Many thanks to Kyia Star for letting me bounce ideas and generally rant (whinge?) over this thing with her. Also, a heartfelt thanks to sekitx2 on LJ for the cute omake she left on my writing journal! The omake stories for this fic do mention certain individuals not yet mentioned in the manga series.
Disclaimer: Ghost Hunt is the brain child of Ono Fuyumi. The characters and GH universe are hers. I'm just letting the characters have some extra fun.
The sun was shining, the birds were singing... Love was in the air! It's Valentine's Day – the day where, in Japan, girls gave guys chocolates ranging from obligatory chocolates, given to family or co-workers, to those given to the person they really liked. And things were no different for Taniyama Mai. She and the Irregulars had decided earlier that, since Valentine's Day was on a weekday this year, the giving of chocolates would happen on the weekend. So, the only people she would be giving chocolates to today were the people she worked with. Mai had no doubt that Lin and Yasuhara would readily accept chocolates from her, and she was likewise certain... pretty certain... a little uncertain... utterly unconvinced that her boss would do the same.
Mai grimaced slightly as she paused briefly to stare at the overcast sky above her; she had just exited the train station and was about to make the short walk from there to the office. Mai shook her head. If only giving chocolates to her boss were easy! Unfortunately for her, this year was going to be her third attempt at giving that guy anything chocolate on this day. Mai started walking towards the office as she contemplated her previous attempts at giving Naru chocolates. The first year, she hadn't given much thought into her gift and bought Naru a small box of simple dark chocolates.
"Here Naru, these chocolates are for you," Mai said as she thrust a tiny box of chocolates at her boss. Her cheeks were slightly flushed in embarrassment, and she desperately hoped he didn't notice.
Unfortunately, Naru just looked at her oddly and said, "I don't want them."
Mai looked surprised at his flat refusal. "Ah, th-they're not meant f-for the guy I'm in l-love with o-or anything like th-that," she stammered flustered.
"What are you talking about?" Naru asked confused when he paused. His thoughts went to an incident earlier that day, when some of the girls working at Dolphin - the cafe on the main floor - tried giving him chocolates. He'd refused as, not only did he not know them that well, he had no idea why they would try to give him something like that in the first place. His eyes narrowed slightly as he considered his part-time employee. "Come to think of it, some girls tried giving me chocolate earlier today, as well."
Mai looked away from his dark eyes as she stared out the window. "But... it's Valentine's Day," she murmured. "It's the day girls give guys chocolates."
Because Mai was staring out the window, she didn't notice the blank, confused look that crossed Naru's face at her words.
Mai heard Naru sigh as he took the box from her hands and put it on her head. She automatically reached out and caught the box before it could fall. Mai looked at her boss, but she couldn't decipher the expression on his face.
"I don't like sweet things," he said quietly, "so you eat them for me."
Last year, Mai tried something different. She decided to try and trick Naru into accepting her valentine gift, so she made him chocolate tea. Since she had a bunch of files to take care of after her tea break, Mai made herself Darjeeling tea in the hopes that the mild astringent flavour would wake her up, and would help keep her awake, while she battled the boring monotony of her work. But for Naru, she made chocolate tea. Her hope was that he would at least take one sip before realising what she'd done.
Unfortunately, luck - or fate - was not on her side. As Mai took her seat, she remembered seeing the mixed look of confusion and surprise that first crossed Naru's face as he noticed the tea's aroma at the last moment and froze. Next came realisation, as he recognised the tea's fragrance, which was followed by a slight narrowing of his eyes, before he wiped all emotion from his face. Before Mai could say or do anything, however, Naru reached out, stole her cup of Darjeeling tea from right out of her hands before she could take a sip, put his cup of chocolate tea in its place, and continued reading his book as though nothing had happened.
And now, this year... Mai decided to make a not-too-sweet chocolate mousse-filled chocolate layer cake using a flourless cake recipe. All Mai needed to do was to put the finishing touches on the cake by sprinkling it lightly with both icing sugar and cocoa. While the recipe was a little more fiddly than she would normally make, she'd decided to try something homemade. However, considering the results of her two previous attempts, Mai was almost certain that she would fail miserably at giving her boss something so sweet. This time though, having tasted the experimental results of the recipe, Mai didn't mind having to eat her gift quite as much as she did the previous two years.
Shortly after arriving at the office, and after having given Yasuhara and Lin their chocolates, Mai went into the kitchenette in order to put the finishing touches on Naru's (? her?) dessert as well as to make tea. Once that was done, she could take it to her boss...
Yasuhara looked up from his desk at his co-worker's exclamation. He'd seen her go into the kitchenette a few minutes earlier and assumed she was making tea for the boss. However, nothing could have prepared him for the sight he faced when he opened the kitchenette door to make sure she was alright. There, standing in the middle of the room, coughing and trying not to wave her hands against a fine powdery cloud, was a decidedly cocoa-y Taniyama Mai.
"Ahahahah!" Yasuhara couldn't help bursting out in laughter at the sight of the girl as she struggled to keep from choking on the fine powder.
Mai glared at Yasuhara. "It's not funny!" she said as she coughed.
Yasuhara just laughed. "Ah, Taniyama-san, why don't you get yourself cleaned up while I take care of this mess?" he said as he fought to control himself. From what Yasuhara saw, Mai had apparently been having trouble opening a container of cocoa when the lid suddenly came off, covering her and the floor with the powdery substance.
Mai coughed as she put the container on the counter and left the kitchenette. It wasn't until several minutes later that Mai finally came back after having dusted herself off and gotten cleaned up from her cocoa mishap. By that time, Yasuhara managed to clean up the mess in the kitchenette and had put out new cups and put on some new water for tea.
As soon as the water boiled, Mai set the tea to steeping.
Yasuhara watched as she sprinkled icing sugar and cocoa powder on the chocolate cake. "Is that for the boss, Taniyama-san?" Yasuhara asked looking mildly amused.
Mai blushed slightly as she nodded wordlessly. "For the past two years, he's always made me have what I gave him. So, this year, I decided to give something I wouldn't mind eating just in case he does the same thing again," she confessed.
"Hmm..." Yasuhara said as he considered the girl before him. "What did you try giving him last year?" he asked curiously.
Mai gave him an embarrassed smile. "Chocolate tea, but he noticed what it was before he took a drink and ended up stealing my tea," she admitted ruefully.
Yasuhara looked at her surprised. "He took your tea?"
Mai nodded. "I hadn't started drinking it yet, so he stole mine and gave me the chocolate tea," she confirmed.
"...I'm surprised he didn't have you make him a new cup," Yasuhara said.
Mai shrugged. Naru didn't say anything, and it never occurred to her to make herself a new cup of tea. And while she was disappointed that Naru didn't have the tea, she had to admit, it was quite good. Mai carefully poured Naru's tea before putting the dishes on a tray to take to his office.
Mai knocked lightly at the door before opening the door to enter Naru's office.
"Naru, I brought you some tea," she said as she carried the tray with tea and the chocolate dessert to where he sat at his desk.
Much to Mai's surprise, Naru looked up from his work as she approached his desk. He frowned slightly when she put the dessert on his desk and looked at Mai inquiringly.
"Ah, you don't need to worry, I brought you a lighter Assam," she said deliberately misinterpreting Naru's look.
As Mai carefully set Naru's tea on his desk, a lock of hair slipped from behind her ear hiding her face. Naru's frown deepened slightly as the scent from her hair caught his attention. He gazed at her steadily as she finished putting the items on his desk; a hint of amusement crept into his eyes as he watched and waited for Mai to straighten up.
"Um, I made this for... you..." Mai said hesitantly as she gestured at the chocolate dessert, but her voice trailed off as Naru reached out and ran his hand lightly through her hair. Mai froze in shock as he tucked the errant lock behind her ear before looking at his fingers; they were dusted with a light brown, powdery substance. Naru showed his fingers to Mai and watched as her eyes widen in surprise.
"Ah..." she started to say when Naru's slender index finger slipped into her mouth and ran lightly along her tongue. Mai instantly turned bright red as she tasted the faintest hint of bitter cocoa.
Naru slowly withdrew his finger and ran it along her lower lip before cupping her cheek with his hand.
Mai felt her breath catch slightly as she felt his fingers slide under her chin tilting her head up towards him as he got up from his chair. The tray she'd been holding slid from her nerveless fingers and fell unnoticed to the floor, and Mai's last coherent thought, as Naru stood over her, was of how close he was. Mai's eyes fluttered shut as Naru bent down towards her; she sensed him hesitate ever so slightly before his soft lips captured hers.
His kiss was gentle at first, but soon became hungrier and more demanding. Naru slid his arm around Mai's waist pulling her slender form more firmly against him as his other hand slid through her hair supporting the back of her head as he ate hungrily at her sweet mouth.
Just as Mai felt her knees would give way, Naru released her from their kiss. He nibbled gently at her lower lip capturing it in one last brief kiss before finally letting her go.
Mai stumbled back a couple of steps before she managed to catch the edge of his desk and support herself as she struggled to catch her breath. She turned to glare at Naru, only to find him looking at his fingers amused. The hand he'd run through her hair was lightly covered in cocoa powder. Mai couldn't help watching as Naru raised his fingers to his mouth and licked the cocoa from his fingertips. She blushed furiously as she watched her boss, when his dark eyes turned to look at her once again.
Mai's eyes widened in shock as she suddenly realised what was rapidly becoming her Valentine's gift to her boss. Sensing immediate danger, she quickly straightened up and barely managed to flee as Naru reached out for her again.
Neither Naru nor Mai had noticed Yasuhara snap a photo on his cellphone camera as the two kissed in Naru's office.