempted to near them came into view. He wanted to see, to see if the rumors were true about the neighborhood's ghost that has been disturbing the Kudo mansion for years.
Fudou dropped his light and dashed to the door, struggled with the doorknob, cursed under his breath. "Damn fucking door! Won't frigging open! Kagami! A little help!" But Kagami focused on the imminent footsteps, ignored his little brother and friend.
Suddenly, Thud. Creeeeeaaaak. Thud. Creeeeaaaaak. Thud. Creeeeaaaak. Thud. Creeeeaaaak. Fudou stopped and listened. Koji squeezed his eyes shut; bit his lower lip to stop his weeping. Kagami only waited, stared at the perpetual gloom. His heart was beating rapidly, his body was cold, not from the freezing air that drifted around them, but from the escalating terror building inside. He compelled himself to wait, to stay calm. He waited, and waited, and waited.
Fudou nervously looked at Kagami's back and hissed at him, "Kagami. Hoy! Let's get the hell out of here." Kagami merely made a hand motion to hush Fudou and continued to wait. Without warning, a blinding white flash enveloped them. Kagami covered his eyes with his arm for a moment and squinted at the figure that stood on the top step of the stairway.
When his vision cleared a bit, his insides churned, making him lurch forward, and he felt his heart beating so erratically that his ribs could break any minute from the continuous rhythm. He could see her. He was actually looking at her. Unusual green hair danced with the whistling air, violet eyes looked at them vehemently, looked at him with poisonous anger. Eye-stinging light outlined her curvaceous form, making her look like an apparition, an angel sent from above. She was almost perfect. Perfect. If it weren't for her fiery eyes and, the thing. He instantly saw it. The thing that she hated. The thing that he hated.
As their gaze met, the light flashed an even brighter shade of white, plus an incensed wind that blinded them for seconds. When he could feel no wind blowing through him anymore, when he could sense no light searing his closed eyelids, he gradually opened his eyes. She disappeared without a trace. Like a ghost.
He remembered it well, the past that he loathed. He truly regretted for what he did to her. He hated himself for what he did to her years ago. He loved her, though she would never know, now that it seemed as though the rumors were true.
He felt a tug on his shirt. He stared blankly at his red-faced brother and asked, "What?"
"I'm sorry if I cried on your shirt."
Kagami looked at his wet shirt and shrugged it off. He could kill his brother next time for more annoying reasons than this. He felt another tug on his shirt. He rolled his eyes and muttered, "What now?"
"I'm afraid that… isn't the only thing I wetted."
Kagami looked down, annoyance creeping into his face. "I'll kill you!"
"Sorry," was Koji's only response. "Can we go home now?"
Kagami wanted to pound his brother's head, but he was too exhausted to gather enough strength to administer a bruise on Koji's empty head. He also pitied his brother's appearance. Slightly. His face was damp with both sweat and tears blended together, a thin trail of blood leaked from his lip, and his pants stank with urine.
"I'm gonna be in big trouble once we get home." Unlike his usual character, he seized his brother's clammy hand and led him to the door. He saw Fudou quivering beside the door, his eyes wild with fear. "Can we go now?"
"Yup." Kagami detached the lock and turned the knob with ease. "These things won't open if you don't disengage the lock first. You won't get anywhere with that, my friend."
Fudou, who has already regained his composure, retorted, "Smart-ass."
When they exited through the gateway, Kagami didn't look back. Goodbye, Himiko.
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To be continued…