I'm back!!!! This idea comes from raijutei-no-babylon, I thank you so much!! Author bows! I read the outline you gave me and I thought it was great! So this chapter (and story) is dedicated to you! I got a lot of replies to my plea for help and I loved all the ideas you guys sent in! If I had enough time I would write all of them! But alas, I'm one writer! I will be using more of the ideas though and I will put a dedication to the person who gave me that idea at the beginning of that particular story. I'm going to shut up now and let you read. And please review!
"Yes, Mrs. Martia. Of course you can come in. No, I'll tell him. He can get over it. I'll see you in a few minutes." Mai hung the phone up and allowed herself a small smile. When her mother had died, Mrs. Martia who owned an orphanage let her stay with her and all the other children. Mai had left when she got into high school but she tried to visit the children and Martia every weekend if they weren't on a case.
Martia had called her and Mai had heard the panic in her friend. She had asked and the older woman had asked if she could come over and see if Mai's boss was interested in a new case. Mai had been stunned, Martia had been pressing for her to quit because of all the danger that Mai had been in. Mai hadn't mentioned that she had fallen into a well or the manhole. She didn't want to give the woman a heart attack.
Mai walked over to Naru's office and decided that it would be better if she took him a peace offering. She went to the kitchen and made tea. She waited until the pot whistled and she poured it into his favorite cup, she might as well suck up as much as she could. She knew that Martia would need their help and she didn't want Naru being a smartass like he always was.
"Naru?" Mai knocked on his door as she entered. He looked up from the files that he had been studying. She saw his eyes widen as she had brought tea into his office and she was smiling a little bit brightly. He wondered what she wanted.
"Yes, Mai?" he answered. He watched as she placed the teacup in front of him. He noticed that it was also in the cup that he preferred. His suspicion went up a notch further. She never did things like this. He wondered if she had hit her head but shook it off. She wanted something and he didn't know what it was. Yet.
"Um, I just got a call from a friend of mine. She owns an orphanage about an hour from here and she said that she wanted to come in and talk to us." Mai said and Naru's eyes widened a fraction in understanding before returning to their normal size.
"I see. Mai, just because she's your friend doesn't mean that I'm going to automatically take her case." he warned her and he saw her eyes widen before she glared at him.
"I wasn't suggesting that you did! I was telling you to behave yourself! This woman is the closest the thing I had to a mother after mine passed away." she snapped before she turned and left the office and made sure to slam the door. Naru took a deep breath before letting it out. He'd be nice to the woman, but not because Mai asked him to.
The knock on the door caused Mai to jump as the office had been extremely silent. She quickly went to the door and answered it. She squealed as she saw it was Martia and she hugged the woman tightly before she could even step inside. She heard her 'mother' laugh as she returned the hug.
"It's good to see you as well, Mai." the woman said as Mai finally let her enter the office. Martia had black hair that was graying and warm green eyes that were always smiling. Mai decided that it was Martia's eyes that gained a child's trust.
"Well, Mai…I would like to speak with your boss. I normally wouldn't come here but I believe this case might catch his attention." Martia said and Mai nodded before she disappeared into Naru's office. Martia blinked as she heard heated voices. She put her hand over her mouth as the voices continued to rise before they stopped and Mai and Naru walked out of the office quietly.
"Martia, this is my boss, Shibuya Kazuya. Naru, this is Martia Leland." Mai introduced before she left the room and went to make tea. Martia nodded at Naru and he sat down in his chair.
"Good morning, Mrs. Leland. Mai informed me that you wished to hire us for a case." he said and Martia nodded.
"Yes, she told me that it took quiet a lot to gain your attention for a case. So I wouldn't have come if I knew you wouldn't be interested. I'm sure that she told you that I run an orphanage." she told him and he nodded.
"The children are seeing things that I really can't see. All I know is that things move around on their own and the children swear that they don't move it. I saw these things move as well but I was positive everything would be okay. That was until one of my assistants that works with us at the orphanage was pushed down the stairs." Martia said and Naru blinked and she sighed.
"All the children were at school and I was in the kitchen. She said that no one was around her when she woke up at the hospital. I knew that Mai was working for a Psychic Researcher and she's told me about the cases you've worked on." Martia said as Naru wrote down what she was saying.
"I see, Mrs. Leland. Is there anything else?" he asked before suddenly she pulled out a piece of paper with writing he could understand. That was saying a lot about it. Naru knew almost every language that had been spoken, except Greek. That had been Gene's area.
"I found this in the basement. It doesn't exactly have the friendliest look." Martia said and he examined the paper before frowning suddenly.
"I'll take the case. This isn't a curse but it shows that something is wrong with the orphanage." he said as he put the paper into the file folder that he was putting the information into.
"Thank you, Mr. Shibuya. When will you be arriving?" Martia asked. Naru looked up before he stood up. He wondered where Mai had gotten to. Almost as though she had heard him she was in the room with three teacups and she poured the tea.
"We'll be arriving around noon tomorrow. We will need a base room and two rooms. One room will need three beds while the other needs four beds." he told her before he left with the teacup in his hand. Mai looked at Martia who shrugged as she took a sip.
"I suppose you'll be returning to the orphanage, Mai." Martia said and Mai couldn't stop the grin that spread across her face.
"I can hardly wait! I'll see everyone again!" Mai said excitedly and Martia nodded happily before she stood while saying she had to go get the rooms ready. Mai walked her to the door before smiling as she waved good-bye. She smiled as she shut the door and went back to her desk to finish her filing. She had never realized how excited she would be on one single case.
"This is where you grew up?!" Ayako cried as they looked at the huge three-story house that Mai had directed the three cars, the SPR van, Takigawa's care, and John's car to. Everyone's eyes, except Naru and Lin, had popped out of their head as they stared at the large house where children were playing outside. There was a loud squeal and Naru whirled around as Mai fell to the ground with an 'oomph'.
"MAI-CHAN! YOU CAME!!" sitting on Mai was a little girl, maybe six, with blonde hair brushing her shoulders that were in pigtails. Her eyes were bright blue and she was currently busy hugging Mai until she had no air left in her lungs.
"Hello, Kaoru!" Mai managed to get out before somehow she stood up with Kaoru on her hip and the young girl clinging to her as she looked at the people surrounding her friend.
"Everyone, this is Kaoru. I baby sit her during the school year because she isn't old enough to go yet and the school lets her shadow me when Martia can't take care of her. Kaoru, remember how I told you I worked for somebody now?" Mai asked and Naru noticed that the little girl was staring at him over Mai's shoulder.
"You mean the 'tea drinking cutie'?" Kaoru chirped and Mai put her hand over Kaoru's mouth and everyone could hear the younger girl's giggles. Mai couldn't even look at Naru with how red her face felt. The others were watching for a reaction from Naru but he gave no outward reflection.
'Tea-drinking cutie?' he thought as he continued to pack the boxes before turning and handing the box to John and Takigawa who followed one of Martia assistants into the orphanage.
Mai could still feel her cheeks flaming. She hugged Kaoru once more before putting the girl down on the ground and the girl ran off and Mai turned to Naru and took the box he handed her and refused to meet his eyes before she turned and scurried into the orphanage.
"Martia and the older children said that most of the 'ghost incidences' happened in the kitchen, the second floor rooms, and the basement." Mai read from her clipboard and Naru looked up from where he and Lin were hooking up the monitors. "John and Takigawa are setting the cameras up and Martia is giving Masako a walk through."
"And Ayako?" he asked and Mai blinked before shrugging.
"I think she's occupied with the children. They seem to think she looks like a mother figure. I don't know…children can get very attached to people. I suppose she's one of them." Mai said.
"Go stay with her. See if you can find anything else from the children." he ordered and Mai nodded before she put the clipboard down and hopped out of the room cheerfully. Naru stared after her until Lin nudged him with his elbow and he turned back to the monitors.
Meanwhile, Mai and Ayako were playing t-ball with the children. They usually let the children get them out. By the time the game ended Mai and Ayako were black and blue from being hit by three, four, and five year olds with t-ball mitts.
"They have quite a hit on them." Ayako commented as she and Mai sat with Martia and Masako in the kitchen. They could hear the laughter of the children in the dining hall. Mai took a sip of the tea that Martia had poured her.
"Hey, Masako, did you find anything out?" Ayako asked as she remembered that the medium had been taken on a tour of the orphanage. Masako looked up from her own teacup and shaking her head.
"I didn't sense any spirits. They may be hiding and they may just not exist. I won't be able to know unless they do something else." Masako whispered softly and Mai blinked before she stood up as the laughter got a little to loud. She peeked into the dining hall and burst out laughing as most of the food was on the walls and she turned to look at Martia who chuckled.
"That is one thing that hasn't changed. They like to play. And I still spend most of my time in there cleaning. But life goes on. They're children who have no parents and have to find somewhere to belong in the world." Martia explained and Mai smiled before she gently closed the door and turning to the other three in the kitchen.
"I'm going to go see if Naru needs anymore help!" she said brightly before she left. Ayako saw Martia smile and she looked at her curiously.
"When she was a child, she was so depressed. She came to the orphanage after her mother died. She was so sad…she rarely smile until one day my niece came to visit me. She must have been fifteen and Mai fell in love with her. And my niece took her everywhere and took care of her. Mai promised she would go to college just for my niece and Mai's attitude completely turned around.
"Let's just say I haven't seen her that happy since my niece visited." Martia said as she took a sip.
"Mai has touched all of us, Mrs. Leland. She's a very…pleasant person to be around." Masako said and Ayako looked at her surprised before Masako stood up and left the kitchen quickly. Ayako sighed before hiding her own smile in the teacup. She decided that even though Masako was jealous of Mai she still liked the girl no matter what.
Naru entered the base after having met some of the 'witnesses' of the paranormal activity. He frowned as he saw that Mai was asleep. He could feel the agitation rising quickly and he clamped a lid down on the anger. He studied the sleeping girl and wondered how she could look so peaceful when in reality she was so hyper she made people tired just by looking at her. He had to stop his hand from going out to brush the bangs out of her closed eyes.
'Stupid girl.' he thought as he turned to look at the monitors. Most of the screens showed that the temperatures were normal. There were a few that were below normal but they didn't catch his attention as they weren't completely unusual. He heard Mai's breath hitch slightly and he turned to look at her as she woke up and he watched as she sat up rubbing her eyes.
"Look who's finally waking up." he snipped and she blinked. Mai could feel her cheeks warm slightly as she realized that Naru had walked in on her sleeping. And the thing was that even though she had slept she hadn't dreamt about him or anything else. She was confused as to why but decided that maybe she was just tired and hadn't realized it when she had volunteered to stay in the base room.
"I'm sorry!! I didn't realize I was tired!" she cried as she jumped up from her seat. She felt like shrinking away when she saw the glare Naru was giving her. She wondered if he knew how to look at someone without glaring. She immediately set to work when he ordered tea, at least that was something she could do that he wouldn't get made at her about.
"Here you go, Naru!" she said brightly as she handed him his tea. She might as well be friendly even though she wanted to kill him.
"Did you dream?" he asked and she groaned before replying. She heard him mutter something and she blinked.
"Huh?" she asked. She would later realize that she really hadn't wanted to know what he had said.
"I said 'useless'. You can't even dream when we need you to. I suggest that you leave this to us if you want us to help your friend. And next time you fall asleep I would appreciate it if you don't do it on my time. Are we clear, Miss Taniyama?" he asked and Mai took a step back as tears began to well. She heard him snort when she didn't reply. "Have you forgotten how to speak?" he asked as he looked over his shoulder to meet her stunned eyes.
"You…you…" Mai turned and ran. She didn't know what else to do. She didn't want to Naru to see her crying because of what he said. She bumped into someone and strong hands steadied her and kept her from hitting the floor. She looked up through her tears and saw that she had run into Lin.
"Taniyama-san?" he asked worriedly before she jerked away from him and she looked up at him with those watering eyes. He wondered if she was hurt and was about to suggest that they go see Martia before she spoke.
"I'm sorry, Lin-san! I'm sorry!" she cried before running off. Mai ran into her room and threw herself onto one of the beds, she wasn't sure who's it was. She thought it was Masako's bed but she didn't really care. She sobbed into the pillow before sleep claimed her once again.
Mai saw him walking towards her and she ran for him. She heard him grunt in surprise when she wrapped her arms around his waist. She sobbed into his chest, not wanting to let go. Her dream Naru would never call her useless or make fun of her intelligence. Why couldn't the real Naru be like the dream Naru?
"Why can't the real you treat me like this?" she whimpered. She didn't see how he frowned. Gene kept from growling. He shouldn't be surprised that his brother had managed to put her into tears. It seemed to be the one thing he was good at when it came to Mai.
'He doesn't deserve her with the way he treats her. Doesn't he understand that she's a human and has emotions? I wish I could teach him a lesson that he'd never forget!' Gene thought as he held the crying girl in his arms before she stepped back and wiped at her tears. He watched as her fingers brushed her cheeks to wipe the tears away when it hit him. He could teach his brother a lesson.
"Thanks for letting me cry on your shoulder." she whispered. She would have felt embarrassed but she decided that since this Naru was a figment of her imagination she could live with it. After all, it had felt nice to be held by Naru and even be comforted by him.
"Don't you get tired of this?" Gene asked and Mai looked up at him before dropping her head. He could see her nod and he sighed. It was way past time to give Naru a lesson. "Stay with me then."
"What?" Mai's head shot up and she looked at Naru with wide disbelieving eyes and he gave her that smile that made her heart melt. "Is that even possible? I thought…I mean isn't this just a dream?" she whispered and he shook his head.
"No…it can be real, if you want. You can stay here with me." Gene knew what the consequences would be. But he decided that he would act like his brother if it made her happy. He was tired of seeing her show up in his world with tears on her face because of his brother. He held his hand out and he saw her eye his contemplatively.
'It's a dream. It can't hurt. And besides…it would be nice to have Naru treat me like a person.' she thought before she gave him a bright smile and reached out and took his hand and she felt him wrap his fingers around her hand. 'I hope I never wake up.' she couldn't help but think.