A/N: Well, here is the first chapter of my new story! WARNING!!!!! Adult themes and explicit content in later chapters! Please respect the rating! This story is going to take on a kind of romance novel feel just to let you know what the characterization is going to be like. It may seem a little OOC but that is due to the type of story! Anyway, please enjoy and review!
Shadow of Nothing
A tea kettle sounded loudly startling the occupant of the room. She moved quickly to the kettle and began to pour several glasses of tea…begrudgingly. Mai was having a bad day, no, a horrible day.
For some reason she couldn't fall asleep at all the night before and roused with a splitting headache. She burned her toast and was late to school. She forgot her homework, was yelled at by the teacher, and fell down the stairs giving several of the third year male students an up close and personal view of her underwear. Not to mention that when she fell she twisted her ankle and got a nasty bruise on her hip that was still causing her pain at that very moment.
Of course, it was just her luck that there was going to be a meeting at the office today. Yesterday Naru had taken a call himself and had instructed her to contact the others and let them know that there was going to be an informational meeting with the client today and that he requested their presence since, if he decided to accept the case, he wanted them all there first hand to hear the details themselves. Mai decided that Naru was just too lazy to re-state everything to the others if he did take the case…she wouldn't put it past him.
True to her previous mishaps of the day, Mai had been held after school to aid in chores and other menial tasks…making her late. On her way to the office she was held up on the subway making her already late status even later. By the time she made it to the office and entered the client was already there and in conversation. Already feeling like an idiot Mai tried to slip by without notice before she caught a glimpse of her boss, who was, for all practical purposes, giving her the death glare.
She froze and wilted under its intensity before trying to slink away even more depressed as before…but there was no way he was going to let her go that easily…
"Mai" he brought all attention to her and the people of the room stared at her before he finished; "Tea."
"Yes…" she replied meekly. This truly was a bad, bad day.
She silently entered the room and knelled by the table where she placed a warm glass of tea in front of each person and made a move to rise and leave.
"Stay" a simple cold voice stated. She looked up at her boss as she was already subconsciously settling back down into a sitting position.
She wanted to snap at her boss harshly…but that would have been rude given the situation since he never once took his attention from the client even when he had told her to stay. Unfortunately for Mai, her position on the floor was greatly uncomfortable given her injuries from earlier in the day. But for now, just for the client, Mai would put up with it with clenched teeth.
Mai sat restlessly listening to the conversation. Apparently the client was an Okami-san from a hot spring inn about three hours out of town in a rustic resort location. Her inn was small but very popular and well rated. How ever, recently she stated that there had been several strange occurrences that could not be explained. Many of the staff complained of seeing ghostly figures, hearing strange noises, and waking up to frigid temperatures even though it was warm outside. Things started to degrade, she stated, when several of her maids committed suicide only a few days to a week apart from one another. All the women were happy, productive, and otherwise normal people. Many felt that was why it was the work of whatever was haunting the inn since the women seemed to have no such inclination. The police stated that since the women were relatively young, aged 16 to 24, that there must have been personal reasons for their actions and that they must not have discussed the problems with anyone; even after five girls had died the police deemed each death an open and shut case. Fearing for the welfare of her other maids, guests, and the livelihood of her business the Okami-san had sought out help from SPR.
Naru looked deep in thought, as did the other members of their team. In Mai's opinion the case sounded pretty interesting, and usually Naru would jump all over a case that was interesting…but for some reason he was hesitating. Mai stole a glance and the boy and to her surprise she found him genuinely troubled.
"In total how many girls have died?" Naru asked seriously. The others looked at the older woman as she lowered her gaze.
"Six in total" she said in a soft voice.
"The first was 21…" she paused to think for a moment, "then the next two were both 17. The next was almost 23 followed by a 16 year old and finally a 24 year old." She looked so very sad, almost as if there was something more…something tragic that she was unable to say.
Naru exchanged a glance at Lin before fixing Mai with a glare. Mai couldn't help but wonder what his problem was. 'He couldn't be…' she thought as her eyes widened slightly. 'Was he asking about the ages…because…' her eyes widened even more and a blush threatened to burst over her cheeks.
"We will accept your case. We'll need a room that can serve as our base of operations and at least two rooms for our personal use while we are staying investigating at your inn." Naru's voice was business like but it brought Mai harshly back to reality where she found the Okami-san nodding gratefully.
"Yes, I can arrange that. When can I expect to see you?" She kindly asked.
Naru glanced at everyone, "if possible tomorrow before noon."
"That will work fine." She smiled and bowed deeply before bidding everyone farewell.
Once she had left everyone started to discuss the case among themselves, including Naru and Lin.
Mai noticed that Ayako and Bou-san both had finished their tea, and of course Naru's glass had mysteriously gone empty as well. She decided that she might as well go make more tea and save Naru the satisfaction of ordering her to do so. Mai stood and was about to grab cups to place upon her tray when she placed weight on her injured ankle. It didn't help matters by sitting on it the way she had. She rapidly sucked in a breath of air through clenched teeth from the pain, refusing to cry out in the presence of her boss. The action had the exact opposite effect as she had hoped since she had taken a step back recoiling from the pain and was quite angry to find herself losing her balance. It was just not her day.
In a glorious display of unbalance, Mai toppled over crashing into Naru's chair hard. In her effort to catch her self on his arm rest she succeeded in propelling herself into falling directly on the stunned man. She would have continued forward on to the other side of the chair had Naru not grabbed on to her waist and held on. When all was said and done and Mai was finally collected enough to notice her situation the first thing she noticed were the stunned and flushed faces of her coworkers looking at her in bewildered amusement.
She was resting at a downward angle that much she could tell but it wasn't until she looked behind her that she realized the cause of all the expressions she was receiving. Yep, she really did it this time. Her skirt had flipped up in the fall exposing in all their full glory, her panties. And of course…that was not the worst of it. A deep blush broke across her face as she tried to squirm away…for her exposed butt was only a matter of inches away from her boss's face.
Mai had to give the teen credit though. She was amazed that in such a situation he was still able to keep his face calm and was even giving a look of mild irritation and annoyance. Maybe her butt was not attractive enough to illicit a decent reaction? Now, that thought made her day that much worse.
She tried to squirm away again but this time she could feel resistance as Naru's hold held good.
"Idiot…" he sighed, "if you move like that you are going to fall flat on your face." He moved his hands so that they were resting on her hips; it was almost like he was trying to move her closer to him…
Before she knew it another pair of strong arms had weaved their way around her shoulders and under her arms. With one easy pull she was lifted upward and sat gently on the floor in front of the chair. Naru had guided her lower half of her body until just before she was safely on the ground. She looked up and found Lin staring at her…his face calm as ever.
"Thank you Lin-san." She said as she pushed her self up off the floor only to start to fall over again immediately. This time Naru was up from his seat and there to catch her before she fell. He slipped a protective arm around her waist and used his other as a counter weight. He squeezed her close as he waited for her to gain her footing and her composure…her face was bright red. Even though he would never let it show, he was smiling warmly at her reaction.
"Ah…uh…Thank you Naru…" she fumbled but didn't let go of his arm. She glanced at Masako who was trying to hide a malicious jealous glare behind her dainty little kimono sleeve. Feeling slightly victorious, Mai sent the medium a silly grin before Lin's voice pulled her out of her rejoicings.
"Are you alright, Mai-san?" He was looking at her with a truly concerned look.
"Ah, yes…I am alright really! My legs just fell asleep from sitting there so long…that's all!" She hit her hip in emphasis before she remembered she had deeply bruised it earlier. She winced in pain but held it in well enough to fool the man in front of her. If she had been able to see behind her she would have seen Naru narrow his eyes at her. She couldn't hide anything from him…
"Here, let me help you" the Chinese man outstretched and arm and Naru reluctantly released his hold on her as his assistant helped her to the couch to sit down.
"Thank you!" she smiled brightly as she engaged in conversation with the others. By the time they had all finally left leaving Naru, Lin, and Mai alone in the office at least 20 minutes had passed of them mocking the poor girl endlessly. Masako had spent the time silently sending her death glares, while John was trying to placate the situation and Ayako and Bou-san vowed to never let here forget her embarrassing actions.
Mai sighed as she was finally able to relax. She dreaded the teasing she was going to get from the Miko and the Monk in the days to come…but she supposed any interaction was better than none. Even though they would be teasing her she knew they truly cared for her and that thought alone made her happy; but on this day in which everything was going wrong the littlest thing would do to cheer her up.
"What really happened?" A dreadfully cold voice rang through the office. Mai looked up to see Naru leaning against the door frame of his personal office, glaring at her.
"What ever do you mean?" She asked in a huff deciding to play it dumb.
"You can't fool me, now tell me what happened." His voice lowered slightly sending a chill up Mai's spine. She slowly turned to face him…those eyes should be illegal.
"Nothing serious…" she admonished quietly. Naru raised a brow and didn't need to ask more since he was already saying it with his eyes. "I just…fell…"
"Fell?" he questioned hiding his concern.
"Yeah, down like two flights of stairs at school…Oh, but I went to the nurses office and she said it was just a sprained ankle and a bruised hip…nothing serious…just need to stay off it…for…awhile…" she finished in a voice barely above a whisper.
"Hmm…" He seemed to be in thought.
"Maybe you should stay home for this case and stay off your feet. Knowing you and your stupidity you would probably only re-injure yourself if you came…" he said while a smirk formed on his face.
"No!" she jumped up from her seat on the couch, "I can still go! Don't worry; it will be fine by tomorrow!" She pleaded with her best puppy eyes she could muster.
He gave her a dubious look before pushing off from the wall, "fine." He looked at her again, "but if it becomes too much trouble looking after you then I want you to stay quietly in the base and don't complain, understand?" He decided that he rather have her close where he could keep an eye on her than alone at home where who knows what trouble she would get into and probably hurt herself even more.
"Yep!" She smiled brightly at him. His heart thumped uncomfortably in his chest and he turned away before she noticed his conflict.
"Sit down and stay there for a bit…" he said as he entered his office, "Lin and I will give you a ride home." With that he closed his door and failed to see the dazzling and loving expression the girl was sending his way.
A/N: Please review and let me know how you liked it! PLEASE RESPECT THE RATING! It will get MUCH more explicit with adult themes in the next few chapters! Thank you for reading!