Author's Note: This is my gag variant for a challenge posted by o-pessimist on LJ's shibuya-pr community. It was conceived while discussing a more serious version of the challenge with Kyia Star. There are a couple of references to minor details mentioned in the final novels but no major spoilers.
Disclaimer: Ghost Hunt is the brain child of Ono Fuyumi. The GH world and characters are hers. I'm just having some fun with her creation.
The faint sound of a door opening was almost inaudible in the hallway of a second-floor office in Shibuya Ward's Dogenzaka. The young man, completely dressed in black, stepped out of his office just as one of his employees said, "So, won't you have my child, Taniyama-san?"
The young man – Shibuya Kazuya or "Naru" – who also happened to be the one in charge of the office, froze at those words. In the main reception area, silence fell for a long moment when several people suddenly burst out laughing.
"Ahahah! That's quite the proposition there, young man!" Takigawa Hoshou, a.k.a. Bou-san, a monk who'd trained at Mt. Koya, said as he wheezed, bent over in laughter.
Yasuhara Osamu, the young man who'd made that first shocking statement, looked at Bou-san. "But any way you look at it, I'm the obvious choice!" he protested. "After all, Brown-san's a Catholic priest, so marriage and children are completely out of the question. You're more of a father figure to her, so that's no good. As for the boss, I'll admit he has me beat in terms of looks and self-centredness, but there's no risk of any unusual abilities showing up with me, which is good, right?"
Yasuhara put a possessive arm around a stunned Mai. "So, of all the office members and the Irregulars, I'd definitely be the obvious choice!" he said with his patent honours-student smile.
"Hey, young man! What do you think you're doing with my daughter there?" Takigawa demanded protesting against Yasuhara's familiar attitude towards Mai. He quickly stole Mai away from Yasuhara's embrace.
"Mai, if you had this young man's child, it would probably end up being the greatest scam artist of the century. You'd be much better off having my kid," he said seriously.
"Aren't you a little old for her, you derelict monk?" Matsuzaki Ayako, the self-proclaimed miko, said from where she was sitting on the sofa.
"Say that sort of thing after you've found yourself a stable job, Bou-san," Mai said. Her voice was muffled as she struggled to free herself from Bou-san's bear hug. "Let go of me already, you pervert!"
"What's this? Would you rather have Lin-san's child then?" Bou-san asked as he suddenly shoved Mai to a startled Lin.
Mai stumbled at having been pushed away so suddenly, but Lin reached out and caught her before she ended up running into one of the bookcases that lined the reception area of the SPR office. He glanced at Bou-san as he steadied Mai. "While I think Taniyama-san would make a wonderful mother someday, I think I'm a little old for her..." he said seriously. "...Although I wouldn't be as rough with her as her self-proclaimed father is. And I do have a proper job."
A hint of a gentle smile played around Lin's eyes as he glanced down at Mai before he shot a glance at Yasuhara. "Of course, I'm also unlikely to have such conniving children as Yasuhara-san," he added.
Yasuhara burst out laughing at the sour expression that spread over Bou-san's face as he heard Lin's comments. "Lin-san, quite frankly, I'm not convinced your children would be an less conniving than mine would be. I think you're used to hiding that side of yourself so much that no one suspects you of having it," he said slyly.
Lin didn't reply to Yasuhara's insinuation while John got up from his seat on the couch. He calmly took Mai from Lin and sat her down at one end of the couch. "You could always adopt instead," he suggested gently. "Or you could take care of the kids at the orphanage instead. I'm sure the church would love to have you."
"Ah! But she'd need to be Catholic for that, right?" Yasuhara asked as he moved over to where Mai was sitting. His inscrutable smile was firmly in place as he calmly pulled her back up to her feet.
"Get your hands off of her, young man!" Takigawa yelled in protest.
"Mai, maybe you should become a nun," Masako suggested. "There are too many risks involved with having the child of any of the men here."
"Masako! Not you, too!" Mai cried out in dismay.
"She's right, Mai," Ayako said. "About the only one who'd make a good father and who would likely have good kids is John, and he's not allowed to."
"But I think Shibuya-san's kids would be quite something," John said. "They'd be very good-looking."
Mai looked at John dubiously. "They'd be very difficult problem children just like him," she declared firmly.
John looked a little embarrassed. "They'd be very smart," he suggested.
"They'd be very stuck-up," Mai shot back.
"What do you think, sir?" Yasuhara asked fighting back his laughter as he shoved Mai in Naru's direction.
Mai stumbled at the force of his shove almost tripping when Naru caught her. She half expected him to side-step out of the way and leave her to fall head first in the hallway.
"Yasuhara-san!" Mai yelled at having suddenly been thrown at Naru. She felt Naru's arm stiffen slightly as he caught her and remembered Masako's comment about how he'd go stiff for over a minute whenever she'd taken his arm. "I'm sorry, Naru. Thank you," she said as she regained her balance.
"...White," Naru said almost as though to himself. The instant he said that, his eyes widened in surprise as he realised he'd spoken out loud.
"Eh?" Mai looked at him confused.
Naru shook his head slightly. "Never mind. It's nothing," he said looking away. A hint of a blush tinged his pale face.
The next instant, Mai's eyes suddenly went very wide and she turned bright red.
Yasuhara glanced at Lin and Takigawa. He'd pushed Mai a little harder than he intended and her skirt had flipped slightly that she ended up flashing the room. However, she'd flashed them with a set of cute pink panties. Even if it'd been possible for Naru to see them (which from his angle wasn't very likely), they were clearly not white.
"Eh?! Naru-bou, did you just read Mai?!" Bou-san asked in disbelief. "Get your paws off her, you!"
Before Bou-san could go over and wrest Mai from Naru, Ayako hit him hard in the stomach. "Be quiet, monk," she said sternly.
Ayako couldn't hide her amusement at the idea of Noll reading Mai. However, one thing about his statement confused her. He had the colour wrong.
"Mai, why would Naru say 'white' when you're wearing pink today?" she asked. Curiosity burned in her eyes as she looked at Mai.
"N-n-n-n-no reason!" Mai stuttered as she flushed even more.
Masako stared at her blushing friend for a long moment her eyes half lidded. "Mai... don't tell me you couldn't decide what colour underwear to wear this morning or anything as silly as that," she said coldly.
Mai refused to meet Masako's gaze. "...I won't," she said.
Mai had spent the better part of half an hour that morning trying to decide which of the two panties Naru would like more. When she finally figured he wouldn't care either way, she decided to wear the pink ones.
Masako continued to stare at Mai. A frown crossed her doll-like face, and she gave Mai a hard look when she suddenly realised that Naru hadn't let go of Mai. "Mai, at least let go of Naru!"
Mai's blush deepened as she realised she was still clinging to her boss. "Ah, I'm sorry, Naru," she said as she quickly tried to move away from him. However, Naru didn't let go of her. "Eh?"
Her eyes widened in surprise as she looked up at her boss. If she didn't know better, she'd say his usual poker-face looked almost miffed, but she had no idea what could have annoyed him.
Yasuhara chuckled amused. "Taniyama-san, are you aware as to when the boss came out of his office?" he asked.
"??" Mai gave her co-worker a curious look before shaking her head.
"He came out just after this conversation began," he said.
Mai looked stunned as she realised Naru had heard everything: Yasuhara's proposition, her immediate retorts to John's comments, everything. She hesitantly looked up at her boss, but he wouldn't meet her eyes.
"Mai, leave that mad scientist and have my kid!" Bou-san wheezed out as he slowly recovered from Ayako's punch.
"But Norio! What about me?!" Yasuhara cried out in mock dismay. "I can't believe you're abandoning me like this!" Yasuhara pretended to cry into his arm as Bou-san glared at him.
"Will you give that a rest already?!" he yelled as he was instantly covered in goosebumps.
"Yasuhara-san, you two-timer!" Mai exclaimed feigning shock.
"Aa!" Yasuhara said looking slightly embarrassed at having made such a major slip.
"Naru! Let go of Mai!" Masako exclaimed annoyed that the black-clad young man still hadn't let go of her friend. "I'll take Mai," she said firmly.
Silence reigned in the office as the everyone stared at Masako stunned. Masako stalked over to Naru, firmly extricated Mai from his arm, and linked her arm with Mai's. She smiled at Mai briefly before linking her other arm with Naru's.
Naru stiffened as Masako took his arm.
Mai frowned. "Masako..." she said in a low tone.
"What is it, Mai?" Masako asked with her sweet smile
"Didn't you just say you would take me? Yet you're also two-timing with Naru??"
"My, I would never do something as shameless as that!" Masako exclaimed. "I'm a medium. I can take you in professionally to train under me."
Masako turned her sweet smile on Mai. "After that, I'll retire and leave that work to you, and I'll take Naru for myself. All I have to do is arrange things with my grandmother and she can take care of things for you as she's been doing for me."
Mai glared at her friend. "Traitor," she growled.
"My, I never once said I'd take you for myself personally," Masako said sweetly.
"You'd have this stick-in-the-mud's narcissistic children?" Mai asked.
"With my looks added in, they'd be quite cute," Masako said calmly.
Mai blinked at Masako's response. Her eyes narrowed. "Even though they could end up with his abilities?"
"They might end up with mine instead," Masako responded reasonably. She knew what it was like to grow up being able to see spirits, so raising children with PK, while different, would probably be just as difficult as those who had the sight.
Mai's frown deepened as she realised that her friend's children could have difficult problems just like Naru's could, even without him being the father, and that she had little chance of winning this argument. However, before she could say anything else, Yasuhara calmly stepped in and removed Masako from Naru's arm.
"Okay, I think you should leave it at that, Hara-san," he said with his usual inscrutable smile. "The boss's mood is rapidly plunging to the ninth hell, so before this office becomes colder than Siberia in the middle of winter, I think we should return Taniyama-san to him."
Mai's head snapped up when she realised what Yasuhara said but it was too late. Yasuhara had already pushed her back into her boss's clutches. Naru staggered slightly from the force of having Mai suddenly shoved into him and instinctively held her in his arms until she could regain her balance. Mai instantly turned beet red as she realised their current situation.
Naru looked down at her as she struggled to pull away from him. While the look in his eyes was slightly gentler than usual, the corner of his mouth twitched into his usual cynical smile. "There's one thing you won't lose out to Hara-san on," he said simply.
Mai's eyes widened in surprise as she looked up at him. She stopped struggling as she suddenly found herself drowning in his dark eyes. Noll's fingers slid under her chin tilting her face up towards him.
"Your tea," he said as he bent down towards her. Just as it seemed he was about to kiss her, he ran his index finger lightly along her lips. "Mai, tea. In my office," he whispered in her ear before he quickly straightened up and returned to his sanctum.