A/N: Edited in 2015
A white haired boy was hugging his pillow on a couch, wearing light blue pajamas. A half empty popcorn bowl as company. It was close to midnight and the horror movie he had been watching was almost over. His only living family member, father, was still at work. The man had the habit of staying there through the night.
The boy, Ryou Bakura, often watched horror movies by himself. Other people made him nervous and he found interacting with them difficult. He felt awkward when talking to new people; he could never think of anything to say. Ryou suspected that others thought that he was an idiot. No one bothered to talk to him a second time, unless they had to, and Ryou was too shy to try and talk to anyone. Making friends without talking to anyone was tricky.
The murderer gave the last scare and Ryou jumped but smiled. It was nice to watch horror when you were alone in the dark house, in comfy pajamas and with snacks. It was his favorite past-time on weekends. It was Friday night, and another horror filled, lonely weekend was a head of him. His father was sure to work through the weekend. At least he knew a great place to rent movies from, just a ten minute walk away, with a huge horror section.
Ryou was more into psychological horror than blood and gore, though he had made an exception this time. His father had bought the movie for him so of course he had watched it. His dad had only bought it to give him something to pass time with when he was alone in the house. This weekend was busy, his father had told him, as though that was an exception rather than the rule.
The movie had been quite good. A lot of blood, but that was ok for a change. Ryou was obsessed with this kind of movies. He had no idea how it had started, but he was afraid that he would run out of movies to watch, then he would have to watch the ones he had already seen, again.
The ending credits rolled and Ryou sighed. Time to go to bed. Maybe he could read something before he fell asleep.
He almost fell off the couch when his cellphone rang. After discovering that he hadn't had a heart attack, he picked up his phone from the table in front of the couch. Who could be calling him now? His dad was the only person who had his number, besides school administration. As he checked the caller ID, it said that it was an unknown caller. Ryou bit his lip, wondering if he should answer, it was probably a telemarketer or something. He pressed the accept call button and lifted the cell on his ear.
"Hello..?" His voice sounded high and hesitant. He always told his both names when he answered the phone, but this was different and he felt jumpy after the movie.
"Hey, you don't sound like- Damn I must have dialed a wrong number," the person on the other end said. His voice was deep, the small curse made it sound harsh.
"Um, t-that's ok," Ryou said. He was still having the after horror feeling; scared, but ina good way. It made his voice waver.
"Hmm? You sound scared. I'm not an evil phone stalker you know." Now that the voice had lost its harshness, it sounded smooth. Ryou decided that he liked this voice even though he didn't know who it belonged to.
"I didn't think you were. I'm just a bit jumpy after just finishing watching a horror movie," he told with a small laugh.
"Oh?" The voice sounded amused. "Do you like scary movies?" The voice had lowered at the question and it send a pleasant shiver down Ryou's spine. Such a nice voice. The question made him giggle. He slumped into the couch, making himself comfortable.
"What?" asked the person from the other end with a sense of amusement. "Something I said?"
"You just reminded me of that guy from Scream, with that question. But I do like horror a lot, watch them all the time." It was much easier to talk to someone he couldn't see and didn't know. This guy, because he obviously was a guy judging by the voice, might as well be a sixty year old pervert, though he didn't sound that old.
"Oh yeah, I remember that movie. Did you like that one?"
"Hmm, well, it was rather good, though I'm not really into any of that bloody stuff. I like psychological horror more." He was already too tired to care that he was talking about movies with a total stranger who had accidentally called him, and besides, he liked talking to this person, even if it was just because of his voice.
"Like Silence of the Lambs?"
"Anything with a little Hannibal." Ryou laughed and heard the other chuckle. "Why are all the movies that come up so old?"
"I know. It makes me feel so old that I don't know any newer ones. I haven't been in the movies for ages."
"Me neither," Ryou told. "I mostly just rent everything I watch."
"Out of money?"
"Not really, but it's not fun to go to the movies alone. But anyway, I must be making your phone bill rise so maybe we should hang up," Ryou changed the subject.
"No, it's not my phone anyway. Let's just talk, I have nothing better to do."
"But weren't you trying to call someone? I wouldn't want to bother you."
"That was nothing important. So, can I assume that I'm talking to a guy?" the voice continued with a chatty tone and Ryou had no objections.
"Yes, do you need to ask?"
"Your voice does sound a bit feminine."
"Hey! Are you trying to make fun of me?" Ryou frowned even though he knew the other couldn't see it. He had been compared to a girl as an insult before.
"I'm not, it's a fact, and besides, I think your voice sounds nice." Again with the low tone, though this time it sounded almost seductive and made Ryou blush.
"Um, thank you. I like your voice, too." Ryou turned more red, glad that the other couldn't see him.
"Heh, that's good, otherwise you would have already hung up on me."
Ryou smiled. "Well, you're not that bad to talk to either. I would probably just be reading or something now if you hadn't called. I can never sleep right after a horror movie."
"Aw, too scared?" the caller asked. "Just let my wonderful voice lull you to sleep."
That made Ryou laugh. "I'd rather not fall asleep on the couch."
"Maybe you should go to bed then?"
Ryou nodded but then remembered that the other couldn't see him. "Maybe. Wait I'll go to my room, ok?" He got up from his seat and walked up the stairs to where his room was. He turned on his night light and got under the covers. After he was comfortable, he raised the cell to his ear again. "You still there?"
"Yes. What are you wearing?"
Ryou raised an eyebrow. "Wearing? That, my friend, has nothing to do with this conversation but if you are so interested to know, I'm wearing light blue pajamas."
"We could have a conversation where that is relevant."
Ryou blushed. "Your mind is dirty."
A laugh from the other end. "I was only kidding, though, you never said that we couldn't."
"I was hinting at it. Mind if I ask you who you were trying to call earlier?"
"My cousin, needed to bug him about something. I think your number has only one digit difference to his."
"Oh ok." A small suspicion came to Ryou's mind. "Don't you have your cousin on speed dial?"
"No, I hate his guts."
Ryou smiled in relief. Not because the mystery caller hated his cousin, but because he had thought that the dialing of his number hadn't been an accident after all. It was possible that the caller was lying, but Ryou decided to trust him on this one. Their conversation went on for some time after that. They talked about various subjects that came to mind, nothing personal, neutral, light subjects. It was nice to talk to someone without having to be afraid of making a fool out of himself; they would never know who the other was. It was much easier to Ryou than talking to someone face-to-face.
He laid down, feeling tired but not wanting to end the conversation just yet. Ryou yawned.
"Tired?" asked the caller.
"Yeah. It's getting late." He glanced at his alarm clock, it was three AM. They had talked for hours. He hadn't even realized it. "It's really late, three already." Yawn. "I should be sleeping. Good thing my father isn't here, he wouldn't like me staying up this late."
"Fathers," the other 'hmph'ed. "You want to go to sleep already?"
"I... Not really. I mean, it's been really nice talking to you but I think I might just fall asleep any moment now, so."
"Good night." Ryou was disappointed when he hung up and placed the phone on his night stand. They were unlikely to talk again.
Sleep claimed him, so he didn't have much time to think about it.
The phone call had drained his sleep. Ryou slept in and found his father in the kitchen, having lunch, when he came down from his room to have breakfast. His father glanced up from his food to give his tired son a quick smile before concentrating on his food again.
"Morning son, you look tired," his dad said.
Ryou sat down at the table, yawning and reaching for something to munch on. "I stayed up pretty late last night. Well, this morning more like."
"How come? You didn't spend all night watching movies again, did you?"
Ryou's tired brain registered that it was nice to have his dad showing interest towards his life for a change. "No, but this one guy accidentally called me and we just kind of started talking."
His dad looked up from his food. "Wait, so you talked with some guy you don't even know 'til the early hours? You do realize that he could have been some old pervert who just said he called the wrong number, right? Or a stalker? That kind of people can be dangerous, Ryou. I hope you didn't tell him about yourself."
"Dad," Ryou directed a tired look at his father. "I'm not totally stupid. We didn't talk about anything personal and he didn't ask anything like that either. He didn't sound very old to me and who would want to stalk me anyway?" Who would ever take interest in the quiet and uninteresting little Ryou? No one, that's who, not even some sick stalker.
His father sighed. "Well, you never know, all kinds of sick people in the world these days." He took a look at his watch. "Oh I got to go now. A meeting. Bye, have a nice day. Don't open the door to strangers."
"Yes, I know. Bye, dad." Ryou gave a small, tired wave to his father, who was well on his way out the door. It was nice to have his father care, but it was the same reminder every time. Don't open the door unless you know who it is, lock the doors before bed, and so on. It made him feel like his father didn't think he could take care of himself.
He decided to have the rest of his father's microwave meal as his lunch/breakfast. They would always eat premade meals if it was up to his father. Luckily for them, it wasn't up to his dad.
Ryou decided to go to rent some new movies later that day since he didn't have anyone to keep him company. Not that he had expected any. After finishing his meal, he went back upstairs to shower and change. He might as well go for a little walk before heading to Rent-A-Movie.
He ran down the stairs and grabbed his keys and phone on the way out of the house. It was a nice neighborhood. He took the longer route to his destination, like he planned. The day was nice and sunny, though he could see some darker clouds in the horizon. He hoped for rain. Rain meant that it was more fun to curl on the couch under plankets. Maybe it would thunder.
Ryou found himself taking his cellphone from his pocket and staring at it. Ren-A-Movie came to view when the phone in his hand rang, making him jump out of his socks. It was an unknown caller. He answered with nervous sounding hello again, not expecting to hear the familiar voice.
"Why do you always sound so nervous when you answer the phone?"
"Oh. Hello. I don't know. People just don't call me that often," Ryou told. "Hey, how come you called again? Trying to reach your cousin?" He asked and began walking again.
"What? Not happy to hear me again? I'm hurt." The hurt was fake. "Actually, I called to you on purpose this time."
Ryou thought it was weird but didn't mind; it was nice to talk to another humanbeing again. "Oh? I must say that I don't really mind talking to you." Ryou was surprised by his own boldness; he had never said anything like that to a stranger, not with that kind of casual confidence. Having distance and two phones between him and the other person gave him a boost. "So. What are you planning to do this weekend?"
"Nothing special. Work, sleep, the usual. You?"
"I was thinking of renting more movies and watching them. You work on weekends?" That reminded him of his father.
"Yeah, but only part time. I have to earn my living somehow."
Ryou opened the door to Rent-A-Movie and stepped in, heading to the horror section.
"What was that sound?" asked the other, referring to the small bell on top of the door that rang whenever someone opened the door.
"Oh, I just got to the place I rent all my movies from," the boy told, scanning through the movies on the shelf.
"Ok. Do you have someone special you're planning on watching a movie with?"
The question made Ryou smile as he pulled out a movie to read the summary. "Are you asking if I'm taken?" Again with the boldness. Whatever got into him when he was on the phone with this guy?
"I might be," the other drawled out. "Are you?"
"Nope. Why do you want to know?" The summary wasn't interesting so he put the movie back and pulled out another.
"Out of curiosity," the voice told. "Funny really, I could be asking that from a twelve-year-old or something."
"Hey, I don't sound that young!" Ryou huffed. "I'm not twelve, you were wrong by five years." He wondered if it would be ok to tell his age. What could someone do with that knowledge?
"So you're seven then? That's great because I always did have a thing for small children."
Ryou laughed and got a strange look from a fellow customer so he lifted his hand to muffle his laughter. "Pwease don't hurt me thwough the phone mister child molester." This time staff member shot him a disapproving glare, but Ryou was too distracted by the low chuckle from the other end to care. The sound sent a small, pleasant shiver down his spine.
"Oh I can't promise you that..."
The boy kept smiling until he saw the picture on one the cover of a movie. It had a scared looking woman who was holding a phone to her ear, looking ready to scream. Ryou turned the box to read the summary: Kate gets a mysterious call one night. The voice is pleasant but what will happen when the things it says turn very unpleasant? It threats her family and friends, driving Kate near a nervous breakdown and insanity. How can she fight something she can only hear?
"Um y-yeah," Ryou stammered and decided to rent the movie. He almost hung up. What were the odds that something from a dumb flick would happen to him? Ryou felt stupid for reacting with such paranoia. A change of subject was in order, though."Hey, is the weather nice where you are?" The weather was always a safe subject. Boring, yes, but safe.
There was a small pause before the caller answered. "I guess, it looks like it's about to rain though."
"That's funny, same here." Ryou gave a nervous laugh. He picked another movie that looked interesting to go with the mysterious caller one, and made his way towards the register. "I'm going to the register now, maybe we should hang up."
"Ok, bye then. Can I call to you after work?"
"Um, ok, if you want. Bye."
They hung up and Ryou showed the movies he wanted to the person behind the desk. After he was done with that, he headed home.
A tan hand put the phone back down on the table and got up to leave for work. The phone he used was "borrowed" from his cousin with the excuse that his was broken. A smirk played on his lips as he walked out of the apartment. He had actually managed to talk to the boy.
Mariku had first seen the boy in Rent-A-Movie two months ago. He had wanted to rent a movie that evening and had decided that he would like a horror. The boy had been there, looking through the movies and mumbling to himself. 'Seen it, seen it, no thanks...' he had said as his finger ran over the sides of movie covers. Mariku had sent amused glances towards the strange boy who had seen most movies in the horror section. It struck him as weird; the boy looked so cute and innocent, not the horror loving type at all. That was what had first drawn him. He had kept coming back to "rent a movie", never picking anything, because he hand't been ready to admitt that he came back to see the boy.
As he watched, he learned that the boy always rented horror, never anything else. Mariku had concluded that the boy couldn't be innocent if he had that kind of horror fetish. That, and he always came alone. He didn't seem to have any attributes that would drive people away and prevent him from having friends. He always gave a shy smile at the person working the register and requested the staff to assist him if he needed help finding a particular movie. And all in all, the boy was beautiful, with big brown eyes and pale skin.
In his obsession, though he would never admit it aloud, he had got a hold of the boy's, Ryou's, customer info. The boy was a regular customer, so the store had his phone number. It had been easy. Mariku hadn't been able to get himself to call the number before last night, though that had been an accident as Ryou's number did resemble that of his cousin's.
He had talked to Ryou. A long talk last night and a short one this afternoon. Last night he had called from a public phone that was in his work place, trying to reach his cousin, but had got the number wrong and called to Ryou instead. Not that he had any reason to complain.
It was a little added bonus that Ryou liked talking to him, and even liked his voice. Mariku grinned. The boy didn't sound half bad either and he wondered if he would sound as sweet in all situations.